I. First call
James was hovering idly above the grass, trying to enjoy the sun and think about something to do to fill yet another summer afternoon that was threatening to kill him with boredom; being off-season sucked. And having to admit that Al’s disappearance to his girlfriend’s house and Lily's need to study for her Auror exam robbed him of any enjoyable activity was just sad.
When had he become so pathetic?
He hated Sundays.
A discreet vibration in his pocket roused him from those thoughts; his phone screen proudly presented him with a private number call and he answered, having nothing better to do.
“You have no idea what a shitty day I just had.” Answered an unknown female voice, clearly distraught.
“Hard to beat mine.”
She completely ignored him.
“No, really, the worst. Abby called me yesterday to ask me if I could watch her stupid kids and of course I, being a genuinely if naïve good person, told her yes, like I do every Sunday. What an idiot. You know what those two little spawn of the devil did to me?”
“I can only imagine.” Said James, lounging on his broom, leaving the hard job to entertain him to that funny voice.
“No, you can’t. First they decided to go to the park and I was like sure, let’s enjoy the sun, maybe we can get ice cream, you know, I was staying positive. Of course, when we reached the park – you know, the one where we used to smoke?”
“How could I forget?” He asked, thinking back to when he, Fred and Dominique had explored the wondrous activity of taking drugs near Diagon Alley.
He missed being a teenager, sometimes.
“Exactly. Well, they disappeared, Vic. In less than ten seconds I had lost the precious heirs to a mob of snotty kids and gossiping mothers. And you know me, right? When in doubt, panic.”
He had to smile.
“I swear to freaking Merlin, I had to look everywhere. I should have listened to ma when she’d told me to cast a tracking charm on their cute little asses but no, of course I had also left my wand at home. Finally, after two hours of sweating, swearing and dodging toy brooms, I found them.”
“That doesn’t sound so bad, c’mon.”
“Oh, my sweet summer child.” She sighed, teasing. “This is just the beginning.”
“You make it sound apocalyptic. Should I sit down?”
“Please, do. I don’t want you on my conscience, as well. The heirs are enough.”
“What did you even do to them?”
“Me? I didn’t do anything! But those little blights were playing Exploding Snap when I found them and another kid – not one under my jurisdiction, fortunately – made the whole thing explode in their faces. Sarah’s eyebrows were gone and Kyle was howling desperately!”
“Thank Merlin I sat down. What did you do?”
“Well, I brought them to St. Mungo because you know I suck at growing hair back – not that I had my wand, anyway – and if Abby found out, I was bound to a lengthy discussion about my incurable immaturity and somehow she would have ended up telling me that's why I haven’t had a boyfriend in ages. Sarah’s eyebrows were so not worthy.”
“Abby doesn’t sound so nice.”
“No, ok, I was being harsh. I love her but you know her, she's just too perfect to contemplate the fact that anybody else wouldn’t be. Her perfect house with her perfect husband and adorable kids…”
“Weren’t they blights?”
“Yes, of my existence, but you can’t deny they’re the cutest. Anyway, guess who I ran into at the hospital?”
“Er…Abby’s perfect dog?”
She laughed and James felt like he had just been hit by a bludger: her laugh was rich, sparkling, unguarded. His smile widened.
“Merlin, a joke! The last time you made one I had just bought my first bra. What happened to the intellectual/hipster phase?”
“Couldn’t agree more. Anyway, no, it wasn’t her dog. I met Louis.”
“The one and only, obviously. Fucking hell.”
James raised an eyebrow, intrigued. “Amen. What happened?”
“Oh, you know, I was covered in sweat and cinder and I hadn’t washed my hair since the last full moon, while he was all tall and handsome in his stupid black jeans – you know, the one I gave him – and his annoying arrogant smirk, with the decorative centrepiece he calls girlfriend hooked on his arm.”
James cursed his complete inability to remember anything that didn’t revolve around Quidditch as he tried to think about Louis’ ex-girlfriends. Unfortunately, he was Lily’s age and they had never seen each other much.
His love life was an utter mystery. James didn’t even know who the current centrepiece was.
But at least that placed the adorable voice owner around twenty-one or two.
“I might need to use my gran’s smelling salts to get through this.”
“I don’t think so, sunshine. I had to live through the painfully awkward experience of being introduced to her – and the stupid bint didn’t even remember me – without their help. Get a grip, Vic.”
“I profusely apologize.”
“Who even uses profusely? Are you ok?”
“Sorry, I was skimming through the dictionary to keep myself awake.”
“Very funny, Vic. Anyway. I thought that was it, right? But no, after I collected the pests and was ready to go back home, Louis was waiving at me so I waved back, and my top’s strap just gave up.”
James laughed, hard, happy he had picked up the phone.
“Stop laughing. It wasn’t nice.” She muttered half-heartedly.
“I daresay the centrepiece was really jealous.”
“Stop teasing, prick.”
“I prefer James.”
“Oh, I like it.” She answered, unfazed. “Very old fashioned, like a stuffy lord dining with the Queen. Surname?”
“Now, Vic, there’s no need to aim that high.”
“I like you even if your dad didn’t save the world. Actually, he does save it every time he makes lasagnes. When are you going to bring me some, anyway?”
“Not soon, I’m afraid. Dad is very good at offing Dark Lords but he can’t cook anything except a mean omelette.”
“Hey, you there?”
“You’re not Victor.” Not a question. James was almost sad.
“I’m afraid not, darling.”
“I…” she breathed “oh, Merlin, I’m so sorry…”
“Please, don’t be. You brightened my dull afternoon.”
“It’s just that when I start talking I can’t stop, really, it’s a curse.”
“It’s not that bad, really. You’re funny.”
“Thanks… ah, ehm…I should go”
“Oh, you women” James sighed, good naturedly “Always ready to flee when there isn’t lasagnes involved.”
“Oh, you men” she echoed, amusement clear in her voice “Always ready to take advantage of unsuspecting, talkative girls.”
There was a pause.
“I really should go, now. Sorry again.”
“Stop apologizing.” Answered James “And say hi to the heirs.”
Her laugh was just beautiful.
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