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ASHLEY

An hour and a half and three beers later, I finally stumble on my feet deciding that I should really head home.

“Woah, woah, where are you going?” Seth asks me when I jump out of my seat.

“Home.” I say as if he was daft.

“And how are you planning on getting there?” he asks me raising his brows.

“I’ll apparate.” I shrug and try to put on my jacket.

“Oh, hell you will.” Seth says and stands next to me helping me with the jacket. “You had far too much to drink. I can’t let you apparate. You might splinch yourself. Come on, I’ll drive you home.” He reaches out for me but I take a step back from him and he sighs again.

“Fine, I won’t touch you.” He gives up. “But you will allow me to drive you home, won’t you?”

“I don’t know if that’s smart.” I say but am aware that in my intoxicated state I can’t apparate and really, there’s no other way of getting home than by car.

“I promise I won’t do anything you think is inappropriate.” Seth says looking at me. Finally, he persuades me.

“Fine.” I give up. I turn to pay for my drinks but Seth jumps in before I can even manage to open my purse.

“Inappropriate.” I warn him and he smirks at me.

“Starting from now.” He shrugs and opens the door of the bar for me. I step out into the night and fresh air fills my lungs. Suddenly, I’m not that sure about this.

“This way.” Seth says and leads the way to his car. I feel extremely uncomfortable entering it knowing very well what happened the last time I was alone with Seth. I wonder if I should’ve just called a cab.

“Relax.” Seth says. “I swear I won’t try anything you don’t want.” He winks at me and I look at him in disgust.

“I’m with Nick. You do know that, right?” I ask and he rolls his eyes.

“I know, I know.” He says lazily. “Don’t worry. I’m just taking you home. Nothing else.”

I look at him suspiciously, but he doesn’t seem to hide anything. We drive in silence for the next hour until we reach my building in Brooklyn.

“Thanks, I guess.” I say to Seth before I stumble out of the car. He ushers to help me get out. I take the hand he offers me to get out of the car.

“Thanks.” I say again and he smiles at me.

“You’re welcome.” He says and just when I’m about to let go of his hand and turn around, his grip on my hand firms. I look at his hand on mine and then at him. “I was a perfect gentleman, wasn’t I?”

“Yes, but-“

“Don’t you think everyone deserves a second chance?” he asks and I raise my eyebrows at him.

“What is that supposed to mean?” I ask.

“If he hurts you, if it doesn’t work out,” Seth continues referring to Nick. “I’ll be here waiting for you. I still care about you.”

“Well, I don’t!” I say bitterly. “And Nick isn’t going to hurt me.”

“Are you sure?” Seth asks with his usual smirk.

“She is.” I hear a cold voice say and when Seth and I turn around, there is Nick. Standing in the middle of the street, his bag hanging on his shoulder. My heart makes a few flips when I see him.

“Nick?” I ask staring at him, a smile plastered on my face. This can’t be! Am I hallucinating?

“Hey, baby!” he smiles at me and without even thinking I run at him and practically jump into his hug. I kiss him not minding Seth who’s standing there leaning against his car.

“What are you doing here?” I ask with a smile cupping his face with my hands.

“I’m back.” He announces. “Didn’t you get my letter?”

“What? No, but- how?” I ask my mind buzzing with questions.

“Later, Ash.” He whispers to me and then looks at Seth who’s still staring at us.

“You came back for a rematch?” Nick asks him threateningly.

“Come on, man.” Seth shakes his head. “We don’t have to fight again.”

“Then why were your hands all over my girlfriend just a minute ago?” Nick asks walking towards him and Seth takes a step back.

“I just drove her home.” Seth says a slight hint of panic in his voice. “She had a couple of drinks, I couldn’t let her apparate back home.”

“Nick, he’s telling the truth!” I say when Nick reaches Seth and looks like he’s about to hit him again. “We ran into each other at the bar and Seth was nice enough to offer me a ride.”

“She’s telling the truth, man.” Seth nods.

“He didn’t touch you?” Nick asks me and I shake my head.

“He was well behaved.” I shrug and reach a hand towards him. “Come on, Nick. Let’s go home. Leave Seth alone.”

Nick stares back at Seth for a moment. “She’s my girlfriend now. And I’m not letting anyone touch her. Especially not you. So if you had any other intensions, think again.” He sighs but takes a step back. “With that said, thank you for taking care of her tonight.”

“No problem.” Seth manages to say. Nick takes my hand and kisses me again. “If you hurt her,” Seth adds when we’re about to leave and Nick turns to look at him. “I’m going to fight for her. But you’d be stupid to do that.”

“Fair enough.” Nick nods.

“Until then, good luck.” Seth nods as well. “Take care of her.”

“Oh, I plan to.” Nick says putting his arm around my shoulder as we head inside the building. I can’t stop looking at him and smiling.

“What?” he asks me smiling as well as we climb the stairs. I shake my head and smile even wider.

“I can’t believe you’re back.” I say and stop walking just so I can kiss him again.

“Blair was at my aunt’s place this morning.” He says and my mouth opens in shock.

“Blair?” I ask and Nick nods. “How is she? Is she okay?”

“She looks great.” Nick smiles. “She just won a Quidditch match, actually.”

“That’s great!” I smile. “But why did she come?”

“She came to set me straight.” Nick explains. “And to talk to my Mom, I guess. Made us both realise I need to be here right now. With you. If you’ll have me, of course.”

“Of course you can stay.” I say and kiss him again. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” Nick says and puts his arms around me. He lifts me up and kisses me again. “Well, I guess we need to ask David first, don’t you think?”

My smile immediately disappears. “What?” Nick asks noticing the change in my mood. “What’s wrong?”

“Dad’s upstairs.” I explain. “He proposed to Elena.” Nick’s eyebrows jump in shock.

 “Oh.” Is all he manages to say.

“Yes. Oh.” I say and look at my shoes. Nick puts the loose strand of my hair behind my ear. “Maybe he knows what he’s doing.” He says finally and I shrug.

“Maybe.” I look up at him and try to smile. “I just always thought he and Mum would get back together, that’s all.”

“It’s going to be fine, you’ll see.” Nick assures me and kisses the tip of my nose. “Trust me.”

“I’m so happy you’re back.” I say hugging him once more.

“So am I baby.” He says. “So am I.” Nick kisses me on the forehead. “Come on, let’s see how David’s doing.”

Half-heartedly I follow Nick up the stairs and towards our flat. I open the door with my keys and both of us go inside where everything’s unusually quiet. For a moment a feeling of hope rushes over me. Maybe Dad gave up and didn’t propose? Maybe she said no?

But then the door of Dad’s bedroom opens and Elena walks out, her dress crumbled, followed by my Dad who’s beaming happily. My stomach sinks.

“Blair, we’re going to get married!” Elena announces happily at me shoves the diamond ring in my face. “David proposed!”

“Nick, is that you?” Dad asks standing next to his fiancé and puts his arm around her.

“Yes, David, hi.” Nick smiles and looks at Elena who’s admiring her ring right now. “And congratulations!” Nick adds.

“Nick is back and needs a place to stay.” I say looking at my Dad. “He can crash here, right?”

But before Dad can say something, Elena looks at me her eyebrows furrowed.

“Well, it’s going to get too crowded here, won’t it?” Elena asks and smiles at Dad. “With me moving in and everything.”

“What?!” I snap immediately and Dad rubs his neck uncomfortably.

“I meant to say it, I just didn’t know how you’d react.” Dad starts and then shrugs. “It’s the only logical move. Ellie and I are getting married. She’ll stay here for now.”

“For now?” I ask in shock. “You mean before you two move out?”

“Well, this place is a bit out-dated.” Elena smiles. “But don’t worry, I plan on decorating it myself.”

I feel like screaming. At Elena, at my Dad, at everyone.

“But Nick can stay of course. He can crash on the couch.” Dad smiles at Nick. “I’m glad you’re back, son.”

“Thanks David.” Nick says but shuffles uncomfortably. “But if it’s an inconvenience-“

“David, we will certainly have to cram. This apartment is too small for four people.” Elena tries to convince my Dad.

“Well, I don’t see a wedding finger there just yet.” I snap at her coldly. “And until I see one, I don’t really care about your opinion.”

“Blair!” Dad says, but I ignore him. I grab Nick’s hand and start yanking him towards the room.

“Scratch that!” I say turning to look at Elena and my Dad before I close the door of my room. “Even when you two get married, I still won’t care what you have to say.” I spit out then look at Dad. “Oh, and, congratulations.” I add before slamming the door.

 

 

 


 



 

BLAIR

I wake up but don’t feel like opening my eyes just yet. I don’t feel like getting back to reality right now. That’s how peaceful and happy I feel at the moment. I smile mostly to myself and hear James chuckle next to me.

That’s when it hits me. My reality is a whole lot better than any possible dream. I open my eyes and find James lying next to me staring at me already, a smile on his face.

“Hey.” I greet him and he smiles even wider.

“Hey beautiful.” He kisses me lightly on the lips. Not even Fred snoring in the bed next to James’ could possibly ruin this moment for me.

“Last night-“ James starts.

“Was perfect.” I finish for him and he smiles at me again.

“Yes it was.” He nods. “It’s just that- umm-“

“What?” I ask the smile dropping from my face. “Have I done something wrong or-?”

“No, it was perfect.” James convinces me. “I was just wondering- well, it was pretty obvious you’ve never- you know.”

“Oh.” I say feeling my cheeks turn warm.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” James asks in a whisper.

“That I was a virgin?” I ask then shrug. “We never talked about it.”

“Because I always thought you did it.” James says and his face darkens. “With that ex – fiancé of yours.”

I feel sick of the idea of doing what I did with James last night with Daniel. Urgh. “Merlin no.” I say before I can stop myself and James furrows his eyebrows. “I mean,” I start fumbling with James’ covers in embarrassment. “I never felt like it.” I say. “With him.”

“Why were you ever with that guy?” James asks suddenly. “He seemed like a complete arse.”

“I don’t know.” I shrug. “He was always there, I guess. Seemed natural. But then I met you.” I say and James smiles.

“We actually met seven years ago.” He corrects me and I feel like slapping myself on the forehead.

“Right.” I say. “I mean I met the new you.” I correct myself.

“Why did you ever say yes to him in the first place?” James doesn’t give up. “When he proposed? On Valentine’s Day?”

“Do we really have to talk about him?” I ask and James nods.

“We do because if I don’t ask, you don’t tell me a thing.” I sigh.

“I don’t tell you everything because I’m not ready to.” I say looking at him. “When Daniel and I got back together during the winter break, he kind of blackmailed me into it.”

“Blackmailed you?” James asks confused. “About what?”

I shake my head. “I can’t tell you.” I say. “Not yet. It’s about my family. Something he found out and something that was meant to be a secret. I couldn’t let my family get hurt because of it.”

“He blackmailed you into marrying him?” James asks sounding furious suddenly.

“He did.” I say then look at him. “That same night I got back from Hogwarts for winter break. The same day you asked me out for date, he showed up at my house and threatened me. I had no other choice.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” James insists and I roll my eyes.

“It’s not like you could’ve stopped it.”

“I could’ve sent the bastard into St. Mungo’s!” James says furiously and I shush him, worried he’ll wake up his roommates.

“There was nothing you could do.” I say again.  

“Still, you should’ve told me.” James insists.

“It doesn’t matter anymore.” I say cupping his face with my hands. “We’re together at last. Nothing else matters.”

“Just promise me no more secrets, okay?” James looks at me and I feel as my heart starts to sink as I stare into his hazel eyes. This is it. I have to tell him that I’m not who he thinks I am. I have to tell him I’m not Ashley.

But something in his eyes won’t let these words leave my lips. I’m afraid I’ll lose him. And I don’t want to. Not after last night. Not after how perfect I’m feeling right now.

I close my mouth and simply nod at him. He smiles at me.

“I feel bad about last night.” James says and looks at me. “If I’d known this was your first time, I would’ve planned something special.”

“It was perfect.” I say with a smile.

“Oh, was it?” He asks and leans over me. “It gets better and better.”

“You promise?” I ask and he smiles.

“Definitely.” He kisses me passionately and at this point, the thought of mine and Ashley’s secret completely slips my mind.

 

An hour later I’m sneaking out of James dormitory before other guys wake up. It’s still early in the morning and there is no one left in the common room. Last night’s mess is already taken care off and if one didn’t witness the party, you would never know it had taken place in the Gryffindor common room. As I make my way across the common room towards the girls’ dorms, the portrait hole opens and reveals a hungover Hilary.

I stop walking and stare at her as she stumbles into the common room. She stops walking when she spots me as well and her mouth widens in a grin.

“Nice evening, I presume.” She says and I raise my eyebrows at her.

“I’d say the same.” I say but she shakes her head.

“No, no, don’t change the subject.” Hilary insists with a smirk. “You and James finally did it, ha?”

But before I can answer, the portrait hole opens again and this time, Rose sneaks in. Both Hilary and I raise our eyebrows again.

“’morning.” Both Hilary and I say in unison and Rose stops walking.

“Shit.” She says looking at us.

“And where have you been, oh saint Rose Weasley, the prefect?” Hilary teases and Rose shoots daggers at her.

“It’s not like the two of you were out for a morning stroll.” She points out.

“I had sex with Davies.” Hilary shrugs and points at me. “She spent the night with Potter.”

“Did you really?” Rose asks breaking into a grin. “I’m so happy about the two of you!”

“Thanks.” I say and look at her. “And you and Scorpius?”

“We’re back together.” She smiles and I can’t help it but smile as well.

“Well,” Hilary comments. “It seems Gryffindor winning the game made everyone score last night.”

 

Dear B.,

Nick is back! He told me you came to visit him. I don’t know what you told him but I’m so glad you were there. He needs you. He needs his friend! And I’m thankful you brought him back to me.

Counting the days until we meet again. Miss you so, so much.

Love,

Ashley 

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