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VII.               Jasmine

January 20th, 2030 – 12.45 a.m.

 

Jasmine hated going to the Weasleys on Sundays.

They were loud, obnoxious, generally rude and the food wasn’t even that great: she suspected it had to do with the fact that the damned matriarch had to cook for thirty something people every time, and of course not one of her beloved spawn bothered to help.

Louis loved going, though: as secretive and reserved as he was, Jasmine had always found it odd that he would enjoy the absolute mess that lunch was, but she’d never questioned it much.

At least up until he had started to bring her along: of course, Jasmine couldn’t just tell him that she didn’t stand his family, so she’d sucked it up and had went anyway; only one every two lunches, that at least she had negotiated, pretending she needed to go see her own family, even though she went out with her friends for brunch.

No, Jasmine was really curious as to what would make a rampant, twenty-two years old lawyer so attached to his family.

It wasn’t even that she didn’t like big families: she had two brothers and two sisters and more cousins that she cared to count, but they didn’t have this morbid need to see each other once a week, and when they did meet – for Christmas or Easter – they always used the ballroom of their grandparents’ mansion, were there was room to breathe.

The Burrow – ugh, she even hated the name – always put her on hedge, as she waited for it to collapse on her head; the interior was so tiny she felt claustrophobic just thinking about it.

“Can you hurry?!” Shouted Louis from the foyer. “We’re already late!”

His annoyed tone made her roll her eyes: it wasn’t her fault he had woken her up with sex, making her late.

“Just a minute!” She screamed back, looking at the dress choices on her bed: a baby-pink dress to the knees or black velvet pants and a dark satin green shirt.

Had that been the first time she went, she would have chosen the dress, but she now knew the Weasley weren’t worth the effort – they hardly dressed up for Sunday lunch.

“Jazzz!”

“I’m coming!” She lied without a second thought, starting to dress; then, she went to the bathroom to put some make-up on: they may have not been worth the effort, but she wasn’t going to leave the house without at least some foundation, concealer and mascara.

“Jasmine, I swear to Salazar!”

“I’m ready!” She shouted back, applying her blueberry chap stick.

Purposeful, heavy steps informed her that Louis had had enough, so she clicked the top of the stick and put it back in the bathroom drawer exactly when he rounded the corner, looking at her with an angry, exasperated expression.

Jasmine!” He shouted, even though he was in front of her; she raised an eyebrow, unimpressed. “Are you fucking kidding me? I’ve been waiting half an hour.”

“I’m ready,” she said calmly, walking around him, putting on her black fur and taking her clutch. She raised her right eyebrow, grateful to all the practice she had put into the move back in school.

“Shouldn’t we get going?”

Louis scoffed and rolled his blue eyes, annoyed. “You’re fucking priceless.”

“Aw,” she purred, sarcastically, pursing her lips. “Aren’t you the sweetest boyfriend.”

“Just… let’s go, c’mon.”

He took her wrist forcefully and Apparated them away, directly from the house to the Burrow’s front porch.

Jasmine staggered and almost fell, breathing heavily.

“Have you been raised by savages?” She asked, glaring at him. “You don’t just take someone and Apparate them away, you idiot.”

“Sorry,” he bit out, not sorry at all, adjusting his leather jacket in the window’s reflection.

“Yeah, right.”

Jasmine was starting to get irritated: it didn’t happen often, as she hardly let rushed emotions and reactions dictate her life, but Louis was pushing her limits; the nausea settled down after a few more seconds and she righted herself, fixing her hair in the reflection of the same window.

She could make out shapes moving around and cringed internally, steeling herself to survive for the next three to four hours.

Louis opened the door and she followed him, closing it behind them; strangely enough, silence greeted them, while there usually was a cacophonic array of greetings, more or less loud.

She turned back to the room and the scene that greeted her was most peculiar: Louis stood rooted on the spot, three steps in front of her, facing two people; she could only see James, as the other person was hidden by Louis’ frame, but James looked tense and his unusually cold.

The other members of the ridiculously large family where all gathered into the room, a million pairs of eyes fixed on James and Louis.

Nobody greeted anybody and a few tense, awkward seconds passed.

Jasmine raised a perfectly plucked eyebrow and looked around.

“Hello?”

That seemed to unlock the situation, but something stranger happened.

“What are you doing here?” Asked Louis with a hard, unsure tone she had seldom heard; Jasmine frowned and walked around him to see the other person next to James.

And lo and behold, it was Elizabeth fucking Warren.

Jasmine froze, breathed in sharply and felt her teeth grit, staring at the girl in front of her: Elizabeth was her usual self, if a bit thinner than how she remembered her from school (she didn’t want to think about the actual last time she’d seen her), with her annoyingly beautiful face and her horrendous sense of style.

Elizabeth spared only a glance for her, before looking back at Louis with an expression so neutral, it had to be calculated; Jasmine felt her hands tremble.

Elizabeth Warren was her nightmare: she had been the loser for years at school, never speaking up in class, quiet, reserved, then in seventh year, she had started dating Louis – for whom Jasmine had had a crush for years, a crush everyone knew about – and she had changed radically, becoming outspoken, outgoing and a completely different person.

Jasmine hadn’t meant to steal Louis from her, she truly hadn’t: they had met in a bar, a couple of years after the end of Hogwarts, they had chatted, laughed, had fun and drunk a bit too much.

It was supposed to be a one-night stand, something she owed to her younger self, a way to pick at an old scar.

But he had called; and called again.

And Jasmine had never claimed to be a saint.

She still remembered the night Elizabeth had walked in on them as the most humiliating of her life, and the girl hadn’t shouted, or cried: she had simply stood there, a glacial expression on her face, full of rage and contempt, and hadn’t even looked at Jasmine; like she was doing now, she had been staring at Louis, and she had told him that he was a small, pitiful boy and he was disgusting.

All while he had been inside of Jasmine, the act that had seemed so beautiful and freeing before suddenly turning into a disgusting, filthy sin.

Which was why Jasmine hadn’t wanted to pursue a stable relationship with Louis, once he had stopped trying to go back to his girlfriend and had sought her out; yes, she kept getting into his bed, but that was all.

Like all her friends had told her, a relationship that started dirty ended dirty, and she wasn’t the kind of girl a boy cheated on; she refused to be.

So Louis had dated another girl, a Hufflepuff in their year at Hogwarts, before dumping her and trying to get Jasmine to stay with him fully: she had decided to give him a chance after countless dates, invitations and declarations about two or three months before, but she had been haunted by Elizabeth’s angry and unforgiving face, fearing she would be in the same position soon enough.

Which was more than irritating, seeing as Jasmine was falling in love with the prat despite her better judgement.

But she had soothed herself with the notion that she would make every effort to never meet Elizabeth Warren again, and now the bitch had the galls to be at the Burrow? The place Jasmine hated but… well, it was her territory, now.

It was unbelievable.

Jasmine saw James take a threatening step in Louis’ direction, probably to shield Elizabeth, and everything clicked: of course, of course, Elizabeth Warren had snatched the most desirable bachelor on the market.

Had there ever been any doubts?

James Potter, her own sister ex-boyfriend, ex-everything: he had been the love of Carla’s life and he was now Elizabeth’s.

Apparently, she just knew how to fall on her feet, like any self-respecting Slytherin.

Jasmine felt the urge, for the first time in years, to just scream, break something and storm away; either that, or cry.

“She’s my girlfriend,” were the words that came out of James’ mouth, and seemed almost in slow motion: Jasmine exhaled, shaking, and felt Louis tense next to her as a physical shift of air; her ears started pounding and she swallowed quickly, trying to regain some semblance of control over her body and avoid a panic attack.

Oh, Salazar, acknowledging she was on the verge of one always brought her nearer, and she started to panic also about how it would look to Louis’ family, her having a mental breakdown in the middle of their living room at the sight of the woman whose love she had stolen.

They were going to laugh, and judge, and cringe, sharing pitiful looks and still, Elizabeth Warren wouldn’t have looked at her.

Jasmine felt her heart quicken, its beat echoing everywhere in her body, and a piercing, steady noise settled in her ears; her breaths were short and sounded as loud as thunders.

She felt trapped in her own body; the fact that this wasn’t her first panic attack and she knew what was to come only made it a thousand-fold worse, and a wave of nausea hit her like a punch.

“Louis,” she managed to say, her voice shrill and tremulous – pathetic; he turned to her and understanding appeared immediately on his face.

He took deep, long breaths, keeping eye contact, and after a few seconds that felt like years, he took her hand and squeezed.

The skin to skin contact woke her up and she could hear again: there were shouted conversations, people talking about the scene to others, but James and Elizabeth were silent, him looking at Jasmine and her looking at Louis.

Yet she had eyes only for Louis’ calming and steady gaze and kept mimicking his breathing, when a thought occurred to her: she didn’t have to stay there.

There was nothing forcing her to face her demons, beside the irrational fear that Louis might be mad at her and cheat on her: she didn’t owe this people anything and it didn’t matter what his family thought of her.

The only person she owed anything to was Elizabeth Warren, and she was the only one that would never want anything from her, so Jasmine disentangled her hand from her boyfriend, turned around and, well, for lack of a better definition, she got the fuck out of there.

She didn’t run, though: she would have ruined her shoes.

And when Louis reached her and tried to stop her, she looked at him hard.

His piercing blue eyes were definitely her weakness, she thought vaguely, her breath coming out in big clouds due to the cold; he stood a head taller than her, clinging painfully to her arm, but she shook his grip away.

“I don’t want to be with you right now, Louis.” She said, chocking on her words, her voice a pale imitation of her usually self-assured tone.

“I need to calm down, then I need to think and then,” she exhaled and turned away from his gaze, unable to stand his pleading eyes. “I need a fucking drink. So no, I’m not coming back inside and no, you’re not coming with me.”

She took a deep breath, ignoring his concerned and hurt gaze, and said something she had to say, even though she knew it would sound hypocritical and too late and not enough.

But she also owed herself.

“And if you’ve ever loved that girl, you should leave. If you ever felt an ounce of regret for what we did, you should look at her, tell her she’s finally found someone better than you, someone that might make her happy, and never go to another Sunday lunch.”

Then, Jasmine Shackleton turned on herself and disappeared; on the other side of the window, Elizabeth Warren was looking at her.

 







Oh, yeah, things are getting messy.

So, a bit of a timeline: in ‘wrong number’, the girlfriend that Liz mentions seeing with Louis at St. mungo is the Hufflepuff between her break up with him and before Jasmine and Louis actually got together (which was around the same time James and Liz did, before Christmas.)

The fact that James knew Jasmine will come up later, and everything will be explained, so don’t worry.

But, we’re officially in the story! The next chapter will still be unrelated (with Carla’s pov) but the one after that will be from Roxanne’s perspective, and definitely a bit longer and finally about the lunch itself, so bear with me!

Thank you all, particularly those who left a review – you guys rock and made my day!

Tecla xxx

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