Once Bitten, Twice Shy
Queenie knows that it's impossible between her and Jacob so long as the wizarding law continues to separate the no-maj from her world, but that isn't enough to stop her to keep hoping. All in the power of love.
Somewhere in New York City in the brownstone at 679 West 24th Street, a certain blond-haired witch was pacing around the second floor of the apartment, where every step was accompanied with a jitter.
Memories of the day before still felt like a dream to Queenie Goldstein. She vaguely remembered sending a letter through no-maj mail to someone (and it was her first time!), even buying the finest wine on her way home. She couldn't recall decking the house in full Christmas decorations with magic, much to the chagrin of her older sister, Tina.
"Queenie," there was no mistake to the tone of resignation in Porpentina Goldstein's voice. "You really don't remember a thing? You were acting strangely since yesterday. Are you sure you are alright?"
"I… don't know," Queenie whimpered, equally baffled. "Everything felt like a blur to me. I remember thinking about going to the bakery to try his new product and… Oh."
Now it all made sense—it all began when she had the urge to drop by Kowalski Quality Baked Goods.
Tina was clearly not amused. "Don't tell me… You are inviting Jacob here?" She walked up to Queenie, glowering at her sister in the eye. "Are you mad? The Rappaport's Law aside, you know that Mrs. Esposito doesn't allow men in the house!"
"About that…" Queenie's face broke out into a smile. "Mrs. Esposito will be away for a week. Something about visiting her relatives in California for Christmas."
"That's not my point." Tina wasn't backing down, her hands on her hips as she continued to glare at her sister. "You know there's no turning back, Queenie. It's over the moment he was oblivated in the rain—"
Queenie's eyes hardened. "No, it isn't."
"Queenie, be reasonable."
"I know where to draw the line, thank you very much," the blond witch snapped back, with a note of finality in her tone. "I've already sent him an invitation—with an order for a chocolate cake. That isn't a breach of the Rappaport's Law there, yes?"
Tina could only let out a tired sigh at her stubborn sister. She knew a losing battle when she saw one.
Jacob Kowalski arrived at the doorstep of the Goldsteins' home at six o'clock sharp on Christmas Eve evening, with the cake that Queenie had ordered in a huge box decorated with red and green ribbons. Tina had a smile on her face as she invited the man into the house, but anyone who had used Legilimency on her would know that the brunette didn't like this idea. Not one bit.
Queenie had been busy in the kitchen an hour before Jacob showed up. Since she couldn't use magic in front of a no-maj later, she had to race against time to get all the food prepared as quickly as possible. It was a pretty hectic afternoon; something that the usually easygoing Queenie wouldn't like to do, but tonight was different.
She was doing this for the man she loved.
"Hello," Jacob greeted the blond witch when he reached the second floor, with a poker-face Tina bringing up the rear behind the man. "I smell something good. Did you make all this by yourself?" He pulled out a chair from the dining table (that was already filled with a lavish Christmas feast) to put down the cake box.
"Yes," Queenie breathed, beaming at Jacob. "It's not much, but I gave all my best."
"Not much, you say?" Jacob exclaimed. "This is lovely! They all look very delicious! I can't wait to dig in now."
The praise made Queenie blush, until Tina's fake cough pulled the blond witch out of her own bliss. "T-Thank you. I guess we can get started with the main course, and then we'll get to the cake."
"Of course, of course," Jacob sat down at the table. "Well, let's get started while it's still piping hot, shall we?"
Much of the dinner conversation revolved around Jacob and his bakery, about the inspirations that helped him create the monster bread series, and ideas for his upcoming cake designs. Queenie enjoyed watching him in high spirits. Peeking into his mind, her smile widened at his thoughts filled with the man's passion for pastries.
So pure, so sweet like his love for buns and cakes.
Jacob turned around, which made him notice that Queenie was staring at him. "Uh, is there something on my face?" He raised a hand to rub his chubby cheek, giving the blond witch a curious look.
"Oh, no," Queenie replied hurriedly. "I'm just happy to see that you're happy. Your smile really helps to bring out the joy in all of us."
Jacob let out a choking cough, looking at Queenie with a mixture of surprise and embarrassment. "Thanks, I… guess?"
Queenie felt a squeeze in her heart. There was so much more she wished she could tell him. "I really like your pastries," she said, locking gaze with Jacob. "There's something magical about them."
A warning glare from Tina made Queenie swallowed the rest she'd wanted to say. Closing her mouth, the blond witch stood up to clear the table so that they could move on to the cake that Jacob had brought.
It was a chocolate cake that imitated the design of a tree trunk, with a huge Merry Christmas in strawberry icing written on the flat top and the side decorated with pink sugar roses. What captured the eyes of the Goldstein sisters was the miniature occamy figurine that circled around the cursive words.
"Beautiful, ain't it?" Jacob winked at the ladies. "I'm actually quite proud of this, if I've to say so myself."
Tina stared at Jacob in the eye. "Do you know what it is?"
"No," Jacob shrugged. "I had a strange dream the night after I received Queenie's letter—" he gave the blond witch a sideways glance, "—that I was in a storeroom of some kind, and there was this long, serpentine creature wreaking havoc until someone lured it into a teapot to trap it. I sketched down the design the next day I woke up. I just knew that I had to make this."
Queenie raised her eyebrows. It seemed like he might not remember the names and the finer details, but his memories of their adventure with Tina's boyfriend, Newt Scamander, was coming back bit by bit. Even so, she knew she couldn't tell him the truth.
"Oh, really? That sounds… kind of fun." She flashed a knowing smile at Tina, in which the latter returned with narrowed eyes.
The light conversation went on as they ate the cake, and Queenie brought out the classy wine she had bought days ago to go with the dessert. Jacob was in a very good mood, and soon his face began to turn beet red as drunkenness took over the man.
Queenie supported Jacob as she led him to her bedroom to let the man sober up, while Tina was left to clear up the remaining mess in the dining area. The blond witch set Jacob down slowly on her bed. "Are you alright?"
"Dis is—hic—nuthin'," Jacob slurred. He then clutched his head with a hand. "I prolly feel better after a good night's sleep."
"I can make some tea for you to ease your headache," Queenie said and stood up, but Jacob grasped her hand and pulled her back down onto the bed.
"W-Wait…" Jacob hiccuped, studying Queenie closely. "Y-You… You look familiar."
Queenie didn't say a word. She waited for Jacob to continue.
"I have a feeling…" Jacob hiccuped again. "I feel like it's not my first time here in this room. And I feel… really hot in here whenever I see you." He placed his hand on his chest. "My heart would always skip a beat each time you visited my shop… I think I'm in love with you for a long time."
Even though Queenie knew what he was going to say with her Legilimency, hearing those words coming from his mouth had a different impact than reading the thoughts from his mind. His real voice hit her harder in her heart than the whispers she could pick up from the man's thoughts.
Queenie leaned in and kissed Jacob on the lips. The latter went limp at the sudden escalation of events, too stunned to even react.
"I love you for a long time, too," she whispered into his ear. The wizarding law was the least of her worries now that she had received his confession. "And you just gave me the courage to fight till the end—to do whatever it takes so that we can truly be together."
And she kissed him again.
Forum: Harry Potter Fanfiction Challenge
Prompt: The Fluff vs Angst Competition
Word Count: 1445 (gdoc; excludes title, summary and this form)
Rating: T for slight alcohol