Sorry for the...er...massive delay, but I'm not going to explain myself. Enjoy the chapter! It's eh…not that great.
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Friday, January 7
Dudley's weird new attitude continued, and it was immediately obvious that he was absolutely smitten with Jessica and would do anything to keep such a pretty girl by his side. It was a rare treat for him.
And Jessica, of course, played her part very well. Dudley had already introduced her to his Vernon and Petunia and she had them completely fooled as well.
He knew that Jessica knew that he knew what she was up too; she gave him wary looks every time the Dursley's weren't looking.
Harry could only sit back and watch with no small amount of disgust, but opted not to say anything...for having only known the girl for a few days; she was doing more for Dudley's health than his cousin's own mother ever had.
True to Alice's vision, the sun dominated the sky that morning and the thin cloud cover would not have offered much protection for the vampires. He couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed that she had been right, but decided not to let it get him down.
He got up early and swiftly fixed breakfast for his relatives and left before any of them made it downstairs, he didn't feel like dealing with them on a perfectly good Friday morning.
He'd have to deal with them all weekend after all.
He took his time on his way to school, enjoying the warmth of his truck and the 'Alone time' he so rarely got. Ben and Angela were already in the parking lot before he arrived.
"Hey guys." He greeted, sliding out of the truck. "Sorry Angela, I meant to send Vex but he was still a business trip to Gringotts for me and the weather slowed him down. He only just arrived back this morning."
The tall girl smiled. "That's fine; I brought the map with me." She said, pulling out a folded map and passing it over.
The parking lot was still pretty clear, so he shrugged and unfolded it to have a short look.
"The closest magical shopping center is in Port Angeles and it's so big that it also has an entrance in Seattle and various other cities, it's the largest in Washington. It isn't anything like the English Alleys; it's more like a city in itself." She pointed to a section of the map and it zoomed in to show the entrance.
'A. M. Lee Centre of Magic'
"I heard that it's the second largest on this side of the whole country...second only to the one in California. The third largest is somewhere in South Carolina. Magic is always stronger next to the Ocean for some reason." Ben added.
"A. M. Lee? Who's he?" Harry asked curious as to the name. (A/N1)
"She was the witch who opened the Centre some two hundred years ago. She was a widow with no children or family to occupy her time and money to burn." Angela informed him.
"Her husband was a successful muggle business owner, she saw how successful he had been and decided to open her own magical equivalent. She eventually re-married, and had a few kids who took over and expanded the businesses. Her great-great-great whatever grandson now owns about 40% of the current businesses."
Angela and Harry looked to Ben in surprise. The other boy blushed and shrugged.
"My sister is dating him." he mumbled. "He's nice, if a bit spoiled."
"My family doesn't go very often, we usually just owl order. It's easier that way." Angela said, getting back on subject. "But, if you want, we can all go together and make a day out if it."
Harry grinned. "Yeah, sounds great. I'll see what I can manage with my schedule now that Edward and I are dating." he said with a bright grin.
Angela laughed happily. "Congratulations! When did this happen? Did he...Ben? What's wrong?"
Harry turned to see his new friend scowling. "Ben?" he asked warily.
The boy glared at him then pouted. "You couldn't have waited until next month to start dating him? Now I owe Emmett ten bucks!"
Angela and Harry laughed at his misfortune and started heading towards the school.
Friday nights were always busy at the Lodge due to lack of actual places to be. Everyone from high school kids to retired old men were there to eat and/or relieve boredom. He was almost constantly busy and he didn't have time for a break. Poor Diana was worse off as she'd been working hours longer than he had and they still had several hours before closing.
Edward came in as soon as the sun set, and took a seat in the shadowy back booths. He kept to himself, not talking to any one or ordering anything...simply watching.
Harry couldn't see him clearly but he knew that the vampire's eyes were locked on him, following his every move. It was oddly comforting and he felt bad that he couldn't find the time to go and talk to the bronze haired boy.
He stayed until closing.
Harry was dead on his very sore feet by the time the last customer walked out the door and he dragged himself over to the table where Edward was waiting.
"Hey stranger." He said playfully, sitting across from the lovely vampire. Edward smiled slightly, looking worried.
"You look tired."
"I am tired. I'm used to work...just not this much. I suppose I'll get used to it. At least I get tips and decent pay." He said with a shrug.
Edward still looked worried but nodded and stayed silent as Harry counted his tips while simultaneously devouring the plate of food that Diana plopped down in front of him without a word before continuing to close up.
"Would you like me to drive you home?" Edward offered as they were walking out. Harry looked at him in surprise.
"Didn't you drive here? I don't want you to go out of your way and-" he asked in surprise.
"Alice dropped me off. She said that I wouldn't need the car." Edward said, cutting in.
Harry gave a half-hearted chuckle and handed Edward his keys. "Thanks." he murmured as Edward helped him climb into the passenger side of the truck.
"Don't mention it." Edward replied just as softly as he started the engine.
"Harry?" A soft whisper inquired, a cool hand trailing down his cheek.
"Hm?" he mumbled half-heartedly without opening his eyes, he was still half asleep and completely out of touch with his surroundings.
He heard a chuckle. "Never mind. Sleep, I'll see you tomorrow." came the reply.
Harry took a deep sleepy breath, "G'night Edward." he managed before falling asleep to the feel of cold hands tracing his features.
Harry woke the next morning feeling slightly sore and tired...and very confused as he looked around his room.
How had he gotten here?
All he remembered was...Edward!
He looked around his room sharply and sighed unhappily as he found himself alone. One of his windows were open though, and the flutter of paper on the window sill caught his attention. Standing and ignoring the fact that he was still dressed in his work clothes (minus the shoes and apron he was required to wear) he walked to the window to retrieve it.
Edward had left him a note.
To keep it from flying off, he had placed a small stone, a crystal, on top of it. Harry couldn't help but smile as he read the elegant script.
Good morning, you fell asleep on the drive home and I didn't want to wake you. I hope that it doesn't bother you that I entered your room without permission but I will admit that it was an impossible temptation to resist. I carried you through the window rather than wake your family. I was not aware of where your house keys were and I did not want to explain why I was breaking into your house with you unconscious in my arms to the Chief of Police. He was just driving by and I had to improvise.
I will be back today with Esme in order to discuss the new additions to the house with your aunt, Alice says that the sky will be cloudy and since we don't have school Esme was excited to have the excuse to meet you again. Though you should be warned that she will likely be armed with the several pounds of various sugar filled snacks that she spent all day yesterday and all of last night baking. She doesn't get to cook or bake for us and has delighted in the excuse to use the kitchen.
Forgive me, I'm rambling. You should expect Esme and I around noon. For now, be sure to have a good breakfast, you look too thin to be healthy.
Harry looked at the time and nearly yelped. It was 12:14! He'd slept in!
He heard a chuckle and spun to see Edward standing in the previously empty doorway, grinning.
"Your Aunt said that you were up here. I see you got my note." The vampire said teasingly.
Harry grinned sheepishly.
"A bit too late I guess." He said with a slight blush. "I didn't mean to sleep this late. And thanks, you know, for last night. I really was tired."
"No problem." Edward said, moving forward to stand next to him. "Did you sleep well?"
Harry nodded. "Very, thanks. How long did you stay last night?" he couldn't help but inquire.
Edward looked vaguely embarrassed. "Well, I left at about five am...though I don't think I meant to stay that long." he admitted. Harry laughed and accepted the hand that Edward offered, happily entwining their fingers.
"Come on downstairs, Esme is using her thoughts to order me to bring you to her. She can't wait to see you again."
"But I haven't even had time to shower or-"
"She won't mind, trust me." Edward said with a smile.
Esme was practically beaming as he walked downstairs hand in hand with Edward. His aunt, however, wasn't. He could practically feel her anger at his appearance and attire.
Esme stood, setting down her untouched tea cup (his aunt always brought out her best set whenever she had company) and approached them.
"Harry! It's wonderful to see you again dear! How are you?"
"Fine, thank you. It's good to see you too Ms. Esme." He said shyly. He'd never been one to receive such genuine enthusiasm.
She pulled him into a careful hug, obviously wary about hugging a fragile human. "You look tired dear, did Edward wake you?"
"No ma'am, though if he had I wouldn't have been angry. I slept in and forgot to do my chores this morning." his eyes darted to his seething aunt and Edward's hand squeezed his briefly. The vampire had yet to release him and was quite busy shooting death rays at his aunt with his eyes.
Esme noticed the tension and released him slowly, her eyes drifting to his aunt with veiled anger.
"We were just discussing the new additions. Your aunt has expressed a desire to have an indoor pool. Doesn't that sound exciting?"
Harry blushed slightly. "I wouldn't know really, I don't know how to swim."
"Hm, we'll have to change that." Edward said, a grin lighting his face as Esme sent him a brilliant plan with her thoughts. "We have a pond not too far from where we live. If you'd like I can give you lessons." he offered.
"Oh, that isn't necessary" his aunt cut in. "The boy has no need for such trivial activities. He has too much work to do and of course he has his job to worry about." Harry winced, missing the look Edward and Esme shared.
"Surely not!" Esme said in false shock. "Harry is just a teenager, he needs to get out more. Why...look at Dudley! Just this morning I saw him with that lovely Stanley girl. And what chores would he do? Your home looks wonderful!"
Harry could practically hear his aunt's teeth grinding. "Of course." she managed to bite out in a semi-neutral tone. "Of course he can visit."
"Wonderful!" Esme said delightedly. "In fact, he can join us today if you don't mind. It's not like he has anything to do today before his shift at the Lodge and Carlisle would love to meet such a charming young man."
"How perfect." his aunt practically snarled.
Harry knew good and well that his aunt planned on him repainting the dining room and couldn't help but laugh inwardly.
Harry gave the scheming vampire a look of awe and respect then looked to Edward and opened his mind to the older man. 'I love Esme!'
Edward shot him a grin.
In an attempt to get Harry out his aunt put on a false smile. "Why don't you boys go upstairs and watch a movie? Mrs. Cullen and I have business to discuss." She said in a sickly sweet voice.
They didn't need to be told twice.
Up in his room, Harry couldn't help but grin and give Edward a very amused look. The vampire rolled his eyes.
"Esme was a little enthusiastic." He said by way of explanation. "Besides, you barely have time to eat as it is."
His little kitchen was filled with supplies of every kind and the counter full of freshly baked goods that Esme had placed on cute little plates and dishes wrapped in plastic wrap.
"She also loved the excuse to use the kitchen. She and Alice both had a wonderful time at the store when they were trying to find what to buy."
Harry couldn't help it, he laughed out loud at the image of the two vampires walking through Wal-Mart without a clue in the world.
He walked to the window and peered outside to where his aunt and Esme were talking on the patio.
"Thank you Esme, it all looks wonderful." He said softly, knowing that she would hear. Sure enough, the woman looked up and flashed him a bright smile before returning her gaze to his distracted aunt.
Edward smiled, "Come on, let's go pick out that movie. It'll be an hour or so before Esme finishes up." He offered. Harry smiled and moved to grab some of Esme's cookies before walking over to the couch while Edward shifted through the selection of movies.
Harry was quite happy to snuggle up to Edward while the movie played...though if you asked him he wouldn't have been able to tell you what it was about. He was too busy thinking about the vampire beside him.
Why had he fallen for this vampire so quickly?
Vampires mated for life. It was a well known fact among witches and wizards. They were known to be fiercely protective of said mates and vengeful when their mate was hurt or killed though it was rare that a they survived very long after the death of their mates.
It was the same for wizards as well, though it was rare for a wizard to find their perfect mates. They, unlike vampires, could live a long happy life with someone who wasn't their mate.
It wasn't always immediately obvious when two perfect mates met and Harry couldn't help but wonder...
Was Edward his mate?
Excitement and slight fear welled in his chest and he turned to fully look at the vampire beside him. Edward, likely reading his elevated heart rate, turned to look at him.
"Harry?" He asked, worriedly.
Harry smiled shyly; there was only one way to find out...
He leant forward, sitting up so that he could reach the taller boy as he moved closer. The vampire's topaz eyes widened but he didn't move as Harry got closer.
The young wizard hesitated slightly before he pressed his warm lips to Edwards. The vampire stiffened, only to relax almost instantly and lean into the unfortunately brief kiss.
The effect was immediate. His magic, usually calm and well controlled, welled within him wildly...seeking it's other half and he knew then that it was true.
Edward was his mate.
He pulled back with a gasp and closed his eyes. He wasn't sure what to think about this...having a mate was rare...special.
He still had so much to do and so much to learn and despite having run away from the past he knew that it would catch up to him.
Could he bring Edward into that?
"Harry?" Edward asked hesitantly, reaching out a hand to cup Harry's cheek. Harry lent into the hand and opened his eyes to look up into worried topaz eyes.
He bit his lip, he needed time to think.
"I'm sorry Edward, I just remembered that I promised Angela and Ben that I would go hang out with them later today." he lied, using a tiny bit of magic to keep Edward from noticing the slight increase of his heartbeat. "Rain check?"
Edward looked a bit hurt but nodded. "Soon." He whispered, half asking.
Harry quickly reassured him with another swift brush of the lips and agreed. "Soon."
A/N1: A. M. Lee is a fictional character, I made her up by typing random letters on the key-board and then putting them in the order that made the most sense. I was walking downtown the other day when I realized that almost every important location was named after some significant person and while I've gotten a lot of good name suggestions I think I'll just play it safe with this one.
Where the hell does one get a name like 'Diagon Alley' anyway? Or Hogsmead for that matter?
A/N: Shish kabob is this chapter's random word! Leave it in a review and I'll know your actually reading my notes! 'Cause you'll never know when I'll say something important.
Also, I think I'd like to start re-posting a few of my stories. Of course, updates will depend on which muse is strongest and they may occasionally be few and far in-between. What do you think?