Kirley McCormack was alive.
He hadn't seen Charlotte Greengrass since that morning after the party - and he considered that a bloody triumph and a half. She really got under his skin with what she said, but not even those threats were as bad as holding Felicia in his hands. She was the tangible (broken) proof that he'd fucked up big time. Him and Tina were trying to patch her up, but it was going about as well as patching up his relationship with Lizzy. She seemed
okay now but he knew she really wasn't. He just didn't know what to do about it. Ever since February, it felt like his life had been one big complication after another; for sixteen years, nothing ever went wrong (at least, nothing that couldn't be patched up in a couple days) but lately...
It was a Hogsmeade weekend. He and Val had been making plans to meet up for ages - she even sent him that note (and picture) after his dad died. But then he had detention and Lizzy and then the party but he finally had a chance to see her. When she'd been at Hogwarts, Valmai had been one of the hottest girls in school - and the best Quidditch player. She'd stomped him as a Chaser, and Kirley wasn't surprised that the Magpies saw how much raw talent she had. His mum would've done the same as Val's - pulled him out of Hogwarts - if she thought he had a real chance at hitting it big, catching his big break as a musician. But even though he thought it was great, Kirley was still a bit gutted when he found out she wouldn't be coming back to school. He'd fancied her for most of fifth year, and not just 'cause she spent a lot of time over at his house (with his sister, mostly).
She was definitely his favourite of Meg's friends. He looked forward to her visits because it usually meant she wouldn't have a load of other blokes all trying to get with her - and who wouldn't want Valmai Morgan sleeping in their house? How about their bedroom? That was definitely the high point of his summer. And even though they had a load of history - at least by his standards - it was never awkward with Val. They were just messing around and it was all in good fun for her. He didn't think twice about meeting up with her even though he had a girlfriend, because...it wasn't all about that. She was a lot of fun. They were still friends. Just friends.
"Am I late?" By a couple minutes, but Kirley didn't mind having the time to get himself together while he waited for her. She walked in the pub and he just grinned - she had that kind of effect on people. "You're famous, I'm pretty sure you can show up whenever you w-" He broke off in the middle of his reply when she slid in right next to him and, uh, kissed him. Just...right on the mouth. Right like...that. Kirley didn't know what to do and it happened too fast for him to do anything. "Uh." Right. That was his fault. Val didn't know about him and Lizzy and she was just...um, being herself. And he definitely didn't kiss her back so it didn't mean anything. She was just- hey, Kirley justified to himself what he might say if somebody happened to catch that and pass it on, it was just like the French do, right? Even though they usually kissed on the cheek but it was the same sort of thing. Just like a handshake. A Val handshake. With lips.
"Have you missed me?" See, just a handshake - and a normal question too. "'Course I did," he replied, his voice a little uneven on account of the kiss and the- his awkwardness. It was true. "I feel like the Prophet gets to see you and Meg more than I do." Since they were always in the tabloids or being interviewed, or having their pictures taken. He couldn't wait to have that kind of life - only as a musician, not a Quidditch player. And see that? He was thinking about her as Meg's friend, and it wasn't a crime to meet up with your sister's friends, right? Right. Kirley opened his mouth to say that he didn't drink gin (actually, that he was off alcohol for good after what happened with Lizzy and the whiskey, and then the love potion dressing which he didn't drink but he...he just wanted to be himself, sober and not making a broom-load of mistakes every other day) but Val had already ordered it, and she tossed gold on the table, and he just- nevermind.
Annnd that was her hand. On his thigh and, uh, not in the place where...friends usually touched each other's legs. Not that he did that to his mates because that'd just be...weird. Kirley didn't know to say - should he tell her to stop? Should he ignore it? Should he push her hand down? Who did that? Knowing Val, it was probably nothing and uh, no, it didn't distract him at all. "So how was the party for you?" And it was really confusing for him because what she did and what she said were two different things and Kirley just- he didn't want to hurt her feelings, especially if it didn't even mean anything and he was just assuming shite that wasn't true.
"Um." Right, he just decided to ignore her hand because she wasn't doing anything and she was asking him a...well, she was asking him about the party. He shrugged uncomfortably - and that had nothing to do with Valmai. "Not so good." That was the biggest understatement in days. "I got one of those love potions, you know? And, uh, I proposed to this girl by accident." And he broke his guitar, then got slapped. "My girlfriend was really mad." There. He mentioned the word - girlfriend, which he had. "Can't blame her though, I was being stupid." It practically made him want to give up salad for life - now he had such a bad taste in his mouth everytime he thought about it (or maybe that was just the flavour of the "dressing"). "Did you have a good time?" Maybe Val had been one of the lucky ones - although from what he'd been told, it wasn't that fun for the sober people to be surrounded by crazies all night.