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HP stories following Canon but PRE-OotP >> The Birthday Party by Rita

Simple Text - To view MORE chapters use the chapter jump box to the right.
Based on characters created by J. K. Rowling

“Charlie Weasley, if you roll your eyes at me one more time, I will knock you into the middle of next week,” Molly Weasley said sharply, as she struggled to clean his smudged face with spit and her finger. Charlie’s older brother Bill assured him that she actually could knock him into the middle of next week. He stayed still until she began rubbing his face raw.

“Mum, please,” he whined, pushing her hand away from his face. “That’s not dirt, that’s a freckle. You’re rubbing off my skin.”

“I told you not to get dirty; you look like a street urchin. Stand up straight. What did you do with the birthday present?” she asked.

Charlie fished a very badly squished wrapped box out of his pocket and held it up.

“Oh, my goodness! What am I to do with you?” She groaned. “I can’t take you out anywhere. Stand still!”

“Then take me home, Mum,” he begged. “I hate Alyssa. She smells funny.”

Molly blew a strand of hair out of her eyes. She looked harried. Taking her second oldest son to a birthday party sounded like such a good idea when she received the invitation. Now she regretted accepting the invitation and if she weren’t so stubborn, she’d turn them both around and head home. But here they were at the Merriweather’s front door.

Charlie spent most of his time alone rescuing animals and birds; he seemed to be happiest when he was alone with the menagerie of magical creatures he collected with his brother Bill, his only friend. Molly and Arthur were beginning to believe Charlie would grow up to be a hermit if he continued to shun human contact.

This invitation from the Merriweather’s, a very wealthy wizarding family, who worked at the Ministry of Magic in another, more important department than Arthur Weasley, was just what Charlie needed to bring him out of his shy world. Molly was not much on pretentiousness, but she wanted her children to be exposed to all levels of polite society. Apparently Alyssa insisted that Charlie be invited to her birthday party. Since her parents were not likely to deny her any request, Mrs. Merriweather called upon Molly personally with the invitation.

Alyssa knew Charlie from Hogwarts School. They were not in the same house or the same year, but she knew him because he helped Professor Kettleburn with magical creatures and was always hanging around Hagrid’s hut. Alyssa would never admit it to anyone but her closest girlfriends; she had the biggest crush on Charlie Weasley. He was able to summon unicorns and the cute flying creatures and he was so cute.

And so he was dumped unceremoniously dropped off in a house full of giggling silly twelve and thirteen year olds. In the party room, they stared at each other uncomfortably. Eight pre-teens and Charlie. He was beginning to feel self-conscious because all the girls were watching him.

“Happy birthday, Alyssa,” he said grudgingly. He held out the crushed box.

Alyssa took the present and said, “Thanks, Charlie. You want me to open it now?”

He shrugged. “I guess.”

Alyssa opened the box and held up a delicate ornately carved piece of an iridescent rock. It was a carving of a unicorn. Alyssa held it up. “It’s beautiful, Charlie. Thank you.”

He shrugged again. “Is there going to be cake?” he asked. Charlie didn’t see any point of getting all dressed up for a party if there wasn’t going to be cake.

“Sure,” Alyssa said. “But first we get to play some games. Have you ever played spin the bottle?”

He shook his head and all the girls giggled again.

“It’s a real fun game. We all sit in a circle and you spin the bottle, see and whoever the bottle stops at, gets a surprise.” Alyssa giggled.

“What kind of surprise?” he asked cautiously.

“Why don’t we try it and you’ll see for yourself.” The other girls giggled nervously. “You get to spin the bottle.”

The girls sat in a circle with Charlie at its head. Alyssa put the bottle in front of him and told him to spin it around. He spun it as hard as he could and it went round and round quickly until it suddenly stopped in front of Alyssa, who squealed with delight. She clapped her hands together and leaned into Charlie real close with her eyes closed puckering her lips. He looked at her like she had just lost her mind.

Alyssa opened her eyes and said, “You get to give me a kiss.” She tried to sound so grown up.

“I have to kiss you?” Charlie asked incredulously. He was thinking to himself, what if she has cooties? “I think I’ll pass, thanks.”

Alyssa said, “No, you have to. It’s part of the game. Come on.”

Charlie closed his eyes and leaned in and Alyssa put her lips on his. Her lips were warm and kind of soft. It wasn’t like kissing his mum or his aunts. It felt kind of nice. It would have been better for Charlie if the rest of the girls hadn’t burst out in another giggling fit. Alyssa ended the kiss and gave them all a dirty look.

He didn’t know what he was supposed to do now. He wiped his lips with the back of his hand. Alyssa didn’t see him do that because if she had, she would have probably punched him in the stomach.

“Have another go at it,” another girl said, nudging the bottle in the front of Charlie. He spun the bottle again and stopped in front Alyssa’s best friend, Kimberly. She erupted in a fit of giggles before she lean into Charlie. Charlie was by this time, getting the hang of the mechanics of kissing. He copied what he’d seen his older cousins do. He moved his lips slowly when Kimberly’s lips touch his. Her lips weren’t as soft as Alyssa, but this kiss felt better than the first one.

The third and fourth times Charlie spun the bottle, it kept landing in front of Alyssa and he dutifully kissed her, this time not wiping his mouth. He was really getting into the spirit of the thing. The other girls were starting to complain that Alyssa hexed the bottle. Alyssa blushed, looking chagrin. The next time Charlie spun the bottle, it landed in front of a little freckled faced girl with blond hair and blue eyes. Her name was Emma and she blushed harder than any of the other girls. Charlie stared at her, waiting on her to make the first move. Then Emma sprang toward Charlie like a cat going after a mouse and knocked him back. Emma enthusiastically locked her lips on his and tried to force her tongue down his throat. Not knowing what else to do, Charlie pushed her off him hard and she fell back.

The other girls looked at Emma in astonishment as Charlie scrambled to his feet.

“That was gross,” he said, wiping his mouth.

Emma covered her face with her hands, totally embarrassed. “This is how my sister showed me how to do it. She said boys like it.”

“Well,” Charlie said, trying not to sound like he was going to be sick. “I don’t see how. Maybe not so much with the tongue next time, okay?”

Emma looked at him, relieved that he wasn’t going to puke or hit her or something. “You want to do it again?” she asked shyly.

Charlie shrugged. “Sure, I guess.” He sat back down and spun the bottle again. This time it stopped in front of another girl. Her name was Esmeralda and she had to be at least 14. She cupped the back of Charlie’s head and pulled it to her lips. She sighed and her lips parted slightly as their lips met. Now this was nice, thought Charlie and he deepened the kiss. He didn’t know what he was doing, but it sure did feel right. He put his hand in Esmeralda’s hair, holding her in place. This was something he could have done all day.

The girls around them (there were other people in the room, he wondered, amazed) began clearing their throats and giggling. Alyssa watched them; her face a mask of fury. Esmeralda finally pulled away and her smile was dazed and catlike. Charlie just looked stunned.

Charlie learned the first of many lessons that day. He saw the expression on Alyssa’s face and, although he wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of the day kissing Esmeralda, he picked up the bottle and handed it to Alyssa. Then he leaned down and kissed her. It wasn’t the same kiss, but it made Alyssa smile. And she had a stunned glassy look across her face when he finally ended the kiss. He smiled, “So, can we have some cake now?”

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