October 22, 2020, 04:42:56 AM

Author Topic:  In my defense, I was left unsupervised [Harlan]  (Read 349 times)

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Offline Alannah Dupont

In my defense, I was left unsupervised [Harlan]
« on: December 20, 2019, 12:21:49 AM »
The Griffins had been enjoying some well-earned rest and relaxation in Bali.  However, lying around had never been Alannah’s idea of fun so the Irishwoman had been spending much of their brief holiday running around on the beach, swimming, surfing, or trekking around the sights and dragging her (often less enthusiastic) teammates around the island.  A bored Alannah was typically an impulsive, reckless and potentially (unintentionally) destructive person… so it was fortunate that the trip had been stimulating enough to keep her from getting into any trouble.  In fact, all of the Griffins had been rather well-behaved so far – even with all the drinking. 

The team did enjoy a good piss up and resultantly were never too far from somewhere with alcohol.  Tonight was no exception in that respect; they’d been drinking since dinner (or before).  However, at some point the others had drifted away from the bar, leaving just her and Harlan.  It was strange for Al to realise that the two of them hadn’t spent much time alone together since the article in the paper.  She never would have thought much of it before, but now?  It felt less easy and comfortable.  Obviously there was nothing romantic (or even physical) going on between them, still it was awkward knowing that people could think there was – and frankly, she’d been a little annoyed with him about the whole thing.

When Al first saw the article, she’d been furious and stormed right up to Harlan, expecting him to join her in raging against the lies – but he’d been indifferent, unfazed…  Hell, she was pretty sure he’d shrugged.  Neither of them were the most articulate people so although they’d ‘talked’ about the issue briefly there was likely a lot that had gone unsaid.  Professionally they had carried on like no one had ever claimed they were sexing each other up behind the scenes, but personally… Alannah had continued to feel a bit frustrated that the false rumour seemed like a bigger deal to her than to him.

It was perhaps her dissatisfaction with Harlan’s blasé reaction and a sense of something unresolved which had driven Alannah to speak to his girlfriend about the matter.  She probably shouldn’t have done it, shouldn’t have crossed that line, but she’d hated to think anything in his life could get screwed up because of her.  No matter how irritating the man could sometimes be, Al felt that she owed him a lot.  Plus, his casual attitude hadn’t left her with any confidence that he was going to provide appropriate reassurances to girlfriend.  So far, Harlan had yet to say anything about her visit to Honey but she knew that didn’t necessarily mean he was ok with it.

There was all this bollocks looming over their friendship now and Alannah hated it.  Here in Bali, with no reporters hanging around, the soothing sound of the sea carrying across on a gentle breeze, and a few beers already fizzing pleasantly through her veins, there seemed to be no reason not to air these things out.  Harlan was quiet, which was normal, so Al figured she’d break the ice first.  Elbowing him lightly, she grinned.  “Oh, would y’look at that?  We’re alone and yet somehow managing not to rip each other’s clothes off…  The Prophet would be so disappointed.”

@Harlan Bellamy
« Last Edit: December 20, 2019, 12:22:29 AM by Louise »

Offline Harlan Bellamy

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Re: In my defense, I was left unsupervised [Harlan]
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2019, 06:50:50 AM »
Even at night, Bali was hot. It was the thick, sticky kind of heat, sea breeze and all, that made it hard to take a full breath. Harlan took another mouthful of canned beer and pulled a face. It was warm again, already. He touched his wand to the side and watched with vague interest as frost built.

Dinner had come and gone. As most things were with this trip, it was a casual event. Plastic chairs on the beach, seafood served straight on the table, vats of melted butter at each setting, along with drinks of the staffs choice. Harlan hadn't even bothered changing from his swimsuit. Eventually, they made their way to the bar, also situated on the beach, that had a bit more life now as the night picked up.

The music pumped from what felt like the ground itself, melodic and tropical, and unlike anything he'd heard before. It nearly had him moving from his barstool. Nearly. Instead, the captain watched distractedly at those dancing in the sand, skin tanned and glossed with salt and sweat.

'Oh, would y’look at that?' Harlan was only half-aware of the elbow to his upper arm. He straightened up to face the familiar voice. Alannah. Truthfully, he'd been avoiding her since the Prophet had come out. The team of people, who for reasons unknown, made a living of cleaning up his life, had advised of that. Lay low. Focus on the game, they said. Naturally, he didn't agree — he hadn't done anything wrong — though eventually, he succumbed. It wasn't worth the fight.

He grimaced through a chuckle, avoiding looking at said clothes that he was was allegedly ripping off these days. "Merlin's sake..." Harlan finished what was left of his beer and made eye contact with the bartender. He needed something much stronger for this, and quickly. She came with two plastic cups filled with a mysterious dark liquid and he didn't bother to cheers before taking a mouthful.

"Sorry about all 'that," He said finally, catching Alannah's eye.  In some way, he blamed himself  — if she had just trained with someone else, someone on the team who the press was less fixated on, she wouldn't be caught up in it — but it had been his idea. "No one reads Skeeter these days anyway," Harlan lied, unsure if he was trying to make her or himself feel better. There was at least one person that questioned it, even slightly. Honey. He needed a bit more mystery liquor before he opened up that box.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2019, 06:56:00 AM by Gage »
 
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Offline Alannah Dupont

Re: In my defense, I was left unsupervised [Harlan]
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2019, 03:38:03 AM »
Alannah didn’t get the reaction she was hoping for.  In fact, Harlan left her briefly wondering whether the awkward chuckle and a ‘Merlin’s sake’ was all that she was going to get out of him.  She knew that he could be taciturn, but really?  Was that all he had to fucking share on the subject?  The brunette didn’t want to be angry with her Captain but the response he finally gave was still so frustratingly insufficient she could feel her temper rising.  ‘Sorry about all 'that’, as though it was some casually trivial matter - like he’d just accidentally bumped into her and made her spill her drink or drop something. 

“Not your fault,” she countered a tad aggressively, looking away when he tried to meet her eyes, “Don’t need an apology.”  Alannah laid zero blame on Harlan for the whole thing and really didn’t want him to be sorry.  It wasn’t either of their faults that people had been dumb enough to get the wrong idea.  She just wanted him to be pissed off, like she was.

Apparently Harlan was under the impression that no one liked to read gossip anymore.  Oh how wonderful for him!  She snorted at this lame attempt to placate her.  “That’s a crock of shit and you know it.”  More than enough people had read the article to spread the rumours to those that hadn’t. 

Alannah was no idiot, she knew that trying to fight back against the media never worked well.  It was a completely valid approach to just keep quiet and wait for things to blow over.  People would move on to the next scandal in no time.  But… it would’ve been nice if he’d denied it.  She might’ve hoped that Harlan would make some sort of effort to stick up for her.  Maybe it would’ve made things worse but also maybe Al wouldn’t have the reputation she did if a few more men in her life had bothered to speak out with the truth.

It wasn’t like she fucking needed Harlan or anyone to protect her though.  He’d already done enough for Al, there was no way she’d ask him to risk media suicide by sticking his neck out about her.  She tossed back the new drink quickly, barely even tasting it, and crushed the plastic cup in her fist.  The rumours weren’t really anything she was unused to by this point.  Perhaps it was a sign of immaturity that she still let those things bother her?  Maybe Harlan was just being a grown up, being professional, by not getting upset about it?  Alannah didn’t know.  All she knew for sure was that if he continued to act so indifferently she was going to have to find a Beaters bat and smack him over the head with it. 

She turned to face him with a steely look in her light blue eyes.  “Clearly it doesn't matter much to you,” she made no effort to temper the anger in her voice, “But fuck, man!  Do you think you could try being a little pissed off for those of us it does impact?!”  Alannah wasn’t just thinking of herself then but of his girlfriend.  She doubted Honey was the type to ask for some big public denouncement of the rumours either, but maybe the candy maker might’ve appreciated it as much as Al, had he done so.  After a moment, she let out a long breath of frustration and reflected on how she wanted another drink (but the bartender seemed to be wisely staying away while her voice was raised). 

Al’s tone was a smidge less confrontational and more companionable when she continued, giving him a light shove as she spoke.  “Honestly, I think this whole cool and collected thing you’re doing is a bit of a dick move.”

Offline Harlan Bellamy

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Re: In my defense, I was left unsupervised [Harlan]
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2019, 02:05:56 AM »
Harlan heard the familiar crunch of plastic and glanced down at what remained of the cup in Alannah's grasp. Grey eyes shifted up to her face, eyebrow raised, then back to the cup. Well, this was going to be interesting. Handling the temperaments of his team was something that the captain wasn't sure that he was ever going to be entirely good at, but thankfully he knew the best thing to do when he got like this was to not add fuel to the fire. So he sat, and he listened.

Rubbing his eyebrow with the back of his thumb, Harlan watched as Alannah continued on, trying to meter his own reaction as she slung a few accusations his way. Of course, he wasn't pleased with the article, but he could only blame The Prophet. They had done nothing wrong, and the more they sat around and made it an issue, the bigger it would become. He perhaps mistakenly thought that Alannah was as used to the whole tabloid charade as he'd become over the years, because it truly didn't, matter to him, as she said.

The plural us of her statement made him pause, but Harlan let the comment slide. He assumed it had something to do with the Banshee kid suddenly turning up to their matches, though that was none of his business. And Honey, of course.

"Of course it matters to me," Harlan began after a drink, countering her. He didn't care what strangers thought of him, that time had come and gone in his twenties, but he did care about the repercussions to those close to him. "But getting pissed off about it isn't going to get me anywhere," Get any of them anywhere. "That just becomes the next article — Griffins at it again — it's the cycle," He also had learned that the hard way early on in his career.

It seemed that she'd cooled off, her tone softening just slightly. He smirked. "Someone's got to do it," He raised an eyebrow and pushed the first drink from the bartender over to her. Truthfully, he'd been tossing up the idea (begrudgingly) of putting a statement out, please the growing number of people it seemed that were pissed that he hadn't yet. He made a point to not talk about anything other than Quidditch publicly, but he supposed an exception might have to be made.

"I hear you've met Honey," He kept it casual, though he was genuinely interested in getting to the bottom of her visit. It wasn't that he was mad, just more so baffled. He and Honey had discussed the article already by that point, had put it behind them, so it wasn't ideal to have it dredged up again.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2019, 02:11:19 AM by Gage »
 
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Offline Alannah Dupont

Re: In my defense, I was left unsupervised [Harlan]
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2019, 10:42:00 PM »
Of course it matters to me…  These words should have made her feel better but they were delivered so reasonably that it rather made Alannah want to pull her hair out.  The more relaxed Harlan was about it, the more he made her feel like some little kid throwing a hissy fit.  If he could just fucking raise his voice or – or something – she could feel validated.  Al didn’t miss that fact that her Captain was only talking about how reacting would affect him or the team which only drove home the feeling that she, personally, hadn’t counted for any consideration.  The brunette didn’t know if this made her more angry or disappointed.  “Oh, of course,” she responded in a voice laced heavily with sarcasm, “I completely understand how you wouldn’t want to do anything to damage your reputation.”  Frankly, she thought that if Harlan was half as mature as he pretended to be, he ought to be able to come up with some response between nothing and violence.

Alannah had basically called him a ‘dick’ and still - nil, zilch, nada – Harlan’s cool remained intact.  The most she got was a smirk and an infuriatingly superior response.  She couldn’t help but take his comment as a dig at her own behaviour.  It had been made clear to Al before, by the powers that be, that she could use a little more poise when dealing with issues, especially with the media. Her light blue eyes were glaring while he pushed over another drink.  “Yes, Captain!”  She saluted mockingly before grabbing the fresh cup and sculling the contents.  “Guess I’ll just shut my dumb mouth about it then.”  The smile she gave him was sharp and dangerous.

“Honey?”  This new topic gave her pause.  Harlan didn’t sound angry, only (once again) completely relaxed.  It seemed like nothing in the world could piss him off lately.  What kind of chill pills was this guy fucking taking?  “Yeah, I did,” Alannah started off a tad defensively.  She wasn’t about to deny what she’d done, but felt slightly uncomfortable about potentially having to justify her actions, particularly when she knew her reasons would probably sound rather stupid.  “Nice girl,” Al commented lightly and then sipped at her drink.  If Harlan wanted to get an apology, he’d at least have to work for it. 
« Last Edit: December 30, 2019, 10:44:25 PM by Louise »

Offline Harlan Bellamy

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Re: In my defense, I was left unsupervised [Harlan]
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2020, 11:40:33 AM »
Just when he thought things had cooled off, Alannah proved otherwise. Her words were deliberate, harsh even—not unlike the very way he would have sounded at a point in time not that long ago. Harlan tried to recall that phase of his life now in an attempt to see eye to eye with her, but he struggled. He opened his mouth to protest that it wasn't what he meant, that he was only looking out for himself, but he knew that would make things worse.

At this point, nothing he could say to his teammate was going to land.

Guess so. He thought to himself callously and instead took a drink. At no point had even a fraction of his being wanted Al to shut her dumb mouth, as she so eloquently put it. In fact, that tenacity, her temper even, was part of the reason he fought so hard for her to be on the team. The Griffins management had their reservations (rightfully so, given her reputation) but Harlan argued for her. Whether she knew it or not, he had a stake in her success now. And equally had a stake in the chance that she might muck it up.

"Yeah," Harlan nodded to her repeating of the name as if she hadn't heard him clearly. He was fairly certain there was only one Honey that he could have been talking about. At the mention of a nice girl, he practically laughed out loud, smiling subtly to himself. Honey would have loved to hear that. She was a lot of things, but a nice girl probably wasn't one of them.

"Look—" He began, grimaced and bracing himself. "—I get that you're mad," Harlan shifted to face her. "Rightfully so," He mused with a raise of his eyebrows in thought. "But this is going to happen," He referred to the false stories, already hating himself for even partially imparting some kind of bullshit wisdom like he had all of the answers to the plagues of fame. How very superficial, given where they were in the world. "It's going to keep happening," He added.

"Do you really want to use your energy on that?" It was the question he wished he had been asked all of those years ago. It would have saved him a hell of a lot of trouble if it had.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2020, 12:27:36 PM by Gage »
 
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