The flashes of cameras were almost blinding as Katie fought her way through the horde of paparazzi and legitimate reporters crowding around the doors to the Puddlemere locker room. All around, her name was being shouted and various questions were being hurled at her.
"Katie, is it true that you're retiring at the end of this year to go on a pilgrimage to Nepal?"
"Are you really pregnant?"
No, that would require having sex, and the Virgin Katie I am not.
"Is Oliver Wood leaving his wife for you?"
That one had Katie whirling around. "What the bloody hell are you..." she hissed, but could get no more out before Tricia, her faithful agent, turned her back towards the exit. "I'm sorry, everyone, my client has an interview with the wireless that she's late for."
She was fuming as the taller woman navigated them through the crowds and to the lifts which led the press booths at the top of the stadium. "Where the bloody hell do they come up with this shite?" Merlin, there were times she wished she could trade this life of fame for one a bit more normal. Photographers didn't follow Ministry workers around, did they?
Her agent shrugged as the doors opened. "Don't forget, you have an interview with Which Broomstick? tomorrow morning at nine between training sessions, and a meeting with the Firebolt executives and Alicia Spinnet tomorrow at four."
Katie waved her hand in acknowledgement as the doors slid shut, leaving her long-time friend and agent at ground level as the lift began to move swiftly higher and higher through the stands. The very idea that Oliver would leave Romy for her was utterly preposterous. He was completely devoted to her, had been for nearly ten years. Honestly, the level to which the tabloids would stoop was low.
The doors opened and she stepped off the lifts, eyes widening slightly when she was greeted not by Stephen Cornfoot, the Wizarding Wireless Network's chief Quidditch commentator, but by Stewart Ackerly, the very man who'd been haunting her thoughts for the past several months.
Dancing blue eyes took in the small, dark-haired woman with the smallest curl to his lip. "Stevie sends his apologies, but his girlfriend owled. Something about a dire emergency." So maybe he'd called in an old favor with Cassandra to get Stephen out of the booth before Katie arrived. All was fair in love and war, right?
Well, probably not. But it was still a catchy saying.
"Is that dire emergency in someone's pants?" she asked, raising one trimmed eyebrow. She wasn't the only member of the League to nearly walk in on Cornfoot and his little blonde; for some reason, they felt that the wireless booth was a fantastic place to have sex.
Stewart snickered. "Probably. But he said he's sorry to have to cancel your interview and that he'll contact your agent to reschedule."
"And you're here why? Didn't you have your own match today?"
"Messenger boy?" he offered. "Besides, we had the morning match. Bloody Magpies never saw it coming."
Katie rolled her eyes and hitched her kit higher up on her shoulder. "Yes, well, congratulations and all that rot. I shall inform Stephen that you've been a commendable messenger boy. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've another engagement to be at."
"Hot date?" Dammit, this was not going according to plan. He was supposed to casually place himself in her path, then invite her to dinner in lieu of her prior interview plans.
"Yes." No. Her only 'plans,' so to speak, were to go home and go to sleep after a hot meal. Stewart didn't need to know that, though. Give him the assumption that she was seeing someone and maybe he'd go away.
But did she want him to go away?
No. Yes. Fuck.
He rose from his chair and moved across the room to where she stood in front of the lifts. "Well then," he said, moving close enough so that he was just invading her personal space, "I hope you have a pleasureful evening."
Brown eyes blinked up at him as her breath caught in her throat. It was so tempting to step closer, to press her body against his and see what his lips would feel like against her own, but she wouldn't. She couldn't.
"I will," she answered softly as she pulled out her wand, stepping back and Apparating away before he had the chance to respond.