WHO: Gretchen Watkins & Natalie McDonald WHAT: drinkin' and flirtin' WHERE: The Leaky Cauldron WHEN: earlier Friday evening, before this WARNINGS/RATING/STATUS: girl kissage/PG13/Complete!
Natalie shifted back and forth on her bar stool, happily listening to the Quidditch commentary on the wireless. She was going to be a starter! Her very first professional game and it would be as the starting keeper, not called in for some emergency or something like she figured her debut would be. One week and she would be a real professional Quidditch player. Her grin grew brightly and she twisted again. There were no games this weekend but there were always talking heads going on about this team or that and no one else in the Leaky Cauldron seemed to mind her pocket wireless squawking at them.
“Cheers, Tom,” she chirruped when a fresh pint was set in front of her. Beside her another patron squeezed into the row of bar stools and she pulled her bag and wireless over to make room for her. “Sorry about that,” she apologised, flashing a bright smile at the stranger.
“‘Salright,” Gretchen settled herself on the stool, returning the woman’s smile, albeit not as brightly. Trevor had been in a whingy mood and she’d been in the mood for something a little less dank and skeevy than the Troll’s Head, so the Cauldron had seemed the only other option. It was quite full for the chilly night and the sight of her here wasn’t as impressive as it was on Knockturn so she’d been forced to nab a seat at the bar.
Glancing over at the woman beside her, Gretchen smiled again. “You can buy me a drink to make up for it,” she offered, offhandedly.
“I can do that,” Natalie smiled, holding back the addition that she could do it because she was a bloody starting keeper now! She waved Tom back over and turned toward the redhead. “What are you drinking?”
Well, so far things were looking up. So long as the other woman didn’t turn out to have shagged Trevor, they could get along quite well. “Whatever you are,” she responded, gesturing to the blonde’s glass. “Gretchen,” she added, as an afterthought, as Tom turned away.
That always made things easier, ordering in pairs. “Natalie,” she responded, resisting the urge to hold out her hand. “But you can call me Nat,” she shrugged, “Most do.” She realised she was trying to talk over her wireless and pulled out her wand to tap it into silence. “Do you follow Quidditch?” she made conversation, stowing the gadget in her pocket.
Did she follow Quidditch? Gretch contemplated her answer, smiling at Tom as he delivered her pint. “Somewhat,” she answered, after a moment, taking a sip. She was aware of the teams and enjoyed a good match, but wasn’t emotionally invested in any of it. She also enjoyed the profit that she garnered from people’s Quiddith related weaknesses, but she doubted that was what Nat meant. “Matches are fun, but I don’t bet on the outcomes or anything.”
Well, Natalie supposed that was better than those that seemed to hate the sport. She’d never been able to understand those sorts. “Betting isn’t as much fun as just enjoying the sport anyway.”
When Tom plunked another fresh pint in front of her new friend, Natalie lifted her own glass in a silent toast. She took a long swig from her own pint and licked the foam off her lip after. “So, Gretchen,” Natalie set the glass down and turned sideways, leaning against the counter as she faced her. “What do you do? What brings you here tonight?” She loved meeting new people, getting to know them and when those people happened to be as attractive as Gretchen, all the better.
Allowing her eyes to slip over Natalie’s form, Gretchen took another sip from her glass and twisted to face the other woman. “I used to be a curse breaker,” she responded, choosing a somewhat exciting middle ground between “running a bookshop” and “heading an international crime syndicate”. “I’m usually down at the Troll’s Head,” she jerked her chin towards Knockturn and took another swig. “But... people were annoying.” She grinned, widely. “Your gain.”
“It is,” Natalie agreed, her tone as playful and flirtatious as her expression. “Curse breaking...” she took another sip and considered the exciting prospect. “That’s always sounded so exciting. Were you in Egypt?” She asked but promptly followed it up before she could respond with another question. “Did you see mummies?!”
Gretchen started to nod, then grinned widely at Nat’s followup question. “Yes and yes,” she took a long swig and took the initiative to signal to Tom for another round. “Mummies aren’t as fun and exciting as everyone thinks they are though,” she swirled her lager in her glass and continued, exaggerating for effect. “Especially not when you’re trying to take their stuff.”
“Wow.” Natalie grinned eagerly, trying to imagine what Gretchen described. “Though, yeah, I can’t say I ever thought they’d be much fun. They always seemed more...” She held out her arms toward the other woman and made a noise somewhere between a growl and a moan. “You know?”
Laughing, Gretch nodded. “Exactly like that.” She finished her pint and was pleasantly surprised to find another one had already arrived. “What about you?” she asked, taking a long swig from her new beer. “What do you do?”
“Thought so,” Natalie laughed happily, following suit and finishing off her drink. She pushed the empty away and readily accepted the fresh one. “I play Quidditch,” she said, barely able to keep her excited grin down and just managed to keep in the news that she was a starting Quidditch player.
“Professionally?” Gretch asked not unkindly, looking Natalie over again. She was somewhat familiar with all the teams and didn’t remember hearing the other woman’s name. She quirked her lips to the side and took a swig of her pint. “I’ve never met a Quidditch player before.”
“Professionally!” She asserted, allowing the proud grin. “I start next weekend for the Harpies. You should listen in,” she enthused. “Or, better, come watch. I’ll be the best keeper you’ve ever seen,” she took a sip and winked at her, placing a hand on Gretchen’s thigh briefly, leaning in as if she had some big secret. “You can tell everyone you know me whenever I make a fantastic save.”
Arching an eyebrow, Gretchen instinctively pressed against Nat’s hand, briefly wondering what it was about her that was so attractive to everyone else. She wasn’t even wearing anything particularly cute today; the sweater she had pulled on, while warm and comfy, bordered on frumpy as compared to some of her other outfits. It just went to show you that no amount of thick sweater could hide her natural beauty and charm.
“Are you planning on making many fantastic saves? I might want to bring a sign, you know, save my voice for more... important things.” Moving slightly, Gretchen swung her leg, hooking her foot onto the rung of Natalie’s stool and pressing against the other woman.
“I plan on every save being a fantastic one,” she promised, pleased at Gretchen’s sudden move closer. She hadn’t expected to find such friendly company when she stopped in for a drink and she was certainly not dismayed now she had it. “I am a starter. It should be a big sign.” She took a sip of beer and let her leg press against Gretch’s. “Hate to leave you voiceless for those...important things,” she added, winking even as she failed to hold her grin in.
Hiding her smile more easily than Natalie, Gretchen finished her pint, nowhere near to being drunk, and ordered another round. “I’ll make it as big as I am,” she promised, then paused and grinned,slyly. “Plus, that has the added advantage of hiding me from view.”
Natalie watched Gretchen’s hands as they lifted the glass to empty it and then pushed it across the bar top, waving for another one. Her eyes darted back to her own mostly full glass and she promptly took a deep draught, aiming to catch up and keep up. The other woman was tiny, she felt she certainly should have been able to keep up with her. “What?” she said, all but chugging a quarter of her beer. “Why would you want to hide yourself? You’re fit.”
“Exactly!” Gretchen snagged her beer as Tom delivered it, ordering a firewhiskey and taking a long swig of the pint. “I wouldn’t want to distract you from all those fantastic saves!”
“You’re lovely,” Natalie rolled her eyes and reached out to brush her fingers against Gretchen’s cheek. “Don’t hide yourself for my sake. I’ll take a few normal saves instead, if that’s the price.”
Grinning brightly, Gretch tipped her head towards Nat slightly, enjoying the feel of the other woman’s fingers against her skin. “I like you,” she responded, raising her glass to the blonde. “You’re good for my ego.”
“I was raised to be helpful,” Nat quipped, stroking Gretchen’s cheek once more before she pulled away, chuckling. “And I like you too,” she said happily, meaning it honestly. She barely knew Gretchen but she knew she was good company and was glad she stumbled across her path. Her eyes ran up and down the other woman, coming back up to her face where she allowed herself to linger.
Plucking up her glass, Natalie downed the rest of her drink, aiming to finish it and excuse herself before she ended up drinking to much and trying to taking her new friend home with her. And she really had come to Diagon in the first place to stop at the broom shop for a new alignment kit.
As Nat finished her drink, Gretchen signalled Tom for a firewhiskey for the other woman, picking up her own glass. “I am well likeable,” she responded, taking a long swig and smiling at the feel of the alcohol warming its way through her body. “I think it’s the hair. Everybody likes a ginger.”
“Blonds have more fun,” Natalie pointed out promptly, eyeing the whisky as it was set in front of her. “Point proven?” she commented, lifting an eyebrow at Gretch.
Arching an eyebrow, Gretch downed the rest of her drink and contemplated for a moment before nodding for another. “I dunno,” she mused, tapping her chin and sliding closer to Nat, pressing her knees against the other woman’s. “I have a lot of fun.”
Natalie smirked at Gretchen’s response and nodded slowly. She knocked back the shot before she let out a warm laugh. What was the point of anything if you didn’t allow yourself to have fun? “I do like fun,” she set the glass down and firmly slid it away, letting out a breath at the burning sensation in her throat. Firewhiskey was not a drink she was too used to. “What about you? Mummies, curses, meeting Quidditch players...I’d ask what you do for fun but it seems like a lot to compete with.” She considered before chuckling and adding, “Me? I’d take a nap after all that.”
“Mmm,” Gretchen hummed, taking a long, slow sip of her newly delivered drink. “I adore naps.” She reached out and boldly stroked her fingers along Natalie’s arm. “One of the best things about my job, I can take ‘em whenever I like. No set schedule, I’m my own boss and all that good stuff.”
“Sounds nice,” Natalie said honestly, enjoying the contact. “I love Quidditch and I do love training and practices but...sometimes I just really want to stay in my bed. It’s so big and comfy! Hard to leave some days.”
Finishing her drink, Gretchen set it down and ordered another, deciding to make it her last and ignoring the look Tom gave her. This was why she disliked going to other pubs; her usual places knew she could hold her alcohol, didn’t give her trouble for ordering more. However... going to new pubs meant meeting new people. If those people were all like Nat, she supposed she could handle a few wayward glances from bartenders who didn’t know better. “Lucky,” she pulled a mournful face and idly dropped her hand to Natalie’s knee. “Mine’s all big and lonely.”
“That’s a shame,” Natalie leaned against the bar and propped her arm on the wood countertop, propping up her head as she stared firmly at the other woman. “I’m sure a lovely bird like you can find someone to keep you company. I can’t imagine anyone would pass it up, given the opportunity.”
“You’d think so, aye?” Gretchen gestured to her face, then waggled her fingers at Tom, ordering another shot for Natalie. “I’m gorgeous!” She picked up her firewhiskey, but didn’t drink it, waiting a few moments to feel herself out. “Did I tell you I like you?” She asked, taking a sip and setting the glass back down. “Because I do.” She grinned and squeezed Nat’s knee gently. “And I’m not just saying that because you recognise my beauty.”
“You are gorgeous,” Natalie laughed, amused by Gretchen’s self-confidence. She watched the shot as it was set down and eyed it for a few moments, considering how fuzzy she was already feeling. Still, life was short, she thought, reaching out and downing it with a ‘Ta’ and smile. It burned all the way down, like the others, and she let out another breath at the sensation.
“I think you mentioned it,” she finally replied, noticing that not only could she feel the warm liquid hit her stomach but she could notice it’s spread through her whole body. “I’m glad you like me. I’m glad you sat down here.”
Copying Natalie, Gretchen knocked back the shot, then shrugged. She was more than drunk enough for this, she reasoned, reaching out and pulling Natalie close for a snog. And if she’d completely misread the situation and Natalie wasn’t up for this, Gretch could always wobble back to the office and fuck Trevor.
Surprised to be pulled in for a snog, even if they had been flirting, Natalie let out a soft squeak at the sudden movement. But she recovered herself quickly and kissed the other woman, hands laying gently on her shoulders and neck. She was a live in the moment type and kissed Gretchen as such, thoroughly enjoying the sensation without pushing for anything more than a brilliant snog.
Pulling back after a long moment, Gretchen reached into her pocket and set down enough gold to cover their tabs. “Next weekend, right?” she asked, sliding off the stool and giving Nat a crooked grin.”I’ll be there.” She took a few steps away, far too drunk to even think of Apparating back to the office. “You owe me a drink, after all.”
“Next weekend, against Tutshill,” she confirmed, letting her hands linger on the other woman until she pulled away. “Sounds like a brilliant way to celebrate.”
Quirking her lips to the side, Gretchen arched an eyebrow. “I’ll be the cute one, with the sign,” she responded, inanely, giving Natalie a wave before turning and making her way out of the pub, telling herself she was walking slowly to give Nat a nice view and not just because she was drunk. At the door, she resisted the urge to turn back and wave, instead pulling her hands into her sleeve and pushing out of the warmth of the Cauldron.