|SIYE Time:13:10 on 18th May 2021|
So... Call Me Maybe?
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Category: Alternate Universe
Genres: Comedy, Fluff, Humor, Romance
Warnings: Extreme Language
Story is Complete
Summary: Texting a random number and meeting a stranger is commonplace...but texting a random number and meeting the perfect woman? Well, Harry thinks there’s a word for that: Serendipity.
Hitcount: Story Total: 5201
Awards: View Trophy Room
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
Based on the prompt: “Oh shoot, I texted the wrong number, but can we keep talking?” I would like to thank TheDistantDusk for editing this story/ helping with the summary, and gryffindormischief for talking through the plot points with me. Also, side note, I have been informed that kiss cams are not a huge thing over in Great Britain, but for the sake of this story they are :)
“So, this is my number.” Abigail smiled at Harry as she handed him a little corner from a napkin. “Feel free to text me.”
“Yeah!” Harry couldn’t believe his luck. He stared down at the seven numbers, his numb fingers doing their best to keep hold of the note. It wasn’t often that Harry was actually successful in his conversations with women. Most of the time, chatting them up was semi-painful, at best.
It wasn’t as if he was a horrible bloke, though. At least he didn’t think so. Harry liked to think he was pleasant enough, with a good sense of humor (if he did say so himself). He was just... dreadfully awkward. And the eyes of an attractive woman were his kryptonite..
Abigail let her fingers run down his arm as she walked back towards her giggling friends. The four women had stayed by the bar while Abigail had walked over to Harry’s lone table. His buddies had long-since ditched him to dance up on some of the, as they put it, talent).
Harry had never understood how his mates could just walk up to a girl and start dancing with her.. He had a hard enough time just trying to gather the courage to walk into the bar or club. Random girls just never held his interest. But tonight, Abigail had approached him (as her giggling girlfriends watched the scene from a small distance). She had blatantly flirted with him, which might have been a good thing;even with his glasses Harry was incredibly blind to any sort of romantic advance.
Abigail had laughed at all his jokes and now was telling him to text her. For once, he was actually glad to have gone out with the lads.
Still, Harry stayed in his corner spot for another hour, waiting for his mates to give the signal. He watched Joe place his hands on the waist of his chosen companion. When the woman pressed herself closer to him, Joe looked over towards Harry’s seat and gave a slight head nod.
Like that, Harry was in the clear.
He paid his tab and headed out to the cool London air as quickly as he could. It wasn’t too late-- he could still catch the end of Arsenal match if he took South Kensington station to his Green Wood flat.
Having been a London native since the age of eighteen, Harry had become adept at public transportation. His time time spent as a beat cop was also hugely influential to his navigational knowledge.
When the train arrived (the usual reminder to mind the gap echoing throughout the station), Harry found a standing spot near an empty pole. As he swayed with the motion, Harry thought about the number burning a hole in his left pocket. Would it seem to desperate to text her only a few hours after separating?
The decision was made for him when he took out his phone (just to look at the time) and saw that the screen was dead black. He cocked his head thoughtfully and realized it wasn’t such a bad idea to have a home field advantage when he texted her. It would give him a chance to come up with a good opening message.
He arrived at his flat after what felt like an eternal ride. After toeing off his shoes by the door, he headed into the small kitchen for a Fullers. He took his regular spot in the cozy armchair, grabbed the remote on the side table, and turned on the Arsenal game. The Gunners were leading one to nil.
Sighing contently, Harry reached into his trouser pocket and pulled out the scrap of napkin and his phone. He plugged the device into the charger he kept next to his lazy chair.
Waiting for the little battery to charge took days-- or at least it felt that way. When he was finally able to get to his home page, Harry froze. His finger hovered over the texting app. What the fuck was he gonna say?
Harry thought back to their conversation back in the bar. He had mentioned his love of Arsenal, and she had seemed to agree with his claim of their superiority. Bernd Leno had just made an incredible stop on the screen. Seizing this inspiration, Harry put in Abigail’s number and crafted a starting message.
Hey, it’s Harry. Did you happen to head to a place with the Arsenal game playing? Leno made a bloody good stop! I think that’s gonna save the game.
He read over his words. Then re-read them. He thought he sounded casual-- and not at all desperate (which he was thankful for). Yeah. That was good.
His thumb hovered over the send bubble. Fuck! Harry reprimanded himself. I can send one text! He shook his head and hit send, trying not to think of his thumb as Damocles’ sword.
He waited, keeping his eyes determinedly on the television in front of him. It wouldn’t do him any good to stare at the little screen in his hand.
But then he heard a little ding, and Harry’s heart lurched. He looked down at the display, which showed a preview of the text. Oh. He wrinkled his brow. “What the fuck?” was not the response he’d expected.
He swiped his thumb, opening the phone back up.
What the fuck? I was DVR-ing the match and and now I know how it ends. Thanks a bunch, mate.
In a separate message, the recipient continued:
By the way, who the fuck are you? I don’t know any Harrys.
Harry shook his head, trying to understand. Had he put the number in wrong? He’d only met her a few hours ago--surely she hadn’t forgotten about him that quickly. He cross-checked the number he’d put into his phone against the one from the napkin. They matched.
He decided to respond to the now irate person. Maybe Abigail had one too many drinks?
Harry. From the Hogshead? We had talked about football… This is Abigail, right?
Harry kept his phone on this time. He wanted to know what hell was happening.
The person responded so quickly that Harry assumed they’d been watching their phone, too.
Nope. Sorry, mate. I think she gave you the wrong number.
Harry threw his head back. Of course she had given him the wrong number… the way her friends had been watching them made sense now.
I’m sorry! Harry texted. I didn’t mean to spoil the game for you.
Harry closed his eyes, trying to not let his disappointment smother him. The ding of his phone made him open his eyes.
It’s alright, I guess. I’ll let it side this time. I’d say your having worse luck than me… I’m Ginny, by the way. Yeah… not the best night. At least you’re still texting an attractive (trust me) woman.
Harry snorted, a small smile appearing on his lips as he typed his next response: How do you know the other one was attractive?
Ginny shot back a couple of seconds later. I don’t, but at least you’re trading up (again trust me, not that I’m biased or anything)!
Harry was still laughing to himself when Ginny’s next message came through.
So, tell me about this bloody good stop! I want to know what to be on the lookout for when I watch the game later.
Did you see that shit?!?!
Ginny’s text came through as Harry snorted at the disastrous penalty by Manchester City.
He couldn’t have hit the broad side of a house!
Ever since the night when Harry had texted the false number Abigail had given him, he and Ginny had kept the conversation going. It was one of those, ‘well, shit, this is the wrong number, but can we keep talking?’ moments. Over the last few weeks, Harry had learned they enjoyed similar music, an addiction to The Great British Bake Off, and an ironic love of paintings of animals wearing revolutionary-time clothing.
Right now, though, they were complaining about the poor refs in the Arsenal game. Over the past thirty minutes, the amount of foul language sent between them would have made Harry’s grandmother faint.
I know! Leroy Sané has been off all day. Great for us, but these fucking refs!
Harry watched the Gunners midfielder execute an incredible tackle. Ginny’s text lit up his phone.
Right! I want to Tweet the Premier League and offer to pay for eye exams.
That made Harry snort into his beer. Ginny’s cheek never seemed to be in check, and honestly he loved it. With less than five minutes left in regular play, the intensity of the score started to dawn on Harry. One to one.
Harry scooted to the end of his chair, his attention glued to the screen as Iwobi passed the ball to an open Lacazette.
“Take the shot!” Harry yelled at the inanimate object. Lacazette hit the ball into the upper left pocket of the goal, making Arsenal take the lead.
While Harry was celebrating, his phone rang. He answered it without thinking. “Yeah?”
“Did you see that fucking set up?” A female asked him, her voice just as excited as he felt. Now, however, he was confused; the voice was not one he recognized. Harry looked at the screen and saw it was Ginny’s ID.
“Uh…” Harry stumbled. He had not expected her to call him, but his shock only took a moment to get over as thrill took over again. “Fuck yeah!”
“Iwobi couldn’t have placed it in a better spot!”
“I know! But Ramsey definitely made that all possible with his long pass.”
“Ah, fuck that was amazing.” Ginny sighed. There was a small moment of silence before Ginny said, “Oh, I hope it wasn’t weird I called you.”
“No.” Harry sat back in his chair as the penalties added an extra five minutes. He couldn’t explain it, but he had liked listening to Ginny talk so passionately. “This means I won’t have to take my eyes off the game to text my obscenities.”
“I was just using voice to text,” Ginny explained .
“Fuck! That was smart of you.”
“And don’t you forget it.” Ginny laughed. Without any explanation, Harry felt a swoop in his stomach. It must have been because Manchester was in range.
They chatted as the clock ran out, all the while encouraging their defenders to clear the ball. It felt so natural to Harry for Ginny to curse in his ear when the referee missed an obvious foul. Finally, the end-of-game whistle was blown and they cheered with the stadium crowd.
“Damn, that was close.” Ginny sounded as if she had sat back in her chair, her comfort evident. Without the game, though, Harry wasn’t sure what to do. Should they hang up? Make small talk? Normally when he called one of his mates to discuss a play, they would hang up right after… but for some reason, Harry didn’t want to end the call.
“Hey, so…” Harry was looking for anything to say. Maybe a clever joke or story. He had been texting with the woman for almost a month and now he couldn’t find anything to say!
“Over on BBC One they have a Bake Off episode going? Wanna make fun of the pitiful attempts to work with carmel?”
“Did you even have to ask?”
Harry groaned as the sound of his basic ringtone echoed around his dark room. He turned towards the perpetrating noise, his alarm clock displaying the ungodly hour of two in the morning. Not bothering to check the caller ID, Harry brushed his thumb over the green accept button.
“‘Ello?” His voice was gruff with sleep.
“Hey, Harry.” Harry recognized Ginny’s voice instantly; they’d spoken nearly every day for the past two weeks.
“Gin?” Harry bolted up in bed. Why was she calling at such a late hour? Had something happened?
As if she knew where his mind had drifted, Ginny quickly said, “Nothing’s wrong, but... “ She sounded tired. “I can’t sleep. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have called. I’m sure you were fast asleep.”
“Wait!” He rubbed his face with his empty hand. “It’s fine. Do you… wanna talk about something?”
Ginny hesitated. The only noise on her end of the call was her slow, deep breathing. “Not… Have you ever… Do you think…”
“Come on, Gin,” Harry soothed. “You can ask me anything.”
“Do you think love is real? ” She took a deep breath. “Like… how does that even work?”
Harry felt as if he had started a sudden free fall, his stomach dropping out of his body. “What?” His voice sounded higher. He cleared his throat. “What?”
“It’s just… I guess I’m not questioning if love is real, but how someone knows if it’s love they’re feeling.”
Harry thought about about it. Had he ever been in love? He had thought so with his last girlfriend, Cho, but that had been more physical attraction than anything. They had nothing to talk about, instead filling the silences with sex.
“Love is… love has multiple factors, I guess.” Harry scratched at his scruffy chin. “I’d say that the person you love has to accept you for your flaws, but also makes you want to become better.”
There was silence until Ginny let out a little cute noise through her nose. “Yeah, I think you’re right about that. Add that to that fluttering feeling everytime they say something adorable and you’ve got a Disney movie.”
Harry laughed. “They have to make you laugh and listen to you when you need to vent.”
“You make it sound like I should marry my best friend.”
“You and Luna would make an adorable couple, based on the stories.”
Ginny chuckled into the receiver. Harry couldn’t help but smile. He loved it when she laughed like that. Butterflies started to expand in his stomach, which slid the grin right off his face. Oh shit!
Harry wasn’t the smartest when it came to knowing his own emotions, but even he could put two and two together.
There was a silence between them, both lost in their own thoughts. Ginny was the first one to break the quiet. “Harry?”
“Thank you. I’m glad you were willing to miss some beauty sleep to talk with me.”
Harry fell back onto his pillow, trying to ignore the feeling in his stomach.. .but he couldn’t stop himself from smiling at her words. “Anytime, Gin. Anytime.”
“What are you doing this Saturday?!” Ginny yelled into the phone as soon as the call connected.
“Uh... “ Harry tilted his head away from the receiver for a moment so he could make sense of what Ginny had asked. “Nothing. Why?”
“You, me, Arsenal versus Chelsea! I won two tickets at work, and I have to take my fellow Gooner!”
“I know right! I say we meet up at a little cafe I know near the stadium. It’s called feu d'amour.”
Harry sat back in his desk chair. He had been set on paperwork duty all week-- so this felt like he’d finally earned some well-deserved good karma. He was getting to go to an Arsenal game for free, to see Ginny, to cheat a little on his healthy diet, and maybe to get some --
Then, like someone had used a railway switch on his train of thought, Harry’s mind started following a different track. He was going to meet up with Ginny… for the first time… in person… spend the day with her…
Over the last week, Harry had-- unsuccessfully --tried to convince himself he felt nothing but friendship towards Ginny. This illusion was shattered every time she spoke into his ear, however.
His mouth started going dry at the mere thought of meeting her… having to talk with her in person… trying not to make a fool of himself…
“Harry? You still there?” Ginny’s concern brought Harry out of the embarrassing image of spilling his drink all over himself.
“Huh? Oh, yeah! Still here.”
“Great, so we good for eleven on Saturday?”
Harry took a deep breath to calm himself. “Yup. Sounds great!”
After they hung up (a semi-awkward goodbye on Harry’s part), Harry threw his head back, bumping it on the wall. He ignored the pain, focusing instead on how he was going make it through Saturday without making himself look like a complete wanker.
Harry sat by his window side table, watching the numerous London travelers go about their Saturday. Being near the Emirates Stadium on a game day meant he was watching a sea of red. Just like him, the crowds were showing their support for Arsenal.
When he had left his flat (way too early for their scheduled meeting time, mind you), Harry had tried to keep his perspective in check.
It’s just a invite between two friends. Two friends who have been talking with each other non stop for the past month...a friend for whom he had feelings for that were more-than-friendly.
Over their short time of talking, Ginny had sent him a few photos. They’d been completely innocent, normal, friendly pictures (like Ginny with an adorable Corgi in Hyde Park). It was something he would do with any of his mates. The only difference was that he wasn’t pining after any of his other friends.
Yeah… pining was the right word for it. Ginny was never far from the front of his mind. If it wasn’t his imagination creating a carbon copy of one of the pictures she had sent, then it was repeating a funny comment she had texted.
No… Harry knew he had it bad. Even his old school mate, Seamus, could tell Harry had it bad. When they had gone out for a couple of pints the previous week, Seamus had commented how quickly Harry would reach for his phone every time it vibrated.
“If that’s not a bird your chatting with, I’ll eat my own hat!” Seamus had claimed in his heavy Irish accent.
Harry, of course, couldn’t prevent the blush from rising to his cheeks, so he admitted to his texting crush. Seamus was decent about the whole thing. Actually, having used many of the online dating apps, he had great advice on how to meet someone for the first time though digital methods. Harry had met all his previous girlfriends through school or nights out, so Seamus’ advice was appreciated.
Now, here he was the day of the meeting, his palms sweaty, just trying to make sure he could remember his own name when he met her. Though Seamus’ advice was good, the Irish man had forgotten to take in account how fucking awkward Harry was with women. The advice of, ‘be yourself’ could lead to horrible stutters and inconvenient phrases.
“Harry?” Her voice was similar to the one he had been talking with on the phone, just slightly lower. He turned his head and forgot to breathe. The pictures he had seen on her Facebook and the ones she had sent him hadn’t done her justice.
Her red hair (which seemed to slightly change tint with every glance) flowed down her back. Her eyes and mouth, both seemed to be spread in a broad smile. What called to him the most, however, was the numerous freckles spattered across her face. They covered her nose, cheeks, even down her neck. Harry tried to keep his eyes from drifting off her face, but he couldn’t stop his active imagination from drawing conclusions about the rest of her body and how many freckles covered other areas.
His mouth became as dry as sandpaper.
“Harry, right?” Ginny looked nervous now.
Harry mentally slapped himself. “Ye - yeah.” He managed to croke. Standing up, Harry found he didn’t know how to greet her. Handshake? Hug? He knew which one he preferred.
Ginny, however, made the choice for him. She pulled him into a tight embrace. “It’s great to finally meet you!”
Oh fucking Jesus! Harry’s felt like his brain was on overdrive, trying to dodge saying something lame in response, something like, ‘uh duh.’.
“You too.” That would have to do.
Ginny was the first one to break their embrace (though not for long). “Well, care to get some lunch?”
Harry handed Ginny her pint. “Here you go.”
“Thanks, Harry!” The way she smiled at him… Oh Harry was a goner. There was no point in lying to himself anymore. He truly fancied Ginny. The was no stopping the train anymore. It was bypassing all stations and refused to be derailed.
“I can’t believe how close the match has been today,” Ginny commented after she took a swig from her drink. “I mean Chelsea has been incredible on offense.”
“Cech hasn’t missed a block yet, though,” Harry looked back towards the field (something he had been doing very little… his attention always seemed to be on a red-head beside him). He watched Chelsea send the ball back towards their keeper in a pretense to clear the Arsenal attack.
“Oh, that’s so awkward.” Ginny let out a little laugh. Harry turned to see where she was looking. Following her gaze he saw the large television screens that were positioned around the top seats were displaying a pink border covered in hearts and the words Kiss Cam.
A couple on screen shook their heads with ferocity. The man was mouthing the word Sister!
“Oh, no.” Harry joined in Ginny’s laughter. “Kiss cams are so risky. I mean, what are the odds it’s gonna land on a couple?”
“Well right now, I’d say pretty good.” Ginny pointed at the board. The camera had found a couple already snogging so passionately, they didn’t even notice they were on display.
“But if you think being put on screen with your sibling is bad, I once went to a game with all my brothers and parents. They put my oldest brother Bill on display with my mum. We still haven’t let him forget it.”
“Oh, Jesus!” Harry snorted. “That takes the cake, now doesn’t it?”
Ginny nodded. “My mum still says it’s the best compliment she’s received to this day.” She changed her tone so it became higher. “They made me feel twenty years younger, bless them!”
Harry’s laughter was drowned out by the crowd around them. He looked away from Ginny to see his face on the television. Him and Ginny.
One of the men behind Harry said loudly, “If he doesn’t kiss her, I will!” Then Harry heard a smacking noise; the man’s girlfriend clearly didn’t appreciate this comment.
“Well?” Ginny’s tone was full of suppressed laughter as she placed a hand on Harry’s cheek to turn his face back to hers. “Can’t disappoint the home crowd, now can we?”
She leaned up and connected their mouths. It was better better than anything Harry’s imagination had concocted. Her lips were soft and tasted of strawberries. The way her hand rested on his cheek…. It was like a blissful oblivion
Then it was over. Ginny drew back slowly, and Harry was proud of himself for not moaning in protest.
“Well.” Ginny’s brown eyes were blazing. “That was better than I imagined.”
“Yeah.” Harry couldn’t stop his voice from taking a dreamy tone. “It was --” It was then his brain started to finally realize what she had said. “Wait… than you imagined?”
Ginny let out a laugh that made Harry’s stomach filled with crazed butterflies. “Oh yeah.”
“You’ve wanted --” Harry’s mind was unable to comprehend it. Did Ginny feel the same way he did?
“When you told me you didn’t understand women, you weren’t lying.” Ginny’s hand moved to the base of head, playing with the small, sensitive hairs. “I fancy you, Harry.”
Harry knew his jaw must be on the ground. Ginny shook her head, but the smile she had on her lips told him she was amused.
“I - I - Blimey!” There his mind went again, unable to make complete sentences.
“Blimey is right,” Ginny chuckled. “So, can I take your stunned stammerings as a good thing?”
Giving up in words, Harry nodded. Actions. Actions were something Harry had always been good at. He could say a million things with one gesture. So, rather than stumble over words, he kissed her.
Ginny laughed against his mouth. “I’m glad we’re on the same page.”
“Dinner -- tonight?” Harry asked in between kisses. He didn’t even care that they were in public…
“And here I was planning on asking you out tonight.” Ginny pulled away. Her hands were threaded through his messy locks, though he couldn’t remember when that had happened.
“Glad we’re on the same page.”
Ginny snorted and kissed the tip of his nose. “I happen to know of the best little pizza place, and conveniently it’s only a couple of blocks from my flat, which happens to have a DVR'd episode of Bake Off ready for viewing ”
Harry smiled at her. “Well, I am a sucker for pizza and cooking programs.”
“Sounds like we’ve come to an agreement.”
“It’s a date.”
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