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Chapter 6: I'm Officially Creeped Out
I am the epitome of calm. Like, seriously, I’m so calm it’s not even funny. I don’t think anyone can be calmer than I am right now. If you look in the dictionary, there will be a picture of me under the word ‘calm’. That’s how calm I am.
I was thinking happy thoughts as I stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around myself, wearing a self-satisfied smirk and humming cheerfully.
You see, I have a plan. A plan that involves me winning those forty galleons and one that makes sure that I don’t end up shooting somebody by the time that these two weeks are over:
I’m going to act. Act like I’m in love with him, act like I’ve just been happily married to the one person that I adore more than anything else in the world, act like I honestly, genuinely like Albus Potter.
And it’ll be fun. Why? Because I’ll win, Albus Potter will be stumped, and…I’ll win.
I like winning. Have I mentioned that before?
I pulled on the light, floaty white dress that Joan had given me, even going as far as to twirl around a bit so that it flared up around me.
This is saying a lot. The last time I twirled in front of a mirror wearing a pretty dress was when I was…wait. That was never. Oh, well. First time for everything, right?
I brushed my hair so that the curls resembled…er…actual hair and put on some light eyeliner and a little bit of mascara.
I smiled at my reflection – oh, this’ll be fun – and turned around to make my way downstairs, where I heard the clattering of spoons and the light buzz of conversation, telling me that breakfast was in session.
“Good morning,” I smiled as I walked in, looking around at the couples that were currently enjoying their food. Everyone seemed to be there, and Jenn was talking animatedly about something-or-other. She fell silent when I came in and took the time to send me a brilliant smile.
“You’re just in time – I’m telling everyone about how me and Jason met!”
Oh, I’m sure the story is just precious.
“That sounds wonderful.” I grinned at her and made my way to the chair next to Al. He was deep in conversation with Henry. I trailed a finger across the back of his shoulders – he stiffened slightly and I hid a smirk – and leaned down to kiss him lightly on the cheek, my fingers dipping briefly into his surprisingly soft hair.
“Morning.” I murmured sweetly to him.
“Morning, love.” He said cheerfully, tilting his head and planting one on my cheek as well. I struggled against a scowl – this might be harder than I thought. “Have a seat. Joan made us coffee.”
“Yum.” I said unconvincingly, eyeing the cup of steaming sludge. Al was sipping his happily, and smirked slightly at me.
Arse. I narrowed my eyes at him a little.
I took a seat next to him and helped myself to some eggs, starting to take a bite before I realized that everyone was looking at me. I lowered the fork. “What?”
“Aren’t you going to have your coffee?” Joan asked kindly. “Al told us you absolutely cannot function without it.”
Did he, now?
“Oh, of course.” I said quickly, picking up the sludge, blowing on it, and taking a tiny sip. Immediately, the sharp flavor of black coffee invaded my taste buds and I used all of my self-constraint not to grimace as I set it down.
Albus Potter is going to pay.
“So, how was your night?” Joan asked, a slight smirk on her face. I spluttered into my coffee cup, my face immediately turning a bright red. Al simply looked amused as he patted me on the back, and I made a mental note to smack him upside the head later.
“Er – it was just fine.” I said weakly, after I had regained control of my lungs.
Joan smiled again. “I hope I didn’t ruin the mood or something.”
I could feel myself turning redder. Even Al was blushing as he cleared his throat somewhat awkwardly. “Er, no, it really wasn’t too much of a problem –”
“I hope I didn’t just destroy the magic of your first time or anything.” She had the nerve to continue.
This time I literally choked on my own spit. Al was nearly as red as I was, his eyes wide and disbelieving. I coughed loudly, fanning the air in front of my mouth as if that would somehow help.
Holy. Mother. Fucker.
Is this woman serious? I mean, honestly serious? DID SHE REALLY JUST SAY THAT?!
“Erm, no.” Al looked absolutely mortified. “It was fine. Really.”
“Oh, bless their young hearts – it was their first time!” Joan said, laying a hand over her heart.
What. The. Bloody. HELL.
I looked around, my jaw wide open, and saw that everyone else was looking just as thrilled. At that moment, I wished that I could just melt through the floor.
Kill me. Kill me.
“That was horrible!” I moaned as I collapsed on the bed half an hour later. After enduring everyone’s delight at being in the presence of a ‘recently de-virgined couple’ (their words, not mine), I had to sit silently through the love stories of every other couple whilst acting appropriately abashed and in love.
It was torture.
“I swear that woman enjoyed every second of it, too!” Al seemed to agree with me, as his voice was just as outraged as mine.
“I know! She was smirking the whole time! I swear, if she wasn’t old, I would have smacked her across the face –”
He was nodding fervently in agreement. “Pop one right in the mouth. She’ll be out before she realizes it.”
There was a moment of silence.
“Did we really just spend all that time plotting against an old lady?” I finally asked in an amused voice.
He laughed. “I guess we did. Now –” He wore an extremely businesslike expression as he sat down next to me on the bed. “We have more important matters to discuss.”
I raised an eyebrow. “And those would be…?”
“Winning this little competition, of course.” He said.
“Of course.” I nodded. “What’s your plan of action?”
“I think we need to practice,” He said, still in his ‘I was a former Quidditch captain, bitch’ voice.
“Practice acting in love?”
“Okay.” I said.
There was another moment of silence.
“Okay, look –” He began. “For the sake of this whole competition thing…and for the rest of my life, can we just…er –”
“Cooperate?” I filled in.
“Yeah.” He said.
My mind whirred – if I want to win this, I have to cooperate. I have to beat him.
So I smiled. “Definitely.”
“Wait – but I can still be a jerk to you sometimes, right?” He asked, his voice anxious.
I snorted. “I’d be worried if you didn’t.”
He looked relieved. “Good. Come on.” He walked to the door, and I got off the bed, unsure and confused. “Where are we going?”
My eyebrows shot up as he smiled unexpectedly at me. “We’re going on a date.”
“A date.” I repeated, my voice flat as I followed him out.
He took my hand, and I jumped slightly in surprise. “That’s right.” He winked at me once – I scowled – and started leading the way down the stairs.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that he’s trying to do the same thing as me. He wants to win me over…win this little competition.
Shit – of course he does.
He’s planning on making me fall in love with him! He – oh, shit – he’s a Potter; he loves to win. He’s going to want to win me over before I do that to him.
It’s just like a game, where both of the contestants are hell-bent on winning, the old rivalry of their families ringing out through this battle of dominance.
Oh, you’re on.
“What is this place?” I asked wonderingly, looking around myself at the colossal structure.
“It’s a shopping mall,” Al explained, tugging lightly on my hand so that I would follow him instead of staring around like an idiot.
He sent me a disbelieving look. “Well, gee, let’s think…shopping mall…”
“I’ve never seen one before,” I continued, ignoring his tone of voice and turning around to look at the vast ‘parking lot’ again. I stumbled slightly over my own foot (of course I would) and unconsciously tightened my hold on Al’s hand.
“It’s a muggle thing,” He explained, catching me by the waist as I tripped again and nearly fell on my face. I sent him a grateful look and turned back around, craning my neck to look up at the building.
“It’s so tall,” I breathed. “How do muggles make it?”
“They use these things called machines.” He opened the door for me and I walked through, looking around at the various shops. Everything was bright with color and noise, making the mall seem almost surreal and vibrant. I watched as people – muggles – milled around, holding large bags and talking loudly to each other.
“What does a machine look like?” I asked as soon he was walking next to me again.
Al turned around to send me an exasperated look. “You mean you really don’t know these things?”
I shook my head.
“Well, you should have taken Muggle Studies, then.”
I scowled. “I wanted to, but I didn’t have any room in my schedule.”
He looked disgusted. “Ew, nerd.”
I shoved him. “Shut up. I just like learning, okay?”
Holy god, I do sound like a nerd. Once again, I need to re-evaluate my personality, since, apparently, I am completely and totally unappealing as a person. I mean, come on – I doubt any guy would go for the ‘sarcastic, cynical, pessimistic, nerdy’ type.
Then again, I’m already married, so it’s not something that I need to worry about.
Then again, I do need to somehow make my lovely (sarcasm) husband fall in love with me, so I guess it is something I should worry about.
Too bad it’s not something that I particularly care about. If you want me, it’s for who I am. Take it or leave it.
That’s right. You just got told. Bitch.
My resemblance to an American gangsta is worrying.
So is the fact that I just used the term ‘gansta’.
…and this is where I stop think-rambling.
“ – just like Aunt Hermione,” Al was finishing, sending me another disapproving look.
I, however, brightened considerably. “Really?! Wow, thanks! Mrs. Weasley is gorgeous!”
He rolled his eyes. “Not in that sense.”
Gosh, I’m so flattered. I shot him a dirty look. “Arse,” I muttered resentfully.
“I mean, it’s just that you two look nothing alike,” He added. “She’s curvier than you are, with brown hair and tan skin, whereas you’re tall, blonde and pretty much curveless. Not to mention deathly pale.”
My hand jumped to my face. “I’m not that pale.”
He gave me a look. “You resemble a vampire.”
I brightened again. “Great! Vampires are supposed to look breathtaking –”
“I’m not talking about Edward Cullen.” He rolled his eyes.
I stopped and put my hands on my hips, turning to him. “You know since you’re married to me, it would be nice, once in a while, to give me compliment or two.”
He looked me up and down. “Um…nice shoes?”
I glared at him. “They aren’t even mine!”
“They look lovely on your feet. Now come on, move.” He grabbed my arm and marched me forward. I pouted resentfully.
I mean, I know I’m not beautiful. I’m not one of those girls who constantly need someone fawning over them and telling them that they’re the loveliest creatures to have walked the planet since the beginning of time.
But since I already (unwittingly and while I was piss drunk) told Al Potter what I thought about his appearance, I thought it would be at least common courtesy for him to be nicer to me about mine. I don’t need a declaration of worshipful adoration. Just something to let me know if I look okay.
Because, fine, I’ll admit, it’s sort of a tender spot for me. How I look, I mean. All three of my family members are beyond gorgeous, but, somehow, I am the poor shmuck that got pegged with the absolute worst genes in the gene pool. The sad thing is, it takes someone with only my luck to get those types of genes, since we don’t really have that many bad genes in this family.
Yes – my whole family is attractive. My. Whole. Family.
Talk about shit for luck.
Somehow, it just had to be me who got stuck with the unruly mass of blonde curls, and the too-pale skin and the freakish tallness.
“You know, I’m starting to enjoy these quiet, submissive moments of yours,” Al said happily as he continued to tow me along.
“Don’t get used to it,” I said, blinking a couple of times to clear my head and finally looking around me. My eyes followed the line of shops, and stopped on a large, bright sign that read ‘Come And See Your Future with Artemis the Seer!’
A huge smile spread over my face.
Two seconds later, I was dragging Al over to the store.
“Oi, what are you –”
“Look, it’s so cool! I’ve always wanted to go and see a Psychic, just to hear what she says. This is going to be so much fun,” I declared, pulling aside the beaded entrance and stepping into the cool darkness of the room.
“You have a very twisted idea of what ‘fun’ is,” Al muttered, looking around him in obvious disdain. “This is ridiculous. It’s just another muggle trick to get money –”
“But I really want to,” I cut across, hoping that the expression on my face was my Famous Puppy-Dog Look. I widened my big silver eyes (yes! Something on my face finally comes in handy!) and pouted the crap out of my lips.
He sighed loudly. “Fine,” He said resentfully, crossing his arms to let me know that he was doing me a great personal favor by staying here. I beamed happily. One more point for Adele’s Famous Puppy-Dog Look!
It never fails. Never.
“I knew you’d come.”
I jumped about a foot in the air and scrambled wildly back towards Al. Oh my god, don’t people understand that it is common courtesy to not sneak up on other, unsuspecting people? I’m starting to feel the sure signs of an impending cardiac arrest here!
“GOD!” I breathed, clutching at my fiercely beating chest. “Don’t do that!”
A tall lady stepped out from the shadows, a smirk playing at her lips. To my utmost surprise, she looked relatively normal, with long brown hair tied back in a simple ponytail at the back of her head and modest gold hoops dangling at her ears. She was dressed casually, in jeans and a t-shirt.
Surprisingly enough, this made me want to believe her even more. Because Trelawney got all dressed up and was a complete and total fraud, so maybe someone who looked normal could be…?
I’m going crazy. This is just for fun! Just a little muggle trick for kicks and giggles –
“You have power,” she continued, her gaze scrutinizing as she took my arm and proceeded to drag me further into her lair. I let out a startled ‘meep!’ and grabbed Al’s hand. If I go in, he comes in with me.
“Sit,” she said, gesturing at two chairs. I sat down warily, watching as she swept to the other side of the table and took a seat as well. Al was tense beside me, sitting at the edge of his chair, and I knew that he was probably wishing for his wand just as much as I was right now.
I’ll never admit this to him, but perhaps this was a bad idea.
“There’s something about you,” Artemis-the-Seer finally said, her voice a mere whisper of wonder. “Something powerful and almost…magic.”
I let out a nervous chuckle. “Erm – thanks?”
“You’re magic,” She finally stated, staring at the two of us in awe. “You – you two – are magical. Of course.”
“Okay, I’m starting to get seriously creeped out,” Al announced, standing up. “Look, this has been fun and all, but –”
“Sit down, please. I’m not done yet,” she said calmly, looking at him with piercing grey eyes. He looked surprised, but sat down without another word.
Wow. Dude, I wish I could do that.
She watched us in silence for a little while. “You’re married, but it’s more than a marriage. It’s binding – a thousand times stronger than a normal union.”
Yes, that would be on account of the fact that our marriage is magical.
“You don’t love each other,” she sounded surprised. “You’re not in love at all.”
I rolled my eyes. “No shit.”
“But you don’t hate each other either,” Artemis closed her eyes and smiled. “There’s something with the two of you…it’s sort of brewing under the surface, but it’s strong.” She exhaled gustily. “You have so much power. It’s hard to see past all of it. It’s dizzying.”
Well, I feel kind of special.
She turned to Al. “There’s a lot more in you than you let on,” she informed him. “You want to be like your brother and grandfather, but you have your father’s nature. Your grandmother’s nature. That’s why you have her eyes – your eyes speak your soul and your soul is good.” She cocked her head to the side and smiled widely. “You think your wife is beautiful.”
My heart jumped in my chest at that one, and I turned to Al, color spreading across my surprised face. He was blushing the brightest shade of tomato red, sputtering incoherently.
“Now that’s just ridiculous –”
That told me all I needed to know. Biting my lip to hide the huge smile that was threatening to split my face open, I turned back to the front and looked down.
She turned to me next. “You don’t see yourself clearly enough. You’re hiding behind your nature as well, just like your husband. You keep insisting that you’re sarcastic and pessimistic, but you’re not.” She took another deep breath and looked me straight in the eyes. “You’ve got one of the purest souls I’ve ever seen. But you need to stop hiding. You feel like you know yourself well enough, like your true nature is just like your family’s, but you’re different. You’re brave, very brave. Fiercely loyal. A little impulsive at times.”
Okay, she basically just told me that I was supposed to be a Gryffindor.
This woman is insane.
There was a short silence as we stared at her in surprise.
She smiled suddenly. “Want to know how many children you’re going to have?” She asked brightly, reaching across the table to grab my hand.
“None!” Al protested loudly. “We’re not going to have any children –”
“Three,” She said delightfully, studying my palm as though the answers were scrawled across it. “A boy and two girls. The boy will be the oldest, and he’ll have the Potter hair, but Adele’s eyes. The girls are going to be twins, but fraternal. One will have Adele’s hair and Albus’ eyes, and the other will have red hair and warm brown eyes.” She sighed happily. “Such beautiful children.”
“Hold on, how do you even know our names?” I asked, shocked.
She looked amused. “What, you think this is all a joke? I know things.”
greetings from india! the internet is wonky here, so i'll make it quick ;)
thought i should give you lovely people an update since i've been MIA for so long!
be happy and review! please? love you <3
so, who lol'ed at 'artemis the seer'?! i did. get it? get it? artemis? i'm funny.
sleepy time for the crazy author, methinks. review, please! i'll be home soon :D and then maybe i'll write you guys a long author's note on another story. mayhaps deja vu. havent decided yet.