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Chapter 1: Asking for the Job
ONCE UPON A SUMMER BREAK
Author's Note: -
Okay. So this is, again, one of my early not-so-good pieces. The reviewers and authors mentioned in the ANs are not on this site.
This is for my first ever reviewer, .Alice, the first person to make me their favourite author, WillowRose, and my first ever beta reader Susan M.M. Thank you.
This is just a short tale, only about five chapters. I am mortally afraid of writing bigger pieces.
CHAPTER 1:- ASKING FOR THE JOB
Lily turned the page of the classified ads in the Daily Prophet, frowning slightly. Her sixth year had just ended, and she needed a job quite desperately. That was because her parents had shifted to the States, leaving the house to Petunia and her rather large fiancé.
And Petunia, being her jealous self, had refused to share. Lily was not even allowed to stay in the dank garden-shed.
So now, with sixth-year over, Lily was faced with the financial problems of a homeless teenager. She was currently living in the cheapest—and probably the dirtiest—room above the Leaky Cauldron on her already meagre college fund.
That was where the job came in.
She skimmed the various advertisements for waitresses, then stopped as an ad for a nanny caught her eye.
Full-time witch Nanny wanted for enthusiastic four year old witch prone to accidental magic, preferably with experience, however minimal. No references required. Accommodations can be arranged on the premises, free food and boarding. Pay offered is forty galleons a week, negotiable. No restrictions on blood kind, no prejudice against muggleborns guaranteed. Contact: Helena Kimberton, Kimberton cottage, Gordric's Hollow.
"Forty galleons a week?" mumbled Lily. "What kind of a naughty child is she that they need to bribe in order to find a nanny?"
She read the entire ad again, trying but failing to stop her hope from rising. The words in the shady parchment reached out to taunt her, show her what could be. Accommodations can be arranged on the premises…free food and boarding... Pay offered is forty galleons a week…no prejudice against muggleborns guaranteed.
The job looked custom-made for her. She bought herself the paper—five knuts gone!—and tore the advertisement off. It was difficult not to dream. She would have free food and a place to sleep in, and she would not be living on charity. It grated her pride that Dumbledore had offered to give her money for books and other amenities out of the school fund, and now there would be no need!
Lily trudged back upstairs to her small and frayed living quarters. They were tiny accommodations and not what she was used to. But at least they were neat, clean, and hers for the moment.
There was no need to waste time, and Lily promptly took out her only 'interview dress' as she called. It was demure, a simple cotton dress of pure white, the monotony broken by emerald green lace running on the hem and collar. It was sleeveless, and just covered her knees. It had cost her two galleons, but she had consoled herself with the thought that it was a necessary commodity.
She changed quickly, applied minimum make-up to her lips and emerald green eyes, then rushed down the stairs, pausing only to tell Tom she was going for an interview.
She apparated to the address provided, though she had been advised not to apparate to places she hadn't seen. Why? Because it was free and quick. Never mind the fact that she was still uncomfortable with the sensation.
Lily appeared out of nowhere in front of a pretty little cottage set in its own charming garden. She liked the look of the place, it was quite homely and tidy. The smell of summer roses filled her nostrils as she walked up to the tiny brass knocker, shaped as a flying dove, and knocked. She idly noticed the germaniums in the window-box near the door, and was admiring the hodgepodge of summer colour in the garden when the door opened.
A tiny middle-aged witch, no more than five-four in height, was standing in the doorway. She smiled at Lily, her brown eyes turning warm, and wiped her hands on her pink apron. Her braided salt-and-pepper hair completed the picture of a medieval fairy tale.
"Err…hi," said Lily, a bit uncomfortable. "I am here about the advertisement in the Daily Prophet, for a nanny?"
"Oh yes, love," she said, moving her rather hefty frame from the doorway. "Come on in."
"I am Lily Evans," said Lily, extending a hand. "I am Helena. Would you come in the kitchen? I was baking."
Lily followed her host to the kitchen, which carried on the theme of fairy-tale living. Lily wondered if this was deliberate.
"I was Diane's nanny. But I gave my two-week notice."
"Diane Jenkins. The little witch you are asking to look after."
"Err…why did you…you know—give notice?"
Helena laughed at the younger witch's apprehensive look. "Don't worry. She is quite naughty, but lovely in her own right. I simply gave notice because I am an old witch, tired in the bones, and could not keep up well enough with the little imp's running and crawling and hiding and what not. And I am a person who believes in doing a job only if you do it well," there was a dash of pride in those words, and Lily understood it was a mantra she lived by.
"May I meet Diane? I can't agree like this."
"Sure, sure," the kind nanny assured her. "Are you comfortable using Apparation? The Mansion is on the other side of the Hollow. Shall we go?"
The witch took her arms and twisted, taking Lily side-along.
And they reappeared in paradise.
The imposing wrought-iron gates opened to a long, tree-lined gravel driveway, which twisted gracefully around a marble fountain before stopping in front of the most graceful Manor Lily had ever seen. It took a gigantic effort to even walk. The building was set in dignified grey stone, the arcs enormous and beautiful. The bay-windows flanking the high oak door were set in stained glass.
If Helena lived in the fairy-tale cottage, this was the castle.
It was so beautiful. The Manor, the garden, the fountain… so very… elegant.
"Ready?" asked Helena, grabbing hold of the brass knocker. This one was shaped like a lion's head.
Lily gulped. Suddenly she didn't feel as confident. Wouldn't she look like a vagrant in a house like that?
"Lily, dear?" Helena asked again.
Was she ready?
Author's Note: - So? What do you think of this? Will Lily refuse a golden opportunity only because she is insecure? Well, don't forget, Lily's a Gryffindor for a reason! Please review on my first ever novel!
NEXT: - Lily meets Diane! Does she get the job? And she also meets Diane's cousin (groans!).