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Chapter 5: La Vie de la France
"Okay, so you can manage that right? And don't get anything too weird, I need to actually use this stuff. Thanks a ton, Dom. See you later!"
Rose pressed the red button on her cell phone and shoved it back into the drawer she usually abandoned it in. Living in a muggle flat had its perks and one of them was that she could use muggle technology. It didn't work in Gringott's, the burrow or the ministry though so it wasn't really much use unless she was planning on sticking around in muggle London. It was however, an occasional substitute for owl post which was much slower. As much as she loved the wizarding system of communication, she had to admit it was a bit archaic.
Rose had just asked Dominique to replace her wardrobe for her. (After weighing the pros and cons, she had figured it was easier to just forgive Dom now as they would make up eventually anyway.) There was no way in hell she was wasting her free time trying on clothes and that too with Scorpius hanging around the whole time. There were too many lingerie stores out there for him to embarrass her in.
So Rose's not very wise solution had been to contact Dominique and ask her to handle it. Which was probably something she was going to regret because, a) Dom loved shopping, even for others, and would probably spend way more than Rose could afford, and b) She'd been on Rose's back to buy more sexy outfits for herself for years now and Rose had probably just unleashed a monster.
Still, clothes were clothes. How bad could it be right?
Oh God. This was bad. Very bad. Rose picked up a lacy garment carefully, trying to figure out what it was.
"Dom," her voice wavered. "What is this stuff?"
"These, my friend, are clothes. Which people actually wear as opposed to those hideous burlap sacks you usually hide in."
Rose looked up, aghast, at a proud Dom, standing with her hands on her hips as if she had just vanquished a formidable enemy and was now surveying the fruits of her labor.
"But nothing! Oh and I also picked up a whole lot of cosmetics and shoes. And I hope you don't mind, but I accidently wandered into this muggle shop and it had the cutest shoes ever! Jimmy-choo or something like that, it was called. I got us both the sexiest pairs ever!"
"Umm. Dom, I didn't give you any muggle money, how did you-"
Dom waved a dismissive hand. "Oh, it was easy. That stupid woman wouldn't take my galleons so I just obliviated her. Just a little bit though. I mean she'll still remember her birthday and stuff."
"Oh Rosie," Dom chuckled gleefully. "I really missed you. Er, you're not going to hex me are you?" She added warily.
Rose deflated, sinking face first onto her bed. "No." she mumbled through her comforter. "Not quite yet. I'll get you when you're least expecting it, don't worry."
Dom laughed nervously. "Oh Rosie, you always were such a joker."
"Well, hello, Scorpius."
"Well, hello, Dominique." He greeted her in the same stilted tone, raising his eyebrows mockingly.
He caught the glance she shot Rose, and he was fairly sure she had just mouthed 'yummy' at her. Scorpius reigned in his smirk with a tremendous effort.
Rose had predictably begun turning red. She clearly found this situation awkward. Scorpius would have found it awkward too if he gave a damn. Which he didn't.
Dominique had been a bitch to him after Rose had broken up with him. He was perfectly aware that she was simply being a good friend to Rose and as such, he had absolutely no opinion of her. He had always found her vaguely irritating, but that was about the extent of his emotions towards Rose's best friend.
Yet here she was, years later, telling Rose that her ex-boyfriend was comparable to a blueberry muffin or whatever. Girls- can't understand 'em.
He wished for a fleeting second that Dom didn't know the reason he was living with Rose- now that would be entertaining. But of course she did, so no luck with that.
"So," Dominique said to him. "How are you liking your new job, Scorpius?"
"Very well, thank you."
Was she ever going to stop with the formalities? Scorpius felt as if he was aging slowly where he stood. If he found a grey hair when he looked in the mirror later, Weasley no. 2 was dead.
"I'm pleased to hear that." Oh, for Salazar's sake. "If you fail to perform your duties to the best of your abilities, I will personally cut off your balls and see to it that you are buried alive right next to my dead pygmy puff."
That was more like it.
"Worry not, Weasley. Rose is in good hands- the best, if I may say so myself." He purposely leered at Rose, getting the desired reaction. She squeaked in indignation and crossed her arms, clearly unsettled.
Dom looked between the two of them and seemed to be doing some math in her head. He'd better save her before her head exploded and her brain splattered the rest of them. Thinking couldn't possibly be good for someone as stupid as Dominique.
"So Weasley," He said smoothly, drawing her attention back to him. "Who's your latest boytoy? Still Macmillan, is it? Or have you moved on to bigger and better playthings now?"
Dom regarded him coolly, feathers unruffled. "I see you've been keeping up with the gossip columns. Who would have thought the mighty Malfoy liked his breakfast with a side helping of scandals."
He grinned wolfishly. This was fun. "Love 'em. Can't get enough of brainless chitchat. It's such a rarity around one as sophisticated as I, you see."
They stared each other down coolly.
Rose cleared her throat. She'd been watching the proceedings as if it were a game of catch, eyes darting between Scorpius and Dominique.
"Er, guys? If you're quite done over there, could we like, sit down or…something?"
Scorpius uncrossed his arms and spread them wide, giving her a charming smile. Her composure faltered as it did every time he looked at her directly. "Lead on, princess."
Okay, so the contents of her closet weren't too bad. Maybe she had exaggerated her reaction just a little bit. She had narrowed her options down to two dresses. Red or Black? Red was so….outré for a casual date but black was all 'I want to sleep with you.' She chucked the red dress back into the closet. It would probably clash with her hair anyway. It wasn't as if she could ask someone for their opinion or anything. Unless she asked Scorpius, which was clearly not going to happen anytime soon.
Eventually she settled on a pretty green dress with a drape effect and broke in the new makeup set Dom had purchased. She already had pre-date jitters which she took as a good sign. She always got jitters when she was going out with a bloke she actually liked.
Slipping on her shoes and tucking her wand into her purse, she stepped out into the living room. And stopped abruptly.
Scorpius rose gracefully from the couch and smirked at her. "Are you ready to go?"
Rose was aware that her jaw was wide open but she made no move to shut it.
"You have got to be kidding me."
He shot her an amused look. "What part of 'bodyguard' did you not understand, Rosie?"
"You-You can't possibly mean you're going to follow me on my date?" She spluttered.
"Oh, that is precisely what I do mean. How do you know this bloke isn't a maniac, Rose? You haven't met him for…how long has it been…two years now?" His tone was still light, but the look he gave her was serious.
"Ye-es," Rose admitted reluctantly. "But-"
"But nothing. You'll be late for your date if you don't hurry, Rosie. Besides, I don't think Uncle Harry would be too pleased if he found out you weren't cooperating."
He smiled at her sweetly and she gave a growl of frustration, throwing her hands up, knowing full well she was defeated.
At exactly 8:30, the bell rang. Rose made to open the door but Scorpius cut her off. "I'll do that, if you don't mind. It might be an axe-murderer. Oh, and remember you can't tell him I'm your personal auror."
Rose rolled her eyes and watched anxiously as Scorpius opened the door casually, with a jovial "Come in, Come in" directed at Will.
Will looked at him bewildered, obviously wondering who the hell he was. He hadn't noticed Scorpius at the bank then. "Er- Is Rose here?" He asked.
Rose stepped forward, elbowing Scorpius aside. "Here! Right here. Ready to go." She giggled manically, then stopped abruptly, realizing how stupid she sounded. Oh Merlin, he already looked scared and he'd only just entered twenty seconds ago.
"Right," Will looked confusedly between the two of them again. "Er-Shall we go then?"
He offered her his arm and Rose turned to shoot Scorpius a warning glare.
The only response she received was a smirk.
"You look beautiful, Rose." Will said sincerely. "I hope you don't mind but I want to take you to this really brilliant muggle restaurant around here. And I rented a car! I love cars." He said happily.
"Oh, you can drive?" Rose was impressed. She'd tried to drive once and the car was still wrapped around the tree she'd crashed into after a hundred meters.
"Yup. I got my license when I was in the states- all the wizards drive over there. It's so much cooler than brooms, you know? You don't have to worry about whether your bits are still there when you get out of a car."
Rose laughed at that. "That's true, I suppose. I was never very good with brooms anyway. But on the other hand, I'm abysmal with cars so maybe I'll be better off just apparating."
Will chuckled and pulled out a complicated looking set of keys. He pressed a button and the car beeped once as the doors unlocked. Even Rose could tell the car was expensive, probably one of the better ones in the muggle world. The emblem on the front had a horse on it.
Will gallantly opened her door and she had one foot in before he suddenly realized Scorpius was right there.
"Er-Is he coming as well?"
Rose closed her eyes briefly. Dangit.
"Yes," she said gravely. "Yes, I'm afraid he must." She tried to give him a serious look that said 'I'll explain later'. Fortunately he seemed to get the message.
"Oh umm, well. All right I suppose. Get in, then." He said to Scorpius.
Rose noted that he didn't bother opening the door for the blonde, shutting Rose's door and running over to the other side of the car to get in himself. Scorpius, completely unperturbed and still thankfully, silent, got in easily and positioned himself comfortably in the middle seat so every time Will glanced into the rearview mirror he would see him.
Will didn't say much on the drive over and Rose was already mentally smacking herself. This was never going to work. How could she have not realized that Scorpius would insist on coming along on her dates? But then, why would such an absurd thought ever even cross her mind? He was her ex-boyfriend, for Merlin's sake! Once you broke up with someone, they were supposed to stay in the rejected zone, not bounce along as third wheels on future dates.
The fact that Will didn't just pull over on the side of the road and kick the both of them out was a credit to him, as far as Rose was concerned. He attempted to start a conversation when they stopped at a red light. "It's strange driving in England, we do it the other way around in the states, you know."
"Oh, really? Is it very different here then?" Rose said, simply for the sake of saying something.
"Oh yeah. Very. You know, because it's….different."
The conversation fizzled out and very few words were exchanged for the rest of the journey.
"Uh, I booked a table for two. Under the name Nussbaum?"
The maître d' looked down upon them imperiously. "I do not see two people sir, I see three."
Will tugged at his collar. "Yes, there was a change of plans and-Could you please just get us a table for two?"
The head waiter's lips tightened perceptibly. "Very well. Follow me, sirs and madam."
He led them across the French restaurant, snapping his fingers at a junior waiter every so often. The table was excellently located, tucked into a snug corner. It would have been private and romantic if there had been only two of them.
The maître d' pulled out a chair for Rose then turned to regard the two gentlemen before him. "This is highly irregular, Sirs." He said stiffly. Never in all his years at La Vie de la France had two men accompanied one lady on a romantic outing. It was simply not on.
Will sank into the remaining chair, apparently unconcerned about Malfoy. But Scorpius simply grabbed a chair to his left and yanked it over, sitting down casually with his legs apart and hands clasped on the table. There was a faint thumping noise as the chair's previous occupant fell to the ground.
The waiter's moustache quivered indignantly as he left to help the enormous lady clamber to her feet.
Will scratched his chin bemusedly and Rose averted her gaze, unwilling to watch the train wreck that was her love life.
"Well," Scorpius said cheerfully. "This is lovely. Very nice ambience here, I must say."
Behind him, two more waiters had now joined the fruitless quest to push the fat lady to her feet. The other occupants of her table were letting out squawks of indignation and shock.
Will cleared his throat and picked up his menu. "What would you like, Rose? I think I'll have a filet mignon."
Rose pretended to peruse her menu. "Er, me too. Could we have some alcohol? Please?"
"Good idea," Will pounced on the suggestion with obvious relief. "I could get some champagne. Or do you think they have Vodka here?"
"Oh, Vodka! Excellent. Let's ask the waiter shall we?"
All three of them turned to look at the crowd of black suited men, trying to haul the old bag up. Three more waiters had joined the fray, bravely leaping in with sleeves pushed up. The old lady was screeching what seemed to be Russian expletives.
One of the waiters noticed their gaze and gladly scurried over to them, his eyes lit with a thankful glow. "What'll you have, lady and gentlemen?" he asked, pulling out a pen enthusiastically.
"Two filet mignon and two Vodkas-Er, do you want one too?" Will turned to Scorpius and asked, suddenly realizing he didn't know what his name was.
"No, thank you." Scorpius said politely. "I don't drink on duty. I'll have a Boudin Blanc though."
The waiter nodded and repeated the order, hurrying off towards the kitchen.
"On duty? What is he talking about on duty?" Will hissed at Rose.
Scorpius feigned deafness and turned his chair to watch the proceedings behind him with interest.
Rose laughed hoarsely. "Oh pay him no mind. He's not right in the head- touched, you know. Dropped on his head when he was a baby. Poor thing thinks he's an elephant tamer."
"An….elephant tamer?" Will echoed, his voice hollow.
"Yes." Rose said sadly. "Such a pity."
"I see. And why have you brought an elephant tamer to our date?" He asked levelly.
Aah, the penultimate question. Rose squirmed in her seat and glanced at Scorpius; he was thoroughly engrossed in the wrestling match taking place at the next table. She lowered her voice further, anyway. "You see, he's been stalking me for a while now."
Will made an 'aah' sound, his eyebrows rising in a 'go on' way. "Stalking you?"
"Yes. It's been going on for a few months now and-"
"-A few months?"
"-the healers have advised me not to upset him too much because he may try to kill himself again. You know how these people are. Stalkers!" Rose laughed again, fearing the manic edge to her voice.
Will nodded as if he did understand, though he had no clue and they both-all- knew it.
"The poor dear, he's been through an awful lot. Do be kind to him, William." Rose placed her hand on top of his, upping the ante. "I've grown rather attached to him, you see. He's like the child I never had."
Scorpius snorted inelegantly into his water and went into a coughing fit at this point. Rose smiled fatuously at Will, extracting her hand to thump Scorpius violently on the back.
"Sorry, sorry." He mumbled, his shoulders shaking with suppressed laughter.
Rose grabbed Will's hand again and he twined their fingers together, their hands resting conspicuously on the table top. "It's alright, Rose." He said, charitably. "As long as he doesn't follow us into the bedroom as well," He joked.
It was Rose's turn to choke. She nearly spat out her mouthful of Vodka, then thinking better of it, drained her entire glass in a go. She nervously extracted her hand from his, wiping it discreetly on the napkin spread over her lap.
"Oh, would you like another Vodka?" he asked, eyeing her empty glass.
"Oh, maybe that's not such a good idea." She said breathily, kicking Scorpius' shin. There was a sharp exclamation of pain and a mumbled oath. Good.
She shot him warning looks from the side of her eyes. Get me out of here! This wasn't working.
Scorpius seemed to pick up on the cue, turning his chair back around to face the table.
"I say William, old thing, it's getting frightfully late, what?"
Rose widened her eyes at him. Why was he talking like that?
"Er, what-?" Will started to say, but Scorpius cut him off. "It's getting on for time, if you know what I mean." Rose almost felt thankful, for a brief second, before he ruined it all by saying, "Rose and I must be getting back to our humble abode. The babysitter said she wouldn't stay past ten. Isn't that right, sweetums?" He reached out and caressed her cheek lovingly.
Rose turned all kinds of red. "Scorpius Hyperion-"
"You live with him?" said an outraged William. "And what's this about a babysitter?"
"Oh! Well-er-you know how it is. Haven't you ever lived with your….stalker….?"
Will looked between them, wide eyed. "You're mad." He said finally. "Both of you are stark raving bonkers." He threw down his napkin.
Rose hung her head in shame.
"I'm sorry, Will." She said very quietly. "I wish it hadn't turned out like this. I really did want to have a good time today, you know. Maybe we could try it again sometime, when I'm a little less…mad?" She flicked her eyes towards Scorpius to say 'In other words, when he's not there.'
Will looked at her for several long moments. He seemed to be sizing her up. And just when Rose had given up completely, he nodded very slowly. "Alright," He said. "We can try this again. I like you, Rose. And I'd like to see where this goes when you're…not mad." His eyes darted to Scorpius as well and the man in question offered the two of them a charming smile.
"Thank you." Rose gave his hand a tight squeeze, rising from the table.
"Shall I drive you back-?"
"No, it's alright. We'll apparate. Right, Scorpius?"
"Huh? Oh yes, absolutely." Scorpius said, nodding seriously, as if they were talking of apparating to a hospital to visit a dying relative.
"'bye, Will." On an impulse, Rose leaned forward and pecked him on the cheek and he smiled weakly at her, looking completely exhausted.
"Later, Rose." He picked up her hand and placed a chaste kiss on the back of it, as he had done at Gringott's and the two beamed at each other.
Scorpius made a faint gagging noise, and the spell was broken.
They left the restaurant, the waiter calling after them, "Mais Oui, what of your orders?" and the fat lady and maître d' grunting in exhaustion as they collapsed on chairs. Will waved them out, turning to deal with the indignant staff.
Once outside, Rose yanked Scorpius to the side and slammed him into the wall, taking him by surprise.
"Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy. You. Are. So. Fucking. DEAD!"
A/N: Please leave a review to let me know what you think! It would definitely get me to update a whole lot faster (no, really, a lot of the time I just forget that I'm supposed to be updating). =S