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Chapter 4: Pink
If there were a million, billion, trillion, gazillion people that could have turned up in Eglentine Copse, Scorpius Malfoy would not have been one of my guesses.
The chance of this happening was so miniscule- so not there- that I never, even in my wildest dreams, could have predicted it. I would’ve thought it more likely for a meteorite to fall down from space and squash my car (a non-existent car, mind).
I mean there was always the chance that a meteorite could land on your car at any second and squish you, but it never actually happened- and no-one went around in meteorite-proof armour just in case it did. Shops didn’t sell meteorite-proof cars either, because the thought was so ridiculous and impossible that they’d be laughed out of town. But I suppose the possibility didn’t come from nowhere, and chance didn’t happen unless there was something to gamble with. So all in all, this was certainly possible. Indeed, it was more than possible seeing how it was rather probable, and in fact real (although I had to pinch myself a fair few times to check I wasn’t dreaming).
Simply put; it was an extremely unexpected situation that I now found myself in.
Nevertheless, I suppose I was relieved to see a familiar face. Even though said familiar face would probably never forgive me for my relentless campaign at Hogwarts to set him up with Rose Weasley, my cousin. It was an almost-success that had involved broom closets, love potions and skulduggery form everyone involved. But hopefully Scorpius would’ve conveniently forgotten about all that.
“Hi,” I said timidly, standing up with my shopping bag securely beneath one arm. Scorpius seemed as surprised as I was, but a little less shaken and a lot more angry.
“What the hell?” he spluttered, flailing around. “Who told you I was here? Who told you where to find me? You’d better not have Rose anywhere within a billion miles, by the way.”
“Technically, the Earth isn’t even a billion miles. So yes, Rose is within a billion miles of you. But I know you were exaggerating to make a point so I’ll drop the matter.”
“Did someone tell you I was here?” Scorpius asked again.
“Does this shocked expression seem like that’s the case?” I pointed to my gaping mouth and raised eyebrows. Scorpius smirked a little.
“I guess not. Right, that’s a relief then.”
“Why’s it a relief?” I asked. Scorpius shifted from foot to foot looking like an overgrown, slightly pathetic rabbit.
“Err, I was just off for a drink." he rapidly changed the subject, "I can only assume you’ve moved here so I’d better introduce you to the gang- they’re all at the pub. I absolutely refuse to function on a Wednesday night without alcohol. So you coming with?” He looked at me a little resentfully/resignedly (I couldn’t tell which it was).
“I’ve already met Birdy Podge,” I told him, “And they’ve been spying on me since I arrived. I don’t really want to meet ‘the gang’ -whoever they are.”
“Well of course they’ve been spying on you,” Scorpius muttered, striding off towards the pub. “What else are they supposed to do?” Did I not mention that Scorpius and I weren’t the best of buddies?
On closer inspection, I saw that the pub was called the Mochen Dee. It was quite a typical looking pub with big, old windows and warm lighting. “What does Mochen Dee mean?” I asked Scorpius.
“Name means the Black Pig, but I don’t speak Welsh so stop pestering me.” Okay then, Mr Grumpy Grouchy Chops. Scorpius pushed the door open and hurried in to escape the rain; I decided that I really had nothing better to do, and walked into the Mochen Dee after him. It was quite full inside- I assumed that the entire village’s population had crammed themselves around the steamy bar, talking and drinking. Scorpius’s arrival with me caused quite a disruption, and everyone was clamouring to get a look at the ‘new person who knew Scorpius’. Scorpius himself just sighed and ordered a pint before introducing me. I was standing rather awkwardly next to the wall, feeling very conspicuous and, well…awkward.
“Everyone, this is Lily Pot, err, Teapot,” He looked at me expressionlessly. “Lily this is…everyone.” Then he began firing off a few meaningless names that sounded a bit like ‘ZoraDarylBirdyIvanCarisOceanGarethGwinnyBlahBlahBlardyBlah-blah’. No, honestly- he couldn’t be bothered to say everyone’s names so he started ‘blah-ing’. “Oh and that’s Dave in the corner,” he finally pointed out the Hagrid-Lookalike-Baker-Man, “But everyone calls him Burly Baker man or BBM for short.” Okay. Go figure.
The villagers immediately clustered together, whispering excitedly (probably about me, ‘cos I’m so interesting), and Scorpius slid into a seat opposite a young, unshaven bloke who I think he’d called Gareth Blah. Having nothing better to do, I sat opposite him, and he grudgingly got me a drink.
“So, what do you do now?” I asked Scorpius, feeling intensely curious as I took a sip of the firewhiskey the bartender had plonked in front of me. It burned my throat, and tasted like liquid antiseptic cream (I didn’t drink much).
“Oh,” Scorpius took a lazy drag from a cigarette he’d just lit. “I’m writing a book about…” He scratched his long, colourless hair. “About…gee, I can’t even remember. He grimaced as one of his friends, Burly Baker Man/Hagrid Lookalike Baker, grinned and punched his shoulder. I could’ve sworn I heard something snap- there was more bone than flesh on Scorpius. BBM started speaking in a gruff voice,
“That would sum up just about everyone in Eglentine, Lily Teapot! None of us have a clue what’s happened to our lives. We are the rejected…the burdens to society. The Outcast Ones!” He paused for dramatic effect, but then sneezed which ruined it somewhat. “Welcome to Epic Fail Village! Epic Fails and Attempted Epic Fails That Failed And Weren’t Even Epic Enough To Be Classed As Epic Fails,” he caught his breath, “Are what make up the core of this community. So Lily Teapot, what tales of failure on the epic side bring you to us?” I coughed and twisted the buttons of my cardigan, glancing at Scorpius. He was absorbed in his drink.
“Well, I guess I’ve failed my family by getting expelled, then saying I was planning on starting my own yoga-business –stroke-butterfly-farm.” Everyone stared at me for a while and I was certain that they were going to say that yes, mine was the most Epic Fail Of All Fails and buy me sympathy drinks- then we’d all become bestie buddies and skip off into the horizon holding hands.
Instead, they began to roar with slightly mocking laughter. I looked quizzically at Scorpius for an explanation, but Zora answered my unspoken question.
“That’s not even a fail compare to what the rest of us have done!” she chirped. My face fell; I felt strangely sad about my rejection from the Epic Fail Acceptability Circles. BBM spoke up again though, albeit a little less enthusiastically.
“So how’s your Buttered Yoga Farm going?” The pub went silent.
“Um, at the moment I don’t actually have a farm- nor a single butterfly, yoga mat or penny to call my own. Which means I’ll probably wind up being a beggar, or robbing banks.” At this everyone started nodding with gratified approval.
“Now there’s a failure if ever I saw one. Welcome aboard, Lily!” smiled Birdy from the bar. I wasn’t sure whether to feel insulted or honoured, so I ordered a round of orange juices instead, not caring that all I could pay with was fluff.
Now that I had an appropriate Epic Fail, the Eglentiners were all too curious about my life. Gone were the hesitant, cautious looks; this lot were loud and not afraid to be. The questions just kept coming, and I couldn’t help feeling a little overwhelmed.
“So you do yoga, right? Isn’t that all ‘ohmmmm’ and stuff? Are you in touch with spirits and things? I’m Ocean by the way. Ocean Winner.” A pretty, dark haired girl who looked about 20 slid into the seat next to me and Scorpius. She didn’t even give me a space to reply before she was off prattling again. “How do you know Scorpo then? You know that Caris has fancied him for, like, ever? It’s such a joke. Oh this is so exciting to have another girl around apart from Birdy, Gwen and Caris! A young girl, I mean.” I laughed at her enthusiasm despite myself, and Ocean grinned back.
“Is your hair really that colour? Not dyed? Because dyed hair is really distasteful,” said the girl next to BBM.
“It’s naturally this colour,” I nodded. “I hate it!”
“I like it!” the girl exclaimed.
“You like most things, Gwen,” Ocean poked.
“How’d you get expelled Lily? You’re awfully young- 17? 18?” asked Daryl, the woman in the post office from earlier.
“I’m 16, actually,” I admitted to a few scandalised gasps from the older folk.
“How’d you get a flat? Why did they sell you that flat?” asked Marigold (or was it Primrose?) in a hushed, secretive voice as she handed her elderly husband a drink. It was intriguing how the older generation hung out with the teenagers and twenty-year-olds. I quite liked it really; I got tired of young people after a while. Daryl raised her eyebrows pointedly at Marigold, who flushed a little and stepped backwards. The question was mysteriously forgotten.
“What temperature do you wash your socks at?” asked Zora, genuinely interested.
“Err… 10 degrees?” I gibbered.
“Do you really! Do they clean properly? I never wash underwear at anything under 30 Celsius,” gossiped Daryl.
“Don’t be rude! Socks don’t count as underwear anyway,” Ocean chipped in. “Everyone knows that!”
“Since when do socks not count as underwear? You wear them under shoes, and under trousers so that means that of course they’re underwear for David’s sake!”
“The definition of underwear is indeed an item worn underneath normal garments,” Marigold’s husband said solemnly. I left them to the strange debate, muttering an excuse about the bathroom before hastily going outside for some fresh air. The stars here were brighter here than anywhere else.
After a little while, Scorpius joined me. He lit another cigarette,
“They always shove me out after a while- smoke’s bad for their health and shit.” I shrugged noncommittally and moved up to make room as Scorpius sat down on the bench next to me. It was a little awkward, seeing as we hadn’t properly spoken in over a year and I think the last thing I’d said to him was ‘just shag her- you know you want to!’ (if you didn’t count our previous shocked conversation in the rain).
Ahem- I had been quite determined upon the Rose/Scorpius coupling.
“What did you do then- to get chucked out? Confound a couple into marrying?” he muttered bitterly. I wiggled on my seat awkwardly,
“Uh, yeah, sorry about all that Rose stuff…”
“Whatever Lily. It’s not a big deal anymore,” he sighed and flicked the cigarette randomly. “Why’d you get expelled? Why are you here? Your parents must be going crazy.”
“Why are you here?”
“Just answer the question?”
“I’ll answer if you answer!”
“How do I know I can trust you to answer? You’re lying about who you really are to all that lot,” Scorpius gestured towards the pub with his hand.
“Okay. I sold the Marauder’s Map.” I squeezed my eyes shut to avoid seeing Scorpius’s horrified face. There wasn’t as big as a reaction as I’d expected though; his expression barely twitched. Long, silent moments passed and I was getting a bit chilly as I waited for him to tell me why he’d ended up in a remote, Welsh village surrounded by complete loonies- me included. I was about to give up and go back inside when he dropped his cigarette and ground it out with the toe of his boot.
“I’m hiding from my parents. They can’t ever find me again.” He muttered dejectedly.
“Why not?” I whispered, shocked. He didn’t answer.
We could hear raucous singing coming from the pub, and I decided to go back in for a few more minutes, before heading….home. It sounded too weird calling the flat home. But as soon as I stepped through the door, BBM roared my name,
“Lily Teapot! Know any Welsh songs?”
“Nope,” I shrugged. “I’m awful at singing.”
“Well Ocean here is the star of Eglentine! Moves people to tears, laughter and even death with her singing.” I glanced at the girl, Ocean, who was standing on the table and belting out a strange sounding song. I had to admit, she did have a nice voice. I slid into a chair next to Birdy and watched the proceedings curiously.
“I hope we’re not scaring you off, Lily,” Birdy smiled, watching me with her different coloured eyes.
“No…not at all,” I took a sip of juice. “I like the craziness.” Birdy smiled,
“We’re just interested in newcomers. Eglentine Copse isn’t exactly a tourist hotspot; we’re a tiny Welsh village full of losers with the distinct disadvantage of not having even the faintest connection to Gwenog Jones. There’s no hope for us!” Birdy threw her hands into the air smiling vaguely, and once again, I couldn’t help but laugh too. I glanced at a clock on the wall opposite and saw that it was nearly eleven at night. I still needed to eat something and get used to the flat, so I stood up, preparing to say my goodbyes.
“What do you think of the flat?” Birdy asked nervously, gripping my arm tightly before I could leave.
“It’s nice and colourful. Looks like someone had a painting accident in there!” I grinned, but Birdy was starting to look a little sick. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Oh, nothing. Don’t worry, have a nice sleep! Sweet dreams ad stuff,” Birdy mumbled in a high pitched voice and moved away, leaving me in her puzzled wake.
Author’s Note: I don’t own anything you recognise, and no reference to Blackberry messenger was intended with BBM’s nickname :P
Hello everyone! I hope you’re enjoying it all so far. I’d just like to make it clear that Eglentine Copse is NOT an accurate representation of a Welsh village- I’m really going all out on the unrealistic side with this story. Also, many thanks to fayeswonderland at TDA for the AWETASTIC banner! I’m going mention Lottie (TheGoldenKneazle) too, for her support with this so far (<3). Next up: A very eventful rugby match ;) -LWG