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Reputations Expectations by countrymusicfanatic
Chapter 8: What Was I Thinkin'
Summary: She was Hogwarts' Bad Girl. He was Hogwarts' Golden Boy. All of her teacher's complained about her. All of his teacher's loved him. She stayed stayed away from the limelight as much as possible. He smiled for all the cameras. They're both stubborn, have a knack for trouble, and are training to become Aurors. Has the Ministry met it's new Auror power couple or will their differences lead to the destruction of their lives as they know it?
I knew there'd be hell to pay
But that crossed my mind a litle too late
I know what I was feelin'
But what was I thinkin'?
Deirks Bentley, "What was I thinking"
Disclaimer: I don't own the Dierks Bentley lyrics, the Harry Potter characters, or The Grinch.
Good things are supposed to happen to good girls. It’s like the American Dream—people who work hard are supposed to be rewarded and people who slack off are supposed to be screwed for the rest of their life. And yet, despite the fact that good is supposed to equal good and bad is supposed to equal bad, in life things rarely work out that way. The thing is society is really a walking oxymoron. On the one hand, if a person makes a mistake, you’re supposed to turn the other cheek. Yet, the people who forgive and forget over and over again get labeled as pushovers and the people around them whisper behind their back about how they are never going to be able to get out of this seemingly immeasurable hole they’ve dug themselves.
According to society, everyone should study hard and create a future for themselves and yet at the same time, teenagers who don’t go out and party are called anti-social and the adults around them constantly worry that they’re not normal. According to advertising, celebrities are the shit and yet all those people who are in their band at school or guys who do ballet get teased but once they make it big time they get worshipped. On the one hand, people who wear low cut shirts are called sluts and yet people who follow the dress-code are called prudes. On the one hand, girls who act all giggly and flirty are considered annoying and desperate but girls who don’t flirt with guys 24/7 are uncool.
Because society’s rules are so obviously screwed up, I prefer to ignore them all and live my life the way I want to. That’s not to say that I don’t live my life according to a set of rules but they are my own rules and I follow them as though they were my own personal Ten Commandments. I’ve never considered myself a Good Girl and I don’t think I ever will be but that’s okay. I’ve come to realize that ‘good girls’ are overrated. Then again, so are ‘bad girls’ so I think I’ll just let the people around me make their own judgment on which of box they should place me in.
* * * *
By the time I got back to my flat, I had never been more relieved for a weekend to be over. I spent Sunday morning with Stella and the girls until mum and Peter came by to say they were leaving and I knew it was my cue to go back to the house and pack my things. I said goodbye to Mrs. Davenport as quickly as I could, making sure to do it while Meg Ann (who was staying for another few days) was in the room so that she couldn’t try to corner me. Mr. Davenport was in the fields so I made my way back and called goodbye. He waved back, probably not sure who was leaving. I disapparated in the woods as soon as I was sure I was out of sight.
“Hey Taylor,” Tyler greeted me as soon as I got back. I should probably have been startled that there was a guy with bright orange hair, loose workout shorts, and a muscle t-shirt that showed off his entire sleeve of tattoos but I wasn’t. I should really look into what that says about me. Or rather, my friends.
“Hi Tyler,” I said instead, tossing my bag into my bedroom before going to sit beside him. “How are you?”
“Great,” he said enthusiastically. “You are looking at a now fully qualified healer.”
“No way,” I said but he just kept grinning. “How did that work out?”
“Well one of the healers was a no show and they needed me to step in. It’s still going to take another few months of specialization to be able to be a child-healer but I’m in for emergencies. The healer who skipped out is going to be out of a job whenever they show up.”
“It’s slightly scary that someone not qualified to take care of kids normally is allowed to take care of them in emergencies,” I said thoughtfully. “You’d think you’d be okayed to take care of them normally first.”
“I didn’t create the system,” Tyler shrugged. “But you’re in a crappy mood so I’ll ignore your lack of enthusiasm and pretend you jumped up and down if you bake me a cake.”
“I’m not baking you a cake,” I told him.
“You owe me for Meg Ann,” he reminded me in a sing-song voice.
“Actually I don’t,” I countered. “While you were helping me get my present you forgot to get her your own.”
“Oh snap,” Tyler said, his face mirroring his words.
“Don’t worry, I told her it was from both of us. You won’t be castrated anytime soon.”
“You’re right, you don’t owe me,” Tyler said and I laughed softly.
“Nope, I don’t,” I agreed, leaning over so that my head was resting on his shoulder.
“Bad weekend?” he asked, wrapping his arm around my shoulders and pulling me down so that we were both lying on the sofa.
“The worst,” I muttered. “I don’t think I’ve ever left the farm feeling more tired than I was when I arrived.”
“Sixth year?” he suggested. I laughed.
“Okay, I’ve never left the farm feeling more emotionally tired than I was when I arrived.”
“I’m sorry,” Tyler said, sounding serious. I shrugged.
We were quiet for a few minutes before I gave him the blow-by-blow. I knew I wouldn’t have to tell it again. He would tell Scorpius or Tasha and they would tell the other one. That’s how we work. Once you tell one person, the rest of us know within a week. It won’t go outside the four of us unless the person of interest wants to tell but we’ll all know.
“I don’t know what they expect me to do,” I said at the end. “I can’t just quit.”
“Your mum will come around,” Tyler assured me. “She’s not going to stay mad at you for making your own decision.”
“The worst fight we ever had was when she found out I was going through with the training. It probably made it worse that I didn’t tell her myself,” I thought out loud.
“Wait, who told her?” Tyler asked.
“The ministry,” I laughed. “Didn’t I tell you about that?”
“No, you just said you’d had a fight.” It had been his house that I went to after I’d had it out with my mum. Natasha had been there too and the three of us had an impromptu slumber party. Scorpius had been stuck at his house, entertaining his grandparents.
“Well yeah, they sent an owl and since I was still with my mum for the summer it dropped it off on our table. I don’t remember where I was but for whatever reason it didn’t bring it straight to me. She saw the Auror seal and knew. She was waiting for me when I got back. It freaked me out at first because her eyes were all red. Peter was at work and Meg Ann had gone to the beach with Lacey. She didn’t even open her store that day.”
“She took it pretty hard I guess,” Tyler said, stating the obvious.
“I don’t know how he does it, but somehow my dad manages to get the biggest reactions out of people. He was married to your mum for less than three months and she still hates his guts.”
“Yeah but my mum’s good at holding grudges. Besides, he was supposed to be her way out of shame, not one more thing to add to the list. I think that’s what really did it. Astoria and Draco may not be the perfect purebloods but at least they have a perfect pureblood marriage that produced one perfect pureblood son and they’ve only been married once.”
“Our families are really screwed up,” I announced.
“Darling, I figured that out a long time ago.”
“You know what we should do,” he said randomly a few hours later after we had finished reminiscing about the brief time my dad and his mum were married.
“Make chocolate balls again but throw them at Scorpius this time?” I suggested.
“No,” Tyler shook his head. I raised my eyebrows and he reconsidered. “Well yeah, but that’s not what I was thinking.”
“What were you thinking?” I laughed.
“We should go swimming!”
“We should go swimming,” he repeated.
“Because we used to do it all the time.”
“Well yeah but that was in the Black Lake,” I reasoned. “It was fun just to see whether or not we could get away with it.”
“So let’s go swimming somewhere else we’re not supposed to,” he suggested.
“Like where? The fountain at the Ministry of Magic?” I asked, still laughing.
“That’s a great idea!” he exclaimed.
“Ty, I was kidding,” I said, sobering up at once.
“No, I’m serious,” Tyler said, still grinning. “We don’t have to swim, swim but don’t you want to see if we can do it? Just see what would happen and whether or not we can get away.”
“If we get caught—” I started.
“What was it you always said about the danger of talking about consequences…” he trailed off, daring me without words.
“Okay, let’s go,” I said, jumping up and getting excited.
I ran into my room and put on my pink bikini with red and orange polka-dots and threw on my strapless yellow sundress overtop. I grabbed Natasha’s blue bikini as well, just in case she wound up coming with us. We hurried out into the street and Tyler reluctantly agreed to walk to Diagon Alley to see if Natasha was at the store. While I hate traveling by magic, Tyler hates things taking more than two seconds.
Natasha wasn’t at the store so I took a handful of floo powder and flooed over to the Malfoy’s to see if Natasha or Scorpius were there while Tyler went back to his house to put on his bathing suit.
As always, my landing in the Malfoy’s fireplace was messy and I wound up tripping and face planting on their wooden floor when I tried to move out of the fireplace before I had my balance.
“Astoria?” I called out as I broke into a coughing fit.
“Woah, careful Taylor,” I was greeted by Draco’s voice instead of Astoria’s as he bent down to help me up. “You really need to practice flooing.”
“No—time,” I croaked out, still trying to control my coughing. “Where’s Scorpius?”
“Taylor!” Astoria exclaimed walking into the room having heard me call. “Merlin, sit down for a minute.”
I shook my head but was still coughing. She and Draco each took one of my arms and forced me onto the couch.
“I’m okay,” I said, waving them off. Astoria ignored me and summoned a glass of water. As soon as my coughing subsided for a few seconds I gulped it down and suddenly became aware of their concerned faces.
“Are you alright?” Draco asked, looking thoroughly alarmed.
“Yeah, I’m just looking for Scorpius,” I said, placing the cup down on the coffee table.
“It must have been pretty important if you’re that anxious to see him,” Astoria said, looking like she was torn between calling my mother and calling the mental hospital.
“I’m really fine,” I promised. “I just really need to see him. Is he here?”
“No, he went out,” Draco said, his tone immediately becoming cold. Astoria shot him a look and I felt a little uncomfortable.
Technically speaking, I’ve known the Malfoy’s since I was born. When my mum left my dad, a few months before I was born, we moved to Liverpool and lived in a trailer park only a few trailers away from where the Malfoy’s were staying at the time. The war wrecked a lot of people and it took years to rebuild. All of the people on the other side were dealing with trials for more than ten years after the end of the war and everyone was tied up financially. I don’t know their whole story but in the end they sold their family home, Draco’s parents moved to France, and Draco was forced to start over. They moved out of the park a year after my mum and I did.
“Do you know when he’ll be back?” I asked, deciding to act as though I didn’t notice the awkward air.
“I’m really not sure,” Astoria said. “But I’m glad you’re here because I wanted to ask you…you don’t happen to know Rose Weasley do you?”
“You still haven’t met her?” I guessed, raising my eyebrows. Astoria sighed.
“Scorpius is a bit…hesitant to bring her by,” she admitted, sounding slightly sour. “I don’t think Draco’s reaction helped much.”
“He—” Draco started to defend himself. Astoria kicked him hard in the shins and Draco winced. It had the effect that she wanted though and he resorted to mumbling under his breath. I couldn’t catch everything he said but a few phrases and words such as ‘own son’ ‘unbelievable’ ‘wretched’ and ‘teenage rebellion’ were easy to make out.
“I really don’t know her that well,” I said while Draco mumbled to himself. “I met her, like, twice but Natasha and I are going to hang out with her in a few weeks. Probably once I finish this boot camp thing I have to do for my training.”
I didn’t really want to tell the Malfoy’s anything I did know about Rose. I wasn’t sure what Scorpius had told them or what he wanted them to know. And besides, my current opinion of Rose wasn’t all that high. I kept having to force myself to give her the benefit of the doubt. Natasha was sour enough for the both of us and I really didn’t want to make things more complicated for the Star-Crossed lovers. As Tyler had pointed out at the park not too long ago, we needed to do all we could to stop a repeat of Romeo and Juliet.
“If it makes you feel any better I know he hasn’t met her family,” I told them.
“That won’t go well,” Draco snorted. “I will do everything in my power to put that meeting off for as long as possible.”
I’ve always gotten along remarkably well with Astoria. We’ve gone shopping, I’ve met her for lunch, and she and my mum stayed friends even after we both moved but Draco was another story. He was a closed book. I would greet him when I came over and we could make a bit of small talk but he has always been different than Astoria, less likable to put it simply.
Scorpius was more of a mamma’s boy but he got along alright with his dad and Tyler and Natasha both knew him better than I did from their parents. Tyler agreed that there was something off but Natasha said that her dad told her it was expected after everything that happened with the war. I still think the war gets way too much credit.
“I’m sure they’ve moved on darling,” Astoria said comfortingly, squeezing his arm in an attempt to reassure him. I inwardly winced. She knew nothing about Hogwarts.
“Listen,” I said, wanting really badly to get out of there. “I love you both, you know I do, but I love Scorp more and right now I really need to find him. Trust me when I say Tash, Ty, and I are as worried as the two of you and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure things work out. But right now I really need to see Scorpius so is he working or…”
“He went to Diagon Alley,” Astoria informed me. “We needed him to pick up food for Bitsy and I believe he said he was going to stop for lunch at the Leaky Cauldron.”
“Thank you!” I exclaimed, jumping up and going back over to their fire place, calling out the Leaky Cauldron as I let the green powder slip through my fingers.
The pub was loud and filled with people so no one saw me stumble and grab the wall when I landed. Since there wasn’t a step down from the fireplace I didn’t make as big a fool out of myself as I had at the Malfoy’s and I was spared a coughing fit since there was no point calling out for anyone; they wouldn’t hear over all the noise.
I took a moment to regain my balance fully (something I should really start doing more often) and then pushed through the crowd of people as I looked around for Scorpius. I was just about to leave and check the Owl Emporium when I spotted his light blonde hair poking just above one of the booths. Not thinking twice about it I hurried over.
“There you are!” I exclaimed. “I’ve been looking for you all over! Well, not really all over since I only went to your house but I was bombarded by your parents and it took longer than it was supposed to and Tyler might kill me for it but—”
“Hey Taylor?” Scorpius cut me off.
“Yeah?” I asked.
“Do you have a point?”
“Oh yeah!” I exclaimed, shaking my head slightly as though that would help me get back to what I was trying to say. Mid-shake I suddenly realized that Scorpius wasn’t alone as Rose and James were sitting across from him, both giving me odd looks.
“Oh hi!” I exclaimed. “What’re you guys doing here?”
“Eating?” James suggested, indicating his food.
“Oh right,” I said. “Well, sorry to interrupt but can I steal Scorp for a sec?” Not waiting for an answer I grabbed his arm and pulled him out of the booth.
“Taylor, are you okay?” he asked cautiously.
“Totally fine,” I said. “But Tyler and I came up with the most brilliant plan.”
“Oh no,” he said wearily as he began to back away. I rolled my eyes knowing it was an act; the smirk on his face gave him away.
Grabbing both his shoulders to make sure he couldn’t run away if he felt the sudden (and totally irrational) urge to run away, I glanced quickly around us to make sure no one was watching and aside from the curious gazes of Rose and James everyone seemed preoccupied.
“We’re going to jump in the fountain at the ministry,” I told him quietly.
“You’re what?!?” he exclaimed, his voice way louder than it was supposed to be. I slammed my hand over his mouth and people nearby glanced over to see what the sudden commotion was but everyone else went on as though nothing had happened.
“Be a little louder why don’t you,” I hissed, hitting him in the arm as hard as I could.
“Ow,” he mumbled.
“Such a baby,” I rolled my eyes at him but I was way too hyped up to get seriously mad and the manic smile was still completely intact. “But I’m serious. We’re still trying to find Tasha but we’re going without her if we can’t find her in the next few minutes. You in?”
“Well,” Scorpius said, glancing over at the table where Rose and James had started their own conversation.
“We’ll wait fifteen minutes so that you can finish up,” I told him. “It’ll give me more time to find Tasha and Tyler can get your swimsuit. Come on Scorp, when was the last time we did something like this?”
“Okay, fine,” Scorpius agreed, semi-reluctantly. I squealed in excitement and threw my arms around him in a huge hug. “But you have to come up with something to tell them because if they tell their dads something’s up we’re screwed.”
“Easy as sneezing,” I said waving him off as we both made our way back to the booth.
“What’s up?” Rose asked apprehensively as Scorpius sat back down.
“I’m going to jail,” Scorpius said decidedly. I turned to him exasperatedly.
“How many times do I have to tell you—?”
“If you talk about the consequences to everything you do you’ll never do anything, I know,” Scorpius said, rolling his eyes. I grinned and took his face in my hands.
“Aw, our little baby is growing up,” I teased.
Scorpius slapped my hands away laughing.
“You’re insane,” he said, picking up a chip and dipping it in Ketchup.
“Oh shush, you’re going to scare Rose away,” I said, turning to his two companions. “Speaking of scaring people away I have this boot camp thing for the next two weeks and unfortunately it takes over my weekends to so we’re probably going to have to wait until it finishes for our girls night.”
“Girls night?” Scorpius repeated, his eyes snapping over to me. “No way, you are not taking her out on one of your ‘girl nights’.”
“You said to get to know her,” I said in exasperation.
“Get to know her, not give her tattoos and force her to snog guys that have names on your ‘Weirdest Guys Names Ever List.’”
“Don’t mock the list,” I told him. “If we manage to cross off all those names before we die we will have made a pretty huge accomplishment. And you said we should get to know her.”
“Get to know her, not make her deal with a stalker,” he said but he was still laughing.
“Oh shush, you’re going to freak her out,” I told him, rolling my eyes. “Besides, Alfred was a little messed up in the mind, we were just too drunk to realize it and I already promised her we wouldn’t make the papers so we’ll go somewhere off the beaten path. I was thinking Sleepy’s.”
“Taylor!” Scorpius exclaimed. “Even Tyler says that place is creepy.”
“It’s okay,” I assured him. “We’re going to wear disguises. My mum has these old Gorilla masks that we’re going to wear and since the place never gets raided we don’t have to worry about anyone finding out who we are!” I said it sarcastically so Scorpius just gave me an annoyed look but I had forgotten that he wasn’t the only one listening.
“Um, guys,” Rose said tentatively. “I’m right here.”
“Okay, sorry,” I said, taking a deep breath and forcing my slightly psychotic mood to dampen a bit. “I went from a really crappy mood to way over excited in less than five minutes.”
“Never a good thing,” Scorpius muttered.
“Yeah,” I agreed. “Anyways I really do have a boot camp. Do you know when it ends James?” I asked him.
“Err, I think it’s two weeks from this Wednesday,” he said.
“Okay, so we’ll have to do it sometime after that,” I said. “Are you going anywhere this summer?”
“I don’t think so,” Rose shook her head. “Not until late August at least.”
“Okay well I’ll check with Tasha then because she does a lot of last minute getaways but we’ll do it as soon as we can, okay?”
“Okay,” Rose agreed, sounding nervous again.
“I really was kidding about the Gorilla masks,” I said again and she broke into a hesitant smile.
“Okay,” she repeated, squaring her shoulders and sounding determined. I couldn’t help but laugh at the way she seemed to be treating this as though it were a challenge she had to face but I suppose with the few interactions she’d had with us, it probably seemed a bit like spending a day with crazy people who shouldn’t be allowed out in society.
“Meet us at my mum’s store,” I said, turning to Scorpius. “If you’re late we’re going without you.”
“Sir, yes, sir,” Scorpius mocked, rolling his eyes. I stood up and grabbed half of his sandwich, taking a huge bite out of it.
“Hey!” Scorpius said indignantly.
“I didn’t have lunch,” I grinned at him, turning away. “See you tomorrow James,” I added, over my shoulder.
He raised a hand in good-bye and I laughed as I made way out of the pub and into Diagon Alley. At least now he’ll know that I really haven’t changed much since Hogwarts. I briefly felt bad for leaving Scorpius to explain himself but forgot about it as soon as I caught site of the window display for Wiseacres Wizarding Equiptment. There were a bunch of things I didn’t need but hanging from the ceiling were big, black, and extremely hairy Gorilla masks. I knew I shouldn’t freak out Rose anymore than I already had but after a few seconds of battling with myself I gave into my evil side and went in.
“How much for three of the Gorilla masks hanging in the window?” I asked the guy behind the counter.
“Those are just proto-types,” he said. “The ones that actually turn you into a Gorilla are coming in October.”
“I don’t want it to turn me into a Gorilla, I just want the masks,” I explained. The young bloke looked thoroughly confused.
“But they don’t have any powers,” he said, scratching the back of his head. “They’re like Muggle masks.”
“I know, that’s what I want,” I told him. He still looked confused so I sighed and gave him the dumbed down version.
“I don’t want to turn into a gorilla; I just want a gorilla mask. The masks in the window are Muggle masks and that is what I want. Since no one will want those masks after you have the ones for Halloween you’re going to lose the money you spent on them. However, if you give them to me you can tell your boss that you were able to sell the Muggle masks that he was never planning on selling and he will be happy because you made money on something he wasn’t originally going to make money off of.”
“Well okay,” the guy said, walking over to the window and taking three of the five masks down. “Here you go. I don’t know how much you should pay for them.”
I reached into my pocket and pulled out a few sickles, shoving them into his hands.
“Just for future reference,” I told him. “Never admit that you don’t know how much something should cost because if you do people will seriously rip you off.”
“Did you rip me off?” he called after me.
“No,” I said, struggling to open the door with my hands so full. “But if you’re worried that I did you can just copy the two masks still there and your boss will be impressed that you made so much off of one mask. You’ll want to make sure you’re the one to take down the masks though because they won’t be real duplicates, it will just look like it.”
I stopped when I was as far down the street as I could be while still being in view of the shop and looked back. Four gorilla masks were in the window of the shop I had just left.
“Taylor, why do you have Gorilla masks?” Natasha asked as I entered my mum’s store.
“You’re here!” I exclaimed, dropping all the Gorilla masks and hugging her.
“I am!” she said back, not having any idea why she was acting excited and hugging me back like her life depended on it.
“Quick, put this on,” I said, handing her the bathing suit I had been carrying around.
“My bathing suit?” she asked in confusion. “Why do I need—”
“No time for questions, hurry up,” I said. “If Tyler shows up tell him Scorpius is coming. I just have to store these upstairs real quick.”
“Okay,” Natasha said slowly, going into the changing room. She doesn’t work on Sundays but we all come to the store whenever we’re bored. It’s like our own personal meet up place, if we can’t find each other at our houses we just hang out here until someone shows up.
“Hi mum,” I greeted her, passing her on the stairs. She shrieked and fell backwards, making it much harder for me to move past her.
“What in the name of Merlin are you doing?” she asked, looking positively alarmed.
“I need to keep these up here for a few hours if that’s okay,” I told her as she stood up and followed me back into her work room. “I don’t have enough time to go back to my flat.”
“Why do you have...” she paused and changed her question mid-way through. “Are you going to do anything illegal?”
“With these?” I clarified, indicating the masks.
“No,” I told her. Today? Quite possibly.
“Okay,” she agreed and we both hurried back down the steps. There are a lot of reasons why I love and hate my mum. Her being cool with me buying gorilla masks for no apparent reason? That goes in the love column.
“—is coming. Taylor is upstairs because she had to store some Gorilla masks.”
“I found Natasha,” I told Tyler as I walked over to the counter and hoisted myself up on the counter.
“You couldn’t have told me that before I went over to her mum’s house?” he asked.
“Sorry.” I shrugged and he shrugged back.
“Are we going to wear Gorilla masks?” he asked as we waited for Scorpius to arrive.
“No, those are for later,” I said. “But we should do something to hide our faces. You know, just in case.”
“We could paint them,” he suggested. “Does your mum still have that face paint we used for Halloween last year?”
“Probably,” I said. “I’m not sure if it would be here or at the house though.”
“What are you looking for?” my mum asked, walking over to ring up a young girl who looked to be a few years older than me.
“The face paint we used for Halloween last year,” I told her.
“It’s upstairs,” she said. “It should be on the bookshelf behind the yellow box that’s shaped like a heart.”
“I’ll get it,” Natasha offered, walking out in her bikini. My mum raised her eyebrows as she realized that the straps from my own bikini were showing and Tyler had had on bright orange swim trunks that matched his hair.
“You guys aren’t planning on doing anything illegal now are you?” she asked. I glanced at Ty, not sure what the answer was.
“Oh Sarah,” Tyler grinned at her. “Do you really want to know the answer to that?”
Thankfully before my mum could answer she had finished bagging the girl’s things and was being called by another customer.
“Don’t go to jail,” she told us. “You are all far too pretty for that.”
“Aw, thanks mum,” I grinned.
“Is it illegal?” I asked Tyler as soon as she was out of earshot.
“Not sure,” he shrugged. “But we probably shouldn’t get caught.”
“Okay,” I nodded.
“Found it,” Natasha said, hurrying back down.
“Perfect,” I smiled.
“I should probably put a cover-up on, shouldn’t I?” she said, frowning at her bikini.
“Yeah, we don’t want to freak them out too soon,” I agreed.
“I’ll just floo to my mum’s and get an old one,” she said. “It’ll be quicker than going to our flat.”
“Oh, will you get one of your brother’s old suits for Scorp to wear?” I asked. “We’ll get accosted if we go back to his house.”
“Okay,” Natasha agreed easily. It’s a testimony to our friendship that she was willing to wear a bikini, pick up a bathing suit for Scporpius, and paint her face without knowing what exactly was going on.
“Okay, I’m here,” Scorpius said as soon as Natasha had disappeared. “What’s the plan?”
“Paint your face,” I said, indicating the facepaint Tyler was holding. “Natasha’s getting you a suit.”
By the time we were all ready it was nearing two thirty. We stepped outside the shop, keeping our backs to the street so as not to attract a ton of attention and apparated to the visitor entrance to the Ministry.
We had all been there before—me for training, Natasha to pick up her brother, Scorpius to pick up his dad, and Tyler because his mum made him go with my dad for a day—so we all ended up in the right spot. We crammed into the red telephone box and Tyler picked up the phone, giving him the right to do the talking. When it asked him to state his purpose he got smacked by three different people for his answer:
“We’re running through the fountain to have fun,” he said.
The lift didn’t seem to think this was a problem, however, and it began to drop. When it stopped four identical pins dropped out and Running Through the Fountain was written on them. I laughed and pinned it on my suit. The other three quickly followed suit and we stepped out.
The ministry wasn’t busy since it was a weekend and in the awkward time between lunch and getting off work but there were still a few people who looked over and immediately stopped their conversations. One witch even nudged the guard who was half-asleep at his desk, his chin resting on his palm, drool running from his mouth down his arm. No one said anything and no one made a move to stop us.
“Ready?” Scorpius whispered.
We had taken off our cover-ups as soon as we got to the telephone booth and we hid them, along with the boys’ shirts, up in a tree so we could get them as soon as we were finished. Hopefully they wouldn’t become evidence against us. Natasha had been informed on the plan as we made our way down the streets and she had become just as excited as I had been. Scorpius had taken great pleasure in re-describing what I had told him and by the time we were actually in the ministry all of our hearts were beating faster than normal and all of us were ready to see what happened.
“Go,” Natasha whispered and we all took off, diving into the fountain, making sure that we were completely soaked. There were gasps and shouts of surprise but the only thing I was worried about were the two guards who had somehow found out what was going on and were now running towards us. The guard at the main desk was still staring at us with wide-eyes.
“Go!” Tyler and I said at the same time and the four of us stood up and jumped over the stone ledge, getting out on the opposite side we had dove in on.
We were no doubt a sight for sore eyes. Tyler’s face was covered in nothing but Green face paint, as he had decided to try to look like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Scorpius had done stripes of each color in the pallet—green, white, red, and purple—and he had added a bunch of sparkles that Natasha had in her purse.
Natasha had used the paint to create a cat face, using the white over most of her face with purple whiskers, red ears drawn on her forehead, and green, sparkly eyes that we attempted to make look like cat eyes on her eyelids. I painted my own face purple, drew red lip marks on both of my cheeks and did white sparkly stars down the right side of my face. My lips and eyebrows were covered in the white paint.
As we got out of the pool we looked even better. The green paint from the bottom half of Tylers face was starting to come off and the water seemed to washed out the gel that had been holding his hair up (he had opted for purposefully messy hair over a Mohawk for whatever reason) and the orange hair was now plastered to his face.
Scorpius’ stripes were all blending together and had started to drip from his face onto his torso. Natasha’s hair was now decorated in the colors she had painted on her face and sparkles were covering her plain dark blue bathing suit. I didn’t know what I looked like but I could feel my black hair clinging to my back and I tasted the paint in my mouth as I spit a mouthful of water out.
We jumped over the ledge and ran as fast as we could up the stairs.
“Help us!” the two guards yelled to the witches and wizards who were watching the scene but I knew I couldn’t look back.
We ran out of building and out the gates, into the road. With a quick glance over his shoulder Tyler held his arm out to us and he apparated all four of us back to the telephone booth. We grabbed our clothes and ran as fast as we could down the street and into a busy restaurant where we washed the paint off of our faces and put on our clothes. Natasha and I took off our bathing suits and the boys put a drying spell on theirs. As soon as we looked normal we took turns apparating onto the street Natasha and I lived on, not wanting to show up in a big group just in case.
I went last and when I got into my apartment all three of my friends were already lounging in the living room.
“That,” I announced, dropping my wet bathing suit on the floor and walking over to join Scorpius on the couch. “Was awesome.”
Natasha, who was lying on her back on the rug, started to laugh. Scorpius watched her for a few minutes and then started to laugh too. I glanced over at Tyler and pretty soon we were all cracking up.
“Hey,” I said, nudging Scorpius with my foot a little while later. Natasha was asleep with her head on Tyler’s lap and I had taken her place on the floor, resting my flip-flop clad feet on the couch that Scorpius was stretched out on.
“Yeah?” Scorpius asked, opening his eyes to look at me.
“You really need to introduce your parents to Rose. They were trying to get me to snitch on her when I stopped by to see if you were there.”
“What did you say?” he asked.
“That I didn’t know her that well but we all had our reservations about the whole thing.”
“Okay,” Scorpius said, covering his eyes with his right arm.
“Hey Taylor?” Natasha asked with her eyes still closed.
“What were the Gorilla masks for?”
“I thought you were joking!” Scorpius exclaimed, bolting upright.
“Go back to sleep,” I told him, grinning at the panicked look on his face.
“Tay,” Tyler whispered later that night, nudging me awake.
“Yeah?” I asked, still half-asleep.
“That was fun.”
“Yeah,” I smiled. “It was. But if I get thrown in Azkaban when I get to work tomorrow I’m taking all three of you with me.”
“Fair enough,” he conceded and we all drifted to sleep, sprawled randomly around the living room.
Chapter 9 preview:
“You flooded the Greenhouses and Neville’s office when you didn’t finish a paper in time,” he said.
I nodded in admittance. “Normally it wouldn’t have mattered but he said it was the paper or two months detention because I got caught stealing some of his stash. Normally I would have gone with the detentions on principle but they conflicted with some other…duties.”
“I’m sure,” James smirked.
“He told me to turn it in next class, probably as a way of ensuring that I showed up, but since it wasn’t ready…well I needed to figure out a way to get the class cancelled.”
“So you thought you’d take care of it yourself,” James said.
“Hey, my mum always said I wasn’t enough of a go-getter. This way she couldn’t be mad at me.”