Chapter 1 : Part One: Rebecca
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Authors Note: Here is another one for you. Please review and let me know my shortcomings!! So go ahead and read!
Part One: Rebecca
The wind roared outside the window, the raindrops hitting the pane with ferocity unseen before. Yet, with all its fury combined, the climate outside the cottage could never match the one inside.
Richard Zonko had been enjoying his cup of tea when his daughter had stormed in, clutching a newspaper tightly in her hand.
“Explain,” she slammed the paper on the desk, “this.” She spread the paper out for him to read. If his daughter’s voice had been dangerously calm, the headline shrieked out for him to read-
ZONKOS SELL THEIR TRADITIONAL SHOP TO THE WEASLEY CHAIN
Richard Zonko closed his eyes. His daughter pounded her fist on the table, “Read further, papa.”
Richard opened his eyes. The article went as follows:
In a shocking business bid yesterday evening, Mr Richard Zonko sold his family heirloom, the Zonko’s Joke Shop in Hogsmeade, to the WWW chain manager Fred Weasley. It has been said that the deal was of over a million galleons. This figure is the biggest business transaction in the Wizarding history and is rumoured to have been the final straw to break Mr Zonko’s earlier ‘no’s’.
The Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes (WWW) Chains, as we know them today are one of the few profitable business ventures that have been successful after the Final War. Already having six chains near and in London, Hogsmeade was the only Wizarding dwelling left without one. One of Fred Weasley’s close associate, name not mentioned on request, says, “He always wanted to open a shop in Hogsmeade, even before the war. It is his pet project and as soon as his twin George Weasley consented to the idea, Fred Weasley went ahead with it. We expect him to look over the chain personally. This is a momentous occasion for WWW. We had to wait for Mr Zonko’s yes, you see, Mr Weasley has immense respect for Mr Zonko. He used to visit the shop during his Hogwarts days.” Till date, there are only four other WWW chains outside Britain.
The WWW have been included as a case studying the annual curriculum of the wizards studying business at the Hovercraft University, an insider confirmed.
The success of this bid makes Fred and George Weasley the second richest wizards in the world, coming only after Gladrags owner Alfred Gladwin. Their accounts are estimated to hold 15m galleons respectively. They reside in Ottery St.Catchpole and when contacted, were not available for comment. Also see, pages 7, 12 and 14 to know more about the curriculum at Hovercraft and Prof Riggins theory on how British wizards dominate the world rich list…
Richard Zonko finished reading the article. As he looked up, he realised he could not meet his daughter’s eyes. He had expected to see fury in her eyes. He had expected an accusation. But nothing had prepared him for the hurt that seemed to have settled deeply in her eyes. Ashamed, he looked down, again.
“Why, papa?” It was all she could manage.
Richard felt his daughter’s hand covering his. This more than anything, gave him the courage to look up.
“I had to Becky. I had to.”
But she continued to look at him. Urging him to continue. So he did.
“You know the state your mother is in. WE could not have afforded further treatment on our own. After the war what little profits we made could not have fed us for long.” Richard knew this was the only way to tell her, she had left him no choice. “Besides, the sum offered was too good. We can afford a proper treatment for your mother and live decently without any concern for the future. And we would still be left with enough for you to open another shop at another place…”
“Then you must try and forgive me. I know it was your dream to run the shop. But I had to serve your mother as well.” Becky nodded. Richard knew she had understood and forgiven him.
Then she shook her head.
“No papa. I understand your need to sell the shop. But you must understand my need to have it back. It was my dream, my ambition, my sole purpose of existence. Yesterday, I came back to my hometown after fourteen years. Why? To run my shop. To fulfil my dream. And I am not going to let it be snatched away by some brat, who is not satisfied in running ten shops so he gets another. Well, Mr Fred Weasley can have as many shops as he wants, but I am not going to provide them. Zonkos is mine. Was mine. And will always be mine. I’m going to snatch it back, because it truly belongs to me. Mr Fullheaded Warthog better learn to lose, because I have no intention of letting go of my shop.”
Richard gaped at his daughter. Well, this spirited side of her certainly didn’t come from him but it made him realise the significance the shop held in his daughter’s life.
“How much was the deal for?” asked Becky in her normal tone, all excitement that was present a second before vanishing astonishingly.
“Sixty thousand galleons.” Richard answered happily, eager to prove to the efficiency of his decision.
“I need five hundred of it.”
Raising Rebecca Ashley Zonko was a task beyond tough. It was impossible. From the day she learned to walk, Rebecca became the centre of everyone’s attention for she had an uncanny habit of disappearing right under everyone’s nose. Tired and frequently ill, as she was, Mrs Amber Zonko felt that her daughter would never be cared for properly in her household, hence after many arguments with her husband, Mrs Zonko emerged as the victor and Mr Zonko had to send his little princess off to St. Petersburg to live with her muggle aunt. Mrs Zonko was convinced that this would benefit little Becky tremendously. Mr Zonko was convinced that it would be utter disaster.
In a way both were right.
Auntie Suzie turned out to be an eighteen year-old semi-girl, semi-woman, who lived alone on the fortune of her late, lamented parents. So, with just fourteen years of difference between them, four-year-old Becky became Suzanne’s best-friend. The consequences were obvious. Rebecca was introduced to the hip-hop muggle lifestyle at the tender age of four, one reason why it became firmly embedded in her. But where her aunt taught her to fly high, she was chained down by the strictest rules laid down by wizard kind as she was enrolled into Petrovich Academy for Young Witches at the age of ten.
If you are wondering what was taught there, you certainly have the right to. Transfiguration, Charms and Potions were not quite what they were supposed to be. Transfiguration was all about how to turn a pebble into a comb at emergency (you got the highest grade if you could produce a whole vanity box). Charms centred on how to charm your hair, cheese and boyfriend. Potions mainly dealt with various types of Love Potions and recipes a good housewife must know how to concoct. Care of Magical Creatures restricted itself to imparting the highly complex process of raising poodles, pixies and fairies. Herbology was simply banned (which lady worked around in gardens, spoiling her perfect nails?). There wasn’t any need for Defence against the Dark Arts (what’s the point in playing the damsel-in –distress, when you know how to defend yourself?). These were replaced with lessons on how to smile the perfect smile and how to walk seductively. So, when Miss Becky was strutting around in her classroom, Rebecca was being hailed as the hockey star in the muggle neighbourhood. The tattoo that went down her back was Suzie’s influence on Becky, the marks of frequent whipping, Miss Petrovich’s.
If you are thinking how one person could live such contrasting lives, think no further, for Rebecca’s entire being was a contradiction in itself.
She had hair that fell half-way through her back and was of… orange colour. Orange with tints of red is how it could be best put. With these she had bright forget-me-not blue eyes. Yup, she wasn’t a classic beauty. Her mouth was thin and uninviting. But if her face was passably attractive, her body was nothing short of gorge-ous (no puns intended). Blessed abundantly in places where a girl should be, Rebecca had no trouble getting boyfriends.
Her two best friends were no exception to this supreme rule of contradiction that seemed to govern her life. Daisy was the English rose, with brown curls, white sandals and pretty frocks. Shania was the Spanish rocker with long black hair and torn jeans.
And so Rebecca grew, far way from her hometown. The queer way in which a human’s mind works, made this separation a magnet towards Hogsmeade. The more she heard of the shop her grandfathers had run, the more she wanted to be there, to see it, to walk in it and to finally own it.
And so, on her eighteenth birthday she left for her hometown.