Chapter 2 : The Davies
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Yeah. Don't get used to it. Never know when I'll be back. It's just that these chapters are short. And they're easy ^_^ So yeah, this is my new mode of procrastination.
Ummmm not much to say. Oh. Right. Um. Yeah. Elizabeth, I am SO SORRY for mistaking you for Saba in my response. I've apologized already but I have to do that AGAIN. (See how sleep-deprived I am?) Love to Ali for pointing that out. I certainly would have missed it. I did, in fact.
... I was going to say something else, but I forgot. Ugh.
Oh, well! Thank you - all of you! - for reading and reviewing! You guys keep these stories from dying!
LOVE to all the cynics in the world, and anyone whose mind is not as warped as mine!
What I wouldn’t give to be able to go home early for once. Just once, I’d love to know what it feels like to be able to leave all my troubles behind in the office. And then come home and relax. A bubble bath would be nice. I haven’t had one for years.
But no! No! Parvati can’t go home early tonight! Not even if there’s an extremely important dinner in an hour and a half. Make that one hour and twenty-eight minutes. Parvati has a bloody story to write.
“Damn it all!” I scream at the very messy sheet of parchment on my desk.
An hour later, I can hardly read it, but it doesn’t matter. I don’t care at this point. It’s something to show my boss. And that’s pretty damn good enough for me.
I snatch the sheets making up my article viciously, marring the drying ink and making it even more illegible. Vicky won’t be happy. But there has to be a reason for having my own assistant, right?
As much as my life sucks, I have to admit it’s better than being Victoria Frobisher. I am myself, therefore I don’t mind myself too much. Vicky has to deal with me all the time, even more than Romilda does. Romilda only tags along when I’m out on the field, getting the skewed facts. Vicky, on the other hand, is around when the real work is done: when I’m sorting out the facts from the half-truths, and the half-truths from the downright lies. I have to decide what’s best for the public to know. And it’s infuriating.
“Hey, Parvati,” she greets, exhausted. This is what has become of her life. She was Hogwarts’ golden girl in her day, even better than her classmate Ginny Weasley. And look where that’s got her. Plus, her love life is even worse than mine. At least I can still plot for my happiness. No, her true love is dead. Shot while on holiday in Nice. It broke my heart when my boss forced me to cover that story.
“More or less,” I answer, slamming the fruit of thirty-nine combined hours of labor. “Edit. Rewrite. Improve. Have it on my desk by nine on Monday.”
“Damn,” swears Vicky, thumbing threw her newest workload. She has to squint to read it. “Haven’t I told you to get an enchanted quill?”
“Probably, but they bother me.”
“You are impossible, Patil.”
“You are out of line, Frobisher.”
She rolls her eyes pointedly, because she knows I’m not going to fire her. Vicky is probably my best friend right now. With Lavender gone and most everyone a pain in my ass, Vicky puts up with me and puts me back in my place.
“Go to bed,” she orders, gathering everything I’ve given her and sticking it into a basket, aptly labeled ‘To Rewrite’. Vicky is neurotic and labels everything.
“Put that crap into the ‘To Get Done Before Parvati Goes Binge Drinking’ one,” I advise, remembering with a wry grin my boss’ reaction when he saw that one.
Vicky raises an eyebrow curiously, but she acquiesces. She always does, even if it is accompanied with some obscenely clever retort. Thankfully, she makes no snide remarks about my order, and she bids me an exasperated goodnight. Relieved, I prepare to Apparate out in the lobby to – ugh.
I forgot. I have to go to the Davies’ house. The dinner is there.
Unrequited love is a bitch.
You’d think my parents, or God forbid Padma herself, would tell me to show up wearing traditional Indian clothes. You know, salwar kameez and all that crap. You’d think, right? No. Of course they don’t tell Parvati that wearing a dress is not the Patil Plan of Action. It’s not even as if the dress is ‘indecent’ or anything. Not like I’ve come to see my sister’s fiancé (my true love, remember) wearing a bra or something. It’s a dress.
“Oh, hello!” I simper to the Davies and my own family. Dad may be allowed a suit, but Mum and Padma are of course outfitted in their own salwar kameez. Padma looks ravishing, of course. She always does. We’re twins, yeah, but somehow she’s always been able to pull off the Indian stuff better than me. The problem is that I can’t keep a straight face. Or a still tongue. “Wow, I’m really out-of-place, aren’t I?” I quip half-heartedly, managing to give Padma an angry glare.
“Not at all!” insists Roger himself jovially. He has been chatting with my father before, but now that I’ve entered, he stands up and gives me a hug and swift, meaningless kiss to the cheek. Polite. Damn. “Grab a chair, make yourself at home!” he commands, falling back into his seat.
No, don’t trouble yourself to get me a chair yourself, especially since there aren’t anymore chairs available. I’m content just standing here like an idiot, feeling extremely self-conscious.
Roger is dashing. He always has been. Like a Greek god. There were girls who’d kill for him. Even Fleur Delacour went out with him.
Would I kill for Roger?
Not now. Too many witnesses.
“How was work today, Jannu?” asks Mum.
I struggle not to roll my eyes. Why, God, why? Why must my mother still feel that she ought to call me by her pet name? In public? In front of her daughter’s future in-laws?
“Typical,” I answer listlessly. “Just typical.”
“What do you do again, Parvati?” inquires Mr. Davies. He looks exactly like his son; clearly the Davies kids are born to be gorgeous. Damn it all.
“I work at the Daily Prophet,” I remind him. He knows exactly what I do for a living; I got a statement from him about Padma and Roger’s engagement. He’s just fishing for conversation. As usual. I’m not that bad with people! Really. I’m horrible, but I’m not a pariah.
“Oh, yes!” crows Ms. Davies. Old cougar. She divorced her husband ten years ago. It is very obvious she and Mr. Davies hate each other. Good for Roger to be loved so much by his estranged parents that they come together for him. And Padma. “Yes, darling, I read your column every week! So very entertaining.”
“Thank you, Ms. Davies.” It’s good to know that Vicky and I are kind of capable of producing readable crap every now and then. I make a mental note to tell my boss this. He’ll be pleased. “I’m glad you enjoy it.”
Dad chuckles light-heartedly, and I try to stifle my groan. I know exactly what he’s going to say. “If you know our Parvati, Ms. Davies, you’d better keep your secrets to yourself! Parvati can get anything out of anyone!”
What a lovely point to make in casual conversation. I’m not to be trusted at all costs. Lovely.
Funnily enough, even I don’t know if I should be proud of my peculiar talent or not. It’s great for work, but in practice? Not so much. Remember how there’s a difference between print and real life? Yeah. I know that too well.
“Is that so?” Roger laughs, as if he doubts my father’s advice. “Well, then, what’s my deepest secret? Hmm?” He exchanges an intimate glance with Padma.
“She does need more time to get to know you!” Padma giggles. Bitch.
“How about Padma, then?” asks Mr. Davies. He winks garishly at my sister, and I struggle to not gag. “You’re twins! Anything we should know about her?”
God, why do you tempt me so dearly?
I roll my eyes in play. “Mr. Davies!” I squeak, pretending to be scandalized. The absurdly high tone of voice I’m using reminds me of Hermione earlier today. The voice she used for the voice recorder, manufactured. “I can’t tell you that!”
“Why ever not?” He is hurt. Or he pretends to be.
“Because,” I smirk, “the secrets I keep are all for blackmail later.”
There is a guffaw as they realize I’m joking. My laugh is the shrillest, causing glass throughout the Davies’ parlor to vibrate at the high pitch. Padma’s giggle is second to mine, but her expression is set.
We both know I am deadly serious.
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