Chapter 3 : The Boss
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Nothing to say. I'm slowly dying. This REALLY MIGHT BE the last update for a few weeks. The update after that REALLY WILL BE the last update for a month or so. So cherish it while you can. :P
Oh, yes. Thank Ali (serendip) for the update. I was going to put it off as usual, but she'll love me for forever and two days if I do.
But the question is: will YOU?!
There is a memo on my desk when I walk in again on Monday. Underneath it lays the printable – or at least the presentable-to-boss – copy of the crap I wrote earlier. Vicky is a good worker. But before I see what changes she’s made, I open the stupid memo. I hate memos. They mean work.
I skim it quickly, but there are certain words that catch my attention, even this early on Monday.
“FROBISHER!” I shriek angrily. It doesn’t matter if all of my colleagues are glaring belligerently at me for waking them up so rudely. How dare he – they – I can hardly think! Dammit!
Vicky dutifully trudges to my desk, her own mug of tea in hand.
“What the hell could possibly have gotten you this awake this early?” she mutters sleepily. Her Earl Grey sloshes over the edge, scalding her usually flawless complexion. I gasp, but she rolls her eyes. “It’s ice cold,” she explains exasperatedly. “But seriously, Parvati, what the hell?”
“I told you to tell Mackey–”
Vicky snatches the offending memo from my shaking hands and skims it. She gets Earl Grey on the stupid thing, too. Tea is death. Chai is worse. When she sees the part that infuriates me, she rolls her eyes. I don’t know what she’s thinking, though. “Sorry, Parvati,” she offers drowsily, chuckling under her breath. And then, cool as you please, she stalks off, finally wiping the stone cold tea from her hands.
“Bitch,” I intone furiously. Oh, well. Not like she could have done anything. Not even bring me my very necessary coffee.
If I’m going to see my bastard boss, I might as well steal some of his never-ending supply of the stuff, right?
Thus placated, I march right to Maxwell Mackey’s office. He has hell to pay if he doesn’t explain himself.
Mackey and I don’t get along too much, not like Vicky and I, or even Romilda and I. Probably because I’m their superior, but Mackey is mine. He enjoys giving me the most menial stories usually, unless it involves the Potter-Weasley clan. He thinks my familiarity with them is an ‘advantage’ since they ‘trust’ me. But that’s what he thinks.
“Oi, Mackey!” I whine, unintentionally sounding really, really immature.
Mackey looks up at me, looking only slightly pissed. That’s always a good sign. “What, Patil? Didn’t you get my memo?”
“I told you I wouldn’t do it!” Neither my boss nor I believe in beating around the bush with each other. Otherwise no work would get done, and we can’t have that. Especially not for the sake of people like Ms. Davies.
He looks mildly amused. “And? I asked politely.”
“Asked?” I scoff. “You’ve demanded!”
“As well I should. You’re my employee, hotshot.”
“Max.” I never use his first name unless I’m really, really desperate. And it’s not like I’m desperate, I don’t think. I just really don’t want to do this. “Max, really? You think people care that Ginny Weasley’s dumped Potter again? People don’t want that! That’s not go – er, social commentary. That’s just… stupid.”
Mackey rolls his stern black eyes. He’s heard this argument before. “Patil, this is Harry Potter we’re talking about. The kid hasn’t had a decent love life for years. It’s our duty – well, your duty – to chronicle his failed attempts at romance.” And I’ve heard this answer before. He’s actually tired of saying it to me, I think, but he goes on nonetheless: “So what if he’s a hero? Even Harry James Potter has relationship issues. He becomes human for the working-class witch.”
The speech is so contrived I want to vomit. We both know how much Harry Potter stories are worth nowadays. Especially, you know, since he only talks to me about his love life. Lucky me. But it really isn’t worth it.
And it sure as hell isn’t worth it to argue with Maxwell Mackey when I still haven’t had my coffee. So, defeated for the umpteenth time, I steal some of his rich Kona blend and stalk off, wondering where the hell Romilda Vane could possibly be.
We have a bloody story to get.
Harry Potter works at the Auror department with his best friend Ron Weasley, and they’re taking the Ministry by storm. At least, that’s what I’m told. Word is, Harry has Minister Shacklebolt wrapped around his finger. I wouldn’t be surprised, but Harry’s too cowardly to actually act on anything. Poor bastard.
Usually he and Ginny lunch together in Diagon Alley. But he’s single today, for the second time in so many weeks. As usual, he’s lost and confused, and usually wanders into some McDonald’s in Muggle London. Today is no exception.
Romilda stays behind on this one, choosing to tag along with another journalist – a real one, unlike me – to take pictures for him. She hates meeting up with Harry. No doubt the Love Potion fiasco-thing a few years ago still haunts the two of them. This is the only – repeat only – I would ever let Vicky anywhere near a camera. There is a reason she’s supposed to do the paperwork and not the actual, you know, field work.
“Frobisher,” I warn as we near the Muggle fast food place, the Holy Grail for all overweight Americans, “if you dare lose that goddamn camera I will sack you. That’s Mackey’s camera.”
“What, he wants the negatives of Harry Potter wolfing down hamburgers?” she retorts.
“No, but Vane does,” I answer smoothly, tossing my hair away from my face.
For all my excursions into Muggle London, I still don’t like it. Too exposed. We’re supposed to be hidden from them, right? And now Harry bloody Potter is hiding out in a McDonald’s. There was a time where most wizards didn’t know what the hell McDonald’s was. Now it’s something of a fad to eat there, ever since Romilda’s pictures gave away our location.
That was when Harry started refusing interviews with her.
I don’t blame him.
“Touché,” Vicky chuckles, nonetheless gripping the camera for her dear life. And for her sucky job. I can’t imagine why she still tolerates Mackey, Vane, and the rest of them. Myself included. We’re just that maddening. “Now, does Potter know I’m coming?”
“Nope,” I say cheerily. Though the only cheer I’m getting on this rather dreadful November afternoon is because some schoolchild ran into the glass doors.
“So am I supposed to sneak around you two?”
“He’s not that paranoid.”
“I would be, if I survived a couple hundred death threats over my – what, twenty-three? – years of existence.”
“Vicky, honey, you would have been killed at the first opportunity.”
And then I shut up. Remember how Vicky’s true love was shot? Yeah. Probably not the best idea, bringing up death and destruction in casual conversation with my best friend, who happens to also be my long-suffering assistant. Poor girl. It’d be so much better for all parties involved if someone transferred her to someone less… bitchy? Yeah, bitchy is the word.
Speaking of bitches. There is Harry Potter. His bitch Ron Weasley is nowhere to be found. Harry placidly munches a cheeseburger in one of the corner booths, very much forlorn. I note, however, he has bought an extra cup of coffee.
See how often we do this?
“Hi, Harry!” I greet airily, sliding into the booth. It’s actually clean for once, thank God. I know the staff of this place well enough to know whether or not they’ve been working.
“Afternoon, Parvati,” he returns dully, looking up to meet my gaze. Then he notes Vicky, who is looming awkwardly over the two of us, not sitting down. “You’re not Romilda.”
“No, this is Victoria. Vicky.” There is no recognition. “Frobisher?”
He nods suddenly, memories flooding his brain. “Oh, yeah! Vicky Frobisher! You almost made our Quidditch team!”
Vicky blinks slowly before she realizes what he’s talking about. I, of course, am left out of the loop. “Yeah!” she affirms shyly. “That was a while ago. Obviously I haven’t had much time for Quidditch for awhile.”
“You should make time. It’s great fun. Best thing I can do in my leisure time.”
“Which,” I butt in hurriedly, “you don’t have much time of, do you, now that Ginny’s up and left?”
Aww! Harry thinks he might get away with not revealing anything!
Poor bastard. He knows as well as most everyone does: Parvati Patil has no time for pleasant social calls. This is a bloody McDonald’s, and I have work to get done before I get to go binge drinking.
Haven’t you noticed yet? My morals are sketchy at best.
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