Chapter 2 : 2. Money Makes the World Go Round
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Characters; Anna, Sirius
Image by: Chella at TDA
Chapter 2: Money Makes the World Go Round
Anna sipped her coffee, enjoying the silence before the Potters would wake up. She knew they liked to sleep in the mornings, and not wake up before they really had to. Somehow James' lazyness had got to Lily, and she refused to get up until the last minute. It took them both all in all five minutes to get to work, after a fifteen minutes of getting ready.
During those five minutes they usually gushed around Anna, asking her if she would be all right all alone in the house for a whole day.
Anna hated to disappoint them by saying she had a few appointments she had to be at, such as job interviews and lunch with Alex, before she actually got to enjoy the luxury of an empty house, which she spent in the kitchen, searching for cheap apartments in London.
"JAMES!" Lily roared, and dashed down the stairs. Anna smiled to herself, and turned the page in the Daily Prophet, listening to James run down after Lily. "Hurry up!"
"Yeah, yeah!" James grumbled, trying to struggle with his tie as he passed Anna. "G'morning, girl," he said, kissing the top of her head as he passed her.
"Morning, James," Anna said cheerfully. "Another exam, huh?"
"Yeah," James groaned, and took a sip from Anna's cup. "Thanks, love," he called, and dashed out from the kitchen, searching for his robes.
"Anything good in the paper?" Lily asked, entering the kitchen, fully dressed, as she pulled her red curls on a tight ponytail.
"A few more attacks," Anna muttered, feeling her stomach turn in an uncomfortable knot.
"Anything about the attack?" James asked, leaning over Anna's shoulder to read the article.
"The Robinsons," Anna said quietly, her eyes quickly running over the article. "Nobody got seriously hurt, it was just a threat... but check this out," she said, pointing at the picture.
James narrowed his eyes, as he stared at the serpentine coming out from a skull's mouth, shining brightly on the dark sky. If it wouldn't be such a serious issue, it would have been a pretty spectacular thing, but they knew better.
"Moody will give us hell about this," James muttered darkly.
"Well, I'm off!" Lily called out, and kissed James quickly. "See you tonight, baby."
"Bye, Lils!" Anna and James called, as Lily stepped in the fireplace.
"St. Mungo's!" Lily called out, and disappeared from sight.
James took the paper from Anna, and sat down, eating his toast as he read through the entire article. Anna leaned casually back in the chair, smirking at James across the table. After a moment, she cleared her throat, and James looked up with a confused expression.
"James?" Anna said, raising her brows. "Um, work?"
"Oh shit!" James cursed loudly, and dashed to the fireplace. "Bye!"
"Bye," Anna laughed, and reached over the table to take the paper back.
"The Ministry of Magic!" James said, and then he was gone too.
Ah, Anna loved the mornings at the Potter household.
Anna stood on the street, gazing up at the high building. She had convinced Cat to join her to look at the flat she had seen in the paper, and Cat had agreed - fortunately.
But little did Cat know that Anna had set up more than that...
She shivered, as she held the umbrella over her head, her teeth clattering as she tried to peer down the street. She was almost sure she had seen someone who looked like Cat enormously so, but it had proven to be a young girl, who ran past her. Anna stared after the girl with a frown. She hadn't seen Cat in almost a week, and she was more than eager to meet up with her again. What with Cat's try-outs taking most of her time, she was always half-dead when she came home, and simply didn't have the energy to do anything else than... sleep.
A week was a long time considering how close they were.
"Boo!" someone whispered in her ear, and Anna let out a loud gasp. "Hey, love!" Cat said loudly, and threw her arms around Anna.
"Oh, my God - Cat!" Anna shrieked, and hugged her.
Cat hadn't changed much; her hair was still the same - as blonde and frizzy as always, and her face was the same. Anna pulled away, and grinned at the girl in front of her, wondering, if that smug look would ever wash away from her child-like face.
Cat often liked to joke that she would die with a smirk on her face, and no one could disagree with her.
"So this is it?" Cat said, as they rushed up the stone stairs to the green door.
"I think so," Anna said, and bit her lip. "But I'm a bit nervous... the price was awfully low, so I'm worried it might--"
"--be a real hole that is falling apart?" Cat finished, as they walked down the corridor towards the old elevator. "Don't be such a pessimist!"
Anna laughed, as the elevator slowly dragged up, rattling loudly on the way. "And this comes from the girl who spent seven years on telling people how life sucked?"
"Absolutely," Cat said, and sighed. "Besides, you could always, you know..." she hinted, and Anna shook her head.
Anna knew what Cat was suggesting. When the Potters had died - James' parents - they had not only given her the documents of adopting her, but also one third of their money. She had found out only a week after graduation, when she had got a visitor from Gringotts - a very small, pudgy man called Mr Durff - who had questioned about her interest on moving the money from the Potter family vault to another high-security vault - her vault.
When Anna had looked confused - vault, what vault? Only Purbloods had high-security vaults! - he had handed her a parchment that let Anna know just how rich she was.
It was enough to buy a small country, to say the least.
The very least.
"No," Anna said firmly. "I will not touch that money. I've done nothing to deserve it, it isn't mine to use."
Cat sighed impatiently, hearing the same phrase over and over again as she even hinted about using the money she had got from the Potters. "I'm sure they would want you to buy yourself a nice little house, Anna Banana..."
"And I'm sure they would want me to do the decision myself, and not under your peer-pressure!" Anna said, nudging Cat with a smile.
"One person's suggestion is hardly 'peer-pressure'," Cat complained under her breath. "How did it go yesterday, anyway? With your dad, I mean?"
"Oh, it went great!" Anna said, and smiled. "I actually have a dad now, Cat..."
"It must be amazing, huh?" Cat said in awe. "One day you have no family, and then all of a sudden, you have a dad!"
"That's exactly what kept me up all night," Anna admitted, as the elevator came to a sudden stop. "Imagine if Benjy was my only family - how sad would that have been?"
"He's actually pretty cool," Cat pointed out, as they walked to another corridor. "They came to visit us last weekend - you know, to get some of Marlene's stuff away from the mansion - and they really seemed happy!"
"When is the wedding again?" Anna muttered darkly, still remembering the invitation to the wedding.
"The upcoming weekend," Cat said. "You are coming, right?"
"Of course," Anna said. "I mean, they only invited a few people, right? Wouldn't like to hurt Marlene's feelings - I know she wanted a big wedding sha-bam, right?"
"Oh, yeah!" Cat laughed, as they came to a stop in front of another door. "She did throw quite a tantrum over that one... imagine, her guest list was narrowed down from two-hundred and fifty to a pityful one-hundred and fifty!"
"One--" Anna started, but fell silent as she saw someone walk towards them from the elevator. Her face lit up, as she realized who it was. Cat slowly turned around, and her eyes widened with horror. "Remus! You came!" Anna said happily, hugging the tall boy as he reached them.
"Anna!" he said, and grinned. "I thought-- oh, dear," he said, his eyes flickering from Anna to Cat, realization hitting him. "You didn't...?"
"I did," Anna said sheepishly. "Sorry..."
Her plan had worked.
"I'm sorry, I thought... I thought you asked me to come and check out the place for you!" Remus said, and looked nervous.
"Well, I lied!" Anna apologized, and smiled.
There was an awkward silence, when Remus and Cat stared at each other with wide eyes. "Well, this is awkward," Cat finally blurted out, and Remus blushed.
"Oh, please, don't--" Anna started, and rolled her eyes.
That's when she saw him. He walked calmly down the corridor, and the little light that was in the dark corridor gave no justice to his elegance, his amazingly dark hair and bright eyes. Anna stared at him, her breath caught in her throat. She slowly glanced at Remus, as if to search for cover.
"Oh, this is not awkward at all," Remus chuckled, shifting so that he could see the boy walking to them. "But believe me - it will be!"
"What is this, some secret hallway society?" Sirius asked, his hands shoved in his pockets.
"Hello, Sirius," Anna said quietly, avoiding his intense gaze. She hadn't seen him since that day on the train. They had both been awfully great with avoiding each other, and Anna was grateful he hadn't tried anything. But still now, seeing him again, after all this time... how could she not feel a lump rise in her throat?
"Hey, Anna," he said warmly. "How have you been?"
"Same old, same old," Anna rushed to say, brushing her hair nervously behind her ear. "Rejecting proposals left and right, and living with another happy couple in a huge mansion - oh, life is great!"
Cat let out a nervous laugh, and quickly covered it as a cough as Anna glared at her.
"So, what are we standing here for?" Sirius asked brightly, as if he hadn't heard Anna at all.
"We're..." Anna said, biting her lip. "...wondering."
"Anna, please, for your own sake - shut up," Cat muttered, and knocked on the door.
Before Anna could utter another word, the door opened, and a woman with black hair opened the door, her eyes greener than green, as she smiled to them almost like a lion feasting on its prey.
"Hi," Anna said, blinking rapidly at the sight of her. "We're here for the apartment...?"
"Anna Parker?" the woman checked, and let them enter. Anna nodded once, as they trugged through in a line. "I'm Estelle Altman - Welcome, welcome, children! - I see you brought your own judges!" she laughed, and Anna gazed at the woman with a frown. "Many people often ask their closest friends to come with them, as if to ask their personal opinion about a flat!"
"Lovely," Cat said, and grimaced. "Just... lovely."
"All right, children!" the woman said, and strutted in her high heels over the dusty wooden floor. "Over here we have the fireplace - very, very old fashioned, as you may see..."
"Very ancient, if you ask me," Cat muttered to Anna, who nodded.
"It can be connected to the other fireplaces in the Floo Network, and over here--"
"Wait!" Anna cut off, when her brains finally caught on what she had said. "Did you just say 'Floo Network'?"
Estelle swirled around to stare at her with wide eyes, as she smiled sweetly. "M'dear, yes, I did... is there a problem?"
"I didn't... I didn't know you were a witch, that's all..." Anna muttered.
"Oh! Didn't you know that magical people have their own people scattered everywhere - just to help those poor purebloods with simple Muggle things like this!"
"That makes sense," Remus said and nodded.
"Sure, sure," Sirius said and rolled his eyes. "If it was my cousin Bella, she would have murdered that woman already..."
"Oh," Anna said, ignoring the boys behind her. "That's... interesting."
"Yes, yes, it is!" Estelle chirped, and disappeared into the kitchen. "Over here..." they heard her voice, as Cat and Remus wandered off to the general direction of the kitchen, leaving Anna and Sirius alone in the living room.
"So, what do you think?" Anna asked stiffly, eyeing the worn out tapestry, and dirty windows. She could have sworn that a rat peeked out from the fireplace, and she instantly thought of Peter Pettigrew - always lurking around.
"I don't know," Sirius muttered, and looked around. "It seems a bit... you know, grudge-type-of-place. Very chic."
"'Chic'?" Anna snorted, and glanced at Sirius. "'What a hole', is more like it..."
"That's what I said," Sirius said defensively, and Anna chuckled. "Look, Anna--"
"Well, it seems I have no other options!" Anna sighed, and rubbed her forehead. "Brilliant..."
"Anna," Sirius said, and walked over to her by the window. "You know you don't have to live like this..."
"But I do, Sirius!" Anna exclaimed, gesturing around the room with her hands. "This is all I have afford to right now, and my other option is to marry Alex, and move in with him, and his parents in a humongous mansion - and that makes me feel so trapped!"
"Is it that horrible to marry him?" Sirius asked quietly, his eyes genuinly curious at this.
"No, not really... it's more like the idea of getting married at all that freaks me out," Anna admitted, and sighed. "And he has no idea..."
"It will be okay," Sirius assured her, and put his hand carefully on her shoulder. "Trust me on this one - you have other options!"
"Like what?" Anna asked, looking at him sadly. "It's either this or marriage!"
"Move in with me," Sirius blurted out.
"What?" Anna asked, and let out a nervous laugh. He couldn't be serious - right?
"My uncle died a month ago, and I just happened to inherit all his money, which is a lot of money!" he said and shook his head. "Anyway, I bought this amazing apartment in London - the better part of London - and I thought I would come up with a solution for all the empty rooms, but... but it seems like they're just going to be empty afterall. Interested?"
"What about the house the Potters gave you?" she asked suspiciously.
"I can't... live there," he said slowly, suddenly looking pained. "Too many memories. And it's too big... too much space."
The offer was tempting. A part of Anna couldn't believe something like this could happen - an apartment on the better part of London! - and it sure sounded better than this place looked like.
"How many rooms are there in the ?" she asked carefully, and narrowed her eyes.
"Four rooms, and a kitchen, plus bathroom," he said with a non-chalant shrug.
"What the hell did you buy an apartment with four rooms for!?" Anna called out loud, as Cat and Remus returned to them, both of them looking awfully awkward.
"What's going on?" Cat asked with a frown.
"Sirius... he... he..." Anna stammered, staring at Sirius, completely lost at words.
"Anna's shocked how I bought an apartment with four rooms and now offered one of the rooms to her," Sirius stated calmly.
"That sounds like a decent--" Remus started, but fell silent under Anna's glare.
"That sounds great!" Cat called out, speaking Remus' mind. "I'm sure it's a lot better than this hole here!"
"But--" Anna started.
"Hey, Sirius? Um, did you really say four rooms?" Cat continued, looking hopeful.
"Yeah, why?" he asked.
"Because then It would only make sense if I moved in there too, right?" she said and grinned.
"Yeah, that could work," Sirius said and shrugged. "I thought you--"
"I live with my parents, and to be honest, I have to get out of there!" Cat went on and shook her head. "Mum's spending most of the days wailing how she'll never get grandchildren..."
Everyone chuckled at this, while Anna stared at her friend in disbelief. Cat had just turned her back on her, and Anna was speechless.
"Cat," she said stiffly, as she finally pulled herself together. "A word, please?"
"Sure," Cat said and walked to the kitchen with Anna, just as Estelle rushed out, pulling Sirius and Remus with her to check out the bathroom. "What's up?"
"You idiot!" Anna hissed, and poked Cat hard with her finger. "I can't live with Sirius!"
"Why not?" Cat asked with a frown.
"First of all," Anna started, lifting one finger to count all the reasons against the suggestion. "We have a history together, and I've finally got over that, so it would only be very, very awkward - I can't deal with awkwardness right now!"
"You must come up with a better reason than that," Cat huffed, and folded her arms. "Next!"
"Second of all!" Anna whispered loudly. "Do you have any idea what Alex would think!? He would throw a fit - hell, he would die of shock! Do you realize that I'm not just rejecting his proposal, but I'm throwing it in his face, and moving in with another bloke!?"
"Oh, come on!" Cat laughed. "If that's what he'll think, then he's seriously paranoid - hell, you're paranoid!"
"Am I?" Anna asked icily.
"You make such a great fuss about such a little thing," Cat muttered.
"Oh, do I?" Anna growled. "What would you say if I suggested that you moved in with Remus?"
The look on Cat's face was priceless. She gaped at her, trying to get out something from her mouth, but failed. Anna smirked at her, fully aware of her bittersweet victory.
"So, the discussion is over, then?" she asked with a smile.
"That's a whole other story!" Cat said loudly. "Remus and I actually dated, unlike you and Sirius - you two had an affair!"
Anna gasped, and her eyes widened. "How can you throw that in my face!?" she breathed, her face pale.
"I'm sorry, Anna," Cat apologized at once, and bit her lip. "But you must see the difference between them..."
"I know, but..." Anna said, and shook her head. "I mean, I need to talk to Alex about this, and--"
Cat let out a squeal, and hugged Anna. "You won't regret this!"
"I hope so," Anna laughed nervously, her eyes meeting Sirius', who walked into the kitchen just then.
"Well?" he asked, looking from Cat to Anna. "Are we going to be a happy bunch of roomies, then?"
Cat nodded eagerly, her arm around Anna's shoulders. Sirius grinned, and left the kitchen, Cat right behind her.
Anna felt like a heavy burden had been pushed from her shoulders; she had an apartment. But to her disappointment, it was soon replaced with another one; what would she tell Alex?
A/N: Okay, I just want to tell you young readers to NOT neglect your homework, essays, school projects, sleep, and regular eating-routines because of some story - it worries me to death to think about the youth risking their health like that, although, it makes me kind of smug to think that I'm keeping a bundle of them out of trouble... you know, drugs and such. If you're not HIGH when reading my stories, which would be... hilarious :D "Ooh! Author's Note! Ooh! Text! OH MY GAWWWD SPOILER HAXXXXXORRRR!!!!!!!" ...yeah ^_^
- Lily xxx
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