Chapter 4 : 4. When You're Gone
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Chapter 4: When You're Gone
"We'll contact you about the job," the woman said from behind the desk, smiling stiffly at Anna.
"Right," she said, and tried to smile back. "Thank you, Mrs Grant."
As soon as Anna had crossed the reception, and entered the shiny elevator, watching the doors silently slide close in front of her, she slumped against the mirrored wall, and sighed.
"Shit," she muttered, as she closed her eyes.
Another job interview gone wrong. She had no idea what she did wrong! Everytime they told her they would contact her about the job, but they never did, and never would. She was polite, she was well dressed, she smiled, she had an eager excitement to learn new things - why didn't they want to hire her?
Of course, it might've played a huge part that she had no graduation papers from a Muggle school, only lovely memories of Hogwarts, and they wouldn't take her far. It seemed like her only option would be a wizarding career, and that was the last thing she would do.
"Shit..." Anna said again, as she looked at her watch. She was already running late, and unemployed. She had promised Cat to help her move her stuff to the new flat, and she would help Anna.
James and Lily had no idea - yet. But Anna would tell them... as soon as she had everything packed, so that neither James or Lily could stop her by throwing themselves on her things.
She had a strange vibe that this would happen. Afterall, she had become family, and Lily was terrified by the idea of having the gigantic house by herself with James.
As the elevator doors slid slowly open, Anna darted out, and hurried out on the street, looking frantically around for a side alley she could Disapparate from. If someone asked her to travel the Muggle way, she wasn't sure if she knew how to, which was slightly disappointing, considering that Anna tried to live as well as she could as a Muggle now.
Apparation was probably the best thing about the world she had left behind - easy and quick!
Anna reached a dark alley, and Apparated to the Potter mansion. Cat sat on the stone stairs, her face twisted in a bored grimace. As she noticed Anna, she perked up, and gave her a scornful glare. "And where have you been, missy!?" she growled angrily. "I've been waiting for over an hour, and I didn't realize James and Lily were at work, and these people are so distrusting - they have like dozens of charms on the house! You wouldn't be able to break in even if you tried to, and I didn't even try my best!"
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" Anna apologized, and helped Cat up. "The job interview got stretched, and--"
"Oh, you got the job, then?"
"Well, no," Anna said, and grimaced. "Better luck next time, eh?"
"When will you realize that no one will hire you?" Cat snapped. "You're not meant to work with incompetent Muggles! You're a brilliant witch, with great grades from Hogwarts, and you could enter whichever training program you want to!" Cat went on. "I'm sorry, tell me again why you're searching for a Muggle job?"
Anna sighed, and waved her wand in the air, and the door flung open. Cat was the only one who tried to bring Anna back by trying to convince her that the Muggle world wasn't ready for her. Unlike Lily and everyone else, she didn't try to wake any hopes in Anna that things would get better, and that someone would indeed hire her.
As much as Anna hated to admit it, she had a strange feeling that no one would hire her - not within the Muggle world, atleast.
"I packed my things last night," Anna said, as they hurried up the stairs. "I've been trying to be as subtle about this as possible the past week, but I think Lily--"
"-- suspects something?" came a cool voice as they reached the room. "What, you thought I wouldn't figure it out?" Lily asked, and arched one brow at their shocked faces.
"Lily!" they both breathed.
"I... uh... IT WAS ANNA'S IDEA!" Cat blurted, and pushed Anna in front of her as a human shield.
"No!" Anna called out, as Lily slowly crossed her arms, her emerald eyes narrowing. "It was Cat's idea to move in with Sirius, and--"
"What!?" Lily exploded, her eyes nearly bulging out at the mention of Sirius' name. "You two are moving in with Sirius Black!? Anna, are you completely insane!?"
"I think she is," Cat agreed quickly.
"And you convinced her, you blasted, little thing!" Lily said loudly, and Cat winced.
"Look, why are you so upset by this!?" Anna huffed. "Sirius is supposed to be your husband's best friend!"
"And your ex-boyfriend - Anna, you don't just move in with your ex's!"
"Why not?" Anna challenged calmly.
"It's just... not... right, okay?" Lily spluttered, as Anna trudged to her boxes. "I have a bad feeling about this!"
"Of course you do," Anna muttered, and handed over a box to Cat, who quickly escaped the room. "Trust me, nothing will happen."
"But I..." Lily started, and bit her lip. "I don't want you to move out."
Anna had expected her to say something else, so this surprised her. She looked around at Lily, and frowned at the pout she saw on her pale face. "Aww, Lily!" Anna groaned, as Lily's lip started to tremble. "I'll visit you as much as I can, yeah?"
"It'll be awfully empty without you," Lily whispered. "And quiet..."
"Lily, you have James," Anna sighed, and hugged Lily tightly. "I don't want to be the third wheel around..."
"But you're not!" Lily exclaimed, and gazed at Anna. "We're a team, the three of us!"
"Lily," Anna said firmly, and shook her gently. "Get a baby - it'll bring noise and company enough!"
Lily scowled at Anna's joke, her eyes narrowed again. "A baby won't fix anything!"
"Aww, Lils! Don't tell me you haven't thought about expanding your cosy little family with James? Don't tell me you're not hiding a thick album under your bed with baby names, baby showers, room colours for the baby - all unisex?"
"I'm not," Lily quickly said, and blushed deeply. "What business do you even have to what's going on under my bed?"
"You used to hide the Butterbeer there when we were at Hogwarts," Anna admitted sheepishly. "And I got curious."
"Well, it's not like I'm the only one harbouring baby plans!" Lily shot back, looking smug now.
"Who else is?"
"You, Anna," Lily said, and smirked.
"No, I'm not," Anna said, looking confused. "I'm not even thinking about getting married - hell, all the baby talk is like gazillion years away!"
"That's what you say now..." Lily muttered, and picked up a box. "First you move out, then you get married, and bada-bing bada-boom!" she mused, and danced out with her laughter echoing in the hall.
"Oww, oww, oww!" Cat called, as she stumbled in through the door. "OWW!"
"Who told you to take..." Anna started with a smile, but fell silent as her eyes took in the sight before her. "...the heaviest box," she finished quietly, as Sirius sprung up from the sofa - with a beautiful brunette.
"Erm," Sirius said, ruffling his hair uncomfortably. "I didn't expect you to arrive... so soon..."
"I... I... we just... uh," Anna stammered, blushing furiously as she glanced at Cat for support.
"We thought you would be out or something," Cat muttered, staring at Sirius with raised eyebrows.
"We'll just... go to my room, then," Sirius said quickly, and grabbed the girl's hand and dragged her to one of the rooms, slamming the door behind him.
"Weird," the girls chorused, and stared after him.
A long silence stretched between them, as Cat shifted uncomfortably next to Anna. "So, can I say something now, or do you want to ponder for another minute?"
"Go ahead," Anna said quietly.
"THIS IS MY ROOM!" Cat exclaimed out loudly, dropping the box from her tight hold, and bounded towards the room on the other side of the room - leaving Anna only one option; the room next to Sirius'.
"Thanks, Cat!" Anna called sarcastically after her friend, and rolled her eyes as she heard Cat laugh loudly. "Great..." she muttered darkly, walking slowly to her room, preparing herself for her doom.
She entered the empty room, her eyes at once moving to the large window, which seemed to be the only source of light at the moment. The walls were a faint shade of beige, and the floor was of dark wood - Anna smiled, as she recognized the wood to be the same as in her bedroom back in the Potter mansion.
Anna sighed, and put down her box. Her hand went to her hips, as she started to plan what kind of wonders she could do with this room - it was like a blank canvas and she was the artist. It gave her some sort of freedom, and she liked it.
Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard muffled voices through the wall, and she frowned, trying to hear better.
Someone giggled loudly from the room next to hers, and Anna scrunched up her nose, wrenching the box open on the floor.
Of course the walls had to be made of paper.
"Um, Anna?" Cat said carefully.
"Hmm?" Anna said, and looked up from the lamp she was holding.
"We were thinking--"
"'We'?" Anna asked curiously, and frowned.
"Sirius and I, of course," Cat said and rolled her eyes. "Anna, seriously - we're all room mates! Who else did you think I would brainstorm with!? It's awfully straining, you know..."
"Right," Anna said and chuckled. "So, what were you thinking?"
"That we should have some kind of welcoming party, or whatever," Cat said with a shrug. "I mean, we could watch a Muggle movie - Sirius' all hyped up over that idea! - eat popcorn, drink beer or Firewhiskey... you know, the usual..."
"The usual?" Anna asked in disbelief. "We've never done that before, Cat!"
"Watching a Muggle movie in third year doesn't count as the same - we were having a slumber party at Lily's house, there was no beer involved, not even Butterbeer!"
"Not that you're aware of," Cat muttered. "Anyway--"
"I'm sorry, but I really can't tonight," Anna apologized, and bit her lip. "Alex made a reservation at Signor Pucci's - you know, that fancy Spanish restaurant around the corner? I really can't back out from that! You know how much I've wanted to go there, and you know how difficult it is to get a reservation there - I mean, we were three months on the waiting list!"
"Yeah, yeah, but--" Cat started, and closed her mouth. She took a deep breath, and glared at Anna. "You're not co-operating with me on this one, are you?"
"Sorry," Anna laughed, and continued unpacking. "But we could always go shopping tomorrow - you know, we both need new beds to sleep in, or we'll be sleeping on matresses for the rest of our lives."
"Why not marry a bloke with a bed?" Cat suggested grumpily.
Anna froze, and stared down at the boxes. The idea of getting married this young felt so odd - mindboggling. And lately, it felt like it kept popping up everywhere; Fenwick and Marlene's marriage, James proposing to Lily in the Common Room, Alex's proposal, her dad's wedding... not to mention the millions of signs! More than once had she been standing in a line at the market, when she had looked out through the window, and seen a wedding service car drive out on the street.
Not to mention the numerous wedding magazines she 'just happened' to pick up at the waiting rooms everytime she waited to get called for another job interview.
"Ahh," Cat said, looking mortified by the reaction her words had had. "Sorry 'bout that, Anna."
"It's fine," Anna whispered. "It's not like it's a taboo or anything..."
"It may as well be," Cat joked. "Tell me again why you didn't marry Mr Perfect?"
"Because I'm not exactly thrilled about being Mrs Perfect," Anna said with an annoyed voice. "Yet," she added, as she started to imagine her future together with Alex.
Her dreams were crushed as soon as she reached the planning of the guestlist - would she invite Sirius, and would it be incredibly awkward?
How many brides invited their ex's? And just how many actually pondered about things like that, and spent many sleepless nights over it?
Zero, that's how many; zero.
"Well, it's your loss!" Cat shrugged, and grinned at her.
Anna frowned, not sure what to say. "I guess so... I am sorry, Cat," she reminded her friend.
"Ah, well!" Cat said, and shrugged again. "We can get wasted at Marlene's wedding this weekend, anyway..."
Anna groaned, and shook her head as Cat left. The wedding - how had she managed to forget that?
A/N: Eeee!! I can see a dark future ahead - or not. Never really spent much time to find my 'inner eye'.
- Lily xxx
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