Astoria stared, nonchalantly, at the alarm clock on her bedside table. It was 5:57 in the morning, and she was about to get up.
She couldn’t get up right then; have an early start on her day, no. She woke up at exactly six o’clock every morning, took a shower for exactly thirteen minutes, and then her day progressed.
If she were to get up now, three minutes early, her entire day would be thrown off.
When the clock finally blinked 6:00, Astoria pushed back the numerous blankets atop her bed and threw her legs over the edge. Cool air washed over her, and goose bumps wound their way up her arms and legs.
Running a hand through her short curls, Astoria opened a drawer and, grabbing a pair of knickers, made her way blindly through the dark to the loo. After pulling her towel down from its hook, and switching the water on, she quickly undressed. Taking a glance at the clock, Astoria stepped under the warm stream of water with a sigh.
She planned out her day then, while relaxing under the warm water. Not the details; she couldn’t be that precarious. But the basic skeleton was always born there, while Astoria was washing her hair or rinsing her back.
Astoria deftly fished her shower routine, dried off, and quickly secured the towel around her body.
Knocking a fist quickly against Valerie’s bedroom door, Astoria waited for a muffled response before continuing down the hallway. Arriving at the second doorway, Astoria knocked a bit harder on this door. After waiting for a minute, she knocked again, and growling slightly, stalked back to Valerie’s room, throwing the door open.
“Shit!” Astoria yelled at the sight of her two roommates, who were currently entwined in blankets and each other.
Vienna lifted his head and winked largely at Astoria. “Morning, love.”
“Don’t you wink at me!” She growled. “You’re gay!”
“He wasn’t last night.” Val rolls over to face Astoria and shrugs innocently. “You know I can’t help myself.”
“He’s gay!” Astoria repeats, glaring at Vienna.
Valerie smiles and stands up, pulling the blankets with her. “Not when he’s hammered.”
“Stop getting drunk, Vi!” Astoria says, her voice cracking. She sends a quick glance toward the clock, quickly figuring that she’s got about four more minutes to deal with her roommates.
Valerie would shag basically anything as long as it had a pulse, and Vi had an awful habit of getting drunk and announcing that he indeed, did have a pulse in Valerie’s room.
“It’s not like I’m a raging alchy!” He protests, sticking his bottom lip out for added measure.
“Except you are.” Astoria says, smiling wickedly and taking a moment to look around the room. “Can I borrow that charcoal grey pencil skirt, Val?”
“I cannot believe that you’ve got to wear muggle clothes to work.” Vi says distastefully, twisting his face into a grimace. “Doesn’t Kingsley know you’re a proper little pureblood?”
Vi smiled sweetly at Astoria, fluttering his eyelashes.
“Don’t you know you’re a gigantic ass?” Astoria smiles just as sweetly at him, as Valerie handed her the skirt.
“Speaking of asses,” Valerie says quickly, pulling the blankets closer to her body, “are you wearing that skirt because it makes yours look great, Tori?”
“I might be.” Astoria bit back a small smile.
“And,” Vi adds with a snide smile, “aren’t you meeting with a Mr. Draco Malfoy today? The gorgeously delicious piece of man-candy?”
“I might be. I’ve got to get ready. Val, get in the shower, we’ll be late. Vi,” here she stopped and looked him up and down quickly, “stop getting new tattoos and stop getting drunk.”
“Right-o!” He said, jumping up from the bed. From next to him, Valerie rolled her eyes.
“When either of those two things happens, owls will have stopped flying. Or Draco Malfoy will be best friends with that Ronald Weasley.”
Vi fell back onto the bed. “Talk about man-candy. Yummy.” He turned to Valerie. “Did I ever tell you I’ve got a thing for redheads?”
Astoria, now fully dressed and towel-drying her hair, leaned against the doorway, smiling widely and shaking her head. “Only extremely loudly, whenever we pass one in public.”
“When they’re all flushed like that it just makes me squirm!” Vi lets out a giggle, and wiggles around on the bed, clearly excited.
Valerie, on her way out of the door, turns to look at Vienna, and stops short. She continues to stare at Vi, her eyes darkening.
“No!” Astoria warns, giving her friend a little push. “Get in the shower!”
Sending one more wistful glance over her shoulder, Valerie finally exited the room.
“Get up, Vi. Don’t you have something to do?” Astoria looked down at her sexually ambivalent roommate with a look of disgust on her face. Astoria and Valerie both loved the man to death, but his lack of motivation had always rubbed Astoria the wrong way.
Vi was a somewhat of a freelance journalist, writing pieces for The Daily Prophet here and there, sometimes The Quibbler, but his steadiest job was with Witch Weekly, writing a column called What Your Gay Friend Thinks. The column was about what he, as a male gay person in the wizarding world thought of the world around him.
Everyone over the age of twenty-five thought it was absolutely ludicrous and a disgrace to humankind, but the people younger than that just ate it up.
Vienna thought the whole thing was a hoot, as he put it so often.
“I think I’ll watch some muggle reality television today.” He said airily.
Astoria rolled her eyes. “How productive.”
“Right-o!” He smiled. “I think that’s what my next column is going to be about.”
“It’s a wonder you’re not a bestselling author.” Astoria said with a grin, clipping a pearl necklace around her neck.
“People know who I am!” He protested, standing up and wandering toward his room. He appeared a second later in a bright turquoise silk dressing gown.
“They do?” Astoria questioned. “People that matter know who you are?”
Vi smiled sarcastically at her, examining his fingernails. “I need a manicure. You wanna come?” Vienna looked up at Astoria, who examined her own fingernails.
“I do need one, but I’ll have to –”
“Check your planner?” Vi interrupted with an eyebrow raised in question. “Can’t you ever just say yes to something without checking, Tori? Must your entire life be scheduled so rigidly?”
“Yes!” She exclaimed. “I cannot even begin to imagine the complete and utter mess my life would be if it wasn’t scheduled! Not knowing what I need to do next, only having a vague idea of what groceries we need – I would fall apart.”
“You know exactly what we need from the grocery?” Vi sounded surprised.
Astoria looked befuddled. “You don’t?”
Vienna laughed. “I know bugger all about what I need – or want – from life, let alone what we need from the store. Why d’you think I moved in with you?”
“You’re lazy, poor, and would still be downing a can of whipped cream a day off some bloke’s chest if I hadn’t intervened?”
“That last one wasn’t my fault.” Vi pouted. “He had a fabulous chest.”
Astoria nodded. “That’s really not the problem in that situation.”
Vienna giggled. “No, it’s definitely not the problem.”
Astoria grimaced. “You’re gross.” After thinking for a moment, she added “Isn’t there something you could be doing?”
Vi stood up, tilting his chin up in an attempt to look dignified. “I am a writer. I do not go to my work. My work comes to me.”
Astoria dried her hair, styling it to perfection, using the array of products on Valerie’s vanity to mellow every stray hair and tame every curl into shape.
Valerie stepped into her room then, her wet hair plastered to her face and chest, and wearing nothing but a pair of undies.
“What is it with people in this house and walking about naked?” Astoria wondered aloud.
“I’m not naked.” Valerie protested. “Vi, give me my dressing gown back.”
Vi tied the the dressing gown with a flourish and shook his head. “All gay men must have a vibrantly colored silk dressing gown.”
Valerie stomped over and untied the robe herself, pulling it off of him with a scowl.
“Love?” He said with a raised eyebrow. “I’m gay. I’m not going to have sex with you again.”
“Again being the key word here.” Astoria mumbled to herself.
“I don’t want to have sex with you, you great oaf!” Valerie screeched.
Astoria let out a bark of laughter. “Don’t lie, Val.”
She poised her hands on her hips. “Okay, so I do want to have sex with him, but not now! Now I just want my fucking dressing gown!”
“Ooh.” Vi sang. “Testy.”
“For one,” Val growled, pulling the robe on, “all gay men do not need silk dressing gowns! That’s stereotypical! You’re just a big girl, is what you are! Second, if you think that you need one so badly, go get one for yourself!”
Vi crossed his arms. “Tori, what d’you think?”
“I think it’s funny that the it fits both of you.” She smiled.
Vi threw his head back and roared with laughter. “She called you masculine!”
Val crossed her arms. “She did not! She called you feminine!”
“I’m not feminine.” Vi protested.
Astoria rolled her eyes. “I’ve got to disagree, love. You were just wearing her dressing gown. Her turquoise silk dressing gown.”
“Okay, so I’m not feminine physically.” Vi corrected.
He was right there – standing just shy of six feet, going to the gym every day and having large amounts of body hair made Vienna well on the masculine side of the spectrum.
Well, he shaved most of that body hair, but if he didn’t, oh boy was there a lot of it.
“I’m not masculine physically!” Valerie exclaimed, gesturing to her body, as that was proof enough.
At once, they both whined “Tori!”
She raised an eyebrow at the pair. “And you wonder why I think it’s a bad idea for the two of you to shag. What if Val got pregnant? The child would grow up watching, well, this!”
Astoria waved her hands about, and added “What do you think about that?”
Again, they simultaneously said “We use the spell.”
Astoria turned back to Valerie’s vanity, fixing her make-up. “How does that work, exactly? Vi’s drunk, and you’re usually asleep when he comes plundering in!”
“Well, I wake up.” Valerie said. “And my wand is right there on the bedside table.”
Astoria stood there for a moment, staring at her best friend. “Well, I suppose it’s good that you wake up.”
Valerie nodded. “I’d be missing out on quite a bit if I didn’t.”
Astoria blinked. “Not to mention it’d be sort of perverted and, you know, gross.”
“That too. What d’you think I should wear?” Valerie wandered over to her closet and flipped through the clothes.
Astoria joined her friend at her closet. “What about this dress?” She pulled out a deep, jewel-tone purple scoop neck dress with a modest hemline.
“With your gold pumps?” Valerie said.
“Yes,” Tori said, “and I can put your hair up and you can wear those gold hoops.”
“You want to put my hair in bunches?” Valerie looked disgusted.
Astoria, too, grimaced. “What are you on about? I mean in a bun or something.”
Vi rolled his eyes, walking out of the room. “I’m going to make breakfast!” He called over his shoulder.
The girls both made noncommittal noises as they further contemplated Valerie’s outfit.
As Astoria held the dress up to Valerie, Valerie lowered her voice and whispered “Tell me the truth. How excited are you to meet Draco Malfoy?”
Astoria’s eyes widened and she leaned a bit closer to Valerie. “Pretty excited. I’m trying to not let myself get too worked up because it’s completely likely that he’s not going to pass the requirements.”
Valerie shook her head. “This is the one time I’m going to bother you about having standards, Tori, but –”
“What?” Astoria hissed, looking more than a bit peeved. “On a weekly basis you tell me to drop my standards so I can shag somebody so I can relax and pull the wand out of my arse!”
“Well,” Val said, smiling pitifully. “You sorta do have a wand. Up your arse, I mean.”
“That’s better than having no standards at all! And I shag people! Just not nearly as often as you do!”
“I have standards!” Valerie protested.
“You sleep with your gay flat mate on a semi-regular basis! Explain to me where your standards are when that debauchery happens, please!” Astoria stood back, putting her hands on her hips, the dress falling to the floor.
“I don’t – that’s different – I mean, have you looked at Vi? He’s fucking gorgeous, Tori! I have very little self control –”
“Yes.” Astoria nodded. “We know.”
Valerie plowed on. “So when he comes in, I can’t say no! I try, I swear to Merlin – I try harder than you can bloody imagine.”
“I suppose that counts for something.”
Valerie sighed, nodding. “Thanks. Back on topic – Draco Malfoy. I know you’ve got your requirements, but I think that even if he doesn’t meet them, you should give him a chance. I mean, he’s Draco Malfoy.”
“I’m aware of who he is, thanks.”
Valerie pulled the thoroughly-fought-over dressing gown off and clipped a bra on. “But I don’t think you’re grasping the magnitude of the situation! Draco Malfoy is like the Mr. Darcy of the magical, modern world! He’s rich, he’s gorgeous, he’s got Malfoy Manor – need I continue?” Valerie smiled widely at her best friend.
Valerie, however much she slept around and however much she threw herself at men, was a firm believer that somewhere out there was the perfect man for her.
This man would not be chivalrous and gentlemanly, as the men of Elizabeth Bennet’s time had been, he’d be rough almost to the point of brazenness. He’d take the bull – Valerie – by the horns and make her fall in love with him. Preferably by the sheer power of will.
Val didn’t want anyone that was afraid to be different. She didn’t want lace or frills – she never went on dates, never accepted flowers.
Valerie wanted love, lust, and, most importantly, sex. That was what made her happy, and she didn’t want to beat around the bush to get there.
“The thing is –” Astoria said softly. “I want my perfect man, too. I want someone, just like you do Val, don’t deny it, to walk into my life and be exactly what I want. That is never going to happen, and the closest thing I’m going to get to that perfection is someone who fits my requirements.”
“People change, Tori.” Valerie picked up the dress from where it had fell and pulled it on, turning so Astoria could zipper the back.
“I don’t believe that.”
“You’ve got to. Everybody has got to if they want to be happy.”
“Even if I believe, I don’t have the time to wait.”
The pair shared a small chuckle, and Val said “It wouldn’t fit into your schedule, would it? An undefined about of time is too broad to fit into Little Miss Prim’s planner.”
“Yes, it is. And I’m not changing my mind.”
“Just wait. Wait until he, Mr. Perfect, walks into your life and he’ll be nothing like you expected.”
Astoria smoothed out wrinkles in her skirt with a steady hand. “I’ll make him change.”
“Then he won’t be the same person. He won’t be Mr. Perfect anymore.” Valerie quipped, smiling cheekily at her friend.
“Then – then,” Astoria struggled madly for a moment before giving up and glaring at Valerie, who had been waiting for this to happen.
“Then you’ll have to change if you want him to stick around.” Val grinned, if possible, even wider at Astoria.
“That’ll never happen. People don’t change.”
“We’ll have to see.”
A/N: Yes, I realize how long it’s been, and I apologize sincerely. I’ve had some personal stuff going on, and I had a bit of writers block. I want to thank everyone for the great reviews on the first chapter! They were so wonderful to hear! I’ll try to get the next chapter our sooner. Love and cookies, earthfarie. :]