Chapter 4 : Missing the Exit to the High Road
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"So, I was thinking," Dexter said quietly from behind Dominique's chair at the party later that night. Dominique nearly choked on her wine she was so startled.
Recovering quickly, she replied, "Well, there's a surprise."
"Ouch," Dex faked grimaced as he sat in the seat next to hers, "your tongue is sharper than a guillotine."
"Is that an attempt to connect with me on a cultural level?" She retorted, obviously unimpressed by Teddy's handsome groomsman. In all honestly, Dominique was fully aware of how attractive Dexter Gadsby was, which is what made him decidedly unattractive to her. They were too much alike, her and Dex.
Dexter didn't reply except to raise an eyebrow, imperiously.
"Fine," Dominique sighed, with a small smirk, "what is it that you have been thinking." It wasn't a crime to find his antics entertaining, was it?
"I've been thinking about you and me," he stated.
Dominique stared at him, her expression somewhat torn between incredulity and exasperation. "There is no 'you and me'", she corrected.
"Ah," he said leaning towards her. The action might have looked casual to the rest of the room, but Dominique recognized the hunger in his movements. "But there could be."
Dominique smiled. "Dexter," she began seriously, desperately trying to retain her laughter, "there is no 'you and anybody' and, frankly, I don't have the time to be your girl-of-the-week."
Dexter grinned mischievously. "You're on to my game."
"I've been on to your game since I met you."
"Ok, fine," he consented, lowering his voice so that she would have to lean in to hear him, "but are you telling me that you're looking for something more serious? Does Dominique Weasley want to find true love and settle down like her blissfully domestic sister?"
Dominique had the sudden urge to toss her glass of wine in his face, just for kicks. And, because he was an arrogant arsehole. "You know, you've really lost your touch, Dex," she sighed, referring to his infamous ability to guess things about people, “It’s not that I'm looking to settle down, it's that I'm just not looking for you."
"Touché", he replied, sitting back and sipping lightly on his butterbeer.
Dominique grinned again as she set her wine glass on the coffee table. "You know," she whispered into his ear, "I'd watch out for that guillotine, or you may just find yourself without a head."
Dexter smiled as Dominique stood and walked to the middle of the room, where her sister was standing. His keen mind picked up on all that was implied and threatened in her parting comment, and all that wasn't.
Lysander Scamander watched Dominique and Dexter's exchange from the other side of the room. He thought he'd gotten over being jealous when another man flirted with Dominique, but apparently hadn’t and the bitter taste was palpable in his mouth. His distraction also cost him the chess game he was playing against Hugo, who smirked at his blond almost relative as he said, “Check Mate."
"That was awful," Lorcan groaned from the chair he had pulled up next to the chessboard. "I'm really, very disappointed in you."
Lysander shrugged, not nearly as embarrassed as his brother obviously thought he should be. “Hugo is really good.”
“Yeah,” Lorcan agreed, “but that was just…bad.” He looked down at the little chessmen who were repairing themselves and shaking angry little fists and swords up at Lysander.
Hugo nodded in agreement.
“Well, why don’t you volunteer to get slaughtered next then?” Lysander said as he stood and offered his brother the chair.
“Don’t mind if I do,” Lorcan replied, sitting.
Lysander walked away from the game to observe the rest of the party. James sat near the liquor cabinet, a crystal glass in one hand and a decanter of port on the table next to him. He looked bored as he stared out across the room without really observing or seeing anything. No doubt he was longing for the presence of his two cohorts, Freddie and Roxy. The three of them together really were the life of any party. Every few moments, James would toss an angry glance at Al, who was sitting on a sofa and chatting heartily with Rose and Scorpius. Lysander couldn’t really blame James for this; Albus’s jealous scowl when Victoire had called all the groomsman together for a picture was apparent to everybody. Apparently, James’ appointment as Teddy’s third groomsman was creating some tension between the two Potter boys.
Lily and Hugo, despite their eighteen years were still very much the babies of the family, were playing Exploding Snap in front of the fireplace. The bridesmaids gathered in one corner to talk, while the bride-to-be was pulling her future husband away from his conversation with Brian and Dex to dance with her. All in all, Lysander thought it was a pretty mellow party until angry hissing erupted from the corner.
“That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard,” Dominique all but shouted from the corner. She stood, staring daggers at Chrys, who had a hand on each hip.
“How would you know?” Chrys spat, “you don’t know the first thing about being Maid-of-Honor!”
Victoire pulled away from Teddy quickly and headed towards the corner to diffuse the situation.
“Well, Victoire’s my sister, and I know she wouldn’t want to do that at her bachelorette party!” Dominique countered sharply.
“Oh, because you two have soo much in common. You’re not even married, slag!”
Jillian, looking very uncomfortable, slipped from her place in the corner and left the drawing room through a set of doors that led out to the garden.
“What? Getting married at eighteen makes you some kind of authority on all things bridal?” Dominique interrogated, her voice dripping with venom. “I heard you’ve been trying to get pregnant. How’s that working out for you?”
“You bitch,” Chrys hissed, looking torn between bursting into tears or clawing Dominique’s eyes out. She probably would have done both if Victoire hadn’t arrived then to pull the two of them apart.
“Stop, just stop,” she cried, standing in between them. “Both of you,” she added, shooting a meaningful look in her sister’s direction.
Brian crossed the room in a flash to place a comforting arm around his wife. As the couple left the party, he shot a dirty glance at Dominique, apparently unpleased that she had hurt Chrys. Dominique glared at her sister for a moment, before shaking her head and stalking over to the liquor cabinet. Every eye in the room followed her as she picked up the decanter and sniffed it. Unsatisfied, she bent down to search the cabinet and came back up with a large bottle of firewhiskey. “Who needs a drink?” She asked the room at large holding the bottle high above her head. There was murmured assent as several Weasley’s lined up for liquor.
Lysander smiled to himself. That was the Dominique he knew and admittedly still loved.
Louis Weasley signed his name on the last page of a huge pile of documents that littered his desk. Rubbing his eyes tiredly, he leaned back against his desk chair and sighed. It might just be for two days, but he really needed this holiday. Inhaling deeply, he double-checked the letter he received from his sister earlier that day, detailing his travel plans to Vera’s Island. Apparently, they had arranged to have one of the mansion’s fireplaces hooked up to the Floo network for one night, so that he could make it.
Grabbing the suitcase he’d kept under his desk the entire day, Louis stood up. He straightened the papers on the desk one more time, before walking over to the fireplace in his office. Grabbing a handful of the silver powder, he tossed it in. Emerald flames erupted as he stepped into the fireplace and shouted, “Vera’s Cottage.”
Louis rematerialized in an ancient fireplace that looked as though it hadn’t been cleaned in years. He grabbed the side of it for a moment as he coughed. It had been a long Floo, and he was quite dizzy. He swore when he finally looked up and took in his surroundings.
Obviously, something had gone wrong with the Floo connection. He seriously doubted his sister had decided to get married in a dark shack in the middle of the woods. Honestly, cobwebs and dust weren’t really Victoire’s thing. He wondered if he was even on the right island, or on an island at all. He turned around, hoping against hope that there was Floo powder on the mantle so he could at least return to his office. He was unsurprised to not find any. His next bet was to try and Apparate, but was surprised when he found that he couldn’t. Suddenly feeling nervous, Louis thought it would be better to try and send a Patronus to one of his family members, rather than go walking in the forest in the middle of the night. He breathed deeply, preparing to speak the incantation, when he heard a shuffling in the corner.
Louis went still, trying to determine if the noises were human or not. He decided that those were definitely footsteps, though he didn’t find them very comforting.
“Hullo?” He called, squinting into the dark. “Whose there?” Louis kept his wand drawn, just in case, but he relaxed as the figure stepped forward out of the dark.
“Oh, thank Merlin,” he said, “You scared—“
“AVADA KEDAVRA!” The figure shouted.
Louis was hit with a blinding green light before his body dropped to the floor, his last words still etched on his lips.
A/N: Just a quick thank you to the screen writers of Mansfield Park from which i adapted the "Your tongue is sharper than a guillotine" line. And thank you for reading.
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