Chapter 2 : The Art of Being Bold
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The next morning, I find myself wandering down the stairs and perusing the very same magazine (which I'd discovered tucked under Lily's pillow whilst looking for my only elastic, which I'd firmly forbidden Lily to ever "borrow". Things of mine always tended disappear, even after as little as a few hours in her care.) that my dear cousins had been gawking over last night. With that said, I never did find that elastic, and thus my unruly hair falls irritatingly into my eyes.
So far I've managed an average of five tucks-behind-the-ear per minute.
Once I get downstairs, the sudden sound of various masculine outbursts of enthusiasm calls my attention to the kitchen area. I walk in that direction out of curiosity, the room opening up and the smell of maple syrup filling my nostrils. The air is humid, and the backdoor is open as well as the windows. In the sitting room just off the kitchen to the right, the floor is almost completely covered by sleeping bags and discarded clothing.
The Burrow is just barely accomodating for the roughly... fourteen people visiting for the week, but Grandma Weasley insisted that the more family (and friends of the family), the merrier. And whatever Grandma Weasley says, goes.
So Lily, Dom, Roxy, and I have been forced to share Aunt Ginny's old room; Molls, Freddie, Louis, and Lysander share Uncle Percy's; Hugo and Scorpius share uncles Fred and George's old room (a perfect placement, if you ask me); and Mum and Dad share Dad's old room under the attic.
Teddy and Victoire retired to their quaint cottage in the Kent countryside last night, a wedding present from Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur.
Sitting at the kitchen table were Albus and James, who I assume had arrived a few hours ago given their attire, and the fact that Aunt Ginny's conversing with my mum over tea by the far counter. Scorpius stands with them with his back to me, wearing a blue hoodie and matching navy blue and white gingham boxer shorts. A few tufts of his dirty blonde hair stick up in the back. Despite his lean build, he manages to easily conceal whatever it is they are so excited about at nine o'clock in the morning.
Across the kitchen, Lysander's sitting in the windowseat with his forearms resting on the sill and his chin resting on his forearms. His hair doesn't dance in the slight breeze anymore since Teddy had shaved it all off two weeks ago. I miss his curls.
"Morning," I say, sitting down on the seat next to him. I look back at my cousins and Scorpius, who have begun chattering excitedly again. "What are those ridiculous boys up to today?"
Ly turns around at this, looking at them, too. "They're attempting to build a model of the Burrow out of playing cards," He explains. Ly looks at me, his brows furrowing pointedly. "Exploding snap playing cards, to be exact."
"Naturally," I laugh, shaking my head as Hugh comes running into the kitchen waving something in his hands over his head. The boys at the table look up, and Scorpius turns to him as he huffs out his message.
"Found 'em," Hugo tells him with a triumphant grin.
"Yeah!" Scorpius shouts, taking the deck of cards from his friend and emptying the package into his palm, before spreading them out in front of him on the table. As his position shifts, I catch a glimpse of their so-called model. I am so surprised at how impressive it really is, that I whistle in that I'm-so-impressed way. Scorpius claps Hugo on the shoulder. "Good work, my friend."
Ly looks at me in wonder, raising an eyebrow inquisitively. "So girls fancy blokes like that," He says wistfully, his eyes widening with hope. "How do I become more like them?"
I can't help but laugh.
"I never took you for the dangerous type, Ly." I admit, then sigh. "But if you really want to know, the key is simply to be bold and take risks. When she's feeling low, console her and cheer her up. If she turns you down, don't be afraid to give it another go. Girls love blokes who care enough to stand outside their window with a boombox playing a romantic love song."
Lysander looks bewildered, and I realize that I'd probably lost him at "go".
"What?" He asks.
"It's a scene from a muggle film we had to watch and analyze for Muggle Studies in February by Cameron Crowe called Say Anything," I explain. "I quite liked it." Lysander only blinks, the corner of his mouth twitching like he wants to laugh at me and my endless fascination with the muggle world. I'm almost as bad as my grandpa, mum says. "Don't you have a girl to stalk?"
Ly made a face. "That's a bit harsh, Rose." He replies, turning back to the window. I shrug and do the same. "I've simply taken an interest. Besides, what do you think I was doing before you came down?"
I follow his line of sight out the window and into the backyard, where the lithe figure of Dom lay on her colorful towel in the grass, wearing a fire-engine red bikini and matching sunglasses. She was every bloke's fantasy come to life, and it didn't help that she was an eighth veela, either. I was mildly surprised that Lysander wasn't drooling.
At least he'd admitted he had a problem.
I stand and go to the cupboard, pulling out two glasses before going to the refridgerator and then filling them with ice cold lemonade. I take them back to where Ly sits, sipping from one.
"Here," I tell him. "Dominique looks parched. Take this to her, and offer to keep her company." He nods, taking the glass and starting to get up. He looks back to the window, before pulling out his wand and waving it over the bed of flowers just outside. A tulip blooms and grows tall, before he pulls it up from the dirt. He turns back to me and I smile. "Nice touch," I say, before watching as he heads out the backdoor and across the yard.
"Pretty housie," I hear from somewhere behind me.
Four voices shout "NO!"
Then there is a series of exploding noises and a child begins to screech in fear. I spin around to see a house of cards toppling over, each one spontaneously combusting as they fall. Four boys jump away from the table, trying to avoid getting burnt, and a snot-nosed, wet-faced five year old Freddie holds his hands to his ears as he shrinks away from the chaos. Mum and Aunt Ginny are nowhere to be found.
I begin to go console the five year old, but someone beats me to him. In a matter of moments, Freddie's being swept up into our neighbor Griffin Fawcett's arms, calmed, and rocked to sleep, his incessant wailing quieting to a whimper, and then, eventually to silence.
At this, I can't help but smile.
Griffin's this lean guy, built like a male model for Witch Weekly or something, who lives down the road from the Burrow. He has nice green eyes, short brown hair, and a modest smile. Luckily, I'd been coming to the Burrow since I was barely able to walk, so we'd known eachother our entire lives.
Unfortunately, that included the awkward braces and acne stage.
I liked to think that made us closer.
"You're so great with him," I tell him with a grateful smile as I approach him. "My plan probably would have included the use of a sleeping draught."
He laughed. "Well, I've had a lot of practice with my neice and nephew when they were around this age. A right pain, they were, but it pays to be able to calm them down so easily." He says with an honest, perfect, so-not-full-of-himself smile. "Is there some place I can put him down?"
I blink, having to take another second to absorb his words fully.
"Oh, yeah." I reply quickly. "Second floor, first door on the right. Any bed is fine, really. This one will be out for a while."
Griffin nods, "Alright."
Then he turns and leaves the kitchen, before disappearing up the staircase. I sigh a little too loudly, drawing the attention of an already peeved Scorpius. He pushes himself from the floor (where he'd been mourning the loss of his morning's work) and comes to stand by me.
"What was that all about?" He demands, trying (and failing) to sound casual.
I pull my brows together, and look at him. "What was what all about?"
Scorpius clears his throat. "'You're so great with him'," He repeats, imitating me in a high-pitched, overly-girly tone and pretending to swoon.
"Oh, sod off, Malfoy." I scoff, rolling my eyes.
He's just jealous.
Or, at least, I hope he is.
"If Freddie hadn't been in his arms, I'll bet you would've been in a heartbeat." He continues, cocking an eyebrow suggestively. I want to hit him, or curse him into the next century.
My hands are shaking.
"Have you ever had your tongue glued to the top of your mouth?"
Scorpius made a face, "No, why -"
"Well, you will if you don't shove it."
"Aw, Weasley, that the best you got?" Scorpius taunts me, his mouth curving into a smirk. This was his way of indicating that he was challenging me, and most days I would accept without a doubt. But right now, he was just being annoying.
I took a step toward him, so close that I could feel his hot breath on my nose and cheeks. "You know it's nowhere close,"
I make the mistake of looking up, into his bluish-gray eyes. My breath escapes me. I lose my train of thought. I look away, before he realizes that he has this affect on me. The sound of footsteps approaching makes me jump away from Scorpius.
A moment later, Griffin appears.
"You ready to go?" He asks.
With a brief glance at Scorpius, I nod and lace my fingers through Griffin's. "Ready as I'll ever be."
Bellamy Lake had been our secret hideout deep within a forest of Ottery St. Catchpole behind the Fawcett house, ever since I had run off when I was eleven, after finding out that Griffin would be going to Durmstrang and I would be stuck at Hogwarts alone. I had only managed to get over my disappointment when Griffin told me that Durmstrang was a school for blokes only, so I would not have been able to go with him anyway.
We ran out of the trees and into the little stretch of meadow that separated the forest from the edge of the lake. Today, it shimmered in the morning sunlight that filtered in from the canopy.
"Ha! Told you I would beat you this time!" I laughed, turning my back on the lake as Griffin came running out a moment later. But he didn't stop.
"That's cause you cheated!" Griffin shouted back, tackling me and causing us both to go crashing into the lake on the last word. I screamed with surprise as the water soaked through my clothes, but it felt nice compared to the scorching weather that was ambushing Ottery St. Catchpole this morning.
Griffin rolled from ontop of me, allowing me to push myself into a sitting position as I laughed, and splashed him. "You can't call a year of exceptional leg growth cheating!" I countered, showing off my legs in the sunlight. "I won fair and square,"
"Those are some pretty spiffy legs," he agreed, although I'm not sure why he would ever say the word spiffy in public, "Although, I see you still have had no luck with getting tan."
I blushed as I pursed my lips. It was no secret that, for as long as I'd been aware of the tanning pasttime during the summer, my skin had not taken to it very well. It tended to burn quite easily as opposed to soak up the sunlight and give me that glowing tan that most people (ahem, Dom,) seemed to have no trouble acquiring.
Needless to say, I'd given up two months ago.
"I'm working on it," I replied, which wasn't a complete lie. It's not as if I wasn't going outside into broad day sunlight from time to time. He raised an eyebrow at me, smirking slightly as if he didn't believe me as he floated idly beside me on the water. I'd never totally understood how he did it, but I was too much of a spaz to try and attempt it myself. "So how's Durmstrang lately?"
Griffin frowned, glaring up at the canopy above, and the little patches of blue sky in the spaces between leaves and branches. "Brutal," he exhaled, managing a weak smile as he looked over at me, "especially without you there by my side. Everytime I arrive at that school for a new term I can't wait until summer gets here."
My eyebrows pull together. "Well, haven't you made any friends yet?"
"Oh yeah," he said sarcastically, laughing bitterly, "tons." Griffin turned his face away from me and, with his head partially submerged in the water, his hair was pulled away from his face.
Right along his hairline was an angry red scar that looked recent.
I touch his arm. "Griffin, have they been hurting you there?" I asked quietly, genuinely concerned.
He cringed away, sitting up in the water. His eyes were narrowed, but they weren't cold. They told me that he was hurting inside, that this was a delicate topic that should never have been brought up.
"Look, I have to leave early tomorrow, and I wanted to spend some time with you today since I know I haven't been around much this summer," explained Griffin, and I swallowed hard. "I just," he reached out as if to touch my cheek, but closed his hand before he did, "Let's not talk about school. They're teaching me how to be strong there, so I can take care of myself. I don't want you to worry about me, okay?"
I found myself nodding without really thinking about it. I hated seeing him this way, so I brushed my wet hair behind my ear and told him, "Okay."
By noon, I'm back from the lake with Griffin, and out with my family in Diagon Alley for some last minute school shopping. We have only taken one step in when everyone quickly disperses. Roxy goes off with Grandma Weasley, holding Freddie's tiny hand as they make their way through the crowd. James mumbles something about popping into Uncle George's joke shop, but I know for a fact that he's just spotted Mary, the petite blonde who works at Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor on weekends. She was currently scrubbing furiously at a spot on a table outside. A rather frenetic Lily jumps up and down infront of the Magical Menagerie, pointing at some animal in the window and tugging on her mum's sleeve.
My eyes narrow in irritation as I watch her argue with Ginny about whether or not she needs another pet along with her owl Sasha. Her straight red hair bounces up and down in a casual ponytail, secured with a neon blue elastic.
My neon blue elastic.
But you knew that already, didn't you?
Despite the fact that dear Lily's a year and a half my junior, I may just need to kill her.
"Where's your boyfriend?" An annoyingly familiar voice inquires harshly from behind me, and I grimace. Without hesitation I begin to walk down the cobbled street, feigning interest in the things on display in the various shop windows. As usual, there's a crowd around the window infront of the Quality Quidditch Supplies shop admiring the newest broomstick. Hugo and our fantastic Dad were among them.
"Griffin's not my boyfriend."
Scorpius raises a blonde eyebrow, falling into step with me. He's still wearing the same pullover from this morning, but at least now he's wearing pants. And flipflops. "That isn't what it looked like," He sings, rather poorly, might I add. Well, poorly for a sixteen year old bloke whose voice had changed two years ago, while he had been reading his History of Magic essay to our class.
Teasing him had entertained me for months.
"Says who? You?" I laugh, rolling my eyes. "I think I'll have to pass on your level of judgement,"
"No, James, Albus, and Hugo all agree with me," Scorpius replies with a indifferent shrug. "You always go all weak in the knees when he's around. It's sickening to the bloke-eye,"
I stop walking to look at him properly. My brows furrow, not sure as to whether or not I should believe him.
"You're lying," I say matter-of-factly. "And probably just jealous."
He shrugs again, gazing up at me through his eyelashes. The afternoon sunlight reflects in his eyes, brightening up his murky irises. His pullover brings out the blue in them. They remind me vaguely of the ocean.
"Yeah," Scorpius says, mischief glinting in his eyes as he smirks. "You're probably right." Then Hugo emerges from the massive crowd of people milling around the Quality Quidditch Supplies window, spotting Scorpius within a matter of seconds.
"Oi! Scorp, you've got to come see this!" He yells, hardly able to contain his excitement. "The store's finally recieved the NimboStratus 2023, but it doesn't hit the shelves until December!"
Scorpius' eyes go wide, and I can tell I've lost him completely. "You're kidding," He says back, heading over to where his friend's standing, leaving me standing in the middle of the street by myself. I wonder for a moment where Lysander's disappeared to.
I look around, finding Molly coming out of the Slug & Jiggers Apothecary just a few shops down the road. The corner of my mouth twitches as I approach her.
"Stocking up on ingredients for a Conception Potion, Molls?" I tease, making her jump. Her hand is on her chest when she turns to face me, a brown paper bag clutched in the other.
Then she blushes, obviously caught. "I just wanted to be completely sure before I," She pauses, glancing around, and then leaning closer. "Well, before I get around to telling you-know-who I'm preggers." I just blink.
Actually, I don't know who.
Unless she means Voldemort, which I'm sure she doesn't.
I'm pretty sure she doesn't.
AN Just went and edited this one quite a bit: added more to Griffin's introduction and explained his relationship with Rose some more as suggested. Thanks for taking the time to read! If you have any other questions/comments/concerns/general feedback on this or the first chapter (after they were revised) feel free to leave it in a review for the next chapter. (:
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