I fought desperately with the urge to roll my eyes at the receptionist at the Witch Weekly offices. I’d just told her my name and at the mention of ‘Weasley’ she had practically jumped out of her chair.
‘Molly Weasley,’ I repeated.
‘Alright, take a seat please, Miss Weasley.’
A second later about four departmental memos went flying off her desk in unison and, not that I’m paranoid, I’m pretty sure there was something about me in them. I took a seat on a hardback fuchsia chair, and prepared to wait a while as the receptionist sat behind her ridiculous aqua-coloured desk and shot me not so furtive looks every other second.
I had never been so relieved in my life that I’d left England when I did, but it only made returning that much more difficult. The witch behind the desk was preened to perfection and it was making me a bit sick. For Merlin’s sake, all skin on show (a considerable amount) was the colour of my dad’s hair, her nails were the length of my fingers and, for some bizarre reason, she seemed to be sparkling. Maybe this was all the rage here?
I hadn’t seen Roxy, Lily, Rose or Lucy sporting this look, but maybe they were behind the times. Either way, there was no chance I’d be caught dead giving people tips about how to look like that…
There’s only so much staring one person can take, and after about ten minutes of waiting in the foyer with only that mental looking witch for company, I began picking the sleeve of my fraying jumper apart so that it only looked more dilapidated.
Just as I was about to throw myself out the window to have something better to do, a witch who looked to be in her mid-twenties and was presented considerably better than the receptionist bustled into the room. She headed straight over to the girl and stood before her for a moment, exhaling audibly as the girl quivered.
‘My schedule still hasn’t been delivered, so I thought I’d better come down here myself and see what you’re playing at.’
The woman was wearing a set of extremely well-tailored robes and I could only assume that, despite her age, she held an important role within the company.
‘Well, you see… I, well, I jus-’ the receptionist stammered and I could see her visibly shrinking in her seat, before perking up for some reason. ‘There’s someone here for an interview!’
Oh right, of course. She’s using me to get herself out of the shit she’s managed to land herself in. Let’s see how that works out for you, love.
‘Molly Weasley,’ the receptionist boasted.
Apparently it worked rather well.
Following that, everything was a blur. I was whisked out of the waiting room in record time, and had a vague recollection of passing through an expansive room chock full of desks, then entering a private office with the woman. She settled me in like I was an important guest, and engaged me in conversation before I realised I was being interviewed. I shook my head slightly, and started paying more attention.
‘So, what was it that appealed to you about working for a women’s magazine?’
Fucking nothing, now you ask, ‘Well,’ I began, ‘I am a woman, and I just, you know, thought that maybe I could share my erm…views with other women.’
My embarrassment at my obvious inadequacy bubbled to the surface, flushing my face a shade of red which, I assumed, the people who worked at Witch Weekly would deem rather unbecoming. Another mark against me; not that I wanted to work here! Oh, Good Godric, no - I had never seen myself surrounded by a load of celery-eating hags, swamping the minds of the nation with utter drivel - but I still wanted an offer. If I wasn’t good enough for Witch Weekly I wouldn’t feel fit enough to work for anyone.
‘Yes, that’s a very admirable goal,’ my interviewer said, nodding along as if there was something resembling a brain in her head. ‘Now, if I said you could have free reign over any section of Witch Weekly, which would you choose?’
‘That’s a tough question,’ I said, playing for time and hoping that the ground would either swallow me up, or that I would actually be able to correctly guess one feature that the magazine published every week. ‘Maybe… Horoscopes? ’ Even I heard my voice squeak as I said it.
‘Ah, interesting choice, so what would you do differently in Fortune Telling with Philippa?’
‘Uh, I think that I would probably ch-change the name of the feature to suit me, and, erm, consult a centaur?’
Balls. Why had I just said that? It’s not as if a centaur could care less about Witch Weekly. I was verging on a mental breakdown when the blonde woman stood up and extended her hand.
‘It’s been lovely meeting you, Miss. Weasley. We’ll be in touch.’
I was numb as I stood up myself, muttered my thanks and shook her hand. So, this was what happened when you’d never had a proper job interview in your life. Fabulous.
Exiting the interview room, I held my head high as I left the bustling office before me, in an attempt to conceal that my interview had been bollocks. Absolutely bloody bollocks. Trying to launch myself back into a working environment to get out of the house hadn’t been a stroke of genius after all. My repayment for it was a load of bitchy, stick thin model-types eyeing me and my conservative outfit as we tried to run away.
I passed the last clothes laden, fashion oriented desk and broke into a brisk trot as I rounded the corner, and after the next one I began doing that crazy half-running-hip-swivel of competitive power walkers. After almost kicking a plant pot over and careening into a wall I decided the stairs would be the safest route out, as most were too lazy to venture that way, and I practically jumped down them, in a way rather reminiscent of Hugo.
I had spent all day yesterday cooped up in the house, scanning the Daily Prophet for job vacancies, as I couldn’t stay in The Burrow forever. I was momentarily surprised when five of the six employers replied with appointment times for me within a matter of hours, but then I remembered my name was Molly Weasley. I always knew the name was a bloody curse and that interview with Witch Weekly had more than proved it.
I would be shocked if anyone hired me. I’d have to go and empty bins at the Ministry, and I’d only get that job once the combined force of Uncle Harry, Dad and Aunt Hermione had made someone to employ me.
I flung open the door of the building in which the Witch Weekly offices were located as soon as I got to it, breathing more easily once I re-emerged onto Diagon Alley. There was a steady stream of people browsing the shops, but it was much more manageable than things were during the Hogwarts holidays. Colour exploded from every display case and I desperately wanted to go for a look around, but I’d been roped into the wedding preparations.
Rushing straight past all of the enticing shops, I arrived at the Leaky Cauldron with a few minutes, but escaping Diagon Alley wasn’t as simple as I had hoped it would be. After a mind-numbingly long conversation with Hannah Abbott, I availed of their floo-ing facilities and shot straight back to The Burrow.
‘Molly, is that you?’ An unidentified, but very loud voice called from the kitchen.
‘Yes, it’s me.’
‘Well, hurry up then!’ Rose said as she appeared in the doorway, wearing an apron and watching as I wiped soot from my clothes. ‘You were meant to be at the Malfoy’s ages ago and everybody’s taking a bloody fit. We thought you were dead. You really shouldn’t let us worry like that. If Granddad had had a heart attack it would have been your fault.’
It’s highly doubtful that anybody thought I was dead, but Rose was an aspiring actress and, from what I could tell, her tuition at the Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts was doing its job in making her more dramatic. I decided to ignore the remark entirely, ‘What d’you mean I’m supposed to be at the Malfoys? I thought I was flower picking or something.’
‘Oh Merlin, Molly! Don’t you know anything at all? People don’t pick flowers for weddings, they-’
‘Yes, Rose, I know,’ I said. All attempts at humour were apparently lost on her.
‘Right…’ she answered dubiously as she hustled towards me. ‘Well, if you’re sure…’
‘Well, if I wasn’t before then your wise words have definitely helped, Rose.’
She smiled at me through tightly pursed lips, curls of brown frizz escaping the bobble in her hair, ‘And another thing, Molly? I’ve been hearing some unpleasant stories about you, I can’t reveal my sources, but I thought I should warn you before you go that Scorpius is definitely off the market.’
He was getting married, of course he was off the bloody market!
‘Honestly, I don’t know who’s been telling you that I seduce engaged me-’
‘Oh you would be surprised…’ I shook my head in disbelief, but Rose continued before I could get a word in edgewise. ‘You really should get going if you don’t want to make an even worse impression than you already have.’
I thought about protesting for a couple of milliseconds, but the only thing worse than setting foot in the Malfoy Manor unannounced was being sat here with Rose and her sour face.
‘By the way,’ she said as I backtracked the few paces towards the fireplace, ‘Malfoy Manor is spelt M-A-L-’
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to hear any more of her condescension, as I had hurled myself headfirst into the fire.
An hour later, and after tripping over a good few house elves along the way, I had made it to the giant marquee in the Malfoy’s one million acre back garden and was firmly installed shooting purple ribbons at the white-covered chairs. I still thought it was all a bloody farce though. Who the hell has a November wedding in the garden? It wasn’t like the heavens were going to pelt bloody snow at us, no, it was going to piss down and everyone was going to contract hypothermia. Oh well.
The only thing keeping me going was the illegally attractive (vaguely familiar) man who was roaming around the place, lifting chairs and being generally gorgeous. I knew for a fact that he wasn’t Scorpius, because he was off with Roxanne examining the flowers for the men’s lapels, well, that and the fact that Scorpius looked more like a rat than a person. Apparently it was all about personality nowadays.
I was around a quarter of the way through my tedious job arranging bows and I was already failing. Hugo had even taken to following me around and re-doing whatever I had just done. Grandma was also present, making lists as long as she was for the food needed, and Fred was attempting to conjure doves, as per his sister’s orders.
Unfortunately, Mr. Best-Arse-I’ve-Ever-Seen hadn’t made a guest appearance in a while, and I was beginning to miss his blue eyes and general aura of tall, dark handsomeness. I had decided that listing all the jobs in the world which were worse than this (not bloody many) was the best course of action, when Teddy made his entrance.
‘I thought you were working today?’ I asked as he drew closer.
‘It’s my afternoon off, which is apparently a prime opportunity to help with wedding prep. Pretty stupid when everyone knows it’s going to be bucketing on Saturday.’
‘Exactly what I was thinking,’ I told him as he pulled his wand out of his back pocket and started to aid me in my disastrous attempt to make the place look decent.
Teddy was chatting away, but at that moment The Gorgeous One appeared at the mouth of the tent again. I thought I was being subtle, but when I felt Teddy’s gaze drilling into the side of my head and turned to see him looking at me with one of his eyebrows quirked up, it dawned on me that I had been anything but.
‘I can’t help it, okay!’ I yelled in response to the demon eyebrow. ‘I haven’t had a proper boyfriend in about two years! And he’s just… Well, you know…’
‘Oh yes, quite the dreamboat,’ Teddy said laughing at my flushed cheeks.
I squirmed away from his gaze, hopping round a few of the fold up chairs and into the next row. It would have been fine if I had managed to stay upright while doing this, but my luck meant that I ended up tripping and knocking down about forty chairs like a stack of dominoes.
The-Man-Who-Would-Make-The-Most-Attractive-Father-Of-My-Children couldn’t help but notice.
Grandma tutted, Teddy stood guffawing like the giant idiot that he is and the man I’d been swooning over all day came jogging straight towards me.
‘Are you alright?’ He asked.
‘Err, yeah… yes, everything’s good. Well, it’s not really good, but I’m okay, I think,’ I babbled from the floor as he loomed over me.
‘Here, let me help you,’ he said, extending his hand and wrenching me to my feet.
I tried to say thank you, but had been rendered speechless by the irish lilt in his voice. Luckily for me, Teddy was on hand to help out.
‘Don’t worry about her, Rory mate - she hasn’t had a boyfriend in two years.’
‘Maybe we’ll get the chance to change that,’ he replied, winking at me.
Just my luck, he was a friend of Teddy’s and what a pair of cocky gits they made. ‘Er, yeah, maybe,’ I muttered.
It’s not like anybody half decent would be interested in me, and as the two men walked off for a chat I contented myself with cradling my head in my hands until Hugo came to gossip with me about overly pushy men. His slight build obviously gave him a bit of a complex, but it was exactly what I needed; I soon found myself nodding along enthusiastically to his rants against rugby playing gits and girl stealing quidditch players.
A/N: I am SO sorry for the horribly long wait, but I had a bit of a case of that awful thing known as writer's block. Thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed so far - I appreciate the feedback so much!