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After Hours by llyralen
Chapter 4 : Ghosts of Boyfriends Future
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 14


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Author's Note: Another update! YAY! Not as speedy, but I hope you like it :) A little glimpse at the dating life of Ms. Rose Weasley. Also, I am so thankful to those who reviewed the previous chapters! You can't know how much I am grateful for them. To those I haven't responded to yet, I am truly sorry. I've been manic planning this holiday I'm going on. Leaving this Saturday to be exact and won't be back until October. So till then, I hope you'll be patient and keep reviewing because nothing in the world makes me happier than reading them. Long or short, they all touch my heart :)

Standard Disclaimer: I own nothing but my imagination. JK Rowling owns the rest. Furthermore, the cast list mentioned below is a list of people I envision to be the characters and is only provided to serve as visual aids for the reader. I have, in no way shape or form, any means to actually procure these actors to be my characters. Thank you!

Rebecca Hall as Molly Weasley
Deborah Ann Woll as Lucy Weasley
Keira Knightley as Rose Weasley
Karen Gillan as Lily Potter

Henry Cavill as Gorgeous Nigel Parkey
Bradley James as Whocareswhathisnameis Wanker



by afterglow @ TDA
by afterglow @ TDA



 

Chapter Four
Ghosts of Boyfriends Future






It took an extreme amount of self-sacrifice on her part, but it had to be done. Molly took an early lunch that day, leaving a pile of urgent paperwork left to be finished, dare she say, tomorrow. She stood there, grim faced and dark.

“Cancel all my appointments today. I won’t be coming back in till tomorrow.” Oh it hurt! It physically hurt to say that. Molly could feel her throat tightening up, her chest caving in and her heart being squeezed to a pulp.

Her secretary, Philippa, looked as if she’d swallowed a fly. She gaped at Molly and tried to from coherent sentences. “You’re taking the day off?”

Molly couldn’t speak. She just nodded. All that paperwork!

“But the Wizenagamot hearing?”

“Send Peters.”

“And the Broom Regulation Board?”

“Cancel.”

“The Floo focus group?”

“Cancel.”

“Goodness, lurvvy,” the old woman shook her head, “I hope nothing bad happened at home. I’ve never known you to take a personal day.”

“I’m taking my little sister to lunch. Then I’m going to a hen party,” she said through gritted teeth.

Philippa’s mouth curved into a perfect O. “Alright. Be cancelling all your meetings then.”

“Do you think I want to!” she snapped before storming out and getting the first lift down before she changed her mind.

Oh she didn’t mean to be so catty. Philippa was the nicest person in the world. What with all the extra hours she volunteered to put in to help Molly out with her massive workload. The woman was pure honey. Molly would have to send her a muffin basket…flowers…something. It wasn’t her fault. It was Rose’s.

Damn Rose! Damn Rose and damn her plans. If it wasn’t for her mental match-making idea, then Molly would happily be having her salad and sandwich at her desk while double checking the papers on the Apparition Amendment Act. Go to all her meetings. Do her job! That was all she wanted to do today. Just focus on work, get things done so she could get a decent night’s sleep without worrying about unfinished paperwork!

But no. She had to keep her end of the bargain. Today of all days - with the hearings and the meetings and the focus groups! Ah! If there were a desk to slam her head on, she would have done it on the spot. Of course, she could have done it if she was in her office, there being a desk and all. Damn Rose!

Let this prove that she loved her sister more than she did work.

She walked the five blocks to the Cauldron in her high heels, mumbling to herself about how Rose would get hers one day. Good thing when she reached the pub too because it started to rain. Molly wouldn’t be Molly if she remembered to bring an umbrella.

She would have screamed, if she were by herself. But there was no privacy in the outside world. Unlike her office.

Lucy wasn’t there yet so she took a seat at the bar and ordered a white wine. While she was at it, Molly mulled over the various ways to strangle Rose. By power cord. By necktie. By scrolls of parchment. Oh how many ways there were!

It was just then that Gorgeous Nigel’s shift began. The other barman, whose name escaped Molly, turned over the tap to him. Gorgeous immediately went to Molly, a smile on his face while he was at it.

Somehow, looking at Gorgeous fill up her glass, Molly had the feeling that she got the shorter end of the stick with this scheme.

“Molly! No Rose today? Treating yourself to a relaxed lunch out of the office?”

Her office. Her beautiful, quiet, fully equip office. Molly sighed. “Meeting Lucy for lunch today.” It sounded more regretful than it should have.

“Turn that frown upside down then. You wouldn’t want her to think you’re dreading it.”

“You sound like Lily. All optimistic and cheery.” Just then, she realized exactly why. Lucy. If Rose’s gossip last night was right, then Gorgeous was more in like with her little sister than they’d originally thought. Sweet as it sounded, Molly was in a foul mood and wasn’t really up to forcing herself to be pleasant until Lucy got there.

My God, it was like Noah’s bloody ark. People were pairing up. Lily and Toby. Lucy and Gorgeous. Rose and her sarcasm. Sooner or later, there would be more days like this. Molly alone at a bar, sitting with a glass of wine. Or something stronger.

She buried her face in her arms and sighed.

“Gorgeous?” Molly looked up. “Are you happy being single? And don’t try to deny it. I know you are. I talk to Rose.”

Gorgeous sat up on the bar and mussed up his hair a bit. It was lucky there wasn’t much of a clientele during lunchtime at the Cauldron. It was just Molly, some quiet hangover nursers and a few bar bums, she couldn’t see the problem with it.

“Being single, aye. Well, not really my ideal status, mind you, but everyone has to be single sometime. Way I figure it, my allotted time will be over soon enough and there’ll be some girl there who can handle a bartender slash graveyard shift apothecary. Why do you ask?”

“Just a thought, I guess.”

“Don’t even try that with me. I’m a bartender, Molly. And you’re a horrible liar. I talk to Rose too.”

Damn Rose! Damn her.

Molly wrung her fingers and looked down to her shiny black shoes. But there was no use. She could see Gorgeous Nigel from the corner of her eye. Watching her. Waiting expectantly for an explanation.

“Come on,” he prodded. “Out with it. Glass on the house when you do.”

Open sesame. She threw her hands up. “It’s nothing. I swear. Just that all this Lucy business got me thinking. My parents have been trying to fix me up with this guy from International Cooperation. Malcolm Davies? He’s supposed to be a catch. Undersecretary for the Head of the Department. Not a troll either. It’s just that, well it’s kind of depressing, isn’t it? You can’t find a bloke yourself so your parents have to find one for you.”

“It isn’t any better than what you and Rose have been doing for Lucy.”

Molly almost choked on her wine. “What makes you say that?”

“Like I said, I’m a bartender. And Rose isn’t exactly a subtle one either. Did you seriously think I wasn’t going to find out?”

Honestly? Gorgeous Nigel was probably right. It was a pretty desperate attempt by them to get Lucy out with someone who wasn’t a class-A git. And Rose was not subtle. She was anything but subtle. She was a walrus trying to walk into a giraffe convention. And while on the subject, Molly wasn’t any better either.

She drained her glass and Gorgeous gave her the second glass on the house, as promised. “Just so you know, I probably would have gotten around to it anyway.”

“Gotten around to what?”

“Asking Lucy out. I’ve always wanted to. Was just waiting for her to be single long enough for me to get to it.”

Molly spit her wine back in the glass. Well fancy that. Fate had plans after all. “Oh Gorgeous! That is just brilliant! So you’re asking her to the wedding? Believe me, she doesn’t get anymore single than this.”

“Hold on. Who’s talking about a wedding! I want to ask her out on a proper date first.”

A decent man fancied Lucy. Was this a wonderful dream?

“Date, wedding, whatever. The question is when!”

“As soon as she walks through that door.”

It was like Heaven opened up and a flight of angels came down with the burning power of pure goodness to burn the vile atrocity known as the pity-pot.

Paradise had come at last!

Imagine, Rose did all the work and all Molly had to do was sit there and watch it happen. At least, when Gorgeous and Lucy did end up saying their vows in front of friends and family, Rose wouldn’t be able to gloat and say that she was the one who made it all happen.

It was fate, Rose. Take that.

“As for you,” Gorgeous went on, “I say go for it. Go with Davies. If it doesn’t work out, well at least you tried. Just don’t let it be a what if, yeah.”

Molly could have kissed Gorgeous then and there if he wasn’t Lucy’s boyfriend to be. She was definitely going to sing his praises now. No forcing needed.

He was right. Might as well, right? No harm done by one measly date.

Then, Molly had a bright epiphany.

Maybe she wasn’t a cynic after all.

“Do you have a phone, Gorgeous? I have to make a call.”

As Rose would say: Result!


***










Rose drummed her fingers on the table and nodded occasionally, just to show she was still listening. Which she wasn’t.

“The job’s all about power you see. Power suit. Power walk. Power eye contact. Power handshake. Power.” The growl at the end of that sentence wasn’t really arguing his case for him.

Rose didn’t even know why she still agreed to go on these blind dates. But her boss, Portia Riwilt, found joy in setting her up on these things. And since Rose was nothing but a bottom-dweller trying to climb her way to the top of the barrel, she had no choice but to oblige.

“It’ll be fun!” Portia had said. “He’s fabulous. Works in the sales department. Gorgeous beyond belief. You’ll love him!”

Yes. Whocareswhathisnameis Wanker was gorgeous beyond belief. He had the body as fit as a professional beater. Amazing, feathery blond hair. Killer smile. And what seemed to be washboard abs underneath his shirt. But Good lord was the lad dull.

All he talked about was power. Power. Power! And the place he took her to! Heaven help her. It was the poshest place in Diagon Alley. Impossible to get to. But the food could only be seen through a microscope and their corresponding prices could be seen from space. As much as Rose appreciated the effort to impress her, it was all too fake. Obviously, he was overcompensating for something. And it wasn’t those obvious deficiencies either.

Rose excused herself as soon as she could get two syllables in the conversation. She pretended to go to the loo, but as soon as he turned back around, she rushed for the phone and rang the Cauldron.

“Leaky Cauldron. This is Nigel speaking. How may I help you?”

“Gorgeous!”

“Rose? Is that you? What can I do for you? And why are you whispering? Am I supposed to whisper too?”

What a bloody comedian.

“Sod off, Gorgeous! You have to come get me, quick. It’s an emergency. Code Bugger.”

“What am I supposed to do? Sod off or come get you?”

“I’m serious. This bloke is an absolute tosser. Save me.”

She could hear his eyes rolling. “Not again, Rose. Come on. I just started my shift.”

“Be at the Palazo in less than five minutes and I’ll pay you double.”

Oh the deep pockets of desperation.

She hung up the phone and went straight back to Whocareswhathisnameis. She kept on pretending to listen, but kept her eyes glued to the door. Gorgeous wouldn’t let her down. He was too much of a pushover to do that.

True enough, he came bursting through the door.

“And who the hell is this, Rose!” he picked up the poor bloke by the collar.

It took Rose’s best efforts not to laugh. “I am on a date Nigel. How many times do I have to tell you, it’s over!”

Rose didn’t know what she’d do without Gorgeous. She couldn’t even count how many bad dates he’d gotten her out of. And they didn’t even have to change the routine. As far as every blind date knew, Gorgeous Nigel was Rose’s mental ex-boyfriend who didn’t understand the meaning of a breakup. They would fight a bit, cause a scene, she would drag Gorgeous out of the restaurant so they could ‘fight in private’ and that would be the end of that. Rose would walk away, scot-free and she would pay Gorgeous five galleons for his services. Poor boy couldn’t turn down an opportunity to make that kind of money and having fun while he was at it.

Once they managed the clean break, Gorgeous and Rose laughed all the way back to the Cauldron where Lucy and Molly were seated in their regular spot. Rose kissed Gorgeous on the cheek, gave him his money and sent him back to the bar.

“And what was that all about?” Molly said, scooting down the booth for Rose.

“Another Code Bugger.”

“What was wrong with him now? Too tight trousers? One thumb shorter than the other? Hums show tunes while he cuts up his vegetables? I swear, Rose. You nitpick like a boarding school Headmistress.”

“For your information, Molly, I do not nitpick. The problem wasn’t exactly subtle. He was an absolute bore. I can’t even remember his name, for goodness sake. ”

“As if we never heard that before. You know what your problem is? You have unattainable standards. Lucy agrees with me, don’t you Lucy?”

But Lucy wasn’t paying attention. She was too busy twirling her hair and sneaking looks at the bar. On the other end, Gorgeous acted like a besotted schoolboy. He even ignored the lovely, leggy blonde that was trying to order a drink from him. The two of them were so sickeningly adorable that they should be quarantined in some hotel room.

“Oh my god!” Rose screamed. The other customers looked at her strangely but she just hissed at them and went back to practically jumping in her seat. “Gorgeous asked you out?”

“Now what a minute Rose. You can’t go changing the sub---“

Molly tried to reign Rose’s attention back. But who cared about Molly and her sordid little insights? Lucy and Gorgeous were going on a date!

“He did! He did! He did!” Lucy beamed. “It was totally out of the blue. I came here to have lunch with Molly and as soon as I walked through the door, he asked me out. On a date. An actual date.”

Rose didn’t even need to know what her answer was. Of course it was yes! Why else would the two of them be making puppy dog eyes across a crowded room.

“In that case, it’ll be hell trying to find a replacement for him. The bloke’s amazing with Code Buggers.”

Who was she kidding? Of course this was fantastic! The perfect cure to a bad day. It was brilliant seeing Lucy so happy again. This was the way Rose preferred her. Happy and good with the world. It was far more attractive than her dark, insecure alter ego.
She looked to Molly, who had the same glint in her eye.

They’d done very well indeed.

“So when’s the date?” Rose poked Lucy on the arm. “Where’s he taking you? Come on, Lucy. Share the gory little details.”

Lucy wouldn’t answer. She was turning all red. It was adorable.

“Look at you, being shy and romantic. I’m so happy for you, Luce. Really I am.”

“Oh Rose! Now all we need to do is find you a date and we’ll be all set for the wedding!”

“What do you mean a date for me? What about workaholic here?” Rose nudged Molly. “Last I heard, we were sisters in solidarity.”

But Molly shrank in her seat and covered her face with a napkin. Rose eyes widened. She ripped the tissue to reveal Molly biting her lip in guilt.

“I called Malcolm Davies,” said Molly.

“You gave into your parents?”

“Mum and dad have been hounding Molly quite a bit you know. Besides, Malcolm sounds like a right proper guy. Anything that tears this one away from work is good.”

Rose tried to feign betrayal, but gave up entirely, seeing how pleased Molly looked. Rose hadn’t seen her that happy in a long time. And happiness suited her.

“Result! Solidarity or not, I’m really happy for you, Molls.”

She hugged Molly tightly. Tight enough to knock the air out of her. Lucy squeezed in with them to join the hug as well. All that was missing was Lily’s giggling and it would have all been perfect. But hey, serves her right for going to the zoo without them.

“Are you sure you don’t want to bring a date to Victoire’s wedding, Rose? It won’t be that bad, I’m sure.”

Rose shook her head and smiled. “I’m fine. Besides, I’m not bringing any bloke to meet the family unless he measures up.”

“Does Aunt Hermione know she’s the mother of a hermit?” Molly winked at her.

But the rest didn’t matter. Rose’s single status was soon forgotten. Molly and Lucy were too busy telling stories. Laughing. Joking around. Being happy.

This was what Rose wanted. This was something no man could ever offer her.


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