Chapter 2 : A Deal with the Devil (...er, I mean, David)
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By the time his mum disappeared down the end of the aisle, David had calmed himself slightly to the point where he didn’t think the whole thing was so catastrophically bad. Then he remembered he was supposed to take Frankie-the-man to tea with his sister the next weekend as his boyfriend and was suddenly attacked by a tension headache that felt like he’d attempted to bash his own head in with a sharp rock.
David chanced another look over at the Frankie. The more he looked at him, the less girlish he seemed.
God, he wished he could bash his head in with a rock. How could he have been so monumentally stupid?
Grabbing the sleeve of Frankie’s jumper, David made to pull him down the aisle, because how could he expect to explain this all to a stranger in the middle of a supermarket.
“Wait!” Frankie said, resisting a lot more strongly than David would have expected from someone of his size. “My dip — “
In a sort of flailing fit, David snatched a jar off the shelf at random, ignoring the other man’s protests that he didn’t like cheese dip, and chucked it into in his basket. Then he dragged Frankie to the register, dumping both their food on the conveyor, and ended paying for the lot out of sheer shellshock.
“Oi,” Frankie tapped David on the shoulder as he went to pick up both bags. “I can pay for my own food, thanks. No reward needed for being your fake boyfriend for all of ten seconds.”
He held out some Sickles and David just stared at him for a moment, the wheels in his mind turning. Then he looked at the coins in Frankie’s outstretched hand.
No reward needed for being your fake boyfriend…
Somewhere deep in David’s mind, a lightbulb flickered on.
Frankie watched as the other man stared blankly off into space and tried to decide whether he was having a brainwave or an aneurism and if she should call for help.
In reality, Frankie couldn’t exactly blame this David guy and his mum for mistaking her for a man.
She had been a tomboy ever since she was little: always liking her toy broomstick more than dolls and preferring to climb trees rather than play house. She had always dressed like a boy, talked like a boy, had friends that were boys, played and acted like a boy.
But even with all that, Frankie had always had a girlish head of dark brown hair that hung down her back like a thick sheet. At first, when she as younger, it had been because her mother insisted but as she grew older, she kept it long because she liked it. Her younger half-sister Clemence, always painfully blunt, had once said it was her one beauty, and really, it was true. Frankie’s face was fairly average and mostly dominated by two large brown eyes and, to Frankie’s eternal disappointment in puberty, she had no real figure to speak of.
In a way, this whole thing was all her younger sister Lettie’s fault.
The night before, when her mum and sisters had been helping her pack up all her stuff into boxes to move back home, Lettie had pretty much done what any other fifteen-year-old would do when confronted with work, and wreaked havoc with the Spell-o-Tape and Frankie’s hair.
It would suffice to say that last night had been a bit of a disaster. There was nothing that said ‘welcome back home’ like having to chop off all your hair because it had been partially eaten by magical tape sent flying through the air by a botched Summoning Charm. And after this… incident in the supermarket, Frankie was already planning to beat Lettie senseless with a lamp as soon as she got back to the flat.
“Um, hello?” Frankie waved her hand in front of the other man’s impassive face.
He was still unresponsive, expression blank and eyes glassy, and Frankie rolled her eyes. This guy was such a weirdo. Sighing, she grabbed his wrist and shoved the Sickles into his hand.
“If you’re just going to stand there, I’ll be going. You, um… well.” She felt like she should say something about how she hoped it all worked out or whatever, but nothing came to mind. She shook her head. This whole thing was just too ridiculous for words. “Right. Bye then.”
Grabbing her sack of food, she turned to leave.
“Wait.” David’s voice had lost the note of terror it had had when his mother was present, which Frankie thought was fortunate because before he had sounded a bit like he was going through puberty about ten years too late. He grabbed Frankie’s sleeve again. “Wait a second. Can I just — oh, bollocks. What is wrong with me?“
Frankie looked at him over her shoulder and he ran his hand through his hair, making it stick up like he had been struck by lightening. Frankie thought that if he wasn’t in such an absurd situation, he probably would have been very intimidating.
“Let me buy you a drink.”
She raised her eyebrows at him. “With the Sickles I just gave you?”
“What?” He looked down at the coins in his hand as though bewildered by their presence. Obviously he’d missed that part. “No of course not! I — Look, you can buy your own drink if you like.”
She kept looking at him like he was acting crazy (mostly because he was) and he sighed loudly and let go of her jumper.
“It’s not like I’m not asking you out or anything. I already said I’m not gay. Relax.”
Frankie laughed a bit disbelievingly and rubbed at her eyes. He honestly thought she was a man. It was almost too ridiculous to happening. “Alright. I think I could do with something to drink.”
They ended up at the Leaky Cauldron. Frankie wasn’t exactly sure how they had gotten there, mostly because she was still trying to stave off the hysterical laughing fit that had been brewing in her chest for the last twenty minutes, but she assumed they had walked down Diagon Alley from the supermarket.
“Oh god, I need a drink or seven,” David said as they took stools at the bar. “A pint of Osiris’ please.”
Frankie motioned for the same and tried not to guess what other lunacy this man had dragged her here to expose her to.
Thankfully, David didn’t waste any time with small talk. “Look. My mum wants me married. She’s set on it. And she’s going to keep sending me out on these blind dates until I am. But maybe if she thinks I can’t get married…”
He trailed off and seemed to be working himself up to something. Frankie only hoped whatever it was wouldn’t scar her memory of this pub too much. She rather liked the Leaky Cauldron and it was close enough to her mum’s flat to be convenient.
“Will you be my boyfriend? I mean, not my real one,” he rephrased quickly. “But you know, like, my pretend boyfriend.”
“Your pretend boyfriend,” Frankie repeated tonelessly and David looked a bit like he wished he would choke to death on the beer he was drinking. Drumming her fingertips against her glass, she said, “It’s funny. I could have sworn you said you weren’t into blokes a little bit ago.”
“I’m not!” David insisted, almost actually choking this time, and frantically waved his hands between them like a crazed windmill. “Really. But I can pay you!”
Frankie stared at him. He probably thought she was in shock, and she was, a bit, but mostly she was just doing the math in her head.
As though he had realized what he’d just said, David made a sort of goldfish face and sputtered, “I know that sounded terrible but I didn’t mean it like — “
“I’ll do it.” Frankie cringed inside as she said the words and she stuffed her pride deep down.
The deposit she had gotten back for her flat would only cover about half of what her mum needed, not to mention the regular monthly expenses for the family. And it was going to be August soon. Who would pay for Clemence and Lettie’s school expenses?
Frankie set her jaw in a hard line and said, “But I’m going to be paid in advance.”
“In advance?” He narrowed his eyes at her suspiciously. “How do I know you’ll show up?”
“How do I know you’ll pay me?” she shot back.
David seemed to think about this for a moment and then relented. “Give me your Floo address.”
“My Floo address? What for?”
“So if you don’t show, I can come and get my money back.” He took a piece of parchment out of his pocket and felt around in a fruitless search for a quill.
Frankie rolled her eyes again and dug a Muggle pen out of her pocket. “Here.”
He looked at it strangely for a moment and Frankie half expected him to ask him what it was. Instead he said, “Thanks. No one ever has these around here and quills are such a pain to carry around. Even the self-perpetuating ones. I think it’s the feathers that make it weird…” He trailed off, wincing slightly, and Frankie snickered at him. What a freak. “Anyway. Floo address?”
She gave her mum’s flat’s address to him grudgingly and he jotted it down in thin, spidery penmanship.
“Eight hundred Galleons.”
“What?” He shoved the bit of parchment and the pen into his trouser pocket and Frankie resisted the urge to ask for her biro back. Now was probably not the right time to be arguing over writing implements. She had bigger fish to fry at the moment.
“That’s what I want you to pay me: eight hundred Galleons.”
He narrowed his almond eyes and practically glared at her. “Highway robbery.”
“Alright then, half that.”
David scoffed and Frankie’s face fell. “I could buy a quality racing broom for less.”
He held up his index finger and her heart sank.
“One hundred?” He nodded and Frankie cursed his stupid handsome face. She sighed and said, “Fine. A hundred it is.”
“And I’ll give you half now and half after.”
“Well, that’s just the baseline. If we include other expenses: clothes, meals —
“What? No way!” David squawked, drawing strange looks from the surrounding patrons and a glare from the bartender. He lowered his voice and hissed, “This whole thing is one flat rate!”
“ — snacks, transportation — “ Frankie counted each one on her fingers and held them up in front of David’s face mockingly. Irritated, he took a hold of her hand to push it out of the way and she declared, “And if we have to touch, we’ll tally it up by type!”
David let go of her hand like the insanity was catching and made an offended sort of noise as Frankie began rattling off a list and corresponding prices.
“ — seventy Galleons for an arm around the shoulders. A hug would be a hundred and a kiss — “
She stopped, her eyes widening, and David’s eyebrows flew upward towards his hair, his face tauntingly curious.
Frankie licked her lips and amended quickly, “Never mind. That’s enough. This is a strictly no-touching deal. No bodily contact.”
“I thought so. You were heading into some desperately illegal territory there for a moment.” David looked slightly smug, which Frankie thought was a bit rich, considering everything. He reached into his pocket again and pulled out his coin pouch. “Here’s fifty Galleons. I’ll give the rest to you next weekend after dinner.”
He laid out the gold coins in five neat stacks before pushing back his stool and standing to leave.
Almost as an afterthought, he turned back towards her and said with a slight smirk, “And try not to look too ragged, please. You’re going to be meeting my sister and I’d hate for her to think I’d date a complete slob.”
Frankie’s mouth dropped open in surprise as David turned and walked out of the pub, looking for all the world like he had been out for a casual drink with a friend and hadn’t just made a deal with a complete stranger to pretend to be his boyfriend.
“Try not to look too ragged,” Frankie mimicked sourly, scowling after him. Did he think she rolled around in a garbage dump before going out or something?
She grudgingly moved the small golden towers of Galleons from the bar into her own coin pouch and each noisy clink! the coins made as they dropped inside reminded her why she had agreed to this whole thing in the first place.
But even so… I’d hate for her to think I’d date a complete slob.
Frankie glared at the door David had used to exit the pub. “Ugh. What a prick.”
A/N: So. The deal has been made. David has made the mistake of a lifetime and we're all here to witness it! hahaha What do you guys think? Is there any way for this not to turn out catastrophically? Any predictions for the dinner with David's family? Will they even get that far or will Frankie simply drop dead out of spite for David?
As always, just want to clarify that while there is a slash warning, there is no actual same-sex pairing in this story. It's just me humoring my warnings paranoia. Hope you all enjoyed!
A big thank you to Gina (justonemorefic), Gubby (GubraithianFire), Melissa (WitnesstoitAll), Celeste (Celestie), Sarah (ToujourPadfoot) and of course, my dear Miranda (FannyPrice) and Jakes (GeorgeWhitman) for putting up with my rambling. The fact that it takes a whole team like you guys to keep me writing is a true testament to my insanity. Also, thank you to pink_rook for giving this a look for me when I was a bit fuzzy on TOS stuffs.
Disclaimer: The wonderful world of Harry Potter belongs to J. K. Rowling and 'The First Shop of Coffee Prince' belongs entirely to MBC (Korea). I own nothing you recognize.
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