Chapter 2 : Deux
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My cats totally do not have pajamas. That would be mad. Absolutely mad. And I’m not mad at all.
He came crashing through the front door of the coffee shop looking like he had just come from an encounter with a lady friend. Messy hair, tie flopping about wildly… Why was he attempting to wear a tie? This wasn’t supposed to be formal. We were just meeting over coffee. I glanced over my outfit, suddenly feeling incredibly underdressed. Stupid Longbottom.
“Sorry. Sorry. I know I’m late. I er… I had some difficulty finding a shoe.” He muttered as he sank down across the table from me.
I gave him my best stink eye. “A shoe. A shoe? You honestly expect me to believe that? How stupid do you think I am?“
Neville stuck out his left foot, and I now noticed the fact that he was wearing a different shoe on each foot. “I don’t think you’re stupid, Kate.” He said softly. “It’s always my left shoe. I’m terrible at finding things.”
“Odd choice of career then, since we’re supposed to be finding people.” He wasn’t going to win me over anytime soon. I glanced Neville over. He had the same shaggy dark brown hair that he had had in school. I’ll admit, I had always liked Neville’s eyes. They’re a very pale green, and sort of remind me of celery. He had been losing weight over the past couple years, especially last year.
Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s great that he was a hero. It’s not as if I’m mad at him for helping protect Hogwarts from being overrun by Death Eaters. I just think he could be a hero without being such a prat. If I had been a war hero, I would be modest about it. I wouldn’t have a fan club.
Neville shrugged. “People are a bit easier to find than shoes. Slightly larger.” He smiled weakly at me. “I care about what we’re doing.”
“Sure, you do.” It would make him look even more perfect to all the ladies. Of course he cared about the job.
“I need something to pass the time. Professor Sprout said she would put in a glowing recommendation for me when she decides to retire.” Had he kept talking?
I nodded. “Right, you’re good at Herbology.” Not the most heroic subject, but I suppose it kept him from being too predictable.
“Do you have a cat?” He asked, pointing at my clothes. You cannot own a cat without having cat hair on you at all times.
“I have two.” I said proudly. I am 82% likely to become a crazy cat lady. “You don’t.”
Neville looked at me curiously. “What makes you say that? I don’t.”
“You don’t have any cat hair on you. Of course, you could have one of those hairless cats, but not many people do. Besides, I remember that you had a toad in school.” Not many people had had toads. See, there was another thing that kept Neville from being Stereotypical Stud.
He glanced up at me while tying his tie on properly. “Trevor.”
“Who?” I glanced around. Several of our other coworkers were meeting in the coffee shop, but I didn’t think any of them were named Trevor.
“That’s my toad. Trevor. He’s still alive.”
I nodded. “Oh. That’s…nice.” Was I really congratulating him on keeping his toad alive?
“I’m not good with pets. The only thing I’ve managed to keep alive is Trevor and my plants.”
I think we are officially the most awkward people in existence. Plant Boy and Cat Girl. Yeah, Longbottom, I called you a boy. Whatcha gonna do about that? Probably nothing since I’m not saying any of this to him. “Plants are very… planty.”
He stared blankly at me. “Are you still friends with Parker?”
“Charlotte?” Thank you, Neville, for knowing one decent conversation topic. “We live together. She has a job at the Leaky Cauldron.” I had been incredibly jealous of her back when I was unemployed. I still think her job is cool. I mean, she gets to talk with people and she gets free food. Win-win. I, however, get paid to be Mother Teresa.
“That’s cool. Have you stayed in touch with any of the other people in your house?”
I almost snorted coffee out of my nose. “You must be joking.”
Neville blinked. “Am I missing something?”
“Nev, can I call you Nev? Anyways, Nev, have you ever spent a long amount of time with a Hufflepuff?” I demanded. He shook his head, starting to look slightly scared. “Hufflepuffs are pompous prats. They are insufferable.”
“You were a Hufflepuff.”
“I was the exception, not the rule.” I glared at him. “Same with Charlotte.” That was the reason why I had only had one good friend in school. Charlotte and I had bonded over our mutual dislike for everyone else in our house.
He rested his chin in the palm of one of his hands. “Susan Bones?”
Stupid Longbottom. “Alright, Susan wasn’t bad.” Poor girl had lost so many relatives she was probably a basket case now.
“So we’re three for three so far.” He announced. “Convincing theory. Ernie?”
I clutched the table tightly. “Ernie Macmillan is worse than Voldemort. If he fell off the face of the Earth I would throw a party. He’s the leader of the Trifecta of Idiocy, you see.”
Neville leaned in slightly. “Oh, this ought to be good. What’s this Trifecta? Why do you hate Ernie so much?”
“First of all, because he exists.” Wasn’t that reason enough? Had Neville ever looked at the boy? “Shouldn’t you hate him too? He was awful to Harry in school. I think Ernie thought he could create world peace just by breathing.” I took a deep breath. “The Trifecta is Ernie Crapmillan, Justin Elitist-Snob, and Hannah the Sheep.” Neville noticeably cringed at Hannah’s name. Interesting.
I nodded. Justin had always made me feel like crap for not being a fancy pants with a hyphenated surname like him. He went out of his way to point out how he thought he was better than me, because he had two parents and could have gone to some fancy Muggle school.
“Slytherins are supposed to be the elitists, but the Trifecta put them to shame. What’s your problem with Hannah?”
He looked down at the table. Yes! “We er… I sort of made the mistake of asking her out on a date.”
Aw, this didn’t sound very exciting. “And she rejected you?”
Neville looked hurt. “Why would you assume she rejected me? No, we went out once. She hasn’t left me alone since.”
I leaned forward with a wide grin on my face. “Neville, is Hannah Abbott stalking you?”
“She’s not stalking me. She just… knows where I live and follows me around occasionally.” He insisted.
All the awkwardness was worth it. “You have a stalker!” I exclaimed, cackling loudly.
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