Fact Number Three: As it turns out, just because someone is hot, it doesn't actually mean that they are photogenic. Albus is living proof of this.
That evening, when all the presents have been opened and the food has been eaten, I head upstairs to check Meeko. He's returned.
I pat his head and tickle him under his beak making him hoot appreciatively. I grin and sneak him a few more treats. I can't help but hear mum's voice in the back of my head, "he'll get fat if you keep feeding him. Then he won't be able to fly and he'll just end up waddling around in his cage," of course, I then imagine Ryan's voice chiming in with some funny comment, "you'd have to rename him. Something along the line of Podgers or Pudgy - something that means he's slightly chubby. For a matter of fact, Chubbs could work."
There's only one letter on the desk for me this time and when I look at my scribbled name on the front, I can immediately tell that it's from Kat.
Christmas day sucks. I might just skip it next year. Join the muggle carnival or something. I could become one of those fortune teller types who tell bogus fortunes just to nab some of your cash. Or I could be the next Hoodini - I'm pretty sure I could pull it off, seen as i'm a witch and all. Maybe he was a wizard? That never occured to me before... anyway, Christmas is crap. I got a load of money from it though (I was supposed to be getting a phone but what good would that be at Hogwarts?) so yeah, shopping soon? Hope your day is going better than mine.
Much love, Kat xx
I sit down in the swivel chair and write back a reply telling her how she couldn't join the carnival because she's afraid of big, scary animals (big being the elephants, scary being the lions). I then go on to explain how my day has actually been quite dull but how i've finally got that magic camera that I wanted so there will be lots of posing to do when I next see her. I wish her well and send the letter off with Meeko, offering him a few more treats just because I like to spoil him.
"What are you doing, honey?" I stop spinning at the sound of my mum's voice.
I stare at her as if it's obvious. "I'm spinning. At least, I was until you asked what I was doing. What are you doing?"
"I was wondering where you had gotten to. We were about to watch Titanic, Ryan's favourite," she replies as if suprised that I had actually forgotten.
"I thought Love Actually was her favourite," I mumble as I spin around again, "and then Mamma Mia! was her favourite because she knew all the words to all the songs. Oh, and best not forget that Disney film, what was it called? Aladin? For about a week she loved that film. And now apparently Titanic is her favourite? Can she not just pick one and stick to it?"
Mum sighs from the doorway. "That's just Ryan."
I'm suddenly jerked to a halt. I glare at the offending hand on the arm of the chair. "Thanks for that mum," I snap sarcastically, "I really appreciate you trying to kill me from impact. Really, thanks."
Mum rolls her eyes. "Stop being so dramatic, Evelyn, or i'll have you shipped off to your dad's. You have been nothing but a pain since your friends left and i'm not standing for it anymore. I understand that-"
"What did you just say?" I interupt her, stunned.
"That you're being a pain," she replies.
"No, before that."
"That you're being dramatic?"
"Too far back."
"That i'd have you shipped off to your dad's and I won't be afraid to do it if you don't stop being so-"
"You know where dad is?"
"Honey," my mum sighs and her shoulders slump, "I've always known. I never kept that from you."
"But you never threatened me with it before."
She moves slowly across the room and perches on the end of the bed. "You've never been this much of a pain in the ass before."
I stare at her in silence for a second. "Do you still talk to him?"
She shakes her head.
"Then how do you know where he is? How do you know he hasn't moved?"
She gives me a sad smile. "He writes me letters throughout the year."
"Why doesn't he write to me?"
"He doesn't even know your name, Ev. He never asked for it. And i've never written him back, otherwise I would have told him. But I don't know if he would have ever chosen to get in touch with you." Tears are welling up in her eyes now and I inwardly panic. I haven't ever seen my mum cry before, not like this anyway. "You can read them, if you'd like."
I nod. "I'd like to see them, please."
She smiles faintly at me then. "On one condition."
I stare expectantly at her.
"You have to stop being such a pain in the ass."
I grin at her. "Deal."
The letters aren't anything like what I expected. Some are love letters, written with emotion laced into every word. Others are factual, written in quick, sharp writing to inform her of where he is and what he's doing. Some are just notes and scribbles, like his thoughts were too muddled and confused to get down onto the parchment. And every so often, there would be the carefully written letter just apologising for leaving. I find my favourite out of the letters and re-read it over and over.
My beloved Posie,
If I were capable of such magic, I would go back in time to the day that I left and would steal it away from you forever. If only such magic didn't carry the promise of changing the entire world as you know it. Mine, I wouldn't mind so much. But you, you have a child. A child that is no longer a child. Sometimes I wonder, did the bump turn out to be a boy or a girl? And what name did you choose? If I were to meet them one day, would I know who they were? I don't know what I am supposed to think anymore, Pose. Life isn't the same as it was once upon a time. Is the front door still blue? Is the tree still standing tall? I wouldn't know. I won't ever know. I hate that.
Yours sincerly, Will.
I hug the letter close to my chest, uncertain over how i'm supposed to feel. I've never met him, but mum knew him better than anyone else. If she isn't replying to letters like this then he must of done something terrible.
Actually, I already know what he did that was so terrible; he ran out on my mum when she was pregnant with me. What type of Dad does that?
The type that you wouldn't ever want to meet.
Except, I did. I wanted to meet him more than anything else. I wanted to see for myself if I was anything like him. I wanted to know who he was. I wanted a Dad.
After gently collecting up the letters, I place them back into the cardboard shoebox that Mum kept them in and folded my favourite letter in half, placing it into the back pocket of my jeans. I then stand up, brush myself off and slowly walk down the stairs.
Quietly, I walk into the living room and take a seat on the sofa next to my Mum just in time to see the ship from Titanic sink into the murky depths of the freezing sea. I shiver. Cold is thy enemy.
We watch the film in silence and when it ends, Ryan jumps up and announces that she needs to pee before rushing from the room. I sigh, Ryan always waits till the final credits before leaving a film. She says that it makes for a better viewing experience. I just call it stupidity.
"You want to meet him, don't you?" It's said so quietly that I almost didn't hear my mum speak.
My answer shocks me. Not because it's anything new but because it's the first time i've said it out loud. Ever. "Yeah, I want to meet him."
There's a silence then. The type of silence that drags on and makes you feel nervous. I fidget in my seat and play with a loose thread from the hem of my old T-shirt.
Standing up, mum straightens her shirt and tucks a loose strand of hair behind her ear. "I'll see what I can do," is all she says as she walks from the room. I stare after her, the reality of the situation hitting me hard.
I am going to meet my Dad.
What. The. Hell.
"Rose told me to remind you that this isn't some kind of formal do tonight," Kat tells me for about the millionth time that day, "it's like, nice dresses; something that'll impress the lads. That type of thing."
"Basically a major slut party," I comment dryly as we link arms and wander down Diagon Alley.
I feel Kat shrug from beside me. "Pretty much," she replies, steering us towards Weasley's Wizard Wheezes.
"Which means we're going for a shorter skirt than last year?" I ask, already dreading the response.
Kat pushes open the door of the shop and a flurry of noise and colour immediately hits us. "Rose said that a dress would be better."
"Okay," I reply, quickly losing interest in the subject, "so I need to get a short dress then?"
"Well," Kat is only half paying attention as she keeps a look out for her long-term crush, "anything above knee-length is pretty much obvious, although I wouldn't recommend going for full on slutty. Just, I don't know... leggy?"
"Leggy?" I repeat. Sighing, I turn a corner of the shop and follow her as we pass a crowd of giggling girls, "that means i'll have to buy heels too."
Kat stops short and quickly turns to face me, a panicked look crossing her face. She's spotted him. A blush creeps onto her cheeks.
Glancing over her shoulder, I spot him. Fred Weasley II stands at the top of the staircase chatting to his Dad and one of his friends. He notices me staring and waves, I wave back.
"Go, go, go," Kat whispers, now turning a dark shade of red.
I laugh. "C'mon Kat, he's our friend!"
"I don't care, move!" she spins me around and starts pushing me towards the door.
"You'll have to face him tonight!" I protest, still laughing.
She pushes me through the door and follows swiftly behind. "Yes, but tonight i'll have an amazing dress on with incredible heels and i'll be a little bit tipsy, which, as you know, always helps."
I grin. "You do make one hell of a point there. Now come on, we might as well get this over and done with."
As we head from shop to shop, looking at dresses and trying on shoes, I confide in Kat about my mum, my dad and the letters. Of course, there isn't really a lot Kat can say about it so instead she just listens to what I have to say and then launches into one of her divorce stories. This time it's about who should get the toaster.
Finally, we find the dresses.
Kat picks out a strapless, peach dress which is short but not by too much and that fans out around her when she spins. Whereas I chose for a simple, black one-shouldered dress which I emphasised with statement heels. Of course, Kat helped me pick (she also explained to me what 'statement heels' actually were).
"You should wear your hair to one side," Kat comments as we walk from the shop, bags in hand.
I don't pause with my response. "But then i'd look wonky."
"Your dress has a one-shoulder strap so you wouldn't look wonky. You'd probably even it out more by wearing it to one side."
"Yeah, yeah," I rustle my bags in my attempt to wave it off, "you can do whatever you want to my hair." I know that's what she wants to do anyway.
I'm staying at Kat's tonight as her Dad is away for work and her Mum is visiting a friend nearby so I said that i'd come to keep her company. Luckily enough for us, this just happened to be on the same night as the Potter-Weasley kids new years party.
I stare at myself in Kat's floor length mirror and decide that tonight better be worth it. I'm at least 3 inches taller in the heels that I bought and I have to keep pulling the hem of the dress down as it rides up as I walk. Kat doesn't seem to be having the same problem as me.
My hair as been curled, pulled and sprayed into position whilst Kat has pinned hers up in a way that leaves half up and half down. She also attacked me with the contents of her make-up bag, obviously thinking me incapable of applying a little mascara and lip gloss. I have to give her credit though; she's bloody incredible with an eye-liner pencil and some dark eye-shadow. Although, I drew the line at the blusher. I was not aiming to look like a hooker tonight.
Kat paraded over to me and gently shoved me out of the way of the mirror to look at herself. She smiled happily and clapped her hands together. "He won't be able to resist!"
"And you won't be able to walk," I muttered, balancing precariously as I walked in my heels.
Kat waved off my comment. "Don't be silly, Evie-Aves. I can walk fine in heels."
"Really?" I ask, perplexed, "because I can't seem to get the hang of them."
"You just need to practice," Kat tells me with an air of finality.
"I just need shoes without a heel," I reply even though she has already grabbed her purse and is heading towards the stairs.
"Come on, Evie-Aves. We don't want to be late."
I glance over at the clock. We're already late. Sighing, I grab my brand new camera (which i've charmed into taking normal, muggle pictures tonight incase any muggles show up at the party) off of the dressing table and steadily make my way towards the stairs, all the while praying that these heels don't kill me.
Feeling like i'm about to topple over, I place one hand firmly against the wall and grip the banister as I attempt to shuffle down the stairs in my attempt to stay upright.
Luckily, I am successful.
"Will you hurry up?"
I glance up from staring at my feet and glare at Kat who is impatiently waiting outside with her hand on her hip.
Bracing myself, I slowly take my first step towards her, inching forwards at a snails pace.
Kat sighs loudly and motions with her hand to the car that's waiting for us outside. Ryan has offered to give us a lift as she was in the mood for a drive and promised my mum that we'd get there safely.
I hobble along, refusing to increase speed and latch onto Kat's arm in my attempt to steady myself on the cobbled pathway.
She sighs again. "How can you not walk faster in heels?"
"Easy," I respond quickly, "heels weren't designed to be worn by people attempting a speedy getaway. They were designed to make girls asses look nicer and so that it would be easier for guys to catch up to you when you are trying to get away from them."
"Why are you always so cynical when it comes to heels?" Kat asks, helping me into the backseat of the car and then climbing in behind me.
I scowl at the shoes that have already started to hurt my feet. "Because they are the devil's invention, that's why."
"You have got to be kidding me. Heels are amazing," Kat gushes as she stares lovingly down at her own.
I scoff. "By who's standard?"
"Mine," she responds easily, "and every other sophisticated woman's too."
"And slutty girls," I add, "not to mention the other types of people that like to wear heels. But no matter what, I will always hate them."
"Then why bother wearing them?" Kat seems puzzled by this.
Sulkily, I fold my arms over my chest. "Because i'm short."
"Of course you're short," Ryan chimes in cheerfully from the front, "you take after your mother."
I frown at the back of her head. "Thanks, Ry. That just made my day."
Ryan laughs out loud. "I always do," she comments as she pulls up in the driveway outside the Potter's house. I smile. I love this house.
Scooting my way out of the car, I say a quick thanks to Ryan, straighten out my dress and check my makeup in the car window. Kat walks around the side of the car to come to my aid and together we find ourselves heading towards Albus' front door.
This year, Albus' parents and little sister have gone to spend New Year with their family which means that Albus and his older brother James have the house to themselves. Of course, this could mean only one thing;
"PAAAAAARRRRRTTYYYYY!" some guy with a muggle rugby ball screams as he runs past us and barges into the house, followed quickly by a few more guys as they charge in after him. A couple of girls, all dressed in short skirts and heels, drag along behind, gossiping as they walk with their arms linked. I roll my eyes at them and i'm pretty sure they do the same when they see me. I have to resist the urge to stick my tongue out at them all.
"He was cute," Kat comments from beside me.
I push open the door and glance around. Music blasts out from the speakers and people have already swarmed to the house, filling most of it with dancing bodies and drunken talk.
Finding the group of guys that had ran past us, I ask her, "which one?"
Kat glances over in their direction and the guy with the rugby ball winks in her direction. She blushes. I'm pretty sure I knew who she was talking about.
A tap on my shoulder forces me to turn around and I smile up at one of my long term friends. "Hello Lysander. Having fun?"
Lysander is tall with broad shoulders and lovely light blond hair. His eyes, a pale shade of blue, smile whenever he does and he has a twin, Lorcan, who looks exactly like him except with a little bit less muscle and a tiny bit more geek. It's the best of both and double the sexy.
"Yeah, i'm having fun. Party time is always fun when hanging around with you lot."
That is also the reason why Dominique is in love with him; because he's so lovely and just plain wonderful. However, she's never going to get with him because Lysander thinks that he likes me. I say think because I know that he doesn't; he just doesn't know that yet.
Placing my camera strap over my head, I adjust the lens and hold it up so that it's facing his direction. "Smile."
Lysander grins and I take the picture. Holding the camera up to take another, Kat jumps into the picture and Lysander puts his arm around her. Obviously having noticed the chance of having her picture taken, Queenie pops out of nowhere and also manages to get into the picture. I can't help but grin as I take the photo.
"Thanks guys," I tell them as I flick through the pictures, "you lot look amazing."
"Either that or your photography skills are incredible," Lysander compliments with a cheeky smile, "c'mon, let's get you a drink."
I take a look around the room and find Dominique sending me death glares. I hold my camera to face her and snap another picture, capturing her evil death glare. Smug with the look of surprise caught on her face, I smirk at her and wander off into the crowd to get a drink.
I'm just about to take a picture of Kat and Queenie when Albus pops up behind them and is caught in the shot. Glancing down at the screen, I can't help but laugh at Albus' frozen face in mid-speech behind the grinning girls.
"Hey Alby," I wink at him, "nice photo," I show him the picture that i've just taken and he groans.
"I knew I should of waited before jumping into the photo," he shakes his head, amused with himself.
"Nah," I reply honestly, "it's not that bad."
He glances at the photo again. "You're such a bad liar," Albus jokes, grinning from ear to ear, "I know that picture is terrible. Here, take a proper one." After finishing his sentance, he strikes a pose and I realise that he's obviously already a teensie bit tipsy as he's pouting with his arms folded in front of him.
Instead of telling him that he looks like a prat, I take the picture and burst into laughter. "You look like such a fool," I tell him, putting extra emphasis on the word fool.
"Who says the world 'fool' anymore these days?" He asks, slinging one arm over my shoulder and leaning his weight against me. I can smell the alcohol on his breath.
"I do," I answer, scrunching my nose at the smell.
"Evie-Aves!" Kat shouts from where Queenie has forced her into the middle of the crowd of dancing bodies, "Albus! Come dance!"
I shake my head at her in response. I can barely walk in these shoes, let alone dance.
Albus leans into me a bit more and whispers into my ear, "c'mon Aves, show us your moves."
"I don't have any moves," I have to raise my voice to be heard over the loud, thumping music.
"Aw, don't be a spoil sport. Whatever happened to the fun girl I used to know, huh? You're turning into a wannabe Dom!" I know that he's joking and doesn't really know what he's saying, but I can't help but get a little bit annoyed with what he's said. I will never, ever be a wannabe Dominique.
anti-Dominique all the way!
Quickly, I kick my heels off into a corner of the room where Rose and her boyfriend, Scorpius, are sitting and talking. I then hand my camera to her and ask if she can look after it before grabbing Albus by the hand and dragging him onto the dancefloor.
A small smile creeps onto his features as he recovers from the shock of nearly having his arm torn off and I shoot him a look as if to say, "now who's the spoil sport?"
Moving around in the small space that we've occupied inbetween other dancing couples, I sway my hips to the music and laugh when Albus joins in.
Kat manouvers her way towards us and joins in as we become bolder with our movements, our embarrassment swiftly fading as one song ends and another begins. Grabbing me by the hands, Kat jumps and spins us around slightly as the new song picks up beat and others begin to do similar things around us.
Letting go of my hands, Kat winks at me and tilts her head in Albus' direction as he waits for me to return to him. I smile and place my arms around his neck, enjoying the feeling of just being free to dance however I want.
Albus smiles back and places his hands on my waist as he pulls me in closer and moves us so that we're now practically grinding together along to the beat but I don't mind. In this one moment, I forget all about my dad and the letters. I forget all about the bitterness that I felt the other day towards Albus and my mum. I don't have a care in the world right now. If only it would stay like that.
Dancing together as a group, we change routines and partners for the next couple of songs until I find myself too tired and hot to dance any longer and so I break off from the crowd in search of a drink.
I pass Lysander on my way who holds my shoes and camera out to me and I grin in thanks, noticing that Rose is waving at me to signal that she knows that he had it all anyway.
"I saw you dancing," he says to me as I continue in my search for a drink.
"You did?" I ask, not all that interested.
He nods from beside me. "Looked like you were having fun."
"I was," I'm not really paying much attention to him as we walk and talk.
"Maybe next time we could have a dance?" At this, my head shoots up and I stare into his eyes.
"Lysander," I begin, hating the awkwardness surrounding this conversation, "I don't think-"
"'Sander," Dominqiue's overly flirtatious voice chimes in sweetly from behind us, "I have been looking everywhere for you."
I resist the urge to gag as I turn around to face her. She's wearing a too-short, tight-fitting, purple dress with hooker-heels like the ones you only ever see in fashion magazines.
"Nice shoes," I comment sarcastically, mentally applauding myself for the private joke.
Dominqiue pulls a half fake smile, half grimace at me in return. "Thanks babe," she bats her eyes at Lysander, "I was wondering if you'd like to dance with me?"
"No thanks," I reply dryly, knowing perfectly well that she wasn't asking me.
Dominique shoots me a look that clearly says, "shove off, Bitch."
I grin at her and send her a little finger wave. Mocking her fake smile, I ruffle Lysanders hair and then turn around and quickly prance off into a crowd of people all carrying drinks.
Feeling slightly mean for having left Lysander in such an awkward situation, I turn to go back only to find that he's already walked away from her. I shrug and continue my search for a drink.
After a while, I give up on the search and plonk myself down on the staircase, closing my eyes and leaning back to show that i've surrendered.
My eyes bolt open and I stare at the bottle being handed to me. I take it and take a big gulp. "Thanks Alby," I say, now starting to feel a little bit less thirsty.
"You're welcome," he replies, staring down at his hands.
"What's up, bud?" I ask him, taking another swig from my bottle.
He glances up then as if not expecting that question. "Huh, what? Oh, right. Nothing."
I blink at him. "Seriously, what's up? You're putting a downer on the entire party atmosphere."
"You aren't even in the party," he goes back to staring at his hands, "you're sitting on the stairs instead."
"Actually," I return, "I was surrendering."
He seems puzzled. "To what?"
"The juice!" I raise my arms above my head and then let them fall heavily down by my sides again.
"What are you going on about?"
"Nevermind," I wave off his confusion and flag down a passer by as they are about to walk back into the room with the music, "hey, you! Yeah, you," I hold out the camera for the guy to take, "can you take a picture, please?"
Albus shakes his head at me. "Pictures don't seem to be my thing tonight," he tells me, refering back to the photo's from earlier.
I smirk at him. "You're hot, Alby. There's bound to be one good photo of you from tonight. Now, smile!"
As it turns out, later that night when i'm sitting on Kat's bed flicking through the pictures, I realise that I was greatly mistaken. He's not very photogenic whatsoever.
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