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Chapter 7 : Gravity
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THE SEVENTH CHAPTER
September 13th, 8:16 A.M. – Ministry of Magic
"You did not!" I gasp, even covering my mouth for dramatic effect.
"I did," Leah says with a devilish wink.
"His entire bedroom? How did you even find that much pumpkin juice?"
She just laughs, "Oh, I’ve got my ways… Besides, having magical powers was a bit of a help."
"Well, if any guy ever cheats on me, I guess I’ll know who to call when I plot my revenge," I laugh also, enjoying the quirkiness of my newest mate.
Turns out my first instincts were right about her, and we’ve really been hitting it off. It’s nice to have another girl to talk to other than Stella. I love Stella to death, but a new perspective on things is always good.
"Speaking of blokes, how are things going with that Albus fellow?" she inquires, because naturally my love life is of much more importance that any of the work that we are supposed to be doing.
I’d told her the gist of everything that’s happened with Albus, including the hospital talk. She doesn't know all the nitty-gritty details, but enough to her give her opinions on different instances. She doesn’t know him or our history really, so she can be a lot more unbiased than Stella.
"It’s been fine. Since we agreed on easing back into our ‘friendship’ or whatever the hell you wanna call it, not much has happened. But it’s only been a little over two weeks, so I’m not too concerned."
"So no more secret smooches?" she puckers her lips, making an obnoxious kissy face.
"No, not quite…" I laugh, "But we did have a nice chat the other day in the atrium. Now that he’s finally stopped apologizing about the whole splinching episode, we can finally have an actual conversation."
She playfully rolls her eyes, "Right. You only temporarily lost half your arm. Hardly worth mentionin’ if you ask me."
I chuckle softly when I feel a cold hand clamp down on my shoulder, causing me to nearly fall out of my chair.
"Now, I hope this isn’t what it looks like," Mrs. Carey says in a sickeningly sweet voice.
Her jet black hair is slicked back in an unattractive style, and her suit is just so wrong. If I didn’t hate her I might actually take pity and give her some fashion advice. But if she wants to be evil, well then she can just wallow in her own bad fashion karma.
"Looks like what, Mrs. Carey?" I say just as sweetly, hoping that she’ll get her tentacles of me sooner rather than later.
"Well, it appears that the two of you are demonstrating your incompetence by babbling like school girls instead of doing the work you’re being paid to do." She replies sharply, losing all pretenses of sweetness.
Leah chimes in right away, "Actually, June here was just getting a second opinion on the Weller report," she even holds up a case file as proof. "There were some discrepancies on the number of floos that were supposed to be inspected, but we figured out that it was simply a misplaced decimal right as you came in."
She opens her mouth to reply, but snaps it shut. Mrs. Carey was speechless, a magical sight indeed.
"Oh, um, very well… But let it be known that I will not tolerate idle chit-chat." With that, she leaves.
Maybe having the last word helps her ego; I understand needing an ego boost when you have a wardrobe like that.
Once she is safely out of the room, we fall into hysterics.
"How, in the name of Merlin, did you come up with something so fast? It was brilliant!" I manage to say once I’ve got my laughter under control.
She smiles widely, "I was a Ravenclaw after all. Our endless wit can be used for evil too, you know."
"You’ve got a point there," I concede, realizing I should have expected nothing less from the former Ravenclaw Head girl.
"And I wasn’t even lying about the Weller report, the numbers are off, and we should probably figure out why that is." She says with a sigh, shifting through the papers on her desk
"Oh right. Work…"
September 13th, 4:47 P.M – Adams residence
Stella was staying late after work for a mandatory Auror-in-training thingy, so I decide to take the time to go visit my dad. However, when I arrive the house is empty.
I mean, no offence to my pops, but where would he go? Most days he is home from work by three, and it’s nearly five now. I suppose he might have had a meeting run late or something.
I walk around my childhood home as a wait for him to get home. In my eighteen years of life, my house has hardly changed. You’d think that when my mom left we would have gotten rid of all the pictures of her. That’s what I wanted to do, get rid of all traces of her like she got rid of us, but dad wouldn’t let me. The picture of her and I covered in cake batter from a failed baking attempt when I was five still sits right next to a picture of her and my father on their fifth wedding anniversary. They both have huge smiles on their face, and look so in love. I don’t really get to see my dad smile like that anymore, his real smile.
I look at the clock again and start to worry, why isn’t he home yet? Just when I’m ready to owl his work, the front door flies open with my dad holding way too many bags of groceries.
"Oh, dad, let me help you with that," I offer, startling him slightly, but he recovers quickly with a smile.
Not the same smile from the pictures, but the smile I’ve gotten used to over the years.
"Junie! How nice of you to drop in," he says genuinely.
I try to take a bag or two, but he insists that he can handle them just fine. "June, I may be old, but I’m not that old. I can carry a few bags of food," he says with a playful huff.
Just then, however, he drops two of the bags and everything spills out.
"Right, you can totally handle them. I assume you dropped them on purpose then, a new storage method perhaps? Who needs a cabinet when you’ve got the floor?"
He laughs at my joke and shrugs his shoulders, "Okay, you’re right. I need help."
We clean up the mess together and I help him put everything away. The system of where everything goes has been the same since I was little, so it’s pretty easy to get them all put away. However, when I’m emptying the bags, I notice something strange; in one of them is a bouquet of flowers.
"Dad, I think you may have grabbed one of the wrong bags," I shout up to him.
"Why do you think that, kiddo?" he asks as he returns from bringing the new soap to the upstairs bathrooms.
"Well, unless you’ve developed a sudden love for plants, or have a secret love interest, I don’t see why you’d have a bouquet of marigolds." I laugh at the very idea, my dad is not they type for romances.
He blushes a deep red and grabs the bag, "Oh… Yes, um, right. Wrong bag, silly me."
Hmm, that sure was a strange reaction, I think to myself as he scurries the bag out of the room.
By the time he comes back he is back to normal, with no trace of the previous panic still on his face. I feel like I should press the issue, but he changes the subject.
"So your arm is feeling okay, right?" he asks, going into concerned parent mode.
"Yes, it’s perfectly healed. I could probably even play quidditch with this arm if I needed!"
He looks oddly at me, "But you don’t play quidditch?"
"I know, but I’m just saying my arms healed enough that I could play, if I wanted." I say, flexing for emphasis.
"I sure raised a strange kid, but I suppose that’s why I love you." He pulls me into a hug, "I believe your arm is fine, just be careful with it. For the sake of your old man, I don’t want to have to make any more trips to the hospital anytime soon."
"Fair enough," I grin, pulling out of his hug. "Well, I should probably get home, Stella probably thinks I got kidnapped or something. Ever since joining the training program her mind has been in worst case scenario mode."
"Alright, thanks for stopping by kiddo!" he says with a wave, already heading towards the T.V. There must be a good football game on; my dad has been obsessed with Manchester United since he was born.
Good old dad, he’s the one person I know will never change, even when it seems like everything else is.
September 13th, 6:19 P.M. – June and Stella’s Flat
"June! You’re home, thank Merlin. I thought you had been wizardnapped!"
Just as I suspected.
"No, I was just visiting my dad. He was acting a bit weird today though. Figuring out what’s up with him on top of very everything else I need to deal with is just too much. Maybe I should just throw in the towel and join a stress-free nudist colony somewhere tropical. That sounds nice."
After I say this, my heart stops in a panic; the laughter I hear isn’t Stella’s light girly laugh, but a deep manly one. My head shoots to the side, trying to find the source of the laughter.
"Oh, Stella, you didn’t mention we had company…" I trail off, turning a deep crimson. I
Did I seriously just talk about become a nudist in front of a guy? And not just any guy, but Connor Thompson, my not so secret admirer? Just when I thought I couldn’t get any more awkward, I go one step further into a deep ocean of awkwardness.
"Yeah, sorry I didn’t let you know ahead of time. Connor here is helping me with my training," she gestures towards him and he gives me a wave. "He’s my assigned mentor for the whole process, and I’ve been struggling with some of the more complicated spells we need to master," she says, giving me a meaningful look that lets me know she didn’t me to catch me off guard.
"It’s perfectly fine! I’ll just go to the kitchen and get a start on dinner. Will you be joining us, Connor?" I address him with a calm smile, even though my insides are still burning of embarrassment.
"That’s very kind of you, but sadly I can’t stay that late. I have to babysit my niece and nephew later."
I feign sadness, but I can’t deny that I’m relieved; that would have been such an uncomfortable dinner. "Okay, well, I’ll be cooking if you need me."
I enter the kitchen and get straight to work. When Stella and I moved in together, we decided we would share the cooking responsibilities, but it quickly became evident that Stella was no chef. I had always known she wasn’t the world’s best cook, but I didn’t fully understand the magnitude of her inability to prepare anything edible. To this day, I still can’t look at chili without having nightmares; it was that bad.
She still tries to help me with it most nights, but she sticks to the easy jobs, such as reading the ingredients from the cook book. I, on the other hand, pride myself in being a good cook. It’s one of the few things I’m naturally good at.
I start to take out the ingredients I need for tonight’s dinner, and use some handy-dandy magic to do the annoying slicing and dicing while I prepare the rest of the food. Cooking gives me a sort of satisfaction. I love the fact that I if I just follow the directions, I can create something perfect.
The particular dish I’m making this evening is relatively easy in terms of preparation, so I don’t have much to do. So, while the chicken cooks in the oven, I decide to organize all the pots and pans. We kind of just threw them in cabinets to be dealt with later, but later never happened. I start pulling everything out, but I hit a snag when I see that in our infinite wisdom, Stella and I put many of them on the highest shelf of the tallest cabinet.
"I suppose I could use magic to get them down," I think aloud, "But where’s the fun in that?"
So, naturally I hop on a chair and then onto the counter to reach the nearest pan. I nearly have a grip on one of the handles when I go tumbling to the ground. I probably should have cleaned the olive oil I spilled before climbing on the counter.
I have major issues with gravity.
The fall itself isn’t too bad; it’s the avalanche of pots and pans that is going to tumble down on me as a result of fall that looks like the real doozy.
Right as I brace myself for the impact of a rather heavy looking frying pan, I hear a voice from the doorway shout, "Immobulus!"
Of course, the voice belongs to Connor, "Are you alright? I heard a loud bang and then the next thing I know, I see your head is about to be impaled by a pan," he says, levitating the suspended pots and pans back into the cabinet.
"Yeah…" I trail off as I run my hand through my hair, my cheeks flushing with red. "I was attempting to do some reorganizing, but it didn’t work out as planned…"
He lets out a deep laugh and extends his hand to help me up, "I can see that. But as long as you’re alright, then there’s no harm done, right?"
"I would agree with you, if it weren’t for the fact that I’m sure Stella’s going to walk in here any second and make fun of me for this. I’ll never hear the end of it." I sigh, accepting his helping hand.
"Ah, well then I’ve got some good news," he says with a smile. "Stella left a moment before you fell, she had to apparate back to work and pick up some papers she left, so your secret is safe with me."
I grin in return, "Thanks mate, I really appreciate that. Stella already has enough things to make fun of me for, I don’t want to give her any more ammunition."
"Understandable," he nods solemnly. "My best mates and I are the same way, it’s brutal. I still get made fun of for the nightlight I had in my trunk on the first day of school back in 1st year."
I let out a super attractive snort, "A nightlight, seriously? You did realize Hogwarts doesn’t have electricity, right?"
A playfully defensive look sweeps his face, "I was perfectly aware, it was my older brother who put it in there. It was a pink princess one too, all girly and everything. I got revenge though by jinxing his pudding to explode in his face at dinner, so in the end it was alright."
I crack up at the metal image of young Connor and a pink princess nightlight.
"Hey, now. You better stop laughing or I won’t help you clean up all this mess," he gestures meaningfully to the war zone that is my kitchen.
Chocking back my laughter, I take a good look at the damage, "Okay, you’re right, you’re right. I’ll stop my completely warranted giggles, but you don’t have to help clean up, you’re a guest!"
"I insist," he says with an easy smile. "Besides, haven’t you heard that teamwork makes things get done faster?"
"You know what, I think I may have heard that somewhere..." I jokingly concede. "But alright, you can start with the spilled flour and I’ll get this counter cleaned up…"
We clean together for a while and make polite conversation. With all the cleaning we are getting done, I start to relax and think this might not be too bad. But of course, he has to go and address the giant pink elephant in the room; the fact that I turned him down for a date.
"I should apologize about that whole lunch thing," he says, bringing up the one topic I wanted to avoid. "I can be a bit forward sometimes; I tend to do that when I’m nervous…" he trails off, obviously feeling just as awkward about the situations as I do. " I just don’t want you to think I’m only talking to you because I’m planning ways to get you to fall for my ‘manly charm’ or something. I’d actually really like it if we were friends."
I nearly let out a sigh of relief. Not that he’s not a decent bloke or anything, but things in my love life are complicated enough, I don’t need an admirer. So I let out a soft, kind laugh and smile at him, "I’d also really like if we were friends. And there’s no need to apologize. How about we just forget it happened and start fresh?"
He smiles in return, "That would be great."
I extend my hand out, "Oh, why hello there. My name is June, it’s such a pleasure to see you here in my kitchen!"
"Hello June, I’m Connor, and the pleasure is all mine!" he says, shaking my hand.
The air of awkwardness now gone, we are able to talk much more easily. He tells me about his niece and nephew that he'll be babysitting later. The girl, Katie, is ten and all she can talk about its Hogwarts.
"It was adorable at the beginning, but now I'm positive that if I hear one more fact about that school, I’ll explode," he jokes. "I’ll miss her, though, when she goes to school. I love babysitting the little tikes. It’s the only helpful thing I can do for my sister that I actually enjoy."
I feel the small pang of jealousy that I always get when I’m with the huge Potter/Weasley clan. Hearing stories about big families always makes me kind of sad, but I paste on a smile.
I open my mouth to answer, but my attention is caught by the time on the clock."Not to put an end to this fun, but if that clock is right, shouldn’t you probably be heading to their house soon?"
He looks also and appears a bit shocked, "Wow, look at the time! I can’t believe it’s already past eight."
Connor walks into the living room and gathers his things quickly, and we say our goodbyes.
"I’m glad we got a chance to clear things up," I say warmly, "Have fun with the kids!"
"I’m glad too, and I will! That is if I survive another round of Hogwarts trivia."
I chuckle as he leaves, and I turn back towards the kitchen. When I turn around, I bump into someone, sending me heart into near cardiac arrest.
"Remember me? Stella, your starving roommate?" she snarls at me.
I gasp, completely caught off guard. "Stella! When did you get back?"
She rolls her eyes with a plenty of sass, "Around twenty minutes ago, but I couldn’t get into the kitchen because of all the sickening banter going on."
I try to defend myself, but shut cuts me off. "Blah blah blah, I don’t really care, just get me some of that chicken."
"Oh right… the chicken…" I trail off, realizing my mistake.
Her eyes grow wide, "Say it isn’t so!"
We book it into the kitchen and open the oven. Inside is a charred black blob that used to be my perfectly marinated chicken cutlets.
Both of us and lock eyes, "Chinese takeout?" I offer.
She nods, "Chinese takeout."
Well, so much for being a master chef.
Author's note: I'm so sorry for the lateness of this chapter, there really is no excuse other than I was stuck on how to write this chapter/didn't have to time. I hope it's not too much of a filler. I threw in a little something that seems insignificant, but is a clue towards what the main conflict of the story will be. I wonder if anyone can guess... (;
I only got a few reviews on the last chapter, so I don't know if anyone is reading this story anymore, but for those of you reading this now I promise updates won't take so long in the future!
Thanks for reading
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