Chapter 1 : Blind Date
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Thanks to trésor @TDA for the great chapter image!
September 2025, home
“He really is a nice guy, you know,” said Georgia as I focused on applying my mascara.
“I'm sure he is, George,” I replied and blinked rapidly, managing to smudge the black all over my eyelid. “Pass me a tissue will you, Louis?” Louis obliged, and I turned back to Georgia. “How do you know him again?”
“We work in the same department.”
“And what's his name again?” I saw her roll her eyes in the mirror.
“Oh yes, that's it. And what do you think of him Louis?” I asked, glancing at my cousin who sitting in the chair next to the dressing table.
“He seems like an alright bloke.” I nodded and leaned closer to the mirror to apply a fresh layer of mascara. I wasn't really sure why I was making such an effort with my appearance for this bloke, about whom I knew only his name, his job and the fact that he was ‘nice.’ But still, I hadn't had a date in over six months and the only way I could think of to end the constant nagging from my friends was to go on the blind date they'd set up for me.
Usually I would have carried out some research on the man – I always liked to be prepared – but I was so swamped at work that I hadn't had the chance. Besides, with a promotion just around the corner, there were no room for distractions. The plan for tonight was to enjoy a pleasant dinner, light chat and then home early where I could finish the report I was writing up, then a hot shower before bed at a reasonable time. I knew the report was not due for another fortnight but I would much rather get everything cleared up as soon as possible otherwise it was going to weigh on my mind; in fact, I thought, it would be a wonder if I got through the date without planning out the final paragraphs in my head.
“Tell me more about him,” I badgered, hoping for some last-minute details to prepare me.
“It's called a blind date for a reason, Molly. This will be good for you; we all agree you work too hard. Just relax and try to enjoy yourself.”
“If I have to try to enjoy myself it's not going to be a very fun evening is it?” I said, giving a slight smile.
“Oh shut up,” she replied. “Now go on, get out there, you look fabulous! We'll be waiting for you when you get back - we want all the details, right Louis?”
Louis wasn't even paying attention. He was instead absent-mindedly picking at the leaves of my weeping fig plant. I slapped his hand away, bringing him back into the room with us.
“Huh?” he said, looking at Georgia blankly. “Yeah, I'll probably still be here tonight.” He flashed a grin at Georgia, who giggled. I rolled my eyes and started toward the door.
“Alright, come on. Get out of my bedroom; I'm going to be late.” I shooed them out and bid them goodbye as they settled on the sofa together.
I was to meet Tom outside one of the little restaurants in Diagon Alley called The Hourglass in ten minutes time so, after quickly checking through my handbag to make sure I had everything, I turned on the spot and Apparated into London, just outside the Leaky Cauldron. Smoothing down my clothes, I caught my breath and walked into the pub, past the various witches and wizards enjoying their post-work drinks and out into the courtyard.
Once I'd passed through the brick archway I didn't break my stride but carried straight on down the Alley toward the restaurant. Evening was drawing in now as darkness began to blot the grey sky and, as I walked past the bistros and cafés, their lights flickered on while the shops closed their shutters for the night. I felt a drop of water land on my cheek and glanced upwards to see that it was just starting to rain – wonderful. Increasing my pace I scanned the area and saw someone standing outside the restaurant, already sheltered under the awning. I wondered whether this was Tom and thought that if it was, I was already impressed with his punctuality.
The rain was getting heavier so, by the time I reached the restaurant, I was half-running in an effort to stay looking presentable and I could feel my wet hair sticking to my face. Under the awning, trying to catch my breath, I pushed my hair back and looked up to see a rather handsome man standing there.
“Molly Weasley?” he asked. I nodded.
“Yes, and you must be Tom,” I replied, extending a hand. Instead, he bypassed my hand and leaned in to peck me on the cheek. I had to remind myself this was a date and not a work meeting – I was so used to them, they were second-nature. He smiled.
“It’s nice to meet you Tom.”
A moment passed as we took each other in. Then he gestured to the door. “Shall we?” He held the door open for me and followed me through into the restaurant.
I'd been to The Hourglass several times before- it was a classy place. Full of oak panelling and polished brass, ornate, oversized vases and decorative bowls. A smartly-dressed maître d’ awaited us and accompanied us to our seats – Tom pulled my chair out for me before sitting down himself – where he handed us menus and recommended the specials. Tom ordered the specialty Elf-made wine for himself, and I, inwardly applauding his taste, requested the same. Once the waiter had left I excused myself from the table, very aware of the water dripping down the back of my neck, heading to the ladies’ room.
As I stood in front of the mirror I thought that, on first impression, he did seem very nice; handsome, punctual, gentlemanly. Perhaps I wouldn't have to try to enjoy myself on this date after all. Casting a quick drying-spell, I clipped my hair back into place. When I hurried back out I found Tom perusing the menu. I smiled at him and sat down.
“So. A Weasley. That must get you a lot of attention,” he mused, looking up at me.
I was caught off-guard; he’d opted for a peculiar opening topic, if you asked me. “Oh. Well, not really. People recognise the name of course but I'm not Rose or Hugo - they get a lot of the attention since their parents were much more involved in the war than mine were. And what they deal with is nothing compared to the Potters.”
“It’s Percy Weasley. Your father’s Percy Weasley, right?”
He nodded. “Which department do you work in, Molly?”
“International Magical Co-operation,” I said brightly. I was proud of my job; I was very good at it.
“Never much interested me.” His voice was flat. I raised my eyebrows. “No, the nitty-gritty of trading standards bores me half to death. How can you stand it?”
“I...” I cleared my throat. “I like what I do. I happen to think the nitty-gritty is quite interesting, but actually I work in ambassadorial cooperation – International Trade is a completely different department–”
“Do you work so hard because you're worried you'll get special treatment for being a Weasley?”
I blinked in surprise once more at his question, but before I could respond the waiter came to take our order. While Tom ordered I glanced quickly at the menu and chose the first thing I saw, not having had the chance to look properly. The waiter disappeared again and, to stall, I took a sip of my wine.
“The wine is delightful,” I commented.
“You don't want to seem as though you're receiving merit for your family name instead of your own work. You're the kind of person who needs to prove themselves worthy. I bet you were in Slytherin. Am I right?” he said, tapping the table and reaching for his glass.
“Wh- Yes, actually I was.” He had a smug look on his face. I furrowed my brow. In an effort to steady the conversation I said, “Which house were you in?”
Tom placed his hands under his chin and leant his elbows on the table – I tutted at the bad manners. “Guess.”
Again, I cleared my throat. I was beginning to realise what an odd man he really was; very forward and he kept jumping from topic to topic. Quite why Georgia had thought he was a good match for me I didn't know.
“No, Hufflepuff actually.” He paused to take another sip of wine and I followed suit. “Do you want to get married?”
I nearly choked, scrambling frantically for a napkin. “Excuse me?”
“I was just wondering whether you were the marrying type. Do you think you'll ever get married?”
“Oh.” There was a long pause. “I suppose so. One day.” He nodded once.
I knew now that trying to strike up a sensible conversation was futile so instead I waited for Tom to say something. He didn't. A full minute passed in which I took several more gulps of wine. At this rate I'd be drunk by dessert.
He was just staring at me. Trying my hardest not to look uncomfortable I took the opportunity to take in his full appearance too. He had a very square jaw – clean shaven – and, I thought, this was the most striking thing about him; he had thin lips, chapped, though it really wasn't that windy at all outside. His hair was brown, neatly combed; his eyes a light green colour and crinkled at the edges – the beginnings of crow’s feet etched into his skin. I took this to mean he smiled a lot.
He was smiling now. “I like you, Molly.”
“You don't even know me,” I said, though I felt the corners of my mouth pull up at his words.
“But we have, oh,” he checked his watched. “At least an hour to get to know each other better. So what broom do you ride?”
I laughed. “You are an odd man, Tom Burgess.” He shrugged, looking at me expectantly. “I don't fly that often, really.”
Tom gasped dramatically. “You don't fly and you come out on a date with a bloke who works with brooms for a living?”
“Well, it was a blind date, wasn't it? How was I supposed to know?”
“You're not telling me you didn't do a little digging before you came? You seem like the nosy type.” I was taken aback, suddenly annoyed.
“I had a lot of work on,” I said bluntly.
“I'm sorry; I didn't mean to be rude. I meant you seem like the type who likes to know what they're getting into. You like to know what's going on.”
“I'd say you're the nosy type, Mr. Burgess. Has anyone ever told you you're very forward? Thought about toning it down a bit?” was my retort. He stretched his arms out to the side, narrowly missing a passing waitress who had to dart to the side, trying to keep her tray steady.
“Nah, that wouldn't be me.” I glowered at him.
“The salmon?” asked the waiter who had appeared again at our table carrying two plates. He set the dish in front of me.
Before he left I grabbed the waiter by the arm and ordered another glass of wine. Merlin, I was going to need it.
“Am I making you feel uncomfortable?” Tom asked. I shook my head, focusing on my meal. “What would you like to talk about?”
“How about you tell me about your job?” I offered and was amazed, twenty minutes later, when he managed to stay on topic. Tom worked for the Department of Magical Games and Sports but instead of working in-office, he was an externally employed broom-maker. He worked for Spitfire but, he told me, he was on the brink of starting his own company. He was spending a lot of time at the department headquarters, trying to get a good deal. Georgia was on the team deciding whether his ideas were good enough. Though I wasn’t really that interested in broomsticks, the way he talked about them; describing in detail the streamlining techniques and the steering control with such passion had me engrossed. My wine sat on the table, forgotten.
“Were you on the Quidditch team at school? I can’t say I remember you. How old are you?” I asked.
“A lady never reveals her age,” he said, fluttering his hand to his chest. I laughed, shaking my head at him in disbelief. How was it I was suddenly having such fun? Only half an hour before he’d managed to propose marriage, question my work and insult me. “No, I wasn’t on the team; I wasn’t very athletic back at school.”
“Oh, oh!” I exclaimed. “Were you that chubby Hufflepuff boy who used to steal all the carrots from the vegetable patch and feed them to the Thestrals so they couldn’t be served at the Christmas feast?” Tom raised his eyebrows.
“No,” he chuckled. “You know, just because I said I wasn’t athletic doesn’t mean I was fat!”
My cheeks flushed and I cast my eyes downward. “Sorry. But I would have thought I’d remember you – you’re really strange, you know.”
“Thanks. I kept my head down at Hogwarts; wasn’t the outgoing type. Spent most of my time in the library.”
“You wouldn’t think that now, looking at you,” I told him.
The rest of the meal passed much too quickly for my liking, but we still managed to squeeze in a lot of topics; we discussed family, friends, school – briefly, his pet Puffskein, Peter. He told me about how he once went swimming in the Hogwarts lake at night and received a month of detentions – again I wondered why I’d never heard of him before – I told him about the time my sister turned my hair purple and we couldn’t get it back to normal for a week – I’d had a job interview that week and I still managed to get hired – and then we went back to broomsticks. By the time the waiter took our dessert plates away I was quite merry; not least because together we must have worked our way through a bottle of the Elf-made wine.
When the bill arrived, Tom – who turned down my offer to split – counted out the correct amount, added a few Sickles tip and looked up at me. “Right. Shall we?” He stood up.
“I need to finish my wine,” I said, picking up my glass.
“Dare you to down it in one.” I gave him a stern look- there was still a half-glass full. “Down it, down it, down it!”
I rolled my eyes as he continued to chant. Lifting the glass to my lips I decided – what the hell? – and gulped down the sweet white wine in a most unladylike fashion. Leaving the empty glass behind, I grasped Tom’s outstretched hand and he led me at some speed through the restaurant and out the door. My head buzzed pleasantly.
Hitting the cold air outside I realised the date was coming to an end. I sighed, disappointed.
“Can I walk you home?” Tom offered.
“Well, I was going to Apparate...”
He held out his hand. “I’ll come with you.” Suppressing the smile that was slowly spreading across my face, I slid my hand delicately into his. “Lead the way.”
I took a deep breath to clear my head and, pulling him around as I turned, I Apparated us both to the end of my street where the streetlight above us glowed bright orange. Once I’d found my bearings in the light I tried to step back from him to see his face, but his hand kept a firm hold of mine.
As we began walking down the street, our hands swung easily between us.
“Are you the marrying type, Tom?” I asked, without looking at him.
“Oh, I think so. I’m very romantic, after all.”
“Oh really? How so?” I challenged. We came to a halt at the bottom of the steps leading up to my flat.
He looked around before reaching over a neighbour’s fence and plucking a flower from their rose bush.
“You can’t do that!” I whispered. He just shrugged, beginning to work on fixing the rose to the front of my dress.
“There. I think that was pretty romantic.”
“Mmhmm,” I said sarcastically. “I think when you propose you’re going to have to try harder than that.” I leaned toward him for dramatic effect.
And then he kissed me. Gently, on the lips. It lasted mere seconds before he drew away, one eyebrow raised in triumph, obviously having seen the look on my face; I could tell I had a sappy, drunken look so I coughed and straightened up. Again there was a pause.
“Until next time,” he said, flourishing his arm.
“How do you know there’s going to be a next time?” I teased.
He just winked before turning to saunter back down the street. When he was out of sight I touched my fingers to my lips, delighted. Tonight had turned out to be the most fun I’d had in months – Georgia had been right; it had been good for me – and there was no way I was letting this one get away easily.
A/N: Thanks for reading, and thanks so much to LittleWelshGirl99 for beta'ing!
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