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Beauty Queen by explosion
Chapter 4 : What Do You Want?
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 11


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Disclaimer: It's JK Rowlings, not mine.






 

My first impression of Dom was that she was too much. She was too pretty, too chatty, too skinny, too popular, too… too… perfect. It was overwhelming to just be faced with this wall of perfection, and expect, in any sense, that I could possibly beat her in a beauty pageant.

So there I had been, my first ever magical beauty pageant, sitting at the one vanity table backstage that was shoved in the corner, listening as all the other magical girls were huddled in a circle, Dom at the center, giving them pointers on their walk-and-pose. Her hair sat around her shoulders like a halo of light, and I remembered the feeling that I had had when Missy won the Miss Supreme Miss title, right from under my nose.

“It’s all about the swivel,” Dom had said, standing up from her ornately decorated vanity seat and starting to demonstrate. She walked up across the dressing room floor, moving her hips in a side to side motion, and once she reached the end she did what could only be described as just that: a swivel. “You see: it’s all in the hips.”

I had immediately doubted her words. While my experiences with magical pageants were nonexistent, I had never once seen anyone in the regular beauty pageants I had been in, swivel their hips in such an ostentatious manor. However, all the other girls in the dressing room just soaked up her knowledge, asking her to demonstrate it again and again, over and over, swivel by swivel.

I remained distant from all the other girls. I didn’t know them, they didn’t know me, there was no point in me trying to talk to any of them about how unfortunate doing the swivel made them look. So, I sat in front of my mirror reapplying my lipstick every so often, and making sure my eyeliner stayed in place, while behind me all the other girls were practicing and in their eyes ‘perfecting’ the swivel with Dom’s help.

It was only when the pageant had started, and all the other girls walked in their evening gowns on stage, doing the swivel like Dom had practiced, that I realized just how ridiculous they all looked. Girl after girl entered the stage, doing the now famous swivel, and you could tell by the judges faces that they were a bit confused as to what was going on.

Then, Dom entered the stage in her evening gown, which was made out of the most luxurious silvery blue silk I had ever seen, matching her eyes and highlighting her sheer beauty. She walked down the runway with the most poised grace I had ever seen. I was the last one that would go, so I watched from backstage, wearing my own lilac dress made from fairy dust and unicorn silk, holding my breath and waiting for her to mess her walk up with that stupid swivel she had taught to all the girls.

However, I waited in vain. She did not swivel, she glided and posed just as expected, keeping a beatific smile on her face, while the other girls that had gone before her watched her shocked as if they’d been slapped across the face. The judges seemed to smile, finally happy to not see the familiar shaking of the hips, and it was then that I realized she had tricked them all. Every last girl.

She had made it seem like she was helping them, giving them tips that would improve their chances, but in the end it had all been a game of sabotage, to make sure she would get the crown.

I remembered feeling this icy hot anger in my veins at the fact that she had done such a backhanded thing to all of those girls, so open and ready to trust her as their leader. So, when it was my turn to go, I made sure that I walked just as gracefully, if not better than Dom, my steps even and light, like a prance from one place to the next. I couldn’t let her win, for the sake of those girls, and that’s what kept me going the whole competition.

When I won the pageant, I remembered the shocked look on Dom’s face, how her mouth had formed a comic ‘o’ and her face just seemed to drop down to the floor in embarrassment. I felt satisfied.

It was only after the end of the pageant that my mindset began to change. When my mum had gone off to the loo to freshen up before we left, I waited alone in the dressing room, all the other girls having left and congratulated me for winning. I heard the sound of a woman speaking angrily out in the hallway, and opened the dressing room door a crack to see what was going on.

The woman yelling was Mrs. Delacour-Weasley, and she looked ready to blow. Her face was filled in anger, her posture stiff as could be, and all that anger was directed at Dominique.

“I cannot believe you let yourself lose,” Mrs. Delacour-Weasley had said, looking at Dom in disdain, as if she was the dirt on the bottom of her shoe. “I thought I had told you to win.”

She said win as if it was the key to life, like anything other than winning was not good enough. I was reminded of my mother, so hell-bent on me succeeding, that I felt myself in some strange way, feel like I could relate to Dom.

“I’m sorry, maman,” Dom had said softly, all former confidence she had once held, gone. Her eyes were red rimmed, a sure sign she had been crying, and her whole posture was slack.

“Why did she not do the swivel?” her mother had asked again, not caring that Dom was already upset enough. “I thought I told you to teach them all. Not whoever you wanted.”

“She was new,” Dom started to say her voice still sounding dejected, “I-I didn’t know that she would win.”

At this, Mrs. Delacour-Weasley had straightened up, picking an invisible piece of lint off her black v-neck sweater, and said in a clipped tone, “Well I expect you’ll think twice next time, now won’t you?”

Dom had nodded back instantly, reminding me of a robot, and I remember turning away from the door, not wanting to see anymore. It was hard to dislike someone so immensely, when you knew that you shared something so similar to them that shaped you into who you were. We both had controlling mothers and that was that.

After my fourth magical beauty pageant win, I remember bumping into Dom in the dressing room, just me and her in this huge room, no longer bustling with the sounds of a million different girls. She had been sitting in the corner of the room, her knees brought up to her chest, her makeup gone, and there was something about the scene that I just knew wasn’t right.

“Hey,” I had said to her slowly, not sure if I should really say anything at all.

“Oh,” Dom had said, looking up at me, and it was obvious yet again that she had been crying. “Hey.”

There was a long silence between us after that, with neither of us sure what to say. “You know,” I started, even though I didn’t know, “you did really good out there. No swivel and everything.”

I remember how weird it felt for her to just start laughing, her mouth seeming totally opposite of her eyes, a walking paradox of emotions.

“Thanks,” she had said, her voice a bit raspy from the crying, I suspected. “You too.”

And somehow, through that entire conversation we were able to convey to each other just how much things could change. The next couple of pageants, we managed to keep a friendship, and soon enough, we were inseparable. We had enough in common to make us surefire friends: we were pageant queens, our lives dictated by whatever our mothers told us to do.

Both our parents hated our friendship because, of course, we were always competing against each other, and it supposedly ‘got in the way of our priorities’, but neither of us stopped being friends. Our friendship grew, and we grew, and soon it wasn’t just pageants that held us together.

However while I was more silent with my hatred of pageanting, Dom became vocal, always being the bold one, and she was able to quit. Her mother wasn’t happy about it from what I could tell, although Dom never told me much, but her father supported her decision wholeheartedly, overriding Fleur. And with that, she was able to leave the pageant world. The fake smiles and glittery crowns were nothing to her anymore. Maybe they never had been anything to her in the first place.

But that was okay. She was strong, stronger than I could ever hope, and I remembered envying her but not for the reasons I once did. I mean yes, she was still too pretty, too bubbly, too skinny. But she wasn’t just that. She was able to take charge, dictate her own life, break away from the cage she’d been locked in. I watched her morph and grow and fly away, still stuck from mine.

*

“A little more happy,” the photographer said, as my mouth was pulled into probably the largest smile possible. I wondered how on earth he expected me to look even happier than I did, and felt my smile droop at the thought.

“No, happy! Happy, happy, happy!” The photographer commanded, as if by saying the words over and over I would suddenly become whatever he was expecting.

The Teen Witch billboard shoot had been going on for about an hour now, and I could feel myself visibly shrinking, wishing any second that this photo shoot could end. The red sequined gown the stylist had picked out for me, was becoming incredibly itchy along the shoulders, and the crown on my head was pinned down so tightly that it was starting to yank out bits of my hair.

In a last ditch attempt to give the photographer what he was looking for, I decided to stop my psychotic smiling and instead blow kisses to the camera, making the picture incredibly cheesy, but also—

“Brilliant!” The photographer exclaimed, the shudder clicking about twenty times as he continued to capture my face giving the camera coy yet cutsey looks. “Absolutely perfect!”

After taking a few more photos, and going on and on about the genius of each pose, he finally declared he had the right shot and put the camera down, walking up to me to shake my hand.


“Stunning photos, really,” He said to me, his voice sincere and his eyes filled with excitement. “If you ever want to do another photo shoot or something, here’s my card.”

He put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a small index like piece of parchment, with Dennis Creevey: Photographer Extraordinaire written on the front. I nodded my head in a smile that didn’t quite reach my eyes, and put the card in my pocket as Dennis Creevey turned away.

My mother stood to the right of the shooting area, smiling at me and nodding her head as she talked to the photo shoot director, pointing at me occasionally. I knew she was probably talking to the director about me, making another sales pitch about just how perfect I was, and I felt myself grow frustrated.

I had been getting annoyed at my mum more than usual over the past week, and I knew that while there were specific instances I could point my annoyance at, there were much deeper, more underlying details, that were just starting to be shed into the light. It had all started a couple of days ago when I suggested Dom’s idea to mum.

We’d been eating dinner. Winston was sitting at the head of the table cutting the filet mignon my mother had ordered from take out, seeing as she wasn’t the best cook, while my mum and I ate an arugula salad. We’d been having the usual uncomfortable conversations, where Winston tried to act interested in my pageanting, when really knowing nothing about what he was asking.

“So,” Winston had stated, leaning forward and giving me a friendly smile, “have you come up with your normalcy-what’s-it for that pageant thing?”

My mother had cringed slightly, at the fact that Winston just didn’t seem to understand pageants. To her, it was so undermining of everything I did, to act like a pageant was just something forgettable.

“Um…” I said, buying time as I used my fork to push around the tomatoes on my plate, “Not quite yet.”

My mother tensed a bit as I said this, feeling the pressure of having only one more week before our next meeting with Georgiana, in which we had to have a suggestion. Her lips pursed as she grabbed her glass of wine, and took a small sip of it.

“Well then,” Winston said, looking excited, “I think I have a good suggestion for you!”

My mother’s face tensed even further, and she put the wine glass down with a bit more force than usual. However, Winston didn’t seem to notice, and continued to talk, “Because of the new Gringotts Bank opening up, we were thinking that to give it some more publicity, we wanted someone to work at the place that could kind of be a face of our company. You’d do secretarial work mostly, and then probably do some press work during the opening, to get girls more likely to open up accounts in our new place, but I thought I’d ask you if you were up for it.”

My mother’s face instantly changed from tense to relaxed and she looked at me with a smile, “Oh, honey! What a wonderful idea, don’t you think?”

Winston smiled and seemed pleased at his suggestion, while I sat there motionless. Working at a bank, more importantly, working at Winston’s bank, was not something I wanted to do. I would not only have my mum making quick stop-ins about every second just to make sure everything was going okay, but I’d have to deal with being another face of another company, most likely with another contract. I wasn’t sure if I had the energy for that.

“Well,” I started, not looking at my mother as I responded to Winston, “I’m not sure… it’d kind of conflict with Miss Teen Witch, don’t you think? Representing another place.”

My mother looked at me confused, not sure why I was turning down Winston’s offer. Winston however, cleared his throat, “Oh it’s fine if you don’t want to do it, it was just a suggest—”

“But Nata,” my mum interjected, not wanting me to give up this opportunity, “It’d be perfect! You already know how to be the face of companies, and being the face of more than one at a time would make you insanely well-known.”

Again, I highly doubted this. Being a pageant winner did not guarantee fame at all, no matter how much my mother wished.

“I don’t know…” I said trailing off.

“Oh honey,” my mother said again, instantly putting on her soothing voice. “It’ll be perfect. How about you just finish your dinner, sleep on it, and we’ll go to Winston’s work tomorrow and talk to them about the company, okay?”

I felt, like I so often did, that my mother was twisting the exact same suggestion into something else. Directing my life until there was nothing left for me to do but accept it and agree. But, for some reason everything just felt different. As forks scraped against plates, and the fan above us spun and spun, I felt myself become aggravated. Maybe it was because Dom was finally getting to me, or maybe it was just myself, but the feeling was there, something I couldn’t push away. So, I took a deep breath and thought of Dom’s suggestion, bracing myself for a conversation in which I didn’t play my usual role.

“I actually kind of had my own idea,” I said, my voice wavering a bit as I suggested it. I looked down at my plate, twirling my fork around my food, not wanting to see my mother’s reaction.

“That’s wonderful,” Winston said supportively, not sensing my mother’s quietness. I could tell he was trying as always, to get onto my good side, and I suddenly appreciated his support, however feeble it was.

“And what is this idea, Nata?” My mother asked, her voice tight and her eyes seeming to narrow a bit.

“It’s just… Dom and I—”

“Dominique helped you with this idea?” My mother asked, as I, too late, noticed my mistake. My mother didn’t trust Dom, and didn’t trust our friendship, even after all of these years.

“Not really,” I said quickly, even though the idea was in fact Dom’s idea. “She was just there when the idea happened.”

“Mhmm,” my mother responded, not at all convinced. “So what is this lovely idea?”

I felt my fingers dig into the back of my palms, as I took another breath, telling myself to go forward, “It’s to attend school. Hogwarts specifically. I thought it’d make me more relatable to girls my age, by actually going to school with them and learning.”

My mother’s face did not seem at all happy about my suggestion, and she wrinkled her nose instantly. “Oh no, no, no. You know that we can’t have that. You’re too busy as is to put school on your plate as well. How will you attend all your press junkets if you’re gone?”

This would normally be the point when I backed down, if I had even made it this far in the first place. But somehow, Dom’s voice repeated itself over and over in my head: Your mother has to let you go sometime.

“I’m sure we could work something out with the Headmistress,” I said again, “she did special exceptions for Dom when Dom competed.”

“I’m sure,” my mother said again, skeptically. “But didn’t Dominique quit pageanting after being at that school? Because of it being too much on her plate.”

“I don’t know if that’s why…” I said trailing off, as my mother’s look changed to one of complete annoyance. As if she was personally wondering to herself how she, out of everyone in the world, wound up with such a difficult daughter.

“I still don’t feel as if that’d be a suitable idea for you,” my mother said in return, making it known that her decision was final and would not change.

So, as my mum expected, I accepted her answer. I bowed my head, taking a bite of my food, and listened as my mum badgered Winston about when we could come in and visit his work. Winston had remained silent up until this point, not wanting to get involved, and I noticed him shooting me sympathetic looks as he planned with my mum about when we could meet with the Gringotts supervisor. I remained silent the whole rest of dinner, and when we had all finished eating my mum had smiled at me, told me I was beautiful, and kissed the top of my head.

It had annoyed me even more than usual. That she was only ever happy with me if I did exactly as I was told. That everything was either her way or… her way. There was never an in between or middle ground.

So while I stood there, relieved to finally have the photo shoot over with, Dennis Creevey packing up his camera, I saw my mother approach me and instantly cringed. I thought about all the times since our discussion that she had used her manipulative ways to get me to do something. How she would purse her lips if I grabbed unhealthy cereal for breakfast, or sigh heavily if I asked her why in fact we had to go to so many clothes fittings. As if by going against her at any small thing, I was attacking her and being oh so unreasonable.

“I was just talking to the photo shoot director,” my mum said, her face looking bright. “And she said that they’re talking about doing another billboard in Hogsmeade as well! Isn’t that wonderful, Nata?”

I found myself instantly irritated that my mother had made all of these plans without even consulting me. Another billboard meant another photo shoot, which meant that the relief I felt at finally being done was short-lived. But, instead of saying anything I just nodded at her and smiled, not daring to argue since I already knew the outcome.

“That’s great, mum,” I said feigning excitement, my lips forcing their way into a smile. “Really great.”

*

“I still can’t believe you’re going along with this all,” Dom said as we continued to walk along the streets of Diagon Alley.

“And I still can’t believe you keep bringing this up,” I responded easily, rolling my eyes at Dom.

“Stop turning this into a joke,” Dom said, stopping in the middle of the street, causing people bustling past to bump into us. “You went to that stupid meeting for Gringotts even though you don’t want to work there! What happened to telling your mum about Hogwarts?”

“I asked her,” I answered, as Dom’s angry expression changed to one of interest, “and she said that it wasn’t a good idea.”

“Well then you need to tell her that you’re going. Don’t let her butt in and manipulate you as usual,” Dom exclaimed indignantly.

“Why are you so annoyed?” I asked Dom, turning to her and giving her a steely glance. I was tired of having this same conversation over and over again. I just wanted her to be my friend, not my fairy godmother. “It’s not your life, it’s mine, and I’m fine with it. I wouldn’t even be here if I hadn’t gone to meeting, so you should be happy!”

Ever since I had gone with my mother to attend the meeting with the Gringott’s supervisor, Lila Peterson, my mum had been more than happy with me. With this newfound happiness, she had loosened up when it came to letting me see Dom. So even though the meeting with Gringotts had been painful and annoying, and even though we were having a follow-up meeting with the rest of the Gringotts committee to finalize the contract with them, which I was less than happy about, I was okay. My mother was outstandingly happy with me, after being colder to me all last week when I recommended the Hogwarts idea, so I just had to learn to deal with the things I didn’t like. I’d been doing it my whole life, so why should it change now?

“Don’t act like you’re doing this for me,” Dom stated, looking at me with annoyance, “you could hang out with me more if you went to Hogwarts, so the fact that your mum’s actually letting you out of the house because of the Gringotts thing means nothing. You’re doing it for her.”

“And so what if I am?”

“So,” Dom said, her silver eyes softening as she spoke, “I want you to do something for you. What do you want to do, Tash?”

“I…” I started to say but then I trailed off. “I don’t know.”

“Well then,” Dom said looking at me with complete certainty in her eye, “You need to figure that out, yeah?”

And I knew as she said this that we both knew what she meant. She meant going to school, getting my priorities together, figuring out what the hell I wanted to do with my life. She meant doing what I wanted to do, not what my mother wanted of me. She was unlocking the cage for me, and all I needed to do was open the door and fly away.

Dom’s eyes continued to train on me as people pushed past us, all scurrying to wherever it was they belonged. Everyone in this street had a purpose, a reason to be wandering these cobblestoned streets. Everyone that is, except for me.

“If you want me to handle Gringotts for you,” Dom said slowly, “I can do it.”

But I thought of my mum. I thought about everything she had worked so hard to do in order to make sure my life was better. My father had abandoned her and I knew it was my duty to fill the void he had left behind. I had failed at keeping them together and doing this for my mum was how I could make up for it. I couldn’t go to Hogwarts and abandon her too.

“I don’t know, Dom,” I said looking away from her probing gaze, “I just don’t know.”

*

“Straighten up, honey,” My mother commanded, smoothing her hands over her crisp black suit, as we stood outside the Gringotts bank.

My mum and I were preparing for our second meeting with Gringotts. In this one, we were going to finalize a couple things that being the face of the company would entail, and would also be signing a few contracts. My favorite. My mum had managed to convince me to go. Not that it was actually convincing. It was more my mum telling me what we were doing today and me following. As usual. She had picked out my clothes, done my hair up in a tight knot, and pushed me into stiletto heels smiling happily the whole way as if this was exactly what the both of us wanted. The thing is, she probably did think this was what I wanted. And really I had only myself to blame.

Dom had been anything but happy when I told her that I would be going to the next bank meeting. She had been nothing less than pissed at the fact that I wasn’t ‘taking her advice and standing up to my mother’ and was instead ‘applying to be the face of some stupid industry that I’d be totally bored out of my mind in’. She was right, but I didn’t tell her that. While she thought I was as strong as her, as willing and bold as she to defy my mother so gravely and make my own decisions, I knew I wasn’t strong enough. Maybe I never would be.

I straightened my back from its slouching position and adjusted my gray pencil skirt, before looking up at the bank. It was still in the process of finishing up construction and wizards were conducting spells all around the outside, creating a humming sound that reminded me of a drill. My mother and I had been told to meet here with the Gringotts Board of Trustees so that I could ‘get a feel’ for the bank environment I’d be working in, and the meeting was starting in five minutes at the newly furnished meeting room here.

“Remember,” My mother said, turning to me as her hand reached out to open the door, her eyes giving me a commanding look. Everything just felt so familiar and so comfortable about this scene. “Let me do the talking.” With that, she turned away from me and opened the door to the newly built Gringotts bank, while I walked behind her.

The inside of the bank was huge. The floors were tiled in marble, as were the walls, and there was a huge fountain with a large statue of a goblin in the middle. The place still was not fully furnished, and the air inside of it was fresh with paint, so the sound of my mother and I’s footsteps echoed around the entrance hall.

“Now, Winston told me that everyone we’re meeting with already loves you. So all you need to do is show them how happy you are, okay Nata?” My mother trilled, as her heels continued to clack, resounding around the large hallway like gunshots.

“Okay,” I responded, not even having the usual energy I did to act annoyed. I was too busy trying to figure out what my mother meant. Showing someone I was happy, would have to mean I was happy, wouldn’t it?

We walked for a while longer, until my mother came in front of a door that I assumed led into the meeting room. My mother stopped outside it, turned to me, and smiled.

“Oh this is going to be so perfect, honey!” my mum exclaimed, reaching forward to straighten the collar of my shirt. “They’re going to love you, don’t you worry.”

I knew my mum was right. As long as she had a say in it, they would love me. I just wasn’t sure whether or not this was a good thing. I forced a weak smile back at my mum instead of voicing my thoughts, to which she turned around and opened the door to the meeting room.

There were four people already in there, and I assumed they were on the board of trustee’s in charge of all things Gringotts related. I recognized Lila Peterson instantly as the lady I had met with previously, who was the head of the board. Along with Lila was one Goblin wearing black dress robes, a man in a pinstriped suit, who I couldn’t quite see because of the lighting, and a man with what resembled a rather fake looking toupee on his head. They were all sitting side by side at a long mahogany table, and there were two seats opposite them that were reserved for my mum and me. I felt myself gulp at how intimidating they all looked.

“Hello,” Lila said, standing up and reaching over the table to offer her hand to me. Her black hair was in a low chignon and she had a forced smile on her face. “It’s good to see you again, this is Michael Corrner,” she pointed at toupee man as she said this, who just nodded to me, “this is Nagnok,” she pointed to the goblin at this, who gave me a sly yet slightly creepy smile, “and this is Bill Weasley.”

I felt my eyes widen as she said this, looking away from her and instead training my gaze on my best friend’s father. It was him alright. While I had only met him a handful of times, I would recognize the scars on his face anywhere. He, however, didn’t seem to recognize me, and if he did, he didn’t show it.

Was this what Dom mean when she said she could handle it? Why hadn’t Dom mentioned to me her dad was on the Gringotts’ Board of Trustees?

“Now,” Lila said, sitting back down in her seat and gesturing for us to do the same, which we did, while she adjusted her glasses, “We’re here because you’re interested in being the face of our company.”

My mother instantly started to talk before I could say anything, already back in her element, while I sat next to her silently, “Yes, my daughter has just won the title Miss Teen Witch, and we think that this will really give your bank more publicity, to start getting younger girls to open accounts here. Since she’s their age, she’ll really be able to help your bank branch out to the younger generations.”

“Mhmm,” Lila said, looking at my mum disinterestedly while keeping her eyes locked on me. “So you’re sure you can help the company?”

“Of course she can. Witch Weekly’s best selling magazine had my Natasha on the cover,” my mum said, immediately answering for me. She was the road map, and all I had to do was follow. “If my daughter could do anything, it’s sell.”

“And you’d be able to guarantee that her being Miss Teen Witch wouldn’t interfere with her dedication to the company?” Lila fired back with an even voice.

“Definitely,” my mum responded, nodding her head and plastering a smile on her face. “The large part of her Miss Teen Witch title doesn’t start until January, so for now it’s just small amounts of press junkets that won’t interfere with your company at all.”

“Well,” Michael interjected, exchanging looks with the other three people sitting at the table and then turning back to me, “We do need a young face to make Gringotts bank look like the new ‘it’ thing. Teens these days aren’t really concerned with saving their money, so I’m sure you could make them change their minds.”

“And I swear Nata would do an amazing job of it,” my mother said, yet again selling me like her newest toy. The drill sound from outside was creeping into the meeting room, and I had half a mind to walk over and close all the windows. The sound was so goddamn distracting.

“So,” Nagnok began in his gravelly voice, looking down his nose at the two of us, “there would be some more stipulations with this contract. She’d have to give up eight hours a day to work for the company, she’d need to shoot a commercial for the Gringotts bank, and she’d have to be willing to travel to all of the other Gringotts banks with us during the month of November to promote the company.”

“That’d fit in perfectly with our schedule,” my mother said, immediately smiling. I, however, felt my stomach sink at Nagnok’s words. A whole month traveling around to different banks, and putting on my pageant face? I was unhappy enough as it was having to do a year long tour with Miss Teen Witch, I’d half to give up even more of my time? This hardly seemed fair to me.

“Perfect then,” Lila said, pulling out her wand and waving it, causing a thick contract to appear out of thin air. “Here’s the contract, just sign on the red line, and we should be good.”

My mother took the contract, and I was instantly reminded of the meeting with Georgiana, where I had no choice but to sign. I started to feel helpless, like I was drowning underwater, as I watched my mother excitedly scan over and then sign the contract.

While I had thought I was fine with doing this, I finally realized this wasn’t what I wanted. None of this was what I ever wanted, and now I was stuck in another situation, signing another contract, that would dictate my life. The drilling sound from outside started to rise to an earsplitting decibel, as my mother handed the contract over to me.

I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t sign this. I couldn’t give more of my life up to something I didn’t even care about.

“Nata, come on now, sign it,” my mother said, giving me a look as the rest of the room all stared at me, waiting for me to make another promise that I wasn’t sure I could keep.

I looked at Lila helplessly, who was looking at me impatiently and tapping her foot, waiting for me to sign. Nagnok seemed to be smirking at my hesitation, and Michael Corner was lazily toying with his wand. Bill Weasley however was staring at me with a steady gaze. The drill noise sounded again, only this time louder.

“Oh for the love of Merlin, can someone shut that blasted noise up?!” Lila exclaimed, walking over to the window and looking down at one of the workers. “You there! We have a silencio charm for a reason, half-wit!”

The drilling sound immediately cut out, and suddenly I felt like I was being choked with the silence, with all of my thoughts. Everything my mother had ever forced me to do in my life. Every pageant, every contract, every single sodding day. My whole life flashed past me in a whir of disbelief. Everything I’d ever done was controlled by her.

“Do you want to do this?” Bill Weasley asked, leaning forward and looking at me with sincerity in his eyes. I wondered then, how much Dom had told him about me.

All I’d ever wanted in my life was for somebody, anybody, to reach out at these moments, and let me know that I had a choice. And now, here it was, this opportunity glistening in front of me, waiting for me to take it. All I had to do was reach my hands out, catch it, and refuse to let go.

I took a deep breath, Dom’s face swimming in my field of vision as I realized that she was right. I had to do something I wanted for once, and this wasn’t it. This would never be it, no matter how much my mum wanted it to be. Talking to my mum about it alone wasn’t the way to get my point across, and maybe this was the only way I could. So, for the first time in my life, I uttered the words that no one expected to hear.

“No.”

 

 






A/N: Hello to my amazing readers! Here it is, the most crucial chapter in order to give this story an actual plot. What do you think? Was it what you expected? Was it worse than you expected? Was it better?

(I'm going to cross my fingers and hope it was better)

Well, I'm so happy to finally have this chapter done with. I had a lot of trouble writing the last scene of it (the most CRUCIAL scene) because I was so freaked out about messing everything up, so tell me: Did I mess it up?

Alright, anyways, I hope you all loved the chapter, let me know your thoughts in a review below if you'd like. I'll always respond so if you have any questions, I'll be sure to answer them :)

And now for the rest of my ramble of questions: What do you think about Dom and her pageant self? What do you think about Nata's mum's reaction to the Hogwarts idea? What do you think about Dom's dad being on the Gringotts Board of Trustees?

Alright I think that's the end to my speil of questions. I just want to thank you all again for being so lovely and amazing! You're support really means so so much :)

-Rebecca
 


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