Chapter 2 : The Concept of Exploding Flobberworms.
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“Look, just because your family doesn’t like Chloe doesn’t mean that I’m going to go and pretend to be your bloody cousin’s girlfriend. Besides, I know half your family. It would be weird.” I was saying this as I walked down the stairs with a bunch of papers for the nineteenth floor, Fred trailing behind me. “It’s not my problem.”
I turned round and glared at him. “Not. My. Problem.”
I pushed open the door to the nineteenth floor office, allowing it to swing back and hit Fred.
“You know, Asiya, it’s your duty as Albus’ secretary to uphold his name at all times. You should really do this for him.” Fred argued, following me through the corridors.
“It is not, however, my job to pretend to be his girlfriend. I am not doing it, Fred.” I shook my head. “If your family don’t like his real girlfriend, what makes you think they’ll like me?”
“You know my entire family loves you! They invited you to stay with us every frigging summer since first year!”
“Which makes it all the worse.” We turned a corner sharply. “They know me, so will make a big deal out of me “dating” Albus.”
“Yep, telling me to shut up is exactly how you’re going to persuade me to do this.”
Wow, Quidditch players are stupid. Must be all the bludgers to the head.
“Fuck you, Weasley.”
“As much as I love you, Asiya, I’d rather not.”
“God, you are such a tool.”
“Why thank you. Now will you do it?”
“I’ll pay you!”
“I don’t want your money!”
“I’ll pay you in cake!”
I thought about it for a moment.
He dodged his way around me and slammed his hand on the wall.
“I’ll pay you…” I had stopped as his arm prevented me from going any further. His face was inches from mine. “In secrets.”
I narrowed my eyes. “What kind of secrets?”
He ducked his head towards me, his voice low. “Anything you want to know. About my family. I know everything that goes on within our walls. Ask me anything.”
I started to walk again as he took his hand off the wall. “Keep talking.”
He kept pace with me. “The more convincing you are, the more secrets I’ll tell you. The deepest darkest secrets that only my family knows.” He paused as I turned into a cubicle and deposited some papers on the desk. “Anything you want to know. As long as you don’t go to the press with them.”
“Will your family know what we’re doing?”
“They won’t have a clue.”
I put my last stack of papers on Bertie E. Cummings’ desk and turned to look at him.
“Anything I want to know?”
He looked at me sincerely. “Anything.”
I started back the way I came. “Does Albus know that you’re trying to get me to go?”
He followed me. “Yes. He’s out explaining himself to Chloe right now.”
“She should take that well.” I said sarcastically.
“I hope she breaks up with him.” He said bitterly.
“Is there anyone in the family who likes her?”
“Lucy. But she’s a bitch too, so…”
“Will you do it?”
We had reached the door to the stairwell. I sighed and pushed it open. “I’ll think about it.”
“You have until Tuesday. I’ll be here at noon.”
And with a ‘crack’, he was gone.
“I can’t believe you are making me stay until midnight to do this.”
I had seriously considered leaving at four like I was supposed to every Sunday, but ultimately decided that keeping my job was probably more important than walking back to my shitty apartment on my own. So I sat and I waited until half past six before he finally returned with his hair even messier than it was before and his tie undone, the majority of his buttons buttoned up wrong. He had looked annoyed, as though someone had pissed him off severely. Chloe probably jumped his bones the moment she saw him, then screamed at him for a couple of hours after he told her what was going on with the family thing.
He passed me the next letter he had shoved in an envelope, and I sealed it with the wax seal which had the company logo on it before adding it to the fast-growing pile.
“I’m paying you for it.”
“No you’re not.”
“I know. Stop complaining.”
I hate this child.
I chanced a glance at the clock. Half past eleven. Only half an hour left to go.
“Fred told me about your little ‘request’.” I said accusatorily. “How you could possibly expect me to do something like that I haven’t a clue.”
He sighed and passed me another envelope. “I’m not asking you to do much. Just spend a couple of hours holding my hand and talking to my family.”
“Yeah, a bunch of people I know already as friends. How can I pretend to be your girlfriend?”
“They love you anyway. They hate Chloe.”
“I said it to Weasley and I’ll say it again. Not my problem.” I stamped an envelope rather viscously and red wax splattered everywhere, catching both of us in the face.
“Watch it!” he wiped a couple of spots off his nose. “Look, it’s not like I’m asking you to marry me or something like that. I just need you to spend a couple of hours pretending that-”
“Why me?” I interrupted. “Why couldn’t it be Kenzie or Remy?”
I rolled my eyes. “MacKenzie Ryan? Tall, blonde, gorgeous? You dated her in fifth year for six months!”
He stopped for a minute. “Jelly Tots Girl?”
I smirked. Kenzie loves Jelly Tots. “Jelly Tots Girl.”
“She was odd.” He mused.
“She still is.”
“Isn’t she married? To that Ravenclaw Quidditch bloke?”
“Jack Styles? No, they’ve just been together forever.”
“So how could I ask her to do it?”
“Why couldn’t you just tell them you’re single?” I reasoned.
He laughed coldly. “Because if any member of our family is single, Nana Molly spends at least four hours lecturing us about settling down.”
I gave him a flat look. “You’re eighteen. You own a goddamn business. How could she say anything like that to you?”
“Ever since Victoire married Teddy, she’s gone a bit wedding-mad.”
“I thought you said I wasn’t-”
“You’re not. You’re just my girlfriend.”
“Look, I said I’d think about it, okay? Can we talk about something else?” I snapped. I was sick of this.
“Fine.” He snapped back.
We sat in a stony silence for the remaining half hour.
2. AGAIN WITH THE SHOES.
3. Why is Scotland so goddamn cold?
4. Does this seem familiar to you?
These were the thoughts running through my head as I swept my way down yet another overcrowded street. Why am I always late for everything? I should get a new watch. I glanced at my own. A battered gold one a got for my seventeenth birthday. Granted, this was only a year ago, but hey, I’m clumsy. It was covered in dents and scratches, and somehow the second hand was bent in an awkward position, so that it scratched the inner surface of the glass in a perfect circle.
I should really learn to stop wearing heels when I’m planning on sprinting long distances.
I hate Mondays.
I glared at my watch once again. Half past six. I was supposed to be at the restaurant fifteen minutes ago. Unfortunately, my lovely boss kept me back for yet another persuasion attempt. Simply, he threatened me with being sacked unless I went to that stupid family thing. Only thing is, I know he won’t sack me. He needs me too much, and he knows he won’t get a better secretary anywhere. So BOOM. I’m indestructible.
At last I reached the glass doors of the restaurant.
I always forget it’s a pull door.
Massaging my nose back into place, I entered the restaurant, somewhat less elegantly than I had originally planned. I spotted my lot immediately. They were the ones pissing themselves laughing in the window seat.
“That was smooth.” Rose laughed as I reached the table. Kenzie was still giggling. I sat down between Remy and Damien, and our usual waiter placed my normal order of a beer with a shot of whisky (because I’m a manly man.)
“I do try.” I swept my dark hair off my shoulder in a fake gracious way. All I achieved was flicking myself in the eye with my hair. Not a good start to the night.
“You’re late, again.” Remy glared at me. Ramona Finnegan was, along with the other three at the table, in my year at Hogwarts. She had recently had her long brown hair cut into a pixie cut, which brought out her honey brown eyes even more.
“Albus troubles. I’m not the only one late, though.” I nodded towards the last two empty seats.
“Probably too busy getting it off.” MacKenzie rolled her eyes. “What did Al want?” I took in her shoulder-length curly golden-blonde hair and blue eyes. Typical beauty. I then noticed that she was drinking orange juice instead of her usual mojito. I narrowed my eyes at her. She glanced at her orange juice and smiled ever so slightly, blushing. My eyes drifted to her stomach.
“HOLY CRAP!” I squealed. Damien jumped so violently he slopped his margarita all down his front. Kenzie grinned at me. “Kaz!”
Rose and Remy swivelled their eyes to stare at Kenzie, Damien continued to mop himself up.
“You’re pregnant!” I squealed. Rose’s mouth dropped open and Damien’s glass shattered on the floor. Remy screamed.
Kenzie blushed even more profusely.
“What?” They all said in unison. Remy threw her arms around Kenzie while Rose’s hands clapped over her own mouth. We were getting a few odd looks from neighbouring tables.
“How long?” was Damien’s first question. He was grinning like crazy.
“That long?” Rose squeaked. “And you never told us?”
“I didn’t know...” Kenzie was now approximately the colour of a Quaffle.
“I CALL GODMOTHER!” Remy suddenly shouted.
“Damnit!” Rose and I said at the same time.
“Actually, I think you’ll find that’s my decision.” Kenzie smirked, sipping her orange juice innocently.
“Yeah, but you’ll pick me.” Remy stirred her drink pompously.
“Why am I suddenly under the impression I don’t get a say in this?” Kenzie pondered jokingly.
“You don’t” Remy answered.
“What did we miss?”
We all looked up as Shiraz waltzed over to the table, dragging a grinning Lysander Scamander by the hand. They hadn’t even sat down before we all said ‘Kenzie’s pregnant’ in unison.
“I call Godmother.” Shiraz said immediately. She didn’t seem all too surprised. Lysander, on the other hand, squealed in a very unmanly way and clapped his hands like a girl. He shut up very quickly on the raised-eyebrow looks he got from the majority of us.
“Already called.” Remy said in a sing-song voice.
“Damn.” Shiraz muttered, accepted her vodka and coke from the waiter, who smiled at her and scuttled away, blushing. You see, Shiraz Jenna Woods is a fucking goddess. I’m a straight female and I’ll admit it: She’s hot. Straight, white-blonde hair down to her waist. Piercing green eyes. Hourglass figure. Cousin of a certain Scorpius Malfoy. The fact that she is named after a wine somehow seems to add to the ‘Sexy’ appeal. The people of Hogwarts still wonder how Lysander Scamander got her. I mean, he’s the oddball of the century. He gives his own mother a run for her money. But in a completely different way. Instead of Nargle-hunting and insisting that the Crumple-Horned Snorcack does indeed exist, he owns an orange onesie, convinced Vector, the Potions Professor, that Rum and Coke is a magical Potion, and is the sole original founder of ‘Sock Racing’.
Oh, and he’s currently balancing the olive from his margarita on his nose.
His twin, Lorcan, is actually reasonably sane. Which is insane, seeing as he was produced by Luna ‘Loony’ Lovegood and the man who wrote no less than two hundred and sixteen articles for the Daily Prophet about ‘Glumbumbles’, all of which were rejected. He is no longer on speaking terms with Lysander. Seeing as Lorcan is relatively normal and Lysander is a freak and a half on a bike.
So the population of Hogwarts is at a loss as to how these two ended up together.
But once they started seeing each other just after Christmas in sixth year, I noticed how goddamn perfect they were for each other. Lysander had turned Shiraz weirder and weirder as the years have gone by, and they do look great together.
An hour and a half later, we were still sitting at the table with our post-dinner coffees and free minty biscuits that I always scoffed before anyone else got a chance at them. We had spent the evening talking about Kenzie and Jack’s baby (her due date is the 23rd of March), Lysander’s new job as the coach of Puddlemere United (we drank to that), Flitwick handing in his resignation at Hogwarts (McGonagall was still going strong) and the concept of mating Flobberworms with Fire Crabs (the final verdict was that the resulting creature would almost definitely explode).
We now sat in a comfortable silence, sipping our coffees – Kenzie sipped an Earl Grey tea – and our stomachs contentedly full of pizza - a Muggle dish, comprised of bread, tomato, cheese, ham and pineapple, which is surprisingly tasty.
“You’ll never guess what Fred and Al have asked me to do.” I said quietly. I figured the best guidance I would get would be from my best friends.
“What?” Rose said lazily. Her head was resting on Damien’s shoulder and she looked like she was half asleep.
I stirred my coffee. “To be Al’s girlfriend.”
Rose’s head snapped up and everyone turned to me with a sharp “What?”
“Pretend!” I said loudly, holding my hands up to shut them up. “Pretend girlfriend.”
They stared at me in silence.
“Why?” Remy asked a few moments later.
“Because apparently your family hate his real girlfriend.” I said to Rose.
“We do.” She nodded.
“So Al and Fred have asked me to pretend to be his girlfriend for your family thing this weekend.” I said, not looking at them.
“Are you going to do it?” Shiraz asked.
I shrugged. “Haven’t decided yet. Need to by tomorrow.”
“You should do it.” Rose said.
I scoffed. “You only want me there so that you don’t have to hang out with your cousins.”
Her mouth dropped open in mock shock. “Excuse me, I like my cousins very much!”
“Let’s recap, shall we?” Damien smirked. “Victiore’s having pregnancy mood swings.”
“James is a famous, pompous prat.” Shiraz said.
“Fred is a maniac.” Remy added.
“Roxy is a smart-arse.” I said.
“As is Molly.” Said Kenzie.
“Albus is a dickhead.” Lysander smirked. HEY. THAT’S MY LINE.
“Dominique is a loon.”
“Lucy hates your entire family.”
“Hugo is currently not on speaking terms with you.”
“Lily is a ball of crazy.”
“Louis is still in his sex-driven stage.”
“And you?” Remy smiled.
Lysander leaned on the table and looked at Rose. “You’re one of us.”
“Amen to that.” Damien said.
“And don’t even get me started on your aunts and uncles.” I said sarcastically.
“Alright, alright!” Rose held her hands up in the universal ‘backing off’ gesture. “I get it! Enough!”
We laughed as she scowled. Mature, Rose. Real mature.
“So what have they offered you in return?” She said, changing the subject.
I immediately looked away. “Nothing.”
“Asiya…” she said in a voice you would associate with telling a young child to spit something out, and they were refusing to open their mouths.
“Nothing.” I shook my head. I should learn to lie better.
I thought it best not to tell Rose that her cousin was offering me family secrets in return for me pretending to be Al’s girlfriend for a few hours. Fred could tell me anything. He knows the inner workings of his family like the back of his hand. I know Rose just as well as anyone, but he’s her cousin. He could tell me the deepest, darkest secret she ever had. I stared at her, thinking about what he could tell me. What was she hiding in that long, curly red hair? Were those bright blue eyes swimming with the ghosts of her pas- OH DEAR GOD I SOUND LIKE RITA SKEETER.
Well, fuck me sideways. Who knew I could be a journalist?
Maybe I should look into that.
Asiya Patil, reporting for the Daily Prophet.
It’s got a ring to it. I like it.
“Asiya, you’re smirking. What are you thinking about?” Rose asked me carefully, giving me a concerned look.
“Bagels.” I invented wildly. “I was thinking about bagels.”
I shouldn’t be allowed to think.
Hello! Coffee here! First off, if you are reading this, CONGRATULATIONS! THANK YOU FOR CONTINUING WITH THIS STORY AFTER THE FIRST FEW SENTENCES. This makes me happy. Very happy :) do you see my smiley face? I have a smiley face.
ANYHOO, dear readers. Hope you enjoyed it. I know it's a bit short, but I wanted to get something out to you. My first chapter was validated and I was like 'OH SHIT I DON'T HAVE ANOTHER ONE READY.' so I finished it off quickly.
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Love Coffee xxx
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