Chapter 1 : Chapter One
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It really isn't fair.
So there was some fire damage. And the bedroom door was completely trashed. And maybe...just maybe most of Dominique's clothes are now nothing more than a pile of ash. And it's possible that the broken window was a result of the explosion, but that couldn't be proven! It doesn't matter though. Damage or not, it just is not fair that my parents are making me get a job.
“Louis are you listening to me?! I said my black pinstripe slacks with the butterfly on them.”
Gods, is Dominique still talking? She's only spent the last half hour going over every single item of clothing that she demands I replace. It's all rubbish. It isn't like I intentionally set off an experimental explosive in my sister's room.
...okay that's a lie.
But she completely deserved it. To be fair, I didn't know it would do quite so much damage, it was still in testing stage. But I stand by the fact that she deserved it. Just look at her right now and you'll understand. Staring down at me with those judgmental eyes, that I'm-better-than-you sneer on her lips. She's had that attitude ever since she went off to school.
You see, Dominique was the first and only Ravenclaw to come out of the Weasley clan. After that she referred to the rest of us as Gryffindor lemmings, mindlessly filing into the crimson House like a bunch of uneducated fools. She thinks she's so superior. I ask you, if she's so great then why is she twenty-three and still living with mum and dad?
Before you start, yes I live with mum and dad too, but I'm only eighteen and I've only been out of school for two months. Give me time to settle.
“And I had two fuzzy sweaters: the baby blue one and the hot pink one.”
If you ask me, Dominique should be thanking me for ridding her of that one. Hot pink sweater. Red hair. I repeat: ew. Sometimes I feel sorry for her, getting all the Weasley genes like she did. Bright red hair, brown eyes, freckles splashed across her nose and that fiery temper. Victoire and I are certainly the lucky ones here. We both got mum's golden blonde hair and blue eyes. As for the temper...well no one's perfect.
“Dammit, Louis you're not even listening to me!”
“Just chill!” I've had enough. I get up and turn my back on my irate sister, which only makes her fume even more. “I'll replace your stupid clothes, every single hideous item, I swear it. Just make a list or something.”
Now she's even madder, if that's possible, but I saw it coming. “My clothes are not – were not hideous. I happen to love them.” She makes a grab for my arm but I'm already bolting down the hallway to get away from her. “Louis, if you don't replace them all, mum and dad are gonna chuck you out, you heard them.” I don't have to be looking at her to know she's wearing that smug grin and nodding.
I roll my eyes. “They aren't going to throw me out of the house. If anything, they should throw you out. Aren't you a little old to still be here?” Now it's my turn to look smug.
“At least I have a job,” she counters.
“So do I.” ...as of two days ago.
“Only because Victoire helped you out.”
She had to go there? Of course she had to go there. Universe forbid that she just keep things between us, no...she had to bring our older sister into the fight.
So it's true, if it weren't for Victoire I wouldn't have the job, but I could have found something on my own, eventually. If anything, I'm doing her a favor, she did say that they were short staffed and needed me. How hard can being a waiter be anyways? Carry some food or whatever, sounds simple. But the job isn't the point, the point is that Dominique had to bring her up.
Victoire used to be my favourite person in the world. She's ten years older than me so she was the one I looked up to. Every summer she let me tag along with her and Teddy when they went to the village or went swimming. Even when her and Teddy started dating she still made plenty of time for her little brother. Granted, it was a little less, but that was understandable.
Then...she got this job. The opportunity of a lifetime, she calls it. She works under Fi-Fi Valentina, the top wedding planner in all of Europe. Victoire is her assistant, but she's more like a servant. She gets the coffee, carries the notebook, makes endless calls to caterers and florists. That doesn't really sound like a great job to me, but what do I know? Thanks to her opportunity of a lifetime career, Victoire has less than no time for me. She didn't even answer my owls all through my last year of school. If it weren't for Teddy, I wouldn't have even known they were engaged now.
“Shut up, Dominique!”
“No, I won't shut up. You started it, you little twit.”
“Oh, we're stooping to name calling now?” I scoff. “I could think of a few dozen things to call you.”
“That is enough, you two!” Dad is stomping down the stairs with that shut-up-already look on his face and his fingers on his temples massaging at them.
He does that a lot.
I open my mouth to speak, but he holds up his hand and shakes his head. “Dominique, make a list of whatever the clothes were and Louis, go to your room and get your bag packed for the week. Teddy will be here to get you in about ten minutes.”
I can't help but grin. After all, making a list is exactly what I told Dominique to do; now she has no choice. Essentially I won this one. That fact does not escape her and I can hear her seething all the way back to Victoire's old room – where she has to stay until hers is fully restored. I still have to buy back my sister's ridiculous wardrobe but sometimes a minor victory is enough to tide me over.
I've already packed so all I can do now is wait. My large bag sits on my bed, the recipient of a small expanding charm to hold more of my stuff. I know I'll only be gone for a week, but I have no idea what I'll be facing out there. It's stuffed full of work clothes, casual clothes, dressy clothes, party clothes, not to mention the shoes....
I take the extra time to give myself a look over in the mirror. Spiky blonde hair exactly how I want it? Check. I always leave it slightly tousled, gives me that fresh out of bed look that people seem to find oh-so-attractive. Not that I really need the help, I'm pretty hot already.
That's not being conceited; it's just a fact. You hear it enough and you start to believe it. And trust me, people are none too shy with the compliments when I'm around. Gets a bit tiring to be honest.
My future brother-in-law barges into the room just as I'm winking at myself in the mirror. Can't he knock? I duck my head to hide the red on my cheeks and gather up my bag without a word.
“You don't wanna give your reflection a good-bye kiss?” Teddy teases as we head out of my room.
I barely manage a shut up type response before Dominique is once again trailing me down the stairs and reminding me not to screw up the job so she doesn't have to wait forever to get her clothes back. I don't know why she's whining; mum and dad will replace everything the moment I'm gone and make me pay them back. I would bet my last Galleon on it.
Not that I have any Galleons, but you get the point.
Teddy grabs my arm when we're clear of the house's anti-Apparation charms. I don't mind Apparating, but I hate Side-Along. It always makes me feel like a child. I don't much have a choice this time though, I haven't a clue where I'm even going. All I know is that we're meeting at a little magical Port just outside of Ipswich. That's where we get on the cruise ship.
Did I forget to mention the ship? I'm not just going to be any old wedding waiter. I get to be a wedding cruise waiter.
We're going to leave the Port and head down to the Strait of Dover where we'll connect to the English Channel. That'll take us down to the Bay of Biscay where we'll dock in San Sebastián. It's a three day, two night cruise, then we get to stay in a fancy hotel in San Sebastián where the actual wedding will take place. After that, the happy newlyweds will head off on their honeymoon while the wedding guests get to enjoy a nice cruise back to Ipswich.
“Just let me lead; I don't want you getting splinched.”
Does he have to use that tone of voice with me? I'm an adult; not six-years-old for crying out loud. “Yeah; I know how to do it.” The glare I shoot Teddy negates my claim of being an adult, but he only rolls his eyes at it.
I hear him mutter, “Smart ass,” under his breath just before he turns on the spot and we Disapparate with a tiny pop. The smell of salt water and fish hits me before I open my eyes. I crinkle my nose and hesitantly look around.
I don't get to see the Port though because Victoire is instantly blocking my vision. Her blonde hair is tossed up on her head in a intentionally messy bun. She's wearing the most ridiculous outfit, a tiny white skirt and mock-sailor shirt with a blue pointed tie. All I can guess is that it's meant to be cute but I think she looks like a caricature. She even has a white hat clasped in her hands with her clipboard.
Then I panic. “I don't have to dress like that, do I?!”
“Nice to see you too, little brother.” Victoire frowns at me but I don't care. I'm still worrying about the possibility that I may have to wear a fake sailor outfit. “No, Louis you don't have to. You're just wearing slacks and a dress shirt,” she finally says. “Just come with me.”
I turn to say good-bye to Teddy but he's already vanishing in a crowd of people. Victoire is rambling on about something to do with menus and thinking that one of her heels is taller than the other, but I'm too busy staring at the ship as we board to pay attention. The ship is huge.
And I mean huge. Think about the size of a football pitch and triple it. That's how big this ship is. I can see the outline of a swimming pool in the distance and a golden archway that Victoire tells me leads to the dining hall. But we have to go to the servants' quarters first.
Did she just call me a servant?
I don't argue though and keep following her through hallway after hallway, each one darting off towards shopping areas, game rooms and bars. After a flight of stairs, we finally get to the end of the line and there stands an ordinary door with a plaque reading Servants' Quarters upon it. At least she was being literal and not putting me down. That's something I suppose.
“You're in room four. I have to go find Mrs. Valentina, the guests are already boarding and she likes to give each wedding that...personal touch. Now Louis -”
Great, she's using that same tone of voice that mum always used when she took us to King's Cross. Now Louis she'd say, followed by a list of about twenty things she didn't want me to do at school. In fourth year I did every one of them by the end of the first week.
“- I only have two rules for you,” Victoire continues. “Don't set off any fireworks and don't sleep with any of the guests.”
Wait...is she serious? “Are you serious?” I raise my eyebrows. She can't be serious. “What if a guest hits on me?”
“Don't.” Her eyes are stern and her fingers are curled so tightly around her pen that I'm pretty sure she's going to snap it. “Mister Dubois paid a lot of money for this cruise and he doesn't want the help pawing at his rich and powerful guests. Do I make myself clear?”
“Crystal,” I mutter. “Wait, so what about the other waiters?” I flash her one of those cheeky smiles and her face goes red. “Alright, fine. No touching the guests or other waiters.” I hold up my hands in surrender and she relaxes.
“Can you get settled in on your own?”
I nod but she doesn't see because she's already got her eyes on her clipboard and is taking back off down the hallway from whence we came. Holding back the urge to sigh dramatically is no easy feat, so I don't even bother; I let out an over dramatic, poor-me sigh and push into the servants' quarters.
Considering the place is labeled Servants' Quarters, it's actually pretty nice. As I'm searching for room number four I spot the name of the ship written across a life preserver on the wall. In fancy blue script the words H.M.S. Eternally Yours shine out at me.
My eyes roll so hard it hurts. Eternally yours? I get that it's a wedding cruise ship but the way marriages go these days, the name H.M.S. Give Us Five Years would be more accurate. Lucky for me the eye-catching preserver is located right next to my room door.
There's already someone inside room number four. He's tall with messy black hair and large dark brown eyes. His skin is very tan and his features give him a Spanish appearance. When he speaks, I'm sold on his Spanish origin, because he has a fading accent that leads me to believe that he's been around the UK for quite some time now.
“Hello,” he says, giving me a friendly smile. “I'm Julian. You must be Louis; your sister has told me all about you.”
“Nothing good I'm sure.” I force out a little laugh and put my bag on the floor. The room is pretty small, but I don't plan on spending too much time in it anyway.
“Top or bottom?”
“What?” I spin around with a laugh, not sure I heard Julian correctly.
He's standing with an amused smirk on his lips and pointing towards the bunk beds against the back wall of the room. To say I start blushing would win me an understatement-of-the-year award. I just turn my back on him and mutter that it's his choice while pulling my hair product from my bag. There's two tiny dressers and I don't bother asking which he'd like, I just claim the closest one to me. We finish unpacking and settling the room in silence. I'm not sure if he's staying quiet for my sake or because I've already managed to leave a bad impression.
It's usually the latter. I don't exactly have a lot of...friends.
“You should go ahead and get changed. We serve dinner tonight,” Julian says before slipping out of the room and closing the door behind him.
“Right....” I say, even though he's gone and can't hear. No one was specific on what to wear so I pull on some black slacks and a white polo shirt. After a few glances in the mirror I head back out of the room and hope that I can find my way to the dining hall again.
I get up the stairs alright and start down the long hallway Victoire lead me through. Just as I'm passing by a set of swinging doors, I hear breaking glass and muffled swear words. I smirk and have a peek inside, realizing that it's the bar. “Everything alright in here?”
“Yeah it's fine!” comes a rather frantic male voice.
I look around but can't see anyone, so I venture closer to the bar and lean over it. My teeth sink into my lower lip as I spot someone bent over, picking up shards of glass from the floor and dropping them into a tiny rubbish bin. My first instinct is to say hello gorgeous because from what I can see, he is. But I've been down that road too many times, just because someone has a nice backside doesn't mean the rest of them will measure up.
“You need any help?”
The other guy runs rigid and jumps to his feet. He's a bit unsteady on his feet and I wonder how long he's been in the bar alone. “I'm fine; you can go. It fell off the edge, not a big deal, it's all cleaned up now.” He sounds so panicked but I barely hear what he's saying.
Not that I'm ignoring him on purpose, but he's got these dark blue eyes and I'm such a pushover for blue eyes and they are the most intense – Well I think you understand. So I just stand there staring at him for a moment with my mouth hanging open like some kind of ignorant trout.
He gives me this adorably nervous smile and backs away, hitting the liquor shelf behind him. “I said you can go,” he insists, dragging a shaky hand through his dirty blonde hair.
“You're cut,” I say distantly, trying out my voice like it's been ages since I've spoken. “Here.” I hold out my hand as he stares in horror at an almost indistinguishable cut on his palm. “It's just a little one, give me your hand.”
“It doesn't even hurt,” he whispers as he lays his hand in mine and watches me press a bar towel against it. “It was a glass.” He sounds so broken and ashamed. “I must have...dropped it or something.”
“How much have you had to drink?” I pull out my wand and cast a simple healing charm on his wound. It doesn't take long because his cut is so small, but I can't will myself to let go of his hand right away. And to be honest he doesn't seem too bothered for me to let go either.
He avoids my eyes and nudges a half empty bottle of rum on the bar. “I opened it,” he mutters, pulling his healed hand away and rubbing at his eyes. “Oh...thanks.” He waves his hand at me and starts around the bar, nearly tripping over the bottom decorative ledge on it.
“Easy!” I hold out my hands but he steadies himself. “Maybe you should go lay down.”
“That's where I was going.”
“Right.” I follow behind him because honestly I'm not sure if he can make it to the room on his own. “Do you want some help?”
“You wanna come to my room?” He turns towards me and walks backwards towards the door. His lips pull into an almost sinister grin and I feel my heart skip a beat. ...or seven. I'm just on the edge of screaming yes when he trips over absolutely nothing on the floor and goes crashing down.
I rush over and drop to my knees, trying to make sure that my mystery blonde is alright. “You okay?” I take his hands and pull us both to our feet. “You should let me help you back to your room. I promise not to try anything,” I add with a grin.
And I wouldn't. Attractive or not, the guy's so drunk he can't walk straight.
“Well that's too bad,” he says with a whisper. He chuckles drunkenly and steps away, putting his finger to his lips in a shushing way. “I shouldn't say that.” He shakes his head and keeps backing towards the door. “Nope, nope, nope. I gotta go blondie.” He leans against the door-frame.
My hand jumps to my golden hair and I grin. “Wait, at least tell me your name,” I beg. He shakes his head and I instantly feel like a little defeated mouse being batted between a cat's paws. “Well are you here for the wedding?” He nods and I push on. “Are you a friend of the bride or groom?”
His face goes blank for a flash and he smiles again. “Let's just say that I am definitely not a friend of the bride. Honestly...I can't stand her.” He meets my eyes and stumbles back out of the bar, vanishing with the swing of the door.
A Note From the Author: Thank you for reading. :) --Jenna
I want to point out that Benjamin Hunt is property of Siriius/Siriuszilla. He has been nice enough to let me use him in this piece. Thank you so much for that.