I was all excitement on my way home from work on the Friday evening of my “birthday weekend.” I hadn’t realised such celebrations could spread so, but I was clearly wrong. This would be an opportunity to prove to everyone, including myself, how much I’d changed. If this party went well, I’d be thought of as being cool and fun – and definitely not boring.
I dropped by Molly’s restaurant on my way, waiting outside the door as she finished up. She kept talking to this middle-aged guy even though I was clearly impatient.
Thankfully, though, the Wizarding World is relatively small, so you will generally see someone you know when Diagon Alley is busy. I was lucky enough to see Mark striding by. I waved him over, calling his name.
He grinned as he made his way through the rush hour crowd. Why no one Apparated in London, I never knew. But then, I always enjoyed the walk, especially when my travelling times coincided with those of Mark Seton.
“Hi Lucy,” he said, half moving towards me before stopping. Had he meant to give me a hug? We still hadn’t spoken about what had almost happened the week before, outside my apartment. But, according to the many people I had spoken to about it, what had maybe-almost-nearly happened was important.
“Hi Mark,” I said back, not sure what I was to do next. Was I supposed to flirt now? I had tried, a little, when we met briefly over the week. Now that I fancied him, and Merlin I had been a long time realising it but I did, I should obviously act that way. But how? He was my friend, after all.
We stood awkwardly again for a moment. “Are you still having that party tomorrow?”
I nodded, enthusiastically. My big party was tomorrow! Mine! A party thrown for me!
“My cousin, Dominique arrived today. She’s staying with us for the weekend and then she’s going to her parents for a week. She was in your year?”
He smiled wider. “Yeah, I remember Dom.”
I froze. What did that mean? Was his smile wistful?
Before I could assure myself that everyone remembered Dominique, that was the kind of person she was, Molly finally left the restaurant, blushing slightly.
“Molls,” I said quickly, my excitement turning into nervous energy. “This is my friend, Mark. Mark, this is my sister Molly.”
They shook hands, Molly obviously taking him in after all I’d said about him. I worried her glance had lingered too long.
“You work in here, Molly? I love this place!”
Molly laughed. “Thanks, you wouldn’t have seen me there though. The Head Chef doesn’t think the cooks should mix with the customers.
“Are you coming over to Lucy’s tomorrow night?”
Mark repeated he was. They smiled politely at one another, before I excused us, saying we had to get home.
Mark waved us off, telling me to give my regards to Dominique. I nodded, though privately thought he could do that himself.
I did berate myself for being so silly, on the way home. Mark didn’t fancy Dom, he fancied me, or so I hoped. And Molly certainly didn’t fancy him. She fancied someone, I was starting to realise, but I didn’t bother trying to figure out who the mystery gent was. The more time I spent with her out of our family home, and out of Hogwarts, the more secretive and reserved I realised she was.
We were greeted at the door by a pair of twin peals of laughter and exclamations in French. Molly and I exchanged a look. So Victoire and Dominique were best friends forever, again. I wondered how long that would last; Dom was to stay in England for a week. I seriously doubted the friendship would last that long.
Once again, I was struck by how odd genes were as I hugged my cousin. All four of us in the room, the two pairs of sisters, were obviously related, but looked so unalike. I looked like Mum had. So did Molly, but she had a bit of a different look to her, kind of like old pictures of our Weasley grandmother.
Victoire and Dominique though, looked simultaneously extremely alike and extremely different. Both dressed in very different ways, spoke in different ways and at times acted in very different ways. When neither did anything to their appearance though, they looked as if they could be twins. They resembled Aunt Fleur and her sister, but they lacked the same kind of mesmerising-Veela quality. They were still though, annoyingly, probably the prettiest girls you’d ever meet.
So it’s nice, really. To be compared to them.
“Are you excited?” Dom smiled, hugging me again. “I knew I had to come home for this, especially when I knew it was the same time as this match.”
I agreed I was excited, but was happy to change the subject to the match. We had all hoped Dom would be more clued in than us.
The whole family had received an invite from James to come to his Quidditch game the next day. Strange, really, considering it was just another match. But it meant a lot to him, and to Al who was clearly the second in command, and Ginny said that McGonagall was okay with it, so we said we would drop by our old school tomorrow.
Dom filled us in on the little she knew, pushing a stray strand of hair back towards her tight French braid. Such a feminine gesture; Dom would have been annoyed if she had caught herself doing it. Dom had always been a little bit of a tomboy in comparison to Vic, not that it was hard. However, as she had gotten older she had changed herself. I didn’t see it as clearly had Molly had, always worrying about all of us, but I saw it.
She wasn’t a little tomboy anymore, or a girly girl. As she grew older her already self-assured voice took on a deeper, arrogant tone; she struggled to tone her muscles despite her “ideal” frame’s reluctance – in the same way Victoire couldn’t make herself ballerina thin, Dom couldn’t make herself as physically strong as she’d like. Her blue eyes took on a harder edge. Everything about her screamed how determined she was to succeed as some kind of Quidditch machine. I was both in awe of her and felt sorry for her.
Eventually the conversation winded down. “So what’s the plan?” Dom asked, curling up on the sofa beside Vic. I smiled. Her sister’s presence was good for her, and vice-versa. I saw Victoire slouching in her seat and picking at her flawless nail polish.
Molly held her bag. “I have food –“
With that she was interrupted as Victoire and Dominique launched themselves forward. Both were on strict diets for their careers, but seemed to be taking the weekend off.
“Merlin! Melted cheese!” Dominique trilled in her sister’s higher voice, her happiness catching her off guard. “Molls, how did you know?”
“As I was saying,” Molly said pointedly, “We all stay here tonight to catch up. I think Teddy’s passing by later to say hi.”
Dominique said something teasingly in French to Victoire I didn’t quite catch, which earned her an elbow in the ribs.
“Then tomorrow,” Molly continued on, “We go to Harry and Ginny’s for lunch, and then Hogwarts. And then back here.”
Both nodded along. “But we need to get back here as soon as possible. The party starts at nine, and we are going to need all the time we can to get ready.” Victoire said wisely.
Dom grinned. “It has been so long since I wore makeup. And my hair down. Any boys I can use for the weekend?”
We laughed, and listed off all the people coming. They were mostly friends I’d made recently, through Victoire and the others, but some of my old friends from school would be there. Mark would be there too, I reminded myself, and would probably bring a friend. I just hoped I wouldn’t mess things up.
I lost myself in talks about preparation. This was going to be brilliant.
My shoulders were sore by the time we got back to the apartment. Our joy at Gryffindor’s winning their match was diminished by the fight that broke out after it. James’ plan to keep Gryffindor Quidditch within the family had been both hilarious and inspired. His aim to keep the captaincy between himself, Albus and Lily had proved less popular. Myself and Molly had spent quite some time crouched under desks as our extended family embarked on their own kind of Battle of Hogwarts.
I would never understand Quidditch and the psychosis it caused.
I was just about to enter the door when I saw someone familiar pass me by. I stopped, and spun around.
“Will?” I called, without knowing what I was doing.
He turned around, and waved.
I cursed under my breath. Why had I called him? He did not want to speak to me; he had made that perfectly clear. Well, not clear. He had just not gotten in touch.
But then, how could he have? Did we even have each others details?
He sauntered over, smirking slightly. Oh Merlin, he thought I was some kind of clingy weirdo, didn’t he? What was worse was Dominique was there, she had hung behind as the others had gone ahead.
“Hi, how are you?” he said, breaking apart from his few companions. They were all male, I noted gratefully as I took him in.
Yes, he was still gorgeous. Great, that made thinking coherently easier. Those grey eyes bored into me, even as I looked down, blushing.
I struggled to answer, stopping completely as Dom stuck her hand out for him to shake.
“Hi. I’m Lucy’s cousin, Dom. And you are?”
I winced. Did Dominique have to be so abrasive all the time? This was a guy I was desperately trying to impress. Whatever mistake I had made that had made him keep away; I wanted to correct it immediately.
“Dominique Weasley?” Will said, raising his eyebrows. “I had no idea you were related to Lucy! We’re great friends, right L?”
I nodded, trying not to look too proud. I had always strived to be “better” than Molly in our parent’s eyes. However, Dominique was the female cousin nearest in age to me, so I always compared myself to her when it came to things my parents wouldn’t care about; looks, boys, friends and the like. It felt good that someone this good looking, so confident would be into me – and not her.
Dom smiled, and my stomach lurched. Why was she smiling like that?
If I was right, and that was her man eater smile, and I knew I had to do something quickly. Even with Dominique covered in little gashes from earlier; there was no way I could compete if she set her mind to it.
“I’m having a party tonight. Here. You should come,” I smiled, looking up through my eyelashes at him, touching his hand. I was pulling out all the stops.
He nodded. “Yeah. I might swing by.”
He gave a little wave, and sauntered off. My excitement returned. Maybe Will did like me after all!
I turned to Dominique. She had that smile on her face, but it wasn’t the one she used to lure helpless young men into her web, like a black widow.
It was that smile she had always used when teasing me and the younger ones when we were little. It was the “I know something that you don’t know” smile, and it scared me a bit.
“So the plot thickens,” she said loftily, turning and entering the building.
“What do you mean?” I called nervously after her.
“I wonder what Mark Seton will think of your admirer?”
I wondered was curling up in a ball and dying an option.
I was a wreck as Molly and I did our hair, together in my room.
“Can you just ask one of them not to come?”
I shook my head. “No. I wouldn’t know how to get to Will. And I can’t cancel on Mark. I just can’t.”
She pursed her lips. “Well, you can’t have both, Lucy.”
I put my head in my hands.
“Why did you have to ask both?” She said, exasperatedly.
“Well I didn’t bloody plan it, Molly, did I?” I snapped.
“Shut up, Lucy. If you want people to stop treating you as a child, you have to stop acting like one.”
I gritted my teeth. “I’m going to go get a drink,” I said stiffly. “I’ll be back in a minute.”
Classic Molly. It was my night, but she had to make it about something else. She always treated me as if I couldn’t do anything without her help.
I stormed out of my room, flicking back my hair. So I wouldn’t get the chance to curl it, it didn’t matter. I stopped dead when I got to the kitchen.
Mark and his friends were sitting around the table, all roaring laughing at something a leggy blonde was saying, perched on the counter.
Merlin. Dominique had let her hair out, the uniform tight plait had given her waves that rippled down her back. She was wearing makeup for once, a little white top and the tiniest denim shorts I had ever seen, with a pair of high heels. She was back alright; no more mucky robes and severe plait.
How do you compete with Dominique Weasley, would-be femme fatal and rising star?
You didn’t. You just stayed as nice, boring Lucy Weasley, and that was that. You just accepted the fact you were going to be overlooked.
I continued into the kitchen, willing myself to be cheery.
“Hi!” I exclaimed brightly. “Thanks for coming!”
Mark stood up and knocked over a chair. One of his friends righted it quickly, before everyone else noticed.
“Happy Birthday Lucy! Again!” he stepped forward and walked up to me, catching me in a bear hug.
I laughed. Mark and I had only rushed past each other on my actual birthday but he had still managed shout his best wishes over the crowd.
“I brewed a hangover potion in work; it’s in the fridge for you tomorrow. And this is just something I picked up….” He handed me a small parcel. It was a book about Hogwarts Prefects who had taken over the world or something.
“I snuck into your shop when you had gone into the back. I’ll have you know it was immensely difficult, you take really short breaks. I did a stealth roll and everything.”
I couldn’t help but let out a bark of laughter. Typical Mark. Funny, and thoughtful – a nod to my past and present.
But what was to be my future? Had he brought a gift to cover that? Or was that what his turning up was?
I showed the book to Dom, who found the existence of such a book funny enough, and introduced myself to the friends he had brought, thanking them for turning up.
I helped myself to a rum and pumpkin juice, inviting the others to do the same. Teddy had been over during the time I was doing myself up and had brought over supplies. We had asked people to bring some drinks themselves, just in case.
I made sure everything was ok, helped out by Mark. He had come early to help set up. It wasn’t long, though, before everyone arrived. Victoire was a great host, allowing me to enjoy my own party.
She flitted in and out of groups, her soft pink dress and pumps were understated but made her stand out all the same. She encouraged me to do the same and mingle; I copied her as best I could.
An hour or two later, everyone seemed to be having a great time. Pippa and Arlandria were with the dancers, who all faux-exotic names I couldn’t pronounce. Some of the Aurors had adopted Mark and his friends for the night. One of Marks friends was clearly interested in Dominique. She was chatting to him nervously as she tried to move away to talk to Pippa, who was making rude gestures behind the poor boys back.
Teddy and Molly were deep in conversation with Greg and Molly’s best friend Epperly. Epperly was Ainsley’s elder sister – and speaking of Epperly, where was Ainsley?
She was answering the door. I smiled and made my way over, I’d had a bit to drink and was quite relaxed, not worrying how my pale blue dress was hanging or that I was walking unsteadily in my shoes.
My relaxed mood didn’t last long, however. Will had arrived.
I swore, earning a few alarmed glances. I hadn’t realised I’d said anything aloud.
Why had he turned up? I had thought his lack of appearance meant he wasn’t coming, not that he was late. I had breathed a sigh of relief. That was one less complication out of the way. I had told myself to deal with the obvious rejection in the morning.
Now that he was here though, I couldn’t help but notice how good he looked, and how sweet he’d been on our date.
It was with that memory I walked over to him, trying to look composed though I was wobbling a little.
“Hey,” I breathed.
I turned to Ainsley. “Ugh, Ains. Sarah’s trying to talk to Teddy again.”
“Merlin’s beard,” she moaned. I had been bluffing, but sure enough our friend Sarah was creeping up behind Teddy, in full on stalker mode.
As soon as she was gone, I gave my full attention to Will. “Thanks for coming,” smiled, twirling my hair around a finger.
“You look amazing,” he said. “I’m so glad we ran into each other again.”
I nodded, wholeheartedly in agreement. Just when I thought I’d forgotten him, back he came, still as gorgeous as ever.
“Do you want a drink?” I offered.
I showed him to where the drinks were when Mark shouted over to me, asking where the wireless was.
I pointed him towards it, remembering my panic as I did so. Crap, Mark was here.
Suddenly, everyone was dancing. I joined in, bringing the bottle of rum with me. I was going to need all the help I could get with this one.
I danced by Will for a moment, moving on to Ainsley, then Pippa, then Epperly and Greg. I moved on quickly to Teddy and Victoire, after seeing the previous pair starting to dance suspiciously closely to one another. I gave up on Teddy and Victoire, not really wanting to be near another couple.
I drifted in and out, taking gulps straight from the bottle. Instead of becoming relaxed again, I was getting more and more nervous. I saw Dominique dancing with Mark, and without thinking rushed over to them.
“Dominique,” I hissed. “Can we talk for a moment?”
I pulled her away without waiting for an answer, stumbling into a quiet corner.
“What are you doing?”
Dom frowned. “Dancing?”
“With Mark. Who’s basically, like, my boyfriend.”
She raised her eyebrows, grinning. “Seriously? Because it doesn’t look like it, you havn’t looked at him since Will came in and he’s starting to notice. He was actually talking to him when I saw them, Lucy. Anyway, we’re old friends. We used to sit together in Charms at one stage, you know.”
“For Merlin’s sake Dom, he’s mine! Not yours!”
We were interrupted by Victoire and Molly.
“No seriously, Molls, I’ll do your hair so nicely!” Victoire exclaimed, clearly a bit tipsy.
Molly smacked into the doorframe. She too was tipsy.
“What’s going on in here? Private party?” Teddy said, as always at Victoires heels.
“No. Dominique is just trying to steal Mark from me,” I said hotly. I didn’t even try to control what I said. I was going to be honest, and say what I felt for once.
Everyone froze. “Umm, I doubt it,” Victoire said, awkwardly laughing.
“Come on Lucy, why don’t we go dance again?” Molly asked, in a patronising voice that made my skin crawl.
“Don’t try and distract me, I know what I saw!”
“Lucy, seriously. I’m not trying to steal anyone from you. I’m just being nice to your friends.” Dom said slowly.
“No you’re not! Everything has to be about you! You think you can just swan in here and have everything, just like you did at Hogwarts – “
“Woah!” Teddy said, laughing and grabbing my arm. “Let’s break this up, shall we?”
“I don’t need your help, Teddy!” I shouted. Why was no one listening to me? The room was spinning, which made everything more difficult.
“I don’t need any of your help! I don’t need you babying me Molly, or you Victoire! You think this just makes you look even better, throwing a birthday party for your little cousin, when really you invite all your friends and you’re the centre of attention!”
“I think maybe everyone should leave,” Teddy said quietly to Vic.
Hearing this, I told Teddy to do go and something so rude that shocked even him. With that I staggered out of the room, hell bent on getting to Mark before Dominique or someone else did.
Suddenly, I was right in front of Ainsley and Will, who were to my disgust, kissing. That slut!
I pushed her away, everything moving so quickly. I saw Mark coming up to see was I alright but I batted him away too.
“Back off, bitch!” I growled at Ainsley. I pushed her again, wanting her out of my sight. The next thing I knew I had grabbed Will by the collar and had pushed my tongue down his throat, pulling away after a few seconds, feeling I’d proved my point. Whatever that was.
I barely saw Mark grabbing his coat and leaving, or Ainsley being dragged away by Epperly. Teddy seemed to be moving people towards the door.
“What does that arsehole think he’s doing?” I exclaimed loudly to no one, not registering a reply.
“You’re going to bed, and everyone’s going home. Please don’t embarrass yourself or Victoire anymore.” There she was; my parents perfect Molly-Dolly.
I shoved her away, falling against a counter.
“I don’t care what that stuck up little bitch thinks anyway. Her or her slutty sister.” I growled.
The last thing I remember before I passed out was seeing two shocked blonde girls faces.
It was my party and I could say and do what I liked.
Hi everyone. I’m sorry for not updating regularly at the moment. I’ve been updating with other stories, so I hope I’m forgiven. The good news is that the inspiration for this has struck, so it shouldn’t be too long now – only three chapters after this! Thanks to everyone for reading, and for the reception this has been getting. Please keep those reviews coming, they keep me writing.
I want to apologise for Lucy’s behaviour here, at the moment I feel like the parent of a misbehaving child. Let’s face it though, it didn’t come from nowhere! So, what do you think? What’s going to happen next? The next chapter, “This Charming Man” will hopefully be completed soon!
Also, the Quidditch match Lucy talks about actually exists in fanfiction form – my one-shot, “Nepotism? No!” – just in case you’re interested!
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