My name is Ginevra. As of ten minutes ago my name is Ginevra Caldwell. Marcus and I walked out of the Great Hall between the ranks of our assembled guests. Close behind us were my Matron of Honour, Hermione Potter and Bridesmaid, Andromeda Malfoy, my eleven-year-old daughter.
As we passed my family I gave George a huge thank you smile and was surprised to see him blinking away a tear. After which he sent me a huge grin in return. This whole day was happening because of George. It was two years ago at the Hogwarts barbecue that he introduced me to Marcus.
“This is Marcus Caldwell, he is from Canada. Marcus this is my baby sister, Ginevra…” I looked at the second man who was about George’s age. I looked at him… I hope I didn’t look as dumbstruck as I felt. I looked again… and fell in love. Six feet three of Homo Sapiens Perfectus was smiling down at a five foot ten member of the species Homo Quivering Wreckus.
I didn’t want to shake the offered hand, I was sure that my body was charged with enough ekeltrickery (arrrgh, thanks for that, Dad!) to kill Marcus; and that would be a terrible waste. Wild thoughts were charging around in my brain. Things like, if you’re not in my bed tonight, somebody’s gonna die. Did I say brain? At that moment I didn’t have a brain in my head, just a couple of pounds of grey mush.
I shook hands with Marcus and mumbled what sounded to me like a greeting in fluent gibberish. George was still talking and eventually I started to hear him again. “… Bert is going to open up Africa for us, while I’m trying to convince Marcus to move to this country and oversee the whole international side of WWW. So far he’s resisting…” I realised that I had not taken my eyes off Marcus. Wavy black hair, dark blue eyes, solid looking torso, slim waist, dressed in a blue denim shirt and black jeans
The wild thoughts returned. Resisting? Why are you resisting, you fool? You’ve just met the most gorgeous creature you’ll ever meet and you are halfway to falling in love with her… I mean… me. Stop resisting and move your arse to this country. ASAP. It was then I realised he hadn’t taken his eyes off me either. Jeez, I hope he’s not a Legilimens. Attractive as he was, I didn’t want him in my head at this moment. Needless to say I slept alone that night and managed to refrain from killing anyone.
There was an impatient tugging at my elbow, “Mum… Mum…” I tore my eyes from Marcus and there was Andy.
“What… oh hi… er… Andy what’s up?”
“I’m hungry Mum, can we eat yet?”
“Soon Andy. Er… Andy this is Marcus, he’s coming from Canada to work with Uncle George.” No, stupid, George has to convince him yet. “Marcus,” honey on my lips, “this is my daughter Andromeda.”
“Daughter? Surely not. Little sister maybe, but…” I concentrated on my hearing, waiting for the music in those deep, rich tones to end. Come on Ginevra, snap out of it or you will severely embarrass yourself. Don’t blow it this early.
“How do you do, Marcus, you are a real charmer, aren’t you? Had plenty of practice, have you?” I’m going to kill this child of mine. Why can’t she open her mouth without being rude? “I suppose being such a looker helps.” Enough! Time to take control of my offspring.
“Andromeda! If you want to eat today, be quiet. Marcus, I must apologise for my daughter, I’ve tried to bring her up not to be rude but it seems I’ve failed. I’m sorry.” His eyes locked on to me again,
“How is paying me a compliment being rude? She’s as charming and pretty as her Mom.” Gulp. “Actually Ginevra,” Ginevra, what a beautiful name, I loved the way it flowed off his tongue, “don’t tell George, but I’m going to accept his offer. Especially now there is an added attraction. I just want to see if I can get him to improve the financial package.” An added attraction? Who… me? Omigod.
“Hey Ginny, oh I’m sorry, I’m interrupting.” An offered hand, “I’m Hermione Granger.” A handshake,
“Hermione Granger, oh you wrote that article about Elvish Rights a few years ago, I qualified as a lawyer before going into business. I’m Marcus Caldwell. Could we talk about your article? I found it very interesting. That is if Ginevra doesn’t mind.” A questioning look.
“Oh… er, no of course not. Go ahead.” I looked at my next prospective murder victim. “I’ll see you later Hermione.” I watched them walk away, I could already see the knife sticking in Hermione’s back.
“Mum, come on, the foods ready… Mum… Mum, why do you look as though you want kill Aunty ‘Ne?”
“What… Don’t be ridiculous, Andy. I love Aunty ‘Ne.”
“What about Marcus?”
“Any more young lady and you’ll be in your room without dinner. Now come on, and not one word more out of you.”
I could not understand why the food I ate, that had looked so tasty when we were preparing it, now had the texture and taste of cardboard. We had just finished eating when George joined us. “Hey Gin, we’re staying at the Three Broomsticks tonight, why don’t you join us for a drink later?” George! You… you are absolutely the best brother any girl ever had and I love you. Don’t seem too eager.
“Oh I don’t know George.”
“Go on Mum, you know you want to. I can stay with Aunty ‘Ne until you get home. I’m sure Marcus would be happy to see you again, and you…”
“Quiet Andromeda. Okay George, I’ll see you about eight.” He reached out and patted Andy on the head,
I arrived at the pub at 8.15 that evening. So I was late, I’m a woman, I’m allowed to be late. I looked around the bar and couldn’t see George anywhere. “Ginevra, over here.” I looked for the owner of the voice, I knew who it was. The sound of that voice was in my memory for all time. There was Marcus smiling at me. He was sitting alone. Alone! I could practically feel my blood pressure rising. His denim shirt was gone, replaced by a plain loose-fitting white T-shirt. He looked fit without being particularly muscular.
“Hello again Marcus. Where’s George?” That was good, you sounded perfectly normal. Well done.
“I’m afraid he and Bert have had to go to London. Some sort of problem in South Africa. They hope to be back by tomorrow morning.” God bless South Africa. “What can I get you to drink?”
“Oh…er white rum and coke please. Thank you.” He ordered a scotch and water on ice for himself and we waited. I had to force myself to look around the bar. About half full.
“Your Andromeda is quite a girl. She tends to speak what’s on her mind, doesn’t she? You must be very proud of her.” My eyes were back on his face, just as his were on mine.
“Yes, I am. She’s a good kid really, but don’t tell her I said that.” The drinks arrived. He raised his glass to me, “Here’s to a long friendship, Ginevra.” Did I drink to that? You bet your darned life I did!
“Absolutely Marcus, and please call me Ginny, everybody does.” His blue eyes twinkled at me,
“Ginny.” he breathed it out so softly. Oh please, say it again, just like that. Always say my name like that.
During the evening the waitress apparently took three more orders. Personally I don’t remember her visiting us at all. Then it was late and I had, however reluctantly, to get back. I went to the fireplace and I picked up a small handful of Floo Powder. “Goodnight Marcus, I had a really nice evening, thank you.” I didn’t add the last sentence. Would you like to sleep with me? Coward!
“Me too, Ginny.” He took my hand, “I hope we can do this again once I get moved over here.”
“Er… sure, I’ll look forward to it. Call me when you get settled.” He kissed my hand, he kissed my hand, he kissed my hand. Oh lordy, help me!
“That’s the first thing I’ll do. G’night Ginny.”
I walked confidently into the classroom for my first time as a teacher. Ten minutes later I was as embarrassed as I ever want to be. I introduced myself and the questions started. Was my brother really one of the Golden Trio? Was I friends with Hermione Granger? I stopped the questions with one of my own. “Does anybody know what a Boggart is?” One hand shot up. A girl with a thin face and dark blonde hair. “Yes, what’s your name?”
“Jenny, Jenny Finnegan, Professor. A Boggart is…”
“Your dad’s name wouldn’t be Seamus, would it?”
“Yes, Professor. He said to give you his regards and to wish you luck. He said you were a… never mind, sorry Professor. A Boggart is…”
“He said I was a… what, exactly?” I was about to learn that there are some questions that you should not ask.
“A… oh dear, I’m sorry. He said you were a helluva kisser.” The room erupted. My face was bright red as I restored order. Seamus Finnegan, you git! You class ‘A’ prize git. Another name on my ‘to kill’ list. Yeah, I have a ‘to kill’ list, doesn’t everybody? I told Hermione that evening, she damn near wet herself.
Three weeks passed. My memories of Marcus hadn’t faded but had lost the freshness of the immediate past. Then one Friday lunchtime I got an owl, it was short and to the point.
Dinner? Tomorrow evening? Three Broomsticks? 7.30?
I sent a reply. Equally short and to the point.
Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes.
I procrastinated for a whole hour about the three kisses at the end, I put them in, I took them out, nervous about being thought too forward. Eventually I left them in, well, what’s life if you don’t take the occasional risk?
Hermione dressed me as though I were her own daughter, hair, make-up, everything. “Now, final check. Hair… good. Make-up… good.” She dropped her voice to a whisper “You have put clean knickers on, haven’t you?” What? Of course I had. She picked up my clutch bag and inspected the contents. “Lipstick… good. Comb/hairbrush… good. Compact… good. Oh, something’s missing. I really think you should take at least one condom, don’t you?” What? You… what? You had better be joking Mrs Potter! Anyway aren’t the guys supposed to supply those if required? They always used to, way back in the day.What’s wrong with a contraception charm? “This isn’t about contraception, it’s about safeguarding your health. Safe sex, Ginny, always.” Yes Mother, Thank you, Mother, but I don’t think there will be any sex tonight, Mother. Tonight I keep my libido under strict control.
My libido alternated between kicking the door down and digging a tunnel as soon as I saw Marcus. Rosmerta had pulled out all the stops. Secluded table, soft lighting and music, excellent red wine, and the food…wonderful. We talked. He told me of his home in Moose Bend, a town just an hour northwest of Calgary. It sounded beautiful. All hills, valleys, rivers and lakes. I told him of the Burrow, how I missed it and why my exile had come about. I told him of Hogwarts and, until my eyes began to moisten, the war. I dried my eyes and sniffled. Oh God, I’m sitting with the most gorgeous man I had ever seen, and I sniffled, I sniffled like a five-year-old. Strike one.
When the meal was finished he asked me how far it was to Hogwarts from Hogsmeade. At a brisk walk about fifteen minutes. How long at a slow walk, was his next question. Then, taking my hand, “Let’s go, I’ll walk you home.” He held my hand all the way to the gates of Hogwarts. All the way. All forty minutes of a very slow walk. My libido had almost completed its escape tunnel and the door was decidedly the worse for wear.
We stopped at the gates and I waited for the magic words, “I’ve really enjoyed these last two weekends, Ginny, but…” No, no ‘buts’ please. I’m only on strike one. “I’m going back to Canada on Monday.” No ! You can’t, I… “I’ll be back permanently in about a month.” Permanently, is that like… forever? Merlin, don’t scare me like that. “Would it be alright if… I mean, could I see you again when I get back, unless of course there is a boyfriend on the scene.”
“There’s no boyfriend on the scene and I would love to see more of you, er… I mean, see you again.” Where did that warm breeze on my face come from, oh it’s from him, he’s going to kiss… He is kissing me… he’s kissing… me. Wake up Ginevra Weasley, don’t just stand there like a moron. Do something for heavens sake. Hold him, kiss him, respond. Arms around his neck. Kiss him too. There that’s better. Eventually we had to come up for air.
“I hope that’s the first of many, Ginevra.” Me too, Marcus, me too. Now, how about number two.
Marcus was back before Christmas, as promised. We met regularly and with increasing frequency, over the holidays and New Year, by which time Andromeda was as smitten as her Mum. The case blew wide open on Valentine’s Day. Sadly I pulled the duty of one of the three responsible adults required to supervise the dance in the Great Hall. Minerva allowed Marcus to accompany me. We sat at the back of the hall talking, watching the senior students enjoy themselves. Marcus even had to politely decline a couple of invitations to dance.
At midnight we wound up the proceedings and watched the students disperse. When all was quiet I had to say goodnight to Marcus. I walked with him to the school gates. We kissed of course and then I opened my big mouth.
“I wish you didn’t have to go.” Kiss.
“Me too.” Kiss.
“Oh… nothing” Kiss.
“It’s not nothing is it Ginny? You see, I know. I know and I’m in love with you too.” I could hear the blood rushing by my ears. I was in love. Better yet, WE were in love.
“I love you, Marcus, very much.” There, the words were said. Three words, eight letters. Simple words, yet sometimes so hard to articulate. I walked alone back to my apartment at about one in the morning to find Andy curled up on the couch reading a book. You should be in bed, young lady.
“Mum, are you alright, you look… Oh Lord, you told him didn’t you? You told him you love him. What did he say? I can tell he loves you, did he say it?”
“Andromeda that’s none of your business…”
“None… of course it’s my business! I’m entitled to a say in who my new stepfather is, aren’t I?”
“Bed, now please Andy. Go on.”
“It’s okay Mum, I approve of Marcus, I like him, he’s a great guy. This means he can start staying here at weekends. I don’t mind if you sleep with him. Aunty ‘Ne thinks it will do you good. I overheard her telling Uncle Harry. She said you are in dire need of a good seeing to. What is a ‘seeing to’, Mum? Is it what I think it is?” she had that impish, innocent grin. The one that tells you she knows exactly what she is talking about.
“Andromeda! Bed! Go!” Tomorrow Aunty ‘Ne was going to get a Ginevra style verbal ‘seeing to’.