Chapter 2 : 02. We've Met
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a huge thank you to alysse for the amazing chapter image <3
02. We’ve Met
“You are going, aren’t you?” Meredith Darvill said from across my patterned couch, the steam from her coffee cup rising and making strange patterns in the air.
“I’m not sure. Nessie asked if I could take her shift a few weeks back and I said yes,” I answered from the kitchen, scrubbing the floor. “Doesn’t seem right to bail on her.”
“Why would you agree to do something like that anyway?” my friend was curious. She stood at the kitchen door and shook her head at me. “And of all the people, Nessie.”
I shrugged and felt a pain in my shoulders. All that scrubbing was wearing me out.
“Ugh, you’re such a do-gooder Molly,” snorted Meredith. “I can’t believe you’d pass up an opportunity like this. And plus, the Minister for Magic is going to be there!”
“And what business have I got with him? Come on Mere, we have meet ups every other month. The dinners are getting a bit dull, if you ask me,” I mumbled.
“That is just typical you, Molly Weasley. THE MINISTER FOR MAGIC! And he’s so charming and good looking – “
“And old,” I reminded her. Let me introduce you to the biggest gerontophile I know – Meredith Darvill. We met during our Healer training in Essex, and we bonded instantly. People would think we were poles apart, but in more ways than one, Mere and I had a lot in common. She was much taller and skinnier than I was, and her hair was blonde and straight; but we had the same thirst for excellence, we dreamt of the same things, and we were determined to find happy endings. Mere had a thing for older men like no one else. She was 24, a year older than I was, yet she had never dated anyone below the age of 35. She just didn’t find them attractive, apparently.
“You’re going. I don’t care what you say. You’re going, and you’re taking me as your plus one!” She gave me her Don’t-You-Dare-Defy-Me look and I rolled my eyes at her. Mere always had it her way, especially when it came to things concerning me. Not that I minded. They were invariably always in my best interest.
The phone rang and Meredith went to pick it up, leaving her coffee on the kitchen table.
“Mhmm? Oh hi, Mister Weasley! I am great, how are you? Yeah, I haven’t seen you guys in forever. Ah yeah, I ran into Albus the other day. He was very preoccupied so I didn’t bother him too much. Yeah, Molly’s just scrubbing the floor, you want me to hand it over? Alright, hang on then.”
She handed me the phone and I wiped my face on the sleeve of my shirt.
“Hello.” I tried to sound excited. I always did.
“Molly, good lord, you haven’t called in weeks!” My father, Percy Weasley, ladies and gentlemen.
“I just spoke to you on Friday, Dad. It’s been three days,” I laughed.
I could hear him fumbling with something in the back. “Uhhh well your mother’s been worried. Are you coming home for Christmas?”
“Christmas? Blimey Dad, we’re just in October. Why are you planning so much in advance?” My family was neurotic and this was proof. I bet they had already done their Christmas shopping.
“Well, you didn’t make it the last time, so... Anyway. How’s work?”
I rolled my eyes. “Hectic. I haven’t slept in two days I think. And there’s a lot of work around the house.”
“Do you want me to send your mother over? She’s been meaning to come for a while.”
“Oh God, no! I mean, I’m alright really,” the thought of my mother in my house was a nightmare. She’d probably have a cardiac arrest from looking at the mess. Mere rolled her eyes at me and taps her watch. “Ah Dad, listen, can I call you later? I’m in the middle of scrubbing the floor and I have to go out in a bit. I’ll talk to you soon, yeah?”
“Are you going out with a boy?”
“I’m going out with Meredith for a dinner, actually,” Meredith smiles and pumps her fist triumphantly upon hearing this.
“Okay, just. Be careful, Molly!” my Dad sounds concerned to say the least. I sigh and assure him that I’ll be fine, before saying goodbye and clicking the phone off.
“Paranoid much?” Meredith laughs.
I glared at her, but smiled. “He’s getting old, poor thing.”
She snorts in reply. “Let’s go.”
Okay so it turned out that the Minister for Magic was pretty good looking. They had a little stage set up at Dolly’s Hall and he made a nice speech and thanked everyone for coming. Everybody loved him to bits and cheered and clapped, most of all Meredith. She was completely starstruck.
I jumped out of my skin and gave a little yelp. Gina Skeeter was beaming down at me from atop her astoundingly high heels.
“Gave me a bit of a scare there, G!” I gave her a hug. “How are you?”
“Great! It’s been an amazing week. Can I tell you something?” her eyes were shining brightly. She didn’t even wait for my response. She lowered her voice to a whisper. “I’m going to be secretary to the Minister for Magic.”
“What?” I cried, not believing her in the slightest.
“I’m not lying! He’s going to make an official announcement tomorrow. He asked me on Friday.” She gushed like the happiest person in town.
“Wow, this is bigger and so much better than a marriage proposal,” I laughed. “Congratulations Gina, you deserve it.” And I meant it. Gina was a crazy hard-worker. She was easily one of the most committed and dedicated people in the universe.
“Thanks Molly. What’s going on with you? Still the old story – lots of work and little sleep?” she chuckled.
I sighed but laughed. “Yeah. Not complaining though,” I assured her.
“How are your projects coming up? The half-breed rights one underway?”
“Yeah but I really need someone to push it forward and to take it to the Wizengamot. I’ve asked some teachers at Hogwarts for help, and they said that if they knew anybody, they’d forward him or her to me.”
“I know someone who could help with that!” she told me. “I was just speaking with him.” She started looking for him.
“Is he in the council?”
“Hmm? No, he left for the West after his schooling. Studied and practices law...I could have sworn I just saw him.” She craned her neck and looked around the crowd inside the hall. “Oh! He’s there, he’s there. Just hang on a second, I’ve got to snatch him away from those bloodsuckers.”
I watched her disappear into the crowd, excusing herself and she steered an elderly woman out of her way. She stopped with her hands on her hips and gave a broad smile. I couldn’t see to whom. Then she turned and started walking towards me.
And my blood went cold.
I’m not entirely sure as to what happened for the next ten seconds that Gina walked towards me with her lawyer friend. My mind seemed to go into some sort of a limbo, and it had taken my body with it. All I could see was grey eyes. Staring right back at me, into my soul almost. Closer, and closer, and closer.
“Molly this is Alexander Price, the one I was telling you about. Alex, this is Molly,” Gina courteously introduced us, completely oblivious, by the looks of it, to the tension that seemed to fill the air.
God damn, he sounded the same. I remembered that voice like my worst nightmare – powerful, confident, but deep and mellow. The knots in my stomach tightened.
“Oh?” Gina was surprised. “Well, I don’t see why you didn’t think of calling him earlier, Molly. Of course, he’s only been here a few weeks. Liking London, aren’t we Alex?”
“Oh yes, immensely,” he doesn’t drop his gaze for a second, and I blink several times. Gina looked perplexed to say the least.
“Well,” she cleared her throat. “Why don’t you tell him about your half-breed rights project, Molly?”
I avert my gaze to Gina, and then back to Alexander. I cleared my throat. “Erm. Well, it’s a half-breed rights project,” I laughed, and remember feeling terribly foolish for doing so. “I’m trying to get it to the Wizengamot. I could just use my Uncle Harry’s influence, but – ”
“Do you want to get a drink?” he asked casually, scratching his chin. I glanced at him, and then to Gina, who was utterly and completely lost, and back at him.
“Uhh – ”
“Great. Gina, love, do you want to join us? I’m terribly parched,” he was so smooth about it. I vaguely recall wanting to throw up. Gina shook her head vehemently.
“I better go back to the party,” she saied, looking at me suspiciously. “I’ll see you two later.”
And we were alone.
“Bloody hell,” I muttered, and he looked back up at me with a smug smile on his face.
“How’ve you been?” he asked, shoving his hands in his pockets. Except, he didn’t look awkward or sloppy about it.
“Busy,” I mumbled honestly. “And you?”
“Fabulous,” he said with a laugh, and I felt jealous. “The weather’s lousy here, though. Is it like this all the time?”
I snort. “You’ve been gone for a couple of years and you suddenly forget what the weather’s like year-round around here?”
“It hasn’t just been a couple of years. It’s been ten years. Don’t pretend you haven’t been counting.”
I was taken aback at his cheek. “Yeah, I have little else to do with myself, Alexander.”
He laughed and I glared at him. “Same old Molly,” he said with a grin. “So how about that drink? Let’s catch up. It’s been ten years since graduation – which is when I saw you last, since you disappeared from the crime scene.”
He started walking away, as if expecting me to follow him. Reluctantly, I did.
“Come on, tell me what’s going on with you,” he prodded and I really wasn’t looking forward to the conversation we were about to have.
“Nothing, really. I divide most of my time between work and sleep and occasionally to satisfy my shopaholic tendencies...Nothing interesting.”
“Do you want to know what I’ve been up to?” he asked charmingly.
Of course he was going to tell me anyway. “I’m well on the way of becoming the next Minister for Magic.”
I burst out laughing. The bartender asked him what he’d like, but he was too offended to take notice him.
“What’s so funny?”
“Oh come on, you can’t be serious!” I laughed.
“I am serious!” he cried, looking exasperated. I size him up and realize he’s being completely serious.
“You being Minister. I’d rather be governed by Elves. At least they don’t steal from you,” I chortled.
“Can I get you both something?” the bartender asked again.
“No thanks, not for me,” I told him.
“Gin and tonic, please,” Alexander said before turning his attention back to me. “You don’t think I can be Minister for Magic?”
“I didn’t say that,” I looked at him pointedly. How did Molly Weasley always end up with her foot in her mouth?
“Not in those words, no,” he downed a sip of his drink.
“You always said you wanted to be Minister,” I nodded, remembering perfectly well. “Good luck, I guess.”
“Are you mocking me?” he grinned.
“No! God, no I’m not, I swear. It’s great that you’re following your dream and all that,” I sounded so bitter even to my own ears.
“What about you? You always said you wanted to be a healer. What are you doing chasing Half-Breed Rights laws?” It felt like he was analyzing every half movement I made. His gaze never wavered. Was I the only one aware of the awkwardness?
“I am a healer,” I said and he looked surprised.
“Then what’s the problem?”
“There’s no problem,” I mumbled, and started looking around for Meredith. She was nowhere in sight. “So. What’s been going on otherwise?” I was eager to discuss anything but my life.
“It’s just been work for me. What about you? Any blokes hanging around?” I looked at him like he had Spattergoit and he laughed. “No?”
“No, none,” I told him stiffly. There was nothing else to be said, really.
“Why the bloody hell not?” he chortled loudly. “You’d think a girl like you would have at least two.”
“A girl like me? What kind of a girl is that?” I wasn’t sure if I was to be offended.
“Well, you know,” he drawled, signalling for another drink. I watched him curiously, waiting for an answer of some sort. Nothing.
“Well, that was definitely a first,” I told him. “I never realized I was being stereotyped all along.”
“Who said you were being stereotyped?”
“Oh please, I’m not thick in the skull, Alex,” I said shortly. Alex? No, to informal! “...ander. ‘A girl like you’ – what does that mean? It means a successful woman of my age must be in search of a bloke, correct?” He opened his mouth to say something but I went on. “Well, I’ve no intention of asking someone out just because I’m – ”
“Oh wow, I was right when I said ‘same old Molly Weasley’. Still deep rooted in her feminism and female pride and all that.”
“Nah, it’s a bit cute, really,” he snorted, taking another sip of his wine.
“I hope you get run over by a bus.”
Laughter this time. “Have you always been this funny?”
“Of course. My first words were ‘why did the chicken cross the street’,” I rolled my eyes at his positively amused face.
“Why didn’t we hang out more in school?” he asked, swirling the glass with the gin and tonic in it, looking at me like it was one of the universe’s unsolved mysteries.
“You were too cool for mortals like me,” I said matter-of-factly.
“That’s bollocks. We’ve spoken lots; argued lots,” he said pointedly and I shook my head at him.
“I was really the only one who could rival your apparent intelligence at Hogwarts. And beat you. I did numerous times.”
“You never did! You always either conceded out of frustration or decided I wasn’t worth your time in the first place,” he laughed, though it sounded more like a giggle. I was outraged.
“That’s because you were a complete twat. Oh, Alexander is just fabulous, he starts all the new trends and all the boys want to be just like him,” I said sickly and glared at him.
“And all the girls.”
“None of the girls liked you much, to be honest. I’m not even making this up.”
“Everybody who didn’t like me was jealous of me.”
“Why because you got the best grades and won all the verbal duels Hogwarts held during our years? I won four, by the way, and didn’t participate in any others. So the only reason why you won that many is because I couldn’t be bothered to participate.”
“You won four because you got lucky and it would always be your turn to pick the final topic!” he was looking affronted but his eyes were smiling. “Which you always picked as feminism! Of course, a girl talks about feminism and her opponent is a guy .. of course you’d win four times!”
“You think feminism is something I talk about to get a pity vote?”
“No, I completely understand your sentiments. I just think it’s bloody unfair. If I had gotten to select the topic and if it was Quidditch or something, you wouldn’t have won.”
“If you had brought up Quidditch, I would have brought up sexism and male-preference in Quidditch. I wish you had done it now, really,” I shrugged my shoulders at him and he shrugged his.
“Let bygones be bygones?”
“If you had beat me three and love, you wouldn’t say let bygones be bygones,” I mimicked. “You’d be rubbing it in my face twenty four hours a day.”
“I love competition. I don’t like losing.”
“That’s hardly something I should concern myself with, is it?”
“See, it’s funny how instead of ‘I don’t care’ you say things like ‘that’s hardly something I should concern myself with’,” he laughed.
“Passive aggressive is my thing.”
“Passive? What passive? You’re passive aggressive for about five minutes before you shift gear to full-blown throttle.”
I snorted. “Right. Well, it’s been nice talking to you, Alexander, but I really should go.” I resumed my search for Meredith and saw her sitting by herself at the other end of the bar.
“Don’t leave yet, we’re just beginning to have fun,” he says, looking at me pleadingly.
“I have work to do when I get home.”
“Merlin, do you ever take a break? B-R-E-A-K? Heard of it? No?”
I glared at him.
“Do you want my help on getting that law to Wizengamot or not?” he asked and I wanted to say no. Not his help. I never wanted to see him again.
“Yes,” I managed, through gritted teeth.
“Alright. Then you’ll be seeing more of me. Much more, in fact. Do you have a number I could call? You do have one of those, right? Or are you still – ” Before he could finish his statement and frustrate me any further, I grabbed a pen from inside my bag and scribbled his number across the front of his hand. “Right. Now people will think that’s a hooker’s number.”
“Tell them it is.”
And I walked away, thoroughly displeased by the way the evening had progressed.
“You never want exciting things to happen to you and everything still does,” Meredith complained, getting out of my car.
“That wasn’t exciting, how was it exciting! He’s a bigger twat than I imagined.”
“Good looking one though,” she grinned. “Did he really say you’ll be seeing much more of him? I really want to see how that goes.”
“Get out of my car, Mere,” I rolled my eyes at her.
“Why don’t you do something unconventional and ask him out?”
I burst out laughing. “You know, I might have considered it if the guy in question wasn’t Alexander Price. The last thing I need is him thinking I fancy him.”
“Won’t be long now,” Meredith drawled, giggling.
“Oh shut up Molly, we both know you’ll me madly in love with him – all over again, might I add – in a couple of weeks.”
Too shocked to say anything immediately, I shook my head.
“Not happening. Ever again.”
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