Chapter 1 : Rose Doesn't Have a Clue
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“Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” I reply, scrunching up my toes inside my new ballet flats. I’ve only been waiting for two months. No big deal.f
“Be cool,” she warns me. “I know you won a meet-and-greet, but it will be short if she thinks you’re obnoxious.”
She leads me off down the hallway, which has that burgundy carpeting that hotels always have. In fact, the entire place looks kind of like a hotel. Do wizards have hotels?
It really sucks being a Muggle.
The aide opens a door and waves me inside, shutting the door after me. I look around, taking it in. I mean, it looks pretty normal – a couple of neutral-colored sectional sofas, a tasteful lamp sitting on a simple coffee table, a vase of perfect flowers on another table. But it’s not normal. It’s magic.
She’s already sitting on the couch, tapping impatiently. I’d know that shining red hair anywhere.
“Ohmygodhi!” I shriek, stumbling over my own feet as I rush towards her, memorizing her appearance: shining waves of red hair, a loose button-down shirt, and... slouchy jeans? I choose to ignore her fashion faux-pas as I sit down opposite her, and I try to tone my smile down from I-just-won-a-million-dollars to my-favorite-band-is-playing-in-my-city-for-once on the scale of toothy grins.
Her eyebrows crawl up her forehead and she looks a little frightened. “Hello,” she says, drawing the word out.
“So you’re in love with Scorpius, right?”
“That’s the first thing you ask me? Not ‘what’s it like to have Harry Potter for an uncle?’ or ‘how the hell did your dad get qualified to be an Auror?’”
“Love life comes before family,” I tell her. She obviously does not know how this works. Knowing about her family is fine, yeah, but only after we’ve completely exhausted all the Hogwarts drama. “So, how long have you and Scorpius been together? Like did you just together recently, or have you been destined for each other since you first met? You must be madly in love with him by now, right?”
“Yes, you are.”
“No, I’m not.”
“No but you are.”
“WHY NOT,” I demand. This is against everything I have ever read. And I have read literally every single Scorpius/Rose EVER WRITTEN. “Oh my god, is he having an affair with Dominique?!”
She looks revolted. “Dominique is like, five years older than him. That’s so disgusting! Plus she’s super pretty and Scorpius is, you know, not.”
“Yeah, but looks don’t matter because he’s your soul mate, right?”
“Not even a little bit.” She flicks her hair out of her eyes. Her hair, which is looking slightly less gleam-y. Also, it would seem her eyes are not actually emerald green. Someone needs to give this girl a pair of colored contact lenses.
“He must be having an affair with someone or else you wouldn’t be so mad at him. Who is it? Tell me who it is!”
“Dude, chill out,” she says. I’m sorry, but Rose can’t be a zoned-out hippie who says ‘chill out’ and calls people ‘dude.’ That is not how this works.
“Anyways,” she says, “I’m pretty sure teenagers don’t have affairs. That implies meaningful, committed relationships, which I don’t know if you’ve noticed but that never happens with teenagers.”
I didn’t realize I was going to have to explain the whole thing to her. “That’s the whole point,” I say slowly and clearly. “You and Scorpius are the exception to the rule. Your love will last forever, love potions and Timeturners and underage pregnancies notwithstanding. Among your peers, you stand out as the one couple who will last forever, weathering the storms of infidelity, dishonesty, and again, teenage pregnancy. You will outlast the mockery and torment of friends and enemies. You will stand up for true love against the ogre who is your father, and you will use your unmatched wiles and incomparable father-daughter relationship to show him that Scorpius is your true love, and no one, not even Ronald Bilius Weasley, can stand in the way of true love and Quidditch-toned abs!” I suddenly realize that at some point during my soliloquy, I’d stood up and was now waving my arms about like a madman.
Rose rolls her eyes. “Okay, first of all? Scorpius is annoying. He’s a tattletale. And he’s captain of the Wizard’s Chess Club. Okay? The Wizard’s. Chess. Club. He couldn’t get a date if he wanted to, and I’m pretty sure he still hasn’t hit puberty. Also, hello? My mother is Hermione Weasley, also known as The Most Rational Woman Ever Born. This means that I know about birth control.”
“Obviously, but you become so distracted by Scorpius’ abs that you forget the birth control. Such passion cannot be planned for,” I explain.
“I promise you, Scorpius does not have abs.”
“So you’ve seen him shirtless!” I shriek.
“Good god, no, and I hope I never have to!” She looks really grossed out. “I’m pretty sure he’s the skinniest kid in the entire school, but he’s got too much skin and he’s all – wrinkly. His hands are disgusting, they look like an old man’s hands.”
Then it hit me. She was only in her sixth year! Of course she hates Scorpius now – true love doesn’t come till seventh year! Of course it’s surprising that his biceps have not made an entrance yet, but I’m sure they will. Eventually.
I share my epiphany with her. She looks annoyed.
“One time I got stuck with him during double Potions,” she says. “He exploded our cauldron all over me.”
“But it was a love potion, right? And he probably did it on purpose to kindle the fire of love, by—”
“It was a Befuddlement Draught,” she deadpans. “I had a Charms exam the next day, and I failed it. And Scorpius was even more moronic than usual. Now can we please talk about something other than that brat?”
“What house are you in?” I demand. I’m sure it’s Gryffindor. Positive. Obviously it’s not Slytherin, because she would be telling me about all the time she spends canoodling Scorpius in the common room. There’s no way they could resist each other this long if they were in the same house.
“Hufflepuff,” she says, twisting her thumb ring absently.
“That’s not possible,” I explain. “You’re a Weasley. You’re a Granger-Weasley. That means you must either be in Gryffindor or Ravenclaw, or Slytherin because obviously it’s the opposite of what everyone expects. I’m pretty sure there’s a rule that Weasleys, Grangers, and anyone who’s related to Harry Potter – even by marriage! – doesn’t get put in Hufflepuff.”
“Well, you can take it up with the Sorting Hat,” she says.
“Fine,” I huff. I guess Rose is not a nerd. But then how can she be best friends with Al? “You’re best friends with Al, right?”
“Nobody calls him that, and no. He’s kind of a jock. We don’t hang out much. I’m best friends with the girls in my dorm, just like every single girl in the history of Hogwarts has been. Just because I have a million cousins doesn’t mean I’m incapable of forming friendships that don’t involve blood relations.”
There must be something, some nugget of truth in everything I’ve read! “Do you play Quidditch?” I ask desperately.
“I’m a Weasley, aren’t I?” she says. “But I’m not on the team or anything. I just play with my friends now and then.”
Apparently nothing I’ve read is true. Al – sorry, Albus – is not a nerd. Rose is not a Gryffindor, nor is she in love with Scorpius, nor are they having a baby. Next thing you know, she’ll be telling me that Neville isn’t Headmaster, and James isn’t a player, and Al and Scorpius aren’t best friends, and Al isn’t even in Slytherin, and ohmygod what if her hair actually isn’t red?
I launch myself across the space between us and sit right next to her, peering at her hair. My worst fears are confirmed. Her hair has a red tint, yes – but she is not a ginger. She is far from a ginger. Her hair is decidedly brown. And up close, it looks a little less glossy and a lot frizzier. And it looks like she has some acne.
She slowly leans away from me. “Anyways,” she says loudly. “Nice meeting you.”
The aide appears out of nowhere and grabs my arm. “Time to go,” she says.
“Listen to your heart!” I call over my shoulder as I’m dragged away. “Do you hear me? One day when you’re vulnerable and heartbroken, he will be your knight in shining armor! Listen to your heart!”