Chapter 3 : Party
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p.s. I don't own HP stuff dude, Just Anna, PACOMA, the Wizamerican Chronicle (American newspaper!) and my other OCs.
Kate and Abby spent most of the next few days sleeping, but when they were awake, they huddled together in Kate’s room whispering secretively and drawing out maps.
Anna wondered why the plans for her own party had to be kept secret from her, but put up with their secret dealings with patience anyway. Eventually, the two finished their planning and emerged from their hideout.
“So, my dear sister,” Kate said brightly, one arm through Abby’s. “We have planned your special event and request that you drive us to Party Nation and The Restaurant Supply Store for some supplies. You see, I am no longer insured on our car.”
“Alright,” Anna agreed, still a little wary of their secretive dealings.
She drove them first to Party Nation, a local business for classic party supplies.
“So, Kate and I were thinking of getting a couple of strands of Christmas lights,” Abby said, dancing over to the Christmas section of the store.
“Don’t worry, it won’t be a Christmas party, lights just make everything better,” Kate added. “Since we’re having a freak hot streak, we figured a pool party would be in order.”
“I would just like to point out that we have one small hot tub.” Anna smiled in spite of herself, glad to finally be in on the plans.
“Which is why the majority of the party budget went to buying an inflatable hot tub and another normal inflatable kiddie pool online. I know, we’re geniuses,” said Abby dramatically.
“However, this also means that we will have to work our asses off and do all the cooking ourselves.”
“Great! I love cooking.” Kate and Anna both did.
They picked up two humongous bags of chips and a gallon (Yes, a gallon) of salsa at the restaurant along with some large bags of vegetables and an entire lamb carcass for the famous Moore shish-ka-bobs in their secret ingredient sauce. The fresh oranges and lettuce would come from the farmer’s market the day of the party.
Kate and Abby made sure to kick the parents out of the house for two nights before and during the party. That left them free to use magic to set up.
Anna watched, not blinking, as her sister and friend levitated the lights to impossible places, throwing their small but quaint yard into a fuzzy twilight atmosphere. The normal hot tub had been transported to the middle of the grass and the smaller, inflatable hot tub sat next to it under the deck that led down to the yard. Chips and salsa were already set up on the courtyard near a circle of lawn chairs surrounding the plastic kiddie pool so the guests could dip their feet in while snacking. Abby had the brilliant idea to set up the sprinkler in between the two hot tubs so that it made a fountain of water rain down into each of them.
Kate laughed at the expression on Anna’s face. She was staring at Abby, who was currently clearing the courtyard of leaves with a jet of air coming out of her wand.
“Anna, come help me with the ‘ka-bobs over here. Soak the skewers so they don’t burn. You have to help us even if you can’t do magic yet!” Kate pointed to the bag of skewers as she directed her wand at a pile of sliced lamb pieces, adding them to the bowl of secret ingredient sauce to marinate. Anna shook her head and grabbed a handful of the skewers and a long, shallow pan. She filled the pan with water and spread out the skewers, then began to manually slice the peppers.
Anna looked out over the backyard and smiled. The soft glow from the Christmas lights lit the three pools perfectly and lanterns lit the tables of food on the courtyard. The smell of barbequed lamb and secret ingredient sauce filled the air. Soft but danceable background music completed the atmosphere. She breathed the whole scene in and stepped back inside. Kate and Abby were rocking out in Kate’s room. She skipped lightly to her own bedroom and slipped on the bikini she had bought for the party. The top was classic halter, white with an elegant spattering of navy blue spots. The bottoms were plain navy in contrast with her beige skin. You couldn’t exactly call her skin olive, but it was close. She was not naturally pale but couldn’t tan much darker than her normal skin tone. She was tall and thin and had nearly-endless legs but was unsatisfied with her A-cups and slim hips. She pulled her mass of almost-black hair into a bun almost the size of her head. She had never met anyone with hair as thick as hers and Kate’s. The doorbell rang signaling the arrival of the first guests and she grabbed a cover-up before running to get the door. Kate and Abby had already changed and were out in the courtyard ready to start the party.
Anna opened the door for Nora and her neighbor, who Anna knew from school as well.
“Hey guys. You’re the first ones.” She hugged Nora and showed them to the back as two of her cousins were walking up to the door.
“Isacc! Sam! So glad you guys could make it. There won’t be much good food for you, though, Isacc.”
“I’ll be fine,” he laughed, holding up a bag of nuts and veggies. He ate nothing remotely unhealthy.
Anna walked with them into the back, hoping no one would arrive for a while. Another ring of the doorbell pulled her back and she sighed, admitting a carload of girls from school.
Soon, the party was in full swing. The lawn chairs were full and the shish-ka-bobs were disappearing.
“These things are freaking amazing, Anna,” said Madi, stuffing her face with a few last juicy bit of lamb. “What the hell did you put in them?”
“Can’t tell you, it’s a secret Moore recipe.”
Kate came over, looking amazingly tan (Palo Alto got a lot of sun) and pulled Anna aside.
“Some of our friends are about to arrive,” she inclined her head toward Abby, who was walking over. “We want to introduce them to you.”
“Come on,” Abby beckoned as Kate walked into the house.
“They’re so normal,” Anna whispered to Kate, watching the group of college age witches and wizards walk toward their house led by Abby.
“They were all raised as muggles, well, except Atticus. He’s alright though, very passionate about his studies. He’ll talk to you about them for hours. Honestly a lot of what he says really confuses me. It took me a year to get used to wizarding culture in California and I’m still learning. Of course it’s very different from muggle culture, but it’s also surprisingly inconsistent with the wizarding world we know about from the Harry Potter books.”
The group had reached the door and Abby came forward beaming up at the tall, blond wizard she was leading by the hand.
“Howard,” she said to him, “this is Kate’s sister, Anna. Anna, this is my boyfriend, Howard.”
“Don’t forget to introduce everyone else,” he said and nodded at Anna, smiling.
Kate laughed at Abby and began to introduce the rest of her friends.
Abby and Kate were roommates freshman year but they had moved into a house with two other girls, Morgan and Emily, for sophomore year. There were three other girls, Lucy, Michaela, and Jasmine (or Jazzy), from their freshman dorm, and Atticus, Matt, Ethan, and Howard from their main study group.
Anna greeted them all and led them into the house and out the back door. Abby took Howard to the inflatable hot tub and was followed by Lucy and Matt, also a couple, while Kate headed to the food with a few of the girls. Anna went back to her conversation with Nora. She ate her third ‘ka-bob of the night and went to sit in the normal hot tub, still chatting.
“Mind if I join you?” Anna turned to find Atticus standing at the edge of the hot tub in his board shorts.
“Naw,” she smiled, “come on in. Nora, this is Atticus, one of Kate’s friends from Stanford. Atticus, this is Nora, a friend of mine from high school.”
He pushed his glasses higher onto his nose and climbed in next to Anna.
“Nice name. Atticus is a great character—very classy,” Nora commented. He scratched his head, narrowing his eyes at her.
“Haven’t you ever read To Kill a Mockingbird?” he shook his head, confused.
“You’re named Atticus and you have never read To Kill a Mockingbird. Shame,” said Nora. “What other Atticus could you be named after? Your parents must have told you your namesake with such a unique name.” Nora raised a curious eyebrow.
“I was adopted. My birth mother named me. My parents didn’t know who I was named after.” There was a long silence.
“So, is Atticus a good character in this mockingbird book?”
“Yeah,” Anna answered, “he’s a single father and a lawyer who defends a black man falsely accused of rape. He’s a defender of the weak and a great role model to his kids.”
“That’s a lot to live up to,” he said thoughtfully.
“I suppose. Anyway, what are you studying?” Nora asked. Anna looked at him nervously, hoping he was prepared to go into detail about his fake muggle major.
“I just finished Freshman year so I didn’t have to declare my major yet. Considering the whole Mockingbird thing, though, I don’t think I’ll be an English major.” He laughed. Anna let out the breath she had been holding in.
“Well, I’m getting a bit overheated. Who’s up for dancing?” Nora broke the second awkward silence that had ensued.
“Ok,” Anna said, climbing out followed closely by Atticus.
She took a glass of punch (by the looks of the dancing going on, Kate or Abby had spiked it) and downed it in several gulps (yep, definitely spiked. This was turning out to be a little more than a chill hangout with a few friends). She giggled and danced for a while on the buzz from the alcohol, then headed to the edge of the courtyard to people watch and chat. she didn’t notice she had put herself right next to Atticus. She turned.
“Oh, hey,” the buzz made her slightly more comfortable. “Are you actually adopted?”
He looked surprised by the question. “Yep, all that was true. Except that I don’t go to Stanford.”
“I see.” Anna nodded swaying a bit and humming to the music. “What’s the story behind that?”
“My birth parents were normal muggles. They left me at a muggle orphanage, with only a name and this pendant.” He pulled a small oval necklace from his swimsuit pocket. The pendant was old and stained, bearing the letter “R”. “They think the ‘R’ was my parents’ last initial so that’s what I’ve kept as my middle name. Just the letter R.”
“Wow,” Anna stared at the tiny letter “R” in fascination. She looked up at him again. “So how did your parents find you?”
“I literally started shooting sparks when I turned two.” Anna laughed out loud.
“The Institute of Secrecy (IOS), a part of the Magical government that regulates muggle relations, found me before I could be reported to the muggle media or police. They sent out an ad in the Wizamerican Chronicle and connected with my parents the next day. They couldn’t have kids of their own but felt ready to adopt. They travelled to the orphanage along with an IOS agent who dealt with any memory removal that was necessary. Now here I am today.” Atticus spread his arms wide and smiled.
“That’s pretty crazy.” He laughed at her innocent expression.
Cleaning up after a party is always more work than putting one up. Anna drowsily turned on the barbecue to burn off excess food from cooking last nights as Kate an Abby were vanishing the garbage that littered the backyard, nursing hangovers. They walked up to a nearby coffee shop when they had finished.
“How did your own personal party-planning experts do?” Abby asked, feeling more sociable after a good dose of caffeine.
“It was amazing,” Anna smiled warmly. “Not too much not to little of anything. It was great to meet your friends, too. I’ll know a few familiar faces at PACOMA now.
Kate’s face lit up with the mention of her friends. “Yeah, I saw you talking to Atticus for a while there.”
Kate and Abby looked at each other knowingly and Anna once again felt left out of the mysterious mental link that her sister and her friend shared.
“Yeah,” said Anna, “he’s a really nice guy. I hope I have some classes with him next year.”
“We hope so to,” Kate and Abby chorused. It was almost creepy how close those two were; almost magical.
A/N: Ha! This chapter has 2 author's notes. Anyway, I would really really really really really appreciate a reveiw! Even just "Cool story bro". I think I might actually wet my pants with happiness when the first one comes. And I'm thinking of naming a character after my first reveiwer! (thanks to badgernymphadora @hpff for that idea) So. FEED THE BOX. Right down there.