Chapter 3 : Maybe This Time
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"I need bedding," I muttered, dropping my spoon into my empty bowl. I don't like being the first to talk, especially when I'm angry, but Neville seemed a bit on the shy side this morning and by morning, I mean a ridiculous hour in the morning. Since I slept the day away yesterday, I wasn't able to sleep last night like I thought I could. When I heard him up and about, I decided to get out of my room.
"Did I forget to put any in your room?" Neville looked up from his morning Daily Prophet in shock. "I'm terribly sorry. I will get you some right after work."
"Work?" I asked as though the word were entirely new to me. "You work?" I can't even begin to think of what he does. Whatever it is, it must be dreadfully boring. Probably the dullest position in the Ministry.
"Yes," he replied, unsure if I was actually interested or rude. Though I'm not the latter, I definitely wasn't the first. "I work at the Apothecary in Diagon Alley over the summer. They need someone who can take care of the plants so they can sell them or use them in potions."
Yep, just as I thought, Neville is a total bore. I can see why he is not married. Unfortunately, he reminded me of something important.
"Because I seem to be incredibly unpopular and orphaned, I'm stuck here with you for Merlin knows how long," I pointed out, making sure the enthusiasm in my voice was just oozing out. "I refuse to lull about this pitiful place while you're gone."
"Are you offering to help me keep up with my flat?" he sounded so surprised it was offensive.
"For the lack of better terms, yes. Apparently, we're the best of friends, so don't you know where I work?" I asked, recalling what Dr. Nesson said at St. Mungo's only three days ago.
"You do work," he said, thinking suddenly. I perked up in my seat, regardless of how exhausted I was. "But they all heard about your, er, accident and aren't expecting you until later next week." I immediately sank back down.
I'm well enough to work now! It's not like I'm incapable of doing anything. "What is it I do?" I asked, ignoring the urge to voice my thoughts.
"You work at the Ministry of Magic in the, erm, Magical Law Enforcement Department."
"Oh." I said, noticing Neville's discomfort. I, a person who enforced magical laws, obliviated myself. My life was beginning to sound like Neville's: incredibly boring. I really need to come up with a better word to describe him, but boring seems to fit so well. Even the word boring is boring.
"You're welcome to come to work with me if you don't want to hang around here by yourself," he offered with a small smile.
"There's not a chance in hell," I said, looking around the place as though it had suddenly become a lot more interesting. "Is there any way I can get my wand back while you're gone? Maybe make this place a little less dull?" Dull. That's a nice word.
"You think it's dull here?" Neville asked looking around.
"Duh." Well don't I sound like a mature twenty-seven year old?
"Maybe I can bring some plants home to liven it up. Sorry, but I cannot give you your wand back." Neville didn't enjoy keeping me on lockdown, even I could see that, but he sure was being an annoying little fuck. This time, instead of dramatically going to my room, it was Neville who decided to fold up his Daily Prophet and head out the door with a small nod. Once he left, there was only one thought on my mind.
Earlier this morning, when Neville was making breakfast, he used his wand. Nowhere on him did I see my wand, so I assumed he left it in his room. When I went back to check, his door was locked.
"Of course," I muttered to myself. There was no way for me to get in either. Not without breaking down the door of course. I could always break the door and repair it once I got my wand back, but there was nothing small and heavy enough for me to use. "Damnit!"
I tuned back around to observe the rest of the flat. It was nothing extraordinary, and I definitely had nothing to do. There were all sorts of contraptions I didn't know how to use, like the big black box in the living room. This means I'm going to have to talk to Neville again just to figure out what I can do here. Now that I think about it, he really is a rude host. He admitted to forgetting my sheets, he hasn't shown me how to work anything, and of course there was the whole stealing my wand thing. The only thing I even slightly knew how to use was the telephone, and there was no one I could call on that thing.
I walked into the hallway and looked at the small, red vocal box. I don't know how, but Draco is in there. How do I get a hold of him? The phone had a round disc on the top with ten, spread even holes in it. Each hole had a number in it starting with zero to nine. Was it some sort of clock? It was definitely wrong if it was, because there was no eleven or twelve. Then again, I've also seen a few clocks that weren't meant to tell time. Dad used to have a clock that told him where he needed to be right now. It was like a memo clock, and if he needed to be at work, St. Mungo's, and yes, even with Voldemort, it called to him. There was even a spot for Hogwarts, but it must be broken, because I needed my father many times and he never came.
Ring. Ring. Ring.
The sound was coming from the phone and I didn't know what to do. I've never heard anything come from the contraption before except for Draco's voice. Hesitantly, I picked the receiver up, assuming this would be the only effective way of making the loud, way too annoying machine shut the hell up. I was correct. I copied the actions I did yesterday and put the receiver to my ear.
“D– Draco?” I asked, automatically assuming that he would be the one calling.
“Pansy?” It was a woman's voice. I didn't recognise it, but she sounded like she knew me.
“Yes,” I said matter of factly. “Who is this?”
“I'm sorry, I thought Neville would be home,” said the unknown woman. “But it is probably best that I speak to you.”
“Neville is at work. Who is this?” I repeated, my voice more irritated than before.
“Sorry! I'm Hermione Weasley. You probably don't remember me, but I am the head of your department. I just wanted to call and let you know that you can start work on Monday. Has Neville told you where you work?” she asked cautiously, as if she knew by further explaining anything I already knew would piss me off.
“Magical Law Enforcement,” I reassured her, slightly annoyed. “Thank you.” I was just glad I would have something to do now and have some way of recalling my memory.
“So how are you? Are you doing alright?” she asked, and I could hear the sympathy in her voice. I wanted to ask her why she thought it was her business to get into mine, but seeing as how she is my boss, I thought better of it.
“I'm fine,” I answered curtly, a new thought entering my mind. Magical Law Enforcement is a position in the Ministry. If she is there, and Draco works at the Ministry, she might know how I could reach him. “Do you know how I can phone Draco?”
“Who?” Hermione sounded surprised on the other end of the line, but I ignored it and repeated my question. “Well you call his number,” she explained skeptically.
“Number?” I questioned. “What is his...number?”
“I don't think I should be the one who gives you that sort of information,” Hermione said and I was beginning to severely dislike her. “I think if he sees it fit, Neville should give you the number when he gets back.”
“I don't need someone to babysit me and the phone calls I make, Miss Weasley.” I said scathingly. My patience was running extremely low, and I really wanted to hear Draco's voice.
“Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione said hotly, but she sighed over the phone and continued. “Alright, you're right. You can reach Draco by calling 555-3036. Let Neville know that Ronald and I say hello and we hope he is fairing well, and I will see you at eight o'clock Monday. It was nice speaking with you, Pansy. Goodbye.”
“Uh-huh,” I rolled my eyes, even though I knew she couldn't see me. She hung up and the phone began to make a long, ringing noise. I didn't put the receiver down in fear I would ruin it working again, but a woman's automatic voice came to the phone that I didn't recognise.
“You have just completed a Ministry Official call via commune-a-phone. The telephone is a Muggle contraption that has been used since 1877 and has been used as an efficient way of communication. As witches and wizards, we have found ways of communicating with one another in fast ways of travel, Patronus, owl, or fire. Due to inconvenient time for travel, the Ministry has adopted the idea of the telephone in hopes to communicate faster with other witches and wizards. Please contribute to this growing marketing idea and get your own commune-a-phone today! In doing so you can–”
I hung the phone up anyway, tired of hearing the all too cheerful advertisement. If anything, I now knew that this wasn't an ordinary telephone.
“555-3036,” I mumbled to myself, committing it to memory. I picked the phone up again and looked at the strange clock-like disc on the phone. The numbers make sense now, but I still have no idea on how to use it. When I poked at them in the order of the numbers nothing happened, but then I realised the disc moved. After experimenting for a while, I finally figured out how it worked (after a few wrong numbers, too). “5...5...5...3...0...3....6,” I repeated after each number I dialed. The phone rang for a moment or two before it was answered at last. “Draco!” I exclaimed, sure that I did everything right this time.
“Excuse me, who is this?” a rather rude woman demanded.
“I must have the wrong number,” I said as equally rude. The prior wrong numbers were not as rude as this woman.
“No, Draco lives here,” said the woman.
“Malfoy? Draco Malfoy?” I asked, not sure if this woman knew who I was talking about or not.
“Is this Pansy Parkinson?”
“Listen, Home Wrecker, I know exactly what is going on, and I want you to know right now that I do not approve of it. Do not call this number again, and we won't have anymore problems.”
Before I could retaliate anything she said, the familiar ringing rang through the receiver again before the ad from before repeated.
“You have just completed a Ministry Official call via commune-a-phone. The telephone is a–” I hung the phone up, tears stinging my eyes as they threatened to fall down my face. I can't believe it! Draco is cheating on me! His bitch of a girlfriend or wife – No! – mistress just yelled at me! Why didn't anyone tell me about this before? Did anyone else know? Surely Neville must have, since he was so diligent about letting me contact him in the first place.
I moped around the flat for hours, not even bothered by the fact I had nothing to do but cry. It didn't do me any good, though. In fact, after crying for hours, I only felt worse about myself and this whole situation. How could my life be so shitty? Why am I stuck here with Neville? Why would Draco ever cheat on someone as charming, beautiful, and cunning as I am? I even tried doing that thing other girls do when they find themselves in this situation: convincing myself I was thinking of the absolute worst possible situation and it wasn't what I was thinking. That didn't work.
I was in my room, sulking in my bed, tears long behind me, when I heard the front door open. Assuming it was just Neville home from work, I just stayed where I was, face hiding in my folded arms.
“Pansy!?” he called throughout the flat. I didn't dignify him with an answer. I heard the keys drop onto the table in the hallway and his footsteps coming toward my end of the flat. There was a knock on my door and I let out a long, exasperated groan.
“Go away!” I shouted. Neville is not a very good listener.
“What's wrong?” he asked, opening my door. Fuck, he has a wand. Of course, just because I don't have mine anymore doesn't excuse him from using his. He was probably using my bloody wand! I looked up and watched as he placed a trunk with a couple of moving plants I didn't recognise on top of it on my dresser.
“Shove off,” I grimaced. One of the plants, to my satisfaction, snapped at him.
“You don't have to tell me,” he said earnestly. “Here, I brought this from the other apartment. I'm still in the process of moving out.” He indicated the trunk. “It is full of some bedding, clothes for you, and a few more plants I thought you would like.” Something he said struck me as odd. I knew this flat was new, but I didn't realise he was still in the process of moving out.
“What would my clothes be doing at your old apartment?” I asked, looking at him questionably.
Neville turned red and he looked away from me, flustered. “I– Uh– Well– You were– We were roommates,” he finished lamely. For once in the last three days, I didn't challenge him.
“Roommates, huh?” I asked, getting up to peek inside the trunk, which I noticed was the one I used in my Hogwarts days. On the inside there were more plants that snapped at me at the sign of light. In the corner I noticed a small pot of some sort of white flower with a beautiful blue pattern on them. When I opened the lid further I noticed they were calla lilies: my favorite. Most people expected my favorite flower to be pansies, but I decided when I was a very little girl I would not be so cliché. I looked up at Neville to see him looking at his hand as it danced around on my desk, blushing. “You want to know what's wrong?” I asked, shutting the lid and smirking at him. He looked at me and gave me a weak smile. I sighed and went over to the lumpy, no good bed, and sat down.
“Draco is– Well, he's cheating on me,” I said, my voice catching as I continued on. I thought I would be stronger than this by now, but how could I be? That was the, is the man I love, who cheated on me.
“What?” Neville asked, choking on a whisper caught in shock. “I don't think–”
“What? You don't think he would cheat on me? Well I didn't either, but guess what? You need to think again!” I said, excusing my tears with a pitiful laugh. I was well aware that Neville was watching me, but hey, we used to be best friends, right?
“What happened?” he asked after an awkward silence with my occasional sniffle and cough. I told him about Hermione and the phone call I made to get in touch with Draco, but the bitch of a woman answered instead. After I was done, or after I couldn't go on anymore is more like it, Neville nodded his head and placed a hand on my shoulder. I wanted to shrug him off and glare at him, but right now I was too tired from my crying I could care less. “Remember how he told you he was in Germany for the Ministry? Well, doesn't the Ministry only send people away when they're on super secret missions or something?” I shrugged. “Anyway, I'm sure that must have been his partner who answered and she was just pissed that he was giving away everything.”
“And the home wrecker part? What about that, Neville?” I asked pathetically. His excuse to cheer me up wasn't working. There was another moment of silence while he tried to think of something to say.
“She's a bitch?” he said with a crooked smile and a raised eyebrow. I looked at him with my blotchy, tear stained face and coughed out a laugh.
“Yea, she's a bitch all right,” I confirmed.
“Well, I'm going to go put these plants around the house, do you care to join me?” he asked, taking my light hearted mood into account. I raised my eyebrow at him and shook my head.
“The calla lilies were nice– creepy that you knew they are my favorite – but nice. However, plants aren't exactly my sort of thing.”
Neville sighed, ignoring the fact that I brought up how the flowers were my favorite. It was probably for the best anyway. It saved us from any further awkward conversations about it. “I see that hasn't changed about you,” and he nudged me with his elbow. A small laugh escaped my lips and I caught myself off guard. What was I doing? This is Neville Longbottom, the man who has been making my life a living hell these last few days, and here I am laughing at him like a hopeless schoolgirl? I thought back at what he said, looking for something to critisise him with.
“What do you mean I haven't changed? What is that supposed to mean?” I asked in a more serious, non laughing manner. The change in my mood caught Neville off guard and he began to stammer again.
“I just meant– Well, you know– The old you didn't like gardening either. You love the plants, hence why you don't pick on me about my work, but you don't do much to care for them. That may explain why we never had any pets in the apartment,” he added thoughtfully. Great. So I'm careless? Just what I needed to hear.
“So I don't like taking care of things I love?” I asked, my voice strained. I was beginning to learn that when I heard things about myself, I really would much rather not know them.
“I wouldn't say that,” he said. “You take care of many things. Like dinner!” He naturally perked up at the thought and looked at me hopefully. “You can cook up a mean Lancashire hotpot.”
The thought of cooking cheered me up a little. I remembered having to cook for myself at home when dad wasn't around. The House Elf refused to listen to me, mainly because he was my father's elf, so I would make my own meals. Sometimes I would stray from tradition, which made it all the better.
“And ever since the war ended, you have stayed very committed to obeying and enforcing the rules of magical uses. Well, until...” he strayed off his current topic until he silenced himself, knowing what he brought up would severely piss me off. “Listen, Pansy, I know you don't understand why you did what you did to yourself. Hell, I don't even fully understand why you did it, but you did. You wanted a second chance at your life, and this is what you've got. Whatever you discover along the way now, well, I guess it is what your life is truly meant to be like. Things may change, but this is the only way to assure you are absolutely the Pansy you want to be.”
Neville sighed, his brow furrowed and eyes sad. Unfortunately, tears stung at my eyes again, threatening to pour down my face. What is up with me and crying lately? I'm not some silly girl who cries at every little thing!
Something made a crashing noise outside of my room and both Neville and I looked up to see what it was. Neville was the first to jump up and peek around the door, wand ready.
“It's just an owl,” he said sounding relieved. I noticed I was holding my breath and let the captured air out. “It looks like you've got mail,” he said from the living room. I stood from the bed to inspect what he was talking about. How did anyone know I lived here? He held out a square, purple envelope in my direction. I took it, scrunching my nose as I squinted to read it more clearly. It was from the Ministry of Magic.
“Fuck!” I shouted, making Neville jump in the middle of his half-read letter. I just finished reading my letter and it is safe to say I am extremely pissed off.
“What is it?” he asked, trying to peek over the top of the heavy, yellow parchment I was holding.
“I have to go to court!” I exclaimed. “The date is set for July seventeenth! That is two weeks from now!” What in the hell did I have to go to court for? I obliviated myself. It's not like I tried to harm anyone else! Just myself! “I can't believe I have to do this!”
“Well it is against the law,” he said, not helping my mood at all.
“Thank you, Captain Obvious. Please, say one more thing so I can be the perfect balance of pissed off!” Not my best comeback, I'll admit, but I am still shocked about this whole situation.
“At least it's in two weeks. If it were sooner, I'd be worried, but not so much with it being two weeks away.”
“What does it matter if it is two weeks or tomorrow?” I snapped, tossing the letter onto a table in the living room.
“Tomorrow, you did something really bad and they're extremely pissed off at you. Two weeks from now, they can't really find the time to fit you in with everything else going on in the world, but you did something wrong so they have to do something to tell you so. You'll get a slap on the wrist, they'll send you home, and everything will be fine. I promise.” He tried adding a reassuring grin to the end of his statement, but even his face gave away that he wasn't entirely positive of his own words.
“Somehow, your promise sounds like shit to me,” I spat, crossing my arms. My semi good mood from early is eradicated. My words, however, seemed to phase Neville this time. Instead of his usual small smile, his shoulders tightened and his whole body went stiff. He wasn't looking up at me, but I could tell he was trying to avoid making eye contact.
“I'm sorry,” he said, his voice strained. I wouldn't exactly say he was angry, but he seemed incredibly hurt by what I said. At this rate, I don't really care. “I'm going to make dinner. You must be starving.” He walked to the kitchen, still avoiding eye contact with me.
“I'm not hungry,” I lied. I'm actually extremely hungry, but I didn't want to deal with the awkward dinner at the table. (Neville thinks eating at the table will help me recall memories).
“I'll serve you dinner in your room." He added. I could hear the smirk in his voice.
“Fine!” I shouted from my room, slamming the door shut. I wish I only lost the last five years of my life instead of the last ten, because then maybe I wouldn't act like such a seventeen year old.
A/N: After two fire alarms, a huge paper due, and a lot of distractions, I finally got this chapter up. I think it is sweet and spicy in its own little way and I can't wait for it to get more along in the middle. :) Let me know what you guys think in a review! I would greatly appreciate it, and I am definitely open to suggestions! This chapter was beta-ed by KwanLi! :)
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