Chapter 2 : Red
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Albus by Heartplague@TDA :)
Maybe I'm a masochist,
I try to run, but I don't ever want to leave
Until the walls are going up
In smoke with all our memories
-Love The Way You Lie Part II, Rihanna
I stumble down the stairs drowsily, my hand clutched around the piece of paper in my pocket. I was awake until four in the morning reading and rereading the same sentence over and over.
I'm definitely paying for it now.
"Mum, someone let a drunk raccoon in," James calls when he sees me in the kitchen doorway. I give him the finger and reach up to rub my eye.
Mum smiles sadly at me and I feel anger swelling in my chest. I don't want people looking at me with pity. I don't care anymore.
I'm over it. I'm over her.
I'm over her, I'm over her, I'm over her.
Please, Merlin, let me get over her.
I opened the lid of my laptop, and placed it on my stomach as I laid across the couch. I covered myself in my favorite red blanket; I've had it since I was three, so I really don't care that it throws off the whole colour theme of the lounge room.
My laptop is, in fact, a Muggle device. I found a nifty little store in a corner street off Diagon Ally which alters Muggle electronics like computers or iPods so that they can connect to Wizarding websites as well as Muggle sites. They can also use magical and non-magical programs too.
I drummed my fingers on the plastic next to the mousepad. How do I go about this? What is the best way to find out everything you need to know about someone without actually asking them?
Easy- Google them.
I opened the Wizard Google, because searching Darcy on Muggle Google would have no results. I typed 'Darcy Greengrass' into the search bar and clicked on the first result.
According to this website, Darcy dropped out of Hogwarts at the end of sixth year when her debut album hit the radios. She's quite big in America, apparently.
I've heard of her before but I've never really been into all that mainstream music hat everybody listens too. That is why I wasn't that starstruck when I met her, even though she's a celebrity.
I guess I'm classed as a celebrity on some levels too. The odd paparazzi stalk me in public, I have websites dedicated to me, I've been front-paged before and people ask me for my autograph sometimes. I don't understand why, though. I'm just the son of some guy who saved the world.
I went back to Google and clicked on a fact page about Darcy. According to this site, she is my age- eighteen, she doesn't like strawberries, her biggest fear is the dark, she has an older sister and her Dad walked out on her and her family when she was two.
I frowned at the screen. I can't imagine growing up without my Dad there for me. He's the one I turned to for everything.
I was about to open another web page when I suddenly felt really creeper, Googling the girl who's asleep in the other room. I quickly closed my laptop and laid down, closing my eyes and hoping for sleep.
I vaguely wondered how I could safely break the news to my psychotic family. When they find out I have a 'girlfriend' they are going to go crazy.
Darcy and I discussed it before she went to bed and we've decided that we're just going to tell the family that we're together for real. It's easier that way; less risk of a slip-up that could ruin both of our reputations.
The next thing I knew, I could hear a faint sizzling noise. The fireplace sprung to life with an emerald frame and a scary red-head stepped out.
I jumped back against the couch like I was caught doing something wrong. "Mum! What are you doing here?"
She stalked over to me and waved a piece of folded paper in my face.
"This!" she hissed at me, still waving the paper like a madwoman. "This is how you tell your father and I that you are moving out to live with your girlfriend?" She stopped suddenly and stared at me. "Do we do something wrong? Do you hate us?"
I sighed and flinched away from her and her strong tone. "We were going to tell you soon," I insisted. "We're not even official yet. In fact, I'm planning to ask her tomorrow."
My mother stared at me for a moment and there was a thick, uncomfortable silence between the both of us. "I want to see her," she said decisively.
"She's sleeping, Mum."
Mum shrugged and walked through the flat like she owned the place. I tore the red blanket off my lap and followed her. She pulled open the bedroom door and stood over Darcy, who was asleep under the thick quilt.
Her face was peaceful and her dark hair was fanned out over the pillow. The lamp on the bedside table was switched on and the script was clutched in Darcy's left hand, resting next to her face. I can't let Mum see that!
I made myself busy, trying to look like I was just straightening up as Mum looked around the room. I pulled the blankets up over her properly and slid the script out of her hand.
"What are you doing?" Mum asked, appearing behind me.
"Erm… just straightening up," I said, slipping the scrip under some magazines on the bedside table and flicking the lamp off.
"Alright, dear. I'm going to head off and let you get some sleep. Goodnight," she said, leading me back into the loungeroom.
"Night, Mum. Say hi to the rest for me. Love you," I said, kissing her on the cheek.
"Love you, too. Goodnight," she said over her shoulder before disappearing into the fireplace again.
I let out a sigh of relief and collapsed back onto the couch and closed my eyes, willing myself to go to sleep. That was a close call. I don't know which would be worse: if Mum found our we were only together for publicity, of if she never found out and was positive that Darcy would become part of the family one day?
Oh Merlin, what have I gotten myself into?
I looked at Darcy's outfit as she walked out of the bedroom, brushing her teeth. Clearly she didn't think that she needed to dress up much for my Dad's speech outside the ministry. She (after forcing me to narrow it down to three outfit options earlier) decided to wear a baggy white t-shirt with black writing tucked into a light blue puffy skirt that fell above her knees. Over that, she wore a black over-sized cardigan that was not in any of the outfits I chose for her, with mustard-yellow Converse hi-tops on her feet. She actually looked alright in an eclectic kind of way.
I, on the other hand, decided to try and look acceptable with black jeans and a button up, with the sleeves rolled up to my elbows.
Darcy stopped when she saw me, looking me up and down. "Nuh-huh," she said, shaking her hair. Her words were garbled from the toothbrush clenched between her teeth.
She grabbed me by the wrist and pulled me into the bedroom. I followed her inside the walk-in wardrobe where she paced for a minute, searching through my shirts and sliding the hangers from side to side. After a few minutes of deliberation she pulled a hanger off the rack and handed it to me. It was a maroon wife-beater that James had given to me for Christmas last year.
James and I share clothes, so whenever we buy something for each other we make sure it's something we would wear as well. For example, I have a small collection of V-Necks and snapbacks, where James has a small collection of button-ups and man-cardigans. Of course we never wear what we give each other and sometimes end up trading back.
Ever since I was younger, though, I've looked up to James and wanted to be like him. I never was, though. He was the bad-boy who never studied but managed to pass tests; who got caught smoking behind the broom-shed; who never had a girlfriend for more than three weeks. I was the diplomat who tutored second years; who got caught reading an overdue library book; who never had a girlfriend, period.
It's not that I was a loser, or anything- far from it, actually. I had friends and I had just as many girls throw themselves at me as James did. The difference between us, though, is that I preferred the girls who actually had some self-respect and I wouldn't just get with any random girl. Hogwarts had a shortage of girls with self-respect, my year. Not all of them were too bad, about a quarter of them were nice. But the majority of them… what would their fathers say?
I took the wife-beater from Darcy and she went back to searching the rack. Quicker this time, she found what she was looking for. She handed me one of my black man-cardigans and told me to go change. O did as I was told and returned to the wardrobe with my button-up loose in my hand.
"That's better," she said. I pulled a pair of black fashion shoes out of the shoe cupboard and slipped them on.
I headed out to the lounge room to check my reflection in the mirror. As I approached it, I heard it make a low humming noise.
"Hmm… something's missing," it said thoughtfully as I tried to get my hair to sit right. It wouldn't.
"I agree," Darcy said from behind me. In the reflection I saw her stand behind me with something in her hand. She slipped a dark gray beanie onto my head and adjusted it so a bit of my dark fringe was poking out the front.
"Much better," the mirror commented.
I frowned at my reflection and played with my fringe. Darcy knocked my hands out the way and tucked my fringe completely back under the beanie. This outfit is so… not me. "I feel like I should get a lip-piercing and a tattoo," I said, looking down at my clothes and wrinkling my nose.
"Oh hush," Darcy said, picking up a small clutch bag with the British flag on it. "You look fine."
"Yes, hush," Nina's mirror said. "You still have your pretty cardigan, so you can relax."
I glared at it for a moment before picking up the black cloth from the small table underneath the mirror, and covering he reflective glass completely. Of course, out of all the enchanted mirrors out there, Nina gives us the rudest one.
"The car Nina sent is waiting, so will you please stop fussing over how you look and hurry up!"
I rolled my eyes and pulled at the collar of my shirt, following Darcy outside and into the back seat of a black car with dark tinting on the windows.
"I feel like I'm in a spy movie," I commented and Darcy smirked in amusement.
"Where to?" the driver asked, turning around to look at us.
"The Ministry," I said. "Please," I tacked on when Darcy hit my arm with the back of her hand.
The driver nodded. "The name's Paul, by the way. Nice to meet you both. Nina's assigned me as your person driver, so if you ever need a lift anywhere, five me a call," he said, handing us a card with his details.
"Albus Potter," I introduced myself, shaking his hand.
"Darcy Greengrass," Darcy announced, doing the same.
"Greengrass, eh?" Paul asked, turning to the front and pulling out from the curb. "You wouldn't happen to be from the same Greengrass's associated with the Malfoy's, would you?"
Darcy made a sound of annoyance in the back of her throat and looked out the window. "Nice day today, don't you think?"
I raised my eyebrow but let it slip. "Yeah I, uh, guess so." Out my window, the sky was covered by a blanket of grey, so unless she had a different sky out her window…
She reached into her bag and pulled out a note pad and a marker.
DID YOU LEARN THE SCRIPT? she scribbled.
I slapped my palm to my forhead. We'd had a whole week since Nina had given us the script and I hadn't even looked at it yet.
"Don't worry," Darcy said to me. "I tried to read through it once, but I ended up falling asleep. We're in the same boat here. Improvise, yeah?"
I sighed and nodded.
To say things had been awkward between Darcy and I during the past week would be a bit of an understatement. We'd been flat-out avoiding each other. Whenever I was at the flat, she went out and vice versa. Being the gentleman I am, I let Darcy sleep in the bedroom while I broke my back on the couch every night. We even ate meals separately.
This morning when she chose my outfit was probably the longest we'd been around each other comfortably. I mean, we did talk to each other, but only when necessary.
So considering I've spoken twenty or so words to her this past week, improvising a way to publicly ask her out will be tough.
Why didn't we just read the damn script?
And the frustrating thing is that I can picture it in my mind, the exact place on the coffee table, the exact page it was open to. I just can't picture the words.
"The Ministry," Paul announced, turning around in his seat once again.
I pulled my wallet from the pocket of my jeans and opened it but Paul stopped me.
"I'm your driver, Mr Potter. You don't pay me."
"Tip?" I suggested, holding out a few galleons.
Paul shook his head. "That's kind, but not necessary."
I shrugged one shoulder. "Suit yourself."
I got out of the car and met Darcy at the front of it.
"Where are we meant to do this?" I asked, looking around the busy square.
Darcy squinted and lifted her hand to shield her eyes from the sun as she turned to look at me. "From memory, the script said to walk past the paparazzi and try to look like we don't want to be seen."
I nodded my head and took her hand. Slowly we headed in the direction of the paparazzi who were already lined up, ready to invade my father's personal space.
Darcy kept her head down, her hair shielding her face. I looked at the ground as we hurried past them.
"Tony!" a girl said, catching my arm. I whirled around to face her and the first thing that I saw was the truck load of makeup she had put on.
Mascara: if it looks like a spider fell on your face, you're doing it wrong.
"Sorry, thought you were someone else."
The girl let go of me and Darcy and I managed a couple more steps before something else got my attention.
"James!" someone called out.
I lifted my head to look around. Since when was James going to be here?
"James!" the paparazzi called again, raising the camera to take a photo of me. Recognition dawned on his face and he raised his camera again.
"Albus! Albus, who's the girl?!"
Several other paparazzi followed him in our direction, so Darcy and I turned and ran. I pulled her into a alleyway and began my improvised speech, knowing that the paparazzi were lurking just around the corner, eavesdropping on every word.
"So, Darcy… I've been thinking," I began, trying to sound nervous. "I like you. Um, a lot. And yeah."
She rolled her eyes at me and raised her eyebrows.
"And do you like me?"
She glared at me. It's not my fault I'm terrible at this whole 'improvisation' thing! If the script was more interesting, maybe I would have read/learnt it.
"Yes, I do," she said, trying to sound happy. I could tell she wanted to hit me. She's quite good at hiding it, though.
"So… I wanted to know if you'd be my, um, girlfriend. You know, officially?"
Darcy squealed and plastered a huge smile on her face. She threw her arms around my neck, just in time for the paparazzi to leap around the corner and capture a thousand photos. I snaked my arms around Darcy and forced a smile. If I'm going to play this role, I'll be damned if I'm not convincing.
Once I'm in the lounge room and I'm alone, I pull the newspaper clipping out of my pocket and stare at it some more. I drape my red blanket around my shoulders just so the memory hits me harder. I've grown so accustomed to the pain brought on by the thought of it all that I purpously bring it apon myself now.
In the picture, Darcy throws her arms around me in slow motion and I hug her back. We look like the perfect couple.
I clench my jaw as I read sections of the article, my mind too frozen and tired to read the whole piece in it's entity.
Albus Potter attends (his) father's announcement at the Ministry, with a striking resemblance to older brother, James Potter...
... rumors that Potter is planning to work for the Ministry and take over his father's job...
… young, just out of Hogwarts…
… first serious relationship…
... Potter and Greengrass seem perfect together. Seers say they will last forever.
I repeat those words over and over in my head, trying to pinpoint where it went wrong. It's not the first time, either. I always try to work out what happened to us.
I don't know, though. I can't talk to Darcy, either.
Last forever. Last forever. Did I do something? Did she do something? Maybe, we just weren't supposed to be together and Nina was messing with fate by playing matchmaker. Maybe we just slowly fell apart. Maybe the Seers were wrong; maybe Darcy and I were never meant to last forever.
Third time's the charm! I've been trying to upload this for the past hour & a half now but HPFF keeps logging me out and I have to keep reuploading. Sorry if there's any mistakes, I can't be botherd rechecking anymore haha. Let me know what you thought of this chapter!! It helps alot! Disclaimer: I don't own HPFF, that's JKR; I don't own Google, that's Bill Shor (among others); I don't own Converse, that's Chuck Taylor. I only own Nina, Darcy & the plot. For some reason my enter button has stopped working, so sorry this a/n is just one huge paragraph :/ Bye! xx