Disclaimer: The wonderful world of Harry Potter belong to our beautiful JKR.
“So does the Forgetfulness Potion require that we stir three times in clockwise or counter-clockwise direction after adding the Valerian Sprigs?”
“Who bloody cares?”
“Which one do you suppose is more attractive?”
“Er, I’m thinking it’s clockwise but I can’t be too sure.”
“She’s probably right.”
“Is it even possible for either one to be more attractive than the other? I mean, they’re identical.”
“Hush. Just let me check the book real quick.”
“Why bother? You’re probably right.”
“It’s not fair that someone in my line of sight is so good-looking. It leaves me unable to concentrate on anything else.”
“Yes, it’s clockwise.”
“I told you she was right. She’s always right.”
“D’you suppose they’re completely identical? Like in every single way?”
“Would you be quiet?” Layla snapped. “I can’t work on my essay with you swooning like that.”
“I’m not swooning,” Anna replied defensively.
“You were too.”
“I was not.”
“Oh, yes, you were,” Mary giggled. She dramatically rested a hand on her forehead and cried out “Oh, Gideon and Fabian, how devilishly attractive you two are.” She gasped and reached out an arm, grasping at nothing. “But you’re just so identical! How can I possibly choose?”
It was at this point that an annoyed Layla noticed Remus, Peter, and Sirius entering the Gryffindor Common Room.
“Taken a fancy to the Prewett twins, have you, dear?” Remus asked, sitting next to his girlfriend.
Mary grinned. “I was simply doing an impression of Anna. She’s been moaning about them ever since they came into the Common Room.”
“I have not,” a very red-faced Anna muttered, causing Mary to grin impishly at her.
“We could introduce you to them if you like,” Sirius offered. He sat down on a big plush chair that had previously been seating a First Year. Upon catching sight of Sirius eyeing the chair, the poor soul had scampered away.
“I don’t need your help,” Anna told Sirius defiantly, to which he replied with a shrug, as if to say he didn’t really care either way.
“Oh, honestly,” Layla sighed. “I’m never going to get any work done here.” She turned to Lily. “I don’t know why we let Mary talk us into doing our work in the Gryffindor Common Room. Nothing ever gets accomplished around here.”
“I always get loads of work done here,” Lily rebutted.
“Evans is used to all the commotion that goes on here, aren’t you, Red?” Sirius nudged Lily lightly. She ignored him. “Speaking of work,” he continued, “how’s that essay coming along, Potions Partner?”
Brilliantly, no thanks to you, she thought but refrained from saying so. Instead she simply nodded her head, eyes focused on her parchment. She was careful not to talk to Sirius unless absolutely necessary. She didn’t want Adam to get upset, after all.
As if on cue, Adam and the rest of the Gryffindor Quidditch team entered through the portrait hole. They were all dragging their feet, clearly exhausted from practice. They had a match tomorrow against Slytherin. That match would determine who played against Ravenclaw during finals.
James was the only one that didn’t seem tired. He marched right up to his friends and declared with complete confidence, “We’re going to win tomorrow, and then we’re going to play against Ravenclaw and kick their arses.” He grinned handsomely at Layla.
Adam rolled his eyes and trudged toward them, sitting down next to Layla. “I ran into Alex just now. He told me to give this to you.”
It was a letter, Layla realized, from her father. Instantly, she took it from him, smoothed out the parchment, and began to read.
“How can you be so confident about the match?” Anna asked James. “You know Slytherin is going to play dirty.”
“Oh, don’t pretend to be interested in Quidditch,” Mary interrupted cheekily. “We all know you just want to get the subject off of you and your fancying the pants off of the Prewett twins.”
Anna scowled at her.
“We can introduce them to you if you like,” James offered, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.
“Mary was the reason Layla and Sirius’ cauldron nearly exploded during our last potions lesson. She accidently spilled her Salamander Blood into your potion,” Anna responded casually.
“Anna!” Mary gasped, looking flustered.
“That was you?” Sirius glared at her. “Lockwood blamed me for it. I told you I didn’t do anyth—Lockwood?”
Everybody turned. Layla was visibly panicking.
“Layla, darling, are you okay?” Adam asked, nudging her gently.
“I have to meet her tomorrow. Oh, but this is such short notice, I wasn’t supposed to meet her until Easter Break. What could I possibly wear? And what if she doesn’t like me? Oh, Merlin, what if she doesn’t like me?” Without offering any sort of explanation, Layla shoved all her things into her book bag, and left the Common Room.
Everybody stared after her.
“Did Alex tell you what was in that letter?” Anna asked Adam curiously.
He nodded. “The Minister arranged for them to go to Hogsmeade for dinner tomorrow so that they can meet his fiancé.”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” Anna sighed irritably. Her intricate knowledge of Layla allowed her to understand the severity of the situation, and she began stowing away her things as well. “Now I’ve got to go make sure she keeps the dorm at least halfway intact.”
“Don’t forget to give the Prewett twins goodbye,” Sirius said, smirking at her. Mary was unable to suppress a giggle.
Anna grinned at them, knowing without a doubt that the look on Mary’s face would be priceless after her next move. Keeping her head high, and trying with all her might to keep a serious face, she walked up to Gideon and Fabian.
“Hi, hello,” she started, effectively interrupting them and causing them to look at her in surprise. “My name is Anna Turpin and I think you’re both fucking fit. Just thought you ought to know.” And with that, she turned on heel and stalked out of the common room, but not without catching look of complete shock on Mary’s face.
Yes, indeed, the look on Mary’s face was worth the small humiliation, Anna decided.
"Honestly, Layla, stop fidgeting," Alex scolded. "Father will be here any moment. Now sit up straight."
Layla sat up and forced herself to keep her hands still in her lap. She was so nervous about finally meeting Rosaline Higgins, her father’s fiancé. Layla hoped that Rosaline liked her.
“There they are,” Alex whispered.
Layla breathed in deeply as she noticed her father walking into the restaurant with a beautiful blonde at his arm. Alex nudged her gently and she followed his lead, and stood up.
“There you are,” her father said when he noticed them. He was smiling at his two children, and Layla couldn’t help but smile back. It had been a couple of months since she last saw him.
“Hello, Father,” Alex said, extending his arm out. The Minister took it, and pulled his son into a hug. As soon as he pulled away, he turned to Layla, and grinned, placing his hands on her shoulders. “Layla,” he said as he pulled her in for a hug, “ma belle fille.”
“Children,” he said as he pulled away, “I’d like for you to meet Rosaline Higgins, my beautiful fiancé. Rose, darling, these are my children: Alexander and Layla.”
“Hello, how nice to meet you,” Rosaline said, extending her arm out to Alex. Always the proper gentlemen, he brought her hand to his lips and kissed it. “How wonderful to finally meet you, my father has told us many great things about you.”
Rosaline smiled, and Layla noticed just how red her lips were. It reminded her of Marlene McKinnon. Then, Rosaline turned to Layla and smiled what Layla thought to be one of the hugest fakest smiles she had ever seen in her entire life. “So this is the lovely Layla Lockwood, then,” she said as she extended her arm out. “Edward simply adores you; he never stops talking about you.”
Layla took her hand and shook it gently. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Higgins,” she said, smiling politely.
“Shall we all have a seat, then?” Edward asked, motioning toward the chairs. He was positively beaming.
All throughout most of the dinner, cameras had flashed, nearly blinding Layla. Reporters had been trying to sneakily get pictures of the Minister’s fiancé meeting his children. Frankly, Layla was growing sick of it. But despite that, she acted as though it were nothing out of the ordinary. As daughter of the Minister of Magic, she should be well accustomed to always having reporters bothering her.
Rosaline, on the other hand, seemed to bask in attention. She constantly snuck glances over her shoulder and smiled at one of the reporters as there was another flash. Layla also couldn’t help but notice how huge the ring on her finger was. She always seemed to find a way to shove it into Layla’s line of sight, as though showing it off.
“Layla, darling, I hear that you’re dating Adam Boberg,” Rosaline said, just as they received their dessert.
“Yes, they’ve been going on for over a year now,” Edward said. “I like that boy, he’s a respectable young man, comes from a very fine family.”
“Over a year, that’s impressive for someone your age,” Rosaline said. “Most young ladies I know have another beau every other week.”
Layla smiled politely, not sure where this was going. She didn’t have to wonder long, however.
“Have you two talked about marriage?”
Alex choked on his drink. “Rose, love, Belle’s only sixteen,” Edward said, “She doesn’t need to be thinking about that sort of thing.”
Belle being the nickname the Minister had given Layla long ago.
“Nonsense, Edward, it’s the perfect time. She’s going to be graduating Hogwarts next year. She’ll be wanting to move out of the house by then, I’m sure. And–”
“Alex graduates in just a few short months,” Edward reminded her.
Just at that moment, a young man came to speak to Edward. “Good evening, Minister,” the young man said nervously, “I’m sorry to have to interrupt but I’m afraid we have something very urgent to speak with you about.”
“This can’t wait?” Edward asked, frowning. “I was rather hoping to enjoy a nice dinner with my family.”
“I’m afraid not, Minister. It’s about the, er, marks we’ve recently discovered. There’s been another one, just about Bristol.”
Edward sighed, “Very well. If you’ll excuse me,” he stood up and left with the young man.
“If you ladies will excuse me, as well,” Alex said, clearing his throat, “I’ve got to go to the men’s room.”
“Yes, of course.”
Alex left, leaving Layla and Rosaline alone.
Layla tried not to feel awkward as she took a sip of her tea, but it was no use. It was very awkward. Finally, she broke the silence by clearing her throat, “I’m so happy to have finally met you. Father is very exci—”
“Yes, I’m sure,” Rosaline interrupted, a huge smile on her lips. She leaned in closer. “Listen, I’m going to just say it. Stay out of my way.”
Layla wasn’t sure if she heard right. “I’m sorry?”
“After your father and I return from the Honeymoon, you’ll make up an excuse so as not to spend the rest of the summer at home. Tell him you’re staying at a friend’s or something, I don’t care. And then, straight after Hogwarts, you’re to move out. I don’t want you getting in the way of my plans. Have I made myself perfectly clear?” Rosaline smiled the entire time.
Layla faltered. “I . . .”
“Right, sorry, about that, just some business that needed to be taken care of,” Edward said as he returned to his seat. “Where’s Alex?”
“He went to the men’s room, dear,” Rosaline responded sweetly.
“Ah, very well.” Edward turned toward his daughter and frowned. “Are you alright, Belle?”
Layla looked at Rosaline, who was smiling at her sweetly. "Er, yeah, I'm fine," she said as she cast her eyes down.
When Layla returned to the castle, the match was over. On her way up the marble staircase, she bumped into Anna.
“How did it go?” she asked her.
“Oh, er, it was fine.”
“You’re such a fibber,” Anna accused. She linked her arm through Layla’s. “Come on, Gryffindor won, they’re having a party in their common room. Maybe it’ll make you feel better.”
“I don’t want to go to a party,” Layla mumbled.
“No matter,” Anna responded cheerfully, dragging her along.
“Is Adam here?” Layla asked when they arrived. The common room was packed, there were people everywhere, and the clear smell of alcohol lingered in the air.
“Er, no, he’s in the infirmary. He got a nasty hit by a bludger but he’s fine. Healer Horodowich gave him a potion and now he’s asleep. Oh, look, there’s Gideon,” Anna started to move away from Layla. She gave her friend a concerned look. “I know tonight didn’t go so well, but I also know that you don’t want to talk about it so you wouldn’t mind if I . . .?”
“No, go on,” Layla waved her hand. “You’re absolutely right. Have fun.”
“Right, thanks.” Then Anna was gone.
Not knowing what exactly to do with herself, Layla decided that she would very much like a drink.
She reached the bar, unsurprised to see that it was Sirius pouring everybody drinks. “Hello, love,” he greeted. “I’d offer to make you a drink but Turpin told me not to.”
“Bollocks with her, give me the strongest you’ve got.”
Sirius chuckled, but seemed to comply as he took out a bottle and poured it into a shot glass. “Dinner went that bad, eh?”
“It went brilliantly,” she lied as she downed the shot he gave her. It burned as it went down her throat, and she winced slightly, but she pushed the shot glass toward Sirius for him to refill again. “Rosaline Higgins is such a lovely woman. Honestly.”
Sirius raised his eyebrows as he watched Layla down her second drink. "Is that so?"
"She's absolutely horrid." Layla was slumped against the bar, trying her hardest not to cry. "I have no idea what he sees in her. All she wants is the money. And the fame that comes from being his wife. And I can't fathom how Alex and my father don't see it." She laughed bitterly. "Or maybe I do. I'll give you a hint. It rhymes with 'bits'."
Layla pushed her shot glass toward Sirius again but he shook his head. “Sorry, love, but I think that’s enough for tonight.”
“N-no, it’s not!” Layla cried out. She pushed it toward him again. “As daughter of the Minister of Magic, I command you to pour me another shot at once!”
Sirius let out a bark-like laugh and shook his head. “Now, I know you’ve had too much to drink.”
Frowning, Layla reached over to Sirius. “Give the bottle here then, I’ll pour it myself.”
“Sorry. Afraid I can’t do that.”
“Give it here!” She reached over to grab it but he pulled it out her reach, causing her to stumble.
He caught her by the waist, and laughed as she steadied her. “You’ve had too much to drink tonight, love. If you want, we can finish this bottle tomorrow.”
But Layla was no longer listening. She was looking up at Sirius, a thoughtful expression on her face. “You know,” she told him, “You’re really quite handsome.”
The corners of Sirius’ lips pulled upwards in an arrogant smile. “And you’re really quite beautiful,” he replied. His hold on her waist tightened a bit.
“My father calls me Belle,” she said thoughtfully.
“It means ‘beautiful’ in French.”
“I speak French,” he told her. His face was very close to hers now. Layla could feel his hot breath. Without really knowing what she was doing, she wrapped her arms around his neck. “Je voudrais t’embrasser,” he whispered.
I want to kiss you.
Layla swallowed. Somewhere in her drunken mind she registered how good his accent was. Realizing that wasn’t the point, she stupidly told him the first thing that popped into her head. “Moi aussi.”
And then his lips were on hers.
Author's Note: So sorry! I know that this chapter has taken me ages to post, but I was just so busy at my universtiy. But I'm on break now so hopefully I'll have more time to write and update.
Thank you all for reading the story. It would mean so much to me if you would all rate and review.
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