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Chapter 6 : Well, those cars should have been watching, anyway...
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The reporters all chipped in after that point, each asking a couple of questions that could be answered without too much sidestepping or argey-bargey, and soon I was slinging my leather jacket over my arm and following Potter out of the conference room amid a sea of whispers and the scratching of quills on parchment.
How does that noise not annoy them?
Seriously, though. We're fucking magical. How can we not create a spell that means quills make no noise when we're writing?
Or why don't we just shimmy on into the twenty-first century and use a bloody useful invention of the muggles called a pen. Honestly.
People assume that because wizards have been using effing feathers for thousands of years that there is no way that we can change it for something more convenient and outright better (sorry, bloke who invented the quill, but it's the truth). But seriously. There are literally no redeeming qualities to the quill whatsoever.
You get ink halfway down your arm from the effing inkwell, the splodges go everywhere and you have to spend half your evening fixing your notes from class, the make irritating scratching noises, they're stupidly easy to break, they're expensive, you have to dip them every couple of words and you have to pluck them off a fucking bird's arse.
Please tell me which part of that is better than just using a pen.
There is no part of that which is better, I'll tell you that now. Maybe I should write to someone about that. And I'd write it in pen, just to make my point.
But who would I write to?
The President of the Wizarding Quill Community? Do we even have one of them? Mind you, we have a person for pretty much everything else, so I don't see why not.
But Potter seemed oblivious to my internal rant about the grand supremacy pens hold over the measly quill – which is unusual, considering I still haven't managed to shake my suspicions that this bloke is actually a mind reader – and was continuing to plough down the street we were on, away from the blasted Millennium Conference House.
I'm never setting foot in that fucking building for the rest of my life, I'm telling you now. If there a ever a situation where you think that I might end up being taken there, feel free to go ninja on Potter's arse (because let's be frank, he's the only reason the press would want to talk to me) so I don't have to go.
The place creeps me out. It practically reeks with the scent of soiled reputations – and soiled nappies, but I have a feeling that had floated over from the baby-change section in the loo's of the muggle cafe next door.
"Will you walk a bit faster? We're going to have to go back to your apartment so you can get changed; you can't meet my family dressed like that." I glanced up so suddenly that I was no longer looking where I was going.
Long story short? I tripped over an uneven flag in the pavement and landed flat on my face.
And I'm pretty sure I took about twenty five layers of skin off my knee. It's funny (not ha-ha funny, but funny in the sense the gods are having a real fucking laugh up there) – the little injuries are the ones that hurt the most.
You see people managing to hobble to the hospital with broken ankles, broken legs – but if someone has burned their hand on a pan, grazed their knee, given themselves a paper cut (ooh, those are bitches, them) then you can practically feel the life draining out of you.
I nearly cried last time I got a paper cut, not because it hurt so much, but because I was convinced I was going to die and I hadn't written a will saying that I want Brent to have my wand, and keep it in a fancy display case above his fireplace.
I wrote Brent a letter the next day, telling him about the great honour that was me bestowing my post-mortem wand upon him, but he didn't seem bothered.
I do believe his exact words were – 'Don't be such a morbid, twat, Aimes. The only way I can ever see you dying is if you are eaten alive by one of the eighty three cats you're going to own.'
He's a lovely boy, isn't he? Thank Merlin he's away at Hogwarts again in September, or the kid would probably find his own dead body stuffed in a barrel and rolling down a hill, just because he annoyed me too much. Mark gets on my nerves as well, but he's too big to fit in a barrel. He'd have to be put in a wheelie bin, or something.
Wait – why the fuck am I mentally decided how I am going to dispose of my brother's bodies? Especially when I have just been told that I'm meeting the fucking Potters.
Not just any old parents of your suddenly fake boyfriend – no, the parents of James Potter, your suddenly fake boyfriend.
I am meeting Harry and Ginny Potter. As Potter's girlfriend. His brother and sister will probably be there too – his sister is in Brent's year, I think. Oh fucking hell, this is going to be a disaster.
I just won't do it. I could run away.
Shit son, genius!
I pushed myself to my feet – yeah, Potter made no effort to help me up, ignorant prick – and brushed down the life-threatening scrape that travelled halfway down my fucking leg, before wheeling around on the heel of my sandal and pegging it down the pavement.
"Bloody fuck!" I heard James snarl loudly from behind me, and it suddenly occurred to me that sprinting away from a six foot tall, Quidditch playing bloke was probably not the best idea.
Given the fact that his legs are about three times the length of mine, and he is probably about three seconds from grabbing me and frog marching me back to my apartment to get changed, I think the situation calls for desperate measures.
I darted out into the road, spinning around in a mad pirouette on my fatally injured leg – they'll probably have to amputate, you know – to avoid a beat up old Vauxhall that was speeding towards me and darting left, back into the middle of the road, when I realised a blue Honda was coming the other way.
Maybe running out into the middle of the road wasn't the best idea.
Potter stood – looking absolutely dumbfounded, I would like to add – at the side of the road, his eyes set on me (why do I suddenly feel like prey to a famished tiger, or something?) and his lips dragged upwards on one side in a snarl.
I stumbled down the white line that separated the two lanes, occasionally hip-bumping the air next to me to avoid having my entire left half chopped off by speeding cars. Seriously, this isn't the fucking grand prix; you're not the next Boy Racer – so just chill your tits and drive at a normal speed. Arseholes.
"Woods, get your arse back here, you're going to get yourself killed." Potter shouted from where he was standing, about ten metres back, still standing on the spot that he had been when I had left.
I was so busy smirking in Potter's direction that I didn't notice the huge lorry trundling up the lane I was standing in the middle of, the afternoon sun glinting off the giant sliver grate that grumbled like an angry bull.
"Shit." I squeaked, quickly diving out the way and consequently into the path of the shiny silver car that was blasting out rap music like there was no tomorrow.
The car noticed me just in the nick of time, swerved to avoid my screaming arse and spun into the side of the lorry that I had initially been attempting to dodge. The two banged together with a sickening crunching noise. Just to make the train-wreck (car-and-lorry-wreck?) that I seemed to inadvertently have caused even worse, the guy in the car behind the lorry seemed to have forgotten what he knew about brakes, as he went ploughing straight into the back of the smoking vehicles.
Potter was at my side in seconds, his jaw hanging slightly slack and a muggle mobile flashing in his hand.
He quickly gave whoever was on the line the details of the street, the crash, the amount of people that could have been possibly injured, and – after shouting to the occupants of the silver car – how many people were feared dead.
Luckily, it was none.
But it would be just my fucking luck if I managed to kill someone whilst trying to escape from Potter.
"Come on, we have to go." Potter muttered, grabbing me by the wrist and towing me off in the direction we'd come. "Before the fucking police get here and you get arrested for causing that." Potter's jaw was clenched irritation and the look in his eyes suggested that he actually wanted to go back to the pile-up.
"What's got your wand in a knot?" I panted as he speed-dragged me down the road, my wrist throbbing as his hands clenched so tightly that I could barely feel it anymore.
Can I just kill him? Seriously? Would anyone have a problem with that?
"I should be helping them." Potter hissed, glancing furiously at me once, his eyes bright, before turning back to face the front. "I should be helping those people, making sure they're all alright, but instead I have to fucking help you because you're so fucking stupid that you ran away down the middle of a main road and caused a fucking car crash."
Suddenly I felt about three inches tall.
And then I realised that I didn't give a shit was Potter thought about me and that he was a fucking condescending jerk with his stick up his arse. Even if he was right about the fact I just caused a car crash – wait, no, Potter is never right.
"What's got your knickers in a twist?" I grumbled, screwing my eyes up a little and splaying my fingers across my forehead to try and block out some of the light from the sun. The things too sodding bright. What, are they trying to burn our retinas out?
"My knickers are fucking fine, but you're doing my head in," Potter grumbled back.
"Well, isn't that just charming? I'm so lucky to have a boyfriend like you." I batted my eyelids innocently at him and he scowled.
Honestly. It takes more muscles to frown than to smile, you know. The bloke walks around like the Boulder is holding an alight wand to the back of his skull.
"There is no way I'm going to be able to put up with you for a long time – I'll have to put a silencing charm on you, or something. Your voice alone makes me want to off myself." I cocked an eyebrow as he tugged on my wrist even harder, ploughing down a shady looking alley just off the main street.
You know the kind of alley I mean, the ones with the skanky female cats that whore around with all the male cats, the kind that looks like the home of some back alley drug dealer with the crotch of his pants around his ankles and his cap on backwards.
So it only fitted that as I was towed towards the part of the alley that was wiped of all sunlight, my mind began to show me images of shady blokes jumping out from behind the dumpsters and throttling the living daylights out of me.
Of course, they also throttled Potter, but I wasn't particularly arsed about that.
Besides, with all of his Auror-muscles and whatnot, he could probably fight them off.
The bastard would most likely leave me to die, though.
As we reached the back of the alley, Potter dragged me closer to him and curled his arm tighter around mine. Not being funny, but the bloke's arm muscles are like fucking steel. What does he do, weight train for six hours every day?
"I know you can't apparate, so just spin on the spot when I say," Potter grunted, and I quickly pirouetted on the spot, into a tight tube that squeezed me down into the lower layers of the earth and back again, spinning and spinning until my feet hit the cold wooden floorboards of my – for a lack of a better word – apartment. Merlin, I fucking hate apparating.
I staggered slightly to the left and dropped down onto the couch – the resulting dust clouds that expanded into the atmosphere were embarrassing – as Potter headed off into the kitchen.
A moment later I heard the hum of the fridge as it was popped open a sudden lull in noise as it was snapped shut again. There was the bang of a few cupboards and the rustle of some packets, so I could only assume that Potter was looking for something to eat.
Well, at least he had the good manners to ask first.
A second later Potter appeared in the doorway to the kitchen, a frown on his face and his hand clutching a bag of brown rice. Is he really so hungry that he's going to eat that?
"Is this seriously the only edible thing you have here? No wonder you're so fucking skinny." I raised an eyebrow. Why is he allowed to comment on my weight? I could talk about how he probably eats too much.
Well, I've never seen him eat. But I assume he eats too much. He's a muscular bloke in his early twenties.
"I haven't been shopping," I shrugged, and Potter frowned.
"Well, I'm starved, so do you have a pan or something? I'll just have to eat this shit." I frowned, climbed off the couch and padded into the kitchen after him, kicking off my shoes as I went. I wasn't sure whether I actually owned a pan that would cook rice, but I could try.
After finding a ban, filling it to the brim with boiling water and placing it on the licking flame of the cooker, I shoved the bag of rice into Potter's hand and started to walk off.
"Where do you think you're going? I don't know how to cook this..." Potter said slowly, and I wheeled around in shock. He was holding the bag in both of his hands, blinking at me with the strangest expression on his face – it looked almost innocent. I gaped at him a little – who doesn't know how to cook rice?
"How – how do you not know?" I gaped, and he glared down at the floor like a petulant child. "Who cooks for you when you're at home? You don't still live with your parents, do you?"
"No!" He protested, looking quite wounded that I assumed he still lived with mummy.
"Then how can you not do something as basic as cook rice?" I ran my hand through a chunk of hair that had unhelpfully flopped out of its hair tie and was batting me across the face every time I moved. Potter shrugged moodily, once again showing an uncanny likeness to a petulant child, and dumped the rice back down on the counter.
"I share an apartment with my cousin, Fred," Potter muttered, flicking the bag over so it was lying flat on the countertop, "he does all the cooking for us." I waited for further explanation, perhaps an insight into his cousin's prowess in the kitchen, but nothing came.
He was still pouting at the floor.
He honestly acts like a child. Was he really spoiled as a little boy, or something, and therefore never learned how to behave as an adult. Not everything is going to be handed to you on a golden platter your whole life, Potter.
"Just put the rice into the pan, slowly, or it's going to splash and burn the fuck out of you, and then turn the heat down a little when it comes to the boil," I shrugged. Potter's brown was still furrowed. "What?" I snapped.
"How do I know when it's come to the boil?" I ran a hand through the front of my hair in frustration, tugging absent-mindedly at a stray thread that was hanging loose from the hem of my shirt.
"Because the water starts to sing – now, make sure it's in soprano or it's not boiling – the national anthem; oh, and the steam will take the form of a burlesque dancing chipmunk," I batted my eyes innocently as he flipped me off. Honestly, temper, temper.
"Very fucking funny – you better shift that attitude before you meet my family," Potter snapped.
"I don't know, maybe I'll just act like myself so they hate me, you're forced to break up with me and I never see you again," I sneered back, incensed that he could just stand there and act like master of the universe because daddy was famous.
"Oh, you know what? You can –" I interrupted him with my hand, splaying my fingers wide and stopping him mid flow. The resulting silence was one of the sweetest I'd ever heard.
"The water will be bubbling when it comes to a boil," I snapped, "Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to get changed. What kind of thing would be appropriate for meeting the fam?"
Potter cocked an eyebrow, an amused smirk lilting the corners of his lips, crossing his arms loosely over his broad chest and looking slightly constipated – as though he was trying to hold back a chuckle.
"Meeting the fam?" He asked, and I flushed slightly.
"Different worlds, different languages, baby," I said coolly, and Potter quirked an eyebrow.
"Baby?" I flipped him off.
"A dress will do fine – not too short, not too bright, not too threatening," Potter shrugged. How can a dress be threatening?
In one corner, there is the blue, flowery summer dress, which weighs three ounces and is from Madame Malkin's! And in the other corner, there is a white, frilly evening dress, which weight five ounces and is handmade by personal dressmakers! Of course, we all know how the blue, flowery summer dress is known for being one threatening motherfucker, so the white, frilly evening dress should be quaking in its bodice!
Yeah, I can just see it happening.
"The only dress I own is one that used to belong to Molly – it's light blue and is all, like – lacy, I suppose. Is that alright?" Potter stared at me for a minute.
"Yeah, I don't see why not. Wear some flats with it – heels are too fancy for a family dinner, and it's not like it's a whole family thing. It's just my dad, my mum, my brother and my sister." He added, in response to my questioning glance.
"Alright. Does that mean Molly and Lorcan aren't going to be there?" Potter nodded, running his hand through the back of his hair so his muscles strained against his t-shirt. I quickly snapped my eyes back down to the ground.
"Well, see you in a bit." I twitched my wrist awkwardly and headed across the puny living room to my bedroom.
"How's this?" I asked, hopping into the living room, tugging a silver ballet pump onto my left foot. Potter glanced up from hit spot on the couch, where he was eating a family-sized portion of rice with one of my forks. Lovely. Now my cutlery is going to be covered in essence of Potter spit.
"Fine," Potter shrugged, before switching his focus back to the mountain of rice he was feasting on.
"Well don't put too much thought into your answer, you wouldn't want to hurt yourself," I muttered childishly under my breath. Potter rolled his eyes and chucked a pinch of rice in my direction. Kicking it near the edge of the rug, I checked my hair in the mirror.
You know, to meet Potter's parents, I had put more effort into my hair than I had since the graduation ceremony of Hogwarts.
I even used a straightening charm on it – that's when you know that the shit has gotten serious. But because it was straightened, it was very swishy and long and kept blowing into my face as I walked. After two minutes of spitting it out of my gob, I already wanted to grab some sheep shears and shave the whole lot of it off.
It's so nice to have so much patience.
"Right, well, are you ready to go to this train wreck of a dinner?" I muttered, and Potter blinked.
"I haven't finished my rice," he said thickly, swallowing a large mouthful as a few rice pieces fell out of his mouth and stuck to his chin. I grimaced. Oh, the table manners. You can tell he's been raised in one of the most influential and rich families in the wizarding world, can't you?
"We're going to your parent's house for dinner, can't you just wait until then to eat – it's going to be about half an hour," I muttered in frustration, angrily tossing a chunk of hair over my shoulder and wondering whether I could just tie it back in a braid.
"My mum is going to be late getting home from work today, so my dad is doing the cooking. He can't cook. At all. Trust me when I say a plate of brown rice is better than whatever my dad is going to serve up."
"Well, he can't be a worse cook than you," I countered, and Potter flipped me off again. The bloke is going to get muscle spasm in that finger if he's not careful. And then it won't work, he won't be able to be an Auror anymore. And because he got fired, he'll be shunned by his family, become an alcoholic, and as a result, die at thirty five. If an early grave isn't a reason to stop shooting people the middle finger, then I don't know what is.
Well, that and the fact it's really bad manners.
"We should probably go, I said we'd be there ten minutes ago," Potter shrugged, and I rolled my eyes. Hauling his very fine arse off the couch and padding over to me, dislodged his wand from the back of the seat cushion he had been sitting on and jammed it into his back pocket.
"Take my arm; I'm going to have to be the one to apparate, because you won't be able to get into the house. I have immunity against the shield charms." I frowned at the smug tone in his voice. Ooh, wow, big deal – you can get into your own house.
Just watch whilst I positively quiver with jealousy.
"You might feel something as you cross the shield charms, because even though you're with me, you're still unknown to the defences. So no bitching about it when we get to the other side. You ready to go?" I breathed out hard through my nose.
"Let's just get this train wreck over and done with," I sighed, and Potter smirked. That stupid, smirky-smirk-smirkerson smirk that so frequently seems to feature on his face.
"That's the spirit, Woods. Nice of you to be so optimistic." I scowled at the side of his head and went to flip him off, but before I could do so he had grabbed my arm and pulled me into his side, spun on the spot and pulled us into the all-too-familiar devil tube of nauseousness.
It was pressing on my insides, squeezing the breath out of my lungs, pushing my limbs back into my body and my features back into my face, my neck frozen in place, unable to move, spinning in the blackness – I could no longer feel my head.
After what felt like an eternity – but in reality was less than two seconds - the tube seemed to evaporate, and was instead replaced by the horrible sensation that I was being dosed in icy water, punched in the gut and being pushed backwards.
For one short moment, I thought I was going to take off again, to be apparated away from the Potter house, but no – a second later my feet were on the solid ground at the world had stopped spinning, everything shifted back into focus and the red behind my eyelids faded a little.
"Shit, Woods!" Potter hissed as I keeled over sideways, and the last thing I saw as the world blurred around me was his arms clasping around my waist, just before I hit the ground.
Well, would you look at that? Potter can be chivalrous.
Something was poking me on the ankle, softly at first and then a little bit harder. And then the poking was replaced by a sharp flick, and I wanted to kick whoever was doing it but I was just too tired.
"Why do you call your girlfriend by her surname, you weirdo?" A female voice asked, and I vaguely placed it as Potter's sister. That actually is a good point – I should probably make an effort to call him 'James' or something.
"Just an... affectionate thing," Potter muttered, and I even I could hear the resentment in his voice. Just answer me this, Potter, how are we supposed to convince your family we're dating (for no reason, I would like to point out) if you can't even talk about me without sounding like you want to tear your own larynx out?
"Well, it's weird. Stop it." Lily said flatly, and I almost wanted to laugh. But given the fact I couldn't feel my head, laughing had been pushed quite far down on my to-do list.
Suddenly there was something cold and pointy was being pressed into my temple, and gentle arms were propping me up against something that felt like a couch cushion. I went to open my eyes, but the just didn't move. My whole body felt like cotton wool.
"Enervate," the voice said, and something that felt oddly like an electrical current seemed to pulse from the end of the wand pressed to my head, flowed straight through to my eyes, and suddenly they didn't feel quite so heavy anymore.
I opened them slowly to see the smiling face of a middle-aged woman looking down at me – her red hair cut into a short bob and her warm brown eyes crinkled at the sides from years of laughing. But now they didn't look so amused, they were staring down at me with an odd amount of concern, for someone who she'd never really met before.
Then again, I am the girl that 'saved' her son from years worth of partying with skanks in dingy muggle nightclubs.
"Aimee, darling, are you alright? Is your head feeling okay?" Ginny Potter laid the back of her hand on the back of my forehead, probably checking my temperature.
"Yeah, I'm fine, tar," I muttered, and I heard a sharp release of breath from whoever was sitting next to my feet on the couch.
"James forgot to mention to us that you have a strong dislike for apparating. If he'd bothered to mention it then we could have organised another way for you to get here. It doesn't really set a great first impression of us when our house attacks you when you try to visit." She rolled her eyes good naturedly and the red headed girl sitting next to James elbowed him in the ribs.
"Way to go, tosser – you could have killed your girlfriend," Lily rolled her eyes at Potter, who elbowed her in the ribs.
Seems to be a bit of an elbow war going on down there.
I'm not getting Potter any ice if he hurts himself.
"But regardless, my love, it's a pleasure to meet you," I smiled at her and wondered what the ultimate I-am-the-best-girlfriend-for-your-son-please-love-me response? Probably not 'I'm not actually dating your son and he's paying me off to be here'.
"It's... um, lovely to meet you too," I stammered. Smooth, Aimee, smooth. You're just a regular actress, aren't you? Why don't you consider that as a new career choice?
"Dinner will be ready in a few minutes, I'm just going to pop out and check on it – Harry's cooking, so I want to make sure that it's actually edible," she smiled at me and squeezed my shoulder warmly, before smoothly easing herself into a standing position and heading off somewhere behind my head.
"I'll just leave you two alone then," Lily said into the newfound silence, and with a cheeky wink in Potter's direction (and an impressive swerve to avoid the resulting elbow that was jabbed towards her) she headed out of the same door that her mum had left from.
This left Potter and I sitting there in an awkward silence, Potter glaring moodily at the floor and me glaring moodily at him.
"Well, that was a wonderful start to the evening – you passing out in my parent's front garden," Potter snapped eventually, I resisted the urge to kick him in the ribs. My foot was only about three inches away from him... I just had to lift it a little bit and I could just kick him really hard...
"Well you mentioned there might have been a little discomfort apparating here, you didn't mention that fact it would fucking try to beat me out of the house! I told you this morning that I pass out a lot when I try to apparate." Potter glared down at the floor again.
"Dinner will be ready in a minute," Potter sighed, hauling himself off the couch and turning to face the mirror, twirling the ends of his hair between the tips of his fingers, "So you should probably get off your arse and get ready to eat."
I glared at him and slowly eased myself up into a sitting position, regretting ever agreeing to go and meet James Potter in the Leaky Cauldron.
What the bloody fuck was I thinking?
"Here, Aimee, you can sit next to James," Lily smiled, wrapping an arm around my shoulder and shoving me down into the seat next to King Prat himself.
I tried not to scowl, but fucking hell, was it hard. Just sitting there, all haughty and bored and uncaring, it just makes me want to rid his nostril of those pesky nose hairs using brute force. But I suppose ripping the hair out Harry Potter's first born, especially at said saviour of the wizarding world's own dinner table, may be a little controversial.
Potter stiffened slightly and glared down at his empty plate, an expensive china affair with patterns so intricate that the maker probably went either blind or insane whilst making them.
What's wrong with a jumbo pack of cheapo plates from IKEA?
They all do the same thing, they're just a bit of hard stuff to rest your food on – the actual scram doesn't taste any better because you're eating it off something that cost more than my rent per month.
Ginny Potter came in from the a large door that presumably led to the kitchen, sat down next to Lily and smiled widely at me.
I smiled uncomfortably back. Why is this family so nice? If Potter tried to come to a family dinner with my family, he'd be treated to the whole family's medical history courtesy of my mother, a few glares and shushes so he can hear the Quidditch on the Wiz-TV. Brent would probably kick his feet up on the armrest of his chair and ask him to hold a mirror so he could fix his hair – as well as steal his roast potatoes when he wasn't looking – and Mark would quiz the shit out of him about his intentions until he managed to find a reason to hate him.
And Jack would probably scream and throw things if he decided that Potter was unlikeable – which he is – and would then proceed to be sick on his shoes when he wasn't looking.
Yeah, it's a fun affair, meeting your girlfriend's family when you're dating me.
The bloke before last cried. Honest to Merlin cried. Though I think that might have been because Jack bit his leg and Mark 'accidently' spilled boiling hot soup onto his arm, but I'm not sure.
Regardless, we broke up the next day. We would have split like the proverbial banana that night, but he ended up announcing the immediate need to walk his dog (he didn't have a dog) and left sharpish.
Which was probably a smart idea, because I was pretty sure I saw Mark sharpening one of the kitchen knives with his wand when no one was looking.
"So, Aimee, I heard Jamesie dragged you to a press conference this morning," Lily grinned, and then glanced around, "Hey mum, where's Albus?"
"In his room, he'll be down as soon as he smells that dinner is ready," Mrs Potter answered absent mindedly, fiddling with the sleeves on the bottom of her shirt, "Though whether he'll be able to smell it, I'm not sure – it smells like your father is burning socks in there."
Lily laughed, an obnoxiously loud laugh that bounced around the room, and I subconsciously found myself waiting for the hushing noises to come, so my father could hear the Wiz-TV.
Lily nodded, and quickly turned her attention back to me.
I twitched my ankle, as though this action alone may cause me to sink into the chair and disappear into nothingness. Mum and dad have two other children, they wouldn't miss me too much.
"Yeah, I went to a press conference," I muttered, wishing I'd put some nail varnish on so I at least had something to fiddle with. Lily blinked at me, as though she was expecting me to elaborate. I tugged on the ends of my hair.
"And how did it go?" Lily prompted, taking a sip out of her water goblet and pulling a muggle mobile, much like Potter's, out of her pocket. She glanced at it quickly, frowned a little bit and then shoved it back into her jeans, looking a little put out.
How could she, when she's that pretty? And she's the daughter of Harry Potter. I don't think you can get much better than that.
"It was alright," I shrugged mildly, "They kind of leap on you, but it wasn't too bad, I suppose." Lily's eyebrows rose slightly.
"Wasn't too bad? They must have gone easy on you, love. I remember when I was about thirteen, and Daddy dragged me to my first conference, and they were absolutely awful. They made me cry. Made all sorts of comments about my weight, my friends, whether boys were going to use me, whether I lived off my dad... Urgh, they're awful." Lily shrugged sympathetically, and I smiled awkwardly at her.
You know, I may consider liking Lily Potter. That's rather strange, because I usually don't like anyone, full stop.
"They did seem to get all excited about the fact I grew up on a council estate and have no job," I rolled my eyes, and Potter instantly choked on his water, waving his hand under the table to tell me to shut the fuck up, right now.
"Wait - you have no money?" Lily's eyes widened and her jack fell slack, and everything I'd considered about liking Lily Potter fell out of my head.
"Lily! You can't say things like that!" Mrs Potter protested, swatting and her daughter and flushing the same colour as her hair. I started down at the tabletop. Wonderful. Once again, the money, or lack thereof, I've got in my bank account has become the main topic of conversation.
And you all know it's one of my favourite subjects.
"Erm, I have a little of my redundancy pay left," I murmured uncomfortably, and Potter shifted in his seat next to me. I hoped beyond home that this was making him uncomfortable, to the point where he was considering drowning himself in whatever was being burned in the kitchen – it smelled like cooking rubber.
I was praying that an owl would suddenly sweep through the window and upturn the pan when Mr Potter was looking, but I knew the chances were stacked against me – when was the last time you heard about a melted rubber eating bird attacking security locked houses?
Wasn't on last night's news, I'll tell you that now.
"Oh," Lily said, fiddling with one of the forks in front of her.
Why do you need more than one fork? Surely one is enough to stick into your chicken. Or is this one of those situations where the chips and the chicken cannot be eaten off the same fork.
Which fork is for chicken and which one is for chips?
Oh, bloody fuck.
Well, I'm very sorry if I fuck this up, but unfortunately I was not warned that I would have to brush up on my Tea with the Queen etiquette skills before I came to eat my scram. Who needs to make dinner into such a difficult affair, anyway?
"Dinner will be ready in about a minute, I'm just having a bit of trouble pouring it into separate dishes!" A deep voice called from behind The Door (it is now being capitalised due to the increasingly... unusual smell originating from behind it), and Potter groaned.
"What the bloody f-lip is he cooking?" Potter snapped, and Mrs Potter shrugged, looking a little exasperated. Surely the stuff isn't HAZMAT approved – anything that smells like that is going to have to be poisonous.
Lily's response – most likely something tastefully amusing and filled with affection – was cut short by hammerings on the front door, which was so loud it sounded like at least five people were knocking. Potter glanced at Lily, who glanced at Mrs Potter, who looked surprised.
I took a sip from my water goblet.
There were elephantine footsteps hammering down the stairs and a second later the sound of the door crashing open, as I can only assume that Potter's brother opened the door.
"Hello!" A cheerful voice called, and I'm pretty sure my heart stopped beating. It sounded like... but it couldn't be. But if it was... how would I explain being here? I just fell out the sky and ended up here, eating dinner with the Potter family?
Yeah, and I recently bought a flying pig. It's called Ralph.
"What are you guys doing here – and why is there so many of you?" A male voice asked, that I could only assume belonged to the lovely Quidditch player Albus Potter.
"Well, most of us wanted to meet James' girlfriend – Aunt Ginny says that he said he'd been reformed, and he might be in love with her –" Um... what? "So we all wanted to meet the miracle worker." Another voice answered, deeper this time. "And I'm not being funny, I live with the bloke, and he's never mentioned a new girlfriend, and I've never seen her..."
"Oi, stop gabbing, Fred. Let us in, Al, this lot smells and I want to get away from them."
"Don't be harsh, Roxy, you know we all love you."
"Shut it, Louis, no one cares what you think –"
"Will you stop picking on your brother, Dominique?"
"You got told off, na-na-ne-na-na-"
"ALBUS POTTER, LET US INTO THE BLOODY HOUSE NOW BEFORE I HEX ONE OF THIS LOT."
Please do not tell me all of his cousins are here. Oh good lord. Where can I hide? I could go to the bathroom. Where is the bathroom? Will I look rude if I excuse myself when I know that they have guests that have come to visit me?
I glanced at Potter, who had his head in his hands and looked like he royally wanted to die.
Suddenly there was trampling noises like a heard of rhinos had been released, and I was suddenly scared that the house was going to collapse with the combined vibrations of them all. And then the door crashed open, and my eyes locked with more people than I had ever seen in such a small place before.
Potter started banging his head on the table. Everyone ignored him.
"Let me through, I want to see her," Molly called, and before I had managed to ninja drop to my knees and roll like an MI5 agent to anywhere that did not contain an unknowing best friend and most likely her charming fiancé, she had stepped to the forefront of the rabble.
Her eyes locked with mine, and her jaw fell open.
"Molly, I can explain-"
"Oh, you can explain why you, my best friend, failed to mention being in a serious relationship with a member of my family?
You know what? I. Hate. My. Life.
disclaimer: nothing in this chapter belongs to me.
wowsa... sorry this chapter took so long. but i do have about half of the next chapter written now, which is good ~ and all of my exams are now over :) so anyway, any thoughts on this chapter?
ellie :) xx
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