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Chapter 2 : The Second One
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Chapter image by me.
Lara awoke the next morning with a slight headache and a foggy recollection of the night before. She noticed with some satisfaction that she was definitely in her own bed with pajamas on, so nothing that out of hand had occurred. She chugged some orange juice to help her headache (OJ helps with everything, don’t question her methods) and began to prepare for a lengthy shift at Beside the Point.
Lara knew that if she really didn’t want to continue working, she could quit her menial job at the cafe and accept her sister’s offer of subsidising her flat and training. But Lara was nothing if not independent, almost to a fault. As such, she flatly refused to rely on her sister’s money and knew that she could earn it herself.
She showered quickly before pulling on her skinny jeans, patterned button up, favourite green scarf, and trusty belt. She loosely braided her hair and grabbed her purse before Apparating to the cafe, arriving a few minutes early. She nodded hello to the other two on her shift (John Powers and Martha Jones) before heading to the kitchen to punch in.
Her job was pretty relaxed, as she usually worked as a waitress at the small cafe in the middle of Diagon Alley, and her manager was a friendly guy who was happy for his staff to enjoy their work rather than comply to pointless rules.
The next few hours blurred together as Lara served and took orders (apart from a small trio who bickered the entire time she took their order and served the food; she felt like she recognised them from somewhere, but couldn’t be sure). By the end of her shift, she was quite content when she finally relaxed in her flat again, excited for the next day and her training to resume.
Lara honestly loved training to be a Healer more than anything else in life. She had wanted to be a Healer ever since her mum died of cancer when she was only ten (she didn’t particularly care about her cliched reason), and had begun learning the material by reading almost every book about Healing in the Hogwarts library as soon as she began her third year. Being accepted into the programme after her seventh year had been the happiest moment of her life.
The next day was a day like any other at Mungo’s; she arrived promptly at 8, did her rounds under the supervision of Healer Thompson, and then assisted a surgery in the afternoon. As soon as she finished at 16:00 (she had weird hours sometimes, depending on her assignments), she rushed to work an hour shift at the cafe (she was racking up the hours for a weekend off for Layla’s wedding).
She settled down on a nice bench in Regent’s Park for her typical decompression hour: listening to Rush Hour.
“Hello, folks! I hope you’ve all had wonderful Mondays and are excited for a brand new programme tonight. Today, Emerald’s got a hilarious story to tell our listeners. Don’t you, Emerald?”
“It’s only funny to you because you’re a bloody-”
“Whoa, take a chill pill! I’m only yanking your wand. In fact, listeners, he has an epic love story that is quite tragic and will bring tears to your eyes.”
“Why am I friends with you, you obnoxious little-”
“Get on with the story, Emmy.”
“Don’t call me Emmy! It’s not my fault we came up with our code names when I was drunk and you were perfectly sober! I can’t believe you’d take advantage of me like that.”
“Well I would and I did, so get over yourself, Emmy.”
“Merlin, I hate you.”
“Listeners, I’m sorry that Emmy here is in such a bad mood. If he would TELL YOU HIS STORY, I’m sure you would understand and sympathise with the prat.”
“Fine, Scorp, I’ll get on with it.”
To be honest, Lara had always thought that “Emerald,” whoever he was, sounded like a really attractive guy. She had developed a slight crush on him, and often wondered who he could be, and why there was such mystery surrounding the show. She figured that they probably overlapped a bit at Hogwarts, as most young adults had, and wondered if she’d ever seen them in the halls at school.
“Okay, so when Scorpy and I went to Hogwarts, back in the day, we were pretty lowkey guys. We had mates, we got good enough grades, but we never really wanted the limelight. That’s more my brother’s territory. Anyways, I was always a reasonably shy kid, right, so I didn’t really go out of my way to make new friends or anything. But there was this girl. She was totally gorgeous and nice and quiet and brilliant and I had the biggest crush on her. She was in our year, but a different house-”
“GRYFFINDOR FOR THE WIN!”
“Thanks, Scorp. So this girl-”
“Let’s call her Raven, keep up the mysterious name thing.”
“...okay. So Raven, she was mega awesome, right, but we never really talked. And I just fancied from a distance-”
“-or sometimes creepily close when he stalked her-”
“I DID NOT STALK HER! I merely was curious about what she enjoyed doing, and thus followed...okay, sometimes I stalked her a bit. It’s okay, don’t worry about it, I’m a normal guy. Anyways, I really fancied the pants off her but she and I never interacted, so nothing really happened. I tried to get over her and forget, especially because I haven’t even seen her since graduation a few years ago-”
From piecing together previous conversations, Lara had figured tout hey must have actually been in the same year as her or a year above during Hogwarts, though in Gryffindor. That meant they could have a crush on one of her roommates from Hogwarts, none of whom she knew well or kept in contact with. Interesting nonetheless.
“-and even then he didn’t have enough balls to talk to her-”
“Shut up, Scorp, just because you and my cousin had a perfect fairytale romance doesn’t mean that you get to be condescending to the rest of us. Anyway, so I’ve been trying to move on from this gir-Raven since graduation because I figured we’d never really meet again. But then this past weekend, my idiot of a best mate-”
“I take offence to that.”
“-and his girlfriend/my cousin and I went to this club, and who do we see but Raven! I mean she straight up disappeared for three years and then BAM! there she is, looking hella attractive and just as nice as ever. It was a bit odd to see her in a club, since neither of us are really club types. So I did what I’ve been waiting to do for literally years, and I started to try and talk to her a bit, introduce myself, the usual, when she leaves, like right then. So I’m super bummed, right, because I finally see her after three years of nothing just for her to leave right away.”
“But the story doesn’t end there, does it Emmy?”
“...seriously, I hate you. Why are we even friends?”
“Because of my delightful personality, of course.”
“Get on with it!”
“Merlin, could you be more impatient?”
“...anyways, so I was super disappointed because I haven’t even seen Raven in ages and then she just leaves. So the next day, I third wheel hardcore as per usual with Scorp and his girlfriend to this nice little cafe place, and who is my waitress but Raven!”
“THE PLOT THICKENS!”
“Stop trying to add drama to my life, Scorp, it’s dramatic enough without your intervention. So Raven is my waitress, right, and I’m trying to man up enough to...talk to her or something, and she doesn’t even look up from her writing pad thing as Scorp and his girlfriend-”
“Okay, I’m officially naming her Red because I hate your monikers.”
“Okaaay...so Red and Scorp are arguing about everything, as usual, and I’m creepily staring at this really gorgeous girl, right, and she just takes our order with a chuckle and then leaves, without looking up or anything!”
“So, Emmy, tell our listeners what you plan to do, you little lion, you.”
“I honestly hate you.”
“And with that, a short commercial break before we hear Emmy’s plan, take a few callers with advice, and listen to some pump up music.”
Lara morosely watched the ducks swim around the pond, tuning out the commercials and instead focusing on the pond. She knew that it was pretty sad to fancy a radio personality who she knew nothing about, really, and with whom she had never talked, but Lara had always had a little thing for Emerald. He seemed very intelligent most of the time, and he talked about books that Lara loved, and when he chose the music, it was usually bands that she enjoyed (and when she occasionally stalked the Rush Hour blog, his stories and entries were always hilarious, always using a confident self-deprecating humour). His story, though a bit creepy, was incredibly cute. She hoped the girl was actually as nice as he seemed to think she was, and that they’d be happy together.
“And we’re back, ladies and gents! For those of you just tuning in, we’re talking about Emmy’s epic love story. He’s fancied this girl Raven since our days at ol’ Hoggy Warts, and just recently spotted her working. So, Emmy, tell us a bit about this Raven character.”
“Well...like I said, she’s pretty shy, so I’ve never really talked to her. She was incredibly smart, like top of the class kind of smart. She was always reading books back at Hogwarts, I remember. And she’s super attractive, like girls want to be and guys want to date kind of attractive.”
“I can confirm that she is indeed quite pretty. Though nowhere close to my Red.”
“...gross, that’s my cousin. Anyways, so I have a plan.”
“Tell us your plan, Emmy Wemmy.”
“Um. First off, I need to find a new best mate. Applications can be found on-”
“Shut up, we all know that you’d never find somebody as funny, nice, smart, and beautiful as me to be your best mate if you ditched me.”
“Probably could find somebody a bit more modest, but that’s setting a low bar.”
“Just tell us your plan, Emmy Wemmy.”
“I’m just going to ignore that and move on. So my plan is to basically try and get to know Raven. Except...I’m really awkward around people I fancy. So-”
“Emmy Wemmy is having me and Red try and befriend the love of his life first, to make sure she’s as awesome as he says she is, and then slowly introduce her to the craziness that is Emmy Wemmy, because he’s a true Gryffy.”
“...yeah, I don’t know why I’m having her meet him first, either.”
At that, Lara turned the programme off. Well, it had been her solace, her small connection to normalcy. But Lara didn’t particularly want to hear the story of this nice, awesome guy woo this beautiful girl; it would just make her sadness more acute.
She slowly ambled out of the park, leaving behind the squawking ducks, and returned to her cramped apartment to keep working.
The next day, everybody at the hospital (everybody meaning Lara’s fellow interns, as she would never actually socialise with the higher ups) was abuzz with the adorableness of Emerald on Rush Hour. Apparently, it was more popular than Lara had known, and almost all of the interns had tuned in to hear the cute/creepy story that Emerald had shared the night before. Lara listened as the other interns discussed it without weighing in herself.
“I really hope that they end up together,” Lucy Green declared as the interns sat in the break room in a loose circle on the couches. “It seems like he really likes her.”
“It seems like he doesn’t really know her though,” Dan Gusteau commented. “I know he has a huge crush on her, but they’ve never talked, so he’s just putting her on a pedestal. She can’t really live up to his expectations after all this time.”
The discussion continued for the rest of the break, and she heard others talking about it throughout the day. Lara was honestly a bit sad that she couldn’t get over herself to join in with the other interns, but she kept her thoughts to herself, and coasted through the day as usual.
She found herself stay late at the cafe, deciding against leaving to listen to Rush Hour that night, and instead continued for the dinner shift. Even at the cafe, her coworkers were discussing the story they’d heard last night (or during the day from others who were incredibly excited about spreading the story).
Lara decided to eat at a small Italian restaurant near the cafe that night, bringing along her current book (Animal Farm) and sitting in a corner quietly. She contentedly had some excellent mushroom ravioli before ambling down the street, deciding to treat herself to a spot of ice cream.
The parlour was surprisingly full for a stray evening in October, where the weather outside was less than inspiring. Lara collected a cup of ice cream and sat herself at the only empty table left, ready to continue reading, when she was interrupted by a couple. The woman was very pretty, with curly red hair and striking blue eyes, and the man equally handsome, with platinum blonde hair and cool grey eyes. The woman wore professional looking clothes while the man was simply clad in a polo and jeans.
“We’re really sorry to interrupt your reading,” the redhead apologised, “but all of the tables are full, and this is supposed to be a four person table, and wow we’re being really rude, we should really leave, nevermind-”
“Oh, it’s okay,” Lara offered with a small smile. She was taking up a large one for just herself, and saw no problem offering the other seats to the couple. The least she could do was share the table with them. “I’m sorry to crash your date.”
“That’s so nice of you!” the redhead said with a smile. “I’m Rose Weasley, and this is Scorpius Malfoy.” She stuck out her hand, and Lara politely shook it. “I think we were in your year at Hogwarts.”
“Ah, I thought I recognised you guys,” Lara smiled. Now that Rose had introduced herself, it made more sense. The Weasleys were pretty much the most well-known family in the wizarding world (apart from the Potter family, though they were related, so...). Lara knew she was pretty oblivious, but it was a bit ridiculous to not recognise somebody she had attended school with and seen in the papers.
“You’re Lara, right?” Rose asked after a moment, during which Lara had quietly stared at her ice cream. Lara was surprised they would know her name, but internally scolded herself for not introducing herself before.
“Right, I’m sorry,” Lara hastily apologised. “I’ve had a long day, so I’m a bit out of it. I’m Lara Polorous.” She awkwardly returned to her exciting task of swirling her ice cream.
“What have you been up to since graduation?” Rose inquired after a moment of borderline uncomfortable silence.
“Erm...I’m training to be a Healer,” Lara answered cautiously. She was really bad at talking to new people, which was part of her problem with changing her routine and such. “And I’m working at a cafe to help pay for living in London, though my scholarship helps a lot.” Another problem she had was that she would generally say a little bit more than she meant to, which made other people uncomfortable talking to her.
“Oh, that’s cool,” Rose said, taking a bite of her own ice cream. “I thought about applying to healing school but decided going to school for five more years might kill me from stress. I work at a publishing company instead.”
“What do you do, Scorpius?” Lara asked, noticing the blonde’s silent scrutiny of Lara.
“I, er...work for the WBC,” he replied vaguely, looking intently at his ice cream, rather than meeting Lara’s gaze. Lara’s face lit up at his answer, however, because of her interest in the wireless.
“That’s mega!” she informed him brightly. “I love the WBC. I listen to it all the time.” Scorpius looked up, slightly startled by her enthusiasm.
“Yeah, I really enjoy my work,” he agreed with a small smile. “What do you like to listen to?”
“I usually try and listen to the news if I can catch it during a break at work,” Lara replied. “And I love Rush Hour, though I think most people probably tell you that.”
“Um...why would they tell me that?” Scorpius asked, looking oddly startled by the idea.
“Because you work for the channel,” Lara said hesitantly, wondering what she had said that was so scary.
“Oh, yeah, I do get it a lot,” Scorpius recovered, his face assuming a relieved expression. That was odd, Lara mused to herself.
“Um, what do you do at the publishing company?” Lara asked, sensing that Scorpius didn’t really want to talk about work (she silently congratulated herself on her rare use of tact).
Rose launched into an interesting explanation about her job (it seemed that she essentially just read through books and decided whether the company would accept them or not, but Lara could have missed something). It seemed that Rose really enjoyed talking, for she continued their conversation for around half an hour more (Lara talked minimally, but enjoyed listening to the couple).
“Well, it was really nice catching up with you,” Rose declared after a brief lull in the conversation, during which Lara wondered how she could gracefully extricate herself from the table. “But we should probably leave now. We’re meeting up with Al in a few.”
Lara recalled that Albus Potter was very close to both Rose and Scorpius during school, forming a very popular trio at Hogwarts (though James Potter was more focussed on gaining popularity then Albus, if she remembered correctly). It was almost odd that he wasn’t here with Rose and Scorpius, but she supposed it had been date night.
“Yeah, I hope I see you guys around,” Lara agreed, standing up. “I should get to studying for tomorrow.” She hoped that she didn’t sound too sad and lonely with that but it was the truth, so she wasn’t too bothered.
“Hey, do you have an iOwl?” Rose asked, standing up with Scorpius. An iOwl was basically a magically adapted iPhone that channelled its magical surroundings into power rather than getting hung up by it. They had become very popular in the magical community soon after their introduction, along with iParchment (basically Macbooks, but with a worse name) and Wizbook. Lara nodded and exchanged numbers with Rose before leaving the parlour with a cheery goodbye.
That was unexpected, Lara thought to herself as she walked down Diagon Alley. Instead of heading straight home, she opted to go her favourite Muggle music shop and see if there were any new albums in. After purchasing a Joy Division album and chatting casually with the cashier, she snuck into the closest alley and Apparated home. She added the songs to her computer and studied late into the night, rocking out to Unknown Pleasures.
Later, after she was tired of studying, she checked up on the Rush Hour blog, and saw a new post, titled “How I Spent My Tuesday Night” by Emerald. She clicked it, deciding that she should just as well accept the adorable relationship and get over her petty crush on Emerald.
“Imagine: Diagon Alley, lit by a serene sunset. Crowds buzzing around, enjoying the October night. An adorable couple, walking down the street, casually stalking an innocent girl. The girl, completely unaware, stopping for a bit of dessert; the couple approaches her, talking casually. They seem to get along well and continue the conversation for half an hour before politely excusing themselves.
Now, insert a normal enough young man, around 1.8 metres tall, sitting on a bench, casually reading The Daily Prophet. Wait...is he wearing a trench coat? Are there...holes in his newspaper? Is he...watching the couple and the girl intently?
Indeed, that man is a little too chicken to actually approach the trio, instead watching creepily from afar as they continue to talk.
That, my dear friends, is how I spent my Tuesday night. Hey, go big or go home, my friends. Emerald does not do things halfway.”
Lara shut her computer, quietly giggling to herself as she pictured this mysterious radio personality watching his crush from a bench across the way. Once you took it in the right mentality, it was kind of cute behaviour.
Lara headed to bed soon thereafter, still happy about the romantic tale that was unfolding around her.
AN: Hey guys! Thanks for reviewing the last chapter! :D I hope you enjoy this chapter. Please continue with the critiques! To be honest I have not proof read any of this story...such is life. Anyways I hope everybody realises that this is something of a parody. Okay, I'll stop talking now.
DISCLAIMER: I draw heavy inspiration from In Love With My Radio, another fanfic in the Merlin fandom. The original idea for this story is from there; beyond that, there's little in common. Additionally, the entire world of Harry Potter is not mine at all; I'm just strolling through JK's beautiful garden. I am also not Kurt Vonnegut or any other actual author mentioned in this fic. Same goes for bands.
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