Chapter 20 : Pleas For Help, Blue Bow Ties and Countdowns
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Rose talked me through all that happened at Malfoy Manor and I pretended I knew nothing. I really should be an actor, just saying. I’m awesome.
As you may have noticed, I’m not the most modest person in the world.
At first, Draco had a curfew set for Scorpius. He was allowed to visit Rose during the holidays but had to be back at five every day. However, that rule was lifted after Draco came to pick up Scorpius after tea and I pointed out rather loudly that the curfew wasn’t doing anything- it wasn’t like Rose could get pregnant again.
I’ve got a bruise from where Rose hit me after that. She claimed it was embarrassing. Sure, her Grandma Weasley overheard as she walked through the hall to the kitchen, but I gave her more time with her beloved Scorpius.
So really, I’m a genius.
Anyway, I digress. Back to Christmas. Angus, who had been staying with us too, and I did our traditional Christmas countdown.
(We sing a new Christmas song every hour of the 24th December then yell “IT’S CHRISTMAS!” in that Muggle band style when the clock strikes 12am.)
Yep. And yet the Potters are still willing to have us to stay at their house. Crazy, I know. They appreciate it really.
Christmas Day was fun. Got some great presents, and the traditional lunch was brilliant. We all went to The Burrow and outside in this Gazebo that the adults had charmed to stay warm. I swear to Merlin I ate more in that one meal than I have done in the sixteen years I’ve been on this planet…
Then we went and sat in the Living Room while the adults chatted in the Gazebo. We messed with all the presents and gossiped. Some of the kids had been pretty off with Rose since word had got out. But it was Christmas, so they put their differences behind them and were fine again.
Apart from Molly. She’s still a bitch.
James chased me around with mistletoe to get me to snog him. Okay, who am I kidding? I was pretty willing to kiss him. What? He’s a great kisser!
Mum sent me an owl and it arrived on Christmas Day. It included mine and Angus’ presents and a letter telling us how wonderful her “romantic getaway” was. Angus nearly puked at her descriptions on how gorgeous, and fantastic and amazing Dennis is. I had a brilliant time though- it was great fun.
James was sweet, he got me a necklace with my initials as the decoration. It’s beautiful. I haven’t taken it off since I got it.
Ginny kept giving it funny looks. She looked fine and happy and was lovely to me, but she kept frowning at it.
I’m currently lounging in my room, reading. It’s New Year’s Eve- I’m resting up till the big party tonight. It’s going to be pretty tiring. The whole family are going to be here and a lot of the Wotter’s close family friends. The Scamanders will be here, I’m pretty sure. As will the Longbottoms. Oh, and maybe even Kingsley and his nephew.
Then I hear a soft knocking on my door. Quickly, thinking it’s James, I run my hands through my hair to get rid of knots and straighten out my top. I lie down in a more sexy stance and shove my book under my pillow.
“Hello?” I call in what I think is a deep, sexy voice. The door swings open and Scorpius is stood in the doorway. He looks me over and a taunting smile plays on his lips. He coughs awkwardly and says with a patronizing smile, “I can come back later…”
I glare at him and sit up, blushing. “You’re here now. Might as well come in.”
He nods and saunters in, closing the door quietly behind him. He sits down on the edge of the bed and avoids my eyes. We’ve never really gotten along. He’s a vast improvement on his father and grandfather, sure, but he’s still a Pureblood who’s bloodline hates me and my family. He’s still a bit of a prick, can be cruel and mean and- hey- he’s a Slytherin. Obviously there’s a different side to him- Albus wouldn’t like him if there wasn’t. I suppose I’ve never really let him open up.
I’ve noticed though, that when it comes to Rose, he’s completely different. Stupid lovesick puppy.
Don’t get me wrong, we can talk and get along okay- better in the last year or so. I’m not that struck, and I reckon he doesn’t think much of me either, but he’s grown on me. Besides, I’ve made it fairly clear that if he hurts Rose again, he won’t be able to have kids.
And that’s putting it nicely.
But hey, he can be a nice guy. Apparently.
“Listen. I really need your help.”
Well that’s a new one.
“What could Scorpius Malfoy possibly need of little old me?” I ask in a mocking voice. “In what way could rich, Rose Weasley dating, Quidditch starring, Scorpius Malfoy be in need of help from poor, Muggleborn Katrina Parker?”
“Says the girl who is dating James Potter, close with the Wotter family, best friends with Albus Potter and Rose Weasley and is an excellent Chaser,” Scorpius replies drily.
I consider him for a moment. “Touché.”
He nods curtly, understanding I am agreeing to hurt him.
“You have thirty seconds to press your case. Go!” I tell him quickly, looking into his eyes. He stares boldly right back. Slowly, he lifts his eyebrows and regards me.
“Well okay. Rose insisted we didn’t get presents for each other for Christmas- she said we haven’t been dating for long enough and we don’t know each other well enough. I think she’s right but I was thinking about it last night. She knows me, she can read me like an open book. I don’t know anything about her. Hell, I don’t even know her favourite colour!
“I want to make up for the years I spent ignoring her, taunting her. I want to know everything you know- so I can pretend I wasn’t horrid to her all those years.”
He glares angrily at the floor and runs his hand through his hair in frustration.
I frown at him. “And I come into this how?”
He looks up and gazes at me incredulously. “Isn’t it obvious? You’re going to teach me everything there is about Rose.”
Nursing a glass of champagne, I stand at one corner of the room and watch the other couples sway to the music. I’m trying to look confident and like I know what I’m doing, but truthfully, I don’t. I’ve been to a few Potter parties, but they’ve all been informal family do’s. I’ve never been to their New Year’s Eve party- I’ve always stayed home.
When they told me it was going to be formal, I was a little surprised. Then Rose explained that all the fancy schmancy Ministry formals all come.
Pretty nerve-wracking when you see the Ministry of Magic laughing over a joke with your boyfriend, cradling some champagne. Heh.
Although, I’ve got to admit that it’s pretty amusing watching the Ministry people bumble around, red-faced and searching for another shot of Firewhisky or some champagne. Too many of them are leering at all the Weasley girls.
I don’t really do formal things- with my friends, sure, just not V.I.Ps. I feel a little out of place and silly.
Heck, I even let Dom dress me. She knows what to do for these sorts of things- she loves them.
She’s dressed me in a dark blue dress that cuts off just above my knee. It’s plain but beautiful; it is fitted and basically gives me no breathing room. I feel pretty, but uncomfortable.
Although I look awkward, I’m not feeling as awkward as my brother looks. Angus is stood across from me, eyeing the swaying couples nervously and tugging at his bow tie. He looks sweet in his tux, though the sparkly blue dicky bow was taking it too far.
Speaking of Dom, she’s dressed in a long silver dress with a slit down her leg. The neckline plunges down (too far). She looks stunning and has received too many eyeing’s from the officials. Her father doesn’t look too happy.
“Bored yet?” Rose mutters as she walks up behind me. I jump a little and turn. She looks stunning- a simple dark red, long dress. It looks gorgeous.
“Naw, it’s interesting to watch them all. They’re all drunk and hitting on everyone. Their wives don’t look too happy.”
She laughs and nods, murmuring, “Why do you think I still come to these things?”
That’s when I noticed the glass of champagne she has in her hands.
“Rose!” I cry as I swat the glass from her hand and put it on the table beside me. “You can’t drink! It’s dangerous!”
Rose glares at me and snatches the drink back. “Merlin, Kat! I’m not an idiot. I didn’t want anyone here to suspect anything, so I had mum put a charm on it. It just looks like champagne- it’s orange juice really. Have a swig if you don’t believe me!” Rose explains patiently before thrusting her glass underneath my nose.
I take the glass, although I believe her. I take a tentative sip and hand it back to her when the sweet fruit juice hits my lips.
“Good one, Rose,” I grin at her sheepishly. She grins back and laughs.
“I’m clever, see!”
“Oi!” Rose hits me playfully on the arm. “My mum has signed me and Scorp up for these antenatal classes and other courses in preparing for babies.”
I raise my eyebrows. “Hey, that’s cool. Though won’t it be awkward if it’s with all the thirty-something Muggles?”
Rose rolls her eyes. “Kat, Muggles aren’t the only ones with antenatal classes. And, there are quite a few pregnant teen witches. Mum- you know what she’s like- has found me this class. It’s for teens and their boyfriends to go to. They’ve got a Healer talking us through stuff, and some kids who have had babies when they were teenagers.”
I grin at Rose. “That’s great! It should be pretty fun.”
Rose nods and we chat about what the classes will be like. Then Rose seems to remember something. “Hey, I meant to ask you before, but I forgot,” Rose takes a swig from her drink. “Scorpius was pretty desperate to find you before- why’s that? He wouldn’t tell me why- he was in a right state.”
“Um… Oh yeah! He was freaking out about some… Um… Transfiguration homework… He, uh, didn’t think he’d done it right. He wanted to check mine.”
What a shit excuse. Why come to me for help with homework when you have Rose as your girlfriend?
Rose gazes at me, looking sceptical but before she can say anything more, Albus strolls over.
“My lady…” he mutters as he bows down low. For some reason, I find myself blushing. “May I have this dance?” he drawls as he offers out his hand. Still blushing (Oh Merlin, face, calm down!), I place one hand in his and allow myself to be dragged away.
Rose still looks thoughtful and she frowns as her eyes linger on my pink cheeks.
But before I can worry, Albus pulls me into his arms and begins swaying.
My heart pounds, much to my annoyance, and my palms begin to sweat. A few months ago, this would have been a dream come true, but right now I want to be anywhere else.
Albus smiles down at me as we sort of shuffle along in time to the slow music. We both might be good at Quidditch, but heck, we’re not very co-ordinated on the ground. Well, at dancing anyway.
I’ve never slow danced with anyone before- it’s sort of an American thing, I suppose. I didn’t even know what it was for a while. Really, it should be called the shuffle-dance since that’s about all you do.
Do you talk to them? Or just gaze lovingly at them. Wait, that wouldn’t work- we’ve both got boyfriends.
Shit, I mean I have a boyfriend. Albus has a girlfriend. A partner who is quite clearly a girl.
She definitely has the bosoms. Bosoms. Isn’t that a funny word? That’s what my mum calls tits. She says tits isn’t a very nice word.
Fuck, I’m really off on one.
“So, uh, where’s Sarah?” I clear my throat and break our gaze. I’ve been looking at him for too long- those green eyes just bloody draw me in. That stupid cute twinkle, the way the light reflects off the brilliant greenness-
“Oh!” Albus coughs and looks away, blushing slightly too. “She, uh, couldn’t make it. She’s with her family.”
“Oh. Shame.” I say, although I funnily don’t mean it.
“Do you really like her?” Albus asks me, smiling slightly.
I shrug as we revolve on the spot. “She seems really nice. I don’t know her, but she seems kind. She’s… She’s good for you.”
Albus nods. “Yeah, she’s a great girl.”
Great girl? What?! Is that how she describes her? Not, you know, the “love of my life”. She’s a great girl!
“How much do you like her?” Fuck it, Kat. Are you asking to get hurt?
Albus smiles a little. “A lot, I guess. What about you and James?”
My mouth runs dry a little. “I, uh, I’m having a lot of fun. He’s a great guy.”
What?! So he’s a fucking great guy now? DO MY BRAIN AND MOUTH EVER CONNECT?
“I, uh, mean, yeah, I like him, uh, a lot. He’s great, I mean, I like him. A lot. I mean, loads. Like, yeah.” I finish lamely.
Albus laughs at me. “He’s really into you.”
Slightly stunned, I gaze at him. “Really?”
“Yeah, he really likes you.” Albus smiles. But, it’s sort of sad.
“Sarah really likes you, I think.” I tell him quickly, watching him closely.
He nods. “I know.”
Huh. Well. Modest!
“I like her a lot. I think she likes me a little more than I like her. Though, it’s going well. As well as you and James?”
“Yep yep! James and I are fabbity fab!” I tell him, a little too enthusiastically. He grins at me and we lapse into a silence. Deliberately, I try not to look at him; I gaze at my shoes, or sometimes the other revolving couples, or the staggering drunk men. Anywhere but his eyes.
I’m staring after a particularly drunken man (he’s chatting away to the punch bowl) when I trip over my own feet.
“Shit!” I gasp just as I stumble. Quickly, Albus grabs me and pulls me up.
“You clumsy idiot!” he laughs as I straighten up. I laugh at stick my tongue at him.
“I really missed you and your clumsiness, Rena,” Albus sighs quietly.
“I missed you too,” I whisper back, looking at him- breaking my promise to myself. A piece of hair falls over my eyes and in an attempt to get rid of it, I blow air out of my mouth. The hair flicks upwards before falling back down quickly. I blow out a gust of air, harder this time, and the hair rises higher before drooping back.
Frustrated, I try again while Albus chuckles. I glare at him and puff out air again. Shaking his head, Al lets go of my hand- his other hand on my waist- and reaches down. He brushes it gently out of my face and tucks it behind my ear.
“Thanks,” I croak. Albus is rather close to me now. You know, really close. Like, really, really close.
Shit, does my breath smell?
I look right back into his eyes, which are piercing into mine, chest heaving. His hand is still resting my ear, thumb on my cheek. He leans forward a little, just a bit. But close enough to reach forward and-
“May I cut in?” a rather cold voice cuts in, slicing through me like ice. Albus leaps back from me, and I leap back from him.
“Yep!” I squeak before clearing my voice. James is stood next to me, looking rather awkward, waiting for Albus to disappear.
“I, uh, yeah sure,” Albus mutters. With one last calculating look at me, he slopes off and James reaches for my hand. He places his other a little lower than Albus did- I can still feel where he had it for it seems to burn.
“So, how come I didn’t get the first dance?” James grins at me, all coldness washing away. He begins swaying, a lot let robotic and awkward- I think he’s a better dancer.
I smile back. “Albus found me first. He always dances with me a these things- tradition. Although normally it’s just jumping about, you know.” I bumble on and James laughs at me.
“You always ramble,” James tells me, pulling me closer, and my stomach squirms- but in a good way.
“It’s my thing,” I giggle back. For some reason, I feel terribly guilty- like dancing with Albus was bad.
But it wasn’t, right? Just an innocent little dance. I mean, it was hardly even a dance- just a shuffle, left step here and right step every so often.
“You having fun?” James asks me as we sway.
“Yeah, it’s really good,” I grin. “Are you?”
“A lot better now I’m with you,” James winks at me and I blush furiously. I bark out a laugh and bat him gently on the arm.
“Shut it you!” I glare at him playfully as he laughs.
He pulls me in closer, and I rest my head on his shoulder as we revolve. I close my eyes and he pulls me along. I still feel… Weird.
I open my eyes suddenly, I feel as if someone is watching me. I scan the room and my eyes land on Al. He’s stood, well hidden, in a corner, watching us, with my brother. He catches my eye and looks away quickly, striking up a conversation with Angus.
I frown. What was that?
I shake it off and continue swaying. I’m comfortable.
A chinking sound rings through the room and James and I break apart to find the source of the sound. I turn and spot Harry looking thoroughly uncomfortable as he holds glass and spoon. He clangs them together clumsily, and the congregation turn to him.
“Ahem. Well, hello everyone. Sorry to interrupt your dancing, but, well, apparently it’s customary for the host to make a speech, according to my daughter anyway. It’s nearly time for the countdown to begin, so I’ll make it quick…” Harry begins his speech, smiling somewhat nervously at his audience, though sounding like he makes speeches everyday (which he probably does).
I drift off as he begins cracking jokes and whatnot, and James wraps his arm around my waist.
I feel guilty- like I’m betraying James by dancing with Albus. But that’s crazy. Because, like I said, it’s one little dance. Nothing. Why do I feel like it’s more than that?
Because it is? A little voice in my head mutters.
Ginny coughs loudly and Harry falters in his speech. “I- oh! It’s nearly time for the countdown to begin!”
He waves his wand and the wireless changes channel. Now, two wizards are talking about preparing for the countdown.
We listen intently and Harry gazes at his watch. I look up at James and he smiles down at me. His eyes are beautiful too, they seem to change colour. His gaze liquefies my insides and I melt into his arms. Then the countdown begins.
“Kat,” James whispers urgently.
“Yes?” I whisper back, not taking my eyes off him.
“I need to tell you-”
“I need to-”
“I think I’m falling in love with you!”
A/N Hey guys! Sorry for the SLOW update- life has been getting in the way again- *le sigh*. Anyways, the next two chapters are written and I’m hoping to get chapter 21 in before I go on holiday :)
THANK YOU SO MUCH for sticking with the story and reviewing. It really is appreciated :’)
AND CLIFFHANGER. I know. I’m evil. Ah well! Keep reading and reviewing!
And a dicky bow is basically what my gran calls a bow tie. Yep. True dat bruv.
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