Chapter 12 : 12. What Should I Do?
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"I knew it!" Lily sighed, and a wide grin spread on her face. "I knew it!"
Cat spluttered on her drink, coughing and gasping for air for a long time, while Anna stared at the smooth table surface. "How can you say you knew it!?" Cat blasted, when she had finally recovered.
"What is it exactly that you 'knew', Mrs Potter?" Cat went on, looking wildly at Anna across the table. "Feel free to jump in at anytime, oh mighty one!"
Anna shrugged once with a sigh. "I... have nothing to say."
"If you let me finish," Lily said crossly, giving Cat a long look, before beaming at Anna. "I would tell you that I always knew they would end up together."
"Ah, but you are so wrong at that!" Cat said, shaking her head. "I'm sorry, but aren't we forgetting one teeny, tiny problem?"
"What?" both Anna and Lily said at the same time.
"Alexei Volchok," Cat said, sipping her drink. "And I'm sorry, but as much as I like Sirius and all, I'm not quite wamring to the idea of you dating him again. I mean, am I the only one who hasn't forgotten what and arse he was back then, and what a mess you were, huh? I'm not exactly thrilled to see you go over that again, nuh-uh!"
Anna closed her eyes, suddenly feeling the headache come back - the same headache that had made an appearance when Anna had started to tell the girls the entire story. She rubbed her forehead with a grimace, almost hoping she could just sleep for a year - or more.
"When are you--"
Lily never got to finish the sentence, because the sound of a key in the lock startled them all. Anna stood slowly up, her eyes fixed on the door, while Cat looked around the room, trying to figure out who was missing.
"Who's missing?" she finally worded her thoughts, while Lily jumped down from the kitchen counter.
"I don't--" Anna began.
Just then, the door unlocked, and Alex stepped in, putting a folded envelope in his pocket. He seemed deep in thoughts, a frown on his face, and seemed to mumble under his breath.
As soon as he saw the three girls in the kitchen, he seemed just as surprised as the girls.
"Oh, hello!" he said cheerfully, throwing on the usual smile he always had.
"Hi," the girls said in unision.
Anna was painfully aware of her friends watching her every move, as Alex leaned over to give her a swift kiss. "Hi," Anna said quietly, frowning. "How was your day?"
"Good, I... actually," he said, glancing at the girls. "Is this a bad time?"
"Yes," Cat said, just as Lily said, "No."
"Oo-ookay," Alex said, giving them an odd look. "I... I just... um, it's my parents."
At once, Anna was wide awake and alarmed. "Your parents? What's wrong? Did something happen? Is--"
"Okay, okay, okay," Alex laughed, putting a hand on her shoulder. "Calm down, it's nothing serious. I just... thought it would be... see, Mother's home from her trip to South Africa - she did some research there - and wanted me and Anya to stop by for tea, or whatever... I just thought it would be kind of perfect to bring you, too, you know..."
A silence followed, which was broken by Cat's loud groan. Everyone turned to look at her, as she held her head in her hands, groaning. "And so it begins..." she groaned. "The drama!"
Lily moved quickly, and grabbed Cat's arm, dragging her out from the kitchen. "We'll talk later, Anna!" she called over her shoulder, before the door slammed after them.
"That was..." Alex said after a moment. "Weird."
"It's too soon?" Alex cut in, frowning again. "I knew it, I shouldn't have mentioned it... I just thought, that with the wedding coming up, and all..."
The wedding. Anna had almost forgotten all about it - and now she would have to cancel it, before it could even be planned.
"About that..." Anna began quietly.
"Want me to be your date, huh?" Alex said, suddenly putting his arms around Anna, and gazing down at her. "Of course I'll escort you!"
Anna blinked, utterly confused. "Date? What are you... what are you talking about?"
Alex looked just as confused as Anna now. "Your uncle's wedding?" he said slowly. "Wait, what were you talking about?"
"Our wedding," Anna said.
"Oh," Alex said, smiling again. He gave another swift kiss, and laughed. "Well, of course I'll be your date at that, too."
"That's not--" Anna began, but fell quiet. This was not how she had planned it to go - not at all. "Actually, would you mind if I went to that wedding alone? I mean, it's probably going to be really small, and just closest friends and family, and I think they are awkward enough without having extra audience..."
Alex nodded, looking thoughtful. "You're probably right," he agreed. "You sure, though? About going alone?"
"I'm fine," Anna said quickly.
"Okay," Alex said. "I'll arrange another day for the meeting with my parents, then."
"Can't wait..." Anna said under her breath as Alex embraced her.
Anna stared at herself in the mirror. She hadn't had time to buy a new dress for the wedding - which she had almost forgotten all about, as well as her own - so she had borrowed one from Cat. It was a soft pink coloured dress, simple and beautiful. A black pair or high heels to go with the dress, and she was done.
Cat had tried to convince Anna to let her curl Anna's hair, but she had turned down the offer.
As Anna left her room, and entered the somewhat crowded living room (James and Lily were there, as well as Remus, Cat and Sirius - Peter was the only one missing). Everyone turned to look - even James and Sirius, who were watching a football match on the telly (which Lily was trying to explain to them).
"Wow," Sirius said, standing up. "You look--"
"Wonderful," Cat cut in, throwing a nasty look at Sirius. "Don't even think about it, boy!" she hissed.
"What's with you, girl?" Sirius shot back, as he sat back down on the sofa.
Cat stood up, smoothing down her own bridesmaids dress - it was gold, and just made her look like a Greek goddess. "I know you're pining..." she grunted, stomping away. "COME ON, REMUS!"
Everyone looked surprised by her outburst, and Sirius snorted. "Who is she to talk about pining!?"
"Shut up, Sirius," Remus said coolly, obediently following Cat out.
"Well," Anna said, grabbing her bag. "I better go..."
"See you later," Lily said, as they all followed her to the door.
"Have fun," James said.
Everyone turned to look at Sirius, as if to expect him to say something as well.
"I--" Anna began awkwardly.
"Best wishes to the lucky couple," Sirius said, hesitating before giving her a quick hug. "See you later."
Anna blushed, and quickly left the apartment - only to find Cat and Remus leaning against the corridor wall, as if it would collapse if they didn't do that. "About freakin' time, young lady," Cat said shortly, already wheeling down the corridor. "Move it, you two!" she called over her shoulder, as Anna met Remus' curious stare.
"Ready?" he sighed, pushing himself away from the wall.
"Will I ever be?" I said, but followed Cat anyway.
When Cat and Marlene's mother - Mrs McKinnon - had said it would be a 'small, tasteful party among the closest friends and family', she had of course meant the biggest social event in the history of the world, which included the McKinnon family's 500 closest and most important, well-connected acquaintances.
"Wow," Anna whispered, as they made their way down the aisle. "This is--"
"Typical," Cat sighed, shaking her head. "Oh, look - it's my mother," she said, not sounding enthusiastic at all. "Come on, Remus," she said, grabbing his arms and dragging him along.
"What--" Remus said, but followed anyway.
Anna looked around. She recognized few of them as high-profiled Ministry workers, or known authors in the wizarding world - but otherwise, they were complete strangers to her. The church benches to the left were almost packed with people, and they were already taking over the benches on the right - which to Anna's dismay were almost entirely empty. She slowly made her way to the front, where she saw Fenwick talk to a grumpy looking man, who quite honestly, frightened Anna. At the sight of Anna coming closer, Fenwick fell quiet abruptly, and waited until she had reached them.
"The Midget has arrived!" he announced, a wry smile appearing on his face.
Anna rolled her eyes, extending her hand. "Congratulations are in order, I suppose," she said, smiling.
"Thanks," he said shaking her hand. "How's life treating you, kiddo?"
Anna shrugged, not at all obliged or eager to explain how complicated her life actually was. "Same as always."
"Moody!" Fenwick boomed, suddenly brightening up. "This here is my niece, Anna Parker."
"The famous niece I've heard so much about?" the man named Moody said, his brown eyes gazing directly at Anna. "Alastor Moody - how very nice to meet you. I heard you skipped out of the wizarding world, eh? Too much to handle, was it?"
Anna stared at him, unable to speak. "I got tired," she said mildly, looking around. "So, you really don't have any friends, do you?" she asked Fenwick, who let out a loud laugh.
"Who needs friends when you're getting married?" he wondered out loud. "You two better get a seat if you don't want Madam McKinnon to take over the few seats that are still available."
Anna followed Moody to the seats, where she suddenly became very much aware of his intent stare. She awkwardly met his eyes, trying to come up with something - anything! - to talk about.
"I heard you're in some sort of relationship with the son of Volchok, eh?" he grunted.
"Err," Anna said, blushing. "Yes, I guess I am."
"You better be well-prepared, girl," he said. "It's a very old, prestegious wizarding family."
"Aren't they all," Anna muttered, looking away.
"You've got nothing to worry about," Moody assured shortly. "With your background, you're just fine."
"I don't think--"
"Your mother may have been a black sheep of the family, but otherwise, your family background is pretty strong, if you ask me."
Anna frowned, trying to imagine just how her normal, Muggle dad could be strong. The only family she knew about was her traitor mother, Muggle dad, and crazy Uncle Benjy Fenwick.
When Anna didn't respond, Moody took another look at her, his eyes widening. "My, oh my..." he said, looking almost amused. "You have no idea, do you?"
"About what?" Anna demanded, as the church doors closed with a bang, and everyone started to fall quiet around them.
"The ceremony is about to begin," Moody said shortly, pursing his lips.
This only made Anna more curious - what didn't she know about her own background? Was there more secrets to it?
A/N: First, I want to apologize - seriously! - for the awfully long wait. I have no excuse, it's not an excuse to blame the real life, either. I... have no excuse, other than... well, if I had rushed this, I would've killed Anna in this chapter, to be honest xD And no one would've been happy with that. Anyway, I've found a new kind of inspiration for this story, and I promise it will be updated more often! A big, huge, gigantic THANK YOU to all the wonderful readers and reviewers for being patient ^_^
- Lily xxx