Chapter 7 : Home
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Summary: She was Hogwarts' Bad Girl. He was Hogwarts' Golden Boy. All of her teacher's complained about her. All of his teacher's loved him. She stayed stayed away from the limelight as much as possible. He smiled for all the cameras. They're both stubborn, have a knack for trouble, and are training to become Aurors. Has the Ministry met it's new Auror power couple or will their differences lead to the destruction of their lives as they know it?
Suddenly my world has gone and changed its face
But I still know where I'm going
I have had my mind spun around in space
Yet I've watched it glowing
Disclaimer: I don't own the lyrics or Harry Potter
There are times in your life when you just need a break. When reality becomes too much and you just need someone to hit pause, stop everything from moving forwards for a few minutes so that you can just breathe. Of course, usually, when you need a break the most you are too preoccupied with the rapidly spinning world to pause.
It’s much harder to be nice to yourself than it is to be nice to other people. That’s one of the reasons people need friends, one of the reasons people look for the perfect person to be with for the rest of their life, they need someone who can be there and take care of them.
Because taking a break? It’s not always easy.
Some people become workaholics because they get so caught up in their work and their life in the office that taking a beak—seeing their family and just hanging out with their friends—is no longer a reality. It is an addiction, working. It’s a different kind of escape from reality. At work, you deal with problems that can be fixed; you compete for something you can win. There might be politics in the office and there may be some drama but it’s not real life.
The problem is that people need a break from all of the things in their life. When you get caught up in work you miss out on the love, fun, and support that the people closest to you can provide. When you don’t ever work you can miss out on the feeling of accomplishing something, the feeling you get when you’ve done something.
Balance is the hardest thing to achieve in life. Actually, it’s pretty much impossible.
Balance is the thing my mum and James’ are so worried about. Being an Auror is time consuming, risky, and demanding. When I became an Auror I swore to myself that I wouldn’t let it take over my life. Since the day my mum found out that I was accepted into, and more importantly planning on joining, the Auror department she has been lecturing me and pressuring me not to lose myself in my job. But I have people who won’t let me stop being who I am solely because I decided to join the ministry.
I got lucky, but not everyone has that.
* * * *
The Davenports live on their family farm that has been passed down for generations. The original house was knocked down and rebuilt by Mr. Davenport’s father a little over fifty years ago to give them more space. The white siding needs to be repainted and the old porch creaks whenever weight is put on it but the house is always clean, the garden manicured, and the grass recently cut.
Before I went to Hogwarts I saw them all the time. They would watch Meg Ann and me when mum and Peter were working and I would have play-dates with some of the kids who were staying in the guesthouse while their mum or dad was working on the farm. After I started Hogwarts I was gone too much to see them as often as I used to so my mum started a tradition of always spending a weekend with them in July around Meg Ann’s birthday. Her thirteenth birthday landed on a Saturday. She and my mum went up a few days early but skipping Auror training was a non-option so I waited until my Nightmare on a Broomstick ended and then apparated to the bottom of their driveway, looking around to make sure that no one saw me since it was a Muggle farm.
It was a hot day, the sun was blazing and the sky was clear aside from a few pearly white clouds that could have belonged in a children’s picture book. A few of the farmhands glanced over at me as I made my way up and I nodded at the ones I knew. The Davenport’s farm is big and self-sufficient. They milk their own cows, grow their own vegetables, and kill their own chickens. I’m not a picky eater and I have eaten a lot of delicacies that most people can’t even look at but I draw the line when Mr. Davenport puts a chicken breast on the table and says: “Good ol’ Suzie should taste real fine. She was one of our best.” They’ve since learned not to name anything I will have to eat.
“Hey Taylor,” Derrick called out, waving at me as he took a swig of his water bottle.
“Is Stella here?” I asked as he made his way towards me.
“I think so,” he said. “It’s around naptime for the girls.”
I nodded and decided to drop my stuff at the house before visiting her. Derrick and Stella are a few years older than me and have two daughters. They live in the old stone guesthouse that the Davenport’s reserve for their farmhands who need a place to live. It’s not very big and it’s extremely old but it works well enough and gives them their own space.
Derrick’s been working on the farm since he was at University but they just moved in two years ago.
“Hello,” I called as I walked through the red front door of the main house. “Anyone here?”
“Kitchen Tay,” my mum called back. I dropped my bag by the stairs and made my way to the back of the house where she was sitting at the table reading the paper and drinking a cup of tea.
“Sorry I’m late,” I said, tossing myself down on one of the chairs beside her. “I ran into Rose at the Ministry and decided to keep my word to Scorpius.”
“Was she nice?” my mum asked, raising her eyebrows and putting down the paper.
“I guess,” I shrugged. “She’s a little…fake? I don’t know. She’s not someone I would expect Scorpius to be with but I doubt he’s someone her family would expect her to be with so—” I trailed off and shrugged again.
“And you’re supposed to get to know her? How are you going to do that?”
“Not sure,” I admitted. “She doesn’t seem like the type who would want to go to the club and get drunk. I don’t think Scorp would appreciate that much either. I still have to convince Natasha that it’s a good idea. She thinks they’re going to break up and it’ll be a waste of time but she doesn’t like the Wotter clan in general so maybe she’s not the best judge. Anyways, it’ll work out. How’s Meg Ann been?”
“Calmer than usual,” my mum smiled. “I think moving the party with her friends a week later helped a lot.”
“It’s funny,” I said, leaning back in the chair. “During the school year I want July Meg Ann and during July I want school Meg Ann. Why can’t she just find a balance between being your stereotypical thirteen-year-old and the creepy genius one?”
“Mum is Taylor here yet?” Meg Ann called right on cue.
“I’m here,” I yelled up. “And I’m tired so if you’re going to start nagging me about tomorrow night forget it.”
“I’m not going to nag you,” Meg Ann said, appearing in the kitchen in record time. “I just thought you might want to know that Grandma and Grandpa hired a new farmhand who is majorly hot.”
“Is he working now?” I asked, sitting up a little straighter.
“No,” my mum laughed. “But he’ll be here tomorrow night. Eleanor and John are already trying to set you up with him.”
“Oh great, what’s wrong with him?” I asked suspiciously.
“In their eyes, nothing,” mum said calmly. “He’s good looking, he’s going to University, he works hard, he’s got a good family, and he’s smart.”
“But,” I pressed.
“Well, Luke was here yesterday and he predicted that Michael is gay. Whether he is or it was just Luke’s wishful thinking I’m not really sure. I’ve only seen the boy a few times and I haven’t talked to him.”
“That’s so not fair,” I huffed. “Why does Luke get all the good guys? Besides, he already has a boyfriend.”
“Well you can decide for yourself tomorrow night,” my mum said, standing up and kissing the top of my head. “I’ve got to finish wrapping Meg Ann’s presents. Mrs. Davenport is out in her garden, she’s going to want to see you.”
“I’ll go out in a sec,” I agreed, putting my arms on the table and resting my head on them.
“Tired?” Meg Ann asked, taking our mum’s vacant seat.
“Exhausted,” I corrected her.
* * * *
“There you are!” Mrs. Davenport exclaimed when I made my way out the back a few minutes later. “I was beginning to think I needed to put out a Missing Person alert.”
“Nope, just got caught up,” I assured her as she stood up and took off her gloves before pulling me into a hug.
“Did you get caught up with your Auror training?” she asked suspiciously.
“Nope, friend stuff,” I said, happy it was so easy to change the subject. “Scorpius has a girlfriend and it looks like it might be serious.”
“Of course the first one of you to have a serious relationship is the youngest,” she said, looking at me disapprovingly.
“Ah, but that’s because he’s the most naïve,” I said knowingly.
“The most open,” she countered.
“The most inexperienced,” I contradicted.
“The one with the least common sense.”
“The one with the most faith.”
“The one who doesn’t learn from others mistakes.”
“The least judgmental.”
“The most idiotic.”
“The most trusting.”
“The easiest heartbroken.”
“The least suspicious.”
“The most foolish.”
“Okay, none of this is sounding like Scorpius,” I laughed.
“Alright,” she sighed in defeat. “We’ll have a debate on the merits of having a legitimate relationship tonight. In the meantime go check on Stella. She needs some time with people over the age of two who don’t smell bad.”
“You sure you don’t need help?” I asked, eyeing the garden and the huge piles she had made from pulled weeds.
“I’ve been doing this since the day I was born, I’ll be just fine,” she said, kneeling down and getting back to work. Not really wanting to change into jeans I didn’t push it and went to check on Stella per her request.
“Don’t we have a ‘no working’ policy while we’re here?” my mum commented lightly as she entered the attic.
“I’m not working,” I promised, looking up from the catalogue I was flipping through. “Tyler is getting Meg Ann’s present for me and I want to get out of owing him anything as quickly as I can.”
“Found anything good?” she asked.
“Not yet,” I sighed. “But it shouldn’t be too hard. He’s a cheap date.”
The farmhouse is three stories total. The main floor has everything a main floor usually has from the kitchen to the living room, the middle floor has all three bedrooms and the master, and the third floor is the attic where my mum and I moved in. It was being used for storage when we first saw it and we had to do a lot of cleaning to make it livable but it was worth it.
All of the little touches we added were still there. The curtains my mum put up so she could take naps in the middle of the day when she needed to were still hanging, the finger-paintings I made were still taped to the wall, and the queen-sized mattress still rested on the floor instead of on a bed. The ceiling was slanted and the dark wooden beams were exposed for everyone to see. The insulation wasn’t great and a fan still rested on the white vanity table for the hot days.
Mrs. Davenport kept it clean when we were away and out of tradition my mum and I always spent the first night upstairs. After that she and Peter usually stayed on the main floor and I would stay wherever I felt like staying. Sometimes Meg Ann would join us upstairs but she didn’t like all the dark wood and said that it felt creepy at night.
“What did you get her?” my mum asked, changing into her pajama pants and a camisole.
“‘The Medical Comparisons of Muggles and Magical Folk Including Remedies and Vocabulary’ by Stewart Ackerley,” I said, proud of myself for remembering the whole name without stumbling. “Natasha’s bringing it with her tomorrow.”
“Quite a name,” she said, raising her eyebrows. “Is it a new release?”
“It was released Wednesday but apparently there are a lot of nerds in the world who couldn’t wait to have it because it was sold out when I stopped by the bookstore today. Tyler said he could get it for me through work.”
“Close call,” she said, sliding into bed next to me.
“Don’t go there,” I warned her, not taking my eyes off the magazine as I flipped the page.
“I’m just saying, you’re already letting it encroach on your life,” my mum said calmly.
“It can’t encroach on my life because it’s a part of my life,” I said, unable to stop my annoyance from seeping into my words. “I’ve just been busy with everything and I misjudged how many people care about ‘The Medical Comparisons of Muggles and Magical Folk Including Remedies and Vocabulary.’ It happens.”
“I just want you to be careful. If you aren’t it is going to become your whole life instead of just being a part of it,” she replied.
“I am being careful,” I tried to reassure her. “It’s not taking up anymore time than training for any other career would, look at Tyler. Besides,” I added in a clipped tone, moving all my hair over my left shoulder. “I’m not dad and I couldn’t be like him even if I wanted to, alright?”
“I know,” she sighed. “I just don’t want to see you lose yourself.”
* * * *
The first time someone suggested I join the Auror department they said it as a joke. It was my fourth year, just before Winter break. Natasha and I had Herbology and for whatever reason we decided to show up that day. I had left my book in my dormitory so I ran back to get it while Natasha told Professor Longhbottom that I was going to be late. I grabbed my book and was running back down to the greenhouse when I heard a bunch of commotion down by the Quidditch pitch. I still don’t know why I didn’t ignore it like I usually did but for whatever reason I switched my path and made my way down to the pitch.
Scorpius had Divination at the same time Natasha and I had Herbology and decided to go for a ride around the pitch instead of staring into a crystal ball whilst making up his own terrible future. He didn’t play Quidditch at school but he was decent enough (according to Tyler anyways) and he liked to fly. When I reached the pitch I saw a large group of third and fourth years with a few first, second, and fifth years mixed in. Right by the locker rooms, surrounded by a horse-shoe of people, were Scorpius and Fred Weasley, both with their wands raised.
“Excuse me,” I mumbled pushing through so that I could get to them. “Can you move please?”
I stopped when I reached the front and watched as they threw hex after hex at each other. To jump in the middle would have been stupid so instead I raised my own wand and cast ‘Eexpelliarmus’. The crowd watched as they were each forced to dive to the side to avoid the others hex. Their wands flew straight into my left hand.
“Show’s over,” I snapped angrily at the group. “Get off the pitch and out of my sight now or I swear to Merlin you will regret it.”
Slowly the group started to break up and everyone began to leave, most mumbling under their breath in annoyance.
“It was just starting to get good,” a fourth year Ravenclaw muttered to his friend.
“She’s not even a prefect,” a third year girl complained. I ignored them both and turned back to Fred and Scorpius.
“What the hell is wrong with you two?” I demanded, looking down at both of them. Fred glared back at me but Scorpius looked a bit ashamed.
“Why don’t you just chill out,” a blonde guy from Ravenclaw said, laughing. “It was a fair fight and the little twerp was getting what he deserved.”
“A fair fight?” I said, raising my eyebrows at him. “Since when is two on one a fair fight? You really think I didn’t notice that your wand was out and pointing at him?” I said it on impulse but somehow I knew it was true. Scorpius was too beat up and Fred was too okay for it to have been a one-on-one duel the whole time.
“He got what he deserved,” the blonde repeated, his cocky laughter melting away as he glowered at me.
“Deserved for what?” I demanded. “For flying on the pitch that anyone is allowed to fly on? Get over yourself.”
“Where’s your Gryffindor pride?” Fred asked, standing up and looking at me angrily.
“Pride?” I repeated incredulously. “You think that hexing a kid for doing absolutely nothing is something to be proud of? You aren’t being brave by picking a fight, you’re being a prat.”
“How you got sorted into Gryffindor is beyond me,” Fred stated.
“How you turned into such an arse is beyond me,” I shot back. “Take your wand and enjoy explaining to Professor Longhbottom why you’re late.”
“At least we’ll show up,” the blonde guy snapped. He was seriously getting on my nerves.
“Would you shut up,” I snapped back. “I don’t even know who the hell you are and I’m not talking to you so stay out of it. One more incident Fred and I am not going to let your mum go on thinking you’re innocent.”
“Ooh, pulling the mamma card,” the other guy said mockingly.
“Didn’t she tell you to shut up,” Scorpius snapped, spitting out a mouthful of blood as he did. “Because in case you can’t tell she’s pissed as hell and if you make her mad at you you’re going to be in so much pain you’ll wish you were never born. You don’t know shit about her and apparently you don’t know shit about this arsehole either because if you did then you would know this is between them.”
The blonde guy shut up after that but Fred and I continued to ignore them both, having our own fight that had been a long time coming.
“My mum knows I’m not innocent,” Fred said. “Does yours?”
“I’m not the one hexing people to make myself look better,” I said darkly.
“I’m not the one hexing people so I can get away with whatever I want,” he said, just as quietly. “Let’s get out of here Louis,” he added to the blonde kid. “Professor Longhbottom will let us off if we give him a good excuse.”
“You should be an Auror,” the boy, Louis, called as they walked away. “It’d be perfect for you as long as they’re all scared of their mum’s. Oh wait, not even Fred is scared of that.”
“Did he not tell you about the time he broke a window and hid in his closet for three hours because he didn’t want to tell his mum?” I called after them. “Because that’s bravery right there, Fred Weasley.”
“Nice one,” Scorpius said, slightly hunched over. He tried to laugh but only wound up having to spit out more blood.
“Those people really need a lesson on reality,” I said shaking my head.
The second person who suggested it was Professor Longhbottom in my seventh year. During my career counseling session in fifth year I told him I wanted to be an Auror because it was the first thing that popped into my head. Well, after he said that transfiguring myself to look like a house-elf, juggling pears in the great hall, and creating a business where I could be hired to annoy people weren’t acceptable career options. Personally, I think my third suggestion was sheer genius. I mean, how many times do people want to make someone mad but can’t because they’re their boss or their parents would get mad because they’re not supposed to be picking on their siblings anymore? It could be a total success.
Anyways, he asked me why I wanted to be an Auror and I told him that someone had suggested it. He raised his eyebrows at me but we had run way over already so he couldn’t take the time to convince me to go with something plausible. Instead he took out their pamphlet, handed it to me, and “strongly encouraged” me to come back if I ever wanted to talk more about what I was going to do after Hogwarts. I didn’t come back.
Towards the end of Seventh Year I had no idea what I was going to do. Professor Longhbottom called me to his office again and suggested that I fill out an application since I seemed to have the grades for it. I believe his exact words were “I think it would be good for you, you will have to abide by their rules and limitations and it would give you a schedule that you’ll have to stick with.”
I filled out the application mostly to appease him, not really expecting to become an Auror. When I finally decided to go ahead with the training it was an impulse decision. I didn’t think about it, I didn’t make a pro-con list, I just did it. No reason behind the thought process what so ever which is why I was never able to fully explain it to my mum. I knew she wanted a black and white answer, a fully rationalized and reasonable explanation. But if I couldn’t even explain it fully to myself, how could I be expected to explain it to everyone else?
Apparently, I was the only one who felt that way.
* * * *
“You’re the first one up,” Mrs. Davenport said nodding her approval as I walked into the kitchen, still in my pajamas.
“Coffee?” I mumbled, still half asleep.
“Fresh pot by the microwave,” she replied. “Care to help me with the birthday breakfast?”
“Sure,” I yawned. “What are you making?”
“French toast, bacon, and a fruit salad,” she said. “You can start cutting the fruit.”
It didn’t take long for my mum, Meg Ann, and Peter (who had arrived late Friday night) to make their way down and by the time Mrs. Davenport and I stopped cooking they had already finished.
“Peter be a dear and run to the store to pick me up some baking powder, won’t you?” Mrs. Davenport asked as she and I sat down to eat.
“Sure thing,” Peter agreed, annoyingly chipper. My mum, sharing my feelings about his chipperness, glared at him but Peter was unabashed, kissing her on the cheek and adding a happy “cheer up sunshine,” before hurrying out the door.
“I don’t know why I put up with that man,” mum said, shaking her head in exasperation.
Two mild Meg Ann panic attacks, one argument over the differences between baking powder and baking soda, and a perfectly bronzed cake later I was alone in the kitchen doing dishes.
“Finally!” I exclaimed as the back door opened and Mr. Davenport walked in. “I was starting to think you weren’t here!”
“Like I would really miss one of your weekends here,” he smiled at me. “I thought you were supposed to see us more now that you were out of school.”
Mr. Davenport was in his late seventies but he still insisted on working in the field. Mum said it was becoming hazardous with all of his health problems but he was never one to sit around. He suffered from a mild stroke when I was seven and had another about a year ago. He walked with a limp and his speech became slurred occasionally but somehow his body managed to push through. It was a miracle really.
“I’ll work on it,” I promised, ignoring how sweaty and dirty he was as I gave him a hug.
“I expect to hear all about this ‘Auror Training’ you’re doing,” he warned me, getting a glass out of the cabinet and turning on the tap to fill it with water. His jeans and red flannel shirt were covered in dirt, his brow moist with sweat, and his hands looked as though he had been making mud pies. I made a face as the mud got on the glass and he looked down at it, suddenly realizing his mistake.
“Oops!” he exclaimed, putting the cup down quickly and placing his hands under the faucet, turning the water a dirty brown. “Ellie wouldn’t be too happy with me if she saw that,” he added and I smiled as he dried his hands and then washed off the outside of the cup before filling it up again and downing the entire thing in one gulp.
“I better take a shower,” he added, leaning over and kissing my forehead. “You’d better start getting ready too, our new farmhand Michael is planning on coming tonight.”
“Are you two ever going to stop trying to set me up?” I asked him in exasperation. He smiled at me again, his green eyes crinkling.
“Ellie and I got married when we were a year younger than you,” he said knowingly.
“Mum and Peter didn’t get married until she was thirty,” I shot back.
“Do you really want to follow their example?” he asked me. I thought about it for a minute before wrinkling my nose.
“You’re right,” I conceded. He nodded in approval. “I think I just won’t get married at all. Too much hassle.”
“You’ll think differently after you meet Michael,” he said confidently.
“Doubt it,” I told him, shrugging my shoulders and going back to the dishes I had been working on it.
Despite my lack of enthusiasm in front of Mr. and Mrs. Davenport I made sure to look nice for the dinner. Meg Ann had been going on about Michael since I arrived. I still hadn’t seen him but it takes a lot for Meg Ann to gush like that. Usually she’s more of the blush bright red be unable to talk type girl. Gushing meant that it was serious.
“What do you think?” Meg Ann asked, twirling around in one of the dresses we had bought when we went shopping in Diagon Alley a few weeks ago.
“Beautiful,” I said, grinning at her.
Meg Ann is much more innocent and mature than I was at her age. During her birthday, when she’s basically not allowed to worry about anything, she acts like a totally normal and annoyingly giggly girl. She doesn’t have to stress about the details and she doesn’t know enough about what is going on to even attempt to micro-manage everything. When she’s at school it’s all about school. She stresses about her grades, she takes each class selection seriously, and she gets excited about homework assignments when they’re from a class she likes. I’ve always found it a bit weird but it is very Meg Ann.
Her dress came to a little above her knees and had wide straps. There was literally no cleavage showing as the gold stretched up to her neck but it worked on her, somehow. It had a red bodice with a sweetheart neckline and rooshing before it flared out into a flowy golden skirt. The same fabric that was used for the skirt created the sleeves and the high neckline, attaching to the bodice so that no skin was showing. It could easily have looked overly conservative but Meg Ann was bubbly enough to pull it off. I did make her change her pointy light pink heels into red flats, however. No need for her to act like she was in her fifties.
When I was Meg Ann’s age I never would have worn a dress like hers. I went for big and bold. I dyed my hair black for the first time when I was thirteen and I was really into red. I loved red dresses, red shoes, and had a temporary courtship with neon-colored nail polish. I was a sight for sore eyes, that’s for sure. If I had seen the dress she was wearing in a store I would have passed it right over. It was too acceptable, I wanted to make people cringe or at least have to do a double-take.
I gave Meg Ann a pair of my stud earrings and stole her silver ring that was decorated in black, white, and turquoise beads.
For the past year I’ve been obsessed with white dresses. I don’t know why, but I love them and I take full advantage of the window in which you are ‘allowed’ to wear white. It was strapless with flowers on the top half, a turquoise ribbon that hugged my waist, and a skirt that was kept a puffy with a little bit of tool underneath.
“Well if Michael doesn’t react to you we’ll know that Luke was right,” Meg Ann said quietly as we walked down the stairs.
“That or he likes girls who don’t wear make-up,” I whispered back.
Make-up and subtlety don’t go together with me. I like it dark and I like it thick. I can do it tastefully if I want to but most of the time I don’t. If I’m going to wear it why should I try to make it look au natural? I don’t look like the hulk without it; I just prefer the thick eyeliners and dark mascaras.
The party was outside because it was such a nice night. All the food was set up on a table that was covered in a purple tablecloth and it was set up buffet style. As soon as we got down Meg Ann started doing the rounds, hugging everyone and making conversation with people she didn’t know.
“I got it,” Natasha said, coming up behind me just as I was making myself a plate, starving since I had skipped lunch.
“Oh good,” I said, letting out a breath in relief. “How many strings did he have to pull?”
“Well,” she said and I instantly became wary. When Natasha starts with ‘well’ you know it’s going to be a long explanation. When there’s a long explanation that involves strings, warning bells should start going off.
“He got his bosses assistant to ask her sister to ask her friend who’s dating her bosses nephew to get his cousin to ask his dad to ask his co-worker to ask his wife to get her friend to ask her cousin who works in the publishing company to pull a few strings and we got it.”
“Tell Tyler I love him,” I said, hugging the present to my chest.
“Yeah, it’s going to take a lot more than love to make up for this,” Natasha said, shaking her head at me. “He hasn’t slept for the past twenty-four hours and he’s gong to be up all night for the surgery. He is going to milk this for all it’s worth.”
“Ugh, I hate owing people things,” I moaned. “Why can’t we all just do things out of the goodness of our hearts and forget about owing people stuff?”
“You’re right,” Natasha agreed, nodding her head. “We should forget about old debts. We should start by setting a good example. We’ll forgive all of the people who owe us stuff and just—”
“You still owe me for making the police officer think that I was a hooker,” I cut her off.
“Damn,” Natasha muttered. “Ooh, hot guy at your ten o’clock,” she added.
“Oh, Natasha that’s Grant he’s…decided to become a hippie,” I finished, knowing that she wasn’t listening to me.
Natasha had on a tight, strapless, floral dress with a sweetheart neckline. She was always good at manipulating clothing, something she must have picked up from her mum. Though the dress was tight enough to wear at a club, the pattern gave it a more timeless and less provocative feeling. Though it pushed up her boobs, the sweetheart neckline also made it come across as innocent. Her signature red nails would fit in with her mother’s friends who made livings by being mistresses but the purple dress balanced them out by making it look elegant. The dress was short and her heels added to the effect but they were also closed toed, making it seem almost professional. Clothing and style are truly a work of art and if you use paradoxes to your advantage, the look you needed to convey to each person individually can be reached.
I didn’t wind up meeting Michael because he left before Meg Ann and I went down. Of course, it would have been helpful if someone mentioned that so that after Natasha got weirded out by Grant (which took a grand total of twelve minutes and five seconds of pure amusement for me) we didn’t spend an hour looking for him. As it was, no one informed us of his departure until we decided to take a break and sit down for a little while where we joined shortly by Stella.
“Michael left,” she said when Natasha explained what we were doing.
“What?” Natasha demanded. “Do you mean to tell me that I just spent an hour looking for a super hot guy that’s not even here?”
“Sorry to be the bearer of bad news,” Stella said, looking amused by how pissed off Tasha was.
“Well is he at least as hot as everyone says he is?” I asked hopefully. Stella laughed again but nodded.
“Oh yeah,” she said, leaning in conspiratorially and lowering her voice. “He is gorgeous and he works with his shirt off in the fields a lot. My sister came over to watch the girls so that my friend and I could have a day out and we wound up stalking him. We were total creepers it was so much fun. And then Derrick saw us and looked all creeped out so we gave him some lame excuse and went to get pedicures so that it at least looked like we had, had a day off the farm. The only problem is—”
“Stel she’s melting down,” Derrick said, holding their youngest daughter and trying to soothe her as she continued to cry as loudly as possible.
“It’s about her bedtime anyways,” Stella said, standing up quickly and taking her from Derrick. “Go find Anna, we should probably get them both home. See you two later, don’t be a stranger Tay.”
“Wait but I…want to know what the problem is,” I called after her, trailing off at the end.
“That she’s married, duh,” Natasha said, rolling her eyes while she examined her manicure. “She can’t do anything with him.”
Before I had a chance to reply we were interrupted by Mrs. and Mr. Davenport as they sat on the couch opposite the one Natasha and I were relaxing on.
“Michael had a family emergency,” Mrs. Davenport informed us. “But we’ll make sure you meet him at some point.”
“Is everyone okay?” I asked.
“Oh, I’m sure it’s fine,” she said, sounding unconcerned. “He said something about his mother and the hospital. It’s probably nothing.”
His mother and the hospital didn’t sound like nothing to me and Natasha shot me a look that clearly implied she was worried Mrs. Davenport was going senile but the Davenport’s have become very good friends with all the hospitals nearby. I don’t think a year has gone by without at least three of the Davenports ending up in the emergency room.
Between broken bones, concussions, and fun that went a little too far, freaking out about a call to 911 stopped being an option. Unfortunately, their need to not freak out about it when it happens in their own family has extended to others and under-reactions have become a real worry. Never the less I let it slide and decided not to worry about it as the topic changed to something Natasha could ramble about for hours: shoes.
“I haven’t bought shoes in three years,” Mrs. Davenport commented lightly.
“That’s tragic,” Natasha said, looking horror struck. “That’s even bad for your feet because they’ll be too worn out.”
“What’s tragic is how materialistic your generation is,” Mrs. Davenport replied. She had been shocked by how much I had brought with me for the weekend. My ‘I need options’ excuse hadn’t flown.
“Meg Ann has more clothes than I do,” I said defensively.
“Even with your new Auror clothes,” she challenged, bringing up the subject I had been avoiding with the two of them for over a year. I looked around but there was no way around it. They were Nifflers and I was the gold.
“Has mum been complaining to you?” I asked, already irritated. Natasha stayed quiet, knowing that I was touchy about it and sensing that I didn’t want to deal with it now.
“No,” Mrs. Davenport said. “She hasn’t said a word about it which concerns me more than her ranting would.”
“Look,” I said with a sigh. “She’s moved on, so have I. Everything that happened with dad is over so why does it matter? I’m not doing what he did I’m just in the same career.”
“I think you know as well as I do that it’s not about the how, it’s about the what,” she said.
“Can we stop speaking in riddles please?” I asked in annoyance.
“Let’s get back to what’s important,” Natasha jumped in to save me. “Not buying shoes for three years.”
“Agreed,” I said immediately and we both started to lecture her about the importance of hygiene and the many benefits of retail therapy.
By the time the night was done I was exhausted and no less annoyed with my mum, even though I had barely spoken a word to her. Peter was here so I knew she wouldn’t be staying in the attic but I still didn’t feel like going up there. It didn’t seem right to go to the place where we lived after all the drama when I had been defending myself against it all weekend.
Instead I went up to the attic to change and then went back down to the middle floor to give Meg Ann her present that I had unintentionally been carrying around all night.
“Are you asleep?” I asked softly, opening her door.
“No,” she said, sitting up in bed. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” I assured her. “I just never got around to giving you your present.”
“What is it?” she asked with a yawn.
“Open it stupid,” I said, rolling my eyes.
“You got it?” Meg Ann asked in awe as she stared at it.
“It’s from Ty too,” I told her, smiling as she hugged the book to her chest. I swear there is something wrong with my sister.
“I thought you guys got too busy with working to remember,” Meg Ann admitted.
“Please,” I said. “Like I’d ever put ‘The Medical Comparisons of Muggles and Magical Folk Including Remedies and Vocabulary’ after work.”
“Right,” Meg Ann laughed. She was silent for a minute before she added, “They really need a new person to come up with titles.”
“Yeah they do,” I agreed. “Now scoot over, I’m staying with you tonight.”
“Are you and mum fighting again,” she asked, sounding resigned.
“Don’t worry about it,” I told her. “We always work it out; we just need some space from time to time.”
“Okay,” Meg Ann agreed reluctantly. “Thanks for the present Tay.”
“You’re welcome,” I said, kissing her on the cheek before rolling over on my side and going to sleep.
A/N: No Auror training or James but a lot more backstory. What did you think about the Davenport's? Taylor's flashback? Any last guesses on Taylor's last name?
“Taylor, why do you have Gorilla masks?” Natasha asked as I entered my mum’s store.
“You’re here!” I exclaimed, dropping all the Gorilla masks and hugging her.
“I am!” she said back, not having any idea why she was acting excited and hugging me back like her life depended on it.
“Quick, put this on,” I said, handing her the bathing suit I had been carrying around.
“My bathing suit?” she asked in confusion. “Why do I need—”
“No time for questions, hurry up,” I said. “If Tyler shows up tell him Scorpius is coming. I just have to store these upstairs real quick.”
“Okay,” Natasha said slowly, going into the changing room. She doesn’t work on Sundays but we all come to the store whenever we’re bored. It’s like our own personal meet up place, if we can’t find each other at our houses we just hang out here until someone shows up.
“Hi mum,” I greeted her, passing her on the stairs. She shrieked and fell backwards, making it much harder for me to move past her.
“What in the name of Merlin are you doing?” she asked, looking positively alarmed.
“I need to keep these up here for a few hours if that’s okay,” I told her as she stood up and followed me back into her work room. “I don’t have enough time to go back to my flat.”
“Why do you have...” she paused and changed her question mid-way through. “Are you going to do anything illegal?”
“With these?” I clarified, indicating the masks.
“No,” I told her. Today? Quite possibly.
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