Chapter 15 : A Time and Place
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I had my hair pinned back, a sharp black blazer and skinny jeans, accessorized with black stiletto heels and long dangly earrings. I looked uber professional, and with Draco standing beside me in his slick black suit, I felt so powerful. We walked to Professor McGonagall’s office together, her frown only touching her face momentarily before going back to her work. I threw the Floo Powder down and in a flash of green flames I was swirling towards an inevitable confrontation with my father.
I stepped through the Clean-Screen at the other end at my father’s penthouse apartment. I didn’t want to go to the office. I waited for Draco to follow, and within moments he was there. He whistled as he took in the apartment condo.
“Yeah, my Dad has money, and he’s not afraid to show it.”
Draco walked around. “It looks like a museum in here.”
“It always feels like one too,” I commented, starting to climb the stairs away from what I considered my father’s domain. “It feels like a museum on the hottest day of summer with the air conditioning turned up so high you shiver.”
“Air conditioning?” Draco frowned, turning climb the stairs as well.
“Oh yes, sometimes I forget you grew up in a pureblood family with everything magical.” I laughed a little. “Well think of a fireplace that produces heat, right? Well ‘air conditioning’ is what it’s called when a machine produces cold air instead of hot air. Like a cold fireplace. Make sense?”
Draco shook his head. “Not really. But it sounds fascinating.”
“You’ve never been interested in muggle inventions before.”
“I’ve never been in a relationship with a witch whose life is so ingrained in a muggle society before.”
“Touché.” We reached the top of the stairs and along the corridor before coming to the end of the apartment, where my room was located. “And this is my room.”
I opened the door and let him enter first. “I never spend much time in here but it was my father’s bargaining chip to make me live with him and continuing being a part of the company. So he let me decorate however I wanted. Since I was seven I have redecorated it four times. I redid it last summer, trying to get rid of the posters of cute boys and replace them with more tasteful artwork.”
“It suits you,” he said, touring the opulent room lazily, his hands shoved into his pockets. He looked deadly sexy in black, always had. But the suit he wore was even more so. “Cute boys?”
“Yeah,” I let out a laugh, “every teenage girl’s fantasy.”
“Am I a ‘cute boy’?” he asked teasingly.
“No.” I shook my head and walked over to him, placing my hands on his chest, feeling the fabric of his suit jacket. “You are not cute. You are dark. You are sexy. Best of all, you are mine. Cute boys were never mine.”
“Oh?” he raised an eyebrow, his hands moving to my hips, hooking his fingers in my belt loops.
“In case you hadn't noticed, I don’t do pretty boys. I do bad boys, so to speak. I do anyone my father would disapprove of.”
“Your father will disapprove of me?”
“If he knows anything about your family, then of course he will. If you stand behind me, firmly, not wavering or intimidating, he may respect you a little, but he’ll never like you.”
“I don’t want him to like me,” Draco admitted. “I want him to let you go.” He cupped the side of my face with his hand, brushing aside a loose strand of hair.
“He’ll let me go.” I kissed him on the lips, quickly, but affectionately. “He can’t stop me this time.”
From somewhere in the apartment I heard a door slam, and my head snapped towards my own door, listening as someone walked across the marble floors downstairs.
I frowned back at Draco and he shrugged. We both swept out of my room and I took a deep breath as I walked along the hallway. It was still early by my father’s standards, only 6 o’clock. He couldn’t be home yet. I made my way down the stairs; Draco still holding my hand. I caught a flash of red hair and grimaced.
She was a redhead with long and luscious hair. With pale skin and green eyes she was sparkly and irritating. She was rummaging around in the kitchen. I cleared my throat loudly, announcing my presence. Candy’s head jerked so suddenly she caught her head on the cupboards and let out a swear word.
Rubbing the back of her head she found where I was standing and our eyes met. “Oh it’s you,” she said.
“That’s right,” I said, “It’s me.”
“What are you doing here?” Her voice was sickly sweet but she was cold and harsh at the same time. Nothing appealed to me about her, especially not the part where she was after my father’s money.
I put up with Candy for almost three years now. I had been thankful at fourteen when my father had kept their relationship mostly a secret, preferring to conduct their love affair elsewhere. But in the years to come when his affection for her grew and mine lessened, she was always there. Family functions such as birthdays and dinners and holidays, she was there. I watched with acute rage as she opened her many, many gifts and purred at my father, excited at whatever new jewel or bobble he had given. I had received equally lavish gifts, always a way for my father to buy time so I wouldn’t throw a fit and leave the company. But as part of the company was in my name, an irreversible fact to my knowledge, it was not as if he could stop me this time.
“I’m here to talk to Loden,” I replied, narrowing my gaze over Candy’s designer-dressed figure. Most was BonneChique but she wore Manolo Blahniks on her spray-tanned feet, Cartier around her neck and dangling at her ears, as well as an expensive Tacori engagement on her bony left hand finger. For what it was worth, I did know my designers. I had been groomed into the business and while I refused to be a model, I could very easily see myself running a small fashion boutique of my own one day.
“He’s not here,” Candy sniffed.
I raised an eyebrow. “I hadn’t noticed,” I said sarcastically.
While Candy was the picture perfect girlfriend and seemingly perfect step-mother to me, in our conversations alone it had always gone like this. Perhaps not to start when I had just met her, but gradually it had gone in this direction. She thought she could dazzle me with her charm as she had my father. But I was cleverer than that and had seen right through it within a matter of weeks. My father seemed oblivious and while he did not smile at me, when Candy acted sweet towards me he beamed with pride.
“I hope this isn’t to interfere with our wedding plans, Sadie,” her tone dripping with disdain. “Because I’ll tell you here, there is nothing in my mind that says Loden will pay any attention to you. He is quite loyal to me. In fact, he’s actually getting a contract written up so I will be privy to business dealings as well as the occasional modeling gig.”
As a muggle, Candy probably had no idea that my father was a wizard. Sometimes I even wondered if he had forgotten all he had accomplished at school. In this moment I didn’t realize how much more proud of my mother I was, than my father who had sunk so low in my eyes.
“I’m not going to interfere in anything that isn’t my business,” I said calmly, feeling the heat off Draco’s body at my shoulder. Whereas before he had always been the cause of much turmoil and anger, he had somehow become a cool rock of stability that I now found myself depending on.
“Who’s the kid?” Candy said, pointing at Draco over my shoulder.
“I’m not a kid,” Draco responded. “I’m here for Sadie.”
Candy scoffed, “Oh yeah, I get it. You’re ‘here’ for her.” She air quoted with her fingers as she emphasized the word here. I knew things weren’t going to go smoothly.
I didn’t know if it was too soon in our encounter, but I had waited two years too long to show Candy exactly what I was made of. My wand slipped out of my blazer sleeve and into my hand with so much ease I just knew that this was the right time. She caught sight of the movement and her eyebrows rose. “What are you playing at Sadie?”
“There’s a time and place for everything, Candy, if that’s even your real name,” I started to raise my arm, wand extended. “And I think it’s about time I put you in your place.”
Behind me Draco didn’t even flinch as I flicked my wand and muttered the words to make Candy levitate off the ground. It was the first time in my life I had gotten any pleasure from the sound of someone screaming their head off. I wasn’t hurting her, just scaring the shit out of her. And she deserved it. Perhaps now she would think twice about talking down to me again.
“PUT ME DOWN!!!!” she yelled. I listened and retracted my charm. She fell to a clump on the floor. “What the hell, what the hell are you?!?”
At the moment, I wasn’t completely concerned with the case that I was an underage witch who had just done magic in front of a muggle. But she was in a relationship with a wizard, one who may not do any magic anymore, but she had a right to know what kind of family she was marrying into.
“I’m a witch. My father, Loden Morris, the man you’re marrying, is a wizard. For all I know he doesn’t use his magic anymore. But I do. I’m going to school where I learn to hone my magic.”
“Of course I am,” I said, throwing my hands upwards in mock defeat. “I am such a scam artist at sixteen that I would be willing to make up this cock-and-bull story just to keep my daddy all to myself.” I hoped that the sarcasm dripping from my tone would give her the hint that this was not a joke.
“What’s even more laughable,” I continued, “Is that you think for even a second that I care what my father does with you. You are more of a scam artist than I am, milking my father for all his money. Well here’s a newsflash for you; my inheritance is locked, from you and from my father. My father made it that way as a little incentive for me to stay within the company until I was of age. Each year, more and more money is being siphoned in so by next March, I will have little under half of my father’s entire accumulated wealth. Some bribe eh?”
Her eyes were widening with each word that came out of my mouth.
“So seriously, what you and my father do is entirely up to the both of you. I just wanted us girls to get on the same page, before I go tell my father about your scams, and possibly quit being BonneChique’s exclusive cover girl. At seventeen though, you can guarantee that I am taking control of my shares and ousting both you and my father.”
“You can’t do that,” Candy said. “Your father is more powerful than he has ever been, and he is only getting stronger.”
I took a step forward and she scrambled back, still sprawled on the marble floors of the kitchen. “There is a war coming, Candy, whether the muggle world would appreciate it or not.”
“Non-magical, little one. And muggles are grossly unprepared for the events that are coming. It has happened once before and thousands died. Ignorance may be bliss, but the ignorant are the unprepared and the unprepared die. So heed my warning; my father may be powerful, but in the year to come he will require all his strength. I am younger and stronger, and if my father refuses to see what’s happening around him, I will challenge his authority. Now where is he?”
Her lower lip quivered and I knew that for once she was listening and actually hearing the things I said. I had never felt more empowered. “He’s at The Tower.”
I nodded and turned. Draco stepped out of my way and quickly followed as I made my way towards the fireplace once again. He grabbed my hand and whispered in my ear. “You are so sexy right now.”
I smiled and made eye contact with him. While his eyes were rich with desire they were also immensely proud of me. I wasn’t going to take no for an answer any longer. I had spent my life under my father’s thumb, doing everything I was told. It was time for that to end.
I whirled in the fireplace, snatched up a handful of Floo Powder, looked directly at Draco and yelled, “BC Tower!” hoping he would follow my lead.