Chapter 4 : Four Men and a Lady
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“Now, Wingrove,” the man in front of me said with an important sort of emphasis on each syllable. “You know why you’re here, right?”
“Er ... no,” I said. My heart was hammering inside my chest.
“You didn’t tell her, Callum?” the man said, raising his eyebrows. Callum shrugged, looking bored.
I was sat (against my will, of course) on a chair in their kitchen. I mean, if you could call it a kitchen. It was grimy and dark and dusty and there was a rather pungent smell that I couldn’t quite place lingering in the air.
“I was in a hurry,” Callum said lazily. The man simply rolled his eyes and turned back to me.
“I’m sure you know who I am, correct?” he said. He was a portly man who wore his hat indoors.
“Er, no,” I said again, this time even less confidently.
From behind me, the tall blonde boy who I’d passed as Callum had dragged me in laughed. The portly man shot him a look and he replaced the laugh with a smirk.
I felt myself blush. Here I was, not yet twenty, and I’d already been kidnapped and by who? Some loser from Hogwarts and his weird little band of friends.
Callum had dragged me into the building and once we’d gotten to the top step, he’d Apparated us inside, where we ended up in a dark and dusty hallway. It was as grimy as the kitchen, with an air of faded grandeur. I’d taken a moment to catch my breath – I disliked Apparating, especially with this horrible boy – when he’d simply grabbed me by the arm again and pulled me down the hallway and into a doorway on the left, where I was greeted by a unlikely trio of people.
The first person I saw had been the portly man, who was currently eyeing me in what almost seemed like outrage. The second had been the tall blonde boy, who was still leaning against the wall of the doorway and was dressed casually. He looked friendly enough, but there was something in his cold grey eyes and hollow cheekbones that suggested otherwise.
The third person’s back was still turned, bent over something on a table in the corner of the kitchen, but from what I could see of him, he had dark pink hair and was fairly broad.
All in all, a pretty obscure collection of folks. Who evidently didn’t know how to keep anything clean. House was filthy.
The portly man cleared his throat, still looking annoyed. “My name’s Cornelius Fudge,” he said stiffly.
“Ohh!” I said suddenly, recognition sparking. “I think I’ve heard of you. You were kicked out of the...” I trailed off, realizing that this was possibly a sore spot for him.
The blonde boy snickered again. Cornelius Fudge frowned. “Shush, Malfoy.”
Malfoy ... where had I heard that name before?
I spun around, squinting hard at him. “I know you! Rose Weasley’s ex-boyfriend!”
Scorpius Malfoy and Rose Weasley had dated on-and-off during Hogwarts. Their relationship had gone through several different bumps, which almost always ended with one of them screaming at the other.
Though I didn’t like to admit it, it had been a relatively good source of entertainment on those dreary Wednesday afternoons when you were trying relentlessly to avoid doing your Charms homework.
Malfoy looked as irritated as Cornelius Fudge had been. “Yeah, well ... she’s old news now”, he muttered.
From the table in the corner, the man with pink hair chuckled.
Malfoy shot him a death glare that I’m sure the man detected even though his back was turned.
“Shut it, Teddy.”
“Whatever," the other man said quite jovially.
Cornelius Fudge sent both of them a rather pompous frown, and then turned back to me, a new look in his eye, a kind of glint that unsettled me even more.
“Now, Miss Wingrove,” he began, sitting up straighter. At this, I heard Callum and Scorpius straighten up too. ‘Teddy’ continued to bend over the table. Whatever he was doing, it must have been important. “It should be no surprise to you of why we have taken you hostage.”
“It is actually,” I interrupted. He raised his eyebrows. “W-well, it’s just that I can’t really think of any reason why you would.”
“Well, isn’t it obvious?” Scorpius said from behind me. I turned to look at him. “You’re loaded, Wingrove!”
Ohh. So this was about money. How peculiar. Not.
“Exactly,” said Cornelius Fudge, noting my changed expression.
“But, why do any of you need money?” I asked. “I mean, you’re the ex-Minister for Magic! You should have some money. And Callum, your father’s one of the most famous Seekers in the world. Malfoy, your family are rolling in it; you have as much as me. And er, Teddy? Um, I don’t know about you, but -”
I was cut off when I saw Cornelius Fudge’s face.
“They ... took all my money.” The colour of his skin was reddening. I bit my lip in embarrassment.
“No, they didn’t!” Teddy said. I was beginning to badly want to see his face. “You spent it all on drink and pretty little properties in Belfast!”
Scorpius snickered once again while Cornelius Fudge fumed, but both stopped when Teddy said “And Malfoy, you lost all your inheritance when you tried to gain access to it early!”
There was a moment of silence. I looked at Callum. “How did you lose your money?”
“I didn’t”, he shrugged. “I just wanted to make my own money.”
“By stealing mine?!”
“No one ever got rich being honest,” he said flippantly. I pursed my lips. These men were despicable.
“So,” Cornelius Fudge started again, regaining his composure. “Obviously, our only way to get back our money is to hold you for ransom. Of course, the daughter of Peter Wingrove would be sorely missed by her father, and maybe even some family friends. As a result, we’re going to keep you here until he pays up.”
“Well, you won’t reach him today,” I said sniffily, folding my arms. I was no longer scared of these four, just quite unnerved.
“And why’s that?” Callum said with a smug smile.
“It’s his day off.”
There was a moment of silence, before Teddy gave a short bark of laughter. Then he straightened and turned around, giving me a good look at him.
He was quite pale, with a heart-shaped face and twinkling eyes, but there was a strange kind of hardness to him, as if he wasn’t easily affected.
“It doesn’t matter,” he said, watching me with those strange, twinkly eyes. “I think we should keep her here longer anyway.”
“What?!” I shrieked. Cornelius Fudge turned in his seat to look up at Teddy.
“And why’s that?” he asked.
“How about this,” Teddy said, moving to the table where Cornelius Fudge sat. “We keep her longer ... for more money.”
Scorpius, Callum and Cornelius Fudge looked unimpressed. I’ll admit, it was a bit of dull idea.
“And we also keep a few more as hostage,” Teddy finished. He then produced what I assumed he’d been working on and placed it in front of the ex-Minister.
For something he’d been bent over for about ten minutes, it was a pretty shoddy piece of work. From what I could see, there were about ten names written on it, with what looked like values of money and then another bit of text that I couldn’t understand.
The four men stood over it, reading it intently.
“The Jordan’s aren’t actually that rich,” Callum said, pointing to a name. Teddy promptly scribbled a name out.
“And to be honest, the Longbottoms and the Scamandars are unlikely to be ones you can get a hold of,” Scorpius chipped in. Teddy sighed and crossed two more names off.
“Plus, I’ve met Chloe Patil. I don’t fancy her for anything other than a quick shag, and I don’t really want to see her again,” Callum added. The three men looked at him for a moment, as did I. How gross. Teddy sighed again and crossed out a fourth name.
“But the rest of these are good,” Cornelius Fudge said cheerfully. “Good idea, Lupin.”
Hang on ... Teddy Lupin...
Oh my god.
This guy wasn’t seriously Victoire Delacour-Weasley’s fiancé? He couldn’t possibly be. He just couldn’t!!
Victoire was one of the most famous fashion-designers in the world; her label, Chique, was worth thousands of galleons. I suppose her famous name helped, but it was also because the style of clothes she made. They were endlessly stylish; everyone worth knowing had Chique clothing, even myself and Danyes.
This was ridiculous, but I didn’t have time to speak. All I can remember from this point until what must have been quite a while later is Cornelius Fudge saying ‘now, just get rid of her’, a hazy memory of someone saying something and suddenly feeling quite woozy. Then, I felt a sort of floating sensation, as if I wasn’t even touching the ground.
Then, everything had gone black.
I am RUBBISH. I’m sorry, so unbelievably sorry for the wait, I'm sorry for the cliched ending, I'm sorry for how rushed and stuttery this chapter seems - I'm sorry for about short it is and how it's just one straight scene. It’s not even funny how rubbish I am! Also, I don't 'chique' means anything. The closest is 'chic' which just means 'trendy' in French, I think. Mazz X