Chapter 1 : One
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And, yet again, I hail Queen Rowling, and her work. And no. I am not as awesome as her. Unfortunately. Bad genes, you know.
I wander down the streets of London, trying to get as far away from the Ministry as possible. Away from that constrictive prison. I loosen my tie, and let it hang, and also undo a few buttons of my shirt. The cool air cleanses me and calms me down, its almost painful bite reaching my chest and refreshing me.
My mind however, doesn’t stop working, it’s never ending list of things to do growing with every passing second. Send the recruitment papers to the Auror Office, read through the Death eater's files, Talk to Kingsley, Arrange meeting with the Daily Prophet, talk to a lawyer, all before the end of tomorrow.
None of it seems worthwhile anymore, all the working, and constant stress. For what? More money? Pfft, don’t need any more of that, I’ve got more than enough from all these years. More family time? What family? I’m 25, and haven’t had a girlfriend since Hogwarts. And even with the time I get to visit mum and dad, they’re too busy looking after Bill’s kid, and Teddy to even notice that I’m around. To do something with my life? Ha Ha, very funny. Nothing I’ve ever done has made a difference. Harry and Ron are both trying to get the Auror Office back up to scratch, Hermione’s busy trying to write the trio’s autobiography, and get some right’s for house elves, Ginny’s busy having fun playing for the Harpies, George is.. I dunno, doing whatever George does to invent new stuff for the shop, Charlie’s still training dragons, and I’m…. just surviving. Not living. Surviving. Existing.
And for once in my life, existing isn’t enough for me.
I take off my tie completely and shove it in my back pocket, as I approach a pub on the corner of a street. It looks pretty decent, not too shady for a pub in the center of Wizarding London. Through the windows I see huge screens playing re runs of several Quidditch matches, including the match last Saturday, that Gin was playing in. I take no notice of her however, knowing that if I do, I’ll be forced to think about all the bad memories I had at home.
Switching my gaze, I look around, and among the various booths are quite a few regulars, and also a few groups of guys drinking and joking around after a long day. I take a seat at the empty bar, and run my hands through my tousled hair. I rest my head on my hands and close my eyes.
“What can I get you?” I hear her voice but don’t open my eyes. I take a deep breath and and say something I’ve never had the guts to say before in my life.
Still keeping my eyes closed, I hear the clank of bottles and ice, as she mixes up something, that sounds quite exotic and complex. She pours it into a glass, and pushes it towards me before she says, “Enjoy.”
I open my eyes, and for a second, everything is hazy, but then my eyes focus. I watch as she smiles a shy grin, and retreats to serve another customer at one of the booths. Hesitantly, I take a sip of the concoction that is in the martini glass, and my tastebuds get assaulted with flavors of strong vodka and... cherry? It’s not unpleasant but not something I’m used to, but I can’t help think that I could learn to like it.
Cherry, huh? It suits her. I sneak a look at her before she ducks into the kitchen. She is very, very pretty, with curly light blonde hair that she has in a messy bun, small curls finding their way out, framing her face. Her deep brown eyes are warm, and she is naturally pretty, wearing no makeup, which I quite like. She has a slim figure, and is quite petite and short.
I draw my eyes down as soon as I notice her making her way over, I take another sip of my drink. She starts clearing up the table, but as soon as I look up, so does she. That slow, and shy smile reappears, and she smirks and says, “Too strong for you?”
I smirk back, and casually reply, “Not at all.”
“Good.” She says before she goes back to cleaning.
I chuckle, and take another sip, before watching her. Now and then she sneaks a look back at me, and once she finds my eyes, she immediately looks down, and I chortle.
“To who do I owe tonight’s pleasure?” I ask, and she looks up, startled.
“Audrey.” She says and leans against the counter to stare back at me.
“Just Audrey?” I ask, and lean back and relax in my stool.
“Just Audrey.” She nods, and smirks.
“Well, Just Audrey, this Cherry Mojito is quite delicious, and I am considering making it my regular.” I say, all the time keeping my eyes on her.
“Well, Percy, I would be very honored if you made it your regular, as this is the first time I’ve made it.”
My eyes widened when she said my first name, but then again, I was the Minister’s first hand man so it made sense that people knew me. I quickly regained my composure, but one look at her face told me that she had seen my shock and found it amusing. She smiled again, and it lit up her entire face, making her glow.
“Experimenting are we Miss. Audrey?”
“Yes, Mr. Weasley, but then again, life’s full of first times.”
I chuckled again, finding her attitude both amusing and refreshing. She was so fresh, and so real. And I was beginning to like her.
“So, what do you do, besides this?” I wave my hand around the room, and she smiles again.
“I’m a healer in training, and in one more year, and I’ll be completely qualified.”
“Yeah, you didn’t expect that did you.” She smirks.
“No, but you’ve exceeded my expectations, Just Audrey.” I smirk back. Jeez, why am I being so cocky all of a sudden? I’m never like this, this… flirty? But I think its half the drink talking, and half my attraction to her. I mean, she is very pretty, and witty.
“Do you enjoy it? The healing thing, I mean.” I ask her out of curiosity.
“I do.” she replies, before putting down the towel. “I just, I dunno, I want to make a difference. And even if I can save one life, or put one person out of misery, It’s all worth it. The smile on their face, and the satisfaction of doing something that can completely change someone’s life for the better, is just amazing.”
I try to hide my admiration but I can’t help but feel nostalgic. I want to do something with my life, something that makes me happy. And I can just taste the passion in her voice. She really wants this, she really wants to help, and somehow, that just made me like her a hundred times more.
We sit in silence for a few minutes, both of us deep in thought, about life. I bring my eyes up to hers, and she asks me with a smile, “Enough of me, now, what are you doing here, all alone?”
“All Alone? Well, I’ve been alone for a while. And here? Well, I’m just, I’m just sick of everything.” I take a deep breath. For some reason, I just feel like telling someone about how I feel, and Audrey seems like the kind of person that would listen.
“When I look around, and look at what all my brothers and sister, and their friends have done, I just feel so worthless. All these years, I’ve been so concentrated on myself, that I just haven’t appreciated anything, or anyone.”
My mind drifts to Fred, and how I just didn’t show him how much I loved him. I always took him for granted, and now he’s gone, and I can’t help but wallow in self pity.
“You know that there is always time for second chances?” She gently says, and I can’t help but think about it.
“But do I deserve one?”
I can feel my resolve shattering, everything that I worked to build over the years, just crashing down into tiny pieces.
She grabs a glass of water, and sits opposite me, and when I feel her gaze on me I look up.
“Everyone does, Percy. Everyone, including you.”
I nod, and take a long sip of my drink.
It almost seemed true, that with everything I’ve done, and become, that I deserve the right to start over. Almost.
She leaves to go attend to other tables, but not before giving me a reassuring smile.
It’s remarkable really, how people who don’t know you, see the best in you. They truly think that they’ve met a incredible person, who has everything that they’ve ever wanted in the palms of their hands. Every book has a book cover, but that’s exactly it, it’s a cover, a mask, hiding what’s bad from other people’s view, leading them to think that it’s an amazing and smashing book, when in reality, you haven’t read far enough. You haven’t gotten to the bit where their inner demons show themselves. They think that you have a chance, but in reality, you’re all out of chances.
Honestly, when I graduated, I never thought that I’d find my self, here and now, 25, single, completely disconnected from all of my family and friends and most importantly, unhappy and unsatisfied with my life. I guess that war kind of changed all of that, but still, I thought I’d be happy, with the people I loved.
Audrey returns and nudges me. I look back up to her, and I can see a slow evil smile spreading across her face. Alarm bells sound in my head, and I wearily ask her,” What are you going to do?”
She pauses for a second, before replying.
“No, seriously, what are you planning?” I start to get nervous.
“I know exactly the way to cheer you up, Mr. Sad Face.”
At first I am a bit taken aback by her description of me, but then I see her rush off and grab a beer, before slowly walking towards the young college students having a laugh. Oh oh. Oh no. What is she doing?!
“Audrey.” I warn her in the most low and threatening voice I can muster.
She just smiles, places her finger over her mouth, silently communicating that I be quiet and watch her.She walks to one of the boys, and gives him the drink, at first he is surprised, but then she points to me, and whispers in his ear. He turns bright red, and his mates start hysterically laughing at him. Audrey winks at me and walks back towards me.
Meanwhile, I am in shock, my mouth forming a perfect O. The poor boys mates start making kissy noises, embarrassing him further. He puts his head in his hands, and shakes his head.
She just told him that I bought him a drink.
And that I’m interested in him.
He thinks I’m gay.
WHICH I AM NOT!?
Audrey calmly walks back towards me and sits back down on the other side of the bar. She starts to smile, and then upon seeing the frightened look on my face, she starts to laugh. Her laugh is beautiful, and sounds so musical and alive, that it shook me out of my own state of momentary shock, and made me laugh. Made me really laugh. And when I say that she really made me laugh, I mean it. I had tears in my eyes, which really is not manly, and I was clutching my sore stomach, and banging my fist on the counter. Audrey was well past me, and looked as if she was about to fall off the chair, she was laughing so hard.
So understandably it took us a while to calm down, and even then, both Audrey and I would remember it and giggle again.
Chuckling is manly.
Giggling is not.
I haven’t laughed in such a long time, that I can’t even remember when I last laughed, it was that long ago. But it felt so good to be free, to be able to spread my wings, and fly for once. To not care what other people thought, to just let go. It made it seem so easy to be happy, to enjoy everything.
Audrey got me another drink, but not as strong as the mojito, this time, thank god. But I will never admit to her, that it indeed was testing my limits.
“So, if I ever want to come back here again, uh, what is this place called?” I ask shyly, I mean, who who be so careless to not notice what the damn pub was called? Yeah, me.
“The Pitch. Pretty simple.”
“Makes sense.” I say, thinking back to the screens showing quidditch re runs, and the signed posters and jerseys that hung framed on the walls. “Someone must be really obsessed with Quidditch.”
“Yeah, Ernie, the owner is a fanatic, he practically goes to every match.”
“I know, I mean, I love Quidditch, but I don’t think I’d be able to go to every game without getting bored.”
“Did you play? You know, at Hogwarts.” Man, was I asking her too many questions? Surely I was.
She nods. “Chaser, for the claws. I was 2 years below you, I think. You got head boy, didn’t you?”
Oh man. The golden era.
“Yeah, but I was such a prat then, I kind of had it coming.”
“You still are.”
“Gee thanks, you’re so nice.”
She chuckled, and went back to putting the glasses into the dishwasher.
“I don’t look like I’m homosexual do I?” I asked her nervously. I knew I wasn’t, but it was quite a worrying thought if I looked like I was.
“No, Percy, you look like a very handsome straight male specimen.” I exhaled a held breath. “At least in my eyes.”
I started to go red. Only a little though.
I cleared my throat, and Audrey laughed.
A middle aged man pops his head from out of the kitchen, gives me a smile and says to Audrey, “We’re gonna close soon, so you might want to start to finish up.” He disappears back into to kitchen.
“He seems nice.”
“He is, always letting me take as many days I need off for exams, that man. He’s kind of like my second father.”
“Well, I think that’s my queue to leave.”
I place a few galleons on the counter, and smile at Audrey who was watching me. I pick up my jacket, and take a step towards the door before I turn around and hurriedly ask her, “You doing anything tomorrow?”
She smiles, and smirks before saying, “Come, and I’ll see if I’m free.”
I can’t hide my shit-eating grin, and before I know it, Audrey was pushing me out the door with a smile on her face.
I apparate back to my apartment, and have a cold shower before I grab something to eat, and wander to the balcony. I lean against the rusty metal railing, and watch as the stars twinkle, glittering specs in a sea of midnight blue, always shining, never fading.
And I couldn’t help but think that I might stand a chance with her.
Anyone liking this new Percy besides me? What about Audrey, is she what you expected? The little grey box down below is kinda lonely, so yeah, please R&R! Thanks for reading!
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