(beautiful chapter image by astoriaviana at tda)
The first time I saw Freddie Weasley, there weren't sparks. No fireworks exploded in our vicinity. Instead, the bell pealed gently as the door of the pub was opened, loud laughter chasing behind it. I looked up from the table I was scrubbing, looking straight at the first stranger.
“Sorry,” I smiled at the pair, eyes flickering between the two. “We're closing up.”
“Dragon's breath,” the words fell from his lips in a husky tone, one eyebrow arching, as if challenging. I squinted at him, momentarily confused, before remembering Harriet's words before she left. Something about there being a code word and certain people being allowed in the pub after closing hours? What I wanted most was to finish tidying up and get home, have a warm shower and collapse into bed. I'd forgotten quite how much energy it took working shifts at the Leaky. Still, it was a favour to Lila, one I couldn't turn down.
Instead I smile once more and head back behind the bar. “What can I get you?”
He moved towards the bar with an easy arrogance, laces trailing, dark hair falling into dark eyes, dark smile tantalising and oh so sure. “Well,” was all he said, and for some reason it was entrancing. The single word seemed to hold so much. His blonde companion shook his head.
“Really? Now?” the Irish lilt was melodic, soothing. “Vodka on the rocks, please.”
The dark haired one hadn't yet given me his order, so I set about pouring the Elf-distilled vodka into a clear cut glass and filling it with ice. The blonde guy was clattering around as he sat down, trying to gain the other's attention as he placed a battered guitar onto the table with a loud twang.
Finishing his drink, I look once more at the dark haired boy, expectantly. The way he was leaning on the bar emphasised his arms, and I'm sure he knew that it did.
“You,” he says. I laugh gently, and move from behind the bar to walk to the blonde guy to give him his drink.
“Sorry,” I smile once more as I return to the bar, flicking a finger and murmuring an enchantment so the quill scribbles the drink onto a fresh bar tab. “I'm not available.”
The blonde laughs and the dark haired boy frowns for a moment.
“I like her,” the blonde says, and I nod at him.
“Firewhiskey,” he orders, his eyes burning like my throat does after a shot of that very drink. I nod and turn, and let out a small breath when he leaves the bar and goes to join his blonde friend.
Fixing the drink takes a little time, I place it in front of him with a smile, take his friends glass and fetch him a pint, as requested. They sit talking and laughing, then out comes a sheet of parchment and a quill and they both pick up a guitar. The blonde concentrates, plucking at the strings with a crease in his forehead. The darker haired one strums idly, twitches the tuning peg, does a few chords and hums lightly.
I continue tidying the pub, collecting my wand from the side and enchanting the mops to clean the floor as I fill the sink with hot, soapy water and wash all the glasses, taking special care to rub away lipstick stains from the cocktail glasses and greasy fingerprint residues. The Leaky Cauldron has become a more high class place, the renovations done after the Wizarding War to try and gain a higher calibre of customers. It had worked, sort of.
I hear him singing, a simple melody, his voice changing from husky to smooth, lilting, nice. Drying my hands on a towel, I pull another pint and head over.
“Vodka please,” the blonde mumbles at me, barely lifting his head from the parchment he's scrawling on, his head bent in the urgency.
I feel his friend watching me as I collect their empty glasses.
“What's your name?” he asks, and he's husking again, voice low and humming. I rub a mark on the wood with the towel tucked into my apron, frown when it doesn't shift.
“Evangeline,” I smile and walk away, the glasses clinking as I place them into the water filled sink. I carry the vodka back, put it on the table. The blonde mutters a thank you.
“Fancy a coffee, Evangeline?” he looks enticing, lips turned up at the sides, eyes dark.
“Freddie!” the blonde looks up and he shakes his head at me. I grin back.
“No, thank you,”and I retreat from the arrogance and carelessness he exudes, hear him stir behind me. But when I glance over he's barely moved, but he winks at me.
“O-oh, Evangeline,” he strums the guitar and hums my name in a way that doesn't seem real. “Why must you be so mean? O-oh, Evangeline,” his voice rises and falls and his lips quirk as I look over, slightly disbelievingly, a floorboard creaking as I reach up, wiping the duster along the top shelf of glasses. “O-oh, Evangeline, I've seen -”
“Bam, c'mon, man! We have a fucking deadline.”
I glance at the tab and wonder if whatever they're doing is going to be coherent in the morning. There's a roll in Freddie's hips as he crosses the floor to the bar that shows how much he's had, a slight misplacement of his hands as he almost misses the bar.
“You're very distracting.” He leans over the mahogany wood that separates back and I look at him, unwavering, unflinchingly, his lips curving into that enticing smile. His whole body screams danger. His friend pads up to the bar behind him, shoves him to one side and asks for the tab.
“You're a dick, Weasley,” he snaps, placing the coins on the bar. A generous tip, too.
“I'll do it later,” Freddie holds my gaze and for a moment I wonder what he's referring too. Then, turning his head to the blonde, “Ronan, can I have a ticket?”
The blonde set up a protest almost instantly, “Bam, c'mon, this is ridiculous, every single damn time,” but he was reaching into his pocket and pulling out a ticket, it's surface reflecting the dim light.
Freddie took it, and held it out to me. When I didn't take it, he placed it on the bar and slid it over with one finger. “In a week, it's our first come back gig. You should come.”
“Maybe,” I say, and he looks at me for a long moment, significantly, before smiling, seemingly satisfied. He walks to the door but Ronan stays for a beat, looks at me.
“He's trouble,” he warns, and I laugh gently.
I wave them off, both of them clutching the neck of their guitar, Ronan berating, Freddie chuckling.
After transferring all the money from the till into the safe, I collect my coat and cast an eye around the pub. At the last moment I slide the ticket into my pocket, not before I catch a glimpse of 'VIP.' Feeling sure I've done everything, I lock the door, mutter the relevant charms and hoping they hold fast. Squeezing my eyes shut, I apparate, trying to ignore my lurching stomach as I do so.
I'm so tired I barely miss the signs, my key missing the lock first time. The first is the lack of lights. Then the lack of noise. I pad through to the bedroom, and sigh as I see the note on my pillow.
I'm so sorry, Eva. I just can't.
And another one bites the dust.
AN: Hello dear reader. I really shouldn't be starting a new story, but here I go! Freddie's just dying to be written, and I fancied a new OC. Thoughts and opinions would be muchly appreciated! Brownies to all!
EDIT: chapter image added of the lovely Ronan.