Chapter 14 : It's A Party
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October 31st, 3:55 P.M. –Auror Department
“You’re such a git, mate,” I laugh after I weasel out of Scorpius what really happened at his driving lesson. I couldn’t get a word out of June other than she’d never get in a car with him again. Not that I blame her, it sounded dreadful. “If you wanted her advice, you should have just asked!”
He shoves me as we gather our stuff to head home, “Yeah, she said that too. I was simply trying to kill two birds with one stone.”
I shove him back harder, like bros do. “Well, your driving skills could easily have killed two birds, and yourself, and June.”
I continue to pick on him as we quickly head to the lifts. I’m expected to be at my parent’s house dressed all fancy and whatnot by 5 o’clock, so I don’t have much time to waste. I wouldn’t be running so late if my prat of a partner had shown up. I got stuck with Roger Alderman this week, and he hardly comes to work. He’s always sick with something or another, leaving me to do double the work. You’d think someone with such a weak immune system wouldn’t cut it as an auror.
Just as I’m about to push the button, I hear an annoying voice yell my name, “Potter, hold on a minute.”
Fucking Thompson, how I despise thee. “Yes?” I answer with a fake smile.
“You weren’t about to leave now, were you?” he asks, upbeat and as irritating as ever.
My fake smile falters. “Actually, I was. I have a family party to attend. I’m already running late, so if you don’t mind, I really need to get going.” I say, aggravation clear in my tone.
“Ah, yes,” he says with an obnoxious grin. “The annual Potter Halloween dinner. I myself will be attending. I would hate for you to be late, but you still have to finish your paperwork I’m afraid.”
I really want to smack the smirk off his face. “I finished my work and turned it in to Peters an hour ago.”
“Only half of what was assigned to you and your partner was completed. I believe Alderman was gone today, correct?” he questions in a very patronizing way.
“Yes, but his tasks aren’t my responsibility,” I counter, becoming very unhappy with where this conversation is heading.
He shakes his head, “Now, Potter. Being an auror is about being a team player. If you can’t handle being a team player, well then…” he trails off.
Fucking hell. I’ll be damned if Thompson or Alderman ruins my chances of becoming a trained auror. “Of course I’m a team player, Sir.” I mutter through gritted teeth. “I’ll have everything done as soon as possible.”
He smiles his smarmy smile, “That’s what I like to hear! See you at the dinner,” he says before exiting down the hallway.
I swear I hate that guy more and more every time I talk to him. He thinks he’s such a hot shot because he’s not in training any more. He’s barely my superior yet he acts like he’s the bloody boss. What a joke.
I let out a loud sigh of frustration, “Well it looks like I won’t be on time for dinner. Can you go stop by June’s and let her know I’ll be late? I want to go finish as fast as I can,” I ask Scorpius.
“Sure thing, mate,” he says, patting me on the back. “Good luck and I’m proud of you for not punching him in the face. I could tell you were about to,” he says with a laugh.
“Wouldn’t want to ruin that pretty smile,” I laugh with him.
Now if only he’d use his precious looks to get his own girlfriend so he can stop pining after mine.
That would be ideal.
October 31st, 4:20 P.M. –June and Stella’s flat
“Did he have any idea when he’d be done?” I ask Scorpius.
He shakes his head, “Al said he’d try to finish as quick as he can, but who knows how much his partner was supposed to do.”
“Poor Al,” I sigh. “Thanks for telling me, I guess I’ll see you at the Potter’s.”
“No problem, June. See you there,” he says with a smile before apparating home to finish getting ready.
I walk back into my room to continue getting ready. I’m sure Al’s parents won’t be too thrilled he might not make it for the dinner, but I guess there’s not much that can be done. I sigh loudly to myself thinking about how boring this will be because Al won’t be there. Stella’s coming, which would normally be enough to make it bearable, but she’s been whining about having to share a table with James all day and I don’t think I can handle the death glares she’ll be sending his way. Scorpius will probably be spending the whole time trying to get Rose not to hate him, so he won’t be good company either. With my luck, I’ll end talking to some ministry stiff about the joys of working in the transportation department with no friend to save me.
Oh golly gee.
Annoyed at my prospects for the evening, I sulk over to the closet and grab the dress I bought just for this occasion. Stell and I went shopping last week and splurged a little on new dresses for both of us. Not going to lie, we felt kind of bad ass having money of our own to spend on nice clothes, seeing as we are working gals and all. But that feeling was replaced with sadness when we realized that we were in fact spending our own money, meaning we now have less of said money.
Being independent is rather bittersweet at times.
This train of thought gets me on a psychological tangent as I realize that all this growing up my friends and I have been doing is pretty bittersweet. We’re still young with plenty of time to figure life out, make mistakes and all that, but there’s no denying we have more responsibility on our shoulders than we’ve ever had. We’re going to be facing adult problems without the luxury of adult experience. Kind of a scary thought, right?
I slip on the black lace dress and gaze at the mirror. With the new clothes and make up I truly do look like a proper adult. Then I remember that I suppose I am, technically. Sometimes it’s strange to look at yourself and really take in how much you’ve changed. I touch my hand to my face, as if trying to assure myself it’s really my face. It’s not like my appearance has changed dramatically recently, I guess I just never took the time to notice that my looks have matured.
It’s strange, but a sudden sadness washes over me. Random times like these make me wish I had a mum around to tell me how I just look so darling in my dress and go on about how she’s so proud of the woman I’ve become. I want her to tell me my skirt is too short even when it’s not, because that’s what mums do, and help me figure out if I’m doing this growing up thing right.
Al hasn’t been able to find anything about her, but I knew that was a longshot. Besides, even if I did find her, what difference would it make? She didn’t want to be my mum when she left, what makes me think she would want to be my mum now?
A loud bang interrupts my thoughts as Stella barges in. She looks amazing as usual in her lilac dress and I feel a small sting of jealously. I haven’t got serious self-esteem issues about my appearance or anything, but when you’re best friend could be on the cover of a magazine, it’s hard not to be a little envious.
“Yo biotch, ready to…” she trails off, noticing my reflection in the mirror. “Junie, what’s wrong? Did something happen?” she asks concernedly. I shake my head and try to tell her I’m fine, but she doesn’t believe me. “You’re eyes are all red and you’ve got that vacant look on you face like your mind is a million miles away.”
I rub my eyes and try to smooth down my hair. Once I’ve collected myself a bit I turn towards her and try to explain how I’m feeling. She nods, putting a consoling hand on my shoulder.
“I just got to thinking about how we’re growing up, and about how sometimes a mum’s advice would be nice. It’s nothing really, just one of those moments where things hit you all at once, you know?” I say, finishing my emotional rant.
When we were younger, I never exactly spelled out to Stella how I felt about my mum situation. Partially because I thought she wouldn’t understand and partially because I was jealous that her family seemed so perfect when mine was anything but. I didn’t want her to know how desperately I wanted a mum like hers. Over the years as we got even closer and matured I didn’t need to say it for her to know. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how a girl might feel about not having a mum, and Stella knows me better than anyone, except for maybe Al.
So, knowing me like she does, she simply pulls me into a hug. Stella knows I don’t need some speech; all I need is to know she’s there for me. When your own mum leaves you, it’s hard to get rid of that nagging feeling deep down that the other people you care about will leave, too.
She gives me a big squeeze, “We’re best mates for life deary, you know you can talk to me about this stuff whenever you need, right?”
I smile, my emotional moment already passing, “I know. Thanks, Stell.”
She returns my grin, “Any time! Now, we need to finish getting ready. Let’s fix that mascara of yours,” she says laughing as we notice that my eyes look a bit ridiculous after rubbing them so much.
“Good idea,” I say grabbing the Witch-tastic Lash tube off my dresser.
I fix my makeup and put the finishing touches on my hair. My hair is in a messy up-do while Stella’s is down in loose curls. “Damn, we look good!” she says, blowing kisses at our reflection.
“You’re such a ham,” I giggle, giving her a playful shove away from the mirror.
“Just you wait till the boys see us in our Halloween costumes! They’ll go crazy,” she says, sticking out her tongue. “I just hope Fred doesn’t mess with them while they are unattended,” she thinks aloud.
We dropped our costumes off at the burrow earlier this afternoon so we didn’t have to come back and change. The probability of Fred finding them is low however, because we hid them very well.
“Well, those boys are all yours because the only boy I care about is Albus,” I say, grabbing my purse and double checking I haven’t forgotten anything.
She rolls her eyes, “You could wear a freaking paper bag and Al would still go crazy.”
I smile, trying to hide my crimson cheeks, “Yeah, yeah. Let’s just get going, I don’t want to be late!”
October 31st, 5:17 P.M. –Fancy shmancy banquet hall
The venue takes my breath away when we arrive. I couldn’t help but think that the Potters sure go full out for their dinner parties. I can only imagine the time that went into planning this. It’s like looking at a home décor magazine, with every piece of the room fitting perfectly together. Even though it’s a Halloween dinner, there isn’t much of anything scary or Halloween related. There seems to be more of a general fall trend, with rich golds, browns, and reds throughout the hall. The decorations adorning the tables all share a gleaming gold color that makes the room feel very warm and cozy.
“Damn,” Stella says oh so eloquently under her breath. “Hold my clutch while I try to find a bathroom in this place, yeah?” She says suddenly.
I roll my eyes and take her purse; probably a James sighting.
When my family throws dinner parties it’s usually just my dad and I, Grandmum Ann, Grandpa Jack, and my dad’s three best friends from school with their families. The Potters probably have upwards of 150 people and they need a whole banquet room to fit everyone.
I guess when you and your extended family save the world from certain doom everyone wants to come to your parties.
“Hello, dear, you look lovely!” says Mrs. Potter, pulling my eyes away from the decorations and on to her. I was so distracted I didn’t even notice her walk over. She pulls me into a tight hug before I even have a chance to respond. I smile to myself, secretly loving how Al’s family always makes me feel like one of their own. It’s a nice feeling.
Once Mrs. Potter lets me go, I notice how elegant she looks. It’s no wonder Al is such a good looking guy, his mum is absolutely gorgeous. Her red hair is twisted in an elaborate bun and she’s wearing a long peach colored dress that has a shimmer in the soft light of the room. She spent months in a coma and she still looks good. I don’t understand how she does it.
“Thanks, Mrs. Potter! Everything looks brilliant,” I gush, gesturing around the room. “You are one excellent planner.”
She smiles warmly, “You are too kind, June. After being out of the loop, so to speak, for so long, it was nice to have a project to really throw myself into. Although I can’t take all the credit, I did get a lot of great help from my party planner.”
After a few minutes of small talk she excuses herself to greet Minister Shacklebolt and his family, who have just arrived. Unsure of what to do with myself now, I make a beeline for the bar, where I see James getting drinks. Stella has to see him eventually; they are seated at the same table after all.
“Well, don’t you look handsome?” I say playfully.
Feigning shock, he raises his eyebrows. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were trying to make a pass at me. But I can’t really blame you for noticing the obvious.”
Laughing, I gesture to the drinks in his hand, “Drinking for two?” I ask, praying to Merlin that one of those drinks isn’t for some random girl. I don’t need Stella any getting any more pissed off than she already is.
“Nah, one of them is for Fred,” he waves his hand vaguely behind him. “So, I see you’re not with Stella…” he trails off, trying to discreetly scan the room for her.
“She’s here. Probably avoiding you,” I say, causing his cheeks to go a bit red.
“Avoiding me? I should be avoiding her, she’s the one who-” he begins what I’m sure was going to be a very impassioned rant when I cut him off.
“Eh, eh, eh,” I put my palm up to say stop. “Nope. Not hearing it. I’ve already been suckered into helping Scorpius and Rose. This one is on you. I don’t care whose fault it is, just fix it. For the love of all that is good and holy, fix it.”
James gives me a glare, “You say that like it’s that simple.”
“It probably is,” I shrug. “If you two would just talk. IF I were to help you,” I add, “I would say you should probably get your head out of your ass and realize that you made her feel really hurt and jealous after the match in Poland. But I’m not helping you this time, so I’m not going to tell you anything.”
He seems like he’s about to protest when he stops and a look of realization crosses his face. “Shit,” he says quietly. “Hold these for me, thanks.” He shoves the drinks at me before bolting off.
Startled by the turn of events, I nearly spill the drinks all over my dress.
“Need me to take one of those off your hands?” Connor asks, appearing in front of me out of nowhere.
“Not sure what they are, but Fred and James usually have good taste,” I say, offering him one.
He laughs and takes a sip, “Hm, pretty good. I have known the Potters to have good taste in certain respects. I guess drinks can be added to the list.”
Before I can ask what he means by that, he continues. “And party planning, of course,” he says, gesturing around the room. “Mrs. Potter really outdid herself, don’t you think?”
“Yes, it’s beautiful. Puts all the gala’s that I’ve thrown to shame, really.” I smile and he laughs in response. I take a sip of the drink James left me. It makes me feel warm the second it touches my lips, and I can feel the heat radiate as it goes down my throat. It’s not unpleasant though, it feels like my whole body is glowing. Magical alcohol is definitely way better than any muggle stuff.
We make small talk for a bit until something catches his attention, “Okay, I know I’m running the risk of sounding like a teenage girl, but this is actually one of my favorite songs. Want to share a completely friendly platonic dance with me? Because I’m willing to dance by myself, but a pretty lady like yourself will make me look less foolish.”
I can’t help but laugh, “You do sound like a teenage girl, but it would be my pleasure to share a friendly platonic dance with you.”
He beams, grabbing my hand to lead me to the dance floor.
October 31st, 7:35 P.M – Auror Department
With each passing hour, I find it harder and harder to believe it was a coincidence that Roger was sick on the day he was assigned to organize file cabinets containing cases from the past decade and earlier. That bastard knew somehow, and wanted someone else to get stuck with it.
I get a small satisfaction pretending the drawers are his head every time I slam one shut, but not nearly enough to improve my irritation.
Although, shouting out that he is a twat and other various insults at random intervals is helping a bit more.
I probably would’ve apparated over to his house to tell them to his face by this point if I wasn’t already nearly finished. After starting with the Z’s several grueling hours ago, I only have the A’s left to do. It was actually kind of cool reading about some of the crazy cases that have come through this department, but after looking at one too many horrifying ones, I decided to keep my skimming to a minimum. One man killed an entire family, except for the father, who he made watch. It made my stomach sick just reading about it, and I don’t think I want that experience again this evening.
Once I’m through with these, I can finally get to the party and maybe eat some food. The dinner will probably be cleared away, but I’m sure I can get something from the kitchens. I’m counting on that because my body is starting to eat itself. It’s been several hours since I’ve had any substantial food and I can already feel the emaciation setting in.
My mouth starts to practically water at the idea of plate of mashed potatoes and roasted turkey that I start getting a tad careless in my task. I’m barely reading the names anymore as I put them in what I hope is alphabetical order, until something catches my eye.
In my hand is a file that reads ADAMS, VERA.
“It can’t be…” I say aloud, my words echoing eerily in the empty room.
I do a double take, not believing my eyes. Right on top of the file, however, is a picture of a woman with the same green eyes as June.
Merlin, it’s June’s mom.
I start to read, and I let out an audible gasp at the first line of the file.
FULL NAME: ADAMS, VERA. Née Macnair
ARRESTED FOR DEATH EATER RELATED ACTIVITES
AN: I'm honestly the worst person ever for going so long without an update. I want to thank anyone who has stuck with so long, and apologize for the wait. I hope this chapter makes up for it!