Chapter 2 : 2
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"I missed Hogwarts food," Chris said, loading his plate with everything he could reach as we sat at the Slytherin table in the Great Hall.
"Is everything always about food with you?" Aspen asked, rolling her eyes.
"Only when it's not about you, love," Chris teased, shooting Aspen a flirtatious wink.
"And how many girls have you said that to?" I asked, raising my eyebrows.
"You sure you want him to answer that?" Vienna cut in.
"You're just jealous, aren't you, V?" Chris smirked.
I laughed at her incredulous expression, and took advantage of the momentary silence to eat. The feast on the first night back was one of my favorites, and I had sat in the same spot at our table every year since my sorting. My friends said that it was a weird habit, and tended to switch seats just to annoy me, but it was somewhat of a tradition for me, and I loved coming back to school and starting it off in the same place I had every year before.
"So Stori, are you finally going to talk to your dream boy this year?" Aspen said, pulling me back to the present.
"Dream boy?" I said, feeling my face grow warm. "Who are you on about?"
"How cute. She's trying to lie to a Slytherin," Andrew grinned, nudging me with his elbow.
"You've been drooling over Jude Bennet for years. You have to talk to him!" Vienna said.
My gaze flicked over to the boy in question. Jude Bennet had brown hair, gorgeous blue eyes, and an amazing smile, and he was the captain of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team. Plus he was taller than I was, and I was pretty tall compared to most of the other girls at Hogwarts. I sighed, and heard a snort from Andrew that he quickly tried to turn into a cough. Probably so I wouldn't smack him. Smart.
"I don't see why you won't just say hi," Vienna said, taking a sip of pumpkin juice.
"She's just scared he'll be intimidated because she's a Malfoy," Chris teased.
"You know that's not true! And I'm a Weasley, too," I reminded him.
The fact that my dad was a Malfoy and my mum a Weasley was a conversation that never ceased to follow me through Hogwarts. As a first year, I had been constantly bombarded with questions from Gryffindors about why I was in Slytherin and didn't have red hair and freckles, since my mum was a Weasley, after all. Some of the nastier comments had come from older Slytherins, who didn't think my blonde hair and having the surname Malfoy made up for the fact that all of my mum's family had been in Gryffindor, and that my grandmother, though a brilliant witch, was Muggle-born.
I had to learn not to let it bother me, and to not pay attention to the few people who whispered rude remarks about my family being either blood traitors or Death Eaters. But as time passed, I heard less and less about who my parents were. The other students managed to move past the fact that the people I had been raised to think of as cousins had the surnames Potter, Weasley, and Zabini, and that I was happy being both a Malfoy and a Weasley. I explained time and time again that no, my mum's parents didn't mind that I was in Slytherin even though they had both been Gryffindors, yes, my grandfather was Draco Malfoy and he still lived in Malfoy Manor, and could you please stop asking if my dad and Uncle Albus are mortal enemies. They're not.
Fortunately, my friends didn't care about any of that, and once I had cleared up the fact that a lot of my "cousins" weren't actually cousins, and some weren't even related by blood, they never questioned it. When we were fourth years, Aspen had even cursed a seventh year boy in the Slytherin common room after he had told me that I didn't deserve my father's name. As I got older, most people got used to my strange, and admittedly large, family, and Uncle James and Aunt Roxie taught me how to hex anyone who teased me for it. Most of them never got put to any use, but knowing that my friends and family cared so much was what really mattered to me.
So I laughed along with Chris's teasing and let Vienna and Aspen try and convince me to talk to Jude. Who was now looking right at me. I blushed furiously, which was something I had inherited from Mum, and turned away from him.
"I can't go talk to him. He doesn't even know who I am," I said, hoping he hadn't seen me staring.
"So make him know who you are! Honestly, he doesn't know what he's missing," Vienna said.
"Careful, V, or I might start thinking you're the one who fancies me!" I teased.
"How did you guess?" she said, smirking and wiggling her eyebrows at me.
"But you are going to talk to him soon, right?" Aspen asked. You can trust Aspen not to let anything drop in a conversation.
"I don't know..." I said, turning slightly away from her, embarrassed.
Her head whipped around to look at where Jude was sitting, and I saw Andrew jerk backwards as Aspen's ponytail of reddish-brown hair almost smacked him in the face. Aspen was definitely not someone I would describe as shy, and I cringed a bit as she stared openly over at the Ravenclaw table where Jude sat with his friends.
"Aspen! You can't just stare at him like that!" I said, mortified.
"Why not?" she asked, rolling her eyes. "I don't bite."
"Don't you?" Chris asked with a smirk. "That's too bad."
"Chris, don't egg her on, please," I said, realizing as I said it that it would have no effect whatsoever.
"Come on, Stori, we're just teasing. If it really means that much to you, I won't go talk to him for you," Aspen said, turning back around.
"What? You were going to go talk to him? Now?"
"Are you honestly surprised?" Andrew said, raising his eyebrows.
"No, I guess not. But could you please let me talk to him when I'm ready? I don't want you to scare him away," I said, looking pointedly at Chris and Aspen.
"Do you hear that? She thinks we would scare him away! I'm shocked!" Aspen said dramatically to Chris, who pretended to look hurt.
"Oh quit being such a drama queen," I laughed, grinning at them.
Aspen smirked back at me. "It's just so fun!"
"I'm sure it is. So are you ready for N.E.W.T. year?" I asked, turning to talk to Andrew.
"As ready as I'll ever be. Did you figure out what you might want to do after we leave? I know you said that you weren't sure after we talked to Zabini last year," Andrew said, remembering that I had had no idea about possible career paths when I had talked to our Head of House the year before.
"And I still have no idea. Blaise said not to worry about it, but I can't help it!"
"Yeah, especially since you come from the most motivated family in the entire wizarding world," Andrew teased. "And could you please not call him Blaise? It's weird."
"Why shouldn't I? He's family, isn't he? It would weirder if I called him Professor Zabini."
"Whatever you say," Andrew said, shooting me a grin that showed the dimple in his left cheek.
"You still want to go law, right? You haven't changed your mind again?" I asked.
Andrew had changed his mind about his future countless times since we had started thinking seriously about our lives after Hogwarts. Still, he was further along than I was, because I still had no idea what I wanted to do once we left school.
"I haven't changed my mind that many times!"
"Do you want me to list all of your possible career paths?" Vienna interjected.
"Ok, fine! I've changed my mind a few times. But yeah, I'm sticking with law. Mum's just happy I haven't decided to go joining the circus or anything."
"Not that we could hold you above that," I teased.
"Yeah, yeah. So your parents are still fine with you being undecided with what you want to do?" he asked me.
"I think they want me to decide on something sooner or later, but they aren't pushing me."
"Maybe you could open your own business!" Vienna suggested.
"Doing what?" I asked skeptically.
"Or not," she laughed.
"I'm sure I'll figure something out," I said, turning to the front of the Great Hall as the headmaster, Professor Longbottom, stood to speak.
I knew I had to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life sooner rather than later, but I also didn't want to jump into something I didn't love. It was tough, especially with such a well known, ambitious family that had blazed such a successful path in front of me, but I knew I would end up doing something I loved. I just hoped I could figure out what that something was before I left Hogwarts.
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