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The Girl Next Door by apondinabluebox
Chapter 2 : Amelia
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 10

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Author's Note: Firstly, I'd like to apologize for the delay in posting this second chapter! I had most of it written two months ago, but unfortunately my laptop stopped working and I've only just regained access to this story. I swear, all future updates won't take as long!

Also, this story will be told through three POVs - Amelia's, Ella's and Lily's. I'll be using chapter images to show who's narrating the chapter, so keep an eye out for the name / picture at the top of the chapter. ;)

Happy reading! ♥

Gorgeous chapter image by aim.moon @ TDA!

The four boys seated at the table by the window are so deeply absorbed into their conversation that despite the fact it has been over a hour since they entered the café that I work at, they still haven't noticed that I've spent that entire time eavesdropping on them. I'm still not sure if I'm just clever enough not to get caught, or if they're genuinely not paying attention to me. Who would bother, anyway? As far as they're concerned, I'm just a dumb Muggle waitress who knows nothing about them or what they're taking about, and while I can tell you that that's blatantly wrong, I'm not stupid enough to correct them.

The first one is nicknamed Prongs - what a stupid name - and he seems to be the ringleader of this motley combination of boys. They don't look anything alike - "Prongs" has glasses, with unkempt jet black hair that looks like a hedgehog is sleeping upon his head, and dark bags under his eyes. Considering how close it is to September, I'm quite willing to bet those bags are from late nights catching up with the homework that he'd probably been procrastinating on all summer.

Next to him is another boy with shoulder-length raven hair and grey eyes that sparkle with mirth - although I'll admit I'd thought he was a girl when he first walked in. He's in much more of a livelier mood than Prongs, although the tone of his voice suggests that actually, he's a lot more despondent than he lets on. I consider his contradictory sanity questionable, though - while his motorcycle magazine is sitting atop the table, and he looks like a biker boy with his leather jacket and tattoos, this café is what my boss likes to dub "a respectable dining establishment" and no biker boy would be seen dead in here. Maybe there are different standards in the wizarding world compared to ours? Or perhaps he's just a wannabe? Actually, that sounds like a more plausible possibility, if I factor in the fact that he always laughs like a dog – I'm genuinely not joking, it really does sound like a dog barking - especially when someone says the word "seriously", because then he waggles his eyebrows suggestively.

The third boy is probably shorter than me, although that's a wild guess since I didn't see him walk in. He has a serious expression on his face, and is focused on scribbling something on the edge of a napkin. How he manages to do that without tearing it like I always manage to, I don't know, and I can't help but watch him carefully to try and work out why the tissue of the napkin doesn't rip when -

"My dear Ashley," Mrs Burrows, an elderly lady who lives three doors down from us and comes in here every morning is standing in front of me right now, forcing me to divert my attention to her. I wonder why I should bother, though, considering she still hasn't figured out that my name is Amelia and I've worked here for four years now. "Would you mind terribly getting some more sugar sachets? You seem to have run out."

"No, I don't mind," I answer, although it is a bare-faced lie and I shudder internally at my own words. Lying to pensioners, even if I strongly dislike them, has never been my forte; I don't know why. I can easily lie to people my own age, but people of my grandparents' generation? That's impossible for me.

I send a wistful glance at the four boys and turn to walk through the kitchen to reach the basement. After I walk down the stairs, taking extra care to skip the creaky step since it always sounds eerie when I'm on my own, I flick the switch at the bottom of the stairs to make light emit from the bare bulb. The sugar sachets are located on one of the shelves, but when I try to reach up to fetch a box, it becomes evident that yet again my boss has put it beyond my reach. In all seriousness, I'm actually starting to consider the possibility that she might actually like irritating the hell out of me. Perhaps she secrectly wants me to quit?

"Do you need any help?"

The voice is unexpected and I jump upon hearing the sound, causing the box that I'd been dragging off the shelf to upend all over me, scattering small sugar sachets everywhere. I turn to look at who spoke, and to my surprise it is the fourth boy of the little quartet upstairs.

"I'm sorry I surprised you," he says sheepishly, his pale cheeks flushed in embarrassment.

Before I even have a chance to answer, he's already bent down and is on his knees, retrieving sugar sachets and depositing them back in the box. I crouch down to join him, helping him with the task, and when we eventually finish we both stand up again - the both of us awkwardly holding the box. I don't know about him, but I'm scared to let go of it in case he isn't expecting me to release it and therefore drops it again.

"I'm sorry," he repeats, looking at me with an expression that seems genuine to me, but also has traces of curiosity. "I'm Remus Lupin, by the way."

"I'm Amelia," I answer, extending my hand - but keeping my grip firmly onto the box, just in case. "Is there a problem upstairs?"

Remus looks confused for a moment, his light brown hair flopping into his chocolate eyes, before realization dawns upon him. "Oh. No, I just wanted to ask..."

"Ask what?"

"One of my friends caught you looking at us," he admits, and I see his cheeks turning an increasingly vivid shade of pink. "He thought you might have wanted to ask one of us out, and they sent me to ask you which one of us you liked."

I can't help but giggle at the thought of such a preposterous suggestion. Even I know that if I fancy one of them - which I most certainly don't – there would be no hope of a successful relationship. But I'm pretty sure they 're under the impression that I think that they're Muggles like me, so in their minds that would rationalize me theoretically having a crush on one of them.

"Sorry," I lie as Remus' look of embarrassment deepens. "I already have a boyfriend." Another lie. "I was staring because you look really peaky and I was wondering if you were okay and that you weren't ill or anything." Does that count as a lie if it's a half-truth?

"I'm fine," Remus says, although his ears turn beetroot red as he speaks, indicating that he's either severely embarrassed or lying, and personally I'd go for the latter. "I promise, it's just the flu - nothing serious, though."

Since when has influenza been serious in the first place?

"Erm..." Remus' voice trails off, and he keeps looking down, the flush of embarrassment refusing to fade from his cheeks. I follow his gaze to realize that somehow, I've kept my hand extended waiting for a handshake that he obviously isn't willing to give.

"Oh. Sorry."

"I'm - can I take this upstairs for you?"

"Sure," I smile, concealing my own embarrassment. At that, I seem to be infinitely better than this Remus boy.

"Alice!" Mrs Burrows shouts from upstairs. "Another customer just walked in!"


My correction is involuntary, spilling from my lips without restraint. Remus looks at me with a strange expression on his face, but I just let go of the box, walk past him and run up the steps two at a time. I don't care that "company policy" forbids me letting customers into the basement; firstly, I hadn't asked him to help me and secondly, it is a cardinal sin to keep a customer waiting - my boss said just the other day that only my own death would excuse a delay of longer than two minutes before a waiting customer gets served.

"What would you like, sir?" I ask as I return to the counter, smiling cordially at the gentleman stood across from me.

"We'll have two cups of tea to start with please, and whatever our sons and his friends are drinking," the man say, and it is then that I notice that a woman in a floor-length emerald green dressing gown has joined the boys at the table.

"Of course," I smile as innocently as I could. "Just take a seat, and I'll bring the drinks over."

"Don't I pay for them?" he asks.

Stupid wizards, I have to stop myself from saying. It turns out that not only are they barking mad - no-one wears dressing gowns in public, for crying out loud - but they have no clue on proper café etiquette. If my boss even got a sniff of the possibility that I had charged a customer before serving them, I undoubtedly would be unemployed before she'd even finished her rants of fury.

"Of course you do," I say, and quickly regret the harsh tone of my voice. "You pay when you're ready to leave, sir. Just ask for the bill." That was said in a nicer tone, I think.

"I see," he answers, putting his wallet away. I'll admit it was a relief to see that they actually possess wallets. For a moment, I actually thought that the wizarding world is stuck in medieval times. "Could you bring menus over?"

"The menus are already on the table, sir," I reply as I deposit a tray onto the worktop and begin placing onto it the drinks that have been ordered.

"Let me carry that," he says, extending his arms, and I pull the tray nearer to me.

"It's my job," I answer, and this time I don't care about the frostiness of my tone.

Dealing with wizards is bad enough; dealing with imbecilic wizards really takes the biscuit and damn it, I'm entitled to be annoyed. If Petunia had been the unlucky one working this morning, she would have chucked them out of the café the moment they stepped foot inside. I don't know if they realize it, but they're privileged that I'm in a lenient enough mood to serve them. For their sake, I hope that they've have gone by the time Petunia turns up for the afternoon shift.

In less than thirty seconds I've managed to set the tray down onto the table with the standard instruction to ask if they required anything further, and make my way over to Mrs Burrows. When I pass the counter, I grab some sugar sachets for her, but as I get to her table I blink; there are already some there.

"That lovely lad over there brought us some while you were serving the gentleman over there," Mrs Burrows explains, and her friend Mrs Partridge nods in agreement.

For a moment, I actually think that perhaps all magical people aren't as bad as that crazy dressing gown witch or her potentially career-ending husband. I guess you could say it's unfortunate, then, that seconds later I'm proved wrong.

"AMELIA!" Petunia shrieks, and I hear the doors of the café slam open.

I turn around to see her stood in the doorway. Her brunette hair is mussed and untangled from the updo she regularly puts it in, and quite frankly she looks a complete wreck. Since I've known her for three years and never seen her as anything but immaculate, I don't hesitate to approach her with a false expression of concern plastered upon my face.

"Petunia, what's wrong?"

"It's Lily," she wails, and instantly I wonder what her witch sister has managed to do this time. Something apocalyptically bad, I'm sure, since Petunia is engaged to Vernon, my boss' son, and she never embarrasses herself in front of the Dursleys. She'd sooner die than ever do that; that's what she'd always tells me. "My parents called to tell me that she's Head Girl at that freak school she goes to! I never got to be Head Girl at my school and I'm better than her! Everyone's celebrating and they all keep rubbing it in!"

"It's probably just an Evans thing," I reassure her.

"Evans? Lily Evans?"

Instantly, Hedgehog Boy - Prongs is just too stupid a name to contemplate using - perks up from his table, and I turn to give him a deadly glare that tends to be generally successful with my older sisters.

"This is a private conversation," I scowl.

"Then have it somewhere private," Dog Girl-Boy quips.

"Is this the same Lily Evans who goes to my school?" Hedgehog Boy asks, ignoring my answer. "Gorgeous wavy red hair, emerald eyes you could get lost in..."

"James!" Dressing Gown Lady hisses. "Not all Muggles know each other!"

I relish the look on her face as she realizes that she just called us Muggles in front of us, because really, the fact that those idiots have a stupid name for us is just plain rude. But when she turns to look at us, I keep my expression as neutral as I could. There isn't any need for her to know that I know the meaning of the word Muggle, because then she would ask how I know and that's a can of worms I have no desire to open.

"Lily's my sister," Petunia answers, glaring at Hedgehog Boy - the name suits him better than James does - and I decide to jump in.

"I know we said she goes to a freak school, but that was because Lily's school only accepts genius kids and they're freaking clever. We didn't mean to insult you," I smile at Hedgehog Boy. It's best to keep him sweet, after all.

"I didn't know Lily lived in London," Hedgehog Boy answers, his brow furrowed in puzzlement.

"She doesn't," Petunia sniffs angrily. "I moved here to be near my fiancé."

"Oh," Hedgehog Boy sighs, while Remus elbows him.

"James, I've told you before - Lily lives up North. It's about five or six hours away from here in a car."

"Since I'm here, Amelia, you can go home early," Petunia says, and I blink, unsure of whether I'm hearing right. "Oh, come on! I can be nice once in a while!" she huffs. "Besides, you're here so much that I'm starting to think you've forgotten what Grimmauld Place looks like."

"Grimmauld Place?" Dog Girl-Boy butts in. "You live there?"

"What if I do?" I shrug.

"Do you know a Lexi Fraser?"

My head spins to look at him so fast that I feel a shot of pain sear down my neck. I'm no't sure how he knows about Lexi, but it can't be good. He continues to stare at me, and so does Remus and Napkin Boy and worst of all, the lady in the dressing gown who could easily masquerade as Grandma Amy's sister.

"She doesn't live there any more," I say, surveying them carefully - especially him.

"Where is she?" Dog Girl-Boy asks, his expression reminiscent of a lost puppy.

"Didn't you know?" I reply, carefully putting my right hand behind my back so they can't see and crossing my fingers tightly. "Lexi Fraser died six years ago."

Author's Note: So we meet the bratty Amelia! What do you think of her? And the Marauders? Please do leave a review; they make my day! ♥

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