Chapter 4 : A Rather Unusual Day
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Lovely CI by Lady Asphodel @ TDA
The beginning of Day Two at Casa de Potter is...unusual, to say the least.
After a night spent tossing and turning sleeplessly and cursing James and his infernal party that finally wrapped up at three fucking a.m., it's only natural that any normal girl should want a cup -or seven- of coffee to feel less like a reanimated zombie and more like a member of the human race.
Which is why, as I drag my leaden feet away from bed and towards the kitchen in a quest for caffeine, feeling like an Inferius (complete with disastrous bed-hair and vacant, bloodshot eyes), I can almost ignore the sacrilegious mess that used to be this pristine flat's living room. Discarded clothes, suspicious stains on the carpet, fetid fumes of Firewhiskey- the list is endless.
What I can't ignore, however, even in my sleep- and caffeine-deprived state is the girl in the kitchen, frying sausages and singing to herself with wild abandon.
Usually, I'd be really chill about a situation like this. So James Potter managed to charm another star-struck girl into his bed? Whoop-de-freakin'-doo. Good for both of them. And she wants to cook in his kitchen the morning after instead of taking the clichéd Walk of Shame customary after meaningless one-night stands? Fine. I mean, it's his house, after all.
Honestly, I would've been really cool and calm about the entire thing, if only the girl wasn't stark naked.
As soon as my eyes witness the unclothed spectacle in front of them, I gasp, step back, shut them firmly and cover them up with my hands for good measure.
My little episode doesn't go unnoticed. She jerks out of her reverie, turns (I assume) and shrieks loud enough to make the dead sit up in their graves.
I hear some mumbled shit's and frantic scurrying, and finally open my eyes a millimetre to peek at the girl standing with an orange bedsheet wrapped around her (how did that get here? Alas, the world shall never know.) and a fork clutched in her hands, pointed threateningly at me.
I put my hands up in defence. She continues to scowl suspiciously at me, like I'm an escaped murderess or something. “Who're you?” she asks, voice quivering.
“I'm...” For some reason, James' babysitter seems absurdly inexplicable right now, so I settle for “James' cousin.” No one's gonna doubt that- he has too many of those to keep track of.
“Oh.” She lowers her weapon. “Oh.” The scowl is gone, replaced by tomato-red embarrassment. “I'm Coco,” she tells me, “Coco Lark. James' friend's sister's friend.”
I try to smile, though it comes off as more of a grimace. Wow, this is awkward.
We just sort of stand there for some time, fidgeting. She secures her sarong tighter around herself. I try not to yawn with my mouth wide open like a hippopotamus'. She ties back her brown hair into a knot. I glance at the walk clock in the living room. Hmm, there seems to be some chewing gum stuck on it.
After three and a half minutes- “I...um, just wanted some coffee,” I announce, letting my hand fly I randomly in wild gesticulation. “Yeah, sure,” she replies, and steps aside to allow me to pass through.
After that, we just work in silence, trying to avoid eye-contact and any conversation. Several times, I get the feeling that she wants to tell me something (probably ask me where I bought my awesome Hello Kitty pj's) but she says nothing. Then, just as I'm about to leave with my coffee and a slice of toast, Coco turns to me, looking fit to burst with exitement, and says something totally unexpected.
“Last night was the best sex of my whole, entire life.”
I don't have words. And I don't think there can be any for such a declaration as this.
"That's, um...nice,” I manage at last, with a constipated-looking smile.
“I'm sorry. I know you probably don't care, but I just really wanna tell someone and my best friend's not here, but- you can't imagine the things he can do with his tongue !
Do you enjoy this?
“And when he like, crashed his lips onto mine-”
I do indeed, yes. How did you guess?
“He is so bloody fit!” she continues to gush, unconcious of my nauseated expression. “And now I'm like, sore all ov-”
“Oh my God, so he did not tell you?” I abruptly interject, dread and concern written all over my face.
Coco stops mid-ramble and her dopey, shit-eating grin inverts itself into a frown so fast, it's almost comical.
“Tell me what?”
I bite my lip, mumbling, “Oh, the idiot! He must've been too drunk...but still. Oh my!” Her expression gets more terrified by the second.
“What is it? What's wrong?” she demands.
Hesitantly, I reply, “James has Quogwinkle's Malady.”
Her face is blank. “Quog-what?”
“Quogwinkle's Malady,” I repeat. “It's a rare disease without any external, visible symptoms, first diagnosed and treated by Healer Ivin Quogwinkle in the 1500's. James contracted it on his trip to Thailand last week.” A long, pregnant pause. Then, “It's a sexually transmitted disease, Coco.”
To compare her complexion to pure, driven snow would be an understatement. She actually supasses white and looks a kind of mouldy grey-green.
And this is what four years of Auror training do to you- make you an expert in the fine art of fabricating lies.
She takes a full minute to recover from her state of utter shock. “Is it...fatal?” she whispers eventually, trembling.
“Not if you treat it promptly and take the right medication,” I tell her with the air of a know-it-all Trainee Healer. “Best you get it checked right away. Maybe you've not contracted it, but the chances are sli-”
Just that moment, James ambles into the room to join our little party. Perfect.
“Hey…” he furrows his brow, as if struggling to remember something. “…Choco!”
At that, she whisks around, mouth pursed in a thin line of grim determination, and marches up to James like a soldier on a mission. Raising her hand, she proceeds to slap him with all her strength.
He staggers and immediately puts his hand to his cheek, more out of surprise than pain, I suspect, as he stares, speechless, at the short brunette in front of him.
“It's Coco,” she informs him hotly, then whirls away (making sure her hair whips him in the face in the process, might I add) and walks out of the flat with a train of orange fabric trailing behind her.
Mentally, I applaud long and slow, like you do after a particularly dramatic exit. Physically, I smirk in satisfaction as I sip my black-as-my-heart coffee.
For a long while, James gapes at the door, baffled. Eventually, he regains his senses and then goes on to glare at me suspiciously. I shrug, innocent as a new-born lamb.
Just then, he catches sight of the wall clock (with the chewing-gum) and groans, and sinks down on the sofa like a deflated balloon.
“What happened?” I ask instinctively, and expect the typical sardonic reply.
Instead, amazingly, he tells me, “I have Quidditch practise today. And I should've been there an hour ago.” Wow. It must've been being slapped.
“Okay, I'll be ready to go in-” I begin, but he cuts across me.
“No, thanks,” he snaps, “I'm already hungover and feeling like shit. I can't handle you as well.”
“Oh. Okay, then.”
If he's surprised by my lack of protest, he doesn't show it. He gets up and makes for his room. That's when I notice his back.
The tattoo of a crimson dragon with reptilian skin and gold spikes stretches all the way across his tanned left shoulder and upper back. It's vivid black eyes seem to stare right at me.
“You've got a tattoo!” I exclaim in surprise.
Glancing over his shoulder, he sarcastically quips, “No, really?”
I flush. “I mean- well, if you went through all that pain just to get a great ugly dragon on your back, it's your choice.”
He replies as he walks away. “Just because you don't have one...”
I almost correct him. But some things are best never said.
There are few better ways to spend your time than by reading books, as any self-respecting Ravenclaw will assure you.
Since James had left for practise -exactly when, I neither knew nor cared- after deigning to inform me about the new housekeeper who'd be dropping in later, I have done nothing but sit in my room and devour, page by eagerly-turned-page, the books Hugo and I had shopped for yesterday.
The Vampire Sojourns is, quite frankly, the best and most fantastic fantasy fiction series, ever. I'd craved and coveted them ever since my Seventh year, when The Legend hit the shelves. But between NEWTS and training and work, I never got a chance to read them. Now, finally, I had the entire pentology, as well as all the time in the world to read it.
Like the names suggests, TVS is about vampires, or rather, one vampire in particular, but it's nothing like those shitty muggle novels about sparkly supernatural creatures with copious amounts of angst that Bea keeps harping on about. Basically, it's a story about 16-year-old wizards, orphans and best friends Alec Stillhart and Amanda (Mandy for short) Maze, who are a pair of adrenaline-junkies for whom broom-diving is just not adventurous enough. So one night, they decide to do something rash and foolish, and sneak out to the Forest of Arcane, where -horror of horrors!- Alec is attacked and bitten by a vampire. The rest of the story is about their quest to find his Sire to demand him to cure Alec, who struggles to cope with his newfound abilities and constant thirst. During the course of their journey, they befriend a Scottish pixie called Esther and a 14-year-old Squib, Rusty, and generally act like a badass group of people out to kick some serious shit.
I know- it sounds excellent and you're just dying to get your grubby paws on a copy ASAP.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) I'm a super-fast reader, which is why, by the time afternoon rolls around, I'm halfway through.
I am just caught up in this really intense scene where the quatret are trapped by a disgustingly unhygienic giant Myolith who is about to squish Rusty into pulp, when the doorbell rings, and I, startled, leap two feet and drop my book.
I rush to the front door and quickly unlock it, realizing it must be the housekeeper James told me about.
A guy in pale blue jeans, a purple t-shirt bearing the legend 'The Weird Sisters- Reunion Tour, Paris' and really feathery, soft-looking hair that tempts me to enquire about his haircare routine, smiles cordially at me. “'Ello. I am Auguste Renaldi Gosselin,” he tells me, in a heavy French accent.
“You're the housekeeper?” I ask.
“Oui,” he replies, still grinning.
“You're a guy,” I state.
“Oui, je suis.”
“And you're French.”
“Oui, je suis. Wheech izz zee worse crime?”
“God, I'm sorry.” I open the door wider. “Come on in.”
Like me, the moment he steps in, Auguste stares around the flat open-mouthed. Unlike me, however, he's disgusted.
“Oh mon dieu! What 'as 'appened to zees place?” He exclaims.
“Party,” I say, as way of explanation. “And I'm kinda terrible at all those householdy-type spells, so...”
“Not to worry, ma cherié. What am I 'ere for?”
He then whips out his wand from his pocket, and brow crinckled in concentration, mutters under his breath, jabbing and swishing his wand around in complicated sequences.
With a zap! the room cleans itself out, and is sparkling like new in seconds. He misses no details, not even the chewing-gum on the clock dial.
I clap in appreciation as he takes a mock bow. We end up laughing like a pair of loons.
By the time he's finished doing all the rooms, Auguste Renaldi Gosselin (or Gus, as he insists I call him, since 'Auguste' makes him feel like "a crankee old grandfazzer") and I are firm friends, despite the fact I am an anti-social little shit and he's a chirpy bird. My pre-adoloscent dreams of having a sassy gay best friend (no offence to Hugo) have finally come true.
We talk so much, we'd have embarrassed a group of gossipmonger Grandmas. Gus told me everything about how he came to London from Paris after he found his boyfriend (who he'd been dating since they were in Beauxbatons) cheating on him with the landlady of their flat. Well, after slapping Jean-Paul, the treacherous ex-boyfriend and giving him a piece of his mind, Gus caught a train to London. He went looking for a waitering job, but ended up being offered James' housekeeping work. He loves Fifi Lafolle's historical romances, and wants to be a fashion designer, earn a lot of money and buy a chatéau in France.
Gus spends atleast an hour jabbering about paisley prints and empire-waists and Jennifer Lawrence's Dior gown at the Cannes, when I mention Bianca Bates is my sister. At that, he screams and drops to his knees, begging me to introduce them, because, apparently, my sister is "zee most incroyable fashion goddess. Ever."
We order Chinese takeout, since Gus feels too tired to cook and there are no groceries, anyway. Over bowls of garlic chicken and vegetable chowmein smothered in soya sauce, he eventually asks me the question I had been dreading all day.
“So, you work for James Potter? Or a payeeng guest, per'aps?”
I lower my spoon before answering. “Actually, I'm a sort of secretary-bodyguard-caretaker-babysitter.”
He leans forward interestedly. “Ooo, tell me more.”
I shrug. “There's nothing to tell. We don't talk all that much, and when we do, it turns into fight, usually.”
He grins mischieviously. “Oh mon dieu, je sens some eentense sexual tension”
My eyes go wide at that. What the-? “No, Gus. No 'intense sexual tension'. Intense dislike, more like.”
“Say what you weel,” he replies, “I am steel sheeppeeng you weeth James.”
“What the heck, Gus! I can't even picture myself with someone as obnoxious as James Potter.”
He smiles like a saint who knew the Truth of Life. “Ah, but beeneeth heez obnoxious-nez, he izz so enchanté, no!”
“I'm pretty sure that's supposed to be the other way round.”
He continues to grin.
I change the topic soon after, but his smirks and eyebrow-waggling convince me that he seriously 'shipped' me and James, no matter what I say.
Well, Gus can suck it, because me and James? Never happening.
It's past midnight, Gus had gone hours ago, and James is still not back.
I'm pacing frantically in the hall, wondering where in blazes the douchebag is at. This is not, as Gus would have put it, out of my unrecognized but irrevocable love for James, but rather, the letter said douchebag's father had just sent me.
I know you and James aren't getting along. I expected that. But what I did not expect was for you to neglect your duties like that. I made you responsible for his safety. Despite that, after his Quidditch practise, James got drunk and tried to Apparate. He splinched himself and the AMRS had to get to him before the Muggles saw his limbs floating in mid-air in the middle of London.
You are my best Auror, Addison, which is why I have entrusted you with this. I hope you will not let something like this happen in the future. James will be returning with a Hit Wizard. Report to me as soon as reaches home.
Also, please come to HQ tomorrow. We need to discuss some important issues regarding your job.
I glance at the parchment again, filled with a sense of guilt and anger at myself; Mr. Potter was not so angry with me as disappointed in me. I'm such a fucking idiot.
Just then, someone knocks at the door, and I jerk it open to find James, supported by a man in black robes, standing in the doorway.
“Heeey, babysitta...” he slurs when he sees me, then passes out cold.
Fuck my life.
A/N: Hey everyone! So, remember me? So so so sorry about no updates in the longest time, but school has been horrible, especially since I'm in a Board class. Then last week I managed to slice open my fingers while chopping beans and couldn't type and...yeah, I'm terrible.
As compensation, this chapter is longer than usual. Also, I'll probably be posting chapter 4 of Genesis this month as well (probably. School projects are killing me). But getting back to the chapter, question time!
*Coco? Good, bad, hated it, what?
*Do you wish The Vampire Sojourns existed in reality?
*How amazing (or not) is Gus Gosselin?
*My, is Addie in deep shit or what.
*Is Harry's letter more in-character than before?
*Anything else you wanna say or ask?
Another thing, Quogwinkle's Malady does not exist, obviously. 'Quogwinkle' is actually a word invented by Author Roald Dahl that means 'an alien from outer space'.
And before I forget, shoutouts to sour_grapes_snape, Holly_Mist, SheildSnitch3, SSA, Alexfan, missclaire17, S, Carolina, rouge_bludger, sweaterweather21, Sofia, BBWotter and Scor Rose for their lovely reviews last chapter. You guys are incredible and ily.
Oui, je suis- Yes, I am
Oh mon dieu- Oh my God
ma cherié- my darling
je sens- I sense
(I don't know French, so any corrections would be appreciated)
That's all, methinks.
Love you all (and sorry for the absurdly long A/N),
P.S.- AMRS stands for Accidental Magic Reversal Squad.
Edit 14/6/13- Harry's letter and typos.