Chapter 4 : In Which Sam Visits Diagon Ally
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I was standing patiently on the
first step of our grand staircase when my father arrived home. I wore the navy
blue dress my mother bought for the occasion. It was plain on the front, had
intricate designs cut out in the back, and came all the way from Milan. Mother
called it fashion. I called it uncomfortable seeing as I couldn’t wear a bra with
it. I had carefully curled my long brown hair, painted my face with makeup (including eyeliner, mascara, and red lipstick), pairing it all off with a matching earing and necklace set my father bought for me on his last trip to Paris. My mother had forced me into a pair of short heals that were cutting off the circulation in my toes. I tried not to wince as I walked forward to greet my father.
His handsome face momentarily lit up upon seeing me. He gave me a fleeting hug and tipped my chin with his thumb before turning to give my mother a chaste kiss.
Some would suggest that their lack of physical relation would lead to a deteriorating marriage. This (thankfully) was not true. My parents both loved each other dearly, but neither preferred showing physical displays of affection. My father was very loyal to my mother and she was loyal to him as well.
“I have had the strongest craving for your iced tea, honey.” My father spoke to my mother over his shoulder as he headed towards the kitchen.
She followed him, but not before discreetly turning around and motioning for me to take off my glasses. I huffed and rolled my eyes when her back was turned. I removed my beloved glasses and slid them into the subtle pocket on the side of my dress. My mother hated how I wore my glasses twenty-four seven, but she never said anything until father came home. When that happened, I was expected to use them only when I needed them- for reading.
When I entered the kitchen, my parents were sitting at the table, holding hands and discussing things in a whisper. They stopped once I arrived and my father flashed me a brilliant smile. I understood that as my queue to join them.
I sat in my respective spot and my mother stood to pour her famous home made iced tea into the three glasses set out. My parents picked up a steady conversation, but I did not join in. I was expected to be the perfect daughter and only speak when spoken to. Our table was in the alcove of our kitchen and from where I was sitting I could see the Potter’s house. I leaned over a little bit, trying to see if anyone was outside.
“Is this true, Samantha?” My father said, finally addressing me.
I snapped back in my seat. “I’m sorry, what?” My mother looked annoyed with my lack of attention.
“Your mother was just telling me you have recently become friendly with our neighbors. Is this true?”
“Y-yes,” I stammered.
“I’ve been trying to keep her focused on piano, but she seems adamant on neglecting her duties to go play around instead.”
“Mother, I wasn’t neglecting anything. I would have practiced later on. I just promised the Potter’s I would visit them before noon.”
My mother froze slightly, obviously upset that this back talk was becoming a regular thing now a day. “Well, then you should have set your alarm earlier. That way you wouldn’t have been late for your meeting.”
I frowned. “Mother, I honestly don’t see how this is my fault-“
“I never said it was your fault,” my mother cut across sharply.
“You just said-“ But I never finished my sentence because my father held up his hand to stop our argument. My mother and I fell silent without question.
“Now, Laura. I don’t see what’s so bad with Samantha having friends. The poor girl has been going to piano lessons every day after school for the past ten years, she’s never had time to bond with someone her own age. Don’t you think making friends would be healthy for her?”
I bit my lip to fight back a grin. Finally, someone was on my side. I would leap across the table and hug my father right now if it wasn’t considered “inappropriate behavior”.
My mother was silent for a bit. “I suppose you do have a valid argument.” I let my lips pull back into a grin. “But!” My mother said suddenly. My grin fell off my face and I adopted a solemn expression. “If it interferes with your practice schedule, or your performance level drops in anyway, you will be forbidden to see them again.”
I opened my mouth to protest. To tell my mother that friendship wasn’t a reward, or a personality changer- something only to be experienced because it was “healthy”. I wanted to tell my mother that friendship was natural, that it was normal for every human being to create connections with other human beings. But I took one look at her expression and decided against it.
My father, completely oblivious to the tension between my mother and I, clapped his hands enthusiastically. “Alright. Let’s hear this audition piece my daughter has been working on.”
We left the table and made our way into the living room. My parents took one of the couches and I took the piano bench. I grinned as I pulled out my glasses and slid them onto my face. The slightly blurry lines of music quickly became crystal clear. I scooted my butt around on the seat, allowing myself a brief moment of silliness before I started.
I only flubbed up a little bit on the piece, and it’s not like the mistakes were huge. But my mother frowned nonetheless whenever a mistake was big enough to be noticed easily by the human ear. I finished the last chord and my father gave me a strong round of applause.
I grinned, stood, and gave a curtsey. I began blowing kisses out towards the imaginary audience, but stopped when my mother gave me a warning look. I knew what that meant. I was being too silly and needed to tone it down. Man, if only she could see what went on in my head. I think she would faint.
“Samantha,” my mother crossed her legs- a feat I thought impossible with that insanely tight pencil skirt. “Why don’t you run along now while the adults talk.” I nodded and went upstairs, purposefully keeping my glasses on.
I ripped off the torture device called heels and made sure to dump them in the rubbish bin before putting on sandals. I skipped back downstairs, but slowed as I approached the living room. My parents were talking in hushed tones, which usually meant they were discussing something serious. I grinned. These conversations were usually super juicy and full of gossip. Even though I never knew whom they were talking about, it was fun to listen in and whisper comments like, “Bitch, please!”
“I just don’t know how to handle this, Ross,” my mother said frustrated.
Oh, this must be a good one if she sounds frustrated. I scooted along the wall and listened a little harder.
“You just need to be patient with her, Laura,” my father spoke simply.
My mother sighed. “I swear, they’re a bad influence for her.”
Oh, damn! What’s the influence? Drugs? Alcohol? A middle-aged hooker named Betty? I grinned and strained my neck a little more.
“Honey, Samantha having friends is a good thing,” my father urged.
I jerked back. What? They were talking about me? Does that mean… the bad influence was…
“Ever since she started interacting with those Potter’s she’s become disobedient, coming home late, talking back to me. She only started talking to them a few days ago and she’s already changed this much. Imagine what things will be like a few months from now!” My mother sounded frantic.
“Well, let’s just let it play out for now and we’ll keep a close eye on her,” my father said soothingly.
I had heard enough. I turned around and took the long way to the back door (as apposed to walking right by the living room). Once out in the yard I ran a hand through my hair, disheveling the curls. I fought back tears that stung my eyes.
This was stupid and idiotic. My parents wanted me to be a robot that did and said all the right things. All of these years I thought life was a box that you just had to fit inside. That is, until I was attacked by the Potters two days ago. They had opened up a whole new world to me that was literally filled to the brim with magic.
Not only that, I fit in so much better with them. I could joke around, say stupid things, and do stupid things without being judged. Why did I have to be born into an anal family that didn’t have any fun?
This would be the part in my fantasies where Albus swooped in and saved me before whisking me away to... well you know where.
Not now, Albus. I’m busy daydreaming about you and all the unspeakable things you would do to me in the privacy of your room. Wait.
I whipped my head around and my heart flew into my throat. Albus leaned casually against the picket fence separating our two yards, wearing simply an old black t-shirt and jeans. Oh, how I wanted to jump him right now. Well, I would just have to settle doing it in my head. Sigh… it’s not the same.
I grinned stupidly and walked up to him. “Sup, Albus the…” I trailed off, frowning slightly. “You do realize nothing rhymes with your name, right?”
He grinned. “Welcome to the horrible nightmare that was my childhood.”
I shrugged. “C'est la vie.”
A playful smirk pulled at the edge of his lips. “You know if I didn’t have an aunt and three cousins who spoke French, I might have actually said ‘la vie’.”
I winced. “Ooh, that would have been embarrassing.”
He shrugged casually. “Nah, I would have just played it off as some incredibly hilarious joke.”
“Oh, right. Because you’re so funny.” He actually is, I should know. I’ve been eavesdropping on his conversations for years.
He feigned shock. “You know, if didn’t know any better, I’d say you were being sarcastic.”
“Well, apparently you don’t know any better.” I pumped my fist in the air. “That comeback totally makes up for all the ones I missed yesterday.”
Albus pulled a face. “Eh, I don’t know about all of them. I mean you missed quite a few.”
I laughed and shoved him playfully on the shoulder. “Oh, shut up!” Wait, I voluntarily touched Albus and he didn’t run away screaming. Hey! We’re making steps in the right direction. Baby steps, but steps nonetheless.
Our laughter slowly died out and I flushed slightly and looked away when I made contact with Albus’ beautiful eyes.
He cleared his throat awkwardly, and when he spoke, his voice was kinda rough. “You- uh… You look great.” He ran his hand through his hair- something I realized a few years ago was a nervous habit. Did that sound as creepy to you as it did to me? Yes? Well, screw it. It’s not like he can read minds… can he? Oh, man! Can wizards do that?
“Oh,” Warmth spread up my neck and through my cheeks. “Thanks.” I bit my lip and began to play with my fingers. “So, is there a reason why you came to talk to me? I mean, it can’t possibly be for the reason that you find my company enjoyable,” I joked. Man, I’m getting good at this! Score one for Sam.
Albus smirked. “Yeah. It definitely can’t be that.” A chuckle escaped his lips when he saw my face. “Actually, we were about to head off to Diagon ally-“
“That place you were talking about two days ago?” I interrupted him.
Albus frowned slightly. “Y-you heard that too? What else do you know that we didn’t tell you?”
Well, I know that your favorite color is blue, that you’re allergic to peanuts, and that you hate thunderstorms. But I digress. “Nothing much really. Oh, I did hear you call that ball a quaf- a quef-“ I frantically racked my brain for the word they had used.
“A quaffle?” Albus supplied.
I snapped my fingers. “Yeah! What’s that for anyway?”
“Well,” Albus ruffled his hair. Man, if you keep doing that I may just have to kidnap you and hide you in my closet. That was only slightly creepy. “That’s why we kind of wanted to take to you Diagon Ally. There’s explaining the wizarding world and then there’s experiencing it. We’ll show you all of the stuff we were talking about yesterday. And if you want, I can explain where a quaffle fits in to the game of quidditch.”
“The game of what-a-what? You’re just making stuff up now to screw with me.” I grinned.
A mischievous smirk slipped onto his face. “Why don’t you come with us to Diagon Ally and find out? Unless, you’re still hanging out with your family,” Albus added, frowning slightly.
I looked back to my house where my parents were no doubt still discussing the topic of moi. I frowned and shook my head. “No. I am definitely done spending time with my family.”
Albus looked unsure of whether to smile or frown. The result was a little awkward twitch of his lip (he still looked sexy though). “Uh, sure okay.”
I began to walk over to the hole in the fence.
“What are you doing?” Albus’ voice stopped me.
“Going through the hole in the fence. It’s how I’ve always gotten into your yard.” I stopped, hoping he wouldn’t put two and two together and get the end result of me stalking him.
Albus shook his head. “You’ll ruin your pretty dress.”
Whew, crises aborted. Way to stay calm and collected, Sam. “In that case I’m definitely going through the hole in the fence,” I shot back.
“No.” Albus’ put a hand on my shoulder and electricity shot through my body. It was just like the last time we touched. I’m not sure if Albus felt anything this time though. His hand kept a firm grip on my shoulder. He didn’t react like he had the previous time.
“Here,” Albus held out his hands. “I’ll help you crawl over.”
“O-okay.” I grabbed his hands, they were rough and calloused, not at all how I imagined them to be. Even though they weren’t soft like they had been in my dreams, I liked this better.
“Put you’re foot here.” He instructed gently. “Then put the other one here. Then just swing yourself over.”
“Um… okay.” I did as he instructed, all the while gripping his hands tightly. I found myself standing on the very top of the picket fence feeling extremely unsafe. “What do I do now?” I asked shakily.
“Just… jump over.”
My eyes widened. “Seeing as I crippled myself climbing out of your window, do you really think this is a smart idea?”
Albus smirked and gave my hands a slight tug. “You’ll be fine, just jump.”
"No, Albus. I’ll think I’ll-“
"Just take my chances-“
"With the hole- Ah!” He pulled a little too hard and I fell off the fence. I closed my eyes, anticipating the impact of the ground. Instead, strong arms wrapped around me and caught me just before I hit the hard dirt. I ended up gripping something soft as my heart raced in my chest.
After I had calmed down enough and my breath had slowed, I peeked through my eyelashes. My heart just about stopped beating right then and there. Albus’ very strong and very muscular arms were cradling me against his very toned chest. I realized that I was also gripping his shirt between clenched fists. Oh good lord and all that is holy!
"Are you alright?” Albus’ warm breath slipped over my skin and I sucked in a breath of my own. His head was blocking the sun, giving his face a slight glow. Is this heaven? I do think I died from that fall. Albus’ green eyes traveled up the length of my body, probably checking to see if I was hurt. Wait. Did his eyes just stop at my lips? No, I’ve gotta be mistaken. He was probably just blinded by my insanely bright lipstick color.
I opened and closed my mouth uselessly before finally struggling out, “Y-yeah. Totally.”
He smirked. “You know I saw your panties on the way down?”
I could feel myself flush. “Oh, god. Am I wearing my granny panties?”
Al frowned. “I was only joking… you have granny panties?”
I pursed my lips. “Would it make me look cooler if I said no?”
A chuckle escaped his lips and his sweet breath hit my face again.
Albus didn’t move. He kept me suspended a few feet above the ground, cradling me against his chest, staring into my eyes. He had to feel what I was feeling. The electricity that buzzed between us was undeniable. It bounced off of him and shot right through my heart, sending tingles up my spine. The parts of our exposed skin that were touching burned. It felt like my entire body was on fire.
Albus seemed to shake himself out of the trance he and I were both in. He stood up and pulled me upright with him. I tried to fight a frown as he took a step back, putting a substantial amount of space between us.
He cleared his throat. “So shall we get going? My family is probably inside waiting for us.”
"Uh… sure!” I turned back to the house but stuttered in my step. Maybe I imagined it because Albus hadn’t seemed to notice. But I thought I saw the other four Potters cramming into the kitchen window to get a peak at Albus and I.
* * * * *
"Okay, Sam. Take some of this powder, step into the fire, and say ‘Diagon Ally’ very clearly,” James said to me.
I stared at him. “Are you screwing with me?”
Lily huffed. “Sam can’t do it by herself, she’s a muggle.” She said it as if it were the most obvious thing ever.
"That’s right, someone will have to do it with her,” Mrs. Potter said. She came walking into the slightly chaotic living room throwing on what looked like a very long jacket. Mr. Potter seemed to be wearing the exact same thing.
"Um…” I held up my hand as if I were asking a question. “Should I have worn a bath robe too?”
Mrs. Potter looked confused, but Mr. Potter smirked. “No, these are wizarding robes. It’s something you usually wear when you go into the wizarding world.”
"Then why aren’t these three wearing them?” I jerked a thumb towards their kids.
"We do when we go to school,” Albus explained.
I raised an eyebrow. “Don’t kids think you’re weird?”
Lily raised her own eyebrow in confusion. “Everyone wears them. It’s a school for witchcraft and wizardry.”
My mouth dropped open in shock. “No way!”
"Okay, we need to get going. Your father and I are meeting your aunt and uncle for some tea.” Mrs. Potter began to usher everyone towards the fireplace. I was beginning to think they weren’t kidding, and that we really were taking the fireplace.
"Wait, which aunt and uncle?” James turned around and began to walk backwards.
"You have more than one?” I gaped at them.
"Yeah… why, don’t you?” Albus asked me.
I shook my head. “My mother is an only child and my father has a younger brother. I don’t even have any cousins.”
James’ booming laugh echoed around the living room. “Then you are going to flip at the size of our family.” His face changed as if he had been struck by inspiration. “Hey! She should come to our family reunion next week!”
"Oh, no. I couldn’t-“ But apparently no one was concerned about my interests.
"That’s a great idea!” Mrs. Potter interrupted me. “Why not show her how wizards act amongst each other in a home environment!”
"I’m pretty sure I already get enough of that hanging out with you all-“
"Yeah! Sam you will love the burrow!” Lily exclaimed excitedly.
"... You people live underground?” I questioned.
Mrs. Potter frowned but Mr. Potter snorted. “No. That’s only what we call it.”
"Oh.” I nodded, smiling a little. “Cool.”
"Okay, now comes the task of getting Sam to Diagon Ally.” Mrs. Potter was back in business mode. “Someone needs to take Sam with them when we go.”
"I’ll do it.” James offered. In the blink of an eye he had stepped into the fireplace and twirled me into him. He wrapped a strong arm around my waste, gave Albus a quick wink, threw down the powder in his hand and screamed, “Diagon Ally!”
Before I could open my mouth to ask for a different travel partner (no offense, but James seemed kind of reckless to me) we were engulfed in flames. I wanted to scream in fear but didn’t have time because we were quickly sucked away. It felt like we were spinning really fast. I tried to keep my eyes open, and saw through the whirl of green flames different living rooms- it was almost as if we traveling through different fireplaces. I only got glances of the living rooms however, because one minute we were there and the next we were gone.
I squeezed my eyes shut and turned my face into James’ side. Right when I thought I was going to barf the spinning sensation stopped and James stepped out of the fireplace, tugging me with him. As soon as he took his arm off of me I fell to the floor, my head whirling uncomfortably. I straightened my glasses, but it did nothing to clear up the spinning room.
“Merlin, James! Look what you did to her!” Was that Albus? When did he get here- wherever here was?
I felt two different hands pull me up by my arms. Albus came to stand in front of me. “How are you doing, Sam?”
“There are two of you,” I mumbled, swaying slightly on the spot.
I heard a soft thump and a string of curse words.
“Don’t bloody punch me you violent child!” James snapped.
"Oh, will you both please stop it!” Mrs. Potter must be here too. Her kind arm grabbed mine and she steered me to a door. Huh… we must be in a shop. We left the possible shop and came out onto a cobblestone street full of people. At least I think it’s full of people, I’m still seeing double.
I shook my head a little as my vision started to clear up. I ran a hand through my hair, straightened my glasses again, and let out a gasp of shock.
“Samantha.” Mrs. Potter spoke from my side. “Welcome to Diagon Ally.”
Heeeeeyyyy.... soooo.... yeah! I know this chapter is kind of short and doesn't really make up for the long wait.. but it's up! Sam's back- just as creepy as ever! ... huzzah?
Anyway! Comment up a storm- I love reading them and they give me the willpower to update faster (the laziness... it's dragging me in...).
Until nextime lovelies!
French Translation: C'est la vie- That's life!
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