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Chapter 7 : seven.
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Jester hooted in outrage, settling back down with his beady eyes fixed on the two intruders. They were both glaring at each other, a silent stand off. Quickly I detach the notes from each leg, relieved when one of them flew off. The bigger of the two owls stays, a massive black hulk of a thing.
I open the other letter first, dread curling in my stomach as I recognise the writing. Tom. I need my stuff. Please forward it to Miss Heidi Stone followed by the address. Some superfluous comments about the weather, about Quidditch, about business. I’m good, Evie. I hope you are too. I’m so sorry.
The second letter was barely even that. Just a scrap, a single line. I’ll pick you up at 9. Look pretty. Freddie’s writing looks like it’s battling against a severe wind from all angles, scrawling, the letters a mismatched jumble just thrown together. The arrogant sod didn’t even sign it.
Sighing, I toss the note aside, then place Tom’s more carefully onto the kitchen cabinet. Freddie’s owl hoots reproachfully. Flapping my hands at it, I point at the window. “Shoo,” I demand firmly, using a voice reserved for small, disobedient children. The owl hoots and blinks slowly in a way that reminds me of Harriet. I flap my hands again, closer to the owl. It just hops to the side, talons clicking on the surface. “Get out,” I raise my voice a little, then stride to the window and stick my hand out, demonstrating the owl exit.
When the owl remains unmoving, I give up. Pulling a towel off the airer in the kitchen, I head to the bathroom. With a fluttery commotion, the huge owl follows. I shriek in shock, flap my hands at it and then –
“NOOO NOT ON THE BED!”
Weasley, your filthy bird has shat on my kettle and my bed. It’s pestering reminds me of you (not in a good way). See you at nine. Bring replacement kettle and sheets.
“Romantic.” I manage not to jump in shock, flail or hit the intruder in shock. Eoin drops a kiss on the top of my head, smoothes my hair, then goes to investigate the contents of the fridge. He squints at the shitty kettle as he does so.
I roll the parchment into a tube and attach it to the bird’s leg, dodging its snapping beak. It takes off immediately, soaring through the open window with a few beats of its powerful wings.
“You need to go shopping,” Eoin complains, abandoning the fridge and looking fruitlessly into the empty fruit bowl.
“You need to move out,” I counter, retrieving my towel from where it had been flapped angrily at the bloody owl.
“Are you kicking me out?” Eoin collapses onto the sofa and looks over to me. I look back at him and his lips quirk into a grin. “Thought not.”
I huff. “I’m going for a shower.”
Eoin opens his mouth.
“No, you can’t come,” I cut him off before a word dares to pass his lips.
“Natural.” I instruct Harriet, who huffs with her brush poised above my face, squinting uncertainly.
“Are you sure? Because you look so good when-”
“Hari,” I grumble, fixing her with a firm look.
“Put some slap on!” yells Eoin from the living room, followed by some scattered Gaelic as the radio sputters with static.
Harriet narrowly misses my eye with the foundation brush as I roll them. “Minimal,” I insist, and although Harriet never looks like a clown I’m seized with the fear that I will look totally ridiculous and Weasley will laugh in my face. Then I remind myself that I do not care what he thinks. This whole meeting was simply due to my fear of law enforcement agencies and a feeling that jail wasn’t my kind of thing.
Harriet dips a tiny brush into a black pot. “Close your eyes,” and I do so obediently. She drags the brush across each eyelid, the eye liner cool on my skin. Concealer, more foundation. Mascara, a light pressing of eyeliner pencil under my eye. Blusher on each cheek. I made to look in the mirror and was slapped away by my dear friend. “Wait for the full thing,” she insists.
“Owl!” Eoin yells, followed by a minor scuffle and a thud as something hits the floor followed by a muffled ‘shit.’ Then Eoin appears around the door, brandishing a small roll of parchment in my direction. “I had to wrestle the blasted thing,” he complains, handing me the parchment before leaving, still complaining.
Harriet mutters a heating charm and wraps a lock of my hair around her wand, hairbrush tucked under her armpit and a concentrated frown on her face. Carefully, without moving my head, I unravel the parchment and peer down at the note,
Bed sheets? Is this an invitation of sorts? It sounds like one.
Scoffing, I crumple the note up in my hand. “Sit still!” Harriet tugs on a lock of my hair to emphasise her reprimand, scowling as she surveys the style I obviously just messed up. Sighing, I crane to try and see into the mirror. “Eva,” she growls at me.
“The owl’s still here!” Eoin calls, turning up the radio. A burst of static sounds, followed by a low stream of Gaelic and a thud – presumably Eoin beating up the radio.
“Does he speak fluent Irish?” Harriet asks, moving around to the other side of my hair. I’m tempted to try and feel the side she’s done to try and figure out how it looks, but am fearful of a curse or hex.
“Gaelic?” I grin as she rolls her eyes.
“Yeah, that thing.”
“Don’t think so,” I’m hesitant to admit how little I actually know about Eoin, how he’s a closed book and how our relationship seems to survive on our lack of Hogwarts education and general acceptance. Harriet seems to believe that we’re best of friends and him living here is a constant sleep over, with added bedroom action. “Probably just swear words. He might even be making it up, I don’t know.”
Harriet runs the brush down the side of hair she’s now on, teases a few tendrils between her fingers and then steps back to inspect her work. Presumably happy with what she sees, she picks up a can of hairspray. I close my eyes as she sprays it all over, the smell making me wrinkle my nose.
“Perfect,” she declares, stepping back and glancing my face and hair over.
I rise from the stool inelegantly, due to one of my legs having fallen asleep. Limping slightly, I flick the light on to the bathroom and look into the grimy mirror.
I asked for minimal, and it was minimal. Black eyeliner on the upper lid, black flicks extending out. It made my eyes pop, as the magazines would say. Pale pink lipstick emphasised my lips, blusher making my cheekbones look sharper than ever. Harriet peers almost nervously over my shoulder.
My hair is lightly curled, looking shiny and soft.
“Brilliant,” I assure her, gathering her into a hug. Relief leaks into her grey eyes.
“That’s me,” she grins. “Now, what are you wearing?”
Eoin walks in as I stand in my underwear behind Harriet as she tosses half the contents of my wardrobe onto my bed.
“That owl is still – oh, nice pants.”
“Ta,” I catch a dress Harriet throws over her shoulder and hold it up to Eoin. Floral pattern, light and summery, long enough but not too long. “Yay?” I ask, and Eoin barely looks at it.
“Yeah, yeah. What about this owl?”
“Write ‘no’ and send it back,” the words are muffled as I pull the dress over my head and into position, struggling around to zip it up. Halternecked, I liked to believe it made my shoulders look good.
“This one!” Harriet turns around with a black dress in one hand, her triumphant expression fading as she sees me. “Eva?”
“Too formal,” I dismiss it immediately, spinning so the skirt of my dress fans out before settling again. “This one,” I insist.
Harriet frowns, assessing the dress. Then she nods. “Well, it’s alright, I suppose,” she looks dejectedly at the black dress in her hand, but seems to realise my mind is set. “Shoes?”
We settle on a pair of gold sandals. Harriet stands over me as I buckle them onto my feet, fretting about the chipped varnish on my toenails.
“If I had more time-”
“Harriet, it doesn’t matter – okay? No one’s going to notice my toe nails and go ‘oh goodness look at the state of them’-”
“Appearances matter, they form opinions,” she insists, then freezes as the doorbell rings.
“Door!” Eoin yells.
“Oh merlin. Harriet grips my wrist, her eyes widening. “He’s actually come. Okay. Be good. Remember everything I told you. Have fun! You’re so lucky. I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”
Then, squeezing her eyes shut, she disaparates with a loud crack.
“Door!” Eoin yells again.
“I know, I know,” I leave the bedroom, shooting Eoin a look. His eyes flick over my outfit, my face.
“You look hot,” he announces, making me pause with one hand on the door handle. I grin at him.
“You heartbreaker,” and then I open the door to Freddie Weasley.
AN: Oh goodness, another chapter! I am so sorry for the wait, I keep meaning to update but never actually get around to it. I'm astounded by the response to this story, everyone's so lovely. I do love reviews ;) And if you have any questions or anything, don't forget to visit my MTA page! Any ideas on where Freddie will take her?
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