Chapter 9 : Many Meetings
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So here I was, sat in the same fancy French restaurant I went to with Bill and Fleur. Joseph Humphrey had turned out to be a ridiculous slow eater, analysing every morsel of food before putting it in his mouth, and that was him eating quickly. If there was something he didn’t like on the food he would have to scrape that part of it off, and then start the whole palaver of analysing the food again. I almost felt that he was an archaeologist, and this was some Roman antique he was examining.
It was safe to say it was quite different from my tried and tested technique of shoveling every bit of food in the vicinity into my mouth. Though it was messy, it did get the job done quickly at least. “So Joseph what do you like to do for fun?” I didn’t even know why I bothered to talk to him. I had approximately twenty two minutes before I had to meet Remus, and that was factoring my lateness into account too.
“Well, my father and I went dragon hunting in Romania last year. That was top hat,” Joseph guffawed causing him to spray bits of food all over me. I brushed against my robes, hoping it would either rub off or rub in. Luck was actually on my side for once, and the tomato stain soon faded. Now I just had to hope it didn't show up in harsh light.
“How wonderful,” I spat out. Ok, I know I had promised Amina that I would see the date until the end, but the rate it was currently going at I would have to make a break for it now. Naturally, wanting to see Remus had nothing to do with it. “I’m terribly sorry, Joseph, but I have to go. I just had the most dreadful case of nargles infecting my brain, and I need to recover.”
That should get rid of him. I highly doubted that he read The Quibbler, so he probably didn’t even know what a nargle was. Neither did I to be honest, as I had only skim read it at a newsstand in Diagon Alley, but I got the general idea of them.
“I haven’t told you about my trip to rural Tanzania where we tried to trap a dementor yet!” he cried out in the distance. I had already strode past him and was out of the door. That was awful. I didn’t even get to see my old enemy, the server person. I had even learnt his official title – maître d'hôtel. Damn, that meant I would have to come back to that dreadful place again so I could provoke him one final time.
I swept out of the restaurant and let out a little moan. As January was drawing to a close and February was beginning pinks, whites and reds could be seen everywhere. The colours were making me want to vomit. They were far too girly girl for my liking. I would have even made sick noises, but the street was too crowded for the real thing.
I quickly hurried on, eager to escape this source of pain. Before I knew it, I was pushing the door to the Leaky open and as soon as I did so, I could see Remus nursing a glass of butter beer at the same place where I had my first proper conversation with him and Bill. Oh how times had changed. I could still walk away and not have to deal with talking about that kiss. The idea sounded very agreeable to me actually. All I had to do was sidestep towards the door and then run out if it. I even leant on a table to provide a smoother stepping experience. One step done, and I was only a foot away. One tiny one left, and I would be free.
I suddenly felt something give way beneath me, and the large crash of glass breaking echoed everywhere. I glanced down and saw that the table I had been holding onto was now rolling on the floor with the broken glass trying to act as a barrier to it.
“I’m sorry!” I yelled out. Not only had I made a fool of myself, I had also attracted the entire pub’s attention to me. That included Remus who grinned at me. I didn’t particularly feel like grinning back. I just wanted to run far away and hide my face in shame. Or seek therapy. That might help with my clumsiness.
“Don’t worry about it,” Tom said affably, and with a swish of his wand the glasses had gone back to their original form. Seeing as I wouldn’t be able to provide the entertainment the pub-goers so longed for, they quickly returned to their drinks, and I was out of the limelight for a little longer.
“Nice entrance you made there, Tonks,” Remus called out to me. Great. Now he had actually acknowledged my presence by talking to me, I suppose I should head over and say hello. This time, I shuffled rather than sidestepped; hopefully this form of movement would prove to be less conspicuous. Well, the verb shuffle gave off those sorts of connotations, so perhaps it would work.
“Er, hi Remus, long time no speak,” I muttered, making it to the table incident free. I already regretted coming here. Perhaps if I had given Joseph his full twenty two minutes he may have dramatically gone up in my rankings. We might have even be jetting off to Las Vegas for our impromptu wedding and naming our children ridiculous things like Cleopatra and Phoenix this minute. I suppose I would never know what my life as Nymphadora Humphrey could have been like.
“Are you alright?” Remus asked, sounding concerned. “You completely zoned out for about two minutes, or were you purposefully ignoring me again?”
“Er, no just imagining my life as Mrs Humphrey, nothing strange,” I said wearily. Remus should be used to my random spacing out by now. Joseph would have been. Gah, I need to stop thinking about Joseph – he sprayed food on me.
“Oh." Remus' face fell a little. “Tonks, I’m going to cut to the chase. I know you don’t want to talk about what happened, but I think we should. We need to clear the air about it, and then things can go back to normal.”
So he lured me under false pretenses then? So much for ‘we’ll just meet as friends’. Meet as friends my ass. A friend would have known better not to bring it up. I didn’t want to bring it up. It would make me think about his soft lips, and how I actually I enjoyed it. Damn, now I was staring at his lips. What if he thought I wanted to kiss him again? I guess I would have to take the mature, adult option and agree to talk about it. It might even get rid of the dreams of me kissing him.
“Sure, talk about it,” I said and waved my hair around pretending to be nonchalant. This was what models did, so I hoped it looked ok.
“Are you hot, Tonks? Or is there another reason why your waving your hair around?” Remus asked. Damn, it hadn’t worked. I would just have to sit here with my bubble-gum pink hair looking boring then. He probably thought I was trying to be a hipster or something. “Anyway, what I wanted to say was that though it left me confused and you too by the sounds of it, I don’t want it to come between us. I really like you Tonks, and I would hate to lose you.”
He liked me! He didn’t want to lose me! Why was I using mental exclamation marks to emphasis this? Also, why was I getting weirdly excited about this, it was just Remus. But he did have soft lips. Damn, I was thinking about his lips again. I needed to seek therapy for them too at this rate.
“Yeah let’s just forget about this. It would be weird not being friends with you.” Wow, I actually allowed myself to say that? I was getting better at dealing with awkward situations, after all.
Remus grinned at me. He looked nearly as happy as when I told him I didn’t care about him being werewolf. Woah, that conversation happened a long time ago. “Let me get you a drink.”
“Thanks, Remus,” I said to his departing figure. That conversation didn’t go to badly then. Let's just hope I could keep the next part of it normal.
“Are you sure this is going to be alright, Tonks?” Mum asked me. I could tell how nervous she was as she called Tonks.
“It’s going to be fine, Mum. Relax. After all, being reunited with your long lost cousin who you thought was a mass murderer who escaped from prison isn’t that much of a biggy.” Mum gave me a look of disdain at that point, so we headed over to number twelve in silence.
Molly was meant to be coming along to take on a peace-keeping role with me. Her and Mum were friends at school, and they still owled each other now and then so hopefully she could deal with any issues that might arise better than I would.
I banged on the door in my usual fashion and got another look of disdain from Mum. She needed to lighten up otherwise Sirius wouldn’t want to see her again. I heard a clamour of footsteps rush to the door, and I was greeted by an anxious looking Sirius and a no-nonsense looking Molly.
“Wotcher, Sirius, Molly.” I nodded at them while I strolled into the entrance hall. Molly gave me a smile, but Sirius didn't even greet me. He was only focused on one thing. My mother.
If those two weren’t cousins, I would have mistaken this moment for long lost lovers reuniting after one of them had been shipwrecked for years. They were just standing there and gawking at one another. If I hadn’t seen someone for years I would be bursting with things to tell them like my blind date and Remus. Those two were awful at reunions.
“Sirius, it’s so great to see you,” Mum finally piped up. I turned to look at her and saw tears had begun to well up in her eyes. So the water works had already begun then.
“You too, Andromeda,” Sirius replied, and his eyes began to water too. If they carried on crying at this rate, they would be in danger of being shipwrecked.
“Don’t call me Andromeda, you of all people should know I just prefer Dromeda,” Mum joked and then wrapped Sirius up in a hug.
They were going to get along, after all then. I was worried they had decided to be statues for the day. “Tonks, shall we go and put the kettle on?” Molly’s eyes bored into mine when asking me this. I mean, I know I didn’t always get it, but at least here I knew here that she meant for us to leave them alone. I gave the pair of them a quick wave before trundling after Molly.
Even though she only entered the kitchen a few seconds before me, she had already begun blustering around causing a whirlwind of organised mayhem. I knew she brought me along to give Sirius and Mum some time on their own, but I didn’t think you could call any mayhem I caused organised.
“Bill finally broke the news that he’s got a girlfriend,” Molly announced proudly.
“Oh that’s great, what’s she like?” I asked eagerly. I knew that I had met Fleur and quite liked her, but I didn’t know if Molly knew. If Molly did know I would look like an idiot, but I wouldn’t want her to be hurt by not knowing. Oh the dilemma of maintaining diplomacy.
“I haven’t actually met her.” This caused Molly to blush a vivid red. “But, Bill has told me that she's part Veela and a very charming girl. They met at work you know, so she must be smart if she works at Gringotts. I think he said her name was Fleur.”
This was so awkward. I hated having to pretend that I didn’t know anything about her, because it gave me the feeling that I was going to cause a massive slip-up due to this predicament.
“She sounds wonderful.” There, that was fairly neutral. There was small lull in the conversation before Molly dived in.
“What about your love life, Tonks?” Molly asked and winked at me. “Are you seeing anyone special?”
“I had a wonderful blind date with someone called Joseph Humphrey. He was a typical mindless pureblood if you were wondering how it went.”
“Come on, there must be someone who’s taken your fancy!” Molly pestered me eagerly. I never knew she was such a keen match-maker.
“There’s someone I like, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say he takes my fancy,” I muttered. Unfortunately, Molly’s ears had been trained well over the years with all those children and she managed to pick up on it.
“Ooh sit down, and I’ll give you a cup of tea and you can tell me everything!” Molly cried out and virtually pushed me into a chair. God, imagine if she and Amina got together. No secrets would be safe at all.
After being interrogated by Molly for about two hours, Mum finally decided to emerge and save my skin. “Ready to go, Tonks? Your dad’s got stargazing club on tonight so I have to put his dinner on early.”
“Yes, definitely,” I replied, trying not to sound too eager. As much as I liked Molly, it was hard trying to fend off her questions for so long. Even though she didn’t know who I was exactly talking about, she had enough clues to guess correctly. I didn’t even know why I started talking about him. I didn’t even like him in that way.
Sirius emerged into the kitchen soon after her and looked the happiest I had seen him in months. “That was really great seeing you again, Dromeda. We’ll have to do it again sometime soon.”
“Definitely.” She grinned back at him. “Even if I do have to come and see those house elves heads again.”
So it wasn’t only me who got freaked out by them then. “Come on then, Mum.” I began walking towards the door, leaving them to say goodbye without me around. My mind was occupied by that conversation I just had with Molly. All it had done was leave me even more filled with confusion than before.
Author's Note: I am so sorry for the long wait, I was traveling round Europe and there was no way I could update before now. I really hoped you liked this chapter, I know the end section isn't known canon but I couldn't resist it! I have some exciting news too! I am now a TA, so I'm going to try and establish a regular updating pattern from now!
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