Chapter 21 : News
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If you recognise it, it’s JKR’s
“I wouldn’t worry about it too much, Al” Steven told his sister the following day. “Everyone knows what Rita Skeeter’s like.”
“Yeah, but you didn’t see how upset Mum and Auntie Lily were yesterday, and Dad was in a horrible mood last night.” Allegra replied, wrapping her hands around her mug of tea, in a café near Diagon Alley. Renee, next to her, nodded.
“Dad’s always been touchy about that Wormtail stuff, even when we were kids asking about the names on the map.”
“Well you can’t exactly blame him!” Allegra retorted.
“Surely they can do something; she said your Dad threatened to drown her!” Renee exclaimed.
“Dad actually told her to go and boil her head when she wouldn’t leave him alone. He probably thought that bit was funny, knowing him.” Allegra grinned. “Seriously though, don’t you think it’s out of order?”
“Of course it is, but people know how simplistic it is. Wormtail turned on them because he was weak and selfish.” Steven pointed out.
“It’s alright for you; you’re in another country most of the time!”
“Not for much longer!”
“What?” Allegra asked, surprised.
“I can’t ask Em to live in another country, or that we live apart. So I applied to relocate back here, and this morning they said I could. I’ll be working with Harry.” Allegra jumped up and threw her arms around her brother.
“Steven! That’s brilliant! Have you told mum yet? Oh God! She’s going to be a nightmare! ‘Oh, my baby’s coming home!’” Allegra mimicked. Renee tried not to laugh, but Allegra sounded exactly like her mother had when Steven surprised her at Christmas.
“I haven’t told her yet, so don’t say anything. I asked the people at the Ministry to let me tell Dad as well.”
“Does Cesca know?” Allegra asked.
“Yeah, I might stay with her for a bit so that Em and I try and find a place together, there isn’t enough room at hers for both of us to live there.” Allegra laughed.
“Mum’s going to go mad! You not going home!”
“Well, with you two there…” He began.
“We’ll be back at school soon.” Renee pointed out. She immediately felt guilty, like she was stopping Steven from going home. “It’s our last term so I can get a job and find my own place after that…”
“Don’t be daft, Ren!” Allegra exclaimed. “Mum would also go mad at that.”
“Yeah, if I’m staying at Cesca’s she’ll be better. I haven’t had much chance to spend much time with her and Dean other than at mad family get togethers for a while. She’s…” he continued, before he was interrupted.
“Steven? Steven Black?” a voice above them exclaimed. The blonde woman standing by their table looked vaguely familiar to Allegra.
“Lauren!” Steven exclaimed, standing up to greet her. “Wow. How are you? Sit down!” he said. “You remember my baby sister Allegra? And this is her friend, Renee.” he said as they sat down.
“The last time I saw you, you were a toddler!” Lauren exclaimed.
“We were at school together” Steven explained.
“Oh! You’re THAT Lauren!” Allegra said.
“Yes, Allegra. We used to go out!” Steven rolled his eyes.
“Before Emily, obviously!” Allegra explained. Steven narrowed his eyes at his sister, warning her not to stir up trouble. He knew he would never do anything to hurt his fiancée, but Allegra had always had a mischievous streak.
“Emily?” Lauren asked.
“My fiancée.” He explained.
“They’ve been together for years!” Allegra commented. She didn’t like the way this woman was fawning over her brother, so felt compelled to stick up for her future sister-in-law. Before anyone could comment further, Allegra’s phone rang.
“Hello?... Hi Mum… We’re just with Steven near Diagon Alley… Why?... Really?... Ok… Ok… OK Mum, we’ll be home soon… Ok, Bye!” Allegra hung up, rolling her eyes. “Dad’s in a sentimental mood and wants a family dinner!” she informed her brother and Renee.
“Just us, or everyone?” Steven asked.
“No one else is even home yet!” Allegra grumbled, as they headed through to the kitchen.
“Where was Mum when she rang you?” Steven asked her.
“Still at the shop, I suppose” Allegra shrugged. “Why did you take what’s-her-face’s number anyway, you big tart?”
“Just being polite, Al. She’s an old friend.”
“Yeah, Steven” Allegra replied sarcastically. “Friend!”
“Shut up, Al!” Steven glowered at his sister and sat down heavily at the table.
“What? She was your girlfriend!”
“Who was?” Said a voice at the door. Terese had heard Allegra’s declaration.
“Just someone from school. Lauren.” Steven shrugged. A look of alarm passed fleetingly over Terese’s face.
“Is that the girl …?” she began, not knowing how to finish the sentence delicately. Steven nodded.
“Yeah. And before you ask, Em knows all about her.”
“What, that you saw her today?” Allegra asked.
“Yeah, when you ‘nipped’ into that shoe shop, I rang her”
“Shoe shop?” Terese raised an eyebrow at her youngest daughter, momentarily distracted. “Allegra, you do not need any more shoes.” Steven gave his sister a triumphant look as their mother turned to get some plates out.
“What’s for dinner anyway?” Allegra asked, throwing a tea towel at Steven.
“Your dad’s bringing home some pizza.”
“What’s this all about, Mum?” Steven asked.
“Oh you know your Dad. He does get sentimental. He wants to see his babies.”
“Addie’s probably going to sit staring at poor old Renee again!” Steven grinned, relishing the opportunity to tease his nephew. Allegra looked at her friend, who flushed slightly.
“You know you can tell them both to shut up, Ren. Everyone else does!”
“Stop causing trouble, you!” Terese ruffled Allegra’s hair.
“He started it!” she grumbled. “Anyway Steven, Harry told me what you used to be like whenever you were within forty feet of Gabriella Delacour!” Steven flicked a bit of paper at her, which she immediately flicked back.
“Hello?” Francesca’s voice called as the front door slammed.
“Nan!” Addie called.
“In here!” Terese replied. Cesca and Addie appeared, greeting everyone; Addie stammering and flushing slightly when he spoke to Renee.
“Where’s Dean?” Steven asked Francesca.
“Working late.” She said, her irritated tone making it clear that the subject was closed.
They sat at the table waiting for Sirius, who arrived about twenty minutes later, laden down with pizza boxes, closely followed by Emily. Sirius put the boxes on the table and grinned at his family, as Emily sat next to Steven, who put his arm around her.
“Allegra, was that another shoe box I saw stuffed behind your coat in the hall?” Sirius asked, as everyone helped themselves to pizza.
“Why would it be mine?” She replied indignantly.
“Because your mum wouldn’t hide them if she got them.”
“True.” Terese grinned at her husband.
“We have some news!” Steven announced suddenly. Allegra caught Francesca’s eye, and the pair of them grinned slightly, before looking down.
“Oh My God! You’re pregnant!” Terese exclaimed.
“NO! Mum! No. Em’s not pregnant!” Steven said forcefully, before his mother got carried away. “I’m moving back. I’ve just got to get things finished up in Italy, then I’m coming back, and we’re going to start house hunting!”
“Oh Steven!” Terese exclaimed, delighted. Behind her back, Francesca and Allegra pulled faces at each other, as Terese and Sirius hugged their son. “That’s brilliant! Are you going to move back here first?”
“Actually, I thought I might stay with Cesca for a bit, seeing as we hardly see each other these days.” He said.
The rest of the evening passed peacefully, with Terese delighted at the news her son would be home.
Later that evening, Terese and Sirius were getting ready for bed.
“Steven saw Lauren today” She told him.
“You know, the girl he was seeing at school. I walked in on them…”
“Isabelle’s daughter?” Terese nodded, looking anxious.
“Let’s not tell Lily.” Sirius replied grimly. That was all they needed.
***So, it's been a long time since I updated (due to various personal reasons) that I have no idea if the people who used to read my stories remember them. Anyway, enjoy and feel free to let me know what you think!***
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