Chapter 4 : Daddy Issues
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Getting a meeting with Mr Lightwood seemed to be impossible. I mean how busy can the creator and CEO of wizarding tech be? Incredibly busy apparently…
We didn’t want to draw attention to the fact we were searching for Noah, so that meant keeping it between the five of us: Al, Freddie, Ashleigh, Lucas and me, and soon to be Mr Lightwood. Although, I’m not sure Lucas really counts – he’s knows though that’s enough. But he was a dead end as far as we’re concerned.
Freddie made the point that they’d planned to go abroad for a year. That surely they would have big plans and know where to go. He thinks that Noah went on the trip on her own. We asked Lucas this and he said it was a possibility, but he didn’t know where she would start, or even where she would go. He said it was too long ago to remember where they were planning on going. And I believed him.
But Freddie’s point created problems for us. If she had travelled the world, she could be anywhere. There are one hundred and ninety six countries in the world and she could have been in anyone of them. Our search suddenly became a lot bigger.
I sighed as I jumped down on my settee. It was hard to find a girl you didn’t know much about. I mean if I wanted to run away I’d go somewhere remote, quiet, somewhere, where nobody would recognise me. Abroad was right. As long as I stayed away from wizarding communities, I wouldn’t be recognised. I would no longer bear the name Potter. And sometimes I thought maybe that would be a good thing. I’d have a clean slate; I wouldn’t have to do what was expected of me. I could just be James.
I heard my front door open. I peered through my hands as I saw Ashleigh come through the front door with shopping bags. It had been two weeks since we’d been engaged, and she’d unofficially moved in here. I swear she was just using her apartment as a wardrobe.
She had her mobile phone on her shoulder as she put the bags down on the other settee; she smiled at me acknowledging my presence.
“Yeah, I just got in” she said as she was rummaging through one of her bags. I watched her amused; it was incredible how much she could multi-task. Trust me I’d seen her do her makeup, while apperating. Ok I haven’t but she probably could if she wanted to.
She pulled out a packet of Bertie Bott’s every flavoured beans. I jumped up a little from where I was lying. She threw the packet at me smiling, as she carried on talking. See married life wouldn’t be that bad. She brings me treats. I’m like her own little golden retriever.
“I don’t know, Dad” she complained. My eyes lit up, I didn’t realise why I hadn’t thought of it sooner. I reached over to the landline phone (courtesy of wizarding tech) I grabbed the pen and paper and scrolled on the note. ASK FOR A MEETING FOR ME AND YOUR DAD!!!
He was talking to her down the phone, probably giving her a lecture. “Why?” she mouthed at me.
I wrote down on the paper: NOAH. Her eyes lit up too, she nodded at me eagerly.
“Daddy” she whined. I knew that voice, she was going to get her way. I heard Mr Lightwood from the other side.
“What darling?” I had a pre-victory thump in the air. I sat up just waiting in anticipation…
“James has a preposition for you. He wants to arrange a meeting” I could only hear mumbling in the background. “He’s already rang you assistant” she droned. More mumbling followed, it was true I’d rang his assistant and sectary several times. He was just too busy. “For me, Daddy?” that was it that was her final line, silence met her… I heard a long sigh and some mumbling. “Great! Thank you Daddy!”
I jumped up and kissed Ashleigh on the head. This was getting easy by the second.
“Love you too Dad!” she said happily as she hung up the phone.
“When?” I asked her eagerly.
“Tomorrow, dinner meeting, is that ok?” she asked realising she should have checked with me first. I nodded.
“No that’s brilliant!” I kissed her on the head again. I needed to ring Al and tell him. It was because of Wizarding Tech that owls were hardly used anymore. They combined muggle technology with magic, to create the ultimate phones. It was brilliant really and saved a lot of time, from waiting for the owl to deliver the messages, now it was instant. Although Dad still liked to use his owl, old habits die hard though.
Luckily Al wasn’t busy tomorrow either. We would both be interrogating Mr Lightwood - in the least intimidating way possible. Maybe.
Tomorrow came around like lightning. Quick and unexpected. Ashleigh picked out my outfit, tight grey trousers and smart light blue shirt. I told Al to dress smartly too. After a little debate we’d asked Freddie to join too, but he was busy with the shop. It was kind of relieving actually; at least he wouldn’t start suddenly eating popcorn half way through the interrogation.
We were going to be eating at Dormer’s it was a five star restaurant, incredibly expensive. But worth paying for if it meant finally talking to Mr Lightwood.
Like last time, I was meeting Al there. We’d agreed to meet fifteen minutes before, Mr Lightwood was due to arrive. That way we could go through a pre plan. Decide what we were going to ask and how to go about it. We realised that we couldn’t be as straight forward as we were Lucas. We had to be careful about this one. Noah was his daughter after all and in his eyes he was only looking out for her, when he’d asked Lucas to be her boyfriend.
I hadn’t told Ashleigh about that. I know, I shouldn’t be keeping secrets, I just didn’t know how much that would affect her relationship with her father. I didn’t want to cause any problems. There was obviously a reason he hadn’t told her yet. And I definitely didn’t want to be the one to break it to her.
I apparated straight into the restaurant perks of it being a wizarding restaurant I guess.
I told the man at the door my reservation and he had somebody lead me straight in. It turned out, I had beat Al there. But he wasn’t far behind, not even two minutes later Al strolled in, a smirk plastered across his confident little face. He was wearing a black suit with a white shirt, his top button undone, giving him the casual look. I waved him over as I spotted him.
“Well don’t you look handsome” he told me as he took the seat next to me.
“Shut it,” I told him warningly. He laughed.
“Ok. Ok… look just don’t ask him straight out. Or maybe we should. If we tell him we’re doing it for Ashleigh, he might be more lenient to tell us about what happened. And if we tell him we already know what happened with Lucas, he can’t deny it didn’t happen” he said each statement with reasoning behind it. He’d been thinking this through, a lot. I wondered whether Dad was giving him time off to help me. Or if he was juggling his real job with this. Either way I should probably pay him for his help, or at least get him something nice. Maybe a kitchen clock…
“Looks like we don’t have another choice” I said motioning towards the door. It turned out Al and I weren’t the only ones who wanted to be early. He was too. We both stood up as he came over.
“Hello boys!” he boomed. Mr Lightwood himself was quite a large man, his suit barely buttoned over his rather round belly.
“It’s a pleasure, Mr Lightwood” Al proclaimed. I wanted to laugh at how he was kissing up to him, but I realised that was probably the best thing to do. We needed to butter him up. And I doubted getting him drunk at lunch time would work.
“Please call me Neil!” he announced as he eventually sat down. In union we too sat down. “I hear you’ve been trying hard to get this meeting, James” he said looking at me over his menu. I nodded.
“I want to do something special for Ashleigh, well I’m in the middle of it actually...” I rambled on.
“And you need my helping hand!” Mr Lightwood accused as he started to laugh. He wasn’t far off, to be honest.
“You could say that,” I mused.
“Well on with it boy, tell me the surprise!” Mr Lightwood looked excited at the thought; I should have probably told him that it wasn’t so much of a surprise more like a nice gesture. I looked over at Al for approval and he nodded. Luckily the waiter came and took our drink orders; it gave me time to calm myself.
Now or never, I thought. As the waiter left, I breathed out sighing.
“We’re trying to find Noah,” as soon as the words left my mouth I felt the whole room grow silent. Mr Lightwood stiffened, in shock. He looked completely taken off guard. Before he had a chance to say anything, I continued trying to reason with him “Ashleigh misses her. She wants her at the wedding, to be a part of the wedding. And we hoped you could help us find her” I said my plea, I had nothing else to ask… now we were just waiting for Mr Lightwood and his decision.
He looked down at the table. The waiter came back with our drinks. And Mr Lightwood just stared head. Al took the loudest slurp from his drink I’d ever heard and he followed it off with an even larger gulp. I swear he was doing it on purpose.
“Why do you presume I know where she is?” he asked curiously.
“We don’t,” Al said a new suspicious tone to his voice. “We do know that you were the last to speak to her though, and we’ve heard from Lucas that it was quite a heated discussion”.
“What are you implying, boy?” Mr Lightwood asked.
“Nothing,” Al said innocently. “We just want to know what happened, and if you have any idea to where she might have gotten to”.
“I presume Lucas told you why we were arguing?” we nodded at him “I thought as much… Just let me tell you, I did it because I thought I was protecting her. She was so unhappy all of the time, she was withdrawing from everyone, she wasn’t sleeping or eating. And I had no idea why, I was just doing what I thought best. Lucas was a nice boy, a friend of the family. I knew I could trust him; he’d be good to her. So yes I paid him and honestly I don’t regret it. Because those two years were the happiest I’d seen her”. My heart kind of caved for him. He truly did believe that, that was the best for her.
“What happened after Lucas left, Mr Lightwood?” Al asked hesitantly.
“She was distraught. She started destroying my office. She told me how she was sick of it all. The limelight, the money, she said she didn’t have one real friend and that she couldn’t do it anymore. I thought I’d driven her over the edge, she apparated away from my office... I didn’t see or speak to her for months. I hired private investigators after investigators, and they came up with nothing. Until eventually I got a letter.
“It said that she was safe and alive. It didn’t tell me where she was or who she was with. Btu she was alive and well. She said she was happy. And that was enough for me to stop looking.
“Noah isn’t like Ashleigh she’s always been more independent. Always determined to make her own way in the world. I’m not worried about her. I’ve raised her up well; she understands why I did what I did. And I understand why she has to do this. The last letter I got was six months ago – again no information only that she was alive and doing well. So for where she is, I’m sorry but I haven’t got a clue.
“I know Ashleigh wants her there at the wedding, but until Noah is ready to come home she won’t. She’s stubborn like her Mother”. He smiled at us sadly, I knew what he was hinting at, it meant we wouldn’t find Noah, not in time for the wedding at least. I grew sad at the thought, the one thing I could do for Ashleigh and I wasn’t even in control of it.
“Do you still have the letter?” Al asked Mr Lightwood. He nodded his head in a serious expression.
“It’s in my office,” he admitted. I didn’t know why this mattered though. He’d already told us what was on it.
“Do you think we could borrow it?” Al requested, he didn’t sound as down beat as me. I smiled knowing how clever my brother was; I had faith, that Al had a plan...
AN: I don't own anything.... J.K Rowling... yada yada yada...
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