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Chapter 1 : Walls of Insincerity
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“Stop complaining Megan, you look beautiful.” My Mother snapped sharply after the millionth time I muttered that I hated it.
“Do I have to go?” I whined childishly and pouted.
“You know very well that you have to attend this banquet tonight Megan. Your Father, my husband, is about to become Minister for Magic and we have to host a ball tonight to ensure he will win.” She answered tersely, especially when she said the word ‘husband’. It wasn’t a secret to anyone that there wasn’t much of a marriage between the two, I mean they slept in different rooms for Merlin’s sake. If it wasn’t for me or the fact Father was about to become Minister, then my Mother would have left him ages ago.
“I still don’t see why I have to be there though.” I huffed, sliding into the high-heeled shoes she had placed in front of me. That statement was a lie though, I knew why I had to go. We had to give off the image of a perfect family otherwise Father would lose votes for the election. Mother seemed to know what I was thinking and didn’t say anything else except give me a once-over, nod her head and leave my bedroom.
Tonight is going to be so much fun, I thought to myself.
“Megan, sweetheart, come here and meet Frank Winston. He’s the Head of the Magical Law Enforcement Department.” My Father called me over to where he was busy talking to a bunch of men in their late 50s. I could literally see them suck up to him just because they knew he would be the most powerful man in the country. It was sickening, “Frank, this is my beautiful daughter, Megan.” He introduced us.
“It’s lovely to meet you Megan.” I shook his hand, seeing straight past the kind smile into his beady eyes.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you too Sir.” I plastered a winning smile on my face, just like Father always did.
“She looks just like her Mother.” He turned back to my Father, speaking as if I wasn’t stood right next to them.
“I guess that’s more of a curse than a blessing.” Father joked and a chorus of fake laughter followed. I inwardly sighed and looked around the room but most people were over the age of 50. Mother was talking to the women from her book club and a few men were in a circle, occasionally staring at my Father longingly. I knew that expression, they wanted to weasel their way into our group so they could try to gain something for themselves. I had learned that that is what politicians did as soon as Father became a shoe-in to win the election.
“So, have you thought anymore about that appeal that we discussed in your office?” I zoned out the moment that they started talking about business, excused myself and went to stand by the banquet table. My eyes locked with someone that I was half glad and half scared to be here. A teenage boy, about my age, was stood between a middle-aged couple that were laughing and joking. The boy looked very suave in a black tuxedo, a black tie peeking from his buttoned blazer. His black hair was a bit messy but it looked like he’d tried hard to smoothen it out. The thing I noticed about the jokes was that it was genuine reactions. There were no fake smiles, no fake laughter and it seemed like they were actually having fun. Lucky them. Apart from the boy, he looked bored out of his mind too. The boy’s eyes locked onto mine and he offered me a small smile that I returned shyly. He looked away, said something to the couple and started making his way towards me, never wavering eye contact. However when he was a few steps away, I quickly turned around and started paying more attention than necessary to the food on the table. It was all fancy stuff that I hated with a passion. Give me a choice between a burger and caviar and I’d choose the burger every single time. I felt him stand next to me but I was too nervous to look at him so I pretended like he wasn’t there.
“Looks like I’m going to have to stay hungry.” He muttered to himself, putting down the plate that he had picked up and grabbing himself a glass instead.
“Why do you have to do that?” I asked out of curiosity, there was a plethora of food in front of him and I’d never seen a guy refuse food before.
“Oh, it’s a policy of mine to never eat food that I can’t pronounce.” He smiled smugly, finally facing me so I could get a good look at him. From a distance he looked well-dressed but up close, he was mind-numbingly handsome. I was pretty sure that butterflies were swirling around in my stomach as he looked into my eyes with his gorgeous hazel ones.
“Really? I didn’t realise boys had any control of what food they put in their mouths,” I replied with a smirk, “Usually they just shove the food in their gobs without even checking to see what it was.”
“Well that’s incredibly sexist and I have to say I’m extremely offended.” He put a hand over his chest with a mock-hurt expression on his face, making me smile. We lapsed into a silence before, “Would you like a drink?” he asked politely.
“I think I’m going to need a few more than one drink to get through tonight.” I watched as he poured some red wine into a wine glass, handing it to me with a boyish grin on his face. He really was handsome and I could feel some sort of electricity between us but I was sceptical because with parents like mine, you don’t really believe all that mushy stuff.
“Tell me about it,” he sighed and paused, “I’m James by the way.”
“Megan.” I accepted his hand but instead of shaking it, he brought it up to his lips and kissed it gently. My face flushed with colour as my hand fell back to my side and my eyes dropped to the floor.
James was completely different to everyone else that I had ever met at these sorts of functions. His hazel eyes sparkled with activity, he was animated in his hand gestures whenever we exchanged retorts and his posture was so laidback. The adults had practically left us alone to talk and I was grateful, I didn’t want to have to put a fake smile on when I was talking. Which is something I didn’t have to do with James, my smile came naturally and it had been a while since anyone had made me smile like he had. But there had to be some catch, he couldn’t be this perfect and not have something that sent my heart into my stomach. The only thing I could think of was that he was already in a relationship but I couldn’t bring myself to ask him because I knew the answer might break my already attached heart.
“Would you like to dance with me?” he stood up suddenly, breaking my inner thoughts, and offered his hand out.
“But no-one else is dancing.” I looked frantically around the room, everyone was still talking in their little groups and the music was quite quiet.
“And? Why should that stop us?” he arched an eyebrow at me and I was stuck on a response. I didn’t want to show up my parents by embarrassing them but I really wanted to dance with James, “Unless… you’re scared.” He stared down at me with a smug smirk and I glared at him.
“I’m not scared.” I huffed, folding my arms childishly.
“Then dance with me.” His hand was beckoning me and I rather liked the idea of being close to him and being in his arms.
“Okay.” I stood up from my seat, took his hand and followed him to the middle of the impromptu dance-floor. He guided the hand he was holding to his shoulder, putting his hand on my hip and then grabbing my other hand, “I apologise if I step on your feet.” He started swaying us slowly. A few heads turned to watch us and some couples were brave enough to join in.
“So you’re a bad dancer then?” he asked irritatingly smug so I purposefully stepped on his foot, “We’re doing that, are we?” his voice dropped to a whisper as he pushed us apart, spinning me in a circle before bringing me flush against him. Our lips almost touched and I could feel his breath fan out on my face, intoxicating me deeply. I stared up into his eyes, not paying attention to anyone else or the fact that even more couples were joining in, I was just focussing on the way our bodies gracefully swanned around the room and the crackle of heightened electricity between us, our eye contact unwavering.
A massive smile was on my face as the last guest left our house. As soon as they were gone, I started humming the tune of the waltz that we had danced to and spun or swayed to the music in my own little world.
“You look like you had fun?” Mother looked at me suspiciously.
“I did.” I sighed happily. I was on cloud nine and I didn’t even care that my parents were staring at me strangely.
“Are you drunk?” Father gasped, his voice rising in anger, “Do you have any idea how badly that would reflect onto me?”
“I can just see the headlines now ‘Minister Favourite Unable to Control His Daughter, is he fit to become the next Minister?’. The shame of it!” Mother exclaimed and Father rounded on her.
“What do you mean I can’t handle my daughter? She is yours too! And why should I be the one to look after her? Isn’t that what Mothers are supposed to do?” this was going to turn into another argument but I was too happy to let it spoil my mood. They could think I was absolutely hammered as much as they’d like, I knew why I was acting the way I was.
I had met a boy.
The most perfect boy that I had ever met and spoken to in my whole life. Leaving them to shout about who the worst parent was, I made my way into my room and slumped onto my bed with a wide grin on my face. I tried biting my lip and mashing my lips together to get rid of it but it seemed like it had been permanently etched there. The more I thought about him, the wider the smile got until, whilst I was getting into my pyjamas, I played some cheesy love songs on my radio and danced around my room in a typical girl-in-love fashion. I really hoped with all of my heart that he didn’t have a girlfriend or that he wasn’t in love with someone else because I was pretty sure that this was what ‘love at first sight’ felt like. I climbed into my four-poster bed, constantly over-analysing everything that had happened between James and I all night and it was getting ridiculous because I couldn’t get to sleep.
“Megan,” there was a light knock on my door at 2am, “Are you asleep?” Mother entered my room, holding something in her hand.
“No.” I answered, sitting up completely wide-awake and with my heart beating so hard.
“This was just posted through the letterbox for you.” she laid a piece of paper on the bed roughly and exited the room, sniffling a little. I knew that she had been crying from the argument but I was too preoccupied with the paper to feel remotely sorry for her. I knew immediately who it was from because it smelt like him and I opened it up, breathing heavily. The note made my smile widen so much that my cheeks were starting to hurt but I wasn’t bothered. I clutched the note to my chest, squealing quietly and feeling so elated. I fell asleep clutching it tightly in my hands.
It was enchanting to meet you.
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