Chapter 20 : Chapter Twenty
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Brilliant Chapter Image by Clara Oswald @ TDA
“We like it Crispy”
Scorch is back in the kitchen. Chase and I are kitchen kings, or at least Knights of the Round Table knifes. We strike at any moment, with our innovative creations. The house elves enjoy the break, Harry loves Scorch and Ginny casts protection spells over everything, so all is good. First morning home, and I thought it might help both of us take our mind off the last few days. Al has of course de-fumed a lot. There is no longer puffs of smoke sporting out his ears. Really unattractive quality that. The familiar warm fuzzy’s of your childhood home can sometimes help with putting out the fire. I feel that too. Of course I may have added a concealer charm to mask the sleepless night. Guilt is an ache that will not ease, well Odgen’s finest may help. But I hid the bottles well.
I screwed up. Lost her. And now I’m facing the consequences. But I’m just Malfoy enough to keep myself from serenading her with a boombox, on my broom at midnight, quidditch style. Okay. Alright, I admit, I may have experience with the cheesy plea for forgiveness. But, that was second year, I was naïve back then and really it was only to help Al try and reason with Chase, who was avoiding him, because the week before his charms notes were stolen, and returned used, renewed and falsely corrected. And Al was the lonely accused with appropriate means, bed hair, sleeping regime, and amicable number of teeth. And how was I to know Rose would turn up and ruin everything with her logic and reasoning? It’s no wonder I’m hopeless when I’ve had to endure Ace’s Courtship. It wasn’t silky caramel fudge, but rocky Hazelnut road. Ace didn’t really get along to well before they fulfilled the name. Hated each other really. And if the present awkward stares and smiles are anything to gamble on, I give them until New Year’s.
A gruelling quidditch match last night, eased the awkwardness and tension with Chase, Al and I. Lily’s idea. She is one tough captain. My legs have never been so sore in my life. Of course things will take a while to return to their usual state of torment, but things have at least settled down for now. I just don’t understand how I could be so blinded.
“Oh Merlin. They aren’t cooking again” Al grumbles waltzing in to find, Chase and myself, adorned in matching his and hers aprons (apparently a wedding gift from the great Percival Weasley, a little to tawdry for Ginny, but they do annoy Al). He side steps around Chase who nearly drops the milk in nervousness. Al gets a little jealous of course. They have handled the spatula together in the past, the result, wasn’t pleasant, they had to scramble, not the eggs, to put out the fire, hence the new security precautions. There is still a slight smokey aroma, but really it’s just a great anecdote in the story of Ace.
“Don’t interrupt, Chase was about to do the pancake flip” Lil scolds. Our audience this morning. She’s such a devoted supporter. Even documents our culinary miracles on film.
Al leans over the bench, “He isn’t making pancakes” he looks to Lily in confusion.
“Exactly” she reasons.
“Ah. Dance move” Al deduces. And don’t think I missed the slight smile Chase grew, whilst flipping the bacon. It is nice to be unpredictable, but it’s also comforting to be understood.
“I think I’ll just stick with cereal” Al advises, unsurprisingly.
Responsible? Quidditch Captain.
Determined? Harry Potters Son.
Resourceful? Lily Potters Brother.
Patient? James Potters Brother.
Adventurous? Ginny Potters Son.
Open Minded? Scorpius Malfoys Best Friend.
Brave? One half of the Famous Ace.
Stubborn? Heck Yes.
I roll my eyes. Chase winks.
My Spidey senses are tingling.
Al grabs the cereal, conveniently placed on the bench, the bowl beside it and the perfectly innocent milk. He follows the usual step by step process that is - cereal, until he stumbles upon the final phase, pouring the milk.
A dribble falls into his overly confident mountain of seeker snitches.
It collapses. The crunchy mess divides like the red sea. Al drops the empty carton. The mountain explodes. The milk swarms, the snitches drown, revive and swim into an intelligible magical message.
You’ve been SCORCHED!
Lily howls with laughter. I’m right alongside her. Jordan walks in, and promptly walks back out. Ginny appears, takes one look at her son, and grabs a handful of the many seeker snitches sprawled on the bench and pops them in her mouth and keeps walking. Al hasn’t moved. Harry throws him a napkin to clean up the mess. James slumps down next to him, slides the bowl over, dives his spoon in and chews away merrily. And Chase, well he continues to flip the bacon, with a slight skip in his step.
The bacon crackles. The pan begins to smoke. The eggs turn black.
Revenge burns. Well at least simmers the tension with some intense flirting.
Scorch. Can you feel the heat this Christmas?
Something is different. The windows are still bright yellow. The garden is still slightly pink from the accidental test of the new firecrackers from the shop. My dad is still smiling broadly with his multi-coloured bow tie. Shop uniform. Bloody brilliant if you ask me. Very professional. Especially the ones that embed a watery surprise. I’ve packed that ready to wow dad tomorrow at the shop. It’s going to be a laugh. Mum is still fussing about my eating habits, homework and detention letters, she does understand it was all for love… Of breaking the rules. The crazy cat from next door is still sleeping soundly on the fireplace. He’s from a muggle house. He has made a couple of trips here and there. Scared the shit out of him the first time, but he keeps coming back. Adventurous and curious. So I call him AC. I like to think we’re kindred spirits. The house is still slightly leaning to one side after Rosie and I tried the acrobatic walk. It was truthfully all her fault. I’m not sure where she gets these crazy ideas.
Roxe is at the ‘boyfriends’ for Christmas. He lives in Hogsmeade, so she missed the tumultuous train ride. He has been vetted by myself and dad. I think the last time his hair had a little trim. Pure accident of course. But he was very hesitant to spend two weeks here, with us, free from homework and rules to cage us in. I thought I was very friendly. I even offered him one of my cherry snaps, I never do that for just anybody. So Max decided to be my partner in crime this Christmas. What fun we will get up too. But she won’t be anywhere near my cherry snaps. She cannot be trusted.
Something definitely is different I just haven’t put my finger on it. Will have to investigate and report back.
“How about some breakfast?” Mum suggests.
Max and I share a mini second glance. We stayed last night at the Potters, everyone else left yesterday, Well Rose and Hugo vanished at the platform. Apparently Rose had some very important business to attend too. I offered to help her, as everyone else seemed distracted, it was troubling I could see it, but Max elbowed me and Rose just threw me a hug and left, dragging Hugo behind her. I worry about her, might send her an owl later. Anyway we left this morning, but once we heard Scorpius whistling, the Scorch breakfast song, we bid our farewells before the catastrophes hit. They are good cooks, and I do love my eggs with some entertainment, but I didn’t want to miss my mum’s breakfast, first morning home, is always the best. She misses me and like all Weasley’s we express our love through food.
“Thought you’d never ask” I shoot straight through to the kitchen.
A table feast, greets me merrily as I nearly faint at the sight before me. I’ll send Roxe a WizPic later that ought to make her want to visit at least once. Like me, Roxe falls prey easily to Angelina Weasley’s homecoming breakfast and I know the house is feeling her absence.
Finally settled in my warm and familiar home, with an overflowing plate of deliciousness in front of me, Max beside me, and My parents goofy smiles opposite, I can’t help but grin at the exciting Christmas season ahead of us.
Let the madness begin.
Albus is avoiding me.
Talking? Yes. We haven’t progressed further than Hey and Hi. But I’m sure ‘I miss you’ is right around the corner.
Eye Contact? Sometimes. I normally always have a camera in my face and they’re all smiling and saying cheese, but that still counts right?
Physical contact? I accidently touched his hand when passing the potatoes last night at dinner and he fell of his chair.
Faith in relationship renewal? Slowly dwindling.
The slight prank at breakfast I was hoping would clear the air. It probably wasn’t the best course of action, but I had to do something. Even if he would just yell at me for ruining his favourite quidditch jersey. However since then, he cleaned up the milky mess, smiled eerily cheerful at everyone and left.
So I proceeded to mope and scoff two stacks of Pancakes. Well Lily, made the pancakes. No one said anything of course, which I appreciated. Scorpius and I are settling back into normalcy. Of course it was quite an accusation, with minimal evidence to support the twisted claim. I’m not making excuses, but he was in the dorm with us, amongst the biting tension, Al’s hate face and my solemn and quiet presence. And all the information he learnt was from a hot headed and heated conversation with Rose, who half the time thinks she’s talking with clarity, but actually is a jumbled riddled mess. Especially with Scorpius, of course she’d never admit he makes her nervous. And we are broken up. Rose and he were becoming close. Al and I had never been so spiteful before, what was he supposed to think? Trust doesn’t always come easily to the road less travelled. I mean we can think we do, with a nice smile and an army for back-up, with the escape route marked in the corner of our eye. But I think it is a long term progression. It’s the most fearful and dangerous jump, to put all your trust in someone or something. I think half the time we’re just fooling ourselves. Neither of them know the full story of their falling out in third year. They both just pretend it didn’t happen. A great foundation for a budding friendship or relationship. But the stupid thing is, they would be perfect for each other, as clichéd as that sounds.
“How much longer do we have to do this?”
“Until we feel better?”
So after yesterday’s carb overload and continuous deterioration leading to Al not even showing up for dinner, I’ve sort outside counsel.
“That sounded more like a question than a definitive answer and why aren’t you a red, puffy mess like myself?” My redheaded best friend wheezes beside me.
“I’ve been running without you” I admit with a cheeky smile.
“Oh, No. The shock and horror, I don’t think I can continue on” She collapses on the ground. Smiling. Downing a bottle of water. We’re in a muggle park. Both of us were keen to avoid certain people and the nosy onlookers.
Visitors were finally allowed this morning. Although I fear it might have been more the chocolate and my solemn expression, which got me in the door. She mostly listened. Like usual. Al, the empty trunk, the train moment, the awkwardness that has since followed, including my pancake feast. All of it. I tried to broach the subject of Scorpius, but apparently It’s all good. However the dark circles framing her saddened blue eyes, would hold a great basis for rebuttal. But the defiant expression sitting front and centre, tells me, my efforts would be futile.
The fresh air feels good. I think we both needed a break from the familiar. Even though its currently snowing, and we’re relaxing back on the frosted ice covered grass. I cast a warming charm on our clothes before we walked through, but to any muggles, we would appear quite the interesting pair.
“You know things would be so much easier if you loved me instead” Rose huffed.
I couldn’t help but grin “We would laugh and have strawberry picnics all day long”
“We do that now” she smiled.
“When did we stop?” It seemed like another time when we used to escape of a Monday afternoon, to cure the start of the week jitters with champagne and strawberries. It’s like it happened to different people.
“Well I had strawberries for breakfast” Rose informs me sheepishly. Of course she did.
“It feels like we haven’t laughed in forever” I sigh wistfully.
“I’m guessing – enter the slightly amateur and cheesy cereal prank” She gives me a pointed look.
“It seemed like a good idea at the time” I shrug.
“Now” I begin. “Now ...I’m craving a Hot chocolate” Deny and Avoid.
“Thank Merlin” She grins. The jogging is over. And we trek our way back through to Diagon Alley.
“So you and Luce have mended fences?”
The fudge fridge is the one tidbit Rose offered me.
“For the most part. We fight. Make up. Break up. Hex. Forgive. And so on. I guess I’m just used to it. We’ll both grow up eventually and hopefully our friendship might be slightly less tumultuous.” She explains as we wonder down the street, with our hot drinks keeping us warm.
“But you’re still growing apart?” I read between the lines.
She takes a few moments to respond “We are who we are, you know… As much as we fight it, things change”
Yes. That’s what I’m worried about and from Rose’s tense and slightly nervous expression, I’m not alone.
“How about we grab some trashy magazines and spend the rest of the day gorging ourselves on sweets, ice-cream and cheeseburgers” She suggests excitedly.
“See I told you the jog would make you feel better” I wink as we enter Ink and Print. The lovely homestead of every magazine one could want to read. However being part of one of the most famous wizarding families in London she normally steers clear of the garbage. Well except the shopping features, which coincidently is looking to be her current destination, if her giddy shoe crazed expression is anything to gamble on. I follow happily, until a title catches my eye.
CHEATING CHASE AND AVAILBALE ALBIE.
He is finally Free Folks! Witch Weekly Has the Exclusive. Continued on page 4.
ACE OUT OF LUCK
The Christmas season is a time for Joy. But with happiness, breeds jealousy and Selfishness which ultimately leads to heartbreak. And our rather popular duo did not escape the festive season unscathed. Chase Adams, the boyfriend of the highly sort after Gryffindor Quidditch Captain of the last few months, has left the country in a state of mourning. The break-up occurred on the train ride home from the prestigious Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, after Albie became privy to Adams escapades with a fellow classmate. The details of the horrid affair have not yet been identified. “It’s a tragedy” A close friend to the Potters divulged. A tragedy it is. Especially when the accused resort to abuse and violence. “I feared for my life. Punches were flying everywhere, females and supposed friends too” A young passenger, who would like to remain anonymous for fear of retribution explained of Rose Weasley’s damaged and broken face. “I thought she might have died. The screaming. It was so traumatic” A fellow friend included. Friends of the family have disclosed the pair are quite close, but Weasley’s loyalty to her favourite cousin, sent Adams over the edge. The Heartbreaker’s Father Harnard Adams, Manager of the highly acclaimed Puddlemore United, had nothing to include when contacted about the horrendous event. Apparently the family is estranged, with the Adams boy spotted living with the Potters quite often over the summers. Evidently the troublesome child’s issues have been festering since an early age. Albus Potter was just another victim in Adams long line of debauchery. His mother, Jessica Hollingsworth, renowned Auror, has not yet been available for comment, due to her treatment at St Mungo’s Alcohol rehabilitation wing. The Adams boy led his family to divorce, his mother to addiction, left his friends broken and fractured, and poor Albie Potter, abused and alone for the holidays. The last sighting of the heartbreaker was trailing after the Potter family for forgiveness at Kings Cross Station two days ago. We hope Harry Potter, father of Albie and Saviour of the Wizarding world has taken precautions to secure his sons safety from this obviously possessed and unstable stalker.
Be on the lookout for further updates.
Stay strong Albie, We are all with you.
By. Harriet Skeeter, Junior Writer, Witch Weekly.
Exhibit A. Exactly why I thought staying at school was a better idea, for both myself and Al. I suppose at least they didn’t mention Pip. I calmly place the horrid magazine back on the shelf, whilst also trying to steady my rapid heart and glassy eyes. Of course it’s old news the family stuff, I’ve been blamed for that for years. Dad will hate the association. Of course that will be my fault too. The research was just as thorough when Ace was first exposed. I’ve always assured myself, that I’d grown a thick skin and outside opinions would not rattle me anymore, but, Merlin… Damn. What am I seriously supposed to do with that? It’s obviously been Ill-researched, thoroughly censored, and extremely exaggerated. But why do people pride themselves on defamation in a stupid gossipy magazine? It’s like they’re determined to ruin lives everywhere. Why does hurting others make people feel good? How? It doesn’t make any sense.
“It’s the power” A voice answers my unspoken question, over my shoulder.
I know that voice. Who else would be able to decipher my thoughts, without even looking at my expression?
Is this why he’s been avoiding me? Suddenly now being an association is causing too much trouble?
Am I ready or even able to face that voice?
“Somehow the faint satisfaction of controlling another person like their own personal puppet doll, makes others feel worthy and superior” He continues, when I’m unable to turn around.
“Why did you read it? You normally steer clear of places like this?” he adds, when I stay rooted to the spot and lips zipped.
He steps closer. Even though I’ve been complaining about his mostly absent presence. I’d much rather he not have witnessed my weak and pathetic surrender to the cold and shallow waters of Witch Weekly.
I swallow and manage a weak… “I could ask you the same”
Al sighs and mumbles “I’ve never been as strong as you”
I whip my head around at that. “That is the biggest lie I’ve heard all day. And I’ve just read Witch Weekly” I smirk.
Al catches my eye with a small smile breaking on his face. Now that’s eye contact. We have movement people!
“Look at you two being all smiling, if I’d known true love was awaiting by the tabloids, I… I still probably wouldn’t have read them” Rose pops up behind me, with a stack of online shopping features clutched in her hands.
When both Al and I continue to look at her flabbergasted she enlightens us with “Oh I saw Al before we came in, that lamp post did not do you justice my friend” She winks then waltzes off to the counter.
Al’s face immediately falls to the ground. I can’t help but grin at the slight pinkness to his cheeks. Suddenly the exposé on ‘Chase Adams, the stalker’ turns slightly ironic.
“Let’s go, there is a pair of boots in here that must be mine, and after the marathon you had me run this morning, they are completely justified.” Rose proceeds outside the shop.
Al’s head whips up at that. We follow after and catch up to Rose.
“I thought you hated running?” He looks from Rose to myself confusedly. Which reminds me of Al’s continuous early morning wake-up calls with pleas for myself to join him on a run to freshen us up for the day, which was normally followed by my hate face and throwing my pillow at him with blatant disapproval, but on the rare days when I would give in and then end up running into a stone wall, fall head first into a bush or trip over a rock, because Albus Potter is just too damn charming for his own good. And looking at him now, my heart still beats just as fast, my breath still catches and when he does something completely stupid in that adorable Albus Potter way off his, I still can’t help but feel like the luckiest bloke in the world. Because I love him. And all the trashy news articles in the world, can’t take that away from me.
“Things change” I shrug.
“But somehow they still manage to stay the same” Rose adds knowingly, with a wink at me.
And I can’t help but find a slight moment of hope in her words.
A/N: Please Review.
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