Chapter 1 : Mishaps and Meetings
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Your eyes squinted painfully against the light. Admit it, Alexis - you’re useless without your glasses. Though, perhaps what you should really admit is that with them you resemble a descendent of one of the Muppet Babies … the blue one …Gizmo?
Another day… you mused, rising up, beak and all, to pull on whatever garment draped over your lamp. Automatically, you passed your blurred vision over the sleeping figure still tangled in your sheets. Brad…was it?
Curtains drawn, robe thrown loosely about your slender shoulders, you tucked your wand “safely” against your leg, held tight by the tiny black elastic of skimpy panties. Trudge. Shuffle. Trudge. Shuffle. Tiny, beady eyes stared up from terry cloth rabbit bodies.
Periodically, the mean looking faces smile, watching young, perky breasts bounce as you walked. If you knew they were watching, you might have chosen the pigs. At least their behavior could be expected.
Something in the room sent an eerie feeling up your spine. Hastily, you drew your robe tight. The wiry whiskers drooped.
“Personal Hygiene is most vital to any girl of marriageable age and good breeding. Forget everything, but clean behind your ears!” your mother’s voice said clearly in your ear as you seized your toothbrush and began to scrub. Ten minutes later, however, you defiantly painted on an additional layer of lipstick and liner. You tell her, Alexis.
Ah, yes. Nothing beats a wonderful mother-daughter relationship. Publicly, you swore vehemently what a wonderful woman your mother was, though frankly, she made it easy to understand why your father was in Salisbury. Sure, the woman was four years your junior, but hey, at least she didn’t make you envious of Sylvia Plath whenever she had a dinner party.
Dinner? Yes, that’s right. You didn’t get up for nothing.
Drawing a chopstick from the drawer, you griped it tightly and jabbed it at the gasket of the refrigerator door. The sound of years of spilled alcohol un-sticking signaled it safe to give the handle a yank.
A few hard tugs later, some fancy wand work, and the previously cold and moldy container of General’s Chicken was now piping hot and entirely the proper color.
The man in your bed — Dave, perhaps? — stirred as you switched on the television. 7 you thought as you looked at him and returned to the news brief. That oaf of an American Muggle president was spouting off about money he needed for something or other.
“You never cease to disappoint me …”
“Mum. Hi!” The sugary sweet tone your voice assumed was automatic and if you were a complete control freak, entirely infuriating. An adult and still, few things gave you greater pleasure than making your mother mad with fury. You grinned into the receiver.
“Using Muggle methods to speak to my own daughter—a full blooded witch at that!” wafted out of the ear piece before you discarded it onto the couch. Occasionally words like “failure,” “disappointment,” and “fool” reached your ears, drawing your attention momentarily from the stuffy monotone man on the television.
Bored and sure she had nearly tuckered herself out by now, you dug the phone from the cushions and simpered into the crackling line. “Mum, it has been just lovely chatting with you!” Your tone rose automatically to drown out her objections. “Unfortunately, I really must get to work now. Call again soon!” And with a flick of your wrist, that was one more of the day’s annoyances out of the way.
Retrieving keys from the counter and pressing dangling ornaments through your lobes, you tossed on your leather jacket, making a note to remind … Joe(perhaps a ? here) … to pick up his abandoned sock. Must have been good. That one made it to the book case.
“Where’d you say you worked again, Mon Cherie?” Jesus drew you from your self-important musings. Your doorman since you moved to this building, he had taken to a rather irritating habit. Everyday as you bounded down the stairs, straightening some garment or another, he found it amusing (is that the only reason,
Alexis?) to ask the address of your pub.
“Nice try, Jesus.” You responded as always, bringing a smirk to his twisted face. Truth was you were easy to find if anyone had bothered to really look. A few blocks down and a quick stint down a spiraling staircase, your pub was located underneath a block of flats on Oak.
Fixing drinks in a pub. What would Mum think?
“Failure. Disappointment. Fool.” You repeated, quickening your pace to the wrought iron stairwell. Thinking of your mother always made you nervous.
“Jamie, Jamie, Jamie,” The room was noisy and, once again, all the freaks were out. “If you want another one of those,” you gestured to his near empty rock glass, “you’re going to have to quit trying to grab my ass every time I bring you a drink. Got it?” Jamie nodded, looking scorned, and you turned from the table.
Making it only a few paces before a strong hand gripped your wrist. “So, the next round is on you then?” Your voice was severe—deadly. Attempting to wrench yourself free, the regulars watched as you turned on the brave soul restraining you.
There was the briefest moment before recognition settled in and as it did, the fire in your eyes intensified. In a mere second’s contemplation, there was a crash of breaking glass, an intake of breathe, and the resounding crack of your palm colliding with his cheek.
Soren James was standing before you, a red welt growing on his face, but the expression of smugness, present since you’d known him, refused to fade.