Chapter 2 : Unexpected Occurrences
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Bright rays of sunlight fell through the glass of her French door, making her room appear as though it was dipped in liquid gold. And what a nice room it was!
Cassiopeia’s boudoir was rather large, with her ornamented canopy bed forming its centre. The canopy itself was made out of emerald green velvet and embroidered with fine silver threads, forming delicate Malfoy crests.
As it was a corner room, it was always flooded with sunlight, making it a very cheerful room indeed. Apart from the enormous bed, the room contained the dressing table she had brushed her hair at the day before, as well as a chaise lounge right under the row of arched windows. It was upholstered with the same dark velvet that the canopy was made out of.
Remembering the occurrences of the previous night, a frustrated groan passed from her lips. The nightly quarrel almost seemed unreal, and she wished with all her heart that it had only happened in her dreams. But never would she dream of such silly things, she was sure.
The girl started her morning routine at a glacial pace, as she was not particularly eager to meet her brother, or worse, Albus. But after an hour had passed, her rumbling stomach and the beautiful weather lured her out of her room.
Barefooted she walked down the large marble stairs in almost feline grace, made her way through the entrance hall and the kitchen and finally settled, balancing a bowl of cereal on her knees, on her favourite bench in the garden.
The cold of the stone was a pleasant contrast to the heat of the burning afternoon sun. What an exceptionally warm summer it was, Cassiopeia thought dreamily while letting her gaze wander over the wild English grounds surrounding Malfoy Manor.
Holding her face into the sun and feeling the withered grass tickling her feet, she tried to collect all of her impressions of the summer. The late August air was heavy with the smell of wild flowers and roses, which twined around the wall of the manor behind Cassiopeia’s back.
But suddenly, there was a shadow falling on the idyllic scenery. Literally.
As Cassiopeia looked up, she noticed that the shadow happened to be two persons riding broomsticks, circling under the sky like birds. The two boys, obviously Scorpius and Albus, passed a Quaffle to each other, laughing and clearly enjoying themselves.
With an annoyed expression Cassiopeia watched them for a while. In her opinion, they disturbed the peace of the late summer’s afternoon.
After a while of bickering, broom-racing and rough-and-tumble-play, the boys decided to come down to earth again. As Albus landed his broom elegantly, he blew Cassiopeia a kiss, to which she responded by rolling her eyes.
The dark haired boy made his way to the bench she was sitting on, while Scorpius just shrugged and went into the house, not wanting to be dragged into their feud again.
Pleased with her brother’s aim, she noticed that Albus’s swollen eye had blackened overnight. It looked very painful to her.
“Sporting the Slytherin colour already?”, he asked mockingly, looking at her green summer dress and the little silver pendant in the form of a snake dangling around her neck on a delicate chain.
“Coming from an idiot wearing his Gryffindor Quidditch shirt”, she shot back, eyeing the sweaty garment distastefully. But the fact that he was covered in sweat didn’t seem to affect him at all.
Seeing her wrinkle her button nose clearly amused him, and with a swift movement he pulled his shirt over his head, throwing it into her lap. “There you go”, he grinned, “And I can sign it too, if you want. Ah, do you smell the manly odour? That’s attractive.”
In disgust, she held it up with the tips of her fingers, handing it back to him. But as she lifted her gaze from the dirty shirt and looked at the boy in front of her, the venomous words that had already been on the tip of her tongue deserted her all of a sudden.
As she saw Albus standing there shirtless, his ebony hair windswept and with a cheeky grin playing around the corners of his mouth, she noticed for the first time, that he looked good. Really, really good.
He was tall and muscular, with broad shoulders that covered up the fact that he was not seventeen yet and made him appear a lot older than he actually was. His shaggy hair fell into his intensely green eyes, and his normally fair skin was bronzed from the burning summer sun. To her frustration the black eye even increased his appeal.
When he noticed that she wasn’t going to say anything, he raised one eyebrow. “What? Malfoy is speechless? Unbelievable.” His words seemed to break the spell that lasted on her, annoyed with herself she shook her head.
Attractive? Potter? She must have been out in the sunlight for too long. “Maybe you’re just not worth a reply”, she said pointedly, trying to conceal what she had thought earlier.
And flipping her hair arrogantly over her shoulder, she leapt to her feet and made her way back into the building, leaving Albus sitting on the bench by himself.
At dinner, the whole Malfoy family, including Albus Potter, had gathered around their large table in the dining room, with Mr Malfoy sitting at one of its ends, and Scorpius at the other.
“Astoria, Darling, would you hand me the potatoes?”, Mr Malfoy asked his wife. Mrs Malfoy, a very gentle and nurturing woman, smiled lovingly at her husband while doing what he had asked her to.
She turned to her daughter, brushing a strand of her dark auburn hair behind her ear as she asked: “Cassiopeia, I’ve been wondering why you haven’t been at breakfast today. Normally you’re awake very early, especially when the weather is as nice as today.”
Concerned she bent over the table, feeling her daughter’s forehead. “Are you feeling all right, dear? You are so unusually quiet.”
In this moment, the Malfoy’s eagle owl Othello flew through one of the terrace doors. Cassiopeia was relieved that she didn’t have to answer the question.
He let a heavy letter fall on the girl’s lap before landing on Mrs Malfoy’s shoulder, nibbling her ear lovingly. With her slender fingers she brushed over Othello’s dark feathers and fed him some bread crumbs.
Curiously, but with caution, Cassiopeia examined the envelope. It was made out of heavy parchment, and elegantly swung letters were forming the words:
“Cassiopeia, where are your manners? Don’t open that at the dinner table, put it away for now. We have guests”, Mrs Malfoy scolded her daughter, with a rare sharpness in her usually soft voice. She cast a quick glance at Albus, who didn’t seem to mind.
Hungrily he shovelled his roast beef in his mouth, swallowing it with barely even chewing. If Mrs Malfoy had caught her own children eating like he did, she would have been appalled. To her, etiquette wasn’t just an option. No, it had the utmost importance. But since he was not her child, she just smiled at him indulgently.
But Mr Malfoy made an impatient hand gesture. “Astoria, love, it won’t hurt if she opens it now, will it? It looks like an important letter to me. In fact, I’m sure that I got the same letter, once”, he said, his voice bristling with pride.
His wife raised one eyebrow in disdain- she didn’t like it when her husband was questioning her decisions. But when her glance fell on Mr Malfoy’s excited countenance, her own expression softened as well. “Fine, open it”, she answered, still looking at him tenderly.
Staring down on the letter in her hands, Cassiopeia’s thoughts suddenly darted back to a similar event that had occurred over 5 years ago.
“Father, Father, do you think Othello will bring us a letter from Scorpius today?”, a 9 year old Cassiopeia chirped in excitement. As she was bobbing up and down on her chair nervously, she scattered her scrambled eggs all over the white tablecloth.
Mrs Malfoy was displeased with the manners of her daughter and the dirty cloth, the little girl received a sharp rebuke.
“Be patient, princess”, her father told her with a warm smile, peering out from behind his newspaper. But he was not a patient person himself.
Then the little pigtailed girl shrieked, quivering with anticipation: “Mother, father, it’s Othello! Oh, I hope Scorpius has written! I know he has.” Cassiopeia missed her brother with all her heart. They’d never been apart for as long as she could remember.
As she had foretold, the owl carried a letter from Scorpius, and another one from school. Mr Malfoy, proud of his only son carrying on the family tradition, opened the Hogwarts envelope with joyful expectations.
He had read the first lines of the letter when his facial expression slipped. As he came to terms with the words in front of him he furrowed his brows, tearing his blonde hair.
“Draco, my Love, what’s wrong?”, his wife asked concerned, as she softly placed her filigreed hand on his arm to soothe him.
Wordlessly he handed her the letter. After she had read it carefully, she gave her husband the evil eye. “Are you serious? This is excellent news, and that’s how you react to it? You should be ashamed”, she said with a furious voice.
“What is it? Did something bad happen?” Cassiopeia looked at her parents with big, frightened eyes. Her fingers played with the tablecloth nervously. She added: “Is he hurt?”
Her mother shook her head, still mad her spouse. “It’s nothing, Darling”, she said, smiling encouragingly at her daughter. “Your brother has arrived at Hogwarts yesterday evening safely, and he is very well.”
Mr Malfoy forced himself to smile at the 9 year old, too. With clenched teeth he explained: “Your brother has been sorted into Gryffindor.”
Cassiopeia felt instinctively, that it was a very wrong thing to be sorted into Gryffindor. She didn’t understand why, but she could tell by the way it had upset her father. He even refused to open Scorpius’s letter.
“He’s still your son”, Mrs Malfoy insisted strictly, but her husband left the table without another word, a disappointed look on his face.
His daughter, remembering his expression, swore to herself that she would never, ever be sorted into Gryffindor.
The words of her father broke the spell that had lain on Cassiopeia and catapulted her back into the presence. “Didn’t you hear your mother? Come on, princess, open the letter already!”
Still a bit dazed from her sudden flashback she ripped the envelope open. Inside was a piece of parchment and something smaller. Something hard.
As her eyes darted over the paper, she didn’t understand its meaning at first. This had to be a mistake. It could never be… Or could it?
“It’s a letter from Hogwarts”, she said finally. Now she had the undivided attention from everyone on the table. Even Albus had stopped focussing solely on his roast beef and looked at her in bewilderment instead.
Mrs Malfoy was concerned. “But darling, how can that be? Your supply list has been here weeks ago. Hopefully they didn’t make any changes- that would be really inconvenient, in such a short notice”, she complained.
But Cassiopeia just shook her head, causing her mother to fall silent. She put her hand in the envelope again, pulling out the little object that was still inside. As she opened her clutching fingers, it was an emerald badge that laid in the centre of her palm.
“I was made a prefect”, she said in awe. Her remark caused everyone to speak at once.
“I knew it!”, Mr Malfoy shouted triumphantly. “Just like her father, my little girl is! Carrying on the family tradition.” His daughter had never seen him this proud before.
“This is excellent news, darling”, Mrs Malfoy smiled warmly. “I’m so proud of you. Your grandparents will be thrilled.”
Scorpius, who was always rather quiet at the dinner table, broke his silence. “Good job, Cass”, he grinned and tousled her hair fraternally.
“Don’t call me Cass”, his sister protested, but she couldn’t hold back the smile that lit up her entire face.
It was way past midnight already when Cassiopeia entered her room that night. Her parents had made her write letters to every single relative, telling them the thrilling news. They also had made her wear the Slytherin badge and parade through the parlour over and over again.
She was rather embarrassed by that, but Mr and Mrs Malfoy had insisted. While they were watching their youngest child proudly, Albus almost broke his ribs in order to hold in his laughter. The whole situation was just ridiculous.
Her father, on the other hand, had promised to reward her for the “hard work and social commitment”, as he had phrased it. Since school was starting tomorrow, she’d have to wait- but she didn’t mind. He always made great, costly presents, completely to Cassiopeia’s taste.
All in all, it had been a nice, uneventful evening. Even though it was a late summer’s night, the air could be quite cold, and so the fireplace had been lit. Everyone had gathered around.
Mrs Malfoy had been embroidering her husband’s new dressing robes with the Malfoy crest. She liked to do it by hand, because she always said it would soothe her to work with needle and thread. Othello had been resting on her shoulder, nestling comfortable against the back of her head.
Scorpius and Albus had played a game of chess, while Mr Malfoy had remained in the corner of the room, writing letters to all of his old school friends. He probably had been boasting about the newest prefect in the family.
Later he and Scorpius took Albus home to his parents, making sure that he returned safely. Because Mr Malfoy dreaded every visit at the Potters, his wife made him go there every time, hoping that he would finally put the feud behind him.
While everyone else went to bed, Cassiopeia had stayed on an ancient armchair by the flickering fire alone. Now that she had finished the book that she was reading, she thought it was best to get some rest as well.
Exhausted from the day, she yawned as she strode through her extravagantly furnished boudoir. With her eyelids almost closed already, she stretched out her slender fingers to pull back the emerald bedspread.
All of a sudden, she pulled back her hand so abruptly as though she had been stung. There was something in her bed that didn’t belong there, she was sure. Eyeing the item warily, she picked up the piece of cloth that someone had placed neatly folded between the cushions.
It was not at all hard to guess who had put it there. With detestation she recognized Albus’s brightly scarlet Quidditch jersey dangling from her fingertips. It even had his last name in golden letters stitched on the back.
In relieve she noticed that at least it was freshly washed and not dirty as she had seen it in the afternoon. Nevertheless she could still scent faint traces of his odour as she put it to her face. She had never realized how pleasant he actually smelled.
She stiffened- why had she just thought such an absurd thing? And why had she put it to her face in the first place? Annoyed by herself she threw the shirt on the floor. “Potter smelling good? As if!”, she mumbled under her breath sourly.
As the shirt fell to the ground, a piece of parchment loosened from its collar, where it had been pinned, and drifted right in front of her feet. Curiously she picked it up.
Now you finally have a piece of clothing you could actually wear in public. –A, was hastily scribbled on it in Albus’s scratchy handwriting.
Cassiopeia rolled her eyes. What an arrogant idiot he was! But somehow she couldn’t stop smiling as she thought about him.
A/N: Hello, my lovelies!
So, what's your opinion on my second chapter? I hope you like it, but if you're reading this, you've finished it, at least. And that's a good sign, I hope.
I'm an intern at a company right now (as a journalist), and that gives me quite enough free time to write a little bit, so I try to update as fast as possible. Bear with me!
Again, your reviws are more than welcome, and I appreciate every one of you.
Lots of love- wanderlust xxx
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