Chapter 18: Granny Pays A Visit.
'I don't fucking believe it!' roared Jules. 'He obliviated us!'
'Well, technically he didn't because it didn't work, did it?' answered Frank.
'Yes, how the fudging hell did that occur?'
'Oh, that's the side effect of the potion I gave you before we went into the home,' said Frank, 'it's something I cannot quite explain yet, I have tried it with various combinations of spells and charms – and I just thought, what the hell – can you please hold still, I've nearly spell cleaned all the foam off – yes, as I was saying, I'd conceived it as a really strong reinforcement potion to enhance the invisibility charm – look, Jules, I know you're really pissed off but just keep feckin' still, will you, please and then you can run over there or somewhere and kick something (long as it's not me) if it will make you feel better – and as I was saying I'd tried it with different spell combinations, including some self-obliviation – '
'What?' said Jules, shocked, 'Bloody hell, Frank, that's dangerous!'
'No, it isn't if you know what you are doing – I have built in self correction charms all over my workshop, it brings me back from any state – just in case, you know …'
Jules looked round at Frank as his friend continued to spell clean him – the fire extinguisher foam seemed to have been a lively fluid and seemed to have got into every nook and cranny on his body! 'No, sometimes, Frank, I'd rather not know.' said Jules.
'Well, anyway, I thought, sod it! Let's try it – I knew it would really strengthen the invisibility potion BUT perhaps the anti-obliviation qualities would be really useful- eh?' said Frank, suddenly brightening and smiling at Jules. 'And lo and behold, I was proved right – purely by chance!' and he laughed.
Jules looked round at Frank with a fairly sour expression – why the hell was Frank so flipping jolly!? They'd been doing so well then … bang! Caught red-bloody-handed – like a pair of completely new trainee Aurors …and then the humiliation of …
'What are you so bloody cheerful about?' asked Jules, grumpily. He'd nearly finished checking his clothes: he seemed to be dry and clear of the foam – just the shame of it all that clung to him.
'Well, it damn well worked, didn't it?' said Frank exultantly. 'Your Grandfather obliviated us and we came round back here, so clearly it worked fine. I can remember everything, can you?'
'Yes, right up to it going black – it's like a darkness comes down in my mind – next moment, we are back here by the old oak tree. Why do you reckon that is?
'Oh, that's easy, I think: they must have a form of reverse apparation charm there – I know we didn't apparate into the home itself but their charm will shoot us back to wherever we first entered their wards – well that was round here, so hey presto and here we are!' he chuckled happily.
'Oh, stop being so fucking cheerful; come on, let's go and find Tracy – I think we should go to her place.'
'Yes, okay,' said Frank, 'but I think we should drive there – I think it's a certainty that once we're back inside the parish wards they could be aware we are back OR at least someone from the family is here BUT if we drive the metal of the car and the electric field generated by the engine might interfere a bit with them detecting us.' Frank frowned a little in thought. 'Probably won't but if we apparate in, they'll definitely pick us up if they're looking.'
'Great – just great!' Jules could have spat he was so furious with himself.
'Oh, come on – look on the bright side – your Grandfather thinks we're obliviated – they may not be paying attention to any alarms at the moment – so sod it, let's just take a quiet drive in and go see Tracy… eh?'
Jules thought this was actually a good idea but didn't want to say it too clearly as he also suspected that Frank was just really raring to see Tracy! 'Yes, okay, let's go,' he said grudgingly and reaching in his pocket, removed his shrunken car, placed it carefully on the ground and made to bring it back to its normal size, when he noticed Frank had hardly cleaned himself up.
'What are you doing? Aren't you going to get clean?' said Jules with some exasperation. 'You are not getting in the car like that.'
'Oh, right, sorry – I forgot!' and with a quick flourish of his wand, he was immaculately clean.
Jules noticed. 'Hey, what's going on? You took five minutes to clean me and I swear it still feels like you have missed some!'
'Ah, well, thing is I have been trying different spells – your bit was a kind of experiment and me was a different cleaning spell.' Frank smiled but that faltered when he noticed Jules' expression.
'Great, just bloody fantastic! Get in the car!' and Jules was in slamming the door.
'Alright, chill the beans,' said Frank. 'Okay, let's go!' and off they drove, Jules trying not to glower at the road ahead and Frank, beaming out at the world and humming a tune. Jules could just bet it was a bloody happy one. They drove slowly past the church then got on to the High Street and found a vacant space right outside the Grice's fish and chip shop. Jules was out in a second or two and waited impatiently as Frank followed him out of the car and into the shop. Mr. Grice was serving a Muggle customer.
'Hello, you two!' breezed Tracy's father. Sweet Merlin, thought Jules, is everyone happy just to piss me off at the moment. 'You alright, Jules – you look a bit peaky?'
That immediately schooled Jules' mind; mustn't give anything away. 'Oh, sorry, Mr. Grice, just lost my train of thought – how are you? Hope you are all well?'
'Fine, thanks very much!' and he turned to the customer, 'five pounds exactly, please, Doris.' He glanced over at the two of them, 'go through, our Trace is waiting for you in the back room, make yourselves at home.'
They thanked him and went round the front counter and into the back of the shop and the downstairs living rooms.
Tracy was sitting at the dining table like last time, a pot of tea and biscuits all ready. She could hardly hold her anticipation. As soon as she saw them, she was up and out of her chair.
'How was it?' she asked excitedly.
They told her.
Jules didn't know what was worse, her commiserating with him over his evident anguish of being obliviated by his own grandfather and laughing with Frank at the part with the foam.
'You've got to hand it to your Grandad, Jules – it was inspired, really it was!' said Frank, chortling and wiping tears of laughter from his eyes.
Jules rolled his eyes in irritation. 'Yes, bloody inspired! Using to foam fire extinguisher to outline where we were as we clearly NOT visible – we must have looked like two bloody great cream meringues by the time he finished!'
Tracy and Frank burst out into a fresh round of laughter. 'Oh, bloody har har!' replied Jules.
Eventually their laughter died down and Tracy looked seriously at Jules. 'Well, at least we know several new things. One, they must have different ways of detecting people they don't want within the parish wards, including in the home. Two, they're not full proof because unless he was waiting to see what you did, he showed nothing to me that he was worried about anything whilst you were in the building so perhaps they are not as good as we might think – perhaps though you set something off when you went in the Office? And three, your Grandfather, Jules, is one cool customer – they said they'd obliviate – even family and friends who came snooping and he did. Did he check who you were?'
'No,' said Jules, hide his bitterness – and failing, 'we were covered in foam and bam, we were then obliviated.'
'And he said nothing more than when he first came in?' asked Tracy.
'No, nothing,' said Frank.
'Wow!' said Tracy in evident admiration, 'yep, one cool customer.' She looked at Jules. 'He must've been something in his heyday – all that generation, in fact,' she added. 'So how are we going to beat him?'
No one said anything and a silence grew as they fell to thinking on what Tracy had just said. For a couple of minutes, they sipped tea and nibbled a biscuit in thought and so caught up in what they were doing that they didn't notice the new arrival.
'Hello, hope I am not disturbing anything?'
They all looked round and there stood Jayne Bell, obviously just come off her shift. 'Sorry, if I disturbed you – your dad let me come through, hope that's okay?' Jules and Frank stood up.
Tracy was up on her feet too. 'Of course, Jayne – please, here, sit by me – cuppa? Biscuit?'
'Oh, a cuppa would be lovely but no biscuits, thanks.' And she sat down, smiling at Tracy. 'Thanks for inviting me, Trace – it is nice to catch up!'
'Great,' said Tracy, busy pouring Jayne a fresh cup of tea as she made introductions. 'Jayne, these are my two out of town friends I was telling you about - Jayne Bell, this is Frank Longbottom.'
'Pleased to meet you,' said Frank, smiling at Jayne and shaking her hand.
'Pleasure's mine,' she smiled back.
'And this is Jules, Jules Malfoy,' said Tracy, pausing just a little bit more than necessary and flicking a very quick glance at Frank, 'who I think you have already met?'
Jayne lent forward across the table to shake Jules' hand. 'Very nice to see you again, Mr. Malfoy!' she said, just as Frank glanced at Tracy then mouthed so only Jules could see, 'Oh! Jayne!'
'Call me Jules, please…'
'As long as you call me Jayne.'
'My pleasure,' said Jules and found trying not to blush proving bloody difficult, considering the smirks on Frank and Tracy's faces: yes, a major piss take was in the offing. Jayne seemed not to notice – she just continued to smile at him as Tracy poured more tea.
'Actually, it's quite a coincidence meeting you today, again, Jules,' said Jayne. 'A pleasing one,' she blushed a little, 'but also a funny one – you know, odd…'
Jules was immediately alert. Again, like with Mr. Grice, he tried not to let it show. 'Why odd?'
'Well, I was not far of finishing my shift when I received a phone call from a woman who said she was your Grandmother.'
'Yes, isn't that a coincidence?' continued Jayne, 'She said she'd heard that you'd visited the home and had given a really high recommendation for it – she said she was thinking of reserving a room to retire to and could she come and visit – I said yes of course; she's going to call back and make an appointment.'
'My Grandmother, Astoria Malfoy?' he asked but he already knew the fucking answer – crap!
'Is that the name of your other grandmother?' asked Jayne, seemingly unaware of Tracy's shocked expression and Frank looking hard at Jules. 'No, she said she was Hermione Granger-Weasley.'
No one moved. Jayne looked at Jules. 'Are you alright?' Then she looked at Tracy and Frank and saw their shocked features.
'Oh, have I said something wrong?' she said.