Disclaimer: Not mine.
My goodness…has it been a year? Written for another one of Bad Mum's 29th year birthdays.
A Sunny Day in Late September
(When Charlie Should Have Wished For Rain)
Charlie leaned against the back of the shed, his hands shoved in his pockets; his long legs stretched out in front of him and crossed at the ankles. Beside him, Nymphadora slumped against the same wall, her arms folded over her chest and a pout on her face. Neither talked to the other, both too stubborn to be the first to admit they had mucked up.
It had started innocently enough. Charlie's mother had a birthday looming near and in a moment of weakness an ill-conceived idea had found its way to Charlie's brain and would not let go. After contemplating, for all of three minutes, he decided to have a surprise party for her. A small affair, just the family gathered around the table, a simple cake, perhaps a punch.
He snorted in disgust, shooting Nymphadora a look of utter contempt for he knew now that it had been when he had mentioned it to her that everything had started to spin out of control and gain momentum. Not only had she embraced the idea, turning a simple party into a grandiose dinner with the entire Weasley clan and extended family, she had gleefully included her family as well. Not that there were that many that she considered presentable in polite society, but the handful she did have, were to come. Then, just to fill in the seating chart she had invited the entire Order and all of Molly's friends.
He turned his head and glared at her, wanting to tell her it was her leaving the guest list where Molly could find it that started the debacle, but too angry to speak first he let his look tell the tale. He saw Nymphadora lift her chin and narrow her eyes, waiting for him to be the first to toss out an accusation and clamped his mouth shut, turning back to watch the gnomes destroy the garden.
It had not been enough that they had tried to hide the fact that they planned to feed a hundred guests, but that they had planned to keep it a secret from Molly. Charlie would always say that this was where it had started to deteriorate. If that were possible, for it was already bad. He had been too slow to see it and Nymphadora too caught up in the excitement of flowers and decorations to care.
Nymphadora had taken a collection from the other Weasley children, threatening the twins with bodily harm if they did not bear the brunt of the cost for the simple menu and even had made Ronald throw in his pocket money, much to his chagrin and Percy's delight. Of course, the one high point that Charlie would always remember, and share at Sunday dinners with anyone willing to listen, well into the next decade, was the look of abject horror on Percy's face when presented with the bakery bill for the cake.
The cake was indeed to be a thing of beauty and wonder. That is before Molly found the receipt in Percy's pocket while doing the laundry and went to the bakery to see the three-tiered monstrosity. She did what any mother would have done in a similar situation. She imposed her decorating taste and changed everything from the colour of the icing to the flowers that would tumble, now, gracefully down one side. Dabbing her eyes she had silently paid for the changes and happily kept the secret, informing the baker that if he dared say a word she would hex off his nads.
Not, you understand, that she did not hint that she knew. Yes she did, of course she did. Little hints…like…What ever shall we do with that old tent? I do hate to see it sit unused. Perhaps we should put it up…you know…in case it rains this Sunday. Since the party was not scheduled until the following Saturday it was lost on Charlie, as he was not one to pay attention to details. Furthermore, the fact that she had Ginny and Arthur scrubbing down the walls and floors did not seem out of place or even slightly strange.
Nymphadora thought the tent was a wonderful idea. It was large enough for what she wanted, with room to spare. After all, it had been used in the past for weddings and family reunions, so a simple birthday party should fit just fine. Until that very moment, she had not thought of music. One more thing they would blame on Molly in the years to come, for if it had not been for the tent there would not have been a band. The farthest thing from Nymphadora's mind had been live music and dancing. However, looking at the tent go up she thought…well, why ever not?
Molly liked to dance. She had said often enough that she wished to dance at her children's weddings, and her foot would tap to whatever music was in the air, even that awful stuff Arthur put on the old Muggle crank up record player. Charlie had frowned, counted out more money from his vault, agreeing with everything but the cost, and then told Bill this was his contribution and forced him to hire the musicians.
Overall, things ran pretty smoothly. The caterer was a little surprised to see Molly waiting at the door one morning as he opened. She went over menus and demanded that he supply waiters, not the simple buffet that had been planned. However, he was quite used to over protective mothers and gave in to her suggestions, keeping within the cost that had been laid out, charging only for the wine and spirits that were added and a small surcharge for the additional help.
Even the weather played into their hands, the sun rising on a beautiful warm sunny day, not a cloud in the sky. Molly was up early, preparing to be surprised, waiting anxiously for the festivities to begin, making Arthur put on his dress robes and the boys wash behind their ears. Molly dabbed at her eyes and set up her camera, not wanting to miss moment as she cursed herself for not hiring a photographer.
"Mum Weasley?" Nymphadora had said, her voice muffled as Molly pulled her head into her bosom sobbing aloud when she arrived. "I didn't think you would be quite so….so emotional over it all. Who gave up the surprise?"
"It matters not, what matters, is that you and Charlie did this for me. Now…come, dear." Molly pulled her up the stairs, waiting while Nymphadora untangled her sleeve from the banister, and into her bedroom, picking up her old wedding dress from the bed and holding it out to Nymphadora. "Just this one last thing and I can die happy. What a wonderful surprise. A wedding at the Burrow!"
Now she and Charlie hid behind the shed, listening to Molly's diminishing wails of anguish and the twin's uproarious laughter. Neither wanted to be the first to talk, as if in doing so, they would be admitting their responsibility in the fiasco. That, and it was their unspoken resolve to hide from the parson until he ate his fill and left. Once the yard grew quiet, and it was obvious that the party was not going as well they hoped, Nymphadora began to snicker.
"It's your fault you know," she said in that brazen way she had that always made Charlie cringe, knowing she had another half baked idea just below the surface.
"Don't you dare," Charlie said darkly, settling his chin on his chest and thinking about kicking gnomes. "You're the one who did the planning."
"It was your idea!" she hissed at him. "You got it all wrong."
"What the bloody hell did I get wrong?" He asked incredulously.
'Her birthday is in October. Today is only the 24th of September. No wonder she got it wrong."
"What?" he asked, his head snapping to the side in time to see her swallow her smile and try to look contrite.
"We can just have just the family, you know, just a small affair next time. A cake and perhaps a punch." She bit her lower lip and glanced at him, quickly looking back towards the garden. "Do we get to keep the presents?"
Charlie brought his head up slowly and turned to look at her fully, his face a study in surprise. "Listen, Tonks…"
"Got ya! Kidding. I was just kidding." She grinned, standing on her toes and kissing him lightly. "We'll let your mum do it."