"Here's your purse Mrs. Green. Have a great day!" I smile at the snooty woman in the green dress as she takes her designer purse from me. She doesn't even bother to acknowledge my existence as she slings it over her shoulder and unzips the top. She stands there, still ignoring me, as she digs through it to take out her aviator sunglasses that she places on the bridge of her nose. She looks like some sort of alien with them on and I hide a smile at my mental comparison. "Have a good one!" I say and she doesn't even glance at me.
She never tips and I despise her for it. If I have to put up with her foul attitude the least she could do is pay me for it.
As soon as she walks away, I slump my shoulders and rest my elbows against the counter as I try to shift my weight from foot to foot to relieve the pressure from the balls of my feet. After a few moments, I sigh and put my chin in my hands to wait for the next person to come up as my feet throb and ache. These heels really kill me. I honestly have no idea why I'm made to follow that particular rule of the dress code considering I just stand behind this stupid counter all day.
I send a glance down to my brown bag and resist the urge to open it up and take my note book out. I'm at work, I can't get it right now. It's against the rules.
I straighten up immediately when a couple approaches and I put on my best smile as a tall willowy brunette puts her large bag on the counter. "Hello, Mrs. Randolf," I say, knowing her name because she comes here every freaking day.
She's wearing a sun dress and a string of pearls with a large straw hat on her head to protect her from the actual sun. Spray tans are in season this summer and I have to say they fit all of the fake personalities these people have as well. She smiles at me, showing bleached white teeth and I sigh in envy because of her perfect, flawless skin. I know she has to be older than she looks, though. She was a model when she was younger and married a rich man. Every little girl's dream….
I roll my eyes at that thought.
"How are you two doing this afternoon?" I say as I glance at her husband. I hate Mr. Randolf. He's a surgeon at St. Mungo's and he always looks like he's terribly late for an important meeting.
"Oh, I'm fine, Ginny dear," she says kindly. I know her politeness isn't really genuine, but then again, neither is mine. "Benny and I are going to go out to the golf course in a little bit so I wanted to leave my pool things with you," she says as I take the bag and grab a ticket for her. "You know they have that half blood out there cleaning the dunes all the time. You never know what they'll do."
I feel my insides cringing at her comment, but I try to keep my facial expression neutral. She's talking about Seamus Finnigan. Working here is his summer job as well. "Well, I'll keep it safe for you," I smile brightly again, keeping my disgust at her ignorance at bay. "Have Fun!" I tell her as I hand her a ticket. She takes it, and as we pass hands, she hands me a coin. See. Mrs. Randolf tips.
"You're so pretty, Ginny," she says like she knew me and I inwardly roll my eyes as I take the coin and put it in my pocket with the other minimal tips I received today.
Out of all the members, she's the only one that has conversations with me, besides the old men who like to hit on me of course, but they hardly count.
"I have no idea why they keep you cooped up in this box all day," she says as she looks around my little bag and cloak check out station with a crinkling nose. "You should see the beasts they have waitressing now." She makes a face and I sigh. All she cares about are outward appearances, other peoples as well as her own. It's kind of sad in a way. "It's always nice to eat with a pleasant face around. Wouldn't you say, Ben?" she looks towards her husband who checks his watch and nods his head. It looks like he cares about this conversation as much as I do. "Oh well, see you later then."
"Bye. Be careful out there, I hear it's supposed to rain soon," I say as I wave her off and slump my shoulders again once she's out of seeing range.
This place is so boring, but it's the first real job I've ever had and I'm proud to say that I've been saving every coin from my paycheck. I first heard about this place from Luna Lovegood during the end of the school term while we were on the train. I was complaining about finding a summer job that would pay well… well, as in more than the minimum wage normally given to underage witches during the summer, and Luna suggested this place.
I need the money. I'm saving up for a special writer's workshop I want to take next summer where famous authors attend and teach small workshops. I've been fantasizing about it since I was fourteen, when I found out that I knew without a doubt that I wanted to be a writer, but of course the retreat is terribly expensive and something that was totally out of my parent's price range. I've been saving every bit of money that I had acquired for three years to afford it but I'm still really far off. That's why I jumped at the chance when Luna mentioned Folk Hills.
The Folk Hill country club is the most prestigious and renowned private clubs in the wizarding world. Only the most famous and rich families are allowed to be members…. And you have to be pureblooded... I thought that it would be illegal to deny membership to such a place because of blood status, but Luna said that there's so much money at Folk Hills that it doesn't even matter so I put aside my personal beliefs and applied anyways. Besides, Dean Thomas and Seamus both work at the club so I knew it couldn't be so terrible. Seamus works on the golf course, doing god knows what, and Dean works as a life guard at the pool. They like it well enough, but the only thing they said that bothered them was the whole 'status' ribbons we're told to wear.
During my interview, a very stern black woman named Del asked me the typical applicant questions… why do you want to work here, what are your strengths, do you have any experience… but one question in particular kind of stopped me for a moment. She asked me what my blood status was. That was another thing that I thought was illegal. That was a question an employer shouldn't be able to ask… or care about… when hiring a person and when I voiced my concern over it she looked me straight in the eye and gave me a solid answer.
"Miss Weasley," she had said with her coal eyes burning into mine. "I am going to be completely honest with you. A majority of the members here are prejudice bastards." I blinked a few times at the admission, but she kept going anyways despite my surprise. "It's safer if they know up front what status you are. There's been trouble in the past," she said seriously.
I didn't ask her what that meant and we moved on after that. My first day I was fitted with a blue ribbon to wear around my wrist just in case any one of the members wanted to know that I was pure of blood and Del gave me a whole handful of them, just in case I happened to lose one. Luna wears blue as well but Seamus and Dean have to wear yellow just to let others know that they both have one parent that's a muggle. It's so stupid, but I've never actually seen anyone get in trouble over it. I mean, the parents of the rich kids don't seem to mind that it's a half blood saving their lives from drowning. It's just the hurtful comments here and there that are bothersome, but I've learned to tune them out. I've only seen a few red bracelets to show off the muggle borns, though. I only see them in the kitchens, out of the public view.
My main goal was to get hired on at the restaurant as a waitress. That's what Luna does and she makes a small fortune in tips during the night that she uses to pay for her odd hobbies, like snorkel hunting and toad grass collecting. Unfortunately there were no open spots, so Del put me at the bag and cloak checkout counter and told me to be pleasant and smile a lot.
"Rich people will tip you if you're kind," she said as she showed me the ropes, how to work the desk and do the tickets. "And especially if you're pretty, so just keep on smiling and you'll do just fine."
It kind of made me feel like a prostitute, but hey, all I had to do was hang up a few cloaks and watch a few purses. I make decent money doing it. More than I would at any other summer job that most teenagers tend to get and when the tips are good I dare say I could work at this place all year long without complaint. I've officially gotten over the shock of seeing the famous and rich people that litter the news papers with their photo's and now the whole thing is quite jaded for me.
These heels really are killing me.
I slip out of them and my feet sigh in relief as I wiggle my toes and let the cool marble floor cool my aches. The dress code for the staff is ridiculous here as well. All the men working inside the buildings have to wear suits and ties and all of the women have to wear skirts and, at least, two inch heels. I didn't have many skirts or dresses at the beginning of the summer, but my Mom took me out shopping right before I started and we picked out a lot of pretty fabric so she could make some for me. It's cheaper than buying it off the hanger and I like the way my Mom makes my clothes. She knows exactly how to fit me and she's quite good at it. I look down at the white dress with the red roses on it and run my fingers over the fabric. Yes, I would take my Mom's homemade dresses over the designer ones I see all these rich women wearing any day.
A half hour passes without me seeing a soul so I send a furtive look around the hall before getting my bag and digging out my note book. I love writing. It really calms me down and when I open my notebook to my marked spot, I carefully run my fingers over the pages. I would die if this was lost or stolen just because I've put so much time and investment in it. I could never keep a diary… my life is not nearly that interesting, but I can create worlds with a pen and I love it entirely. I pull out a writing utensil and go back to the short story I had been working on the past couple of days. It's a scary one about a haunted house and sometimes at night I even get chilled by my own thoughts for it.
I love it.
I start writing, with the ink against the page as I map out what I want my characters to do. John, my main character, has a funny feeling as he takes a shower. Something doesn't feel right and it's making him nervous. He tries to ignore the prickling sensation on the back of his neck as he washes his hair and lets the warm water pound down on his back. He feels like he's being watched and he chastises himself for being such of a wimp. He hears a noise and his insides freeze, so he quickly turns off the water and listens for it again. Nothing. A nervous flutter starts in his stomach as he pulls the shower curtain back to reveal his empty bathroom. He sighs in relief, but the noise happens again, like a chair scrapping across a wooden floor. He quickly ties the towel around his hips and he leaves the bathroom, leaving wet footprints on the wood floor as he looks down the dark hallway.
Turn on the lights, he thinks, as he fumbles around in the dark. Weren't they turned on before? He goes for the light switch, but before he can turn them on, a door at the end of the hallway creeps open. John swallows the knot in his throat and stares at the darkness for a lifetime before taking a shy step towards the open attic…
"Are you going to help me, or do I have to stand here all day?"
I jump and the pen flies out of my hand as I snap my eyes to the owner of that voice. Words literally leave me as I stare at him in shock and my heart is pounding in my chest. I was so focused on the story that I didn't even hear him approach.
"Um," was all I could come up with as his stormy eyes glared into mine. I had rarely seen anyone I knew actually come to my little area and that was throwing me off.
I've seen Pansy Parkinson in passing as she went out to the pool with her younger sister Ivy and a few of her friends…. And I've seen Cho Chang with her mother once when I was entering the building… but Draco Malfoy… I just wasn't prepared to see him standing here. Not right now anyways. I knew his parents were members, I had seen his mother here playing tennis a few times, but I just… not him.
He raised an eyebrow as I tried to find the words I needed to say.
I shake my head and straighten up with a fake smile when I realize where I am and that he could get me fired. I can feel the blush creeping over my cheeks, but I ignore it. "What can I do for you?" I say in a fake nice voice as he unclasps his light rain cloak, revealing his blue polo and khaki slacks. The typical rich boy summer outfit.
Maybe he doesn't know who I am… I don't want him to realize I'm Ron's little sister because I know how mean he can be, so I put my head down slightly, hoping he won't notice. The last time I saw him was before we boarded the Hogwarts express to come home for the summer. Harry and Ron had always fought with Malfoy and his friends, but this last year seemed to have been more brutal than ever before.
Of course, Malfoy and his friends were always terrible to people. I remember Pansy Parkinson and Daphne Greengrass mercilessly bullied a hufflepuff girl to tears every day until she left school for a few months in my third year. I remember Blaise Zabini throwing out his foot to trip Hannah Abbot when she was walking down the hallway and I've seen Crabbe and Goyle get into more fist fights than is healthy… I knew they were mean, but Malfoy had become so hateful towards my brother and Harry that they started being just as hateful back. I could see a pleased little smirk on the corner of Draco's mouth every time my brother bad mouthed him, or every time Harry drew his wand. It was almost like he was pleased that he was able to make them stoop to his level.
I don't even know what the fight was about that day by the train… I don't know who started it, or why, but by the time I reached them, there was already a crowd gathered around to watch another blow out between my brother and Draco. I pushed through the crowd and saw my brother cursing up a storm at Draco, who stood across from him with his arms crossed and one of his delicate eyebrows raised. He looked mildly amused and my brother looked almost purple as Harry stood behind him with his brows forced together in anger.
"Are you done?" Malfoy had asked cruelly as he let his arms fall to his sides casually, even though I was sure he was just getting into position to draw his wand if he had to. "Even though that was quite entertaining, I have somewhere I need to be."
"You're an arrogant bastard, Malfoy," Harry said from behind my fuming brother and my eyebrows shot up because Harry rarely ever said things like that.
"Shut up, scarhead," Malfoy said dismissively. "You're not in this conversation."
"You're nothing but a rich prick, Malfoy," Ron seethed and Draco smirked again.
"At least I'm not poor," he said and Ron's ears burned. So did mine. "You're white trash, Weasley. You're whole family is. At least Potter's parents can provide for him and they're dead. You're parents are just lazy free loaders…."
That struck a nerve and Ron lunged at Malfoy with the intent to harm. Ron always let his anger get the best of him and he could never control his magic properly when he was angry so he always resorted to muggle methods. Draco drew his wand and I covered my mouth as he pointed it at my brother's throat stopping him from the punch he was going to throw.
"Don't even think about fucking touching me," Draco said in a hissed whisper and I felt a chill go down my spine. I had never heard his voice sound like that… I had never seen his face look so hard. "Step away from me," he said and Ron must have seen the seriousness in his expression because he did just that. "Don't ever come near me again or I will kill you."
Teachers came a few moments later to break up the fight, but the murderous look in Malfoy's eyes still chills me when I think about it. He's dangerous and there' is something infinitely dark about him. I shake my head to rid it of the disturbing memory and I focus on the expectant gaze of Draco Malfoy once more. I'm an employee and he is a paying patron. He could very well ruin this for me if he found out who I was and made work miserable for me.
And he probably would. He's a jerk like that.
I know that, so I keep smiling.
"I think the answer to that is obvious," he says snidely as he hands me the green cloak. It's wet and I realize that it must have started raining. My warning to Mrs. Randolf was justified. "Isn't this your job?"
I blush and nod my head, glad that he doesn't seem to recognize who I am. "Let me put this away and get a ticket for you," I tell him as I grab a hanger for his cloak.
I go to one of the oak lockers and put it inside; taking the ticket that pops out once it's locked. I feel his intense eyes on me the entire time and I start to become uncomfortable by it. Why is he staring at me so intently anyways? "Where's Nadia?" he ask and I jump again because his deep voice seems so out of place here… with me.
"W-What?" I ask as I drop his ticket. I don't even bother looking at him as I quickly pick it up.
"The woman who used to work here…. Where is she?"
"Oh," I say as I look down at my fingers that are fiddling with his ticket. "She still works here…She doesn't come in until four, though," I answer as I walk back towards him, realizing mid step that I'm not wearing my shoes, and I curse myself inwardly because Malfoy, of all people, has seen me break so many rules already. I look up to him shyly to gage his reaction and I feel my heart panic because he's turned my notebook around and has his head bent towards the page.
He's reading it.
I don't even let my best friend read my stories!
I inhale deeply and scurry over to him. "Here you go," I say in a fake chirpy voice as I thrust the ticket at him and close the notebook so he can't look at it anymore. "Have a good day." I say as I slide it back towards me.
I jump again when he slams his hand on top of it as well to stop me from moving it back in my bag where it belongs. "Writing on the job?" he says and when I look at him again I see that sadistic smirk curling at the corner of his mouth.
I've seen him give that look before.
I don't even want a tip from him. I just want him to go away, but he doesn't move. He just stands there, staring at me as my nails dig into the top of my most treasured possession.
"I'm…" I don't know what I want to say. I know I can't be mean to him and I know I can't use my wand or anything. I just want him to let go of my freaking notebook. "I'm sorry," I end up saying and it sounds weird to me because I didn't mean it and I didn't really want to apologize to him.
He's going on my hate list as well.
He surveys me for the longest time and it was starting to worry me. Working here had made me nearly invisible, or that's how it felt at least, and I was comfortable with that. When you work at jobs like this, most of the people are rude and ignore you and the few that do talk to you don't really give a damn who you are anyways, but he was staring at me. He was downright staring and studying as he let his sharp eyes dance across my face and body. I felt myself blushing again and for the first time since I started here I was all too aware of my homemade clothes and cheap jewelry. Why did he have to look at me like that? Did he stare at everyone like that just to make them uncomfortable?
"Please give it back," I plead and I hate that I'm begging but I'm feeling odd and out of place and I just want my damn notebook. He taps his fingers against the card board cover as I look at the logo on his blue polo. Name brand. Of course.
He lets go and I take the opportunity to get the notebook and hold it against my chest like a child holding a doll. I feel pathetic and I'm just waiting for him to say something mean to me.
I need him to go away now.
"I've seen you before," he says and I was glad that he wasn't able to place me. In fact, I almost sighed in relief. "What's your name?" he asks as he eyes the blue ribbon on my wrist with mild curiosity. I almost wish I had a yellow ribbon now, or even a red one so he wouldn't even bother to speak to me. "I can easily find out your name if you don't tell me, of course," he says. He must have caught onto my distress.
I wasn't going to lie to him, though. I needed to not let this get to me… I was being silly about the whole thing. He was just a person too so I gather my courage and look at him. "Ginny," I answer and he looked thoughtful for a second.
"Ginny," he repeated and it sounded odd on his lips. He eyed me again and I felt brave enough to meet his eyes as he studied my face.
Then it happened.
I could see the recognition light up his eyes and I was waiting for the snide comment or the hurtful jab, but none came. When I saw him reach into his pocket, my eyes went wide with unjust fear because I thought he was going to hex me with his wand, but instead he pulled out a few coins and put them on the counter.
"I've just decided something," he says quietly to himself and I raise an eyebrow as he looks me over. He nods his head like he was sure of it and then he finds my eyes again. "See you later, Ginny," he says flatly.
I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding and I look down at the two gallons he left on the counter top. It felt wrong to take them. It felt dirty for some reason. I didn't want his money because I knew he was probably going to make fun of me for working here, for serving him, or something like that and the more I thought about it, the angrier I got. I took the stupid coins and put them on the floor, kicking them under the counter so I wouldn't have to look at them.
"Ginny?" I jump again and place my hand over my heart as I look at Nadia. She's the other girl who works the checkout counter that Draco Malfoy had asked about. She's a halfblood in her early twenties who already has three kids to feed and is only working here to find a rich husband… or lover to take care of her. That's what she says at least "Are you ready to go home?" she says as she takes off her rain cloak.
"Oh," I say and I blink a few times, still stuck with that weird encounter with Draco Malfoy.
He stresses me out.
"I didn't realize…." I checked the clock on the wall and my mouth turned up in a pleased smile. This shift went fast. "I get to go home!" I would have done a happy dance if my pride would have allowed it. Nadia stepped behind the counter as I put on my shoes and packed up my bag, stuffing my tips in the front pocket where I usually keep them.
"How has your day been?" Nadia asks as I scurry to get myself together so I can get out of here.
"Pretty good," I say quickly as I find my own rain cloak and clasp it around my neck. It's an old brown plaid one of my mother's that we've had for ages. "How are the kids?" I ask as I spare her a little glance.
Nadia is a little woman of a slight build and she always looks tired and worn out. The poor thing. She nods her head as she takes off her rain boots and slips into some dangerously high stilettos that make her charming outfit look a bit risqué. She gets more tips than I do because of her outfits and how she flirts with the men here. I'm embarrassingly bad at it…. Not that I would want to flirt with any of these pompous peacocks anyways.
"They're fine. Jimmy has a bit of a cold… odd for this time of year…"
"Oh, that's terrible," I say in mock sympathy as I sling my bag over my shoulder. "Bye then!"
I leave quickly, knowing that if I stay I'll have to hear everything about Jimmy's little cold and I'd prefer to go home rather than listen to that. Luna was waiting for me just outside the back entrance of the building in the tight black dress and tights all the waitresses in the dining hall were made to wear. I eyed her wearingly because she looked pleased and I was not in the mood to deal with pleasantness after my day.
"Good shift?" I ask when I reach her and she smiles at me. Luna, for as weird as she is, she really is a beautiful girl with her long blond hair and light round eyes. I find myself jealous of her way more than is healthy.
"It was a good one," she says in that light voice of hers as we start walking towards the apparation point. "I fear I can't say the same about you," she says. She watches me with a tilted head as we walk down the concrete walk way in these uncomfortable bloody shoes.
"Not really," I say with a shrug. I tie my hair back into a bun as we pass under the concrete passage. I tell her about the odd encounter with Draco Malfoy and she eyes me oddly as I throw up my hood. Rain starts to pelt us once we leave the safety of the passage and I feel my body shiver.
"He ate at the restaurant with a few of his friends," she says when we reach the blue sign that indicates a safe app zone. "There were about five of them."
"Was he in your section?" I ask as I take out my wand. Why do I care?
She shakes her head. "I guess he's dating Cho Chang now." An odd ripples runs through my body at that and I frown. "From what I heard in passing, he was completing an internship at the Ministry at the beginning of the summer," she says as she situates her purse. The waitresses know the gossip on everyone at the club. "Just got back and Chang was all over him."
I make a face at the mention of Cho. I've always kind of hated her for the little thing that happened between her and Harry. I know it's not fair, but sometimes you can't help hating the person that's better looking than you and who your crush ended up liking. It's a part of life. It doesn't help that she's impossibly nice as well. It makes me hate her all the more.
"Well, I'm just waiting for him to say something to me," I state bitterly and she raises her eyebrows.
"Why would he?"
"Because you know," I start lamely and she keeps up with that stupid raised eyebrow. "Well, because he hates my brother and all that…"
"He doesn't hate you though," she points out and I frown. She doesn't have any siblings. She doesn't realize the rules are that if a member of your family hates someone then it is your obligation to hate them as well. "And you said he didn't do anything bad to you."
"Yet," I state and she smiles like I was funny or something.
"Be optimistic," she says as she pats my shoulder. "By the end of the summer you'll have that money saved and you can go into our 11th year knowing that you'll finally be able to go to that workshop you've been dying for."
"Yeah," I say and then I sigh. "I just hate seeing people our age at this place," I say as I look back at the grand entrance building of the club, envy pooling in my stomach. What I'm saving up for the writing retreat is probably a weekly allowance for some of the girls here. "It just makes me feel bad."
"The only difference between them and us is that we have to make our own opportunities," she says and when I look at her I smile. "And we have better personalities," she says and I laugh.
I wave at Luna as she lifts her wand. "See you tomorrow!"
"Tood-a-loo!" she waves as I lift my wand and Apparate away as well.
Mom's in the kitchen when I get home and she smiles at me as I shake off the rain from my cloak.
"Did you have a good day at work?" she asks as I flick off the heels and thump my bag on the ground, unclasping the cloak as she whisks something in a bowl. It smells positively divine in here.
"Sure," I mumble because that's what I always say. I hang my cloak and turn to her. She's making dinner and my stomach growls so I take a seat at the table. "What are we having?" I ask as I grab an apple from the bowl in the center of the table, unable to wait. "I'm starving." I tell her as I munch into it.
"Oh, you know, the usual."
I walk over to her and look over the pots on the stove. Mashed potatoes, green beans, freshly baked bread, corn, apple pie… I bend down to check the oven… there's some kind of meat roasting in there… Why is she making so much freaking food?
"Will you be a dear and get me the butter from the fridge?"
"Are Fred and George here?" I ask her and she shakes her head.
"The butter, Gin," she says and I furrow my brows.
I take another bite of my apple as I send her a suspicious look and then I walk over to the fridge and open it up. "Holy hell," I whisper as I take in all of the food wrapped in glass containers. The ice box is practically overflowing with food. "Jesus..." Wait…. All this food…. That means….
I forgo getting the butter as I drop my apple and run upstairs to my brother's room, taking the stairs two at a time. I pause a moment outside of the door to smooth out my dress and I bring my hands up to my hair. I make a face at the messy bun I had put it in and I take out the hair tie quickly and let my hair fall down past my shoulders. I brush it with my fingers to make sure it's in place and then I carefully knock on the door after doing a quick eyeliner check in the hallway mirror. No rain smudges for me.
"Eh, Mom, they're not hungry. Just back off a little, would you?"
"Ron, it's Ginny," I say and then I put my hand on the door knob and turn it until it pops open. Ron's sitting on the bed with an irritated look on his face as I step inside, but I look away from him because he's not who I want to see. Hermione is sitting on the chair, with a newspaper open on her lap and Harry… Harry is staring at me from his spot by the window. My heart clenches when I see him and I turn to Hermione who stands with a smile on her face. I've decided that I will no longer like Harry Potter in that way anymore… well, I won't let anyone know that I like him that way. My crush on him was starting to get pathetic and even Dean pointed it out when we were dating last year.
"I feel like I haven't seen you in months," I tell her as I run over with a grin on my face to give her a hug. Ron makes an annoyed noise, but I don't care because Hermione is my friend too. I crush her too me and laugh against her hair as she squeaks.
"Wow, Gin, you look pretty," she says as she stands back and looks at the dress my mother had made me.
I blush a little because she said that compliment in front of Harry, but I smile anyways. "Thanks. I just got off work… they make us dress up," I explain and I send a look to Harry out of the corner of my eyes. He was looking at me, but when he saw that I noticed, he snapped his eyes away. I cover my frown. Why would he do that? "How was your trip?" I ask as I focus back on my friend.
"Ginny, they haven't even been here an hour. Would you please go away so I can have some time with my friends? Okay? Thank you." Ron says hatefully and I blush again, my feelings hurt by his slight… but I understand and I nod my head.
"Sorry," I mutter as I walk towards the doorway. Normally I would fight him on this, but I'm getting older and I need to start acting like an adult. These are his friends first and foremost and I would hate it if he did this to me if the situations were reversed. "I'll see you guys later," I mutter and Hermione sends Ron a hateful look before glancing at me. "I should help my Mom set the table."
"I left my bags in your room already," she says and I nod my head as I make it to the doorway. "So don't be alarmed."
"I'll see you guys at dinner," I tell them and then I leave, closing the door behind me. I pause with my back against his door, letting out a long breath I didn't even realize I was holding. With a small smile I go down the stairs two at a time. This summer just got a whole lot more fun.
I go over to the fridge and get the butter out and I throw my discarded apple away as I make it to my mother. "Can I help with anything?" I ask, feeling much more energized now no matter how bitchy Ron is being about the matter. .
"I've got it covered, sweetheart," she says as she gives me a knowing smile. "Why don't you go change out of your work clothes and relax a bit before dinner? I'll call you down."
"Thanks," I tell her before kissing her cheek and running up the stairs to my room. Hermione's bags are in the corner and I smile at them again before running to my closet and stripping out of my dress. I go for my usual summer uniform: a pair of shorts and a tank top, and I put them on quickly before throwing myself down on my bed and staring up at my canopy.
I don't know why my happiness is always dictated by how close Harry Potter is to me. It's not like he's nice to me… well, I mean... it's not that he's not nice to me. He just doesn't talk to me… or acknowledge me most of the time. In fact, he's kind of like one of the patrons at Folk Hills… he's polite when he needs to be but under it all I doubt if he really cares. I just like having him around. He's handsome and he's the savior of the wizarding world for Christ sakes. If that's not good first crush material than I don't know what is… I shake my head and mentally scold myself. I forgot, I've decided not to crush on him anymore.
After a few moments I hear a knock on my door and I sit up as Hermione enters my room with the news paper under her arm. We stare at each other for a few moments and then she smiles as she runs over and hops on my bed. I love Hermione. Even though she's a bossy know it all, underneath it all she's a silly girl just like the rest of us.
"So, how has your summer been?" I ask as she lies beside me.
"Pretty good," she says with a shrug. "After being around magic, staying with my parents is really boring."
"I can imagine," I tell her with a smirk and then she turns on her side to prop her head up so she can look down at me.
"You want to know something?" she says and I glance at her from the corner of my eyes and nod my head. "After you left the room a little bit ago, Harry said it looks like you've gotten a haircut."
I furrow my brows. "I haven't gotten a hair cut since the last time I saw him," I admit and she grins at me and takes a strand of my hair.
"I know," she says slyly as she curls it around her finger. "But in Harry world, I think that's him noticing that you've grown up."
I feel a pleased smile curling my lips and I look up at the canopy again, wondering if that's possibly true. "It doesn't matter," I sigh even though I am happy. "I don't think I really like Harry like that anymore." I don't want her thinking I'm pining after him after all and even though she is my friend I know some of what I say has to get back to Harry. I don't want him thinking I'm still that pitiful girl who wants him.
The newspaper crunches against my bed as Hermione lays back against my pillows so I pull it away from her. "What are you reading?" I ask as I turn it so I can see.
"Oh, you know me, always keeping up on current affairs," she jokes as she tries to grab it from me.
"This is the society section," I tell her with an amused smile as I look over the gossip columns and paparazzi photos. "Current affairs indeed," I say as I turn the page.
"It's good to be knowledgeable about all things," she says. I stop when I see a picture of a group of girls dressed in white. "Ugh," Hermione's breath brushes my face. "Why is she in the paper?" she asks pointing to a picture of Pansy Parkinson who has white flowers in her hair as she smiles in a group of other girls her age, all upper class and all filthy rich.
"She's coming out soon I imagine," I say as I fold the paper over and let it fall to the floor, not wanting to see pictures of the girls I'll never be friends with living a life I'll never have.
"What does that mean?"
I scrunch up my nose. "It's stupid. When rich pureblooded girls turn seventeen they have to be 'introduced' into society so guys know they can be married or something like that," I say with a shrug as she frowns. "They have a ball for it and everything."
"How old fashioned," she says thoughtfully and I shrug.
"Stupid is what it is."
"Ron says we can go to Yellow Springs tomorrow," she says excitedly. "Do you want to come with us? I hear it is supposed to be beautiful in the summer."
I nod my head. "I would love to go."
My stomach growls loudly and we look at each other before she laughs.
"Let's go eat."
I spend the rest of the night trying not to stare at Harry Potter and trying not to notice that he's trying not to stare at me.
Yellow Springs is a posh little village located by a rather large and beautiful lake. Mostly it serves as summer retreat for those who can afford it and it has a nice boardwalk with fun shops, mechanical rides, and street entertainers that come specifically for the summer months. I'm a little excited to go actually. We didn't have a chance to go last year and I don't have to work.
"Where do you work?" Harry asks me as the four of us walk towards the village. It's about a twenty minute walk and I was happy that I spent time getting ready before we left considering Harry has taken it upon himself to walk uncomfortably close to me the entire time. "You mentioned… having a job?" he says awkwardly.
Hermione and Ron are a good deal ahead of us, arguing about something stupid and I squint my eyes against the sun beating down on us. It's a terribly hot today and I make a face because I'm sweating before reaching into my purse and pulling out a pair of sunglasses.
"Ginny?" Harry says softly to get my attention and my heart does a weird summer sault as he looks at me, the sun catching the green of his iris' in the most electrifying way. I swallow hard and look away quickly like a spaz, pushing my glasses further up on my nose. "Ron said you had a job?" he says uncomfortably again.
"Yeah," I say with a head nod and I glance at him. "All I do is baby-sit cloaks and purses so it's nothing to write home about."
"Hey," he says with a shoulder shrug as he stuffs his hands into his cargo shorts. "At least you're getting paid for it, right?"
"At least," I say with a little smile. I can't believe he's actually speaking to me unprovoked like this but how annoying because I've already decided I was done with him. A silent pause rests between us and I put my hands in the pockets of my shorts, matching his awkward movements as I try to think of something worthwhile to say. "How has your summer been going?" I settle on saying and he itches the back of his neck, a nervous gesture I've come to memorize. "Have you been having a good time at your Aunt and Uncle's?"
He clears his throat uncomfortably.
"It's been alright. You know my Aunt and Uncle are mental," he mutters bitterly and I furrow my brows before it dawns on me. Of course. His family has always been cruel to him and it was stupid of me to bring up. He had been miserable.
"I'm sorry," I say seriously and he looks at me again as we pass under the wrought iron sign that marks the Village of Yellow Springs. "I shouldn't have…"
"It's okay, Ginny," he says and he gives me a little smile. I blush scarlet and pretend to readjust my purse so I can avoid looking his way so he doesn't see it. "Not everyone has my situation."
"Ginny!" I snap my head away from Harry and look forward to Hermione as she waves me towards her. "Do you want some ice cream? I've been craving it all day."
Harry and I finally reach them as my brother rubs his stomach with a quaffel ball under one arm that he brought from home. "I'm hungry too," he says and Harry smiles.
"You're always hungry," he says and I laugh. He looks at me again and I could swear his cheeks turned a bit red… but it is really hot today…. I guess that must be why.
There was a street vender with a little ice cream stand not too far away from where we came in and we all had to practically jog to keep up with Ron's long strides. "I'll have a strawberry cone dipped in chocolate with sprinkles," he says to the stunned man in the paper hat.
As he starts to prepare the ice cream for my insistent brother, I open my purse and look at the money I grabbed for the trip. My tips from working yesterday are lying at the bottom along with my lip gloss and a few scraps of forgotten paper. I bite the inside of my cheek as I decide what I want to do while Hermione orders.
Do I need ice cream right now?
I ate lunch before we came and I'm really not that hungry. I make my decision and sigh sadly as I close my purse. The more money I save, the quicker I'll reach my goal for the retreat.
"What would you like, Gin?" Hermione asks as she takes a lick from her chocolate cone. I look at it with envy and shake my head.
"I'm not hungry, really," I tell her as I kick a pebble with my sandal. Pouting at how practical I am. "I'm going to window shop as you guys get your stuff," I say as I start walking off by myself to get away from how delicious the ice-cream looks. It is a rather humid day today, and my hair is starting to curl because of it… a perfect day for ice cream. I gather my thick hair and grab my hair tie from around my wrist to put it up. My hair is way too thick to be down today anyways.
Ice cream would cool me down.
No. I need the money.
Ugh. I wish I was rich.
I walk towards the board walk so I can look in on the shops and I put my head down in thought as I bite the corner of my lip. The boardwalk is pretty crowded today, and I weave around the crowd of people as I walk aimlessly.
"Please, Ivy, you can't honestly think he really wanted to play chess when he invited you over."
I know that voice and I look up from my thoughts to see Pansy Parkinson and her little sister Ivy standing a few feet away from me in front of one of the jewelry shops. Ivy is my age, and while she's not as pretty are her older sister, she is equally as vicious in her temperament. Her and I have gotten into more than one fight during the school year and I duck my head down again so she won't see me.
"When a boy goes out of his way to buy you dinner, you know what they want…" I don't want to listen to them speak, so I keep walking. I bet their parents are here on vacation or something… I think of coming here and spending the week at Folk Hills whenever I wanted. Again, I wish I was rich.
"Ginny," I turn around and see a nervous looking Harry holding two vanilla ice cream cones. I tilt my head to the side and push the sun glasses to the top of my head as he blinks at me. "I didn't know what flavor you wanted, so I just went with the safest option."
My heart skips and then I feel embarrassed. Did he see me going through my purse and just assumed I couldn't afford it? "Harry… I…." I open my purse and start digging through it to get to the coins. So much for saving a few coins today. "Let me pay you back," I tell him quickly. I know my family isn't well off and I know Harry has given my brothers money in the past. I don't want him to pity my situation. "I have the money," I say quietly as I take a few coins out.
"No, I don't want you to pay me," he says quickly and I take the cone because the ice cream is starting to melt. "Just…. Just eat it," he says quickly and his face looks odd for a moment before he turns around and walks away, heading towards my brother and Hermione who were both watching us with raised eyebrows.
That was freaking odd.
The cream starts dripping down my fingers and I shake my head before trying to salvage what's left of the treat that Harry bought for me. I glance to my left and see Pansy and Ivy….
They're both looking right at me and Pansy even smiles a little. The mocking tilt of her lips makes me think of the odd encounter with Malfoy I had yesterday and I look away quickly.
They're probably talking about me and I put my sunglasses down again as I walk towards my brother and his friends, trying to ignore the prickling on the back of my neck that signals I'm still being stared at.
"What should we do first?" Hermione asks excitedly as she finishes off her ice cream and dumps the napkin in one of the bins nearby. "There are so many people here," she says as she looks around at the crowd of people walking to and from the boardwalk and 'beach'.
"We could go on the Ferris Wheel first," I offer, because I really want to go there and Ron makes a face because he's afraid of heights as much as he fears spiders.
"Let's go to the beach," he over rides me and of course his Hermione and Harry agree with him. My fourth wheel status is official once more. They all start walking that way and I frown before following after them, throwing my ice cream cone in the bin as I trail behind.
Trailing behind. That's all I ever seem to do.
"That's a cool statue," Harry points out. The beach has a large statue of the Greek god Poseidon coming from the lake just off of the beach. I don't know why, but Yellow Springs has been trying to develop itself into a 'beach' like town even though the lake isn't nearly as spectacular as the sea.
"Yeah, it's based off the guy who founded the town," Ron says and I shake my head.
"No, it's not," I tell him, using my 'you're stupid' voice. He narrows his eyes at me as we reach the sand and I take off my sandals and hold them in my hand as we walk towards the water.
"Yes, it is," he says hatefully and I roll my eyes.
"Oh, Ron," Hermione shakes her head as well and gives him a pitying look because he's an idiot. "It's so hot out today," she changes the subject just to save face for him like she always does. She rolls up her jeans and walks ankle deep into the water. I follow behind and close my eyes as the coolness of the lake hits my skin.
"It's actually quite lovely out here," Hermione comments the water comes in against our legs. I look over my shoulder as Harry takes off his shirt. I snap my head away quickly and blink a few times because I wasn't ready to see that.
I send a shy look over my shoulder again as he says something to my brother. Quidditch and being the savior of the wizarding world has done wonders for his body.
"You're drooling," Hermione says and she laughs as I look away again. "He has gotten better looking, hasn't he?" she says, glancing at the boys as well.
I actually don't know who she's talking about. Harry or Ron… I know how much she likes my brother even though she pretends to hide it.
"He's always been good looking," I mutter as I turn back to the lake and I look at the horizon. "Unfortunately," I add for my own benefit.
Hermione bends down to put her hands in the water and I chance a glance over my shoulder again, letting the glasses slide down the tip of my nose so I can get a better look.
He's playing some sort of game with my brother with the quaffel Ron brought with him.
I feel my heart doing odd things as I check him out and then I find myself feeling a bit bitter about it. After Ron throws it really high, Harry makes a great catch by jumping up and catching it mid air. He loses his footing on the way down and lands on the sand with a laugh. I smile as well and when he looks at me he gives me a boyish grin that makes my heart clench.
I will never get over Harry Potter.
My alarm clock blares in my ear and I make an annoyed grunting noise as I reach over to my night stand to press the snooze button. I fumble around until I find it and sigh in relief when the noise dies down. I settle back against my pillow and exhale slowly, letting the warmness of sleep come back to me.
"I hope you didn't press the snooze again," Hermione adds groggily from her cot on the other side of the room. "I'm sick of waking up every five minutes. What time do you have to be at work anyways?" she asks with a yawn. I crack one eye open and look at the clock.
I jump up quickly and turn on the light, ignoring the way Hermione moans as I run to my closet and tear through it to find something suitable to wear. I grab a blue dress and strip quickly, not even bothering with Hermione as I throw it over my head and zip it up the best I can. I grab the brush from my vanity and tug it through my hair as I run to the bathroom, trying to braid it quickly so it doesn't look like a complete mess. When I get to the loo, I try to open the door so I can brush my teeth and do my make up, but the door is locked and the shower is on. I kick the door with my foot, stubbing my toe in the process.
"I'm going to be late for work!" I snap tiredly at whoever is impeding on my personal grooming time. I knock on the door a few more times as I spy the time from the clock hanging on the wall. "Please. I'm going to be late."
I hear the water turn off as a few things clatter to the ground. I furrow my brows and put my ear up to the door to hear all the awkward fumbling. I bring my hand up and knock again.
"Ron?" I ask and then I step back when the door opens.
Steam hits my face and my eyes widen at the site of Harry, soaking wet with a towel wrapped around his hips. He's not wearing his glasses and his hair is plastered to his forehead and the side of his face. I hadn't realized how long it was until it was wet.
Oh, holy hell.
"I'm sorry," he says. I'm staring at his stomach. His muscles are well defined and there's a trail that leads all the way down to his…. "Ginny," he says seriously and I shake my head and look at him as he steps to the side. "Sorry…" he mutters again before walking towards my brother's room.
I blink a few times before remembering the time and scurrying into the bathroom. I get ready as quickly as possible and trip over myself to get outside to the Apparation point. When I get to Folk hills, I run towards the main building and cuss silently to myself when I see Del at my station, with a scowl on her face and her arms folded across her broad chest.
"You're late," she says as I try to catch my breath.
"Only a couple of minutes," I explain and she arches one of her dark brows as I melt into the floor. "I'm sorry. It will never happen again," I say and she tilts her chin up.
"See that it doesn't," she says before walking off, her high heels clacking against the marble floor. I let out a breath once she's out of sight and slide behind the counter, letting my bag thump against the ground, trying to get the image of a very wet and very naked Harry Potter off of my mind.
I try to fall into my usual routine with the patrons who approach the desk, but I have to hold in my disappointment when I see Malfoy approach, with his back straight and his nose in the air like the pompous rich boy that he is.
"I'm not going to need these until later," he says as he hands two tennis rackets to me, without a hello or any type of acknowledgement.
I don't even bother to greet him as I take them and walk towards the lockers.
"Do you like working here?" he asks casually as he leans against the counter and looks around like he was uninterested to be having a conversation with me.
I shrug and pick up the ticket as I walk back to him so he can take it, but he doesn't. He just looks down at my hand and at that stupid ribbon around my wrist before his eyes flick to mine.
"Why do you work here?" he asks after a few silent moments and I furrow my brows.
"To make money," I state plainly because I'm actually kind of mad that he's talking to me. I don't want him to talk to me. He creeps me out.
"Yes," he nods his head and he looks at my dress. I had grabbed the blue one my mother made for me last summer in my haste to get ready this morning. It always made me feel feminine and pretty. "What do you do with the money?" he asks and I narrow my eyes. He had no business knowing that and I told him so. He smiles a little bit as I put the ticket on the counter and I huff because he doesn't pick it up. "You obviously don't buy new clothes," he says and my face blushes crimson. Poor white trash, that's what he thought of my family. "I've seen you wear this one before."
I feel something heavy in my stomach. I'm embarrassed that he noticed and embarrassed that he was right. So much for this being my pretty dress. "When?" I ask hotly. He acted like he didn't even know me the other day and now he has my wardrobe memorized?
He shrugs again and looks down at his watch.
"Just take the freaking ticket," I snap because if I don't stop myself, I'm going to say more and then I would get in trouble.
"I didn't intend to make you feel bad," he says and I look down because he just keeps on staring at me. "I was just stating an obvious fact." I blush again and I hear him sigh. "That was the wrong thing to say."
"Yes, it was," I state self consciously as I look down at my dress. My Mom had embroidered little daisies at the bottom with white thread and I glare at them when I realize this shouldn't be my pretty dress at all. I look like a child.
"Are you dating Harry Potter?" he asks out of now where and I can feel my face changing in surprise.
"What?" I snap back as he pulls a piece of lint from his shirt and flicks it away. He doesn't even look uncomfortable for asking me that… he never looks uncomfortable.
"Are you seeing him?" he asks casually as his eyes look into mine and I feel a frown forming my face. He's so random. Did he know that Harry and Hermione were staying at my house right now? "Someone mentioned that you were."
"Who did?" I ask and he raises an eyebrow.
"Does it matter?"
It did. I didn't like the fact that people he would hang out with would talk about me. I never wanted to come up in their conversation. I wanted to stay invisible to that certain ruthless crowd. I knew them from school. They were hateful and fake and disgusting.
"Answer my question," he says sharply after a few moments and I blink a few times. Was that a demand? What in the hell was going on here?
"Um, no?" I say because I really didn't know where this was going.
"'Um no' you don't want to answer my question, or 'um no' you aren't dating him?" he asks sharply and I stare at him for a few moments before looking down at my hands and running my fingers across the counters edge.
"I'm not dating him," I whisper even though I wish I could lie and say it was true.
"You sound unsure about it," he says flatly and I just feel a little lost and confused right now. Why would he care who I was dating?
"I'm not dating Harry. What's it to you?" I ask with narrowed eyes and he smiles again, a cruel and handsome smile.
"Did you know, Ginny," he starts and I hate that he said my name. He shouldn't be allowed to. "That my Grandfather was one of the men who founded this club?" he says and I shake my head.
Why should I care?
"No, I didn't know that," I tell him and his eyes flick back into mine. I notice that they're silver rimmed in dark gray.
He steps away from the counter and looks around the hallway with his hands in his pockets. "Do you get lonely back here?" he asks and I sigh. "Not many people make it back here. It's so far away from everything," he states and I just stare at him because in all honestly I don't know what he's playing at.
"I don't really mind," I tell him. Go away.
"I bet you don't," he says and then he takes his ticket while putting the tip on the counter. I look at it. It's more than I make in a week. "I'll see you later, Ginny."
"No, I don't want…" I want to give the money back, but he just smiles at me.
He walks away and I shake my head. What is his problem? I pick up the money and debate whether I should give it to someone else, but it's so much money. I look at his retreating back once more before putting it in my pocket. If he's going to give it away, I might as well take it.
When he comes back, he's with Blaise Zabini.
I really wanted to hide when I saw them. Blaise Zabini was almost too beautiful to be a considered a boy and his presence usually made me feel weird. Like he was almost too feminine looking to be attractive to me, but he was so good looking I couldn't seem to help myself. He was also the most conceited person in the world, if you can believe it. I have nowhere to go, unfortunately, and nowhere to hide, so I stand my ground and stare at them as they approach.
"Hi!" I cringe. My voice is annoyingly chirpy and my face flushed yet again as I mentally scold myself. I see the corner of Zabini's lips turn up as they approach and I look away. I'm not exactly sure what ethnicity he is, either, but the combination of tan skin, golden eyes, and curly black hair is very beautiful.
I don't even bother to wait for the demand, I just turn around to get the stupid tennis rackets… realizing a moment too late that Malfoy never gave me his ticket. I stop and stare at the wall for a moment before clenching my fists and turning back around. They both look highly amused as Draco puts his elbow on the counter and leans against it casually as his eyes dance across my face.
"Can I have your ticket?" I ask, walking back towards them with embarrassed, tightly wound steps. I glance at Zabinbi, he's pulling a cigarette out of his pocket and he puts it between his lips. I frown. "Hey, you can't smoke in here."
His amber eyes glance up at mine before he brings his wand up to light the end. He inhales as the light at the end of the cigarette burns orange and then he lets out a steam of smoke from the corner of his mouth.
"You can't smoke in here," I say a little sterner. He'll set off the smoke alarm and everything! "You'll get in trouble."
"No, I won't," he says with a scoff and then he sends a smirking look to Malfoy before putting a hand in his pocket and flicking his ashes onto the marble floor.
I look around for Del because I know she'd throw a fit if she saw someone smoking in the building. "Just give me your ticket, alright?" I say, narrowing my eyes at Malfoy as he tilts his head to the side.
"What do you think?" he asks as he reaches into his pocket to take out the ticket.
"What do I think about what?" I snap.
"I'm not speaking to you," he says and then his head turns to his friend as I make a face. He was looking right at me when he said that, and now he's looking at Zabini expectantly, like he was waiting for an answer.
Zabini lays his golden eyes on me and runs his thumb across his perfectly sculpted lips. Then he glances at Draco. "Yes," he all he says with a curt head nod.
Malfoy slides the ticket across the table and I take it quickly. I have no idea what they're talking about. The hairs on the back of my neck are standing on end and I can feel them both staring at me as I walk back towards the lockers.
"Definitely yes," I hear Zabini's posh voice add and my ears start burning as I unlock the locker to pull out the rackets.
"Here," I say as I drop the rackets onto the counter top without bothering with being careful. They make a loud clattering sound. "Have a good day."
"It doesn't sound like you mean that," Draco says as he takes the rackets and hands one to his stupid illegally smoking friend. He puts his under his arms and smirks at me. "You don't want me to have a good day, Ginny?"
My name sounds like nails on a chalk board when he says it. "Don't say that," I mumble, sounding much more pathetic and shy than I would have liked.
"Don't say what?" he asks as he leans on the counter with his elbows on the top, getting closer and focusing all of his bloody attention right on me.
"My name," I answer. I swallow that odd lump in my throat and flick a glance at his handsome friend who is watching our exchange with an unreadable expression on his face as he inhales another drag from his cancer causing cigarette. "I don't like the way you say it," I say, trying to sound a bit more firmer as I look back at him.
His eyes fall down to my lips, and I wet them nervously before he finds my eyes again. "What should I call you then?"
I think of my brother and all of the terrible fights he had gotten in with the boy standing in from of me and I find my eyes narrowing again. "Weasley," I answer flatly.
That smirk vanishes quite quickly. In fact, all emotion looks wiped from his face as he stands up and looks down at me with unreadable eyes. He looks different now… colder and closer to the Draco that I know and avoid at all costs.
"It doesn't suit you," he says before making a head motion towards Zabini and walking off.
Zabini doesn't move right away, he just looks at me and when I find it in me to glare at him, he smiles and taps his fingers against the counter before following his friend, smoke trailing behind him.
When they leave, I cross my arms.
What was that all about?
More of his friends started showing up after that.
Greg Goyle and Theo Knott stopped by my counter to have me hold onto their wallets. I have no idea why, none of the men give me their wallets to watch because they just kept them in their pockets, but I had the feeling they just came to look at me, which made me insanely uneasy. When I handed him his ticket, Knott smirked and looked at my chest, blatantly checking out my breasts and I crossed my arms before he smiled and winked, walking off without a word. Every night I would go home and vent my frustrations out on Hermione right before we went to bed and she would listen with a cocked eyebrow as I told her about how freaking weird Draco Malfoy was being and about his stupid guy friends who would come around and try to talk to me.
"Maybe he likes you," she said one night after me complaining and we looked at each other for a long time before busting out laughing.
I rarely saw Hermione during the day, she was always with Harry and my brother, locked away in his room, doing god knows what. So I was grateful for the late night chats in my bedroom.
Malfoy would never like someone like me, we both knew that, I just couldn't figure out what his game was.
I started to become really uncomfortable when the girls started to show up. I knew Pansy Parkison was a bitch, anyone who heard her talk could tell you that, so when she showed up with her little sister and Daphne Greengrass to turn in sunglasses I was nervous. I was beginning to feel like a side show freak because they all just stared at me with critical eyes as I helped them. When I handed Pansy her ticket, she smiled a serpentine smile and her dark eyes twinkled.
What. The. Fuck.
She came back alone the next day, in a yellow bathing suit and flip flops. She didn't have anything with her so I gave her an odd look as she stepped up to my counter and put her elbows on top.
"May I help you?" I asked as she looked down at her nails. She was really tan, hours of being out in the sun had done that to her and she had blonde highlights in her chestnut hair.
"Yeah, you're name's Ginny, right?" she says and I nodded my head. Great. "Ginny Weasley?"
"That's right," I said uncomfortably. Another older man came up and I smiled at him. "I'll be with you one minute, Sir."
"Take all the time you need, red," the gross old man says and I nod my head before turning back to Pansy.
"So? Is there anything you want me to check for you?" I ask and she shakes her head.
"You can help him. I just wanted to talk to you for a moment."
"What can I do for you, Mr. Mills?"
He winks at me as he hands me his briefcase. He came straight from work I guess and he smiles at I take it away from him. "You know how I love watching you walk away," he says one of his perverted comments.
"Hey," I hear Pansy snap and I look over my shoulder as she glares at Mr. Mills. "Don't speak to her that way. Have a little respect would you?"
That surprises me and I look at Mr. Millls face as he glares at Pansy. What was that all about? I hand him his ticket and he leaves with a sneer on his face. I watch him walk off. Mumbling stuff about ungrateful brats and when he's gone, I turn to Pansy.
"Thank you," I tell her seriously. "You didn't have to do that… He always says stuff like that. It's harmless."
"He's gross," she says with a scowl on her face before turning back to me. "Anyways, do you know who I am?"
"Yeah?" I say uncomfortably. What is it with all of these people?
She smiles at me. I want to cringe. "Do you like Sylvia Winters?" she asks and I blink for a moment.
"Winters… the writer," she says as she nods to my back pack laying against the wall behind me. "I think I see one of her books peaking out there. Which one is that?"
"Oh," I say as I walk over to the bag and stuff the book further inside to hide it. "It's just Bobbi on the Boardwalk." I answer quickly, zipping up the back pack. "I've already read it a couple times."
"I love that one," she says and I eye her suspiciously. "My favorite is Wake, though."
"Me too," I say and she smiles.
"Contrary to popular belief," she says as she picks at her fingernails. "I quite enjoy reading."
"Oh," I say as I walk back towards her, eyeing her like she would pull out her wand at any moment.
"I love your hair," she says when I get close enough and she takes a strand and twirls it between her fingers. I cough uncomfortably and pull away until she drops it. "Is this your natural color?"
"Yes," I answer. Is she going to say something bad? I know all the insults thrown at my brother because of his weasley red hair.
"It's beautiful," she says as she eyes me. "I like it."
"Thanks…." I trail off, not knowing what else to say.
"So, do you think it was right that Bobbi left at the end," she says and I blink a few times in confusion before she nods to my backpack. "You know, he decides to leave."
"Oh," I say again. "No, I don't think he should have left. Everyone was in danger anyways, it wasn't like him leaving was going to help anyone."
"Not into the self sacrificing hero, are you?" she asks and I roll my eyes at the story we're talking about.
"Not when it turns out to be pointless."
"I agree. It's bloody annoying really. It's just setting up the next book though. After Wake, Winter's totally went mainstream with her writing." she says and I laugh a little because I agree with her… I actually agree and I can't believe she described something negatively as 'main stream' because she just screams main stream media to me. She eyes me again. "I've seen you at Yellow Springs," she says and I find myself chewing on my lower lip. "Does your family have a house there as well?"
My cheeks burn. "No, I actually live nearby. We go there sometimes…. Just because."
"It is a beautiful little village," she says as she leans against the counter with her chin in her hand. "They're trying desperately to turn it into a little beach town even though the only attraction is a big fucking lake." I find the corners of my mouth tilt up in an almost there smile. "It looks so tacky now. I bet people will stop going. Did you see the jugglers that were on the boardwalk when you were there?"
I nod my head. "I did." I laugh a little at the memory. "One of the guys was throwing around those big stick looking things," I explain as I do a hand motion to tell my story. "He threw it up in the air and when it came back down it landed right on his head." I bring my hand up to cover my mouth as she laughs. "I thought I was going to die laughing even though I felt a bit bad about it."
"What did he do when it hit him?" She asks with her dark eyes twinkling and I hesitate a second to make sure she's not laughing at me before continuing.
"He looked around to see if anyone saw it and then he started juggling again like nothing had happened. Poor guy."
"That is funny," she says and then she sighs loudly as she looks at the clock hanging on the opposite wall. "I better go. I told my sister I'd meet her by the pool half an hour ago and she can be a real cunt when she's angry."
I snort at her language and she smirks as she leans across my counter. "I'm staying with my father this weekend. He has a house on the lake at Yellow Springs," she says and I lift my brows. "You should come over tonight. It could be fun."
Right. "Why?" I manage to ask. I can't help but get the image of me showing up to something humiliating out of my head.
"Because I like you," she says with a short nod of her head. She grabs a comment card from the desk and a pen. "I'm always looking for new and interesting people to hang out with," she says as she writes something down on the paper. "And why should we limit ourselves and our experiences right?" she says as she slides the paper to me, with her eyes twinkling.
"Right," I say as I take the paper. I glance down. It's an address and ward code.
"Be careful with that… Daddy would have a fit if he knew his password was just floating around."
"Okay," I say as I fold it up. "I won't lose it or anything."
"You definitely should come, Ginny. You'll have a good time."
"Maybe," I say with a shrug, even though I know there is no way in hell I'm going to this girl's house.
"See you there," she says as she blows me a kiss and starts walking off.
"Weird," I mutter to myself before going to my bag and stuffing the paper in the front pocket.
Nadia shows up an hour later and I sigh in relief, barely even saying good bye as I pack up my stuff and start to walk away from the check out station. I bring my hand up to my face and I start biting my fingernails as I furrow my brows and think about that odd conversation with Pansy. What's she playing at anyways? Does she really want to be my friend or is she planning something humiliating.
If I have to second guess her intentions, I really don't think I need to think on it much more, really.
As I'm walking down the hallway to the back entrance, I hear an odd thumping noise and I pause with my head tilted to the side. When I hear it again, followed by an odd moaning noise, I'm convinced someone is hurt so I search for the noise and end up in front of one of the maintenance closets. I take a step towards it and bite the corner of my lip as I bring my knuckles towards the door to knock.
"Are you okay in there?" I ask cautiously as I rap against the wood. The movement and noises on the inside suddenly stop. "Are you hurt?" I ask softly with concern. "I'm going to open the door now." I lick my lips and touch the doorknob.
Before I can turn the handle, the door swings open and the surprise makes me fall back. I'm still wearing the stupid heels, and they make me trip, landing on my bottom as two people walk out.
No one was hurt.
"I'm sorry!" I squeak as Malfoy and Cho Chang readjust their clothing. I'm so stupid.
"You say that a lot," Draco says gruffly as he buckles his belt as Cho blushes crimson. He steps out into the hallway with Chang behind him, looking bashful. "I doubt you mean it."
"You're not going to tell anyone, are you?" Cho asks as she tries to right her hair. I don't even bother getting up as my mouth hangs open like an idiot.
I glance at Draco and he raises his eyebrow… for some reason that makes me blush crimson and I snap my mouth shut. His eyes travel between my legs and I realize my legs are parted at my knees and he has a pretty good view of my knickers. I blush an even darker shade of red as I snap my legs shut.
"My father would kill me if he knew what I was doing. Draco, give her some money," she whispers that last part with her head turn towards Malfoy but I heard it and I narrowed my eyes.
My surprise is gone and anger courses through me at her comment. "I don't need your money," I bite out. "Don't worry, Chang. I'm not going to tell anyone what you were doing in a maintenance closet with Malfoy of all people," I say hatefully and her cheeks turn hot as she nods her head.
"Thanks." She just said thanks to me. I don't think she caught onto my derisive tone. I glare at her as she turns to Malfoy and squeezes his arm. "I should go. I'll see you later."
He nods at her and watches her walk down the hallway. When he turns back to me I find my mouth curling back in a scowl. "You're disgusting," I tell him with a sneer and he lifts an eyebrow as he takes a step towards me.
"You think I'm disgusting?" he says. He takes another step and I back up until I hit the wall. What is he doing? "Hm, is that what you think?"
"Yes, in fact, that is what I think," I tell him as he gets so close that the edge of his shoes are right up against mine. I can feel his breath on my face and I look at his throat. "Step back," I tell him and I try to make an escape by sliding away from the right, but he puts his arm out to stop me. "Go away," I say seriously. I just want to go home.
"Do you really want me to go away?" I give him an odd look as he looks down at me with dark eyes. The way he said that… the tone of his voice… oh my god is he hitting on me? I widen my eyes and he smirks. He steps even closer and his hips align with mine. Something tumbles around in my stomach at the contact and I try to shake it off. "You won't always think that way. I promise you that."
He steps back and I sigh in relief because I can breathe normally again. "Whore," I mutter and he laughs.
"What did you just call me?" he asks with a laugh still in his voice.
"You heard me," I say as I straighten out my dress just so I have something to do with my hands.
He laughs again as he walks off and I slump against the wall. Things were going so much better before he showed up for the summer.
"Hermione?"I walk further down the hallway with my bare feet cold against the wood floors. "Hermione, where are you?" I need to tell someone about finding Draco with Cho Chang at work and Hermione is always the best listener. I go to my brother's room and put my ear against the door. "Hermione, are you in there?"
I frown and walk towards my room again. She's not in there either and she wasn't anywhere down stairs.
I'm used to the three of them going off and being by themselves, but I just really wanted to talk to her!
"Mom!" I call as I poke my head out of my bed room.
"Yes?" She calls from somewhere downstairs.
"Do you know where Hermione is?"
"I don't know, sweetheart!" she yells back and I frown. "Did you check your room?"
"I'm in my room," I mutter as I shut my door and then stare at her bags.
Where did they go? With a sigh I walk over to my window and open it up so I can get some fresh air. I sit on the ledge and stare at the overcast sky for a while before something catches my attention out of the corner of my eyes. It's Harry, Hermione, and Ron. I see them walking back from the garden and they stop, with their heads bent together, discussing something. I nearly wave and call out to them, but they look so serious.
I want to know what they're talking about.
I go to my vanity and dig into one of my drawers, moving around nail polish bottles and hair clips before finding the flesh colored string Fred had given me as a birthday present two years ago. I'm sick of their secrets anyways. It's not fair. I can handle things too, you know.
I go back over to the window lower half of the expendable ear out of it, watching it roll along the grass to the nearest humans, that being my brother and his two friends. When I'm sure I won't get caught, I put the other end up to my ear so I can listen to their conversation.
"Next week…." I hear Harry say in a fuzzy voice. I pull the string out of my ear and blow some dust off of it. It has been in my drawer for a while and I put it back against my ear. "I can't stay here any longer knowing what's going on out there."
"Harry," The sound is much clearer now and I smirk at my own cleverness as Hermione's voice comes into focus. "He's in hiding now. Things are going smoothly. If we wait until we're back at Hogwarts I'm sure…"
"We're leaving next week," he says finally. "We'll be back before school starts."
"Can't I at least tell my Mom?" Ron interjects, sounding less than thrilled with this. Where are they going to go anyways? "You know she'll go mental when she wakes up and finds us all gone."
"No one can know where we're going. You can leave a note or something saying we'll be back, but that's it. We can only trust ourselves." Harry sometimes gets this very dominate leader voice and I can't help but find that appealing. "We're not talking about this anymore. Like I said, if all goes well we'll be back before school starts."
"What about Ginny?" Hermione asks and I feel my ears perk up at being mentioned. "We're just leaving her too? It's going to be hard sneaking out of her room in the middle of the night."
"Find a way," Harry snaps and I make a face.
"It's going to hurt her feelings… you know her birthday is soon…"
"Hermione, she can't go with us. She needs to get her own friends," my brother sighs and I furrow my brows again. Where are they going and why can't I go with them? "You know how annoying she can get."
"Yeah," Hermione agrees with a sigh.
Yeah! Did she just agree with him! My fist clenches.
"We can only trust ourselves," Harry says as he makes a motion with his hand, signaling the three of them. "No one else… not even Ginny. She's not a part of this."
I yank the string back until it curls up the window again and I glare at it, not wanting to hear more. I always knew I wasn't 'a part of it' but I didn't need to hear them say it. I slam my window closed and stomp towards my closet, pulling things off the hangers and packing them in a small duffle bag. I need my own friends, Ron is right about that. I go to the bathroom and pack up my toothbrush and makeup before going back to my room to get my shoes.
I hear footsteps in the hallway, but I ignore them as I furiously pack. I grab the back pack I usually bring to work with me and I tug out my notebook and after a deliberating second I also grab that little piece of paper that Pansy Parkinson had given me. It's always good to meet new people and to never limit yourself. Isn't that what she said… something like that?
"Hey, Gin," Hermione says happily from the doorway and I narrow my eyes as I stuff the notebook and paper into my overnight back. "Your Mom said you were looking for me?"
"I was," I answer. "But I'm not anymore so you can go back to Ron and Harry."
"Oh…" she says seriously as I stand up and sling the duffle bag over my shoulder before turning to face her. "You seem upset. Did you want to talk about anything?"
"Nope," I say as I dust out the crinkles of my dress. "I'm going to stay at Luna's tonight."
"Oh?" she says and then she smiles. "How is Luna? I haven't seen her in a while."
"She's fine," I say shortly and she tilts her head to the side.
"Are you guys doing anything in particular tonight?" She asks curiously. I know what she's doing. She wants me to invite her to go as well because I'm her window into all things girl since she hangs out with boys all the time, but I won't. Not this time. "I'm so tired of hanging out with guys," she says with a laugh.
"I think we're going to go to a party," I say as I think of Pansy Parkinson. I'm not exactly sure if what she invited me over for was a party, but I wanted to make Hermione jealous.
"A party?" she says, sounding almost excited about it. "What kind of party?"
"A fun party," I tell her coolly as I walk towards the door. "You wouldn't like it. It would probably annoy you, really."
She looks hurt for half a second when she realizes I'm not going to ask her to come. "Does your Mother know you're going to a party?" she asks, catching onto my tone.
"No," I say as I pass by her and open my door. "Are you going to tell her? Or is that loyalty only saved for Harry and Ron?"
"I won't tell on you," she states bitterly and I give her a bitter smile before leaving her there. I actually feel really guilty for the way I just treated her, but I felt like she deserved it… they deserve it.
I inhale deeply and hop down the steps two at a time before passing the den where my father is reading the paper in his favorite chair. "Bye Dad!" I wave at him as I walk over to the fire place, happy that it's him who I'll get to talk to this time around. My mother is a monster when it comes to this kind of stuff.
"Bye…" he says dismissively and then he blinks at me as I grab a handful of floo powder. "Uh, where are you going?"
"I'm staying the night at Luna's," I tell him with a smile.
He surveys me for a second before nodding his head. "Right. Well, have a good time, little one."
I smirk before disappearing into the flames, arriving in Luna's living room as she carefully finishes up a puzzle she's been working on all year.
"Ginny?" she asks in an airy voice as she stands up with her brows furrowed together. "What are you doing here?"
"Is your Dad here?" I ask as I look around the room, dusting soot from my clothes.
She shakes her head. "He's always gone on Thursday nights. Why?" She eyes my duffle bag. "Are you staying the night?"
I nod my head. "I was thinking we could go somewhere different tonight." I tell her as I put my bag on the table and I pull out Pansy's piece of paper. "Do you want to come with me?" I ask and she smiles.
"I do love new things," she says and I smirk at her before we both run up stairs to get ready.
I love new things too I've decided.