First dates are never a comfortable experience. You spend about 40 percent of the time worried that you looked stupid and the other 60 percent of the time worried that you will sound stupid. Blind dates are even worse, because you don't have anything to fall back on. You don't have that funny incident at work you don't have that shared hobby or just general background knowledge of the person. You have nothing, but your faith in the person that set you up and as I sat at the table in a crowded restaurant I started rethinking that choice. Kelly was great at a lot of things, but I just wasn't quite sure if match making was one of them.
I was fifteen minutes early and I was beginning to really regret that. At first I came to just finish up on some paper work instead of pacing in my flat. But a page thru I stopped and looked around at the couples around me and felt lower than low. Here I am about to go on my fourth date with a stranger and I'm not even the least bit excited. This guy isn't going to like me. He's going to hear what I do for a living and think; "Well she certainly doesn't have the time to shag me often." And then he's going to say that he will owl me when we both know he has no intention of doing so.
And you want to know what's the worst part? Not the date, because you feel grateful that at least they didn't just get one look at you and leave, but the people around you. All of their so-called sympathetic glances. Their reassuring hugs. They all say, "Oh honey don't worry someday it will be you." When you both know that there's a very good possibility that you could fall in the category of people that love doesn't happen to. The comments get even sharper if you've had the audacity of being in love before, because then they say, 'Well you've had you're chance.' And clearly you've blown it.
That's when you realize that you are seen as pathetic for being single. Like not only have you failed in the relationships you've had but also that you are failing as a human being for not being loved unconditionally by another person. After you've been single for more than a year you begin to get over it. As I'm reaching for year three I'm something of an expert in this area.
Twenty minutes into my date I made some mental notes about my date. He's 25, successful, good head of hair and has a pet iguana named Iggy. All in all it wasn't a bad date, but I seemed to sense he wasn't enjoying the date too much. Sure I wasn't busting with joy either, but at the same time I didn't go out of my way to check out other people in the restaurant when our conversations grew dry. When it ended he kissed me promptly on the cheek and swore to owl me even though we both knew the gesture was meaningless. It really was a waste of my one night off.
Walking into my apartment, I sighed went to the fridge and grabbed a water bottle.
"What are you doing back so soon?" Lauren, my best friend for over a decade and roommate for the past three years asked. "Nother dud?"
I shrugged cradling the water into my chest. "It was alright…I'm more annoyed that Kelly keeps doing this. I get it. She wants me to have a date for her wedding, but come on it's not going to happen this way."
"Did he try to feel you up like the last one?"
"No… but he seemed to find the look of other ladies dresses seemed to fill out better." I scoffed leaning over my kitchen counter. "It wasn't like he had a lot to look forward to…at least he thought I wasn't looking when he looked. That's new."
Frowning Lauren offered me a smile. "Well maybe Kelly will lighten up. I think she just doesn't want you to feel weird."
"I will feel fine. I honestly don't care that I'm the maid of honor and I have no date." I replied being at least half truthful.
Lauren shrugged. "Well why don't you get some sleep? You're going to be stressed enough tomorrow with your letter."
"You're right." I nodded and drifted off into my bedroom. "Night."
I took off my blouse and skirt, which I had just bought last week, and pulled on my pajamas. My bed was covered in blankets despite the fact that we were about to head into May. My whole existence felt tired. Tomorrow I find out the fate of my whole life, and I wasn't exactly anxious to know. What if they rejected me? What if I was forced into a life of endless paperwork? That was more than enough to make me consider switching professions entirely just to avoid being demoted to a secretary.
Softly some music played from the living room. Lauren must have a proposal due tomorrow or something. I fell asleep whistling the tone of the song.
I jumped half a foot in the air with my wand out stretched as I starred wildly for the intruder. For ten hours, I had been soundlessly asleep in my bedroom. My flat had been quiet the whole day so I was beyond annoyed when I found my little brother Hugo was the one who was bothering me.
"Hugo what are you doing?" I snapped, opening one eye to see him standing above me with a bunch of envelopes.
He stepped over the threshold of my bed carelessly, and handed me a letter. "Lauren told me to wake you when the mail arrived."
Without thinking about the sleep I was missing or why my brother was in my flat in the first place, I jumped for one particular envelope in Hugo's hands. I ripped it open and read it as quickly as possible. In my hands held the prognosis of all my hard work and if it turned out it was all for nothing I was determined to stay glued to this very bed for the rest of my life.
"Well? Did you?" Hugo rolled on the balls of his feet in excitement. "Did you get it?"
I grinned, the expression felt foreign on my face. "Yeah…I did."
He rushed over to me, scooped me up and spun me as we both started shouting in excitement. "YOU DID IT!"
From the other room, Lauren stormed in lividly. Her bright blonde hair was askew and her eyes were narrowed in hollow rage. "Why are you two screaming?"
"I got it! I'm a fully fledged Auror!" I told her, unable to contain my enthusiasm.
She inhaled sharply as she tried to process what I was saying. Strutting forward, she stretched her long legs and then took the letter from me; halfway through a broad smirk crossed her lips. "Well done Weasley."
"I know! Ahhhh!"
Hugo gave me a quick hug, his face beaming with pride. "I'm going to go tell mum."
"Wait…Let's wait on that." I told him, my face falling slightly as my stomach clamped up and my body deflated.
"Why?..." He took a minute but then his face filled with comprehension. Hugo, put his hands on my shoulders reassuringly as his voice lowered an octave. "…She'd be happy for you Rose."
I frowned. "Yeah, but why don't we just wait? I know she will be, but don't we wait till I'm settled into my job."
"I can't do it to her yet. I know dad's been gone for four years now, but you know she never understood why I would want to join the department after that."
"Okay," Hugo kissed my forehead after some hesitation, "I'll see you later okay? I'm proud of you though."
As my brother left I sank back into my bed. Lauren came over in her scarlet robe and sat next to me with a thoughtful expression.
She yawned. "Rose, you know you're about to be 24, I think your mom will understand."
"I know, but I just want to ease her into it."
"She had to know this was going to happen." Lauren reasoned as she adjusted her sheep pajama shorts under her robe. "I mean you've been training for four years, and doing field work for a year on top of that. It's not like this will be a big shock."
I sighed, she was right, but I still couldn't bare the look on my mother's face. She had fought so hard to stay strong through the whole ordeal. I didn't want to trudge up those old memories for her. To be perfectly honest I never thought they would qualify me for field duty in the first place. I always thought they'd find a way to bench me, by making me a filing officer or a case supervisor. I never in a million years thought they'd take me seriously. And now a ball of guilt was building in my stomach. How could I possibly bring this up?
'Hey mum. I know dad was murdered and you still have nightmares over it, but I'm going to have the exact same job as he did and there's a slim, but very real possibility that I could die the exact same way he did. But don't worry, I've got it covered.'
Somehow that didn't roll off my tongue like it should.
"I know. I just want to wait."
"Alright, I'm going to go back to sleep." She paused in the doorway, "Congrats though."
As she shut the door, I cuddled my pillow and closed my eyes. Six years ago life was so much easier. I'd just graduated Hogwarts and I saw my life fitted before me. I thought everything was going to work out perfectly if I just believed and worked for it hard enough. But as I lost my boyfriend, my father, my job, my place to live and my sense of self in one month, I learned one simple fact. As you get older life doesn't get easier. It actually really starts to suck.