They say that times flies when you’re having fun, and for Katie that couldn’t have been truer. A few days short from dating a year, her relation with Marcus was going stronger than ever. Especially now that her mother had relented and allowed her to stay overnight at his flat on the weekends, meaning that they rarely ventured out bed on those days. That wasn’t all, of course. They’d made plans to go on holiday to Crete together next month and maybe a mini-holiday to Paris, the city of lurve. And last weekend, after too much wine, they had shyly spoken about how they saw the future, with each other.
Life was good. Life was exciting.
And it would be even better if she didn’t have to share an office space with the Wicked Witch of The East and her sister, Wicked Witch of The West. Or in other words, the women she had to call her colleagues. They were nice enough, in the great aunt who deliberately pinched your cheeks a little too hard and told you got fat kind of way. The ladies had shown her the ropes in the first few weeks, and they helped her out whenever she needed help, so she couldn’t complain about that. But at the same time, those mean hags had the tendency to put their large noses in places they shouldn’t.
Like they were doing now.
“I can’t believe someone would willingly date a Quidditch player,” Ramona Weatherspoon twittered as she perused the Prophet’s gossip pages. “They’re all pigs, aren’t they?”
Katie pressed her lips together and clutched her quill harder, she wouldn’t bite, not today.
“Yeah, most of them are,” Susan Theaks answered eagerly. She always agreed with the rubbish that came out Ramona’s mouth. “I hear they’re preying on the young girls, they do, because they can’t handle a real woman. Like us.”
Katie rolled her eyes, and bit her tongue to keep herself from lashing out. Ever since they’d figured out that Skeeter had meant her in her article last year, those two had done their best to make her believe that she was a delicate flower that was being taken advantage of by the big bad warlock. Although she tried her best, she couldn’t help but giggle at the mental image of Marcus being a maid-snatching warlock. Maybe, he could pretend to be one this weekend, with her starring as the helpless maid being taken-
“Something funny, Katie?” Ramona interrupted her budding fantasy.
“I wasn’t laughing,” she muttered and ducked her head further until her nose nearly touched her parchment. “Had something in my throat.”
“Sure, you did.” Ramona wrinkled her nose in disappointment when it became clear that Katie wasn’t going to play along. So, she tried a different tactic. “Say, aren’t you dating a Quidditch player. I forget his name. Fickle, Flitter, what was it again?”
Sighing deeply, Katie lifted her eyes from her parchment. “Flint, his name is Marcus Flint. You remembered well enough this morning.”
“That’s what I said.” Ramona waved her in dismissal. “So, it’s serious between the two of you?”
Cut to deleted scene 2. Grace tries to figure out what's happening between Katie and Marcus. The reason I didn't use this scene is because the backstory I have in my mind for Grace and Rabastan Lestrange is too dark to fit in the fluffy fic 'A Lifetime' is, and it showed. So, in the following scene a glimpse into the can of worms that was Grace and Rabastan. Hopefully, it'll (vaguely) explain why Grace tends to overreact when it comes to Katie and Marcus.
"Katie?" Grace softly knocked on the door, an empty gesture since no-one would be able to hear it over the mind-numbing music her daughter had been playing on repeat for days on end.
She pushed the door open, and as she expected, Katie was lying on the bed, dressed in the same pyjamas as she had worn for the last three days. Her hair was a greasy rat's nest on top of her head, flopping up and down with each movement. She was hugging her pillow close as she bellowed along with the singer, tears streaming down her cheeks.
Katie still wore the same the pink flannel pyjamas she had put on three days ago, and she and her whole room smelled the part too.
"Sweetheart?" Grace tried again as she gingerly sat down on the edge of the bed, wondering when the last time was Katie had changed the sheets.
Katie, who didn't seem to be perturbed by lying in filthy sheets, stopped her singing for a second, glaring at her mother with puffy red eyes. "What d'you want?" she snapped hoarsely but didn't give her mother a chance to answer. "Lea'me alone. Lea'me alone with my misery."
It took Grace a lot of restraint not to scoff and roll her eyes at her daughter's dramatics. "Honey, can we talk a bit?"
"No! There's nothing left to say," Katie cried as she threw her arm over her eyes. "It's all over, my life is over."
Well, that wouldn't do. Since blasting the CD-player into smithereens would probably cause another wizarding war, Grace decided that maybe muting the noise would be more helpful. So, she did just that with the simple swish of her hand.
"Muh-hum!" Katie whined when the volume decreased and rolled onto her other side to grab her wand to undo the damage her mother had caused.
"Love, no," Grace kindly said as she grabbed Katie's wrist. "Talk to me first. You can listen to your music after."
Katie's scowled darkly, her lips curled up in derision as she yanked her arm free. Despite her obstinate behaviour, however, she didn't try to use her wand. Grace reckoned that she ought to take her chance.
"Did you and Marcus break up?" she asked. Seeing the tears brim in Katie's eyes was the answer she needed. "Oh, honey, I'm so, so sorry. Do you want-"
Grace bit her tongue to stop herself from probing further when Katie started sniffling, vehemently shaking her head.
"S'okay, love. I know it doesn't feel like it now, but you'll get over it with time." Grimacing, Grace stroked Katie's greasy hair in a feeble attempt at consolation. Of course, the obstinate girl just rolled her eyes and turned her head. Grace refused to let it deter her and kept on going.
"Have I ever told you about my first boyfriend?" she began wistfully.
"Yes, and I don't wanna hear more of it," Katie snapped.
Not that Grace listened to her wishes. She had that distant look on her face as she immersed herself in the memories.
"Rabastan Lestrange was the dreamiest boy I ever met. Tall, muscular, with dark curls and the bluest eyes I'd ever seen. That boy was a sin on legs, a true knicker-dropper."
Katie's retching was lost on Grace as she continued.
"Can you imagine when he asked me out on a date? Fifteen and an as green as grass Muggleborn. Good God, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I mean, I still remember what I wore that day and how he tasted like Butterbeer when he kissed me after walking me back to the Gryffindor common room from Hogsmeade. We dated all throughout Hogwarts and for three years after. He was my first everything, and I really thought I was going to marry him."
"Mum, stop it," Katie warned, her Marcus-induced misery forgotten for a minute.
Grace clutched her chest, sighing deeply and she lost herself in the memories and forgot that Katie was in the room with her. Funny how after all these years, only the good remained on the foreground and none of Rab's controlling behaviour or the fights that tended to last for days, or the name-calling, and certainly not the years of subtle humiliation she had only caught onto after he dumped her for being a 'Mudblood'.
In the meanwhile, Katie, who was done listening to her mother, grabbed her wand and lifted the Muting Charm her mother had put on the CD-player.
The deafening sound of the world's most terrible heartbreak-song roughly pulled Grace from her musings, making her nearly topple off the bed. "Hey, I wasn't done yet," she said indignantly, her words almost lost in the cat-in-heat screeching that was supposed to pass for singing.
"I don't care," Katie cried, tears flowing freely again. "How can you compare your flings to my Marcus and our epic love," she added another good layer of dramatics. "Lea'me alone, you don't understand."
"Katie," Grace began warily, upset that Katie had referred to Rabastan as a fling. He'd been anything but, those had come after him. She wanted to explain that she was getting to the point, but wasn't given a chance.
"Get out," Katie bellowed, pointing at the door.
Giving up on reasoning with her, Grace did as she was ordered. And as the door slammed shut behind her and the music was cranked up to waking-the-dead proportions, she wondered how bad the situation really was between Katie and Marcus.
As she descended the stairs to update John on the situation, Grace could only hope that Katie had not gone through the same shite she had with Rab.
“And?” John asked eagerly as soon as Grace set foot in the room.
“Apparently, I can’t possibly understand what she’s going through. You know, since she’s the only person in the world to know what heartbreak is.” Grace couldn’t help but chuckle as she shook her head. “Silly girl.”
“You wanted to tell her about Lestrange, didn’t you?” John narrowed his eyes, doing his best to form a scowl. “You know, if I were the jealous kind…”
“If you were the jealous kind, you wouldn’t have stayed with that tart, or got engaged to her while she was shagging most of your friends,” Grace shot back, not so subtly hinting at John’s former fiancée, Edith Yaxley.
“Ouch, witch, you had to bring that up,” John said with a sour laugh. “It wasn’t all her fault. I wasn’t that innocent either, I made sure I kept up with her.”
“Yeah, I know." Grace scoffed, biting down what she really wanted to say. "You should’ve told me that you two were still together. Before you took me home that night.”
John shrugged, unbothered about the irrelevant details. “I broke up with her the next day, didn’t I? Besides you wouldn’t have gone home with me if I’d told you.”
Grace rolled her eyes and hid her face behind her mug to hide her smile. “You could’ve broken up with her first and asked me out after. It would’ve been the proper thing to do.”
John shifted chairs and snuggled closer to his wife, nuzzling the nape of her neck. “Yeah, but if I had waited a day, we wouldn’t have had our Micky.”
FYI- These are the last scenes I've typed out. There are some titbits here and there but it's not worth posting. The rest of the double chapters are written in pen and paper and I'm not sure when or if I'll ever digitalise them. Having said that, if there's is a first you'd like to read, let me know and I'll see what I can do. :)