I groaned as I felt someone shake me. Stretching my arms out I took the moment to enjoy the silence until the chatterbox of my five year old daughter began. I rubbed my eyes and sat up. My daughter was sitting next to me on my bed, staring at me, waiting for me to get up and make breakfast. An idea formed in my head and I quickly grabbed her by her sides and laid her down on my bed and began to tickle her relentlessly until she threatened to pee on my bed, then I stopped not wanting to have to change my sheets today.
“Mummy, what’s for breakfast?” her soft voice questioned me.
“Well, what would you like?” I asked her back.
“Pancakes,” was Audrey’s excited reply as she jumped off my bed and ran out the door and into our kitchen.
It wasn’t much of a shock that she had picked pancakes, it was one of her favorite for breakfast and I was sure if I let her pick out dinner she would want it then as well. I stumbled out of bed, not much of a morning person, and made my way into the kitchen before she made a mess in her excitement. Audrey always loved helping me make our meals and the messes weren’t usually so big that I had to do a lot of cleaning after.
The two of us managed to make pancakes with only a minimal amount of mess everywhere which was rather impressive considering the mini flour fight we had. I had faired the worst in the fight, there was flour all over my pajamas and Audrey even managed to get some in my hair. Where as Audrey only had a little bit in her hair and on her face. It was moments like these that really brought out our mother-daughter relationship. I still disciplined her when needed but when it wasn’t I tried to be as fun and present in her life as I could be.
Being a single parent wasn’t easy though. I was never sure if I was doing things right. Was I disciplining her too much? Not enough? Did I spend enough time with her and give her the love that she needs? I was thankful though that my parents helped me out as much as they did. Every weekday night and some weekend days or nights when I have to work they take her in for the evening until I get off of work when I go and pick her up from their place. We are a pretty close knit family and they weren’t too happy when they found out that I was going to be nineteen and pregnant, though now that little girl was their whole world. They were great parents and I hope that I’m as good to Audrey as they were to me.
“We will have to get ready this morning since you are going to your Grandma and Grandpa’s tonight while I go to work. Would you like to take a bath by yourself or shower with me?” I asked Audrey as she finished off her second pancake which probably had as much syrup as there was pancake.
“Bath,” she decided after thinking it over for a minute.
“Alright, I’ll go get it ready for you.” I then stood up from my spot at our table and walked into our bathroom which was a few feet away and began to fill the tub with warm water.
I walked out of the bathroom and went over to Audrey’s bedroom where she was busy trying to figure out what she wanted to wear for today. Usually I would let her pick out her outfit and if I deemed it not appropriate for the weather or what we were doing I would pick out a different outfit for her to wear. She would only whine for a moment about not being able to wear a dress which was what she almost always picked out to wear. Today however, she had picked out jean shorts and a pink tee-shirt that had a cupcake on it. I doubt she would have picked these out if it hadn’t been for our conversation last night about going to the park to play today before I have to go to work.
I picked up her clothes and grabbed a pair of underwear and socks from her top drawer which she still couldn’t see into and bought them with us to the bathroom. Quickly, I shut off the water before it got too high- above her belly button- and Audrey began to strip out of her night gown, which was all that she liked to wear, then stepped into the bath tub as she held onto my arm for support. I soaped her up so that she was all clean and then left the bathroom, leaving the door open, so that she could play while I cleaned up the little mess in the kitchen.
We lived in a rather small apartment, but it was big enough for the two of us. Two bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen and a living room was really all that we needed and about all I could afford on my own- I refused any financial help from my parents. I wanted to do this on my own and we were doing fine without their help, though I always appreciated the small things they did for me such as watch Audrey while I went to work.
It didn’t take long for me to clean up the mess in the kitchen so I sat down in the living room and enjoyed the calm moment with a book. After twenty minutes of playing in the bath it was time for Audrey to get out and me to get ready for the day. I turned on the TV to her favorite show then went and dried her off and dressed her in the cloths she picked out. Quickly, I brushed her hair straight so she wouldn’t have tangles and sent her out to watch her show.
I took a relatively short shower, five or ten minutes, and stepped out. As I dried myself off I remembered that I had forgotten my cloths in my room and wrapped my towel tightly around myself and ventured out into the entry way and slipped into my bedroom. I slipped on a pair of jean shorts and a purple flowered tank-top, almost tripping myself as I pulled my shorts on. I bent down to the floor where I had dropped my towel and picked it up and began to rub it against my head to dry my hair a little bit so it wasn’t dripping every where. Turning out of my bedroom and back in the entryway I saw Audrey sitting directly in front of the TV.
“Audrey, back up from the TV please,” I called out to her. She scooted back just a little bit and continued to stare at the screen. “A little bit farther,” I said moving over to the bathroom to finish getting ready.
She turned her head to look at me, and then got up and moved back away from the TV. I kept the bathroom door open so I could see her while I blow dried my hair since it would be almost impossible to hear her while the monstrosity of a dryer was going. It didn’t take me very long to get ready; I wasn’t really big into makeup and only put on eyeliner, mascara, and eye shadow daily, and on some occasions I put on lip gloss.
When I was finally ready Audrey and I made our way to the park a few blocks down the road from where we lived. It was one of the great things about living where we did- a park not far away and we were close to my parents’ house, where I had grown up. The park hadn’t changed much since I was a kid. There were a couple of slides, ranging in height, bumps, and turns, five swings, one of which was a baby swing, monkey bars, and a little rock climbing area to get up to a slide, which was new from when I played here.
I sat at my usual bench that allowed me to survey most of the park while Audrey ran off to swing her blonde hair flowing behind her. She loved the swings, and they were usually the first thing she went to though sometimes it was a slide first then swing. It was a peaceful afternoon and there were very few people besides myself and Audrey at the park today. Most were probably behind the curtains of their living room with their fans blowing and staying out of the heat even though it wasn’t that warm. I happened to enjoy the weather and Audrey didn’t much care if it was raining, or even if it was too hot outside to think, she just enjoyed being outside.
“Mummy, can you push me,” Audrey yelled across the park.
I got up from my spot on the bench and made my way over to her. When I got behind her I began to lightly push against her back. She giggled and screeched “Higher mummy, higher!” Audrey was an easy going child and found joy in almost anything but it was a wonder to me how the swings did not hurt her hips the way they did mine. I realized that I had much more for the swing to squeeze against but they still folded in half and appeared to squeeze against hers though she could sit on the swings for hours on end if I let her. Soon, I tired of pushing her on the swings and suggested doing an obstacle course. At first she looked at me a little confused but when she figured out what I was suggesting a huge grin formed on her face and she began planning out the course that she would run.
It was a rather complicated course, at least I thought so, but she seemed excited to try it out. First it was up the stairs, through a tunnel, up to the high slide, slide down it, run across the park to the monkey bars- of which she was only to go up on the landing and jump down the to ground. Then it was over to the rock climbing wall, climb up the lower wall, down the slide at the top, and then rush over to the swing she had previously been sitting in and swing once on her belly.
“I’m ready, say go mum, say go!” she shouted excitedly looking up at me standing next to her at the starting mark.
“Alright, ready, set, GO,” I shouted and she took off giggling the whole way as I began counting. “One, two, three, four.”
Audrey was already starting her way up the stairs to get into the tunnel at that point. By the time that I reached ten she was just getting off of the first slide and began to make her way over to the monkey bars. I could see the determination in her eyes as she ran past me and hopped up on the landing for the monkey bars and hopped back down. She was a rather competitive child and I felt that she would probably be on the quidditch team during her years at Hogwarts. Audrey ran full speed straight at the swing and finished off the obstacle course at 43 seconds.
“Did you see that mum! Did you see that?” She yelled excitedly, her eyes huge.
“Yes I did sweety. You were awesome!” I told her holding out my hand for her to give me a high five.
She smacked my hand and then began twirling around doing a sort of victory dance I guessed. Then she took off for the slides yelling “can’t catch me” as she ran away. I chuckled but followed her at a slow jog allowing myself to catch up only slightly but still keeping her ahead of me. She quickly ran up the stairs and through the tunnel, taunting me on the other side as I slowly made my way into the tunnel. Audrey screamed as she saw me make progress towards and took off up the last few stairs to get into the slide. Climbing through the tunnel was harder then I remembered and the last time I had attempted to make my way through the tunnel was only a month ago.
“Ha. I won,” she said looking up at me from the ground as I began to make my way up to the slide.
“Oh, good,” I sighed and sat down on the step.
“Mum! The race isn’t done until you cross the finish line,” she yelled up to me.
Slowly, I stood up and squeezed my way into the tight space that is the entrance to the slide, put my legs out, and pushed off behind me. When I got to the bottom I swooped up Audrey in my arms and carried her off towards the bench I had earlier sat in. She squirmed around in my arms trying to get loose and I almost dropped her once but I quickly regained my hold on her. I set her down on the bench, only to swoop her back up and swing her around.
We played at the park for a little bit longer until I had to go back and start getting ready for work. My job is nothing exciting; I’m a waitress at relatively new restaurant in Diagon Alley. The restaurant, called The Cauldron, (a rather unexciting name) started right after the Battle at Hogwarts when the war ended and everyone was able to start rebuilding. I was one of the first employees hired there and had a job there for almost a year when I found out that I was pregnant. My manager was very supportive and gave me the time off that I needed in order to have Audrey.
When I was finished getting ready for work I packed Audrey’s duffle bag in case I had to stay late. Then we walked the few blocks to my parents house where she would be watched. I was so thankful for them and the help they gave me as I would have never been able to keep this job, or any job, without them. My parents always took well care of their house and the area surrounding it, making sure that it was mowed and weeded. They also went all out with decorations for holidays, especially Halloween.
I dropped Audrey off and only exchanged a short conversation with my mum, who was the one to open the door, and then headed off to open up the restaurant for the evening. My shift usually started at four in the afternoon and went until eight though sometimes it has gone as late as nine or ten depending on the tables and how long they wanted to sit. Also if anyone asked for me to stay for them I usually would since it wouldn’t hurt me to have the extra money that it would offer.
Appearating was one of my least favorite things to do, I just couldn’t stand that clauterphobic feeling that came over me and the tightness from being transported from one area to another. Now that I found myself to be running slightly behind schedual appearating would be the best way to get to Diagon Alley. I concentrated on the appearating spot inside the Leakey Caldron and suddenly felt the dreaded feeling of tightness over come me. When I got my bearings back, I walked into the room that would allow me access to Diagon Alley and tapped the appropriate bricks on the wall. A doorway appeared in front of me along with a bustling street. I could tell what kind of night it was going to be at The Cauldron tonight, busy, very busy.
Sighing, I stepped through and walked briskly to the restaurant hoping that I wouldn’t end up being late. The morning waitress was usually really antsy to leave and always hated it and spoke her mind when I showed up even a minute late, which rarely happened. I made my way through the restaurant and noticed that there were still a few tables eating.
‘Great.’ I thought sarcastically to myself. ‘She is going to be thrilled.’
“Where have you been?” screeched Loretta snapping a piece of gum as she did so.
“I’m here now Loretta, and your tables are almost done anyways. They all have their food and most of them are done and are probably just waiting for their checks from you.” I spoke as I quickly signed myself in so I wouldn’t be any more then two minutes late.
She scoffed at me and made her way out to her tables putting on a fake smile for them. Loretta and I never really got along and I wasn’t sure what exactly I did that made her dislike me so much. She is a tall blonde waitress who was the very definition of a dumb blonde. There was just this air about her saying that she is so much better then everyone else even though she really isn’t.
I started doing my afternoon chores around the restaurant making sure everything was stocked and ready for the dinner rush. About twenty minutes into my shift I finally got my first table for the evening and went out and greeted them. They were a nice older couple who still looked so much in love after being together for many years. They were also one of my many regulars.
“I’ll be right out with your drinks,” I told them and walked back into the kitchen to get their usual of a butterbeer.
Letting the familiarity of the place set into me, I only half payed attention to what I was doing which was a big mistake with Loretta still being there as I ended up walking right into her.
“I’m so sorry,” I said as I tried to skirt around her to get the couples drinks.
“You should really watch where your going,” she said snottily to me as she went and punched out.
I was so thankful that she was leaving for the night that I didn’t realize until after I had come back in from bringing the drinks out that she hadn’t finished up her chores which meant that I had to do them. Before starting on her chores I rang in the couples food which would only take a few minutes to prepare since it was just sandwiches. Pulling a rag out of the sani bucket, I set to work wiping off all of the counter space. By the time I was finished with that the food was up. I placed the two plates on a small tray and carried it out to the table. Before leaving their table, I grabbed the lady’s empty glass and brought it in back to get her another one. She always went through two butterbeers, no matter what type of day it was.
They left shortly after and I found myself to be bored, no other tables had come in yet even though it was really busy outside. By the time I had gotten my second table, two more waitresses had clocked in as well. That was when the rush started. Soon our sections were full and the three of us were thankful when the last two waitresses signed in. It was a busy night, but I had predicted that from how busy the streets in Diagon Alley were. Just as it started slowing down around 7:30 the closing waitress, one of my good friends, approached me and I knew exactly where this conversation was going to go.
“Hey, Tracey, I was wondering if you would be willing to close for me tonight? I know you’ve been here since four but my boyfriend really wants to take me out tonight and I told him I would see what I could do. You don’t have to though, I completely understand if you wont,” She began, until I cut her off.
“Of course I will, Lexi. What are friends for? Just make sure to do the chores and we’re good, alright.” I told her.
“Oh, thank you Tracey. Thank you so much. I really owe you one,” she squealed and threw her arms around me.
Lexi and I had started here at the same time and we became fast friends. She was well liked by everyone and was always willing to help you out when needed. Lexi has been dating Max a cute, brown haired guy that’s a couple inches shorter then six feet tall. They are really cute together and have been dating for about two years now, I was expecting Max to pop the question any week now and was hoping that tonight would be the night.
Looking out into the restaurant I noticed that a few of my tables had left. I walked over to my tables and began clearing off the mess that had been left behind, half eaten food- some of it on the floor, napkins, and dirty dishes. I had to take a few trips in order to get it all in back to get cleaned and was just going back out from my last trip in to start cleaning my tables when I was once again approached, though this time it was the hostess.
“We have an eight-top up front. No children, and I think they are all business men so they might be here a while,” she told me as we began setting up the table.
“Alright,” I sighed, “just give me one moment to clean the table and get it set and then you can bring them back.”
I had just finished setting up the table when the hostess, Jane, walked up with the eight men following her. Lexi owes me big time, I thought and plastered on a smile for them. I began my usual speech- my name, our specials, and if I could start anyone off with a drink, when I heard my name being called out.
“Tracey, Tracey Davis?” one of the eight men questioned me.
“Uh, yeah, that would be me,” I looked up confused only to catch eyes with a former classmate, Theodore Nott.
We looked at each other for a moment longer until one of the other guys sitting at the table cleared their throat. My cheeks reddened and quickly got back to work taking their orders though I still couldn’t get over the fact that Theodore Nott was here! We never really hung out during Hogwarts so it was a major shock that he actually knew my last name. Both of us though were sort of loners in the Slytherin House, neither of us conformed to Malfoy’s or Parkinson’s ideas about Muggleborns. Then again my mum is a Muggle so I never saw any reason to be against them or those who received magical power without having either parent as a witch or wizard.
The rest of the night went smoothly though I kept catching Theodore staring at me, and it was a little unnerving at first. He made sure to stay behind at the table while everyone else left for the evening. I slowly approached the table unsure of what was going on.
“Tracey, how have you been?” he began as he stood up from his spot watching me clean their table.
“What’s with the small talk, Theodore?” I questioned him.
“Come now, call me Theo,” he drawled.
“Alright, Theo, what’s with the small talk,” I said once again, since he didn’t provide anything else but his name.
“Fine, I will skip the small talk and go straight to it. What are you doing tomorrow afternoon for lunch?” He asked with a devilish grin on his face.
“I don’t know,” I responded, “I’ll probably be having peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with my daughter, then go to the park. Why?”
“How would you like to join me for lunch tomorrow say around one at the small café, just down the street from my office?”
“I don’t know,” I said skeptically, “ I wouldn’t have anyone to watch Audrey at that time.”
“Bring her with.”
“Really, it wouldn’t bother you?” I questioned not sure what his motives are.
“Not at all,” he quipped back.
I stood there for a moment just staring at him trying to figure out what his angle is. He stared back not seeming to be bothered at all by it as he waited for my answer. Honestly, I couldn’t think of anything bad that would happen by going to meet him for lunch, I mean it is just lunch it’s not like he asked me on a date or anything. I nodded my head slightly and he grinned broadly at me.
“Yeah, we’ll meet you for lunch tomorrow.” I finally said my arms crossed over my chest.
“Alright see you tomorrow then,” he responded as he strolled out of the restaurant.
I can’t believe I said yes. It was all surreal for me that I finished the rest of the shift off in a bit of a daze, cleaning tables and taking their orders in a more robotic way then usual for me. My eyes grew wide as I began to think about tomorrow. What was I going to wear? Heck, what was I going to say? I had never really been much of a talkative person and I really didn’t know much about Theo besides that he had been in my year and, like me, a Slytherin. ‘Tomorrow is going to be great,’ I thought sarcastically to myself as I exited the restaurant.
AN: This was the story I wrote during NaNoWriMo and I had a lot of fun writing it so I really hope you enjoyed the first chapter! Please leave a review and let me know what you liked or didn't like, even a simple liked it will make my day!