You know the best thing about kids?
Why you ask?
They poop, they burp, they throw up all over your new very expensive shoes but they’ll look up all you with those big, adorable eyes and smile their little baby smile and it’s all fine, because it’s cute.
… Of course then you remember about the sick stains on your new satin pumps and you feel like throwing them across the room all over again. But the eyes grant a reprieve, if only for a little while.
However their eyes are also the only thing Ilike about children. What else is there to like? They’re sticky, they’re smelly, and they’re absolutely terrible at grammar… how could any of that be seen as a good thing.
Although I guess you don’t tend to find many parents hopeful for a two year old author. Which is good I guess because the book would most likely only been comprised of the odd piece of gobbledy goop like: “Cookie!”
What about the bloody Cookie?
Do you want to eat one? Kiss one? Throw one across the room? What?
I hate kids.
… But I’d just like to clarify I’ve never stolen candy from one… well… just once and it was a dare courtesy of Rose. She has a cruel sense of humour that one, proven by the fact that at this very moment she is laughing.
…because my (adopted) baby sister just threw up all over my new satin pumps.
Yeah… go figure. And the bloody bint is enjoying it.
Oh merlin it’s looking up!
…and I’m a goner, a sap, I’ve fallen for it hook line and sinker. She just smiled her little baby smile and I fell from the height of anger that I’d reached with no small amount of effort.
Wait a minute…
Brilliant, my anger is back and now Rose is holding the devil child in a protective hold as I attempt to retrain myself.
The universe is back in balance and it feels fantastic.
Of course then Belle threw up on Rose’s new dress and the process repeated.
“What do you think you’re wearing?”
It’s actually quite worrying when the Minister Of Magic cares more for her daughter’s career than the country. Extremely worrying actually, but quite flattering for said daughter.
I gave Rose a look that clearly said: I’m 16 and a model and she doesn’t think I can dress myself.
Well not that clearly…but…
I’ll have her know that I was voted best dressed by Witch Weekly readers in 2020!
I rolled my eyes. “Clothes mum.”
The personification of wit: that’s me.
She scoffed. “Barely. You can’t wear that to meet Grayson!”
“It’s a pair of jeans mum.” I whined. “It’s not like I’m wearing a pumpkin costume!”
…don’t ask me where that came from.
Her cheeks tinged red. “Exactly! Just a pair of jeans. That isn’t nearly formal enough! Go change.” She ordered.
I raised an eyebrow. “No. He’s my fake boyfriend; I’ll wear what I want.” I argued childishly.
She glowered at the offending outfit.
It truly wasn’t formal enough. I was merely wearing my stylishly cut jeans with a white floaty top but we were just going out on our ‘first date’. It’s not like we were getting married or anything.
I told her this.
Her eyes narrowed further in retribution.
“You’re meeting the saviour of your career and you’re wearing jeans?!” She screeched.
Bit dramatic there mum.
I scoffed. “Saviour of my career? If he gets to wear a knight costume I get to wear Jeans.”
A slight pause, then-
“ROSE WEASLEY GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE NOW I HAVE TO TALK TO MY DAUGHTER!”
Mum doesn’t like having the ‘competition’ present during our talks or as she calls them ‘team meetings’.
Once Rose left the room, Belle still firmly pressed against her hip my mother continued.
“Grayson is French Robin.” She stressed a serious undertone to her voice. “French.”
I groaned. “Mum that’s just a stereo type-“
“French.” She cut me off.
I glared. Hard. I swear I could set fire to paper with the pure heat of it.
“Don’t give me that look Robin.” Mum warned. “I’m only doing what’s best for you.”
I sighed. “Sometimes mum, what’s best for me and what’s best for my career are two different things.”
She waved a hand obnoxiously in the air. “Nonsense, you’ll be thanking me when you’re number one.”
“I highly doubt that-“I broke in, seeking to have some sort of input, but she just interrupted me, again.
“Go change.” She ordered. “Now, or I’ll bring Cathy into this.”
Was that meant to be a threat? Because if it was it wasn’t a very good one.
“You mean the middle aged lady who wears 9 inch heals all day. Wow” I said sarcastically. “I better run fast if I don’t want her to catch me.”
She scowled. “Change. Now.”
I ran up to my room, dragging Rose (and by extension Belle) with me as my mother stewed silently, alone in the kitchen.
I kicked the wardrobe.
Rose broke in, grabbing my wrists and pulling them together in restraint. “If you don’t stop kicking that bloody wardrobe I’ll be forced to confiscate it for its own damn good.” She swore.
I frowned at the offending furniture. “I don’t”
I launched my foot forwards once again although this time my foot just hit air, the shift in weight causing me to propel backwards.
Translation: I landed on my arse.
“Rose.” I whined childishly. “Give me back my wardrobe.”
She shook her head firmly. “You’re not getting that chunk of unnecessary wood back until you calm the heck down.”
I glared at her. If I could just reach my wand without her noticing…
“Don’t even think about reaching for your wand Robin Abbot.”
Oh no…She definitely means business. She even played the full name card.
Notice my sarcasm.
I stuck my tongue out at her.
She raised an eyebrow.
“Sometimes Robin, I think it would be easier if you just did as your mum asked.” She said, rolling her wand between her fingers casually as she held it out of my reach.
I scowled. “Easier? Yes. Better? Hell no.”
She hit me on the arm. “Snap out of it Winter.” I glared at her. “Did I say it would be better?”
I blinked innocently before conceding to fact. “No." I grumbled much to her amusement.
“Then stop taking your anger out on me and your poor wardrobe woman!”
I grinned. She glowered.
“Now get changed like your mother said before she kicks my admittedly gorgeous arse out of this house like last time!” she ordered, pointing towards my dressing room door with her wand.
I seriously considered calling her arse ugly but decided against it- I do enjoy life.
I grimaced, standing and mumbling the words: “So bossy.” beneath my breath, making her laugh as I receded into my dressing room.
“Oh.” She said suddenly in surprise causing me to turn around in alarm, wand in hand. “Here’s your wardrobe by the way.”
After shaking my head to clear it I sneered, my face twisting into an unflattering shape of displeasure as I span back around. But what I didn’t realise is that she’d made it appear right behind me.
I heard a crack as my nose smashed against the wood.
I glowered. “Thanks.” I replied sarcastically. “You know, you’re sending me mixed messages here.”
The offending wardrobe was blocking the only entrance to my dressing room.
She placed a hand on her hip, adopting a ‘no funny business’ stance commonly worn by my mother. “Move it.” She commanded, using her wand to shift the wardrobe to the left slightly. “And take your stupid wardrobe with you.”
Unfortunately when my darling mother (and her side kick ‘the competition’) made me change clothing they forgot one thing:
I was babysitting.
Just think about it for a minute. What have we established that baby’s do best?
Why throw up on new and expensive garments of course! Meaning that changing into a new (very dear) summer dress probably wasn’t the wisest of decisions.
…kind of funny though.
So I had to change… again (much to mine and Rose’s amusement.)
So instead of being dressed in a pretty summer dress as I waited for dear Grayson to arrive I found myself wearing black skinny jeans and a crème coloured floaty top.
Ha! Take that mother!
Rose sat beside me; her hands neatly nestled inside her own jean pockets as Belle played with the ends of her dark red hair in fascination.
Mum wanted to ‘show off’Grayson to ‘the competition’. But what she didn’trealise was that Rose as my best friend and only confident knows perfectly well that the relationship is fake.
Woops. My bad.
But really… its common sense that I’d tell her, she is the only friend I have that’s even close to my age.
Well… I didn’t vote for her as Minister…
The fire sprang to life, the vivid green flames licking the sides of the chimney with unrestrained fervour. I shivered- something about traveling in fire disturbs me, and apparently it does the same to Belle if the large wail that erupted from her is any indication.
Although that might have been due to the whole massive green fire thing…
Just what I need, a crying baby to make a good first impression. What if he thinks… I don’t know… that I stole a lollipop from her or something? Then he’ll think I’m a candy stealer… which as I said earlier only happened once and it was only because Rose dared me!
What if he changed his mind? No one wants to fake date a candy stealer after all. Then I’d end up in second again, which would be like… disastrous and then…
Wait a minute… I don’t even want to fake date the guy.
I crossed one leg over the other as we waited in quiet, the only sound being the occasional sobs from my little sister. Who in reality I probably should have been comforting myself but with our track record it’s probably safest for Rose to take the reins on that one.
I don’t particularly want to change outfits, again.
Belle giggled girlishly as Rose played with her long blond hair.
Yeah… I’ll leave the kid stuff to Rosie. She’s good at it.
My mother entered the room, not a hair out of place that could risk soiling her impeccably pressed suit. Her short greying hair was pulled back into a tight bun at the nape of her neck where her hair line met her collar.
My face twisted into a grimace. “He’s not here yet mum.” I said scornfully, picking lint of my jeans. “No need to rush.”
Her eyes narrowed. “I was rushing to make sure you were acceptably dressed.”
I rolled my eyes in aggravation. “You’ve checked me over 5 times mum; I’ve changed outfits twice, what more do you want?”
She wasn’t pleased with my attitude, that much was obvious but she didn’t grace me with a comment either. Her only response was a withering glare in my direction.
A small smile crawled its way onto my features as I looked away but it was hidden from view behind a curtain of my long dark hair. Rose however saw it anyway and rolled her eyes- she’d always said that the spats with my mother were childish.
The flames crackled in warning and I groaned.
Here we go…
Belle stopped crying instantly, staring at the flames in fascination, her fear apparently gone.
…then out stepped Grayson and you could actually hear Rose’s mouth fall open in shock.
He was absolutely gorgeous. Of course that was to expected as I’d seen him before on various magazine covers and in interviews but to see him in person was to see a Greek God fallen to the earth.
Except… you know… he was wearing more clothing… and he didn’t have any weird weapons or winged horses.
But at least contrary to my mother’s beliefs the knight’s costume was suspiciously absent.
His blue eyes sparkled with mischief, his blond hair was impeccably styled, and I’m sure if you lifted his shirt you’d find a six pack in the making. However you could also see he worked hard to maintain this beauty. He was obviously the sort of guy you’d find gelling his hair for hours on end in the bathroom until it was guaranteed to stay rigid throughout the day, and that, if I’m perfectly honest was off-putting.
Who wants to date someone who puts more care into their appearance than themselves?
Of course the other reason I may not have liked him was that he ran straight over to Belle. That might have had something to do with it… He did after all choose the devil child over me.
“Hello.” He welcomed in heavily accented English, turning around to face my mother, his hand out stretched. “You have a lovely home.”
Damn… he’s a gentleman.
Mum shook his hand firmly, smiling at the compliment. “Thank you Grayson.” She said graciously before continuing. “This is Robin.” She waved a hand in my direction indicating for me to stand, which I did albeit reluctantly.
“Hi.” I said awkwardly, fiddling with the bottom of my shirt as Rose echoed my greeting in the background.
Grayson smiled. “Lovely to meet you.” And in a very classic move he drew towards me, put his hands on my shoulders and kissed both of my cheeks delicately.
It may have been cliché but it still made me blush.
“You too.” I mumbled resulting in a withering glare from my mum.
He noticed. “Not to worry Miss Abbott.” He assured her, playing peacekeeper. “It’s best we be going now anyway, I’m very sorry for arriving behind schedule.”
My mother hastened to disagree, ever the gracious host. “Don’t worry about it Grayson, we weren’t kept waiting for long at all.” She smiled winningly, showing him to the front door, with me trailing behind. “I guess we’ll see you in a few hours?” she estimated.
He nodded. “Most likely. It was lovely to meet you all.” He said, charmingly shaking her hand once more whilst Rose opened the door, Belle by her side.
We stepped outside slowly, me taking up the rear but before we reached the waiting black car Grayson turned, causing me to nearly walk into him. He walked back towards the house, leaving me to stand there awkwardly as he approached Rose and Belle. Rose’s hopeful expression turned sour as he bent down to Belle’s height.
He isn’t going to-
“Bye Belle.” He ruffled her hair causing her to giggle before turning around and starting his walk down the drive. I followed but not before turning around to see Rose extravagantly fanning herself like it was a very hot day, desperately attempt to displace the heat from her cheeks.
And the bad part? I couldn’t help but agree with that assessment.
“Shall we.” Said a deep, inviting voice by my ear as he looped his arm through my elbow.
I swallowed. “We shall.”
The ‘first date’ was fine. If you use the term ‘first date’ loosely- It was more of a mobbing in all honesty.
“Grayson! How did you land her?”
That was obviously a question from a male magazine’s reporter.
“Robin! How does Grayson make you feel?”
And that was obviously from a teenage girl’s magazine. It was too touchy feely to have been from anywhere else… and way too personal.
My honest answer to that last question by the end of the date though?
Lazy, he definitely makes me feel lazy.
…and slightly disturbed.
“What are your hobbies, Robin?” Grayson asked me, his hand holding mine as an act for the cameras.
“Er…” I eloquently responded. “Modelling?”
He chuckled. “Anything else?” He prompted cheekily, making me blush.
Of course that gesture resulted in a whole new whirlwind of camera flashes from the tailing reporters.
I changed the subject quickly to avoid further embarrassment. “You seemed to like Belle.” I stated, casually twirling a chunk of hair around my fingers. “Do you like all kids?”
“Yeah.” he grinned. “Nathan’s brainwashed me.”
I smiled, slightly confused and wondering if I’d misheard due to his thick French accent. “Nathan?”
He nodded- a reminiscent smile on his face. “Yes. My son; Nathan.” He grinned serenly as if lost in his own memories.
I think I just choked on my own spit.
“You… you have a son?”
He nodded again in the affirmative. “I thought you knew.” He waved his hand dismissively. “No matter- It was obviously kept on the down low of course. Can’t have a teen sensation as a teenage father.” He shook his head in disgust. “What would the public think? They’d drop me like a hot potato.”
I’m pretty sure my jaw was skimming the floor as he continued the conversation as if he hadn’t said anything out of the ordinary.
“Anyway, I thought your parents were divorced ages ago. Why do they have such a young kid?”
I shook my head to clear it. “Um… it’s my dad and his partner: Jared‘s. She’s adopted.” I clarified, as I tried to remain calm.
My fake boyfriend has a child.
My fake boyfriend has a young child.
I stopped walking abruptly. “Wait. How did you know about the divorce?” I asked suspiciously. It’s not exactly common knowledge because it happened before she was elected minister. I raised an eyebrow.
He pulled me forwards casually using our linked hands.
“I had my manager run a background check before I agreed to ‘fake date’ you.” He replied casually as if that was a perfectly normal thing to say, lifting his other hand to ruffle his sandy hair.
Let’s get one thing straight. That is not a perfectly normal thing to say.
My mouth dropped open at his response. “You… checked up on me?” I stuttered, astounded.
He sent me an amused-slightly patronising- look. “Of course.” He responded easily, sending me a side long glance as we walked. “Didn’t you check up on me? It’s only the sensible thing to do. I could have been a serial killer or something.”
I floundered for a response, feeling to heat run back into my cheeks. “Of course. “ I lied, hiding my face behind my hair. “Who wouldn’t have?”
A normal person that’s who.
“Exactly.” He grinned. “So I hear you’re being sent to Hogwarts to?”
I nodded slowly, cautiously. “Did you actually hear it, or did you find it out in your ‘back ground check’?”
He laughed. “Your mother told me- Lovely woman by the way, your mother.”
He obviously didn’t realise that I wasn’t joking...
I plastered a fake smile onto my face. “Oh.” I replied and changed the subject.
And so overall by the end of our first date I’d learnt a few vital things about Grayson DePaul:
1) He spent way too much time learning English slang. I mean: hot potato- really?
2) He had impregnated someone- Always a good sign in a potential boyfriend.
And 3) He was an absolute Psycho.