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Chapter 7~ Haunted 

Your chances of getting hit by lightning go up if you stand under a tree, shake your fist at the sky and say "Storms suck!"

~Johnny Carson 

~

I spent a grand total of thirty seven hours at my parents' house before wedding plans called me away. And I was ecstatic.

Michael had abandoned me and spent the beginning of the holiday with Emmett and his family. Saundra had her three best friends over and they were all driving me mad.

I thanked the heavens that Rosaire and her friends weren't nearly as annoying as these four. They prattled on and on about Hogwarts as if the sun rose and set on it. Gossiping and swapping the latest scandals. Feeding off every 'he said, she said' story they could think of. It was ridiculous.

I made myself scarce during this time, determined not to become their next subject of gossip 'The crow that came back a Swan'.
And then, that morning at breakfast- as I read letters from Henri, Tre, Leah and Jocelyn- they finally got to the inevitable topic (among these four, at least) of boys.

"...Did you hear who broke up?" My sister's friend, Janice Smith asked with the glint of a scandal in her dull brown eyes.

"Who? The other three asked eagerly.

I couldn't resist an eye roll at this point. I was only half listening but what I'd caught so far was incredibly shallow. The worst part was that not even half of it surprised me coming from this group.

"Livie Dashwood and-"
"Nuh-uh!" Julia Perks gasped.

"No!" Tina Broklehurst exclaimed.

"Well obviously." Saundra scoffed. "James Potter never sticks with one girl for more than a month. He's way too good for Livie Dashwood, as it is." She wrinkled her nose at the name.

I tensed. James Potter. Ugh.

It seemed that, no matter how hard I tried I couldn't escape that wretched name. Ever since I'd blown him off at King's Cross it was like the bloody prat had decided to haunt me. 

In January, articles had come out in the French papers declaring that the Potters had attended a New Years Eve Party in France (thrown by Jocelyn's grandparents no less, while Lynnie spent the evening with our gang at Andre's). Two pictures had been plastered on every copy in the country. One of Harry Potter and his wife, embracing Lynnie's grandparent's warmly. And the other of Lynnie's cousins, Victoire, Dominique and Louis; Victoire's boyfriend, Teddy; Lynnie's two older brothers, Edouard and Antoine; Albus Potter standing next to a pretty redhead girl. Who had an arm around none other than James Potter himself. 

Lynnie had sent Edouard and Antoine very long howlers in very rapid and annoyed French. And rambled on- about not being there to take a crowbar to James Potter's manhood- for a month 

In Febuary, my issue of TeenWitch had almost an entire issue (the one with the top ten hottest young wizards in Europe) devoted to the Potter boys. Going on and on about what great catches they were and what they were worth. And nauseatingly praising them for all their talents. 

Last month, I'd sat through that tramatic dress fitting while Madame LeFarge and my beloved headmistress went on and on about what charming children Harry Potter had. And my little cousin squealed in excitement at the thought of meeting them. 

And now, I sat at my own kitchen table listening to my sister talk about getting him to ask her to the next Hogsmeade trip. Someone up there was having a very sick laugh at my expense and I didn't like it. Not one bit. 

"...now that he's ditched Livie and all." 

Julia laughed, "If anyone could keep that boy's interest it's you." She encouraged. 

My stomach rolled, as a traumatic image of my sister in a stunning wedding gown, marrying James Potter flashed in my head. I had to leave before I heaved all of my breakfast on them. 

That would not be a story I'd want traveling back to Hogwarts with them. 

Once I was outside in the fresh air I tried to shake off the nausea that my sister's latest ambition had produced. It was shockingly difficult. Mainly because, I was certain she'd succeed. 

And the idea of James Potter coming to meet my family next Christmas or visiting us at Grandmere's chateu in France this summer, was beyond horrifying. I could see him turning on the Potter charm for all of my mother's relatives, giving Grandmere her favorite flowers, discussing Quidditch with Grandpere and playing sardines with Gabby and the rest of the little ones. It was my worst nightmare realized. Having James Potter invade my sanctuary. 

And I might actually have to act civil to the git! Ugh! 
No that'll never happen. I shook my head. 

Even when he became Saundra's boy toy I knew I'd never manage to be nice to him. I'd insult him as much as possible, loathing him even more because he was after my baby sister's virginity. 

My only hope was that Saundra got bored with him quickly and ditched the worthless git. But it was a very small hope and not likely at all. 

I shuddered to think how my friends were going to react. 

Lynnie turned seventeen in a month and then she wouldn't need a crowbar to cause damage to his pretty face (and/or other valued appendages). And Adam had already had his seventeenth birthday in Febuary- not that he really needed a wand or a crowbar to do a whole lot of damage anyway but still. 

Just as I got a vision of Adam cracking his knuckles menacingly over a cowering and blood soaked Potter brat, Gwenog landed on my shoulder with a letter in her beak. She'd gone off to hunt and brought back a letter. It was just like her, always dutiful. 

I took it, smirk still pirouetting at the corners of my lips from my lovely day dream, and said, "Thanks, Gwen. Treats upstairs." With that she flew off in the general direction of my bedroom window as I ripped the letter open. 

It was from Grandmere. The last fitting was today and I was needed.
 
I was going home again. Yipee!
***

"And Edouard actually said that? He actually called James Potter a decent bloke?" 

I groaned. Would it never end?! 

"Yeah. I think he's been hit by one too many stupifying spells if you ask me though. Occupational hazard." Lynnie replied. This was her excuse for everything her Auror brother did that she thought was ridiculous. 

"And what's Antoine's excuse?" Leah laughed. 

"Too many bludgers to the head." Bee smirked. 

Antione was the Seeker for the Quiberon Quafflepunchers. And he was an excellent seeker at that. He'd graduated Beauxbatons last year but had been the Quafflepunchers' Seeker for three years already. Getting excellent tickets to games was never a problem over the summer. 

"I vote for a subject change please!" I interjected, crossly, as a jumpy little assistant pinned the back of my bodice. 

I hadn't even told them about the nauseating conversation my sister and her posse had that morning and yet he'd still come up! I decided to wait it out and pray for a miracle. Hoping to high heaven that Saundra wouldn't follow through with it. That she'd reconsider, come to her senses. Realize that no self-respecting girl would date James Potter and she could do much better. 

They both grimaced at me sympathetically. 

"Sorry, Allie." Bee said and then she did as I'd asked and changed the subject. "So, guess what Grandmere told me this morning?" 

"What?" all three of us asked her. 

She grinned, "We get to bring dates." 

"Is that all?" Leah scoffed, "I already had one." 

Brigitte grabbed one of the flouncy feminine pillows next to her on the small sofa and chucked it in Leah's direction. 

"Ha. You missed," Leah teased juvenily, sticking her tongue out like a bratty five year old. 

"Told you," Jocelyn shook her head as she caught the pillow, "you should've let me teach you how to aim." 

Brigitte sighed heavily. "You of all people should be excited about this, Lynn." 

Jocelyn's forehead creased in confusion. "What? Why?" 

The three of us grinned wickedly at our oblivious best friend. She'd walked right into it.
 
"Because now you've finally got a reason to ask Andre out." I answered, shrewdly. 

"WHAT?!" 

*** 

The next day was the dinner rehearsal. 

Where we were told how not to trip over our expensive dresses in our feet-murdering heels and given an array of things to eat. 

Tante Olympe had bought us new outfits for the occasion the day before. She said wanted us to look fabulous. And we did. 

Leah had a lovely blue dress that flowed around her knees like it was on water. Brigitte had a green mini with a square neck that drew a scadalous amount of attention to her delicate collarbone. Airy had gone for a breezy pink dress that complimented her petite figure. Then we'd forced Jocelyn to go for a white halter that hugged her perfectly. And I'd gone for a simple red spaghettis strapped dress with a slightly teasing V-neck. 

We looked like angels. Obviously. 

It was exactly what my Grandmere, Headmistress and their best friend, my Tante Colette wanted. You could tell by the glittering in all three sets of eyes. They saw themselves in us. 

In their day, they'd been the beloved quartet of Beauxbatons. Theirs' was eerily similar to ours too. 

Tante Colette and Grandmere were the cousins of the group, they looked almost as identical as Brigitte and I. Only they were both enchanting blondes like Saundra, with those gorgeous green eyes and perfect figures. 

Then Madame Maxime was like Leah, the exotic raven haired beauty. Her size made her even more interesting and her beauty stunned even when she wore a look of annoyance. 

The completion was, Corrine Lovett. She'd been the tomboy like Lynnie. And, like me, a half blood with two heritages. Her mother was French and her father was English. After Beauxbatons she'd become an Auror. And then, one night, she and her husband, Thomas and their daughter, Rachel were murdered by You-Know-Who. 

I knew that was one of the reasons that Grandmere and my Tantes were so thrilled with our little group. They loved to see themselves as they were once. Before the war ripped one from the rest, before the silver hair began invading their temples, before they got stretch marks from babies and wrinkles from laughing too much. 

They loved their glorious past. 

"Remind me why we're doing this again?" Jocelyn muttered, tugging at her dress uncomfortably. She looked amazing, her blonde hair tied back in a curly ponytail, her greenish-blue eyes flecked with amber under the mascara we forced her to wear. 

"For the food." Leah grinned. She was too excited to see my brother to care about much else. She was practically skipping and the floating fabric of her dress just enhanced the lightness in the air around her. 

"For Tante Olympe." I corrected, shooting a reproving look at both of them. I flipped the braid I'd wound my hair in, over my shoulder. 

"Well," Brigitte grinned. "I'm in it for the dress." 

"Bee!" I laughed. 

She just grinned and skipped ahead of us. 

"Allie!"  a voice exclaimed.

"Gabby, marchez! Ne courez pas! Gabby!" 

She didn't listen to Rosaire's order. She ran head long, right into my arms. 

"Hiya baby!" I greeted her, "J'aime votre robe! Votre grande soeur vous a-t-elle aidés à le choisir ?" "Oui. Mais je l'ai trouvé. Supposition que ?" 

"Que ?" 

And then she started babbling in French about school and her friends. She even told me about a book she read, all by herself. By the time she stopped to take a breath we were joining Grandmere and Tante O where they sat with a group and sitting next to them was a dreadfully familiar woman. 

Lavender Finnigan. 

Oh no.
No, no and no. This could not be happening. There was no way that Mrs. Finnigan was the wedding planner. 

"Angelique!"  Tante O squealed. She pulled me closer with a long white finger and gave me the standard peck on each cheek. "Oh! Brigitte and Leah! And Lynnie, too! How are you, darlings?! 

"Good." we answered together. 

"Are these the Angels?" Mrs. Finnigan asked. 

My stomach drops. Stop it. She won't recognize you. You're being paranoid. A stern voice chastised. She didn't recognize you at the station, she won't here in France either. 
"Yes." Grandmere answers, "These are our Angels. Et nos Anges Mini-aussi." she squeezes one of Gabby's cheeks and pats Airy's head. 

"Very nice to meet you." Mrs. Finnigan smiled. 

No recognition flickered in her eyes. Not that I really expected it too. I was eternally thankful Grandmere hadn't indroduced us individually. I didn't want Mrs. Finnigan to remember the awkward little sister of Michael who was in Patrick's year. "Well let's get started then." 

*** 

"Mmm," Jocelyn sighed as she took a bite of roast. 

"I know." Leah agreed. 

"It's excellent." Brigitte commented. 

"Delicious." I groaned. 

The four of us sat at the end of a long table. Seated all around it were Hogwarts teachers, Harry Potter and his wife and several other highly esteemed members of the wizarding world. 

But none of us were star struck. It didn't matter that half of these people had had their pictures on the cover of magazines and had books written about them. We were too busy paying attention to the lucious array of edible masterpieces around us. None of us had eaten since breakfast. 

A few minutes later, I finished. Almost immediately I was pounced on by my cousin Nanette. The frazzled first time mother of newborn baby, Elise. "Allie, tiendrez-vous le bébé pendant que je reçois une plaque ?" 
"Évidemment!" I took the tiny baby from her and cradled her gently. 

Lynnie rolled her eyes and sighed as a grin crept onto her lips. "Alexa, ever the maternal one." 

We laughed. 

"I like babies!" 

"We know." They said in unison, followed shortly by more laughter. 

"You've got to be the most motherly sixteen year old on the planet." Brigitte laughed. 

I smiled, allowing this as I rocked little Elise. "Vous êtes si adorables et petits, je ne sais pas comment quelqu'un ne pourrait pas dire à la possession de vous!"  I cooed at my newest cousin, not even a month old yet. And then to my friends I said, "You have to admit, she is one gorgeous baby girl." 

"She's absolutely precious." 

My head whipped around to see a beautiful redhead standing next to me. Her glittering chocolate eyes were set tenderly on the tiny person sleeping soudly in my arms. 

Mrs. Ginevra Weasley-Potter

I froze. Not happeningNuh-uh. No no no no no! I was dreaming! A nightmare! I had not been this unfortunate for three years!

I swear that someone up there was out to get me. Loathed me so much that they took insane pleasure in toturing me with old ghosts. There I was with the cutest baby on the planet lying contentedly in my arms and the mother of the person I hated and over all, feared, the most had to come up and ruin the happy moment. Of all people! It had to be her! 

"What's her name?" 

Brigitte, Jocelyn and Leah watched with wide eyes. They knew who this woman was too and they were almost as shocked as I was at my terrible luck recently. They were all three torn between sympathy and amusement. The latter was winning. 

"Elise. She's my little cousin." I added, to make things clear. I'd had people ask if I was Gabby's mother before and I hated it. 

"She's just adorable." 

"She is." I agreed. 

"Sorry, " Mrs. Potter laughed lightly, " 'Fraid I've forgotten my manners. I do have some you know. My name's Ginny. Ginny Potter." She stuck out her hand in a very friendly way. I could tell that Ginny Potter was one of those adults that could easily relate to teenagers. She had an air about her the radiated ease and welcome. Had she been anyone else I would've loved the new aquaintance. But, as she was James Potter II's mother, my stomach rolled queasily. 

"Allie." I hesitated then took her hand and shook it. Just because her son was a complete idiot didn't mean she was. I didn't dare utter my last name though, it would be like signing my own death warrent. "And that's my cousin Brigitte and our best friends, Jocelyn and Leah." 

"Are you the Angels Madame Olympe talks so much about?" 

All four of us grinned, blushing furiously as we always did when someone from the outside called us by our Beauxbatons name. 

"The very same." I told her. 

"Well it's just lovely to meet you." She laughed. 

"You as well!" Lynnie chimed in. "We're fans." 

Ginny Potter, back when she'd been Ginny Weasley, had been captain of the Hollyhead Harpies. And any captain of the Harpies was a heroine to Jocelyn. We laughed, knowing this. With her hunger taken care of, she'd finally gotten star struck. Oh Joy.

"Really? You like Quidditch?" 

We all nodded. 

"Well we'll have to have a chat some time. I'll show you some of my old moves and we can have tea afterwards, yeah?" 

"Yeah, sounds great!" Lynnie agreed enthusiastically. The rest of us shot warning looks at her. There was no way I was stepping one foot near the Potter's house. Nuh-uh. No way. 
"Oi, Gin!" A familiar redhead man called her over. 

"Guess I'd better go see what my brother wants. It was nice meeting you girls though. Remember, tea. Anytime, girls. Cheers!" And with that she floated gracefully away. 

I breathed a sigh of relief and sadness. Why did his mum have to be so incredibly nice? 
"Bizarre, eh?" Bee said as we watched her go. 

"Yeah." I answered faintly, "Bizarre." 

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