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CHAPTER FOUR

 

 “ASIYA! GET THE FUCK UP RIGHT NOW!”



 

I winced as the lovely tones of Shiraz Jenna Woods screeched through my flat and buried my head in my pillow.

 

“NOW!” She slammed my bedroom door open. I glared up at her.

 

“It’s eight am on a Saturday morning!”

 

“Exactly!” Shiraz whisked my covers off me. “And you have exactly twelve hours before you have to meet Al IN LONDON. Up.”

 

“TWELVE HOURS.”

 

“SEVEN OF WHICH WILL BE SPENT TRAVELLING, FOUR AT THE BEAUTY SALON.”

 

“I AIN’T GOING TO NO BEAUTY SALON!”

 

“DON’T YOU DARE GO ALL ANGRY AMERICAN CHICK ON ME!”

 

“I WILL GO ALL ANGRY AMERICAN CHICK ON YOUR ASS AS MUCH AS I LIKE!”

 

By this point we were both screeching at each other in ‘angry-American-girl-from-the-block’ accents. Just so you know, this is not a typical Saturday morning in my life.

 

Okay, I lied, it totally is.

 

“Asiya, we need to leave, like, NOW.”

 

Ahh, it appears the lovely Remy has joined us.

 

“ROAD TRIP!” Lysander screeched as he cannonballed into my bed.

 

Why is it that my friends seem to have a gathering in my house at eight am in the morning?

 

It was once Damien had too cannonballed into my bed that I was finally bounced out and rather unceremoniously dumped on my arse on the floor.

 

I winced. “Lysander, last time we went on a road trip was the Great Noodle Incident of 2023.”

 

He sat up suddenly. “Oh yeah.” His eyes were wide. “We should totally take noodles for dinner.”

 

“NO!” Everyone currently in the room shouted at the same time. This included Shiraz, Remy, and Damien. Apparently my friends like to band together and perform an all-out ambush on my home. I’m just glad they left Rose behind – it could have turned into a full-scale wizard lightning battle, with explosions and everything. And Kenzie’s hopeless pregnancy clumsiness sure as hell wouldn’t have added to the situation in a positive way, so the wizard lightning battle with explosions and everything probably would have been turned upside down by one of her infamous ‘Spells-Gone-Wrong.’

 

Come to think of it, that would have been pretty awesome.

 

NO. NOPE, THAT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN AWESOME.

 

I DO NOT WANT MY FLAT TURNED INTO AN UPSIDE-DOWN-WIZARD-LIGHTNING-BATTLE-SCENE-WITH-EXPLOSIONS-AND-EVERYTHING.

 

NOT GOOD.

 

Ahem.

 

Now focusing on being normal.

 

Wait, what?

 

Me? Normal?

 

Never mind.

 

“Guys, seriously, my brain does not actually function before my morning coffee.” I mumbled from my position on the floor. “Give me. Now.”

 

“We’ll stop on the way to Kenzie’s place. Get dressed.” Remy demanded, before grabbing the hands of Lysander and Damien as though they were five-year-olds (which they are at heart) and dragging them from the room, dumping Lysander off my bed and onto his butt rather unceremoniously in the process.

 

Shiraz was already rifling through my closet for something she deemed appropriate for a road trip. For her, that would include tight jeans, fashionable tops and various hair accessories.

 

For me, it consisted of trackie bums and a t-shirt.

 

“SHIRAZ! PUT THE MASCARA DOWN!” I screeched as I grabbed my favourite air of grey trackies and a light blue top and slammed the bathroom door behind me.

 

*~*~*~*

 

Remind me never to let Shiraz organise any form of road trip.

 

Ever.

 

She decided that it would be best to take the most roundabout route possible to pick up Kenzie and Rose. By the time we had finally made it to Kenzie’s house, it was already nine o’clock, and Remy was in a total panic.

 

“We are so going to be late. Late. Again. Why are we always late? I blame you completely for this, Asiya. We’re always late for everything.”

 

“Someone put a sock in her mouth.”

 

“EVERYTHING, ASIYA.”

 

“DO IT. NOW.”

 

“EVERYTHING.”

 

“How is this my fault, anyway?”

 

“I didn’t say it was your fault. I said I was going to blame you.”

 

“Fuck you.”

 

“Fuck your face.”

 

“Fuck your ma.”

 

“That’s what she said!”

 

“Shut it, Lysander.”

 

“Fuck your face’s ma.”

 

“That’s what she said!”

 

“Fuck your ma’s face.”

 

“THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!”

 

“Hey, guys!” Kenzie had arrived. I ignored her and continued screaming insults at Remy with a huge grin on my face, while she screeched them back.

 

“YOU ARE THE BANE OF MY EXISTANCE, REMY!”

 

“I HATE YOU, PATIL!”

 

“THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!”

 

“HOW DOES THAT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE CURRENT SITUATION?”

 

“NOTHING!”

 

Kenzie rolled her eyes. “Oh, hey, Kenzie. Nice to see you. How are you?” she muttered quietly to herself as she squeezed into the (magically enhanced) car. “I’m great thanks, you? Oh, I’m just dandy. How’s the baby today? It’s great. Luckily no morning sickness anymore. It kicked last night.”

 

We continued to screech at each other. The car was now moving forward, at least.

 

“AHEM!” Kenzie cleared her throat. “I SAID: THE BABY KICKED LAST NIGHT.”

 

Silence.

 

For all of a nanosecond. Before there were squeals and awkward side-ways hugs and general chaos within the small space that was the car. I was most worried about the fact that Shiraz had turned around to hug Kenzie. And was therefore NO LONGER DRIVING.

 

“Damien! The car!” I screeched, pointing out the fact that we were currently heading directly towards a wall.

 

Damien leaned over Shiraz and grabbed the steering wheel, swerving violently to the right. I think the car did a full 360 there. FUCK.

 

Shiraz slammed the brakes on and we came to a VERY sudden stop. In the middle of the road. Luckily for us, it was a quiet suburban street. I glanced around the car. Damien was still holding the steering wheel. Shiraz was leaning so far back in her seat there was a very high chance she was about to sink into it. Lysander was curled into a whimpering ball on the floor on my right. Kenzie was clutching her stomach and had her eyes tight shut on my left. Remy had managed to end up lying across all three seats in the back, including myself and Kenzie. And I’m fairly certain I must look like the definition of ‘rabbit caught in headlights’.

 

There was silence for a moment, apart from the pathetic whimpers emitting from the sorry excuse for a grown male that was currently residing at my feet.

 

Looking out of the window, I saw that Muggles were starting to look out of their windows, peering through their curtains and opening doors. One man was just standing in the garden staring at the car, holding a hose. In just his boxers.

 

I untangled myself from Remy and opened the car door, leaning as far out as I dared without landing in a heap on the floor.

 

“Nothing to see here people!” I called to the street. “We’re all fine! Thanks for the help!”

 

That was all I managed to get out before toppling out of the car and landing face-first in the gravel. The people in the houses just shook their heads and disappeared slowly back behind their curtains and doors.

 

There was a gentle murmuring between the six of us as my friends scraped me from the pavement, mostly consisting of explicit swear words, apologies and giggles.

 

Once Shiraz had given the car a once-over (everything was fine. A minor bump on the back bumper, but I didn’t let her know that last time I borrowed her car I backed into a phone box) we were back on track and on the road to Rose’s.

 

We rang the doorbell twelve times and Remy practically punched in the door before Rose finally decided that it was an appropriate moment to make an appearance.

 

“What the fuck do you lot want?” She growled at us. She had an iced lolly in one hand and an umbrella in the other, and she was wearing nothing but a dressing gown and a pair of rubber gloves. I do NOT want to know what she was doing.

 

“Crazy little thing called your giant Weasley family reunion?” Remy folded her arm across her chest. Rose froze.

 

“SHIT!” And with that, she slammed the door in our faces and we heard a lot of thumping around for a couple of minutes before she reappeared, fully dressed with a large suitcase and a cat under her arm. She barged past us, ditched the suitcase on the pavement and went to rap on the next door down. “AGATHA! I KNOW YOU’RE IN THERE! I NEED YOU TO LOOK AFTER HERMAN FOR THE WEEKEND. I’LL BE BACK ON MONDAY!” she screeched when nobody answered. She then promptly shoved Herman, her cat, through the letterbox and ran back to the car.

 

We watched all of this in a slight daze. Even for Rose, shoving a cat violently through a letterbox was a bit odd.

 

It was going to be a long journey.

 

*~*~*~*

 

Remind me never to agree to anything like this ever ever ever ever ever ever again.

 

Ever. Did I mention ever? Ever.

 

We were just two hours into the journey, and already the lot of them were doing my head in. I know they’re my best friends and all, but FUCK THEY ARE ANNOYING. Lysander brought noodles anyway, which, as soon as they were exposed, were thrown out various windows and the car was immediately evacuated. I would tell you the story of The Great Noodle Incident of 2023, but it still gives me nightmares and every time I think about it I want to curl up in a ball and cry. In my sock drawer. On my own. For days.

 

So we spent a few minutes on the side of the road, Rose dry heaving, Damien hyperventilating and Shiraz and Remy sharing the beating the shit out of Lysander. Kenzie just lay on the ground with her eyes closed. DO YOU SEE WHAT THE MERE SIGHT OF NOODLES DOES TO US NOW? DO YOU SEE?

 

We had also had four rounds of ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ led by darling Kenzie. She said it was ‘stimulating for the baby’ or something. She also made us stop for tacos. Which I am not complaining about, by the way. Tacos are the bomb. Especially when they’re from a random ginger Glaswegian guy on the side of the motorway, sporting a sombrero, a poncho and some very flattering pink leather trousers.

 

Note the sarcasm about the leather trousers. The tacos were damn fine, though.

 

“How much longer?” I groaned as Lysander asked for the fourth time in twenty minutes.

 

“Four. Hours.” Shiraz said through gritted teeth, her hands gripping the steering wheel so hard her knuckles turned white. I guess the noodles got us all on edge a little bit.

 

“Okay.” Lysander said quietly. We were sitting in silence, most people glaring out of the windows. You see, this is why you should never take a road trip with seven people. It will only end in arguments and tears. Mostly mine.

 

“The wheels on the bus g-”

 

“SHUT UP.”

 

I was finally saved from the awkwardness when my phone buzzed. Yes, I have a phone. It’s a thousand times quicker than owls (plus I don’t have to deal with them. Owls freak the hell out of me.) and they provide release from situations such as these.

 

“Hello?” I said when I finally fished it out of my pocket.

 

“Asiya.” I grinned at the voice humming down the line.

 

“Mamraj.” I smiled. Mamraj is my brother, older than me by two years. I have four siblings in total. Sadhika is my oldest sister, she’s twenty-four, six years my senior. Then Mamraj, at twenty, followed by me, eighteen, then Ramani at sixteen, and finally Vatsal, my youngest brother at twelve. “How are you?”

 

“I’m fine. Where the fuck are you?”

 

“Nice to speak to you too. I’m in a car, why?” I rolled my eyes.

 

“Mama wants to know if you’re coming tonight.”

 



 

“What’s happening tonight?”

 

“It’s the eighth of November?”

 

“… Shit.”

 

“Damn right.”

 

Our family has our little ‘family meal’ on the eighth of every month, which is mandatory unless you want to be skinned alive by my mother. Which I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. But if that’s your thing then go ahead, be my guest. Enjoy. Anyway, I TOTALLY forgot I had this on tonight.

 

“Raj, something really important has come up and I can’t get out of it.” I gazed at my friends for help.

 

“What is it?”

 

“It’s a… Work thing.” Technically, it is.

 

“And what are you actually doing?”

 

“Pretending to be my arch enemy’s girlfriend for his family.”

 

What? Don’t look at me like that! I can’t lie to Mamraj.

 

“…Why?”

 

“Because I’m a pushover.”

 

“Of course.”

 

“I’m sorry. Tell mum I really want to be there, but this is extremely important. This could be what gets me that pay rise!”

 

“Okay, okay. I’ll tell her when I get there. I’m just about to leave.”

 

“Could you buy her some flowers and tell her they’re from me?” I said in my sweet, candy-floss voice.

 

“No.”

 

“Mamraj!”

 

“FINE! I’ll see you soon, yeah? Write me sometime.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“Promise.”

 

“Promise! Love you, Raj.”

 

“Love you too. Now bugger off.”

 

Ah, brotherly affections. They can’t say anything sentimental without adding some form of insult on the end. He’s not as bad as Vatsal, though. He’s just plain rude.

 

“You forgot, didn’t you?” Remy asked knowingly, smirking.

 

I glared at her. “You didn’t remind me.”

 

The smirk dropped off her face.

 

~A/N~

So... Uh, hi.

PLEASE DON'T HURT ME.

Please! I have a valid excuse! Basically, I haven't updated in ages due to a few major reasons:

-> I went home for both the October and Christmas holidays, which meant that I didn't get to write much. I go to a boarding school, so I don't get to see my family all that often. So I kind of wanted to spend as much time with them as humanly possible. But I'm back at school now.

-> One of my dorm-roommates lost a member of her family to cancer, so she needed a lot of help getting through that.

-> Exams. I have my big exams coming up soon, which means that the teachers have decided to go all 'LET'S SET THEM HOMEWORK UNTIL THEY IMPLODE' on our asses.

-> I had some seriously bad writer's block for a while, but then I came up with the cat through the letter box idea and it kind of escalated into more craziness.

So, basically, my life has had a whole load of shit going on and I guess writing just took a back seat for the time being. But I'm back now! Yay! So, tell me what you think, please don't shout at me for abandoning you all, I STILL LOVE YOU.

Coffee xxx

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