So... this is the sequel to Exchange. I really hope you guys like it. Deandra's twenty two now. I promise everything will be explained.
“Good morning, Deandra.” My boss, Hanna, greeted me warmly.
“Morning, Hanna.” I yawned.
Hanna smiled at me. “Coffee not kicked in yet?”
I shook my head, and walked behind the bar. A scruffy old man was sitting on the other side, shoulders hunched and head drooping. “What would you like?” I asked.
“Just some whiskey, please.” He grunted.
I filled a glass of whiskey, and set it in front of him. “Thanks much.” He muttered, taking a big gulp of the alcohol.
Yes, folks. After four years, three months, and 30 days after I left school, I had actually become a barmaid. Actually, I had gotten the job two years ago, but I’m just trying to give you a timeline here.
It wasn’t that bad, actually. You get flexible working hours, money to pay rent, and discounts on drinks. And, of course, you meet people. And working in a bar, you meet a lot of people. Some of them were famous. A lot of them were nobodies. A lot of them just wanted a drink.
But yes, after four years, I ended up here. I dropped my pseudonym, Delilah Miller, and took on my birth name, Deandra Misgen. I moved in with Cinda and Arianna after they finished out school. I applied for a job here, and Hanna Pilsbury took me in.
The door creaked open, and a man sat down at the bar. I glanced at him, and I felt the breath woosh right out of my lungs.
He was extremely handsome. He had dark brown hair that fell past his ears. His face was tan and handsome, with high cheekbones and eyes that were a creamy chocolate color. As I watched, he swiped his hair out of his eyes and glanced up at me.
He wanted me to serve him.
And no, that was not a sexual innuendo on my part.
I gladly walked over to where he was sitting, tucked my hair behind my ear, and said, “What would you like today?” In a clear voice.
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Vienna, the tall blonde woman that I work with, glaring at me. I smirked to myself. Vienna always got the hot men who walked into Sunny Days, but not today.
“Just a beer, please.” The man said in a tired voice.
“Coming right up.” I said, bending down to reach the beer bottles and setting one on the counter for him. I studied his face. “You look tired.” I observed. “Is everything alright?”
That would get him talking. Everybody always talks to the barmaids, because they don’t think that it matters. If they don’t know who they’re talking to, their tongue becomes as loose as the knot holding the beaten up carpet Cinda, Arianna and I had in our flat together.
“Yes, fine, thank you.” The man said.
“You sure?” I asked.
“Well . . .” There we go. “I’m just tired of waitresses trying to chat me up. It’s not a very pleasant experience for me.”
“I think I’ll just—I’ll just go now.” I stuttered. The heat was rushing to my cheeks.
He watched me squirm for a moment, and then cracked a grin. He started laughing.
“I got you!” He said, not even bothering to cover up his laughter. “That one works every time!”
Now I was getting annoyed. So he had caught me in the act. So what? He didn’t have to act all smug about it.
“The beer’s two pounds ten pence.” I snapped at him. He seemed to realize he had crossed some invisible line.
“Hey,” He said. “I’m sorry.” I turned away, but he stood and grabbed my arm. “Really, I am.” He insisted. “I’m just pretty stressed right now.”
My gaze softened. “Fine. It’s okay.”
“What’s your name?” He asked, sitting back down.
“Deandra Misgen.” I said. “Are you schizophrenic?”
Don’t look at me like that! It was a valid question!
He laughed loudly. “No, I’m not. Not that I know of, anyway.” He said. “Deandra’s a pretty name.”
I snorted. “Right. I believe that.”
“Really.” He insisted. “I’m Hayden. Hayden Knight.”
He scrutinized me closely, maybe to see a flash of recognition across my face, but he wouldn’t have, because I had no idea who he was. I guess his face kind of looked familiar, but other than that . . . he could be a celebrity, I guess. I hadn’t read a Daily Prophet in years. It was sort of dangerous, not reading the paper, but it cost way too much, and I didn’t fancy digging the paper out of a garbage can like a hobo.
But as soon as he said his name, a girl looked over at him from a table. Her eyes widened. Hayden saw, and got a frightened look on his face. No, frightened wasn’t really the right word for it.
Cornered-wild-animal. That’s the word for it.
He slammed his money on the counter, and grabbed his beer. “Kaythanksgottagobye.” He said quickly, and ran out the door.
As soon as he was gone, another large group of people entered. I was about to help Vienna serve them, when I realized who they were.
At the front of the group stood a man with a shock of black hair and bright green eyes. Beside him stood a young woman with long red hair and a familiar smile. Holding hands with that woman was a man with light blonde hair and blue eyes.
I did the rational thing when faced with your old friends-who-are-now-enemies-but-not-really-we’re-adults-but-we-left-things-on-a-bad-note. I dove under the counter and army crawled to the kitchen.
No, I’m not even joking, here. Dead serious. This shit is real.
I wasn’t really surprised that they were here. I’ve had to hide from them before. But never at the place where I worked. Sunny Days was the safe zone.
Hanna was in the kitchen, working on a stew. “Hanna, hey.” I said, standing up and brushing myself off. “Can I have the rest of the day off? My friend is—erm—in the hospital—terrible accident—can I go see her?”
My question was hardly finished before Hanna said yes. “Of course, dear!” She exclaimed. “We’ll manage quite alright without you.”
“Thanks, Hanna.” I said, feeling terrible about lying to her. But before I could confess, I walked out of the restaurant. Once outside, I turned on my heel and Apparated to my flat.
Some people’s Apparation noise is a soft pop, or a crackle, but mine had the misfortune to be a loud crack. Because of this, I couldn’t really Apparate directly into my flat, because we live around muggles, and they can’t hear us Apparating. So I had to trek up five floors before being able to collapse on our couch.
I lived with Cinda and Arianna. They were the only ones that would take me after what happened, not that I asked anyone else. They were at work right now, it being 8:50 am, so I had the place to myself. Cinda was a journalist for Witch Weekly, and Arianna was a Hit Wizard. Cinda’s journalist job didn’t pay much, but between the two of us, we could pay our half, and Arianna paid the rest.
As I flipped through the channels on my WizTV, the morning replayed in my mind. Albus, Rose, Scorpius, and the rest of the Weasley clan walking in. Did they see me? Did they recognize me?
And if they did recognize me, what would they do? Hunt me down and demand an explanation? If the Weasley clan was anything like I remember, that was certainly not outside the realm of possibilities.
I pretty much was a couch potato the rest of the morning. I watched a bit of Potion Panic, a drama show where two detectives uncovered fake marriages. In most cases, the situation included girls who had brewed love potion to get their husbands to fall in love with them. Then Inevitable Love Disasters came on, and everyone knows that show is trashy, so I turned it off.
Just after I had made myself some coffee and settled on the couch, debating whether to watch ILD simply out of boredom, the door opened and Cinda walked in.
“Dee! Why are you home so early?” She exclaimed. “Did something happen?”
“You could say that,” I muttered. It seemed silly now, taking the whole day off just because Al had walked into Sunny Days, but I was home now. Besides, my pride would never allow me to admit it aloud.
“Did the bar burn down? Did Hanna get hurt?” She didn’t ask about Vienna. Both Cinda and Arianna knew that if Vienna got hurt I would keep working. I hated the bitch.
“I—erm, I saw the Weasleys.” I admitted, my cheeks burning. I kept my head held high, though. “So I snuck out. Hanna thinks that one of you two got sent to Mungo’s for spell damage.”
Cinda pursed her lips at this story. “All because the Weasleys walked in?” She asked. I nodded. I silently challenged her to say something to me, but she just sat down next to me on the couch. “Anything good on?”
“No,” I grouched.
“Anything interesting happen at the bar today, besides the Weasleys?” Cinda asked.
“Well,” I remembered Hayden, and relayed what had happened to Cinda. When I was finished, she looked mildly surprised.
“What did you say his name was?”
“Hayden Knight.” I told her.
“Dee, that’s the prince of England.”
. . .
Wow, I am really out of it. I didn’t even recognize the freaking prince of England.
Then reality hit me, and I nearly started crying. “Oh, gosh, Cinda! I tried to chat the prince of England up! He’s going to hunt me down and kill me! He’ll have me beheaded! I can’t die, Cinda! I’m too young!”
“He’s not going to kill you, Dee.” Cinda said with an amused expression on her face.
“How do you know? How do you know, Cinda?” I asked hysterically. “Oh my god!”
“Dee!” Cinda said loudly. “Chill!”
“No! Don’t you tell me to freaking chill, Lucinda Meriwether! I TRIED TO CHAT UP THE PRINCE OF FREAKING ENGLAND. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?”
“Shut her up.” Arianna whined as she walked into the flat. I turned on Arianna, opening my mouth to scream hysterics at her, but Cinda flicked her wand at me, and words ceased to come out of my mouth. I glared at her. She had Silencio’d me. Silently.
“What happened?” Arianna asked, setting her purse down on the counter and tossing herself on the couch next to me.
Cinda sniggered. “Dee tried to chat up the prince of England.” I shoved my face into a pillow, my cheeks flaming. “And she saw Albus Potter, so she hightailed it home.”
Arianna snickered. “Of course you did, Dee.”
“It isn’t a laughing matter.” I said through the pillow.
“Then why are we laughing?”
Cinda high-fived Arianna while I mumbled, “You two are terrible friends.”
There was a pause, and then Arianna spoke. “So you actually tried to chat up the prince of England, then?”
I groaned and suppressed a scream. “Okay, Dee,” Cinda said, taking my pillow away. “This is what’s going to happen. You’re going to go back into work tomorrow and apologize to Hanna. If the prince is there, you’re going to apologize to him for trying to chat him up. Oh, and if Albus is there, you aren’t going to hide from him.”
I glanced over at Arianna, who had taken out a deck of cards and started to make a card house on the coffee table. I decided to play it cool.
"Me? Hiding? From Albus Potter? Pshaw. Why on earth would I hide from a chap like that?”
“Maybe because you made him fall in love with you and then pulled it out from under his feet?” Arianna suggested as she carefully added to her card house.
“I—I did not make him fall in love with me! That was his choice!”
Cinda laughed. “Oh, Dee.” She said, ruffling my hair. “I’m going to go make a sandwich.” I glared at her.
“I have to take off, too.” Arianna said. “Love you, stay out of trouble.” She ruffled my hair as well.
“I’m not your child, you know!” I called to the both of them. “I am a perfectly mature and responsible young woman!”
Both Arianna and Cinda laughed at that one.
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