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“Deandra—wake the fuck up before I hex you.”

I opened one eye grouchily. Cinda was sitting on my bed, holding her wand close to my face. “Why did you ever get put in Hufflepuff?” I mumbled, rolling over and shoving my face into my pillow.

Cinda chose not to answer my question, and prodded me with her wand some more. “Deandra, I will slice your head off if you don’t get up right now. Get up.”

“I am going, lady! Get off my bed!” I exclaimed in annoyance, sitting up.

Cinda jumped off my bed and stared at me with a dangerous expression on her face. “You skipped work yesterday.”

“Hanna was giving me paid vacation—”

“Didn’t I specifically tell you not to skip work?”

“You’re not my mother!” I interrupted angrily. “And you can’t order me around! So quit it!”

“God, Deandra, you are so pathetic sometimes!” Cinda suddenly yelled. “Running away from your problems never works. You should know this by now! You shouldn’t be running away from Albus! You should be standing up to him! You should be angry at him! He tried to kill you, Deandra, and then he got mad at you for wanting revenge! A normal person would be angry!”

I was shocked by Cinda’s outburst. She was always protective of me, but I didn’t know she cared to this extent. I felt a bit of gratitude towards her, but that quickly turned to anger. What right did she have to be sticking her nose in my business? Where did she get off bossing me around?

“It’s none of your business!” I hissed at her, marching out of my bedroom angrily.

Arianna was in the kitchen area. “Cinda talk to you?” She asked me as I stormed around the flat, trying to find everything for work.

“Yes,” I growled, grabbing my coat and trying to put it on backwards.

“And?” Arianna asked.

“And nothing.” I responded. “I’m going to work.”

They had clearly teamed up on this. I vaguely wondered how long they had felt that way about my situation with Albus.

Then my mind began to process what Cinda had told me.

Why hadn’t I even gotten mad at Albus? There was truth in what Cinda said, after all. It was only natural to want revenge after being bullied for three years. And I hadn’t really done anything to him when I came back to school. Of course, there was the whole Aidan-Arianna thing, but other than that, the only thing I had done to them was making them like me, or, how Arianna put it, making them fall in love with me and then pulling it out from under them.

But isn’t that what they did to me? In my first year?

I pulled open the door to Sunny Days, still thinking.

I hadn’t done anything to them to make them hate me. We were perfectly good friends until the end of the school year, which I couldn’t remember. I couldn’t remember anything from the end of May to mid-June of that year.

Something had to have happened in that time frame. That was the only explanation.

I came to that conclusion just as our first customer walked in. I froze.

Hayden was back.

He saw me and bee lined to the stool in front of me. “Scotch, please.” He said, putting on a charming smile.

All thoughts of Albus and the others flew out the window, the new dilemma taking over my thoughts. How to get out of this situation.

“What are you doing here?” I asked, automatically setting the tankard of scotch down on the counter in front of him.

“Well, it’s actually a funny story.” He gave me a smile, and my heart fluttered. Even I couldn’t deny that he was extremely attractive. “I came here every day after I met this amazing girl who worked here, but she wasn’t there again, almost like she was avoiding me, until she showed up today.”

“Maybe she was avoiding you.” I said, pretending to be disinterested. “You can be pretty odd, you know. Especially when you’re rude to the girl, then rather nice, and then you run away from the bar without any reason that is apparent to the girl until she tells her friends about you, and they inform her that you’re the Prince of England.” I shrugged. “But maybe it’s something else.”

“Look,” Hayden began, the smile fading a little. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you at first. I just don’t usually tell many people, because they recognize me. For you not to seemed too good to be true.”

“Yeah, yeah.” I said. “Well, still. You could have mentioned something so I didn’t think I’d have my head chopped off for trying to flirt with you.”

Hayden grinned. “I don’t think you’d have your head chopped off as much as been attacked by all my fans.”

“Oh, trust me,” I muttered darkly. “I’ve been there, done that.” I was thinking of Albus again. He had been quite famous, being Harry Potter’s son and all. “Is there any other reason you’re here besides getting a drink and trying to talk to me?”

“Actually, there is.” Hayden said. “I was wondering if you’d do me the honor of accompanying me on a date tonight. I have dinner reservations for two at the Daynte, and I need someone to come with.”

I started freaking out. The very attractive Prince of England just asked me on a date. To one of the fanciest muggle restaurants in London. The place where all the rich people in London go. The place where I’d never be able to afford.

“You’re asking me to go to the Daynte with you?” I managed. Hayden nodded, smiling and awaiting my answer.

“Uh—yes?” Was all I could get out.

His smile widened. “Great! How about I pick you up at your flat and drive you there. See you at eight?”

“How do you know that I live in a flat?” I asked suspiciously.

“…you do work at a bar.”

“Shut up.” I said, scowling at him. I scrawled my address on a slip of paper and slid it across the counter. “This is where I live. Have fun hiking up the stairs.”

“There’s no elevator?”

“Nope.” I said cheerfully. “I guess you’re just going to have to haul your royal arse up four flights of stairs all by yourself.”

“Ha ha,” Hayden said sarcastically. “Here’s the money. See you at eight.”

The rest of the day went by in a sort of daze for me. It was a good day. I got to serve people while daydreaming about my royal (and handsome) date, while Vienna glared at me. I was always jealous of the people Vienna got to flirt with, but she had never gotten a date with one of them before.

When I got home, I was bursting at the seams to tell someone about my date, but I had fought with Cinda, and had decided I was no longer speaking to her, and Arianna wasn’t home. I didn’t want to bother Aimee with something like this, so I grudgingly got ready for my date without telling anyone.

At 8:00 sharp, the doorbell buzzed, and I ran to open it, half trying to strap up my right shoe, half trying to stuff my wand in my purse. You never know if it’ll come in handy.

I opened the door to a smiling Hayden. He looked absolutely delicious dressed up in a dinner jacket and holding a bouquet of flowers.

“These are for you.” He said, grinning, pushing the flowers into my face. His gaze dropped to my purse. “Is that a stick?”

I followed his glance and saw that my wand was sticking out of my purse. “Oh!” I said, pulling it out and tossing it to the floor with a wince. “Silly me! Must’ve left the dog’s toy in my purse again.” I laughed nervously.

“You have a dog?” Hayden asked, peering around me as if he was expecting to see a furry animal run at him. “Where is it?”

“With my roommate.” I answered quickly. “We should go before they get back. She’s with her boyfriend, and, well, you know—”

“Let’s go.” Hayden agreed with a smile. He looped his arm through mine and we traveled down the stairs to his car.

“A limousine?” I asked, astonished. “Where are you taking me?”

“I am the Prince of England.” He said with a charming smile.

“Fine,” I said, grabbing his tie and leading him into the limo. “Let’s go, Prince.”

“Sexy.” He said with a grin.

“On thin ice.” I sang back.

Ten minutes later, we pulled up in front of a fancy-looking restaurant. Hayden held the door open for me, and I stepped out onto the street, enjoying the sound my heels made on the concrete. He looped his arm through mine and we walked in the glass doors, stopping at the register. “Dinner reservation for two?” Hayden asked. The man’s eyes widened, but Hayden shushed him. “Booked under ‘Knight’. The most private booth you have?”

“Yes, of course.” The man said in a French accent. “I’ll get you there right away, Your Highness.”

Hayden shushed him again, and the man called a waiter over. “Hi, I’m Armando, and I’ll be your server tonight.” Armando said, struggling to keep a stoic expression. “Follow me to your table, please.”

I glanced at Hayden, who sent me a grin. “I figured you didn’t want to be bothered by the press on our date.” He muttered to me as we followed Armando to the back of the restaurant.

“That was very thoughtful of you.” I muttered back. We sat at our table, and Armando brought us both high glasses of water, condensation dripping down the sides. I took a sip, and Hayden smiled at me. For some reason, through my water glass, it looked more like a leer. I set my glass down.

Nope, still a leer.

“I’m glad I did.” He said. “You’ve already got a secret admirer. Although maybe he’s not so worried about being secret.” He gestured towards a table behind me.

I glanced back, and almost spit out my drink.

Rose and Scorpius were staring unabashedly at me. I turned too quickly to make eye contact, but Hayden noticed my reaction.

“Friends of yours?” He asked.

“Definitely not.” I spluttered into a napkin. They wouldn’t consider me a friend, anyway.

“Really? Because they’re heading over here right now.” Hayden told me. I glanced back to see that Rose and Scorpius were indeed heading over to our table.

“Loo.” I managed quickly, and fled to the restroom as quickly as I could without running. I caught a glimpse of Rose and Scorpius staring after me, looking disappointed, before they disappeared behind the door.

I stared at myself in the mirror. I was pale and breathing heavily from my escape. I really needed to get into shape.

The door began to open, and I hid in the last stall. “Del?” Rose asked. “Del—Deandra—whatever—I know you’re in here. You can’t hide, and there’s nowhere to run, so please just come out.”

I held my breath, and crouched on top of the toilet seat, hiking my skirt up to my knees and praying that it didn’t get soaked with toilet water, and that Rose didn’t notice me.

“I’m not mad at you, Del.” She said. Interesting. She was still using my fake name. “Please just come out. I want to talk.”

I didn’t make a noise.

“Okay, Del.” Rose said. She was never known for her patience. “If you don’t come out right now, I’m going to start opening these stall doors, I don’t care if you’re actually using the loo or not.” She paused, and when I didn’t respond, the stall doors started banging against the walls. She went down the line, checking each stall, until she reached mine. She paused, and I tried to get into a more dignified position before my door swung open.

Rose stood there for a full minute before bursting out laughing. “Oh, Del.” She gasped, and continued laughing. I glanced in the mirror at the way I was positioned on the toilet seat, and started laughing with her. I stepped off the seat, and bent over in laughter.

“Merlin, Del, I’ve missed you.” Rose said, and pulled me into a hug. I almost cried, I was so glad to see her. I was relieved, too. It was like a breath of fresh air, knowing Rose wasn’t furious with me. “But you don’t go by Delilah anymore, do you?”

I shook my head, with a small smile on my face. “It’s Deandra now. My friends call me Dee.”

Rose tested the name on her tongue. “Dee. That’s going to take some getting used to.” She said. “Well, Dee, who’s the handsome young man who’s sitting out there, waiting for you?”

“You’ll never guess.” I said, grinning at the fact that Rose couldn’t tell who the Prince of England was anymore than I could.

“Who?” Rose asked persistently.

I told her, and she squealed loudly. “Del—Deandra Misgen! How did you meet the Prince of England?” I told her about my bar job, and how on the very same day I met him, I saw her, Albus, and Scorpius.

“Al’s fine, by the way.” Rose said. I opened my mouth to tell her I never asked about Al, but she held up her hand. “You were never going to ask, but I know you want to know. He’s doing alright. He’s got this new brunette girlfriend who’s nice, but she’s not you.”

“Al doesn’t want me, Rose.” I said, plopping myself on the counter. “You should have seen the way he looked at me in Hogsmeade.”

“You two met in Hogsmeade?” Rose asked, looking surprised. “Al didn’t tell me.”

“It was only for a moment.” I explained. “And I ran away from him. Apparated two blocks. Lost fingernails.”

“Of course you did.” Rose said. “You’re a terrible Apparater, no offence, Dee.”

“You’ve never even seen me Apparate!” I exclaimed, offended.

“You just have that look about you.” Rose said, waving her hand in my general direction.

“What look?” I asked, laughing. “There’s no look. You just made that up.”

Rose shrugged. “Maybe I did.” She said. “We should go back out there. Our dates are waiting for us.” She jerked her head toward the main dining room. “Have fun with the prince!”

“I hope so. Have fun with Scorpius.” I said. “Has he proposed yet?”

Rose laughed. “Not yet. But it’ll be any day now, I can feel it. Now go eat expensive food and take advantage of royalty.” I chuckled, and walked out the door, heading back to me and Hayden’s table.

“Took you long enough.” He remarked. Bleh. I hated people who said that.

“Oh, hush, I wasn’t gone that long. Just ran into an old friend in the restroom.” I told him.

“Who?” Hayden asked. “Someone I know?”

“Definitely not.” I said, remembering how Rose couldn’t even identify Hayden. Besides, I would think that most magical folk would try to keep themselves under the radar of the royal family.

“Oh.” Hayden said, looking a bit put out. “Well, here comes our food. I ordered for you. I hope you don’t mind.”

I kind of did mind. I really didn’t like it when men took it upon themselves to start doing things for me. But since it was the first date, and Hayden didn’t really know me, I would give him a pass. Just this once. “Thanks.” I said.

Al would’ve known that you don’t like that stuff.

I growled at the little voice in my head. For the first year or so, when I was trying to get out and date other guys, that voice had been a constant companion. It had made it basically impossible for me to have a proper date. It was only back now because I had just talked to Rose. It would not ruin me and Hayden’s date. He was the Prince of England, for crying out loud. Who was I to say who he could order for and who he couldn’t?

“Steak.” He announced. I hid a grimace. Steak was one of my least favorite meats, second only to fish. The waiter put the food in front of me, and I smiled and thanked him. It seemed like the right thing to do in a restaurant like this.

“So.” He said, digging in to his dish. “How did you come to work in a bar as a bartender? How did you get to London? I want to hear all about it.”

Our date suddenly felt like an interrogation. I didn’t like it. Hayden was not getting off to a good start, not at all. I tried to come up with a believable story to explain how I got to London.

In the end, I settled with the story of my parents dying in a fire, and me being shipped off to my aunt’s, and living the rest of my life here. It wasn’t exactly a lie, but it wasn’t exactly the whole truth, either. Not even close, really.

“Went to a boarding school.” I said. “It was called… the Meade Academy.” I invented with Hogsmeade on the mind. I remembered my first date with Al, and how great it was compared to this one. “High caliber. I was smart.”

“Then how on earth did you end up working in Sunny Days?” Hayden asked. “If you were so smart.”

I glared at him playfully. “I was smart. I just didn’t apply myself! And then my aunt died, so I didn’t have money to go to college. Simple as that.”

“Wow.” Hayden said. “You know, I could pay for a college education for you. It wouldn’t be hard.”

“No.” I said immediately. The degree I wanted couldn’t come from muggle money. “I can’t let you do that. I want it to be me who pays for it.”

“Of course you do.” Hayden said, laughing and shoveling food into his mouth. “You’re stubborn. That’s why I like you.” I looked away. I had been called stubborn before, but somehow, this time it didn’t come off endearing like Hayden had meant it to be. It came off sort of… demeaning.

Suddenly, I felt suffocated. I glanced towards Rose. She looked at me, and somehow after all these years, we could still communicate with our eyes. I rolled them towards the ceiling, indicating I was suffering, and she grimaced. I made a face, and she glanced at Scorpius, indicating she wasn’t willing to end her date to provide a distraction for me. I jerked my head and gave her a look, and she sighed. I smiled and turned back to Hayden. “You were saying?”

He glanced between Rose and I, and then shook his head. “Are you not having a good time?” He asked.

I glanced at Rose. She was heading over, while Scorpius paid the waiter. I turned back to Hayden. “Frankly, Hayden, I didn’t. You were a perfect gentleman, but just a bit too old fashioned for me. Some tips: I don’t like being ordered for, I don’t like being offered money, and that smile that you think is endearing comes off as more of a leer. That’s all.” I smiled sweetly at him, thinking that maybe it was a bad idea to insult the Prince of England like that, and left with Rose to the ladies’.

“Wow, Del—Dee. Way to be harsh.” She said.

I shrugged. “He was suffocating me.” I said. “Can we Apparate out of here?”

“Scorpius is coming.” Rose said. “We’ll wait for him.” Just as she finished speaking, the door opened, and Scorpius walked in.

“Del?” He asked, rubbing his eyes.

“She goes by Deandra now, Scorpius.” Rose reprimanded. “Wow, way to be crass.” But Scorpius wasn’t listening. He walked towards me slowly. He stopped right in front of me, and then, as if in a trance, raised his hand and bitch slapped me right across the cheek.

“Mother of—!” I bent over, holding my cheek. I knew it could have hurt a lot more, coming from Scorpius. He was a strong bloke, and it had only stung a little. He hugged me really tightly after I was done dramatizing cheek, though. But I could not get over the fact that Scorpius Malfoy had just bitch slapped me.

“I guess I deserved that.” I said sheepishly.

“Yes, you did.” Rose said. “But not from a bloke.” She glared at Scorpius. “You poor thing! Did he hurt you?”

“No, it just stings, Rose.” I said. “It’s fine.”

“I didn’t even hit her that hard.” Scorpius said. “Where have you been, Deandra, we’ve been worried sick.” He said it flatly, like my mother would, or my aunt.

“Oh, you know.” I said airily. “Around.”

“Yeah, around isn’t quite good enough.” Scorpius said. “Merlin, Dee, we’ve all missed you a lot, especially Al.”

“Yeah, right.” I snorted. I remembered how he had reacted when he had discovered who I really was in the Gryffindor Common Room that night.

“Yeah, right.” Scorpius said in earnest, glancing at Rose.

The next chain of events happened so quickly that I hardly had time to process it. Rose sprang forward and grabbed my hand and Scorpius’s. The door swung open to reveal Hayden. Rose turned on her heel, and Hayden’s jaw dropped as we Disapparated away from the ladies’ loo.

“Damn it, Rose!” I exclaimed when we landed. “Where are we?”

“Shh!” Rose said, putting her finger to her lips. She jerked her head towards a door, and I realized I was in a kitchen, probably in Scorpius and Rose’s flat. I peeked through the doorway, and saw two people on the couch, snogging pretty intensely. One had jet black hair, and the other had long, brown and glossy hair.

I think you can guess who they were.

Albus looked up when I squeaked loudly. His green eyes widened, and I popped my head back in the kitchen.

“I’m leaving!” I announced to Rose and Scorpius.

“No, you’re not.” Rose said flatly.

“I’m Apparating out of here right now!” I said.

“No, you’re not, because Scorpius has your wand.” Rose said. Scorpius pulled out my wand and twirled it in his fingers, grinning madly.

“Got it when I slapped you.” He said. “I feel like the Mad Hatter.”

“A) You don’t have any hats, and B) how do you even know who the Mad Hatter is?” I asked, making a swipe for my wand. He held it above his head, far out of my reach.

“Ah ah ah!” He said, sounding like a creeper. “We’ve scoured the country for you, Dee. The freaking country. There is no way we’re letting you go now.”

“I have a life, you know!” I said, deciding Scorpius was a lost cause and turning to Rose, the historically rational one. “People will come looking for me! This qualifies as kidnap! I’m sure there’s some sort of law against this—eep!”

The ‘eep’ wasn’t planned, of course. The ‘eep’ was because Al Potter had just walked in the room, looking very, very pissed off. And he was staring right at—


He was completely ignoring me.

Maybe that’s a good thing.

Yeah, that’s a good thing.

“What is she doing here?” He asked flatly.

“We found Del, Albus!” Rose said cheerfully. “Now you can break it off with her—” Rose jerked her head towards the living room. “—and make up with Del! Well, actually, she goes by Dee now, but if it’s all the same to you—”

“Rose, I told you not to go looking for her.” Albus said, his eyes smoldering. I cowered in the corner, trying to look anywhere but him.

“She’s our friend too, Albus.” Rose hissed. “We discussed this.”

I glanced at Scorpius with my most pleading expression. He hesitated, and then shrugged. He tossed me my wand. I mimed a knight in shining armor. He grinned and shrugged, and then made shooing motions with his hand. I nodded fervently.

And all this was done behind Rose and Al’s backs. Man, are we good.

With a little salute, I turned on my heel, and focused on my flat. The last thing I saw were Al and Rose’s surprised expressions.

I landed in my flat with a loud crack. Cinda rushed forward. “How did it go?” She asked. “Was he a perfect gentleman?”

“A little too perfect.” I muttered, suddenly extremely tired. It had been a long night. “I think I pissed him off a little. He chased me into the ladies’ loo when Rose and Scorpius were kidnapping me.”

“What? Arianna!”

“No—Cinda, I just want to go to bed.” I said, pulling my heels off.


I was already halfway down the hall. “G’night, Cinda! G’night, Arianna!”

“You are telling me details in the morning, young lady!” Cinda called after me.

“Yeah, yeah.” I muttered, slamming the door to my bedroom behind me. “You sound like my mother.”

Oh god, you guys. It has been waaaaay too long. But, you know, life happened... not that hat's any excuse. I really hope to have the next chapters up sooner, but no promises. I have school and stuff. I'm really sorry. If I still have any readers at all left, you should review. Really. Not that I deserve it. But still.

EDIT 11.27.12- all credit for the Mad Hatter goes to Lewis Carrol :)

XX Delia

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