CHAPTER TWO: For You (Intro)
London, England. September 2004
Ugly square spectacles rest on a long, crooked nose while his grayed eyes pierce into her soul. He sniffs, one hand shoving the cracked bifocal into its rightful crease, the other hand critiquing the resume in question.
“Now tell me, Ms. Morana,” his wistful voice barely audible over the creak of his chair. “What do you believe makes you qualified for this position? It has been a few years since your last relevant post.”
The corners of Rosalind’s mouth form a tight smile as she clears her throat. “I am passionate about serving justice. During my time in Central America I witnessed things beyond my imagination and was constantly in a critical position. It was a high-stress situation that challenged my ethics and skills but ultimately made me a better witch. I am adept at jinxes and hexes, and have seen my fair share of Dark Magic. I am confident I will be a great addition to the Ministry, if hired.”
The decrepit man pauses, peering deeper into her eyes. Thin fingers trace his toothbrush mustache as he glances over her resume once more. “Very well. We will inform you by owl post within the next two days if we believe you are qualified. You may leave.” He motions to the door which screeches open on command.
“Thank you sir, for taking the time to interview me—“
The gust from the slamming door sweeps the baby hairs from her face as she swallows her words. Rosalind sighs in defeat, heart still palpitating from nervousness. Years of applying at the Ministry and she rarely received a response—the Ministry of Magic has few career openings.
She drops her arms to her side, catching her fall from the ridiculous stilettos suffocating her toes before making her way to the lift. Purple airplanes glide through iron gates, heading to their marked destinations. Rosalind quickens her pace, her black pencil skirt shortening her stride. A platinum haired young man walks in, lazily sticking his arm out to keep the gate from closing, making no effort to hide the eyes rolling to the back of his head.
Rosalind smiles politely to the man, thanking him as she eyes the odd golden yellow ropes dangling from the ceiling. Before she can finish her sentence, she is thrust backwards into the man who kept the gate open for her.
“Bloody hell!” he cries annoyed. “Haven’t you ever been on a goddamn lift before?”
Rosalind turns around, face flushed, apologizing profusely. “I am so sorry—I didn’t realize that’s what the ropes were for—I didn’t mean to—“ She looks upwards to the platinum haired man with pale grey eyes, for a moment connecting with her own.
“You lost or something? You don’t sound like you’re around here,” he says noticing her American accent.
“I—uh—sorta—I just had a job interview and I’ve never been here before so I’m just trying to find the way out.”
He eyes her oddly. “Are you a Yank?”
“Uh yeah, born and raised there. My family is Salvadorian.”
“Salvadorian,” she replies matter-of-factly. “Super small country? Had one of the worst magical civil wars in recent history?”
“Oh. Right.” He continues to eye her. “The exit is on level one. Follow the hall until the end and step into the phone booth. It’ll take you back up to London.”
She smiles, nodding her gratitude. “Thank you.”
She follows his directions, taking the phone booth to uproot her back into Muggle London. After a brief episode of walking the wrong direction, she makes her way to The Leaky Cauldron.
“Morning, Rosalind,” the old barman greets her. “How’d the interview go?”
‘Honestly? No idea,” she says with a laugh, sitting at her usual stool. “I mean I know I could do the job, the question is if they’ll give me a chance.”
“They’d be nutters to not consider you,” he says between cleaning glassware, handing her a frothing butterbeer. “You’re a smart lass.”
“Thanks, Tom.” She downs her butterbeer in seconds, wiping the droplets from her chin. “I’ll see you for the nightshift.” She flicks a Sickle at the old man, who throws it back at her.
“Keep it. I’ll take it out of your wages.”
Rosalind smiles and rolls her eyes, heading to Diagon Alley. It is a crisp autumn day, the last hints of summer fading into fall. The cobbled street is a ghost town now that Hogwarts is in session again. Rosalind inhales the elements, taking in the relatively quiet surroundings, eventually finding her way in front of an obnoxiously decorated building, standing at such an acute angle it looks as if it will fall over.
The warm, comforting scent of eucalyptus floods her nose—it smells like her parents’ house. She excitedly looks over at the cause of the smell, her face falling as she realizes the love potions. It has been years since she has had that comforting at home feeling—something she will never feel again.
“Yearning to try a Thunder Cracker?” a facetious voice asks her. “They’re all the rage right now, but I’d suggest a Rocket Box for a first timer such as yourself.”
Rosalind jumps at the close proximity of the voice. “Ohh I uhh—I’m just looking,” she answers in surprise. “I don’t have any occasion to be celebrating with fireworks at the moment.”
The young man raises his brow. “Nonsense, there is always time for celebration and mischief in life.”
“My whole life is an insane joke so you may be right,” she laughs dryly, taking a look at the one-eared man in front of her.
“Don’t be so hard on yourself mate, cheer up,” he says genuinely. “Nothing a Pepper-Up Potion can’t cure.”
Rosalind eyes him suspiciously. “You are quite the salesman. I’m sure that charm has gotten you a fair share of things.”
He smiles broadly. “Why thank you madam, I happen to own this quaint shop. Started it with my twin brother some year ago.”
“Ohh,” she cries, recognizing the flaming red hair from The Daily Prophet. “You’re George Weasley? Infamous Hogwarts dropout?”
George Weasley laughs, slightly abashed. “That I am miss, at your service.” He stands straight, fixing his maroon robe. “Although I like to refer to myself as a young entrepreneur.”
“Right, sorry. That was pretty rude of me,” she laughs. “I’ve never been in your shop before, this is quite impressive magic.”
George gives her a short bow. “Thank you. It takes a great witch or wizard to recognize excellence. Can I interest you in a Headless Hat? What about a pygmy puff?”
Rosalind shakes her head. “Sorry it’s not in my budget right now. Maybe next time when I have a bigger paycheck.”
“Well don’t take too long to return, I might forget about you,” George jokes.
“You’re right, I am pretty unforgettable,” she quips as she makes her way to the exit.
The salesman blurts out a blistering laugh. “Ah, a woman with jokes. All the reason for you to come back soon.”
“We’ll see,” she responds with a smile, finishing the short walk to her flat.
The tiny one bedroom apartment looks as bleak as ever; the same dull flooring, the dull grey furniture, the dying plants, and the dusty floors. It is not much but it is all she can afford—London is not cheap. She traces her fingers over the frame of a photograph displaying a young, frizzy-haired Rosalind, her toddler sister, and their middle-aged parents. Their beaming smiles clench her heart. I wish you were here to tell me it’s going to be okay.
As if on command, a large tawny owl screeches at the window. Rosalind unties the envelope with her scarred hands, petting the bird before its departure. Inside is thick parchment, and a brief note in thin, elegant writing:
Dear Ms. Morana,
After careful consideration we have agreed upon offering you a post with the Department of Magical Law Enforcement at the Ministry of Magic. Should you accept this offer, respond via owl post promptly. You will begin Monday morning at 8:00 a.m.
Ministry of Magic Research and Hiring Committee
Monday. The first day of this new chapter she has been waiting for has finally come.
This chapter is still a bit of an introduction, there's a lot more action in the next one! Next chapter: The Dark Side of the Moon.
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