“There’s a serial killer on a rampage and our Ministry decides to throw a party?” Lana snorted, picking up her train on her black dress.
“He hasn’t attacked in almost a week,” Evan shrugged, “I think he close call made him rethink, he was getting too confident and nearly got caught.”
Lana rolled her eyes, “you’re just happy to get dressed up and go out.”
“Correct,” he grinned.
Lana couldn’t deny it, dressing up and look forward to an elegant night out was perhaps not productive but it would certainly raise morale of what had been a very stressful and depressing few weeks.
“Why do you think Harry wanted to meet us early?” Lana asked approaching his suite.
“I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I think we’re becoming friends,” Evan straightened his lapels of his jacket.
“I think so too, he must miss his friends,” Lana observed.
“I’m replacement Hermione,” Evan claimed.
“So I’m Ron?” She feigned insult.
“You have red hair, it’s obvious,” Evan smiled and gently nudged Lana.
Evan looked handsome in his pressed blue suit, he was always fashionably dressed. He had even picked out the black gown Lana was wearing.
“Hello,” Evan called entering Harry’s suite.
“Good evening,” he smiled, “you both look great!”
“Thank you,” Evan took a mock bow, “you scrub up alright too.”
Lana agreed, Harry looked incredibly handsome. A rich burgundy tailored jacket, navy bow tie and black dress pants. He hair sat gently mussed and he looked like he had a full night’s sleep.
“Your Minister sent a styling team for me,” he gestured to two pale skinned and well made up women in black, “I thought you guys might like to—”
Evan strutted up to the women and took a seat in the make-up chair, “don’t mind if I do!”
The women giggled and immediately began working on Evan’s hair and face. Evan appeared very content and relaxed being pampered by two professionals.
“Don’t let him take up all your time!” Lana called.
“I have the perfect dress for you,” one of the women admired with a thick Jersey accent.
“Oh my God, the teal Fie! You are so right!” Her colleague answered highlighting Evan’s cheekbones.
“And this guy,” Fie continued, “he could totally pull off that pocket square and bowtie.”
“She’s been dying to get that on someone!” The other woman nudged Evan.
“I am in your capable hands!” Evan grinned.
“I thought Evan would enjoy this,” Harry grinned handing Lana a flute of champagne.
“You’re not wrong,” Lana clinked glasses with Harry.
“Feels a bit stupid, to be honest,” Harry ruffled his neatly styled hair, “a party in the middle of all this.”
“I agree,” Lana said taking a sip, “the Minister argues that it will raise morale but I think we should be out patrolling instead of no one being on the streets.”
“Your turn doll,” Fie gently took Lana’s arm and led her to the chair.
Evan looked amazing, his hair was perfect, face brightened and the deep plum finishes to his suit made him look like a celebrity. He completed the look by taking Lana’s flute of champagne and sipping extravagantly. Lana closed her eyes as the ladies went to work, gently brushing and tracing their tools on her face and in her hair.
Lana felt some of the tension that had been building in her shoulders melt away as she enjoyed the feeling of someone pampering her. She could hear Evan and Harry having a laugh, their voices energetic and positive. For a moment she would push the fear of the serial killer to the back of her mind and just enjoy herself.
“Wow,” Harry commented.
Lana opened her eyes, she had been so lost in her thoughts she hadn’t realised she was ready. She spun around to the full length mirror and her jaw dropped. Her elegant black dress had been replaced by a teal gown, off the shoulder with long satin gloves, the bodice had an iridescent shimmer woven into the fabric that shimmered blue and green when she moved, the skirt was full of ruffles, satin and tulle, shimmering in the lights.
“That is the most amazing gown I’ve ever seen!” Evan’s jaw was dropped too, he stood back scrutinizing the gown like an artwork.
“Gorg!” Fie clapped her hands enthusiastically and gave her friend a squeeze.
“Wow,” Lana breathed.
They had given her a simple black choker with a small green emerald at the base of her throat and matching earrings. Her hair was piled on top of her head with soft curls escaping and trailing down her back.
“Do you love it?” Fie asked.
“I never want to take it off!” Lana beamed.
“You will need your coat outside but make sure you take it off for a big reveal when you enter the room ok?” Fie winked at Evan.
“I’ll make sure she makes an entrance,” Evan promised.
Lana pulled her coat tightly across her chest as the trio slid out of their Ministry issued Rolls. It was issued for Harry but Lana and Evan appreciated the ride too.
“I think I’ve turned up to this event with the best looking people,” Harry grinned.
“Oh don’t fish Harry, you know you look good,” Evan linked his arm through Harry’s and the other one through Lana’s, “we need all this extra goop to keep up with your celebrity status.”
Harry rolled his eyes but continued smiling. Camera’s flashed as the trio entered, bombarding him with questions.
“Just ignore them,” Harry smiled, oblivious to their shouts, “look like we’re just chatting.”
Evan was far better at this than Lana, he turned his head and laughed like he didn’t have a care in the world. They made it into the Plaza hotel, a place Lana had only visited three times on special occasions or to make a bust. Entering the exclusive hotel with Harry was a true treat. Guests nearly broke their necks to catch a glimpse of him, they whispered and pointed, forgetting their manners.
“May I take your coats?” A handsome waiter asked.
“Thank you,” Lana said slipping her coat off.
Now the guests weren’t just looking at Harry, whispers followed the trio as they entered the ballroom. A magnificent room with high ceilings and filled with so much candlelight it could have been late afternoon inside instead of pitch black outside. Golden tiffany chairs trapped black round tables filled with sparkling cutlery and sumptuous food. Crystal glasses and goblets sparkled in the guests hands and the room seemed to hush when Harry entered.
“Potter,” a friendly voice sounded from the crowd.
A handsome blonde man with startling grey eyes and a stunning brunette in a rose gold gown rushed to Harry, they embraced and obvious to everyone they were long lost friends.
“Evan, Lana these are two of my friends from London, Draco Malfoy and Astoria Greengrass,” Harry beamed.
“Pleased to meet you,” Astoria gave Lana a kiss, “I love your dress by the way, I noticed that before I noticed Harry,” she laughed.
“What are you two doing here?” Harry beamed at his old friends.
“We’ve been travelling, sight-seeing but had to do some work for the Ministry this weekend,” Draco said wrapping his arm around Astoria’s waist.
“Oh he’s being modest,” she replied swatting at him playfully, “he was a keynote speaker at the dark artefacts conference yesterday.”
“My friend went to that, there’s almost ten thousand people there,” Evan commended, “very impressive.”
Draco shrugged it off but couldn’t help look a little chuffed with himself, “I heard all about the case they put you on,” he lowered his voice, “that’s rough.”
“Mr Potter,” boomed the voice of the Minister of Magic, Navin Nassar, “we meet at last!”
The Minister was a loud, charismatic leader, “Navin Nassar and my wife Tora Nassar.”
Navin was a tall, olive skinned, his clothes always bright, this evening a royal blue suit clad his impressive sixty something year old body. His wife Tora was profoundly elegant, tall slender and with caramel coloured skin, she wore a mustard gown complete with a shawl that twinkled as she moved in the light. They were the King and Queen of New York and looked the part at every public appearance. Dazzling guests with their confident personalities and regal fashion looks.
“Mr Potter,” Tora beamed, “I am so delighted to meet you!”
“She’s a little star struck,” Navin affectionately nudged his wife, “won’t shut up about meeting you. She would have met you at the airport if she could.”
“You’re awful,” Tora playfully swatted her husband away. “Before my husband steals you away to talk your ear off, may we have a dance?” She looked to Lana, “if your girlfriend doesn’t mind?”
“Oh no, he’s –“ Lana began.
“I adore your dress by the way,” she placed a gentle hand on Lana’s dress admiring the fabric.
“Behave yourself Tora, Harry if she gets too handsy just hex her,” Navin laughed, watching the pair melt into the dance floor. “Well come on, all your young people should be out there dancing too, off you go.”
Navin placed Astoria with Evan and Lana with Draco, no one objected as the Minister seemed so jubilant at his work, admiring all the couples dancing, “very good, get to know each other now! Have fun!”
Lana forced a meek smile as Draco placed a hand around her waist, assuming dance position. He could hear Evan already laughing with Astoria and wished she had his easy confidence, much like the Minister.
“How long have you and Harry been—” Draco began.
“We’re not together,” Lana corrected.
“Oh, my mistake,” Draco grinned a little sheepishly.
“Dark artefacts sounds like an interesting career,” Lana tried desperately at starting easy conversation.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Draco’s body stiffened.
“Just about your conference and all.”
Draco visibly relaxed, “sorry, Americans are still very judgemental towards me and my ties with the Dark Lord.”
Lana tried her best not to react to the thought, of course she had heard all about Draco, his family legacy and the allegiance to Voldemort. But she had also heard how his mother had saved Harry and Draco had broken the tradition his family had built up. Harry testified for him in the Death Eater trials and it was decided that Draco had been manipulated and brainwashed to believe in what his parents – his father especially had forced him into.
The tipping point was him falling in love with Astoria whose family wasn’t into the pure blood nonsense, once Draco’s family disapproved of his relationship with Astoria, Draco was gone.
“Americans are still very judgemental towards anything that requires reading,” Lana joked, “I hardly think that a teenage boy can make life changing choices on his own, our parents are our everything when we’re young and you just wanted to please them.”
Draco stared at Lana for a long while, his grey eyes searching and he simply said, “thank you.”
“It’s probably not my place to say, but that’s just my opinion,” she had said too much again.
“No, really, it’s refreshing to hear, it’s part of the reason I was so eager to come to the States and do these talks. So hopefully people would see another side to me.”
“You just have to give it time,” Lana assured.
“Thanks Lana,” Draco twirled her around and gently caught her waist.
“Hey, not bad,” she remarked.
“New York is unlike any place I’ve ever been to,” Draco admired, “it has this energy, that I’ve never experienced anywhere else.”
“It’s true, this city is electric, even in a blizzard there’s always people around, shopping, yelling, laughing. I love it here,” she hesitated, “it’s a bit different now with a serial killer on the loose.”
“I can’t believe they want Harry to look after that,” Draco mused.
“Same, I really thought once he realised what he was brought here to do he would leave,” Lana let Draco turn her out again.
Draco smirked, “I have a few ideas as to why he stayed.”
Draco caught her again and they resumed swaying to the music, “like what?”
“Well, he can’t stand to not play the hero, if he’s asked to fix something, he won’t stop until it’s fixed,” Draco looked thoughtfully and then a mischievous smile spread across his face, “and I daresay he likes staying in New York for other reasons than the energy.”
Lana rolled her eyes at his suggestion but couldn’t stop her heart from fluttering faintly with hope.
“Draco!” Astoria beamed at her boyfriend, “it’s our song! Would you mind if I cut in please Lana?”
“Not at all,” Lana smiled.
“Your charming friend Evan, went to the bar, if you want to find him,” Astoria wove herself into Draco’s arms.
“Thanks for the dance,” Draco grinned.
With a smile and wave she left the loved up couple, with a small twinge of jealousy. They were so happy and had such a beautiful aura around them as they swayed with their eyes closed, they could have been the only two people in the room.
Or even the world.
Lana weaved through couples dancing, distinguished guests tipping champagne down their throats, women laughing loudly at men doing their best to impress when she was grabbed around the waist.
“Neville!” She was taken aback that someone so mild could have taken her so forcibly.
“Sorry for startling you,” his cheeks reddened, “I called out to you but I don’t think you heard…or you were ignoring me.”
Lana smiled, “of course not. Would you like to dance?” She asked kindly, raising an eyebrow.
“Oh…erm…yes please, you look beautiful tonight,” he stammered, “you always look beautiful though.”
“Neville thank you, you are so kind, you look very handsome too. It’s strange seeing all your colleagues dressed up so elegantly.”
“I saw you talking to Draco Malfoy,” his eyes hardened, “are you ok?”
“Am I,” she laughed, “of course I’m fine, he’s harmless.”
“That’s what he wants everyone to think,” Neville whispered into her ear, “he is evil.”
“But he was cleared of all allegations, years ago.”
Neville scoffed, she’d never seen his face contort this way, “the Malfoy family is loaded, they paid so many people off.” Neville had now gripped her waist harder and Lana saw a sheen of sweat bead on his upper lip.
“Neville, you’re kinda hurting me,” she said forcing a smile.
He instantly let go, his eyes softening again into that familiar shyness, “I’m so sorry, please. I just really lose my head when he’s out, walking around like a free man, with Astoria. I just forget myself.”
“It’s alright, maybe you should—”
Neville cut her off, he gentle tucked a few stray strands of her hair behind her ear, his fingers felt clammy as they brushed the side of her face, “it’s not alright, you deserve to be treated with more respect.”
“Really Neville, it’s perfectly fine,” she recoiled slightly, alarm bells sounding in her head.
“May I cut in?”
Harry arrived grinning and clapped his friend, Neville on the back.
“Nice seeing you Neville, have a great night,” Lana smiled and gratefully pulled Harry away to dance.
She watched Neville turn away, his eyes darkening at the sight of Harry dancing with her.
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