A/N: The bolded line from the last chapter is from The Odyssey. It's gotta be said like 800 times...
Seeing Colin's familiar face more than made up for Andrea's being late.
Ginny completely forgot about being angry with her daughter as she embraced her old friend. As she let go she asked, “So wait, where did you two meet?”
"I was in the National Gallery admiring a picture that happened to be his, and we got to talking. When I told him my last name, everything just sort of fell into place. And I thought you might like to see him, since you know, you’ve been away so long,” Andrea said, walking into the room.
Timing being as it was, as soon she finished, Draco came through the door that linked their rooms.
"Oh hello Colin,” he saidcasually, walking up to the man next to Ginny. “I can see you’ve found out the Weaselette is back.”
"Yes, actually. I ran into your daughter here at the National Gallery and she told me the news,” he answered, as if talking to an old friend. “How long have you been back?”
“Actually, we just got in yesterday,” Draco told him. Ginny was slightly confused, seeing the two men natter on like old friends. Upon seeing Ginny’s face, Draco added, “Why don’t you come to diner with us and we can all catch up on things."
A few minutes later, the four of them were outside Diagon Alley, in muggle London, on their way to a restaurant that Colin had suggested. Once they were finally seated, all the questions he had been aching to ask, spilled out. Bit by bit, every one was answered, and they had caught up to the present before dessert arrived.
They were sitting at a U-shaped booth with Andrea on one end with her father next to her, then her mother, and then Colin across the table.
“So, Lia, are you going to go back to America for school? Why don’t you stay here and go to Hogwarts,” Colin asked. He asked the very question that her parents had been trying to find the words for. All faces looked towards the quiet girl, looking for an answer.
"Well, I’m not sure yet. I’ve been thinking about what it would be like to go to school here. I’d be lying if I said the idea
didn’t appeal to me. But I’m not sure I’d want to leave all my friends, especially Loretta.”
Ginny smiled sympathetically at her daughter and said, “Don’t worry about it sweetheart. You don’t have to decided now, you’ve got the whole summer ahead of you before you have to think about school.”
"I know, I know,” Andrea said, smiling.
"All right, here’s your desserts,” their waiter said, setting the edge of the tray down on the table, unloading several desserts.
"Oh this reminds me. Ginny, before we left, your mother sentt a letter inviting us for dinner tomorrow evening. She knows Lia loves to cook and was wondering if you wanted to help,” he said, shifting his gaze to the young woman beside him. “We should send her an owl when we get back.”
After Colin said his goodbyes and gave Ginny his address and phone number to his flat in London, they headed back to Diagon Alley. Draco and Ginny were walking hand-in-hand a few feet in front of Andrea, who knew they needed some time to themselves. And that was perfectly fine with
her. It gave her the time she needed to sort out all that had happened lately.
Okay, so now not only am I in a foreign country 3,000 miles from the only place I knew last week, I’ve got parents who are so utterly famous (or infamous, depending on who you are) that I don’t even think I can go back to Salem. Shaking her head to clear it of those thoughts, Andrea instead thought about the next evening, and cooking with her grandmother.
"Fred, George, No! Get you bums out of here while we finish making dinner,” Molly yelled as the twins decided to ‘help’ dinner along by causing the same confusion as years past, but with a new liveliness from their little sister’s homecoming.
“If you can keep them occupied, I can finish this up without any magic,” Andrea offered to her grandmother.
“All right dear, but just shout if you need me,” Molly said, walking into the other room to keep an eye on her two most mischievous sons.
A few minutes later, everyone was seated outside in the garden at the massive table, discussing Harry’s new job as the flying instructor at Hogwarts. Slowly, but surely, Andrea was carefully crossing the lawn, several plates in hand. Praying that nothing would obstruct her passage, Andrea looked for a place to set her load. Placing it dangerously close to one of the edges, she took a seat in the only empty chair, between Ron and her father, across from the twins.
She had to admit that she still found it weird, and unsettling at times, to have gone from it being just she and her mother, to
having such a large extended family. The chatter began around her, and Andrea felt more at-ease than ever, as if that was were she belonged.
“So Lia, are you going to stay here for school, now that you’ve seen what England is like,” George asked across the table. Seeing they were all talking about their ‘school days’, it seemed as good a question as any to ask.
The stares of the rest of those at the table wandered over in her direction, anxious to hear her answer as well.
Taking a puse before answering, Andrea replied, "I’ve given it some thought, and yes, I would like to finish up my schooling here rather than back in the States.”
Murmurs of slight surprise and aproval were heard around the table. Several seats down from her daughter, Ginny was grinning with pride and thinking to herself, She really isn't a little girl anymore. Again and again she's proved that these last few days. Still wondering to herself, she contemplated silently, Where did the time go? Yesterday she was a little girl, running around the house, dodging the lamp stand and the couch only to knock her shins on the coffee table. I can't believe she's all gorwn up already.
By now, Draco had noticed the distant look in Ginny’s face, and asked, “What’s on your mind love?”
“Oh nothing. She’s just grown up so fast. She not a little girl anymore,” she finished, smiling.
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