I'd forgotten how huge Malfoy manor was, as even though Draco and I were friends I didn't go inside his house much. Through my own choice, something about the giant rooms and pristine cleanliness was rather perturbing. I had been outside it countless times and it surely was grand and large on the outside but on the inside it seemed even larger. With its winding corridors and countless rooms, doors and the possibility of many more hidden rooms. Which was highly likely as thanks to a series of tapping and listening on few previous visits I found hollow walls but no entrance.
As soon as I walked in I could smell lemon, polish and floor wax. The hinting of my nose was proved when I saw I could see my face in the floor and not detect a speck of dust on any surface. It made me feel like a common tramp just looking at it. The Malfoys definitely knew how to keep a house, but no matter which way I looked at the dreary mansion I couldn't picture it being a habitable home.
Draco smiled at me I could tell he was rather proud of his home. I could understand why, after all my house wasn't exactly small but then again it was no Malfoy manor either. We had a smaller home as my mother being half blood was used to the muggle way of decorating one’s own home and cleaning it all at the same time. She believed that you could take more pride in your own work and it made a more personal home. And although many may find it odd I agreed I liked my house it was warm and how I think a house should be. This is why I wasn't favourable of Malfoy manor it was rather cold and clinical nothing personal or quirky about it. Obviously Draco didn't notice or believe it in the same way I did.
Currently, I stood in the entrance hall and gazed around. And never before had I felt so small.
"Wow." I said simply, surprised at the way my voice echoed. Draco handed me my bag, and grimaced at my case.
"What’s in that dreadfully odd shaped bag?" Draco asked. At first I didn't know what he was referring to but he pointed at the bag.
"Oh!" I laughed. "It's my guitar case." I added.
"A what case?" He grumbled screwing his face up rather unattractively. I shook my head and took my guitar out of its case holding it by its neck.
"It's an instrument Draco, see you strum the strings with your fingers or a pick. And you change the sound by moving your hand and fingers up and down the neck." I demonstrated quickly, playing half a scale. Before Lucius appeared in the doorway, smiling rather widely, I smiled back and waved. Embarrassed when I stumbled and almost dropped my guitar. Lucius gave me a rather disapproved look and I went through explaining what I was holding all over again.
"It doesn't sound so good." Lucius sighed.
"That's because it needs tuning," I said fiddling with the machine heads.
"Couldn't you just use your wand?" Draco asked.
"I did once but it didn't tune to my liking and the magic weakened my first string." I explained, both Lucius and Draco gave me a look of questioning.
"How obscure..." Lucius trailed off. I don't know if I was meant to hear that or not, or whether he said that out loud or in his head. The one thing I'd learnt about the Malfoys as much as they'd like to put themselves on a pedistool, their brains were very simplistic. Much of what they said out loud sounded exactly like it did inside and they didn't hesitate or hold much back anyway. "Strange child, I hope this is all worth it." I accidentally heard Lucius think, that was a thought I wished I had not stumbled across.
"I guess it is a little strange." I finally said, maybe it was. But it didn't bother me; unlike a lot of wizarding kids I wasn't really good at anything magical. Sometimes I felt I was born into the wrong family and should have been muggle all along. I wasn't particularly academic, a keen flyer like Draco; in fact I'd never even touched a Broom at Beauxbatons it was a second option and wasn't required I had chosen eloquence and etiquette lessons along with extra Defense Against the Dark Arts instead (rather ironic if you think about it), and I had never starved to learn. Draco had once offered to teach me but I dismissed him. "I'm not good at much else."
"Hmmm, I'll have someone get your bags. You'll be sharing a room with Nicole, and be warned my sister is rather eccentric." Lucius whispered the last part about his sister, which I assumed was Nicole's mother. "And obviously you have been invited to dinner with the family." Lucius smiled at me.
“Wonderful.” I lied, I didn’t exactly think it to be enjoyable being trapped in a room full of Malfoy’s. After all I only got my guitar out and it had caused too much controversy than one can handle in one day already. I didn’t fancy any additional madness. But then again I hoped it was all worth it to see the Quidditch world cup match.
I’d never been to a Quidditch match before, never mind one this big. I understood Quidditch well enough I think…but I wasn’t one hundred percent sure. I think I’d struggle to get to into the game, although the fact we were in “the ministers box” sounded rather prestigious, so there mustn’t be any room for screaming fans and hurling curses at lazy players.
Everyone remained silent as I was led to my room, it was an uncomfortable silence. I had a feeling Lucius didn’t want to enter conversation with me, considering how strange of a child he thought I was. That caused Draco to keep quiet, he was probably afraid of antagonising his father. To be honest I didn’t fancy creating any conversation myself, not only because I didn’t know what to say but I just didn’t fancy entering another delightful conversation with Lucius. Secondly, I was trying to remember my way around the manor, I didn’t want to get lost or something in the night, what if I needed the bathroom?
“Here you are.” Lucius said before giving a half bow and leaving, Draco shuffling nervously behind him. I put my guitar case down and knocked on the door, Nicole answered smiling. Her hair was wet and she just had sweats on, but she didn’t seem bothered. I assumed she had just got out the shower or something similar. I smiled at her, she was shorter than me which was something I hadn’t noticed when we first met, although it wasn’t anything new. I was taller than most people in my year, even most of the boys.
“Don’t stand there like a lemon then, come in.” Nicole said in a lot less cheery voice than when we’d first met. I grabbed my case off the floor and walked into the room and placed my guitar on one of the beds. “That yours?” She asked, pointing at my guitar case. I groaned and hoped I wouldn’t have to go through another full demonstration and explanation, of what it was. I nodded in reply. “Let’s see it then.” She said abruptly.
I obeyed and took it out of case. “Interesting I don’t usually like plain wood acoustic guitars but it’s a nice one, it looks nice with the black trim and the pattern around the sound hole is interesting. ” She reeled off; I stared at her wide eyed. “Yes I know what a guitar is I’m not like my brainwashed cousin. My mother is colourful and has interests in culture and music.”
“Really, I had no idea.” I replied.
“You play anything else?” She asked, seeming genuinely interested.
“Piano and I sing a little too.”
“Really just wait till my mum hears she’ll have a fit.” Nicole laughed, brushing through her hair with her fingers. Before pulling her hair dryer out and plugging it in ready to dry it. “You better get changed; Uncle Lucius doesn’t care for tardiness. He’s such an old git I swear.” Nicole said casually brushing her hair through her fringe. “Wear something decent though, he gets all sensitive at family dinners. Don’t know why he’s the only one who cares.”
I liked this Nicole better than the one that entered my house earlier. I was sure Nicole was going to be a pleasant, goody-two-shoes sort of girl. After a long conversation with her, I discovered it was all an act she played in front of grown-ups. It wasn’t unusual of her, I’m sure every teenage girl has a sweet talking to grown-ups voice. Nicole and I became friends almost instantly; the conversation flowed perfectly without any awkward gaps. I’d never had a girlfriend before and now I did, it felt brilliant.
After becoming suitably dressed, Nicole again led me through the winding corridors to the dining hall. The table was big, Lucius sat at the head of it; I naturally sat next to Draco, it made me feel more comfortable. I’m sure he was grateful of it to because it’d save an earful from his father at dinner.
“Are you okay?” I whispered in his ear, considering I’d barely spoken to him since I arrived.
“I could ask you the same question.” He whispered in reply signalling, to both Nicole and his father. We both sniggered quietly, until Lucius looked in our direction and we both turned our heads to our empty plates. We slyly caught each other’s eyes and smiled as nice as it was to have a girlfriend like Nicole she’d never even come close to Draco.
Once everyone was seated, a starter was brought out. I wasn’t sure what it was, but it was small and smelt funny; I felt like I could probably eat the full thing in one mouthful, but I knew this wasn’t proper or correct. I looked up and down the table of Malfoy’s to see how they tackled the problem. But got even more worried about something other than the food.
I stood out terribly. Naturally, all the Malfoys had fair hair and pale skin and I sat terribly uncamoflauged with my jet black hair and seemingly dark skin ( I wasn’t even fully black). The Malfoys had obviously noticed the outsider and began to stare at me, as if deciphering what I was. I gave a panicked glance to Draco.
“They’re all staring I me.” I said under my breath so only he could hear.
“Just be yourself, smile and be polite. They’ll love you.” He added.
“What makes you think that?”
“Because you’re awesome.”
“Aww Draco,” I gushed rather loudly, which caused everyone to turn and face in our direction. I blushed putting my head back down and began eating whatever was on my plate, and discovered it was rather tasty. Everyone remained in silence for a while, only the odd conversation or whisper between two familiars sat opposite each other; Nicole cleared her throat rather loudly in an attempt to break the awkward silence. But it only seemed to per long it and make it even more awkward.
“So...” A darker haired woman said her hair wasn’t even dark, just slightly caramel rather than platinum blinding blonde. She had a pleasant smile and crinkles formed round her eyes when she smiled. Draco elbowed me, gently and signalled towards the woman, because apparently she was talking to me.
“Oh, sorry Romany, nice to meet you.” I replied, before putting the last mouthful of food into my mouth.
“How long have you and Draco been dating then.” The woman asked, I swallowed hard at her comment and the food became lodged in my throat causing me to begin choking violently. Nicole started howling with laughter, and Draco turned slightly pink.
“They are just friends.” Nacrissa piped in, in an attempt to save the situation while I drunk almost my full glass of water to save myself from choking. I was glad Draco’s mother had said something, but I laughed it off and wished the chair would swallow me when the main course came.
“As you can tell my Romany’s Ghastly reaction Draco isn’t exactly a desirable, shame really.” Lucius muttered rather loudly, a couple of people further down the table chuntered in reply. “That’d be the day.” He added, I could feel my anger boiling inside of me, so I did something unspeakable.
I grabbed Dracos tie and kissed him firmly on the mouth, he looked surprised as did everyone else at the table.
“The reason I seemed so surprise Miss Malfoy, is not because it was a far-fetched comment. Its because I didn’t really want to broadcast our relationship.” I announced, shooting a cold look at Lucius.
Thanks to mine and Draco’s apparent PDA by the main course the conversation picked up substantially, everyone was talking about current affairs, asking how the younger ones were doing in school. I was even involved in the conversation after my interesting display and began to explain my current schooling situation, everyone was genuinely intrigued to hear the woeful tales of a child who had been to 26 different wizarding schools, although the Malfoys were a rather morbid family.
“Why did you do that?” Draco cried in my ear.
“Because I didn’t like the way they were treating you, aren’t I allowed to look out for you.” I whispered, he half smiled at me. It was awkward me kissing Draco in front of his family, but we both knew it was between friends and there was nothing behind it, so what did it matter?
"What's your best subject Romany?" Nicole's mother asked me, I wiped my mouth with a serviette. And smiled a little more comfortable around the Malfoy family.
"Defense against the dark arts, I'm a bit average or slightly below average at everyone else." I admitted, I wasn't an avid learner in fact I was rather lazy, if something didn't interest me I wouldn't learn it. Thus me doing terrible in some lessons, potions being one and actually not because I didn't try. In fact I'd say I tried harder in potions than any other lesson, but I just couldn't do it. Professors had tried and tried to drum it into me, but it just didn't seem to work.
I wonder what kind of teacher I'd have at Hogwarts?
Secondly, I couldn't be doing with pompous teachers. I often found myself in detention from blowing up at teachers, but I had a short temper. Something I’d inherited from my father.
Compared to the other courses, dessert was terrible, the only thing I hungered for was knowledge and curiously I asked Draco all the questions I had in my head.
"The potions teacher is professor Snape, he's decent especially if you're in Slytherin which we all know you will be." Draco laughed, a low murmur of laughter at appeared at the Malfoy table. I wheezed sarcastically but no one seemed to notice, I didn't care what the Malfoys thought. I definitely wanted to be a Hufflepuff it seemed only sensible house for me to be in. I definitely wasn't Ravenclaw material and I knew all the Gryffindors would hate me.
"What about the people there, anyone I should stay away from." I asked, one person sprung into my head Harry Potter I was more curious about him than anyone else at Hogwarts. What was he like? Would be make my life hell?
"You don't want to mix with the wrong sort, like the Weasels identified by that ghastly ginger hair, huge family more children than they can afford!" He spat, his expression went flat and his eyes darkened and I could tell how hateful he was of these particular people. They were actually called the Weasley’s not the Weasels I guessed that it was some kind of derogatory term. "Then there's know-it-all Granger, dirty mud-blood." He continued "And stay well away from Potter he thinks himself some kind of celebrity, truly terrible." Draco continued to rant about something I wasn't listening to. My thoughts flickered to Ron, Hermione and Harry. I didn't actually think I'd have a problem with any of the Weasley’s unlike Draco I didn't have a problem with heritage, as my family was more dysfunctional than most. I wasn't sure about Hermione she didn't seem bad except her cleverness, if she was self-centred about it she could be awful. Then again there was nothing wrong with being proud.
But Harry, he was the centre of it all if it was true what Draco implied, about him being sure of himself then that was a problem. He could make my life hell in seconds.
As I went over and over in my head about Harry potter I seemed to miss the full of dessert, everyone was being dismissed from the table. I didn’t even know what he looked like; all I knew was the infamous lightning scar. Apart from that he could be anything because he was banned from the house I never heard a word about him, every paper containing him was thrown away. He was forbidden.
Which only made me more curious.
I followed Nicole back to our room, where all my bags had been taken up. I changed out of my dress into my pyjamas and sat on the bed with my guitar while Nicole flitted around like a maniac, organising her clothes and everything. She had a full luggage bless her; I was only staying the weekend.
“What are you wearing tomorrow?” She panicked.
“Well…I was thinking about wearing clothes but then I thought…Nah clothing is too mainstream.” I sighed sarcastically. Nicole giggled a lit but still glanced to me for approval, I just continued to play my guitar until I noticed her wide eyes glancing at, me. “Seriously though, I actually don’t know it depends how I feel in the morning, that’s why I brought a couple more things.” I added going back to my guitar.
“Good because I have no idea either.” Nicole began putting everything back, all the clothes she had strewn on the floor. She had more clothes in her bag here than I had in my whole wardrobe.
“Nicole?” I asked to catch her attention, putting my guitar down. She turned to look at me, wondering why I had called her. “Why does Lucius not seem to like your mother so much?” I asked hoping I wasn’t putting my foot in it.
“My mother went against the family…well I don’t know what you’d call it exactly. But she married a Muggle, my father but he died in a car crash when I was a baby.” Nicole explained.
“Oh my…I am so sorry. I didn’t-”
“it isn’t a big deal.” Nicole interrupted, there wasn’t a severity to her tone but it wasn’t joking either. “I was too young to remember him.” Nicole added.
“I guess.” I replied.
“What about your dad is there a story there?” She asked, I had to think because there wasn’t really a story there. It was what it was. So I shook my head in reply, her look was doubtful but I chose not to acknowledge it. There was no story there…at least I think there wasn’t.
“I think I’m gonna go to bed.” I sighed, Nicole reciprocated clapping her hands together; I wondered what she was doing until the lamp turned off, meaning it was one of those clap lamp things.