Henry had put a classical station on, and the music poured from the WWN through the house. Lavender had agreed to help out that evening while he finished up some important plans for his next house he was constructing.
“Good!” Lavender smiled at Lori, who had just finished brushing her teeth and smiled widely at her. She helped the child jump down from the step next to her sink and Lori hopped into her room while Lavender grabbed a brush from the counter.
“Okay, into bed with you!” Lavender helped her on top of the sheets and then began to brush her long blond hair.
“My mummy lives over in America now.” Lori said after a few moments.
“Oh no, sweetie, she’s just over there for work. She’s going to be home in a few weeks.” Lavender reassured her.
“I know.” Lori replied. “They’re not going to get divorced are they?” she asked after a moment.
“Well….no…of course not!” Lavender said, somewhat flustered.
“Time for bed!” Henry announced from the doorway. His face was red and Lavender knew he had heard what Lori just said. He came over and helped tuck in the young girl. “I don’t know where she picked that up from.” He muttered.
Lavender nodded. “Well, goodnight Lori.” She hugged the child.
“How about a story?” Henry asked, sitting down next to his daughter.
“Yes!” Lori said, grabbing a book from her nightstand.
“Bye, see you tomorrow.” Lavender said, from the door.
Henry looked up and smiled. “Bye Lavender.”
She paused before leaving, the sight of Henry and Lori together on the bed made her want to stay. ‘That should be us, as a family…’ she thought wistfully. ‘I’d read to her every night, and then Henry and I would come back downstairs and have some wine, and then he’d read to me…’ she sighed and went down the stairs; it was no use wasting time on a dream that would never come true.
“Lavender, wait a minute.” Henry was coming down the stairs after her. “It’s a bit chilly tonight…” he stopped on the step above her and pulled off his forest green jumper he was wearing. “Here, take this.” He held it out and she obediently put her head through it and when she came out the other side, she looked up to find Henry staring at her with the strangest look in his eyes. She was unable to speak as they looked at one another for what seemed to be an hour.
“Daddy!!” Lori’s voice broke through their trance.
“I’d better go.” Henry said softly. “Coming!” he called to Lori. He backed away and went back upstairs.
Lavender was still stunned as she left the house, new confusing emotions washing over her like tidal waves. Why had he looked at her like that? Was he falling for her as she had for him?
“No, that’s crazy!” Lavender told herself as she got on her broom and flew back towards her house. “He’s got a wife, and a child…and what would he see in me, anyways?” these troubling thoughts stayed with her as she arrived home, flying into the back and propping her broom up against the side of the house, placing a locking charm on it. She was about to go in when she heard voices from the front; she peered around the side of the house to see Hermione and Harry arriving in the front.
“That has got to be the best broomstick I’ve ever ridden.” Hermione said as Harry helped her off. She ran her hand up the smooth polished handle and looked up at him. “Smoothest ride I’ve ever had…” she looked up at him with a spark in her eyes.
Harry pursed his lips in a mock pout. “Sometimes I think you like my broomstick better than you like me.” He said.
Hermione grinned and tossed her hair over her shoulder. “Can’t have one without the other I suppose.” She joked. Harry laughed and wound his arms around her waist.
“I suppose that’s all right.” Harry intoned softly, leaning forward and resting his forehead against hers. Hermione brought her hands up and ran them gently over his chest, enjoying the way his muscles became taut under her touch. Harry leaned down and pressed his lips to hers, nudging her mouth open gently. She responded immediately, bringing her hand up to the back of his head and running her fingers through his hair. He crushed her body against his, his mouth plundering hers.
Lavender sighed and turned away, she wasn’t a voyeur and she didn’t want to be caught by her cousin. Hermione was so lucky, she had guys falling at her feet constantly, Lavender had never had that sort of fortune. She tugged at a lock of her short blond hair and hugged Henry’s jumper tightly around her.
The loud snobby voice of one of the rich and famous lifestyles shows came loudly at her through the door, her aunt loved those programs. Lavender went into the living room to see Jane sprawled out on the sofa, fast asleep. A moment later, Hermione came through the front door, grinning broadly.
“Hi Lav!” she said loudly and Lavender put a finger to her lips, and covered her aunt with a wool blanket that was draped over the back of the sofa. Hermione crossed the room and listened to the program a moment, then snapped it off.
“Well, goodnight.” Lavender said as the two girls went up the stairs to their rooms.
“Whose jumper is that?” Hermione asked.
“Henry’s.” Lavender said, mentally preparing herself for an onslaught of questioning from her cousin. She pulled it over her head and folded it neatly.
As if on cue, Hermione’s head appeared around the doorway. “Really.” An excited gleam entered her eyes. “What’s going on?”
“Honestly, Hermione, nothing. It’s chilly out tonight, as you well know, and he didn’t want me to be cold while riding home.” Lavender answered with a long suffering sigh.
“I wasn’t cold.” Hermione boasted.
“Well no, I suppose snogging would keep you quite warm.” Lavender shot back.
“Yes it does.” Hermione answered. “Are you going to keep it?”
“No!” Lavender said. “I’m just…borrowing it.” She hugged the jumper tightly to her.
“Looks to me as if he’s putting the moves on you.” Hermione said mischievously.
“You’re sick.” Lavender said. She went over and pushed her cousin out of her room. “Good night!”
*** *** *** *** *** ***
*Two days later*
“Susan!” Leonora’s voice boomed across the restaurant. She looked over the partition, but Susan was nowhere to be seen. “Where is she? Lavender, have you seen Susan?”
Lavender shook her head and looked down at the sauce she was ladling out onto the pizza crusts. She kept her head down so she wouldn’t have to look at Leonora as she passed by. Hermione heard the whole exchange and was giggling, for both of them knew exactly where Susan was.
An elderly customer waited outside the women’s room, it was locked for some strange reason, and it had been locked for a while. She leaned her ear against the door and listened.
“Ow!” a girl’s voice was saying. “Ron that hurts!” A male voice, which was too deep and soft to understand, mumbled something back.
The woman knocked, and frantic whispers were heard. “Just a minute!” the female voice called out, and a second later, Susan emerged tying her pouch around her middle.
“Sorry.” She said to the woman as she passed by. A moment after that, as the woman was about to go in, she was startled by a red headed man who was tucking his shirt in his pants.
“Excuse me.” He said, patting her arm as he went by. He looked over to Susan as he was about to leave, and she blew him a kiss as she disappeared into the back room.
“Sorry Leonora!” Susan called out. “Hey Lav, table six is asking for dessert!” she untied Lavender’s pouch and it fell on the floor.
“Susan!” Lavender cried, annoyed.
“Sorry, I have customers waiting, no time to chat!” Susan said hurriedly, dumping leftover pizza in a box and running back out the door.
“Sue, wait a second!” Lavender abandoned the sauce as she rushed out after her. Leonora rolled her eyes; she knew exactly what Susan had been up to.
“Here you are, thank you!” Susan said as her customers paid and she gave them change.
“This is the most fabulous pizza…” the man was saying.
“What’s in that sauce?” the woman asked, leaning forward as if she was about to be revealed the secret of the century.
“Oh, I’m sorry, that’s top secret.” Susan said. “She won’t even tell us what she puts in there!”
The man and woman laughed, took their box and left. Susan turned to Hermione and Lavender.
“Hey, a little warning next time when someone’s been waiting for awhile?” she asked.
“Hey, you should be used to it, Ron comes by and you disappear for a half hour every time you work…” Hermione said dryly.
“Susan, will you do me a favour?” Lavender asked. “Will you switch days off with me?”
“I guess I could, why?” Susan asked.
“Henry needs me this Friday.” Lavender replied, wishing her cousin would leave so she could escape a sarcastic comment for once in her life.
“Don’t do it Susan.” It was like clockwork with Hermione. “You’ll be a contributor to the downfall of Saint Lavender!”
“Oh, bugger off, will you please?” Lavender was slightly annoyed. “Talk about downfalls, I’m surprised you haven’t plastered your room with pictures of Harry Potter and his Windrider!”
Hermione and Susan laughed. “You’ve got me there, Lav.” Hermione winked and they all went in back.