The Grass Is Always Greener

Chapter 2

Dave climbed into the front seat of the sleek, black Rolls Royce slightly slower than usual – his back had been giving him some gyp recently. He liked his job and the fact that he’d managed to stay in the magical world (albeit in the Greengrass’ world); when his pure blooded parents had discovered his lack of magical ability, they hadn’t shunned him as some parents did but they had been greatly disappointed.

Dave loved his job so much because of the girl. The older girl, mind, not that younger one – she was a right stuck-up little so-and-so. Just like her parents. But little Adrianna was his princess, he’d been her only friend in her youth (apart from the house-elf, but Dave didn’t really count Gillie). He knew she would be different and he had so hoped she’d retain her innocence and ability to love; he’d have hated to see her become her mother.

And she’d done him proud. Little Adrianna wasn’t so little anymore, she was fifteen and soon to be sixteen. Only a year away from being of age… Dave smiled to himself. Sometimes he wished he had the strength and the courage to stand up to her beast of a father. That man made Dave want to spit. How could he treat his own daughter like that? Adrianna wasn’t even related to him but Dave knew he could never do what he did.

He sighed to himself, absentmindedly massaging his lower back and started up the cars low, purring engine. He leant on the horn briefly and waited for the girls.

Calliope had been waiting in the hall. She started slightly at the sound of the blaring horn before leaning gesturing to Gillie brusquely. The old house-elf clicked, moving the trunk to the boot of the car instantly, she looked at her youngest mistress with barely disguised resentment.

Callie returned the look with her most intense glare. Stupid elf, doesn’t she know that she’s paid to do this stuff for me? the girl thought, she never looks at precious Adrianna like that…

She swung into the car, still sulking. Dave rolled his eyes.

“My sister will be late as usual.”

“That’s why I honked half an hour before we actually need to leave, miss.”

Oh joy, a half hour of awkward silence with them, they both thought.

“Aw, crap…” Adie muttered. It was time to go already? She was always so behind time, it was wonder they never missed the Hogwarts Express.

She scrambled to the window, pushing aside the swathes of lace and wiggling her fingers quickly at Dave, who grinned up at her knowingly. She laughed and signalled that she’d be just a moment. They both recognised the white lie.

Adrianna was packed at least but she certainly couldn’t turn up to the station like this. Her stockings were falling down and her top was stuck somewhere in the back of her ridiculously large wardrobe. Not for the first time that morning, Adrianna cursed her mother.

“Aha!” She wiggled the thin, white jumper over her head and quickly pulled up her tights. Slipping a pair of pumps on and smoothing her pale blue skirt, she paused a moment to inspect her reflection in the mirror.

The outfit was monstrous, it always was as her mother had picked it out. She insisted on choosing the girls’ outfits on their returns to school as they’d see their relatives on the platform. Today’s ensemble was slightly better than usual but Adie could rely on her friends to mock it anyway. She grinned ruefully to herself.

And once again she found herself noticing all those little things. She’d been set out from birth really, to be different. Just look at me! she thought. Adrianna didn’t possess the characteristic pure blood beauty that graced the haughty features of her mother and sister. Even mad Bellatrix is more beautiful than me… Adrianna was disgruntled by the truth of this thought.

She was pretty, sure, but just that. Her eyes, at least, fit the Slytherin criteria though - pale shards of ice that could create a piercing death glare but were usually cancelled out by the wide grin on her lips. Admittedly, Adrianna did have pretty pale skin but the dusting of light freckles betrayed the hours she spent in the sun, not a very pure blood activity at all.

But worst, her mother would always say, was her hair. It wasn’t albino-blonde or even a raven black but an unfortunate caramel colour. Her mother despaired over it. Who wanted honey coloured, warm, sunny hair? What good is that? It clashed with green.

Her looks were nothing though compared to how her family felt about her Muggle loving, friendly, make-love-not-war attitude to life. They never said anything about it though, not since this time exactly five years ago on her first Christmas holiday from Hogwarts. She winced slightly as the grabbed her trunk; the bruises said enough.

Adrianna dragged the heavy case down the stairs and into the grand hallway where Gillie stood patiently; she tried not to make too much noise otherwise she might disturb her father in his study. Her mother was out shopping.

They always said good bye to Callie the night before. Adrianna got a good bye too, but it always seemed ominous and laden with threats to her.

“Shall I do that mistress?” Gillie squeaked, taking Adrianna’s hand briefly. Adrianna smiled at her childhood companion.

“Please Gillie, if it’s not too much trouble.”

The elf clicked and the trunk was gone. The difference was in the way the two girls asked.

Adrianna swung into the car with a radiant grin on her face, “To the station Dave!”

“That was actually far quicker than usual, princess.”

“Impressive, eh? I wanted to be quick, I miss everyone in the holidays. I wish mother and father would let us stay at the castle…”

Callie shot her older sister a sharp look, Adie just smiled blithely back at her. Like a fucking dog, Calliope thought, blissfully happy and blissfully unaware of anything happening around her.

“Don’t you miss everyone Callie?” Adrianna asked, not entirely hopeful about getting a civil reply from her sister.

Calliope was your perfect, quintessential Slytherin girl: all dark curls and alabaster skin. Her eyes were dark and fathomless, brilliant for masking emotion. She was small and slim, like Adrianna, but possessed far more grace and elegance. If she tripped in the street, she would regain her posture smoothly and instantaneously – she wouldn’t tumble face forward into the dust.

“No, Adrianna, I don’t.” Callie replied with an air of talking to someone mentally incapable. “It’s only three weeks for goodness’ sake.”

“That’s practically a month! You don’t mind being away from Alecto for that long? She’s your best friend.”

Callie pulled a slight face for a fraction of a second. Alecto was hardly her best friend, just a faithful and stupid (and therefore, very good) henchwoman.

When Calliope didn’t reply, Adie decided to drop her attempts to converse with her awful sister. They hadn’t grown any closer over the years.

They spent the remainder of their journey staring out of the car windows, in opposite directions.

“Here we are girls.”

King’s Cross loomed in front of the Rolls Royce; Adrianna wiggled in her seat, unbuckling the belt and leaping out of the car.

“Thanks Dave!” she sung, hugging the man as he stepped out of the driver’s door, ignoring her sister’s incredulous look.

He ruffled her light curls, chuckling, before grabbing the two trunks from the back of the car. His back twinged again and Adrianna’s trunk clattered to the pavement.

“You idiot.” Callie hissed from above him as he scrambled on the floor.

Before her sister could intervene, Adie was next to her best friend and heaving the trunk upright herself.

“Don’t sweat it Dave.”

He took over once the cases were on the trolley, wheeling them on to the platform and up to the porters.

“Bye, princess. Don’t let ‘em get you down.”

“Oh, Dave, they don’t ‘get me down’. They’re not that bad, I mean half of them are family! Don’t look at me like that, I know what you’re thinking,” Adrianna paused, unconsciously pulling her sleeves down, sleeves that masked the hand shaped bruise round her upper arm. “I love them, they just have their priorities a little confused. Family, Dave.”

The man shook his head; she honestly didn’t resent them for it. He couldn’t fathom it and she couldn’t fathom his confusion. In some ways, Adrianna had kept that black-and-white view of the world. Blood had to be thicker than water, didn’t it?

“ADIE!” Lily’s voice rang out down the platform. The redhead waved enthusiastically at her best friend, grinning widely.

Adrianna returned the beam, hugging Dave briefly but tightly before sprinting down the expanse of concrete and into Lily’s embrace. She could practically hear Callie’s eyes rolling and feel the glare she was receiving.

Adie decided she didn’t much care.

“Evans! How have you been? How much did you love your present? Yours was fabulous.”

Lily laughed, tugging at Adie’s skirt. “Dria, this outfit is marginally better than usual but still quite appalling…”

Adrianna batted her away, snickering and grinning. She’d missed her friend a lot. They made their way on to the train, stopping at various compartments to catch-up with mates.

“Diana, you are looking horribly tanned – how? It was so freezing!”

“I went to Mauritius, dummy. Adie, don’t forget to swing by the Gryffindor Common Room some time – I miss your freckly face.”

“Shut it, Cress! They’re sun-kisses…”

“I’ll make sure of it, Di.”

“Thanks Lily, my lovely!”

They swung into their own compartment just as the train was pulling away from the platform. Adrianna stumbled to the window before sitting down to beam one last time to her driver. She turned back once the platform had left sight, settling next to her other best friend.

“Miss Vance! It has been far too long…” Adie spoke in a mock formal voice, slinging an arm around her friend’s shoulder.

“Likewise, Miss Greengrass, likewise.” Em responded, wrinkling her nose up as she turned to look at Adrianna. “That jumper is absolutely foul. No offence.”

The Slytherin scrambled in her bag. “None taken - trust me!” She pulled her robes out of the canvas bag next to her before trying to modestly slip them on.

Task complete, Adrianna sat down properly, letting her feet rest on the padded bench opposite. She twirled her green striped tie absentmindedly around her wrists.

“How was, um, home?” Emmeline tried to ask the question with as little inflection as possible. She thought she sounded quite nonchalant.

Adie turned to look at her, brow raised. “I know what you mean, Ems. And it was… okay. Not great, but when is it ever? Just don’t go grabbing my arms too suddenly, you know?” She tugged at her sleeves self-consciously again.

Lily and Emmeline exchanged a loaded glance, feeling (as ever) quite helpless to do or say anything to help their friend.

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