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New Start

By Renee-Michelle

Meeting Her Family

Disclaimer: Not mine.

A/N: For all those who enjoyed Ghostlike I really hope you enjoy this :D

George Apparated into his girlfriend's flat, expecting her to be sitting in the living room waiting. She said he was always late for everything but most of the time she was always early.

But she wasn't there.

He looked at his watch. Nearly noon. They'd be late if they didn't hop in the Floo now.

"Hello!" he called, moving down the small hallway to her bedroom and knocking on the door. He pushed it open, smiling at the girl sitting on her bed staring into her closet. "What are you doing?"

Simone looked up at him, her brown eyes wide. "I don't know what shoes to wear."

It had been nearly seven months since Simone had walked into his joke shop and changed his whole life. He had been content on moping until she showed up and for that he was glad . . . completely and totally glad that Fred appeared to her and help bring this beautiful woman to life.

The two of them were doing well, too. Since George had perked up his business was booming and, meanwhile, Simone had opened her own flower shop in Diagon Alley and it was thriving as well, her flowers beautiful and always in season. Life was moving swiftly along and George was happy to call Simone his girlfriend.

But today was a big day.

Today, they were spending New Years with each other's families, lunch at Zabini Estate and dinner at the Burrow. They had been putting off meeting each other's families for a while now, though Simone, obviously, already knew Ginny. Finally, Mrs. Weasley had demanded George bring 'the lovely lady who put that brilliant smile back on my son's face for dinner this holiday'. It was either this or she threatened to take his other ear. George wasn't sure how he received the invitation to the Zabini's but he could tell that Simone hadn't been too happy about it.

Now, sitting on the edge of her bed, she looked more nervous than ever but still beautiful in the green dress she was wearing that day, her hair twisted back and out of her face in an eloquent bun.

"Simone, it's just shoes," George said, sitting next to her. "My family's not really going to care what shoes you have on."

"Your family might not but Mother . . ." Simone shook her head. "This was such a bad idea."

George looked down. "Look, if you don't want your family to meet me –"

"What?" Simone replied, shocked. "Oh no, George, you've got it all wrong! It's not that I don't want my family to meet you . . . I don't want you to meet my family."

"Er –" Wasn't that the same thing?

"My family is pretentious and particularly rotten. To be honest, I haven't really kept in contact with them since Easter holiday and there are a number of reasons why. I'm really scared to go back there."

"But you've changed a lot, Simone," George told her, taking her hand. "I'm sure you're mum will notice. Now, grab some shoes and let's go before we're late. Wouldn't want to give them any ammunition, would we?"

Simone smiled, slightly, before getting up and grabbing a pair of black flats from the bottom of her closet, slipping them on. She faced George, holding her arms out. He grinned, getting up and wrapping his arms around her waist. "You're gorgeous," he said, gently pressing his lips against hers. "You ready?"

"No."

"Let's go then." Taking her hand, he Apparated, taking them outside of Zabini Estate. The Estate was huge, George realized with a sunken heart. At least four Burrows could stand next to it, with its rolling landscape. The house itself was large, painted white and seemed very imposing.

"This was such a bad idea," Simone said again, shaking her head.

"It's going to be fine." George pulled Simone forward to the door, knocking briefly.

The door was pulled open quickly by a short House-elf. Its large brown eyes skimmed over George, taking in his messy red hair, black slacks and white dress shirt before moving to Simone. "Miss Zabini! We was expecting you. Come in, come in."

"Thank you, Zip." The couple looked at each other before moving inside, the door closing behind them.

"Madam Zabini is in the lounge, waiting for you and your company, Miss Zabini," The little house elf told them, leading them across the foyer to a double door that sat between two curved staircases. George was beginning to feel smaller and smaller in that house.

Zip pushed open the doors before moving a side. "Miss Zabini and Mr. George Weasley to see you Madam."

"Thank you Zip. Please go and check to make sure lunch is coming along as planned."

Zip bowed and popped out of the way, leaving Simone and George to enter the lounge. A woman lay stretched out on an open ended love seat, looking like something out of an old film in a white flowing gown, her black hair tied up in a half-bun, the rest flowing to her shoulders. George could see Simone in the brown eyes that assessed him as he and his girlfriend approached. This must be Ms. Alexandria Zabini.

Blaise Zabini sat in the window seat, watching George with a blank expression on his face. George hadn't ever really paid the younger boy much attention. The only thing he knew about him was that he was the same year as Ron and a Slytherin.

Lastly, sitting in a lounge chair was a man who was quite obviously not Mr. Zabini. His hair was blond, his eyes blue, and his skin pale and he was smiling in a manner that was not forced or cynical. What was he doing here? George glanced at Simone but she didn't seem at all surprised to see the man.

"Darling," Ms. Zabini called, standing gracefully and putting a dazzling smile on her face. "It's good to see you again. How is the flower business?"

The disdain in that question was so obvious. Simone's eyebrow twitched a little but she responded, "Blooming."

The man in the corner chortled. "Good one."

Ms. Zabini shot him a look but it vanished as quickly as it came. "Since you haven't been here I haven't had the pleasure of introducing you to Christopher Burtan, my husband. He is quite the joy to have around. Blaise just adores him, don't you Blaise."

Blaise made a noncommittal sound.

"You must be George Weasley," Ms. Zabini crooned holding out her hand, palm down.

George took her hand and shook it heartily. "Nice to meet you Ms. Zabini."

The woman's shocked face was priceless really. She delicately pulled her hand out of George's grasp. "Charming," she said, looking to Simone.

Zip appeared back in the doorway. "Lunch is ready, Madam."

"Lovely. Shall we move to the dining hall?"

Mr. Burtan got out of his chair and offered his arm to Ms. Zabini. She took it and allowed him to glide her out of the lounge. Blaise got off his perch moving to his sister. "You realize you've just made this lunch twenty times longer don't you? Way to go, Simone."

"Did I do something wrong?" George asked.

Simone shook her head. "You were supposed to kiss her hand, not shake it."

"Oh." Honestly he hadn't known. Strike one for George Weasley. He couldn't let this lunch be a disaster. He wanted so much to impress Ms. Zabini and make Simone happy. He'd be better from now on. He offered his arm to Simone. "Come on. It's not over yet."

Simone nodded, taking his arm. "I so wish it was."

Silently, George couldn't help but agree.

Lunch started quietly (awkwardly) enough. Simone knocked her elbow against his when picked up the salad fork for his veal. They hadn't even had salad! What was the need of putting the extra fork there if they weren't going to use it?

Surprisingly it was Mr. Burtan who broke the silence. "Say George, that's some battle scar you've got there. Must have an interesting story!"

"Er –" It was often that George forgot he didn't have an ear anymore. He could still hear as fine, if not better, than anyone else. "Yes, er . . . I received it during the war, helping Harry Potter."

"Jolly good!" Mr. Burtan cried out.

Ms. Zabini and Blaise exchanged glances. George didn't think Mr. Burtan was going to be around much longer. The Zabini's hadn't really supported any side in the war but George knew they were the Pureblood fanatic types.

"So, Mr. Weasley," Ms. Zabini started as dessert was brought out and the other dishes cleared, "what is it you do for a living?"

"I own a joke shop, Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. I produce my own jokes and pranks and we've gotten pretty popular in Diagon Alley. We were thinking about opening a branch in Paris next –"

"A joke shop," Ms. Zabini repeated. The uneasy tension filled the room.

"Yes ma'am."

"Hmm."

Strike two for George Weasley.

Simone's dessert spoon hit her glass with a loud clatter, everyone's eyes snapping to her. "Simone, dear, do please try not to be so clumsy," Ms. Zabini sighed, shaking her head.

Simone mumbled a 'yes, mother' as a new spoon appeared on the table.

"So, Mr. Weasley, what are you're intentions for my daughter?"

"Mother!" Simone gasped.

"Er, intentions?" George repeated.

"Yes, dear boy. If I am to understand you've been courting my daughter for seven months now. Surely you're planning on making an honest woman out of her."

Whoa! Marriage? Where had that come from?

"I, uh –"

"Mother, please –" Simone began but her mother cut her off.

"Simone these are legitimate questions. Since your father isn't here and I am the matriarch of this family it is my duty to ensure that you have a . . . proper husband. Mr. Weasley, you were saying?"

"Er –"

"I mean, surely you plan on getting her out of that dreadful apartment she's secluded herself to."

"Well I –"

"And obviously you'll make it so that she'll stop working in that abysmal flower shop. You'll be able to support her with that – shop you own, won't you?"

"I –'

"Mother," Simone said, "you're being completely – completely –"

"What?" Ms. Zabini declared. "The man owns a joke shop! A joke shop of all occupations. How in the world is he going to support you and my grandchildren?"

Strike three for George Weasley.

"Grandchildren! Mother, we've only been together seven months! Marriage and grandchildren are the farthest thing from our minds right now!"

"Well you should. For Merlin's sake, Simone, you're seventeen. I was twenty when I married your father and had you and Blaise."

"I'm not you mother! When I get married I want one marriage, not eight. I want to actually be in love and have children who I'll actually care about and love and tell them how wonderful they are, not how often they mess up. And further more, George's business is quite successful and if we were to get married, he would be able to take perfectly good care of me, thank you very much."

The room fell silent. Blaise was watching Simone, a new look in his eyes. Mr. Burtan squirmed uncomfortably in his seat while Ms. Zabini folded her napkin in her lap. "Honestly, I just wanted to make sure that you could be probably cared for. No need to get edgy, darling."

They finished their desert quietly, Simone looking embarrassed. Thankfully it ended soon enough, finding Simone and George standing on the porch, Ms. Zabini in front of them. "Well that was a lovely lunch. It was a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Weasley."

"Er, the same to you Ms. Zabini."

Ms. Zabini leaned forward, pressing a kiss to her daughter's cheek. "Do try to visit more often Simone."

The door closed and George turned to Simone, who was pulling the pins from her hair, letting it fall to her neck. "Simone –"

"George, I really don't want to talk about it," Simone replied, shaking her head.

Nodding, he took her hand and they Apparated from the house, leaving the Zabini and Estate and leaving George with a really bad feeling that maybe he wasn't good enough for Simone Zabini.

A/N: So this is the first shot of George and Simone. I hope you guys like it and I'll see you next time!

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