If You’ll Have Me

Chapter 2

THE GOODBYES dragged on for what seemed like ages. Her mother wept, promising to send an owl at least once every two weeks, and her father pulled her into another tight hug. They both reminded her that it wasn't too late to change her mind, and that if she grew to miss them too much, she knew the address. That the floo network or simple apparation were viable options if for whatever reason, they couldn't come get her. Eleanor refused, though.

Of course she would miss them, but she had grown tired of their coddling. Of their constant worrying but doing nothing about it. She knew that she'd be better off without them, even if she'd end up having a miserable time here. It was better than the alternative.

Her father chatted with the Weasley's while her mother waited impatiently in the car, idly tapping her fingers against the dashboard. He hugged her one last time before climbing back into the Cadillac, both of them yelling their thank you's and we'll miss you's from the windows and waving their hands out into the open air.

Eleanor watched from the doorway as her parents drove off, the tires kicking up dirt from the road as the car struggled to take flight. Her father was never the most talented wizard, but he had just barely managed to successfully charm the car. The engine sputtered for a moment before it ascended into the air, vanishing into nothingness as it passed through the clouds.

Mrs. Weasley pulled Eleanor back inside, insisting on giving her a full tour of the house. Even though she had seen much of it already, she appreciated the gesture. It was clear that she was doing her very best to ensure that she felt right at home.

This was nothing like home, though. It was more magical and quaint. More charming with more quirks about it. Even the teapot upon the stove had been cleverly charmed to begin brewing itself when it sensed low energy in the room. The only magical thing about her home were the house elves that dusted and cooked every now and then.

As a sudden exhaustion overwhelmed her, she took a seat at the kitchen table beside Mr. Weasley, who was reading a copy of The Daily Prophet with his glasses on the tip of his nose. He muttered something beneath his breath, squinting his eyes as he scanned them across the page. "Settling in alright, Eleanor?" He asks, tossing the copy upon the table, and she nods while glancing past him to the window. Catching a glimpse of the golden-orange sunset that decorated the sky. It was strange; that even the sun seemed to shine brighter here.

"Yes, thank you." She rests her chin in her hand, still darting her eyes around the room in awe. There was no lack of things to look at, as no nook or corner was left bare. It almost made her life at the estate look like a joke. "Your house is lovely." Says Eleanor, and Mrs. Weasley smacks her lips together in flattery from the kitchen.

"Oh, I'm sure it's nothing compared to what you're used to." She blushes, setting a mug of tea on the table before her, and Eleanor responded with a "That's why it's so great." Earning a chuckle out of Mr. Weasley. Even the teapot upon the stove pulsed out steam from its spout, almost as if in response.

"Arthur, would you call the kids inside? I'm going to begin dinner in a moment." Molly called from the kitchen, and Mr. Weasley complied, yelling after them from the open window. Their silhouettes came into view almost instantly as they trotted toward the house, the sun beginning to set behind them while they raced through the field.

They were still dripping with water, it seemed, given Mrs. Weasley's sudden need to shout and demand that they dry off outside. "If so much as a drop gets on these floors, you'll be cleaning it!" Her shrill voice hollered from the kitchen, followed by another comment beneath her breath. "Always making me clean up after them, these kids."

Muffled laughter came from the side of the house as they dried themselves off, and Ginny was the first to step cautiously inside, glancing down once or twice to be sure that she wasn't dripping onto the floor. "You should've joined us, Elle." She said, taking a seat across from her at the table. Her skin was a bright shade of pink that nearly matched her hair.

But before she could justify herself, her thoughts were interrupted by the loud conversation coming from the twins, who were the last to enter the house. Fred had been rambling loudly about some run-in that he swore he had with a bunch of cornish pixies, and George laughed. That loud, ringing laughter that made you wonder what could cause something so brilliant and bright.

The smile on his face softened quickly, once his gaze met hers, and his hands reached to grip the towel that had been hanging it around his shoulders. "Well there you are." His eyebrows lifted in anticipation. "Did you lose your way to the creek?"

Internally, she cursed at herself for allowing the thought to slip her mind; That she was supposed to rejoin them at the creek after exchanging farewells with her parents. For a moment, she worried that he really had been bothered, but the amused expression upon his face told her otherwise. He was teasing her.

"No, your parents just offer more interesting conversation." She says with a smile, and his jaw clenches, still grinning as he leaned against the wall behind him. Entertained.

He didn't say anything else, but just remained where he stood. She hadn't noticed how tall he was until now, as he towered over her from where she sat. Even if she were to stand up, he would surpass her height immensely. At least by more than a foot.

He gives her one last glance before tearing away, joining Fred, Ron and Harry in the living room and leaving her dumbfounded. Mrs. Weasley scrambled restlessly in the kitchen, and Ginny rushed over to assist her, discarding the stems of broccoli upon the cutting board as Eleanor joined, helping to gather plates and silverware.

"What is it with your brother?" Eleanor asks in a hushed voice, and Ginny chuckles, shaking her head and rolling her eyes simultaneously.

"Which one?"

She should've known to be more specific, given that she did in fact, have six brothers. "George. He's so quiet compared to you all."

Ginny turns, glancing over her shoulder to her brothers, Harry and Hermione who were gathered by the fireplace, all spewing incoherent sentences at George who couldn't do anything more than laugh.

"That's really unlike him, actually." She says, reaching across the counter for a towel. "He's usually just as loud as Fred." And as if on queue, Fred shouted from the living room, followed by a loud thump and a crash. Mrs. Weasley let out a groan of annoyance, and immediately dropped the knife in her hand, hurrying to the living room to lecture him yet again.

She had found that hard to believe. That George was anything close to his twin that he seemed to differ so greatly from. That he could match his loudness in any way aside from his laughter. Perhaps, though, she just hadn't had the opportunity to have a conversation with him. She had only just met him, after all.

Dinner had been served shortly after, and consisted of roasted chicken, steamed broccoli, and mashed potatoes, which to Eleanor's surprise, tasted much better than it looked. Ron, with a mouth full of food, asked her numerous questions about her years at Beauxbatons. If they really spent more time teaching proper manners than they did magic, and why she had attended school there as opposed to Hogwarts.

Beauxbatons hadn't been her first choice in where she would attend school, but her mother insisted that they would offer nothing but the best. Eleanor, however, hated the powder blue dresses and hats that they would have to wear. House robes sounded much better, despite how dramatically they all groaned and complained about how horrible they were.

And as the conversation continued to flow, she felt a sense of contentment rush through her. Though she had only just arrived at the Burrow a few hours ago, it felt like she had been there for much longer. As if she had met everyone months prior and this was nothing but a long awaited reunion.

George, however, still remained quiet. Of course, aside from when he would lean over to Fred every now and then and whisper something to make both of them chuckle. A nosy part of herself couldn't help but wonder what was so funny that caused Fred to nearly spit out his water.

Once their plates were empty, George stood from his seat, walking to her side and taking her plate away before cleaning up the rest of the table. Something flickered inside of her as she watched him, stacking the plates upon one another in the sink. Keeping to himself, yet engaging with everyone except for her.

And as the sun hid away beneath the horizon, the house grew dark, causing all of the lamps and overhead lights to brighten and lighten the room once more. A nearby clock chimed the hour, and one by one, they disappeared up the stairs. Saying their goodnights while Ginny showed Eleanor to her room again, and the curiosity inside of her stirred as she watched George disappear into his room across the hall.
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