The Family Party
June 25, 2005 7:04 PM
Blaise arrived early at Hannah's so he could help her dress. It wasn't a formal affair, but people still dressed a bit nicer for large family dinners like this. He was still freaking out about how to introduce Hannah, and blamed it completely on Astoria, Pansy, and Draco combined.
As usual, he tripped over the kneazle as he flooed in. It was like the damn thing knew he was arriving. He cast a charm to clean off his clothes and headed towards the stairs.
She ran out of her bedroom in her knickers and bra with several dresses in each hand. "I can't decide! What if I wear something that offends Nonna! I can't offend her!"
Blaise blinked. "Well I guarantee you'll offend her more if you wear nothing." He tried to get closer but was hit in the face with fabric. "Will you stop waving your arms about? Settle down and let me see."
Hannah threw all the dresses on the bed and went back to the bathroom to mess with her hair and make-up. She was a wreck. The more she had thought about meeting his family, the more nervous she had become. Now she was in complete frenzy mode.
He laid out the dresses and looked over all of them with a chuckle. "You've got to calm down. It's just a dinner. Draco's going to be there, and you've already met one of my sisters, my father, and my grandmother. You've done the hard parts."
"I have not met your stepmother or all your sisters. That is the real test, trust me. If I wear something that's too proper, I'm too prissy. If I wear something that shows too much skin, I'm a slut. It has to be perfect."
Blaise had to laugh at her logic. "Trust me, there are woman more prissy and slutty than you in my family. There's really nothing to worry about, but if it'll help, I'd say go with this one." He held the dress out to her.
It was her yellow sundress. It was her favorite. Hannah smiled and felt much better.
"Do you like that one then?"
He nodded. "I do. I'm not a big fan of yellow, but Italy does hold the nickname the country of the sun. It suits you."
Hannah took it from his hands. It showed a great deal of bare skin, but she had a little sweater that matched it that she could wear.
"Wait until you see it on me," Hannah said, taking the dress.
His eyebrow went up and he barely refrained from making a smart-arse comment. "I'm sure it'll be fabulous, but if you don't get dressed soon, we're going to arrive last, and that will
be embarrassing, because the last person to arrive gets humiliated."
Hannah stuck her head around the door. "Do you forget who I am? You probably take longer to get dressed."
She shut the door and donned the dress as quickly as possible. A quick fluff of her hair and the addition of lip gloss and she strolled out, doing a little twirl before him. She still needed to grab her sandals, purse and sweater, but other than that she was ready to go.
All he could do was blink for a few moments. She looked exquisite. "I do believe you've achieved the perfect cross between slutty and prissy."
Hannah laughed as she hurried and slid her feet into her sandals and grabbed her purse and the sweater.
"Hurry then, I don't want to be late."
It was funny how a small thing like him liking her favorite dress on her could bolster her confidence so much.
Blaise held out the portkey and activated it. Instead of arriving on the front portico like he expected, their feet dropped down on the upper level in the hallway... right outside a linen closet.
He had to put a hand around her waist to steady her and his other against the door so he didn't slam into it. Something told him they were meant for the tiny closet instead of the hallway. His eyes narrowed as he threw down the book that acted as a portkey and leaned over the railing on the other side of the hallway.
"Serena! I'm going to kill you!
" he shouted, and laughter floated up from the general area of the larger sitting room.
Blaise looked back at her. "Sorry. I forgot she was wanting revenge for banishing all of her left shoes. I should have known better than to accept the portkey from her."
Hannah blinked. "Well, she didn't have to punish me as well. Did she know you were bringing a guest... because that's quite rude. What if I were easily offended?"
Her eyes were dancing with mirth, so he would know she was not serious, but his relatives who were obviously listening in could not see her.
"That's a fine way to get you to keep a lady-friend around, isn't it?"
Blaise snorted. "If you were offended by that, you would not survive the night." He held out his hand to held her down the stairs. "Honestly, I don't know if anyone told her you were coming, which I hope is the truth because that closet is small
. One of us would have ended up in the walls."
Hannah swallowed nervously. Enclosed spaces tended to bother her a little. She did not think she would have held her composure if she'd ended up in a wall.
"You'll tell them, won't you? N-not to ever do that to me."
Hannah was probably cutting the circulation off in his arm.
Blaise patted her hand. "You're not going to be shoved into the walls, I promise. And getting the portkey from Serena was a one time deal. I can apparate or floo here, but I didn't want to be tired from the side-along and I didn't want your dress to be dirty. No worries."
Three screaming children ran in front of him and he had to stop before he ran them over. Blaise took a deep breath. "Oh I already need a drink."
Hannah gave his arm a pat. "You'll be fine. Now, do you know who those children were?"
Blaise made a face. "Yes. Children of cousins. One of them belonged to the evil Adelina. I'll point her out, and you are to steer clear of her if you are alone. I have a habit of pissing her off."
"That's an understatement," Dona said as she came around the corner and gave him a hug. "I heard you yelling."
He snickered and released Hannah's hand to give his sister a hug. "Hannah, this is Donatella, my baby sister. Dona, this is Hannah."
"Hello," Hannah said nervously. "It's lovely to meet you finally. I've heard a bit about you. Mainly from Draco, so don't worry, I didn't take much of it to heart."
"Oh it's so lovely to meet you as well. I'd love to stay and chat but I must go rescue my boyfriend from the evil clutches of my uncles." She started to dash away but turned back to Hannah. "And I love your dress."
Blaise stared after her. "She got a new boyfriend then. Remind me to threaten him sometime tonight."
"Oh Blaise, don't," Hannah said. "That would be mean."
"Who'd she come to this clam-bake with?"
Hannah and Blaise turned to see Pevensie and Draco. Hannah was surprised to see Pevensie in heels instead of her boots. She looked very grown up in her dress. The girl was practically all leg. the pink was not in her hair tonight. She looked way older than fifteen.
"Holy shit," Blaise said in shock. "What the hell did you do to her?"
"Now this," Pevensie said, gesturing to herself. "This I could buy Rowan digging. Not that I care, but I look hot, yeah? It's pretty awesome. Don't worry, B. I'll be back to being a fashion victim tomorrow, but tonight? Tonight I am a princess. Invisible tiara though, because I don't do headbands."
Hannah had to giggle.
"I took her shopping," Draco said.
He refused to pout because Draco didn't include him on the shopping trip. "Well, to answer your earlier question, I have no idea who she brought. I don't know what happened to the other idiot she was dating. What I do know is that I need a drink."
If only sitting in the corner would be that easy. Voices were coming closer and Blaise groaned. "I think I can make it if Addie stays away and Nico doesn't try any of his shit."
"You make it sound so terrible."
"That's because it is
," Blaise whined, turning around. The voices he'd heard earlier had arrived. "You three are too sadist to agree."
Blaise gave each woman a hug and kiss on the cheek. "Hannah, Pevensie, this is my aunt Adrienne, aunt Sabrina, and step-mother Giannina. This is Hannah Abbott and Pevensie Karlsen."
Pevensie did the head nod of acknowledgement and Draco elbowed her. She moved forward and did a little curtsy.
"Draco's given me strict orders not to hit anyone tonight. It's a pleasure to meet you all."
Draco pinched the bridge of his nose and groaned. Hannah giggled nervously.
Blaise's aunt Sabrina snorted. "I've made no such promise tonight."
"Sabrina!" Adrienne hissed while Blaise snorted.
"You know that it doesn't matter how much Aunt Corina pisses you off, you can't hex her again." Blaise turned to Hannah. "Everyone thinks I get my bad temper from my mother. Oh no, it's from the women on this
side of the family."
Gia put a hand on his arm. "Your grandfather wishes to speak to you in private. We'll keep Hannah company." Blaise looked torn, but knew what his grandfather wanted to speak to him about. "Go."
"And make sure Draco doesn't run off, and especially don't let Pevensie near Addie. Or
Sabrina shook her head as she pushed Blaise. "My Sofia wouldn't do anything."
Everyone snickered at Blaise's look before he disappeared around the corner. Gia turned to Hannah, Draco and Pevensie. "I know that Draco's familiar with this house and Pevensie's been here before, but why don't I take you on a tour of the main grounds, Miss Abbott?"
"I wanna come with," Pevensie said. "I feel the need to guard the goods here for Blaise."
Hannah blinked at Pevensie.
Draco was looking pinched. "Please do not hit anyone."
"Only if you pinky swear with me."
"Why must you be so undignified?"
"Because it makes that vein in your forehead dance," Pevensie replied and held out her crooked pinky.
"Gods dammit," Draco said, taking it.
Adrienne tried to hold in the laughter, but Sabrina had no such qualms. "Oh it's been so long since I've had the pleasure to be amused by Draco. You must come around more often. You're too skinny."
"I'm just fine, thanks," Pevensie said. "I'm really active and burn off a lot of energy staking vampires and fighting the forces of darkness. I eat plenty. Ask Blaise."
Hannah felt nervous without Blaise there. She wasn't quite sure what to talk about or say.
A young child ran up and began pulling on Adrienne's pant legs. She made her excuses to deal with a problem. Sabrina stuck around and looped her arm through Hannah's. Despite being the oldest of Blaise's aunts, she often acted the youngest. "So, Alessandro tells me Blaise brought you riding. Did you enjoy Kalli?"
"I did," Hannah said, blushing as she recalled how intimate the ride had been. "We had a picnic. It was lovely."
"Is a picnic all you had," Pevensie asked. "Because you're very pink right now."
"You are not appropriate," Hannah hissed.
"Rarely if ever."
Draco grabbed his ward's arm. "Excuse us. We need a chat. Back in a mo."
He dragged her off, leaving Hannah quite alone with Sabrina and Gia. She swallowed nervously.
Gia chuckled. "They're perfect for each other. I don't think he would do so well with someone who was well-mannered. If I've heard correctly, you work with him, do you not? What is your job?"
"Well, I sort of smooth communications between Britain's Ministry and the Council. I report the goings on. The Ministry seems very nervous about the girls, but they're just girls most of the time. Unless you piss one of them off. Pevensie can take down a grown man with very littl effort. They go out and risk their lives. I'm rubbish at it. One of my first patrols I got bitten."
"Give me horses any day," Sabrina muttered, shaking her head. "Well, I suppose you know Blaise from his horrid school days as well."
"Not the real Blaise. I thought I knew him, but he's not like everyone thinks he is," Hannah said, smiling in a goofy way. "I thought he was terrible, but then I got to know him, and he's just... unique and special and kind when he thinks no one is paying attention."
Sabrina and Gia shared a look over Hannah's head with a smile. "Well, to continue with the tour, you saw the grand parlor. Off to the right is one of the sitting rooms, and up to the left is the kitchen. Our mother is slaving away and hardly allows anyone inside for these big dinners. Too many people trying to sneak food in. Almost everyone is outside."
"Blaise told you there would be many people here, yes?" Gia asked worriedly. "I don't want you to feel overwhelmed."
"Yes, he said there would be lots of people. Do you think it would be all right for me to stick my head in the kitchen to say hello? She's seen my kitchen. I'd love to see hers. Tell Nonna I promise not to sneak any food."
"I'll take her," a voice said behind them and Sabrina grinned.
"Hannah, this is my daughter Sofia. She'll take you to the kitchen if you'd like."
"Oh yes, I would. Very much."
Sofia led her in and Hannah was amazed. It was the kitchen of dreams, and the smells coming from it made her mouth water and her belly rumble in anitcipation.
"Nonna Desi," Hannah said. "I promise I'm not here to sneak samples beforehand. I just wanted to say hello. And to see your kitchen. My goodness, how could you stand to cook in mine? This is so beautiful. I would set up a bed and sleep here."
Hannah ran a hand over the countertops in appreciation.
Desideria spun around and smiled. "Ah, Hannah! You made it! How are you, dear? I'd give a hug but my apron is covered in flour. Come, come, I show you around a bit." She pointed her spoon at Sofia. "You sit at that table and touch nothing."
"But I'm hungry! Can't I snag some bread?"
"One slice." Desideria shook her head. "They eat like they haven't touched food in months. I digress, so you like the kitchen?"
"Oh, it's lovely. If I had a kitchen like this, I would bake all day, but I don't want to distract you. However, if you need help, I offer my services."
Hannah was smiling brightly. She honestly liked Blaise's grandmother. Quite a bit. The woman had a way of making Hannah feel at ease.
"You should see the kitchen in the Manor in England. Even before the renovation, it was a sight." She started to give her some ingredients for some appetizers to be sent out early.
Sofia sat munching on some bread at the table in the corner. "So, Blaise hasn't asked you over to the Manor? That's strange."
"He's having it redone at the moment. He always mumbles some nonsense about not wanting me to see it messy, but I wouldn't mind. Still, he's so prissy about certain things. I thought it best to let him have his way on this. From what I understand his house elf Didly is in love with the newly remodled kitchen."
Sofia chuckled. "He's so uptight about being messy. We used to throw dirt at him when we were younger just to see him freak out. Then when he figured out that nonna didn't know about it and would gladly pop us in the arse with that damn dish towel hex--"
"You watch your language, Sofia,
" Desideria interrupted in rapid Italian.
She rolled her eyes. "Pardon my language, but we had no idea that nonna was so protective of Blaise. He likes tattling on us."
"I do not," Blaise interrupting, walking into the kitchen behind her. He flicked her on the ear and she slapped him on the arm in return. "Nonna! Sofia hit me!"
He grinned at his cousin when nonna glared at Sofia. Blaise took a seat next to Hannah. "She's got you slaving away in the kitchen? How terrible. Bet you didn't think you'd be working, did you?"
"Blaise, I offered to help. You know I like to cook. It soothes me." She leaned close to him. "Did you have a good talk? Is everything all right?"
Blaise grinned and stole the bread Sofia was eating, only to have it stolen back just as quickly. He made a face and started munching on the appetizers Hannah was making. "It was fine. As the oldest grandson I have to make a speech. He just wanted to make sure I knew what I was going to say."
Hannah lightly slapped his hand. "You eat when everyone else does."
He looked at her incredulously. "What the hell?" Blaise glared at his grandmother. "You've corrupted her."
"You eat when everyone else does," Desideria said finally. "Sofia, come help me drain this."
His cousin stood up, leaving Hannah and Blaise alone at the table. He grabbed the left over bread. "That was cruel. I haven't eaten all day."
"I promised Nonna that I would not sneak any bites, so that means you can't either. It will be ready soon. You aren't going to waste away before then. It's not my fault you didn't eat today. Now behave. I'd hate for your grandmother to have to pop you with a towel tonight."
"Now you're just being mean."
Before she could say anything else, a blur raced through the kitchen and jumped into Blaise's lap, making him grunt. It was his nephew, Matthew.
"Watch it boy, you're heavy."
Blaise's sister, the oldest of the three, stood by Sofia's empty seat. "He grows every day."
"Hannah, this is my sister Cecelia, Matteo and Catarina's mum. Celia, this is Hannah."
"It's nice to meet you," Hannah smiled. "I've spent a few times with Matt and Cat. There are several of us at the Council who are quite fond of them."
"And they're just as fond of you and
their uncle Blaise." He rolled his eyes. "Well he wanted to come say hi to you both, but we need to be outside because we know that nonna Desi likes an unpopulated kitchen."
Cecelia picked up Matthew from Blaise's lap and propped him on her hip. "Once you two get done slaving away in the kitchen you should come outside. The portico is fantastically decorated."
Blaise nudged the plate Hannah was finishing up with. "Well? Want to brave my family?"
"Oh," Desideria said waving her hand. "You make it sound so terrible."
"Of course," Hannah said, smiling.
Really she was terrified and nervous as hell. She moved slowly to wash her hands. She was telling herself not to shake uncontrollably or fall down.
Blaise put a hand around Hannah's waist and led her to the large family patio on the back. Cecelia hadn't been lying. The large table was off to the side, and large lights were strung up around the open area. There were padded seats along the stone walls.
"Well, nonna sure did outdo herself this year." He spotted the star of the dinner to the right and started to pull Hannah in that direction. "Did I properly explain what this whole dinner is?"
"It's for the baby. To celebrate the naming, yes?"
"God knows why we do it, but we're suckers for tradition. That's my cousin Elianna. We call her Ellie. She's the one who had the baby. Yet another girl. The man to her right is her husband Stefanos and part Greek like me. They already have one boy, Elias. This is their first daughter, Osanna, but they're calling her Anna. And the man to her left is my grandfather, Calegero, but we call him nonno Cale."
Blaise walked up to the group and kissed Ellie's cheek and shook Stefanos' hand. "Hannah, this is Ellie, Stef, and my grandfather Calegero. This is Hannah Abbott."
"Hello," Hannah said, but she was looking at the baby. "It's lovely to meet all of you."
Ellie stood up and held out her daughter to Blaise who looked at her with wide eyes. "You're going to have to hold her later anyway, and I have to use the restroom."
"You like seeing me squirm."
"I do, but I also need to use the bathroom."
Blaise gingerly took the little baby, who was thankfully asleep. Ellie took her husband's hand and drug him off, him looking more confused with every step they took. Blaise turned to Hannah. "Everyone is against me. Did you see that? That was a trap."
His grandfather chuckled and motioned for them to sit.
Hannah was so stunned by the image of Blaise holding the baby that she almost did not sit down. He looked natural with the baby. She could never tell him so. He'd disagree. Hannah sat gingerly, eyes on him.
"They trap you because they hope you'll get the hint. You are wonderful with children," his grandfather said with a grin. "Miss Hannah, it is a pleasure to finally meet you. You look radiant this evening."
"Thank you. I'm so pleased to meet you as well. You have a lovely home. Thank you for having me."
She looked at Blaise out of the corner of her eye. The image of him with the baby was making her feel funny.
"Well when I heard from my wife how much she enjoyed your company, she insisted I invite you along with Draco and his ward. You mean a lot to Blaise."
Hannah was suddenly very interested in what Blaise's grandpa had to say. "I do? Really?"
It pleased her to hear that Nonna enjoyed her company. It was nice to be liked. That didn't always happen with her.
Blaise narrowed his eyes at his grandfather. He was sneaky sometimes, especially with his words.
"He does not enjoy gatherings too much, but there is less tension in his face. I suspect it is because of your presence."
"Really? Can you wait until I'm not around to do this?
" Blaise asked in Italian.
His grandfather reached over to pat his leg. "And he cares about your opinion of him, which does not happen often."
Hannah smiled. He'd just made her very happy. It was nice to hear that she mattered.
"Well, I care about his opinion of me as well. though I am afraid I tend to act like a crazy person around him."
"Love makes people do crazy things," he responded.
Blaise's jaw dropped and he stared at his grandfather in horror.
Hannah truned pink. "I didn't say... I mean..."
She was terrified. Love scared Blaise. He didn't think it was real. Now he was going to leave.
They were saved when dinner started to appear on the table and Ellie was magically at Blaise's side taking back the baby. Blaise shook his head, vowed to put the comment behind them. He wanted to get farther away from the baby and his grandfather as he could. "Come on, I'll show you where to sit."
"But can't I hold the baby first," she asked.
Blaise was about to hand Anna back to Ellie but her son appeared and started crying about being pushed down by one of his cousins. He chuckled and let Hannah hold Anna, seeing as Ellie was back helping her other child. "I feel rather stupid asking this, but you have held a baby before, right?"
Hannah gave him a look. "What do you think?"
She held the little girl close, loving the smell. Babies had their own sweet smell. Hannah loved it. It was like puppy breath. It didn't last long, and it faded quickly once it decided to go, so catching it was special. Hannah rocked little Anna gently and whispered secrets into the tiny girl's ear about her Cousin Blasie.
Blaise grinned as he watched Hannah with the baby. She looked like all his cousins did with their own children. He led her over to their seats. Once they were seated, he pointed to his cousin, Anastasia. "In about seventh months, we'll be doing this all over again, so you'll have plenty of more children to coo at."
He looked at her carefully. "Are you enjoying yourself?"
Hannah smiled at him. "Yes, actually. She's a beautiful little girl."
She smoothed Anna's hair and kissed the top of the baby's head. If someone did not take her away soon, she would completely freak him out with the cooing noises.
"She's a Zabini. We're all beautiful," he joked. "It's a curse, really."
Hannah made a face. "And you're so modest too."
"Who are you dating?" Draco asked, taking a seat.
Hannah looked at Blaise with wide eyes. Were they dating? He had never said.
"Oooo, a baby," Pevensie said, leaning in. "I hope she doesn't poop. Baby poo smells worse than Bycan demon blood."
Draco closed his eyes in pain.
Blaise grinned as he looked over at Draco, hoping they could get away from the dating comment. Had he been talking to Astoria and Pansy? "Where have you two crazy kids been? Hiding away in a closet until the food appeared?"
"Draco was keeping me away from certain people. Then I got to see the dogs... which are awesome. So... everyone looked awkward at the word dating. What's up with that? You guys are dating, right? I hope so with all the making out you do at the Council."
Hannah tried to say something but only a squeak came out.
"Just because you kiss someone doesn't mean you're dating, and this is hardly the place to question us about it, not that it's any of your business," Blaise said in a low voice before turning to Draco. "Can't you muzzle her?"
Hannah felt stupid now. Hell, she was stupid. She looked down and willed herself not to overeact.
"Hannah, I'd like to hold Anna," Draco asked softly before glaring at Blaise.
Pevensie suddenly felt terrible. She had a big mouth. Sometimes she really stepped in it and hurt other people. She didn't want to have upset Hannah. She liked Hannah. Hannah was always so nice to her. She cared about the slayers. Most of them really liked her. Half of them wanted the Ministry to fire her, so Giles would hire her.
Hannah handed the baby to Draco in a bit of a daze.
"I see you've traded up."
Blaise put both hands on the table in an effort not to grab for his wand. The one person here who could bring out the worst in him just stopped by their group. The oldest grandchild and bitchiest woman on the planet, his cousin Adelina was a force to be reckoned with in a courtroom, but being related to her sucked.
"Addie, I see you're still the one who has to have all the attention. Can't stand that it's your sister who gets to be praised tonight?"
He turned to Hannah. "This is my cousin Adelina, but you're welcome to call her Addie. She's the oldest grandchild and she thinks that means something." Then Blaise looked over at Pevensie. "If you want to hit something, she's fair game."
"While I would normally agree," Draco said. "Remember our talk?"
Pevensie considered. "The remember you're a lady talk or the pick your battles talk?"
"Got ya." She looked at Adelina. "Behave and I will."
"He hasn't traded anything," Hannah said. "Excuse me please."
She got up to find the bathroom. Pevensie looked at Draco and Blaise before hurrying after Hannah.
Blaise glared at his cousin as she chuckled and walked off. "One of these days, I'm going to kill her. Hannah's nervous already. Between that and nonno Cale's comments, she's probably a wreck. Dinner's going to be served soon. Should I go after her?"
"Yes," Draco hissed. "You moron. Just because you kiss someone doesn't mean you're dating?
She was sititng right next to you. She heard you say it. How do you think that made her feel? I don't know how you end up with so many girlfriends being so bloody stupid."
Draco was rocking the baby and glaring.
Blaise glared right back. "If you weren't holding my cousin's baby..." he trailed off before standing to find Hannah. He spotted Pevensie leaning against a door he knew led to a bathroom. "Go on back to Draco. I've got this," he said quietly.
"Have you?" Pevensie said, then made her best Draco face. "You okay with me threatening your cousin Adelina a little? Because Hannah's sensitive. She's my friend. If anybody upsets her, they get to find out how excellent my roundhouse kick is."
"Draco's set her jacket on fire once and I laughed the hardest. Go for it," Blaise said firmly. "Now go."
She did and Blaise leaned against the door. "Are you okay in there?"
"I'm fine," Hannah said, dabbing at her eyes with toilet tissue.
She had told him she would stop acting crazy, and at the first sign of pressure she goes off the rails again.
"You can't let what Addie said get to you. We've had it out for each other for years. She's... cruel sometimes. Now dinner is going to be up soon, and I know I'd hate to miss that dish you helped make."
Hannah dabbed at her eyes one more time before opening the door.
"I'm fine," Hannah said, plastering a smile on her face.
She needed to not be upset over this. He didn't need her acting like a maniac tonight. Not in front of his family especially. Sure, she was upset, but she needed to pretend she was not. Just needed to not expect anything from him so she would quit being disappointed and hurt when he didn't like her like she liked him.
He wasn't an idiot. He knew she had been crying. "And I'm sorry if what I said about the kissing hurt you. I didn't mean it like it sounded," he said slowly, unsure if he was doing this right. "I didn't want my family to think I brought you because we liked to snog in dark corners at your workplace."
"We can talk about it another time. Tonight isn't about us."
She forced a smile to her face and pushed her feelings aside, holding out her hand to him.
He kissed the back of her hand as he led her back to the patio.