Decorating and Flirting
April 7th, 2005 at 2:54 PM
"Here you are, Mrs. Wintourfall," Luna said as she handed the elderly witch a cup of tea and a plate of biscuits. "You were telling me about Lola getting into your make up case, yesterday when we were interrupted."
Mrs. Wintourfall smiled. "Yes, indeed I was, dear. Lola is the trouble maker of the troupe, if you will remember. I'm still not sure how she managed to open the case, but when I found her, she had rouge and lip stick smeared all over her little face. She looked like a clown, to tell the truth. And seems to have developed a taste for loose powder, even if it makes her sneeze."
Luna giggled at the mental picture she had of a crup wearing lipstick, it's cheekbones highlighted by bright blush.
"It didn't hurt her, did it?"
"No, no. I flooed the veterinarian just to be sure, and was assured that as long as she had not eaten any of the cases that she would be fine."
Luna was prevented from responding by the bell above the door jingling. She smiled at her friend and went to help her latest customer.
Blaise slowly started to walk into Flourish and Blott's, running his hands over the spines of the books. There was no way in hell he was going to hire a decorator to handle the Manor, because he was liable to piss every single one off. Instead, he decided to get different ideas from books and throw them all together.
That is, if he knew where said books were. It's not like he'd ever had to search for them before. The last time the Manor had been worked on was when his mother moved in.
She recognized him, of course, the handsome man that was petting the books. He'd been a year ahead of her, in a different house, but she recognized him. All the girls in her year had mooned over him, even her for a day or so. Until she remembered that a pretty face was not enough for a girl to moon over.
"Can I help you find something, Mr. Zabini?" He jumped a little when she spoke, and she had to suppress a smile.
Blaise spun around quickly and tried to place the face. It wasn't very familiar. When he'd first heard his name, he was worried that she was an ex, but this was a situation where his face and reputation preceded him.
It was going to bug him all day. He narrowed his eyes as he looked her over. She had big, blue eyes and blonde hair. She was about the same height as Hannah, but her dress and demeanor were different. She wasn't tense or stressed and almost looked like she was trying not to laugh at him. "I know you from somewhere, but I can't imagine letting a pretty face like yours slip from my mind."
She blinked at him. Pretty?
"I was at Hogwarts at the same time that you were," she told him with a smile. "But you would not have remembered me for my face. Or by my name, most likely. Most people called me 'Loony' at the time."
"An awful thing for them to do," Mrs. Wintourfall called from the tea spot.
"Luna," she told him, taking pity on the confused face. "Was there something in particular you were looking for?"
Ah, he remembered her now. Blaise grinned. "Ravenclaw, one year below me. See? And I even remember your name is Lovegood."
The only reason he really remembered that was because someone silly first year tried to make a pun out of love is good and then promptly was hung over a moving staircase for opening his twat mouth. That was an amusing day.
Blaise snapped out of his memories. "I take it you are a dutiful employee at this fine establishment?"
"Why else would I ask if I could help you find something," she asked with a small frown. "I don't have my Spectrascopes with me at the moment, so I can't tell if you are having a wrackspurt problem or not. Does your brain feel all fuzzy?"
His eyebrow went up. "Only if one of the effects of a fuzzy brain is not being able to find a damn thing in here. Know anything about decorating?"
"Not a thing," she revealed. "But I do know where the books are. If you will follow me?" She waited a moment to make sure he was going to follow her before turning and leading him to the shelves on home decor. Which was next to home improvement and two shelves above fabric crafts.
"Here we are," she said, gesturing to the books. "We also have a few magazines on the subject, which are shelved with the rest of the magazines."
Blaise stared at all the books and resisted the urge to walk out and say fuck it to remodeling. "Well, never let it be said that you don't have a wide range of material on the subject. Bloody hell. Maybe hiring that decorator isn't such a bad idea."
He pulled a random book down and started flipping through the pages.
"We have books on how to choose a decorator as well," she said with a smile. "If you decide to go that route. If you need any other help, with books, I'll be by the counter."
She left him to his search and stood by the counter, close enough to Mrs. Wintourfall that the two could talk.
Blaise's brow furrowed as he put the book back and pulled down another, flipping through it. There was no way he could make a choice in the store. He counted up titles and sighed. It looked like the library was going to grow a bit. "The house elves are going to kill me for adding a new section."
He walked up to the counter and leaned on it. "I don't suppose you have any more books related to my search in the back, do you?"
"Just more of the same. But if you're interested in a specific title, I can special order it for you."
"No need," he replied. "I just wanted to make sure I had everything available to me. I'll take the lot."
Luna nodded and went back down the aisle to the books in question. Most customers would have pulled them from the shelves and taken them to the counter. Somehow she was not surprised that Zabini felt that he didn't need to obey those sorts of unspoken rules. Being a pure blood from an old and rich family had it's perks after all.
She started loading the books into her arms. It was going to take several trips to get them all to the counter and then rung up.
"Would you like to take them now, or send a house elf for them?"
Blaise blinked in surprise. Was she really going to carry all those books back? "Can't you just ring them all up without bringing them up here? That's why I didn't bother. There's got to be at least two dozen."
"I have to check the prices on each individual book," she explained as she turned to carry the first load back to the counter. He was taking up most of the aisle and she had to edge around him, careful to neither drop the books nor hit him with them.
He grinned at her as she carefully placed the books on the counter then went back for the others. When she'd emptied her arms and turned back, he blocked her way. "You know I could charm the books to the counter, don't you? You don't need to get all sweaty on my account."
"It's not a good idea to use magic on the books. It probably wouldn't matter with decorating books, but it's better to not take the risk. Some of the books react oddly to magic. Usually because there's another spell on them. Did you never wonder why magic was forbidden in the Hogwart's library? Or did you ever use the library?"
Blaise furrowed his brow, momentarily forgetting that he was trying to subtly flirt with the interesting store clerk. "We weren't allowed to use magic in the library because of the different magical reactions? Huh. Maybe that's why my house elf hits me in the knees with a spoon when I go in there to practice charms."
"You go into the Hogwart's library to practice spells? That's rather odd." She ducked around him for another load of books. If she pushed it, she could get the remainder of the volumes in this trip.
She started stacking the books on her left arm until she thought it was going to give out from the weight, but managed to get all the books. She used both to hold the load, and turned to go back to the counter, only to run into Zabini, making the books tumble out of her arms.
"Merlin," she muttered as she bent to pick them up again.
Blaise rolled his eyes and picked up the heavier volumes. "It's amazing that you haven't killed yourself yet. This must weight two stone."
"Books don't kill you," she said, frowning as she hefted the last book back into her arms. "Unless they're cursed. Or maybe if someone throws it at your head. But they're not very good projectiles."
He chuckled and followed her to the counter, placing the rest of the books on the others. "You know a lot about books, do you? Read them often?"
"I was a Ravenclaw. And I work in a book store. I'm organizing a private library in my spare time. Yes, I read. Every chance I get."
Mrs. Wintourfall overheard the statement and started to quietly snicker.
"You never answered me," Luna told him as she placed the books on the counter in a neat stack. "Are you planning on taking these now, or would you like to send a house elf for them. I'd offer to arrange owl delivery, but there's too many here for that to be feasible."
Blaise sighed and looked at all the books. "If I can't magic them then I'm not lugging them around, and my house elf is already going to hate me for bringing in new books that he'll have to organize because the library has to be absolutely perfect in order. I don't suppose there are more of you about that could help take these with me?"
"Just me at the moment," Luna declared as she took her wand from behind her ear and touched it briefly to each book. It was a simple spell to detect other magic and would not interact with any charms already on the books.
"This is the only one with magic on it," she told him, pulling the book in question from the pile. She didn't know why Nest Home
would be charmed against fire, but it was.
"The rest will be fine to shrink down if you want."
Blaise took the book from her and shrunk the rest, dropping them in his pocket. "Of course the damned heaviest one would be the one I can't charm. Do you need coins in hand or can you draft from Gringotts?"
"We can draft directly from your vault. I just need your signature on the authorization." She pulled the required paperwork from the shelf below the register and filled out the portions that she could before sliding it across the counter to him. He was buying a fortune in books, probably more than the rest of their sales for the day combined.
He tried to think which of the vaults he wanted to draft from and ended up picking a random number then signing his name. Blaise turned to leave, but stopped at the last moment. "You said you were working on organizing a private library, correct? You enjoy organizing?"
"Yes, I suppose you could say that," she replied, frowning at the segue.
"Well, I have a private library separate from the main one in the Manor, and by library I mean books scattered over tables, chairs, any surface in the room." Blaise relaxed his shoulders and grinned at her. "I don't suppose you'd be willing to take on that job? Or even just consider it at this point?"
"Not at this point, no. The Council library is taking up all of my free time right now. Until it is completed, then I can not take on another project."
Blaise blinked. As far as he knew, there was only one Council with a library large enough to take up that much free time. That was excellent. Now he didn't need to make an excuse to get books here to see if he had a shot with Lovegood. The look on her face when they ran into each other at the Council was going to be fun as well.
"Too bad. But please let me know when you're done with that. I could really use some help with my organizing. We should have tea sometime to discuss it." With a smirk, Blaise turned to leave. "Ta for now, Lovegood."
"Ta," she said as he strode out of the store. Once he was gone, she wandered back over to Mrs. Wintourfall. She needed to restock the interior decorating books, but wanted to check on her friend first.
"Well, that was odd," she said to the elderly witch.
"What was odd about it, dear? A handsome young man flirting with a pretty girl seems perfectly normal to me."
"Pssh. Flirting?" Luna laughed at the idea. "He's more likely to flirt with one of your crups, Mrs. W."