Mia stood on her front porch. She began to pace back and forth, checking her watch at twenty second intervals. She wasn’t sure if she wanted time to speed up or slow down. All she knew was that she wanted Thomas to arrive. She was about to give up hope and refresh her makeup again, when he came walking up to her wearing a charming grin. He climbed up the brick steps that led to the porch, took her hand in his, and kissed her fingers. It took everything she had to ignore the butterflies he sent fluttering through her stomach.
“You look lovely Mia.” He said. She wore a light brown skirt, a crème-colored blouse and a yellow jumper. Her hair was styled in an elegant up-do and her cheeks were dusted with pink blush. Thomas pulled a bouquet of flowers he had been hiding behind his back and presented them to Mia. They were her favorite flower: daisies. She took the flowers, brought them to her nose and smiled as she breathed in their sweet scent. Then, she raised the bouquet up and used them to slap Thomas’s arm.
“You’re always ten minutes early and the day you choose to be a half hour late is the day you agree to meet my parents!” She said. She hit him one last time with the daisies, making flower petals fall to the ground with grace.
“To be fair, I’m only twenty minutes late.”
“Bloody hell, what’s the difference? I’ve been freaking out, my palms are sweaty. I was so worried you wouldn’t show.” She said. He brushed some flower petals from his jacket.
“I’m sorry, love, but I missed my bus. I’m just so used to apparating these days.”
“Then why didn’t you?”
“I didn’t want to risk getting splinched. I didn’t think it would be very charming for me to meet your parents while half my limbs were torn off.” She brushed a loose strand of hair behind her ear and crossed her arms.
“You’ve never been afraid of apparating before.”
“And I’ve never met your parents before, have I? Trust me, you’re not the only one whose been freaking out.” He ran a hand through his dark brown hair and gave her a sincere smile. “I truly am sorry.” She reached over and removed a daisy petal from his hair.
“And I’m sorry for hitting you with these lovely flowers. Oh dear,” She said, looking at the petals that had fallen around her. “I’ve ruined them. I didn’t mean to.” He placed a hand on her shoulder.
“I can fix that.” He took out his wand and performed a silent spell that made the petals swirl from the ground, returning to their proper place in the bouquet. It was as good as new.
“They’re lovely.” Mia said.
“Almost as lovely as you.” He gave her a gentle kiss. She took his hand in hers.
“I didn’t mean to freak out like that.” He laughed and gave her hand a squeeze.
“I’ll admit, I was a bit scared. You’re the most calming person I know. I half expected you to turn my hair orange.”
“Don’t be silly. I would have turned it blue.”
“I could have pulled it off. I’m quite handsome after all. At least, that’s what my girlfriend tells me.” He said. She took a breath.
“Now we just need my parents to approve of you being my boyfriend. Are you ready to go inside?” She asked. He smoothed out his shirt and fixed his hair.
“As ready as I’ll ever be.”
Thomas sat at the dinner table with Mia and her parents. Each of them had plates in front of them that were filled with roast beef, peas, mashed potatoes, and rolls. Forks and knives could be heard against China plates. Thomas felt too nervous to eat, but he didn’t let it show. He cut a portion of roast beef, took a forkful and plopped it into his mouth. It was delicious.
“Thank you for dinner Mrs. Brighton. It’s wonderful.” He said.
“You’re very welcome. So, Mia tells us that you’re quite gifted at Transfiguration. You must be an intelligent young man.” She said. She dabbed her mouth with a napkin and took a sip of red wine.
“Mia has a way of seeing the best in everyone. I’m not sure I would call myself gifted—“
“He’s just being modest. He scores the highest on all the exams. He even tutors other kids who are struggling with the homework.” Mia said.
“Well, that’s very generous of you.” Mrs. Brighton said. Mia tapped her foot against Thomas’s leg under the table. They’re eyes met and she gave him a sly smile.
“Do you play Quidditch?” Mr. Brighton asked. Thomas cleared his throat.
“Yes, Sir. I’m a keeper.”
“And have you won many games?”
“My team and I have won quite a few this season, Sir.” Mr. Brighton poured some gravy on his mashed potatoes.
“Very good. And have you given any thought to your career aspirations?”
“Dad, no need to scare him off. This isn’t an interrogation.” Mia said through a mouthful of mashed potatoes. She wouldn’t normally speak with food in her mouth (at least not under circumstances like this), but her father was playing twenty questions and he simply had to be stopped.
“I’m just getting to know him, angel.” Her dad said. Thomas grinned, revealing his dimples.
“I don’t mind the questions. I’m hoping to become an Auror.” He said.
“That’s a noble profession. So, tell me about how you’ve been enjoying your years at Hogwarts.” Thomas watched Mia eat a forkful of roast beef as her forehead creased with worry. Unlike him, Mia liked to eat when she was anxious. It helped to calm her down. He took a sip of pumpkin juice.
“Hogwarts has given me the best years of my life. Like most young wizards, I learned a lot about magic from my parents. But it’s nothing compared to what you actually learn when you get to school. I never knew I would see myself grow so much. I feel like I’ve tapped into skills I never knew I had.”
“That’s wonderful.” Mrs. Brighton said.
“Thank you. And I must say, your daughter is one of the loveliest people I’ve been lucky enough to meet.”
“It’s good to hear that your studies have meant so much to you. Now, let’s see. I forgot if Mia mentioned it before, but were you also sorted in Hufflepuff house?” Mr. Brighton asked. Thomas wiped some gravy from chin with a napkin.
“No, Sir. Unlike Mia, I’m afraid I lack their patience. I was sorted into Slytherin house.” He said. The room went silent. Everyone paused. Mr. Brighton sighed and loosened his tie.
“Mia knows how I feel about her dating a member of Slytherin House. I’m afraid you’ve come all this way for nothing.” He said.
“What are you saying?” Thomas asked.
“I’m saying that you don’t have my blessing to date my daughter. You’re welcome to finish your dinner and stay for dessert. But after that, I think it’s best you go home.”
“Dad,” Mia started, “You can’t do that—“
“You knew the rules and you deliberately disobeyed me. I strictly forbade you from dating anyone from Slytherin House. They have a long history of being manipulative and unworthy of trust.”
“With all due respect, those are only sterotypes.” Thomas said. It’s true that many Slytherins in his family were terrible people. But he was different, he knew he was. He was a good person because he chose to be.
“Stereotypes that have proven far too often to be true. I’m sorry, but as a parent, my only job is to protect my daughter. And that’s the last I’ll say about it.”
“But Dad, if you just got to know him—“
“Mia, how about you help me get dessert ready.” Mrs. Brighton said. Mia looked at her father, but he only dashed some salt onto his potatoes.
She followed her mother into the kitchen and watched her pull a pie out of the oven. She cut the pie and placed triangular slices on small dessert plates. The pie was filled with cherries.
“So, a Slytherin eh? I don’t think your father was prepared for that one.”
“I wouldn’t have brought him home if I didn’t really like him. And I do. So much. What am I going to do?” Mia asked. Her mother shrugged.
“Sometimes, when you’re not in complete control of a situation, all you can do is eat pie and hope for the best.” Mia shook her head.
“It just isn’t fair. You and dad were in two different houses. He was in Gryffindor and you were in Ravenclaw. It’s like he thinks me being a Hufflepuff makes me this fragile witch who needs to be protected all the time.” She said. Mrs. Brighton wiped her hands onto her apron.
“That’s not true, love. Your father wants to protect you because you’re his daughter. I promise, things will work out.”
“But how do you know?” Her mother shrugged.
“Because we have pie.” She handed Mia two of the dessert plates. “Here, give one to Thomas.” Mia walked back to the dining room, but Thomas’s seat was empty.
“Thomas?” Mia called. She went into the living room and found him putting on his jacket. “You can’t leave yet, we haven’t had dessert.” He looked at her with sad eyes and placed a hand on her arm.
“Look, Mia. You’re the most beautiful, amazing, kind, gifted witch I have ever met. And I wouldn’t trade the time we’ve spent together for anything. Believe me when I say I want nothing more than to fight for you, but I can’t see any way to do it without getting between you and your family.” He smoothed out his jacket. “I’m not worth that.” Tears began to pool in her eyes.
“You’re worth so much to me.” She said. Her hands trembled as she held the dessert plates. Thomas took one from her.
“I’ll eat this, and then I’ll go.” He said. But they both just stood there, not eating. Neither of them were hungry. Mrs. Brighton cleared her throat. She and Mr. Brighton stood in the doorway of the living room.
“I hope you two understand,” Mr. Brighton said, “this is nothing personal. I’m just trying to do what’s best for my family.” Mrs. Brighton crossed her arms.
“I don’t know, Bill. Maybe we’re not giving Thomas a fair chance. Mia has always been a good judge of character. Why shouldn’t we trust that now?”
“Because this boy was sorted into Slytherin House for a reason. And when Mia finds out what that reason is, she is bound to be disappointed and heartbroken.” He said in a matter-of-fact tone. Mrs. Brighton raised her brows.
“Well, I didn’t want it to have to come to this. But I think it’s about time I told Mia a little story.” She said. Mia and Thomas exchanged confused looks.
“What story?” She asked.
“The one that details the time your own father was a student and Hogwarts, and was himself seen dating a girl from Slytherin House.” Mrs. Brighton said. Mia’s jaw dropped.
“You dated a Slytherin?” She asked her dad. His face turned pink.
“We weren’t technically in a relationship. She was my date to the Yule Ball.” He said.
“But the word date is still involved!”
“Yes, yes, fine, we dated. And you know what happened? She pretended to like me the whole night just so she could pull a prank on me. I was afraid of a certain magical creature, and just when the slow dance was ending, she tricked me into kissing one of them right in the middle of the dance floor. Everyone laughed at me and the night ended in public humiliation.”
“Which magical creature was it that scared you, sir?” Thomas asked. Mr. Brighton mumbled an answer, but no one heard him.
“I’m sorry, Dear, what was that? I don’t think they heard you.” His wife said. He cleared his throat.
“PIGMY PUFFS!” He shouted. Mia and Thomas exchanged a surprised look, and then burst out laughing.
“How could you be afraid of pigmy puffs? Their adorable.” Mia said. Her dad squirmed at the memory.
“They small and they’re hands are so tiny. And they’re so fluffy.”
“Sounds to me like you’re still upset that this girl tricked you all those years ago.” His wife said.
“The point is that Slytherins cannot be trusted.” He said. He spoke with authority, but he was still blushing.
“Dad,” Mia started, “come on. I respect you, and you’re one of the bravest men I know. But if a noble Gryffindor like you can be afraid of pygmy puffs, don’t you think it’s possible that a Slytherin can be good?” Thomas wrapped his arm around Mia’s waste and they gave her father pleading looks. Mr. Brighton looked from Mia to Thomas and sighed.
“Fine, fine. Thomas, I’ll give you another chance. But only if you tell me everything about yourself. I want to know about your family, your OWL scores, your past work experience—“
“Thank you, sir, truly. You won’t regret this.” Thomas said. Mia went over and hugged her father, and then her mother.
“Thank you so much, Mum. Thankyouthankyouthankyou.” She said. Her mother kissed her hair.
“No trouble at all, Love. I told you things would work out. Now, let’s all go have some pie.”