The newspaper Ms. Black had brought him laid on the couch, exactly where he had left it the day before. Severus picked it up, sipping his coffee distractedly. Salvador Dali....This brought back memories. He could still remember the scent of new books in that bookstore downtown where he and Lily would spend hours on end at least once a week. It was a small shop that also sold comic books, posters and art prints, a local landmark that had closed just like so many small businesses in Cokeworth did when the mill was closed. In the 80s Cokeworth became a ghost town. Without the mill there was nothing left for more than half the townspeople who depended on it directly or indirectly. The ones who were better off and had jobs in Manchester or Oldham fared better, but it took the city as a whole almost a decade to start getting back on its feet. And even now, Cokeworth was still nothing to be praised. Still a half-dead filthy town living on the shadow of Manchester.
But when he and Lily were children things weren´t as bad. They weren´t good either, but one could live. They´d play in the park near the church, under the watchful eye of Father Thomas. Lily´s family was anglican and moderately practicing while the Snapes had never bothered with religion at all, seen as his parents were more often than not too busy arguing and assaulting each other to care about something as superfluous as spirituality. But even tough neither of the children was a part of his congregation Father Thomas had always been kind to them. As he was to all the kids who played in that park. And concerned...Good grief, the poor man was always worried...Always asking them if their parents knew where they were(as if Severus´ parents would even care), and warning them not to stay out too late...sometimes he´d invite them to events at the church. Nothing religious, just little parties and get togethers...Severus´ mother had gotten most of his toys from Father Thomas´ toy drives...Used toys other children didn´t want anymore, but Eileen always commented on how Father Thomas made sure they were clean and in perfect state. But back then Severus didn´t care much about his kindness...he didn´t care much about anybody that wasn´t Lily, really. Even as an young man, whenever he ran into the priest, the two barely exchanged two words, if that much...Severus wondered if he was still in that church. It had been so long since he last saw him, maybe some ten years...He probably was...When Severus was a child, Father Thomas was barely in his forties, a blond and stocky dynamo with bright blue eyes.
Whenever Severus and Lily weren´t busy running amok the park driving the good Father to the brink of insanity or exploring the woods near Spinner´s End, they´d be in that little bookshop. They hardly ever bought anything, except the occasional cheap comic book or postcard, but the people who worked there saw nothing wrong with letting two moderately well behaved children sit around and snoop around the books. Thinking back that might have contibuted to their running out of business...those people were too bloody nice to non paying-costumers. Their art section was Severus and Lily´s little private paradise. The books were big and printed in nice paper, with gorgeous hardcovers. They never bothered with the text but the pictures...oh, the pictures...They ate them all up. Their favorite pasttime was ignoring the titles and trying to make alternative stories for the pictures. Goya´s "Saturn eating his children" became a horrible ogre plaguing a medieval village, until it was defeated by Anthony Van Dyck´s "Equestrial portrait of Charles I"; Van Gogh´s "Starry night over the Rhone" became a nightly party of fairies celebrating the wedding of their queen and Renoir´s "Luncheon at the boating party" was an ever changing collection of short stories that developed into a true novel with so many twists and turns Severus could barely remember them all. He couldn´t supress a small laugh at the thought of the dreadfully silly stories the nude paintings inspired, and how uncomfortable he was when puberty approached and they started to get to him...Maybe Severus should have tried to access his father´s dirty mags more often... The Spaniards proved to be the best providers of wild storytelling inspirations,tough... Dali and Goya in particular...both of them had been the source of the most flamboyant fantasy and horror stories Severus and Lily could think up.
Severus lost track of how many hours he and Lily had spend looking at those art books...then they´d come home and scribble the stories they had made up in loose sheets of paper, complete with drawings. Sometimes they bought little postcard-sized reproductions and cut them up to make collages. For some reason he had never cut up his little reproduction of Dali´s "Persistence of memory". Sometimes they´d even roleplay the stories in Lily´s backyard. They´d create worlds together...and Severus was sure they´d spend the rest of their lives creating worlds...creating their own world, just for the two of them...a world filled with adventure, joy and...love. Even as a child he dared imagine it... Alas, it was not to be. That old bookstore had disappeared almost at the same time as his dreams and hopes of love. 1980. Lily had married James Potter...Severus came back to Spinner´s End on the eve of their marriage in a masochistic quest to walk the places of their childhood. The bookshop had a « closed » sign on it...Through the filthy glass windows he could see the empty bookcases inside, filled with nothing but dust...Their kings, princesses, monsters and knights gone...never to return.
He looked down at add for the Dali Exhibition. It had opened the day before. "Dali and his time".....what a very mundane and cliché approach for such an unique artist. But these types of chronologically linear exhibitions often provided the viewer with a very informative and relaxing experience. Which might be precisely what Severus needed right now.
Being a wizard living among muggles certainly had many advantages. No need for cars or public transpotation for starters. Severus had quickly changed into a more presentable outfit and apparated to an alley, just a block away from the museum. No more than five minutes. Of course that wouldn´t save him from having to walk among a nerve-wrecking crowd of muggles on his way from that little dark alley to the museum. Severus looked around, measuring the people around him from head to toe...He should have predictited the wave of young and loud muggleswearing washed jeans, oversized sneakers and abhorrently coloured ill fitting t-shirts...And the children...Oh dear Merlin, the children...of course a simplistic "artist and his time" exhibition would actract families desperate to forcefeed their rebelious brats some culture and youngsters desperate to look smarter than they really were ....Should have known better. Severus observed the handful of children running amok in the lawn just ouside the museum... What wouldn´t he and Lily have given to be brought to the Museum more often when they were that age...Alas, Lily´s father had almost no free time on his schedule, working as an accountant for some company in Manchester Severus never cared to know anything about, and her mother wasn´t all too keen on anything remoted related to culture...and even if she was, there would never cross her mind to bring him along with her daughters...It was enough that she let him into her house...almost as if he was a little bug she couldn´t keep outside just by closing the windows. She surely saw the act of letting him in her house as an immense gesture of kindness and charity on her part. Everytime she opened the door for him, Severus could almost hear her mentally congratulating herself for being generous to the point of allowing the kid from Spinner´s End to breathe the same air as her family. As for Severus parents...he was often more confortable when they just forgot about him...less of a hassle.
"Here we are" he stopped at the front desk in the entrace hall where a plump blonde receptionist gave him a brochure and pointed him to the ticket office. Absentmindedly, he paid for the ticket and ignored her instructions, merely nodding and walking forward...Why do museum employees always assume every single visitor is a bumbling barbarian who never set foot in a museum and needs to be guided like a semi-retarded, half-paralysed toddler ?
He passed by the line of posters at the entrance hall and walked into a smaller hall where an oversized screen showed a documentary. He needed no more than a few seconds to loose interest and walk to the next room. A biographical documentary...what a very imaginative way to open an art exhibition. Severus started to wonder if the curator had purposely organised this for high-schoolers...He couldn´t think of any other explanation for that big tv showing information that anybody with half a brain could easily find in any encyclopedia. Were muggles so lazy that they needed to be spoonfed the fact that Salvador Dali was born in Catalonia, had been the leading figure of the Surrealist movement, had lived through the two great wars in adition to the Spanish Civil war, married a woman named Gala and died of heartfailure in the late 80s ? God forbid one had to actually study something when you can just let a tv set do your hard work for you.
He had to admit, tough, that the selection of paintings was superbe. Of course they were arranged in a predictable chronological order, but he had to give the curator his or her due share of credit on managing to bring so many important originals. He or she must have some valuable contacts with other museums. Severus let the sound of his own footsteps lul him into a state of mindless relaxation, as the familiar pictures paraded in front of his eyes, each single one an old friend. Severus and Lily had made up little stories for so many of them, used so many of them in little collages that decorated his bedroom, and most of them were still there, in his boyhood bedroom, which he never had the heart to change since his teenage years. He couldn´t help but get this odd feeling inside his chest at the sight of the originals, hearing the whipers of his distant childhood into the echo of his own steps on the marble floor.
He distractedly paced about for some twenty minutes before deciding to move on to the next room. It was a darkened room with yet another TV set. Severus rolled his eyes...This would be a constant theme wouldn´t it ? Noticing he´d have to go pass by that room in order to move on to the next part of the exibition, he decided to just walk through it. A wise decision considering what the tv set was showing...nonsensical animation shorts, supposedly inspired by Dali´s work. Severus was now pretty certain the curator was trying to reach out to younger audiences and desperately so...He let his eyes get used to the darkness so he could find a way out through the rows of foldable chairs that would´t disturb the very few souls brave (or stupid) enough to sit through that siliness. But as he looked around something, or rather someone, familiar caught his attention. Sitting on the front row and apparently very engrossed by the whimsical animations was none other than Evelyn Black.
Severus narrowed his eyes, trying to get a better look in the semi-darkness lit by the ghostly white light of the screen. There was no mistake. He had known her for a week, but that Greek profile framed by waves of thick brown hair was unmistakable. He looked around and noticed there was a row of chairs proped against the wall, turned sideways so whoever sat on them would get a good view of the screen. He walked over and sat on one of them, a seat that gave him a perfectly clear vantage of the woman sitting a few feet away. He smirked under his breath. Was she really interested in this collection of little pretentious art-school animations? He expected more of her. Severus looked at her from head to toe with the same critical interest he would have looked at one of the statues in the Greek-Roman section of the museum....and in fact under the light of the screen she looked like she could very well be one of them.
It was truly remarkable how even a Black who was raised in complete ignorance of her origin would still have that aura of pride common to all members of the family...the way she sat, chin up, shoulders back, her spine almost perfectly straight, feet one in front of the other forming a graceful angle with her legs and hands lying neatly on her lap...Any ettiquette teacher would praise her poise. Maybe the Black family was right when they professed having a natural sense of the aristocratic running in their very veins.She was a placid picture of an enthroned Juno...at least to the untrained eye. Severus lips curled into a quiet smile...She was restless...he could see her high heeled right foot tapping the floor ever so slightly...she checked her watch discreetly and looked over to the door on the other side of the room. Poor Ms. Black...She was probably bored to a near catatonic state, and yet was entirely too proud to just stand up and leave the room. It would hurt her sense of intellectual self worth : a true academic would never under any circumstance admit to be bored by a cultural event, particularly such an avant-garde one. Typical Black pretentiousness. Or maybe she just needed a seat, Severus mused, looking at her heels...how tall were those things? Five inches at the very least. Crazy woman.
The credits started to roll and the lights were turned on, signaling for the people inside to move along to the next room so the video could be re-started for the next batch of sleepy-eyed visitors to have their love of art crushed by a collection of experiments of visual torture in the form of videotaped watercolor animation. She stood up and reached for her red trenchcoat and handbag, carelessly abandoned on the empty chair next to her, the soft shade of pink of her dress making her stand out against the dark blue walls and white chairs.
Well, time to be a good neighbour and go say hello, he tought to himself, walking up to her.
"Severus !" She beamed at him, before he could even utter a single word. He noticed her moving forward slightly, probably to shake his hand or give him that customary kiss on the cheeks women like her loved to use for greetings. He kept a certain distance, left hand inside his pocket, his coat over his right arm, holding the exibition brochure on his free hand. That seemed to discourage Ms. Black´s sudden display of familiarity, as she took a step back, smiling uneasily. "Nice to see you here."
"Likewise. I should thank you for letting me know about this.I wasn´t aware we would be treated to a little cinematic experience in adition to the art exibition" he told her as they entered the next exibition room, leisurely looking at the paintings.
"Oh, dear...what was the curator thinking ? That was atrocious !" she rolled her eyes, a husky and low little laugh escaping her lips.
"I could swear you were enjoying yourself." Severus raised an ironic eyebrow
"You know when you´re driving down the road and there´s a nasty car crash ahead...and you just can´t help yourself ?" she smirked, he tone filled with a certain acidity Severus quite enjoyed.
"I understand completely. In fact morbid curiosity and a desire to look at tragic carwrecks was half the reason I became a teacher."
"That´s mean." she laughed softly, her voice getting slightly higher as she ran a hand through her mane of mahogany hair. Evelyn Black was one of those women to whom flirting came so naturaly they didn´t even notice they were doing it. He had to wonder how many of her students had fallen for her over the years...Annoying as she could be, Severus imagined the number would be quite significant. Amused, he decided to play along.
"Oh, please, Ms. Black. You´re a teacher. Don´t try to convince me you never enjoyed yourself with the pathetic and pointless endeavours of incompentent students. Nobody can possibly be that nice."
"Well, I don´t flaunt it." There was something almost snarky in her tone. Yes, definetly he was in for an entertaining afternoon.
"Fair enough. Speaking of students...Those animated atrocities...really? Whose brilliant idea was it to add student movies to a Dali exhibition ?..."
"I know, right ? That was awful. But I guess I can understand what the curator is going for... "
"And what would that be ? Brain damage experimentation without consent?"
"You´re a horrible man, you know?"
"I´ve been told." Why was he smiling?
"What I mean is...look around. How many people under 30 do you see ? Not counting kids with their parents, of course. I can see why the curator went for something that might appeal a younger audience..."
"If that´s what it takes to grab the attention of the young, it´s no wonder being an educator can be such an ordeal."
"Oh, don´t be like this. You´re here aren´t you?"
"Only because I happen to like the artist."
"Dali is good enough a reason to leave the house for anything." she looked around and sighed "This brings back some memories..."
"Well...You see, we don´t have a museum in Doolin. Sometimes my father would take us to Limmerick or Dublin so we could visit a museum. Most of the time we had to settle for his art books... » she took a small pause, laughing softly for no appearent reason « You know what used to do ? My brother and I would get my father´s books and look at the pictures, completely ignoring the titles and..."
"...make up stories." he let out flatly, the torrent of childhood memories coming to mind again.
"Yes!Don´t tell me you did that too ?"
"Well... " Severus felt dazed for a second "is what children do, right ? Make up stories...make belief..."
"Dali was one of our two favorites..."
"Let me guess the other..."
"I doubt you could... "
"Well, Mr. Snape. Aren´t you a mind reader?!"
"You have no idea.» he told her seriously. She looked at him, those eagle-like golden brown eyes wide almost as if for a split second she had truly believed her could her mind. "This one was easy enough. You were fascinated with magic and witchcraft from a very early age...you told me so yourself. Very few artists depicted the theme as prolifically and powerfully as Goya."
"Of course" as that a small sigh of relief he heard under her smoky contralto ? "You know they managed to bring the original 'Persistence of memory' from New York."
Severus´heart skipped a beat. His mind raced back to that hazy summer afternoon...In Lily´s backyard, trying to melt those clocks under the orange light of a 5 o´clock sun...her crystal-clear laugh, the smell of grass and melted rubber...the screams of her mother berating them about the danger and the awful smell of burnt rubber...They had missed the spell and hit a couple of old tires that Lily´s father had made into swings...running out that huge hole in the backyard fence to go to the playground near the church and regroup after the failure, while sharing the only ice cream cone the loose change he had on his pocket allowed them buy...For a moment he felt like his legs would fail him.
"Are you ok ?" he snaped out of his reverie and looked at Ms. Black. Her face was filled with so much concern he had to wonder wether his mind had given out for a second.
"Yes" He quickly regained his composure and smiled weakly at her, hoping this would keep her from asking too many questions
"Are you sure ?"
"Yes, I just spaced out for a second...I told you those godawful animations could cause brain damage"
"I guess" she breathed out, her face still tense, eyes still looking for any signs of discomfort on him.
"Well...in what room is 'Persistence of memory' displayed?"
Severus Snape never ceased to amaze her. Evelyn looked at the tall, gangly, thin man dressed in black from head to toe. They had been talking for over an hour now, about Dali, about Goya, about art in general. He spoke of the paintings with the expertise of a critic and the passion of an aficionado. The words came out of his thin lips in a soft and clear baritone that was pleasant to the ear and commanded attention, even if he spoke quietly...he probably knew how to make himself heard without having to raise his voice at all. The piercing dark eyes, the pianist hands with long fingers that gesticulated in an elegant and contained manner, the proud instance and confident gait, the stylized face with sharp jawline, heavy eyebrows and hooked nose framed by curtains of unkept black hair...She couldn´t help but try to imagine how he would be in the classroom....Severus had an aura about him, almost as if he had walked out from the pages of a manuscript, the picture of a medieval scholar, buried in his Spinner´s End house among rows and rows of books until somebody bold enough could get a word out of him and then...marvel. She drank in every single word he said as if it was a fine cherry : rich in tone, full of meaning.
Very few times in her life Evelyn had been this impressed by the intellectual prowess of a man. She was an academic, conversing with intellectuals and bright minds was not news for her. But there was something deeper about Severus Snape...There was something about him that didn´t reek of reharsed intellectualism, that didn´t taste of pretentiousness...He was obviously proud of his knowledge and inteligence, as he should be, but he didn´t come across as trying to prove it. He spoke little and appropriately, he chose his words carefully, his facial expressions were austere, with a hint of a smile sometimes appearing under the harshness of his appearance. There was something almost stately about him, a mixture of a spartan demeanour and economy of expression with an obvious sense of pride that would have felt like entirely ostentatious in any other man, but just plain suited him.
They had seen the entire exibition and all the other collections... Evelyn didn´t feel the time pass. She didn´t even know what time was it as they came down the stairs leading back to the entrance hall, still engaged in a lively discussion about art before the rise of the third reich in Germany when she felt the floor disappear from under her feet. She had been so distracted, going on and on about the political implications of censorship in art under Nazi rule that she never paid any attention to where she was stepping. She felt her right foot turn sideways, the left one finding no support as her body fell into the void leaving her no time to think or reach for support. But before gravity pulled her to the ground shattering her dignity, if not some bones, Evelyn felt a hard yank around her waist pulling her backwards until she landed on her behind hard enough to make her moan in pain. When the walls around her stopped spinning, the first thing she felt was the smell of cigarrettes and oak moss eveloping her even before her eyes met with Severus´dark ones, his face only a few inches from hers. Only then she saw he had his arm around her and both had fallen down. She looked down the stairs ahead of them, and gasped at the thought that, had she fallen fowards, she might very well have gotten seriously injured or worse. If not for his reflexes... Evelyn felt so utterly stupid...she never triped on high heels, and surely not in public. NEVER. It was apoint of honor with her. Anybody who wore heels as high and as frequently as she did, better not fall with them least they endure a torrent of emabarrassing 'I told you so 's. She was still mentally kicking herself whe she heard Severus hiss audibly.
"Are you ok ?" she reached for his shoulder as he lowered his head and held his left wrist on his hand, grimacing in pain "Oh, my God, your hand ! Did you hurt your hand ?"
"No it´s not !" She yelped, suddenly remebering that he had serious injuries on that hand, precisely the one he had used to cushion their fall. She awkwardly reached for it, almost falling from the step where she was sitting, the inept maneuver pushing her skirt up in such a way she couldn´t decide wether she covered her legs or avoided a new fall.
"Be careful!" Severus sneered
"Here, miss. Let me help you" another male voice came from above her
She looked up to see an older gentleman offering her a hand to stand up. Evelyn took it, feeling her face go crimson with shame...everybody was looking at them. Actually, they were looking at her. She was the one who managed to fall down a flight of stairs and almost flash a whole crowd of museum-goers. Evelyn looked over at Severus who was pulling himself up with much more ease and grace than her. She thanked the other man and turned back to her neighbour
"I´m so sorry ! I´m not usually this clumsy." She told him timidly, taking off her shoes just to be safe.
"It could happen to anyone." He told her seriously, as they made their way down "particurlarly to anyone with your taste in footwear."
"Frankly I don´t see what you mug.." he stopped himself for a second and Evelyn turned to him raising a suspiscious eyebrow "what you women women find so enticing about high heels...they are unpractical and even dangerous. And is not like you even need them."
"Well, I happen to like them. But seeing as you saved me from breaking my neck, I´ll let that one slide" She smiled, faintly amused at his display of typical male ignorance...Men, they just don´t get some things and there´s no helping them.
"Precisely: you just proved my point. You could have broken your neck." His tone was a very odd mix of concern and triumph...she could swear he was about to throw that dreaded ' I told you so' her way "besides, what aesthetical purpose do this monstrosities serve anyway?"
"Montrosities is a bit harsh, no? Is not like my feet are bound or anything.»
"I don´t see how comparing this to some extreme form of Chinese body modification makes high heels any less silly. I still fail to understand why standing with your feet stuck on little thin 5 inch sticks is anywhere near reasonable. "
"I never claimed it was reasonable. They make your legs look better, that´s it. Quit trying to apply logic to it" She let out softly, amused at his vendetta against fashionable female footwear.
"You don´t need that...you have prefectly fine..uh...I mean, it´s pointless." He frowned and shut his thin lips tight, in obvious frustration. Evelyn smiled...was he trying to give her a compliment ? He wasn´t very good at that, was he ? Was this the dignified scholar who was just discussing art and history with her ? Somehow he suddenly looked like an awkward teenarger with little experience with girls.
"You know what? Since you saved my life I´ll pay you a cup of coffee...The museum has a little cafe and I need to sit down for a while anyway.God, I hope I haven´t broken the heels on these"
"Well, heels are intact, thank God." Evelyn let out with a sigh of relief, enjoying the way Severus rolled his eyes at her as the waiter came back with their coffe.
"That´s what you´re worried about?" he sneered over his cup of black coffee.
"Are you kidding me?" She laughed "These are my favorite pumps. Louboutins and the collection is not even being sold anymore."
"Do you have any idea how vain that makes you sound?"
"Absolutely vapid." she smirked
"You take pride in that?"
"No, not pride...Just amusement. You should see your face, right now. Is absolutely hilarious."
"Oh, you were mocking me...I see, well played."
"Mocking is too strong a word. 'Teasing' would be more appropriate." Severus shook his head lightly, a wry smile curving his lips. Evelyn was almost used to his dry sense of humour by now, and she was starting to like it. "Besided you dug yourself into a hole here, dear friend : never criticise a woman´s shoes. Particularly when they are Louboutins that cost over 200 pounds. It´s suicidal."
"Over 200 pounds?" He almost gasped
"Well...they were on sale."
"And you expect me to not find it ridiculous ? I could eat a week on that budget."
"You don´t eat very well, do you?"
"I´m a single male. I suppose I do not require as high maintenance as you do."
"Ouch ! Aren´t we snarky ? For what is worth...these are the most expensive shoes I own. I don´t make a habit of buying 200 pound pumps every other day. I just...needed them at the time." She bit her lower lip and shifted on her seat. No she wasn´t about to let a virtual starnger know that she had been self medicating her depression with expensive shoes.
"You needed 200 pound shoes ? You and I have very different definitions of what needs are."
"You see Severus, I can understand that one could eat for a whole week on a 200 pound budget. But that doesn´t mean you don´t deserve better. Sometimes indulging a little can be good for the heart...We all need bare basics, but that doesn´t mean we don´t deserve a little more...that we don´t need more than what we get."
"Are we still talking about shoes here, Ms Black?"
"Evelyn, please. And no...I don´t think we are, are we?"
"I have to say I admire a woman who can turn a conversation about shoes into an existencialist reflection."
"Wait till you see me drunk."
"That´s a fearsome prospect."
"You strike me as a brave man."
"Not brave enough to deal a drunken Irish intellectual who wears footwear that can poke one´s eyes out."
"You make sound less like a woman and more like a secret weapon for the IRA."
"The diference might be subtler than one can imagine."
"Remind me to wear flats if we ever decide to drink together... For your own safety, Englishman."
"Sounds like a reasonable plan. Speaking of plans... How is your little investigation coming along?"
"I hardly had any time to look into that. I´ve been too busy with the house. You have no idea the state some sixty years of abandon can leave a house. At times it seems easier to just tear the whole thing down and built a new one." she smirked
"I´m sure you´ve found a treasure of things that would make most historians jump for joy, though"
"That I did." she smiled, excited of having someone to share her discoveries with "Although I don´t really know what to make of a lot of things I found. I always knew my grandfather was an excentric, but it seems it ran in the family."
"You abruptly moved from Ireland to England on account of a few old documents and letters just to investigate your grandfather´s past. Ms. Black, I wouldn´t need any antique object to tell you excentricity runs in your family."
"I´ll take that as a compliment."
"It was. Normalcy is criminally overrated."
"Amen to that. But yes...so far, nothing but a very interesting collection of bric-a-brac. It seems I´ll be staying for a while if I want to untangle grandpa´s web of mysteries."
"Maybe it will take you less than you expect"
"What makes you say that?"
"Well, just this morning I happened to remember something that might help you."
"What was that?" Evelyn leaned in, staring into his dark eyes.
"I don´t know how that slipped my mind...but a couple times I heard my mother mention a certain aunt Violetta..."
"Is the name familiar?"
"That...was the name of my great grandmother. Among my grandfather´s documents there were many letters written by her. I knew it. Ever since I saw that family tree I knew my family was related to yours somehow. That´s it!"
"Letters ? I don´t want to be a bother but...is there any chance I could take a look at them?"
"I was about to ask you. It would be no bother at all. In fact, I imagine these letters are a little part of your family history as well. Let me just get the check and we can go right now" she said, gesturing for the waiter
"I´m afraid that won´t be possible. I have to deal with some...paperwork right now. Is the whole reason I dropped by Manchester, actually."
"Well, I can drive you wherever you need to be, then we can just go back to Cokeworth"
"Better not. This will take a while and I don´t want to impose on you. Tomorrow, we´ll have more time" he told her, getting the check from the waiter´s hand
"I invited you, remember?"
"Don´t worry, I get that."
"You already treated me to dinner once, remeber ? I get this and I´d still owe you."
"You owe me nothing!" she reached the paper in his hand but he swiftly moved it away from her."There´s no point fighting you on anything, right?"
"No." He smirked.
"Well, I won´t stand in the way of you being a gentleman, then...As for tomorrow, I have a job interview in the afternoon, but I should be home by 5"
"Very well. I´ll drop by at 5 then."
"And I might just treat you to dinner again. Nobody should live on a 200 pound food budget, let us correct that Mr. Snape."
It was still a little before rush hour, so Evelyn didn´t face nearly as much trafic as she usually braved since she started living in Greater Manchester. It was a matter of some twenty minutes to make it back to Spinner´s End. Home early. Enough time for a long bath and a good book. Yet another job interview the next day, then Severus would come to see the letters. Aunt Violetta...she had to be grandpa Marius´mother...Maybe together Evelyn and Severus could start making sense of that strange family tree...She had read the letters one by one, but other than her father being disowned, she knew nothing...there wasn´t a reason, no clues as to why and how. Maybe Severus´mother knew something? Maybe Severus´family history held any clues ? It was crazy. In the begining of the year she knew nothing about grandpa´s Marius´past in England and now...She stopped the car and got off, looking for the house keys into her purse.
As she walked towards her door, she noticed something odd about the house next to hers. The lights were on. Didn´t Severus say he had errands to run in Manchester? He couldn´t possibly have arrived home before she did...Evelyn shook her head and went inside.
Severus had surely forgotten to turn off the lights.