Vinny: Underpaid, you graduate, to build somebody else’s dream
You slammed the door behind you as you stormed into the apartment. You were already tearing at your uniform, desperate to not be in it a second longer than you had to be. Vinny knew it had to have been a pretty rough day, so while you silently fled to your room he went to the freezer and grabbed a carton of ice cream and two spoons. He crawls into bed with you and you immediately begin your rant about how awful your job is. “I just- I feel like I’m wasting my life. I just spent my entire life in school and the only job I can get is supervisor at a grocery store. It’s like it was all for nothing!” Vinny pulls you in closer as you bury your face in his neck. “I know baby, I know. I promise though you’ll find something better, you’re too perfect to not be successful and sooner or later you’ll find a job that will recognize that.” You sigh, already feeling yourself melt into Vinny’s arms. “You always know just what to say.” “Yeah, that’s ‘cause I’m perfect too.” He smirked as you reached for the ice cream.
Chris: Say “fuck it”, make the best of it
“Well it’s… nice.” You stammered as you dropped your bags. You and Chris had planned a weekend away in Philly, but it hadn’t quite gone as you’d hoped. First, it rained the whole drive up and was supposed to continue the entire weekend, and derail most of your plans. Then your hotel lost your reservation which lead you here. The two of you had just checked into a crappy motel outside the city, which hadn’t been updated since the mid 1970s and smelt vaguely like stale cigarettes. Chris looked around the room, deflated. “I’m sorry Y/N, this isn’t what I had planned.” “That doesn’t matter,” you said wrapping your arms around his waist “we did this to spend time with each other, and that hasn’t changed. We can still have a great weekend in a crappy hotel on a rainy weekend. Besides, I bet it’ll make for a good story someday.” Chris smiled down at you. “Yeah, someday.” You roll your eyes “For now we’ll just have to make the best of it. Like fuck it, we’ve seen worse,” you said as he smirked “We’ll be fine babe. Hell it’ll be great!” Your boyfriend sighed but he knew you were right. “Ok, ok. Let’s see if we can catch a movie or something.”
Devin: Don’t become another victim, put a smile on that face
“I don’t wanna goooo,” You whined to Devin as you got dressed for class “My professor is a douche, I can’t stand him.” For good reason. He’s 60 years old and still uses terms like ‘faggot’, and talks about how millennials don’t work hard enough. “So call him out on it, someone needs to educate him.” You sighed “Last time someone called him on it he told them not to bother showing up to class anymore.” Normally you wouldn’t hesitate to rip this guy a new one, but this was a required course that was only taught every other semester and you couldn’t risk not graduating on time. “Well,” Devin hummed as he came up behind you “you’re going to hate this, but you need to just to put on a fake smile and go to class—and before you argue you know this fucker isn’t worth messing up your graduation date!” You huff, knowing he’s right. Devin kisses the top of your head “Don’t be another victim of this bastard’s ignorance.” “I hate it when you’re right.” “You mean all the time?” He snickers as you shove his shoulders before continuing to get ready for class.
Ricky: You gotta be loud, you gotta be rude, so the world can hear you
You’d never been very assertive. In fact when you were younger you were something of a pushover. You’d always hated it about yourself, but you just didn’t like conflict. Dating Ricky had made you much more confident, but even so these things still weren’t easy for you. One day the two of you were out shopping: you were looking for a copy of The Iliad to replace the one you’d lost when moving. Finally you found the last copy on the shelf, but when you turned to tell Ricky an old man snatched the book off the shelf from beneath your finger tips. “Wait that was mine.” The man scowled back at you, mumbling about ‘your generation’ and ‘lack of respect’. You were crushed—for about .06 seconds before Ricky started in on the guy. “HEY! That was her fucking book! You wanna preach about respect— get a real hobby and stop antagonizing my girl you sick mother fucker!” You watch the color drained from the old man’s face as Ricky snatched the book from his hands and pulled you away. “Thanks babe.” You smiled, holding his hand hoping to calm him down. Ricky looked down at you with a half smile, “Yeah, well, sometimes you gotta be a little rude to get what’s yours.” “I’ll try to remember that.” you smiled as you kissed his cheek.
Ryan: With a noose as a tie… did you fantasize of a much different life
“Do you ever stop and wonder, like, what if?” Ryan looked at you questioningly “What?” The two of you were laying down on the roof of his apartment drinking beer and looking at the stars. You guys were about to finish off another 6-pack and you were getting philosophical. “Like, what if I’d finished college, or what if my family wasn’t so shitty, or what if… what if life didn’t suck so much, or was just… better?” “Nope.” You rolled to your side to face him. “No?” “No, I don’t wonder ‘what if’. Ever.” “Why not?” “Because,” he mused “if any of those things had been any different I wouldn’t be here with you, and you’re worth all the bullshit that brought us here.” “Aww Ryan.” You cooed as your boyfriend turned a new shade of pink. “Oh shut up.” He mumbled as he took another sip of his beer. “Well, I’m glad I’m here too. You’re worth all the bullshit in the world, you keep me going.” Ryan turned back to you and kissed you lightly, and you knew somehow you’d be ok.
Lucius Malfoy and Arthur Weasley have hated one another for a long time, but it’s the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office finally getting permission to conduct raids in search of illegal magical artefacts that drives Lucius to maliciously plant a powerful Dark Arts object previously belonging to Lord Voldemort on one of Arthur’s children.
There’s no reason it had to be Ginny who got it. And no reason that it had to be 1992 when Arthur’s department began conducting raids.
I translated the part that plays before the story starts. As the stories unlock after you get to them in the maps, I’ll translate them in the order they’re presented in the Story tab depending on what I’ve unlocked. After that I’ll do the character stories. I see these stories as a great way to practice translating!
You frowned at the recipe that Mrs Longbottom had given to you. None of it seemed to make sense. Standing in the Longbottom kitchen wasn’t exactly how you’d planned to spend your morning, but as you couldn’t sleep and you’d wanted to do something nice for Neville’s birthday as he’d let you stay with him while your parents were visiting family in Australia. But, never in your life had you had to deal with a recipe book – especially a wizarding one – on your own before. His grandmother had found it lost between the books on the shelf in the living room the night before, muttering darkly about her brother having left it there again. You’d asked her if you could borrow it, and her reply was simply, ‘Borrow it, burn it, all the same to me, dear,’ before she bustled off into the garden. ‘Stir three times clockwise as you add the eggs?’ you mumbled, running a flour covered hand across the page. Something about the whole book struck you as horribly potion like, and the little moving diagrams on the pages seemed to be more condescending than helpful to you. ‘What’re you doing?’ Neville asked, making you jump slightly. You turned around quickly. Neville was standing in the doorway of the kitchen, tying his dressing gown up as he surveyed the room. He stifled a slight yawn, rubbing his eyes absently. ‘I… I um,’ you stuttered, wondering if you could pass it off as something else. You heaved a sigh though. The truth was best. ‘I was trying to make you a cake.’ A wide smile slipped quickly onto his face, and he advanced into the kitchen. ‘You know,’ he said, nodding towards the mixer that you’d found at the back of the cupboard, ‘my uncle tried to enchant that once to stop when the stuff was ready.’ An amused glint shone behind his eyes as he paused for a moment. ‘Yeah, let’s just say there’s a reason it was hidden. Here, this one’s better.’ He moved towards a heavy looking cupboard that you’d been afraid was off limits, and pulled out a slightly newer looking mixer. ‘You bake?’ you asked, raising an eyebrow at him. You thought you’d learnt about all of his hobbies a while ago. He shrugged slightly. ‘Gran’s brother liked baking for family occasions, and he normally stayed here. So yeah, I picked up a thing or two from him. Here,’ he explained, poking the picture of the bickering witches in the book so that they separated so as to sort out their own separate bowls of mixture – not without the slight glare over the shoulder at one another though – ‘that might help too.’ ‘Thank you, Neville,’ you said, hugging him quickly. ‘But surely you should be relaxing and letting me do this?’ A slight smirk slipped quickly onto his face, and he patted your back lightly with one hand as he picked up the scales with the other. ‘No offence, (Y/n), but I think it might be for the best if I help this time.’ You sighed slightly, wiping the back of your hand across your forehead. You couldn’t deny he had a point – not that you wanted to admit it though, you’d wanted the cake to be part of the surprise. ‘I guess so,’ you said, just as he pointed towards the flour. ‘Come on, I’ll show you how to understand these books.’ ‘Thank you,’ you said in a small voice, moving towards the book which Neville was leaning on the wall so you could both see it as you started to bake.
‘Hey? Hey, (Y/n)?’ you heard a voice ask, making you jump slightly. You glanced around the kitchen, wondering who had spoken. You reached over to turn the radio down though, knowing that it wasn’t helping you hear if someone was sneaking around. And then your eyes glanced across the fireplace, and you saw who had spoken. Your best friend Draco Malfoy’s face was peering out through green flames, his brow furrowed in concern as he tried his best to see into the room. You shook your head slightly, wiping your flour covered hands down the apron you’d found in the back of your wardrobe. ‘Just baking,’ you said simply as you moved towards the fire. Draco surveyed you for a moment as you knelt down, his mouth pulled into a tight frown. ‘Why?’ he asked, a note of suspicion rang through his voice. ‘Oh, um, no reason,’ you spluttered, now looking anywhere but at him. Baking was something that you often did when you were stressed. And currently, stressed was somewhat of an understatement for how you felt. It was the Easter holidays and you were at home, but that wasn’t enough to settle the exam worry that more often than not had become a familiar feeling in the pit of your stomach. It also didn’t help that this year’s Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher was terrible – you barely suppressed a slight shiver at the mere thought of Dolores Umbridge’s lessons. ‘(Y/n)?’ Draco asked, pulling your attention back towards him. You sighed, leaning back on your heels as you looked at him. ‘Just stressed is all,’ you said, trying to sound offhand about it. ‘Right, one second,’ Draco said, before disappearing from view. You sighed, shrugged, and then stood up to go back to baking the brownies. After a few minutes, however – you’d just managed to get the first batch of brownies into the oven and were flicking through the Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Bean recipe that your brother had wanted to try – the sound of shoes clicking against the cold kitchen tiles made you jump. ‘Draco!’ you said, shocked as he slowly began to saunter towards you. ‘What’re you doing?’ ‘Walking,’ he said simply, a smirk pulling at the corners of his mouth. He shrugged though, noticing the unimpressed look on your face as you jutted your hip out slightly and rested a hand on it. ‘OK, so I’m here to help bake.’ You raised a sceptical eyebrow at him as he grabbed an apron from the hanger behind the kitchen door. ‘What, I can’t let you have all the fun.’ ‘Baking’s fun for you?’ He chuckled slightly as he lent over the recipe. ‘No, but helping you is,’ he said, raising his eyes towards you slightly. ‘And anyway, I’m sure they taste better when I’ve helped bake them.’ His eyes were glinting with an arrogance that you’d often seen at school, and you lightly hit him on the arm. ‘OK then, oh wonderful Slytherin,’ you said, mock bowing at him, ‘where’d we start?’ You could already feel the stresses which had been almost suffocating you ebbing away slightly, not only because of Draco wearing a pink frilly apron and still trying to act as though he owned the place. ‘Well, it says here,’ he said, pointing lazily at the recipe, ‘that I let you do all the hard stuff; I get the job of placing them neatly on a plate.’ You chuckled, rolling your eyes slightly. ‘Oh, of course it does,’ you said, moving to start measuring out the caster sugar, grinning at him though.
It was a hot summer’s day and much to your annoyance you’d been left in your grandmother’s house while she was helping out at the local school. You had all of the windows open, the front door was slightly ajar, and you even had a few of the fans that she’d had left in the loft on in the kitchen in an attempt to cool yourself down because of the pressing heat. Much to your amazement, however, someone knocked on the door. You jumped slightly, turning quickly with your wand held tightly behind your back – despite not yet being able to do magic outside of school. But, you gave a weak sigh of relief as your eyes full upon Harry, and you placed your wand lightly on the work surface. ‘Harry,’ you breathed, moving to hug him quickly, ‘are you all right?’ There was an irritated glint behind his eyes that you’d never really seen before – even when he had to deal with Malfoy. ‘Yeah,’ he said, but even then you could tell that his heart wasn’t really in the response, ‘I was just bored. I was wondering–’ you noticed that his attention was suddenly completely occupied by his feet, which he was shifting nervously ‘–cou-could you teach me how to bake?’ A small smile slipped easily onto your face as he finally raised his eyes towards you. ‘Of course I can,’ you said moving to push your hair off your face. ‘Thank you,’ he breathed through a sigh of relief, and moved further into the kitchen. ‘Here,’ you said, handing him an apron which had been slung over the back of one of the chairs. Your Nan had aprons everywhere in the house – you were certain there was one hanging up on the back of the toilet door! He caught it and quickly put it on as you tied up your hair. ‘What d’you wanna bake?’ you asked, looking over at Harry as you began to sort out the basic ingredients for a lot of recipes. He merely shrugged though. ‘Not a clue.’ You frowned slightly, putting the scales beside a bowl as you allowed the many recipes you knew to circle around your mind. ‘How about,’ you said slowly, furrowing your brow slightly, ‘cupcakes?’ He beamed, nodding vigorously. ‘I like the sound of that.’ ‘OK, but we need to remember the baking powder,’ you said, chuckling lightly as you began to get out the other ingredients. ‘OK,’ he said slowly, moving to stand beside you, ‘how come?’ You smirked at him. ‘Because otherwise you get flat cakes and that’s just boring.’ And with that you began to help him through making the things, making sure that he was measuring ingredients out right – double checking a few things with the array of books that your nan had littering the back wall. You also made sure that he added everything – as he almost forgot to add the caster sugar – before checking the time when he put them in the oven. ‘Well,’ Harry said, wiping his hand across his forehead as he slid his back down against the cupboard doors, ‘how long now?’ You chuckled slightly. ‘A fair while,’ you said, turning to look at him, ‘wanna tell me what’s really wrong?’ Harry heaved a large sigh before finally opening up to you about how bad his summer had been thus far. And, when he eventually finished, he looked at you with a sad smile on his face. ‘So yeah,’ he concluded, his voice sounding wholly disheartened, ‘it’s not been the summer I’d expected, even with the Dursleys.’
‘Anything I can help with?’ came Fred’s voice from the doorway, making you turn towards him with a slight frown. You’d been in the Weasleys’ kitchen baking all day, trying to prepare some coolies for Bill and Fleur’s wedding. You’d practically taken over the kitchen, kicking almost everyone out – even Charlie, who had always gotten along well with you, practically fled from the room when you yelled ‘I’m baking!’ at him. ‘Unless you know how to multiply cookies without any work,’ you barely muttered, wiping the back of your hand across your forehead. You could feel the trail of flour it left. Fred chuckled slightly before giving your shoulder a light squeeze. ‘You know I can’t do that,’ he said in a calming voice, causing you to look at him. The tiredness of the past few days was slowly beginning to creep up on you. Your back ached slightly. Your arms felt as though they were about to fall off where you’d had to stir things. And your eyes were slightly strained where you’d been looking constantly at the recipes. ‘But I can help, if you’d like.’ You gave a slight sigh of relief, patting his hand slightly just as the egg timer went off to tell you that the latest batch of chocolate chip cookies were ready. ‘That’d be brilliant,’ you said, moving quickly to get them. And with that you started running through the recipes with Fred, making sure that you were both making a different batch in an attempt to make it all run a little quicker. It was getting late when you accidentally put the egg shells in the mixture rather than the yolk – which you separated out into the sink – causing Fred to chuckle slightly. ‘I think that should be it for today,’ he said sympathetically. You shook your head, though you couldn’t supress a yawn. Your cheeks began to glow. ‘This batch,’ you said, and Fred, though he rolled his eyes, nodded. But it turned out that he hadn’t really meant it. You were halfway through measuring out the caster sugar when you felt something hit the back of your neck. The little bits falling down your shirt tickled your back. ‘Fred Weasley!’ you said, turning to face him quickly. There was a wide smirk on his face and he still had a fistful of flour in one hand, his other holding the flour packet at the bottom. ‘What?’ he asked innocently, trying to make his eyes as wide as he could. A small smirk tugged at the corner of your mouth as you moved your hand behind you so as to grab some sugar. ‘Nothing,’ you said simply, shrugging slightly. You began to turn back around, but quickly threw the sugar at him. It hit him on the cheek and tumbled down onto his shoulder like terrible dandruff. The fight went on for a while, but when Molly eventually stepped into the house her eyes narrowed dangerously. ‘What happened here?’ she asked, her voice low. Her hands were resting firmly on her hips, her eyes moving very quickly between you and Fred. You began to chew your lip lightly, worry welling in the pit of your stomach. ‘The mixer,’ said Fred quickly, pointing accusingly at the thing which was spluttering slightly, ‘it went crazy.’ Molly raised a sceptical eyebrow, but seemed to shrug the thing off. ‘Maybe I should bake more often,’ said Fred, waving his wand to tidy up. ‘If it involves this much mess.’ You couldn’t help but chuckle.
A mumbled curse from the kitchen pulled you from your daydreams with a start. You were sitting in the small kitchenette of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. It had been a few months since the Battle of Hogwarts – getting on for a year – and Lee had finally managed to persuade George that getting back to the shop was what Fred would have wanted. Lee was currently asleep on the worn out sofa (‘It’s so much more comfortable than any of those stinking new ones,’ had been his excuse when he brought the thing in with the help of three young giants). You glanced round, only to see George flitting about near the oven. Your brow furrowed slightly as you slipped off the barstool and stepped up beside George. He gave a start. His was face contorted in irritation but he quickly relaxed into a more relieved demeanour, still sorting things out. There was an array of equipment scattered on the work surfaces, which were covered in a thin layer of flour. Eggs were jumping in the box as if they’d been infused with pixies, and there was a set of weighing scales that looked a good ten years older than yourself sitting near the back, the two sides folded as if it were crossing its arms. ‘Um,’ you asked tentatively, ‘whatcha doing, Georgie?’ He grunted slightly, waved his wand at the scales which quickly jumped forward so he could measure out butter, before he finally spoke in a hoarse voice. ‘I wanted to bake a cake for Mum. You know, I heard some little kid talking in the shop the other day. They were so excited that their dad was letting them help him bake the cake for their mum’s birthday that I thought I could try the same.’ He scowled over at the eggs though, which appeared to still quickly. ‘The issue is,’ he said, running a hand through his hair so that it was streaked with white, ‘I dunno much about baking. None of the tools seem to want to do what their meant to, and I’m pretty sure I picked up the dancing eggs – you know, the ones which are like little Dungbombs? – instead of real ones.’ Realisation dawned on you as you glanced worriedly at the eggs. ‘Yeah,’ you said slowly, before looking back to George. ‘Anyway, I can help,’ you said, shrugging nonchalantly. ‘You can?’ asked George, just as Lee gave a grunt and you heard him roll over in his sleep. ‘Of course,’ you said simply, holding out a hand for the scales, which seemed much more certain around you than George. ‘Though, think you can find the real eggs first? It’s all well and good you trying to do this, but somehow I don’t think she’d thank you if the cake exploded in a puff of green smell when someone cut into it.’ George chuckled slightly, nodding as he moved to get the things. And, with that, you helped him with the baking. You made sure that the utensils were real rather than products and you made sure that he’d added everything with the magical tick list that was going on in the book whenever he mumbled what he was measuring. When it was finally finished, the two of you dipping your fingers into the mixing bowl to try the stuff as the cake baked, you grinned at him from across the table. ‘Not bad. I reckon we might make a baker out of you yet, Weasley.’ He smirked, wiping his finger around the edge of the bowl.
‘We don’t have brownies,’ you heard Ron complain as he flopped onto the sofa in the hotel room. Ron and his family were in Egypt visiting Charlie, and you just so happened to be staying in the same hotel as him. As such the two of you had been playing a lot of Wizards Chess when not out exploring with your families, or else simply talking about all the cool things that you’d learnt. Today, however, your parents had taken his out for fancy dinner as a celebration for the end of a wonderful holiday, and given you kids free reign of the room. ‘You mean, we don’t,’ you corrected him, arching an eyebrow – he’d been raiding your cupboards again. ‘Yeah, you don’t,’ he said, smirking over at you. ‘How come?’ ‘Because Dad said eating food made here was all part of the experience,’ you explained with a sigh. There was a glint behind Ron’s eyes that you’d never seen before though. Your stomach dropped slightly. You had a bad feeling about this. ‘What?’ you asked cautiously. ‘Well,’ he said, standing up again and moving towards the kitchen, you followed, close on his heels, ‘if it has to have been made here, why don’t we make brownies?’ A wide smile slipped quickly onto your face. ‘That sounds like a plan,’ you said. Brownies, it turns out, were quite simple to make when you had empty packets of English ones dotted around the place. You gathered up the ingredients list, figured out an estimation of what you might need and tried to add it all together. It was a lot of fun, having small arguments with Ron about what was added when (‘I’ve seen my nan do it before,’ he said, elbowing you out of the way so as to add flour. ‘Yes,’ you said, frowning slightly as he just tipped the thing over the bowl, ‘but shouldn’t we sieve it?’). And there was also the fact that the other Weasley children were flitting in and out of the kitchen, the twins nicking the odd square of chocolate that you and Ron had somehow managed to leave in the rush to sort everything out. Eventually, when Percy finally pulled the things out of the oven (‘Honestly, we know one of you would only burn yourselves,’ he’d said pompously, causing Bill to hold the back of Ron’s jacket to stop him lunging at Percy, and Ginny to pat you comfortingly on the arm) all of you were crowded in the kitchen. ‘Smells OK,’ said Ron, leaning close to the things. ‘Wanna try?’ He pulled off a small part, dropping it onto the counter because of how hot it was, and motioned for you to eat it. You rolled your eyes, took it carefully before blowing it to try and stop it from burning you. Then, after a moment, you popped it into your mouth and chewed. But, rather than it being the sweetness heaven that you’d anticipated, there was something terribly wrong with it. You quickly turned to the bin and spat it out, glancing at Ron. ‘Where’s the sugar bag?’ you asked, but you could already feel the blush rising on your cheeks as the other Weasleys began to chuckle slightly. Ron’s ears went slightly red as he pointed a shaking hand towards the container he’d used for sugar. Your heart sunk, but you couldn’t help but laugh along too. You’d put salt in the things! ‘Better luck next time,’ you said, smirking as you dumped the first batch in the bin, and started getting more stuff ready.
I'm just sending you loads of prompts because I love your writing and if you're ever feeling uninspired prompts may help you.. i work at the lost and found and does this thing seriously belong to you au - Ziam again please :)
I love getting prompts, as long as you are patient because sometimes I write lots and lots and sometimes I don’t write anything for days. Then, of course, there is the fact that I can’t seem to keep anything short. lol.
Hope you like this one, sweet nonny!
Liam had just clocked in at the library, heading behind the counter. He let out a loud groan when he saw the state of things. He was going to have to give Louis, the midnight clerk, another talking to about tidiness. He started the coffee pot, inhaling deeply as the scent of fresh coffee filled the office. He wasn’t a big fan of the stuff, preferring an over-sugared cup of tea, but he loved the smell as it brewed.
He greeted the incoming staff as he made his way through the lobby towards the reference desk, where he would spend the next eight hours. He’d been working at the library since Freshman year, starting out reshelving books, then the circulation desk, and finally, in his last year of University, he’d made it to the reference desk. He loved his job, loved assisting people in finding books or information. Secretly, his favourite part of the job was taking care of the Lost and Found.
Liam grabbed the binder from the shelf above the Lost and Found cupboard, flipping it open he traced his finger down the entries for the last few days he had been off, surprised by the great number of items. Most of them were the usual items, although he did notice that and ID card had been left; he made a mental note to attempt to find the person’s phone number. He did a double take at the last entry, scrawled in Jesy’s slightly messy scrawl: Strange looking red thing.
Liam groaned. The last time someone had left a description like that in the book, the Lost and Found had become home to sex toy for the two-month holding period, at which time it was discarded, rather than donated. Cautiously, Liam approached the cupboard, slowly opening the doors. Through squinted eyes from an arms-length away, he looked into the cupboard. His eyes immediately found the item in question, and he burst out with a relieved laugh. Stepping closer, he reached in and grabbed the item, jumping a bit when it made noise.
He turned the stuffed Teletubby over in his hands, trying to see if there was an “If found” tag somewhere on it, knowing that some of his co-workers don’t take the time to look. He noticed the bumpy back of the toy, sliding a finger inside to find a velcro opening. Liam nodded to himself, assuming that was where the voice was coming from. The toy was clearly well loved as the velcro gave way easily, years of fluff stuck in the teeth. Once it was open, he saw a small plastic coated card. Pulling it out, he smiled at the scrawl.
He glanced at the clock, noticing it was still early, but figured if it was too early, the person just wouldn’t answer the phone. He dialed quickly, squeezing the Teletubby a few more times, grinning as it sang at him. “Eh oh!” it said loudly just as someone picked up on the other end.
“You found Po!” a relieved voice shouted into Liam’s ear causing him to chuckle.
“If Po is the red Teletubby, yes,” Liam responded, smiling as he pushed the belly again, giggling. “I could never get their names straight.”
“Dipsy is green. Tinky-Winky is purple. Laa-Laa is yellow. And Po is red,” the voice rattled off.
“Quite the expert on children’s television, yeah?” Liam asked, wondering what kind of person he was talking to. He was about to continue when he heard a young voice come through the phone.
“Hold on,” the voice said into the phone before it got further away. “Hey, sweetie, someone’s on the phone. They found Po!”
“I talk!” the little voice said, then there was scrambling. “‘Lo?”
Liam’s smile deepened as he heard the small voice through the phone. “Hi, there! My name’s Liam and I have a Po here that’s looking for his family.”
“Po’s a girl, silly, like me! I Ajlal,” the little voice laughed. “Baba wants the phone now.”
There was a clatter like the phone had been dropped, and then the first voice was back. “Thank you, mate, you have no idea how rough last night was. Now, where are you so I can come get Po.” Liam heard a shouted “we” through the phone. “So, we can come get her.”
“The university library reference desk. There’s someone here twenty-four hours, so come any time that’s convenient,” Liam told him. “I’ll just leave the names Ajlal and Baba on it, er, her.”
“Zayn, actually,” the voice corrected. “Baba means father in Arabic. Ajlal is my daughter.”
“Oh, sorry.” Liam felt the blush burning over his cheeks. “Ajlal and Zayn, then.”
“Thanks again, mate,” Zayn said before hanging up.
Zayn walked into the library, his hand clasping Ajlal’s tightly, knowing if he let go she would take off running. It was days like this he felt naming her “beautiful, stubborn princess” was prophetic. She was five years old going on thirteen. He glanced towards the reference desk, swallowing hard. Of course, the guy that had found Po was the good looking guy Zayn had seen working on numerous occasions but had been too shy to approach.
He was just about to point towards the desk when Ajlal let out a squeal, yanking her hand away and racing across the library. Zayn looked up and saw Liam kneeling in front of the reference desk, Po in his hands. His daughter threw herself at Liam, Zayn holding his breath, letting it out when Liam caught her easily in a hug.
He watched them whispering to each other as he walked slowly across the lobby, smiling at how easily his daughter had taken to the stranger. Usually, she was quite shy, hiding behind Zayn until she knew the person better. Apparently, Po rescuing made Liam and instant friend.
Ajlal was still whispering thank yous into Liam’s ear when Zayn reached them, smiling down at the two of them. When Liam looked up and caught his eye, Zayn was surprised by the sheer happiness on his face. “Hi,” Liam said, standing up, laughing when Ajlal wouldn’t let go, so he stood up with her still in his arms. She was hugging Po tightly, a silver crown sitting lopsided on Po’s head.
“What’s this, Aj?” Zayn asked, straightening the crown.
“Mister Liam made it for Po! Look! He made me one, too.” She held it out to him. “Po’s say ‘Po’! Mine say ‘Ummah’!”
Zayn glanced quickly at Liam, who was blushing. “Well, she’s Po’s mama, yeah?” Liam said, smiling until his eyes crinkled.
“You looked up the arabic word for mother?” Zayn was incredulous.
“Work in a library. The information wasn’t hard to find.” Liam gestured over his shoulder, and Zayn looked to see a pile of books on Arabic language sitting on the counter. “Besides, I thought it might make her smile. You mentioned it wasn’t an easy night without Po.”
Zayn nodded, having to admit it was a really sweet gesture. “And the crowns?”
Liam looked a bit embarrassed as he rubbed a hand over the back of his neck. “Might have stolen some aluminum foil from the break room.”
Ajlal looked serious suddenly. “Stealing is bad, Mister Liam.”
“He meant borrow, sweetie. I don’t think Liam would steal anything from anyone,” Zayn assured, reaching out to take her from Liam. The girl squeezed Liam’s neck one more time, pressing a sloppy kiss to Liam’s cheek, which he quickly returned. “Except maybe my heart,” Zayn thought.