The door to the Three Broomsticks opened wide and Tom walked through the threshold with Céilidh draped all over him. The two played a couple perfectly. They whispered into each other’s ears, giggled playfully, and held each other close as they walked through pub. Finally settling at a table directly in the middle of the room, the two “young lovers” continued their act, ordering drinks and enjoying each others company. About fifteen minutes into their drinks, the door burst open again.
“How could you?” Rose shrieked, rather proud of how truly terrifying she sounded. “You abandon me for… for that?” She pointed a trembling finger at Ceilidh. Three Broomsticks fell silent as all the eyes in the pub focused on the three.
“Er, um Sherri, hi. Th-this isn’t what it looks like.”
Seemingly ignoring Céilidh, Ambrosia continued to rant, “What the hell do you think it looks like Louis!”
“We just left work for a couple of drinks,” “Louis” tried to fake a reassuring smile.
“You apparited here all the way from the ministry just for drinks?”
“Listen, Sherri I appreciate you’re upset…”
“Upset? Upset? No, Louis. Upset was when you didn’t come home tonight… or every night last week. Upset was all the evenings I spent wondering where you were. We’re way past upset now.”
Standing on the other side of the entryway, Orlando MacFoozle smirked as Ambrosia’s voice carried over the din of the pub and right through the wooden door. “Lass haes gat pipes on ‘er.” He looked down at the rucksack slung over his shoulder into the two glassy black eyes and brown nose looking back at him from under the flap. “Ye ken whit tae dae, eh?” Wolfwood chittered as he slipped out and flopped onto the ground. Foozle drew his wand and, flicking it toward the ferret, whispered the incantation. Standing on his hind legs, Wolfwood’s slender body grew slightly larger as did his paws. In a moment the ferret looked more like a small raccoon, or a dark brown lemur. “Try an pyke something quality. Tap Shelf.” The ferret cocked his head and made an agreeable sound. Lando peeked through the window, waiting for the moment where the lovely barkeep was adequately distracted.
Céilidh jumped from her chair, toppling it to the floor, “OI! Jus what are ye meanin’ by ‘That?'”
“Sherri” finally turned her attention to Céilidh, fixing her with a cold stare and drawing herself up, “Take from it what you will.”
“Take from it-” Tom tried to interrupt at that point, but Céilidh merely pushed him back in his seat and moved within a pace away from ‘Brosia, “Listen, wifey, A dinnae ken what yer haverin’ aboot, but if yer tryin’ ta say that A’m some kynda kittie, then yer erse is oot the windae.”
The room was heavy with anticipation as Rose looked up into the taller girl’s face. “No. What I’m saying is that you’re a home-wrecking tramp.”
Céilidh’s eyes grew as big as saucers, “Tramp?!”
Forgoing her wand, she drew back her arm, hoping that Tommy would take the cue and intervene. Ambrosia, not quite sure how the improvisation was going to play out did reach for her wand, though she had barely cleared her robes when Tom jumped into the mix. “Ladies, ladies… there’s no need to resort to violence, is there?”
Without missing a beat, Rose turned and slapped him hard across the face. “It was too late for that the minute you started letting that overrated appendage between your legs do all the thinking for you.”
A smattering of gasps and more than a few chuckles rolled through the bar. Céilidh, seizing the opening also turned and slapped Tom across the other side of his face. “Aye! Overrated, indeed! An ye told me that ye were gonna dump the guttie sow the last time we were together.” Céilidh glanced at Rose, who gaped at her, her mouth moving but no sound coming out. “Twas his wird, nae ma own, lassie,” she shrugged. A twinkle came to her eye as she added with a wink, “Had A ken ye were sweltrie as ye are, A might’ve been open tae ah three-way…”
With the fiery redhead’s last words came an intake of breath the likes of which appropriately masked any squeaking the door may have made opening. As soon as his head fit, Wolfwood was through the door and scurrying along the baseboards towards the back of the bar like a thief in the night. Madam Rosmerta nearly stepped on him as they crossed paths behind the bar. She nearly knocked Foozle over as she barreled by, not even noticing him. He ducked down and darted toward the stock of bottles at his eye level.
Their plan was really not much more than a vague outline and a whole lot of improvisation. Ambrosia had been totally unprepared for Céilidh’s remark. She felt her cheeks flush crimson and any retort she had was lost on her tongue. Tom was equally as stunned and was also turning a shade close to Gryffindor red. It was the extended dead air that really caused the plan to start unraveling. Madam Rosmerta had cleared the bar and was heading towards them, when Ambrosia, in an attempt to do something… anything, turned and slapped Tom again.
“You told her about that?” she shrieked, using the furious blush on her face. “That was a private fantasy. How could you?” The entire room broke into raucous laughter, and even a smattering of applause here and there.
Foozle crooked two bottles of firewhiskey between his fingers and palmed another bottle of rum. He gave a quick look down the narrow aisle lined with bottles. The ferret was shuffling toward him on his hind legs like some sort of awkward penguin, the necks of a pair of black label bottles in his transfigured paws. “Good boy,” Foozle whispered, slipping two of his bottles into his robes. His hand came out with his wand. “Reflectium…” A mercurial strand shot from the tip of his wand extending a few inches before growing into the size of a small hand mirror. He stuck it out a bit, checking the reflection to see if the coast was clear.
“B-but, um darling, I er um,” Tom stammered. He had not expected Rose to get into the part like this, and those slaps had hurt, but if he had learned anything from Foozle and Dan it was to be a professional at all times, “I don’t think it would be such a bad idea,” he smiled slightly and arched one of his eyebrows. This got another cheer from the spectators.
The thief waived his partner up and pointed their destination down towards the toilets. Wolfwood dropped one of the bottles into his waiting hand and dashed on three legs down the hallway with the butt of the bottle dragging along the wooden floor. Still crouched, Foozle followed suit along the wall away from the scene, pushing the men’s toilet door open with the palm of his hand. They slipped in side. “Aye, a barry thief ye make, Wolfwood,” he said, beaming at the ferret as he took the last bottle away and slipped it into the rucksack. “Nou, let’s git ye back warldlike.”
Rose resisted the urge to stick her tongue out at Tom and reminded herself that she was not going to let him win this. “I’ve had enough of your ideas,” she snapped, waving her wand to cause his drink to empty itself down the front of his pants. “I’ve had enough of you.”
Then, just to make sure she was the winner, she paused and winked at the ‘other woman’. “But if you ever want something better… well… you know where to find me.”
“Alright, alright, Madam Rosmerta began, finally able to work herself through the throng, “The show’s over everyone!” She looked at each of the students, her eyes lingering on Tom, almost as if she were trying to place where she’d seen him before. “I’ll be needing you three to take your little tryst outside. You’re disturbing my customers.”
Figuring they needed one more big distraction, Céilidh jumped in, “Surely, Madam, I’ll be leavin’, but not before this -” The entire bar erupted in a cacophony of hooting, hollering, and catcalls as she kissed Ambrosia fully and without abandon. The diminutive blonde’s eyes went wide with surprise before slowly closing as she fell into the embrace. Tom merely stood by, totally slack-jawed with astonishment. After a few moments the crowd started to settle and Céilidh pulled away slightly, leaving her hands on ‘Brosia’s face. Their eyes opened on each other, the flush returning to Ambrosia’s cheeks. The redhead smiled and shot her a mischievous wink.
“I’ll be see’n ye, lass…” she said, then turned on her heels and strutted out of the bar to a nearly standing ovation. At least for those who were capable of standing.
“Goodbye, Louis.” With a toss of her golden curls, Ambrosia flounced out of the bar after Ceilidh.
Tom stood rooted to the spot, his mouth still hanging open and blinking as though there were sand in his eyes. Madam Rosmerta leaned in and whispered, “I don’t know what you three are up to, Tommy Llewelyn, but I best not see you in here again, young man.”
Tom’s eyes went wide and he started to turn Gryffindor red once more, “Y-y-yes, ma’am,” he finally managed, then bolted out the doors to yet another round of applause and cheers.
After a while, the excitement died back down as the patrons returned to their drinks, dice, or darts – in some cases all three – that not a soul payed a single bit of attention to the fellow in shabby robes and rucksack over his shoulder passing out the doorway. Orlando MacFoozle whistling a lilting tune as he meandered down the lane to the Shrieking Shack…