The pale-faced witch had a batch of blue running veins but still wore a shawl in the warm ballroom as if cold. Raising her gray eyes, a rare smile appeared on the old worn face as Georgine held out her arms outstretched for a hug. Warmly embracing, Dorea Potter, Georgine said, "And just where have you been all these years, young lady?"
Dorea Potter wheezed with laughter at the blatant lie. "Oh, I haven't been called that in many years!" Dorea wiped a tear of mirth from the corner of her eye. "Oh, I have missed you, Georgine."
"I know," Georgine quietly said as she hugged the younger woman, who looked twice her years.
"Now, you, my dear don't look a day over forty despite your being fifty-seven years!" Dorea Potter exclaimed as she took a closer look.
"Why Dorea Black!" Georgine sputtered at having her age announced. "One never discusses a ladies' age especially in public!"
"I haven't been a Black for nary, thirty-two years!" Dorea Potter chuckled as Georgine sniffed still in vexation.
"Yes, well," Georgine protested as she glanced around. "And what of Cassiopeia?"
"Still an unwed spinster living off the coast of Ireland," Dorea warmly replied.
Georgine's voice dropped to a whisper as she asked, "And Marius?"
"We keep in touch via letters," Dorea confessed. "After mother and father disowned him for his being a squib, another squib cousin took him. He's married and has several children with a muggle woman."
Georgine sagely nodded her head as she remembered the sweet gray-eyed boy that was her first crush. But some things were meant to be or rather at that time her pride hadn't allowed it. Quickly changing the subject, Georgine snickered, "I haven't seen Pollux?"
Dorea chuckled and waved her finger at Georgine. "Now, Georgine," Dorea teased. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say, you liked my eldest brother given your endless fixation on fighting with him."
"I should have broken his jaw instead of his nose," Georgine huffed as she recalled the bottom touching incident in her fifth year with the seventh year Pollux. She'd always hated the l.u.s.tful bastard since he'd gotten the 15th-year-old, Irma Crabbe pregnant while he was merely 12 years old. Walburga Black, his eldest daughter was born when he was merely thirteen! It wouldn't have been so bad if both were forced to leave, but Irma was the only one to drop out of Hogwarts, while Pollux continued attending Hogwarts and even graduated.
And to make matters worse it certainly didn't help that Cygnus, his now-deceased youngest son followed exactly in his father's footsteps. Successfully impregnating the older Druella Rosier girl, while he was only twelve for Druella to give birth to their first-born daughter, Bellatrix, when Cygnus was only thirteen years old.
Dorea loudly cleared her throat causing Georgine to come to in an embarrassment. Mildly mortified at having lost herself in her own private thoughts, Georgine swiftly says, "But I was asking because Pollux is the grandfather of the bride to be."
"Bellatrix was always his favorite granddaughter," Dorea said as she avoided meeting Georgine's eyes due to the rumors surrounding her great-niece's death. "But I fear that his health had already begun to wane, and the final nail in the casket was Cygnus's death. He, after all, my brother's youngest and favorite son. And unlike Alphard, who has always been sickly since he was a child, Cygnus was always so strong and healthy. Pollux fully expected to outlive Alphard, but not Cygnus. I'm afraid he's been rather ill since then."
Even Georgine wasn't callous enough to mock her childhood nemesis over the death of his family members. "Well, I've spotted Walburga and her husband, Orion. But I have yet to see Alphard, have you?"
"Oh, yes, I saw my nephew hiding out in the Malfoy foyer before. But I'm sure he's out and about here somewhere," Dorea explained as she waved her hand at the vast multitude of guests.
Georgine finally hesitantly asks, "And your son, Charlus?"
Dorea pales as she reaches over to grasp onto Georgine for strength lest she falls. "I'm so sorry, Dorea, I didn't know!" Georgine said aghast as she led Dorea to the wall to have a seat. Quickly fanning Dorea, Georgine grabs a glass of cider for Dorea to drink.
"I'm fine now," Dorea tiredly said as moisture filled her eyes. "It just still hurts to talk about the subject with Charlus passing away at the same time."
"Oh, Dorea," Georgine's heart broke as she pulled the younger woman into a hug.
"It's alright," Dorea said after she was released. "I didn't let many know for we were in France at the time. Charlus caught the Dragon Pox, and you knew him he was a fighter, but word quickly reached us that Charlus, my son had fallen prey to a dark curse. My boy didn't last very long and with him, my husband heart's broke in two and swiftly followed our son to the grave."
Gently taking out a handkerchief from a tiny pocket in her gown, Georgine dried the tears on Dorea's face, before handing the embroidered handkerchief over for her to take. "Thank you," Dorea sniffed. "I don't mean to be so emotional. And even though it's been ten years, my heart still breaks in two."
"No, I can imagine," Georgine said as she allowed Dorea a moment to compose herself before changing the subject once more. "Well, I did see that old cousin of yours, Arcturus Black, the third," Georgine pompously said earning a teary laugh from Dorea.
"Yes, he is quite arrogant isn't' he?" Dorea sniffed as she wiped her face clean.
"Mm, Reginald," Georgine delicately paused. "You know his temperament. And if I recall correctly, Arcturus was a seventh year when brother was only a first year. But Reginald still managed to get into a brawl with him over a bet. Can you believe that? What kind of a seventh year picks a fight with a first-year?"
"Mm, well, knowing Reginald, he's always been a fireball. I frankly am not surprised that he picked a fight with someone who was six years older than him at the time," Dorea murmured. "But knowing him that is exactly what he would do. And so, did he win?"
"It was a tie," Georgine honestly answered. "But I fear that is only one of the many adversaries brother made in his school years. Oh! And did I mention that the current Potions Master and Head of Slytherin at Hogwarts is one of my brother's former foes?"
"Eh, who does the Prince family presently have in attendance at Hogwarts?" Dorea asked.
Georgine tactfully answered, "My grand-niece and nephew, a pair of twins in Slytherin." Dorea nodded her head sagely as she didn't ask as to why Eileen wasn't raising her own children.
"Anywho, brother had forgotten all about him until he heard the twins talking about their potions professor, Professor Slughorn. Apparently, it only took him a matter of minutes to recognize the name as Sluggy.
A year younger than a brother, Sluggy was a great nuisance to my brother according to him. But knowing my brother, this Slughorn probably was just as arrogant as him. I'm sure their two egos wouldn't have allowed them to stand each other! Much less stand to be in the same room together!"
Dorea chuckled and warily shook her head. "Yes, I am sure that you and your brother combined have no shortage of enemies."
Georgine purses her lips but is unable to think of a comeback to the true statement. Sniffing, Georgine's eyes widen slightly as she says, "Well, isn't that your second cousin, Lucretia?"
Dorea glances over to see a dark, silver-haired woman accompanied by a large-nosed man. "Ah, yes, Prewett now actually. She married Ignatius Prewett, roughly twenty years ago. But sadly enough, they haven't been able to have any children. But his brother does have two sons and a daughter. The daughter married a Weasley, I believe, while the two sons remain yet unwed."
"Weasley?" Georgine wrinkled her nose at recalling the red-headed family. "On that note, what of Aunt Cedrella?"
"She was disowned for marrying a Weasley, you know that," Dorea teasingly snorted. "But she had two sons and a third rather late in life. Arthur, I think that is his name. I do believe he actually married the younger Prewett daughter upon further thought." Dorea shrugged as she continued, "I think she passed away over twelve years ago, but we weren't invited."
"Fair's fair," Georgine mumbled under her breath. "On that note, what of Charis Longbottom and Callidora Crouch, your two other aunts?"
"Aunt Callidora passed away some years ago with her husband, Harfang in France. Their children live there. And as for Auntie Charis, she is rather ill," Dorea sadly said. "I was speaking to the wife of Barty, her son. And she said that they don't think she'll make it past winter. She's on her deathbed really, the poor dear."
Upon hearing the orchestra begin to play, Georgine glances about and pulls a rather shocked Dorea to her feet. "C'mon, we are going to at least get one waltz out of my brother tonight," Georgine bodily declared as she led the nervous Dorea through the throng. "It's the least we can do. We're old, but not with one foot in the grave yet!"
Dorea chuckled despite herself as Georgine easily gazed over the heads of half the crowd and spotted her brother in the distance.