THREE

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Silence set in in the kitchen as Iris fixed George with a narrowed glare. He was smiling her way, hoping to be pardoned in the end for his request but the more she remained silent, the more anxious he was growing. When she slowly retrieved her hand from his, he realised he had to speak up.

"I mean-"

"Let me get this straight," she cut him off, raised her hand to keep him from talking. George fell silent. "You told your friends you would be having a party in the apartment Hermione and I share without asking either of us for permission."

She lifted her brows, expecting his reply. George offered her a tiny smile.

"Pretty much."

"Don't you have a house of your own to have a party, George?"

"Well, yeah-"

"Is that something you tend to do, borrowing other people's houses to party with your friends?"

"Well, no, I-" He paused, looked away so as to avoid the intensity of her glance. "I can't have a party at the Burrow and this apartment is almost...sad."

She frowned, "It's not sad, just doesn't look like you're living in it."

"It is sad by my standards," he murmured, shook his head a moment later to get back on track. "I haven't seen my former classmates in some time. Hermione can invite her friends. I'm afraid you can't bring any of yours as the people involved are going to be witches and wizards. You don't even have to be at the party. I just needed a house and you and Hermione were the first people I thought of."

"George, aren't they your friends? I doubt they need anything extravagant or over the top. They just want to see you."

"You don't get it," he sighed as his gaze fell on the table. "I haven't seen them properly in years. There was a time I didn't want anything to do with them. They aren't quite my friends anymore but I can tell they are worried. I need them to believe everything is the way it should be."

Iris had yet to stop finding problems in his thoughts. "And you're going to make them believe this by throwing a party?"

"I'll show them everything's in order by claiming I have a nice house and the ability to still have fun."

Iris was confused and it showed on her face clearly. "Why wouldn't you be able to have fun?"

He looked away from her. "It's a long story."

There was something about his tone that was rather close to despair that brought her to think there was something she didn't know that was affecting him. She had never been angry he had suggested he used her house for a gathering, maybe mildly annoyed and put out. It seemed like he really needed this, though. It didn't take her long to take her decision.

"The doors to our bedrooms will stay closed, though."

He turned to face her quicker than she could have ever anticipated. "You'll let me have a party at your house?"

"Believe me, I'm surprised by my decision too," she muttered with a chuckle. "I have some rules, though."

He nodded, "I'm listening."

"Nobody gets in my room or Hermione's. If they do, they'll most probably realise the house isn't yours. And I'll be in that party to make sure everything goes according to plan."

"That's all?" When she nodded, he let out a laugh of disbelief, ran a hand through his hair. He shook his head, fixed her with a look. "You'll really let me have a party at your house?"

She raised a brow, "You need me to say it again?"

"Merlin's beard, Iris, you're an angel."

She hardly managed to keep herself from smiling as she sent him a look. "I still don't see the reason you can't tell them the truth. They're your friends."

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