Marley Chapman

May 24, 2020, 10:59 p.m.

A Very Cheesy Birthday

Today was Friday the 13th, and contrary to superstition it was the absolute best day of the year, because Marley was officially legally allowed to vote for her own government representatives… and do other things, too, at least in her home country up north (America was so much more stingy on age restrictions for everything that wasn’t gun ownership, u g h) but voting was obviously the most appealing part of turning eighteen. Like, finally. Even if the upper-middle-class white dudes kept tipping the scale in elections, now she had legitimacy to protest it, which was better than being told off for complaining because she was only a teenager and didn’t understand politics. U g h again.

The downside of having an early January birthday was that she never got to celebrate with her family. Wellll, that wasn’t totally accurate; it was more like she never got to consistently celebrate. There had been a couple times Mum met her on Pearl Street and they’d gone out for pizza, but even though she got to set her own work hours as a mechanic, she didn’t get to pick her clients, and the past few days she’d gotten all tangled up in some complicated magitech problem that was totally beyond Marley’s comprehension. Something to do with a fuel tank? Potentially explosive, anyways, so she really couldn’t blame her for prioritizing that. Meanwhile, Dad and Jaime might’ve been able to take time off their jobs but still couldn’t exactly scrounge up for the price tag of a roundtrip flight from Toronto. They’d made plans for Mum to Side-Along them over next week instead, but that still left her solo on her actual birthday.

It was fine, though. Between being Head Student and on the Lyra Quidditch team and co-leading AgriClub and occasionally involved in school theatre shows and also taking basically every class (okay like, seven… or was it eight?) Marley had a pretty wide network at RMI, so she was never really alone. And as great as the little Italian pizzeria on Pearl Street was, the house-elves could honestly top it, although that was an opinion she’d obviously never share with her very proudly Italian mother lest she find herself on the receiving end of a verbal smackdown. Liana Chapman had strong opinions about pizza. She had learned this the hard way once, and knew better than to test it again.

Seated today near the entrance of the Diner, Marley couldn’t hold back a wide grin as her requested pizza - thick crust, garlic-stuffed, with enough vegetable toppings to almost qualify as a salad, finished off with pineapple and two types of cheese - materialized on a large platter in the centre of the table. “Mmmm!” Humming happily, she unfolded a napkin and draped it artfully over her black-and-white-chequed skirt, more for setting the right #aesthetic for fancy pizza dining than out of genuine concern of making a mess. For similar reasons, she’d paired the skirt with a delicate sleeveless yellow blouse, chunky gold earrings that appeared to sparkle right out of her afro and looked way fancier than the toonie she’d spent on them at Goodwill, and black ankle boots. No tights, though. She knew her legs were fine as heck, and there had to be some benefits to not venturing out into the snow.

Conveniently, before she began serving herself, another student walked into the Diner and made eye contact. Whether or not it was intentional eye contact didn’t matter too much, just as it didn’t matter too much who exactly they were: it was her birthday, and she was in a great mood, and ready to spread the good vibes with anyone in her path. “Hey! Do you want a slice?” she offered, white teeth flashing against her dark skin. “Pro tip, it’s my birthday, so you can’t say no. If you do, I might just eat all of this myself, which would totally be a waste. Pizza tastes better shared.”

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