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Chapter 2: The Aftermath of the Storm
“The pain of having a broken heart is not so much as to kill you, yet not so little as to let you live.”
Chapter Two: The Aftermath of the Storm
My chest hurt.
He had been my everything. I known him all his life and ever since he had kissed me that fateful night in June twelve years ago, my life had been part of his. I stared blankly at the curtains, drawn shut to keep out the light from my curled up position on the bed. I hadn’t slept.
I couldn’t do this; I couldn’t do this alone.
My heart was slowing.
Rose hadn’t left yet—only briefly to pick up some things from home. I didn’t mind her, though I think she was frightened of me. She brought me food she knew I wouldn’t eat and smoothed the hair from my face like my mother used to when I was younger.
Rose was my best friend. She wasn’t enough.
My lungs felt weak.
People were starting to flood in now, but I hardly took notice. The days seemed to meld into one another—I hadn’t slept properly, hadn’t eaten and barely drank. I hadn’t moved since Rose put me to bed the night he left. I could almost imagine what I would look like: face drawn, skin that was sickly and unclean, matted greasy hair.
But who was there to impress?
I hadn’t stopped crying.
It was all I could think about. That single event played over and over in my head. Mum visited today, helped Rose out. I don’t know what they had said to each other; their voices just swirled around me, their meanings lost.
I threw up today.
I don’t know how; it was mostly bile, acidic green and rank. Rose is worried, I can tell. I should be worried—my heart feels like it’s pumping glue, I feel dizzy and light-headed, I can’t concentrate, eat, sleep—I can’t do anything.
I should be worried. But I can’t make myself be.
I was on the verge of losing my mind.
I could feel myself slipping—I thought about the past today. How I let myself centre my whole being around him—my happiness, my life, my everything. Everything I did took him into account.
It was like trying to navigate without a compass and with the clouds covering the stars.
It was the first thing I had said since that night. My voice was dry, cracked from disuse.
Rose, who was lying half-asleep next to me, jumped, as if a snake had bit her. “Molly?” Her voice was thick. She rubbed her eyes. “Oh, Molly!”
She flung herself at me and within a split second I was in her tight embrace. Her arms were around me, but as much as I wanted to hug her back, I couldn’t—I couldn’t move.
I took a shaky breath. My mouth full of red hair—hers or my own, I couldn’t tell—I spoke. “Rose…have you met her yet?”
She pulled back, though her arms were still tight around me. She regarded me curiously. “Met who?”
I tried to take a deep breath but it didn’t help; it was shallow, weak. “L-Lucinda.”
“Lucinda…” Her brow was crinkled in apparent confusion and I was in a state of disbelief. Then it was if the lights had clicked on in her head and her face collapsed under the weight of—what seemed to be—pity and sorrow, mingled with anger. “Merlin, Rose, he told you her name was Lucinda?”
Frustration bubbled inside me—she had lost me. “What do you mean?” My voice was sharp, sharper than I expected but I barely noticed.
She sat up in the bed, brushing the hair away from my face. Her fingers were cold and my breathing was constricted. “That isn’t her name, love”
My energy was dwindling, but I forced myself to speak. “Tell me.”
She flinched, her hand pausing across my face. “Darling, I’m not sure…”
“Tell me.” It was the strongest my voice had sounded in days.
She took a deep breath and looked down. “I-It’s…it’s Dominique.”
It took a moment for her words to make sense—I rolled them over and over in my head, looking for another meaning, a hidden sign, anything other than the face value of her words.
It wasn’t long before I realised there was nothing.
Then there was a sudden, overwhelming pain and I couldn’t breathe, it was like someone had plunged there hand into my chest, took my heart in their hand a squeezed and it hurt and burned, and I was screaming, the sound tearing itself out of my throat. Rose calling out but I couldn’t hear her; my brain was failing to take in so much; the lack of oxygen, the crushing pain, the sensation of my heart beating slower and slower until finally I blacked out, finding relief in the emptiness.
When I woke up, I knew I wasn’t in my bed, safe at home. The room I was in was white, for starters, with balloons and flowers lying on every surface; my—our, a cruel voice inside my head corrected me—bedroom was pale blue, the colour Teddy had picked out in our first month of living together. Secondly, I was not in my bed—these sheets were horrible, nothing like the sheets at home. Thirdly—the most obvious—was the quietly humming machines, the sensors that were reading my every move. By the artificial white light that lit the room and the darkness outside its only window, I knew it was night time.
“Healer Blackwood! She’s awake!”
The voice was shrill but familiar. I struggled to focus my vision, the blood pumping through my veins ringing ears like the steady beat of a drum. Slowly the figures in the room began to focus, and I was able to see Rose, seated in the chair beside the bed, anxiously wringing her hands; my mother, on my other side with my father, their faces ; Lucy, asleep on the bed next to mine.
Before I could speak and without warning, the door swung open with a creak and a flurry of white entered the room. The woman’s hair was her dominating feature—big and blonde, it had been curled and fluffed within an inch of its life, and as a result made her head seem twice as large. Her white practitioner’s robes were pressed and clean, over a bright red sweater with a scooping neckline and a black pencil skirt that brushed just above her knees. Her face sported a huge smile, showing a row of perfect white teeth and the skin around her blue eyes were lined, the only sign of any aging process.
The confusion I felt must have been apparent on my face because Rose took my hand and my mother spoke; “This is your Healer, love, Camellia Lane Blackwood. And that is Lorcan Scamander, a Resident at the hospital.”
Due to the overwhelming presence of Healer Blackwood, I hadn’t even seen the young man hovering behind her. His face bore an expression of supreme exasperation and, unlike his superior, his robes were crinkled, as if he had been sleeping in them. His name was familiar, though, and the longer I stared, the more I could have sworn I knew him.
It took be a long moment to place him and when I did, it was with surprise. Lorcan Scamander; I knew of him vaguely as Lily Potter’s best friend—she was close to the Scamander twins, but being seven years older, I had never really had much to do with Lily let alone her friends. At Hogwarts, with me in my seventh year and he in his first, he’d been the awkward little kid who couldn’t make eye-contact with me and pretended like we didn’t know each other; no matter how hard I tried to be nice, it was nothing short of uncomfortable every time.
“Good evenin’, darlin’!” drawled Healer Blackwood, her unmistakable Southern twang coating her words like honey, thick and smooth. “Nice of you to join us in the land of the livin’!”
I gave a weak smile. “Thank you, Healer.”
“How are you feeling? Any chest pains?” It was Lorcan who spoke this time, and his voice was tense, irritated and I didn’t expect it. A tendril of anger began to worm its way inside me.
It took a moment for me to respond. “I’m fine, thank you for your concern.” Sarcasm was dripping from my voice, but I didn’t care. I was on my last legs in keeping my emotions under wraps. “When do I get to leave?”
My mother looked affronted, and Dad just shook his head. “Molly, I don’t think—”
“You ain’t going nowhere, sissy!” said the Healer, brightly, cutting off the rest of Mum’s words. “You just suffered minor heart failure; you ain’t leavin’ for a week at least.”
Lucy stirred in her sleep, but it was unheeded. I was beginning to feel lightheaded as the great expanse of time a week was—time to reflex, to think, to feel...I couldn’t let her do this to me. “What do you mean a week? I have a job, bills to pay, I can’t just—”
Healer Blackwood seemed unfazed and when she spoke, her voice was stern. “I suggest you get cosy, Mrs. Lupin—”
Rose looked panicked. “It’s Miss—”
“—‘cause there ain’t nothin’ you can say or do that’ll change my mind about your treatment. I’ll be ‘round later to run some tests.”
With that, she indicated to Lorcan, who was smirking slightly, to follow and together they exited the room, leaving a hushed silence in their wake.
Rose was the first to speak. “She’s something else.”
Mum had a slight smile on her face. “I quite like her.”
I ignored them. “Mum.” My voice was desperate but I needed it to be, so she would listen. “You can’t...I need to be home right now, I need normalcy, I can’t be left here for hours on hours alone—”
While Mum, I could see, look about willing to reason, Dad’s voice was stern. “Molly, what you need is rest.”
I glared at him, seething. Couldn’t he see where I was coming from? “I can rest at home—”
The hard look in his eye left no room for argument. “Molly. You’re staying. That’s it.”