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Chapter 20: Home, Part Une
Chapter 20: Home, Part Une.
My mum just broke a plate.
“Hey mum,” I say softly.
“Georgiana!” she shrieks.
I turn to my left and see my father flooding his cup of coffee, his eyes staring in utter shock at me. I turn to my right and see my reflection in the refrigerator. Oh right, I’m still covered in my boyfriend’s and my blood. Cool.
“Sorry, mum, I forgot,” I say shaking my head.
My mum smiles at me and I feel a weird quench in my stomach. I smile back.
“You look like you fell down a rabbit-hole,” my dad says walking over to me and snaking his arm around my shoulders.
“I feel like I did,” I say letting him kiss me on the forehead.
“How did you get here?” my mum asks me walking over to my dad and me and hugging us both. I notice that she is wearing a very pale pink skirt and smile when she doesn’t mind getting it covered with mud and blood.
“The principal dropped me off,” I say.
My family are the only ones who know where I actually was. Through a letter back in September my mum informed me that everyone else thought I was studying a semester abroad in Rumania… trying to learn Rumanian, I suppose.
I feel a bump on the shoulder and as my mum and dad stop hugging me I notice my brother Michael sitting on his usual place at the table. His hair is all messy and he looks like he might have slept but one hour. I knew I heard someone playing Rockband when I arrived. I wait for him to stop rubbing the sleep from his eyes and he finally looks at me.
“Georgiana!” he gasps. He suddenly stands from his place and strides over to hug me. He lifts me off the ground and I wrap my arms around his neck. It’s good to be back.
“Is all that blood actually yours?” he asks me with a grin.
“No,” I say as I take off my shoes.
“Whose is it then?” he asks picking up the hose.
It was his idea, really. We are standing in our garden. I am still wearing all my bloodstained clothes because my mum does not want a mess inside the house. He got the idea from Pulp Fiction, I can tell.
“You really don’t want to know,” I answer him.
“Did you kill some kid or something?” he asks adjusting the pressure on the hose. I’m beginning to get frightened.
“No, Michael,” I say in a tired voice.
Michael is two years older than I am and somehow we have always got along pretty well. I’m the one that introduced him to that film. I’m pretty much regretting it right now.
“Ready?” he says.
Without letting me answer he allows the water to flow freely. Through the pressure of the water I hear him roar with laughter. My clothes are all getting plastered to my body. My hair is getting tangled and all the blood is washing away from me. It hurts a little when he hits my knees and the marks Cedric left on my arms. When he considers that I am clean enough he shuts off the hose and walks over to me.
“Off with your clothes, missy,” he says.
He enters the house and in the meantime I take off my clothes until I’m standing in our garden in my old pyjama bottoms and a short-sleeved shirt. Even for summer I feel cold. I stare down at my naked feet. The grass under them is covered in red.
My mum is getting the broken plate off the floor. It would be so easy to run and get my wand from my bedroom. I don’t want them to see me in that light, though.
“Maybe I can glue it back together later, mum,” I say as I take my seat at the kitchen table. My dad hands me a section of the newspaper while he reads the finances and Michael tunes the TV to the news. I almost expect there to be something about sudden killings or disappearances.
My family doesn’t ask me a question during breakfast. Mum hugs me every once in a while and checks what parts of my skin are visible to make sure all that blood wasn’t mine. Her gaze stops frequently at the moon-shaped marks in my arms.
“I was really cold,” I lie while hiding my fingers under my legs. If she happened to see them she would notice the marks are rather larger than my fingernails.
After mum and dad leave for work Michael drifts back into a zombie-like state, reading silently the section of the newspaper I hadn’t really paid attention to. I quietly announce that I am taking a shower and leave him in the kitchen. I think I hear him saying that he’s going over to Pete’s house for rugby. As I enter the bathroom I feel an enormous pressure on my chest. The tears have come back, apparently. I manage to control myself and after much consideration I walk over to the mirror to see the face I have been giving to my family. Honestly, it’s no wonder they have been staring at me as if I were part of a group of living-dead. Also it’s no wonder they have not asked me anything. Either they don’t want to know or they think I can’t bear to recall it.
The face in the mirror has changed. I am no longer covered in blood but still look like a train just ran me over. I am considerably thinner than when I left last August. My hair is slightly longer (I had it cut while on a visit to Hogsmeade). My eyes barely have any light in them. The long cut is still in my cheek, as are all the bruises. There is a little scar in my lip that never really healed from back in his birthday when Cedric bit me. Note to self: must stop biting lip. I begin to cry silently as I take off my clothes. I finger the marks that Cedric left on me, both the ones made out of passion and the ones carved out of fear. I feel the tears strolling down my neck, climb into the shower and, through the noise, allow myself to sob a little louder. Looking down at the water that pours from me I notice there was still quite a large amount of his blood on me. I am reminded of the murder scene in Psycho.
It must be around seven-thirty when I allow myself to think of what Cedric must be doing. Surely he’s still asleep. In a while he will be waking up and wondering where I am. Why I have not visited him… I sigh sadly and close the tap, fully aware that I just washed a part of him from my body. I am getting ready to walk out of the shower when I feel the pressure come back to my chest and gather at my throat. I manage to suck in some air but almost none of it rushes to my head. I bend over and find myself kneeling on the cold tiled floor. Is this what it feels like to have your heart broken? Because if it is, this pain means just one thing: Cedric Diggory just forgot that I ever existed.
I kind of zoned out after that. Now it’s been a day since I got into my zombie state. Whenever Mum, Dad or Michael ask me about school I nod and tell them I learnt wonderful things and made wonderful friends. Then I kind of bow my head so they won’t see my tears. This morning I woke up calling for Luna and then bursting into tears. I’m trying this new thing, you see. It’s called ‘not thinking about Cedric’. Doesn’t really work, though. I have hardly eaten anything since breakfast yesterday. I only remind myself to eat a little by remembering that collapse I had back in October. I have been pretty much living on oatmeal.
I am currently enduring the greatest test any human being has ever endured: I am about to clean my trunk. I tried to do so last night and then broken into hysterical sobs at finding Mansfield Park. I must have fallen asleep with it, for this morning I woke up clutching it really hard. I still have angular marks on my palms. Oh God. I am sounding totally depressed. Right. Snapping right out of it. Music, let’s play some music. Quite mysteriously I remember the scene in Persepolis where Marjane sings “Eye of the Tiger”.
I have accumulated quite a load of junk since September. Piece of evidence number one: exactly twenty-seven bubblegum wrappers. Piece of evidence number two: a doodle of Snape I drew once while falling asleep on his class. Well, honestly, it kind of is a good drawing… quite accurate too. Though now I feel kind of guilty about it. There are plenty of books that I’m never going to be using again, so they might as well stay inside the trunk, several quills and pieces of parchment I guess I could use. There’s a large wooden box that contains all things Cedric. Not wanting to go there just now. Clothes, finally. Cute skirts I guess I can charm and reuse as normal clothing, several shirts that are much too formal to wear again; tights I will turn into dry flower pouches. I come to the normal clothes someone put into my trunk back in August and start throwing them into the washing basket.
I’m working on getting the trunk rid of all my balls of socks when a pair slips from my fingers and rolls across the floor. I reach for them and feel they are much too heavy. I loosen them and a small golden object falls to the floor followed by a gold chain. Though I know I will be breaking down in a second I kneel down and pick my engagement ring up. I free it from the chain and slip it on my finger. I smirk at it and wonder if I’m still engaged. My smirk breaks and I sob quietly, sitting on the floor next to my bed. Silly. You can’t be engaged to someone who doesn’t know you’re alive.
So, I just cried while watching Goblet of Fire at my friend Pauline’s house. I had been holding back my tears since the first time Cedric’s character appeared. But in the cemetery scene I had to run away to the bathroom. Not remembering, though, that there is a much harder scene after that, I returned to the room just in time to see as Cedric’s dad (if only he were that nice in person) cried over his son’s body. Now all the girls are towering around me and I’m cowering like a mouse behind Pauline’s couch. She has been trying to stuff me with vanilla ice cream but I just can’t even look at it. I try to excuse myself saying it’s the jetlag… You know, since I was in Rumania and all. I don’t know what I was thinking when I agreed to come to this stupid sleepover. I haven’t been in a sleepover since forever… unless you count sleeping in Cedric’s bed, which I guess is not much of a sleepover; that is probably the reason I agreed to come. Most of them are being pretty nice, I must say, though this girl called Helen I have never really liked has been giving me the stink eye since I first walked through the door.
Without really noticing how I got here I find myself lying on my sleeping bag. I can’t keep lying to myself anymore: I am broken about Cedric; he is obviously not broken about me; and I am breaking everyone around me. I get up and walk out of the abandoned room to find my friends in the kitchen.
“I know it’s a guy,” I hear Helen’s voice from the stairwell, “Surely she got dumped.”
Surprisingly, tears don’t come. Instead I feel this gigantic anger against this stupid long-legged girl I hardly know. I am quite happy I decided not to bring my wand… otherwise Helen would be in serious danger of leaving tomorrow with fiery pink hair and a snout. I giggle picturing that. Oh my God! It’s the first time I’ve giggled in a week! The hushed sound of my laughter perks me up and I prance into the kitchen.
It’s getting a little better, I must confess. Yesterday I managed to cry for just about an hour. Then I proceeded to put away my engagement ring inside a drawer together with all the little notes Cedric used to send me. Afterwards I decided to just join Michael and one of his friends at a movie. The friend seemed, well, friendly enough. Also, he kind of asked me on a date, which eventually meant that I went back home and cried inside the bathroom for about another hour. So, okay, I cheated a little bit yesterday.
Right now I’m just sitting across from Michael having breakfast. I decided to wear the ring around my neck today in a feeble attempt to not break down yet again. Mum left perhaps five minutes ago and Dad has been gone since the break of dawn. School starts in two weeks and I’m trying to get ahead with our reading list… without much success, I might add.
“So, who was he?” Michael asks suddenly, making me look up from A Midsummer’s Night Dream.
“Who?” I ask with honest ignorance.
“The guy, Georgiana. Who was he?” He insists looking me straight in the eye.
“What guy?” I ask trying to conceal my uprising tears. I would never make a good actress.
“The one you cry about all the time,” Michael says, “The one who gave you those marks on the arm; the one whose ring,” he says standing up and pulling the chain from a spot behind my neck, “you carry. Who was he?”
“Just some guy,” I say.
“Some guy?” he asks sitting back down and putting some cereal in his mouth, “Do all the guys you meet give you engagement rings?”
I give him a hard look.
“Because if they do, then they definitely took that song's lyric a little too far.”
“What, Michael,” I groan, “Are you a detective now?”
We remain quiet and I try to resume my reading.
“Do you…” he starts, “Do you want me to go to his place and hit him or something?”
I look up at him and give him the first true smile that my face has had on in the last couple of months.
“You should know he has a wand,” I say.
He flinches a little at my first recognition of magic being real and I smile a little wider.
“He’s not a bad guy, though,” I say looking down again, “I’m the one that left.”
He nods and resumes his eating. I read perhaps four pages of my book before hearing his voice again.
“You didn’t want to, though.”
Nope, I didn’t.
Something’s happened. Something’s happened to take Cedric out of my mind.
“Say, Georgiana?” Michael called me yesterday to the window.
“What?” I asked uninterestedly.
“There’s one of your folk standing outside.”
For the tiniest instant I thought it was him. I honestly thought it was him. That he had found me and had come to: a) tell me he remembered me and loved me, or b) yell at me ‘how could you?’ over and over. My heart began beating faster at the remembrance of him: of his arms around my waist and his lips against mine.
I was close to rushing to the window, pancake pan in hand, when I suddenly thought of something. Without school robes or a cloak on, there virtually is no way of spotting a wizard in a crowd. Unless, you know, they start shooting spells or something.
“How do you know, Michael?” I mumbled stopping short, the pan still in my hand, a little away from the window.
“Well, duh!” he mocked me, “The cloak.”
My heart started to beat faster for reasons I didn’t know. There was no way it was Cedric. What little hope I had in my heart suddenly evaporated and was turned into something else: absolute, pure, unadulterated dread.
I took tiny steps to the window and stood a little behind Michael. Peering over his shoulder I discovered one of the few images that can actually make me freeze. As if completely concealed standing next to a streetlamp I saw a told, blond man, completely dressed in emerald and black. His blonde hair cascaded down to his waist and a cane was held firmly in his right hand. Though I needn’t, I focused hard on the handle. Sure enough, there was the snake.
“Bloody hell,” I gasped covering my mouth with my hand and letting the pan drop to the floor.
“What’s going on?” Michael asked, turning back to me.
What’s going on? What’s going on? What’s going on is that we’ve all been idiots. Barty Crouch Jr. knew about me, didn’t he? He found out the day he saw me practicing with the dummy and a week later on the day Cedric was supposed to die. What’s going on is that he was surely sent to Azkaban, where he probably got the Dementor’s kiss. What’s going on is that Azkaban is full of Death Eaters and what’s going on is that the man standing across from my house is none other that Lucius Malfoy, probably the most influential of the Death Eaters and wizards in general. What’s going on is that if Barty Crouch Jr. got even five minutes of cell time in Azkaban he must have spoken to at least one Death Eater, which means that Lucius Malfoy must know about the weird chick that seemed to always know both Potter’s and the Dark Lord’s next move. Quite the weapon, huh?
“Michael, they found me,” I whispered in panic.
That night I cast as many protective spells upon my house as I am conscious of. I told my dad he needs to be extra careful when he goes to work. I have insisted on going everywhere with my mum and knowing exactly where Michael is all the time.
September the first is just one week away. In a week I expect all the Death Eaters will be focusing on Harry again rather than me. Perhaps the several Death Eaters that have been rounding my house will finally go away.
Even the panic that I have submerged myself into and that has me sleeping with all the lights on and my wand in my palm, however, has not prevented my thinking of something else entirely. Yeah, a week from tomorrow Cedric will be going back to school. I wonder how that will work. Does everybody else remember me? Will they be going to him and asking, ‘hey, how’s your girlfriend?’ and only getting confused or empty looks? Perhaps Dumbledore did go through the whole process of erasing me from every single person’s mind. I bet he did. Which means that Cedric will surely meet a girl or get acquainted with that cow Cho Chang and I will quietly slip into oblivion. I will become nothing. A person that once slept in a bed in Ravenclaw Tower or stood next to a window looking at the Lake. And even so, no one will remember. What’s the point, then?
He hasn’t come. He hasn’t found me. Chances are that Snape never got the note to him. He will never have a clue of my existence and I will die alone here in my room, devoured by hounds; either that or being forced to cooperate with Voldemort, anyway.
I’d better sleep now. A day of following my mum around and watching out for cloaked figures awaits me.
Ced, where are you?
Cedric. Cedric. Cedric.
You. guys. are. the best. See, for a while back there I never got any comments. Then, after "Blood" somehow I reached the magic number 28. I thought that that was pretty good - you know, after a lifetime of not getting comments. And today I see I've reached 36! From one day to the next! Because of you! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Well, I sure hope you enjoyed this chapter. It felt a little frustrating to write it considering that Georgiana had to be feeling pretty down, but I suppose a little of her perspective concerning her leaving was necessary. What did you think? And I swear that there will be more of Cedric, even if there was practically nothing about him in this one.
As usual, my disclaimer - there are several mentions here to things I do not own. Harry Potter is, of course, the first one (both the books and the movies). Persepolis (a wonderful film you should all see) together with Pulp Fiction are the other two. And, last but not least, Jane Austen's Mansfield Park.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter. I assure you I will enjoy reading your reviews. Thank you for reading and rating and writing and all!