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Missing by Courtney Dark
Chapter 2: Me
Another gorgeous image by phoenixn @TDA
My clearly psychopathic roommate’s fingers tighten round my neck.
I have lost the ability to talk, so I clamp my hands around her fingers, trying to pry them away.
It doesn’t work.
Obviously this girl is no stranger to strangling people.
“REBECCA!” someone shouts and, to my relief, my psycho roommate - Rebecca -releases her grip from my neck and backs away.
Still choking slightly, I manage to sit up on the bed. Another girl is now standing in the room. She is very short, with super curly hair, and she looks a lot nicer than Rebecca and Victoria.
Rebecca glares at the curly haired girl. “She was moving Tori’s stuff!”
“This isn’t Tori’s stuff, anymore, Rebecca,” the new girl says patiently. “She doesn’t…she doesn’t go to this school.”
I sit there awkwardly, watching this exchange. I don’t get why Rebecca is so touchy about moving Victoria’s pictures off the walls.
“If you want me too, I could pack all the pictures up, and you could send them to…to Victoria,” I offer, feeling myself blush as I talk to these two girls.
Merlin, I’m so embarrassed of myself. I can’t even talk to people my age without going red! Both Rebecca and the other girl stare at me. Rebecca looks angry, the other girl looks…sympathetic?
“You must be the new girl,” she says, coming towards me. I instinctively flinch away, and I see a look of hurt pass over the girl’s face. “I’m Aine,” she says, holding out a hand, which I hesitantly shake. “Aine Finnigan. And the person who just tried to kill you is Rebecca Kale.”
I open my mouth to introduce myself. “I’m…”
“She’s Tori’s replacement!” interrupts Rebecca angrily. “And when Tori comes back, she’ll be gone!”
Aine bites her lip. “I…I don’t think Tori’s coming back, Rebecca,” she said softly.
“Yes, she is,” says Rebecca stubbornly. She shoots me a look. “Put her pictures back on the wall. They’re Tori’s pictures. That’s Tori’s bed you’re sitting on. Not yours.”
Woah. What is this girl’s problem?
“Look,” I say, starting to feel irritated. “I have no idea who this…this Tori person is, but she’s not here anymore. I am. This is my bed and I’m going to do whatever I like…”
I break off when I see that Rebecca’s eyes have filled with tears. Crap. What have I done now?
Aine instantly rushes over to Rebecca. “Oh, Rebecca honey!” she says, wrapping her arms around her. “She didn’t mean it like that. She just…
But Rebecca just shoves her away. “You have no right to say those things about Tori!” she says to me, wiping away tears. Her mascara is running in black streaks down her face. She looks like a panda. This is why I don’t wear make up. “She was better than you’ll ever be!”
Ouch. That’s a bit harsh, considering the girl doesn’t even know me. I could turn out to be totally awesome.
“You need to calm down, Rebecca,” says Aine soothingly. “Maybe we should get back to class?” Rebecca gives me one last glare, then storms out of the room.
Thank god. That is one nasty bitch.
I mean witch.
I’m nice. I don’t call people bitches.
“I’m sorry about that,” Aine says sympathetically. “Rebecca’s going through some serious…issues at the moment.”
I nod. “I can see that.”
Yeah. I’m not the best conversationalist.
Aine bites her lip. “Look, I need to get back to class now, but there’s going to be a big party down at the Black Lake tonight. All the sixth and seventh years are invited. Would you like to come?”
I open my mouth to say no. I hate parties - not that I’ve ever been to a proper one - but I’ve heard all about them. Teenage girls and boys making out and drinking, dancing and talking…in other words, way too much socialising for me. I’d rather curl up in one of those armchairs with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate.
But I can’t go round being the girl no-one knows for the whole year.
“Sure,” I say, instantly regretting my decision. “Sounds fun.”
Ha. Yet another classic Charlie Parker lie.
Aine smiles. “Great,” she says. “I’ll see you later, new girl.”
She exits the room, before I can tell her that my name is not new girl, but is, in fact, Charlie Parker.
After she’s left, I stare down at the small pile of photographs sitting on my bed, which I was originally planning on throwing away. I pick the top one off the pile. It’s one of Victoria, making a very ‘on-purpose’ expression. There are three other girls with her, all wearing pyjama’s and I instantly recognise one as Rebecca.
This Rebecca is smiling falsely and waving at the camera. But there’s something about her that is…off. She doesn’t look very confident and almost seems nervous to be in Victoria’s presence. Her hair’s different, too. It’s very long and she has giant bangs that cover her eyes. It’s like she’s trying to hide.
Frowning, I put the photo back down on the pile, and then shove them under the bed (Bernard comes racing out as I do so, a frightened look on his face.) I’m not putting them back on the wall like Rebecca wanted me too, but I’m not keeping them, either. If Rebecca wants them, she can have them.
When most of the photos are gone, I lie back on the bed. It’s quite comfortable actually, and I almost feel like I’m at home when Bernard lies next to me, on my pillow. I grab a chocolate bar from my backpack and Hogwarts: A History from my trunk. Then I do what I do whenever I’m alone, happy, frustrated or scared: I eat chocolate and read. I just hope that this massive, leather-bound book will remind me why I wanted to come to this school at the age of eleven.
I’m beginning to think mum was right about other children and teenagers. People are dangerous. Keeping to yourself and eating chocolate is your safest bet for survival around here.
Wow. I think I just found myself a new motto!
Aine, Rebecca and two other girls return to the dormitory after dinner, something I’d opted out of. I didn’t want a whole lot of strangers staring at me, and I was quite happy sitting up here, reading and finishing my chocolate stash.
I look up as I see them coming in. At the sight of me sitting on Victoria’s - ahem, my bed, Rebecca sulks, and storms over to her corner of the room, where she flops down on her own bed, picks up a magazine and begins to read. The two unknown girls are staring at me with wide eyes, muttering to each other.
“You didn’t come down to dinner,” Aine says. She comes over to my bed, where she plonks herself down, and starts patting Bernard, who begins purring. Idiot cat. He’s such a sucker for attention.
“I wasn’t hungry.”
One of the girls suddenly lets out a giggle.
I stare at them irritably. The two of them are very similar looking - both have dark, long hair, black eyes and olive skin. Indian heritage, maybe? Both look like annoying, giggly airheads. They kind of remind me of baby ducklings.
“Is something bothering you?” I ask rudely.
Me? Rude? Jeez, I’m usually the nice one. What’s happening to me?
“You’re the new girl,” one of the ducklings states. Isn’t that kind of obvious to everyone in the vicinity?
“Not for long,” says Rebecca, from behind the magazine that she is obviously only pretending to read. “Soon Tori will be back, and she’ll be gone.”
The two ducklings look at each other.
“What?” Rebecca barks at them, and they both jump. “You think Tori isn’t going to come back? Well, she is! I know it!”
One of the ducklings nods nervously. “Oh yes,” she says. “Tori is definitely coming back. Yes.”
I now realise that the ducklings were in a lot of Victoria’s photos. Interesting.
Aine clears her throat. “Right,” she says, giving me an embarrassed smile. I decide to go ahead and like Aine. So far, she’s the only person I’ve met that hasn’t mentioned ‘Tori coming back.’ “We have a party to get to.”
“This will be the first one without Tori,” says one of the ducklings sadly. “It feels wrong somehow, going without her.”
Aine sighs, and looks at me. “Meet Clementine and Lavender Patil-McLaggen,” she says, with a small smile.
“We’re twins,” either Clementine or Lavender offers.
Clementine and Lavender. Stupidest names I’ve ever heard. Even worse than Sage.
What is it with middle aged people and stupid names? Do parents want to humiliate their kids?
“Are you coming to the party, Rebecca?” Clementine or Lavender asks.
Hm. It’s going to get tedious, calling them ‘Clementine or Lavender.’ Maybe I’ll just name them Duckling One and Duckling Two.
Rebecca glares at me.
Why’s she glaring at me? I didn’t even say anything!
Unless she can read minds...
“No,” she says. “The party was Tori’s idea. I’m not going without her.”
Aine shrugs. “Suit yourself,” she says. “Clementine, Lavender, new girl - you coming?”
I nod, and jump off my bed, trying to look eager. It’s hard.
“Coming,” I say.
There’s no way I’d stay alone in this room with Rebecca, anyway. She might actually try to rip my throat out.
Merlin, castles are creepy at night.
Aine, the ducklings and I creep down seven flights of stairs, careful not to wake any of the castles other…inhabitants (ie the creepy paintings that watch you.) Once we’re at the bottom of the stairs, we sneak out of the castle through the courtyard and onto the Hogwarts grounds. I immediately wish I’d thought to put on something warmer. The air is chilly, and I’m still wearing my jeans and coffee stained shirt. I’ve got a big fluffy jacket back in my suitcase that I would love to be wearing right now.
I also feel a tad…scruffy compared to Aine and the ducklings. They’ve all changed out of their uniforms. Aine’s wearing cute ankle boots, tights and a brightly coloured skirt, and the ducklings are in matching dresses - one is blue, one is pink.
I shiver, my teeth chattering in the cold wind. This was a bad idea. I hate parties. I hate people in general. It’s not my fault; I’ve just never been around them.
“Are you alright?” Aine looks at me in concern.
I just nod.
“Don’t be nervous,” smiles Aine reassuringly, clearly assuming that my shivering is out of nerves, not cold. “Everyone at Hogwarts is really nice.”
I look at her with raised eyebrows, but she’s already turned away.
Everyone at Hogwarts is really nice? Hello? Has she met our charming roommate, Rebecca? The one who tried to strangle me?
“There’s my girl!” someone shouts loudly, and I realise that we’ve arrived at the scene of the party.
A lot of people are here, around the Black Lake, laughing, talking and dancing to some loud music that seems to be coming from mid-air. I don't know why the teachers cannot hear all this noise - perhaps someone cast a Muffliato charm. Someone has set up a beer pong table which several large guys are already standing around, talking in loud booming voices. Little jars of blue flames are floating in the sky, warming the chilly air.
A hunky looking guy holding a can of beer wraps his arm around Aine and swoops in for a kiss. I stand there, staring in the opposite direction as they snog each others faces off.
God, am I awkward.
Finally, they break away from each other. I see Aine looking at me, like she’s just remembered I’m there.
“Oh!” she says. “Erm…this is my boyfriend, Michael Wood. Mick, this is the new girl in our dorm.”
Michael, who seems friendly enough, grins at me and holds out his hand. “Call me Mickey,” he says, as I shake it. His hands are rough and calloused. Odd.
“Mick’s Keeper on the Gryffindor Quidditch team,” says Aine proudly, which explains his hands. I’ve personally never been a fan of Quidditch. That’s probably because I hate heights. Merlin, I sound like such a wimp.
“Which Quidditch team do you support?” Mickey asks, and I realise he’s talking to me.
“Oh,” I say, feeling my cheeks going red. For goodness sake, Charlie! If you are going to blush whenever a guy talks to you, people are going to start getting the wrong message! “I-I don’t really know any Quidditch teams,” I stammer out, sounding pathetic.
“What?” says Mickey in horror. “Where have you been girl?”
I just stare at him.
Aine laughs. “Don’t terrify the poor girl, Mick,” she says.
Great. She thinks I look terrified. I am such a loser. I hate mum for sending me here.
“Me? Terrify her? Don’t be silly!”
Aine rolls her eyes, and links her arm through mine. “Come on, new girl,” she says. “Let’s go meet some people - this is the first party of the year!”
Mickey hooks my other arm through his, and they lead me away. Argh! Too much human contact! Have I mentioned I’m not a people person?
Mickey and Aine began to introduce me to people. I gave everyone a sort of smile, and told them my name, but no-one seemed to care. The moment Aine told them I was ‘the new girl’ they just looked at me funny, and went back to their conversations. The worst part was, the moment they turned their backs on me, I heard them muttering Victoria’s name, talking about her. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but I thought I knew anyway.
They were saying how much better the fantastic Tori Heron was than me, how I could never compare to her. Fan-bloody-tastic.
Though Aine was obviously trying to include me, make me feel welcome, I think she got a bit sick of me and my awkward silence. She announced that she and Mickey were going to play beer pong, leaving me standing all alone on the side of the lake.
Okay, yes, she did ask if I wanted to play too, but I declined. I have never played beer pong in my life, and don’t plan on breaking that tradition.
Now, as I stand all alone on the side of the Black Lake with my hands folded tightly across my chest, I survey my surroundings. Aine must have introduced me to over half the people here, but I don’t remember a single one of their names. Which fits, because I bet none of them remember my name either. To them, I am just Tori Heron’s replacement.
I wonder why Tori dropped out of school? From the photos on her wall - ahem, my wall, it seemed like she was very popular. She was super pretty and had a great boyfriend. I reckon she had everyone twisted around her little finger.
So what made her leave?
“You look lonely.”
I look up to see a boy standing next to me. He’s wearing jeans and a sweater, and holding a cup of firewhiskey in one hand. He is also smiling. He’s nice looking, actually, now that I take a good look at him. Not classically handsome, like the boy in all Tori’s photo’s but kind of…cute.
Urgh. No, cute is not the right word. Cute makes me think of fluffy bunny rabbits and loveseats and rainbows. Yeah, I’m not much of a romantic.
No, this boy looks…friendly. He has light brown hair and bright green eyes beneath a pair of glasses. Everything about him is natural, which I like in a boy.
Hold up. What the flipping hell did I just say? How do I know what I like in a boy? I think I’ve only talked to two boys in my whole life. Wow, that sounds pathetic.
“Are you alright?” the boy asks, peering down at my face. He’s quite tall, actually. “You’re eyes are kind of crossing.”
I shake my head, realising that I’ve been staring at him. Awkward.
“I’m fine,” I say stiffly.
Okay, I still sound like a total moron, but at least I’m not blushing! Though that could be due to the fact that I feel like I’m about to freeze to death.
“Drink?” the boy offers, holding out the firewhiskey.
I shake my head.
He shrugs. “Well, if you don’t want it…” He holds the glass to his mouth and chugs most of it down. When he’s finished, he peers down at me again. “I don’t think I’ve seen you around,” he said, scratching his head. “Who are you again?”
“Charlie Parker,” I say, wondering whether there’s actually any chance someone will remember my name. “I’m the new girl.”
As I expected, the boys face falls. To my surprise, he quickly regains his composure. “A seventh year then, eh?” he asks. “I’m in sixth. Gryffindor.”
I nod. “Me too.”
He frowns. “Huh. I would have said you were a Hufflepuff.”
I’ve been told that the Hufflepuff’s are all poufs. Great. Thanks mystery guy, what a compliment.
“If you’re in Gryffindor, that means…that means you’re in the seventh year girls dormitory,” he says slowly.
“Yes,” I reply. I realise how boring I sound, but I kind of wish this boy would leave me alone. I mean, he seems very nice, and he’s clearly not drunk, but I’d really rather be alone right now.
A strange flicker of emotion crosses the boys face, but I can’t work out what it is. “You really have taken Tori’s place, haven’t you,” he says in a quiet voice, but I hear him.
“Did you…did you know her?” I ask curiously.
The boy looks at me. Then he clears his throat. “I should get back to the party,” he says. “Have a nice night, Charlie.”
So he remembered my name. That’s nice.
Then I realise I don’t know his.
“Wait!” I shout, because he has already turned, and is walking away. “You never told me your name.”
He turns, and I see a shadow of a grin on his face. “It’s Albus,” he says. “Albus Potter.”
After Albus leaves, I just stand there, staring after him. The famous Albus Potter. Harry Potter’s son.
I watch him join a group of other sixth year Gryffindors. A girl whose red hair can be seen a mile away pulls him into a hug. I see him smile and lift her into the air.
I feel a pang of jealousy. I don’t think I’m jealous of Albus’ girlfriend. I think I’m jealous that there’s no-one in this world that cares about me that much. The thought makes me want to cry.
At the beer pong table, I see Aine jumping onto Mickey’s back and smacking him on the back of his head. They’re both laughing as he spins around, playfully trying to get her off. Sitting on the bank of the lake, the ducklings are still arm in arm, both looking a little tipsy.
I am all alone.
How can I ever be anything, compared to the great Tori Heron?
Authors Note: Whoop whoop! Chapter Two is here! I don't think this chapter is really my best work, but I just want to get the introduction of several characters out of the way.
Enjoy and please remember to review!
PS: The next chapter is from Tori's point of view, so watch out for that.