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Chapter 19: The Truth
“Abi, I’ve told you a million times” I sighed “I don’t want to do anything big or special for my birthday, I just want it to be a quiet affair with you and my friends”
“But Ollie” said Abi sounding needy and resting her head on my shoulders “It’s your first birthday with me as your girlfriend, surely that’s something to add” Hugo rolled his eyes which made me smirk which in turns made Abi hit me (then him).
“So I should celebrate my birthday so you can have a good time” I replied raising my eyebrows, Abi sighed once again
“That’s not what I’m saying at all” she said sounding near to irritated “All I’m saying is that I think you should do something special… just me and you”. Hugo nearly spat out his water and hurriedly left the dorm after getting a scary glare from Abi. It was a rainy Thursday evening in mid-November and my birthday was coming up in sixteen days and Abi had been pestering me about doing something for weeks
I’d just never been that bothered about celebrating my birthday, it just signified me being one year closer to death. And people tell me I’m a pessimist
“So, by me and you what do you mean” I asked half-knowing what Abi was going to reply with, I suppose It had to happen one day
“I mean you and I have been going out for some time now” said Abi crawling onto my stomach and sitting down, luckily she was very light “We love eachother, we’re both of legal age so why not get down to it. You’re going to be seventeen Oliver and I’m sure you’re the only one of your friends who hasn’t done it yet”
Thanks. I wasn’t aware that I looked particularly virginal. With that and being strawberry blonde it’s a surprise I’ve actually managed to kiss three different girls
“Not that it’s any kind of bad reflection on you” said Abi quickly retracting “It’s a bad reflection on your friends and their loose morals. I mean honestly with the way that Hugo acts, you’d think he had no soul”
I don’t think my girlfriend likes my friends. I began mulling over the possibility of losing my V card for my birthday. On one hand it would be nice to get it out of the way; I saw a muggle film once about this guy who was 40 and still a virgin and I did not want to be him. Also, it would stop those awkward conversations with Hugo and I would be able to join in when all the other Potter boys make fun of Louis for being the last remaining virgin. Or maybe not, I’ve always thought that was really mean
On the flip side (gangsta), I don’t think I’m quite there in terms of maturity yet and then there’s the fear of it all going wrong. I don’t think anyone still wishing for a sponge cake, balloons and party games at a party is ready yet. Then again, I’m a skinny, secretly slightly dorky ginger boy yet I’d somehow managed to find a girlfriend who seems happy enough to sleep with me.
“Can I make my mind up tomorrow” I groaned as Abi began poking me in the ribs where I was exceedingly ticklish. I’d had a very tiring day, first of all Hugo and I were late up so we had to run (Yes, run) all the way to Care of Magical Creatures. I’m not really a running kind of guy, or even a physically fit or athletic kind of guy so I was bloody knackered before second period had even started.
I then, somehow, managed to turn a second year into a violin during Transfiguration which the whole class, including the child thankfully, seemed to find incredibly amusing. Freddie spilled his custard all down me at dinner which made me have to go and change which then made me late which meant I had to run (again) all the way down to the Potions classroom. On my way down there, I tripped down a flight of stairs creating a nasty gash on my head which has now been bandaged
That I didn’t mind so much, I looked a bit like an Egyptian mummy which pleased me. After my hellish day I was ready for bed even if it was only half six; I yawned and Abi slapped me to wake me up
“I know you’ve had a bad day and I know you’re tired” she said as she grabbed my hand and pulled me over to the desk at the corner of our dorm “But we have to get this History of Magic essay in for tomorrow”
Why, oh why, had I not dropped History of Magic when I had the chance? Oh yeah, I somehow got an E grade in it and I always felt sorry for Professor Binns because nobody like him. I have this thing about lonely old people that crushes something inside me and it makes me upset when I see him by himself at lunchtimes. Even if he is a ghost who can’t actually eat anything, he really shouldn’t have to be alone
Abi thought I was sweet for worrying about him, everyone else just thought I was weird. I’ve only ever spent like six lunchtimes with him as well; I think I’m his favourite student so I suppose he wants me to do well. After what felt like forever, but was only about forty minutes, Abi and I finally finished our essay on Goblins in the 17th century.
I immediately slumped back onto my bed and Abi came and laid down next to me, I put my arms around her and looked out of the window. I hadn’t told a soul about what had happened between Lily and I at the Halloween party and though I was glad that Lily was keeping her distance and hadn’t told anyone yet, I knew what she was like and how spontaneous she could be. She could decide to tell anyone at any time
I felt like such an idiot for crying a few weeks before and Abi clearly had figured out that something wasn’t right; I’d told her some things about my dad but not everything. We were clearly thinking the same thing as Abi’s next question knocked me for six
“Oliver, what’s really wrong with your dad?” she asked turning to me. I gave her a sad smile; I knew the time would come when I’d have to tell someone who wasn’t Lily. She’d only found out by accident in the summer between fourth and fifth years when she turned up at my house on a whim
“I know it can’t be easy” Abi continued stroking my face, I felt myself blush “But I know you worry about him all the time, I just think I could help you in some way”. I smiled back at Abi whose nose did a cute twitch; I sat up, tucked my knees to my chest and sighed
“About four or maybe five years ago my dad began acting strangely” I began “At first we all laughed about it, he kept forgetting things like his wallet, his house keys but then it started getting worse. He kept forgetting people’s names, where he lived, what job he had…… he lost his job not long after”
I hated telling this story
“Mum took him to the doctors” I continued, now fighting back the tears “One day, he forgot something and he got so angry, he ended up hitting me. So mum took him and Dad was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s; he’s like a different person most of the time. He knows who mum is and sometimes, if we’re lucky, he remembers Jack and I”
Abi squeezed my hand as I struggled to continue
“Some days he’s fine and he’s really happy and on top of the world” I carried on “Some days, it’s like having him back but other days he’s just awful. He shouts, he screams and he gets violent because he’s so frustrated. Mum have up work to care for him full time, last summer we decided enough was enough. Dad’s in a home now getting the help he needs and Mum’s living her life; she even has dates sometimes”
Abi looked confused
“Just to you know get her out of the house, it’s just her now Jack’s started here” tears were pouring down my face by this point, there’s a reason I don’t confide in people often “I think she’s lonely, she just doesn’t say. Jack hasn’t really grasped what’s going on yet but he will do someday”
Abi pulled me into a hug as I began to sob. She promised me that she wouldn’t tell a soul, I’d never even told Hugo about this and he was my best friend. Abi hugged me for a while before I eventually drifted off to sleep in her arms
“I think you’re incredible Oliver” were the last words I heard before I drifted off