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Chapter 11: Chapter 11 - Albus
Beautiful Christmas Banner (even though it's March) by vic.toire @ TDA.
‘Yes maman,’ Belinda nodded, flashing a glance at the emerald green flames in which her mother’s head sat.
‘And you are looking more into the idea of further studies?’ she demanded, in her very French voice, ‘you know a Healer is a very respected career.’ I snorted to myself, that sounded like something Aunt Audrey would say. I don’t know why she was this worried about Belinda; she had a job, a house and friends.
‘Mmm,’ she agreed, half heartedly, continuing chopping up carrots and occasionally flicking her wand in the direction of the stove to check the potatoes she was attempting to make hadn’t burnt. Her eyes now and again travelled up to me as I sat on the floor out of sight of her mother – Merlin knows she’d kick up a fuss if she knew a boy was in Belinda’s house, even if it was just because he was a little early for dinner and Rose would be here in a matter of minutes with Scorpius. Dominique would be late, but that was expected.
‘You know, I was thinking you could look into training back here in France, Isabelle would love to have you nearer to home.’ Belinda’s nose crinkled as she held back a snort, and I shot her a quizzical look and mouthed who’s Isabelle. She shook her head.
Belinda and I didn’t know very much about each other’s lives; it wasn’t as though our relationship sucked; we just had a good time and then left. We didn’t talk about who we fancied and such... and I definitely didn’t bring up Jess, and nor did she which was nice.
I liked Belinda because for the first time there was someone around who didn’t ask questions and just wanted to hang out.
‘And you will be bringing Monkey when you come tomorrow darling, how we’ve missed him.’
I managed a snigger in her direction. I was very much enjoying watching her groan mentally about her mother. The clue was her mouthing help me! in my direction every time her mother turned slightly.
Eventually I decided it was time to intrude and flicked my own wand, imitating the sound of the doorbell.
‘Oui maman,’ Belinda cried winking in my direction, ‘that’s my Muggle friend, you better go see you tomorrow,’ I called, puffing out the flames and breathing a deep sigh, rolling her eyes, ‘thanks, you’re my hero,’ she teased, reaching up to ruffle my hair.
‘Well you did look as though you were about to explode,’ I returned, ‘is she really so bad, I mean, you’re going to spend Christmas with your family.’ She was heading off tomorrow, I could hardly believe the weeks had passed so fast.
‘Yeah,’ she pointed out, ‘I love her but there’s going to be the rest of my family, Ben, Dad... they... dilute... her over bearingness.’
I laughed and helped set the table, as I’d earlier promised, my ears alert to open the door when Rosie and Scorpius arrived. I was thinking about my family. I hadn’t seen very much of them; but then again I never did. Mum dropped by occasionally. But that was it. Wouldn’t it be better to have an over bearing family, than one you didn’t see simply because you just cut yourself off in the past?
‘You okay?’ Belinda pulled a jumper over her head, placing vegetables and stuff on the table and looked at me questioningly.
The doorbell rang interrupting my answer, and I scooted forward to let Rosie inside. She squealed at the sight of the beautifully decorated flat. ‘Oh my Merlin Belinda I love the Christmas tree.’ Rosie cried, dashing to the tall triangle of spiky tree covered in fairy lights and topped with a fake fairy that I’d found in Uncle George’s joke shop.
‘Hey Belle,’ Scorpius followed his girlfriend in, handing over a huge bowl of chocolaty looking pudding and a neatly wrapped box with a tag on top, clearly courtesy of Rose.
‘Rose,’ Belinda protested predictably, ‘I said no gifts!’
I had already had this lecture, though the DVDs I bought for her could hardly be seen as a gift when I hadn’t wrapped them and I gave her permission to give them to me when she’d watched them. That shut her up.
And of course Rose had come prepared with her own excuses, ‘just because it’s wrapped in a box does not mean its special Belinda, you don’t even have to open it now, you can pretend it’s from Merlin.’ She took the box back and tucked it beneath the prickles of the Christmas tree while Belinda looked on sceptically.
‘You lot are so stubborn,’ she sighed and rolled her eyes, hastily turning to get the turkey out of the oven. It was covered in a fine crispy layer and filled the flat with a smell that reminded me distinctly of all the Christmas’s we had spent at Nana Molly’s. This year was not going to be an exception, I was expected there tomorrow, but Rose and I had wanted to say goodbye to Belinda as she left for France in the morning. Of course Scorpius had been dragged along.
‘This smells so good,’ Rose chided, making her way over to where the potatoes sat on the counter, looking slightly dreamy. I could tell she was eyeing the treacle tart hiding away in the corner, beside the jug of steaming custard that was surely under some kind of spell to keep it warm.
‘Well, come sit,’ Belinda laughed with pink cheeks, dipping her head slightly and putting the last of the dishes on the table, ‘it’s just about ready.’
Scorpius tore his eyes away from a display of photographs that had been put up since I’d last visited only a few days ago and dropped himself into a seat, ‘this looks amazing Belle,’ he said, his eyes widening in awe. You could practically see the drool dangling from his lips. Well maybe that was an exaggeration but he did look as though he could eat the entire table.
‘Scorp, stop drooling,’ Rose smacked his arm, winking over at me, practically reading my thoughts. We used to do that a lot, we were practically twins when we were younger. ‘Belinda, is there anything you want me to help you with serving?’
‘Yeah, actually,’ we were thrown into chaos of juggling around dishes and glasses of mead from Italy that Scorpius had found, probably stashed away from when we took this stuff from Hogsmeade in seventh year. Scorpius poured glasses of the stuff, Rose darted around the table with an armful of potatoes and Belinda served vegetables. I attempted to cut the turkey neatly. And failed. Eventually our plates were full and swimming in gravy, and we were all seated.
‘So Belle, I was looking at those photos,’ Scorpius said, gesturing over his shoulder between mouthfuls, ‘who’s the girl in the picture with your family.’
He was looking at the photo right in the centre of the display. Her hair was dead straight and her eyes were a shimmery colour that I could quite make out. In the photograph she was leaning over with her arm around Belinda’s waist, and reaching up to plant a sloppy kiss on her brother’s cheek. She feature in many photos, not just the one. She was in one above with Belinda, they cradled each other in a hug. She was in another where both girls and Belinda’s brother Ben were dressed up in formal, and one where there was another boy there too and they were all on the beach.
‘Oh that,’ Belinda replied, leaning to get a glimpse of her display, ‘yeah, that’s my friend Isabelle.’ Her voice had a curious tone to it, as though there was something that she was hiding.
‘She’s pretty.’ Scorpius commented, ‘were you close.’
‘As close as sisters,’ Belinda rolled her eyes, ‘and then I moved away and she never wrote once.’
There was a stiff silence for a moment before Scorpius spoke again, ‘I think I know her.’
All eyes snapped up to him, but he shook the comment off quickly, ‘not well, I just... I’ve seen her before, we met a while ago, and never kept in touch, I was surprised.’
‘Oh... well yeah, I guess I didn’t expect much from our Izzy, she was never very good at keeping in touch, I thought maybe a letter but...’ Belinda trailed off, ‘ah well,’ she finished brightly and turned back to her food. The conversation wasn’t touched on again, but instead Rose started talking about what Belinda normally did for Christmas.
‘We normally don’t do much other than presents in the morning and having a big dinner in the evening, my mum never really saw the point in Christmas, but my dad’s grandfather was a Muggle so he sort of, brought along the tradition.’
Rose laughed loudly, ‘wow, sounds relaxing.’
‘Sometimes I wish we did more.’ We all stared at her in disbelief.
‘What?’ she protested with a grin creeping up to her face, ‘it’s just so boring.’
‘You should spend Christmas with the Weasley’s,’ Scorpius said what we were all thinking, ‘talk about hectic, I don’t think you can fit any more people into one old house which I’m pretty sure is going to fall down one of these days, three nights of terror that you’ll be woken up and have someone like Lily peering down over you.’
‘Not to mention the number of gifts you have to buy,’ I put in, ‘I think I’ve bought just about every possible gift in the world, the number of family members we have.’
‘We should really start doing Secret Santa,’ Rose agreed cheerfully, ‘it would be so much easier.’
‘Unless you got your Uncle Percy.’ Scorpius reminded us. Buying gifts for Uncle Percy was nearly as difficult as eating brussels sprouts and enjoying them; it only happens if you’re very special.
‘Who’s Percy?’ Belinda asked quietly from a corner, I reminded myself to stop shooting names of people she didn’t know without any explanation.
‘Sorry Belle,’ Scorpius spoke before I got the chance to, ‘he’s one of Rose’s more... uninteresting-’
‘He’s the most annoying Uncle we’ve got,’ Rose said over her boyfriend rather harshly. I wouldn’t go as far as to say he was annoying... just very dull to talk to. The conversation turned again to more about our family and I thought about just how little Belinda really knew about them. ‘You have to come to one of our family lunches some time,’ Rose laughed as she helped Belinda clear the table and set it for desert. I meanwhile, made my way over to Scorpius who was looking at the photos of the girl again.
‘Where do you know her from?’ I asked, silently creeping up behind him so he jumped when he heard my voice.
‘When I was younger,’ he shrugged, turning back, ‘but I do remember that she wasn’t the only French girl I knew before the summer,’ his head nodded slightly in the direction of Belinda.
‘Boys do you want pudding?’ Rose cried cheekily, spooning a mouthful of custard into her mouth, Belinda slapped her hand away playfully.
‘You knew Belinda?’ I asked quietly, his eyes guided to the floor and his finger pressed to his lips seemed to indicate he didn’t want to be heard.
‘You did too,’ he muttered.
‘What’s the big secret,’ Rose bounded over, ending the conversation, ‘you have to taste this Scorpy, it’s amazing,’ she squealed, putting a small square of Treacle Tart into Scorp’s mouth.
‘Belinda where’s mine?’ I whined, wandering over to her and leaning over her shoulder.
‘If you’re not careful I’m going to spill,’ she teased, elbowing me gently in the ribs, then turning to hand me a bowl, I realised my face and hers were frighteningly too close for my liking. Or hers I hoped.
We ate dinner and laughed and chatted some more, the conversation light and airy, however the topic of Belinda and I knowing each other before never left my mind until long after Rose and Scorpius had left and we were watching one of the films, then I brought it up.
‘Did you visit England when you were a child?’ I asked, trying to jog even some of my own memories.
‘Yeah,’ Belinda replied, snuggling deeper into the blanket wrapped around her, ‘why?’
‘Did you have family friends here?’ I asked, ignoring her question.
‘We must have, but I don’t remember,’ she said, then repeated, ‘why?’
‘No reason,’ I shrugged, then leaned a little closer to her to get more comfortable, the thought still on my mind, ‘I’m going to miss your company when you’re away,’ I admitted sheepishly.
‘Good,’ Belinda too lay back comfortably against my arms, ‘I’ll miss you.’
I looked down at her, the reflection of the movie playing against her face and her eyes trained away from mine. Her golden hair splayed out around her like a halo in the dim light. For the first time in a year, I didn’t feel like I had to flinch away. I didn’t feel hurt. I didn’t even feel guilt. I felt comfortable. I felt good.
Maman - Mum/Mummy/Mother
Oui - Yes
There we go, yet another chappie and officially have over ten chapters. I’m finally getting somewhere, so now the plot thickens. So what was up with Scorpius? And Albus is actually okay being so close to Belinda? How are you liking the story?
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE review, it means the world to me.
Also I don’t own anything and I take credit for nothing. I hope you enjoyed the story.