Chapter 1 : Duckling Forever
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Right before I was born, in the delivery room at St. Mungo’s, my Scottish grandmother made a prediction. “Och...The bairn is going to be an ugly one,” she had said, clicking her tongue.
My father had just looked at his mother and raised his eyebrows in amusement. My mother, even though she was in labor, looked up and smirked at my grandmother.
How could they have an ugly child? After all, my mother was perfect... long blonde hair that flowed down her back like an angel’s hair would, striking blue eyes, and a slender figure. And my father was just as perfect with his handsome face, a mop of brown hair and vivid green eyes. They had already had a perfect child to match them. My older sister, Elizabeth, was a copy of my mother, except with my father’s eyes. There was no way they would have an ugly child.
But they were wrong and my grandmother was right.
I was born scrawny, red, wet, and bawling my head off. I was a hideous baby with a squished face and kicking legs. Elizabeth later informed me that I looked as if the stork had actually dropped me on my head. My mother winced when the Healer handed me to her. “Look Charles,” she had said with a hint of disgust to my father, “Her nose is off-centered.”
And that’s how my family has perceived me all my life... the ugly one.
Yes... the ugly one. I am stumpy and chubby, with small pinched gray eyes and limp dull reddish yellow hair that just sits on my shoulders like straw. My nose is too big and off-center and I have no figure at all--- I’m more like a box than human. My skin is too pale and looks pasty in the light. I tend to avoid mirrors now. I duck down in front of the bathroom mirrors, and move quickly so I don’t have to look at myself. I’ve had horrible acne all throughout my pre-teen years. I tried to curse them off during my first year at Hogwarts. That didn’t go too well... Thankfully my acne has been clearing up recently. Now I don’t look too much like a newly born squid.
My parents had another daughter after me. They were taking a risk, worried that their newest child would come out like me. But fortunately for them, Emma came out as perfectly as Elizabeth had, smiling sweetly and blinking her beautiful eyes.
During my childhood, my parents tended to ignore me, sending all their time on my sisters. If they ever talked to me, it was always to order me to eat my potatoes or brush my teeth. My sisters were worse. Elizabeth and Emma both teased me constantly, saying things like, “Stop being so hideous” or “You’re making the house elf look pretty.” These remarks always ended with me in tears, running up to my room and burying myself in pillows.
My mother forced me to start piano at the age of five. “You might as well be good for something,” she had said while dragging me to my first lesson. When I was younger, I was absolutely miserable when I was practicing. I could hear my sisters playing happily outside while I was stuck inside in front of the piano. However, as I grew older, I began to love the piano and music became apart of me. Music like Chopin, Beethoven, and Debussy filled my soul. I played a bit of jazz as well.
My parents acknowledged my music. It seemed to be the one thing they could bear about me. When guests came over, they stopped hiding me and instead they introduced me as their "other daughter" who played the piano and entertained the guests. When I went to Hogwarts, my father asked Professor Dumbledore to obtain a piano for me (the kindest thing my father had ever done for me) so I wouldn’t go out of practice. The headmaster happily complied and set up an empty classroom with a beautiful baby grand for me.
Other than that, things were bad at Hogwarts and still are. I was sorted into Ravenclaw. I might have been happy there--- after all, I love reading and learning--- but everyone teased me about my looks. Boys would purposely laugh at my face in front of me. "Would you look at her face? Not even the giant squid would want that!" They would hoot with laughter and give each other high-fives. The girls were much more subtle. They would gossip about me, tactfully making sure I can hear bits and pieces about of their snide remarks.
It didn’t help that Elizabeth and Emma are both in the same house with me. People wondered how two such gorgeous sisters could have such an ugly sibling. Beginning in my first year, I found myself in my piano room more and more, devouring music and composing and avoiding contact with all my peers.
I’ve been lonely all my life. I’ve had no real friends. The only girl who would ever come up to talk to me was Hermione Granger. She used to give me a smile in the halls and ask me how I was doing. Perhaps she felt like me with her bushy hair and big front teeth. But then during our fourth year, she had a transformation. Her hair became soft and smooth and her front teeth were shrunk. She had turned into to a swan and stopped talking to me. She left me behind.
I wish I could have a transformation like Hermione's. I wish I could turn from the ugly duckling to the beautiful swan... But I’ve given up hope.
Instead, I sit at the piano and press the keys, hearing the swirls of music surround me and protect me. I feel the rhythm under my fingers, etching it inside my mind. The ivory keys are a dream to touch, melting at my touch. The shiny black wood reflects my face and I actually look decent, because the wood distorts my real face. I am happy here. Why can’t real life be like this?
But it's not
If only my real life were like Cho's. Cho Chang is a Ravenclaw a year ahead of me. She is beautiful with a silky long black hair and almond eyes. She's petite and tiny. (Words like petite and tiny are meant for pretty girls like Cho... chunky and stumpy fits me better.)
Cho has a sweet smile and is popular with everyone. Not only that, but she's the Ravenclaw seeker. She went to the Yule Ball with Cedric Diggory, the school's dashingly handsome Triwizard champion, in her fifth year. Then in her sixth year she went out with the famous Harry Potter. If only I were her... She is perfect in my eyes.
If I were like Cho... I'd be able to get any guy I wanted... my crush included. Yes, my crush. The most handsome guy in the school (at least in my eyes)... He's funny and popular. Gosh I wish he were mine. But Ronald Weasley wouldn't come near me with a ten-foot broomstick. I'll bet he doesn't even know who I am... if he did, he'd probably be making fun of my off-centered nose.
It pained me to see him with Lavender Brown this past year. She was considered adorable by all the guys with her long brown hair and big green eyes. Ronald seemed to be in love with her. They were constantly making out at the Gryffindor table. I watched them from the Ravenclaw table, wishing that I could be Lavender instead. If I were his girlfriend, I'd be the happiest person in the world.
But instead... I'm left being ugly old Eloise Midgen, destined to remain the ugly duckling forever.
A/N: I hope you liked it. Please review!
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by Matteo Scott