Disclaimer: All HP is JK Rowling’s. Nayda and her family are the only characters and plot points that are mine.
A/N: here’s the next chapter. It continues where the last one left off.
Chapter 4 :Larkin-isms and Lies
“Dinner is served.”
Nayda took Remus’ arm and together they entered the dining room along with the rest of the Larkin family.
“I think you’re overreacting,” Remus whispered back. They reached the long banquet table and drawing out a chair for her, helped her sit in the proper fashion. “You look beautiful, and so far the evening has gone marvelously. Don’t worry about it.” Taking the seat to the right of hers, he leaned over and kissed the top of her head softly.
Nayda smiled, the first genuine smile of the night. “Thanks.”
Nothing had been said outright yet, but she couldn’t count the number of icy stares she’d received from her family. They all knew of her condition, and those that didn’t weren’t likely to find out anytime soon. She was frankly surprised to be invited at all—being cursed made for strained family relations, and that was one thing her family hated to have. The only member of her family who wasn’t against her wasn’t even present: her older brother Kirk. According to her mother, he’d owled to say he’d be late, an unforgivable offence if coming from anyone except the favorite son.
The meal started with a salad course, and some not-so-idle chit-chat.
“Nayda, we missed you at last month’s charity function. Whatever kept you? You used to be so faithful in your attendance.”
Nayda turned to face her Aunt Beatrice, who’d asked the question. She knew very well why she hadn’t come to the function—besides hating those things, she’d been dealing with her full moon problem.
“I was busy, aunt,” Nayda explained. “Homework waits for no one.” She said the last bit with a cursory smile to cover the blatant lie. Homework didn’t cause her to scream in pain and become an avian for the night.
Her aunt laughed at the quip, a piercing, high-pitched sound that caught any unwary listeners by surprise. Beside her, Nayda caught Remus flinching.
“I’m sure you would’ve come if you wanted,” Beatrice replied, calming a bit and speaking in a tone she probably thought was reassuring. Nayda opened her mouth to say probably not, as she avoided the gatherings at all costs, but her mother’s voice cut her off.
“I’m sure she wouldn’t have bothered,” said Caroline flatly. “Nayda knows better than to intrude her reprehensible problems into civilized society. She comes by my insistence only, at times when we can be sure of her correct appearance and behavior.”
Nayda’s grip on her butter knife, which she was using to slice open a dinner roll, tightened to the point her knuckles turned icy white. That remark wasn’t veiled, yet since when had Caroline Larkin cared for the sensibilities of others? Especially one so despised as herself. Why do I even bother coming to these things? Nayda thought. A howler would be easier to drown out.
“My life is none of your concern. I’m not a genie, mother,” Nayda replied from behind clenched teeth. “I don’t come when I’m called.”
“You did tonight,” Caroline smirked.
Nayda started to speak then faltered. She had come at a summons. She closed her eyes. Invite or not, such did not excuse blatant insults. “You have no right to say those things,” she managed after a moment. “My presence is a courtesy, not product of a demand.”
Caroline’s smirk didn’t falter. If anything, it was added to by the infusion of a cold stare. “I’m surprised to hear you say that, daughter,” the last word was purposefully emphasized, “I expected more gratitude from you. Most pure bloods would’ve discarded you the moment you were tainted. I let you survive, though I daresay it was your fault you couldn’t handle it.”
Nayda bristled. “It’s a damned curse, mother!” she countered, anger flaring, “And it’s from his blood line”—she pointed to her father, who was currently, as usual, ignoring the goings-on—“so it’s his fault I’m like this, not mine! Don’t you dare say any of this is my fault.”
“Don’t blame this on your father,” Caroline reprimanded, “if you have the nerve to be proud of your poisonous condition, that’s your business, not mine.”
“Proud? Who said I was proud of it?” Nayda stared disbelievingly at her. “You think I take pride in being something this entire family detests? You think I take pride in being ripped apart every full moon?”
“You certainly do nothing to hide it,” Caroline replied, sipping from her wine glass and eyeing her daughter coldly over its rim. Putting down the glass, she met Nayda’s gaze squarely. “You are an embarrassment to pure bloods, as you very well know, and taking pride in having a curse is only part of it. You have never lived up to the Larkin name—how we wanted you to earn being sorted into Ravenclaw, but no, you’re as ignorant and ill-minded as they come. You don’t deserve any of this,” she gestured around her to the finery, the table, the food, “but I am magnanimous enough to allow your presence, if only in the hope that one day you will give up the charade and come back to us.”
That was it. Nayda refrained from answering, instead simply stood up and placed a hand on Remus’ shoulder, silently asking him to stand as well. Together they left the room, and the mansion, behind.
(to be continued)
A/N: in an effort to update rather quickly, I’ve cut the chapters short. So, the next one will be up soon, with the reaction of Remus and further reactions of Nayda to this confrontation. Please review and tell me what you think so far. Thanks to all who have already reviewed previous chapters! ~Manya