Chapter 2 : A Father?
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Lillia frowned up at the cobweb covered ceiling. She could have sworn that she heard Mrs. Hawthorne calling her name. Or was it another dream? She was always having strange dreams. They had been plaguing her since she was eleven. “Lillia Jane Montgomery!” the harsh voice echoed through the ancient house. “No, this is definitely not a dream.” she muttered pushing the ratty blanket to the foot of her lumpy bed. Lillia ruffled her hair in an attempt to appear like she had been getting a good night’s sleep instead of staring at the ceiling restlessly. She tossed her bare legs over the side of the bed and tiptoed to the door. She thought that she had managed to get out of bed without waking the other girls, but as she creaked the door open a voice behind her demanded. “Where do you think you are going, Witch?”
“Um… Mrs. Hawthorne is calling for me. She’ll probably be mad if I don’t hurry actually.” But Lillia didn’t move. She watched as Anna climbed out of her own, considerably less dilapidated bed, and made her way to the door. With her face mere inches form Lillia’s face she smiled. “She probably just wants you to scrub the toilets before the rest of us get up.”
Lillia shrugged. “It’s a possibility. Good night, Anna.”
Anna’s face contorted into a look of sheer disgust. Lillia only managed to close her eyes seconds before Anna spat in her face. “Freak!” she exclaimed before turning smartly on her heel and returning to her bed.
Lillia paused in the hallway to wipe the spit and a few bitter tears from her face on her nightgown. Once she had steadied her breathing she scrutinized the miserable excuse for clothing. The stained fabric hung much too loosely from her thin frame. It had been cut several inches above the knee to save cloth for some other purpose. She sighed to herself. “Well at least when I get to Hogwarts I can borrow clothes from them.”
She decided that it would be best to answer Mrs. Hawthorne, whose calls were getting more intense by the second, instead of moping. “Yes. Sorry. I’m here.” Lillia muttered as she stumbled into the foyer. “Is anything wrong?”
“Do you know how LONG I have been calling for you, Jane?” the large woman demanded. Lillia gritted her teeth at being addressed as “Jane” but she knew that there was no point in pointing this out to her. She winced as Mrs. Hawthorne continued. “I want you to answer me right now! What on earth could have taken you so long?”
‘I’m sorry. I was in a very deep sleep. What can I do for you?” Lillia asked softly.
“You have a visitor.” Mrs. Hawthorne spoke as though it was Lillia’s fault that she had been drug out of bed in the middle of the night. She motioned stiffly to a man behind her. He had been waiting to be introduced.
Lillia gasped. She recognized the man immediately. His dark robes, greasy black hair, and cold eyes could only belong to one person. But somehow Lillia knew that the potions master wanted her to play along. Lillia only wished that she new what the game was. “Hello. Uh, Mrs. Hawthorne what is going on?”
“This is your father.”
“My…. father?” She look to her familiar teacher in surprise. She had once thought about a mother or father coming to take her away from Mrs. Hawthorne and the other girls, but that was a fantasy that she had long put away. And know here someone had come to take her away and she didn’t know how to react.
Mrs. Hawthorne nodded. “Yes. And he says that he would like to take you with him now. And seeing as how… maladjusted you are here even after so many years I don’t see any reason to object. He seems like a very stable man. You should be very happy with him.”
“But… I don’t even know him!” she wailed. For the first time the man came closer to her. He looked down at her with cold eyes.
“I’m sorry that I could not find you earlier. Your mother never told me that we had a child. Her dying wish was for me to come and find you. She died on this very night.”
Lillia tilted he head slightly. “Was she ill?”
He frowned at her. “Well, it was rather sudden.”
She shifted her weight to her left foot. “I’m sorry to hear that.” she said uncomfortably.
He cleared his throat. “Yes, well, we had better be leaving then. You should probably go get your things.”
“No, she won‘t be going to go get her things. I bought every stitch of clothing that this child has to wear because there was no one else to do it. She had no family to care for her, so she came here. That is what orphanages are for. But since you are now claiming her as your daughter she is no longer an orphan; therefore, it is no longer my responsibility to supply her clothing. Unless, of course you continue to refuse to take responsibility for you child. ” she turned to the man. “Unless of course you have any objection to taking responsibility for your child.”
His lip curled in contempt. “Of course not.”
“Good.” Her eyes fell on Lillia. “You can leave in what you are wearing. I’m sure that you two can show yourself out.” Lillia watched in amazement as her former guardian lumbered down the hall in her floral nightgown.
“I’m that easy to give away?” she stammered.
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