Chapter 1 : Start of the Holidays
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Behind the Mask
Chapter image made by me
Start of the Holidays
Marisol stopped in the centre of her bedroom when she heard her father calling her name. She had been packing a few extra things that she would need when she was in Spain visiting her mother.
“What?” Marisol yelled back through her open doorway, her voice floated down the stairs toward where her father stood by the front door.
“Are you ready yet?”
“En uno minuto!” Marisol replied back in Spanish.
Marisol finished her packing by adding a few things before she headed downstairs to where her father was waiting impatiently for her. She gave him a don’t-be-mad-at-me-I’m-your-little-girl expression, which caused him to roll his eyes at her in a joking manner. She rolled her eyes back at him while sticking her tongue out as she grabbed hold of her dad’s arm so that he could Apparate the both of them to the Muggle airport.
Marisol found herself being pressed in on all sides as though she were travelling through a tube and in an instant she was able to breathe freely again. She stood in one of the car garages in total darkness for the most part.
“Let’s go, Mari,” her father said, “we’re already cutting it close as you flight leaves in forty-five minutes.”
“Chill, padre,” Marisol replied with a trace of a smile on her face. “We’ll make it with just enough time.”
Her father gave her a stern look before he motioned for them to hurry and get out of the freezing cold weather and into the airport. The two of them took the elevator down to the first floor and then they walked the short distance from across the street to the main England Airlines terminal.
It was hard to maneuver one’s way through the packed airport as there was crowd after crowd buying tickets, dropping off their luggage, waiting for their flights, or trying to make it to their flight before it took off without them. In other words, it made Marisol feel overwhelmed with everything that was going on around her. She followed her dad through since she already had her ticket and passport until he couldn’t go on with her anymore.
“I’ll see you at the end of this month,” her father wrapped his arms around her. “Have fun.”
Marisol hugged her father back. “Okay. See you, then.”
“I love you, baby girl,” he said as he pulled back to get one more good look at his daughter until she returned on December 29.
“I love you, too, dad.”
A few more moments went by and Marisol then made her way over to the tunnel that led onto the plane that would take her to Valencia, Spain. She found her seat easy enough; it was by the window next to a woman in her thirties that was preoccupied with talking on her cell phone and typing on a laptop at the same time. The woman seemed to be American; or so Marisol thought from what she had heard of Americans and of how they acted.
Marisol pulled out a copy of Witch Weekly that was disguised as a Seventeen magazine and cracked it open. There was an article about the new wizarding band, The Blood Brothers, and how they got noticed in a small, dingy wizarding pub that was situated in Wales.
The flight was exceptionally long and after a while Marisol found herself to be extremely restless. It was as if she had ants in her pants all of a sudden. She stood and walked to the back of the coach section just to stretch her legs before turning back around to take her seat once again.
The woman that sat beside her rolled her eyes as if to say, ‘Teenagers these days have no patience’. Perhaps she was right, but a long flight did tend to drown all of the patience out of any type of person.
Marisol took a look around at her surroundings as best as she could without distracting the busy woman beside her. There was a crying baby across the aisle that a frantic mother, who looked as though she hadn’t had any sleep in a fortnight, was trying to soothe. Up at the front there was a boy that looked to be around the age of eight that was bouncing up and down on his seat while it looked as though the parent he was with had gone to the restroom. It didn’t take long, it seemed, before a flight attendant noticed him and went to ask him to stop. Shortly after, a young woman, who was obviously his mother, came back and scolded him for misbehaving by taking away the DS Game boy that was in his small hand as a punishment.
Marisol turned away and looked behind her and saw a family that was playing a card game. The family seemed to really be into the game and they were accusing one another of cheating any time someone made a particularly swell move.
Somewhere between looking around her and staring out of the window, she fell asleep. Marisol found herself dreaming of when she would see James next. Hopefully she would be able to see him some time when she got back to London before going back to Hogwarts. She couldn’t wait until she was back in his arms.
Marisol was awoken by a flight attendant as the plane had apparently just landed while she was asleep. She groggily removed her seatbelt and grabbed her carry-on bag from the rack above her seat and exited the plane through the tunnel that led into the Valencia Airport.
At first Marisol didn’t see her mother, but when she walked forward another of couple feet she saw her mother and best friend, Maria. They were waiting for her next to a rack of newspapers and magazines. She made her way over to them as quickly as she could without jostling into any of the people that crowded around her as they found their friends and family or went over to the Rent-a-Car desk.
Her mother didn’t wait a second, even when Marisol was within reach before pulling her into a hug and kissing her cheek, and then going straight into mother mode. “How’re you doing, Mari? Did you have a nice flight? How’s school going? Oh, I’ve missed you so much!”
Marisol hugged her mother back as she said, “I’ve missed you, too, mama.”
After her mother had let her go, Marisol turned to Maria and the two of them immediately hugged and then started to talk about what they had missed out on in the other’s life.
“So, are you going to tell me about James?” Maria asked, causing Marisol to blush in the process.
“Who’s James?” her mother, Nina, asked while the three of them went over to collect Marisol’s luggage from the conveyor belt where a sign above said ‘Luggage Pick-Up’.
“Marisol’s novio,” cooed Maria with no shame whatsoever on her face as she told on her best friend.
Nina eyed her daughter curiously before asking in her sharp Spanish accent, “And you didn’t tell me?”
“Mama, I meant to, but I just forgot,” Marisol went on to explain. “You know now, though.”
Nina rolled her eyes at her daughter in a joking way before she grabbed Marisol’s trunk that had come around into reach. She motioned for the girls to follow her out of the madhouse that was the Valencia Airport. People were running around, trying to get their luggage together and others were trying to keep their kids close next to them.
Marisol was relieved to step outside of the Airport and view the beautiful country that she had left the previous summer. She breathed in the scent of winter, mixed with salt water that was carried in on the wind from the beach. It was only slightly chilly, but she was still warm under her heavy coat that she had worn because it was snowing in London when she had left.
When they reached the car, Marisol sat in the back seat next to Maria as Nina climbed into the driver’s seat and cranked the engine of the little red minivan. She suddenly had a memory of her father saying how much the color red matched her mother’s fiery, Spanish personality. That made her smile, though she wished that he was with her as well.
Marisol looked out the window as the car started forward, watching all the shops and restaurants pass by. The cobblestoned streets were just as worn as she had remembered them and the historic buildings stood in all of their grandeur, made of old washed-stone and waffle roofs. It was great to be home.
James hadn’t had a single moment to himself since returning home for Christmas. It had only taken the first night back for Lily to tell his parents about his relationship with Marisol over the past couple of weeks. To which, his parents broke into a smile at the news that both of James’ siblings actually liked Marisol; they had disliked all of the girls that James had went out with in the past.
The day after returning home, the family had gone over to the Burrow to have lunch with Grandma and Grandpa Weasley, as well as all of his aunts, uncles, and cousins. The only person that was not there was his Uncle Charlie and that was because he was still in Romania until Christmas. The cousins had played Quidditch, of course, and James’ team had beat Albus’ team.
The next couple of days consisted of decorating Potter Manor for Christmas. His mother had put him in charge of making sure that Albus and Lily didn’t get into a tinsel war like last year when they were decorating the tree. That had been funny and James had been looking forward to seeing it again; he had actually tried to egg his siblings on, but they hadn’t swayed as easily as the previous year.
At the moment, James was sitting at his desk in his bedroom with parchment in front of him and his quill in hand. He swirled the quill in a well of dark blue ink and started to write a letter to Marisol.
How’s it going? I can’t believe it’s already been a week since we parted and I miss your smile, and wrapping you in my arms. Are you having fun in Spain?
Anyway, the main reason for this letter is to ask you if you’d like to come to my house for New Years’ Eve. My family always hosts a party that night that lasts well into the wee hours of New Years’ day. This year it’s a Masquerade, so don’t forget your mask if you come, which I hope do. My entire family will be here, as will some people that go to school with us. I promise that I won’t let my family embarrass you; they’ve already done enough of that to me since I’ve been home.
Let me know soon so that I can tell my parents to add an extra person to the guest list. I hope you say yes.
James set the quill down and folded up the parchment as he stood to cross over to where his owl sat perched on the footboard of his bed. When he had attached the letter to its leg, he opened the window and the owl took off into the night sky.
James went downstairs at the sound of his mother calling that dinner was ready. He passed through the comfy, living room on his way to the dining room; beige walls, creamy carpets, deep blue sofa and armchairs surrounding the fireplace, a book shelve filled with either books or game activities, and a coffee table.
When James reached the dining area it was to find that his whole family was already seated around the table, except for Albus. Since returning home Albus had been shutting himself up in his room more than he normally would to study for his O.W.L.s that would be later in the school year. He seemed to be determined to prove that he could do better than James had.
James took his seat and once the family had said grace over the food, he started to put food on his plate by scooping out a couple spoonfuls of mashed potatoes. When he had some of everything on his plate he set to work on making it vanish.
“Is everyone excited for Christmas in two days?” Harry asked his wife, and two children that had come down for dinner.
“That depends,” Lily implied in a whimsical voice. “Am I getting that new telescope that you promised me?”
Lily loved astronomy above all other subjects and would often sneak up to the top of one of the towers late at night to do a bit of star gazing. She had names for a lot of the stars that she gazed upon on a regular basis.
“You are such a nerd,” James told his little sister in a joking way with that infamous Potter smirk on his face, bringing out the mischievous twinkle that he had inherited from his grandfather in his eyes.
“James,” Ginny scolded her eldest son just as her younger son entered the room and grabbed a seat next to him. “Don’t call your sister names!”
“But she is a nerd,” James persisted and drew his brother into the conversation. “Isn’t she, Albus?”
“Enough, James,” Harry said with a slight smile on his face. “And Lily, even if we did get you that telescope that you wanted, we wouldn’t tell you.”
Lily grumbled. “I’ll still be surprised even if I knew you were getting it for me.”
Harry chuckled as he shook his head at his daughter before taking a bite of mashed potatoes and shaking a finger at her in a disapproving, but comical manner.
After dinner, the family spent the evening in the living room together. James was playing a game of Wizard’s Chess with Albus – and losing horribly – and Lily was sitting beside the chess board cheering on Albus as their parents watched with amusement planted on both faces.
“This is not fair!” James exclaimed as Albus took his knight with a wide grin spread across his face. “You’re cheating!”
“I am not!” Albus said through his laughter.
Lily started laughing as well and ended up rolling around on the floor trying to contain it.
James glowered at his sister for a moment before saying, “It’s not funny, Lily.”
“It is too!” Lily stuck her tongue out at her eldest brother. “You’re just being a sore loser.”
“Whatever,” James said as he returned his attention back to the board to try and think of where to make his next move. He couldn’t find any move that would be safe for any of his pieces so he just moved one of them without realizing that it he was making a clear opening for Albus to get to his King.
“Check mate,” Albus said with a look of glees on his face as he reached for his piece to move.
James groaned as he watched Albus make his move that would win him the game. And sure enough, the next thing that James heard coming out of Albus’ mouth was, “I win!”
Lily clapped and jumped where she sat on the beige carpet.
“Yeah, yeah,” James said as he made to stand. “You always win. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise for you.”
“James,” his mother cut in with warning in her voice. “Don’t get sore.”
James brushed off her warning as he threw himself backward onto the sofa and draped his hand over his face. He could hear movement as Albus stood up and stretched before asking their father if he’d like to play a game.
“Now, why would I play a game against you when you always wind up beating me?” Harry asked his youngest son in an amused voice with just as much amusement on his face.
“Fine,” Harry sighed as he stood and walked over to where the small, wooden end table with the chess set atop it stood and took a seat on the pouf that James had just vacated as Albus took his seat across from him.
James stood and walked over to the Wizarding Wireless Sound System as the two set up the chess pieces. He flipped through the stations after turning it on until he heard the commentary that was undoubtedly a Quidditch game. He listened for a few minutes before coming to the conclusion that it was England vs. Japan.
He pulled up a chair and sat down to listen to it. He received an eye roll from Lily as she realized that he had just put on a Quidditch match. He distinctly heard her mutter something about ‘boys’ before she turned back to the chess set to watch their father and Albus match up against one another. It was another family night at the Potters’.
Author's Note: Hopefully you enjoyed this chapter even if it didn't jump right into the main story plot. James and Marisol are still going to be main characters, they're just not going to be the leading main characters. Anyhoo, I'd love to hear what you think of this first chapter.
Also, I'd like to credit xXLuna_LovegoodXx over in the HP forums for coming up with the title and also thank everyone else that helped by giving me title suggestions. And I'd also like to thank random.thoughts for spoofing up my summary from the "Summary Feedback" thread in the HP forums.
This chapter was beta'd by slytherinprincess. Thanks-a-million!