Shock. The only thing I felt coarsing through my viens. The only thing I could taste on my tongue, smell in the air, feel with my fingertips. It clouded my vision, impairing my sight, and made my mind fuzzy, my thoughts unclear- even to myself.
The only thing I could clearly comprehend was this box.
A flashback was playing my head like film on a projector. I remembered. Remembered how I'd shoved it in this drawer to be purposely forgotten that Christmas so long ago. Eons ago.
And I had forgotten it. I'd spent all day speculating what could possibly make the simple task of opening a single bottom drawer so difficult and only just realized that this was the very drawer I'd buried my soul in so long ago. I'd chosen it because I rarely looked in the bottom, it was such an utterly forgettable drawer. Normally I looked in the top ones because that was where I shoved things first, if those were full I'd go to the middle drawers but rarely did I have to resort to the bottom drawer. And that was why I shoved this tiny black box in the very back of it more than a year ago.
I remembered that day so clearly. The letter that made guilt eat away at me, the sickness I'd felt when even considering opening the gift he'd been so eager to give. The vivid recollection ambushed me and sucked me back into a time of grief and pain. A time when I was terrified of the future. A time when I was terrified of everything.
Even the little bump inside me that had turned into my Aurora Alice.
I could hardly fathom being scared of anything that would bring me to Rory, anymore. I couldn't even imagine not wanting that event to come anymore. But there had been a time when that was how I felt.
My world was a boy with beautiful eyes and a barking laugh who- by some miracle- it seemed actually loved me back and the thing I dreaded most was having that shattered, losing him.
Now, I was pained that I'd ever fallen for him in the first place. How could I have swallowed such lies. So many deceptions that I hadn't seen through, he'd had me snowed. The wool had been so firmly over my eyes that I cringed just thinking about it now, even over a year later.
But I couldn't bring myself to regret it. I could never regret something that had given me Rory. The only thing I'd gotten from that relationship was my sparkling baby girl and in my opinion, that was the most precious gift of all. Nothing could compare.
Even still, I had no desire to plunge back into that black hole again. That tumultuous relationship that had nearly killed me. I'd come so far from it, worked so hard to climb back up that mountain of self-trust and independance. It made me ill just thinking about what I'd do if I spiraled back down to the bottom of that well again. I never wanted to go back to rock bottom. Never.
But, even through the shock and sickness, my curiousity was beginning to burn. Deep in that dormant part of my heart, tucked away long ago, was an itching thirst to know what was in that little velvet box.
After several moments of a raging internal debate, I took a deep breath and prepared myself to find out...
I jumped out of my seat and whipped my head around. There was my daughter standing in the doorway with some sort of violet goo all over her face.
"Oh, Ro-reeee," I groaned "What have you got all over your face?!"
"Calm down, Air," Daniel was right behind her. "It's only jam."
I shot him an annoyed look. "We'll talk about calming down when you've got to do her laundry and give her a bath, yeah?" I sighed taking in her jam smeared face as she grinned up at me. How could I help but smile back? Despite the mess, she did look adorable. Laughing I said, "C'mon, baby. Let's get you cleaned up."
And then I focused on Rory, forgetting the velvet box on my bed.
"So are you gonna open it?"
"I dunno yet."
"You want me to open it for you?"
Adam recieved a sharp smack on the head from his girlfriend and Alicia for even suggesting this.
"Ouch!" He grumbled disgruntley, rubbing the soft spot, like always. "That was completely unnessecary."
"It was totally nessecary," Alicia countered. "How would you like it if you gave Mia some precious gift and a year and a half -after you broke up- some strange bloke opened it for her?"
He didn't even answer, he only glared at her and took a venomous bite out of his pizza.
"Honestly," I said grabbing a piece for myself, "I just want to forget that I ever found the damn thing and get back to more important things. Like, for instance, what movie we are watching tonight?"
Mia smirked, "That's more important?"
"Yes," I lied with a forced grin, trying to end the subject. I was beginning to regret even telling them in the first place.
They gave me a handful of half amused, half disparaging and exasperated looks but no longer pressed the subject. One of the very many reasons I adore my group of A-listers, they don't push when you don't want them to.
"So what movie are we watching?" Alicia prompted curiously.
We'd let the boys pick the movie tonight and I'd picked the time-because of Rory. She was fast asleep in her bed upstairs. Close but just far enough for a break for mummy.
All three of the boys got very serious. Raising their eyebrows in a rehearsed way they said in unison, "Bond. James Bond."
We laughed together and giggling hysterically at the corniness of it all and collapsing into one another, clutching our sides for dear life. And everytime we calmed down another fit of uncontrolled giggling would invade and it was back to square one again. It was nearly half an hour later that we were actually able to stop giggling long enough to start the movie. Even then though, as soon as the opening credits came on, Mia, Bree and I burst out laughing.
And it was as Adam grumbled about women not being respectful of the epic Bond that a thought, warm and fuzzy as they get, floated through my mind.
I absolutely love my life. Nothing in that box can interest me now.
It was staring at me. The damn box was acrossed the room on my desk staring at me. Daring me to open it. Making it impossible to relax, let alone catch any sleep.
I knew I was being stupid but I couldn't help it. I needed to know! I wanted to know! Part of me was desperate but another was thrashing at the idea, gnashing her teeth and spitting on the very thought of opening that box. Splitting open all my old healed wounds. The dull ache in my chest was no longer dull, it was demanding.
I huffed irritatedly, blowing a stray strand of hair out of my face.
Why did he always have to keep coming back?
Just when I thought I'd gotten rid of him. Just when I thought I could forget. Just when I thought I was clear. Forever free of him.
He came back. He always came back.
He haunted me everyday. He taunted me, even when we hadn't seen each other in over a year.
So I threw my comforter off, marched acrossed the room and wrenched the stupid thing open. I would get this over with, make it quick- like ripping off a band aid. And when it was done I'd trow it out the widow and forget it ever happened. I'd finally move on, free of the haunting images.
"Oh!" I gasped as another tsunami of shock hit me. I don't exactly know what I expected but it wasn't this.
For so long, my memories of that relationship had been polluted by images of what happened inthe weeks following it's demise. I'd barely remembered the laughter, the stolen kisses in the corridors, the light-heartedness.... the beauty.
I could hardly fathom anything beautiful (except Rory, of course) resulting from that relationship. Especially something picked out and given to me by Sirius, himself.
But there it was, in this box - a thin silver chain, so incredibly elegant, with a heart shaped locket dangling from it- accompanied by a small note.
The familiar hand writing nearly took my breath away.
Whenever you open this it will show you the people you love most. If there is anyone specific you're missing, just think of them and they'll appear. Whenever you wear it, think of me.
I forced myself to swallow and turned the locket over in my hands. On the front was a small sapphire embedded in the center (I'd bet my Nimbus that it was real) and on the other side he'd had something engraved.
You own my heart. Always.
My stomach turned and I felt like I was sinking into the floor all of the sudden. Tears were in my eyes, my cheeks felt flushed and the walls around me were spinning.
I stumbled to the bathroom, still clutching the locket in my hand, and kneeled at the toilet. Out came all that popcorn and chocolate I'd scarfed down with Alicia- it was disgustingly fizzy from the soda I'd chugged with Adam. My dinner of pizza was soon to follow. And as soon as I remembered last time I'd gotten sick this easily, up came my lunch.
No, I would not be getting to sleep tonight.
For once in my life as a mother, I slept late.
When I got up I felt hung over. My lips were swollen, my head was throbbing and I stumbled into my bathroom like I was intoxicated.
I trudged into the shower where all the sludge and slime of yesterday was washed off and then brushed my teeth. I flicked my wand dully and my hair fixed itself. I slipped into some navy blue sweats and a white T-shirt, not in the mood to get dressed up today. Then I went into Rory's room.
She wasn't there.
Appearantly one of my family members had percieved that I was not in the best way this morning.
When I got back into my room I remembered my contacts and groaned. Glasses would have to do today, my eyes were swollen- no way was I messing with them even more. So I went to the table to get them and froze.
There was the locket. On the end table.
My heart did a flip. What should I do with it?
I gulped and, shocking even myself, I undid the clasp and fastened it around my neck delicately. Then I slipped it under my shirt and headed down to breakfast.
(So, there is Chapter three. Hope you enjoyed it! I'm about half way through the next chapter so hopefully your wait will be short! Until then, patience is a virtue!
P.S. A sure way to make me write faster is to comment in the REVIEW box below!)
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