Chapter 9 : "Of course."
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and now...story time with Danica in the form of Jenyse Syl Baccari!!!
Chapter 9: "Of course."
I shut the front door with a forced gentleness. Walking down the hall, I threw my car keys onto the tall side-table to my left. I wasn’t expecting them to still be at St. Mungo’s, but I was sure hoping they were. My drive – an hour, plus the two hours I spent at my favorite bridge in my town, and the other hour I spent of more driving around aimlessly before heading home – turned out longer than I’d planned. I only came home because I was hungry and had no money on me.
I took a deep breath before I stepped into the kitchen. I knew my mother was in there, anxious to know why I took off without saying a word or letting them know I was leaving, in any way possible.
She was at the stove, making a grilled cheese. At the sound of my footsteps, she looked up at me. There was a familiar crease between her eyebrows that always appeared when she was worried about one of us. She looked at me for an elongated moment until she realized the sandwich on the pan might be burning. I went to sit down at the island in the kitchen and heard the click of the stove being turned off. My mum slid the plate onto the table in front of me.
I peered down at the sandwich, then up at my mum. I sniffed and gave her a weak smile. One of the things that I loved about her most was that she understood us; all of her kids. For instance, she knew perfectly well that when I’m so upset about something that coffee won’t even help, I resort to my childhood comfort food – grilled cheese. She also knew that I took long drives to cool off and wasn’t one who liked to talk about things with people other than my friends.
Hence, after my first bite, she asked, “Jenyse, sweetie, do you want me to owl Professor Dumbledore and ask if Remus could come over for a while?”
I gave her another small, grateful smile. “No, that’s okay. Thanks, though, Mum.” I tried to make her think the reason behind my decline was that it would be too much of a hassle, with my tone, but the fact was…the idea of me telling Remus everything repulsed me.
She shot me a sad smile, smoothed back my bangs, and then kissed me on the head, before washing the dishes.
I finished eating, in silence, then went up to my room. On my way, I ran into Jace.
“Oh! I’m sorry – Jenyse?” she said when she caught sight of my face. I imagined I looked horrible with red, puffy eyes and tear streaks down my cheeks. “Are you, uh, okay?” I knew she knew I didn’t like being asked that, but felt rude not to say something.
“I will be. Eventually.”
“Okay,” she said in a small, concerned voice. “Um, Jarron, Alaina, Jondi, and Jaysen are staying over for a few days. Mum was going to put Jondi in your room, but I could take her into mine, if you want, while you’re still here.”
“Thanks, Jace,” I accepted her offer.
She murmured an, “Mmhmm,” and went into Jarron’s old room.
I took a long, hot shower, then got into bed. My body felt exhausted, but my brain refused to rest. I stared up at my ceiling for hours. An occasional tear escaped my eye and ran sideways, towards my ear.
I kept replaying the scene over, and over, in my head. Every time I watched, I felt a surge of anger when I heard him deny his lies, in my mind. He must have been a damn good actor, back when he wasn’t in a coma. For a slight second, he actually looked sincere; especially with the hurt I thought I saw when I flinched away from his arms.
My heart kept yearning to believe him. Every word, every subtle touch, felt real and heart-felt. Well, I guessed, to a fool like me. I kept reminding myself that none of it was real – it was all lies.
The worst thing was that I was naïve enough to fall for it all. He was probably with all his spirit friends, bragging about how lucky he was to have found such a stupid girl.
I roughly turned onto my side. The still flowing tears now ran across the bridge of my nose, and joined the tears running toward my pillow, from my left eye.
Before I drifted off into a not-so-peaceful sleep, I swore to myself that I would use all my power to rid him from my mind. To forget all of the clues, the conversations, the hugs, the kisses; all of the lies. To forget he ever came into my life.
I sat at the kitchen table while the party went on in the family room. We were having a “Welcome Home” party for Maddy and Jaylyn at their house, not too far away from ours.
I could hear Jondi playing with Jaysen, and everybody congratulating Maddy and Jayden and taking turns with baby Jaylyn, as I sat, sipping coffee.
“Grab me another cupcake, would you, Jarron?” Jayden asked from the other room.
“Sure thing,” I heard Jarron answer as he walked into the kitchen behind me.
As I drew pictures in the icing on my plate with my fork, I listened to Jarron go to the fridge to grab a drink, and then get a cupcake I made from off the counter. I looked up when he pulled back the chair in front of me and sat down. He stared at me over his folded hands propped up by his elbows on top of the table.
“Hey, Neesy,” he finally said.
“Hey, Jarron.” It had been two days since Jaylyn’s birth, but I still wasn’t quite in the talkative mood. I had been like this during our New Year’s celebration last night, too (we celebrated New Year’s a day late because of Jaylyn’s birth). Everybody probably thought I had a hang over from all of the firewhisky I drank, in “celebration,” which was true to some extent, but it wasn’t the only reason for my sitting here in solitude.
“What’s going on, Jenyse? What’s wrong?” he asked in a low, serious voice.
This was one of the very rare occasions that I was completely irritated by my brother. My eyes narrowed and I crossed my arms, leaning forward. “Nothing.”
His eyebrows shot up. “That’s quite a tone for ‘nothing.’ You took off from the hospital with no explanation, disappeared for four hours, drank more than me last night, and have been dead silent for two days straight. Now, tell me. Is ‘nothing’ wrong?”
I looked down. What was I supposed to say? This was Jarron. My brother. Oh, no, Jarron. My life sucks monkey arse. I got played by the seventeen-year-old spirit of dad’s nineteen-year-old comatose patient.
Can we say, “Next stop, loony bin?”
I settled on, “I don’t want to talk about it.”
He glared at me for an elongated moment. Finally, he sighed at my stubbornness and got up. “Fine. But quit being such a prat to everyone around you, and get out there and be happy for Jayden and Maddy. We didn’t do anything to you, and whether you think so, or not, you’re taking it all out on us. Now, come with me, or I will personally kick your arse out there. Ya hear?” His face was all up in mine, by the end of his speech.
My lips pursed as I glowered back at him. I made a face that said a reluctant, “fine,” and gave him a sharp, sarcastic salute. I stood up quickly, kicking my chair back and picking up my coffee, and stormed out, into the family room.
“Here.” Jace threw yet another article of clothing at me. I caught it easily and hung it on my arm, on top of the other billion shirts, pants, and sweaters she had thrown at me throughout the course of the half-hour we’d been in this store.
Everybody took their own attempts at cheering me up. So far, there had been: my mother’s grilled cheese, Jarron’s speech, Alaina and Maddy’s taking me out for dinner, my dad’s putting together a game of Quidditch, and my niece and nephew’s arts and crafts. Jace’s was taking me out shopping. Of all things! Yeah, spending a plethora of money on several unnecessary clothes may make most girls happy, but…I’m Jenyse Syl Baccari. Come on, now. I hate shopping!
But I was forced to go, by my mother, because she thought it would be “good for me to get some new clothes for after graduation.” Tchyeah. Right. Whatever.
Another piece of clothing was thrown in my direction. I caught it and looked at it. It was a skirt.
“Uh, Jace? I think not.” I made a repulsed face and held it out as far away as possible. The offending skirt was short with ruffles and flowers. Ugh. Gag me now.
Jace came over to me, groaning. “Jenyse. Trust me. Just try it on. I don’t get why you’re so against skirts. I mean, you wear one every day at school.”
“Yeah. Not this short. And with ruffles. And pink.” Seriously. Someone help me.
“No.” I shoved it into her hand and walked away from her.
She groaned again. “Where are you going?”
“Fitting room. This is all I’m trying on.”
I heard her grumbling as she followed me. She sat on a bench right across from an open dressing room that I went into. I tried on each thing, wondering where the hell I’d wear any of them. Jace made me show her each outfit.
When I was done, the only thing – much to Jace’s dismay – I brought to the cashier was a pair of jeans. I put it on the counter, in front of the woman at the register.
“Huh,” she said as she picked up the pants, “I saw you go in the fitting room with a bunch of stuff. Is this the only keeper?”
I froze, in the motion of taking some muggle money out of my wallet.
Keeper. He was a Keeper. Yet not a “keeper” at all, I thought angrily.
“No. I change my mind. I don’t want them.”
I turned and stormed out of the store with Jace hurrying to catch up to me.
“What the hell was that, Jenyse?” Jace asked as she pulled on my arm to stop me.
I took a deep breath. It wasn’t her fault. “Nothing. Sorry. I’m gonna go get some coffee. I’ll meet you at the car.” I handed her my keys.
She agreed, still uncertain, and I went into the store next door to the one we just came out of. I ordered a coffee and went to stand by the pick-up spot. I got my coffee and left. On my way out the door, I bumped into someone and the liquid spilled a little on my pants.
“Dammit!” I took the napkin I cleverly got, and dabbed the spot on my jeans.
“Oh! I’m so sorry!” the guy I ran into said.
I glanced up briefly and shot him a fake smile. “It’s alright. I wasn’t looking where I was going.”
“N- Wait…” I looked up, confused at his tone. “It’s you!”
I would’ve been pretty creeped out if I hadn’t recognized him too. It was the guy from the coffee shop in St. M-
I stopped my thought process right there. I didn’t want to think of that day.
“Oh, hey!” I said.
“Coffee again?” he asked me, smiling.
I tried not to think of the person who had asked me that the most. I made another forced smile. “Yeah. What can I say? I’m addicted.”
He laughed. “Hey, I’m sorry for making you spill on yourself.”
“Oh, it’s no problem. I’ll just add you onto my ‘People Who Owe Me’ list,” I joked half-heartedly.
“Aw, shucks. I hate being in people’s debt. How ‘bout I make it up to you? Tonight?”
Well…that was bold. I’d never gotten asked out before. Well, besides…. Anyway. He seemed like a nice guy. I mean, he worked at a coffee shop. But, he just wasn’t….
“You know, I’d love to, um-”
“Oh, sorry. Alex. My name’s Alex,” he supplied.
For the second time today, I froze. This couldn’t keep happening to me. If it did, I’d go nuts.
My voice grew harder. “I can’t. I’m leaving. I still go to Hogwarts. I only came home because my sister-in-law was having a baby. Sorry. See ya.”
As I walked away, I could feel his incredulous eyes on my back.
“Oh, well, alright,” he called. “Wait! What’s your name?”
“Jenyse,” I called back, still walking away, toward my car.
“So, everything was alright?”
“Yes, Professor Dumbledore,” I lied. It wasn’t a lie to him, because all he cared about was the birth, so I didn’t feel bad about it. “My brother, Jarron, was just being an idiot. He didn’t think I’d go home as fast if he told me what was going on.”
“Ah,” Dumbledore said, with an understanding smile, “brothers. It’s quite alright. Well, you’re free to go, Ms. Baccari. Thank you for taking the time to explain in person. And congratulations for your new baby niece!”
I smiled and left his office. The Marauders stood waiting for me at the bottom of the spiral steps.
“Everything alright?” James asked.
“Yep. He understood. It’s all good,” I replied. We started walking to the Great Hall, for dinner.
“Good. We missed you,” Sirius said, giving me a half-hug.
I smiled the first real smile in five days. “I missed you guys, too.” I dug my head into Sirius’s chest, hugging him, but still walking. I heard quick footsteps coming towards us, and looked up.
I was the only one who stopped. Because I was the only one who heard; the only one who saw.
As I looked at him, looking at me, still approaching me, I realized that as much as I willed myself to forget, I hadn’t. Not one bit. I still remembered every curve of his face, his arms, his hands, his chest. Every single detail.
“Jenyse? What’s wrong?” I vaguely heard Sirius ask, though I was still hugging him. Well, not so much hugging him than hanging on to him for support.
I still remembered the way his lips moved, his voice, how he said my name. I still remembered how his saying my name affected me. His face was set in a devastated expression. His eyebrows were drawn together. His eyes were filled with desire, honesty, guilt, and apologies.
I felt more hands on me. They were trying to shake me out of my trance. “I-I’m not hungry. I’m tired. I’m gonna go to my dorm. See you guys tomorrow.” My voice sounded distant, even to me.
“I’ll go with you.”
“No,” I said sharply to whoever offered. “I need to be alone.” I hoped he would take a hint.
They murmured reluctant ‘okay’s at my back as I marched away.
I could hear him following me.
“Jenyse. Stop. Please,” he begged.
I kept walking.
I broke into a run. Tears were running down my face. He kept calling after me. I kept running through the halls to the Gryffindor tower, without looking back.
I collapsed onto my bed, breathing heavily. I wasn’t prepared. That wasn’t supposed to happen. I was not prepared. I hadn’t thought, “What if I saw him again?” I hadn’t thought what I would do if I saw him again. I hadn’t thought how I would feel if he showed up again. I hadn’t thought how I should feel if he showed up again.
I didn’t think he would. Not if all he had done were lies. It didn’t make sense. Was he still acting a part? Wasn’t his deed done? Find a girl, use her, make a fool out of her, the end. Right? He wasn’t supposed to show up again. He was supposed to leave and never come back. I was supposed to forget he ever existed.
What did it mean? Why did he come back? Why had he asked me to stop? Why had he followed me?
Why had I run away? Why had I ignored him? Why had I not wanted to ignore him?
Why had I wanted to run back to him and into his arms?
Why had I wanted to trust him?
It was dumb. It was stupid of me to want that. I knew it. But I did. I wanted to trust him. I wanted to believe him. I wanted to go back to him.
I wanted him.
But it was wrong. That, I also knew. And I followed that judgment. I promised I would forget. I would keep that promise. It was for my own good.
I didn’t sleep that night.
At the first sign of light, I got out of bed to take a shower. As I took off my necklace, Sirius bracelet, and hair-tie, I examined myself in the mirror. I looked absolutely terrible. My eyes were red and extremely puffy, my hair was all knotty from all the tossing I had done throughout the night, and there were dried tear marks going in different directions all over my face due to all the different positions my head was in.
Angrily, I turned away from the counter and got into the shower.
I turned my head up, towards the shower head, and let the quick, hot droplets of water hit my face, for a while. It felt good having the evidence of my tears cleansed away.
As I was finally combing my fingers through my just-conditioned hair to get the knots out, I realized something that made me angry. For once, my anger was not toward him, but toward myself.
I pulled back the shower curtain a bit so I could peek out, and looked at my reflection in the mirror, again. My eyes were still considerably red and puffy. I felt and saw my eyes narrow at the face in the mirror.
I couldn’t believe that I had let a guy do this to me. To make me cry more than I had ever cried in my life, in the span of one week. Never had I thought that something like this would happen to me. I mean, the reason I’m best friends with all guys was because I hated drama. This may have been the most dramatic thing I’d ever heard of, in the life of an eighteen-year-old girl.
I was completely pathetic. I knew that I had said this to myself before, but this time I truly meant it. I mean, only girls cry over guys. Not that I’m not a girl. Just that I’m not a girly-girl. They drive me nuts!
And now I’m just as pathetic as I perceived them to be. Brilliant.
I rolled my eyes at my inner self and at myself in the mirror.
I finished cleansing and clothing myself, all the while trying to will myself to brush all thoughts of him off of my shoulders. I was aware that this promise to myself hadn’t turned out so well, the last time I made it, but after having gone through seeing him again and having that sudden epiphany, I was almost positive I could listen to myself this time. I was determined. And he wasn’t worth it.
I went back out, into my dormitory, and to my bed. I pulled a book out from under my pillow and started reading. Despite my fatigue, I felt ten billion times better than I had felt in the past week.
I sat, reading there, for about an hour. My roommates were still in deep sleep. I envied them. I really wanted to have a nice, long, peaceful sleep, but I figured that since I was already up, I might as well stay up. I’d just go to bed early that night. I didn’t want jetlag, especially since I’d never even left the ground.
As I turned the page leading to page 210 of my book, I heard a noise to my left. I looked at my clock on my bedside table. It was only nine o’clock. That was still too early for any of my roommates to be getting up, especially during the last days of Christmas break.
I turned, expecting to see Lily stretching, ready to get up for the day.
Standing four feet away from me was Ian Hayes’s spirit. His expression was much the same as last night; distraught, regretful, apologizing, and pleading, all at the same time. Some small part of my brain wondered how he displayed so many lies, so well, simultaneously.
My book slipped from out of my hands. I was frozen. Again. I was so sure I was prepared to face him again if he ever showed up, but I was completely wrong.
“Jenyse.” His voice sounded so pained. I tried not to believe it.
After the shock from hearing his voice again died off, I quickly rolled off the other side of my bed, putting it between us. I wanted to ask him how he got in here. I hadn’t heard the door open. But then, I realized how. He was a spirit. He could do whatever he wanted. Even play a girl. I still wanted to ask though, but when I tried, nothing came out.
“Please, Jenyse. Please listen to me. I’m so sorry for not telling you. I promise you that none of it was a lie. I really, truly did l-”
I bolted for the door. I threw it open and ran down the stairs. I didn’t want to hear him say it. I couldn’t bear it. The all-too-familiar tears graced my face once again. I heard him calling and running after me. I kept running straight, when I entered the common room. Through my tears, I saw Travis coming in, through the portrait hole. I heard him saying my name in a confused tone. I ran straight into his arms, sobbing uncontrollably into his chest. His arm went tight and protectively around me while his other hand held my head to his chest.
I heard my pursuer suddenly stop running, heavily breathing. Before vanishing from my sight, in the most pained tone I’d ever heard come from that particular voice, I heard him utter the words, “Of course.”
A/N: biting lip. scared. terrified. please review. another shoutout to adds! miss you! okay. horrified again. please. tell me (or yell at me) what you think about this chapter, whether it be good, bad, or horrible. please please please!!! thanks.
terrified out of her pants,
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