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Chapter 2 : Hey There, Delilah
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Either way, someone should be slapped and I would prefer it not to be me.
I vote for the dumb people who decided to make this day a Wizarding World national holiday, much to Dad’s embarrassment.
I don’t really know why today is always so hectic, but there is always one reason or another that my family is scrambling around like there is no tomorrow. I think it’s because they’re trying to keep all those stupid reporters out of the house.
Even after over 20 years, people are still obsessed with Dad. I would understand it for Mum, since she was the best Chaser for the Holyhead Harpies in a century. But all Dad did was bring the demise of the most powerful dark wizard in history who had with no hair and no nose… Okay, maybe I understand, but can we please move on?
So, this day, every year for the past seven years, I have gone to the attic and stayed there until whatever unnecessary hustle downstairs was finished and we were on our way to the Burrow: my third favorite place in the world. Every year I have picked a new box stored in the attic to search through. They always take me hours because most of the stuff is old muggle stuff Dad has or photo albums of embarrassing pictures of my parents in school and find it all fascinating.
One box I stumbled upon three years ago held Mum’s real name. I never thought past the name Ginny as anything but her name, but to find out that her name was Ginevra? I just about died.
For someone with a very unfortunate name, Mum never seemed to think twice of Al’s name. Albus Severus Potter. Poor kid. At least my name flows better, even if I am named after two dead guys as well. It’s a really good thing that not everyone needs to be introduced with their full name, so Al can at least introduce himself as ‘Al.’
But, coming back to search for a new box for this year: I find a rather small one pushed in a corner, but carefully packed and thick with dust. I pull the box towards me and open the lid. I am rather bemused to find a bunch of odd things that show no link to my parents: a single, old-fashioned chaser glove, an old, tarnished snitch, a crumpled O.W.L. exam paper with a sketch in the corner sloppily scribbled out, an invitation to something called the Slug club. Shuffling carefully through some other papers I stop when I see my name at the bottom of the paper: “James Potter.”
I pull out the papers and realize it was a letter to a girl named ‘Delilah.’ Confused, I start to read. 'Hey there, Delilah…'
Suddenly, it hits me. James Potter in this letter was my dad’s dad, and I also remember Dad saying something about James calling his fiancé, Lily, Delilah sometimes, because she preferred those flowers to lilies. It is a love letter, and while I have no right to read into someone’s personal affairs, I'm too curious for it to bother me right now. I continue.
She’s in New York? I didn’t know Dad’s mum lived in America for any amount of time. I wonder if she got any pictures of Times Square…
The letter keeps going on and on about how much he missed her. I can’t believe how much my grandfather was in love with my grandmother. I have never heard their full story, but from this letter I could tell where Dad got his romantic side from. He and his dad were very much the same in that respect, or so it seems to me.
I’m not anything like that. Now that I think about it, I've never felt the urge to be romantic for any of my girlfriends. Julia Carter, my current girlfriend and who I am in love with, has never made me feel the need to write such soppy words.
I want to laugh at how overly gushy my grandfather was when writing this letter. I just don't understand it. There is something else, too, as my thoughts go back to how I feel about Julia. For some reason, this letter is evoking some emotion inside of me that I can't explain.
I’m sitting here reading this letter and I’m more confused than ever. Julia had never been the muse for such sincerity in my words and I've never felt the need to expose my emotion so clearly. It just has to be because my grandfather was much more romantic than I was. I could never make myself write like this, let alone do it honestly. This James had something that I can never have. I’m just not that in tune with my emotions to be able to do that.
The letter was a total of six pages and when I finish reading, I couldn't have been more confused about my situation. I don’t know why a 40-year-old letter was making me think so much about my life, but it was, and that’s what I was so confused about.
I rummage through the rest of the small box, but I can’t find a response to the letter, so I still can’t really understand from my grandmother’s perspective. I probably wouldn't have understood it anyway. Women are so confusing.
That emotion I'm feeling keeps getting stronger. I'm angry? I don't think that's the best way to describe it.
I'm halfway revolted with myself as my mind agrees with this term. I'm James Sirius Potter! I don't have to be jealous of anyone. Why would I even want to feel something so stupid for someone I love?
Confused and apparently fuming with jealous anger (what is wrong with me?) I leave the attic, seeking some sort of explanation. I'm not sure what I expect, but I climb down the attic ladder, dusty old box in hand, and go to find the only person who could probably explain this: my dad.
“Dad?” I try to be as discrete as possible, knowing Mum would realize I had been missing a good portion of the day and try to get me to clean something if I didn't get to him first.
“In here, James!” His voice came from the sitting room and I hesitantly walk in. Still clutching the small box in my nervous hands, I walk over to him. At this time, he was giving me a questionable look. He at least has realized that he hardly ever sees me on my birthday until we go to the Burrow. “Something bothering you?”
Go figure I won’t know how to say what I want to say. I should have thought about this before I came down. I’m just today seventeen and I still can’t realize how dumb acting too fast is. As always, my spontaneity backfires. “Well, umm… I was in the attic, and I, uh…. I came across this box.” I hand Dad the box I had found. “And I found this letter.”
I pull the letter from the box and give it to Dad. I just don’t know how to explain what I want. I wish I could rewind time, go back upstairs and figure out a plan of action before I act. How is it that I can plan amazing Quidditch plays, but end up in situations like this all the time?
His curious expression falls as he looks through the objects in the box and looks at the letter I handed him. It takes him a little while and my mind starts to wander.
I’m seventeen. I can use magic! Maybe I should try to Obliviate my dad and redo this whole scene after some planning. Probably not a good plan considering I've never performed the charm before and it would probably go terribly wrong.
Why did I even want to talk to my dad in the first place? I should have just chosen a different box. Damn my curiosity. Why am I even jealous of this James? It’s not like my love life sucks… does it? Maybe I should have searched harder for the response to the letter from my grandmother to see what she thought of my grandfather. I know they used to hate each other, but this letter had to be from after then. She would have written him some sort of response after seeing the monstrosity of which Dad was currently reading page 3. Maybe that James did a James-ish thing and accidentally threw it away. It does sound like something I would do.
I try to imagine giving Julia a love letter. She’d open it, make a strange face, toss it aside, and return to gossiping with her friends without a word to me.
Julia is very beautiful, but she is seriously lacking in the brains department. It’s a good thing for her that I don’t care too much about that. She also acts like I’m not even there, sometimes. I don’t understand that, but I go with it. I like my space, so I can give her hers if she needs it. It is sort of annoying, though, when she talks to me and the first thing out of her mouth is “I’m bored.” I don’t ever see anyone else treated like that by their girlfriends. I usually just write it off, but I wonder sometimes if she even cares about how I feel? If she does, she has a funny way of showing it. But we've been dating for five months, now, and I love her… a lot!
"I remember this stuff; this letter.” Dad had finished reading and looked up at me with an expression I had ever seen on him in one other case: when he tells me about my Uncle Fred and Teddy Lupin’s parents who died during the Final Battle. Grief.
Dad has never known his parents. I can’t even imagine what that is like. I may rag on them a bit, but my parents are great. However, if his unpleasant cousin, Dudley (another unfortunate name), gives any indication of what his childhood was like, Dad had to have been miserable. Dad says his cousin’s loads better than he used to be, but I still think he’s awful and his children, who I've met a couple of times, are too.
“Do you know if Grandmum sent him a letter back?” Maybe I could just write this off as what I really intended to ask him…
“The truth is, son, Granddad never sent this letter.”
I am shocked and slightly speechless. If he never sent the letter, then why did he write it? I find words and exclaim, “What? But what about the tear stains? Why did he write this mushy letter and then never send it? It doesn't make any sense!”
“She decided to go to train as a healer in America, so he proposed to her before she left,” Dad explains calmly. “He wrote this the day she came back."
“But the letter said she wouldn't be done with school for two more years.”
“She decided she couldn't stay away from him that long. It is rather like a cheesy Muggle film script, but that is just the way Remus told me when he gave me all this stuff.” The same sad look crosses over his features, but passes as quickly as it came. “So what about this letter do you want to talk to me about?”
Again, I’m speechless. Mostly because Dad knew me better than I thought he did and also because the whole story was shocking. Julia definitely would not drop all prospects of a great job just because she loves me. Hell, I wouldn't do that for her, either. Do I really love her?
Of course I do!
“James?” I am shaken out of my thoughts by Dad looking at me curiously. I’m pretty close to my dad if you didn't know and I can usually talk to him about anything. Well, almost anything. I usually have no trouble talking about my girlfriends as long as I leave out the really personal stuff. Today, however, I can’t seem to form the words, and I don’t feel like he would understand.
I don’t know why I’m so paranoid. I never told him I am in love with Julia, but he knows about her and how we've been dating for five months. He’s never met her either, which is unusual for me. I usually get all my girlfriends to meet my parents within the first five months, but Julia hasn't ever been able to come over. Actually, she’s not even coming to my birthday party at the Burrow today.
“I’m just really confused about Julia.” There, I said it… well, not really. I didn't tell Dad I love her.
“Why are you confused?”
“Well, I’m just kind of worried about our relationship. I mean, I read this letter and I can’t understand what Granddad was talking about. I've never felt that way about anyone!”
“Of course not!” he exclaims. I look at him quizzically, and he continues. “You've never been in love.” At this, I flinch. I've never been in love? He didn't even know the half of it, mostly because I've never told him. I don’t know if he can even help me in this situation, seeing as he’s loved Mum since his sixth year or something along those lines… well, I guess we are kind of in the same boat here. I started loving Julia in sixth year.
“Dad, I love Julia.” Now I said it, but even I can hear the doubt in my voice that is there for the first time and from the look on his face, I know that Dad didn't miss it, either.
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