I cannot answer the question of appearances or that of identity beyond the grave. ~Walt Whitman~
|| wicked banner by .bliss @ TDA!! ||
The morning of September first rolled around too quickly — much too quickly for my tastes, though, admittedly, I was glad that now that summer was over, my friends and I wouldn’t get into as much trouble as we had during the rest of the holidays.
I had never been much of a morning person, but today, I made an exception. Well, my biological clock made the exception for me, I just woke up when the alarm went off.
Climbing up and out of my bed, I tiptoed quietly out of my room, careful not to step on any of the girls that had made refuge on the thick, plush carpet of my bedroom. I made sure to be extract quiet as I walked down the hallway, because parts of the finely polished wooden floor were squeaky, and I didn’t want anyone to wake up. Today would be the day I made my special hardly-ever-seen-extra-large breakfasts for my friends and family.
It wasn’t that I didn’t like to cook; it was just that I didn’t cook big breakfasts often — only unless I was in an oddly cheerful mood, but those hardly ever happened.
Once in the kitchen, I set to work on making a big breakfast that might last Dad a whole three weeks if we didn’t eat everything before we left today. I made eggs, and toast, and bacon, and eggs, and sausages. I even made pancakes and waffles!
Just as I flipped the last pancake and waffle onto their respectful plates, there was a light knock on the door. Wiping my flour-covered hands on a dishtowel, I hurried to the door before they rang the doorbell and woke everyone up. I didn’t want to ruin the sur —
“Surprise!” Aunt Julie said when I opened the door.
My eyes widened as I stared at her, too shocked for words. What was she doing here? “Don’t you have a coffee shop to run?” was all I managed to say.
Her smile faltered before she laughed jovially and stepped passed me, hanging her jacket up on the coat rack on the other side of the entrance hall. “I’m having a little delay today.” She said, turning around and looking at me, a smile on her face. “Besides, I wanted to see my two favorite nieces off when they climb aboard the Hogwarts Express for their sixth year!” she said.
I blinked. “Andrea and I are your only nieces.” I said stupidly.
She sighed and shook her head. “Honestly, Allie. You take after your mother’s lack of humor all too much.” Aunt Julie said disappointedly. “Oh, curse you, Claudia, for not teaching your youngest daughter — the brains of our family — to have a little bit of fun!” she said dramatically, pressing the back of her hand lightly on her forehead.
“Hey!” I exclaimed, frowning at her. “I can so to have fun!” I argued, crossing my arms tightly over my chest. “And I do too have a sense of humor! You’re just never around to see it.” I said with a shrug before walking towards the kitchen. “So, I guess you’re staying for breakfast then?” I asked as I took the rest of the bacon off the frying pan and onto one of the plates.
“Yep,” she said brightly. “Hey, where are all the others?” she asked, looking confusedly around the kitchen and listening for any signs of life within our home. “Are they all still asleep?” she asked.
Nodding, I concentrated on making sure the eggs didn’t burn.
She sighed again. “You’re too much like Claudia.” She said.
I stiffened. “I’m not.” I said firmly.
“Ooh, touchy subject. Sorry, mon chéri.” She apologized gently.
I sighed and shook my head, setting the spatula on the counter. “It’s all right,” I muttered. “It wasn’t your fault. Maybe I do take after her too much, but it’s not like I can actually help it. I’ve been taught to do the right thing — I can’t help it if the right thing is something she would’ve done.” I said.
Aunt Julie gave me a small smile and reached forward, grabbing my hand in hers and giving it a small squeeze. “It’ll be all right, Al.” She reassured. “Ah, and I might want to be careful. I heard Gertie dearest is coming over later today too — about an hour before the train leaves the station.” She said.
I groaned and buried my face in my hands. “Lovely,” I muttered sarcastically.
Before Aunt Julie could comment, someone decided to wake up and come down the stairs. And then, moments later, Dad yawned loudly as he stepped into the kitchen, already dressed for the long day that this was surely going to be.
“Julie?” he said, staring at his sister-in-law in confusion. “What are you doing here?” he asked.
Aunt Julie smiled as she skipped over, throwing an arm around his shoulder. “Ben, my good fellow!” she exclaimed jovially. “Why don’t we have a little chat in the sitting room and leave dear, sweet Allie to finish making our breakfast, eh?” she said as she started to lead him out of the kitchen. “So, tell me, Ben. What do you know about plumbing...?”
Rolling my eyes, I turned back to the stove and set to work on finishing up the rest of my huge breakfast buffet for my friends and family.
“— and this is just ridiculous!” Great Aunt Gertrude complained as she struggled to make herself comfortable, knocking me to the side so I was squished up beside Dominique. “All of this tight space...” she huffed. “Now, Ben, I understand that you wanted to make the car so big so it didn’t attract attention, but you could’ve at least made it a little bigger... or at least made Alexia walk. The station isn’t too far, and besides look at her! She’s too heavy.” She complained, looking down and scrutinizing me.
I glared at the carpeted floor of the car, my jaw clenched and my teeth biting down on my tongue to keep me from snapping at her. I was twenty pounds less than Andrea was, so if anyone needed to lose weight, it was her... not that she needed to or anything, she was already as skinny as a frigging twig.
Lily cleared her throat uncomfortably. “So — er — Andrea, what are your plans for this year?” she asked in an attempt to help keep myself from killing Gertie in the backseat of this small spaced car, where I had a lot of witnesses who would testify against me.
Andrea shrugged. “I don’t know.” She said. “Just the usual, I guess. School work, hang out with my friends, Quidditch...” she said.
“I heard there were going to be Quidditch try outs this year. James said there were, at least.” Roxanne said.
“I heard that too,” Andrea said, nodding.
Oh, so you and your boyfriend do talk between snogging sessions! I thought bitterly as I crossed my arms tightly over my chest. “Dad, how much longer until we get to the station?” I asked. Before I toss Gertie into the busy looking streets where she could get run over by a huge truck, I thought.
The image of tossing my great aunt out of the car and watching her get hit by a truck was quite pleasing and brought a smile to my face.
“What are you smiling about, girl?” she snapped, poking me hard in the shoulder.
My smile dropped back into a frown. “Not you, that’s for sure,” I muttered under my breath. Dominique coughed to hide her sniggering.
“What was that?” Great Aunt Gertrude demanded.
“Nothing,” I replied.
“So, Aunt Gertrude,” Aunt Julie said from the passenger seat. “How was your summer? No trouble, I hope?” she asked, trying to be polite, but I could hear the lies in her voice. She didn’t care about Gertie’s summer, she cared about making sure I didn’t get sent to Azkaban...
Great Aunt Gertrude smiled pleasingly. “It was quite well, actually.” She said. “I bought a lovely new painting, and it’s sitting up over the fireplace in the sitting room. Quite pricey, but it really is lovely.” She said.
And I was absolutely positive that the painting was hideous and dull.
“Venice was lovely.”
Oh, no natives tried to kill you? Damn, how unfortunate...
“And the Amazon was quite thrilling.”
No natives of the Amazon tried to kill you there? Oh, come on! Throw me a fudging bone, why don’t you, and let someone get pissed enough to want to kill her!
Oh, wait, that ‘someone’ would be me!
“We’re here.” Dad said, parking in front of the train station.
My friends and I scrambled out of the car as fast as we could. Once we had all of our things unloaded from the car and onto trunks, we ran into King’s Cross, leaving everyone behind us in our race to get away from my terrible great, old aunt who I swear on the life of Merlin’s mother was out for my blood!
“Oh, Allie, you’re right!” Rose said as we pushed our way through the crowd and towards the barrier between platforms nine and ten. “She is such a wretched woman! I can’t believe you have to suffer with her!” she said with a shudder.
Dominique scoffed. “That’s not even the worst of her.” She said.
Lily gasped. “You mean it gets worse?” she said, looking at me incredulously.
I pursed my lips and nodded. “It does,” I said. “I had hoped that the last time I saw her would be the last. I was praying with my entire heart and soul over the summer that the natives of the Amazon would get angry at her for something she said or did and then burn her alive at the stake. But fate is cruel and doesn’t seem to want to make my life any good.” I said.
Alice shuddered. “I would hate it if she were my great aunt,” she said, shaking her head. “I don’t know how you do it, Allie.” She said.
“I don’t know either.” I said. “Look, there’s the barrier!” I said.
“Last one there’s a rotten egg!” Dominique said as she began to run towards the barrier.
“That’s not fair!” Lily cried as she and Roxanne ran after her.
Laughing, Rose and Alice ran after them and I chased after all of them, unable to contain my giddiness at the thought of finally going back to the castle for another year.
One by one, they all disappeared through the barrier. Keeping my eyes wide open so I didn’t miss a thing, I ran through the barrier myself, watching as I ran through the other side of the barrier and coming on the platform; platform nine and three-quarters to be exact.
I inhaled the wonderful smell of the smog around me before coughing.
Note to self, I thought between coughs as I squinted through the smog, waving it away with my hand in an attempt to see clearer, but to no avail. Never inhale on platform again, I thought as I pushed my way through the platform, trying to steer clear of running into people and finding my friends, as well as making it to the train in one piece.
Finally, the smoke cleared and I was able to see the platform better. Somehow, I ended up at the very back of the crowd. But, I managed to find all of my friends. They were with their families, giving hugs and kisses to their parents and telling them all about our exciting summer.
Rose saw me first and waved me over. I smiled and pushed my trolley towards her.
“Hello, Alexia. I trust you didn’t have too much trouble?” Rose’s mother, Hermione Weasley, asked.
“Not much,” I replied with a smile. “I hope it wasn’t too quiet at home for you,” I said.
Rose’s father, Ron Weasley, laughed loudly. “Too quiet? At our house, there’s never such a thing as ‘too quiet’.” He said.
Rose rolled her eyes. “We’re just going to go on the train now,” Rose said abruptly before her parents could embarrass her any further — not that they were, or anything. I knew what it was like at Rose’s house. It was chaotic. Actually, it was chaotic in the homes of all of my friends now that I come to think of it...
I left Rose alone to say her goodbyes with her parents.
Dominique came out of nowhere and threw her arms around me. “I just heard the most fantabulous news from Mum and Dad — and you’ll never guess what it is!” she said, looking completely thrilled.
I laughed. “What’s this great news?” I asked.
“Victoire and Teddy are engaged!” she said.
“Really? Well, congratulations to them!” I said cheerfully.
“Thank you,” a voice said from behind me.
I whipped around so fast that I could’ve sworn I just got whiplash. Standing behind me, in all of her beautiful glory, was Dominique’s big sister—Victoire. “Victoire!” I said cheerfully.
She smiled at me, revealing perfect white teeth. “Hello, Alexia. You’re looking well,” she said as she hugged me in a friendly embrace. “You’ve changed quite a bit since I last saw you... are you wearing makeup?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.
I blushed. “A little,” I mumbled before beaming widely. “Congratulations, Victoire! Wow, engaged already? Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later, wasn’t it? Congratulations!” I said again.
She laughed. “Thank you,” she said. “Well, I’ll leave you two alone. Have fun at school, Dom. Oh, and, Alexia, the new look is nice.” She said before walking away.
Dominique laughed heartily as she swung her arm back around my shoulders. “Now, if you get a compliment from Victoire, you know you look fabulous.” She said as we made our way towards the train and she helped me load all of my things onto the train and I helped her with hers.
I rolled my eyes. “Dom, you know as well as I do that I didn’t do this to look ‘fabulous’.” I said. “I did this because I thought I was in need of a change.” I said.
“And you want a boyfriend.” She said.
“And since this is our last year without worrying about major exams, I might as well make this one of my best years.” I said, ignoring her.
“And you wanted to be noticed.” She continued.
“And I figured I would start my change with a new look.”
“Oh, for the love of Merlin, will you just admit that you wanted people to notice you already?” she said with a laugh as we found an empty compartment and threw all of our stuff inside.
I rolled my eyes. “I did not do this to get people to notice me.” I said. She raised an eyebrow at me. “Well, that might be a... teensy little reason why.” I said, causing us both to burst out laughing.
“You’re so weird, Allie.” She said, shaking her head. “You’re so, so weird.” She said.
Standing in one of the changing stalls in the girls changing room, I stared at my reflection hanging up on the changing room door, taking in every small detail of my appearance. Pale skin, long — slightly curly — brown hair, brown eyes...
Nothing seemed too out of the ordinary for me anymore. I was used to being able to wake up in the mornings and brush my hair without the hassle of knotting my thick curls up even more when I tried to brush my hair. I was used to not having to put on glasses every morning when I woke up. I was used to not having the taste of metal in my mouth...
Hell, I was even used to the things called ‘boobs’ on my chest that had gone from a simple size B to C!
Looking at my reflection once more, I noted every good quality about the new me, and every bad. The good qualities; my hair was shinier, my body had curves in all the right places, my face looked softer, a little more innocent and a bit more mischevious, and my teeth were straighter. The bad qualities; my hair was too long, my face was covered in makeup, my skin was too pale, and I was too short.
Ah, but we all have our faults, do we not?
With a sigh, I grabbed my skirt and pulled it on before hiking it up a little bit so it wasn’t as long, but low enough so it didn’t make me look like I was just waiting for the boys to come at me — that was a job for my sister and her so-called friends. I pulled on my white blouse, purposely forgetting the drab grey vest, and then my crimson and gold tie, loosening it so it wasn’t as tied around my neck. After pulling on my socks and Mary Jane’s, I pulled my black cloak over my shoulders before walking out of the bathroom, pinning my prefects badge to my robes as I did so.
“Ugh, stupid pin!” I muttered as I struggled to pin it to my robes as I made my way out of the changing rooms. “Why — won’t — you — pi — oof!” I grunted as I knocked into someone just as I pinned my pin to my robes.
“Ah, klutz-zilla still wanders free, I see,” a familiar taunting voice said, the amusement dripping in his voice.
Looking up, I glared at him as he stood over me, smirking. “Oh, and they let you out of your cage?” I snapped back before pushing myself up from the ground and dusting off my robes.
He chuckled as he stood in front of me, that supposedly ‘charming’ smirk on his face, hazel eyes just barely hidden behind his untidy mat of black hair. “Haven’t changed much personality wise, have you, Carlyle?” he said.
I resisted the urge to stick my tongue out like a five year old. I had to be mature one here. James Potter was not going to prove that he was more mature than I was! I would rather eat a troll’s toe nails than let something like that happen! “Still as insufferable as you always are, I’m sure,” I snapped as I attempted to walk past him. He wouldn’t let me pass. I glared at him. “Oh, real mature, Potter. Now, move so I can get back to my compartment.” I snapped.
He raised an eyebrow, crossing his arms over his chest, an amused look on his face — a face that I wanted nothing more than to leave a big, black and blue mark on. “What if I don’t want to?” he said.
“Then you’ll lose more than just your face.” I said through gritted teeth before taking a moment to calm myself. “Just move!” I huffed, in an attempt to walk around him and push past him, but he was stronger than I was, and the height difference was a definite plus for him, the lucky bastard...
And then, he leaned his face so close to mine, I thought that he might kiss me, but instead, he brought his face close enough to my hear so I could hear what he was saying.
With a gasp, I felt my face heat up and my eyes widen — if possible — more than they already were when he leaned towards me. Somehow, I managed to push him away and run past him, trying to hide my bright red cheeks so he wouldn’t find something else to make fun of me about.
“Allie?” Rose asked, looking at me in confusion and worry when I ran back into our compartment, panting for air and struggling to rid my face of the blush on my cheeks. “Allie, what’s wrong? You look like you’ve just seen a ghost or something!” she said as she and Lily helped me sit lie down on one of the compartment seats.
I laid my head down on Dominique’s lap, and she stroked my hair, looking down at me with a worried expression. “I’m fine,” I said, breathing slowly. “Just... wake me up when we get to the castle, won’t you?” I asked.
Dominique nodded. “Of course we will,” she said. “Just sleep, Allie.” She said, still stroking my hair tenderly, running her fingers through my soft mahogany locks.
I allowed myself to drift off to sleep, but all I could see was James frigging Potter’s face in my mind’s eye in all of his bloody glory. And I could see everything, taking in every little detail of the memory that was still so fresh in my head. The way his hazel eyes sparkled with a hint of mischief, the way the light reflected specks of brown, green and gold mixed together, the way his smile looked perfectly crooked without looking completely creepy —
Oh, dear Merlin!
I was going insane!
And it was all his fault! If he hadn’t said what he said to me, then I wouldn’t be going crazy! I hate him. I hate him with such a passion!
“You know, Allie, this new you doesn’t seem all that bad...”
I repressed the urge to shudder as goosebumps rose on my arms as I remembered him leaning down so close that I thought he might just kiss me. The skin where his hot breath tickled heated up and I could feel my blood start to boil.
I started to focus on something else, something that would definitely take away the memory of ever running into Potter and getting that prat and getting that close to him. What was I focusing on, you ask? Well, this is me we’re talking about, and so, I’m proud to say that unlike those snobby girls who worry about their weight and figures they wish they could have, I care about food.
What’s best is that this isn’t just normal food we’re talking about. We’re talking about the Hogwart’s food. The most delicious, mouth water food made by loveable, loyal house elves who really know how to cook! I swear, there was no way that even Heaven could give out food that tasted half as good as Hogwart’s.
“Allie?” Dominique called, giving my shoulder a small shake. “Allie, wake up. We’re here,” she said.
Opening my eyes, I saw that, sure enough, we were here. Or, at least at the Hogsmeade station.
I pushed myself up from her lap before following my friends out of the compartment and following them onto the platform. It wasn’t long until I had, once again, lost them through the huge crowd of students trying to stick together so they could all have a carriage with their friends. I sighed as I struggled to make my way through the crowd of people without injuring me or any of the other students.
Unfortunately, because I was such a klutz, and I preferred sightseeing and taking in everything of Hogsmeade over watching where I was going, I tripped and stumbled, knocking into the person in front of me, who turned around and helped to steady me.
I gasped. “Oh, Merlin! I’m so sorry!” I apologized as the person helped me back to my feet. “I wasn’t watching where I was going, and — and — and I tri — Oh, mother of all things Holy!” I muttered when I saw who it was.
Potter grinned at me. “I knew you couldn’t stay away from me.” He said.
“In your dreams,” I snapped, glaring at him. “If you’ll excuse me,” I said haughtily as I took a step back from him, “I’ve got some friends to go find.” I said, and then disappeared into the sea of people.
“You’ll be back, Carlyle!” he called after me.
“You wish!” I called over my shoulder before running towards the carriages.
Lily raised an eyebrow at me. “Were you talking to my brother?”
I rolled my eyes. “More like threatening him.” I said.
“About what? Why?” Lily asked.
“Don’t ask questions. Just get in the carriage.” I instructed.
“I’m not a child! You can tell me!” she said.
“You’re a fourth year. I’m a sixth year and a prefect. I don’t have to tell you squat. Now, get in that carriage before I get you in there myself.” I said, pointing inside the carriage.
Seeing that I meant business, she huffed and climbed in. I sighed and followed after her.
If this was what the rest of the year was going to be like, you might as well have the giant squid come out of the lake and go on a wild rampage and eat me alive before going back to its peacefulness in the Black Lake.
Oh please, God, if you love me, please don’t let this year be as bad as I think it will be...
And yet, as many times as I hoped, I still felt like this year was going to be a nightmare.
Author’s Note: Yay! Chapter complete! I hope everyone liked that. Please do me a huge favor and leave me a review. It would really mean a lot to me. Remember, I probably won’t be able to respond because, unfortunately, my computer won’t let me—for some strange reason. Anyway, it will be very much appreciated if you do!