Chapter 28 : A New House
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My parents let us sleep in the next day, which was nice since we had been getting up early every single day we'd been in England. Both of them were awake when I got up. They were sitting at the desk whispering to each other while filling out that long questionnaire Sterling gave them. I pulled out a book and decided to read until they'd finished. Matt was still asleep so we wouldn't be looking at houses for a while.
Once my parents finally finished that questionnaire, and sent it off with Madam Rosmerta's owl, they announced that we'd go get lunch and then look at houses. Matt was just waking up when Dad returned from sending the owl.
We had a quick lunch at the Three Broomsticks and then Apparated to an Apparition station in London. Dad had been able to ask around the Ministry for a good real estate agent. Someone gave him the name of an agent who sold both wizard and Muggle houses. Their office was located in a house in London.
This agent, Candace Gormon, seemed a lot nicer than Josephina Hawkings. She didn't feel the need to show my parents any huge mansions just because we lived in one in Australia. My parents told her exactly what they were looking for and she produced a handful of key shaped portkeys.
Thus began the long afternoon of house hunting in England. Unfortunately, despite the fact that Candace Gormon was a nice lady, we did not have much luck with houses. My parents found something wrong with each house we looked at. I wasn't really a fan of any of them either, but that was mostly because none of them were anything like our house in Australia.
The first house we visited was too run down, the second one cost too much money. The third one had neighbors that were too close and the fourth one didn't have enough bedrooms. The fifth one didn't have a basement, so my parents vetoed it before we even saw all the rooms. Each house we looked at after that had variations on these problems as well.
By early evening I was wondering if we'd ever find a house my parents would like. Candace Gormon only had one more house to show us and we all placed a finger on the key.
We landed in the middle of a large field. I stood up and saw an average sized house made of wooden logs and a red roof. Beyond the house was bush, which immediately made me like that house more than the others. I gazed around and didn't see any other houses.
"It's a very rural location," Candace said, "Most of the people I've showed this house to don't like how rural it is, but you've seem to have expressed a need for ruralness."
"Yes," Dad said, "I do like that there aren't any other people living nearby. How many acres is this?"
"Three," Candace replied, "It runs all the way to the forest back there and down to the road in front. There's fencing on either side that mark the end of the property. Two farms border either side."
Dad nodded, "That's good."
"Would you like to see the inside?" Candace asked.
"That would be great," Mum smiled.
I followed my parents up the sloping lawn and to the front door. It was red to match the roof and there was a straw wreath attached.
"The Muggles who own it aren't home right now," Candace said as she put the portkey key in the lock, "They actually can't move out until June 30th. I hope that won't be a problem. I can help you find temporary housing if needed."
"That won't be necessary," Dad said, "If we decide to buy this house, we'll stay in Australia until the end of June."
Candace nodded. "All right. Feel free to look around and ask if you've got any questions."
Candace opened the door and we all walked inside. I stood in the foyer and looked around. This house had a very open floor plan. To the left was the living room, which was full of various furniture and Muggle technology. Behind the living room was the dining room. Next to that was kitchen. I walked towards the kitchen and saw a small hallway that led to the right, in front of the kitchen. I walked down it, opening various doors. I found a bathroom, a study, a den, the garage, and the stairs to the basement. The stairs leading to the upstairs were right in front of the front door.
I spent a few minutes wandering around the first floor and was surprised to find that I actually liked it. It was definitely different from our house in Australia, but not necessarily in a bad way. It seemed almost rustic and kind of reminded me of a normal version of Uncle Jack's house. There was a deck off of the kitchen that led into the backyard.
After I'd finished looking around the main floor, I went upstairs. The upstairs looked a lot like the downstairs, as far as style went. There were three bedrooms and two bathrooms. One of the bathrooms was in the master bedroom. There was also a very big room that could have been considered another bedroom, but Candace called it a playroom. I doubted my parents would let Matt or I have it as our bedroom, though, since we'd probably fight over it.
My parents were talking with each other when I wandered downstairs again. Candace wasn't with them, so I figured they were talking about something private. Surely it was something I'd want to listen in on.
I quietly walked into the kitchen and pretended to be examining the refrigerator.
"Can you make part of the basement into a safe room?" Mum whispered.
"Easily," Dad replied, "I'll just have to put up a few walls and set it up like the one at home. I'll probably just finish the whole thing and make a few other rooms and storage areas. That way Amy can have her potions room down there."
I hadn't even thought about my potions room. It didn't even occur to me that our new house might not have room for it. At least this one would.
"Good," Mum said. "I really like this one, Walt."
"Me, too, Julie."
"Think we should buy it?" Mum asked.
"Let's think it over for a couple of days and then get back to her."
"That sounds like a good plan," Mum agreed.
"What do you think about the house, Amy?" Dad asked, causing me to jump.
"It's ok," I shrugged, "I mean, if we have to move, I'd like to live here."
"I'll take that as you like it," Dad smiled. "Now where's your brother?"
"Watching the Muggle television," I pointed to the living room.
Dad laughed, "All right. Let's go get him and find Candace and go back to London. I know I'm sick of looking at houses."
Mum and Dad told Candace that they were interested in the house, but wanted to think about it for a few days. They promised that they'd let Candace know one way or the other before we left Britain. Dad had his interview on Monday, so we'd be staying at least until Tuesday.
Both of my parents were nervous about Dad's interview when Monday rolled around. The two of them were up early whispering about it and stopped talking when they realized I was awake. Once Matt got up, we all went downstairs to eat brekkie. Mum and Dad were very quiet during the entire meal.
When we got back to the room, Dad put on a pair of dress robes and we all wished him luck. He Disapparated and the rest of us sat down to wait for him to get back.
Dad returned about an hour later. Mum jumped to her feet as soon as the door started to open.
"How did it go?" she asked immediately.
"I think it went well," Dad smiled and walked inside. "They said they'd owl me when they make a decision."
"When will that be?"
"Sometime later this week," Dad replied, "I won't have to be interviewed again, though, so we can go home as soon as we can get tickets."
Good, I thought. We had been in Britain for almost a week. I wanted to spend as much time in Australia as possible, now that we sort of knew when we'd be moving. June 30th, if we bought the log house. I hoped we did. I didn't like any of the other houses.
"I suppose we should leave soon, then," Mum sighed, "Unless you want to look at anymore houses."
"I don't. I'd like to buy that last one we looked at, if you agree," Dad said.
"I do," Mum smiled, "The more I think about it, the more I like that house."
"Perhaps we can sign the paperwork today. I'd like to get back to Australia so we can put our house on the market. Why don't we Apparate over to the office now?"
"Sounds good to me," Mum agreed, "Let's go, Amy, Matt."
I groaned. Why couldn't they just let me stay in the room? I grabbed my last unread book and followed them out of the room. At the rate I was going, I wouldn't have any books left to read on the plane.
My parents were able to sign the paperwork that day. Matt and I sat behind them while they did so, bored out of our minds. I didn't see why it should take so long to buy a house. But no, my parents had to make various offers and then the real estate agent had to call the owners of the house to see if they were available to sign other paperwork. Luckily they were, but we had to wait for them to show up. I was ready to scream by the time everything was finished and we were walking out of the office.
"So, when are we moving in?" I asked, wanting to know exactly how much longer I had in Australia.
"July first," Dad grinned, "First day we possibly can."
"That's only a little over two months away," I replied, "Can't we wait until right before I have to start school?"
"No," Dad shook his head and lowered his voice, "It would be in your brother's best interest to move as soon as possible."
"You should consider yourself lucky you've got two more months in Australia, Amy. The only reason we're not moving sooner is because the house isn't available until then," Mum pointed out.
Lucky? The last thing I considered myself was lucky.
The plane ride back to Australia was the worst one yet. I was once again sitting next to a stranger and it smelled like this one hadn't taken a shower in years. The food was just as nasty, but it seemed worse since I kept smelling 'eau de stinky man'. Then, to top it all off, we flew through a thunderstorm and I got sick, despite the fact that I'd hardly eaten anything.
Once we were back in Australia, I realized that Olivia was on holiday until the end of April. I had completely forgotten that the first term was already over. It had gone by extremely fast since I hadn't actually been in school. This was the last holiday Olivia would have before I moved.
"Mum!" I ran into the kitchen after I realized that.
"What is it?" Mum asked as she prepared dinner.
"Olivia's on holiday from school," I said breathlessly, "Last one before we move. Can she please come visit? Please?"
"I don't know, Amy. We've got a lot to do. Dad's organizing the estate sale and getting the house on the market. We're probably going to have the sale anytime."
"Please?" I begged, "We won't get in the way of the sale. This might be the last chance I have to see her."
"Oh, all right," Mum sighed, "Ask her when she can come. I suppose anytime this month will work, except for the 24th through the 27th. Full moon's on the 25th."
I nodded. "Thanks, Mum."
I immediately ran back upstairs and wrote Olivia a very long letter that explained about our trip to Britain, and the fact that we would be moving there in July. As I wrote, I found that I felt worse and worse about the move. I realized that I could be seeing Olivia for the last time this month.
Dad flooed into the living room shortly after I sent off the letter.
"Where's your mother?" he asked immediately.
"Dunno," I shrugged, "Kitchen, maybe?"
Dad nodded and hurried to the kitchen. I got up and followed him. Mum was still in the kitchen.
"Hi, Walt," Mum said without looking up, "How did everything go?"
"Great," Dad replied, "The house is officially on the market. I've got the estate sale organized, too. It'll be on the 27th."
"The 27th," Mum repeated, finally looking up.
"Yes, the 27th," Dad said, "Why?"
"Walter," Mum said quietly, "That is two days after the full moon."
"I know. But that was the earliest day it could be done. I want it done as soon as possible, Julie. I don't think we'll manage to sell everything in one day. I've scheduled a couple sales."
"Why couldn't you just put it off another week?"
"The three Saturdays after were all booked up," Dad explained, "And then we'd be back to the full moon anyway."
"I just don't know," Mum shook her head, "That's really not the best day to have strangers meandering through the house."
"I know," Dad sighed, "But we have to sell everything before we move. The other sale is in June and that'll be our last chance to sell the stuff.
"Listen, Julie. It'll be ok. I've owled Jack and he will most likely fly down for the sale. He said he would. Don't worry about Matt. There'll be three of us here that day. One of us will be able to be able to check on him."
"I guess," Mum sighed, "We'll just deal with it when it comes."
"Excellent idea," Dad agreed, "We've got a little over two weeks until the sale. Let's try and relax for a few days and then started organizing what we're going to sell. Someone is going to come over next Saturday to help price everything and organize the house."
"Sounds good," Mum replied, "I told Amy she could invite Olivia over for a few days this month, since it's the school holiday."
"That's fine," Dad smiled and turned to me, "You owl her yet?"
"Yeah," I nodded.
"Let us know when she can come."
"Amy, what are you doing?"
I looked up from the potion I was brewing and saw Matt standing in the doorway of the room.
"Brewing," I said, "What are you doing in here?"
"Then go find something to do. You know Mum and Dad don't let you come in here."
"Well why not?" Matt whined.
"Because they don't want you to get hurt," I said as I stirred my potion. Why wouldn't he just leave? He was getting on my nerves. I went up there to brew in order to get away from him.
"Then why do they let you brew potions?"
"Because I'm fourteen and I've taken potions class," I replied, "Now go away. What did you want anyway?"
"Oh," Matt said and pulled a piece of parchment out from behind his back, "You got a letter."
I jumped up off my stool and ran over to him, snatching the letter out of his hand. "Why didn't you just give me that first?" I shouted.
"Dunno," Matt shrugged.
"Just get out of here!" I pointed to the corridor and slammed the door once he left.
I sat back down on my stool and opened the letter. It was from Olivia. I had been waiting for her response ever since I owled her the previous day.
Wow. That's all I can say is, wow.
You're really moving. And you're
moving to England of all places.
England! That's so far away it's
not even funny.
I suppose it is kind of cool that
you'll be going to a school that's
a castle. But still, I wish you'd
just stay here.
The house sounds nice, but a lot
different than your huge mansion
house. At least you like the house
that your parents picked, though.
Now comes the hard part. I would
love to go visit you for a couple
days. But I asked my parents and
they said no. They said no! Can
you believe that? You're leaving
in two and a half months and it
could be our last chance to see
I just can't believe they said no!
I asked them why and they said it's
well, this is kind of hard to write,
but it's because they don't want me
to be near your brother. I'm sorry,
I really am. I don't agree with them,
but I don't have a choice. I really
don't. I'm seriously so mad at them.
They said you could come visit me,
though. Let me know if you can.
I slowly set the letter down on the counter and stared into the depths of my cauldron. Olivia wasn't going to come visit me. She couldn't. Her parents wouldn't let her. And why? Because of Matt. Once again, it was his fault. I slammed my hands down on the counter and jumped off the stool.
I ran out of the room and downstairs, my mind intent on finding Matt. I stormed into the living room and he was sitting on the couch, playing his DS.
"You little prat!" I shouted.
He startled and looked up at me. "What?"
"This is all your fault!" I yelled, "You're seriously ruining my life!"
"What did I do?" he asked, scrambling down to the other end of the couch.
"What do you think you did?"
"I don't know!" he said as he got up off the couch and made to leave the room.
"You're not going anywhere!" I shouted and grabbed the back of his shirt, "It's your fault Olivia can't come over! Your fault we have to move to England at all!"
"No it's not!" Matt cried, "Let me go!"
"No! I want you to know that this is your fault! Who's fault is it, if it's not yours?"
"Dad said it was the headmaster's fault. Now let me go!"
Matt struggled against my grip, but I was much stronger than him. My heart was pounding and I could feel it in my head. There was no way I was letting him go. Months of anger towards him was coming out and I didn't think I could let him go if I wanted to.
I pulled him back into the room and pushed him back onto the couch. I grabbed the front of his shirt and glared at him.
"Listen to me. This IS your fault. I don't care what Dad says. You are ruining my life. Not the Ministry. Not the headmaster. YOU," I seethed.
Tears were running down his face, but I didn't care. I wanted him to experience what I was going through. This whole thing was his fault and I was the one suffering for it.
"L-let m-me go-go!" he shouted, "MUM!!!"
I heard footsteps running into the room, but I still didn't let him go.
"Amy!" Mum grabbed the back of my shirt and pulled me away, "What the hell do you think you're doing?!"
"It's his fault!" I shouted as I struggled to get away from her, "This whole thing is his fault!"
Dad ran into the room next and stared in bewilderment at what was going on. Matt ran over to him and he picked him up. Dad sat on the couch with Matt crying into his shoulder.
"What's going on in here?" Dad asked, staring from Mum to me and back again.
"That's what I want to know," Mum glared at me, "I came in here and saw your daughter forcing Matt onto the couch!"
"You don't understand!" I yelled, "It's his fault!"
"Amy," Mum sighed, "How can it be his fault that you were hurting him? You're twice his size! You can't do that!"
"Not that!" I replied, "This whole moving thing is his fault!"
"Amy, we've been through this," Dad said quietly, "It's not his fault."
"Oh, yeah? We wouldn't be moving if he wasn't a werewolf," I retorted.
"Amy, enough about the move. I thought you had gotten over it," Mum said.
"Gotten over it?" I shouted, trying not to cry, "Gotten over it? I was just getting used to it!"
"Amy, we're sorry you're not happy, but that's no excuse to take it out on your brother," Dad said.
"It's not only the move, though!" I replied, the tears finally breaking free, "Olivia's parents won't let her come visit and it's all his fault!"
Mum and Dad exchanged glances. Mum sighed and shook her head. "I know. Olivia's parents sent us a very strongly worded letter regarding the matter. I would have never thought they would be like that."
"Well they are!" I shouted, "Just like the rest of this entire country!"
"Which is why we're moving, Amy," Mum replied.
"Well it's not fair! He may be the one who turns into a werewolf every month, but I'm the one suffering from it! My whole life's changed!"
"Your whole life has changed?" Mum raised one eyebrow, "I think your brother suffers a bit more than you may think."
"Well, I wouldn't know, would I? You kick me out of the house every full moon."
"Amy, I'm not discussing that with you right now."
"Fine," I huffed, "Olivia said I can go to her house. When can I go?"
Mum and Dad exchanged another glance. "Actually, Amy, we've decided not to let you go," Dad said quietly, "We don't feel comfortable having you around her parents."
I stared at them. "That's not fair! It's not my fault her parents are like that! So I'm never going to get to see Olivia again! Thanks a lot!"
I glared at both of them through my tear filled eyes. I broke free of Mum's grasp and ran out of the room.
"Come back here and apologize to your brother!" Mum shouted after me.
I completely ignored her and ran up to my room. I buried my head in my pillow and cried. Olivia and I would never get to see each other again. I couldn't think of anyway we could, if her parents wouldn't let her come to my house and my parents wouldn't let me go to her house. I was going to lose my best friend all because of our parents and my brother. I didn't care what my parents said, I was the one whose life changed the most when Matt became a werewolf.
He wasn't having to change schools. He wasn't losing his friends. He wasn't going to have to fit into a new school in the fourth year. When he went to Hogwarts, he would be a first year. Everyone else his age would be new as well. They'd all be in the same boat; trying to make new friends. When I went to Hogwarts, everyone would already have friends. Nobody would want to befriend the new girl.
A/N: Thanks to my betas, Dancer_of_Starlight and Joanne K! Thanks as well to JKRowlingFan22, Moonylupin, hermionieforever, XDNLxtlz99, and Aleks for their reviews!
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