Chapter 9 : Christmas part 1
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Allegra groaned at the banging at her bedroom door the following morning.
“I didn’t even think Uncle James would be here this morning” she mumbled into her pillow.
“Come on, Trouble. It’s Christmas!” James’ voice came through the door.
“It’s too early” she called back.
“It’s Christmas!” He replied.
“MUUUUM” Allegra shouted.
“Bugger off Jimmy” Terese called.
“I’m calling Lily…”
“Ok ok. I’ll go and get some breakfast” he grumbled. He stomped downstairs.
“You weren’t exaggerating then.” Renee said, sitting up slowly.
“He used to be worse apparently, but he’s nervous of walking in on people.” She yawned and pulled the duvet back over her. “Maybe we can get another half hour.”
Before they could doze off again, a noise like a foghorn resounded through the house.
“PRONGS!!” Sirius shouted.
“Who’s Prongs?” Renee asked.
“That’s Uncle Jimmy’s nickname. Dad’s called Padfoot and Uncle Remus is Moony”
“Why?” Renee was bemused. Allegra shrugged.
“Its just names they came up with at school.” She wasn’t sure, yet, whether she could tell Renee that her father and uncle were animagi, and that her other uncle, her best friend’s father, was a werewolf.
“Oh, right. Do you think we should get up?” Renee asked, suddenly welcoming the thought of distraction. She used to get up on Christmas day and open presents with her parents. Allegra sighed.
“Yeah, I suppose so.” They pulled their dressing gowns on and headed downstairs.
“Morning Trouble” James grinned, ruffling Allegra’s hair as she walked passed.
“Why don’t you go and wake Harry up?” She grumbled.
“Your Aunt won’t let me.”
“There’s a reason.” Allegra snapped.
“I remember when you used to be up earlier than me and wake your parents.”
“I was a child.”
“Like you, Jimmy” Terese walked downstairs behind them.
“Make you self useful, Jimmy, and put the kettle on” she replied, ruffling his hair. He started grumbling and went towards the kitchen. “Morning you two” Terese hugged Allegra then Renee before they went into the kitchen to persuade James and Sirius to make breakfast.
Later on, the Blacks’ house was full. Renee had thought she would have trouble keeping track of who was who, but she found it surprisingly easy. What she found difficult was seeing this happy family when her own was no longer around. She hadn’t been made to feel left out at all, everyone had gone out of their way to make her feel at home. Sirius and Terese had even given her some lovely presents. But she missed her parents.
“I’m just going to get some fresh air” she said to Allegra after dinner, as they were all sitting in the lounge.
“Ok. Are you alright?” Allegra asked as she watched her dad, her uncles, her brother, her godfather and Teddy argue over how to play a computer game someone had given James.
“Yeah I’m fine. Just hot!” Renee slipped out without anyone else noticing and went to sit in the kitchen, which was cool and now dimly lit. Usually she would really enjoy this. She enjoyed spending time with Allegra; she had become her closest friend. But her life had changed so dramatically so quickly that she was still having trouble taking it in. Tears started to roll down her cheeks as she thought about her parents. Suddenly she felt a soft hand on her shoulder.
“Sweetheart…” Terese said. Renee hastily tried to wipe her tears away.
“I’m sorry…” she began. Terese pulled a chair over next to Renee.
“You don’t have to apologise, hun. I would be surprised if you didn’t get upset; it’s your first Christmas without your parents.”
“I don’t want to seem ungrateful. You’ve all been so kind to me.”
“You know, my first Christmas with James I spent a lot of the day crying. Although that was the day Sirius left home and moved in with us. But in the morning I was very emotional. And I was surrounded by people I’d known all my life.”
“It’s just… I miss them.” Renee said quietly. Terese put her arms around her. She rocked her until Renee’s tears subsided.
“Oh darling. I know it’s difficult. But the pain does ease, believe me. With time.”
“But if it does, isn’t that like I’ve forgotten them?”
“No. Not at all. It just makes it easier to remember all the good stuff.”
“Listen sweetheart, if you want to talk about it you can always come and talk to me. I’m sure Allegra would be happy to listen, but if you want to talk to someone who’s been through it…”
“I don’t think I’m ready yet.” Renee replied.
“How did you move on?”
“I got a letter from my mother. Like the one you got. Then James and Sirius sat with me while I cried for hours. But it was only when I was ready.”
“Ren. Are you…?” Allegra was standing at the door. “Oh.” She looked non-plussed. “Sorry”
“It’s alright sweetheart.” Terese told her.
“Are you ok Ren?”
“I’ll be fine” she said with a watery smile.
“Are they still playing that game?” Terese asked.
“Of course. Dad and Uncle Jimmy are trying to beat Harry and Steven. It’s not pretty.” Allegra replied, as they heard James and Sirius start shouting, apparently blaming each other for losing. Terese rolled her eyes.
“Did she warn you it would be like this?” she asked Renee.
“Yes. Sort of. It’s fun.” Terese laughed.
“That’s one word for it. Now, madam.” She said to her daughter. “Are you talking to Teddy yet?”
“No, because he’s still seeing that harpy”
“Allegra…” Terese began.
“What?” she said, feigning innocence. “She is a harpy.” Renee giggled.
“She is a bit”
“You two. You sound like me and Lily.” Terese told them fondly. “Speaking of which, I’d better go and help her break up whatever argument is going on in there.”
“Thanks.” Renee said. Terese gave her a quick hug.
“You’re welcome. And I mean it. Anytime.” Terese left.
“Are you sure you’re ok?” Allegra asked.
“I think I will be.”
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