Awesome chapter image by espoirPERDU at TDA!
A kindly looking elderly woman was waiting for the group in the entry hall of the Victorian styled mansion that they would be staying in.
“Come in, come in,” she said excitedly, waving them all over. “I’m Mary Turnstable and I’m the housekeeper. I’ll be the only staff on hand for the next two days, until others arrive to help with the wedding.” She beamed at Teddy and Victoire, grabbing one of their hands in each of her own.
“Now, you know you’re on Vera’s Island, but this house is known as Vera’s Cottage,” she explained, still hanging onto Teddy and Vic’s hands, as she looked around at the guests.
Hugo snorted and whispered to Lily, “nice ‘cottage’.”
Lily rolled her eyes, but thought he had a point. Sunlight filtered into the entry hall from both the front and back doors, which had stain glass windows set into them. A varnished wooden staircase ran off to the left, winding up three whole flights. Another floor to ceiling stained glass window decorated the first landing of the stairs, where a vase filled with flowers sat on a tiny table. Lily could count no less than four rooms coming off the hallway they were standing in, which Mary explained were the doors that led to the drawing room, dining room, and the solarium. Lily took this all in, but was distracted by the slightly opened door to her left, where she caught the glimpse of a large, glittering crystal chandelier. Mary explained that this was the parlor. Lily smiled. Everything about Vera’s “cottage” was opulent and decadent, and she thought she was going to like it here.
Mary explained that the island had once belonged to a man by the name of Lucas Wargraves, whose young daughter, Vera, fell in love with the island. He built the house for her, and she spent most of her life living on the island. It was her efforts that helped preserve the island's natural abundance, and thus it bore her name.
“Now, I’m going take you all up to your rooms,” Mary said, finished with her history of the house. “Once you’re all settled in, lunch will be served in the solarium.” With that, she led everyone up the staircase, stopping every once and while to direct people to their bedrooms.
Scorpius dropped his and Rose’s bags onto the floor, next to the bed that they would be staying in. Rose, grateful that all the guests’ quarters had been renovated to have their own bathrooms, walked immediately into the loo while Scorpius investigated the room. Across from the foot of the bed was a large fireplace, and knick-knacks adorned the mantle. While giving a bit of a disgusted grimace at the large amount of porcelain figurines, his eyes caught notice of a piece of parchment leaning up against a creepy pink and purple cat.
“This is strange,” he called looking down at what appeared to be a poem written on the parchment.
“What?” Rose replied, raising her voice over the sound of the running water.
“There’s a poem,” he replied, “”Observations on Cousins.’ Look, how fun. Ted and Vic. Jumping high from the cliff—“
“Let me see,” Rose directed, coming out of the bathroom and holding out her hand.
“Fine,” Scorpius said, handing it over, “but when you’re done looking at it, can we put it back over that cat. It’s beginning to freak me out.”
Rose didn’t reply, as she was reading the poem. “Molly,” she said solemnly.
“Molly,” Victoire sighed, looking over Teddy’s shoulder. The two of them sat on the bed together, reading the poem that had been left on the pillows. “Do you remember how old she was when she wrote this?”
Teddy shook his head slowly. “Ten or eleven maybe.”
Victoire sighed again as she wrapped her arms around her fiancé and rested her head on his shoulder. “She was really talented, wasn’t she?”
“Yeah, she was,” Teddy replied, “I wish that she was here for this.”
Silence fell between the two of them for a moment before Teddy asked, “Who do you think put it here?”
“Lucy, probably,” Victoire answered. “She probably hates to think of her sister being forgotten.”
Dominique sat solemnly on her bed, fighting the tears that threatened to fall and ruin her perfectly applied make-up. She clutched the poem in her hand, but knew the words so well that she didn’t need to look at them.
Observations on Cousins
Oh, what fun! Ted and Vic
Jumping high from the cliff
Bodies suspended midair
Then dropping into the sea
Dominique would be hanged to believe
That I saw her sister flying high over me
Here they are. They’re they go
All three packed in a row.
Freddie, Roxy, and James
Often times, they’re quite a bother
Here comes Al, wants to be with his brother
James pushes and says, “go play with mother.”
Oh, so cute! Look how small!
Little Lily and Hugo rule all.
Hugo is never running on time.
Lily pretends that she’s a queen,
And she thinks cousin Rose is quite mean.
She’s not, but that’s how she can seem.
Here is us. Just we three.
Louis, Lucy and me.
But, you better watch out
Sister Lucy is a rose in silent bloom
Louis’s work will be grand, though he stays in his room.
And for me, well for me, I see a life that zip zooms.
How many times had she read that poem since Molly disappeared. Or ran away, or whatever it was that happened to her. No one ever seemed to really understand how hard the disappearance was on Dominique. Molly had been more than her cousin; she’d had been her best friend.
A knock on her door broke Dominique’s reverie. Quickly wiping away the tears that hadn’t fallen, she stood and answered the door.
“What?” she asked ungraciously when she saw it was Lysander Scamander on the other side.
“Did you get one of these?” He said hurriedly, holding up the poem.
“Yeah, I think everyone did,” she replied.
“Are you sure?”
“No,” she said, squinting suspiciously at him, “what’s wrong with you?”
Lysander looked right and left before stepping in Dom’s room uninvited and pulling the door closed behind him. Dominique resisted the urge to back away from him; she never backed down form anybody, least of all a rude ex-flame.
“Why do you think the poem was put here?”
Dominique laughed. She couldn’t believe that Lysander thought the poem was part of some kind of conspiracy. “I think it was put here because Teddy and Victoire wanted the entire family to be represented at their wedding.”
Lysander stared at Dominique, searching her face for some sign that she didn’t believe what she was saying. Dominique stared right back, her gaze growing colder by the minute until their staring match was suddenly interrupted by a blood-curdling scream.
Lysander whipped his head towards the direction of the scream.
“What was that?” Dominique breathed.
“I think it came from down the corridor,” he said, pulling open the door. The two of them left the room and joined the others rushing down the corridor.
They finally got to the room where the scream originated from, where a comedic sight met them. Chrys was dancing on the bed, shrieking her head off about a mouse.
“Did you get it! Did you get it!” She asked her husband repeatedly. Poor Brian was on his hands and knees under the table with his wand drawn, looking frantically around for the alleged mouse.
“Chrys!” Victoire shouted to get her bridesmaid’s attention over her shrieks and Hugo, Dexter, and James’ laughter “what happened?”
“There was a piece of parchment on the table, so I went to pick it up and there was a mouse—a live mouse
—underneath it,” Chrys explained all in one breath, dropping the parchment and shaking her hands like she was afraid she contracted some horrible disease by touching it.
Teddy, biting back his laughter, went to help Brian with the mouse situation while everyone else began to disperse. James still laughing caught half a glance of his cousin, Lucy, walking down the stairs with a bathing suit and towel in hand. Swimming sounded like fun, and he thought he might go for a swim himself after taking a nap.
Lucy was still chuckling about Chrys’s reaction as she slipped into the cool, ocean water. There had been far worse things than mice in India to be afraid of, like cobras. Lucy shook her head as she fell into a breaststroke, enjoying the feel of the water against her skin. She swam leisurely for a while, until something in her peripheral vision caught her eye. She looked left, and nothing was there. Still, Lucy swore that she saw something. She looked right, just to be sure, but still there was nothing. Feeling wary, Lucy continued her swim. She didn’t get two strokes away before there was a hard tug on her ankle. Her scream didn’t even have time to rise in her throat before the water covered her and erased Lucy from view.