Chapter 1 : Luminescence
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My hands were gripping onto the sink: I was staring, terrified, into my own reflection. A tear slipped through its tiny barrier and plummeted to the porcelain below.
There was the faintest knock on the door and I flinched instinctively: “DiDi? Are you in here? You’re missing the party!”
“Di? Diane? Diane Winston, open the damn door!”
There was a tiny mutter: “Alohamora.”
My hands flew to my eyes, wiping away any signs of betrayal tears. The door flung open, revealing none other than the bride herself. Her stunning features were wild with anxiety.
“DiDi, this is absolutely ridiculous!” she yelped, hoisting up her dress and pulling the door shut behind her. “It’s my wedding!” she whined, collapsing onto the edge of the bath.
Her elegantly twisted blonde curls were coming loose from all the prospective dancing. She looked frantic, worried, furious. Words floated to my lips but I did not let them come through. She looked brokenly at me, trying desperately to figure it out.
“You have to tell me what is going on, Diane. You haven’t been right for months. Everyone has noticed. And how dare you ruin my wedding! Is this about Charlie? We’ve already talked about this, DiDi, he isn’t coming back!”
I shook my head mechanically. No. No this was not about my ex-fiance. That would be like Treacle Tart compared to this.
Her face tensed and tears brimmed her eyes. God, the pregnant bride. Here we go again.
“I’m your sister, dammit! SPEAK!”
I shook my head.
She looked coldly at me. “I think you need to leave.”
I choked on words but did not speak. I looked fearfully at her.
“Until you act like a part of this family, I don’t want to see you. Get out.”
Slowly, sadly I walked from the room. I knew she was crying, bawling really, and it broke my heart to leave her there. But how could she ever understand? How could perfect, successful, beautiful Phoebe Winston ever even come close to understanding this?
I fought the tears pressing on my eyes and descended the beautifully decorated marble staircase. Lavender bows and and soft pink ribbons hung everywhere.
I walked as though a spot light were on me; everyone stared. It was expected, though. After weeks of depression and mere silence, they had begun to treat me like an artefact. Delicate, breakable, unstable.
My mother's cold hand closed around my wrist: “Where do you think you’re going?”
Shock, fury, disappointment: “This is your sisters wedding!”
I pulled my hand from her grasp and pushed through the crowd. I could feel her stony eyes blazing into me.
We were once a happy family. It was long ago; long before I destroyed my almost-marriage and long before it happened. Long before I had gone against my mother's wishes and become an Aurour's Apprentice. Long before.
My cousins and aunts whispered as I passed. I did not look at them, but walked heavily to the door, wrenched it open, and was running.
Somehow, I found, I was now faster. I didn’t get tired as quickly and could go as far as three miles without stopping. I wondered sometimes exactly how far I could go. I had decided, however, not to put this particular idea to the test when my mind was already spinning and I was crying like a pathetic child.
I stopped near a large oak tree and turned on the spot. Apparating was always something I had been good at. Got it on the second try in training. As I popped into existence outside of my once-happy flat, I pulled the door open and flung myself inside.
It was dark, dreary, and cold. I liked it that way nowadays. I ran straight to my bedroom and dragged the soft duvet off of my bed. Wrapping the blanket around my figure, I crawled through the window, up the the ladder, and onto the roof. I ran to the northern edge and collapsed in a flurry of blanket.
Nighttime London was a beautiful thing.
I rested my cheek on the cool pavement looking horizontally into the pitch black sky. A hanging crescent sat amidst a twinkle of stars.
I closed my eyes letting the lunar glow illuminate my skin.
And then it was dark.