Chapter 6 : Sunday Visitor
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Olivia glared at her sister. “Ouch.” She hissed.
“Well I wouldn’t have to hit you, if you stopped pulling at your robes.” Sophia said, playing with Olivia’s hair some more.
Olivia moved her head to look at her reflection in the mirror, but Sophia jerked her head back. “Olivia! Would you please stop moving? Please? If you want your hair to look amazing and knock Fred Weasley off his feet, you need to hold still.”
Olivia stopped moving at once.
Sophia smiled. “Thank you.”
She continued to fiddle with Olivia’s hair for a few moments before pulling away and observing Olivia’s whole face. She finally smirked. “I’m a genius. Go ahead and look in at yourself.”
Sophia moved out of the way and let Olivia sit fully in front of her mirror. Olivia was stunned. Sitting in front of her was a better version of herself—a prettier version of herself.
Her eyelashes were thick and curled away from her green eyes. Her lips were full and shined in the light. There was a small amount of rouge on her cheeks, defining her cheekbones. And her hair, she had never seen it sit so perfectly as it did now, it cascaded down her shoulders in loose beautiful curls. She looked like her sister.
Her smile widened.
“Fred Weasley will not be able to take his eyes off you—serves him right.” Sophia said, popping into the reflection by Olivia’s left shoulder.
Olivia smiled. “Thank you Sophia.”
Sophia frowned. “I’m serious, by the end of the night Fred Weasley should be crawling back to you. I can’t believe what he did. Did you tell him how illogical our mother is?”
Olivia nodded sadly. “Of course.”
Sophia sighed and stood up. “What a buffoon. But he’ll regret ever dumping you when you walk into the Great Hall with Henry Gilbert. He’ll see.”
A frown continued to occupy Olivia’s face as she watched her sister pace back and forth in the room. She remembered her fight with Fred vividly—and it made her heart seize up painfully every time she thought about it. He added salt to her wounds when he asked Angelina Johnson to the dance the very next day. She had been crying in her room when her sister marched in and told her to get up.
“We’re going to make that Fred Weasley regret ever breaking my little sister’s heart.”
Two weeks later, she had transformed Olivia into the creature she was starting at moments ago and convinced one of her male friends to accompany her to the dance.
Olivia had to admit that Henry was handsome and she had developed a small crush on him when she was a first year, but he was not Fred and she was painfully aware of it.
It didn’t help that every time her heart pulsed blood through her body it created a burst of unbearable pain. With each staggering beat, her heart sent pieces of itself through her system. The pieces nicked and sliced everything they came in contact with; her whole body would begin pulsing with pain.
It was hard to believe that her relationship with Fred could have ended as easily as it did, but…it had. For her, Fred was forever. She couldn’t manage thinking about the next hour without him in her life, how could she imagine a lifetime?
And this whole scheme…she did know if it was an attempt to get Fred back, or one finally hurrah. All she did know was that for the past fourteen days she had been left in a state of utter confusion.
“Well,” Sophia said, interrupting Olivia’s thoughts. “We better get going. Henry will be waiting s down stairs with Timothy.” She finished touching up her makeup and looked at Olivia through the mirror. “Ready?”
Olivia shrugged. “As ready as I’m ever going to be.” And she stood up.
“That is not the way to go about this Olivia! You have to be confident, you have to show that Weasley that you’re over him-“
“But I’m not-“
“You have to show him that you’ve moved on-“
“But I haven’t-“
“You have to show him that you don’t care about him anymore-“
“But I love him.”
Sophia stopped and glanced at her sister, a serious look crossing her face. “Don’t you understand what we’re trying to do?”
Olivia shook her head and felt her curls shake with the movement. “No I don’t.”
Sophia huffed and began to lead Olivia down the stairs. “Just go down there and dance with Henry and pretend that you’re having the time of your life.”
“What if I’m not?” Olivia asked as they reached the bottom of the stairs.
Sophia smiled and through her teeth she said, “I said pretend—Timothy! Henry! Are you ready?” She asked sweetly.
Timothy looked Sophia up and down and grinned. “You know I am.”
Sophia giggled and let Timothy sweep her away.
Olivia stood stiffly, letting her eyes gaze anywhere but at Henry.
Henry chuckled. “Well…this is awkward.”
Olivia finally peered up, and found that Henry had slicked back his brown hair. He wore a set of smart grey dress robes that made his grey eyes twinkle. She smiled. “Only a little bit.”
Henry stuck his hands in his pockets and rocked back and forth on his heels. “Look, Sophia told me everything that happened. What that Weasley did—it was really horrible. How about we go downstairs and attempt to have a good time. If you aren’t enjoying yourself within the hour we can leave. Deal?”
Olivia considered his proposition for a moment, titling her head before answering, “Deal.”
Henry smiled and lifted his arm for Olivia to take and she smiled before doing so.
They entered the Great Hall to find it decorated as an eloquent winter wonderland. They were late because of Olivia’s hesitation and had entered just as the four Champions took the floor for the first dance.
Olivia looked up at Henry to find him smiling down at her. She forced a smile on her face. She could appreciate this. She could enjoy the decorations, the excited atmosphere, and the giddy dancers. She could do it. She just had to push back the miserable feeling swelling inside her.
They wondered aimlessly around the redecorated Great Hall before Henry grabbed two cups of punch and found an opening near a wall, where they could watch couples dance effortlessly across the floor. Olivia forced herself to focus on the floating couples and resisted the urge to glance around the room to search for a familiar head of red hair.
After a few songs had passed, Henry turned toward her. “Would you care to dance?” He asked, a small smile played on his lips and his hand extended.
Olivia smiled, taking his hand as he led her to the dance floor. He placed his left hand carefully on her hip and took her right hand into his as she placed her right hand on his shoulder. Olivia glanced up and gave Henry an awkward smile which he returned before they begin to move across the dance floor.
But they didn’t dance for long before they were interrupted.
“Can I cut in?”
Henry let go of Olivia’s hand and removed his hand from her waist. Standing behind him was Fred Weasley, his face blank as he waited for an answer.
Henry looked down at Olivia, waiting to see if she wanted to dance with Fred.
Olivia smiled. “It’s alright Henry.”
Henry nodded and leaned in close, his mouth inches away from her ear. “I’ll be next to the punch bowl if you need me.” He whispered before placing a kiss on her cheek.
He smiled politely at Fred before disappearing into the crowd.
Fred’s eyes followed him and his mouth formed a small frown. “What a bloke.” He muttered.
“Excuse me?” Olivia asked, pretending not to hear what he said.
Fred shook his head and took Olivia’s hand in his own while he placed his other hand on her waist. “Nothing.”
Olivia allowed Fred to lead, but there was an awkwardness between them.
Olivia watched as Fred stewed silently, the frown on his face growing. And Olivia herself grew upset—who did he think he was? He couldn’t just pop in and out of her life whenever he deemed it convenient. It wasn’t fair. He had broken up with her, smashing her heart in the process. He couldn’t grind those pieces into the ground when it looked like she was moving on—not that she was moving on with Henry, but still. He should leave her to heal. Her heart couldn’t handle a beating every time her mother offended him.
She needed him to be strong. She needed him to love her.
She began to frown.
“What,” Fred finally spat. “You don’t want to dance with me?”
Olivia stopped moving and they found themselves standing in the middle of the dance floor. “If I didn’t want to dance with you, I’d still be dancing with Henry.”
Fred crossed his arms, his face turning red with angry. “So that’s him name, is it? Henry?”
Olivia sighed and rolled her eyes, becoming irritated. “You know who he is Fred, you chucked bludgers at his face all last year.”
Fred nodded. “I see and you just decided to go with him? Why?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Olivia spat. “Maybe because he was worthy.”
Fred took a step back as if he received a slap in the face. “I see.” He finally said.
Olivia groaned with frustration and threw her hands in the air. “You’re impossible Fred Weasley!” She turned around and started for the exit.
With each step she took she felt her heart pulse painfully in her chest, making it hard to breathe. Tears swelled in her eyes with the effort to take in air. She could felt the smashed pieces of her heart get smaller. Why couldn’t her just understand? Why couldn’t he just love her? That’s all she needed, that’s all she wanted.
Olivia turned around and Fred stopped dead in his tracks when she faced him. The harsh look faded from his features and was replaced with a softer look. “You’re crying—why?”
“Because you’re an idiot!”
Fred looked around expecting to find someone other than Olivia and himself in the hall. They were the only ones. He finally placed a hand on his chest. “Me?” He asked tentatively.
“Yes you!” Olivia snapped. “You had to ruin everything!”
“I ruined everything?” Fred snapped back. “I wasn’t the one with the overbearing mother who sent a howler stating that she could do better, was I?”
Olivia groaned again and stamped her foot—like a child. Like she had two weeks previously. “It doesn’t matter what my mother thinks! Because…” Her voice faded as she felt pain hum through the pieces of her heart.
“Because?” Fred prompted, waiting for Olivia to finish what she was saying.
Olivia took a deep breath and closed her eyes. “Because I love you Fred Weasley. I love you.” She finally blurted out, opening her eyes.
A stunned look occupied Fred’s features as he blinked at Olivia before looking around the empty hall again, expecting to find someone else. “Me?”
“Oops.” Olivia said, shrugging her shoulders and rolling her eyes. “Sorry. That was a mistake. I actually meant Henry Gilbert. I should go find him.” She pointed at the large Great Hall’s doors and began to walk toward them, feeling embarrassment rush into her cheeks.
So much for having him say it first. Now she would have to live with the fact that he didn’t return her feelings. She had to live with throwing herself at a man who obviously did not want to catch her.
As she passed Fred she felt him grab her arm, holding her back. “You better be joking Olivia Caudwell.” He said hoarsely, his voice low.
She looked up at him and found a seriously look in his eyes. It stopped the embarrassment from blooming fully on her cheeks. “What if I am?” She asked quietly.
“It would be a good thing, because I love you too.” He said quietly before pulling her close and capturing her lips with his.
Olivia sat quietly reading a letter she had just received from Ruby. She began to fold the parchment and smiled. “Ruby was sorted into Ravenclaw.” She announced to her two sons.
Zack looked over the Daily Prophet and nodded in approval. “That’s good news.”
Matt was concentrating on a bag of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, he had spent the last ten minutes tossing beans in the air and attempting to catch them with his mouth. He stopped once he had successfully caught one, wincing at the flavor. “Pepper,” He told them. “Good for Ruby, I thought she would be sorted into Gryffindor like we were.”
Olivia shrugged, placing the letter on the table. “I’m happy for her either way.”
There was a knock on the front door and the three could faintly hear the three taps in the kitchen. Olivia turned around, Zack placed the paper on the table, and Matt bolted up.
“I wonder who that could be?” He asked playfully. “Who would call on a lazy Sunday like this?” His walk held a spring as he disappeared into the living room to answer the door.
Zack moved to pick up the paper and shot Olivia a skeptically look. “Are you sure he wasn’t accidently exchanged at St. Mungo’s?”
Olivia pulled out her wand and summoned a fresh piece of parchment so she could respond to Ruby’s letter. “I’m not sure.” She answered, conjuring a quill. “You look like you could be related.”
Zack pretended to consider her observation for a moment before begrudgingly agreeing. “A little, I guess.”
Olivia smiled, relieved to have something to distract her. It had been two days since the disaster at the Weasleys’ house. Yesterday she was fearful that she would receive an owl or a Weasley would appear at her doorstep, demanding answers. In these scenarios, she imagined herself clueless, motionless, utterly dumbfounded. The truth was out, how could she explain it? Better yet, how could she make them understand the feelings that persuaded her to run away? Could they understand?
Olivia barely understood why she left herself—or at least, according to Ron, she was just beginning to understand why she left. The pain, her constant companion for the last twenty years. She did a rotten job of dealing with it. But it was easier to run away than deal with it. Easier.
She was fearful too. Would bringing the Weasleys back in her life worsen the pain?
This morning she was able to convince herself that they were still reeling from the information revealed and needed some time to adjust. She didn’t think approaching them would be the best idea. She would wait for them to approach her, ask her to explain.
Olivia took in a deep breath, shaking her head from her thoughts as she picked up her quill. She heard a few mumble voices from the living room before hearing Matt’s strangled yelp.
“Just stand there for one moment!” He squealed.
“Mum!” He squealed again, appearing in the kitchen doorway.
Olivia looked up from the parchment. “Yes?”
“You know how you sometimes hit me upside the head because I say ridiculous things?” He said really fast.
Olivia raised an eyebrow. “Yes?” She said again.
“Good. I need you to hit me right now—now please.” He said in a slur, a hopeful look in his eyes.
Olivia turned around completely, flabbergasted. “Matthew, what’s going on?” She asked.
“If you still need someone to hit you, I’m willing.” Zack said from behind the paper.
“I think I’m dreaming!” Matt squealed again, his voice high.
Olivia took in a deep breath. “How so?”
Matt’s eyes widened with excitement. “George Weasley is at the door!’” He whispered loudly.
Zack slapped the paper on the table. “Get out!” He said, stunned.
“What?” Olivia managed to force out as her body began to seize up.
So much for hoping that she would have a few more days.
“I’m sorry.” A new voice said. “I just let myself in. I hope that’s okay.”
Zack stood quickly, causing his chair to hit the floor with a loud bang. He touched his hair subconsciously, smiling sheepishly at George Weasley. He then turned his gaze at his brother. “You weren’t lying.” He said, surprised.
“Of course I wasn’t lying!” Matt whispered loudly, looking at George. “Why would I lie about something like George Weasley?”
Matt straightened and smiled at George. He stuck his hand out. “Matthew Caudwell. Amateur Jokester. Big fan.”
George stared at Matt’s hand for a moment before slowly taking it. He glanced up at the young man and took in his every feature. He took in his short hair, his green eyes, the freckles that splatter across his nose. Olivia watched as a small, sad smile appeared on his lips. “George Weasley.” He finally said.
Zack was next to stick out his hand, smiling politely. “Zackary Caudwell. Brother of Matthew Caudwell. Also a fan, but not as obsessed.”
George stared at Zack’s hand as well, giving Zack the same once over he had given his brother. The sad smile only grew as his eyes searched over Zack. “George Weasley .” He repeated, finally taking Zack’s hand.
“So Mr. Weasley,” Matt asked, rubbing his hands together. “What brings you to our humble abode?”
George blinked and shook his head, still in shock. “Please, call me George.” He blinked a few more times and focused on Olivia. “I wanted to speak with Olivia.”
Zack and Matt shared a look before turning to face their mother.
“You’ve been holding out on us Mum,” Matt said, sighing.
Zack nodded in agreement, placing his hand under his chin. “Matt’s right. You know two Weasleys? Who else do you know? Harry Potter?”
George continued to blink, his eyes bouncing back and forth between Zack and Matt. Olivia watched as his shoulders rose occasionally with the deep breaths he took in. His eyes finally found Olivia’s. “Could I please speak with you? In private?”
Olivia nodded, unable to speak. She wasn’t expecting this. She wasn’t expecting him. There was a small gleam of hope that started to burn inside her, hoping that with her secret accidently exposed, the whole ordeal would be over with. She could continue on with her life.
She knew it was impossible. Family was everything to the Weasleys. Everything. They would not let this go. They would want to know, they would want to understand. And whether or not Olivia wanted to, she was going to have to face the Weasleys.
The hole in her heart burned painfully, reminding her of what facing the Weasleys possibly meant.
She took in a shaking breath, turning to face her children. “I’m going to take a walk, I’ll be back.”
Zack and Matt shared another look and Olivia watched as common thought passed between the two. Matt turned and faced her, a grin covering his mouth. “I’ll get your coat.” He offered, leaving the kitchen.
Zack took a step forward and kissed his mother’s cheek. “Don’t be too long.” He said, before nodding a goodbye to George and leaving for his room.
Matt reappeared with Olivia’s overcoat and helped her slide into it. “Okay Mum,” He whispered as he followed her to the front door. “You’re going to have to act smoothly. When you ask if I can have a job, make sure that you’re all nonchalant about it.”
Olivia gave Matt a look before kissing his forehead. “I’ll be back soon.” She said before she left.
There was a slight chill in the air causing Olivia to cuddle closer to Fred who reacted by tightening his grip around her.
“Cold?” He asked into her messy hair.
“Only a little,” She responded, smiling into his arm. “But I’m fine now.”
Fred chuckled and looked around the small room that hid behind one of Hogwarts several statues. The breeze came from a tunnel to their left that led somewhere outside the castle. “Maybe doing this in this room wasn’t the best idea.” He offered, finally letting his lips press gently against the strands of her hair.
Olivia sighed happily, closing her eyes. “No, it was perfect.”
Fred pulled away, an embarrassing smile taking over his lips. “Really? I thought I was fumbling around like an idiot.”
She laughed, before getting up and reaching for her dress robes. “I wouldn’t expect any less.”
“Really now?” Fred questioned, grabbing Olivia’s waist and pulled to the ground again. “Aren’t you full of wonderful compliments?”
“No, I just meant that-“
“I know what you meant,” Fred interrupted, his eyes losing their playful gleam. “I’m really glad this spat is over. I was a zombie for the last two weeks.”
Olivia touched his face gently. “A zombie who asked Angelina Johnson to the Yule Ball?”
Fred tilted head with thought. “Okay, I was a vindictive zombie, but that zombie’s gone now.” He grinned finally. “We made up pretty nicely.”
Olivia blushed and pulled away from Fred to reach for her dress robes again. “We should be getting back. Sophia’s going to wonder where I’ve been and why Henry’s not with me.”
Fred lost his grin and grumbled, pulling Olivia down once again. “Well, you can tell her that you’re with the man you’re madly in love with. You are madly in love with me?”
Olivia smiled and kissed his chastely. “Of course.”
Fred’s grin returned and he deepened their kiss, pulling her under once again.
The wind brought a burst of chilly air to Olivia’s face. She hunched further into her coat. She didn’t have to glance to her side to know that George was walking next to her quietly. They had been walking in silence for a long time, both unsure what to say.
Olivia didn’t want to be the first one to speak. She didn’t think an apology would be the right thing to say and apologies were the only words racing through her head. That, and ‘it’s not what you think.’ But she didn’t know what he thought. So apologies were running ramped in her skull.
“After you left, everyone ganged up on Hermione and Ron, asking for details.” George finally spoke. He let a small smile slip on his lips before adding. “Expect Percy. He got all pale and excused himself from the table.”
Olivia only nodded, holding back the three apologies that wished to escape from her mouth.
“Ron didn’t give anything up, just kept telling us that we would have to ask you. Over and over again, ‘ask Liv! Ask Liv!’ Finally my mum broke down and excused herself to clear the table. The children had no idea what was going on, they kept asking if Hermione meant Uncle Fred, the dead one.”
“Ah.” Olivia managed to push forcefully from her throat.
George turned back and faced the small cottage that was drifting further away as they walked, before turning back he let a long breathe of air flutter through his lips. “So those are…?” He prompted.
“Zack and Matt.” Olivia answered.
George nodded. “They look like Fred—hell they look like me, but with a full set of ears. They don’t know, do they? That Fred’s their father?”
Olivia stopped walking and faced George. “No they don’t.”
George nodded again, placing his hands in his pockets as a burst of chilly air passed though them again. He opened his mouth to speak but Olivia spoke first, letting the apologies race from her mouth.
“I’m sorry George! So, so sorry! I’m sorry for running away like I did. I’m sorry for not telling you about the twins. I’m sorry for not coming back. I’m just sorry!”
George watched her for a moment carefully. “I was there, you know.” He finally said.
“Where?” Olivia asked confused be how quickly he changed subjects.
“I went with him everywhere to find your engagement ring. When he told me that he was going to ask you to marry him—I was over the moon with happiness for him. If my brother deserved anyone, it was you. You two were perfect for each other.”
Olivia opened her mouth to speak, but George held up his hand to stop her.
“Let me finish. It took him almost a month to find the perfect ring. We went into every shop in Diagon Alley, but found nothing. I had to stop him from entering Knockturn Alley to find a ring. That was hard, the bugger was determined to find the perfect ring.
“I wasn’t even sure he knew what he was looking for. It was one day, when we were walking around London, just about to head to the shop to start work when he stopped in front of this muggle jewelry shop. ‘There it is,’ he said, pointing at a ring displayed in the window. ‘There’s Liv’s ring.’ Then I had to stop him from entering and trying to buy the ring with Galleons. It took us some time to get the right amount of muggle money, but when he finally had that ring in his hand, he was ecstatic.”
Olivia blinked a few time from confusion. “Why are you telling me this?”
George shrugged and took a hand from his pocket to run through his hair. “Because you’re like me.”
Olivia continued to blink. “I still don’t understand.”
“I wasn’t sure how I felt about you coming back. After all you left without a word, we all just assumed that you thought since Fred was dead there was no reason to stay. Some of us thought you left and didn’t give us a second thought—like Percy.”
“That wasn’t it, that wasn’t it at all.”
George held up his hand again. “But when I saw you in the Burrow,” He gestured toward his eyes. “With that look in your eyes, I know you hadn’t left because you didn’t care, because you did care. I could see it in your eyes. I could tell by the way you carried yourself. You care, you really care—a lot.”
George sighed. “You’re not over Fred’s death, not one bit. Just like me. Of course,” George added. “I’m better at admitting and dealing with it.”
Olivia couldn’t find the right words, so she smiled sadly, shrugging one shoulder before nodding.
“You didn’t have to go through this alone, you know that right? You could have stayed and we could have worked through it—all of us—as a family.”
She pulled her eyes away from George and kicked the ground with her foot. “I know that, but there was just so pain at the Burrow. I couldn’t handle it.”
For the finale time, George held up his hand taking in a deep breath. “I would ask you to continue, but you’re only going to have to explain it another…six or seven times. Once for my mum, my dad, Bill, Charlie-“
“That’s a lot of explaining.”
“It is, so it would be easier just to have dinner with us again. Explain it all in one sitting.”
Olivia lifted an eyebrow. “Was that a dinner invitation?”
George nodded. “Dinner is a possibility. It’s more of an emergence Weasley meeting.”
Olivia ran her fingers through her own hair, sighing. “I’ll be there.” She let her hand fall to her side and gave George a serious look. “You’re not angry with me?”
George smiled sadly and touched Olivia’s shoulder. “How could I be? You’re just grieving like that rest of us. It might be a long, painful process that caused you to do some ugly things. But in the end, you’re like all the rest of us—just trying to figure out how to live your life without him.”
Olivia blinked, hoping that it would keep the tears from overfilling her eyes. She took George’s hand from her shoulder and held it tightly between hers. She couldn’t speak, she could only offer him a sad smile.
George glanced down at their hands, placing his other hand on top of hers. “Just one more question.”
Olivia waited, giving his hand a squeeze of encouragement.
“When are you going to tell them—your boys? That Fred’s their father?”
Olivia bit her bottom lip. “I’m not sure.”
Olivia looked out the train window, unsure what to call the emotions pulsing through her.
She felt something squeeze her hand. “Everything alright Liv?”
Olivia looked away from the window and found Fred gazing at her patiently. She sighed. “I’m not sure.”
Fred let his thumb drag across the back of her hand. “I know what you mean. How could we be going back to Hogwarts, when You-Know-Who is out there, somewhere. We should be fighting.”
She looked out the window again and watched as King’s Cross faded into the distance. “We will be soon enough. Everyone will realize that Harry’s right. Sooner or Later.”
Fred gave her hand another squeeze. “Hopefully sooner than later.”
“But,” Fred began with a playful tone, wrapping arm around her shoulders. “You don’t have to worry. I’ll protect you. Stinky You-Know-Who won’t lay a hand on you.”
Olivia smiled again, but this time genuinely.
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