Chapter 2 : Fact Number Two:
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Anuptaphobia - the fear of staying single.
"You're going to love my house," I tell Albus happily as I charge along the platform in search of my mother's bestfriend Ryan who's supposed to be waiting here to pick us up as my mother never learnt to drive.
I could tell you a really touching story about how she doesn't want to ruin the environment by driving around in a huge clump of metal or by telling you that she doesn't want to increase global warming with the fumes that the car would create, but I would be lying. The real reason that my mother never learnt to drive is because she's too lazy. The last time I asked her about it, she responded with, "Why bother? Ry can pick you up and take you places, she practically lives here anyway. It can be her form of rent. Besides, you'll be able to drive soon so I don't see any reason to learn now. We've made it this far without it and i'm not about to start up now."
"Come on, Alby!" I yell behind me, catching a glimpse of Ryan's strawberry blonde hair, "Kat, hurry up!"
"We're coming!" Both Albus and Kat shout from behind me.
"Ry! Over here!" I start waving my arms around in the air trying to get her to notice me, "Ry!"
Glancing in our direction, Ryan pauses, squints a little and then breaks into a grin.
Finally breaking through the crowd to reach her, she smiles as she pulls me into one of her familiar hugs. "Hello Little-Lyn. Glad to have you back."
Pulling back, I smile in return. "What phase is mum in this time?" I ask knowingly.
"Hoovering," Ryan returns with a slight shake of her head, "I think she took it up specially for you and your friends."
"Wonderful," I reply sarcastically. "Ry," I motion towards Albus and Kat, "these are my bestfriends, Albus Potter and Katherine Bahnel," I then speak to my friends and motion towards Ryan, "and guys, this is Ryan Mainett, my mother's bestfriend."
They shake hands and echange a few pleasentries, something that I always find amusing about Ryan. She isn't the type of girl who is into the whole 'let's be nice to each other' thing. That's how she met my mother. My mum was just moping around on the steps outside her work after a particularily hard break-up and Ryan just came along and told her to get a grip.
I do love that story.
As we climb into Ryan's dented blue Ford Escort Hatchback, I can't help but smile at how familiar it all is. The dashboard is still covered in stickers from various events and she has a pair of fluffy dice hanging from the rearview mirror. Magazines are strewn across the passenger seat and I have to shove them onto the floor so that I can sit down. Twisting myself so that I can see into the back, I notice that the back is still as immaculate as ever.
Pulling off into the stream of traffic and back towards my house, I feel something roll over and hit my foot. Reaching down, I pick up an old tube of lip gloss and hold it up for inspection.
"I have been looking everywhere for that!" Ryan cries with delight as she snatches it from my grasp, "It's my lucky lip gloss."
"So lucky that you lost it?" I ask and I hear Albus snicker in the back, Kat being too shy around new people to make a noise.
"I didn't lose it," Ryan defends automatically, "I misplaced it. There's a difference."
"If you say so," I reach over to turn the radio on and we end up listening to several old rock bands (the only radio station this car actually has) blast out tunes for the rest of the ride home.
As soon as we've parked up and I see my old cottage house, surrounded in a faint dusting of snow, I jump out of the car and run inside.
Flinging open the newly painted, bright red door, I grin and look around. The house is exactly as I left it (except it's now covered with Christmas decorations), meaning no new boyfriends for mum. Score one for the Morgan's.
Walking back outside, I help Albus and Kat collect their belongings and then hurry back inside out of the cold. I take the steps two at a time and push my door open with my bum as my hands are full.
I glance around my room. The big bed is still in the middle of the room with my collection of pillows covering at least half of it. The winter sun is shining through my large window, highlighting my dressing table covered in nail varnish pots and loose buttons. There are a few framed pictures on the wall:
One of my mum when she was pregnant with me with my dad standing behind her, all smiles. That would actually be the last picture we ever had of him because he left a few days later.
Then there's one of my mum and me on the beach last summer. Ryan took it for us.
And lastly, there's a picture of my Hogwarts crew with me, Albus and Kat in the centre of the huge group. It was taken right after Gryffindor won the House cup which is why we all look so happy and why Scorpius looks like he's doing a weird half-smile/grimace.
"Your room hasn't changed at all, Evie-Aves," Kat comments as she dumps her suitcase on my bed and begins her usual search for her huge bunny slippers.
"It's quite-" Albus struggles for a word to use as he stands in the doorway looking in at my bedroom, "-ordinary."
"What are you trying to say?" I smirk as I walk back over to him, "that i'm not ordinary? Come on, I'll show you to your room."
The guest room just happens to be opposite my room so we don't have to go far to reach it. The last time I walked into the guest room, I regretted it immediately. My mother was in there, painting Ryan as she used magic to climb up the walls dressed in a spiderman outfit.
Bracing myself for what I might see this time, I gently pushed open the door and peered inside. The room was nice. Cosy, even. The bed was large and covered in soft blankets and puffy pillows, a rug placed neatly on the floor infront of it. There was a large window with an oak writing desk beside it and a swivel chair, perfect for wasting time spinning. And then there were pictures framed on the walls; some moving photographs, some muggle pictures, and some of my mothers newest artwork.
It was a lovely room.
Clearly my mother had gone through a faze of re-decorating, specially for my friends, seen as Ryan had pretty much abducted our old guest room.
I live in a five bedroom cottage. My room, Mum's room, Ryan's abducted room (the old guest room), the guest room (mum's old art room) and the art room (my dad's 'once upon a time' office). It was a big house for two small people. That's probably why my mother loves having people to stay round so often, especially when i'm off at Hogwarts for most of the year.
"This is your room," I tell Albus as I walk over to plonk myself in the swivel chair. I used to have my own swivel chair but I span it so much that I managed to loosen the screws holding the chair together and it fell apart. I ended up knocking myself out on the corner of the desk. Ever since then, I have been refused in my pleas to get a new one.
"Thankyou Aves," Albus smiles at me as he sits down on the bed.
I do a happy spin on the chair. "You're welcome."
"Do you reckon it will snow whilst we're here?" He asks, watching me spinning.
"Yeah, it always snows when i'm back at least once."
"That's good," he replies, now unpacking his belongings, "Your eyes really stand out in the snow. They look like electric ice."
I pause in my spinning and glance towards the mirror that's placed neatly on the wall next to a painting.
My eyes are liquid blue and i've always thought that they slightly dominate my face. I have dark red hair which flows in waves around my face, highlighting the few pale freckles that I have splattered across my nose and my ears are slightly too small for my head, something that I hide with my hair.
I stare at myself for a moment before shaking myself out of it. My eyes are pale blue not electric ice. He's just imagining things.
"Hey, Little-Lyn! Get your ass down here! Your mum's in the middle of her phase!" I hear Ryan yell up the stairs, followed by a thump and high pitched laughter.
Sighing, I jump up from out of the chair and walk towards the door. "Wanna meet my mum?" I ask Albus, not at all enthusiastic about the situation that i'll find downstairs.
Albus nods and follows me out onto the landing where Kat is already waiting for us. She loves my mum, i've never understood why though.
Treking down the stairs, I follow the sound of Ryan's laughter into the living room where my mum is currently threatening to bash her round the head with a Henry Hoover.
Our living room is a comfy looking room with leather sofa's, loads of cushions, photoframes, a cute little coffee table, a muggle TV and a big fluffy rug. It looks like one of those rooms that you see in those house magazines except there's one big difference between them; ours has been lived in.
I notice a huge Christmas tree by the window, already decorated in multi-coloured baubles. Mum always loves decorating the Christmas tree. Ryan loves to chop it down.
"Posie!" Kat squeals as she peers round me and into the living room.
My mum stops her fake bashing and turns towards the doorway where the three of us are standing. "Evelyn! Katherine! How i've missed you both," she laughs as she walks over and pulls us into a motherly bear hug before pulling back to examine us both.
I take the time to look at her too. She's taller than me with the same colour hair as me pulled back into a messy bun. Her eyes, a dark green, resemble the colour of damp moss and her skin is slightly less tanned from when I last saw her in the summer.
Then I notice what she's wearing and inwardly groan at the sight of the ultra tight, shiny black catsuit.
"And this must be the lovely Albus Potter! I've heard such wonderful things about you!" my mum gushes happily.
I notice a faint blush creep onto his cheeks at my mum's praise.
"Mum," I ask, taking the attention off of him, "why are you wearing a catsuit?"
My mother waves her hand in the air to brush off my question as if it's no big deal. "Artistic inspiration."
There's a click from the other side of the room and the hoover starts to whir and make loud sucking noises. "Posie!" Ryan calls from where she is standing by the plug, "I fixed the hoover."
Mum claps her hands excitedly and walks over to where Ryan is standing to start her hoovering. Ryan strolls over to me and as she passes whisper's in my ear, "she bought the new hoover specially for your return."
See, here's the thing. Ever since I can remember, my mother has had things that I like to call "phases". They are annoying, strange and don't tend to last very long. Hoovering in a catsuit is apparently one of them.
"Let's order pizza!" My mum suggests suddenly over the loud noise of the hoover. I stick my thumb up at her in agreement and wander out of the room towards the kitchen, Albus and Kat following close behind.
The next morning, I wake up sprawled out on my bed with Kat curled up into a ball beside me. Throwing the duvet off of myself, I climb out of bed and stumble across the room to look out of my bedroom window. Outside, the ground is covered in snow.
I press my nose against the window and feel the cool glass against my skin. Grinning, I swiftly turn around, grab one of Kat's discarded slippers and chuck it at her sleeping form.
"Mmph," she rolls over and buries herself deeper under the duvet.
Deciding that she was far too lazy to get up on her own accord, I run over to the bed and jump onto it; narrowly missing Kat by mere inches. She's startled awake and turns over, whacking me in the side with her arm as she swings it around.
"Woah!" I shift backwards, nearly falling off the edge of the bed but only just managing to catch myself. "Careful there, Kat."
Craning her neck around so that she can look at me, she sleepily rubs her eyes and yawns. I hold my nose; yay for morning breath!
I playfully scowl at her. "You do realise that in the span of the 5 minutes that you have been awake, you have almost seriously injured me twice."
"Only twice?" she asks, a little taken aback, "I usually aim for at least 4 before breakfast."
"Ha ha," I deadpan, "You are freaking hilarious," I shove her in the side, making her squirm. "Get up, lazy ass. There's snow outside."
"I don't like the cold," Kat responds stubbornly, burrowing her feet into the matress and grabbing the corner of the duvet in a failing attempt to pull it back over her head.
I snatch the covers from her and quickly throw it onto the floor. "Don't make me force you out of that bed, Kat," I warn.
She holds her hands in the air in defeat. "Alright, alright! I'm getting out of bed! Just don't hurt the slippers..."
I'm smug with what i've successfully managed to achieve here.
I change quickly after that, throwing on a pair of skinny jeans, warm winter socks, a vest top with a dark blue knitted jumper and my bright red wellies. "Do I look the part?" I ask Kat as I do a twirl in front of her.
Kat is unsuccessfully attempting to pull her pink wellies onto her sock layered feet (I swear I saw her put on at least 6 pairs). Looking me up and down, she replies with a sour expression, "The part for evil snow queen? Or the bitchy slipper killer?"
"Either will do," I say, still inwardly gloating over how easily I got her out of bed this morning.
Kat has decided to go for a cosy outfit too. Choosing jeans tucked into socks with her wellies, an old cream T-shirt and a big pink coat. I have to contain my laughter as she then puts on an oversized knitted scarf, a pink bobble hat and mittens.
"You finished yet?" I question as she then looks in her suitcase for something else. She shakes her head in response and I sigh. "I'm going to go and see if Albus wants to come. Meet me downstairs in five."
Without waiting for a response, I walk across the hall and gently tap on the Guest room door. Albus answers immediately and smiles warmly at me. I find myself smiling back.
He's wearing jeans and a hoody. And, of course, his favourite hat.
"You two should have a contest to see who has the better hat," I comment, refering to Kat's pink bobble hat.
"Mine would win," he retorts easily, pulling it down further over his head to cover his ears, "It's Russian."
"That means nothing. I have a feeling that Kat's is hand-sewn," I fire back.
"Ah, that's a hard one to compete with," Albus motions that we should head downstairs and I do so willingly, "but I doubt that hers has fur that keeps her ears as toasty as my hat does."
I hop down the stairs. "Yes but hers is a bobble hat, you have to be very brave to wear one of those."
"A bobble hat, you say!" he feins shock as we jump down the last step and stand patiently by the door, "now that changes everything!"
I take on a false English accent. "It does indeed!"
Albus shakes his head at me. "That was a terrible accent. You should be ashamed."
Grinning, I reply, "I am. More than you'll ever know."
"Are you two finished yet?" Kat is descending the stairs now, shaking her head at us as she does so.
Me and Albus grin at her.
"You know you love us," I tease.
Albus joins in, "and it's because you love us so much that you put up with us."
Kat sighs, defeated.
We head outside then, trudging through the snow as we each journey into different parts of the front lawn.
Albus runs off towards the car so that he can hide and (I find out later) so that he can secrely make snowballs. Kat attempts to dash back inside but I grab her by the hand and pull her out towards the big oak tree that is randomly situated in the middle of the lawn, obscuring our view from the living room window.
Something flies past my head and I duck instintively. It hits the tree and a clump of snow falls from the branches. Righting myself, I peer over my shoulder to find Albus standing beside the car, smirking his face off and holding another snowball ready to be launched.
I can't help it, I scream and run.
Of course, Kat follows my lead.
Dodging a few more snowballs that are thrown my way, I quickly bend over to scoop up a lump of snow. Molding it into a ball as I run, I hide behind the tree and glance around for Kat. She's made it to safety behind the corner of the house.
Before I have a chance to throw my snowball, another one whacks the tree that i'm hiding behind. I laugh at Albus' bad throw until another clump of snow falls from the tree branches, this time falling on me, making me drop my recently made snowball.
Brushing snow from my hair, I scowl at Albus. "This means war, Potter!"
That's when it begins. Snowballs are thrown, people are hit, windows have trails of snow dripping down them from where the snowballs hit them and slid off. The car has hand prints made in the snow from quick duck-and-covers and the trees branches are now almost empty from how many times it was knocked.
I'm still using my tree to hide behind, not sure where Albus or Kat have dissapeared to until it's too late. Albus has rubbed snow onto the top of my head, making cold droplets run down my neck and back.
I turn around, startled and glare at him before rubbing the snowball that I was holding into his face.
We both fall about laughing, finding the cold and the snow hysterical. I forget that my hands are turning blue from the cold and that my hair is now dripping wet and for a moment I get lost in the laughter.
Then Albus stops laughing and stares at me. My laughter trails off and we're left in silence.
"I told you," he tells me in barely more than a whisper, "electric ice."
I blink at him-
"Hey! Howcome no-one mentioned a snowball fight to us?!" Ryan's voice carries out across the lawn from where she's sticking her head out of her bedroom window.
The moment is broken.
Albus turns and waves at Ryan before heading off to find Kat hidden amongst the snow. I walk over to the house and sit on the doorstep.
Ryan comes to sit beside me as i'm pulling my wellies off of my feet.
"He's a nice lad, you know," she comments as she puts her gloves on. "You already have my approval."
I glace sideways at her, confused. "Me and Albus are just friends."
Ryan stands up and smiles at me. "For now," she then walks off towards her car, probably heading out to rent a DVD and to grab some marshmellows and a jar of chocolate spread - her usual snow-day feast.
As far as days go, Christmas Eve has to be the suckiest. Not only does it seem to drag on, refusing to allow Christmas to come, but it's also the day that Albus and Kat leave the insanity of my home to return to their families.
I let Kat sleep in this morning (the only morning that I haven't bothered to wake her up in the few days that she's been here), hoping that it might prolong her stay. I also refuse to knock on Albus' door as I pass to go in search of something to eat like I had done on previous mornings to let him know that I was awake.
Instead, I sulk down the stairs and shuffle into the kitchen, still pyjama clad with messy morning hair and a face like thunder.
"Good morning, Ev," My mum smiles sadly as I pull out a chair and slump into it. "How are you feeling today?"
I shrug in response and watch as she stares into her mug of coffee, unsure of what to say next.
Ryan would know what to say, I think bitterly to myself, but Ryan is still sleeping.
I love my mother dearly, I really do, but she's never been good at these types of things. She says that my father was wonderful with dealing with problems and that she's just always been the creative and fun one. Dad was sensible, mum is not. Dad was quiet and hardworking, mum is loud and easily distracted. Dad was brunnete, mum is 'strawberry blonde'. Dad had blue eyes, mum has green. Dad liked music, mum likes art. Dad prefered facts, mum lived for opinions.
I'm a mixture of both. I'm not good with awkward situations and can't deal with problems well. I'm fun but usually quiet around people that I don't really know. I'm so easily distracted that i've walked into more than my fair share of trees, lamposts, parked cars, people, closed doors and the occasional wall. I'm more brunnette than I am blonde (really i'm a very dark red, but i'm not complaining) and I have blue eyes. I like music and I like art. I also live for opinions but I base most decisions on facts. I'm in the middle - neutral.
There's a shift in the silence of the room and I immediately turn my head to the open door. Albus is standing there, already dressed for the day.
"Good morning, Albus," my mother says kindly, finally taking the first sip of her coffee. Was she purposely waiting for Albus to arrive before drinking the coffee? Or was it just a coincidence? I can't be sure.
Albus smiles back at my mum as he replies with a polite, "Good morning, Miss Mor-"
"Remember to call me Posie, Albus," my mum interjects, the same way she has done during his entire stay at the Morgan household.
I start drumming my fingers against the table, annoyed that she can't just drop it. My mum has never liked being called 'Miss' because she says that it upsets her that she never got to be a 'Mrs' which I think is just her being silly.
Pulling out a chair beside me, Albus sits down and watches me tapping my fingers against the table. "Morning Aves," he smiles at me and my mum gets up and wanders silently out of the room with her mug of coffee. "How come you didn't knock on my door this morning?"
"I didn't want to wake you?" I suggest, not wanting to tell him the real reason.
"That didn't stop you before when I actually was asleep," he comments knowingly.
"Perhaps I had something important to talk to my mum about?"
"You don't talk to your mum about important things." Sometimes I think he knows me too well.
"Alright then, you tell me why I didn't knock on your door."
"I don't know. I just assumed that you forgot." Why didn't I think of that?
I accidently voice that question out loud.
Albus smirks at me. "Probably because you speak before you think?"
I glare playfully at him. "I do not."
He raises an eyebrow at me, daring me to deny it.
"Aves, you do."
I fold my arms over my chest stubbornly. "You can't prove it."
Albus sighs and shakes his head. I take this as a sign that he's defeated and smile in spite of myself. "Told you so," I sing smugly.
There's a loud thump from upstairs then and both me and Albus look up and stare at the ceiling as if waiting for someone or something to fall through it. After a few seconds of staring, I come to the conclusion that the ceiling isn't going to collapse and remove my gaze from the ceiling. When I look at Albus again, I notice that he's staring at me.
"Hi," I say quietly, feeling a bit stupid as i've just remembered that i'm still wearing my pyjamas and have yet to brush my hair.
He grins at me. "Hey."
My eyes dart around the room as I grow increasingly uncomfortable under his gaze. "Uh, I better go and see what that bang was about," I mumble as I jump up from my seat and shuffle out of the kitchen without looking back.
"Stupid, stupid, stupid," I grumble to myself as I trek up the stairs, "you just had to go downstairs looking like a complete goof ball, didn't you?"
"Honey, you're talking to yourself again," my mum tells me as she passes along the landing from her bedroom towards her art room.
I roll my eyes. I so was not talking to myself.
Figuring that the bang didn't come from Ryan's room as she sleeps like a log, I decide to check out my room for the source of the bang.
Pushing open my bedroom door, I find Kat picking herself up from off the floor.
"Fall out of bed again?" I ask for the third time since she's been here.
Kat glares daggers at me. "It's not my fault," she argues, "i'm not used to having so much bed to roll on."
"I think you're missing the key point that you're actually supposed to stay on the bed though, Kat. Not fall off of it."
"Don't blame me, blame the bed."
"For what? Not catching you as you fall?" I reply, amused by Kat's stubborness to accept how clumsy she is when she sleeps.
"No," she answers, climbing back onto the matress, "for just being a stupid, easy-to-roll-off-of bed in the first place."
"In all the years i've had that bed, not once have I fallen out of it."
Kat scowls at me. "Good for you."
I can't help it but I burst into laughter. The almighty Kat has been defeated by her nemesis - my bed.
Christmas day comes faster than expected.
I wake up later than usual, in a bed all by myself. Glancing out of my bedroom, I see Albus and Kat's footprints still left in the snow before vanishing and changing into car tracks as they each left the Morgan household yesterday afternoon.
It's strange not having them here anymore.
Downstairs in the kitchen, Ryan is shoving a few pizzas in the oven and mum is microwaving a bag of microwave popcorn. My mum is a whizz with muggle electronics. At least, she's better with them than she is with magic.
See, we don't really do the whole 'family christmas dinner' thing. We just tend to stick with junk food and movies. It's a great christmas combination. You should give it a go.
"An owl came for you this morning," my mum tells me as she listens to the popcorn as it pops.
"Actually," Ryan interjects, taking her oven gloves off, "there were two owls. One flew into my bedroom window."
I smile to myself. That's Kat's owl.
Quickly jogging out of the room and up the stairs, I head into the Guest room where there are two letters placed on the desk for me.
Taking a seat in the swivel chair, I open the first one.
It seems as if it wasn't only your bed that was the problem, I fell out of my own bed this morning too. Dad's not very happy that Gran and Grandpa have been invited to Christmas dinner at our house. Mum isn't very happy that I refused to wear the big red party dress she bought for me. I know that i'm being stubborn, but i'm wearing jeans as my form of rebellion. I got a letter from Al, he's doing alright. Hope you are too. I miss you already! Have a good christmas! I know I won't.
Love, Kat x
Grinning, I grab a fresh piece of parchment and scribble down a reply. I then reach over and pick up the second letter, unfolding it carefully.
Happy Christmas Aves!
Thanks for letting me stay at yours, it was hilarious. Especially seeing your morning hair (I wish i'd taken a picture to show the lads!) I hope you're well and are doing okay. I'm doing fine except I want your opinion on someone. Do you reckon I should go on a date with Cathy from Ravenclaw? Or do you think I should flirt a bit more with Beau and see where that goes? You're a girl and my bestfriend so you better have good advice for me!
I stare at the letter, refusing to blink.
Did he really just ask me for advice on which girl to get with? Or am I just imagining things?
I blink and when the letter is still there, I blink again. And again. Then again, just for good measure.
"Are you fucking kidding me?!" I glare at the letter as I come to terms with what i've just read.
Grabbing another plain piece of parchment, I write down one word. One single word. No kisses. No love from. Just that lone word:
I then pick up the folded letters and place them in envelopes, carefully writing their names on the front before taking them into my mothers room to give to our owl.
"Meeko," I coo as I walk over to our little brown owl sitting quietly in it's cage.
Opening the little wired door, I get the owl out and tie the letters to it's leg. "Take these to Albus and Katherine please." I then feed him two treats - one for each letter. And then another one - just because I love my owl.
Then I open the window and watch as Meeko takes off into the sky, smiling as I watch him soar off into the distance but then I frown because I wonder, if just for that moment, what has come over me?
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