Chapter 18 : XVIII.
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Can you see the love you left inside of me?
In my face, can you see?
My room was beginning to resemble a dungeon.
The curtains hadn’t been opened in weeks, and presence of old food, and its stench, was heightened by the one particular fly that continuous buzzed around my face. Even stunning it hadn’t helped. It was one tenacious little bug, I had to give it that.
Above everything, it seemed that Dennis’s talk with my mother hadn’t helped, and after two days of not being brought food or seeing her, I knew it was time for me to get out of bed.
And it was a lot harder than I had originally expected.
Grunting and swearing colourfully, I somehow managed to stumble into my dresser and kicked my wand around on the floor for about ten minutes. Whilst I bent down I seriously wondered how I had ever managed to run whilst I had been in hospital, or even move at all.
Maybe it was because, once I left, Dennis had halved my dosage of medication and had stopped giving me such a strong sleeping potion. I could feel the effects of it already, and it felt as though I were gradually, but nonetheless indisputably, dying a horribly slow death.
Wincing, I pulled on the fluffy pink dressing gown I had had since I was twelve and unhurriedly manoeuvred my way out of the bedroom I had not left in what suddenly seemed like years.
Stumbling down the hallway got easier with each step I took, and descending the staircase seemingly wasn’t a problem as long as I gripped the banister as hard as I could.
“Maman?” I called out as I reached the foot of the stairs. I was irritated by the way that my voice broke, it made me sound weak. I forcefully cleared my throat twice before speaking again. “Are you home?”
There was no answer, but I could hear movement in the kitchen. Someone was rifling through the draws, trying to be quiet, and failing miserably.
I knew she was there. She could not hide from me.
I could even smell the horribly sweet smelling perfume that she insisted on wearing, despite its ability to make anyone besides its wearer feel ill, and light-headed.
“Are you there?” I already knew she was, but called it out in the hope that she might answer me. And by answering me, I would therefore know she had forgiven me and I could wrap myself up in her arms and have her whisper in my ear that everything would be fine.
“Are you –?” I began, but stopped the moment I entered the kitchen and saw the look on her face. She was looking at me like she had no idea who I was, and never had. She was wearing yellow washing up gloves – which I had never seen before – and had her wand in her hand.
Her expression told me to be weary. It told me to be very much aware that she had her wand, and that my own was tucked in my pocket somewhere.
Her reactions would be far quicker than mine.
“I didn’t know you were in here – I was looking for you. Didn’t you hear me calling?” I asked her as softly as I could manage, leaning against the wall to support my weight somewhat.
“I did.” She replied curtly, lowering her wand a fraction. “I just chose to ignore you.”
“You – you – did what?”
“I think that it is time that you went back to school, Emmanuelle. I need some time apart from you, and besides, you were expected to be back at Hogwarts a fortnight ago. I have received letters from your Headmaster and I told him that you would be back by next week. Do not make me write back and tell him otherwise. You will go.”
I had never seen her like that before; taking charge and actually making me do something like normal mothers did.
“No, Emmanuelle. I do not have the energy, nor patience, to fight with you right now. I don’t want you in my house. I want you gone.” She didn’t look me in the eye when she said it, but by the firmness of her tone, I knew that she was serious.
“Fine. I’ll leave tomorrow.” I said, trying to hardest to disguise the hurt in my voice.
“No,” She snapped, glancing up at me fleetingly. There was no empathy in her eyes, no compassion, only a hardness that I so often saw in the reflection, staring back at me. Perhaps my mother and I weren’t so different after all. “Today. You will leave today.”
It was as though someone had cast a muffilato spell to disguise a conversation from me. All I could hear was a dull buzzing in my ears, a noise I should not shake, that distracted me from the thoughts racing around my head. I did not know what to say. I could not think of anything there could be said to her now.
“I’m sorry.” I whispered. I did not know whether she had heard me, but I suspected that she had due to the way her eyes flashed to mine before I turned away. Her eyes – my eyes – were full of an ancient sadness, something I had not thought her capable of, and it repulsed me.
I left the room, forgetting my dignity, and hobbled to the best of my ability back up the staircase. I told myself that I did not need to wear my heart on my sleeve like my mother did, and like Albus did as well - for if you did, you got hurt. Every single time. And that’s the end of story.
As I lay on my bed, using my wand to pack my trunk, unconcerned with what went in to it, I pondered over how long my mother had meant when she said she wanted me ‘out’. She had always had a flair for the dramatic, but something was different. She was different.
That Gabrielle Delacour wasn’t the woman of my past. She was not the waif-like figure whose heart was undeservedly broken timelessly, nor the absent mother with sad eyes who had left me – a mere child - to raise myself.
I touched my aching side, inexplicably thinking of Albus as I pressed down lightly on the jagged line on my hip from my splinching accident. The flash of pain made me remember what had happened to him with a new clarity and for the millionth time, I relived the experience in my head.
The surprise glinting in his wide green eyes, and the terrible anguish that contorted his face as the blade was drawn so roughly out of him. The way he had fallen to his knees, gasping quietly, and the way his hand had shot out towards me, as though he thought I could save him.
The guilty tore through me just like that knife had through him and it took the place of where sadness had once been. Mrs Potter was right; it was my fault what had happened to him. I could not reconsider James’s words, for he was wrong, and she was right.
I loved him, it was true, but would I really let him suffer because of it? Wasn’t that the reason why I had sworn off of love after what had happened the last time I had given my heart away?
Very carefully, I sat up and realized I had packed half of my bedroom into my one trunk. It made me smile slightly, as my more sadistic side considered the look on my mother’s face if she were to walk in and find everything, including me, gone.
The smile slipped off of my face the second another thought crossed my mind; that the idea might make her happy. That my being gone was something that would finally bring joy to her life.
Unhappily, I released the breath I had not known I’d been containing, and climbed out of my bed. With a flick of my wand, the sheets and covers flew off of it. They vanished, hopefully going to the laundry room, with another wave of my wand and the whisper of a spell.
I tore down the ridiculous posters of my youth, empty cigarette packs and loose paper and burned them in the bin beside my bed. I burned all the letters I had ever received, save the one I had last received from Rose. I kept it tucked in my breast pocket, just as a reminder to myself of what I could still have if I tried hard enough.
I took the clothes I hadn’t worn in a long time out of my trunk, and, using my wand to fold them neatly, I put them away in the cupboard I had only ever used during my childhood. After the age of twelve I had simply left everything on the floor. It was easier that way.
It didn’t feel like I was packing my life away, not really. I had never loved the house or the room I was meant to have grown up in. I only cared for the window seat and the tree that had once been at the bottom of our garden. That was gone now. Muggles had come and cut it down because it was supposedly diseased and killing off all other trees.
I had fought them for the tree that I cherished, pleaded even, but nothing had worked. And now it was nothing more than a pathetic little brown stump which I had once seen a bird sit and sing on.
Looking around my room, I marvelled in how big it suddenly seemed, how white the walls were and how empty I felt just by standing in it. The aging photograph of Rose and I was carefully stashed in my trunk, the only necklace I had ever liked was in my hand and everything else was charred, packed or sent somewhere else.
I would make it as though I had never existed. After all, that was surely what she wanted.
Folding my arms over my chest, I waited for smugness to come. But it never did.
I took my seven large multicoloured pills, drank my assortment of potions and replaced the bandage on my neck with another clean one. I burned the old one, which had spots of blood on it, immediately, and ignored the faint odour that it gave off.
I sent my trunk downstairs easily, but knew getting myself down there would not be so straightforward. I could not just levitate myself down the stairs or apparate. I had to walk. The thought made me groan, whilst also made me pity Muggles for all of the extra effort they had to put into things.
I should’ve been better, I told myself. I shouldn’t be in such a pathetic, bad state. Dennis had let me leave the hospital, so surely I was over what had happened to me. The thought made the pain in my side even more pronounced and I groaned quietly as I finally reached the bottom of the staircase for the second time that day.
I could see my mother standing outside, and smelt the smoke of her cigarette.
I knew her better than to interrupt her, and to assume that she would want to say goodbye to me.
I picked up my trunk, wrapped my scarf around my neck and replaced my holey sweater with my Hogwarts robes. Quickly, I took the letter from Rose out, read it twice, and stowed it in the deep pocket of my Slytherin robes.
The Floo powder was waiting for me on the mantle; so really, there was no point in hesitating. Nothing would make my mother come back inside the house and beg me to stay, not even me.
I gripped my trunk tightly and threw down the green powder, yelling out my destination with an undeniable shakiness to my voice. I squeezed my eyes shut as I spin and twisted and stumbled out of the fireplace in the Headmaster’s office, just like my mother had promised.
He was there, of course, twiddling his thumbs as though he had been expecting me for some time. Perhaps he had. But I didn’t care.
Brushing the soot off of my clothes, I stepped out of the fireplace. I dragged my trunk along behind me, and raised a hand in an awkward greeting.
“Good morning, sir.” I mumbled, scratching the top of my head uncomfortably. What I wanted to do was lie down, take a potion to make me sleep and forget that the last few months had ever happened.
But that just wasn’t possible any more.
I couldn’t pretend that I didn’t have a life waiting for me whilst I hid.
“Ah, Miss Delacour. You are precisely three weeks late, but alas, you are here. I’d usually say ‘here and in good shape’ but – well, you aren’t, are you?” He chuckled heartily, as though he were absolutely hilarious, and I smiled grimly when I caught him staring at me expectantly.
“Your Healer has informed me of your delicate condition and told me to tell you that you are expected to go the Hospital Wing every day and will be spending your weekends there. There will be no Hogsmeade trips for you either. Isn’t that delightful?” He exclaimed happily.
He clapped his hands together, smiling as though it truly were ‘delightful’, and touched my shoulder lightly. “I don’t mean any disrespect, but you look awful. Are you feeling quite alright? You’re not going to – die on me, are you? No one has died in this office for years – so please, do it outside if you must.”
He smiled at me, though I knew he was serious.
My eyes flashed to the ceiling uncontrollably, and I nodded my head with a small sigh. I did not wait to be dismissed, neither did I say goodbye. I just left, though without my usual attitude as I had to walk slowly and clutched my hip as though suffering from arthritis.
I knew I wouldn’t be seen – everyone was busy in their mid-morning classes, but I still could not help but self-consciously try to stop from hunching over and attempted to walk like a normal person would. It hurt – a hell of a lot – but I managed to almost perfect it by the time I reached the infirmary.
I collapsed onto the nearest bed, shut my eyes, and said ‘yes’ every time the nurse asked me a question. Sleep came soon after that.
By the next morning, I actually felt better. Almost as though I wasn’t going to fall over and die at any given minute. It was as though I might actually be on route to getting better. As though somehow, I was almost fixed. That soon I would not be broken any more.
The nurse was kinder than I remembered, or at least I was less judgemental of her and actually appreciated all of the things that she did for me. Her kindly smile made me feel warm when I awoke to it, and the way that she helped me out of bed, her arm clutching mine, made my heart swell. Tears filled my eyes and my throat was thick as I whispered that I felt fine.
I was an emotional wreck, and slowly becoming aware of how changeable and fragile life really was.
I should have come to that realisation years ago, long before my life had so suddenly changed, but I hadn’t. I hadn’t realised a lot of things.
After a great loss or suffering, some people survived by remembering – remembering the good things, and weighing them against all of the bad, but I was different. I had survived because of my unflinching ability to forget.
“Not any more.” I whispered to myself.
I brushed the stray tears from with cheeks and thanked the nurse as she drew the curtain, for my privacy, as I changed into my school uniform.
I pulled on the thick black tights she had given me, tugged on the white shirt and rolled the black skirt to my characteristic short length. Loosely, I tied the green and silver tie around my neck, and reluctantly pulled on the unflattering grey jumper. I had always despised it for its shapelessness. I’d always felt that it left too much to the imagination.
As I smoothed my hair down, I ignored the pink scrunchie the nurse had left for me. My nose crinkled at even the sight of it, let alone the idea of it being anyway near my hair. I hadn’t washed my hair in days, yet by my being what I was, it didn’t matter.
I pitied normal girls, who had to bother with fancy shampoos and products to make their hair anyway near what was deemed ‘acceptable’, whilst I and my kin didn’t even have to lift a finger and still managed to look better than them.
Running my fingers through my dark tresses ponderingly, I shrugged my shoulders and sat down in the chair beside my bed until the nurse came back for me. It was Saturday, most of the school, according to the nurse, were going to the long awaited Hogsmeade trip. I didn’t have to worry about classes – or being seen by anyone I didn’t want to be seen by.
“Ah – you’re all dressed then?” The nurse said, her tone buttery, as she poked her head around the curtain. “All you need to do now is take this – along with whatever you usually take in the mornings.”
She smiled, sweetly, as she handed me a familiar looking vial of potion, which was silvery bronze in colour. I knew better than to drink it slowly, so like I would with a shot of alcohol, I downed it in one. Only I didn’t slam it down on a table, or shout for another. I simply smiled as I wiped my mouth out of habit, and handed it back to her.
I left the hospital wing shortly after that, and was pleasantly surprised to find that I was walking almost normally. For once, I didn’t feel like a hunchback.
I went straight for the Great hall, my hunger mounting, and ignored the group of first years that stood staring at me as I walked past. I didn’t blame them, I never had much patience with the younger students and inevitably that gave me quite the reputation.
They were too young to call me a ‘bitch’, or a ‘slut, so they simply called me ‘mean’. Which, I suppose, I was. I was cruel to the people who tried to help me, and desperate when it came to those who didn’t. My heart longed for those who I knew would break my heart.
It was a sort of penance for my sins. I suppose.
I entered the hall with my head down, blind to the stares and deaf to the whisperings. I sat down at the end of the reasonably empty Slytherin table. As I helped myself to a helping of eggs and bacon, my eyes could not help but shift from their fixed position on my hands.
Instantly, my eyes met a pair of familiar chocolate brown ones.
It felt as though someone had delivered a low blow to my stomach. The air in my lungs left me, and my eyes stung. I gripped the fork in my hand tightly, and bit my lip to stop from exclaiming her name.
I stared at Rose Weasley, my best friend, and fought the urge to run to her. I wanted to wrap myself up in her arms, just as I had done whenever I had been hurt in the past, and take comfort in her logic and her sensible thoughts. Rose always knew the answer; Rose always knew what to do.
But I couldn’t, not this time – or most likely, I never would ever again. Her eyes were hard – guarded, almost – and I did not know what to do.
I thought of the letter in my pocket, remembering her words, and looked away with trembling lips. I could feel her eyes on me as I hurriedly forced down the breakfast I no longer wanted and I saw her move as I tried to flee from the hall.
She caught me by the arm as I moved down the stairs in the direction of my common room, and, carefully, she pulled me so that I faced her. Her eyes were full of tears, and they lowered to stare at the bandage on my neck. She made a sort of gasping noise before she threw her arms around me. I winced, however returned her embrace to the best of my ability.
“I – I’m sorry.” Rose exclaimed, her cheeks flushing red as she drew away from me. “It’s just – well, I don’t know. Everything is a mess, Em – and I haven’t been able to think straight. I mean, it was Christmas Day and suddenly no one knew where you both were – we all thought the worst. Harry and my dad went to work – they called some other Aurors and – they – they thought something awful had happened – and then – then Dad came home and said you and Albus were in the hospital – and that you’d both nearly died.”
Rose was openly sobbing before she had even uttered the word ‘died’ and I touched her arm awkwardly, unsure how I could be of any comfort to her. It had always been the other way around.
“I wanted to see you – but there was so much confusion – and I went to your ward but they wouldn’t let me see you – they said you – and vampires – and so I went home – and when I came back no one would even mention your name and then Auntie Ginny was saying it was your fault and that you were a menace. Harry told her not to say those things – but she wouldn’t listen.”
“She – she was very convincing – and I am so sorry. It’s just – I saw you sitting there and I couldn’t help but think – here you are and you’re fine and alive and not attached to awful machines whilst somewhere – in some strange and horrible place - my cousin could be dead.”
“But that’s not true! It’s not! It’s like Harry said. You almost died and you – you saved Albus’s life. Without you he wouldn’t be alive, even if it is in some – some ward. And for me to be... angry at you for being alive is – Merlin – I hate myself for even thinking it. It makes me sick. And you probably hate me for never coming to see you – and – and you should. I’d hate me too. I mean – I do. I hate me. I hate myself–”
“Stop it, Rose!” I couldn’t help but snap at her. I grabbed her wrists, as they frantically flailed about in her hysteria. I made her look at me, and she looked afraid. “Don’t. You’re Rose - you’re my Rose. You don’t hate anything. You think the word should be eliminated from our vocabularies – you told me yourself when we were twelve – don’t you remember?”
“I remember.” She whispered tearfully, “But things have changed – both of us – we’ve changed. I was – naive. I thought that if I could pretend that the world was wonderful then it would be. But I was wrong. Though the world is a great place where wonderful things do happen, it’s childish to presume that bad things don’t happen as well...”
She wiped her tears away, and smiled at me weakly. “You’re my best friend, and I love you. If anything had happened to you – if I’d lost you, I mean – I don’t know what I would have done. I would have been alone. Completely alone, actually.”
“But – Scorpius?” I had to ask, it was more important for me to ask than to tell her what she already knew. She knew that she was the closest thing I had ever had to family – to a sister – and that I loved her. Of course she knew, Rose knew everything. It was what she did. It was her thing, as James had once said in rebuttal to Hugo calling her a ‘know it all’.
“I don’t know.” She whispered sadly, her eyes dropping to her hands. “Everything was so confusing – and after we discovered you were gone – and they sent for the Aurors- I told him to leave. I sort of – I shouted at him and asked him if he was involved – and may have mentioned his father’s former affiliations -”
“Oh, Merlin, no. Rose, you didn’t.” I gasped in disbelief.
“I did – I did.” She cried, with new tears flooding her cheeks. “I told him to go – to get out of my house – and he won’t even look at me – I’ve tried talking to him – but he just brushes me off and walks away. I don’t know what to do – I don’t know how to let him know that I didn’t mean it – that I – that I love him. Of course I didn’t mean it – I love him. I always have.”
“Then that’s your answer, Rose.” I said, wiping her tears away with my thumb. “Make him listen and tell him exactly that – let him know how you feel. I promise you he feels the same and there’s no way he wouldn’t forgive you. Not if he knew the truth.”
I couldn’t help but hear the irony in my words, how they mirrored what I had never once done in my life. I wasn’t right to preach – to tell Rose what to do – but if it meant she would be happy, then I’d gladly guide her.
She threw her arms around me once again, her sobbing returning to borderline hysteria, and I smiled slightly. I couldn’t help myself.
“I’m so happy you’re back, Em.” She murmured, still clinging to me. “I missed you so much.”
“I wasn’t gone that long, Rose -” I mumbled, frowning. I hadn’t been gone long enough for her to miss me. She didn’t love me so dearly that a single day apart broke her heart – it was different. I’d have thought, after not speaking for two years, she’d have grown used to me not being in her life.
“No – that’s not what I meant. You – you’re back. The old you. The real you.” She drew away from me with shining eyes. She stared at me as though she had just solved some puzzle and was waiting for me to do the same.
“You have no idea what I am talking about, do you? Merlin – it’s just – you’ve been like a ghost for the past two years – distant, like if I touched you, you’d disappear like smoke. You always looked so... empty. It was like you weren’t really there – not mental or anything, just like... you were somewhere else. You weren’t in the classroom, but in some other time. Some other place. I used to watch you – I don’t know why, but I did. I was worried, I thought the old you was dead - but you’re back now. You’re back.”
She was right. I didn’t understand. But I didn’t let her know it.
I nodded my head, smiling weakly, and brushed the remnants of her tears away. I wanted to tell her to go away so I could be alone, for there I could focus on my suffering. I could think of just myself and pretend I was the only person in the world who had problems, the only person who had a reason to cry themselves to sleep.
I didn’t tell her to go; I couldn’t bring myself to say the words to her. Her hand gripped mine as though she depended upon it and her smile, though bright, was wavering. I wasn’t the only one with a broken heart, and I was wrong in thinking that I needed to go through it alone. Rose needed me, and I needed her too.
We went to the library, Rose’s favourite place and my most hated, because of the warmth and its communality. Rose couldn’t enter my common room without facing taunting, mocking, ridicule – whatever my house mates could think of really, and I couldn’t enter hers without being glared at.
The odds of us being friends were against us, we had always known that. We were meant to hate each other. Our housemates taught us that, but it seemed in the end that it didn’t matter whether we were Gryffindors or Slytherins, red or green, good or bad. We were friends.
Rose had dropped my hand once we reached the library, and she skipped ahead of me. She mumbled something about needing to find a book first, and told me to find somewhere for us to sit. I said I would, but that was not where my mind was when I found my feet guiding me through the shelves.
For two years I had avoided the library for its one particular place, and all of the memories that came with returning to it. The place where I had given my heart away had not changed. The wooden table beside the window nearest the row on books to do with Astronomy with the surname of ‘L-S’, the four chairs that surrounded it – and if I looked closely, the inscription he had doodled of our names upon the table top.
I stared at it, half-smiling at the sight of it, and did not fight the memory as it intruded on all other thoughts in my mind. I let it come, knowing it would be inevitable.
Seeing our names inscribed upon the table made it feel as though he had claimed it, and that he had branded our place for all others to see. I stared down at the comical hearts and shapes, knowing he expected me to be pleased, or to laugh, and simply frowned.
I couldn’t help but wonder if he had done the exact same thing with Dominique.
“I was watching you at dinner yesterday – with her.” I remarked coldly, refusing to look at him. I wouldn’t say her name. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It made it too real – and worse of all, it reminded him of what we secretly did when people weren’t watching, or when he had finished teaching me about the stupid things dead people had done for no apparent reason.
“She was in a strange mood yesterday – she kept feeding me.” He replied, with a smile. I couldn’t be angry at him, not when he smiled. Not when his rare humour lit his eyes. It was infectious, and soon I found myself smiling too. Even laughing.
“Why was she feeding you?” I asked, grimacing uncontrollably. I longed to hate him – to despise him – but I couldn’t. It felt as though I needed him to survive, as embarrassing as that even was to think – let alone feel. I felt like one of those melodramatic fools in Hufflepuff, claiming they could not live without someone if they so much as sat somewhere else.
“Is that something you two do?” I let the bitterness seep into my tone, and I saw him glance up at me quickly.
“What’s this about, Emmanuelle?” He asked, sternly, as though I was a misbehaving child.
“I’m jealous. I’m jealous of her – and I hate it.” I snapped, not caring any more how loud I was, or who overheard us. I suffered each day, watching him with her, and I couldn’t help but think to myself – what was he giving up? How was he suffering? He got to snog two different girls – both part Veela. It was any boy’s dream.
“I’ll never be without you, you know that.” He stated with his forehead crumpling into a frown. He behaved as though it was simple, and I was ruining everything. He didn’t understand that I needed him – I was selfish. I needed him all to myself. How I hated myself for needing him so desperately.
“Yeah.” I muttered, failing miserably at trying to sound convincing. “I know.”
With a heavy sigh, his hand moved to sit on top of mine. He had put his quill down, and was no longer focused on the insanely boring book we were meant to be studying. I was touched, in a way. It took a lot to distract him from his pointless education on origins of Transfiguration.
“Why are we doing this, if it’s so hard for you?” He asked with his grey eyes suddenly troubled.
“I’m sorry I’m jealous. I’m sorry I irritate you. Fuck. I’m sorry I’m not more like her. I’m sorry I don’t giggle and do what you say. I’m sorry I don’t just snog you and shut up. I’m sorry but – this is hard for me. I can’t watch you care about someone else without feeling like complete and utter shit.” I hissed angrily. I pushed back my chair, picked up my book and stormed away.
The shocked expression on his face was my only triumph, as with each step I took, the closer I came to tears. By the time I had left the library, quiet sobs were raking through me and I pressed my hand to my lips to silence myself.
I felt his hand on my shoulder, firm but gentle, as I rounded a corner. I turned to fall into his arms, and he caught me. He always did. I buried my face into his shoulder, quietly sobbing, and he wordlessly held me. He was good at that – he always knew how to calm me down, how to draw me back into the world – back into reality.
“You could never irritate me.” He whispered into my ear, with a sudden urgency, “You’re perfect. It would kill me if you ever changed – I love you just the way you are.”
“You love me?” I murmured, half in alarm, half in elation. I drew my head back to look at him, and he looked like he had been caught in a car’s headlights. He looked nervous, and it made me smile as slowly, realisation dawned on me.
“No, I –” He began, sounding panicked.
“I love you too.”
Author’s Note: I am so sorry this has taken me so long to write. I have been so distracted with school and trying to get over this cold/flu/I don’t know what. I hope this chapter didn’t feel too long winded. I was trying not to rush it, but meh, I’m not impressed.
Lyrics: Through the Trees – Low Shoulder (heard it on Jennifer’s body. I am so in love with it right now.)
'Maman' - means, 'mum'.
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