Chapter 8 : All My Life I've Been Good, But Now...
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“Now don’t think I’m a snoop or anything, but you left this in the bathroom and it just kind of opened and I somehow ended up reading it,” Dom explained nervously.
I was sitting on one of the squashy armchairs in her sitting room, trying to figure out a crossword puzzle in the Daily Prophet. I was stuck on a relatively tricky word. It was five letters and the hint was ‘name passed down through a family of greatness’. All I knew was that the third letter was an M and the last was an S.
I looked up at Dom and noticed she was holding the letter my father had sent me. I inwardly cringed because it was embarrassing enough with just me knowing that my father ignored me, let alone have someone else in on the humiliation.
“Mhmm,” I responded uninterested while I tried to figure out the crossword. Let’s see, Seamus ended with an S but I’m pretty sure that name hasn’t been passed down through the Finnegan family. And if it had they weren’t really a family of greatness now were they? Oh and it has six letters. Well now I feel stupid.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Dom asked sympathetically. I looked back down at the crossword puzzle and pretended I hadn’t heard her.
“Hello?” Dom said waving her hand in front of my face. “Earth to Coco! The crossword puzzle can’t be that interesting.”
“Hold on I’m almost done…” I responded trailing off as I continued to think.
“Why don’t you want to talk about the letter?” Dom said finally sensing the fact that I was trying to blow her off. “It’s better to let it out than have it all buried in there.”
I rolled my eyes at Dom’s words and read the hint over and over again in my mind. “It was a letter from my dad of him saying something to me that would disappoint me. It’s typical, so excuse me for not wanting to talk about it,” I responded in a monotone.
“I’m sorry he ignores you, Coco,” Dom said gingerly, not sure if I would bite her head of for mentioning it. “I wish your dad didn’t always disappoint you.”
I brushed her words off and pretended I didn’t care. I had stopped trying to get my dad to notice or appreciate me about a year after I moved in with him. He hardly noticed what I did, so trying to interact with him was just awkward and uncomfortable. It was almost like he pretended I just happened to be some random girl living in his house instead of his daughter.
“So Coco I was thinking,” Dom said, breaking into my thoughts and trying to get my attention again. I ignored her and continued to try and solve the puzzle. Let’s see…
Remus! It had to be Remus. That name was passed on as a middle name to Teddy. I wrote the name down and then realized it was wrong seeing as the second letter was an A according to the down column. Darn, and I was so close.
“Coco stop doing the crossword and look at me,” Dom said at her wits end. I looked back up at her and noticed she was extremely annoyed.
“What?!” I asked just as snappily. I really didn’t want to talk about the letter, or anything that had to do with my father, and I wished Dom sensed that.
“Well, I was just thinking…” Dom said slowly, seeming to get nervous at her suggestion.
“Just thinking…” I prodded.
“That maybe you should owl your mum or something. Let her know that you’re going to be attending Hogwarts,” Dom said looking at me hopefully. I kept my face as neutral as possible, and then turned back to the crossword puzzle.
There was honestly no way that I would ever try to contact my mother. She had made it perfectly clear that she was fine without me, and contacting her now after such a long time would be useless. It would also be incredibly embarrassing when she didn’t reply.
“Come on, Coco. Why don’t you want to just try?” Dom implored as she widened her eyes at me.
“Dom, I really don’t think that’d be a good idea,” I said after a long pause.
“Why not?” Dom demanded.
“It’s just… things were kind of left on bad terms when I decided to live with my father, and I don’t think my mum would want to hear from me,” I explained.
Dom seemed to not be able to comprehend having a parent who did not want their daughter to contact them. Not that I was surprised. Here she was, raised by this perfect family, who played a major part in the wizarding war, with siblings that were always around, and an overlarge family that loved her.
And then there was me, with my absent father, estranged mother, and sister who didn’t give a rat’s arse about me. My family wasn’t exactly the poster family of happiness like hers was.
“Corinne, I’m sure if you just tried to contact your mum she’d be more than happy to see you. She’s your mum for Merlin’s sake,” she said exasperated. Oh how naïve my Domster could be.
“Yeah she is my mum, but I hurt her really bad when I decided to leave and live with my dad,” I responded.
“But now you’re going to be back at Hogwarts! You could even move back in with her for your last year, its not like your dad would even notice. You could even see her at winter break because I think it’s safe to say your dad won’t be around much during that time.”
Dom was right with her reasoning on my dad. He was barely around during the holidays, and when he was it was just to shove money in my hands with a stiff ‘Happy Christmas’ before walking to his office and doing work. We never decorated or celebrated much.
“Dom, my mum doesn’t want anything to do with me. And there’s Bailey as well who I’m sure loves that I’m gone,” I said bitterly.
“You really don’t know until you try,” Dom tried.
“Dom, I really don’t want to talk about this anymore, okay? I’m not contacting my mum and that’s that,” I snapped, finally not being able to discuss this any longer.
I noticed Dom’s crestfallen face and immediately felt bad. Dom would never understand my family. Her life was too put-together and too perfect for her to ever comprehend the shambles mine was in.
Even if by some miracle I contacted my mum and she replied to me, I only had one more year left of school anyway. That would hardly be enough time for us to catch up on the last four years of our lives. The time had already disappeared from us, and there was no fixing everything that had happened. The gap was way to big, for either of us to dare venture.
“I just think you should try,” Dom said softly.
I didn’t respond and looked back at the crossword puzzle that I had yet to solve. Five letters, second letter A, third M, last letter S. What could this stupid sodding name be?
I soon figured out that the first letter of the word had to start with a J, since the word down was ‘jinx’ and it finally dawned on me what the name was. James. As in James Potter. The name passed down through a family of greatness.
I thought of the feel of James’s lips against my own at Dom’s party, and wished that I gagged at the thought. Sadly James was an excellent snogger and whenever I thought of how much I hated him, it was quickly followed by how insanely attractive he had become and what a good snog he was.
I decided that I didn’t feel like finishing the crossword puzzle anymore and tossed the Daily Prophet on the ground instead. Dom arched an eyebrow at my change of heart and gave me a questioning look.
“I finished it,” I said even though I still had a couple blank rows on the crossword. Dom noticed this, but didn’t say anything. She was probably thinking that I was still cross about her bringing up my family.
The truth is, the crossword had just reminded me of other problems. Other problems that involved me seeing James Potter again. And the sad thing was, that those were the least of my worries.
“Retail therapy,” Dom stated, after I had asked her to repeat what she said.
“What about it?” I asked curiously.
“We need some. You see, in three weeks time, we are going to enter a school full of people that we hate, and we need to look hot,” Dom explained to me matter-of-factly. She used ‘we’ in as loose a term as possible. Since I hated the Gryffindors in my year, she hated them as well, even though they hadn’t done anything to her per say. Although she did hold a grudge against some of her cousins all on her own.
“And how is looking hot therapy?” I asked cocking my head to the side.
“Looking hot builds confidence, confidence makes you happy, therapy is all about building confidence and making people happy. Therefore, buying clothes equals therapy,” Dom said all in one breath.
I sighed. Dom had been trying for the past week to come up with ideas to make me happier about the impending doom I was going to face on September 1st . In the past week we had eaten chocolate chunk ice cream every night (the fat free/low calorie type that tastes very much like water), had gone to the beach almost every morning (my hair had become significantly blonder, and my skin had turned a perfect shade of golden-brown), and I had received a kitten named Milo (he was all-white with shockingly blue eyes, and was also deaf but I loved him to bits anyway).
Fleur had gotten him for me as a pick-me-up gift, as I had always wanted a kitten. He was going to be put to sleep at the pound seeing as he was deaf and not many people wanted deaf cats, so Fleur had decided to get the kitty for me anyway, since I had never had a pet of my own.
Milo was currently sitting in my lap, purring contently as I absentmindedly stroked his soft fur. His white fur felt like cotton or a cloud, and his pink nose was scrunched while his eyes remained closed.
“I see,” I said finally looking up from Milo and back at Dom. “And this retail therapy
will be done with what money?”
“Well, your dad gave you his GTM card so you can get money from there, and maman gave me her card as well so our parents are treating us,” Dom explained with a sparkle in her eye.
In case you don’t know, a GTM card was developed about a decade ago and it’s a way to get money from your Gringott’s vault, without actually having to go all the way to Diagon Alley to get it. You just put the card in a GTM machine, enter the amount you want to withdraw, and can go on your merry way. Almost every wizarding shop now contains a GTM machine so that you can withdraw money at your pleasure.
“Yes but my dad also told me not to ‘use my card incessantly’,” I said, repeating my fathers words in a voice as close as I could to his.
Dom rolled her eyes at me, “And since you haven’t used it basically all summer, you can use it now! Your dad won’t mind anyway, it’s not like you don’t have any money.”
My father did get a lot of money from his job, seeing as it was basically his life, but I always hated using his money. It almost felt like I was condoning the fact that he ignored me and spent all of his time working, because I was spending the money he had made. I tended to use his money as little as possible, although I did break occasionally and buy clothes.
And Dom did have a point. I was in major need of retail therapy, in my opinion, and I had barely bought anything all summer.
“Well... Since you forced me I guess we can shop,” I said after a long pause. Dom immediately grinned at me.
“Good because I already have a bunch of places mapped out for us to go to! I told Tante Gabrielle that we’d probably head over to her shop first, so Francesca will probably join us too,” Dom rambled excitedly.
Tante Gabrielle (or Aunt Gabby as I liked to call her) was Fleur’s sister and had her own clothing boutique in France that had some of the most amazing clothes. Her daughter, Francesca, was one of the best people to shop with, seeing as she knew just about everything about clothes since she worked in her mum’s shop. She had attended Beauxbatons as well, and we all got along but seeing as she two years above us we hadn’t seen her much since she graduated. Her and Gabby were always traveling to well-known shopping capitals throughout Europe in order to get the most on trend clothes for their boutique, which is why they hadn’t come to Dom’s party, but they always gave great fashion advice.
Francesca also had a twin brother, Theo, who I had actually dated for a while. He was gorgeous seeing as he had a bit of veela in him, but when he had graduated Beauxbatons we had agreed to end it on amiable terms. We still wrote letters to each other occasionally, and I considered him a good friend. Dom had been heartbroken because she had really wanted us to stay together and get married and such so that we would be related, but she got over it eventually, having the idea in her head that one day “we’d rekindle our old flames”. He was in Romania with Bill’s brother Charlie training him for the summer to work with dragons, and he wouldn’t be home until the day before we went off to Hogwarts. This mean he’d be able to come to Fleur’s barbeque that she held every year right before school started, and so we’d be able to see each other.
“You planned all these places before you knew I’d agree?” I asked feigning annoyance.
“I knew you’d agree,” Dom replied with a smirk.
Dom plopped herself on the bed next to me and gave me an exasperated look as I continued to stroke Milo, unphased. “Because Coco, if you did not agree I would not be happy, and in turn you would not be happy. I mean, isn’t that what friendships all about?”
I rolled my eyes at Dom’s warped way of thinking, “Actually I’m happy when you’re not happy, I thought that’s why we were friends.”
Dom elbowed me in the side at this remark. “Oh be quiet Coco. Now get off your lazy arse and let’s shop!”
“Girls! You have gotten even more beautiful if possible,” Aunt Gabby said coming over to Dom and me and giving us each a hug. The silvery hair her and Fleur shared was cut short to just below her chin, and was held back in a cute clip. She was wearing a long flowy top belted at the waist, dark-wash skinny jeans, and rounded toe heels.
She looked barely old enough to have kids of her own, let alone a daughter and son near our age.
I looked around the boutique, which was absolutely gorgeous. The walls were painted a baby blue with criss-crossing pink stripes, and had gorgeous Parisian paintings hanging over the walls. My favorite painting was one of the Eiffel tower at sunrise, and the sky was a dusky pink with ribbons of purple and orange woven throughout. There were floor to ceiling windows in the boutique as well, that were covered with sheer white lace curtains and mannequins were standing at the front wearing silky shirts and satiny skirts.
The walls were lined with hundreds of clothing items in varying hues made out of gorgeous gauzy and silk materials. Accessories were scattered across shelves that were in the store and purses of all shapes were calling out to me, begging me to buy them. Glittering necklaces and bracelets were dotted along the counters, and I caught sight of a beautiful gold necklace.
“FRANCESCA! Coco and Dominique are here!” Gabby called to the back of her store, interrupting my daydreaming about buying a particularly gorgeous red purse. There was a rustle and the sound of something toppling over, followed by a slew of French curse words, before Francesca finally emerged from the back of the store.
“Maman someone left all the boxes of scarves stacked up right in the middle of the hallway in the back, again,” Francesca complained. Her long silver hair was pulled into a side braid, and she had on a simple white eyelet dress with a stack of gold bangles on one arm, and layers of necklaces piled atop her neck.
“Maybe you should watch where the boxes are being placed,” Gabby stated with a jesting smile.
“Were you that someone?! I tell you time and time again that if you stack the boxes in the middle of the hallway someone’s not going to be able to get around them and will knock them over,” Francesca shot back.
“Frannie, I’ve been running this store for years without you and I will stack the boxes wherever I see fit. Now stop being rude and say hello to our guests.”
Francesca seemed to finally notice that Dom and I were there and turned to us before breaking out into a smile and flinging her arms around us. “Oh you guys it’s been too long!”
“And whose fault is that?” Dom said jokingly returning the hug. I hugged Francesca as well and inhaled the fresh daisy scent that she seemed to be wearing.
“I told you I was sorry I had to miss your party! I had to go to Milan and meet with the head of Dragon & Grindewald to make sure we got first pick of clothing for the store,” Francesca said apologetically. “I wish I had been there, believe me. The person I met with was such an arse and kept upping the prices he had originally promised to me.”
“I know, I know,” Dom replied understandingly.
“Besides,” Francesca said pulling away from us and walking behind the counter near the back of the store, which had a pink cash register placed on top of it, “If I hadn’t gone to Milan, I wouldn’t have been able to get you this.”
With that she pulled out a buttery leather handbag that was a light brown and had Dragon & Grindewald stamped onto the front buckle. It had to be worth a couple hundred galleons, seeing as it was a version that hadn’t been released in stores yet, and Dom immediately squealed and grabbed the bag out of Francesca’s hand.
“You are totally forgiven,” Dom screeched, swinging the bag over her shoulder and stroking it with her other hand. “It’s beautiful!”
“Thought you’d like it,” Francesca said letting out a laugh at Dom’s reaction. “And Coco don’t think I forgot about you!”
I looked away from Dom who was now singing ‘Cauldron Full of Hot Strong Love’ to her purse while she danced around the store, and turned back to look at Francesca. She searched behind the counter once more, wisps of her hair coming out of her braid and framing her face beautifully, and then brandished an oversized leather quilted clutch. It was black and had a gold-chain strap with the logo stamped across the front. I hadn’t expected to receive anything and I was shocked that Francesca had thought of me on her trip.
“Wow it’s totally gorgeous,” I said taking the clutch out of her hands and admiring the buttery feel of the leather beneath my fingers. I was totally turning into Dom. “Thank you so much!”
Dom stopped her singing cleared her throat and then spoke, realizing she had yet to thank her cousin, “Oh yeah, thanks I suppose.” She then came up to me and we traded bags so I could admire hers for a little and she could look at mine before trading back again.
“Neither of these purses are out on the market yet so brag about them when you attend Hogwarts,” Francesca said with a glint in her eye.
Dom and I nodded our heads eagerly, while Aunt Gabby pursed her lips at the mention of Hogwarts. I think it’s safe to say that everyone on Fleur’s side of the family did not agree with the mentorship program.
“I still cannot believe Beauxbatons is making you do a mentorship with them. Fleur told me about it and I was appalled that such an upstanding institution would join forces with such a barbaric school,” Gabby stated, confirming my thoughts. Everyone nodded their heads in agreement.
“I know right! Like we chose to go to Beauxbatons for a reason. It’s much more refined and if anything Hogwarts should visit us, as they have much more to learn,” Dom agreed eagerly.
“I think Madame Maxime did it because of that gamekeeper at Hogwarts, Hagrid,” Frannie said leaning in showing she was about to spill major gossip. “I heard that he broke it off with her because she wasn’t around enough or something and he wanted her to make a full commitment to be with him.”
I recalled in the back of my mind the Hogwarts Gamekeeper that Frannie was referring to. He was a large man to put it in the most understated of terms. He was also very unkempt and had a tangled beard that he never seemed to take care of. I wondered how our elegant and stately headmistress could have fallen for someone of that nature.
“Typical men. Making the women give up everything just to be with them,” I remarked, rolling my eyes at Madame Maxime’s weakness. She should demand him to come to Beauxbatons, not the other way around. He was a gamekeeper for Merlin’s sake. It wasn’t like he would’ve been leaving much behind.
“Does she have no dignity?” Dom asked rhetorically. “If the guy doesn’t make an effort, neither should she.”
“Girls it’s really not polite to gossip,” Gabby said giving us looks that said we should know better. “Whatever happened is Madame Maxime’s business and it’s rude to judge her if you don’t know the whole story.”
Frannie rolled her eyes but stopped talking so as not to get scolded by Gabby again. Dom just huffed, obviously wanting to hear more about the Madame Maxime/Hagrid love affair.
“Anyways,” Frannie said changing the subject, “I picked out a bunch of clothes for you both to try on that we aren’t selling yet in the store, so get your gorgeous selves into a changing room and start trying stuff on. Like anything and you can have it, on me.”
“Oh maman told me not to let you give us things for free,” Dom explained. “We don’t want you thinking that we only come here for the free clothes, even though we do.”
Frannie and Gabby laughed at Dom’s remark and then Gabby started to speak again. “Oh girls don’t be silly! Anything you see here is a gift from us. Now come on Dom let me show you the cutest sundress me and Frannie found for you.”
“Fine with me!” Dom said her internal battle officially over with. She then followed Gabby to the back of the store where the dressing rooms were, to one that had about a million clothes hanging inside of it.
Frannie turned away from watching Dom and Gabby as they disappeared and then turned to me, giving me a sympathetic look. “I heard from Fleur about how hard it was for you at Hogwarts.”
I felt that feeling that seemed to be ever-present at the pit of my stomach whenever Hogwarts was mentioned. It almost felt like someone was permanently squeezing it, which left me feeling uneasy. However, as much as I hated for people to know about my Hogwarts days, I was okay with Frannie knowing about it.
“Yeah,” I echoed back to her, not really wanting to talk much more about it.
She seemed to sense this and gave me another look, “I just want you to know that it won’t be the same. You have a support system now, you know?” Her silver eyes widened to enhance her point, and her eyebrows were drawn together to show that she was being serious. “Everyone goes through awful times in their life, but you’re over that now. I mean look at you.”
I rolled my eyes but gave Frannie a grateful smile nonetheless, which just made Frannie break out into a beatific smile of her own. She linked her arm through mine and started to pull me to the back of the store. “Now let’s get you some amazing clothes to make those people at Hogwarts hate themselves even more.”
I laughed and let her drag me to the back, thinking about her previous words. I guess my biggest worry was that I’d return to Hogwarts and everything would be the same. That people would still make fun of me for the person I once was; that I would still have no friends. But I wouldn’t let that happen. I had people I could depend on, like Frannie said, and I knew I would always have their support and love. That was really all I needed.
And as for everyone else at Hogwarts? Well it was time to turn the tables, now wasn’t it?
A/N: Hello to my beautiful readers! So don't hate me for submittting this chapter in the queue a day later than expected, this week was fairly busy and what not, but I managed to get the amount of chapters that I wanted done, done, and the plot is coming along nicely.
As for that, since I really know where the story's going, if you review and ask any questions about what might happen in the next chapter, I will most likely answer them. Maybe even give a sneak peak?
But anyways, back to the point. So, how do you like this chapter? Do you like Frannie? What do you think about the Theo thing? Gabby? Do you think it was a good idea to bring Fleur's side of the family into this story?
Oh and in case any of you are familiar with the story Coming Back a Swan, I've gotten some reviews mentioning it and yes I absolutely love that story and it was a big inspiration (obviously) when it came to writing my own story. I have been questioning if maybe it's a bit too similar and I've been trying to change the plot as much as I can I just really liked the idea of going to another school and returning completely different and very well-liked. It's been updated too! So if you haven't read it go read it now, it's absolutely amazing. Another story that was an inspiration is the story Ignorant by OrdinarilyExtraordinary but sadly it was abandoned. Still read it if you would like as it's good too!
Alright I think I've written too much in my Author's Note, but thank you all so much for your overwhelmingly positive response and keep on reviewing (seriously, your reviews make me want to write and inspire me) !
See ya next chapter! :)
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