The-prettiest-CI-in-the-world by Kaileena_Sands @ TDA
Thanks for reading this! And as always, reviews make me smile.
I was six and you were four when I first saw you. Of course, back then, it seemed like an age difference that could never be breached. Uncle Harry took me to your house so he could talk to your father. I was mad at him. I didn’t want to go and sit around and wait for him. I wanted to stay home and play with the new toy broomstick Aunt Ginny had bought me. I loved Aunt Ginny. She always bought me presents and told me not to tell. She called it, “our little secret”. Uncle Harry had promised to teach me how to ride the broomstick next time I came over, and that was today.
“After we get back,” he said when I reminded him.
“It’s going to be boring.”
“Uncle Bill has a daughter. She’s only a couple years younger than you,” he assured me. That didn’t help.
“I don’t want to go meet a girl!” I cried.
Uncle Harry sighed. “I’m sorry, Teddy Bear.” It was his nickname for me. “But your Grandma and Grandpa are on vacation and Aunt Ginny is at practice. This is important. And Aunt Fleur makes yummy cookies,” he said, trying to tempt me. “And Victorie’s really nice. Just give her a chance.”
I puffed out my cheeks, like I always did when I was annoyed. “Fine,” I said, trying to stop a grin from creeping onto my face. I didn’t care about you right then; I just wanted the cookies.
We arrived from the fireplace. Uncle Bill was waiting for Uncle Harry, but I didn’t see any cookies. I tugged at Uncle Harry’s sleeve.
“Where are the cookies?” I demanded. Uncle Harry looked apologetically at Uncle Bill, but he just laughed.
“I think Fleur baked some a couple days ago. Try looking in the kitchen,” he told me, pointing to a door. I didn’t even wait to say thank you as I hurried through the door, ignoring Uncle Harry as he called after me. Sitting on the counter was a tray filled with chocolate chip cookies. They were my favorite. I ran up and grabbed one.
It was halfway gone before I noticed you. You were sitting on the floor, playing with a porcelain doll with dark skin and even darker hair. She was beautiful. But even my six year old eyes could tell that you were much, much prettier. You were dressed in yellow, yellow like the sun, with a little blue bow that matched the color of your eyes. Even though I was only seven, I thought you were the most beautiful girl in the world. Suddenly, I didn’t care about the cookie. It fell from my hand and onto the floor, but I didn’t even notice. It was a new feeling to me. So I walked up to you and waited. But when you saw me, you turned away and went back to your porcelain doll. She was dressed in red, so I made my hair red to match. And you turned around, saw me, and giggled before running upstairs.
I didn’t see you again for a long time. I forgot about you. I grew up. I went away to school for the first time. I never even remembered your name. I turned twelve in April and then I came home. In that summer, I saw you again. It was your tenth birthday and Grandma Molly wanted to throw you a party. She invited everyone, which unfortunately for me at the time, included Grandma ‘Medra and me. Grandma ‘Medra made me put on my best clothes and comb my hair and wash my face and I whined and whined.
“Where are we even going?” I asked.
“To Victorie’s birthday party,” Grandma said patiently.
“Why?” I said indignantly.
“Because Grandma Molly invited us.”
“Who IS Victorie?”
“Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur’s daughter. She’s turning ten.”
I shook my head. There were too many Weasleys. I would never remember them all. But I allowed her to give me the green floo powder. I stepped into the fireplace, the ash no longer a problem for me, an experienced traveler by that point. When I stepped out, I found myself in the Burrow. I had been here enough times to know where everything was, but the furniture was all moved to the side to make room for the games and food of your party. Grandma showed you to me. And then I remembered who you were, and I couldn’t help but grin.
“Oh!” I gasped. Grandma looked at me strangely, but she said nothing. You were dressed in pink this time, pink like the roses scattered through the room. Your face was glowing and your red-blonde hair was curled in little ringlets, falling around your shoulders. And suddenly, I was glad I had come.
“Go and give her present to her.” She handed me a little parcel wrapped in silver shiny paper and told me to be nice when I gave it to you. As if I would be mean. Actually, I wasn’t even sure if I still had the ability to speak. All of a sudden, I was shy. Shy around a little ten year old. But I walked up to where you were sitting with your friends and held the present out to you. I don’t think you even noticed me as you eagerly ripped it apart to find a gold necklace with a ten dangling from it. So I made my hair gold to match. And you giggled before turning back to your friends.
I went back to school soon after that, for the second time. But all that year, I thought about your smile. I loved your smile. So when I came home for the summer, I wanted to see you again. But no invitation came for your birthday. I didn’t tell Grandma ‘Medra and I didn’t tell Uncle Harry that I wanted to see you again. I thought they would laugh, and I didn’t like it when people laughed at me. So the entire summer passed before I realized that you would come with me to school that year. When we got to the platform, and I saw you looking around shyly like all the other first years, like me a mere two years ago, I took your hand and said that you could come with me. You jerked it away and looked at me appraisingly. I pulled you away until I found a good hiding spot and I conjured a bouquet of pink roses for you, because I remembered you liked them from your birthday, and I made my hair pink to match. And you giggled, but this time you followed me to my compartment, but you didn’t come in, choosing instead to wave and dart into the one next door, still holding my roses.
I had thought that I would be seeing you more often, now that we were going to have school together, but I was wrong. You were sorted into Gryffindor, while I was a Hufflepuff, like my mother had been. You did your own things, and I did mine. Our classes were different, our common rooms were different, and our years were different. I began to give up, thinking I had no chance of ever seeing you in such a big castle.
But I waited, until we had both grown up more. There were plenty of girls I could have chosen, but I wanted you. So when I was in my sixth year, you your fourth, and Professor McGonagall decided to have a ball, I knew I wanted to go with you. I looked for you in the hallways and the Great Hall until I finally found you. I didn’t know how to ask you, but I remembered that you liked my gifts, so I created white birds from my wand to accompany me as I walked towards you, making my hair white to match as I went. When I asked you, you said yes, and that became the best word in the world. You cupped one of the birds in your hand and admired it, looking back at my hair and giggling, saying I looked like an old man, and I laughed along with you.
The day of the ball drew near until it finally arrived. I bought a pair of blue dress robes to match your eyes and a flower corsage to give to you, with a blue rose to match my robes and your eyes. I waited for you outside your common room, and when you emerged, I thought I was looking at a goddess. You were dressed in pale gold with your hair flowing down your back in smooth waves, and I nearly fainted. But I walked up to you and gave you the corsage, and you blushed with pleasure. You said I looked nice in blue, so I made my hair blue too. And you giggled and said that you liked it best at brown.
I was deliriously happy that night. With you on my arm, actually touching me, I felt that nothing could go wrong. I inhaled deeply and breathed in the scent of strawberries on your hair. I’ll never forget the way that it smelt. And you lead me onto the dance floor, despite my protests that I didn’t know how to dance, just as a slow song began to play. So I pulled you close as the song began and we swayed gently.
“Spun the stars on her fingernails, but it never made her happy…” came the gentle croon. But I wasn’t paying attention to the words. You head, leaning against my chest, was all that I could think about. As the song drew to a close, you stood on your tiptoes and kissed my cheek and I stood there, shocked for a moment, before I leaned in to kiss your lips. To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so happy. When we drew back, you lifted a finger to your lips and asked me not to tell anyone. Not yet. And of course, I agreed. I finally had you, and that was all that mattered.
My last year at Hogwarts was a whirlwind of kisses behind statues of armor, holding hands in Hogsmeade, and studying together in the library, but being kicked out every time because we’d start kissing in between the bookshelves. But I didn’t care what we did, as long as I was by your side. Through it all, I bought you little presents. A bracelet, a ring, a necklace, whatever you wanted. Nothing made me more happy than to see the way your face lit up when I presented you with a gift. I began to blush so much that I kept my hair permanently crimson to match. Every time my face would match my hair, you’d giggle and place your hand against my cheek to feel the warmth.
When it was time for us to leave again that year, I realized I would never be coming back. But you promised that you’d wait for me during the school year, and I promised the same. So all throughout the next year, while I was looking for a job and helping Uncle Harry babysit Albus and Lily, I wrote you letters. Sometimes every day, but never more than two days would pass without me writing a letter. You wrote back, always, and I lived for your letters. The curly script that I would trace over with my finger and kiss sometimes when I missed your lips. Every little thing began to remind me of you. The white pebble on a riverbank that was the color of your skin. The pale pink silk of a dress in a window what was the color of your hair. The ribbon on a curtain that was the color of your eyes. I always sent them to you, imagining your delighted face when you saw them. It kept me going, through that year. And then there was only one more before we could be together again.
I came to see you off, the day before you were to start your final year at Hogwarts. I didn’t tell anyone. Instead, I quietly apparated into King’s Cross and slipped through the barrier amidst a large group. I watched you from afar as your mother laid a goodbye kiss on your cheek and your father pulled you in for a quick hug. You waved to them as you walked away, but I grabbed your hand before you could step onto the train and pulled you into the same hiding spot we had used seven years ago, but this time, I pulled you into my arms and kissed you. What must have been at least a few minutes felt like seconds before James Potter ran in and clamped a hand over his mouth.
“What are you DOING?” he yelled.
We jumped apart. Almost immediately, you began to laugh, but I shifted uncomfortably. “I, er, just came to see her off,” I said. James ran out again, looking disgusted, but you cupped my chin in your hand and laid another kiss on my lips. Before you could go, I gave you a small, black velvet box and told you to open it when you were alone in your dorm. You looked up at me, and saw that my hair was already black to match. You laughed, kissing my cheek once more before running onto the train.
Now I’m sitting here, perched on the edge of my bed, awaiting an owl from you that I hope will come. It has to come. You have to love me too. In the box was a diamond ring and a note, my shortest ever to you. Only four words, but yet, the most important words of my life. “Will you marry me?” I hope you will say yes. I know you will say yes. But it has been three days since term started, and still no owl has come. Tired of gazing out the window, I lay back on my bed and fall asleep.
I am awakened in the morning with the gentle peck, peck, peck of an owl’s beak on my ear. I bolt upright and untie the letter from the owl with shaking hands. On the front is my name in your curly script. I trace it, afraid to open the envelope and see what is inside. All I hope for is a yes. One word will suffice for this letter. I squeeze my eyes shut and tear the envelope, taking the letter out and shaking it open. I open my eyes, barely a hair’s width wide. But there is more writing than just one word. I take a deep breath and begin to read.
I would like to start off by saying how much I love the ring. You always buy me the prettiest presents. I love what you buy me.
I am flattered by your request. I am delighted that you see something different, something good in me. So I would be honored to marry you. Thank you, Teddy, for everything you have given me.
I read the letter twice. Something doesn’t seem right, but I can’t place my finger on what. You said yes. I should be jumping up and down with happiness. So why am I sitting here, looking confused? I read the letter again, trying to force myself to smile, but none comes. What is wrong with me? I love you and you love me back, so why am I not happy?
I stand up and walk to my desk. Tucked inside the top drawer is a sheath of pictures of you. You’re gorgeous. I stare into your eyes, and that’s when it hits me. They don’t glow. They don’t shine with happiness like mine do when I look at you. I take the next picture out from behind it. This time, you are holding a necklace, one of my many gifts to you. This time, your eyes are shining like a star. I begin to panic. I throw it aside. In the next one, you are holding another gift, and again your eyes shine. I toss it over my shoulder. In this one, you are next to me, but your eyes are dull. I throw the entire sheath of photos into the air, leaving them to scatter all over my floor and kneel down, my face in my hands. Why have I never noticed this before?
I curl into a ball on the floor. I have figured out what was wrong about your letter. Where in the letter do you say you love me? Where in the letter do you even talk about me at all? It is all about my presents. All about the objects I have given you. I feel even more panicked now. I think back. Have you ever said you love me? Have you ever said I was anything more to you than a way to get gifts? Your eyes lit up when they saw a parcel, but never when they stared into mine. I feel hot, sweaty, and my breathing is ragged. Did you ever care for me at all?
A tear falls from my eye and clears a path in the dust on the floor. There is no one to blame for the hurt I feel but myself. I feel empty, as though I have lost a part of myself. I can try and pretend that I don’t love you, but I know that this is not true. This won’t even hurt you, though. You’ll still have all your necklaces and earrings and lip glosses and shoes. You’ll still have your beautiful house and your beautiful room and your beautiful face. Because I never did matter. You had everything from the time you were four and playing with that porcelain doll. You have everything now. You can have everything in the world if you ask for it. I, as a fool, thought that meant you loved me. In truth, you love your things. So you can have them. But you can’t have me, too. So congratulations. You’ve won everything in the world. But in the process, you lost me.