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Chapter 19 : When It's Time
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I am well aware that its been about 6 months since I last updated, and no one probably wants to read this. However, I just graduated from high school and don’t go to college til September, meaning I have a ton of time on my hands. I hope to finish TB and start a new story during that time.
I am so sorry for the wait.
However, the next chapter will be the last one!
Title and Summary song:
“When It’s Time” by: Green Day
That when I take your hand, it’s ‘cause I want to
We are all born in a world of doubt
But there’s no doubt I figured out I love you
Nice was probably the most beautiful place I have ever been. It was an ocean city, thriving on the success of its fishing industry, but most importantly its tourism. Regardless of all the people, it was undeniably gorgeous. The beach spanned for miles, far beyond what the human eye could see. Soft white sand made up the shore line and faded away into the turquoise abyss of the Mediterranean, which, much like its beach, gradually disappeared into the horizon.
It seemed like the sun was always out; I couldn’t remember a day when there had been a cloud in the sky. This was such a difference from England; all I could recall when I looked back on the last seventeen years of my life was being locked up by interminable cloud cover and endless rain. There was no question that the lackluster weather of the United Kingdom only added to the substandard parenting style of Porrima and Corvus.
With only a few exceptions, I never thought about England at all. I had absolutely no contact with Porrima. Dad, on the other hand, at least made an effort to write a few times a month. I found, upon entering my new room in Marcel and Lucida’s apartment, that all my belongings from the Black hellhole made it to France unscathed. Apparently Lucida was still on good terms with Dad too, as he so kindly gave all my items to Luce without Mother’s knowledge. And if she knew, Porrima didn’t do anything to stop him. My guess was that she was happy to have every trace of mine banished from her house.
Severus never wrote to me. I expected as much, though I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. Maybe there had been a little hope inside of me that truly believed he would keep in contact. But the reality was all too clear; Severus was with Voldemort. He had little time to waste on trivial things like writing an old companion. Especially while he was trying to help wipe the entire Earth clean of the Muggle race.
Otherwise, life in Nice was perfect. I had a job as a waitress in a local café; my poor attempt at the French language made me really popular with all of the English-speaking tourists, and the butt of all the French locals’ jokes. And though I hated people, I found that working for overexcited tourists who didn’t know that the tip was automatically included in the bill worked out for me. Muggles were so much easier to please than wizards and witches; there was no sense of superiority or self-righteousness. There were just happy people, happy to be alive.
Three weeks after arriving in Nice, I found myself helping my manager, Etienne, close up shop for the night. He was young, in his early twenties, and had the most amazing biceps, as Lucida had claimed when she told me to apply for a job here. I think she was more excited over the fact that I got the job than I was. When I pointed out that she was a married and pregnant woman, she merely claimed, “I can look, I just can’t touch,”. She often made runs to the café for trivial things like milk and sugar, which, by now, I’m sure she had enough to feed an army. Though Etienne knew the premise of her daily visits, he always laughed when she blushed and waddled out with another bottle of milk. The woman was cleaning us out.
However, this particular night, we were the only two left in the café; Etienne always stayed until close on Fridays and my last table had just decided to stay for as long as they possibly could. Though I longed to tell them that I had a life to attend to, I bit my tongue, wrestling with my own sarcasm. Working in the café seemed to be good for me. I found that it was becoming easier to hold back my snarky comments and actually be nice to people. Of course the incentive of a good tip always helped me through the most annoying customers. But still, I was a work in progress.
“Oh, that’s disgusting.” I wrinkled my nose at the underside of the table I was currently scrubbing; bits of food and crap were glued to the surface and it was near impossible to get it all off. Not to mention the fact that the debris was so deformed and/or rotted that I could no longer tell what it actually was.
“Quelle est le probleme?” I heard Etienne’s low voice from somewhere by the front counter and his footsteps as he neared me and my dilemma. He very well knew that I couldn’t speak or understand French and found it fun to try to talk to me in French and watch my facial expressions as I tried to mentally piece the words in English. I had had a French tutor at some point in my life; Mother thought it necessary that a well-bred girl know another language and hired someone to teach me. After a few weeks and several tutors later, she scrapped the idea, knowing that I was hopeless.
I kneeled on the floor, holding my dirty rag and trying to translate his question. Quelle est le probleme. Well, probleme was obvious. Context. Let’s put it in context.
Suddenly, the table I was hiding behind moved to the side, showing a grinning Etienne.
“Get it?” He asked, lifting an eyebrow. I gave him a playful scowl.
“Yes.” Now both eyebrows rose, “Oui.” I corrected with a sigh. He laughed and I rolled my eyes.
“You have a good accent-”
“Now you just need ze words.”
“You know it’s a lost cause.” I countered, cocking my head to the side and giving him a pointed look. He shook his head, taking the gross cleaning rag from me and scrubbing the gunk off of the table.
“Not eef you try.”
“What if I told you your English sucked?” I asked, watching him take off the glued crap as though it were nothing. I had a perfect view of his profile and I saw as the corner of his mouth turned upward into a smile.
“I would know zat you were lying.”
“See?” He said, finished with the table and placing the even dirtier rag in my hand as I fought the urge to gag, “You are getting better already.”
I wasn’t sure if he was referring to the fact that I had used the word ‘touché’ (which was obviously French) or to something I didn’t even know about. I was about to voice my concerns when the phone rang. Etienne made to stand up, but I was already halfway to the phone. Though I had struggled at first on learning how to use the phone, it came to me like an epiphany one day and since then I couldn’t stop using it. I guess I liked the idea that I fit in the Muggle world better than I did my own.
“Hello?” I asked, in my best professional voice. I could hear Etienne sigh from the table; he always wanted me to answer in French, but he had to know it was a lost cause.
“Capella?” Though I half expected it to be Lucida asking me to stop for Roquefort on the way home from work, I was not surprised to hear Marcel’s voice on the other end. He always sounded mildly amused when I answered the phone, having found the whole process of me learning how to use it absolutely hilarious. He, of course, knew that Lucida and I were witches and found humor in the fact that we couldn’t complete “even the simplest of tasks”.
“Marcel.” I greeted him, nodding to Etienne as he approached me, letting him know it wasn’t for him, “What does she want tonight?” I asked for Lucida’s crazy order of take-out for tonight.
“Capella.” He said my name again and I caught the urgency and anxiety in his voice. I heard his heavy breathing on the line and my heart began to race
“Marcel, what’s wrong? Where’s Lucida?” I began to panic, knowing that something was wrong. He only replied with two words before I was out the door,
“This is so weird.”
“She’s so tiny...”
“Let me hold her!”
“Don’t shush me, give me my niece!”
There were only four people in Lucida’s hospital room...well, five. Lucida, myself, Marcel, Etienne and a two-hour-old baby girl.
Etienne had insisted on driving me to the hospital, as he thought that there was no way a bicycle could possibly get me to see Lucida in time. It was a good thing he didn’t know that I had intended on Apparating (or that I could Apparate), but I took him up on his offer, knowing that in my anxious state, I was at a high risk of Splinching myself into oblivion. In which case, I would have missed the coolest thing to ever happen to me.
She was perfect. In every way that there possibly was to be perfect, this little baby girl was it. She was so tiny: tiny fingers, tiny toes, tiny nose, tiny mouth. She was so damn cute, words could not even describe her.
Lucida had gone through six hours of labor, Marcel had fractured three knuckles holding her hand, Etienne had gone through twelve cups of coffee and I had made three nurses cry (it wasn’t my fault; they shouldn’t have told me off for cursing too loudly). At first I’d felt bad for stringing Etienne along and making him stay in the waiting room, but after experiencing Lucida in labor, I was jealous that I couldn’t have been out there with him.
But then, at the height of all the chaos, appeared this seven pound, thirteen ounce baby girl. Yeah, it was gross to watch, but totally worth it.
I held my niece in my arms, watching her sleeping form in the tight swaddle of blankets. I shifted my weight from foot to foot, rocking her slowly. All was quiet as Lucida, Marcel and Etienne watched me.
“What are you gonna name her?” I asked, turning to Lucida. For the last two hours, Lucida had withheld the name of her daughter and I was itching to be able to call my niece by name.
“Well...I made you a promise, Cappy.” Lucida said, shrugging. I raised an eyebrow at her, having no idea what she meant.
“To name her after you, you twit!” She said, rolling her eyes like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“What?” I couldn’t recall telling her to name her kid after me, but then the hazy memory of me saying “But you better name this kid after me” in the Hog’s Head many months ago popped into my head.
My mouth was open in shock as I watched Lucida nod her head.
“But I wasn’t serious!-”
“Yes, but I was.” She said evenly, offering me a benign smile, “I’ve decided to tweak it a bit, just to give it some flair.”
“And?” I urged, still feeling the disbelief.
“Her name is Caprice. Caprice Etoile.”
Caprice. Caprice. Caprice Etoile Badeaux.
The most beautiful name for the most beautiful being.
I looked down at the little girl in my arms, watching intently as she slept. She was a miracle. Truly she was. With a small gurgle she jolted from her slumber, giving one wet cough and wrinkling her nose. Caprice had the most mesmerizing shade of olive green eyes. They spoke years of wisdom her little mind hadn’t yet experienced, and they surveyed her surroundings with keen interest.
Finally, after making sure everything was exactly in place as it had been before she’d fallen asleep, Caprice gazed up at me.
The abysses of her eyes were miles deep. I hadn’t a clue what she was thinking, but I stared at her with just as much intensity. After spending my entire life rejecting anything human, I couldn’t see anything but perfection in this little girl. It hit me when I realized that this was the one being on this earth that looked at me without any prejudice. That, regardless of who I’d been in school, or whatever I’d said to anyone, or how my parents had raised me, none of this mattered to Caprice. In her eyes, I was just a new face that she could love, no matter what happened in the last seventeen years.
To her, and only to her, I was perfect.
Before I could even register or stop it, I had tears streaming down my face. Caprice would love me despite the fact that I meant nothing to Porrima Black, that I had been a game to Julien de Pontius, or that I had been the cynical, ever-spiteful counterpart to Severus Snape. To this baby, I was nothing but Aunt Capella, the pair of midnight blue eyes currently entranced with her own olive orbs.
And then she smiled.
It wasn’t a huge grin or anything too obnoxious. I didn’t even know babies that young could even smile. It was a small twist of her mouth, curving upwards at one corner as her eyes sparkled.
In that smile, everything horrible that I had endured for the last seventeen years meant nothing. I felt no resentment and my battle scars had faded. The wounds had healed with the simple presence of this newborn innocence.
I knew this baby, Caprice Etoile Badeaux, would love me better than any other being on this earth ever had.
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