Chapter 1 : Backwards
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“I’m not talking to him.” I slammed my glass of orange juice down on the table to add emphasis and draw her attention away from the stupid pancake she was making for dear Brian. “I don’t understand why you try to make me. It’s not like you love him either.”
I'd hit a nerve this time. Good, that was what I had been aiming for since I'd walked down stairs this morning. Trust my mother to bring up touchy subjects the morning we went back to Hogwarts. She had been dropping hints for months, but she chose today to come right out with it. I had to give it to her, it was a smart plan. Now I couldn't be mad at her for it because I wouldn't be here long enough to remember to stay mad.
“Bridget—” She turned completely away from the stove to glare at me. “That is not fair. Just because your father and I are no longer married doesn’t mean that I don’t care about him!”
“Aha, but you don’t love him, do you?” I got up from the perfectly clean counter and stomped up to my room before she could say anything else. On the way up I passed stupid Brian.
“Hello Bridget! It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?” Brian beamed. I had always thought Brian was possibly blind. No matter my mood he always seemed to have a permanent smile plastered on his stupid face. Even times like this where I was giving him one of my evilest glares.
“LEAVE ME ALONE!” I shrieked in his general direction. And then I slammed my door. Stupid Brian, always trying to get on my good side. Before he and my mother had gotten married a year ago, my life had been bearable. Now it’s just miserable. You’d feel the same way if you had to share a house with a man who’s only twelve years older than you. Yes, you heard it; my mother is married to a twenty eight and a half year old. She’s thirty seven. Just thinking about it made me shudder.
“You look like terrible, Bridge." My sister, Anastasia, called from the bathroom that was attached to our room. "You're not going to at least try for the first day?" She had the window open as far as it would go and was smoking a cigarette out of it. I groaned and slouched into the bathroom to glare at her and grab the eyeliner.
Anastasia was my only ally in this house of loon bags. She was from my mum’s first marriage too, and one year above me in school. She had these killer blue eyes that anyone would die for and dark chestnut hair. People tell me we look alike, but I don’t really see it. My eyes are hazel, and whilst that might sound nice on paper, it really isn’t.
“Want one?” She held out a cigarette for me to take, but I shook my head. She just shrugged and lit it up for herself.
“Why do you smoke so damn fast?” I asked her, somewhat annoyed. I had never felt the need to smoke.
Anastasia laughed and sucked on the cigarette so hard that it looked like she was going to swallow it. When she blew out the smoke she turned to me with a sly smile. “You smoke for enjoyment, I smoke to die faster.”
My stomach churned. I hated it when she talked about—about that. But before I had time to dwell on it I heard my name.
“BRIDGET! LETTER FOR YOU!” My little sister, Chloe, called from downstairs. I rolled my eyes and left Anastasia to kill her lungs slowly in the bathroom.
“Where?” I asked Chloe when I made it back downstairs. She motioned towards my owl, Craven, and I walked over to take the letter off his foot.
“Is it from him?” Chloe asked me breathlessly.
“Sod off, brat.” I snapped as I held the letter out of her reach.
“Bridget, don’t talk to your sister that way!” My mother called, still making her goddamned pancakes.
“She provokes me!” I yelled angrily to the two of them as I ripped up the envelope, opened the letter, and stared at the handwriting on the front before groaning for what felt like the hundredth time this morning.
It’s me! Me being Sirius that is. James left me all alone in his big house to go and stalk your one friend Evans. I would have joined, but the last time she saw me she locked me in a broom closet alone for two days. I’m so bored. It’s three o’clock in the morning and I’ve already stared at myself in the mirror for an hour. It doesn’t ever get boring, but I’m restless for something new to do. So I thought, hey, I’ll write Bridge! I haven’t gotten any letters from you yet this summer, so I’m assuming that they all got lost in the mail. Nevertheless, I’ll be seeing you tomorrow! Or today really, it depends on how you look at it. Bye, love!
“Prat.” I said more to myself than Chloe, my Mum, or Brian.
“Who was that?” Brian asked me politely.
“Stay out of my business, would you?”
“Bridget! Do not talk to Brian like that!” My mother scolded.
“He’s not my father, he’s practically my age for god sakes!”
“Well, I would hardly say that he is the same age as you! I can’t get you to talk to your real father either!”
I stomped my foot in frusteration. “Because he abandoned us! He doesn’t want to talk to me either!” I tried, but Mum just shook her head. She didn't understand. She never understood.
“He did no such thing! The divorce was mutual and you know it!”
“I’m not talking about the divorce, Mum. Although that is a very interesting topic that I would be happy to discuss once I'm done with this. I’m talking about the doctor! If he helped pay we could get Anas the treatment! She could get better!”
My mum was almost crying now, I’d pushed a button. In this house, everyone sidestepped the obvious fact that my father didn't give enough. We had to move out of our old house for this dump while he went off to live with Kelly the bubbly dimwit replacement wife. I looked away from her. “Bridget—your father doesn’t have the money either. You know that…”
“Watch your mouth.” She said, but she didn't sound sincere. That was because she knew I was right.
“Don’t you have to finish packing?” Brian tried. “We have to leave for your train in twenty minutes.”
“Stay out of my life, Brian!”
“Don’t talk to Brian like that!”
“God! You people think that I like being pissed off? NO! It’s all of your faults that I’m perpetually in a bad mood!”
“Hey Bridge?” Anastasia was standing in the doorway of our kitchen. This was the first I had noticed her. I had been wrapped up in my rant for a good minute or two now. I caught her eyes and stared back with steely determination. “Shut up, would you?”
I looked away and snatched up my letter to throw in the wastebasket. I didn’t talk; I wouldn’t dare go against what Anastasia said. She was my only claim to sanity in this house; I couldn’t get on her bad side—especially with her current state. So I walked upstairs and started to pile shit into my trunk haphazardly. I heard Anastasia following me.
“Do you always have to be so melodramatic? That’s supposed to be my role. I am the one dying, you know.” She tried to joke, but my heart skipped a beat at the word dying.
“They’ll get you the cure. I know it.” I wouldn’t meet her eyes as I pushed my entire desk into the trunk. I might have broke a textbook in the process. Shame. “Dad’ll come through. He’ll get loans or a better job or something.”
“Maybe, but I can’t rely on that. Dad’s got a new family to take care of too.”
“Arsehole. Kelly’s worse than Brian.”
I was referring to my dad’s wife, Kelly. My father had been married to Kelly now for four years. He left us for Kelly. Now they had an oh so adorable baby girl named Serenity. How sickly sweet, but Serenity? Really? Of all the names in the damned baby book they picked Serenity. We had been officially replaced. I had even liked Kelly for about five seconds when we first met her. She was introduced as ‘daddy’s special friend’, and she let me eat all the chocolate I wanted. Five hours later when I was puking my guts out in the toilet my father decided to tell us all that he and Kelly were getting married. That was the end of my liking of Kelly, and the end of my cooperation with my father.
“Yeah, Kelly’s a bitch.” Anastasia shrugged and pulled on her trunk that was already completely packed. I couldn't help but notice the overall neatness. “But I’m onto a no hate phase, you know, so I won’t have any regrets?”
“Shut up Anas,” I hauled the last of my shit into my trunk. “You’re not going to die.”
Instead of responding she just sighed and looked out the window.
The car ride to platform nine and three quarters was surprisingly non eventful. Mum was pissed at me, Chloe was pissed at me, Anastasia was reading some dumb book, and Brian knew better than to pretend that he wasn’t pissed at me even though he was still freaking smiling. I, naturally, was pissed at everybody. It made the silence in the car so bloody fun.
“All out!” Brian said cheerfully when we pulled into the train station’s parking space. I rolled my eyes at him and opened the door quickly just to slam it in Chloe’s face. I couldn’t hear her retort, but my mother’s eyes told me that darling Chloe wasn’t happy. Chloe was never happy. She was annoying, a twelve year old brat in my oppinion. The youngest kids are always the brats. The oldest, like Anastasia, were always creepily smarter and wiser than the rest of the family. The middle kid? Bridget Daniels? I’m just kind of here.
“I still can’t get over how nifty this barrier is!” Brian boomed. Some of the muggles around us raised their eyebrows. He, as usual, was oblivious to it all. That’s Brian for you. “How do they do it again, Tina?” He asked my mother.
“It’s just magic, Bri. It’s just how it is!” She stared at him for about five seconds like he was the cutest thing she’d ever seen before snapping back into reality. “Alright, Chloe you go first sweetheart. Mummy and Brian will follow. Anastasia, you and Bridget next.”
Anas nodded and I just stared up to the ceiling, wishing to be anywhere then here with my weird family. Once we were through to the other side, I let a genuine smile creep upon my face. It was the first time I had really smiled since Chloe ‘accidentally’ set Dad and Kelly’s bed on fire three weeks ago. Now that was funny.
“Anastasia!” Lara Jenkins, my sister’s best friend, called out through the crowds of people. Anas left me and ran to her. I just huffed and made my way over to Brian, Mum, and Chloe.
“You have to promise to write me every week!” My mum was saying to Chloe. “Be good! Well, I know you’ll be good…” Her eyes drifted over to me and I smiled sarcastically. “Bridget, please attempt self-control?”
“I’m not bad mum.” I scowled, abandoning the two milliseconds of a good mood. “I just think that the majority of the rules at Hogwarts are unethical. And the teachers purposely get on my frigging nerves! And the reason I get into fights is because people provoke me! They provoke me! And--”
“Alright!” My mother cut across me mid rant.
“Now you know why I wrote about her in my bullying essay.” Chloe whispered loudly to my mother. I lunged for her but she went to hide behind stupid Brian.
“Just stay out of trouble, okay?” My mother looked older, more worn. For a moment I really just wanted to hug her like I used to before I found out about Anastasia’s disease, and before mum and dad got the divorce. Before she married Brian and Dad replaced us with Kelly and Serenity. “And watch out for Anastasia? I know you do, but more this year? She needs you more now Bridget.” She was crying—again. This was becoming a daily thing. Every time she looked at Anastasia, every time she talked about Anastasia, and every time she thought about Anastasia, she would cry.
I shrugged and held out against the urge to cry with her. “Whatever.” And I quickly gave her a stiff hug before turning my back on them and disappearing into the crowd. I exhaled deeply and leaned behind a stone pillar. Sometimes the world got so sad; I just wanted to not be in it anymore. I remembered what Anas said this morning about smoking. She’d die faster. She was like a fucking time bomb. I had no idea how long I’d go.
“Daniels?” A voice called from across from me. I closed my eyes and then opened them to come face to face with Sirius Black.
“What?” I snapped to him, grabbing my trunk and heading towards the train.
“So nice to see you’re in a lovely mood.” He chuckled to himself and walked with me like I'd asked him to accompany me. “Did you have a good summer?”
“Sod off, Black.” I continued walking without turning to my side to say it to his face. “People are staring, and I don't want to be your next rumored girlfriend.”
“Aw, c’mon Bridget. What makes you think you’re pretty enough to have people staring at you?”
“Leave me alone!” I hissed, attempting to heave my trunk up and onto the train. Black rolled his eyes and did it for me in one swift movement. “Thanks.” I said the word coolly, and turned back to view my family. Anastasia was hugging my mother, and my mother was hugging her back tightly. They appeared to be having a conversation that included just the two of them. Chloe was prattling on and on to Brian about god knows what. I turned away, unable to look anymore. That was the past, this was now.
“My summer was bloody horrible Black, how about yours?” I smiled to him and stepped on the train.
“Your mood swings never cease to amaze me…” He trailed off before continuing. “It was alright. I crashed at James’s about halfway through.”
“Get kicked out?”
“You could say that.”
He put his hand on the small of my back, and I let it rest there. Black and I had a funny sort of relationship. We spent the majority of our time fighting, but on the rare occasion that we agreed about something or we were at a mutual understanding, we could actually get along pretty well. Too bad those mutual understandings and agreements never lasted long.
“No, I just like the Potter’s better.” He flashed me the infamous Sirius Black smile “You never answered my letters this summer!”
I shrugged. “I didn’t feel like it.”
“Wait, you really didn’t answer them? I thought they just got lost in the mail!”
His affronted look made me roll my eyes. I had never in all my life meet someone with such a huge ego.
“Black, we aren’t friends, at the end of last year you told everyone that I was pregnant. Did you honestly think that I would write you? If you did you’re thicker then I even thought!”
We had stopped in the middle of the train. I had my hands on my hips and he was giving me a death glare. Students walked around us with uneasy stares.
“We don’t have to be BFFS for you to write back!” He said, his voice rising a bit on every word. “God! I was bored out of my mind this summer! And you just acted like you always do--too good for everyone!”
“Oh? Well maybe if you hadn’t snogged Jessie Corrigan while going out with Marlene you’d have been able to write her!” I raised my voice to match his. “Or Rory Darlow? Or all of the other girls you decided to screw while with her?"
“Well did you think I was going to marry Marlene or something?” He laughed crazily pointing a finger at me. “God! She was just a girl, Daniels!”
“Marlene is a lot more than ‘just a girl’. She’s one of my best friends, and you hurt her Black.” I had brought my voice down to a normal level—something I’d never done right before a really big fight before in my life. I locked eyes with him, and he seemed to realize that I was serious. “Things are going to be different this year.”
“You’re backing down from a fight? BRIDGET DANIELS IS BACKING DOWN FROM A FIGHT!” He called down the train’s hall. I rolled my eyes and pushed past him. “Are you shitting with me?”
“You know, I’ve never really understood that expression, but no Black. I’m not shitting with you.”
“God, you’re so confusing Daniels.” He shook his head and we continued down the hall. This time he didn’t touch me. “You’re bipolar or something.”
“Why are you following me?”
“Because James is wherever Evans is, and Evans just so happens to be in that compartment right there.” He pointed up to a compartment on the far right. I hurried over and opened the door. Black followed at a slower pace.
“Bridget!” Lily turned to me from where she appeared to be ranting at Potter. Suddenly I was being eloped in her big hug. “You didn’t write me back practically the entire summer!” Instantly her face turned into a frown. “Were you not home?”
“Bridget’s always home.” Sirius butted in. “Wait—aren’t you?”
“Shut up Black.” I shot him a glare and he chuckled stupidly. “I was busy Lily.”
“She told me that she just didn’t feel like answering mine.”
“Black, did I not just tell you to shut it?”
“LILYKINS!” James Potter called her attention back to himself. I smiled and sat down across from the two of them. I took the seat next to Remus Lupin.
“Hi Bridget, good summer?” He asked me politely. Remus Lupin was one of the nicest kids I knew. So, that meant that even when I was being a royal pain in the ass to everyone else in my life, I’d be nice to him. He was just that kind of a guy.
“It was alright. How about yours?”
“Good, I went on holiday to the….”
And then I kind of zoned out of the conversation. As much as I genuinely liked Remus, there were times when I found it hard to pay attention. It’s not just him, it’s everyone. My teachers can’t stand it, but I refuse to get tested for any sort of attention deficit disorder just in case they go all crazy on me and tell my mum I need meds. I’m against meds unless you’re on the verge of dying.
“…But anyways, it was exciting.” He finished, beaming at me.
“That’s great!” I told him, jumping a little as I came back to the compartment. I turned to see Black staring at me with a smirk on his face. He was shaking his head in an all knowing way. He knew about my issues with paying attention. As much as it pained me to say it, Sirius Black knew me pretty damn well. So, this time I decided to give him a look that clearly said ‘don’t say one word or I’ll murder you’.
“Get away from me Potter!” Lily shouted, looking at James as if he was the most repulsive thing she’d seen in her entire life.
“Hullo Jamzie.” I flashed him a smile. “Miss me?”
“Desperately.” He winked, and then turned his attention back onto Lily. “I’m just complimenting you, Lilykins!”
“Don’t call me that!”
“Fine—just Lily then—and I didn’t mean for it to come out offensive or anything like that! I just think that your eyes are really pretty!”
“God Potter! You make me want to go pull them out with rusted forks!”
“Well now flower, isn’t that a bit dramatic?” Sirius piped in cheerfully.
“No one asked for your opinion, Black.” Lily turned to him coldly before allowing her gaze to fix on Potter once again. She had never been a fan of Sirius. “And Potter, I don’t want you looking at my eyes!”
“Aw, but Lily, I can’t help it!”
“Yes you can! It freaks me out!”
“We have to go.” Remus interrupted bravely and looked to Lily. “Prefects meeting starts right about now.”
“We will continue this conversation when I get back Potter!” Lily shot him daggers before turning to me sweetly. “I’ll see you soon Bridgey!”
When she left Black turned to me and let out a low whistle. “Wow. That girl makes you look emotionally stable.”
“Black! I am emotionally stable!”
“Yeah, and I’m ugly.”
“You’re not ugly.” Peter said stupidly from the corner. I hadn’t really realized that he was there at all to be honest.
“Yeah, no shit Wormtail.”
“You guys!” James interrupted us with a wave of his hand. “We have a dilemma! Lily still hates me!”
“I don’t think hate’s the right word…” I trialed off, knowing that it was. “It’s just—you really piss Lily off for some reason. I dunno why James, but you do. It’s like she looks at you and just gets all pissy.”
“Kind of like you and me, eh Daniels?”
“Black, I wasn’t talking to you.”
“You are now though.”
I sighed, deciding to abandon the conversation. With the two of them, all was hopeless anyways. I leaned my head against the cool metal of the window frame and sighed again. I had an uncanny feeling that this year was going to be long. Well, it had to be long for Anastasia’s sake. We had to find the money to get her better. I knew that they would, they just had to. There’s no way that she could actually—you know. It’s just not possible. Things like that just don’t happen to seventeen year old girls.
“Bridgey!” I voice boomed from the doorway of our compartment. I jumped a little, looking up to come face to face with Marlene McKinnon. I broke out into a smile and got up to hug her.
“Marley!” I squealed when we broke apart. She was tanner then she had been before holiday, and her blonde hair clung around her shoulders perfectly.
“You didn’t write at all, you tosser.” She scowled at me and sat down next to me on the bench. “I must have sent you seven postcards from all over the fucking Mediterranean, and what did I get in return? Nada.”
“She just didn’t feel like responding.” Sirius spoke up. I closed my eyes a little as Marlene looked over to him. “Hi McKinnon.” He did sound a little sorry, but it wasn’t enough to redeem him.
“Hello Black.” Marlene said in a hard voice before turning back to me. “So, as I was saying, why didn’t you write back?” She didn’t even wait for a response before continuing. That was Marlene for you. “Oh! But guess what! Rebecca’s getting married! Remember that really hot ‘friend’ she had at my Christmas party last year? Well—it’s him!”
“Cool.” I said nonchalantly.
“I know, I know.” Marlene sighed and leaned back against the bench. “But guess what! I accidentally…”
And I was zoning again. Marlene was making hand gestures and talking a mile a minute, but I really didn’t feel like listening. I caught eyes with Black who winked. I didn’t do anything, instead I just smiled and shook my head. The train started to move and I closed my eyes when it did. I kind of wished that I could close my eyes forever. Life was so much easier with your eyes shut. All I could hear was the peaceful growl of the train and the unidentified words flowing out in Marlene’s high pitched voice. In that one moment the world didn’t seem so bad, and being in it didn’t really either.
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