Chapter 1 : Unexpected Encounter
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Rays of sunlight streamed in through the open window on this rare afternoon. The sun sunk into my skin and warmed my entire body as I leaned forward, peeking out of the window. But a flood of disappointment washed over me as I saw nothing but the sun shining down on the warm concrete. Leaning back into my chair place in front of the only window in my fairly small room, I shook out a cigarette from my Marlboro pack, lighting it.
The fire burned the tobacco slowly as ashes began to fall. I blew out a cloud of smoke which drifted out of the window and into the unknown. My eyes squinted against the strong sunlight. I tapped the cigarette on the edge of the ash tray, an entire pile of ashes fell, and then lifted it back up to my lips.
Glancing at my clock that blinked 2:57 in the afternoon, I sucked in another breath.
My name is Veronica. Veronica Criller. I'm a seventeen year old muggleborn who smokes.
Blowing out another puff, I leaned against the window sill, once again. Not a single sign of the famous Remus Lupin.
It's not that he's going to come visit me or something of that sort, he's simply taking his afternoon walk. Well, I should say that usually, at around this time, he takes his regular afternoon walk.
The unfortunate part of all this is that this is the highlight of my day.
It's quite sad, actually.
Okay, you may think of me as a stalker but, I shall finally admit it, I have a ridiculously large crush on Remus. It's hard for someone like myself to admit such a thing for I am seen by people as the emotionless, reckless teenage girl that lives on the corner.
Every time he is mentioned in any sort of way, it kills me. A little piece of me dies whenever he looks my way or even says a mere greeting to me, which, I shall admit, is quite rare. At times when I think nobody sees me, I gaze at him. I watch his slightest movements. A small smile, a nod of approval at his mates' actions, a furrow of his brown when he attempts to concentrate on his class work as Sirius pokes him.
I see it.
I leaned forward again, crushing my cigarette into the ash tray set on my window sill. At last, a figure strolling down the sidewalk appeared.
He was gone just as fast as he had come for my house happens to be located on a small corner. But I knew that he would be back in a few minutes. As he left my view, I emptied out my tray in the small, rubbish bin beside me and watched the grey ashes fall.
A sigh escaped my lips as I stood up from my seat. The wooden door of my room closed behind me as I left but I had unfortunately come out at exactly the wrong time for my sister was giving her daily show of prancing around in her latest bikini. Wonderful.
"What do you think?" my sister, Ashley, whom I don't even see how she is related to me in any way, said posing in a pink trimmed, yellow bikini.
That was my dyed blonde sister for you.
With a roll of my eyes, I passed by her and hurried down the stairs. I was just about to shut the front door when Ashley yelled, "Would you get me some tanning oil, dear?"
"If you stop calling me dear," I muttered, closing the door to the house with a small click. I looked into the sun, never really seeing it but knowing it was there, hanging in the true blue sky.
The bell on the door rung as I entered only to be met with a strong blast of air conditioning. It was unusually hot for a summer day in Britain. But I was certainly not complaining. I took my time browsing through the aisles, not quite sure what I was looking for.
I gained a few looks from passing teenagers from our local high school. Maybe I was considered the depressed girl who smoked (it certainly wasn't a hidden fact) but nobody dared to approach me and tell me that. The reason for this is because my brother is Alex Criller who is supposedly the most "popular" guy in the local high school. Honestly, in my opinion, that whole "popular" story seems like a bunch of crap to me but, if it makes him happy, then I don't care.
But I do believe that it was the first football game of the season (since the local high school just began term yesterday on August twenty-seventh) just ended because there was an unusual amount of teenagers coming from the direction of the high school. I wouldn't be surprised if I see my brother in a car filled with football players and girls shouting "LHS RULES."
There was an entire rack filled with all sorts of tanning oils. After deciding that they were probably all the same, I chose the most normal looking one and grabbed a cigarette pack before heading towards the cashier. When I set down the items I was going to pay, the cashier noticed the cigarette pack and decided that I needed to be scolded.
"Aren't you a little too young to smoke, sweetie?" the lady asked, her eyes squinting with disgust behind her round glasses, and gestured to the pack.
I swiftly replied, "Shouldn't you have retired already?"
"You have no right to talk to me like that."
With a calm easiness I said, "My money goes towards your pay check." I dumped the exact amount of money on the counter and quietly said a curt, "goodbye."
I think she is going to make a voodoo doll of me tonight and attempt to stick pins in it.
The plastic bag swung back and forth with the movement of my walking pattern, as I dug my hands into my pockets thinking that I wish I wasn't alone. But my only friend just happens to be the one thing I hate, loneliness. It's been with me on days of anger and days of complete bliss. Now, it has become a permanent part of my life.
Looking above at the blue sky, the sun warming my pale skin and shining off my sloppy bun of dark hair, I small smile lit my face. The world has so much to offer but people spend most of their time worrying about their own lives that they don't have the chance to appreciate their surroundings.
Then, I was suddenly pulled from the comfort of my mind and thrown into reality.
I stumbled backwards as I accidentally bumped into someone due to the fact that I wasn't paying attention. I blinked a few times to wake myself up as I wiped my lock of dark brown hair away from my face to look at the person.
"I'm so sorry!" the person said with deep concern. You know, that voice sounds strangely familiar. I looked up to find Remus's clear, blue eyes looking at me.
I was slightly startled and racked my brain to find something to say but for some unknown reason, I couldn't think of anything at the moment. Unfortunately, Remus by now probably thought I was some form of a fish for my mouth kept opening and closing, in search for my voice.
"Are you all right? Oh Mer-, I mean, are you hurt?" he said, placing a hand on my shoulder. The warmth of his hand was absorbed into my bones. A blush began to creep through my cheeks as I fought hard to stop it by looking away at a nearby tree. On the inside, I was praying to Merlin that Remus would think it was just because of the summer heat that I was red.
"Yes, I'm fine, t-thank you for a-asking. Oh, no, it's my fault for I wasn't even looking,"I said, slightly stuttering. If you haven't realised this by now, I am an idiot.
Remus stared at me, his eyes slightly narrowed as if trying to read my mind.
"What?" I finally asked with wide eyes.
"Oh, it's nothing, you just look very familiar. I'm probably mistaken," he said, shaking his head.
"Erm, well, I have to go now," I said after a few minutes of awkward silence. Remus nodded and apologised again at the same time as me. We grinned and then bidded farewell to each other.
My eyes were focused on the sidewalk as Remus shyly passed by me. After a few minutes of listening to the wind whisper words of kindness in my ear, I released a breath of relief.
Did Remus Lupin just talk to me?
Another cloud of grey smoke drifted from my lips and into the twilight of this August day. I spent most of my life sitting in this wooden chair, watching my life pass before my eyes as my lungs choke on toxic smoke. Each and everyday was similar, whether I was here, at home, or at Hogwarts. All I did was watch.
But today was different.
Today Remus spoke to me for the first time in many years. Even though he didn't recognise me, I am content with the fact that he spoke directly to me. Just to add on, his deep, blue eyes made contact with my own muddy brown.
Unfortunately, I knew this wouldn't satisfy me for long.
I guess when you finally get something that you have wanted for a while, you suddenly want more of it because you need something to make you satisfied. Suddenly, a flood of hatred rushed throughout my body. The unfortunate fact is that this feeling was much too familiar.
I hate that I have a crush.
I hate that I don't have a real family.
I hate that I smoke.
I hate that everyone stereotypes me.
I hate my life.
Some may say that,"hate," is a strong word but it's the brutal truth. I hate everything involved in my life, including myself. I dream of that "other side," the side that I know I will never be able to enter for I was worthless. I have no point in this world. Maybe that's because I'm just a vessel who is in search for her soul. But I've been searching for too long of a time.
I often think that this is all just a game. Between relationships and school, it's a wonder how anybody actually survives in this world. Every time when you think you are finally at peace, something wrong always has to happen. This theory has been proven on several occasions. But it all comes down to how good you are at surviving.
Then, at that precise moment, the front door closed with a loud bang.
Here we go again.
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