Chapter 4 : Butterflies
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When I listen to music the whole world melts away. It sends me to an unimaginable place where everything starts with a note and finishes with the same note. It's a place of ecstasy and purity. You become weightless and a part of the music around you. Your senses weaken until they reach something so low the only thing they can do is heighten, then you come across a world so magical and unreal you can't be sure it exists
Each time I floated into this world I saw the same thing, or to be exact the same person. She had a beauty that was inconceivable. Something no Veela could ever reach. She was pure and undoubtedly free. Each time we met she wore the same silk silver dress and beaming smile that lit up everything around her. She would take my hand and we would dance a simple plain dance. She was my world, I naturally thought of her as my everything, there was no doubt in my mind. I was deeply in love with a girl in my dreams.
A girl in my imagination.
So it was with no question that on the night I would die I would visit her.
The music pumped around me as I closed my eyes softly. The meaningless lyrics were unheard and the sound swelled around me until I felt myself compress into whatever it was I turned into in this world. The instant I saw her I knew something was wrong. Her flawless eyes were filled with worry and her smile had gone. Her usual silver dress was a black so harsh it was painful to look at.
I let out a silent gasp and tried to speak to her, but no sound came out of my mouth. That was the beauty of this world. The only sound was music. The second she took my hand I thought everything would be just fine. It would be our final dance, just as I had planned. Instead she yanked me forward and pulled me through the whiteness towards whatever lay after the ivory light. I let out a gasp of pain that broke the silent music this world ensured. I watched as the sound ripped at her and her pure, crimson blood began to stain the back of her black, silk dress.
I tried to stop her, I tried to yell, but it seemed only sounds of agony could escape into this realm. What she didn't understand was that my words were sounds of agony. I was in agony because before me was a woman dying. The woman I loved was dying and she wouldn't stop to let me help her.
It seemed her relentless tugging had stopped and I found we were on a small rocky ledge that had water cascading into a swirling pool of crystal clear water. Surrounding us were leafy trees, the kind that you only imagined in distant African countries. I couldn't remember where the white had formed into the trees that encompassed us, I couldn't even remember why I was worrying about the woman in front of me.
I looked deep into her colourless eyes and she told me a long meaningful message that I forgot as soon as I heard. I put both my hands on either side of her face and she smiled lovingly at me before shoving me off the cliff and cascading towards the waters below. As I fell I watched her collapse onto the hard rock, a pool of crimson blood surrounding her pale body. A single drop fell of the cliff after me and it hit the surface at the same time as my weightless body hit the water.
My vision was swallowed by red liquid and the music disappeared, transforming into muffled yells of agony. I opened my eyes to see a swirl of colours before a ghastly blackness engulfed me.
That was the last time I laid eyes on her.
It felt like only a matter of days and suddenly September the first was only a night away. I had spent the past two weeks defying my mother's orders and spending time with both Dare, Freddie and surprisingly, Désirée.
Freddie and I had somehow managed to pick up our friendship exactly where it was dropped. We found that there was no awkwardness over the memory of his attempt to become friends again or my previous affliction with him. We were as great as we had ever been. When my maman tried to force me into working at the shop, Fred came to my rescue in a ridiculous disguise and we escaped into Muggle London to watch their ridiculous films and ogle at their strange technology. We teased each other, joked around and made stupid bets on random things that came to mind. Freddie snuck into my house nearly every night and we shared midnight snacks, jokes and I tried to talk him out of the many pranks he had come up with while spending time with his crazy cousins. All together my maman tried to ground me seven times, to which I completely ignored and my father laughed at. For once everything between Freddie and I was perfect and our friendship only became stronger because of it.
Désirée was much to my surprise very much like me. She seemed to have a perfected layer that had to be peeled off carefully before you could find a funny, free girl inside her; she tripped over almost every uneven surface in Diagon Alley; she made a fool of herself when I introduced her to my dad; and she spilt food over her clothes like a small child excited to go to Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour. But while we had our similarities we also had our differences. It seemed Désirée had a way with demanding everyone's attention wherever she went and it was with no doubt, she liked it. Désirée was also unintentionally critical towards not only the people she met, but also the things she saw. She complained almost constantly about the dry heat and didn't have an ounce of patience towards Muggles.
Even so, we still had great times. I couldn't deny I rather liked the attention from all the gorgeous foreigners who were quite fond of Désirée and her … special qualities. I even got a few flirtatious smiles and once, a kiss on the hand, almost as cheesy as Lysander's embarrassing display a couple of weeks back. I was immensely surprised, wondering why I didn't just look like a black shadow beside a white beauty
At first Dare and I were slightly awkward. I couldn't look at her face without remembering her red-rimmed eyes and tear-stained cheeks. The first time she invited me to her house it was painfully uncomfortable. Her Aunt was beyond happy at the thought of Dare having a female friend and kept bringing in food, drink and suggesting activities we could do if we found ourselves without something to talk about. Instead of encouraging us to bond, she managed to interrupt at the worst possible times and our thick, enthusiastic conversation would dwindle once the raspberry tarts were placed on the table and words became troublesome and forced.
However once we got out of the house and into the wonder that was the Quidditch World Cup all signs of untimely conversations disappeared and suddenly we discovered our own personal jokes, the inability to look at pears the same as before and having more house pride than we ever thought possible.
Sadly, the Quidditch World Cup was nothing special. Our seats weren't fantastic and neither was the game. Italy snatched the Snitch in only a matter of minutes, a fact Viktor Krum was not exactly happy about. If you call not exactly happy snapping his prize Seeker's Firebolt 500 in half because of a built up burst of anger mixed recklessly with adrenalin.
I called his actions not exactly happy.
I packed my bags on the last day of August with my father's help. I threw him the items while he packed them neatly into my suitcase and folded my clothes. It was a traditional system. We left Bianca to do hers eagerly in the morning each year, that way she forgot less items and quietened down her complaining the day before, not that she was around. She was most likely off shagging Lorcan Scamander or some other poor soul Bianca had sunk her claws into, who knew who was next. Possibly a stranger or a 'Puffer. I wouldn't have put it past her.
I tossed my dad three different pairs of skinny jeans before I realized something was off.
“Dad?” I spun around to look at the figure sitting on my light duvet, folding my most worn-out pair of jeans with his wand. He looked up at me like an owl caught in the kitchen. His hazel eyes were wide and attempting, but failing to look innocent. His mouth was small and he almost looked like a young child caught doing something wrong. A young child with streaks of grey in his dark brown hair, wrinkles around his eyes and mouth and the tiniest amount of dark stubble on his chin. A very odd looking child, indeed.
“Yes, honey?” he asked, looking away from my suspicious glare and went back to fitting my large collection of school books into my suitcase. Because it wasn't suspicious to look away from someone when they were seconds away from interrogating you.
“What's wrong?” I said slowly and cautiously, considering taking the seat next to him.
“What do you mean?” he said, not looking up from his work.
“You're not talking, Dad.” I pointed out. “Usually that means that you and Maman have had a fight or you're deep in thought. I'm going to guess that you've had a fight.”
He sighed. “I'm fine, love. We didn't have a fight.”
I held back my own sigh and turned around to continue searching for my brass cauldron in my wardrobe.
In a way my dad and I were extremely alike. I had acquired his black hair, the same thick eyelashes and the strange creamy-ness in our skin tone. Like me, he also had an English parent along with a French one and discarded the French accent with disdain. He was also the type of person who didn't express feelings and frankly couldn't handle it when someone else did. So it was with these thoughts in my mind that I tried to think what could cause me to act so silent and awkward, that I wouldn't want to talk about it.
And I could only come up with one explanation: my dad was about to talk to me about something that not only I wouldn't want to hear, he wouldn't want to talk about. My first thought was that Maman and him were getting a divorce, but I quickly shook that off. Though my parents argued and fought on a daily basis, every second in between they acted like a pair of love-sick sixth-years and it was sickening – not that I was complaining that my parents weren't divorced, I had seen what that could do to a person. My second thought was that Maman was pregnant, but like the other one I ticked that off in a second, knowing that if so, Dad would not be the one telling me and I would not be hearing the information without Bianca by my side. So that left me with only one plausible option, my dad was about to venture in the bouncy, awkward rollercoaster ride that was the sex talk and this ride would not be fun.
I didn't press him any further. I knew if I did so I would most likely push him into talking earlier than needed to. My last hope was that he would worry about the conversation so much that he would chicken out and it would never happen. It was a likely possibility, considering the many times I had done such a thing and never regretted it. The sigh that came from the bed warned me that my pathetic hopes had been tarnished.
“So, Amorette …” My parents were the only people who called me by my full name and I hated it. “You're seventeen now.”
“I've been seventeen for a while now, Dad.” I said, my voice a tad more sour than I had planned it to be.
“Your mother was seventeen when she got pregnant with you,” he said softly, his voice surprisingly calm for such a touchy subject.
I swallowed and spun around to look at him. “Dad –” I started, but –
“Please let me finish, Amorette.” he interrupted, his voice spilling with authority that sounded unusual coming out of his mouth. I stayed silent and let him continue. “This was your mothers idea, OK?” he reached into his jean pocket and pulled out a box. “She doesn't want you getting pregnant like she did and she knows the contraceptive spell doesn't always work so –”
“Oh Merlin, Dad. No!” I cried, when I saw the label on the box. I could only hope it was all just an awkward dream. But my hopes are always tarnished.
“Look, I didn't want to have to talk about this with you,” he said, sighing. Great Dad, why didn't you just skip the conversation and spare me from this traumatic memory, them? “So I thought by giving you these you would understand where I'm coming from.” I attempted to interrupt him again, but he stopped me. “Look don't even say anything – I'm just going to put them in your suitcase and you'll always know that they're there if you need them or if you're going to … y'know –”
“Yeah Dad, I get it.” I said hurriedly while he fit the box of condoms into my suitcase. I turned back to the closet and spotted the brass cauldron under an old jacket of Maman's. I pulled it out and handed it to my dad. All signs that we had just been having an excruciatingly awkward conversation had disappeared from his face and I was grateful for it. It meant that he was over with his little talk and I didn't need to worry anymore.
I sighed when my eyes caught my beautiful broom. There wasn't really any point in taking it with me. Although I loved flying and played the occasional Quidditch when Fred managed to convince me, I didn't play for Gryffindor. In my fourth-year I had filled in for Alexia Wood and managed to score a few goals before a Bludger knocked me to the ground and ever since I never had enough willpower to put myself through it again. Each year my dad asked me whether or not I would try out for the team and each year I told him no. The only point in me bringing my Firebolt 500 was if I felt the need to fly for fun which – considering NEWTs were coming up – did not seem likely.
I didn't matter though, if I took the broom Freddie and Louis would pester me to let them use it in their games and it wasn't worth choosing one over the other for the hell they would put me through weeks after.
I found the broom unexpectedly in my hand and put it back against the wall where it would rest, collecting dust until the long awaited Winter holidays arrived and I would come back from a busy last year at Hogwarts. I could feel my dad's eyes on me, yet I jumped when he spoke to me.
“Not playing this year?” he asked innocently. Even though he had asked the same question two short weeks ago.
“Nope,” I sighed, knowing a week later I'd want to do nothing but try out for the team. It was always like that in my mind. One day I would have no desire to try out for the Gryffindor team and suddenly someone would convince me otherwise and I would be playing it over and over in my head, until the next day and I would have changed my mind already. It wasn't something I was proud of, in fact it was something that annoyed the hell out of me and no matter what I did I couldn't really seem to stop.
No one else knew, though. It was something that went on solely in my head. It was probably the main reason I had diagnosed myself as crazy.
“You're talented, Amorette,” he said, a smile in his voice. “I saw you play at the Potter's and I don't know where you got it from, but you're good. You're really good.”
“Thanks, Dad,” I said, a blush creeping up my cheeks at his compliment, “but I don't really know if I want to.”
“Honey, you don't need to know right now. Take the broom and see how you feel about it the day before try-outs. You'll regret it if you don't.”
I would regret it. I truly would.
“OK,” I replied simply, turning and yawning at him. He took my yawn as a sign to leave and pulled himself up. I picked up the pile of clothes I was leaving out to wear the next day and place then hastily on my desk. He silently kissed my forehead and exited the room with my silvery suitcase floating in front of him and my broom in his hand.
As the door clicked closed, the candles blew themselves out and I was plunged into darkness.
We were never a family expected to be early to the train station. While Bianca had miraculously packed all her school items in less than twenty minutes, I had spent the morning searching for items I had forgotten to pack; hastily having a five-minute shower; then attempting to dry my wet hair; searching for my crinkled school robes; and trying to ignore the frantic yelling emitting from my mother. Because of that we had arrived at platform 9 and ¾'s just as the whistle blew and after a hurried kiss on the cheek and a rushed hug, Bianca and I managed to fly onto the train just as it started to heave forward.
We stood by the door in silence, watching the station transform into greenery as the train sped along its tracks. The swarm of students behind us scrambled past, trying to find free compartments or the one that their friends were in. Neither Bianca or I turned around, for the amount of times we got smacked by suitcases was enough for us to be warned that if one hit our face we were screwed. As the shouting and bashing continued, we didn't talk. Instead, she watched the scenery fly by and I leaned my head against the window, exasperated.
Slowly the crowd of students disintegrated until there were only a small collection stragglers like ourselves flitting down the corridors. I picked up my suitcase and pulled it out the way of Bianca's brown one.
“Left or right?” I asked casually. Unfortunately, we had arrived too late to enter at the back of the train or at the front, so instead we had got on in the middle of the train. Meaning I had a fifty percent chance of finding Tallia, Cassie, Désirée, Dare, Louis or Freddie and a fifty percent of walking down to one end of the train before having to turn and retreat to the other end. I – being the unlucky person that I am – asked Bianca as she seemed to have intuition about these sort of situations.
“Rose said she'd get us a compartment in the back.” said Bianca, looking both ways as I had just done. I turned to the left. There sure did seem to be a larger abundance of students down that way. It probably had something to do with the fact that the Trolley Lady started at the back of the train.
“OK, then.” I said, picking up both my suitcase and my Firebolt. “So, where were you last night?”
“At Rose's,” she said, struggling with her bouncing suitcase as I did the same. They each bounced off our legs, creating a leaning-tower effect in our posture as we walked. I suddenly found myself wishing my suitcase could fly.
“What did you guys do?” I asked casually, looking into a compartment of fourth-years as we made our way past them.
“Nothing much, really,” she said, flicking back her hair as an awestruck third-year stared at her. “We were s'pposed to go to Liam Johnson's party, but Rose's dad freaked out because it was at a guys place and wouldn't let us go.”
I tried not to laugh as I realized how desperately my sister wanted to go to the party.
I almost cried when I saw the door to the next carriage in front of me. Then suddenly I remembered how old I was.
“Here, put down your suitcase,” I said, stopping and putting mine down. She obliged happily and without question, probably thinking I was going to offer to carry it for her. Unfortunately, I wasn't one of her pining adolescent fan-boys who tried with all their might to please her, so I went with a more simpler option. “Wingardium Leviosa.”
The suitcases floated gracefully upwards until they reached waist height. With my wand I maneuvered them to go ahead before us.
“Was it just you and Rose at her house?” I asked to keep the conversation going.
“Nope. Al, Harper, Lake and Scorpius were there too.” she said, smiling at some unknown memory. I opened my mouth to say something, but she interrupted me before I could start. “Harper in my year, not in yours.”
“Right,” I said, as she answered my unasked question. A wolf whistle came from ahead of us and I looked up to see Lorcan Scamander looking embarrassed as he stood by Liam Johnson who was grinning at Bianca.
“Hey!” trilled Bianca, maneuvering her way around the floating suitcases smoothly, I almost made them crash into her, but then thought better of it. Her arms flew around Liam's neck and I looked away pointedly, catching eyes with Lorcan.
“It's the 'Maine sisters.” said Liam pulling away from the girl, a new found confidence in his voice that hadn't been present at the Potter's. He winked at me and I looked away awkwardly. Bianca laughed softly. “Looking for Rose?”
“Yeah, have you seen her?” she said, fluttering her eyelashes at him seductively.
He was completely oblivious to her blunt flirting.
“Her compartment's two carriages away and 'Rette,” I was surprised he knew my name, “Freddie's is two carriages after that.”
“Thanks,” I said, blushing slightly when I made eye contact with the sixth-year. Bianca began walking again without a second thought or a second thank-you. I continued along after her, stumbling over Lorcan's foot awkwardly as I went.
“So you and Freddie, huh?” said Bianca, as soon as we were out of ear shot from the sixth-years. I could hear her breathtaking smile in her voice. Curse her inherited Veela blood. It was so prominent I could hear it in her voice.
“I don't like him like that anymore. We're just friends.” I replied, failing to sound believable to myself, even though it was true.
“That's what they all say.” said Bianca, quietly.
I brushed off her statement. At least I knew it was true. I did not like Freddie Weasley in that way, anymore. I wasn't even sure it was true anymore.
We continued the walk to Bianca's compartment in silence and arrived in silence. I tore of the levitating spell and the suitcases cluttered noisily to the ground. I looked carelessly around to see if we were blocking the aisle for anyone, while doing so I caught eyes with someone I did not expect to see.
Tallia Thomas sat directly in the compartment opposite the one Bianca was making her way into. Our eyes locked for perhaps a second too long and I looked away quickly, my insides shifting uncomfortably.
While Tallia Thomas and I had an almost too rocky relationship, I still liked the girl. Sure she made it blatantly obvious when she was angry at me and laughed especially hard when a harmless insult was thrown my way, but when she was in a good mood, we were fantastic together. We laughed like seventy-year-olds remembering the 'good old days'. We made memories that could always brighten my mood on rainy mornings and make a genuine smile on Tallia's face when she was particularly sad. It was moments only like those that fueled my hope that one day everything could just be peaceful and judgment-free between us. Pitiful hopes, really.
But I tried, every day I woke up and I tried, just so I could find those moments again. That was until Fred and I got close and I forgot to try. Slowly I spent time with Tallia less and less and spent time with Freddie more and more. That was until Cassie's party, where I drank a little too much Firewhiskey and spilled a little confession and then I was back to trying again. Ever since my fall out with Freddie the great moments between Tallia and I lessened until they were near nonexistent and Tallia found herself someone else to have great times with.
Looking up quickly while Bianca gave a rushed good bye I spotted that girl beside her. Cassie Loure, a short, pretty girl with wavy blonde hair. She was oddly quiet and therefore wasn't known well in Gryffindor. She was a rather strange girl and you never really knew what to expect from her, so as I watched Tallia whisper in Cassie's ear and her glance up at me I had not the slightest clue what emotion flitted across her face.
I pulled open the sliding door and smiled warmly at the four girls inside. On the left was Molly Weasley and Harper Johnson who I hadn't previously noticed. They both looked up as I entered, Cassie and Tallia didn't.
“Hey,” I said, more cheerfully than I felt or intended to.
“Hey,” said Harper and Molly together. Cassie looked up and gave me a quick smile. Tallia pretended not to hear me.
My teeth gritted as I regretted stopping outside and looking into this compartment, as I regretted stepping inside and attempting to act happy to see her, as I regretted the day I sat next to Tallia Thomas at the Gryffindor table. But I didn't let it be seen. Instead I threw my suitcase up on the rack and took the seat next to Molly. Tallia looked almost angry that I didn't take the seat next to her. It made me oddly satisfied.
“How's Freddie?” Tallia shot out in a rather cruel attempt to point out that Fred Weasley had rejected me. Something in her harsh voice told me that some part of her feelings towards me had changed over the Summer; and not in a good way.
I decided to ignore her unconcealed sarcasm and act as though I couldn't understand it. “He's fine actually saw him a lot in the Summer. How's Louis?” I asked back, just as sarcastically and knowing full well he hadn't been anywhere near her all Summer and she had been equally rejected.
“Why don't you ask him yourself?” she said, sticking her thumb at the door where Louis was standing outside grinning like a little child with his first toy broomstick. His smile was contagious and I found myself beaming back in response. James was beside him looking confident and windswept. His muscles could be seen through his black v-neck sweater. I shook myself as I registered the thoughts that had just shot through my mind. James Potter was not somebody I could be attracted to. Not even if it was just physical.
As the door slid open Molly and Harper both stood up and left, muttering something about the loo. In turn, James and Louis took their empty places without invitation.
“You should wear blue more often,” Tallia blurted out, looking at Louis. “It brings out the blue in your eyes.”
“You should wear less clothes more often, I'm sure we'd all enjoy that,” said Louis, grinning and winking at what he plainly thought was smooth flirting. James chuckled lightly. Tallia giggled and blushed, looking at the ground in a strange attempt to look flattering.
It was strange how little it took for her whole mood to change.
I mimed making myself sick. James cracked a smile and Cassie gave me an expressionless glance. The other two didn't notice.
As Louis and Tallia started a conversation with Cassie listening on intently, James turned to me.
“So, Amorette LeMaine, tell me, why are you not on the Gryffindor Quidditch team?” he said, turning to look at me straight in the eye.
“Ahh –” I began.
“And don't give me any 'I can't play', bullshit.”
I recoiled at his unmeaningful harsh tone. I knew his words weren't supposed to come out so brutal, but for some reason they pierced into my brain and left black burns trailing behind them.
“I don't know,” I said softly and his face smoothed with my words.
“Well you're trying out for the team.” he stated, his last word finishing with a snap like he had just stamped his foot in agreement.
“Excuse me?” I retorted as he looked back to Louis and his strange conversation with Tallia.
“What?” he retorted, turning back to me. He seemed genuinely surprised that someone would disregard what he said and demand a thorough explanation. Kick to the ego, Potter.
“What makes you think you can boss me around?” I challenged, looking him up and down, cheesily to lighten the mood a little.
“What makes you think I'm gonna let you say no?”
I pursed my lips and struggled for a comeback.
“What makes you think I was gonna say no?” It took me a second to realize my words had backfired on me. I smiled sheepishly at his crooked grin. “I might need a bribe, though.” I added thoughtfully, to aggravate him slightly. I looked out the window and pretended to ponder.
“I'll take you to Hogsmeade on the next trip.” he offered, quickly.
My stomach clenched as I registered his words. For the little I knew about James, one thing that was obvious was that he thought out everything he said. Those nine words were plainly not thought out. I didn't exactly understand what he meant so I tried not to think too much into it. He hadn't implied it like a date and it was merely a bribe to try and get me to try out for the Quidditch team.
So, why exactly did it feel like I had butterflies floating in my stomach?
“I was thinking more like a box of Honeydukes chocolate.” I offered, recovering quickly. Cassie's eyes were bulging out at me. She was one of those people who would do anything to go out with James Potter. Emphasis on the anything. She might have even talked.
“Honeydukes it is, see you at the try-outs, 'Rette.” he smiled at me and pulled himself and Louis up. Cassie and Tallia began a quiet discussion and I leant my head up against the window and just breathed.
My butterflies remained.
Disclaimer: Unfortunately everything you recognise belongs to J.K....
Author's Note: So ... tell me what you think. I LOVE reviews, they're like chocolate ;) Even if you're not going to read any more, they'd still be great. Next chapter will hopefully be better, but of course that will require more time .. (:
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