Chapter 18 : The Way it Was
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When I was nine years old I had a really tough time dealing with the death of my mum. It didn't seem fair that other kids could go home and talk to their mums whenever they wished and I couldn't. I was jealous. Insanely jealous.
I used to come home and cry about the horrible things the other kids would say to me and no one was there to listen.
I never had a mum to talk about boys with or teach me how to do my makeup or my hair or tell me that having a period was perfectly normal. No, instead I had a dad and two older brothers who were busy all the time.
Devon talked to me a lot more than my dad ever did. I thought it was because he hated me. Devon said I just looked like mum too much. That hurt me more than anything. I used to cry a lot.
When I got to school I didn't make friends instantly. In fact, the only one that ever said hello to me in the hall was Lily Evans. Which doesn't really count because Lily said hello to everyone.
I was horribly lonely and quiet and I thought if the wall could stay with me forever maybe everyone would forget I was there.
Then I got in that fight with James Potter and things started to change. Alice became my best friend and people suddenly regarded me as funny and obnoxious. But I couldn't help but wonder what it would all be like with the mask off. If anyone would see behind the smile.
No one did, but I started forgetting about my mum and my brothers and my dad and soon I was as happy as I pretended to be. I was so good at lying to myself that I convinced me that my life was as perfect as it could get.
In third year we had a dance. It was a huge deal. Everyone got nice clothes and a date and went into the Great Hall and had a lovely time.
I sat in my dorm and cried.
Every story I have ends with me crying.
I just have a knack for it, I guess.
I could hardly feel the tears slipping down my cheeks now.
I'd lost track of how much time I'd spent in the hospital wing when someone tapped me on the shoulder.
It was Remus, with an apologetic smile and a chocolate bar.
"Thanks," I mumbled.
Remus didn't say anything back, but he did hold my hand until Madame Pomfrey came around the corner.
"Miss DeLestrade, I'm sure you know you will be punished for your actions, but Raphael is going to be fine. He's broken his back and it will take a while to heal, but he's fine," Pomfrey said sadly.
I was about to ask if I could see him but she put her hand up.
"He'd also mentioned that he doesn't want to see you at the present time, dear. I'm sorry."
I bit my lip and couldn't say anything.
Instead I got up and left, running straight into my dad.
Let's review here.
I was fucking attacked and my father didn't even send me a letter.
Raffie fell off a broomstick.
I suppose it was partially my fault, but that's not the point here.
"Elsa Marie, I'm incredibly disgusted by your behavior," he spat at me. I stared at him; this was completely unexpected.
"I know it was bad, but it was an accident-"
"There have been too many accidents around you lately! You've been failing your assignments, leaving the house in the middle of the night at breaks, drinking," (he seemed to ignore my 'but I'm of age' interjection) "not to mention gallivanting around with your friends while your brother could have died! By your fault! How do you think your mother would have felt about this?"
I stood silent and bowed my head.
"Do you honestly think she would have patted you on the back and said 'we still love you'? You think she would condone acts like this? Because she wouldn't! You're getting way out of control," dad said.
I bit my lip. "I'm doing better in my classes."
"The hell you are! You've been slacking! I get letters from your professors! They say you aren't up to your abilities. That you are going to fail. Your mother wasn't a failure-!"
"Mum is dead. In the ground, long gone and buried whatever you want to call it. I am not a failure," I said, trying my best to keep my voice steady. "I'm trying my best, okay? I just have things that need to sort out…"
"Elsa, you can't pretend your problems aren't there, alright? That's what you always do. And you always manage to screw it up. You put your family in danger today. Raffie could have been killed! Where were you? Where was your head?"
"Well where were you two months ago when everyone else thought I was dead?" I said calmly, "Where were you when I fell off the wall in second year? Where were you when I asked what was wrong with me? Huh? When I was at mum's funeral? Where were you? Where were you? I needed you and you let me down! So don't you fucking tell me that I'm a failure. Maybe I'm not the best daughter, but I'm sure as hell going to be a better parent then you."
My father looked angrier than I'd ever seen him. "Elsa Marie DeLestrade how dare you. You think that standing there acting like an immature bitch is going to change everything?"
The words were cutting me like knives. I wanted to grab them and slice my own neck. This wasn't Marlene or Regulus Black. This was my father.
"I AM NOT MUM!"
My vision was blurry from the tears that had welled up in my eyes.
"You're right. You're a disgrace to her."
With that he turned around and fled into the hospital wing while I stood there speechless, waiting for the tears to fall.
I saw Remus, who had poked his head out from behind the hall, with his jaw slack. I couldn't even look at him.
Instead I booked for the lake.
I don't know why I'm not crying. I should be bawling my eyes, cursing, cussing yelling 'fuck you' to every goddamn thing that floats in my path. I don't want to be sitting here, acting calm as all hell when I really want to punch someone in the face and scream and cry.
My dad has never acted like that. Never.
I feel like shit.
I don't even know what to do.
I guess deep down I knew it was all true. I was an absolute fucking disgrace to my mother's memory.
The words 'immature bitch' kept playing in my thoughts and I tried to push it out, forget ten minutes ago ever happened.
I decided this little adventure was going nowhere and that the best thing I could do would be to go back upstairs. It was getting dark anyway and I'd already missed dinner.
I held my head down when I got back inside the castle and followed the endless flights of staircases up to the Gryffindor common room. It was only then when my cheeks felt hot and my eyes stung.
And to top it off, I have no idea what the password to the common room is. They were going to change it.
Maybe if I wait long enough someone will come by. Preferably someone I don't know or care about.
"Elsa, darling there you are!"
Fuck. Just fantastic.
James ran up the last few steps and noticed my tears. Now, there are two things that James would normally do in these situations.
Run for Remus.
However, I was surprised when he instead asked me gently, "Are you alright?"
I shook my head. "R-Raffie fell off his broom and nearly died and it was my fault and my dad h-he-" I managed to spit out. "And I've f-forgotten the password, s-so if you w-would b-be s-so k-kind."
James looked at the Fat Lady, who was snoring rather obnoxiously, and yelled "OI!"
She shook awake and glared at the boy in front of her.
"Next time don't be so rude about it!"
The portrait swung open and I was delighted beyond belief that James had been the one to find me because the first years sitting on the couch didn't argue when he told them to 'piss off'.
I'm sure we'd be hearing about that one from Lily later.
"Oi, Prongs, where the bloody hell have you been? Peter and I have been sitting up here for a half hour waiting- Elsa, love, what's wrong?" Sirius asked, getting up from his spot on the floor in front of the fire.
"D'you get trampled by a herd of hippogriffs or did you attempt to do your makeup again?" Marlene said from the floor.
James gave her a nasty look and Peter moved away from her.
"I know it's really hard for you M-Marlene, but if you wouldn't mind j-just this once, s-stay out of my f-fucking business," I said to her.
"Are you going to let her talk to me like that?" Marlene asked Sirius.
"Yes," he replied offhandedly.
I wiped under my eyes, hoping that it wouldn't look like I was crying.
"It's not a big deal," I mumbled and sat down on the couch. "It's fine. I'm fine."
I am definitely not fine.
"See Sirius, she's fine," Marlene said.
Sirius turned around. "Would you please shut up? Or better yet, go away?"
"Fine," Marlene hissed, "but don't expect any favors from me."
Sirius rolled his eyes. "Who did that?"
I covered my face in my hands and didn't reply. How could I?
"Elsa, who did this? Why are you crying?"
I peeked over my fingertips and saw that James looked torn between telling Sirius and giving me the option to.
"My dad," I whispered, and immediately regretted saying anything.
Sirius' face fell a thousand kilometers.
I figured that it wasn't a good thing.
So I went upstairs and sat in bed for the rest of the night, unwilling to cry, unable to think.
When I woke up it was barely light out.
That doesn't happen to me. I'm not a morning person. If the clock isn't already in double digits, then I'm not interested.
Never the less, I dragged my sorry arse out of bed and popped in the shower.
Afterwards, looking in the mirror, I realized just how horrible I looked. My eyes had bags under them and my hair was lying dead and limp on either side of my face. I looked exhausted.
If I thought it could have been fixed by sleep I would have crawled back into bed, but I knew this was the kind of tired that didn't go away easily.
This was the tired that was like me at a chocolate shop.
I sighed and brushed through my hair anyway, not bothering to put on makeup.
I thanked the heavens it was also Saturday. So I could do whatever the fuck I wanted.
I'll have to keep that in mind when I sulk.
"Elsa, are you up already?"
I turned around to see Mary rubbing her eyes.
"Obviously," I said coldly.
"Sorry," she mumbled. "You know it is only five thirty, right?"
I nodded. "Dunno what possessed me to get up."
"Oh," she said quietly.
Congratulations, Mary, you have now just won the award for the most pointless conversation ever.
Downstairs was equally as quiet and I assumed that it would be safe to say that no one would be bothering me down here.
"Morning," I replied casually.
If anyone tries to bring up one single goddamn thing from yesterday I will hex them into next week.
Sirius sat on the couch next to me.
"You feel any better?"
That's it. That's just fucking it.
"Yeah, loads. It was stupid of me to be upset in the first place. I'm over it. Completely over it. Fantastically over it. Definitely over it. I don't even know what you're talking about over it! So over it that I don't remember anything. If anyone asks me about it, I'm going to say 'what' because that's how over it I am."
I was starting to sound like Charity rambling on and on.
Sirius raised an eyebrow. "You don't really sound like your over it."
"Well what are you doing downstairs this early in the morning in the first place!" I yelled.
Sirius cringed. "I figured no one else would be down here. I was wrong, I guess."
"You could have run upstairs as soon as you saw me," I suggested.
"Or I could have dashed out the door," Sirius added.
"Hid behind the couch."
"Under the table."
"Could have tried to blend into the wall."
"Or I could have sat down next you and tried to actually talk with you…" he trailed off.
"I'm not too keen on talking about it, honestly Sirius. So what if I'm an immature bitch? I'll get over it, right? Maybe I am a disgrace to my mother. I'm reckless, stupid, irresponsible. I let bad things happen to other people. Raffie could have died. And it's not like when I could have died because dad obviously wouldn't have cared if that would have happened. He doesn't talk to me or write to me anyway, what's the point? I'm obviously better off being rejected, yeah? Oh Lord."
I felt the tears forming, but I bit them back.
Sirius looked at me sadly. He was clearly torn between saying something and walking away.
"None of that's true."
I shook my head. "No it is. I'm so caught up in my own miserable disposition that I shove other people out of the way in the process."
"I don't think so. You make other people happy, Elsa. You're funny. You're a good friend."
"You wouldn't say that if you knew," I mumbled, sniffing.
He looked confused. "Knew what?"
"I'm a liar. Probably the biggest one you'll ever know."
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