Chapter 16 : First day of Christmas my true love gave to me A PILE OF MISERY
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I had to get out of the house.
Yes, I still call it a house. Flat, apartment, a dog's backside, whatever you wish to name it, it would never become home. Never. Not for me at least.
I’d stayed in here all morning, wandering around pointlessly for hours considering what to do, and instead doing small pointless tasks to keep my mind busy – not that it wasn't busy already. I was just distracting myself from my own thoughts.
But they just kept crawling back.
We should go get the ring.
Oh joy of joys. YOU’RE back again!
I know. How you've missed me. Now, let's go!
You tend to dismiss my sarcasm at every opportunity. NOW WHAT PART OF 'NO' CAN YOU NOT JUST UNDERSTAND.
...the 'o' part.
Oh sweet Jesus. One day, trust me, one day, I will successfully gather my forces and I will do ALL IT TAKES even if it's USING A HAMMER to get you out of my head, once and for all. Just you wait, that day will come in time, and justice will be soon in place.
You’re very proud of that speech aren't you.
Well, I'm not going to lie...
You amuse me. Now let's go.
After my head's tiresome typical conversation with itself, I just couldn't ignore it any more. I put down my wand and the windows stopped cleaning themselves.
I pulled out a notebook and wrote down my possibilities.
Stay inside and do nothing. (Preferable)
Sneak into the house and find the ring. (Not-so-much)
Go outside and get some goods and fresh air. (Will to do so is questionable)
I looked at my three possibilities and tapped my quill on each point.
Professor McGonagall had asked a lot of suspicious questions on that call after I'd jotted down all the information necessary. I made up some big fat lies, that I missed home, and was wondering whether (depending if there were any) the new residents were treating it well.
The good news was that boxes of me and my family’s old stuff were still at home, but a young couple, a doctor and a pregnant woman, had already moved in yesterday morning.
I hated to think that people were currently moving round my house, right now. What were they doing? Maybe they were just in my kitchen. Or sitting on my huge brown sofa. It didn't seem right. I had the urge to go over there and scream at them.
I was pacing round the flat trying to gather up a plan. I really wanted that ring, didn't I? I could attempt using that muggle device again and call the number of the new residents that McGonagall had given me.
But what was I supposed to say? “Oh yeah, hi, I used to live in the house you’re living in now. I know you’re living there but I can apparate over there any time I like so be prepared for occasional midnight visits, I'm not a thief so please don't shoot me. Also, my cow has sat on the toilet you now use everyday.”
Clearly I need to think this over again.
I could just ...go there, and pray I'm not seen?
I would have to go there. And I couldn't actually apparate because McGonagall would know as she has edited the system so that I'm off the 'Under 17s No Magical Use Act List' temporarily but instead my magical use information is sent directly to her.
Dragon farts, my luck stinks.
I would have to work out how to get there...the muggle way.
Just as I was writing down my decision in formal notation (that I would stay inside and do nothing like the total arse I am), Bonnie walked in from the bedroom holding her Barbie doll in two pieces and crying.
She started wailing. “Berry, I broke Consita! I broke her! Waaaaa- it's not fair!” She said through bursts of tears. I sighed and looked at her pitifully, trying to work how idiotic one must be to pull a doll's head off 'by accident'.
And who calls their Barbie ‘Consita’ anyway?
I put down my notepad, knowing I wasn't going to be able to get back to that again, and swept Bonnie off her feet. I quietly hushed her tears with constant 'shh'ing and stroked her hair back forth. Much to the delight of irony, when I picked up the two pieces of doll they slid back together perfectly. If this hadn't been my five year old sister, I probably would have clubbed the victim round the head and had a huge rant at them for their wastage of a precious ten minutes over something that could be solved in seconds.
She smiled happily placing a big wet kiss on my cheek, and despite how disgusting it was, it had surprised me in a nice way. I had been lacking human contact or just family love in general.
This is when it hit me again that I wasn't paying enough attention to my siblings. If we carried on this way, we would stop talking altogether.
Bonnie would grow up to be an antisocial young being, who would lock herself away from the outside world as she mourned for a mother she won't even remember very well, and won't have friends because she just won't agree with people in general, and won't have understood the concept of human bonding in any way possible, and she will be titled 'the social reject of Hogwarts,' that is if she is magic, and if she isn't it won't help me at all because I'll have to sort out a muggle school, and prepare her for exams and big steps in life that I'm too immature to guide her through because I'm not her mother.
And then Tom will pretend he doesn't actually have a family, and will refuse to be identified as a relative of mine, and he'll dye his hair black and get his eyebrows pierced and start wearing eye-liner and turn into a huge emogoth (maybe gothemo sounds better?) that will go around acting like a dead zombie with his equally messed up friends, who won't speak to people apart from when he starts running around and terrorising first years, and listening to heavy metal music that damages his ears till he can't hear any more, and has to live at home, and I'll have to look after him, forget about my own future and waste my days keeping him healthy which I can't do because I'm not his mother.
Holy crap-on-a-cracker, I need to talk with my siblings more.
“So Bonnie, you’re starting nursery again after Christmas! That's not long away!” I said despairingly, hoping that this would start a little spark of brightness in her eyes.
“I don't want to go back to school. Jasmine and Helen will have forgotten me because I've been gone for so long that they won't renember-”
“Remember Bonnie. Remember.”
“-they won't renember who I am any more! And I like spending the day with Minnie Winnie anyway.”
What an unfortunate nickname for McGonagall.
I give up on conversation skills.
I eventually went stir crazy and ran out that house as fast as I could after seeing a dead plant that I'd managed to kill with my lack of care and responsibility. Then I ran back in again realising I'd left Bonnie and all my money which I assume I would need going into town.
We were strolling through the shops dotted through the wintry wonderland of Hogsmeade. I bought some Fizzing Whizzbees, Acid Pops and some Jelly slugs for Bonnie from Honeydukes. If I can’t make conversation with her I will have to satisfy her via sweets.
We walked down the main street through the hustle and bustle of the Christmas shopping. I'd entirely forgotten about Christmas really. It wouldn't actually feel like Christmas anymore, would it? I didn't know. I tried to imagine sitting with Bonnie alone in that bitter flat in that bitter room on a table with my attempt at cooking meat which would probably go straight in the bin, due to the high risk of me food poisoning everybody.
It made my eyes water a little.
“So Bonnie, you’re starting up nursery again in a couple of weeks!” I tried again with a forced enthusiasm, anything to try and distract myself. The golden haired girl didn't answer and we continued to walk in silence as more snow began to fall.
“Will Mama come back soon?” She asked all of a sudden, her dainty head tilting sideways to look up at me. I stared at the white blanket of snow beneath me.
Eventually I gained my strength and turned to face her, staring right into those pretty blue eyes I'd always wanted.
“No Bonnie, Mama's not coming back for a long while.”
She bowed her head in disappointment and we continued our empty stroll down the path.
We were gathering some goods from the local supermarket, taking things like 'cans of soup', and 'pasta' and 'ready-made meals' that were far to expensive for what they’re worth.
As I rounded the corner to approach the queue for the till, I suddenly stiffened as I caught a glimpse of a familiar face.
I ducked immediately and, frightened, darted round to the next isle dragging Bonnie and a disheveled trolley along with me. Unfortunately, I managed to knock the trolley into an elderly woman and fall over causing a commotion loud enough to make every single head in sight turn to my flailing form.
My ninja skills seem to reach a score of about zero today.
When I'd picked myself up, I proceeded to knock over Bonnie as I tried to lift up the granny. She began to cry.
“Sorry! I'm so sorry, I'm just, so sorry. I didn't mean to, it was an accident, oh sorry Bonnie! Sorry, sorry, are you alright? Are you alright?”
“Yes I'm ok-” The old woman began but I was too embarrassed to listen.
“I'm just so sorry! I was in a hurry and I just wasn't looking and I- oh I'm so so sorry.” I went on.
“That's quite alright Miss.” The woman said with a face of frustration and slammed her granny trolley straight and wheeled it away.
So apparently, people don't like my apologies.
Still dazed, I apologized to a teary eyed Bonnie and picked her up so she was cradled in my arms (she's SO heavy it's like she's obese) and I began to consider exactly how I was going to pick up my trolley with no free hands to spare.
Oh great! Jake's come to save the day by, as per usual, shoving his arse into everyone's business and trying to be the annoying, charming 'I'm-so-helpful' friend. Well Garland, your holy presence managed to cause this whole kerfuffle in the first place, you poof.
I like that word.
“You alright there Berry? Had a bit of an 'accident'? The kind you could only achieve.” He said grinning.
I want to smack the grin clean off his face.
“Ahem. I had it totally under control, there was no need for you to swoop in and save the day.”
He could sense the coldness in my voice but he still smiled a little because I was doing everything to save my dignity.
“Yes, yes, whatever you say.” He said as he put the last of the objects back in my trolley. I could sense the real questions were about to start. “So...what exactly are you doing here Berry?”
Yep. There it went. Bam. Time for my raving-lies to start creeping up. They don't always to best under pressure.
“Well um...I sorta, live here now.” I said half choking on the words as I looked down and shuffled my feet. He glanced at Bonnie and back at me. Well at least that one was true.
“Really? When did you move?” He asked, interested.
“Um...like a week ago...that's why I was off school!” I said, gleaming at the awesome excuse I'd come up with. “ You know, all the stuff, it took three days to get all the furniture into our new place.”
He smiled, ready to dive in with more questions. But no way was that happening, I had my own queries.
“What are you doing here?” I said jabbing a finger at his chest playfully but I don't think it was convincing enough due to the expression on his face.
“Berry, I've lived all my life.”
“Bummer, I knew that!” I said totally keeping my cool as I fake-laughed a bit and sat Bonnie in the trolley who was currently looking at Jake accusingly. “Totally knew that! Cause you don't go on the train and everything because here's like a five minute walk away and...yeah, you live here.”
He sent me the sarcastic 'genius!' smile and I started shifting again in embarrassment.
“So...why do you move?” He asked. “Did your parents change job or something?”
Smack. That's what it felt like. Bonnie chose this moment to interject and finally say something. Smart kid this one.
“Who are you?!”
Always the polite one.
Jake laughed, tilting his head at me and mouthing 'is this your sister?'. I nodded quickly.
“Um, I'm er...Jake, your sister's...friend.” He stuttered smiling. To be honest, he was terrified.
Most people are terrified by her.
“Hmmm...I'm not quite sure...is he telling the truth Berry? Is he good? He looks...like the bad-guy.”
At this I burst out laughing. Real laughter. Trust my sister to accuse everyone of being a mythical character in a fairytale. Jake squeaked out a little laughter too but still looked terrified. This made me laugh more.
Bonnie was still awaiting me to answer but when she saw me laughing, surprised, she beamed a smile and giggled a little. “Berry! Is he the bad-guy?!” She said impatiently but still giggling.
“Yeah, sure he is. No, I'm kidding, Jake's...Jake's Jake. He's one of the goodies.”
“Ok. Be afraid though...Jake. I'M WATCHING YOU!” She said jabbing him with her imaginary sword.
I hadn't seen Bonnie like this since summer. Wow we're really boring people aren't we.
“Well,” I said still laughing. “We better be off, I've got to pay for this lot haven't I.” I said tickling Bonnie.
“Cool.” Jake said. “Well if you live here now, surely we can meet up now in the holidays? Owl me when your free? Maybe sometime next week?”
He'd totally caught me off guard.
WHAT?! Meeting up with people totally wasn't part of the plan.
“Um...ok!” WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING. “That'd be great. See you round, Garland.” I said teasingly.
“See you, West.”
Holy crap-on-a-cracker I am S-C-R-E-W-E-D.
Trust me to get into beyond sticky situations.
After paying at the till, we bagged up our goods and went home. When we got through the front door I dropped the bags on the floor and let Bonnie wonder off into the bedroom. I slammed the door and ran for the sofa kicking off my shoes before jumping up on it and screaming into a cushion.
I bounced up and down, screaming and screaming hysterically about how stupid I was to knock over a granny in the supermarket. So stupid! I started biting the cushion and promptly fell off the sofa altogether hitting the mean, hard, floor. In a dishevelled mess I lifted my head shamefully to look up at my sister giving me the authorative 'so-childish' look.
It's like we've swapped places.
“Berry, you idiot.”
“Oi! Don't use that word! You don't get to boss me around missy. Go to your room.”
She sighed and stormed away like a grumpy teenager and I got up to my feet. The energy was gone, along with the hilights of my un-exciting day. I stared at the wall and moped to the floor thinking about my mother again which never helps anything. Oh great, I'm entering the misery state again now.
Talking with Jake had had a sense of normality and had soothed my sores a little. Now that was gone. Beginning a new episode of despair was never a pleasant experience. I collected back to the grey sofa and sat sleepily feeling my eyes water a tad. I rubbed viciously.
Suddenly there was a knock on the door.
A sense of panic and alarm washed over me all at once.
Who the hell could that be? No one had ever come to my flat accept McGonagall, and she always called before she did anyway. She would have let me know. I start twitching and shaking on the sofa, and stared straight ahead, at the door.
My heart thudded loudly. It was pounding my pulse through my ears.
It knocked again which made me jerk forward.
Should I answer? Whether I should or not was out of the question. Nothing would make me get up there now. Digging my nails into the arms of the sofa I braced myself as the third knock pounded on the door impatiently. I trembled feeling I might pass out right now unconscious with fear.
A lock clicked and the door swung open and I practically screamed out a siren as my whole body violently froze in pure terror.
When I saw, my eyes popped open as they fell upon a tall, flaming redhead who wore the most determined expression ever.
With nothing left to do, I shrieked bloody-murder and started to run around aimlessly as I tried to get over my shock.
Rose tutted, her hand resting on her hip as she tapped her feeting, waiting for my screeching to come to an end.
No way, bitch. You scared the life out of me. I've earnt this scream.
I came to a stop in front of her my eyes still popped open in terror as I took her in. Shock was starting to lose its grasp on me.
“YOU HAD ME SHITTING APES WOMAN HOW COULD YOU JUST DO THAT I MEAN WHAT WOULD POSESS YOU TO FRIGHTEN SOMEONE LIKE- OH MY GOSH HOW DID YOU FIND ME- HOW DID YOU KNOW I WAS HERE- I HAVEN'T TOLD ANYONE- W- AHHHHHH!!!!!!”
Yes. You could call this the definition of a mental breakdown.
Despite her tutting, she did look a little relieved to see me...well, alive I guess.
“Berry dear, I'm a straight 'O' witch. I think I can find you in Hogsmeade quite easily thank you very much.”
Oh jesus. This sucks. Pure, cruelty. A day. One day. Really? One day and they've found me already?
That evil scheming manipulative bitch.
Sometimes I think she was blessed with the genius mind just to make humans suffer. I mean, what did we ever do?
But seriously how did she find out? Without being a stalker I mean. I started to have thought destruction as my brain hopelessly tried to discover how she could have possibly found me. Then, I walked straight into the door.
Clearly, pondering isn't healthy.
Then it hit.
“Hermione told you didn't she?” I snapped, almost hissing. It wasn't really a question. Suddenly she looked guilty and I was starting to wonder why when I realized I had a pretty furious expression on my face. I don't think I was actually angry at Hermione. Or Rose. They were only human. I think I was just angry...at the whole situation really.
Oh my god. If Hermione had told her. Oh no. Did she tell her about my mum? NO SHE CAN'T HAVE! NO I'M SO NOT READY FOR THIS! NO NO NO!!!!
“Well um...Berry, I hadn't meant to. Well, I mean, I sorta had. But it wasn't my mum's fault. I was bugging her and, it just slipped out, and, it was my fault really, for being nosy-”
“I'm not angry at either of you Rose! It's fine!” I blurted, my voice all jumpy, trying to grasp the concept that she might know. I felt like I was entering shock all over again.
“Oh! Oh OK sorry. She just told me that you were living in Hogsmeade and that was it. I've spent the day looking round. I bumped into Jake who said he'd bumped into you and he pointed off the direction you went. I followed that way and stopped off in Scrivenshaft's. When I was paying at the till I started chatting and asked if they'd ever heard of you. They said that you were starting work there tomorow and that you lived in this apartment up here? Of all the places I didn't think you'd work in a book store Berry.”
“Neither did I.” I mumbled, but suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of relief crashing upon me with the confirmation she didn't know.
“You know...” She said softly as she walked towards me, reaching out a hand. “You can't avoid everyone forever.”
I didn't say anything.
“In the end Berry, it will be alright. But right now, it doesn't feel alright. Because it's not the end.”
When I'd calmed myself down a bit I got Bonnie to come out and she sat at the table with Rose as I made some tea.
Rose was full of great questions for Bonnie, and I was almost jealous that I couldn't get up one conversation with her properly. And she was my sister after all. I leaned against the counter as the stupid muggle kettle boiled, screaming like some dead soul was trapped inside of it. Mainly, I avoided using my kettle.
“So, Rose, how has...the first day of your holiday been?” I asked, attempting to join in the discussion.
“Well, after spending the whole day searching for you, it's been a bit tiring and all.” Rose said sending me an irritated look. I pouted evilly and got some mugs out. I still felt edgy around Rose. It was weird, she hadn't asked any questions that all of my friends (including her) had been asking on the days leading up to this one. She wasn't asking where my mum was, and she wasn't asking why I'd moved house or anything.
I wasn't sure if I should be happy about this or scared.
Either way I was suspicious.
I brought over the tea annd gave Rose a cup. Bonnie, too young for tea, had a glass of orange squash. We all sat in silence sipping till I spat my everywhere having learnt the hard way that I'd forgot sugar. Rose rolled her eyes but took a gulp and started coughing from the bitterness. I'll say it now so you can't forget.
I can't make anything. And cooking is just out of the question altogether.
They chatted a bit more but I stayed silent because I felt that none of my questions for Rose could be asked in front of Bonnie. Eventually I managed to get her watching some muggle 'Hello Kitty' TV.
Rose and I sat in the kitchen, out of hearing reach of Bonnie, and finally I began to speak.
“Ok...Rose? What is...what is up with Al?” I asked. The question had been eating my brain since she'd got here. Rose sighed looking sadly at me, like she wanted to tell me something but she couldn't.
“Well, I think anyone would be stupid to deny the fact he cares for you. A lot.”
I thought about this. I guess...I guess he cares if he got me that present. Suddenly my forgotten little parcel was itching in my pocket.
“But Berry neither of you are being fair to each other. Your hiding things from him.” She said it like I wasn't hiding things from her. “And he's not respecting the fact that...recently your a bit...fragile.”
She was choosing her words very carefully.
“He wanted to come with me today actually.”
Rose laughed. “Berry, are you oblivious to everything?”
“Yeah. Sure I am. Entirely oblivious to the fact that he asked out Emma.” I spat. Rose winced, still hiding things from me.
“Berry, it's complicated, I've talked with him, and he-”
“Complicated? How can it be complicated! He asked out a bitch and she said yes and came and rubbed it all in my face, just CASUALLY stamping all over me.”
Rose's face froze. There was a silence.
“Berry...” Rose said cautiously. “Do you...do you....fancy Al?”
Holy crap-on-a-cracker. I never thought I'd be faced with this question. HELP ME! I'm a terrible liar!
“Well er- sort of- yes.” I mumbled, praying she wouldn't have hear d me correctly. Then the worst thing happened.
Rose Weasley squealed with delight. Even Bonnie jumped round from the sofa to see what on earth was going on. Rose covered her mouth squeaking out a little 'sorry' but you could still see the excitement etched on her face and in her eyes.
“I'm so setting you two up!”
“No fucking way-”
“Yes! Yes yes Yes! You two are going to be like-”
“Non-existent because he has a girlfriend and doesn't fancy me genius.” I hissed. I hated telling people who I liked.
Realisation came upon her and initial delight fell from her face. Sometimes, I think I'm smarter than Rose.
“Well Berry I don't think he likes her that much-”
“Enough to ask her out Rose. Come on, I don't have a hope.”
“Never lose faith!” Rose said half smiling.
“I lost that a long while ago Rose.”
She stopped and coughed a little.
“Point is, there's a chance. We just have to be subtle about this. We can get you and Al to meet up loads over the holidays-”
“What? No! I'm not meeting up with anyone! It's not part of the plan. I can't just go on pretending nothing's happened- I...I don't want to see anybody. Anybody. This is just a one off.” I said. I was starting to get angry and frustrated about all this. I wasn't going to start seeinng everyone like everything was just freaking dandy and no way was Rose messing between me and Al. I'm not planning to talk with him for a long while anyways.
“No! Come on Berry, you'll become so lonely all here on your own! I'll just send people here every now and then to keep you company! To help you out. Plus Al's not himself-”
“Who cares?! Who cares about Al?! He's got a fucking girlfriend and a fucking life and fucking parents!” I shrieked.
Bonnie twisted around and looked close to tears.
Rose was staring at me wondering what to see, seeing if she could even connjure words.
I just sighed and melted in a frustrated puddle on the floor. I started pulling my hair and lefts my face in my hands. Rose wasn't asking why I'd said the parents thing. Maybe she misheard or mistook its literal meaning.
Hopefully, she hadn't understood.
She knelt on the floor and pulled my hands away so they couldn't continue in up-rooting my hair. Then she hugged me tightly, rocking me back and forth. Tears weren't coming but I felt like I was crying anyway. I hugged her back as I tried to re-gain myself. I hated this. I hated being the weak one. The one people look at with sympathy. I hated being comforted. Why can't I be like them? Why can't I be the strong one? The one who's life is just about ok?
Why is it that I can't spend one waking moment without my mother and her death ringing through my head?
It just wasn't fair. But then again, not much is.
Rosie packed up and left two hours later when the sun had started to set. I went through to the bedroom to find Bonnie curled up asleep on the bed. I smiled. Also there on the bed, was some chocolates, nice clean clothes, two scrivenshaft book tokens, a whole lot of shower stuff, a muggle ipod and a tub of my favourite Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
Rose is the bomb.
I wanted to cry with happiness as I took the ice cream and put it into the freezer after helping myself to a bowlful. I took the nice shower products and clean clothes into the bathroom where I
washed and put on the nice pyjamas.
The pyjamas were actually my own of course but when she'd put them out knowing that when I lose the plot I tend to forget all about personal hygeine.
I brushed me teeth and ate a chocolate. Mentally I scolded myself realising I'd just eaten a chocolate after I'd brushed my teeth. I couldn't be bothered to go back and brush them again so I sat on the bed rummaging through my knew things. Rose couldn't have possibly got this all by herself. I mean come on, ipods are like at least £100 of muggle money, plus, how would she of all people even know what it was?
I'm guessing the book tokens were from her though. She'll never give up on trying to get me to read. Oh well, I'll just let her keep trying. The chocolates were nice, and didn't have alcohol in them, clearly someone knows me too well.
Alcohol should not be tampered with near Berry.
And who would know my favourite ice cream? Well...excluding the fact I pretty much eat it every day but still.
I looked at the ipod and began clicking randomly to see a LOT of music had already been stored on it. I smiled strangely and put it aside, and went to the grubby little balcony out the bedroom.
I looked out and almost froze over from cold. My bare toes were instantly numb. I stepped forward a little, cautiously of the freezing soft snow under my feet. A sensible person would have grabbed some slippers. Meh.
I walked to the rail and leant forwards against it and looked up. The sun was gone now and the sky was a clear dark white as snow felt noiselessly from the sky. I fell in my hair and tickled my eyelashes till my sight went blurry.
I shivered a little but I didn't mind all that much. All of a sudden creeping up on me I felt the presence of my mother. She was here with me. Right now. I turn my head slowly to the empty space beside me.
She was there.
So I reached out, and closed my hand around hers. Because in the end, everything would be alright.
A/N – hey ;) what do you guys think? Sorry i took so long againn! But i think things have just started to get exciting, so now I have more will power to right ;) i hope this was ok. Too boring? Too much? Unrealistic? Tell me what you think. also guys, i have a question, do you think i should change the chapter titles? just because i personally find them a bit lame and also im runnning out of characters to put for every single chapter! tell me what you think. I'll admit at one point i was close to giving up on this story, but now i'm right back on track and i'd really really REALLY like it if you just scrolled annd typed a little review in the big white box :P it's feeling lonely and wants some love. Thanks for reading.
P.S - I finally worked out how to get a 'meet the author' page on the hpff forums. I'd LOVE It if you were to check it out and drop by and leave some comments. the link is on my page (xXmissGrangerXx) Thanks guys!
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by Ellyn Rose