Chapter 1 : Chapter 1: Faking it and Making it
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Today had been frustrating. I had writers block for almost the whole day, and it was a struggle to write every word. After an exhausting two hours of writing a paper on Machiavelli I was finally relaxed. Dressed in an oversized t-shirt and shorts, I was painting in my studio. My most recent project, a portrait of my friend Hanna and I, was almost complete. I was leaning close to the canvas, only inches away, when my mother burst through the doorway. May I point out that the door was closed and that was our signal that I was busy and annoyed?
“You will never guess in a million years what I have to tell you!” sang my mother. I paused my music, and stay down on stool with my pallet on my lap. When my mother was excited she would often take a while to get to her point, her explanations were often filled with back stories.
“Aren’t you going to guess?” she asked, looking at me expectantly.
“Well, have I got news for you! I was talking to Jenna, my friend from my book club, and she told me about this website she had just signed up for. It was about….” And this is about the time I tune out. I started making patterns with the paint on my pallet when something she said caught my attention.
“….low apartment prices! Well , I e-mailed the owner and she said that she would be glad to rent the place to us! It has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a nicely sized kitchen, cozy living ro-”
“Wait, where did you say this place is?” This was worrisome.
“London! In England! Can you believe it? It’s in a dream location too! It’s right in the heart of London. Apparently, it’s close to this ‘Diagon Alley’. The lady I talked to, can’t remember her name for the life of me, said you could buy all your school supplies there!”
I almost dropped my pallet in shock. She continued talking however, quite oblivious to my horror, saying that she hadn’t wanted to tell me in case she couldn’t sell our house. She said that she didn’t want to ruin the surprise. I couldn’t believe that I was moving, to England of all places, it was inconceivable.
“You have got to be joking,” I said. Mom’s smile dropped a little, this hadn’t been the reaction she was hoping for.
“No,” she replied uncertainly, smile wavering. Then she was back on track, talking about a fresh start, leaving all the gossip behind, moving on and finding her true self. Apparently, she had to move to a different continent to do that.
“Mom,” I said, frantically thinking of ways to change her mind. “What about my school, and your job?” My mom worked as a reporter for Wizards Watch, the local newspaper. She began to smile again; this was comfortable ground for her.
“I already wrote to the Headmaster of the best magical school in England, Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, and he said that they would be glad to have you! You can finally have a real magical education! The semester starts September 1st. As for my job, I applied to the wizarding newspaper there, Daily Prophet, and they said I could have my own column! Elizabeth everything is in our favor. This is the time! We have to strike while the iron is hot.” So this was it. I could tell, it was no use arguing. Still I had to try one last time.
“What about my friends?” Ya I know, a pretty lame last try. My mom just looked so hopeful and excited….
“Oh honey, I know you love your friends but there’s a whole world out there full of people! I’m sure you’ll make great friends at Hogwarts. Think of the opportunities!” Blah, blah, blah. I plastered a fake smile on my face.
“I’m supposed to be at Hanna’s house in like fifteen minutes. Sorry Mom,” I ‘grinned’ and closed the door of my room. I leaned against the door, listening until I heard her footsteps retreat. Then, snatching my phone off my dresser, I dialed Hanna.
“Hey,” I whispered. “Can you meet me at Espresso Cielo in fifteen minutes?”
“Sure, um why are you whispering?” She said.
“It’s a long story.”
Twenty or so minutes later when I reached Espresso Cielo I saw Hanna. She was waiting for her drink, casually leaning on the counter, an impatient look on her face. Hanna was famous for being on time, and expected everyone else to be the same. Unfortunately for her, she was often disappointed.
“Hey, there’s my best friend in the whole wide world!” she called, waving her arm at me. Grinning, I looped my way around the tables toward Hanna. “So I ordered you a latte already. Quinn makes the best foam in town. Well that’s what he said anyway.” Hanna looked skeptical. Peeking over the counter I saw my drink. With bubbly foam. Yuck. Quinn makes the worst foam actually.
“Excuse me Quinn,” I said, perhaps a little to sharply, opening the gate and pushing him out of the way. No one messes with my foam, especially not today. “Now watch me closely…” I poured one cup of milk into the pitcher, steamed the milk and slowly raised the wand inside the cup. I raised the pitcher up and down, creating smooth, velvety foam, entirely focused on the task at hand. Then I swirled the steamed milk a little and poured it into my cup. Perfect. “That is how you make foam.”
Then, looking up, I realized that while I had been making perfect foam and trying to enlighten Quinn about the skill of foam making, Quinn had spent the time looking down my shirt. Gross. Not even realizing what I was doing, I picked up my latte and threw the contents at Quinn’s face. It was quite satisfying, the way the foam stuck to his now bright red face and slowly dripped onto the floor.
“Let’s go Hanna.” Slowly the thrill was ebbing away, and I felt tired, tired of coffee, tired of my mother, tired of walking, tired of trying to keep smiling and pretending that everything was fine. All I want to do was fall asleep in a big fluffy bed with big fluffy pillows and a big fluffy comforter. I want to do that really, really, badly.
Outside Espresso Cielo is a special bench. It was old and made of wood, right underneath a big maple tree. If you sat on the bench in the fall you would always get maple leaves in your hair. Hanna and I always sat on that bench.
“What’s wrong Liz?” Hanna asked, letting my head rest in her lap.
“I’m moving,” I said, my voice hollow.
“That’s not so bad. I used to move all the time, remember?”
“I’m moving to England in two weeks. My mom just told me.” Hanna, unofficial queen of the chatty-Cathy’s, was speechless. “I’m transferring to a boarding school, they’ve already accepted me. She kept talking about ‘moving on’ and ‘finding herself.’ I hate it.”
“Elizabeth…Your Mom has had a really hard year and-”
“Why are you defending her? She wasn’t the only one who got hurt when he left! I know it was ugly; I was in the middle of it! I was the cause of it!” I sat up roughly and started to walk away.
“Liz wait! I know it was hard on you too! Who was it that held your hand, let you rant and was always there for you? Me! All I was trying to say was that you’re stronger then your mom!” Hanna ran after me.
I stopped and let her wipe the tears off my face. She was right of course, she was always right.
“I don’t want to leave Hanna.”
“I know Liz, I know. Look at me.” I raised my head, fighting the tears that had been threatening to consume me since I heard the news. “Your Mom needs to do this, ok? She needs to get out of Seattle and sure, moving to England is a bit extreme. But she needs the change ok? No matter how much I don’t want to lose my best friend, I agree with your mom. Listen to me Elizabeth, you are not the reason your dad left. You just happened to be cursed with a weak dad. I know you miss him; it’s ok to miss him. But some people you just have to let go. If your dad is supposed to be in your amazing life, he will find a way, even if he has to go all the way to England.”
I sniffed and smiled at Hanna, “Thanks for listening to me Hanna, and for the advice. I’ll try to listen to it.”
Hanna had left my house for dance practice four hours ago, and I was totally ready for some coffee but thanks to my new friend Quinn, I was determined not to go into any coffee shop with male baristas. Staying at home however, was also not an option. My mom had forgotten how long it takes to pack up a house, it seemed like it would be years before we got it all into boxes. So far we’ve packed up my bathroom, her bathroom, and half of her bedroom, filling up over twenty boxes. I stopped counting after a 12.
While my mom and I had been packing it had started to drizzle outside. Now the rain was coming down at a steady pace, the wind blowing it against the windows. I looked around my room; it was strange to see it so empty. Shaking off the chills, not caused the cold, I pulled my comfiest maroon sweatshirt on. Slipping my wallet into my pocket, I jogged down the stairs and into the kitchen. Mom was stirring something in a pot on the stove.
“What are you making?” I asked, my mother liked to, uh experiment in the kitchen.
“Well I found this new recipe in a magazine. It’s a watercress soup with a potato base. Are you going out?”
“Just thought I’d go grab a coffee, do you want anything?”
“Sure! I’ll take medium, decaf, extra foamy, no-fat, vanilla latte with an extra shot and pump of chocolate. Come back before six ok?” Oh god, not again. My mother loves complicated drinks.
“Do you, uh, want to write that down?” she didn’t hear me. Of course she didn’t. Oh well.
Grabbing my umbrella, I walked out into the rain. The wind blew my caramel-colored curls in my face and my bangs became plastered to my forehead, causing temporary blindness, no matter how I held it down. Only a few stragglers were out and about today.
“Hey Jude, don't make it bad. Take a sad song and make it better. Remember to let her into your heart, then you can start to make it better,” I sang under my breath. Hey Jude by The Beatles was my ‘song of the week’. Ya, I know. It’s a little on the old side but man, I just love it.
“Elizabeth! Hey, wait up!” Turning around I saw this guy. Oh god. Please, Merlin no. Faking a smile once again, I came to a stop, leaning against a big maple tree.
“Hey,” Erik grinned. “What’s wrong?” I almost laughed. Instead I snorted, oh so femininely.
“Am I that easy to read?” I asked, pouting.
“Only to me,” Erik said, and we began walking again. Nobody spoke for a while, I guess he was waiting for me to talk. What an annoying smart boy.
I didn’t even realize where we were headed until we were right outside the door. Erik had led me to the same coffee shop that I went to this morning.
“Uh huh, no. I will never again get coffee here. Let’s go to the one on Twelfth Avenue.” I steered Erik away.
“What? You love this place, and you hate that place.”
“I do not want to talk about that right now. Or ever. Of course, in a few weeks that won’t matter anymore….”
“What? Liz what’s going on?” Erik stopped walking.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Elizabeth……please.” Erik was looking at my with his trademark puppy face. It got me every single time.
“It’s my mom. She told me this morning that we were moving to England in two weeks. I couldn’t change her mind. She’s sending me off to boarding school too. I can’t…I can’t do a-a-anything about it!” And just like that I was crying my eyes out, again, with my head buried in Erik’s shoulder, in the middle of the sidewalk.
Eventually I calmed down enough to actually speak properly, and told Erik exactly what happened. Then, being the wonderful friend that he is, he told me that I was beautiful, that everything would work out, and that he would always be there for me no matter what. What did I do to deserve a friend like him?
Sipping our coffees, Erik and I spent an hour just wasting time and watching people walk by. It was so relaxing. This day has been so crazy, and I’ve been so bipolar. I think, however, that I’m fully justified.
“What are you thinking about?” Erik asked, putting a strand of my hair behind my ear.
“Everything and nothing,” I smiled. A single tear slipped down my. With a sad smile, Erik wiped it away with his thumb.
A/N Updated!! Fixed, for the most part, thanks to ilopezhp, Updated chapters two and three will be coming soon. xoxo, weasleywitch