Chapter 1 : The Need
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The turning point of Geraldine Truss
The serene surface of the Black Lake was so captivating. It was so clear and tranquil, not even a single wave disturbed its peace. It had hypnotized me, I had been staring at it for the past half an hour, just like I’d done for every single day for the past few weeks. Stretching my tall figure on the flat stone I was using as a seat, I tried to shut every bothering thought away from my mind and just escape.
That little creek by the lake was my favourite place at Hogwarts these days. It was so peaceful and quiet, not many people passed by that place, only the ones who fancied a swim in the more private parts of the lake. Fortunately for me it was already October, many weren’t brave enough to face the cool water.
I was sick and tired of them all, of every single student of my school. I hadn’t wanted to come back, there were much bigger worries in my life and the people here only made it worse with their hushed voices and pitying gazes.
I didn’t want that; all I desired was to forget, for everything to be like it was before I went home for the summer, but that just wasn’t possible. Nothing would ever be the same way again.
The need to run away was so powerful, I didn’t want to be at school, all I wanted was to go back home. Dad needed me; I couldn’t even picture how he was surviving there all alone, he wasn’t used to that. He couldn’t even cook, where would he find food?
If I went back home, everything would be better, even a little bit. I wouldn’t have to endure the whispering people, I could wear whatever I wanted instead of these sickening school robes and I could lose myself into my favourite muggle music, I could just listen to the King of Rock and Roll all day. His dreamy voice would let me drift away even for a little while, to help me get over the pain and to fill the empty spot in my heart.
I couldn’t do those things at Hogwarts, but neither could I leave. There were people here too who required me, my three sisters needed my support more than my father did, they were the only reason I came back. After all I had my O.W.L.s already, I could’ve survived with only them; my family meant more to me than anything else.
But in the middle of the gossiping students, it was almost impossible to relax. There were only so few things that could distract me from the sore thoughts.
And as much as I hated to admit it, he was one of them.
I could hear the familiar footsteps closing, making my heart beat even faster. I knew it was him, it couldn’t be anyone else. He had seen me come here, it was obvious that he would follow me and take his chances.
I didn’t know how I felt about that. The mixed thoughts were spinning through my head as I listened him walk closer, making me unable to decide how I should act.
I just had to figure it out along the way.
“Hello, Truss! I’ve missed you,” the voice purred into my ear, sending shivers down my spine.
I hated it how he had that effect on me, I wished I could be strong and just ignore him completely, push him away and not let him use the situation into his advantage. But then again, he was also able to help me.
Only one little sigh escaped my lips, as I inhaled the minty flavour of his cigarette.
“Playing hard to get, are we? I don’t remember that being the case the last time.” I could hear the smirk in his voice as he pushed my long flyaway hair aside, gaining the access to my neck. His hot breath brushed my skin, and the memories of his hands against my bare skin filled my mind.
Then came the self-loathing again, the reminder of what a lost cause I was. I had been so weak, so fragile and he had seen it. His words had been so sweet, just the thing I needed, lighting the little fire inside me again, making me lose all the self control I had.
The most pathetic moment of my life, but still such a perfect one. I was torn between my thoughts.
I couldn’t just blame him completely, even if I wanted to. He was using me, but in a way he had done nothing wrong. He hadn’t forced me into anything, it had all been my decision after all. I should’ve known better, I should’ve been stronger and followed the things I had believed in.
All I could do now was to stop making the same mistake again, though I wasn’t sure if that was what I wanted.
I flinched a bit, pushing myself further from him. I wanted to get away from him, his presence would only make me break.
“Oh, come on, baby. I know you enjoyed the last time, why not try it again?” He sniggered amusedly.
“I don’t think so, Barry,” I sighed.
“I could make you feel so much better again, to forget everything else,” he muttered against my skin.
I didn’t say anything, just nailed my eyes on the green grass, trying to let my favourite colour to keep me calm.
I could do this, I could resist him.
“I don’t mind at all if you use me, all I want to do is help you. It must be hard, being all alone with all that sorrow,” his words echoed in my ears even though how hard I tried to push them away.
“Yeah right. Just leave me in peace, Barry, okay?” I practically pleaded.
“If you want me to. Maybe I’ll go back to the castle and find that precious sister of yours, I’m sure she could use some comforting too. I wonder which one of you is better…” his voice trailed off.
I snapped my head towards him for the first time and gazed bewilderedly into his deep blue eyes.
“You wouldn’t!” I stated.
“Why not? She is cute after all, and I think she likes me. Maybe I’ll have a go, since I clearly can’t have you.” The smile was dancing on the corners of his lips.
“You stay away from her, you hear me? If you even glance at her in a suggestive way, I will make you suffer, do you understand me?” I threatened, poking my finger against his chest.
Barry just smiled amusedly and inhaled his cigarette, blowing perfect smoke circles out of his mouth few seconds later. “Sure, sure, I understand. But what’s in it for me, darling?” He commented, raising a brow questioningly.
Still staring at him, I tried to figure out if he really was serious, but his expression didn’t really reveal anything. “What do you want?” I eventually sighed.
“Oh, not much, just a little affection will do. I’m not even picky, you can choose which one of you will meet me in the astronomy tower tonight after curfew.” He shrugged, the grin still visible on his lips. I didn’t say a word, but he knew my answer anyways. “That’s what I thought. Selfish much, Truss? Why won’t you let little sister have any fun?” He smirked, brushing some of my hair away from my face.
I didn’t stop him when he pressed his mouth against mine, just moved my lips slowly and unenthusiastically as I responded his kiss. He tasted like cigarettes as I let his tongue explore inside of my mouth, trying to ignore the gagging feeling I got from it.
“Try to be a bit more enthusiastic later tonight, won’t you darling? I feel like I’m forcing you here, but after all it was your own choice.” He hemmed as he released me. “Because I’m sure your sister would be more than happy to take your place.”
“Don’t smoke then, that way I don’t feel like I’m kissing an ashtray,” I muttered.
“I’m not sure if I can promise that,” he grinned as he took another drag from his cigarette, this time blowing the smoke towards me and making me cough.
“What’s going on here?” A voice suddenly asked somewhere from my right.
I spun my head towards it, finding the light haired girl standing some feet away from us, a puzzled expression on her face.
“Maddie…” I said silently at the sight of my sister.
“Hey little Truss, how are you?” Barry commented, flashing her a smile.
“Fine…” Madeleine said unsurely. “So, what were you two doing?” I could see her eyeing the distance – or the lack of it – between me and Barry.
“Your sister and I were just… discussing about little details concerning our Muggle studies project about… whales,” he replied, apparently noticing it too since he took a step further from me.
“Right,” Maddie said.
“Well, nice to see you, little Truss. I guess you have something for you sis here, so I’ll let you two catch up,” Barry said, scratching his neck awkwardly before turning to look at me. “Truss, I’ll see you later, right?”
I didn’t reply but he didn’t stay and wait for an answer anyways, he just rushed back towards the castle.
The silence fell for a few moments between me and my sister before Maddie eventually spoke first.
“So, what was that about?”
“Nothing.” I shrugged.
“Then why are you meeting him later?”
“Is it because of your homework about whales?” She sneered.
Of course she had seen right through that lie. She knew perfectly well that I would never do a project like that, I hated everything that lived in the sea.
I stayed silent, there was no point commenting anything to that.
“Don’t bother lying to me, Geri. There’s something going on between you two, isn’t there?” She demanded, but I still wasn’t keen on opening my mouth, I just watched at her angry expression and saw her shake her head disappointedly. “How could you do that to me?”
What was she talking about?
“Do what?” I asked.
“You know perfectly well what I’m talking about!” She snapped.
“About Barry? Oh please, he’s a jerk.” I rolled my eyes at her.
“You clearly don’t know Barry Ryan at all! He’s a sweet guy. Caring and funny, and he really likes me, so why do you have to ruin that?”
I just chuckled, because her statement was so stupid.
“Urgh, I hate you! And it’s annoying when you do that, always just laugh at stuff! Don’t you care at all? How can you do that to me?”
“Everything isn’t always about you, sis,” I pointed out.
It was better this way, I’d rather have her hating me than getting hurt by him. She couldn’t deal it, she was too fragile, too innocent, only 15. He would break her heart.
“Aren’t the Hufflepuffs supposed to be all kind, loyal and hardworking? I think the sorting hat made a big mistake on your part, because you certainly don’t fall into any of those criteria’s, except maybe hardworking, though I don’t think it’s that difficult for you to just lie on your back and spread your legs!” Maddie hissed at me.
“Thanks.” I commented.
“When did you become like this?” She asked, lower lip trembling a bit. “Is it because of mum, now that she’s gone, you don’t care about anybody else either?”
I turned to look at her bewilderedly, how she could even think something like that. All I did was for her own good. How could she not see that?
“Of course I care! You just don’t understand how much!” I sighed, shaking my head.
“Stealing the guy your sister fancies isn’t caring!” She retorted.
“You’re better off without him!”
“Oh don’t lie! You just want him for yourself. Can’t say I blame you, he’s going to be famous soon, professional Quidditch player and so on. I just never thought that you’d go for a guy like that!”
“Is that why you fancy him then?”
“You’re an arse, Geri! I hate you so much!” She glared at me, eyes flashing furiously. I dropped my glance to the ground, I didn’t want to annoy her anymore. But I guess I had already crossed that point. “I wish you’d have died instead of Mum!” Maddie snapped at me.
I lifted my gaze back to my sister, only to see her rushing away from me, tears glittering in her eyes. I wanted to shout after her, but I knew it wouldn’t help, she wasn’t coming back before she had calmed down and if I chased her, it would only make things worse.
Oh why did she have to be so naïve, why couldn’t she see I was doing this all for her?
I knew she didn’t mean what she said, she had just been angry, but I still couldn’t state that her words didn’t hurt. She knew exactly where to stab me, where it would hurt the most. She knew I kept blaming myself for the fact that Mum was away, I was the reason she had been at that muggle supermarket, buying my favourite kind of bread, because nothing else was good enough for me. If I wasn’t so picky, she would still be alive, she wouldn’t have been there getting shot by the muggle robber.
The tears filled my eyes at the thought of that. Mum was the light of our life, she was everything but most of all she was the backbone of our family. Now that she was gone, we couldn’t work properly, there was nothing left to hold us together anymore. We were all lost.
I rummaged my pocket for the letter I always carried with me everywhere I went, mum’s last letter to me. Unfolding it again for the umpteenth time, I traced the familiar letters with my index finger, picturing every little manner she had made when she had sat down by her desk and wrote letters.
The little smudge on the first word caused by her pen that she had tried to wipe away; the capital letter M’s she always had trouble with and had to correct many times, only making them look worse; her little signature on the bottom of the letter with its unnecessary loops. All those little things made it still so endearing, they made me miss her so much.
I wrinkled my snub nose as the smell of petrol was still strong on the paper; Mum always used the ones from Dad’s filling station and they smelled like they had been drowned in one of the canisters. I was positive that the smell would never leave the papers, even if hundred years passed. I hated it so much, it made my head ache but I couldn’t let it bother me, the words in the letter were so much more important than any of my childish dislikes.
Hello Geraldine love!
How are you? It’s been ages since you wrote to me the last time, have you forgotten all about your sad, old Mum? I’m just teasing sweetheart, I know you’ve been busy with your O.W.L. studies and haven’t probably even noticed the time passing by. I just hope you aren’t studying too hard though, you deserve to have a little fun too.
I can’t wait to see you and Maddie soon, thank Merlin it’s almost summer and you’ll come home soon. I’ll have stacks of your favourite foods ready and waiting for you to come back, though I could never even dream about topping the cooking’s of Hogwarts house-elves. Well, at least we can have picnic again in the garden, surrounded by all the poppies you love so much and you can tell me all about your school year. Does that sound nice?
Belle and Josie are anxious to see their big sisters again. The girls are constantly talking about you guys, I think I’ll die next September when they go to school too and me and your dad are left here all by ourselves. So don’t you even think about moving out of home when you graduate, I need one of my girls here to keep me company when your dad is working. He says hi too.
I miss you so much, my little Koala Bear. Write me back soon, even a little note saying you’re okay and miss me too.
A tear fell from the corner of my eye, smudging the ink some more as I stared at the little Koala she had drawn on the bottom of the paper. The drawing was waiving its paw at me and sending a few flying kisses. Forcing my watery eyes away from it, I quickly folded the letter again, pushing it inside my pocket before I messed it up some more.
“Why did you have to leave me, Mum?” I whispered silently. “Couldn’t you see how much I needed you?”
But nobody was there to answer, just the wind blowing softly against my face. Mum was gone and she’d never be able to come back to me.
I rubbed my forehead in frustration. My life was getting out of my hands, I was too busy protecting my sisters, staying strong for them that I had forgotten how to take care of my own life. I had just been waiting for somebody to drop by and wave their wand, magically making everything better again.
I should’ve known that wasn’t going to happen. There were no fairytale endings in real life, I had always known that, I never even believed in them when I was a kid.
We made our own stories.
And it was about time I started to live again, Mum wouldn't have wanted me to wallow after her for the rest of my life. I had lost the real Geraldine Truss during these past months and my tale could not be complete if I couldn't move on.
I had to find myself again. That was my biggest need.
A/N: Hey guys! This is my very first one-shot ever! I'd really like to get some feedback, so tell me what you think about it (:
It was written for starryskies55’s ‘The Tale of an OC’ Challenge & for Houlestar’s What the Hell is a Hufflepuff Challenge.
Hope you like it (:
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