Chapter 3 : Blue
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“I’m moving to Wales today!” I announced the next morning. My family stared at me in shock (the amount of times they’ve stared at me in shock this week must’ve broken some sort of world record), struggling to take in all the different moods I was flicking between.
I suppose I didn’t really have a proper explanation for this drastic change of mind, apart from ‘I have this…tingly feeling about it.’
Yeah, I didn’t see them buying it. So I launched into one of my muddling psychological speeches that dragged on for hours and rambled over various topics including that of fate, death, chocolate and a quote of Albus Dumbledore’s that seemed appropriately relevant to my current predicament (longest words I’ve ever used in my life, right there).
“It’s not your abilities that show who you truly are- it’s the choices you make that define you!” I gesticulated loudly.
You see, I often saw images in my head. Pictures of things that I wanted to achieve, or desperately didn’t want happening. I’d thought like that since I first started doing yoga- when your mind is calm and clear it’s simpler to think in images instead of words. I just knew that I couldn’t throw my life away here with a boring, monotonous office job. I cringed even thinking about it happening.
But if I went to Eglentine Copse…who knew what could happen? What a great adventure my life could turn into? (And yes there was the possibility of Eglentine being the most boring fart of a village ever created and me drowning in the rain of Wales, but let’s think HAPPY THOUGHTS). And anyway, if it didn’t work out, I could always come home again. Or try somewhere else. Or become a beggar.
Oh the possibilities.
“When are you going to learn to stop being so RECKLESS?” Mum sighed. “We know you want a life, but if you’re doing this just to make some silly statement, or show off, then STOP. You can’t cope- you were crying last night! You’re still full of hormones!” I scowled a little at the typical parental explanation to any sort of odd behaviour: hormones. I was quite out of puberty, thank you very much.
“I’m not being reckless! I’ve managed to buy myself a flat haven’t I? I think I can manage. And the crying—I’ve explained everything to you! A moment of weakness.” I told them wearily as I loaded my bags into Dad’s car (courtesy of his Ministry job).
“How can you expect us to drive you into the worst decision of your life?”
“It’d be worse if you didn’t drive me, because I’d attempt to drive myself, crash and die.” Mum frowned; she knew that I would indeed attempt to drive myself. She tossed Dad the car keys.
“You’d better have lots of words with your daughter while you drive to the airport, Harry.” Then Mum turned to me and, surprisingly, kissed my forehead (maybe she was wearing poisonous, mind-altering lipstick that would make me want to be a receptionist?). “Go on your adventure then, Lily. Go! But…come back again.” Feeling slightly bewildered, I hugged Albus and James before sliding into the passenger seat as Dad slid the key into the car and started the ignition.
The one bit of advice about airports that Dad had given me in the car was don’t talk about bombs, wear a hood or act even remotely suspicious. Jeez, thanks dad- I obviously looked like such a potential terrorist you couldn’t give me any practical advice instead. So what if I liked hoodies? At least a tracksuit didn’t itch in unsuitable places like this ghastly woollen dress did (a woollen dress? Woollen?). I wanted to tear it to shreds in the middle of the terminal, not caring about being surrounded my people (and young, innocent children).
I really did wish Dad had given me a few other tips though, or at least a rough idea of what to expect. I nearly had a heart attack when my suitcases were swallowed up by an ominous tunnel before someone explained they were just being put into the luggage hold. And when a perverted security guard halted me and started running his hand up and down my body, I actually screamed and shoved him. Then he had to hurriedly tell me it was a random security check, not anything dubious, before I slapped him.
But nothing, nothing was as bad as the flight itself.
I chose a seat next to a young woman and her sleeping, dribbling baby. I had tried to be all friendly and such, saying hello and asking if she didn’t mind if I sat next to her, but the sound of my voice immediately woke up the baby and she started bawling her head off. The mother glared at me, muttering furiously in another language (Welsh??) and frantically trying to get baby back to sleep. I was apologising profusely, but the woman had no idea what I was saying and was looking at me as if I had gone loony. In the middle of all this, a rather pudgy man with a lot of BO squeezed himself into the seat on my left and grinned, patting my knee.
Yay, I was completely sandwiched between Angry Foreign Lady, Bawling Baby and Fat Inappropriate Man.
The plane took off, and I gripped the armrests on either side of me in fright. I was certain that this lump of metal wasn’t safe in the air- how on earth did it fly without magic? My ears popped weirdly and I didn’t like the claustrophobic panic attack that made me bite my tongue so hard that it bled.
I didn’t like it at all.
The air hostess person said that the flight would only take about an hour at most, so I tried to distract myself with the book Albus had given me. Sadly, it didn’t work. Every time I turned a page I wondered what my family would be doing now, and whether this had been a good idea after all. Especially when Fat Inappropriate Man started winking at me and gesturing towards the closet-like bathroom. I blatantly ignored him, ordered a bacon and mozzarella sandwich, and tried to eat it despite the disgusting sogginess. Then I flailed around a bit with the half-eaten remains, wondering where to put them. I decided to surreptitiously drop them underneath the seat, hoping that no-one would notice. I couldn’t wait to get off this plane.
It was raining lightly by the time I had dragged all my bags off the bus, and was standing next to a wonky signpost with ‘Eglentine Copse, ½ mile’ scratched into it. I eyed the moss and mould crusted all over the letters warily, before setting off in the direction pointed, blinking to keep water out of my eyes as my hands were busy dragging along all the suitcases. I was disappointed to say that Wales looked a lot like England. If I forgot about the nightmarish journey I’d just undertaken, I could almost pretend I was walking down a typical country lane in Godric’s Hollow- I even spotted a church spire in the distance that I could’ve sworn was identical to the one back home. The only Welsh thing I’d seen all day was one flag and the book Al had given me.
I was still trying to figure out what I felt about that when the rain eased off, and a glorious blue sky crept over the horizon. The birds suddenly sang more cheerfully, and I noticed little tulips and wild daffodils growing in the trees on either side of the road. Then the track levelled off into a dainty little square with a broken fountain and neat houses on all sides. Not a soul was around as I sat down on the ledge of the fountain and took my first, lonely look at Eglentine Copse.
It was small. As in, very tiny small. As far as I could tell, there was one more, larger square beyond this one, a church, a few shops and a pub. That was it. I suppose Mr Thompson had warned us that it wasn’t even on the map, but I hadn’t really given that much consideration. America hadn’t been on the map until 19- something or other. But Eglentine Copse looked like a real party town (that was another example of my hopeless internal sarcasm by the way).
I set off on a dubious search for my flat. I didn’t think it would take particularly long, but I’d forgotten the street name and number, and therefore was searching purely for the image I’d seen in the brochure with Hugo. But it turned out that there were a lot of flats around here that literally all looked the same. I was about to give up and knock on a door to ask somebody (because there was no-one in the street to badger), when a young-ish girl walked out of the post office to the right. She smiled at me a little cautiously, and I hurried over to her dragging my many bags and looking rather bedraggled. I hoped first impressions didn’t always mean lasting impressions in Eglentine Copse, or I was screwed.
“Hi, I’m looking for my flat. I’m new here?” I tried, brushing a strand of hair behind one ear.
“Oh, we already know you’re new,” the girl replied in a heavy Welsh accent, staring at me intently with different coloured eyes. “And we know which flat you want. They’ve sent me to take you to it.” I felt a little uncomfortable about that- obviously the people had been creepily watching me struggle across the square from their windows. But the girl was already leading me off down a passage to the left. “I’m Birdy by the way,” she said without looking back. “Birdy Podge. Who are you?”
“Um, Lily…Teapot.” I didn’t want people recognising my surname; I had never liked the special attention it got me. I also liked the irony in ‘Teapot’ seeing as I didn’t even drink tea. It was always the little things in life.
“Well Lily Teapot, this is the flat.” She stood to one side as I opened the door and then left me, running back to the square on light feet. I was still mulling over how strange this all was as I opened the door of my new home.
It was quite…cosy. I mean, it was nothing compared to what I was used to back home but it had running water and a bed- what more could you need really? I sniffed as I sat down on the medium sized bed- at least the air wasn’t damp or smelly. The colour schemes were bright and cheerful, if a little garish; sunny oranges and blues with a bright green sofa and lampshades. The door was black. I sort of felt like I’d walked into a paint palette, knocking the paint across every available surface in the process. I sat quite still for a while, listening to the birds outside and a clock ticking somewhere behind me. I felt a little homesick; the people here were weird. And yes, the people at home were weird too but in a more familiar-weird way. But this was my home now… Or was it? I closed my eyes and cleared my mind for a second, trying to focus on the basic human needs of breathing and living and…damn I was thirsty. I got up to poke around the small, waist-high fridge for a moment but there was nothing in there except for a stray ice cube. I acquiesced to a slug of water from the tap, but what I really wanted more than anything else was some orange juice. I decided to unpack my clothes first before going out to try and find a shop selling edible things.
Two hours later, I was walking out the door. I’d struggled fitting all my clothes into the tiny wardrobe, so I’d put underwear and jeans in the suitcase and squeezed it under the bed. I’d also had a quick shower to freshen up and changed into a short skirt, patterned tights and a strapless top with cable knit jumper. I’d even brushed my straw-like orange hair into a shape. I was planning on making at least a good second impression.
While I’d been unpacking, Eglentine Copse seemed to have busied up a bit. A few kids were playing football by the fountain and the sun was shining properly now, so I saw parasols up and ice creams in a few hands even though it definitely wasn’t ice cream temperature just yet. I strolled up the street, trying to ignore the many curious looks I was getting from…well, everyone. I felt like an exotic animal newly escaped from a non-existent zoo.
There was an old fashioned bakery on my right and I stared at the burly, scary-looking man who was delicately icing cakes with his wand. He reminded me of Hagrid a little, with his crazy, tangled beard, and a pang of longing for Hogwarts made me stop dead in the street. I dove into the post office before I did something stupid like cry, startling an old man into knocking over a display of magazines.
“Oh my gosh, I’m terribly sorry!” I panicked, helping him up.
“Never mind dear, never mind. I’m sure there are many far more important things distracting a young mind like yours.” He looked quite cheerful considering he’d just been knocked into a Welsh Weekly stand. I led him out of the shop, apologising again and wishing him a nice day.
Gah! This place was making me feel about ninety seven years old already. I grabbed three cartons of orange juice and a few other supplies and went up to the till, certain that everyone in the shop had been sniggering.
“Nice to see a new face round here,” the woman gave me a strained smile as she took my money, and I wondered what on earth was up with these people. They all seemed to be tiptoeing on eggshells around me.
“Yeah, well. I like it here so far…” The woman shot me a pitying look, as I glanced outside to see the bright sun gone; torrential rain was now pouring from the sky, drenching the street and the pretty flowers in neat window boxes. I was shocked at the suddenness of the weather transformation.
“That’s Welsh weather for you, honey,” explained the woman. I smiled politely, and gripped my shopping nervously as I opened the door and stepped out into the street. My hair was instantly drenched and dripping down my neck; my shoes were squelching horribly as I ran, hoping I wouldn’t get lost. The rain was half blinding me too- driving at my eyes and freezing my whole face. Suddenly there was a shout,
“Lily! Lily Teapot!” It was Birdy, standing in a doorway and pointing behind me. “You’ve dropped something!” I cursed, noticing the hole in my plastic bag and stumbled back to pick up my shopping.
“Thanks!” I called to Birdy, but she’d already gone, sheltering from the harsh weather.
I was just putting my last microwavable meal back in the bag, holding the hole closed with one hand, when I realised that someone was watching me nearby. I wondered why anyone would be randomly standing in the rain, until the person spoke, explaining all.
“Lily Teapot, huh?” It wasn’t a Welsh accent- it was very, very English. And I sort of knew who it was going to be even before I looked up, blinking in shock.
It was Scorpius Malfoy.
Author’s note: Well that’s a little bit of an interesting last line, no? Plus, I’ve been updating this very quickly so I think that merits reviews!! :P The real plot will start to unfold now, and you can expect a LOT of craziness ahead (as well as yoga lessons, fish-a-thons and surprise visits). Also, hopefully I'll get a banner soon! Next up: Lily meets the ‘gang’. THANKS FOR READING
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by Eavan Shea