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Chapter 8 : Pastel Roses and White Dresses
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Of the church at the back door; don’t wait, or say a single vow
Your time is running out and they said, “Speak now.”
“Raven, get up, today is a big day.” I open my eyes to see Celestine on her knees, her chin resting on the couch, inches away from my face.
“Come on, get up.” She smiles at me.
“Go away.” I roll over onto my back to avoid her. “There’s nothing special about today. Teddy, my Teddy, is getting married. Go away.”
Celestine sighs and stands up. “You know, I’m really tired of you moping around the house for the past week, so I’ve invited Nydia to come over. She’ll be here in an hour.”
I growl and close my eyes, turning over on my side. Cel sighs again and I hear her leave the living room and go to the kitchen. The sound of running water meets my ears, and a few minutes later, I hear Celestine walk back into the living room.
“If you aren’t going to get up, I’m going to take matters into my own hands.” Her voice is threatening. I smirk, not opening my eyes.
Suddenly, I hear a slosh before ice-cold water collides painfully with my body. My eyes snap open and I sit up, shivering slightly.
“What the hell?” I spit. Cel grins at me.
“I warned you.” She carries the metal pot that had the water in it back into the kitchen. I rub my eyes.
“Now go take a shower! You haven’t bathed for days!” Cel’s voice travels from the other room. I grumble slightly before getting up. Walking down the hall into the bathroom, I pull off my black Fire-Eater robes before stepping into the warm shower.
The water rushes over my head and down my scarred back and chest before hitting the shower floor. I stand in the water flow, trying to relax. My Teddy is getting married today, and I’m going to lose him forever. I just want to crawl into a corner and disappear into nothing, but Celestine is determined not to let that happen.
I scrub shampoo into my dark hair, the suds turning a slight brownish color, shuddering at the feel of grit. Lifting my arms, I stand in a trance, looking my arms over. Scars and bite marks cover them, long since paled lighter than my skin. Overtop of them is the black Fire-Eater brand, wrapping over my arm like chains forever binding me to my fate. I scrub extra soap into them for good measure.
Finishing my shower, I wrap a towel around myself and step out into the cold bathroom air. I look down and gasp.
“CELESTINE! WHERE ARE MY CLOTHES?” I shout from within the bathroom, gripping the towel around my body closer. I know I left them on the floor before my shower, but now they aren’t there. I hope one of my sister’s ridiculous cleaning charms didn’t sweep them up.
Receiving no response, I angrily throw open the bathroom door before stalking into the kitchen. Sitting at the table is Nydia and Celestine, deep in conversation.
This does absolutely nothing to comfort me. First, my Teddy is getting married to some blonde whore. Secondly, my clothes disappear and I’m now standing in a kitchen in nothing but a towel. And third, my sister and my best friend are completely ignoring me.
“Ahem!” I clear my throat as my nostrils flare. Only then do the two women turn around, surprised to see me.
“Today is the worst day of my life and now my clothes have disappeared! Where the hell are my clothes, dammit?” I spit, curling my hands into fists.
Nydia exchanges a glance with Cel before staring back at me without saying a word.
“Fucking damn it, someone say something. Why are you ignoring me? Why are you staring at her like that?” I whip my head back and forth between the two women, eyes blazing. This isn’t fair. Why are they being like this?
“There’s cold water dripping down my neck, I’m freezing, and you just stare at me like retarded donkeys.” I kick the side of the table. Immediately my foot is met with a throbbing pain, but I ignore it, too angry to care.
Nydia finally speaks, her eyes wide as she steps forward. “Raven, I took your clothes.”
I freeze. “What? Why?” I turn on her, stalking up to her angrily.
“Raven, please…it’s because you’re going to be wearing something else today.” Nydia hesitantly reaches out and places her hands on my shoulders, attempting to calm me down.
“What?” I step back, and Nydia nods her head towards Celestine, who pulls something out of a box resting on the table. Honestly, I hadn’t even noticed the box.
“What the hell?” I spit, as Celestine holds up a dress. It’s white and has little red and yellow flowers all over it.
“Do you honestly think I want to attend Lupin’s wedding just to watch him…get married?” I scathingly hit the table, growling.
“Yes, Raven, I do. I want you to attend Teddy’s wedding.” Celestine glares at me defiantly, holding her head high.
“Why? So you can watch me kick myself a little lower every day? Does my pain amuse you?” I feel another wave of rage wash over me.
“Raven, I don’t want you to be in pain. That’s why you’re going to protest his wedding.”
…What?! She can’t be serious!
“I…uh…you want me to…what?!” I splutter, completely mind blown.
“I want you to protest his wedding. Damn it, I’m tired of you moping around. When the priest asks, ‘Is there anyone who believes this wedding should stop’ or whatever he says, you stand up and ask him to change his mind.” Cel grunts.
“You can’t be serious.” I step backwards, clenching the towel tighter around my body.
“Then mope around for the rest of your life while Victoire spends everyday with him.” Celestine folds her arms, staring me down.
I pause. She can’t honestly expect me to do that, but if I don’t he’ll get married and I’ll lose him forever…
“Fine. I’ll do it. Give me the dress.” Snatching it out of Celestine’s hands, I stalk to the bathroom.
Drying my long black hair with the towel, I slip on a pair of undergarments before pulling the dress over my head. Stomping out of the bathroom, I glare at the women.
Nydia smiles at me. “You look pretty, Raven. But we really need to do something to your arms.” She frowns before pulling out her wand and waving it over the white scars and black tattoos on my arms, which fade with the Vanishing charm. She touches it to my shoulders, hiding the scars there, before pulling it up to my face.
“No,” I say, interrupting. “Leave the scars on my face. Teddy wouldn’t want you to hide them.”
Celestine freezes and stares at me before dropping her arm. A wave of insecurity washes over me, realizing what I just said. It was true though. He always used to tell me the scars on my face were a part of whom I was, and he loved them, just the way I loved how he looked under the mask of a face he always wore. Just like his father, he said. I believed him, having seen pictures of his parents together. Beautiful blue eyes and sandy hair.
“Are you ready?” Celestine asks, touching my arm. Am I ready? I don’t know. I haven’t loved in years and I wasn’t ready to publicly humiliate myself for a potential denial.
“I suppose so.” I answer back. Gently, she takes my hand and we disapparate.
The backyard of Ted’s grandmother’s house, Andromeda Tonks, is decorated with pastel colors. Benches with pink and yellow ribbon wrapped on them are lined up in rows. The green grass has been sprinkled with white flower petals, and off to the right are tables set up with little vases of roses for the reception. The altar is an arch wrapped with different flowers, which continually bloom and change colors. A white piano has been stationed next to the altar, pink petals scattered on and around it.
Cel and I apparate into the house. She opens the backdoor and we quickly sit into the closest bench, avoiding being noticed by the guests. Everybody from the Order is there. I see the Weasleys and the Potters. Young Rose hides behind the skirt of Hermione Weasley, who is locked in conversation with a member of the Ministry of Magic.
“It is okay, nobody has noticed you yet.” Cel smiles at me reassuringly. Harry Potter is laughing and joking with Ron Weasley, and some of their children run around playing together. Some more witches and wizards appear from out of the house, and head for the benches, gossiping together. They are all from the Ministry. My hands become sweaty, and I know that I’m in serious danger of going to Azkaban if anyone sees me, but I have to talk to Ted. I have to change his mind.
As my eyes scan the crowd, I catch the eyes of a Ministry worker, who gives me a strange look. She’s about to ask her friend who I am, when the man of the day steps out of the house.
Ted’s hair is slicked back. Rather than wearing it in one of his goofy hair colors, it is a muted brown. His new black tuxedo is tight fitting, snug at the arms. My breath catches in my throat as I admire his broad shoulders. He is the most handsome man I have ever seen. Andromeda tags along behind him, still trying to fix his bowtie as he takes his place at the altar, waiting. I know his face like the back of my hand, and I swear I can see worry in the lines of his face. He’s not entirely sure of this.
Someone taps the piano with their wand and it plays a gentle melody, not the usual Muggle wedding tune. The guests take their seats, whispering gently. One woman exclaims, “What a handsome boy! My husband looked like that once.” I smile, despite the circumstances. I’m not ready for this. I’m really not ready for this. But…I have to.
Victoire steps out of the house, her white dress shaped like a pastry. Her lips are painted bright pink, blonde hair braided in a hundred different ways all at once. Ted smiles, and I feel my stomach sink. This isn’t going to work. He’s picking her right now.
“I really shouldn’t be here. He wants her, that’s why he’s marrying her.” I take Celestine’s hand, and she squeezes back.
Her blue eyes smile back at me. “You can do this.”
She is walking down the isle, but my eyes are focused on Ted. He seems happy, but somehow he isn’t sure.
The preacher begins reading and rehearsing the standard speech. I close my eyes, and listen to the words.
“If there is anyone who feels that this couple should not be united in holy matrimony, speak now, or forever hold your peace.” Victoire smiles out at the crowd, holding Teddy’s hands in her own. We are sitting in the back. I could sneak out now, and nobody would know. I could get away; I could spare myself the embarrassment. I could let Teddy slip through my fingers one last time.
I fight back the panic, and rise in my seat. Everyone turns around and gasps, horrified looks plastered on their faces. I am not the kind of girl who should be barging in on a wedding. I shouldn’t be here. But he shouldn’t be wasting himself on a girl who would only want to have babies and look pretty.
“Raven?” Ted asks quietly, but the whisper seems like a shout. Victoire is tight-lipped and angry. Her eyes flicker with a rage threatening to boil over.
“You could spend your entire life married to her, and you have the right. But you have to hear me out. I haven’t done very many good things in my life, and I could have done better,” I swallow hard, but I keep my eyes locked on my Teddy.
“But I can’t live the rest of my life knowing I let you go.” I bite my lip and the tears rise in my eyes, blurring my vision.
“I just can’t let you go, not without putting up a fight.” I blink and the tears fall to my cheeks. Through the blur, I see Ted, who is staring right back, with very sad eyes.
“Raven, I –”
“This woman is Raven Black, arrest her!” Victoire screams and cuts him off. Everything rushes to me at once: Victoire’s angry expression, the horror of the guests, some of whom just broke out screaming, Ted’s shocked face at his to-be wife, the rush as ten Ministry of Magic workers grab me all at once. I fight back, screaming.
“No, stop, wait a minute!” They do not let up though, and I know if I have something else to say, I must say it now.
“Ted, I love you! I meant to say I love you.” A Ministry member slams a hand over my mouth and pins me to the ground.
I fight the hand off my mouth, and manage three more sad, lonely words. “I love you.”
Ted does not move. He does not try to stop them. He only stares back, the same empty expression on his face. His mouth opens slightly, but his feet do not move. Victoire snarls at him, her eyes threatening him, daring him to go after me. When Ted doesn’t move, she turns and watches me with sick enjoyment. When he doesn’t move, I give up. My limbs go slack, and I watch him as they tie my hands and take me. I never should have come. He chose her.
The Ministry Apparates with me and Ted’s face is gone.
“Raven Black, you are condemned to Azkaban for eternity on the charges of mass murder, treason, assault, robbery, and the use of Dark and Black magic.” The Minister of Magic glares at me through the bars of my witch-sized cage, which is sitting in the middle of the room. I don’t see anything, though. I only see anger and Ted’s empty face.
“Of course, we might lower your sentence if you give us names.” The room, which is packed with witches and wizards, echoes a murmur. Composing myself, I stand up straight.
“I will give you one name and only one.” My words are loud and clear. The room goes silent. “Auxilry Black. She was the leader; she planned everything, not me.” I do not say that she also ruined my life, or how she tortured me with visions of the love of my life being ripped limb by limb. I do not say that she used to beat me within an inch of my life if I messed something up. There are some things I cannot tell anyone.
“Auxilry Black is an esteemed member of the Ministry. Everyone knows you lead the Fire-Eaters. Perhaps the world will sleep a bit better tonight, right?” He laughs again, and I see red. I wonder what his blood would look like spilled out on the floor.
I don’t see them when they Apparate me to the forest-side. I don’t see them when they tie my hands to the boat and set me out onto the lake towards Azkaban. The Dementors push the boat, sucking the energy out of me, but I don’t see them either. I only see Ted’s face, and how he never even moved to save me.
A/N: Yes, I'm back. I got very busy with life in general. However, Raven is very persistant that her story is told. The song at the top is Speak Now by Taylor Swift. Yep, this is a cliffhanger, isn't it? ;) don't worry though, because you should see chapter 9 up pretty soon. R&R!
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