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Chapter 2 : Phase One of My Rebirth
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It ain't gonna kill me
If I can stop this before it starts...
And it's only love...
And I can give you up, Yes I can
-Only Love, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
The first period of my renewal of self would have to begin with the final stand against my mother.
On the eve of my seventeenth birthday, my mother had a huge charity ball planned in a big fancy ballroom in London, with a black tie invitation sent to only the most important people in my mother's social circle and of course, those above it.
She was forcing me to attend, as it was "customary for a young French woman of your age and social standing". She picked out a poofy, frilly, ice blue dress for me that I absolutely hated, and had a person hired to do my hair and make-up. She had jewery picked out for me, and long, white satin gloves for me to wear, as well as ridiculous heels that no one should have to wear.
The whole ensemble was utterly ridiculous, and completely my mother.
I had been fed up with my mother and her treating me as her barbie doll, to be primped and pomped up to her fancy for the past seventeen years. So the morning of the gala, I escaped the appointment I had for my nails, instead getting up at sunrise, putting on jeans and my favorite leather jacket over a jumper and my sturdiest boots, storming to the garage where I stole my brother's bike, and ripped out of there as fast as I could. It was the end of June, a lovely summer morning in the countryside outside of London, where I was currently speeding down a highway.
I drove for almost three hours to the sea coast, to my cousin's place where he was staying over the summer with his family, Shell Cottage.
Louis was one of the only French people I knew who I could constantly rely on to be on my side, as well as my brother Henri.
I parked the bike outside, on the gravel path that I had followed for the past four miles. I marched up the walk to the door, letting myself in.
"Who is it?" I hear my cousin Dom call out from the kitchen.
"It's me." I respond. "Just stopping by to say hi to Louis, where is he?" I ask entering the room, where Dom is perched at the counter, eating an apple and examining her nails. Her hair falls down her back and around her face in gentle, 'caressing' waves. (I know, right? But I'm serious. Caressing.) She's slightly taller than I am, with similar facial features, yet absolutely perfect, much like her sister Victoire.
"He's down by the coast, I think. But he was leaving for a friend's place, so you might have missed him."
"Thanks. I'll try down there. Who's place?" I ask, preparing to duck out the door.
"James and Al's. Feel free to use the floo powder. Unless you can apparate now."
She had obviously not gotten the word about my birthday, much like the rest of my family.
"Nope, still another day until that." I remind her gently, exiting the cottage out the back door.
I scan the rocky, breezy coastline for Louis, but there's no sight of him.
I run back into the cabin, and step over to the fireplace.
"Shouldn't you be getting ready for the big gala tonight?" I hear Dom ask.
"Yep, just heading back now." I lie, stepping into the green flames, and calling out the adress where Louis' other cousins live, the Potters.
I step into the entryway of the Potter house.
"Hello?" I call out, looking for another human presence.
"Who is it?" Calls back another masculine voice. I turn into the next adjourning room, where Al Potter sits with his neighbor and friend, John. They're immersed in a game of wizard's chess, and John is clearly winning.
"Hey Al, it's me. Louis around?" I ask.
"Hey Char. He's in the back with James I think." He says, not looking up from the chessboard.
I exit through the kitchen out into an expansive backyard. I spot Louis immediately, as he's playing a game of football with James and another familiar guy with light brown hair and blue-gray eyes. Aaron.
He's the first to notice me.
"Hello there, haven't seen this fit little bird in a while." He says, smirking. I roll my eyes.
"Same to you, mon amour." I retort.
Oh, this? It's nothing. Just a little private joke that now has James and Louis staring at us like we're clinically insane.
Louis shakes it off, dissmissing it. "So, Char. What brings you here on this lovely morning?"
"Big gala thing tonight, skipped out on my nail appointment. Currently trying to find a way out of the thing." I toss off my jacket onto the ground, leaving me in my favorite yellow jumper, which incidently, my mother hates. (Probably because yellow is one of her best colors)
"Why would you want out? Doesn't sound too bad. Music, open bar, French girls in little dresses and killer food." James comments, passing the ball to me.
I dribble it between my feet before kicking it over to Louis. I laugh. "What, you want to come with?"
"Can't. Have a hot date tonight." He waggles his eyebrows. I almost forgot about James' girlfriend. "In fact..." He says, checking his watch. "I'm meeting Alex at work for a couple of hours. She got pulled in on a Saturday, how much does that suck? Catch you kids later." He practically skips into the house. I sigh. Lovesick fool.
"Sounds fun, but if I get caught helping you make a mess of my aunt's fancy party, I'll be in huge trouble." Louis says.
I look to Aaron. "Well, I'm not exactly invited, but I'll definitely crash it with you. I'm in." He answers, kicking the ball back to me.
"What party? I want in!" Exclaims the tall, dark skinned bloke jaunting over to us, the back door swinging shut behind him.
"Hey Fred!" Aaron says, going over and slapping him on the back. "We're crashing Char's parents' gala tonight. You want in? Music, bar, French babes, you get the picture."
"Course I want in! Hello, Charlie. How are you this fine morning?" He says, turning to me.
"Fantastic." I say, accepting the 'knucks' he gives me. (something he picked up from his trip to America last year)
He pretends to be blown away by my fist, then laughs, grabbing me around the shoulders and giving me a noogie. I can't help but laugh too. "Fred, get off me!"
He breaks away, "Let's crash this party down!" he exclaims.
I grin. This just got a whole lot more interesting.
"Allright you guys, remember; the one rule of tonight is to avoid my mother at all costs. She's going to be pissed at me enough already for skipping out of the whole day of getting ready, and even more mad that I didn't wear the dress she wanted. Not to mention I'm helping you two get in so that you can basically trash the place." I say as the three of us walk up the cobblestone path to the entrance doors.
"Ah. But don't forget." Fred says. "You'll be doing the trashing with us."
I rolled my eyes. "Sure sure..."
Fred and Aaron are at my sides, looking dashing in their tuxes. Aaron especially cleans up nice, in a nicely pressed suit and black tie, while Fred chose the purple bow tie route.
Myself? I ditched the blue frilly thing when I left this morning, and am now wearing a dress of Lily Potter's that my mother would most definitely NOT approve of.
Don't get me wrong, it's not slutty or anything. I do have some class. It's just very plain, not nearly formal enough, and it's orange.
This is the biggest sin of all, as my mother absolutely loathes orange. She abhors it with a fierce animosity for no other reason except that "orange is a repulsive color that no one should ever, ever, wear or have near their home and children". My mother's exact words.
The dress is bright orange with a simple boatneck and natural waist line taken in. It was long, but I shortened it to just below my fingertip's reach. Paired with my simple pendant and a touch of makeup with nice shoes, it looks pretty good.
We're a good hour and a half late, and I know better than to try the front door, as there'll be a watch going around the workers for me. We sneak around the back of the building and enter in through some service doors. We enter into the kitchen, where everyone is working chaoticly, yet smoothly.
We earn a few suspicious stares, but I keep my head down as we slide into the ballroom through another two sets of doors.
The ballroom is everything but quaint. The cavernous ceiling is adorned with fancy chandeliers and paintings of little angels with cherubic bottoms and little trumpets. The workers weave efficiently through the crowd, delivering fancy little hors d'ouvres on silver platters. The people are the most astounding thing of all however. They are primped and plucked and dressed past perfection to utter daftness.
Thankfully, it's crowded and dim enough that it's unlikely that we'll run into my mother any time soon, as she is busy talking to the 'important people' of the party.
"This is brilliant." Aaron remarks. "So, when are you going to introduce us to your attractive French cousins?" He waggles his eyebrows.
"As soon as possible. The sooner you meet them, the sooner you'll realize you have no chance banging them."
"Aw, Char, c'mon, don't be like that... you're just jealous that we have such skill when maneuvering the opposite sex." Fred says chummily, elbowing me in the side.
I elbow him back, hard. "Hahaha. That's hilarious. Really."
"I thought it was pretty funny."
"Shut up Aaron."
"Anything for you bunnypie." He replies cheekily.
"Bunnypie? That's revolting. Even for you."
"You guys are wierd." Fred interjects.
"Embrace it." I say. "We'll be here all night."
A couple of my veela second cousins pass by, and give Fred and Aaron the look.
They look like they're about to start drooling when I pat them on the back. "Catch you guys later. I'm going to find Harvey."
I manuever around the crowd, past the group of drunk French men, the group of old women gossiping, the group of young women laughing brutishly, and past the dignified officials, the ones who are too important to do anything but stand around and look dignified.
The vision comes when I'm just exiting the ballroom into the hallway. As my sight begins to black out, I lean against the wall, the room spinning as I slide down the wall onto the ground.
My view of the cream wallpaper is replaced with a clear vision of my mother standing in front of me saying, amidst mumblings and thumping noises in a foggy background. She says, as clear as a bell, "Daughters? I only have one daughter. And she is not her."
It's obvious that she is me she's referring too, as she's staring into my eyes. Her is obviously my little sister Isabella, the perfect little daughter my mother always wanted.
I don't like my mother, but I can't help but feel a little hurt, knowing that she will say that about me. But I push it away, knowing that this is not the time to deal with it. It's nothing I haven't dealt with before. Why should tonight be any different? Tonight should be satisfying, knowing that whatever I do will be that bad.
I don't find Jaques, or Henri or Augustin. And I certainly don't want to find Isabella or my parents, so I set out to find Fred and Aaron. When I find them in an alcove in the back of the ballroom, it's obvious they've been up to no good.
All I have to do is cock an eyebrow and they start laughing.
"What did you guys do?" I'm not entirely sure I want to know, as it's probably something kinda perverted and sick, but the rest of me is screaming to know because I know it's going to be classic.
"You'll find out eventually." Aaron says between snickers.
I roll my eyes. Whatever. I have that premonition that it had something to do with the kitchens.
"I hope it had something to do with those awful lobster platters in the shape of swans." I say visualizing all the unspeakable things they could have done with that.
They laughed harder. "You know us so well, Charlie Dearest." Aaron says, putting an arm around my shoulder.
"How'd you guess?" Fred asks, catching his breath.
"Just an inkling." I shrug. Of course, I'd had the inkling since they first came up with the idea. "You get dumped by my lovely veela cousins yet?"
"Yeah, this party is actually very lame." Fred says, sounding disappointed.
"Hate to break it to you guys, that's why I brought you here." I explain to him. "What do you say we do a final loop, inflicting as much unnoticable damage as we can, then we meet up at the back entrance in twenty minutes before sprinting to our getaway?" I suggest.
"Sounds good to me." Aaron consents, removing his arm from around my shoulder and rubbing his hands together deviously.
"Affirmative." Fred says. "Let's go. See you mates in twenty. Best job gets pick of shotgun."
"You're on." Aaron says as we separate our ways to our final destruction paths.
As I'm casually skirting the edges of the dance floor, the idea comes to me in one, obvious view of the hideous curtains and a fondue pot. I smirk. No wonder my mother will be so eager to disown me.
I'm edging between couples and dignitaries when She spots me.
"Charlize Delacour! There you are! I've been looking all over for you! Come greet your aunt Augusta!"
Her smile and tone say "There you are silly little goose! Come here and give mommy a hug!"
But her eyes say "You're in more trouble than when you were expelled by the finest magical institute of learning." (Long Story)... (And that's a lot of trouble).
I plaster a smile on my face and walk over gracefully as her eyes comb over me, taking in the orange, I presume, as her smile grows considerably taught and her nostrils flare.
"Hello, dearie, don't you look... nice." She says hesitantly, feeling the effects of the orange. "Oh! There's Theadore, you must excuse me, Silena, I've been looking for him! Toodaloo!" She waves, bustling across the floor.
My mother turns to me, an ice cold glare on her uptight and heavily made-up face.
"Where. Have. You. Been?"
"Oh, around. I had to run an errand today, sorry I'm so late." I say nonchalantly, staring right back at her.
"You do understand you failed to uphold your duties today?"
"Yeah, pretty much."
She flat out glares. "You should be ashamed! To act so frivilous and negligent, not to mention downright disrespectable to your mother! I will not stand for it!" Her voice is getting higher, rising in temperature.
"And I won't stand to be your Barbie doll." I say calmly, matching her eyeline smoothly.
"You will under my roof!" She exclaims.
"Then I don't want to be under your goddamn roof anymore." I reply evenly.
"Then you can leave. And don't plan on coming back." She says, cooly, not quite as feverishly. "If you won't follow my rules, then you won't ever stand under my roof. Are we clear?"
"Crystal." I say, a lilt to my voice.
"Good. Then you can leave. I will not have your influence polluting my event."
"Oh! Silena! Is this one of your lovely daughters I hear about?" Says a round woman with a huge -This word just seems to fit best- bossum. She's smiling ignorantly to the discussion we're having.
"Daughters? I only have one daughter. And she is not her." She says, turning towards her, and away from me.
That's when the huge ice sculpture cracks, shattering into millions of pieces.
"Oops." I say, just loud enough for my mother to hear. Her shoulders stiffen, but before she can turn and berate me, I'm walking briskly towards the exit, already one hundred meters away.
I smirk, and that's when someone realizes just what is wrong with the little lobster bites, yelping as one crawls down her arm onto the floor.
I flat out grin, not trying to hold back. I spot my brother Henri on the way out and wink.
And then the drapes rip up in flames.
Henri smiles back and just shakes his head as people start screaming and attempting to put the fire out.
"Allright. Let's go. Interference with the Her, we're on her radar." I announce, running into Fred and Aaron by the back exit.
I grab them by the arms and we sprint out the back door out into the night.
We sprint across the lawn and then across the parking lot where Aaron apparates the three of us to his house.
"By the way." I mention as we walk up to his front door. "I'm gonna need somewhere to crash tonight, and at least until Penny gets back from the States."
"I'm sure the couch is open back at casa Harvey." Aaron responds. "By the way, I believe you won the bet, sorry there's no real shotgun though."
"That's okay. I still call honorary shotgun for next time though."
"What next time? Does this mean we get to do this again?" Fred asks excitedly.
"Damn right we do." I reply. "Just you wait until school comes around."
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