A/N: Chapter Four is upon us! Remember to read and review and I hope you enjoy the chapter. P.S. The days represent what day of August it is so this chapter is set on the 10th August.
CI by strawberries@TDA, isn't she a dear? TYSM Sarah!
Day 10, Phase Four
To say I was shocked when I woke up would be a complete and utter understatement. I freaked out, eyes bulging and arms flailing included, and all because I woke up in my own bed. My own bed, in my own bedroom, in my own house. I distinctly remember going to sleep on The Target’s bed last night, in his shared bedroom, in The Burrow. How the heck I got here from the other side of Devon without even noticing I don’t know, but I can’t remember a thing after falling asleep, not even a blurry, fuzzy memory, nothing. Zilch. Nada.
I must have the memory of a goldfish. That’s 3 seconds- I learnt that on the back of a yoghurt pack when I was six and it stuck with me forever. The only thing I remember from last night faintly is a popping sound. Which has as much meaning as a cracker.
Brilliant, I know.
Why is it I can never remember what I want to, yet when it comes to useful rubbish, I can recite it word perfect? Nothing’s ideal but I mean, come on, this could be vital evidence here!
The smell of cooking wafted up towards me. That must have been what woke me up, I can sleep through earthquakes (I have) but the smell of food? It’s calling my belly to go eat. And who can resist the call to devour delectable food?
I leapt out of bed in haste, threw my hair up in a bedraggled bun and did my bathroom business.
It smelt like pancakes.
We never have pancakes.
Dad’s always too busy and Mum? Mum set the kitchen on fire the last time she tried. Not that that deterred her from cooking.
The most disturbing thing about the smell of the pancakes was that it smelt good.
My mum can’t cook food good enough for rats.
We had an intruder.
I grabbed the rounders bat at the base of my bed. I didn’t have a baseball bat like in American horror movies, but a rounders bat should do the same job, shouldn’t it? They were roughly the same shape and as long as I can bludgeon the imposter over the head, what difference does it make?
Rounders bat wielding, pyjama clad me against a lethal burglar who decided to cook pancakes.
What burglar cooked on the job? Surely you’d want to get out of there as soon as possible.
Meh, he was probably famished. I would be too if I had just looted from a house, it must take hard work to shift furniture.
“Hey Sophiebug! I’m making pancakes since it’s Dexter’s first day back, not that he’s awake to enjoy it. Poor boy’s out like a light.”
Okay, so it wasn’t a burglar. It was my dad in a floral apron and yellow nail polish flipping pancakes. And people wonder why I’m off, with a feminine transvestite dad it’s hard to be normal.
I dropped the bat (Dad didn’t bat an eyelid, it’s normal for me to be carrying around sports equipment as weapons) and sat at the table. A steaming mug of coffee was waiting to be transported down my oesophagus. My Dad might be a tranny, but at least he understood my need for caffeine in the morning.
“I forgot Dex came back yesterday,” Well really, Mum was going on about it in the car but I tuned her out and I was more preoccupied with surviving 21 truths with Imogen about-she’s very manipulative- and this new operation has consumed my life. It’s not like previous cases where all I had to do was find lost pets, because, really, that’s all the responsibility you can hand a teenage girl. But I still can’t believe I forgot my brother returning home after a year at an American College. It was a big, momentous occasion and I forgot it. I really do have a goldfishes memory.
Dad and I lapsed into a comfortable silence. There was never a need to fill pauses with incessant chatter with my father, unlike my mother who never stopped to regain her breath in fear of causing silence.
“Hey Soph? Do you know where the nail polish remover is kept? Your mum played a trick on me whilst I was asleep,”
“Yeah, I’ll get it after breakfast,” I’d loved to say I never doubted my Dad, never thought he was becoming a drag queen, but alas, that’s not true. I should have suspected something like this because even if my Dad does become a tranny, he has much better fashion sense and would realise that yellow isn’t his colour. I should have known it was a prank. The signs were all there...
Flowery apron? The only one we have.
Yellow nail polish? An amateur prank.
My Dad’s still masculine, for now.
“Dex! Wake up Dex! Dex Dex Dex! DEX!”
2.00PM. I was enjoying myself waking up my brother from his peaceful slumber more than I should. However, I was rarely given the opportunity so the jumping and duvet yanking was necessary to arouse my irritable non morning brother. But heck, it was the afternoon, he can’t complain and after 18 hours of sleep, how much more did you need?
Besides, I was told by a certain father of mine, devoid of yellow polish and flowery aprons that I was “free to utilise all the tools in my arsenal”.
“Andrea Sophie Carter, get off of me!”
He used the real name.
My brother dared to use the real name.
I staggered off my lump of a brother and fixed him with stink eye #67, a real bone shaker quaker. Those hours spent practicing really, really
helped. Andrea’s an old fuddy duddy name, it doesn’t suit me at all. Which is why I made it my middle name. Even at the age of three I understood Andrea Carter was not the name of a badass detective that caught criminals and brought justice to the world. Sophie Carter wasn’t much better, but it was still an improvement.
“Now I’m going to go into the bathroom,” My brother gulped, his blue eyes so like mine on me. There was fear in them, like I was an animal that when he dropped his gaze would pounce. I quite liked that, as long as I was a lioness in his mind’s eye. Lions are lazy. Lionesses are awesome. “I’m going to do my morning-“
“I’m going to do my afternoon business, and I’m going to come back where we’ll have a chat about your obsession with Fred Weasley,”
My brother was out of the room like lightning.
Except for lightning is not a person, it’s electricity and it travels tonnes faster than Dexter ever can. Scratch the lightning simile, he ran out of the room nothing like lightning, but very fast. As fast as he could I think.
What did he mean about ‘obsession’? I’m not obsessed with Freddie, sure, I spent every hour of my waking day, sometimes hours in my sleeping day too, thinking about him. But he was the centre of my operation, I need to find out his secret, right?
I was doing my job.
I wasn’t obsessed.
Holy crap on a fish finger, I’m obsessed!
I’m obsessed with Freddie. Surely that’s not healthy? What happened to the rule about personal attachment? Never become personally involved in cases, it’s Detective 101. Actually, screw that rule, this whole op is personal, The Target’s my best friend for Christ’s sake!
Hey, I’m allowed to be obsessed with my best friend, right?
“Soph, are you all right? You haven’t moved since I left 10 minutes ago,”
10 minutes? I spent 10 minutes obsessing over whether I was obsessed with Freddie Weasley, oh the irony.
“Completely fine, absolutely chipper, super and dandy,”
I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a normal response for me, I’m fine is just so dull. Dex was none the wiser even though I’m sure my pitch went up an octave or two.
“A simple yes would’ve sufficed. So, tell me all about your new operation,”
Ah, Operation Weasley, my baby. Cue a thirty minute monologue about my crap findings.
Sophie’s Super Awesome (Super Shit) Findings:
1. The Weasley’s are weird (Not really a finding, we knew this already).
2. The Weasley’s are liars (Non-existent football teams and joke shops anyone?)
3. The Weasley’s have a huge family (I’m pretty sure this has nothing to do with The Secret and constitutes under weird but I don’t have many points).
4. The Secret is a Hogwarts thing.
5. Hogwarts doesn’t exist (Bolsters Point 4).
6. The Weasley’s own cool indoor fireworks.
7. The Target owns a broom?
8. There is a sport/game/instrument/something else that you play beginning with ‘Quid’.
9. I am a ‘Mu-‘.
This whole thing make even less sense than it did when I started.
Not even Google can help me.
All I have are made up places, household objects and half finished words. Not exactly concrete evidence.
“Why don’t you try being yourself? Freddie might tell you his secret just because, I don’t know, you’re his best friend? Thought of that?”
I hate being pat on the head condescendingly.
“That, is a stupidly, absurdly- brilliant idea! Thanks Dex,”
“Don’t mention it,”
So off I went to spend the day with my BFF. Having fun and
gathering intel, now that’s multitasking. Shame I didn’t have a Dictaphone or lipstick camera, then I could dissect The Target’s every action and every word.
I really am obsessed.
“Freddie! Freddie! FREDDIE!”
How come when a guy throws pebbles at a girl’s window it’s romantic but when a girl (me) throws pebbles at a guy’s (Freddie) window, she attracts glares from neighbours who thinks she deserves an ASBO, a look of witchlike amusement from the cat lady, and to top it off, she ends up throwing a pebble at the guy’s face. Not exactly remotely anywhere near as pleasant as romantic mush. I blame the stereotypes and a patriarchal society.
I’m guessing how The Target’s covering his nose with his hand, which is coincidentally dripping blood rather than snot that this isn’t good.
“Ach, I’m sorry!” I called up, gaining more glares. I was going to have a real fan base soon.
“Ib’s fibe. Whab bib you wanb?” Shit, his voice has gone weird now his nose is congealed with blood. What if he didn’t want to be friends anymore? Then I would never figure out his secret and I would never finish this operation. Not to mention I would lose the one person who knew me better than myself.
“Let’s go to the park?” I asked meekly. Surely I was in for a rebuff? A ‘your useless, go home’ at the very least.
“Suwe, I’b be bown ib a sec,”
Within a minute, Freddie was out of the door, all traces of blood siphoned off, his voice restored to normal.
How the heck had he healed from a nosebleed in a minute?! Damn, I need the medicine he uses, because that stuff must be seriously magic.
“So, which park?”
We lucky ducks picked prime housing location because not only was it a couple of roads away from the school, but also we had 4 parks each an equal, short distance from our front door. Not that I had any say in the matter of house choice, I wasn’t a glint in either of my parents’ eyes at the time.
“The Mall,” Of course it was The Mall, that was the biggest park, it took forever to walk around it, which is what I intended to do, stretch my legs and have a good long chinwag with my good ol’ friend, ol’ buddy, ol’ pal.
What I hadn’t intended was to run into my arch nemesis, the devil reincarnate herself, the antagonist to my protagonist.
Okay, she wasn’t that evil, but she’s just the complete opposite to me. She’s up to her eyeballs in fakery, so much so she can’t blink, whilst I thought an eyelash curler was a form of finger torture. She’s naturally clever and I have to sweat over textbooks just to scrape Cs. She was blonde, I was brunette, she had boys fawning over her, I had no one. She was the most popular girl at school and I had a total of three friends in that hellhole.
So naturally, she grated my nerves. Not that she did anything to stop that.
“Oh look, Sophie’s got a boyfriend,” Childish and immature. Her ‘friends’, more like slaves, simpered in the background.
“He’s not my boyfriend,” I retorted back easily. Not that that would stop her flirting with him. Already trying and failing to bat her eyelids seductively. I just hoped she didn’t get her talons in him because one, Freddie deserved better and two, I wouldn’t be able to stand seeing her within a mile radius of my house.
“Of course not, a hot guy like him would never go for a girl like you, you’re all scraggy, no curves, just a plain, pale stick,”
“Enlightening Lindsay, but just because I didn’t have a boob job and fat implanted into my ass doesn’t mean I don’t have curves. It means I’m not slaggy enough to transform my body for male attention,”
“Your brother must be real jealous of you Carter,” And now the annoyance shines through. Done with the girly innocent act, she was going in for the kill.
“And why’s that?” I asked, deciding to play along. She was going to say it anyways.
“Because you can grow a moustache and he can’t,”
“Oooh, burn!” The slaves twittered in the background.
“Your brother must want his belt back,” What was Freddie doing? Lindsay wasn’t wearing a belt...
“Oh, I’m sorry, that’s a skirt?”
“Oooh, burn!” We chorused together, mimicking the slaves.
And that’s how you tag team against the enemy.
“So, Soph, who’s the Oompa Loompa?” He gestured to Lindsay behind us as we walked away and I couldn’t help but laugh. The fake tan really did make her resemble the characters from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
“Don’t you remember Lindsay Brookes from primary?”
“Ye-that’s her?! She’s gone a few shades darker, added some inches of makeup and hemmed her skirt by at least a foot since I last saw her,”
“Yep, well, that’s what attracts the guys,”
“Why would anyone be attracted to someone who must really dirty the bed linen? Imagine sleeping with a girl like her, she’d ruin your bed sheets! Nah, I’m more for a natural brunette beauty myself,”
Weird. I thought Lindsay was every guy’s type. Every guy’s dream girl. Except Noah, he only likes girls who understand sport to a certain degree and I’m not sure Lindsay even knew what a football was.
“It’s been a crazy 10 days, hasn’t it?” I asked The Target, bringing him out of his reverie. Now for the subtle interrogation to begin.
“Yeah, I’m really sorry about inflicting my family upon you the other day, they’re nuts,”
“I would have been startled if I wasn’t crazy, but I am, so I felt right at home. Besides, now they’re weirdoes loaded on cheese and jam sandwiches. Imogen and James are really nice but I still haven’t worked out how Imogen rigged 21 truths, it never landed on her!”
“Well, she’s a sly one,” The Target’s gaze was on the horizon rather than on me. He wasn’t participating fully in the conversation, and I couldn’t for the life of me work out why.
“What’s it like at Hogwarts?” Usually when I brought this up, Freddie closed up or made a distraction. Usually when I brought this up I was at his house or he was at mine but now we were in open fields with no one else around. Insert evil laugh. Internal evil laugh of course.
“Big castle, secret passageways. We have a gigantic lake with all the creatures you can imagine. It’s cold, it’s up north in Scotland. There’s mountains around and it’s peaceful, y’know? Drafty corridors, ancient brickwork, high ceilings, torches instead of light bulbs. It’s lovely there, has a medieval feel that makes it seem as if you’ve been taken back hundreds of years. It’s my second home. You should see the mischief we get into, me, James and Imogen, sneaking round the castle after curfew, all the pranks we pull off. You’d like it there,” His eyes finally rested on mine and my breath hitched in my throat.
There certainly was something about Freddie Weasley.
But now I was sure there was something more. Something other than The Secret. Something else he’s keeping from me.
I felt an unfamiliar tingle in the pit of my stomach. Freddie’s brown eyes glinted in the sunlight. I never noticed- they were dark around the edges and a rich chocolate colour flecked with gold in the middle.
I broke eye contact, cheeks flushed, finding interest with my badly scuffed shoes. Why was I blushing? Why was I uncomfortable under Freddie’s (intense) gaze? I never blushed and we’ve had many a staring competition before.
I hate being confused.
“Erm, we should continue walking,”
I don’t know if I was hallucinating but I’m sure I saw a flicker of a smirk appear on The Target’s face, no matter how fleeting it was.
A/N: Okay, a short chapter there, took me quite a while, I’ve been doing up my gallery at TDA so I haven’t had much time for writing. Next chapters almost done so that should be put in the queue as soon as this one is out.
I have a question: Would it be worth it if I did a spin off about Imogen/James after I finish this?
Remember to review, I love to hear your thoughts. I’ll do a shout out next chapter to everyone who has reviewed <3