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Chapter 10 : Tis Not Really the Season to be Jolly
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I don’t know what was worse, knowing I’d screwed up our entire friendship, or knowing she’d run away from me.
I sank back into the water, forgetting the cold and the fact I’d probably get pneumonia, and watched the last few droplets of water fall, the last reminder that Char had even been there.
I had no idea where she would have gone, she was expected at her own home soon so probably there, but had she taken Rory, had she told Lily.
I groaned, that knowledge in the hands of my baby sister doubled the terrible-ness of the situation ten-fold. She’d surely tell half the Weasley/Potter family, and when half knew the other half would soon find out. I imagined Dominique’s face, sneering nastily. I buried my head in my hands, maybe I would be better off drowning myself in the damn pond.
What am I Thinking? Aren’t Gryffindors supposed to be brave.
Somewhere in the back of my head a little voice said, forget being brave and wallow in self pity for a while. But I ignored the little voice because I was put in Gryffindor and I’m awesome. I dragged myself up, out of the water, knocking aside a stray (and very stupid) fish and grabbed my shirt.
I almost forgot about the two envelopes and formal letters on the ground until I stood on my own, I bent down to pick it up and pressed both against my face, feeling the coolness of the parchment on my damp skin. I trudged along glumly until I reached Uncle Charlie’s house, there was noise and anxious voices, I recognised Lily’s, and Rory’s... and with a pang in my chest I heard Charla.
‘See you Lillers,’ she muttered. There was the sound of clutter, a whoosh and I burst into the living room to see emerald flames dying in the hearth. Breaking all over again I sat back on the balls of my feet and pressed my face against my hands.
‘James?’ Lily spun round, her red hair flying. Her hair is gorgeous, long way past her shoulders and very straight. She has the same eyes as my mum, which is terrifying because every time she yells I’m reminded of my mother – not a good thing. I’ve been told Lily is like my Grandmother, on my dads side. Though I never met her, I wish I had. I wish I met my grandfather James too, apparently I’m just like him. I wonder if this is what he felt like every time my grandmother declined his offer to go on a date.
If he felt like this I feel for him, this sucks.
‘James.’ Lily’s voice sounded softer this time, and nearer. I opened my eyes and she was crouched down in front of me, she reached out her hand tentatively and touched my shoulder, ‘you ok Jim Jam?’
‘What do you think?’ I snarled.
‘I’m sorry, I wish she loved you like that too you know.’
I stood up and look past her, staring at the green embers in the fireplace. Lily put her arms around me and buried her face into my chest probably not caring about the wetness, she was also short, shorter than Charla, but she was going to grow tall like our mum, I knew that.
‘She went home?’ I asked shortly. I felt Lily nod against me, she looked up and caught my eyes and I saw a tear catch one of her eye lashes, I think I even managed a laugh.
‘Lillers don’t cry,’ I said, cupping her face in my hands, ‘it’s not the end of the world right? Plenty more fish in the sea.’ I don’t know who I was trying to convince more, me or her.
‘I wanted you to get married to her, then she’d really be family,’ she said, choking on a sob midway through the sentence, she spoke like a little kid, the way she did when we were children.
‘Aw Lils,’ I kissed her forehead, ‘Rory will just have to marry Hugo, then they’ll be family, ok?’
Lily shook her head, ‘are you still going to be best friends?’ she asked, looking at me, her eyes wide and innocent, I couldn’t believe she was already thirteen, she’d be fourteen in June... I’d be seventeen in April.
‘I dunno Lillers,’ I pulled her back against me for a hug, ‘I screwed up this time.’
But did I? Wouldn’t it have been even more of a screw up if I’d spent the rest of my life in love with her and never telling her? Wouldn’t it be worse if I sat back and watched some other rich handsome stranger (I’d expect no less for Charla) come and steal her away and give her beautiful children? Was it really so bad I let her know how I feel.
Except now I’d lost her... she’d run away, and that was her telling me this was not what she wanted, and it would never work, and I am a delusional fool with nothing but poop for brains.
Life’s stupid... and then you die... fantastic.
‘Come on James,’ Lily slipped her tiny hand into mine, ‘we should really get going.’
‘What?’ I mumbled stupidly.
‘Nana Molly’s and Granddads,’ she reminded me, ‘it’s Christmas Eve.’
Christmas felt so stupid, like something a million miles away, just another celebration. At first I thought it would be great, I love my family really, but then I remembered Dominique would be there, and that was just another reminder to me at what a screw up I am.
‘It’ll be ok,’ Lily whispered, she squeezed my hand and looked up at me, it was nice to see someone who still thought of me as their hero, who still loved me no matter how many times I made a mess of life.
She dragged me across the room until we were both squeezed into the overly large fireplace, her fist clenched around a handful of Floo Powder.
‘The Burrow,’ she said loudly, dropping the glittering sand. Flames erupted and swallowed us up, we were spinning endlessly and then we fell, tumbling out onto the clean wooden floor of The Burrow.
~ ~ ~
We had arrived at the Burrow a little earlier than expected, Nana Molly was still cooking, Granddad was playing around in his workshop with Muggle Batteries and a television set and none of the rest of the family had arrived yet, though we would all be spending Christmas together. Apparently mum had sent word that she would collect mine and Lily’s things and have them flooed out to us when she came. I laughed at the thought of mum marching into the room I had used and finding baby bottles, unmade beds, and my clothes scattered across the floor, and I wondered if Char had left any trace of her being there in the bedroom she'd stayed in.
I helped Nana making Mince Pies, she probably thought I was coming down with something because the last time I volunteered to help her was when I was about five. She questioned me on school and all my friends, asking particularly about Char. That made my insides squirm.
Lily disappeared upstairs, I think she was setting up mattresses in both Mums old room (which the girls shared) and Uncle Ron’s old room (which the boys shared.) I never understood how we fit thirteen kids, and five pairs of aunts and uncles, plus Uncle Charlie who was still unmarried, and Nana and Granddad, in this rickety old place. I supposed the little flat at the far end of the fields helped, which was where my parents and Aunty Hermione and Uncle Ron camped out during these occasions.
They were the first to arrive, Uncle Ron, Aunty Hermione, Rosie and Hugo. Rosie’s face was flushed and her hair was scraped back into its usual ponytail. Hugo was acting just like the sulky teenager he had become.
‘Hey mate,’ I grinned, ruffling Hugo’s hair, trying hard to push all Char related thoughts to the back of my head.
‘James,’ Hugo nodded his head, then went off in search of Lily. He was already a grouchy teenager at thirteen. I shook my head and turned to his sister.
‘He must be a right arse to put up with.’ I said.
‘Boys will be Boys,’ Rosie didn’t need to stand on her toes to kiss my cheek, she had got her father’s height and reached at least 5 foot 11. ‘I heard.’
I raised my eyebrows, but I had a feeling I knew what she had “Heard” about.
‘I’m sorry about the Charla thing.’
‘I didn’t realise you had already had a gossip session with Lils.’ I muttered, kicking the side of the couch, so glad that my aunt and uncle had gone off to search for Nana Molly.
‘Yeah, I met her outside,’ she reached up and put a hand on my cheek, ‘it’ll all work out.’
‘I hope so Rosie Posie,’ I said.
‘Hey James,’ a very breathless Aunt Angelina appeared in the doorway, Roxanne and Uncle George in tow, there was no sign of Fred. No doubt my sister had dragged him off to tell him the news. I was string her up for that later.
‘Hey Aunt Angie,’ I politely greeted her, kissed her cheek and swept Roxy up in a hug. ‘How are you?’
‘Great thanks,’ she smiled, ‘just busy.’
‘Uncle George,’ I turned to him, ‘how’s the shop.’
‘Fantastic,’ he ran a hand through his hair, ‘thinking of opening up a shop in America too because we’ve had so many requests to send stuff out there, and a Joke Shop from Down Under has already asked if we would sell them some of our products.’
‘Sounds brilliant,’ I grinned. ‘Adults, that way,’ I directed them towards the kitchen.
‘What about you Rox, haven’t seen you in a while.’ I turned to my third youngest cousin (only Lucy and Louis were younger however they were all in the same year).
‘School sucks.’ She stuck her tongue out at the backs of her parents, ‘and so do they.’
She flounced out, her caramel skin catching the light so it looked paler than it was, and her dark hair bounced in its plait.
‘She’s not even a teenager yet,’ Uncle George sighed, turning back.
‘Watch out,’ I recognised a voice signalling yet another Aunties arrival, ‘it gets worse.’ Auntie Audrey came in.
Aunty Audrey had met Uncle Percy in Africa, Uncle Percy had gone with Minister Shacklebolt to see the Minister in Tanzania, and Audrey had worked in the ministry there. I had always imagined there process of falling in love being awkward and weird (probably because I never would have thought Uncle Percy would fall in love if he hadn’t been married before I was born). But they turned out quite a successful marriage, they never fought or had arguments or set the house on fire like Dad did on several occasions.
It was also thought that Uncle Percy had raised two perfect daughters until Molly dropped out of school, pregnant at seventeen, five years ago. She was Vic’s age, which made it even more of a shock because the thought of Victoire letting Molly get into trouble like that was absurd, however little Micaela was born and Molly ended up marrying Micaela’s father Andre Butterpin, not too long ago.
Andre’s a nice bloke, and Micaela is a sweet kid, she’s all blonde and smiles. Not very Weasley-ish.
Victoire’s wedding wasn’t long ago either, when Ted finally decided to pop the question, and now, I saw as Vic and Teddy arrived in the door, she was looking very pregnant. I heard she was having a girl. You can still name a girl after me right?
~ ~ ~
I sat outside, after the Christmas dinner had been served and eaten, and the countless aunts, uncles and parents had gone off into the living room, drinking wine and champagne and all that rubbish. Fire whisky’s better.
There was a bench at the far end of the garden, overlooking the house, but in the shadows. Through the window of the girls room I saw Lily bonk Rose on the head with a pillow. It made me miss Charla. It made me want to cry. Except I don’t cry, I’m just allergic to sadness, it makes my eyes water a little.
‘James, what are you doing,’ I spun round on the bench and almost fell off it to see Dom sitting in the flower bed, her face only partly illuminated by the light from the house.
‘Dominique?’ I spluttered, she stood up and straightened herself out.
‘Shouldn’t you be inside?’ she asked haughtily.
‘I don’t care,’ I slouched back down, ‘not in the mood.’
She took a seat, stiffly beside me, and looked at her knees, ‘Yeah I know, I heard about you and Charla.’
‘What does it matter to you,’ I said numbly.
There was a very long silence and then she whispered, almost inaudibly, ‘because I love you, both of you.’ I turned my head to stare at her and she spoke again, a little louder, ‘and I’m so sorry for being the ultimate bitch and you have every right to hate me but please don’t because I can’t stand it anymore. I went to see Char today and I apologised and I’m so, so sorry.’
I was surprised she could say it without crying, that wasn’t like her, but I got over that quickly and wrapped Dom up in a hug, I wasn’t losing my cousin again and my best friend in one day.
‘I’m love you too Dom!’
Aw so Dom and Jamesie. Hope that’s what everyone wanted, Dominique grew up and apologized. Anyway, JK Rowling is the creator of Harry Potter and his world and anything recognisable isn’t mine, I hope you enjoy and please leave a review.
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