Beautiful Chapter Image by Caren@TDA (:
Hey all, here is chap 4. Please review, I would like to know your thoughts (:
I don’t own anything that you recognize as always /:
“So are you staying at my house for Christmas or what?” Bella asked as she piled eggs in her mouth, in a very lady-like manner I might add… but not really.
I was sitting at the Slytherin table as usual. I’d been sitting there since I’d moved into the Slytherin dorms. So much had changed in such a short time. Boys seemed to be interested in me (much to Evan’s displeasure), which had taken me by surprise. They were mostly Slytherin boys, but in my opinion, that was the best kind. I had always known I was pretty, but in all my years at Hogwarts not one boy had ever expressed any interest, and these days there seemed to be dozens, now that I was free of the curse known as the Marauders.
I had friends; great friends. Friends that I’d do anything for! They had picked up the broken me with shattered confidence and now, thanks to them I was fixed and unafraid. Along the way they had taught me what a family was, and for that I could never repay them. I believed in everything they said, it all made sense to me; we had to fight for each other, and to protect our beliefs and way of life. I could do that, I was brilliant with magic. And I would do just that- fight.
Lastly, the thing that had changed the most was that I was hopelessly in love with my best friend Evan Rosier. However, even with my new found confidence I didn’t have the courage to ask him if he felt the same way. Sometimes I thought he did, but I couldn’t be sure it wasn’t just my mind seeing what it wanted to see.
“Earth to Josie,” Bella said as she waved her hand in front of my face from across the table.
“Yeah?” I asked a bit dazed as I snapped out of my deep thoughts. I had forgotten the question she’d asked, and I knew she would be a bit miffed at having to repeat herself, so I just sat there smiling sheepishly at her.
“I asked if you were coming to my house for Christmas break.” She repeated. There was a trace of annoyance in her tone just as I suspected there would be.
“If it’s alright with your parents…” I trailed off nervously looking down at my breakfast.
“I’ve already asked them, and they said they’d love it if you came.” The black headed girl replied.
“And the Blacks’ always come to my parents Christmas party.” Evan smiled beside me. I had been unaware that he’d been listening. Usually if there was food in front of him (or any of our guy friends for that matter) that was all he/they could focus on.
“Party?” I asked nervously. They didn’t seem to understand that the bulk of my clothes were at my parent’s house, and since I no longer associated with my parents, I had nothing to even wear to this so called party.
“Yeah Josie, party. It’s this thing where a large group of people get together and dance, and do other”- Bella tried to sarcastically comment.
“Shut up Bella, I know what a party is. I’ve just never been to one, nor do I have anything to wear.” I said, and continued to tell them how my clothes were unavailable at that point; unless they wanted me to wear my uniform to the party (Bella looked scandalized by the suggestion).
“You can borrow something of mine.” She told me as if it were that simple.
“We are not the same size.” I pointed out. She towered me, and even though she was thin, I was thinner. There was no way we could wear the same clothes. Not to mention that neither Bella nor I were particularly gifted with fitting charms.
“You can borrow a dress from me.” A dreamy voice answered a couple of seats down. The speaker was of course, the ever sweet Tony Lestrange.
“Really? You wouldn’t mind?” I pressed uncertainly. We were the same size, which was sad considering I was three years older than her.
“No, silly. It’s just a dress.” The younger girl giggled in a friendly nature before turning back to her breakfast.
“Thank”- I began, but was cut off rudely by Bella.
“It’s settled then. Besides, my parents are dying to meet you.” She told me casually, however her words sent me into a nervous frenzy, which any of my friends would notice if they looked up from their meal.
“It’s going to be fine.” Evan whispered softly in my ear. I looked up to meet a protective gaze, and I felt much better. Evan would never let any harm to come to me, and looking into his eyes made all my previous fears seem pretty silly. I looked at all my friends: Bella, Tony, Reg, Bastan, Rod, Sky, Lucius, Cissy, even the always silent Sev- not friends but family. They’d never let anything happen to me, how could I have been so stupid to question that?
“I know.” I smiled. Evan wrapped his arm around me, and I sighed in contentment.
“I can’t wait until Christmas break.” Sky whined, looking at Evan and me. “I’m tired of classes.”
“Since when do you go to classes?” I asked slyly. I couldn’t help but smile lovingly at him. He was like a favorite brother. His soft blonde shag shook slightly as he laughed loudly.
“Just the same, I’m ready to get out of here.” He smiled brightly.
“I feel that.” Bastan moaned as he thought the prospect of a week more of classes was too much to handle.
“Quit your whining. I’m tired of hearing it.” Bella snapped harshly.
“Whoa, someone is touchy this morning.” Sky teased before downing a half a glass of orange juice in one large gulp.
“Must be that time of the month.” Reg amended as he smiled mischievously at Sky.
“Shut the hell up.” Bella said scowling in a tone of warning. I looked at her face and couldn’t help but notice the worry lines she was wearing.
“What’s got your knickers in a twist this morning? Seriously, you’ve been off since you got up…” Lucius asked with mild concern.
“I got a letter from my mother last night. I’ll show it to you’ll when we go back up to the common room.” She hesitated, “you’ll don’t have plans today do you?”
I thought about it, today way Saturday and as such my only plans were to laze around with my best friend/ secret love- Evan.
“No,” I replied. And I wasn’t alone in this response; everyone agreed to head back up to the dorms with Bella. I could tell I wasn’t the only one concerned and curious to find out what was going on. For Bella to be acting this way it had to be something big. She wasn’t normally this moody, unless as Reg pointed out, it was her time of the month, but since I shared a dorm with her I knew it wasn’t.
“Be right back. Meet you in the boy’s dorm in a few?” Bella asked, as her eyes darted to the girl’s dorms where her letter sat on the night stand.
“Sure.” I said nervously. The dark haired girl turned and rushed up the stairs. Bella’s unusual behavior was starting to really worry me. I reached out to take Evan’s hand, knowing I’d feel a bit better with his large warm hand wrapped around my small bony one.
“Come on.” Rod motioned to the boy’s dorms. His eyebrows were knitted together with stress and worry. I wanted to comfort him; before I could Cissy was rubbing his back as we walked up the stairs, which was just as well because I hadn’t really wanted to let go of Evan’s hand just yet.
The boys were surprisingly neat. Nothing appeared to be out of place, every bed was made, there were no clothes littering the floor, or food wrappers half stuffed in draws. Everything was perfectly clean.
Evan and I were still holding hands as he pulled me over (to what I assume was) his bed. I felt the bed shift as everyone seemed to dog pile on it. There was no space to breathe, but I was okay with that. It felt nice to feel their closeness as they took each other’s arms, leaned on one another, and made themselves comfortable.
The blissful feeling of closeness couldn’t last forever though. The door swung open and a troubled looking Bella rushed in (her letter clasped firmly in her hand). She made her way to the closest bed, which sat opposite Evan’s bed. She sat criss-cross as she unfolded the letter, and taking a deep breath she read:
My darling daughter,
The time has come for you and your sister to become familiar with a custom that we purebloods have. I am telling you nothing that your respectable friends will not learn soon enough. It is customary in our society to have young arranged marriages. I know this must come as a shock to you, and I know you must be angry with me for not telling you this before, I know I was angry when my mother told me this news at sixteen. However, understand why I didn’t tell you- I wanted you and Cissy to grow up without this heavy burden. Do not despair in this news my darling, you are a lady now, but this will make you a woman. It is what is expected in our elevated place in society. To not marry would bring shame on you and the rest of the family. Your father will of course, have the final say in who you will marry, but you should not be upset by this. Your father loves you, and will only make the choice that makes you happy, and you know that. This is the way these things have always been done.
On a different note, The Dark Lord’s recruiters will be at the Hogshead this coming Sunday. They have been charged with the job of administering the aptitude test to the future death eaters at Hogwarts (You and your friends). The positions available in The Dark Lord’s army are as follows:
-Soldiers rank 1 (special opts)
-Soldiers rank 2
- Soldiers rank 3 (foot soldiers)
I listed these in order of the top rank to the lowest rank. The recruiters will ask you a series of questions and write down your answers, the second part will test your knowledge on the theory of magic and how well you preform magic in general. The results to your test will then be sent to The Dark Lord, and he will decide your rank. During the Christmas break, all who have taken this test will have a one on one meeting with The Dark Lord, so that he can be sure he put you in the right bracket. The student with the highest rank will be the officer in charge at Hogwarts. Do not fret if you do not get Soldier 1, you can always move up the ranks. A word of caution- you can also move down the ranks. Whatever position you receive I will be proud of you; proud that you are willing to fight for our people, some of which are too old or young, or fragile to fight. You and Cissy make me and your father so honored to be your parents. I love you Bella honey. Give your sister my love.
We were all silent as Bella folded the piece of paper up. So many emotions were welling inside me. Fear that I would make the lowest rank (Scout) because I was a Hufflepuff. Anxiety at the fact that I’d be meeting The Dark Lord in person. Depressed that I’d be a social outcast in the society I was going to fight for. My father was not part of pureblood society, and therefore would make no marriage match for me, and that was what was expected of respectable purebloods.
“Daddy is going to marry me off?” Cissy shrieked in shock.
“No, he is going to marry US off.” Bella snapped. Apparently it ruffled Bella’s feathers that her sister was only thinking of herself.
Rod cleared his throat and we all looked at him as he got off the bed and walked over to sit beside his girlfriend.
“Bellatrix Marieona Black?” He asked calmly looking into her eyes as though it were just the two of them in the room.
“Yes?” Bella asked uncertainly, but looked back into his stormy eyes nonetheless.
“I love you. I will love you forever and ever and always no matter what. Do you feel the same way?” he asked sweetly smiling.
“You know I do Rod.” She muttered as she blushed. Rod took both of Bella’s hands in his own.
“Then marry me.” He passionately commanded. “I will write your father. You know he will say yes to the marriage.”
“I would love to marry you.” Bella said as tears of joy welled in her eyes. The raven haired girl proceeded to pull her young lover into a passionate kiss.
I hadn’t noticed my eyes watering (I was so happy for them) until Bella broke the kiss and smiling looked over to where we were all sitting. Bella’s eyes met mine and she asked:
“Be my maid of honor Josie?”
I was surprised that she asked me and not Cissy, and my eyes shot to Cissy’s unsurprised face and back to Bella’s large brown eyes.
“I’d be honored.” I told her, enthusiastically smiling all the while.
“Tony, Cissy, you guys will be bridesmaids too right?” Bella asked.
“Of course I will darling.” Tony smiled. However she was looking at her brother and her feelings of love and joy were tangible to everyone around her. “We’re sisters now.”
“I’m your sister too, if you didn’t ask me I’d be insulted.” The Cissy teased.
I was so happy for the young couple, however I could feel the deep worry lines on my face as I tried to figure out how not to be a social outcast. Bella noticed my expression after a few moments.
“What is it cousin?” Bella asked concerned.
“I don’t want to be a social outcast.” I said clearly with my chin held high.
“A social outcast? Why would you be a social outcast?” Bella asked with confusion.
“Your mother made it clear that after Hogwarts, respectable pureblood girls must get married. And the match must be approved by the girl’s father. However, I have no one to make that choice for me, not to mention no one to marry.” I said steadily. Bella’s jaw went slack and her eyes grew wide with shock at this new revelation.
“I will write me mother, surely there is something that can be done.” Bella hastily replied as she got off the bed to pace.
“I’ll marry you.” Sky smiled at me. All three of my cousins scowled at him, it was clear they thought he was joking. “No seriously I will. If it is to protect your honor Josie, I’m in.”
“No.” Evan growled. I looked up to see his face arranged with features of anger.
“Why not? Were you planning to ask her?” Reg smugly asked from the far right corner of the bed.
“I just think we should write Mrs. Black, and see how she says to proceed.” Evan scoffed. My heart fell a bit as his words, and I had to admit that I had hoped he would have said yes to Reg’s question.
“It’s settled then, I will write my mother.” Bella told us with intense determination on her face as she left the room.
“That’s a good idea Bella.” Evan said forcefully after her.
“No need to get testy Evan, I am just trying to help.” Sky told him in an aggravated voice. And though he spoke to Evan, his eyes never left my face.
“I understand that, but Bella’s mom will figure it out. So there is no need for you to sacrifice yourself for Josie’s honor.” Evan replied stiffly.
“Sacrifice?! Are you implying that anyone who married me would be sacrificing their lives?!”
I asked heatedly, not even bothering to hide the extreme offence I felt.
“No, of course n”- Evan began to stammer, but I was too upset to let him finish his sentence. Not to mention I didn’t want to have this conversation in front of all our friends.
“Can I talk to you a moment? Alone.” I asked angrily. He nodded and stood up and I followed him. The common room was deserted. We sat on the squishy couches, Evan looking quite unnerved.
“What’s up?” he asked, looking down at my face when I didn’t say anything.
“I just want to know why you’re so against me marrying Sky.” I pressed. Evan’s face grew dark.
“You want to marry him, don’t you?” He accused heatedly.
“I never said that.” I replied coldly, running my hand through my blonde curls.
“Well do you? It seems that way. I mean you didn’t say no to his proposal.” Evan replied impatiently.
“I don’t want to be a social outcast. And if Sky is my only way out of it, then I’ll take that.” I hissed in irritation. Honestly I was surprised that I had managed to say mad at him this long. I guess the reason was because he had really hurt my feelings.
“You would marry someone you don’t love? Or do you actually love him?” Evan asked with the same irritation as he crossed his arms tightly across his chest.
“I love him as a friend. And apparently a lot of pureblood women marry men they are not in love with.” I told him in a matter-of-fact fashion, as I too crossed my arms across my chest.
“What is so wrong with me looking out for your best interests?” He asked ignoring my comment altogether.
“And what are my best interests?” I asked him seriously. I couldn’t understand why he was acting this way.
“Marrying for love, like Bella and Rod.” He answered stubbornly.
“If you have not noticed, we graduate in five months. I have five months to find a man that is in love with me, and doesn’t just want to sleep with me.” Evan flinched at my words. “That is impossible.” I said bitterly.
“How do you know that there isn’t a guy that is in love with you right now?” He asked, causing my heart to stop, and unfortunately hope.
“Do you know something I don’t?” I pressed, as I watched his face. He didn’t reply at first, he seemed to be deep in thought, until I cleared my throat impatiently causing his eyes to refocus.
“No,” he answered leaning back into the sofa.
“See! And I doubt I’ll find anyone willing to marry me that’s as good as Sky. He’s kind and caring, what more could I ask for?” I asked sarcastically.
“You are so selfish! You’re only thinking of yourself, and what about Sky? Doesn’t he deserve to marry for love?” Evan asked. I felt immensely guilty at once. He was right; I was taking advantage of my friend’s kind heart just to help myself.
“I hadn’t thought of that.” I muttered guiltily, as I glued my eyes to Evan’s blue form fitting t-shirt.
“Look, don’t worry anymore Josie. We’re going to figure this all out, I promise.” Evan whispered as he pulled me into a big bear hug that melted any remaining anger I felt. “I’m not going to let anything happen to you, you know that.”
“I know. I just don’t want to be left behind.” I said sadly into Evan’s shirt.
“I’d never let that happen.” He cooed soothingly into my mane of hair.
“Let’s just forget this, yeah?” I asked embarrassed with my selfish ways.
“Deal.” Evan chuckled lightly. “We better head back up before assume that you murdered me, and come looking for my body.”
“Alright.” I smiled as I stood up and took his hand to pull him off the couch.
It was Sunday. Today was the day. I was so nervous that I didn’t respond when Mrs. Black’s answering letter was dropped in front of Bella, who told me we’d read it later that night, I merely nodded. I looked around and noticed that I was not the only one not eating. I was sure that they were all worried about the test. I knew I was. I looked around the great hall and noticed couples pairing up in preparation for their day in the little village of Hogsmeade; blissfully unaware of the test and trials I and my friends would be going through.
“I think we better get going.” Bastan said nervously, and we all stood up and followed him out onto the grounds.
“Is anyone else nervous?” I asked after a few moments. I had to say something; the tense silence was driving me crazy.
“I am.” Bella whispered as she put her arm through mine. I looked up and noticed she looked pale, and I wondered if I looked just as ghostly pale.
“We’ll get through this.” I said trying to be brave for her.
“I know we’ll live, but I want a good rank. I know my parent’s said they’d be happy with anything, but if I made a low rank I think they’d be secretly disappointed.” She confessed.
“Maybe,” I conceded, “However, they’d love you the same and you could always move up.”
“I know. But still, I have really high hopes for today.” She whispered hoarsely.
“I think I’m going to do horrible.” Cissy said from behind us.
“Why? I’m sure you’ll be brilliant. You go to all your classes.” I told the girl.
“I go to all my classes because I’m lousy with magic.” Cissy whimpered.
“Nonsense, you’ll do fine.” I said confidently, scooping her arm up with my free arm.
“What rank do you want?” Bella asked her sister with a raised eyebrow.
“Anywhere in the top three ranks would be good.” She muttered.
“I feel that.” Evan grinned, he seemed to be the only one unaffected by the pressure.
“And you think you’ll get it?” I asked, smiling at his radiant confidence.
“I don’t see why not.” He replied smoothly. “Doubting me Josie?”
“Not at all, I have the upmost faith in you.” I said giggling.
Our little group lapsed back into silence as we made our way through the small village. With every step my nerves eased a little. Mainly because I knew this day would come, and we should have been happy for it to be here. All around us the Ministry of Magic was making laws that helped everyone that wasn’t pureblood. It was clear the Ministry wanted purebloods to die out; why else would our taxes be higher than those of impure blood? Why should they get a break for marrying muggles or halfbloods? The government even now was twisting our customs, making them look taboo and grotesque. The Ministry was trying to push us out, but we’d push back.
“Cheer up guys, it’s not like we’re going to a funeral.” I sang with a new skip in my step as I unhooked my arms from Bella and Cissy’s.
“What’s got you all hyped up?” Lucius asked smirking, but I could still see that his body was nervously tense.
“Today is the day we will finally be able to help our kind. Why shouldn’t we be happy?” I asked grinning.
“That’s the spirit!” Sky laughed and Lucius couldn’t keep from laughing with his best mate. Beside them Reg still looked like he might be sick.
“Reg you’re going to be fine!” I once again sang.
“Speak for yourself.” My darling cousin commented, it was clear he wanted to be left alone.
“And what rank do you want shorty?” Evan asked deeply humored with my skipping.
“The best rank available of course.” I said grinning as I chose to ignore his comment on my height.
“And you think you’ll get it?” He asked, repeating my earlier question.
“I don’t see why not.” I told him as I gave him the same reply he’d given me only a few minutes before.
“Touché” He laughed taking my hand in his.
As we rounded the corner the Hogshead came into full view. I felt butterflies in my stomach, but it stemmed from my excitement. Today was the day. The day that would leave our lives forever changed. I was ready to fight, and somewhere in my mind I knew that no matter what anyone thought, it was the right thing to do. Someone had to look out for us purebloods, and it was clear the only people we could depend on were ourselves.