Chapter 1 : Diamonds and Rust
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Yes it's a very old song about Joan's heartbreak with a famous singer. My mom used to sing this for me when I was a kid...So when I heard it again recently, it became my muse. I had to write something and the story flowed.
The lyrics belong to Joan Baez. I do not own it.
Diamonds and Rust, Joan Baez.
Well I’ll be damned,
Here comes your ghost again,
But that’s not unusual,
It’s just that the moon is full,
And you happened to call.
I sat on the window sill of my plush New York penthouse. I was a successful writer. After ten best sellers in both the magical and muggle world I could afford a nice house like this...far away from where I grew up.
I stared at the laptop’s screen. Working with muggle objects seemed easy to me. Most magical folk evade the use of muggle technology. The recent advent of wizarding television was the closest advancement of the magical folk towards muggle technology...with a wizarding touch.
As I sat with a laptop on my lap, thoughts become an irrepressible flow of words...With the soft tapping of the keys my new book was coming to life. I swirled my mug of coffee and took a gulp of the dark bitter liquid and looked out at the sheer brilliance that was New York City. The lights flowed and brightened the city, making it come alive. The dark sky was a canvas which the lights decorated.
Suddenly the phone rang.
I reached out for my wand and summoned the phone.
“Aurora.... Hello...” said a voice I could never ever forget in my entire life.
And here I sit hand on the telephone,
Hearing a voice I’d known,
A couple of light-years ago,
Heading straight for a fall.
“Hello James...” I whispered. I felt numb. It has been too many years since we had talked.
I shut the laptop and stared at the full moon. An errant thought about my werewolf friends came into my mind...I wondered how they must have be doing now. But I didn’t dwell on it. I was shocked to hear his voice after all this time.
“Aurora...are you there?” asked James hestitantly.
Guess I took a trip down memory lane.
It took one phone call and a flood of memories invaded my mind.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. My first home.
I was a muggle-born witch, whose wonderful parents abandoned her into an orphanage when she was born. One of the helpers there fell in love with the newborn girl and gave her the name Aurora Jillian Campbell. She gave me her maiden surname and my middle name was after her mother, Jillian Campbell.
She loved me like a mother and nurtured me.
If I ever felt a surge of abandonment wash over me, I talked to her... I was practically her daughter. I even had her surname but she never took me home. Her husband didn’t like me or children for that matter.
I lived in the orphanage till I was of age. The orphanage, which never felt like home. I still donate money to the orphanage. In the hope that maybe the dull gray walls would have a fresh bright coat of paint or that the gloomy rooms would get redecorated. They did bring about a lot of changes since I left.
I still keep in touch with her. I brought Mrs. Stevens to New York a few years ago. We had an amazing time. I can’t thank her enough for being there during the rough patches of my life.
Which brings me back to Hogwarts. I was in a muggle orphanage. Mrs. Stevens was the only person who knew I was a witch when Professor Neville came to give me my letter. She told the others I got a scholarship in a boarding school far away. They didn’t dwell much on the fact that I came home with an owl and weird stuff. They ignored it. I was just another mouth to feed.
My time at Hogwarts was amazing. I was a Ravenclaw. My best mates were Roxanne and Dominique Weasley. It was through them that I met James Sirius Potter. The cocky Gryffindor.
I went over the Burrow for Christmas in first year and I loved the Weasley and Potter family. It was James that annoyed me to no end. He threw jibes at my old clothes and scrawny form. He was the typical mean bully. He hexed me whenever he pleased at Hogwarts.
He changed his attitude in fifth year when I hit puberty and Dom and Roxy gave me a complete makeover before the start of the term.
He was still a shallow and pathetic person.He was the love ‘em and leave ‘em kind of guy in my eyes.
It was in seventh year that I changed my opinion of him.
He stopped being an ass and became nice. He ended his conquests, as I called them. He was much more understanding and caring. That was when I fell for those beautiful blue eyes.
We got together after a Gryffindor vs. Ravenclaw match in seventh year, where I was the chaser and he was the seeker in the game. The Ravenclaws lost the match and I was sulking alone in the after party. James came up to me and started talking. We later got into an argument. The sexual tension was too high. We started snogging like our lives depended on it and ended up spending the night together in the Shrieking Shack; making it live up to its name. There was no awkwardness between us the next morning...it felt right.
From there we were inseparable. We talked about our plans for the future. I was slowly falling for him and I did. I fell for James Sirius Potter. I fell hard. The fall that left me bruised and battered. The fall which took me years to pick myself up from.
He wanted to be a Quidditch player. Even with my magical training I wasn’t interested in working for the Ministry or Gringotts or anything. I wanted to be a writer. He aspired to join the Chudley Cannons and change its history. I planned on working for Daily Prophet to gain some experience for my writing dreams.
We ended up in the Shrieking Shack, after graduation. It was passionate and an earthshaking experience. We made promises to love each other forever and such. He broke his promise... I couldn’t or I can’t bring myself to break mine.
We moved in together, in a small apartment in Diagon Alley. I got freedom from the orphanage. It felt so good to be independent from those dreary walls and ignorant people.
He was recruited into the reserve team of Chudley Cannons. He had better offers but he wanted his dream to come true. I got a starters job in the Daily Prophet.
As I remember your eyes
Were bluer than robin’s eggs,
My poetry was lousy you said,
Ten years ago I bought you some cufflinks,
You brought me something,
We both know what memories can bring,
They bring diamonds and rust.
After his gruelling practise sessions and my hectic job, we used to lie on the bed. We’d talk till daybreak sometimes. He would read my work. He’d criticise my poetry by calling it lousy. He’d tell me about his family and practise sessions. I'd look into his beautiful, wonderful blue eyes and fall in love with him all over again. Then we’d make love. I felt we had it all. I wanted nothing more. He was my everything. No one had loved me as he had. But I was foolish to think he thought the same.
Then came the day he got into the first team. He told me the news in a park near our apartment. I was so happy for him. We went shopping to buy him a suit for a formal event. I bought him sapphire cufflinks for his suit.
I thought that after his promotion, we would become something more...I was hoping he would propose or something. I thought we were that crazily in love with each other.
Well you burst on the scene,
Already a legend,
The unwashed phenomenon,
You strayed into my arms.
And there you stayed temporarily lost at sea.
The Madonna was yours for free,
Yes the girl on the half shell,
Would keep you unharmed.
The first match of the season bolstered him to fame. Even without being the first son of Harry Potter he could have become as famous as he did them. He brought glory to the Chudley Cannons for the first time in over a century. He marked a new era for the club’s history...he was the quidditch phenomenon. I, of course, was extremely proud of him.
But it was also then that he started to drift away. He was out in clubs partying all night while I waited for him. The feeling that something inevitable is going to happen crept over me. He became more famous day by day. I tried to talk to him, he evaded my questions. I still waited for him... sometimes he never came back.
The Wotter clan’s words had no effect on him. His new habits were not approved by them but he ignored their warnings. I started to see them less. I couldn’t stand how they criticised him. Dom and Roxy still visited me sometimes. I told them I was happy but they could see through my facade and see my hurt.
He was getting distant. I was still hanging on to the dream, hope, the prayer, that he would love me as he used to. That everything would go back to be just as it was...Oh how wrong I was!
They were halfway into the quidditch season.
Roxy and Dom came over to my place. I was in the middle of writing something when I saw their faces; I stopped what I was doing. I predicted the worst.
“I’m so sorry...” whispered Roxy and Dom handed me an issue of Quidditch Today.
On the cover was my boyfriend passionately kissing a gorgeous girl. The girl was rich and famous, everything I was not. The pain on seeing the animated picture was so bad. I couldn’t form words. I felt numb.
How did I not get a wind of this? I worked for the Daily Prophet...how did they not have a copy of this?
“It’s a fortnightly magazine. It’s going to be published in three days. They are leaked, exclusive pictures, even James doesn’t know about it. Victoire who works for them, she got this copy... I’m so sorry sweetie.” Murmured Dom, answering my question.
“Why does this happen to me?”I whispered. I couldn’t recognise my voice anymore.
I stared at the headline, ‘James Potter’s new girlfriend.’ Its caption,’ Going strong for the past few weeks.’
“Is there something wrong with me?”I asked them. They enveloped me into a hug. I cried silently.
They left after an hour, promising that they would give him hell and I would see them later.
I looked at myself in the mirror. Disgusted at what I saw. Was I that ugly? Was I not beautiful enough?
I looked at my honey blonde hair; my green eyes that looked dull and lifeless. I looked at my body. I was not fat or skinny, I had a decent figure. He hadn’t come back in two days. I thought he was on a tour. Seems like he was touring in the arms of another woman who was prettier and better than me. It really did increase my self esteem.
I made a resolve. He walked out of my life in a spectacular fashion. He wasn’t honest anymore. He wasn’t the James Sirius Potter that I had fallen in love with. He was now a stranger. A stranger that I had given my heart to. A stranger that crushed my faith in love and yet being the only person I thought I could ever love.
I was leaving.
I quickly went over to Mrs. Stevens, told her what happened and told her I’d tell her where I was going. It did not take me a lot of time to pack...the wonders of magic. I left a long letter to Roxy and Dom. I told them not look for me. I left a letter to James too. Just saying goodbye. Did he ever read it? He must have. He never came after me and told me he had.
I arranged for a portkey to America. I needed a fresh start. The hurt was too much. Living on the same side of the world with James was too much. I chose New York. I was always fascinated with that city. I got fake documents conjured for my muggle living in the city.
I took the portkey the day after I got to know of my ex-boyfriends infidelity. I left before my friends could come over. James hadn’t come home for the past two days. I doubt he would anytime soon.
I lived in a small crappy apartment in New York. I was lucky and I got to work in a library. Sometimes I would wait tables if there was a money crunch. I started studying for a scholarship in a university close by. I passed the scholarship exam, it helped that I worked in a library. I worked hard and majored in creative writing. I started writing novels and after graduation I published one of them in the muggle world under a pseudonym. It became an instant hit. I guess people enjoyed reading about my failed relationship.
After that with the royalties I got, I quit my job as a waitress. I devoted my time solely to my vocation.
My other life had its way of creeping back to me. James was doing insanely well and was known worldwide. The wizarding magazines on this side of the world had interviews and gossips on James. His lifestyle had not changed. He had a multitude of girlfriends.
It still hurt that he had never came to find me or apologise. The deep scar in my heart throbbed painfully every time I saw a picture of him. He was still painfully handsome and in the top of his career.
Dom and Roxy despite my warnings, found me. They respected my wishes of leaving my old life and didn’t talk about James. It was good to have my old friends back. They told me the rest of the clan were unhappy with James. They were proud of him but didn’t like the choices he made, especially when he cheated on me. I didn’t want to his family to side with me. James asked about me once after I had left but dismissed the topic totally after they couldn’t tell him anything. He never asked again, almost like I was a figment of his imagination.
I was doing well in my career. I started writing books for the wizarding world; which got brilliant reviews. I threw myself into my work.
I tried dating but it never worked out. Even after so many years. That bloody wanker still held a place in my heart. I always told myself I was a fooling for falling in love with a bloody bastard, way too bloody young and letting him bloody trample over my bloody heart. Excuse my language. James Sirius Potter now brings out the worst in me.
I stopped reading magazines, to avoid reading stories about him. There was always some gossip surrounding him. It took me a long time (and a lot of compliments) to feel pretty again. I was starting to heal.
That’s when he bloody called me again.
Now you’re telling me,
You’re not nostalgic,
Then give me another word for it,
You were so good with words
And at keeping things vague.
Because I need some of that vagueness now,
It’s all come back to clearly,
Yes I loved you dearly,
And if you’re offering me diamonds and rust,
I’ve already paid.
“Aurora...?”Said James. His voice brought me out of my reverie.
“Oh sorry...I guess I was just reminiscing.” I told him softly. I didn’t know what to feel. I felt numb. I wanted to slam to phone back into its place and end this conversation. I also wanted to hear what he had to say after all these years.
“Aurora, don’t keep the phone.” Just as I was about to do that.
“Why James? Why should I not? What right do you have?” I asked, my voice rising slowly. The wounds in my heart threatening to reopen.
“I owe you an explanation. It’s long overdue. “He said slowly.
“Of course Potter but why now? Why after all this bloody time?” I asked harshly.
“Because I was wrong-“
“You broke my heart.”I cut him off. “You left me for some slag. You left me without a fucking word. How could you?! You became a monster. Not the James I knew. You never listened! So tell me why should I listen to you now?”
“I miss you. “He replied softly.”And I’m so fucking sorry for what I did. To you and to my family.”
“How did you get my number? I told Roxy and Dom not to give anyone, especially you, my number.” I said. I didn’t want this conversation to continue. But I needed closure. I needed to feel catharsis. I wished I could somehow purge pain in my heart. I wish I could send it to the fieriest pit of Hell. Destroy it and feel free again. Maybe this could help me, I thought.
“I begged and grovelled. I had to apologise to my whole family. Then I asked them for your number Aura.”My heart twisted when he used that old nickname for me. He was the only one who called me that. Everyone else settled for Rory.
“James...what do you want now? You’ve apologised. I forgive you... some-fucking-how. Even if my brain tells me it’s too late to forgive you...I still do James. Now what do you want?” I asked him.
“I want give us another shot.”He said bluntly.
“After ten years you apologise and you think I’ll take you back? James, you bullied me when we were in school, I thought you would never change. Then you did somehow and made me fall for you. Then you went and broke my heart in an amazing fashion. You didn’t even say anything! I felt abandoned. I wasn’t good enough for my parents (who I never knew) and I wasn’t good enough for you! How am I supposed to know if you are going to hurt me again? I was starting to heal goddamnit”
“I was healing James! After all that you did... I still haven’t got over the hurt and rejection. I took me years before I could feel good about myself. I felt like a cast off. Unwanted. And watching your face everywhere I went, wasn’t helping. It’s been so fucking hard James!” I was seething. Angry tears were falling from my eyes.
“Please hear me out Aurora Jillian Campbell.” He beseeched. I was so close to ending the conversation... I don’t know why I didn’t. I let him explain.
“Aura, I was foolish. Hell, I was a fucking idiot. It was all so new to me. I got caught up in it. I’m very sorry I cheated on you. Left you hanging. I saw your note. I didn’t care back then. I thought I was happy. Everything seemed so great. Then my publicist made me go out with Bailey (that girl in the photo) and we hit off. I couldn’t bring myself to tell you. I just could not Aurora. I thought you’d understand or maybe truth be told...I didn’t care and I regret that now. ”
“Dom told me you left and blamed me for it...I ignored her. Hell, I ignored my own mother when she told me what I was doing was wrong. I ignored everything my family said. I was on an all time high. I did something I shouldn’t have. I started taking drugs and drinking like my life depended on it. I thought that made me happy. The thing with Bailey didn’t last, so I moved on. I worked hard to win and I partied harder. I lived the life of the party. I took home girls but it started feeling hollow after a point of time. The only thing that kept me sane was quidditch.” He said. His voice sounding bleak. I listened. I could not say anything.
“When my game started to get affected, some months ago, I knew I had to find a way out. I finally couldn’t handle it any more. I went to the Burrow. Nana Molly welcomed me back like a prodigal son. She was there when I broke down. The rest of them took some time to warm up but they were family and I tried my best to get back in their good books. I didn’t get into rehab. Mum wouldn’t let me. She and Lily monitored everything I did. They helped me heal. I was getting better, my game was getting back together but I was still feeling empty. I went out with some girls occasionally but...none of them were you Aurora. I missed you. I wanted to know how you were and what happened to you. I looked you up and saw that you were doing well. I was happy for you. I stopped going out with other girls when I realised none of them held a candle to you. So begged Roxy and Dom to give me your number. They finally relented when I told them I had to do this and that I would not rest until they gave me your number.”
“So Aurora that’s what I had to say. I missed the times we had. Now that I look back, it was the best time of my life. Aura, I mean it.” He said. His tone pleading.
“James...So you just want me back because you were feeling nostalgic? What if we got back together and what if it won’t work out again? If there is too much resentment and bitterness, how will it work? I forgive you James. I think I did a long time ago...but I can’t trust you.”I said.
“No, I’m not nostalgic. I want it again. Aurora...I still love you. I promise not to make the same mistake twice. I promise not to hurt you again. I just want another chance. Please, give me another chance.” He begged.
“James, I can’t. We had a good run. You were everything I wanted and you were the best person I had ever known but I can’t. ” I whispered. I couldn’t. Not after all this. After ten years.
“I wish I could but I can’t. I’ve lived though too much hurt. Thank you for your apology. Goodbye James Potter.” And I cut the phone before he could reply.
I closed my eyes. Where was the closure I wanted to feel?
My unseen wounds reopened. I was in pain again. I curled up into a ball and cried.
Catharsis was evading me
So yeah this is it!
Constructive criticism always appreciated.
And I did omit a few lines and I don't think James Sirius Potter had blue eyes... But it suited the song.
I have some ideas for a sequel for this. Do tell me if you want a sequel!