A Bittersweet January
I originally wrote this chapter differently but then I rewrote it after thinking it over.
The events of Christmas faded away into January rather quickly. Kaitlin had managed to avoid the curios glances of her friends for the remainder of the holiday but as Teddy said to her, she couldn’t run forever, and she should tell them the truth.
However, telling the truth was a scary thing to do. Kaitlin understood why the adults wanted her to tell her friend’s. Secrets had a way of eating you up inside. The revel of Kaitlin’s secret over Christmas was enough to show what happened to people who kept their secrets bottled up.
Time was running out though because Kaitlin’s friends were starting an intervention. They had no idea why Kaitlin had started to avoid them. Since her outburst at Christmas they had all felt some guilt for their behaviors. Kaitlin had afforded them every courtesy, allowing them their secrets and not interfering in their lives yet they hadn’t given her the same in return.
The ride back to Hogwarts was awkward at best. Kaitlin was nowhere to be seen and the others enjoyed a very uncomfortable journey back worrying about the withdrawn attitude of their dear friend. James’ especially – with his growing (slightly unwanted) feelings worried for his bet friend and was beginning to see just what his actions had done to her this past year.
Kaitlin sighed, she knew she couldn’t survive avoiding her friend’s forever. Truth was she was terrified that her friend’s would abandon her if she told them the truth. That and she thought they would feel angry and betrayed when she told the truth.
‘Hey Kaitlin, wait up!’ cried James.
Of all the people to stop her it had to be him, she never could resist his voice. It caused her so much joy and so much heartbreak. Yet she couldn’t stop her feet from coming to a halt as she heard his voice. It was bad timing, she’d almost reached the stairs to the girls dormitory when he’d found her.
‘We need to talk’ he said seriously.
‘Then talk’ Kaitlin replied defensively.
‘Not here, the others are waiting’ he said pointing to the boys dormitory.
Kaitlin looked around counting her options.
‘Don’t run Kaitlin, we deserve to know what’s going on’.
That made Kaitlin angry. They didn’t deserve anything but she followed him all the same. It was as if they’d planned it. Set her up against her will caused this intervention and it got her so mad.
‘We know you’re hiding something’ said Lily.
‘Yeah your outburst at Christmas wasn’t normal’ added Albus.
Crystal and Rose were there as well but they wisely said nothing.
Kaitlin had been prepared to tell her friend’s the truth but now with their demanding attitudes she just wanted to cause them pain, to make them guilty.
‘We’re your friends, we deserve to know’ said James and it was those words that broke her last resolve.
‘You deserve to know do you? By whose power? I don’t owe you anything. Friend’s huh, friends don’t abandon each other’ she looked at James, ‘bully each other’ she looked at Albus ‘or intrude on secrets best kept hidden’ she looked at Lily.
Somehow all the anguish she’d bottled up was all coming out, her earlier reveal had released her, she now stood up for herself with pride.
‘I do not doubt my friends but I do know that not one of you here can look upon our friendship and not feel guilt. You expect me to keep the peace, mind my own business and not interfere yet you do not offer me the same courtesy’.
‘Didn’t you even think that there was a reason behind the secrets in my life. That the burden was mine alone to carry’.
‘We just wanted to help’ said Albus.
‘Help!’ sneered Kaitlin, ‘You tried to blackmail me into revealing my secrets. I had thoughts friends were supposed to accept each other without condition but apparently I was wrong’ she said bitterly.
Out of all of them she was the most magically gifted and the stress of the situation was already causing her magic to flare.
‘We’re sorry’ said Lily verging on tears, ‘We’ll go’ she got up to move.
‘No!’ shouted Kaitlin, ‘You wanted the secret, far be it for me to keep it from you’ Kaitlin was madder than she had ever been, probably more than she should have. The silence that followed had never been more prominent.
‘I’m an orphan, I don’t have any parents’ said Kaitlin.
‘That’s it?’ said Albus in disbelief.
‘I wasn’t finished’ growled Kaitlin, ‘I was a paid orphan meaning someone paid for my keep and I wasn’t allowed to be adopted. It’s a muggle orphanage and they don’t like magic. Until a year ago it was fine because I was protected! Then I lost my best friend to a harpy who blackmailed me to stay away and the pay to the orphanage stopped. I was no longer protected’.
‘You tried to blackmail me about the bruise Albus. Do you know what people do to others when they’re scared? They retaliate. In my case it was violence and I began to believe they were right. That it was my fault, that I was to blame, a waste of space that belonged in the dustbin’.
‘And on top of that I had all of you pitying me, using out friendship and digging around for my secret. And the worst thing was that I let you do it because I was so afraid of what would happen if you found out’ she cried.
‘I couldn’t tell you I didn’t want the pity. I knew you’d all feel betrayed yet I couldn’t stay away’.
She sighed, she might as well say it all for she had nothing left to give.
‘But you know what’s silly? It’s the face I’m starring into now’ she said looking at James. ‘Even after all the pain I’ve been through this past year; the bruises, the crying, the guilt. It didn’t hurt as much as losing you. What sucks is you still don’t see it, everyone else does. I see the way they look at me in sympathy and pathetic disbelief. Their disbelief was justified for why you would love me the way I love you is impossible’ she whispered to the silence, all the fight in her was gone.
Taking one last look at the teary faces of her friends and the emotionless face of James, she fled to seek her own solitude. Emotionally drained didn’t even cover it.
There is only one more chapter following this (which I'm currently writing). This story was a harder challenge than I expected but I've enjoyed it :) ~Zyii