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Chapter 1 : When It All Began
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It's time for me to wake up, but I don’t want to. Oh wait, what day is today? Could it be July twenty-first? It’s my seventeenth birthday. Mission “open my eyes” is now in progress. Damn you blanket, you are too comfortable. After a few moments of my internal struggle, I open my eyes to see. . . absolutely nothing.
Have my parents forgotten my birthday? I think to myself, No, they couldn't have. . .but why isn’t Scorpius here asking for, well, more like yelling for, his present? Please don’t let it be a surprise, I beg in my head, please spare me the embarrassment and don’t let it be a surprise. I roll out of my bed, tie my hair up and head out to face my family.
On my way to the dining hall, Dora, my favorite house elf, wishes me a “wonderful/happy/any other adjective you would like to put here birthday” and I thank her for remembering it, at least someone has.
I let my thoughts take over as I continue to walk, I wonder if I'm walking into a surprise. Should I have dressed before coming down? I mean, it is my birthday and I am sort of a birthday freak. Hey, don’t judge. Plus, with my brother having the same birthday, it is sort of impossible for them to avoid doing something on such a special day. I walk into the dining hall and see my family sitting at our huge, wooden dining table, surrounded by large amounts of untouched food. I don’t know how to respond, should I be grateful that there isn't a surprise waiting for me, or worried that they haven't planned something special for my seventeenth? I don't even bother thinking about my brother. Yes, he is my twin, but he has already planned a crazy party for himself. The kicker is that I might have to attend the thing, but I am hoping against going. The whole “partying” aspect of life isn't really “my thing,” especially when the whole Gryffindor house is at our place. Those sodding idiots, I despise them! Okay, now back to reality.
Our dining room is enormous. The large, glass windows that cover one of the walls are shut due to the blackened clouds outside. Its going to rain, but I like the rain. The room, itself, is heavily decorated with antiques, like usual, and the credit for this goes to my mother. The furniture is covered in all black and gold, classier than what people normally imagine.
I look to my father, who is considerably paler than usual, and to my mother, who is trembling. Scorpius, also, looks as though he just saw someone murdered right in front of his eyes. I begin to theorize that someone has died, but we barely have any family left. Grandfather Lucius died when Scorpius and I were infants, and Grandmother Narcissa died just two years ago. Maybe it has something to do with my mother’s side of the family, or maybe they found out that we are poor? I should just ask them what’s going down. Yup, that’s a good idea. Intelligent call, Brain.
‘Good morning Father, Mother, and Scorp,” I say to the corpses without so much of a hint towards the “special” aspect of this day. I am going to take this slow. I smile a cute smile at them, and, to my surprise, my mother breaks down into tears. Oh Merlin, now I am scared. I can feel my stomach doing flips. My mother is actually crying on our birthday! Maybe they are happy tears of happiness, or maybe she's just upset that we're growing so old, so fast? She is our mother after all. I am sure that my “optimistic” approach probably isn’t the correct approach to this scene, but I'm taken off my guard. I begin to realize that my father is staring at me while I look, blankly, at my mother. I shouldn’t think about this too much. God, I’m thinking again.
“Astoria, please don’t make it harder than it already is,” my father says, turning towards her.
“Mother, what’s wrong?” I ask softly.
“Mikaela, please sit down. We have some serious topics we would like to speak to you about,” my father says, not meeting my eyes. What in the world is wrong with my parents? It’s really okay if this is all about my birthday being a failure. Right now, I really don't care. Let’s all just go back to our normal life style. Pretty please?
I nod and sit in my usual seat, looking on them with curiosity. I know this will be major, my sixth sense is screaming that to me. “Oh Merlin, be kind,” I whisper to the unseen wizard deity.
“Mikaela, we are truly sorry about what we are about to tell you. Please know that this was never our intention. In this current situation, we are bound,” my father soothes with his soft tone and grey eyes. I believe him. I can't help it. That tone of voice and face always gets him whatever he wants. Why can’t I do that?
“I understand, now please tell me. What is going on? Is this about you two forgetting our birthday? It’s all right, I'm totally cool with it. I'm sure Scorp has a party planned, so I will go meet my best friends. It’s really no big deal,” I say to him, truthfully.
“Oh, that too! I will have to compensate for that with you later. This, however, is more important. You see, your grandmother had a wish on her death bed that I could not refuse because of my mere obligation as a good son, and the desperation I saw in her eyes. I later realized that it was a promise that had to be thought about beforehand and then made. By that time, I realized that it was too late and I could not take it back. I am sorry,” he replies, remorse filling his voice.
I am becoming more curious now, and my heartbeat is racing. I am very scared. Are they sacrificing me? But my grandmother loved me, I was her dearest. I look over and see that my mom is still sobbing. I notice that she has been crying previously, as well. Scorp has been a statue until now, “Just get it over with already, you are scaring her too much! Like all of this isn't already bad enough!’ he yells. Today is the first time that I've seen emotion on his face and he looks angry.
This must be it, I am screwed. I can feel that something really awful is going to happen. Father never tolerates such behavior from us, but today, he does not say anything back, but, instead, stares at me with pitiful eyes. My stomach twists again. Damn you body, stop doing that. Shivers run down my spine. This is bad, I think, really bad. I take a deep breath. I’m ready, I can do this. Heck ,I am Mikaela Malfoy, I can handle whatever life gives to me. I am not a coward even if I am a Slytherin. I am not a coward, okay? Enough of this.
“Father please, do tell me! You are scaring me. I can handle it,” I say with a pleading tone.
Mother has, finally, stopped crying, but her reddened eyes gaze upon me with fear. Her auburn curls that are usually done to perfection are scattered all over her head. She isn't even wearing make-up, which is weird, because she always does. Her dress is ordinary, a white floral robe with a light, pink cashmere button up sweater. The only jewelery she bears is her wedding ring on her perfectly manicured nails. Damn muggle inventions. This reminds me, I need to get a manicure too, must call my girls! Okay, pull yourself together, I am scared, remember? I turn from observing my mother, to gazing at my father. He is properly dressed in his black robes. He doesn't wear muggle clothing, but he minds when we do. So, all good in that department. I take a quick peek at Scorpius. He is in his night suit, just like me. Atta boy! We have broken the codes of being a Malfoy. He, unfortunately, is glaring at my parents and does not look at me. Not even once.
Father sighs, “All right, here goes nothing, I will tell you the summary: your grandmother had a best friend, during her life time, named Simoun King. I am sure you have heard of her, she is the wife of Nicolas King. The King family is one of the top business families of the Wizarding World. You grandmother and Simoun were pureblood sisters born into different families. When the war came, the King family remained neutral and did not pick a side. Once this war ended, Simoun grew very deathly ill and begged your grandmother and her own family to promise to something. She wanted our families to come together. so that their friendship never dies, but is carried out through our future generations.
“Your mother, during this time, was pregnant with the two of you, but we were only expecting one child. Nobody was sure of the gender. Simoun’s son, Samuel King, had two sons, Nicolas Junior and Robert. By this time, Nicolas was only three years old and Robert was just a newborn. Simoun made Samuel promise that if Astoria and I had a daughter, Nicolas Junior would marry her and that they were to be engaged as soon as the girl turned seventeen. Samuel could not turn her down because she was dying from a painful muggle disease. Samuel told his wife the very same day, and they told Nicolas about the agreement when he reached a decent age. I've been told that he grew to accept the agreement, not questioning the circumstances.
“You grandmother, on the other hand, did not inform me of this arrangement until she was on her own death bed. It was her last wish, through pleading sobs, that I agreed,” he pauses and takes a deep breath, rubbing his temples in exasperation, “I was put in a very difficult situation. She was, after all, my protector against evil. It was her who truly made me who I am today. If it was just my father, I would be in Azkaban right now. I told your mother about the fiasco a week after mother passed away.
“With all that was going on, we put it all behind us, delaying it as much as we could. Perhaps by ignoring it, we believed the outcome would change. That was very foolish of us. I know that now. That was my mistake and I am truly sorry for that. The Malfoys and the Kings, together, would be a very strong force economically, and politically. Try to think of that, Mikaela.
“After my mother passed away, I had plans to keep from following through with the promise, but that’s when I was informed that my mother charmed it. If we don’t agree to this, you and Nicolas will lose your family name, your inheritance and, most importantly, your ability to do magic. We can, however, prolong the marriage as long as we please, as long as, you two do intend to marry each other. When you do get married, the only way you two can leave each other is when you have a child together. This child will 'carry the friendship' forward so that the arrangement between you two will not be needed any more. My mother was a very clever witch and made sure that we have no way out of it. I am so, so, so, sorry Mikaela. I hope you can forgive me someday,” my father concludes his long speech.
Brain, start functioning please! Okay, so I have to marry a bloke I barely know and have a child with him to get rid of a curse? This means no option to fall in love or feel physically attracted to some other bloke, and I thought being sacrificed was a bad thing. That's actually looking like a preferred option. Great, I just had to learn about all this on my seventeenth birthday. My grandmother was a selfish bitch just like the rest of the Malfoys. I guess this explains why she was so nice to me all those times back when she was alive. She had this planned all along. I hate her, you got that right, grandmother. Don’t explode Mikaela. Take a deep breath. Inhale.. Exhale.. Inhale.. Exhale..
I clear my throat to speak, “Let me get this straight, you want to marry a random bloke so that my grandmother’s sodding friendship can continue? Are you fucking kidding me? Is this some sort of sick joke? A birthday prank? Well, if it is, you guys have a twisted sense of humor. You can’t do this to me!” I scream before getting up and walking out of the room. I'm not listening to any other bull shit my fucked up family has to offer to me this morning. I can’t think properly, and I won't try until I become relaxed.
The last thing I do before walking out of the manor, is to stop by my bedroom and grab my muggle car keys. Last year's birthday present was a black, convertible BMW.
It is time for a drive to a muggle land far away from this shit land.
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