Chapter 3 : Today Was... Interesting
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I started to walk towards the swings, then suddenly realised that the park wasn't as empty as I had thought.. There was girl, her back to me, sitting on one of the swings. A girl I hadn't noticed a second ago.
I walked closer, seeing her blonde hair streaming as she swung. Her peals of laughter reached my ears, as I realised there was someone else with her. A man had appeared in front of her, he was pushing the swing. I strained to see his face but it was blurred, I couldn't focus.
I was running now, trying to get to them - for some reason I felt a sense of urgency- I needed to get to them. But the more I tried the more I felt I was running through something sticky, like treacle. I looked down and realised it was treacle. I was sinking!
I glanced back up, intending to shout to the two for help but I looked up and both were gone. I was alone again. But I couldn't move. Beep... I was going to drown... Beep... I was going to drown in treacle…. Beep… treacle… Beep… treacle tart…
Beep.. Beep.. Beep..
Something was beeping, I ascertained through my groggy haze. Something was beeping incessantly. I rolled over and slammed my hand down on the offending object. Which turned out to be my alarm clock. An alarm clock that protested pitifully at being treated in such a manner. Oh well.
I was still dazed, confused with sleep. For no apparent reason the words 'treacle tart' were floating around my head. I could barely remember the dream.. I tried, but all I got were vague, blurry images. Dreams were strange. They made you think of things like laughter and treacle tarts…
Come to think of it, I had never had treacle tart before. In fact, I couldn't ever recall knowing such a thing existed…
However, as I was contemplating the vagueness of dreams and treacle tart my eyes were slowly focusing on the injured alarm clock beside me. An alarm clock that read 9:30. Oh crap. I was so late!
I was halfway across the room towards the wardrobe when I realised, right… no work today. But just as I was about to fall back into bed, my foggy brain finally caught up to the most recent events.
No work. But I was about to have visitors.
I had showered, dressed, had breakfast and cleaned the apartment about a hundred times. And I had only been up two hours.
I didn't know why I was in such a panic about the state of my home. An empty mug sitting on the counter had never bothered me before, but now I was obsessively cleaning the darkest corners of the rooms.
My madness was scaring me. I had panicked when I thought of the dust collecting under the couch and spent twenty minutes carefully sweeping underneath it. And only then had it occurred to me that my guests were highly unlikely to be inspecting it, unless they ended up on the floor somehow…
The doorbell rang. I dropped the duster I was holding in a panic and ran around the room, throwing random items into cupboards - they were early!
I ran around the room like mad - I was pretty sure I resembled a headless chicken. And it was a few seconds before I managed to collect my thoughts enough to open the door.
Drew was standing in the doorway, smirking and apparently unaware that he was facing a dragon. A crazy, furious, fire-breathing dragon, who he had just startled into thinking her guests were half an hour early - and nearly given her a heart attack in the process.
"What. Do. You. Want?" I managed to spit out, struggling to regain composure.
His smirk fluttered a little. Ha. Take that. I'm not always nicey nicey.
"Just wondering if you wanna go out. There's a barbecue on today in my friend's house - on the other side of the city."
He just didn't give up.
"I can't ..Drew, you see, I have visitors coming today. My… family."
He looked confused now. "I didn't realise… I've never seen them around before."
Yeah, that's because they've never been.
I had never told Drew about losing my memory, or anyone else for that matter. Plus, it wasn't like it had ever come up in conversation.
'So, where did you used to live? Can't remember.
You have a family? Don't know….' etc. etc.
Yup. Awkward would have become unbearable.
"This is their first visit. We.. um… we haven't spoken in a while."
I had half expected Drew to eagerly invite my visitors to his party but, to my intense surprise, he simply nodded.
"Ah, I see. Don't worry about the party." He cracked a grin. "It was a long shot anyway"
He turned and started walking away, but halfway to his door he stopped and turned.
"Oh, and Elena?"
"Yeah?" I asked, confused.
I was startled. What had made him think I needed luck? Then I saw the expression on his face. It wasn't a normal Drew expression - there was no cocky grin, no laughing eyes. He looked.. understanding.
It suddenly occurred to me that in the year I had been living here I had never once seen anyone visit Drew. I had spotted a couple of guys his age every now and again (usually carrying booze) but never anyone who had stayed.
Where were his family? I thought I understood that expression now. There was something more to Drew.. Something I had never taken the time to notice before.
I watched as he walked back down the hall to his apartment, no doubt to get ready for his friend's barbecue. I pulled back into my own flat. Maybe when I had sorted out my own life, I could talk to Drew. Something told me we had a bit more in common than I had ever realised.
I had my own problems to see to now though. Namely, my unnamed visitors.
I set back into my cleaning, now with twenty minutes to go until twelve. Then again, I probably had a bit longer, people didn't usually arrive right on time. They'd probably be a couple of minutes late at least.
I watched the clock hand tick gradually closer to twelve. Five seconds, three, two, one.
What? Had they just timed themselves to my clock? Wait, no, that was impossible. It was just coincidence.
But their presence was a slightly more pressing matter than their punctuality. They were here, so I should really open the door.
The doorbell rang again. They were definitely here, this wasn't a dream… Oh crap, They were here!
I paused, my hand on the door. I took a deep breath to steady myself. Newfound connections aside, if this was Drew I would literally murder him...
Dominique stood in the doorway, accompanied by four others. I stared at them, there were three boys, men rather, and a woman.
They stared right back at me, with expressions very similar to the one Dom had worn last night… Gosh, was that only last night?
I found myself saying hello and motioning them inside, all the whilst feeling slightly removed from my body. Here, standing right beside me, were people who knew me - the real me. I studied each of them in turn.
Standing beside Dom was a guy about her height, slightly taller. He had reddish brown hair and darkish skin. You couldn't pick a specific colour.
He was holding hands with a young woman. Her brown hair was held up in a stylish bun with wisps of hair framing her face. She had a kindly look about her, sweet and caring.
Behind her stood a man, evidently a lot older than his companions if the streaks of grey in his jet-black hair were anything to go by. Yet the bright green eyes set behind a pair of glasses gave an impression of vitality and youth.
And, finally, beside him was another young man. It was obvious at first glance that they were related - they had they same hair and similar facial structures. It was their eyes, however, that set them apart. While the older man had green eyes, almost the colour of emeralds, his younger companion had brown eyes - the most gorgeous chocolatey brown eyes I had ever seen.
Our eyes met for the briefest of moments. He had been staring at me, well they were all staring at me, but there was something different about his gaze. I could see warmth and wonder in his eyes, and something else, something I couldn't quite put my finger on.
But the look was gone as quickly as it came. He tore his eyes away from mine, his face becoming a perfect smooth mask.
He didn't catch my eye again.
The atmosphere was strange. I had been prepared for awkward but, weirdly enough, there had been very little awkwardness. No. It was just strange.
Dominique spoke first, interrupting my inner musings, to introduce her companions. The darkish guy with the gingerish hair was Fred. He, apparently, was Dom's cousin - one of many if the comments were anything to go by.
The girl who was holding his hand was called Jenna. They were obviously a couple, but no one had taken the time to explain exactly what the relationship was between them.
I settled for boyfriend and girlfriend. If I was wrong, (and that was a distinct possibility), it would be infinitely less awkward than assuming they were married.
The older man, Dom introduced as 'Uncle Harry' and the guy standing beside him as his son, James.
And that was about as much introduction as Dom was going to give.
She proceeded to flop down on the couch, looking for all the world like she owned it. Her companions exchanged looks - not angry or amused, but more like understanding.
Or perhaps it was looks of long suffering. Either way, I got the feeling that Dom couldn't give two hoots about social graces or what was expected of her. She struck me as kind of a… free spirit.
Everyone else sat down, slightly more hesitantly than Dom.
Harry spoke first. It didn't really surprise me - he gave off an air of being in charge. I got the feeling that even if he was the youngest person in a room he would still have authority.
"It's so good to finally see you again Elena. You don’t know how worried we've been." He smiled. "So tell me, what did Dom tell you yesterday?"
"Hey. I already told you everything I said to her! I-"
"Dom." He sent her a stern look. " I just want to hear it from Elena's point of view. Now Elena, what did Dom say to you yesterday?"
I glanced quickly between Dom and her uncle.
"Well, she told me my real surname - Thomas - and stuff about my family. You know, the fact that we don’t talk. But Dom said you'd tell me much more today."
Dom nodded along to every word I said. "See Uncle Harry! I told you I didn't let anything slip about the-" she froze mid-sentence. "the, um, thing…"
I glanced around. Everyone in the room was glaring at her, with the odd exception of James, who didn't seem to have been listening to a word Dom said.
She glanced at me, looking remarkably like a rabbit caught in the headlights, and swiftly, but not subtly, changed the subject.
"So, Elena. Tell us about your job."
I was suddenly getting the feeling that there was a whole lot more to my previous life than I had originally thought.
A while later, after quite a long chat, I was still getting the impression that my visitors were hiding something. Every question I asked was answered, but some answers weren't exactly what I was looking for.
It reminded me of Dom's quick summary of my life yesterday - a good bit of information, but lacking details.
I had so far discovered that I had a brother and a sister, who like my parents, I no longer spoke to, and that the Weasleys had pretty much filled in as my pseudo family as soon as I had met them.
Dom and Fred had plenty of stories about our antics growing up, as along with all of their cousins we had played pranks on just about everyone we knew.
I assumed I had just gone along with these elaborate schemes. It was evident that those two had been the masterminds behind everything - like a pair terrible twins.
Even Harry, or Uncle Harry, contributed a few anecdotes about my youth, and some of the more legendary pranks. They certainly seemed to be the kind of large, dysfunctional family I had pictured.
The only two I couldn't figure out were Jenna and James.
Jenna was not in any of the stories told, nor was she one of the school friends mentioned. I couldn't work out why she was here. Dom and Fred were obviously my two best friends and Uncle Harry seemed to have been a kind of father figure to me, but Jenna was neither.
There didn't seem to be any reason why she should be here instead of Albus or Lucy or Louis, or any of the other cousins who had been mentioned about a hundred times each.
And James… well, James was a strange one. He spent most of the time just listening to the conversation, occasionally confirming a something one of the others said, despite the fact that he was mentioned more than any other cousin in the stories.
We must have known each other quite well, before, but he was exuding none of the same ecstatic happiness as Dom or Fred at seeing me. I wondered just exactly how friendly our relationship had been.
I just couldn't explain to myself why they were here over all those other people who had been so 'desperate' to come see me and who were so 'ecstatic' I had been found.
Harry seemed to notice my expression, something that Dom and Fred hadn't seen, lost in excited ramblings as they were. I wasn't surprised he had been the one to notice, he struck me as a very observant man.
I got the impression he was about to say something, but Dom suddenly stopped Fred mid-sentence, turning to me.
"Elena?" she asked, quickly. "Do you mind if I use your bathroom?"
"Uh, yeah…" I answered, slightly confused. "It's just through there…."
As Dom was hurried towards the door I'd pointed to, Fred stood up.
"Do you mind if I grab a drink of water? I'm a little thirsty." I nodded again and wordlessly pointed out the kitchen.
Well that was odd - he mustn't have been too eager to tell stories without Dom's back-up.
I thought that was end of the excuses but then James decided to make his escape.
"You know what? I'm feeling thirsty too. I'm just gonna head in there with Fred." So with what was the longest speech he had made so far, James followed his cousin into the kitchen.
I sat back, taking a deep breath and playing back over what had just happened. In the space of about two seconds, half of our group had just deserted camp.
At least, I hoped that was what had happened. The other possibility was that they were a bunch of super secret spies, and this was some huge, elaborate plot to get me. Dom was probably rifling through my things right at this minute.
Maybe I came from a family of spies, or maybe I was a spy, and Elena wasn't my real name, and these people were actually here to kill me, or trick me, or-
Harry interrupted my internal freak-out.
"You'll have to excuse me. I feel very bad doing this, I know we must seem like terrible guests, but I must send my wife a message. I promised I'd contact her at one o'clock."
Goodness, was it one already? I had barely noticed the time fly by.
"I'll be back in a minute. I just have to let her know everything's going okay."
I nodded, and he went out into the hall - as he presumably needed to be alone to text his wife. I put that little bit of information into the fast expanding folder at the back of my mind, labelled "Strange Things The Weasley's Do."
Jenna and I were now completely alone. Typical that the only one left would be the one I had heard no stories about, and who apparently had no stories to tell me either.
I figured I may as well start by asking the question that had been bugging me since they arrived.
"So you're Fred's… girlfriend?"
She smiled sheepishly. "Um, wife actually"
Well I hadn't been expecting that. So maybe it would've been less awkward to assume they were married.
"Wife? Wow, I didn't…" What was I supposed to say? I didn't know? Of course I didn't know - I wouldn't remember...
But, as it turned out, this was one time when that little fact didn't make much of a difference.
"We got married about six months ago.. I, um, I never met you. Fred took me to meet his family after we'd gotten engaged and that was about a year ago after you.. you had.. disappeared."
Ah, that made sense. But it still didn't explain why she was here instead of the people I had known.
She looked at me. "How are you finding all of this?" It was a vague question, but I was pretty sure I knew what she was talking about.
"It's… confusing. I've spent the last year living here, with absolutely no memory of who I was, thinking I would never find out. And then you guys arrive in, telling me all these stories… It's a lot to take in."
And it was. All the revelations and stories I had been hearing had been scaring me slightly.
Jenna nodded. "Yeah. I can see how it might be. "
I didn't know her at all, but there was something about Jenna that made you trust her, and I found myself opening up.
"I was really excited to meet you all… But I'm not sure if I want to know everything now. I know it was foolish, but I hadn't really thought about the possibility that I had a complicated family life and stuff. I don't know.. maybe it would be better to take a step back…"
She sighed. "Look Elena, I've only been part of this family for a while but even I can see how much they love you. You can't just decide to not get to know them.."
I was still hesitant. "I dunno…"
She scrutinised me for a moment, before speaking.
"Okay, how about this for a deal, since I only just joined the Weasley clan myself, I'll give you a hand getting to know them. Stuff they don't even think to mention to you, that they forget you don't know."
"And in return?"
"You promise me that you will make an effort to get to know them."
I looked at her, wondering if she was getting at anything, but she looked pretty sincere.
I thought about it, and suddenly realised that I didn't really have a choice - there was no way I was going back to the life I had been living. I wasn't sure if I was going to like some of the things I was about to find out but couldn't really back out now.
And besides, what was life without a little risk?
A/N: Finally! A bit of a crap ending, but I was a kind of rushed. I feel so bad it took me so long to update - I had planned to have this chapter up before Christmas but life got in the way.
Unfortunately, I can't guarantee an update in the next couple of months. As any teenager living in Ireland will be aware, sixth year sudents have absolutely no life from January to June. The joys of the Leaving Cert!
I'm not planning on abandoning this story anytime soon though, so be on the lookout for an update. Thanks for all the reviews :)
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