Chapter 2 : B is for Blessed
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Charlotte Age Eleven
It was the day before Al and Charlotte were supposed to start their first year at Hogwarts. They were perched high up their favorite tree in Charlotte’s backyard. “Granny says there’s a giant squid,” Charlotte said to Al, “think she’s telling the truth?”
“Yeah,” said Al, “My dad told me about a time this first year Dennis Creevey fell into the lake and the giant squid picked him up and put him back into his boat.”
“Oh gosh,” she said, “what if I fall into the lake?”
“Then you’ll get to meet the giant squid in person,” Al teased, “should we name him?”
“I think he sounds like a Kyle.”
“Nah,” Al disagreed, “Benjamin.”
Al looked at Charlotte, “Winston it is.” They slapped each other a high five and then Charlotte had to steady herself so she wouldn’t fall.
“Are you scared?” she asked timidly.
“Just that I’ll be in Slytherin.”
“Well I’m scared I’ll be a Hufflepuff.”
“You don’t want to be a Puff?” He laughed, but she didn’t feel like joking right then.
“Granny says I’ll be a Gryffindor.”
“I guess we’ll see…” He trailed off.
The next day Granny took Charlotte to the train station. “I’ll miss you, sweet girl,” she said giving Charlotte a hug and a kiss, “Be good, and don’t be nervous. If anyone messes with you, you tell them that your Granny can kick their butt.”
“You know they’ll probably pick on me more if I say that.”
“Okay fine, promise me you’ll write every week though.”
“Want to walk through the barrier together?” Granny asked.
“Through it?” Charlotte whispered.
“Yes dear, let’s go together.” And with that Granny looped her arm through Charlottes and they walked through the barrier together. Charlotte took in everything around her. The train was just like Granny and Al had described it to her. She looked across the platform and saw Al looking around nervously.
She was about to go over to him, but she saw Harry kneel down and talk to him seriously. She didn’t want to interrupt that, so she gave her Granny another hug and kiss and boarded the train. She found a compartment with just one other girl in it; she looked nervous and lonely so Charlotte asked if she could sit.
The girl had straight chestnut hair, dark brown eyes and freckles. She was the opposite from Charlotte who had pale blonde hair that fell in waves to her lower back and grey eyes.
“I’m Talia,” she said sweetly, “Talia Bell.”
Charlotte Present Day
“Talia!” Charlotte yelled across the platform having spotted her other best friend, “Talia Bell!”
“Charlotte!” she heard a voice mimicking hers, “Charlotte Walker!” Then Talia came running towards her, her luggage forgotten behind her, and slammed into Charlotte. Charlotte staggered slightly and then regained her balance and hugged her friend.
Talia was almost the exact same as when Charlotte first met her. Her straight, chestnut hair fell to her mid back and freckles spotted her nose and cheeks. The only difference was that Talia was no longer nervous… about anything.
Charlotte, on the other hand, had chopped off her long blonde hair in favor of a bob and still suffered from nerves while Talia seemed immune.
“I’m missed you Tally,” Charlotte said, “How was your summer?”
“Oh we have lots to talk about,” she said, “let’s go get a compartment.” They hauled their luggage to a compartment where Rose and Al were sitting with Liam—another sixth year Gryffindor.
Liam and Al stood up to help the girls store their trunks. Well, Liam jumped up and grabbed Talia’s bags (the rest of the group all had bets on when they were going to get together) while Al just casually took Charlotte’s.
Finally, they were all able to settle in. Charlotte sat in between the window and Al. “Are you guys continuing potions?” Liam asked.
“Yeah,” Al said, “Dad reckons it’d be a good idea.”
“Unfortunately,” Talia said, “Baddock’s a real arsehole isn’t he?” Charlotte just listened while the four of them debated whether or not Professor Baddock was an “arsehole.” She jumped in occasionally, but mostly she was just worrying about her Granny. She resolved to write to her the moment she got to Hogwarts.
Al nudged Charlotte, “Think any of the first years will have the pleasure of meeting Winston?”
“You mean like we did?”
“I still can’t believe you pushed me off the boat that day” Al said.
Charlotte interrupted, “Well I can’t believe you pulled me in after you.”
“It was my first year,” he continued, “I was trying to make a good impression.”
“You made a good impression on Winston,” Charlotte joked, thinking about that day. They both walked into the castle for the first time soaking wet and shivering like mad. Word spread around the Great Hall like wildfire—Harry Potter’s son and his friend jumped into the lake on the way over and made friends with the giant squid. They’re totally bad ass.
At least that’s what Al and Charlotte swear people were saying about them. Talia and Rose would tell you something completely different.
About an hour into the train ride Scorpius and Holden (both Slytherin sixth years) peaked their heads in, “ladies.” Holden acknowledged everyone.
“Prats,” Talia nodded her head in greeting. Holden said nothing, but walked over to her, bent down, and kissed her roughly.
“Holy hell!” Charlotte yelled, “Get off of her!”
“What you didn't tell them?” Holden asked Talia, breaking apart from their kiss. The group then realized that Talia had kissed him back. Talia and Holden were dating.
“I was about to,” she claimed.
Liam was crushed, but since he’s himself he put on a huge smile. “Well done mate.” He said to Holden, punching him on the arm a bit too hard for it to be considered brotherly.
“Anyway,” said Scorpius breaking the tension, “I came to get Rose, we have a prefects meeting.”
“I know that Scorpius,” She said angrily, “I’m perfectly capable of walking down the train by myself.” She stormed out of the compartment.
Scorpius looked at the ceiling for a second, muttering under his breath, and then followed.
Holden sat down in Rose’s empty seat and Talia rested her hand on his leg, he whispered something in her ear. Liam looked like he wanted to jump out the window.
Al steered the conversation towards quidditch which effectively distracted Liam. Soon the two of them were having an animated debate about who was better—the Holyhead Harpies, the Chudley Cannons or Puddlemere United.
Charlotte didn’t know when she fell asleep, but apparently she did because Talia woke her up when they arrived.
She sat up and rubbed her eyes. After looking around she noticed that it was only Talia and her left in the compartment.
“Where’d everybody go?” she said with a yawn.
“Al and Liam went to check on Lily and sit with James for awhile.” Al was really protective of Lily, his third year sister, even though it was obvious that she could take care of herself.
“Well, shall we go get a carriage?” Charlotte asked Talia, who nodded her head.
“Do you think I’m crazy for going out with Holden?” She asked once they were settled in their own coach. They were really lucky to get one to themselves.
“Well Merlin knows he’s hot.” Said Charlotte, “Just be careful, he is a Slytherin.”
“We spent a lot of the summer together, I think I really like him.”
Something switched inside of Charlotte right then. She broke out in the chills and struggled to breathe.
“Shit,” she said through her frantic breathes, “I need to get out of here.” Charlotte tried to stand up in the carriage. It felt like her insides were on a roller-coaster.
“Sit down,” Talia tried to push her down, but Charlotte, without thinking, struck out at her. She hit her hard in the stomach and heard her say, “oof.”
Charlotte tried frantically to unlatch the door of the carriage, but her shaking fingers hindered her. At that moment she remembered she was a witch.
The latch sprung lose and the door swung open. Charlotte took a deep gulp of the fresh air and was about to jump out when the door slammed shut. Charlotte whipped around and saw that Talia had her wand out as well. “Expelliarmus!” Charlotte’s wand flew out of her hand.
“Let me out!” Charlotte was in tears by now.
“Shh…calm down,” Talia said gently. She slowly reached out her hand and grabbed Charlotte’s wrist. She yanked her down to the bench and forced her head between her knees.
“Breathe,” Talia said, “that’s it Char, deep breaths.”
After a few minutes Charlotte’s mind seemed to return to her. She didn’t even know what brought on the panic attack.
“What was that?” Talia demanded.
“Sorry,” Charlotte said sheepishly, “I just freaked out a little.” Talia was about to say something else but Charlotte cut her off, “Did you close that door nonverbally?”
“Yeah I guess I did!” she said happily, “It was pretty cool, I’ve never done that before.”
“Impressive,” Charlotte said. Thankfully at that moment they pulled up to the school. They were ushered inside by Deputy Headmistress, Professor Robins.
“This way,” she said briskly, “you guys know the drill.”
The sorting was fun to watch as always, it reminded her of when she was sorted.
Charlotte Age Eleven
With the last name Walker, Charlotte was forced to wait a very long time to be sorted. The pretty girl named Talia she had sat next to on the train was already sorted into Gryffindor, and so was Al.
Her palms were sweaty, but it wasn’t in a symptom of a panic attack. It was simply nerves, pure nerves.
She was very worried she wouldn’t make it into Gryffindor. All she wanted was to make her Granny proud.
“Charlotte Walker.” Professor Robins called her name. She was easily one of the smallest in her class; she walked up to the stool and had to jump to sit on it.
Professor Robins placed the hat on her head. “Hmm,” said the sorting hat (the hat could talk!), “plenty of strength, that’s good, there’s going to be a time when you need that, a surprising amount of determination. You’re very loyal, hmm…Granny was right…GRYFFINDOR!”
Charlotte Present Day
Charlotte smiled to herself, thinking about her own sorting. She couldn’t believe that she had been friends with Talia, Liam, and Rose for six years now and Al for even longer.
She was glad to have them in her life. Thinking about them, she was able to restrain herself from tapping each of her utensils four times before using them. She considered it a big accomplishment.
Smiling, she ate her dinner.
Talia Present Day
Talia was being really creepy and she knew it. However, she couldn’t stop watching Charlotte in her sleep that night.
She was extremely worried about her best friend. Charlotte might have brushed off her little episode from the carriage, but it seemed to be burned into Talia’s mind.
She knew that Charlotte had had some troubles with her mental health a few years ago, but she thought she had gotten over it.
She had told Talia that she was over it.
Talia accepted that she wasn’t going to sleep any time soon. Being careful not to wake Charlotte, she tiptoed out of bed and down into the common room.
It was empty except for one person. Al Potter. “Al?” Talia asked, surprised, “what are you doing up?”
He gave a noncommittal shrug.
“Listen Al,” she said seriously, “We need to talk about Charlotte.”
“What about her?”
“In the carriage earlier today she had some sort of a fit. She was breathing really fast and trying to jump out the door. I barely managed to get her under control. I know she had problems a couple summer’s ago, but I thought she was over that Al. What’s going on?”
Al had closed his eyes while Talia was talking. He took a deep breath, “She swears she’s fine, but I know she’s lying. We can’t say anything about it to her though because it might trigger a panic attack. I used to help her by keeping her busy and doing fun things to keep her from getting stressed, but I don’t see how we’re going to manage that, being in school and all.”
Talia interrupted, “You know how stressed she gets about her classes! Is the stress going to make her worse?”
“I don’t know” snapped Al; he took another breath, “Sorry Tally, I’m worried about her.”
“Don’t mention it.” Said Talia, shaken.
“Anyway, I’d suggest you keep a few vials of calming draught with you at all times. I’ll get Lily to make some. She hates taking it, but sometimes it’s just what she needs. Don’t let her know that you have it though. Other than that, just be as normal as you can around her.”
“Okay,” Talia sighed and got up, “I guess I’ll go to bed, Seeya in the morning.”
Author’s Note: I’d love to know what you think about the story so far. Are there any characters you want to see more of? What are your thoughts on Charlotte, Al, Talia, and Liam? What do you think is going to happen? I’ll try to have the next chapter up ASAP. Just a side note: next chapter is much more fun than and not nearly as depressing as these first two!
Bye Bye Birdy
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