Rose thinks someone has died when she finds me crying in her room. Mia assumes at first that I've failed a test and Belle panics and thinks I've been attacked. Chelsea just sits beside me and rubs my back, muttering things to me. I don't know how long I lie there, but when I eventually get up, they are all relieved. I tell Mia and Belle that it's just hormonal crying and they seem relieved, even if they don't entirely believe it. Chelsea hurriedly whispered about what's happened to Rose when they have gone.
I spend the rest of the week mainly up in our dorm, and don't speak much to Albus and Scorpius. I know he knows something is up, but I can't really face him at the moment. Christmas time approaches and soon we are all on the train back home for the Christmas holidays.
Chelsea is welcomed possibly even more brightly than I am, when my mum picks me up at the station. I see Albus waving at me and start to wave back, forgetting who he's dating. But then Scarlet comes up, swishing her brown hair and I turn away, through the wall.
Christmas is decent and the presents are fairly good. Chelsea's one from her parent arrives by owl. The most surprising thing is the perfume that arrives from Albus. I didn't think because of the way I had been acting the past week, that he would give me anything. But the parcel arrived Christmas Eve. It smells beautiful, of black berries. They are actually my favourite fruit, but how did he know that.
"Ahh girls, I have some news," My mother calls out as we arrive downstairs one morning, a few days before New Years. We take a seat in the dining room and watch as she flourishes an expensive looking letter. I can even smell a whiff of perfume coming from it.
"What is it?"
"An invitation to a party. An important party, held by the Queen. We must go, and since Chelsea is staying, she is of course, invited."
"When is it?" I ask, glancing at Chelsea, who was smiling curiously. Royal parties are always usually boring. We meet people, dance to old music, and eat infuriatingly small amounts of food. We have to wear posh dresses and act like it's normal. NOT NORMAL.
"Tomorrow?" I stand up, looking at my mum incredulously " We need to get dresses for a party for tomorrow?"
"Yes, so you should get a move on. My credit card is on the table. The party is in the palace, but not too formal. So party dress, not ball dress. And definitely not too casual!"
We finish our breakfast before grabbing the card and a bag and heading out.
"A Royal party! I can't believe it," Chelsea exclaims, bouncing up and down as we walk through the streets. The shopping centre is quite close by, only a few blocks away.
"Don't get too excited, it won't be particularly interesting."
"But it's at the palace Cord!" I roll my eyes at her happy face.
"Do you have any cute cousins?" she asks, as we enter the shopping centre. I immediately direct her towards the lift, going for the top floor.
"Probably, I just don't know any of them."
On the top floor are the more, expensive shops shall we say. They are more likely to stock the sort of dresses my mum calls party dresses. We head into the nearest one and my eyes are bombarded with bright colours and the screeches of tweenage girls.
"No," I say immediately, dragging out Chelsea, who doesn't protest. The next shop is full of floor length gowns and the sales assistant looks at us like we are Flobberworms invading the shop. We scope around to see if there are any dresses above calf length, but exit quickly when Chelsea almost knocks over a decorative vase.
The next shop holds more luck. The dresses seem suitable enough and when I show the shop workers my mum's credit card, they seem more than happy to help us. We head into the changing rooms and they bring through a mountain of dresses. I shift through it and decide to try on a deep green one on top.
"What do you think of this?" Chelsea asks, and I turn to see her in a hideous leopard print dress. It's very high necked but too short and the padded shoulders reach almost to her ears. She giggles when she sees my expression and turns back around.
"Oh go Chelsea, look at this," I say 5 minutes later. The dress I've got on is black, with a boat neck and a skater skirt reaching down to my knees. But then over the top is a long black see through skirt bit, that reaches to my feet, with some disgusting pink frills at the bottom, and some garish pink beads at the sleeves.
"Oh, wow. Who died?" she asks, adding to my laughter. I do look ridiculous.
A few minutes later Chelsea lets out a small "Oh" and I turn around.
"Oh Chels, you look beautiful."
She does. The dress is strapless and a nice pale pink. The skirt bubbles out from her waist and comes in around mid thigh.
"I like this one," she says, smiling nervously, " Is it too much?"
"Chelsea, my mum doesn't care about the price, so long as it's suitable and pretty. You fit both categories."
She grins widely and goes back to looking in the mirror. I see a little flash of baby blue in the pile I'm looking through and pull out a lovely blue dress. I slip into it and gasp. It's also strapless, and then flows out from just underneath my chest, in a flowy way and reaches mid thigh. It's all blue but there is some tiny decoration of black lace at the top where the skirt fans out under my chest. There is some slight gauze over the top of the dress and when I spin, it fans out.
"Oh, that's beautiful," Chelsea gasps, and we smile at each other. We slip out of the dresses and hang them up carefully, before telling the shop assistants that we have chosen. There is much kerfuffle as they wrap them up carefully, with some extravagant ribbon, in a box, before delicately putting the boxes in a special designer plastic bag. Chelsea and I head out, before stopping again in front of the shop next door.
"Well, we do need shoes," I say, grinning mischievously. Inside it's like shoe heaven. They are balanced on over the top tables, in little cubby holes in the wall, everywhere. After much debate, Chelsea gets some cute black heels with little pink bows, while I get some black wedges with criss-crossed straps. Afterwards we head down onto the bottom floor, and sit in a cafe with some delicious hot chocolate.
"So, how are you doing?" Chelsea asks, spooning some whipped cream into her mouth.
"About what? The party tomorrow? New Years? Or Albus and Scarlet?"
"I think you know which Cord."
I sigh deeply, running my hand through my wavy blonde hair. I can't quite decide what to say, so I look around. The shopping centre looks exactly the same as it used to. Big, with a glass ceiling and the massive fountain in the middle, not far away from us now. There are a group of boys gathered at the edge of the fountain, chucking things at each other.
"I'm doing okay," I finally burst out, drinking some hot chocolate, " It's just. I don't know. He doesn't know how I feel because I'm such a coward and now he's gone. That's really my fault."
"He isn't gone," Chelsea says gently, " Not unless you push him away."
She looks at me wisely and I think she is about to come out with something deep and meaningful.
"Those boys at the fountain are staring at us," she says, smirking, " They are quite cute as well."
"God, do you think of nothing but boys," I laugh, looking over at the fountain. Oh no.
"Bloody hell, hide me," I mutter quickly at Chelsea, who looks worried.
"What's happened? Has Voldemort come back?"
I freeze for a moment, looking up into her scared eyes.
"It was the first thought that popped into my head. If it isn't that, what has happened?"
I slide down in my seat, as if that could hide me.
"The boys at my fountain went to my primary school. I kissed one of them in my last year. And I think they might have recognised me."
Chelsea laughs loudly, and it echoes across the room.
"What's the problem with that?"
"Because I don't want to talk to them. And shut up!"
"Too late Cord."
I sit up, annoyed as a male voice says beside me, " Cordelia? Cordelia Walston? Is that you"
I turn to see Mark Thomas standing beside us, his mates not far behind. Mark is the one I kissed 6 years ago. Sadly he still looks much the same. Same hairstyle, same skateboard. Even the same style of checked shirt.
"Hey, Mark," I say, resisting the urge to kick Chelsea under the table.
"I thought it was you," he smiles at us, " But wow, you look different." He looks me up and down and I feel violated.
"I heard you go to a boarding school now," he asks, his eyes flickering to Chelsea and back.
"Yes, and this is my friend Chelsea. She goes there as well."
"Hey," Chelsea smiles at him, fluttering her eyelashes.
"Thought I didn't recognise you," Mark says, before turning back to me, " Listen, I've got to go, but I'm having a party tonight and you should come. Your friend can come as well. It's at 100 Downward Drive and starts at 7. Will I see you there?"
"Definitely," Chelsea says, and he grins and runs off. I angrily round on Chelsea.
"What did you do that for?"
"Come on, it will be fun," Chelsea says, throwing some change down on the table, " I've never been to a Muggle party."
- - - - - - - - - - - -
"Is this the right road?" Chelsea asks, as we wander down Downward Drive. I don't really understand why I'm here, but there no stopping Chelsea once she has a plan in her head. She can be violent as well. I wonder if I attract violent friends.
"Yes, we are nearly there," I say, pulling at my top. It's ridiculous really. Chelsea decided to dress me. I was forced into some black leggings, which I didn't mind so much. It was when she brought out the top that I started to protest. It's a blue button up crop top, which stops around the bottom of my ribs, revealing my belly button. I refused to go out like that, so she pushed me into a black lacy top, which is pretty much see through, so doesn't make much difference. Chelsea went far too over the top for a Muggle party and ended up wearing a black bandeau dress with a red crop top over and some wedge ankle boots, like me.
After a minute we start to hear the music.
"What is that stuff?" Chelsea asks as we approach what is obviously the house. The lights are all on, the music is booming out of the windows and people are snogging in the garden.
"It's definitely not the Nargles!"
I push through the door and find myself in an overcrowded, snogging fest. We push through couples until we arrive in the kitchen. Mark is standing there, with his friends.
"You made it?" he calls out, beckoning to us, " Guys this is Cordelia - do you remember Cordelia Walston?- and her friend Chelsea."
The guys all say hello, but their names all run through my head without me concentrating. Mark reaches over and picks up two cups.
"You've had beer before right?" he asks, handing us the cups. I nod, and elbow Chelsea before she can ask what beer is.
"It's a bit like Firewhiskey," I lie, when Mark is distracted by something his friend has said. Chelsea sniffs tentatively, before taking a big gulp. I wince as she swallows, but sigh in relief when she smiles.
"Hey this isn't bad," she mutters.
"Have you guys seen the living room?" Mark asks, leading us through the Snogging section and into the room from where the music is coming. it's not as crowded, but there are some people dancing. A large group of scantily clad girls in the corner catch my eye. None of them have noticed me or Chelsea yet, thankfully.
"Hey Lena, look who it is?" Mark calls out, sadly towards the short skirt girls, who all turn simultaneously, hair whipping and jewellery glinting. One at the front of the group starts to slowly walk towards us, her bright pink skirt hitching dangerously high, and almost blinding me with an orangey tan.
Lena? Not Lena Fields?
The girls eyes narrow at first, like we are competition, but widen when she obviously recognises me.
"Cordelia? Oh My Actual God, is that you?"
She suddenly rushes forward arms outstretched and pulls me into an uncomfortable and over the top hug, her spiky necklace digging uncomfortably digging into my chest. I can see Chelsea holding back a giggle as I stand there awkwardly, almost patting her on the back.
"How are you?" Lena squeaks excitedly, pulling back and pouting.
"Uhh, I'm okay, "I mutter, trying to smile.
"Come on, we've got to introduce you to the girls," she says pulling me towards the group. I grab Chelsea's hand as I pass and mutter to her as she looks like she wants to protest.
"If I'm going down, you're going down with me."
Ello ello ello.
Policeman? i don't know.
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