Chapter 16 : Me
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I despise mornings.
Seriously, they should be made illegal.
My ideal day would involve me waking up at mid afternoon, leisurely making my way down to breakfast then spending the rest of the afternoon reading. This ideal day would not involve being woken up at the bloody crack of dawn, school work or socialising of any kind.
Although I might make an exception for James. As long as brought me several chocolate éclairs from the school kitchens.
Unfortunately, it is the first day of exam week, which means that none of these things are possible.
I’m still dozing in my nice, soft bed when something very sharp and bony stats prodding me in the back.
“Get off,” I mumble sleepily, trying to bat the infuriating object away with my hand. “I’m sleeping.”
“That’s odd,” says a voice I immediately recognise as Aine’s. “I wasn’t aware that you talk in your sleep, Charlie. Usually you just snore.”
I snap my eyes open immediately so I can glare up at her.
She’s staring down at me, already fully dressed in her crisp uniform.
Urgh. She’s such a morning person.
On the other hand, I need several cups of coffee and a bar of chocolate before I can fully begin the day.
Unfortunately, coffee is one of beverages the house elves do not prepare for us in the mornings.
Ugly little gits.
No! I do not have prejudice against house elves, thank you very much! I even joined this house elf protection society called S.P.E.W when I was nine years old! Admittedly that was only because I wanted to wear the cool, house elf shaped badge, but still…
“I do not snore!” I say grumpily, trying to adjust my eyes to the morning sun that is pouring in through the window near my bed. I can just see the corner of the Black Lake out of it. It is no longer iced over-I can now see its dark waters swirling slightly, and what could possibly be a tentacle of the giant squid.
“Do so,” Aine chuckles, pulling my blankets away from me and dumping them on the ground. “Now get up, lazy bum, today’s our first NEWT.”
I don’t even bother hiding my loud, thoroughly enthusiastic groan.
Look, I may be a little bit of a nerd - okay, a complete nerd, but that does not mean that I enjoy my exams!
I tried to study over the Easter holidays, really I did, but James was very…distracting, to say the least.
And Fred, who has the attention span of a two year old decided it would be a good idea to throw another party down by the lake, right in the middle of the break! I didn’t want to go - I was reading a very interesting book for Herbology, all about exotic plants that could tear people’s arms off, but James threatened to perform a Bat-Bogey Hex on me if I didn’t come.
And James can be very scary when it comes to Defence. He’s the only one that’s mastered non-verbal counter spells. I’m absolutely useless at them. The other day, we were supposed to be wordlessly levitating our partners. Anyway long story short Aine, who was partnering me, ended up hanging upside down from a chandelier and several windows got broken. Oh, and somehow I ended up turning my own hair orange. I’m not precisely sure how I did that, to be honest…
Sorry. I’m crap in the mornings. I always go off on wild tangents.
Aine has disappeared into the bathroom again, so I crawl out of bed (I’m not kidding. I literally crawl. I look like one of the fire crabs we had to observe in Care of Magical Creatures the other day) and unearth my crumpled uniform from underneath a large pile of rubbish. Pulling on my robes, I bitterly wonder how Aine manages to look so…so shiny and new each day, when I look like I’ve climbed out of a rubbish can.
After we’re both dressed and ready to go, we head down (not at a leisurely pace, mind you) to breakfast where I sit down with a ‘humph’ next to James and immediately start loading my plate with the unhealthiest things I can find - blueberry muffins and bacon. Shut up. I know that’s a weird combination. I’m a weird child.
Great. I just called myself weird. I’m sinking to all new kind of lows.
“You really should eat something more healthy for breakfast,” Fred, who is sitting opposite me observes. “It’s a big, big day today Charlie, you need your strength…”
James snorts. “Like you can talk, Fredster. Who is the guy that stayed up past midnight last night trying to finish the human transformation book Smith told us would definitely come up in our exams because he had spent all of that day trying to persuade Isabella Grace to go out on a date with him? Oh, that’s right. You.”
Fred sighs dramatically, spooning porridge into his mouth. “At least I’m having a healthy breakfast that will sustain me throughout the day,” he says, nodding intelligently and spooning more porridge into his mouth. Predictably, it dribbles down his chin.
“You need a bib,” I tell him, and James chuckles beside me.
Meanwhile, Aine is beginning to stress about exams. Usually she’s quite carefree about schoolwork, but I know she really wants to become a Healer, and for that she needs top marks. I honestly don’t understand why she wants to do this profession so much. Moping up moaning children’s runny noses and treating their scabby knees is my idea of a nightmare. But Aine’s mother is a Healer, and she wants to follow in her footsteps. Crazy child. I certainly don’t want to follow in my mother’s footsteps. My crazy mother has been banned from several locations - both Muggle and wizarding - for failing to comply with the proper dress code. You saw her costume - ahem, outfit - at Kings Cross at Christmas, you know what she’s like.
“I really hope there’s nothing on Memory Charms in our Charms exam,” Aine is saying anxiously to Mickey, not even touching her food as her eyes dance frantically around the hall, as though she’d expected a life-sized piece of homework to appear in front of her and say ‘boo’.
Mind you, if a piece of homework said ‘boo’ to me, I’d be pretty frightened as well.
“I really should have studied them more…I just got so distracted when Fred let off those dungbombs in the corner…”
Fred, hearing Aine’s comment, chuckles to himself. “That was amusing, that was. The looks on those first years faces…gold!”
“I think Filch had a heart attack when he found out,” James grins. “I’m surprised he’s still alive actually…”
“He’s ancient!” agrees Fred eagerly, through a mouthful of porridge. It’s rather disgusting, I can see white mush circling his mouth. “Pretty much a walking corpse. That jacket he always wears is full of mothballs.”
“How’d you know that?” Mickey asks eagerly.
Fred makes a face. “I had to clean out his office during that last detention Smith gave me. There was a whole rack of his coats hanging in his cupboard. And guess what I found?”
“What?” both James and Mickey ask enthusiastically.
“There was this old filing cabinet tucked away in the corner, full of records of the punishments Filch has given up over the years. There was an entire draw devoted to my dad and his brother!”
James laughs. “I’m not surprised. Trouble making clearly runs in the family.”
“Can’t you guys stop talking for just a few minutes?” Aine snaps suddenly. “These are the most important exams of our lives! And you’re acting like we’re about to go to a Weird Sisters concert!”
Mickey pats her gently on the end. “Calm down Aine, you’ll be fine. And there’s no way I’d ever go to a Weird Sisters concert,” he adds, wrinkling up his nose. “They’re old. A pack of has-beens.”
“Besides,” says James cheerfully. “I find it best not to get too nervous before exams. Gives me a clearer head.”
“The only reason you’ve got a clear head is because there’s nothing but fluff in it!” Aine says irritably. I notice she’d pulled several sheets of parchment from her bag and is rifling through them, panicked. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her this anxious before. She’s usually quite laid back.
“Well, that’s a bit rude,” James mutters, but the boys all fall silent and concentrate on their breakfast.
I take a bite of a blueberry muffin. A few moments ago they smelt brilliant, but now they taste like cardboard. A huge mound of nerves have suddenly appeared in my stomach. Without the boys talking, the hall seems unusually quiet, and without anything to distract me, I’ve just remembered how anxious I am.
What will happen if I don’t pass my exams?
I won’t have enough money to move out…I’ll have to live with my parents forever! Even when I’m thirty years old I’ll have to get up to the sound of mum screaming herself hoarse…
“Are you alright, Charlie?” James asks me quietly, looping his warm arm around my back. I instantly feel my nervous breathing slowing down a little. “You look like you’ve swallowed something foul-tasting.”
Thanks, James. I really appreciate that.
I nod my head firmly. “I’m fine,” I say, trying to reassure myself more than anyone else.
After breakfast, McGonagall stands up at the staff table to announce that all the other students are to go to their scheduled classes while the first NEWT, Transfiguration, begins in the Great Hall.
There is a great drumming in my ears as everyone around me gets up and starts moving about, most of them talking amongst themselves and laughing. Vaguely, I realise Aine is muttering frantically to herself, Mickey and Fred are laughing loudly and James is talking to me, his arm still wrapped around my nack.
Sigh. What a perfect boyfriend I have.
That’s a lie. James actually has many imperfections. Do you want to hear them? I made a list.
No, Charlie. Now isn’t a good time.
Oh, sod it. Anything to take my mind off the nerves.
Charlie’s List of the imperfections of James Potter:
1.) He can be cocky and arrogant, especially in Defence Against the Dark Arts.
2.) He, Fred and Mickey are always playing pranks on poor, unsuspected first years. Take the other day for example: James offered this blonde little girl what appeared to be a completely normal chocolate chip biscuit. She was so frightened out of her mind that she ate it and suddenly sprouted a beard. James, Fred and Mickey all whooped loudly and James shouted; “Bearding Biscuits everybody, ten sickles a packet! My uncle’s latest invention…”
3.) I swear he gets detention at least three times a week. Usually for not handing homework in on time. That boy never studies and he is still smarter than most people in the class! God it is irritating. I’d be as dumb as a…dumb person if I didn’t read every single book we get assigned.
But, even though James is cocky, immature, lazy, troublemaking, annoyingly smart and in trouble every other day, he is still the best boyfriend I’ve ever had.
Yes, yes, I realise he’s the only boyfriend I’ve ever had! You don’t need to remind me how sad and pathetic my life was before I came to Hogwarts…
“Seventh years!” says McGonagall loudly and slightly irritably, and I realise we have somehow ended up in one of the chambers off the Entrance Hall without me even realising it. It is severely less crowded, as the rest of the school has disappeared off to their classes. “Can you all get into a single file line, please, so we can begin the Transfiguration NEWT?”
There is a great shuffling of feet as everyone silently gets into line. My legs feel like they have turned into lead.
I’m not ready for this! I’m too stupid to take exams! Maybe I should just re-sit seventh year…
“Follow me, please seventh years,” says McGonagall briskly.
“Good luck,” James, who is standing in line behind me, whispers in my ear, and then we all follow McGonagall back into the Great Hall, which as been completely rearranged within about two minutes.
The four house tables are gone. In their place sits about a hundred small desks, all facing a large clock at the front of the hall.
As I take my seat at one of the many desks and pull out my quill and parchment, I glance around surreptitiously. On one side of me, Aine is fiddling anxiously with her quill, on my other, James is lounging casually on his seat, as though he hasn’t a care in the world. Catching my eye, he winks at me and I roll my eyes, looking away.
Behind me, Fred is mouthing words I can’t make out to Mickey. On the other side of the hall, Clementine is braiding her hair and Lavender is staring openly at a dark haired Ravenclaw boy I can’t remember the name of.
I’m not good with names.
When everyone is seated and quiet McGonagall, who is now standing at the front of the hall, behind a table on which there is spare parchment, quills and ink bottles. “You may begin,” McGonagall says loudly. There is the instant fluttering of parchment as everyone turns their test papers over.
I glance quickly to my side and see Aine’s eyes already flickering of the test paper frantically. She looks a bit like an escaped mental patient what with her crazed look and slightly untamed hair.
Pfft. Not like I can talk. My hair is unmanageable.
Merlin, this is not the time to be thinking about hair! I’m in the middle of an exam for heaven’s sake. Heart hammering, I turn my paper over and read the first question: Describe the theory behind cross-species transfiguration:
I try to take a deep, calming breath. I remember learning about this a while ago…I can do this…
I pick up my quill and begin to write.
“You know, I don’t think that went too badly,” says Aine, shovelling a large amount of steak and kidney pie into her mouth. Fred looks on at her in disgust, which I personally think is a bit rich, coming from him - the King of all things Food. Honestly, I swear if that boy didn’t play Quidditch and have an unfairly fast metabolism, he would be roughly the size of a young killer whale. “Especially considering I er…forgot to attend class that day Smith went over cross-species Transfiguration.”
James snorts loudly, accidentally spraying me with pie filling.
Lovely, James. Thanks for that. I’m not going to have enough time for a shower before the practical part of the Transfiguration exam, so I’ll have to walk around for the rest of the day with pie-hair.
I could start a new trend. Post fliers all over the walls advertising ‘Charlie Parkers Fashion Tips: one galleon per tip.’
Ha. Like anyone would pay to get fashion advice from me…
“Something funny, James?” Aine asks, folding her arms stubbornly over her chest.
“You did not forget to go to that class,” James says, sniggering. “We all know you and Mickey were in the Charms corridor, making sweet, sweet…”
“Oh, shut up,” sighs Aine in exasperation, cutting another slice of pie and putting it on her plate.
“What?” James shrugs. “I was going to say sandwiches.”
Overall, I don’t think my Transfiguration exam went too badly. There’s no time to relax however, because we have our practical exam straight after lunch - one on one with some terrifying looking examiners.
Anyway, as most of you probably know by now, I’m not so good around strangers. I mean, I find most of the spells we do in Transfiguration pretty easy - I’m just worried my stomach will all seize up went I’m trying to do a spell and I won’t be able to focus properly-what with a doddery old man breathing down my neck and all.
After lunch, we troop off to a chamber off the Great Hall for our practical exam. McGonagall calls out our names in alphabetical order.
“Good luck!” Mickey whispers, kissing Aine on the cheek as she heads into the examination room with three other students.
As we wait, my palms start to get sweaty and I realise that I’m sweating. I never realised how frightening exams could be! Then again, most other students my age have already done OWLS before. In fifth year, my exam consisted of mum giving me a stupid little pop quiz out of the back of The Standard Book of Spells, Grade Five. I passed with 110% and we went out for ice cream to celebrate.
I got mint flavoured, swirled with chocolate sauce in a honeycomb waffle cone.
Now, is not the time to be thinking about ice cream…
“Parker, Charlie - Patil-McLaggen, Clementine - Patil-McLaggen, Lavender - Potter, James.”
Crap. It’s me…
Fred attempts to give me a high five, but I just give him a death look as I wobble off into the examination room, feeling as though someone has used a well placed jelly-legs curse on me. I wouldn’t put it past Fred, actually…
“Oh come on, Charlie!” I hear Fred bellow. “Don’t leave me hanging!”
“Weasley!” McGonagall barks sharply.
“Sorry Headmistress,” I hear Fred mumble, putting a slight smile on my face. I feel braver.
“Professor Mumble is free, Parker,” snaps Professor Smith, pointing me towards a very short, very old wizard who looks like he’s about to go into cardiac arrest. I’m not sure he’s fit to be out and about, taking examinations, actually.
“Miss Parker? Charlie Parker?” Professor Mumble asks in a hoarse croaky voice, consulting a long roll of parchment. Merlin, he sounds like a frog.
The thought amuses me, for some unknown reason, and I find myself smiling.
“Alright, Miss Parker,” Professor Mumble continues.
His name is quite appropriate actually. It’s really hard to hear what he’s saying.
“Would you kindly turn my hair orange, please.”
I stare at him numbly, before blinking, realising hew just asked me to do something. I look up at his wispy white hair - there’s hardly any of it there! How am I supposed to transfigure something that’s non-existent? I’m about to ask him whether he realises that he doesn’t have much hair left but decide this probably wouldn’t be the wisest idea. I don’t particularly want to offend the wizard who could potentially hold the rest of my life in his hands.
Overall, the rest of my NEWTS go surprisingly smoothly.
On Tuesday we have Charms, and though Fred accidentally sends his examiner flying out of the room and several fireworks start to go off from within James’ pocket during the theoretical exam the day runs smoothly.
We have our potions exam on Wednesday, which isn’t actually too bad, as all we have to do is finish the final steps of our Armortentia potions, bottle them and hand them into Slughorn for marking. Though my potion doesn’t quite have the mother-of-pearl sheen that the book suggests at least it is transparent, unlike poor Mickey’s whose potion turns a rather violent shade of blue. I suspect he may have added one two many Ashwinder eggs.
My Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures exams are both fine, but my Divination exam the following Wednesday is a complete disaster.
“What do you see in the crystal ball, my dear?” Professor Mumble croaks eagerly as I stare blankly into the large ball sitting on top of the desk.
Is it just me, or is it really creepy when complete strangers call you ‘my dear’? The expression is paedophile-ish. Reminds me of those terrible Muggle horror movies.
“…into the ball,” Professor Mumble is saying, and I blink up at him stupidly.
“Er…?” I say uncertainly.
I blame James for my incompetence. He’s always distracting me in Divination. It’s like having an extremely talkative shadow.
An extremely talkative, very good-looking, very snoggable shadow.
At last, at long last the NEWT’s are over!
I feel like a could do a little dance, climb on top of the Gryffindor table and sing Hallelujah at the top of my lungs.
I don’t of course.
To celebrate, the gang (that’s me, James, Aine, Fred and Mickey for those who don’t remember) go and lounge around outside in our favourite spot near the lake. The weather is quickly warming up again, and I find myself thinking wistfully about the summer holidays.
Of course, the holidays will mean the end of school - forever. The end of Hogwarts. Will I still keep in touch with my friends? With James?
I shake these unsanitary thoughts from my head. I don’t want to think about them. Not now. Not yet.
“You know what this means, right?” sighs Fred happily, leaning back onto the slightly damp grass, smiling up at the sun.
“What?” Aine asks sleepily. She’s lying with her head on Mickey’s lap, who is stroking her back.
I have to admit, even though they are flamboyant and horribly disgusting at times, Mickey and Aine really do make a very cute couple. And they’ve never, not once, had a fight.
“No more work!” Fred sighs. “Not ever. In all the rest of our classes…we can just kick back and do nothing!”
Aine snorts. “Fred, I’m pretty sure that’s what you do all year, anyway.”
Fred grins. “True,” he says, and we all laugh.
James and I are leaning against the thick trunk of the tree we like to sit under. As usual, his arm is around my, drawing small shapes on my back, and giving me the shivers.
We spend the rest of the day, just sitting out there together, talking about things that matter, and things that don’t.
At one point Rose Weasley and a couple of other sixth years come walking past. Albus is with them, but as they pass us, we all instantly begin talking to James so that he doesn’t notice, and Fred starts cartwheeling across the lawn in the other direction, completely diverting James’ attention from his younger brother.
Drama is avoided. Thank god.
I am completely sick of it - drama, that is. I just want this year to end normally. I want to spend the rest of it with my friends, laughing and worrying about nothing more than whether we’ve past our exams.
You’d have thought I’d have learnt by now not to get my hopes up.
After dinner, Aine mutters vaguely about “having somewhere I need to be” which I interpret to mean “I’m going to go and make out with Mickey in a deserted corridor now” so I wander up to our dormitory on my own.
Usually, I’d take the chance to spend more time with James, but as he and Fred are planning to play yet another prank on Scorpius Malfoy, I don’t really fancy getting in their way.
So that’s why, at eight o’clock on a Friday night I find myself alone in the dormitory with none other than…
Can you guess?
Yup, you got it.
I haven’t seen her around much, actually, but she doesn’t say anything as I walk into the room so I just ignore her, and flop down onto my bed.
This is going to sound incredibly stupid, but I have grown to adore my Hogwarts bed. It is honestly the best place to, well…flop! I’m going to miss it at the end of this year.
“I’m sorry,” says Rebecca suddenly.
I look up, glancing around the room. Sure enough, there’s nobody in it but Rebecca and I. Maybe she’s hallucinating…or sleep talking. Or maybe she’s a necromancer, and can see invisible dead people…
That seems quite likely, actually. Could explain why she’s so evil…
But then I look straight and Rebecca and realise she’s staring straight back at me, with an odd expression in her eyes.
Hold up…Was she saying sorry…to me? That can not be right!
“Er…?” I say awkwardly.
Well, what would you do if the girl who apparently hates your guts just apologises out of the blue and then stares at you with her slightly creepy eyes as though waiting for a fully rehearsed response? What is she expecting? That I’ll just suddenly forgive her and we’ll cry and hug each other and eat a lot of ice cream while singing ‘It’s Raining Men’ under the Tuscan sun?
Because sorry, but that is not going to happen.
Rebecca finally has the decency to look away. “I’m really sorry for how I’ve treated you this year, Charlie,” she says quietly. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard her say my name. Usually she just calls me ‘new girl’ or, even better ‘bitch’.
“Er…” I say again. Two gold stars for Charlie!
“I know you probably hate me,” Rebecca continues. I look up again, and am startled to see that her eyes have filled with tears. That girl has serious emotional issues. One moment she’s seemingly normal, the next she’s the psychotic roommate from hell and the next…the next she’s crying and apologetic!
How the heck am I supposed to react to that?
“Why the sudden change in hard, Rebecca?” I hear myself say. My voice sounds cold and harsh - it doesn’t sound like my voice at all.
I’m not a horrible person am I? I mean…I like puppies!
Anyone who likes puppies is a good person…I doubt Voldemort liked puppies, and look how he turned out! Okay, for all I know he could have had a golden Labrador, but the possibility seems unlikely.
“Do you want to know the last thing I said to Tori?” Rebecca says abruptly. “The last thing I said to her before…before she went missing?”
The honest answer is no. I’m sick to death of Tori Heron, to be honest, and I’m not really enjoying this…enthralling conversation with the girl who tried to strangle me on my first day here. However, I don’t say anything. Just continue staring at my scarlet bedspread awkwardly, wondering if its possible to escape out the window.
Of course, if I escaped out the window, I’d probably fall to my very tragic death, as I have the agility of a hippopotamus (remember the falling out of bed incident?)
Unfortunately, Rebecca seems to take my silence as a ‘yes’. I hate it when people do that. My mother does it all the time…
“I was angry with her,” Rebecca says, and her voice is now a whisper. “Beyond angry. I…I ran off and she came after me. I think she might have been crying…I should’ve been more sympathetic. But all I could think about was me. She…she tried to tell me something. Something important, but I didn’t want to listen. Couldn’t listen. I started yelling at her - screaming my head off. I told her that she was a bitchy little slut. That she could go to hell…the next day I woke up in the dormitory and she was gone. Nobody knew where, nobody had seen her go. But…but she didn’t come back. Those words, they just keep replaying in my head. They’re always with me - I can’t ever take them back. And I just keep thinking…what if I never see her again?”
My heart is thudding awfully hard in my chest. I risk a glance at Rebecca. Tears are streaming down her face, and she’s clutching at her blankets as though they’re the only thing keeping her going. And suddenly…out of nowhere…I realise I feel sorry for Rebecca.
“She hasn’t been seen since Hogsmeade,” Rebecca continues speaking. It’s the most I’ve ever heard her speak in one go. “And it got me thinking…about all the horrible things I’ve said to you and I thought…I thought…” she breaks off suddenly, and begins rocking backwards and forwards, tears still pouring silently out of her eyes.
I realise this is probably the time to say something comforting. To tell her I forgive her, that I understand what she has been going through this past year.
I open my mouth but nothing comes out.
I can’t think of a single comforting word for Rebecca Kale. Can’t seem to think of a reason why I should forgive her. She hasn’t said a single nice thing to me this whole year! She’s tried to kill me at least twice for god’s sake!
“I’m…I’m just so sorry,” Rebecca finishes, somewhat lamely. “I don’t blame you if you…if you can’t forgive me. I don’t deserve your forgiveness.”
Something about these words does it for me, makes me realise that I can find it within myself to forgive her - to be the bigger person. After all, I pride myself on being a very kind, respectable young lady.
Don’t say a word.
“I understand,” I say, my voice slightly hoarse from not talking in so long. It’s not quite an apology, but it’s the best I can do for the time being. “You were missing your best friend,” I continue, for some reason feeling the need to explain myself.
Merlin, this is quickly turning into one of those soap operas my mum likes to watch. Trust me, dear old Becky and I aren’t about to start doing the can-can together any time soon.
“You’re not entirely to blame,” I add, though I privately think she completely is. However, this would probably be unwise to say. “I should have been more…sympathetic.” I was perfectly sympathetic! “I should have tried to understand what you were going through.”
God, what a load of word-vomit.
I personally think I sounded rather convincing, though.
Rebecca gives a watery smile. “You know, you’re almost completely the opposite of Tori,” she says suddenly, and I frown, wondering whether she means this as an insult or a compliment.
Usually I’d go with Option A, but as she seems to be attempting to make amends, I’m going to go with a compliment. Which is weird, coz to me it seems like Rebecca was Tori’s obedient little minion.
I frown suddenly. “That reminds me of something,” I say, climbing off my bed and getting onto my hands and knees.
“What are you doing?”
I retrieve the pile of Tori photos that I shoved under my bed at the start of the year and hand them to Rebecca. “Here,” I say generously. “You should have these.”
Her brow crinkled slightly in confusion, Rebecca takes the pictures. I watch her looking through them, feeling slightly confused with myself.
Why am I trying to be nice to Rebecca Kale? It’s not like I owe her anything.
Looking away from Rebecca, I glance back to my side of the room and realise there is a small scrap of parchment that has come tumbling out from under the bed when I extracted the Tori photos. Wondering what it could be, I wander over and carefully pick it up. Then I sit down on my bed and begin to unfold it - which is actually quite difficult as the parchment is torn and crinkled as though it has been under the bed for quite some time. Rebecca doesn’t seem to notice what I’m doing - she’s too busy pouring through the photos I’ve just given her.
Finally I manage to unfold the note. There are just five words written on it, in very shaky writing. And though the ink is slightly smudged, I can see clearly what all five of those words say: I wish I were dead.
My hands suddenly start to tremble violently, and there is a horrible buzzing sound in my ears.
“R-Rebecca…” I say slowly, hoping she can’t hear the quaver in my voice.
A horrible chill has suddenly come over me and I can’t stop shivering. I have a horrible, horrible feeling about this.
I sense, rather than see her look up. “Yeah?”
“Tori, she…she used to sleep on this bed, right?”
“Yes.” Rebecca’s voice is tense.
I bite my lip, an awful habit I have when I’m nervous. “A-And where were you and Tori when you…when you had your fight? The fight just before Tori went missing?”
I look up and see that Rebecca has pursed her lips. “We were in here,” she says, and her words send another shiver down my spine. “This is the last place I saw Tori before she went missing.”
I take a deep breath, trying to calm myself. “Rebecca,” I say quietly, trying to inject as much sympathy into my voice as possible. “Rebecca…I think you’d better take a look at this.”
My whole body has turned to lead has Rebecca comes over to my bed, takes the piece of parchment from my hand and reads it curiously. Within a second, the curiosity has disappeared from her face to be replaced by…horror.
“Oh my god,” she whispers. “Is this…is this…”
A suicide note.
She stares at me with wide eyes. “It’s in Tori’s handwriting. I’d recognise it anywhere.”
This can not be happening. But…but I have to keep my head.
For Rebecca’s sake.
“We don’t know for sure, until...” I trail off because Rebecca looks like she’s on the verge of tears again. “McGonagall,” I say quietly, my voice shaking slightly.
“We need to take this to McGonagall. As…as proof. We have to figure out what happened to Tori.”
A/N: And we're back to Charlie again! What did you think about this chapter? About Rebecca? Did Charlie act fairly?
There is only one more chapter to go now, so every review that I get means the world to me!
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