Chapter 1 : Of Rationalising, Regretting and er, Violence
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I went into the kitchen and tried to make breakfast, but my hands were shaking too much to trust myself with making a decent bacon sandwich. I simply sat down at the table and tried to think rationally.
He was gone.
For the foreseeable future.
And the rest of the world would keep on turning.
He wasn't dead, mind. Nope, just ditched. Six months of being engaged and all.
He'd asked for the ring back, and it made me wonder how much of the ring had really been mine. And then I started to wonder about the significance of them. Rings, I mean. Was it a gesture of dedication and love? Or a territorial thing? "Look at this shiny rock on this girl's hand; she is mine, back off."
Why didn't men have to wear engagement rings?
Should I have seen it coming?
Was I just being stupid?
See, you could say that, but I don't think I had been. Yes, I'd been wrong to assume that he would always stay, but all the evidence pointed that way. So I couldn't have been stupid.
I sighed. I'd always done this, even as a kid. Flicking through all the reasons and explanations, trying to excuse myself from the ones that put me in a negative light. I wondered how many people would feel sorry for me. How many people would say that they knew along, when really, they hadn't known a damn thing.
He'd not given me much explanation.
"I'm sorry, Cassia, I just can't stay here anymore. I've got to leave. We're different people now."
Personally, I don't think I'd developed much (mentally or physically) over the last three years. It wasn't something I was amazingly proud of, but there you go. I was twenty, three years fresh out of Hogwarts. James had been my boyfriend since the day of graduation, when he'd slung an arm around my shoulder and said "Hey, Walker - fancy a snog?"
Like I say, I'm not amazingly proud. But what can you do?
As I sat there, I wanted to cry. I also want to shout and scream. I want to go up to James (wherever he was) and punch him in his stupid face. I wanted to grab the china bowl in the middle of the table and smash it over his head. Or mine.
But I knew that the most sensible and also the most normal thing to do was just go and have a shower. If I sat here moping any longer I'd be late for work.
Bloody water was off. Typical. Stingy arsehole upstairs, "You can bear the cold once in your life!"
Yeah, I can, Mr. Frank, but not today. Not when it's October, not when my fiance has just up and left, and NOT WHEN IT'S HALF 7 IN THE FREAKIN MORNING. Ugh. I would’ve warmed it up, but guess who was always terrible at heating spells in school?
(Hint: it’s me.)
This was such a shit day????
I stomped out of the freezing cold water (which isn't really that warm on a good day) and shrugged the raggedy towel around me. Why was it, now that James was gone, everything just seemed so ... so ... pants? Like, I walked into my room and looked around - the dressing table was covered in foundation and mascara stains, there was dirty underwear on the radiator, the duvet looked cheap and thin ... the window was all rattley and the pane had gone from its nice new white to a filthy grey.
I pulled on a pair of black chinos and struggled to find a clean white top and my black blazer. I shoved on a pair of black canvas shoes and scrabbled around with my fingers to make a crap fish plait. Sod it; my heart had been broken. I was allowed to break the rules.
I worked in a large muggle office somewhere in the centre of London. It was my sixth month there after I’d been kicked out of the bakery. Understandable – most of their workers didn’t hide out in the storeroom shoving éclairs down their throats. But nonetheless, I was a little disappointed. This new job had terrible pay, and all I really did was shove paper in the shredder and make coffee.
I mean, I’m pretty sure I was meant to do more, but I didn’t, and that’s what was important.
Pervy Aaron was working today, ugh. He was leaning against Bitchy Sandra’s desk, acting like he wasn’t staring down her top. Bitchy Sandra didn’t seem to be complaining, so whatever. I just didn’t want to walk in on any dirty stuff later on.
I walked past them both, trying to avoid their gaze. I get the feeling Bitchy Sandra knows I’m a witch, or at least, a little bit weird. So I try not to talk to her.
The lift was out of order, which meant taking seven flights of stairs up to my shitty little cubicle.
Fun, fun, fun.
“Bloody day,” I muttered as I stomped up the stairs, “Bloody James, bloody ring, bloody water ... bloody office, bloody bakery, bloody Aaron, bloody Sandra ... bloody stairs.”
And there was no one there to hear me complain either. The thing about Wednesdays, is that they are just unbelievably, unmatchabl-y crap.
And if I was honest, apart from the whole fiancé-leaving-me-for-no-apparent-reason debacle, I’d had worse Wednesdays.
I plonked myself down in my cubicle and picked up some stuff from my intray.
Boring, boring, stupid, important-but-who-cares, boring, boring, maybe-vital-to-the-success-of-the-company-but-nevs, boring, stupid, stupid and boring – what was this?
A letter. A letter from James. A letter detailing every single little thing he loved about me. A letter where I could see the smudges of ink from where his mind had moved too fast for his thoughts. A letter which was literally just him pouring his heart and soul onto paper.
It’d only been written four months ago; I’d kept it here to remind me that no matter how shit my job was, he was still around, he still loved me. What changed?
Another woman, I guess. Maybe he realised how adored he was – he knew he was attractive, he knew how much girls liked him, but he was never aware of how much the public loved him and his cheeky ways.
Oh god. It hit me.
The media were going to love this.
I was fucking right; as soon as I stepped out of the office for lunch, I was blinded by the flash of a camera.
Ugh, seriously? In muggle London?! People were going to think I was actually relevant in their world, and to be quite frank, I wasn't even that relevant in the Wizarding World. All I was known for was being James Potter's girlfriend-and-later fiance. I had literally nothing to contribute to the well-being of the society; I wasn't even ever on any of the best-dressed lists! I. Was. Not. Relevant.
At least, not anymore.
The bastard who took a photo of me wasn't alone – there was at least twelve other strangely dressed human being huddled up trying to catch a picture and furiously scribbling. One of them got up close-and-personal with me and whispered in my ear “How’s single life treating you?’” whilst another decided the upfront approach is the best one and yelled right in my face “WAS THERE ANOTHER WOMAN!?”
This was bloody humiliating. All I wanted was a sandwich, and they were yelling stuff and asking me really personal questions. Some bright spark thought that there is a connection between my colour choice of outfit and the breakup. Like, noyoudumbshitthisismyuniform.
The last straw was when the first photographer asked me if I cheated on James.
Me?! Cheat on James Potter???? Only an idiot would do that.
“UGH!” I screamed, turning around to face them, “IT HAS BEEN LESS THAN SIX FRICKIN HOURS SO WOULD YOU PLEASE. GO. AWAY. I DON’T KNOW WHY HE HAS LEFT ME, ALL I KNOW IS THAT HE HAS SO JUST LEAVE.”
I was never very good with the paps. James was perfect, he’d just flash a lazy grin and wink with ‘no comment’. I would always hide behind him because if I didn’t, the previous event is what would happen.
They stared at me, dumbfounded. As I turned to walk off, I could hear a murmur from the crowd of photographers/journalists/weird-stalkers.
“Bloody hell. If I had that for a girlfriend, I’d leave as quick as I could.”
And if you have ever been referred to as ‘that’, I think you can easily understand why I did what I did next.
I punched him in the face.
NB: I wrote a thing. Reviews are beautiful things. Mazz X
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