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Chapter 4 : Lies and Past Lives
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A curtain of her blonde tangled mess covered Coralie’s eyes when she finally awoke on Sunday morning. When her eyes finally adjusted to the light she was relieved to notice that that drapes around her bed had been closed and that the dormitory was empty. The letter was hidden between the pages of the book on her bedside table- visible to her but not anyone else. Chances were that the girls hadn’t noticed that anything was wrong with her last night, except for possibly Lily- though Coralie hoped not.
She ran her fingers through her hair, pushing it away from her face as she untangled her legs from her sheets. Last night’s nightmares were even worse than the previous ones- it all due to the letter, of course. She made it halfway across the dormitory towards the bathroom when a thought popped into her head.
She flipped it over once more to see if she had missed anything that would clue her in as to the sender of the letter but there was nothing else. The letter fell gracefully to the floor. The tears were escaping from her eyes at such a fast speed that everything around her had become blurry. Her mind was otherwise preoccupied with the facts of the letter.
She stopped, frozen in place. Slowly, she turned around- staring at the book which hid her letter away from the rest of the dormitory. In seconds she had moved back, pulling the letter out of the book with a fast speed and unfolding it to read it again.
It seems that you and your family have not learnt your manners properly. You see, it’s very rude to run away from someone who requires something for you. Nevermind that though. It is sweet how you tried to get people to protect you- they are annoyingly loyal to you. But that doesn’t matter either, I will find you. I will always find you and then I will ruin you.
The letter hit the ground again, this time though it was scrunched up. Even though she couldn’t see them, the words on the page teased her- replaying constantly in her mind like a broken record. With a growl escaping from her lips, Coralie gave the paper a swift kick causing it to disappear under her bed.
She sat back on her bed, her eyes closing for a moment before she reopened them- tears had begun to form again. She brushed them away this time. With a sigh she moved down to the floor, lying on her stomach as she reached out her head for the scrunched up letter. She pulled it out and placed it on her bed- she went to pick herself off the floor when she noticed a brown box pushed against the wall. Furrowing her eyebrows, she dragged it towards her and moved back up to her bed.
Removing the lid, she glanced inside the box to see it filled with photographs. The first one was of a twenty-something year old man bending down to the level of a small blonde girl who must have been only three or four at the time. Coralie stared at it a moment later before flipping it over- on the back someone had labelled it as ‘David and Shelena, May 1964’. Coralie looked more carefully at the picture of the little girl- Shelena, before moving onto the next picture. This one was taken outside- the grinning girl who was clearly Shelena stood in the middle between Lily and another girl, on the other side of Lily was a boy with greasy black hair and an uncomfortable look on his face. The back read ‘Severus, Lily, Shelena and Petunia, August 1969’. Severus must have been the friend that Lily had spoken about and Petunia, with her dirty blonde hair, could have easily been the sister of Shelena. Coralie didn’t dwell on this for much longer, instead she picked up the next picture which simply read ‘Best Friends’ on the back and was clearly a picture of Shelena and Lily. Unlike the others, this picture had been taken with a wizard camera. What Coralie could imagine to once have been a happy photo especially if the caption was anything to go by but now the two girls ignored one another- only glancing at each other for a moment before looking away again. The final photo made Coralie feel even more uncomfortable. It showed Shelena and Sirius, but the blonde girl was partially out of the frame while Sirius looked at her- the hurt in his eyes was evident.
Coralie placed the photo back in the box. She made to put the lid back on but her head stopped just before she did- she glanced over to the scrunched up piece of paper before picking it up and flattening it out on the lid. She did not subject herself to the panic she’d feel if she read the letter again, instead she folded it into fours and placed in the box, on top of the photo’s, before closing the lid and shoving the box back under the bed where she had found it.
She sat back down on the edge of the bed- her mind flipping through the possibilities of how that letter had ended up sandwiched between the pages of her book like a makeshift bookmark. She knew she hadn’t been the one to move it, she only hoped that it had been Lily- and that Lily could keep a secret.
She stood up and moved to the door, with a final glance at her bed, she pushed all thoughts of the contents of the box to the back of her mind- she could deal with that all later. Right now, she needed to find her friends and discover who had read her letter.
“I still think something’s wrong with her,” Kiki bluntly stated- earning her a vicious look from Lily.
“She’s just tired guys, give her some time. It’s only her first week here,” Lily said softly, glancing between all of her friends who mostly shrugged their shoulders in silent agreement.
“How do you know all this Lil?” Kiki retorted when Lily’s eyes fall on her again. With a questioning look at Lily she tilted her head back and closed her eyes, taking in the sunshine while it lasted.
“You don’t think she hates you, do you Ki?” Lily asked, when the other girl didn’t respond, Lily scoffed in disbelief, “She likes you, she likes all of you but she’s a little bit shy and worried about fitting in- you have to remember that we’ve all been friends for years and she’s brand new.”
“I like her,” Miranda said after a few minutes silence- the other girls agreed, “She’s nicer than Shel ever was.” Lily diverted her eyes at this point- Miranda noticed this but didn’t add anything else to the conversation. The day was far too nice to be ruined by Shelena- not this time.
The girls all fell into a comfortable silence- an extreme rarity of them all for Kiki always had something to say even when nothing needed to be said. The other students around them, who were also enjoying the sunshine, chatted amongst themselves and few Hufflepuff boys played a game of Gobstones a few metres away.
“I think Black sees her as his next conquest,” Lily added with a sigh. Kiki looked over at Lily and raised an eyebrow. “She’s not interested but-“ She trailed off- looking into the distance with a pensive look on her face.
“You don’t want her to become like Shel,” Mary added, her eyes filled with worry and understanding for her friend.
“I don’t think she could,” Marlene responded truthfully- she paused for a moment as she thought things over in her head, “I don’t think she has it in her to become like that. She seems so quiet.” Lily swallowed the lump that had appeared in her throat. She wanted to tell her friends about the troubles Coralie was having- not as a form of gossip, that wasn’t Lily’s style, but because she was more worried about the new girl than she let on. She respected that Coralie didn’t want to tell the other girls yet- in fact Lily knew that if she hadn’t have found Coralie in the bathroom close to hyperventilating that first night, she wouldn’t even know but she knew all the girls around her.
Alice was perhaps one of the kindest people in the universe- even to people that she didn’t particularly care for. Miranda would do anything for her friends, no matter if it caused her any inconvenience whatsoever. Marlene was strong- she’d fight for anyone if they needed it and she’d been like a rock for Lily- they all had. Mary was optimistic about everything, it didn’t matter how bad things seemed- she would always point out the bright side. Kiki was a mixture of everything- sometimes it felt like she was making things worse with her jokes and outspoken personality but in the end, she could always make you smile. Lily liked to think that she was a good listener and that she was willing help her friends, or others, when they needed it even if they couldn’t admit it.
In one of her rare mushy moments, it had been Shelena that had pointed all of these things out to Lily. She caused trouble, she a mess of things and she wasn’t brilliant at making people feel good about themselves but she was super observant when it came to people even though she often didn’t have the tact required to keep said observations to herself.
“I don’t know if I miss her or not,” Mary sighed, rolling onto her side to avoid the glare of the sun.
“I certainly don’t,” Kiki replied with a snort- it was widely known that Kiki and Shelena had never really gotten along despite the amount of time the two of them spent in each other’s company.
“Guys, stop it.” Alice cut in, sending Kiki a pointed look before motioning wither head towards Lily who was looking out with a blank stare again. “Shelena isn’t here, therefore for once in our lives we don’t have to worry about her so why don’t we just enjoy this nice day?”
“I still stand by my opinion,” Kiki muttered as the girls launched themselves into a conversation about the first Hogsmeade weekend that was coming up.
Her right foot had only just landed on the first step as the staircase went swinging around again, successfully taking Coralie away from the place where she had been originally intending to go. She wasn’t completely used to the staircases yet, and while she was acutely aware that they constantly changed, she wasn’t the best at guessing when they would change or where they would take her. So most of the time, Coralie just went along with whatever.
That particular time, Coralie found herself ending up closer to the Greenhouses than where she’d been planning. She managed to dodge a few Slytherins that must have been in the year below or Angus’ year who looked to be making plans against someone- Coralie wasn’t really interested in getting involved in that. Moving backwards and down to the next Greenhouse, Coralie noticed another group who were all huddled around one another- assuming they were Slytherins again, she turned to walk away when she noticed a familiar flash on blonde hair.
“Angus?” She asked- the flash of blonde hair that belonged to her younger brother turned around instantly with a grin.
“Cors!” He exclaimed, throwing an arm around her shoulder- despite being a few inches shorter than her, and pulling her towards his friends. “Guys, this is my lovely older sister, Coralie. Coralie this is Mattie and Ryan Davies- they’re twins as you can see,” He said, pointing to two tall brunette boys who were clearly twins, “This is Ness Perry. You’re friend Miranda’s cousin.” The small girl sent Coralie a cute smile.
“Nice to meet you finally Coralie!” Ness said, her eyes playfully darted around- her attention flicking between Coralie and the two boys behind her who seemed to be playing with some kind of object.
“Nice to meet you too. I love your hair,” Ness grinned, turning her head slightly to the side so that Coralie who see the bright red streak within the rest of the girls dark brown hair.
“What are you doing around here anyway?” Angus asked, nudging Coralie in the side. “Looking for a boy by any chance, are you?” Coralie raised her eyebrows at her little brother, trying to catch a glimpse at what the other two boys were doing, though Angus was doing quite a nice job and hiding it.
“I could ask you the same thing,” She retorted, sending a pointed look at her little brother- his smile faltered for a split second before he quickly hid it again. She couldn’t believe how much her brother had changed back into the usual troublemaking little boy that he was back in France.
“I don’t really spend my time looking for boys, but you know-“ The twins snorted from behind Angus, even Coralie couldn’t help but crack a smile.
“Have you been taking lessons from Jacob on how to be witty?” She asked, “Besides, I was asking what you’re two friends are doing back there. You seem pretty desperate to hide it from me.”
“You know how it is Cors. You can’t let word get around on who you’re planning to get, just in case they hear you” Despite Angus’ joking tone, Coralie couldn’t help the sharp pain that she felt in her chest. The sentence replayed again and again inside her head- she couldn’t help but think about him, it was something like he would say. “Hey, are you okay?” Angus whispered, picking up on his sister’s silence. He sent a nervous smile to his friends before pulling Coralie a few metres away. “What’s wrong?”
Coralie looked right in his eyes. She had two choices- she could tell him about the letter, how he had found them again and how they were all in danger again or... “I’m fine. Just tired, you know. It’s been a big week,” or she could lie to his face and stay at Hogwarts.
“Okay,” He frowned, his eyebrows furrowed together but when Coralie didn’t make a move to correct herself, like she would have only weeks ago, he sighed- the smile reappearing on his face again. “I have to go help the guys, but will you hang out with me in the Common Room tonight?”
“Of course,” Coralie responded, as Angus sent her another grin and a small wave before disappearing around the corner of the greenhouse after his friends. Coralie could only shake her head at him. Sometimes she couldn’t believe how similar her two brothers were in some aspects, especially considering how different she was to her sisters, but also how different they could be. They were both troublemakers- they always had been, but Angus was more mature than Jacob despite the eight year age gap between them.
With a small sigh, Coralie watched the corner which Angus had just disappeared around before she turned on her heel and headed towards the Black Lake- she could distinctly remember Marlene labelling it as her absolute favourite place in Hogwarts. Sure enough, when she got closer she could see her friends all sitting around in the sun, all looking happier than she’d seen them in the little time she had known them. She faked a convincing smile and made her way towards them.
“Hello,” She grinned, placing herself on the grassy spot next to Lily.
“Bonjour!” Mary chuckled. Though she seemed to be a usually bright person, Coralie couldn’t help but notice how her eyes seemed to twinkle and how her smile seemed to be bigger than usual.
“Have a nice sleep-in?” Miranda teased, shuffling herself a bit until she was next to Coralie. “You almost missed all of our wonderful British sun.”
“And what a tragedy that would have been,” Coralie struggled to keep the laughter out of her voice. She couldn’t help herself from thinking about Violet- she could only imagine how much her older sister would hate this ‘British sun’.
“You went to bed early last night too- you were fast asleep before any of us came up.” Kiki stated, though she seemed casual about the whole matter there was something in her voice that told Coralie that she actually wanted an answer, which wasn’t exactly something Coralie felt comfortable in giving. Unless, well unless Kiki had been the one to read the letter- but that seemed ridiculous as Kiki didn’t seem to be the kind of girl who managed to keep something like that a secret. But then again, maybe Coralie was wrong- she had been before.
“Oh, leave the poor girl alone Ki,” Marlene interjected before Coralie had a chance to respond. “It’s her first week ever at Hogwarts, she’s just exhausted. Besides, she’s here now and that is all that matters.” At this, she turned her attention to Coralie, “So, favourite class so far?”
“Uh, Ancient Runes and Transfiguration,”
“Favourite thing about Hogwarts?” Alice added, rolling onto her stomach to look at the other girls.
“I really like the library. It’s so big and beautiful.” Beside her, Lily grinned and nodded in agreement while Kiki simply rolled her eyes.
“You seen any cute boys yet?” Kiki asked with a wink.
“Does everything always go back to boys with you?” Lily asked with a pointed look at her friend who just chuckled in response.
“Of course it does Lily, this is Kiki we’re talking about.” Alice replied dryly, though Kiki tried to act outraged by this comment- she ended up laughing again until the rest of the girls couldn’t help by join in too.
With the crackling fire just beside them, the two Bennett siblings managed to secure themselves a pair of armchairs for the night. The other girls were off doing their own things- she had told them that she wanted to spend some time with her little brother. Angus’ friends were worn out from whatever mischief they had been causing all day and so they were able to talk alone for the first time since they’d arrived.
“How are your classes doing?” Coralie asked, tucking her legs under her. Angus shrugged in response and raised his eyebrows at her. “I like them. They are a little different than St Jeanne’s, but they aren’t bad.”
“It almost frightens me how friendly and calm some of the teacher are- the Astronomy teacher, for example, she acts like each of her students are her friends and family or something. Can you imagine Madame Sylvestre acting like that?” Both siblings were silent for a moment as they remembered their previous Charms teacher who was perhaps of the strictest teachers at St Jeanne’s- they were all very strict, but none more than Madame Sylvestre. “I think she would have a heart attack if she taught here.”
“What about Professor McGonagall- she could almost give Madame a run for her money.” Coralie replied, trying to compare the two classes in her head. “Mon Dieu, what about Professor Dumbledore and Directrice Duquette?” A snort of laughter escaped Angus’ mouth.
“Directrice Duquette without her bone suit and skirt combo and that constant look of awkwardness on her face, here? With a beard, saying all this mysterious stuff? I actually want to see that now,” Angus snorted again, before the two of them fell into a silence. “Cora, are you actually alright? I don’t mean what you tell your new friends or what you’re going to tell mum- is everything really okay?”
Coralie stared blankly at Angus for a moment. There were times when it was almost like her brother could read her mind. What it possible that he knew about her letter? He was so much more perceptive of everything than the rest of the family ever was. If there was ever anything going on with someone, Angus would always be the first to realise.
“Cora?” He whispered, disrupting her inner thoughts. She focused back on Angus’ face which was now staring worriedly back at her. A thought crossed through Coralie’s mind- either she told the truth or she didn’t. It was more complicated than that though. Either she told Angus about the letter now and then her new life would be no more- it would be off to another country, probably somewhere more remote. Or she didn’t mention the letter at all and then they’d stay here living a perfect lie until eventually he found them. Who knew what would happened to her then?
Her mind was made up. Coralie raised her eyes so that she stared directly into her little brother’s, and then with a single word she sealed the fate of her entire family. “Yes”
Authors Note: I apologise for this chapter- I’m not entirely happy with it but it took me almost three weeks to write and no matter how much I changed within the chapter, it just wasn’t what I wanted but I knew that if I get kept going on like that then I’d never get this chapter finished. I’m much happier with the upcoming chapters so I hope you will be too and I’ll see you all this time next week. Thank you for reading!
(P.S. Mon Dieu means My God and Directrice is the equivalent of a Headmistress)
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