Chapter 3 : Never Forget
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Since Jared had found a new friend while on board Titanic, I had spent a lot of the trip exploring on my own. The most time I saw Jared and Marian was at dinner; they seemed to spend the rest of their time in his bedroom. They may have moved to the living area, I cannot say because I refused to stay in our room; for all I knew, they locked themselves away after dinner and did not emerge until I came back to prepare for dinner the next evening.
I did not mind much. We would have plenty of time to spend together in America, whereas his time with Marian was most likely limited. It also reminded me a little of Hogwarts; like on board the ship, we were confined to one place when we were at school and I had spent many weekends figuring out Hogwarts' secrets while Jared learned of the secrets of his current girl.
It was merely a weekend at Hogwarts for me; I was content with the thought.
I found another wizard on the second day, smoking on the third class deck. His clothing suggested money and I had felt compelled to ask him why he was there before I was fully aware that I had spoken at all. I started to apologize and leave, but he laughed and told me that he was hiding. He did not elaborate on his reasons why and I wisely kept my mouth shut that time.
He was a funny young man, no older than twenty-one. Sometimes he spoke as though he was much older, from another time even, but I understood him well enough. He had no patience for blood status, told me that all blood was the same in the end. My first thought was that he was not a Pureblood, my second being that his family were not as fanatical as others - not being Pureblood is always the most logical, even if you know a family like the Notts, who believe in the ideals but not the methods, but his money told me otherwise. Pureblood by no means equals wealth, just as Muggleborn does not mean poor, but I had never known a person who could afford the suit he was wearing who wasn't from an old Wizarding family.
We spoke of the ship mostly; he agreed with me when I told him of my conversation with the old man. When I spoke of Hogwarts, he asked me how it had changed since he had last been there. He told me that the school had been new then, which I knew was silly, though I didn't tell him that. He was more interested in the subjects than anything else; I found it odd, asked him how could he not remember. He said he was never a student, he had been schooled at home; he had only been to Hogwarts once, to visit a friend.
When I asked his name, he hesitated before replying with, "Nathaniel Vega."
I was certain I had heard the name before, his last name at least, but I did not get a chance to ask; he was found and called away and I, realizing how late it had become, pushed the thought to the back of my mind and left to get ready for dinner.
The third day was much like the second day, only instead of finding Nathaniel again, my eyes focused on a much prettier sight.
She was relaxing on one of the benches, all alone and content with that. I almost did not want to disturb her, in case she took my intrusion badly, but I could no more help myself than the sun could help shining down on her. The light made her blond hair seem lighter, made her skin look golden. Her clothes were old and tattered in places, but she did not care and neither did I.
She was beautiful.
"Hello," I say slowly, stopping a few steps away from her.
Her head snapped down and she squinted to look at me, but she did not look upset. Her smile was wide and happy, as though she was seeing an old friend for the first time in years. I smiled back.
"Hello, sir," she answered me.
I checked my attire without meaning to; it was nothing special, something I would wear around Nott Manor. It was certainly not something that would require the title of 'sir'. It led me to believe that she was just polite to everyone. I liked that.
"I'm Nate," I told her, hoping it did not sound like a harsh correction; there was no need to use formalities.
She held out her hand, gripping tightly and shaking when I took it. "I'm Charlotte."
"Lovely to meet you." I gestured to the other half of the bench and she moved over slightly, patting the side for me to sit. "Are you here alone, Charlotte?"
"Oh, no," she said, shaking her head, and began telling me about her family. The more she spoke, the easier it was to distinguish her accent somewhat; she was from the north of England, of that I was certain, maybe Leeds. Her accent reminded me of a boy in Hogwarts who was from that area.
"So, my father decided he had to find work elsewhere and that America was the place to be. He used all his savings for these tickets and packed up everything we had; him, me, my mum and my sister." Charlotte stopped to breathe, and then frowned. "I'm sorry, I hope I'm not boring you. Sometimes, I just don't know to keep quiet."
"You're not boring me, honestly," I reassured her. "I like to hear about you."
"Well, that's about everything really," she replied with a shrug. "What are you like?"
I told her all about Jared and the Notts, what we planned to do in America, Marian and the old man. She seemed to be fascinated; I took it as a good sign.
We talked until lunch called for us.
April 12th, 1912.
Charlotte found me later that afternoon, a younger version of her holding onto her hand tightly. She was a shy girl, barely saying a word after a mumbled hello, and then she ran away to meet their parents. I wish that I could remember her name, I regret not paying closer attention.
She told me about what she imagined her new life would be like, how she imagined New York to be. She hoped it would be better than home.
We wondered along the ship, sharing stories, both real and imagined. I could not remember the last time I had enjoyed the company of one who was not Jared so much, but Charlotte was so much fun to be around - she was smart and witty and a little bit devious. It made for an entertaining day.
I still miss her.
That evening, Jared and Marian came out of his room. When they spotted me and caught my raised eye-brow, Jared winked and Marian put her finger to her lips.
We had made our way to the first class deck, hidden somewhat to keep anyone from noticing Charlotte; maybe she was overly cautious about word of her indiscretions not getting back to her father.
"Who is your friend, Nate?" Marian asked me pleasantly, joining us on the floor of the deck. I think it surprised Charlotte more than it surprised me.
"This is Charlotte. We met this morning," I said. I pointed to each of them. "Charlotte, this is Jared and Marian."
"Oh, yes." Charlotte nodded, looking less shocked as understanding set in. "Nate has told me all about you."
"Good things, I hope." Jared grinned.
I shrugged. "Only a little."
"We mostly talked about your apparent lack of need for air and sunshine," Charlotte played along. Truthfully, I only mentioned it once in passing, when she asked were Jared was.
Marian's cheeks colored quickly, her head bowed to hide her embarrassment.
"I have a window," Jared pointed out, ending the joke. Marian laughed along with that, but I suspected her look to him was more grateful for finding a way to end it than one that suggested she was involved in the game.
"Well, I am famished," Marian exclaimed, the joke forgotten completely. "We came to find you before we ate. Jared."
Jared glanced over his left shoulder, then his right, then brought forward a basket that he must have hidden while Marian was inquiring about Charlotte. He put it between the four of us and pulled off the lid, revealing an assortment of food for us to share.
"I paid the one of the kitchen staff," he murmured. "Marian wanted us to eat with her, but I agreed with you that we were not eating with the others, so we compromised."
"I told my father that we were having a private dinner, he will not look for us," Marian added.
"I didn't know there would be an extra guest, but there should be enough for the four of us," Jared finished, smiling at Charlotte.
"Thank you," she said softly, her eyes on the basket. I could not blame her; my eyes were only on her for a moment before going back to the basket. The staff member in the kitchen had done well.
"Let's eat," I said, receiving three nods of approval simultaneously.
That was my favorite night during the entire trip. I'll never forget it.
A/N: Hey, guys! Chapter three here! One, maybe two, chapters left. If there is two, they will come together. :)
Oh, Nathaniel... ;)
I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please let me know what you think. :)
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