Chapter 1 : Chapter One
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I wiped my face clear of any tears, smudging my make up in the process. Standing up I left the flowers I brought on his grave. They would be wilted in a few days and I would be forced to return which would mean a repeat of this whole ordeal once more. It was a never ending cycle. I needed a drink.
The pub smothered me in the smell of smoke as I stumbled over the steps on my way over to the bar. I slid onto a bar stool, it was just my luck that the seat next to it would be occupied by someone who smelt like they spent way too much time here and not in a shower.
“What can I get you?” A petite blonde behind the counter inquired with a friendly smile.
“Something strong.” I sighed in reply as I used my hand as support for my head. I would have thought that after two years I would have at least accepted he was gone. But instead I'm stuck grieving as if he had died just yesterday. Not to my lack of trying though. I had attempted everything. I moved. I tried dating. I went on a vacation in another country. I even got a new job. The words my psychologist said echoed in my head, “It just takes time.”
“Rough night?” The blonde asked as she set the glass down in front of me. Some of its amber liquid sloshed onto the bar counter, causing a wet ring at the bottom.
“Try the past two years.” I replied after I gulped down the liquid. I shook my head slightly at the burning in my throat. “Fill it up again.” I pushed the glass toward her.
“Must have been something awful to still be impacting you this much now.” She commented as she refilled my glass.
“My brother died. Murdered.” I sucked in a breath in an attempt at keeping my tears at bay. It didn't work every well since I felt one roll down my cheek. Gripping the glass tightly, I threw my head back and gulped down another glass.
“I'm so sorry. What happened?” She asked, her light blue eyes showing her sorrow for my lose.
“He was an Auror. They were working on a case,” My head was getting fuzzy as the alcohol started taking affect. “A case... I don't remember what it was involving. But the guy they were trying to arrest was putting up a fight and he... I need another refill.” I shoved my glass towards her once more. She reluctantly refilled it again. “He was firing all these curses at them, both my brother and his partner were badly wounded. They were too weak to heal each other. My brother bled out before backup arrived.” I finished the story and took a well deserved drink.
“I'm so sorry. How old was he?” She touched my hand in sympathy. It felt surprisingly nice. And comforting.
“Twenty. He had always dreamt of being an Auror. It made him so happy, yet it also killed him.” Tears started escaping my watery eyes like the traitors they were.
“I'm sure people have told you that the pain will eventually go away. But it doesn't, it will still be there. You will just know how to accept it and still enjoy the happy things life has to offer.” She told me with a sympathetic smile as she squeezed my hand. She was really beautiful the way her blonde hair framed her face. I had always been a huge fan of blue eyes and the way her's sparkled reminded me of all the small things I had to enjoy in life. I couldn't keep being so down all the time I had to start living my life instead of running away from the death of my brother.
“Thank you- uh...um...what was your name?” I asked as I realized I didn't even know her name. Or maybe she had told me earlier and I had forgotten in my drunken haze.
“Victoire.” She replied with a warm smile. “What is your name?”
“Karly. I think....” I pulled out a pouch with some money to pay the bill. “I should probably be on my the way. The way to my house.” I stumbled over my words, it was harder to find the right words to say. That last glass was obviously in effect.
“You gave me too much, here is your change.” Victoire held out some coins. I shook my head as I started to slide out of my seat, but that was a bad idea as my world started spinning and I fell to the floor.
“Woah...” I blinked a few times, trying to steady my spinning vision.
“Are you okay?” Victoire appeared beside me. Gripping my arms she helped me stand back up, “IS there someone I can contact to come get you? A friend? Boyfriend?”
“Psh! Who needs a boyfriends! I mean, who needed a boytoy friend. That doesn't sound right either...” I took a step forward and almost toppled over again.
“Come on, I'm going to take you home.” She frown as she lead me with her into a back room. There was a man sitting at a desk in the corner and she was speaking to him. But my attention was drawn to the shiny trophies on the shelf.
“Vicky...I don't feel good...” I clutched my stomach as it churned. She was rushing over to me just as I doubled over and started retching.
A light. A bright, blinding light. That was all I could see. The pounding in my head was making my stomach churn. I hurried out of bed to go to the bathroom when I realized I wasn't in my room. The lavender walls and white furniture was not mine.
“Are you okay?” A hoarse voice asked from the bed I just evacuated. I spun around to see a golden haired beauty sit up in bed.
“I think I'm going to be sick!” The next thirty minutes were not fun ones for me. The beautiful blonde gave me a potion to settle my stomach and then another to help my hangover before she cleaned up my mess.
“Are you feeling better?” She asked as she gave me a once over that made me flush in embarrassment, “You're looking better. A little hot though.”
“Yeah, I'm feeling better. Thank you.. Sorry about your floor.” I told her sheepishly. I felt awful for retching all over her bedroom floor, even though she had it back to normal with a flick of her wand.
“Its fine, don't worry about it.” She smiled, I swear my heart skipped a beat. I shook my head in denial, the last time I had felt like this was eight years ago when Jonathan White told me he wanted us to get married when we graduated. Those same giddy, nervous feelings were what I was feeling now. “A shower will make you feel even better. I'll be right back.”
I tried pushing away the alien feelings, how could I be happy when my brother was dead? To distracted myself I let my eyes wonder around the room. I got up and walked over to a shelf that had some pictures on it. One of her with what looked like friends, her with a bunch of gingers, her with her first Hogwarts letter, and one of her with a sandy haired boy with them both holding Heads badges. Her Head Girl and him Head Boy.
“I know,” I jumped at the sound of her voice, I turned around to look at her as she walked over. “You're probably wondering why I'm working at some bar when I got excepted into Healer training for Mungo's. I'm still doing the training, but to live by myself I needed some way to pay the bills.”
“That makes sense. Though I'm not quite sure why you would want to live alone, I find it quite lonely...” Then realizing that might seem insulting, I scrambled to try and make it not seem that way. “But that's just my opinion. You may feel different.”
“No, I agree. But it's only temporarily. You see him?” She pointed to the boy with Head Boy badge. “His name is Teddy Lupin, we're going to get married in a few months so it won't be long before I'm not alone anymore.” She smiled, while I felt my stomach drop slightly. Of course she was engaged. Someone as kind and beautiful as her was sure to be taken.
“Congratulations!” I forced a smile for her. “Uhm, this might sound weird, but what is your name? I don't remember...”
“It's okay. I'm Victoire Weasley.” She answered with a kind smile. A Weasley, well that explained all the gingers in the photograph. “I ran you a hot bath. Do you like baths? If not you can take a shower.” I followed after her to where the bathroom was.
“A bath is fine. Thank you so much. You're being really kind, you could have just sent me home last night or even this morning.” I told her wondering why she was doing this. She didn't know me, she didn't owe me anything.
“I like helping people.” Victoire shrugged as she handed me towels a wash cloth. “There's the shampoo and conditioner. The body wash is over there, feel free to use anything. And here is a new razor if you need one.” She pointed everything out to me. “Oh, and I forgot! Here is your wand. I figure you'll be want that.” Victoire laughed as she brushed her hair out of her face.
She turned to leave so I started sorting things out for my bath, “Oh, Karly?”
“Yeah?” I turned back to look at her standing in the doorway.
“Another reason I helped you was because you look so alone. And no one deserves to be alone.” With that she shut the door leaving me standing behind, her words echoing in my head.
The hot water felt good on my aching muscles, the bubbles in the bath made everything so much more relaxing. I also had turned off the light and just let the sunlight come in through the window, giving off a warm glow.
I let myself sink below the bubbles and just lay there. It was nice. It was warm. It was as if there was outside world. Just the quiet and the feeling of floating. I was just about to have to come up for air when I was suddenly pulled up into a sitting position.
“Are you okay?” Victoire asked, eyes wide with obvious worry.
“Yes...” I trailed off in confusion about what had just happened.
“Sorry! I was just worried something had happened to you.” She told me sheepishly, “Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt your quiet, relaxing time.”
“It's okay, I was just a little confused is all.” It was then that I realized my top half was visible, so I quickly scooted down into the bubbles. My cheeks coloring at the realization that she could have seen. And my worry was true because her face turned red also.
“Sorry again!” Victoire squeaked, “I was just bringing in some breakfast and some fresh clothes since you don't have any clean ones.:
“Thanks.” I smiled at her as I spotted the food, “Smells delicious.”
“Well, I'll let you get back to your silence.” She left in a quick and awkward scurry. Well at least I wasn't the only one who had felt embarrassed. I ate the breakfast she brought before finishing up my bath. I felt worlds better as I dried off and changed into the clothes she had brought me. The leggings were a little long and the shirt was a little loose, but they were really comfy.
I stared at the woman in the mirror in front of me. Dark circles under her puffy eyes and dips in her skin from not eating properly. Even her skin was a little off colour from not taking care of herself. I ran my fingers through my dirty blonde hair, it was way thinner than before. I use to only be able to wrap a hairband around it twice now I have to do it four or five times.
Sighing I grabbed my wand and started drying my hair with hot blasts of air. It felt nice and relaxing, I've been more relaxed in the past few hours then I have in the past couple years. I grabbed a hairband and threw my hair up into a low ponytail.
“Victoire, what do you want me to do with towels and dishes?” I called out through the door I just opened, “Victoire?” I walked over to the entrance door to her room.
“Sorry, I was trying to get my owl to deliver a letter. It was more interested in sleeping so it took awhile.” She rolled her eyes at her owl's antics. “Silly old thing. Anyway, there is a hamper in the bathroom and I will take your dishes.” I handed her the tray before going back into the bathroom to put the towels in the clothes hamper.
“Thank you for everything you've done for me Victoire. It really means a lot.” I thanked her with a small smile, “You were right, you know. I am lonely. I haven't really had anyone since my brother died. My parents died his seventh year at Hogwarts and they didn't have any siblings, that we know of. So it was just us.”
“Family is an irreplaceable thing. I understand.” She gave me a tight hug, my heart jumped into my throat. “You are now to come over here any time day or night. Because you are not alone anymore, missy!” Victoire pointed a finger at me playfully.
“Don't,” I had to clear my throat because I squeaked, “Don't make promises you can't handle.” I told her with a laugh. It felt nice to be happy. Even just for a moment.
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