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Chapter 14 : Fathers and Friends
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"Surely, he'll give up soon. He's only a boy." Marcel said, his eyebrows furrowing together.
"He's hardly a boy, and he won't stop. He has far too much pride for that," Pierre replied, a stern expression on his face. It was one Jacob had long gotten used to seeing on his father's face.
Pierre Bennett had always looked the same, at least he had for as long as Jacob could remember. He was tall with dark curly hair and dark eyes which always had this tense, judging look in them. He could make a room go silent with a single look. That look was what Jacob remembered of his childhood, at least where his father was concerned. He wasn't a bad man, not by any standards, he was just a strict one.
"He's the same age as Violet, isn't he?" Helene asked, she kept her eyes trained on Pierre and when he didn't answer, she changed to look at Jacob.
"Yes, he is. And what age would that make him father?" Jacob asked, his fierce expression was met by his father's look.
"We are not here to discuss your sister. Not that one. We need to focus on him, and on Coralie." Pierre responded, not taking his eyes off his son.
Jacob didn't look away either, "And how is Cora, father? Do you know? Do you care?"
"I am keeping her safe!" He yelled, slamming his hands onto the table in front of him.
"Well, you're not doing a great job, are you?" Jacob muttered, standing up and leaving the kitchen behind him. As he made his way out the back door, he could hear his father yelling after him and then silence. For a moment, Jacob was happy his father wouldn't be following him back to England.
"Sounds like he hasn't changed much," A voice called from further down the garden. Jacob smiled as Emma took the seat beside him on the back steps.
"Looks like you haven't either. Are you still causing trouble out here?"
Emma through her head back in laughter, "Not quite as much as usual, but yeah, still causing trouble."
Jacob smiled, "It's good to see neither you nor Cora has grown out of that yet."
"How is she?" Emma asked, the smile on her face faded.
"Doesn't she write?" Jacob replied.
"Oh, she does," Emma smiled again, "But I know she's not telling me how she truly feels. She's still scared, I know that."
"She's okay, I think. You know how she is," Both of them grinned, "She likes Hogwarts though. She's made some good friends, I think you'd like them. Allisyn and Violet tell me she's got a few boys interested too, but she continues to deny it."
"She probably doesn't realise they even like her. She told me about the library at her school, I wish I could go and visit- it sounds magnificent." Emma chuckled slightly.
"Why don't you?" Jacob asked, at Emma's confused look he continued, "Come visit. You couldn't go to Hogwarts, obviously but maybe in the holidays you could just come and see her. I know she'd love that, she misses you a lot."
"I miss her too," She replied, a sad smile appearing on her features before she shook it off. "I'd have to ask mama. Would it be safe?"
"We'll organise a way to make it work. Only if you want to, of course."
"Are you kidding me?" Emma grinned, "Of course I want to see Cora! When's her next holiday? How long could I stay for?" She'd become so excited by this point, that she was practically bouncing up and down on the steps.
"Whoa, whoa. Calm down," Jacob chuckled, putting his hands out to stop her "You're practically hopping around. Like you said, you'll have to check with your mum first. I'd have to ask mine too."
"Right," Emma calmed down, "You should probably get back in there, right?"
Jacob shrugged his shoulders, "I'm hoping that if I wait out here with you for long enough that father will give up and leave. I suppose I should be in there, I need to know what's going on."
"I can tell you," Emma whispered, "I know what's going on."
"And how does an innocent little girl like you know everything, huh Em?"
A wicked smirk crossed over her features, "I hear things, sometimes I even see things." Jacob motioned for her to go on, "I've seen him around a couple of times, mostly in town. When you first left, he hung around the school for a while but he must have realised Cora wasn't coming back. He sneaks around a lot, no one really likes him in town, even if they don't know who he is. He's got a new place, an apartment in town but he often comes down here when he thinks we're all out. I don't think he has any idea where you are."
"How did you pick up all this?" Jacob asked in surprise, "That's more than both your parents and my father were able to tell me."
"What can I say?" Emma grinned, "I watch out for him. I've gotten a few of others to do it too, only people I trust and that knew Cora or your family. We all miss you. It's boring here without the Bennett's."
Jacob smiled too, "Of course it is. We always made this place interesting. Besides, we all miss everyone too. There's nothing we'd like more than to be able to come home."
"Even Cora?" Emma asked, biting down on her nails, "Even with all of her new friends?"
"Especially Cora," Jacob replied truthfully, "None of her new friends mean half as much to her as you do."
Emma beamed, "Good. Now get back in there so that Cora can come home sooner, rather than later."
Remus was grateful to have his fellow Marauders as friends. Honestly, he was. They'd turned out to be the best friends he could ever possibly hoped for. That being said, he was also grateful whenever he got the chance to spend a little time away from them. They weren't exactly the biggest academics in the year, and so Remus considered himself lucky to have Lily and Coralie as friends too. At least, he was most days. Coralie had suddenly become more interested in her schoolwork than anything else, and Remus had a feeling she was using all the essays the professors had piled on them as a way to avoid facing her feelings for Sirius. Remus didn't like it, but he understood her logic anyway.
Lily was a different story. She seemed to have decided that her schoolwork could wait, and was instead devoting all of her time to Remus. That was, devoting all of her time trying to set him up with Coralie. He considered this to be all part of the 'Cora-slash-Sirius-dilemma', a name which he and Peter had come up with sometime earlier in the year. As far as he considered, Lily had realised the thing that Coralie herself was desperate trying to avoid. Coralie fancied Sirius. Both girls tried desperately to ignore their realisations, though it was clear neither of them were doing very well.
"Are you going to Hogsmeade next weekend, Remus?" Lily asked, and Remus had to resist the urge to roll his eyes at her in response.
"Yes, I am." He managed to respond as calmly and blankly as possible.
"Are you going Cora?" At first, the blonde didn't show any signs of hearing her friend but eventually she nodded her head slightly, all the while never taking her eyes off the parchment in front of her. Lily stayed silent for a moment, watching her friend with a worried look on her face before she turned her attention back to Remus. "Remus, can you help me find a book I need for Transfiguration?"
"Don't even say it, Lily." Remus asked as the two of them made their way over to the bookshelf. A quick look back at their table told them that Coralie hadn't even noticed the two of them leaving.
"Say what?" She drawled, pulling a few books out of the shelves before pushing them back in.
"I know what you're trying to do." Lily didn't respond, "I don't want you to set me up with Cora."
"Why not?" She asked, and Remus sighed in response.
"Cora's lovely, alright, but I don't like her like that. She's like a sister to me, just like you are." Lily sighed, "Besides, we both know who Cora likes."
"I'm just trying to look out for her. I thought maybe because you two had been spending so much time together than maybe you liked her." Lily paused for a moment, "Okay, so I knew you didn't like her but I just wanted to try anyway."
"You thought you could guilt trip me into a date?" Remus asked, amused.
Lily frowned slightly, "Yeah, I suppose I did."
The boys all had a good laugh about it later. Despite the other boys' dismissals of the idea, James stuck by the belief that Remus and Cora could have survived through a date. He seemed to see where Lily was coming from, though Remus didn't know whether that was because it was Lily's idea or because he had his own worries about the 'Cora-slash-Sirius-dilemma'.
"But Lily knows, right?" Peter asked Remus.
"Knows what?" James cut in, looking confused between the two of them.
"About the Cora-slash-Sirius dilemma." Peter replied, as if were the simplest thing in the world.
"The what?" Sirius asked, finally participating in the discussion rather than pouting on his bed. "The Cora-slash-Sirius dilemma? What's that supposed to be?" Peter had frozen up by now, and was doing his absolute best not to look Sirius in the eye because he knew he'd spill everything.
"It's nothing," Remus replied, shooting Sirius a stern look. "It's just a joke."
"I like jokes," James piped in, looking much like a child did on Christmas day.
"Not helping, Prongs." Remus muttered, flopping back onto his bed.
"Oh, is this about Cora-" James started, but was silenced by the furious looks Remus and Peter sent him.
"Cora what?" Sirius asked, looking between all of his friends who all kept silent. "What did she tell you guys? Did she say something about me?"
"Why would she say something about you?" James replied, making himself busy by making his bed- something that Remus had never seen him do before.
"Next time when the girl you fancy has something to say about you, I'll remember not to tell you lot either," Sirius said, pulling the curtains around his bed closed.
"Padfoot-" James started, but then sighed and climbed into his own bed.
To say the Bennett children had always been cheeky would have been an understatement. In fact, mischievous or downright troublemakers probably would have been a better sentiment for them. However, they weren't children anymore- three of them were in their 20's now and the other two in their late teens. Marcelle had hoped they'd grow out of it or at least mature a little, everyone always told her they would. It seemed they had since their move to England, but then Marcelle came to the realisation- they hadn't become matured at all, they'd just gotten a hell of a lot better at hiding it from her. That was why she found herself standing with her ear pressed up against the wall of her own living room while her three eldest talked to one another inside the room.
"What did Marcel and Helene have to say?" Marcelle felt a stab of pain in her chest at the names of her oldest friends- she missed them more than she had realised.
"Not much," Jacob answered, "They were worried about Cora mostly, wanted to know if she was okay." He paused for a moment, "Helene asked about mama a lot too. I think she was worried that she was going to get back with father or something."
"What about papa?" Violet asked. Marcelle couldn't quite hear Jacob's response, but from the noise Violet made, it was clear that it wasn't very nice. She didn't bother to fight the small smirk from appearing on her lips.
"Did you actually get anything at all then or was the whole trip just a complete bust?" Allisyn asked in the usual business-like voice she used whenever her siblings began to argue about something.
"Emma had some interesting information to share with me," Marcelle could hear the pride in Jacob's voice. He'd always been fond of little Emma- they all had, she'd been like another sister, another daughter to them.
"Emma? Cora's little friend," Violet asked in disbelief.
"She's hardly little anymore. I'm sure she's just as wicked as Cora can be," Allisyn replied, "Now, Jake. Tell us what Emma had to say."
"He's still there, lives in the town now. She says he looks like he's rather settled in, but he doesn't seem to have any idea where we are yet." Marcelle let out the breath she'd been holding. "Did mama ask anything about my trip away?"
"She just wanted to know when we'd be meeting this mystery girl of yours. What are you going to tell her when she asks?" Violet replied.
"How do you know I don't already have a girl lined up?" Jacob responded.
"Please," Violet cut back, probably rolling her eyes at her brother, "You couldn't find a girlfriend even if you tried."
"I suppose I'll just tell her it didn't work out. You know mama won't ask anything else about her if I say that." He sighed.
"When did she say she'd be back, Vi?" Allisyn asked.
"She didn't, she could be back any minute." The three of them fell into silence. Marcelle smiled wickedly, moving away from her listening spot and heading back through the hallway. If her kids wanted to keep secrets from her, then she could play that game too.
When Coralie woke up that morning she was feeling surprisingly great. She'd actually managed to get some sleep the night before mainly due to the fact she'd tired herself out doing essays and various other class related things until the early hours of the morning. It'd been her new way of distracting herself, and it had turned out to be pretty successful so far. Her marks, while they'd always been good, were now higher than she'd ever been before and by some small miracle she seemed to be actually passing Potions and Flitwick had been talking about her even doing materials that were only covered in seventh year classes. It made her feel so much better than she would have ever imagined.
In addition to this, the weather had started to warm up again. Maybe 'warm up' was the wrong expression for the English weather, but now most days Coralie only needed to wear three layers of clothing rather than the five she'd been wearing at the start of Winter. That particular day there was a little bit of sunshine coming through the dormitory windows when Coralie finally dragged herself out of bed. Most of the other girls had already gone off to breakfast, but Kiki and Marlene both remained fast asleep.
It was then that she noticed an owl on the other side of the window. She was so used to getting her mail in the Great Hall every morning, that she was a little surprised to see it out there. She opened the window and let the poor thing in, it looked practically frozen. She gave it a few little treats that Alice kept by her bed for her boyfriend's owl and took the letter off it. Grabbing herself a jacket, she left the dormitory as quietly as she possibly could. She didn't want to be the one to wake the beast that was Kiki Soho in the morning. She waited until she was halfway down to the Great Hall before she ripped open the letter.
It slipped out of her hands, and she almost bent down to pick it up before she realised what it was.
It was him. It was...him, again.
She didn't need to read the letter to know what it would say. Every single one he sent her seemed to be the same, the usual threat masked by his nice handwriting. She could feel the panic rising up in her throat. Any second now, she'd stop breathing. Sirius, she thought desperately, and then No, Lily. Somehow her feet began to move of their own accord and soon enough, she was running towards the Great Hall. She knew she'd get in trouble if a professor or that horrible caretaker happened to see her but she didn't think about that. She just focused on getting to Lily.
The trip hardly seemed as long as it did every morning and soon enough she was standing in front of the Great Hall. People she'd never met before were staring at her like she was crazy, and she imagined she probably looked a total mess. Her face felt like it was burning, let alone the rest of the body. She rested her hands on her knees for a moment.
"Cora?" There was a hand on her shoulder, and then suddenly James appeared in her vision. "Are you alright?"
By this time, she'd started shaking uncontrollably and she could feel tears welling in her eyes. "Lily," she managed to whisper.
"Hey, hey. It's alright. Pete's going to get her," James whispered, tightening his grip on her and bringing him into his side. "Just hold onto me. No passing out, alright?" She nodded.
"Oh Merlin, Cora." Lily appeared, her red hair fanning out behind her as she jogged over to the two of them. She threw her arms around Coralie and held her tightly, whispering calming words to her all the while. "Thank you, Potter. I'm going to walk her up to the Hospital Wing and get her a calming draught."
"Did you need any help?" James asked, but Lily shook her head.
"Can you just..." Lily paused, "Don't tell anyone. Not even Black. She doesn't need everyone fussing about her just yet."
"Of course," James replied, turning on his heel before stopping and turning back to the two girl, "He really does care about her, you know."
Before Coralie could stop herself, a single sob escaped past her lips. Lily dragged her away before James could say anything else.
"What is it?" Lily asked once she'd calmed down enough to talk. Wordlessly, Coralie passed her the letter and Lily took it. "No," She whispered, folding the letter back up and shoving it into her pocket. "We've got to do something. You can't just let him get to you like this. We have to tell someone." Coralie shook her head, "Just someone. It doesn't matter who it is. I'll do it if you want me too." '
"I can't." Coralie whispered.
"Not even Black?" Coralie stared at her blankly, "Come on, I know about you and Black. Anyway, that doesn't matter right now. If you want me to tell him, I will."
"Not Sirius," She replied, rubbing her eyes with the sleeve of her jacket. "Remus." She paused, "I'll tell Remus."
Authors Note: So there's a little bit more about our 'mystery man'- I know it's not much yet but more will be revealed in the future. I hope you guys liked seeing into Jacob and Marcelle's points of view (and Remus' too), future chapters will definitely be from other points of view too. That's pretty much all I have to say about this chapter. I hope you liked it and I'll see you next week with Chapter 15 (which is a good one, if I do say so myself). Thanks for reading!
*Chapter is currently unbeta'ed.
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