Chapter 7 : The Funeral
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“I said no Isabelle.” I growled at the closed door.
I placed the plate on my desk and flopped onto my bed. I looked up at the ceiling, letting my thoughts take over. I loved Belle, I really did. I still do. It’s just, she’s not the same Belle anymore. Whenever I look at her, I’m just reminded of what happened to Al. Al is probably furious at how I’ve been treating Belle. He would say something along the lines of ‘She’s the best damn thing to ever happen to you. What in the bloody fuck are you doing!’ It was just one big mess. I missed Belle but I was angry with her. I wanted to cuddle with her and hold her close, but I also wanted her to stay as far away as possible.
“Ugh!” I groaned, shoving my pillow over my face
“She’s amazing Al.”
“She’s that perfect?”
Al sat on my dorm room bed as I gather my stuff up to head home for winter break.
“Mum’s going to love her.”
“You sound like a teenage girl.” Al laughed. “Is this what love does to people?”
“She’s unlike any other girl I’ve been with.” I replied. “She isn’t fazed by the fact that I’m a Potter. She just sees me as me.”
* * * * * * *
Today was the day.
I had to force myself out of bed and put on the black suit Mum left on my desk. I went to reach for the black tie she left out but I jerked my hand back in a snap decision. I walked over to my closet. Flipping the light on, I snatched a tie off the holder. It was one Al gave me for my sixteenth birthday. I thought the stupid thing was ugly but it was something Al gave to me. I was going to wear it today whether I liked it or not.
I glanced in the mirror after I finished getting dressed. I looked like a twit. Al and I would make fun of Ministry workers when we were younger by how they dressed. Today, I look like one.
“Look Albie.” I whispered. “That man has a blue one.”
“Oooo.” Al laughed.
Dad had taken us to work with him since Mum had an emergency at work. Usually Albie and I would be at muggle school but we didn’t have to go because the teacher have a special day today. I think, I don’t know. We liked to make fun of the boring looking men.
I opened my bedroom door and walked out of my room. Belle stepped out of hers. We made awkward eye contact. Her brown hair was straightened, part of it pinned up. She wore a modest black dress with black sandals. She looked so beautiful. I just wish it wasn’t for this.
Belle was the first to break eye contact. She ducked her head down and practically ran down the stairs. There was a slight pain in my chest. She acted like that because of me. Every time I would feel guilty, though, anger would rise up in me and remind me why I was mad.
Belle was the reason Al is no longer with us.
I followed her down to the kitchen. Lily sat at the kitchen table, Mum and Dad stood behind the counter, and Belle stood as much in the corner as she could while looking down at the floor.
“Okay,” Mum said softly. “Everyone is here. We can head over then.”
“Who’s the girl?” Al asked, dropping his school books on the table next to me.
“Oh, that’s just Isabelle Stein.” I said, glancing up from my Defense essay. “She tutors me.”
Al just gaped at me, lost for words. I went back to working on my essay.
“She tutors you?” Al asked slowly, clearly confused.
“Yeah, she’s one of the top students in my year.” I replied.
“You’re studying?” Al pointed out.
“Yes Al, people need to study for their O.W.L.S.” I answered.
Al looked around and at all my stuff before running a hand through his messy black hair.
“Bloody hell, you fancy her.”
“What, no I don’t.” I quickly denied.
“Yes, you do!” Al laughed. “You excel in Defense. You don’t need a tutor.”
We flooed over to the funeral home. The place was gloomy. Yes, there were flowers, chairs, couches, and a bunch of other stuff everywhere. The air just had a gloomy feel to it. In the front of the main room, the casket stood in the center. It was closed. I don’t think I could handle if it was open. Belle went to the corner of the room, trying to distance herself as much as possible.
Mum ushered Lily and I up to the front by Al as people started to pile in. The experience was horrid. Everyone would make their way up, giving Lily and then me a hug, telling us they were sorry for our loss and how amazing Al was. It was like pouring salt on a fresh wound.
The process would drag on. Eventually, we were allowed to take our seats in the front row for the actual funeral. Belle was seated next to me. Her eyes were red and slightly puffy. I could tell she’s been crying. As the funeral continued on, it soon became my turn to speak. Nervously, I got up and stood behind the podium next to Al.
“My brother was not only my brother.” I started. “He was also one of my best friends. Being so close in age, it was inevitable that we were going to be close. Al and I did everything together, despite being in different years and houses at Hogwarts.”
I could feel the tears coming. They clogged my throat and made it hard for me to talk.
“Al was an amazing person.” The tears ran freely down my face. “He was taken from us too soon. I’ll always miss him.”
Tears ran silently down my face. I brushed them away as I went back to my seat. As my dad got up to speak, I glanced over at Belle. She was crying. I placed my hand on her thigh, palm up. She looked down at it. She hesitated for a moment before placing her hand in mine.
I placed my anger at her to the side. Right now, I needed Belle by my side.
“Well, well, well.”
“If it isn’t my favorite brother!” Al’s loud voice boomed across the pub.
“I’m your only brother.” I muttered.
“Mmm, yes.” Al said. “And this beautiful catch must be Isabelle Stein.”
This isn’t how the way of life is supposed to work. I’m the one who’s supposed to embarrass Al, not the other way around.
“I prefer Belle.” She said with a smile. “It’s nice to meet you Albus.”
“I prefer Al.” He replied with a smirk.
Al planted himself in the seat next to me. He looked over at my drink and snatched my butterbeer from in front of me.
“Hey!” I cried out. “Get your own you prat.”
“James!” Al gasped, faking shock. “You should be nicer to your baby brother. What are you showing to the lovely Miss Belle?”
“That my family is insane and I’ll probably have to beg for a second date?”
“Ah ha!” Al shouted, jumping up. “You fancy the pants off her!”
Oh Merlin, why was I cursed with such an embarrassing brother?
Godric’s Hollow was a beautiful and peaceful place. I stood up at the front of the graveyard with my parents. Belle stood by my side, her hand still holding mine. I brushed my tears away as they lowered my brother into the ground. Mum tossed a white rose on top on the casket. Slowly, they began to fill the hole. Any sight left of Al was soon covered by pieces of the Earth. I watch Dad make his way over to the two graves next to Al. It was his parents, the original James and Lily Potter.
“Please take care of my boy.” I heard Dad say. “Please watch over him for me until I can get there.”
I turned to Belle, nuzzling my head into her shoulder. I couldn’t hold it back anymore. Loud sobs escaped my throat and the tears just poured out. Belle held me as tight as she could, not fighting back her own tears either.
“I’m so sorry James.” She cried. “I’m so sorry.”
She buried her head in my chest, sobbing. I looked over at my parents. My dad was holding Lily close, my Mum sat on the ground right next to the fresh dirt that covered Al.
I sat on Al’s bed, anxiously waiting for Belle to arrive. She would be spending the rest of the summer with my family while her parents traveled the world. I couldn’t wait to have her here for two months. Not only was she my girlfriend, she was my best friend and I enjoyed every moment I spend with her.
“James, stop bouncing.” Al snapped.
I quickly stopped moving my leg.
“Sorry.” I said. “I just really want Belle to get here.”
“You’re so obsessed with her.” Al laughed, rolling his eyes.
“She’s amazing.” I whispered. “You know, I can see a future with her. Getting married, having kids, all that shit.”
“She really has made you a better person.”
“She’s perfect.” I said. “Check this out.”
I flicked my wand and a little box floated into the room. Al grabbed it and opened it. He looked up at me, his mouth gaping.
“Holy shit. James, is this an engagement ring?”
“No.” I said, shaking my head. “It’s a promise ring. A promise that one day I will marry my Isabelle Stein.”
Al tossed the box to me.
“When did you stop acting like a bloody tosser and became such the romantic?”
I tossed a nearby water bottle at his head.
My dad came over and started to usher everyone to the car. We knew our family members would be waiting at home for us. Before I headed over to the car, I made one more stop to my brother. I knelt down by his temporary headstone and look at the ground.
“Al.” I whispered. “I need some help. Belle…I love her but, I…I just can’t get over the anger that she survived that crash but you didn’t. I…I…Fuck, I just don’t know what to do. You were always the one to give me advice when I messed things up with her.”
I stood up to start heading over to the car.
“I could use some advice now.”
A warm breezed wrapped around me like a blanket. I knew Al was around and heard me. I jogged over to my parents and opened the door to the backseat. I took one last look at Al.
“I’ll be back soon.” I whispered, jumping into the backseat.
Author’s Note- I’m back! Usually I’m updating pretty quickly so I’m sorry this one took a little longer. I’ve been busy with summer camp and work that I didn’t have much time to write this week. But I hope you enjoyed this little chapter from James’s viewpoint. I’m not sure if I want to switch from Belle to James occasionally. Leave a review and tell me what you think of the chapter
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