Chapter 19 : Chapter Nineteen
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“Mama, hold me too.” She complained, throwing envious glares at her baby brother. I chuckled, but no one seemed to hear me.
“Honey, I can’t. You know that your brother is only a baby.” She said. Her eyes were outlined in dark circles, and she looked exhausted. A part of her still shone though, her eyes were brilliant as she looked at her children, and she wouldn’t stop smiling.
“Fine.” The girl huffed, and she stalked off to the slide, where her toddler playmates were waiting for her. The mother turned to me, a startled look on her face as she noticed I was there.
“Oh, hello.” She said, smiling at me. “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there.”
“It’s alright.” I said, as a little boy rushed past me, eager to get to the tire swing. “Wow. You seem so…happy.” I thought about the feeling, and wished I had more of it.
“Oh, I am.” She said, and her toothy smile never left her face. “It’s my children you know. You’ll have one too, and you’ll see. They bright up your day, and you will see truly, why you are living.”
“What?” I asked, and I knew I looked horrified. “I’m going…to have a child?”
“Not now, dear!” she said, at the look of horror on her face. “Later yes, a baby boy. Oh you’ll love him dearly, I daresay. His name will be Harry.”
“Harry…” I repeated, and found that I fell in love with the name at once. But then everything suddenly was turning black, and I was falling...
I woke up, looking up at the ceiling and hearing the pounding of my heart in my ears. I sat up straight, glancing about as I rubbed my eyes. It was a sunny morning, and light came flowing into the room, through the curtains. It hadn't snowed last night.
Last night...I was starting to recall. I couldn't understand why there was such excitement in my heart, it might have been my dream...that really made no sense. Harry was a nice name though, and I immediately knew that was the name that my son would carry.
I was starting to feel like it was finally Christmas, and I dunked under my bed, taking the presents out that I had hidden to give today. I put on a jumper over my nightgown, and I was beginning to walk towards the door when something caught my eye.
The basket was by my bed, still in the red bow, and still in a tangle of blankets. I bent over it and found that the cat wasn't there anymore, and I started to panic. Where could it be? What if it went outside and was run over by a car or eaten by a dog?
"Oh no," I began, starting to look desperately under the beds and drawers. "Kitty!" I whispered, since I hadn't found it a name yet. "Where are you?"
It wasn't in my room, or in the bathroom. I hurried into the hall, where it too was absent and went downstairs, where my father was at the table, drinking coffee. And at his feet...was the kitten.
"'Morning, Lily." he said, glancing over at me with the terrified look on my face. I ran over there and put the cat in my palm, stroking it as it purred at me. "Where did you get the cat?"
My mind pondered on what to say, and I bought time by getting some milk for it. "I er...." I started, thinking of what next. "Um...you mean this cat?" It was a stupid question, and I blushed once I heard it with my own ears.
"Yes," my father said slowly, looking at the newspaper. "This cat."
"I...got it, at well..." I said, stumbling over my words. The word 'James' was itching to come out of my mouth, but I knew that I would have to explain when James had come, and why he was here, and what exactly was going on... "Hogwarts."
"Hogwarts," he repeated.
"Well not exactly at Hogwarts," I said in a voice which I thought wasn't very convincing. "But in Hogsmeade, you know, the village by Hogwarts."
It took him a while to answer, and I knew he was thinking it over, to see if I was telling the truth or not. I knew my chances weren't good, since I wasn't being a good liar.
"Okay." he said finally. "Just take care of it, and clean up after it. I don't want fur all over the house."
"I know." I said immediately. I looked for something else to say. "Oh, here. It's your present."
I handed him over the wrapped mug, and he smiled at me. "Thank you." he said, and unwrapped it. His expression contorted in examination, as he turned it over, looking at the moving pictures. My father, unlike Petunia, thought that the magical world was fascinating.
"Lily," he began, finally looking at me. "I don't think you ever knew this but, I'm so proud of you, and all that you have done." I wasn't sure if he was talking about me being a witch, or if it had something to do with my mother. There was an awkward silence, we weren't used to complimenting each other.
"Well," I said, forcing a smile. "I think I should go give this to Carrie. Where is she?"
"In the bedroom." he replied, and returned to reading the newspaper. I nodded and turned right, and into my father's room.
Carrie wasn't in there though, the bed was neatly made and the lights of the bathroom and bedroom were off. I sighed in relief as I put the present onto the bedside cabinet...I didn't want to confront Carrie now.
Turns out that Petunia detested her present, (surprise, surprise) and Carrie hadn't even mentioned anything about the jewelry I got for her. We ate our Christmas dinner quietly, and I immediately knew that everyone was itching to go somewhere else. Petunia kept on glancing at the clock above the window, and Carrie's irritated sighs were staring to irritate me, and so were the looks that she gave my father.
"That was delicious." my father said, as I washed the plates in the sink. "You and Petunia did a great job, cooking."
I nodded, not saying much, like at the dinner. Petunia was already out the door, where Vernon was waiting for her at the driveway. My father cleared his throat.
"I was wondering," he said, looking down at the ground. "If it would be alright if Carrie and I stepped out for a bit? Carrie has heard of a party going on at a friend's house, and she's very excited about going." I put some dishes to dry, and nodded. That was all my dad needed. He gave me a peck on the cheek. "Excellent, I'll see you later, alright?"
"Alright." I said dully. He didn't seem to notice, and was out the front door, starting up the car. I heard footsteps behind me, and turned around. Carrie was already dressed into another dress.
"Put that pot in the trash." was all she said. She walked out after my father, closing it behind her. I glanced at the windowsill and saw the old and cracked plant pot that was still sitting there. I sighed and looked up at the sky, which was already navy blue and full of twinkling stars.
"Merry Christmas," I said to myself, and finished up with the dishes. I cleaned up the table and the counters, where there was still grease from the food. I hadn't bothered to dress up, so I was in some beige shorts and a pink tank top, my hair up in a messy bun.
When the kitchen was spotless, and sparkling clean, I turned to the windowsill again and winced. I never did what Carrie told me to, which is why I hadn't thrown it away the first time she told me to. But the muddy and broken pot was really bugging me. Now that I had spent a good one hour on it, the kitchen had to be clean.
So I wrapped a blanket around me that was on the couch, (I was too lazy to go get a coat) and took the pot, opening the screen door and grimacing. It was freezing outside, and I was stupid not to wear slippers or something. But they were all away upstairs...and I was way too lazy to get them.
I shivered and wrapped the blanket tighter around me, my messy bun coming loose and the tie coming out and falling to the floor. I grunted and wrapped it around my wrist, making my way to the white wooden gates that lead to my front yard, where the garbage can was.
But something made me stop. The driveway was empty now, since it had been a while that everyone left, but headlights were coming closer, up the street and pulling in. A light colored, shiny car, and out came a woman.
"Who's there?" I asked, my voice clear and piercing through the silence. I heard a sniff, and a sad little noise came from the lady. "Who's there?"
She was coming toward me, and somehow this all seemed familiar to me, like I had lived through it before. I gasped as the woman pulled down the hood of her winter coat, revealing her face.
No...it couldn't be. It wasn't possible.
"Lilian?" My breath came rapidly, and I was staring at her...thoughts pounding through my head. "Is that really you?"
She was alive. She was there, breathing in front of me. My mother was standing in front of me. My heart was pounding through my brain, it was practically all I could hear.
"Leave me alone!" I yelled. "Why are you here?" There was a strange silence...and again all I could hear was my heart as I glared at my mother. She furrowed her eyebrows at me, as if she wasn't comprehending...as if this was nothing to her. She left me...so what, right?
"Lily it's your mother. Don't you remember me?" I had dreamed about this moment since the day I woke up and ran to my mother's bedroom...her bed empty. But now, I wanted to scream and yell at her, although I couldn't utter a word right now. I hated her.
"Get out." I finally said, glaring at her with all the hatred I possessed. She looked like she was close to tears.
"You heard me." I said, my voice stinging even myself. "No one wants you here, Virginia. No one."
I felt the broken pieces of the pot fall onto my toes, cutting through my skin, but I didn't care. I ran as fast as I could, as if Virginia was a monster that was running after me.
But she was a monster. And I was glad that she had stayed in place.
I closed the door as fast as I could, locking it and sobbing hysterically. When had the tears come?
My face was contorted in every emotion that I could bear. Love, hatred, and anger. The tears just kept on coming, and I felt as if I'd never stop. Everything was at a pause right now, as I cried and cried, and mumbled to myself. In the distance I could hear her car driving away.
"It's not fair...she doesn't know..." I knew that Virginia had crying outside too. Because I had seen it before. My dreams were coming true.
I pounded my fist to the ground, and let the pain flow inside of me, like poison.
I was still crying, when Petunia came into my room much later that night. She raised an eyebrow at me, as she noticed that my face was tear stained, and red from crying. I imagined to look like a big tomato, with my red hair and face.
"What is it?" Petunia asked, but her voice wasn't comforting at all. She still had her snappy manner, and she was looking at me as if she was forced to ask because she was my sister.
"She's back." I mumbled, but Petunia didn't hear me.
"What?" she snapped, looking at me as if I was the most irritating thing in the world.
"Virginia is back." I said, this time clearly. I glared up at her, to see her reaction.
"What?" she spat, narrowing her eyes as she put her hands on her hips. "That's impossible."
"I saw her." I said, and my voice sounded dead. "Tonight." This time her frown slowly faded away, and she stared at me blankly.
"No." she said faintly, shaking her head as if trying to convince herself. "She can't be." She closed her eyes and hid them with her palm.
I stood up, wiping my eyes with my sleeve. For a moment I thought of walking the short space in between us and hugging her...but something held me back.
"No." she said firmly, opening her eyes with her frown back on. "She's not. She's dead, Lily."
"She's not dead!" I said angrily. Petunia never believed me. "I saw her! Tonight...and she'll come back. So if you don't believe me," I continued, crawling back into my bed. "Then fine. You'll see tomorrow."
For a minute I saw a flicker of doubt pass through Petunia's brown eyes, but she quickly shadowed it with her hand. She stayed there for a moment, and I heard her sniff.
"Why are you doing this?" she asked faintly, finally looking at me. Tears were flowing down her face, and her weakness stung me. Petunia had never showed any strong emotion since our mother left. "I was almost...almost forgetting about her. And now-"
"You'll never forget her." I said quietly, looking at my knees that were folded up in front of me. "None of us will."
She frowned at me, and she suddenly looked older... "You're wrong." she spat, and then slammed the door behind her. I heard her footsteps down the stairs and out the door. Before, when I was younger, I'd always go to the window and see where she was going. If she was taking my dad's car, if one of her boyfriends was coming to get her, or if she was just walking. This time though, I stayed in my bed.
That night I dreamt about the playground again. The mother and her children were still there, and she was still smiling.
"You saw her, didn't you?" she asked, and I wondered why in the world was she looking so calm, so happy.
"Yes." I said hoarsely. "I did."
"How did it go?" she asked patiently, and held her baby boy onto her hip.
"Horrible." I said dully. I didn't know why I was emptying my soul out to her...I guess it was because this was all a dream. "I can't believe her."
The mother sighed, nodding her head. And her smile finally faded. "I can't either." She suddenly looked stony, and her gaze fell onto her little girl, who was playing hide and go seek with her friends.
"Who are you?" I blurted out, but she wasn't listening to me.
"No, don't do that honey." she called out to the little girl. "You'll get hurt, Virginia."
"You look tired, Lily." my father said the next morning, sipping onto his coffee.
"I didn't sleep well." I said, and I noticed that Petunia kept on shooting glances at the door, as if Virginia would burst out the door any second. "Nightmares." I said absentmindedly, taking my plate to the sink and going to the refrigerator to get milk for my kitten, who I still hadn't found a name for yet.
"Can someone get the post?" my father asked, raising his eyebrows at Petunia and I.
"I'll get it." I said, since Petunia wasn't making any signs of life. I went to the door and walked outside, this time being smart in wearing slippers and a coat. I hated how our door didn't have a mail slot, and we always had to go outside to see if it was on our porch. I bent over and picked up the letters, not bothering to look through them since I never got mail the muggle way. I heard some laughter from across the street and looked over my shoulder.
Sirius was running out the Potters' door, James following dully behind him and not looking nearly as enthusiastic.
"Do I really have to-" he stopped in mid sentence as he glanced across the street, at me. Sirius looked up also, to see what James was staring at.
"Evans!" Sirius exclaimed. "I suppose you came outside to see my motorcycle too, eh?" He made a sweeping motion with his arms, pointing them at the motorcycle that I had just noticed as if it were some huge prize in a game show. I rolled my eyes and already had my hand on the door knob. "Wait! Hey Evans, don't you want to see it?"
"Not really." I said loudly, as one of my neighbors stuck their head out of one of their windows, scowling at us for talking so loud.
"C'mon." Sirius said, grinning at me. James was being awfully silent, his hands in his pockets. Behind him I saw Lynn in the window, staring at us with her hand pressed against the glass.
"Fine." I said, rolling my eyes and smiling at Lynn. She quickly moved out of sight. I walked over to them, looking at the bike. It was completely black, and had more gadgets and buttons at the handles than most motorcycles. "It's nice." was all I said.
"Nice?" Sirius repeated in disbelief. "This is the best motorcycle you'll ever lay eyes on, Evans."
"It looks like any other motorcycle to me." James said, crossing his arms and smirking at me. I blushed.
"What's wrong with you two?" Sirius said incredulously, his voice becoming louder by the second. "This is not any ordinary motorcycle. It flies."
I couldn't help but feel impressed. "Sirius," James said dully, shaking his head. "This neighborhood is full of muggles. Keep it down, okay?"
"I suppose that your parents gave it to you." I said, looking at the shiny and brand new metal.
"Nope." Sirius said proudly. "A present from me, to me. A Christmas gift, see."
"You're insane." I said, shaking my head. "This must have cost a fortune."
"I sold my car for it." Sirius said, giving a sheepish grin. "The folks weren't too happy about it. That's why I came over here. Regulus though...ha he'll never admit it but he was burning in envy, I'm telling you."
"But you're flying it illegally." I pointed out. Sirius shrugged, as if that wasn't important.
"What they did to the motorcycle is illegal too." Sirius said. "It's illegal to put spells on muggle artifacts."
"Right." I said, pretending that this information wasn't new to me. "Anyway, nice motorcycle. I have to go though."
"Hey wait," Sirius called out, as I was half way across the street. He looked uncomfortable, and ruffled his hair, reminding me of James. "Have you seen Gaby, yet? I mean, I heard she's off in Venezuela but I'm not sure when she'll get back."
"No." I said suspiciously. "She'll be back a day or so before break ends. Why?"
"Just wondering." Sirius said, shrugging. James raised an eyebrow at him.
"Alright." I said, taking one last glance at James. "Bye then." And I ran up to the porch, and into the house.
I hung my coat up and walked over to the kitchen, handing my father the post. He smiled at me as he took it, looking through the many letters. He furrowed his eyebrows at the first few, throwing them immediately in the trash. Petunia was staring blankly at her coffee, very silent. She continued like that for the rest of breakfast, until she finally cleared her throat, her gaze on my father.
"Father," she began, and I grimaced, bracing myself for what was coming next. "Yesterday...Lily told me something."
My dad folded his newspaper and glanced at me, before looking at Petunia with a grim expression. "And what is that?" he said, talking directly to Petunia. His 'fatherlike voice' was coming on...the one he used for only rare and serious occasions.
"She told me," Petunia said, pausing and taking a deep breath. Her tone wasn't snappy, and for once, she sounded human. "That...our mother came to visit yesterday." There was an odd silence, and all eyes were on me. I looked unsteadily at my toast.
"Lilian," he said, looking at me seriously. I had no choice but to look up. "Is this true?"
"Of course it's true!" Petunia snapped, back to her usual manner. "Don't you ever believe me?"
"I just want to clarify things," he said calmly, slowly shifting his gaze to Petunia, then back to me.
"Petunia's telling the truth," I said quietly. "Virginia came yesterday...she probably wanted to talk to you or something, but you weren't home. I was." I wondered why I couldn't call her 'mother' anymore.
My father stared hard at me, with the impression that he was thinking over something.
"Well," he said briskly, standing up and pushing in his chair. "You were probably dreaming, Lily."
"I wasn't dreaming." I said evenly. He ignored me though, and continued to pace the kitchen, stopping at the door knob of his room. He looked at me as if giving me a chance to defend myself, to repeat that I wasn't dreaming, but I kept quiet. I didn't feel like arguing, and my family would see the truth soon enough. He sighed and opened the door, closing it behind him.
"Why didn't you tell him?" Petunia spat, looking close to tears again. "Now he probably thinks we're crazy or something, imagining dead people coming back to life."
"She was never dead!" I shot back at her, feeling my face grow hot with fury. "She's been lying to you, to me, to dad-"
"Shut up!" she yelled suddenly. And I widened my eyes, taken aback. "I don't want to hear it!" She knocked over her mug of coffee, spilling its contents onto the table. "I've had enough." she said, and took her coat from the back of her chair, making her way to the door in merely seconds.
I heard the door slam, and quickly dodged away from the table, where the coffee was about to spill on me. My legs felt like lead when I walked up the stairs, and into my room. I widened my eyes as I noticed that there was an owl at my windowsill, staring at me with its yellow eyes.
I walked steadily to the window, opening it and letting it land onto my bed, ruffling its feathers. It was a handsome black one, and it kept staring at me unblinkingly, and I knew I probably had to answer right away.
"Fine," I muttered, taking the letter that was tied to its leg. I unfolded the parchment, my eyes scanning what was written of the very short letter.
I'm coming over your house whether you like it or not.
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