Chapter 7 : Chapter Seven: An Evan's Family Christmas
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Chapter 7: An Evans’ Family Christmas
I looked myself over in the floor length mirror that hung on the back of my white bedroom door. I had gotten up early this morning and started getting ready since being at home meant that I could not use magic. My deep red hair was in loose curls that framed my face, I had done my make-up, and was wearing dark jeans with an emerald colored v-neck sweater. Around my neck hung the small golden heart locket my Mum and Dad had gotten me for Christmas. On my feet, I wore Christmas socks that were red and had little Christmas trees on them.
It was as normal as I was going to get, and it was important that I looked normal. Today was Christmas. Today Petunia would be coming home. She had called Mum yesterday and finally confirmed that she would indeed be here to eat and celebrate with us. I was nervous that she was coming, but I was also glad.
“Lily!” my Mum called upstairs. She was nervous Petunia was coming too. “Will you come and help in the kitchen please?”
“Coming,” I called as I opened up my door. I made my way down the stairs and walked into the kitchen.
I always loved our little kitchen. It had white cabinets and appliances, but the wood flooring and cream colored walls made it feel warm and welcoming. The room smelled like turkey, roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding. It made my stomach growl.
“Will you finish decorating the cake?” Mum asked me when she noticed me. “Just frost it and arrange the cranberries and orange slices on top please.”
“Sure,” I answered her. I loved baking desserts. She couldn’t have given me a better job. I jumped to work with enthusiasm.
“There you two are,” my Dad said as he entered the kitchen. “Petunia should be here soon, right?”
“Yes Dear,” Mum answered him.
“Good,” he replied. “It will be nice to have the whole family together.”
“Yes it will,” Mum agreed, smiling.
“That reminds me,” I told them. “I was thinking it might be a good idea not to bring up my school or well anything to do with that part of my life while Petunia is here.”
“Why would you say that?” Dad asked. “What else are you going to talk about?”
“I don’t know,” I answered him. “But it makes Petunia uncomfortable and we can just talk about whatever she wants to talk about. I just want her to have a good time.”
“I agree with Lily,” Mum chimed in. “We can talk about magic and those sort of things after Petunia leaves if we want to, but while she’s here, maybe it’s for the best.”
“Why?” Dad asked, sounding upset. “Lily shouldn’t have to hide who she is in her own home because it might upset Petunia.”
“This is Petunia’s home too,” Mum told him. “And Lily is okay with it. Pet always gets upset when we talk about it, so why don’t we just leave it alone while she is here.”
“It looks as if I am outnumbered,” Dad chuckled as he walked out of the kitchen and back into the sitting room.
Mum and I worked in quiet for the rest of the time while I was in the kitchen. I was going over in my head of a list of things to not talk about, and a list of things I could talk about. Unfortunately the second list was a little too small. Pretty much anything in my life revolved around school and magic. So I decided to try to ask Petunia about her and to try to just talk about her as much as possible.
After I finished decorating the cake, I helped set the table. The rest of the morning went by pretty quickly. I watched a Christmas special on the telly with Dad after I was done helping Mum with everything. And next thing I knew, Petunia was home and we were sitting at the table.
“Mum says you have a boyfriend,” Dad teased her as we were all filling up our plates with food.
“That’s right,” Petunia told him. She seemed like she was in a decent mood. Her blonde hair was curled and she was wearing a blue jumper that looked really good with her eye color. “His name is Vernon. He works at the firm.”
“That’s nice dear,” Mum told her. “Didn’t you say he is up for a promotion?”
“He is,” Petunia beamed. “He’s a junior executive right now, but he’s on his way to the top.”
“Well, we can’t wait to meet him,” Dad told her. “Have to make sure he’s good enough for our girl.”
Petunia beamed at Dad. That’s sort of how it went for a while. Petunia talked about her job as a secretary, which sounding awfully boring in my opinion-not that I said that. She talked about life in London, her new flat that she just moved into last month, and even about her new friend, Anne. I nodded along and agreed when something was nice or interesting, but for the most part, I tried to stay quiet. Petunia preferred it that way, and if she was happy then it was okay for the day.
“Lily, how are you down there?” my Dad asked me, looking down the table. “You’ve hardly said a word the whole meal.”
I raised my eye brows and shook my head with a smile.
“Mum just did a great job with all of the food,” I complimented. “Plus I’ve just been listening to Petunia. She’s got so much going on, I’m happy for you.” I nodded at her towards the end. She didn’t even offer me a thank you, but nodded her head at me and then continued to talk to my Mum about something.
Before I knew it, dinner was over and we all made our way into the living room-stuffed as could be. It was time to open presents. Mum, Dad, and I all exchanged presents that morning. It was better that way seeing as how the gifts I got Mum and Dad were a bit more on the magical side of things. I got my Dad a quidditch book that had moving pictures in it. He was always asking me about the sport, so I thought he might like some more information about it. Then I got my Mum a variety of different bubble baths that changed colors and scents based on your mood.
So we were all just exchanging gifts with Petunia. Mum and Dad had gotten her some new things for her apartment: some throw pillows, a tea set, and some new curtains she had wanted. She had gotten Dad a new tobacco pipe that he loved, Mum a candle set and her favorite perfume, and she got me yellow jumper. I had waited until I got home so that I could get Petunia a gift from a Muggle store. Mum had taken me to the mall and I picked her out a blue purse and a comb and brush set that was really pretty.
“Where did you get these?” she asked me slowly. She was eyeing the gifts from me. I knew she must be scared that they were magical.
“Just from the mall,” I told her quickly. “Mum took me to get them; she even helped me pick them out.” I thought that the reassurance that our Mum was there would make her feel better.
“And you didn’t do anything to them?” she questioned me again, looking suspicious.
“Just what would she have done to them?” Dad asked her. He was getting irritated.
“You just never know with her,” Petunia said in a snooty voice. “For all I know the brushes could break into song when I go to start brushing my hair.”
“I wouldn’t do that to any of your things,” I told her. “I know you don’t like it. They are just normal things from the mall. I didn’t even wrap them myself. Mum wrapped them for me.”
“I don’t believe you,” she squinted her eyes at me.
“Are you kidding me?” Dad exclaimed. “I don’t know what your problem is, Petunia, but you better knock it off right now! You’re sister got you two nice gifts, you should be grateful.”
“Grateful that they might turn into mice?” Petunia shrieked. “Of course you’re going to defend her. It’s always about her! You don’t care about me at all!”
“Excuse you!” Dad raised his voice. “You are out of line Petunia! You’re sister has barely said anything all day because she’s been so scared to upset you. She purposefully went to a local mall with your Mum to get you a normal gift that she knew you would like. Hell, she even banned us from talking about magic while you are here today because she didn’t want to upset you. So knock it off and be thankful you have a sister who cares so much.”
“Th-that’s not fair!” Petunia yelled back. “You always defend her! You always take her side!”
“Because you’re making her walk on egg shells in her own home!” he defended me. “You seriously can’t be that offended or scared of her and what she does. It’s absurd the way you treat her!”
“That’s enough,” Mum said. “Everyone needs to calm down.”
“I’m not going to calm down,” Dad told her. “You have to stop giving into this behavior of hers. She has a sister, no matter how much she does or doesn’t like it. And her sister is a witch. She needs to get over it.”
“Oh yes, Lily and her magic!” Petunia rolled her eyes in a dramatic fashion.
“Really, there is no need for all of this,” I said slowly, trying to figure out a way to calm everything down. “I promise, I didn’t do anything to your gifts. I did nothing. And it’s fine, really Dad. Everything is fine. Why don’t we all have some cake and tea? I will make the tea and we can all sit around the telly. There are different Christmas programs on, we can pick whatever sounds best.”
Petunia, Dad, and Mum all looked like they were about to say something or start yelling. Dad was red in the face and looked at me with a sad look on his face. Mum looked about ready to cry, and Petunia just looked pissed. But then, something happened, probably the worst thing that could have happened at that moment.
An owl tapped on the window. We all four turned to stare at it, and Petunia got angry, very angry.
“Of course!” she shrieked. “Of course! We can’t just have one normal family get together without your-your strangeness interfering!”
“Get it Lily,” Mum reprimanded me as I just stood there, a little struck by my horrible luck. “Before a neighbor sees, hurry.”
I walked over to the window and let the owl in. It belonged to Alice.
“I’ll just take her upstairs,” I replied. Then I took off through the house as quickly as I could. When I got to my room, I shut the door quickly. I put the owl on my desk and took the letter off of her leg. It read:
There has been an attack again. They are not reporting it in the news just yet because it’s bad. The Horton family was attacked in their home. Mr. Horton was an auror and spoke out against You-Know-Who.
It’s horrible Lily. They killed him, his wife, and their two kids. They were purebloods even.
That’s all I really know, but my Mum wanted me to write to you and tell you. It was close to Cokeworth. About forty minutes North from where you live Mum says.
Mum says to arm yourself with your wand and be on the alert. They don’t know where the Death Eaters went after the attack, so they could be in the area still. If we hear anything else, we will write to you immediately.
My heart raced as I dropped the letter and ran to my trunk which was at the end of my bed. I flung it open and grabbed my wand which was lying on top of everything. I put it in my pocket and tried to use my jumper to hide it. The last thing I needed was to have Petunia see it and freak out even more than she was. I could still hear her, Mum, and Dad talking in heated voices.
Quickly I scribbled a note to Alice that I would be careful and that everything seemed pretty quiet here in Cokeworth. I told her to keep me informed if anything else happened. Then I sent her owl off from my second story window and watched it leave until I could no longer see it.
“I’m never coming back here again!” I heard Petunia yell as I headed back down the staircase. “I knew this was a mistake!”
“That’s because that is the only way you want to see it,” Dad replied to her. I was shocked at how calm he seemed.
“Please don’t go,” I told my sister as I found my way to the front door where she was getting ready to leave. “Please, I’m sorry for this whole mess.”
“I don’t want to hear it,” she told me. “And don’t you dare get near me after touching that filthy bird.”
“Owls aren’t fifthly,” I told her. “Not that….well I guess that isn’t the point. Look, I’m sorry there was no way I could know that Alice would write me. Something bad happened, it was an emergency.”
She clearly didn’t believe me just yet, but it definitely seemed to interest her. She slowed down gathering her items and putting her coat on.
“I think you should stay here,” I told her. “At least for the night.”
“What are you going on about?” she asked me. She suddenly looked at my face and seemed to realize how serious I was. “What happened?”
I thought furiously about how I was going to try to explain this without having to fully tell her everything just yet.
“There was a murder,” I told her in a quiet voice. “On a family like me. The dad was like….erm…like one of our police officers. They are called Aurors in my world. But someone murdered him and his family. They lived about forty minutes North of here. They have not caught the killer or killers yet.”
“People like you?” she asked in a hushed voice. “Why would I stay here then?”
“I can protect you,” I told her.
“If a so called policeman couldn’t protect himself and his family,” Petunia reasoned. “How in the world are you going to protect any of us?”
“I-I don’t know,” I answered her honestly. “But I would try. We don’t know where those people are. Where the killers are. It isn’t safe to be out traveling right now.”
“You can’t expect me to stay here,” Petunia said. “I’m so done with this place, and honestly I’ve had enough of you today too. I’m going back to my flat in London, I’ll be safe there.”
“Please don’t go,” I asked her one last time.
“You can’t expect me to stay here,” she told me in a stern voice. “I don’t plan on ever coming back either.” And with that, she opened the front door and left.
I stood there and listened as she got into her car, turned the engine on, and drove away. I hoped she was right. I hoped that she would be safe in London.
“Are you alright Lily?” Dad asked me. I didn’t realize he had come up behind me. “Your face is stark white.”
“I need to tell you and Mum something,” I told him slowly. I started to move my way back to the sitting room.
“Did Petunia say something nasty?” he asked me as he followed me. When I walked into the sitting room, I found Mum wiping away a tear.
“No,” I told him. “It’s not about her.”
“W-what’s not about her?” Mum asked as I sat down on a chair across from her. Dad went and sat down next to her and handed her a tissue.
“Lily says she has something to tell us,” Dad told her. “Go on then Lily.”
I pulled my wand out and sat it on my lap. They both eyed it for a moment.
“It’s about Alice’s letter,” I told them. “She says that there was a……murder.” I stopped for a moment to prepare myself, to remind myself to only tell them what they needed to know.
“A murder?” Dad asked. “Is Alice okay? Is her Mum okay?”
“Yes,” I answered him. “She and her Mum are fine, but there was a murder…..erm….in my world. An Auror……like a police man……he and his family were murdered.”
“Go on,” Mum said quietly.
“Well the murder happened about forty minutes North of here,” I said. “Alice didn’t give me a direct place, but she may not have known because a lot of wizarding homes are untraceable. But he and his family were killed and the killer or killers are on the run. Alice’s Mum said to be on guard.”
“Surely they wouldn’t come to Cokeworth,” Dad said. He wrapped an arm around Mum in a protective manner.
“I don’t know,” I told him. “I don’t think they would either, but I don’t know how many witches or wizards live here. I mean, we can’t exactly go around and tell people what we are. We know Severus and his Mum are like me, there’s not telling who else is. And if those people think they have sanctuary here, they could come.”
“What can we do?” Dad asked me, looking a bit more serious now.
“We just have to be on alert,” I answered him. “I’ve read about a few protective charms in one of my books. I haven’t tried it yet, but I can cast them on the house and property. They won’t protect against heavy magic, but it should help. And I will keep my wand on me at all times for the rest of the break.”
“Is there anything Mum and I can do?” he asked. “I could have my gun loaded and ready. I could get some extra locks for the house doors and windows.”
“You can do that if you want to,” I told him. I didn’t want to tell him how useless it was, but if it made him feel safer-then I suppose that was okay.
“Will you get in trouble for doing magic?” Mum asked. “You’re not seventeen yet.”
“I doubt it,” I replied. “The Ministry is pretty boggled down with trying to find these people right now. Plus, even if I do-I can handle it. They will probably dismiss it as soon as they see what I am casting.”
“What kind of trouble are we talking about here?” Dad asked.
“Probably just another warning letter,” I answered. “But seriously, I doubt I’ll even get that.”
“Okay,” he nodded at me. I stood up, walked over to them and gave them both a hug before running upstairs to my room.
It took a minute or two of digging my school trunk, but I found the advanced Charms book I had bought this summer in Diagon Alley. I sat on my bedroom floor with my legs crossed and got to work reading and researching; it was going to be a long night.
The rest of the break went by in a stressful manner. I wrote back and forth with several people including: Alice, Marlene, Mary, Remus, and James and Sirius. I’m grouping James and Sirius together because apparently Sirius lives with James and the two of them would write me letters together. Everyone was really nice and caring and wanted to make sure my family and I were okay as word spread about the attack. They kept me updated on anything else they heard and found out, which wasn’t much to be honest.
It would seem that the Death Eaters that killed the Auror and his family fled far from the scene. The Daily Prophet never ran the story, but a privately ran paper called: The Defiant Reporter ran the story. Apparently the small paper service just started running a few weeks ago to run the stories and attacks that the other paper would not run. They claimed that the other paper was being censored by the Ministry-not that that was a surprise at this point.
They claimed that the murder on the Horton family was done on orders by You-Know-Who. That it was to send a message to pure blood families about what would happen to them if they stood against him or in his way. Alice sent me a clipping from the paper. She and her Mum subscribed to it. The article made my blood run cold as I read it.
Nothing else happened around my home, so I felt relatively safe when it was time to go back to school for the Spring Semester. I was sad to be leaving my Mum and Dad again, but at the same time, I was glad to be going back to Hogwarts. Being a Muggleborn is taxing in different ways. My parents don’t understand certain things about my life, and I purposefully keep certain things from them. If they knew I got called horrible names and got attacked when teachers’ backs were turned, they would never send me to school.
On top of that, no one from my life before Hogwarts with the exception of my Mum, Dad, and Petunia know that I’m a witch. So when my cousins, Aunt, and Uncle showed up the day after Christmas to see everyone-I had to stick to my ‘backup story’. The story we told everyone when they asked where I went to school and asked questions about what I studied and who my friends were. I hated having to do that, having to lie and deceive my own family members. On days like that, I felt like I was living a double life. I hated that feeling, feeling like I had to hide the biggest part of myself.
So when it was time to go back to Hogwarts, I was thankful. Thankful to be going back to classes were I could continue to learn and improve my magical skills. I was grateful to be going back to friends and people who understood what I was talking about and dealing with on a day to day basis. And I was humble, to be going back to the place that really felt like home.
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