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Author’s Note: Sound the trumpets! Bang the drums! Toot the flutes! This story has just passed 1000 reads! How wonderful! Considering you are here I think it is safe to assume that you are one of my readers, LOL, so my warmest thanks go out to you. And if you haven’t noticed this is the longest chapter yet and that means yay! I personally love this chapter which is a change from me thinking my work is awful. I hope you like reading it as much as I liked writing it.

Chapter Twelve

Merry Christmas Eve

I went to bed that night with frenzied thoughts of Valarie and Snape. I had been watching them as they sat in the Gryffindor Common Room together. They weren’t doing anything but talking. It was all hushed whispers; I doubt I would have been able to hear them if I had been standing right next to them. It was very unsettling to see them together. Something was going on. And it wasn’t good whatever it was. I didn’t understand why I felt like their target. I mean I had been the one who had gotten the boys to turn Valarie’s hair back from that ugly grey. I tossed and turned with this mess of thoughts and managed finally to fall asleep.

********

I woke up hours later breathing hard with a thin layer of cold sweat all over my body. My heart was pounding loudly and I put my hand to my chest trying to settle it. I couldn’t remember the nightmare. Nothing specific. Just feelings. No real images. I steadied my breathing and sat up, rubbing my eyes. I didn’t understand how people always have such vivid nightmares. They see scary places or old friends long gone. I hadn’t even really seen anything, but I felt scared.

I felt like Julius Caesar must have felt after the soothsayer told him to “beware the ides of March!” Its one of those things where you don’t know what exactly the information means or how it pertains to your life but you get a certain feeling from it. You shrug it off as nothing but when this event in your future occurs those feelings come rushing back.

Like something was coming. Something I couldn’t see yet. Something bad. “Beware the ides of March,” indeed.

********

The next week flew by. The student’s collective unattainable joy made the week go faster; we needed Christmas break. I needed it. The next week, however fast, was unbearably hard. Everything the professors could do to make us miserable, they did. Exams, papers, presentations consumed my life. I won some, I lost some. Failed, succeeded, laughed, cried. And then it was over. I signed my name to the list of students going home and scanned the rest of the name. I was surprised to see that Remus’ name was not on the list.

I asked him about it later when I found him to say goodbye. He was sitting at the Gryffindor table along with the other few students who decided that Hogwarts was the place to spend the holidays. The Great Hall looked amazingly festive. Tall Christmas trees dripping in sparkles and crystal ornaments rose up to stare down at the students demanding them to absorb the joyful spirit of the season. Snow was falling from the magical ceiling; yet it never reached the floor. An enormous wreath was hanging behind the staff table and it kept morphing into shapes of different holiday images. One minute it was a snowman, the next a candy cane or a present.

Remus got up as he saw me coming.

“You’re staying here?” I asked, setting down the handle of my suitcase. He nodded.

“And you’re headed for home and Peter’s house?”

I nodded, feeling sort of bad for him. James, Sirius, and Peter were all going home.

“Won’t you be lonely?” I asked, and I knew that he would be able to hear the sympathy in my voice. He cracked a smile and answered,

“I hear that Vicky is going to be staying here as well.” I gave off a little squeal and gave him a quick hug.

“Are you two…?” I asked, hopefully.

“We’ll see,” he responded mysteriously.

“Well, have a good break, Remus,” I said, smiling brightly at him. “And I’ll see you when I get back.” I pressed a small box with a shiny, green bow on it into his hand. It was nothing truly special, just a small present to show how much I appreciated his friendship. He gave me a final wave as I headed out of the hall, back into the world.

********

“You know what I just heard the other day?” I asked Peter, later on the Hogwarts Express. We were in the middle of one of our famous conversations. The ones where we talk about nothing yet somehow discover things about ourselves and about happy we were.

“What did you hear?” he asked, cheerfully putting his arm around my shoulders.

“I heard that in New York City approximately 1,600 are bitten by other people every year!”

Nobody in the whole world other than Peter would have a: listened to me, and b: thought that the conversation was engaging. That was why he was my boyfriend and that was why he made me happy.

“That’s interesting,” he murmured above me. “Pretty sick and twisted, but interesting.” He patted my nose with his finger. I giggled.

“So when do you want me to come over to your house?”

Peter unwound himself from me and seemed to ponder the question for a few minutes.

“Well the party is on Christmas Eve so there are a few days of break before then. You should probably go to your house first and then you can just come on that day.”

“You don’t want me around longer?’ I asked, playfully, running my finger along his cheek.

“No, I don’t want my father around you longer than absolutely necessary. Just come over the afternoon of the 24th. Our house is at 319 Remington Crescent.”

I ignored the rest of what he had said and went back to the topic of his father.

“Come, on he can’t be that bad?” I tried. Peter sighed.

“You don’t understand. He cares about me in a fatherly sort of way but overall, I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t like me.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” I exclaimed. “I mean I have problems with my mother but I know she likes me. How could he not like you?”

“Fine, don’t believe me,” Peter grumbled in his serious voice. “But don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

At that moment, Lily and James burst into the compartment smiling with pure Christmas spirit.

“Hey guys!” they nearly yelled in unison. I waved at them and Peter smiled. They sat down in the seat across from us.

“So guess what?” James asked.

I really don’t understand why we must start conversations like this. There is no way I could ever guess what he was about to say. And it wasn’t like he really wanted me to guess anyway.

“Well, since you talked to mum and told her that you were going to be spending Christmas Eve with Peter she suggested that Lily stay with us on that very same night.” He was beaming. James has been so happy since he’s been with Lily. I was happy that he was happy.

“That’s nice,” I said. I turned to Lily. “Well I assume that she will like you better than me anyway.”

********

The train started to slow down a couple of minutes later. I picked myself off of Peter’s shoulder where I had been dozing. Peter stretched and pulled me to my feet.

“You have a red mark on your face,” he laughed, pointing to the cheek that had been smushed against his shoulder.

“Crap,” I muttered. “Mum will notice.”

“Yeah, because it’s so noticeable,” he said, sarcastically. I smoothed out my jeans and adjusted my grey sweater.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” I muttered. Peter laughed and followed me off the train. I grabbed my suitcase handle and followed James and Lily; Peter behind me.

“Are you sure you want to meet her?” I asked hurriedly, my nerves getting the better of me.

“Katie, I’ve met your mother before,” he answered calmly. “It might surprise you to know that your brother and I are pretty good friends.” I laughed hollowly and grabbed for Peter’s hand. The platform was swarming with students of all shapes and sizes. One might think it difficult to locate one person among the masses but I found who I was looking for quite easily.

There was mum. She was wearing a sliming yellow dress, her hair was up in a fancy do, and she was wearing sheer, but elegant makeup. How does she always look so perfect? She strangled James in a hug first, smoothing his hair and cooing in his ear. She hugged Lily next and started complimenting her vibrant hair and outfit.

When she finally got to me, she pulled me into a hug and I got a whiff of her perfume.

“Did you know you have a mark on your face?” she hissed in my ear. I sighed a defeated and depressed sigh. I pulled away from her.

“You look beautiful mum,” I said quietly.

“Well thank you dear,” she replied, patting her hair. See? How hard was it to give a compliment? Really?

“Mum, you remember Peter,” I said, pulling him forwards.

“Well, my dear I think you’re going to have to introduce me to your new boyfriend!” she laughed, her red lipstick shining.

“Mum, you do remember Peter?” I asked this time. She giggled a long rippling giggle.

“Of course I remember him!” she sang, patting him on the head. Did she just pat him on the head? Is my boyfriend six years old? No. Is my boyfriend a dog? No.

He is a rat though. People don’t pet rats do they? Forgive me, I have derailed.

“And it is so good to see you again!” She shook his hand this time. Well, that’s better then petting him.

“It’s good to see you too, Mrs. Potter,” Peter answered in a slightly stiff voice. Mum smiled at him but turned back to Lily.

“Now, my dear that skirt you’re wearing, do you think that they make that in my size?” I twisted my lips and mouthed “sorry” to Peter. He shrugged it off. I guess I had just expected Mum to fall over my boyfriend and want to know everything about him.

“MRS. POTTER!” a voice roared. I turned around and saw Sirius pushing through the crowd.

“Sirius!” Mum cried and hugged him. “I hope you’re spending the holidays with us!” Sirius nodded.

“That would be enchanting! I’m pretty sure I’m not allowed at home anymore anyway!”

I looked over at him, not sure if Sirius was serious or not, and pulled Peter away from all the commotion. I was certainly pulling him around a lot, but it wasn’t like we were going to be missed.

Lily was leading James away from Mum as well over to a woman with chestnut brown hair and a tall man with hair every bit as red as hers. I recognized them as her parents. I watched James shake hands with them and obviously crack a joke, because they all started to laugh. When he was good, he was great.

“See?” Peter said when we were out of ear shot from my mum. “She didn’t say anything about the mark on your face, and it’s nearly gone.” Obviously he didn’t head the comment mum had managed to sneak into my ear.

“Yeah,” I lied brightly. I squeezed his hand tighter, realizing that I we were going to have to say goodbye for a couple of days. I didn’t usually say goodbye to Peter. Goodnight or see you laters were more prominent in our partings. For some reason this was different. I knew that I couldn’t go to him anytime; see him when I needed.

I shook my head. This was stupid. I was going to see him in two short days. Well more like two and a half days. But who is really counting?

I could tell the same sort of thoughts were whizzing around in Peter’s head as I looked into his eyes. We hugged wordlessly. There is something different about hugging romantically and other sorts of hugs. Hugs always involve arms, warmth, and closeness. But when you hug romantically there is something different between the two people. Something radiating from them that adds a sort of magic feeling of safety and completeness. I buried my face in his shoulder and we stood there for a few minutes.

“I’ll miss you,” he said, pulling away a little so he was looking me in the face.

“Me too,” I said, kissing him deeply. We broke apart and headed away across the platform.

“Goodbye!” I called after him.

“Goodbye!”

I looked over my shoulder until I could no longer see the top of his head.

*******

“Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!” we all sang loudly on the car ride home. I was still a little upset about saying goodbye to Peter but Christmas carols have this creepy sort of way of soaking into our skins and making us sing.

Lily had departed from James with a passionate kiss.

“Isn’t that sweet?” Mum said. Lily said goodbye and said she would see James on the 24th. So it was James, Sirius, and me singing at the top of our lungs as mum’s car rattled along the snowy streets.

“Is dad home?” James asked, as a commercial for mattresses came on the radio.

“Oh, yes,” Mum replied. “He’s taking care of Charles.” When we finally reached home I wriggled with excitement. The house was the picture of Christmas. Dad had put lights all over the house and he always casts this spell on them that makes the lights move and jump in spectacular patterns. The neighbors always want to know where he gets them.

When we all trooped in though the door, we banged our snowy shoes on the Welcome mat and headed into the kitchen. Charles was sitting in his highchair and my dad was sitting in a chair feeding him strained somethings.

He smiled and opened his arms wide when he looked up at us. The first thing I noticed was how tired he looked. I realize, of course, that being a Healer is one of those terribly exhausting jobs but that didn’t mean I wasn’t worried. He was a thin man with thick, brown hair and dark, blue eyes which now had dark circles under them.

However he looked so Christmas-y in his green sweater with HO HO HO printed across it, I pushed the other thoughts from my mind. He hugged me first and told me how much he had missed me. He hugged James next, gave Sirius a sort of one armed hug and then pecked mum on the lips.

“Gabosh!” Charles yelled from his highchair, and the strained somethings went flying. I hung my coat on the coat rack and picked him up out of his seat; twirling him around.

“And how are you Charles?” I asked in that baby voice we aren’t supposed to use, but all do.

“Splica!” he replied.

“Good to know!” I said, giggling, sitting in a chair with him on my lap. He put his finger in his mouth and looked up at me. Gosh, my baby brother is cute. He even had little reindeer booties on his feet. I looked around the kitchen and had to smile. Dad and Mum were dancing together to whatever Christmas song was playing, while James and Sirius continued the lovely singing we had been doing in the car.

I smiled as Charles wrapped his fist around my finger.

It was good to be home.

********

Later that evening my father had taken James and Sirius outside to put the “finishing touches” on the house as he called it, while I helped mum cook in the kitchen. Ok, I wasn’t really doing much cooking. I was decorating the snowman sugar cookies that she kept whipping out of the oven. I can’t cook anything that isn’t macaroni and cheese. I am one of the reasons that there is a fire extinguisher under the sink. I frosted them, and gave them goofy faces with chocolate chips; stealing a few on the way.

I had dug up my old Santa hat, which was a bit small, but I managed to cram it onto my head.

“So how are things with you and Peter?” mum asked suddenly from the sink. I was licking my fingers, caught slightly off guard.

“Actually,” I replied, popping a chocolate chip in my mouth. “They are really great.”

“He’s good to you?”

“I wouldn’t be with him, if he wasn’t,” I said.

“So,” she continued, coming over to the counter and leaning across it. “Have you…done stuff?”

“Mother!” I gasped, choking on my chocolate chip.

“Oh, please it’s not like I’m not a woman,” she said, sounding offended.

“You’re not!” I exclaimed. “You’re my mother.”

“You’re embarrassed?”

“Ya think?”

Luckily at that moment, James burst into the kitchen all red in the face. “You guys have to come see the house,” he said, breathlessly. We grabbed our coats and Charles and rushed out into the front yard.

“Oh my god,” my mother and I murmured together. It was the most gorgeous thing I had ever seen. It looked like something out of the North Pole. Everything, the roof, the trees, the bushes, the porch were all decorated with something. Lights, animated statues, and a massive star were just some of the amazing things in our yard. It was so bright and beautiful that it was hard to look at. It all seemed to be dancing and the lights would change from a combination of hot reds, oranges, and yellows and fade into cooler greens, purples and blues. Also some spell had been cast so glowing candy canes were lined up along our front walk.

“You can actually eat them!” James informed me.

Dad put one of his arms around me and one around mum.

“What do you think?” he asked, knowing we were speechless. I’m pretty sure I teared up.

********

The next two days went by ridiculously fast, as break always does, and the next thing I knew it was the date of Peter’s party. Well, it was the date of Peter’s father’s party. Was I nervous? A little, I’m not going to lie. I had never met any boy’s parents before. Well, I have never really had a boy before. Not that I think I have Peter.

This was the way I was thinking as the morning minutes melted away into afternoon. We all helped Dad put up the Christmas tree in the living room later that day. It should have been up weeks ago but we wanted to help so it was put off. Mum sat on the couch with Charles offering suggestions.

“Twist it that way! There’s a bare patch right there! Fix the angel!”

Some wizarding families like to use magic to set up their tree and have it done in a few minutes. We, on the other hand, like to take the time to actually experience the spirit of decorating a Christmas. Each ornament was placed on the branches with tender, loving care. I love decorating the tree! I think it is one of those things that families should always do together. It’s a tradition and I adore it.

When we were satisfied with our handiwork we joined my mother on the couch and just looked at it.

“Merry Christmas Eve everybody,” dad said charmingly. I looked over at the clock. It was four in the afternoon. I had gotten a letter from Peter yesterday saying that the party started at seven but I should come by at six. I sighed and decided to start thinking about getting ready. I really did want to see Peter but I would much rather stay with my family and watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” as we go every Christmas Eve. We always laugh because the evil, old guy in the film is Mr. Potter.

I dragged myself up to my room and collapsed on the bed.

“Move,” I commanded my body, but to no avail. I felt sluggish and tired for no reason I could think of. I had just lazed about the house all day soaking in the things of the season. But sometimes I find that lying around and doing nothing can really take it out of you. I lay there on my bed for a good half an hour before I finally found the strength to get up and get dressed.

I went over to my trunk that was currently unpacked, and hunted for the dress that I had planned to wear to the ball. I figured that I never got a chance to wear it and Peter said that it was a fancy party. The dress was, of course, squished to the bottom of the trunk and I had to use a special spell to get all the wrinkles out of it.

Putting on dresses is one big fiasco. It’s like a battle and it takes forever. You have to squirm, pull, and every so often you will hear the start of a ripping sound and you’ll stop pulling out of fear of destroying the thing you are trapped in. Once you actually have the dress on, in the proper direction, it takes about a million little adjustments to get it to fit just right. After I had wrestled my dress on there was a knock at the door.

“Want help with your hair?” It was mum and I had to admit that I was very happy with her offer. I am awful with hair, especially mine so I was grateful for the help. We didn’t do anything too fancy, because I refused to have something over the top, but it ended up looking pretty spectacular. A few curls here and there and a powerful holding spell made my hair look rather nice arranged nicely around my head. She helped me with my makeup too, which I also am terrible at.

I must say, I ended up looking awfully nice.

“Well, just look at you!” Mum exclaimed after we had finished. “I have to get my camera.” As she left the bedroom, Sirius and James came in.

“Aw,” they said together when they saw me.

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” I smiled and began checking through my purse to make sure I had all the things I needed. I glanced at the clock over my shoulder. It was nearly time to go.

“Mum!” I called. “If you intend on taking any pictures I suggest they occur sometime in the next few seconds!” She came bustling back instead of answering me. She made me to poses while the boys snickered in the background. I rolled my eyes a little, but secretly enjoyed it a bit. A couple thousand pictures later I made my way over to the fireplace in the living room, where our pot of Floo powder was. Dad gave me a hug and James patted me on the shoulder. They both told me to have a good time and Dad said I looked very pretty.

“Now come home right when the party is over so we can open presents tomorrow morning,” Mum ordered, kissing my cheek.

Sirius laughed.

“What?” I asked, looking at him.

“Well I just find it humorous that you will be coming out of the fireplace tonight instead of Santa Claus.”

We all laughed and then I grabbed a handful of Floo powder with a determined fist.

I looked over my shoulder before yelling, “319 Remington Crescent!” and disappearing in a whoosh of green flames.

********

I tumbled out of a fireplace into a luxuriously furnished living room. I pushed myself to my feet and brushed myself off from head down to my sparkly heels. I had just finished removing any traces of dust from my dress when the door burst open and a tremendously attractive boy walked in. He had sandy, brown hair that had a perfect way of falling into his bright green eyes. He was dressed up, for the party clearly, and his eyes filled with confusion as he noticed me.

“Are you here for the party?” he asked. Gosh, he even had a nice voice.

“Yes,” I responded timidly. “I’m Peter’s girlfriend.” A smile instantly formed on the boy’s lips. He came towards me and shook my hand.

“It’s Carly isn’t it?”

Stupid Peter.

“No, actually it’s Katie,” I answered. “But close enough.” He laughed a careless laugh before introducing himself.

“I’m his brother, Aaron.”

“Oh!” I said, surprised. “It’s nice to meet you.”

“You as well.” He has a smooth way of talking. “Well, you are probably looking for Peter.”

I followed him out of the living room into the foyer where I could spot the large, front door and a staircase that lead upstairs. Aaron called for Peter and a few seconds later my boyfriend came down the stairs looking spiffy in his party attire. Aaron excused himself and disappeared through a door. He actually said,

“Please excuse me,” before he left. It’s like he came out of a movie or something.

“Hi,” Peter said when he reached the foot of the stairs.

“Hi,” I said back. Next, we were kissing, hugging, and both talking at rapidly high speeds about what had occurred in the past few days.

“You’re mother actually asked you if we had…done anything?” Peter laughed.

“In those exact words,” I answered, still slightly mortified. After we finished catching up and after Peter had told me that I looked beautiful *score!* he offered a tour of the house.

It was very humorous. Peter pretended like it was a formal museum tour, talking stiffly, and pointing out various objects in the house. When we had finally reached the dining room, I saw something that made my heart drop.

On the elegantly decorated table there were folded place cards with names written in golden script. One of them said Lucius Malfoy.

“Malfoy is coming?” I demanded, whipping the card off the table. Everyone knew that the Malfoy’s were involved with You-Know-Who.

“My father is friends with his father,” Peter said, calmly taking the card from my hand and putting it back by the plate. “It’s not like I know any of these people. Come on I want to show you the upstairs.”

We rushed up the stairs and he started leading me down the hall.

“My favorite room is at the end of the hall. It’s the library and my mother’s portrait is in there.” I kissed his cheek gently.

“I want to see her.” I knew that his mother had passed away around five or six years ago.

When we reached the end of the hall he put his hand on the brass handle and we entered, while he kept talking emphatically.

“She is really beautiful, and it really is one of the loveliest…” he trailed off when he realized that we were not the only people in the room. Two men were there. One was tall, with a bushy mustache and rather looked like Coronal Mustard from Clue. The other was short, with a needle point mustache. There were various shelves with old books on them which I would have loved to look at, but my attention was focused on the two men. The portrait of an amazingly attractive woman sitting on a stone bench was not on the wall but leaning against the wall between the two men.

“Oh hello Peter!” the man with the bushy mustache said jovially. And then he caught sight of me.

“And this must be your girlfriend Carly!”

“It’s Katie, dad” Peter answered quickly. “Why is mum’s portrait on the floor?” Mr. Pettigrew dodged the question and came forwards. He shook Peter’s hand and then complimented me saying,

“Well she looks like a lovely and well accomplished young lady.” I blushed a little bit, not going to lie and noticed then how much Mr. Pettigrew’s mustache curled at the ends.

“I asked you why mum’s picture is on the floor,” Peter said again in a dangerous voice.

“Well that’s just the thing,” Mr. Pettigrew happily explained. “I was just discussing with Mr. Stoker here how the portrait is really serving no use to anyone here and he thinks that we could sell it for more than a few galleons.” I watched as Peter’s face turned red.

“You CANNOT sell mum’s portrait!” he yelled.

“Don’t be absurd,” Mr. Pettigrew replied. “We have plenty of other pictures of your mother. This one is simply gathering dust.”

“You CANNOT sell it!” Peter said again. Mr. Stoker managed to slip out the door and I followed him quickly, muttering a quick bye to Peter. I wandered my way down the hall, glad to be away from all the family tension. So that was Peter’s father? He seemed very formal and intelligent, but seemed hopelessly unconcerned with Peter’s feelings. I looked at the other pictures on the walls of the hall for a few minutes until Mr. Pettigrew stalked out of the end room twitching with the fury of the argument that had just ensued. He didn’t look at me as he headed for the stairs and disappeared. I instantly headed for the room and found Peter sitting in one of the chairs.

“He’s selling the portrait,” he said sounding sadder than I had ever heard him. I sat next to him and grabbed for his hands.

“I’m so sorry.” I didn’t know what else to say.

“You know he is the reason my mum is dead. She was terribly sick with Vanishing Sickness and had to stay in the hospital. However, she did start responding to treatment and got well enough to come home. But when she was here father wouldn’t stop arguing and yelling about dumb things. He was in the thick of his drinking problem. They fought and fought; he never left her alone. And then she got worse…and now she’s not here.”

“Peter…” I started, but realized that I had no way to know how to end the sentence.

“Just leave me alone,” he muttered. “It’s nearly time for dinner anyway.”

********

The next half an hour was filled with guests arriving and greetings flying all around. I didn’t recognize anyone but a beautiful blonde girl in a pale, blue dress came in and went over to Aaron. I think Peter said Erica was her name. Then the door opened and a tall man with blonde hair entered followed by Lucius Malfoy. He didn’t really take any notice of me but the sight of him was still unpleasant. I just hovered by Peter who hadn’t spoken since we had left the upstairs room. He was refusing to have a good time. If a good time was even possible here. The majority of the people coming in were double my age, a lot even triple. Suddenly a bell rang, and dinner was served.

Three or four house elves walked in with all sorts of delectable treats on glistening silver platters. There was every kind of meat imaginable, potatoes, steamy vegetables, cranberries, breads, special butters, cheese, and wine. Once everyone had a first plate that they were satisfied with, conversation started up again. I could hear Mr. Pettigrew’s voice ringing out over everyone else’s as he spoke about work at the ministry and other things I found rather boring. What surprised me was how easily Aaron was able to add to the conversation, being a muggle and all. Somehow he was able to make accurate and interesting statements about the things said. Erica, who looked stunning in the candlelight, was stroking his hand silently. I, personally, felt much safer at this end of the table, away from those kinds of conversation. I, even being a witch, would not be able to say anything intelligent on the subject of goblin revolutions or some such thing Binns would teach in class.

Lucius was staring off into space, twirling his fork in his hands while his father was engaged with Peter’s father. He caught me looking at him so I looked down to the food on my plate.

Mrs. Wilder, an older woman with a high, gossipy voice started talking to me, but she asked very random questions such as,

“And your middle name is?” or “Do you like the flower arrangement on the table?” I answered these questions happily, but in my head I was more than confused. I turned to Peter to save me from further conversation with her but he was still being silent. I reached for his hand, but he pulled away. I sighed. This was shaping up to be a ruddy evening indeed. Right now I could be watching George Bailey calling Mr. Potter a scurvy little spider but instead I’m stuck at a party that I didn’t want to come to in the first place. I only came to be with Peter, but he isn’t talking. A man who was sitting down at our end snapped his fingers and called for the bottle of wine to be sent down to him. As it passed hands I noticed that Peter, very slyly actually, filled his glass with some before giving it to the man.

“Peter,” I whispered, in that voice my mum gets when she catches me at something. He didn’t say anything to me, but drained his glass in a single gulp. My eyes got wide. What just happened here? The people at our end of the table didn’t notice. They were all on the older side and one of them even, a Mr. Stevens, fell asleep at the table. Peter poured himself another glass. I was getting really nervous now.

“Peter, what are you doing?” I hissed as he raised the glass to his lips. “Your father might see.” I tried to scare him out of it.

“He hasn’t noticed me for seventeen years,” Peter answered darkly. “I don’t see why he would start now.” And then the wine was gone. My hands started getting sweaty. What was I supposed to do? Excuse myself? Get Peter to leave? How? He was already actually looking a little tipsy. And he kept putting his hand on my knee under the table. Yikes.

By the emptiness of the third glass I was about to stand up and do something, but at that moment Mr. Pettigrew stood up with his glass.

“I am utterly embarrassed,” he started. “But I forgot to make a toast at the beginning at the meal.” I can see where Aaron gets his smoothness. The rest of the guests stood and raised their glasses. I followed suit and pulled Peter up with me, who was teetering.

As Mr. Pettigrew launched into his toast on friendship, money, Christmas, sprinkled with jokes, Peter started whispering slurred statements in my ears. I couldn’t understand most of it but I had to push him away from me a couple of times because some of the other guests were starting to stare. Once the toast was over I took a sip of my glass and sat down with the rest of the guests. I tried to pull Peter down with me, but he seemed bent on standing. When his father saw that he wasn’t going to sit down any time soon he said gently,

“Peter, is there something that you want to say?” I looked up at my swaying boyfriend, feeling sick and embarrassed, even though I wasn’t the one standing up. His face was flushed and he was smiling in a weird way.

“There is something that I would like to say,” he managed to say without slurring too much of it. Mr. Pettigrew gestured with his hands that Peter could continue. I buried my face in my hands.

“I would like to make a toast to my father.” The guests smiled warmly at that. “I would like to make a toast to the man that drove my mother to her grave.” The smiles went away. “I would like to make a toast to the man that never cared about me or my life…or my life.” He repeated the last part again shakily, clutching his glass tighter.

Gosh this was a disaster. I tried to pull him down again, but he kept barreling forwards.

“Thanks to this girl here, I am finally able to tell you just how I feel about you!” He pointed at me for emphasis.

Please god, don’t bring me into this.

“Thanks dad for making me feel like a neighbor instead of a son… Here’s to the man I hate…. Congratulations, you jack ass.”

The guests gasped, and I clapped a hand to my mouth. Lucius just looked amused. I glanced at Mr. Pettigrew who was so red in the face I could almost feel the heat of his anger. He was tearing his expensive napkin to bits.

Oh help.


And there at last is the end of Chapter Twelve. I started this chapter…seemingly eons ago yet a pizza, and two sodas later, here it is! I really hope you enjoyed it! I don’t know if you managed to count how many words this chapter is. Over 6000! I mean that’s like double of what I normally do! Sorry, very excited now! Please leave a review if you have some time!

-Kira

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