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A/N: are you like me and just can't believe your eyes? After many months of believing that I, hpOracle, will never again post a chapter on hpff.com here I am proving fate and all who questioned me wrong! Yep, I have decided to complete this story! To all my old readers, I really hope that you find this again! To all my new readers! I really hope you enjoy! Stay with me as I discover my writing ability once again, it may be alittle rust to start with but I assure you, it will get better with time =) Please read and Review!

Chapter Five: Ugly Castles And Ghastly Plans

The large wheels turn beneath me carrying me slowly home.

I stifle a yawn and look around the small area.

I have never been in a limo before, but it doesn’t surprise me that mother has purchased one. It was going to happen at some point or another. A part of me likes the new addition to our many other cars in the large garage situated out the back of the house. The other part,U on the other hand, misses the old silver Mercedes which mother had acquired from a sleazy and all-round disgusting car salesman. This man owned the nearby car yard and was known for practically shaking the bodies of his customers of all the loose change he could gather and squashed the coins deep into his oversized pockets. The Merc, with its torn seats and missing radio, had all the qualities of a much loved car. Together with its moody radiator and fresh pine smell made me feel safe and modest. But this large black limousine with its compact compartments, liquor cabinet, haunting black television screen and built in driver didn’t sit too well with me to say the least.

I think I catch a few minutes sleep, lulled into a sense of complete contentment and comfort from the overpowering smell of new leather. At some point during the journey I accidentally bang my elbow into a seemingly smooth piece of the upholstery to find that it is really a button in disguise and the elbow contact had triggered a compact mirror to burst out at my head from the ceiling.

The suddenness of my appearance startles me slightly and makes me glance hurriedly around in case anyone notices my lack of composure. But no; I am alone for the first time since I left my compartment on that dreadful day at the start of Sixth Year. When I had opened my compartment door to disembark the train at Hogsmeade Station was the start of a year long war which concluded with me, yes I the talented Lily Evans getting the upper hand of “The Prat” before the war was interrupted by the yearly “Summer Truce”.

Staring at my reflection I don’t notice the dried ink caked onto my scalp, nor the few smears here and there where strands of my hair had left marks. I stare hard and after a while all I can see is a blur of the colour of flesh and emerald green. I wonder if Potter really meant what he said back at Kings Cross, “This is not over, Evans. I’ll get you back. You just wait. Watch your back because I will get you.”

I shiver; even just the memory of his threat scares me. That’s something. I hadn’t thought about it before now, obviously. I was too busy relishing in my victory, but what if I had indeed gone too far? What if I had suddenly grown a conscience and should tell Jack my driver to go back so I can pick up every little strand of Potter’s hair and somehow make a tope out of it? Ha! Unlikely! Anything I have ever done to that immature boy could not come close to what he has done to me and some of my possessions over my entire schooling career at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And some people actually think that boy fancies me?! Ha! He’s got a nice way of showing it. I hope you can note the sarcasm.

No I think they are completely wrong, no boy who likes a girl would ever turn their flesh green so they looked like pieces of frog that were thrown carelessly into cauldrons in Potions Class, nor transfigure quills into flesh eating creatures that I had to strap to the side of the desk to stop from launching its sharp tip at my fingers. And what kind of boy would steal my little kitten Mufty? Frozen at the bottom of the toilet bowl I found him! I remember screaming and screaming until someone came to find me. And guess who that person was? Weighed down with Kitty Chews and glancing around hurriedly there was Potter in the door way. I remember accusing him of killing my cat and asking him how he could be so heartless. Dumbstruck and mumbling repeated apologies, Potter plucks Mufty from the toilet bowl, taps him with his wand and blow dries the cat with a jet of warm air from his wand. Meowing quietly and looking very calm and sleepy, Mufty looked as though he had just woken up from the best nap ever his fur as fluffy as I had ever seen it.

He had gone too far that time round. Since then I have not allowed Mufty to come back to Hogwarts just in case he is targeted yet again by that insolent “Prat”. I keep him at home. At least he only has my mother and “The Bitch” to contend with there.

Now I hope you understand why the Balding Potter charm had to be used. I love my cat. Potter loves his hair. Eye for an eye I always say. And I simply never forget anything much less something so completely terrifying. I sink into my seat a little more, feeling the leather support every part of my back. I can smell mother’s money in the very air pumping out of the air conditioning vents ahead of me. I feel slightly intimidated. What am I coming home to?

The car stops with a sudden jolt and my eyes immediately shoot out the window. My eyes almost become airborne.

“Home sweet home!” Jack calls as I hear him shut the engine off and open his door.

My tongue now joins my eyes, lolling uncontrollably to find the right words to shout out.

“We have the wrong house!” I finally yell, deciding they were the best words to use to describe my complete and utter disbelief.

Jack opens my door a moment later and I see what I flat out refuse to believe. A slab of marble stands at the unspoken line of the pavement and lawn and screwed into the front of it is a gleaming gold plaque with the inscription “The Evanses” in flowing script that I can barely make out.

Let me explain my amazement, I have mentioned before my mother’s success in business, the newly purchased limo I have been travelling in for the past hour or so and am now unable and unwilling to leave? Well, my house has definitely been upgraded and “upsized” in many respects. I’m not staring at the modest one story house I said goodbye to almost a year ago. That house was considered home, this ghastly replacement is anything but.

Towering over my head, I see a miniature replica of a castle. Three stories high, chimneys were disguised as towers, balconies own their own stairwells leading to the upper floors. The gardens were filled to bursting point with fountains and rose bushes of every colour but of identical sizes. Hedges created miniature mazes, fairy lights sprinkle the lawn and pathways wound around the centerpieces. In my opinion, it’s a jumbled heap of wealth squeezed into a small area looking more like rubbish compared to treasure.

“Mother!” I scream. I can’t take this anymore! Where did my home go? What has she done?! She has gone too far this time! I doubt I even know where my room is!

Not a moment later the culprit of this ghastly construction flings open a set of double doors at the front of the house and screams back in a delighted tone, “My daughter returns!”

Blonde hair flowing, tight denim and cotton creaking, my mother walks in an attempted graceful like way down the paved pathway that wound through the garden and taking her damn time. My mother is not a large woman, but she does give the distinct impression of someone who sits on her backside for the greater portion of her days given the weight hanging around that exact area. She smiles broadly, showing off her weekly bleached teeth and making a right racket with her clipping heels as she continues to slowly make her way towards me with open arms. She’s putting on a show for the neighbors, there is no doubt in my mind. I fight the urge to look towards the surrounding houses just incase I see any sign of fluttering curtains.

Her arms are not dropping! She doesn’t expect me to give her a hug does she? I’m not a hugging person, not with my mother, not anyone. Fact of the matter is, in order for someone to hug me that person has to definitely come into my personal bubble. And honestly most of who have dared do that have ended up in the hospital wing with suspicious injuries that could only be caused by powerful charms that a student who achieves an ‘O’ in the subject could perform.

“Fetch the luggage Jack,” Mother requests, dipping her head in the limousine driver’s direction who tipped his hat at her in reply wearing a strange grin that just didn’t look right on his lined face.
I stand. I know that if I attempt to shut the car door in my mother’s face she may take it as an insult. And to insult mother is to play with fire and deliberately burn your self for fun. Stupidity, in other words.

Her arms immediately latch onto my side, “How was your school year?”

I look at her knowing this is just a cover question so she can embark on what she really wants to talk about, guilt free.

“Fine, mother.” I reply crisply.

“Wonderful. How do you find the add-ons?” Mother asks almost a split second later as though she didn’t listen to my mediocre reply at all. She gestures unnecessarily and gracefully towards the three story eye soar we were slowly walking towards as though commenting on minuscule buds forming on the tips of the grass strands beneath our feet.

“It’s diff-different” I say as her acrylic nails dig into my side. I know that was not the reply she was hoping for. I smile inwardly.

“I knew you would love it!” Mother says, continuing on with her scripted lines as though she were an actress in a Broadway musical and someone had improvised a little too much for her liking. “You were my inspiration after all.” I force the look of complete disgust from my lips and look at her questioningly. She continues on in explanation like I knew she would, “You know, fairytales, myths, medieval times. Can’t you see the themes?”

I would have to be completely and blissfully blind if I couldn’t see that. It was a castle for crying out loud! Of course my first thoughts were going to be of those things she listed so annoyingly to me just now. But really, I have lived in a castle for the past six years at school. Does she really think that I would get excited by this massive and ugly thing? This house has nothing on Hogwarts.

“Anyway, I have been thinking about your seventeenth birthday. Would you like a party? I think you should have a party, it will give me a reason to invite all the important people of the district over. They could bring their eligible sons… and oh gosh it will be a wonderful night! You can invite all your little friends from school, just as long as they don’t do,” She leaned in close to me and whispered, “magic around Petunia. I’m afraid that girl will not have a bar of it, no matter what I tell her.”

“Mother, I don’t want a party. All I want to do is have a cake, a few presents and an early night. No need to go to so much trouble.” I say hoping that she would take the excuse. But of course she doesn’t.

“I can’t allow that Lilian! This is your seventeenth birthday. And according to the letters your school has sent me, it is an important time in a,” she lowers her voice dramatically once again, “witches life. You will be of age, according to the letters. We have to celebrate!”

“And what if I don’t want to?” I sigh, willing the house to come closer but instead I think I have passed that rose bush several times already. Stupid winding pathway!

“I will plan it out anyway, I know you will want to when the day comes closer! You just need to rest. Look at your beautiful eyes! They look so drawn! Have you slept? Been eating correctly? Taking the vitamins I put in your bag? What about…”

On and on she went. The trick is to think about something completely different to what is being said and the words just drift by and don’t get sucked in. Muffled ideas of food platters and what colour streamers would I like to use mean absolutely nothing to me. Can’t she see that?

You think I am a push over don’t you? Think I am a “Yes Mother, any thing Mother” type of person and never let my real feelings out? Well for your information these moments are killing me and there is absolutely no point telling Mother that I don’t want to have a party. You see above what happened? She just completely ignores it. I mean for god’s sake! Friends? Invite them? If she means people from school she has got to be joking! A birthday party… fairytale theme? What is this? Mother do I look the age of seven to you? I would dearly love to say any of the above but instead I reply with “That sounds like fun” in the dullest voice I could muster. But it’s sufficient, she has stopped speaking.

I can feel vomit rise in my throat and I am most definitely going to need the bathroom soon if she continues talking about party themes and ideas. If only I knew where the bathroom was…

Finally, we reach the double doors and Mother throws them open.

I steady myself with the door frame. If I could describe what I am seeing in just one word it would have to be, gold.

Everything gleamed with it. From door handles to the steps on the stairs it sparkled with an almost unnatural glow.

“Isn’t it just divine?”

“Err…” I can’t easily lie down and take it this time, I mean, if the entrance to the house is this bad, what can be said for the rest of it? No forget the house! What about my room?!

Jack comes through the doors at that precise moment and places my luggage at the foot of the golden staircase.

My Mother turns in a quite circle as though absorbing her surrounds and lets out a rather loud and unnecessary sigh, “I’ll never tire of standing in this room… I should let you get settled.” Mother says smiling at me, “You bedroom is now on the third story, you’ll find everything you need up there.”

I shake my head, hoping that I hadn’t just heard her give me directions to my own bedroom, “Where’s Petunia?” I ask half caring what my older sister thought about the house’s changes.

“Out with that boyfriend of hers, Jack is just about to go and collect them.”

I just hope I’m asleep by the time she gets home.

Jack turns on the spot and to my complete surprise rests one of his large hands on my mother’s backside for a split second before exiting through the double doors.

Well that explains the whole “Linda” thing and him knowing my secret. Mother is involved with the hired help of all people! Gosh, I wonder what she pays him! Ha!

I’m sure my face in all its glory can be read like an open book. There’s time for explanations when I am actually away.

Turning towards the stairs, I begin to ascend them hoping against hope that I don’t get lost and that I had not just heard a rogue giggle escape my mother’s lips before she left the hall through a door to the left that I was yet to find out led to.

On the third landing, I am faced with an awfully long hallway dotted with pictures of Petunia and I when we ere younger. Horrible days, yuck! Did I really have such a horrible fringe? And honestly, how can anyone call that cute? Petunia looks like an over sized cockroach in that costume…
Finally I stop at a dark wooden door equipped with its own sparkling gold door handle. Ew. If you haven’t yet noticed, I’m not much of a fan for gold. Silver is more my thing.

I open the door and barely notice the large queen sized bed with its satin coverlet and clean white sheets before I am face down amongst the material and asleep within moments, smudging my eyeliner. Sigh. Perfection.

A/N: Not my best, but it sure is a good beginner to the rest of this story! Thank you so very much for reading and I very much hope to hear from you in a review! I must get back to replying to reviews and such again! So if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask me or you could always visit my "Meet the Author" thread which I decided to start up a week or so ago... so far no one likes me lol... arr well..
If you would like to join the new mailing list to this story, even if you were on the old one, please leave your email in a review! Thank you once again and look out for another chapter in just a week's time =]

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