I woke up groggily and tried to get my bearings. White walls, white ceiling, white floors, white bed sheets, where was I? I tried to sit up but I didn’t seem to have the strength. Trying to move made me realize that I had something on my wrist. I squinted my eyes to focus my vision at the foreign band around my wrist. It was a hospital bracelet. I tried desperately to remember the night before but couldn’t. The last thing I could remember was fighting with Sirius over something stupid. Gulping I discovered my throat was obnoxiously dry and my breath smelt awful. How did I get here? Why was there no one around? In the hall I saw people walking by but no one was in my room or even near me.
Very carefully I raised my neck a fraction of an inch to look at my body, never knowing how I would deeply regret that decision. I looked down and saw my legs in casts, my ribs to my thighs bandaged up under my white hospital gown. Terrified I raised my hand up to my face and felt my face. It was severally swollen and I had at least one black if not two. My chest started hurting at that point. Not a slight ache or a subtle pain but gnawing throbbing spasm in between my breasts. I’d never felt this much pain before in my life. Unable to do anything but scream I felt everything that had happened to my body. I felt my cracked ribs, I felt my broken –in three places- legs, I felt my cut up torso, I felt my puffed up face and I felt the fresh jagged surgery scars over my heart.
Cool tears leaked out of my eyes as someone in white rushed into the room and attempted to shove a potion down my throat. I fought but in my state I lost quickly. The potion tasted so bad I almost threw it up but the woman –I assumed from the size of her hand- clamped my mouth shut. Once it got all the way down my throat I felt my wounds sting harder and harder. I screamed even though my throat and everything the potion touched seemed to be on fire. It took a good five minutes for the torture to end. When it did I gasped and spit up a lot of blood. The woman wiped it up and for some reason I sensed she was going to leave. I couldn’t explain the emotion that came over me in that instant. I was alone. I was broken. And I had never been more terrified in my life. So when I thought she was about to leave I urgently grabbed her wrist.
Her face wasn’t too clear as my eyes were still watery but it didn’t matter to me. As frail as I was at that moment my need to stop her proved greater. I whispered, “Sirius,” faintly but was stopped from continuing or saying more. My energy was sapped from the use of this single name and I fell into a deep sleep.
“Mim!” I called excitedly as I rushed up to my seventy-two year old grandmother.
She was sitting outside on her rocker with a book in her hands. Memories of her knitting, writing out recipes and scolding us from that rocker made me smile brighter than I had in a long time. Like always her graying dark hair –that’s right at seventy two her hair is just starting to grey instead of already being that way- was in a tight, elegant, purposeful bun and she wore working jeans (from working in the yard) -yes she still does that- and a loose Cuddly Cannon’s t-shirt –Lorenzo and her love talking about it.
“Hello Juliette,” Mim pronounced in a perfectly crisp French accent that was actually her own.
I pulled one of the patio chairs over to sit next to her as we both looked out on her large property. “What book are you reading?”
“Pride and Prejudice.” She frowned in a dissatisfied tone.
Snorting softly I laughed at her, “Why do you keep reading Muggle books if you keep getting disappointed by them? Seems like a waste of energy.”
“Don’t you like Jane Austen?”
“Yes but I’m tolerant of happy endings. You can’t stand them.” I pointed out smartly.
Mim shook her wrinkled tan face, “Ridiculous…She hates him. He’s a complete pompous piqûre.”
“Hence the prejudice in ‘Pride and Prejudice’.”
“Quoi que.” She shrugged unconcernedly bending down one of the pages and putting the book on the table. “What is new with you chère fille?”
I yawned and scratched my head, “Nothing really.”
“Did you work today?”
“No.” I answered quietly but in my head I added, ‘Not technically.’ I didn’t like to worry Mim more than necessary. “Where’s Etienne?”
She rolled her eyes dryly, “Trying to teach the house elves how to fold clothes properly…ingrate..” Mim added with scoff.
“Trouble in martial bliss?” I mocked playfully.
“Don’t start with me petite bébé.”
Mim’s real name is Marianne Gabrielle Boudreaux Rossini Montague Hebert. Long ass name right? The reason is her maiden name is Marianne Gabrielle Boudreaux. Matteo Rossini was her first husband. She was only seventeen when she married to him. They were only married for two years but he died from an incurable case of Scrofungulus. My pepere Edmond Montague was her husband for the longest. They got married when they both turned twenty-one and they stayed married until his death twelve years ago. Etienne Hebert was last and certainly least. Apparently Mim was quite a catch back when she attended Beauxbatons so much so that she caught Etienne’s eye back then. He never could get her though because she was the popular girl in school. So when he found her four and a half years after pepere’s death he seized his opportunity and married her. In the beginning Mim appeared to be happy about the whole thing but as time went by in their marriage it became clearer and clearer that she just married him so she wouldn’t die alone. Even after being widowed twice she’d rather risk being widowed again then be stuck alone.
I stretched and looked out at the acres wondering if I’d do the same thing. Would I really marry someone I could hardly stand just to avoid being alone? The wind whistled through the distant trees sending a breeze across my face. My stray hairs from my ponytail fell out onto my face brushing my nose and cheek gracefully. I smiled as I remembered all the times pepere and I would go out picking tomatoes from the crops and dumping them into a wooden basket. I would be in a strawberry outfit with little boots on and he would take my hand, lead me around the fields, picking me up when he wanted to show me something that was too tall for me to see. Later on he would sit me on his lap, grab a napkin, cut up the tomato and eat them with me.
“What are you thinking about?”
“Pépé,” I answered softly.
She smiled and I noticed I was smiling too. “He really loved you.”
“He loved Jacques, Louis, Jacqueline and your brother Nik but he especially loved you.”
I frowned thoughtfully, “I wonder why…”
“When we first saw you,” Mim started barely above a whisper, “You had the darkest hair and eyes I’d ever seen. He held you for the first time and you grabbed his finger,” She paused to beam, “You had such a firm grip and it was at that moment he saw that you had his eyes. Most babies automatically have blue eyes when their born but you didn’t. From the start your eyes were dark like Edmonds. From that moment on he paid special attention to you and found you different then your cousins.”
For a second I paused before asking then I decided to do so. “How am I different? I mean I know how I am now but how could he have known then?”
“As to that I don’t know.” Mim sighed unknowingly, “All he said to me was, “Elle est extraordinaire. Elle est combattant.”
“He said I was a fighter?”
“And you are.”
I moved over and rested my head on her shoulder tenderly. Mim scooted over so my head was in her lap and my lower half was on the chair I’d just been sitting in. Delicately she tucked my stray hairs behind my ear while running her hands through my hair.
“You know bébé. You may have your pepere’s eyes but you definitely have my hair.” She commented as she ran her fingers through my thick strands of hair.
I let out a low cackle. “Thanks Mim.”
“Now,” She murmured in a light tone, “How’s Lorenzo?”
“Are you two seeing each other yet?”
Silently I shook with laughter at her. “No Mim. We are not dating each other.”
She sighed over-dramatically, “He’s such a nice boy.”
“Yes he is Mim but he’s not my type.”
“Tall, strong, smart, handsome, which one of those things is not appealing to you?”
I rolled my eyes and sat up. “You’re never gonna give up are you?”
“You are twenty and you’ve never even been engaged.”
“Yes I was….” I frowned guiltily, “I just broke it off.”
“Regulus Black does not count. That was arranged.”
My face dropped from mention of Regulus’s name. Suddenly I got a flash of his face the last time I saw him alive. We were just sitting in the Slythern common room talking…about nothing. He was so happy back then. Full of hope, so excited for what his life would bring next. Then about six months ago I started getting letter’s from him. They were always severally coded so only I would understand them. I’ve known Regulus since birth so we have…we had dozens of little inside jokes and catch phrases that only we would understand….I couldn’t explain how much it broke my heart when I got the last letter from him. It said that if I was reading it that meant he was no longer alive.
Feeling overwhelmed I felt it was time to leave. I never stayed long anyway. Mim and I were close but there was always a tension between us and we both knew exactly what it was. Standing up I reached down and hugged her tightly.
“When will you be by to see me next?”
I stood back up brushed my hair out of my face. “I’ll try to get by next week.”
“At least owl me time to time. You’re so grown up now.”
Gently I kissed her cheek, “I will.”
Apparating to a Muggle library I saw Parker waiting in the science fiction section. His messy short brown hair stuck up in odd directions, he was oddly tan and his chestnut eyes were focused on a particularly odd looking book.
“Muggles,” He began with his usual musical tone, “Have the strangest ideas for books,” He finished turning to look at me. “What’s going on with you? You look a little haggard.”
I leaned against the bookshelf, “Just came from Mim’s.”
“Well that would explain a lot. How is she doing?”
“Nagging at her new husband.”
Parker put back his book and started walking with me over to the chairs by the window. “You know after seven years you can’t really say that’s he’s her new husband.”
I shrugged unconcernedly, “Whatever.”
“Don’t you whatever me.”
“Um I just did.”
He reached over and put me in a headlock. “What did you say?”
I snorted at how easy he made it for me to get out of it. “I said what-ever.”
“FINE!” He scoffed theatrically before returning to his own seat. “So what’s up? Anything new?”
I opened my mouth to speak but stopped myself. I hadn’t seen or spoken to Parker in two weeks. Normally that wouldn’t be that big of a deal because normally my life is pretty much the same. I wake up, eat, go to work, come home, take a shower, talk to Renee for a bit, send Mim or Nik a check up Owl, then go to sleep. My life never changed. My assignments were different but they never affected my life because it was my job. What happened in the past few days was personal. Joining the order may have been an extension of what work I usually do but the people I am working with weren’t. I wanted to tell Parker everything but I couldn’t. He didn’t know what happened before so he could never understand what it meant to be in the same room with Sirius Black now. To have to look him in the eye and pretend that what happened between us was nothing and meant nothing. To have to hear his voice and remind myself that everything he said to me was a lie and we were just a way to pass the time. Parker as understanding as he is couldn’t possibly comprehend that.
So I wet my lips and without any hesitation lied. “No, nothing new.”
He frowned disappointedly like he always did when I answered like that and sighed again. “Want to hear how my weekend was?”
Hours later when I got back home Renee was sitting in the living room. Her curly hair went into her eyes as she focused hard on the drawing she was working on. I wanted to laugh at how adorable she looked when she was in this mode but even through the light conversation I had with Parker for two and a half hours –mostly hilarious stories about his new endeavors at pureblood social events- I still couldn’t shake my feelings. I went over and sat next to her.
“What are you drawing?”
She ignored my question, “A man came by asking questions about you.”
I shrugged unconcernedly getting up to my feet. “That’s nice.”
“He looked familiar…” Renee muttered thoughtfully biting the side of her pencil.
“Well I’m sure if he was someone I should be worried about I’ll deal with him at some point.” I told her flippantly before going to my room and lying down on my bed. At this point in time. I just didn’t care.
“IF IT’S ANY CONSELLATION HE WAS HOT.” Renee shouted through the wall.
I snorted dryly, “Yeah because that was a factor I was worried about.” Before turning over and falling sound asleep.
I've been trying to just finish my short stories but I don't know...I got the urge to write this chapter. THANK YOU FOR READING! I especially want to thank everyone who has taken the time to review. PLEASE REVIEW!
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