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ASHLEY

I was standing in the guest bedroom at my family home while Blair took my own room. I was looking at my reflection in the mirror. I was wearing black pants and a black blouse, my hair falling down my back in perfect curls.

Two days ago, I was avoiding Nick while going from class to class when suddenly Mr Green, the Headmaster, was calling me into his office. When I walked in, I found my Dad standing in a corner with his arms crossed, looking concerned.

In the next hour, we were already apparating to London. Grandmother was so heartbroken she even accepted my father's condolences and offered him to stay until the funeral was over.

Now, two days later, the inital shock has worn down, but the misery is still present in the Pierce's house. Apparently, grandfather had a heart attack while grandmother was out for tea at one of her friend's house. Beth found grandfather in his favourite armchair by the fire.

I still couldn't wrap my thoughts around this. Such a warm and positive man and he died alone. The last time I saw him, he thought I was Blair. How could I have lied like that?

There's a knock on the door and I quickly whipe away the tears before I answer. “Come in.”

Blair walks into the room almost shyly. She’s wearing a beautiful black dress with a black blazer and black heels Mum picked out for her the day before.

“Mum says we’re leaving in ten.” She says as she leans against the door.

“Okay.” I nod and take another look at myself in the mirror.

“Are you okay?” Blair asks worriedly and I just shrug.

“I don’t know.” I admit. “He was the only male role model I had while growing up, you know. And his death… I just… I can’t believe it happened. He was all alone, Blair.”

“I know, Ash.” She says and hugs me tightly. “I am so sorry this is happening.”

“I am too.” I say as I feel tears well up in my eyes again. “He didn’t deserve to die like this.”

“At least he was at home.” Blair shrugs sympathetically and I shake my head.

“He was all alone.” I say. “He was there for everyone else and yet, he died all alone. None of us were here!”

She stays silent for a moment. “Okay.” She says finally as she takes off her blazer. “Take off your clothes.”

“What?” I ask her confused.

“We’re switching again.” She says simply as she takes off her heels.

“No, B.” I shake my head. “We can’t.”

“It’s just for the day.” She says. “I think you should be Ashley for the day. He was my grandfather too and I will miss him. I loved him as well, but you grew up with him. He was there for you every single day and he deserves that you pay him respect properly. In your own clothes, holding your mother’s hand and consoling your grandmother.”

“They need your support as well.” I state and she smiles at me.

“And you all have it.” She says. “You have Blair’s support. And tomorrow, we can get back to this lie, but for the day, we need to be ourselves. He deserves at least that.”

“Thank you, B.” I say and hug her.

“No, thank you.” She says. “I can’t wait to get out of these heels.”

 

I hated the dress I was wearing, my shoes were seriously hurting my feet but it felt good to be myself again. I felt sad and miserable as I stood next to my mother and grandmother listening to the empty words other people tried to console us with. I keep a straight face trying to be strong for Mum and grandmother.

They were absolutely broken by this. I expected that from Mum. She was shocked as the rest of us were. Grandfather wasn’t even ill. He was older but we never even imagined such a strong and talented wizard could go from a heart attack. My grandmother was the one who surprised me. She loved grandfather, I always knew that. Losing him was heart breaking for her. But I have never seen her like this. She’s usually so collected and constantly reminds everyone it’s all about the appearances. But now, she wasn’t even wearing makeup. She was crying and Mum could barely hold her straight.

When they started putting the coffin in the ground, she broke down completely. Mum couldn’t hold her anymore and they both started crying. That’s when my Dad stepped from the back and held my grandmother. Mum hugs him as well and starts crying. Blair reaches out for my hand and I notice she’s crying as well. That’s when I break as well. Both of us hug grandmother and break down.

For the first time ever, it feels like we’re family. And even though he’s gone, I know that he’s watching over us and that he’s happy seeing us like this.

                                          

“I’m sorry for your loss, love.” Daniel is the one to offer me his hand as soon as my family heads towards the car. I look around noticing Dad is helping grandmother into the car.

“This is not the time for your games, Daniel.” I say in hushed voice worrying someone could still hear me.

“Ashley?” he asks confused with my British accent.

“Yes, it’s me.” I confess and he smiles.

“I missed you.”

“What are you talking about?” I hiss. “You blackmailed my sister into marrying you! And now you say you missed me?!”

“I never blackmailed her.” He says lazily. “I just warned her. And I don’t want her, I want you.”

“Please, Daniel. This is not a good time.” I say rubbing my eyes tiredly. I didn’t get an hour of sleep last night. “Not even you can be so heartless.”

“I’m not, love.” He says gently and takes my hand. “I hope I’ll prove this to you once we’re married.”

“I’m not marrying you.” I say threateningly. “I can promise you that.”

His grip on my hand tightens. “Then I promise you I’m going to tell your grandmother everything about your switch. Your pour grandmother. Do you really think that after everything she’s been through she needs to hear that as well? I bet her heart would break and soon enough she would be lying next to the old Walter-“

I cut him off with a slap right across his face. “You’re a bastard, Daniel.” I’m shaking with rage and he just laughs rubbing his cheek.

“You’ve changed.” He says simply. “I’m going to enjoy taming you. Just like I did with your sister.”

I try to slap him once again but he grabs my hand threateningly. But in the next second he pulls his hand as if I’ve burnt him.

“Let her go.” Blair says approaching us quickly. She tucks away her wand in the back pocket of her pants.

“You two are really pissing me off.” Daniel says rubbing his hand. “I swear I will-“

“You won’t do anything.” Blair says. “You will let Ashley get back to New York and you won’t say anything. I was the one who agreed on marrying you.”

“Blair, you can’t do that!” I protest but she shakes her head and looks at me sadly. “

You have a life back in New York. We’ve gotten way over our heads with this and we have to go on and continue this. You can fulfil your dream, Ash.”

“But what about your Quidditch-?” I start but she shakes her head.

“I quit.” She explains. “It wasn’t for me after all.”

“Why haven’t you said something?” I insist shocked with all of this. I thought things were going well for her.

“Just let it be, Ash.” Blair says. “When we get back home, this is it. I’m becoming you for good.” She turns to Daniel. “You can set the wedding date. Sooner the better. Just have in mind that my grandfather just passed away. I don’t want a big celebration. “ With that said she heads towards the car.

Daniel smirks at me and puts his hands in his pockets. “As I said. I enjoyed taming her.”


 


 

BLAIR

It was two day after the funeral that Dad and Ashley were getting ready to leave for New York. I was just walking down the stairs when I heard my parents talking in the living room. I stop walking and eavesdrop.

“You don’t have to leave, David.” Mom begs. “You and Blair can stay here. We need each other now.”

“I came here to pay my respects, Wanda.” Dad explains. “And I feel like it would be best if Blair returned to her life in New York. She reacted pretty badly when you left New York after staying with us for a couple of days.”

What?

I probably heard that wrong. I take another step to get closer. I hear someone getting down and when I turn around there’s Ashley levitating her luggage. I press a finger to my mouth signalling for her to stay quiet. She nods and quietly joins me on the steps.

“The girls are old enough to know that we can be each other’s support.” Mom insists.

“No, they’re not.” Dad protests. “They’re seventeen, Wanda. They are maybe adults by law now but they are still our children and when they see us together, they still hope.”

“Hope for what, David?” Mom asks confused.

“Hope that we’ll get back together!”

“How can you know that?” Mom snaps.

“Because maybe I hope for that as well!” Dad fires and there’s a moment of silence. Ashley and I exchange looks of shock.

“Hoped!” Dad corrects himself after a few seconds of silence. “I hoped for that. I plan on proposing to my girlfriend.”

Mom clears her throat. “You’re right.” She says awkwardly. “You should get home. Get back to your girlfriend.”

“You’ll find someone too, Wanda.” Dad adds.

“Blair, your portkey is almost ready!” Mum yells in response. “You should get down here!”

“What was that?” Ashley whispers at me and I shrug in response.

“When was Mom in New York?”

“Last week.” She explains in hushed voice. “She and Dad were discussing your, well, my wedding with Daniel. And she stayed.”

“My wedding.” I remind her. “How did grandmother react to that?”

“She doesn’t know.” Ashley explains. “Mum told her she went to the spa for a couple of days.”

“I can’t believe this!” I snap.

“Shhh! They’ll hear you.” Ashley reminds me.

“Blair, sweetie.” Grandmother says showing up at the top of the staircase. “Your portkey is leaving in a few minutes.”

“Yes, grandma. I’m ready. No need to rush us to get back home.” Ashley says in an American accent.

“I’m not rushing anything.” Grandmother says when she joins us. She doesn’t look good at all. She’s wearing a simple black dress with no jewellery on. She put on some makeup but she still looks pale, like she hasn’t slept in days.”I already suggested David that you stay until Ashley returns to Hogwarts.”

“You suggested that Dad and Blair should stay here?” I ask in shock.

“Down that surprising tone, Ashley.” Grandma says and tries to smile. “David was a lot of support in these terrible days.” She looks at Ashley. “I didn’t deserve that from him.”

“Oh, don’t say that, Grandma.” Ashley protests while I keep my mouth shut. She was right. She didn’t deserve Dad’s kindness, if you ask me.

“I will miss you, Blair.” Grandma says and hugs her granddaughter.

“I’ll miss you too.”

“Oh, this should get framed.” Dad says when he and Mom show up in the hallway, Dad holding an old can in his hands.

“Don’t tease, David.” Grandma warns but smiles at him.

“The portkey is leaving in a minute, bee.” Dad says to Ashley and it actually pains me to hear him call her like that. But I gave up on that life when I agreed on marrying Daniel.

“Good bye, Dad.” I say as I hug him quickly and turn to look at Ashley. “I’ll see you for the wedding.”

“I hope sooner.” She says and hugs me tightly.

She gives a kiss to Mom and Grandma and then, in a blink of an eye, she and Dad disappear.

Mom sighs. “It looks like it’s just us then.”

 

It was Monday evening and I had nothing better to do than my homework. The atmosphere in the house was completely miserable. Grandma was spending most of the days in the guest bedroom which she moved into claiming she couldn’t sleep in the same bed she shared with grandfather for the last 45 years. She rarely ate and she didn’t want to see any of her friends. Mom has been trying to get her out but Grandma didn’t want to hear it. Finally, Mom locked herself into her room as well. But I think that had something to do with what Dad told her.

Anyway, I felt bad as well. I never enjoyed staying here but at least I had my grandfather to talk to. And now, there was a hole no one else could fulfil. I tried to connect with my Mom and Grandma but I just couldn’t. Ashley is the one who had that special bond with the two of them and not me.

I was counting days before the spring break would end. Just another week and I could get away from here. Well, at least for two more months. And then it was all over for good. Daniel suggested we get married in September and I agreed. Mom tried to convince us to postpone to next year but I insisted on a small ceremony this year. I just want to get this over with.

Just when I was about to finish my Transfiguration essay, the doorbell rings. I jump up in surprise looking at the clock. Who could it be at eleven in the evening? I grab my sweater and hurry to open the door before Mom and Grandma wake up.

I open the door only to find Fred standing at my front steps.

“Fred?” I ask in shock.

“Hey.” He greets me as if this isn’t weird at all. “I’ve heard about your grandfather. I’m sorry for your loss.”

“Thanks.” I say and close the door behind me. “I hope that’s not why you came here so late at night. If my grandmother sees you, she’ll freak out.”

“How about we take a walk then?” he suggests. “I promise I have good news.”

“Sure.” I say. “I could use some good news.”

“I bet.” Fred says putting his hands in the pockets of his jacket as we start walking down the street. “How are you holding up?”

“It’s hard.” I admit. “He died so suddenly. He wasn’t even sick, you know.”

“I’m sorry.” He says again. “All of us wanted to come to the funeral, but the break officially started on a Saturday.”

“All of you?” I ask.

“Hilary, Savannah, Lydia, Rose, Al and the rest of the gang.” He explains and then adds. “James as well.”

I stay quiet but Fred continues. “He told me you two are friends now.”

“Yes.” I nod. “We had a nice talk before I left for home.”

“Is that what you want?” Fred asks. “To be friends?”

“I have no other choice.” I shrug. “Daniel and I set the date. There’s no point in your plan, Fred. Whatever he’s doing I’m sure that I can’t use that to get out of all this.”

Fred grins at me. “What if I told you differently?”

I stop walking and stare at him. “Don’t joke with me, Fred Weasley!” I warn him and he shakes his head with a smile. “Well, what is it?” I insist and shake him eagerly. “What did you and Al find out?”

“Congratualtions, Pierce!” Fred smirks. “Your fiancé is a criminal.”

 

I sit at the restaurant in a beautiful, tight blue dress picked out just for this occasion. I haven’t been this excited since I made it to Gryffindor Quidditch team back in September. I cross my legs and wait patiently. Soon, I’ll be free.

I watch Daniel walk in smugly in his best suit and with that usual stupid grin on his face.

“Hello, darling!” I greet him with a smile on my face that gets him a little confused.

“What is wrong?” He asks suspiciously and I just laugh at him.

“Oh, what could possibly be wrong?” I say in a fake tone of voice. “I’m just looking forward to the lunch with my fiancé.”

“You’re acting weird.” He says as he sits down opposite of me. “I assure you, if you’re planning something to ruin the wedding, it’s not going to happen.”

“Why would I plan something to ruin my wedding?” I ask innocently. “I am the one who suggested we get married so soon, remember?”

“I don’t know what you’re playing at-“ he starts but I cut him off.

“I’m not playing anything.” I shrug and smile at him. “I actually called you because I want to get your opinion on the flowers. I was thinking white roses but grandmother thinks lilies are more appropriate for a small ceremony. Also, I need the number of your guests but I have to warn you, I don’t want more than 50, 60 people. So, keep it to close relatives.”

“Fine, do what you want.” He says and picks up the menu. “Like I care about all of this.”

“Oh, okay.” I say casually looking at the menu as well. “Just one more thing. How do you plan on paying for the wedding? With the money you get from the Ministry or maybe the money you get from your smuggling business?”

I notice happily all colour disappeared from his face. He looks at me his mouth open and I smile at him innocently.

“You have no proof.” He hisses.

“Actually,” I say getting the photos and some documents from my purse. “I do. Here are the photos of you and your ‘business partners’.” I emphasize the words. “I bet they do the dirty work of stealing all the stuff you sell to your rich costumers, am I right? And here is the list of your customers one of your friends gave us and a list of all the merchandise you already sold. Quite a collection, sweetie. So, you plan to bring me into that family business when we get married? Or perhaps, my grandmother? Is that why you wanted to marry Ashley? So you could get the money to expand your little business?”

“You don’t understand.” Daniel starts. “My family is having some money issues. They borrowed money from a few people and we have to get it back if we want to keep our houses so I made some friends. They needed someone to find them clients and I did. I wasn’t the one who was stealing!”

“That is still an illegal thing you did.” I say and blink my eyes sweetly. “I wonder what the punishment would be if I accidentally sent those to the Ministry?”

“What do you want?” he asks knowing I’ve trapped him.

“I want a break up.” I hiss at him across the table. I point to the pictures in front of him. “You get all of these and I promise I keep my mouth shut. And you stay as far away as possible from me and Ashley. Because if I ever see you again, I swear I’m going to the Minister of Magic himself and I’m ratting you out. You forget you know about me and Ashley and the fact that we switched and just leave.”

“If I do so, you won’t say anything?” he asks bitterly.

“You have my word.” I promise.

“Fine.” He gets up and picks up the papers I left on the table. When he’s about to leave I call for him one last time.

“You forgot something.” I take my engagement ring off and hand it to him. He takes it and marches out of the restaurant.

Free at last.








A/N: Another chapter is up. Hope you like it and hope you review. Thank you to everyone who reviews, I appreciate everything you have to say and you inspire me to continue to write.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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