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She unfolded her arms and walked calmly towards the gawking boys.

‘Y-you know about p-people like us?’ Harry said, flabbergasted.

Esmeralda’s smile faded, and she said. ‘Not only yes, you’re looking at Luna Lovegood’s step-sister.’

Harry’s backside made hard contact with the floor as he flopped down, unbelieving. ‘Y-you’re Luna’s step-sister?’

‘You’re also looking at a squib,’ said Esmeralda sadly. The boys just sat there on the floor gaping at her, open-mouthed to the point of looking ridiculous, both desperate for some sort of an explanation. She sighed heavily and sat down cross-legged in front of them.

‘Nineteen years ago, Levesque Lovegood married a Canadian muggle named Geraldine Gobstopper,’ Esmeralda began.

Harry’s stomach contracted. Ron hiccupped nervously, elbowed sharply in the arm by Harry, though Esmeralda didn’t seem to notice any of this confusion as she continued on with her story.

‘A year after their marriage, Mrs. Lovegood gave birth to a beautiful baby girl –’

Esmeralda and the boys glanced sideways at the sleeping form of Chloe on the bed simultaneously.

‘ – and gave birth to her second and last girl three years afterwards.' (half a second pause)

' The family of four lived together happily for three wonderful years, but when Chloe and Esmeralda Lovegood reached their early teens, things started to get messy.'

Esmeralda sighed deeply and looked most reluctant to carry on, but the way the boys were gaping at her like that was unbearable.

'It turned out that Luna Lovegood was born to Levesque Lovegood and Abigail Cauldrons shortly before the birth of Esmeralda Lovegood. Levesque and Geraldine got into a heated argument and in the end decided to separate.'

'So a happy marriage turned into a traumatic memory. With his new family, Levesque officially spent all his time with The Quibbler, and Abigail got a job as an assistant to the officials in the Department of Mysteries.There wasn't a word between him and Geraldine after that. They were just minding each other's business and completely forgetting that their ex-significant other had even existed.’

‘But things weren’t going to carry on perfectly from then on, at least for Levesque. After a few years, Abigail died a mysterious death. Levesque was depressed and spent less and less time with his daughter Luna, who grew up without the loving feel of a family atmosphere. It did things to her, making her somewhat a person separated from the rest of the world.'

Harry could almost hear the thoughts bumping around inside Ron's head, which happened to be identical to his own at the moment. So that's why that certain somebody wearing radishes and butterbeer corks for jewellry could bear in mind that doing such those kind of things wouldn't ridicule her out of the school.

'Luna Lovegood got enrolled into Hogwarts at the age of eleven, and that was the worst experiences for me and Chloe. Reading our ex-dad’s letter informing the happy news, us two sisters sit here all alone and forgotten, bearing the painful knowledge of being squibs.’

‘Geraldine couldn’t possibly leave her job in Britain for even one day, so the best she could do for us was to constantly send money for the gas and electricity bills and occasionally money for other purposes. Chloe now working her fingers to the bone at Pizza Hut to supply all our other needs.’

Esmeralda stopped there. Her lovely blue eyes were on the verge of watering up but she held it all back, staring with all her might at the carpet. Harry and Ron were speechless. You could have heard a pin drop. There they sat, seconds and minutes rolled by unnoticed.

Suddenly, Chloe stirred and yawned loudly. Ron’s breath cut short and his face glowed peach as a tuft of wild-red hair appeared from the top of the bed visible to the spot on the floor where they were sitting.

‘Oh…oh…oh…Esmeralda, are they gone?’ she said croakily, stretching.

‘Chloe,’ said Esmeralda seriously, sitting up straight. ‘They’re one of them.’

The moment the word ‘them’ slipped out of Esmeralda’s mouth Chloe shot up in bed and stared at Harry and Ron, who were still sitting, frozen, in front of Esmeralda.

‘W-what are you doing here? Why are you here?’ Chloe blurted. She shifted towards the edge of bed and bent down so that her face was about three inches away from Harry, Ron and Esmeralda. Ron's Adam ’s apple bobbed up and down rapidly, his face turning twelve shades of pink. Harry couldn’t help but find out why – quite unexpectedly Chloe was accidentally revealing a bit too much of herself as she bent down wearing the red V-neck.

‘It was an accident,’ Harry finally found his voice again, snappily taking his eyes off Chloe (Ron couldn’t) and looked at Esmeralda instead, who was seemingly lost in thought, her eyes slightly furrowed. ‘W-we came across an unidentified portkey and found ourselves here seconds later. And now we have no clue how to get back! Can you please help us?’

‘A portkey?’ said Chloe. ‘Oh dear, afraid we can’t help you in any way. Neither of us is the magical one here, I myself only remember hearing the term twice.’

‘Can’t you contact anybody you know from the wizarding world?’ asked Esmeralda, sniffing slightly. She unfolded her legs and stood up. Harry and Ron did the same, Ron knocking over a little wooden stool as he did so.

‘We definitely can, if only there’s an – ahem,’ Harry had gotten used to being around the Dursleys so much that now whenever he’s somewhere that isn’t Hogwarts he treats others just like one would be sensible enough to treat the Dursleys. ‘ – owl.’

‘I haven’t seen one around here for two years,’ Chloe said, sitting upright. ‘Owls only come to this area where we’re living when there’s a big source of food. That can only be found on hilltops and deep forests with lots of trees and animals, here in this messed-up speck of a city is out of the question.’

‘There’s a pet store right around the corner,’ said Esmeralda. ‘You can check it out, but I’m not guaranteeing any owls. Muggles think that having owls for pets is - erm - old-fashioned these days.’

Harry’s hopes soared right up. Beside him Ron let out a satisfying sigh of relief. ‘Right then, we’d waste no time! After all there is the Christmas dinner to look forward to tomorrow, right Ron?’

Ron mumbled ‘right’ and took off in the direction of the door. Harry was just about to when he stopped dead in his tracks before he even took a step as Chloe’s hand touched his shoulder.

Chills and tingles coursed through Harry’s body and he could feel his hands sweat. Why is this happening? As he turned around to face her Harry could feel his cheeks burning. Those eyes, oh those eyes…

‘I never even got your name,’ said Esmeralda gently, her dazzling eyes sparkling vividly. ‘You and your friend.’
Harry felt his skin tingle as her soft, white hand rested on his now aching shoulders from the fall.

As long as he could feel her hand on his shoulder, as long as she’s standing so close he could hear her breathing, as long as those sapphire eyes peered deeply into his own, nothing mattered. He wouldn’t even let Dumbledore take her away from him, not even if he apparated in this room right now to take him and Ron back to Hogwarts and ending all this confusion. As long as she’s here, I don’t care for anything…

‘I-it’s Harry,’ Harry whispered. ‘Harry and Ron.’

Despite himself, Harry gently took hold of her hand and moved it off his shoulder. And with that he walked quickly out of the door, closing it behind him.

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