Chapter 3 / Throwback
It was never going to be an ordinary day. I felt it the next morning, when I got up at 5, as usual. I hurried around the house, cleaning up the cauldron I used the night before and putting on clothes at the same time. I grabbed the chocolate macaroons that Betty had given me the day before, took my bag and ran out of the door, allowing myself 10 seconds to lock the door and the gate. I tried to ignore the thoughts about the letter in the bag and took a macaroon. The taste made me stop in my tracks. It took me back to that day in summer, four years ago. It was the last time Draco Malfoy and I talked, really talked. The thought made my heart ache. If there was anything I missed most in the wizarding world, it was him. Off course, he totally casted me out after I was sorted into Ravenclaw and I never really talked to him after that anymore, but just because we didn’t talk any more, didn’t mean that I had forgotten about him, that I no longer cared. I still did. And every time that I wanted to check up on him, it suddenly hit me that we were strangers. He didn’t want me in his life. But, even though everything had changed, I just wanted him to know that I was still there. I was still there for him, I would still lend him my shoulders and my ears. That made me wonder if he would too.
‘I’m still waiting for the day you’ll run into that pole,’ Betty laughed, as I entered the bakery. ‘I’m always curious about what goes on in that dreamy mind of yours.’
‘Oh, you know,’ I took my apron, ‘daring swordfights, a prince in disguise. Well, mostly going old places I can’t even pronounce.’
‘I like the idea of that. Of being somewhere else. Where would you be, if you could choose?’
‘I would be with my friends,’ I smiled as I followed her into the bakery kitchen, ready to make some dough, ‘you know, everyone always says that they hate school, but I’d give anything to be there right now.’
‘Oh, I know, sweetie,’ Betty smiled sadly, ‘I bet your friends miss you too.’
I nodded, and we started working in silence. I had told Betty about my old life, about Hogwarts and Ginny and Luna. I left out the part where I was a witch, off course, but she knew pretty much everything besides that. I had to make up a story about what happened to my parents and why I lived in the cottage on my own, but she took the lies without blinking, just like the rest of Castle Combe.
‘I remember when you came to live in Castle Combe,’ Betty suddenly broke the silence, ‘you were with that strange man. I don’t even remember his name. He was so oddly dressed. And that long, white beard!’
‘Professor Dumbledore. He’s the headmaster of the school.’
‘Right, that’s the one! He was so nice. I don’t remember ever meeting a person that gentle. But you… Dear God, you were a wreck. And so young to be living on your own.’
‘I was lucky that Dumbledore brought me to Castle Combe,’ I smiled at her, ‘if it weren’t for you and the other residents, I would probably be dead by now.’
‘Don’t you say that. You were like a daughter to all of us. We would never let you out in the cold. And I could use the extra hands.’
‘I’ve gotten quite good at baking, haven’t I?’ I joked. Betty laughed and nodded. ‘I was lucky to have Dumbledore too. I don’t think any headmaster would do as much for his students as he did for me. And still does.’
‘Yes, he still checks on you regularly, doesn’t he?’ Betty’s fingers kneaded the dough, a thoughtful look on her face, ‘I think he visited the bakery, about a month ago?’
‘He came around to talk about taking another class, since, apparently, I’m doing great, according to my teachers.’
‘You always were a smart one, even when you were just a kid. And look at you now, all grown up. A real lady.’ I smiled again. It was true that I had changed a lot. Since I didn’t have money to pay for the hairdresser, I decided to let my hair grow out. Now, instead of being cut in a stern bob, it fell over my shoulders, the curls I never knew I had framing my face. It had changed colour too. It used to be raven black, like a dark moonless sky, but being in the sun so much had given it a hint of blue, making my grey eyes, that were now hidden behind light pink framed glasses, pop. I didn’t really care about the way I looked, but I did like the fact that I wasn’t that little girl Betty used to know.
‘I got a letter from Dumbledore yesterday,’ I nodded towards my bag, ‘I haven’t opened it yet.’
‘I’m scared of what he has to say,’ I mumbled quietly. I bit my lip. ‘What if he doesn’t want to invest in my education anymore? Or something happened to my friends?’
‘I think if it were anything bad, he would come and tell you personally, wouldn’t he?’
I nodded and glanced at the bag again, biting my lip.
‘You should open it now,’ Betty urged. ‘I’m quite curious to what he has to say. Go on.’
I took a deep breath, wiped my hands on my apron and took the letter out of my bag.