Chapter 6 / Make-over
During the next days, I kept going back and forth between wearing the dress and not wearing it and the closer we got to 24 June, the more nervous I became. Betty and Oliver tried to calm me down, and Julia didn’t have a problem with me taking the day off, but when the day arrived, I had trouble getting out of bed.
‘Katherine? Open up!’ Betty’s voice sounded muffled behind the closed door. ‘You need to get ready!’
‘I’m not going!’ I yelled, getting under the covers again.
‘I’m going to kick your door in!’ Knowing Betty, she’d do it, so I sighed, got out of bed and opened the door. ‘You look awful! Did you get any sleep at all?’
I shook my head. She let out a sigh and pulled me into a hug. Then she took my arm and led me to the bathroom. She told me to wash up. She’d make me breakfast.
After showering, I felt a lot better and it must have shown on my face, because Betty seemed more pleased with my appearance. During breakfast she combed my hair and pinned it up in a messy Dutch braid. It made me think of the time I used to spend with my sister. She’d be going to Hogwarts next year. I hid my pain behind the smile Betty asked for.
‘You look lovely, dear,’ Betty said when I got out of the bathroom, ‘that dress really does look nice.’
‘Thank you, Betty,’ I twirled for her and smiled, ‘for everything.’
‘Are you sure you don’t want me to bring you?’ I imagined Betty getting into the fireplace and taking the floo network to Hogwarts and almost couldn’t contain my laughter. Betty was probably the mugglest muggle I knew. She loved things that were predictable, had a thing for ordinary people and went crazy when she saw a magic trick. It wasn’t like she hated it, but her brain just couldn’t handle the mystery.
‘I’ll be fine, Betty,’ I smiled, ‘thank you very much.’
I showed her out, promising to be careful and behave. She told me she didn’t mind if I didn’t show up for work tomorrow, but I told her that I wasn’t going to take the day off. She didn’t object. She knew I needed the money and she could use more than one pair of hands.
When I finally got her out of the house, I sat down in front of the fireplace, staring at it. I had send professor McGonagall a letter, asking if I could arrive a bit early to talk to Flitwick about a charm I didn’t get quite right. She didn’t mind, but now I got so scared that I just didn’t want to step into the fireplace.
‘Come on, Kath,’ I whispered to myself, ‘it’s your time to show everyone how wrong they were about you.’
I needed a bit of self encouragement to get up, but finally, after what felt like a century, I stood into the fireplace, powder in hand, shouting: ‘Hogwarts headmasters office!’ and got sucked into the emerald tunnel, on my way to Hogwarts for the first time in two years.