Dearietta Chapter 2

Here it is!  The promised Dearietta sequel.  I know it took forever, but it is done now.  This bit’s kind of long, but I think you’ve come to expect that of  me.

Once again, it’s K rated.  Also, the characters still belong to J. K. Rowling.

Oh, and one more thing: I would very much appreciate feedback if you’d like to give it.  Thanks!

Happy Reading!


 

I squirmed a little as Cho tugged on my hair.  She was transforming the unruly mess into something presentable, but there was quite the battle in between.

“Sit still Mar!” She shrieked for the umpteenth time. “I get it, you’re nervous.  But really, Dean won’t appreciate how your frustrating hair turns out if you won’t let me fix it!”

“I’m squirming because you’re hurting me.” I mumbled, “Not because I’m nervous.”  But she was pretty much spot on.  I don’t know what I was expecting when I gave Dean his guidelines, but somehow I wasn’t surprised when he held up his end of the bargain.  He was especially polite all week, and more than one unfamiliar Gryffindor approached me to thank me for making a gentleman out of him.  It was kind of nice to be getting attention from the Gryffindors that wasn’t scornful.

“So,” Cho piped up, painfully twisting my hair, “Have you decided what you’re wearing yet?”

“I don’t know.” I had, but there was no way I was going to tell Cho that.  I’d never live it down.  In her mind, the act of meticulously choosing my clothes before a Hogsmeade visit if I happened to be going with someone would spell out marriage.

“Well I was thinking -“Cho began.

“Wait a second.” I retorted, whipping around to face her.  “It’s a casual date, remember?  I think I’m capable of choosing my own clothes.”

“Oh, turn around!  I almost lost your hair when you did that.  You know you don’t really even have that much time?”

“I’ll be fine Cho.”

“Well, you can’t wear any of the traditional Valentine’s Day colors with your complexion, no offense.” She was wearing a pale pink blouse with a deep maroon cardigan and a black pleated skirt.  Her long, dark hair fell in effortless curls around her face.  The large necklace at her throat caught the light just so that it seemed to make her eyes sparkle.  Naturally, she didn’t need to worry about the “traditional colors” clashing with her complexion.  She didn’t have to worry about anything clashing with her perfect complexion.       “I suppose we could try and find you something gold to wear.” Cho continued her rant, “White washes you out, but we could put you in a black dress.  That with gold compliments.  What do you think?”  I shrugged noncommittally.

“It’s really fine, Cho.  I’ll find something.”  I had stashed a gorgeous, aqua sweater in the back of my closet so that Cho wouldn’t see I’d set it aside.  I was planning to wear it with my most comfortable pair of dark-wash skinny jeans and the teardrop pendant necklace that my mom had given me last year after I saved her job.  No one here saw it like that, which made wearing the necklace feel like my defiance against their judgment.  However crazy it was, it made me feel better.

Cho’s elated gasp drew me out of my reverie.  I looked in the mirror and echoed her.  My hair was woven into a plait that began at my forehead and wound behind my ear to the nape of my neck where it swooped up into a graceful spiral.

“Cho, it’s perfect!” I gushed, still not quite believing that the girl I was gawking at was myself.

“Mar, you are absolutely beautiful.  You could go to the date in a garbage bag and he would still fall head over heels in love with you.” She was clearly proud of her handiwork, but for once it didn’t make me edgy.  She deserved the moment.  Anyone who could make my hair look like something other than concept art for a fireplace was a genius in my book.

Cho disappeared into the abyss behind the curtains of her four-poster bed and emerged a few seconds later holding her wand and a copy of “The Witch’s Essential Aesthetics Spellbook”.  She pointed the wand at my head as she flipped through the book.

“No way, Cho.” I said, ducking below the point of her wand.  “You will tell me what you are doing before you get to cast any of those spells at my head.”

“You’ll be fine Mar.  I’ve been practicing on first years and they all love it.  All I’m doing is putting finishing touches on your hair, all right?  Trust me.”

“Tell me first.” I said, hands held protectively in front of my face.

“I’m just giving you a quick spell to keep your hair in place.”  Then, with hardly a pause, she flicked her wrist and a wave of sweet-smelling mist rolled over me, slowly setting my hair like concrete.  I turned to the mirror and saw that she’d also added a touch of sparkle and a white flower where the curl of my plait ended.

“Thank you, Cho.” I said after a pause. “It’s perfect.  Really, it is.”  I hugged her and giggled. “I feel like a princess.”

“Because you are, silly goose.” She replied jovially.  Despite my tendency to be annoyed with my best friend, there was a reason she still held the title.  “Are you sure you don’t need help picking out your outfit?”  She asked, pulling away from the hug.

“I’ve got it Cho.  I promise.” I said, unable to wipe the ridiculous grin from my face.

“Alrighty then.  I’ll be in the common room.” Cho called as she walked out of the room.  The look she gave me as she disappeared from sight told me that she already knew exactly what I’d be wearing.

 

Dean was waiting at the door to the common room to escort me to Hogsmeade.  He was wearing a v-neck Rory Gallagher t-shirt with a maroon cardigan and jeans.  He looked like a model leaning against the wall with one ankle crossed over the other, and a slight, secretive smile playing at the edges of his lips.

“Hello fair maiden.” He said as I stepped out of the door, his eyes lighting up. “How lovely thou dost look this fine day.”

“Hey Dean” I grinned and shook my head at his ridiculous antics, but I took his proffered arm nonetheless.

We began walking toward the Great Hall and I was amazed how easy it was to talk to Dean.  He really had become a gentleman over the past week, and it made the attractive boy even more charming.  We chatted about everything from Muggle bands to household pets to my bookshelf in the library.  I barely even noticed as we brushed past Mr. Filch and out into the brisk February air.  I’d completely forgotten to bring any sort of coat or warm robes in the hype of my amazing outfit.

“Are you cold?” Dean asked, pausing as he pulled his own coat over his broad shoulders.  He didn’t wait for an answer before taking the coat off and wrapping it around me.

“Thanks.” I said, a little shocked, but grateful for the warmth.  I pulled the coat closer and noticed as I did so how amazing it smelled.  Like pine and cinnamon.

We walked in silence for a bit before Dean blurted out, “You know, you look so much like a Disney princess.  All you need is the ballgown.”

“A what kind of princess?” I asked, mildly confused.

“Oh, right.  I’ve been here for so many years that you’d think I would remember that no one here knows what Disney is.  It’s a huge Muggle company that makes movies and stuff.  You know what movies are, right?” I nodded.  Movies were something of a fascination at Hogwarts, especially in the open-minded house of Ravenclaw.  “Anyway, Disney movies are kind of the epitome of childhood for lots of people.  And all of their movies are still perfect when you’re older. So this company puts out some especially famous movies every once in a while that are about a girl who either is already a princess or becomes a princess.  Every little Muggle girl wants to be a Disney princess because they are all beautiful and they all get their own happily-ever-afters.”  His face lit up with enthusiasm as he talked, and I couldn’t help but grin again.  I had to hand it to him, he did know how to make a girl feel special.

“We should watch the movies sometime.” I said when he finished.

“Really? You’d want to?”  He asked.  He seemed almost vulnerably happy.

“Why not?” I answered, my own stupid grin growing along with his.

 

We arrived at the Three Broomsticks, and Dean was quick to open the door for me and pull out my chair before settling into his own.  He insisted on paying for my drink too, and he ordered a cheesecake to split between us.  Somehow, his extreme chivalry reminded me of my conversation with Seamus.  I still had no idea why he had talked to me like I was the one doing a saintly deed by taking him out.

“Dean?” I asked, surprised at my own tenacity, “Why are you doing this?”

“Doing what?” He replied, his expression more than a little confused.

“I just mean,” I began, “Why are you putting in so much effort just to be able to take me on a date?”

“Because I like you, Marietta.”  He said it plainly, but it sent a shiver up my spine.  “Seamus talked to you, didn’t he?” Dean asked after I didn’t respond.

“Kind of.” I said noncommittally, “He said something about me doing a good thing for you and you needing it, but I had a migraine roughly the size of China at the time, so it’s kind of hazy.”  I looked at him expectantly.

“What?” He asked, suddenly nervous.

“Do you want to tell me why he said that?” I asked.  He let out a long breath.  “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.” I asked, seeing that it was clearly a touchy subject.

“Do you remember the time we were partners in DA last year?” He asked, ignoring any sort of preamble.

“Yeah, you were kind of mad at me for hating on Harry.”  I bristled.  Why was he bringing up such a sensitive topic?

“I engineered that on purpose.” He said, ignoring my hostile comment about Harry Potter. “You were always there but you never looked happy.  I had a big fat crush on you for a while, as in ever since I accidentally knocked over your butterbeer at the Triwizard Task where they were all underwater, and I thought I might see if I could make you like the DA.  I wanted to ask you out, but I knew you were way out of my league, and besides, you might have hated me because I’m a Muggleborn.”

“Why would that matter?” I asked, incredulous.  I’d forgotten about the butterbeer incident, but the fact that he thought I wouldn’t like someone just because they were Muggleborn was completely absurd.

“Your mom works for the Ministry.  Umbridge was never really big on Muggleborns, and I figured neither was anyone else there.  It was the meeting after we were partners that you finally talked to Umbridge.” There was a roiling agony behind each of his words, and I knew he was trying so hard not to offend me.  “I figured I had finally pushed you over the edge.  Like I was the reason you finally felt it was time to tell her.”  I kept my lips shut, but it took everything in me.  Didn’t he know that I just wanted to protect my mom? “Anyway, I got pretty down on myself after that.” Dean continued, “I thought everyone around me was slightly repulsed by the presence of an outsider in their midst and I was unwelcome.  I started dating Ginny because I knew she was from a pureblood family.  I figured that I could prove to you that I could date a pureblood, that I wasn’t worth less.  Then, Ginny dumped me and I felt even more worthless.  Seamus told me that I needed to ask you out because it was unlikely that you even cared about the fact that I like football better than Quidditch, although I am starting to consider them equal.  I wouldn’t have done it if Cho hadn’t overheard one of my conversations with Seamus a while ago.  I suspect you know how it is with her; when she puts her mind to it, she can do whatever she feels like doing.  Anyway, she wouldn’t stop bugging me about it, so I finally decided I was going to go ahead and just ask you.  And I guess you know what happened after that.”  He finished abruptly.  He sipped his butterbeer sheepishly, refusing to look up at me.

“I’m so sorry.”  It was all I could think to say.  Here I had thought that all of his stupid arrogance and niceties were just to belittle me.  All he was trying to do, all along, was to prove that he was worth something.

“Don’t be.” He said, looking up.  “It’s not your fault.”  He smiled then, wider and more genuine than he had all day.  “I suppose the fact that you haven’t run off yet is a good thing, right?”

“Depends what you call good.” I said, mirroring his goofy smile, “You realize you’re stuck with me now.” I added.

“I think that counts.” He laughed.  I joined in.  It felt so good to laugh so hard.  I hadn’t laughed like that since before the incident.  As soon as I thought about it, I felt the mirth drain out of me.  “What is it?” Dean asked, instantly concerned.  My face must have dropped as quickly as my heart.

“Let’s get out of here.” I said, looking at all of the faces that would judge me if I started crying about my betrayal.  I was on a precarious enough truce with them, I didn’t want to lose that again.  Dean seemed to understand, as his eyes quickly scanned the large room too.

We walked out into the street where it had begun to snow and Dean once again wrapped his coat around my shoulders, more protectively this time.

“What is it?” He said again, tipping my head up so that he could see my eyes.

“What will they all think?” I whispered, suddenly realizing that I was hurting Dean too.  He would forever be known as the person who dated the traitor.

“I thought…” Dean trailed off.  He was still convinced I was worried about his heritage.

“No, about me.” I said, wiping a tear from my cheek and feeling an exposed streak where it had taken off my wall of foundation.  “I’m the traitor, remember?  Everyone hates me.  They’re going to accuse you of hating the great Harry Potter as much as I’m supposed to.”

“But I thought Cho said you don’t hate him.” He said, his face earnest and sympathetic.

“I don’t.”  I cried, embarrassed that I was breaking down like this.  “My mother told me not to get involved in the first place.  She was going to lose her job.”  I whispered, trying desperately to recompose myself.  “I just didn’t see how…”  I trailed off, blinking back tears as quickly as I could, but with little success.

“You were just scared last year, that’s all.  You were trying to keep your family safe; I get that.” He snagged another tear from my cheek before it had the chance to carve another trail through to the cursed word that stood out like a beacon against my pale cheeks.

“No one else sees it like that, Dean.” I said, shaking my head.

“Listen, Marietta.” He said, once again lifting my chin. “I don’t care.  I know there are people who will and do think that, but I will not let them.  I will make sure that everyone knows I’m with you and that you aren’t a monster.  We’ll make it through it, you and me.  Deal?” I nodded and collapsed into his waiting embrace.  He smelled just like his coat, pine and cinnamon.  In that instant, I felt like I was home.

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Apologies, Explanations, and Really Tough Stuff

To my readership (small though you may be),

I realize I haven’t been keeping up very well this week with the Daily Beautiful, but I will get it taken care of.  In light of the events of this past week, I feel like it’s even more important to keep it going.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I need to let you guys know exactly why I do this blog.  I have to warn you, there is going to be some really, uncharacteristically, jarringly emotional material in this post pertaining to death, and specifically suicide.

I don’t do this because my life is all rainbows and sunshine, even if a fair amount of it actually is just that.  I have the best family anyone could ever ask for, friends who support me and lift me up, a tight-knit community that surrounds me, and, most importantly, a God who loves me.  I may struggle with some self-esteem issues, but nothing a good cry with my mother can’t fix.  I live in a comfortable home which never fails to support the excess of joy that flows from it.  I get to go to a Christian school where my peers and teachers care about me and support me.  Yeah, my life is pretty blessed.

However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its own fair share of pain.  I have lost three classmates during my high school career.

The summer after my freshman year, I lost a friend to cancer that had plagued him for seven years.  His death was tragic, but we didn’t have a funeral for him.  We had a service of celebration for his incredible, faith-filled life.  Everyone who met him could see that, even though he was just a kid, he understood God and the concept of love.  His death was a time of mourning, but it brought with it immense peace.  There was no doubt that he was living with his Lord and Savior for eternity.

In November of 2013, my junior year, another one of my classmates died.  Nearly three weeks earlier, he had tried to commit suicide but was discovered in time to get him to the ICU.  At first, we believed that, although his situation was tentative, he would pull through it.  He would take a very long time to heal, and even then he’d never be the same, but at least he would live.  However, there were several times where his condition became dangerously unstable which led to his death.  We mourned him a total of I believe three times, thinking he was gone before he miraculously would pull through again.  The entire event caused an upheaval at my school.  There were so many questions asked and so many pieces to pick up.  Somehow, by the grace of God, we made it through.

Six months later, less than a week ago, another of my classmates committed suicide.  There was no hanging on, no time to say goodbye.  It was during finals week too (not that that matters, but it seemed even more unreal).  I can’t even begin to describe the pain that we experienced this school year and I don’t have words to tell you how glad I am that it’s over.

At this point, this whole post seems pretty darn contradictory to my usual happy-go-lucky attitude on this blog.  It’s coming.

First of all, I can’t help but revel in the amazing love of my God.  There is nothing good about death.  However, God brings good things from it.  Through all of these experiences, my entire class, actually my whole school and even the communities outside of it have come together so much, especially over the past year.  Lots of people have been asking lots of questions about death lately, predominantly why? I have several teachers who have been absolute godsends in answering these questions, or changing them so that we are asking the right questions.  There are some answers we’ll never have, but we can still have peace.

I can’t even begin to describe the amount of love I’ve given to and received from my friends this year.  I didn’t even know we were capable of giving so much of ourselves away to other people, but they were all filling us right back up.  The day after we learned about the most recent death, there were no classes at my school, but the building was open and the teachers were there so that people could come in and talk, but also just be with each other.  People who weren’t very close to the boy who had just died but had been extremely close with the one who died in November stayed there all day.  Even though they weren’t hurting quite as deeply as his close friends, they knew how much that support had meant to them earlier in the year, so they stayed.

One of my friends, who has really struggled with both of these deaths, is also an intuitively skilled piano player.  She sat on the stage of my small school and coaxed healing out of the keys of a banged-up piano.  She played for three hours straight, and her music could be heard throughout the school.  Without any music to read from, she played every Christian song that she could think of, and so many of them applied to the situation.  At one point, there were six or eight of us grouped around her while she played 10,000 Reasons and we sang our hearts out.  It was such an amazing experience.  Then, at his funeral, another small group of us, about six again, were standing in a circle, arms around each other, praying sporadically and crying on each other.  When we finished our prayer, someone suggested singing and we once again started 10,000 Reasons.  Being the typical choir kids that we are, we added harmonies and dynamics.  The entire time, I was bawling, but I looked around at my precious friends’ faces and I thanked God for each and every one of them.  They have helped me to heal.  We finished the song and the room seemed to be waking itself up.  Other people who had been sitting outside of our group thanked us.  I don’t know what words to use to describe how much love and support God was injecting into that room and that song.  Specifically: 10,000 Reasons, In Christ Alone, and Lord I Need You have been songs that have carried us through this year.  God gave us an indispensable gift when he created music.

Also, just another little story.  I work at a childcare center which means that I hear the most astonishing things from children.  The first day that I went back to work after this last tragedy, I was playing in a little kitchen play-set with a four-year-old little girl.  I was a teensy bit emotional that day, and so I think she could tell, like all children, that something was wrong.  She asked me if I’d like anything to drink and I told her I’d love some.  She “poured” a drink into a small plastic cup and handed it to me.  The following narrative occurred:

me: What am I drinking?

girl: It’s love.

I almost broke down right in front of her.  That was a God moment without a doubt.  He can use anything, even an innocent comment from a four-year-old girl who is simply trying to serve imaginary dinner to her hurting teacher, to bring healing.

So, back to the original question, why do I do this blog?  There are two reasons.

The first: God has soaked my life in blessings and I can’t help but share them.  I once heard that humans love to lament about our sorrows, but rarely do we linger in our joy.  I want to linger forever in the joy with which God has filled me.  He has given me so much joy that I need to share it.  The younger brother of my classmate who died last week bravely stood up at his brother’s funeral and read a poem.  It was a poem about how he is drinking from the saucer because his cup has overflowed.  I don’t know where he found the strength to say those words, but at the same time, I do.  He found them in the love of God.  And I’ve found them there too.

The second: I can’t let this keep happening.  I don’t want any more death in my life, or in the world for that matter.  I certainly don’t want any more hurting, pain, or depression.  I once had a friend who told me that I try to censor life.  Maybe I do, but maybe life could use to be censored.  Life doesn’t need to be composed of constantly degrading words or painful relationships.  I get it, we’re sinners, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to do good things.  People are fragile, which means they can be cracked, bent, and even broken.  There is enough hate out there.  By the grace of God and with His help, I want to make this a place where people don’t have to experience the unnecessary pain and heartache that we inflict carelessly on each other.  I want people to feel love.  I hope you do feel that love.

I guess that’s pretty exhaustive, but thanks for reading.  Writing all of this was pretty therapeutic for me too.  I know there have been a lot of people asking how I’m doing lately, and I hope this does a better job of explaining my feelings than my little sad-smile-and-nod thing has been doing.  Thanks again for reading!  You are a magnificent person in my book.

Delighted to Support Desmond Tutu’s Forgiveness Challenge

This is beautiful.

The WordPress.com Blog

We’re humbled to bring you this interview with Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu and his daughter Mpho Tutu about their new Global Forgiveness Challenge as well as HumanJourney.com, a platform for transformational ideas that Archbishop Tutu is co-founding with book and media creator Doug Abrams. WordPress.com is delighted to be a partner in this initiative.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Mpho Tutu are trying to change the world with the Forgiveness Challenge. Get involved! Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Mpho Tutu are trying to change the world with the Forgiveness Challenge. Get involved!

What is the Tutu Global Forgiveness Challenge?

The Forgiveness Challenge is a free 30-day online program developed to help people learn the practical steps to forgiveness so they can live with greater love and joy in their life.

How does the Forgiveness Challenge work?

Each day, participants receive an email from us that directs them to a new post on the website that presents an important insight into forgiveness and that offers them…

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