A New Home and New Rules
A few months had passed since Michael was in the office of the Minister of Magic, and the day had come that he would go a receive Eva. It was a frantic morning getting everything prepared for the day. Luckily his sister, Lucy, had agreed to give up her wedding planning to help move Eva in. It seemed that she was much more excited than anyone including their mother. She had spent a lot of the last months preparing the room for Eva, buying her clothing, and plenty of activities to keep her busy. The whole family had visited Eva several times trying to make her more comfortable with the people she would be close with. Eva seemed to cling very well with Lucy, and even begun calling her Aunt Lucy. But the one person that she had to see on every visit and spend the most time with was Michael. Now that the day had arrived, every minute made him more nervous. Technically she was already his daughter, but this would be the final stretch.
Lucy had traveled from Florence in order to help pick her up; she even rented a car so that they could take all Eva’s things, though she probably didn’t have much. Michael sat in the passenger seat fiddling his sweaty fingers the whole way there while Lucy began to talk about all the fun things that she was planning with her new niece.
They arrived at the Institution early the morning of May 1st. Michael and Eva had both planned on saying that that day would be her birthday, since she had never celebrated it earlier, nor did she know when it actually was.
“Michael, this is so frustrating. I just want to take her home, what are we waiting for?” Lucy said sticking her head out the window. They had only been there for a few minutes and she was already anxious to keep going. “Calm down Lucy, she will be here shortly, besides we are a few minutes early. You wanted to be here more than an hour ago.” Lucy chuckled at her brother’s comment and then rested her head on her arms still looking out the open window of the car. Lucy was a naturally flamboyant person. She always had a smile on her face, and was always willing to have a conversation. Even as a child she was quite odd, keeping her dark hair cut rather short and making it stand on end. Though she had no magical powers, she still enjoyed pretending even for her mature age.
“Do you think she is going to like it, I mean everything? I hope she likes her room and her clothes. Do you think she will enjoy being a witch? I enjoyed living with them, so I couldn’t see why not,” she smiled still in her high anxiety mode.
“I think she is going to love every bit of it,” he began, “I only hope this father thing works out.” Lucy sat up and looked at her older brother. “You were practically like a father to me,” she gave him one of her wide smiles and then hugged him tightly but pushed him off when she saw Eva. “She’s here,” she quickly slid out of the car and ran towards the gate. Michael sat in the car for a moment still feeling the butterflies in his stomach, not sure if he was ready. He watched as Eva exited the gates and was swallowed in a hug by his sister. Dr. Augusto watched with a smile. Eva soon leaned around Lucy to see where he was and grinned at him. At that point he knew that he was ready to do this. Michael got out of the car and walked towards them.
“I was very surprised when I heard that Eva would be leaving so soon,” she said taking Michael’s hands. “But I know that you will take care of her and protect her like a father should.” Lucia turned to Eva and embraced her kissing her forehead. The past few months had been easier between both of them. Eva had finally seen a kinder more caring side to her caretaker for the past years. While she was not sad to go, she was sad to be leaving someone that she had grown to truly like. After Lucy had nearly knocked the doctor over in a hug, they said their final farewells.
Michael took Eva’s had and led her to the car followed by Lucy carrying the single bag filled with Eva’s artwork and few of her personal items. They all filed into the car and were soon driving away from the institute. Eva rolled down the window and waved out to Lucia who seemed to be weeping as she waved back.
The trip would be quite long and Michael couldn’t travel magically because of Lucy being a squib and Eva not used to any sort of travel. So they made the long drive out to the Rosslare Ferry which would take them into the United Kingdom and on the road to Caterjune Square. The trip took nearly twelve hours, and Eva slept for most the journey though Lucy protested that she wanted her to see everything. The final car ride took them into the night, and Eva managed to stay awake for the last hour of the journey, while Lucy talked on. Michael had remained silent for most the trip, answering the occasional question that Eva asked. Every time he had visited her she would ask him questions about the wizarding world, but he said that it would have to wait for until they went home. Eva’s knowledge about the outside world was quite vast, Michael thought. She understood much about the muggle world which he found strange due to her lack of memory. He could only imagine a grown girl learning about the wizarding world and all the strange occurrences within it.
Lucy stopped the car and parked it in a lot saying that they were going to have to walk from here. The sun was all the way down and she took out her flashlight to help lead the three towards Caterjune Square. It was in a secret location known only to witches and wizards. Lucy was able to go there many times due to her genes coming from wizards. The group had to walk through a forest. There was a small arch way that seemed to be built of the branches of the surrounding trees. Eva walked through it looking amazed at the natural structure. Michael walked towards it and placed his hand on the largest tree and closed his eyes. Eva soon walked back towards Michael and noticed that Lucy was gone.
“Where is Aunt Lucy?” she questioned trying to squint in the darkness. Michael held out his hand with a smile. She took it as he led her through the tree archway. Suddenly everything didn’t look as it had seemed before when she had walked through. There was a dirt road and lamps lit along it. Eva looked around in amazement. When she turned back she saw that Michael was holding his wand, which she had yet to see. There was a glowing light at the tip that expanded around the forest showing Lucy in the distance.
“We are here,” she called to them with a little bit of laughter. Eva let go of Michael’s hand and ran towards her aunt. They both looked back at Michael with devilish smiles. “We will race you,” Lucy said her smile growing wider. Michael’s face remained the same as he caught up to them. They looked at him wondering if he had heard them. Suddenly he bolted off in a run, and they began to laugh and follow after him. Though Lucy had much longer legs, Eva sped past her at a quick pace. Soon Michael was left in the dust as Eva continued to run. There was a break in the forest and Eva came to a stop and looked out at the opening. It was dark but the town could be seen by the candle lit lamps on the side of the road, and the moon that was blazing bright. There were several small cottage homes lining the road and some stores as well. There were few people out, mainly the ones heading back to their homes.
Michael came up beside her, out of breath. She grabbed his arm and held up his wand to see better. He wrapped his arm around her and began to walk through the small village of Caterjune Square. The three soon left the close houses, and the homes began to grow farther apart. Soon Michael stopped at a sectioned of dirt road with a small hanging sign that said “Highmore House”. They continued their walk down the winding path for several minutes but soon a house began to form. It was much larger than the ones she had seen, but even in the night she could see that it was bright red with a black frame and a blue door. With a flick of his wand the place lit up revealing the beautiful home more clearly now. Without thinking Eva ran through the grassy yard to the front door. It opened on its own as she walked inside. There were streamers and balloons everywhere that she believed Lucy to put up for her welcoming.
It reminded Eva of Dr. Lucia’s office, except with much more interesting antique furniture. She ran around the home, through the sitting area which led to the dining area which led to the kitchen and then back again to the front room. There were stairs and she was about to run up them when Lucy and Michael walked in.
“So what do you think Eva?” Lucy asked in excitement.
“It is beautiful,” Eva whispered still looking around at all the interesting things.
“Now Eva,” Michael said in a firm voice. “I have some rules that you must follow while in this house. First, until you learn proper magic at school you will not be allowed to do any in here. Second, we all have our private spaces, and I ask that you respect mine. My room is my space and your room is yours,” Eva lit up thinking about her own room but was stopped by Michael, “the third rule is that if you make a mess I expect you to clean it up right away, and lastly, everything in this house is now ours and I know that you will respect that.” A smile was on his face, and she gave him one back.
“Oh, enough with the rules, I think it’s time to see Eva’s room,” Lucy said grabbing her hand and excitedly running up the stairs. Eva was almost overjoyed by the thought of her own room. She followed Lucy as she led her down the small hallway. “Now this side of the hall is yours. You have a bathroom here and your room here. Now on the other end is where Michael’s room is and he really doesn’t like people going through his things, so you probably won’t be spending too much time in there. But I made your room myself so I hope you like it.” She nudged Eva towards the door with a smile and held her hands together in anticipation.
Eva slowly turned the knob on her handle and pushed the door open. Walking in slowly her face fell into a complete state of awe. The room was completely light by candles, some from a chandelier hanging from the ceiling and others hung on the walls around the room. The walls were beige which matched the cushiony carpet. She had a small sitting area with a couch and sitting chair both filled with pillows of beige, cream, tan and light blue. The same colors were all over the room. There was a smaller carpet with an ornate design that sat in front of cream framed fireplace. On the mantle were several little trinkets one a beautifully crafted ceramic bird. There was a small blue flame burning in the fireplace which amazed Eva. She turned again finding a large cream wardrobe. She opened the large doors and looked inside. Expecting it to be half empty she was quite surprised to see several pieces of clothing, all her size. She pulled a dress out of the closet and held it up to her, turning to see a full length mirror hanging on the inside of one of the doors. Tears filled her eyes, never having owned any of her own clothing. She placed it back inside and continued to explore. There was a small desk which had several supplies on it such as parchment and quills. It sat in front of three large full length windows looking out onto Caterjune Square. The final turn she made finally made her break down in complete tears on the floor. It was a large bed with the same colored linens and pillows. She kneeled on the floor and smiled towards the bed. Having slept on something as uncomfortable as the one at the institute she couldn’t even imagine what this would feel like.
A hand fell on her shoulder and she turned to see Michael and Lucy standing over her. She stood up quickly and wrapped her arms around both of them. There was a tender moment as they all stood stuck together in an embrace.
Lucy wished them a good night and went down stairs where she would be sleeping on the couch. Michael sat on the bed as Eva was all tucked in.
“Thank you,” she said still in quite a shock from the day.
Michael patted her shoulder and held her close to him. “Good night Eva,” he said getting up and walking to the door.
“Good night dad,” she struggled to get the words out but they stopped Michael in his tracks. But he soon smiled and went to his room. That night, the three sat in the beds but not sleeping . They were far too excited from the events of the day. But soon sleep found all three of them, which was a relief.
Eva was sleeping peacefully until a sudden image flooded her dreams. Before she had been dreaming about using a wand like Michael’s swishing it around and making magical things happen. When she made a turn she saw a figure standing at a distance shrouded by darkness. She tried calling out to the person but could not speak. Slowly the figure started to come closer, the once happy place around her began to change into something more sinister. It seemed that skeletons were lying on the ground everywhere. The figure was still covered but came extremely close. As Eva held up her wand in defense the person grabbed it and threw it aside. She began to breathe heavily, the sound of every breath heavy in her ears. The darkness began to give and the image of the person became clearer. Eva realized exactly who this was and she grew frightened trying to move her feet to run. It was a woman standing in front of her, brown skin with what seemed like black ink died into it. Her eyes were completely white, no pupil. As the woman came closer a smile formed on her face reveal disgusting rotted teeth. Soon they were nose to nose and the woman spoke in a deep voice.
“I found you,” it said, “my sister.” Suddenly the tendrils that once lined the woman’s face began to move, shifting into hundreds of black snakes. They began to strike at her, and with a final yelp Eva sat straight up in her bed. There was sweat pouring from her face, her whole body trembling with fright. She nearly forgot where she was as she pulled herself out of bed and ran to her desk. There was no writing utensil that she could use besides the quill. Quickly in the dark she found the small bag that held all of her things from the institute. There was a single piece of charcoal wrapped in a tissue. She unrolled it and ran back to the desk scribbling on the parchment by moonlight. The figure of the woman was drawn exactly how she remembered it. The eyes, the teeth, and the snakes. Finally she had finished and sat back beginning to cry. She felt as if she was going to be sick.
Why was this same vision appearing to her night after night? Who was this woman and what did she want? Questions filled Eva’s mind as she tried to calm herself. Looking at the picture she threw it off her desk and watched as it fell beneath the bed. The thought of climbing back into that bed scared her, and she wouldn’t do it. Finally agreeing that she needed the sleep, she walk down the hall to Michael’s room. Eva remembered what Lucy said about Michael liking his own space; she hesitated before pushing down the handle. The room was very dark, it seemed that the curtains were drawn leaving no light to spare. She moved slowly through the room seeing the outline of the bed. A lump was lying on one side fast asleep. Quietly she moved to the other side and climbed into the bed. For a moment she thought that Michael might be mad, but those fears subsided as she drifted back into a dreamless sleep.
Eva was woken the next morning by a rush of light breaking into the room. Eva slowly shifted under the heavy covers and pulled herself up. Her eyes were still blurry with sleep until something hopped on the bed.
“Eva?” said the voice of Lucy, “What are you doing in here?” She seemed very stunned and almost angry. Eva had much forgotten the events of last night, and was still slightly confused on how she got into Michael’s room in the first place. Soon the memories came back and tried to smile.
“I had a nightmare,” she said innocently folding her legs underneath her. Lucy expression went from questioning to what seemed to be a woman looking at a baby.
“That is so precious,” Lucy said putting a hand over her heart. “Come on, I made breakfast so that we can get started on our busy day.” Lucy jumped out of the bed like a small school girl and ran towards the door. Eva followed quickly behind her, still unsure how Michael would react to last night.
They made their way into the kitchen which was quite small filled with vintage cooking equipment, though Eva had not seen any of these things except in books. There were biscuits on the table next to several sunny-side-up eggs. There was something sizzling in a pan on the stove and Lucy quickly went to check on it.
“What would you like to drink?” She said picking up the bacon that was cooking with tongs and placing them on another plate. “We have pumpkin juice, milk, and tea.” Eva kindly asked for milk, unsure of what pumpkin juice would taste like. Lucy then gave her the glass and began filling her plate with a lot of each food served. Suddenly Michael walked through the arch way into the room carrying a cup of tea. He set it on the table not making eye contact with Eva. She felt completely awful, and didn’t even want to touch the delicious food in front of her. She had broken one of the few rules Michael had given her and she hadn’t even been there that long.
“Did you sleep well last night?” Michael asked sorting through some things on the counter.
“Oh you know me, I love sleeping on couches. I don’t even know why I own a bed,” Lucy said happily pouring some tea for herself. Eva felt awkward just sitting t the table, but didn’t know what else to do.
“And you Eva? How did you sleep?” Michael asked in a very kind tone turning to grab his tea from next to her.
“You mean, you are not angry with me,” she said spinning in her chair. Michael gave her a solemn look and then burst out into laughter.
“Why would I be mad at you?” He soon realized why she would assume something like that. “I don’t mind if you are in my room while I’m in there. I understand being in a new place can be difficult but I know you will bond with your room. I’m afraid you will never leave it, with all the things Lucy put in there.” Lucy gave him a look and then took a seat grabbing as much food as she could fit on her plate. Eva found her appetite again and quickly began to chew down her food which was delicious as she thought it would be. The institute had food, but it never seemed to have as much flavor.
Michael was about to sit down when something came flying into the small round window of the kitchen. Eva spun around quickly to see a large black owl sitting on the sill. In his beak was a package of letters tied in string. Michael took the letter and pulled a small biscuit shaped treat and placed it in front of the bird.
“Thank you Gatsby,” he said and made his way to the table. Eva was still watching the bird as it chewed down its treats.
“Is that you bird?” she asked mesmerized.
“He is a mail owl; it is how magical folk communicate. That is Gatsby; he was my father’s owl.”
“Will I get one?”
“No, Gatsby will retrieve your letter as well. And when you go to school, he will bring you your mail,” he said sifting through the pile. “Ah, and speaking of school.” He pulled a letter out of the pile and handed it to Eva. She took the letter and held it in her hands. She had never gotten a letter from anyone, and was overjoyed to see her first one finally came. There was green lettering on it with Michael’s address. They must know that she was here, but how? She turned it over and saw a seal with four animals on it and a large H in the middle. She opened up the letter and unfolded it. It said:
of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Headmaster Von Foxstrand
(Order of Merlin First Class, Grand Sorcerer)
Dear Miss. Highmore,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31.
There were several papers also inside with the list of everything she would need. It seemed like an odd list; cauldrons, scales, and cloaks.
“So what does it say?” Lucy asked curiously. She had never seen a letter from Hogwarts and was quite excited. Eva handed it to her and drank her milk.
“Congratulations,” Michael said opening up a letter from his mother. As soon as he ripped the envelope it hovered into the air. Eva sat with her eyes wide open staring as the letter began to speak.
Michael was rolling his eyes and found the paper that was rolled up along with the mail.
“Michael Highmore, you didn’t tell us that she would be here this soon. We would have made a trip down to see you and Lucy, and of course Eva. We should have been there when you picked her up. The girl has the right to be as close to her grandparents as she is to you. I tried using that blasted telephone to call, but for some reason it is not working. We will be coming as soon as we can. Your father is in quite a state, he has been ill for the past month. Doctors don’t know what’s wrong with him, probably all that smoke he has been taking in. Also, Lucy dear, Markl wants to know when you will be coming back. I think he is getting overwhelmed with your wedding planner calling day and night. Now both of you take care of our little angel, we expect the best out of her and you both. With all my love, your mother.” The letter then fell to the table as if it hadn’t been touched. Eva leaned over the table and looked at it, she even touched it to see what was wrong with it. Michael simply smiled turning the page in his paper.
“You have a lot to learn Eva,” he said reading through. As he was reading Eva looked at the paper. It wasn’t like an ordinary paper, the pictures on it were moving. She was almost climbing on the table to see how it worked until Michael pulled down the paper and folded it up.
“So what are we doing today?” he asked. Lucy seemed almost too happy that he asked.
“Well, first I thought that you could give her a tour of the town so that she knows where everything is, and maybe she can meet some other neighbors. Then I thought that we could go and frame all of Eva’s artwork and hang them up around the room. Then I thought that you could give her a tour of the town so that she knows where everything is, and maybe she can meet some other neighbors. Then I thought you could show her some magic things around the house that would be helpful to know,” Lucy would have continued if Michael hadn’t stopped her with a glance.
“That sounds like plenty to do today,” he sipped down the rest of his tea and folded up the paper.
After Eva and Lucy were finished with their breakfast, they made their way up stairs to Eva’s room.
“Now, what are we going to where on your first day out in the wizarding world,” Lucy pronounced opening up the wardrobe filled with clothing. She would pick something out as Eva sat on the bed and ask whether she should wear it or not. Eva would have worn anything from out of the wardrobe, it would be better than the scratchy material from before. As Lucy began to pull things out, Eva saw a glimpse of something that looked interesting.
“What about that?” she said pointing at it. Lucy pulled it out and held it up. It was the most beautiful piece of clothing Eva had ever seen. It was a long dress made of linen with long flowing sleeve and a hood. It was a beautiful blue color with stripes and it had little sewn embellishments on it. She hopped off the bed and held it up to herself looking in the mirror.
“A wise choice,” said Lucy. She helped Eva put on the dress and then found a cloak that would match. “Now, of course you won’t be taking all of this to Hogwarts. You will have a special cloak and uniform to wear, which we will pick up when we get your school supplies.”
Eva was upset to hear that, but as long as she had this dress she would be happy. Her hair was still very difficult to manage. Lucy had spent hours talking and trying to comb out the pale blonde knots. Luckily the subject of cutting it never came up which Eva was thankful for. For some reason she liked her hair just the way it was. Soon Michael was calling for them down stairs. They quickly made their way down to meet him.
“Very nice,” began Michael, “You looked just like a witch.”
“Why is it that I can’t wear clothing like the…muggles,” the word still didn’t make much sense to her even after Michael had explained it.
“That’s just the way things are, magical folk dress in the same fashion as our ancestors did, even Lucy wears them,” he said as Lucy turned clasping a cloak around her clothes. With that they walked out into the cool morning air.