Chapter 74: Found You
Erela had been looking for a place to stay the past two weeks on her days off from work. She even kept herself out of Laila's flat as much as she could until late hours of the night to avoid the silent judgements of her recent decisions in life. Erela found some flats that were affordable, but know that living alone cost much more than having roommates to help pay rent. She could always advertise for roommates in the office, though Erela felt uncomfortable doing so with Markus there and asking for help from others.
She felt as if she had reverted back to her old introvert side before ever meeting Markus.
When she was back in the office, she took pictures of her and Markus off her walls and put them in a bin under her desk. It was already bad enough that she would run into him from time to time at work, even if it meant making eye contact with one another for a short minute before looking away and go on with their day.
He was obviously hurt.
There was no sense of hiding it . . .
He still had the ring he gave her at his desk . . .
Erela rested her head against her palm, her fingers pressed against the lids of her eyes. She was exhausted all the time and barely ate anything. Laila suspected depression. Erela assumed it was because she hardly had any sleep in the past two weeks with work and flat hunting while her eating problem was because she forgot to eat. She took in a deep breath, exhaled slowly, and repeated the process.
She needed rest . . .
"Oi, Erela," a voice called from over her wall.
Her eyes went up to a peeking head staring down at her. Vuk. "Yes?" she sighed.
"I never got to say, sorry about you and Markus."
Erela pursed her lips and leaned back against her chair. "It's fine . . ." she muttered. It was bound to happen, especially with her emotional baggage that had been dragging her down the past month. "We just weren't meant to be," she bullshit her answer with a shrug. Erela couldn't say that it was because she had feelings for someone else, especially with someone she had had failed relationships with before.
Maybe she was just not meant to have successful relationships.
"That's too bad," he answered, his tone uncaring. He was just trying to be nice, after all. Especially if he expected her to cry and whine about it and ready to mentally black out when the emotional rampage began.
She nodded in agreement before putting her attention back to the paperwork she had been ignoring the whole day. Erela just wasn't mentally available to do any of them. She let out a loud sigh before lowering her head to the desk. Her eyes felt heavy and her body felt like it was shutting down. Her lids fought to stay open, but the heaviness of it won and fell asleep.
She was running. Her lungs burned and her legs were tired from pushing too hard. Trees everywhere. Dirt flying all around them. Lights flying past them and loud snaps breaking past the park. Erela looked ahead of her, two boys were running ahead of her. Brown hair, freckled arms in a white buttoned top and his yellow and black tie loose around his neck. The other: a sweater vest . . . and purple—no, a mixed shade of pink and purple, lilac hair . . .
Stacee . . .
Erela looked back behind her, her hair braided back like she used to, toward the students chasing after them. Before she could lift her wand, one of the students' charm was shot at her feet, yanking Erela down and tumble into the dirt.
Time began to slow down . . .
Her eyes fell on Stacee looking back and skidded to a stop before he ran back toward her. Tears began dampen her cheeks, her voice nonexistent when she tried to scream at him to turn around and run, begging him to stay alive.
But no sound came from her throat.
She looked back at the green light that shined at her. Her eyes widened and looked into the eyes of Stacee's killer, Gregory Fincher. Behind the shattered glass of the shield falling apart before her, she saw the blonde boy's appearance change before her.
A familiar face.
A man with a buzz cut. A face she had seen just beside her cubicle for years.
The green light came at her, Stacee's slid in the dirt and held onto her with strength and life, before that strength diminished within seconds—
Erela gasped awake, gasping for air, and sweating cold bullets. She blinking, feeling tears and wiped the tears from her cheeks. He looked nothing like their classmate. His face was thin and his eyes were brown. The man just beyond the wall had a square jaw and blue eyes. He—
"Ms. Harris?" his thick accent broke through her thoughts. She looked up at him, a flask in his hand that he took a sip out of. "Are you okay?" Erela blinked at the flask in his hand and swallowed a lump caught in her throat.
"Do you mind if I take a sip of that?" she asked. "Um . . . bad dream, and all," she shrugged.
Vuk chuckled and shook his head. "You wouldn't like it—"
"Try me," she began and stood up, yanking the thing from his hand and sniffed the mouth of it. Polyjuice potion. Her eyes glared toward the man, the way he looked at her reflected the same anger she remembered from her dream. "Gregory Fincher, you son of a—"
His wand whipped out of his pocket before she could finish and Erela ducked before his jinx could hit her. Something exploded just behind her and everyone started to react to the sudden noise and flying papers. Erela pulled her wand out from her back pocket and chase after the man running away from her. "LOCK THE FLOO SYSTEM!" she snarled. "STOP HIM!"
Gregory whipped his wand at her, Erela just barely dodging it with her barely disabled arm. They pushed and shoved people out of the way, conjuring incantations when they were in hardly open areas. They were down in the lobby, where everyone was coming in through the floo powder system, Erela saw him run toward a fireplace, but had to keep running further and further away when metal gates blocked the way.
Rope came from the tip of her wand, missing, and wrapping around someone else. But she didn't stop to help them, her target was RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER and she couldn't let him get away! "Gregory!" she barked after him.
Just a few more feet!
No one was helping, everyone was confused at what was going on. Only that there were lights flying everywhere, breaking the black tiles around the Ministry, and an Auror chasing after someone.
Gregory jumped toward a fireplace that hadn't been locked down yet. Erela's eyes widened as she jumped after him, and clasped her hand around his ankle when green flames licked around them and disappeared.