Chapter 79: Where Have You Been?
Everyone was probably worried . . .
After Erela had dumped the small things she had in her box into Wisenburg's flat, she made the decision to visit her parents. She hadn't seen them in quite a while and they were most likely worried about her. She only recently made her presence known again in the Ministry, she didn't doubt the news of her reappearance had reached their ears yet. Erela took in a deep breath, then exhaled, then everything disappeared with a loud snap.
Her old room was placed before her, some of her parents' things had moved-in in various corners of her room, her room not even looking like her bedroom since the last time she saw it three years ago.
She heard the sound of stairs creaking then stopped midway. "Hello?" her father called from the stairs. Erela could only imagine her father grasping his wand in his hand and his suspicion making her smile a little. Sure, paranoia wasn't something that she should be delighted about, but because the jumpiness was due to her disappearance. That the man that she supposedly inherited his stone faced expression cared. And she knew he cared, it was just a delight that it was known.
Erela ran her hand through her short hair and opened the door, "It's okay, it's me," she called as she walked out into the hallway.
"Ela!?" her mother cried, sounded like from the kitchen.
The stairs started to croak as her father, and then her mother, came running up the stairs and saw Erela nearly at the foot of the stairs. "Where have you been!?" Mr. Harris questioned then took her in into the most brutally strong hug she had ever experienced from her father.
"Sorry, dad. I was in the hospital," she answered and hugged him back. Mrs. Harris moved around her husband and pulled Erela in for a hug once Mr. Harris let go of her. "They didn't let me out until earlier today," she lied.
"Why didn't you call us? We were worried sick," her mother sighed.
"I wasn't thinking," she answered. At least it was honest. "I was more concerned about getting better." That was half a lie.
"The Prophet thought you were dead!" Mr. Harris reminded her.
"I know. I'm sorry."
Erela couldn't tell them she was in a muggle hospital or else they would suspect her of something. She'd let them think she was in St. Mungo's Hospital and letting the Healers take care of her. As long as Erela was alive and well, they wouldn't suspect a thing. "Is the Prophet right? About your coworker being an old classmate of yours that was presumed dead?"
She nodded. "Yes . . ." she answered. Mr. Potter probably would explain more on the matter of Gregory's crime. Besides kidnapping and posing as a government figure, he most likely figured out why the man was her reason for becoming an Auror. She was already in the news before with Laila when Stacee and the other students died and passed it on as an accident. The Auror department knew it wasn't an accident but didn't want to make the murders public.
With the last of the cult finally found, the case could finally be put to rest. The surviving cult members were still in Azkaban and the one Landon and Erela had seeked out for years was gone.
She didn't have to tell them more than what Mr. Potter would tell the Prophet.
Erela ran a hand through her hair and let out a sigh. "Sorry for worrying you guys."
"We were just concerned . . ." her mother said, and Erela could tell in the tone of her voice that it wasn't just the disappearance that scared the daylights out of her. With the wedding being cancelled and less contact with them, she knew her decisions worried them. That she may or may not have gone into a psychologically rollercoaster with emotional breakdown for the ride.
"I know . . . I'm sorry . . ."
She explained to them that she made a decision to move away. She hadn't thought about where, but being around everything she knew only brought too many memories and felt it was time to make a new start again. Sure, it meant having to walk away from her family and friends, but it might be good for her. That the stress that had been building up the past five years had been shoving her to the edge of a cliff.
They understood, didn't mean they didn't agree with her decision. Her mother, obviously, hated the idea of Erela moving so far away. But, she knew in her heart that she'd come visit again when she was good and ready, especially with Apparating being a quick and cheap way of transportation. She told them goodbye, hugged and kissed them, and left.
Her next destination, Laila and Stephanie.
Erela's stuff was still there and it wouldn't be right to go away without her friend and her little girl knowing. Her palms were sweating just thinking about what Laila would say to her. She was probably mad. Erela didn't doubt it. Stephanie would be excited, that was a given.
She Apparated into the spare room upstairs and opened the door once she felt her toes tingle back to life. "Laila, I'm here," she called loudly in case she was somewhere where her voice was muffled.
Laila came from around the corner in the kitchen. She held a wet dish in one hand and a rag to dry it in the other, "Erela! Wha- where the bloody hell have you been?! You disappeared without a word, the papers said you had died!"
Erela pursed her lips at her outburst, though she knew Laila would react that way as well. It wasn't a surprise whatsoever.
"Don't. You. Dare. Sit there and purse your lips at me like you are a teenager and think my anger towards you is totally misplaced, you owe me an answer at the very least. I have done nothing but been there for you, Erela Harris!"
"Right," she answered and ran her hand through her hair. "Well . . . I have been in the hospital the past week," she began and walked out of the room. "Lost a lot of blood in that duel," Erela went on, almost too casually. Like her near death experience was common.
What else could she say to her? That her sudden disappearance was because she had found the killer of Laila's dead boyfriend and father of her child? That she killed him and quit her job because what she wanted to do had been made? She couldn't tell her the obvious fact. The rest she could.
"You are completely unbelievable. No biggie, just been in the hospital, mostly dead," Laila mocked.
Erela chewed at the corner of her lip then looked away from her. "Sorry for not contacting you either," she finally said. Turned out she was terrible when it came to contacting anyone on what had happened to her. In some ways, she thought not worrying them about the news would be good for them. Suppose she still didn't quite grasp unconditional love from friends or family just yet.
"Yeah! You should be! What were you thinking!?"
"I was thinking of catching the guy that should have been in Azkaban these past five years and couldn't exactly write a letter or make a phone call to everyone," she answered. Laila kept her glare on her, Erela took in deep breaths to calm herself and give a straight answer. "You already know what happened. That Gregory had been alive this whole time. He was the guy . . ." she began, "When I found out, I chased after him. We dueled and something happened. He just collapsed and died there." Lies, utter lies. She couldn't tell her, Laila probably even suspected the truth. "I got injured and the first place that came to mind when I Dispparated was Landon's place. So I've been in the hospital in Germany this whole time," Erela finished.
Laila tapped her fingers against her arms as she kept her hard stare on Erela. Dang, she was really mad. She would have expected that from her parents instead of her friend. "And you couldn't make someone call while you were bedridden? Not even get Wisenburg?"
"You know as well as I do that he doesn't like me THAT much," she sighed. A pang in her chest followed after. "Can't even stay in the same room without arguing, let alone make a phone call for me . . ."
"He was the one that took you to the hospital, wasn't he?"
"Yeah?" Erela responded, her tone held a teaspoon of attitude.
"He probably still likes you enough to take you to the hospital. If he didn't care for you that much, he would have left you on the ground," she answered honestly.
"Sure," Erela rolled her eyes. "Okay, so he tolerated me enough to do that." But it wasn't about whether or not the werewolf still liked her. It was about Erela and her idiot decisions. "I was just afraid," she finally said. "I was afraid that Gregory's sudden death would make me a suspect . . ." And she should have been right. Because the 'cause' of death was from his brain, no one suspected her of killing him. The Killing Curse should have stopped the heart. Like being shot with a bullet. No one but her family and her old team, including Markus, knew what Erela was capable of doing. "I didn't want any of you to get involved."
"So disappearing was the best idea? Instead of immediately going to explain right off the bat? You were originally a suspect because no one could find you."
She wouldn't have been able to do that if she immediately collapsed from blood loss. Fighting back wouldn't end the lecture any sooner, though. "I figured. I thought it was best, then. And that was a bad call on my case."
"You bet your ass it was a bad call," she snapped. "You seriously scared all of us. Did you at least go to your parents and explain? Apologize even?"
"I did just now," Erela nodded. "I'm sorry for scaring you and everyone else. I thought I was taking care of all of you, but I was wrong." Laila should know how hard it was for her to apologize, let alone admitting she was wrong. "I'll be out of your hair today. I just wanted to apologize to you and say 'bye' to Stephanie."
Laila scoffed and rolled her eyes at Erela. "You really messed up, Erela."
"Like, you REALLY fucked up."
"I get that."
The woman kept her stare on the taller woman and let out a loud huff. "Don't go just yet," she finally said. "Stephanie wouldn't like that. You going missing for a few days after hearing the news from the Ministry and then suddenly coming back just to say tell her you're going. She wouldn't like it. You can go wherever the hell you want to go tomorrow, or whatever. Okay?"
One more day in London? She already said she was leaving to her parents. And she had no place to go except maybe a rundown ugly room in the Leaky Cauldron. Either way, she'd be sleeping on something. And, honestly, Laila's slightly comfortable bed in the spare room was far more comfortable than the stone mattress in that pub. "Okay," she agreed.
Laila nodded and uncrossed her arms over her chest. "Alright. I'm going to pick up Stephanie from school. So don't disappear, okay?"
"Okay," Erela responded in a bored and 'I'm sick and tired of you acting all high and mighty' tone. "I'll still be here," she added, a hint of promise in her voice that time. Besides, she needed a shower.
She merely watched Erela with pursed lips, before turning away to put the dish and old rag away. The resigned Auror ran a hand through her hair as she turned to open up her bag and search through her things. So she had to stay there for a little while. Hopefully the werewolf wouldn't mind finding a cat in his flat for a bit.