The Drastic Change
In what is commonly called The City by the Sea, lay Newport, Rhode Island. Home to a population of about 10,000 people, the area seemed to be the perfect spot for many of our older generations to build their homes and mansions together to make Newport what it is today; the home of the rich and wealthy in the wizarding world. At least, the rich living in the states that is.
A shrill voice was heard cutting off the sounds of the ocean waves as we pan to a group of girls sitting around a table, surrounded by colorful throw pillows in different shades of red, orange, and blue. On one side sat two girls named Sasha Fallen and Margret Addams who were both half-blood wizards from new money.
They seemed to find themselves lucky to just be rich enough to live in houses right on the city line of Newport. Since moving next to one another, the two have been nothing but close friends, trying to make their way into the rich and lavish social scene that Newport offered. The three girls on the opposite side of the table were the creme de la creme of said social class.
Even at the ages of 11 and 12, Ava Fontaine, Izzy Colrince and Rosalie Tripe were breed for the life of wealth, and extravagant lifestyles that only their parents could afford. Each of these three girls came from wizarding family names known throughout the United States for their dedication to this country over so many generations. It was only expected that the new generation would keep the ball rolling which is why receiving invitations from someone as popular as Ava Fontaine seemed important to Sasha and Margret. It was why they ended up at the table with these girls to begin with, even if they had little understanding as to why they were invited in the first place...
“Ava, you can’t be serious. Elizabeth would never hurt Annie! She’s too..” Sasha lost her words, her green eyes watched me like a hawk, as if begging for more information. I turned my eyes to Margret who sat hunched over so as to hear me better while holding her glass of Wiz bubbly tightly in her fist.
Within the last few days a rather bad situation occurred involving two of the most popular girls in my social circle. Elizabeth Thorne and her little friend, Annie, were found on the scene with one collapsed at the bottom of a tall balcony with a broken leg while the other stood above overlooking the scene.
Naturally everyone was gossiping about it, including the group of girls I had situated around me.
I glanced to my left where my quiet friend, Rosalie, sat mixing her peach tea with a lady finger biscuit awkwardly, like her mother taught her. Her eyes were purposefully glancing away from the other girls’ looks, her plump face showed nothing but a frown. I sighed simply and sat back in my array of cushions placed around me and took a small sip of my peppermint tea before speaking. The three girls sitting around me seemed to be waiting in anticipation for what proof I had. The attention was exhilarating for me so naturally I was in no hurry to relieve their tension. After all, I had the power in the room.
“Are you stupid, Sasha?” I asked simply as I gently lowered my tea cup on its saucer. My eyes did not have to glance at the girl’s face to know that her mouth had dropped open in surprise.
“N-No. No, of course I’m not stupid.” she said, her voice sounded unstable.
I lifted my eyes to face hers.
“Then why are you taking Elizabeth’s side? She broke the girl’s leg. And now Annie is in the hospital instead of going to the Foundation Dinner. Can’t you...” I paused and turned to Izzy who sat next to me with her hand ruffling through her dark lacquer curls while eating a lady finger carefully. Her eyes turned to mine as if checking to see whether I actually felt upset or was I just faking it before I turned back to the group. I made an audible sigh again and gave a small smile. A sweet smile. A fake smile, before continuing.
“I’m sorry for calling you stupid, Sasha. I didn’t mean it. I’ve just been a bit upset over all this,” I said, motioning around me. Sasha’s worried eyes changed to understanding as did her awful posture change to a relaxed stance. She quickly grabbed my hand in my lap and held it in what I expected to be her way of saying she understood.
Keeping the smile on my face was a bit harder to hold when a sweaty hand was grasping my once clean one but I managed to give back what I hoped was a thankful nod before quickly taking my hand back.
Izzy cleared her throat softly and I straightened myself back in my seat before reaching a hand to Izzy who placed the photos in my hand quickly. The rest of the group watched with new found interest as I took a small glance at the first picture. A smirk appeared on my face before I dropped the cards on the table in front of me.
I think you girls will find this as proof enough of my story, yes?
How did I came across pictures of the two most popular girls in Newport in the exact positions that caused all the gossip in the first place? A lady never tells.
Sasha grabbed three of the photos with wide eyes while Margret glanced meekly at one of the pictures faced up. Rosalie knocked back the rest of her tea, something I was sure her mother had also taught her. Her brown eyes found mine and her pale skin went as red as her bushy red hair.
Izzy sat with her hand circling one of her many glossy dark curls that framed her face while looking at me with a questionable stare.
I softly shifted my smile before turning back to the two girls sitting in front of me.
“So will you help me?” I asked, watching the last puzzle pieces fit in place for the girls. I needed mindless girls such as these to become the head girl at school the next year. And with Annie and Elizabeth out of the picture thanks to the gossip, I finally had a chance. Margret and Sasha both nodded and looked up at me waiting for instructions and instructions is what I gave them.
After the house elves had cleared the last of the tea trays and lady fingers I rang the bell that stood over the table like a thrifty chandelier.
The bell resonated throughout the cabin clearly before another bell answered back with two strong rings.
“What’s going on now?” Margret asked quietly as I stood up with Izzy and Rosalie in tow. I turned to look down at her in surprise but did not need to voice my thoughts thanks to Izzy who spoke.
“We’re going swimming. What else do you do on a boat?”
The group followed me up the narrow steps leading to the top deck, where the sun shone on us all square in the face over the wind that carried the sails to their full extent.
“Loosen the jib, we’re staying here for an hour,” the captain yelled to one of the mates who quickly flourished his wand and with a harsh stroke the ropes dropped as did the sails, now no longer fully catching the weight of the wind.
With another flick of his wand, the anchor was dropped in the shimmering blue water while the girls and I took off our summer dresses and set them aside revealing colorful swimsuits in different pastels.
The water was icy cold but with the sun shining on our backs we felt refreshed and so we swam. Some of us went deeper under the water then others, letting the cold ocean current sweep around us as we moved about. Flashes of movement from the creatures, both magical and non, moved down below us, at the bottom of the sea, undisturbed for now.
After we swam our fill and the captain docked my family’s boat, Margret and Sasha separated from us, all of them waving about seeing us at the foundation dinner before racing back down the street towards their brooms lodged under a picnic table.
Izzy, Rosalie and I on the other hand rode back to my house inside my parents’ black cadillac where we spoke about the success we had this afternoon with Margret and Sasha.
“With Elizabeth Thorne out of the lead with being head girl of our first year, do you think Annie will be kind to us again, Ava?” Izzy asked me casually as I stretched out in the car. I shrugged.
“Honestly I don’t really care what happens to Annie. She’s always been too weird to match with our group.”
“Even if she’s richer than you, Ava?” Rosalie asked from the opposite side of the car. I turned to glare at her but she was no longer looking at me.
“I still can’t believe you’ve gotten away with all of this. That we got away with this,” Izzy said happily as she threw her dark hair back behind her. I kept myself back from heavily rolling my eyes. Izzy was blowing this whole thing out of the water. Spilling fake gossip to other girls has been one the most popular social activities for women since social hierarchy became a thing.
“We must celebrate at the foundation dinner. What has your mom planned for us kids to do there?” Izzy asked on, turning to me curiously.
“We’re modeling the jewelry going on auction tonight,” I said in a monotone as I turned to look out the window to watch the Newport skyline gleam in the sun.
Izzy gave a squeal of excitement and started off on what she could wear and how many large numbered carat diamonds were included in the jewelry. She was cut off in the middle of a semi rant about how rubies would look best with her complexion by Rosalie who asked if any of my other siblings would attend the dinner.
“My brothers get home from school next week from what I’ve heard but honestly I won’t be surprised if Dad has them portkey over for the night. You know how Dad is with promoting the whole Fountaine Family picture.”
The girls nodded before going off again on what dresses each of us should wear. I wanted to join the fun of choosing a dress with them and be color coordinated with my friends but I knew the reality of that happening was very small thanks to my mother.
I was expecting to find my mother waiting for us when the car arrived at the gate to the entrance of Belcourt Estate but when the girls and I walked into the front parlor we found complete and utter chaos.
House elves moved swiftly from different corners with some carrying documents, others carrying big red boxes and others carrying rolled up silks in the shade of royal blue that I remembered were supposed to be used for the new curtains in the poker room.
The girls and I gave each other strange looks of confusion before entering the main hall where the grand stairwell stood welcoming to us. At the moment, another house elf stood on the stairs carrying three large trunks that seemed to be too much for the elf.
“I need Giavoni’s answer now, Clara!”
We turned toward the open doorway that led to the green parlor where my mother’s less than pleasant voice called from.
The familiar sound of heels hitting the marble floors echoed through the house as the door opened wider, letting my mother enter the hall tailed by her book keeper, Ms. Clara, and the family lawyer, Mr. Klever.
I get why Clara was here seeing as she helped mom with any major project for social outings such as the incoming dinner but seeing the lawyer, Klever? That sparked my interest. What did my mother need with a lawyer? She couldn’t be suing someone again, could she?
But the thoughts of Ava stopped there when she took in her mother. Emmeline Fountaine was as her daughter said. She was always the center of attention and at the moment, she was most definitely still the center of it all. Her long golden blonde hair was held up in a fashionable bun that showed off the always twinkling blue sky earrings that she wore that matched well with her blue swan printed dress, making the woman look so slender and tall. Her green eyes held worry in them as well as a hint of burning anger that made her flawless face looked pinched yet regal.
Her small daughter, Ava, took all this in with one look and knew right away that she had entered at the wrong time of day.
She was in no need to deal with her mother’s wave of rage, even if it was unclear why such rage was there.
Mrs. Fountaine turned silently to Ms. Clara who after a silent conversation with her boss, took off back into the green parlor, clipboard still in hand with a quick quill hastily writing something out of my sight.
As for the lawyer, my mother only muttered a quick thank you before he departed out the front door.
And then she turned on us. As if magic had hit her while her back was turned, Ava watched as her mother’s face transformed to show only charm and kindness as any lady of the house should when guests were visiting. The traces of pinched anger were no longer visible on her mother’s flawless face. Rather, Mrs. Fountaine’s smile revealed a radiant warmness to her, making everyone in her direct vicinity gravitate towards her. Ava watched almost dully as said effect took hold of her two friends.
“Girls, it is lovely to see you all here,” my mother stated in her now sweet sing song voice lined with a hint of her French accent. She stopped in front of us and crinkled her nose for a moment before returning to her calming smile.
“I see you have been swimming. How was the boat?” Izzy and Rosalie both nodded while I kept silent and watched.
“The boat was awesome, Mrs. Fountaine! Thank you again for letting us use it for the day.”
“Yes, thank you Mrs. Fountaine it was so nice to be out for a boat lunch!”
My mother gave them a small nod and turned her attention to the silver watch slipped around her thin pale wrist. A fake sigh followed.
“Oh girls, I wish I could keep you here to hear the whole tale but as you know, Ava and I must get ready for the dinner, as should you. I need you both to help with the jewelry,” My mother said with a sweet smile causing both Izzy and Rosalie to giggle and look at each other excitedly.
My mother snapped her fingers and a house elf appeared with a small “Pop” next to the main doors that quickly opened for the girls.
“Say good bye to your friends, Ava. Don’t be rude.”
I gave the girls a wave and watched them leave from the hall as they were escorted back into my parents black Cadillac where they would be driven to their own houses personally.
The moment the door closed my mother dropped her smile and cued me to follow her to her office.
Her office was a big room painted in cream with a fire burning in the grate. Dark wood furniture adorned the room, giving the simplistic design a more noticeable feel. When we entered, I found that a house elf had just been in as a glass of red wine stood next to mother’s satin clocked chair and the stack of papers I had seen being carried in the front parlor were now in a clean pile on the side of her painted desk.
I stood idling in front of said desk while my mother fell into her chair and took a long drink from her wine glass, something she told me never to do in public.
It wasn’t until after a short silence for mother to start talking.
“You won’t be joining your friends at Ilvermorny anymore.”
I could think of many ways to start a conversation before diving in on such crucial information but to start out the gates with this sentence was harsh and rather cruel.
“What?” I muttered, but my mom had no more time to look at me sadly. Instead she turned to the papers on her desk with disgust which resulted in another long gulp of wine.
“Maman please..” I muttered, my use of French got her to look up at me, but not enough to stay and listen.
“I have already arranged for your opening ceremony robe fitting for Ilvermorny to be cancelled seeing as you will not need them anymore. Now go upstairs like a good little girl and take a bath, you smell of salt water. I have your dress for the dinner laid out for you. Wear the blue flats not the heels please.”
I did what I have always been good at. I kept a small smile, a sweet smile, a fake smile and did as my mother wished.