After we had all exchanged presents downstairs in the main living room where the Christmas tree was, we got ready by the long dining table where Callie’s dad Barney had prepared breakfast.
It was really great. He had made crumpets, cinnamon buns, pancakes with bacon, syrup and chocolate sauce. There was also a whole lot of fruit and different kind of juice and soft drinks.
Christmas breakfast at the Dendron’s house was always so tasty and it was always something I looked forward to when we would spend Christmas here.
Callie’s little brother Kale was having a very strong conversation with Melba about the prettiest girls at school and Lorenzo, Seth and Callie were deep in conversation about the careers they were seeking after Hogwarts and that was a conversation I listened to and would from time to time involve myself in with one sentence or a few more.
I gave Seth a new broomstick. I know I once said I wanted to buy one myself if I could afford it and that was true. The only reason I couldn’t afford it was because the money I did have was to buy Seth a newer model. The one he has now barely works anymore and it’s hard for him to control it.
He was really happy when he saw the new broom I had gotten him. Hugged me for a long time and thanked me a million times.
It was nice seeing the reactions on everyone’s faces when they opened my presents. That’s something I really love and always have — giving presents. It’s such a thrill to know that you’ve made someone’s day by giving them something they like.
The table went silent for a moment when the doorbell rang throughout the house. Barney cleared his throat as he put down the cutlery. “I’ll see who it is.”
He pushed his chair back as he stood up and while he left the dining room, the room once again filled with chatter of different conversations.
“Psst, Jules.” Nick suddenly whispered from across the table. My eyes flicked to him and I cocked an eyebrow, waiting for what he wanted to say. “Have you brought that red nail polish with you?”
“Uh– I think it’s in my bag upstairs.” I said. “Why?”
“Can you paint my nails later?” he asked. “I want to see what it looks like.”
I smiled, nodding while he took a bite of his cinnamon roll. I knew that Nick was gay. I had known for a very long time but he wasn’t out, not even to us and I didn’t want to pressure him. He’d come out when he felt like it and maybe he wouldn’t tell us until he had a boyfriend. I didn’t care, as long as he was happy.
“Sure.” I told him. “I have a purple too if you want me to do both colours.”
He went to respond when raised voices came from the foyer. One was Barney and the other–
My heart dropped when I recognised the other voice, yelling and scolding Barney.
Why was he here?
“That sounds like your dad.” Melba said, looking at me. I gulped, nodding slowly before looking around the table, nervously.
“You don’t have to talk to him.” Olivia told me when she noticed I went to stand up.
“He’s just going to make a scene.” I said. “I don’t want to ruin Christmas.”
I tried to force a small smile at my friends who were obviously worried. I left the dining room and walked out into the foyer, the voices getting louder. Barney had his back to me, a hand resting on the door and my father stood on the other side.
They were arguing and eventually, my father noticed me, his eyes sliding to me who approached from the back of the foyer.
“Julie, pack your things. You’re coming back home!”
Dad went to step inside but Barney stepped in front of him, blocking him from getting to me.
“Get off my property.”
“I will, when I’ve got my daughter with me!”
“Julie is not coming with you.” Barney explained, his voice a tad calmer which I knew was to not startle me. He knew that after my father hit me, sudden movements and loud voices had startled me so he tried not to scare me. I appreciated that.
“She’s my daughter, my responsibility.” My dad argued and I noticed Barney raised his eyebrows in surprise before he nodded.
“Exactly. She’s your responsibility. You’re her parent but you messed the whole parenting thing up when you decided to strike her.”
My dad didn’t respond. He stared at Barney in anger before finally looking back at me with a certain look that scared me.
“It’s okay.” My fragile voice spoke. “I don’t want to ruin Christmas with all this drama. I’ll just— I’ll pack my things.”
I don’t want to.
Barney turned around at my words and looked at me, then towards the door that led to the dining room and I turned to see Olivia standing there, nervously playing with the necklace around her neck.
This was my real family and I wanted to stay but going with my dad was easier. When I was eighteen I could leave and he wouldn’t have the right to come looking for me.
“You don’t have to go with him.” Barney told me, causing me to look at him again. “We can involve the Aurors, they can look into it and take custody away from him for hitting you.”
I glanced at my dad before shaking my head.
“No, it’s okay.” I breathed. “I probably overreacted anyway.”