The Girl Who Loved Tom Riddle
Apple of My Eye
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. Sarah Grimes is my character.
Tom Marvolo Riddle was an eight-year-old orphan living at the London Orphanage. He lived there since before he could remember. He never knew his father and his mother died giving birth to him. She lived just long enough to name him: Tom, after his father and Marvolo, from his grandfather. Tom was a special boy. When he became five, he could do things that the other boys couldn't. One time they had the yuckiest meal for dinner and when all the boys had to eat it, Tom's simply disappeared right when he touched it with his fork. From that day on, the boys that used to be Tom's friends, turned against him. They didn't understand what was so special about Tom Riddle, always getting his way. One morning, when he went outside to play with them, they pretended like they couldn't hear him.
"Did you hear something, Patrick?" Bobby asked, crossing the monkey bars.
"Nope," Patrick answered, who was going down the slide.
Tom turned his head to Bobby. "Are you angry at me for something, Bobby?"
"Who said that?" Bobby questioned.
"I thought you were all my friends," Tom mumbled.
"Why would anyone want to be friends with you?" Bobby demanded, hanging from the bars.
Tom narrowed his eyes and as Bobby reached for the next bar it changed from a sun heated, metal bar to a snake. Bobby screeched and fell down on his rear and looked up at the hissing snake.
"Snake!" Bobby yelled, scrambling to his feet. "There's a snake in the playground!"
All the children ran back inside just as the snake returned as it was before—a bar. Tom smiled and went to play on the playground, which, at the moment, had all to himself.
Though the boys all hated and envied Tom Riddle for always getting away with everything he did, some of the girls liked him for his exceptional handsome looks. They were always swooning over his dark hair and eyes, winning smile, height, and charm. They always giggled when he was around and nearly fought against each other for who could say, "Hello, Tom," first. But all that changed when a new girl arrived. None of the other girls knew it at that time, but Sarah Grimes would be the one to steal Tom's heart.
It was a cold winter Thursday in December and everyone was inside playing. Eight-year-old Tom Riddle was sitting by the fire reading in the den when there was a knock at the door. Since he was the person closest, Tom closed his book, set it down on the ground and went to open the door.
Standing outside on the porch in the falling snow were two policemen with a girl at the age of five standing beside them. One of the policemen was holding a small yellow suitcase. The girl was only five years old, carrying a rag doll in her arms, wearing a brown coat over her black dress and a very sad, away-from-earth expression. She looked like she didn't even know who she was, where she was or why she was here. She stared through Tom like he wasn't even there. Tom looked back at her sympathetically, concernedly, and looked up at the policemen.
"Yes?" he asked.
"Hello, is Miss Smith here?" asked the policeman carrying the girl's suitcase.
"Yes, yes she is," said Tom, stepping back to let them enter. "I'll take you to her."
"Thank you," said the other policeman.
Tom led the policemen and the young girl to Miss Smith's office. He gave a quick knock and paused.
"Come in," said a voice.
Tom opened the door. "Miss Smith? There are officers here to see you."
Miss Smith stood up from her desk. She was a middle-aged woman who wore her blond hair ina bun. She had brown eyes and a short and plump body.
"Thank you, Tom," she said, walking toward the officers. "I've been expecting them. May I speak to them in private? I have things to discuss—nothing you'd be interested in, I'm sure!"
"Oh, of course," said Tom, nodding and closing the door behind him. But instead of returning to the fire to read, he stayed right next to the door and listened. He could hear everything they were saying as clear as crystal, as if there weren't a door there at all and if he could squint just right, he could see right through it and see what was going on as well.
"So, this must be Sarah?" She leaned toward the young girl. She didn't say hi or even smile. Miss Smith straightened up and got back behind her desk. "Please, sit."
"Sarah's mother died on Monday," said Officer Right, the one who was carrying her luggage. He set it down on the floor as the officers and girl took three seats in front of Miss Smith's desk. "Pneumonia."
"Oh, how awful." Miss Smith frowned. "And her father?"
"We were unable to locate him," said Officer Hardy. "He left her and her mother when Sarah was just a baby."
Tom felt a lump in his throat, thinking of his own father. He didn't know who he was either. He tightened his hand in a fist and clenched his teeth.
"Any grandparents?" Miss Smith queried.
Officer Hardy shook his head. "If she had any living relatives, we were able to locate them as well. The women that worked with Julia, Sarah's mother, told us that Julia never talked about her family. They always believed she didn't have any. Probably an only child—no brothers—no sisters."
"So, poor Sarah, is all alone?" Miss Smith asked.
"Yes. We just came from the funeral. We saw no family there. Just a few friends of Julia's."
Sarah looked as if she didn't realize what they were talking about. She was staring out into space. She didn't say a word.
"Sarah doesn't speak," said Officer Right.
"Is she deaf?" Miss Smith questioned. "Does she know sign language?"
"No, she's not deaf."
Officer Hardy shook his head. "Hasn't said a word since the funeral. Her mother's death was quite a shock."
"Poor dear," Miss Smith sympathized. "Well, we will take good care of Sarah. Thank you, Officers, good day."
Tom hurried back to his chair and opened his book to look busy on he saw Miss Smith standing up to open the door. He peered over his book as Miss Smith was saying goodbye to the Officers. The front door shut and Miss Smith came back to the room. "Tom?"
"Yes, Miss Smith?" he put the book back down and stood up.
"This is Sarah Grimes," she said.
"Hello, Sarah," Tom said pleasantly, looking right into her pale green eyes.
Sarah didn't say hi back. Her vacant expression remained.
"Poor thing, she lost her mother a couple days ago," said Miss Smith.
"That's terrible," Tom said, looking back at Miss Smith. "What about her father?"
"Left her when she was just a baby." She clicked her tongue fretfully. "What a sad world this is. Excuse me, Tom. I'll need to call the others." Miss Smith left Tom alone with the new orphan as she went to ring the bells she used to call all the orphans together.
Tom looked at Sarah. "I never knew my father either."
Sarah blinked and looked up at Tom. Tom stepped toward her, watching her carefully and hoping that she would say something. Then Sarah turned her eyes back to the floor, her shoulder-length strawberry blond hanging in her face. Tom sighed and shook his head.
"Children!" Miss Smith shouted upstairs. "Come down here, we have a new arrival!"
Loud stomping was heard upstairs as the children hurried down to see whoever the new orphan could be. The staff entered the room with the children. Miss Smith smiled and placed her arms around Sarah's shoulders.
"Another girl?" Bobby questioned incredulously.
"Quiet, Bobby!" Miss Smith scolded. She cleared her throat and her expression became soft again. "Everyone, this is Sarah."
"Hello, Sarah," said most of the girls and a couple of the boys. The staff greeted her with a smile and a warm hello and "Welcome to the orphanage."
"She just came from her mother's funeral today and I want you all to treat her with respect."
"Yes, Miss Smith," they said in unison.
"Camille," the cook, a woman plumper than Miss Smith said, "shall we have dinner early to celebrate Sarah's welcome?"
"Yeah, yeah!" said some of the boys. They loved the cook's food, except for the time she cooked liver and the only boy who didn't have to eat it, was Tom. The cook--Mrs. Crabtree--loved to cook just as much as the boys loved to eat.
"Thank you, Mrs. Crabtree," said Miss Smith. "That would be lovely."
Mrs. Crabtree smiled and looked at Sarah. "What is your favorite meal, dear? I will make it for you."
Still, Sarah did not reply. Mrs. Crabtree laughed. "Ah, we've got a shy one, eh? Well, I guess dinner will have to be a surprise."
"I don't like it when she says that," Ned muttered to Patrick.
"I just hope it's not liver again," Patrick gagged.
"Catherine, could you and the girls bring Sarah to the girl's quarters?" Miss Smith asked.
"Sure, Miss Smith." Catherine said, coming to Sarah. "You want me to carry your suitcase for you, Sarah?"
Sarah kept her hand tight around her suitcase. Catherine looked confused for a second.
"Well, we'll show you to the girl's room—no boys aloud!" said Beth, sticking her tongue at the boys. "Mmmmnnnnllllleeee!"
Some of the boys stuck their tongues right back.
"Beth!" Miss Smith shouted.
Beth giggled and took Sarah by the hand. The crowd of girls started talking rapidly.
"Sarah, what's your dolly's name?"
"My name's Serena, by the way."
"Where are you from?"
"I'm sorry about your mom—I remembered when mine died."
"You want to play with us after supper?"
"What a pretty dress, Sarah!"
But Sarah did not say a word. The girls decided she was too shy and too sad to be talking right away, so they just showed her to the large room where all the girls slept. The boys all slept in the floor above them. After washing up, the girls came down with Sarah.
The cook made a scrumptious dinner that the children just devoured but Sarah looked upon her plate with no appetite.
"Not hungry, dear?" Mrs. Crabtree questioned. "Nothing wrong with the food, is there?"
"No, it's wonderful, Mrs. Crabtree," Bobby said through a mouthful of fried chicken. "I guess she's just not hungry."
"Well, can I have your food then?" asked Ned from across the table.
"Ned!" scolded Miss Smith.
Tom didn't blame her for not talking or eating. He barely ate anything himself. That night while the girls were sleeping, they heard quiet sobbing from Sarah's bed.
Beth got up and walked to Sarah. She was lying in a fetal position in her bed, clutching her doll, tears streaking her face.
"Sarah, what's wrong?" Beth asked. "You still miss your mommy?"
Sarah squeezed her eyes shut, more tears squeaked out and she didn't reply.
"I never knew my mommy," said Beth.
Sarah swallowed and turned on her side. Beth side and went back to her bed. The next day, Sarah still didn't speak or eat. Miss Smith feared she would starve herself to death if she didn't eat soon. At supper the next day, Sarah did not come down.
"She's upstairs, crying," Beth explained. "She won't come down."
Tom looked at his plate. Hearing about Sarah's condition made him not want to eat either. Then he got an idea. Maybe he could help her eat. He reached forward, grabbed an apple and ran up stairs.
"He took the apple I wanted!" Bobby muttered.
Tom never went to the girl's dormitory, not that the boys weren't exactly not aloud to go in, he just didn't want to be in a room of girls talking about their dolls and how 'cute' he looked. He got tired of girls asking him, "Tom, do you think I'm pretty?"
Tom knocked on the door and peeked in. "Sarah, why weren't you at dinner today?"
Sarah was sitting on her bed looking out the window, her back toward him. She was sobbing hard, because she thought she was alone. When she heard Tom speak, she gasped, turned her head, and looked back down, wiping her tears away. Tom walked in and sat next to her.
"You know, you'll never get adopted if you starve yourself to death," said Tom.
Sarah sniffed and wipe d her nose with the bridge of her hand.
"You're lucky you knew your mother," Tom said quietly. "Mine died while giving birth to me."
Sarah brought her tear-filled eyes up at Tom and looked concerned.
"I don't blame you for not wanting to eat with the others," Tom began. "I don't like eating with them very much but I know I have to eat if I want to live long enough to be adopted." He held out a red and shiny apple. "You don't know it, but you're probably starving. I don't think you ate since your mother died, did you?"
She shook her head and he placed in her hand.
"We don't get apples very much," he explained. "It's a rare treat. There are a lot of orphans here. I'll let you have mine."
Sarah looked down at the apple and at him. Her frowned turned into a smile but she still iddn't say anything.
"Hey, you've got a pretty smile," Tom said, standing up. "You should use it more often." As he walked away, Sarah bit into the apple.
Sarah still didn't speak to anyone, even at Christmas. The orphans and staff thought for sure she'd be speaking by then. The girls nearly gave up trying to befriend her. How could they play with someone who never talked? She hardly ever smiled. Sarah didn't speak for three whole years until one nice summer day; a farmer came to bring apples for the orphans. Because apples were such a rare treat, all the orphans hurried to get one. Most unfortunate, he had one less for everyone and Tom Riddle was the poor sap that didn't receive one.
"I'm sorry, Tom," Miss Smith said. "I just gave the last apple to Bobby."
Tom looked at Bobby, who with a mischievous grin, bit into his red, shiny apple. Tom clenched his fist.
"It's all right," said Tom, trying to keep from strangling Bobby. Bobby was one of the worst kids. He teased Tom all the time because Tom was special. As Tom turned around to go up the stairs, he felt someone tug on his shirt.
"Tom?" said a very sweet voice of a girl. Everyone gasped.
"Yes?" Tom. He turned to see seven-year-old Sarah, the girl who never talked, wearing a soft expression on her pretty freckled face. Everyone stared at Sarah and whispered around.
"Did you see that? Sarah finally talked!"
"You can have my apple, Tom." She said, holding out her apple with a small, shaking hand.
"Why, that is very nice of you, Sarah," Miss Smith said, surprised that Sarah finally talked since she arrived to the orphanage three years ago. "Tom" was the first word she said. "Tom? You can have my apple, Tom."
It was something Tom Riddle would never forget. Tom stood there for a while, impressed and surprised. A smile slowly crept upon his handsome face and he reached out to take the apple.
"Thank you, Sarah," he said.
"You're welcome, Tom," she replied, smiling faintly and she walked past him up to the girl's quarters. Tom watched Sarah turn up the stairs. He remembered when he gave her an apple the night after she came to the orphanage and wouldn't eat. Tom Riddle was the first person she saw when she arrived to the orphanage. He was the first person to say hello to her, the person who got her to eat and the first, perhaps only person to see her smile. And now, he was the first person she ever spoke to. Smiling, Miss Smith stepped to Tom.
"Tom, do you realize, that you're the first person Sarah has spoken to since she arrived here?" she asked eagerly.
Tom smiled and looked at the apple he just gave her. "Yes, I—I suppose I am."
"There must be something about you, Tom," said Miss Smith. "Something special."
Bobby groaned and imitated what Miss Smith just said in an irritated tone. Some of the girls who hadn't eaten their apples yet, glanced at theirs and then to Tom. They hurried to Tom with their apples, taking Sarah's example.
"Here Tom," said Beth, "you can have my apple too!"
"Red delicious isn't my favorite variety anyway," insisted Kelly and the girls hurried up the stairs, leaving Tom with too many apples for him to carry, let alone eat. He couldn't keep himself from grinning.
"Boy—oh—boy—do I have a lot of apples!" he said excitedly, making the other boys scowl in jealousy. "I think I'll eat them outside!"
As Sarah got down to speak to her doll, the only thing she ever talked to when people weren't alone, the door threw open and the girls hurried in.
"Sarah, that was so nice of you to give your apple to Tom!" Beth grinned.
"I wish I hadn't eaten mine already," Sharon sighed. "I would've given him mine too."
"Why did you give him your apple?" Catherine questioned. "We don't get apples very much here at the orphanage."
Sarah opened her mouth, paused and decided that her three years of silence was long enough. "Because—Tom gave me an apple—the night after I came here." She said quietly. "I like Tom."
"We all like Tom," said Sharon, shrugging and rolling her eyes. "He's the best looking boy in the orphanage!"
"I kind of hope he never gets adopted," Kelly said. "I'll be so sad if he leaves the orphanage."
"Where is Tom now?" Sara asked.
"I don't know," said Jenny, "but it's a nice day. You want
to play with us, Sarah?"
Sarah smiled, "okay."
"Come on," Kelly urged, grabbing her arm and leading her down the stairs and outside with the group of laughing girls. Sitting on the porch, his lap full with up to five apples, Tom Riddle munched on his second apple and waved at the girls, thanking them for the bunch of delicious apples they gave him, while the rest of the boys looked on in envy.
"Look at him," Bobby muttered, "he thinks he's so great."
Tom became full by the time he got to his last apple. He stood up and walked to Sarah, who was playing a clapping game with Jenny.
"Sarah," he began. "Thanks for the apple. I ate yours first."
"You're welcome, Tom," she said.
"Thanks girls, but, all those apples were too much for me to eat," he replied. "You want my last one, Sarah?"
Sarah paused and reached for the apple, her pale green eyes locked on Tom's black ones. Her fingertips touched Tom's knuckles softly. He smiled as she pulled the apple back to her.
"You sure?" she asked.
Smiling, Sarah bit into the shiny red apple. When she finished, she asked Tom to swing the merry-go-round while the girls sat on it, which he did.
"You might want to hold on tight," he warned them. "You don't want to be flying off to the moon."
The girls laughed and Tom began running, his hands clenched tight around the bars. They were soon spinning around and their hair was flying in the air. Tom pulled himself up on the spinning merry-go-round and put his arms around Sarah, who looked like she was about ot be spinning off into the ground. When the ride started slowing down, Sarah looked up at Tom and smiled.
"Thank you, Tom," she said, "you are a very nice boy."
Tom got off the merry go round and stopped it for the girls to get off. Sarah stood and started to walk off but she got dizzy from the spinning ride. Fortunately, Tom caught her before she ended up with a mouthful of grass. He fell flat on his back; his arms around the young girl and found himself staring into her eyes. Sarah didn't speak. She didn't blink. They were both lost in each other's eyes for that small moment in time, and Sarah knew, right then and there, that Tom Riddle was the best thing that happened to her since she came to the orphanage and just like the other girls, she wished he was never adopted, or Sarah might go another three years without speaking.
Finally, Sarah broke the silence. "Thanks for catching me, Tom."
"You're welcome," he breathed.
Sarah cleared her throat and pushed herself up, giving Tom a hand. She went to the swings and sat in one of them. Tom got behind her and began to push her. Tom never pushed any of the other girls in the swings before. They never thought to ask. Sarah didn't have to. Tom suddenly just wanted to.
The more Sarah laughed, the harder Tom pushed and higher she went. The other girls stood puzzled and wondered when they were going to get their turn. They might as well go back inside now, because they were never going to get their turn with Tom Riddle.
To Be Continued