It was 1:13 AM. I was finishing my daily homework when a thought flew across my mind and I was foolish enough to catch it. I wanted someone to like me. It didn't even matter if I didn't like the person. Just knowing they liked me would have made me happy, as someone who was not Marcia or Alther would love me. Septimus, Jenna, Beetle, and Rose are just my friends, and I'm glad that it is that way. But it would have been nice for someone to like me, you know? (but definitely someone who was not them, it would've been too awkward). I thought about it for a while and finished up my homework (which I found to be very tedious) and went to bed. I expected the thought to go away the next day, but it stuck like a puppy I didn't take to. I didn't mind at first, but it became increasingly annoying until I thought I would go mad if I didn't tell someone. I wanted this little puppy to LEAVE ME IN PEACE. I decided to tell Rose about it. She must know a LOT about this kind of stuff. Besides, maybe the puppy will find a new Master. I walked into the Sick Bay at about 9:00 AM where Rose sat in her desk, reading It's Not Wise to Travel Through Time, by Marcellus Pye. She took her eyes off the book when the door closed. "Oh! Hello, Sierra! What brings you here?"
"I had a day off today, and I wanted to see you. Haven't visited you in a while. And there's been something I can't take off my mind, and I was hoping you might be able to help me…"
I told her all about my little dilemma. To my relief, she didn't laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. She actually listened. When I finished, she smiled. "Sierra, this is normal! Heck, maybe some random person on the street can't stop thinking about you! You're really nice, I don't know anyone who wouldn't. But if this is really a problem for you, don't try to push it away, but don't feed it either. Don't even think of it. You haven't - forgive me Sierra - but you haven't thought of your parents lately, right?"
"No, I haven't"
"Exactly. So live your life and it won't bother you. Okay?"
"Yes, well, unlike you, I do not have a day off, this was just my break. So maybe you could help me fill out these papers?"
"I have nothing else to do, sure!"
"Thank you! Here, you take half and these are the patients' information."
I had to admit, the paperwork was less annoying than my homework. But it did not stop me from groaning every few hours and stretching my hands. When we were done, I looked up at the clock. 8:00 PM. I had spent one of my few days off on work, but it was a lot more fun in Rose's company. "Hey," she suddenly said, "I'm sorry I kept you in."
"It's fine. It was much more fun that you were here too."
"Honestly, I want to make it up to you. I could ask Marcia if you could be relieved of your studies early. You were really helpful. Normally this junk would have taken me four days alone, but we managed in only eleven hours."
"Rose, you don't have to! I really enjoyed doing this!" She stuck out her tongue at me. "Too bad. You deserve this! Anyway, care for a banana chew?" I laughed. She knew they were my favorite. I popped one into my mouth. "Thanks," I said, jumpy with sugar.
"Anytime," she replied, grinning. We both bursted with giggles. I went back up to the top floor of the Wizard Tower, where Marcia and Septimus greeted me with a smile. I returned it, and went to my room to work on some spells. It was when I finally went to bed that I realized I hadn't thought of that love business all day. Rose was right. Just live your life and it will be gone. But a pang of guilt hit me. Rose was right about another thing. I hadn't thought of my parents. I was too busy with my lifestyle that I forgot about them. It wasn't right of me. To have forgotten my parents? Who… I could not bear to think what they did for me. A tear slid down my cheek. I went across my room to the picture that was on my dresser. A picture of my Mum and Dad. A picture I never wanted to lose. I hugged it close and wiped my tears. Stay strong, I told myself. Don't show your weak spot. But I was afraid that the people whom I didn't want to show already knew. I went back to my bed, shaking all thoughts from my mind. They would only make my life more complicated, except the thought of my parents. I would keep that memory no matter what. I closed my eyes, willing my brain to let me sleep. It obeyed me for once, and I was asleep before I knew it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~THE NEXT DAY~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I opened my door to reveal a complete mess. Marcia's living room was a total disaster. I looked up, only to find Septimus looking at me guiltily. "I-I found a Firework Charm. I couldn't resist trying it out." Now, I wouldn't have wanted to hurt Septimus, but I've always wanted to scold him. It seemed fun when Marcia did it. I put on a disappointed face and said, "Well, did you have to try it out here? You know Marcia will get really upset. In fact, I'm surprised she slept through this." Septimus looked relieved, though I wasn't sure why. "She didn't sleep through it. She went to visit Marwick in the Marram Marshes, to make sure he's doing all right as Keeper."
"Then let's clean this up before she gets back! Hurry!"
"Relax, Sierra. She's not coming back for about a week."
"So, you're suggesting we put this off until the last minute, panic, and, just when we finish, act completely normal so Marcia can figure out what happened?"
"Well, when you put it that way, of course not. And I suppose we'd better start or else you are going to keep blaming me." I smiled. Scolding is a nice way to get what you want. I muttered a simple Clean spell to get rid of the dirt and plaster on the floor. Septimus Renewed the plaster and paint on the walls and ceiling. I asked him if he could possibly ask Beetle for a table exactly like Marcia's, and I began sewing her sofa, which ripped in the chaos of the Charm. I used to sew really well, and even Beetle, who came in with the new table and has keen eyes, couldn't see any difference. I placed the table in the dents in the carpet and put the vase (thankfully undamaged) in the same spot it used to be. Everything else was also undamaged. I stood from a distance and surveyed the scene in front of me. It looked the same as it did before. I thanked Beetle and hugged Septimus for their help. Hopefully Marcia wouldn't notice anything different. "Sep, you've got to be careful. Remember the last time you tried out a Charm in here?" Beetle asked. Septimus could remember only too well. That time when he had accidentally turned Marcia's sofa to chocolate, and Marcia wondering why the sofa was sagging so much and why her ExtraOrdinary robes were all brown. "Beet, maybe you wouldn't remind me?"
"Fine, Sep. I won't embarrass you in front of your girlfriend." Septimus turned red. "Sierra is not my girlfriend, you know that Beetle. She is our friend."
"Don't get so defensive about it. I was joking," Beetle said, smiling. "And, now that the fuss is over, maybe you guys can join me, Jenna, and Rose for lunch?"
"Beetle, it's Jenna, Rose and I," Septimus frowned.
"I said it on purpose, Sep." Beetle turned to me. "Be careful around this guy here. He takes things too seriously." I smiled. I knew that only too well. "Well, I'd love to go for lunch, but Septimus can stay here so he can be serious instead of having fun," I said. "Hey! I'm coming too!" Septimus shouted as we stepped onto the stairs. He came after us, green Apprentice robes flying.