Rose Evans, wife of Harry Evans, stood alone on the balcony gazing up at the night sky tuning out the sounds of the costume ball that was in celebration of her sister-in-law's birthday behind her as she slowly sipped her fourth glass of champagne knowing full well that she was well on her way to drunkenness and not caring. It was a surprisingly warm night considering the fact that it was only April, and the pale moon that hung in the glittering star strewn sky overhead bathed the gardens of the "Andrews" manor with a soft, ethereal, silvery light. Neither the alcohol, the revelry that was taking place in the ballroom behind her, nor the almost otherworldly vista before her could tame the dark thoughts that ran rampant through her mind however.
Like her, her husband's sister Louise Andrews - nee Evans - had been an actress. Unlike her however, her sister-in-law had had the talent and the willingness to do what it took to get into the venues where the wealthy and influential tended to gather and Louise had married Well. Her sister-in-law's charm, grace, beauty, and talent on the stage had brought her a great distance from the lowly station in which her life had begun, and into a marriage bed with an exceedingly wealthy American who had bought a manor off of nobility who were down on their luck so he could have a go at playing at being an "English Lord". Both Evanses had had a thing for Americans, though she had not had anything to offer her husband but herself, and he'd had little to offer her but love. Love that was gone now.
Throughout her rise, Louise had never forgotten her brother Harry who she tried to include in her new life as much as she possibly could despite the fact that he was as obviously out of place as a Flamingo on a Kentucky farm. In return for her regard, the solid and and rather horse-faced Harry Evans attended all of the events his sister invited him to despite the fact that he completely lacked a desire to be upwardly mobile on the social ladder. It was obligation that had brought the Evanses here this night as well, as Harry had never felt comfortable in this strange world of money and power where he was looked down upon for being a mere worker in the mill near Manchester rather than admired for his strength, his work ethic, and his ability to outdrink all who challenged him.
Being Harry's wife, Rose naturally accompanied her husband to these events to which Harry's sister kept inviting him, her eyes jealously taking in the glittering alien world of wealth and privilege that surrounded her. A world that had almost been in her grasp, but had slipped away leaving her nothing to fall back on but Harry Evans. Harry who had been the solid rock upon which she had built a new life after she had fled her miserable existence in New York, ironically reversing a trip a number of her ancestors had taken only a couple generations before in order to flee the misery they had suffered in their former countries. She'd come to England to escape New York and to reprise a role she had played in an Off-Broadway production on a London stage. She'd had stars in her eyes at first, but those stars steadily fell away as reality intruded. That's when she'd met Harry who had loved her from the moment he saw her. They were soon wed, and their daughter Petunia who greatly resembled her father had been born a year after the wedding.
It was very soon after Petunia's birth that Rose's rock began to crumble and her world looked to be falling apart once again much as it had back in New York and again in London. Petunia was a rather sickly child who constantly needed attention, medical and otherwise. Twice, the baby had become so ill that it had been feared that she wouldn't make it through the night and, in the nearly two years since her birth, Harry had become unable to handle the stress of a mortgage, a sick child, and a demanding job. As a result, the man who had formerly been so stable, dependable and loving had somehow gone from spending just a little more time than necessary at the pub so he wouldn't have to face what was waiting for him at home to spending his evenings at the home of a mate of his who had died a couple years earlier in order to "Comfort McKinnon's widow in her time of need". In just three years, a marriage that should've lasted a lifetime was essentially over, and the only reason that she and Harry hadn't yet divorced was Petunia.
Sighing as she forced her dark thoughts on her current marital problems to the back of her mind since dwelling on them in the darkness would serve no purpose, Rose turned her gaze away from the stars that had failed to provide the answers she had sought and moved to return to the party she had previously abandoned in the hopes of finding temporary oblivion in the haze that the alcohol that flowed like water this night would bring. It was as she was moving back towards the house that she realized that she wasn't alone. Standing in a spot that had previously been right behind her but was now before her gazing intently at the sky she had just turned away from was the most beautiful man she had ever seen. The man's wild blond hair framed an incredibly handsome face with mismatched eyes which strangely called to mind the stories of the Faerie that her Irish grandmother had entertained her with before the illness and infirmities that were the result of a life of hardship claimed her. Having never seen him before, she assumed that the man was one of Louise's old friends from the theatre who'd arrived fashionably late, because he didn't look like any of the rich snobs who'd turned up to eat the Andrews' food, dance in their ballroom and laugh behind their back whom she had encountered earlier. The costume the man wore was an exceedingly flamboyant one, which marked him as being either from the theatre or flamingly homosexual, or both. The tight breeches he was wearing beneath an open fronted shirt left very little if anything to the imagination, and she noticed that he had rather real looking pointed ears and sharp teeth when, upon finally noticing that she had been staring at him for at least a full minute, he turned to her and grinned. Despite the fact that it wasn't as elaborate as some, he had clearly gone all out on his costume for the evening, as making such ears and teeth look completely natural was a near-impossible undertaking.
Rather than turning away and dismissing her after offering a cheerful and somewhat cheeky grin in response to her staring, the man studied her, assessing her as if wondering if she would turn out to be friend, foe, or entertainment. The way the man's eyes drifted over her, taking her in and practically undressing her, sent shivers down her spine. Shivers she hadn't felt in a good long time, not since Petunia was born at the very least.
Smiling, she asked if he would like to dance, he accepted, and they went inside. An hour and copious amounts of alcohol later, the two of them found a spare bedroom that wasn't occupied.
As far as she was concerned, if her dear solid Harry could cheat on her, then she could do the same to him.
As the snow swirled outside on that exceedingly cold January day, Harry Evans paced across a rather drab hospital waiting room, stopping each time he reached one of the rather uncomfortable chairs that were pushed against the puke green walls on either side. The reason he was so anxious was because he would soon be welcoming a child that was not his into his family. Eight months before, his wife Rose had discovered she was pregnant, and she had immediately gone to him with her discovery and tearfully confessed to what she had done. Seeing as there hadn't been any intimacy between the two of them for months prior to that time, it was immediately obvious that the child that his wife was carrying wasn't his.
He had understandably been stunned and extremely upset at the time of his wife's confession but, it was on the night she confessed that something else had happened as well, something that could almost be considered a miracle considering the way things had been going between them. For the first time in a long while, he and his wife had really talked to each other. There hadn't been any arguments, accusations, or false pleasantries, nor had there been any snide comments over the other's acts of infidelity. There had only been conversation. After the tears were over, they had just talked in a way they hadn't since shortly after their wedding, telling each-other what had been in their hearts and on their minds for so long.
Since he himself wasn't entirely innocent in matters of adultery, and had once had a close call with Angie McKinnon in the illegitimate child department, he had found it within himself to forgive his wife and give her another chance. In return, Rose had found it within herself to forgive him as well, and they had mutually called for a do-over. Slowly, over the next eight months after that night, their nearly irreparably damaged marriage had begun to heal itself as the one sin that should've shattered their lives and doomed their nearly destroyed marriage had paradoxically made it stronger.
As he paced, thinking about how the child he was waiting for had brought him and his wife back together, a nurse eventually came and informed him that the child had been born. It was a healthy girl that weighed just a little over seven pounds. Both child and mother were doing fine, and it was finally time for him to meet little Lily Rose...
More than eleven and a half years after welcoming his second daughter into his life, Harry Evans found himself saying goodbye to her. It was a temporary goodbye, but it was a goodbye nonetheless, as his youngest would be living in an entirely different world for the next several months. Sighing, he turned away from Platform 9 3/4 and made his way back to his own world before he overstayed his welcome and was evicted from the one that his daughter had entered with her little friend, the first friend she'd made in her life after the family had moved to Cokeworth.
His little Lily had gone on to even bigger and better things than he could imagine in his plain existence. His magical miracle child who had saved his marriage and kept the best thing that ever happened to him from vanishing was just that, Magical. He should have known when the worst of Petunia's illnesses had vanished shortly after Lily's birth, but instead it had taken him eleven years and a visit from a witch to see.
Over the past eleven years and change, he had given Lily a great deal of love and support to counter the whispers and taunts from the cruel and mean-spirited people in the old neighborhood, and the ones that had started up in the new one when word had somehow gotten out despite the fact that his family were in a new town where nobody had known them when they moved in. Despite what the neighbors said to the girl's face and behind her back, the child who was now going to a place where almost nobody knew her past and couldn't base their opinions of her on it was his daughter in everything but blood.
It had been as he saw his Petunia's pinched and jealous expression while she watched the train roll out of sight that he realized that in his quest to make Lily feel loved and wanted, he hadn't given the same amount of affection to his own child. He would have to do his best to make it up to her somehow...
Author's Note: 10-9-2008: I've decided to make some cosmetic changes to the first chapters of the story, improving wording, correcting typos and misspellings, things of that nature.
3-8-2011: Cosmetic changes have been made to the chapter and those following it.