Caroline & The Letter From Hogwarts
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--Caroline awoke that morning, feeling like it was any other morning, unaware that this morning would be like no other. She rolled over and kissed her husband, Richard, softly on the lips, snuggling into his warm chest. Thirteen years of marriage certainly didn't dampen the spark between them… they were more in love than ever.
"Coffee?" she asked in a whisper…
"Please…" was his quiet reply, running his hand softly over her back… "I'm gonna be dragging today, but it's worth it." He smiled… "Last night was wonderful."
"Yes it was." She kissed his lips before moving from the bed… "Gotta make sure Gabby is up…"
"Don't be too long, you promised me help with the holiday cards. They're due by the end of the week."
"Right. I know."
--Richard puttered downstairs after getting dressed, the chatter from his wife and 10 year old daughter bringing a smile to his face.
"Mornin Daddy." The young girl greeted him cheerfully…
"Good morning sweetheart. What's on the agenda today?"
"After school I have Girl Scouts. We're doing a nature hike through Central Park."
She shrugged… "It's not like I haven't been in Central Park a thousand times before."
"You don't want to go?"
"No, I do. Just wish for once I could go on a real adventure."
Richard smiled at his daughter's comment… so much like he was at that age.
"Better go." The young girl announced as she hopped off the barstool… "The bus'll be here soon."
"Have a good day." Her father called out, turning his attention to his wife… "Well, let's get this over with…" he complained… "Where do we start?"
She walked over to the desk and picked up a stack of panels… "We start with these." she stated with a smirk…
He groaned as he drug himself off the barstool… "You're lucky I love you."
Her smile grew wider… "I know I am."
She kissed him before he sat at the desk, then they focused on work.
--When Caroline had gone to collect the mail, Richard took her absence as opportunity to stretch his legs and grab a quick sandwich. He was still rummaging through the fridge when Caroline walked in, mail in hand…
"Richard?" she asked with an odd voice that he immediately mistook for irritation at his not working…
"I'm just taking a quick break, Caroline. I'll get right back to it in a few minutes."
She looked at his back-end sticking out of the fridge as he rummaged… "Not that…" she informed… "This." She held up a letter she felt was unusual… addressed to her daughter (who never got mail).
He looked up and saw the letter, recognizing it instantly… "Where did you get that?" he asked as he approached…
"It came in the mail… for Gabby."
With an outstretched hand he requested the letter, than opened it and began to read…
HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Dear Ms. Karinsky,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on September 1st. We await your owl by no later than July 31st.
--"What is it?" Caroline asked, watching his facial expressions as he read the letter…
"She was accepted?" he muttered to himself as he stared at the yellow parchment…
She scowled… "Accepted?"
It was then that Richard looked up at her… "Ummm…" he stammered, unsure of what to say.
He had never told her… not any of it. She was a Muggle, and not likely to understand, though in the past some Muggles had been told and handled the information well enough. Now he faced his wife of thirteen years, knowing he would need to explain everything, but not sure of where to begin.
"Caroline, ummm… sit down for a minute, ok?"
"Is something wrong?"
He shook his head… "Not exactly." He waited for her to sit, then stood in front of her, holding out the letter… "Here."
She took it cautiously, knowing it had something to do with Richard's odd behavior. She read the letter silently to herself, it not making much sense, then turned to her husband for an explanation.
"It's a very good school…" he told her…
"Of…" she looked at the letter again… "Witchcraft and wizardry?"
"I don't understand. What does this mean? Why did it come addressed to Gabby? Did you apply for this school?"
"Then what exactly?"
"They know… who qualifies to attend…"
"The Headmaster… the council…"
She shook her head as she looked over the letter again… "This doesn't make sense! You're not making sense!"
He gently took the letter from her hands… "Listen to me, Caroline, ok? And just- just… try to stay… open-minded."
"You're scaring me…" Tears started to pool in her eyes, and he quickly took her hands in his and kissed them…
"Don't be afraid. I promise you, this is not as bad as it may seem at first." He paused before continuing… "There is something I have been keeping from you. I didn't know if you would understand… I didn't keep it from you to hurt you… please understand. It's just-- It's just hard for Muggles to understand."
He sighed… "A person without magic blood."
She eyed him warily, waiting for him to continue…
"I am a wizard, Caroline. My Mother is a witch, as is her mother… and her father is a wizard. My father has a very little magical blood in him, from ancestors far back, but mostly, he's a Muggle. Was always raised as a Muggle… he left my mom when he found out… when I got the very same acceptance letter from Hogwarts."
"You're a wizard?" she questioned him…
"Like as in 'Merlin'?"
He chuckled… "Nowhere near as good as Merlin, I assure you…"
She jumped off the couch, past him and into the kitchen to distance herself from him… "This is a joke, right? Getting me back for the April Fools joke I played on you?"
He hung his head for a moment, then stood… "No, Caroline, this is not a joke."
He hated the look on her face… fear, anger, frustration, disbelief… she was struggling to understand, yet terrified to, all at the same time.
"Sweetie, I know this is a lot to take… that's why I didn't tell you before…"
"And Gabby is one? A witch?"
"She has magical blood… the ability to learn the powers to become a witch, yes."
"And you knew this?"
"I knew she would have some magical blood, yes…"
"Stop saying 'magical blood'!" she snapped, running her hands through her hair nervously…
"I am of both Muggle and wizard families. You are a Muggle. I didn't know what percentage Gabby would be."
"So, you have… powers?"
"You can… hurt… people?"
He shook his head… "I would never hurt someone unless in self defense."
"But you can!"
"Yes." He sighed as he looked down… "I technically have the ability to inflict pain… but I would never dabble in the Dark Arts!"
She didn't know what to say… what to do. She put her hands on the counter and leaned, her head hung low as she tried to digest all that was said. When Richard began to approach, she jumped…
"Stay there! Just-- Just… stay on that side of the counter…"
"Honey, it's still me! Still Richard. Still the man you married… the man that loves you so much… and would like to hold you and show you how much I adore you."
She stared blankly at him for a moment, then her eyes changed… so many emotions in her stare… "Show me."
"If you have powers… show me! Do something… wizard-like."
"Do it Richard."
With a shallow sigh he went to the cupboard under the stairs and pulled out his art supplies box. It didn't look much different from a toolbox, and when he opened it, and moved supplies aside, there was a secret door at the bottom. He opened the little flap and produced from it what looked like a stick.
"A stick?" she asked curiously…
"A wand." he corrected.
She watched him as he tapped the end of the wand on the palm of his hand, then he looked to her…
She nodded only slightly.
With a flick of his wrist, sparks flew from the wand, and after a few odd words Caroline didn't understand, Salty began to rise in the air.
Caroline backed against the opposite counter, her eyes wide, her mouth open, and when Richard saw her frightened expression, he gently guided Salty to the ground.
When Salty had all fours firmly on the wood floor, she meowed loudly in protest and ran from the room to the upstairs bedroom…
"She's alright…" he assured her… "Just scared."
"She's not the only one!"
"You don't need to be afraid Caroline… honestly." He tried to go to her, but she sprinted past him…
"I have to go! I can't-- I can't stay here!"
She ran out the door after grabbing her purse, and Richard called after her…
"Caroline! Wait! Please!"
But she kept running… down the stairs and out of earshot…
"Hey Richie!" Annie exclaimed as she poked her head out of her door across the hall… "What's with all the yelling?"
"Trying to catch Caroline…"
"Piss her off, eh?" she chuckled… "Just try'n keep it down, k?"
"Shut up Annie…" he muttered as he walked back in to his apartment.
"What a grouch!" she complained to herself before going back into her apartment and shutting the door soundly.
TO BE CONTINUED IN…
Chapter Two: 'Caroline & The Wizard'
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