I wondered how many years I'd be locked up in Azkaban if I strangled my mother to death.
That was dark.
But it wasn't my fault because she was mental...actually they'd still see it as my fault.
It was only the third day since we'd been out of school and she thought I was wasting my summer away. She wanted me to know my sixth year textbooks inside out and I'd just finished with my stupid OWLs. Last summer, she purchased my fifth year books before my fourth year had even ended and started preparing me an entire year early for the exams. Maybe if I was a lazy piece of crap, I'd understand, but I had never gotten a mark below 'Exceeds Expectations' before. But mum thought it was a good idea to do something useful with my free time. I dreaded going downstairs for breakfast but I decided I would have to put my foot down today.
"Morning, Dad, Mum" I said curtly.
"Good Morning" dad said without glancing away from his paper.
Mum was sipping on her coffee and flipping through the pages of her Witch Weekly subscription. "Had a good sleep, dear?" She asked.
"Wonderful. I kept dreaming that my charms textbook was trying to eat me," I muttered.
"What was that?"
"Nothing," I quickly said.
"Is your brother up yet?" Mum asked.
"How am I supposed to know?"
"Oh by the way," she turned to dad. "Your mother called, Ron, she invited us to dinner at the burrow. She said everyone's coming."
"I don't want to go," I informed my parents before they could tell me I have to go.
Mum frowned, "Rose! You don't have a choice, we're all going."
"Except me, I don't want to go, I'm busy today."
"Rose! What could you possibly have to do that's more important than your own family?" Dad asked.
"Weren't you the one who told me I should do something with my summer, weren't you the one who said I shouldn't waste my time, mother?" I reminded her.
Mum looked lost for a moment and I had to hold back a snort. "Oh that! Oh Rose, I wasn't talking about schoolwork! Oh honey, do you really think I'm evil enough to make you study right after school ends?"
I took a moment to reflect on that.
"Then what were you talking about when you said I should—"
"I was thinking you could do some community service, dear".
Come again? Community service? If she was asking me to run a summer camp or something, I would probably end up jinxing all those little kids. I had no patience for children. I would probably end up in Azkaban and never get a job at the ministry if I have to do community service.
"Mum, I don't think—"
"Rose, I really think it's a good idea. I've been looking through the paper and I know the perfect place for you—".
"Mum, I don't think it's a good idea for me to be helping out with kids, I don't have the tolerance for that."
"Rose, just hear what she has to say," Dad cut in.
Mum cleared her throat, "Like I was saying, I have found this help centre for teens your age going through rough times. I think you can really help them, it'll be good for you. You'll broaden your mind to different people. What do you think?"
She wanted me to work at a rehab centre?
"I don't know, Mum, I don't think I'm good with that sort of stuff." I was not lying, I was not good with slightly deranged people.
"Think about it, sweetheart, you could really make a difference in someone's life," Mum insisted. I was even more horrified at the thought.
I thought, what if I don't change someone's life for the better? What if I put them in an even worse position? I didn't even know what the hell I was doing with my own life most of the time!
"Mum I don't think it's the best idea…" I began to say.
"Open your mind, my love! Broaden your horizons! Expand your worldly knowledge!", Mum insisted with a dreamy look on her face.
I had to put my all into resisting the urge to roll my eyes. "I don't think so…"
"But, Rose, it's really advantageous if you want to get a job in the ministry."
"But Mum—" I tried to say.
"You have to do this!"
"No!" I said
"No—" I said again but dad cut me off.
"Why can't you two argue somewhere else?! I'm trying to have a peaceful morning here! Hermione why don't you give her some time to think about this? And, Rose, even though it is your decision, I agree with your mother that this will be good for you, so please consider this seriously", I nodded in agreement and with that, dear daddy got up and left to yell at Hugo to wake up. Mum got up shortly after him and left to her room.
Usually, dad took my side whenever mum came up with something that would be "beneficial for my future", but this time, he betrayed me. She probably brainwashed him earlier and told him how this was best for me.
I was chewing on a piece of toast when I realized that I couldn't completely disagree with them. I admit I could sometimes be judgemental so maybe this might be good for me. But I needed time to think about it, I mean I didn't want to further screw up the life of some kid with an already screwed up life.
Today had to be the hottest day of the summer and I was on the verge of death. I should've just called the cemetery and reserved a grave for myself. Rose Weasley, beloved daughter and sister, died of sweating…that sounded just lovely.
Dad had opened all the windows of the house but it only made it worse. Since my parents never bothered to get a muggle air conditioning system, I threw a fit. I threatened to go to Uncle Harry's house and stay there for the whole summer if they didn't get one now. So Mum called the AC guys and we were to expect them within the hour. Finally, I'd be able to breathe.
I changed into a pair of shorts and a loose, flowing tank top that was a little longer than my shorts. Actually, my short were too short. I didn't care though but I knew mum would say they were inappropriate.
I went back to the family room and lounged on the sofa just dreading the fact that all the Weasleys plus aunt Ginny's family were supposed to be stuffed in the burrow tonight. Now I really didn't want to go. Since it was too hot to do anything else, I decided to flip through magazines. That was when I came across the community guide book on the coffee table. I flipped to the marked page to see what Mum was interested in earlier at breakfast. Just as I was about the start reading, the doorbell rang.
"Doorbell's ringing!" I hollered to my family. No one must have answered the door because after a couple seconds, it rang again. "Hugo, can you get that!"I still got no answer. When it rang for the third time, I'd just about had it. "MUM! DAD! SOMEONE'S AT THE DOOR!" I yelled. Finally, I decide to get it because I basically had to do everything around here because my bloody family was too bloody lazy.
I headed towards the door and just as I was about to unlock it, Mum came running out of nowhere and grabbed the door knob, pushing me aside.
"Rose! For heaven's sake, please put on some clothes, dear, your breasts are visible to the neighbors!" she exclaimed.
My mother checking out my breasts was my favourite part of the day. She really know how to make me feel special.
I just ignored her as I always did and went back to my sofa to lounge some more. I heard Mum talking to two males, the AC guys, bless them. I went back to the community service guide book and looked at what Mum had circled on page eleven.
Support Centre for the Struggling Youth.
'If you or someone you know is facing physical, verbal, or sexual abuse, an eating disorder, substance abuse, a behavior disorder, bullying, depression, loss of a loved one, negligence or just feel excluded and unheard, contact us straight away. SCSU will always make you or your friend in need feel comfortable and we will help you get through this rough patch. With our expert team, we will make sure you walk out of our centre feeling like a new person. With pressure increasing, the problems that our—'
"So I'll just take you to our basement and we can see what will work best," I heard Mum say.
"Sure. Lead the way, Ma'am," one of the men said.
I looked up to see Mum leading them to our the basement. One was old, like Mum and Dad's age, and the other was young, probably his apprentice. They walked past me and towards the door to the basement but I saw the younger one look over his shoulder and take a quick scan of me before smirking.
I got back to the guide book and read the rest of the paragraph.
'—the problems that our youth is facing today cannot be ignored. We urge you to contact us straight away and we promise that yours or your friend's voice will surely be heard and you/they will get the help and attention you/they need and deserve'
I felt awful for people who had no one to help and support them. If I was suffering from any of those issues, my entire family, and I mean all the Weasleys, plus Potters, my Nana and Papa Granger and all my friends would be there for me. But these kids had to go to support centres.
This was what made me want to ignore other people's problems, because I couldn't bear to see people suffer. Plus, I felt guilty because I had everything while some people didn't even have a stable home or enough to eat. Some girls in Africa didn't get to go to school while I went to school with my brand new books and brand new robes and brand new supplies every year. And all those boys who were forced to be child soldiers. And those women and children that were abused by stupid men who thought they were more powerful…
Suddenly, I started crying while I added sick babies, raped girls, natural disasters and lack of indoor plumbing to my list. As I sobbed, Dad and Hugo appeared at the door of the family room and stared at me like I just grew horns.
"Rose, baby, is there a reason why—" Dad nervously asked. I knew he was assuming it to be one of my occasional mood swings. I shook my head in denial.
"Is it your time of the month?" Hugo asked. Why was my little brother asking me this?!
"NO! Oh Gosh, Hugo! You're so stupid!" I spat out. Hugo looked alarmed. I heard footsteps rushing up the stairs. Mum.
"Why is everyone yelling? We have people in our house!" She scolded us in a hushed tone. Finally she saw me and sighed. "Rose, what's wrong now?"
What was that supposed to mean?
"Mum, there is so much sadness in the world! Children are dying of hunger, women are being raped, people are suffering!"
"Well, I'm going to attend to the workers downstairs. Ron please deal with this," she said, waving her hands in my direction like I was some sort of thing.
I couldn't believe her. All she had to say was 'Ron, please deal with this'? She wouldn't even offer any words of comfort? I thought I was more important than her stupid air conditioning!
Dad, as usual, did as he was told. "Rose, I'm sorry that there is so much sorrow in this world but—"
"Maybe if you stop eating all the food, there will be some left over for the people of Africa", Hugo sniggered.
"HUGO!" Dad yelled when I burst into tears again. "Get out of here!"
"Daddy do you think I eat a lot?" I asked.
"No, darling, don't listen to him! He's just bothering you," Dad said. He put an arm around me and pulled me into a comforting hug until I stopped crying.
"But, Dad, I've recently noticed my body's a little different." Realizing how that sounded, I quickly added, "I mean, I think I'm getting fat…"
It was true. During my OWL's, all I did was study, eat, sleep, and poop.
"No honey bear, you're in good shape. And you're keeping up with quidditch, which is good exercise," Dad kissed me on top of my head. I got a feeling inside until Hugo had to go and spoil it.
"So now that we're talking about bodies, every time I see some lady parts, I get this weird, tingly feeling in my—"
"HUGO! Stop being an idiot and go to your room!" Dad threw a couch cushion at him.
"Dad, if Hugo ever has to go to a help centre, it'll be your fault! You abuse him, physically and verbally!" I said.
"Baby, I'd hardly call that abuse, it's Hugo". Noticing the look on my face, he quickly added, "But if you don't think it's appropriate, then I won't do it anymore."
Dad pulled me into another hug and I rested my head on his shoulder.
"Dad?" I said after thorough thinking.
"I-I think I'll do the struggling teens counseling thing."
"Princess, I'm really proud of you."
After the AC guys left, Dad and I told Mum about my decision. She was pleased, of course, since things were going her way.
She pulled me into a hug. "Rose, I think you've made an excellent choice. I know you feel like it's a waste of time now, but trust me, dear, you'll thank me one day."
"Okay, everyone let's get dressed now because we have to go to the burrow. Everyone has an hour", Dad added.
I headed up to my room to change but as I left, I heard Mum say, "I'm impressed, Ron, what did you say to her?"
"Love, is dancing on my finger, he got to the heart of the matter and lingered…"
I found myself in a very jovial mood as I sang one of my favorite songs while I showered and got dressed. I decide to wear a short, white sundress and pulled my hair into a messy bun. There was no chance in hell that I was going to leave it down in this humidity. Nonetheless, I looked sexy. I went over to my mirror to put on some light makeup. I wondered if my cousin's hot friend was going to be there like last time.
"Rosie! Hugo! Hurry up! We're going to be late!" Dad yelled.
"I'm on my way!" Hugo called, jumping down the stairs.
The boy was a monkey.
"Hermione! Come on! Rose! Gosh you women have to take so long to get ready!" Dad yelled again.
"I'm right here, Ronald," Mum said calmly, "where's, Rose?"
I heard them call out my name but I wasn't done with my makeup. "I'm not coming until my left lashes are equally long as my right lashes!"
I tried to hurry my mascara application. Once I was satisfied, I put on my white, corkscrew wedges and hurried downstairs. I grabbed Mum's hand and Hugo grabbed Dad's, and we apparated onto the front porch of the burrow. Dad rang the doorbell and Granny opened the door.
"Hugo! Rosie" She cried as she gave us both kisses on our head. I cringed.
I didn't like big hugs from all the relatives. Sometimes they smelled funny. Like today, Granny smelled like deep fried food. Ten galleons it was crispy fried chicken.
"Ron! Hermione! How nice to see you both! How have you lot been lately?" Granny asked.
"We've been well. How are your knees? Ron told me your arthritis is getting better with the warm weather," Mum asked.
I pushed through the crowd and said hello to all aunts and uncles as I tried to keep a smile plastered on my face. I searched for my cousin, Albus. Albus and I were the same age and best friends since we grew up together. Some people said we reminded them of our parents. I used to think they meant by appearance but I soon discovered that was not it.
Of course I had the flaming red Weasley hair but mine was a deep, dark auburn since my mum had dark brown hair. My cousin Lily's was the same too except hers was curly. I on the other hand had really wavy, but soft and tamed hair, unlike my Mother. Also, my eyes were blue, like Granddad Granger's. I thought my eyes were my best feature. Everyone always complimented the unique violet shade. Just then I heard my name.
"Al! My favourite Slytherin!" I pounced on him, pulling him into the tightest hug.
"Rose! Gosh I've missed you so much!" Al said. "Rose you haven't been visiting Nana lately, you look thin".
Interesting…I thought I was eating too much. I must remember to flush Hugo's Firebolt 3000 down the toilet when I get home.
"How have your holidays been so far?" I asked.
"Horrible! Mum's made me clean out my whole room; you won't believe some of the junk I found in the back of my closet. I found your old sneakers by the way," He said as we took a seat on the couch.
"Are they pink and yellow?" I asked.
"Oh gosh, I cried myself to sleep for a month when I lost them!" I laughed as I remembered back to when I was 12 years old. "So my mom wants me to volunteer at the Support Centre for Struggling Youth. It's this place for teens that are facing issues in their life and stuff like that?" I told Al once we were alone in the kitchen. I was stirring gravy while he was munching on chips.
"Oh really…" Albus said.
"I admit, I didn't want to do it at first."
"I don't think I'm the type of person who's good at helping others you know, giving advice and stuff like that," I explained.
"Sure you are, Lily's always asking you for advice."
"Yes but that's different. I can give good advice about fashion, boys, schoolwork and stuff like that but leading someone to make the right choices about life takes a lot of experience, Al".
"I know you can do it, Rosie, sometimes, you're a total sarcastic, little bitch who just goes with the easy way out even though you know it's stupid but other times you're this intelligent and confident person who can do anything she puts her mind too. I know you, Rose, even though you don't like to show, you're very caring and loving and sympathetic and sensitive—"
"You're making me blush!" I rolled my eyes. "Mum and I are gonna go register and attend the orientation workshop Tomorrow. Come with me?"
"Maybe...I'll see," he said.
"Rose!" I heard another voice call out my name and I turned around to see it was my cousin James and his cute friend, Eric.
"H-hi", I stammered. I've had a little bit of a crush on Eric since last summer when he, Al, James and I hung out at Godric's Hollow almost every day.
"Hey, guys," Eric greeted us with his charming smile.
"How've you been," Al asked with the casual and relaxed tone that I was coveting at that very moment.
"So, Rose, you up for a little quidditch tomorrow at our place?" James asked.
I wondered how soft Eric's curly brown hair must be...
"Uh, Rose?" James snapped a finger in front of me.
Eric looked confused and Al smirked like he knew what I was thinking.
He probably did.
"Yeah, yeah, of course, what time?" I said.
"Just come whenever you want, Rose, it's not like you have to make an appointment to see us," James snorted.
"I'll-I'll come around, uh, noon," I said.
"Um, Rose, aren't you forgetting something?" Al cut in.
"What?" I said, annoyed.
"Oh! SCSY!" I suddenly remembered the stupid volunteering thing. After Eric and James left, Albus and I headed to the back garden and took a seat at the magically enlarged picnic table.
During our meal, Al leaned over and whispered in my ear, "I'll come with you."
The following morning, I got up bright and early and changed into a pair of dark denim capris with a white flowing tank top. I did not forget to apply some make up and grabbed my hip new shades before heading down for breakfast. Mum thought I was going through a phase where I couldn't even take out the garbage without gussying up. I had my usual slice of toast in front of the TV while we waited for Al to get here.
James apparated Albus to our house, since Al was still sixteen, like me and James was seventeen. They ended up fist fighting mid-apparation and Al unfortunately left a finger behind. So mum had to take him back to Godric's Hollow and after getting his finger, he side-alonged with mum back to our place. She scolded them both and retold her stupid story about how dad once left half an eyebrow behind. Then finally, after lots of begging from James, Mum promised not to tell Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny. James then apparated back to the Potters' place and Mum, Al and I finally got in the car and headed for SCSY.
"Just remember, Rose, don't close doors for yourself. Don't assume things about yourself. You're still young and it takes a lot of experience to know even yourself and learn what you are capable of", Mum gave me a pep talk for the eighty-seventh time.
"Yes mother", I sighed, annoyed.
"Rose, you have yet to discover your strengths and weaknesses, so don't already assume that this is a weakness."
"I'll remember that, Mum…" I said. I stared out the window at a group of teenage muggle boys and girls just hanging out at the park. I saw two little girls and a man; their father I guessed, buying ice cream from an ice cream van. I sighed again just thinking about how much fun everyone was going to have this summer while I had to be 'responsible'. I hated being responsible.
"Rose, maybe this could turn out to be fun. Maybe you'll even make a new friend. There are probably loads of other volunteers for you to connect with as well. And it'll be nice to have a couple muggle friends," Mum said. I wondered if she was peering into my mind.
"Maybe…" I responded unenthusiastically.
"And you'll never know until you try, Rose. Just remember, always keep a positive attitude."
"Yes, Mum," I drawled.
I turned my head back to see what Albus, who was sitting in the back seat, was doing but he was just staring out the window, lost in thought. Mum thankfully stopped talking and the rest of the car ride was peaceful.
We finally reached the centre. It was really a very nice and modern looking building with a decent sized foyer that had a reception desk in the middle. Mum marched straight to the receptionist and Albus and I lagged behind on purpose.
"Hello!" The lady said cheerfully. She had shoulder-length, blond hair in perfect curls and bright pink claws. She seemed nice enough.
"Good afternoon, we're here to see Alice Tandra," Mum said.
"Do you have an appointment, Ma'am?" The lady asked in her sugary voice.
"As a matter of fact we do. It's for two pm for Rose Weasley," Mum informed her. 'Barbie doll' checked the calendar on her computer and once she found my name, she lead us to a room which I assumed was the office of Alice Tandra.
The blond lady knocked on the door and peeked her head in. "Rose Weasley's here," she informed the person inside.
"Oh! Yes, send them in," we heard Alice reply. Mum and I walked in, but Albus stayed back.
"You can come too you know," I told him.
"Nah, I'll just hang around here," He said.
"Suit yourself," I waved to him.
"Come, Rose," Mum ushered me in. This Alice lady looked to be old, probably around her mid-50s. She had grey and blond straight hair and peered at us through thin, rectangular spectacles. She seemed serious.
"Hello, Mrs. Weasley, I'm Alice Tandra, the director of this support centre, pleased to meet you," Alice shook Mum's hand and motioned for us to sit on the two chairs across her desk.
"You must be Rose," She turned to me.
"Yeah, hi, how are you?" I said as nicely as I could.
"I'm well, thank you, I hear you're interested in volunteering with us?" she said.
"Yes. I want to volunteer with you," I said.
"Well, I'm going to give you a little more information about volunteering with us. We're going to give you two forms that you're going to fill out. It's basically about your past volunteer experience, and just registration stuff," she handed the forms to mum and me to look at.
"Now, at SCSY, we have 5 major departments, Abuse, Depression, Substance Abuse, Self Harm, and Behavior Disorders. Each have sub departments. Most of the teens here are registered in more than one area so someone with Self Harm is also in Depression or someone in behavior disorder is also in depression. Because of this, you'll probably be working in more than one departments or sub-departments. How this would work is you would attend three sessions a week and there will be a professional counselor who will counsel the group for an hour and then they will do group exercises in pairs, or trios, or even as a whole group. It will give the kids a chance to socialize and talk about their problems. You'll be there to talk to them and just offer them advice or lead activities in little groups and share your experiences. You'll basically be helping the counselor"
The only thing I could think of was having to lead. I was a terrible leader.
"Or another way you could volunteer is you will be assigned a struggling teen and you'll be befriending them. Most of the teens who come here lack friends and it would be great if you could be a friend to them. You'll meet your friend here twice a week, and you can also choose to meet them outside at your own time as well. Of course you'll need to talk to us about it first and if we feel it's safe to do so, then you may. We do not advise you to be alone with your partner if you choose this option because some of these teens can get a little out of control sometimes and we don't want to threaten your safety." This option sounded better but I noticed mum looked a little uncomfortable.
"Rose?" Mum looked at me.
"Oh…yes, yes, I think I want to do the one on one option," I announced. I didn't think being a counselor's assistant was going to work for me. Plus, those sessions were three times a week and I only had to see this person twice a week.
"Oh Rose are you sure about that?" Mum asked. "I think it would be better for you to choose the group option."
"Yes, Mum, I think I want to go with the second option", I said, determined.
"Let's get started then," Alice said.
After the discussion, Mum filled the registration form, and I filled the form where I had to write about myself. I laughed in my head as I read the last question 'Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with us?' I contemplated what would happen if I wrote 'I'm a witch'. After that, the three of us headed out of the office so Alice could give us a tour. We ran into Al who was walking down the hall towards us.
"Where did you go Albus?" Mum asked curiously.
"Oh, nowhere, just looking around," Al said.
"Oh, that's what we're going to do right now. Alice's gonna give us a tour" I say. The four of us then headed to the elevators for our tour. Alice showed us the amenities for the teens. There was a swimming pool, a gymnasium, a cafeteria and other recreational facilities. She then took us to the volunteer orientation room. The next workshop was in half an hour so Mum, Al and I waited in the classroom. Not long after, more people started filing in and most of them seemed a little older than me. Finally, the trainer came and handed pamphlets out to all of us.
"Good afternoon, folks, my name is Mark and welcome to the volunteer orientation for SCSY. As you all know, this is a very serious job and we've just opened it to volunteers last year since before, it was strictly for professionals. On that note, I'd like to say that we need very patient, dedicated, and responsible people to help our struggling teens. I'm sure Alice must have gone through this with you but I cannot stress enough how important this is. Honestly, if anyone feels that they cannot fulfill this requirement, the best advice I can give you is to just walk away right now. Don't be ashamed or offended but the people here cannot be around volunteers that are just going to dillydally, they need serious friends."
After his intro, Mark came around and handed out some paper and pencils for us to take notes, and then he began his lecture.
It was such a long and tiring day when we finally came home. I felt good and prepared though. We learned what to do when someone throws a fit or how to react if they insult us. I considered myself to be a social person. I had a big group of friends at Hogwarts so I thought I'd have no trouble with my partner. I still doubted that I would make a difference in someone's life. Mum and Al believed in me though.
Alice said my name was down on a list of volunteers and based on what I had written about myself, they would assign me a buddy. If there was more than one volunteer that matched a struggling teen, then they would just let him or her choose a volunteer from the list.
That evening, Al stayed for dinner and we told Dad and Hugo about everything that happened at SCSY.
"Rose, dear, are you sure you want to do the buddy system, it could get be little challenging…" Dad asked. Obviously Mum told him the little detail about the buddies losing it and no counselor being there. She always made the biggest deal out of the smallest things!
"In case you all are wondering, the buddy is not going to rage on me," I said looking directly at Mum who looked down at her food. "Mark said there are three red buttons in each room, if anything happens, I'll press one of those and help will come right away, plus it's not like I'm going to be meeting up with my buddy to go for coffee or to the carnival together or something!" Hugo and Al tried to hold back their laughter.
Dad sighed out of relief and we finished talking about SCSY. Mum and Dad started talking about the ministry and how Minister Shacklebot is retiring soon. Al, Hugo, and I made plans to go to the movie with a bunch of our cousins.
That night, as I laid in bed, I couldn't deny how excited I was. I was genuinely curious to meet my buddy. I wondered what they'd be like.
I felt like it had just been an hour since I'd fallen asleep when I suddenly felt like I was being shaken awake. I heard mum's voice so I tried to cover my face with my blanket.
"Rose! Rose, wake up, darling!" She yanked the blanket away.
"What do you want? Go away!" I say as I turn over to the other side.
"Rose, Alice called, someone has just selected you to be their buddy!"