Auntie Muriel was of course delighted to be doing something as underhanded as reading someone's private diary and insisted on joining them, much to everyone's horror. Fred and George turned various shades of green at the thought of having something in common with the spiteful old woman. Ginny had to kick Fred in the shins to get him to hurry up and read.
He glared at her "Fine, I'll read, but only if people don't interrupt."
7th August 1989
We went to the concert last night. We snuck out mid-afternoon and took two buses and a train to get to Brighton. It was terrifying and yet exciting at the same time, doing something so dangerous. Mia kept grabbing my hand and squeezing it.
The music was so loud that my eardrums are still throbbing but that was actually the best part. The shockwaves the instruments made can be felt with your whole body. The room was filled with complete strangers but everyone was on the same wavelength, all buzzing with adrenaline and shouting the lyrics along with the band.
I'd never felt more alive.
We got home at well past midnight. Mia's parents were absolutely furious. I've never seem them so angry but that wasn't the worst part. It was the fact that they were disappointed in us that made me feel like my insides were shrivelling up. I hated the fact that I'd let them down so much it was like they were my own parents. Mia was grounded for the rest of the summer which meant I was too because there's not much for me to do without her, bar homework.
The Burrow was quiet when I got back which meant my absence hadn't been noticed. I'd gone to Brighton and back and been gone at least eight hours. Mia's mum and dad had been about to call the police, mine had gone to bed. And you know what? After the day I'd had the most surprising thing was that I wasn't angry about it. I wasn't sad or depressed. I felt nothing at all.
Like I no longer cared what anyone in this house thought of me. I think that was the moment I knew any chance I might have had of being part of this family had shattered without me noticing.
We were just too different.
"Shit" George said quietly to his twin "I think we really screwed up."
Fred didn't answer him, eyes flickering between his mother's heartbroken face and Aunt Muriel's triumphant look, but before she could make some nasty comment he swallowed hard and carried on.
22nd August 1989
I turned thirteen today. I'm a teenager at last though I doubt my parents are too concerned about me becoming sullen and sulky, or getting into drugs. I expect their dreading it happening to the twins. Despite not getting anything I really wanted again I didn't really mind this year. I guess it's hard to buy a present for someone that's little more than a stranger.
The day was pretty uneventful though I was allowed to go round Mia's for a half hour because she'd been on her best behaviour. Her present was the best one I got. She got me a book and I opened it to find it was completely empty and had groups of straight lines bunched together. They all laughed at the expression on my face before Kevin explained it was a book to write my own music in.
Mia grinned at me "Put that guitar to good use."
Her parents got me some sheet music with my favourite songs on it and then spent the rest of the visit showing me how to read the music.
All in all this birthday was a hundred times better than last year. Everyone got the date right this time.
Mrs Weasley had to leave the room at that point to pull herself together. They all looked at her concerned when she came back.
"Are you all right mum?" Bill asked.
"Yeah we can always stop if this is too hard for you, love" Arthur took her hand.
She shook her head "No. If this is the only way I'll ever really know my son, then I have to keep going."
Muriel couldn't resist "Perhaps if you'd been a better mother you wouldn't have to read this at all. All that talk about how you're all a family, when it seems you managed to overlook one of your children entirely. The rest of you aren't any better."
"That's enough Auntie!" Charlie snapped at her "if you can't be pleasant then you can leave."
Fred started to read again before she could say anything else.
29th August 1989
I spent the rest of the summer by myself. Oddly my realisation about my family and myself had very little impact on life. I thought once it sunk in I would be a least a little sad but instead I feel almost like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Now that I don't care what they think of me I don't have to make the effort to try and fit in.
I hadn't noticed how draining it was to try and be somebody other than myself. It was exhausting. I no longer care when they play Quidditch and don't even bother to ask me if I would want to play (which I don't anyway but it's common decency to at least ask).
I spent my days shut in my room reading or learning new songs on my guitar. I ripped up a couple of floorboards under my bed and made enough space to hide it. On the odd day I felt like fresh air I went into the village, as Mia's was of limits until her sentence was over.
There actually not much to do in Ottery St Catchpole. However I did meet this guy called Dave who owns a cafe in the village. He's like sixty but he and his wife Anna were pretty cool. We talked a lot about music, and literature and Dave said if Mia and I were bored next summer we were always welcome and if I wanted to learn the piano as well as guitar then he'd teach me in exchange for some help at the cafe.
I'm looking forward to that. The concert helped me realise how much enthusiasm I have for music and learning how to play even more instruments can only be fun. It's not a practical career choice, no matter how much I wish it was, but it's definitely more than a hobby. It's an escape, just like reading a book.
You can be whoever you want to be, jump into a completely different world where nobody can ever judge you.
That's the best feeling in the world.
A/N If there is the slimmest possibility I still have any readers left then I am so sorry and I hope you can forgive me! My exams are over now which means I actually can have a life again! I still have work though so I won't make any promises about when I'll next update but hopefully soon.