Through a hazy consciousness, I felt someone gently shaking my shoulder.
"Ellie!... El, Wake up, I think mom's making breakfast downstairs!" Liz said in my ear.
I jolted awake. My mother, like Liz, couldn't harm a fly. Unless either one of them was cooking. Or attempting to.
I looked confusedly around my surroundings, still sleep drunk. My head whipped form side to side as I looked around our shared attic bedroom with a huge window that overlooked most of our residential street. It felt weird to see the other side of the room tidied up and occupied. Liz was gone for most of the year and her presence at home was rare and strange, but not unwelcome.
She was kneeling on my bed leaning over me, and used both hands and all her effort to shake me, but I barely felt a tremble.
"What? Why?" I yelled as I tried to run to the kitchen, but ended up on the floor tangled in my bed sheets.
An amused smile crept along her lips. "Shh... you'll wake them up. Follow me." she whispered.
She crept on the creaky ancient wooden floorboards of our shared room towards the doorway.
Realization dawned on me. "Whaaat? Ohh... you're good, Liz Sutton, you're good." I said, shaking my head in amazement. "But why did you have to wake me up at the butt crack of dawn?"
She shrugged. "Making breakfast for them might be a nice change. I haven't been home in forever. I miss a good Alabama breakfast."
The kitchen was soon a medley of delicious smells from the elaborate breakfast we were making. Well, I was making. Liz was supervising, armed with a keen eye and bright red fire extinguisher.
We finished, but they weren't up yet.
"See, Liz? There's no need to get up before the sun rises. We have so much time." I said, through several yawns.
She murmured in sleepy assent.
We got tired of waiting for them to wake up and come downstairs so we wrapped everything up on the table. I must have dozed off because the next thing I know, my mother is shaking me awake calling my name frantically.
"Ellie! Ellie! Guess what came in the mail?" She giggled hysterically.
I could tell Liz had dozed off, too, she was rubbing her eyes and yawning.
I am just going to say that I am not a morning person, and being woken up twice in one day can make my mental stability questionable.
"I don't know, mom." I yawned. "My Hogwarts acceptance letter?"
"El, c'mon open it already! We wanted to wait for you." my father said, just as excited as my mother, but more impatient.
Truth is, I don't know what in the world it could be. My mother's brown eyes were bright and
shining. She looked like she was about to break a cheekbone from the wide grin plastered on her face.
Never taking her eyes off my face, she handed me a single white envelope with no return address. With the Gallagher Academy seal printed on it. And it was addressed to Eleanor Sutton. In the corners of my eyes, I saw Liz was leaning against the kitchen counter with huge eyes. I saw her knuckles turn white from gripping the counter too hard.
I gasped, looking at my mother for a second daring it all to be joke. I carefully lifted the flap and started to read the letter aloud.
"Dear Eleanor Sutton,
We are pleased to inform you and your family that you have been chosen to attend Gallagher Academy this coming fall..."
That was all I needed to hear. I was ecstatic, on cloud nine. I started laughing, hugging my father and mother in turn. When I turned to Liz, I saw her gingerly holding the letter that I had discarded on the floor like it was toxic waste. Her eyes were darting left and right, no doubt read the letter three times over already.
Her lips were moving without a sound, trying to make sense of the words. The crease between her eyes that only appeared when she didn't understand a problem (which was next to never) pinched her face. Her expression was pained, and hid a trace of panic.
"I thought you were kidding! How did you even send in the application? " She said dazed, as if it didn't sink in yet.
"Erm..." my mom started. Liz's eyes widened in disbelief.
"What...? Did-" she exclaimed.
"-Lizzie, chill." I quickly cut in, "Mom sent it in for me the day we talked about it." I explained to her as-a-matter-of-fact.
She faced my parents, "Is she seriously going to go? I mean, going go Gallagher is super challenging. The chances of getting an A are reduced by like 5.6%! And not to mention the curriculum..." she rambled on making huge hand gestures, like she was trying to explain something to someone in another language.
God, she was being so selfish.
"Liz, you're being such a hypocrite! You go there. And I can go there if I want to, too. I got in" I said, my voice raising.
She realized that she struck a nerve, and quickly backpedaled.
"Oh, no, Ellie, I didn't mean it like that! I'm really happy for you. But, what about the school you're going to now? And all your friends? Do you really want to throw that away for an all-girls boarding school?"
This threw me for a minute. "Touché, Liz." I thought.