This story is the sequel to my other two stories-Unexpected (Victoire's story) and Victoire's Little Sisiter (Dominique's story). This one is about both Louis and Jackie (Vic's daughter). Reading the other two is probably not necessary to understand this, but it would probably make some parts of this story a bit clearer.
I'd always hated the airport. The crowds of muggles. The long waits. The metal detectors.
But over the years I'd grown used to them. After all, I'd lived in San Francisco for thirteen years. My family lived in England. Since Apparating such a long distance was impossible, flying the muggle way was pretty much my only option when I went to visit them.
As usual, it was family that brought me to the San Francisco International Airport one sunny day in early July. However, this time I was not there to board a plane for England. This time I was there to pick someone up.
My niece Jackie.
Her mum had written to me a couple weeks prior, begging me to let Jackie stay with me over the summer. I'd written her back to say that I would. I couldn't exactly say no. Not with everything Jackie had been through recently. It was understandable that she'd need to get away from everything for a while.
Right away, I could tell that the whole experience had changed her. It wasn't that she looked different. She had the same black hair and blue eyes has she had always had. And she certainly hadn't stopped caring about her appearance. In fact, she looked a little too put together for someone who had just spent hours and hours on a plane. Her hair was in a stylish top knot and she was wearing a vintage concert tee and high-wasted shorts. Her countless bracelets jangled as she picked up her luggage and headed in my direction.
No, it wasn't her appearance that had changed. It was her entire vibe, her atmosphere. Dom's crazy psychic friend Liz would probably say it had something to do with her aura.
It was all in the way she carried herself. Back before the incident she'd almost bounce when she walked, her head held high, a giant smile on her face. Now she walked with her eyes shifted downward, her expression not a frown, but not a smile either. Just neutral. Like she couldn't bring herself to feel much of anything at all.
"Hey," she said, her voice flat.
I opened my arms for a hug, almost afraid that she wouldn't give me one. But she did. She carefully set down her suitcase and her guitar case and wrapped her arms around me. It was brief and stiff. I supposed that she'd received a lot of hugs in the past few weeks from people trying to comfort her. I'd always hated those kinds of hugs—the pity ones from adults you barely know. But my hug wasn't like that and so I couldn't help but feel a twinge of hurt that she responded the way she did.
"You're pretty dressed up for a plane ride," I said, trying to make conversation as we headed to the car. "I usually just where my pajamas."
Sad but true. My sister Dominique is always getting after me for being a bit lazy when it comes to my appearance. My hair always a bit too shaggy. My clothes never seem to just fit right. My other sister Victoire tells me that I'm the worst gay guy ever. "You're not even stylish!"
Jackie just shrugged.
Once we were both seated in the car, I tried again.
"How are your parents doing?" I asked.
"They're all fine," she replied.
When answering that question, most people would probably say they're both fine. But Jackie had always considered her stepdad, Teddy Lupin, to be one of her parents. In a way she had two fathers—Colin (her biological dad) and Teddy.
"And Remus?" I asked.
Remus was Jackie's younger half-brother—Vic and Teddy's son.
Finally, she cracked a bit of a smile.
I had a feeling that talking about her family would be able to bring out the best in her. I'd never seen a more tight-knit family than hers. They were the kind of family that spent tons of time together and actually enjoyed it. They were the kind of family that could tell each other anything.
"Mum still says that he'll be the death of her," said Jackie in response to my question.
Remus had a pretty severe case of ADHD. He was constantly running around, full of energy, practically bouncing of the walls.
And with that we finally got a conversation going. The good kind of conversation where the words came easily, the kind with no awkward pauses. Jackie even laughed once. I smiled when she did. She'd always had a wonderful laugh, but I had a feeling no one had heard it recently.
"So I see you brought your guitar," I said.
Jackie's dad Colin had taught her how to play. He'd been in a band when he was younger. She'd also inherited his singing ability.
Instead of replying, Jackie fell silent again. I knew I'd said the wrong thing. Her familiar smile was replaced by that empty expression she'd been wearing earlier. She stared out the window and I could see that her hands were clenched into fists, her knuckled turning white, as if she was trying to stop herself from crying or screaming or lashing out at something.
The rest of the car ride was silent. Luckily the airport wasn't too far from downtown San Francisco and soon enough we had reached the apartment that I shared with my roommate Kate.
I pulled out my key and unlocked the front door.
"Here we are," I said, as we stepped inside. "Home sweet home."
The apartment was actually quite nice. The walls were exposed brick and Kate had ensured that it was always nicely decorated. But it was definitely small. We were co-owners of a shop in downtown San Francisco and although the shop was fairly successful, we were by no means rich, and it was all we could afford. But compared to the crappy apartment we had lived in when we were young struggling street performers this place was pretty great. There were no leaky ceilings, no cockroaches, no drug dealer neighbors.
Jackie had never been to my apartment before. Since my entire family lived in England and I was the only one in California, I was the one who had to travel to see them and not vice versa. I gave her a quick tour of the place. The apartment was mainly made up of one room that served as the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Connected to that were two bedrooms and a bathroom.
"We don't have a guest bedroom," I told her. "So you're going to have to sleep on the pull out couch in the living room. Is that okay?"
She just shrugged.
I took that as a yes.
"Alright," I said. "I'm gonna head to the shop now. I assume your mother told you that you'd be working there this summer?"
She nodded, not looking particularly enthused.
"I think you'll like it," I said, wondering why I was continuing to try to make conversation with her. "It's got a pretty cool vibe. It's both a bookstore and a coffee shop."
"Cool," she murmured.
"You can start work tomorrow," I said. "Unless you want to start today."
"I'll wait until tomorrow," she said. "Right now I'm gonna lay down and take a nap. The plane ride made me tired."
I nodded, secretly a bit pleased that I was going to be able to get away from her for awhile. She was almost too moody. I was starting to feel like I was in over my head. I didn't have the slightest clue how to deal with a troubled 18-year-old girl. Why had I told Vic I'd do this? Vic and I weren't even close. We'd never been close. Dom and I were close. Vic and Dom had become close when they got older. But not Vic and me.
Jackie had graduated from Hogwarts last month. She should have been back in England, trying to find a job at the Ministry or something. I'd thought that a summer in San Francisco would help her forget everything, but now I wasn't so sure. Perhaps it would have been better for her to stay in England and deal with this the hard way.
But it was too late now.
She was there for the rest of the summer.
What had I gotten myself into?
I didn't think that I would begin writing this story so soon after finishing Victoire's Little Sister, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to get started with it right away.
You guys are probably all wondering what happened to Jackie that's causing her act like this. It will be revealed in the next chapter, but for now feel free to speculate in your review.
This chapter was a little short, but I think they'll get longer as the story develops.
Anyway, thank you all for reading. I hope you enjoyed this first chapter. As always, please review!