One month passed since Joanna came home to look after her mother. She had given the letter to Annoria but there was still no news from her. Joanna had written a letter to Annoria a week after she settled down back home, but till now, she had not received a reply.
Joanna was about to check on her mother that evening when an owl came swooping into her room. Quickly, Joanna untied the envelop from the owl.
“Thank you,” Joanna said as she patted the owl. It hooted a kind reply before it took off again.
Immediately after it left, Joanna tore the envelope open and pulled out the letter.
I’m so sorry for the late reply. It has been crazy here. We have extra classes everyday and every other free period I have, I’m at the Quidditch pitch training. I’ve been meaning to reply for weeks, but I never had the time. I hope you can forgive me for this.
Anyways, I saw Tom a few days after you left, and I handed him your letter. I’m not sure if I should tell you this, but I don’t want to lie to you either. So… what happened was, when I gave Tom the letter… he gave it to Malfoy and told him to get rid of it. I’m sorry Joanna. I don’t know what happened between the two of you, but he… well… you know.
If you have another letter for him, I could try and pass it to him again, if you like.
Ah, enough about that. How have you been? I hope you are doing fine. And your mother too. I wonder how your Professors are like. You’re probably smarter than all of us now.
Oh, by the way, the school has organized another trip for us to Hogsmead next weekend. If you could come over, maybe we could meet up and have a drink of butterbeer. I really miss you, and would love to see you!
Let me know alright? I’ll be spending most of the morning at the Three Broomsticks anyways. I have work to catch up on.
Well, I hope to see you then!
Lots of love, Annoria’
Getting ready to write a reply letter, Joanna stared blankly at the date of which Annoria’s letter was written, and then as though her mind suddenly clicked, Annoria’s next weekend was Joanna’s tomorrow.
“Stupid owl. How long does it take you to send a dumb letter?” Joanna muttered. She had grown rather angry these few days. It was as though her inner demons were finally surfacing and she found no way of suppressing them.
Immediately getting up, Joanna decided she should just pay Annoria a visit at Hogsmead. Heading towards her mother’s room, Joanna poked her head through the gap of the door and softly said, “Mother, I’m going to Hogsmead to see a friend tomorrow. I’ll ask Gwen to look after you.”
When her mother replied with a groan and a nod, Joanna went straight to bed. She had to get up early the next day, if she didn’t want to wait in a long line at the Interchange Building.
The next morning, she woke up at 8. On her way to the Interchange Building, Joanna stopped by old lady Gwen’s small house and requested a favor with a big bag of coins. When old lady Gwen grinned from ear to ear, Joanna was sure her mother would be well taken care off. After that, George sent her straight to the Interchange Building, where she had to wait in line with a group of working adults.
Joanna finally arrived in an small owl post at 10.30am, the same time of which the Hogwarts students were about to leave school. Knowing Annoria would be there soon, Joanna headed to The Three Broomsticks and waited.
About half an hour later, Joanna saw Annoria walking through the wooden doors. Standing up immediately, Annoria spotted her and waved excitedly, before rushing towards her.
“I’m so glad to see you!” Annoria said as she gave Joanna a hug.
“Me too,” Joanna replied with a weak smile.
“How have you been? Is your teacher good? How’s your mother? She’s going to be o.k right?”
Immediately being bombarded with questions, Joanna started laughing. She knew Annoria was genuinely concerned, but her animated expressions reminded her of how Annoria could always make her smile without even knowing it.
“I’m sorry, I’m just-“
“It’s o.k. Everything has been fine. My mother is, well, I don’t really know…”
“Well, she’ll be fine,” Annoria replied with a wide smile.
Just then, a bunch of Slytherins came walking into The Three Broomsticks, and with them was Tom.
As Joanna watched the group take a seat at a corner table, Abraxas Malfoy caught her eye. Immediately, he turned away and awkwardly joined in in the discussion at his table.
“You want to go somewhere else?” Annoria asked softly.
“No, I’m not moving for anyone,” Joanna replied. But even though she meant what she said, she couldn’t help but wish she was in a different place.
“Come on, let’s go,” Annoria said standing up. “I know you don’t like it here.”
Heaving a sigh, Joanna decided that she should just leave her pride behind. But as she and Annoria headed to the door, one of the Slytherin girls spotted her and called out to her.
“Joanna! Hey! How are you?” Matilda Parkinson said loudly.
“I’m fine, thank you,” Joanna replied with a false smile.
“Are you sure? Is your mother o.k? She’s not infected with a muggle disease is she?” Matilda was now mocking her, and the group of Slytherins, except for Tom and Malfoy, were snickering alongside her.
“Muggle disease? Are you stupid or something?” Joanna immediately responded, and the crowd in the pub became silent.
“I’m sorry, have you not heard of THE muggle disease?” Matilda asked as she stood up and headed towards Joanna, as her Slytherin buddies tagged along; with the exception of Tom, who was still seated at the table, staring at the same book since he entered the pub, and Malfoy, who was hesitating on what to do.
“No. But I’ve heard about stupid girls who don’t pay attention in muggle studies.”
“Have you not heard of cancer?”
Immediately, Joanna and Annoria burst out laughing.
“What are you laughing for?!” Matilda instantly demanded.
“Cancer is not a muggle disease, we can get it too,” Annoria explained calmly.
“My mother said that-“
“Your mother must be as dumb as you,”Joanna interrupted, and Matilda’s face flushed in red as she pulled out her wand.
“You want a duel?” Joanna raised an eyebrow skeptically.
“No duels in the pub! Sort your issues outside!” a lady behind the counter shouted, as she pointed to the back exit.
A few seconds later, Matilda turned away from Joanna, and did what Joanna had not expected her to do. Matilda stormed towards the back exit as she said, “You heard the lady. Outside.”
To Be Continued…
(Vote or leave a comment below on whether Joanna should follow Matilda out for a duel, or just ignore her and leave!)