I covered the distance from ramp to door in what felt like a single bound. Hands shaking so hard they almost couldn't hold the reticulator, I squeezed through the opening by the broken door and pushed through a curtain of ragged cobwebs.
Dressing, gearing up, the drive to the outskirts of town, all blurred together, those simple actions eclipsed by tides of panic, resentment, and outright fury. An anger whose bitterness cut my tongue like a blade, but galvanized me to the task at hand. Jules knew I didn't want this—not tonight and not on Winthrop's terms—but still drew me in, making me the one responsible for his choices.
Not long after she left, the skies opened. Still shaken from Amanda's revelation, I watched the storm from the living room window. Lightning strobed over the hills and danced down the street on jittery skeletal legs, thunderclaps shook the walls, and screaming gusts assailed the window panes with volleys of sleet that sounded like small stones. Although I stood transfixed, oddly enough, for once, I felt unafraid.
While a bath warmed my body, it didn't improve my mood.
"I understand your reservations, but to move forward, maybe you should reconsider." Perched on the edge of the tub, Amanda, who'd declined to join me for a long soak, took a sip of wine, then regarded me with her wide, green eyes. "Think of it as a first step towards forgiveness."
I do not own these characters. All things Harry Potter belong to the estimable J. K. Rowling. I just like to take her folks out of the canon and play with them from time to time. ;D
The chanting stopped, leaving only the sick sound the water made as it slopped over the sides of the pool. As the family and officiant made their way back to the plinth, the portable monitor screens shifted color from flat black to deep indigo.