Chapter 18: The Invitation
An envelope is given to Ilona, by Collette who is all the while doing a sprightly dance.
Ilona watches her friend prance about and feels happiness. Collette is not one to express herself in such a way, she lives in a verbal world filled with an intellectual give and take, mostly with Susan, that Ilona finds very stimulating. And now she is doing a very un-Collette thing. Moving very elegantly to music living inside her head.
Curiosity hits Ilona. She has the envelope in hand, it is plain and white and small and light, and no idea who or what it contains. Flipping it open, she pulls out an embroidered card adorned with very beautifully lettered words. Calligraphy. She has seen this before, and it always entrances her eyes. Finally focusing on what the card actually says, her mouth goes wide.
It is an invitation to Collette’s 11th birthday party. A week from now. A sleepover at a house. A promised night of movies. A good, no great time, guaranteed.
And Ilona switches from happy joy to being invited to dread and fear of going.
Cynthia wanders over beside Ilona, almost as if she could see the discord. The rest of the girls are busy babbling and making plans with the still dancing Collette. Madison loudly declares that night to be the starting ground for Halloween planning, with several ideas already being sprouted about.
“A sleepover will be a wonderful pleasure. I cannot wait. Hope you are ready to dance and enjoy Madison’s endless antics. And just wait till she begs Collette to allow her cat Hermione to come,” Cynthia says in a soothing tone.
“Cynthia, I want to go, I would love to go, Collette is great and with her help, my math marks have gone up considerably, but…” Ilona trails off. Even with Cynthia, she hates finishing.
“…but you may not have the money for a gift. Collette will understand, trust me she will. But worry not, my mother will take care of this issue for you,” Cynthia replies.
“She will?” Ilona stares wide eyed at her.
“Of course. The gift will be awaiting you at my house when you show up,” Cynthia states.
“Your house?” Ilona’s mouth also gapes open.
“Yes. The party is at my house. My mother says she might just seal us in the basement and let us go all Hunger Games, but I doubt it,” Cynthia laughs.
As the recess bell sounds, all the girls pile into lines. Cynthia sticks with Ilona and hands her a book.
“Since you have finished that first series of books, and now know why the man has a trident on the cover, it is time to begin your next mythology,” Cynthia says quietly.
Ilona looks down at the slim volume now in her hands, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and perks up even more.
“I have always wanted to read this!” Ilona exclaims and waves the book in the air.
“Welcome, Muggle, to beginning a new life,” Cynthia smiles.
They amble back into the school, and Ilona settles into class with Susan and Clara. She puts the book inside her desk, all so she would not stare longingly at it for the rest of the day. Fear of being caught doing that by Mr. Micheals is not as much of a problem anymore, since for the last week he has assumed a much quieter demeanor. All right after he experienced that mysterious car trouble he so richly deserved. Not that it matters anymore to Ilona. She knew exactly what kind of man he is, and, as Madison often shouted, knowing is half the battle.
The remainder of the day flows by, with Ilona discovering The Boy Who Lived at lunch and becoming completely enraptured by him. Soon the words Muggle and Hagrid are spilling from her lips at lightning speed, causing Clara to text Josh constantly with updates on Ilona’s progress.
The walk home becomes more of a sprint. The sooner Ilona is inside her apartment, the faster she can complete her chores, slam through homework, and get back to the best book ever.
All of which she accomplishes at a wizards speed.
Ilona is nose deep yet again in the adventures of Harry and company, when a clatter springs up at the front door. Her parents are home and making their usual joyful noises. Ilona rushes from her room and springs herself onto her mother and father.
“Our little girl is trying to get us!” Her father feigns fear, raising his hands in mock self defense. “Look out! She knows how to use a trident now!”
“Our little kiddo,” her mother starts messing up Ilona’s dark hair, “Who is not so little anymore, would never use that awful weapon on us. She would poison our food, a little each day, because she is so smart that way. Must be Madison’s influence.”
Ilona laughs, “I have discovered a newest bestest book ever!”
“Newest bestest?” Her fathers brow creases in confusion.
Ilona’s mother gave him a “don’t ask’” look and turns back to her daughter.
“Which book did Cynthia loan you this time?” her mother asks.
“HARRY POTTER!” Ilona lets out in a shriek of epic proportions, making her parents cover their ears and grimace.
Recovering, they stare happily at Ilona, who is beaming with pride.
Her mother sighs happily.
“So, I have just finished that book with the trident on the cover, now I have another series to read, all to keep up with my brilliant daughter?” Her mother jokingly shakes her head.
“Yep!” Ilona proclaims. “And one more thing!”
Her parents look at her, awaiting whatever this momentous news is.
“I am going to Collette’s sleepover birthday party at Cynthia’s house!”
Song For This Chapter: Goin’ Back To Hogwarts by Starkid
First serialization started on Friday, June 7th, 2013.