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Chapter 4: Hogsmeade trip
“I,” said Harvey triumphantly, “Have an idea.”
If you ever hear these words from anyone like Harvey, I would advise you to run very fast in the other direction.
I, like an idiot, stayed put.
It was at breakfast on the Saturday of the first week that Harvey made his pronouncement. The post was about to come in, and we had been listening to Dora angst about whether she was going to get into the quidditch team or not (Which is total rubbish, because she’s been in the team since second year is the best player on it.)
“Oh dear,” I said, half jokingly at Harvey, “Go on, what is it?”
“Promise you will give it at least ten seconds before answering.”
“Okay, Harvey.” I said, rolling my eyes at Dora.
“Will you go on a double date with me?” Dora burst out laughing, I suppose it may have sounded quite strange. I, however, grasped the full meaning of this “Idea.”
“Harvey,” I said, quite calmly, although with a definite hint of a threat in the air. “What do you mean?”
“Well, see there’s this girl in our charms class, she’s called Julia. I don’t know if you’ve noticed her, but she’s gorgeous. Anyway, I asked her out-”
“Say what?” Said Dora, incredulously. I have to admit I was pretty shocked myself, Harvey is known to stumble (Sometimes literally) in front of girls and has been known to use the chat up line: “If I could re-arrange the alphabet I would put me and you together… Wait, that’s not right, me isn’t a letter…”
Oh, sure, he’s quite good-looking in his own way, I suppose, not that I spend most of my time thinking about his looks, but still. He has a mop of black hair, which he rarely cuts or brushes, come to that, and dark brown eyes. Still.
He is not what’s known as a heartthrob.
“I asked her out, and she said yes.”
“Aw,” Said Dora, “How romantic,” When I looked at her she said, “What! Harvey’s finally managed to form an articulate sentence around a girl he actually fancies.” I nodded in agreement.
“Thanks,” Said Harvey sarcastically, “Your belief in me moves me to tears,”
“Careful, you might smudge your mascara, Harvey-boy.” Dora said teasingly.
Harvey ignored this, and to be honest I didn’t blame him. “I still don’t see how this involves me.” I stated, I was happy for Harvey, I really was. But if he thought that I was going to chaperone him on his first date he had another think coming.
“Ah, yes, well, thing is…”
“Get to the point.”
“She agreed on the condition that you came along for her friend.”
I turned to Dora, “Now, do you still think it’s romantic?”
Dora frowned, “Who’s her friend?”
“She’s called Hannah, she’s in Hufflepuff, and has apparently had a crush on Lorcan since we were in fourth year.”
“What?” I asked, incredulously.
“Yeah, apparently she really likes you.”
“Me?” I asked, just to clarify the point.
“Hannah?” Butted in Dora, “Yeah, I know her, well, tell me how it goes, I’ve got to go and practice for quidditch try-outs.”
And with that, she left.
“Strange,” I said.
“Yeah,” Said Harvey absent-mindedly, “Probably her time of the month… Anyway, back to the point-”
“What?” Asked Harvey, as if he hadn’t heard.
“I said: No. I’m not going out with this girl, Hannah, just because you want me to. Clearly she likes me and to go out with her would just raise her hopes, unnecessarily.”
“And I applaud your fine sentiment, but you are coming on this date with me.” There was a pause,
“See, this is why people think we’re a gay couple.”
“Whatever.” Then: “Who thinks that?”
“It doesn’t matter.” I said, “There was a rumour, but Lysander crushed it for us, OK?”
“I’m beginning to like your brother.”
“Whatever, he only crushed it ‘cause he knows I could completely ruin his reputation, anyway, I’m not going and that’s final.”
“Come on, Lorcan, the Dora thing’s not happening and-”
“I’m working on it.”
“How and when?” I couldn’t answer this, “Exactly, you need to give this girl a chance.”
“No.” And when he tried to argue, “And that’s my final word on the subject.”
I don’t know quite what happened, but, through a constant effort from Harvey of nagging, blackmailing and guilt tripping…
I found myself in the three broomsticks the next weekend waiting for Hannah.
“OK,” said Harvey, “so, be cool,” I raised an eyebrow.
“I cannot believe that sentence just came out of your mouth.”
He ignored this, and after a few moments asked me for the fifteenth time, “How do I look?”
I sighed, “My answer hasn’t changed since five minutes ago, Harvey. Yes, you look fine, and if you ask me that again I will wring your neck.”
“You said that last time,” I gave him a look.
He held up his hands, “Sorry, sorry, I surrender.”
“Oh my God, there they are!”
“Harvey, calm.” I said, “Try that breathing thing we talked about…”
“Hello,” Said the girl who I thought was Julia, she had raven black curly hair, and was looking at Harvey as if he was a particularly interesting specimen under a microscope.
Yes, I’m a geek; I use microscopes in similes.
Anyway, the other girl behind her, who I assumed was Hannah was hovering in the background, had dirty blond hair and a scattering of freckle across her face. When she caught me looking at her she smiled, she had quite a nice smile actually.
Harvey appeared to have temporarily lost the power of speech, so I said hi and we all sat down at the table. After an awkward silence, in which Harvey remained frozen and I looked at him disbelievingly, I said brightly:
“So… Who wants some drinks then?”
“I’ll have a butter beer,” Said Julia, never taking her eyes off Harvey; honestly I couldn’t blame him for getting nervous.
“Me too,” Said Hannah, she had a soft voice, Irish.
I decided to give Harvey a helping hand, “What about you Harvey?”
“Um, yeah, er, butter beer.” Well, it was a coherent sentence, I guess.
“OK,” boy, was this hard work, “I’ll get them then.”
I went up to the counter and ordered the drinks. When I looked back, Harvey appeared to be talking to Julia, at least, if a little nervously.
Nervous appears to be a good word to describe how Harvey was throughout the afternoon.
“Here are the drinks,” I said, bringing them back to the table.
“Cheers,” Said Julia.
I nodded to her and sipped my butter beer; we sat in awkward silence for a few moments.
“This butter beer’s good, huh?” A little desperate Harvey, but at least it was something.
Although I had a feeling it was more addressed to Julia, it was Hannah who spoke.
“Yeah, and it’s a good atmosphere in here, kind of friendly. Not like the Hog’s head, it always seems really forbidding in there.”
“Although they do sell firewhisky to anybody.” Julia laughed.
“There’s always that,” I said.
“So, Lorcan, I hear you’re into care of magical creatures, yeah?” Hannah blurted, seemingly out of nowhere. I gave her a surprised look and she blushed.
“Er, yeah, it’s my favourite subject, what’s yours?” I thought I might as well make conversation, who knows? We might bond over the fact that, by the looks of things, we’d both been dragged along on this date.
“Oh, er, well, I like lots of things, but probably defence against the dark arts,”
“Oh yeah, Hannah’s a total brainiac,” said Julia, none too kindly I thought.
“So, what’s your favourite subject, Julia?” Harvey said, keenly.
We passed the duration of our drinks fairly amiably, discussing OWL results and teachers. Harvey, though, looked like he just wanted to get away, which was a bit rich considering that it had been his idea in the first place, and he’d dragged me along.
As we came out of the pub, Julia said brightly:
“Hey, why don’t we split up for a while, yeah?”
Harvey nodded, slightly relieved, clearly thinking of me and him and Hannah and Julia, “Yeah, good idea.”
“All right, so me and Harvs,” Harvs? “Will go off together, and Hannah and Lorcan.” I think my expression mirrored those of Hannah’s and Harvey’s. Utter shock. Julia didn’t seem to notice though, as she giggled and linked arms with a very scared Harvey, (Or should that be Harvs?) leaving Hannah and me on our own. We looked at each other, still slightly surprised at this turn of events.
“Er,” she said,
“My thoughts exactly,” I replied. She laughed.
It went OK, actually. After we had been abandoned, she suggested going to Honeydukes, I agreed because, well, it’s a sweet shop. I like sweets.
Anyway, she appeared to have a sweet tooth as well, given the amount she bought, although she did say defensively:
“Some of them are for my little sister!”
“Hey you don’t have to explain yourself to me,” I said, holding up my hands, and I think I might have embarrassed her, because she blushed. She had blushed quite a lot, now I came to think of it.
I saw Leon and Dora together, so I ducked out of the shop then, it certainly seemed a day for dates, I had seen Lysander with a girl earlier, as well.
Hannah followed me, when it was time to say goodbye (it was getting late) I tried to give her a kiss on the cheek, to thank her for the day, but she moved her head at the last moment, and I accidentally got her lips.
So, there we were. Kissing. And it was nice, I’m not complaining, she had soft lips, and she was a good kisser, not that I had much to compare her to. Still. She wasn’t Dora.
That’s the only thing.
She wasn’t Dora.
And I hated myself for thinking it, because she might be snogging Leon at this very moment, and I bet she wasn’t thinking about me. I was thinking about her though. Obviously.
We pulled apart.
She smiled nervously, “Sorry,”
“That’s fine,” I said, slightly insensitively, perhaps. But when did I say I was sensitive?
“I mean,” I tried to get out eloquently, or at least intelligibly. “I quite liked it, really.” Then I added, “But, look, do you want the truth?”
She nodded, so I told her, “I’m kind of in love with someone else.” I’d never said it like that, so… casually. She looked slightly surprised, but not altogether shocked.
“It’s that girl you hang around with, isn’t it? Dora?”
I nodded, “Yeah. Dora.”
“Well, I can’t say I’m altogether surprised, I mean I kinda liked you since about fourth year, but you never seemed to notice me…”
“Sorry,” I said, and I meant it, because I realised that what Hannah was going through was exactly like what I was. How messed up. Hannah liked me, I loved Dora and Dora liked, maybe even (Although it pains me to say it) loved Leon. Of course Dora had a major advantage over us, as the person she liked, liked her back.
Hannah shrugged, “Hey, don’t feel bad, it’s not your fault. I’ll get over it.”
“Thanks, for saying that.”
When I met up with Harvey later, he did not look good.
“Good date?” I asked, knowing full well of the answer.
“Well, I hate to say I told you so-”
“Fine, but I told you so.”
I shut up.
Until we got nearer to the castle, “C’mon, tell me how it went,”
“It was… scary.”
“Scary?” I repeated,
“Yes,” He said defensively. “Scary.”
“I am not good with girls, and she was scary.”
“OK,” I said, then after a pause, “Harvs.”
He put a warning hand up, “Don’t… just don’t.” Then he said, “So, how did yours go?”
“It was all right. We’re going to be friends.”
“Oh… I’m going to avoid all contact with Julia till the day I die,”
“I’d say I win.”
Harvey sulked all the way to Ravenclaw common room.
When we got there, Dora was waiting for us.
“So, how did your dates go?” She said, throwing an arm around both of us.
My “Fine,” was lost beneath Harvey’s “Awful.”
Dora laughed, “So… what happened?”
Harvey did not appear to want to volunteer the information, “Well, my date was nice, but Julia was a little… powerful, for Harvey, here.”
“Scary,” Harvey told me, “The word you’re looking for is scary.”
“Ah, poor Harvey,” Said Dora, mock-sympathetically, Harvey turned away in a sulk and went upstairs, “But, your date went OK?”
“Yeah, nothing major, but we’re going to stay friends.”
“Oh, well, good.”
“Yeah,” Then, much as it pains me to say it, “How was your date with Leon?”
“Alright, I guess,”
“Are you OK?” I asked, looking at her closely, “You seem a little… strange.”
“Yeah, well, kind of.”
“Uh-oh,” I said, “What’s wrong?”
“Oh, nothing,” she flapped an arm, “It’s just this stupid thing.”
“What stupid thing?” I persisted,
She sat down on the sofa heavily, “Well… you know my mum’s pregnant?”
“Yes, I think I vaguely recall it.” I said patiently.
“Well, they’ve just written to say they’re going to the hospital, they think there might be something wrong, it hasn’t kicked for a while.”
“Oh,” I paused, “is that not normal?”
“Well, it’s probably nothing, but still, I’m worried about it.” She looked at me for the first time, “See, I told you it was stupid.”
I sat down next to her, and snaked an arm round her, “I don’t think it’s stupid,” She leaned into me, and I could see her chocolate brown eyes were filling with tears, I resisted the temptation to wipe them away with my fingers, her silky soft hair was close enough to stroke… but I didn’t.
“But… you know, it’s probably nothing,” I said, trying to remain cheerful, “You said yourself that your parents are a bit paranoid with this new baby.”
“Yeah…” She said, slowly coming round to it, “I suppose,” She stretched up, off me. (I tried to ignore the disappointment of the weight being lifted) She blinked back the tears threatening to spill over her cheeks. “Thanks, Lorcan, you know me so well,” She laughed again, a slightly weaker one than normal, but it was genuine. “You always know what to say, how do you do that?”
“You said yourself, I know you so well.”
I’m also in love with you.
But I don’t say that.
Thanks for reading, now you know what to do.