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Chapter 5: Prelude: Scavenger Hunt
Sofia and I are brilliant.
I spent all last night chatting with Sofia Thorne, my bestest friend in the world, about how to get Oliver to notice Katie. First we made a list, (quite a long one, might I add) about the benefits this would have on the team. Oliver would be less cranky before matches and, this may be a wild stretch, he might just cancel some practices out of the goodness of his heart. A happy Oliver makes a happy Katie. She reflects and sympathizes with him when ever he’s in a salty mood, or a sad mood, or a groggy mood, etc. It’s almost disgusting. We then scratched out the ‘happy Oliver, happy Katie’ equation and just came up with this: A happy Captain makes a happy Quidditch team. And eureka, I think we’ve got it.
They have to date. They are the best make believe couple out there. Maybe not to everyone, but heaven help us, we are going to make this happen. Katie is this blonde girl just full of ambition and adventurousness, but she can’t pack on some extra confidence on that tiny frame of hers to be forward with Oliver Wood and just tell him how much she loves him. Or likes? Not sure, we don’t know much at this point. But she’s our friend, and even though she isn’t that close with us, we have to do something to fix this kind of distress. Every year she leaves the field a little less happy than the year before. Presumably, we think it’s because Oliver hasn’t invited her to see the Quidditch World Cup or hasn’t asked her out on a date in Hogsmeade. We can all tell that she secretly wishes he’d confess his love of her, but none of that is realistically going to happen…
Unless Sofia and I step in and make sure everything goes according to plan. If Oliver didn’t have such a tight schedule and fascist view of all things Quidditch, maybe he’d realize that he likes Katie too. He relies on her way too much. Way too much. He’s always running over plays with her. It’s quite cute actually, because he’s Quidditch flirting, and he doesn’t even know it. They see each other enough times, too. That’s for sure. Outside of practice, you can practically hear her prancing behind him, trying to keep up, while Oliver heads to the library to discuss new techniques with her.
I’ll tell you what - he should be studying something else in that library.
….Tell anyone I said that and I shall kill you without hesitation.
And that’s when it hit Sofia that we have to get him to fall for her! If he can’t open his own eyes and see how wonderful they’d be together, then we are just going to have to open them for him. I’m sure he feels the same way. He trusts her enough as it is, and they definitely reside in the ‘close friends’ category of the friendship ordeal. And he doesn’t date; which may be why he hangs around Katie Bell. If he has a girl to hang around with, who is his friend, who likes Quidditch, who relates to him, and doesn’t give him any kind of romantic stress…why would he need a girlfriend in the first place? They kind of already are a couple, when you think about it. Minus the snogging. And Sofia and I wouldn’t make Katie go through it secretively if we weren’t sure, or if we didn’t think we would prevail. When Sofia’s mind is set on something, it’s usually executed out successfully. I’m just the moral compass and happy assistant in all of her mischievous plans.
We need to convince Oliver to spend time with Katie outside the world of Quidditch. Because if it’s not Quidditch related, then he never really speaks to her. Sofia and I literally stayed up for another hour thinking on ways to do this. She already announced that we’d need a heavy dose of persuasion, and a go-to idea that should serve as a starting point for us. This includes trying to show Oliver that Katie Bell’s an actual girl, and that he should speak to her about more than just ‘catching the Snitch’ and ‘announcing new plays to the team’. It’s the beginning of the season, and it’s Katie and Oliver’s last year! If they don’t get together by this day and age, I may have to knock their heads together under mistletoe during the holidays.
Sofia made a list of things we will try, to accomplish our goal:
1. Introduce Katie as less than ‘just another member of the team’ and more of a ‘strong willed, yet delicate woman, on the Gryffindor Quidditch Team’.
2. Persuade Lee (or any guy in that particular moment) to mention Katie as a possible dating choice to Oliver. And to get them to keep talking about her to the Captain; this will get him thinking about her in a different light. If his friends start to find her attractive, he’ll feel obliged to think about it, too. The only bump in the road? This may include multiple opportunities to be persuasive, as Lee is a conniving individual and we may need to push him to assign Oliver and Katie to be together during the scavenger hunt this Friday.
3. Once Oliver Wood’s gotten it in his head that Katie is a likable and fancy-able girl, we will make her seem more appealing. (I.E. make her look like a total fox, on AND off the field!)
4. Persuade someone, yet again. But this time, it’s gonna be Katie we’ll have to persuade. Sofia and I will have to get Katie to go up to Oliver Wood and step it up a notch - this includes heavy amounts of flirting.
5. Oliver realizes that Katie is a fierce and sexy lady, and he will marry her.
Just kidding, haha.
But he is definitely going to want to ask her out by this point. And then…happily ever after!
You’d think, with a list as sophisticated as I’ve written it to be, this would all be a piece of cake. But you are dead wrong. I’m going to have to get my hands dirty for this. I’m not sure if this whole match making thing is being blown out of proportion, but Sofia’s more excited about it than I am. And I’ve been begging Merlin to get Katie and Oliver together for years. Even before I started cleaning up after the team, I always saw the looks she gave him in the halls. I thought it was cute. No one has sweet and secret fancies anymore, you know? It’s all about the hookups, secret affairs, and ‘how far can you go’. It’s all down and dirty. They are the only thing us girls have of surviving in a less-than-romantic world. It’ll give hope for the rest of us!
I’m still not sure where the persuasiveness is going to come in yet. I feel like there’s something Sofia’s not telling me…
“Alright, good practice today, guys! We’re sure to beat Hufflepuff for sure. Let’s finish up with laps around the field until I say stop,” Oliver Wood announces to the Gryffindor Quidditch team, before blowing his whistle. All the players mount their brooms and start circling the field, while I watch from in between the two changing rooms outside (aka My Throne).
Lee comes striding onto the pitch while Oliver collects the Bludgers and Quaffle. He’s making his way towards me and I know it’s because I have yet to tell him if I’m going to his scavenger hunt tonight. I wave slowly as Lee squints to see me.
“Hey,” he smiles, when he stops in front of my position on the ground.
“Lee,” I greet, smiling back.
“Now, I know you’re going to tell me that you’re coming tonight…” he smirks, trailing off. He has a set of papers in his hands that he’s in the middle of sorting out.
I look away into the blinding sun and close my eyes slightly. “Eh…Not sure yet.”
“Awe, come on!” Lee whines desperately.
He looks so disappointed that I bite my lip and try to think of what to say to not upset him. “I’ll think about it. I’m really glad I could help, Lee. But, if there’s an opportunity where I can use the changing rooms all to myself tonight, then I’ll probably take it. I have to audition for my dance Academy at the end of the year, and I’m self teaching myself-”
“Rubbish!” Lee butts in.
“Quite the opposite.”
“Have some fun,” he gushes. “It’s only Gryffies! Do you know how uniting this will be? It’s like…a mafia. But not. You know?” He ends his continuing sentences bluntly like he’s making them up as he goes along.
“Lee, would you calm down?” I laugh.
He throws his hands in the air comically. “I can’t! I need you there, babe. You helped me with a fair amount of things for this scavenger hunt, and this is the first time that I’ve ever been able to associate my idea into an actual activity. Or have the chance to be allowed to create an actual activity. I still can’t believe McGonagall said yes! It’s going to be exciting, and you know it.”
“A butt is for sitting,” Lee wags his finger. “You can dance any time of the day, don’t miss out on this once and a lifetime thing. Who knows what else McGonagall ISN’T going to let me do this year. I can basically taste my quill being shoved down my throat by her already. It will mean a lot to me.”
He does have a point. I was thinking of going, but I made a commitment to dance. Yet, I’m torn - this is Gryffindor Scavenger Hung is like his child. You know when directors invite people to their movie premieres? It’s like that with Lee. This is his film, and I need to support him.
“Okay, I’ll consider going-”
“- If, AND ONLY IF!” I start off loudly, “The changing rooms are being used in the scavenger hunts.”
“That can easily be arranged…” Lee blows me a kiss.
I drop my mouth. “Lee! Don’t you dare turn this in your favor now, boy.” I snatch the list from his grasp, because something tells me that this list has to do with tonight’s preparation.
“That’s confidential!” He bellows, reaching for his list. He grabs it back before I get a word read. “I was just kidding, babe. The changing rooms are going to be used, but it was only for one scavenger hunt item. I didn’t want you to bail because it was just one.”
“Don’t add any more,” I warn him. “One is good enough, no need to hide it. I said if it was being used, I’d go. And I’m keeping my word,” I promise. “I can only imagine what will happen if you keep inviting more people into the changing rooms.”
I instantly shiver at the thought of a herd of Gryffindors messing up the rooms that I take hours out of the day to perfect.
“Don’t worry, neat freak. They won’t be rummaging around,” Lee assures me.
Lee smiles at me reassuringly, with a devilish glint in his eye.
“So what are those papers about?” I inquire, changing the subject. I point to the stack of papers in his possession.
He huddles them protectively to his bosom. “Don’t worry about it,” Lee says quickly.
“Come on,” I urge. “I won’t read them, I just want to know what they are.”
“Ever so curious, you are…they’re the scavenger hunt for tonight. I’ve just finished making copies. And so you know, I’ve assembled the groups for tonight as well.”
“Really?!” I wonder what group I’m in. “It’s a group thing, right? More than two people a list?”
“Maybe…” Lee responds suspiciously. “Maybe not…”
I quirk my eyebrow. “What’s with the mysterious accent? Is that a Scottish horror film from the 50s, I detect?” Referencing his somewhat strange impersonation.
“That is the solid question… but I won’t answer that. I’m just going to keep talking like a detective in a horror film, for effect,” he drawls, slowly stepping back without turning his back to me. “To impress you further more, and reel you in to my aura entirely, I shall end with one statement,” he declares, chest puffed out.
“I’m very excited,” I say plainly, giving him the curious eye. What does he have up his sleeve?
“Someone on the Quidditch team requested to be in your group, but he shall remain nameless. Not that I should tell you anything, but if someone ends up ogling you, just know that it isn’t me. At least not this time.”
My mouth drops.
“… And I’m not telling you how many people are assigned to each group. That way, you won’t know what to expect. Besides, this mystery Gryffie of yours shan’t be disappointed, am I right? I hear you are a hell of a partner,” he winks. “Especially at…shall we say, finding things?”
“LEE!” Must he torture me like this?
He’s backwards running now, with the papers firmly in his hands, not letting the wind pick them up. “Oh, and I heard that you have a pair of pink laced panties! Wear them tonight!”
I’m going to stab him thoroughly with my fork at dinner tonight, guaranteed.
Not that I’m just mad at him for knowing that small fact - because, to be honest, it does worry me a little - but because he had the nerve to just yell that out right at this very moment! In front of the Quidditch team! They’ve done their laps, and just when they were beginning to walk back to the changing rooms, Lee belts that out. Just great!
I lean down to pick up the towels (to hand out to the team members) when I hear a, “Wow,” from behind.
I try very hard not to turn around and face that voice.
“Grab a towel, Weasley,” I sing-song, picking up a stack of soft blue towels folded neatly in my hands.
Fred ignores me. “I have a question for you.” He doesn’t reach for a towel; instead, he leans against the entrance to the boys’ locker room. Matthew Bridges takes off his gear with one hand and takes a towel in the other, shaking his head as if he knows what’s coming. He’s looking at his shoes and…Did I just hear him chuckle?
“What’s so funny?” I mumble to Matt.
He just smiles up at me, chuckling. “Well, if it wasn’t embarrassing enough to know that Lee has the colors of your panties down pat, now half the team knows what color you prefer on your derrière.” He bites his lip, trying to throw me a remorseful look, and passes between Fred and I.
“Close your mouth, Lyden,” Fred advises. “A bug might fly in.”
Matt’s words sink in and I look at the rest of the team, lined up in front of me, sexes separated by two lines ending inside two different changing areas, grabbing towels from my hands.
And they all have smirks on their faces.
“Lyden,” Andrew McAllister acknowledges, with a demonic laugh echoing in his voice. I lick my lips and try not to go red.
Merlin help me.
“I knew pink was your color,” he winks, grabbing a towel from my hand and tucking it under her arm. As he passes Fred and I, he makes a motion towards me with his hands that resembles him dangling underwear in my face. Everybody laughs. Well, almost everyone.
Fred is leaning nonchalantly against the doorway, not a laugh in sight. But at this point, a visible smirk has reached his face. He’s gazing at me from below his eyebrows, arms folded, letting all the guys pass by us. He is very entertained at what information has been revealed to him. I can see it in his eyes.
I try not to lock eyes with him as I hand people their towels.
“As scarring as that was, I’ve gotta say, I would totally expect that of you,” Angelina snidely remarks, with humor in her tone. Ugh, that girl! She just needs some lovin’ because I know, for a fact, that even she isn’t that much of a tomboy to not have a pair of pink undies!
“Cheers,” I reply dryly.
Alicia Spinnet is up next, and she smiles at me innocently. She adjusts her bulky Quidditch gear and pads, scuffles towards me, and grabs a towel. “Don’t worry about them,” she laughs. “Boys will always, ALWAYS be boys.” She pushes a sweaty strand of hair out of her eyes and exhales deeply, walking by me.
“Besides, you’re not the only one with a pair,” she whispers to me, right before entering the girls’ locker room. And she even winks at me. I can’t help it- I laugh out loud.
Shaking my head, I hand everyone else what they need to take a shower, with a fake smile plastered on my face. I take their jabs and their taunts, accepting the fact that the entire Gryffindor Quidditch team knows that I own a pair of very colorful underwear. All the while, I ignore their smirking and try to heavily pretend it isn’t affecting me. But inside, I’m absolutely cringing in embarrassment.
“You’re ears are pink.”
“Thank you for letting me know.”
“Why did you stay behind again?” I ask, peeved.
Oliver is the last to grab a towel, and as soon as he walks past us, the steam from all the showers being turned on simultaneously blows against my face. But Fred happens to be a comfortable camper.
“I told you,” he tells me. “I have a question.”
I study his face, but he’s unreadable.
“Well what is it?”
“I wanted to know if you are planning something devious that I should know about.”
It takes me a few seconds to register what Fred Weasley could possibly be talking to me about. Surely I don’t have anything devious up my sleeve, unless he’s talking about Sophia’s plan and our ways to hook up Katie and Oliver? But even then, it doesn’t add up. It wouldn’t make sense, and there is not one way in all of humanity that could explain why or how he’d know. Sophia and I are the only ones involved so far. This discussion just happened last night…
Fred uncrosses his arms and pushes himself off the doorframe.
“Have you broken out of the box yet?”
Oh. OH. I snap back and filter through our time in detention, where Fred called me a plain wet blanket with no ounce of spontaneity. How fetching.
“Oh, that,” I remember. I cross my arms and pop out my hip. “I may have something planned.”
“Really, now?” he asks, his voice coarse. “For some unknown reason, I think I knew that.” He walks closer to me. He’s sweating and he has mud all over his face, but it doesn’t make him look unattractive in the slightest. Which makes me angry.
“And how is that?” I put my eyebrows slightly closer together, and look up at him.
“Intuition, maybe,” he shrugs.
We have a staring contest for a while.
“I’m sorry, are we done?” I don’t try to sound like I’m snapping at him, but I can’t control my voice when it comes out.
He takes a startling step forward. I take a small step back. That’s when I realize we’re all alone on the grounds. The whole team’s inside showering and changing.
I’m afraid to ask, but I do anyway. “Depends on what?”
Fred chuckles softly, the corner of his mouth rising into a half smile/half smirk. He looks down me. Literally, he’s hovering over my small dancer-sized frame with ease. While I, short as I am, try to stand with my back straight. But it doesn’t matter, I can’t get past his nose. If he was to look out ahead, I’d be nowhere near eyelevel. But regardless, I can count the freckles on his face. And trust me, there are a lot.
“What are you starin’ at, Lyden?” he asks me randomly, knocking me out of a trance I didn’t know I was in.
I respond sooner than was necessary to such an abrupt question. And the answer was irrelevant. “Go take a shower, Weasley.”
I like this domineering attitude I have going on. I dig it.
Fred narrows his eyes in my direction as if I’ve outwitted him, and insulted him at the same time, but I see the happiness in his eyes. I know this because we are at such a close proximity with each other that I can catch him in the act.
“You know what, maybe I will,” he replies, faking annoyance.
“Maybe you should,” I push.
“Maybe I will,” he says again, strongly.
“Because in my opinion,” I say gently, looking down at his shoes and slowly looking back up to his face, “You’re just filthy.”
See? I can be conniving, and convincing, at the same time.
Fred’s mouth twitches slightly, and he stops himself from grinning. “If you say so,” he murmurs, his breath hitting my face. He backs away almost too quickly, that I have to blink. But as soon as I open my eyes, I no longer find him in front of me, but see him walk in the locker room. The steam engulfs him.
I make my way to Charms, my satchel digging in to my shoulder. My hair is billowing behind me as I try prevent myself from being tardy. School itself has been somewhat energetic today, but sluggish. At least for me. I feel like I’m falling behind. I guess it’s because of all the junk clattering my brain. I have to worry about practicing my performance (that doesn’t include the core training), dealing with Fred, getting Oliver and Katie together, finding time to clean up after the team, etc. It’s worrisome. I can usually juggle a lot of things at once, but for some reason, I’ve been kind of claustrophobic lately. I don’t know why.
Maybe because I feel like things may fall apart before they start?
Mark my words, but I feel like I am foreshadowing the circumstances of my actions. And it’s going to be mess. I don’t do mess. I am orderly, and neat. I can’t be out of place, it’s not possible. I won’t allow it.
Sofia smiles at me as I take my seat. “Hey, cupcake.”
“Hi,” I reply, dropping my books on my desk, and flipping my hair around.
“You look a bit disarrayed,” she observes, biting on her quill.
She gazes up to me as I respond, huffing from my fast-paced walking. “Just a bit,” I wheeze.
I lay my head on my desk and try to catch my breathing.
“I don’t know where my mind is lately.”
“Why is that?” she asks me, looking at her nails momentarily. She raises them towards the light and examines her cuticles.
“Well, I feel like I’m supposed to be focusing on the usual. You know, dance and school. But now, I feel like I’m prematurely stressing for what’s to come. I’ve signed up for not one, but TWO mischievous activities. And the Gryffindor Scavenger Hunt has nothing to do with it.”
Sofia stops looking at her hands and redirects her gaze back at me. Her eyebrows get closer together in thought and she mumbles, “Two? What else could you have possibly hopped on that I don’t know about?” She’s referring to our recently created plot to get Oliver Wood and Katie Bell into a relationship, and for a second I am taken aback. I never told Sofia about Fred.
“Nothing, just something personal. Forget about it.” For some reason, I can’t tell her. “But thinking about this ‘matchmaking’ stuff is filling my brain, which is strange, really. Because nothing’s happened yet and I’m stressing out earlier than I am supposed to,” I lower my gaze to my desk, where I don’t have to deal with her curious eyes.
“Shhh!” Sofia leans in. “Don’t speak of this plan out in the open. That matchmaking is highly confidential until spoken about otherwise. One step at a time,” she reminds me.
“Er, I’ve had enough ‘secrecy’ remarks for one day.” I grimace, remember Lee’s lackluster ability to shut his mouth when need be.
“Oh,” she bites her lip. “I heard…about the, I mean,” she motions with her hand, “You know…the panties.”
“Ugh.” I run a hand through my hair and sludge down in my seat, my vertebrate against the back of the chair, making an almost perfect C shape. Thanks to my flexibility, I can do impossible things like that. All the perks of being a dancer. I can fit myself into a cupboard if I try hard enough.
“Sorry about that.”
“Yeah, I mean it was so embarrassing! I just want to strangle Lee sometimes-” Wait, what did she just say?
“Hold on a second!” I point out.
“I’m sorry!” she bursts, jumping in her seat. “I accidentally told Lee what we bought on our last shopping trip during some small talk yesterday, and I momentarily forgot that Lee had a certain part of the anatomy that we don’t.”
I bite the inside of my cheek and stare at my best friend, my head tilted to the side.
“How could you forget Lee being the guy that he is? I have to filter my language when I’m around him just to stop him from making any kind of sexual innuendoes of all sorts,” I rest my head on my hand.
I can’t help it, the thought of everything that’s happened with my panties and Lee, I just burst out laughing.
“Are you okay?” Sofia follows my reaction and chuckles, understanding me only halfway.
“You’ve got to admit, this whole situation is just superb,” I joke, poking her in the shoulder.
“Since when did you laugh at yourself in hard times?” she counters playfully.
“Since I realized that if everyone in the world’s to know I have pink panties, I may as well find the humor in it. Not like I have a choice in the matter.” What am I supposed to do? Weep? I’ll deal with it, and laughter is the best medicine.
Sofia smiles at me from the corner of her mouth. “Sorry, again,” she adds. “Next time I’ll keep my mouth shut. Especially if it’s a corset of bountiful proportions.”
I nudge her. She nudges me back.
It’s like our usual friendship hug but altered into a more secretive version.
“So how’s the sleepover planning going?”
“Excellent,” Sofia replies happily, scooting in her chair.
She’s so bouncy today, and she looks gorgeous! I guess it’s because she has a sort of study-date with McAllister later, but she definitely added on to her appearance, and I mean more than usual. Let me tell you this: Sofia has perfect hair. Do what you want to do with it, and it will oblige. She has a mix of wavy and straight hair that, by far, exceeds every other girl’s natural hair type by a long shot. I wish mine didn’t frizz like hers. She usually wears it down, or in a ponytail. But she’s gone fancy today and put a ruby orange lip color on herself with amazing mascara, just to compliment the curls that she had fixed to frame her face. She looks poster ready!
“I’ve decided to go strong by what I said before; The sleepover will be next weekend. And tonight, at the scavenger hunt, I’ll make it possible for Oliver and Katie to be together at all times,” she adds.
How? Lee’s completely shielded the list of the groups for this evening. “And in what ways are you going to manage that?” I get the mental image of Sofia twirling her hair in front of Lee in a short skirt.
“I told you - persuasion.”
“Please, don’t do anything brash,” I say in desperate voice. “For the love of Merlin.”
She rolls her eyes, disappointed in my naïve sense of devious nature. “Liv, Liv, Liv…when will you learn? There are more than just a couple of ways to get men on their knees. And who said they had to be sexual? I won’t flirt at all, promise. I am good at persuading. Especially when blackmail is involved. Let me fish around a bit, dig up something from a stored away file… and then we’ll see if Lee will separate Katie and Oliver, whether they were grouped together already by coincidence or not.”
I raise my eyebrow. “Impressive, Miss Thorne.”
She straightens her shoulders and faces the front of the classroom, looking away from me. “And I’ve calculated how long the transformation will take.” Sofia proceeds to fold her hands on top of her desk, like the ideal student, with a beaming smile.
“Transformation?” I ask, bewildered.
“Good morning class!” Our Charms professor chimes, stalking in to the room, with a chipper smile on his face. “I apologize for running a bit late, there was a spill in the Potions lab. Apparently a student was carrying a vial and I had walked in to grab something, and it slipped and shattered right before me. Word to the wise,” he announces to the room, “do not leave your unmentionables at the edge of a table. Especially when a teacher is briskly walking through…”
I tune out my teacher and focus on Sofia’s profile. “What are you talking about?”
Without ruining her posture and plastered smile, she replies. “Transforming Katie into a sexbomb, silly,” she says, not missing a beat. “I just so happened to know that Oliver is having a meeting with some of the team players… it’s a guy’s thing, apparently.” She shrugs, while I comprehend why Oliver, who is oblivious to the talk surrounding him, sits behind us every day but has never mention him hanging out with the guys of the team next weekend.
“Heavens, you WOULD focus on just that part of the information, wouldn’t you? Hello! Oliver’s having a hang out session with his buddies, on the same night we’re having the sleepover,” she informs me, when our teacher’s back is turned. “I planned it on purpose when I found out. At first it was just a random suggestion. But when I eavesdropped last period in Astronomy, on George and Matt nonetheless, they spoke of their Captain’s plans for next Friday. That’s when I knew I had to make the sleepover plans definite. It’s perfect! I looked at Katie for a good hour today at lunch and I noticed that she only needs to be tweaked a bit.”
“You are too much work, Sof,” I rub my head, feeling suppressed by the amount of data I’ve just stored.
“I have a good memory,” Sofia flatly states. “Anyway, I know that Katie is a natural goddess, but she doesn’t realize the power she has. That girl needs a beauty treatment. So, ergo - transaction into a sexbomb is in order. A transaction had to be penciled in, I mean how else would we make Katie appear more attractive to Oliver? Not if he sees her in the same way he’s always seen her. She’s too consistent with her looks. And I’m ready to spice her up.”
She sounds like a dating/fashion consultant! Even I’m not this informed of ‘girl world’ theoretics. Sofia’s gotten it down to a science.
“Do you have a schedule for this or something?” I can imagine her scribbling the word ‘transaction’ in an agenda book, and I’m slightly worried at how far she’s taking this. It’s as if this is a new hobby of hers- messing with people’s lives with her innocent yet timid best friend.
“Kinda… More like a checklist, really. But that’s not the point. I calculated how long it would take to makeover Katie Bell, and we’re looking at 40 minutes. Tops,” she finishes, writing down notes our professor has recently made visible. I do the same.
“But that’s just an educated approximate time.”
“Oh, of course,” I say, impossibly. “That was obvious from the start.”
“Don’t get sarcastic on me, this is just the beginning,” she grins into her parchment.
I take a glance behind my shoulder. Oliver’s haphazardly looking back and forth, between the board and his parchment, trying to keep up with the professor’s assigned notes. His eyebrows are knit in concentration and his tongue is slightly sticking out of his mouth.
I lean towards Sofia. “For some odd reason, I think I already knew that this was just the beginning with you,” I conclude. I switch my attention back to the board.
She chuckles slightly, laughing through her nose. Her smile is still in tact. “We’re going to meet the boys at the sleepover.”
I accidentally run over my paper with my quill. “What?!” I whisper too fast, getting ink on my hand.
“Oh, have some adventure in your life, won’t you?” she reasons.
“We’re going to be at a sleepover in the Seventh Year girls’ dormitory, who knows where Oliver and his Quidditch cronies will be. How do we know if they’ll even be up that late, let alone near us at all?”
“There you go underestimating me again…”
“Sofia,” I whisper warningly, with a voice that people would ordinarily use to shoo off a big scary dog nicely. “We can’t go out in the middle of the night, and wander around the castle. That’s what the prefects are here for, to catch people doing just that.”
“Sweetheart, the prefects end their duties an hour before midnight.”
“So you’re planning on meeting up with the guys, whom, I’m only guessing here, don’t know we’re meeting them…passed 11 o’clock?” It’s not that I’m afraid of getting caught, it just sounds shady. Why should we make the trouble to find where they’ll be, provided that they’ll be up that late? What’s in it for us?
“Oh, they’ll know we’re coming. At least half of them will. The only one that won’t know is Oliver. We have to shock him. I’ll tell the guys before hand that we’re meeting up later, though. I’ll tell them not to tell Oliver, or something like that. That way they’ll act all surprised when we find them,” she tells me.
“And why are we doing this again?”
“Well…I can’t tell you at the moment.”
“Rubbish, tell me what you have up your sleeve! Why are we meeting up with them? We’re kind of secretly ambushing Oliver & Co. so I sort of have the right to know what I’m signing up for, here,” I point out.
She sighs. “I’ll have everything under control… can’t you just live a little? Trust me.”
That’s your problem, Lyden. You want answers. All the time. Your world is black and white. School and dance. That’s it.
His words echo in my ear, and I shrug my worries away. “Okay,” I confirm. “I’m up for it.”
She genuinely looks surprised, yet relieved. “Really? That was quick.”
“Let’s just say I’m trying out the reckless side of me for a while, see how it tastes.”
“You won’t hear a complaint from me,” she chirps.
I am in the middle of sliding on a pair of skinny jeans when Sofia bursts out of the girls’ dormitory bathroom, a gust of peach smelling spray in the air.
“Must you re-apply that engulfing perfume?” I muffle, pulling a red sweater over my camisole. I trip on a sock because of my lack of vision. Fortunately, I land on my bed before giving a final tug on my sweater and it fits. I huff a sigh of relief.
“Must you be such a klutz?” She counters.
For a second, I forgot that I was in a room full of people that just saw me trip.
“I thought you were supposed to be more coordinated, Lyden,” she jokes, “I mean, you are a dancer.”
I purse my lips and throw her a look. I ignore her eye roll and ask her, “How did your date go with McAllister?”
Sofia opens her trunk and ransacks through everything. “It wasn’t really a date, per se. He’s a pretty smart fellow by himself, you know, once you get him going. I didn’t even think of squealing and running away during our whole study session! So I’m improving.”
Sofia Thorn, as I have gotten to know her, had never been nervous around guys. Unless she really, really liked them and she thought they were intimidating. I don’t know why she pampers herself for him. Actually, that may be the wrong question. What I should ask her is ‘Why do you have such a crush on Andrew McAllister?’, but I’ve done that before. Well, not so directly in that formation of words, but I have asked her. And she told me that she just gets butterflies in her tummy and turn into the nerdy side of her in an instant.
Andrew is the only person at Hogwarts that has ever made Sofia this nervous.
“That’s good! Angelina and I usually had to haul you out before things got embarrassing.”
“I know, I know,” she wheedles. “But that’s in the past,” she waves off. “I’m going to try and calm down my nervousness. It’s such a silly crush, but it’s fun! I think he may like me, too.”
“Of course he does,” I chime in. “The boy can’t stop staring at you. I bet he just likes making you sweat. You know how guys think it’s cool to ignore us. Makes them think that they are interested, when really, they’d kill to snog you.”
It’s funny, how she’s totally a genius and yet so outgoing. The two most…well, prestigious things to be in this school. She’s so amazing, and kind-hearted. She’s never really fussy, although she can be stubborn. I just don’t understand it. Why is it that some Gryffindor Sixth Year is giving her the chills every time he looks at her? I wonder…Will I ever get butterflies like that? I don’t really have a crush, or multiple crushes. I do not date nor do I get in to relationships; dance dominates my life. It’s been like that for years. I mean, I had a few gentlemen friends during the summer, and a few kisses, but that’s about it. I guess I just don’t care enough.
“You think?” I can almost see her smiling from behind, she’s beaming so hard. Sofia dunks her head further down her drunk. “I don’t want him seeing me in something I already wore today. We didn’t talk much during the study session, he seemed really up to par with his coursework. And there was barely any space in the library as it was, so we couldn’t get a word in without Madame Pince hushing us. So I really want to make a statement tonight.”
Sofia’s the most put together girl in the world. She’s funnier than me and more daring, and a hell of a lot more gorgeous than I could ever be - yet she turns into butter before me whenever we talk about him. Maybe everyone really does have their weakness…
Except me, I guess.
“Hey, Sof, did you end up blackmailing Lee to change the groups?” I lean my elbows back on my four-poster and lay with my feet dangling off the edge.
She looks around the room, and catches Angelina walking past us. She gives me and Sof the most skeptical look she can muster, before walking to her own bed.
“Must you say that loudly?” Sofia hisses over her shoulder, then goes back to digging in her trunk.
“Oh, sorry,” I apologize quickly. I keep forgetting that with the task of being devious, you must not yell about your deviousness to the other girls in the dormitory.
“And for your info, I wasn’t trying to bribe him to change the groups….well, at least that wasn’t one of the only reasons. We made a wager, and if I follow through then he’ll follow through.”
I am slightly horrified.
“Don’t worry,” she adds on immediately, feeling my sudden concerning attitude emerge. “It’s between me and him, you’ll find out some day. Just not right now.”
I inhale a nice big gust of air and drop flat back on my bed, arms no longer holding me up. “Okay, Sof. If you say so…”
“Do you think I should wear a floral frock tonight? Oooh, how about some boots?!” Sofia contemplates, chucking a pair of socks my way involuntarily. My best friend is intense when it comes to fashion, I must say. It takes her about another five minutes until she decides what to wear (a floral frock with spaghetti straps and a yellow cardigan) and then it takes her an extra three to change in to her clothes, without messing up her hair (curls are an important factor when wearing florals- or so she reckons). Which, by the way, are still looking as immaculate as they were this morning.
“Wedged heels it is!” she proclaims, completing her outfit.
By the time we reach the Quidditch Pitch, it’s crowded with what I’d say is around 180 people. And not everyone has arrived yet. I forgot how many loyal Gryffindors there were in this building!
I spot George Weasley in the crowd and he smiles at us.
“Where have you been? He asked us all to be here ten minutes ahead of time. You’re lucky I told him you were in the loo, Liv. He expected the team,” he turns to Sofia,“ and known associates, to be here before anyone else. Not sure why. The wanker’s been off his rocker all day today; he’s so stoked for this. It’s kind of disgusting and sad.”
“Someone decided to turn our dormitory into a runway,” I look away innocently.
“Excuse me, Liv, but I want not about to turn into fashion road kill. And besides, I wanted to try out this dress,” she twirls, showing George.
“It’s…frilly,” he comments, trying to be positive. Poor guy, doesn’t know about his florals, does he?
Sofia throws him a look that questions if he even know what he’s talking about, but ironically opens her mouth to say, “It’s a floral print. A tad bit frilly, though, yes. Is that a bad thing?”
He tries to pretend that he understand fashion for just a second. “No, no…guys like frilly,” George shrugs. “Brings out the swish in the hair.”
She considers this for a second. “Good, then,” Sofia grins.
“Well, not all guys,” George corrects himself, trailing off in to a murmur. And then he does the weirdest thing.
He turns and looks at me, like that redheaded look, you know what I mean? He’s smirking with his eyes, not his mouth.
“What?! Why are you looking at me like that? I’m not frilly!” I have nothing in my outfit that is frilly. I have a red baggy sweater that is a tad too tight around the shoulders, high-top sneakers that disappear under my skinny jeans, and a beanie hat in the pocket of my sweater. Just in case my ears get cold.
“I didn’t say you were,” he responds.
Alright so did he just insinuate that guys don’t always like frills on a girl and just look at me, to show that I’m indeed not wearing frills? Wait, did that make sense? And if it did…why was it significant for him to point out? Is there a hidden message somewhere?
The chilly weather isn’t the only thing giving me a headache at this point.
“Oi, Gryffies!” Lee calls out, screeching in to his wand turned microphone. We all direct our attention to Lee Jordan whose perched himself up on the bleachers. All of Gryffindor turns to look up at him. I don’t know who would give him a microphone replica, but he has one, and I turn to look at Lee with both Sofia and George. And I know they’re thinking the same as me: Here we go.
“Welcome to scavenger hunt night! I’m so very glad that I got to assemble this for my very own house," He says professionally. "I know that we’re all going to enjoy ourselves here tonight. So get ready to let your reckless streak shine through. You’ll need it!“
Is this the part where I’m supposed to get excited? I mean I made up some of the items on the scavenger list, so pardon my… flat attitude? Eh, I’m excited. Genuinely, I am, really. I’m just not looking forward to this fully. I could be practicing my ballet, you know.
“Here’s how it works, I’m going to call four names from my list.” He holds up his list and waves it proudly. “And those four will be a group within themselves. Then I’ll call the next four and they will make up their own group. And so on, and so forth. Does everyone understand?”
Infinite nods are being distributed amongst peoples.
“Okay, the rules are, there are no rules. McGonagall’s lined up barriers around the whole perimeter to make sure we stay on Hogwarts grounds. And with that territory marked, she’s allowed us to stay out for as long as we want. I’ll give each group a list.” He points to a stack of papers sitting next to him on the bleachers. “Each list has the same number of items, but they all might not be the same things. Nor are any of them in a specific order. They are all jumbled around to prevent anyone from butting heads or cutting out competition too quickly. As long as you go by the order down the list, we should be fine.”
I turn to my left slightly and see half of the Quidditch team ready with their own stacks of the scavenger list, with faces that are anything but pleased. Considering Lee forced them into this with McGonagall’s approval, Angelina, Oliver, Alicia, Matthew, and Brianna don’t have a choice. They have to help him.
“The first team to find all the items on the list by morning all win front row seats next to Professor Dumbledore during the Quidditch House Cup finale at the end of the season,” Lee explains to the crowd. “There’s plenty of space on these grounds, and remember, McGonagall’s tracking you, so don’t worry about getting lost. Just get as many items as you can.”
And then I see him. Fred Weasley, with a silly grin plastered on his face. He looks at the crowd like they’re his minions. He steps up on the bleachers. Lee hands him the scavenger hunt list.
“My pal Fred here is going to help me hand out a list to each group, while I am going to call out the four people whom will be assigned to work together.”
Sofia squeals in excitement and looks around. “Look at how many people showed up! This is going to be fun!”
Fred begins to call out names.
“Yes, loads of fun,” I say nervously, tugging at my sweater.
Author's Note: I am not dead!
The next chapter will be coming soon ^_^