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Chapter 2: Two.
^ ^ Look, IT'S OLLIE! ^ ^
What’s for tea tonight? Dunno. I might just snack on a little something from the Chambers Giant Paperback Thesaurus (the 2000 edition, of course, just to keep things a little past their sell-by date, and by extension a little interesting).
So. We’ve already talked about me. Today I have a new subject in mind.
The aforementioned publication says the following about the word restrained.
Restrained adj calm, controlled, discreet, low-key, mild, moderate, muted, quiet, reasonable, reticent, self-controlled, soft, steady, subdued, tasteful, temperate, undemonstrative, understated, unemphatic, unobtrusive.
In the antonyms section there is one word - unrestrained. Kind of stating the obvious there, if you ask me, but nobody has, of course. Earlier on, whilst browsing through the thesaurus to take my mind of the events of today, I came across this. And in the blank space next to that most pointless of words, unrestrained, I couldn’t resist adding, in my small, cramped, all-caps handwriting, another option.
This boy may be the most tense, uncontrolled, tactless, elaborate, harsh, extreme, loud, unreasonable, talkative, intemperate, tough, unsteady, proactive, distasteful, demonstrative, overstated, obtrusive person in all of Britain (notice that I provided an antonym for almost every single synonym mentioned above, deleting only repeated words. I sometimes wonder if I have too much free time).
I cannot even begin to describe him. He really is unlike anyone I’ve ever known. Not to say that I’ve never met an outgoing person before, oh no, despite my antisocial philosophies it’s physically impossible to avoid everyone, even hermits living in mountain caves occasionally get spotted by an avid climber or some fitness freaks. The thing is, about Oliver, is that he just doesn’t know where to stop. He just thinks that he can say and do whatever he wants. Like there are no consequences.
This pisses me off.
So, want to know what has provoked darling, sweet little Marci into this bitter rant? Well, why don’t I give you the play-by-play?
It was at dinner…
I was sat on the floor of the Great Hall, leaning against the wall at the end of the Gryffindor table, having some sort of staring-contest with my mashed potato. I’d dolloped far too much of it onto my plate without thinking, and then remembered I don’t actually like mashed potato. Hence the staring contest. I was contemplating in the most contemplative of ways what to do with it. Throwing it away seemed wasteful. Eating it, not an option, unless I wanted to vomit. Giving it away - well, does anyone really want a second-hand plate full of mashed potato, even if it isn’t contaminated with essence of the schools biggest misfit?
No. No they don’t.
So in the end I just sat it down next to me and took a dictionary out of my bag to read.
I was sat there, being totally innocent, reading my dictionary. I wasn’t even sat at the table, just the floor - I mean, come on, does that scream leave me alone or what? - but still, some of the Gryffindor boys saw me and decided that dinner was the perfect opportunity to torment me.
I was totally unaware at first. I continued reading, but I did notice that the noise in the immediate vicinity had dipped a little into whispers. I assumed they were gossiping or something. And then the hairs of the back of my neck stood up, and I dropped my book just in time to snatch the apple, which was about to hit my face, clean out of the air.
I blinked, shocked for a moment, before carefully setting it down beside me and resuming my reading. But out of the corner of my eye I saw Oliver Wood perk up, and his expression became calculating, which worried me.
Now, perhaps I should explain at this point that I in myself have no particular issue with Oliver Wood. He seems perfectly nice, and what’s more he’s never cursed me or stolen my books or thrown ink at my head. In fact, I have every reason to believe he’s as nice as they come, bar a slightly manic obsession with Quidditch.
But, as I mentioned earlier, he is totally unrestrained. This bugs me a little but not to an unavoidable degree, and as a matter of fact he is one of the few people in this school I do not go out of my way to avoid. But it’s this one thing - his Quidditch obsession - which caused him to completely and utterly cross a line with me.
Because just after I had resumed my reading, I found another apple whizzing towards my head. A knee-jerk reaction, I caught it a third of a second before it hit my nose. I blinked in surprise, going cross eyed and letting my mouth drop open a little. This was weird. I went to put it down, but didn’t have time before the next one came flying at me, this time towards my left eye. I dropped my dictionary to snatch it away before it could hit and smash my glasses. I was beginning to get annoyed. I looked up at the boys who had been responsible for the first apple, but they had moved down the bench and were, supposedly unawares, chatting to some girls from their year. I readjusted my gaze, and found Ollie Wood sat next to the basket of apples, staring at me intently, with something akin to wonder in his eyes. I opened my mouth to say something - I’m not sure what, I was planning to improvise - but before I could start to form the words a final apple had come flying towards me.
It was a harder, faster throw than the others, and I didn’t even have time to blink. In a split second I had to decide what to do. I still had an apple in each hand, and no way of catching the one that was spinning towards me, threatening to hit me straight in the face. For those of you who doubt the damage a simple apple can do, let me tell you, at a high velocity and provided they are fairly ripe, they can easily break your nose. It’s happened to me before. And if they’re older, they at least explode on impact, coating you in slushy gone-off fruit, the sickly smell of which will not leave you for days.
So I did the only thing I could think to. I flung both hands up, and caught the final fruit between the two I was already holding. My face was obscured by a row of apples, so I just sat there, breathing heavily, wondering if he’d throw another one. Because of my barrier, I didn’t notice Ollie Wood get off the bench and rush towards me. I couldn’t see the thrilled expression on his face or the way he supposedly put his hands together as he walked, as though thanking god. In fact, I didn’t even know he’d moved until he appeared suddenly on my left and shocked me so much I almost dropped the apples.
Once I had righted myself I set them down on the floor and turned to glare at him. My first impression of him was ‘Tall’, and although he was it probably wasn’t helped by the fact I was both tiny and crouched on the floor. My second impression was ‘Rude’, when the first thing he said to me was not ‘Hello’ or an introduction of any sort, but rather, “Have you got a good broom?”
“Pardon?” I asked, blinking.
“Your broom,” he replied, speaking slower this time and frowning a little. “Is it any good? I mean, you must have one, there’s no way you don’t play with reflexes like that.”
“Um, sorry, but I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I replied. With one last glance at him, I stood up and walked away.
But it didn’t end there.