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Chapter 6: Angelina, February 1995
Angelina, February 1995
Large white snowflakes floated down from the low skyline and gathered in puddles of discoloured slush along the pathway. The small population that did not make it to the ground clung to the hair and cloaks of the line of students making their way towards the village of Hogsmeade. Despite the less-than-favourable weather, the residing aura hanging over the procession was positive. A day away from the corridors and the eyes of their professors was a welcomed reprieve for all.
Angelina walked between Lora and Alicia on the path, both of whom had drawn their cloaks tightly around themselves. She ran her hand over her hair, immediately wishing she hadn’t as melted snowflakes ran down onto her scalp. “I wish I wouldn’t have laughed at those snow caps that Valerie was knitting over the holidays, maybe she’d have sent me one from home for Christmas.”
“No, Angelina. Those caps were hideous. Even wet hair is better than wearing one of those. Your sister’s sense of style leaves a lot to be desired. Trust me.” Alicia picked up her pace and pulled ahead of her friends. “Let’s walk a little quicker,” she grumbled, lifting her feet from the ground and shaking the slush from them. “My boots are practically soaked the entire way through.”
“Well, if you’d have paid attention when I was – ”
“Lora, I’m barely mastering the charms we’re required to learn,” Alicia shouted back over her shoulder, still marching ahead as though determined she could outrun the slush on the ground. “Only you would think that I have the time to learn a Waterproofing Charm too.”
Angelina and Lora shook their heads. Exchanging amused glances with one another, they were glad that the third girl was walking ahead of them and did not see. Ever since they had woken up that morning, Alicia had been slightly less than pleasant and hadn’t yet been at a loss for something to whinge about. First it had been the amount of sunlight streaming in the tower window, then the lack of marmalade at the breakfast table, and now her boots were the latest source of irritation. Angelina, knowing all too well that the causative agent would surface eventually, purposefully avoided asking her what was bothering her. Nearly six years of friendship had taught her that it was always best to let irritated-Alicia to run her course and burn herself out.
“Maybe you can get Michael the Muggle to send that stuff in the can that you were talking about,” Alicia continued, still shouting back at them about her boots, no doubt. “Those cans of smelly ointment that the Muggles use on their shoes.”
“It may be a little late for that, Alicia,” Angelina laughed as the girls passed under the stone archway that demarcated the entrance to the wizarding village. The sound of water squelching beneath the brunette’s every step man made it difficult to stop laughing long enough to speak. “I think your boots may be a little wet already.”
“Ha-ha.” Alicia rolled her eyes. “You don’t say.”
“What’s gotten you in such a mood today?” Lora, the bleeding-heart was never content to allow anyone to brood with their problems, much less one of her best friends. She sped up to Alicia’s side, nudging her with her elbow.
“You mean besides the ice cold water squishing in my socks?”
A crowd of over-zealous third years brushed by the group of sixth-year girls – their excitement was palpable. Each one was surely anxious to bask in their newfound independence and spend the coins jingling in their pockets. Angelina couldn’t help but smile. On her first trip to Hogsmeade, she had watched as George and Fred won a what-was-then sizable prize from a bet that they wouldn’t touch the fence surrounding the Shrieking Shack before leaving to accompany her best friends to Honeydukes and the Three Broomsticks. It was there that Alicia had indulged her sweet tooth and eaten so many sweets that she was ill the rest of the day, and Muggle-born Lora had tried her first mug of warm butterbeer. Even though that day was only three years ago, it felt like another lifetime.
“So, I know that I needed to stop and get a new quill – ”
“ – Because you write Michael the Muggle so often.” Alicia nudged the blonde. No matter how horrid her mood was, anything involving Michael the Muggle was usually enough to coax a smile, even if only brief, from her. She loved to tease Lora, and fondly listed it amongst her hobbies.
“From Scrivenshaft’s,” Lora continued, ignoring Alicia’s comment, “but where else do we have to go today?”
“With you moping around like you are, I’m surprised you had it in you to tease Lora.” Angelina said despite Alicia’s over-exaggerated eye roll, before turning towards Lora. “That’s as good a place as any to start the day.”
Much to Alicia’s dismay, Scrivenshaft’s Quill Shop was, of course, on the other side of Hogsmeade. Lora rationalized – as she was prone to do – to try to abate Alicia’s continued grumbling, that once they made it to the quill shop, they could stop in the other shops they wanted to visit on their way back to the Three Broomsticks so as not to have to walk through as much slush. The brunette never voiced her approval, but followed Lora and Angelina with only mild reluctance. The shop was a small, square room, filled with numerous bins containing quills of varying intricacies. The lighting was dim, and a lingering smell of parchment and cedar hung in the air. It was, Angelina knew, the sort of shop in which Lora could spend hours browsing, but to her the shop was nothing more than a practice in not sneezing despite the tickling in her nose.
“I don’t think I can stand spending any more time with Eddie,” Alicia suddenly blurted out as they browsed the bins of feathered quills. “He’s always there, always. With his stupid white smile and that weird mole on his neck. And he’s always saying -Licia this and -Licia that, and I swear to Merlin if he kisses me before the first lesson one more time, I will dump my coffee on him and not even pretend it was an accident.” She tossed the quill she was holding back into the pile. “He’s so eager and clingy. I don’t know. Sometimes I just don’t want to be kissed in the middle of the corridor in front of everybody.”
“Maybe Eddie isn’t as great as you thought he’d be?” Angelina suppressed her desire to sing I told you so, and gloat about being right in favour of her best friend’s current emotional state. Alicia’s tendency to fixate on a boy before knowing anything about him was expected, and was one of the things Angelina adored about her. “Perhaps it is time to move on?” She said in a careful, sympathetic tone.
“Or maybe Eddie really cares about you and doesn’t realize how suffocating he’s being?” Lora chimed up from her intense concentration on a grey eagle-featherquill. “Have you ever told him that certain things he does irritate you?”
Alicia muttered something unintelligible and picked up a plush, venom-green quill from the bin. “Holy hippogriff. Six Galleons for this?” Of course, being the only one of the group with any significant long-term relationship experience, the other two were prone to ignore Lora’s advice. She tossed the ridiculously coloured and priced quill back into the pile. “I don’t know, I just sort of want to ignore it and make it, and him, go away.”
“When Michael and I first started dating – ”
“Lora, darling, you and Michael the Muggle have been dating since before Hogwarts was founded.” Alicia grinned momentarily, relishing her opportunity to poke fun at the couple’s extensive history. “You were probably making eyes at one another before you were born. While your mums trimmed the backyard gardens from adjacent sides of the hedge or something.”
The blonde completely ignored her comments and continued on speaking as if the interruption had never occurred. “We always were sure to talk about little things that irritated us, you know, so they didn’t turn into big things. And just so you know,” having finished giving her advice, she pierced her lips together defensively, “we met in primary school. We were never neighbours and our mums do not garden together.”
“Moral is, Alicia,” Angelina said, feeling the need to cut into the conversation before Lora’s cheeks got any redder, “unless you think Eddie is really worth working for, if you’re not happy, it’s probably not worth it.”
“And what about Sir George?” Lora asked in a fake sing-song voice, apparently flustered about Michael the Muggle, a bit bitter that her counselling was going ignored, and anxious to prod somebody else. “Is he worth working for?”
Angelina felt her eyebrows jump up into her hairline. “George? George Weasley, George?”
“No, you nitwit, the other George. You know red hair, has a twin, plays Quidditch with us. The one you were talking to in the garden for so long after the ball ended that Adrian Pucey , that prefect from Slytherin, had to kick you back to the tower and deduct points.” Alicia said, jumping on the chance to tease Angelina that Lora had presented to her. The change of topic away from her own boy-troubles seemed to do Alicia some good, if the lilt in her voice and the annoying all-knowing grin on her face were any indication.
“I’ve told you this already – every time George even so much as says hello to me and you ask again – we just talked out in the garden. Fred disappeared from the ball with that fifth year, so he left me with George, is all. We’ve hardly talked since the ball, and when we have, it’s been about coursework or Quidditch or the Triwizard Tournament.” She let out an exasperated sigh. “Besides, we’re just friends.”
The idea that had occurred to her at the ball - that George had wanted to ask her to the ball, and perhaps fancied her - had all but dissipated over the past six weeks, and was perpetuated only by the occasional, teasing questions like this one from Alicia and Lora. Angelina considered herself to be a rational young woman, not somebody who jumped to believing things without proof, of which she had none. The conception of the idea was the fault of the atmosphere of the ball – the dancing, the decorations, the lighting. It was anything but rational.
Both girls were gazing at her with scepticism plastered across their faces.
“Angelina, Alicia.” The familiar voice of Katie Bell shouted in the shop’s open door from the street, ending the awkward staring contest that was unfurling within the shop. “Oh, hey Lora, didn’t see you there. I’m on my way to the Three Broomsticks now, if you want to join.”
“Gladly.” Angelina trotted out from the shop, aggravation at her friends’ insistence and appreciation from her fellow Chaser filling her chest. “I feel like I haven’t seen you in ages, Katie.”
“Life with no Quidditch is sad,” Katie said as Alicia and Lora joined them. “O.W.L.s are devouring all my time. I’m hardly ever in the common room anymore. I miss seeing you girls.”
“You can’t study all the time.” Angelina rolled her eyes. “You have to take time to do other things, even if it means you have to work a lot harder afterwards.” She had hated every moment of her O.W.L.s and was dreading her N.E.W.T.S. “We should all go out and fly sometime. Toss the Quaffle around, relax.”
“Oh, definitely. I live to throw Quaffles around. Quidditch or bust.”
Lora’s slightly unexpected tongue-in-cheek comment sent all four girls reeling into fits of giggles that carried them the length of the long lane to the pub. The interior of the Three Broomsticks was warm and crowded. Angelina could feel the outside weather melt away from her cheeks. Her hair was soaked from the large flakes that had stuck to it during the walk. She hoped that it didn’t manage to dry while they were there – else she’d have a ball of frizz on her head where her hair once was.
Surprisingly, four stools had opened up at the bar. The girls quickly commandeered them before some lurking group of younger students managed to snag them.
Alicia fiddled with the edge of her napkin. “Listen,” she finally said, “if Eddie shows up here, I’m not completely sure what I’m –”
Angelina had to disguise a rather violent snort as a cough as Alicia’s qualm was cut short by the arrival of Eddie and his annoying pet name for her friend.
“I’m sorry if you thought I forgot that we were meeting for lunch. I had Cedric save seats for us at a table over there,” he said, gesturing towards the dining room.
“Oh, I knew you’d show up.” For all the moping and whinging she had done today on the Hufflepuff’s behalf, Alicia’s voice sounded bright and receptive. She flung her arms around his neck and planted a quick kiss on his cheek.
“Have fun, -Licia,” Angelina called at her friend’s retreating back. “You’ll have to finish whatever it was you were telling us sometime.”
“You’re awful, you know?” Lora shook her head at Angelina, glancing down at the menu.
Angelina considered her lunch options and glanced around the groups of people gathered around the tables. Lee and the twins were seated near the door. He waved at her before leaning in to tell his red-headed companions something. Whatever he had said to them caused Fred to grin like the Muggle Cheshire Cat character that her dad had read to her when she and her sisters were young. George seemed largely unaffected. She watched him run his hand through the front of his hair several times before pushing back his chair and standing. He approached the bar, his cheeks flushed from either the cold outside or the heat inside the pub. The combination of the red of his cheeks, red hair and his orange-is coloured jumper was quite the spectacle, and Angelina let a small giggle escape her lips. She deliberated if he knew or even cared how badly his colour palette clashed.
Watching him from not even two yards away, she wondered if he’d seen her and didn’t feel obliged to say hello, or if he’d simply not seen her. He smiled and nodded at Rosmerta as he passed her several coins and received a tray with four Butterbeers on it. He turned away and she watched his eyes as they found Fred’s across the room. The latter twin nodded and shook his head. Whatever they had communicated to each other across the room was lost on her, but George turned back towards the bar.
Angelina turned her attention back towards Katie and Lora. She couldn’t for the life of her figure out how they had gotten onto the topic of Shrinking Solutions so quickly, and so she gestured to Madam Rosmerta. Ordering a Butterbeer instead of embarking in the thrilling academic affair happening next to her seemed to be a smart decision.
“Hey, Angelina.” George’s voice startled her, and she spun around on the stool. He stood with a frothy mug in his outstretched hand. “You can have this one, if you’d like. I have an extra here on this tray, and I’d hate it to go to waste.”
“Thanks?” Angelina hesitated in taking the mug. Years of contact with the twins had taught her to second guess anything that they tried to convince somebody to consume.
“Oh, go on.” George pushed the ceramic cup towards her. His fingertips were warm where they brushed her hand. “I’ve haven’t touched it, straight from Madam Rosmerta herself.” He slid onto the stool that Alicia had vacated and took a gulp from his own mug. Fred and Lee’s butterbeers sat on the tray, seemingly forgotten. “So what’ve you been up to all day?”
“Not much, honestly. Lora found a new quill, we poked fun at Alicia and Eddie. Typical day, really.” She glanced to her side to see if Lora or Katie were going to jump into the conversation, but the two girls had suddenly – and no doubt conveniently – relocated to Cedric and Eddie’s table with Alicia. Angelina shook her head – her friends thought they were so clever – before she continued speaking. “Alicia’s boots were leaking, and she was grumbling and moody, so we didn’t really get to spend a lot of time walking between shops.”
“Have you eaten yet?” He picked up the menu off of the bar. His eyes stared straight ahead and didn’t appear to focus on the words. “If not, we should get something to eat, and then we should go hit up the shops. I can’t promise you that my boots won’t leak, but I can swear I won’t grumble.” He smiled at her.
“What about Fred and Lee?”
“We’re good, really.” She was surprised to find Lee standing on her other side. He grabbed the abandoned tray of butterbeers from the bar much too quickly, nearly spilling one of the mugs. “You kids have fun.”
She shook her head in exasperated amusement and said, “And no, I haven’t eaten yet.”
For some reason, the fact that she was sitting alone with George Weasley in the middle of The Three Broomsticks suddenly seemed glaringly obvious, as though neon signs and sirens were alerting the entire pub to the fact. She felt her face flush and began to fiddle with a paper napkin from the bar. Angelina dreaded having to listen to Alicia and Lora’s thoughts on this subject later. They always thought they knew what Angelina was thinking, sometimes more so than she did herself.
As they ordered two sandwiches, the anxious feeling in Angelina’s stomach seemed to abide, and lunch passed in a moderately comfortable silence. Angelina was grateful that George hadn’t insisted on making small talk during the meal. If she had to pick one thing that annoyed her about people, it was feeling the need to talk while eating. When they had finished, George grabbed Angelina’s tab from her plate and laid a few coins on the bar.
“Oh. Thank you.” Angelina stood up and slipped her cloak back over her shoulders. The thick fabric was still wet from the snow earlier in the day. “I guess I’ll owe you some sweets from Honeydukes or something.”
George shrugged his shoulders and smiled. “It was no problem, but Honeydukes sounds fantastic. Let’s start there?”
The slush that had coated the ground before the girls had entered The Three Broomsticks had been covered by a thin layer of snow. Angelina smiled, hoping Alicia would be happier whenever she walked outside. The wind was cold and she slipped her hands into the pocket of her coat. The memory of how warm George’s fingertips had been when he handed her the butterbeer flitted into her mind. She quickly brushed it away. The idea that had formulated at the ball stirred dangerously around the back of her mind.
“I want to remember to get some sweets for Ginny.” George’s words pulled her from the thoughts she was trying not to think. “She was complaining the other day about not being old enough to visit Hogsmeade. And how her dormitory mate always get treats from her sister. Ginny is so subtle sometimes.” He chuckled.
“You’re such a good brother.” Angelina pulled her hands out from her pockets and lightly shoved his shoulder. George ginned before he stumbling a few steps and rebounding on her.
“Woah, woah. Sorry.” His brown eyes lit up with a mischievous glint. “Some jerk pushed me back there, I couldn’t help myself.”
“How rude of them.” Angelina willed herself to keep the laughter out of her voice.
“Yes, very.” He nudged her shoulder with his own. “Don’t worry, I’ll keep my eye out for the culprit.”
She could no longer hold back the giggle that demanded to be let out. “Well, thank Merlin for that.”
George stopped in his tracks and turned towards her. His mouth was pulled into a straight line, and no hint of laughter was visible in his eyes. “Miss, this is no laughing matter.”
Angelina turned to face him. She, too, attempted to hold a straight face, but she could feel that her eyebrows were raised and that the corners of her mouth were curled upwards. She bit her bottom lip, trying to restrain herself. His eyes locked onto hers and laughter danced from them down towards his smile. Finally, after what felt like ages, he broke into a deep laughter from his chest. It was a contagious laugh, and Angelina soon found herself laughing as well.
“Well, look who isn’t breaking curfew?”
Angelina had to wipe the tears that had gathered in her eyes. Adrian Pucey and a younger Slytherin girl she did not recognize stood in front of them on the path. “Astute observation, Pucey, considering it’s the middle of the day and all.” She rolled her eyes and turned towards George and grabbed his wrist. “Come on, let’s go get Ginny some sweets, before I say something I shouldn’t to this Prefect.”
Angelina pulled George along and brushed by the two Slytherins.
“Please promise me you’ll hit him with a Bludger first chance you get next term?” Angelina dropped George’s wrist and glanced back at him. “He’s such an arse.”
“To be fair, we were out far past curfew last time we ran into him,” George said. “But why wait until next year to hit him with something?” He turned and watched Pucey’s back moving away from them on the path. “One thing to always remember, never pass up an opportunity as good as this.”
Angelina watched as George picked up a handful of snow, moulded it into a ball, and tossed it up into the air. Pulling his wand from his pocket, he muttered a charm under his breath. The snowball zoomed down the path and exploded between the Slytherin prefect’s shoulder blades.
She couldn’t help but laugh at the boy’s reaction to the charmed snowball. He leapt straight up into the air, reaching behind his shoulders trying to figure out what had hit him.
“Come on and run.” George grabbed her hand. “Before his thick skull can process enough to know it was us.”
The two ran the entire way to Honeydukes. When they finally entered the shop, they were both panting and out of breath. Angelina’s lungs burnt from the cold air that filled them. As she leant forward to help her breathing normalize, she thought about how enjoyable her afternoon had been. Only after she thought this did she realize that George still had a hold of her hand, and that his broad palm was just as warm as his fingertips had been.
Author’s Note: So there you have it! George and Angelina’s first date (of sorts). I cannot even begin to thank you enough for still being here reading this little story of mine, but I’ll try. THANK YOU. This last chapter I reached and surpassed 100 reviews because of you. This still blows my mind. I can’t really believe what a warm reception this story has had so far. I’d like to extend my gratitude to Janechel for beta’ing, to Sarah for her general loveliness, to my puffins, and to you for your reviews and support. I’d love to hear what you thought of this chapter, so if you have the time, please leave a review! Lastly, I’d like to credit Lewis Carroll for my use of the Chesire Cat taken from Through the Looking Glass/Alice in Wonderland.