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Second Choice by GirlOnTheSidelines
Chapter 1: End Of Term Feast
Chapter One - End Of Term Feast
The sun trickles down through the new leaves and the dappled light makes the world softer. I love the forest, with its peacefulness and serenity. No one ever comes here; it is a place where I can be totally alone with my thoughts: my thoughts of James.
I remember when we were in our first year, James had been in my Charms class and Professor Flitwick had been teaching us Wingardium Leviosa and poor Martha Finnigan had blown up the feather in her face… James and I had laughed so hard Flitwick sent us out of the room to calm down. A few months later, James and Martha were ‘going out,’ little did anyone know then that it was to be the first of a long line of girlfriends for James Sirius Potter. He never stayed with anyone for very long (the longest being five weeks with Anna Thomas, but that was over the summer and they hardly saw each other) and he never seemed to get to emotionally involved with any of them. Some people call him a player but quite frankly, if he is having fun then let him be – all the girls know he is not ‘serious relationship material’ and if they don’t then they are simply too stupid to bother with.
We have been friend ever since our first year, he makes me laugh and everything seems so much brighter when he is around. It was not until the 8th June 2019 that I realised I was in love with him. We had just come back from the last Hogsmeade trip of the year and the sun was shining down on us, James, being the dumbass that he is, decided it was warm enough to swim in the Black Lake. He just stripped off to his boxers then and there and ran mindlessly into the water; I will never forget his face. Although it was June, the Black Lake was close to freezing (as it always is throughout the year) but James had forgotten this and dove head first into the water. He came up spluttering for air and ran – tripping over weeds – back to the shore. I remember the way he shook his head, sending drops of water flying off into the fading sunlight… he looked like some ancient Greek god emerging from the depths… wearing blue stripped boxers.
However, it was not until he said ‘Merlin’s most baggy Y-fronts, it is cold!’ that I knew I loved him. I have never told him this though, that would just be plain stupid. There was no point anyway, trying to make James Potter love you was like trying to convince a wizard there is no such thing as magic: it is impossible. I know he has the capacity to love, his heart is a big as any I have ever come across but he tries to give everyone a little piece so there is never any left over for just one special girl. One day, perhaps, he will finally learn what it is like to be in love, to really be in love.
As the sun sinks below the rim of trees, I sigh and get up. Dinner will be on the tables soon and despite having a rather large lunch, I am hungry. As I settle down at the Hufflepuff table, I see James across the Hall, he smiles at me and I smile back – for now, I am content to have him as a friend. He turns back to an animated conversation with his little brother, Al. I have never really spoken to Al before; he always comes across as a bit distant, as if there are pressing matters on his mind that he has to deal with. James’ sister on the other hand, I talk to all the time. She is in her third year now but when she first came to Hogwarts, I found her crying in the lavatories because someone had called her names, I at once felt protective over her and we have been friends ever since.
I suppose you could say I have a very normal life, nothing of much consequence happens to me, my father is good friends with my Herbology teachers wife and I am best friend with his daughter but that is about the most interesting thing I can think of. Oh and my parents went to school with Harry Potter of course but then again so did lots of peoples’ parents.
“Eloise,” someone calls. I look up into the smiling face of Alice Longbottom.
“Hey, Alice,” I smile back as she sits down. “How was Care of Magical Creatures?”
“Fine thanks, Hagrid let us ride the Thestrals today – weirdest experience of my life!” Alice exclaimed between mouthfuls of chicken. Of course riding Thestrals would be weird – you cannot see them, they can only be seen by those who have seen death and as far as I am aware, none of the students in the school can see them (although the majority of the teachers can as they were involved in the Second Wizarding War).
“Wow, sure beats Charms today, Flitwick made us write a four foot essay as a punishment for laughing at him fall of his pile of books!” Yes, Professor Flitwick stands on a pile of books to make him look taller and when he falls off – which he occasionally does – we cannot help but laugh.
Students continue to crowd into the Hall, it is the end of term feast so everyone is here. At last the Headmaster stands up and the Hall falls quiet as everyone turns to face him. The usual speeches are made and the food appears – plenty of it… vegetables of all shapes and sizes; at least five different types of potatoes; an assortment of meats and jugs of pumpkin juice. At Hogwarts you can be many things but hungry is never one of them. It seems weird to think I only have one more end of term feast to go before I finish school, I haven’t even decided what I am going to do then.
Alice (as always) eats at least a little bit of everything on the table, stuffing her face and washing it all down with pumpkin juice. I glare at her: how can she eat so much and still be so thin? I gave up a long time ago in my fruitless attempts to diet – food is just too good not to be eaten – and as a result I have a nice cushion around my waist line. I am not really that bothered, being beautiful has never been high on my list of priorities.
The plates vanish and are replaced by heaps of puddings and sweet things. I always think conversation on the Hufflepuff table flows best out of the four houses: Gryffindors just shout over each other; Ravenclaws always seem reserved and only talk to those directly beside them and Slytherins spend most of the meal shoot glares at the other tables, only opening their mouths to insult. Hufflepuffs are by far the happiest house, there is very little drama and everyone gets on with everyone. I will definitely miss the closeness of my house next year.
By the time we get back to the dormitories it is almost midnight, Alice collapses onto her bed and is asleep within minutes. I remove her shoes and pull her duvet up over her and close the curtains. Sally Finch-Fletchley and Amanda Smith are curled up on Sally’s bed whispering about everything and nothing while Frankie Rivers hastily finishes her packing. Too tired to gossip and already packed I change into my pyjamas and curl up in my bed waiting for sleep to find me.
“Eloise Macmillan! Get your lazy ass out of bed this second!” Alice screams in my ear as I roll over and burry my head under my pillow – I never was a morning person what makes Alice think anything has changed? “Potter is waiting for you…” she has quit shouting and I turn to look at her, blinking sleep out of my eyes.
“Ha, I knew that would get your attention,” she grins smugly. “Still haven’t got over your silly crush on him have you?” I throw a pillow at her which she dodges and sticks out her tongue.
“I do not have a crush on James Potter,” I sigh for the billionth time. The sad thing is: she believes me. She honestly doesn’t think I actually fancy James; I never bother to correct her. Well now that I am awake I might as well get up.
Alice smirks as I pull my blonde hair back into its trademark bun – she hates it, saying that if she had such ‘awesome’ hair she would want to show it off every day not restrain it is an old fashioned bun. I hurry downstairs to find Alice was not actually lying this time – James is waiting just outside the entrance to our common room looking bored.
“Alright El?” I glare at him, I hate being called ‘El’ and he knows it. Of course, James being James just grins.
“Not bad, Potter,” I retort, he looks pained, he hates being called Potter. No one really knows why, they think that being the son of one of the most famous wizards of the age is fantastic but I think James gets tired of living in his father’s shadow – not that Mr Potter intentionally casts it over James but it kind of comes with being famous I guess.
“So… you going to the Ministry Ball at the end of the holidays?”
“That depends… What is it in honour off?” I ask even though I know exactly what it is for. He pulls a face and does answer. “Of course I’m coming,” I nudge him affectionately. Despite the fact I am secretly in love with him, me and James are actually very good friends, Alice doesn’t get it – she thinks there must be something wrong with me to spends so much time with ‘that gorgeous hunk of ass’ and not want to shag him. Of course Alice knows full well that I don’t just ‘shag’ anyone, in fact I have never just ‘shagged’ anyone. Yep, I am the seventeen year old virgin. To be honest I do not really mind, unlike some people in my year, I am a virgin through choice.
“Earth to Eloise…” James waves his hand in front of my face dragging me out of my thoughts. “Have you been listening to a word I said?”
“Uh… nope,” I smile like a child with their hand in the cookie jar. He rolls his eyes.
“I said… my family are having a small party for Lily’s birthday, she wants to know if you want to come.”
“Sure, when is it?” he sighs in exasperation.
“The day after the Ministry thingy… At like four?”
“Yeah, sure.” We have reached the Great Hall and he attempts to ruffle my hair (to no success as I duck out of the way) before heading over to the Gryffindor table and I go to the neighbouring Hufflepuff table for the last meal of term – breakfast. Great, two days out of the holidays when I can see James, I smile to myself as I sit down.
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