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Chapter 2: What I Go To School For
After a deeply uncomfortable night on the sofa the last thing a guy wants is to be woken up by snotty first years poking him asking if he was dead. That happened to me this morning, seriously I’m sure we weren’t that rude to older students when we were in the first year I’m not even sure I spoke to anyone in the year above until Lily introduced me to her brothers at Christmas.
“Sofa again” asked my best friend Hugo Weasley, Lily’s cousin, as he came down the dorm stairs followed by Ryan Geller and Ben Thompson my other friends. Lily was behind them, shot me a cheeky grin and ran into her own dorm room “Mate, are you even listening to me” Hugo was snapping his fingers in front of my face; clearly I’d decided to not take my eyes off Lily. Despite being her cousin Hugo was the only person in the world who knew I was in love with Lily, he freaked out initially but was cool with it now though he said to make sure that James and Albus never found out
“Lily doesn’t half snore” said Ryan as we made our way down to breakfast about ten minutes later “I haven’t had a wink of sleep”
“How come she ended up in your bed anyway mate” asked Ben
“She was tired and didn’t want to go to her own dorm” I explained as we entered the Great Hall and sat down next to Rose Weasley and Albus Potter in the year below “So I said she could sleep in my bed”
“Without you I hope” said Albus sternly clearly having heard the latter part of our conversation. I grinned and explained the situation to Albus who made sure I knew that I would never invite Lily into my bed with the intention of having sex with her nor would I ask to go into her bed. I was also reminded that I was the only non-Potter boy that Albus (and by extension the rest of the family) trusted with his little sister and should remember that I earned that trust but it could just as easily be taken away.
“The Weasley/Potter’s are so overprotective” I groaned as Albus and Rose left the table to tutor Potions for first and second years “It’s so irritating”
“Dude, that’s my family” said Hugo outraged “And I am not overprotective of anyone”
“Last week you hexed Erik Sunderland in the first year for talking to Lucy” I exclaimed
“She’s 12” said Hugo sounding as if he’d been vindicated “She shouldn’t even know what a boy is let alone talk to one”. I sighed as Lily and her two friends Melissa Perkins and Rebecca Summerfield sat down next to us, Lily pinched one of my pieces of toast and began eating it
“So boys” said Lily putting her arms around Ryan and me “What are we going to do this fine October Saturday; I suggest we sneak into Hogsmeade”
“What’s the point” piped up Melissa “The trips start next week, can you seriously not wait one week”
Lily eventually admitted defeat when Ben said he had no money, Ryan was coming down with a cold, Rebecca had a date with a Ravenclaw boy in the library and Hugo left to go and study together leaving just Lily, Melissa and I
I didn’t mind Melissa not really, she was ok at times and a laugh but she was very shrill, uptight and high maintenance and her ideas of fun weren’t exactly what you’d call normal. Wizards Chess is only fun for about half an hour but then watching pieces of rock knock lumps out of each other became rather tedious
I was well aware that Lily was bored beyond belief; we had this thing about each other where we could tell what the other one was thinking without actually saying anything. Melissa on the other hand seemed to be having the time of her life as we walked down to the Herbology greenhouses to visit Nev and his weeds, I like the man don’t get me wrong but a person’s interest in plants should only go to a certain point and this man crosses it. Did you know there were eight different types of Mandrake? Because I didn’t
“Ah Miss Perkins” said Nev as the three of us entered the sacred Herbology greenhouses “I see you brought some friends along for a change, I must admit Benson I wasn’t sure you’d be one for additional Herbology lessons”
“Additional Herbology lessons” Lily and I exclaimed at the same time. Melissa turned red, good, she’d been caught in her lie the devious little told
“But you said you’d bring me here so I could steal gillyweed” said Lily angrily. Longbottom raised his eyebrows at Melissa who went even redder and muttered “I had to get them here somehow”
“Why would you think I wanted to do extra Herbology” I asked trying not to sound as angry as Lily, I didn’t want to be rude and Nev already did look quite hurt “I’m sorry but even Nev knows I suck at it. I didn’t even opt to take it for NEWTS and neither did Lily”
“Will you please call me Professor Longbottom” Nev replied through gritted teeth. Lily was off somewhere touching plants, that girl must have ADHD or something she seriously can’t resist touching things she isn’t meant to
“I just thought it could be fun” said Melissa brightly “I mean you did say you were bored, and Alice is coming to help isn’t that right Professor Longbottom”
“Oh yes my daughter should be here any moment” said Longbottom “Alice has agreed to help as a kind of work experience, she needs all the training she can get if she wants to become a teacher”
Hang on, Alice is coming?
I’m staying. She’s fit. I’m not in love with her but damn she’s one good looking girl, who knew Nev had it in him
“What are we staying” groaned Lily as I through her over a coat and a pair of gloves, she gave me her puppy dog eyes and pouty lips but it wasn’t going to wash with me today. I have chronic back ache from last night that’s down to her and I’m pretty sure she’s taken the five galleons I had by my bedside
“Yes Lilypad come on” I said taking her hand and walking her over to Melissa and Nev – sorry Professor Longbottom – who were placing several scary looking plants on the large table that spanned the length of the greenhouse
“But Ollie” she groaned as we began picking plant seeds out of dirt for some reason, man I’d forgotten how boring and mundane this subject was Alice had better arrive and quickly because if she doesn’t my life won’t be worth living, Lily is most likely going to kill me one we leave the greenhouse. Or before and she’ll take Melissa and Nev with her. Either way death is inevitable if you piss Lily off and man did she look pissed off with me
“Nev, I think this thing just farted” I said holding up a miniature Cactus that had a very bad and very strong smell coming off it
“No, no, no” said Nev taking the cactus thing off me “This is a swamp Cactus; they smell like that all the time”
“That is so gross” said Lily who was holding her nose just as Alice walked in the greenhouses apologising for being late. Alice Longbottom is absolutely beautiful with long blonde hair, gorgeous deep blue eyes and a smile that lights up the room. She’s head girl (much to the jealousy of Rose Weasley), top student in Ravenclaw and the first female Ravenclaw Quidditch captain for over sixty years. She’s also one of the nicest people in school and the most popular. In short, Alice Longbottom is wonder girl
The rest of the lesson went like clockwork now Alice was here and soon enough the two hours were up and it was time for dinner. Alice volunteered to stay behind and clear up as Nev had a staff meeting to attend to, Lily didn’t seem as pissed off as she had done an hour ago and though she’d probably never admit it she’d ended up really enjoying the session
“Coming Ollie dear” she asked me as I hesitated at the back of the green house, I looked to Alice who was struggling to lift various heavy plant pots back onto their shelves
“I’ll be along in ten minutes I think I’ll stay and help Alice” I replied, Lily rolled her eyes and grinned at me before leaving with Melissa. I turned back to Alice who was on her knees sorting out some of the smaller plants; I crouched down next to her
“Oh Ollie you didn’t have to stay” she said with a smile on her face
“No it’s fine I want to” I replied giving her a grin. We cleared away in silence for a few minutes before out of the blue Alice asked me
“So, how long have you been in love with Lily Potter?”
How did she know?
Damn it Hugo!
“Oh don’t look so terrified” she said grabbing my arm and giving it an affectionate squeeze “No one’s told me don’t worry it’s just something I picked up on”
“Why am I really obvious” I spluttered. Oh crap, what if Lily knew? What if everyone knew? What if they were all in the Great Hall laughing about how pathetic I am?
“No you’re not obvious” said Alice “I’m just quite good at noticing these things, so do you think she likes you back?”
“Why would she?” I replied “She’s the brilliant Lily Potter, who am I?”
“You are Ollie Benson” said Alice taking my arm making sure I sat down next to her as she perched on the end of the table
“Ollie Benson is a no one” I said “And even if I’m not, I’m certainly not good enough for Lily”
“Oh come on Ollie” she said nudging me “You’re sweet, kind, funny and very, very cute. The third year Ravenclaw girls never stop talking about you”
“Thanks but it’s not gonna happen” I got up and faced her “Lily just sees me as her best friend”
“Ah another comrade lost to friend zone” said Alice giving me a pat on the shoulder “We shall mourn you my brother. And don’t you worry I won’t tell a soul”. She patted me on the back, picked up her handbag and left the greenhouse telling me to lock up and give the keys to Nev
Wise girl that Alice Longbottom, a bit weird maybe, but wise all the same. Who knew an afternoon filled with Herbology could actually turn out to be fun?