Chapter 3 : Graceless
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Camilla stared at the ceiling. She didn’t want to get up. She knew it would probably be her worst day at Hogwarts. Ever. She could tell by the way all the professors had glanced at her and quickly looked away upon catching her eye that they all knew about her horrible predicament. She had spent the night fuming with hatred at her parents. How could they expect her to marry a man who thought the color of her eyes looked like dishwater? “You’d better hurry. You don’t want to miss Flitwick handing out schedules,” one of Camilla’s dorm mates, Kelly said as she headed out the door. Camilla sighed pulling herself out of her bed. Her smoky gray cat, Simon, looked up at her. She imagined, for a moment, that even he was gazing at her in pity. When she had refilled his food bowl she dropped it on the floor with a little more force than necessary. “Don’t look at me like that,” she snapped.
After she had received her schedule along with a pitying smile from her Head of House Camilla sprinted down the corridors to her first class of the day: Defense Against the Dark Arts. She had gotten up so late that she hadn’t had time to eat breakfast. She could already feel her stomach protesting.
Camilla pushed open the door to the classroom. The whole class looked at her. Professor Mitchell was lecturing the class and Darcy and Cain were standing at the front while the rest of the students were all standing near the opposite wall. “Why Ms. Portman, how nice of you finally join us. I’ll see you in detention tomorrow evening. Today we are reviewing nonverbal spells and using them in the context of a duel. Please join your classmates,” Professor Mitchell said smoothly.
Camilla lugged her bag to the back of the room. Remus and Lily both stood aside making room for her between them. Professor Mitchell continued lecturing the class. “Are you alright, Millie?” Lily whispered.
Camilla shrugged. “Of course. Why wouldn’t I be?” Remus rolled his eyes and began to say something, but she held a finger to her lips. “I don’t want to get in any more trouble.”
“Ms. Portman! Are you so proficient in my subject that you do not feel the need to pay attention?” Professor Mitchell was scowling deeply at her.
“No, Professor. I’m sorry.”
“Mr. Holden has just expressed a valid concern about hexing his own girlfriend. Since you seem to feel that you do not need to turn up on time nor pay attention, perhaps you would like to demonstrate your expertise and take up Ms. Rodman’s place.”
“Umm… no thank you Professor.” Camilla knew she would get in trouble for this. She was willing to take that risk. She was terrible at DADA and she had only continued with the subject because Remus has pushed her to. He had insisted that it would be much more useful , Should You-Know-Who ever arrive at her doorstep than the Advanced Muggle Studies class she had planned to take. Of course, she knew he was right, but that didn’t make the class any more enjoyable.
Professor Mitchell raised her eyebrows. “I’m sorry, Ms. Portman, but it wasn’t a request. Hmm, perhaps you object because you don’t believe Mr. Holden to be as capable as you. Perhaps you would like someone who is a bit more of a challenge?”
“What? No! That’s not-” She certainly did not doubt Cain’s abilities. He had more than proved his strength against her own on the train. It was her own abilities that she was concerned about. The fact that the only nonverbal spell she could do was the shield charm was what concerned her.
“Severus. Perhaps you would be an adequate challenge for Ms. Portman.”
Camilla looked at her teacher in horror. The witch knew exactly what she was doing. At that moment Camilla’s dislike for her Professor turned to hard, cold hatred. She slowly walked to the front of the classroom, pulling her wand out of her robe as she went. She walked up to Snape so they were face to face. They were so close she could smell him. She couldn’t determine what the scent was exactly, but she knew they were a mix of potions ingredients. She decided he spent too much time in front of a cauldron. He was taller, her forehead only reached the tip of his long nose. She had to look up to meet his eyes.
She gave him a defiant scowl. He was smirking at her. “I’ll go easy on you,” he whispered so only she could hear, “I think that if I have to look at you for the rest of my life, I’d like you to keep your pretty face.”
“I thought you said I was disgusting,” she snapped back quietly.
“Even dishwater looks decent in some shades of light.”
Camilla was about to respond when there was a sharp knock at the door. A tiny blonde first year came scurrying in holding a scroll of parchment. He handed the scroll to Professor Mitchell. After quickly scanning it, she said, “Thank you, Mr. Hollands, they will be on their way as soon as they are finished with their duel.” Camilla looked at the scroll. Judging from what Professor Mitchell had said, it was a note summoning her and Snape somewhere. Fantastic, she thought.
The blonde boy shuffled in placed for a moment before the Professor barked at him, “What else do you need Hollands?”
“H-he would-would li-like to s-see them now, P-Professor.”
Several people laughed at the boy’s stutter. He blushed red and Camilla felt for him. “Very well, Mr. Hollands, thank you.” The boy quickly walked out. “Portman!” she barked, “You and Severus are to take this and report to Dumbledore’s office.” Camilla’s classmates began to whisper at this. She went up to Professor Mitchell.
“Thank you, Professor,” she said, giving her teacher a fake smile. She snatched the note out of the woman’s hand and marched defiantly to the back the room. She grabbed her bag and was turning to leave when she felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned to look into Remus’ concerned gray eyes. Lily was looking at her as well. “Stop it, you two. I’m fine,” she reassured them, “I’ll talk to you later.” She gave Remus a quick kiss on the cheek and left the classroom.
Severus and Camilla walked silently down the halls. He was walking slightly ahead of her and she took that as evidence that he did not want to talk, but that really didn’t matter to her. He would have to talk to her eventually so they might as well start now. “They picked a June wedding. I hate June, what about you?”
“Do you hate June simply because-?”
“No,” she interrupted, “I don’t like the summer at all really. I’m more fond of months like October and November.”
“Why don’t you-?”
“Because it can be so hot and humid. I find it sort of clogs my mind.”
“Do you always-?” He paused. Camilla looked at him waiting for him to ask his question. “This,” he said, as if he were talking to a small child, “is the point in my sentence where you interrupt me again.” She blushed slightly and mumbled an apology. It was silent again as they walked. She decided it would be best to start a new conversation.
“I hope we’re not in some sort of trouble… I’ve never been to the headmaster’s office. Have you?”
“If I answer you, will you let me finish?”
“I said I was sorry!” she snapped back.
“I’ve been there a few times,” he replied, ignoring her tone. Camilla waited for him to elaborate, but he didn’t.
“What do you think he wants us for?”
“No doubt something to do with-”
“The wedding, that’s exactly what I was thinking.” He gave her a scowl. She covered her mouth when she realized what she’d done.
“No wonder no one wants you. You’re completely graceless.” She stopped in the middle of the corridor.
“I’m graceless? You told me my eyes looked like dishwater! If that’s not graceless, I don’t know what is.”
“Honestly, are you going to obsess about that forever?” He stopped further down the corridor at a statue of a stone gargoyle.
“Yes! Yes I am because it was a hurtful thing to say!” She watched him from her spot. She thought she heard him say something, but he hadn’t spoken loudly enough for her to hear what he had said. She furrowed her brow in confusion. The statue was moving… and he was stepping into the small alcove that had been created. “What are you-?” she called, then as realization hit, she sprinted towards him. “Wait for me!”
She was able to jump in just as the statue began to move upward and the corridor they had been in disappeared from view. Camilla had never been to Dumbledore’s office. She was slightly nervous, despite the fact that she knew she was not in trouble. She took a deep breath as they stepped onto the landing, facing a door. She reached for the doorknob and began to turn it. Suddenly, she felt a stinging slap on her hand. She looked up at Snape who was giving her scathing look. He wrenched her hand violently away from the doorknob. “Manners, Portman. Learn some.” He gave two sharp knocks at the door.
“Enter,” a voice from behind the door said. Snape opened the door and strode inside, Camilla following him, fuming.
A/N: I just wanted to say "Thank You!" to everyone who has taken the time to read and review my story. It really helps keep me going. I read and take into consideration everyone's thoughts and opinions. I intend to answer every review, but it will probably take me a very long time so please don't take it personally. Thanks again!
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