Chapter 14 : ~*~ Chapter 14 ~*~
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~*~ Chapter 14 ~*~
I stayed beside Kenny’s bed until she woke up, but I had doubts throughout the time that she was asleep that she would never wake. But inside, I knew she was a fighter.
She had to pull through. It wasn’t her fault that she fell off her broom and her whole body had switched off. It was just the fright of being so high up in the sky and the taunts from the crowd that made her faint and fall.
I felt for her, really I did. I couldn’t think about her future, just her present state. And when Devlin and Halden awoke, the dreading of her return grew worse.
“She’ll wake up,” Halden had said. I didn’t understand his words at the time, but Devlin was the one to explain what might happen later to her.
“She might not be able to play Quidditch because of her height issue as well as her fear of the huge crowds… we might have to find a replacement if she doesn’t get over the fears…”
It was the day before Christmas Eve and I was still beside Kenny’s bed. I was caressing her hand comfortingly, a tear forming in my eye. I tried to blink it away but it fell on to her hand. I felt her twitch.
“You still here?” I turned around in my seat and saw Halden enter the Hospital Wing. I nodded silently and quickly wiped away the trail that the tear had left on my cheek. “C’mon, you need something to eat.”
“I can’t just leave her… I need to be here for her when she wakes up. I’m the only one caring for her, don’t you see that?!” I shouted, dropping Kenny’s hand and standing on my own unstable feet.
I shook on them and I almost fell to the ground if it hadn’t of been for Halden to catch me around the waist. He groaned for he still felt badly bruised after falling from twenty feet, even after a month. “C’mon, you don’t have enough energy and you need to eat. Devlin will stay with her…”
From behind Halden, out-stepped Devlin, his eyes grave and distant as he stared through me and on to the lifeless form that was Kenny. I nodded to Halden’s request and followed him out of the Hospital.
I stopped at the door and looked back at Devlin making his way over to Kenny. He sat down in the chair beside her bed and took a hold of her hand like I always did. He kissed it tenderly and then sighed. He truly did care for her, but then why didn’t he show it to her like he did to me?
Halden pulled me away from the Hospital and we walked away in silence. We walked and we walked, and we walked, in pure dead silence. I hated the quietness that had fallen around us. It was unbearable.
Eventually we arrived at the Great Hall and I knew that Halden was about to walk away and join his Slytherin friends, but he didn’t. He stood still, pondering for a moment, then decided against Nyoka’s gestures to him to sit next her and followed me up the Gryffindor table, trying to find seats for lunch.
I saw Nyoka’s face drop. “It’s OK,” I spoke up suddenly to Halden. He stopped to study me then chuckled. I carried on, “You don’t have to sit here with me, you know?”
“Of course I do!” He sounded surprised at my complaint but he carried on walking with me until we found empty seats and sat down. Todd and Sirius gave him looks of loathing. “I’m here for you… I hate being in Slytherin.”
He had said that with utmost hatred that it felt as though it burnt his tongue to say it. He then cast a misguided look up at the staff table and caught his father’s eye. He did not look happy at all, especially since he was the head of Slytherin.
I smiled at him and he smiled back. Today was also the last day of term, tomorrow was the beginning of the Christmas holidays; two full weeks of nothing to do, just pure enjoyment for everyone, apart from me.
This afternoon, I had to attend Double Potions with the Slytherins and Halden had provoked me into letting him sit next to me in class today. I would miss Kenny in that class the most out of all our lessons as we always worked together, so Halden said he would work with me. Of course, Devlin was not happy with this arrangement, but kept his opinions hidden on the matter and kept to his word to be working along side Todd and Sirius.
And then tomorrow I would have to choose who to go to the Christmas Ball with. None of them had asked me yet, but Eleora hinted that Devlin might, owing to talking to Sirius about it.
Eleora and Madison had both said to me the previous day that they both had dates. I was shocked but I knew who they were so I wasn’t technically surprised at that. Todd had asked Madison out of niceness as he didn’t want to get hit with a book if he didn’t ask her and Sirius had asked Eleora, just to put it simple.
Neither Halden nor Devlin had asked me to the Ball and of course they couldn’t ask Kenny as she was still unconscious after falling from twenty feet, just to remind you all.
After a small lunch; my eating habits were still the same, but Halden didn’t speak up about this fact, but gave me a worried look. We got up from the table and were about to leave the Hall when…
“Halden…” It was Draco Malfoy, his father. His eyes were glazed like frost, his stare gave a bitterly shiver to all our spines and the sense of cold blood running through his veins. “A word please?” He asked of his son.
Halden shrugged his shoulders and followed his father to one side of the babbling crowd trying to get out of the door. I waited for him and when he returned his face looked grim. I even saw Draco smirk slightly as he left him to stand there as a frightened puppy.
“What did he say, Halden?” I asked feeling slightly scared as his eyes began to shiver with malice for the man disappearing down into the dungeons. “Halden… tell me please? What did he want?”
He shook his head and walked past me in a fast pace, but I caught up with him so I could talk to him privately. “Halden, wait!” I shouted and he turned on the spot down the long, dark corridor. “Tell me what he said to you, please?”
He cast a glance up and down the corridor then pulled me into a crevice inside a stone wall. The corridor was empty and silent and he began to whisper to me. “He said that I couldn’t ask you, and that’s it.”
He slowly let go of my arm, his fingers touching my skin briefly as though he desperately wanted to hold me. He sighed then permanently moved away from me and began to walk down the corridor, but in a slow pace.
I caught up with him, wanting him to explain, but all he did was shake his head and moved on, keeping me in a dreaded silence until we sat behind our cauldrons ready for that days lesson.
“Today, you will be brewing a Warming Potion in your pairs or groups,” Draco instructed to all of us. “The potion consists of these ingredients and can be taken by humans so they’ll be tested later,” he flicked his wand and the ingredients appeared upon the blackboard. “You may begin!”
Halden flicked his wand underneath his cauldron so that a bright red fire burst into life to heat what liquid would form in the bowl. I looked at the blackboard and set to work chopping up Shell of Skrewt.
All eyes were on me, I could tell instantly. Halden was looking at the way I chopped the thick and rather hot shell of whatever animal it had come off. I handed him the diced shell where he added it to the steaming water mixed in with Ruby Roots, a hot herb-plant that can be used in spicy foods.
I began to slither jalapeño peppers and I stole a couple of glances across the room to where Devlin was sitting with Todd and Sirius. He was busy checking the fire but growled at Todd for kicking him in the leg.
Todd whispered something to him and pointed in my general direction. Devlin double checked what Todd had said and cast a quick look at me. I noticed his gaze and removed my eyes back on to the peppers. I heard Todd chuckling and when I looked up, Devlin gave me a hearty smile and resumed to his potion making.
The peppers had to stew in the mixed liquid of water, Ruby Roots and Skrewt Shell until the liquid glowed a deep orange. Halden sat down and sighed and motioned for me to sit down too.
Then he spoke in a slight whisper. “April…” he began. I looked at him cautiously, wondering what he was going to say. He looked to see where his father was and saw him mingling with the Slytherins. He continued, “I was just wondering, if you were going to the Christmas Ball tomorrow?”
I dropped my silver knife with shock and anticipation of how to answer his question. “Oh,” I said feebly, making it sound as though I was really shocked, but my facial expression dropped his. “I want to, but with my sister still in the Hospital, I don’t think I should go…”
Halden smiled weakly and patted my shoulder comfortingly then began to stir the now orange mixture in the cauldron. “OK, maybe next time then,” he replied in a put-on cheery tone.
“You were going to ask me, weren’t you?” I pondered to him, taking away the wooden spoon so that he could explain to me properly instead of focusing his mind on something else.
“Yes, I was. I wanted to show my father that he can’t order me about… he wanted to me to go with Nyoka but I have no interest in her, even though my dad is friends with her mother and father. And everyone else has dates…”
“Not everyone. Devlin doesn’t have a date…” I said, blushing slightly. And then I covered my mouth slowly, just realising what I had just said without meaning to. Halden looked at me gravely.
“Devlin? Potter’s boy?! Oh bloody hell, April… you must have more taste than that! Do you honestly like him, come on now, be serious with me here?” He asked in a pressurising way.
His tone was dreadful as though he was jealous of my skin turning rosy when I mentioned his name. I only said it as an example, but it was true none-the-less, and I did have concerns of whether it would be Devlin or Halden that I would go with to the Ball. Now I can see that it would be neither.
“No! I never said that at all!” I whispered spitefully in his ear, moving myself away from the cauldron for I knew if I got angry I would create a mess by taking my anger on said cauldron, therefore tipping the contents over Halden’s head.
“I think you said it clearly enough… of course he doesn’t have a date, you’re obviously waiting for him to ask you!” Halden said in a tone that mimicked my spitefullness.
I threw down my silver knife and glared at him. How dare he make an accusation like that, I thought miserably, I mean what does he take me for? I then picked up my bag and headed for the door.
All eyes were on me again, including Professor Malfoy’s who didn’t question my leaving. I looked at Devlin and his company and scowled angrily and then I stared over at Halden once more, who obviously couldn’t bare to look at me.
I huffed, opened the dungeon door and stepped out into the cold, dark and deserted corridor. I sighed and wiped away any on coming tear and then I walked silently away. The Christmas Ball will have to do without me, I thought, again feeling depressed. Everyone will be happy then…
For the rest of that day, I didn’t bother going down for dinner. Instead, I went straight to the Hospital Wing for my daily visit to see Kenny. On that night, her face was slightly pinker than it had been and I couldn’t help but smile at her recovery rate.
But my doubts about her ever waking were always clinging to my heart. Please wake up, I would whisper to her solemnly. And she would only reply with a flicker of an eyelash or a twitch of any aching muscle in her hand.
I wanted her to know that I wanted her to be happy with Devlin and that I would live a lonely life without him. She could have him, and Halden could live lonely too.
I wanted to tell her that I wasn’t going to go to the Christmas Eve Ball the next day, but stay up in the Hospital Wing with her if she hadn’t woken. I decided to elaborate these points in careful silence, but this only caught perpetrating ears.
And that’s when everything began to change…
The Hogwarts matron had already set out a chair for me before I had even set foot into the Hospital Wing that evening. She always knew that I would be there without fail and that I was always welcome.
I sat down on the chair and took up the role of comforting my sister in the usual manner of stroking her hand with my soft, delicate fingers. I would then read extracts from books that we had to learn for homework, always hoping that the information would somehow drain into her weak mind. I sometimes combed her hair but always held her hand tightly.
I wanted to tell her so much about what had gone on today, but I felt scared of the fact that she might not wake, just to spite me and make me get on with it alone, or just not to face it as well. Or I felt embarrassed talking to her, especially when other patients were on the Wing.
“Halden asked me something today… it was very nerve racking you know. It was about the Christmas Eve Ball tomorrow… he asked me to go with him. And then I had to say something stupid back to him…
“I said that Devlin didn’t have a date and he went on a rant saying that I would rather have Devlin then him. I felt like a complete fool… Devlin doesn’t like me in that way at all, does he?” I pushed back her fringe hoping for an answer to escape her full, pink lips.
“So I walked out of Potions this afternoon and kept to our dormitory. I’m pathetic, aren’t I? I mean, why am I getting upset over a boy; two boys to be in fact? This morning I was so happy when I saw Devlin with you and I just thought, yes I’ll go with Halden, but no… fear has struck home again.
“I passed Harry along the corridors as I retreated to the common room. He noticed me crying but didn’t question me but carried on walking… I think even he is fed up of me…” I sniffed then wiped my eyes clear of tears and just kept quiet from there on after, unable to complain anymore.
“Even if you do happen to wake up tomorrow, I still won’t go to the Ball. I think it should be your night with Devlin or any other guy… I’m not going to spoil anything anymore from now on…”
I squeezed her hand tightly, not wanting to let go. I normally did this when I had to leave her and say goodbye, but I had to go. Homework was calling me and I wanted it out of the way before Christmas.
I picked up my brush and book that I had been reading to her then got up off the chair and turned towards the door, silent tears rolling down my cheeks as I stared at the floor. I only looked up when I reached the door when I noticed someone blocking my way. I dropped my books in fright.
“Hello, April,” Halden said in a desperate tone as though he wanted to apologise for what he had said earlier. “Look, I’m sorry for what I said, I shouldn’t have. Devlin is obviously the better guy anyway…”
“No, I’m sorry, Halden. I shouldn’t have shouted at you and walked away before you had time to explain. Your question came as a shock to me for that I’m sorry… you just don’t know what I’m going through.” I looked up at him and smiled uncertainly and then looked away as a tear escaped the ravines that were my eyes.
“I know all about it… Devlin lead you to believe that he liked you, and he does, but he realises that he doesn’t want to ruin a friendship so good, just for something that may wreck everything you already have with him,” Halden explained, wiping away my fallen sadness as he spoke.
“Then why did you tell me that you liked me? It made me all confused as to whether or not you liked me for real and whether or not Devlin would ask me to the Ball… love is so complicated!” I sighed and sat down on a bed.
“He wanted to ask you, he wanted to ask Kenny too, but couldn’t decide, because both of you are equally special to him, except he likes you a lot. So, to act upon his feelings he went behind you and asked Kenny the day of the match and told me to ask you.”
My head began to spin with all these different explanations of feelings concerning Halden, Kenny and Devlin and myself. I just felt as though the world revolved around me somehow and I didn’t want that. “I’m still not going to the Ball,” I spoke up in a rush.
“Of course you’re going to the ball!” Halden yelled, reaching out for my hands. He wanted to show that he wasn’t taking no for an answer. He would show true defiance to my answer of no.
His eyes bore into mine deeply, searching for a point to meddle with my choice, in order to beg with me. He did want me to go with him, but part of me felt awful on Devlin. And I still couldn’t get the possibility of Kenny not being able to make it either. I sighed and then shook my head.
Halden dropped my hands and looked disappointed in me and he looked angry with himself. “I’m sorry, I just can’t…” and I walked past him but a sound caught my ears.
“Oh bloody hell, April! Just go with him!” I turned on my heels and at first I thought it was Halden who had spoken so harshly to me, but his face was turned away from me, staring over at Kenny’s bed.
I peered over Halden’s shoulders as I walked back into the ward silently. I saw Halden’s mouth open, looking completely aghast, for the person who had spoken against my defiance was now sat up in her bed, stretching and yawning. Kenny had woken up at last…
Even though she was still tender from her fall, I still jumped on to her bed and hugged her tightly, crying into her neck as she hugged me feebly back, but she said that she had woken up that morning, but decided to remain asleep so to listen into mine and Halden’s conversation.
I was just glad that she was alive and well and her determination to do anything was back too. She seriously wanted to go to the ball, but the matron wouldn’t allow her.
“I’m coming whether the matron likes it or not!” And with that statement made, Kenny pulled the sheets off her body and revealed herself fully dressed as though she had planned her escape today. “C’mon, let’s go,” she said, and we wandered out of the Hospital Wing, quietly…
It was the next day. Kenny and I, along with Eleora and Madison were getting ready for the Christmas Ball down in the Ravenclaw common room. It was so different from the Gryffindor one: it was hidden behind a bookshelf on the fourth floor and once you stepped inside, you’d realise why Ravenclaw were quite wise.
Everywhere in sight, a student was studying on a table or looking through a book of some sort on a chair, or talking about assignments in front of the fire, which looked blue because of all the blue and bronze decorations.
Up in the dormitories, the four-poster beds had blue curtains draped around them along with blue, velvet cushions and duvets. Everything looked royal and I couldn’t help but feel as though I shouldn’t belong in such a place as this. But I was.
We would be meeting the boys outside the Great Hall for they were getting ready in the Gryffindor common room apart from Halden who was in the dungeon common room of Slytherin.
“How do I look?” Madison asked as she twirled on the spot in her dress that almost touched the floor. “Do you think Todd will like it?” She felt so unsure about herself that it made me cry just looking at my little sister.
“I’m sure he will, or he wouldn’t have asked you, would he,” Kenny replied, giving Madison a hug for support. Madison was wearing a baby-blue strapless dress, with dark blue sequins that sparkled from her silk underlining all the way up to her neck where an elegant blue sapphire necklace hung about her neck.
Even though we were eleven, we couldn’t help but notice that we looked grown up in our dresses. And even though I didn’t want to tell them this, but I secretly thanked Delacour for delivering them to me.
She had come up to me before I had left the Gryffindor common room to go down to Ravenclaw and handed me four big boxes, clearly labelled for who the dresses belonged to. She smiled at me and didn’t wait for my thank you, but walked away silently.
Madison sat down on her bed, followed by Kenny who was also ready.
Her dress was a light pink without straps but had flimsy sleeves hanging off her shoulders. It also went down to the floor, where layers of different shades of pinks were cut from her waist, creating different waves of colour. On her upper body part were pink sequins designed to look like a pink rose and around her neck was a silver necklace with a pink-diamond encrusted into the pendent.
I was yet to put on my dress, but I didn’t want to show it to anyone. I loved it completely but I didn’t think it went well with what my sisters were wearing. All of their designs were nearly the same and three of them had their hair down and curled elaborately.
Eleora was still in the bathroom putting on her make-up. We all thought that she wouldn’t make it to the Ball, but we were mistaken when she appeared from behind the door, looking absolutely stunning.
Her black curls touched her shoulders and her eyes were fully bright because of her deep black eyeliner. Around her neck was a simple black chain where hung a black-jewelled cross, which fell just above her corset.
The corset was tied tightly with the black cords behind her back, it emphasised her waist a bit, but the design on the front was beautiful. It was white underneath the black laces and stitched on the two sides were black roses. The dress had a long slit up her left side, where the white under-layer could be seen.
“I guess Sirius will have no trouble falling for you tonight then?” Kenny pondered, making Eleora blush deeply. She shushed her quickly and sat down on the bed. All of them looked up at me.
“Aren’t you going, April?” Kenny asked in wonder. All three of my sisters looked up at me, speculating my decision. “Of course you bloody are, so get ready now!”
“It’s just seeing all you three dressed so immaculately, it makes me feel proud to have sisters like you, sisters who are so beautiful… sisters who don’t deserve to be involved with a prophecy…” I sighed and picked up my dress box and walked into the bathroom.
Kenny came up beside me and whispered into my ear. “We don’t care about the stupid prophecy! Now please get ready… we want to have fun tonight and forget about it, OK?”
I nodded. “And stop it with the soppy stiff, all right?!” Madison spoke up from the bed. I laughed at her comment and then closed the door. It took me about fifteen minutes to put on my dress and do my hair and make-up. I stepped out of the bathroom feeling confident and my sisters’ gasps enhanced this feeling.
“You look beautiful, April!” Eleora gasped, which I laughed at so I twirled on the spot so that they could see every point of my dress.
It was a deep crimson dress, which had straps going over the shoulders and all the way down my bare back. I had a gold necklace with a ruby tear-drop hanging from the chain hanging around my neck which met the start of my dress.
The bodice was made of silk which had red and gold beads in a fire design emblazoned over my upper half of my body. The bottom half was straight and simple; it went down to the floor and cut up my right leg, a red silk bow was tide around my waist. My hair was twirled on top of my head and was held together by a hair decoration made to look like a red dragonfly.
“Let’s go,” I said. We all headed down the stairs of the dormitory and out through the bookshelf hole. We wandered along the fourth floor corridor and down lots of stairs, careful not to fall because of our shoes. We made it to the Entrance Hall where we saw the boys waiting outside the Great Hall.
They were all wearing black dress-robes, Devlin and Sirius wearing red-silk ties and Todd a red-silk bow around their necks. Halden was tapping his feet impatiently, his green-silk tie flung over his shoulder, not wanting to look too smart, but still sophisticated.
“I’m too scared to go down there,” Eleora spoke up nervously. “Actually, I fell kinda embarrassed,” she said as she looked down at her black stiletto pumps.
“Don’t be,” I said comfortingly. “We’ll all go down together…” and I grabbed her hand in my left and Kenny’s with my right, who took Madison’s hand in her right. “… like sisters do.”
We all took deep breaths and walked out from behind the wall and looked down the long marble staircase. I saw Todd look straight up at us and tapped Sirius on the shoulder who in turn gulped. The sound was overheard by Devlin who turned on his feet and smiled up at us as we began to descend.
Halden, I noticed, saw the other boys look up at the stairs. His eyes averted from off the floor and looked straight into mine. He stepped in line with the other boys and waited for us to approach them.
All four of us reached the bottom stair and let go of each other’s hands. Todd stepped forward first and handed his arm to Madison who took it with a giggle and he led her into the Hall. Sirius held out his hand and nodded his head at Eleora, who linked her fingers with his and followed Todd and Madison.
Both Devlin and Halden stepped forward and both of them smiled at me. Devlin then turned to Kenny and held out his hand to her. She took it with much hesitation but he smiled encouragingly at her as they stepped into the Hall.
“I’m glad you came,” Halden said to me as he offered me his arm and I took it with gratitude. We walked into the Hall which had been decorated with tall Christmas trees, real falling snow and an ice dance-floor.
Music began to sound out to all of the students and couples began to dance together. I saw my sisters dancing with their dates, security found in each other’s arms.
Halden wrapped his hands around my waist and I followed by placing my hands around his neck. We slowly danced in time with the music and I whispered soothingly into his ear. “I’m glad I came too…”
A/N: Aren’t my winter wonderlands a treat? Especially with all the found love and security involved. Please review and Merry Christmas!
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