Chapter 18 : Eighteen: Preparations
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Shine up my old brown shoes,
Put on a brand new shirt.
Get home early from work,
If you say that you love me.
-I want you to want me, Letters to Cleo
“Where’s Peter?” Sirius asked casually at lunch a few days later. Everyone looked around and realised he was nowhere to be seen. Then again, he was rarely noticed when he was around, anyway. He was just one of those things that escaped your attention.
We went back to eating our lunch. No one seemed really that bothered.
Jacob had taken to eating lunch with Bliss. It was beginning to get sickening to see them together, they were so happy. I concentrated on my meal.
After breakfast, we went into the entrance hall where a large crowd was gathered around the notice board. The Marauders began to push their way through; or rather, people moved out of the way for them – so by sticking close behind them I managed to get right up to the board to see what all of the fuss was about. A large piece of parchment was pinned to the board.
A Masquerade Ball will be held for all seventh years on the 30th of November. The ball will begin at 6:30pm and end at midnight. All seventh years will be expected to attend. Younger students may only attend if they are invited as a date by a seventh year.
The ball will be a formal occasion and you will all be expected to be on your best behaviour at all times.
The dress code is ball gowns for girls and dress robes for boys; masks will be worn by all.
You will have an opportunity to buy your outfits on the approaching Hogsmeade weekend and a full range of masks are available to be viewed and bought in Professor McGonagall’s office.
Thank you for reading.
“Will you go with me to the ball?” I heard Jacob ask Bliss as soon as we had all finished reading it. She squealed “Of course!” and threw her arms around him. I turned away and started to walk towards the stairs. The ball was going to be in about a month’s time. The Hogsmeade weekend was the next one coming, and masks were available right now . . . my stomach fluttered. Scenes of swirling ball dresses, glittering decorations and dancing couples filled my head from my fairytale days. And I was very excited.
“Wait up!” Bliss called and I spun round as she ran over to me. “Where are you going?” she asked. I shrugged.
“I wasn’t really sure, the common room I guess,” I replied. She shook her head.
“No, come look at masks with me! I’m so excited . . . I’m sure Professor McGonagall won’t mind showing us the masks now,” she said, smiling sweetly.
“Alright,” I replied, feeling more excited than I let on. We made our way to the Transfiguration classroom, and walked through over to McGonagall’s office. Bliss knocked on the door. It was opened swiftly and we were greeted by Professor McGonagall’s smiling face.
“You young ladies are here to see the masks, I suppose?” she said knowingly. Bliss and I exchanged smiles. “Right this way,” she directed us, leading us over to a corner of the spacious room where there was a large cupboard nailed to the wall. She flung open the doors and Bliss gasped as hundreds of sparkling, beautiful masks came into view. “I will leave you ladies to decide. Prices are on the masks and you may drop your money into the jar on my desk.” McGonagall walked away and Bliss and I were left staring in awe.
“I don’t know which to choose,” said Bliss dazedly. “I mean, I don’t even have a dress yet, and I think you’re supposed to choose it by the colour of the dress. But now I think I’d rather do it the other way around.” I nodded vacantly, surveying the different masks. A particular one had caught my eye. It was shaped to just fit over the bridge of the nose and around the eyes, a light violet with gold lace and a piece of elastic to keep it on your head. I pulled it from the shelf and slipped it over my eyes. I turned to Bliss.
“Oh my goodness, you look amazing!” she gasped. “That mask is so beautiful! Oh Lily, you have to get it. How much is it?” I slipped it back off and glanced at the label.
“Not much. Do you think I should get it?” I asked, unsurely. She nodded enthusiastically. I smiled. “Okay then! Seen any you like yet?” She picked a mask up from the shelf and nodded as she showed it to me. It was just like mine, but white with gold lace. I bit my lip. “Wow. It’s really beautiful.” She tried it on and I definitely approved. We looked over the masks one last time but were besotted with our choices and dropped our galleons and sickles in the jar on our way out, masks clasped in our hands.
As we walked through the Gryffindor tower, Sirius came towards us. Bliss and I hid our masks inside our robes instinctively.
“What’s that you’ve got?” he asked curiously, lunging for my mask which I dodged.
“Our masks for the ball,” I replied. “And we can’t show them to you because then you’ll know who’s who on the night,” I pointed out.
“We’ll be able to tell anyway,” he said indignantly, looking as miffed as a child who’s been denied sweets. “A mask doesn’t hide that much.” I pouted.
“It’s part of the point of a masquerade ball!” I pushed. He shrugged and walked away.
“This is unreal,” I gasped, staring at the rows of amazing dresses before us. Bliss nodded distractedly, clearly in awe of the sight in front of her. The week since the notice had gone up had passed quickly, and Bliss and I had rushed to Hogsmeade, pulling Dorcas along, who Sirius had asked us on the quiet to take along and make friends with. Our first stop was the Hogsmeade branch of Madam Malkin’s.
Dorcas began to run her hand along the row of dresses as she walked alongside it. We had taken her to pick her mask that morning, and she hadn’t wasted any time in choosing a beautiful purple feathered mask. Now we all had the task of picking dresses that matched them.
I turned to Bliss. She already had an armful of white dresses. I took out my mask and observed the colour, then looked back to the dresses and mentally picked out the ones I thought would go. I started to walk around and found, quite quickly, a dress that was the exact shade of my mask. It was amazing. A light purple netting style, flowing skirt with three violet roses at the waist. The top was the same shade, a little gaping down the centre with silver studs embedded in it.
Dorcas had picked out a gorgeous dark purple, floor length dress with a large skirt and gold design. It was strapless, something that I would never be able to pull off. Bliss had found three short white dresses. We piled into the changing rooms and came out to show off our outfits. Dorcas and I helped Bliss choose one of her three, and finally decided on a short strapless gown with a corset-style top. We looked at each other in awe; we looked beautiful. One thing I could already tell, was that this was most definitely going to be an interesting ball.
A/N: It's a bit boring. *shrug* doesn't bother me. The next chapter is extremely interesting, so bear with me. Reviews always appreciated *wink*
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