Chapter 4 : Don't Look Out The Window
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Snickett frowned slightly, her normally crabby stone slightly cracked. “I want this to be the best. Classical dance is a great form of beauty and has always been cherished throughout time. I will not have any frivolous dances were girls are shown as monkeys!”
They would not fight with their claws or horns; it was to see who could hold ground the longest, who could prove between growls and hisses to be the most prominent among the group.
“We could even cast a vote on the songs we would perform!” Woah, enter Sanders. Julia hopped out from behind to join the duo mid-floor.
Icky-Vicky’s disapproval was becoming far more evident with each increasing worry line on her delicate face. Her arms folded across her chest in an almost worried manner.
“I don’t know. I really like the progress we were making.”
She changed stances, suddenly nodding at the two in agreement. Kats stiffened beside me, clearly aware of the secret body reading going on between the three girls.
“What?” My whisper was a yelp in the deathly-quiet studio.
“It’s not going to end well.” Her voice was a hushed blur compared to my own. Not going to end well? How did she know the ending before its climax? Foreshadowing was definitely not my strong point.
All three girls stood in the middle of the studio, the rebels had the Queen Bee in a semi- bitch-out sandwich and she was squirming to get out. Tears were a negative though. Victoria showed no sign of wavering from her stance. She only continued to nod as the other two counted off reasons to blow off the competition and the way she was doing things. Her hair twiddled around her fingers as she began waved her hand in a wiping motion; all jabbering ceased in a moment’s waver.
“You girls don’t like how I’m running things? Fine. You try running this team and when you can’t, I’ll be in the Common Room.”
“Or in the broom closet.” Angie mumbled in my ear. A high pitched squeal escaped my lips in a giggling manor.
“You find this funny, Williams?” Her eyes shot across the and met with my own. All hatred she had towards this bore into me as I gave a short salute. “No, sir!”
Victoria gave another glare in my direction before smoothly leaving the Room of Requirement. The door slam left an eerie echo, giving the studio a more hollowed feeling than before. Her angry presence still haunted the room.
“Alright Griffies,” Harriet clapped her hands together, gathering all attention immediately, “If we’re stuck doing this sodding thing, we might as well make it worth while, don’t you think?”
Everyone nodded hesitantly in agreement, waiting anxiously for the next move presented to us. What they would say could effect our social lives for the nest three weeks and we were dreading it.
“This is going to be fun; I think we should use a couple Muggle songs, something the crowd can get into. We should also work on a quick, fast-paced choreography; at least that’s what I saw in my head when I heard about this.” Julia was nervously fumbling with her fingers while her face showed all signs of confidence; a clear mask hiding the shy, quiet flaxen.
“Um, this sounds brill and all, but can we continue this later? I have detention with McGonagall.” A brunette raised her arm as she spoke. Missing time with Minnie meant missing life for the next month and a half.
“Yeah, whatever. Is seven a good meeting time for you all? That way we can get started. We don’t have much time.”
“Sure,” Katie shrugged, “Practice should be over by then, if not, we’ll be here around seven thirty.”
Crap. Quidditch. Like the brunette said earlier, detention with Minnie was never a walk I the park. And I was going to have my ‘super party’ if I didn’t finish that essay on the side effects for the cross-species spells between a four-legged animal and an imamate object. This was only assigned after Derek Kenship, Sara Goldenberg, and mine’s vases wouldn’t lose their rabbit feet. At least, that’s why I think she assigned this stupid deathtrap in my highway of existence.
“At least Ollie won’t chew us out again for being late.” Katie grumbled as she dragged her feet against the hallway stone. We, along with the rest of the House, had bailed the moment Love said ‘See ya’. The girls were already racing to the locker rooms, worried about what poor, frumpy, control-freak Wood would say to twenty minutes late on the pitch.
“Well, we do have a game Saturday. He’s just trying to get in as much practice as possible, Kats.” Once again Alicia is the voice of reason to our pitiful lives.
“Pfft. Right now, that game is holding two on my list of things I give a shit about. I have a Transfiguration essay due tomorrow and if I bomb another one, she’ll eat my face and sacrifice my body to her cat gods.” I stretched my arms above my head, doing all those stupid dance moves hurt could only tighten whatever non-stressed out muscles I had left.
“What’s holding a one?”
“On your list. What’s holding a one?”
“I don’t know, Alicia; Wood’s opinion on my team participation?”
“Yeah, that’s sounds about right. Should we tell him you got murdered when we were freed from the Wicked Witch of the East?”
“That’d be great.” I winked at the three who all responded with exaggerated eye rolls.
“If he comes looking for you, our asses are not going to be on the line,” Angie; golly, I knew I could always count on her.
“Merlin knows we wouldn’t want that. Now just get the hell outta here, and try to keep him distracted from my missing being for as long as possible! And if he gives you shit, give him the finger.” I waved the three off and headed back to the Common Room.
I think if I saw Wood anymore than necessary, I would jump into the arms of the giant squid and hopefully be eaten by merfolk. It wasn’t a big deal at first, not telling him what happened, but I’d thought she’d dump him or something. Never in a billion years did I think she would keep it a secret. Girls can be so damn cynical, it’s bloody awful, really.
It? Why the Snickett-Western affair that has been going on under our noses since almost two Saturdays ago. I had been lucky enough to stumble upon the two during a slobber-fest in an empty carriage.
Apparently, they had migrated to a nearby bookstore, where dear Alicia witnessed even more shrewd acts between the two. To make matters worse, she was stuck with Wood himself and left immediately to prevent any further embarrassment for anyone, including herself. She said something along the lines of ‘Wood would blow up’ and they ‘would be kicked out the store’ and Hogsmeade forever. Merlin knows how Alicia gets when she can’t have her books…
Sighing, I glanced down at my paper; I had been outlining the same doodled star for the last twenty minutes. A slight tear began to form in the parchment; my quill tip began to bend with meeting the hard wooden desk.
“Having fun letting the team down again, Williams?”
Shit. And like all equations involving Gryffindor Quidditch:
Shit + shit + shit = Oliver fucking Wood.
I cringed, daring to sneak a glance at his angry posture from behind my chair. Excuse me, let me rephrase that: his angry, wet posture. Captain Knicker-Knots was soaking wet and it seemed he hadn’t even dressed out, still sporting a tee-shirt (which stuck to his body quite nicely) and an old pair of shorts.
I think this is the part where I stop eye balling the oaf in front of me and tell myself to shut the fuck up.
Alright, focus Andy. Focus. You can totally do this. Blow him off like you normally do, bicker till he storms out and then finish your paper. Easy peasy and predictable as the Leap Year.
“Get your sodding ass out on that pitch! We don’t have time for you to put this off! The Syltherin game is this Saturday, Williams and I am not risking a loss just because you like to play last minute with your homework.” His gloved hands angrily grasped his folded (and might I add muscular?) biceps as if he was trying to prevent a beating on my part. Thank Merlin he’s a gentleman.
“I don’t have time for me to put this off!” I grabbed the paper and shook it in his face. “You know the drill, Wood. No good grades, no Quidditch. So shut up and go play follow the leader. If I get done before practice is over, I’ll be there no sweat. Missing one practice isn’t going to kill me.”
His grey-hazelish eyes narrowed as water dripped unevenly on his face. I blocked out the rest of his body from view: placing my hand under my eyes, trying to act as offhanded as possible – a mere scratch of the nose, because if my eyes glanced at his chest one more time I would go mental.
Wood’s face crumpled into confusion. Apparently my sudden change of posture caught him off-guard for some unknown reason. A smirk slowly evaded his lips and an all-knowing glint in his eyes met my own in an all too quick moment.
“Williams, must you be so obvious?” His eyes flatly rolled in a pish-posh manner, “I’m in shape because I go to practice.” As if that was the only thing I was thinking. “If you actually showed up to one, you might have someone drooling over you,” And of course, he always had to end it with a bang, “That’s why Western dumped you, right? Because your fat, Yankee ass never gets off the chesterfield?”
“Or else, what? I’m off the team? Oooh!”
“No, I’ll have to drag you, beat you, and knock you unconscious. Then brainwash you when you wake up into being my personal slave for the rest of your embarrassingly pointless life.”
“Oh yeah? How much you wanna bet?”
“Pfft. The day that happens is the day hell freezes over.”
“Better put your sweater on, love. It’s about to get chilly.”
“Oh, how cliché can you – Ooohahhff! Fucking put me down, Wood! I’ll kill you! I swear!” The bastard had thrown me over his shoulder and carried me through the castle. I looked and felt like the village idiot, caught again to be put back in the hell hole, conveniently called The Pitch.
Throughout the corridors and halls I squirmed and punched as insufferably as I could manage to infuriate the prat but his grip constantly tightened. I even told him I had to pee.
“Save it for the pitch, Williams.”
“No, your determination to bail out of practice. Now shut the fuck up, this isn’t a stroll in the park for me either.”
“Then what is it like?”
“A long walk of a short bridge.” Yeah, I just had to ask, didn’t I?
“Oi! Nice catch, Wood. Finally reeled her in, eh?” George chuckled as I was heaved off the Captain’s shoulder.
“The rest of you are off for the night. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Wood waved them off, rubbing his arms in the process.
“Are you serious? I get carried all the -”
“Carried?” He snorted lightly, “Williams, that’s called heavy lifting.”
“Sorry Andy, there’s no stopping him. We even told him the Wicked Witch bit.” Angie interrupted; of course she didn’t want to deal with any squabbling before leaving the pitch....
“Next time, tell him I died.”
“Alright, sheesh.” She held her hand defensively in the arm, as if that could accumulate her.
“Don’t be too hard!”
“Use protection!” Sadly, my only expectation of saving walked away with no more than stupid, mordant comments. As if I deserved this.
Normally I would have had some smart-ass remark to shout back, or a hand gesture to give, but with the glare Wood was giving me, I felt it best to keep my mouth shut. That, and it was freezing cold.
Yeah, those shorts I had worn for dance? Still on my butt. That tank top? Still on too. And I only had an old pair of Chucks to envelop my feet which couldn’t retain heat with warming charms.
“I don’t have a broom.”
“You can use mine.”
“You can use mine.”
“You’re kidding, right? Mommy dearest hasn’t been here to do your laundry, and I could never fit!”
“You’ll have to deal. My spare one is already on the pitch. I’ll be watching your entire practice. We’ll begin with four laps, and then Snitch timing.”
“No. Get changed now.” This was stupid. outrageous. He was trying to prove a point and he was succeeding.
Williams: 0 (I won’t degrade myself with negative scores)
Wood leered as he jogged up the many steps to the arena, but he was probably grinning from where I was standing. A small trickle of rain began to fall from the sky in a pretentiously steady rhythm; even Mother Nature was in on this charade called practice.
I grunted as his damp slacks pulled and stuck to my stripped thighs. Great, I could already feel a rash coming on. His top even yanked my hair out my ponytail as I struggled to fit my head through the neck. Dooms Day hadn’t even started and I was sweating.
I had one leg over his broom before he shouted something. Wood’s booming voice seemed like a drowned out undertone in the wind.
“Oi, Williams! I don’t think I said anything about flying those laps!”
No flying? That meant running. Which meant sore throat and lungs for the next hour. Running four kilometers (roughly eight miles) straight wasn’t exactly the kind of thing I had in mind.
"That means get your ass off my broom, Williams! You’re going to be out here till midnight if you keep up this pace!”
Huh! He should be grateful that this piece of ass even touched his broom. Not like anything better did…
I threw one leg lightly on the ground; a bit too quickly as my body would later tell me – I slipped on the wet grass, falling backwards over the boom head first in the mud. And even if he wasn’t laughing then and there, Wood’s bitter chuckle rang mockingly through my ears. And it was all I heard when I ran.
Even the light drizzle turned into a harder, colder shower his voice was inside me. I was never going to be good enough for anything in his eyes; not a Seeker, not a student, and definitely not a girl. Everything I strived to be was just another thing for him to stamp on.
So I would have to better myself; prove him wrong by being the one thing I knew I could be no matter what: a girl. The girliest girl he’d ever meet at that. I’d even do that foofy eye sparkle stuff! That’d show the git. This Operation was to go to full effect no matter what– I couldn’t hold myself back anymore. My secret agents would have to go all James Bond on me; upgrade my femininity to unknown levels.
But what would happen afterwards? Would Wood find me attractive? Wait; what the hell did I care? The only bonus to his existence was looks; his brain and mouth wouldn’t match them. And I could never crush-on the idiot, right now we weren’t even mates so how in Merlin’s name could I jump that bridge to head over heels for him? It’s psychologically impossible; let alone unlikely. Peoples’ emotions don’t fly around that.
Great, now I’m mad at myself for not responding. Awesome. Le sigh. But …Katie did it – she was more wishy-washy on boys than panties in the wash! What did irk me, along with Alicia and Angelina, was how she would always make up a stop in her ever busy schedule for darling Lee. Though, most of their time was spent in the library, the pair was normally tight at the hip when it came to the ins and outs of each other’s lives.
No one ever spoke of the two though, at least, of them getting together. If they were, Lee sure didn’t mind Kat’s mid-corridor snog sessions. But aren’t boys typically jealous about those things? So surely they weren’t…dating. Even in my mind, the word stumbled about.
Dating…were Wood and Victoria still at it?
I glanced up at the stadium. The sky had darkened and the rain began to pour harder, causing a temporary blindness for anything less than five feet away. I couldn’t even see the thing I tripped over into the mix of grass and mud. The last thing I felt was my head throbbing in such an immense pain I couldn’t speak or…
“Aw, fuck. Williams! Your head! Damnit; sodding klutz…Williams? You awake?” He twisted my body, rain entered my open mouth, cold and unwelcome. “Come on, Andy, at least try to do something. You’re not helping yourself, here. Fuck, walk a bit, eh?”
“Out of all the things your bloody mouth can throw out…Ollie.” He grunted, continuing, “You haven’t called me that in years. Is this some freak thing ‘cause o’ your head? Oi! Keep talking, Williams. Stay awake till you see the nurse.”
“Shut up. My head’s a bleedin’ and all you can do…” Right now I was in a proverbial state of vertigo.
Focus....everything was not coming to focus. My legs fell from beneath; he slumped forward, barley catching me.
“Come on, Andy. Promise me, stay awake, okay? We’re almost there.” I blinked again and was still greeted with blurry vision. His voice was urgent, muffled; it
“I think she has a concussion, Madame.”
“Oh! Merlin! Take her to the nearest bed, I’ll meet you there, let me grab some…” Her voice wandered, or maybe I stopped listening. I didn’t care; in fact, I knew I had stopped caring a while ago. I was just so damn tired, and the bed of a lot softer than my rescuer…ha, Wood; my knight in tin foil.
“Miranda? Wake up, sweet. I’ve owled your mother and father.” The old woman’s cold dry hand pressed my forehead. A headache instantly exploded in the cage called my brain.
“Oliver has been kind enough to sit with you this whole time – waiting for the spell and medicine to kick in. Well, he was anyway. Poor boy, four hours is a long to wait.”
I sat up, taking I the walls of white with each blink. Light dots blocked bits and pieces of the room, of Madame’s face, of Wood in the doorway, Frank behind him.
My voice box was broken; a dull, rustic squeak was the only thing to escape past my lips.
“Your mum’s sorry she couldn’t make it, cupcake,” his weight sunk the old cot, “Jake had a football game she couldn’t miss. She knew you were okay though.” Frank winked and tapped my foot.
“Just be careful of those stray quaffles lying around on the pitch, eh? Can’t be missing any more lunch breaks to assure Sarah that you’re alright – today was Asian day too.”
“I’m sure you can get egg rolls at home, Frank.” ‘Egg rolls’ came out in an unruly soprano pitch as spit slithered down my throat.
“Oi! True. Forgot about Thai-Chow’s,” He smirked, “You coming home for holidays?”
I shrugged and shook my head, Frank frowned; his raised, greying brows deepened his receding hairline.
“Well, I’ll see you soon, Andy. And please write more often. Jake wants to know when your next match is.”
“Saturday, Mr. Harper.” My voice box was eagerly replaced by Wood’s accented baritone. He was no longer my knight in tin foil, but a walking planner – shouting out my schedule in plastered doorways. His dark clothing stood out against the death-white walls of the nursing wing; sweat still dampened his looks as his eyes locked within. They were hazel now, unreadable, boring straight into my own ocean eyes, though at the moment, mine must’ve seemed like a small puddle compared to his own.
You read about the eyes of a tiger: how they stare their prey down into a daze until they pounce, breaking contact, giving the victim mere seconds to run before attack. Even looking away, I knew our contact wouldn’t break until Frank left. The attack would consist of a lecture, scolding if you will, about how a Seeker should be able to see a huge, forgotten Quaffle half buried on the side of the pitch.
Franked nodded, a problem with that already brewed into his mind, “Jake has a match that day, owl us when the tournament comes around, eh?”
I looked away, suddenly finding the empty bed beside me more interesting than the two in front of me.
“Bye Frank, give my best to Mom and Jake.”
“Always, cupcake,” he gave me a swift kiss on the cheek, shaking Wood’s hand before leaving for Hogsmeade.
The lost weight at the end of my cot was replaced with Wood’s, I could feel that stare still on me, trying to meet my eyes, at least, maybe I hoped that’s what he was doing.
Ignoring him, I kicked the old sheets remaining on the bed (careful not to touch him in the process), and reached for the lost sock on the floor.
“I’ll get it, knowing you; you’ll fall over and get another concussion.”
“Yeah, yeah. Whatever.” Heat rose to my face; he tossed the sock over his shoulder, grabbing my shoes from underneath the cot.
“Listen, Williams…Andy,” He began to untie my laces; my feet sung back and forth over the floor, I could smell the leather and sweat in the air. His hand barely graced my thigh as he fumbled with the doubled knot.
“You know, at first, I thought you were lying on the pitch, doing something to piss me off. I was ready to strangle you, let me say, but when I saw the blood…” His large fingers fumbled with the knot, almost tearing the thin lace.
He suddenly grew into an anxious silence. The only thing I could hear was my heart beating ferociously in my ears.
“You know what,” His demeanor changed in an instant, from one of small weakness to glorified anger, “Just watch where your fucking going and we won’t have to deal with this. You could’ve caused us the game, Williams. Maybe you should start to think about that next time you decided to skip practice.” And with that she threw my shoe into Madame’s office door, the rubber sole creating a loud thus among the hollowed corridor, followed by his equally loud boots rhythmically stomping on the tile, leaving me alone in that horridly white room.
Madame Pomphrey briskly opened her door, causing my shoe to be swept under a nearby chair. She scurried to my bedside, her cold, grandmotherly hand wiping my forehead, - an automatic gesture due to years of nursing under the belt. And right then and there, I wanted a fever, a horrible, blistering fever; anything to not make me go back to the Tower.
“Miss Miranda! What on Earth made that ungodly racket? If you wanted anything at all, please call; no more throwing things at the office door,” I nodded, my cheeks faded to a pink hue; I suddenly grew interest with a free strand of hair. My pony tail was loose, damp, and frizzing, sticking irritatingly to my neck and face.
As she handed my lost item to me, she gave me another warning about being careful on the pitch, and that I should probably skip school tomorrow – which would gladly be excused, of course. And I also shouldn’t stand up too quickly as well, for fear of the potion coming back for a visit.
I nodded, gathering my things and leading my way down the abandoned corridors to the Tower. It must be pretty late…not even Filch is wandering about. The lantern candles flickered violently against the aged stone, casting anonymous shadows of mice and spiders. The suits of armor didn’t even creek, they too must’ve been sleeping.
I shouldn’t have just let him leave like that. I should’ve said some witty, or just as horrible back. Maybe then I wouldn’t be feeling like a kicked pup with my tail between my legs.
“Yeah, well, Victoria’s been snogging Western behind your back for two weeks in the second floor broom closet during practice!”
“Really? I thought it was in the spare class fourth floor.” The voice creaked with rust. I turned, almost too quickly, instantly having to steady myself before looking for the speaker. A lone knight stood one step away from the row, staring oddly, if enchanted armor could stare. And even though I knew the knights were friendly, in the dim, candle lighting, an eerie glow was cast upon him and the others beside him.
“Yeah, I thought the latter would be a bit more dramatic…”
“Well, I doubt the poor lad needs that right now; you should’ve seen him stomping through here not ten minutes past. His aura seems red with anger though slightly dimmed with blue, I think.”
Was this guy serious? Please tell me he wasn’t killed for this.
“As a matter of fact, I wasn’t. I died in Crusades if you must know; killed by a lowly Moor in battle. But as a knight in this castle, I can only see one’s aura instead of their human features before the blurred backdrop of stone and magic.”
“Blue-grey? Pink? For such a sarcastic child, I would not gather embarrassment to be a feeling one would possess.”
“I’m not embarrassed. There’s nothing to be-”
“You too are quick to the temper, eh?” At this he chuckled, muttering something to his sleeping friend before regaining his place among the many metal men.
With an unlady-like hand gesture, I continued my way to the Tower, finally meeting with the sleeping Fat Lady, a wine goblet dripped violet-red liquor into a small puddle near to chair. The paintings must’ve had another wine tasting…
Drowsily, one eyelid lifted as she placed a small, plump hand over her mouth as o fight a yawn. The door opened slowly and soundless; this time I was greeted by the dying coals of the Common Room fire. My muscles ached and boned cracked as I made my way to bed. All three girls slept soundly upon my entering, dreaming of their own wistful wishes. I gave a small sigh as I pulled the comforter over myself.
Hey kiddies! Hope you enjoy this one! I'm trying to write as fast as possible and I really love your reviews! I get so amped when I read them.
And sorry dearest NV! I never really thought of it that way! So thank you for telling me!!
Love MaskedSiren (Sorry, again!!!!)
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