Chapter 6 : I'm Into Something Good
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She's the kind of girl who's not too shy
And I can tell I'm her kind of guy
She danced close to me like I hoped she would
Somethin' tells me I'm into something good
He turned, and saw Petula Cordingley waving at him. Molly and the other sixth-year girls were sitting together as always. He shot an apologetic glance at Reid and Dunstan, who waved to him and grinned, and then Arthur went to sit with the girls for the second day in a row.
They smiled at him and scooted over as he sat down next to Molly. She smiled at him, and the other girls giggled. Arthur felt his ears turn a little red.
“Good morning, ladies,” he said bravely.
“Morning, Arthur,” they chorused back, and Hattie started giggling again.
He picked up a sausage and bit into it, trying to look nonchalant.
Petula immediately started in on their new Defence teacher, complaining about the amount of homework they’d been set the previous day and her lack of expertise in the subject. This was clearly a recurring rant with her, as the other girls continued to eat without paying her much attention. “I can’t even cast a nonverbal shield charm,” she ended in a wail.
“I’m very glad I dropped that class after O.W.L.,” Siobhan said calmly, peeling a hard-boiled egg. “There’s something funny about us getting a new teacher every year, don’t you think?”
“It’s a conspiracy to make me fail that class,” Petula said gloomily. “Dumbledore must be out to get me.”
The girls fell silent as the mail arrived just then, and a large barn owl swooped down, landed in the middle of their table, and held out its leg to Molly. The letter it carried looked large, and the Gryffindor sixth-year girls winced sympathetically. Arthur figured this must be a letter from Molly’s parents about the love potion incident. He hated to think what his own mother would say if he’d used a love potion on a girl. His brother Bilius had been rather infamous in school for receiving at least two Howlers per month. And that was only the mischief he’d been caught at.
Hattie clucked softly. “Oh, go on, Molly. It’ll be all right.”
Molly opened the letter, looking aghast. It was two pages long, the writing on both sides of the page black and cramped with an occasional spot that was obviously written in all capital letters. She refolded it quickly after reading the first couple of lines and hid it in her bookbag, her face red.
“I’ll read that later,” she said in a high-pitched voice to Hattie, who nodded and patted her shoulder comfortingly.
“At least it’s not a Howler,” Cecilia opined philosophically as she loaded her fork with scrambled eggs. “My mum would’ve sent a Howler. Possibly two, per week, until she’d forgotten what I’d done, and my mum has an excellent memory. It’s the only reason I stay out of trouble at school.”
“That’s true, Molly,” Siobhan said bracingly. “You’re quite lucky not to have Cecilia’s mum.”
Cecilia shot her a dirty look.
Arthur hid a chuckle in a cough, and then stuffed a piece of toast in his mouth.
“Someone’s watching you, Cecilia,” Hattie noted as she buttered a piece of toast.
Cecilia glanced down the table and Reid was, indeed, staring at her. She flipped her dark hair over her shoulder with a careless hand and then leaned in to the girls, looking cross. “Ooh, that Reid Akins. He’s such an idiot.”
“You don’t like Reid?” Arthur asked mildly.
“Do you know what he did to me last year?” Cecilia demanded in outrage.
“The firecrackers were an accident, Cecilia,” Arthur pointed out. “He never meant to–”
“I don’t care what he meant to do,” Cecilia interrupted. “My eyebrows have never been the same. And my mum refuses to buy me another scarf, she says they’re a fire hazard. You hush up, Petula, it’s not funny.”
Petula was laughing so hard she started choking on her toast. Molly drew her wand and said, “Anapneo!” and Petula, eyes watering, nodded thanks and took a drink of her water, then broke into giggles again.
Arthur was trying not to laugh, and managed to say with a straight face, “Well, did he apologize to you?”
“Well, yes,” Cecilia admitted. “But he still bothers me. I get annoyed whenever I see him.”
Molly cleared her throat, obviously trying not to laugh herself, and put in, “Cecilia, you should be more charitable. He did say he was very sorry.”
“Oh, go read your fake Howler, Molly.” Cecilia scowled at her.
Petula burst into another gale of laughter.
“What did she say about me?” Reid demanded, setting his bookbag down on the desk next to Arthur with a loud thump.
Arthur looked up from his History of Magic textbook, glanced at the ghostly Professor Binns, who as usual didn’t seem to notice them, and said, “I thought you were going to ask out Gemma Folwell.”
“I am. Really. What did Cecilia say? I saw her looking at me at breakfast, so what did she say?”
Arthur eyed him warily. “Trust me, mate, you don’t want to know.”
“I knew it, she hates me.” Reid collapsed dramatically into his seat.
“Well, I tried to talk to her for you, but she’s not, erm… not ready to forgive you yet,” Arthur said diplomatically.
“All right then, that’s it, I’m through with Cecilia.” Reid slapped a hand on the table. “No more pining for her. She does look beautiful today, doesn’t she?”
Arthur grinned and shook his head at his friend. Reid was pathetic.
“No! Damn. I’m done with her, I swear. I’ll ask out one of the Hufflepuffs.” Reid sat still for a moment, and Arthur went back to his book. The classroom was nearly full now, Professor Binns looked ready to begin when Reid burst out, “Did she say she hates me, or did she–”
Arthur started to laugh.
He went straight to the Gryffindor common room after History of Magic, but Molly wasn’t there, so he gathered up his books for his next class and headed for the library, hoping to see her there.
There was no sign of her in the library either. Arthur considered going back to Gryffindor Tower to look for her again, but thought that might be bordering on stalking and decided to get some homework done instead. He’d see her at lunch, anyway.
He managed to concentrate long enough to get his homework nearly completed, but it took much more effort than it usually did, because he couldn’t stop thinking about the upcoming Hogsmeade weekend. He wanted to kiss Molly, and wondered if she would let him. She’d kissed him on the cheek, and they were spending a lot of time together now; she would probably let him kiss her. He wanted it to be perfect. She had to remember their first kiss forever. He was hoping if the Hogsmeade weekend went well, Molly would become his girlfriend. And then, he would marry her.
Wait, no, they had to finish Hogwarts first.
But someday… He forgot about his homework, propping his chin on one hand and staring off into space, imagining Molly as his wife. He could kiss her whenever he wanted to, tell her he loved her, and she’d say –
“Hello, Arthur,” Molly’s voice came from behind him.
Arthur jumped, knocking over his inkwell, and had to snatch up his homework to keep it out of the ink. Burning with embarrassment, he siphoned the ink off the table with his wand and tried to re-stack the books that had fallen as he fumbled to save his homework. He looked up then, and saw Hattie was with her, looking extremely amused. Molly was a little red herself, and tried to help him with the books, but that made him even clumsier with nerves, and he knocked a few books onto the floor. Molly stooped down to pick them up.
“I’m so sorry, we didn’t mean to startle you like that,” Molly was mumbling as she picked up the books.
“It’s quite all right, Molly, hello Hattie, quite all right, really…”
“What were you thinking about so intently, Arthur?” Hattie asked sweetly.
He turned bright red. He wasn’t about to tell them that he’d been picturing himself in his own home, with Molly on his lap in front of a roaring fire, kissing her. “Erm… Nothing, really. How was Potions?”
“Eventful,” Molly said.
“Gemma Folwell blew up her cauldron,” Hattie added brightly. “It turned Verena Mogford’s hair blue. The other Slytherins took her to the hospital wing, she was crying. It was brilliant.”
Arthur laughed. “Poor Gemma. Did she lose points for Hufflepuff?”
“No, she was crying too and Professor Slughorn told her to go to the bathroom and get a hold of herself.” Molly shook her head. “We didn’t learn a thing, though.”
“That’s true,” Hattie agreed, “but it was still a brilliant lesson.”
“Are you finished with your homework, Arthur? It’s lunchtime, we thought you might want to sit with us.” Molly gave him a shy smile.
“I’d love to.” He started to gather up his things.
Arthur sat at the Gryffindor table at lunch later that week with the sixth-year girls, eating shepherd’s pie and laughing with the girls, and enjoying being part of Molly’s circle. She smiled at him sweetly, occasionally giving him that indefinable gaze she had, and he wondered what she was thinking at those times. She was still a little unreadable to him, but he felt he knew her a lot better now, the real her, not just the surface things he’d already known about her from five years of shared classes, and he loved her even more.
Her friends were very nice, too. Hattie was sweet, always looking out for Molly, and he’d learned from sitting with the girls that Hattie had been Molly’s accomplice in the love potion incident. Cecilia and Siobhan were both a little caustic but they obviously were very loyal to their friends. He was starting to get the feeling that Petula didn’t actually care about Muggle Studies, though. She obsessed continually over whether or not she’d pass all her N.E.W.T.s, and those weren’t until next year. Apparently she hadn’t done well in her O.W.L.s. She thought Muggle Studies was an easy class. It was a little disheartening for Arthur.
The girls all cared about each other a great deal, and they’d welcomed him into their little circle. He was quite pleased that he could get along well with her friends, and he thought they liked him. The girls were so close, he was sure getting on well with her friends would influence Molly in his favour. He felt a little guilty for spending each mealtime with them instead of with his own friends, but he thought his friends probably understood. They knew he’d fancied Molly for ages.
He couldn’t wait for their date tomorrow. His first official date with Molly Prewett.
Reid caught up with him as he was settling himself down in the library, preparing to write an essay on wizard-Muggle integration in Ancient Egypt for History of Magic. Arthur sighed, looking over the rims of his glasses at Reid, as he pulled books out of his bag, stacking them on the table next to him.
“You have to stop sitting with them,” Reid informed him. “It’s driving me mad. At least if you don’t know what she’s saying about me, I can pretend Cecilia’s secretly in love with me. Besides, Cosmo is wasting away without you.”
“Cosmo’s fine, and you need to find a nice girl and get over Cecilia,” Arthur told him easily. “She’s never going to go out with you.”
“Never say never. She will be mine,” Reid vowed. “Why aren’t you sitting with your mates? We’d never abandon you for a woman.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Arthur laughed. “You’d drop me like a hot potato if Cecilia so much as nodded at you, and Dunstan forgets all about us every time he has a girlfriend.”
“Well, you’re right,” Reid admitted, then added quickly, “but you could at least use your power for good and convince Cecilia to go out with me.”
Arthur heaved a loud sigh. “I’ll keep trying, but she can’t stand you, mate.”
“Thanks, Arthur, you’re a pal.” Reid leaned back in his seat, propping his feet up on the table.
Arthur shook his head, smiling, and bent over the desk to begin his essay. Reid was incorrigible.
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