Chapter 14 : Photographs
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"You know Ron would drop dead if he saw you like this, Hermione, " Amy said.
Jayla nodded her agreement and laughed when Hermione rolled her eyes. They were sitting on their dormitory floor, waiting for their freshly painted toenails to dry. They had already done facials and curled Hermione's hair into smooth waves.
"He wouldn't, " said Hermione.
"I bet he would, " Jayla said. This time it was Amy who nodded her head.
"Yes, he would!"
"Jayla - "
"Hey wait!" Amy shouted. "Why don't we go look for him and see?"
"That's ridiculous, " said Hermione, her face turning red. "I don't want to."
Jayla laughed. "Of course you do!"
Hermione flopped back against Jayla's wardrobe, which happened to be behind her. Her head banged loudly against one of the wooden doors, and it popped open. The package from Jayla's muggle friends, as well as an assortment of clothing, fell on top of Hermione's head.
Jayla and Amy couldn't help laughing as Hermione freed herself from Jayla's things. The pointe shoes had fallen straight into her lap.
"I'm so sorry Jayla - Oh! What are these?"
Jayla flushed. "Just, uh, a present, from my friends... pointe shoes."
Amy had crawled over to Hermione, and they were both inspecting the shoes with looks of awe on their faces.
"They're so pretty, Jay!" Amy exclaimed.
"Put them on, put them on, " Hermione demanded.
Jayla groaned and began to pull one on. "Okay, but don't think this is distracting me from you seeing Ron."
"Darn, " said Hermione with a smile on her face.
When both shoes were laced up, Jayla held her feet out in front of her friends faces. "There you are. That's all."
Neither of them said anything, so Jayla began to untie them.
"Wait, " said Amy. "Have you tried them out yet? We should go to the dance studio... no one will be there, right? You can test them out!"
Jayla sighed. "I guess so, but what about Ron?"
"Oh, we'll look for him on the way there, " Amy told her with a sideways wink at Hermione, who groaned and flopped on the floor.
Jayla rolled her eyes again and placed the pointe shoes carefully in her dance bag. She got up and walked to the door.
"You two coming?"
Amy got up and started to follow Jayla, but Hermione didn't.
"I don't know what to say to him, " she said with a nervous look on her face.
Amy bent down in front of her with a smile. "What, have you forgotten how to say 'hello'? I thought Hermione Granger was the smartest witch in our year!"
She extended her hand to help Hermione up, and the three girls headed out the door.
* * * * *
Draco sighed. He had been sitting at a table in the library for the past hour, staring at his pathetic start of an essay and wondering what to do with himself. He was completely distracted by his thoughts. He couldn't stop thinking about how great the day would have been had he spent it with Jayla. Right now, they could have been sitting together outside, under the trees. Well, maybe not, because it looked like it was going to rain, but earlier in the day it had been lovley.
He sighed and ripped his eyes away from the incomplete sentence he had been reading over and over again:
"The main reason for the goblin riots of 1876 were "
He was never going to be able to finish the essay. That much he knew. So he rolled it up, stowed it in his bag, and got up from his seat.
A group of girls passed the open library doors, laughing loudly. Draco recognized the voices.
* * * * *
"Did you see the look on his face?" Amy asked, shrieking with laughter.
"No! I was too busy turning round and walking away with casual grace just like you told me, Amy!"
"Well you could have looked for one second at his face, Hermione!"
"He was stunned!" Jayla put in.
Hermione's face fell. "Did someone stupefy him?"
"No, stupid! He was looking at you!" Amy told her.
"Oh, stop it. He didn't notice a thing, " said Hermione, trying to sound nonchalent, but she couldn't help grinning.
They hadn't had to look far for Ron - he was in the common room with Lavender - and when he looked at Hermione, Jayla figured out his feelings immediately. He was absolutley smitten.
It made Jayla think of Draco, and wonder what would have happened if she'd spent the day with him.
* * * * *
Draco peered out the library door. The three girls were turned around, but he recognized that head of curly black hair. He started to follow them. After all, he was willing to take the long way round to his common room. He needed the exercise.
Merlin, they talked loudly. And who was that girl in the middle? It should have been Granger. It could have been if it wasn't for the hair. No way Granger's could ever be that shiny or smooth.
They were walking down a stairway now. He was careful to stay pretty far behind so they wouldn't notice him, and it was easy, seeing as they were talking loud enough to cover any noises that might have given him away. They were leading him in the direction of the dance studio - that was probably where they were going.
He stopped walking when they turned a corner. He peered around it and watched them. Yep, he was right. they headed into the dance studio and closed the door behind them. He crept over to the door and crouched beneath it, waiting for a moment that felt right to sneak a look through the window.
* * * * *
Jayla slipped off her black flats and sat down on the floor to put on her pointe shoes. Hermione and Amy wandered over to the piano in the corner of the room and began to press keys at random. Jayla stretched her legs by bending towards the ground and placing her hands flat on the floor. then she stood up and did a couple of shoulder rolls. She looked at Amy and Hermione and laughed.
"I don't know what you two expect me to do," she said.
"Something amazing!" Amy said excitedly.
Jayla went over the the barre and began to do a few rises. Up, down, up, down, up, down... she switched from her feet being flat on the floor to standing just on her toes, or, en pointe.
"Does that hurt?" asked Hermione.
"Kind of," answered Jayla. It was a good sort of pain, though.
"Do some sort of jump, like," Amy demanded, "The one where you do the splits in the air."
Jayla laughed. "Kay, I'll try." She walked over to one end of the room and prepared herself for a running leap.
* * * * *
Draco finally chanced himself a look at the girls. He positioned himself so as little of his head was showing through the tiny window in the door as possible. Jayla was standing on one end of the room, facing him but not looking at him. She looked like she was concentrating on something else.
He was about to knock when Jayla suddenly began to sprint across the floor, towards the door - towards him. He didn't even have time to consider hiding his face because then she was in the air, flying, and he couldn't stop watching.
It was like slow motion: She took off from the floor, her legs split apart, propelling her higher into the air, and her arms flew out gracefully at her side. It seemed to Draco like she was in the air for minutes, before landing elegantly, and laughing at something in a corner of the room Draco couldn't see.
As he watched, she took a small bow, smiling widely, and spun around happily. As she did, her eyes locked with his.
In a second she had flung the door open and was staring at him, crouched down beside the door with his hair falling into his face, looking like a child in trouble.
"Were...were you watching?" She looked strange, standing there in her school uniform and ballet shoes. The Gryffindor emblem on her sweater seemed to shine brighter than usual.
He gulped. "Yes, ma'am."
Jayla laughed. "Hell... you could've knocked!"
"I was going to," Draco said quietly. "But then you jumped... and I was watching."
She sighed. "Well, you might as well come in."
He followed her as she led him into the studio. Inside, staring at him, was Amy Evans and Hermione Granger - her hair soft and wavy... and shiny. Draco couldn't hide his surprise.
"What'd you do to her hair?" he asked with wide eyes.
"It's a secret," said Jayla.
Amy and Hermione exchanged a look. "We should go," Amy started.
"No. You haven't tried on the shoes yet!"
Her friends smiled as Jayla pulled off the shoes. "Who wants to go first?"
* * * *
Amy and Hermione, who had both tried on the pointe shoes, seemed to have a new appreciation for dancing. They both kept telling Jayla how strong her feet must be, how they could never do anything on their toes like that, let alone dance gracefully.
It felt nice to be admired - even though Jayla brushed it off slightly, she felt happy when her friends complimented her dancing. She kept repeating that your feet got used to the shoes, they didn't hurt after a while. She failed to mention the hours she'd walked around her house in her old shoes, wearing them out, molding them to her feet, making them comfortable. She'd have to do the same to the new ones.
Even Draco, whose feet were way too big to put on the shoes, admitted that he'd never be able to do it. As Amy, Hermione, and Jayla walked back to their common room, he followed them. When they passed by the second stairwell that would have led down to the dungeons, Amy said something.
"Are you not going to your common room, Malfoy?"
"You know, I think I'd like to see yours. I haven't been in it since ... second year, I think it was."
Amy and Hermione laughed, thinking he was joking. Jayla however, knew he was being serious.
"Draco, there's lots of people in there right now... they'd go barmy if they saw you."
"Well then, you can show me your dormitory... there won't be anyone else in there, will there be?"
Amy and Hermione stopped laughing.
Jayla snorted. "You're funny," she said sarcastically.
"Lavender's in there," said Hermione.
"Yeah," Amy agreed, as if that would stop Draco.
"Oooohhh, Lavender... I'm so scared." He laughed at his own joke. "Come on... I'm sure you can sneak me in easily."
"Guys can't even get into the girl's dorms, though," said Hermione.
Draco stared at her. "What, have you been trying to sneak Weasley in?"
Jayla punched his arm. "Shut up, Draco... she's right... I forgot about that."
Draco rolled his eyes. "There's a way to get around it, you know."
All three girls eyed him wearily.
"How would you know?" asked Amy.
He ignored her. "Guys can get up there as long as a girl guides them up, and their wands are touching."
"I think he's lying," Hermione said, looking confused. "That's way too simple."
"Nah, it works," Draco said stubbornly. "So can I go see yours?"
The three girls exchanged glances. It was Amy who eventually answered.
"Just for a minute," she told him. Jayla turned away and smiled to herself.
* * * * *
"So this is where you lot sleep," said Draco. "It's so... clean."
"Not really," said Jayla. She pointed to the corner of the room where her wardrobe had spilled. "Look."
He walked over to the pile of stuff and began to pick through it.
"Hey!" Jayla panicked - there could be anything in that pile. Her diary, smelly dance clothes, tampons, underwear... dirty underwear, even!
She leaped across the room and attempted to scoop up all the stuff and push it back into her wardrobe. Amy flopped down on her bed while Hermione, laughing, jumped over and tried to help Jayla.
Unfortunately, Draco was strong. He managed to work a thick black book out of the pile. He held it above his head, out of the girl's reach, smirking.
"Give it back!" Jayla shouted.
"Hey, Jayla, is that what I think it is?" Amy asked.
Draco's smirk widened. "Merlin, that sounds like something important."
"I dunno, Jayla."
"Ugh, I'll let you see it, just give it back, please!" She jumped up and took a final swipe at the book, scratching Draco's arm.
"Ow! Bloody hell, don't sever my arm, off!" Draco handed the book down to Jayla.
Hermione only just managed to get a glimpse of the cover before Jayla hugged the book into her chest, looking stressed.
"Why does it say 'Molly' on it?" she asked.
"That's her middle name," said Draco in a condescending tone.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Yes, I know. But why doesn't it say Jayla on it?"
"It's because Molly is my Hebrew name, and someone gave me the book for Channukkah," said Jayla.
"You're Jewish?" Hermione asked.
Jayla paused. "I guess so, technically... but I don't really believe in any of it... you know."
No one said anything.
"Anyways, it's just a photo album... I guess you can look at it now, Draco."
"Thanks," he said, taking the book from her. He sat down on the closest bed and opened it up. Jayla and Hermione sat on either side of him, and Amy stayed on her bed.
Draco stared at the photo in front of him, wondering why the people in it stayed so still. Then he realized - they were muggle pictures.The first was a family portrait, but Draco didn't see Jayla. "Is this your family?"
Jayla laughed. "Of course it is... I wouldn't have someone else's family portrait, would I?" She pointed at the picture, at a woman who looked a lot like Jayla. "That's my mum."
Hermione smiled. "You look alot like her... except you'd be kind of a stretched out version. And your skin's darker."
"Yeah, my mum's pale as anything," Jayla laughed.
Draco studied the picture. Granger's comment was very accurate. Jayla looked just like her mum, except taller and skinnier... much skinnier. He pointed to the man in the picture. "That's your dad?"
"Yeah... this was before they got divorced."
Jayla's father was, corny as it sounds, tall, dark, and handsome. His skin was an even light brown colour, his eyes and hair were black, and he looked slightly foreign, with high cheekbones and sharp features.
"Isn't her dad attractive?" Amy commented from across the room. Everyone laughed, but it was true.
"Where's he from?" Draco aksed.
"Australia... same as me... but his family is Lebanese."
"Is that Jasmine?" Hermione asked, pointing to the bigger child in the photo, who had straight dark hair and the sharp features of her dad. She looked very bored.
"Yeah. And that's me beside her," Jayla answered, blushing.
Jayla looked about four or five in the picture, Draco thought. She was a beautiful kid, with her dark curly hair and huge round eyes. She seemed to have inherited her father's brownish, olive skin and high cheekbones.
"You're so cute!" Hermione smiled at Jayla.
The next picture showed Jayla, still around 5 years old, jumping into a huge puddle of mud. She wore a bright yellow dress, purple rain boots, and a huge smile. She held a red umbrella. The camera had captured mud specks flying through the air, towards the camera and landing all over Jayla.
The photo beside that one showed Jayla again as a young child, this time making a supermodel-esque pose. She wore a long red dress a million sizes too big, a large white hat, black high heels meant for an adult, and dark lipstick. She puckered her lips at the camera and had her already large eyes opened so wide that they seemed to take up most of her face. Her father crouched behind her, smiling affectionately. There were a few more shots of Jayla as a child: eating ice cream, sitting on a swing set, playing in a sandbox with her sister.
Draco turned the page. The next picture was another professional looking shot. It showed a group of about 10 small girls in dance outfits, holding a variety of elaborate poses for the camera. Draco spotted Jayla quickly. She was off to the left of the group, standing on one leg with the other straight out to her side, one arm curved up gracefully.
"How long did you have to hold your leg like that?" he asked.
"I really don't remember... I was like, seven or something. A while, I guess."
Then there was another dance picture, similar to the first one, but the girls were much older, and there was only 6 of them. Jayla didn't look much different in the picture than she did presently, so it must have been recent.
"Those dance pictures are so nice," said Hermione.
Jayla smiled. "Yeah. They are."
When Draco turned the page again, Jayla gave an embarrassed groan. The page was covered in three photos: of a girl in tiny dance shorts and a flowy tank top, dancing on stage. In one picture she was in the air with her legs split apart, in the next she looked as if caught in mid-pirouette, in the next she stood on one foot with a leg straight out behind her, arms outstretched to the sky.
"That looks like how you jumped this afternoon," said Hermione. "Is that a friend or something?"
Jayla furrowed her brow. "No. It's not a friend."
It was only then that it registered in Draco's brain that the girl in the picture was actually Jayla. He squinted at it, looking at the girl's face. It was definitely Jayla, but there was something off.
"It is you, isn't it?" he asked.
"Yes," said Jayla.
Hermione blushed. "Sorry, I didn't even recognize you. I'm so embarrassed."
Jayla smiled. "It's fine, Hermione."
Draco knew what was so off, why Hermione hadn't recogized her. The girl leaping across the stage in the picture looked much... heavier than Jayla. Whereas the present day Jayla was thin and almost skeletal, the girl in the picture had actualy muscle mass. She wasn't fat, but you couldn't see any of her bones through her skin. Instead, you saw all the muscles in her arms and legs, working hard to dance.
Jayla reached over and turned the page, and Draco began to wonder what had happened to Jayla's average sized body of the past.
The next picture was of Jayla and her sister in front of a dark backdrop, looking as if they were in the middle of a conversation.
"That picture was an accident," Jayla said. We went for another family portrait, but my mum wasn't ready, so me and Jasmine were waiting for her. The photographer accidentally took a picture of us in the middle of talking, but my mum loved the way it turned out, so she bought it." She turned the page again. "This next picture is the real portrait."
It was similar to the first one in the book, but everyone was older, and Jayla's father wasn't there. Jasmine and Jayla's mum stood side by side, Jayla sat on a stool in front of them. They were all smiling genuinely.
Jayla's sister had even harsher features than she had had as a child. Her jaw was pronouncely square, her nose ruler straight, her cheekbones even higher than Jayla's. Her dark hair fell pin straight against her face, parted on one side, covering part of her face. Her dark, oval eyes were narrowed at the camera, though she wore a small smile on her face.
"I love this picture of Jas," said Jayla. "It's exactly as she is. Happy but suspicious. See how she's looking at the camera?"
Hermione nodded. "She has very interesting features," she said.
Jayla smiled. "I know, doesn't she? She hates most of them, though."
Draco stared at Jayla's sister. She was pretty in a harsh, alien sort of way, but not compared to Jayla, who had much softer, more classical features. Jayla's hair curled around her face, complimenting her bright, round eyes and high cheekbones. Her jawline was only slightly square, and she smiled right at the camera. She looked thinner than in the dance picture, but not as thin as herself now.
Jayla's mother was a bit short, with the same round eyes as Jayla, a weak chin, pale skin. Her hair was dark brown, but looked light compared to Jayla's and Jasmine's. She had given Jayla her mouth, and general expression. She looked very young.
Draco turned to the next photo. It was a picture of Jayla, and Jasmine, sitting on a dark red couch, staring at something beyond the camera. Jayla held a grey cat in her arms.
"That's Tom!" she said happily.
"Did you bring him to Hogwarts?" Draco asked, looking around the room.
"No," said Jayla. "He doesn't really like new places."
Then there was another picture of Jayla and Jasmine. They were on a beach, running through ankle deep water, so blue that it must have been the ocean. They wore bathing suits, and Jasmine appeared to be chasing Jayla. Jayla was almost as skinny in the picture as she was sitting beside Draco on the bed. Water splashed around them and they both looked like they were laughing.
"That was in Australia," Jayla said. "We're happier there."
"Who?" Draco asked.
"Jasmine, especially... but also my mum. I don't know if I'm happier there. But I know I like the sun... England is so rainy and grey all the time." She sighed. "My dad lives there."
"So you must go there often," Draco said.
Jayla laughed. "Are you kidding? Less than once a year."
"Oh." Draco turned the page awkwardly, hoping the conversation would become more positive.
The next pictures showed a slightly stocky man with a receding hairline, green eyes, and a kind look. He stood beside Jayla's mother, who was pregnant and smiling widely.
"That's my mum's boyfriend, Ian. Ex-boyfriend, I mean."
The next photo showed Ian, Jayla, and Jasmine gathered around a hospital bed, which held Jayla's mother. In her arms was a tiny baby.
"And that's Riley," she said.
"I didn't know your brother was a baby!" Draco exclaimed.
"I think I did, but I forgot," Hermione said. "He's so cute, Jay."
There were a few more pictures of Riley the baby, then the atmosphere changed. Jayla and Jasmine were dressed formally, lighting a candelabra together.
"Channukkah?" Hermione asked.
"Yup. The one before the one where I got this photo album."
Then there was a shot of Jayla and three other girls, all sitting on Santa's lap. Jayla laughed.
"I forgot about that picture!"
"Um," said Draco.
"We were at the mall in December, when school was off, so of course there was a Santa Claus... we decided to sit on his lap for fun, get our picture taken." She pointed to the other girls. One of them had very dark skin. "That's Charlotte. She took dancing with me for years." The next girl had dark brown hair and a shy smile. "That's Mackenzie... she didn't want to have her picture taken. And that's Kelsey." The last girl, who was very small, had long blonde hair and a wild look in her eyes.
"That looks like fun," Hermione said softly. Why didn't she have any friends outside of Hogwarts?
Draco was wondering the same thing. The girls in the picture all looked so happy. He found it discomforting the way the pictures were so still, just one fraction of a second, frozen onto the paper forever.
The next picture was of Jayla and Charlotte. The held hands, each balancing on one leg, the other straight up in the air. Their hair was pulled back into tight buns, they wore identical silver dresses, and their faces were extremely made up. They had bright pink circles of blush on their cheeks, bright blue eye shadow, and had black lines drawn around their eyes, giving them the appearance of having very long eyelashes. They had bright red lipstick painted only in the centre of their mouths, making them look very small. They were looking at the camera playfully, their eyes opened wide and their mouths pinched tight, supressing obvious laughter.
"You look like dolls!" Hermione said.
"Yeah, that was the theme of our dance."
"Looks good, dollface," Draco said with a smirk, turning the page.
Jayla sighed. "Haha. Very funny."
The very last picture was of Jayla's father. He stood in front of a wooden fence with his arm around a woman who looked suspiciously like Jayla's mother. They were both smiling. He was older than in other pictures: there were small wrinkles around his eyes and mouth. His dark hair was longish and falling into his eyes.
Jayla closed the book quickly without saying anything, and Amy stirred on her bed as if just waking up. "Are you done yet?" she asked.
"Yeah," said Jayla, taking the album and storing it back in her wardrobe, stroking the cover slightly.
"We'd better take Draco back out, then." Amy ran a hand through her hair. "Right?"
"Yes," said Hermione. "I'll go check to see who's in the common room." She left the room.
Amy looked at Draco and Jayla awkwardly. "I'll go with her," she said quickly, jumping out the door.
Neither said anything for a minute.
"Well, thanks for letting me look at the pictures," Draco said.
"It's fine," Jayla said. "I thought you'd be confused, since none of them move."
He laughed. "I kind of was. But I couldn't be bothered to say anything... I'd just look stupid."
"Not to me," said Jayla. She smiled at him. Then coughed. "My throat feels weird."
"Diddums," said Draco with a smirk. He leaned towards her slightly, just as Hermione poked her head in the door.
"The coast is clear," she said. "Let's go!"
Jayla and Draco follwed her out the door.
Thanks for reading!! (:
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