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Chapter 2 : Chapter 2- Ceremonies & Rosy Lips
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So now we stood in a hall, a huge cavernous hall. It wasn’t cold or intimidating, but it was awfully grand. Students flowed through a wide set of heavy oak doors which made way to a hall of some sort.
My face was impassive as I walked through, but underneath my skin my heart beat fast. It was all so big! My sole comfort was Jasper, but at the moment he seemed just as nervous and worried as me. I stole a glance at him as we walked uncertainly around. He was keeping his emotions well under check, but I knew how to see through them. We walked through the big doors and looked at the four tables before us. A swarm of students that barely came up to my shoulder walked passed. There were loads of students shorter than me here, but that was most likely the result of starting as a seventh year, I guessed.
The short students all walked over to one table together and sat down. They seemed to all be sitting in allocated groups. At this my stomach gave a nervous lurch. Jasper and I hadn’t been told what group to sit with. What if we didn’t fit into any, but more importantly and urgently, what if we weren’t together?
I shuddered at the thought.
“Jasper.” I muttered in his ear. “Where do we go?” But he, like me had no answers, so we slipped back out the door and stood against the wall, breathing deeply and trying in vain to calm ourselves.
My head snapped around with almost inhuman speed. This seemed to startle our guest for a moment, but after a while he seemed to conclude he’d imagined it. Jasper nudged my side gently in warning.
A tall, tan skinned boy stood before us. His threw us a pearly toothed grin before launching into his welcome. A shiny head boy badge gleamed on his chest.
“Er, yeah. Hi!” He said seeming flustered. He glanced at the sheet of paper in his and continued.
“Are you two Jasper and Tallulah Wiley?” He was looking slightly desperate. For all the charm he oozed, thin cracks were beginning to form. I thought he may have been searching for us for a while.
“Yes we are.”
The boy looked relieved. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere, but no one knows either of you.”
“We’re new students.” Jasper explained politely.
The boy grinned massively. “Well, at least I’ve found you now!” he said, “Before the sorting is started, Professor McGonagall would like to see you.”
I smiled at him. “Thank you…”
“Andrew.’ He offered. “Andrew Robson.” He winked here. I felt Jasper’s amusement.
“Right,” I said. “So, Andrew, where would we find the Professor?”
“Well, I’ll show you if you like.”
So he marched away back through the large oak doors and down a corridor to the right. Jasper and I followed wordlessly. At last we reached another hall, but smaller this time. Although I was not familiar with Hogwarts I thought we were somewhere off to the side of the Great Hall.
I was a little alarmed to find we were not alone.
There were at least two dozen, younger students flitting around us. It suddenly occurred to me that they were first years. Each wore an expression of hysteria, some just dead scared. It was almost comical, but I knew exactly how they felt.
Standing at the head of the group was a tall, severe looking witch. She wore dark, imperial blue robes with her dark hair pulled back in a tight bun. I felt a thrill of nerves run through my body. She seemed awfully stern.
Andrew Robson walked over to her and began to talk. She smiled thinly at him before marching right on over to Jasper and I.
“Hello,” She started crisply. “Welcome to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I’m Professor McGonagall.” She looked as though she might smile when both Jasper and I shook her hands.
“And you.” She continued, looking down at the same piece of paper Andrew had held. “You are Tallulah and Jasper Wiley.” We nodded and the professor looked at the paper once more. “Hm, now that all seems in order. So, you came here from Olydias Academy of the Magic Arts? Ah, a fine school I believe. In Romania is it not?” She did not wait for an answer however. “It says here you… you lived in England until you were three and then moved with your family to Romania, but you speak fluent English, yes?”
“Yes, ma’am.” Jasper answered, and I was surprised that he looked her directly in the eye. “We grew up in an English speaking home.” The professor nodded and looked down at the paper again.
“It also mentions that you were expelled from your previous school for… well… I’m sure you know that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated at Hogwarts.” She looked severely at us over the top of her glasses. I nodded embarrassedly, but met her stern gaze with my own fiery eyes. Her lips pursed. My expulsion was nothing I was proud of, but given the circumstances…at the time… it was fair…
“You will be sorted in no less than five minutes along with the first years. There are four houses at Hogwarts, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. Once you have been sorted you go to sit at your house table. Your house is like your family. Understand?”
I nodded, feeling brave enough to keep eye contact.
“The ceremony will begin soon; I suggest you er…straighten up.” Her eyes lingered on my rolled up sleeves and Jasper’s undone tie before she marched away.
I whipped around to face Jasper at once. His expression looked almost as troubled as mine.
“There’s a ceremony?” I gasped clinging to the stairway rail for support. The stone was cool under my burning skin. “Nobody ever said anything about a ceremony. No body said anything about these damn houses at all!” I slammed an angry fist into the wall.
A few first years looked over at me startled. I threw them an apologetic glance, even though they were the least of my worries right now.
Jasper breathed out deeply, running a pale hand through his hair in a tensely. I could hear him swearing under his breath. He closed his eyes, but they soon snapped back open.
“Oi! Does anyone know how you get sorted?”
I stared at him utterly bemused. It took me a while to realize he was talking to the new students. A dark skinned boy looked up at him, so obviously intimidated by Jasper, but answered nonetheless.
“Yeah, my brother Ryan says we have to fight dragons.”
There were multiple intakes of breath at this. Jasper and I were calm, however. For us this would have been a simple task. We tend to take dragon related things in our stride.
“No, no!” Another student protested. “Mum says all you have to do is wear an old hat.”
“An old hat?” The boy who had first spoken asked skeptically. “Yeah right. I say the very least we’ll have to do is throw around a few curses or something.”
For a moment I was relieved. I could do that. Curses were something I could do. Jasper looked appeased too. I was just about to open my mouth and thank the students for their help when Professor McGonagall walked back through the doors.
“We’re ready for you now.” Was all she said before sweeping away.
I followed the stream of first years as they went through the doors, the doors, I realized with a tremor of panic, which led to the great hall.
Every student in the school had their eyes fixed on us as we passed. Their bodies were swiveled around in their seats to get a clear view. Necks craned and some people even jostled with each other to get a better look.
Though I didn’t blush my skin burned. It burned with such intensity I was afraid my robes would catch alight by the heat.
I could hear the curious voices as I walked by. I tried to tune them out, I didn’t want to know if they were talking about me.
I tried to hold myself tall and keep a straight face. I didn’t want to seem afraid, I could be strong. Finally, we came to a halt and sat on the ground.
Professor McGonagall placed a rickety stool in the middle of the upraised platform; on it sat a shabby old hat. So the little girl had been right. Through my lashes I could see ‘Ryan’s brother’ looked very uncomfortable indeed.
The professor now held a longer roll of parchment, and after drawing a deep breath, read the first name.
“Brooks, Adam.” A pale-haired boy who was shaking so badly it appeared he could barely stand wobbled across to the stool. He sat on it at once, though it still looked like he may topple off at minute, and jammed the hat onto his head.
For a moment nothing happened, and then to my shock a rip appeared on the hat, working as a mouth.
“Gryffindor!” He shouted and the house applauded wildly, rising to greet their newest member.
After this I was too calmed to take any notice of what happened next. Perhaps I should have paid attention so it wouldn’t have come as such as shock when they called my name, but my body too was numb with relief to register.
I jerked wildly out of my reverie as Jasper rose fluidly to his feet. The buzz of gossip started up again, but by now I was strangely used to it. He threw me a nervous grin before making his way up to the stool.
I waited biting my nails as the hat deliberated. Then the moment came-
Jasper beam lopsidedly and loped over to the house that was cheering loudest. I also looked at the house. The students looked a little proud and cocky I thought, but overall kind, and intelligent. I noticed also, they all wore blue and bronze school ties.
McGonagall waited for the chatter to die down again before peering once more down at her list.
In one movement I was on my feet and striding carefully across to the professor. I tried to ignore the muttering around me. I focused on that bloody hat. All I had to do was shove it on my head and it’d be okay.
I sat on the stool before taking the hat in my hand and placing it over my head.
If I had been nervous when Jasper was getting sorted it was nothing compared to now. I was practically waiting for the hat to burst into flame. I was startled by the soft, oily voice I heard in my ear.
“Hmmm…another Wiley.” The hat mused. “A mind very like your brother’s I see, more tenacious and reckless perhaps, not so at ease. But where to put you? Loyal to the core, but cunning and smart. Very, very smart. Where to put you?”
The hat argued with himself while I held my breath hardly daring to inhale. I could hear the blood pounding in my ears. A long last the rip appeared. My fingers cut into the wood of the stool, leaving marks I knew would be seen.
And I almost fainted with pleasure and shock. This was more than I had expected. Not only to be in a house with Jasper, but to be in a house I wanted. I was very pleased indeed. I skipped smoothly over to the Ravenclaw table. My eyes searched for Jasper while people slapped me on the back and shook my hands. At last I found him and slid into the seat beside him receiving a brotherly hug.
We waited in silence for the very last few students to be sorted, joining in the cheering when Zaff, Matthew became a new Ravenclaw.
I could still feel the curious stares around me. I dearly hoped that no body would be game enough to question us. I didn’t think I’d take too kindly to it.
“Mmm…I’m starved.” Jasper said besides me, starting longingly down at his plate. A few students seemed to be thinking along the same lines as Albus Dumbledore stood before the school.
His long silver beard twinkled in the candlelight, and his half-moon glasses gleamed. Behind the specs I could see two glittering, blue eyes. I liked Dumbledore already.
“Welcome, welcome,” He boomed “to another year at Hogwarts. I hope this year will be as enjoyable as previous years have been. Now that you have all been sorted…” He paused for emphasis. “Let the feast begin!”
I heard the gasps of new students around me and chuckles of older ones around as the golden dinnerware filled with food. I barely managed to contain my own amazement.
In the middle of each table, where empty plates and pitchers had sat only seconds before, rested plates of some of the most lavish food I had ever seen. It was certainly an elaborate selection. There must’ve been at least ten different types of carrots alone.
I cast an amused sideway glance at Jasper who was already helping himself to some roast lamb. He didn’t seem as surprised as I was, just hungry.
I filled my plate with everything within reach and waited for the night to pass.
The feast had been interesting, to say the least.
The food was superb and surroundings were pleasant. With Jasper as my company dinner had been almost bearable. This is, until I saw him again.
I had finished dinner and was now sitting with my elbows resting on the table and my head in my hands. Around me people chatted and I listened in on their conversations. I didn’t have to strain to make out distinct sounds. Hearing was another thing that I found easy.
There was a group of girls sitting not far from me. I could tell they were younger by far, maybe second or third years. One was sitting with her back to me, the other in my direction, her wistful eyes on Jasper.
“Honestly Jamie!” The one facing away from me was saying. “He’s been at the school three hours and you’re already pining after him.” Her tone was scolding.
Jamie rolled her eyes. “Like I don’t know that,” she groaned. “But he’s so hot.”
A smile tugged at the corner of my mouth and I whispered to Jasper that he had a new admirer. He had been eyeing a group of proud looking boys sitting near the end of the Ravenclaw table. His head now whipped around and he looked at the girl with appraising eyes. She blushed the deepest scarlet shade I’d ever seen and bent her head to gossip furiously with her friend.
“You shouldn’t have done that.” I murmured allowing disapproval to colour my tone. “Now she’ll think you’re considering her.” Jasper chuckled roughly.
“I know. I was listening to their conversation before.”
I scowled disdainfully at him before turning away.
I briefly scanned the other tables but no faces stood out besides an extremely pimply male youth and a girl with hair so long and red it could have been flames.
It was then, watching the girl’s hair shimmer and wave in the light that I saw him for the second time that night.
He was sitting across the table from her. His expression was haughty, bored and withdrawn. In one elegant hand he held a gold goblet, the other rested on the table where his fingers strummed impatiently. He murmured something low to his neighbor, a faintly attractive boy with floppy sandy blonde hair and tired blue eyes. The second boy nodded his head and said something about a snape, whatever that was.
I decided to watch him for a moment longer. He wasn’t amusing, not faintly interesting, just inhumanely, enchantingly beautiful.
His skin was creamy and pale, slightly flushed in the warmth of the hall. His eyes, I could make out even from a table away were steely grey and shaggy but sleek black locks coated his head. His mouth split into a small smile before his carved, rosy lips perfectly formed the words ‘Wiley girl’.
I was certain Jasper would hear my intake of breath, but even he was too preoccupied. The only one who seemed to notice was the beautiful boy.
His eyes flicked up and locked with mine. I current seemed to flow, for an instant, between us, connecting us in some unseen way.
My hot palms may well have singed the bench beneath me as I struggled to remain calm. He still did not look away. He merely looked bored; perhaps he couldn’t see that I was staring back. Either that or I just didn’t have any effect on the boy.
“Do you reckon he’d go out with me?” That was Jamie the Jasper-lover. I smiled.
And I did have an effect on this mysterious boy. His mouth dipped up at the corners before becoming a satisfied smirk. He turned his face slightly to whisper something to the boy with glasses on his other side. All the while his eyes never left my face.
This boy turned his head to and I listened to what they were saying. I was not watching the boy now, they were speaking very softly, but I could still hear above the babble.
“Who?” Said a husky voice that I could only assume belonged to the bespectacled boy. “The girl with the brown hair? Or is it black?” He paused for a moment deliberating with himself about what colour my hair was. I snorted out loud. This caught Jasper’s attention and I had to mutter an excuse before turning my attention back to them.
“Aha, that’s her.” Said a second voice, and I almost gasped. If there was any god, this voice would belong to the beautiful boy. It was low and silken, like honey. Softer and more attractive than any voice I had heard before.
“Hmmm…” The bespectacled boy sounded contented as he examined me.
However I knew that enough was enough. Romance had destroyed my life once, and it wouldn’t destroy it again. It was feeling full, warm and reckless in this hall, but I wasn’t feeling stupid. And encouraging the boy would be very stupid. I’d have to separate myself from people. That was what Jasper and I had agreed on; at least, that was how it had worked at Olydias. Don’t bother people and the don’t bother you.
Something hard hit me in the side. I realized that it was Jasper’s elbow. I stole a glance at the boy again and saw that he was rising to his feet. The movement was sinuous and lithe. I mimicked his action and stared around myself wondering where to go.
“Ravenclaws follow me!”
Someone at the head of a large group called. I flowed eagerly, suddenly overcome by an intense tiredness. Jasper yawned at my side.
“Show me a bed already.” He muttered darkly, following a steady stream of Ravenclaws out the door. And that they did. After climbing many winding staircases and clambering behind concealed passages we at last entered the Ravenclaw tower.
It was the most beautiful room I’d seen in the castle to date. It reminded me a lot more of Olydias than any of the other places. The walls were hung with blue and bronze silks and a statue of a lady I would later learn to be Rowena Ravenclaw stood near a large, wide window. There was a massive open fireplace on one wall, surrounding it numerous comfortable, but stylish couches and chairs. There was a study area on another side of the room, complete with desk and bookshelf. The whole room held an air of knowledge and elegance.
I followed instructions to my dormitory and at last found myself in a wide, round room. In the middle was another circular room with an elegant oak door on one side, complete with an ornate gold handle. Upon entering I realized it was shared bathroom stocked entirely with an expensive looking bath, shower, counter and a very large, gold rimmed mirror. I walked out again and stood in the middle of the polished timber floor. The occasional deep gold, slightly threadbare rug scattered here and there. There were a dozen beds set around the inside curve of the wall. All faced towards the bathroom in the center of the room.
The beds were of the four-poster kind and very tastefully decorated with thick royal blue hangings and soft feather pillows. Some had multicolored crocheted rugs thrown across them, on others a teddy or book took pride of place. Each bed reflected its particular owner’s taste.
Beside each bed stood a smooth, wooden bedside table, each cluttered already with its owner’s possessions. There was only one spare. I decided it was destined to be mine.
I strode over to the bed where my trunk was already waiting on the bed. I began to unpack, stuffing all of my unnecessary casual clothes into the drawers of the cabinet beside the bed.
The rest I left in my trunk which I kicked under the bed.
I was busy setting my alarm clock and picture of Jasper and I looking much happier than any students here would ever see us on the bedside table when the dormitory door burst open. The sound was like a canon firing. My heart leapt to my mouth, but I resisted the urge to leap defensively to my feet.
Three laughing girls entered followed by one more, slightly sour looking female.
It took a while for them to notice me sitting there, as still as a statue.
“Oh, hi!” The sandy haired one said. “You’re the new girl aren’t you?” I rose to my feet calmly this time and extended my hand, which she shook.
“Yeah, that’s me.”
“Cool.” She grinned back. “I’m Anna and this is er…” she twisted awkwardly to face the three other girls. “Elise-” Pale skinned, white blonde hair, “Lucy-” dark brown hair and thin pink lips, “and Greta.” Yet another brunette, but this one was foreign.
“Hi.” I smiled at each of them in turn before introducing myself. “I'm Lulah Wiley. My twin Brother Jasper started here with me too.”
I saw them exchange a glance at the mention of Jasper’s name and struggled to suppress a snicker.
“Pleased to meet you Lulah.” Anna beamed, as she seemed to be the spokesperson for the group. “Um… How about we let you rest? I expect you’ve had a big day.”
Greta sighed wearily. “I know I have.”
Elise, Lucy and Anna nodded in agreement. I smiled gratefully.
I turned back to my bed and dug out my pajamas. I was the first to christen the bathroom for the new year.
The hot water unknotted my tense muscles and steadied my breathing. Through the dull gush of the water rushing from the faucet I could hear them talking about Jasper and I, but it was nothing bad, only curious gossip.
At last I dragged myself out and put on my soft, warm pajamas; red flannel bottoms and a white tank top. I brushed slowly through my mass of dark locks then gathered my things and headed straight for bed.
My new dorm mates called various goodnights to me, all of which I returned.
The bed was warm and soft. I pulled the hangings and shut out the quiet murmur of their voices.
A/N: Here is your brand- spanking chapter two! Fresh from the editing-mobile. Haha, yay, I like this version so much better. Please review my little muppets.
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