Chapter 11 : Chapter Eleven: Mommy Dearest
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I have no doubt in my mind that by the end of this chapter some (most) of you will be angry with either James, Alex, or most unfortunately, me. I don’t want to give much away but please remember to breathe… deeply…in…and…out. Let’s practice, shall we? Okay, so it isn’t that bad, but just remember while the story may be taking a direction you don’t like, everyone will be happy in the end… I promise you won’t regret keeping up with this story. Okay, I am done blabbering, enjoy the chapter and don’t forget to REVIEW.
Cali wore a look of shock and anger; she was frozen to the spot in horror and disbelief. That is when Alex saw the spark of fire burn behind her bottomless, cold black eyes.
“Cunnings, Potter, follow me!” she said in short clipped tones.
“I can’t move; my foot is stuck” said Alex as she indicated the bucket still jammed on her foot.
“Reducto!” screamed Cali as Alex clenched her eyes shut, sure that she had just had her leg blown off by the certifiable Slytherin prefect.
The bucket, however, fell to the ground; nothing more than fine dust and her foot was free. Sore, Alex was finally able to stand and James soon followed. Reluctantly, they were led away by Cali, to Merlin only knows where; but after seeing her reduce the bucket to dust they were not to keen on making her mad.
A few moments later, they turned the corner that led to Professor McGonagall’s office. Alex paled visibly; this was going to be ugly and she knew it without a doubt. James must have noticed the worry that crossed her face because he squeezed her hand lightly as they approached the end of the corridor, attempting to calm her nerves.
“Polyjuice Potion,” said Cali. (This was obviously the password.)
The stone gargoyle leapt aside and permitted them to walk up the spiraling stone stair case. Cali knocked on the polished door and a tired voice from inside told them to come in. Taking a deep breath, Alex and James followed Cali into the office.
“I found these two out of bed Professor… they were in a broom closet a few corridors away from Gryffindor tower.”
“Thank you Miss Sapphire, you may return to your common room now.”
A clock on the wall behind her desk struck midnight as Professor McGonagall indicated that they sit in the armchairs that sat before the desk. Alex sat on the very edge of her seat and folding her hands in her lap she began to prepare herself for the worse.
“I do remember saying after that little food riot in September that if either of you were to break the rules again, I would be writing to your parents… do I even want to know what you were doing in the broom closet?”
James was about to respond when Professor McGonagall interrupted, “Never mind… I don’t want to know. It doesn’t appear that you have gotten very far, so you won’t be suspended. It will be fifty points for Gryffindor for your little adventure and a weeks worth of detention each.”
“Cunnings, you will spend your week helping Professor Mansfield and Potter, you will be helping the caretaker… and of course, I will be writing to your parents.”
Her words were met by a stunned silence and she continued, “Mr. Potter you may return to your common room. I need to have a word with Miss Cunnings.”
Looking confused, James stood and left the room and Alex missed the security that his presence provided.
“Miss Cunnings, we both know what will happen after I write this letter to your mother.”
“Is there anyway I can convince you not to?” asked Alex desperately.
“I am afraid that I really don’t have a choice in the matter.”
“Well then, can you at least give me a ten-minute warning before she gets here and starts tearing the place to pieces?”
Alex was sure that the Headmistress had smiled, but it had happened so quickly that she couldn’t be sure. Then the professor responded, “Yes Miss Cunnings, that I can do. Now you best be off to bed too.”
“Thank you Professor,” and Alex quickly left the office.
It was eight in the morning on Sunday, and determined to be prepared for when her mother arrived at the school, Alex was already awake. She was diligently dressed that morning and was working in the library. When she had woke that morning Potter had seemed to be waiting for her to get up and had followed her to the Great Hall for breakfast, but he didn’t eat anything. When she was done, she stood and went to the library and he once again followed, despite the fact that he had no books and nothing to work on. A rather large Transfiguration essay was open before her and she did not give the slightest recognition that James was sitting beside her.
“Psst…” called James, but Alex ignored it.
“Alex…” he tried again but still no luck.
So, he began to slowly poke with his index finger, over and over in a rhythmic pattern. Without looking or speaking to him, she grabbed his hand and set on the table. He did not give up yet; with both his hands he mocked playing a mini piano on her arm. With the hand she wasn’t writing with, she grabbed his hands and would not let go.
This worked for a while and then he began to sing in a whisper, “Alex and James in a closet…” he continued to hum. Still attempting to work, Alex let go of his hands and covered his mouth. Unfortunately, this let his hands free and he began to tap a cheerful beat on her arm again. She didn’t let go, still not saying a word she continued her work.
She began to write out her conclusion when she felt something wet slide along her palm. Finally, her eyes parted from her work and with horror she realized that James had licked her hand. Jumping up, she wiped her wet hand on his sweater sleeve and shouted, “What the bloody hell was that for Potter?”
The entire library turned to look at her and the librarian looked ready to kill. Alex gave her a look of apology and resumed her seat beside James who wore a goofy smile across his face.
“Cunnings, why are you ignoring me?”
“I am trying to get this done before…” but she trailed away as a frightened first year came sprinting into the room.
The boy ran directly to where she sat but was too out of breath to speak.
“She’s here, isn’t she?”
The boy nodded and finally said, “She’s flooing to the headmistress’s office right now.”
“OH CRAP!” hissed Alex and she grabbed her stuff, flung it in her bag, and made to run from the library, but James grabbed her by the arm.
“Alex, what’s going on?”
But she pulled her arm from his grasp, and as she ran from the library, she yelled behind her, “Mummy Dearest has come to see me and she’s not very happy!”
Alex ducked behind a statue, one corridor down from where the entrance to the headmistress’s office was located. In quick desperation, Alex worked to undo the spells on her hair, and without a mirror, she just prayed that she was getting it all. Ten minutes later, it seemed that she had finished, and with her hair once more curly and dark brown, she checked to make sure the coast was clear. She paused behind the statue as a first year girl went skidding by and sure that the coast was clear, she dodged from behind her hiding place. In a matter of seconds, she was up the stairs and knocking on the door to the headmistress’s office.
“Come in!” said McGonagall in a stiff and irritated voice.
Taking a deep breath, Alex turned the door knob and entered the room prepared for the angry blast.
“Alexandra Wood, EXPLAIN YOURSELF THIS INSTANT!”
Alex swallowed and began, “Mum, I swear…”
But Mrs. Wood cut her off by saying, “I couldn’t believe it! I get a letter after the third month of school to find that you have not only been in trouble once, but twice! Your father and I sent you here so you could stay OUT of trouble… not so you could find new ways to get into it!”
Mrs. Wood paused; chest heaving because she had momentarily forgotten her need to breathe. Alex took this opportunity to speak, “Mum… I was just in a broom closet…”
Her mother had regained her breath and her temper, “Don’t even get me started on that, young lady! Found in a closet with James Potter… wasn’t that the very same reason you were sent here in the first place?!”
Alex blinked at these words she had not expected that; and again, she tried to speak, “Mum, we were…I-I was just…”
“Alexandra Callista Wood, don’t even dare sit there and lie to me! I was your age once… I know exactly what you were doing in that closet with James Potter. Young lady you will be very lucky if I don’t decide to take you home with me this very instant.”
Alex paled and could do nothing more than stare at her mother open-mouthed. Eventually, she had managed to stammer, “Mum… n-no, I love it here.”
“Mrs. Wood I hope you don’t misunderstand, but I have no intention of expelling Alexandra. My letter to you was merely to let you know that she had received detention.”
“Excuse me Professor McGonagall, but I am precisely aware of why it was written.”
Professor McGonagall’s mouth went so thin that it threatened to disappear completely, and with clipped tones she spoke once more, “No, Mrs. Wood there are a few things I believe that you don’t understand. Your daughter was able to make friends from the moment she got here… a monumental task for a fifth year transfer student. She is the top student in every single class she is taking and has yet to receive a grade below an outstanding. She was so good in Transfiguration that she asked to help tutor another student… a task I might add, that is usually performed by seventh year students. Yes, she has a knack for finding herself in trouble, but removing her from Hogwarts at this stage in her O.W.L. year would be very unwise.”
The older women fixed each other with stares to match their high-spirited natures. Professor McGonagall broke the tense silence first by saying, “Alex, why don’t you return to your common room… get ahead on your work. I do believe you have a quidditch match next weekend.”
Alex winced… she had not told her mother that she was on the quidditch team; it was unlikely that she would actually approve. Mrs. Wood turned to face her daughter slowly and with a strange look said softly, “You’re on the quidditch team?”
“Yeah,” responded Alex nervously.
She had not expected that reaction.
“Keeper… like dad was.”
“Oh… well g-go on then… go study,” she sat weakly in a chair and watched Alex pick up her stuff and go to leave.
“Wait Alexandra… what is that in your hair… it’s pink.”
“Oh… I was practicing a hair transfiguration spell. I must have forgotten a piece,” said Alex still confused as to why she was still lying.
“Well get rid of it… it looks foolish.”
With that, Alex turned to leave… there she was… the mother that she had come to know and love. Alex nodded to Professor McGonagall and walked down the stairs, pausing behind the statue when she saw that James was waiting for her halfway down the hall.
“Bloody hell!” she whispered beneath her breath and tried to devise a plan.
Using silent spells was still new to her, but leaning around the corner she pointed her wand in his direction and thought, “STUPEFY!” James went rigid and slid down the wall into a sitting position, where he ceased movement. Sprinting, Alex made her way down two corridors and into an empty girls’ room and locked herself inside. She was getting better at doing her hair; she finished this time in less than five minutes and when she was once again, Alex Cunnings she dashed out of the bathroom.
Praying that her mother would also be flooing home, Alex ran back to where James was still unconscious. She brought him around and slowly he mumbled, “W-where am I?”
“James, it’s me, Alex… you are outside the headmistress’s office… were you waiting for me?”
“Oh yeah… I guess I was” he struggled to get up and Alex helped him.
“Why don’t we go for a walk, it’ll help you clear your head,” she said; desperate to get away from the spot.
And the pair walked down the hall together, arm in arm; Alex attempting to keep James on his feet… not an easy task.
To be honest, detention wasn’t as bad as everyone had cracked it up to be. Alex would arrive in the dungeons after dinner and when she was done with her assigned work, she would go back to the common room; but she was always done before ten. She had survived the last four days and was excited that tonight would be the last night. The detention had seriously screwed up practicing for quidditch, but she had made it up to Beaumont by doing morning practices.
Alex was sitting in History of Magic, on either side of her were Halie and Naomi; in front of her was James. She was diligently taking notes when James yawned widely and reached his arms up and behind him. When they were at their extent, he let a paper fall onto Alex’s desk and returned to his normal position. Alex rolled her eyes and opened the note and read:
Tonight is our last night of detention and I was hoping that you would do me the great honor of meeting of me in the Great Hall when you’re finished. I have a surprise for you, for surviving your first week of Hogwarts’ detention.
James felt something get tucked in the collar of his shirt; he didn’t have to turn around to know that it was Alex’s reply. Pretending like he was scratching the back of his neck, he pulled the note out; excited for what it said. He opened it up and looking upon her neat loopy handwriting, he read:
James, are you asking me to celebrate finishing detention by possibly risking getting more detention? I would ask how you know what time I was getting out of detention tonight, but I am sure that it’s something I’d rather not know. As to your proposition, well I guess you’re just going to have to wait and see!
He smiled to himself and tucked the note into his shirt pocket, so she hadn’t said no, but he knew that she would be there. He proceeded to try and pay attention to the lecture, hoping in some small way to impress her by his attempt to be a good student.
The class seemed to drag on for what felt like hours and the rest of the day followed suit. Two meals and four hours of detention later, James was dismissed by the caretaker and told to go back to his common room. He walked, half sprinted, to the Great Hall; hoping that Alex was not already waiting for him. He was sprinting down one of the shortcuts to the hall when he was startled from his single-minded concentration.
He came to a skidding halt and turned to find the voice he could not quite place in his mind. From the shadows walked Cali Sapphire, looking gorgeous in her own dark and moody way. She made her way slowly towards him, walking in a way that made all guys stare no matter their age. James swallowed and responded, “H-hey Cali.”
“So what are you doing here, James?” she said as she made her way closer.
“Detention… just got out of d-detention,” his eyes were wide; she was wearing her normal muggle clothes. For this occasion she had donned a short denim skirt and a particularly low cut black sweater. He couldn’t help but stare. James had always thought that she was hot, but this was too much. She was standing inches from him; his eyes were locked onto her bottomless black ones.
Her lips were inches from his when she spoke, “What are you looking at James?”
A smile flicked across her lips as he began to kiss her… all thoughts of a particular pink-haired beauty pushed from his mind.
Alex had been waiting outside the Great Hall for over fifteen minutes. She tapped her foot impatiently on the flagstone floor, still waiting for the boy who had tempted her into staying. She heard the echoing cries of Peeves and decided it was best to just move along, something had obviously prevented him from showing up.
She pulled back the tapestry that covered the entrance to a shortcut that James had showed her a few days before. She walked the first length of the hall and was about to turn the corner to the second half when a strange noise caught her attention. Not wanting to walk into anything awkward, she peeked around the corner to see what she was hearing.
She paled visibly and her mouth fell open when she took in the sight of James kissing Cali Sapphire. To add insult to injury, she noticed that he had her pinned to the wall with one hand and the other hand was under her shirt trailing up her stomach.
She wanted to turn, to run, to forget everything about the last two months, but she could not pull her eyes away from the sight. Panic rose in her throat and tears threatened to overcome her eyes. She watched in disgusted sadness as James trailed kisses down Cali’s neck. Cali turned in Alex’s direction and opened her eyes. Their eyes connected, and Cali gave Alex a vindictive smirk and then groaning slightly, she kissed James again.
Alex once more felt the feeling return to her legs, and like so many times before she ran silently from the place of torment. Up the stairs, she went in the direction and comfort of her own bed. Alex’s head was working fast, I mean it wasn’t like they were dating or anything; he was free to kiss and see any girl of his choosing. She was far too used to that kind of behavior to be bugged by it… so why exactly did she feel like screaming in anger and sadness?
She practically screamed the password at the Fat Lady and ripping the portrait-hole open, she ran up the stairs to her dorm; leaving a trail of confused people in her wake. Halie and Naomi exchanged scared and worried looks and quickly followed Alex in the direction of her dorm.
Alex put her pillow to her mouth and screamed with every ounce of emotion that she had left in her body. Her hurt was quickly turning to anger and it boiled over the surface, scorching every good memory that she had with James. When she was done, she heard the door to the dormitory open and two sets of feet walk inside.
“Alex? Is everything okay?” asked Halie.
Alex threw away her pillow and looked at her concerned friends with an almost manic look, “Other than the fact that I am a complete idiot…”
“Why are you an idiot?” asked Naomi.
“Because, I let myself fall for James Potter.”
“And why does that make you an idiot? You two were getting along.” said Halie obviously not following the conversation.
“Yeah, I thought you two were going to start snogging any day now,” added Naomi.
Alex let out a derisive laugh and responded, “It’s kind of hard to get close to Potter when he’s already snogging Cali Sapphire in the hallways.”
Halie and Naomi shared confused glances, “You saw James kissing Cali?”
Alex was finally out of words she buried in herself in her bedding, clothes and all, preparing for the worst night of sleep ever… one thing was for sure, it would probably pale in comparison to tomorrow’s quidditch match.
The game could have gone better; or rather, Alex could have done better. Yes, they had still managed to win; the score being 200 Gryffindor to 90 Hufflepuff, but Alex hadn’t been completely on her game. Now, she was waiting outside the changing room for the boys to be finished, she had managed to avoid James the entire morning… he hadn’t even noticed the difference.
She and Lily were given the okay to come in and Alex entered the locker room to find James waiting for her.
“Hey Alex, I was wondering if you wanted to go for a walk.”
Honestly, he could be so clueless. Alex walked silently around him and grabbed a pair of shorts and a sweatshirt. She went to one of the shower stalls to change and when she came back out he was still there.
“Alex, is something wrong?”
Alex didn’t respond she merely began to lace up her old running shoes. It had been months since she had last run in them… months since she had had any reason to run in them. She stood and walked from the room, James calling after her, “Alex! Wait! What did I do?”
She began to run around the pitch the warm November sun beating against her shoulder. A chilly breeze bit at her face and hands, but it didn’t matter, in a few minutes it would be numb. That is all Alex wanted… she just wanted to be numb. Half way around the pitch, she realized that James was chasing after her. She picked up her pace and continued her way forward.
Around fifteen laps later, James was getting tired but all he could think was, “How on earth can she run like this? We just played a three hour game and it is like sub zero out here!” But he still kept up his chase, wondering what he had done this time. His mind flashed back to the night before… he frowned, he had not intended to snog Cali.
I mean it was pleasurable and all, but there wasn’t much more to the girl other than sarcastic wit and a beautiful face. He had intended to explain this to Alex after the game and hoped to dear Merlin that she wouldn’t kill him. But why was she so angry… maybe it was because she was mad about being stood up? Man, girls could be so complicated.
Heart pounding, sweat dripping, feet slamming the frozen ground of the pitch, Alex realized that she had been running for nearly an hour. Each movement pained her but each pounding leap temporarily freed her from her misery. She thought that maybe James had given up his chase and that is when she heard a thud and a groan. She did not stop or turn around she just kept running at a breakneck pace. She was nearing one of the goal posts when she noticed that James had tripped and was lying in a ball on the grass. She sped up and a few minutes later she came to where he was lying… oh well, he was still breathing, but a girl could hope.
When he heard her footsteps, he stood and turned to face her… ha, he knew that would work. Alex fully intended to run past him, not even giving him the time of day. But as she went to pass he grabbed her by the waist and would not let go.
“For Merlin sake, Cunnings, will you hold on?!”
Alex ripped his hands away from her, but she turned to face him, completely out of breath and once more angry.
“Cunnings, why won’t you talk to me?” she stared at him in response.
“What on earth could I have done this time?”
Alex snorted and went to run again when James called out, “Fine, it’s just going to be like this, huh, you’re never going to speak to me again?”
Alex kept walking away and then she felt a hand on her shoulder. James pulled her around to face him, a little more forcefully than he had intended. Alex reluctantly turned to face him, avoiding his blue eyes that did not leave her face.
“Alex, just tell me what I did… was it because I stood you up last…”
His words were cut off as Alex swung her hand forward and slapped him across the face with all the force of her anger. James staggered and fell backwards against the cold ground. Alex walked over to where he lay and stooped down so she was closer to him. In a vehement whisper, she said, “I hope she was worth it Potter!”
Alex stood and left the pitch leaving a confused, stunned, and injured James behind.
A/N: Possibly one of the more intense chapters so far… so did you like it? Okay, okay, stupid question! Alex hates James, James is still clueless, and Cali Sapphire is a ruthless bitch that most you probably want to kill… so you most likely didn’t enjoy it. But… it’s the first step in a positive direction… I’ll stop torturing you with what may or may not happen in the next chapter and just give you a sneak peak.
Leaving her school uniform on, Alex began to undo the spells on her hair. It took her nearly ten minutes, but with a mirror, she confirmed her hair had resumed its natural brown curly look.
She started on her makeup; she was scrubbing away her eyeliner with her back facing the door. The noise in the halls of the train masked the sounds of someone turning the handle to the compartment.
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