Chapter 7 : Why me?
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And so came friday morning, the day before Hogsmeade.
Finally, finally, our first week was almost over.
For once I found that as I reached the Great Hall for breakfast, it was only me, Angelina, Alicia and Katie. Just the girls. And it was wonderful.
Apparently they thought so too, since Alicia suddenly hushed us all into silence and signalled for us to come closer until we were all getting really worried and were throwing anxious “What? What?”s at her.
“Do you hear the sound of that?” she whispered.
We listened real hard, but all we heard was the loud chatter of the students. “Er…what?” Katie asked.
A pleased smile spread over Alicia’s lips. “That’s the sound of no boys.”
We all cracked smiles and leaned back, quite pleased with our situation. “Finally seen them for what they really are, then?” Katie asked Alicia.
“I already have,” she argued with an indignant expression, “it’s just that sometimes they can be very nice.”
“But most of the time, they are just one big pain in the arse,” Angelina finished for her with a laugh. We all agreed with hearty “Aye!”s.
So I considered this a perfect moment to say, “Cedric Diggory asked me out.”
A silence fell over the table, and I looked up to see the girls staring at be blankly. “On a date,” I offered, until I realised that they were not staring at me blankly. They looked in fact really envious.
“I am so jealous of you I am going to join the Skanky Cedric Diggory Fan Club and do evil voodoo on you until your arms fall of and Cedric will find you hideous and dump you,” Katie declared, her eyes wide and serious.
“Really?” I asked, horrified.
“No,” Alicia rolled her eyes, elbowing Katie (hard, I might add, if Katie’s angry ouch! was anything to go by) “but only if you tell me all the details.”
I did and they all said ooh and other appropriate swooning sounds until we were done discussing the topic.
“But they’re still a pain in the arse,” Katie declared, and we did another round of “Aye!”s though not as enthusiastic.
A silence followed, until…
“I’ve been dating Robert Townsend for a few weeks,” Alicia admitted ashamedly.
“Spill,” I immediately ordered. And she did, until she too had told us all the little details.
“But they’re still a pain in the arse,” she finished, and we all uttered half-heartened “Aye”s.
Katie was next to make her shameful statement. “I took back Aaron.”
We all looked at her, and she really looked like she regretted it. Not because she did – because Aaron was the sweetest bloke around (save for Cedric) and had been her boyfriend since fourth year and broke up just recently (for reasons I cannot understand, since they were the sweetest couple Hogwarts had ever seen) – but more because of how our perspective of boys had started out this morning.
“I always liked him,” Alicia declared thoughtfully and we all agreed, which seemed to risen Katie’s spirit a little.
“Though boys are still… you know,” she added. There was a round of apathetic “Aye”s.
Then we all turned our eyes to Angelina, who had yet to make her shameful confession.
“What do you guys think of Lee?” she finally asked.
“….we’re pathetic, aren’t we?” I asked, feeling horrible.
There was a pause, where we looked at each other. Then there was a feeble round of “Aye”s.
Saturday morning enrolled, and I was so nervous I could burst. I had absolutely NO IDEA what I was going to wear for my date with Cedric. I was darting around the dormitory, wearing nothing but my Hello Kitty pink panties and bra, while Katie, Angelina and Alicia were lolling around in their beds watching me.
“Why don’t just go like that?” Angelina pointed out lazily while flipping the pages to her Elle magazine. Did I mention that they weren’t helping at all? Then she looked up, looking a little mischievous. “I’m sure Cedric would like that far more than anything you put on today.”
I blinked at her. “I’m pretty sure that falls under the category Sexual Harassment.” I reached for what resembled a lovely skirt but when I held it up it turned out to be one of Alicia’s more…revealing… miniskirt. Frightened, I tossed it away.
Angelina turned her ink-eyed gaze to Alicia. “Does it really count if I’m a girl harassing another girl?”
Katie nodded gravely. “It does.”
“What’s wrong with just a pair of jeans and a t-shirt?” Katie asked, looking genuinely puzzled. Oh, the innocence.
Alicia seemed to agree with me. “Oh, Katie, you’re bloody lucky you have Aaron already.”
The brown-haired lit up in a giddy smile. “I know. Isn’t he just dreamy?” She couldn’t have missed our point more clearly.
“Right girls, focus! I am currently twenty minutes away from away my date with Cedric Bloody Diggory!” I said in a voice that might have been just a notch too shrill.
“We know,” Alicia declared, rolling her eyes just a little, “and the whole town’s thrilled.”
“Yeah,” Angelina agreed heartily, “just about the entire female population of Hogwarts is going to hate you today.”
“And that,” I said a little half-heartedly, “is why I have to look my best.”
Suddenly Alicia sprang to her feet. She was the one of us girls who had the best relationship to the jungle that was fashion, so to speak. “Aye,” she said and then clapped her hands together twice. “Alright ladies, we have a job to do!”
And a fine job they did. After combining all our skills I managed to come out looking fairly decent. Together we had decided on me wearing a pair of dark blue jeans, so skinny I could barely breathe, but which we all agreed made my legs look FAH-bu-lous. Over that I wore a lose-fitting dark green tank top, paired with a simple black knitted bolero.
Alicia had insisted on doing my makeup as well, and a fine job she did there too. It was a fresh look, with just a hint of blush to my cheeks and Alicia had added just a little shadow to my eyes in a very pale pink which Angelina insisted “brought out my eyes.”
They forbade me in wearing my navy Converse, and instead Katie tossed me a pair of black flats which I had to admit were very cute. I tried them on, just as Angelina did my hair. She tied it into a lose bun, pulling back my fringe and securing it with a hairpin but one strand of hair refused to stay back so we finally decided to let it be.
And then… I was ready.
There was a myriad of students outside the castle, all waiting eagerly for their friends so they could leave for Hogsmeade. I instantly felt like bolting. I wasn’t so big on crowds, alright?
“Oh, gotta go,” Angelina suddenly said as she waived to someone further away. But before we could ask who she was meeting she had disappeared into the crowd. I lost sight of her, before I saw her meeting up with Lee, who gave her a kiss on the cheek. Aw, chucks, now isn’t that sweet?
“Look, girls,” I said out loud, “she finally gave Lee a chance!”
Silence. Well, save for the chatter of the other students. I turned around and found that both Alicia and Katie had disappeared. I soon located Katie, who was affectionately holding hands with Aaron as they strolled away towards Hogsmeade. Further away I spotted Alicia talking animatedly to who I assumed was Robert Townsend.
And now I was all alone.
Cursing my friends under my breath I decided to find Cedric as I navigated through the crowd. I reckoned I might see better if I stood on the stairs by the great doors. Only, no such luck.
I darted up the stairs – and like usual I wasn’t paying attention – and I walked straight into the chest of someone. I cracked a smile – since this was the usual way of me and Cedric meeting – and looked up, only to stare into the brown eyes of Wood.
“Belle,” he said a little surprised, before giving of the smallest of smiles.
“Hi,” I said, a little flustered and trying to avoid his gaze. Curiously, I had on recent times found it very hard to look into his piercing gaze without feeling-
“You look very nice,” he then suddenly said – somehow managing not to sound as plain as the phrase was – like it was a real compliment.
I couldn’t help it; I had to look up at that.
“Thank you,” I said, feeling truly pretty at his words, and then took the time to notice him. He was wearing faded jeans that fitted him – very nicely - on all the right places, completed with an faded green tee with – get this – Stewie Griffin from Family Guy on it.
Oh my God. I cannot believe Oliver Wood shares my passion for the Family Guy.
Apparently he noticed me staring. “Oh, I feel so deliciously white-trash,” he said in perfect imitation of the infant master mind, cracking a smile.
I was unable to hold back my laughter, and I would have laughed too, if not-
“Oliver! There you are!” a voice – a female voice – suddenly chirped.
We both spun around to see a girl I recognised as Sarah Therald skipping down the stairs towards us. Need I mention that she was the president of Oliver Wood Fanclub?
“Sarah,” Oliver – I mean Wood – greeted with his handsome smile. She reached us – taking absolutely no notice of me whatsoever – and Wood leaned down to kiss her on the cheek. I instantly felt a pang of something highly unpleasant inside me. Wood was on a date with Sara Therald. She was the one he had been talking about in detention last night??
It was now she finally noticed me – looking very charming I assume with my completely shocked face – and looked me up and down in a very nasty manner.
I suddenly felt so incredible stupid. Here I was, talking to Wood and actually thinking about how nice he looked and had no idea that he was on a date. I felt ridiculous and the worst part was…. I think I was jealous. But above all that, I was angry. I was fuming mad. I snapped by gaze away from Sarah and glared at Wood for a moment – who actually looked a little embarrassed – but before I could say anything I felt a warm hand on the small of my back.
“Hey,” Cedric whispered in my ear.
I have said it many times and I’m saying it again: I am pathetic. Because the moment I heard Cedric’s voice and felt his breath in my ear I instantly went jelly in my legs and all warm and fuzzly on the inside. Suddenly I forgot all about Sarah Therald.
It seemed as every female that passed us threw me dirty looks, but it was totally worth it. Because Cedric then bent down and pressed his lips softly in a long kiss on my cheek. I could tell Sarah Therald was looking at me with new-found respect, even though she was about to date Wood, the only guy in Hogwarts that shared the title Hottest Guy in Hogwarts with – surprise – Cedric Diggory.
I couldn’t help to smile. This day had started out really bad, but now things were starting to really look up. But as Cedric straightened up he noticed that Wood was standing there. His features immediately plunged into a scowl that he didn’t even bother to hide.
They both glared at each other in open hatred and it wasn’t until now I noticed that even though I had always thought Cedric was really tall, Wood was almost taller than him. I caught myself wondering who would go out winning if they actually were to fight one day. But I was fed up with their constant rivalry. Really, did they have to hate each other so much just because they’re Captains?
It was then it hit me.
If I actually were to catch the Snitch before Cedric, it was going to give Wood a huge advantage in their rivalry. Bit if I didn’t, I would have the pleasure of seeing Cedric rub it into the Scot’s face. But that joy would be extremely short-lived, seeing as I would lose mine and Wood’s bet. All of a sudden a wave of fatigue washed over me.
I caught Sarah’s gaze and there was a brief moment of agreement between us as we rolled our eyes at each other over our dates’ childish behaviour.
“Are you ready, Elle?” Cedric then asked as he turned his grey eyes to me. The scowl was wiped off his face and instead he was sporting a handsome smile. He held out his arm – gentlemanly style – and I slid my significantly smaller one through, flashing him my most beautiful smile.
“You may escort me, oh Chivalrous One.”
He grinned and gently led me away from the stairs, but not before I threw Wood a dark look and I had the pleasure of seeing him looking back at me in a defeated manner while Sarah Therald was trying to get his attention by tugging on his arm.
“Finally,” Cedric said as we were walking on the large path that led us to Hogsmeade, “I have Elisabeth Stevens all to myself.”
“Ugh, do not call me that,” I said slightly disgusted, “and what is that supposed to mean?”
“Well, it’s just every time I meet you I seem to find you with that Captain of yours.”
I scowled. “Believe me, I wish it wasn’t so.”
He eyed me. “I wonder if Wood sees it that way,” he said carefully.
I shot him a look, about to ask him what he meant. But the thing was, I knew what he meant. I wasn’t stupid.
“Hardly,” I replied with a bitter laugh, thinking about how Wood leant down and kissed Sarah Therald’s cheek. One could only imagine as to what they were doing now.
But then I caught myself. What the hell was I doing? I was on a date with Cedric Diggory, possibly the man of my dreams, and we were talking about Oliver Wood, possibly the spawn of Satan?
I mentioned this to Cedric, only I didn’t phrase it like that (especially not the part about the man of my dreams part) and he could only agree so much.
We eventually made it to the village just as the wind picked up. Figure Britain to do a thing like that. Summer all the way into September and bam! Autumn hits you like a cold shower. And not surprisingly, my black bolero was just thin cotton.
“You cold?” Cedric asked concerned, apparently noticing me shivering. I was surprised that he wasn’t cold since he was only wearing a thin shirt, which, by the way, was unbuttoned by the top so that I sometimes could see his very impressive set of abs.
“Me?” I asked with feigned innocence. “Why ever do you ask?”
He raised an eyebrow. “I’m sorry, what was that? I didn’t hear you over the clatter of your teeth,” he said, a small smile playing along his lips.
I was about to joke punch him on the arm for the comment, but then he suddenly draped his arm over my shoulders, pulling me towards the warmth of his body. Alright, so that warmed me a little. In fact, my insides were doing these funny squirmy movements again. But like mentioned, not in a bad way.
“Fancy a warm cup of tea?” he then asked, looking down at my face which was huddled in his warm embrace.
“Oh god, not tea,” I blurted before I could stop myself. I simply did not understand my countrymen’s obsession with tea. My mother never ever went anywhere without her porcelain coup of Earl Grey, and as a result I was sick of it before I had learned to walk. Then I added hastily, “but a warm cup of coffee would be splendid.”
He smiled at me.
“A spending cup of coffee it is then.”
He led me – his warm arm still over my shoulder I might add – towards Madame Puddifotts (which had to be the cheesiest place in all of Hogsmeade, but I did not mention this to Cedric. Anywhere with him was only so perfect).
As he held the door open for me I noticed a pair of pretty fifth-years eyeing Cedric breathlessly as they walked past. He appeared not to notice them but nonetheless they started giggling in a highly annoying manner.
“Doesn’t it bother you?” I asked Cedric as he seated me at a table by the window.
“What?” he asked as he sat down opposite me.
“Well,” I started, looking around at all the other couples sitting in the salon, where at least half of the girls were hopefully eyeing Cedric despite their dates, “all the girls.” He looked at me blankly. Oh, God, was he as oblivious as Wood?
“You do know you have a fan club, don’t you?” I asked and then lit up in a smile as he looked adorably embarrassed.
“Yes,” he confessed, stealing a glance out the window where a little third-year was walking past. When she noticed Cedric she blushed furiously and hurried past. Then he landed his stormy eyes at me again. “Sometimes it is a little hard, yes. They expect you to be a certain way, but then they find out you actually have a different personality…” he shook his head slightly in disbelief.
“What about those who don’t have care about your personality?” I asked, weighing a little on my chair as I chewed on my lip.
He looked at me a little helplessly and I knew only too well. I started laughing, bringing my chair down and leaning my elbows to the table as I fastened my gaze on him.
“So why me?”
The question slipped out before I had any chance to stop it. But after all, I was curious. I was probably one of the very few who had – up until recently - actually maintained the same opinion of him as of all the other students of Hogwarts: Nice, but I didn’t know him so was I to judge?
He looked at me for a moment before answering.
“Because,” he then replied, “you are not afraid to ask.”
I frowned a little at this statement, and he elaborated. “The last girl I went out with was so terrified that I wouldn’t like her that she didn’t hesitate to completely change her personality or lie about her interests. For instance, she claimed she absolutely loved playing Quidditch. But when I asked her if she wanted to play she finally confessed that she was afraid of heights. You however,” he said in a lower tone as he leaned forward over the table to meet my gaze.
“Come with Quidditch skills included?” I offered, smiling slightly, but he ignored me.
“You stick to who you are and don’t let anyone walk over it. It’s hardly been an hour of our date and already have you declared that you hate this nation’s official drink and interrogated me about my personal life.”
The corner of his mouth went up as he noticed me blushing a little. “That is why I chose to ask you out, Elle.”
A beat passed after he fell silent, where I noticed that we were both leaning over the table and that it wouldn’t be such a distance for me to lean over and kiss him. He leaned a little closer, close for me to feel his breath – still fresh from whatever toothpaste he had used that morning – and to count his eyelashes.
“Now sit tight while I get coffees,” he then whispered and pulled back. I couldn’t help to crack a grin as he has successfully led me to believe that he was going to kiss me. I sighed happily, leaning back in my chair as he went to order. I glanced out the window, losing myself in thoughts as I watched Hogwarts’ students file past, going about their business. The wind had picked up and I could see the leaves rushing through the air. Autumn was here. But suddenly I zoned back as my eyes landed on Wood further away on the other side of the window. He was talking to Sarah, a regretful expression on his face. The harsh wind tugged hardly on his brown curls, but he didn’t appear to be cold in his Stewie Griffin t-shirt.
I frowned as my eyes filtered over to Sarah. At first she looked sad, like heart-broken sad, but then she suddenly looked angry as Wood said something else. Really angry. She shouted something at Wood before turning around and stomping away. I couldn’t help to look a little surprised at that. What had Wood said that made her so mad?
But before I could wrench my gaze away from Wood he turned and suddenly met my eyes. His gaze was so sad and intense that I wanted to look away, only to find that I couldn’t. Was he that upset by his and Sarah’s fight?
It has nothing to do with Sarah, a small voice inside me said. No, I told myself. It’s Sarah, it has to be. It must!
“One splendid coffee.” Cedric’s voice suddenly reached my ears and I nearly jumped a mile. He put down a steaming hot coffee in front of me and sat down opposite me again and noticed my nervousness. “Everything alright?” he asked in a concerned voice.
I managed a warm smile. “Everything is perfect,” I replied and his features relaxed into a smile. I stole a very quick glance out the window again only to see that Wood had disappeared.
Soon enough we finished our coffee and continued our date. I soon forgot all about Wood as Cedric took me to Zonko’s, which was sweet of him, figuring I didn’t like clothes and jewellery like normal girls since I hung out with the Weasley twins and as a result I was as nutty as they were. Needless to say, he was perfectly right. We then continued our stroll through the village as we discussed our mutual contempt for the Slytherin Quidditch team, which eventually landed us in the newly opened Quidditch shop where Cedric bought two toy Snitches, one for him and gave the other one to me. He then challenged me to visit the Shrieking Shack, a bet I easily won - since I knew the only reason people believed it was haunted was because Remus had used it as a hideout during his transformations to a werewolf – and Cedric was forced to buy me a bag of chocolate that we shared as we eventually made our way back towards Hogwarts.
“Alright, my time to challenge you,” I said when Hogwarts was within sight as we treaded up the large path.
“Hit me,” he said with far too much over-confidence, pouting out with his chest and sticking out his chin, making it almost impossible to find him credible. I mentioned this to him and he deflated into a laugh.
Then I held up the Snitch he had bought me. “First one to catch it,” I challenged.
It reached out with its tiny golden wings and started to hum. Then I quickly released it before Cedric was prepared and it zoomed away at high speed towards the castle. I quickly dashed after it, with Cedric at my heels. But of course, he had longer legs than me so he quickly caught up with me and soon we were racing side by side towards the castle. We threw ourselves into the courtyard before the entrance to the school, both of us aiming for the tiny golden orb hovering slightly ahead of us.
There were a few other students hanging around the courtyard who raised their eyebrows when they watched me and Cedric hurl ourselves into the courtyard in pursuit of the tiny golden ball.
I even overheard one seventh-year – Ravenclaw I believe – sigh and roll her eyes. “Seekers…”
There! I spotted the Snitch and rushed after it. It hovered just above a bush and it was out of my reach. But I almost, almost had it-
“Oh no you don’t,” I heard Cedric’s voice behind me and he suddenly snaked his arms around me. I shrieked (all girly-ish I might add) as he lifted me into the air and spun me around and out of reach for the Snitch. By now we were laughing so hard that we didn’t even notice all the other students eyeing us like we were a pack of mental people on the run from the asylum.
Suddenly we lost track of the Snitch and we both came to a halt. People around us seemed to exhale and then immediately launch into discussions that all seemed to begin with “Who does she think she is?” and similar phrases, until I suddenly gave a yelp – a sign that I had caught sight of the snitch (very discreet, I know). I made a run for it where it hovered – by the doors to the castle –, hurled myself up the stone stairs with the grace of a middle-aged hippo and then finally closed my palm around the little golden orb.
“Ha!” I cried out, beaming. Somehow I took this as a sign that I was going to beat Cedric in the match against Hufflepuff. The rival in question was standing at the bottom of the stairs, looking slightly deflated.
“Aright, you won,” he admitted with a lopsided smile as he climbed the stairs slowly. “What does the loser have to do then?” He took another step.
I fell into deep thought. Oh, the possibilities. He took another step and was now on the step just below me. I had a few suggestions in mind, but he caught me completely off-guard as he took another step and suddenly said, “I have an idea.”
And before I could do as much as blink he leaned down and kissed me. I was so in shock that I went completely paralyzed. Here I had imagined this moment so many times that when it actually happened I was completely unprepared.
I barely had time to register how soft his lips were when he pulled away. He noticed my stunned expression and immediately started stammering.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I- I just. I’m sorry if you were offended, I -“
Finally finally I found myself.
“Quite the contrary,” I said, standing on my toes to meet his lips again…
A/N: SO Sorry for the wait! I suck at updating, I know.. :(
But if you have any fav. Quotes or anything else, I’d much appreciate a comment! Thanks for reading!!!!