Gemma dropped her spoonful of cereal to face her greeter. She was surprised, that he was still talking to her. Regardless, she put on a tiny smile, “Good morning, Jack.”
As always, the second year seated himself next to her, a smirk adorning his face. She found herself gazing at him as he gathered his food, wondering why a second year would associate with someone below him. He turned his head to meet her eyes with an odd sense of amusement.
“I know, every gal is wordless at my good looks.” He chuckled jokingly. “You’re not the first.”
Although she knew that he was purely kidding, Gemma couldn’t help but blush.
“You really do look adorable when you’re embarrassed.” He grinned, emitting more blushes from her face. She hated how expressive her face looked, it was way too revealing. And anyone who could read her face right now would be able to pinpoint extreme embarrassment.
“Umm,…” she tried to change the subject. It was going rather unsuccessfully. “Anything new, around the school?”
She always pumped Jack for gossip, because he was mysteriously omniscient in the scandal department. Or maybe she was just that obliviously unobservant.
“There always is,” he replied, a spark in his eye. He seemed excited to dish the latest. “I mean, you know what happened at the Brightons’ birthday.”
“Of course.” It was about the only thing that people talked about nowadays. How catastrophic it was, the strange occurrences that happened, et cetera. It was enough to make the Brightons never want to throw a party ever again.
“It seems like a lot more happened than they let on,” he insightfully added, looking towards the Populars. “I mean look, how different they’re all acting.”
Gemma stole a glance (as were the whole Great Hall) upon the magnificence of the Populars with vigilance. They were enjoying a typical morning, except they made it look more like a photo shoot than anything. Congenially, they all chatted with each other with impeccable smiles and mellifluous laughs.
Victoire Weasely was, as always, striking in her uniform. She seated herself on top of the exclusive V table, legs crossed. Her flawless face lighted up in a smile at what Oliver Phyllis was saying to her. He seemed at ease as well, absentmindedly playing with a lock of her silvery blond hair.
The Puffs pretended to drop their books in front of the Studs and bent down, attempting to seduce them. It was a fruitless effort, yet they were still persistent about it.
Violet Montague was amicably conversing about Quidditch with her guy friends, growing more enthusiastic as the conversation drew on. The guys seemed dazzled that a girl had as much heart for the game as they did, drawing them closer to her.
Lucas Jennings coldly shoved into her on his way to reach his Marauder friends, causing Violet to scowl.
He reached the Marauder area with a defeated sigh, trying his best not to focus on a certain person (Gemma wondered who it could be). Teddy Lupin barely acknowledged his friend, seeming oddly despondent. Was it the fact that a certain radiant blonde was flirting with the leader of the Studs that made him somber? Gemma pondered at the possibilities.
“Don’t they hate each other?” she questioned Jack, as she took in the sight of Adam Donahue and Johnny Burns talking. Together.
They seemed to be engaging in quite the conversation. Both their expressions were unfathomably guarded, each using a pause in their discussion to steal a peek at Vivian Reyes, who was now sauntering gracefully towards them (to prevent a potential brawl that might ensue).
The two Brightons were looking completely crestfallen, probably still in the process of recovering from their embarrassing celebration (or was it something else?). With these Populars, the world would never know.
All students, even the teachers, sat silently, observing the true power-holders of Hogwarts in action. Their perception of regular morning socializing was the most fascinating event for the rest of the school to watch. As if it were an addictive soap opera come to life.
“Whoa, where’s Mason Valmont?” Jack questioned, aware that the fallen member of the Marauders was MIA. “Guess that night really was crazy.”
“I wonder what…what’s really happening.” Gemma ruminated on, speculating the same questions as everyone else.
“Don’t worry your pretty little head. We’ll find out eventually,” he smirked confidently. “There is no such thing as privacy in Hogwarts.”
“V, how can you believe all of that BS?” Oliver Phyllis questioned, amused and lighthearted. “Honestly, tigers?”
“Just reporting what I heard!” Victoire exclaimed, throwing her arms up in emphasis. “A big group of them, right outside of Hogwarts! Then the day before that, I heard about eagles. And…and….”
He gave her a ‘she’s crazy’ smile, endlessly mystified by her. She took in his puzzled look with embarrassment. “You think I’m crazy, don’t you.”
“I would never think that, Victoire Weasley,” he stated, his husky voice irresistible. “Tigers, eagles, it could happen.”
“Oh don’t mock me.” She threw him a little pout, her shadowy blue eyes sparkling. He tucked a lock of hair carefully behind her ear.
“Hey, I’m agreeing. No harm in that, right?” he sarcastically asked with a smile.
She raised her perfect eyebrow. “Fine, but when you see, hmm….I don’t know a band of…dragons or something, then we’ll talk.”
“We’re talking now,” he murmured softly, making Victoire’s thoughts muddle. Wait, what were they talking about again? Did his words always have this effect?
“Yes, we are.” She mustered up, a sexy smirk on her face. His eyes smoldered into hers. She was surprised, normally Victoire couldn’t hold a conversation with Oliver without his eyes slowly trailing to her chest area. Maybe he’s finally learned to get his head out of his ass.
“I really adore that shade of blue in your eyes,” he sweetly commented, using it as an excuse to let his hand brush her cheek. “Positively stunning.”
Like a whisk of angry fire, Teddy Lupin swept hurriedly past them with a disciplined and frustrated expression on his face. The vivid navy that she caught sight of in his eyes didn’t escape her, but she pretended not to notice him.
To distract herself, she looked towards her other friends for assistance. By far, the most interesting sight she saw was Vivian, screaming at Adam and Johnny.
“Johnny! Would you please remove your self-righteous head out of the clouds of stupidity and listen!” Vivian squealed angrily. When did Johnny get like this? Jerky and arrogant! She didn’t like this side of him; she missed her best friend.
“Viv, spare me the profound lyrics of your uncle’s latest song.” Johnny Burns snorted with infuriating nonchalance.
“Don’t worry Viv, it’s not his fault. The eternally ignorant are always hopeless, don’t even bother.” Adam Donahue assisted with malicious acidity in his voice.
“Did you just call me ignorant?!”
“Impressive,” Adam sarcastically answered. “The only time you pay attention in a conversation is when it revolves around you. Even if it’s an insult.”
“Quit it!” Vivian stepped in front of them, a vicious flash in her eyes. This was supposed to be a talk to explain everything, and it ended up potentially turning into a fight. Well, boys will be boys.
The pent up anger in their eyes needed a release. Both boys, with determined yet dubious faces, both beseeched in unison, “How could you love him?!”
She huffed an impatient sigh, and then realized something. Johnny, who was so sure that she was in love with him, believed that she loved Adam instead. And vice versa for Adam. It seems these boys weren’t as confident as they displayed themselves to be, the doubt in their voices made that clear.
“You know what, right at the moment, I don’t love either of you!” she screeched angrily. “Let’s see what you make of that!”
“Wait Viv!” they both shouted helplessly, trailing after her like abandoned puppies.
Victoire tried to fight a smile, but failed miserably. The Johnny-Viv-Adam love triangle was about the most entertaining thing she’d seen all day. Or perhaps not, as her eyes wandered on, she could see that Violet was facing a little drama as well.
“Apparently, there’s this new broom called the Flame Blaze,” Violet’s eyes were vivid with excitement, her smile beaming enthusiastically to her captive male audience. “It’s soo beauteous! It has an acceleration of 200 miles in seven seconds, broomtail is designed like a motor so it releases awesome flares of red flames, and it’s got a hot metallic coating over it, ensuring indestructibility!”
Any other female student would have thought that this sounded like gibberish, but the guys she was conversing with looked upon her with utter amazement. A girl who knew brooms and Quidditch like that back of her hand was bound to make any guy crazy. Violet Montague sure was a refreshing girl for the guys to talk to when they needed the latest details on all things sports related.
“Whoa Vi, that’s frickin sweet.” A Stud, his name was Jared, praised as he held his palm up for a high five. “Looks, heat, and speed. I’ve never heard of anything like it!”
She reached up to high five him, but as she did he entwined his fingers within hers. And he wasn’t letting go. By the look of mischief in his eyes, it didn’t look like he planned on doing so any time soon.
“Well, if Montague was a broom, she’d be the fastest model on the market. Speedy, that girl is.”
Violet rolled her eyes at Lucas Jennings voice. Gently, she lowered her and Jared’s hands so that she could face the evil Slytherin. Her frosty glare was met by his smirk. His eyes traveled down to her hand, which was clasped with Jared’s.
“See you’ve moved on.” He disgustedly observed, looking at her hand as if she was the school’s biggest slut.
“See you haven’t.” Violet brightly said back, to which erupted a wave of ‘oohs’ from the surrounding boys. She gave Lucas a full blast of her penetrating violet eyes before leading Jared to an unknown location.
It took Lucas a moment to compose himself. Damn, those eyes.
When his sanity returned, he looked in the direction of the red head, who was leading the now goofy-grinning Stud to a more “private” area. A broom cupboard, more likely.
Lucas suddenly felt an odd clenching in his stomach. He swiftly turned around and found solace in his little compact mirror, refusing to give Violet a backwards glance.
Victoire found that interesting. Typically, Lucas would be an unruly bastard and Violet would play the rampant bitch. Victoire was anticipating a big blood fest between those two, but were they holding back?
Her eyes glanced over to the two Brightons, who were looking oddly cheerless in the morning. Their glum hazel eyes were darting over the walls of the Great Hall, bored and unresponsive. Victoire could sympathize; post-party recovery would take them a while.
It remained the hottest topic in Hogwarts gossip. How everything catastrophic that could have possibly happened, happened. The rumors and gossip plate for today ranged from the steamy hookups to mysterious falls of Viv and Ace.
As a matter of fact, where is Ace?
“Hey,” Oliver’s smooth voice cut in, his fingertips brushing her elbow to gain attention. She faced him, her piercing blue eyes rendering him slightly breathless. He almost looked as though he forgot what he was going to say, then it came to him. “You’re going to the In-chanting Benefit coming up, right?”
The In-chanting Benefit was one of the top ten social events of the year, always held annually by the popular In-chantment magazine. The profits always were donated to a charity; this year it’s all going to be donated to WOE (Welfare Of Elves). Victoire distantly remembered her mother badgering her upon attending. The event would be set in a few weeks, hopefully cleaning up the messy results of the Brighton bash once and for all.
“Who isn’t going?” Victoire declared with a laugh. She was excited for any chance to party, just as long as it didn’t involve the disasters of the previous party.
“Need an escort?” his dark and mysterious eyes looked at her from beneath his eyelashes. He had a suggestive smile, one she could never refuse. There’s definitely no denying how fitting they’d look together, both leaders and both equally as powerful.
“Still looking.” She teased with a playful grin. Truthfully, this would work out better than she planned. Oliver was making this all too easy for her. A devious smile quickly formed over her lips.
“You’re my date,” he boldly grasped both of her wrists on her lap with his hands, holding them in his control. “You have no choice.”
“Yes, master.” She seductively drawled, aware of the close proximity in which he held her. She didn’t need to take a glance around the room to realize that the majority of the Hogwarts population was observing them. Attention to her was as common as oxygen.
“I like the sound of that.”
Operation Lupin’s-Wake-Up-Call was now in effect.
It was dark. Damp. Eerie. I felt as though I were in the Lair of Dracula.
Actually, the Lair of his father. Close enough.
“Has he stopped staging yet?” a demanding yet silky voice implored from my left. Suddenly, I felt a cold hand touch my forehead. I recoiled with a shiver.
“Get your hand off me, Henry!” I deliriously ordered, realizing that I was placed on a leather couch with the rest of my family around. The Valmont Men, they liked to view themselves as. More like the Valmont mafia, in my opinion.
“Sheesh little brother,” a dark curly haired guy, a little bit older than me, sneered. “No need to get vicious. Save that energy for feeding.”
I could hear a hiss around me. My father scolded, “Henry, that is enough.”
“Ok, ok,” Henry surrendered with a light smile on his face. “His temperature has dropped, yet he still seems human. It’s odd.”
“What do you mean?” asked my father.
“His body seems to be stabilizing at that temperature,” Henry reported. “But it’s not our level of cold. Barely icy at all, just…cool.”
“What are you talking about?” I whined uncharacteristically, feeling strangely drowsy. How long had I been out?
“Do not worry, Mason.” I heard the comforting voice of my father. “You are staging. It happens to all of us, before we completely become vampires. Your body is just adapting….you’ll be passing out every now and then.”
“Fainting is more like it.” Snickered a voice I could discern as Heath’s. My father’s hiss silenced them, my family.
Actually, not really my family. Or at least not biologically. My father took in stray vampires who had no one to depend on during his lifetime, and helped them through the process. Mostly, my family comprised of disowned or rebellious vampires, habitually teens. The Valmont Men, they liked to label themselves as.
“Oh hush up, Heath!” the female exception of the Valmont Men reprimanded. “Let him be!”
“Sorry, Amelia.” Heath sarcastically apologized, ruffling up his hair. Since we weren’t all technically related, it was inevitable that all of the Valmont Men had developed a crush on Amelia, the bodacious dark-red head of the clan.
I felt myself drifting away, my eyes closing. Staging didn’t hurt really, it was just annoying to feel so impossibly drowsy. What the hell was happening in my body?
“…..He’s looking so handsome,” I could distantly hear Amelia murmur from above, stroking my face in a sisterly manner. “Not that he never was before.”
“I’m handsome too!” I didn’t have the level of consciousness to distinguish whose voice that was.
“You wish, Antonio.” She teased back, her voice sounding impeccably pleasant. “Father, I think he will turn out splendid. Don’t fret.”
“Oh Amelia, if only I could share in your conviction.” My father’s voice echoed, but my ears drunkenly took them in. “But he’s going to be….different.”
“Understatement of the century.”
“Silence, Henry!” he ordered, following with a frustrated sigh. “In all of his wake ups from staging, he has shown no significance at all to what he’s supposed to be. Not wincing in the slightest when I first shown sunlight on his face! Staging vampires always shy away from that when they first come upon the brightness. They get used to it, of course, but Mason seems to be unaffected of it entirely.”
“He hasn’t shown even the slightest preference for blood,” he exclaimed, surprised. “Wasn’t even thirsty as I dangled a goblet full right in front of him.”
“Vampires grow into that.”
“Yes,” my father continued. “But they are usually particularly thirsty during staging.”
“The only hope for Mason,” he said, remembering quickly. “Was when Heath and Henry tried to make silly hand puppets in front of his face, and then Mason inadvertently pushed them.”
“Pushed?!” Heath incredulously asked. “More like shoved with the strength of a million charging bulls, is more like it.”
“Oh Ace,” Amelia whispered loud enough for me to hear. “The first half-blood vampire I’ve seen. You truly are a monument.”
Victoire Weasley sauntered innocently outside to catch the sunlight, trailing her milky hands across the wall of the enormous castle. She concentrated on the roughness of the rock, knowing that they would probably cause unattractive blisters to her fingertips, but her breath caught as she rounded a corner.
“What the fuck are you playing at, Victoire?”
She gulped, yet stood defiantly as she tried to keep her tone casual. “How did you know it was me?”
With ferocity, Teddy Lupin turned around from his laidback position against the castle wall to face Victoire, his dark azure eyes ablaze. He tried to retain a disciplined expression. “Do you have any idea how embedded in my brain you are? Like a built in radar system, I can’t get you out of my head.”
She flushed silently, but kept the icy demeanor. “Ok, Lupin. I’m going back inside if that’ll make you okay.”
“Are you going out with him?”
This was a strange turn in the conversation. “Oliver?”
“Yes, that walking air head who you mistakenly seek friendship out of when he clearly wants something more.” He maliciously ranted, trying his best to keep whatever was fighting to burst forth inside of him restrained.
“Okay, do not talk about him lik—”
“Answer the damn question, Vick.” He entreated, fighting an internal poltergeist or…beast.
“So what if I am?” she challenged, waiting for a reaction. “You can’t do anything about it. I am free to be with whoever I want to be.”
“You’re not dating him.” He shook his head, disagreeing with everything she was telling.
“Who says I’m not?” she dared, waiting with expectant eyes.
He crashed against the wall, his teeth grinding together, trying to hinder what would have been a potential howl. He was trying to control himself, control the surge of emotions passing through him. She could hear him murmuring to himself, “Don’t, she’s here. Don’t.”
After gritting his teeth, he seemed to be in control of himself. With brooding eyes, he threw her a dreadful look. Her cerulean eyes glimmered with wetness, he looked like he was in pain. She reached out to soothe him, but he flinched back with uncertainty, mistrustfulness.
Her eyes flared angrily. “You know what Lupin, I’ve had enough of these games. You either want me, or you don’t!”
“This…really— isn’t the time, Vick!” he said between sharp intakes of breath.
“Oh yeah?” Victoire challenged with a vengeful aura. “Well, get a new obsession. Forget about me, don’t even think of me. If it makes you feel better!”
Her demeaning tone came out more vicious than necessary, yet she knew these horrible words would get him to realize. She wasn’t just something to look at; she wasn’t just another pretty girl to fantasize over. If that’s what Teddy has viewed Victoire as, she was set upon changing that.
With a final huff, she dramatically exited with her silvery hair blowing within the furious wind. Teddy was left there, staring after her retreating figure like an abandoned child. He knew it was only a matter of time before Victoire would have found someone new; someone as alluring as her could snag a guy in a few seconds.
Although her eyes remained the same blue as his, could he honestly trust that? A war went on in his head, debating between right and wrong, reality and fantasy, truth and deception. His feelings for Victoire were also a mind numbing battle within his head, an unsolvable mystery.
How could he be so fixated on one girl when so many would fall at his feet freely? How could he be so furious at one guy for merely looking at her? What the hell was he feeling for Victoire Weasley?
Obsession sounded way too creepy. Infatuation was too foolish. Certainly there was something stronger, more meaningful. Magnetism. Magnetism for the very girl who triggered him to become what he was. How on earth did that come to be?
He shook that thought away, his insights on emotion and feelings were bound to get carried away. Teddy felt himself darken, suddenly remembering the words she screeched at him with venom. Well, get a new obsession. Forget me, don’t even think of me!
“Impossible.” He whispered gravely, closing his eyes at the cruel truth.
Dear Readers Who I Adore Because They Read This,
Yay! A new chapter, thank Merlin! And so, the plot thickens once more: what will become of poor little Ace? Who will Viv choose? Will Violet and Lucas fight their parents’ wishes? What will become of the Teddy-Victoire drama? And, what is bugging the Brighton twins? And as for the In-chanting Benefit coming up, we may only question what will those Populars get themselves into next? More mystery? More drama? More scandal? Yes, yes, and definitely yes! Thank you all so much for reading and I hope that you all leave little reviews because I love them so much! Thanks!
Your Obedient Servant,