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Chapter 4 : Search for Masquerade Girl
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Search for Masquerade Girl
The first day back was a lazy one as many students were trying to get back into the groove of waking up in time to make it down to breakfast before class at eight o’clock. That had been no exception for the Gryffindor sixth year boys, three of which were currently stationed at a grey stone-washed table in the courtyard during their free period.
Before them were bits of parchment with various ideas scribbled all over them that one would have trouble deciphering. There were things crossed out and other things scribbled in cramped areas. These boys that were hunched over the parchments were none other than the coolest sixth years at Hogwarts; they were James Sirius Potter, Fred Weasley, and Holden Summers.
“I don’t want to attract that much attention to myself,” Holden argued toward Fred, who had just pitched an idea to post an article about it in the Hogwarts Report, especially since they could get the article in for free since Molly Weasley was the Editor. “There’s got to be another way that will be just as effective, but won’t cause a big stir up.”
“Well, you could always do nothing and let her come to you,” James suggested. “You said that she knew who you were, so why not let her come to you?”
“Because I don’t think she will,” Holden replied as he ran his fingers through his golden hair. “She told me that it wouldn’t work out.”
“Well, then, it seems like you’re going to have to do it our way, then.”
“I will if it’s something other than putting an article in the newspaper,” Holden warned his two friends with a glare set in his blue-green eyes. “Do you two have any idea how many girls read the school paper?”
“Yeah,” Fred replied with a careless shrug of his wide shoulders. “A lot, which is why we think it’s a brilliant idea.”
“But,” James spoke before Holden could say anything. “If you don’t want to search that way, then we’ll come up with another way.”
Holden blew out a sigh of relief. “Thanks.”
“Not a problem,” James replied while Fred grumbled something inaudible under his breath.
The rest of the day seemed to drag on endlessly for Holden. He was in the common room writing an essay that had been assigned that morning for Transfiguration. There weren’t that many people in the Gryffindor common room since it was around eleven o’clock in the evening. Most of everyone had already turned in for the night.
Holden had no clue where James and Fred were, they had run off after dinner that night saying that they had to go to the library. That had made Holden think they were up to something since they’d only ever been to the library once. And that was only because they had been chased into it by a screaming Rose Weasley when they had put some kind of purple goo in her shampoo bottle in the boys’ fourth year; don’t ask how they had made it into the girls’ dorms either.
Hopefully, James and Fred wouldn’t go through with anything without consulting with Holden beforehand. They could be drastic when it came to plans at times, earlier that day when they were in the courtyard was a prime example of the two hard at work to start a mass search for Masquerade Girl, as they had dubbed her.
The following morning when Holden made his way down to the Great Hall for breakfast with James and Fred, there seemed to be quite a bit of whispering and head turning toward him as he passed by. Holden looked toward his friends, who were casually walking with their hands in their pockets as if they hadn’t done a single thing, when in reality that was their pose that meant they had done something. What they did, Holden had no clue.
When they reached the foot of the grand marble staircase in the Entrance Hall, Holden saw quite a few more people milling around than there normally would be in the morning before classes. Then, when some of the people near the wall stepped back that’s when he saw it; it referring to the fact that there was a poster taking up a good portion of the wall.
The poster looked to have been hand drawn of a girl wearing a blue mask over her face. Above the drawing at the top of the poster read, ‘Are you Holden Summer’s Masquerade Girl?’ Holden let out a groan as he turned to face his two friends. “Why?”
“Don’t look at us like that,” Fred said in as innocent a tone as he could with a smile breaking across his face. “This was the best solution we came up with.”
“I told you I didn’t want to publicize this in this kind of way,” Holden spoke to his two friends. “I can’t believe you went behind my back.”
“Shh,” both James and Fred said as they led Holden into the broom closet off to the side of the Entrance Hall. They put silencing charms around it so that no one would overhear Holden’s complaints of the plan of searching for Masquerade Girl that they were about to pitch to him.
“Think about it,” James started. “You’ll get so many girls claiming that they’re your Masquerade Girl, and all you have to do is go out with a selection of them until you find the girl that you talked to that night.”
“Why do I get the feeling that you two are just doing this to have some fun with me because you aren’t single anymore?” Holden questioned his two friends.
“No, we both like our girlfriends a lot,” James replied. “Why would we need to use you as a way to date a bunch of girls?”
“Speak for yourself, James,” Fred spoke up. “Tessa is getting a bit boring. I’m thinking about moving on.”
That comment caused both Holden and James to roll their eyes. They knew Fred well enough to know that he didn’t like being bound to only one girl he was more for playing the field with a bunch of girls all at once.
“Well, you can date the girls that approach me saying that they’re Masquerade Girl,” Holden threw out at Fred. “I’m not dating any of those girls.”
“At least date a select amount of the girls that are going to claim.” James suggested, “How about 25 of the girls?”
“Five,” Holden said seriously as he crossed his arms.
“Come on, Holden,” James protested. “How is that going to help us find her for you? 20?”
“Why not make it ten?”
“Okay, then it is settled,” James finalized, “fifteen it is.”
“Oh, no,” Holden gritted out. “I said ten, not fifteen.”
“Really, I could have sworn you said fifteen, right Fred?” James said in a mock serious voice, addressing Fred at the same time.
“Yeah, you did say fifteen, mate.”
“I did not!” Holden let out a frustrated sigh, showing signs of giving in to his two friends who wouldn’t let it go.
“Did too,” both of his mates said in unison.
“Fine,” Holden breathed out. “Fifteen girls it is then.”
James and Fred hi-fived, which caused Holden to roll his eyes and exit the broom closet that they had been standing in.
When Holden stepped out, it was to find quite a few girls standing there waiting for him already. It was going to be a long day that was for sure.
“Hey Holden,” said a redhead that was none other than James’ little sister Lily. Holden had always suspected that she had a crush on him. Lily giggled and blushed furiously before she was pushed to the side by another girl that he had never seen before in his life.
While Holden was trying to make it to the Great Hall through the thick cluster of girls surrounding him, with James and Fred laughing behind him, a girl had sidled into the Entrance Hall with a couple of her friends. They squeezed into the large entry way and headed over to her house table. The girl did all this with a small glimpse at the messy blond guy that was in the centre of girls that were claiming to be his Masquerade Girl. In short, they were claiming to be her.
The girl had gone unnoticed through most of her years at Hogwarts and that’s how she wanted it to stay. She had never liked drawing attention to herself and had only a few friends that she was close enough to share everything with. And with those few friends, she had told them about talking with Holden Summers on the New Year’s Eve night at the Potters’ Masquerade Party.
She had no desire to come forward and reveal herself to Holden, especially after this little incident that he pulled just to find her. She was going to make it even harder for him to find her now. And to think she had actually thought he was different than he appeared to be at school. She had fooled herself into thinking that he was different, but he really wasn’t and now she could see that he wasn’t. Boys were all the same on the surface with nothing inside.
Back in the Entrance Hall, Holden had finally got through to the entry way and made it over to the Gryffindor table with his mates following closely behind him, still laughing.
“It’s not funny,” Holden groaned as he grabbed a bowl of porridge and tucked into it.
“Yes, it is,” James replied. “You honestly have no idea how popular we are, do you?”
“I know we’re popular,” Holden said after swallowing the mouthful of porridge that he’d taken. “I just never expected to be on the top of the whole student body popular.”
Fred laughed. “You have a lot to learn about your status at this school, mate.”
The day went on pretty much like how it had started for Holden. Girls kept coming up to him in the hallways, claiming that they were his Masquerade Girl. Also, his mates had started taking names of the girls, as well as notes, that would come in handy when they chose the fifteen girls that Holden would date.
It was a couple of days later that Holden found himself in the 6th year boys’ dorm with only James and Fred. They were going through the notes of girls that had approached Holden over the first two days.
The list comprised of six girls at the moment. This was how it was set up on the parchment in the center of the boys that sat on the floor next to the window:
1) Kaitlin Fischer
2) Lauren Nichols
3) Ashley Townsend
4) Tiffany Hawkins
5) Natalie Bowen
6) Haley Bourke
All the girls were blond, since that was one of the things that Holden was positive about his Masquerade Girl. But that was the only thing they had in common. The majority of the six girls were from Gryffindor, but there was a Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw thrown into the mix. The boys had just got to the Slytherin girls that had claimed to be Masquerade Girl.
“I didn’t like her,” Holden told his two friends. “She seemed really snobby.”
“You didn’t like any of the girls,” Fred retorted. “You aren’t exactly being open for somebody who wants to find the girl that they talked to behind a mask.”
“Well, I’m sorry if I know the girl that has claimed to be her hasn’t quite struck me yet,” Holden sarcastically replied. “I know this is going to sound lame, but none of these girls have made me feel like I felt when I talked to her.”
“Okay,” James said slowly. “Then we’ll just add to the list later, after you go out with these six girls.”
“That sounds reasonable,” Holden said as he stood up from where he had been sitting.
The boys decided in the end that Holden would ask out the first three girls to Hogsmeade this Saturday, but at different times. That would give him time to think about how well he had interacted with each girl, if there was anything at all to think about.
By the end of the week, Holden had already asked the first three girls on the list to Hogsmeade with him. All but one of the girls had totally freaked out by jumping up and down when he had asked them. The one that didn’t only smiled, blushed, and thanked him; that was the Ravenclaw girl.
Holden met Kaitlin Fischer, a 5th year Gryffindor, in the Entrance Hall and together the two made their way across the grounds to the gates leading out and up the street toward the town of Hogsmeade. For the most part, Kaitlin was quite easy to talk to, but Holden felt that she was only friend material.
Holden took Kaitlin to Honeydukes, where he bought her a chocolate bar. After the candy store, Kaitlin wanted to go to Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shoppe and so, Holden found himself sitting across from Kaitlin in a pink and frilly tea shop.
“I thought you’d never guess my identity,” Kaitlin gushed after taking a sip of her vanilla-flavored tea.
Holden didn’t know what to say to that. The truth was that Kaitlin wasn’t his Masquerade Girl. He had known that since he had asked her about her family; she responded that she was an only child and both of her parents had also been only children with no siblings. Holden knew that his Masquerade Girl had cousins even though she didn’t have any brothers or sisters.
After his date with Kaitlin ended, Holden went to meet up with Lauren at The Three Broomsticks. It didn’t take him long to find where she was sitting at one of the tables against the wall opposite the entrance. He walked over and grabbed a seat across from where she sat in the booth before he greeted her.
“Hey Lauren,” Holden said once he had taken his seat. “How’s your day so far?”
“Oh, it’s alright, I guess,” Lauren replied back in a shy manner. “How’s yours going?”
“It’s going,” Holden started before muttering under his breath. “That’s for sure.”
“You don’t seem to like all of this attention that you’re receiving.”
“Well, would you?” Holden asked her as his reply.
Lauren replied in her voice, “No. I wouldn’t, actually, I would much rather blend in.
That struck Holden dead-on. If Lauren didn’t like to draw attention to her, then why would she come forward as Masquerade Girl? That didn’t make sense to Holden, which was what led toward his question,
“Then why would you claim to be Masquerade Girl?”
“I didn’t,” Lauren replied. “You’re two friends were running around gathering names and at first I was hesitant to give them mine, but then one of my friends yelled my name to get my attention and the rest you should know from there.”
“Oh,” Holden simply replied. He should have known that most of the girls that James and Fred had gathered were only names. And now that he thought about it, he hadn’t actually met a lot of the girls that were on James and Fred’s never-ending list of girls. “What house are you in?”
“Ravenclaw,” Lauren replied. “I’m in the same year as you are. We’ve had some classes together throughout our years here.”
“Are you serious?” Holden asked her, he honestly couldn’t remember Lauren from any of his previous classes or classes that they might have together now.
Lauren nodded. “I was always shy and quiet, keeping my nose buried in a book and only talking when the teacher called on me to answer a question.”
The two continued to talk and get along fine until Holden had to leave to go meet up with the last girl of the day at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. Holden bade Lauren good-bye, saying that he’d see her around, before heading off to the joke shop.
Ashley Townsend was already waiting for him on the sidewalk in front of the joke shop, tapping her foot impatiently with her arms crossed. Holden could tell by first glance at Ashley that this was not going to be a fun date, and he was right.
After being in Ashley’s company for 15 minutes, Holden had snuck away by saying that he had to go purchase a couple of items and sneaking out of the shop. It wasn’t long that he found James with Marisol as they were standing on the cobbled sidewalk outside of Honeydukes.
“Hey,” James greeted Holden when he saw him walk over to him and Marisol. “How were your dates?”
Holden made a face. “The first and last were nightmares, though the last was the worse. But the second wasn’t half that bad; I actually enjoyed spending time with Lauren.”
“Are you going to see her again?” Marisol asked, jumping into the boys’ conversation.
“You know what?” Holden said, “I think I will.”
“That’s great,” Marisol replied to Holden’s response. “I’m happy for you.”
James made a face, “What about me? I was the one who told him that he needed to date some of the girls that were approaching him.”
Marisol rolled her eyes at her boyfriend before she leaned in and kissed him before she said anything. “You gave him the idea, but he made the decision.”
“Okay, whatever,” James said, happy for the closeness of his girlfriend as they shared another kiss.
“Uh, still here,” Holden said awkwardly. “Do you guys always have to do that?”
“Sorry,” both of them said with light pink patches covering their cheeks.
“It’s alright,” Holden said. “I think I’m just going to head back up to the castle now.”
He waved good-bye to James and Marisol, telling them that he’d see them later, and headed back toward Hogwarts.
Holden wrapped his cloak tighter around him as a cool breeze blew, causing the bare trees to sway slightly. The sun peaked out from behind one of the many clouds in the sky as he treaded through the snow up toward the castle that had become like a second home to him since his first year.
By the time Holden had reached the front doors that led into the Entrance Hall, he had come to the conclusion that he was going to spend more time with Lauren to get to know her. With that thought in his mind, Holden headed up the marble staircase all the way up toward the seventh floor and entered the Gryffindor tower after telling the password to the fat lady in the pink dress (Purple Dragon).
Author's Note: I hope you enjoyed this chapter and as of 2008.08.15 it is beta'd.
Excerpt from the (almost) finished Chapter 5//
“And besides, I’m not her, I only know who the girl he’s looking for is.”
Marisol very quietly left where she had been hidden and left the library to go find James. She was supposed to meet him by one of the tapestries now, but she had no intention on telling him what she had overheard as she wanted to make sure she gathered some more information about the girl and who the Masquerade Girl is. Marisol knew that James would probably take this information straight to Holden and she didn’t want his hopes to get crushed if this all seemed to be false.
And the plot is starting to really come along now, isn't it? With any luck I'll have chapter five completed by the end of the weekend and be able to post it at the beginning of next week. Thanks again for reading and please let me know what you think of the story so far!
Beta'd by my fantastic beta, Whitney, a.k.a. slytherinprincess over at the forums!
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