Chapter 5 : Secrets 101
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Holden didn’t see Lauren until Monday in Transfiguration. He was going to sit down next to her, but her friend had plopped down in the chair before he had reached the table that she was at. He sighed as he made his way toward the back and sat down next to Dominique Weasley, who was staring at her reflection in a compact mirror like she normally did at any chance she got.
Holden seemed to drift in and out of what the professor was lecturing about that lesson, which was how to change your appearance and such. Normally, Holden would have been hanging on to every word being said as Transfiguration was his favorite and best subject, but he just couldn’t pull out enough energy to pay attention.
When the class was finally done, Holden made a beeline for the door, which Lauren had already exited. When he was out of the class-room, he called to her. “Lauren!” It seemed like all the students in the surrounding area turned toward him and was watching him as he made his way over toward where Lauren stood facing him now.
“Yes, Holden?” Lauren asked with her usual shy expression upon her fair-skinned face.
“I was wondering if you’d like to take a walk around the lake with me tonight after dinner,” Holden asked. “We could talk some more.”
Lauren seemed to think about her answer for a few seconds before she answered Holden’s question. “Sure.”
“Okay, cool,” Holden replied as he let his laid-back personality come out of him now that the nerves of her not saying yes were gone. “I’ll meet you in the entrance hall at seven o’clock?”
“Okay,” Lauren smiled before she turned around and started to walk off before briefly turning back to wave to Holden.
Holden waved back before he turned around to make his way toward Ancient Runes. He reached the class and took his seat next to a Hufflepuff, Kyle Macmillian. He wasn’t the best of mates with Kyle simply because Kyle tended to be a little on the pompous side, but he got along with him fine enough.
“How’s it going, Macmillian?”
“Pretty alright,” Kyle answered as he turned in his seat to face Holden. “What about you, Summers? Any luck on your search for Masquerade Girl?”
Holden shrugged. “I think I may have found her.”
“Already?” Kyle sounded a little doubtful as his eyebrows raised slightly.
“Yeah,” Holden replied.
The two were hushed as the professor entered the classroom. Holden took out parchment and a quill so that he’d be able to take notes and follow along with the lesson. Beside him, Kyle did the same thing as he rummaged in his bag. The lesson went along at a steady pace for the students that took notes.
Marisol had to promise to meet up with James later that night before she could make her way to the library to get a start on her homework. James had wanted to pull her into a broom closet so that they could have some privacy, but she had wanted to get started on her homework at a reasonable time as she didn’t want to be up all night getting it done.
When she entered the library she took her usual spot at the table in a secluded corner where there was a window that looked out over the grounds and part of the vast, black lake.
Marisol started on the essay for Transfiguration first. She had only been writing for a few minutes when a petite girl with shoulder-length blond hair and brown eyes sat down at the end of the medium sized table that she was currently sitting at. She noted that the girl was wearing Slytherin robes and that her tie was striped with green and silver.
Marisol went back to writing her essay when she noticed the girl had looked up as though she could feel Marisol’s eyes on her. Marisol smiled before looking back down at the outline she had just wrote up for her essay and got back to work on it.
The air that surrounded the two girls hung silent and cold, waiting and begging for some sort of noise. Marisol was about to say something when the girl looked over her shoulder at someone that Marisol couldn’t see for the bookshelf blocking her line of vision.
The girl made a gesture with her hand, letting whomever she was silently communicating with know to leave her alone to study for a little while longer.
It must have worked since it was around 30 minutes later and Marisol had packed her books back into her bag and started to leave the library when she noticed another girl from Slytherin, only with long brown hair, hazel eyes, and a curvy figure. She was walking over toward where the blond Slytherin girl was positioned at the table that Marisol had only just vacated.
Marisol stopped behind a book shelf when she heard the brunette ask the girl a question as she had heard Holden’s name and immediately her curiosity perked.
“Are we going to tell Holden?” The brunette asked her blond friend who was doing her best to avoid the other’s eyes by looking down at her textbook. “Or are we just going to let him continue to search until he gives up like she told us to do?”
“He won’t give up,” the girl spoke in a whisper.
“I heard something about him thinking that he already found her,” the brunette whispered, “what about that?”
“I heard about that too,” the girl with the short blond hair replied. “We could always wait until she comes to her senses instead of creating a scandal by blowing her secret. I mean, she is our friend after all.”
“But–” the brunette started, but was cut off by the blond, who gave her a furtive look.
“Not here,” the girl spoke quickly, motioning to the other that she thought they were being overheard by someone nearby, as she must have just noticed Marisol through a gap between books on one of the middle shelves.
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. She had no intention on telling him what she had overheard as she wanted to make sure she gathered some more information about the Slytherin girl and who the Masquerade Girl truly was first. 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 turned out to be false.
When Marisol walked up to James, it seemed as though he knew she was hiding something from him, though he didn’t try to get it out of her. That was what she liked about James, he didn’t push her to tell him anything, but rather he waited until she felt like telling him.
As James leaned forward and brushed his lips against hers, she had a sudden thought that she would find out the truth behind identity of the Masquerade Girl. It was not long before James had backed her behind the tapestry and she was kissing him back. The two were oblivious to the sounds of footsteps passing the tapestry as they kissed.
“How’d the studying go?” James whispered on her lips.
“Great,” Marisol replied back. “You should come with me the next time I go to the library to study.”
“No thanks,” James murmured against her ear as he started to twirl her wavy brown locks in between his fingers. “I’ve got a rep to keep up.”
“Oh, that’s right,” Marisol rolled her eyes as she started to fiddle with the hem of her shirt, a nervous habit she did when thinking about something completely different than what she was talking about at any given time.
James, noticing what she was doing, asked, “What’s up?”
“Nothing,” Marisol was quick to respond. A little too quick for her liking, but she would perfect the art of lying in due time. She had to. There was no way she was letting James know anything before she got some answers herself.
James seemed to have dropped the question after that as he leaned in to kiss her again. Marisol leaned forward a bit before kissing back. She’d have to put her thoughts on hold until she was by herself.
Holden met Lauren in the entrance hall after dinner. The two walked out of the oak front doors and down the front stairs into the courtyard. Holden led the way down to the lake and took a seat under the bare beech tree atop the thin layer of snow.
The weather was still chilly, but it seemed to be warming slightly as January faded into February. The cloudy sky was clearing to reveal the sun shining down brightly with its bright rays of sunlight. There were birds and other animals venturing out of their shelters to enjoy the sunlight as Holden and Lauren started to talk.
“So, any luck finding her, yet?” Lauren asked Holden, still oblivious for the reason why Holden had asked her to take a walk with him.
“As a matter of fact,” Holden started with a slight smile on his face, “I have found her.”
“Oh, who is it?” Lauren asked in wonderment.
“It’s you,” Holden stated quite boldly.
“It’s who?” Lauren asked in a voice that sounded caught off guard, matching her eyebrows that had shot upward and eyes that looked round and pensive.
“You,” Holden repeated simply.
“No,” Lauren said, finally catching where this little rendezvous was headed. “If I was her, I would have come forward, but I’m not her, Holden. You’ve got the wrong girl.”
“No, I don’t,” Holden replied with a twinkle in his eye. “The real Masquerade Girl told me that she wasn’t going to reveal herself to me, I had to find out her identity if I wanted to. You’re her, I know you are.”
“No, I’m not,” Lauren stood and started to back away. She didn’t want to fool Holden because he was bound to find the identity of his Masquerade Girl in the end of all of this and she didn’t want him to be mad at her, or – she felt a stab at the next thought – she didn’t want to get hurt when he left her for the real girl that he met at the Potters’ Masquerade Ball. She had enjoyed hanging with Holden on their date and felt they could be great friends; she didn’t want some silly misunderstanding to come between them.
“Lauren, wait!” Holden stood and followed after her. He grabbed her arm and turned her around gently. “Please, I know you’re her and if you could only give me a chance than I’ll prove to you that it can work out.”
What am I supposed to say? Lauren swallowed. Why are things so complicated? I suppose I could agree to go out with him until he finds the real Masquerade Girl and knows that I was telling the truth about not being her all along. Why are boys so stubborn?! Lauren sighed before she opened her mouth to say,
“Okay,” Lauren said. “I’ll give you a chance.”
“Great,” Holden replied with a smile that lit up his blue-green eyes as he took her hand into his and started to walk her up toward the castle.
Inside Lauren felt weaker than she had ever felt before in her whole life. She could have said ‘no’ to giving Holden a chance and had him mad at her, but she couldn’t hurt him anymore than she was sure he was since all of this started last week. It didn’t help that Lauren wasn’t assertive enough to stand her ground for what she had said; instead she gave into whoever was trying to persuade her. It was for that reason that she found herself to be weak.
Holden was sitting on the sofa in the Gryffindor common room reading his Transfiguration textbook when both of his friends approached him with questions about where his relationship with Lauren was headed. He had been hanging around Lauren all week, and still he had yet to tell his friends that Lauren was more than a friend. Holden had no clue as to why not; maybe it was because he didn’t want to assume she was the girl that night until he was more positive than he felt.
“So, what’s the deal-e-o with you and this Lauren chick?” Fred came right out with it the moment he took a seat in the armchair across from Holden. Holden made a face at his choice of words and referring to Lauren as some chick as she was more than that.
“What Fred really means is,” James said in a pressing voice that dripped with disapproval over his cousin. “Is Lauren the girl you talked with at the New Year’s party?”
“I think so,” Holden said. “I’m still not 100% positive, but I’m more positive of it than I was on our date in Hogsmeade last weekend.”
“That’s great, mate!” James exclaimed in an excited tone. “I’m happy for you!”
“Me too,” Fred said in agreement. “It’s about time you got yourself a steady girlfriend, mate.”
“Yeah,” Holden agreed. “Does that mean you guys won’t rag on me anymore about not settling with just any girl now?”
Both James and Fred rolled their eyes as they grinned back at Holden with identical mischievous grins playing on their faces. Holden only sighed in resignation and smiled at his two best mates. They would never change those two.
After a few more moments, James and Fred got up and left Holden to his reading. That was one thing that set him apart from James and Fred, he enjoyed reading not only when he was writing essays, but also in his free time. They liked to tease Holden quite a bit for it in turn.
It never bothered Holden in the least, either. He’d take it all in stride while he read. Another thing that he liked to do more than either of his friends was go to the library to get away from the noisy common room. And that was what he decided to do as a group of loud second years entered through the portrait hole.
Holden walked through the quiet halls that Thursday evening. It was just after dinner time by a couple of hours and so a lot of other students had to be in their common rooms by eight, but he, being a sixth year, didn’t have to be back until ten.
He passed by snoozing portraits and slumped over suites of armor on his way to his second favorite place at Hogwarts, the first being a secret to even James and Fred. He was somewhat surprised that he didn’t meet anyone on the way there, as he was in the mood to use his Prefect’s badge. It was pinned underneath the Gryffindor Lion emblem on the front of his school robes. He felt like telling the younger students off for being out of their common rooms. This was rare for Holden as he rarely played his part as Prefect. He was more into breaking the rules like his friends were than following them.
When Holden reached the library it was to find Lauren there, studying with her best friend. It didn’t take long for the two girls to notice him as he approached their table and asked, “Mind if I join you?”
“No, not at all,” Lauren replied, gesturing to the empty seat across from her that was empty.
The exchange between the two wasn’t missed by Lauren’s friend and it wasn’t but a few seconds later that she stood up from her place and put her books away. “I’ll leave you two alone,” she said with a smirk.
“You don’t have to go, Melody,” Lauren spoke to her friend as her eyes went from watching Holden toward her best friend.
“It’s okay,” Melody spoke as she tucked a stray stand of dark auburn hair behind her right ear. “It was nice seeing you, Holden, and I’ll see you back at the common room, Lauren.”
“Nice seeing you, too, Melody,” Holden said as he turned his attention back on to Lauren. “So, I thought you’d be done in the library by now since you told me that you were coming here directly after you finished dinner.”
“Well, I did,” Lauren replied. “But I got a little side-tracked with Melody asking me questions about what’s going on between us since we haven’t really made our relationship known to the student body yet.”
“Oh, well you can tell your friends if you want,” Holden suggested. “It won’t matter if you do or don’t.”
“That’s okay,” Lauren replied with a smile playing on the corners of her lips as she leaned across the table so that she was looking straight into Holden’s gorgeous bluish green eyes in a flirtatious way as Lauren normally acted shy around guys, but Holden was different; she felt like she could really let out the personality that she held back for only her closest friends when around him. “I kind of like keeping everyone in the dark about us.”
“Me too,” Holden replied with a slight trace of a smile before he closed what little space was between them and brushed his lips against hers. He felt her kiss him back before the two broke apart with pink tinges highlighting their cheeks. They both looked down at their books and started to work on whatever they needed to get done for their classes.
Both were completely unaware of the fact that they had been watched by someone that was standing behind a bookshelf with an old-fashioned camera in hand. Also, they were unaware that by tomorrow the whole school would know that Holden had supposedly found his Masquerade Girl. Life was truly about to get complicated for those who held the real truth in just a single day.
Author's Note: This chapter is now beta'd thanks to my fantastic beta Whitney aka slytherinprincess over in the forums. Hope you enjoyed it and thanks for reading! I'd love to hear your feedback on what you thought of the outcome of this chapter in a review. Thanks again!
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