Chapter 7 : Cocktails and Miniature Mistakes
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Having had plenty of time in my two days of hibernation for sleep, I entered the Great Hall uncharacteristically early for breakfast the next morning. Only a few students and teachers had found their way there. I took my usual seat midway down the scarcely populated Ravenclaw table and began loading some sausage and eggs onto my plate.
I looked up from my meal to see the source of the obnoxious interruption, Eddie Carmichael, settling down next to me and gave him a questioning look. I hadn’t seen him since “The Incident”, as I had termed it, when I had somehow managed to lead him on, and believe me, I still felt guilty about it.
“What?” He questioned confusedly. “Did I forget to put on my trousers again?” He smiled and looked downward in jest. I continued to gaze at him in an odd manner, surprised that he seemed to have forgotten the horrific turn of events.
“No. It’s just…” I began slowly. “I thought you’d never want to talk to me again after the other night.” I paused to look guiltily down at my meal, avoiding his stare. “And I’m really sorry about the way I acted. It was rude and tactless, and I shouldn’t have—”
“It’s alright, Mel,” he said deliberately, placing his hand over mine as it rested on the table, causing me to look up at him. He was donning one of his winsome smiles, of course, and I couldn’t help but blush at the touch of his hand. “It was just a task. No big deal.”
“Oh…” I supplied stupidly; I had not expected this. Suddenly becoming cognizant of the hand still resting on mine, I shifted uncomfortably and moved my hand out from under his. I sat there quietly, unsure of where to take the conversation. This had to qualify as one of the more awkward moments in my life.
“So how are you feeling this morning?” Eddie questioned. Naturally I had no idea as to why he would be asking such a thing so I just continued to stare at him blankly. “Padma told us how sick you were last night.”
“Erm… right,” I said awkwardly, searching for an excuse that could be deemed plausible. “I’m feeling better now. I suppose it was just one of those 24-hour bugs.”
“Well, I’m glad you’re back with us,” he said, grinning widely at me. And for some reason unbeknownst to me, another slight blush came over my cheeks. “You missed an interesting meeting, though. The funniest thing ha—Oi, Roger! Over here.”
Oh, for the love of Merlin. The statement was left unfinished as I turned indolently to see Roger at the end of the hall, beginning towards us. By the looks of it, he had certainly not forgotten about “The Incident”; he looked slightly unhinged, which, as I knew, was rather uncharacteristic for him. I uncomfortably turned my interest back to my plate. My eggs sat untouched. Pity, I just lost my appetite. I watched wordlessly as Roger took the seat across from us.
“Well you look good for someone who spent all last night worshipping the porcelain god,” he stated harshly after he had pile some eggs onto his own breakfast plate.
I stared blankly at him, not knowing how to respond. I had wanted to speak with him about what had transpired, but obviously neither this time nor this place would suffice.
“Oh, it was just one of those 24-hour things, mate,” Eddie supplied casually as he hungrily devoured his bacon, unaware of the convoluted relationship between the two of us.
“Of course it was,” Roger countered, as he glanced at his wristwatch and took a long sip from his goblet of pumpkin juice, draining it. His eyes locked with mine; I felt like he was looking right through me, a feeling that was neither welcome nor comfortable.
“So,” Eddie began a few seconds later, swallowing his food and wagging his fork at Roger as he spoke. “Are you going to be ready for Saturday?”
I gave him a puzzled look before remembering what Saturday was: Ravenclaw’s first quidditch match of the year. It was against Hufflepuff. Of course, Eddie would be asking Roger about it. He was, after all, Ravenclaw’s star chaser and captain of the team.
“Hopefully,” Roger replied nonchalantly. “I’ve had a lot to deal with lately. A lot of distractions.”
My jaw dropped instantly. He had, of course, been referring to me. How rude!
“I’m sure you’ll do fine. Hufflepuff has never had much of a team,” Eddie declared confidently as he reached across the table for the pitcher of juice. He then turned to me, grinning, and said, “Speaking of the match, Mel, I would be honoured if you would accompany me Saturday.”
“I would love to, Eddie,” I declared after a moment, returning the smile. I glanced down to my barely eaten meal and decided it was time to take my leave from this uncomfortable situation. As I got up from the table, I added, “Well this has been… lovely. But I must go finish up an essay before class. See you later, Eddie.”
True as it was, I did have loads of homework from the last few days I had missed, but I knew I would not even attempt writing an essay before morning classes. I was now in too foul of mood to even think about schoolwork. Thanks to Roger Sodding Davies.
Not surprisingly I had been the first student to enter the Transfiguration classroom that morning. Taking my customary seat at the rear of the class, I couldn’t help but to let my thoughts wander off about the myriad of setbacks that had befallen in the last few days. I wasn’t sure if Roger would ever choose to forgive me for my childish and thoughtless actions and I was more than confounded with what was happening with Eddie. Yes, Roger was the one I wanted to be with, but at some point in the last couple of days, I had begun to feel something different for his best mate, something that was slightly more than platonic, something that I couldn’t explain.
My thoughts were interrupted when a large group of students, both Ravenclaw and Slytherin, entered the room. Incidentally all eyes were on me, making me feel more than uncomfortable. Some were leering. Some were actually giving me looks of sympathy. The reason for their stares was evident.
I was saved, however, when Padma arrived. She immediately noticed the whispering and snickering directed toward me, and she, never the shy one, reprimanded the spectators, “Oh, for Merlin’s sake people! Mel did not and never would condescend to shag Malfoy. And if you actually believe a slimy git like Draco Malfoy, then you are far more dense than you look.”
The whispers subsided at her outburst and the class remained subdued as the remaining students filtered in.
“Well, well. I’m glad you could join us today,” Michael said as he and Anthony took the seats in front of mine.
“Bugger off, Michael. I’m in a foul state as it is so please spare me.”
“It’s good to have you back, Mel,” Anthony said, giving me a comforting smile. “But you did miss a great meeting last night.”
“And why exactly is that?”
“Michael,” Anthony whispered, looking uncertainly at his friend, who was beaming proudly, “dared Cho to break Harry Potter’s heart by Valentine’s Day.”
“Are you serious?”
“Quite,” Michael replied. Complacency was boldly etched on his countenance.
“He’s just miffed because his girlfriend is in love with Potter.”
“Sod off,” Michael said as he hit Anthony on the back of his head with his Transfiguration book.
The rest of Thursday and all of Friday passed with little consequence and before I knew it, I was making the walk down to the quidditch pitch for Ravenclaw’s first match of the year. The harsh winds of the late November air had hit me as soon as I stepped foot outside and I had immediately regretted my decision to wear my more stylish navy jumper instead of the heavy cloak Padma had suggested.
Eddie had mentioned something about important pregame rituals, whatever that meant, and I was supposed to meet him there.
Naturally, I was shivering by the time we reached the stands. Brilliant.
“Mel!” Eddie shouted out to me, grabbing my attention. He was waving his arms dramatically in the air and I couldn’t help but let out a slight laugh at his ridiculous display. I made my way through the throng of Ravenclaws and was greeted with a big bear hug. “Good morning, my dear.”
“Good morning, Eddie,” I returned, chortling. As Eddie ended the embrace, I frowned at the return of the chilly air to my figure.
“Perfect day for quidditch, Mel,” He observed.
“Yes, just perfect,” I replied. I don’t think he quite caught the sarcasm. I looked up at the boy; his eyes were glowing in what must have been excitement for the match. Of course, I couldn’t help but glance downward and notice how seemingly thick his cloak appeared and I shivered, remembering how cold I was. Curse you, Padma, for always being right.
“Oh! Sorry,” I said, startled out of my reverie. “Were you saying something?”
“I was just talking quidditch,” He said, pausing slightly and looking concerned. “Is something wrong?”
“No, not at all. I was just—” I stopped and shuddered slightly with a shiver. “Thinking about the cold.”
Eddie paused and looked me over. “Well no wonder you’re cold. You’re in a terribly thin jumper. Come here.”
And with that, he pulled me in closer and wrapped his arm tightly around me. I instantly felt better as I leaned into his warm body, attempting to soak up all the heat radiating from his form.
Looking down at me, he asked, “Does that help?”
“A lot, actually,” I said with a nod. I truly was a great deal warmer than I had been moments ago. And it was all thanks to Eddie and his deliciously warm body.
“Glad to be of some assistance,” he said with a smile. I grinned back, nuzzling closer to him.
And oddly enough, I could hardly keep my mind focused on the game as it began and was played out. Ravenclaw won, of course, but I found that I could pay little mind to the sport when I found myself huddled so close to Eddie Carmichael.
Luck would have it that just as I was emerging from the girls dormitory, where I had gone after the match to change out of my jumper into something slightly more comfortable for the victory party, I spotted him across the room, coming out of the stairwell that led to the boys’ dorms. Our eyes connected and because I figured that this time would work as well as any for that talk we needed to have, I approached him. Roger stood, watching me, his arms crossed over his chest and his face expressionless. “Can we talk?” I asked when I reached his side.
“I don’t see why not,” he responded coldly as he surveyed the area. Clearly he was still angry, but he turned and gestured for me to follow him all the same. “Come on.”
I trailed behind him awkwardly as we ascended the stairs to the boys’ dormitories. Having no idea about what to say but growing increasingly uncomfortable with the silence, I ventured conversation. “So… you played really well today.”
“Thanks,” Roger answered tersely as we reached what must have been his floor. He opened the door and held it for me as I entered. The seventh year boys’ dorm was not like what I had expected. Aside from the few articles of clothing and pieces of parchment scattered about the room, it was relatively clean, and not unlike my own dormitory.
“You wanted to talk?” He queried, pulling me back to the conversation I had been planning for quite some time. I took a seat on the nearest bed as he busied himself with arranging the things on what must have been his own desk.
“I just wanted to erm… apologize,” I stated slowly, looking down at the hands in my lap. I glanced up to see that he had turned, facing me and leaning against the desk, his arms crossed once again over his chest. He didn’t look angry though. My cheeks burned crimson as I felt his scrutinizing eyes on me. “I’ve been acting inexcusably over the last week. I’ve been immature and tactless and… I’m really sorry for that.”
I turned away, not wanting to see his face, too uncomfortable to watch for his reaction. Sitting in utter silence, I waited for him to say something, to do something. After a time, he moved from his position at the desk and came to sit beside me on the bed. I shifted my gaze from my lap and turned to see his brown eyes peering into mine.
“Mel,” he began... “I don’t care about any of that anymore. Yes, I was upset at the time. Really, really upset. I’d rather just forget about all of it though. But I just...”
“What, Roger?” I asked, after he had trailed off. His expression looked pained and I cringed, fearing would come next.
“I just want to know... No, I need to know… why him?”
“What do you mean, ‘Why him?’” I enquired, genuinely puzzled.
“Why him? Why Eddie?” I turned towards him, not believing what it was I was hearing, and noticed that his face had resumed its incensed façade. “Do you think I appreciated seeing you cavorting about with my best mate?”
“Cavorting? We went to one quidditch match together!” I argued, finding myself growing livid.
“I had one of the worst matches of my career today thanks to you,” Roger declared bitterly. “How did you expect me to keep focused on the match when I had to fly over the house stands and see you two getting cosy?”
“I can’t believe this! I came up here to apologize!” I said, my voice rising with my temper. I got up abruptly from the bed and moved towards the door, deciding it was time to leave. I was in the midst of turning the doorknob when I changed my mind; now was the time to get it all out on the table. I made a quick about-face and added, “You know what, Roger? I’m sorry… I’m sorry that while you were ignoring me, and acting like an arsehole, I may have started to fancy someone else! Someone who may actually want a real relationship with me! Last time I checked, I was perfectly acceptable, seeing as I am not and never have been your girlfriend!”
“Well if you feel so strongly for him, then maybe we should just stop… whatever it is we’re doing,” Roger announced callously as he stood from the bed.
“That’s just fine by me!” I shouted as I turned again to go. I hurriedly opened the door and slammed it shut just as fast. I rushed down the stairs but slowed when I realized that I didn’t hear his footsteps behind me.
So that definitely did not go as I had imagined, I thought dryly as I paused at the bottom of the stairwell and had calmed down a bit. Maybe it’ll be for the best, though. I needed some time to clear my head.
Or perhaps not, I thought dryly to myself as I spotted Eddie across the crowded common room. He and a few friends seemed to be enjoying themselves, a little too much, with bottles of firewhiskey clearly visible in their hands.
I made my way through the mob over to him. “Mel!” I could smell Ogden’s Finest on his breath as he greeted me with a sloppy hug. The party had barely gotten underway and he was nearly piss drunk already. “I was wondering where you had gone. Want a drink?”
There was no way I was going to decline. Not after the week I had endured. “I’d love one, Eddie.” He gave me a sly grin along with one of the bottles. “Cheers,” I imparted before taking a great swig. I tried to dissemble the inevitable look of pain that came across my face as I felt the burning sensation that one could only associate with drinking firewhiskey.
Some time and a few bottles of firewhiskey later, I found myself lounging lackadaisically on a couch in the common room with Eddie at my side. I was tired. My heavy head was spinning and resting comfortably on Eddie’s shoulder.
“Hmmm?” I twisted up toward him, and found that his face was dangerously close to mine. He had a silly grin plastered across his face, one that was undoubtedly akin to my own at the present moment.
“I’m suddenly in the mood for a dance. Would you fancy one?”
Of course, I had little time to voice my affirmative response before he pulled me to my feet. Finding my sense of balance fairly off kilter, I swayed a bit and steadied myself on the nearest thing, which happened to be Eddie’s chest. I stifled a giggle as he grabbed one of my hands and led me through the horde of students to the middle of the dance floor.
Feeling rather uninhibited, my hips swung wildly to the loud music that filled the common room. Eddie pulled me closer into him and my arms found their way around his neck as our bodies swayed to the pulsating rhythm. We danced together intimately like that for the next couple songs, not speaking, but relishing the moment.
The feeling of drunken euphoria, however, did not last long.
“What’s wrong, Mel?” Eddie questioned when he realised I was no longer dancing. I couldn’t answer him, though; my eyes were transfixed on the couple snogging fervently in the corner. Even in my altered state, I knew who it was.
Roger. Sucking face with some slag.
“Must go... think I’m going to be...” I made a quick turn and headed for the exit. I needed to get out of there and I didn’t care where I was going or who I had to push out of my way to do it. Once I had ambled my way out of the common right, I took a left down the corridor until I met the stairs. I paused about midway down, feeling afraid real nausea would set in if I kept running in that fashion.
“Mel, wait!” I paused and turned to see Eddie, at the top of the staircase, making his way down towards me.
He opened his mouth to speak. Before he could get a single word out, however, the staircase shifted and in his inebriated state, Eddie was sent flying into me, stealing all the breath from my lungs. It took a few moments for my mind to register the fact that I could feel all the contorts of his body against mine and my hands gripped the thick marble banister behind me, which was digging into my lower back painfully, even tighter.
When I opened my eyes, Eddie’s face was mere centimetres away from mine, which caused me to gasp. His lips were even closer than that; a shiver crept up my spine, and I felt my heart thump wildly inside my chest. “Eddie,” I whispered softly.
“Hmmm?” he breathed back, his warm breath skittering over the surface of my lips. He gently tilted my head back, brushing his fingers along the base of my neck. I knew that I shouldn’t be doing this, allowing him to touch me in such a way when I was so emotionally bungled. But there I was, pinned against his body and a railing, with no one else around.
His fingers travelled up the side of my neck, dancing along the line of my jaw. Eddie cupped my face in the palm of his hand, his thumb stroking the length of my cheekbone. I let out a breathy sigh as his hand slowly slid down my face, his fingers deftly taking my chin between them. I could feel my skin burning as I stared at him, wide-eyed, not frightened but uncertain.
“We’re both smashed,” I stated slowly. “I don’t know…”
“Shhh,” Eddie whispered, leaning in closer. “We can regret it in the morning.”
“No,” I said seriously. He pulled back slightly and gave me a confused look. Of course, moments later I relented, a mischievous grin playing across my lips. “No. No, we won’t regret it.”
A/N: So I apologize for taking so long to write this. I am terribly lazy to be honest and I have no idea when the next chapter will be out, so bear with me. But thanks so much for reading. Please, please, please leave a review! Comments would be much appreciated.