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Behind the Mask by onestop_hpfan18
Chapter 6 : Gossip and Emotions
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 12


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Disclaimer:  I do not own Harry Potter, that belongs to J.K. Rowling.  All I own is the plot and any original characters that you do not recognize.




Wonderful chapter image made by obviously394 @ tda!

Chapter Six
Gossip and Emotions






“And you’re positive about what you saw?” Molly Weasley, the second, asked her gossip columnist, Natalie Chow, for what seemed to be the millionth time.

Natalie Chow rolled her eyes in expiration over the editor-in-chief of the Hogwarts Report as she replied yet again to that same question that Molly had been repeating over and over. “I don’t make mistakes, I know what I saw and what I saw was Holden kissing Lauren Nichols; that shy sixth year from Ravenclaw house.”

“Okay,” Molly replied, appearing more professional and smooth now after Natalie had said that same thing over one time. “I’ll edit it and post it in the paper tomorrow morning. This is big and that’s why your article just made the front page.”

“Yes!” Natalie jumped up and down exuberantly in her joy over finally writing an article that was front page worthy for the Hogwarts Report. “Thanks so much!”

Molly only smiled as she shooed Natalie out of the small classroom that served as an office for the Hogwarts Report so that she could finish editing the stories and put together the paper so that it’d be ready by tomorrow morning at seven-thirty to be handed out at breakfast to each and every person. She had quite a lot to do tonight with it being five o’ clock, just a day after Natalie had found out about Holden and Lauren. And so, with that Molly set to work.

^_^

When Lauren walked into the Great Hall the following morning, it was to find several pairs of eyes make their way toward her and latch onto her as she walked over toward the Ravenclaw table with her friends. After she had sat down, she caught a glimpse of what was on the front page of an abandoned copy of the Hogwarts Report. Her jaw dropped as she reached for the copy and started to read the article underneath the moving picture of her and Holden in the library the other night; the two were kissing repeatedly over and over due to the charm placed on it.

Holden Finds his Masquerade Girl!
Holden Summers was spotted a couple days ago with 6th year Ravenclaw, Lauren Nichols, and the two of them, looking quite comfortable in each other’s presence were kissing. Lauren Nichols is a shy, quiet Ravenclaw that matches the description set by everyone’s favorite guy, Holden Summers, perfectly and if you don’t think so then oh well. This report was written by yours truly, Natalie Chow.

“How did Natalie Chow find out about what’s going on with Holden and me?” Lauren asked her friend, Melody, who had read the short snippet over her shoulder. “We were trying to keep things off the radar so that there wouldn’t be gossip everywhere we turned.”

“What does it matter?” Melody replied, “Natalie Chow is always finding out about the latest gossip. She’s so in tune with what happens at this school that I’m surprised this article wasn’t posted before now.”

Lauren rolled her eyes. “She’s only in tune with everything because she likes putting her nose into other people’s personal matters.”

“Hello, Lauren,” Natalie Chow greeted Lauren as she took a seat across the table from her. “I see you’ve read the paper this morning. What do you think about the front page, Masquerade Girl?”

“I think there’s yet another fantastic article by you this morning that managed to make front page,” Lauren replied with a hint of sarcasm on her voice for the girl that had just called her Masquerade Girl when she was no such thing.

Lauren stood and headed toward the exit before Natalie could respond, as she stepped out in the entrance hall she bumped into something, or rather, someone. Lauren looked up and her brown eyes met blue-green before realizing that she had bumped into Holden.

“Whoa, where’s the fire?” Holden joked as a smile tugged at the corner of his lips and his eyes twinkled with that mischievous glint. His arms were around her since he had reached out to catch her from falling just seconds before.

“Nowhere,” Lauren said a little distractedly while she straightened up. “Have you seen the Hogwarts Report yet?”

“No,” Holden spoke, uncertain about what Lauren was talking about. “Why?”

“Well,” Lauren started as she shuffled her feet underneath her slightly.

Holden raised his brow as he watched Lauren delay telling him whatever had to do with the school paper. He was about to ask her what it was until she spoke again.

“We made the front page.”

“What, how?”

“Well, you see,” Lauren launched into explanation, “Natalie Chow, the gossip columnist, must have been snooping around the library for juicy gossip the other night when we were in there. And now there’s a photograph of the two of us kissing on the front page with a summary announcing that the Masquerade Girl has been found.”

“Okay…,” Holden replied. “Does this bother you? Because it doesn’t bother me one bit.”

“No, not at all,” Lauren answered truthfully. “It’s just not the truth seeing as I’m not the Masquerade Girl and there’s also the fact that I’ve never really liked Natalie Chow.” Lauren rolled her eyes as she said her fellow housemate and dorm-mate’s name.

Holden chuckled at Lauren’s expression before he said anything contrary to her not being his Masquerade Girl. “You’re wrong, you are her.”

“I’m who?” Lauren asked, caught off guard by Holden’s straightforwardness.

“Masquerade Girl,” Holden stated simply as though it were the most obvious thing in the world.

“I thought we already went over this,” Lauren sighed rather impatiently. “I’m not the girl you talked to that night, Holden.”

“Yeah, sure,” Holden agreed in a disbelieving tone just to make her happy, which caused Lauren to stick the tip of her tongue out at him. The two of them laced their fingers together before walking down the hall in the direction of Lauren’s first class, Arithmancy.

It wasn’t until after Holden’s first class that morning that he regretted skipping breakfast to walk Lauren to class. His stomach was grumbling like nobody’s business.

“What was that?” James asked his two friends as they made their way up toward the Gryffindor common room from the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom.

“What was what?” Fred asked dumbly as he looked up from the, at the moment, deactivated dung-bomb in his hands.

“That growling noise,” James said. “Listen.”

And so, the two boys listened as Holden willed his stomach not to rumble again, but it didn’t listen to his persistent thoughts as it let out an exceptionally loud gurgling noise.

“Holden,” James questioned with a quirk of his eyebrow. “Is that your stomach making all that noise?”

“It might be.”

That time Fred also raised his eyebrow as well, his caramel forehead wrinkled with the action. “Didn’t you have breakfast?”

“Er,” Holden started. “Actually, with everything that happened this morning following the release of the new edition of the Hogwarts Report and Lauren upset about nosy Natalie Chow I kind of forgot.”

“Well, what are we waiting for?” James asked. “Let’s get down to the kitchens and get some grub for your stomach before it causes an earthquake with all that rumbling its doing.”

Holden grinned. “Yeah, okay.”

^_^

Marisol had been keeping an eye out for the two Slytherin girls that she had seen that day in the library, but had found herself at a dead-end everywhere she looked. She had finally come to the conclusion that she wouldn’t look for them, but rather wait and let them appear on their own. It sounded too easy to Marisol, but she was determined that she would see them again, eventually.

The morning had been crazy with the newest gossip that was on the front page of the school paper about Lauren being Holden’s Masquerade Girl. It may be true, but Marisol still had her suspicions that the true Masquerade Girl was still out their lurking in the shadows just waiting to be found by Holden; or maybe not. Maybe she was hiding and didn’t want to be found. Which made Marisol more determined to discover the mystery and truth behind all of the gossip that just sprouted up today.

Marisol hadn’t been paying attention to where she was walking to when she heard voices of a small group of people from around the corridor. It sounded like they were walking away from where she stood as their voices were getting softer the further they walked. The sound of clicking high heels could be heard under the voices. Marisol listened as she headed in their direction, staying as discreet as she could while following the sound of their voices.

“You need to confront him,” said the first voice.

“I can’t,” replied a second, feebler, voice.

“Why not?” asked a third voice, a lot louder than the previous two. “He’ll know it’s you the moment you come forward, I bet.”

“I just can’t, okay,” the second voice replied with a bit of force and edge added to the feeble tone she had previously spoken in. “It wouldn’t work out.”

“Why? Because he’s a Gryffindor and you’re a Slytherin?” the first asked the second. “Or is it because you think he won’t like you when he finds out who you’re related to?”

It was quiet for a few moments while Marisol rounded the corridor and was able to spot the brunette and blonde from the library earlier that week with a girl with long blond hair; all of the girls’ backs were to Marisol from where she stood hidden behind a suit of armor.

Marisol waited for one of the girls to say something, but before they did she felt someone grab her from behind and she nearly jumped out of her skin as she let a gasp escape her lips. When she turned around, it was to find James with his usual playful mischievous grin planted firmly on his face.

“Don’t do that,” Marisol swatted his arm with a smile on her own face. “You scared me.”

“I’m sorry,” James smiled.

“No you’re not.”

“I am.”

“Not.”

“Okay, I’m not,” James admitted. “But can I help it that I love sneaking up on you just to see your reaction. It’s different every time, you know.”

“Of course it is,” Marisol retorted, wrapping her arms around James as he did the same to her, both giving each other bear-like hugs. If there was anything Marisol liked more about James it was his hugs, when he hugged her she felt engulfed and safe in his embrace. It was a nice feeling and it made Marisol momentarily forget what she was doing in that corridor so the three girls escaped from right under her nose while she stood there with James’ arms around her.

^_^

A girl with long blond hair and blue eyes was sitting in the Slytherin common room by herself. It was late in the evening and all of the rest of her house mates had went to bed. She liked being on her own, she was very independent.

There was only one thing on her mind tonight and that was a certain popular guy that had been the main hot gossip since everyone got back from visiting their families for the holidays. That’s right, Holden Summers was on her mind at that moment and it was all she could do not to roll her eyes.

She didn’t need a guy to hold her back from doing the things she wanted to do in life. She’d only had one boyfriend in 4th year and she ended up dumping the poor boy because he was too clingy, her words. In her opinion, if a guy wants to spend more than a few times a day with her then he was dubbed as too clingy and therefore she didn’t want to be with him. She had priorities of her own and didn’t want to be held back by a guy.

The girl yawned as she went onto the thinking about what her two best friends have been trying to convince her to do all week. They had been telling her to tell Holden that she’s the girl he talked to. But she has, and would continue, to refuse to come forward with her identity to Holden Summers.

It just wouldn’t work out. They both came from different worlds, he from a world that believed in equality in all witches and wizards and she from a world that believed that Purebloods were the best thing in the Wizarding World. He was a Gryffindor and she was a Slytherin for crying out loud, enough said there.

Though, her mother and father didn’t exactly follow what some Purebloods still thought of Half-bloods, Muggleborns, or Muggles in general; no it was mainly her surrounding family. The girl didn’t even know why she was even letting their views take hold of her own as they were clearly different, like her parents. Maybe it was the fact that she wanted everyone to like her and couldn’t stand knowing if someone didn’t like her.

She blew out a sigh as she stood from where she sat, she was thinking about this too much. And so, the girl walked toward her dormitory to go to bed so that she’d be prepared for the following day.

^_^

The next few days for Lauren were slightly hectic, not in the course work, no, but it was rather the fact that everyone in Hogwarts was talking about her and Holden. The two had been seeking out each other’s company more just for familiarity that things were still the same between them despite all of the attention they were now receiving.

It was a Hogsmeade Saturday and she was sitting at the Ravenclaw table with her best friend, Melody.

Lauren was wearing a pair of muggle jeans and navy blue turtleneck sweater with specks of light blue scattered in it. She looked over toward where Holden sat at the Gryffindor table, laughing at something that Fred had said by the looks of it. And then a few seats down from where the two guys sat, Lauren saw James and Marisol with their heads bent toward each other and smiles firmly planted on their faces. They were so adorable together; it was like they zoned everyone else out when in each other’s company.

Lauren longed for a relationship like that. Sure, she and Holden had their moments like that, but she was not expecting their relationship to last long since Holden would find the true Masquerade Girl in no time now that the fake truth of Masquerade Girl’s identity was out it was only a matter of time before the real truth became known.

Lauren felt a pang of something at that sudden thought. Maybe sadness or was it jealousy? She had no idea where those feelings had come from. But it could be possible that she was starting to allow herself to fall for Holden’s irresistible charm, which she had been trying to avoid doing. It was something to like Holden for a friend, but to really develop feelings for him was a whole other entity unto itself; getting hurt was not a part of her bargain in being Holden’s girl until he found the real Masquerade Girl.

The last thing on Lauren’s mind was to get her heart broken. Why, oh why, did I say yes to Holden? She thought at the same time a slightly tan hand started to wave in her face.

“Earth to Lauren Nichols,” Melody spoke from where she sat beside Lauren. “Are you in there?”

“Uh?” Lauren asked as she pulled out of her reverie and looked in the direction of her best friend since that first train ride to Hogwarts. It was only coincidence that they both happened to be sorted into Ravenclaw after being acquainted on the train. “Did you say something?”

Melody frowned, her brown eyes filled with worry for her friend as she tucked a strand of brown hair behind her ear before speaking, her words filled with concern. “Are you okay? What’s up with you this morning? You should be happy at getting to spend the whole day in Hogsmeade with Holden.”

“I am happy,” Lauren said a little defensively. “I’m just thinking.”

“About what?” Melody questioned.

“Stuff,” Lauren replied tersely. She didn’t feel like burdening her best friend with her sudden revelation that her heart would be broken the moment Holden found the real Masquerade Girl, where ever she was. Life sucked.

“What kinds of stuff?” Melody continued to plow on. She wasn’t going to let Lauren off the hook that easily, she knew her too well to know that whatever was eating away at her would bother her until she spoke it aloud.

Lauren rolled her eyes before giving into her best friend with a resigned sigh. “I think I’m really starting to fall for Holden.”

Melody didn’t say anything for the first few moments. Instead she looked over toward where Holden sat across the Great Hall. When she looked back at Lauren, her eyes were filled with sorrow for her friend. “But, what happens when the girl he talked to that night finally steps forward or he finds her? What then?”

“I guess I’ll just have to live with it,” Lauren gloomily sighed. “It’s not like I can’t live without him. I was doing just fine without a guy before he came along.”

“Oh Lauren,” Melody spoke. “How can you be so sure that Holden will leave you when he finds her?”

“Because he really likes her, I could tell the moment I met him that he really was serious about finding the girl he met that night.”

“But how can you be sure that his feelings haven’t changed?” Melody questioned. “Holden could feel the same way about you that you feel about him now.”

“I don’t know,” Lauren sighed, a little more defeated for Melody’s liking.

“You can’t believe that he’d just leave you like that, Lauren,” Melody scolded. “Holden doesn’t seem like the type of guy that would do something as insensitive as that, and if you don’t believe me than you can ask him as he’s headed over here right now.”

Lauren straightened where she sat on the bench and looked to where Melody was indicating. Sure enough, Holden was walking toward where she sat. It took all of Lauren’s strength to plant a smile on her face as she stood and started toward Holden to meet him halfway. “Hey.”

“Hey, you ready to head to Hogsmeade?” Holden asked her with a smile that reached his blue-green eyes.

“Sure.”

Lauren was silent as they walked out of the Great Hall, through the entrance hall, and across the grounds toward the all-wizards village. She was sure that Holden could pick up on her gloominess from the way he frowned, trying to think of why she wouldn’t be talking to him. Lauren suddenly went from being sad to resenting herself for ignoring Holden while she wallowed in her pity.

“So,” Holden said as they reached Hogsmeade. “Where do you want to go to first?”

“What about the Three Broomsticks?” Lauren suggested where they had their first date.

“Okay, sounds like a great start,” Holden smiled, glad that she had finally said something and hoped she would continue to talk to him throughout the day. They both made their way over to the popular pub that already seemed to be filling up with a few students that had already arrived. The two of them grabbed an empty table by the window once Holden had bought two Butterbeers and they started to talk about nothing in particular as the pub filled up around them with noisy students.





Author's Notes:  So, whatcha think of this chapter?  I'd love to hear what you have to say, be it constructive critism or praise, I'm really not picky about which one I get.  Thanks for reading, I appreciate that you at least took the time to read it even if you didn't have the time to review.

*Thanks so much to my beta Whitney (slytherinprincess) for doing another fantastic job beta-ing this chapter for me!
*



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