Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, that belongs to J.K. Rowling. I only own the plot and any OCs that you do not recognize.
Fantastic chapter image made by obviously394 @ tda!
James was sitting on a bench near the fence that surrounded the old and crumbling remains of the Shrieking Shack. There was a slight icy breeze that picked up, but it was mostly negated the bright shining rays of sunlight that were reaching down to the patches of melting snow and patches of grass covered Earth. It was about time the weather started to warm up. Riding a broomstick while it was cold out did nothing to help his or any of his team-mates spirits or moods.
Next to James sat his girlfriend, Marisol. The two of them were sitting in a blissful silence that was anything but awkward. While some couples couldn’t pull off being quiet around each other without the tension, James and Marisol had no trouble with it as they leaned against one another with their eyes half-closed.
“James?” Marisol asked, her voice coming out in more of a sweet mumble against James’s ears.
“Mmmh,” James responded as he turned his head for brown eyes to meet brown eyes, forehead resting against forehead now.
“What would you say to something that came out completely different than you thought it would?” Marisol asked, thinking of the information she had so far gathered and trying not to give away too much at the same time.
“I dunno,” James raised his brow as he responded. “Are you talking about us?’
Marisol shook her head. “I’m just thinking is all.”
“Of…?” James was slightly confused, but then again what boy, or anyone for that matter, wouldn’t be at what Marisol was talking about?
“Just thinking,” Marisol supplied as her answer with a shrug of her shoulders.
The two drifted off into silence again. After several minutes of this, the two decided to go get a Butterbeer from the Three Broomsticks.
On the couple’s way back down the hill, toward the dirt covered road with the cobble-stoned sidewalks running up and down on both sides outside each of the stores, they caught a glimpse of Fred. He wasn’t with Tessa, but rather a different girl. It figures that he’d be with someone else by know, James thought to himself. Fred had been complaining about how tired he was of Tessa since they returned to school.
That’s when James realized who exactly he was with. He felt his shoulders tense, not from jealously, but rather from anger for who he was with. James must have stopped because he felt Marisol also stop in her tracks to look toward where he was looking and let out a frustrated sigh to reveal her anger toward the pair as well. He didn’t even have to turn to look at her; he just knew that she was in an annoyed stance.
“What’s he doing with her?” James gritted out in a low voice as he turned to face Marisol. “He knows how much I can’t stand her. And what ever happened to our rule of not dating each other’s exes?”
Marisol shook her head. “Calm down, James. It’s not like you still have feelings for her or anything, you just don’t like her.”
“No, it’s not that I don’t like her,” James amended. “It’s more of the fact that I despise her.”
“Don’t let it get to you,” Marisol said as she put a hand on James’ shoulder to calm him. It worked because she could feel the tension go away within seconds of resting her hand on one of his broad shoulders.
“Yeah, okay,” James said in a tart voice as he took her hand in his and started walking again toward the over-crowded pub. It was with all of his strength, and Marisol being there with him, that James was able to forget about Fred being with Kelsey and enjoy his time with Marisol instead.
“So, where do you want to go next?” Holden asked Lauren as the two exited the Three Broomsticks, it had become extremely crowded and hot with all the students gathering at the popular pub.
“We could go to the joke shop, if you want to,” Lauren suggested with a smile and twinkle in her brown eyes. “I’m sure you’ve been aching to get your hands on some of the newer items that just came out.”
“What makes you think that?” Holden questioned her with a grin playing on his lips as the usual mischievous sparkle lit up his blue-green eyes.
Lauren rolled her eyes. “Please! The whole school knows how big of pranksters you, James, and Fred are.”
“What?” Holden asked in a tone of innocence that he had perfected over the years of pulling pranks.
Lauren shook her head, long blond hair sliding over her shoulders with the action, with a smile planted on her face. “Sure, you’re all as innocent as the first years that you threw balloons filled with that blue substance that made them all become angry at each other for no reason back in our fourth year.”
“Wait,” Holden said as seriously as he could without laughing at the memory of the incident that had started playing like a movie in his head. “How do you know about that?”
“That’s not the question you should be asking,” Lauren grinned. “The question is, how can you think that anyone that was a student at Hogwarts then would not know about it; those poor first years.”
Holden only shrugged his shoulders. “It was all done in good natured fun. One of the first years in that group was James’s little sister.”
Lauren laughed a little at that as she shook her head at Holden. “You guys are so mean.”
“Nah,” Holden said. “We just know how to pull a good prank.”
The two were nearing the joke shop now and could make out yet another crowd that they were about to venture into. It figured as much that the joke shop would be over-crowded with eager troublemakers looking for the hottest joke items.
Lauren felt Holden grasp her hand as they entered so that they wouldn’t get separated by the crowd of students that were running around like crazy idiots as they ooh’d and ah’d over all of the new merchandise. She turned sideways with a trace of a smile spreading across her fair face the moment her brown eyes met his blue-green. And it was like that that she was lost for good; she had officially fallen for Holden Summers.
Marisol had wandered off away from James around three in the afternoon to hang with Evelyn, since her friend hadn’t been able to find a date for this Hogsmeade trip. The two girls were in Glad Rags looking at dresses, even though they didn’t need a dress for anything coming up. It was something they enjoyed doing, trying on pretty dresses just for the heck of it.
“What do you think of this one?” Evelyn asked Marisol as she spun around in a circle, causing the frilly, lavender dress to twirl about her legs and the ruffled sleeves to bounce up and down on her shoulders. The dress matched her dark purple eyes, but it looked very little girlish with all the frills and bows.
“Honestly?” Marisol giggled a little at her friend. “It looks like you’re going to a Barbie tea party?”
“Barbie?” Evelyn questioned with a confused expression on her face as she tilted her head to the side, long dark curls falling over her shoulder.
“Oh, that’s right, you wouldn’t know what a Barbie is,” Marisol started as realization dawned on her. “A Barbie is a Muggle doll that Muggle girls play with. I never liked playing with them as I was more into playing sports with the neighborhood boys, but my cousins played with dolls; obviously the girls not the boys.”
“Oh, okay then.”
The girls went back to trying on dresses and then when they finished with that they went over to the shoe rack to try on dress shoes. It was while Marisol was slipping on a pair of silver sandaled heels that she overheard voices that sounded familiar on the next aisle over. She looked up through the gap where the shoe box she pulled down was. She saw the two girls from the library and the blonde that was with them the day James interrupted her eavesdropping.
“You have to tell him eventually, Alyssa,” said the brunette. “I can’t believe you’re worried he won’t like you. You have to give the guy more credit than that.”
“What about that Lauren girl that he’s still dating?” The blond girl, Alyssa, asked both her friends.
“Please,” the brunette spoke in an agitated voice. “He won’t last much longer with that Ravenclaw. Gryffindors and Ravenclaws so
do not mesh well together.”
“What makes you the Queen of Relationships?” The other blond with shoulder-length hair asked. “Holden could easily reject Alyssa because he likes Lauren a lot and doesn’t want things to end between the two of them.”
“What makes you think he won’t dump Ravenclaw Lauren?” The brunette icily questioned the short-haired blond.
“I’m not claiming to know anything,” the blond defended herself.
“Enough the both of you,” Alyssa scolded her two friends. “Taylor’s right. There’s every bit a possibility that Holden won’t want to go out with me because it’s already too late and he’s fallen for Lauren.”
The short-haired blond, Taylor, smirked and stuck out her tongue in a ‘nun-uh, I was right’ sort of way.
This only made Alyssa roll her eyes and sigh in expiration over her two best friends as they headed toward the exit and left the store with Marisol still gapping at the fact that she had just realized exactly who the Masquerade Girl was. Marisol didn’t know why she hadn’t figured out her identity when she saw her in the hallway before, but now she knew.
Holden’s Masquerade Girl was Alyssa Goldstein, daughter of Anthony Goldstein and Daphne Greengrass. Alyssa was a sixth year Slytherin girl that had started all the rumors about her only going out with James for his fame and popularity when it was known that they were dating in November of last year. Alyssa seemed like such a snotty Slytherin heiress around everyone, but she actually had come off as vulnerable when Marisol had been listening to her talk with her two best friends.
It didn’t take long for Marisol to regain her composure and she filled Evelyn in as they put the shoes they had tried on back in the correct places before leaving the store to head back up to the castle. It didn’t take long to pass through the wrought iron gates, walk around the lake, and pass by the quiet Quidditch Pitch before they finally reached the castle. All the while they were holding a discussion about what would happen if Holden knew who the real Masquerade Girl was.
“Are you going to tell Holden?” Evelyn questioned her.
“I don’t know,” Marisol bit her bottom lip. “Should I? I mean, he’s having such a great time hanging with Lauren that I don’t want to say anything to split the two up.”
“How do you know he’d dump Lauren?”
“I don’t,” Marisol said. “But I most certainly don’t want to find out by telling him.”
“What about James?” Evelyn asked.
Marisol sighed. “No. He and Holden are best friends so it’ll only be natural that he’d tell Holden about the true identity of the Masquerade Girl.”
“I suppose your right.”
The two girls reached the top of the stairs leading to the front oak doors of the castle at the same time as three girls, three certain Slytherin girls to be exact. Marisol hadn’t even noticed them before now because she had been deep in conversation with Evelyn. However, it was apparent that the girls had noticed them and heard their conversation from the looks on their faces, especially on Alyssa’s. It was a look that a small child would get if they were caught with their hand in the cookie jar before dinner.
Marisol was the first to speak as she addressed her statement toward Alyssa. “I know you’re Holden’s Masquerade Girl.”
“Y – you do?” Alyssa swallowed back a lump in her throat. “How?”
“I heard you three talking in Glad Rags,” Marisol said in short, deciding to leave out the fact that she had heard Alyssa’s two friends in the library and also the three girls in the hallway a few days ago. “Are you planning on stepping forward or not?”
“I’m not sure,” Alyssa replied in a voice that shook only slightly. She took a few seconds to regain her composure before going on. “I’ve been thinking about that question in particular for quite a while now.”
“You do realize that Holden has a girlfriend now, don’t you?” Marisol said, her face set in an unreadable expression but one could tell that she was angry. The reason for her anger would be that she didn’t want to see the end of Holden and Lauren because they were so happy with one another at the moment.
Alyssa crossed her arms defensively, clenching her jaw before she spoke. “I’m well aware of the fact that Holden is dating Lauren. That’s one of the reasons why I’m having second thoughts about telling him.”
“And what’s the other reason?” Marisol asked. “You could have stepped forward before he met Lauren.”
“That’s nothing that concerns you,” Alyssa shot back. “I can say and do whatever I like whenever I want and I didn’t want to tell Holden.”
“Well, do you at least like him?” Marisol asked.
Alyssa fidgeted. She scratched the side of her nose and then entered the castle and walked briskly down the staircase that led to the dungeons with her two friends hurrying to catch up after her.
“Do you think she’ll step forward out of the shadows?” Evelyn was the first to say anything after Alyssa’s retreat.
“I don’t know,” Marisol sounded unsure. “But I hope she doesn’t.”
“Why not?” Evelyn tilted her head as the two entered the Great Hall and took their seats at the Hufflepuff table next to Jazzy.
“Because it’d not only be unfair to Lauren, but also to Holden as he really does like her.”
“What are you two talking about?” Jazzy asked, looking at both of her friends with a confused expression her dark brown face, braids falling over her shoulders.
Marisol and Evelyn then took turns explaining that they had found the Masquerade Girl and about Marisol and the Masquerade Girl’s argument. They left out the girl’s identity as Jazzy had a big mouth and the truth would be spread throughout the whole school by the next morning in no time if they told her.
Holden was sitting at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall with James, who was telling him about Fred going to Hogsmeade with his ex-girlfriend Kelsey. He was somewhat paying attention, but he couldn’t keep himself from moving his gaze over to the Ravenclaw table where Lauren sat every so often.
“Are you listening to me?” James’s voice penetrated Holden’s thoughts when he realized who Holden was looking at.
“Uhmm,” Holden mumbled a few seconds before Fred came bounding over toward where they sat and plopped down next to James.
“Hullo mates,” Fred said with the trace of a smile on his face. “Did you have fun today?”
Holden was about to answer when James beat him to it. “Yeah, I did. There’s just the small fact that I saw my favorite cousin, and best friend, with my ex-girlfriend Kelsey, whom I can’t stand.”
The smile on Fred’s face fell into a frown. “I was going to tell you.”
“But you didn’t.”
“Well, no,” Fred replied. “But I know how much you dislike her and I didn’t know how to tell you.”
“Are you going to see her again?” James asked tersely.
“Yeah, I am.” Fred said. “Is that okay?”
“Now you’re asking me if it’s okay?” James replied back unevenly. “Isn’t it kind of pointless since you two are already going out?”
“Well, I suppose,” Fred replied sheepishly.
“Date whoever you wish, don’t let me stop you.”
And the conversation was over just like that. The three boys sat in silence and walked up to the common room together, in silence. It wasn’t until James had started up toward the sixth year boys’ dorm that Holden spoke.
“Why’d you have to date the one girl that he detests?”
“I don’t know,” Fred said. “But I do know that I like her.”
Holden shook his head before climbing up the stairs to go try to talk to James. He knew that James was only upset because Fred was dating the girl that had tried to come between him and Marisol.
When did being a teenager get to be so complicated?
Author's Note: So, what ya think? I'd love the hear any kind of feedback on how you're liking (or not liking) my story. Thanks for reading!
*This chapter was beta'd by my marvelous beta Whitney (slytherinprincess at the forums)!