Chapter 5 : Young, Beautiful, and Successful
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Her heart pumping at a speed she was sure was well beyond the norm, Cody hobbled into the shower, in and out in under five minutes. Grabbing the nearest set of sweats, Cody stumbled out of her flat and waved her wand, sending out white wisps of a Patronous to deliver a message. She hopped onto her broom, leaned down toward the handle, and took a deep breath. Her progress had leapt and bound since that – that tryout – when she’d finally gotten back on a broom. But it was still shaky progress. Slowly, the air was released from her lungs, her saturated cells begging for air.
She gritted her teeth, and pushed off from the ground. The first fear of flight tormented her momentarily, a shaky feeling in her stomach. But as she gained altitude, it lessened, squashed down, until it was exterminated altogether by the ecstasy of flight.
Cody landed heavily on the dirt pitch, stumbling a bit on her landing, then tucked her broom under her arm while quickly gathering up her still damp hair and tying a quick bun while running towards the center of the pitch where the rest of the team was gathered around Hipshook. At least they couldn’t exactly fire her from the team, as if she were working at a fast food place.
Due to her rushing, Cody neglected to watch her step and, just her luck, promptly crashed into Wood. Both froze momentarily upon seeing the other, and Mockridge, being a rather observant Beater, looked from one to the other.
“Oi, Wood. Is that a blush I see creeping up your cheek?” In turn he looked at Cody. “Okay… what am I missing here?” He chuckled a little, his tone taking on a teasing tone. “Oh ho! Did you two get down and dirrrty or something?” Mockridge mocked.
“Wronski!” Oliver Wood thundered finally, hoping to disguise the awkward situation – unfortunately his delayed reaction only augmented it. “You’re six minutes late – not only are you setting the entire team behind schedule, you’re wasting everybody’s precious practice time. And Merlin knows that we’re lacking that badly enough already.” Shoot, spoke too soon.
“S-sorry, I’m sorry,” stammered Cody, trying to catch her breath.
Both had decided to ignore Mockridge’s innuendos, but the man in question didn’t appear to have received the memo. He continued to look from one to the other, his face lighting up in glee at the possible gossip this could potentially seed.
“It’s alright, Cody,” Hipshook cut in kindly before Wood could get another reprimand in edgewise. Cody shot him a grateful look. “Just make sure that it doesn’t happen again. ” He clapped his hands together, holding them out in front of his rather rotund belly. “I do realize that this is rather short notice, but we’ve got an exhibition match scheduled for the upcoming weekend – mind you, it’s rather last minute because the Ministry was in debates about whether to even allow Quidditch League matches to be held this year until recently, what with … the things that have been happening and all. But it was decided that it would be in the best interest of the general wizarding community to continue.”
He paused, licking his lips, and Oliver continued. “The match will be held on Saturday at one o’clock in the afternoon, against the Chudley Cannons.”
“The Chudley Cannons?” burst out Fenwicke incredulously. “This’ll be a snap then!”
Oliver regarded him solemnly. “What with two new members – especially with the minimal amount of training time we’ve had as a team – it’s in our best interest to try hard, work out any kinks before the Preliminaries.”
“Just as well,” agreed Georgia. “Calm down, Fenwicke. This isn’t a demotion of any sort.”
“I suggest you lot all pack sufficient attire and gold,” continued Hipshook. “Our plans for the rest of the trip to Chudley are tentative at the moment, of course, as all depends on when the game finishes, but on Sunday night there’s a charity social being held to raise funds for dragon reserves. A good mate of mine is helping to host, so we’re to be the guests of honor, circumstances permitting.” He took a large breath, and then blew it out slowly through his nostrils. “It will be good publicity as well, in addition – and Merlin knows that we could dearly use some of that, especially after what happened at – at the end of last season.”
Seeing how uncomfortable Mockridge was, Oliver took it upon himself to continue. “If all goes appropriately, we might be able to give a press conference Sunday afternoon, try to dispel some of the ill tasted rumors surrounding our newest members.”
Cody stomach chose that exact moment to give a loud growl. Sheepishly, she grinned. “Sorry – didn’t have time for breakfast – I’ve sent for some –”
“We’ll begin practice today with the physical,” began Wood, talking over her embarrassed explanations. “Then over lunch in the meeting room we’ll discuss some specific strategies, pinpoint their weaknesses, etc. Fifteen flying laps around the pitch; now.”
Fifteen flying laps, five running laps, fifty crunches, forty push-ups, and five rounds of scrimmages later, Oliver finally let his team go for lunch. “I expect you all to be in the meeting room in no more than ten minutes, ready to discuss plays for Saturday!” he called after them as they charged for the change rooms.
“Merlin’s Beard,” Cody said to Demelza and Georgia in the privacy of the change room, away from the prying ears of Oliver Wood. “That was intense.” Then seeing a large tawny owl on the bench with a large brown paper bag attached to it, Cody grinned and roused her muscles enough to hop on over. She slipped a few knuts and sickles into the owl’s pouch and took the brown paper bag, then quickly scrawled a note of thanks down and slid that into the pouch as well before the owl took off.
Suddenly in a much better mood, Cody threw an excited look at Demelza and Georgia. “C’mon, we’d better hurry up before the Drill Sergeant flips out at us again.”
“Why are you so excited?” grumbled Georgia, a little befuzzled.
“Hey now, it’s lunch time!” She led the way out of the change room towards the meeting hall, a slight bounce in her step, while a tired looking Georgia dragged her way behind her, with a still slightly scared Demelza bringing up the rear. Cody made a mental note to try and be nice to her – after all, it must be hard to go straight into pro Quidditch at such a young age, especially making the team under the circumstances of lack of qualified candidates, rather than extreme talent. Even so, Demelza quite clearly had an abundance of potential; if she got over being shy, there was no limit to what she could potentially accomplish.
Oliver barely looked up from his large sheets of pie charts and diagrams as the ladies entered. They settled down into the deep navy blue velveteen chairs around the polished mahogany table. The rest of the team trickled in steadily over the course of the next few minutes, none of them particularly craving a brush with Wood’s temper – Cody was quickly deducing that he was not one to be trifled with on the subject of punctuality.
Roger looked at Cody’s brown paper bag with keen interest. “Oi Cody, is that – I mean, well, of course – from Martha Tinsel’s Patisserie?”
At this Oliver looked up from his notes sharply, sending an indecipherable look at Roger. This, however, escaped Cody’s notice and she responded to the question rather obliviously. “Yeah, as a matter of fact, it is. I’ve recently become a regular at Martha’s, since moving back here from Canada – she’s such a sweet person. I’ve had this Owled over because of my late start this morning. And she makes such delicious treats too, it’s no wonder she’s been so successful!”
“No to mention young—” began Fenwicke.
“Our age, or thereabouts—” continued Mockridge.
“And—” here Fenwicke let out a whistle, “be-au-ti-ful!”
“That’s enough,” cut in Wood sharply. “I believe it’s time we started discussing the actual matters at hand,” he said, a strained expression adorning his face and tightening his mouth.
“Oh, don’t mind them, Wood. They’re just having some fun. Why don’t you begin?” drawled Georgia.
As Wood did so, Cody slowly took out her rather non healthy lunch from the bag slowly, savoring the craving, the anticipation. The bag crinkled slightly as she did so, and a brief annoyed look crossed Oliver’s face. She picked up the small cakes wrapped in pink paper, the still warm cookies tucked into little envelopes, and the small bag of Ruffles chips that Martha had ordered specifically for her from Canada. Sure, there were Walkers crisps here, which were basically the same as Lays chips over in North America, but just like the waffles, it was all about the texture.
Glancing slyly at Wood, who was droning on, before speaking, Fenwicke whispered, “What’re those?”
“Just some special crisps that I asked Martha to specially order in; want to try one?”
And then the bag was torn open, as carefully and quietly as possible, but it attracted the attention of Wood anyway. He looked at them, not even bothering to disguise the look of annoyance on his face any longer.
“Wronski. You shouldn’t be eating those unhealthy foods at all – especially now, at this most crucial period in our training. Our season has just begun! Our first exhibition match is coming up. What is the meaning of indulging in such unseemly practices, in addition to … to seducing fellow team members to follow suit, now? After today, I will not allow anything even moderately classifiable as junk food, from that store or otherwise, in my sight during this season. Is that understood?”
Wood reached down, and then tossed a small plastic baggie of carrots at Cody. “Here.”
Cody looked at the offered food incredulously. “What do you take me for, a rabbit?” She held the bag of crisps out under Oliver’s nose. “Smell that. Go on, smell it.” She grinned. “Want one? Come on, you know you want to try one.”
For a moment, Oliver’s eyes clouded and a rather odd expression that Cody couldn’t quite name crossed his face. “No,” he said finally. “Thanks.”
“So, Oliver,” began Roger prudently, sensing the tension in the air. “Keep explaining that new play you came up with – I’m not quite sure I understood…”
And with that, Oliver Wood was off and running, passionately gesturing with all his limbs and even the tone, inflection, and pace of his voice.
Note: Why is Oliver so uptight about Martha Tinsel? And who is she really? Is Mockridge catching on to what transpired between Oliver and Cody? Stay tuned to find out!
Hehe, quite a few questions aroused in this chapter, but at least it didn't leave off with a cliffie, so it all balances out. Now, for the credits: first off, thanks to the_tofuubeaver for pointing out the correct term of patisserie, and then credit for the name Martha Tinsel goes to long_live_luna_bellatrix and aloraem, first and last name, respectively. As well, a great big shoutout to everyone who's provided feedback on junkfood - you can bet that more of that information will probably make appearances in future chapters.
As always, parts you did/didn't like, feedback, concrit, etc. is greatly encouraged and appreciated. It really helps the story along. 'Til next time,
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