Chapter 20 : New Wallpaper
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Sighing, I peered under my bed again. The wrapped broom was still there. Who had talked to my dad and told him I was the reserve?
I paused, remembering what Oliver had said about the All Star game.
But there was no way he was in contact with my father—the pair had never met! And Oliver had been at school as much as I had so he couldn’t have left. And he was a prat that I stunned. Ha.
I groaned. This was silly. It was probably just someone’s parents that that were written to about the team and how they were doing—my name was probably just mentioned in passing because I had no shot of seeing pitch time. And that’s the way I liked it. I pushed the broom further under the bed, refusing to even open it.
“Hey Jane,” said Angelina, peeking her head in the door. “Oliver wants the team downstairs quick for an announcement.”
I made a face, set the teddy bear gently on my pillow, and followed her down the spiral staircase and into the common room.
The rest of the team was already there, including the twins who were whispering about something and Ellis who had his feet kicked up on the nearest coffee table. I joined them, flopping down on a sofa and staring up at Oliver, refusing to look mildly interested in what he had to say. Part of me was happy to see the bruise on his jaw.
“All right everyone,” Oliver began, pacing between us. “The Ravenclaw game is only a few weeks away. That means one thing.”
“We can finally hex that git Collins that plays Beater for the Claws?” asked Fred hopefully.
“No. It means we’re having one more team meeting next week. I expect all of you to attend and it will go quickly.”
“Yeah, like it always does,” I muttered.
Oliver shot me a look. “We’ll have it in Hogsmeade again—”
“Oh, come on, Oliver,” whined Katie. “It’s always in Hogsmeade. We’re already going there this stinking weekend. I’m sick of walking over there—no one’s going to overhear us! Let’s just do it in an empty classroom. Come on.”
“I agree,” said Ellis. “Now that I have Elizabeth, I don’t have much time for frivolities.”
I nearly snorted, but said nothing.
Oliver narrowed his eyes, clearly overruled as the twins nodded their approval in the new plan. “Fine. Fine, I’ll owl Madam Rosemerta and tell her not to reserve our usual room. We can have it here in a classroom—but so help me Merlin if someone hears—”
“Then they’ll know about our balance issues,” said George lazily. “Fred still has to work on his. He’s horrible at right turns.”
“That’s rich of you,” replied Fred. “Because you can’t dive to save your knickers.”
George punched Fred. Fred punched back. I yawned.
“Fine,” Oliver said loudly. “We’ll have it in classroom six on the ground floor. That way it’s not by any common rooms and it’s out of the way.” He stopped pacing and sighed. “That’s all I had—and keep practicing outside of practice times. The Ravenclaw team has reserved the pitch as much as they can stomach so when they haven’t, I’ve reserved it to stick it to Davies…”
I glanced up.
“But anyway.” Oliver regained himself. “I’ve told Bastian I would meet him before lunch to talk about techniques. Oh, and practice is canceled for next Monday.”
“Why?” asked George. “Did you finally decide that four-a-week practices were too much?”
“No,” barked Oliver. “Because Perry and I landed ourselves in detention today and McGonagall just told me it would be on Monday.”
“What did you do, Jane?” said Fred. “Tell him his socks smell?”
“Laps,” said Oliver, smiling and leaving the room.
I didn’t get to talk to Bastian or Roger at lunch. In fact, Angelina, Alicia, Katie, and I sat in a clump at the Gryffindor table as the boys bombarded Bastian with questions about the league. Roger leaned in and asked about the salary. Oliver was asking about the process and steps to make it to the big time. Fred and George, even though they had no intention of playing Quidditch after school, asked about the women (and both got hit). Even Ellis joined in and asked about how the expectations of a Seeker change. The only boy our age not hounding Bastian with questions was Lee, but that was probably because he was a commentator and Bastian probably didn’t know too much about that business.
That night, however, I got the privilege of spending dinner with both Bastian and Alicia in Hogsmeade with Roger. We took seats in a small Italian restaurant near the end of town where I had been only a few times before. It was quiet and dimly lit, but we found plenty to talk about.
“So how did the pair of you meet?” Bastian asked, motioning to Roger and me. “Other than you just going to school together.”
“Well,” Roger said with an entertained smirk, “We had a few classes together and all that, but I always thought Jane sort of had it in for Quidditch until this year when I realized she made the reserve Seeker.”
“Reserve Seeker? Nice job!” Bastian said and I blushed.
“Obviously when I found out that she was not only gorgeous but also into Quidditch, I had to pursue that.” Roger laughed lightly and took a sip of his water. “So I did when I met her wandering around in the Entrance Hall randomly one night.”
“What were you doing?” asked Alicia, raising a brow at me.
“I don’t even remember now,” I muttered. “I think I was trying to get away from Wood or something.”
“Oliver Wood?” Bastian said. “That man that’s interested in going pro? He’s a nice guy. I told him I’d mention him to my coach.”
I nodded. “Him and I don’t really see eye to eye at times.”
“Does he have it in for reserves?” Bastian looked very interested in this and I had no idea how to answer.
“In a manner of speaking,” I said and Roger smiled.
“He sounds jealous,” Bastian said finally and Alicia put her hand on his.
She was basically glowing, sitting next to him. Alicia’s smile was radiant as she stared over at him and I wondered if I looked like that when I first started dating Roger. I supposed I did. For the first time in months, Alicia looked happy. She wasn’t the oddball. She could go back to the dormitory and gush about the way Bastian kissed or the way he gave her a single flower on the way back from his room at the inn.
And, I have to admit, it wasn’t bad hearing about Bastian. He wasn’t someone we had gone to school with for six years so all the girls wanted to know about what he ate and what his favorite color was and what he wanted to name his first born child (Alexander, after his father apparently). It was an interesting change of pace and Alicia was certainly enjoying the attention.
I watched her place her head gently on Bastian’s shoulder and he smiled warmly.
For the next couple nights the boys let Bastian sneak away to spend time with Alicia on the grounds and in Hogsmeade, but he attended each Quidditch practice up until the day he was supposed to leave. He spent most of his time in the air giving Oliver tips on yelling at the giggling girls and had an hour workshop with Ellis about diving techniques. I nearly escaped talking to Bastian about Quidditch by running laps and refusing to take my Nimbus out from under my bed, but on Saturday when Oliver demanded I get my broom, I was forced to face Bastian.
“Reserve Seeker! I remember you telling me that!” Bastian cried, clapping me on the back. My knees nearly buckled under the pressure. “Well, let’s see what you’ve got!”
“I’m actually—I’m feeling rather sick today. I’d rather not show the world…er…what I’ve got.” I tried to smile but my stomach wasn’t cooperating.
“Don’t be silly, I’m sure you fly great! You got on the team, didn’t you?”
I shot a look at Oliver. A seething look. I wanted to throw a bear at him for forcing me into this—and I was still holding a broom I’d never flown.
“Hey, Bastian!” Ellis cried from across the pitch. “Have you done the Wronski Feint before?”
Bastian laughed heartily and turned around. “Of course I have—don’t base your knowledge on it off of that Viktor Krum guy either. I was at the World Cup and he was all out of position going into the dive. Here, let me show you.” He mounted his broom and was in the air quickly.
Thing number two Ellis had done for me lately. I thought I was going to be sick.
“You’re going to have to fly sooner or later, Perry,” Oliver said, walking by me and getting on his own broom.
“Not in front of an International Quidditch star I’m not!” I shot back, tossing the Nimbus into the grass. “And I’m definitely not on a Hogsmeade weekend when I’m being forced to run laps.”
“It builds character,” he said.
“So do hexes but I don’t have my wand out, do I?”
He rolled his eyes and I flipped him off, returning to my laps.
Sodding idiot. I had to remind myself to thank Ellis—though I’d probably have to write it on every body limb I had because I was likely to forget something like that.
At long last it was Sunday morning—the day Bastian was going back to Brazil to keep playing Quidditch and Alicia was beside herself. Apparently they had talked it out and they had to drop the title of boyfriend/girlfriend while he was in Brazil and if their owl correspondence worked out for the next few months, Alicia would go to Brazil for the summer.
Still, she spent the hour the rest of us were getting ready to see him off crying her eyes out on her bed. Her eyes were red and puffy and I handed her two boxes of tissues.
“Come on, Alicia,” said Angelina, pulling our friend to her feet. “You don’t want the last image Bastian has of you to be you with tears rolling down your cheeks, do you?”
She frowned. “I suppose you’re right,” Alicia said, pulling a sweater over her head. “I just—this week has been amazing. Everyone has really taken to Bastian, you know? We’ve spent each night eating éclairs by the lake. He kissed me when telling me about how my eyes looked like the stars—and he knows about Quidditch! He helped the team-granted, his fame follows him everywhere and people notice him, but I don't care!”
I patted her awkwardly on the head. “Don’t think too much about it. Just write good letters and you can spend the summer in Brazil.”
She sighed and opened the door.
I didn’t know how to console her. Roger didn’t live in a foreign country and wasn’t surrounded by gorgeous goggling girls every second. He lived in the Ravenclaw Tower and was surrounded by, other than me, people like Libby and Mandy Brocklehurst.
So I stayed quiet as we walked down into the common room and passed Ellis (“Tell him I’m writing him about my Feint dive!” he cried as we left). We passed the twins with a sulky-looking Lee and continued down to the Entrance Hall where Bastian promised to meet us. Roger was there as well, which surprised me, but they seemed to be talking about Quidditch so I smiled warmly.
“Surprise,” Roger said with a smirk. “I wanted to walk down with you lot since I need to pick up a few things from Hogsmeade.”
I slipped my hand into his. “Sounds lovely to me!”
“So has Wood lost his mind yet?” asked Roger as we made our way down the slopes toward Hogsmeade. We were trailing behind the girls, mostly because I didn’t want to hear Alicia go on and on about what a wonderful week she had with Bastian—she might accidentally have let something slip that was entirely inappropriate for my ears and then I would be forced to think of Alicia in a different light forever. That, and I wanted some selfish alone-time with Roger. It was difficult with the loads of people going down to Hogsmeade that were jostling around us, but we tried to ignore them.
“Lost his mind? About what? I don’t really think he has one to lose…”
Roger smiled. “About the match coming up—has he got you lot doing sprints and push-ups and planning the hexes you’re going to use on my team?”
I chuckled and squeezed his hand. “Yeah, I’m his right-hand-man for that one. Trust me, I’ve got a doosey to use on you.” I winked and kissed his nose. “We’re having a team meeting next week, but other than that and having us practice with Bastian, Oliver is particularly sane.”
“But I’m sure at the meeting that’ll all change,” he said. “This one will probably be—what—three hours? Four? Seven?”
“If I’m lucky,” I muttered. “At least it will be here this time. We finally convinced him that Hogsmeade was a rubbish idea, though I’ll miss the food.”
“That’s a good thing at least—you could magic a comfy chair in there to lounge on while he talks about potty breaks.”
“Good idea,” I said. “And then I could just get some ear muffs so I won’t have to hear him talking about your line-up.”
“I hope he doesn’t know too much about my line-up.” Roger chuckled. “I’ll be out a Cup if he does.”
“I wouldn’t put it past Wood,” I muttered, watching Alicia hold tightly onto Bastian’s arm. “In this stage of the game he has to win, doesn’t he?”
Alicia stayed strong until the train pulled out of Hogsmeade station. She smiled and waved and told Bastian through the window that she’d write every few days and tell him how much she missed him, but once the train slipped out of sight she fell to her knees.
I raised a brow. She’d only known the bloke for two weeks—did that really warrant being on her knees sobbing? Maybe he was just a special man—Quidditch star and all. Or maybe it was because she was finally happy—finally on even footing with everyone else. I frowned.
Angelina put an arm around Alicia and pulled her to her feet.
“You’ll be okay,” said Katie soothingly.
Alicia nodded and looked around as we walked back through the village. Passing Zonkos, she nodded to Lee who was leaving with a bag of goodies. “Hey, Lee,” she said sadly.
“Bastian leave?” he asked quietly.
She sniffed loudly. “Yep. Train just left.” Alicia sniffed again.
“I just finished shopping—why don’t I walk with you back?”
“Hey,” I said quickly. “Roger has to pick up a few things so we’ll catch up later, okay?”
“Sure thing,” Ang said, tipping Alicia onto Lee’s shoulders. She turned to him. “What did you buy, Lee?”
I made a face and Roger and I found our way into Honeydukes for some chocolate to celebrate the fact that he was a few halls down from me in a different tower instead of being across an ocean in Brazil.
I got McGonagall’s note early Monday morning about doing detention later that night in the trophy room. I hated scrubbing the trophies, but I figured all of my detentions writing lines hadn’t really had an effect. I had been so good that year—my fifth being the worst. Oliver and I got in quite a few fights back then. Then, however, it had been about things much more simple than my relationship with Roger.
Oliver met me in the room at eight sharp with a sponge in hand. I had been there for a few minutes, holding a wet rag and staring at the different trophies for school services and other odd things. There was actually an award for Best Levitation Charm. I wondered why they didn’t do that anymore.
We scrubbed for a while in silence, both annoyed at the situation and I was sure at each other. I could see the fury in Oliver’s eyes when I turned. He looked so concentrated.
And then it hit me like a bus.
An overwhelming emotion swept over me. I hated him so much. I loathed him. This time, though, it wasn’t because of what he said about Roger and how he tried to screw up my happiness. It was because he was a prat and didn’t remember the party. He didn’t remember Libby breaking up with him in front of everyone and he didn’t remember kissing me in his bedroom.
Sodding, stupid git.
“You’re going to polish the silver right off that one if you keep scrubbing that hard,” Oliver said roughly, staring at me.
I stopped, my face flushing. “Oh. Yeah. I got…I was thinking.”
“Why do you care?” I snapped. “If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me anyway.”
“Is this about the Libby thing again?” he said, sounding bored.
“This is about how you are a smarmy git,” I replied, turning so that my back was to him and picking up another trophy.
“She’s moved on anyway,” he said after a long silence. “Libby’s got herself another boyfriend. She’s dating one of the other idiots that tried out for the Seeker position.”
“Good for her,” I muttered darkly. Then I whipped around. “Are you in contact with my father?”
Oliver nearly grinned. “What if I am?”
“You need to ruddy stop it!” I shouted, dropping the rag. “I didn’t want him knowing I was the reserve—Blimey, you should have known that! He’s going to get his hopes up now and want to come see me play—OH WAIT. I’m the RESERVE and I DON’T PLAY because we have ELLIS. Merlin, Wood, could you just stay out of my business please?”
He laughed. I narrowed my eyes.
“I thought since you and your dad are so close that he’d want to know.”
“How did you even—eugh, I can’t stand you!” I shouted. This time I picked up the rag and chucked it at his head. I pulled out my wand.
“You’d better be careful,” he said. I could tell in his voice that he was teasing me and I hated it. “McGonagall said she’d meet us up here so if she comes in here and you’re throwing things at me and cursing my brains out, you might just get thrown into another detention.”
“Good,” I mumbled, grabbing another trophy and tucking my wand back into my pocket.
“With Flint,” he said with a chuckle.
I threw the rag again.
I tried my hardest to forget about detention with Oliver after I left that night. The girls were interested in knowing whether or not he walked out of there with limbs hanging from his face, but I went straight to sleep.
Wood was in contact with my father. They talked about Quidditch. They talked about me. That was infuriating. What right did he have—Hell, Roger could have—but he didn’t. No. Roger didn’t meddle in things that didn’t concern him.
Then again, I hadn’t told Roger about the relationship my father and I shared.
Groaning, I rolled over. Angelina and Katie were talking across the room. Alicia was silent, her blankets pulled high over her head.
The following day, however, things were a bit lighter around the dormitory. Alicia had decided to write Bastian her first letter on livid pink parchment (I had no idea where it came from since none of us had ever owned pink parchment in the past). She giggled as she did so and I watched her, interested, while finishing up my Potions essay.
“What do you have to tell him?” Angelina asked, annoyed that Alicia’s giggling had woke her up. “About how you’ve been in bed for a day and I couldn’t get you to eat your potatoes? What a romantic letter.”
“Shut up,” muttered Alicia. “Bastian would love to know about my potatoes.”
“Or lack thereof,” said Angelina, pulling on her robes in irritation. She glanced around. “Anyone coming to breakfast with me?”
Katie raised her hand, rushing out of the bathroom and Alicia folded up her letter.
“I’ll catch up,” I said, checking a fact as the girls left the room. After happily finishing my essay some seconds later, I stuffed it in my bag along with my books, quills, and ink, and hurried down the spiral staircase right into the war zone.
I wasn’t sure how I always got myself into things like this. I just always seemed to be in a bad place at a bad time. This time, for example, the common room was barely full with people trudging off, exhausted, to breakfast. Angelina and Katie were by the door. Both of their mouths were hanging open.
“I can’t believe you’re writing to him.”
Alicia’s eyes flashed. “What’s wrong with him then?” She was clutching her pink parchment unusually tight.
“He’s going to use you, Alicia!” Lee shouted from the fireplace. It looked like he hadn’t had very much sleep. “He’s an International Quidditch Star that has girls goggling over him every minute.”
“He loves me!” she screamed.
“Until the next cute girl comes along that likes him for him instead of his money—Merlin, Alicia! Can’t you see that’s why he wanted to call off the title of boyfriend/girlfriend? Because he wants to date other people!”
“What about Brazil this summer, huh?” Alicia was nearing tears at this point. I didn’t finish walking down the stairs, though I did spot Fred and George peek out from the boys’ dormitories. “How do you explain him wanting me to come stay?”
“He won’t have you stay in Brazil,” Lee went on. “He just didn’t want to break your heart before he left.”
“I don’t believe you! Bastian wouldn’t do that!”
Lee rolled his eyes which only made Alicia more livid. “He’s a Quidditch bloke, Alicia. He’s going to hurt you. Look at this—he’s already hurt you.”
“He—he has not! I was just sad that he left!” Tears were putting streaks on her jaw bone.
“I practically carried you back here,” said Lee. “You were a mess. He led you on.”
“Me?” Alicia’s horror was now turning into anger, something I knew all too well that anyone should avoid. Particularly men. Men that have a problem with who Alicia dates. “I’ve been the single girl around here for a long bleeding time, Lee Jordan. I’ve had to go through all of my roommates snogging at one time or another and gushing about it and I haven’t said a sodding WORD. But finally—at long last—I’m happy and you are trying to ruin it!”
“I’m not trying to—don’t be stupid, Alicia!”
She cut him off. “Who then, Lee? If Bastian will hurt me and every other bloke in here thinks I’m the wallpaper compared to Ang, Katie, and Jane” (we all colored instantly) “then who?” Alicia placed her hands knowingly on her hips. She thought she had won the fight by the look of it.
Insert: Jaw hitting floor.
“Ex—excuse me?” Alicia said, sounding like she had something stuck in her throat. “Is that some sort of joke?”
Lee shook his head, his anger subsiding. “Nope. I think we should date, Alicia.”
“I’m—I’m not—Bastian is corresponding with me!” she shouted.
He shrugged, grinning. “Come on, ‘Licia, have dinner with me.”
She had a look of complete shock on her flushed face. “No bleeding way, Lee! You’ve just cornered me about writing to Bastian and you expect me to go to dinner with you—bet you just started to notice me when I was walking around with a Quidditch star, huh?” She laughed nervously, clearly unable to decide which emotion would go best with the current mood.
He shook his head fast and took a few steps toward her. “Alicia, I noticed you months ago. I’ve always thought you were the prettiest of the girls—no offense to them. I just—I thought you thought of me as a brother so I didn’t ask you—I just couldn’t.” Lee paused and looked at Alicia’s face. It looked as if she had just been smacked very hard. “And then you came back with that Brazilian and I tried to lay off, I really did. But the way he—eugh, I don’t think he’s right for you at all. You’re flashy enough for two people, Alicia. He just put you on the backburner so whenever you went out everyone would see him and not how beautiful you are.”
Alicia’s face was now the same shade of the scarlet curtains.
Lee took another step toward her and now they were only a meter apart. He looked confused and hurt and she looked shocked and puzzled. “All I’m saying,” he continued as if he hadn’t let awkward silence invade their publicly private conversation, “is that you should think about the way he makes you look and the way you should look.” Lee sighed and stepped again. “I think you should be sitting on a pedestal, not in the back doing the lighting. Come on, ‘Licia, just have dinner with me.”
She still stared at him, dumbstruck. Her mouth was a bit lopsided.
Lee raised an amused brow at her expression. “Fine. You don’t want to have dinner with me? I see how it is.” It looked as if Fred and George’s smirk was starting to wear off on Lee. Instead of walking away, hurt, he smiled and grabbed Alicia around the waist, pulling her into a long kiss.
None of us really knew how to react. I was still standing on the stairs and I watched Fred and George high-five each other. Oliver came up behind them, his hair tossed from sleeping and my stomach gave a large jolt. Groaning, I knew I was hungry. The girls were waiting by the door so I pushed past a few third years and Alicia and Lee (still snogging) and joined them leaving the Common Room.
“Saw that coming,” muttered Angelina, closing the portrait hole behind us.
“How could you—how did you see that coming?” said Katie.
“Lee’s been miserable for weeks, but it’s been worse since Bastian got here,” she replied and I raised a brow. “I knew he had to snap eventually. Hat’s off to him though. I’m not a morning person—there’s no way I’d have as much fight in me in the morning.”
I smiled. “I like them together,” I said suddenly and the girls grinned. “You guys have something like a trio going—the twins and Lee.”
“You don’t feel left out, do you?” asked Katie, concerned.
“Of course not,” I said, shrugging. “I’ve got Roger stinkin’ Davies. He’s the trump card.” Laughing, we walked into the Great Hall. Taking a seat at the Gryffindor table, I looked up to see Oliver walk in, his hair still messy, and my stomach gave another jolt.
Irritated, I grabbed some ham and eggs to get my stomach to quit doing that.
A/N: Wow, you lot are the best! I've felt so inspired lately...I even posted a bit earlier than I said I would because I love you all so much. All the reviews have been so helpful and fun to read, thanks to everyone who took the time to leave me some love :) It really helps my thought process to be honest.
Next time: Team Meeting of Doom. :)
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