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Chapter 3 : Fancy Flowers
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My name is Charlotte. You already knew that, but in order to tell you this, I need to reiterate that point.
You see, I hate nicknames. It wouldn’t be such a big deal. For one thing, I know James hates ‘Jimmy’. The only nickname I can stand is Charlie, and even then only from James. Not Chassy, Not Char, and definitely not Lottie.
My mother used to call me Lottie. Before she died I was Lottie Phillips. Then I was Charlotte. And that’s how I stayed. Even if my father called me Lottie after that I would refuse to speak, to eat, to basically do anything.
Which is why, when Demeter Vane looked at me sweetly and said “Hello Lottie’, that she ended up with ringlets in her nose hair and antlers coming out of her head.
I think I was justified. Even James, her boyfriend, doesn’t say anything. Even Bludgers and Splinters seem to have accepted that it was justified. (Although how she knew ‘Lottie’ I don’t know) so when Demeter Vane screamed unintelligibly at me and sprinted from the room and James followed her, muttering a quick ‘better go and see-’, I think I was justified in hexing her hair into knots too.
I threw myself down where they were sitting and Becky McOwen looked at me sympathetically.
“She’s a twat.” Splinters said matter-of-factly. I smiled involuntarily.
“It’s true.” Bludgers said, making Becky McOwen snort with laughter.
I noticed that the boys were working on Quidditch strategies. I sighed, and noticed that they’d made a mistake. I leant over and pulled the parchment towards me. They looked at me, eyebrows raised. Maybe my hatred of Quidditch was slightly more pronounced that I’d thought.
“Look,” I said, “you need to have at least one beater out here,” I pointed to the far side of the ink pitch “so that you have a better eye on what’s going on. That way, you can judge where you need to hit the bludgers.”
Splinters and Bludgers looked impressed. “Thought you hated Quidditch.”
“I do. Doesn’t mean I don’t know anything about it. Plus, who d’you think does James’ strategies for him?” I said, grinning.
Becky McOwen let out a low whistle.
“You, Charlotte Phillips, are pure gold.” She said, a glint in her eye, which made me uneasy.
I was right to be uneasy too, because as soon as classes were over I was kidnapped and dragged down to the Quidditch pitch. James was waiting, an amused look on his face. I hadn’t realised he’d organised tryouts, but I quickly realised that he had. There were crowds gathered on the grass, all watching as I elbowed my way out of the Beaters’ hold on my arms.
“What, first you organise tryouts without telling me and then you kidnap me and drag me down here?” I asked sarcastically “Is that all? Or should I prepare for more?”
James rolled his eyes and beckoned for me to follow him. Up on the stands I saw Demeter Vane glaring at me, now antler-less and with no visible ringlets. Her hair also seemed to be back to it’s smooth best.
Then James began dishing out orders. Chasers were to be tried first. Beaters would not be, it was obvious that the pure brawn of Bludgers and Splinters far outweighed the strength of the potential beaters. Seekers were to be tried, but only for face value. I had no doubt that Becky would rejoin the ranks with no trouble. Keepers would be tried last.
I took a seat on the wooden bench at the side of the grass. I couldn’t exactly fly.
“What’cha doin’ down there?” Splinters shouted from the air. I shrugged. He shrugged back and swept off, beaters bat clutched in his hand.
“Ollie!” I looked around, knowing Lily Potter was the one who had spoken. She was holding the Quaffle and trying to take off into the air, but Ollie What’s his name was holding onto the tail, begging her to do something. She looked embarrassed for a second, before he let go and stepped back, allowing her to take flight.
I decided not to think about it. Lily always ended up telling me everything. It was like that with us. We were pretty much sisters, so it seemed natural.
Quidditch tryouts dragged on. I didn’t see why I was even there; it wasn’t like they needed me. So I lay back on the bench, with my hands acting as a pillow behind my head and prepared myself for a good hour or so of cloud gazing.
Unfortunately, I had to stop a great deal sooner than that.
Two of the potential Keepers had gotten into a fight, and the two sixth years, who were fairly talented duellers, were getting out of control. James couldn’t subdue one long enough to get the other one, and it wasn’t even in Splinters’ or Bludgers’ nature to help. I swore loudly and whipped out my wand.
“Hammings!” I shouted. Harry Hammings turned round and he swore “LEVICORPUS!” I bellowed. Hammings was lifted into the air, and I held him there. Craig, the other boy looked at me with wide eyes, before James hit him from behind and he was floating a couple of metres from the ground.
“That was one heck of impressive Charlotte,” Splinters said, coming to stand beside me. I grinned, and he looked rather flustered but I suppose that must have been from laughing.
I glanced over at James, who was watching us with an expression I’d never seen before. I was about to ask him what was wrong, when Miss freaking Popularity herself bobbed over. Demeter Van shot a look at me, and placed a kiss on James’ cheek. I huffed and Splinters looked down at me.
“No.” I bit out, obviously lying. He didn’t press me, so I smiled at him, before heading back to the castle. I was in a foul mood, and I had Potions homework, which I couldn’t really be bothered to do.
I walked quickly through the entrance hall. I didn’t need to, because it was well before curfew, but I always walk quickly anyway. James is always complaining about it.
Then I heard laughter. And not good laughter. Bad laughter.
I sped up, so I was nearly running and rounded the corner, only to come face to face with a group of first years. One of them, I realised was Artemis Lewis. She looked completely terrified and upset, clutching the massive copy of Beedle the Bard I’d seen her with the day before.
Andrea Goyle was smiling like the antichrist, a gaggle of horrible harpy-like Slytherin girls beside her.
“Come on Lewis, give us the book!” She hissed, “It’s only an old copy of kids’ stories!” at this, her horrible friends laughed. I couldn’t believe it. We’d been at hogwarts for two and a half days and they were already bullying people?
Artemis mumbled something in a tiny, terrified voice. She couldn’t have been eleven. She was too short, too tiny, to be any older than eight. Her twin was the same, but she seemed a lot bolder. Leto, I noticed, was nowhere to be seen.
Goyle reached out to grab the book. I gripped my wand and stepped forward.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, Goyle.” I said. Wow, I actually sounded menacing. I never sound menacing.
“Oh? And why not?” She asked boldly. I rolled my eyes, placing a hand on Artemis’ shoulder. All she needed was a tiny push and she darted off towards Gryffindor tower.
“Y’know, Andrea, an attitude like that won’t last you very long.” I said, trying to be extra patronizing. Grinning, I gave her a mock salute, and turned to walk away. “Oh, and Andrea? You know I can give out detentions yes? Try it again and I’ll make sure you’re busy every night ‘till Christmas.”
And I walked away.
I was pretty damn chuffed with myself. I never raise my voice, and I’d just done it twice in the same day.
But I knew that Goyle's big brother would no doubt be after my blood once he’d found out. I didn’t care. I was the best in my year, and from what I heard he was little more than mediocre.
In other words, he was toast.
I smiled to myself as I skipped happily through the portrait hole and plonked down on the sofa next to the fire grate, which was empty. It was still early September, so there would be no fire.
I opened my book, the revised edition of Hogwarts: A History. I loved that book. Everyone thought I was a geek for it, but it was true. I was a Hogwarts: A History fan through and through. Heh, maybe I was a geek.
Oh who was I kidding?
Then, in an explosion, everyone burst in. All rosy from the wind, and happy from their new positions, the new squad members threw themselves down on the sofa. James and Demeter were missing. I growled inwardly and forced my way through the crowd towards the dormitories. I was going to collect my towel, my shampoo and my swimming costume.
I was going for a bath.
The prefects’ bathroom was one of those rarely used rooms. It was more likely that you’d find a pool party in progress rather than someone bathing.
It was empty tonight and even though I would be wearing my swimming costume, I locked the door, first with the lock and then with my wand. Just for good measure.
As I drifted about in the endless pink bubbles, I thought hard about everything that had happened since we got back from summer. It was weird. It had been three days and I was already exhausted. The worst was yet to come, however, and I simply could not wait. Not.
If there was one thing I’d always known, been sure of, it was my feelings. I knew how I felt about everything. I was no stranger to James’ escapades with the ladies. Being a Potter certainly did have its perks, but I had never wanted to throttle any of them this much. Then again, they’d never managed to antagonise me the way Vane had. There was something about her arrogant, blonde, snotty-ness that made me want to slap her. Now, I don’t mean to discriminate against blondes. I’m blonde. But the fact remains. She’s an idiot.
Not that she’s the only one. I remember Jane Mallory. She was two years older than us and in Hufflepuff. She was a seventh year and we were fifth years. The lovely Miss Mallory was James’ ticket to stardom. If by stardom, you mean Hogwart’s Most Eligible, that is.
They didn’t last long. Not that it even mattered. Once she was done with him, there was quite a queue.
I ignored it most of the time. It wasn’t like James liked to broadcast who he was seeing whenever I was around. But even if he did, I’d never cared this much.
Maybe I was overreacting. Maybe I was being overprotective. It made sense. I hated her, and I hated the thought of them together…
It made sense. He’s been as close as a brother for the last six years. It would only be natural.
Feeling slightly comforted by this, I got out of the bath.
When I’d dried off and slung my robes over the top, fastened tightly to stop them falling open and revealing that I was only wearing a bikini.
I walked through the corridors slowly, holding my shoes in one hand. I’d never walked through Hogwarts barefoot before. I’d always wanted to.
“Oh Jamsie,” Someone giggled. I froze. I knew exactly who had spoken. Cursing my deteriorating luck, I rounded the corner and came face to face with James and Demeter, forced against a wall, half hidden by a statue of a warlock who was busy shielding his eyes. I smirked, and coughed loudly on purpose. Demeter jerked backwards, but as soon as she saw it was me, her eyes narrowed and her smirk widened as mine disappeared.
She pulled James towards her with his tie, and I tried not to flinch as she kissed him on the jaw. He glanced at me apologetically.
I stared, wide eyes, because I’d just realised something.
I wasn’t feeling overprotective. What I felt in that moment was nowhere near sisterly.
It wasn’t a crush…was it?
It was a crush.
So what did you think? Please, please, please review, even If it's really short :)
Updates may not be as quick as this in future, but I've had a real itch to write this recently, so you never know :)
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