Chapter 11 : Me vs. Her vs. Those Tacky Sequined Platforms
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“Wake up sleepy-head!” I shout cheerfully, ready for a brand new day at Hogwarts. Hattie groans, burying deeper under the covers.
“Go away green monkey!” She grumbles. I stop.
She hisses at me. Hisses.
“That’s it! This calls for desperate measures!” I back up, preparing to sprint. Once I’m as far away from Hattie’s bed as I can get, I run towards it, and land right on top of her.
“GAAHHHHHH!” She screeches, flailing out. Our arms and legs tangle, and both of us roll off the bed and onto the floor.
And of course, there’s Brigit, looking down on us, horrified. At first I don’t get what she’s looking so disgusted by. And then, I try and see it through her perspective: me and Hattie, on the floor, out of breath. In our pajamas. And I can’t help it; I grin, and give Hattie a big hug.
“I LOOOOOVVVE you, Hattie!”
She shrieks, still disoriented from the fall, and tries to pull away from me.
“Get off me, get off me! Ouch!”
Oh dear, I seem to have elbowed her in the eye.
“You wouldn’t wake up,” I complain, once we’re all settled again, sitting on her bed. Brigit is nowhere to be seen; she’s probably out spreading the rumor that Hattie and I are lovers to the whole school. Eh. Oh, well.
“So you tackled me?!?!?”
“Kinda, I guess. Sorry about your eye.” She scowls for a few more moments, and then breaks out into a huge grin, and we both start laughing.
“So, are we going to go down to breakfast, or what?”
“Sure…but I kind of want to get ready first. You know.” I say somewhat apprehensively. She squeals with glee, clapping her hands together.
“You’re a girl after all!” She says happily. I scowl.
“No shit, Sherlock. I’ll have you know that I love dressing up and stuff. In case you were wondering.”
“I think you should go with a classic hot pants look. They’re all the rage, you know.”
“Not really,” I grumble.
“Shut up, yes they are. And anyway; you’re from America, so you have an excuse to look slutty.”
“WHAT?!?!?” I screech, insulted. “Are you saying American girls are sluts?”
“Not all of them, obviously. Probably no more than there are here. The difference between our sluts and your sluts is about four inches of fabric, though.”
“I resent that!”
“I know you do. Now put these on!” She hands me a pair of hideously shiny sequined hot pants, and an electric blue top. I put them on, and then stare at myself in the mirror open-mouthed.
“Dear Lord, what have you done to me?” I wonder aloud. Hattie just has this maniacal crazy-lady look in her eyes.
“Now, for the shoes,” She says breathlessly, handing me a pare of white platforms.
“Hell, no!” I say, crossing my arms. “I refuse! There is no way I am wearing those.”
Gawd, these shoes are uncomfortable. When I get down to the common room, Jimmy is lounging on the couch, looking bored.
“JIMMY, SAVE ME.” I say, attempting to run to him and falling down, twisting my ankle. Hattie runs to me and yanks me back up.
“You’re not running away; you are wearing that outfit Max!”
“You look ridiculous.” Jimmy says, laughing. I scowl.
“I know! Hattie is in one of her Dictator moods today.”
“James will definitely notice you, though.” Jimmy grins. Hattie frowns, looking suspicious.
“Why would he need to notice you? You two are already going out, right?”
“RIGHT.” I say emphatically, nodding. “I’m changing.” And before she can stop me I hobble upstairs and tear off my clothes. “Ahh, much better.” I pull on my school uniform; they’re at least better-looking than the ones at G-WAM were. I roll up the skirt, and decide to borrow another pair of Hattie’s shoes; they’re black knee-high leather boots; not too slutty and with just a hint of badass. Perfect.
“Well, I guess you could do worse,” Hattie says sadly. She’s curling her own hair around her wand now, which is glowing. It leaves her hair bouncy and flawless.
I decide not to do anything to my hair, and just leave it down; it doesn’t look too bad today, anyway. I do a number of complicated make-up spells until I am completely satisfied.
“Oooh, you look pretty!” Hattie says appreciatively. I thank her, and we head downstairs again, where Jimmy is still waiting.
“It never ceases to amaze me how women take almost ten times as long to get ready as men do,” he says. “Honestly, what were you doing up there?”
I smile evilly.
“Wouldn’t you like to know.”
“Well yes, I suppose that’s why I asked.”
“That was supposed to be rhetorical!” I snap. He laughs, standing and following us out the door.
The great hall is already crowded once we get there; I ask Hattie to save me a seat, and hurry over to the Gryffies to say hi. I sneak up behind James, who’s talking to Lily about something, and wrap him in a huge hug.
“James!” I sing, not letting him go. “How I’ve missed you!”
“Er—Max? What are you doing?” James turns around, looking surprised. I sit myself down in his lap, resting my head on his shoulder and closing my eyes.
“Oh, James…mmm…You smell yummy.”
“Um, excuse me, but if you don’t mind, we have some business to discuss.” Lily says pointedly.
“Oh, I don’t mind! Go right ahead!”
I don’t move.
Lily clears her throat.
“Business to discuss alone. You know, Head boy and girl duties.”
I look at James; he’s not looking at me. Fine, then!
“I apologize. I didn’t realize you were too busy to even say good morning to me, James. Now I see that you’re…occupied.” I stand, straightening my skirt and fixing my hair.
“Oh, and Max? You have something on your face…yes, right on you left cheek…oh dear, now you’ve smudged it.” Lily says. My face burns with embarrassment; I feel like crying.
“Later then, I guess. James.” And I strut off, trying to breathe evenly.
“What’s wrong?” Hattie asks, noticing that I’m upset.
“Lily.” I hiss, glaring over at her. “Do I have something on my face?” I ask, my voice trembling.
“Oh, no reason. Why does Lily hate me so much?”
“Who knows. She’s not a mean person though, not really. She’s always been really nice to me; she’s really intelligent. And pretty. And popular.”
“You know what? This really isn’t helping.” I stab my fork violently into some scrambled eggs.
“She’s jealous.” Jimmy says, his eyes still on the newspaper he’s been reading since we got here. The ‘Daily Prophet’ or something. “She acts like she hates James, but as soon as he even suggests the fact that he may like someone else, she gets all territorial. A classic girl tendency. She never really liked me when we were dating. I mean, at the time I thought she did…but now, things are different, and I know better…” He looks bitterly over at Lily and James, who are sitting very close to each other, having a serious conversation. James says something, and looks down; Lily frowns sympathetically, glances over me, and then places her hand on James’s knee.
I stand noisily; Jimmy grabs my hand to try and anchor me to the Ravenclaw table.
“Forget it, Jimmy,” I say. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt your precious Lily.”
I break away from him, and storm towards James. Lily quickly takes her hand off of his knee.
“You wanna fight, Evans?” I ask loudly. She stands; she’s even taller than me. Exactly James’s height, I notice.
“No, I do not want to fight. And if you threaten me like that again, I will dock you points.” She glares at me, and I glare right on back.
“It’s on,” I hiss, “It is soo on. You have no idea who you’re messing with.”
“And you,” She steps closer to me, “Are messing with me, and I am Head Girl. Congratulations, DeVough, you’ve just earned yourself a Saturday detention.”
I gasp at the unfairness of it all.
“Lily, love, is that really nec—“
“Yes, James, it is! This little girl needs to know that we don’t play games at Hogwarts!”
“No, bu—“ I can tell James is going to give in to her, so I cut him off.
“Forget it, James. It’s obvious where your loyalties lie.” Our eyes meet, mine hurt and angry, his apologetic and confused.
I walk swiftly away from them, from all of them, anxious to be alone again. But no, that would be too much to ask for. A hand taps my shoulder.
“Leave me alone!” I say, whipping around to face the intruder. It’s Hattie.
“Oh, Max. Come here, let’s get you to the common room.” And she leads me to the Ravenclaw dorms, which is a good thing, because I’m crying so hard by the time I get there that I’d surely have gotten lost if I’d tried to get here myself. Hattie solves the riddle, and we enter. I head straight for the couch in front of the fire, still crying heartily.
“I h-hate her!” I sniff, as tears stream down my face. “And James l-loves her, and he’ll never l-love meeeeee!” Hattie hugs me to her, Shhh-ing me and comforting me, and it reminds me of a mother, and that makes me cry even harder. I’m gonna need my inhaler soon if I don’t watch out.
Suddenly Jimmy storms into the common room, looking mildly angry. He spots me and his face darkens further. He clenches his fist; I notice it’s bruised.
“What’s wrong?” I choke, reaching an arm out to him. He steps back, shrugging.
“Nothing you need to worry about, Max. Come’ere.” He sits down beside me; now I have Hattie on one side of me and Jimmy on the other. “She doesn’t compare, Max. She doesn’t compare.” He says; I’m not quite sure what he’s talking about, but decide not to ask. Instead, I cry into his shirt, with Hattie stroking my hair, and the burn of rejection still in my lungs.
Classes cheer me up a bit; I’ve been looking forward to having a new set of teachers to make fun of for ages now. I have History first; even though I’m a year younger than James, we’re still in some of the same classes. But not many; the Ravenclaws are usually pared with the Hufflepuffs for classes.
History is extremely awkward. I get there early with Jimmy (Hattie is taking some really nerdy smart-person class—Honors Arithmacy, I think. Jimmy could’ve if he’d wanted to, but he says he’s taking this class because it’s easy and helps him catch up on sleep). James comes in alone a little after we do; I think Lily must be in the smart class too. Darn. Not.
“Max, can I please talk to you?” He asks quietly.
“Piss off, Potter,” Jimmy growls, stepping in front of me protectively. “You lost the right to talk to her when you helped bully her in front of half the school.”
“Don’t make me angry, Jimmy—I swear I’ll kick your ass—“
“Stop!” I say. “Jimmy, it’s fine. I’ll talk to him. Thank you.” Jimmy scowls, but slowly goes to sit down, not taking his eyes off of us.
“Max, please listen to me, I never thought Lily would be so rude to you; I don’t know what came over her! Usually she’s so polite! I told her not to pick on you any more.”
“I don’t care about stupid Lily!” I say exasperatedly. “I care about you, James! You, and the fact that you watched as Lily bullied me and did squat! I thought you liked me!”
“I did! I mean, I do! It’s just I—“
“It’s just that you like her more. Of course you do. I’m not asking you to freaking marry me, James! I’m just asking for a little support! Next time she picks on me, be a man and stand up to her! Sheesh! And if you don’t…well, let’s just say you’ll be reminded how to ‘grow a pare,’ if you know what I mean.” I grin evilly. “You haven’t forgotten the St. Mungo’s incident, have you?”
He pales, and clutches at his chest protectively, shaking his head furiously.
“Good, then it’s settled.” I nod once, and then turn and start heading back to Jimmy, when James calls out, sounding quite shocked, “Did you really just threaten me?”
I turn, and smile sweetly.
“Of course not, dearest James. Why would I do such a—“ I pull out my wand, quick as lightning, and brandish it at him. He flinches back, clutching his chest and whimpering.
“Mercy! Mercy! Please!”
“Hahahaha, that was definitely worth it. I wasn’t actually gonna cast the spell, dipshit, I was just proving a point.” And, feeling much better about everything, I walk back to Jimmy, who is looking like he might either scream or laugh.
“What the hell was that about?” He asks.
“I’ll tell you later,” I grin. “It’s a long story.”
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