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Chapter 8 : Chapter 8. Elsie.
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When Camilla had said that to me, I’d immediately thought to go and talk to Haley. It wasn’t as if I knew my sister perfectly, or anything. We were identical twins, but very different. If I wanted to know how to impress Peter, then I needed to know what he liked so much about my sister.
I tried to recall the words he had spoken that night I’d eavesdropped during the four guys’ ‘reports’. I giggled just thinking about that, earning a few dirty looks from some of the other people in the library. I felt a flush rise up to my cheeks, and pulled my big Thirty-Seven Ways to Distinguish a Merman From a Mermaid, special edition, up onto the desk and situated myself so that it was like a small fort I was in, with my book shielding me from the glares of the people around me.
I’m used to receiving strange looks from people. In my mind, it’s because I’m unique and interesting, but Camilla assures me, almost everyday, that it has to do with the fact that I’m abnormal and obtuse. I’m not exactly positive about what she means by obtuse, because I figured that was only relating to triangle, and so I’m still kind of trying to sort that out. Don’t get me wrong—I know I’m not smart. I’m just not an idiot either.
I know why Camilla does something, I know why Lily is so afraid to commit to this dare, and I know why it’s so hard for me to think that I might lose. Nobody in our little group understands just how much I understand!
My thoughts were pulled from the angry revelation I was experiencing, back towards the objective at hand: Peter freaking Pettigrew.
“Yeah, she was real pretty, and she likes the Blubbering Blades, just like I do!”
His words kept going over and over in my head. He said that Haley was really pretty, and excluding the fact that she really likes the color yellow, and I don’t, we usually look almost exactly the same. So I’ve got this pretty thing down.
“Do something she doesn’t dare to do, just be what she is, but more!”
Camilla told me in order to be like Haley, I have to be better than Haley, and to be better than Haley, well that would be a challenge.
What is she like…? I carefully pulled out a small roll of parchment that I kept in my messenger bag for emergencies and dipped my sugarquill in ink.
I sighed, letting the parchment twist up, folding into a roll again. The list was probably all smudged now. So I had to like the Blubbering Blades? I already did. I had to look like Haley? I already did. I had to be nice? I’d be an angel. I had to be adventurous? Oh I’d show him adventurous. And mix in flirty…yes, this was going to be quite a…thing.
I don’t remember actually thinking to take off my shirt in front of Peter. I don’t think I did, really. I mean, I don’t usually think before I do something. I just knew that he was dangling, unsure, and not caught. I needed to get him, and fast.
So I pulled a New-Camilla-trick and decided to think about the situation a bit. He didn’t have much experience with girls, and I didn’t have much experience with guys, either. He was swallowing a lot, and rubbing his hands fervently against the fabric of his trousers. His hair was nice that day, shiny in a masculine kind of way, stringy but not greasy. If anything, I could honestly say that he looked quite attractive.
Back to where it started.
“Hi there, Elsie, right?” He guessed at my name, which made my smile falter just a tad before it regained its usual ambience towards him. He grinned and nodded in my direction, taking a seat on the plush red armchair to my left. The fire roared and cackled a bit in the hearth, just a few feet away. I could feel a tiny bit of warmth from the flames, and smiled at I closed my eyes and inhaled the sent of fire. “How are you?”
“I’m fine, thank you.”
“Er…that’s great.” Peter paused, my lack of trying with this conversation was making him nervous. I laughed silently, inwardly and regained my composure.
“So…” I sighed, and crossed my legs. The fabric of my wool, gray uniform skirt slid just a tad bit upward, exposing just a small glimpse of my thigh. Peter’s eyes flickered down to it, his forehead starting to glisten. Was he really so nervous? He rubbed his hand along the itchy wool material of his trousers, staring intently at me.
“You don’t talk to girls a lot, do you, Pete?” He sputtered, as if my question came as a complete shock for, out of the blue.
He moved his head, not shaking, but not nodding it. Instead, he looped his head in almost a figure eight kind of motion, giving me the impression that he was saying, “maybe, kind of, sort of, yeah.”
The thought didn’t occur to me until later how degrading this was, how preposterous. I’d talked to the boy a grand total of ten minutes, and suddenly my top was pulled over my head. I shivered in the cold air of the common room. My jumper, when I’d shrugged it off to remove my blouse, was balled up on the couch behind me, the white button-up blouse resting just next to it.
Peter stared dumbfounded, his eyes as wide as saucers. I blinked, waiting for a reaction. I can’t remember just how long we stood like that. I don’t remember if I was embarrassed right away, or it the embarrassment settled in the pit of my stomach.
He blew out some air and just stared at me, “Uh…wow.”
I giggled stupidly, and then looked around. I was humiliated to an extreme rate. Why had I done that? I shivered again and scooped up my shirts, pressing them against my chest. I stumbled to get out of the common room, hurdling up the stairs, pushing the door open so hard that it slammed against the wall behind it, and rushed inside, almost breaking into tears.
No one had been in the common room, but by now, a few days later, almost everyone knew about it.
I walked down the corridor; my book clung to my chest, my head bowed. People were standing in various places, pointing and whispering at me like I was an animal at the zoo that just did something incredibly funny.
I heard them whispering and almost cried. But then I saw Haley up ahead and sped up to reach her. Maybe if I explained why I did what I did, she’d talk to me again?
“Haley! Hey Haley!” I shouted. Her shoulders went up and then down, sagging.
She turned around and suddenly I saw myself, looking at myself annoyed and staring behind me at the other students, who were most likely staring back and whispering again. I heard some people laughing from a little bit behind us.
“Haley, I need to explain,” I started.
“Save, El. I can’t even look at you right now without seeing…just don’t talk to me, okay?” I looked at her, shocked. She looked to her left and right before proceeding in the way she had been walking.
I felt the tears well up in my eyes and I shrank away from everyone. Four boys passed me in the hallway. Sirius and James were playing keep away with Remus, tossing his Arithmancy text book between the two of them. Every few steps, they would use their wands and make the book float a bit higher, laughing. Remus walked along, his hands going up every time the book passed by, but his face had an expression that looked kind of bored and pained.
Peter was walking behind, every now and then throwing in a few comments, “Way to go with that one Rem!” “Oh c’mon Padfoot, you can do better than that!”; teasing the others. His eyes flickered to me, and I just stared back.
“Later,” he mouthed, and I nodded. So he wanted to talk? Fine. I looked back and saw that Lily was passing down the hall where they were walking into. Oh dear.
She’d been avoiding James ever since the party.
As they passed each other, James looked away from the keep away game and at Lily. She looked at the stone floor and hurried past. The book dropped to the ground.
I pitied him, but I didn’t have time to worry about Lily and James. For all I know, it’s all an act to fool us. I don’t know…
Peter looked over his shoulder at me, and I gave a half-smile. He returned it.
Ack! I hate writing for Elsie. She has a bad writing style.haha. I hope this helped fill in what happened with Elsie and Peter. Thanks so much to everyone who has reviewed! Next chapter will probably be out tomorrow if I get enough reviews ;)
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