Chapter 3 : A Million Ways To Be Cruel
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‘Annie, do we have to?’ I whined as my best friend pulled me along.
‘Yes, yes we do,’ She replied striding ahead.
I allowed her to pull me along, trying to ignore her incessant babble about wherever we were heading. I longed to be in the common room, the fire would most certainly be burning bright, making the room warm and cosy. I yearned to be relaxing on a sofa, finishing the end of my book, Annie’s chatter would certainly not be so tiresome there.
‘Well come on,’ She said happily, pulling me, for I had stopped in the memory of my beloved common room.
I felt a cold chill run through me and I quickly realised why I was so cold, Annie had dragged me down to the entrance hall, and it appeared, and I dearly hoped it appeared, that she wished for us to got outside. In the middle of November. In just my flimsy uniform and the scarf I had managed to steal off a first year as we passed on our way down.
She smiled at me hopefully; I simply stared at her in disbelief. There was no way I was going outside.
‘No way,’ I said stubbornly.
Annie glared at me, raising one of her eyebrows at me and crossing her arms over chest. No words were needed to persuade me to go. I was going and that was the end of it.
‘Not too long Annie, it’s fucking cold!’ I moaned admitting defeat and allowing her to pull me outside.
I squealed in shock as the cold air hit my body and in an instant I was shivering as the wind whipped around me. I wrapped my arms around my body and trudged after Annie.
‘It’s not that cold,’ She sighed shaking her head as she looked back at me.
‘If it’s not that cold then give me your cloak,’ I replied glaring at her.
‘No.’ She said defiantly and I knew she was cold too.
‘And, where are we going?’ I grumbled catching up to her.
‘Quidditch pitch,’ She said lightly.
‘What?’ I cried.
‘Well technically we’re going to the Quidditch stands,’ She offered.
‘Why?’ I whined, trying to pull her back towards the castle.
‘Just, because,’ She said pulling me along effortlessly, I was a real weakling.
I grumbled as we continued our tiresome journey towards the mammoth construction that was the Quidditch stands, Annie Cornfoot always took me to the strangest of places, usually to tell me the simplest of things.
She was, to be perfectly honest, ridiculously beautiful; and I could not help but be envious of her. In the same way that Isla and I were complete opposites in our looks, so were Annie and I. She had the year long tanned skin, making my poor, milk-white skin look paler than it already was. Her hair was the darkest contrast to my own, dark brown, almost black in colour, and fell half way down her back. But it was her eyes that I envied the most, and yet it was the closet similarity we shared, they were a strange shade of blue/grey that seemed to have such depths that they amazed be, as well as freaking me out a little. She was beautiful, there was no other way to describe it, you were blind or stupid, or both, to deny that Annie Cornfoot was not gorgeously stunning.
She was a very strange specimen of the human race, she was slightly dazed in her view on the world, as well as slightly crazed in her irrational behaviour (though I could be also counted in such a category) and never one to back down. Ever. She never stood back and let someone be pushed around or laughed at, one of the reason’s she was my best friend. Nor did she take any sort of crap from anyone and she was extremely loyal, which was why everyone was so confused that she’d been placed in Ravenclaw and not Gryffindor, her brains had obviously outweighed her arrogance.
I often found it hard to comprehend that she could have ever spent so much time with Potter when she was younger, she had turned out quite normal, and even now Potter’s family and her own were still close. The reason for my frequent meetings with Potter and his incessant band of prats, it seemed that whenever I was round Annie’s house so were they.
Thankfully, because Annie was such a loyal friend, she did not even attempt to make me try to at least to be pleasant in their company, let alone to make me try to like them. She accepted our deep despise for each other’s existence, even she had, on very rare occasions, found them extremely tiresome.
She came from the same high-class pureblood society as many of us had, complete with tedious balls, intrusive aunts and the long line of incest. Though like Potter and his family she too was somewhat of a ‘blood-traitor’, though I suppose considering my current situation and my friends, I was too.
‘That wasn’t so bad was it?’ She said in a very irritating voice as we reached the steps that led to my fate of freezing to death.
She was utterly insane, I had thought the bitingly cold wind was piercing as we walked down to the stands, but I realised, as I gazed at the hundreds of seats set far above me, I was about to become far colder.
Annie did not even deserve a smart, scathing reply or reproach, I simply stalked ahead of her, slowly beginning the ascent of the steps that would surely lead me to throwing Annie off the side of the stand in disdain. And it was not for another two flights of rough, wooden steps did I reach the stand itself, full of cold, wet seats and it was then I saw the reason she had insisted we come to the Quidditch stands.
‘No.’ I snapped instantly, turning to walk away from such absurdities.
‘No what?’ She asked innocently as she reached the top of the steps.
She had the typical ‘Annie Cornfoot bush-baby face’ on, complete with wide, searching eyes and her red lips forming a small ‘o’ on her features. She was trying, and failing, to look as innocent as she could, but I was wise to her tactics and her ways, there was no way that her little act was, in any universe, believable.
‘Annie why the hell are we here?’ I groaned I was too tired and cold to even put much effort into my objections.
‘I was about to ask the same question,’ Came a voice from behind me, a voice that seemed utterly pissed off at their current predicament of having to sit in the stands on a cold November night.
I turned to give a sympathetic smile to the ever so familiar voice, one that she returned before she glowered over my shoulder at our supposed best friend Annie. I could always rely on Lily to take my side in the argument, mostly because we had the same sense of logic, and our brains often followed some logical train of thought and planning, unlike Annie’s. I had always found it strange that she had chosen to spend her time with us two, though maybe she felt that she must repay us ever since we saved her on our first train ride to Hogwarts from the prat that is Potter. She was the most popular girl in our year, possibly the school, the girls liked her, the boys fancied her (though less so since Potter started threatening them). And what made it worse, the reason that no one could really hate her, was that she was so humble, and kind and friendly, that she was impossible to despise, quite unlike some of the other Gryffindor’s in our year.
‘And how charming that we get to sit up here when the kings idiots themselves are par-taking in Quidditch practice.’ I muttered dryly.
‘Oh loosen up.’ Sighed Annie as she sat down next to me.
‘If only I could.’ I sighed sarcastically.
‘So why, dear Annie, have you forced us to come out in such perilous weather?’ Questioned Lily as she turned in her seat, tearing her gaze away from the players on the pitch to Annie and I.
‘I just thought it would be a nice place to meet.’ She smiled simply.
I scoffed reproachfully at her ridiculous answer; she was a terrible liar, she had an ulterior motive and both Lily and I could tell instantly from the way she sat on the edge of her seat, alert.
‘I could be doing so many better, more interesting things, than sitting here having to watch those gits pretend that they can fly.’ I snapped moodily as I crossed my arms over my chest.
‘At least they can wrap their legs around a broom longer than two seconds Stebbins.’ A voice said calmly.
I whipped round to see Lupin and Pettigrew slide into the seats in the row behind the three of us, and I glowered at Lupin’s obnoxious statement, as Pettigrew tittered beside him. How the boy ever became prefect, I would never now, though he was slightly better than Potter and Black. He sat back comfortably as he withdrew a book from his back pocket and began to read, a large smirk playing on his lips at my glaring face.
‘It’s the only thing they can wrap their legs around.’ I snapped, awakening him from his revere in his literature.
He looked up from his book, slowly raising an eyebrow at me, pleased with his work at infuriating me. He assessed me for a moment, leaning further back in his chair, all the while his eyebrow was still raised and the odd smile was on his face, looking at me in a most Black way. And then he let out a low chuckle, more to himself than to any of us, looking down at the floor as he did so, he slowly closed the book still laughing quietly to himself, before finally looking at me.
‘Just because the only thing you can actually do well Stebbins is wrap your own skinny legs round Rosier, doesn’t mean that no one else can do the same with anyone else.’ He said slowly, enjoying the taste of every syllable rolling off his tongue.
‘Oh,’ I sighed placing a hand against my heart and smiling at him in a most patronising way ‘how long did Black spend teaching you to say something so scathing Lupin?’
He paused, lost for words for a moment, I did not allow him to try and remember something else Black had taught him to say in such situations, I was going in for the kill.
‘Because however smart you think you are, you cannot possibly think of something so bitchy, Black must surely deserve the credit.’
I paused again, only to let him process what I was saying. I had already twisted around to face my prey, but now I knelt up on my seat and lent over the back of the seat to get closer to Lupin, and he unconsciously leant forward.
‘Because we all know that Black taught you that line the moment I revealed to him that I do in fact ‘wrap my legs around’ Evan,’ I whispered to him so that only he could hear, repeating his own crude words
‘Because Black could never keep something like that to himself, especially when it concerns me. Even if he is playing around with my baby sister.’ I said almost bitterly.
‘Bitter Stebbins?’ Lupin smirked, leaning even closer to me so that he was practically whispering into my ear.
‘Whatever Is’ decides to do with her life, doesn’t concern me, especially when it incorporates Black.’ I snapped, knowing that I was lying, of course I cared that Isla had been seen with Black a lot over the past week.
‘Not even if he’s scre-‘ He began, but I cut him off before he could even voice the words that I feared were true.
‘We’re getting off track Lupin,’ I said slowly.
‘Very well, you were insulting me, I believe.’ He answered coolly sitting back in his seat.
I raised by eyebrow at him this time, and sat back on my own seat, though still facing him.
‘I suggest,’ I began and he began to smirk at my persistence ‘that if you wish to make some lewd comment about me, that you think of something rather more original.’
Lily and Annie both let out low whistles at my comment and smiled at me.
‘Can I make a suggestion?’ Came a loud voice from behind us all.
I turned expecting to see Black, he was usually the one to taunt me at such moments, which was why it was such a surprise (though not a joyous surprise) to see Potter standing there, in all his Quidditch playing arrogance. He was nauseatingly sweaty from the practice; it was not as if he even looked half-decent after the strenuous exercise. He did not, and I’m pretty sure he was begging Merlin that he did, look good, because no boy, or girl, looked attractive after such physical sport. I could see him eyeing Lily hopefully, with that pitiful ruffle of his hair; he was the most obnoxious boy to roam the earth, only because at least Black did not have such an annoying tendency as Potter’s hair ruffling.
And I suddenly realised why exactly Annie had made us face such awful, hazardous weather; Potter had obviously talked her into getting Lily to come to the Quidditch stands. And of course she agreed, that was her flaw, she’d do anything for Potter, it, in a way I could never imagine being with him, a testament to their friendship. Annie would go as far as suffering the wrath of Lily to help Potter in his attempts to woo Lily, though usually she rather hindered his attempts, she often mocked his not-so-subtle flirting whilst they were in Lily’s presence.
Annie looked at Potter meaningfully, even she was a little disgusted at Potter’s appearance, she was evidently urging him (with her eyes) to leave and come back latter when he did at least resemble a human being, rather than a mud-soaked monster. Potter in return sent her a nod of acknowledgement, though clearly ignoring Annie’s attempts to get him to leave and try to look half-decent, evidently Potter thought he looked fabulously attractive; and Lily would certainly fall at his feet in lust.
Lily obviously did not share Potter’s ideology, her face was scrunched up in a most unattractive look of disgust at Potter’s present attire, and she was, if possible, looking at him with more displeasure than she usually did. His present appearance did nothing to arouse any form of attraction from Lily; all she could do was look at him in abhorrence as he smiled happily at her. Lily was not top of the class for anything, she understood immediately Annie’s ridiculous little plan, she had probably figured it out before Annie had even thought of it; she really was that smart. She was glowering at Annie, her eyes flashing with rebuked anger, I was honestly quite surprised at her anger, I thought after the amount of times such things had happened she would be past getting angry, but it had obviously been a long day for Lily.
Annie had turned away to watch the last stragglers of the Gryffindor Quidditch team leave the changing rooms, heading towards the warmth of the castle, exactly where I should have been. I knew Annie was not going to risk even glancing at Lily, though I knew that she was grinning to herself even then, with Lily’s eyes burning holes in her cloak. But Lily chose, as I thought she would, not to confront Annie at this point, most probably so that she would not draw anymore attention to herself. She quickly looked at me pleadingly, her almond shaped eyes doing her own version of the ‘Annie Cornfoot bush-baby face’ and I fell for it, like I always did. I was to be the one to save her, which of course meant that I would be losing my humility, I was going to draw Potter away from Lily and onto me, which would not be a hard feat, it did not take much for Potter to start taunting me.
‘And what suggestion would that be?’ I asked looking at him straight into those bespectacled eyes, replying to his previous statement.
‘I suggest,’ He paused, obviously for his enigmatic maximum effect ‘that you do not lean so close to Moony, that’s how rumours spread.’ He chuckled coming closer to me.
He looked across to his two best friends who were grinning wildly; Lupin had the smug smirk of satisfaction that only ever arose when I was being humiliated. He leant, if possible, further back in his chair and I hoped that maybe his bony little arse would impale itself on the back of the chair. Evidently my hopes were to no avail as he leant forward, chuckling still. He looked quickly at Potter who was wearing the same smirk and nodded at him quickly in some secret marauder code.
‘Prongs is right Stebbins, wouldn’t want that rosy-posy boyfriend of yours catching you like this would we?’ He sniggered as he whispered into my ear.
‘Cal,’ Called a voice ever so close to me, a voice to deep to be Lily or Annie, unfortunately for me I knew Annie’s male impression too well to know she was not playing some crude joke.
I could not look, I dared not look, my face was frozen staring at Lupin who was still too close to me, smirking happily at me. The voice repeated my name and Lupin giving me one last triumphant smirk lent back into his wooden seat, as though waiting to watch a wondrous show that was about to begin. I sent him my most glowering look, one I’m sure even Rosier would be proud of, if he wasn’t standing behind me wondering why I was in such close proximity to Lupin, the marauder.
I mimicked Lupin’s actions and slowly pulled away from where I was still slightly leaning over the bench in between my two silent best friends. I sat back on my legs on the bench looking slowly round at Evan, with no idea what the hell I was going to do. I faced him seeing that his brow was knit together in confusion, and a dark shadow crossed his features.
Evan Rosier was, by far, the best looking Slytherin, he had close cropped blonde hair that was slightly ruffled and light grey eyes that matched his hair perfectly. He had been playing on the Slytherin Quidditch team for the past five years, owing to his heavily defined torso. He was at least a head taller than I was, which meant I was constantly on the tips of my toes when kissing him, something he pointed out regularly.
In that moment, when everything stood still, he was a completely different Evan to the one I knew, worst of all he was the Evan Rosier that the very boys sitting behind me had told me of. I knew, I would be more ignorant then I was now if I did not, that he was the stereotypical pureblood; I knew he did things that he would never admit to me, things he knew I would reprimand him for. But suddenly he was different, that scowl was frightening and for once I was glad that the marauders were there, if only to protect me, because I knew, however much they hated me, they hated Evan more, which meant they would defend me if Evan began shouting at me.
But Evan Rosier played a far crueller game than I ever realised, rather than shout at me and curse the marauders, he, for once in his life, chose the somewhat moral high ground; in only the sense that he did not curse Lupin or Potter. He let the frown fall quickly from his face and strode over to me, kissing me passionately, in full view of Lupin and Potter; evidently to show that he did not care. When his lips finally did leave my own he shot me a look that evidently told me that this was certainly not over.
‘Easy on Rosier, you don’t know where that mouths been.’ Black said causally as he leant against one of the higher seats in the stand.
‘I’m surprised you can even walk Black.’ Evan replied curtly, inclining his head a little towards Black, a slick smirk on his charming features.
Black remained mute to his mocking, it was evidently still a sensitive topic.
‘Lily said he didn’t even explain why he came hobbling into the common room,’ I murmured, adding fuel to the fire, a faint smile coming to my lips, my fear of Evan had somewhat diminished in the light of Black’s appearance.
Evan chuckled at my comment, his eyes flashing with mirth at Black.
‘I’m sure one of his fans soothed the pain,’ I said dryly causing Lily and Annie to chuckle.
‘More than one Stebbins,’ He snapped, his voice finally returning to him.
And finally he had been restored to his old self; there he stood, a smirk, as always, gracing his lips.
‘Your sister being one of them,’ He taunted.
‘I rather think Is’ has rather more taste than you Black,’ Sniffed Evan looking at Black disgustedly.
He did in fact quite like Isla, probably more so because she was my sister, but they both got along, we having spent our childhood with him and our other friends. He was, in the same way Charlie and I were, very protective over Isla, and he was evidently enraged that Black would ever make such a lewd comment about her.
I heard all four of the boy’s laugh loudly, and I suddenly felt sick. The awful thing was I wasn’t even sure whether or not he was lying, I had, unfortunately, heard some rather descriptive stories of Isla when passing down the halls. What made it worse of course was the clearly Black had been talking about he and Isla with his friends, I felt nauseating knowing they were laughing at Black and my sisters antics.
‘Has you dear little girlfriend not told you Rosier?’ Black asked, smiling with evident glee.
I rolled my eyes, Black and I both knew there was nothing I could do or say, I had not told Evan that Isla and Black had been seeing one another. And now Black would be able to tell the joyous news, whilst I stood there unable to explain myself, having the watch as Evan found out from the sodding git standing so casually opposite.
Evan shot a questioning look at me, I wondered whether I should blurt out the truth, but Black evidently would not let me do it.
‘Isla and I are dating.’ He smirked, saying it before I could even open my mouth.
Oh such grace, oh such beauty
So precious, suspicious and charming and vicious,
Oh darlin’, you’re a million ways to be cruel
A Million Ways To Be Cruel – OK Go
Reader: I am so sorry I haven’t update in so long. I was too distracted by finishing surprises and beginning the next, a little advertising of my other story on my own account ;). I hope you enjoyed the chapter, even though it’s taken a long time to post this. I will post the next as soon as I write it, I promise.
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That is if there is anyone still reading this!
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