Chapter 18 : In Which Kenna is Hurt, Aidan is Understanding, Oliver is Insulting, and the Weasleys Sing a Love Song
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I should have known when Smith started making such a fuss about Aidan that my life wasn’t going to be easy for a while. Sure, I understood that the little snot had no desire to become best mates with him, and I was perfectly fine with that. I knew things would be awkward and uncomfortable and better left forgotten.
I tried my best, I really did, to make sure that my brother acted as human as possible during the three days Aidan stayed over. But it was really difficult, seeing as Smith kept muttering things under his breath. Things like “Oliver’s taller,” (as if that matters) and “Oliver’s smarter; he’s a Prefect,” and my absolute favourite, “I think Wood is going to marry Kenna, so be careful or he’ll kill you.” I would have laughed if I hadn’t realized that Smith was being completely serious; he really thought that Oliver and I were going to end up with one another.
I honestly have no idea where Smith comes up with this stuff. If it weren’t for the fact that he’s eight, I’d say he was yet another flaming homosexual in love with my ex-boyfriend. Except Smith fancied Riley, so that ruled that out.
Anyways. I should have known that nothing could be simple. After all, if things were simple, I wouldn’t have to deal with all the crap that has been going on lately. I wouldn’t have to deal with fancying two different blokes at the same time. If things were simple, I wouldn’t fancy Oliver at all.
But of course, things aren’t simple. Things are anything but simple.
In all honesty, that’s probably mostly my fault. If only I could keep my mouth shut, I might not be in this mess. But it’s become quite obvious as of late that I will never learn, and I will never have an easy time of it. I’ve become resigned, to tell the truth. Because it seems there is nothing I can do to stop the madness. And beyond that, I’ve become tired of even trying. It just doesn’t seem worth it any more.
The day began normally enough. Oliver made an announcement shortly after the train deposited us all back at Hogwarts that in lieu of the abominably bad weather we were sure to have for the next month or so, evening practices had been cancelled. The Weasley twins, who’d managed to land themselves in detentions for a solid week during the holiday (I pity the staff and students who stay on during the holidays. The smaller numbers make everyone much easier targets for Fred and George’s practical jokes.), reacted in their normal fashion. And by normal, I mean they went around the Common Room acting like a pair of ballerinas (complete with jumping, pirouettes, and lovely mid-air action) for an entire hour. Oliver finally had to threaten them with extreme violence before they’d stop.
For my part, I’d decided just before school started up again that feuding with Ollie was pointless. I mean, it hasn’t gotten me anywhere so far. And truth be told, it’s become quite tiring to always be so angry with him. I never thought I’d see the day where being childish was just too much effort, but I did. So. I was working on my maturity issues. Oliver, surprisingly enough, was acting completely normal again. During lunch our first day back, I thought I caught an odd gleam in his eyes when I announced that Aidan had to put in a last-minute effort for a Muggle Studies project, but other than that, he’d gone back to acting as if we were just good friends. I’m not sure why this irritated me. But regardless.
We’d all been on our good behaviour...okay, well, mostly...and, again for the most part, I was getting along with everyone. Not that I didn’t usually get on with my friends, but I was making that extra effort with Oliver, which made me feel better. Partially because I missed the camaraderie we’d always had, partially because being his mate all the time required my concentration, so I couldn’t go off thinking how bloody gorgeous he was, and partially because it made me feel less like I was about to betray my boyfriend. No matter what the situation between Oliver and Katie, and even I had to admit that they’d been acting more and more like a real couple since the holiday had ended, no matter what unresolved feelings I might have for Oliver, I was still dating Aidan. I don’t take much seriously, I’m the first person to admit it. I’m careless with homework, with people I don’t like, with my clothes, my books, with people I do like, and to a certain extent, my own well-being. The only reason I succeed in school is because I have a knack for it and because my friends are willing to remind me to do the assignments ten minutes before class starts. The only reason I don’t look like a teenage prostitute or homeless girl most of the time is because we wear uniforms, and one of the girls is always going to have a spare skirt that I can shrink or expand when I misplace my own.
But the one thing I’m not careless about, at least not on purpose, is my relationship with my friends. And despite our dating status, I did consider Aidan a friend; we hadn’t been close for long, but I knew that if I ever had a problem, I could turn to him as easily as I turned to Riley. Or even Oliver. I don’t hurt my friends. And I don’t betray them. The way I saw it, getting mixed up with Ollie was doing just that, but there’d be three betrayals to deal with instead of just the one.
Because of that, I made the effort. I tried to be less snarky off the Quidditch pitch, and I made sure that I didn’t engage Oliver in any arguments about Aidan or Smith or Katie or anything else.
But while I was busy trying to be mature, Katie and Oliver stepped in and made the three of us look and feel like arses. Perhaps it’s wrong of me, but I blame Oliver more. Then again, most of the things that happen to me are his fault, so maybe it’s not so wrong.
Anyways. Since both Riley and Lee were sitting with us today, there were nine of us crammed into our little corner at breakfast. Riley was practically sitting in my lap, she was so nervous. Brennan hadn’t tried to contact her over the holidays after the first few days, but she was convinced he was going to do something stupid in the next couple of weeks. Lee sat on her other side and was patiently drawing her out with his good humour and easy manners. For all that he was best friends with the idiotic and crazy Weasley twins, Lee was fairly laid-back, and far less likely to spike our drinks. Fred and George pretended to be angry at their friend’s ‘defection’ to ‘the other side,’ and amused themselves and their girlfriends by writing a long list of ways to win Lee back. For their part, Angelina and Alicia were discussing proper shoe maintenance, something that completely befuddled me. I think they were just trying to torment the twins. It appeared to be working, since the pair of them alternated between singing horrid Celestina Warbeck love songs to Lee and writhing in pretend torture on the floor next to the table. Katie and Oliver were talking earnestly about something or other, and I couldn’t help but notice the way Katie ran her hand through his hair, how neither one of them appeared to notice that she was doing it, and I couldn’t help but notice that Oliver was smiling at her much more warmly than he used to. They were completely absorbed in each other. And I felt a pang of something I couldn’t quite identify. Oliver had never looked at me that way, or maybe he had, and I’d just been too stubborn to see it. Then again, I’d never run my hands through his hair, either. And I found that I almost wanted to.
Whatever the feeling was, I couldn’t quite stand it anymore. No one was paying me much attention to begin with, so it was relatively easy to slip away. When Riley would have murmured her protest, I shrugged with forced cheerfulness.
“I’ve got to mail off this letter to my mum. I’m not really hungry, so I thought I’d go up to the Owlery and send it before I forget.”
Riley’s face became concerned, and her words were just loud enough to have the rest of the table turning to me questioningly. “But Kenna, you hate owls.” she exclaimed. I shrugged again.
“I don’t hate them.” I replied. It was partially true. Unfortunately, they all knew me well enough to know the rest.
“Bloody hell, you’re scared to death of them.” Oliver frowned. “Besides, you haven’t written a word to your mum since she started telling you that you might get more dates if you stopped playing Quidditch, because 'no one likes a young lady who's better at sports than he is.' That was three years ago.”
The shrug came more easily this time, and I didn’t meet his eyes. “Hmmph. I’m not afraid of owls-“ even though I definitely was “and I need to ask her something.” I skipped away before any of them could comment on the fact that I didn’t have a letter, that I never asked my mum for advice, or that I was deathly afraid of the stupid bloody owls. I just needed to get away from them. Especially Oliver. Determined as I was to see my relationship with Aidan through to the very end, it...galled...to see Oliver so obviously happy. And here I had been complaining because I thought he and Katie were toying with my emotions. It had become glaringly obvious that they’d hit a rough and awkward patch that they were now over. And who could fault them? Their relationship had always been relatively friendly up until our fourth year, where they really started becoming comfortable around one another. But Oliver was her Captain, he was my ex-boyfriend, and there had definitely been unresolved tension between the two of us for the first few months of term. So it was bound to get awkward occasionally. And I’d had the gall to complain to myself, thinking in typical fashion that the whole world revolves around my problems.
And this is why I hate analyzing myself. It always makes me feel like such a cow, and then I end up sneaking to the kitchens, eating entirely too much chocolate, and complaining about my horrible nature for the rest of the day.
I managed to hold off my panicked and bruised feelings for the rest of the day, though it was a bit difficult in Potions because neither Oliver nor Professor Snape would bloody leave me alone. Oliver spent the entire time pelting miniature bits of parchment at me, all of them asking me what was going on, what my problem was, why I felt the need to lie to my friends, blah blah blah in his distinct scrawl. And Snape had evidently decided that today was the day to bombard me with questions I couldn’t possibly know the answers to, though I gained great pleasure in proving to him that I actually knew how to brew Amortentia. Well, I also enjoyed insinuating that Oliver had been slipping it to poor Marcus Flint, who’d transferred out of the class at the end of the first term, by mistake, and that he’d actually meant it for Snape. Since I didn’t actually come right out and say it, though, Snape couldn’t give me detention, and it served to distract Oliver enough that he stopped asking me how I was feeling.
By the time lunch rolled around, the strange pangs in my gut had dissipated, and I was able to eat with a great deal of enthusiasm. Of course, it helped that Aidan was sitting next to me, and that every time I looked over at him, he was either staring at me or making some excuse to sit closer to me. I felt smug, knowing that at least one of the blokes I fancied was still interested. It didn’t hurt that the interested party was the one I was dating; that way, I could tell myself that I’d made the right decision by rejecting Oliver in the first place.
And I felt vindicated when Aidan pressed me up against the side of the greenhouse for a ‘quick’ kiss that left us five minutes late for our Herbology class. At least someone appreciated me.
That vindication quickly faded when I walked into my dormitory and found Oliver and Katie wrestling (or snogging, depending on the terminology)–where else?—on my bed. The good mood I’d been building back up all day quickly faded.
“Fucking hell!” I roared. At any other time, it would have amused me to see Oliver fall off the bed and land on his head. It would have amused me to see the comical shock on both of their faces. But not this time. As he scrambled back up to his feet, I took in the fact that Oliver’s shirt was unbuttoned, the tail hanging through the zipper to his trousers, his hair was mussed, and Katie sported a similar look of untidiness. She was blushing profusely as she hurriedly redid the buttons on her own shirt and tried to hide the tell-tale mark on the side of her neck.
I felt disgusted, for no reason that I could name. And then I latched onto one. “Shag each other’s brains out, I don’t care.” I said coldly. “But next time, do it on one of your own beds, and have the fucking courtesy to find a private place where no one is going to interrupt you. There are plenty of handy broom closets around here.” I would have swept into the bathroom, but Oliver’s words stopped me before I could.
“You would know.” he said quietly. I heard Katie gasp in what I assume was horror. And I turned around slowly. His face was filled with anger of his own, and just looking at him, I felt my hands clench into fists.
“What was that supposed to mean?” I asked in my most reasonable tone. Oliver’s eyes narrowed.
“Just how many times have you brought that boyfriend of yours up here? How many times have you been in a broom closet lately?”
“Oliver, don’t be cruel.” Katie begged, but neither of us listened to her. His words stung deeply, and I needed to lash out, had to hurt him as much as he’d hurt me. Without warning, I let my hand fly. It cracked across his face, and the silence that followed was deafening. When I was finally sure that I had my voice under control, I spoke.
“It’s no business of yours if I bring Aidan up here with me, when I do it, or how often it happens. For your information, he hasn’t been up once. But if I’d invited him to come, it would be my choice, just as it was Katie’s choice to invite you. I would, however, have had the courtesy to lock the door and to use my own bed instead of a friend’s. And I don’t make it a habit to discuss my sexual experiences, or lack thereof, with anyone, least of all with someone who just proved he doesn’t know me at all, someone who neither deserves to know my business or has a right to ask.”
Oliver paled, but said nothing. I waited with bated breath for a moment, but he just looked at me blankly.
“If you’ll excuse me, then.” I said stiffly, and I stalked past the pair of them into the relative safety of the bathroom. I’m not going to cry. I’m not going to cry. I am not going to cry. I kept repeating the mantra to myself over and over and over again in my head until my mind was so numb that I couldn’t keep fighting it. So that was what Oliver truly thought of me; he’d all but called me a slag. To my face. He thought I was no better than a whore, that I was cheap and easy. And he was supposed to be my friend. But I’d be damned if I’d cry over the likes of him.
Instead, I sunk against the door frame, trying to find my way back to a place where I didn’t want to cut off Oliver’s bollocks and serve them to him for dinner, a place where it hadn’t become so breathtakingly clear that he thought I was easy, trashy, and loose.
“You hurt her, Oliver.” I heard Katie murmur through the door. I felt a rush of gratitude that the majority of my friends were so loyal. Oliver’s response was too muffled to hear, but at that moment, I didn’t particularly care what he had to say.
I was faintly surprised when Katie chuckled, though the sound didn’t have much amusement in it. “Yes, but you deserved it. We both did.” This time, Oliver’s bellow was loud enough to comprehend.
“And she didn’t?” he yelled. There was a long silence, and for a moment, I feared I’d missed Katie’s response. Then it came, so quiet that I had to strain to hear her.
“No, Oliver.” I could almost see her looking at him in disapproval. “Not like that. Oliver....I think she’s in love with you.” The silence became deafening again. It was so loud that I was afraid they’d hear my heart beating and know I was listening. It wasn’t true. It couldn’t be true; I wouldn’t let it be true, especially after this. As far as I was concerned, Oliver had thrown away his only chance. And I wasn’t going to give him another. He didn’t deserve it, and I wasn’t a glutton for punishment. But still, no one said anything, and when I peeked out the door after five minutes, I saw that they were both gone. It was a huge relief. The relief faded a bit when I saw the note lying on my bed.
Forgive me. That was all it said. I didn’t need to be a genius to know it was from Oliver. And it wouldn’t take a genius to realize it was going to take much more than a half-baked, slightly sincere two-word apology to regain my...favour. The way things were shaping up, I didn’t see how that would even be possible; the hurt was too fresh in my mind. And I didn’t want to forgive him. There should always be things that are unforgivable, and I wanted this to be one of them between the two of us so that I didn’t have to feel conflicted about him, so that I didn’t have to feel cheap and unworthy because he’d purposely set out to hurt me. This was different than him giving me the silent treatment or me egging him on about Aidan. Because when Oliver intimated that I was rolling around on the floor every night with Aidan, he’d meant it. He might regret it now, but he’d meant it at the time. And that wouldn’t be so easy to forget, or forgive.
He was waiting for me at the bottom of the staircase when I came down for dinner. His expression was more earnest than I’d ever seen, and he reached out a hand to grab my arm when I was close enough. I stepped slightly to the side so that he didn’t touch me, and the hurt expression on his face was almost laughable. But I wasn’t in a laughing mood.
“Kenna...” he started. “About earlier...you know I didn’t—“ I silenced him with one look.
“Like hell.” I said coolly, and he stared at me.
“W-what?” he asked, his voice wavering a bit. “I didn’t...you...it was...I didn’t mean it. I’m so sorry.” The words came out in a rush, and he grabbed my hand. “I was just...you looked at me like...and you were judging me...I didn’t mean it, I swear to Merlin.”
“You might not mean it now, Wood.” I said quietly, yanking my hand from his grasp. “But you meant it then.”
“No, I swear.”
“I don’t want to hear it.” My gaze was cool, and it showed nothing of the turmoil and anxiety I was feeling. “I don’t want to talk to you right now, Wood.”
“Please, Kenna, just forgive me.” I couldn’t look at him. I knew he felt bad, had known it from the moment I emerged from the bathroom. But I couldn’t afford to let him hurt me like that again. “I promise you, it was a one-time thing. I never meant to hurt you, you have to know that. I didn’t know...I thought...I didn’t know how you felt.” He continued to rush, and all the blood drained out of my face. I could feel it. He thought I loved him. It was just one more injustice I could lay at his door.
“I’m not in love with you.” I said firmly, and his head came up. His eyes searched mine desperately, and he took control of my hands again.
“Oh.” he swallowed. “Then...can you forgive me? Please?”
“No.” His hands immediately fell slack to his waist, and it was his turn to look pale. “Not now. Forgiveness has to be earned.”
“I...I see.” Without another word, he turned and walked away. I stood there for a few moments, hurt again that he had let me go so quickly, but no longer surprised. It wasn’t as if it mattered, anyways.
Dinner was a quiet affair. It appeared that Katie had told Angelina, Riley, and Alicia some of what had happened. Fred and George must have found out as well. Because the entire team was glaring at him like he was some sort of monster, and Riley kept muttering under her breath how she’d like to show him what she’d do to him in a broom closet. Her ideas sounded particularly painful. Not that I wasn’t grateful to everyone, but I just wanted it to be over. “I can fight my own battles, all of you.” I announced. Naturally, everyone protested, and I shot them all the Evil Eye. “This is between Katie, Wood, and myself. The rest of you, butt the hell out.” The mutters were vicious and negative, but they soon subsided. I considered it a task well checked-off. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to go eat with Aidan and his friends.” I looked at Oliver as I announced this, and I could almost see my eyes boring into his skull. They don’t think I’m a slag, they seemed to say, and he glanced away. Katie, too, turned from me, but I saw with little interest that she was pretending not to watch Cedric Diggory, who was definitely not watching that Chang bird, who hung off his shoulder like a pretty Asian harpy. I knew he wasn’t watching her because he was staring straight at Katie. Normally, I would have told her off, but I was too emotionally exhausted to start that argument back up again.
“You and Wood have a fight?” Aidan asked as I slipped into the seat next to him. I stared at him, and he shrugged.
“You could call it that.” I said, snuggling into his arm when he brought it around me. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Then I won’t make you.” he replied. “But can I just say one thing first before we drop the subject forever?”
I made a great show of playing with the vegetables on the plate in front of me. “Of course.” He sat there in silence for long enough that I turned to stare at him again. He surprised me by giving me a light kiss.
“He was never good enough for you in the first place. So isn’t it good that he’s finally shown his true colours and you can forget about him?” My mouth opened, but words didn’t come out for several minutes.
“I...he...we...that is, I never...why would you...”
“Relax, Kenna.” Aidan told me with a gentle smile. “I knew from the beginning the two of you fancied each other.”
“But...we...I...you...” My brain wasn’t working. Did my boyfriend just sit there and tell me he’d known all along I fancied another bloke and it hadn’t bothered him?
“I accepted it. You accepted it. Now he’s out of the picture, so let’s just see where this takes us, okay?” Aidan asked. I smiled at him in agreement, and for the first time in months, I didn’t feel so worried or confused.
The rest of the meal went normally enough, and true to form, Aidan insisted on walking me back to the Common Room. For the first time since we’d begun dating, I refused the offer. “Sorry. I just need to think.”
“No problem.” Aidan told me from the doorway of the Great Hall. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning, then.” I nodded in agreement, and we both set off on our separate ways. As I began climbing the seven sets of stairs up to Gryffindor Tower, I let my mind wander, then empty. I hadn’t lied when I told Aidan I needed to think, but more importantly, I needed to be alone. I didn’t know what I was going to do about Oliver. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. All I knew was that being with Aidan had eased my mind just a bit, and I wasn’t so worried. I was willing to table all my issues until morning, and I assured myself that Oliver wouldn’t be able to find a hint of unsatisfactory behaviour in me at Quidditch practice. I was going to be the mature person I knew I could be, and we were going to behave just like a Quidditch Captain and Seeker should do while on the Pitch.
But somewhere on the fifth floor, while I was going over exactly how I was going to act and what I was going to say, I lost my train of thought completely. Because standing directly in front of me, locked around each other, pressed up against a recently-installed statue of Wendolyn the Weird, were Katie and the bloke who was definitely not Oliver, but instead Cedric Diggory, snogging each other like life depended on it.
A/N: Dun dun DUN!!! Bad Katie!! And bad me, for ending another chapter on a snog-fest cliff-hanger. But I couldn't help myself. Anyways. I hope Katie has somewhat redeemed herself (maybe) and then completely TRASHED her image in this chapter. Don't hate Oliver TOO much. He's a boy, what can you expect?? And besides, he really is sorry. He honestly didn't mean to hurt her (well, not that badly), and he's going to try and make it up to her. But. On a happier note (okay, not really), there is a DEFINITE Oliver/Kenna confrontation in the next chapter, although it won't involve anyone being called a whore/slut, and when it's resolved, you MIGHT just see the end of one of our two favorite 'They shouldn't be together because they're not meant to be' couples. I'm not saying which. Although it might be interesting if it was both. But enough rambling. I hope you guys semi-enjoyed this chapter, and please, if you've got the time, I'd love to hear from you all! Thanks!
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