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Chapter 8 : You're a Natural
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and for those of you who are well versed in your Scottish Ceilidh dances, keep an eye out
It all happened so quickly. One second she was hanging on to that broom for dear life, the next she was falling, dropping like a stone straight towards the ground.
I don’t think I’ve ever flown so fast but it wouldn’t be fast enough she was going to hit the ground…
Then I saw Becky McOwen, her jaw set and her wand out. I didn’t hear what she shouted but I saw it envelope Charlotte. A hover charm. I felt like hugging my seeker; Charlie wouldn’t be hurt!
I looked away from Becky and saw Charlie, sprawled on the grass, her arm at an unnatural angle. The hover charm wasn’t strong enough. All it did was slow her down.
Becky dived, with a cry of horror, straight down to Charlie, and I followed. I landed on the ground roughly, nearly going over on my ankle. I don’t, though, and fall on my knees at Charlie’s side.
“Charlotte!” Becky was almost in tears “Charlotte I’m so sorry!”
The wet grass soaked through my trousers to my knees but I ignored it.
“She’s broken her arm.” Bludgers muttered “definitely, at that angle.” Then, as Splinters moved in, arms outstretched as if to pick her up. Before I could go for my wand – which was in the changing room unfortunately – Bludgers’s fingers closed around his friend’s and he said in a low, firm voice “Don’t touch her, she might have hurt her spine.”
Becky went to pieces at that. She stepped back, eyes wide and face as white as a sheet. Bludgers was at her side in an instant, one of his massive arms around her shoulders as he whispered what must have been comforting words.
I watched Charlie, unable to move. I tried to force myself to run to the hospital wing, or even to levitate her myself – even though I knew I was in no state to cast spells.
“Oh my goodness! What happened?”
Someone had gone for the nurse.
I think I may have died from relief.
The first thing I remembered was falling. I didn’t remember hitting the ground, so I must have passed out mid-fall. I couldn’t see properly, as I tried to force my eyes open, just a hazy white blur. So was I dead or what?
I didn’t think so, because I could feel a dull pain in my right arm. If I was dead, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be in pain. Then, as the world began to come into focus, I heard low voices.
“I can’t believe he did that to her.” Someone was saying.
“You can’t blame him, he didn’t realise how scared she was, James.”
James was there! I hoped Demeter wasn’t.
“But I do blame him!” James hissed angrily, “He could have killed her! She could have been hurt much worse!” he didn’t sound angry anymore, he sounded scared. And anyway, who could have been killed? He couldn’t mean me; I didn’t feel at all hurt. Well, my arm was sore but only as if I’d been sleeping on it. He must mean me anyway. Who else had fallen fifty feet? And while I’m on the topic, how am I not any worse?
“James, she’s your best friend, we know you’re worried, but trying to kill Splinters might not be the best idea.” Becky said softly.
“Why not?” James spat harshly “she…she just fell…and I couldn’t help it.”
“James…”Becky began, sounding as if she was choosing her words very carefully “do you-”
I wanted to hear what she was going to say. I wanted to hear his answer. I never got to; I sneezed.
“Charlie?” I opened my eyes properly, and saw James’ worried face peering into mine. Becky was beside him, looking very apologetic.
“Oh Charlotte, I’m so sorry! I cast a hover charm but it wasn’t strong enough!” she said, clutching at the arm that wasn’t aching.
“Miss McOwen,” It was Isabella, the school nurse who, in a bid to ‘get with the kids’ had insisted we all call her Izzy. No one did “that hover charm probably prevented much more extensive injuries.” She turned to me “how are you feeling?”
“Fine.” I told her shortly trying to avoid her beady eyes, “My arm hurts.”
“It should,” she said “you broke it in two places.”
I winced at that. Nasty.
“So, is that all? Am I free to go?” I asked. She nodded, explaining that I would have to watch my arm for a few days, because while the bones were mended, they were still delicate and not completely up to Quidditch. I fought to hide a snort. I hadn’t even been playing Quidditch when I’d fallen. I’d been on a broom, true enough, but not by choice.
I swung my feet out of the bed, discovering I was still wearing shoes. I hadn’t had the covers on either, which I hadn’t noticed.
I straightened up, swayed on my feet and sat down again.
“Charlie?” James was at my side, his face a picture of worry.
“I’m alright.” I told him firmly, desperate for him not to hover over me as if I was Demeter. Like I needed looking after. I stood up again, slowly this time and was relieved when I didn’t get a head rush.
I pretended my arm didn’t hurt but I couldn’t hide how bloody shattered I was when we reached the common room. I flopped on the comfy sofa and immediately felt like going to sleep. James plonked himself down on the sofa next to me.
“Should you really be sleeping? I mean, if you have a bump on the head you aren’t supposed to-” he said, worriedly. I looked at him, and noticed how cute he looked when he was when he was looking out for me. But instead of sitting there staring at his face, I said “Jay, stop acting like my mother.”
He blushed and smiled apologetically.
“I do appreciate it, y’know, but seriously.” I said, smiling blearily “stop.”
James smiled “Fine. Sleep. But if you die…not my fault.” He held up his hands, “I wash my hands of you.”
“That’s nice.” I said, pulling my knees up to my chest and leaning on his shoulder, aware that Demeter was going to Kick Off. With knobs on.
But whatever, James wasn’t complaining, and neither was I. Plus, he was incredibly comfy.
So, for the second time that week I fell asleep on his shoulder. Lucky me.
I woke up in a bad position. Well. It was actually a very nice position. But for James, I was a bad position. Well. Only because he had a girlfriend. I woke up before he did, noticed we were lying on the sofa now, and found that one of my legs was hitched over his. Well Hello there Mr Potter.
I was tempted to go back to sleep but Vane would be back soon from wherever she’d been hiding for the last three hours. I wondered idly whether she actually was some sort of banshee or vampire demon from hell. It would make for a nice interesting turn of events. James wouldn’t want to go out with a banshee. Since, y’know, being an omen of death ain’t such a plus with the boys.
But I didn’t get a choice in the end, because James came to, very gracefully, with a big snorting splutter.
“Jeez Chucky,” He said, rubbing his eyes and smiling blearily up at me in a way that made me want to melt. I still managed to raise my eyebrows at ‘Chucky’ “this nap-time thing is going to end up a habit.” Then he noticed my position and his eyebrows went up so far they disappeared beneath his hair.
I blushed and sat up so I wasn’t sprawled half over him anymore. He didn’t look like he minded too much that I had been, I was happy to notice.
“Oh by the way, it’s Hogsmeade this weekend.” He said absently, running a hand through his hair. I was going to have to remind him to cut it if he was going to do that. It was too long to muss up.
“Yeah?” I hoped he was going to suggest we spend it together, like in the old days.
“I’m going to spend the day with Demeter.”
“It’s so unfair!” I whined to Rose and Lily, as I lay on the floor of the library, while the two red heads presided over me with the air of two psychologists on a mission “doesn’t he notice that she’s a slag?”
“He’s a boy Chucky.” Lily said softly, her face a picture of sadness. I knew she was still stuck on Peter Creevey. I gave her ankle a squeeze of reassurance.
“Boy’s are idiots. It’s a fact.” Rose said, “They act all sweet when they want something but as soon as you give it up, you know they’ll just forget you exist and move on to the next one.” There was something in her voice that sounded very bitter.
“I know! And while we’re on the subject, what’s this about Chucky?” I asked, resting my head on my arms behind my head.
“Ask Albus.” Lily said, referring to the quiet Potter. I rolled my eyes. Chucky. I liked it. Sort of. And how had the opportunity come up for Allie anyway. He was so quiet, I never saw him. He was always hiding out in the library, not speaking to anyone who wasn’t either related to him – which wasn’t so hard. He has a lot of relatives – or in Gryffindor. He was painfully shy, which surprised a lot of people who knew James.
“Charlotte!” someone called, too loud in the hush of the library. I glanced at Lily and Rose, who looked back with equal grimaces. I knew exactly who it was. It was Demeter Vane, because she always said my name like ‘Shaaarlut’
“What the hell is she doing here?” Rose muttered, sweeping her corkscrew curly hair from her face.
“Come to gloat, have you?” Lily snapped bluntly when Demeter swept towards us as gracefully as she could in her stupid high heels. Demeter grinned wickedly as she saw me on the floor, propped up on my elbows.
“I suppose you’ve heard.” She said spitefully.
“About what?” I asked stupidly, knowing exactly what she was speaking about.
She huffed and tutted, “About James. Taking me to Hogsmeade? Hell-oh.”
I fought not to laugh at that last remark, but found it startlingly difficult when Lily erupted into this great big belly laugh. Demeter raised her eyebrows – plucked within an inch of their poor little lives – and said in a very asinine voice “not very mature are you?”
I got to my feet with difficulty, and ignoring the pins and needles in my feet looked at her, not particularly enjoying how tall she was with those ankle-breakers on and said “Me? Immature? You must be joking. I mean hell-oh!” she didn’t seem to realise that I was making fun of her, but she knew that Lily, who had stood up and flounced towards me, one hand on her hip, the other in the air. Demeter glared at us.
“Alright you stupid bitch.” She said in a low hiss, squaring right up to me “I know what you’re doing.”
I forced a blank expression, and managed to raise one eyebrow in what I hoped was cynicism, even though my insides had started doing the Virginia Reel around my body.
“And what would that be?” I asked, puffing myself up so I could at least match her in toughness.
“Stop trying to steal James from me.” she hissed, which would have been slightly threatening if she hadn’t wibbled on her heels half way. I had to grit my teeth to stop my jaw from dropping.
Then, with one last glare, she gave us the finger, and flounced away from us.
“Well she’s much smarter than we thought.” Lily said dryly, clicking her tongue at the departing girl. Not wanting to think about what either of them had just said, I sat down on the nearest chair, chewing my lip.
“Charlotte,” Rose said “We need to talk to you about something.”
She sounded nervous, as if I might snap and hex her ears into trumpets.
“‘Bout what?” I asked, not wanting to hear what I knew was coming. She paused, looking apprehensive. Then, with a sigh, Lily flung herself from her chair to come to a halt right infront of me “come on guys, spill. What are you on about?”
“You fancy James.” Lily said flatly “and we know what you’re going to do about it.”
The secret is out! Another Cliffie, I know. But it isnt so bad this time.
and for those of you who are well versed in your Scottish Ceilidh dances, I hope you spotted my reference to the Virginia Reel :)
Leave a review please, if only so I can improve my writing :) Thanks loves
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