Chapter 12 : The Question
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He let his gaze slide along the staff table and couldn’t help grinning when he saw James’ horrified expression. He looked over all the other teachers and wasn’t surprised to see a greying Hagrid beaming with pride two seats along from Harry.
Shaking his head, he let his gaze return to the table, where most of his family and friends were sat, with looks varying from dumbstruck to appalled.
He couldn’t help noticing, though, that his best Jessie Goldstein’s expression was rather vacant, as though she were thinking about other things outside of what was happening in the Great Hall at that moment in time.
Just as Al was wondering what Jessie might be thinking about, she looked round at him, evidently feeling his eyes on her.
Much to his surprise, Al felt himself blush, embarrassed he’d been caught staring at her.
Jessie frowned and mouthed, “What?”
Not wanting to look like an idiot, Al just smiled and mouthed, “Elephant juice,” at her.
Where normally this response would have been met with a grin and an “I love you too, loser,” this time it was Jessie’s turn to blush.
Looking awkward, she just shook her and turned back to look up at Harry, leaving a bewildered and, for some reason, worried Al to ponder whether this change in their usually very close relationship would be a permanent one. He prayed with all his might that it wouldn’t be.
Was this all because of what Leanne had said to he and Jessie earlier? Al had no idea what had been wrong with Leanne then – she’d never flipped out at Jessie like that before and the only time she’d ever blown up at him like that was when she’d accused him of flirting with one of James’ ex-girlfriends (which, by the way, he hadn’t been doing – James had borrowed a doppelganger charm off of George and made himself look like Al in order to see whether he could pull even when he did ‘look like a dweeb’). But jealousy couldn’t possibly have motivated Leanne – Jessie was his best friend, for goodness’ sake, always had been and nothing more. Fancying Jessie would be like fancying his own sister!
He shuddered at this thought and involuntarily looked over at Lily, who appeared to have given up on listening to their father and was instead gazing over at the Ravenclaw table.
Fighting hard to rid himself of all disturbing mental images that had just flooded his brain, he followed Lily’s example and looked over at the Ravenclaw table too.
Leanne was sat with her back to him, hanging on his father’s every word, being the good and attentive student that she was.
For the first time that he could remember, Al felt a stab of anger towards her. Why had she been such a cow when Jessie (who Al secretly thought had a bit of a soft spot for Filch after he’d rescued her – albeit very, very reluctantly – from the toilet cubicle she’d gotten trapped in in first year) was merely being her usual self? What had changed in Leanne in the last three months that had made her act that way?
Al shook his head, frustrated.
He was probably reading way too much into the situation, as per usual. He had a tendency, just like his father, to over-think things and get obsessive about anything that wasn’t quite the norm.
He grimaced, remembering the time in second year when he’d been convinced that Filch’s then kitten, Mrs Norris III, had been possessed by the ghost of a Death Eater who’d died at Hogwarts during the Great Battle and was intent on getting revenge on Harry by driving his son mad with endless stalking and meowing. It was only after Al had been hauled in front of Flitwick for attempting to stun the cat that James had revealed that he had sewn cat food into the bottom of Al’s school robes and jeans for a joke, which had been why Mrs Norris III had been following him around for weeks.
Al was pulled back to the present day by the sound of scraping benches and banging as everyone tucked into the newly appeared feast, his father’s welcome-back speech over.
He winced as Jessie dug her elbow into his ribs.
Al looked down at the plate of drumsticks she was holding under his nose.
Relief washed through him. Maybe things hadn’t changed after all.
Thank God, he thought, thanking her and grabbing a couple of pieces of chicken and putting them on his plate.
Looking back at Jessie, he was pleased to see that she looked relaxed as she put the plate back down on the table and grabbed a bowl full of pasta instead.
“Look, Jess,” he began quietly, as she spooned pasta onto her plate, “I’m sorry about what happened earlier with Leanne and stuff.”
Jessie shook her head as she finished filling her plate and picked up some pasta sauce.
“Don’t be silly, Al,” she said, drowning her pasta in Arabiatta sauce. “It wasn’t your fault. Leanne just wasn’t getting the humour of situation today, that’s all. I suggest you let her cool down tonight and then speak to her in the morning. Then, once you two are loved-up again, I’ll welcome myself back into the fold with open arms. Easy peasy.”
Al nodded, but there was still something niggling at him.
“Yeah, I guess,” he agreed slowly, unsure as how to phrase his worry. “But did you hear what she said to me, about how I should try and act like she was my girlfriend sometimes, or something? What was that all about?”
As he waited for Jessie to reply, he thought he saw a flicker of something… dark flash through her eyes, as thought she were thinking about something… painful… hurtful even.
A second later, though, he wasn’t so sure. Maybe he’d imagined it.
Jessie’s reply certainly seemed to suggest that.
“Ah, Al, my little pal,” grinned Jessie patronisingly, all traces of dark eyes gone, “Sometimes, when a guy has two special girls in his life, it can be difficult for the one that has been with him the least amount of time, i.e. his girlfriend, not to feel a little threatened by the girl who has been through it all with him, i.e. his best friend. The long and short of it is that Leanne just got a bit jealous when you stuck up for me instead of her. It signalled to her that you like me more than her, and that, in turn, could well signal that you care about me as more than just a friend, if you get my drift-”
“But that’s stupid!” interrupted Al, shaking his head furiously. “She knows that you’re like a sister to me!”
He was slightly taken aback when Jessie grimaced at this exclamation but he needn’t have worried it was anything to do with Jessie wishing that she could be more than that as, a moment later, she said, “Please don’t say horrible things like that to me. You saying that I’m like a sister to you means that I’m practically related to James and no sane person would ever choose that!”
“Whoever said that you were sane?” teased Al, groaning as she kicked him in the ankle.
“Ha ha, you’re funny Potter, really funny!” said Jessie sarcastically, turning back to her pasta. “Now shut up and let me eat my dinner!”
Short but sweet, hopefully. What did you think of it being from one character's point of view? I've also written this chapter from Jessie's point of view, too. Would you like me to post it?
Thanks for reading!!
p.s. Enjoy the snow if you've got any - I got dragged out in my nighty!!
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