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Chapter 9 : You Got Nothing On Me
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“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.
“You fancy James.” Lily said flatly “and we know what you’re going to do about it.”
A small, logical part of my brain started screaming at the other, larger part to stay silent. To laugh it off. The larger part won out, as usual.
“W-what?” I spluttered “no! I don’t fancy him! I…how did you…what?”
I’m a terrible liar. And that was a really bad lie. If anything, that only confirmed their suspicions.
“Cut the crap.” Rose said, shocking me with her uncharacteristic briskness “we know you fancy the pants off my cousin.”
“It’s not exactly a secret. You’ve been beating up that Vane skank every chance you get.” Lily said, smiling at the very nice thought of beating Demeter Vane up.
“And you’ve been blushing a lot around him.” Rose added, not choosing to explain how she knew my blushing habits. I was about to ask how she’d noticed that, when she spoke again “and Holy Morgana, if I have to listen to Dementor Vane speak about how muscled my friggin cousin’s chest is, I will curse her.”
“Dementor Vane?” I asked, eyebrows up. Way up.
“Well, she has this weird skill of sucking the will to live out of people.” Rose explained, completely nonchalant. Lily smirked.
“Well, it’s appropriate.” I said, and laughed, making a mental note to use that, and use it well.
“Anyway,” Rose said, slamming her hand on the table “Where were we?”
“We were about to reveal our plan.” Lily said, in her evil genius voice. I sighed. A Lily Plan was pretty much the same as a James Plan. Those types of plans differed from Albus Plans, mostly because Al usually isn’t planning something that will cause someone either actual bodily harm or serious humiliation. I didn’t usually approve of James’ ideas, but because he was my best mate, I would help out all the same.
In this case, since it was Vane we would be hurting, I was up for it.
“Oh yes,” Rose said, bringing me back to reality “The plan.”
I rolled my eyes “What exactly does this amazing plan involve?”
“The plan involves you stealing James. Exactly like she said.” Lily said, an evil glint in her eye.
“But not exactly the way she meant.” Rose said, smiling like Dr Evil.
“My head hurts.” I complained, rubbing my throbbing forehead.
Lily sighed loudly, like I was thick “you are stupid sometimes Char, it’s a wonder you managed your eleven OWLS.”
I rolled my eyes at her patronising tone and let her continue.
“Vane meant something along the lines of jumping him in a broom closet, although what circumstances she would allow the two of you in one by yourselves is a mystery.” Lily explained “but we mean something along the lines of changing yourself, from his best mate, into someone he really, really fancies.”
“We aren’t going to give you a makeover, or at least, not a big one.” Said Rose “Because he would notice if you start doing your hair in the mornings, or wearing belt-size skirts”
“And we aren’t going to turn you into a Demeter clone,” Lily said “think of it like an upgrade. You’ll be Charlie version 2.”
Still trying to work out if that was a compliment or an insult, I had to force my jaw off the floor.
“How are you going to do that?” I asked fearfully, only for Lily to wink at me.
“Wait and see Char, wait patiently for we will jump on you when you least expect it.”
It wasn’t a difficult task to find out when they planned on phase one of the plan. And it wasn’t hard to figure out what phase one was.
They were going to take me shopping.
James left before I made it down to the common room. So I never got to see Demeter trying to eat his face. It was only October, but the Scottish winter was already saying hello, with a massively grey sky, and drizzle that wasn’t as heavy as rain but soaked you through just as fast.
Rose and Lily ambushed me as I was ambling down the stairs, making me jump so violently that I almost lost my balance and fell down the (moving) staircase and most likely to my very painful death.
Neither of them apologised for scaring the crap out of me.
Hogsmeade was grey. The road was grey, the puddles in the road were grey, the buildings looked grey. Even the people looked grey.
“I hate October.” Rose muttered. She was from Devon, which was toasty warm in summer. I bit back a laugh. I’d spent a great portion of my childhood in Aberdeen with my Mother’s sister before she died too, and Aberdeen summers are a lot different from Devon summers.
“So, Malkins or Witches Wear first?” Rose asked, linking her right arm with my left.
“Witches sells shoes. Oh, and nice, modern stuff. Malkins sells robes.” Lily said.
“Witches it is then.” Rose affirmed.
Winona’s Witches Wear was a boutique on the end of the Hogsmeade high street. It was all pink and girly – usually the sort of place James and his Quidditch mates, and by association, me, would have stayed a million miles from.
I watched Dementor drag a very worried looking James towards Puddifoots with a sort of grim happiness, just as the girls were dragging me shop-wards.
The inside of Witches Wear was the same as the outside. Pink and oh so girly.
“Ah! Mizz Weasley, Mizz Potter!” A woman, who I could only assume was Winona came forward with a horrific fake French accent, surrounded by a cloud of perfume that could rival Professor Trelawney “’oo iz your friend?”
“Charlotte.” Rose told her, casting an eye over a rack of hats.
“Bonjour Charlotte, please, ‘elp yourself. I vill be in ze back room. Ring ze bell when you are fineeshed.” And she turned on her heel and swept from the room, narrowly avoiding knocking over a stack of perfume bottles.
“Right.” Lily said, dragging me towards the shelves. “In the interest of making you look drop dead gorgeous as yourself, let’s steer clear of anything Demeter yes?”
She and Rose took their sweet time. They chose me jeans, new tops, a new hoody, a pretty cardigan and a pair of slouchy boots. Lily told me she deemed my choice of trainers suitable, given the fact I don’t enjoy wearing holey shoes.
As for the cost, all I’ll say is that my purse was fairly well stocked when I went in, considerably lighter when we emerged, carrying bags of shopping – not all for me, I might add. Lily and Rose spent some time spending their own money too, you know.
James and Demeter saw us on the way back. James shot us a funny look, probably because of the bags. Lily waved cheerfully and he waved back confusedly. I smiled at him, and not in a matey way. Demeter clutched at his arm protectively. Lily laughed at her, and we disappeared up the path to the school laughing like harpies.
“I’m hungry!” I complained loudly for what must have been the two hundredth and fifteenth time that afternoon “can we go down to lunch, or dinner, or fucking brinner if you want!”
Lily shot me a bemused look. We’d been through all of our new purchases in my dormitory. The other gryffindor sevenths were gone, so we had free reign. Lucky, that, because our stuff was everywhere.
I’d tried on a dress, numerous shorts and tops, a skirt or two…I was close to shooting myself.
But one thing remained, apparently.
“Try these on.” Lily told me, throwing a pair of jeans at me. I sighed and went into the bathroom. I stared at my resulting reflection in the mirror. Same hair, same face, but I looked much better. The jeans were tighter than any I’d ever owned before, but they weren’t too tight – they were a perfect fit. And hell, I looked good.
I walked out of the bathroom with this smile plastered on my face. Lily hooted with joy, and Rose clapped her hands and said, “Phase one, complete.”
I grinned at her.
The new me got to go to dinner then. As a reward. And also because it was actually time for dinner this time.
No one really paid that much attention, if I’m honest. It wasn’t as if I was suddenly this complete sex bomb, mostly because a lot of people didn’t know I existed. I’m not going to pretend that suddenly all the attention was on me, because it wasn’t. Although when the three of us walked towards the great hall, Splinters started to choke on something and had to leave the hall very, very quickly.
“What’s his problem?” Lily asked Bludgers, who looked severely bemused. He shrugged. Becky McOwen had her mouth set in a line, obviously thinking about something.
It was pie for dinner, followed by banoffee pie for desert.
“They like pies, those house elves.” Lily said, taking a massive bite of steak and ale pie. Rose chose not to say anything. Everyone was very aware of her views on the matter of House Elves. I watched Lily eat with grim fascination. It was a well-known fact that the Potters all shared the same complete lack of table manners. She still always ended up looking spotless, no doubt the result of a well timed scourgify charm. Rose, on the other hand, ate as daintily as a fairy. No mess, no crumbs and no need for charms.
I’d like to think I’m a happy medium, but I spend a great deal of time with boys. So I don’t know.
Then, just as I’m taking a great big bite of banana and toffee, Rose elbows me in the ribs on one side, and Lily on the other. “Ow!” I tried to shriek, but it came out all muffled.
“Swallow it quick Char, James and Dementor at four o’ clock.” I didn’t have time to raise my eyebrows at her, before James and Demeter slid into the seats opposite me, Lily and Rose. James gave me a once over, no doubt looking at my fancy new shirt. I smiled at him again.
“We had a lovely time today, didn’t we Jamsie?” Demeter cooed, grabbing his upper arm again and putting her mouth to his ear.
“Yeah, Dem, lovely.” He said, smiling at her. I rolled my eyes and James noticed and frowned at me. I raised my eyebrow.
We sat in awkward silence for the next fifteen minutes. Or at least, I did. The others made easy conversation. I had the strongest feeling that James was watching me, and Demeter’s annoyed huffs and sighs did nothing to stop that feeling. I glanced up from my plate once or twice and met his gaze, but blushed so hard I had to look back down.
“Nice shirt, by the way.” Demeter said, and I realised she was talking to me. Her voice was dripping with sarcasm, which even James managed to pick up on. He raised his eyebrows at her, which was a surprise because he’s usually oh so oblivious to Demeter’s lack of a soul.
“I like my shirt.” I said, with a fake smile “Nice use of sarcasm, by the way.”
She paused trying to think up a new comeback. She failed.
“C’mon Charlotte, we’re done.” Lily said loudly, but whispered “let’s not hex her here. You don’t want detention.”
I was about to protest that detention would be a very worthwhile consequence for making her tongue grow five feet in length but the two of them had stood up and taken me with them out of the hall.
“Phase two:” announced Rose “speak up.”
“At least we know Phase one worked.” Lily said, trying and failing to stifle a fit if giggles. Rose and I looked at her for an explanation. She did not disappoint “James couldn’t take his eyes off you.”
Well, that was interesting. Charlotte looked different: Really good different. And Demeter actually seemed to be on the deserving end of a hex this time. I was quite surprised at her actually. She’s usually fairly civil to Charlie.
And while I was on the subject, what was with Charlie recently? She’s been so damn confrontational. Especially since she barely used to speak to anyone before, and now she’s found herself a best friend in Lily and in Rose, she’s chatting to Becky and the Beaters. Its almost like she’s not just my best mate anymore, which makes me feel horrible. And anyway, I wasn’t jealous of Charlie having other friends, I just wasn’t used to her not waiting for me in the common room or seeing her in the morning when I’ve stumbled down to breakfast late and she’s equally happy to see me and give me into trouble for not setting the alarm clock she gave me in third year. She’s always with my sister instead.
Why did that annoy me so much?
Demeter had finished her food before I’d managed to extract myself from my stupid, stupid thoughts and I’d always been a very quick eater. Something about having Freddie for a cousin.
We made our way up to the common room in silence, broken only by her little coos of ‘Jamsie’ as she stroked my arm as we walked. She had herself tucked in to my side, and I knew she fancied stopping off in a broom cupboard somewhere along the way. I had other ideas. I wanted to go to bed, but nothing in the world would make me tell her that. She would be offended, which is never a good thing with Dem.
We reached the seventh floor and Dem put her hand on my shoulder.
“James, come here.” And she pulled me into an empty room, the purpose of which I’ve never really understood. She sat on a desk, and looked at me seductively. I smiled wearily at her, knowing this was her broom cupboard tonight. She was about to kiss me.
Then I heard laughing. She sighed, and I dragged her behind the door. I hoped whoever it was wouldn’t come into the room.
“Merlin, Tony, what’s up with you?” I froze. It was Charlie with someone called Tony. Wait. Wasn’t Splinters’ real name Tony?
“I dunno…”he said slowly, sounding embarrassed “you look really nice, by the way.”
My fists clenched.
“Thank you.” Charlie said, laughing.
“Y’know, I was going to ask you to Hogsmeade today.” He said. “I was going to ask you before, but Weasley and Potter got to you first.”
Charlie laughed again, and I saw Demeter roll her eyes.
She said something else, but I didn’t get to hear because Demeter had had enough.
“Come on.” She said, taking hold of my hand and overpowering my attempt to stay hidden, walked out of the little room and stood, face to face with Charlie.
“Oh, look who it is.” Charlie said, with far more malice than suits her “Dementor Vane.” Dem stiffened, a look for murderous rage overtaking her face. I was far too surprised to be angry. Dementor Vane? Lily’s influence. I hoped, anyway.
“Come on Tony.” Charlie said, shooting me an apologetic glance, followed by a stunner of a smile. I watched dumbfounded, finding it impossible to be annoyed at her now.
So, Phase one is complete, phase two is under way. But will it work out the way the girls want it to? Will James ever notice that Dementer Vane is a stupid cow?
And the stuff about Aberdeen? I dont mean to offend anyone from Aberdeen (because I'm from Aberdeen, so it would be silly to take offense anyway....)
Please review :) I've been so good and answered every single one of them, and I will continue to. I love to hear your thoughts on it. CC is appreciated. Any problems at all I will happily fix them. Just let me know :)
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