I’ve been forcing myself to speak. No, it’s not as brutal as it sounds, but yeah, I’ve been speaking. I took Rose’s advice and started nattering away to Becky. Splinters, who was always delighted whenever I saw him, was more than happy to talk back to me. While im on the subject of Splinters, he’s been very sweet to me, agreeing with me about Demeter Vane whenever I feel the need to have a rant.
But he isn’t here during class time. Neither is Demeter.
It’s perfect, then, for James-time.
But when I am being all out-spoken and basically more confident James doesn’t seem as keen to talk to me. I haven’t told Lily or Rose, mostly because they’d just give me into trouble for doing it wrong.
But I stuck to their advice anyway.
I don’t think he likes the new me very much. At least, that’s how it seems. And he always looks so annoyed when I haven’t waited for him.
And if that’s true then he is such a hypocrite, because when I walked into potions this morning, after having not seen him at all, I discovered there were no free seats. Not even next to him, my supposed best friend, who hadn’t even bothered to save one for me. He didn’t even look at me as I mumbled an apology for my lateness to Professor Slughorn, so I made a face at the back of his head and took the only spare seat in the room: the one next to Jeremy Bell. I sighed. There is a reason no one sits next to him. He’s so bloody competitive that he’s a right chore to work with.
“Phillips.” He says, in his rather unfriendly way of greeting people “I see Potter hasn’t saved you a seat.” Normally, I would take this with no complaint. Now, however, I rolled my eyes.
“Oh, have you noticed?” I said, voice dripping sarcasm. Instead of looking offended, he laughed.
“Nice to see you’ve grown a pair.” He said, his roguish grin making his eyes twinkle. I stuck my tongue out at him and he chuckled again.
“Now now settle down!” Slughorn boomed, hitting the floor with the tip of his walking cane “I can see you’re excited for potions! Now, we’ll be starting today by reading the ingredients list for Felix Felicis. Now I believe you all studied this little potion last year, yes?” it was a rhetorical question “and so I expect this to be a doddle for you. Begin by copying out the ingredients list into your books please.”
“You’d think we were first years, way he treats us.” Jeremy Bell muttered into my ear. I stifled a snort but it was no good. Slughorn turned round and surveyed the back two rows, unsure of who had made the noise. I glanced at James, who was looking at me, with a nonplussed look on his face.
Slughorn gave up and went back to his blackboard. I flashed a glare at Jeremy.
“Thanks.” I said sarcastically. He grinned, and nudged me.
“Copy your notes now Charlotte.”
An hour and a half later, I emerged from the dungeon thoroughly stressed. Jeremy Bell was a very funny, very annoying and very clever ball of fun. He was more than willing to work, but it had taken him some prodding to actually stop teasing me.
And to add insult to injury, James hadn’t looked at me once.
Can you say fantastic? I certainly can. Fan-bloody-tastic. With knobs on.
I waited for him after Slughorn had finally let us out of the classroom and smiled at him. He blinked and then looked over my head at the corridor behind me, as if he didn’t want to look me in the face.
“So, Common room?” I suggested, trying not to feel hurt “We’ve both got free periods next.”
“Er, actually Charlie,” he began, looking at me for a second “I’m meeting Dem next, so I can’t.”
“Oh.” And to my horror, I sounded much more hurt than I wanted to let on “I’ll see you…later then.”
“Yeah…” He said vaguely, still not looking at me “bye…”
I walked away, trying to fight the little pang of hurt that settled in my stomach. I hadn’t been expecting him to suddenly chuck Demeter and declare his undying love for me, but he wasn’t even looking at me. The plan wasn’t working, I realised with a jolt of horror. Which meant I had to speak to Rose and Lily before I completely ruined by relationship, or lack thereof, with James.
I broke into a run when I reached the bottom of the stairs and rushed them, two at a time, leaping gracefully over the trick step. I made it to the third floor unscathed, but when I turned the corner to climb the hidden staircase behind the tapestry of Morgana, I collided head on with two people, one of who squealed as she hung onto the wall to keep from overbalancing.
I saw who it was, as I was muttering a swift apology. Scorpius Malfoy was looking at me with a bemused look, as if I was crazy, which I must have looked, actually, given the fact that I was all out of breath and red from running so much. His lady friend, who was clinging to his sleeve, was some sixth year Slytherin. Freda? Freya? I couldn’t remember.
I smiled and continued on my way, my momentum broken so I didn’t run.
The Fat Lady was asleep, a painted empty glass in her painted hand.
“‘Scuse me.” I said. She snored. I rolled my eyes “SCUSE ME!”
She jolted awake with a grunt. I stifled a laugh. Giving her the password, she swung open muttering obscenities about rude students and being woken up in the middle of the night. I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was the middle of the day.
No one was in the common room, and usually I would have taken it as a blessing and made a serious dent in my homework. But things had changed, so I charged up the girls dormitory stairs and barged into the sixths’ bedroom, fully ready to complain my heart out about James and how thick he was.
But I never got a chance.
Sitting on the bed by the window as Rose Weasley, her pretty face in her hands as she sobbed.
“Rosie?” I asked tentatively, unsure of what to do. “Are you…alright?” it was a stupid question. Of course she wasn’t alright. She looked up at me through bloodshot blue eyes and as soon as I had sat down on the bed next to her, she threw herself at me, sobbing into my shoulder. We sat like that for a long time, while she calmed down and I sat there acting like a big sister running my fingers through her curly hair and making soothing shushing noises.
Eventually she sat up straight and shakily said, “I can’t believe it.”
I didn’t want to push her so I just said “What?”
“I can’t believe he’s going out with that bitch! She’s so horrible! I just…oh I saw them together earlier and I know that I can’t like him but I do! And she’s just so…oh she’s so fucking blonde! And so bloody stupid!” I let her rant, not mentioning the fact that I didn’t know who she was on about “I mean, of all the girls he had to go for! Of all the girls he could choose from, he chooses that to show me that we can’t be together? That he doesn’t care? He’s such a fucking…” she shrieked in anger.
She was red in the face, though more from anger than from tears now, and she wasn’t hugging me anymore. She was on her feet.
“Of all the people he had to choose, he chose Fenella! Fenella, who has no brains under those hair extensions!”
Fenella! That was her name. Wait. Fenella Parkinson was going out with Scorpius Malfoy wasn’t she? So did that mean…was Rose…Malfoy? Really?
“Malfoy?” I asked softly. Rose looked up at me and blankly whispered, “I thought you knew.”
“No, I don’t think anyone else knows.” I said. Rose stopped moving and stared at me, relief written all over her face.
“Thank circe!” she cried, collapsing on her bed “I thought everyone knew!”
“No. No one that I know of knows.” I said slowly. Rose sighed, and I hoped she was about to explain what the hell was going on because I had run out of clues.
“Right, well, you might as well know. Scorpius Malfoy and I were paired for Divination two weeks ago,” she said, and I noticed how that was always the way mortal enemies, or strangers, met and fell in love “and I didn’t hate him, never have really. So we started talking and…” she trailed off “well, next thing I know he’s kissed me in the library and we had…we had this big fight and he told me he’d never go out with me, ever, because Weasleys and Malfoys never do and…he told me to get lost and that he’d finish his side of the project on his own…”
I blinked. How very Hollyoaks.
“Don’t worry Rosie.” I told her; improvising wildly “it’ll work out, one way or another.”
She sniffed and mumbled something that I hoped was ‘I hope so’. We sat in silence for a moment, until the peace was inevitably disrupted by another angry looking redhead. Lily Potter barged in and while she was obviously angry, she didn’t mention it. She took one look at her cousin’s tearstained face and sighed. Rubbing Rose’s shoulder, she sat down on her other side and the three of us sat there, two of us trying to make the other feel better.
Then, choosing my moment I said, “I don’t think phase two is working very well.”
The redheads stared at me, as if it was impossible that their plan was failing.
“He doesn’t want to talk to me more. He’s avoiding me, actually.” I told them “He blew me off for Dementor Vane.”
Lily scoffed “Idiot.” I wasn’t sure whether she meant James or me.
“Well, we’ll worry about that later.” Rose said shakily.
“What a right idiot!” Lily continued. Rose slapped Lily lightly on the arm.
“No seriously, the soul sucker herself is coming this way. I can hear her shoes.”
Lily fell silent, and listened, and sure enough I heard the clacking of her absurdly high shoes on the stones. I hoped she wouldn’t come in, but I didn’t have much of a chance. This was her dormitory too. I wondered how Rose had survived the last five years with her.
“Oh.” Demeter said as she came in, stopping in the doorway as she saw us. did I dream it, or was she actually put out. I smiled.
I hoped I hadn’t dreamt it, because I liked the idea of making her uncomfortable. Bless my little schadenfreude socks.
“Demeter.” Rose said icily.
“Yeah Dementor,” Lily said a little less nicely “shouldn’t be somewhere sucking my brother’s face off?”
Demeter stiffened, her glare narrowing.
“I just came to get my cloak. He’s taking me on a walk in the grounds. So secluded.” She said, obviously trying to provoke me. I sneered at her nastily and she cackled.
“Fuck off Dementor.” I said and a flash of shock crossed her face, “I’m not interested in you, or your petty games. Fuck off.” And I got up and walked out of the dormitory, mostly for dramatic effect. I kept going, down the stairs into the common room. Demeter followed me, obviously not finished.
“Everyone thinks you’re so perfect! So quiet and so bloody clever, but your just a bitch. A stupid, nasty bitch.” Demeter shouted.
“Fuck off!” I shouted back “Go back to your precious boyfriend for gods sake, go back where someone wants you, because I am so bloody sick of seeing you and your inch of make up everywhere I go.”
I was crossing the line now, I knew but I couldn’t seem to stop. She’d been winding me up for weeks now and I just wanted her to go away so things could go back to normal.
“Me? No one wants you! Have you noticed you have two friends? Or are you too concerned with yourself to care?” she snapped, folding her arms and tossing her hair.
I felt tears well up in my eyes and realised that I wasn’t cut out for this at all. I couldn’t be nasty to people. I could bitch about her all I wanted but it wouldn’t change the fact that she had James, who was never going to want me if I acted like a deranged fucking dragon whenever I saw her.
But of course, she wasn’t finished.
“I know you’re so jealous that you’re friends would rather spend time with me, but let it go. You just look sad and clingy.”
“Avis.” I hissed, a flock of canaries emerging from my wand. Demeter laughed maliciously.
“What’re they supposed to do?” she asked acidically “tweet at me?” I glared at her, and raised my wand again.
“OPPUGNO!” As I hissed the spell, the birds seemed to freeze, then, all at once, dive-bombed Demeter. As she shrieked as they pulled at her hair. Then I saw something that made my blood turn to lead in my veins. James.
James, who was standing by the portrait hole, his face a mask of horror and anger. James, who was my best friend.
James, who had seen everything.
I knew I couldn’t explain this one away, or even blame her. I had been so nasty to her, regardless of how she had been to me. I sighed and vanished the birds, and then, tears streaming down my face freely now, I ran from the common room.
Not a very pleasant ending to a chapter, i know, but it's going somewhere, and that's what matters. I hope Charlotte didnt sound to horrible in that last bit, i just wanted to show how Demeter has been getting at her for weeks and she snaps.
Please leave a review, just to make me happy and see if i can improve in ANY way at all.