Chapter 1 : Prologue
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I twirled a piece of auburn hair around my finger as I stared absently at the chandelier hanging above McGonagall’s head. I wasn’t even paying attention to what she was saying about N.E.W.T.S. It didn’t matter to me at this point. All I could think about was how I had gotten into this horrible mess. Not only had I lost the person that I loved the most, but I had lost my best friends too.
Where had everything gone wrong? Just six months ago everything had been perfectly fine. Hell, it wasn’t even Christmas yet and things had somehow gotten so irreversibly screwed up. There were spells to turn my hair green and sort my pocket change, so why wasn’t there a spell that could take this all back?
Frustration, anger, regret, and sadness had been boiling inside me for the past week and I was constantly on the verge of tears. This wasn’t fair. I hadn’t even started this whole thing and I was going to get blamed. And worse, my position as Head Girl was seriously in jeopardy.
Accepting the fact that I wouldn’t take in a word of the lesson, I began looking around the classroom. The three girls that had once been my best friend were scattered around the room, seeing as none of us were speaking to each other anymore. We had once been the most popular students at Hogwarts. We were the seventh year Gryffindor girls. The Clique, that’s what they called us. We were in some ways the female equivalent of the Marauders, except that we weren’t known for our mischief making. We were popular because we were the most desirable girls in the school. Exceptionally smart, impeccably well mannered, dazzlingly charming, and undeniably good-looking. We were indestructible.
We were wrong.
A few rows ahead of me sat Marleina Marquette. Marley. She was bent low over her notes, her long dark hair spilling over her parchment while she copied furiously what McGonagall was saying in her lecture on who-knows-what. Marley was the school sweetheart. You’d be hard-pressed to find a fault in her. She was genuinely kind and always showed a great interest in our problems, even if they didn’t pertain to her at all. I had never met anyone more selfless than she was. I had never heard her once talk badly about someone, even if they deserved it. Of course she gossiped. We all did. But her gossip was harmless, sticking strictly to what she heard and steering clear of straight up trash-talking anyone. It was devastating to me that she wouldn’t even make eye contact anymore.
A few seats down from Marly sat Emilie Quinn. She was the bubbly, hyper-positive girl in the Clique. It was a rare occasion to see Emilie with a frown on her face, even when she was genuinely mad about something. She tried to put a positive spin on everything. She was also unbearably pretty. Her golden brown hair fell in a gentle curl just below her shoulder and she wore black-framed glasses that accented her dark blue eyes. Freckles dotted her cheeks and she used to be embarrassed of them, but like everything else in her life, she had turned it into something positive. She was one of the few girls in school, aside from myself, who had freckles. It made her unique. Emilie carelessly threw herself into relationship after relationship, none of them lasting more than three weeks. She had dated half the male population at Hogwarts but according to her, “none of them were good enough”. Myself and the rest of the Clique whole-heartedly agreed.
I glanced down the table while pretending to scratch my neck and caught a glimpse of Penelope Birch. She actually hated being called Penelope, hated Penny even. When her little sister, Elsa, was born she couldn’t pronounce Penelope. She had called her Pippa, instead. And it had stuck. Pippa seemed not to be paying attention as well. She was resting her chin in her hands and absentmindedly moving her quill in circles on her parchment while staring at the corner of the ceiling. Her brilliant blond curls cascaded down her back and her hazel eyes were glassy and unfocused. My heart ached as I watched her. She looked uneasy sitting there. Every so often she would drop the quill and her hand would scramble until she felt the feather between her fingers, never taking her eyes off the ceiling. I wondered what she was thinking about, if it was the same thing I was thinking about.
Pippa is — was — my absolute best friend. She was the first person I ever met at Hogwarts and we had clicked instantly. After Pippa, everything else clicked into place. We met Emilie and Marley when we were all sorted into Gryffindor and in our first year brilliance, we began referring to ourselves as the Clique. We thought we were being clever at the time, but looking back it seems juvenile. But nevertheless, the name stuck.
It was completely effortless, my friendship with Pippa. She was easy to be around and accepted all of my weird quirks with no questions. She was the jokester of the Clique, the entertainer. She always had something up her sleeve, even if it wasn’t always the…er, smartest things to do. She was beaten in her pranks only by the Marauders, but really, who wasn’t? She, like Emilie, had dated practically the entire male population of Hogwarts within a two-year radius and broken every single one of their hearts. She had never seriously fallen for anyone… except Sirius Black, that is. They had dated for a few weeks in fourth year before Sirius broke up with her. She had never fully explained what happened to me, though I got the gist of it from Remus Lupin. He said they were too good of friends and Sirius didn’t want to ruin anything. Uncharacteristically noble of him, in my opinion, especially seeing as he has never turned down the opportunity to shag a girl. None of us in the Clique understood it. Pippa played it off like he was just another random boy, but the truth was that she could barely look at him for the rest of the year. She claims she’s over it now, but we all know better. Sirius, of course, remains completely oblivious to her feelings for him. But she would never try anything with him again. I always suspected that she was a lot more hurt than she let on.
I couldn’t stand sitting in that room anymore with everyone who hated me and each other. I just couldn’t. So for the first time in the history of my years at Hogwarts, I got up and walked out of class. I kept my eyes down, avoiding what I assumed to be a furious stare from McGonagall, slung my bag over my right shoulder and just walked out. As I neared the door, my vision started to blur as the tears I had been holding back for days started to slide down my cheeks.
Once I was outside the classroom I ran the rest of the way to the girl’s bathroom. I dropped my bag just inside the door and propped myself up over one of the sinks and turned on the faucet to drown out the sound of my crying. I watched the tears fall and quickly blend into the running water.
I looked up into the mirror above the sink at my tear-stained face, my green eyes even more brilliant because of the crying. Strands of limp red hair fell around my face and down my back. My face was flushed and I was almost happy when I noticed that my freckles were barely visible at the moment. Unlike Emilie, I did not like my freckles. I sighed and slumped back against one of the stone walls, sliding down to the ground. I buried my face in my arms and started crying again.
Everyone hated me. Everyone. I had never felt like this before. How had I gone from the most popular girl in school to the most hated?
I heard the bathroom door open and I bolted into one of the stalls, quickly closing the door. I prayed that whoever just came in hadn’t heard me crying. Hopefully they’ll just do their thing and leave.
I held my breath. Damn.
“Lils, I know you’re in here.”
I didn’t move. Of all the people to come in here, this was the one person I absolutely could not face right now. Fresh tears were now falling silently down my cheeks and I put my hand over my mouth to suppress my ragged breathing. I heard footsteps coming closer to the stall and instinctively I backed away from the door. I remembered only too late that I hadn’t locked the stall. The door slowly opened.
A/N: Hey everyone! Hope you liked the first chapter! It's kind of description heavy, but the next chapter is longer and more dialogue and stuff :) I'd love to hear what you think! Reviews make me smile!