Chapter 1 : Life at Beauxbatons
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(Just to credit, Salazar’s character is based somewhat off Christian, Helga’s attitude (not philosophy, attitude) is entirely Rose’s, and the necklace/depression/mind-viewing thing is based off spirit magic, all copyright Richelle Mead, author of Vampire Academy, Frostbite, and Shadow Kiss.)
‘Hello! My name is…’
I hate those stupid, generic, cheerful nametags. There’s nothing cheerful about other people knowing my names. Either of them. Although, if I had to pick, I’d tell them my first.
I took the top one and one of the not-very-sharp-at-all quills they put out, and wrote, in defiant, slanting, eleven-year-old script, ‘None of your buissness.’
The girl beside me laughed. I started.
She looked like a possible friend: not too much taller than me, light brown hair pulled back in practical ponytail, nice smile. Her handwriting was a lot nicer than mine; her nametag said, ‘Rowena’.
“You’ve spelled ‘business’ wrong,” she said. “And that won’t work. My brother was here last year. He says they have a roll call.”
I was crushed. Completely and utterly defeated. There was no hope now.
“You could put a different name on it, if you don’t like yours,” she told me. “Just figure out when the teacher’s going to say your name and interrupt first.”
I thought about that, then took a new name tag and wrote, ‘Andromeda Leanne Licarde.’ It sounded dramatic. Andromeda Leanne Licarde would never be shorter than everyone else her age or have messy hair or answer to a name like –
“Helga Hufflepuff?” announced a loud voice.
I flinched. “Uh… here, Ma’am.”
I never was able to convince anyone at Beauxbatons that my name was Andromeda Leanne Licarde. What I was able to do, although that was more luck of the draw as far as dorm mates go, was stay up long after the lights went out on weekends, comprising a list with Rowena of what we would do to all the people who insisted on dragging my last name into everything. She came up with torture ideas, and I giggled.
That was four and a half years ago.
I pushed the door to the dorm open.
“Hey, Andy,” a male voice drawled. “How’s Mr. Licarde?”
“Hilarious, Merrick,” I said. “Go to hell.”
Rowena’s boyfriend, Merrick Linnow, was sprawled across her bed, lounging. She’d probably given him her extra key.
I dumped my books on my bed and proceeded to ignore Merrick. Not that he was making it easy.
“What, no husband? You’ve never had a boyfriend, have you, Pufflehuff?”
I growled under my breath. Never, ever, ever mess with my last name. The only reason I didn’t rip him in half was that I was pretending he didn’t exist. … And because he was a lot bigger than me.
He sat up and leaned closer. “No?”
So I’m permanently single, so what? I picked up a book Rowena had lent me the other day. I hadn’t read it yet, or even really looked at it, just stuck it on my bedside table. I could pretend I was reading it… It was called ‘Forest Passion,’ which I didn’t think meant a kind of drink, and the front made it pretty clear what kind of book it was. She was probably hoping I wouldn’t give it back.
He glanced at the cover and smirked. “I bet you’re hoping for some action by now, huh?”
Sleaze. Ignore him, Helga, ignore him, ignore him…
He was grinning now. “I could help you there.”
I threw the book aside and was about to tackle him, size difference or not, when the door opened. “Merrick!”
He hugged her. “Good day, sweetheart?”
I fake gagged. Rowena glared at me.
“I’m going out,” I announced. I was so bloody fed up. I wasn’t about to interrupt a snogging session to tell her just how sleazy he was, but I wasn’t keeping my mouth shut much longer either. Bastard.
The door slammed behind me. Fine. I didn’t care.
The thing was, it did sort of bother me that I’d never had a boyfriend. Even a one-week second-year hand-holding romance would work.
It wasn’t that I wanted the relationship, it was just that there weren’t that many fifteen-and-some-odd-year-olds who had never dated. But there wasn’t anyone to date. Out of however many boys in the school were close enough in age – say one hundred fifty – there were only three who weren’t copying someone else’s style.
As far as most of the student body is concerned, there are only three boys: Merrick Linnow, Godric Gryffindor, and David Ravenclaw.
The loser boys (oh, wait, that’s redundant) copy one or the other or the other, but these three are the only originals. Which is pretty annoying, let me tell you. Ninety-eight and a half percent of the male student body can’t think for itself. Pathetic. But then, they’re boys. What do you expect?
Merrick, my best friend’s boyfriend, has long hair tied back in a ponytail, tight clothes, and slouches everywhere with an I’m-so-awesome attitude. I hate him. He keeps trying to hit on me.
Not that I’ve told Rowena. Yet. I warned her he was bad news. She’s smart. She’ll dump him eventually.
Godric and friends are the jocks – hair painfully short, and they never wear anything that covers their lower legs.
And Rowena’s brother heads the – well, the nerds. But they’re cute nerds: messy short hair and glasses. (The glasses aren’t messy or short, just off-kilter.)
I was so not dating Merrick, ever. Godric didn’t date, unfortunately. And David… Well, one, he’s my best friend’s brother. And two, I get enough prolonged exposure to the library from her.
Thinking, not looking, while walking resulted in my slamming into someone. He had shaggy just-past-shoulder-length black hair, and worn, purposely torn – torn, not disheveled like David’s crowd – clothes. He was smirking, like always.
Oh, Lord, I forgot about him.
There is one exception to the general rule of Beauxbatons: sleaze, nerd, or jock. I’d just walked into the sole loner of the school.
No way. I’d sooner go with Merrick.