Chapter 3 : First Step
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Life continued as normal after my encounter on the train with Riddle for about two months. It seemed that Professor Slughorn had given up on trying to convince me to join his club. I was happy to do nothing but study. It was not until October that things changed. I was in the library studying when my sister and her friends arrived
“Lyra have you forgotten about our meeting?”
“What meeting?” I had no idea what she was talking about
“Tom called a meeting at the beginning of the week for all those purebloods who wish to make a difference in the wizarding world.” She looked as if nothing could make her happier
“You never told me there was a meeting and besides I’m not interested and I have a paper to finish on dementors and the patronus charm.”
“That paper is not due until next week now come on.”
“Melania I can’t.”
“Do I sound like I am giving you a choice? Now move.”
I packed away my books and parchment and followed Melania and her friends. As I listened to their conversation I learned that Riddle had started a club with the bases of making a difference in the wizarding world or so that was what he told the teachers. In reality Riddle was gathering all his followers, or Death Eaters, together to discuss the best way to regain control.
“Melania you and your friends are late.” Riddle had just begun talking when we walked in, “You know I do not like lateness.”
“I’m sorry Lord Voldermort.” Since when did he get a nickname? “We had to fetch my sister from the Library.”
“You should not have interrupted her studies.” Melania eyes widened in shock, but Riddle looked past her and smiled at me, I’ll admit he has a nice smile. “It is good to see you again Lyra.” I nodded in response.
Melaina, attempting to gain Riddles favor again, sat front and center eyes locked on his face. I on the other hand made my way to the back of the classroom pulling out my books and continuing with my essay. So what if it was due next week? I prefer to have my work done right and ahead of time. I sat in the back of the class room working not even bothering to pretend to listen. I didn’t realize the meeting was over and everyone had left until Riddle interrupted my Charms reading.
“The book must be very interesting for you not to realize everyone has left.”
With a started I looked up realizing Riddle was standing in front of me and the classroom was empty. “Where is every one?”
“They left five minutes ago.”
“Even my sister?” Frankly I wasn’t shocked
“I doubt she noticed you were not with them.”
“What else is new.” I began to grab my books and shove them in my bag. I wanted to spend as little alone time as possible with Riddle.
“However your sister’s rudeness has given me the opportunity I have been looking for.” This is not good, “I don’t know if you have heard, but Slughorn is having a Halloween dinner in one of the larger classrooms.”
“I didn’t know that.” Why would I even care?
“Well I was just wondering” Is he doing what I think he’s doing? “I know you don’t really have any interest in Slughorn’s club, but I was hoping that you would do me the honor of accompany me to his Halloween dinner?”
His request hung in the air as I stood too shocked to say anything. Tom Riddle, popular and worshiped Tom Riddle just asked me out. Did the universe turn upside down?
“I’ll take your silence as a no. I am sorry to have taken up your time.”
He looked hurt. He looked hurt because I, insignificant invisible Lyra, didn’t say anything! What I did next was even more shocking.
“I’ll go.” I whispered
“I’m sorry what did you say?”
“I’ll go with you.” I said just a little louder not looking at him
“Really?” A huge smile broke across his face
“Yes.” I replied still looking down
“That’s great!” I peered up from under my eyelashes. For once his face actually looked like a schoolboy of seventeen instead of an adult, “I’ll meet you in the common room at 6:30pm?”
“That’s fine.” I still had not grasped exactly what I had agreed to
“Wonderful.” He paused, “May I walk with you back to the common room.”
“Uh…alright.” Why was he being so nice to me? He is never like this with any other girls. In fact as far as I know he has never dated any of the girls in his year or otherwise, so why the interest in me?
We walked back to the common room in silence never looking up, but the whole time I felt his eyes on me as if he was studying me. It was unnerving and confusing. I had no idea what he was trying to figure out as there was nothing interesting about me. As we got closer to the common room I prayed that no one was still there. I had no such luck.
“Where have you been Lyra!” Melania yelled not seeing Riddle, “I have been waiting! Why were you not behind us when we left?”
“She was with me.” Riddle stepped out of the shadows of the doorway
“I did not see you there Lord Voldermort.”
“You should work on your observation Melania. You seem to miss a lot.”
“Thank you for looking after my sister. I hope she did not bother you.” Melania ignored his comment
“Actually I quite enjoy her company.” I don’t think Riddle realized he was making things worse
“Well then. Lyra it is time for bed.” Melania turned to go without so much as a nod goodbye to Riddle
“Melania I’m 16 I think I can decide on my own when to go to bed.” Riddle choked back laugh as Melania whipped around
“What did you say?”
“I don’t feel like going to bed. I planned on reading for a while.” Was that really me saying those words? I could hear my voice, but it did sound like me, it was too confident.
Melania’e eyes were wide with shock “Fine.” She stuck her nose in the air as she walked quickly from the room
“I am going to pay for that tomorrow.” I fell back on the couch “And now I can’t go to bed until I am sure she has fallen asleep.” I completely ignored Riddle as I pulled out my Defense Against the Dark Arts paper.
“It’s a step.” Riddle stated
“A step? What kind of step?” I asked not looking up
“Just a step in the right direction.” He looked at me as if he was very pleased. Pleased about what I had no idea. “Well I’m off to bed. Good luck with your paper.” He was gone.
I did pay for my comment. My punishment was, at first, alienation from her group, which didn’t phase me. Once Melania had seen that it was not working she turned to making me into a servant for her and her friends. I took my punishment without complaint.
The Death Eater’s meeting, as I began to call it, had its last meeting of the month the night before Halloween. As I had every week I sat in the back doing homework in silence. Each meeting Melania and her friends were so caught up in discussion about the meeting that they forgot about me and left. Riddle seemed happy to take advantage of this situation. After each meeting he would insist on walking with me back to the common room. There was a benefit to his offer; we never got in trouble for being out past curfew. On that particular night Riddle seemed nervous.
“Are you feeling alright?” I asked not looking at him. I still refused to look at him unless I had no choice.
“Yes. Why do you ask?”
“You just seemed a little off tonight. Nervous.”
“I suppose I am.”
“I guess I am nervous because I have something I want to ask you.” I was already going to the dinner with him tomorrow night, what else was there to ask? “Are you going to Hogsmead tomorrow?”
“I had forgotten there was a trip.” That was true. Most often I hide in the library to avoid having to go with Melania and her gang.
“Would you go with me?” Again he did not seem like the confident Riddle who stud before his followers, but a nervous school boy, it was too normal for him.
“Like a date?” I barely got the question out of my mouth
“How about as friends to get to know each other?” He had sensed my uneasiness about the idea of a date.
“Oh…ok” Why do I keep saying yes?
“I’ll meet you in the Great Hall tomorrow?” At this point we were back in the common room.
“Goodnight.” Once he had left the room I fell back on the couch, “What am I doing?”
The next morning I was nervous. I really didn’t want Melania to know that I was spending the day with Riddle, so I waited for her and her friends to finish getting ready. Melania was rambling on about how she had hoped that Riddle would have asked her to go with him to Hogsmead; she’s going to murder me. Once they left I quickly got ready; throwing clothing pulling my hair into a ponytail and running downstairs.
I found Riddle waiting at the Slytherin table finishing a plate of eggs. I was not surprise that he looked just as good in Muggle clothing as he did in Wizarding clothing. He had a book open on the table paying little attention to the people, mostly girls, around him. I toyed, momentarily, with the idea of turning around and going back to my room; I sat down quietly next to him trying to disturb his reading.
“I was worried you had decided not to come.” Riddle didn’t even look up from his book
“I waited for Melania to leave.” I looked kept my eyes down
“That is quite understandable.” I looked at him out of the corner of my eye, he was smiling. “Shall we head out?” I nodded in response
We were the last ones to leave the castle. As we headed for the gate I felt like someone was watching us. I turned to look back at the castle and saw Dumbledore standing in the doorway watching us. His face was passive, but his eyes seemed sad almost like he was watching a tragic play. I shook my head and continued walking; if Riddle noticed Dumbledore he said nothing.
The moment we set foot in Hogsmead whispered rumors spread like wildfires through the village. Everywhere we went people would point and whisper amongst themselves. This was exactly what I did not want. I hated being talked about or being the center of attention, maybe I could still run. I still had no idea why I had agreed to this in the first place as Riddle had always irritated me. So I decided to sneak back to the castle.
I waited till we were in a store. Once Riddle had turned his back to look at a new quill I made my getaway. I slip quickly out the door making my way quickly back to the castle. I felt a little bad considering Riddle had been nothing but a gentleman all afternoon, but I couldn’t take the stares and I still did not understand why I had agreed.
“Am I really that awful?” Riddle had caught up to me before I made it out of Hogwarts
“No” I said keeping my eyes on the ground, “I don’t like all the staring.”
“I see your point there are a lot of people staring at us.” He glared at a group of girls not trying to hide the fact that they were whispering about us, “It is very annoying. Let’s go back to the castle and get lunch.”
We went back to the castle and had lunch together. I said very little well we were eating only answering questions or offering opinions every now and then. After lunch I excused myself to my room to work on homework, Riddle did not object.
I finished my homework before dinner leaving me too much time to worry about the party that would be taking place in a few hours. I spent the few hours before seven making sure that my dress robes were not wrinkled and digging out my accessories from the bottom of my trunk. I finished getting ready a few minutes before seven. I had been lucky in that Melania had yet to come back, but that luck did not last for long. I had gone to the bathroom to fix my hair and as I reached the bedroom door heard laughing, Melania was waiting for me. Taking a deep breath I walked in and right away I wished I had not.
“There you are Lyra!” Melania’s voice was too sweet, “We have been waiting for you.”
“Why are you dressed up?” one of my roommates asked
“I…I” I couldn’t say a word
“Let me guess” There was malice in her sweet voice; “You’re going with Tom to Slughorn’s party aren’t you.”
“Yes.” I whispered looking at the ground
“I hope you have fun.” Her eyes looked murderous, I had managed to get what she wanted, Riddle’s attention. “Do tell me all about it tomorrow.” She swept passed me and left
Not wanting to hear anything my roommates had to say I grab my wand and run from the room. As I rushed down the stairs Riddle was waiting for me by the fire. As I reached the end of the hall Riddle looked up from his book with a smile on his face. He got up from his chair and met me as I entered the common room.
“You look beautiful Lyra.”
“You’re just being nice.” I smiled at the ground
“I mean it.” Riddle smiled offering me his arm
We made our way to the large classroom in which Slughorn’s party was taking place. We could hear music and laughed coming from the room. Several round tables were placed around the room and a fire was ablaze in the fireplace in the far corner of the room. The delicious small of food wafted around the room from a long table near the fireplace where tonight’s dinner had been laid out.
As we walked further into the room Riddle offered me his arm and we made our way towards Slughorn. As we made our way through the crowd I noticed on the table were artfully carved pumpkin and flying around the ceiling were bats, Slughorn had attempted to copy the grandness of the decorations in the Great Hall.
“Good evening Professor Slughorn.”
“Tom my dear boy you made it!” He clasped Riddle’s shoulder
“Of course. And I am sure you remember my date Lyra MacMillan.”
“Miss MacMillian! It is wonderful to see you!”
“Good evening professor.”
“Don’t you two make a lovely match.” Professor Slughorn clasped his hands together beaming at us
“Professor we’re not…” Riddle started as I blushed deep red
“Now, now Tom no need to be shy Miss MacMillian is an intelligent and beautiful woman and I know I good match when I see one.” He paused as if waiting for us to agree. When we did not he continued, “Enjoy yourselves tonight. I must go see to the other guests.”
“He is right though, you are beautiful and very intelligent.” Riddle commented as we made our way to an empty table in the far corner of the room.
Many students and teachers stopped to talk with Riddle. Riddle would talk with each of them for a few moments, always introducing me and bringing me into the conversations. I was hesitant at first, but when I noticed people actually listened to me I joined conversations without hesitation.
The evening passed enjoyably. Professor Slughorn had managed to book a popular band for entertainment. The food was superb and the atmosphere was relaxed. I was surprised how much I was enjoying myself and Riddle’s company.
Walking back to the common room I laughed with Riddle as he joked about Slughorn’s need to know the best of the best in the Wizarding world. I was having such a good time I hated to see the night end.
“Thank you for a wonderful evening Lyra.” Tom said stopping at the end of the hall where it split off into two hallways, one to the boy’s dorms and one to the girl’s dorms.
“Thank you for inviting me.” There was an odd silence, “See you tomorrow.”
“Goodnight Lyra.” Riddle said taking my hand and kissing it
“Goodnight.” I whispered and ran to my room
As I drifted off that night the last image I remembered was the image of Riddle smiling when he say me coming into the common room that evening. I smiled to myself as I drifted off to sleep not knowing that one evening was my first step down a dark and dangerous path.
A/N: PLEASE REVIEW! THANK YOU!
Amazing chapter image by Musicbox @ TDA
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by Regina Noctis