Chapter 9 : Happiness
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I got up and walked down to the Ravenclaw table and stoof by him and his other Ravenclaw buddies.
“Sit with us for a bit,” he implored.
“Well, I do have to get back to an argument with Anna . . . But I could stay for a bit.” Greg smiled widely and moved over a bit to make room for me.
“So, guys. This is Bria.” All of Greg’s friends greeted me.
Okay . . . This is weird. Why are they are staring at me? I feel like I’m being inspected.
And I began to feel self-conscious again.
No! Don’t! Think of your training, Bria! You’ve been trained against this!
I fiddled with the hem of my skirt and pulled it down, a nervous habit of mine.
Then I ran my fingers across my chin. Another nervous habit.
However, as I ran my fingers along my jaw, I felt no make-up. Since I wore very minimal now, my chin didn’t get any. It was sort of a reminder of my new-found confidence, and I immediately started a conversation.
“So, how about that Quidditch? Gryffindor is going to kick Ravenclaw’s bum today!”
Had I said that to a group of girls, I doubt I would have gotten much of a response. However, you know boys and their sports.
I stayed and argued with them for a good five minutes before excusing myself back to the table.
I could barely contain my excitement and I nearly knocked Connie over in my haste to tell the story.
“I didn’t freak out!” I whispered ecstatically.
“See? Isn’t life more fun when you’re confident and not trying so hard?” Anna remarked, kicking her feet up onto the table as Connie squealed excitedly.
Okay . . . Someone’s a little too confident.
Anna’s gift seemed to be confidence without encouragement. No matter what she did, she almost strutted around the like she the hottest thing in the room.
I would never be able to do that. My confidence needed constant assurance by Connie, (the reluctant) Anna, and attention in general.
“Yeah, it is.” Despite all that, I would certainly agree that I could enjoy life more when I wasn’t constantly worried about the state of my hair or whether or not everyone thought I was incredible.
“Ugh, this essay is killing me.” Greg was beside me reading up on something or another - he’d already finished his Potions essay, like the typical Ravenclaw that he was. I, however, was struggling a little.
“Here, let me help.” He put his book down as soon as my quiet voice rang out into the air. His chair screeched as he edged closer to me. My head was in my hands and my quill was thrown down on the table.
Greg was leaning over my shoulder, and the close proximity was making me quite antsy.
“Can I have your quill?” I could barely inhale enough to keep my lungs full of fresh oxygen. He smelled too good for my sanity. I brushed the quill towards him and concentrated on not kissing him.
He was still painfully close to me, even though he no longer had to read over my shoulder to get at the essay. I took even breaths, trying to keep myself calm, cool and collected.
It seemed that I always had to try and keep myself in that state when I wanted the three C’s. I was not naturally a calm, cool and collected person.
Perhaps, it’s time that I stop trying to be.
I heard scratches of the quill against the parchment every once in while, and then, “Bria, this is actually quite good. Only a few mistakes. Now, you need a few more centimetres, but if you write big, you can talk about . . .”
Oh, and his voice. I could listen to him talk all day, in that shy, reserved way of his, and not care what he’s saying . . . Though that’s usually worth listening to, as well.
“Got it, Bria?”
I snapped back to reality. “Oh. I’m sorry . . . What should I write about?”
“Way to tune me out.” Greg feigned hurt.
“Ugh, like you don’t tune me out half the time I talk.”
I had always assumed he did. I was - first and foremost - a girl. And no guy wanted to listen to what a girl had to say all the time.
“I have never tuned you out, Bria,” he said earnestly. That, combined with his smiling blue eyes and adorable brown hair made it very hard for me to resist him.
You have to, Bria . . . He doesn’t like you anymore.
Don’t remind me.
“Oh! My! God!” I was telling Anna (who was obviously not listening - though that was okay, because she usually was listening) about my latest tension-y endeavour with Greg. But Connie had thrown open the dormitory door and bounced her way to my bed. “Anna! Why didn’t you tell us!?”
It was then that Anna finally came back to earth. I looked at her curiously. “Tell us what?”
“That she bloody shagged Sirius Black!”
And then the commotion began. Connie and I immediately began to pester Anna, who was blushing very uncharacteristically. Anna never blushed; one might think that she was made of stone, actually.
“Was he any good?”
“Is his body really as good as it looks under all those clothes?”
“Did it hurt?”
“How many times did you guys do it?”
“Are you guys dating?”
In turn, Anna answered all of our questions, the light pink blush never leaving her face.
Aww . . . I think she really likes him. Our little Anna is growing up.
We all were.
“Greg! I swear! If you don’t get off of my right now!”
“You’ll do what? Talk me to death?” He smirked, leaning over me with his hands looming dangerously close to my sides. He was trying to tickle me, and it was working.
“Haha, very funny.” I rolled my eyes and the cute, playful boy. “But, if you must know, then yes, that is what I plan to do.”
He shoved his hands into my sides and I screamed with childish excitement and the ticklish tremors went up my body. “Well, then I’ll just have to find a way to stop you.”
“You could duct tape my mouth shut.”
“Or, I could shove some food in your mouth.”
“Or, you could put a Silencing Spell on me.”
“Yeah, but that would be no fun. It would be more amusing to do something else . . . Perhaps, I could kiss you.”
For one tense moment, Greg and I locked eyes. Chocolate brown versus icy blue.
For one tense moment, I thought Greg was going to kiss me.
But then, “Or . . . I could just tickle you so much that you don’t have time to stop for a breath!”
And then he did.
“I can’t believe we’re graduating today.” It was Anna’s surprisingly upset voice that woke me on the last morning of Hogwarts. I was considerably more upset about it that I had predicted I would be at the beginning of the year. It wasn’t as bad as I had thought.
Still, I would not go to the lengths that Anna deemed necessary five minutes later.
“Anna . . . We’re not the Marauders. You can’t get away with doing stupid, idiotic things like that anymore. I thought we explained this to you.”
She had handcuffed herself to her four-poster. I was usually quite tolerant of her stupidity, but I had just woken up on the wrong side of the bed that morning.
“Tell me you’re not the least bit devastated you’re leaving? These have been the best years of our lives ” she cried. Anna fidgeted quite a bit, and I imagined that she would be waving her arms wildly had she not been chained.
“Maybe for you.”
Ouch. Even I knew that was a low blow, and I had been the one to say it. My time at Hogwarts hadn’t been that bad, and it was really not Anna’s fault. However, as I said, I was not in the best of moods that morning.
“Hey, it’s not my fault; you should probably go blame the stick up your arse for that.”
Okay. She got her payback. We’re all fair now.
However, me being my pissy (and admittedly PMS-ing) self, I scoffed, turned away, and stomped off to the loo to get ready.
My way of dealing with things had never been good. I mean, I fought with Anna for nearly six years just because of a boy.
So imagine my state of mind when one of my best friends - my confidence, my confidant - told me he was moving halfway across the world, to America.
I was bloody pissed.
As soon as Professor McGonagall cleared us to go see our families, I waved off my mother and father and immediately cut off Greg’s route to his parents.
“What the bloody hell? When were you planning on telling me? Why just then? Why, Greg, why!?”
I saw him nod quickly to his mother and sister before pulling me aside. Greg held my wrist lightly as he led me away from the hustle and bustle on the courtyard, and over to the shore of the lake. He stopped, sat down, and pulled of the Hogwarts- required dress shoes; I supposed it was the last time he’d ever have to wear them.
“Go on,” he urged me. I, too, sat down on the rocky sand and pulled off my low heels. Perhaps I wasn’t as eager to get dirty and messy as some other (no names mentioned . . . Anna,) but I was learned to not be such a priss.
“Well?” I prompted him. I scrunched my eyebrows together - it was something I always did when I was upset, and ran my fingers through my loosely curled hair.
“I got an offer from the Ministry for Magic, over there. They want someone from Britain, whose seen the damage You-Know-Who does, so they can help stop it. And, Bria, it’s just what I wanted. It’ll jumpstart my career, it’s stable, and it’s helping people . . . I could hardly say no.”
Rational, I suppose. But when was I ever rational?
“How could you do this to me?” I whispered, trying to keep the inevitable crack out of my voice.
Selfish of me? To admonish Greg for taking the job of his dreams and leaving me in England?
Did it occur to me? At all.
He shook his head gravely. “Don’t do this, Bria,” Greg warned. “Don’t make me feel bad for doing something I want to.”
With my head in my hands, I conceded. Then, it occurred to me the position I had put Greg in, basically telling him that he was a bad person for helping himself and others. “I’m sorry,” I said earnestly. “I’m just going to miss you. A lot . . . I don’t know how I’m going to hold up without you,” I admitted. “I’m worried about relapsing into my old self.”
Greg gently took my hand. “Don’t worry, Bria. You’re a beautiful girl, inside and out, as long as you are yourself. So what if your hair isn’t as blond as Connie’s? So what if you’re not as extroverted as Anna? So what if you’re not perfect? None of that matters, if you like yourself the way you are.”
Oh, darn, I’ve started to cry.
Once again, my emotions had gotten the better of me (they often did) but I didn’t try to stop the tears this time.
“Promise you’ll visit,” I demanded hugging Greg tightly, and using his shoulder as a handkerchief. (Completely neglecting the fact that he was wearing likely-expensive dress robes.)
“I promise,” he said, hugging me back.
After I cleaned up my face, we started to make our way back to the crowd and post-ceremony joy.
“Wait.” Greg pulled me aside once again, into a cluster of trees. “I have something to ask you.”
I was immediately apprehensive. Phrases like that usually didn’t mean anything good.
“Well, actually, I have two things to ask you . . .”
Oh, dear. Oh, dear. Oh, dear.
“Bria, come to America with me.”
I suppose that it was more of a statement than a question.
But that didn’t stop me from squealing and screaming, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
I suppose it was sometime during the subsequent five seconds that I realized something I should have found out years ago: Greg was the guy for me.
My explosive reaction and excitement finally clued me in; I mean, I wasn’t that hopeless (as some others . . . Anna) with my emotions that I couldn’t even take notice when they were trying to tell me something.
I was fighting the overwhelming urge to kiss him. I wanted to, desperately, but fear of rejection held me back.
What if he just wants me there as a friend?
What if, I thought, in a combination of sadness and fear, the whole thing is a joke?
Greg smiled a bit, but showed no reaction otherwise. “Alright, second question . . . Bria, will you be my girl?”
I made some sort of gurgling, choking, stuttering noise.
My initial thought: He’s kidding. He must be.
But after a look at his gorgeous, smiling eyes, and a trip back to the past (all the time he’d been there for me, how he’d put up with my good and my bad,) I knew he wasn’t.
“Oh, Greg,” I sighed. “Yes.”
“Yes?” He sounded tentative.
I nodded. “Yes ”
He let out a cry of victory. Greg picked me up and spun me in circles.
I laughed. So, this is what it feels like to be Anna. I laughed some more.
And I came to the conclusion: I really like laughing.
She was talking to Sirius, but turned around when she heard my voice.
“Listen, I’m sorry for being pissy with you earlier, when you hand-cuffed yourself to the bed.”
She shook her head. “Nah, it’s alright - I come to expect sensibility from you.” Cool with everything, as always.
“. . . Is that all?” Anna looked confused. (Not that that wasn’t a normal occurrence . . . )
I shook my head, all of a sudden feeling silly telling Anna what I was about to. “No. Er, I know you probably won’t care at all, but I wanted to tell you that I’m moving to America . . . With Greg.”
“No . . . I do care, and, Bria, I am really happy for you. And I’m not just saying that. Considering that that whole ‘boy thing’ has been a source of you hating me, it’s good to see that I haven’t completed ruined that gender for you.”
I laughed at the earnest yet hilarious comment, then stuck out my hand for Anna to shake. I knew how she almost always hated being hugged.
But she pushed my hand away and hugged me tightly. “Keep in touch. And look me up when you come back to visit.”
I smiled and nodded. “Alright, I will.” And with a wave, I was off.
And as I walked away to tell Connie, hand-in-hand with Greg, the feud between Anna and I was completely over. I had found a friend and found myself.
I found out the boy who had accidentally broken my heart had only pretended so that I didn't break his.
I was no longer the bitter little teenager I once was.
And I was happy.
A/N: Well, there it goes. I know it was a rather quick ending, but I feel anything more would have been redundant. I hope you guys enjoyed this fun little side-story to Polychromatic. (Or a story in it’s own, if you haven’t read Polychromatic.)
By the way, for anyone who doesn’t know, Acrimony means bitterness or ill-feeling. It fits in with the whole story. :)