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Chapter 3 : In The Box
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“I’m really sorry…” Fred scratches the back of his head.
“Oliver, it was a mistake-”
“Well of course it was! You don’t bloody go get detention because you WANT TO GET DETENTION!”
Oliver wasn’t taking Fred’s news so well. As soon as the school day ended, half the Quidditch team knew about how we both had detention tonight for Flitwick. But of course, they let Fred and I break the news to the Captain after dinner in the common room.
“I cannot believe this…we have practice tonight!”
“I’ll wake up early tomorrow! Run laps around the Pitch…I’m gonna make it up to you,” Fred reasons.
“Damn straight, you’re going to make it up to me!” He barks. Oliver releases a long sigh and reclines further into his seat near the fireplace.
“Listen, it wasn’t Fred’s entire fault,” I intervene.
“You had something to do with this?”
“A little bit, yeah,” I shrug. My eyes are pleading for Oliver to stay sane.
“Alright,” Oliver says, annoyed. “Since you both are at fault. You both can clean up after detention tonight.”
My head slams into an invisible wall almost instantly. “What?” I ask impossibly.
Fred’s face is completely blank. “Uh?”
“You heard me. After you both serve detention, you both have to clean up after the team. Right after. Both of you. Cleaning. In the dead of night,” Oliver says menacingly. Well, almost menacingly. More like a killer panda bear, because the Captain isn’t that vicious.
“But… I won’t be able to practice for a whole week until then! All the other teams have booked the field and you know I can’t be around when they’re practicing!” I was planning on practicing my dancing after detention tonight, but if Oliver’s giving me cleaning duties on the same night, I’m going to have to spend the rest of my free time cleaning with Fred Weasley.
“You can sneak in,” Oliver waves off. “They don’t care if you go into the Gryffindor changing rooms. Besides, you can always fit some free time during the day when it’s not in use.”
“Bloody hell, you want us both to clean the locker rooms after detention? Are you trying to kill us?” Fred snaps. “I’m not doing her job with her in the wee hours of the morning! It’ll be passed midnight when we’re done with detention. We’re going to be beat tired…and I’m not doing her job!”
I scoff in his direction. “Humph!” They both ignore me. Typical.
“Listen, you wanted to make it up to me right? Serve detention and have the changing rooms cleaned up. If you can’t be there for practice, then you’ll be there to clean up after us. Liv needs the help, anyway.”
“Technically, I wasn’t assigned to clean up tonight-”
“Well you are now,” Oliver cuts off.
“Humph,” I mumble again, crossing my arms. I even pout a little. They still don’t notice.
“I’m not cleaning up after the team,” Fred comments. “That’s just gross.”
“Uh, excuse me…” Redhead thinks he’s too good to clean?
“Liv can’t do it all on her own. You two are both to blame. And I don’t want to hear any complaints.” Oliver Wood dismisses us. Fred and I are completely irate as we storm across the room. Well, Fred more than me. I had to keep up with him, considering his legs are longer than mine.
We head out of the portrait hole to Flitwick’s office. Fred finishes off with, “You suck!”, before closing the door behind him.
“So…” I begin, keeping up with him.
“Yes?” Fred snaps.
I furrow my eyebrows. “Hey, no need to be angry towards me. We’re both in this. It isn’t my fault.”
Fred’s face relaxes a bit. “I know…I’m not mad at you. I’m just pissed off beyond belief.”
“Of course at Oliver!” Fred rolls his eyes. “You didn’t think I was pissed off at you…?”
I cough. “Well, I wasn’t sure. First you insulted my job; apparently it’s too gross. And then you insult me; being with me in the wee hours of the morning is complete and total torture, eh?”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah…” Fred teases. He picks up his pace down the hall and I have to almost run to keep up.
“I’m sorry you have to help me.” His supposed anger is directed towards something, right? He’s probably mad over the cleaning bit.
He turns to me quickly, and I almost run into his back. His eyes hit me like a force of nature. “Don’t be sorry.”
“Er. Okay,” I choke out.
We resume walking.
“So what was with you this morning?”
Fred breathes out his answer. “Meh.”
“Meh?” I ask impossibly.
“My name’s Fred. Don’t know who Meh is,” he smirks.
I poke him in the shoulder. “Shut up with the silly mind games, Fred Weasley. I’m onto you.”
He tilts his head to the side and analyzes me. “Don’t analyze me,” I spit out.
“I wouldn’t dream of it.” Fred gives me a small smile before picking up the pace. I swear… he knows what he’s doing to me. I am not going crazy.
One, two, three, go our feet. Four, five, six…
The school looks so dark tonight. Just a few minutes ago, it was mildly glimmering. And now, the further we walk in the castle that is Hogwarts, the darker it’s getting. I wonder why there aren’t as many windows down at this end. It’s sort of creepy, to be honest. But it’s less awkward with Fred here. Hah, I never thought I’d be walking down to detention with Fred Weasley. The boy is a mystery, too. It would be great if he didn’t feel like acting weird at certain moments. Sometimes I wonder if there’s something legit up his bum.
The click clacking of our feet give me a beat to dance to, and before I know it I nod to the music in my head. I skip my feet, and make sure I don’t step on the cracks in the marble. I kick my feet out twice, twirl, and resume walking. Every time Fred turns around to look at me, I go back to striding behind him. And every time he turns back up front, I go back to my dancing. I try to hide my smile but it’s almost impossible.
I’m walking close by him again.
“What are you-” He turns around and stops quickly. He gets cut off by my nearness. I can count every gold spec in his eyes.
I giggle. “Yes?”
He knits his eyebrows close together. “Nothing,” he dismisses. And turns back around. I know he knows something’s up. But he’s too daft to see me dancing behind him. Or at least, he’s too slow to catch me.
I used to do this all the time, you know? Dance behind people. It was like a game to me. Always so fun – all you had to do was keep up with the rhythm in your mind and go with the flow. And it also exercised your reflexes, because the rule of the game was to not get caught by the person ahead of you. I wasn’t sure if I was the only girl in the world to play this game. But I knew I wasn’t the only dancer in the world to play this game. So be it, I acted childish sometimes. Only when I dance or fool around like I am now, do I really feel at ease. Being able to feel like a kid again, I enjoy it. I bask in it in silence though, I enjoy it secretly. I’m a Seventh Year for crying out loud. If anyone was to catch me doing childish antics like this I’d probably die of embarrassment. I’m Liv Lyden. The conservative, straight-lined, dancer.
“Alright. Seriously, now. What is it you keep doing?” Fred whips his head to me and our foreheads almost clink.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
A hidden smirk dances across my face all the way to Flitwick’s office. Oh, what boys don’t know…
The walk down to Professor Flitwick’s office is a long one. There’s complete silence; after a while, I stop playing the dancing game and the only thing you can here is the swiftness of Fred’s legs and mine in sync. What a predicament. Kind of peaceful, yeah? Taking long walks. Not that I would have ever imagined taking a long/dark walk with Fred Weasley, but still. He has this nonchalant but friendly aura about him. And even thought he’s a bit ticked off because of our circumstances, he still seems pleasant. I’d make conversation until we reach Flitwick’s office but he seems to be deep in thought, and I don’t want to interrupt him.
The next twenty minutes went by like a blur. Flitwick’s office was small but sufficient; we were there for all of five minutes before he immediately assigned us our duties. Fred and I were told to go back to our Charms classroom with cleaning supplies. And do you know what I’ve now just realized?
Flitwick is not a force to be messed with.
True, the man may be tiny. He may be a bit too quirky. And yes, he may not know how to zip up his fly right…but he’s a demon when it comes to assigning detention. We’re cleaning his oversized walk-in closet right now. With a toothbrush! Well, just me. I have to clean the floor while Fred has to dust everything. This closet is full of rubbish. Not to mention Flitwick has so much crap in here that Fred Weasley is basically on top of me. He’s sitting atop the wooden shelf cleaning off the light bulb with a dust rag and his feet are basically dangling next to my face. But you can see the muscles on his arms through his skin tight shirt so it’s not all bad.
I am not enjoying this!
“What are you starin’ at, Lyden?” Fred taunts. I was simply just gazing upward and my eyes found his stall stature and before I could blink, he caught me…I was not staring…
I quickly find something to look at; the wooden engraved carvings in the door frame. “I’m staring at the fine artistically carved…artistic-ness inside the wood here, Weasley,” I reply. Merlin, did that make sense?
He raises an eyebrow. “Riiiiiight.”
“Oh, please. Don’t be so overconfident.”
“I’m not overconfident,” he counters. “I just simply love showing others what I have. It’s not my fault my dashing good looks and firm arse grab people’s attention.”
I laugh. “You’re impossible.”
He smirks a little, to himself though, before looking down at the ground in my direction. “I like the sound of that.”
I scrub the floor with the toothbrush even harder, while Fred hops off the shelf.
“What, you don’t like to be conquered?” I try on. “Or do you like being a mystery for some people?”
He bends down and gets another dust rag; he starts dusting Professor Flitwick’s Professor of the Year awards. Yeah, awards. As in plural. Where do you even go to vote for that?
“You ask too many questions.”
“You don’t answer enough of them,” is all I say.
“That’s your problem, Lyden. You want answers. All the time. Your world is black and white. School and dance. That’s it.”
“Hey, that’s not true! My life is full of color, thank you very much.” I cross my arms and drop the toothbrush.
He picks up another one of Flitwick’s awards and beings cleaning it. “What kind of dance do you do anyway?”
My shoulders slump in disappointment. He always gets a rise out of me, and then asks me a random question to bring me back down.
“All kinds. There’s the usual ballet, and interpretive dance- stop sniggering!”
Fred collects himself. “Sorry…it’s just… interpretive dancing? Honestly?”
My mouth drops. “It happens to be a very fundamental part of expressing yourself, if you must know.”
“Oh yeah, moving around like a flamingo and doing weird pigeon movements really lets the heart settle down.”
He throws his rag in my face. I practically inhale the dust particles. “I’m dying!” I cough.
I throw the rag out the closet door. “I almost choked!”
“You’re very dramatic, you know that?”
I narrow my eyes slightly. “Just because I’m a dancer and I stage perform doesn’t NOT make me-”
“As you were saying…? Ballet, interpretive dance, and…”
I huff. Of course he’d interrupt my ranting. “Tap dancing, followed by contemporary dance numbers. Some belly dancing and traditional Middle Eastern dancing on the side, because you have to have the common knowledge to perform exotic dances for auditions. It’s good for my résumé, anyway. The tango is something I do on the side, and I just so happen to do the mambo very well. I grew up with that dance,” I rush out helplessly, still annoyed. I fall back and lean against the wall.
He nods. “Cool… didn’t know you were that diverse.”
“Well, ballet’s my main thing. But everything else is just for practice. Push my strengths. Besides, I think it’s a dancer’s personal responsibility to be able to perfect the art of dance. The more you know, the better you can perform, even if it’s just one style of dance. It all connects.”
“Yeah, I get what you’re saying. George and I are the same way when it comes to Quidditch. Everybody always talking about doing camp in the summer, but we wouldn’t be caught dead throwing some boring Quaffle around for four hours a day. We like to still be active though…widen our horizons, yeah? We work out, play some footie, hit the gym, go for a run. We’re big rugby fans, too. Our brother Charlie takes us to see games sometimes when he’s back home. Although George and I just play around in our backyard, our height would interfere with Rugby if we decided to join a team. But if I had to choose a sport besides Quidditch, it would be Rugby in a heartbeat.”
“You two are so bloody tall.” Wow, I’ve just said that out loud. I cover my mouth with my hands.
Fred chuckles. “Thanks?”
“Sorry!” Great, way to break the ice, Liv. The Weasley twins are the tallest kids in our year; they’re probably insecure about it or feel uncomfortable next to normal sized people like me. What the heck, he’s going to think I see him as a freak or something.
“It’s fine.” Fred looks at me as if he’s worried I’ll explode. “Calm down.”
“You didn’t greet me this morning,” I say inconsequently. I look at him to see if he’s affected or taken aback by my randomness. But he’s not. Nothing shocks him, huh?
“Sorry then. Had something on my mind.”
“Okay,” I state, ending the conversation. We finish the rest of our detention in silence.
The Pitch is dark. Very, very dark. Everyone’s either asleep or wide awake. It’s that part of the night that’s close to midnight, and there are only a few rooms in the whole castle that still have their lights on. I can barely see Fred’s outline as we walk through the grass, passed the goal posts. It’s very humid out tonight and I am extraordinarily uncomfortable. I’m wearing shorts for the time being and it is NOT pleasant to walk around a sandy and muddy Quidditch Pitch and have those contents sticking to your skin. I’m sweating like a sumo wrestler by the time we reach the changing rooms. Fred’s hair is half soaked, sticking to his freckled forehead. The white beater he’s wearing looks painted on his chest.
I open the doors to the boys’ changing rooms and it’s like a scene from a murder film. Instead of finding a bunch of dead bodies, the two surviving characters (Fred and I) find deadly piles of clothes, crotch pads, elbow pads, dirty underwear, and sweaty socks.
I look at Fred. “I agree.”
“How are we supposed to clean this? It’s a total pig pen,” Fred shakes his head, walking over the boys’ dirty laundry. “You definitely don’t get enough credit for what you do…”
Man, he has no idea. “I know it might be a bad thing to say this…but it’s never ever been this bad. I am honestly starting to think that Oliver did this on purpose, just to punish us.” I kick away a crotch pad.
“Damn prick, of course he would,” Fred says, almost seething, as he reaches this realization.
I make a disgusting face as I pick up someone’s dirty underwear with my feet. “Ew.”
“My friends are disgusting,” he concludes. He starts walking towards the lockers, inspecting the towels that the Gryffindor Team’s left on the ground.
“Well that’s for sure. Come on, let’s get started with this and finish up as fast as we can. We have the girls’ changing rooms to do after this.”
He groans and plugs his nose. “Did something die in McAllister’s locker? DAMN!” He kicks his teammates locker closed.
I chuckle discreetly and head toward the showers in the back. “Don’t underestimate Andrew McAllister.”
“No shit, the boy’s a skunk.”
I pull back the curtains belonging to one of the showers. I call out for Fred as I stare into the soap scum-filled shower tiles. He stands behind me and is shell shocked for all of ten seconds. “No.”
“Fred,” I say dangerously.
“We have to clean this up!”
“Screw this, I’m not doing it!”
Hanging from the showerhead is a pair of Quidditch knickers turned outside out, with the labeled name ‘Wood’ on the tag. I’m not tall enough to reach up to grab them.
“Please? You know I can’t reach it on my own.”
“There is no way I’m touching my Captain’s knickers! This is beyond illegal!”
I huff. “Look, I don’t like this any more than you do. We’ve established our bad predicament. But sadly, there’s no way to get out of it. We have to compromise and work together. And if that means you have to peel off Oliver Wood’s knickers from a showerhead then so be it.”
I shake my head and leave him in front of the shower. I walk to the corner of the room and pick up my cleaning supplies: mask, tongs, gloves, all purpose cleaner, and air freshener.
I can hear Fred mumbling incoherencies and whispering curse words under his breath whilst reaching up and grabbing Oliver Wood’s underwear from the showerhead. I knew he’d cave in eventually. I start to separate the dirty clothes on the ground into piles of laundry.
“The elves usually help take care of the laundry, but I like to separate the washes for them.”
“You’re too nice,” Fred says, walking back towards me.
“It’s what I always do with the laundry,” I shrug.
“No, I mean in general. You’re too nice to do all of this.”
“Why? Are you surprised to find somebody willing to do all of this for practice space?”
He looks around the room, as if the answer’s obvious. “Uh, yeah. It’s not everyday you’re assigned to clean up a dirty changing room with a ballet dancer.”
I scoff in mockery. “It’s hardly that dirty,” I say sarcastically.
Fred drops what ever is in his hands, whether it still be Oliver’s undies or his own for that matter, and turns to me. “You did NOT just say something sarcastic.”
“I did indeed.”
“It’s the apocalypse, isn’t it?”
I stop what I’m doing and uncross my legs from the position I have them in on the floor. I give Fred a look that reads: honestly, are you really going to play dumb?
“I can be sarcastic,” I assure him.
He guffaws. “You’re as sarcastic as a flock of sheep.”
I wrinkle my eyebrows at him. “What does that even mean?”
“Look, don’t take this the wrong way, but…”
“Well?” I urge him on.
I sit like a gaping fish for a few seconds before I grasp what he’s just called me. I get angry. Very angry. And I get very angry very fast. “I am not PLAIN!” I belt out the word like it’s some sort of disease.
“Whoa – now wait a minute, I’m not done,” he puts his hands up in defense.
I heave a little bit and cross my arms, just a tad bit livid. “Great. I can’t wait to hear the rest of this,” I snap.
How dare he? He doesn’t know me! Sure, I may not be the craziest Gryffindor on the planet, but I sure as hell am not plain. Fred said it like I had nothing to offer. I have plenty to offer. Just to no one in particular.
“When I mean plain, I don’t mean, like…I don’t know, a crappy kind of plain. Like an ear wax flavored Bean…” Did Fred Weasley just tell me I taste like wax? He scratches his head, and continues. “Actually, those beans aren’t plain, they’re just digusting- the point is, you aren’t crazy or out there or out of the box. When I mean plain, I mean like a plain pastry you eat in the morning. No jelly, no butter. It’s inside the box.” He creates a motion with his hands that resembles an invisible box. He puts his hands in and out of the imaginary square. “Inside the box, outside the box.”
My hands fall in my lap. “So I’m the box?”
“No, you’re inside the box. There’s a difference. The box is everything and nothing. It’s…order. You are in…order.” He seems surprised that he’s making sense. He smiles when he hears the words come out of this mouth.
“So I’m inside the box. Plain, but not a bad plain. Like a pastry with no condiments.” I raise my right eyebrow.
“Exactly.” Fred stands up straighter, proud of himself. “You’re not wild or un-orderly. You are inside the box of manners and politeness and absolutely nothing reckless. It’s just the type of person you are. Sarcasm never really shows itself when it’s inside the box.”
I see. In order for me and for others to accept my sarcasm, I have to step outside of the box.
“Hey,” I say, starting to sound like a toddler that’s been yelled at. “I can be…you know… reckless…”
Fred smirks. “Sure…”
“No, I can! I just choose to be orderly and polite and well mannered. It’s in my DNA,” I defend.
Imagine growing up in a place where order was strict and recklessness was never allowed. Enter: my household. There was never any place for misconduct. I mean, even with dance; I was trained since I could barely stand up, let alone walk. Ballet is one of the most delicate and strongest sports ever. You need determination, order, discipline, and etiquette to even belong to the dance alone. I had no time to be wild and crazy and out of the box. Ballet is in the box. And where ever ballet is, I am. Dance might be inside the box and outside the box. It might be crazy and it might be civilized. But I can’t be both. Dance can be whatever it wants to be. But I have to be a certain way.
“You speak like you have restrictions.”
“Well, if I’m going to be honest about it – I do.”
“And I think you should do something about that,” he comments, sitting on one of the wooden benches between the rows of lockers.
I finish separating the laundry and lean back on my hands. The tiles are cold and wet against my skin.
“Just because I choose to act civilized…” I rail off, rolling my eyes.
“No, really, I think you should do something about it. You know, do something wild. I can see you’re just waiting to do something reckless. Something totally out of the box. But I just don’t know how yet.”
“What?” I don’t get it.
“I can’t figure out if you’re going to just jump out of the box on your own, or if you’re going to need a little help to do it. But I know you’re time will come. In every person’s life, they’re bound to step outside of their own personal box at least once.”
“I can be wild. It’s not out of my reach, Fred. I just choose not to be that way.”
He bites his bottom lip and his eyes glitter in the small darkness of the locker room. He leans his elbows on his knees, hands resting under his chin. “I think you were raised to be plain and polite. To be the tiny little dancer. But I can tell you are more than meets the eye. I’ve got my eye on you, Lyden. You’re going to explode one day. I just know it.” I can’t tell if he’s saying this menacingly or warningly.
I eye him up with an emotion between ‘expecting something’ and ‘waiting for something to explode’.
I open the door to my dormitory. My feet make the floor creak with every step I take to my bed. Sofia tussles around in her bed and pops her head up from under her pillow.
“Liffy?” she mumbles at me with droopy eyes. I pat her on the head and kick off my shoes.
“Yeah, babe, it’s Livy. Go back to bed,” I whisper. Gosh, I’m so tired I don’t even change into my pajamas. I’ll have to wake up early tomorrow and fit a shower in before breakfast. Ugh, I am so pooped. The changing rooms, boys’ and girls’, are clean top to bottom. It’s well passed two in the morning now, I’m sure.
I fall on my bed and look up at the ceiling. I shiver a bit, and not just because it’s cold. I rub my arms and think about what Fred Weasley said to me tonight.
I’ve got my eye on you, Lyden. You’re going to explode one day. I just know it.
Author's Note: DUN DUN DUN. (=
Haha, I'm subtle, I know. But come on, how can you NOT sense some sort of foreshadowing? This whole chapter, or rather, the conversations she had with Fred, are all important to the plot. I think you all are going to quite like it alot :D I can't wait for the future chapters. How did you like the chapter image?
Review, lovely bunnies. I adore you!
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by Faith Snyder