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Iridescence by Ellyn Rose
Chapter 7 : The Snowflake Ball
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 23


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Chapter 7: The Snowflake Ball


 

It was mostly the squealing that was getting to Rose.  It seemed that every single girl in the entity of Hogwarts could think of nothing but the ball, and the constant flow of giggling, note passing, dress comparing, and date searching was oozing to slowly intolerable.  Dom thought it was funny and took pleasure in mocking them all morning (“And then-OH my god-the blue satin shoes with the periwinkle dress and the ruffle?!” Etc.)  Rose suspected that maybe her own lack of enthusiasm had something to do with her date. Ahem.

 

She didn’t see Malfoy; not like that was unusual or anything, she didn’t always see him every day…when did she start looking?

 

Rose, Dom, Amanda, and a few other girls made their way back to the Gryffindor common room at three o’clock to get ready for the ball, Rose fretting nervously the whole time, trying to stall.

 

“You can shower first, Dom, I have to…do some homework.” Rose said over her shoulder to Dom as they climbed the stairs to their dormitory.

 

“Alright.” Dom said in a hesitant sort of way, dropping her bag by the door and getting her bathrobe.

Amanda hopped onto Rose’s bed, her bob swinging from side to side.  Rose distractedly climbed on too, and they both sat cross-legged on the bed.

Amada looked serious, and Rose felt the urge to laugh; Amanda tended to look like a wounded puppy when she was not laughing or smiling (rare).

 

“Rose, I have something to tell you,” Amanda said, her eyes wide and glossy.

 

“Oh? Okay.” Rose said, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear.

 

“Rob asked me to the ball,” she said breathlessly, “and I said yes!”

 

The first real surge of happiness pierced her that she had had all day.

“That’s fantastic!” Rose exclaimed, hugging her and grinning.

 

Good thing too…Al is going with Maggie or whatever her name is…

 

Amanda’s face shone with happiness, but was suddenly dampened.

 

“Has anyone asked Lucy?” She asked.

 

“About four did and she turned all of them down.” Rose said, shaking her head.

 

“Almost like she was waiting for someone else to ask her.” Amanda said, tilting her head. 

 

Like…maybe someone named Albus Potter?

 

“Yep. Maybe she got back to one of them.” Rose reasoned.

 

Amanda shrugged.

“Has anyone asked Dom?” She asked her voice soft.

 

“No…no, no one has.” Rose said, frowning. This didn’t really seem to bother Dom.

 

“I don’t know why,” Amanda said, sighing, “she’s so much fun and she’s really beautiful too.”

 

“You’d think the veela thing would help.”

 

“Maybe the boys are scared.”

Rose was about to agree when Dom walked back into the dormitory, towel wrapped around her thin frame and her long blonde hair pulled over her shoulder.

 

“Guess what?” She asked suddenly, her hair dripping steadily on the wooden floor.

Rose and Amanda exchanged glances.

 

“What?”

 

“Alex asked me to the dance.” Dom said, looking down at her bare toes on the wet floor.

Rose and Amanda jumped off the bed and hugged Dom, yelling and jumping up and down.

 

“He is so hot,” Amanda said appreciatively.

Dom rolled her eyes.

 

“And he’s smart, handsome, and athletic,” Dom added, “plus funny.” She smiled.

Rose smiled too, and they all stood there grinning like the fools they were until Dom reminded Rose to go shower.

 

 

The hot water cascading down Rose’s back helped anything she had been feeling worried about. Rose hummed absent mindedly, thinking about Dom and Amanda, and Al and Maggie, Lucy, and Tristan, and Malfoy… and Einstein’s theory of relativity, of course.

Riiiiight.

 

And so the princess party began.

 

The dress fit perfectly. The bodice was tight and form-fitting, and the skirt was the perfect length and flowed beautifully. The color contrasted magnificently with Rose’s ivory skin, Dom informed her, and showed a ‘very elegant sliver of collar bone’ that Amanda had never noticed. The back was low, revealing on the neck, but somehow all very…graceful. Rose loved it, and had no second thoughts about why she bought it or who she bought it for. Dom had skillfully pulled Rose’s hair into a pretty up-do that cascaded down her back in scarlet curls, and had found a string of pearls to hang around her neck.

There was of course, still the Weasley nose and the gangly legs. Whatever.

Amanda was in a soft pink gown, with tiny sparkles on the skirt that reflected the light when she moved, and Dom was sporting a light green dress that complimented her long legs nicely, and put a few diamonds in her long flow of veela hair, pulling back the front.

 

It ended up that Lucy did have a date, a seventh year Ravenclaw boy named Fredrick or Steven or something. Even so, she was more surly than usual, snapping at everyone about everything. Rose had a strong suspicion that it had something to do with Al and Maggie. Lucy spent extra time in front of the mirror and she looked fantastic. She had a long dark red gown that threw off her eyes dramatically. Rose dimly recalled that dark red was Al’s favorite color.

 

The rest of the girls in their dormitory joined them and they went to down the common room.

 

“Everyone have their masks?”

They had all decided to meet their dates on the first floor in the entrance hall before they proceeded to the ball.

Al joined them as they made their way through the common room. He had decided to slick his hair back, and by the smug look on his face as he greeted them, he must’ve thought it looked good.

 

“Is that a beaver on your head, Al?” Rose asked, biting her lips as not to laugh. Al glared at her.

 

“Yes, I hear that the beaver really is the style in London lately.” Lucy said.

Al looked grumpily upon them, searching for some sort of insult.

 

“Well you look…” He paused, his brow furrowed, “erm…”

 

“Perfect, wonderful, beautiful, elegant, graceful, sexy, pretty…” Amanda supplied, looking narrowly at him. Rose heard Lucy sigh quietly beside her, but didn’t dare to turn.

 

Al finally laughed. “Yes, actually. Is the hair really that bad though?” He asked, looking suddenly worried. “Yes.” The girls chorused, Rose smirking.

 

Amanda did some quick fixing with her wand and a comb she had in her purse, until his hair was decent again. He shook his head a couple of times and the hair fell all over the place where it was supposed to go.

 

“Okay, beauty queen. Crisis averted, let’s go.” Rose said, herding everyone towards the door. Al scoffed at her.

Just before she climbed through the hole, she glanced at the mirror across the room and—embarassingly-- almost gasped. The girl in the mirror was definitely not her. This freak beauty in the mirror was tall, graceful, elegant, poised, with curves and long legs. Rose smiled experimentally, and watched the girl in the mirror’s face light up, looking rather doubtful.

That’s me?

Rose decided to not walk or move, for surely tripping would ruin the illusion of her ever being…graceful.

 

“Rose? Are you coming?”

Rose turned quickly, and climbed through the hole, tripping and falling right on top of Amanda, who helped her up.

Life is ironic.

 

“No one saw that,” Amanda said, laughing.

 

“Okay, masks on.” Dom instructed. Having a mask on was brilliant. You felt disguised, like you were a whole new person, free to be whomever you wished.  How cliché.

 

“Whoa, Rose!” Dom exclaimed.

 

“You look completely unrecognizable. If I hadn’t just walked here with you I would have no idea who you were!”

There was a murmur of agreement from the group. Everyone looked different, really, and Rose was surprised at how just a little covering up could change someone so much. They walked around the corner and came above the crowd of masked people, the colors suddenly seeming out of place compared to the usual black robes.

 

“How am I going to find Tristan?” Rose asked the girl next to her. Oh, it was Dom. Rose laughed.

 

“We told the boys to meet us under the chandelier.”  Dom said. They made their way down the stairs into the chamber, and Rose immediately blushed at how many eyes of the crowd were suddenly on them. Rose usually tended to avoid the spotlight.

 

Please don’t trip, please don’t trip…

 

“I didn’t mean to make such an entrance.” Rose whispered to Dom, and Dom nodded, smiling. Dom didn’t seem to mind and the spotlight suited her.

They made their way through the crowd of people, looking at all of the boys and trying to identify who was who. They came under the chandelier, and there were three boys. Amanda flounced forward from behind Rose, and greeted Rob with a hug. Tristan stepped forward, standing straight, and took Rose’s hand to kiss it.

 

“You look nice.” Tristan recited to Rose, straightening his mask.

 

“You do too,” Rose said, “I hardly recognized you.”

It was true, with the mask she could hardly tell who he was.

He broke into a wide grin, and offered her his arm. Rose awkwardly placed her hand on top of his, all the while looking around.

She glanced at Dom who was doing the same thing with Alex. Alex was smiling brilliantly, looking like he couldn’t see anything but Dom. Dom laughed at something he said, and his smile spread even bigger. Rose glanced at Tristan who was surprisingly looking at her, not himself for once.

 

“You really do look amazing, Rose.” He said, sounding surprised with himself.

Rose smiled and straightened her mask delicately. Maybe he did have hope.

 

They made their way towards the doors to the great hall. When the doors opened inward to the ball room, there was a collective gasp between all of the girls. It was amazing.  There were a thousand of little round Japanese lanterns, white and glowing, hanging from the invisible ceiling. The ceiling was sporting the clearest, starriest sky Rose had seen in a long time. The tables were gone, and much of the walls were draped with white gauze. The dance floor was lit up from underneath, so that even if you couldn’t see your partner very well in the dim light at least you could see your feet. Because the only light source was the Japanese lanterns and the stars, Rose could barely even tell what colour hair the people around her had. Once Rose’s eyes had adjusted, she could make out more things too like a refreshment table and a stage.

 

“It’s lovely!” Rose heard Amanda exclaim to her right.

 

“It is, isn’t it?” Rose said, sighing.

Rose was about to make an excuse to Tristan so that she could go look around, but the music suddenly started, and he pulled her onto the dance floor. It was a familiar song, formal, and Tristan rested his hand on Rose’s back. Rose clasped his hand and they awkwardly started to dance. Tristan was a decent dancer, one could say, but Rose could see the concentration put into each step.  Dancing wasn’t the gliding experience she had been expecting.

 

“I can barely tell who you are.” Tristan said again to her, spinning her around and almost bumping into someone.

 

“Really?” Rose said, smiling.

 

“I can see your face and your lips, but I can’t tell the color of your hair,” He said, awkwardly stepping in a sort of circle. “I can see every detail of your mask and dress though.”

 

“That’s odd,” Rose said, steering Tristan away from dancing into someone.

 

“So if I you hadn’t already known it was me, would you have been able to tell who I was?”

 

Tristan shook his head, “No, not at all.”

 

“Does the voice give it away?” Rose asked.

 

“No. It doesn’t.”

 

“It’s surprising how much of our identification skills are focused only on appearance.” Rose claimed as they moved steadily around the dance floor.

She could tell Tristan was thinking about what she said because his dancing slowed a little.

 

“Yes,” he agreed finally.

They continued to dance and watch the others around them dance, and a slightly uncomfortable lack of conversation hung around them.

Rose was beginning to wonder when the song was going to be over when it finally hit its last note. Tristan kissed her hand and Rose awkwardly curtsied, feeling silly.

 

“Um…thank you.” Rose said, feeling stupider by the minute.

Tristan smiled, and Rose could feel his head getting bigger and bigger with every second he was here with her.

 

“I’ll just go and get us something to drink, then, I think.” Rose said, spinning quickly.

 

“I’ll have lemonade on the rocks with a peppermint straw.” Tristan declared, and Rose nodded, already walking away.

 

She felt amazing. Walking through the crowd towards the drinks table, Rose enjoyed the sensation of the dress swinging around her legs, and the satisfaction that no one knew who she was.

 

“I’ll have a pipper with some lemon, please,” Rose told the person at the table. He waved his wand and the ingredients spun together into the tall glass.

 

“And a lemonade on the rocks with a peppermint straw, thanks.” Rose said, while looking around.

 

“Enjoy.” The man said, handing the cup to her.

 

“Rose?” Someone said from behind her, and she spun to face them.

 

“Hi…James,” Rose said, trying to slow her heart rate.

 

“I wasn’t sure if it was you!” He exclaimed.

Yeah. Same here.

 

“How did you know?” She asked, slightly put down.

 

“You must be the only one in the entire world that puts lemon in her pipper.” James said, laughing.

 

“Oh,” Rose laughed, relieved.

 

“We’re all supposed to go to the dance floor now for some old-fashioned partner dance thing.” James said, walking back with her.

 

“Ah. Great. More dancing.” Rose said, gritting her teeth.

 

“Why are you even going out with him, Rose?” James asked, his eyes seeming suddenly serious through his black mask.

Rose opened her mouth to answer but stopped, because she didn’t honestly know.

 

“That’s what I thought.” James said, shaking his head at her.

 

“You’re my favorite cousin, y’know?” He said, and continued on without waiting for an answer. Rose moved away slightly so that he didn’t ruffle her hair.

He was oblivious like that.

 

“I hate to see someone special like you going out with…well, someone like him.”

 

“What’s wrong with him, exactly?” Rose asked.

 

“He’s a narcissist, shally bottom plunker box, dunder-head idiot with a shallow outlook on life.” James said bluntly.

Rose laughed; James always made her laugh.

“Shally bottom plunker box?”

 

“Made it up on the spot,” James said, looking somewhat proud. “He isn’t so great though.”

 

“I know.” She said though, “Maybe soon.”

 

“I have some friends who are pretty taken with you actually…” James started, waggling his eyebrows, but Rose cut him off.

 

“Please, James.”

 

“Yeah, you’re right. It’s not like I would let you date anyone with a chance anyway.” James laughed.

“Let me?” Rose spun to face him, but let it go.

“Whatever, Potter.”

They got to the dance floor where Tristan was waiting for her.

He took the glass without saying anything.

 

“This is James, my cousin.” Rose said pointedly.

 

“Oh,” Tristan said, suddenly bright, “Of course.”

Rose caught James’ look of incredulity before he made an excuse and went onto the dance floor.

 

“Let’s dance then, Rose,” Tristan said, Rose spilling her drink a little as he tugged her clumsily.  

 

The song ended just as they stepped onto the dance floor. People crowded to the edges of the floor to make a clearing in the middle.

 

“What’s going on?” Rose asked, standing on her tip toes to try to get a better look.

Suddenly a loud voice claimed the attention.

 

“Everyone take a partner and come onto the dance floor.” It was a man’s voice.

 

“I think this is the partner dancing part.” Tristan said.

Really? No way. This guy seriously had the IQ of a stuffed poodle.

 

“Great.” She said instead. He never got sarcasm anyway.

 

The man, an older dance instructor, lined everyone up across from their partners; boys on one side of the room and girls on the other. Then he demonstrated how the dance went and that it originated from Europe in the 17th century. A white haired lady in a blue gown stepped into the middle and they demonstrated the steps.

 

Rose studied all of the boys in the line, but she couldn’t tell if he was there. 

 

“So, four steps into the middle, sidestep left, and then four more steps until you reach your partner.” The man explained, doing it with the lady.

 

“And then you simply do this turn here, ladies crossing over and gentlemen crossing back, like this.” He and his partner did a complicated turn.

 

I’ll never be able to do that, I don’t think. Rose thought, smiling at her clumsiness.

There was a murmur of agreement through the crowd.

 

“It’s much easier than it looks, I’ll guarantee.” The man said breezily.

 

He and his partner showed the rest of the dance to the crowd and explained how certain steps worked. It was a complicated dance, but Rose felt like she knew it by the end of their presentation. It was made up in a way that if you started with your partner, you would end up with another random partner depending on where you were standing. Rose glanced across the room and saw Tristan frowning, looking confused.

 

“We’ll do it slowly now, only once, without any music so you get the hang of it.” The man said loudly.

“No repeats!”

 

He counted off.

Four steps…left…four steps…Rose grasped Tristan’s hand and they spun around; Rose released him quickly and danced, synchronized with the other girls away from their partners. Rose counted off, waiting for her turn to jump back into the group of spinning partners.  She jumped in at the right time and she and Tristan came back together.

 

Did she just see a blonde head? Rose craned her neck but it wasn’t him; not tall enough.

 

Then the slow part came; Tristan put his hand on her waist and she put hers on his shoulder, their other hands together. He was counting under his breath.

“And one, two, three, four…here comes the spin, six, seven, eight.” Rose stepped perfectly and even glossed over the mistakes Tristan made.  Then everyone switched partners randomly and Rose was then dancing with Al.

 

 

The slow part was definitely her favorite, it was long enough to hold a conversation while you were dancing (if your partner wasn’t muttering to themselves, and if you even wanted to talk to them in the first place). It was slow and graceful, very romantic. Then the fast part came again, and everyone went back to their first partners. Rose danced along and around other people, occasionally grasping Tristan’s hand to spin, going away from him and coming back to him, but mostly dancing with Al. Even dancing, it was still very awkward when Tristan didn’t say anything. They did one final lap with a spin and then ended back in their lines again.

 

“Now that was only once,” the man said, “in the real dance you do it three times so you switch between two partners.”

 

He waved at the orchestra on stage and they began to play. 

Rose could do it this time without counting and she began to enjoy the steady swinging around, even with Tristan stepping on her feet every once in a while. She locked arms with him and they swung in a circle, went apart, came back together, until the part with the new partner came.

Tristan winked at her as they parted, and stepped on someone’s foot. Rose jumped back into the dance and curtsied to her new partner, her hands coming up to meet his. He rested his hand securely right above her hip and she extended her arm to his shoulder. Suddenly her heart was pounding. This is ridiculous. I don’t even know this guy.

He was much taller than Tristan. Their other hands clasped and they began to dance.

 

“So,” her partner said, and she looked up, surprised. She was used to dancing without talking.

 

“How are you tonight?” he asked.

You’re the only one who’s asked me that.

 

“I,” Rose paused, “am excellent.”

 

“I, “He paused too, mocking her, “am glad.” He said, spinning her around and catching her easily. They glided effortlessly across the floor.

 

“Glad that you’re excellent, that is.” He said.

She smiled. “How are you other than glad that I’m excellent?”

 

“I’m…proud.” He said, and Rose raised her eyebrows.

 

“Of your dancing skills, of course.” Rose said, moving her hand slightly on his shoulder.

 

“Yes.” He said, joking now. Rose liked that, happy that she was in on his game.

 

“I’ll see you in a second then.” He said, and they spun off in their different directions.

Tristan felt like a broken fence compared to dancing with the other guy before.

 

“Who are you dancing with?” He asked, rather possessively.

 

“You, obviously.” She said.

He didn’t laugh, her sarcasm was too much for him.

Rose suddenly felt annoyed. Infuriated. Disappointed. Disgusted. Why was she here with him?  He had nothing interesting to say.

 

The silence felt like hours.

 

“Maybe we can dance just the two of us soon,” He said frowning.

 

“Maybe.” Rose said back, and spun away from him back to the other partner.

 

“I lied to you,” he claimed immediately when she had put her hand on his shoulder.

 

“That was a whole minute and a half, not a second.” He smiled and Rose was hit with sudden deja vouz.  Maybe she did know him.

 

Rose sighed as they went into the slow part, wishing she didn’t have to go back to Tristan at all.

 

“What’s the matter, Miss Excellence?” He asked as they waltzed slowly around the room.  His whole air was very jokingly gentleman like.

 

“I just realized that I am doing something very stupid.” Rose said gallantly.

 

“Dancing with me?” He joked, “Am I that terrible?”

 

Rose laughed.

“Not at all.” She smiled at him, feeling bold. “Your dancing skills are leaving me rather…breathless actually.”

 

“Oh good.” He said, smiling too.

 

“Is it anything I could help with?” He asked, sounding genuinely concerned.

 

She started to shake her head, but then stopped.

“Maybe, actually.”

 

“I’m up for anything.” He said, grinning down at her.  Her heart warmed.

 

“You’ll get in trouble if my date knows who you are.” Rose warned.

 

“Then we’ll keep it a secret,” He said, “In fact, I won’t even tell you so you don’t have to lie to him.”

 

“Excellent.” She said.

 

“So maybe you’d like to tell me what I’m doing, then?” He asked.

 

“My date is being…” Rose searched for the words.

She sighed.

 

“You need me to take you for all of your dances so you don’t have to dance with him?”

 

Rose looked surprised.

 

“Yes, actually.” She smiled happily at him. “That’s exactly what I want.”

 

He nodded.

“How did you know?” She asked.

“Your face gives it all away.” He claimed.

 

“Fantastic. Thank you.”

 

“And this of course has nothing to do with me, “He said, raising his eyebrow above his mask, “Just having to do with you not wanting to dance with him.”

 

Rose blushed and he suddenly stopped mid-spin. The people behind them bumped into them. His mouth was open slightly.

 

They danced back into the mix.

“Sorry,” he said, shaking his head, “I just had the strongest deja vouz.”

 

“But I can’t tell you who I am.” Rose said, laughing.

 

He was silent, puzzled.

“Yes, I guess so.”

They danced in silence for a moment.

 

“Won’t your partner be angry wi--with you?” Rose asked. She had almost said us.

 

“I don’t care what she thinks.” He said, shaking his head. “I asked her to the ball for all of the wrong reasons.”

 

“Same here. I’m actually dating him for all of the wrong reasons.”

 

“We make a good match then.” He said, that same smile curving his lips again.

Rose was suddenly distracted.

 

Rose blushed and something suddenly changed.

 

She looked up and for the first time actually caught his eyes.  Her breath came in suddenly, and her face felt hot.

 

“What?” He asked quietly.

 

“Oh. Nothing.”

 

This was scary. Was it possible to have this sort of spark with someone you didn’t even know? He was definitely not anyone Rose had met before…she was almost completely sure of that.

His hands were so soft and his body so sturdy; he even smelled nice. Rose studied his lips for a second and the feeling reoccurred; had she met him before?

 

“So, why are you dating him then?” He said suddenly, his eyes catching on hers.

 

“I…” Rose paused, “I’m not really sure, actually.”

He frowned.

 

“Life is short.”

 

“My friend thought it would be good for me or something.” She said dismissively. “I’m apparently antisocial.”

He responded slowly, pulling her slowly along through the dance, spinning occasionally.

 

“That doesn’t seem…” He started, shaking his head, “right.”

“Doesn’t seem like a good reason.” He added simply.

 

“Maybe I’ll end it then.” Rose said intrepidly.

At this he laughed.

 

“Maybe.” He agreed.

 

Rose was just about to ask why he came with some other girl, but she knew they only had a moment left until the dance was over.

 

“So we can dance then?” She asked hopefully.

 

“Isn’t that what we’re doing now?” He replied, smirking.

 

She laughed, “You know what I mean.”

 

“Later, you mean.” He nodded.

 

“Damsel in distress.” He said mockingly.

 

“Knight in shining armor.” She replied without missing a beat.

 

“Fine with me, “he said shrugging and smiling.

 

She curtsied a wide, sweeping curtsy; feeling stupid but it didn’t really matter for some reason.

 

He bowed deeply, grinning at her as he came up.

The music ended dramatically on a loud chord.

 

“I suppose I’m supposed to say something cliché now to fit the moment,” he said, laughing.

 

“Such as?” She asked.

He bent and kissed her hand, saying softly, “Till we meet again.”

 

Rose laughed at his ridiculousness, trying to ignore the sudden shivers that ran up and down her arm.

He smiled and released her arm, giving her a small salute before disappearing into the crowd.

 

Rose felt giddy.

 Rose glazed over Tristan and went to find Dom somewhere in the midst of the crowd.

 

Dom was glowing, and it made Rose smile even bigger.

 

The two of them slid through the crowd to a corner and Dom filled Rose in on Alex.

“He’s amazing! We’re having so much fun!” She said over the music.

 

“I’m so glad, Dom.” Rose said, hugging her.

 

Dom pulled away to look at her.

 

“How was your dance?” She asked, frowning.

 

Rose sighed.

 

“I think I’m done with Tristan.”

Dom nodded.

 

“And I just danced with the most amazing guy and I don’t know who he is.”

 

Dom smirked but something was different in her eyes.

“You really have no hunches at all?” She asked skeptically.

 

“His looks sort of reminded me of Malfoy’s, but he definitely probably didn’t come tonight.” Rose said hurriedly.  That was so not grammatically correct.

 

Dom did that look that you do to your three year old cousin who swears they just saw a flying toilet with wings but you don’t want to discourage them.  The ‘riiiiiiight’ look.

 

“He didn’t come?”

 

Rose nodded, but neither of them said anything.

 

“Alright.” Dom said, looking confused and defeated.

 

“Well the personality is nothing like his, anyway.” Rose said, sipping her drink.

 

“What does it even matter?”

 

The music started to play again and they both smiled.

 

“Here goes.” Dom said, squeezing Rose’s shoulder before they split into the crowd.

 

Rose squeezed her way onto the dance floor, and stood on her tiptoes to find him.

He came from behind.

 

“May I have this dance?” His voice dripped with a cute sort of sarcasm.

 

It reminded Rose, suddenly of Malfoy. Of course. Now she just felt paranoid. Did Malfoy’s voice really sound like that? No, no.

 

“Erm…yeah, yes.” He took her hand and they stepped onto the dance floor.

 

Her hand tingled where he held it and she felt like her heart was going to jump out of her chest.  She started thinking that perhaps she had a medical problem because this wasn’t at all how she normally felt. Towards anyone.

 

She again marveled at the sturdiness of his arms and yet the gentleness of his hand on her back.  They moved alone, winding and spinning around the other couples.

 

They were silent for a moment.

 

“How are you now?” He asked.

Malfoy would never ask that.

 

She laughed, “Let’s see…iridescent.” She didn’t know what made her say that, but it was true. She felt light as air and like she was glowing from the inside.

He laughed too.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone else say that before.” He said. “But yes, you are.”

 

Blush

 

“And you?”

 

“Fairly speechless, actually.”

 

Rose tilted her head, confused.

 

Their eyes caught, and Rose lost all thoughts.

She looked down, deciding not to look up again for her own safety. Don’t want to knock anyone over.

 

“You just…keep on surprising me.” It was odd; if any other boy had stated that, Rose would have just rolled her eyes, but something in his voice told her that he actually meant it. He sounded surprised, not sappy or falsely romantic.

 

“Me? Surprising you?” Rose shook her head.

 

“You have it all backwards.”

 

Rose glanced up and then back down. She felt her cheeks warm. She could tell he was smiling, she could feel it in everything that he did.

 

“So, why are you here with someone you don’t want to be with?”

 

His jaw hardened and Rose hoped that she hadn’t said anything out of line.

“Family obligations.” He said briefly, closing again.

 

“Is she your cousin or something?” Rose asked hopefully.

“No.” Damn.

“I went with her because my family expects it of me.” He stated this in a very matter-of-fact tone.

 

His family?

 

“How noble of you.” Rose sighed, leaning on him.

 

He laughed and slid his hand tighter on her back, pulling her a little bit closer subtly and Rose wasn’t even sure if he did it on purpose.

 

There was a silence, and for the first time ever, it wasn’t awkward. It was real, special.

 

“What are you thinking about?” She asked.

 

“I’m trying to figure out who you are.” He said, studying her face.

Oops. Forgot to not look at his face.

 

The sincerity of his tone caught Rose off guard, and that strange event occurred where the words jumbled and just kept on bouncing around in her head to the point where she couldn’t make sense of them.  She looked down.

 

“Same here.” She smiled to their feet, and rested her forehead on his shoulder.

 

Snap.

 

It was too far, too close. Sirens went off in her head. She felt suddenly out of control. Her head snapped back up.  She craved to be closer to him, to touch his neck and long cheeks. She could feel him fighting she battle too, and for the briefest moment, he brought his thumb to the nape of her neck and just touched it there gently.

It was the most intimate feeling she had ever experienced. With a stranger, go figure. Somewhere in Rose’s mind it occurred to her that it was a little weird to be this close to a complete stranger who could (for all Rose knew) be a rapist or a teacher or someone Rose didn’t want to be close to, but it all just felt so right. Like gravity or…or wanting to hug puppies.

 

It was getting out of control, her heart spinning out of its universe. He slid his hand back down to her waist, his breath coming out in a very quiet whoosh.

 

“What year are you?” He sounded frustrated. “I know I’m not allowed to ask.”

 

She bit her lip, struggling.

 

“You first.”

Please, please, not sixth…

 

 

Suddenly someone cleared their throat right next to where they were dancing, and Rose instinctively jumped away from him.  It was like pulling off a band-aid, and Rose instantly felt cold.

Tristan. Oh. Blast.

 

She self consciously brought her hands to her face.

Rose opened her mouth, but Tristan got there before her.

 

“May I interrupt?” He asked in a tone that clearly meant he wasn’t taking no for an answer.  His haughty interruption was far more offensive than almost anything else he could have done.  Tristan grabbed Rose’s hand and she yanked it back.

The mystery guy stepped coolly in between them, and Rose suddenly realized how short Tristan was.

 

“Let’s not cause a scene here.” He said, and the sudden hostility in his tone scared Rose.

Wait a second—was that a threat?

He had changed suddenly, not the same guy she had just been dancing with.

Tristan recoiled, but his upper lip curled and he crossed his arms. Yep, definitely a threat.  He glared at the mystery guy.

 

“Who are you?”

Rose didn’t need it to go any further.

“No, really. It’s fine.” She stepped around the mystery guy and shook her head at him.  His hands were clamped in fists. Uh oh. “Please.”

His eyes were cloudy and his face was expressionless.  He nodded once and Rose turned back to Tristan.

 

Tristan grabbed her wrist and pulled her through the crowd.  Once they were out of sight Rose snapped.

 

“What are you doing?” She snapped at him.

 

“You’re here with me.” Tristan let go of her hand.

 

“That was so rude!” Rose cried.

 

She was on the brink here. If he apologized and tried a little bit then Rose would be nice.

 

“That guy stole you from me.” Tristan said childishly.

Guess not.

 

“Oh, what now? Do you own me now? Is that was this is about to you?”

Rose closed here eyes and took a breath. 

 

“Tristan, this really isn’t working for me.” Rose said, her voice under control now.

 

“Do you have any idea all of the girls I’ve turned down to be with you?” he fumed.

 

“Yeah, I’m really not worth it at all.” Rose said louder, feeling her hands ball into fists.

“You should really get back to them probably.”

 

Bam. A good parting line did feel good. She could have slapped him a couple of times too, but she didn’t want to get too worked up over such an idiot.

 

Rose spun on her heel and slid through the crowd, away from the music and the dance. She ran up the stairs, feeling a complete idiot.

Rose ran down a few hallways, the tapestries and torches just a blur of color and light as she ran.

This dress is amazingly easy to run in. Rose laughed out loud.

She sporadically decided to take a left at the last minute and screamed a little as she almost hit the wall. She ran up a tiny spiral staircase and burst through a trap door to the roof. The cool air hit her like ice as she climbed outside.  She looked around and recognized that she was on top of the bell tower. There was an ivy covered wall around the edge of the tower and the huge bell was right in the middle.  She crossed to the far edge of the tower and rested her elbows on the wall, admiring the dark.  At first, all she could see were all of the little lights from the many windows. After a moment, her eyes adjusted and she saw the stars; thousands of hundreds of bright diamonds floating in the sky.  She could hear the music from the ball and her breath.

 

And then she heard the trap door. Rose spun around and her breath caught.

 

“Who’s there?” She asked, her panicked voice shattering the quiet night.

 

“It’s me.” He said.  It wasn’t Tristan, and Rose let out a sigh of relief.

“Are you okay? Did he hurt you?”

 

“I’m fine.” She paused, “I…I’m sorry.” She said, turning to look at him in the dark.

 

“What for?” He said, quietly.

 

Rose sighed.

 

He came and stood on the balcony with her and they both rested their elbows on the wall.

Rose turned her head to look at him; now that her eyes were adjusted she could make out his profile, highlighted by the stars. She saw the bridge of his nose, his round bottom lip, his square jaw. He turned to look at her, the corners of his lips lifting slightly.

Rose’s heart pounded loudly, so loudly she thought he could probably hear it.

Maybe he doesn’t have good hearing. I am such an idiot. Why am I even thinking about his hearing?

“What?” He asked quietly, folding his hands together and leaning on his elbows.

 

I’m thinking about your hearing, actually.

“I don’t know.” She replied, looking away and tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear.

 

The silence was meaningful.

 

“I just wanted to say thanks, for making a night I thought was going to be crappy into an interesting one.” He said, laughing a little bit.

 

“Thank you for the same thing.” Rose replied, smiling slightly.

 

There was another moment of silence.

 

“I think I have issues.” He said suddenly, Rose would’ve laughed but was secretly thinking that same thing about herself.

 

“I didn’t think it was that bad until I…met you,” He started, smirking. “But I feel like you know more of me in an hour than most of my mates do.”

 

Rose tried to focus on slowing her heart rate.

 

“Maybe we have a rare disease,” Rose sighed, smiling, “where we only identify with strangers.”

 

“I believe I have heard of that,” He said, smiling, “Peregrinitus, from the Latin stranger.” She exhaled, and smiled.

 

The breeze picked up and there was a fair symphony of rustling trees from far below. Rose felt so still.  It’s a funny feeling, having someone actually look at you. Lately, Rose felt that no one ever really saw her; just another person in the crowd. Being watched was…exhilarating and more than a little bit scary.

 

Just stop for a second and think about this: when you talk to people, do you look into their eyes? Isn’t it frightening to open your soul to them? Eyes may just be the greatest cover, and yet also the most significant way of letting someone…well, see you.

 

A strand of Rose’s hair fell by her cheek and blew across her face.  Sweetly, he reached over and slowly tucked the piece of hair back behind Rose’s ear, his hand brushing her cheek. He was slightly smiling, and it didn’t seem planned, it was far too natural. His eyes showed the slightest bit of surprise, almost as if at himself.

 

He withdrew quickly, taking a step back, the surprise now more substantial across his face.

“I--” Rose stuttered.

He cleared his throat, his hand flying to the back of his neck. “Sorry.”

 

“No, it’s…” Rose said, suddenly feeling uncertain, “I should really probably go.”

And then the moment was shattered. Good job Rose.

 

“Oh, yeah…er, yes.” He mumbled, shaking his head slightly.

 

“Unless--” Rose struggled.

 

“Yeah, I need to get back to—yeah…” He said.

 

Rose nodded, blushing as she turned to walk back down the stairs. He followed her down and then through the door, and they walked to the split in the hall. She stopped, and turned to face him.

 

“So, thank you.” Rose said, smiling.

 

“Anytime.” He replied, finally looking at her with the trace of a smile.  “And you are definitely iridescent.”

 

Rose laughed self-consciously and put her hand to her neck.

“Have a good Christmas,” she said.

 

He didn’t laugh, he nodded. “You too.”

 

“Yeah,” she said, “I’ll see you around.”

 

He nodded at her, smiling slightly, and turned down the hall. Rose stood there for a minute, watching him walk.

 

“Goodnight,” she said again, pathetically wanting to hear his voice once more.

 

She almost thought he didn’t hear her, so she turned and started walking.

 

“Goodnight Rose.”



//A.N.//:Okay, okay. Maybe a little cheesy. It was just in my system and needed to be let out, unfortunately in the result of a cheesy princess ball chapter and I'm sorry. I am also sorry it took so long to update!  So, any questions? I feel like I've missed something major, but I can't quite...hmmm. What quotes did you like? What descriptions were too over the top?
I would really love, love, love to hear anything you've got to say (really!)-reviews spurr me to write faster for the next chapter!  So, any opinions at all, criticism, whatever would be supremely enjoyed! Thank you so much for the support and fantastic criticism!  Who thinks they know who the mystery guy is? Any one?
(insert smirk here)
My main goal was to make you smile.
Are you???

Ell


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