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Chapter 4 : The Beginning Of Something... Persuasive?!
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I stretch down and reach for my toes. I wrap my fingers around my foot, my head pointing towards the floor. I breathe in and out, enjoying the fresh morning air coming in from the open window. I come back up slowly, raising my hands above my head, and reach for the ceiling. Sweat drips off my face and I spread my legs apart so my balance is set. I lean back on my hands and once they reach the ground, I am face to face with a sitting bench, put between two rows of lockers.
I look around the room in my upside-down world and take in my surroundings.
Mornings like these…mornings where I’d find myself breathing the fresh smell of wet grass and not having the sun out to blind me, were my favorite. Early mornings where I danced, practiced my heart out, and stretched out all the pressures of the world, were my safe haven. I loved this. I wouldn’t know what to do without this.
Tilting my head towards the open window, I stare out through the girls’ changing rooms. It’s still dark out. Just how I like it. The sun always bothered me in the mornings, you know. I can say I’m a morning person, sure, but it didn’t change the fact that I kind of hated the sunlight. It meant that the day had to officially begin soon. It’s like a clock in its own accord. And I always enjoyed mornings to much to worry about how to plan out my day, so early mornings, to me, were better than just regular mornings. That’s why I’d wake up early. Not just to practice, but to enjoy the morning. There’s something about it being the beginning of the day and it’s still dark outside. It is mysterious, no? Like no time is allowed. Almost contradicting. You expect sunlight, but realize that maybe the nighttime is not ready to leave yet. I like it.
I lay on the ground, my back on the cold tile floor, and I raise my leg up over my body to become parallel.
Is it weird that I’m starting to notice how cute Fred is, this time around? Or is that thought completely absurd and I should just forget about it right at this moment? I can’t decide. I’ve known him for years. Well, known of him for years, been friends with him for the last couple of years. I’m not sure if I find him fancy-able. I mean, yes, he’s fancy-able, but is he fancy-able to me? Could there be a chance I could like him? Because for the past week or so I have been feeling as if something strange is up with him. And I can’t figure him out. He’s already a mystery. I have a better chance figuring George out, and that’s saying something - their twins, for crying out loud! I wonder, could I maybe be legible to like George since Fred is his identical twin?
Liv, listen to yourself, you sound like a kook.
How ridiculous do I sound? Hah, what an idiot I am. Of course I don’t like him. I’m sure there’s just something up with him he doesn’t want to share with me. I shouldn’t have to know everything about his life. So what if he acts weird? It’s… natural for a boy his age.
Oh, for goodness sake, he’s not going through puberty!
I shake my head vigorously, emptying my mind, and switch legs.
That was a visual I did not need. I shouldn’t have to think about Fred like this. Why am I always the one trying to figure him out? It’s not like he’s taken the time to fret about me. Well, he kind of did, though, didn’t he? Labeling me as plain, the nerve! He spent our last hour of cleaning last week explaining to me how I am some unfulfilling pastry in the bakery of life. What the heck does that even mean? That I’m not delicious? Regardless, his whole opinion on me worried me. And angered me. And made me a bit aggravated. I can have fun! I can be reckless! It wasn’t fair what he said…the thought right now makes me want to stomp my foot down like a child and yell out NO to him repeatedly. I’m not a wet blanket, so how can he label me as someone who is ‘in the box’ of order and conduct? He’s never hung out with me on that level before.
Then again, I haven’t hung out with him enough to know that he can definitely be ‘out of the box’ of order and conduct. Everyone knows Fred can’t be controlled. George can’t be controlled either. And when they’re together… well, good luck. I mean, the boys once flew around the corridors during school hours on their broomsticks. So I can’t really say anything about that. I guess what it comes down to is me. Do I want to be like them? Do I want to be different from who I am as a person? Do I feel the need to be a rebel?
No. I don’t feel that need. Not in the slightest.
I smile and sit myself upright on the ground. I should be happy with who I am. So what if I’m not dangerous or conniving like some of the people here. Some of the people here that have those characteristics can’t be trusted, and they don’t have friends. I’m a fan trust. I like people trusting me. Makes me feel like I have friends in the first place. And I like having friends. So those two factors are going to have to stay with me. And that goes for professors, too. I’m an excellent student, and I can’t disappoint them. My teachers, no matter how crazy they get, are like adult figures to me. Like the same family figures that have bestowed good manners and years of family pride on me.
I move my legs around into a full on split. Ooh, this tile is cold! That was always one thing I hated about being a dancer - having to stretch out on floors. You’re butt always get uncomfortably cold on the changing room floors. I should sit on a head cushion.
“So are you excited for the scavenger hunt thing this weekend?” Sofia asks me in the middle of Charms.
“Not really,” I reply. “I mean it sounds like fun, but I’m not sure if I’m gonna want to go.”
“What? Why not?” Sofia looks confused. “You even took time to help Lee out with planning it. How is he supposed to feel if you bail on him?”
“Awe, come on,” I whine, tilting my head. “It’ll be the only Friday this year that I’ll be able to actually practice in the changing rooms while everyone else is playing their game of House unity. And yeah, I did help Lee with it, but I never RSVP’d and told him I’d definitely make it.”
She throws me a look with one eyebrow. Fierce. “Don’t be a buzz kill. He wants you there and you know it. Not only that, but what chances do you have of even being allowed to practice that night anyways? Whose to say the changing rooms won’t be part of the game? It’s only for Gryffindor students, you know.”
Oh, she’s right. “I totally forgot about that! Wait a minute, let’s get off of me for a second. Why do you want to go so badly all of a sudden? I thought this scavenger hunt thing was the last thing on your list of rubbish to do?”
She just shrugs, flipping over a page from her text. “I don’t know, I guess I need some fun. It’s been a stressful week. And maybe Andrew McAllister will be in my scavenger group.” She giggles. “I tried putting my hands on Lee’s leg in class the other day while pleading him to put Andrew in my group, because you know that’s how one needs to get things done around here, and he totally gurgled and got all flustered. He mumbled a maybe, but I know he’ll say yes and put him on the list in the end.”
“Of course. I should have known you were cheating. I should yell at you.”
How else do you want to get your way with Lee? Seduce him. He doesn’t care who you are.
“Don’t corrupt McAllister. Even though he’s younger than you by only a year, he has enough bad influences on the team. Like the twins. And Lee.”
“Obviously,” she says flatly. “And I’m not going to corrupt him. How dare you. I should slap you. I can’t corrupt. I simply…flirt. And I’ve been improving. Usually I can snap out of the butterflies in the tummy after the second date. But I’ve already eliminated them and we haven’t even gone out once yet.”
“Yet. That’s the word that worries me.”
“I’m getting better at hiding my embarrassment now. I haven’t liked a guy this much in a while. Maybe you and Angelina won’t have to drag me out of the room anymore when he’s around. Better yet, I’ll show you on Friday.”
“I’m still not going.”
“It’ll be fun! Please go,” she urges. “You know it’ll be a great way to spend a Friday night. You can always practice your dancing some other time. You practically live in that place anyway. You need a break. A break from studying and from dancing. Take off that thinking helmet and put down the books,” she taps my noggin. I rub my head instantly.
Gah! When I said tapped, I meant poked strongly.
“I don’t know… there are some pretty kooky things on that scavenger list. I should know, I helped write some of them.”
“Oh, really?” Sofia’s faces changes, and she’s now looking at me with intrigue. “Like…?”
“Not a chance,” I tell her, sticking my tongue out.
She nudges me, I nudge her back.
“Oh, gods, did Liv really just stick her tongue out at someone?” She feigns putting her heart to her chest.
“Don’t go making fun of me now,” I taunt.
“But… I thought girls like you never broke the rules?” she smirks.
Oliver Wood, who just so happens to be seated behind us, leans in and says. “Oh, she’s not allowed to break the rules. I won’t allow it.”
I resist from giving him the stink eye.
“Won’t allow it?” Sofia turns to him. “What do you mean?”
“The last time she broke the rules, she got my Beater in detention.”
“Hey, now!” I protest.
“You broke the rules for Fred?” Sofia’s mouth drops. “And you didn’t tell me?!”
“First off, I didn’t break any rules. Fred was the one passing me notes during Flitwick’s class. Second, I didn’t get him in detention. He did that on his own, I was just dragged along for the ride.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah…” Oliver wheedles.
“Yes,” I correct him. “I do not break rules. At least not willingly.”
“Just make sure to not be around any members of the team when you decided to create havoc.” He leans back to his desk and returns to taking notes. I crinkle my eyebrows in frustration. Who is it he thinks he is talking to? Some detention delinquent? I don’t know the teachers by their first names, and I surely do not get detention regularly enough to decide whether I want to create havoc on innocent bystanders. I just don’t understand Oliver sometimes. Is Quidditch really the only thing he thinks about?
“Hey, Oliver,” Sofia calls behind her about ten minutes later. Oliver’s ears perk up instantly.
“Are we meeting at the same time tonight? Five pm in the common room?”
“I think so.”
“Okay, good. I have to manicure my nails at seven,” Sofia says more to herself that to anyone.
Oliver roles his eyes. “Women…”
“Hey, how long do you need to tutor him for?” I whisper to her.
“I think professor asked me to tutor him for, like…maybe another month. Why?” Sofia takes out a nail file and inspects her cuticles.
“Because,” I lean my head towards her, “You know how nervous it makes Katie.” I point to the girl in question, all the way across the room. She’s digging her quill into her parchment, looking straight at us. When we catch eye contact with her she throws us a smile and looks down at the ink stain she’s created. She frowns.
“Oh, that girl,” my best friend says with pity. “Is she really going to be antsy around every girl that hangs around with Oliver?”
“If it helps her case, she’s not one of them,” I pipe up.
Sofia sighs. “You know what’s funny? She wasn’t even glaring daggers at me just now. It looked like her quill was about to snap in half, but her face looked calm. Either, she’s harboring all her anger out on her notes, or she seriously hates me and is good at concealing it.”
“No, I don’t think it’s you. It’s frustration, definitely. But it isn’t hate. I think she just doesn’t know what to do with the fact that everyone seems to somehow be forced to spend time with Oliver, and yet she never gets to- and she actually wants to be around him. I guess that stress can really reach a person, er, physically.”
“I don’t trust her with sharp objects,” Sofia says inconsequently.
“Sofia,” I say flatly. “She’s not some psycho ex girlfriend.”
“Well, what do you suggest we do? Try to get her and Oliver together?”
“You know, that doesn’t sound like a bad idea. I’d love to try and play cupid, but I just haven’t got the time. Although, we can fix her up once and a while to show Oliver she’s actually a girl,” I point out.
Sofia agrees, “We definitely should do that. Oliver Wood is an oblivious shmuck.”
“Uh, excuse me,” Oliver intervenes from behind us. He twirls his quill around in his hands. “I can hear you, you know. And I’m not a shmuck, nor am I oblivious. What am I unobservant about?” He asks, clearly annoyed.
I start to whistle and Sofia looks off in the other direction. “Oh, nothing…”
Oliver just huffs as we continue about our business.
The day went by slowly. It was a fun day, but not entertaining enough. Mainly because Fred wasn’t in any of my classes- oh my goodness, what has gotten in to me?! Since when have I depended on one half of the Weasley twins to make my day brighter? I hope this isn’t the premature development of a crush. It can’t be, right? Maybe it’s just a mini obsession for the week. Yeah, because we spent so much time together last week, it’s completely normal to still be thinking of him.
I’m making my way down the hallway towards my next class when someone bumps into me.
“Oi, I’m too pretty to be - Liv, darling!”
“Hi, Roger.” He takes my hand in his and kisses it delicately.
“I’m so sorry you had to bump in to me.”
Typical, of course it was my fault. I sigh and look at the boy in front of me. “Yes, Roger. I apologize. I didn’t mean to run into you. I guess I was too blinded by your beauty.”
He’s beaming from ear to ear. “Oh, that’s okay. It’s totally understandable. I’d be shocked if I looked up to see you in my peripheral vision as well. I was on my way to Potions. Last class of the day and all. I kind of couldn’t wait to get it over with.”
“Yeah, Potions is a drag.”
I am alone in the semi-crowded hallway with Roger Davies. And he still has my hand up in the air.
“So, I was thinking-”
“But you didn’t even hear me out on this one!” Roger explains. I resume walking to Astronomy, my last class of the day, and Roger follows me in the corridors while I walk.
“I don’t need to hear you out. I’ve told you a million times, in the most nicest ways possible, I cannot go out with you.”
“What if I surprise you?”
I stop walking. “Surprise me with what?” I look at him wearily.
“What if I left a romantic note on your bed saying to meet me somewhere… would you?”
“Oh, Roger, I don’t know- probably not?” I reply honestly. “You are too young for me.” I feel like I’m answering a love survey or something.
“What if I got you a gift?” He tries on, following me down the steps.
“Get to class,” I call out to him.
“A bracelet with our initials inscribed?”
“You are ridiculous,” I chuckle.
“What about a gift certificate to Honeydukes?”
“I cannot be bribed,” I sing song, walking down another flight of stairs. He soars down all of them to keep up.
“An article of clothing?”
“I don’t think so.”
“A neon leotard?”
“No,” I say strongly.
“Glow in the dark ballet slippers?”
Actually, those would be kind of amazing.
“Some lingerie, maybe?” He whispers hoarsely, laughing at himself. This is my cue to leave!
I speed down the corridor as fast as I can and turn a corner quickly. I feel bad to leave the boy like this, I really do. But desperate times call for desperate measures. And sometimes he can come off a bit too strong - this is the only way to handle him when he gets like this.
“Edible underwear?” Roger calls out, right when I think I’ve lost him.
He yells this out in public for everyone to hear, causing my heart to stop. I turn bright red and get so flustered I don’t even respond back to him, I just walk in to Astronomy with my head down. Everyone heard that, I bet! Gosh, he is so embarrassing. Edible underwear?! Do I look like the type!?
I take a seat next to George Weasley and Brianna Riggins.
“Get my mind off of my problems, fast,” I greet them.
“Well, hello to you to,” Brianna says.
“What problems, love?” George asks, leaning back in his chair, propping his hands behind his head. Is there some invisible rule for guys to lean back in their chairs or something? Next, they’ll be burping in public and farting in front of their friends.
Oh wait, I’m part of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. They already do that.
“Roger Davies problems,” I announce to him.
“Is that boy still in love with you?” Brianna asks impossibly, raising her eyebrows.
“He’s not in love with me…”
“That’s a lie,” George comments.
“The boy’s completely infatuated with you.”
“No, no, no,” I amend. “He likes me because I’m a challenge, Brianna. There’s a difference.”
George throws me an entertained look. “Slash, he kisses the ground you walk on.”
“Please,” I wave off. “He loves himself more than he loves me. It’s just a measly little crush.”
“Oh, really? Then why did I hear him call out about edible unmentionables while the door was wide open?” George has a smirk on his face. I go red again. Brianna chuckles.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I face front and bite my lip. The last thing I need is for George to have heard that whole bit in the hallway.
“I think you do,” he says to me, no longer leaning back in his chair. He stretches his body out like a cat and sighs. “And Fred will too,” George declares, almost nonchalantly.
Is there some ginger force at work here? Why are Brianna and George working against me?
“No one needs to know,” I blurt out to him, before banging my head down in frustration.
“I find him kind of fun,” Brianna speaks about Roger. “Being Head Girl can take a lot out of you, you know. Once and a while, I need some entertainment.”
“Why is this happening?” I ask myself quietly.
“Because redheads unite and stick together,” he says simply. “It was a force put on us at birth.”
“Stop saying that.” Brianna purses her lips and gives George a look that reads ‘I can’t believe you’re still telling people that’.
“Hey, I didn’t burst out of my mother’s uterus for nothing.”
“What he means to say,” she cuts in, “Is that we’re Quidditch kids. What happens between us, stays between us. People have to be notified.”
“Is there no privacy?” I call out desperately. “No secretive systems where people can suffer alone in their own embarrassment?”
“Nope.” Brianna sits up straight as the teacher walks in.
“That, my friend, is a stupid question.”
“Mmmhm,” he says cheerily.
Sofia Thorne is my best friend. She’s a smart, flirty girl. Not exactly what I’d call organized, but to an extend, she’s pretty put together. She follows through with things. When I make plans, she executes. We’re like our very own form of government. It’s how we work together, how we operate. So imagine my surprise when Sofia comes bursting in to our dormitory, while I’m on my bed doing my homework, going on about some new plan.
“You will not believe what I’ve just planned!” She bursts, throwing the door back, letting it ricochet off the wall of our dorm. She catches some girls off guard and Angelina Johnson jolts in response, followed by an eye roll when she sees who it is.
“Let me guess, miracle brain-grow?” She snaps, brushing past Sofia on her way to the bathroom.
“Ha ha ha,” she responds sarcastically, before turning to me. “Is Katie hiding in here anywhere?”
We look around for a split second just to make sure; there’s no sign of her in the dormitory.
“What’s up, Sofia?” I pat down a spot on my duvet for her to sit.
“Okay, so you know how we were talking about setting up Katie and Oliver?” She whispers, tucking a strand of blond hair behind her ear.
“Yeah…?” I don’t follow.
“Well I came up with a perfect solution!”
“And that is?” I push on, examining my best friends efforts to conceal her excitement. What is it that’s so exciting?
“We can make Oliver see her for who she really is!” Sofia squeals, jumping up and down. My text books falls off the bed and closes. Fabulous.
“Who cares about homework?” she kicks my book away.
“Excuse me! I was reading that-”
“Why don’t we have a sleepover? Remember how we used to have those all the time? Why don’t we have one with the girls from the Quidditch team.”
“We haven’t had a sleepover since, like, Fourth Year, Sof.”
“Yeah, so? It’d be a perfect way to bond. We already hang out with them every day. We might as well make some sort of initiation. We just started Quidditch season. What better way to get everyone settled in than a sleepover? We can created a fort and everything!”
“I don’t know…”
“What’s there to not know?! We’ll paint each other’s nails, talk about boys, and get Katie Bell to confess to liking him. We have to push this out of her before she breaks all her quills. Not to mention the fact that she's always timid around him... so what if we helped her with her confidence? I saw those cute clothes she brought from home in her trunk and she hasn't worn them once! Throw a little bit of a Sofia twist to it and boom! Kate Bell is back to her sassy self. That way, the next time Oliver sees her, he’ll be blown away.”
“What if he doesn’t notice?” I ask, crossing my arms.
“Oh, we’ll make him notice,” she winks. “It’ll be my mission. I’ve planned this out already.” She takes out a piece of paper from her blazer pocket. I, on the other hand, am flabbergasted. The fact that she took the time out to really do this is just shocking. She isn’t the preplanning type.
“I’ll try to work my magic on Lee again, so that this weekend, at the scavenger hunt, I can get Oliver and Katie to be around each other. Maybe even partners, just the two of them! Because honestly, I can’t take this anymore. The girl needs to make a move, she can’t just be watching from the sidelines-”
“Sofia, stay on topic,” I remind her.
“Er, right. As I was saying, we’ll start on Friday, then next week, we’ll throw the sleepover, and I’ve planned it precisely on the day before a trip to Hogsmeade. We can all go in a group with each other! We’ll all pair off, and hopefully walk away leaving tweedledee and tweedledum by themselves! And then…”
“BAM!” she yells out, using her hands as fireworks. She scares me and I fidget my entire body and almost fall off my four-poster.
“Love is in the air,” she concludes.
This sounds destructive.
“Sounds great,” I say flatly. “But one small catch.”
“How are we going to get everyone to cooperate?”
I am instantly filled with images of Fred taunting me about the edible underwear bit that George has no doubt told him about already. Ugh.
“Persuasion,” she insinuates, wiggling her eyebrows.
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