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Chapter 7 : It's Not All About Anne - Well...
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Also, I’ve written a bit from Amy’s view – as I love doing in these chapters, which can actually give you a taste of the prequel that I have been endlessly talking about!
And, before we go into the story, keep the reviews coming, guys. I really appreciate it!
The water from the shower was so hot that it was scolding Oliver Wood’s bare skin, but he didn’t care. He happily let his skin become red and raw as the cascade of hot water flowed onto his shoulders, then to his stomach, and finally his feet, trying to send his pain in another direction – any direction. Because he could only be momentarily numbed by it all for so long.
It was his own fault, if he really looked at it. It was Quidditch or Anne, and, at the time, Quidditch seemed like the more appropriate choice. While he could never deny that he adored his new job, and he loved playing the game constantly, he couldn’t help but have a few moments when he questioned his choice. It would be like this, when he would stop playing, the rush and adrenalin from the game would end, and all that would be left is the thought of what he had left behind at Hogwarts. Even though the thought would have seemed impossible ever since he was a little kid, there were those few minutes where he thought that he should just forget about being the responsible one.
Like when he found out that she was dating George Weasley.
Oddly enough, he didn’t hear it from George, himself. He found out in a letter from Katie Bell, who was moaning about how he was bragging about it. Oliver didn’t blame him; he certainly would’ve bragged if it was him. However, it wasn’t.
Rinsing his hair, he pictured Anne clearly in his mind; the mousy-brown hair, the pale complexion and the tall and slender body. The image was vivid and he just couldn’t shut it out; the guilt wouldn’t let him. The last thing he had ever heard of her was calling him a dick. He did try to get her attention on the last day, but she must have not heard her as she walked away with her mother.
But how was he to know the pain that would be caused by Anne Walters? He had only known her for about a year, and they were just young. Things could’ve ended completely differently. For all he knew, he could’ve ended up forgetting about her the moment he stepped back onto the pitch. But things never quite work out that way. It was probably the curse of luck - it’s only rarely on your side.
Trying to busy himself, he tried to refrain from telling himself again what he should have done. He should have forgotten about the future, make do with what he had in the present, gotten the guts after the Yule Ball and just asked her out. He had plenty of chances, after all. Understandably, he refused to do anything while she was on that potion – he was just not like that. Nevertheless, how about the other times? There were moments where he could have taken advantage of the circumstances…
The one bad thing about Quidditch practices – dare he admit that anything was wrong with it – was that it messed with your sleeping patterns. It was even worse when you didn’t have them, though. It was like bad withdrawal symptoms. Sitting alone in a corner the morning, shivering, wondering when the next time you could get your hands on a broom would be.
Lying on his bed, Oliver tried his best to ignore the sounds around him, but eventually he couldn’t ignore the crying any longer. Even though whoever they were, all he knew was that it sounded female, would probably loathe him for spying, Oliver still just needed to see what was going on, to make sure that he didn’t just lie back while a tragedy occurred.
Her brown hair was all around the place, and she was hugging her legs on the spot, tears splashing down on her nightclothes.
Her head swerved around towards him, the skin under her eyes seeming raw as she just rubbed away any leftover tears. “Oliver?”
“Anne,” he looked at her with concern, taking a step towards her, “are you OK?”
“I’m fine.” And then, in the blink of an eye, Anne rushed out of the common room, still in tears. Even though he probably should have left her to do whatever she felt like doing, the thought of her running in the dark alone rather frightened him, so he pursued her.
Oliver could say this for Anne: she was faster than he remembered. However, once again, his Quidditch physique made him faster than her and he caught up, grabbing hold of her arm again. What was with Anne and running away from him, anyway? Was it impossible for the two of them lately just to have a normal conversation?
When Oliver grabbed her, he mustn’t have known his own strength, as the combination of both their force made Anne collapse to the ground. When he tried to pick her up, which almost seemed like some sort of embrace, she pushed his arms away and demanded, “What are you so nice?”
Taken aback, he merely asked, “What?”
“You. Nice. Why? If I were you, I’d hate me.” After this, Anne seemed lost for words only for a moment before she continued, “It’s what you were saying back in February, I’m hot and cold.” Had he said that? Oh yeah, he had when he confronted her… now that seemed like a while ago. “And now I’m going out with Pucey. After all you did to protect me from him ever going near him again, and you’re still here…trying to hug me!”
Oliver tried to mutter something along of the lines of how he wasn’t exactly trying to hug her, but she obviously didn’t hear him and just said, “How do you think that makes me feel? Knowing that I’m a complete bitch, but that you’re still willing to forgive me?”
“So you know that you’re a complete cow for going out with Pucey?” He didn’t even realise that he had said it for a while.
Even though he was slightly upset about how he might have offended her, she smiled and exclaimed, “Finally! You’re angry at me!” Her arms were around him before he knew it, her then saying, “You’re human!”
Now these were the moments that Oliver truly saw the attraction that he had for her. Laughing, he replied, “Of course I’m angry at you. What are you playing at?”
“I don’t know. I don’t even like him!”
“Well that’s just genius, isn’t it?” he inquired. Cautiously, his arm slid around her waist as he began to walk her back towards the common room. That had to be one of the happiest moments of his life.
There was a knock on the door and Oliver called out, “I’m kind of busy at the moment.” Well, he actually wasn’t. It was more like he was just standing beneath the water, hoping for a second that it would drown him.
“It’s me,” said a female voice from the other side.
“Look, Danielle, can you come by later?” Danielle was a young graduate from Beauxbatons, who had taken it upon herself to become Puddlemere United’s personal assistance, since she wanted to live in the United Kingdom anyway. While the team thought it sounded rather professional, and it meant a good looking girl doing jobs for them, they were mostly bothered by the poor girls presence. Not that it was really her fault at all. Try as she may - and she tried - she never quite managed to raise her profile high enough to be seen as a decent companion to them.
“I would, but you have an owl and it won’t let me take the letter for you. Seems top-secret, or something like that.”
That’s odd, thought Oliver. Normally, the owls would just let Danielle take them for him, but this one was clearly more stubborn. “Recognise the handwriting?”
Sighing deeply, he reached for a towel and wrapped it around his body. He walked out, ignoring how Danielle’s cheeks went a deep shade of red, and took the letter from the owl’s grip. He was always oblivious to female attention. While other boys had been sneaking magazines around and trying to charm witches, he was practising his dive. By the time he had taken a serious interest in attracting the opposite sex, it was already too late.
The handwriting wasn’t familiar to him, either. But the address was recognisable. It was the address that he had sent an owl to around the beginning of the summer, after doing plenty of research for it; it was Anne’s.
He threw aside the envelope, once he managed to get hold of it. All that was written was:
She didn’t read it. But keep trying – I know her.
Who was Leslie? He had never heard of the name before in his life. Nevertheless, if the return address was the same as Anne’s, then he was going to believe it. As idiotic as it sounded, he wanted to believe it. No, he needed to believe it. After all, how could he stop fighting? He knew Anne aswell, and knew just how much she was worth fighting for.
Her blonde hair nicely hung on her shoulders, and her face had the usual sharp edge about it that it did all the time. However, just because she looked happy on the outside, didn’t mean that it actually counted for anything, because inside, she was miserable. How could Anne do this from day to day? Be so sarcastic, humorous and happy-go-lucky, when she was obviously hurting. Because let’s face it, she had been ever since her sister walked out. It was the secret thing that bonded the two together – their pain – even if Anne didn’t realise it.
Cedric was dead. The world continued to move and everything around seemed ordinary and her breaths were still steady, but it wasn’t right. Because Cedric was dead. The only man she thought she could possibly end up with, was dead. Bitterly, she thought that this was how Anne would have felt when she found out that Harry was going to the Yule Ball with Parvati, except it would have been on a smaller scale.
She knew that it shouldn’t have affected her – what happened in Defence Against the Dark Arts – but it did. She could remember Umbridge’s patronising tone, and it killed her inside. The way that Cedric was being portrayed as an unfortunate person who just had a little slip. But that was a lie. Cedric was precise with everything he did. Even when he wasn’t, he seemed to work in his favour.
“You’re being stupid, Anne.”
Anne looked up from her bed with a guilty expression. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Oh, so you’re not plotting to get Harry Potter?”
“Yes, but it’s not stupid. I really think I have something this time.”
“I’m not saying anything. You never understand the genius behind them.”
Amy scoffed as Anne began to walk away. “Oh, don’t I now?”
“No,” stated Anne firmly, closing the book she had been writing in shut. “Amy, what you need to learn is that love makes us all do crazy things.”
“And I don’t know love?”
“Amy, you’ve never even had a crush on anyone.”
Turning around to blush, Amy couldn’t help but feel immensely guilty. Anne had been her best friend for three years now, so she couldn’t help but feel slightly bad about the fact that she had began liking someone, and failed to tell Anne yet. Well, not that she would like him anymore. Because there was no way that she was going to spend any more time thinking about –
“Amy,” Bella stood by the door, looking extremely confused, “Cedric Diggory’s waiting outside the portrait hole for you.”
“I didn’t know that you had ever talked to Cedric Diggory,” commented Magda, who then shrunk away as the three girls looked at her oddly. Magda never really got along with the three of them since she moved from the other girls’ room. Anne was the one Magda was most intimidated by, though. Nobody really knew whether or not Anne accepted her or not. On the one hand, Anne didn’t like the way she acted, or the way she swore, but she couldn’t help but understand that anyone would want to move from Lavender’s room. Apparently, when it came to being getting out of the same room as Lavender, limbs were dispensable.
Ignoring how they looked at her, Amy stood up and left the dormitory. Walking down the steps, Amy thought about how annoying this situation was. She knew she couldn’t keep anything a secret. Amy was generally an awful liar sometimes, and hardly stood her ground apart from the moments where Anne and Bella were backing her up, especially Anne, who was prepared to bite anyone’s head off.
Sure enough, Cedric was hanging around outside. When he saw Amy, his face lit up and said, “Took you’re time coming here.”
“What are you doing here?”
“I came to talk to you. You left rather quickly the last time we spoke.”
“I needed to go to the Hospital Wing.” Amy instinctively rubbed her shoulder where she fell down on.
“I did catch you,” said Cedric defensively.
“Before accidentally dropping me again.”
Amy had to admit that she was partly to blame. She was an idiot to kiss him on the cheek, a damn idiot. She was a thirteen-year-old who never had a boyfriend and he was a sixteen-year-old who was admired by most of the girls in the school because of his Quidditch status and other amazing qualities. There was no point in her trying to flirt. And since when was a kiss on the cheek flirting? Why couldn’t Bella have given her any tips, now that she was this new transformed woman?
“I was just a little – so here’s what I’m thinking,” said Cedric, eager to hide his embarrassment. “Now, I know that you think I’m just a hot shot with a broom.” Even though that was hardly what she was thinking, she didn’t say anything in disagreement and he continued, “but I think I can prove that I’m better than that.”
“Cedric, you don’t have to -”
“Yes, I do. Amy, your opinion of me is very important to me, and I intend to prove that to you.”
And it was all those little things he did that made her know exactly that Cedric wouldn’t have just made a mistake. That was just impossible, because he was so perfect at everything that he did – apart from those few moments of madness, that only made it clearer that only something big could possibly have brought him down. Cedric had that flawless air around him that could never be challenged by anyone. He was the man that made Amy’s world spin upside down – everything she believed was based on him. She was empty enough as it was, so she certainly didn’t need Umbridge attempting to dash her hopes.
Amy put down her brush and stood up. There was no point moping now. She would just have to walk ahead, with her head up high, and go on pretending that the world was still in good condition. She had become rather good at putting on a face in front of everyone, for a certain amount of time. Besides, she really was starting to feel some emotion apart from despair recently – but that’s just the power of friendship.
Walking out, the first thing she saw was Seamus sitting with Lavender Brown, talking animatedly while her skin crawled. Who did Lavender think she was anyway, talking with Seamus? Seamus was blatantly Bella’s man, even if they had broken up. Anne had been telling her about how Seamus was already acting a bit iffy about Lavender when he was informed about the bathroom incident.
When Seamus saw Amy, he jumped away from Lavender. “Are you OK?”
“Sure,” said Amy, a bit suspiciously.
“I only say it because I haven’t spoken to you since our first Defence Against the Dark Arts class.”
“Come to think of it, that might be true,” said Amy with mock surprise. The truth was that she knew and didn’t mind while he still possibly cared for the girl on his right, who then muttered, “That might not be such a bad thing.”
Seamus looked at Lavender for a moment, rolled his eyes and turned back. “Where are you heading off to?”
Still a little surprised by the way he had just acted towards Lavender, almost as if he was completely discrediting her opinion, she said, “I just thought that I would go to the Astronomy Tower – I have homework.”
“I’ll come with you.”
Amy kept looking back towards Lavender, who looked rather offended at Seamus’ behaviour. Sure, Amy had become rather close friends with Seamus since he kept pestering her about Bella, like he had with Magda and Anne, but she still didn’t think that he would ditch Lavender for her. Unless Anne had gotten to him…
“She sure talks a lot,” commented Seamus.
“Funny, I thought you liked her talking,” said Amy sweetly, only meaning to slightly accusative.
“You’ve been talking to Anne, I see.”
“Yes, she is my friend,” said Amy, laughing, “but I don’t quite get the connection.”
“Well, I sort of hinted to her that I… well, that I liked Lavender.”
Amy stopped in her tracks and looked at Seamus with an odd expression. “Only hinted? What? Don’t you?”
“Well, sure, she’s nice. I just don’t see her in that way.”
“Then why did you hint to Anne that –”
“I just didn’t want her… she just… she’s a passionate person.”
“Still, I don’t quite get it.”
Seamus shrugged his shoulders. “It’s just that – it’s just that I think Anne can’t get the idea that I might just be over Bella.”
“And you are?”
“I think so,” replied Seamus, grinning. “I’ve moved on, you see. The problem is that I don’t think Anne likes that idea. So I mentioned that I talked to Lavender about it and when she got a little touchy, I decided that Anne doesn’t like her anyway, why not just…”
“Distract Anne with her? Well, sounds good and all, but don’t you think that I might tell Anne all this?”
“I don’t think you will, not if you find out who the girl is.”
“You’re going to tell me?” Amy tried to sound excited, but she was more worried about who was this new girl. She was pretty sure that she would end up telling Anne regardless, only ever being able to keep one secret from her – which was one she would take to the grave – and she was also sure that Anne would very easily take down any opponent for Bella’s sake.
“I should be going back.” Seamus began to walk away.
“Hey!” shouted Amy. “You just hinted that you were going to tell me! I thought we were good friends! Great friends –”
“- The best of friends –”
“- Then why won’t you tell me?”
Pausing, Seamus leaned towards Amy, kissed her on the cheek and said, “Bye, Amy.”
And as he walked away, Amy felt thirteen again.
And it was terrifying.
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