Chapter 4 : The First Name
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The First Name
I went to bed that night determined to forget completely about the mouse and everything it had said to me. I could see no purpose to continue to think about what had happened. If I was losing my mind, the last thing I needed to do would be to further unravel my mind by concentrating on it. And if it was some kind of prank that Glen was playing, he would be encouraged to continue doing stupid things if I let on that something was nagging at the back of my mind. For all of my best efforts, I found it hard to sleep at night. Though I did not exactly think about the mouse or what it had said to me, I couldn’t help but feeling like something was about to happen to me…like something on the horizon was constantly coming closer, though I could not see what it was. And this was something I really made me feel uncomfortable.
I was sincerely hoping that a brand new day would help me to forget even more. However, when I woke up the following morning it was impossible to miss the piece of parchment secured to my forehead with a small piece of spell-o-tape. I removed the parchment from my forehead and glanced immediately over at Glen’s sleeping form. Had he struck again? I looked at the piece of parchment and noticed that there were two words written on it. In fact, it was a name. Ramona Weathers. I considered the name for a moment before coming to the conclusion that the name meant nothing to me. I had never heard of a Ramona Weathers before. Though I knew Glen likes his practical jokes, this one seemed uncharacteristic for him. His jokes are usually fairly obvious; I usually can conclude why he has pulled the prank he has. Though I usually hate the reason, there is always a reason. For example, he messed with my alarm clock because he thinks it’s good for me to be spontaneous instead of so rigid. But taping the name of a random girl to my forehead? What did that do except confuse me?
Considering I had been late for my first class the previous day, I got up all the earlier that morning. Everyone in the dorm was still asleep; in fact all the students in the castle were probably still sleeping. The sun that had recently come up bathed the room in a pale, pink light as I moved quietly around, took a shower, combed my hair, and got dressed. I decided that a walk through the grounds would be an ideal way to begin the day. It would give me a chance to get some perspective, think about who Ramona Weathers could possibly be, and to play my guitar. Once I had made sure that my schoolbag was properly packed and hidden in under my bed so Glen wouldn’t see it and screw around with it, I picked up my guitar case and left the dorm. When I slipped out the great oak doors into the grounds the full effect of my morning claimed my senses. It was a rather chilly September morning; the sunlight was streaming across the grass making the dew shimmer. I walked along the path until I settled myself under a tree near the greenhouses. I opened up my guitar case and removed my instrument. It was getting rather old and battered, but I didn’t want to ask my parents for a new one. I think it still kills Dad that I asked for a guitar instead of a broomstick. Especially considering the fact that I’m not a very good player. I kind of wish I was better. Then maybe I would have the chance of becoming the member of a famous band; I think that would impress Dad.
I had been strumming rather mindlessly for a few minutes when the Hogwarts’ doors opened and someone stepped into the sunshine. I felt my heart skip a beat. It was Connie. She was wearing leggings with shorts over them, a sweatshirt, and running shoes. Her hair was up in a ponytail, and she sat herself down on the steps and began to stretch her legs. It felt strange to be sitting at a distance just watching her, but at the same time I was so happy to see her. She’s in a different house which means I can’t run into her in the common room. She’s one year older than I am which means we can’t have any classes together. And when I do manage to get a glimpse of her within the castle, I get nervous that James or Glen will notice. James has the ability to make my life miserable, and Glen would just make fun of me. Connie finished stretching and began to run along the path at a speed which, as a person of no athletic ability, amazed me. Quickly, I stood up and positioned myself and my guitar so I was concealed behind the tree I had previously been sitting under. I know it seems like a silly thing to do. If you have a crush on someone and desperately want them to notice you, the last thing you should do is hide yourself when they come along. I know it seems pathetic and rather depressing but the situation is hopeless, and my making a fool of myself by attempting to string words and sentences together is certainly not going to help.
I stayed where I was and watched as Connie jogged along the path. I noticed that her pace and footing never seemed to falter, and that she always kept to the center to the path. It was clear she had a method of running; it seemed like something she did everyday. Once Connie reached the lake, she stopped, putting her hands on her knees. She paused there for only a few seconds before turning around, jogging back up the path, and heading back into the castle. I was able to smile considering that neither James nor Glen were watching. Sometimes I wish I could act like no one was watching all the time.
I was picking at a single piece of toast on my plate, figuring Mum could probably sense it if I skipped breakfast, and keeping an eye on Evan Lee over at the Slytherin table just in case he got it in his big head to ruin my quiet morning. I put another small piece of toast in my mouth and noticed something interesting over at the Slytherin table. Scorpius Malfoy. Well it was really the expression upon his face that caught my attention. He was staring as often as he could at the Gryffindor table. He was trying to do so in a subtle manner, but, in my opinion, was failing. I became even more interested, and a little alarmed, when I realized what, or I should say, whom he was staring at. Rose was sitting with her friends at the Gryffindor table, laughing and talking. I kept my gaze on Scorpius, just trying to confirm that he was indeed looking at my sister. There was no doubt about it, Malfoy’s rather pointed face and grey eyes were pointed in Rose’s direction. As someone who lives with a hopeless crush everyday, I know that look well. It is a look that is hopeful, resentful, and rather pathetic. Even though I have never once spoken to Scorpius Malfoy, I couldn’t help but feel bad for him. I mean I know that Connie Bishop will never return my feelings, but it seems as though Scorpius is in an even more desperate situation.
It’s a known fact that the Weasley family and the Malfoy family hate one another. One time Dad told me that if I got in trouble at school for cursing Scorpius, he would simply look the other way. I doubt Mum would be so forgiving. I guess the long and short of it is that Dad and Uncle Harry didn’t get on with Scorpius’ father when they were at school. It seems like Uncle Harry has moved on, but Dad is famous for holding grudges, and lord knows he’s holding onto this one with an iron grip. But it even gets worse for Scorpius. As far as I know, Rose hates Scorpius as well. I gave my fellow unfortunate in love a final pitying glace before turning my attention to Lily and Albus who were entering the Great Hall together. Albus seemed frustrated and irritated, and was whispering angrily into the ear of his younger sister. Lily was rolling her eyes, and then pushed her brother away from her. Al shook his head after her and went to join his friends at the Slytherin table.
Lily started to move towards the Gryffindor table, but spotted me at the Hufflepuff table and decided to join me.
“They are just SO annoying,” she hissed, as she piled up food on her plate. “I can’t wait until they both graduate and I can finally have Hogwarts to myself.”
“What did they do?” I asked, knowing she was referring to her brothers. She waved her fork passionately as she talked.
“They do this every time,” she declared. “Every time a boy shows interest in me, they have to go completely off the wall. And now one has actually struck up the courage to actually ask me out. And Al just found out.” She frowned miserably as she took a bit of eggs. “It’s only a matter of time. He’ll tell James. Then they will work together to scare him away. And I’ll be alone once again. Why do they have to be such idiots?”
I shrugged and answered her quietly saying, “I suppose they’re just trying to protect you.”
“Protect me!” Lily said loudly, upsetting her cup of juice. “Bradley Sharp is completely harmless.” Bradley Sharp? I’d never even heard of him. But he must be brave if he had the courage to chase after Lily. Lily continued to eat and did pursue the subject further. I cleared my throat and decided, just from pure curiosity, to ask my cousin about something that had continued to nag at my mind.
“Lily? Do you know who Ramona Weathers is?” Lily’s head snapped up from her plate and she looked at me with excited eyes.
“Hugo! Do you have a crush on someone?” I felt my cheeks start to burn, as I followed Lily’s train of thought. Perhaps because we had just been talking about Lily’s romantic life, she assumed that I was bringing up my own. I suppose the fact that she even thought I had something of a romantic life is someone encouraging.
“No!” I assured Lily, though her eyebrows were still raised. “I was just wondering if you had ever heard of her.”
“No, I haven’t” Lily admitted. “Why do you ask?”
“It’s not important,” I replied, deciding that the question was ridiculous.
“Alright,” Lily said, looking suspicious. “Do you think we should be getting down to Herbology?”
“Actually,” I answered. “Glen did say he would meet me here yesterday.”
“Oh, so he’s actually planning on going to class for once,” Lily said, her expression instantly hardening. “You don’t need to wait for him. He’s going to make you late.” Lily got up, tossed her red hair over her shoulder, and pulled me up by my collar. I knew better than to argue with Lily Potter, so we exited the Hall together and made our way outside to the greenhouses.
Neville, or I should say Professor Longbottom, greeted Lily and I with a wide smile when we came into greenhouse number four. My fellow Hufflepuffs and the rest of the Gryffindors arranged themselves around the table in the center of the greenhouse. Lily sat down next to me, and I hoped today we would have a project that involved us working in pairs. I’m not too terrible when it comes to Herbology, but Lily is absolutely brilliant at all subjects. When Lily and I work together in Herbology, we always do well.
Glen slipped into class late, as usual, and Professor Longbottom just gave him a dirty look. Glen winked jovially at him before taking his seat next to me. Now Professor Longbottom is no push over, trust me. He does not tolerate tardiness in any other student. Glen Saunders may be a bully’s worst nightmare, but he is also the nightmare of each and every professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I really don’t blame Professor Longbottom for not responding to Glen’s antics anymore, there really seems like there’s nothing to be done. He doesn’t respond to punishment of any kind, he doesn’t flinch under scrutiny; in fact, all these things seem to make him thrive.
There was nothing unusual about Glen being late; however it was a little strange to see him grinning so broadly. When he finally got settled, he poked me happily in the arm. Lily rolled her eyes at his presence and turned her stool as far away from him as possible; giving Professor Longbottom rapt attention.
“Guess what?” Glen whispered. I didn’t answer. But, like most people, Glen just sort of fills in my answers for me and presses on.
“I figured out the best way to get under the skin of the great James Potter.” I sighed; deciding that whatever Glen said next I was simply going to block out.
“I’m going to go out with his sister!”
My jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe it. He was going to go after Lily?! I knew I actually had to say something here. Because if Glen started to pursue this, he was likely going to end up dead. I know James and Al would want him dead, but my money would be on Lily dealing out the fatal curse herself.
“Lily doesn’t like you,” I whispered back. Glen narrowed his blue eyes, looking confused.
“What are you saying, mate?”
“I’m saying that Lily Potter pretty much hates you.”
“She hates me?”
“I’d say so.”
“That is excellent!” Now it was my turn to look confused. Glen was pleased that Lily despises his very existence? Glen noticed my confusion
“Come on, Hugo, you know how it works! Girls are always going for the blokes they originally hate. And plus her siblings disapprove as well. Our love will be forbidden.”
I crossed my fingers under the table, hoping that our whispered conversation was going unheard by Lily. Luckily, it seemed that Lily’s primary goal was to ignore any words that came out of Glen Saunders’ mouth.
“This isn’t a good idea,” I murmured, opening up my notebook to begin taking notes on what Professor Longbottom was talking about. As I moved my stuff around on the table, one of Lily’s notebooks came into view.
“This starts now,” Glen said, snatching her notebook with a delighted grin. Glen waved his wand with a complicated wiggle over her notebook. I watched as curvy, glittery, gold letters formed across the cover clearly spelling out MRS. LILY SAUNDERS.
If I had been a person with a scrap of social courage, I would have told Glen right then and there that he was being an idiot. Vandalizing Lily’s belongings was not going to change her opinion of him. In fact, it was probably just going to make her hate him even more. Glen, ever so gently, slid the notebook back to where it was closer to Lily. Then he leaned across me and tapped Lily on the shoulder. Lily, thinking she had been signaled by me, turned around. I just put on a fake smile, and waited. Eventually, Lily’s eyes drifted down and caught sight of the letters which were still flashing merrily. Lily’s eyes hardened, and a violent red color started to fill her face. Lily looked right at Glen, and I started to worry that my best friend was about to be murdered by my cousin.
“Did you do this?” Lily demanded, fiercely. She picked up her notebook and shook it angrily under Glen’s nose.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Potter,” Glen responded mildly, looking at the notebook with a curious expression. “What’s that written on there?” Glen pretended as though he had never seen the gold words before, and a broad smile broke over his face.
“Do you have a crush on me, Potter?” he asked, smirking.
“No!” Lily gasped, turning the notebook over and slamming it on the table. “You’re an insulting, idiotic, imbecile!”
“Wait, are you asking me to Hogsmeade?” Glen asked, clearly pretending he couldn’t hear the rampage of my cousin. “I don’t know if your brother would like that. I don’t think he’s currently a fan of mine. Though I don’t mind a secret, romantic passion.”
Lily reached forward and grasped the collar of Glen’s robes, pulling his tall frame close.
“Listen to me, Glen Saunders,” she snapped in her meanest voice. “I don’t like you. In fact, I can’t even stand the sight of you.
“I love you too,” Glen answered, smiling into Lily’s red face. With a shriek of fury, Lily seized her vandalized notebook and began smacking Glen across the head with it. This whole situation was completely awkward in itself, but it was even more awkward considering the fact that I was literally in the middle of it all. I had to duck my head to avoid the blows coming from Lily.
“Lily! What are you doing!” Professor Longbottom had arrived on the scene, and he could only stop Lily’s wrath by personally removing the notebook from her angry hands. Lily pushed her bangs away from her forehead, and looked embarrassed. Glen was still grinning like the idiot he is.
“I’m sorry Professor,” Lily said, still glaring daggers at Glen. “Even though Saunders ruined my notebook, I shouldn’t have disturbed class that way.” Professor Longbottom nodded in a sympathetic way, but responded saying,
“I appreciate that, Lily. However, I’ll see you in detention tomorrow night all the same.” He turned to Glen who gave him a wink. “That goes for you too, Saunders.” Glen saluted him smartly, and nodded. Professor Longbottom rolled his eyes, and resumed his station at the front of the class.
“See you tomorrow, Potter,” Glen said happily. “For our first date.” I thought that Lily might get another detention by hitting him again, but instead she just ripped the cover off her notebook, balled it up, and chucked it at his head.
“How perfect was that?” Glen said excitedly as we joined the crowd of students milling near the greenhouse door.
“Perfect?” I said, shouldering my bag more securely. “That seems a little extreme.”
“Don’t you see, Hugo?” Glen said, patting me on the back. “Now we have this heat between us. We’re practically a couple.” The last thing I wanted to talk about was “heat” between Glen Saunders and my cousin, so I quickly changed the subject.
“Do you know who Ramona Weathers is?” I was still hoping that Glen was responsible for taping the note on my head, so I was really hoping to see some kind of recognition cross his face when I mentioned the name. However, his face just remained blank.
“Never heard of her, mate,” he answered. “Come on, the door’s finally free.” Now that there was room for us to leave, we both made for the door.
“Hugo!” Professor Longbottom’s voice caught me just as I was about to leave.
“See you later,” Glen said, as I went back over to where Professor Longbottom was standing. Was I in trouble? Maybe he expected me to stop the conflict between Lily and Glen.
“How are you, Hugo?” Professor Longbottom asked, gently. “Classes going alright so far?” I like Professor Longbottom a lot. He’s a really nice guy, and truly a good teacher. Usually talking to Professors makes me really nervous, but I find talking to Professor Longbottom a lot easier.
“Classes are ok,” I answered quietly, shrugging my shoulders. “When I’m not in the middle of my raging cousin and the object of her wrath.” Professor Longbottom chuckled as he gathered up his papers from the table.
“Glen Saunders has the ability to push everyone’s buttons,” he replied. “But I actually have a question for you. You were asking about Ramona Weathers?”
“You know her?” I had been starting to think she didn’t exist; part of me was actually hoping that she didn’t exist.”
“I’ve only met her once,” Professor Longbottom said, looking a little uncomfortable. “Why are you asking about her?”
“No reason,” I lied unimpressively, and I know he didn’t believe me.
“She taught Ancient Runes way before your time at Hogwarts. When her husband passed away she lost her home and she decided to begin boarding at the school. She’s been here for so long, I don’t think anyone really questions it anymore. She’s about eighty now and retired. She’s converted her old Ancient Runes classroom on the sixth floor into a small flat.” I thanked Professor Longbottom for the information and left the greenhouse feeling even more confused.
An eighty year old, retired woman? I couldn’t imagine why someone would tape the name of an eighty year old woman on my forehead.
I was able to wait until that evening before my curiosity caused me to crack. I had to know what was going on. I know it sounds silly, but it really is rare that anything really happens to me. This whole situation, the mouse, and the name taped to my forehead seemed to have no logical explanation. This fact made me feel as though it was something more. An act of fate or something like that. It seems strange that something totally random and strange would happen to me. I am the last person things like this usually happen to.
So, for this reason I found myself on the sixth floor, about to knock on the door of the mysterious Ramona Weathers. I was rather hoping that I would put an end to all these strange events by meeting her. I stood by the door for a good five minutes, trying to work up the courage to knock. I raised my hand, thinking about it again when the door opened on its own.
A tiny, withered looking woman with curly white hair stood in the opening. She had on a modest, flowered dress and square spectacles. Everything about her seemed unthreatening, until I looked into her eyes. She had grey eyes, and at this moment her eyes were flashing furiously.
“It’s about time you got your sorry butt up here,” she snapped. And then, with authority, she took a handful of my robes and pulled me into the room.
Well everyone, that’s it for now! I hope everyone is enjoying this story and its characters. I have a really fun time writing them, especially Glen. You guys are as amazing as usual, and I am really thankful for you stopping by and reading. If you have something you’d like to say, the review box is there for exactly that purpose.
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