Chapter 3 : Ring, Ring. The Real World is Calling
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I was just getting settled in the nice little groove my body had been making in the bed when Hollace VanStrauss entered the room. Her voice was like nails down a chalkboard. I swear I get the shivers every time she says anything.
"I wish Daddy would have let me just wait to come tomorrow. I mean, I missed an entire weekend where I could have been shopping. There was a new shipment of robes coming into Madam Malkin's this morning... Oh, you're here."
I scowled, but Hollace just brushed off my disdain as if it were lint.
"I guess I can't blame you. I mean, who wants to watch their ex-boyfriend make off with a new girl not even twenty-four hours after ditching you?" She flicked her long blonde hair over her shoulder as she turned towards Jocelyn, who was always eagerly awaiting Hollace's next words.
"Yeah, my mum said I couldn't wait either. Said something about needing her space..." Jocelyn scrunched up her face, but at the cold stare Hollace gave her she plastered on a smile and said, "Just kidding."
Kill me now. Not only did I have to endure the heartbreak of losing Seven, but now I was trapped in a room with Bitch One and Thing Two. Well, I didn't have to take this shit. With very little dignity, but a lot of fanfare, I pulled my blanket from my bed, wrapped it around myself, and went to the common room. Anything was better than enduring the endless and inane chatter of those two. I could only handle so much arse kissing and snobbery at one time. I had reached my Bull Shit limit for the day.
Most people were smart and averted their eyes when I walked into the Slytherin common room. Most people. I had to hiss at a third year boy. Brash little wanker. There was a corner that few people ever sat in because it was furthest from the fire, and the Slytherin common room could get pretty chilly. I curled up on an overstuffed chair and watched the black lake through the small porthole window. Sometimes a grindelow would pass by, or one of the giant squids’ tentacles. Jocelyn swore one time she had seen a merman look through at her, but no one really believed her.
I was actually pretty calm just sitting there watching algae, my mind drifting around like the water, never really focusing on anything. It was the most peace I had had since seeing Seven on the platform yesterday. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Six enter the common room. She glanced my way, but then turned and went up towards our dorm. I would probably have to sort that out later. She could get a bit touchy sometimes.
"You mind if I have a seat?" A quiet voice asked from behind and above me. I looked up to see Scorpius Malfoy standing there holding our overly large Transfiguration book. I shrugged.
We sat in silence, me continuing to stare out of the porthole and him reading on one of the two other chairs in the corner grouping. I was able to ignore his presence pretty well; it was almost comfortable. Almost. I felt that was what this past day had consisted of. Almosts. I almost had a nice train ride with my boyfriend. I almost enjoyed the start of term feast. I was almost able to hold myself together when said boyfriend ditched me. I almost smiled, twice. A very almost-y day.
"It's a nice spot." His quiet voice hardly disturbed my thoughts.
"You know I can heal that for you... if you want."
At first I wasn't sure what he was talking about, but then he pointed at my forehead. Oh yeah, that.
"Sure." I shrugged and leaned forward, duvet wrapped tightly around my shoulders.
He waved his wand and muttered something so low that I barely heard it. A warm tingling sensation filled my head, and I lifted my hand to my brow. It was smooth and painless. Just goes to show what a worthless school nurse we had.
"No problem." He sunk back into his chair and started reading his Transfiguration book once more.
I slouched into the comfort of my own seat and continued my look out of the window.
When Scorpius moved next it was to get up, closing the book around his pointer finger. I looked around the common room and noticed we were the last people there. When had that happened?
"Night," he said as he walked towards the boys dorms.
"Yeah, er… night." He gave me a weird look and then went up the stairs, leaving me alone in a very cold common room.
I rushed towards my own dorm; it was a little creepy here by myself.
Thankfully, Hollace VanBitch-face was sleeping, her eye mask safely in place, though why pulling the curtains to her bed closed wouldn’t work just as well was beyond me.
Six, however, was still sitting up. I approached her bed sheepishly.
"Sorry, didn't mean to be a complete prat earlier."
"It's fine." She turned her head.
"No, it's not. I am sorry. It has been a hard day."
"I just wanted to help." She bit her bottom lip and I could see that she was suppressing the trembling of her chin.
"I know you did. I guess I just needed to be by myself for a little while." I reached out and squeezed her arm.
"You feel any better?"
"Not really." I sat in the middle of her bed and she magicked the curtains closed.
"It's only been a day Rose. Seven will come to his senses." Her face looked so hopeful, and it made me wish I could be as naive. Nope, I knew without a doubt Seven meant it. There would be no happy reconciliation.
Though knowing this and wanting something else were completely different things, which is why I was forced to ask, "So is it true that he is into Gloria now?" The bedspread on Six's bed had a small, dark green stain left over from third year when we tried to dye our hair for a Quidditch match. You would have thought the house elves would have gotten that out, or that they would have replaced it. I waited patiently for her answer.
"No, of course not. She's just some silly Ravenclaw bint who got word that Seven was now sing... Who thought she would try to seduce a sixth year prefect. Wasn't able to get anyone in her own house, I expect."
"You're lying. But thanks." I couldn't handle anymore conversation so I brushed the curtains aside and went back towards my private hole. At least I had one more day to wallow before I had to see Seven in classes.
Sunday passed in a blur of sleep and tears. Tabby, who had tried once again to get me to go to meals, was deterred by Six. I never thought I would see the day when Six would raise her voice to anyone other than her siblings, but Merlin, did that witch have a pair of lungs on her! Needless to say, it meant I had an entire room to myself the whole day and was treated to breakfast, lunch and dinner in bed, all courtesy of the bestest friend ever.
I suspected she even made it so VanBitch-face wouldn’t enter. Probably just pointed her in the direction of the closest single, pureblooded male and the princess went running.
Next thing I knew, though, I was being shaken awake and Six was informing me that it was in fact Monday morning and I actually needed to get out of bed today. Damn school for getting in the way of my wallowing. I dressed in my school robes and pulled my hair back in a tight bun. I would shower later... maybe.
Tabby and Bertram decided to flank me once again. I guess Bertram was acting out his older brother fantasies. He hardly ever got to be protective of Adriana; that girl could hex a wing off a fly. Six took the seat across from me again. I was grateful for being surrounded, because not minutes after sitting down I was bombarded by Weasleys, Potters, a Scamander Twin (Lysander to be exact), Gordan, and Ade.
"She's fine. Just let the poor girl eat." Tabby's voice boomed through the chorus of “poor Rose”. Al scowled at her, but grabbed Gordie and walked back to the Gryffindor table. The rest of them weren’t as smart and only left when James and Fred started to grow tails. I had to admit, although I didn't really want to talk to any of them, it was nice to know I was loved. Professor Pucey came by and dropped off the schedule I had not gotten over the weekend with everyone else.
I was pleased to note I had a free period first thing, though it would have been nice to know that before hand. I could have avoided the whole breakfast circus to begin with. Then I had double potions. That I could definitely handle.
The only problem with a free period right now is it gave me time to think instead of something else to focus on. I supposed it wouldn’t be a bad idea to shower. I mean, I hadn't done so since three in the morning on Saturday. I probably smelled. I slickly sniffed under my armpit. Yep, definitely smelled. Six left for Divination while I followed Scorpius and Bertram down back to the common room.
One steaming hot shower and some foaming lavender/chamomile wash later; I felt refreshed and smelled delicious. I had had enough sulking and decided the best way to show Seven he was a major dick was to look as good as I possibly could, and I won’t lie, when I tried, that could be pretty darn good.
It was ten minutes to double potions when I came down the girls’ stairway. Bertram and Scorpius were packing up their book bags in preparation for the class. They looked up at my approach, and though he was like a cousin to me, I did get some satisfaction in watching Bertram's mouth hang open. Scorpius continued packing up with only a quick glance in my direction. Oh well, you can’t win 'em all. Besides, it was Seven's reaction I was interested in.
We walked together towards the classroom in a companionable enough silence, collecting Tabby to our group along the way. There was a small queue outside the classroom, much smaller than the year before. Seven was nowhere to be seen, but Six was standing near Gordan and Al against the wall.
At my approach they broke off in their conversation. Al appeared oblivious to any change in my appearance, Gordan looked me up and down in appreciation, and Six smiled and gave me a hug. Merlin, I didn't realize that a bit of makeup and a wash would garner such a positive reaction. Perhaps I would do it more often. I mean, I didn't really have to try too much before, I already had Seven. The door to the potions classroom swung open and Professor Pucey stepped out.
"Well, what are you waiting for?" He gestured us into the room, his long boney fingers pointing our way as if we needed directions.
When I entered the room I saw a few four person stations set up, and Seven sat at the front right hand table. I wondered what could have had him meeting with Professor Pucey before class, but stopped thinking altogether when I saw the look on Seven's face. Nothing. There was nothing there. He didn't even seem to notice my entrance. All this effort wasted.
All except for Al and Six, people starting sitting themselves around the stations. Those two nervously looked at me. Gordon had taken the seat beside Seven without a second of thought. Al's eyes darted between mine and Seven's, while Six's went back and forth between me and Gordon. I sighed and gestured for them to sit with Seven. I, in turn, walked over to Tabby, Bertram and Scorpius, thankful that no one else had taken their spare seat.
Otherwise, I might have ended up at the table with the Hufflepuff who was known to pick his nose and eat his bogies. Really pretty gross if you ask me. Six shot me an 'I'm so sorry' look, but I couldn't let myself get mad. It wasn't as if I could ask her to forsake her twin and her crush all because of me. Well, actually I totally could. I mean, I am the wronged party here, but I won’t because I am better than that. Well, today I am anyway.
I scooted in next to Tabby and placed my bag under the table.
"Take out your books and turn to page 10. This is your NEWT year and I expect all of you to get this potion right on the first try." Professor Pucey shot a pointed look at Seven.
I wondered again what in the world was going on, but I didn't really get much time to dwell. Drought of the Living Death was calling my name; or rather Tabby was as she snapped her fingers in front of my face.
"You there?" She hissed and my eyes refocused and saw to my chagrin that everyone else seemed to be chopping up their sopophorus beans.
I began working on my own; though using the back of my knife in order to get more juice out. For some reason my mum insisted that I learn this technique. Something about not letting Al best me in potions. As if that could happen. Transfiguration, maybe, but definitely not potions.
"Hey? What's that you're doing?" Scorpius asked as he saw the juice of the sopophorus bean practically gush out. I showed him with another one of my beans. He attempted to make the proper squishing motion, but ended up shooting his bean across the room and it smacked into the back of Seven's head. I didn't mean to snort, but honestly, that was just too funny. A bit of justice served as well.
I turned my head in order to not appear the guilty party; after all, I hadn't done it. I could feel Seven's eyes on the back of my head but dared not to look back. Instead, I took Scorpius’s hand and guided him through the proper way to juice the sopophorus bean.
He caught on quickly and I got back to making my own potion. I was just adding the infusion of asphodel when Scorpius whispered, "Should I be worried that your ex is going to try and hex me?" He gestured with his head over to Seven's table.
I brushed my chin with my shoulder, taking the opportunity to sneak a peek at Seven. Our eyes met, and for the briefest second I saw his flash of irritation before he turned back to his own potion.
"No, he would never stoop to that level. Besides," I looked down at my neatly chopped valerian roots, "he broke up with me." I felt the familiar prick in the back of my eyes and blinked rapidly several times before focusing again on the roots.
I obviously made Scorpius uncomfortable because he didn't comment after that, which honestly I was grateful for. Anything he might have said would have been some pitiful attempt to make me feel better, and only would have caused me to feel even worse.
Five. Six. Seven (ugh!). Counterclockwise. One. Two. Three...
My potion had started to lighten and was now the color of lilac; I took stock of those around me and noticed Tabby was still working on getting her potion to the dark currant color that showed you were about half way done. Bertram was a few shades lighter than Tab’s, and Scorpius was just a few shades darker than mine. It was nice to know that I was still good at something. My potion was nearing very close to clear when Professor Pucey called time.
He walked purposefully around the classroom, commenting on the potions he passed. He took a long time examining Seven's potion, whose color appeared to be close to lilac, though perhaps a few shades off. The Professor whispered something to Seven, which he nodded to somberly, and then continued on his perusal of the rest of the class.
"Very nice, Weasley."
I couldn't help but beam. So what if Seven broke my heart? I still at least had my skill with potions. That was something he had always needed my help for. Na, na, na, na boo boo. What? That's what the jerk gets for dumping me.
We all hurried to clean up our places and headed for lunch, I was met by Six and Al on the way out.
"I’m so sorry, Rose..." Six gave me an apologetic smile.
"Don't worry about it."
"So you're all buddy, buddy with Malfoy now?" Al asked.
I shrugged, "He's nice enough."
"Just be careful, Rose. Guys like that prey on girls who are on the rebound."
"Be careful about what? Seven and I just broke up, I am not about to date anyone, let alone a bloke I have barely talked to these past several years."
"I wasn't talking about dating..." Al trailed off his thought as he walked to catch up with Gordan.
I decided to eat lunch with Ade and Dom at the Ravenclaw table. One, I wanted to get a good look at Gloria, and two, I really shouldn't continue to sulk in my own little Slytherin corner.
"Hey," I greeted Adrianna as I sat down across from her.
"Well, if it isn't our Rose. Decided to come out of your hole, have you?" Though there was a smile on her face, I could tell that she meant every sarcastic word she had just said.
"No, she's just here checking out the competition." Dom sat down beside me, swinging her strawberry blonde hair into my face.
I blushed. Leave it to Dom to not let me get away with anything. If it weren't for Tab’s aversion to anyone non-Slytherin, I feel that they would get along swimmingly.
"So... what's she like?" I had to ask. What was the point in lying? We all knew the truth.
"Don't really know her, honestly." Dom reached for a platter of cold meats and forked a few pieces of roast beef onto her plate.
"I tutored her a bit in charms last year, but we didn't really talk about anything non-charms related." Ade shrugged and took a nibble of some cheese.
"She's a right bitch."
I turned to see Hugo standing behind me; he plopped down at my vacant side.
I quirked a 'do go on' eyebrow at him.
"She only goes out with older blokes, they have to be pureblood, and she hates Quidditch." He spat the last bit out as if the words tasted bad. Which, in Hugo's mouth, they probably did.
"Great," I muttered. "Seven is older, pure blood, and doesn't like girls who are into Quidditch."
They all gaped at me at this last bit.
"What?" I asked.
Ade, the only one who was able to speak after such a declaration, said, "I don't get it. He doesn't like girls who like Quidditch? I thought Seven loved the game."
"He does. He just thinks girls who play, or who are really into watching, are un-feminine." I shrugged.
"Is that why you stopped playing with us?" Dom asked, finally able to get her voice back.
I could feel my cheeks flush pink, and I averted my eyes to focus on the grain of the table. Did you know that there is a knothole that looked very much like a dementor? Kind of freaky, if you ask me.
"You did. I can't believe you, Rose. To stop doing something you're good at for some bloke!" Dom's tone grew more indignant.
"Pretty dumb, sis."
"That's not why I stopped. I just didn't really fancy playing anymore." Not really feeling hungry, but deciding I should attempt at eating, I pulled an apple from a bowl and started twisting the stem.
"I don't believe you." That was Dom.
"Me neither," said Ade.
"Really horrible liar," muttered Hugo.
I took a bite of my apple.
"Seriously Rose..." Dom sighed.
"You should try out this year," Ade urged.
"Show that tosser Seven what a girl can really do," Dom insisted again.
Hugo just nodded, as his mouth was now full of a ham and cheese sandwich. Too bad I hadn't inherited my mother's table manners like Hugo.
"Maybe. Now can we drop it?" I gave them each my 'stop-now-or-I'll-hex-you' stare.
"Sure, for now." Dom shrugged, tossed her hair over her shoulder, and fingered a piece of roast beef into her mouth.
"So, how was your first day of classes?" Desperate for any change of subject, classes would just have to do.
"Crap. Professor Longbottom had us collect bobotuber puss. Stuff is just nasty." Hugo made a disgusted face.
"Well that's better than having that Vance woman teaching DADA. She's so green you can practically smell the fertilizer. We won’t learn a blasted thing this year." Dom's irritation was justified. If you were planning on being an Auror a good DADA teacher was imperative. Dom’s standards were a bit higher than most, especially given the identity of her father and uncles. I mean, our family is quite well known for our skills in the Defense of the Dark Arts.
"She's not that bad. Maybe if you hadn't called her out in front of the whole class she wouldn't have been so flustered."
Dom shot Ade a dark look, and we all backed off of the subject. If there was one Weasley you didn't get angry, it was definitely Dominique. We all had our tempers, but for some reason hers was a bit more feral. I secretly thought it came from some of the werewolf tendencies from her dad, though there was no real evidence of that, just a suspicion.
"Watch out. James is coming this way," Dom hissed to Ade, low enough that Hugo didn't seem to hear as he focused on getting someone to pass him the chili from the other end of the table.
"So?" Ade didn't even turn to look.
"So, I thought you weren't talking to him." Their voices, a little louder than before, drew Hugo's attention.
"Who aren't you talking to?" He asked rather loudly, and looked to Ade. She colored slightly.
"Nobody," she hissed.
"So, not me then?" James asked as he walked up and took the seat next to Ade.
I watched as my friend collected herself quickly. "No, I am NOT not talking to anyone."
James grinned. "Good to know."
"Well, I would love to stay and chat, but I've got to get ready for Herbology," Ade said as she gathered her books, shooting Dom and Hugo a scathing look, smiling wanly at me, and barely nodding towards James.
I, being my nosy self and needing something other than my own drama to occupy my mind for a bit, decided to go after Ade.
"Yeah, um... got Arithmancy. See you guys." I spoke quickly as I rose and practically ran to catch up with Adrianna, who had managed to get rather far considering she had only just left the table ten seconds before me.
"Hey, hold up." I called as I fell into stride by her. "What in the world was that about?"
"What was what about?" She asked.
"Oh, don't play dumb with me. Since when do you avoid James Potter?" James and Adrianna had been best friends since the age of four when he offered to share his animal crackers with her at my third birthday party.
"I'm not avoiding him." She started walking faster.
"Look, I really am not. I just…well, I just think that it would be better if we didn't hang out as much anymore." Her brows furrowed slightly.
"Because, why?" I could really be annoying when I wanted to.
"Because it keeps interfering with me getting any blokes to notice me," she gushed out.
"That's rubbish. Guys definitely notice you," I shot back.
"Maybe, but they don't do anything about it. James scares them all off. Like this weekend, I was having a perfectly nice time with Derick Kestler and then James comes over and ruins it all. Putting his arms around me as if I were his property. Acting all macho. Now Derick will hardly even look at me."
I knew how hard it could be to have the Potter and Weasley boys looking out for you. James and Fred gave Seven hell for the first two and a half months we were together. Not to mention Al, who was livid and kept saying things about breaking the 'guy code'. I don't know what he was so fussed about, Six thought it was great and she was Seven's actual sister and not just a cousin.
"I'm sorry. I know they can be a pain, but it comes from a good place." I pulled Ade to an alcove on the side in order to face her.
"I know, but I just... well, I just don't want it anymore. I feel like a social pariah. Hell Rose, the only boy brave enough to kiss me was in the third year, and he got hexed so badly he was in the hospital wing for a week."
"Have you tried talking to James about it, maybe hinting that he needed to lay off a bit?"
She rolled her eyes at me. "On about fifty different occasions. It's fine for him to go off and have a different girl every week, but for me to even talk to a guy is inconceivable. I think it will just be better this way." She placed a hand on my forearm in a plea for me to understand her decision. "I better get to class. Thanks for listening, Rose."
"Sure," I called out, and noticed once again how fast Ade could move. I couldn't help but feel bad for James. He was a right git for running off all of Ade's prospects, but I knew how much this would hurt him.
Seven and I had not even been together for two years, a drop in the bucket compared to a thirteen year friendship.
A/N: So how was that? The Scorpius interraction will slowly start creeping in on our dear Rose. Want to thank those of you who are reading and especially those who are reviewing. I really appreciate it, it brightens my otherwise nausea filled day :)
Much love to my wonderful beta Georgia Weasley, she is the best.
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