“Shit,” I said the second I woke up. All the other girls were looking at me like I had just told them that hippogriffs didn’t exist.
“Sorry,” I told them. Fantastic, now all of them were going to think that I was one big potty-mouth. So much for fitting in. Even worse, so much for being considered a lady. I had been dreaming about Cedric: Cedric and I holding hands, Cedric and I standing by the Lake, Cedric saying that he loved me. Cedric kissing me ever so softly.
Nonono. I couldn’t be thinking these things about him. For his sake and mine it was better that I didn’t. It was nothing I tried to convince myself. It probably was due to our little meeting the previous night in front of the Goblet. Chances were that he wasn’t even thinking about me. I had to let it go. Take the easy way out. Being a coward and ignoring Cedric was our only hope.
I quickly got dressed to give my roommates a chance of speaking about me behind my back. I found Luna waiting for me by the fire in the common room. It hit me like lightning that that was one of the coldest mornings I had ever experienced. It felt like an omen of the hell of a day I was in for. We got fairly quickly to the Great Hall and sat down at our own table.
“Do you not ever have breakfast with them?” I asked Luna while looking over at Harry, Ron and Hermione.
“Not ever, no,” she said, giggling a little, “why, I hardly know them! I have only spoken to the girl, you know.”
Of course! I told myself. Fourth. Luna and I probably weren’t even in the same year. I was buttering a small slice of bread when I noticed Cedric walking into the Hall. My body was on fire. I was surprised at how my skin reacted to his mere presence. He saw me from across the room and shot a grin at me. I corresponded with a small smile.
Please, God, let that be it.
“Be back in a sec,” I heard him call out to some of his Hufflepuff friends. Calmly, in a way I found to be quite seductive, he started walking towards Luna and me.
“Oh, bloody hell,” I muttered. I let go of my bread feeling stupid just holding it. So much for ignoring Cedric.
“Hi,” he beamed when he was right in front of us.
“Hi Ced!” called a high-pitched voice that did not belong either to Luna or me. I turned around to see Cho Chang lean forward. Her amount of make-up was ridiculous and I noticed that not all of her buttons were buttoned up, clearly showing a flashy yellow bra. I smiled in spite of myself, half embarrassed for Cedric’s sake.
“Oh, hi Cedric,” Luna called out just noticing that Cedric was in front of us.
“Hey Luna,” he said and turned once again to face me.
“Hi,” he repeated.
“Hi,” I said, still smiling a little. Was that the effect he had on all women? He certainly had it on me, though I was smart enough not to show it.
“Is that the effect you have on all women?” I voiced out, quickly regretting what I had just said.
Cedric turned pure red and smiled his little sad smile at me again. I hated that smile. And I had made it come out twice in the past eight hours.
“Not on you, apparently,” he said.
His answer took me by surprise. Oh, how wrong he was. My knees began to tremble under the table and I was glad he couldn’t see them. Soon enough Luna was making comments again about something biting me, since I was pale as a ghoul. The moment I saw her start to grope at the air I told her I was all right and turned back to Cedric.
“I don’t know you that well, you see,” I told him.
Cedric gave an appreciative nod, as if he understood exactly what I was saying.
“Well,” he said, “let’s hope you eventually do.”
Oh God. Dangerous zone. That was some dangerous zone.
“Yes,” I said nonetheless, “let’s.”
Though a little taken by surprise by my answer, Cedric seemed satisfied. He smiled at Luna and me again and left, leaving me in a completely confused state of mind. That was seriously dangerous. It wasn’t my place to flirt with Cedric. He was meant to be with Cho, wasn’t he? I turned to Cho, who was at that moment undoing yet another button of her shirt. God. Cedric did not deserve that. That a woman so stupid should fall in love with you must be just like a curse.
I pursed my lips and furrowed my brows and took a little bite from my buttered bread. When I was done I looked up only to discover Cedric’s gaze on me.
“I forgot something,” I told Luna and soon was out of the Hall.
That was some dangerous zone. Very dangerous.
The classes would begin in less than fifteen minutes, and yet I was hidden in my room like a scared mouse. Potions was first and I knew damned well that I should not be late for that one; but the possibility of running into Cedric was too big, and my fear too overwhelming.
“Come on, you wuss,” I told myself for courage, “he won’t bite.”
And yet, Cedric biting me did not sound altogether bad… No. Bad thoughts, bad thoughts.
All the classes were pretty standard procedure. I was glad I was aware of most of the things that were being taught; otherwise I would never had known what to do with myself. In general I tried to make sure I was paying attention and remained mostly quiet. All through the day I answered perhaps once per class, at most. But I couldn’t get Cedric off my mind. Even if I was determined not to fall for him, and definitely to not allow him to fall in love with me, I knew I had to do something about his death. Thus, my resolve to pay attention in class was soon discarded. By midday most of my notes were a combination of actual notes and secret little plans to frustrate Cedric’s intentions of participating in the Tournament.
My penultimate class of the day was Divination with Professor Trelawney. Fantastic. The night before Dumbledore had sent me a small owl with a piece of parchment. Though at first I was excited awaiting an answer to all my unasked questions, I soon found my expectations quite frustrated. Scribbled in gold ink was written my school schedule, and under the single word “Divination” was a small note: “Thought you might enjoy it.” Right. Why shouldn’t I? Being stuck for two hours every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with Sybill Trelawney and a bunch of third-graders. What was there not to like?
Good news was Luna was in the same class with me. Bad news was Luna already had a partner. Worse news was Cedric was in that very class with us. Slightly better news was this girl called Elizabeth Gerber from Slytherin asked me to be her partner before Cedric could even speak a word to me.
“Thanks,” I answered her, “gladly.”
I couldn’t help but to stare at Cedric while I said this. Though he looked a little discouraged he soon found a partner in a fellow Hufflepuff. I hardly paid attention to class, though I rather enjoyed my tea. Elizabeth Gerber predicted that I would soon be acquiring either a new parasol or a cat. How she could confuse a parasol with a cat I did not know. Good news was I was able to read quite precisely into Elizabeth Gerber’s tealeaves. Absolutely worst news of the freaking day was that within thirty seconds I had reduced Elizabeth Gerber to tears.
“I’m sure I’m wrong, Elizabeth,” I kept telling the sobbing girl, “Please, I’m sure I’m wrong.”
Oh God, oh God, oh God. The freaking girl won’t stop crying.
“Please, Elizabeth, I’m wrong!” I kept saying, “I’m sure it means something else.”
“Something other than ‘your aunt is most likely going to die’?” she cried out to me.
Oh God. I didn’t really say that, did I?
“Yes, Elizabeth, something else,” I said looking despairingly into her teacup. Was it my fault that all I saw was a hat and a cross?
“You’re probably going to buy yourself a new hat for church,” I invented wildly, “or there’s going to be somebody getting married, Elizabeth.”
Everyone was looking at us now. Was Professor Trelawney stinking deaf? Could she not bloody hear the racket Elizabeth Gerber was making? Eventually I saw her lift her head and look our way.
“Oh, what is it my darling?” she asked in a sickeningly sweet tone.
“I must have read them wrong,” I told her, “I know I read them wrong.”
Professor Trelawney snatched the cup from my pale white hand and took a good and long look at it.
“Oh darling,” she finally said looking at Elizabeth, “she read them wrong, is all.”
“She did?” asked Elizabeth hopefully.
“Yes, dear,” Trelawney said.
Thank God, I thought, and I bet Elizabeth Gerber was thinking it too.
“Your cat is not going to die, Bess,” I heard come from the mouth of Sybill Trelawney.
“What?” I asked.
“What?” Elizabeth asked between tears, even more confused than I was.
“Indeed,” said Trelawney with a reassuring smile. Elizabeth looked at me in confusion.
“But,” continued Trelawney, “do you have by any chance an aunt who is ill?”
Elizabeth gasped. Bloody hell. Down came the tears yet again.
“Oh dear,” said Professor Trelawney under her breath, “We had better get you out of here.”
“I’ll take her to her house,” I offered, seriously afraid of what that woman might keep saying to her.
Trelawney, however, did not share my fears. She looked at me with eyes that clearly said “You’ve done enough, now, haven’t you?” and walked away holding Bess by the shoulders. Everyone was looking at me as I looked straight at Elizabeth’s empty chair. I sighed heavily and poured myself more tea, lying back in my chair. Suddenly the new parasol didn’t seem to be such a bad prediction.
The very second Trelawney dismissed the class, just a few minutes after having returned from handing Elizabeth over to Snape, Cedric came over to where I was picking up my things.
“You know,” he said, “for a girl with so much insight, you can’t really lay things softly, can you?”
I blushed deeply.
“How do you know I have insight?” I asked in a raspy voice. I pretty much felt like crying myself.
“What you said last night in front of the Goblet,” he told me simply, “plus,” he said taking Elizabeth’s cup from the table, “I know your divination to be right.”
I winced at the last part.
“I just told Elizabeth her aunt will die, Cedric,” I told him.
The meaning of what he had said to me, and the effect it had on me, seemed to hit him suddenly.
“Gee, I’m so sorry,” he said.
His eyes were worried and his back was hunched. He really was sorry. I reassured him with a small smile. God, his eyes. His beautiful, beautiful eyes. I had to say something. I just…
“Are you going to put your name in?” I asked suddenly, surprising even myself. He was amused, though slightly taken aback.
“I’m thinking about it,” he said, playing with a lock of hair that had fallen from my untidy bun. God, his touch. My body felt aflame.
“What should I do?” he asked me.
“How should I know?” I asked right back.
“You’re the one with the insight,” he said grinning.
His hand had fallen back to his side and I was glad for it. My thoughts began to clear ever so slightly. His presence was still enough to send shivers down my spine.
“Then don’t,” I said. There was a sense of finality to my answer and he promptly picked it up. He seemed a little discouraged. And mad?
“What are you doing here, anyway?” he asked me. There was a hint of anger in his voice, though I guessed he was only trying to change the subject.
“Why are you?” I asked back.
He took a few steps back and held the door open for me.
“I didn’t take it when I was in third,” he said simply.
“Yeah, me neither,” I told him. Liar.
“Where are you off to now?” he asked me.
I took out my small piece of parchment and contemplated my answer in dismay. Defence Against the Dark Arts. I knew exactly what would happen there. The man who was not Moody would walk in and start talking about the Unforgivable Curses. He would find a spider, torture it and kill it. The prospect of the class made me pale, and Cedric noticed.
“Dark Arts,” I told him.
“You think you’re fit for Dark Arts?” he asked, pressing his hand to my cheek.
“Where are you off to?” I asked begging for a change of subject. Of course I wasn’t fit for the bloody class. What the hell kind of question was that?
“Quidditch,” he said sounding proud.
“Oh, how lovely!” I told him. I had completely forgotten about Quidditch.
“Do you play?” he asked me.
I had to laugh at that one. The thought of me playing Quidditch was only comparable to me wearing a chicken suit.
“I can’t even ride a broom,” I told him through my laughter.
He smiled broadly at me taking from my face the same strand of hair that had fallen before and biting his lip.
“Someday I’ll teach you,” he told me.
“I’d like that,” I told him, enjoying way too much the warmth that radiated from his hand. He took a step closer to me still biting his lip and furrowing his brow. I pursed my lips. I couldn’t let him do what I knew he wanted to.
“I should go,” I told him. I smiled once more at him and walked away, feeling his eyes on my back the whole time.
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