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Chapter 1 : Obsessive Love
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I glanced at her surreptitiously as she laughed in the corner with her giggling girlfriends. She was so happy. I stretched out comfortably on the faded blue sofa and although I still had a Transfiguration essay to complete, I let my mind rest for awhile as I rewound through my day.
It had started off good. I had left the common room at the same time as her. It was fate, I had decided, ignoring the fact that I knew she always left at exactly 07:57 on Mondays, so that she wouldn’t be late for her Charms lesson.
She had said a simple “Hi Terry,” to me, smiling and flicking her sleek and long black hair as we had exited the Ravenclaw common room. I gasped in awe. She knew my name! She knew my name! She knew I was Terry Boot! I felt like jumping up and down with joy. Even though it was just a greeting, I now cherish that moment. I usually stuttered in reply to her hi’s, but today was the first time she had said my name, and the first time I managed to say a, “Hey Cho!” before she walked away, accompanied by the friends that never left her side.
That was a huge improvement from last week. I remember I had turned bright red and had been unable to say anything remotely understandable in reply. My face had flamed and I had made an inconspicuous grunt before turning away, embarrassed.
I still blushed at that memory, but comforted myself that today I had actually had a small conversation with her! (Okay, so it was a Hi and a Hey, but hey! that still counts).
At breakfast, I was more intent on watching Cho than watching my toast and making sure it actually went in my mouth. Michael and Anthony were discussing the upcoming Yule Ball.
“Who’re you gonna ask?” I interrupted.
“No idea,” Anthony said, shrugging his shoulders.
Michael seemed to hesitate before he spoke, “Well… maybe Mandy.” He avoided our eyes, but Anthony and me laughed and clapped his shoulder.
“Good for you!”
“Don’t corner her before you ask,” I joked, attempting to make a (failed) pun with his last name.
As I bit into a piece of toast, Anthony asked the question I was dreading, “What about you Terry?”
I cringed and took a noisy slurp of my orange juice. I tried to sound like I wasn’t too eager, but before I knew it I had ended up blurting out, “Cho.” As I had somewhat expected, Anthony and Michael burst out laughing, upending their drinks and causing some Hufflepuff prefects to look over at us in disapproval.
“She’s too popular for you,” Michael managed to say, before another attack of laughter came on.
“Way too popular!” Anthony added, smirking as he did so. Who was he to judge me? Who was he to judge her? I felt my anger rise.
“I bet you five galleons you don’t even have the guts to ask her.”
I have never been able to decline bets, and I was in a serious need of money. And, I figured, asking Cho out shouldn’t be that hard. It was just one question right? I narrowed my eyes at Anthony. “You’re on.” The laughter died down, but it rose back up almost instantly.
“Better start saving up Terry,” Michael added with a grin. I simply tutted at their failure of being supporting friends, though I knew it was in good humour.
“I’ll see you guys later,” I said. Michael and Anthony looked surprised at my rapid departure, but after all, I had business to attend to.
As soon as I left the Hall, my mind started to comprehend what I had just done. What on earth did I just say? I shook my head, and in my peripheral vision I caught her standing around the corner. I froze and for once the wheels in my mind were turning, spinning, and actually thinking.
Why was she down near the dungeons? Charms was three floors up. I couldn’t resist the chance. Almost robot-like, I turned right instead of left, and followed her as she walked in the opposite direction to class. She seemed to be acting weirdly, and it took a few seconds before my slow mind realised. Cho was alone. Without her clique surrounding her, she looked so much more vulnerable.
As we reached the next corner she looked over her shoulder. I stepped behind a statue; I could feel my heart pumping. Had she seen me? Or maybe she could hear my heart? After a couple of seconds, I risked a glimpse, and luckily it seemed she had gone on.
Around the corner I went, just in time to see her turning the next corner. I had been concentrating so hard on shadowing her; I didn’t notice we were walking around in circles on the same floor. I hurried up and turned the final corner. And to my utter surprise, bumped right into her.
“Sorry!” I heard my voice squeaking. I had no idea what I expected her to say, but it was definitely not what she did say.
“Why are you following me?” she said quietly. I gulped and took in a few breaths.
“I was, err, going to, um, Potions,” I said. That was pretty lame, and I think she thought so too.
“Potions?” she asked skeptically. “That’s on the opposite side of the school.”
Again, my mind decided not to let me think before I spoke too quickly, “So is Charms.”
Her eyes widened in disbelief. “How do you know I have Charms?” she asked suspiciously.
Ever since that day when I was an accident-prone 11 year old klutz, who dropped all my books in front of a group of older senior girls, I have fallen in love with the girl who didn’t laugh, but smiled and picked them up for me. How can I explain to her the way she mesmerizes me? That the way she does everything is something that fascinates me? How do I tell her I love her? How do I tell her I’m obsessed with her? How do I tell her I’ve been observing her for four years?
Two simple words. I can’t.
“I have to go,” I said brusquely. There. I had just ruined just about the only possibly decent conversation I was ever going to have. Good move Terry, I thought miserably.
“Hey!” a voice said, loudly and enthusiastically.
I froze. Who was talking to me? Wait. That sounded like Cedric. Cedric Diggory. But that’s impossible. He doesn’t know me. He wouldn’t know me. So why was he calling me?
For one foolish second I thought he was talking to me. But of course… he wasn’t.
I turned around. I saw Cho turn around. “Hey Cho,” a breathless Cedric said, “Thanks for coming here… Listen, I was wondering if… you’d go to the ball with me?”
And then, Cho blushed. She actually blushed! Cho never blushed. Except for now apparently. The flush of rose slowly lit up her face, and I could see the joy in her eyes. I’m sure that even the saddest person would’ve been able to look at her, and feel happiness. Well, except for me.
“Oh, yes, I’d love to!” she excitedly spoke, though still maintaining her composure. I felt an emotion stirring up inside of me. Something I’ve never felt before. Was it sadness? No it couldn’t be. I’ve been sad before. Was it anger? No. I’ve been angry before. Was it jealousy? Was it… maybe even heartbreak?
I could hear faint murmurs of their intimate conversation as she walked back up to the Great Hall with Cedric.
So that’s why she was near the dungeons. Well, there was no way I was going to ask her out after I’d just watched her get asked out. Who was I kidding? Five galleons is a month’s worth of pocket money, I thought glumly. With a mournful sigh, I walked slowly away, and down the stairs towards the dungeons. Towards Potions.
As I entered the Great Hall, with Lisa on my arm, I gazed in awe at the sparkling adornments and impressive arrangements that had helped turn it into a stunning ballroom. But no matter how stunning it was, my eyes were drawn to Cho. And although I was glad I had found someone to go with me to the Yule Ball, as I looked at her twirling with Cedric, looking ever so pretty, I wished that I could have been the one dancing with her.
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