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Chapter 14 : Encounters With an Ice-Queen
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14. Encounters with the Ice Queen
“Now.” I said seriously, staring at Oz across the armrest of the chair that separated my chair from his lounge. “Let’s go over the basics again.”
Oz nodded, and I almost giggled—I had never seen him more alert in my life.
It was only half an hour until the general populous of Students from Third Year to Seventh Year were allowed out of the school and through the gates down to Hogsmeade.
Oz had awkwardly asked Charmaine to go to Hogsmeade with him, and she had accepted, blushing and looking at the floor in that cutesy way that makes everyone just go ‘Aww…’
But then, only minutes ago, he had raced over to me, where I sat for Breakfast at the Gryffindor table—I had begun to sit there most of the time when it came to meals— and begged me to help him.
“By the way,” I has asked him on our way to the Common Room, where we now both sat. “Why didn’t you ask Emily?”
Oz had stared at me.
“You and me promised to keep this just between us.” He reminded me, even though I had thought that little pact had gone out the window after my falling out with my group.
I couldn’t help but squee a little at that, jumping up and down and clapping my hands in that excited bimbo way.
And then Oz had stared at me in his own peculiar way, and I had stopped.
But, everyone else was at Breakfast now, so we had the common room to ourselves—and Charmaine had no idea of the tips I was giving Oz.
“No burping.” Oz recited back to me. “No farting loudly—”
Ahh the endless debate.
We had had a loud conversation over the farting thing.
I told him he shouldn’t fart at all. And then he told me it was physically impossible to not fart if you need to.
So he had settled on loudly.
“No singing along to the lame songs that come on over the radio when I’m in the coffee shops, no hitting her when I make a joke, no attempting to feel her up by pretending to fall over—”
Most of the things I had told him about were all things I had learnt from my muggle romance books.
But, what the hell?
They applied here—and Oz definitely needed the guidance.
“I don’t slurp my drink if I get one, I don’t chew or talk with my mouth open if I get food. I pull out her chair for her, and I pay for the drinks that we get. I let her choose where to go, since a girl always knows best, and if she wants to, the furthest I can go with her today is holding hands, and maybe a goodbye kiss.”
He inhaled shallowly, like he was having difficulty breathing.
“What is it?” I asked, alarmed.
Was Oz asthmatic?
“Sorry,” he said, “I’m just… it’s just… I didn’t think she’d even say yes to going out with me.” He pressed his fingers to the bridge of his nose. “Are you sure she’s not just going with me on a pity date?”
I stared at him.
“Oz,” I said bluntly, to get his attention.
He didn’t look up from the floor.
“Oz, my man,” I emphasised, reaching over and pulling his head to look at me.
“She sat with you in the Library for three hours studying Charms that she’s not even supposed to know yet. Voluntarily.”
Oz’s brow creased.
“If that isn’t a sign of intense physical attraction I don’t know what is.”
Oz looked kind of proud of himself at that. He puffed out his chest a little and looked impressed. “Seriously? Physical attraction.”
Not wanting him to be big headed or anything, I gave him a quick once over.
“Alright.” I said, “Maybe it’s just the emotional attraction,” I said. “In your case.”
He deflated a little.
“Hey,” I encouraged, realising that I had probably just quashed his small amount of confidence. “I said maybe.”
Oz buried his face in his hands.
“Go get her, bucko…” I encouraged, pushing Oz towards Charmaine, who smiled at me gratefully before holding her hand outstretched to Oz.
Oz stared at it for a second, before smiling, a little of the confidence that had quashed, returning. Then he took it, and hesitantly began a conversation.
I stood there, watching them walk out, mentally glad that something had gone right recently.
“Hey guys,” I said, approaching the spot where Scorpius, Fred, Albus and Rose stood waiting for me. “Are we ready to get this party started?”
They stared at me.
You’d think that sometime someone might be polite enough to even fake a laugh.
“Let’s go.” I said quickly, beginning to march down the road.
They all chuckled before following me. Actually, Albus was still chuckling as he leapt forward and draped his arm over my shoulder.
“So, where to first, Katie?” He asked. “Since you’re the newest addition to our gang, you can choose.”
I decided to overlook Scorpius’s noise of protest and the sound of Rose thwacking him in the gut.
Well, I didn’t overlook the sound of Rose hitting him.
That was a memory I would forever lock in my memory bank.
“I don’t mind.” I said, trying to keep watching Charmaine and Oz. “But we have to make sure that we’re in visual distance of Charmaine and Oz for at least the first half an hour—I’m Oz’s life line.”
“Well, may Merlin help the poor guy.” Fred said behind us.
I frowned over my shoulder.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I demanded.
“It means, lover—”
Since we had gotten married, Fred had taken to calling me pet names that you would often find in a relationship. His were a little weird though, and he wouldn’t stop calling me lover.
“—anyone using you as a life line, must be down to his final resort.” Fred explained.
Rose frowned. “Fred, that was rude.”
“Yeah, hubby,” I sneered. “Shut up or I’ll file for a divorce.”
Fred clapped his hands together and looked to the sky, a though he was praying.
“Please, god, please.” He mouthed to the sky.
Scorpius smirked at me.
“What’s wrong guys? Married life not suiting the two of you?” He asked.
“Yeah?” Albus added in smirking. “You’ve fallen off Cloud Nine?”
“As a matter of fact,” I said defensively. “My husband and I are both very happy with our relationship.”
“Are we all talking about the same marriage? The one between you and me?”
I glared at him. “What did I say about the shutting up?” I questioned him.
Fred sighed, “You’ll file for a divorce?”
I nodded. “Damn right I will, lover.”
Fred just chuckled.
“Now,” I said, turning my head back around. “Let’s follow that couple.”
I marched off in the direction that I thought Oz and Charmaine had gone in. Turns out it was just a couple of fifth year Ravenclaw’s, and I had to think of a quick and witty way to spread out a search party looking for him.
“Uh… you know what?” I said, trying to be suss. “Oz… uh… has this… invisibility problem, and sometimes he… uh… goes… uh… missing, and… uh…”
“You lose him?” Scorpius offered.
Fred snorted. “See, lover? What did I say?”
“Some lifeline, Kate.” Albus said, looking down at me.
“Don’t be mean,” Rose defended me. She walked up and hooked her arm through my elbow—the one that wasn’t being squashed by Albus’s side.
NOT that I minded.
Come on, we’re talking THE GOD here.
It was all I could do to not swoon.
“Don’t worry, Kate.” She said. “We’ll find them.”
And we did find them, about half an hour after that moment.
Inside Madame Puddifoots.
“No bloody way.” Scorpius said loudly.
“Please?” I begged, “I can’t hear what’s going on if we’re not inside…”
Scorpius shook his head. “Let me clear something up for you, twinkle toes.” He said.
I braced myself.
Here we go.
“I have dated, courted, wooed, snogged and/or slept with, nearly the entire female populous of Hogwarts.”
Both Rose and I narrowed our eyes, a little glaring at Scorpius.
He held up his hands a little defensively. “Hey,” he defended. “I said nearly.”
“You are such a chauvinistic pig.” Rose told him.
Scorpius flashed her a smile that had every female within a three metre radius giggling. However, Rose and I did not react that way,
Instead we glared.
Albus frowned at my reaction and pulled me away from Scorpius—as though to save me from his best friend’s evil tactics.
This did nothing, because, as always, close proximity with Albus Potter always brought my knees to weaken, and sometimes, I saw spots.
So the glaring stopped and was replaced by a sort of weird smile.
“Scorpius!” Fred scolded, frowning. “You’ve broken my wife!”
“Not my fault I was born astonishingly good looking.” Scorpius said. “She’s just a woman.”
Good thing he didn’t know I was almost gurgling, not because of him, but because of his godly and gorgeous best friend.
Just so you didn’t think I was stupid. I wasn’t LITERALLY GURGLING.
Because that would be weird.
“Well, you’ve driven her insane…” Albus said.
“She’s just full of lust for good old—”
That was enough to snap me out of my reverie.
NOT THAT I WAS IN A REVERIE!!!
Lust, about anyone who wasn’t Albus, just sounded all wrong.
In a stupid effort to change the subject, I cleared my throat and said loudly:
“Can we just go inside, please?” I begged.
Scorpius shook his head. “You never let me get to my point, Twinkle Toes.” He told me.
“So,” Scorpius continued. “Over my entire history of dating women who cry and moan weep as well as various other assortments of getting upset—such as throwing things at my head—when I don’t get them particularly shiny presents—”
Oh yeah, he’s a real Casanova.
“—I have never ever set foot inside that stupid love nest.”
I really don’t know how to judge Scorpius Malfoy from now on.
Rose managed to sum it up though.
“Maybe that’s why you haven’t had a relationship that lasts longer than two weeks.” She said squarely.
“Well, maybe you haven’t had a date in three months because you drag all your dates in there.” Scorpius said loudly.
Rose glowered at him.
But Albus came to the rescue.
“You keeping track of Rosie’s dating, Scor?” He asked, curiously, quirking an eyebrow.
I had been planning to just go in by myself at that point.
But Scorpius spluttering was too good to miss.
“I… you… well… we…I’m not…” Then he closed his mouth and frowned. “Your mum.” He then declared.
It was a nice change to see someone else embarrassing themselves. I sighed, “Fine.”
Rose then nodded. “If you girls aren’t going to go in there, then we’ll go inside by ourselves.”
“That’s oddly insulting to your own gender.” He pointed out.
Rose only smirked. “Not as insulting as it is to you.”
“As interesting as this is…” I declared to the team. “Oz is depending on me. So… I will meet you back out here once I’ve checked up on him.”
“And we will stay out here…” Fred said.
“…Cradling the remnants of their dignity.” Rose finished.
Honestly, that girl is so witty she could have her own radio show.
I smiled at them, before turning around and walking towards the overly decorated building. I entered, and instantly there was the quiet sound of hushed conversation.
Charmaine and Oz were sitting by the window, so we could see them from the street. Which meant that as I snuck along the row of tables by the window, everyone outside could see me.
They were laughing at my ninja skills.
Come on Katie let’s do this stealth.
Cause I’m a cool ninja man.
I read this article in The Quibbler that when you positively visualise yourself doing something, you can usually do it. And if you can’t see yourself doing something, then you’ll fail at it.
Oz and Charmaine will not notice me.
I am invisible.
I a unseen.
No one will see me.
Because I am invisible.
Quiet as a mouse.
Or quiet as a sleeping grandmother.
Only, not my grandmother.
When she sleeps. The entire world can’t sleep at the same time that woman does. The snores keep every single soul alive—
Even the ones in heaven.
She’s like a freight train, I swear to god.
Not the point.
I’m going to be quiet. Silent. Unseen and unheard. Invisible—
I straightened my back, trying to ignore the obvious roaring laughter that was obviously coming from my friends outside.
“Hey Charmaine.” I said, trying to remain cool.
“What were you doing? Are you hiding from someone?” She asked.
Oz buried his head in his hands.
“Uh…” I risked a glance out the window.
Yup. They were pissing themselves.
Charmaine looked kind of amused now. “Then what were you doing?”
“…I lost an earring?”
Take that Broadway.
Oz flinched for some reason, even though I was glowing proudly. Wait, wait, wait, wait—
Oooooooh—Crappy McCrappalot strikes again.
“Katie, you’re ears aren’t pierced.”
Oh right—Crappy McCrappalot.
That’s just me.
“Oh—” I said, attempting to recover myself. “—No, no, no… You misunderstand me. You are guessing that I’m looking for an earring at I lost. But that’s not the case at all. See, you thought the earring that I lost was mine, however, it doesn’t actually belong to me, and I was just being helpful, because that’s the sort of person that I am—”
I am very aware that I was rambling.
But rambling has been seen to be very effective because it gave me time to come up with a cover story.
“They’re not my earrings.” I finished grandly.
Oz nodded, bracing himself. “Yeah. You said that.” He said. “Like… three times.”
God, I come in here to watch his ass, but apparently he just has to kick me in mine.
“I just wanted to make sure that you understood.” I reassured him. “Besides—they’re actually Rosie’s. She leant them to me, and I was wearing two and now I’m only wearing one. So, I’m looking for it.”
Charmaine nodded, looking as though she was amused but confused at the same time.
“Which brings us right back to the fact that your don’t wear earrings.”
“They were magnetic…?”
DOUBLE dammit! Not magnetic! Do they even make magnetic earrings?
“Oh,” Charmaine seemed to buy it though. “Do you need some help?”
Oz seemed to try and kill me with his eyes. I could still hear the traitors who I thought were my friends laughing their asses off outside.
“No, no, no.” I assured her. “I think my friend over there found it!”
I waved into nothingness, so that I could sell my little lie. The people who I did end up waving to Elodie Higgins.
She flipped me the bird and then she pulled her hand across her neck.
“Yeah! Yeah, she got it!”
Charmaine looked around curiously. “Who?”
“Calvin.” I said straight away.
WHAT THE HELL!?
“Uh…” I said. “Calvin Klein?”
Please let that be a muggle thing?
Oz rolled his eyes.
Charmaine nodded in understanding. “Oh, well, have fun with… her?”
I nodded straight away. “Will do, friend.” I said nodding. “I’ll leave you two love birds to do your thing—”
But then I turned around, ready to head towards where Rose had told me they’d all meet me, and walked head first into Eric and Penny.
Eric tensed immediately, and Penny’s nose turned up a little. I noticed that Oz and Charmaine hadn’t started their conversation again.
“Kate.” She acknowledged coldly.
“Uh, Hi Penny,” I said.
“Uh…Eric.” I acknowledged his presence as well.
He didn’t say anything.
“Okay,” I said, dying for a way out of there. “It’s been nice catching up—see ya.”
I then proceeded to make my first attempt escape.
Attempt being the operative word.
“Emily told me that you found out.” Eric suddenly called out. “About what happened to me.”
I slowly turned on the spot, wincing every second that it took.
“Yeah…” I said slowly. “Carson told me. On Wednesday night.”
It was the weekend now. I had almost forgotten everything that had happened with Emily and Carson and our fight about Hilary and everything else.
Although, the scars that Scrubs had left in my leg were harder to forget.
He nodded. “Em said that you didn’t care.”
The word Crap is beginning to lose its meaning. However, I think I’m getting the point across.
“It’s not like that—” I gasped.
Eric held up his hand. “You’re just going to stick by your new pals? Desert the people who have been your friends for six years?”
Me and Eric have been friends for three years.
I wasn’t, however, going to point this out.
“—I’ve been with you for ages, Kate. I stood by you. And now, when I turn my back for a second, you stab me in the back.”
To be fair, I wanted to point out, no one told me about the whole debacle until Wednesday.
“Why did you do that, Kate?” Eric asked scathingly. “Is it because they’re good looking? Or because they’re rich.”
My breathing was beginning to get shallow.
Not quite as shallow as Eric assumed I now was, but shallow enough.
I couldn’t handle this.
Eric couldn’t do this to me. Not after such a great day.
“Maybe it’s the fame that you want. To be in the spotlight, maybe for something that you’ll see as good, for the first time in your life.”
No, no, no.
Eric wasn’t supposed to insult me for being me.
Eric stood by me whenever I embarrassed myself.
“I mean,” Eric continued, “You’re always the centre of attention for the bad things. Maybe you decided, if you got in with the rich kids, people might stop making fun of you—that’d be something new for you.”
I sucked in a sudden breath, unable to stop the tears that began to rolls down my cheeks.
“Right. Well then—?”
“When did you suddenly get so conceited?” Penny asked scathingly. “And what gives you the right? I mean, no one likes you. The Potters and Weasleys have just turned you into their charity case for the month—why would you dump the single people who liked you for, for some stupid reason.”
And just like that, my entire world—the walls that I had somehow built to keep me just a little impervious to the laughs that I always got, and made sure I could get through the day— crashed down onto my shoulders, and nothing was worth it any more.
Hey. I know I said end of the angst, but I take it back. I needed to bring Penny and Eric back into the plot. And I realised that the humour had been a little low. So I tried to bring that back a little more.
So, please review and tell me what you thought.
Sorry for the cliff-hanger.
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