Chapter 8 : Matchmaking
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November came with frustration on many levels. First there was homework and the unkind professors who just kept piling on the assignments and the fact that there were never enough hours in the day to do it all, so we were creating hours of our own, like umpteen hour, which fell between two and three am when we could somehow do more work than in hours two and three.
Secondly, even after I had run away from Brad, he seemed ever persistent about dating me. He would find excuses to walk me back from the library or come and see me after a Quidditch practice that the girls and I had watched. It seemed everywhere I went Brad was there, his incredible smile and his face not the least bit paling at the sight of me now. Instead his smile brightened and he would corner me every chance he could get. I couldn’t go anywhere alone anymore, which the girls understood quite well. They were all on my side, but there were times when I couldn’t be with anyone and no one could be with me and those were the times I feared the most.
And thirdly and most unfortunately, Nikki and Jase were more in love than ever. It twisted my gut every time I saw them coming down the stairs hand-in-hand. The way he would look at her and the way she would look at him, always before she would waggle her eyebrows at me of course, made me want to throw myself across the room and throttle the living daylights out of her. What had she done that deserved his attention? She’d dazzled him over the two short months during the summer and somehow he’d fallen all over himself to get to her. Was it really that simple? Did a girl really have to put herself out there like that to get noticed? I had spent seven years with Jase, two of them I knew I was absolutely in love with him and still he took no notice.
Ugh, it almost seemed like a never ending circle of events. I’d be doing homework when Brad would appear and I would run away from Brad and end up in the common room where Jase and Nikki would be making out or cuddling on the couch and I almost made myself believe that Brad was better than that. But I just couldn’t, Brad had turned our friendship into a game of hide-and-seek and it pissed the hell outta me that he was the one seeking, and I, who had never done anything to provoke him or give him the impression that I was looking for a boyfriend, was forced to hide every single day.
It seemed my only consolation these days was the ever growing prospect of Starr and Andy. After the first Quidditch match in the middle of November and even after practices, I saw the way Starr was bumbling all over herself, not a usual quality for the brawny and brass Miss Morgan. She would bat her eyelashes at him and would have to repeat a sentence a couple of time before she got it out right. It was so amusing and I felt so happy for her.
This is where the girls and I came in, our little matchmaking team was out to net Starr and Andy and we would not fail. I’d seen my friends go through boyfriends before and we’d all been there to comfort each other through the heartbreak and heartache and even the fiery moments when one of them would rant and rage over how pig-headed and useless their now ex-boyfriend had been. Ah yes, many a night had been passed with Kleenex, tears, the breaking of several memorable items from the relationship as well as lots and lots of chocolate for everyone.
I awoke one morning in late November to the sounds of silence, which was very uncommon for our dorm room, especially in the mornings. I grabbed my glasses off the side table and looked over to see that Starr, the morning rouser and the noisiest of us all, was gone. I looked at my watch on the table and it said seven o’clock. Starr must’ve really taken an effort to stay quiet.
“Psst,” I said. “Hey, Starr’s gone. Where’d she go?”
There were a few mumbling noises, but it was time to get up anyways so everyone complied. When they saw Starr’s empty, AND MADE, bed, they looked utterly shocked.
“Maybe she was kidnapped,” Gigi joked. “And then the kidnapper made her bed.”
“Right, genius, and none of us heard it? Shit she must’ve been like a ghost walking around here,” Melody said.
I hopped out and bent over to look underneath her bed. “Aha, it is as I suspected. No broomstick.”
“Which could only mean she’s at the pitch. Maybe there was a practice she didn’t tell us about,” Vic suggested as she pulled back her covers and stretched sleepily.
“Jase would never have a practice before eight in the morning. I know him, please, this is something totally different.”
Gigi went over to the window that faced the Quidditch pitch. It was some distance away but it was close enough that she said, “Yep, I can see someone flying around. Two someone’s actually.”
“Ooh, two someone’s. An early morning Quidditch pitch date, do you suppose?” Melody said.
“Maybe,” I conceded, “But why didn’t she tell us about it?”
“She was probably embarrassed,” Gigi said as she strolled into the bathroom.
“But we’re her friends. She’s had other boyfriend before and told us. Why would she be embarrassed now?” Vic asked rummaging through her trunk for clothes to wear today.
“I dunno,” I replied, doing the same, “But we are so going to find out.”
Melody was looking out the window again, “Ah here they come. Looks like Starr and Andy alright, and they look pretty buddy-buddy, but not overly romantic. When is Starr going to learn to be romantic?”
“Quidditch buzzards never learn to be romantic.” Gigi came back out of the bathroom with make-up applied and hair done in its usual spikiness.
“Are you calling Teddy a buzzard?” I asked going into the bathroom.
Gigi looked back at me and winked, “Maybe.”
“Teddy is not a buzzard!” Victoire defended as she brushed her hair. “And I’ll have you know he’s very romantic. And a great kisser.” She sighed lightly and we all rolled our eyes at her.
“Being a great kisser doesn’t mean anything,” Melody continued as she opened her trunk. “It just means that you have some practice. I happen to be a great kisser.”
“That’s ‘cause you’ve kissed every boy in our year except for Jase and Teddy,” I said sticking my head out of the bathroom with my toothbrush in my mouth.
Melody looked at me pointedly, “Who says I haven’t?”
“Teddy’s been with Victoire for two years, Jase and I have been friends for seven, and you weren’t good at kissing until last year when you dated Chase Hamilton,” I jabbed my toothbrush at her and then disappeared to spit out the mouthful of toothpaste.
“Chase Hamilton is a damn fine boy and his lips are magical,” Melody was saying as I walked back out of the bathroom. “Gigi knows what I’m talking about, right?”
Gigi laughed as she was pulling her tank-top over her head, “Damn right. Best game of Spin-The-Bottle I have ever played.” She smiled like an idiot as her head disappeared underneath the sweater she was wearing today.
“And besides,” Vic said still hanging on to the ‘Teddy is a buzzard’ statement, “by saying Quidditch buzzards can’t be romantic you are also saying Jase can’t be romantic.”
“True,” Gigi allowed, “But he’s the exception. And there’s a difference between a romantic and a sap. Teddy is a sap. What’s his nickname for you again?”
“Vicky-wicky,” we all said in unison, which managed to chase Victoire into the bathroom and slam the door behind her.
Just then Starr walked in looking exhausted and sweaty, “Oh good, you’re up.”
“Yes, and so are you it seems,” I said.
“Yeah, Andy wanted a little one-on-one out on the pitch. As Keeper I was obliged to go.”
“Andy’s a Beater, Starr,” Melody said. “That doesn’t make sense.”
Starr opened her mouth once and then shut it. “I need a shower,” she finally said tugging off her Quidditch robes. She was avoiding us.
“Vic’s in there,” Gigi told her. “And we’re going to back you into a corner until you tell us what’s up with you and Andy.”
“Nothing’s up with me and Andy. We’re just friends who are on the same Quidditch team.”
“Not buying it,” I held up my hand and then pointed at her. “You had best get your story straight, missy, because we can see right through you.”
“And we know that you love avoiding things,” Melody added. “So tell.”
“There’s nothing to tell,” Starr tried to say. She looked utterly hopeless and for the first time she looked a little bit lost, almost as if she didn’t know what she thought or what was happening. Vic came out at that moment though and Starr disappeared into the bathroom.
“Do you think we were wrong?” Gigi asked looking over to the bathroom door as the shower started up.
I shook my head, “No way, she’s totally in like with him. Maybe she just needs a little help. We gotta talk to Andy.”
“On it,” Vic said. “He’s usually hanging around Teddy and I can always ask him. I’ll go down to the common room now and see if he’s there.” She left.
“How can she not know if she likes him?” Melody asked confused as she grabbed her school books. “I mean all the signs are there.”
“The eyelashes, the mixed-up sentences, the early morning Quidditch pitch practices, the jumping at every chance to talk about him in a conversation,” Gigi listed as she also grabbed her books.
“I know, I know,” I admitted. Everything was there, but Starr just wasn’t seeing it herself. She wasn’t usually this thickheaded when it came to guys. “She’s in denial,” I decided. “She just needs a little nudge is all. I don’t want to sneak around her back, but we’re going to have to pull something out of the hat in order to get things in motion. We’ll talk at lunch to see what Vic finds out from Andy.”
“Deal,” they replied.
“Andy said very little when I asked him about Starr. He just said that they were friends, just like what Starr was saying this morning, right?” Vic said as we huddled around the table at lunchtime. “But, what I didn’t get from him, I got from Teddy and Alec. They keep saying the same thing about Andy as we’re saying about Starr. They obviously like each other, a lot; they just can’t bring themselves to see it.”
“Oh that’s a tricky one,” Melody said as she took a helping of the toss salad. “How do we convince two people that they’re in love when neither of them knows it?”
“Give them several opportunities,” Gigi suggested as if reading my mind. “Throw them together without them really knowing and see what happens. If nothing happens then we’re gonna have to go to something drastic.”
“Like what?” Vic asked.
“Like one of us throwing ourselves at Andy or getting one of the guys to hit on Starr,” I said, surprising even myself that I could think of something like that. Starr had put it into my head the day we spent outside playing toss with the Quaffle and now it was ingrained into my very being. “Jealousy is a powerful thing,” I mumbled.
“Ooh, I know exactly who to throw at Starr seen as how we can’t use Alec, Teddy or Jase, or even Brad,” Melody squealed.
“Why not Brad?” I said.
“Because he’ll never go for it if he’s so in like with you, duh.”
“Oh right, who then?”
“No way, do you think he’ll go for it?”
“Sure, why not? He’s a great actor, and he’s totally to die for.”
“He might ask for some kind of payment though, don’t ya think?”
“He’ll do it if he wants to keep his pretty little face in one piece,” Gigi said stabbing a potato on her plate.
I giggled, “That’ll work. But this is only drastic. We have to see what develops in the meantime. When’s the next trip to Hogsmeade?”
“Next weekend,” Vic replied.
“Great, perfect for some devious actions. We’ll have to get the guys in on it though. Do you think we can manage it?”
“And why ever not?” Gigi looked offended.
I rolled my eyes.
“Yeah,” Melody agreed as she drowned her salad in dressing. She was weird. “We’ve got skills. There’s nothing saying that it won’t work.”
“Ooh, this is exciting,” Victoire said as she wiggled in her seat.
“Okay, then at least we’re all on the same page.”
“Same page of what?”
We spun around/looked up from our little grouping and saw Starr standing there looking extremely curious. I was at a loss for words and I thanked Merlin that Gigi spoke up immediately. “Same page of our Charms textbook for notes. Professor Nettles gave us more at the end of class.”
There was a hurried agreement from the rest of us; thank God Starr had Ancient Runes before lunch and not Charms like the rest of us. She had it directly after lunch.
“Oh,” she said before sitting down. “Lucky me then because I still haven’t gotten my essay done for that class, all I need is more notes.”
We all bit our tongues or started playing with our food guiltily because we knew Nettles didn’t hand out anymore notes and Starr was going to find that out right after lunch. It was a good thing that Victoire and Melody had Muggle Studies and Gigi and I had Potions so we wouldn’t have to hear about it until Herbology last period.
By Herbology though everyone was fretting too much about the amount of homework given for that day that I don’t even recall Starr telling us she didn’t get any more notes in Charms. We all went to the library after class and I must say, being in the warm greenhouses and then going outside into what happened to be a snow storm really, really sucked. We were all shaking snow off our robes and out of our hair as we walked down towards the table where we usually sat.
Jase and Nikki were already there, along with Andy, Brad and Teddy.
There were twelve spaces at the table. The four on the far side from us were taken up by Jase and Nikki with a free chair in between them and Alec who happened to be sitting on a corner beside Teddy while Brad took up the other corner directly across from Teddy. Andy was sitting across from Jase on the empty side. Gigi sat between Brad and Andy on the corner while I sat beside Andy, Melody beside me and Starr beside her. Victoire took up the other vacant chair beside Teddy, across from where Gigi was sitting, leaving only one space empty in between Nikki and Alec. It had worked out surprisingly perfect.
Melody and I nodded at each other, both of us knowing in our heads what the other was planning, just because it was the perfect set up. I got out my Potions essay and Melody pulled out her Muggle Studies assignment questions. We sat there for a few minutes before I caught Gigi’s eye and winked and Melody caught Victoire’s and winked.
I gave an exaggerated sigh and set down my quill. “Well I’m not getting anywhere.”
“What is it?” Gigi asked me feigning innocence as if she didn’t know what I was talking about.
“This Potions essay is ticking me off.”
“I’m almost done mine; let me see if I can help.”
“Oh would you? That’d be great.” I looked at Andy sweetly, “Would you mind switching places so that I can sit beside Gigi?”
“Sure, no problem,” he replied and we started shifting our work.
I sat down on the corner side and Gigi and I put our heads together to pretend like we were discussing the Potions essay. Then Melody went through a similar act, except hers was much more subtle, being the drama enthusiast, and asked to switch places with Starr, who agreed most graciously. I saw then as Andy tugged on the collar of his shirt and Starr spread out her work before ‘accidentally’ bumping into Andy’s arm. I say accidentally because afterwards she blushed so deep I thought her head might pop off. How she did not see how much she liked this guy was totally beyond me.
Our studious group worked for almost a half hour before we got restless and started goofing around. The guys had decided that it would be a good time to start a burping contest and the girls ultimately ended up judging the contest until Starr and Gigi started in, Melody following close after and the even wheedled one out of me, which ended up and the piddle-y end of the scoring scale. The only two who refused to join in were Nikki and Victoire because Nikki was too much of a priss to do anything fun and Victoire because she was too lady-like to get involved in that kind of thing. Her mother had apparently raised her to be a lady. Victoire was laughing whole-heartedly at the others however whereas Nikki just huffed and even got upset when Jase scored at 9.8/10 on his belch.
Jase tried explaining to her that it was all in the name of fun and she mumbled, “It’s disgusting.”
Starr and Gigi just burst out laughing at the comment and Brad let another one loose.
Finally the librarian came and found us all roaring with laughter and hissed something about how we were making too much noise, which admittedly we were, and that we had to either leave or be quiet.
We sat there snickering for a few minutes before Alec decided to give up and disappeared, giving a final hoot as he left, which got the rest of us kicked out.
I was walking beside Melody back to the common room when I noticed up ahead that Starr and Andy were walking together, completely unaware that everyone else had fallen behind. I nodded my head to Melody and we separated gathering the others and telling them to follow us instead of heading back to the common room. Nikki said that she didn’t want to have anything to do with what we were up to, and we didn’t stop her from leaving. Jase came however.
It was time to put things in motion for real.
We found an empty classroom and all sat either on a desk or chair. When everyone was inside Jase asked, “What’s going on?”
“We need your help,” Gigi said first.
“They want to set up Andy and Starr,” Teddy explained as he pulled Victoire down onto his lap.
“Uh, yeah, and we’re doing a pretty good job already, aren’t we? I mean they probably have no idea we all just disappeared.”
“I was wondering what Melody and Allie were doing in the library,” Jase chuckled. “It looked really weird. Oddly coordinated.”
“Yes well that was only our first shot,” I explained. “We need everyone’s cooperation in order to make this work. I know Starr and Andy will suspect something, but maybe if they do they’ll see it wasn’t all for nothing.”
“Wait, they don’t know they like each other?” Brad said holding his hand up.
“That would be correct.”
“But it’s so obvious,” he said.
“You’re telling us!” Victoire put in. “Seems our friends don’t think so though. ‘Just friends’ is the story they’re sticking to.”
“That’s kind of funny,” Jase said. “So you girls have taken it upon yourselves to push ‘em together?”
“That’s the idea,” Gigi finished.
I looked around at the guys expectantly. They hadn't given us their thumbs up, but because they were better friends with Andy than we were it would be so great to have them on our side. “So?” I prodded.
“Hell, I’m in,” Teddy said. “Andy’s moping is getting on my nerves. If this fixes it I am totally up for it.” Victoire leaned over and kissed on loudly on the cheek.
Jase chuckled again, “You girls had better have a plan.”
“Of course we do,” I said cheerily. “We are all over this. We’ve even thought out to where drastic measures come in.”
“Oh yeah, what’s that?” he asked.
“Chase Hamilton,” Melody said. “And myself, I’m volunteering.” Victoire, Gigi and I all gawked at her. That was news to us. “What?”
Gigi narrowed her eyes at Melody, “You have ulterior motives, don’t you?”
“Well duh,” Melody said, putting her hands on her hips, “But I’ll tell you that later.” She winked at me. Oh boy.
“Chase Hamilton?” Teddy said looking confused.
“Yeah, can you say ‘jealous’?” Gigi said.
“Ah,” Teddy finally understood.
I looked around, “So that’s two out of three, Brad, are you in?” I looked at him and his eyes snapped up to look at me. There was something calculating about his glare and it scared the shit out of me.
“I’m in.” He paused. “On one condition.”
“What condition?” I asked.
“Say you’ll go out on a date with me next weekend.”
Several things went through my mind. I was afraid, I was angry, I was humiliated, and I was totally not going to commit to anything more than a casual outing with Brad Coogan.
He was staring me down, daring me to say no. I couldn’t say no because if Brad wasn’t helping then that meant he could potentially be against this, which was bad for Andy and Starr. I glanced momentarily at Gigi who must’ve been thinking the exact same thing as me because she shrugged her head as if saying ‘you gotta do it’.
I found Jase’s eyes then and he was giving me the same calculating glare that Brad had given me moments before, trying to figure out what I was going to say. His eyes left mine and narrowed in on Brad who was sitting there still calmly waiting for an answer. I could see the vein in his neck pulsing and I wondered briefly if it was because he didn’t want me to get hurt or if he was feeling jealous. I ruled out jealous unfortunately because he had a sex-kitten upstairs in the common room waiting for him. He was just being the concerned best friend, which I really, really hated.
I met Brad’s eyes and cleared my throat. Time to take the plunge. “Alright.”
A/N: Alright everyone, spill your guts and do your worst on the review section of this page, please and thank you! Next chapter being posted...immediately!!! Thanks a million! ~K :D
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