Chapter 14 : Of Right Prats and Epiphanies.
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I'm not really in the mood to update, but I don't want to take my bad moods out on my wonderful readers. Thanks for all of your reviews and your support, you guys. I wouldn't be writing still without you. I hope you enjoy this chapter [looking farther into Penelope Laurent and seeing the reactions of Fred and James to the Slytherin girl], but you'll like tomorrow's chapter even better.
Chapter image of sweet Penelope by _Rose_ at TDA!
All proper young ladies know when they are in the wrong, and they are never angry for things people are justified to do, feel, or say.
“What’s with this Holden Wood character?” Penelope asks, closing her Arithmancy textbook and reaching for her navy leather bag. We’ve talked almost the entire period about whatever came to our mind, and I’m positive that I’ve found the first girl that didn’t drive me completely barmy. She doesn’t talk much, especially when compared to me, but when she does, it carries a lot of meaning. She can say things in ten words that I couldn’t say in one hundred. “He seems like a right prat, I think. But you act like he’s so much worse than just that.”
See what I mean? She sums Wood up in just a few simple words. He seems like a right prat. She doesn’t talk much, I told you. It’s kind of nice. Weasleys talk a lot, and they’re usually the only people I ever spend any time around. Until now, of course. This quality of Penelope’s, among others, made us get along instantly, and somehow, I’ve got this weird feeling that she knows me a lot better than she lets on. She seems to understand everything better than you would think she could. Even after only a few hours. It’s nice to know I’m not the only girl in the world that isn’t meant to have a best friend. The Holden-Wood-can’t-stand-her thing is a plus.
“He is a right prat,” I inform her matter-of-factly, scooping my satchel up off the ground as I stand up. Our next class- one we share, luckily- is Defense against the Dark Arts, in fifteen minutes. Under the control of Professor William Weasley- also known as my father. I already told her all about my father being the professor, to avoid her being surprised, and of course, that took quite a few words to explain. “In fact, he might be the biggest prat I’ve ever met in my life. Second only to James, of course.”
“James?” she wrinkles her tiny nose for a moment. “Oh, your best mate? The cousin, yes?”
I nod, smiling as we walk out of the class together. She’s easily remembered everything I’ve told her so far, but when she forgets something for a split second, she crinkles her nose. It’s funny to watch. She looks like a bunny rabbit. “Yes, that’s him. Either way, he’s the biggest prat in the entire world. Wood would be truly horrible if he could out-prat Jamesie.” I laugh aloud. Really, James isn’t as bad as I make him out to be. He’s just shallow. That’s really his only problem.
The second largest prat in the world has already left. He left the very second Professor Divinity dismissed us, frustrated that I was so entertained by the presence of a Slytherin girl. For once, he didn’t try to talk or flirt with me- or snog me! He just left. Thank Merlin. Maybe being angry with me will keep him away for a few days. Ooh, Slytherins are my Wood repellant! Score. Yet another reason to keep the girl around. It’ll keep Wood away.
“I need a better explanation than just that, you know,” she says as we walk down the hallway towards Defense against the Dark Arts. We’re gaining glances from practically everyone who passes us; I notice each one and the confused way their eyes linger on Penelope’s green Slytherin crest, but it doesn’t faze her at all. Nothing seems to faze Penelope, really. Not the obvious whispers we heard in Arithmancy or the surprised and somewhat rude stares we’re getting from passing Gryffindor students. The fact that I’m a Weasley and she’s a Slytherin holds no importance in her mind. She continues talking easily, as if she has no idea she’s currently the center of everyone’s attention. “What has Holden done to you in order to become the second largest prat in the entire world?”
I look at her as if the answer should be obvious. “He snogged me,” I whisper. Really, that’s the only reason I’ve got for why I hate Wood so much.
Penelope raises one eyebrow. “That usually makes girls happy. The bloke is rather handsome, you know- although the I-hate-Slytherin act diminishes his good looks exponentially- and most girls would be crazy over him, yeah? Why are you any different?”
“He snogged me!” I’m surprised this isn’t making sense to her. Holden Wood is a right prat because he snogged me. That makes sense to me. He snogged me. That makes sense- doesn’t it? Maybe I just don’t make any sense. That really wouldn’t shock me. I’m a confusing soul, especially when it comes to Wood- and Lorcan, but we don’t really need to get into that right now. There’s far too many thoughts swirling around in my head when Wood is brought into my mind. All I can usually get out of the chaos is, “I hate him because he snogged me.” Sounds good enough to me.
“Elaborate. How is snogging you enough to make Holden an utter prat?”
I shrug. I don’t know how to elaborate. Luckily for me, my cousin calls out to me from the staircase to our left.
“Dommie!” James yells, waving his arms in the air exuberantly to catch my attention. Lorcan and Fred are on either side of him. Fred looks amused by James and how stupid he looks, and Lorcan is looking awkwardly away from me. James continues waving his arms even though I’m staring right at him. As if I could miss his louder-than-Moaning-Myrtle voice. “Dommie!”
“Yes, James?” I call out, hoping to stop him before he gives himself a heart attack.
“Come up here!”
I look at him curiously. He’s clueless, isn’t he? He has to come down the staircase in order to make it to class. There’s no way I’m letting him skip class on the first day back at Hogwarts. He’s stuck, and he needs to get his arse down the staircase. “You idiot, Defense against the Dark Arts is down the hallway. I’m not going up the bloody staircase!”
James laughs aloud. “Well, fine. If you want to be all bossy about it!” He nudges Fred and Lorcan with his elbows, leading the way down the stairs towards Penelope and me.
I’m hoping that unlike everyone else Penelope and I have passed today, James is tolerant and pleased to meet the girl. I really don’t want my cousin and best mate to disapprove of Penelope just because she’s a Slytherin. Of course, if he’s the James I know and love, we might have a bit of a problem. He’s stubbornly opinionated about his strong dislike of all Slytherins, no matter who they are. All three of the boys who are heading towards me, one more reluctant than the other two, will hopefully have no problem with me befriending a Slytherin. James and Fred generally do the whole I-hate-Slytherins-just-for-being-Slytherins thing, hence my worries. Of course, Fred is much more open-minded than James is. Much.
When the boys finally land on the ground floor in front of us, James gives Penelope his charming smile. Then, his brown eyes land on the Slytherin crest on her robes, and the smile disappears from his face. Yeah, see what I mean?
Fred is smiling at her, but in a more I’ve-just-been-captured-by-the-sight-of-this-incredible-girl way. I knew that would happen to him. Fred is too easy to predict. He likes pretty girls, like James, but he’s the one that will go for the girls with the milky white complexion and the oddly colored eyes; and, I think he was immediately stricken by the fact that Penelope is beaming at them both, and that she has been since they walked up. One thing I noticed right off about Penelope is that she smiles- all the time. She’s exactly the kind of optimistic soul I’d want to pair with Fred. She talks like him, too. Fred seems to be a little lost in staring obviously at her.
Lorcan, of course, barely looks at Penelope; he glances at me quickly before staring off in the distance and refusing to look back. Okay, that’s a little unfair. I like him, he likes me. He thinks I don’t like him, he gives up on me. I overhear him giving up on me; he sees me and acts as if I don’t exist. How does that make it okay to ignore me? It’s not as if it’s my fault he decided to tell Fred he was giving up on me the second I was in earshot. I deserve a little bit of attention. Ugh. Stupid male gender.
“Am I missing something, Dominique?” James asks rudely. He’s aggravated, obviously. He really doesn’t like Slytherins. Really. Which is obvious, because he looks downright furious with me. He refuses to even look in Penelope’s direction again. How ridiculous. Not unexpected, but definitely ridiculous.
“This is Penelope Laurent. I met her in Arithmancy. She’s a Slytherin,” I inform the three boys. James stares at me, as if he’s amazed that I’m so easily saying those words aloud, and the other two boys ignore him and nod at her in greeting.
“Only Penelope. No nicknames,” Penelope says boldly. She’s not very timid, even around people she doesn’t know. I guess that’s how I met her in the first place this morning.
James doesn’t even look at Penelope. I’m repressing the urge to curse him.
“That, of course, is James Sirius Potter,” I say. “The world’s largest arsehole.”
Penelope laughs. From my long conversation with her, I noted that she never curses- never. But she doesn’t seem bothered whenever I do, either. Not like everyone else. Why couldn’t Penelope have moved here in the earlier years, when I really needed a female friend to keep me straight? It would’ve saved me a lot of trouble. Maybe I would’ve even talked to Lorcan once or twice.
James glares at me, before looking away from the two girls standing in front of him. I wonder if he knows that being such a close-minded, intolerant prick will get him nowhere in life. It will definitely hurt his chances of ever getting married, most definitely. Not that that would be a big deal to him, but still. He can’t just look past the Slytherin thing for a minute and realize that I finally found a friend that isn’t a bloke or a bloody cousin?
“The redhead is Mr. Fred Weasley, my second oldest cousin,” I add, pointing towards Fred. He nods again at Penelope. I don’t think he’s capable of saying anything to her. Poor dear. He’s infatuated. I prefer his reaction to James’, most definitely.
“Pleasure to meet you,” Penelope says sincerely to Fred. She doesn’t reach out to shake his hand like most people do nowadays, but the smile on her face is as warm as any handshake.
“Yeah,” he lets out a short laugh. Awkward moment for Fred; hilarious moment for me. I’m so right. Ah, these two will be perfect for each other. It’s been so long since Fred has had a girlfriend. I wonder if Penelope has anything against someone unable to take anything seriously. Probably not. She doesn’t seem to take things seriously either. “Quite a pleasure. I apologize for my cousin, by the way. He’s a prat.”
I roll my eyes. Fred sounds like a blundering idiot. “And the last one is Lorcan Scamander- watch yourself around him, he’s a prefect.” I let out a playful laugh, expecting Lorcan to laugh with me. When he doesn’t, I shoot him a curious look, which he easily deflects.
Penelope turns her charming smile in Lorcan’s direction.
He returns it, and I repress the urge to brandish my wand and point it between his silvery eyes. Is he seriously going to blatantly ignore me and then pay attention to a girl he’s never met before, right in front of me? What have I done to deserve this? I mean, I know he’s under the impression that I’ve never fancied him despite my obvious signs- which I don’t think were really that obvious, although Lily disagrees- and I know I made it out to seem like fancying him would be a truly terrible thing, but is that enough to bother him so much that he never talks to me again?
Okay. I think I’ve had an epiphany. Suddenly, my mind decides it wants to think rationally.
I led him on, giving him the belief that I fancied him- which I do- while insisting that I didn’t to everyone else. I hurt him. I really hurt him. He walked in on an argument with me and my cousin about how I didn’t fancy him; if that’s not painful, I don’t know what is. I don’t have any right to expect that he should continue on talking to me as he normally does. No right at all.
Yeah. I’ve definitely done enough for him to never talk to me again. I’ve asked for this. Brilliant.
I really hate these spontaneous realizations.
I really wonder how I make such long chapters in which nothing really happens.
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