Chapter Two: Fat
I wasn’t exactly sure why I’d bothered even apologizing to Marlene after the feast. She just responded with the usual: “Shut up, chubs. No one wants to hear your flabby opinion.”
Genius, that one is.
And I retorted with a typical: “At least my face doesn’t scare small children.”
At least she never fails to be terribly predictable. Marlene has been calling me ‘chubs’ since second year. It never really got to me, but time breaks you down and this time I felt this weird sort of dropping feeling in my stomach when the words flew from her big mouth.
But I shrugged it off with a laugh and went up to the common room to join my friends.
“Licorice,” I said to the Fat Lady, who swung open with a sigh because it was getting close to being after curfew.
The common room was still rather busy, despite the time. “Lily darling, I do believe that your one-man fan club has devised yet another plan to gain your affection,” I told Lily, who turned around to scan the room for James.
When she discovered James, or his half-witted companions, for that matter, were not around, she frowned.
“Ah, see, he’s growing on you!”
Lily smacked the back of my head as I backed away. “Hey, hey!”
Everyone was apparently rather moody this fine evening. I decided that the common room wasn’t so fun anymore and went off to find Alice.
I was almost out the portrait when I heard my name being whispered. I shuffled closer towards the open hole and pressed myself against the wall.
“Shut up, Frank! Elsa’s not that bad, honestly.”
“Oh, come on, she’s a big-mouthed whale.”
“Only some… Okay, most of the time.”
A large set of giggles followed this exchange and I was ready to sock it to the tosspot that was talking about me.
I waltzed through the portrait and was met face to face with Alice Collins.
I didn’t have anything to say, for once, so I gave Alice a look of disgust and stormed down the staircase, barely pausing till I reached the bottom.
I was greeted by the honest-to-God last people I wanted to see.
The ‘Marauders’ as they called themselves, and I, had only a small history. In first year, during our first mock Quidditch match, James Potter hit me with the quaffle, leaving quite the bruise. He felt really bad about it, but I told him it was fine and that the bruise would convince people that I was a badass. Of course, being an eleven-year-old boy, he gasped at the curse and came up with a plan. I was going to punch him and give him a black eye so it looked like we had been fighting. Our plan, sadly, was disbanded by McGonagall and we both got detention.
Sirius Black has been my secret crush for years. There is no denying he’s incredibly lovely, but I think he’s kind of a prat sometimes. I met him officially in second year when we were potions partners. And, of course, both being terrible at the subject, we managed to create a substance that crawled out of the cauldron and began slithering around the room. To this day, Professor Slughorn has no idea what it was.
Ever since then, Sirius and James have consulted me on various things. Especially when it came to Charms, because they are both dreadful, and that was the only ‘Outstanding’ mark I got on my O.W.L.s.
Remus and Peter I didn’t know quite as well, but Remus seemed very nice and Peter was just that kind of annoying buzz you learn to ignore after a while.
James Potter, tall, dark and handsome, Sirius Black, arrogant tosspot, Remus Lupin, kind soul and prefect, and Peter Pettigrew: annoying lump, were all four standing in the hall, looking slightly guilty. Any other time I would have rolled my eyes and asked just what the bloody hell they were doing, but I was so angry and hurt by Alice that I didn’t care.
I cleared my throat. “Er, hi. If you’ll excuse me, I was just leaving.”
James raised an eyebrow. “You don’t care what were up to?”
“No, not particularly, no,” I said, a faint sigh escaping my lips.
“And why might that be?” Sirius inquired, taking a step as to block my path.
I pushed past him. “Why don’t you ask your ruddy girlfriend?” I called over my shoulder, sounding a little more harsh than perhaps necessary.
“What’s up with her?” I heard James ask his friends. This was followed by a slapping sound, cluing me in to the fact that Remus had just smacked James upside the head.
“She’s obviously upset you dingbat!”
I wish I could laugh at those four tonight, but everything had gone from bad to worse so far and it was only the first evening.
Ever since I could remember, Alice and I had been friends. We stuck together. Now she was suddenly more interested in the likes of Frank Longbottom and trash-talking me than being my best friend.
It’s totally logical you see. It happens to everyone except for me apparently. I’m talking about young love: where you’d rather hang out with the boy who really just wants to get in your pants than your best friend of five years.
Thank you, teenage hormones.
It was nearing ten-thirty when I left the castle for the grounds, forgetting the detention leaving would certainly earn me.
Whenever I needed to take a break from school, I came out to sit by the lake and just think. I know I wasn’t the only one, but I highly doubted that anyone would be dumb enough to try to come and talk with me.
I sat down in the damp grass, half wishing I would have changed out of my uniform before sitting, and stared at the lake and the moon.
Hogwarts really did just have this calming effect on everyone I knew. I could be angry and fuming one minute, and totally fine the next. But now I wasn’t either.
I couldn’t really be angry with Alice. I was more hurt that she was talking about me behind my back. And none-the-less about something she knew I was sensitive about. And we hadn’t even been back a whole day yet.
There is this misconception among my friends and fellow students that I am a happy person. The truth is, it hurts when I look in the mirror. I don’t like what looks back at me. So I figure I have to have a good personality if I’m going to be ugly on the outside.
Of course, some would argue that my personality is not so wonderful and that I’m a mean-spirited bitch who laughs at people out of pure spite. They would be wrong. I laugh at people so I can laugh at myself. Which is harder to do that one might think.
I looked up to see Alice staring down at me with a guilty glint in her eyes. I diverted my attention to a particularly bright star.
“Look, I’m really sorry, I don’t know what I was thinking.”
I stood up. “I do,” I stated through gritted teeth.
Alice put her hands on her hips defensively. “You do. Really?”
“Yeah. I understand completely. You’ve been lying to me for the past five years about everything. ‘No, of course you don’t have a big mouth’,” I imitated my best friend in a mean tone.
“Now listen here-!”
“No, you listen. I’m not going to hang out with people who think I’m a big-mouthed whale as Frank so kindly put it. I’m sorry that I ever messed up your life in the first place. I assure you, love, that it wont happen again.”
With that I stormed off, wiping tears I refused to cry from my pudgy cheeks.
Fuck the world, I thought bitterly as I trudged down the steps from the girls’ dormitory. As far as I was concerned, anyone who got in my way today could go die in a hole.
My shoes were untied, one sock was up and the other down, my hair was pulled back hastily and my makeup was smudged and carelessly applied. My uniform was hardly at McGonagall standard; my shirt untucked from my skirt and my sweater that was tied around my waist. I hadn’t bothered to put on a tie this morning.
After I had come up from the grounds last night, carefully avoiding Filch, I had snuck into the girl’s dorm as quietly as possible. I didn’t want to talk to anyone at that moment, but Lily Evans had caught me anyway. Sometimes that girl is too nosy for her own good.
I politely told her to bugger off and stumbled into our bathroom, where I began the harsh task of washing all my makeup off.
After I had, I re-entered the room to see Alice and Lily talking in hushed voices. When they saw me, Alice drew the curtain. To be honest, I couldn’t care less. I was too tired and too hurt to be bothered that Alice was possibly turning everyone against me.
I guess if she does than I’ll just fake illness and transfer out of school.
The common room seemed to be irrationally quiet as I showed my morning face to the world; all quiet except for James sodding Potter and Sirius bloody Black.
“Get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, love?” James called as I walked by.
“Is there ever a right side for our dear Elsa in the morning?” Sirius added, smirking handsomely. Damn that boy and his good looks.
“No,” said James, smirking.
“I think we should start telling McGonagall that we don’t want to sit in class with her in the morning.”
“Ah, of course, we know she’s particularly vicious without proper rest.”
“Well if she wasn’t out traipsing around the grounds at midnight, maybe she would be a little perkier in the morning.”
“I’d say not, judging by the fact that it looks like a particularly vicious stampede of Rhinos have trampled over her makeup,” James added.
“When’d you get the black eye?”
“Fighting with the hippogriff she offended with her mug.”
“No, I don’t think a hippogriff would dare come near that thing, especially not on a fine morning like this.”
“I’d say hippogriffs wouldn’t dare come near her if-!”
I punched James Potter in the nose.
And I regret nothing.
The first Quidditch match of the season was like Christmas for me. This year it was like the world had caved in and Jesus himself was laughing in my face.
Thanks a bunch, God.
“And James Potter passes the Quaffle off to Alice Collins! What a shot! Next time why don’t you try aiming for her hand and NOT her head!”
“DeLestrade!” McGonagall barked at me, her icy green eyes telling me I’d better stick to being a neutral party.
“And here comes Sirius Black armed with the bat and an ego the size of the stadium. This should be interesting, all. What’s this? Black has hit the Slytherin’s Seeker! And down goes Regulus Black! Ouch, that’s going to hurt in the morning!”
I could almost feel the glares radiating from the stadium. I didn’t understand why everyone was turning on me all of a sudden. Last year I bad-mouthed everyone and even McGonagall said nothing.
You know it’s bad when your head of House is on the enemy side. Lately no one had been cutting me any slack. Figures they’d all side with Alice. Not one person was with me. And it sucked. A lot.
“And Marelene McKinnon has caught the Snitch! Gryffindor wins!” I tried my best to be excited and then hastily left the stadium.
I was about to retreat to the library, where thankfully, none of my, er, friends would dare go when I bumped into something solid.
“God, I’m so sorry, I should watch where I’m going,” I sputtered out, not bothering to look at the poor victim.
“It’s fine, no worries,” the guy said, standing at his full height again. It was Regulus Black.
“Hey, are you okay?” I asked hesitantly; I hadn’t tried talking to people other than from my own house, maybe the Slytherins didn’t hate me. “I mean Sirius got you in the stomach pretty hard.”
Regulus laughed; he sounded a lot like Sirius. “Yeah, I’m fine. That was a good line about his ego. I think he needs to deflate his bloody head sometimes.”
I smiled along. “Yeah, just a little.”
“Just a tiny bit?”
I laughed out loud and looked up at the youngest Black. I don’t know what the bloody hell Sirius was talking about; Regulus was nice! “I don’t know if his horse-faced girlfriend could take it.”
“Marlene? Oh, I’d say her face is a little bit more like a baboon’s backside.”
We both chuckled and he held out his arm. “Accompany me to the library? I have to return a book. Pince is always on me about that.”
“Sure.” I took his arm and tried to shut out what I thought I was feeling.
Regulus Black was amazing. He was funny and adorable and overall just not who I had expected him to be.
When we got to the library, we sat at a table in the back and he pulled out the chair for me. I’m all for gender equality, but I feel like it’s still the guy’s job to be a gentleman.
“So, tell me, how hard is O.W.L. year really?” He asked, smiling slightly.
“Honestly, it’s awful, but I didn’t study until the week before, so I’m probably not the best person to ask,” I explained and he chuckled.
“Well then I guess I’m a step ahead because I’ve studying since last year.”
We both laughed. I didn’t understand anything I’d ever heard about him now. And the other plus? He was cute. Regulus had hair a little bit shorter and lighter than Sirius’ and his eyes were friendly and a deep blue.
Oh Merlin, I think I like him.
“Do you want to go to Hogsmeade with me?”
Yes, I think I definitely like him.