Chapter 11 : Georgia Watson, Seventh Year.
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“Georgia? George? Georgia Watson! Wake up in there!”
I was eating my lunch, casually glaring at Julia Ripley with her annoyingly shiny hair and annoyingly perfect smile while she sat eating her annoyingly healthy, dressing on the side, fat free, ‘look-I-do-indeed-eat-like-a-rabbit’ salad. I doubt, in the history of magic (or Muggles for that matter), that anyone could ever be that perfect. I reckon that something dodgy is going on. I mean nobody could never not have had acne, or be president of the Charms Club, have good exam results or play Quidditch really well, without something fishy going on. She even had time to tutor snotty little first years and have a boyfriend (maybe I could do something about that last one).
I, Georgia Watson, was going to plan Julia Ripley’s fall from grace. Starting with a vicious rumour concerning a horrible sexually transmitted disease and an international Quidditch star that she met in... Venezuela. I decided I would call it Snorcackitis. That should give those Scamander twins something to talk about.
Julia Ripley laughed, and she tossed her shiny hair over her shoulder. It was perfectly tinkling and sweet and lovely and annoying. Several boys turned to look at her, and their eyes glazed over.
Oh please, nobody’s got taste anymore.
“Georgia, you’re stabbing your soup with a fork.”
I looked down. I was indeed trying to kill my food. I turned around, checking that no one remotely worth talking to had seen me acting like a moron. I breathed a sigh of relief. The Weasley clan were sitting at the other end of the table, the Ravenclaw Quidditch team were comparing their biceps and triceps at their table and Darius Zabini was busy looking in a mirror. A small first year was laughing at me from the Hufflepuff table, but I glared at him. I was pretty sure that he wet himself.
“Georgia, what’s wrong with you today?”
I turned around to face my dorm mate.
“Nothing,” I said nonchalantly, although I was really imagining what Ripley would look like with antlers.
“Well, I could tell you what is wrong with Joseph Stonewell’s skin. I mean apparently...”
I could become very good at tuning Elizabeth’s voice out of my head, as it so very regularly annoyed me. Instead, I refocused my attention on Julia Ripley, who was now surrounded by members of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, showing them an intricately drawn game plan and blushing at the way one of the beaters was staring at her. I pushed my soup away from me, no longer hungry.
“And he said that he contracted it from his brother’s friend’s cousin’s dog who had some sort of horrible dog flu thing that made him come up in boils! Can you imagine, Georgie? Having dog flu on your face?”
“You would know.”
Elizabeth recoiled slightly, her face the perfect picture of shock.
“Something really is wrong today,” she said coolly.
“I’m sorry, Lizzie.” I really wasn’t, but the weak apology seemed to satisfy her, and soon she was gabbling away about whom was dating who and all the events that had occurred over the summer. Elizabeth had been busy catching up since last night when we had arrived. Her little army of gossipmongers had gathered around her like some sort of idol, eagerly whispering and spreading rumours. I had trained them well.
“Anything new?” I asked her.
“Serena Matthews and Charlie Lewis were caught in a broom cupboard on the fourth floor?”
“I caught them.”
“Serena’s boyfriend then proceeded to beat up Lewis?”
“I told the boyfriend where he was.”
“Rose Weasley and Scorpius Malfoy are secretly dating?”
“Oh please, that happened before the summer.”
Elizabeth pouted and crossed her arms.
“I don’t have anything else,” she said, almost ashamedly.
“Do you have anything on Julia Ripley?” I requested, and Elizabeth looked down the table at Ripley. Julia was now teaching some tiny first year about summoning charms, the small boy’s face rapt with attention.
“I thought you two were friends.”
I shrugged. “She’s alright,” I said innocently. Really I was imagining her dying in horrible ways, possibly through the use of Devil’s Snare.
“I haven’t heard anything,” she replied dejectedly. I knew how Elizabeth got when she didn’t know everything about everyone. “She’s clean.”
“Well, apparently...” And I proceeded to tell Elizabeth all about Snorcackitis, and Venezuela and the international Quidditch player, and her eyes were rapt with attention. I knew that if I told Elizabeth a rumour, it would be around the school by the end of the day, and the victim of that rumour would have a nickname by breakfast the next day.
“And they... really? It really turns your skin green? That’s grim.”
I mumbled in agreement, still glaring daggers at Julia Ripley and her pore-free skin and perfectly shiny hair. And from being her dorm-mate, I knew that she didn’t use any products on it, which meant that it must be that perfect naturally, which just made me hate her more.
I was so busy scowling at Ripley that I didn’t notice the volume of the great hall decrease, or people’s heads turn quickly towards the large oak doors. Usually I would be with them, with Elizabeth practically jumping at my side, as they looked, eager for some new piece of gossip. But I was engrossed in my hatred (and part jealously) for Julia Ripley and her perfect hair that I didn’t see when James Potter entered the great hall, his hand clasped around someone else’s.
“Well that’s new.” Elizabeth seemed unsurprised, which was an achievement, seeing as everything new seemed to excite her. I remember when she positively wet herself when some boy in second year dyed his hair.
It was her voice that eventually distracted me from imagining what Julia Ripley would look like if she were bald. I looked up, about to fire a snappish remark her way, but I stopped, realising everyone was staring at the doorway and the couple standing awkwardly there.
The entire Weasley clan stood up, clapping and wolf whistling. One girl further down the table burst into angry tears, while her friend patted her uncertainly on the shoulder. I saw one boy collecting money from his friends, smiling hugely after obviously winning some sort of bet. Elizabeth returned to her meal.
I gripped my goblet tightly, ideas for new rumours racing around my head as Amelie Harris became my newest victim. It was difficult. I didn’t know that much about her, even though she was my roommate. Then again, it would be because we were dorm mates that people would believe me when I would say that she’s actually a man and she has to shave in the mornings.
I slumped in my seat. I was losing my touch, but the day when I ask Elizabeth for help would be a bleak day for all. I stood up, muttering a hasty goodbye to Lizzie and walking towards the door of the hall. I walked past the Weasleys, all crowded around the new couple. James had his arm around her, and she was blushing stupidly, embarrassed by all the attention.
I froze. I could sense the eyes of the entire Weasley tribe on my back. I inhaled and exhaled slowly and after rearranging my hair, I spun around. I plastered a sultry smile on my lips and I walked towards them with a slight sway in my hips.
“There’s a Quidditch practice tonight, around six. You up for that?” A sudden vision flashed through my mind. It was a picture of me and Potter, locked in some sort of tight embrace in a dark broom closet. There was barely enough light to count the freckles on his nose. I swallowed quickly.
“I’m up for a lot more, if you want,” I answered him coyly.
That was awkward. Usually Potter would be able to answer me with some sort of equally innuendo-filled comment, and we would casually flirt until someone would make the first move. Instead there was silence. Hugo didn’t even laugh. Dominique smirked, raising a perfectly plucked eyebrow. I looked around the group.
“Wow. You’re a lively lot today,” I said sarcastically, before turning around and leaving the hall.
When I reached the entrance hall, I stopped abruptly, like my purposeful energy had suddenly vanished. I was alone in the middle of the entrance hall, and there was something sitting in my chest. Something unknown. It was similar to the feeling I got whenever we lost a Quidditch match: a dull, heavy feeling that crept across my skin and down my throat. Julia Ripley skipped past, her small group of followers kissing the ground she walked on, and I couldn’t even muster a glare. Instead, I just stared blankly at her. I didn’t even wonder what would happen to her perfect, shiny hair when she went outside into the rain.
I spotted a boy from the Ravenclaw Quidditch team descend the marble staircase and I quickly assessed him: no acne, relatively good hair, and freckles. I’ve always had a thing for freckles. I sauntered over to him, talked to him for a minute or so, and then I leaned in close to whisper something in his ear. I saw goose bumps appear on his neck, and I smirked. My work here was done. I traced my fingers down his towards his hand, and tugged slightly at it. He came willingly, and I pulled him into the closest broom cupboard. I tried to ignore the hefty weight in my chest as his hands found my skin.
I pulled my shirt back on in the dim light of the broom closet. The Ravenclaw boy (Daniel? Dan? Damon? I couldn’t remember whether he told me) was hurriedly straightening his tie and pulling on his shoes. He did it so quickly that he almost fell over.
“When can I see you again?”
“Err... well, Daniel, actually I think that - “
“Oh, right.” I knew I was close. We continued changing in silence after that, and Damon slipped out of the cupboard. I sat down on a box of cleaning products to tie up my shoelace. The dull weight in my chest hadn’t lifted, and I rubbed it gingerly, wondering whether I should go to the hospital wing to see whether something was wrong with me. Perhaps it was the soup I had for lunch. Perhaps I actually have Snorcackitis.
I left the broom closet and headed towards the Charms classroom. The loud sound of chatter and laughter spilled out into the corridor, and when I entered, the class was in a state of disarray. At a first glance, there appeared to be no professor trying to control the group of students but when I looked around, there was mousy-looking woman cowering in the corner, a sheet of parchment clasped in her fingers. I laughed at the positively terrified look on her face, and I slumped into a seat next to Elizabeth.
“Class!” The ‘professor’ whispered, “class please quieten down.”
I think someone might have looked in her direction for a second before returning to their conversation.
“So I told my contacts about Ripley and her disease,” Elizabeth said, and I laughed inwardly at how seriously she took her job as resident gossip queen.
“And apparently her boyfriend’s got it as well, and so that means that his various sex buddies will catch it too.”
Julia Ripley already had her book open and was taking notes. I felt a sharp and sudden (and I mean sudden, lasting only a second or two) stab of guilt. Soon people will avoid Ripley in the corridor just in case they catch something, and she’ll have a horrible nickname, and she’ll have no boyfriend after it’s discovered that he’s sleeping around. But after my brief moment of concern, I went back to hating her, and the way some boy was sitting behind her and gazing longingly at the back of her head.
“Students, please,” whimpered the professor as a couple of boys started throwing a Quaffle around.
“Here he comes now,” Elizabeth whispered in my ear as a boy brushed past me to sit next to Ripley, “he was meant to meet her for lunch but he was busy.”
I looked subtly over her shoulder, towards Julia Ripley and her boyfriend who were sitting towards the back of the room. I turned away quickly. It was Dan or Damien... Damon, I think it was. I smiled to myself. It seemed that I had contracted the disease that I had invented. I’ll be going green soon.
“His name is Damien Roseby,” Elizabeth quickly filled me in, “he plays beater on the Ravenclaw Quidditch team, his parents work at the Ministry, his little sister is in Hufflepuff and he’s sleeping with approximately,” Elizabeth counted quickly on her fingers, “eight girls? I’m guessing he had a lunch date today.”
He sure did.
“Girls, can you talk later on? I’d really like to start the lesson.” The new professor tried to reason with a group of girls who were talking and giggling loudly at a table on the front row.
“Does she know that he’s a sex pest?” I asked Elizabeth, glancing swiftly at the couple that were having a whispered argument. I saw that he mouthed the words ‘I was just studying’. That feeling of guilt returned again at the hurt look on Ripley’s face. It added to the heavy weight on my chest. I tried gulping some of Elizabeth’s water to see whether it helped.
“No,” my room-mate explained, “otherwise she wouldn’t walk around looking like she owned the place. I certainly wouldn’t act like that if I knew that Felix was sleeping around.”
“Felix is a Hufflepuff. It’s not in his nature to do anything remotely rebellious or involves lying.”
“When he’s not with me, he’s just studying or reading or playing Gobstones. Sometimes I wish he was a bit more... a bit more hunky, you know?”
“No,” I said dully, “I don’t know.”
“I mean there was this one time, when we were just fooling around, but he... “
I tuned her voice out of my mind. I wasn’t particularly in Elizabeth’s sex life, and I was distracted by the two people who had just rolled up to class late. They were hand in hand, and both were blushing furiously.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one who had a little bit of a ‘lunch date’. How disgusting. At least I had been on time for lessons.
Amelie Harris and James Potter walked down the aisle between the tables, sitting at a table right at the back of the classroom. A couple of the Gryffindor Quidditch team members sent Potter a knowing wink. The couple sat far too close together to be decent. His forehead was almost touching hers.
I had the sudden urge to vomit, and the dull ache in my chest grew in intensity. I stood up and walked out of the classroom, not even finding the energy to laugh at the new teacher, who was now falling victim to some well aimed fireworks. I saw raise her arm weakly as if to try and stop me, but I didn’t stop walking until I reached the door to the hospital wing and entered. The nurse enquired after my illness, and after a vague description of my chest ache, she gave me some medicine and I lay down on a bed in the corner. It wasn’t long before I fell asleep.
Someone’s voice was digging into my head. It was Potter’s voice, I think. Well, it could be. There was definitely a hint of Weasley in there. My eyes flickered open, and my hands felt the bandage that was wrapped tightly around my head. I groaned.
“You fell.” The voice had been Potter’s. He was sitting on the chair next to my bed. The rest of the Quidditch team was crowded around my bed, all of them looking very windswept and a bit disorientated (well, apart from Dominique, who seemed to look nothing less than perfect everyday). All of them had their broomsticks clutched tightly in their hands.
“Did we win?”
“It was easy. They’re Hufflepuffs,” said Roxy, “Oscar caught the snitch right after you fell.”
Oscar was the thin and weedy seeker. He was standing right at the back of the group and, at the mention of his name he cowered slightly and pushed his glasses further up his nose. The matron came over, squeezing through the team towards my bed. She was young, pretty and obviously new to this. She was trainee; otherwise she would have scolded the team for making a mess in the hospital wing and sent them on their way.
“Hello darling,” she smiled kindly, “do you want to try sitting up for me?”
I tried. My head rung horribly and I swayed slightly from side to side. I could feel someone’s hand on my arm, steadying me. It was warm. I turned to see who it was, only see James’ bright brown eyes staring back at me.
When I woke up, it was dark. There was only one other person in the hospital wing and they were quite obviously asleep, their snores were echoing around the room. There was no light on in the matron’s office so I slipped out of bed and crept towards the door. I was still wearing my uniform.
The feeling in my chest had disappeared, so I skipped back towards the Gryffindor common room. I whispered the password to the Fat Lady and headed inside, and I was about to creep up the boy’s staircase to see whether Jeremy was up for anything but then I heard a giggle. I turned, only to see the silhouette of two people in front of the fire. I wished that it were Ripley and her boyfriend Daniel.
“Say it again,” one of them said.
“I love you.”
The ache in my chest returned quickly and intensely and I felt like I might keel over. It hurt so much that I took a sharp gasp of breath, and the couple on the sofa must have heard me. The girl turned in her turned and looked into the shadows by the staircase. They didn’t see me. I stumbled against the wall, rubbing my chest, trying to sooth it. All I wanted to do was get out of this room with the heat and the darkness and... and them. I staggered up the stairs, gasping against the pain. I could still hear the mumbles of the couple’s voices from the steps.
“I love you, Amelie Harris.”
I am so so so so so so sorry. I always promised myself that I would never turn into one of those authors that updates about once a year, but here I am. Sorry. I have planned out the rest of the chapters for Raining, and there's going to be about five more chapters plus an epilogue if I feel like it. However, I have one slot free. If anyone has any ideas for moments that James and Amelie could share, please head over to my MTA page and click on the link that's there. Muchas gracias, mis amigos.
Again, I'm so sorry. I'm down on my knees, my beautiful readers, begging for forgiveness and a review.
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