Chapter 10 : Cinderella
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Introducing Natalie Ashworth, beauty chapter image by Deianeira at TDA!
“You little minx!”
“Yeah?” Her dark pony tail was just visible through the budging shrub we were pruning.
“Kindly shut the hell up.”
I heard her laugh and she came around the bush to shake her shears at me in a mocking tone (though quite reminiscent of my Grandma Weasley). “I knew you wore your best bra for a reason – you planned that whole thing! That purple snitch one gives you the best cleavage by far.”
I threw a clod of dirt at her. “First of all, no, I didn’t, and second of all, it’s weird how well you know my underwear.”
Roxanne rolled her eyes at me. “First of all, you definitely wore it hoping he would notice, and second of all, I have the same one in pink, so stuff it.”
“Ladies, your project is going to walk off the table if you don’t pay closer attention! You can gossip after you’re done,” came a scolding voice over our shoulder.
Professor Longbottom was over our shoulders and pointing at our shrub, which was literally creeping stealthily along the wooden table, its roots grasping for freedom.
I hastily grabbed it and stuffed it roughly into the soil it had so recently escaped from. “Sorry, Professor!”
Merlin, the last thing I needed was him hearing our discussion about my skivvies. I could not have my interactions with Luke getting back to my father...or brothers...well, anyone in my family, really.
“It won’t happen again, Neville!” Roxanne saluted with a grin. He reddened slightly, but his reprimand was interrupted as Eric Creevey was pulled into the clutches of the resident Venomous Tentacula.
Roxanne took this moment to turn on me with a scrutinizing glare. “So, what happened again?”
“I told you everything, you silly chit. Bugger off and finish your side so we can get out of here.”
Yes, avoidance was much better because in all honesty, I had no bloody idea what had happened between me and Luke. All I knew was that it definitely was not tutoring.
Speaking...well, thinking of avoidance, I had barely seen said subject of inappropriate lake interactions since. And it had been two days, and Quidditch practice tonight would be the first time I would spend more than two minutes within his vicinity.
And I was as cool and composed as a cucumber...
Or I was as anxious and skittish as Al was on his first date with Vivian, and that really did not end well... I can’t believe how long the girl stayed with him after that huge cock-up. Needless to say, genetics was really working against me here.
We finally finished with our plant, and though my side was pretty choppy, I thought it looked good considering all the stress I was currently dealing with.
“It looks like a mad axe man had a vendetta against your side of the plant.”
“Stuff it, Roxanne.”
Neville called our attention to the front of the class. I and Roxanne giggled about the dirt smeared across his forehead, giving him the appearance of having a unibrow. He quickly quieted us with a look, though Roxanne kept on stifling her laughter beside me.
“Now I was talking with Professor Aldridge and he told me how well your tutoring is going with your upper class mates, so I have decided to set up a similar system!”
He clapped his hands together eagerly. Only he would be excited over more Herbology.
Roxanne furrowed her brow. “Well, my arse, Violet Finnigan is a complete moron and Amelia Hall is quieter than a pygmy puff.”
“I think I could only do better.”
She scoffed at me. “Please. You were put with one of the best looking boys in Hogwarts. Excuse me while I weep for you.”
“Whatever. If I’m with him again, will you help me run away and join the Muggle circus?”
Some people would think I was desperate to avoid Luke, no idea where they would get that from.
Professor Longbottom shook his head at us, indicating for us to be quiet. “Most people will have a one-on-one session with a seventh year. Here is the list of partners, once you have seen it, you may go to your next class!”
Roxanne elbowed her way through our classmates, pulling me roughly along. She ripped the sheet out of peeved looking Amelia’s hands (who seemed to have heard Roxanne’s comment), and pulled the sheet up to her nose.
“Roxy, I think you need glasses.”
“Fuck off, Lil.”
I laughed. “Okay, who am I with? Just let me have it!”
Roxanne slowly lowered the paper, a shit-eating grin covering her lips.
Good Godric, I was going to be with Luke again. Someone up there really hated me.
Scratch that, someone up there fucking loathed me.
Roxanne left me to go to her Ancient Ruins class and I decided that my situation was dire enough for me to skip Divination. Really, I had no idea why I took the damn course. It was pointless, especially because this year I didn’t have Firenze who at least made it somewhat worthwhile. Dad had told me that Trelawney was not a true fraud, but from my experience, she was pretty freaking close.
In my first class in third year, she told me my father was going to suffer a terrible and horrible death. Of course, being a thirteen year old girl at that time, I cried for the rest of the day and even demanded that I be able to floo my parents. Much to my surprise, dad laughed at my tears and told me that I really had nothing to worry about, thus began my complete hatred for that stupid stuffy tower.
I began to distractedly make my way back to the common room, and as I stepped through the portrait hole (with a tut from the Fat Lady who knew I had class), I bumped into someone hurrying out of it.
My books fell with a tumble from my arms and I sighed as I bent over to pick them up. Eric Creevey bent down bashfully to help me.
“S-s-sorry Lily, I’m just in a hurry to get to Ancient Runes.”
I picked up my bound copy of Magical Beasts and Where to Find Them and smiled at the sandy-haired boy. “No worries, Eric. I see you got away from the Tentacula unscathed.”
If possible, he blushed even deeper. “Yeah, you know, you kind of learn some tricks after you get caught by it for the sixth time.”
I smiled reassuringly at him. “Well, I know who to call if I ever come into contact with it.”
He nodded at me, his blue eyes shifting nervously. “I’ll always be here for you, Lily.”
And with that sweet and somewhat awkward comment, he hightailed it out of the common room, leaving me face to face with a smiling Natalie Ashworth.
Merlin, put those teeth away, I was being blinded. It’s like looking into the fucking sun. Not that I was bitter or anything.
“Hey, Natalie,” I answered flatly, my eyes sweeping the common room. They connected with a pair of golden hazel ones. Luke grinned at me, running a hand through his curly dark hair and shrugging his shoulders as if apologizing for her presence.
“Luke let me into your common room. I hope you don’t mind?”
Oh, right, of course he let her in. I mean, she would probably be let in to Mount Olympus just because she was unfairly gorgeous and had a killer megawatt smile.
“Not at all. So we’re partners. For Herbology.” God, I sounded like a robot.
“Yup! I was thinking we could meet Saturday morning?”
I nodded mutely. Good God, this was going to be torture. I hate Professor Longbottom. Well, not actually, because I mean I technically can’t...he’s basically family...but well, you get the point. I figuratively hate him.
“Smashing! I can’t wait! Bye, Luke. I’ll probably see you later!” She waved cutely at him, smiled at me once more and flounced out of the portrait hole.
I turned from watching her depart and let out a huff. I heard a chuckle and I turned to find Luke sprawled comfortably across one of the red couches, his head propped on his arms and his eyes on me.
I couldn’t help but feel nervous under his stare, my heart was beating louder and louder, and I was sure he could hear it.
Shut. Up. Heart.
The loudness of my organs and the quietness of the common room made me come to a terrifying and terrible realization. Luke and I were completely and utterly alone.
He was still silently watching me. His intense gaze and his glowing hazel eyes were making me feel incredibly unsettled.
Wow, Lily, good one. Could you be any more eloquent? How did this boy I barely knew make me feel so unbelievably uncomfortable?
For the first time since we kissed in the cellar, I felt with acute clarity how large the age difference was between Luke and me. Right now, with his cool demeanor, he seemed infinitely older than me.
He was in his seventh year preparing for his N.E.W.T.S and I had yet to even take my O.W.L.S, he probably knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life.
He probably had his whole life planned out.
He had probably had sex...
I blushed violently at this and I was very glad that Luke didn’t know Occlumency. The fact that I had never come close to a boyfriend and he was probably, well, experienced made me feel terribly inadequate and I mentally hit myself for feeling so giddy in his presence. Again, there was no way possible he could have any interest in me, not when he was a seventeen year old almost man and I was a fifteen year old girl.
Merlin, I was painfully naive.
I snapped back to reality, and Luke was raising a questioning eyebrow at me.
“I asked you why you weren't in class.”
Wooooww, apparently this is only-speaking-in-one-word-answer day.
Except this seemed to be enough. He laughed and nodded “Makes sense. I don’t know how Fred has stuck with it all these years.”
“Maybe because he’s a pro in bullshitting.” The words were out of my mouth before I could edit, at least I could be thankful that it was more than one word.
Luke looked at me, his eyes shining appreciatively. He sat up and scooted over on the couch, while patting the spot beside him.
I smiled uncertainly and nervously made my way over to sit next to him.
“Can you help me try and figure out this play? James is going absolutely mental over it and I’m trying to stop any further meltdowns.”
Nodding, I pulled the piece of parchment closer to me, and looked at the scribbled play. I didn’t know who I was kidding, though, because I had no strategic sense whatsoever. We both sat silently for a while, Luke immersed in the play book and me still looking at the exact same play and making sense of nothing.
“Do you really think Noel is going to be good?” I asked, trying to eradicate the pressing silence.
“I think he’s going to be bloody brilliant,” he answered without looking at me, his mind clearly on the Quidditch pitch. For once, I was extremely grateful for boys’ all consuming passion for the sport, it made awkward conversations with drunk snog partners a whole lot less...well, awkward.
“Sorry, that Natalie is a little overwhelming. She is going to be a way better tutor than I am, though. She’s a genius.”
I looked at him, and nodded disappointedly. He had a silly little smile covering his lips and I could only assume that just the thought of her brought it to his face.
“So you two are together again?”
He looked at me surprised. “Definitely not. She’s totally not my type anymore.”
I laughed, possibly because what he said was funny or possibly because for some unknown reason, I was relieved.
“Oh? So leggy and blonde are not your type?”
He looked at me and smirked. “No. I prefer smoldering red heads.”
Merlin, did I blush.
“Hugo will be delighted to hear that.”
He laughed, but his gaze on me didn’t falter, “I meant a girl, but you go right ahead and tell him.”
I put my hands on my hips and pouted. “I have auburn hair, not red hair.”
He raised a dark eyebrow. “Who said I was talking about you?”
I opened and closed my mouth a couple times, unable to find words. I picked up a pillow and threw it at his head. I missed by about the width of a dragon.
Luke was laughing even harder at my botched attempt. “Thank Merlin you’re not a chaser.”
I glared at him and shook my fist at him. “Do you want a bruise, Wood?”
“Are you going to kiss it after?” He was now full on smirking at me, and Gods he was fit.
“That’s a no, then.”
I launched myself onto the couch and punched him hard in the arm. He barely winced. If anything, it only made him laugh harder.
“Watch the face. I am far too good looking to have any bruises!” he pleaded sarcastically as he held my wrists.
I huffed in forfeit and sat back against the couch. “You’re not that attractive.”
“Not today,” he grinned at me, his hazel eyes mischievous, “but the day you ravaged me in your pantry, I was wearing my dark green shirt that always looks good on me. I’m the victim in all of this if you think about it.”
I scoffed in an attempt to cover up my blush. “Hardly. I’m two years younger than you! I’m your best friend’s little sister!”
I meant it in a joking manner, honest. But I just called out the hippogriff in the room, and neither of us was prepared for it.
Luke’s face immediately closed off, his bright hazel eyes darkened and his mouth was set in a firm line.
“Fuck. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that,” I blurted out, trying to salvage the situation.
“No. You’re right. I have to go.”
He picked up his school bag, pushed the Quidditch plays messily together and stalked out of the portrait hole, leaving me completely alone, and never feeling more confused in my life.
Roxanne interrupted James’ after practice Quidditch speech with a cough and an insolent look.
“For fuck’s sake, Roxanne.” Another death glare was sent in his direction. “Fine. Ladies and gentlemen, practice was decent today, but I think we are lacking some motivation. So, I have a challenge of sorts to propose. I am instituting a ‘No Shave Semester’, and the only way anyone is allowed to shave is if we win the upcoming game against Slytherin.”
And that is why my mother tends to question my eldest brother’s sanity.
Everyone immediately started talking.
“That’s brilliant mate! Can’t believe I never thought of that myself!” Fred roared above the din of the team.
“There is no way possible Lily and I are following that. I prefer not to have yeti legs, thank you very much.” Bless Roxanne for saying exactly what I was thinking.
“Umm, James? I don’t shave,” Noel muttered, as he self consciously rubbed his fourteen-year old chin.
“Neither does James,” Al added in, ducking as James moved to hit across the back of the head.
And Luke, through all of this, remained completely silent and unmoved... not that I was watching him or anything.
James brought his fingers to his lips and let out a loud whistle. “Fine, girls, you can be exempt I guess. I will think of something else for you two. But men, no shaving, au natural, whatever you want to call it. We’re rocking the rugged look.”
Roxanne and I rolled our eyes. Needless to say, the Gryffindor Quidditch team would definitely be falling in the ranks for best looking team.
“I have an idea for motivation for the girls!” Fred jumped up from his seat on the grass of the pitch, his face had a gleeful look that only spelled trouble.
James smiled. “Let’s hear it then, Weasley.”
“They’re not allowed to date, kiss, hug or flirt with any boy until we win against Slytherin.”
Through my outrage, did I notice Luke’s eyes flicker to me, or I was just desperate? Definitely the latter. Ugh.
“Now that’s complete bullshit.” Roxanne jumped to her feet.
James’ face lit up. “No, this is amazing, you two,” he said, pointing at both of us. “No boys.”
Roxanne and I both opened our mouths to argue but he cut us off with a hand gesture. “No, no, sister and cousin of mine, this is set in stone. You break the rules, you’re off the team.”
“I’ll tell mum!” I yelled at him.
Merlin, could I sound even more like a five year old?
“James, I’ll tell on you...you…you...jerk!”
My eldest brother smirked at me. “Go right ahead, but you know who will be fully on board for you taking a celibacy vow? Dad. So run to mum, Lily-bean, ‘cause even without her support or agreement, you know this is happening.”
Al looked up, his mouth set in a cheeky grin. “Yup. Either this, or we lock you in the cellar at home. You know, somewhere you can’t get into any trouble.”
God, Albus was such a complete prick. As if any of us really needed a reminder of what transpired in the cellar during the summer.
For the first time during the entire two hour practice, Luke looked at me. Actually made legitimate eye contact with me. And I knew it was for all the wrong reasons.
“Our own real life Cinderella.”
If I hadn’t been staring at Luke so blatantly, I would not have known he had even spoken. His lips barely moved, as if his words were more a thought than anything else.
I blushed violently, his hazel eyes on me with a preoccupied expression.
Al’s face closed off and he looked between me and Luke with a scrutinizing glare. I avoided his look and ducked my head, hiding my face with my long hair.
James laughed. “Excellent! She can do my dishes at home that way!”
I half-heartily punched James in the shoulder, much too rattled by Luke’s comment to take my brother too seriously. I mean, really, how did he manage to make something so simple, sound so...seductive?
James messed up my hair and jumped gracefully on to his broom. Fred and Luke followed soon after and pulled of several showy moves, dicking around.
A cheer from the crowd drew our attention away from them. Erin Thomas was grinning flirtatiously at my eldest brother surrounded by her Ravenclaw friends. She flipped her long brown hair over her shoulder and offered him a wave. “Looking good, James!”
Never in my life have I seen my brother look like such a complete idiot. The dopiest grin was covering his face and he ran a hand through his already windswept hair, making it stick up at awkward angles.
Roxanne gave me a look and we both started to laugh before Al plopped down beside us on the grass.
“What the bloody hell is going on between you and Luke?”
I looked at him, astonished to see that his expression was protective and serious. As much as he liked to tease me, the last thing he wanted was for me to even look at a boy, let alone kiss one. I had to come up with a lie and quickly.
Roxanne grinned cheekily, egging Al on. “You mean how he looks at her like Lily’s a tall glass of butterbeer and he’s a hot day?”
She is quite possibly the worst wingman ever.
AN: Wow! Already Chapter Ten :D So that update didn't take to long did it? And thanks to everyone for all the love and support, 306 favourites? I'm floored. Again, I can't express my gratitude enough, every single review just brightens up my day :)
P.S. Please review :)
P.P.S Also I am done chapter eleven already! So look for that chapter coming up in the next two weeks or less! <3
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