Chapter 4 : chapter three: all about your heart
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"My imagination sees you, like a painting by Van Gogh. Starry nights and bright sunflowers follw you where you may go...You're a butterfly held captive, small and safe in your cacoon."
Mindy Gledhill- All About Your Heart
Bloody hell was I tired. I swear, next time my dorm-mates decide to have a slumber party on a school night I was going to sleep in the common room. I mean, really- how long can one actually discuss one person whom they’ve never really met, spoken too or even know? Personally, I think it’s quite rude. It’s even less polite to talk obnoxiously until 3 o’clock in the morning.
It would probably be safer for me to sleep in the common room too. After my outburst last week, they’ve been looking at me as if they’re plotting something truly evil. Once, I’d be happy to see that they’re finally noticing me. I’d give anything to be invisible to them again.
And they wonder why they’re struggling in all of the classes they have in the morning?
All I wanted at this point was to collapse in my comfy bed and travel to dream land.
Entering the common room, I walked directly towards the staircase to the seventh year dorms to do just that, when I heard an almost inaudible sniffle. Curious, I glanced around what I thought was the empty common room to see Anna looking dwarfed by sitting in an armchair closest to the windows which looked over the grounds. Tears were flowing down her cheeks, while she hunched over a long role of parchment. Every few seconds she’d frantically flip pages of a text book open next to her.
I walked towards her slowly, kneeling in front of her.
“Anna? What’s wrong?” I asked. Anna looked up at me.
“Every...thing. I miss my mum and, and, and I don’t get this and I just want to go home!” Anna sobbed. I collected her in a hug and just let her cry.
“Shhh, it’s okay sweetie. I’m right here,” I said in hushed tones trying to soothe her. Eventually her tears subsided, and I pulled away from her.
“Now, how about I take you to the kitchen for some hot chocolate, and I can help you with your homework there.” I stood and offered my hand, which she gladly took. Smiling, I led her out of the common room and down the many flights of stairs.
“How do you know where the kitchen is? Isn’t it hidden?” Anna asked timidly.
“Well, being me I was able to figure it out. Totally by accident of course, but it has come in handy.” Anna giggled softly. I was relieved to see a smile on her red and blotchy face.
We arrived at the kitchens, and I tickled the pear much to Anna’s bewilderment. After the handle appeared, I opened the door and gestured her inside. Immediately we were both bombarded by the lovely house elves of Hogwarts. Anna looked positively terrified, clasping my hand in hers tightly.
“Oh, Misses Anderson and a new misses! What can Spinky get for you misses?”
“Could we get some hot chocolate and a few cookies please?” Spinky gave a low bow before retreating.
“What are those?” Anna asked.
“House Elves. They’re really nice and helpful, just a bit overwhelming at times. Now come on, let’s sit down.” Anna and I sat by a small table close to the fire.
“Anna, are you okay?” I asked, regretting my words instantly as Anna’s lip began to quiver.
“No, not really. I’m muggleborn, so my parents don’t use owl post so I don’t know how to talk to my mum and I’m having a hard time in Defence Against the Dark Arts and Potions.”
I moved to sit beside Anna, and put my arm around her.
“I’m muggleborn too. You can just send your letters to the Hogsmeade post station and then they’ll send it the regular way. I can help you with that.”
Anna turned to me and smiled.
“Really?” she said, looking hopeful. I nodded.
“Yes, and I can help you with what you’re having a hard time on. It’s really a good reminder for me anyways with my N.E.W.T.S.”
Anna turned to me and hugged me tightly.
“Thank you Lexie. You’re the greatest!” I smiled and hugged her back.
“Here’s the hot chocolate, miss,” Spinky said in her usual squeaky voice before setting two mugs of steaming hot chocolate and a plate of cookies in front of us.
After thanking Spinky, I turned to Anna with a smile.
“Now, let’s get cracking on this homework shall we?”
Anna really was the most adorable little person on the planet. Really. I wanted to keep her. She was like this living doll with the cutest smile, button nose and adorable ringlet blonde hair.
Currently, I was watching as Anna worked through her potions homework every once and a while looking up to me for help. She really was brilliantly intelligent, all she needed was a little bit of encouragement.
“Okay, this is a tricky question. I got it wrong in first year. Really, it’s a trick question. Moonstone isn’t the key ingredient to-“ but I was cut off.
“What the hell are you doing here?” I looked up to see James standing near the entrance looking at me with an expression set firmly in disbelief. Anna shrunk away from the voice and immediately turned beet red. For some odd reason, this upset me. Way to pick on a first year. I stood to face him.
“Excuse me?” I asked with narrowed eyes. James seemed to realize how rude he was. His eyes widened with horror.
“No, that’s not what I meant!”
“Then what did you mean?” I asked. Damn, I’m going all mother bear. This is James we’re talking about. He has a curiosity paralleled with no other. “Sorry, that was uncalled for.”
“How do you know how to get into the kitchens?” he asked, ignoring my apologies.
“Uhm, no offence but really it isn’t a huge secret these days. After all, your entire family knows about it and they aren’t exactly quiet are they? Besides how I found the kitchen doesn’t really matter,” I said, looking pointedly at James then at Anna. “Anyways, Anna and I were just leaving. Sorry for bothering you.”
Anna hopped off the tall stool, collecting her text books and homework. I put my arm on her shoulder to led her out of the kitchens. Glancing behind me caused me to sigh.
“Anna, I’ll meet you up in the common room okay? Do you remember how to get back?” Anna nodded, before she left the kitchen. I watched her walk down the corridor until she rounded the corner.
“Now, what were you really doing in here?” James asked, sitting on the stool that was previously mine. I frowned at him. I mean- what did it look like I was doing?
“Oh you know me, plotting revenge against obnoxious Gryffindors who knock me to the ground on trains,” I said sarcastically. “Anna is secretly an evil mastermind.”
James smiled and looked up from the table.
“I honestly don’t know how I didn’t know you before this year.” he said, causing me to roll my eyes.
“We’ve rectified that situation and besides, before this year I really was rather invisible. I liked it that way.” James seemed to ponder my response, his brows knit in concentration.
“What were you two doing down here then?” Why does he want to know so bad? Damn, why can’t boys have a guidebook or something? It would make my life so much bloody easier right now.
“Anna is one of the first years you saw me with on the train. She was sorted into my house and when I came into the common room, she was really upset. So, I helped her with her homework and thought some hot chocolate might cheer her up.”
“So, once again you went out of your way to make someone else feel better?” asked James. Our eyes locked then, and suddenly the world felt much, much smaller.
“It wasn’t out of my way, and she’s really sweet,” I said slowly, confused as to when or what made James suddenly so interested in me. Really, it was a conundrum. “In fact, I kinda want to keep her. She’s adorable.”
“Yeah, she is kind of like a porcelain doll.”
“I know right?” I said, totally agreeing with him. “Your sister's pretty cute too. She’s a first year too, right?”
“Yeah. All of the first years talk about you. One of the boys, I think his name is Alex was sorted into Gryffindor. He told all of his buddies that he knew a seventh year and that she promised to help him with his homework.”
“Really?” I asked with a laugh.
“Yup, Lily hasn’t even met you and she can’t stop talking about how amazing you are when I check up on her for mum...to make sure she’s still alive and not too homesick.”
“I have met Lily. She was sitting with Alex and the other first years in the library. I went to go say hi and helped them a little with homework. They looked rather stressed out,” I said without thinking.
“Seriously?” James asked, before shaking his head in disbelief. He did that a lot.
It was quiet for several moments. James just looked at me, while I tried and failed to look everywhere but his perfectly messy hair, his intriguing eyes and obvious muscles.
“How did I not know who you are?” James asked, finally breaking the thick blanket of silence.
My eyes met his again and found sincerity and warmth.
“Maybe you just haven’t been looking closely enough,” I whispered before walking towards the kitchen door. As my hand grasped the handle, I turned to look at James again before I left.
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