“I never shoulda had that eighth shot!” Jen slurred as we attempted to stealthily make it back to the Gryffindor common room without getting caught.
We, the girls and I, have a tradition.
Every year, on the first night back, we get piss drunk.
It’s quite fun.
“Eighth? We shoulda stopped you at your second! Freakin lightweight.” I giggled. I had a shot or two myself.
Who really knows?
I don’t drink normally, but tradition is tradition.
“Yur juss jealoush.” Jen wagged a finger in my face.
“Oi! Sluts!” Addie called from somewhere behind us. Addie swears like a sailor when she drinks.
Which is hilarious since she’s normally the sweetest out all of us.
How I love you and your magical power to turn people into arses.
“Wankers, wait up! I need to... to tell you something!” Addie cried, twenty steps behind us.
“What is it?” I asked, attempting to make the two Addie’s turn back into one.
“That painting back there... the monk in the leotard? He said he just saw the Valiants not five minutes ago!” She exclaimed excitedly.
The Valiants. Bloody stupid name.
The Valiants are James Potter, Freddy Weasley, Noah Parker and Scorpius Malfoy.
They’re the most popular boys at this school.
And they pull pranks.
A lot of them.
“Bloody gits.” I muttered.
Jen glared at me, hands on hips, “You need to stop being so harsh, Tiff. Just cuz you’ve never had a real boyfriend doesn’t mean that all guys are tossers. You should give them a try.”
Jen is the type of person who thinks she’s wise when she gets drunk.
Yeah, not really the smartest girl I’ve ever met.
I’m the type of drunk person who gets cocky and stupidly brave when she drinks. Seems I’m only a true Gryffindor when my brain stops functioning properly.
And that’s why this gem came out of my mouth, “I’ll give any guy a try, Jen. In fact, I’ll snog the pants off the next guy we see, even if it’s a Slytherin.” I challenged her bravely.
I didn’t really mean it but then she grinned wickedly, “Do it. I dare you.”
“Fine. I will.” And, just as the words were uttered, male voices could be heard coming down the corridor.
Isn’t that always the way.
My heart thundered unevenly in my chest as I heard a booming, arrogant laugh approaching at a rapid pace. The laugh rumbled in my ears and drowned out all other sound, stopping my brain in its tracks and ending all function.
If I had been sober I would have realized that only one person laughs like that.
A person I despise.
A person whose ego could suffocate the world if he let it out of its cage long enough.
But I wasn’t sober.
I was drunk and enjoying every second of it.
And so, with the grace of a... well, a girl who had been drinking too much, I boldly rounded the corner, saw a body, saw a pair of lips, and pulled them sloppily towards mine.
If I was sober I would have been surprised that they didn’t resist at all, besides the first moment of disbelief.
I would’ve been surprised that they kissed back with eagerness.
But I wasn’t sober.
I was drunk and snogging the pants off some bloke.
My fingers were in his thick hair and his hands were placed firmly on my hips, keeping my drunk form steady.
This kiss was good, even through my haze I could realize that.
They knew what they were doing, their lips moving perfectly with mine.
A scream pierced my ears and miraculously brought me to my senses. As if electrocuted I jumped away from the lips I had been kissing, horrified that I’d just done something like that.
And then, to make matters worse, the world seemed to come into focus.
I didn’t like what I saw.
Addie, her hands clamped over her mouth and her eyes wide as saucers.
Jen, grinning and trying not to laugh but failing miserably.
And then I saw Noah.
What is he doing here?
And then my eyes found the rest of them.
Freddy. Wavy black hair, hazel eyes, tall, tan skin. Handsome.
Scorpius. Really blond hair, grey silvery eyes, muscular. Also very handsome.
James. Messy black hair, strong jaw, shockingly green eyes, smirking lips, broad shoulders, tall frame. Sexily gorgeous.
Oh bloody bludger.
I just... James and I just...
And then I started to laugh. Loud, undying fits of laughter rolled through me, leaving me clutching my sides as six pairs of eyes stared at me like I was totally nuts.
I probably am.
Once the chuckles had finally died down and I was only grinning I said, “Oh, that’s just brilliant. Just... bloody hell.”
James was smiling but he looked confused, “Sorry? I’m not following.”
I patted his shoulder and shook my head, still grinning. Yep, still drunk. “I wouldn’t expect you to understand, Potter. Well, actually, maybe if I put it really simply you’ll get it. Are you ready?” I asked him slowly, as if talking to a toddler.
He rolled his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest but nodded anyways.
“Well, you see, me and the girls,” I waved my hand vaguely in their direction, “we were having a bit of a celebration. And when we celebrate, for some odd reason, we always end up stumbling our way back to our beds. Anyway, we were on our way back to the dorms when Jen said I don’t kiss enough boys so I was like ‘I’ll kiss the next guy I see’ and she was all ‘go ahead I dare you’ and really, who turns down a dare? Pansies, that’s who. Tiffany Walker is no pansy! So I did it. And that’s where you come in, Potter.”
Potter raked his hand through his hair, his smile not quite reaching his eyes. Aw, is wittle Potter embarrassed?
His friends were laughing, my explanation seeming to be of great amusement for them.
If I was sober I would have seen that Noah wasn’t laughing.
But I wasn’t sober.
I was drunk and getting increasingly confused by the fact that I was standing in a hall talking to people when I could be in my bed. I like bed. Not hallway.
“So it was a dare?” He finally asked me.
I giggled, “Of course. What, do girls just randomly snog you on a daily basis?”
My vision was becoming blurrier and blurrier by the minute. The faces around me were swimming and the walls were sliding around. Bad walls. Stay put.
He was frowning and the put out look on his face made me giggle again, “What, no witty comeback from the oh-so amazing James Potter? I’m a little disappointed.”
His grinned at me, running his hand sexily through his hair, “You act like you hate me, Walker.”
Did I just say something about Potter was sexy? Twice?
Dear Merlin, something is really wrong with me.
Oh yeah, the alcohol.
Trying to maintain my cool I said, blinking rapidly to keep him in focus, “It’s no act Potter. I do hate you.”
“I don’t believe that.” He grinned.
“I don’t care what you believe, silly boy. You don’t even know me, so stick that up your arse and ride it to the moon!”
Good one, Tiff!
You sure are good at those insults.
He was trying very hard not to laugh, his eyes twinkling, “Walker, you’re pissed. We should get you and your lovely friends to bed before you spew.”
Addie and Jen giggled like crazy people at being called ‘lovely’ while I just rolled my eyes.
“I’m not going to spew, thank you very much. My tolerance for firewhiskey is very high, so be... impressed.” I wasn’t so sure of my words, my stomach gurgling unnervingly.
But Potter will never know!
“Is that why you’re slurring your speech so much I can barely understand you?” He was smiling at me gently, not a mocking smirk or wink to be seen.
Why is he being so nice?
“Why are you being so nice?” I asked him as he smoothly took me by the waist, directing me towards Gryffindor tower. Freddy and Noah were doing the same with Addie and Jen, Freddy actually carrying Jen as she ‘couldn’t walk’. Uh huh. Sure.
I’m on to you, girl.
He looked at me confusedly, “I’m always nice.”
I giggled, “Yeah, your version of nice is saying a total of five words to me in the past six years.”
He frowned again, his eyebrows furrowed, “That can’t be right.”
I snorted, “Oh but it is. Don’t worry Potter, I could give a flying Hippogriff if you notice me. I’m not exactly one of your fangirls, if you haven’t noticed.”
He snorted in return, “Trust me, I’ve noticed.”
“Why?” Oh boy, I’m just confusing this guy so much tonight!
Although, to be fair, I’m pretty much confusing myself.
“Because you hardly notice anything that’s not thrusting it’s chest in your face.”
He boomed out a laugh, both startling me and making me laugh, too. For such a tosser, Potter’s laugh sure is contagious.
“You’re funny for a girl.” He squeezed my side.
I had been staring at the stars twinkling over the Forbidden Forest as we walked past the windows but I whipped my head around at his words.
For a girl?
Im downright hilarious, period!
What a wanker.
“What was that?”
“I mean that most girls aren’t cracking jokes around us. It’s refreshing.” He told me casually.
I don’t quite know what to say to that.
“I don’t really know what to say to that.” I informed him.
He laughed again as we began to climb stairs, going slowly so I wouldn’t trip. “You’re fun when you’re pissed, you know that Walker? You seem so mature and above it all, normally. Probably why I haven’t talked to you much.”
Don’t make me barf my lucky charms!
Wait, he’s serious?
I giggled, “I thought you guys kept away because of my crazy boy loving friends.”
He smiled crookedly at me, “That could have something to do with it too.”
I laughed and he saved me from falling as I forgot to jump over the trip step.
Potter’s not so bad after all.
Did that thought really just come from my brain?
It can’t be true.
Somebody must’ve spiked my pumpkin juice.
I giggled. Oh yeah. I did.
“What were you guys doing out so late anyways?” I asked, my head lolling onto his shoulder. Oh man, how badly am I going to regret this night in the morning?
Too much to think about right now.
He winked down at me, smirking, “We’re Valiants. Do we need a reason?”
But I can be stubborn and annoying when I want to be.
And his niceness is making me uncomfortable.
Be an arrogant jerk already!
“Yes.” I told him, crossing my arms but still using him to support almost all of my weight.
He chuckled, “Well you’re not going to get one.”
“That’s not nice. Friends share.”
“Oh so we’re friends now, are we?” His tone was both amused and surprised.
Definitely not friends.
“No Potter, we’re not friends.”
“Because I hate you, remember?” I do hate him, right? It’s all getting a bit fuzzy at the moment.
He leaned down and whispered in my ear, “I still don’t believe you.”
I blinked. Is James Potter trying to put the moves on me?
I don’t buy it.
Why would he?
I’m just some ordinary looking drunk girl who unfortunately started snogging him. Ah well.
Such is life.
Not that I want him to hit on me.
Barf times fifty.
I shook my head, “Well you should. Telling yourself lies if bad for your health.”
He laughed again, shaking his head.
“Why do you guys call yourselves Valiants, anyways?” I mumbled, trying to keep my eyes open.
He smiled down at me, “Because we’re lionhearted, get it?”
I giggled, “Because you’re Gryffindors! That’s really clever Potter.”
“Or you’re drunk. One of the two.” He smiled.
And that’s when I noticed the light dusting of freckles across his nose.
I stopped walking.
He looked at me questioningly and stopped walking, too.
“You have freckles on your nose.” I informed him, lightly running my finger down his nose as if to prove it.
He laughed, “It’s true. You’ve never noticed?”
“I’ve never looked close enough.” I admitted.
The look in his eyes changed suddenly from humorous to something I couldn’t tell in my hazy state.
He kept his eyes on mine as he leaned down slowly and ever so lightly brushed his lips against mine.
It sent tingles all the way down to my toes.
He smiled at me so gently it took my breath away.
I looked up at him, watching his eyes crinkle at the corners, the laugh lines around his mouth still evident even as the smile began to fade. But then the rest of him began to fade too.
My ears rang.
Black dots spotted my vision, popping in and out at panicking speeds.