The bashful are always aggressive at heart
- Charles Horton Cooley
beautiful chapter image by BitterSweetFlames @ tda. it's too pretty (:
Come on. I told myself. You can do this, you’re a Gryffindor.
Fat load of help that was doing.
I decided that instead of trying to calm myself down, I would just think of something else. Like pie.
Yes, pie did seem like an interesting thing to think about. I mean, there are so many different types of pie! There’s pumpkin pie, blueberry pie, apple pie, cherry pie…there’s a whole world of pie out there, and no one even acknowledges it! I thought that maybe one day, I should let the world know of the beauty of pie. And then we could all be happy, yeah?
I would never be able to tell the world about pie, because today was the end for Delilah. Yes, I’m sorry to say that this quiet blonde nobody is not going to be amongst us for much longer.
Sad, I know.
Damn my parents. Damn them and their stupid expectations, their fake smiles and perfect family act. Just because the vault was full and our house could home an elephant didn’t mean that the rooms didn’t feel empty and the money brought an end to loneliness.
Sometimes, I just wanted to stand up and scream at them, tell them to wipe the sickly grins off their faces and take reality full on.
But I never would.
I knew that.
My breath caught in my throat as the Quidditch Pitch came into view. I felt a cold chill run down my spine, and was in half a mind to turn around and go back. But then I thought of Gobstones and I kept going.
You can do this Delilah. You’re a Gryffindor. You’re courageous. Think of pie. Think of how you could change the world if you live through this day. You can do this!
Fears were flashing wildly through my mind, slipping into the blatant cracks in my resolution and latching onto every calming thought I was trying to send my trembling brain.
People. Quidditch. Talking. Potential embarrassment. Delilah = delusional fool. Death is near. Eek!
Just a whole lot of self empowering, confidence boosting things like that. Oh I was so silly! What on earth had I been thinking the day I received The Letter? Maybe I had been possessed. Yes, that sounded reasonable.
I. do. not. do. this. No, scratch that. I. can. not. do. this.
And that’s when a new thought struck me. It was ingenious, really. Foolproof:
This, all of this, wasn’t me, right? If you looked up the name of the person who was the least likely to be doing this, you would find, written in fairy floss and apple cheesecake, two words:
D e l i l a h R o s e
Yep, that’s me. So it wouldn’t be too hard to pretend, just for the next couple of hours that I wasn’t…me.
Oh the applause, the praise, the acclamations of my skill!
I was Mr. Fox, cunning as can be!
For the next hour, I wouldn’t be Delilah Rose, social reject. I would be a tall, blonde supermodel with red lipstick and perfect hair, an ego the size of a Hungarian Horntail, and Quidditch playing skills so awe-inducing, they left people speechless.
All I would have to do, when talked to/looked at/acknowledged in any way, was pretend that this leggy blonde Quidditch playing supermodel was the one answering/looking away/running for the hills.
It would be like one of my novels, and the blonde girl was the heroine, and I was just an innocent reader, watching from the sidelines.
It would be easy.
I told myself this as I neared the locker rooms, taking deep breaths and walking as I thought a confident, popular Quidditch player would walk, and as a result, when I pushed open the door and found my teammates lounging around on the benches, I was even breathing normally.
Tall, blonde supermodel, tall, blonde supermodel, tall blonde supermodel…
“Wotcha, Blondie,” Accosted James Potter, my captain, as I strutted in.
Tall, blonde supermodel, tall, blonde supermodel, TALL BLONDE SUPERMODEL!
Oh Merlin, that was the most high-pitched squeak I had ever uttered. I would be amazed if a bat could have heard, even with its giant ears and sonar skills. This was nearly worse than the time I accidentally nudged Jupiter on the giant solar system we had created in Astronomy, and sent the whole thing tumbling to floor. Professor Sinistra had demanded to know who was to blame and the whole class had turned around as one, and pointed accusing fingers in my direction.
I hadn’t meant to nudge Jupiter, I swear!
After my admirable startled mouse impression, one of the beaters shot me a worried look, and a couple of the other players winced.
Tall, blonde supermodel, tall, blonde supermodel, tall, blonde supermodel…tall, blonde, SQUEAKY supermodel…
“Ha, alright then,” Potter said with a nervous laugh, swinging his arms back and forth like a bespeckled gorilla. “Umm, Rose you can just, er, take a seat…” He gestured around at the many benches, and I obliged, blushing furiously.
“Ok Minions, listen up!”
I glanced around: The Seeker of the team, Sirius Black, was slouching down on his bench; his finger was tracing nonchalant circles on the slender legs which Cassie Davies, the Keeper, had thrown over his lap. Cassie was a bubbly blonde sixth year, and if anyone was the tall, confident supermodel I had tried (and sadly failed) to be, it was her. Quidditch skills and all.
Tessa Roberts, a little fourth year and fellow Chaser, was sitting with her legs crossed, staring at James in awe and blushing slightly, not realizing that her mouth was hanging open and she was drooling just a little.
Shaun Lefevre, one of the Beaters, was staring off into space, the look on his face similar to one a rather slow goldfish would have as it stares at the castle ruins in its bowl, swearing it’s seen them somewhere before.
The other beater, Joshua Mules, was cleaning his glasses on his Quidditch robes, and I pitied him his rather unfortunate case of buckteeth.
As for me, I was sitting in a corner, hands folded on my lap, feeling just as relaxed as I would were I surrounded by a rather large, rather vicious family of starved Acromantulas.
“As you can all see, we have a charming new addition to our team,” Potter was saying, glancing at me nervously, “Everyone meet Delilah Rose!” As he said this, ‘everyone’ turned to look at me, and with a sickening flash, I was horribly reminded of that fateful day when my elbow brushed Jupiter.
I Hadn’t meant to touch Jupiter, I hadn’t!
“Rose is going to be replacing Jimmy, who, as we all know, got his head stuck in a toilet and as a result thinks his left is his right and his right is his left and runs away from anything red and round,” James continued sadly, “This does complicate things when he’s trying to catch a Quaffle, so I’ve had to replace him,” He sighed and bowed his head. “We will miss Jimmy horribly, but what is done is done, and we must now move on.” The team nodded solemnly and gazed at their hands, no one saying a word. With a start I realized that I should imitate them, so I lowered my head and closed my eyes for Jimmy, the boy who got his head stuck in toilet and thinks that his right is his left his left is his right, and runs away from Quaffles and all things similar.
It was a sad, sad moment.
After this ensued a short talk, in which Potter explained our training tactics for this season, and tried in vain to get us excited for the upcoming Slytherin versus Gryffindor match, which was in two months.
“Aren’t you all nervous!?” He was saying eagerly.
Now the whole team was huddled on the Pitch, the cloudy sky above us setting a rather gloomy atmosphere to the whole thing, and the wind picking up our scarlet robes and tugging at our hair.
“Let’s start with ten laps ‘round the pitch!” Potter roared rather imposingly, pointing a finger at said pitch, his dark eyebrows furrowing together.
At his order I gripped my broom, ready to throw a leg over the side and kick off from the ground for my laps; then I glanced around and saw that the rest of the team members had left their brooms in the mud, and were getting ready to…run.
“Ten laps on the ground?” I squeaked; a cold chill sent Goosebumps down my neck. James shot me the raised-eyebrow look of governance, and jerked his thumb at the rest of the team, who had already started jogging around the pitch.
“That’s right, Blondie, and if you want to stay on this team, I suggest you start running,”
At his words, I nodded weakly, and started on my laps. I refrained from telling him that the only running I ever did was when I was late for class, and that that very rarely happened because I didn’t like the way everyone stared at me when I walked into the room, late and out of breath.
The first lap of the Pitch already had me sweating and gasping, even though I had been running at the slowest pace possible. I fell to the ground at James’ feet, panting and wheezing, trying desperately to catch that darned breath of mine before it flew away for good.
Tall, blonde supermodel?
Huh, if only.
“Up, Blondie!” James ordered, nudging my curled up body gently. “You’ve still got nine laps to do.”
“The clocks a ticking, Blondie!”
With a disgruntled groan I heaved myself off the ground, wiping my muddy hands on my muddy butt.
I never knew there was so much mud in the world.
The rest of my teammates were already halfway through their third lap, but I had only just finished my first. I shot my captain a curious frown.
“How come you don’t run?” I asked him. He grinned broadly and puffed out his chest in a manly fashion.
“Because I’m captain.”
“That makes me awesome.”
“Get those pretty legs of yours moving, Blondie. I won’t hesitate to resort to violence,” He warned, raising a dark brow.
“Violence against women!? You wouldn’t!”
“Oh, I would.”
I quickly scrambled away to start my second lap.
I had been running for, what? A minute, before I realized that I had just had a semi-normale conversation with someone my own age. A living someone, too. Not a portrait, or a cat.
Maybe this Quidditch thing was going to work out for me after all…
Oh, the pain. The lack of oxygen, the burning chest, the straining muscles. I felt like I had been running for years and years, all thoughts of pretending to be someone else gone from my mind as I focused on pushing one leg in front of the other.
The rest of my teammates were racing by, casually and seemingly effortlessly, as if this was an everyday thing for them.
Come to think of it, it probably was.
Even little Tess was ahead of me by three laps. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could go for. I felt like I had an army of tiny men huddled in my chest, and that they were slowly tapping away at the inside of my lungs with their minie chisels.
Let me tell you, it was not pleasant.
“Alright, Blondie?” Came a voice from beside me.
Why was everybody calling me that? I had name! And then I remembered: They probably had no idea what it was.
“Can’t-puff-talk,” Was my breathless response. I risked slowing down my speed a little to peek a glance at the boy running beside me. I recognized the dark hair and aristocratic jaw of one Sirius Black.
I’m not sure why, but I found him so damn attractive that the last slithers of breath left in my lungs escaped to freedom at the sight of him.
Coughing painfully, I tried to regain some air while continuing with my running, and as a result, I ended up tumbling to the ground, sliding to a halt in the slushy brown mud.
I felt like I was sitting in a pile of poop.
It wasn’t pleasant.
Black stopped running when my surprised yelp informed him that I was no longer beside him. Laughing wildly, he backed up a little and squatted down beside me. I let out an outraged huff when I realized that he wasn’t even breathing heavily, though he had been running for fifteen minutes straight.
Black let out another laugh, which surprised me in how much it sounded like a bark.
What was he, some type of dog? I giggled inwardly at how preposterous and unlikely that idea was.
“I didn’t know we were playing stuck-in-the-mud,” Black said cheerfully, his dark eyes twinkling. I managed an angry scowl at his immature comment, but nothing more because I had just realized what his voice reminded me of:
Warm, slightly soft, but still smooth and steady. Sweet enough for you to want more, but also a little too sugary, so that you know that if you get too much of it, you’ll start to feel a little woozy.
“Blondie? You alright?”
“It’s Delilah,” I growled, ignoring the hand Black was reaching out to me, and helping myself up to my feet. He opened his mouth to say more, but I turned my back to him continued with my laps, trying to ignore my protesting legs.
“You look like you’re having trouble,” Black noted, easily catching up to me and slowing down to match his step to mine. “I could help you with that, if you wanted.”
“Oh? And how would you do that?” I puffed, not looking at him. I was determined not to fall over again.
At his words, my mind did a cartwheel and I did the exact thing I had been trying to avoid: I lost my balance. I had time to think as I fell towards the ground. I thought about all my embarrassing qualities and how they must have been so endearing to this being of pure perfection and melted honey.
The brown slosh was getting closer. I covered my face with my arms, preparing myself for the shock.
But it never came.
Instead a pair of warm arms wrapped themselves around my waist and swept me up before I hit the mud. I yelped in surprise as I was lifted completely off the ground, courtesy of Black’s muscled arms.
I gulped my nervousness down as he held me to his chest, grinning down at me with that cocky smile that I had come to hate the minute I saw it. I could see his face perfectly from where I was. I could see every single darker fleck in his chocolate eyes, I could see how perfectly shaped his nose, jaw, cheekbones were, I could see his lips and how they crinkled slightly when they lifted up into a smile.
“Put the poor girl down, Padfoot!” Came a slightly amused shout from somewhere behind us. I wanted to wriggle around to see who it was, but I couldn’t because being this close to someone of the male species was making every muscle in my body freeze up.
Or maybe it was just the cramps from running so much.
I liked to think I wasn’t a complete nun and that it was the second one.
“You can’t help yourself can, can you?” I recognized the voice now. It was that boy I had met in the owlery the yesterday morning, the one with the nice smile and the honest eyes. He was strolling over, looking a Black with an amused twinkle in his eye. “He has a thing for damsels in distress.” He said to me, winking and punching his friend on the arm. I wanted to answer with a protesting ‘I’m not in distress!’, but my voice seemed to have yet again found better places to be than my in voice box where it belonged.
“Sorry Blondie,” Black said, lowering me to the ground. A shiver went down my spine when his hands left my back, and I stumbled a little as the blood rushed to my legs. “But what do you say to that extra training?”
I think I may have squeaked. Or maybe I had a mouse hidden in my pocket. Either way, my answer wasn’t good enough for either of the boys, who were still standing expectantly, waiting for my answer.
“Sure!” I said nervously, while my brain was going ‘No! Delilah Rose, what are you thinking? This is a bad idea! BAD! You don’t even want to, why are you doing this? Huh? Why are you doing this?’
“Because you know, I need this!” I continued, twisting my hands and looking down at the mud on my shoes. “I can’t run, that’s for sure! I probably can’t fly, too. So yeah, I definitely need training! Lots of it! Lots of training! Yep!”
Some more silence.
“And I wouldn’t want to let down the team! Cause if I’m bad, I’ll let down the team, and that wouldn’t be good, would it? Nope, it wouldn’t. Teamwork all the way, yeah? Woo, go team! No? No, that’s ok, that’s fine.”
“Hush, Blondie,” Black said, placing his perfect finger on my fast moving lips.
Merlin, even his fingernail was perfect. Damn, those were some sexy cuticles.
“Her name’s Delilah,” Lupin said, coming to my rescue. I sent him a thankful half smile, and pushed Black’s finger out of the way.
“I have to finish my laps,” I mumbled, and without saying another word, I jogged away from both guys, hoping they didn’t see me grimace as my calf muscles sent fire shooting up my thighs.
Ten painful minutes later…
“Rose, forget it! You’ve done enough running for today.”
I shot James a grateful smile, and came to a halt in front of where the rest of the team was waiting expectantly.
“But next time, I expect more than three laps out of you,” The captain went on, and one of the beaters sniggered. I hid my blushing face behind a curtain of hair.
“Aright, Rose, here’s how our Practice works: We pass the quaffle around for a couple of minutes, just to get warmed up, and then we’ll play a short game. Further into the season comes the game plans and flying techniques, but you don’t have to worry about those yet.”
I nodded, picking up my broom as the rest of the team did, not able to disobey for one second James’s no-business tone.
“And everybody up!” He roared, and as one, we kicked up off the ground, sending mud spraying in every direction as we shot into the air.
“Roberts, fly slower, you’re losing control over your turns. Davies, you’re only blocking one hoop; move to the left a bit. Rose! What in the name of Merlin was that?”
I pulled out of my dive and rose slowly to where James was hovering, surveying me from behind his glasses.
“What was what?” I said, sending an innocent look in his direction.
“That. I’m not even going to grace it with a name.”
I looked affronted at this. “It was a dive!” I protested earnestly. “I was diving!”
“No,” James shook his head sadly, and my shoulders sagged with embarrassment. “No, Rose, that was you plummeting towards the earth in a line so crooked I thought you were deliberately flying in zigzags.”
“I didn’t think it was that bad. She just needs to work on how she evens out her weight.”
My heart sunk at the sound of the honey-coated voice behind me. I didn’t want to turn around, but his face was just so bloody attractive that I couldn’t help peeking at him from behind my hair.
“I’m helping her with that, though,” Black continued, flying lazily around so that he was hovering next to James, in front of me. “We’ve agreed on a little extra training, haven’t we, Blondie?”
The smile he sent me was enough to make my hands shake so hard I nearly slipped right off my broom. Neither of the boys noticed, however, so I waited for my breathing to return to normale before letting out a small “Yep!”
Black grinned and I smiled weakly back, hoping that something colossal would happen between now and tomorrow, so that I wouldn’t have to meet him for this extra training. I didn’t even need it! My dive was fine!
Agree with me, please!
Good boy. Girl? Sorry if you’re a girl.
As Black kept on grinning and James kept on looking around innocently, I felt my heart quicken to five beats a second.
Please make this colossal something come soon! I prayed. I don’t even care what it is! I could lose all my fingers, or get abducted by a troll, or get my head stuck in a toilet like Jimmy the Chaser! Anything!
But I knew better than to hope. I think I’ve found the perfect way to end each of these chapters. It worked yesterday, and it will work again now:
When have things ever gone my way?
A/N: I'm sorry it's been so long!!! Please don't hurt/chase me with various dangerous kitchenware (or anything equally as lethal).
*Creeps out from under desk* I do have a rather valid excuse. Well, kind of.
I love this story. And I love Delilah, and I dunno, it always makes me happy.
BUT. I love it so much, that I get really picky with how well I write it. And because I'm already not a very skilled author, I delete and delete and delete everything I write for this, because it just isn't good enough.
Also, I'm afraid to let you guys down! Becaus you guys are amazing!!
I'm going to come back and edit this, btw. I just wanted to get it out there before the queue went from four days to seven again.