Chapter 2 : Your Words Like Knives
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Eloise 'Ellie' Cross
“Grace Cunningham,” a snooty voice cooed, annoying.
I knew that voice from a mile away – frankly, it made me want to rip my hair from my head, curl up in a ball and die a very painful and tragic death.
“Cross,” I growled, not even trying to hide my annoyance.
I felt Stevie’s hand wrap around my arm, softly, calming me instantly.
I sent him a flash of a smile, before turning back to the blond girl that stood in front of me.
Dare I say it, the thing that pissed me off more than her snooty voice, her self-absorbed, arrogant, pain-in-the-arse annoyance, was that she was pretty. And she sure as hell knew it.
She was my opposite, in every way. She was blond haired, blue eyed, with a pouty lipped smile. It was tragic. I had dark hair, dark eyes and kind of had that annoying ‘you look foreign, where are you from?’ look. Do you know how much I got that darn question? A lot!
I’m not foreign. I’m English, born and bred. It was kind of annoying; I’m not going to lie.
Anyway, I just didn’t like her.
“How are you this lovely morning, darling?” she cooed, softly.
“Fine, thank you,” I smiled, though I’m sure it turned out to be more of a grimace than a smile, “and you?”
“I’m wonderful, darling,” she smiled. Every time she said darling, I wanted to pop her eyeballs out of her head and roll them down the bloody hallway.
“May I help you?” I asked, kind of wondering why she’d been standing in front of me for the last five minutes. It may seem as if she was being polite, friendly even, but Eloise Cross had never said a nice thing to me in my life.
“I wanted to know,” she enquired, her face turning into a malicious smile, “if it was true that you and Steven are together?”
“No, we’re not,” Steven supplied from beside me.
“So it’s not true that the pair of you are fucking?” she asked, maliciously, clearly not getting the answer that she wanted. I couldn’t help but mentally wince at her use of the f-bomb. I was not a fan of swearing, to be honest. Apparently, it made me pretty unique.
“How is that any of your business?” I asked, coolly, my eyes shifting into a cold glare.
“Well, I’ve been trying to figure out if Lily, Vi and I should be offended that you don’t talk to us because you don’t like us or whether it’s just that Stevie is that good in bed,” she laughed, almost trying to seem nonchalant.
“Leave it, Ellie,” a new voice snapped in, “we all know Gallagher is not into Cunningham.”
I was a little shocked. Sirius Black was not likely to defend neither me nor Stevie. There was something going on here, and I didn’t like it.
“We both know that Gallagher is gay.”
Oh there we go. Sirius Black, oh godly son of wit.
“Original,” I sneered at the dark-haired boy, noticing Millie sitting beside him looking terrified. She hated when we fought as neither Sirius nor Ellie made it very subtle that they didn’t like me. I honestly could not say why Sirius did not like me – Ellie, yeah, I got that. I was rude to her on more than one occasion, but Sirius?
I mean Sirius ripped on me and I sat there and took it.
“Well?” Cross sneered, “Have you ever slept with him?”
“Yeah, we have,” Stevie said from beside me, puffing out his chest.
Awe, so cute. Well, yeah, he kind of had just exposed it all but what could I say? Lie? No, I did not lie. It was one thing that I was sure would’ve had me end up in Hufflepuff over Gryffindor.
Sirius spluttered slightly, shocked. I smirked, before dragging Stevie away with me but not before catching the look on Millie’s face. Hurt. Millie considered me one of her closest friends, just as I considered her one of mine – but I hadn’t told her. We hadn’t really seen each other since, as she had gone away with her doctor parents after Stevie’s party.
I hated to see that look on Millie’s face. I’d only seen it once before; when Ellie had started to rip on her for dating a Hufflepuff, calling her all the things under the sun that could hurt anyone.
The look on Ellie’s face though, that nearly made it all worth it. “You? You’re supposed to be… a nerd, a lesbian, something!” she spluttered.
“A nerd, maybe, but not a lesbian; sorry, you don’t have a shot,” I smirked, cruelly, “Don’t look so shocked. Stevie’s amazing. That might be why he hasn’t had sex with you.”
I walked away, sitting down at my desk.
Oh yeah, we had so been in a class. Defense Against the Dark Arts, none the less; the only class in which we were encouraged to curse each other in.
Remus and Lily were both sitting there, head in their hands. They, too, hated when we fought. Well, not Stevie, really, but when I fought with their ‘friends’.
Andrew, of course, was beaming. Apparently, Stevie and I were perfect for each other according to him. Personally, I thought of Stevie as a brother.
And, no, before anyone even thinks it; it wasn’t like ‘oh, he’s like my brother’ and five days later, I crumble, snogging him behind a tapestry somewhere. It was almost like ‘oh my god, incest’ if we had a legitimate relationship.
“Alright, class, settle down,” Dillard called for order, as the remainder of the class returned to their seats. We’d been practicing stupid deflection charms, which I wasn’t so good at.
Stevie sat beside me, frowning a little as the old Professor started assigning homework in front of me. It was only the first day back, and I had three essays already; one in Charms, one for History of Magic which surely wasn’t going to be marked, ever and now one for Defense. Great.
“You’re not mad, are you?” Stevie asked, his hand squeezing my knee. I just shook my head, putting my hand over his and giving it a light squeeze.
A smile broke out on his pale features. His soft blond hair flopped into his eyes, which lit up when he smiled.
He was a good looking guy… but he would always be Stevie.
The last ten minutes dragged as Dillard went on about what he wanted in the essay and what was to be considered fifth year dribble.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” a soft voice came from beside me as I walked back to the Gryffindor common room, dying for a hot shower.
“Millie, please, let me explain,” I begged, seeing the girl’s hurt features.
“I thought we were friends,” she spoke calmly.
“We are, you’re one of my best friends,” I began, “Please just let me explain.”
“Of course,” she responded, ever dutiful, ever kind.
“I didn’t think it was one of those things I could fling in an owl. ‘Hi Millie, hope you’re having fun with your family, by the way I got completely drunk and slept with my best friend, bye!’ doesn’t exactly have a good ring to it, did it? I wanted to tell you in person. Stevie wasn’t going to tell anyone but I know how much the gay jokes get to him,” I remarked. “He’s not gay, and he doesn’t understand why Black is such an arsehole.”
“Nobody understands why Sirius has attitude,” she smiled, innocently.
“I’m sorry that I snapped at Cross,” I apologized, “I don’t like her and you know that but it doesn’t excuse my actions. I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you, but I felt that I needed to tell you in person.”
“You could have told me in History of Magic,” she supplied.
“Oh yeah, whilst we discuss Goblins getting blown up and looking at pictures of their castrated forms?” I shot, sarcastically.
“I suppose,” she caved, “well, next time tell me. I mean, if there will be a next time.”
“There won’t be,” I grinned, before looping my arm with hers and towing her to the common room with me. “This day has been way too long.”
“Oh Lord,” her muggle heritage slipping out, “I know. Worst Monday schedule in the history of the world.”
“You didn’t even have Charms this morning, you got to sleep in,” I laughed, poking her.
“Hey! I’m jetlagged,” she defended.
“What the heck is that?” I asked, confused.
“It was happens when you come back from a different time zone,” she explained.
“You’re stuck on the wrong time zone, I get that, but jetlagged? I don’t get it.”
“I flew on a muggle plane, also known as a jet hence jetlagged.”
“Oh, I kind of get it,” I was still confused but I couldn’t be bothered to deal with the conversation.
“So, you two had… uhm… sex?” she asked, awkwardly.
This was pretty uncharted territory. As many jokes I made, none were all that sexual. I may have slept with two men now, but I was still rather prudish when it came to sex. It may have been why I blushed so violently when Stevie had confessed to our sleeping with each other… in front of an entire class.
I hated Eloise Cross. Her name even made me want to eat my own foot.
“I, yeah, we did,” I couldn’t really think of much to say.
“Why?” she asked, questioning.
“I know this is going to sound terrible but when he was fifteen, Stevie decided he didn’t want to be a virgin when he was seventeen but he was. He always goes for the worst girls, that boy, so I thought… I would just, you know, pop his cherry.”
“You had sex with him to get rid of his virginity?” she asked, confused.
“Yeah, basically. We’d been drinking. It seemed perfectly reasonable at the time, I assure you.”
“Well, I suppose, it could be worse,” Millie tried so hard to make it seem a little better, “I mean, you are best friends. Better you than like… Eloise.”
“Better anyone than bloody Eloise,” I murmured, before apologizing, “Sorry.”
I had absolutely no clue why Eloise and Millie were as close as they were. They were complete opposites, I swear. I mean, Eloise was one of those girls that you either had to like, or she left a nasty aftertaste in your mouth. She was a desired taste. Some people absolutely adored her, others… not so much. Millie would be the definition of the perfect mother or maybe a healer. Well, except that she hated blood. Eloise… well, if you woke up to see her poking around under your gauze, you might want to scream.
“No problem,” Millie smiled, kind as ever, “Eloise has kind of been M.I.A lately.”
I cocked a brow, no clue what she was talking about.
“Missing in action,” she smiled. “You are clueless. You should’ve taken Muggle Studies.”
“I resent that,” I laughed, “Cow.”
I stuck my tongue out, maturely.
“Pig,” Millie shot back, surprising me a little. I’d never heard Millie be mean.
It was a side I rarely saw, but I liked it. Even if it was not like… legitimately mean. It was funny mean.
“Yeah, she’s been… well, I have no clue. I don’t think she likes Andrew very much,” Millie frowned, “I can’t see why. He’s always been polite to her, he makes sure to tell stories in which you aren’t involved so he doesn’t anger her, and I just don’t get it.”
“Well, I don’t know. I’d say that it was because he was my best friend, but I don’t know how anyone could hate him,” I mumbled. “Not even I can make that work. Andrew is just…”
“Andrew,” Millie sighed wistfully.
“Awe, how cute,” I laughed.
“Shut up,” she laughed.
“Babbitty,” I smiled, at the Fat Lady. Babbitty was the password – apparently it was a favorite of the Gryffindor Common Room to name the password after famous stories.
The Fat Lady had always liked me. I hadn’t a clue why. It may’ve been because I was probably one of the only people to have never woken her in the seventh year. Well, except Millie.
“Are you and Stevie going to go out?” Millie asked as we entered the common room.
“No, he’s like a brother,” I started, “I don’t know if you understand that but it’s almost like I’d do anything for him, I just don’t think I could ever love him like that. I love him, I do, and I didn’t find having sex with him weird or anything… it’s just I don’t think I could date him.”
“That makes no sense,” she laughed, “but I kind of get it. We can sit, if you like, try and start on that History of Magic essay.”
“Yeah, that’s fine,” I smiled, “I’m going to go grab it – do you need anything from the dormitory?”
“Would you mind grabbing a water bottle from my bedside cabinet?” she asked, “I’m thirsty.”
I nodded, before bolting up the steps. Whoever decided to but Gryffindor in a tower was nuts. Hufflepuff’s dormitory, apparently, was spread along the floor, no stairs in sight. I wish.
It didn’t take long to grab a roll of parchment, some writing things and my History of Magic text book. It felt wonderful to take my heavy bag off my shoulders, despite my ability to only carry one or two subjects around at a time. I placed it, softly, on my trunk. If there was one thing I hated more than arrogance, it may well be dirtiness or messiness. Like the bed directly across from mine. Thank god there was a fire place in the middle of the room, sort of obscuring my line of sight.
Wonder whose bed that was.
I skipped down the stairs after grabbing Millie a bottle of water to find Lily sitting on the couch beside the girl.
“Hello Lily,” I smiled, throwing the bottle at my Millie.
“Hi there,” she smiled, “sorry about charms.”
“Why? It wasn’t your fault,” I smiled,
“Yeah, Eloise and Sirius can’t control themselves sometimes,” Lily grimaced, softly.
“Oh, it’s no secret that they hate me – anything they can do to rip on me, I guess.”
“They don’t hate you, Grace,” she frowned.
“Oh, I’m sorry, they have a very deep-seated dislike for me,” I remarked.
“Eloise, maybe,” Millie supplied, “I think Sirius just doesn’t like Steven. I don’t think it has anything to do with you.”
“Oh right, well that makes everything alright, I suppose. I mean, it’s completely okay for me to not like someone and take it out on their best friends,” I sent a pointed look at the two girls sitting across from me.
Millie blushed, “I wasn’t defending him, I just don’t think it’s you. I think he’s a little jealous, really.”
“Why would he be jealous?” I asked, confused.
“Well, when he was dating Eloise, she would point out every little thing that Steven happened to do to you. If he touched you in a certain way, if he held open a door for you, anything, she’d point it out. She’s always had a fascination with the two of you. I think that’s why he dislikes Steven as much as he does, but it also made him a little pissy that his girlfriend, at the time, was giving you more attention than she was giving him. That’s just my opinion though,” Millie explained.
“Sirius doesn’t like being ignored,” Lily chuckled, softly.
Did I forget to mention that Black and Cross dated? Oh yeah, for like six months. I think it was one of the longest relationships for both of them. They were both flirts, nothing serious though. It was before I started dating my brother’s friend, the one I was in love with, just at the beginning of Andrew and Millie. Andrew hadn’t really learned how to balance his friends and his girlfriend yet, so Stevie and I spent way too much time together. Practically every waking moment. Way too much time.
“I suppose,” I commented.
“That and he’s always been a little jealous of you and James,” Lily supplied.
“What do you mean jealous of James and I? James and I haven’t had a proper conversation in ages. Years, even,” I growled.
“You and James were friends?” Millie asked, confused.
“Yeah, we were, the best of friends.”
James Potter was standing behind me, looking at me oddly. It was almost like a mixture of longing and hurt.
“Merlin knows why.”
“Fuck off, Sirius.”
Holy… what the hell just happened?
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