Chapter 7 : Scavenger Hunt, Part Two
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I wake up to the sound of birds chirping.
My first thought is: Oh, I must still be dreaming.
But then the pillow under my head moves. And that’s when my bloodshot eyes crack wide open. I don’t move a muscle as I absorb what’s in front of me. George sleeping on the floor, Angelina curled up into a ball next to him, and Fred’s feet. Why Fred’s feet?
Oh, I’ll tell you why.
Because I’m lying on him! On his chest to be exact! Facing downwards, which is why my visual aids are viewing from an awkward type of fish lens angle, depending on which eye I keep closed. Fred’s breathing in and out, making my sluggish eyelids droop even more. I’m still so sleepy, I can barely keep my eyes open. But it doesn’t matter, because I’m making them stay open! I have to keep my eyes open! I mean, I just can’t look away! My peripheral vision could give me a heart attack right now.
I feel like panting and getting nervous about getting in trouble, but I’m too preoccupied with realizing that all four of us fell asleep in the greenhouse to even react properly! We spend the night here! We spend Friday night in the greenhouse. Oh, boy.
What if administration realizes we’re not in our dormitories? What if someone saw us?!
This greenhouse is made of GLASS! Anyone could see us…the sun is bursting through this place. I can barely see anything myself without shielding my eyes. So much for torrential downpour.
Fred’s chest heaves upwards abruptly. He exhales quietly, his chest descending down again. Does he not feel the weight of my head on him? Perhaps I should move?
“Oh,” he groggily states, surprising me. “Well, hello there.” He puts his taunting arm over me but I push off his chest fast enough for me to dodge him. I swat his arm away. Well, swat is a bit too exaggerative. Is there a term for slapping someone at a very slow rate before your brain has fully awoken in the morning? It’s a pathetic attempt at swatting his arm away, but that’s what happens. Although he’s clearly not affected by it.
However, it does nothing for me, because even his morning face is just as taunting. I sit up right and ignore his smirk.
“I can’t believe this,” I croak, scratching my head in worry.
“Relax, mamacita,” he chuckles half heartedly, slowly opening his eyes to the site before him.
Did he just call me-
“I slept quite well, thanks for asking.” He yawns and scratches his scalp, making his hair stick up. “Are we the only ones awake?”
“Shhh! We won’t be if you don’t stop yelling,” I scold to him.
He looks around quizzically. “What’s the problem? There’s no one around?”
I never really thought about why I was shushing him, so it takes me a second to come up with something.
“Because they could wake up!” I sing-song to him in a matter-of-fact tone, pointing to George and Angelina. What? It’s the only thing I could think of!
“And that would be bad because…?”
“They’re George and Angelina!” I whisper stealthily, hoping to God that it will give him an incentive to be quiet.
“Yes. That I know,” he states in a deadpan tone. His eyes survey my worried stature and I can see a small smile forming. Is he enjoying seeing me fret?
“Why do we have to whisper, though?”
I exhale through my nose. “Because…” I trail off as soon as I try to think of something. Fred’s eyebrows raise up into his hairline, giving me an expression that expects me to finish my sentence.
Well, now that I think about it, I don’t know. It feels like we’ve broken the law, or something. And I don’t know… I guess it’s just me being nervous and slightly contemplating anything else that could go wrong? I’m sure whispering is good though! I mean, if Fred woke up George and Angelina right now, we’d have to deal with them. And that I most certainly do not want to do.
“Because…. I feel as though the situation calls for whispering,” I form quickly, the words sputtering from my mouth. It made sense in my head! I promise it did!
Slightly embarrassed by what I’ve just said, I continue in a desperate attempt to try and salvage myself.
“And not only that but there could be people listening- students lurking, and, well- we don’t even know what time it is! People could be on their way to class- a teacher could barge in right now. It’s safer for everyone to whisper in an situation involving tension,” I say all in one breathe, causing me to heave once more before finishing. “And I feel tense,” I squeak.
Fred sucks his lips into his mouth and looks up at me, squinting from the sun, with complete amusement. He tries not to show it though. “Oh,” He stifles a laugh, crossing his arms and his legs. “You feel tense?”
I lean against the wall with my hand and stand up off the ground, and Fred’s eyes follow. I’m blocking the sunlight from the window behind me, giving Fred shade from the torturous sun by accident.
“Slightly,” I answer, swallowing hard.
He nods quietly. What is he thinking?
Wait, why do I suddenly feel chilly?
And that’s when I see it - I somehow took off my sweater during the night, as I’ve just now noticed it laying next to Fred, discarded on the floor. I eye it wearily. Fred follows my gaze and reaches to grab it, but I beat him to it.
“By the way,” he smiles, as I quickly grab my sweater through his fingers, “It’s Saturday morning. There are no classes.”
A slight tint reaches my cheeks. “Oh,” I say, my back stiffening. I flatten my hair with my hand and fix myself up a bit, putting my arms through my pullover sweater.
Fred pulls his legs in and rests his arms on his knees. Mind you, he’s still on the floor. Looking at me. Smirking at me. Gazing at me…Expectantly.
I am not apologizing! I don’t care if I was wrong, I’m not saying anything to him. It’ll just make his ego burst at the seams. He’s so cheeky! He just loves it when I make mistakes so he can call me out on it.
“Well, I’m going to breakfast,” I say snootily, with my nose in the air. I don’t even do it on purpose, it just comes rushing out of my mouth.
I move towards the door without even giving him one last look.
“So you’re just going to leave me here? The morning after?” He calls back playfully.
I breathe out of my nose and pray for patience. I don’t turn around to face him; instead, I turn the door knob and jiggle the dysfunctional handle until it opens.
I stomp my way to breakfast.
You know, I shouldn’t let him make me go crazy like that. It’s torturous, is what it is. And highly inappropriate!
Opening the doors to the Great Hall, I’m grateful to see that I’m not late. I’ve arrived just on time, and not a minute too late; the tables are still completely stacked with waffles, eggs, and the like. I spot Sofia and half the Quidditch team at the Gryffindor table. I hastily walk my way down to meet them.
“Liv,” Sofia surprisingly smiles, getting up and squeezing me into a hug.
“I take it you had a good time last night?”
Her eyes are sparkling. “Something like that,” she winks, signaling that she’ll be telling me about her night with Andrew McAllister later on. “I didn’t see you get back, what time did you go to bed?”
I pretend I don’t hear her as she sits back down.
“I’m starving.” I slide next to Sofia, making other people slide down in the process. This takes a while, because although half the team is present, a few are asleep in their omelets.
“Rough night?” I ask Katie Bell across the table. The poor girl’s got her head resting on her propped up hand.
“Hm?” she responds, opening her eyes. She turns to Alicia Spinnet, sitting next to her.
“Hi,” I wave. “I’m over here, darling.”
I survey the table. Katie, Sofia, Alicia, Andrew, and Brianna are the only team members here.
"Where's Matthew?" I ask the table.
"You just missed him. Matty stopped by for a quick bite. Seemed cool as a cucumber if you asked me. Not one droopy eyelid. Unlike the lot of you," Andrew comments.
It seems that only those that completed the scavenger list and got somewhat of a decent night’s sleep woke up in time for breakfast - the Captain isn’t even present. Oliver Wood’s all about the “inspirational morning speeches” to start off any typical day of training the Gryffindor team has, and even he isn’t here!
"It took us all bloody night to finish that ruddy list," Alicia groggily tells me, stirring her oatmeal. "I have no idea how Matty got everything done and got to sleep before midnight."
“Tell me about it.” Brianna Riggins puts her index fingers under both her eyes and tugs at them. “Look at the bags under my eyes! I’m the only prefect that looks like a scarecrow. They’ll make fun of me at the meeting tonight, for certain.”
Andrew McAllister just shrugs. “It wasn’t too bad. Luckily, the order of the objects on the scavenger hunt list were in close range with each other. I had a jolly good time.” He turns to Sofia for a brief moment down the table and gives her a look. She winks back.
“Lucky bastard. We had the worst order of operations, let me tell you. Every other item was across the other side of the damn grounds,” Katie wallows. “Oliver almost went to grab his broomstick.”
Katie sees Alicia’s confused expression and whispers to her, “You know how he gets; he’s impatient when he gets flustered.”
“Oh.” Alicia nods understandingly.
“I didn’t even finish it,” I add. “I barely even slept-” I quickly change my words, before I spill about the embarrassing night I’ve just endured. “Er, it was such a long list,” I timidly finish, twirling my hair. I stare down at the table as the rest of them argue about the lack of sleep they had gotten.
But then Lee Jordan appears out of who knows where and comes stalking up to our table.
“Good Morning, everyone! I trust we’ve all had a good night’s sl-”
“Put a sock in it, Jordon. We’re tired.”
“Now, now, Ms. Riggins. That’s not the way a Head Girl should be greeting her dearest friend.”
“Luckily for you, you’re not so dear to me,” she quips, chugging the rest of her orange juice before jumping up out of her seat. “I’m going to be late for a tutoring session. See you guys at practice.” And with that, she leaves.
I look up from my plate to see Lee’s eyes wandering in my direction. I look around me to see if it isn’t just me he’s eyeing. But then he crosses his arms and stares at me straight in the face. “Lee…,” I begin suspiciously. I start to slowly raise my eyebrows when a smirk debuts on his face seconds later.
“Yes?” He says, knowing full well of my discomfort.
Lee wags his finger at me knowingly. “Funny, I remember you wearing that exact outfit last night.”
My heart (no, I'm not lying) stops.
Sofia’s hair twirling comes to a screeching halt, and everyone at the table instantly cracks open an eyelid curiously. Yes, even Katie. My eyes beg Lee not to mumble another word, but to no avail, he opens his huge mouth once again.
“Looks to me like someone didn’t make it home last night. In their own dormitory. In their own bed.”
It’s quiet for a brief moment, as my eyes turn into big saucers. No he didn’t! No… he did not just say that! Oh, now I have to explain everything and every person at this table is going to judge me…
Sofia Thorne’s neck turns slowly to face me. If she was the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz, you’d have heard every squeak of movement. That’s how long it took for her to turn to me. The look on her face… I can barely describe it.
“So, who was it with, Liv?”
I throw Lee a venomous glare. I can’t believe he’s torturing me like this- he knows talking about this kind of stuff gets me flustered and uncomfortable. He is unbelievable… and presumptuous, might I add.
Lee’s triumphant smile shines everyone at the Gryffindor table awake. Andrew’s smirking at me, Katie and Alicia look horrified, and my best friend is just about ready to scream.
It’s not what they think!
Come on, I have an explanation!
It’s just too embarrassing to tell you all!
Oh, god, they think I’m a tramp!
I start my sentence only to be cut of by Fred Weasley’s entrance. He grabs an apple from the table and swings his legs around, taking a seat on the bench next to Alicia. “Morning everyone,” he greets. They all look at him. Or rather- take in a big eyeful of his raggedy pants, untied lace up boots, and smelly sweater.
They’re staring at his clothes.
Even Lee’s eyes grow wide at this. Katie, Alicia, Sofia, and Andrew are now mirroring the same look as Lee. Did I mention that they’re all looking at Fred?
He gives his team mates a quizzical look. “What?”
Fred Weasley is also wearing the same clothes as last night.
“Holy shit!” Exclaims Andrew, pointing to Fred.
“Oh my god!” Katie’s arm flops off the table, her head now being held up on its own.
I just numbingly start to shake my head. Oh… Oh, Merlin. Things like this don’t happen to me. This is can’t be real! They couldn’t possibly think…?
Sofia gasps, followed by her jaw dropping to the floor.
I shake my head repeatedly as everyone whips their heads back and forth between Fred and me.
“N-no…” My horrified face can barely form complete thoughts. “NO!” I put my hands up in defense, hoping that my excessive arm flailing will convince them to listen to me.
“What?” Fred mumbles, questioning everyone’s sanity. He is mind numbingly oblivious to the current situation, isn’t he? You know what...It’s much better this way, if anything. Don’t need him adding on to this mess.
“It isn’t what it looks like!” I blurt out. My blood pressure has sky rocketed and I’ve gone beet red at this point. Fred, being as daft as a spoon, is still looking confused.
“Please elaborate,” Sofia demands in a betrayed tone.
“It was raining really hard last night! And-”
“I’m sure it was-”
“Shut up, Lee!” I squeak, continuing my quest for redemption. “It got really late and we were soaking wet- I said shut up, Lee- and we had a few more stuff on the list to finish. Our group headed towards the greenhouse to wait until the rain subsided, but also to get-”
Katie and Alicia lean over the table, expectantly. Is it just me or did their ears suddenly grow? This takes me by surprise, and so I am stumped for a second.
“Um…too, uh…search for a clay pot… and I guess we kind of, I don’t know, fell asleep,” I rush out, all in one breath. I huff and puff as Katie, Andrew, Alicia, Lee, and Sofia take in my story. “We didn’t make it back to the dorms last night but it’s not because of what you guys think, really!”
“Ohhhhh,” Fred understands, hiking up his legs and resting them on the table. He crosses them before throwing me a look. “Talking about our night in the greenhouse?” Fred coos, suggestively moving his eyebrows up and down.
My lips mush together much like a bratty five year old who hasn’t gotten her way. I wave my fist at him.
“It wasn’t like that,” I clarify. “It’s not like I was the only girl, Angelina was there, too.”
Lee pummels Fred with a hug. “YOU ARE MY HERO-”
“NOT LIKE THAT!” I shout. How frustrating, I mean honestly! “Have you listened to a word I’ve said? Nothing happened! George, Angelina, Fred, and I just fell asleep in the greenhouse because we were bloody tired, and damn it, we were freezing cold,” I spit out. “Do you know how long it would have taken us to hike back up to the Gryffindor tower? It was raining elves! I could barely walk without getting pummeled by buckets of water. And after the rough night I’ve had I’d like it if I could have my breakfast in peace! Without speculation by half the Gryffindor Quidditch Team! You’re all sexual deviants, if you ask me!”
“Moody in the morning, aren’t you?” Fred cross his arms, delighted by my outburst.
“And I don’t appreciation you making it sound like something happened when clearly nothing did! I'm assuming George and Angelina are still asleep? Because they'd be defending me if they were here right now! Why doesn’t anyone on this team listen to me? It’s like the boy who cried wolf except that there is no wolf and I’m the boy, and I’m just crying- and yet no one is listening!”
Fred's expression, along with everybody else’s, is somewhere along the lines of intrigued and amused. Mixed in with a little bit of fear, because my chest is heaving up and down from frustration.
Great, first they assume I had a one night stand with a redheaded twin, and now they make me look like an arse. Is this the price I get for accidentally falling asleep in the greenhouse?
“Oh, you know what I mean,” I grudgingly conclude, looking away. I cross my arms and huff in annoyance like a toddler. I feel a pout coming on.
Sofia puts her arm around me, smiling at my childish rant. “Okay, okay. We believe you.” She squeezes me into a side hug.
“Some of us,” Andrew murmurs with a giggle. Fred shares the same amusement across the table.
I slam my hands on the table and give Andrew my best Lyden glare. He ceases fire and drops his antics quicker than you can imagine. He coughs and gets back to his meal.
I’m fiery when I want to be, eh?
The whole weekend went by in a blur after the scavenger hunt. Even at Quidditch practice, it was a bit dull and quiet. The only thing there was left to look forward to was class on Monday. In fact, during first period in Charms, Fred sat all the way across the room. Far and way from Sofia and I. I nudged her and asked her if he had been acting strange lately or if it was just me, but she just shrugged and continued writing love notes to Andrew McAllister.
I was certain something was up. But I ignored it.
It’s free period right now. Sofia and I are cutting in through the courtyard, shortening our way back to the common room. It’s freezing and we don’t feel like killing time in the Great Hall.
“You know how last week I talked about trying to set up Katie and Oliver together?”
“Oh… Yeah, I remember. This Friday right? We’re having a sleepover?” I try to remember our arrangement but the lines have sort of smudged a bit. We devised this theory that if we could separate the girls from the boys for one night and plan Katie’s transformation, we could get the destined couple to get together. We were going to try it out this Friday.
“Right. See, I was tutoring Oliver earlier this morning and I sort of asked Oliver what he’d be doing with the guys this Friday as well.”
I whip my head around to give her my full attention.
“He didn’t budge all that much. Didn’t give me a location or a game plan,” she sighs. “But I did ‘accidentally’ blab that we were having a sleepover of our own. And it was going to be in the girls’ dormitory. I even said the words ‘pajamas’ and ‘pillows’ in the same sentence. And- dare I say it, I think he daydreamed for a moment.”
I try not to laugh. “Wow, you caught him being human,” I say, impressed. Who knew?
Sofia quickens her pace. “I know, right? He pretended I didn’t see it, but whatever,” she waves off, “it will forever be an image in my head. You should have seen it, he went all blank in the face. It was glorious.”
“Did you approach Katie yet?”
Sofia adverts her eyes. “Er…”
“Sofia! You have to talk to Katie about this. You can’t just turn her into a vixen, you know. We have to make this a team effort! Oliver’s a guy, and he’s a guy that likes Katie. He just can’t step outside of his Quidditch filled world ling enough to see it! Katie’s gone bonkers for this boy, and if we’re going to do this, we’re going to need her cooperation,” I tell her matter-of-factly.
“I know, I know! Don’t worry, okay? It’s only Monday. We have until Friday to settle everything and make sure all systems are go. I have plenty of time to get Katie Bell on our side. Trust me, when we’re done, they’ll be the next it-couple of Gryffindor!”
Now that I think about it… this plan is actually quite devious!
“Are you sure we can do this without any of Oliver’s mates finding out? If the guys know, it’ll sabotage everything. They’ll blab to Oliver or play pranks on us just to ruin our plans!”
Sofia and I are now in the corridors, walking towards our portrait hole.
“Merlin! Liv…you’re right! The guys can’t know! I’ll make sure Lee doesn’t find out. It’s him we’ll have to worry about the most. His mouth is always yapping. That kid can never keep a secret. No one but the girls can know. Maybe not even the girls. Maybe just you, me, and Katie? I don’t know… I’ll have to give it some thought,” Sofia’s tone is filled with assurance and confidence.
Are we really doing this? Are we really going to set up two people and play cupid? This could backfire very badly…
I wonder for a moment what this may mean. There’s this thing in my head that just keeps entering and re-entering my thoughts and I can’t help but think about it. “Hey, Sof?” I question as soon as we reach the fat lady. She turns around.
“Yeah?” She reads my nervous face and I swallow hard.
“Would you consider this whole cupid plan to be…reckless?”
Her eyebrows furrow together. “What?”
I bite my lip. “You know,” I whisper, “Is it something you’d really expect from us, if you were some other bystander?” I sound mentally incapable of getting my point across, don’t I?
Sofia just stares at me, hoping that I begin to make sense. I take this time to reform my thoughts and try again. “I mean… I mean, if you were another person, would you expect me to be a part of this plan? To do this kind of thing? You wouldn’t suspect me to be an accomplice of such an unexpected plan, or think to associate me with something so out of the ordinary…right?”
She considers her words for a moment. “No,” she says honestly. “No, I’d never suspect you to be able to do something like this.”
A huge grin takes over my face. Good.
“Which is exactly why it’s going to work,” my best friend winks, before walking through the portrait hole.
Take that, Fred Weasley.
I’ll show you exactly how reckless and conniving I can be!
You haven’t seen ANYTHING yet.
Author's Note: Enjoyed this chapter? I hope it made up for the long wait! Thanks so much for the positive feedback :) School's been really tough this past month. I hope to update all my fics (including this one!) much quicker ^_^
Thoughts? Favorite snippets? Any plausible foreshadowing? I'd love to hear what you think!
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by Faith Snyder