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Chapter 16 : A Girlfriend
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“Shall we make it a foursome?” Cornelius inquired.
Scorpius hesitated, “No,” he said slowly, “I think this trip will just be the two of us.”
“So you’ve made your decision then?” Justine asked with a slight smile on her face.
“Decision? What decision? What do you mean?” Cornelius asked with a perplexed expression.
“I don’t know yet.”
“Justine, Scorpius, would one of you kindly tell me what you are talking about?”
Cornelieus appeared to be very annoyed at being left out of the loop.
“Scorpius is going to ask Tarani to be his girlfriend.”
“Girlfriend?” He smiled broadly, “Are you really?”
“Maybe, I’ll see how the date goes.” He actually had more or less decided. Rose had advanced to complimenting him all the time and trying to get the two of them to study together. The attention hadn’t gone unnoticed by the rest of the Potter-Weasley clan. He was afraid Rose was envisioning that their families were like the Montagues and Capulets and they were a modern day Romeo and Juliet.
Something had to be done.
Getting a girlfriend seemed to be the best way to discourage Rose’s juvenile advances and get any defensive Potter-Weasleys off his back.
Besides, he thought, he did like Tarani. She’s pretty, intelligent, smelled nice and seemed to enjoy his company. Weren’t those good enough reasons to ask her to go out with him?
“Did you buy her a Christmas present?”
“She’s not my girlfriend yet, why do I have to buy her a present?”
“Well, if you ask her to be your girlfriend before the holidays, then she might be expecting a Christmas present from her boyfriend. Of course, you might be able to find something while you are out with her and spontaneously buy it for her or you could pick up something while you are on holiday and bring it back to her in January. It’s up to you how you go about it.”
“This is more complex than I realized.”
“That’s girls for you.”
“You’re a girl,” observed Cornelius, “are you this complex?”
She gently patted his hand, “you two are just lucky I’m around to tell you these things.”
After breakfast the next day Scorpius found his opportunity.
“Tarani, will you go to Hogsmeade with me?” His voice sounded a little higher than normal.
“Sure, Scorpius, are we going with Cornelius and Justine?”
“Nn-oo,” he stammered. “I thought it could just be the two of us, you know?” He wondered if his face was turning red. It felt warm. Asking a girl out was harder than he thought.
“You mean, like a date?” She asked.
His mouth felt dry. “Yes.”
After a split second her face brightened, “Yes, I’d love to go with you.”
“Great. I’ll meet you at the entrance hall at 11:30.”
“See you then.”
Justine and Cornelius were full of congratulations when he told them the story. Before he could regale the details, they all overheard Alicia Longbottom gossiping.
“He’s going out with Tarani Philips. Rose is absolutely devastated. I think he was leading her on.”
“I’m confused,” whispered Scorpius, “Was I leading on Tarani or Rose?”
“It doesn’t matter,” whispered Justine. “They are determined to find offense. You found yourself a girlfriend in the nick of time.”
Boy was she right.
By Saturday the news had spread beyond the Gryffindors to the other Houses. The Slytherins were judgemental over his choice of a half-blood. The Ravenclaws showed absolutely no interest. Hufflepuffs were all congratulatory and supportive whereas the Gryffindors were divided. Basically the Potter-Weasley relatives rallied to Rose and everyone else supported Tarani.
Scorpius walked toward the entrance hall slightly apprehensive for the date. All week Jussy filled him with advice about girls.
“Make sure you are the first one at the entrance hall, but don’t be there too early.” She advised.
“Why does it matter who’s there first?”
“It’s a balancing act, get there early enough that she’s not waiting, but not too early so that you don’t look like…”
“It’s just better this way. Trust me!”
“You know I trust you but I would like to know the reasoning behind this.”
“I think you should wear your leather coat.”
“You’re picking out my wardrobe now? Honestly, Jussy, I can dress myself.”
At least Cornelius was also a part of “the Justine Finch-Fletchley dating instruction.” She was just as thorough with him as she was with Scorpius.
He appreciated all of the information, but it was a little overwhelming.
He reached the entrance at 11:27am. Jussy would have been proud. At 11:31 he spotted Tarani walking down the stairs.
She looked pretty in her skirt and sweater ensemble with matching coat. She left her hair flowing down her back. Her dark skin and hair contrasted elegantly against the cream coloured outfit.
“You look very pretty,” Scorpius complimented, per Jussy’s instructions.
“Thank you,” she blushed, “you look very nice as well.” He smiled and wrapped her hand in the crook of his elbow.
“Shall we then?”
Overall Scorpius was pleased with way things were going with the date. There were a smattering of awkward moments, but generally they were able to keep the conversation going. They walked and looked at the shop windows. When it was too cold they went into the Three Broomsticks and had Butterbeer and split a plate of chips. Scorpius was only too keenly aware of the stares of their classmates. He pretended not to notice.
Tarani seemed to be enjoying the attention.
The pub was very crowded and students were vying for tables.
“Look, there’s Cornelius and Jussy,” Tarani cried, pointing to their two friends near the door. Both were looking for a place to sit.
Scorpius looked up. Jussy and Cornelius hadn’t seen them yet.
“Are they on a date?” Tarani asked.
“Well, yes, they are.”
She gasped. “I didn’t know they were a couple?”
“Well…” he began. He really didn’t know what to say. He wasn’t sure how much of a couple they were, but he didn’t feel it was his place to hide that fact or enlighten.
“Shall we ask them to join us?” Without waiting for an answer she called over, “Jussy, Cornelius, over here!”
Before Scorpius could respond, he and Tarani were joined by a relieved looking Cornelius. The next five minutes were overcome by Tarani’s gushing about the other couple and Cornelius’ valiant profusions of thanks.
Initially Jussy sent worried looks to Scorpius. “Are you OK with this?” She whispered.
“It’s fine,” he replied. He did think it was fine, but Tarani’s high-pitched gushing was pushing on his nerves.
“Oh please, would they just get a room?” Scorpius heard Justine sneer. As the other three followed her line of sight they were greeting by the nauseating spectacle of James Potter snogging a dark-haired girl.
“Who is that?” Tarani asked her voice now back to normal from the high-pitched squeal from earlier.
“Don’t know, don’t care, but I’ve now lost my appetite. Can we go?”
Outside the pub, the foursome fought their way through the last Christmas shopping rush. Wizards, witches, students, and Professors were all crowding their way through the lane. Jussy was nearly run over by an apologetic Professor Lupin while Scorpius had to beg the pardon of an elderly wizard.
Looking properly ashamed after the old man’s admonishment, they all found their way on the path back to the castle.
“I think he was little too rough on you,” commented Cornelius.
“It doesn’t matter, let’s just get back.”
Walking back to the castle, hand-in-hand with Tarani, Scorpius started to get nervous. The end of the date was nearing and he wasn’t sure how to handle the good-bye.
Specifically, how to maneuver kissing her?
Should he ask permission?
How to get Cornelius and Jussy to leave them alone?
He’d never really kissed a girl before. Was he supposed to maul her as they’d just seen James Potter do?
What if they were caught by a teacher?
Noticing that Tarani was starting to give him worried looks at his silence, he decided to tackle things one issue at a time.
First, get her alone.
In the Great Hall he announced to Jussy and Cornelius that he was walking Tarani back to Gryffindor Tower. “I’ll see you back in the Common Room later.”
Luckily Jussy pulled Cornelius away before he could start questioning and complicating things.
Walking back to the tower he was sure to grasp her hand in his own.
“Thanks for going out with me, Tarani. I had a nice time with you.”
Ugh, nice, what a lame word.
“Thank you, Scorpius, I had a lovely time.” She took in a little breath, “I hope you’ll ask me out again.” She seemed slightly embarrassed to have said the latter.
Whew, he thought. At least I haven’t completely screwed this up.
He took her the long way round to Gryffindor tower, so that they approached the Portrait hole from the side where they could stand partially concealed by a suit of armor.
“I’d like to ask you out again,” he said, looking her in the eyes and hoping he didn’t look like an idiot. “In fact, I’d like to ask you to be my girlfriend.”
That’s a good sign, he thought.
“Yes,” she answered. After a brief moment, he covered her lips with his own.
“So you did it! You really kissed her!” Cornelius was impressed. Scorpius, Justine, and Cornelius were in the kitchens, hashing out the date.
“Yeah,” Scorpius answered. He was rather pleased with how things went. He wasn’t sure about his technique in the kissing department, but Tarani seemed happy. He’d kept it short, but sincere. It didn’t seem right to try to stick his tongue down her throat.
“What does this mean for the two of you now?” Justine asked, coyly.
“What do you think it means?” He responded.
What it meant was the he and Tarani became an item. He walked with Tarani to all of their classes and always held her hand or had his arm around her. After two days, people began to regard them as a long-term couple. Justine and Cornelius joined the ranks as well.
Slytherins continued to make comments, but for the first time in his Hogwart’s career, Scorpius was not the butt of snide remarks since he started his first year. He actually went several days without hearing any reference to his family as former Death Eaters.
The Weasley’s stopped sending Scorpius the withering looks. Rose appeared to have recovered her crush and none of the others seemed to be keen on obstructing what seemed to be a good thing.
The day before boarding the train at Hogsmeade, for Christmas Holiday, Scorpius and Tarani were taking a turn around the Black Lake.
As usual they were hand-in-hand and occasionally they stopped to kiss. Scorpius felt his technique was improving. At least he no longer spent his time wondering if he was doing it right while they were kissing. The fact she was still kissing him sent him the message that something was OK.
Their snogging session was interrupted by the sound of yelling. Both Tarani and Scorpius came up for air as a commotion started near the Quidditch Pitch. Looking at each other in surprise, they followed the sounds of the voices to investigate.
“Oh, no,” Tarani said. “It looks like Rose is trying to teach Lily to fly.”
“Rose, Albus, and all the others have been hounding Lily about her flying. They all want her to go out for the Gryffindor team next year. I get the feeling that she’s not quite that interested.”
“I’ll bet James has trouble with that one.”
“Actually, from what I’ve seen, he’s the only one who doesn’t tease her or pressure her about it. There have been some awful rows in the common room. Rose has a temper.”
Silently Scorpius congratulated himself on escaping Rose’s clutches.
“I have a confession to make, Scorpius.” Tarani looked worried.
“What is it?”
“I don’t have a Christmas present for you. I wanted to get you one, but before we were going out it seemed a bit much and now that we are, I haven’t had time to find something right.”
Scorpius felt relief. Tarani really was a nice girl. “Please don’t worry about it. I also wanted to do something nice for you but I felt the timing was wrong. I don’t expect anything…”
“I don’t either,” she immediately interjected.
“Let’s just leave it that if something seems right, then do it, but otherwise don’t stress about it?”
“That sounds like a plan,” She said and she kissed him.
A/N: Thanks for reading. Please feel free to review!
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