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Chapter 13 : There She Goes
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Oliver Wood wiped the sweat from his brow with the sleeve of his school robes and swallowed hard. Never in his life had he been this scared of anything (except perhaps Professor McGonagall). Now however, faced with the prospect of asking out the girl of his dreams was enough to make him forget how to breathe.
"Wood, why are you spying on Leanne McDonald?" came a voice directly from behind him. Oliver jumped, almost knocking over the stack of books that were the only things currently concealing him from her view.
"Harry," he gasped, recognizing the voice of his second favourite seeker in the world (after Victor Krum of course).
He turned to face the bespectacled teenager who had interrupted him. He was accompanied by Fred and George's younger brother – the tall, gangly one with the dodgy nose who at the moment had one of his eyebrows raised, looking at him as if he were mental.
"No, wait a second, let me rephrase that, why are you spying on Leanne McDonald in a library?"
"Shhh!" Wood hissed, worried that she'd overhear them talking. He glanced over at her and was relieved to see that her head was still buried deep in a book about Potions.
"I'm not spying on her," he whispered quickly, glancing back at her again.
Harry shrugged, "Er -ok, whatever you say - anyway, I came to ask when our next Quidditch practice is, because I can't go if it's on Friday, Snape's put me in a detention for that night."
"Friday's fine Harry, make sure you bring your Nimbus 2000," Oliver mumbled, still staring transfixed in Leanne's direction.
"Er-actually, Harry has a Firebolt remember? It's the fastest model yet and it has the most amazing acceleration. Harry's going to let me have a go on it when you guys next have a practice aren't you mate?" the Weasley boy said, grinning at his best friend before muttering under his breath "mental that one is. Can't even tell the difference between a Nimbus 2000 and a Firebolt!"
"Yeah," Harry said quickly, his eyebrows furrowed in agitation. "You can have a go as soon as practice is over - Wood, are you even listening to me?"
"What Harry?" Oliver said, jerking out of his trance, "Yeah, I agree with Percy, if you want a Firebolt then you get one! I don't see any reason why you shouldn't."
The Weasley boy, for some unknown reason, looked disgruntled.
"Git!" Oliver heard him mutter under his breath.
"Wood, do you have a crush on Leanne McDonald?" Harry asked, smirking at the prospect.
"WHAT?" Oliver said, knocking the pile of books over in alarm. Leanne's head snapped up automatically.
Oliver gulped. Great, now she was glaring at him.
He turned to face Harry and hissed under his breath, "Don't be ridiculous, obviously not! She's a Slytherin!"
"Right," Harry said in tone that confirmed that he didn't believe him.
'Wow,' Wood thought, 'Harry Potter does sarcasm! Who'd have imagined?'
"Well, if you did like her, then my advise would be for you to go over there and talk to her."
Wood furrowed his eyebrows, "Really? Because I don't really think she likes me. Not that I want her to like me of course!" He added quickly, wiping fresh sweat from his brow with the sleeve of his school robes.
The Weasley boy took a seat on the other side of Oliver, and pulled a pack of Cauldron Cakes out of his bag.
"Want one?" He offered, patting Wood on the shoulder awkwardly. Wood pulled a cake from the packet and opened his mouth to eat it.
"Not for you, for her!"
Oliver glanced over at Leanne, and then back at the Weasley boy.
"For Leanne?" he asked enquiringly.
"Yeah," the Weasley boy said awkwardly, "girls like it when you – you know – give them stuff."
Harry rolled his eyes. "Just go over to her and talk to her like you normally would. The worst she could do is tell you to go away."
The Weasley boy patted him on the back and nodded, "Go over and talk to her, and take the cake with you, she'll love the gesture!"
"Yeah?" Wood asked uncertainly.
"Yeah," the Weasley boy assured him "you can't go wrong mate."
Wood nodded and stood up. "Ok, here goes, thanks Harry, thanks Percy."
As Oliver walked over, Harry turned to his friend with a look of disgust on his face. "Give her a cake – was that a joke?"
"Yeah," his friend said grinning, "I'm actually quite proud of myself."
"Unbelievable," Harry said, shaking his head and grinning at the same time.
Oliver could feel his heart pounding inside his chest. His hands were sweaty and his throat was unusually dry. Now what had Harry said again? Just speak to her like you normally would. No problem. He could do that easily.
"McDonald," Oliver said croakily. He did his best to clear his throat, burning scarlet and feeling incredibly hot under the collar. She peered up at him through her long, thick curtains of eyelashes, catching him off guard. He blinked dumbfounded. She looked even more beautiful close up, with sea-foam green orbs for eyes and long, shiny chestnut curls that cascaded elegantly down her back.
She sat up in her chair and glared at him. "Wood" she greeted him icily.
Oliver had to pause for a minute to think of what to say next. Crap. He hadn't thought this far ahead. It was a bit stupid of him really. What was he expecting, that he'd just say hi and then she'd jump up from her seat and declare undying love for him?
"I just thought you could pass on the message to Flint that we'll be using the pitch this Thursday, and we don't intend to give it up, just in case you guys get any ideas."
Leanne laughed, all the while continuing to glare at him, "well then, we'll just have to be careful about that. When did you say that your team had practice again? Friday was it? Ok, I'll pass on the message, we can book it for Thursday instead."
Wood ground his teeth in frustration. Maybe he should have just asked her out. Now he'd have to retort back with a mean comment, and that was bound to get him into her bad books.
"I'm serious," Oliver said in the most serious tone that he could muster up, "Thursday is ours!"
Leanne nodded her head, a wicked smile playing on her lips, "Friday is yours, I'll tell him when I next get the chance."
Oliver glanced over at Harry and the Weasley boy in desperation. He didn't know who looked more suspicious: Harry, who was holding up a handkerchief to the light to examine it, or the Weasley boy, who was reading '1001 Magical Toadstools" upside down whilst attempting to whistle 'can you dance the Hippogriff?'. He sighed and turned back around to face Leanne.
" I've already told McGonagall, so there's really no point in telling Flint to hold your practice on a Thursday." Oliver insisted.
"And Flint's kicked me off the team, so there's really no point in telling me to pass the message onto him!" Leanne snapped in agitation, "Now can you please go away?"
Oliver Wood blinked. Flint had kicked her off the team? But she was one of the finest chasers at Hogwarts – one of the finest chasers he had ever seen play in fact; it was one of the many reasons why he liked her so much. She was the first person to get the Quaffle past him in his second year after he made the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Had Flint actually gone insane?
He turned around to leave, and then stopped. Furrowing his eyebrows he turned back round to face her again, and to her great surprise, sat down opposite her at the table.
"Why did he kick you off the team?" he asked, genuinely interested now.
Leanne shrugged and rolled her eyes, "he said he was going in a different direction."
Wood furrowed his eyebrows. "But - and it really pains me to say this - you're one of the best players in the school, it doesn't make any sense."
Leanne blushed and shrugged her shoulders, "I was going to quit any way, it's not like it's a big deal or anything, I don't even like Quidditch that much!"
Wood raised his eyebrows, "I'll believe that the next time I save one of your goals and you don't throw the quaffle at my head. "
Leanne raised her eyebrows, "Well, I guess you'll never know now."
Oliver grinned, 'Oh, I think I will."
Leanne furrowed her eyebrows, curious now. "Oh yeah, and how do you work that one out?"
Oliver shrugged "Easy, in a few years time, I'll be Puddlemore United's star keeper, and you'll be the Chudley Cannon's star chaser. We'll hate eachother in the Premier League, but we'll both be so good at Quidditch, that the England National team's coach will just have to sign us up. Then we'll get on for a while, win the Euro Cup and the World Cup, and then go back to hating eachother when the season starts again – and if I don't get injured by a quaffle or bludger hit by you at some point during all of that, Miss McDonald, then I'll eat my sock!"
Leanne grinned. "You have me interested Mr Wood, please, indulge me with more of your theories."
"Well," Wood said, "I also see you accompanying me to Hogsmeade this weekend."
This sentence was followed by a silence. A long silence.
Great! He'd done it, he'd actually done it, and now she was going to reject him in the most humiliating way humanly possible! He examined her face; she looked confused if anything. Her eyebrows were furrowed, her eyes intense.
"Well…maybe I will…" she said slowly, her eyebrows still furrowed, "Wait -are you asking me out on a date?"
Wood paused, contemplating on what would be the best way to answer her.
"I'd call it more of a meeting to discuss whatever theories we have in mind about our future whilst we hate eachother, like we always do."
Leanne nodded slowly, "Sounds good to me, I'll be in Madame Pudifoot's this Saturday at the table in the corner – hating you of course!"
Wood blinked. It had actually worked. He had asked her out on a date, and she hadn't rejected him!
"I'll see you there," he said grinning, "look forward to hating you over coffee!"
"See you there," Leanne said, grinning back.
Oliver got up and walked casually back over to the table where the Weasley boy and Harry were sat – still in the positions they had been in just a few minutes previously. Oliver dumped the cauldron cake on the desk in front of the Weasley boy.
"What's this?" he asked Wood, glancing at Harry anxiously.
"Turns out I didn't need this afterall Percy, but thanks anyway. Oh and Harry, Quidditch practice this Thursday, make sure your bring your Firebolt and a couple of bandages just in case the Dementors turn up – I figure it'll be easier than carting you off to the Hospital Wing." Oliver patted them both on the shoulder and walked out of the library.
Ron ground his teeth together.
"Git!" he muttered angrily.
Harry glanced over at Leanne, who seemed to have a smile playing on her face. So he had asked her out then. Surely this had to be the end of an era. Oliver Wood had finally found something aside from Quidditch that he liked!
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