Chapter 8 : Flicker
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I sat in my dormitory, just thinking. You probably wouldn’t expect me to be the type of bird who finds the smell of mahogany and the sunlight that shines through open windows relaxing but I am. It’s just easy to think around this stuff. Not to mention Paul, A.K.A. the-best-listener-in-the-entire-world, whose tank just so happened to be nestled in my criss-crossed legs as I stroked the glass affectionately.
. . . What?
It’s not like I can actually stroke him, okay?
Believe me, I tried.
That’s how Paul the second died, actually. I scared the poor thing to death. It nearly broke my twelve-year-old heart.
I sighed, “Paul, James is going psycho over some girl he doesn’t know. And that’s not even the worst part. She’s a teacher!”
He let out a few bubbles.
“I know! And I guess she’s not a teacher teacher but he could still get into a lot of trouble pursuing her! Not like he’ll ever achieve anything with her. But what if he does? What would happen then? James would probably be sent home and Professor Cook would be fired and he’s probably going to find some way to ensnare me into this big mess and—”
“OH MY FREAKING GAWD!”
I jumped, some of the water falling out of the side of Paul’s tank and onto my bed. I heard footsteps that sounded more like a two-legged-elephant bombarding up the stairs accompanied by an earsplitting screech that was either supposed to be joyful or completely disgusted. Frankly, I couldn’t tell the difference. But only one person could cause such a commotion.
“Oh my gawd, oh my gawd, oh my GAWD!”
I frantically placed Paul’s tank safely onto my nightstand and, like the courageous Gryffindor I am, I hid my beautiful face underneath my covers so that it would be protected from whatever psychotic wrath Rose unleashes once she makes it up the stairs, peeking an eye out.
As if someone had rigged a vast pile of explosives to detonate every time Rose Weasley entered the vicinity behind the mahogany door, it flew open, hitting the wall with a resonating thud and then flying closed of its own accord. Rose flew in, arms flailing like the legs of a flamingo. I pulled the covers back an inch or two more and found myself staring up into a wicked grin that seemed to overtake her face . . . and, on occasion, my nightmares.
“Eliza!” She jumped onto my bed, causing the blanket to fly every which way and leaving me very horribly protected, “Oh my gawd! Guess what! Guess what!!” She hit my arms repeatedly in excitement, as if I wasn’t answering fast enough (even though she didn’t give me time to answer in the first place, the stupid ho).
“What?” I asked dryly.
She paused for a moment, her lips crinkling in the way they only do when she’s trying to look serious but can’t seem to hide her amusement. The way they only do when she’s pausing for dramatic effect. I resisted the sudden urge to roll my eyes and slap her across the face for just being so . . . Rose.
“Scorpius asked me out!” She squealed, throwing her hands out in enthusiasm and giggling like a five-year-old, “He actually asked me out! To Hogsmeade! I’m going to go on a date with him. Finally! Oh, Eliza! Aren’t you just bursting with joy for me?!?”
She engulfed me into her arms like I was her favorite unicorn-covered pillow, apparently not noticing how I immediately stiffened at the news. I patted her back half-heartedly, staring up at the curtains surrounding my bed blankly.
“Y-yeah.” I conceded, almost numbly, “I think I might explode with the amount of joy I have right now, actually.”
I winced as she continued to squeal into my ear, more likely than not speeding up my hearing loss and giving me gray hair. I’m going to be an old lady by the time I’m twenty-six and it’s all because Rose Weasley is my best friend.
“But that’s not even the best part!” She exclaimed, pulling away from me, springing onto her feet and prancing around the dormitory like she had just come straight out of auditions for The Nutcracker, “Well, yeah it is—but that’s not the point! The point is, is that there’s even more exciting news!” She paused again for dramatic effect (it’s not working, Rose, you should probably just give up), “We’re going to double! Scorpius and me, and you and Albus!”
My jaw dropped and I very nearly fell off of my bed.
She stopped prancing for a moment to send me a look of confusion. Of course, she’d obviously expect me to be just dandy with this news because it’s the love of my life that we’re talking about here. But, Merlin’s-heart-infested-boxers, this is all too much too soon!
“What’s wrong, Liza?” She asked, crawling back into the bed so that she could give me a sisterly hug, “I thought you’d jump for joy,” Oh, you mean like you were just doing? Hate to break it to you, Rosie, but you sort of looked like an idiot, “I thought it was a brilliant idea when Scorpius suggested it, I didn’t think you’d—”
“This was Malfoy’s idea!?” I cut across, grabbing her arm in an almost rough manner.
She recoiled, glowering, “Yeah. Geez, Eliza. What’s your problem?”
I unintentionally sneered, “I don’t have a problem.”
This was a huge problem.
Something must be brewing in that big head of Malfoy’s. Maybe this is another scheme to get me to fall for him. In which case, I refuse to participate because it would end up breaking little Rose’s heart. But on the other hand I’ll be on a date . . .
Gah! How am I supposed to choose between my two best friends!?
“Liza,” A soft voice broke through the silence that had engulfed me in the common room. I jumped slightly in surprise and turned to see Albus staring at me with his lips quirked in amusement, “Aren’t you supposed to be in detention right now?”
I relaxed immediately, waving off the news like it was the winter’s snowfall on my shoulders, “Meh. I’ll get there when I get there.”
He shrugged at my response and plopped himself down on the loveseat next to me. He spread his arms across the back of the piece of furniture like he always does as I reveled in the thought that just leaning back slightly would bring contact between the warm skin of his arm and my shoulder blades. I glanced at him and saw his green eyes flickering like the fire he was staring into.
“What are we going to do about Scorpius and Rose?” He asked me lightly.
“Oh,” I said, “So you think that’s bad news too, huh?” I shrugged, “I guess it doesn’t matter what he does as long as he doesn’t break her heart.”
“I’ll murder him if he does,” Albus said seriously.
“I’ll help.” I joked, smiling weakly.
“Yay.” He waved his hands in the air half-heartedly. Simultaneously, we heaved out the breaths that we hadn’t even realized we were holding in in an over-exaggerated sigh. I glanced at Al, who glanced at me as he stood up and held out his hand so that he could help me to my feet as well.
“Here,” He said, smiling that dazzling smile of his, “I’ll walk you to detention.”
“Okay,” I agreed, accepting his hand as he pulled me to my feet. He let go almost immediately and my hand felt suddenly cold.
I wish I had the guts to reach out and take his hand again, to intertwine our fingers, just to see what he’d say and how he’d react. The outcome could either turn out extremely happy or extremely horrifying. It’s the possibility of the horrifying outcome that makes me so gutless.
What do guts have to do with anything anyways?
And why in the hell are guts associated with fear? As a society are we focused on having more guts than everyone else? Because, in my opinion, the only upside of having more guts than anyone else is looking especially extravagant when squashed.
But let’s get real. How many people are actually squashed like a bug?
“Er . . .” Al’s voice cut through my mental tirade, “Are you okay, Eliza? Your face is all . . . glazed over.”
“Hmm?” I hummed, “Oh, sorry. I was just thinking about guts.”
His eyebrows shot up behind his mop of messy black hair, “That’s . . . not really normal.”
“Since when have I been normal?” I sent him a cheeky grin.
We clamored through the portrait hole and continued our walk in comfortable silence. I could tell that his thoughts were far away and that he was struggling to journey back to reality, so I waited. Not that I’m complaining; I’m completely content with ogling him while he’s completely oblivious of it. If his eyes ever moved to mine, I simply continued my staring as not to rouse suspicion.
“So . . .” He began as we descended a flight of stairs, waiting patiently as they began to shift to a new destination, “Are you excited for our . . . date?”
My heart sped up immediately.
He just called it a date.
Okay, Eliza. Try not to let it show that you’re having a spaz attack on the inside. Just act normal . . . which would be abnormal for you. So just . . . act abnormal. Yeahh.
He stopped short and shot me an extremely worried look, “Llamas?”
“Er—sorry.” I told him sheepishly, intertwining my hands together behind my back and rocking back and forth on my heels adorably, “I didn’t really mean to say that. It just kind of burst out of my mouth on its own accord.” I laughed meebily.
He rolled his eyes, “Then let’s try this again; Are you looking forward to our date?”
“Perhaps a little bit.”
“Really?” He asked quickly, and I shot him a confused look. I passed off what I thought was his excitement as my imagination with a shrug and walked on. I saw him shake his head roughly, as if he were trying to shake something off—like his thoughts weren’t cooperating with what he wanted or what he knew.
“Yeah.” I said, smiling at him through the dimly lit corridor that would lead us to McGonagall’s classroom, “Do you know what Malfoy’s got planned for us in Hogsmeade?”
Al rolled his eyes at some thought that came to mind and then he answered, “Yeah; we’re gonna go to this fancy-shmancy restaurant. The jerk probably doesn’t even realize that this will drain all that I’ve got saved up. After all, his parents give him money like it’s candy. My parents make me work for mine.”
“Do you think it would help if I paid for my share of the bill?” I asked as we neared the Transfiguration room. I tried to act cool about it when the truth was that just the thought of him paying for my food made it seem more real to me. It was a date. And that, in-turn, made me feel like I swallowed a dozen butterflies all at once and now they were flapping their wings like they naturally do inside my stomach.
Al shook his head, “Yeah.” He admitted, “But I won’t allow it. It is a date, after all.”
And with that he pulled me in for a hug, waved goodbye, sent me a playful wink and walked back the opposite direction, allowing me to face my doom that stood just beyond this wooden door at the end of this corridor.
I sighed, shaking my head and letting a smile spread itself across my lips.
“You’re late, Goodbody.”
When I entered the classroom I was surprised to see Professor Cook behind Micky’s desk instead of Micky herself. At first I was relieved—McGonagall likes to give out hard detentions and this n00b is probably too naïve to know how these things work—and then I was almost hysterical.
James was going to be here too!
Glancing to my right I could see James already sitting there looking like he was on the verge of exploding from all of his excitement. His legs couldn’t seem to stop moving, making him look like he really need to go to the bathroom—come to think of it, maybe he did—and he seemed to be sweating. Despite all of this, he was grinning like an idiot.
Curse you, you cute, long-legged student teacher and your ability to woo extremely stupid blokes like James Potter by just stepping into the vicinity.
I moved to sit next to him but her smooth voice stopped me.
“Why don’t you sit next to Elizabeth, Elizabeth?” She asked, glancing to the left of the classroom. I followed where she was looking and saw the man-woman sitting in one of the desks. She looked thoroughly furious. Her hands were laying across the desk and were clenched so tightly that they were turning pure white, and she was glaring at me with a passion I’ve never seen before. And she’s got a lovely new addition to her wardrobe—a nice little eye patch . . . which was partly my doing.
Umm . . .
I glanced frantically between her, James and Barbie and quickly grew hysterical.
“This is detention after all.” She cut through, raising a perfectly shaped eyebrow.
With a huff and a snooty toss of my long black tresses, I sat down next the man-woman-pirate-person who continued in her (his) pursuit to glare at me. I scooted my chair as far away as possible from her and proceeded to place my elbows on the table and lean my face into my fists.
Detention was boring.
We just sat there—which, I think, is worse than her making us do something. I can’t sit for too long. It makes me anxious!
“Soo . . .” I said after a couple of minutes, “Are we—?”
I tapped my fingers against the wooden table, staring around the room in utter boredom. I glanced at James who was stilling smiling goofily at Barbie. I glanced back at the girl who had just taken a look up from her writing and whatnot, catching James’ eye. Her blonde eyebrow rose so that they were hidden behind her fringe.
“Why so chipper, Potter?” She asked him, her voice ringing like bells.
He shrugged, the grin never leaving his face, “Who says I’m chipper?”
Her face remained bland and she answered sarcastically, “The smile on your face that makes you look a little gay, if I do say so myself.”
I laughed at that.
It was funny. And true . . .
And completely inappropriate for a student teacher to say!
James seemed unfazed, “This smile also happens to reel in the ladies.”
I rolled my eyes. If he thinks he’s being smooth, then he’s got another thing com—did she just giggle!? Rubbing my eyes frantically in hopes that I was just imagining things, I glanced at Professor Cook again and, lo and behold, she really was giggling. At James, the epitome of all things stupid and reckless.
WHAT THE HELL?
The rest of detention seemed to move on like this. Barbie would say something insulting, James would snap back (surprisingly) with a witty comment each time, and the result would be a giggling student teacher, hiding her perfect smile behind her petite, manicured hands.
It was actually extremely frightening.
It was almost like she was letting him flirt with her . . . and enjoying it.
But she must be around the age of, what? Nineteen? I mean, James—despite his stupidity—is an attractive bloke. And he’s only two years younger than her and—WHY AM I RATIONLIZING THIS? This is wrong. Wrong.
I’m going insane here.
James and I hovered near the Transfiguration classroom for a couple minutes so that the man-woman-pirate-person could go on ahead of us. How awkward would it be to walk next to her all the way back to Gryffindor tower? Anywho.
Once she rounded the corner, we started walking.
James sighed, “That was probably the best detention I’ve ever gone through in my entire life. I think I’m gonna tick Mickey off more often.”
I rolled my eyes, “Seriously, James? What did I tell you about Barbie?”
“I mean . . . Professor Cook.”
He shrugged, “I don’t know. All I know is that she’s the most gorgeous woman I have ever seen, and that she has the most adorable laugh that makes my heart go crazy. And I really think that she brings out the best in me, Liza.”
“I did notice that you were wittier than usual,” I grumbled loud enough for him to hear.
“Exactly!” He sighed again, “I’m going to make her mine, Eliza.”
“But she’s older than you!” I cried indignantly, “Isn’t that supposed to freak blokes out?”
He shook his head, the smile returning, “It doesn’t freak me out. That just means that she’s more of a woman than any of the other girls I’ve met here at Hogwarts. No offense, Eliza.”
I resisted the urge to smack myself in the face. Again.
“You’re an idiot, did you know that?”
“But an idiot in love.”
“Nope, not even that.”
He ignored me, and continued on to Gryffindor tower with a skip in his step. I trailed behind sluggishly, trying to find the bright side of this. Well . . . if James gets the girl then I could probably convince him to convince her to give me good grades even when I don’t deserve it.
Who am I kidding? That’s never going to happen.
I’m completely screwed right now.
Sometimes I really hate James.
*A/N: I know that it's been a while since I've last updated, and I'm really sorry for that. I would have updated sooner, but I just went on this thing called Trek (which was torture). It was this thing my church does for the youth. We basically reinact the pioneers crossing America.. by dressing up like them and pushing handcarts up mountians. Yeah. Doesn't sound too exciting now does it? Although, it was weirdly satisfying.. Anywho. Right after that I had to pack for Girls Camp (another thing my church does for the youth) which was SO fun.. and now I'm back so yeah :)
I'll also be updating Life Throws a Punch soon, so look out for thattt! Thanks for being so patient with me, and don't forget to leave a review!
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