My eyes were closed. I didn’t need to see- just feel. I felt Matthew’s long arms stretch around my body, drawing me close to him. I felt Matthew’s chest press against mine. I felt Matthew’s lips tracing a line of sweet kisses up my jaw line, slowly making their way to my awaiting, hungry lips.
I had never been one to snog in broom cupboards. And Matthew’s frame couldn’t easily fit inside such a confined space. We had silently agreed that snogging in an unused classroom on the fifth floor was our best plan of action. We stayed behind the main doorway, which would give us enough time to separate from each other if a professor or prefect came into the room at this moment.
Matthew’s lips finally reached mine. I moaned, waiting for him to make the next move. I wanted him to take charge. My inexperience in such things would just make everything awkward. But Matthew was a year older, a year more experienced. . .
“Well well well, isn’t this an interesting sight.”
I opened my eyes, straining to look over to my right.
Benjamin leaned against the wall I was pressed against, his head tilted to the side. His hazel eyes narrowed at me. “Where’s all that talk about taking charge of your life, Marta?” Benjamin asked casually, his eyes flickering to Matthew.
I ignored Benjamin, determined to continue snogging my boyfriend. Matthew, of course, took no notice of the third person in this room.
“Wow, as if you haven’t tried the silent treatment on me before,” Benjamin continued, sarcasm dripping from every word. “You know, Matthew doesn’t even know what he’s doing. You’re just too naive in such things to know better.”
I wanted to tell Benjamin to go away. I’ve been telling him to go away for years. But maybe addressing him gives him power, making him come back for more.
So once again, I tried to ignore Benjamin. Instead, I tightened my hold around Matthew’s neck. I let my eyes close and allowed a soft moan to pass my lips as Matthew expertly began exploring the contours of my lips with his, waiting for me to allow-
I felt Benjamin’s cool breath on the right side of my neck, speaking into my ear. “I’ll always be here, Marta. Don’t think you can distract yourself from my presence. I’ll always be heard by you.”
“Ugh, cut it out!” I screamed. I pushed Matthew away and turned to look back at Benjamin. But Benjamin was gone.
“Marta? What’s wrong?”
I realized a moment too late that I did something wrong. I slowly turned back to face Matthew, mentally pleading for him to not be mad with me. Please, please let him just ignore it again-
Matthew’s brown eyes narrowed. “Did you just see anyone?”
“No,” I said. “Matthew, forget it, I thought I saw . . .” I paused, realizing that I just admitted that I didn’t see anything.
Matthew closed his eyes. I could practically hear him silently counting to ten in his head. Once he was done, he reopened his eyes. They were cold. “What did we talk about just last week?”
I looked down. The desk closest to me had some scorch marks on the corner, almost hidden by an old spider web and years of dust.
“I was just thinking about other things,” I muttered.
Matthew groaned loudly. “So instead of focusing on me, you were thinking of homework? Quidditch? Halloween?”
I continued to look away. Something was eating away at my gut, making me wish that I could collapse down on myself. Matthew deserved answers that I could never provide.
“Not this time.” Matthew took a step back. “I’m not falling for this again, where you wait for me to drop the subject, and we go on as if nothing’s out of the ordinary. Frankly, I’m sick of you hiding things from me. Either I get answers now, or I walk.”
“I guess I’ll see you around the castle then.” I then clamped my mouth shut, making sure I wouldn’t say anything else. Instead, I turned my focus onto my hammering heart. Its pounding filled my ears as it realized what was happening. Again.
Silence. Then scuffling shoes. The door opened. A long pause. Finally, the door closed. His footsteps echoed in the hall, fading dramatically with each step as he proceeded back to Ravenclaw Tower.
“I told you so.” Benjamin stepped out from behind me, looking up at the door.
“Shut up.” I brought the right sleeve of my robes to my face, patting at my eyes as to not smear my makeup.
“Are you crying?” Benjamin’s voice softened. He leaned down in order to look up at me. “Marta, are you crying?”
“No,” I said, but my voice sounded nasally. I sniffed back some mucus, doing my best to control my actions. “Just go away.”
“He wasn’t right for you, you know,” Benjamin said. He straightened to stand over me again. “Not fitting for someone of your breeding.”
“Matthew is a Pureblood,” I said. “Not that it matters to me, but he can trace his family back to-”
“Nope. He had a Muggle-born witch in his family tree nine generations back,” Benjamin said. “Just because you don’t talk about a Mudblood in your family doesn’t-”
I looked up and slapped Benjamin across the face. “DON’T,” I yelled, “DON’T USE THAT LANGUAGE AROUND ME!”
“What does it matter to you?” Benjamin asked. He rubbed at his cheek, now red. “You’re a true Pureblood. I can trace all of your ancestors from your mother’s side back to the time of the Founders of this school, and your father’s lineage just as far. You will not breed with anyone less than-”
“Just shut up, Benjamin!” I felt my eyes start to sting again, but I tried to control the rising anger growing inside me. It was hard, though. The knots forming inside me wanted an escape, and Benjamin would be the perfect outlet. But I had to control myself. “And I’m only sixteen. I’m far too young for you to talk about who I’m going to ‘breed’ with. Yuck.” I shivered at such a thought.
“Heh. You think you are, but I know what’s perfect for you. Matthew Mudblood-in-my-Family isn’t.”
I slapped Benjamin again, harder this time. “DON’T USE THAT WORD!!”
“Okay, okay. Owe. That’s starting to hurt.”
“Good.” I turned to the door and opened it. The hall was clear, so I began walking back to Gryffindor Tower.
“You’re so cruel,” Benjamin said, catching up to me in the hall. “Don’t you ever consider my feelings?”
“Why not? You used to love playing with me when we were kids.”
“I hate you. Pure and simple.”
I turned around, realizing that it must be past curfew. If I was caught being out, I would get yet another detention. Great.
“Don’t worry, it’s just him,” Benjamin hissed.
“Hi Remus,” I said. I waited for him to walk though the halls and reach me. “So, what are you doing out this late?”
“How stupid are you?” Benjamin asked. “Did you forget what prefects are? Honestly.” He shook his head back and forth sadly.
“I’m a prefect, remember?” Remus asked, almost copying Benjamin’s answer. Not that he was aware of it, of course. Remus had been smiling when he approached, but the smile faded as got closer. “Marta? Is there something wrong that you want to tell me about?”
Uh-oh. Did Remus suspect that something was off about me? He’s known me since we were both eight years old, but I’ve never told him about Benjamin. Did he hear me yelling at Benjamin in the empty classroom? Did he finally figure it out? I thought I had been careful about my secret imaginary friend.
“Here.” Remus dug into his pocket, transfigured a broken quill into a hand mirror, and handed me the trinket. “Your eyes look a little blotchy. Have you been crying?”
I took the mirror and realized how much of a mess my face was. I didn’t wear a lot of makeup, but the small amount of eye shadow I did wear made me look like a raccoon with blue eyes.
“Yuck. I thought I was careful too.” I tried rubbing at my eyes with my robes again, but that just made me look more like a madwoman.
“I can’t take this,” Remus sighed. “Look at me.” Remus reached into his robes again, pulling out a handkerchief. He wet it with his wand before dabbing at my eyes, his brow furrowed in concentration.
“Just tell him you can get to a bathroom on your own,” Benjamin said, standing to my right again. “Who does he think he is, trying to take care of you? If you had asked me, Marta, I would have told you to use the bathroom before he showed up.”
Getting Benjamin upset started making me feel better. “Please don’t poke my eyes out,” I teased. “I could have done this myself, you know.”
“I know,” Remus said, “but then I wouldn’t get a chance to talk with you.”
“Oh, so subtle. Not.”
“So, how goes your social life?” Remus continued as if he weren’t interrupted.
“Miserable, as usual,” I sighed. “Matthew broke up with me today.”
Remus paused for a moment, then turned his attention from my left eye to my right. “Really?”
I nodded, although that led me to getting poked in the eye. “Owe! But yes. Not even two months of dating and he calls it quits. I only got one date in Hogsmeade. But when relationships bring ultimatums into play, it’s almost a guarantee that things will not work out smoothly.”
“I can imagine.” Remus leaned back. “You look a lot better now.”
I checked. Except for a few red splotches where I rubbed at my eyes a few minutes ago, my face looked presentable again. “Thanks, Remus.” I tried to hand him back the mirror.
Remus shook his head. “Keep it. Besides, I know how horrible you are at transfiguring anything besides pins into matchsticks.”
“You were this close-” I held my thumb and first finger a hair apart, “this close, to getting a hug. Now? No hugs for you.”
“Can we go back to Gryffindor Tower now? I’m not in the mood to watch you and Lupin flirt.”
I quickly took aim and whacked the back of my fist into Benjamin’s nose. Hard. I felt the distinct shape of his nose and it bending under the force.
“Ouch! Bloody hell! My nose is broken!”
“Good,” I whispered.
It was only when Benjamin was yelling a string of profanities did I remember that Remus was with me. He was looking over at me with one eyebrow raised.
“Uh, well, because you didn’t get my ‘hug of the day,’ I had to give the surrounding air a half-hug.”
“Because, well, the air gives me oxygen to breathe.”
“I’m just going to shut up now before anyone chucks me out of the school.”
“Mean!” I punched Remus in the arm when he burst into laughter.
“Just wanted to see how long your excuses would get tonight,” Remus said. “Now, if you were to use that brilliant mind of yours on schoolwork-”
“Are you my friend or my father?” I cut him off.
“I would call me your ‘concerned friend,’ myself,” Remus said. He stopped at the base of the stairwell. “I have double-prefect duties tonight, though. I’ll see you tomorrow then?”
I nodded. “Take care, Remus.”
“Night, Marta.” He turned to retrace his steps. I had probably lead him far off-course of where he was supposed to patrol tonight.
“Thank Merlin he’s gone,” Benjamin said, walking beside me up the stairs. “Honestly, Marta, how can you stand that bloke? All he cares about is studying and following rules.”
“He’s had his share of detentions,” I said. “And your nose is still bleeding.”
“I know! Because you haven’t stopped the bleeding yet!” In fact, the front of his robes were already drenched in crimson blood.
“You know you deserve it.” I raced ahead of Benjamin and beat him to the portrait of the Fat Lady. She was currently entertaining one of her friends, Violet. From the looks of things, they were exchanging gossip.
“Pumpkin pastries,” I said clearly.
The Fat Lady continued to gossip with her friend.
“Do you think the old hag could get any fatter?” Benjamin complained loudly. He had finally gotten his nose to stop bleeding. “I mean, ‘pumpkin pastries’ as a password? If anything, she should go running laps around this castle to work off some of that weight.”
“Shut up,” I muttered.
“No, I will not,” Benjamin said, raising his voice. “Actually, I want to know who painted her in the first place. Now that was a wizard that had absolutely no taste. He could have left off a bit of that blubber. Unless that witch was supposed to be skinny and he painted her fat just to get even with his model.”
“Shut up,” I repeated, a little louder.
“But more importantly, who was the one in this castle daft enough to give such a fat ogress such an important job? I would have hidden her in an unused corridor so she could be fat without making people bleed out of their eyes from the sight of her-”
This time, the Fat Lady heard me. She frowned, turning in her position to look down at me. “Excuse me, young lady,” the Fat Lady hissed, “would you like to rephrase that?”
I gulped, taking half a step back. “Uh, well, actually, I just wanted to get in.”
The Fat Lady frowned but allowed the portrait to open. I hopped through the portrait hole just before the opening snapped closed behind me.
“Fat people must be touchy,” Benjamin commented idly, already standing behind me.
I wasn’t even in the common room for five seconds when someone shouted “Kulinski!” at the top of his lungs.
“I can hear you just fine, Potter,” I said, approaching three of the Marauders sitting on the couch in front of the fire. “What do you want?”
James Potter, Chaser and Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, looked up at me. “Care to sit down first?”
“James Potter is a Pureblood,” Benjamin said slowly.
“No thanks,” I said. “What did you call me from across the common room for? I’m not deaf.”
I looked at the other two Marauders. Peter Pettigrew was looking pointedly down at the table where a chess game was in progress. He only had six pieces left on the board. However, I don’t think the slight tremble in Peter’s lower lip was only from the terrible game he was losing.
Sirius Black, on the other hand, was sitting upside-down in one of the armchairs. He was also staring at the chessboard. He still had a majority of his white pieces on the table. Even in this awkward position, his black hair was perfectly in place and he still held himself with an air of superiority.
James glanced over to the chess game I was staring at. “Peter, I would suggest rook to D-4.”
“Rook to D-4!” Peter squeaked out. He glanced up at me. Seeing me look at him, he averted his gaze and went back to studying the game.
“Potter?” I asked patiently.
“Oh, right!” James laughed. “Sorry. Just wanted to tell you that Quidditch practice is tomorrow morning at eight o’clock sharp. I got an extra hour tomorrow morning and I don’t want to waste it.”
“Got it, Potter.” I smiled at him. “I’ll be sure to set my alarm clock.”
“Make sure you do!” James started scanning the common room. “Right then, that leaves me just two players left to find.”
“Pawn to D-6,” Sirius announced.
James’s head snapped back to the game. “Huh? Oh no, Wormtail, I mean E-4! Pawns can capture pieces when they’re in front and diagonal to them!”
With me forgotten, I weeded my way through the common room towards the stairwell leading to the girls’ dormitory. As I moved, though, I passed by one of the study tables occupied by a large group of first years. Lily Evans was sitting with them. Fridays was her day to help students struggling in Potions.
I swear, I was only passing by her table. My wand was safely tucked into an interior pocket of my robes and I wasn’t overly distressed. But her bottle of ink exploded, spilling black ink all over the table, books, parchment, and the front of Lily’s robes. The first years squealed, scooting their chairs away from the mess.
“It’s okay, it’s okay!” Lily said, her voice rising above the others in the common room. “There’s a simple charm that can clear away all this ink. I’ll show you.” As Lily cleaned the front of her robes, she shot her emerald-green eyes back at me. She pressed her lips together, signaling me that I’d get yelled at about this later.
“Why did you do that?” I hissed, hurrying towards the girls’ dorm faster.
Benjamin shrugged, grinning. “Because she’s a Mudblood, and Mudbloods don’t deserve to be here.”
I was ready to strangle him right then and there. But a quick check told me that I was still being watched by too many people. Wrapping my fingers around empty air and squeezing would not look normal.
“Now, about the possibilities for your next boyfriend-”
I opened the dormitory door, closing it quickly behind me. “Would you give a girl time to get over her previous relationship before pestering her into another one?” I hissed. “Besides, James Potter is also obsessed with Lily.”
“But he’s a Pureblood, not a half-blood wannabe. He should endeavor to maintain his heritage.”
I threw my robes across the empty dorm. They landed about a meter away from my bed. “How many times do I have to tell you, I don’t care about blood status!”
“But I do!”
“Go to Hell.” I rummaged through my trunk, looking for the pajamas I shoved into the bottom of the trunk this morning.
When I looked up, Benjamin was sitting on my bed, leering at me. “No one can see me,” Benjamin whispered. “No one can hear me. No one can feel me. I’ll be with you forever, Marta. I’ll be by your side until the day you die.”
“Just leave me alone!” I screamed, hoping that my anger at him would hide the twinge of fear that just ran up my spine.
But Benjamin smiled. “I’ll wake you at six o’clock tomorrow morning,” he whispered. “Have a nice night, Marta.”
He kept his cold gaze on me until he completely faded from view, leaving me in an empty and cold dormitory.
A/N: Hello. I am The Quiet Girl. Getting to the end of the first chapter, do you think this story has potential? Would you be interested in seeing where it goes? Should I continue writing this? If you wouldn’t mind, please leave a review in that cute box at the bottom of this page. Thank you for at least reading this A/N and possibly reviewing!
Write a Review My Not-So-Imaginary Friend: I: Welcome to My Life