The next morning and the mornings there after, I had the whole lake to myself. I could revel in the stillness, completely alone. I let my mind relax and my feet carry me along. The air was cold and by the time I had come full circle I had goose bumps all over my skin. I came to a gradual stop and began stretching off my arms and legs as I walked back to the castle for a muscle relaxing shower. Just like the days before, I was early for breakfast, although not before Rose. As always, she was chattering away but she seemed a little more on edge than usual.
I humoured her quietly as I crunched on my cornflakes. The hall was beginning to fill slowly as Abby sat down opposite me. She too was a chatterer and immediately started jabbering on. Rose shifted in her seat. I was on the verge of asking her what was wrong when suddenly she said,
“Oh, Isla, look the owls are here.”
“Where?” I gasped, looking to the top corner of the hall. It was empty. There was only the grey overcast sky blanketing the ceiling and the rumbling. The floating candles were shaking in the air and there were vibrations radiating across the floor. Others around me were looking around in bewilderment.
“Rose, what is going on?” I asked but my voice was drowned out by a loud whine and crack as hundreds of little rockets zipped through the air. They whistled over our heads and beneath our feet before clustering together above the teachers’ table. Everyone looked on in a silent state of wonderment before the flock of rockets exploded in a kaleidoscope of colours.
The whole hall laughed and applauded, although none of us knew what the display had been for. I joined in with everyone else until I noticed that the flames were settling to form words. The words, “Isla, please forgive me,” to be precise. James’ looped handwriting was emblazoned across the hall for everyone to see and my whole face flushed as all eyes turned to look at me.
My throat seized up as I saw James stand. I stared at him incredulously. How could he do this to me? Did he honestly think that a stupid firework display would erase everything he had done?
Anger welled up inside my chest and I suddenly felt crushed by everyone’s stares. I stood up and stormed out of the hall, not caring if I was fifteen minutes early for Muggle Studies and Professor Randall tried to start up a conversation with me. I flew down the corridor and waited outside the tall oak door. I was relieved to see that James hadn’t followed me and I couldn’t help but hope that he was feeling just as embarrassed as I was.
Jas made her way down the corridor silently, a few minutes later. She stood beside me without a word but reached out to squeeze my hand. I smiled at her half heartedly before pulling out a LemonPop. I let the sweet turn into hot buttery toast inside my mouth. I sighed and leaned against the cool stone wall.
Over the next fifteen minutes, the corridor filled and by the time the bell had rung the rest of my class had arrived, including James. I kept my eyes steadily on the door and when it swung open I rushed to my desk, failing to ignore the whispers that surrounded me.
Professor Randall began to whittle on about muggle transportation, which involved something called a ‘bus pass.’ I spent most of the period doodling on my parchment.
I was quite proud of the result: a boy with a huge hot air balloon as a head. I tapped it with my wand and the picture came to life rising up my across the page. I scribbled in a huge pin with ‘Me’ written across it and as the hot air balloon boy floated towards it, it came forward to pop him. He deflated instantly and I let a quiet laugh escape my lips.
“Is something amusing you, Miss Finnegan?” Randall’s voice carried across the classroom. I cursed myself. Idiot! “Was there something about the London underground that you found comical? Perhaps the development of the M1 motorway was what tickled your funny bone?” he asked angrily and a few people around the classroom chuckled. I looked him in the eye and replied firmly,
“It was nothing. Sorry, sir.”
His face twitched at my subtle sarcasm and I cursed myself again. I couldn’t resist but pick a fight.
“Well, you seem to have been taking an awful lot of notes during the lesson, would you care to share what your opinions?” he asked pointedly, narrowing his eyes. I was tempted to tell him that taking notes didn’t necessarily involve noting an opinion but I resisted.
“I haven’t been taking notes, sir,” I told him bluntly and his eyebrows rose in triumph.
“So what has your quill been working away so arduously on for my whole lesson?”
I sighed. Supposing arduously meant that I was working hard then he had been watching me carefully. Should I tell him that I was doodling or should I lie? In the end, I didn’t even get a chance to reply.
“Ok, Miss Finnegan, bring your parchment out to the front please,” he said sternly and with a loud sigh I heaved myself up form my desk and gave him the parchment. I could feel everyone watching me and I hoped with all my heart that he didn’t show the class the drawing. It would take them all seconds to figure out who I had drawn and that was just more fuel for James to humiliate me.
Randall unfolded it, frowned and then tossed it into the bin beside his desk. With a warning and a detention that evening, I returned to my seat. Thankfully, the rest of the day passed with few interruptions and I even managed to have a nice relaxing lunch with Abby. Jas and Rose were nowhere to be seen but I just assumed they were off doing Ravenclaw-y things.
So, Abby and I sat on the steps of the entrance hall and tried to guess people’s birthday’s as they walked past. It was surprisingly fun but soon we had to go our separate ways as I went to charms and she to Herbology. It was a double period at the end of the day and I made my way alone to class that was until Jack appeared and fell into step beside me.
“Where were you at lunch?” he asked cheerfully as we pushed our way through a sea of pupils going in the opposite direction.
“I was in the Entrance Hall with Abby. Why? Did you miss me?” I teased. He chuckled along with me but his reply filled me with panic.
“No, but Ursula certainly did. You missed the prefect meeting,” he laughed and fear hit me like a tidal wave. What prefect meeting? I was never told about any prefect meeting! I moaned and hit my head off his shoulder.
“Did I miss anything? More importantly, is Ursula going to kill me?” I whined.
Jack laughed, like he always did, before answering, “Yes and definitely.” He pulled a piece of parchment out his pocket and held it out to me. I snatched at it but he kept it out of my reach.
“What is it?” I asked and he grinned at me.
“It’s your rounds timetable,” he replied. I reached for it again, telling him to give it to me but he shook his head. “I went through a lot to get this, you know! I had to fight off two other people to get my hands on this piece of parchment!” he exclaimed and I scoffed at him.
“Oh, did you, now?” I asked him, sceptically, joining the queue outside the classroom. He nodded vigorously.
“One you can probably guess and the other may or may not be a surprise.” I sighed. I had a pretty good idea who one of them would be. James was doing anything he could to get me to talk to him even over something as trivial as a timetable.
“Adversary number one was a certain Mr. Potter.” I rolled my eyes. “And the other was Blondie.” I raised my eyebrows at him. “I know what you’re thinking but no, it was not the popular muggle rock band formed in the seventies. It was in fact, Louis Weasley!” He grinned in triumph and I mirrored his smile. Louis wanted an excuse to talk to me too.
Maybe this wasn’t just one sided affection.
“Thank you, Jack. Can I have my timetable now?” I asked sweetly. He pretended to think about it before handing it over. I folded it up and put it in my pocket just as a commotion started up a little bit along the corridor. I craned my neck to get a better look and I was far from surprised to see James and his cousin Fred at the centre of all the excitement. Jack voiced exactly what I was thinking.
“What are they doing?” he asked incredulously before looking at me. I looked away and told him to ignore them but the crowd was growing and I could see James hunting for me. “I’ll go and ask.”
“No!” I begged Jack, grabbing him by the arm. I shook my head. He laughed at me.
“Come on! What’s the worst that could happen?”
“I could kill him,” I said seriously but he just laughed at me again.
“He’s alright really, a good mate...”
I gave him a scathing look before growling, “Well, let’s see what happens when he ditches you for more popular people and then we’ll see if you still think he’s a good mate.”
Jack just gave me a strange look before calling to James. He couldn’t hear us over everyone else’s voices but Fred was already making his way over. I’d never really liked him. Fred was cocky and attention seeking like James but it was more than that. He was almost business like and snobbish when he spoke to me. Like I was an idiot. I didn’t like that.
“Jack, my man!” Fred called as he drew nearer and I turned to make my escape but Jack tugged me back. I folded my arms and looked down. “Oh, and Isla is here too!”
I said nothing but Jack got back to the matter at hand. “So, what are you doing?” he asked calmly. Fred grinned and whipped out a quill and parchment. It was covered in a huge list of names.
“We are collecting names for our petition!” he exclaimed, “Would you like to sign it? Would you, Isla?”
I gave him a cool glance. “What is the petition for?” I ground out. He held up the parchment so I could see it clearly. My mouth fell open as I read the title.
“You've made a petition for me to forgive James?” I asked incredulously. “Are you serious?” I all but shouted, looking up at Fred.
“Deadly,” he smirked. “Would you like to sign?” he asked holding out the quill. I let out a shriek of rage, ripping the parchment down the middle and throwing it at Fred’s feet. I stormed off towards James, pushing through the crowd around him as he took signatures.
Fuck taking the high road! I got closer and realised with a sick feeling in my stomach that he was standing on a chair. He was so bloody full of himself that I wanted to strangle him.
He had his back to me as I called up to him.
He turned and his face lit up. He got down of his pedestal and went to hug me. He didn’t get a chance, I was already screaming at him.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing? This is absolutely ridiculous! You think that getting people’s signatures and setting off fireworks will get me to forgive you? Even if you got Dumbledore’s signature I wouldn’t bloody forgive you!” I yelled at him. He looked surprised, as if the thought had never even crossed his mind.
“I just thought,” he began but I cut him off.
“No, James. You didn’t think! You never do. Why in the world would you think I would forgive you when you are doing the one thing I hate most about you?”
His face, which had crumpled like a kicked puppy’s, suddenly changed and became one of annoyance. “What? What do you hate most about me other than everything?” he bellowed.
“Your arrogance, James! Your attention seeking! It’s always ’Look at me! I’m James! I can do whatever I bloody well like and everyone has to do what I want’!”
“All I want you to do is talk to me! Is that too much to ask?” he shouted. I threw my hands up in the air in disbelief.
“You know what, James? Don’t you think I would be a little more likely to forgive you if you’d actually apologised?”
That shut him up.
“You’re just so up yourself that you didn’t even think of that did you?” I said this more quietly, shaking my head in disbelief. I turned to walk away and was faced with a very angry looking Professor Thomas. Shit.
“Isla, James, my office please,” he instructed quietly and we did as we were told. Dean shooed away the rest of the pupils still milling about in the corridor before joining us in his office. I sat as far from James as possible when we went in and Dean took his seat in the plush leather chair. The lecture was long and boring and I barely listened to most of it. He told us how irresponsible we were and how we should keep our private conversations private.
“I am afraid I am going to have to punish you both. This behaviour is simply unacceptable. You are both prefects and you have to set an example to the younger pupils. Therefore, I would like to see you both in the trophy cupboard tomorrow night at six,” he told us before standing in preparation to dismiss us but I would let him put James and I in the same room as each other for an hour.
“Dean, please. Can’t we do it separately?” I begged.
“No, I think it would be better for you two to resolve your differences and, Isla, it’s Professor Thomas.”
So that was it. Despite might protests, I had detention tomorrow.
My second detention of the day.
Detention with James.
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