Chapter 3 : The Beginning of Something Real
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“Freddie?” I repeated, turning to find him staring at the ground in a way that I couldn't see his expression. He looked like a young, innocent boy caught doing a not-so-innocent act. “Freddie?” I asked again, wondering how I had ever convinced myself to wear a bikini. I felt naked and exposed. It was not a good feeling.
“I –” he started, not looking up at me. “Do you have any idea what it's been like?” he looked up from the ground and I was torn at the vulnerable look in his eyes. “What we had … we were best friends!” he was struggling with his words and I cringed at the depth in them. “This Summer has been shit.” he finished sadly, looking to the ground again.
I didn't even attempt to pretend I didn't know what he meant.
“I know,” I whispered, finding and interesting leaf to look at while he figured out what to say next. He said nothing. “But why –” I looked up at him again, “would you kiss my neck?”
“I decided that I can do it,” he said, quickly.
I interrupted before he could continue. “Do what?”
“I can do it.” he repeated. “I can be your … boyfriend,” he struggled shamelessly with the word, “if that's what it takes to be your friend again.”
I sighed, that was why he kissed me on the neck?
“Freddie, why would I want to date someone who doesn't want to date me?”
You had to admit, it was a fair question. Honestly, when did anything like our situation ever work? A guy decides to go out with a girl so he won't break her heart – not exactly our situation, but close enough – and while she falls madly in love with him, – wasn't going to happen – he gets bored of her and ends up falling head-over-heels for another girl, therefore breaking her heart even more. It could never work out.
“I do!” he cried. “I want to date you! Like I said, this Summer has been shit! I couldn't bare it without you. We used to be so close and then you … well, you said some drunken words and everything just fell to pieces.”
He took three long strides towards me until I could feel his breath on my face. He looked down and wound his fingers through mine.
My heart started racing and I felt the back of my neck begin to sweat. He was so close, just inches away from me. I stared deep into his eyes, before flitting down to his lips. His perfect lips, his sun-kissed, soft, brown lips. I resisted the urge to pull myself on my toes and kiss him, instead I pulled one hand out of his and put a finger to his lips. I shook my head solemnly, he went to interrupt and I gave him a look.
“No.” I whispered, close to letting go of the little self control I had. “I don't want you to do this for me.”
“I want to.” he whispered through my finger. “For you.”
I felt my eyes water at his words and my arm moved on its own accord away from his mouth. I pulled myself onto my toes and moved my face closer to him. My hands found their way to his shoulders and his hands around my waist.
Abruptly we both pulled ourselves away from each other and stumbled backwards.
“It's just wrong.”
“Like kissing a brother wrong.”
“Exactly like that.”
“Ew, yuck, imagine if we –”
“Don't even say it …” he said with a small smirk shortly turning into a sudden grin. “You remember the perks of being my best friend?” There was something extremely evil about his smirk, but before I could comment he had swiped me into his arms and began sprinting through the trees towards the sound of running water.
“Freddie, put me down!” I yelled in his ear. I wasn't surprised when he didn't obey my request. He was running at full speed through the forest with me in his arms, bobbing around and holding onto him for dear life and I wasn't exactly the lightest girl out there and stopping now would be pointless and arguing would just tire him.
Suddenly the trees began to thin out and quickly gave way to a small clear area. I caught sight of Harper's light eyes against her dark complexion, Molly's pale skin and Dare's violently butter-y hair lying on brightly coloured towels, but they all flew from my mind as I saw what Freddie was heading for.
Because the ground ended straight ahead and fell into a harsh cliff face on the edge of a deep pool of water. He pushed off with a great force and flung us off the cliff. We didn't seperate instantly, but we did eventually and I ended up twisting myself through the air awkwardly. An unplanned scream echoed throughout the place, muffled when I landed and much to my dismay, I took a huge gulp of water upon my crash with the surface.
I swum out of the water and turned straight to my red-haired friend.
“I hate you, Fred Weasley!”
Three sweet laughs from my left acknowledged my angry comment.
“Love you too,” he said, gulping for air and turning to grin at me. I splashed water at his face in response.
Before he could get me back I ducked under the water and swam to where I had heard the four laughs previously. It wasn't until I was out of the water that I realized exactly what I had done.
I had decided to associate myself with the very Veela part of my family.
I gulped, Merlin kill me now.
I turned around slowly and prepared to dive back into the water. I curled my toes earnestly around the edge of the warm, round stone. A heavily accented, soft voice was the only thing that stopped me from flinging myself back into the clear surface before me.
“Bianca, est-ce votre soeur, Amorette?””
I spun on my heel at the sound of my name and looked at the four girls. Because she was speaking French with the thickest accent I had heard in a long time I could only assume that it was neither Bianca, Victoire or Dominique who spoke and that left me with only one option.
The girl on the ground infront of me wore a simple black bikini that almost had me drooling and I was completely straight. She was deeply more Veela than any of the three girls lying around her. Her long hair flowed over her towel, it was so blonde it was almost white and her eyes were the dark blue that I thought only I had inherited. Her lips were full and her skin was the complexion of silk. There was only one word to describe her. Beautiful, but in a way that was obvious it came only from the Veela blood in her veins and paled in comparison to Dare's natural exquisiteness.
“P-pardon me?” I managed to choke in awe.
“Elle ne parle pas français,” This time it was Bianca who spoke and I understood exactly what she was saying.
“Yeah – I never really bothered to learn it,” I muttered, before I realized I was pretty much talking to an empty box. There wasn't much likelihood that she could understand me, anyway.
I was wrong.
She stood up swiftly and brushed off any remaining dust from the back of her legs. “You must be Amorette. My name eez Désirée.” She looked like she was considering hugging me for a second, but pulled out of it and shook my hand instead.
I beamed spectacularly at the girl when I realized she wasn't the perfect Veela zombie that Bianca, Dom and Victoire so flawlessly displayed. She stuttered slightly over her words, almost tripped over on the flat rock and had no idea whether or not to hug me when we first met.
“It's nice to meet you, Désirée,” I said, while she caught my contagious grin. “Are you staying with the Delacours?”
“Yes,” she sat back down on the rock and I found myself regrettably following suit. “I believe I am what you would call a” she threw Victoire an anxious glance, “second cousin and Dominique persuaded me to come to 'Ogwarts for my last year of learning.”
“Oh, are you in your seventh-year?” I asked, even though the answer lay in her last statement. Bianca rolled her eyes at me and I pulled the finger at her without anyone noticing my gesture.
The thing I hated the most about the three part-Veela's infront of me was the fact that they were three very stereotypical Veela's. Each one had the typical long, white-blonde hair, which I so deeply missed out on. Not only were they all utterly stunning, each of them knew it too and used it shamelessly to their advantage in nearly everything they did. All three of the girls were extremely high maintenance, you could tell just by sitting, looking at the three of them. Each had their nails painted in perfected paterns and not one of them had dared to let their hair get wet, suggesting that by doing so it would ruin their styled locks.
Looking back at Désirée I could only hope that she wasn't like the other two. She had already proved that she was awkward and clumsy and judging by the fact she hadn't gone out of her way to blow the Weasley's away by wearing an expensive and scandalous bikini, she wasn't the type of girl to use her beauty as an advantage.
I found myself hoping she would get into Gryffindor so I could have another person to go to when I had one of my traditional and common fights with Tallia my so called 'best friend'.
I pulled myself back into reality and noticed that Désirée was looking at me expectantly. I quickly realized she must've asked me a question and gave her a sheepish smile.
“Pardon?” I found myself surprised at the formal word that came out of my mouth.
“You are in your seventh-year, are you not?”
“Yep,” I said casually, flicking my wet hair behind my shoulder. “Gryffindor and all.”
Both Dom and Bianca rolled their eyes. Victoire gave a soft, attractive laugh. Désirée shot me a confused look. I was liking her more and more and I had no idea why.
“Gryffindor,” I repeated so she could remember the name. “It's one of the houses at Hogwarts. There's Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin.”
“And eez zis, Gryffindor ze best?” she asked with a smile.
“You got it,” I said, then wondered if I should rephrase myself as I wasn't sure how well she understood English.
“Wow, eet eez rather 'ot in Britain zis time of year,” Désirée commented, gazing wistfully at the sky, her hand blocking the sun out of her eyes.
“That's what the water's for,” I said, running my hand through it.
I looked over to the other side of the water to see a group of my fellow seventh-years conversing in the shallows. I felt slightly ashamed that instead of being with them I was with the blonde part-Veela's. Without a second thought I slid myself into the cold water and turned back to Désirée. She was looking earnestly at the five seventh-years.
“Come on,” I gestured for her to join me in the water. “Do you want me to introduce you to some people in our year?”
“Sure,” she said enthusiastically and slid herself in the water beside me.
We waded over to them in silence, until we reached a place where both our feet could touch the ground. I noticed I was somewhat taller than her. Where the water came up to my chin, she could only just keep her mouth out of it. I smiled at this, Veela's were naturally tall, but Victoire and Bianca didn't acquire that trait and I was happy with Dominique being the only female cousin of mine that could look down on me.
“So, we're second cousins, right?” I asked, wondering how we had managed to be related by such terms.
“Yes, your maman and my père – father were cousins.”
I didn't respond because we were nearing the group and Lysander had frozen while staring awestruck at Désirée. I smiled a little at the look on his face. The water was up to our hips when we reached them. I tapped Freddie on the shoulder and he turned, his mouth popping open in surprise. James stumbled forward a little to get a better view of her. Dare's eyes widened slightly. Louis rolled his eyes at his friends reactions. A smile played on the corners of Lysander's lips.
“Guys, this is Désirée,” she smiled at them all and did something unexpected. A wink was thrown in Lysander's direction. “Désirée this is Freddie, James, Dare, Lysander and of course you already know Louis.” I gestured to each person as I said their name.
“Eet eez nice to meet you,” she said, giving a simple wave at them all. I noticed she didn't take her eyes off Lysander for her whole greeting. I wondered if she had even heard the names of the others.
“It's a pleasure to meet you, Désirée,” said Lysander, stepping into the middle of the circle, creating waves against my skin with his sudden movement, he bent down and picked up her hand delicately. We all watched as his lips brushed against her hand. It created a tingle across the back of my neck as I remembered the feeling of Fred's lips against my skin. It wasn't a good feeling.
I found myself realising I had thought that thought twice that day
Désirée laughed at Lysander's charming gesture. “Please, don't use your charm on me, Mr. Scamander. I know you type.”
His mouth fell open and he stood dumbfounded at her words. The rest of us laughed appreciatively.
“I have a feeling we'll be getting along well, Désirée,” said Freddie, shaking her hand and seemingly resisting the urge to kiss the top of it, too.
“It's nice to meet you, Désirée,” said Dare happily. Of all the non-Veela girls I knew Dare would have to be the only one who needn't've been jealous and it was obvious she was just happy to meet a new person. I wondered if she knew how much I aspired to be as free-willed as her. Dare was the ultimate role model and would have been the best big sister that anyone could hope for.
The one thing that set Dare Aitkins apart from every other girl in the school was her best friend. The star Quidditch player, every girls dream, James Potter. Nearly every single girl in the Hogwarts population had come up with their own personal reason why they hated Dare Aitkins, each and every one of them avoiding the obvious truth. They hated her because they were jealous. Jealous of her golden skin; jealous of her perfect hair; jealous of her free nature; but most importantly, jealous of her relationship with James Potter.
Amongst this all, it was expected that Dare wouldn't be able to cope with the hate that was so clearly thrown at her, instead she blossomed in it. The careless, angry glares thrown at her only made her stand taller. The abuse fuming girls often yelled at her only made James stand up for his closest friend and Dare Aitkins could not be caught downcast no matter what the latest hate-mail had uncovered. However, it didn't surprise me that Dare was lonely.
Despite having the deepest and most caring best friend Hogwarts could offer Dare had no one to talk to and a group of overprotective Gryffindor males weren't exactly what you would call secret-worthy. It could have been fate that decided it would be me to find the clearly distraught girl crying in an empty classroom …
The walk to the Charms corridor took longer than expected. Three of the four hallways towards the classroom seemed to have some sort of barrier that I hadn't any desire to cross. It involved my sister wrapped around a certain Malfoy, a greatly aggravated caretaker sending three first-years to the Headmaster for slipping over wet floor and a huge explosion of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes products which I had no desire to be associated with when Mudgar found them. So instead I found myself circulating around the three corridors and coming across my last resort. The hallway was empty and eerily quiet. Ahead I could see the turn that lead to the Charms corridor at the end of the third floor.
I took long, directed strides towards the end of the corridor. The only sounds were my loud echoing footsteps and roars of anger as Mudgar obviously found the WWW's explosion. I lightened my footsteps and sped up my steps. I was unquestionably heading towards the commotion, but it wasn't like me to skip a class because I didn't want to get caught by an angry caretaker.
It may not have seemed it, but I did have an ounce of Gryffindor pride.
I reached the Charms corridor slightly out of breath. It was my chance to decide whether or not to attend such a class. At the end of the hallway was the door to the classroom. It was intercepted only by a colourful corridor with a raging Mudgar attempting to clean up. Behind me was the other end of the hallway. Branching off from the left was a passageway that would lead me up to the astronomy tower. Further down, to the right was an opening that would take me to the stairs and up to the safe haven that was the Gryffindor common room. It was a tempting offer, but after all Charms was my favourite class and running away would seem like a great blow to the Gryffindor part the Sorting hat had found in me.
I took a deep breath and flitted past the corridor. I blew out a deep breath when I realized he hadn't noticed me, only for it to get caught in my throat when a strangled yell came from behind.
“Hey you! Get back 'ere!” shouted old Mudgar in the croak that was his voice.
“Crap.” I swore under my breath. Charms class was too far away to get to easily and Mudgar would undoubtedly take to questioning Professor Chang about anyone who had suspiscipiously arrived late and panting. I was left with three possible choices, two of which had no guarantee would open without a spell. One, which was open a crack.
I swept into the room with a grace I was not usually acquainted with. I almost stopped what I was doing when I saw the room wasn't infact empty and there was a tanned, blonde beauty sitting on a desk before me.
“Hide.” I whispered demandingly, hoping she would obey without a second thought, knowing it wouldn't be as easy as that.
“Just shut up and do it!” I shot back, slipping under a table and pulling the chairs around me closer so I could be more hidden. I could only hope that Mudgar's nonexistant wit would evade him as usual and he wouldn't think to check under the desks.
A quick, but thorough glance told me Dare had followed my example and was also situated under a table, surrounded by a cluster of chairs. I turned to look hesitantly at the door. I attempted to slow my breathing, but to no surprise it remained the same. When the door slammed open I found my head smacking into the top of the table and my heavy breathing halting while I held my breath. Luckily the resounding smack of wood on stone smothered the sound of skull on oak, still it only just covered the sound of my abrupt scream of pain.
I felt my face go red as I imagined what might happen if Mudgar found me in such a position. I undoubtedly would get sent to the Headmasters office and my case would be moot. Who ran from the Aurors when they were innocent? No one. Great supportive points I had there.
I was late to class, that's why I was rushing down the Charms corridor … I only hid because I didn't want to get blamed for something I didn't do … Dare didn't do anything, she was just – what were you doing, Dare? …
Just fucking spectacular.
Maman would kill me when Bianca told her.
I watched only the dirt-laden boots and the bottom of Mudgar's murky yellow khaki's move around the room. Despite the fact Mudgar was generally as noisy as a bludger and he had just slammed the door open so loud I wasn't sure if Gryffindor Tower would have been out of range, he still moved silently and held his breath.
I turned and looked over to Dare. Confusion, a flush of red and a single tear were on her face. Hand putting pressure on my head I turned and grimaced at the murky pants of Urick Mudgar. He swiftly and clumsily looked over the edge of the teachers desk, swore, then clambered out of the room. A ghastly croak emitted from the direction of the corridor and the sound of Mudgar hustling after an unsuspecting student reached our ears.
We remained under the desks, partly because we were unsure whether Mudgar would come back, partly because I had seen the tear stains etched on her face.
“Is this a regular occurrence for you, then?” she asked, pushing a chair out of the way with her feet so she was free to escape. I pulled myself out from under the tables, not answering straight away. I threw my bag onto the table and leant against it.
“Not at all,” I breathed, uncomfortable. “I don't have enough dare in me to pull such a stunt twice in a row.” I paused, what I had just done was so like me. Her name was Dare so I just had to use the word in a sentence.She chuckled slightly. “No pun intended.” I added, a bit too late.
There we go, I had made her smile, even laugh a little. This awkward moment could be over. I had done my job. I looked up expectantly and sure enough her face had fallen. Who was I kidding? This girl seriously needed condolance. But why did it have to be me who found her? Why couldn't it have been James? He was her rock. Why did it have to be a socially awkward girl such as myself? I didn't know what to do when I felt sad. What was I supposed to do when a girl I had spent six years living with, but never bothered to get to know had suddenly come into my life, red-faced and crying?
“Curse you, Merlin,” I muttered ever so quietly, not knowing if Dare heard me, but knowing if she did she wouldn't respond.
“What's wrong?” I asked, far too forcefully to be considered anything like sympathy.
She responded with the same force. “Don't act like you don't know,” she hissed in a voice that made me curdle in surprise. “You're probably one of them, too.”
“Excuse me?” I said, before I could help myself.
“I'm sick of them!” she spat, maliciously. “Those cows don't even know James and they think I'm only using him because of his money! I don't even like James that way!”
“I know,” I muttered, before I could shut my mouth and let her rant.
“What?” she said, with a harshness that made me flinch.
“I know you don't like James that way. It's obvious. Your friendship wouldn't work if you felt that way and he didn't.”
“Exactly!” she said, her voice exasperated, but no longer filled with the sharpness of a spear. We waited in silence for a moment and I left her with her thoughts. I wasn't exactly sure where she was going with this 'conversation'. Hell, I actually seemed to be doing more good than bad and that meant that this was most likely a dream. I went ahead and did the typical thing by pinching myself.
It wasn't a dream.
Somehow that just managed to make me more worried then before.
“I'm sorry,” Dare said in a voice that made me look around for someone else in the room. The accent stopped me halfway through my search.
“What for?” I asked, my voice strangely as vulnerable as hers.
She answered my question with a question of her own.
“You're not one of those girls are you?”
“You mean one of those girls who are obsessed with James?” A sad nod answered my question. “No, I'm not one of those girls. I mean, I don't exactly get why they're all so obsessed with him. It's not like he's not …” I felt my face turn crimson, wow, I was smooth “… hot, but he's not even cocky about it. He does his homework, he's far too obsessed with Quidditch and he's never had a proper relationship.” The last part sounded shamefully like me. “I don't see why he's so …” I searched for the right word “… desirable.”
“I know, right!” she said, strangely getting into the conversation. “There's three reason why those girls go after James. He's good-looking, he's bloody rich and he's Harry Potter's son! They don't even know him well enough to realize that he's the sweetest guy ever, he's not a total bore and he's just a genuinely great guy. No one gives him a chance.” she added wistfully. “Y'know sometimes I think I should go around the school and find James a girl he could pretend to go out with, so they would just fucking leave him alone.” I laughed softly. “You'd be the top of my list.” she finished, only just enough for me to hear.
I laughed louder.
“So what did they do today?” I asked, somewhat sourly. I didn't really know what had come over me. She was happy, she was joking, why did I have to pull her down again? Oh, that's right, I still don't know how to shut my mouth. I had a way of ruining the mood. To make people unhappy the moment I spoke. Tallia was living proof of that. But today, what was my reason? My reason was that I thought she needed to let it out. What was I a bleeding counsellor? Where the hell had my brain come up with such outrageous thoughts?
“Beverley Bakers.” I gave a collective sigh, no good could come from a sentence that started with her name. “She had just had a interesting conversation with James in which he rejected her offer as a date and as soon as he left the Great hall, she was by my side, telling me to back off and that I only had my claws in him because of his money.” she sighed with exasperation. “Then she blamed my parents for raising me to be a total whore.”
I gulped. Did Beverley Bakers not know that Dare's parents just died? No matter how much I couldn't understand what she was going through, I convinced myself I truly understood the pain. I had two very alive parents, but I had lost people. My Grandfather was the closest thing I had to a best friend when I was younger and he died days before I started Hogwarts.
“A low blow.” I muttered deeply.
“I know. Who knew she could be so … cruel?” she attempted to wipe her eyes without me noticing.
“I guess she's in Slytherin for a reason.”
“Yeah …” she added thoughtfully.
Deciding I could fill the silence with my momentary craving for sweet food, I unzipped my bag and pulled out a specially-made plastic container. Dare watched me curiously out of the corner of her eye. I tried not to feel too self-concious as I pulled out a bronze spoon and opened the storage box. I failed miserably.
“What is that?” she asked, her curiosity failing to ignore this simply strange behaviour.
“Honeycomb,” I replied, happier than I really felt.
“Like honey … with wax?” It was obvious she thought I had lost my mind. Eating wax, was not what people considered normal behaviour.
“Mhmm,” I replied, shyly.
“I love honeycomb!” she exclaimed joyfully, literally jumping out of her seat. “Duplicate that spoon.” she commanded.
I happily obliged.
A week after that day, school was over and the Summer holidays began. I didn't expect anything from Dare. I had a habit of having great, meaningful conversations with people before they went back to their normal lives and forgot I existed. Occasionally I would get the odd glance in the hallways as if they were wondering how they could have ever had a genuine conversation with me. Dare, however did something even my two 'best friends' hadn't done the whole Summer. She sent me letters, just small ones, asking me what I'd been up to and how I had been and I responded happily.
And as I watched Freddie and Désirée discuss the Hogwarts houses; James deep in thought about something; and Lysander and Louis dunking the flailing Dare into the water, I realized something I should have envisioned a long time ago, these people were my friends, not Cassie Loure and certainly not Tallia Thomas. Freddie Weasley, Louis Weasley, Dare Aitkins, James Potter and possibly Lysander Scamander and my second cousin, Désirée, they were my friends.
My true friends.
And suddenly my return to Hogwarts looked less gloomy and undesirable. It looked like I could have a chance of surviving. A good chance if I had Dare Aitkins and Freddie Weasley by my side.
So tell me what you think ... how do you like this little insight to Dare? How about this Désirée cousin? I'd love to hear any tips on my writing; any ideas for something you would like to see in my story? Even just encouragement. I love any reviews and I always reply !! :D
Translations: “Bianca, est-ce votre soeur, Amorette?” - "Bianca, is this your sister, Amorette?" and "Elle ne parle pas Français" - "She does not speak French,"
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