"Hi, guys," I said, turning around to look at the others.
Remus averted his eyes.
"You look great, Lizzie," Sirius grinned, wrapping an arm around Ash's waist. She rolled her eyes.
Boys, she mouthed to me.
"Shall we?" Amos asked, holding out his arm for Katie.
I nodded, pulling Michael along with me.
Out of the corner of my eye, I glanced at Remus. He looked particularly cute today in his tux. It didn't look like he did much with his hair, though. I shot him a soft smile before we entered the Great Hall.
He gave me a weak smile.
What was with him?
"Let's dance," Michael said.
"Alright. I am capable of some balance while dancing. Though I've never tried in heels before. Well, it can't be that different, right?" I laughed, following him to the dance floor.
I was wrong. It is very different.
It is actually very hard to keep my feet from digging into his.
Which is very weird, because I was taught some ballroom dancing at my school in fourth grade, and I never stepped on someone's feet once. I kicked someone once during the tango, but that was because he turned three seconds before we were supposed to. So it was his fault. Of course the jerk started complaining about it and got me in trouble. It was still his fault.
"I'm so sorry!" I gasped after I stepped on his feet. Again. "I'm normally not this clumsy! Well, actually I am, but not during dancing!"
I turned bright red.
"It's alright, Elizabeth. I know. We're going out."
"Right. You're right."
"I'll get us some punch."
"Preferably not spiked," I said, pulling away from him.
"Of course, Elizabeth."
Michael headed off to the table with all the punch and stuff. Yeah, that is the only word I could think of to call it all. Stuff.
Humming, I glanced around.
Lily was dancing with the aforementioned unknown Hufflepuff. Katie was chatting with Amos with a cup of punch in her hand. Gosh, I hope she doesn't spill that . . .
Sirius was snogging some girl, but I couldn't find James, Remus, or Leslie.
"Would you like to dance, Elizabeth?"
I turned around, a bright grin on my face.
"Sure, Remus!" Idiot, idiot, idiot!
WARNING: CLOSE CONTACT!
I'm such a dumb mushroom cap!
Next thing I know, we're slow dancing. To a waltz. Of all dances, a waltz.
Please believe me when I tell you that a waltz is the one ballroom dance that I know of that I am absolutely awful at.
"I'm sorry Remus about my abysmal waltzing skills."
He laughed, but nonetheless winced when I stepped on his toes.
"It's okay, Elizabeth. We can just dance."
"We'll look so stupid."
"Does that matter?"
"I suppose not," I said, wrapping my arms around his neck.
Damn. He looks great today.
Why? Why did I agree?
He looks much too good tonight, and I'm pretty sure there was got to be some static electricity on his clothes because why else would I feel electricity when he touched me?
I'm not attracted to him.
I am not attracted to Remus Lupin. I swear.
. . . I always have been an awful liar.
"May I cut in?"
No. No you may not.
"Sorry, Remus," I apologized, peeking at Michael out of the corner of my eye.
Could he tell I was attracted to him? I'm such a bad girlfriend. I'm an awful person. I deserve to be sad and lonely with five million cats for the rest of my life. But I'm allergic to cats. Oh, well. I'll work it out.
"It's fine, Elizabeth," Remus said, looking a little dejected.
Oh, my gosh! Maybe he likes me?
Or that's my wishful thinking acting up again.
He'd never like me.
I gave him a small wave as I took my punch from Michael.
"What, we're not going to dance?" I asked teasingly, taking a sip. Thank Merlin, not spiked.
"We can if you want. But I don't think you want punch on your dress."
I shook my head.
"No, I don't."
"Sorry, Michael, but it's time for the girls and I to discuss," I announced, grabbing hold of Katie's arm. "Bye!"
I dragged her off, beckoning for the rest of the girls to follow me.
"So," I grinned once we had all circled. "How are your dates going?"
"John is very nice."
That must be the Hufflepuff.
"John?" Leslie asked. I must not be the only one who doesn't know who he is.
"John Smith. Don't you know him? He's in your house."
I snickered. John Smith? What an awful name! Isn't that one of those names people often use when they don't want to give their real name? Like Jane Doe?
I voiced my thoughts, and Lily glared at me.
"I'll have you know that's his real name."
"Um, actually, Lily," Leslie spoke up. "His real name is Collin. Collin Burns."
Lily turned her glare on Leslie.
Leslie's lip twitched.
"I'm telling the truth."
Lily's glare faltered.
"I think I'm going to go have a talk with him."
Leslie started laughing.
"Thanks, I needed a laugh. Xenophilius was distracted by some nargles, apparently, and I couldn't get him to listen to a word I said after that." She sighed.
"You were lying?" Lily asked, aghast.
"Yeah. Sorry, but that's just such a cliché name. I couldn't help myself."
Lily smacked her.
"I hate you."
"Love you too, Lils."
"So, Katie. How's Amos? I thought you were going to go with George Bell?" I said, changing the subject.
Katie gave me a look.
"Why would I go with my cousin?" She rolled her eyes.
"Wait, he's your cousin?" Leslie asked. Clearly I wasn't the only person who didn't know that.
"Yeah. We're pretty close."
"That explains a lot."
Lily glanced at the time.
"We ought to get back to our dates before they decide we're never coming back."
"Goodbye, dear friends!"
"Chip, chip, cheerio!" I called, walking back toward Michael.
"May I have this dance?"
I smiled at Remus.
"Alright." Again? Why would he want to do that? I wonder why he keeps asking me to dance with him . . . Does dancing with Remus bother Michael? I hope not.
He placed a hand on my waist and took my other hand in his. Swoon. Who decided the ballroom dancing position? We started doing the steps of the Fox Trot. Meh. That's one of my least favorites. Clearly the band does not want me to excel.
"I'm awful at this!" I laughed as I nearly stepped on his feet again.
"It's fine," he said soothingly.
"You say that before I break your feet."
"I highly doubt you could do that. I have very strong bones, you see."
"Yeah, but I'm wearing heels. Sharp, sharp heels. Fear them."
"I assure you, I do."
"Good. I'm glad." I smiled up at him. Luckily, he was a little shorter than Michael so I don't have to completely tilt my head back to look at him.
"Thanks for dancing with me."
I was tired.
So very, very tired.
If it was possible, I would never get up again.
Unfortunately, it is not possible, and clearly the teachers hate us because why else would they make the winter ball the night before we go back home for Christmas?
They're all sadists, the lot of them.
"I don't want to get up," I groaned, pulling my pillow over my head. "Leave me alone!"
"Get your arse up, Lizzie."
I threw my pillow at her.
"Don't call me that."
"Get up!" Ashley yelled in my ear. I smacked her.
"Fine. I really didn't want to do this." Katie said. Suddenly, I was ripped from the warmth that was my duvet and landed on the cold floor.
I groaned, sitting up.
"I hate all of you. So, so much," I grumbled, standing up.
"Love you!" Katie said cheekily, picking up her trunk and sitting it outside our room.
One of our fellow sixth year Ravenclaws, Megan, looked over at us, raising her eyebrows. She merely turned back to her book a few seconds later, not saying a word.
I looked up at the clock.
"Why couldn't I have slept a few minutes later?"
"Because you still haven't packed your gifts."
My eyes widened.
"Mushroom!" I cried, skidding on my knees to my drawer to pull out the festively wrapped presents.
"So, what did you get me for Christmas?" Ashley asked, winking at me.
I rolled my eyes.
"Why do you assume I got you something?"
"Because I'm your best friend."
"Alright. Whatever you say, Ash," I said, attempting to push the gifts into my trunk. Thank Merlin none of them are fragile. "Mushroom you, presents!" I yelled when the trunk wouldn't completely close.
Ashley walked over and sat on my trunk.
"Mushroom!" I pulled my finger from under the lid. "A little warning, next time?" I asked, sealing the trunk closed. "But thank you."
She smiled and got up.
"Come on, Elizabeth."
"Good bye, Hogwarts!" I sang, blowing kisses to it. "See you again soon!"
"It's getting a nice break from you," Katie said, dragging me along.
"Hey! Why would it need a break from little ol' me?" I asked, following her.
"Oh, shall I count the reasons?"
"That would be cool, thanks."
"That was a joke."
"Oh, hello, Remus!" I said cheerfully, passing by. "Bye! Happy Christmas!"
"Happy Christmas, Elizabeth."
I gave him a two fingered salute before Katie pushed me into our compartment.
"I'll miss Hogwarts so," I said after settling into my seat.
"We won't be gone for that long." Leslie pointed out from behind her book.
"I suppose. You are coming over a lot, right?"
"Of course. When did we ever not?" Ashley rolled her eyes.
"That's true. Hey, where's Li-Li?" I asked, looking around.
"Sitting with her Gryffindor friends. She's been neglecting them for us a lot this year."
"I didn't really care."
"Yeah, but Dorcas did."
"Of course she did. She's one of the ones that have been neglected."
"That's very true."
"I'm always right."
"Ashley!" I grabbed Leslie's book and threw it at Ash.
"Hey!" Leslie yelled, hitting me over the head.
"You should be. You hate that as much as I do."
"I know," Leslie said with a smirk.
"Are we there yet?"
"How about now?"
"How about now?"
"Shut up, Elizabeth."
"But it's taking so long!"
"That's the Hogwarts Express for you."
"But I thought we were witches and wizards. Shouldn't we be able to speed up travel?" I asked, leaning my head against the window.
"Wouldn't that be nice?"
"Yes, it would." I said before taking a bite of my chocolate frog. "Yum, chocolaty goodness."
Suddenly, the compartment door opened to reveal Michael.
"Hey," I said, sitting up. "What are you doing here?"
"Can I talk to you?" he asked, looking a little nervous.
"Alright. I'll be right back."
"Bye, Elizabeth!" they chorused.
"What's wrong?" I asked as we entered an empty compartment.
"We need to talk."
Michael looked away.
A second later, he leaned forward and kissed me, pulling me close to him.
Mmmmm . . .
He pulled away, his forehead leaning against mine. His lips curved up in a smile as he stared into my eyes. He brushed a black curl behind my ear.
"I love you." He whispered into my ear.
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