Chapter 17 : Chapter Sixteen: Dresses and Potato Faces
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Oh sweet baby Jesus, I look like a mutant flamingo cross bred with a pygmy puff.
I turned to the side, examining myself in the shop mirror. I wanted to scream and cry and explode all at once. This is not acceptable. By any sort of law, this abomination of a wardrobe should not be acceptable on someone as short and leprechaun like as me.
The dress with a bright vibrant pink, the sleeves were puffy and a whole array of sparkly feathers streamed off of it. Is this supposed to be the new avant-garde thing? Well, it ain’t working. Not for me anyways. The dress flowed down into his tiny ass corset which contrasted horribly with this huge thick poof of pink explosion that barely covered my ass.
There are several things wrong with this dress.
One – Hannah and Ellie picked it. Shall I say more?
Two – I’m too damn short. I’m a tiny girl who barely reaches five feet. Anyone who could pull this off (if anyone can) has to be like Elisha Garrett’s size.
Three – I have red hair. Messy red hair that clashes horribly with pink.
Four – I look like a slutty ass bimbo. I’m NOT a slutty ass bimbo.
“Erm…it looks…” started Hannah, a concerned expression on her face. I gave a groan and proceeded to strip of the abomination.
“Don’t even think about finishing that statement.” I growled as I shimmied out of the mutation, throwing it in the rejected pile of about a trillion other dresses I was forced to try.
This is why I used to go shopping for a dress early so that I could actually get a good one. The ones that are left look like they’ve been used to clean up Umbridge’s office. (Yes, I know the story of Umbridge. You will never hear the end of how much of a “toad” she was when you hang out with the Weasley-Potters.)
“I give up. I just won’t go to the dance this year.” I huffed, glaring at my reflection in nothing but a bra and underwear. My hair was tousled and messy (as per usual), and my face was red with frustration. I hate wardrobe shopping. I swear to God that it makes my period come early or something.
“Don’t be such a killjoy, Els. I’m sure there’s something…erm…like this one here!” Exclaimed Melody, randomly pulling out a silver tube monstrosity. She grimaced and quickly threw it aside.
Both Melody and Jeremy have gotten over their small grudges towards me and are now my friends once again. To be honest, it made me super ecstatic. Now I have someone besides Al to talk to about Quidditch! Plus, I kind of missed Melody and her super Asian bubbliness, as well as Jeremy’s annoying and clueless attractiveness. Poor dude’s still staring at Rose all the time from a distance.
Rose….still not speaking to me.
It’s now officially been two weeks since Rose has spoken to me. She isn’t glaring or acting like she wants to murder me or anything like Lily is, which is a plus. Speaking of Lily, she made up with Malfoy. The two are all buddy buddy. Seriously? She can make up with him, but she won’t forgive me? Stupid bitch.
Malfoy also needs to freaking grow a pair and sort out his own problems. I seriously think that Rose should just give up on the damn bastard. He has a lot to prove to earn my approval. Not that anyone cares.
The Autumn ball is a week and I needed a dress ASAP. See, as you’ve probably already figured out, I can’t find a damn dress.
“Keep your knickers on, Els. We still have to go to Madame Tillard’s dress shop. They should have nice stuff in there.” Mary remarked, peeping her head in through the dressing curtain with a hand full of sparkling mutations. I gagged and she rolled her eyes.
I just wanted to go back to the castle and take a nap. Plus, I had a Quidditch game tomorrow against Hufflepuff tomorrow. I needed all of the rest that I could get!
“Try this one on.” Sarah came into the room with a purple satin dress. It was plain and simple…seemed innocent enough. I sighed and grabbed it. I slipped the dress on easily enough, but when I zipped it up and looked at myself in the mirror, I felt like I would be reduced to tears at any moment.
I looked pregnant. PREGNANT!
I don’t know if it was the way the dress was made or if I gained about twenty pounds, but the thing wasn’t flattering whatsoever. I quickly stripped and threw it in the “rubbish pile”. Yeah, not happening.
“You know what guys? I give up. You all enjoy the dance. I’ll just go to Hogsmeade or something….” I said in a depressed tone as I slipped on my jeans and sweater.
“Merlin, no!” Exclaimed Ellie, crossing her arms and looking at me through the mirror defiantly. “That means you would have access to the Three Broomsticks by yourself where we all know that you would drown your sorrows with firewhiskey and Circe knows what else. We don’t want another repeat of that night!”
I groaned and rolled my eyes. She was right. I felt like I was being babied, but I seriously think that I have an alcohol problem. I turn to it for my problems and I swore to myself that I wouldn’t do that anymore! Bad things happen when alcohol and Elaquay Smithson become one. BAD THINGS.
Melody slipped into the room and took my arm. “C’mon. Let’s just go to Madame Tillard’s and browse around. If we can’t find anything, then we’ll all forget about the Autumn ball and…erm….skinny dip in the black lake or something.”
Both Hannah and Ellie looked horrified at the prospect and I couldn’t help but grin.
We all headed out of the small cramped shop and walked across the sunlit street to Madame Tillard’s. The shop was also another small contraption with windows filled with creepy mannequins and long robes. I pushed the door open and it gave a little ring-a-ling noise.
The inside smelt like old wool mixed with lavender incense. The place was dimly lit with thousands upon thousands of dresses crammed into small hangers that were placed unevenly on the pink fluffy carpet. Oh Merlin.
“Welcome, dearies!” Came a dreamy voice that was very reminiscent of Professor Trelawney’s. I looked up to see a batty old woman with crazy crackling grey curly hair, wide green eyes, and a strange pink draping wardrobe that made her look like some sort of gypsy on crack.
“Um…hi?” I waved questionably.
“Welcome to my shop. I am the magnificent Madame Tillard, creator of fine dresses for young ladies since 1482. In fact, that little wench Marie Antoinette never gave me the proper credit for her fine wardrobe! She let the French mannerisms get to her…” She started to rant, her eyes becoming dangerously glossed over. I backed up a few steps.
“Erm….we’d like to look at some dresses for a formal ball?” started Mary cautiously, but firmly.
“Ahh...my favorite indeed. There are some fine dresses up the stairs and toward the back room. Try on anything you’d like. Just don’t attempt to steal anything. I will know about it.” She gave a creepy grin and sauntered off toward the maze of dresses.
I looked at everyone else with wide eyes. “Um….”
Sarah just blinked and said in a hushed voice, as if she were afraid to set off an atomic bomb, “Let’s just get upstairs and find something.”
Okay, everything at Madame Tillard’s was nice, but nothing suited me. I was either to short, to skinny, to stocky, or I just looked like a freaking gremlin. All of the dresses here were for the really tall and graceful chicks. Why can’t people understand that there are five feet tall American girls like me? I mean, come on!
“This really isn’t working.” I complained as I threw aside a purple dress. I was frustrated and exhausted. My red hair was sticking up all over the place, my face was blotchy, and this mirror makes me look about six times as wide as I really am. All I needed was a pot of gold and voila!!
Melody sighed and collapsed on the ground. “Can’t we just can the dance? I can only stand shopping for so long.”
Hannah looked horrified. Apparently the idea of shopping being exhausting was pure and utter heresy.
I slipped my clothes back on and walked out of the dressing room, my eyes watering with pain from all of the colors that surrounded me. Is it legal for so many dresses to be blatantly placed right in front of you? Seriously?
Maybe I’m the abnormal one, here. Maybe it’s normal for a girl to find the amount of dresses here to be perfectly acceptable and I just have a strange mutant gene in my estrogen.
Okay, what the fuck am I talking about?
“Try this one on, Els.”
I froze. My whirling brain stopped.
I haven’t heard that voice since the freaking middle ages.
I wiped my eyes and clearly saw a hand reaching toward me. It was a slim and alabaster colored hand, lightly freckled and glowing. The hand held a folded dress that was a dark shade of scarlet. I tilted my head upwards to look into the face of the owner of this hand.
There she was, her pure face innocent and kind. Her long golden red hair fell gracefully behind her back, and curled at the ends. She wore a pale pink spaghetti strapped dress that fell to about the middle of her thighs. Her eyes twinkled gently…and they had the classic Weasley mischief in them.
I wanted to cry. I wanted to just hug her around the middle.
I missed them. I missed them all. And here was Dominique, looking more beautiful than ever, offering me a dress.
So what did I do? I just gaped at her like an idiot.
“Erm…” She started a bit nervously, her lips turning into a tentative smile. “Don’t you want to try it on?”
“Wha…oh! Yeah!” I exclaimed. I quickly grabbed the dress and ran into the changing room, where all of the other girls sat there, waiting for me.
Melody jumped up immediately. “Did you find a dress?”
I unfolded the dress numbly and stared at it.
It was strapless and generously low cut (but not to the point where it just got trashy). It narrowed near the waist line, before poofing out into an array of different hues of red colors. There was no sparkles, no curly cues or other mutations. It looked beautiful.
“Oh my gosh, Els! That’s beautiful! Why didn’t I see that one? Try it on!” Sarah exclaimed, excitedly.
I wordlessly stripped off my clothes and slipped the dress on with ease. I looked at myself in the mirror and that’s when I knew that this was the one.
I didn’t look like a weird leprechaun gremlin mutation crossbred with a pygmy puff. No, I looked like a princess. And not a stupid princess either. I still looked like Elaquay Smithson.
It was cut in all of the perfect areas, highlighting my waistline, my hips, and boobs. (I have pretty awesome boobs. Just saying.) It fell to about the middle of my thighs, flowing gently and subtly. I couldn’t help but smile at my reflection.
“Oh! You look stunning!” Hannah exclaimed as she jumped up. She came to stand behind me as I looked at myself in the mirror. “I can totally curl your hair or something. You will look so amazing!”
Ellie looked like she was just given a box load of chocolates. “The dress is amazing, Els.”
“Yeah! I say you buy it and we get the hell out of here.” Melody inquired.
“You all can book it if you want. I’ll meet up with you later.” I stated, turning to my new friends.
“You sure?” Mary asked, getting to her feet and dusting off her clothes.
“Yeah, I’ll pay for the dress, but I need to take care of something.” I continued, getting more and more anxious by the second.
“Erm…okay. Just stay away from the Hog’s Head or Three Broomsticks. If you don’t, I swear to Merlin…” Warned Sarah, crossing her arms skeptically.
I rolled my eyes impatiently. “I’m not a psychotic alcohol junkie. I’ll see you guys at dinner.”
After a few more exchanges, I watched as my friends all left the dressing room. Once they were out of sight, I changed out of the dress, folded it up, and slipped into my sweater and jeans as quickly as I could. I then bolted out of the dressing room, and to my relief, Dom was standing there, a slightly amused expression on her face.
“Do you like it?” She asked lightly.
I gave her a huge smile. “It’s freaking badass, Dom. I’m buying it right now.”
She smiled at me, her eyes twinkling. We both headed downstairs toward the register in comfortable silence. My insides were jumping with joy at the prospect of a Weasley approaching me for the first time in weeks.
Maybe Hagrid really is right. They were just mad. They don’t hate me. If Dominique can come and approach me, is there hope for Lily or Rose? Maybe even James? I just wanted my old friends back.
I paid for the dress in a hurry, ignoring Madame Tillard’s batty expression and annoying rants. She placed the dress carefully in a fancy pink bag. I grabbed it and motioned for Dom to follow me. We both headed out of the wooly small shop and into the sunlit streets of Hogsmeade.
We walked in silence. I shot her a few glances. She looked a bit nervous.
The streets were filled with Hogwarts students, some laughing or walking into shops, others slurping on ice cream and other delectable treats.
“I need to talk to you.” I stated, finally…my heart pounding in anticipation. I glanced over at Dom, who was still looking forward. Finally after a painful twenty seconds, she answered, “Let’s go to the Three Broomsticks. And don’t worry. I’ll heed to your friends’ wishes and make sure you don’t touch any alcohol.”
She gave me a weak smile. She sounded a bit hurt as she stated your friends’. She didn’t feel like she was my friend anymore. She felt like an outsider. Well…so did I. And I’ll try and change that. One Weasley-Potter at a time.
The Three Broomsticks was packed, as per usual, but we managed to find a deserted table toward the back of the pub. The smell of sweet butterbeer filled my nostrils and I suddenly wanted to chug a huge bottle of it. But I was going to be good.
“Can I get a virgin butterbeer, please?” I asked the waitress, Madame Rosmerta. She shot me a strange look, but wrote the order down nevertheless. Dom ordered a normal butterbeer.
Once the drinks arrived, we sat in silence for a few moments. I slurped on my virgin butterbeer. Ehh…it was okay. It missed the stomach warming kick. If only I wasn’t such an awful alcoholic. Sigh.
I continued to drink my completely non-alcoholic drink. How do I start? Do I apologize? For what? I didn’t directly insult Dom. Do I make a comment about the weather? No…that never ends well.
I opened my mouth to say something, anything…but I was cut off.
“They all miss you, y’know?”
I looked up in surprise. Dom’s eyes were glittering as she looked at me with a sincere expression. She tucked a strand of loose golden blonde hair behind her ear and sighed.
“They do?” I asked, stupidly.
I watched as she took a sip of her butterbeer before answering, “Yeah. Especially Rose. She’s downright hysterical, that one. It won’t be long before she cracks.”
There was a heavy silence. I breathed in and took another sip of my unsatisfying drink. I winced at the lack of smack it had.
“And Lily?” I asked, fearing the worst.
Dom sighed. “I dunno. Lily is just…Lily. She still hasn’t spoken to Rose since the summer, so I don’t know how you two will fare in the current situation.”
I groaned inwardly. Lily is one serious stubborn bitch. I don’t know how she can hold that much contempt in her tiny body.
“What I don’t get is how she can forgive Malfoy for being a fucking coward and a dick, but she won’t talk to her own cousin or acknowledge my existence.” I spat, taking a huge swig of the butterbeer. No burn. Dammit. This sucks.
Dom’s eyes trailed over me with an amused expression. She gave a small smile and answered in a bittersweet tone, “Lily may be immature, but she’s still my cousin and, believe it or not, your friend. She’s not afraid to do things the way she wants to do them. I envy her for that.”
I let out a small nervous laugh. “I don’t think that’s something you’d want to be envious about. I mean, not to insult your cousin, but she’s kind of a bitch.”
Dom laughed. Her laugh was melodious, a mixture of the Weasley guffaw and the Veela ring. “Yes. I know. But she still makes her mark. She’s a significant individual. Everybody is significant in my family except for me.”
Her words made me want to laugh in her face. Dom? Not significant? Hello! Part Veela sexy ginger with the prettiest skin and hair ever! If she isn’t significant, then my ass is a horklump mushroom.
“What are you talking about, Dom? Of course you’re significant! Everyone knows who you are. You’re smart, pretty, and all that good shit…” I started to rant.
“But that’s it. Smart, pretty, with a lot of fancying from boys. I’m not confident, Els. Lily does what she does just because she can, Rose is witty and strong-willed and is will put up a fight, Victoire is beautiful and can give good advice, Molly and Lucy are both ambitious….I feel so overshadowed. To be honest, I’m envious of you as well.” She said, shooting me an embarrassed look. Her cheeks turned a delicate shade of pink as she pitifully took another sip of her butterbeer.
Envious? Of Me? Um….why?
I’m arrogant, impulsive, immature, quick tempered, super short and frightening, as well as downright psychotic. Yes, I admit it. It’s part of the healing process!
I opened my mouth to say so, but Dom cut me off again. “You’re passionate and brave. You really focus on the things you care about, even if you do tend to…erm….”
“Fuck everything up?” I volunteered with a small grin.
“Sure. We can put it that way. And when you do make a right mess of things, you try to fix it. It’s admirable, really.” Dom finished shooting me a huge smile.
I smiled back, in spite of myself.
Dom was such a sweet girl. So kind and innocent and beautiful….
“Oh…and don’t worry. James will break up with his slag of a girlfriend soon. I’m sure that he’ll find shagging you much more pleasurable than that stupid cow.”
I choked on my drink.
“That’s her over there, right?”
“The one with the brown hair talking to that fat dude.”
“Merlin, Els. His name is Benjamin and he isn’t fat, he’s just…”
“Oh God! I think she’s looking at you! Albus! I think she likes you!”
“She’s bloody looking at the damn ceiling. Give it a rest!”
“Come on Al! Go ask her to the ball!”
“Do you want me to do it for you?”
“Okay, I’ll be just a minute.”
Albus’s groan of despair was unheard of in my ears. If the dude wasn’t ballsy enough to talk to this girl, than I will do it for him. The least he can do is to just start a conversation with her.
I snaked my way toward the Hufflepuff table, where she was talking to that Ben Fatso. Her brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail and she had a kind smile as Ben Fatso gave a very unflattering laugh.
However, thanks to the unfortunate power of Merlin…or God…whatever, Ella Mirkwood stood up and started to depart the table with a subtle look of exhaustion on her face.
Noooooooo….I needed to get this done now.
So I did the cleverest thing I could think of, disregarding the fact that I am extremely uncoordinated and I am in the midst of many tables with many students with very fragile platters filled with extremely stain-worthy food.
Yes, I know. Not smart. And I learned that the hard way.
I bumped into tables, causing people to shriek as their plates went toppling into their laps. People started to curse, but I kept running.
Then, of course…the inevitable happened.
I ran smack into the Hufflepuff table, and face planted…FACE PLANTED…into a pot of mashed potatoes and gravy. I knew from many shrieks, groans, and curses, that I had managed to knock many goblets over and that bits of food probably went exploding all over the members of the Puffers.
I lifted my head and spat, using my hands to wipe the steaming messy crap off of me. I opened my eyes and looked to see that every member of the Hufflepuff table was staring at me, either with irritation or with faces that were red from laughing so hard.
Then, there was Ella Mirkwood…right there. She was staring at me, her mouth set in a small O….
And mashed potatoes splattered all over her robes.
“Um…” I started. “Hi. You’re Ella, right? I’m Elaquay.”
I am seriously the most deliriously idiotic person on the face of this planet. My life seriously is a joke. What kind of person face plants into mashed potatoes, and then proceeds to introduce themselves to their friend’s crush. This is what happens when I try and play matchmaker…or get involved in any sort of romantic situation whatsoever. Maybe I’m meant to live a chaste life of sisterhood. That would make a lot of sense as to why my romantic life just isn’t in God’s favor.
“Erm…yeah. I know who you are. You knocked me out during a quidditch game and sent me to St. Mungo’s…twice.” She stated in a flat voice. Crap. Not a good sign.
“Oh, well, you see…” I started.
“My mum wants me to enlist a restraining order against you for that.” She continued.
“Okay, that’s just a bit overboard, don’t you think….?”
“And now you’ve got potatoes all over my robes. These robes cost me forty galleons.”
Okay, now who the hell buys forty galleon robes. Seriously Al, you can go classy, but when a chick spends forty galleons on robes than you know that she’s a certified bitch. Like Lily, for instance.
“Okay, I’m sorry about your damn robes.” I spat. “I need to talk to you. You know my friend over there? Albus Potter? Black messy hair, green eyes, dumbass glasses?”
I could practically feel Al’s internal weeping right now.
I’m letting the word vomit spill again. Woops. My bad.
Ella Mirkwood frowned and crossed her arms, staring at me, waiting for me to continue.
“Well, he sort of likes you, like a lot but he won’t grow a pair and come ask you yourself. So will you PLEASE go with him to the autumn ball?” I ranted, now proceeding to wipe the potatoes from my forehead and hair.
I know, not the best way to enlighten your friend to another person. But hey, I got potatoes on my face and clothes for the damn boy so whatever.
The whole hall was silent.
I looked at Ella expectantly. Her whole face was pink as she stared over my head toward the Gryffindor table, where Albus sat, his face maroon as he looked back at Ella.
Then…a miracle! A grin! A grin cracked on Ella’s face. “Erm…sure. Yeah, I’ll go with Albus to the ball.”
She then proceeded to give a little giggle as she glanced over at Albus, whose face was full of unabashed shock. His mouth dropped open at her answer.
I jumped up. “Hell yes! Mission accomplished! Give me a high five!”
I raised my hand up to Ella’s face, but she just stared at me blankly. So did the whole damn hall. I slowly put my hand down and cleared my throat.
“Well then. Um…you all can carry on eating and shit.” I announced. Everyone just kept staring at me. At least Ella was now staring at Albus dreamily, shooting him tentative smiles, which Al was returning. Aww, young love.
I slowly made my way back to the Gryffindor table, feeling my face heat up. Albus better kiss the ground that I walk on from now on. Damn fucktart.
However, my heart started to swell with gratitude when I looked down the Gryffindor table to see Hugo, Louis, and Fred all roaring with laughter. Dom gave me a huge smile, and even Lily was red in the face from trying not to laugh.
Rose’s head was down, but she was grinning into her plate, her shoulders shaking with laughter…and…and…James….
He was sitting at the Ravenclaw table with Elisha again. Elisha was complaining about how she got butter sauce on her robes (I did run into the Ravenclaw table) while she shot death glares at me. James also had butter sauce splattered all over his face and his robes, but he was staring straight at me. His eyes were shimmering and twinkling that classic Weasley twinkle. His cheeks were slightly pink as he gave me his stomach flipping and heart catalyzing crooked smile.
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