Chapter 12 : Gryffies
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It could have gone better, of course. Like a declaration of undying love from Henry, or the confession that he’d harboured a secret crush on me since Year 9, or something of that sort. But there’s potential there. Things could happen. We’re going to hang out more.
And at least he knows I’m an option. So he doesn’t go running to the Nice Hufflepuffs because they’re too Nice to turn him down and they can be this Nice Couple of Niceness.
God I wish Georgia was here. I need to debrief with someone.
Rose. Yes. We’re pretty much BFFs.
I have no idea where the Ravenclaws hang out, but I figure when I get back to Gryffindor Tower I can ask one of the Weasleys. I arrive at the tower, but it looks slightly different – the portrait is gone, and a heavy knocker hangs on the door. I knock.
“What walks on four legs in the morning, two in the afternoon and one in the evening?” the knocker asks.
Wait a minute.
I’m 99% sure we don’t have to answer riddles to get into Gryffindor Tower. That sounds more like…
“Uh,” I say. “Can you tell me how to get to Gryffindor Tower?”
“I give only philosophical direction,” the knocker replies loftily.
The door swings open suddenly and I come face to face with a really attractive blond guy, who’s staring at me with wide blue eyes.
“Uh, hi,” I manage. “Looking for Gryffindor Tower?”
He frowns, looking at me closely. “Are you the New Zealander?”
“So that’s why you’re lost.”
“Hey, what are you suggesting?” I ask indignantly, ready to defend my country.
“That you’re new here,” the boy replies with a shrug, and I feel slightly stupid.
“Uh, yeah. Seen Rose Weasley?”
He gives me a strange look, before poking his head back into the room behind him. “Oi, Rosie! Your New Zealander got lost.”
Gee, thanks. I glare at the back of his blond head, deciding I don’t like him, attractiveness notwithstanding.
A very mature response, Adelaide.
Rose emerges, ushering me away from the door and down a series of steps. “I’m impressed you ended up on the complete wrong side of the castle.”
“It’s a big castle,” I reply defensively. “But anyway, I have news. I told Henry I like him.”
Her eyes widen. “How did he react?”
I shrug. “he said he doesn’t really know me that well…but we’ll work on that.”
“That’s a good response,” Rose says firmly. “I always thought I’d like to go out with someone I knew really well, but then the only guy I really knew who wasn’t related to me was Scorpius, and, well, no. And then your brother came along and I didn’t really know him that well, and—”
“Rose, you’re babbling.” I don’t normally cut people off for babbling, but I still find it weird that she’s talking about my brother like that. “Who was the hot guy at the door?” I ask, changing the subject.
“The hot guy at the door?” she repeats, raising her eyebrow. “You mean Louis?”
“What, is he French?”
“His mum is. He’s my cousin.”
“Oh my God,” I shout, throwing my hands in the air, “You’re related to half of Hogwarts.”
“Yeah, I am,” Rose agrees calmly. “Here’s Gryffindor Tower.”
“Oh, cool.” I say my goodbyes to Rose before turning to the portrait and trying to remember the password.
“‘First impressions,’” I offer.
“Make them good ones!” the fat lady in the portrait trills, and it swings forward to let me in.
I’m a bit at a loss as to what to do now, but I’ve just walked into the common room when Lucy and Jessie intercept me.
“Come sit,” Lucy says, steering me towards a circle of plush red couches that are filled with people, most of whom I don’t recognise. We join Larissa on one couch – it’s a bit of a squish – and Lucy proceeds to introduce me to the boys sitting opposite us.
“Damien Carter,” she begins. “Beater on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, taken too many Bludgers to the head—”
“Love you too,” the kid called Damien mutters.
“And the love of Lucy’s life,” Larissa interjects lazily.
“That too,” Lucy says dismissively. “Matt Creevey, who asked out the hottest girl at Hogwarts on a dare then broke up with her in the Great Hall for being a bitch—”
“Yeah, I’m a bit of a legend,” Matt says, grinning.
“Albus Severus Potter, who has the worst name in Hogwarts history…”
“I maintain it’s better than ‘Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy ,’” declares Albus Severus Potter.
“And Ari Macmillan, the token ladies’ man,” Lucy concludes.
“You cannot call him that in my presence,” Larissa says with a roll of her eyes that suggests she’s told Lucy this numerous times. I can see why Ari would be a ‘ladies’ man’ – he has shaggy dark hair and blue eyes and is generally quite gorgeous – but I can also see that he and Larissa are twins and I should keep such observations to myself.
“You’re just jealous,” Ari says. “I got all the hot genes.”
“Did not,” Larissa shoots back. “Matt, help me out here.”
“She’s the hot one,” Matt says, nodding sagely. “Trust me.”
“Is Ari short for anything?” I ask, and the group goes silent.
“We do not speak of it,” Ari says in a hoarse whisper. “It is a horror…beyond that of Albus Severus or Scorpius Hyperion combined…”
“His name’s Aristotle,” Larissa says.
Aristotle Macmillan. I’ve heard it all.
“So you’re the Kiwi chick,” Ari – I’m going to be thinking of him as Aristotle forever now – begins, leaning forward. “What’s it like?”
“New Zealand?” I flounder. “It’s, um, pretty?”
“Everyone knows that,” Larissa says. “It’s pretty and full of hobbits and All Blacks. Tell us something we don’t know.”
“It’s also full of sheep.” I pause. “And immigrants.”
Way to sound racist.
“And, uh, political incorrectness,” I continue, deciding the listing approach is the way to go. “L&P. Pineapple lumps. Weird slang. Bad accents like mine. Rugby. People obsessed with rugby. People who claim to hate rugby but still watch every game during the World Cup. Pies. Fish and chips. Pavlova. Flightless birds. Creepy giant insects.”
Judging by the blank expressions on the faces before me, none of these things have made much of an impression. What can I say? New Zealand is not an interesting place.
“What the hell’s pavlova?” Larissa asks bluntly.
“It’s…” I falter. How do you explain a pav to someone who’s never had it before? “It’s dessert heaven. Kinda like eating clouds.”
I need to work on this.
“Really yummy clouds. Slightly crunchy.”
God, I’m a loser. I try again. “It’s made from egg white and sugar and you put cream and strawberries or kiwifruit or chocolate on top.”
“So what about Southern Cross?” Ari asks.
“What about it? You’re going to have to ask something specific, otherwise I’ll go on weird tangents and you don’t want that.”
“We’re used to weird tangents,” Matt assures me.
“Yeah,” Damien agrees. “We hang out with Lucy.”
“Or in your case, snog her senseless,” Matt says.
“Okay, specific questions.” Ari’s watching me, and I should be excited that there’s a hot guy staring at me.
Adelaide there’s a hot guy staring at you.
Nope. My mind’s still on a certain South African Hufflepuff.
“Do you guys have houses?”
“Sure do,” I reply absently. “Four of ‘em.”
“Do you have sorting?”
“Sort of. We call it placing, actually, and we don’t have a hat, we have a stone. A greenstone, or pounamu. And when you hold it, it goes the colour of the house you belong to.”
“So what’re the colours and stuff of each house?” Albus asks.
“Kemp is my house, we’re red, criteria is determination, and it was founded by James Kemp, who was a Gryffindor. We’re the best house.”
“Obviously,” Lucy agrees, “If it was founded by a Gryffindor.”
“Marsden is yellow, criteria is justice, it was founded by a Hufflepuff, Samuel Marsden – ”
“Hufflepuff,” Matt snorts. “Suppose everyone gets into Marsden?”
“Nah, it’s actually one of the hardest houses to get into. It’s for all the activists, I’m pretty sure everyone in Marsden has taken part in at least one protest. There’s Williams, they’re blue, criteria is integrity, founded by another Hufflepuff, Henry Williams. And Pompallier is purple, criteria is ambition, founded by a Ravenclaw.”
The group pull faces at the mention of Ravenclaw.
“Why don’t you have green?” Jessie asks.
“Because green’s our school colour. Well, green and silver.”
“Those are Slytherin colours!” Lucy says.
“Yeah, our principal told us.”
I’m quite pleased to have been absorbed into a group so quickly, and I spend dinner and the rest of the evening with them as well. I try and avoid the urge to spin around in my chair to look at Henry, but eventually I give in and wave, pretending there’s nothing else in the gesture.
Not that there’s any point in that, considering he knows now. He’s probably scrutinising everything I do. I feel ridiculously nervous, even though I know there’s nothing to be nervous about. We’re just going to hang out a bit, that’s all. Get to know each other better.
I shouldn’t have told him. It’s just going to be awkward from here on in.
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by ad astra