Chapter 7 : In Which There is No Sexual Tension Whatsoever
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“Eugh,” she groaned and belly-flopped onto her bed, “I don’t think I’ll be able to write for another week.”
“Yeah, okay, whatever,” Audrey shoved her, “What happened between you and Oliver?”
Kathy looked up from her book and smiled sympathetically. She had tried, and failed, to stop Audrey coming into the dorm to wait for Penelope, but that girl was far too determined to be waylaid. “Can’t it just wait ‘til morning?” Penelope mumbled, her mouth full of duvet.
“No it bloody well can’t!” Audrey pulled her over, “I’m jeopardising serious beauty sleep time here, so spill!”
Penelope turned over ungracefully and sat up, trying to comb out some of the matts from her hair. “Well…”
The night didn’t start too badly. Filch had taken them to the Trophy Room and left them clear instructions of ‘clean everything thoroughly, or I’ll be making you clean the shackles as you hang in them’. So Penelope got underway, always thinking in the back of her mind how to execute her plan.
She and Kathy had spent the entire lunchtime thinking of it and, although it wasn’t good, it was the best that they were able to come up with in such a short space of time.
Filch watched them for a couple of seconds; Penelope went in one direction and Oliver in another. She picked up the first trophy she saw: Quidditch champions 1940-1950. She groaned and started polishing, keen to get this over and done with.
Filch closed the door behind him and left the two of them alone in a dark, cold and unsupervised room.
You could have cut the tension in that room with a spoon.
Penelope tried to ignore the fact that it was just her and Oliver in the room, tried to forget the conversation they’d had in the Entrance Hall, and tried to forget those nagging butterflies in her stomach that kept telling her that they were alone.
Oliver was on the opposite side of the room, thinking through the plan that the twins and that Ravenclaw lad had made for him. It wasn’t a hard plan, but the target was far too difficult for his liking. He had to time it just perfectly, but over an hour had gone by and all he had done in the way of serving his detention was to pick up the rag he needed to be cleaning trophies with.
Screw it, he thought, if he hadn’t started by now, he was never really going to start.
He turned around and opened his mouth to say something, but the words just wouldn’t come. He picked up the trophy he was meant to be cleaning and thought it through again, but slowly. He nodded and turned around again, lifting the cup in the air and opening his mouth again, but to no avail.
“Talking isn’t really one of the things I do with girls, if you catch my drift.” Oliver looked at the twins and smirked, “Not that we don’t, just that we always seem to get…distracted.”
“Trust me, Oliver,” Fred patted his shoulder, “This girl is definitely one you need to talk to before jumping in at the deep end.”
Oliver continued to stare at Penelope working away and put the trophy down silently. Screw the Weasleys, Oliver Wood knew how to handle the ladies better than they did!
Penelope continued to scrub on the Quidditch trophy, cursing this George McKnabb to live forever alone in the Shrieking Shack for ever captaining Gryffindor to a win four years in a row and making Hogwarts create a damn trophy in his honour.
“Finally alone,” Oliver murmured behind her, making Penelope all but jump out of her skin and drop the trophy. The clang! resounded around the small room, but still Penelope nor Oliver moved.
She slowed her breathing down and tried to remember her plan, “Totally alone.”
She turned around quickly and realised how closely Oliver had come up behind her. Penelope could feel his breath on her face and she was momentarily stunned by the closeness.
He quickly glanced down at her lips and smirked, one of his hands snaking around her wrist and his face inching slowly closer. The plan she had come up with went right out of her head as she panicked.
“I’m allergic to peas!”
“WHAT?” Audrey said, taking the pillow away from Penelope’s face, “You told Oliver Wood that you were allergic to peas when you were that close to kissing him?” She held her thumb and forefinger mere millimetres apart.
Penelope bustled, “I didn’t want him to kiss me! I hate him, remember?”
“Hardly.” Audrey scoffed and Penelope glared at her.
“But you’re not allergic to peas, I saw you eating them at tea earlier.” Kathy mumbled.
Penelope blushed, “I know.”
“Anyway!” Audrey waved her hands around, “Can we get back to the story, please?”
“Fine.” Penelope grabbed the pillow back off Audrey and sat back against the wall.
Oliver paused and furrowed is eyebrows. “What?”
He was still far too close. “I – uh – I’m allergic to peas.” She said rather lamely.
“Yeah, I heard that,” he chuckled, still half an inch away from her face, “What does that matter?”
“I,” she glanced around for some means of escape, “I saw you eating them earlier and with you being so close and all, I can feel my…rash starting up again?”
“Rash?” He looked down at her quickly, disgust written on his features, and swiftly let go of her wrist.
“Yeah, a big one. Just the presence of peas makes it tingle.” She started scratching her arm and Oliver turned around, ready to go back to his trophy case and rethink through the plans he could still use. And then he remembered, “Wait,” he turned on the spot, “I saw you eating peas earlier in the Great Hall.”
She froze and inwardly swore, “I – was I?”
“Yes,” he came closer again.
Oh Christ. She was surely in for it now.
“Oh, wait,” she held her hand up in front of him to stop him coming as close as he was before, “No, I was eating sweetcorn.”
“Mm-hmm,” she mumbled, “I like them when they’re all mouldy like that. Gives them more flavour.”
“Right,” Oliver smirked but still didn’t move. Penelope gave him another look and pushed him back.
“Cleaning, remember?” She held up the filthy rag she was cleaning with and turned her back on him. She knew he was still behind her and watching her, but she was still too embarrassed to turn around and look him in the face.
After a couple of moments, Oliver went back over to his side of the room. How the hell was he meant to go through with these plans when she was just so…stubborn? It was obvious that she didn’t really like him, not in the conventional sense of the term anyway, so why was he wasting his precious time and effort on a fruitless task?
He looked down at the trophy he was cleaning and saw Roger Davies’ name emblazoned on it, commemorating the season he had scored more goals than any other Chaser in Hogwarts’ history.
Looking quickly over his shoulder to check that Penelope or Filch weren’t watching, he took his wand out of his pocket and hastily wrote his name over Roger’s.
Grinning at his handiwork, Oliver put the trophy back in centre stage on the shelf and picked up the next one. “Been watching me then, Wood?”
Penelope turned around and smirked as he jumped. He cocked his head towards her, “No,”
“You said yourself that you were watching me in the Great Hall earlier.”
“Actually, I was looking at…the Grey Lady if you must know.”
“The Grey Lady?” Penelope gawped. “Never knew she was your type.”
“She’s not, she just looked…less dead today.” He showed no flicker of emotion, but dear Merlin, what the hell was he saying?!
Penelope stared at him completely dumbfounded. “That is disgusting.”
Oliver winced and laughed it off, turning back to his trophy. Making himself look like a complete prat was not part of the plan at all.
This whole charade with Davies and the Clearwaters seemed ridiculous now. His team were at the strongest they had ever been, he didn’t really need Davies’ tips to win again this year. Oliver cleaned furiously as if trying to wipe the image of Roger’s smug face from his mind. If anything, in not going through with the deal, Roger was getting the worse end of the stick. And it wasn’t like the Weasleys and that Ravenclaw kid needed to find out he’d been the one to break the deal.
What did it matter if he gave up right here, right now?
Just as Oliver was about to finalise his decision, Penelope came over and stood next to him. “I’ve finished all of my trophies. Thought I’d do these ones since you’re obviously too distracted in your daydreams about the Grey Lady.”
She laughed to herself and picked up the first trophy she saw. Oliver glanced over at her and scowled, and then saw the trophy that she had picked up. “I’ve cleaned that one already.” He made a grab for it, but she whisked it out of reach.
“Hardly, it’s filthy.” She started cleaning it, “It looks like you’ve rubbed Filch’s disgusting hair all over it, it’s so greasy…”
And that was when she saw it. The engraving. Oliver looked away and tried not to laugh. She held the trophy under his nose.
“What is this?”
He turned to her, his eyes flashing, “Why, Penny, have you gone blind? It’s a Quidditch trophy dedicated to me.” She smiled sarcastically and pointed at his name crudely carved over Roger’s. “Oh, yeah, they employed Hagrid to do the carving that year. He never did it again…” He shook his head solemnly.
She raised her eyebrows and he met her gaze. “This,” Penelope pointed again at the name, “is brilliant. Roger is going to go crazy when he sees this!”
Oliver stared at her, awestruck for a moment that a Ravenclaw hated Roger just as much as he did, “You’re not going to hit me?”
“No!” She laughed.
“Kick me? Curse me? Feed me to the Acromantula?” She furrowed her eyebrows and he raised his hands in the air, “What? That’s what you’d normally do.” She thought about it for a moment and nodded in agreement, laughing. Oliver looked at her for a moment; never before had he seen her laugh like that.
He kind of liked it.
“Fine, but you know, Filch will notice.”
“Will notice what?” They froze, eyes locked on the trophy Oliver was now holding.
Penelope looked at Oliver and swore. He turned around, hiding the trophy behind his back, and turned to face Filch, a smile already on his face. “Will notice what a fabulous job we’ve done cleaning up these trophies.”
Penelope smiled and nodded a fraction too late. Filch stared hard at them for a second, judging whether or not he could trust them.
“Where’s Mrs Norris, Mr Filch?” Penelope asked to break the awkward silence, her voice shaking with nerves.
“Watching Peeves,” he snarled, and walked over to them. “You look pretty nervous,” Filch looked closely at Penelope and she gulped hard, “Your eyes are all...bloodshot*.”
Oliver glanced between them and slowly shifted to his right, shoving a shelf-full of trophies onto the floor with his elbow.
Filch took one look at the trophies scattered on the floor and lost it. “How dare you! How dare you defecate the school-” Oliver and Penelope looked at each other and tried hard not to laugh “-that I work hard to keep tidy after you unwashed miscreants! How dare you think you have the right to make me run around after you-”
“Well it is your job.” Oliver muttered and Filch looked close to tears.
“If that’s what you think, you’ll see if you like it. Clean it all. Again. And I won’t let you leave until I have inspected every single one of these trophies and think that they’re clean!” He looked at them each in the face and turned around abruptly.
He slammed the door behind him, the sound reverberating around the room. They were silent. Oliver glanced over at Penelope and she looked at him, a small smile escaping from her lips. He looked down at the trophy and started chuckling, swiftly shoving it to the back of the cupboard.
“He says he’s going to look at it, we need to get it off.” Penelope reached back inside the cupboard but Oliver grabbed her wrist.
“I bet that when we leave this room in five minutes, Filch’ll be asleep right outside the door.”
“Nevertheless, we can’t leave it like that-” Oliver didn’t let go of his hold on her wrist but continued to look at her. He smiled slightly and rushed forward, his lips coming so close to hers that their noses were touching. But her other hand had stopped him.
“What are you trying to do?”
“Oh, I think you know,” he murmured quietly and moved forward again to kiss her, but she pushed him back yet again.
“You should know by now that I never take ‘no’ for an answer.” Oliver pushed harder this time, but the hand Penelope held in front of her didn’t move. He pushed himself back. “What is your problem? You lead me on all night and have a laugh with me, then act like a complete arse when I try and kiss you like I thought you wanted!”
Penelope let her hand down and swiftly slapped him around the face. “How dare you.”
He held his hand on his burning cheek and let go of her wrist. “How dare you think that I was leading you on when I was furious that you had got me in this situation in the first place!”
“Yes, you. If it wasn’t for you taking my book and making me fight with you, I wouldn’t be here right now, stuck in this room with a flaming imbecile who can’t even spell his own name right!”
She flung the trophy at him and marched towards the door. “I really like you, Penny!” He shouted desperately after her.
“Don’t come near me again,” she opened the door, “And you should know by now that I hate being called Penny.” She slammed it and walked down the corridor, head down and trying not to cry.
She was never going to let herself feel anything for a boy. Never again.
Oliver stood in the middle of the Trophy Room and thought back on how well the night had started. He had actually seen Penelope in a new light, thought he had found something he might actually like, plan or no plan. And now he had ruined it all.
He looked down on the trophy. Olive Wud.
Oliver ran to the door and wrenched it open, but Penelope was nowhere in sight. He tiptoed past Filch and closed the door quietly behind him, the trophy still in his hand and Penelope’s face still in his mind after she had slapped him.
Damn, that girl was good.
A/N: Hope you liked it! This was a really fun chapter to write and I'd really love to hear what you think. Oliver would very much appreciate hearing from you and would love you for an eternity :)
* taken directly from Paramount Pictures' "Ten Things I Hate About You"
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