“Eliza,” Al greeted me the next day with a wide smile and twinkling green eyes. Before I could even raise my hand to wave at him, he strode my way until his toes were touching mine, grabbed my wrist and pulled me into a hug.
The kind of hug that’s a little more than friendly. And the few Gryffindors still lounging around the common room were beginning to stare. Not that I cared.
“Hey, Albus?” I replied, but it came out more as question—not to mention it was muffled due to the fact that my jaw was stuffed into the fabric of his shirt. After a moment or two, I pushed him away. Although I enjoyed the affection, it also made me slightly uncomfortable. He didn’t seem offended in the slightest to my reluctance.
“You have a free period right now, correct?”
“Depends on what you want.”
He grinned sheepishly, and shuffled to the left—revealing another person standing behind him.
“Ugh.” Was my initial reaction, “Do we really have to do this right now?”
“Al’s idea, not mine.” Dom answered with a sneer, stepping forward and slightly leaning against her cousin.
“The sooner we kill my supposed best mate, the better.” Al’s voice was dripping and bitter.
“Who’re we killing?”
All three of us jumped at the sweet, innocent voice of—
“Lily!” Al groaned in annoyance, “This is none of your business. Don’t you have class to go to right now, anyways?” Lily didn’t miss the hopeful tone in his voice, and I didn’t miss the way her eyes flashed with persistence.
“Like you’ve never skipped class before,” She bit back sarcastically.
Al held up his hands in defense, “Mum and dad told me to be an example for you—that doesn’t mean I have to be a good one. Think of it like this; I’m teaching you what not to do . . . now hop along with all the rest of the third years.”
“I’m in fourth year, Al.”
“Whatever, I still don’t—”
“Lily, do you hate Scorpius Malfoy too?” Dom cut in, looking a little peeved by the siblings’ bantering. I silently thanked her—it was annoying me too.
“Considering I care for Rose as much as you guys, yes.”
“Then you can stay.”
I smacked the back of Al’s head, effectively shutting up his protests. He sent me an ornery glare, folded his arms like a three year old and then huffed theatrically, showing his complete disagreement with the situation. I rolled my eyes. Al could be a real baby sometimes.
“So I take it we’re killing Malfoy, then?” Lily asked, stepping into the circle we’ve subconsciously created. Dom and I nodded, whereas Al just huffed again. She smiled in a sort of way that reminds me of James when he’s about to do something unbelievably stupid, “Wicked.”
“Let’s get down to business so I can leave,” I muttered, advertising my distaste for actually doing something productive. For good measure I added a pleasant, “Annoying hoes.”
This is officially stupid.
Dom sort of claimed the position of ‘leader’ of our little . . . well, whatever it is we’re doing. I have to admit that that girl has quite the maniacal side. Her plan—and this is hard for me to say because it’s Dom—has merit. Pizzazz even. But there were a few dirty jobs that went along with it. And guess who she left those to? . . . Yeah. And they really are disgusting jobs.
“I’m not drinking that.” I told her, sticking my nose in the air at the sight of the bubbling, green liquid. Dom held out the opaque mug in her petite hand like it was a trophy and I was today’s lucky winner. What kind of a fool does she take me for?
“Oh, come on,” Dom persisted, “I’ve done it before.”
I raised my eyebrow, “Where the heck do you come by Polyjuice Potion anyways?”
“I have connections,” She sniffed.
“Look, Dom,” I said, pressing a firm hand on her shoulder so the message would get across her thick skull, “I am not turning myself into Jared Zabini—” We both shuddered at the name, “—just to lock myself in the boys’ horrendous smelling bathroom to eavesdrop on a git who will probably never walk in there. So just forget it.”
“But you have to.”
“Albus is a boy!” I cried, waving my hands in the air, “Have him do it. Or better yet, why don’t you do it!?”
“Al has already received his assignment.” Dom stated, “He’s doing it right now, actually. And I have other, more important skills to contribute to this mission. I’m not going to waste it on the dirty, easy work.”
My lip twitched, my eyebrows furrowed and my breaths were coming out in harsh exhales. This girl is so infuriating, “What exactly is Al’s assignment?” I growled out, deciding—for her benefit—that I would ignore her jab at my skill. Or according to her: a lack thereof.
“He’s going to convince Rose to go to Hogsmeade with us on Halloween. He’s looking for her in your dormitory right now, actually.”
My eye twitched, “And you thought he was more suited for that job than me? Even when I live with the dense girl, sleep in the bed next to hers every day, and have to endure stupid girl nights where we stay up all night, talk about Malfoy, and paint each other’s toenails with her tortuous muggle nail polish? Don’t you think it’s a little more convenient for me to have that job, Dom?” As a side note to show her stupidity, I added, “How did he even get up the staircase to my dormitory!?”
Dom sneered, “Fine. Go get him, then. I’ll switch your assignments!” When she thought I couldn’t hear anymore, she added under her breath, “Dumb cry-baby.”
“I heard that!” I yelled back to her, already walking up the stairs to my dorm. I strolled up each step lazily, already bored with my new assignment. It would be easy to convince Rose to go to Hogsmeade with us; all it will take is a little whining and a lot of guilt tripping—my specialties. At least I wouldn’t have to turn into Jared Zabini though.
I froze as I approached my dormitory. I don’t know why I did—I already knew it was Al in there—but I felt compelled to just . . . listen. So I did. Pressing my ear up against the wood of my door, I listened. I listened good.
The first thing I heard was a monotone sigh, and then a clink. Like he flicked his finger against glass, “Why does Eliza think you’re such great company, huh?” He asked, and my heart jumped at the mention of my name, “You’re just a goldfish.” I frowned, realizing just what the clinking noise was. He was more than just a goldfish! He laughed after a moment, “Nevermind. I promised myself that I would never question it again: ever since the first day I met her and she was carrying you—er, the first you—down the train. I asked her why she was carrying a fish in the first place. Chaos soon followed my question and you . . . sort of died. She looked so . . . heartbroken. I didn’t want to see her like that ever again.”
He sighed again.
“Unfortunately, the life span of a goldfish doesn’t last too long.”
I stifled a giggle at his obvious, yet adorable, observation.
“But I don’t get it,” He continued on in his soliloquy, “She talks to you all the time. Why? You never respond, save letting out a few bubbles—which honestly doesn’t count.” I was fuming in my head. It took me years to decipher Paul’s bubble language! “That girl is so intriguing. She tries so hard to be like everyone else and to gain the attention of every boy at Hogwarts and yet she’s still different. How she talks to you is only part of it.”
“I always thought of her like a member of our family. ‘Cause she was always there. And she certainly has the knack for trouble my family has.” He chuckled lightly, “Lately though, I’m not so sure. I mean, I love the girl to death—” No doubt like he loves every other member of his family, “—but there’s this gut feeling I’ve got that there could be something more there.
There’s no denying that I was a little more than shocked when she told me she liked me. I know I was making a move at that point, but really. At the time I was scared out of my pants of rejection. I truly hadn’t a clue how she’d react. And what if it ruined our friendship? What if she was repulsed by me? She dates a lot of suave guys; I’m just her goofy best friend. It makes me wonder why I even tried to kiss her. Then one day I realized that there’s something warm about being around Eliza. Like magma. I’m just waiting for the day when it erupts. I think that day is coming soon though.” There was silence for a brief moment and then he chuckled, “Yeah, I know. It has been a long time coming.” He laughed, “I must sound like such a woman right now. Keep this between the two of us, okay Paul?”
I pressed myself even closer to the door, if that was even possible. Something in Al’s voice had changed; it was like he had just received some almighty revelation.
And then I heard a chuckle, “Maybe I understand now. You’re a good listener.” He paused again, “Still, it’s slightly awkward talking to a goldfish. I feel like I should be having this conversation with my mum or something—or better yet, Eliza.” I heard the bed creak, like it does when you jump off it too quickly . . . and then there was the sound of breaking glass and spilling water.
My eyes widened, and I burst through the door in panic. Incoherent thoughts were bursting through my mind—not to mention out of Al’s mouth.
It was like a replay of that fateful summer when I realized my feelings for Al . . . except not really. But you get what I mean. Paul was on the verge of death after being knocked off the nightstand again and the only ones here to witness his brutal, unfair death were Al and me.
“Crap, crap, crap, crap!” Al repeated over and over again. He was doing a sort of panicked jig, waving his arms around helplessly as he shifted from foot to foot, “Not again!”
“Al?” I managed through my tight throat, praying that he hadn’t knocked over what I think he knocked over. I glanced behind his body.
He did knock over what I thought he knocked over.
Something clicked in my mind that did not during that summer, however; I’m a witch. While Al fumbled helplessly over the broken glass and the water dripping through the floorboards, I pulled out my wand and pointed it at the mess, “Reparo!” The billion shards of glass littering the floor lifted off the ground and flew back to its original state—like I was watching a reversal of its destruction.
Now there was just one final problem. The water.
I cursed, racking my mind on the proper way to conjure water.
I always sucked at Charms.
“Albus,” I stated seriously, placing a firm hand on his shoulder, “Do you think you could make some water with your wand? Please?” I emphasized the last part and glanced at the flopping body of my beloved fish. Al, who seemed to have been stunned, snapped out of his stupor, nodded, pulled out his wand, and exclaimed the incantation to the spell. I waited with baited breath as, at first, nothing happened. But then a beautiful waterfall of the life-giving liquid splashed out of the tip of his wand and into Paul’s fish tank. Once it was filled one-fourth of the way, I scooped Paul into my hand and placed him gently into the water. He swam from one side of the tank to the other frantically and I blew out a sigh of sweet relief.
“He’s still alive,” I panted—completely out of breath. I had actually saved him. I squealed out of happiness, tackling Al to the ground into a hug. He hugged back, placing his hand in my hair and the other on my waist. The adrenaline still running through my veins didn’t help my brain register that this was a rather compromising position we were in.
“Thank Merlin,” He whispered from below me, “I don’t want to see you heartbroken ever again.”
I pulled back, his conversation with Paul barging back into my mind. He had said he should have that conversation with me, but I haven’t the slightest idea if that conversation was taking a turn for the better or the worse. My only hope was that he’d actually have it with me so it could all be clarified.
I stared down at his face; he looked so concerned for me. His hair was wet, considering I was forcing him to lie in the puddle of water that used to be in Paul’s tank. His green eyes looked soft, like fields of grass or fuzzy leaves and they were looking into mine with sudden . . . conviction. He tightened his hold on me as I tried to squirm out of his grasp, placing the hand in my hair to my lower back. I surrendered, falling back onto his chest.
He quirked his head to the side in wonder, “How much did you hear? Before all hell broke loose, that is.”
I sighed, “All of it.” I failed to mention that I didn’t understand a word of it.
His eyebrows scrunched together, “Then you won’t be surprised.”
“Paul and I were having an interesting conversation,” He stated, the corner of his lips slightly pulling up into a half-smile, “But I’d kind of like to talk to you about it instead.” My heart sped up for reasons unknown; it was like I had a feeling that something big was about to happen.
Before I could even blink, he flipped himself over so that he was lying on top of me now. I gasped out of pure shock and from the sudden contact with the cold water still on the floor, but my surprise was cut short by his lips—and then I was really surprised. Al was kissing me. Sweet Merlin, Al was kissing me! I’ve been dreaming about this since forever and now I have no idea what I should do!
So I responded. Happily.
A fresh batch of adrenaline was pumping through my veins, clouding my thoughts. I slid my hands up his arms and neck and threaded my fingers through his messy hair. I pulled myself closer to him but it still wasn’t close enough. His lips moved against mine in a rhythm I didn’t even know existed. His hands ran up and down my arms and my side—leaving a trail of burning fire in their wake.
My level of comprehension had been reduced to the size of a peanut, my happiness enlarged to the size of the earth, but my self control tilted back and forth. I knew I had to pull away. But every time I was close to doing so, his lips would do something new and amazing and I would pull myself back into his embrace.
This had to stop.
His lips moved to my neck.
. . . Maybe in a few minutes.
So caught up in our hormones, we hadn’t noticed the giggling couple stumbling through the door. We didn’t notice how they froze and dropped their jaws to the floor. To be honest, I couldn’t notice anything more than Al’s lips and Al’s hands. And I wasn’t exactly hoping for this blissful distraction to end anytime soon.
“Gross!” An annoying male’s voice exclaimed.
“My eyes!” An equally annoying female’s voice shouted.
Al broke away from my neck, and we gazed up in shock and horror at Rose and Malfoy towering above us. They looked horrified.
Is Al and I kissing really that revolting?
I pushed Albus off of me and stood up, wiping the dust off of my butt. Al followed my lead, placing a warm hand in the crook of my elbow. He was smiling at his cousin and his so-called best mate, as if he was glad he had been caught kissing his best girl mate.
“Uhh, I can explain?” I managed pathetically.
Who am I kidding? No I couldn’t. Rose’s smirk confirmed it.
I was never going to hear the end of this one.
*A/N: This chapter was horrible + choppy. But hey, I got something up for you guys!! AND OMG AL AND ELIZA ACTIONNNN. I'm probably as surprised this happened as you guys will be.. Anywho, leave a review? :)
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