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Chapter 3 : The Date (Among Other Things)
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I groaned loudly and flopped back onto my bed. I had never been this upset or insecure about dressing up for Nathaniel. Honestly, he went wild after my outfits because I had been going through a love of skirts when I was dating him. Bloody prat.
No, I was more nervous to face my date with James. He had owled me about the date. He said, and I quote, “Make my jaw drop. Love, Your Boyfriend James.” I was torn between laughing and giving him a piece of my mind. Honestly, what does he take me for? Of course I’m going to bloody well dress nicely. Maybe I should dress horribly to stick it in his face.
Then again, what if Nathaniel just happened to appear out of nowhere? With my luck, it would probably happen. I wanted to show that I was completely smitten with James and vice versa.
I felt a pinch at my side and glared up, ready to give whoever had given the pinch a piece of my mind. It was only Belle, though. Since I had pestered her and convinced her to leave the Puff dorms to join me in my own dorm, I figured the least I could do was pay attention to her.
I sent her a desperate look. She sighed.
“Look, don’t let James pressure you. He’s acts like a prat, but I promise he means well. Wear whatever you like. That being said, I’m sure you want to impress him – first date and all. Now let’s see…”
She began to methodically search through my closet and trunk, looking for clothes to pair together.
By the time she was done, my whole dormitory was covered in clothes. Thank goodness I had nerds for dorm mates. They tended to clear out at the ass crack of dawn.
Apparently, there was a method to Belle’s madness. Anything to her left was “so shitty that even Lavender Brown’s models couldn’t rock it” and that “it was unbelievable anyone could own such shitty clothing”.
Well. I certainly didn’t think my clothes were that ugly. I salvaged my argyle sweater and holey leggings, knowing that they would come in handy one day.
Anything to her right was “okay”.
After lots of screaming, squeezing into clothing, yanking hair, slathering of face with products, and generally making more of a mess, we were done.
I glanced at myself in the mirror.
Belle had decided on a casual look, but not too casual (whatever the hell that meant). I had on a granny sweater (with a horrid pattern, but apparently it was “in vogue”), a pair of dark skinny jeans (how I love the skinny jean dance…), ankle boots (don’t know how I’m going to walk), and a necklace to top it all off. My hair was stylishly messy, but it honestly just looked like I stuck my finger in one of those elektrik socket things and tried to comb my hair down.
I guess James and I will match.
My makeup, Belle had decided, would be au natural. What I didn’t realize was how much makeup went into ‘au natural’. False advertising, I’m telling you.
With reassurances and a push down the stairs, I made my way towards the Entrance Hall at a snail’s pace. It was only when I glanced at my watch that I realized I was half an hour late.
Shit shit shit.
I ran as best as I could towards the Entrance Hall with the death heels on. I scanned around for James, but he was nowhere to be seen. Finally, there was a tap on my shoulder. I sighed in relief as I turned.
“Oh thank goodness James, I honestly thought you’d le-Albus?”
Lo and behold, it was his brother, Albus Potter in front of me, a cocky grin on his face. He swung an arm around my shoulders and began to drag me towards Filch for inspection in order to get to Hogsmeade. I glanced up at him, confusion written all over my face.
“He did leave you, actually. He left with Fred and his bird because they were going to be late for the reservations at the Shamrock. James just told me to wait here and bring you along.”
I turned pink, both flattered that James thought to leave his brother to escort me and angry that he didn’t just wait for me. James had caused so many conflicting emotions, I swear… Albus squeezed my shoulders reassuringly.
“It’s alright. Finally, a girl that makes James wait instead of the other way around.”
Albus merely laughed as I grumbled under my breath.
Wait my ass. He had left his brother to escort me instead of waiting for me like a gentleman would have. Albus poked me, probably realizing the turn my thoughts had taken.
“You owe me, James.”
“Oh, piss off Albus. I won’t tell Dad that you spiked the drinks at the last Christmas party. We’re even.”
I laughed and gave Albus a friendly hug as thanks for escorting me. With a ‘don’t mention it’, the boy left the Shamrock. I turned to finally start this blasted date.
James held his arms out for me, and I resisted the urge to roll my eyes as I gave him a hug.
“I can’t believe you left your brother to escort me instead of waiting for me,” I angrily whispered.
He didn’t respond, much to my chagrin. Instead, he gave me a wink and leaned in to kiss me.
Kiss? Was I even ready for that? Sure, he had kissed me on the cheek before but lips? The only time we had done that was when we had first met. And I wasn’t sure that could be counted as a kiss. I had been whispering to him the whole time.
In the end, I turned so that his lips landed on my cheek.
James didn’t comment, though I did see Fred’s eyebrows shoot up. How would I explain this?
Hard to get? Yeah, sure.
James set me down in my seat and looked towards the other two.
“Hey Alana, this is my girlfriend, Maya Patel. Maya, this is Alana Dare, Freddie’s girl.”
Fred mumbled ‘not for long’ under his breath, and I couldn’t resist giggling a bit. Alana sent me a sharp look, and I sighed.
Great. Another bint to deal with.
We all took our seats, James and I on one side while Fred and Alana were facing us. We sat in silence for a couple moments, until finally I felt someone step on my boot. I yelped and shot a glare at Freddie, who gazed at me imploringly.
“So Alana, how long have you and Freddie been together?”
By the way her whole face lit up, I figured she was practically in love with the bloke. Poor Freddie. She was going to be hard to ditch.
“Oh, we’ve been together for two weeks now, but we’re absolutely in love,” she said. “Aren’t we Freddie?”
Freddie threw me a warning glare.
“Of course we are darling.”
I squashed the urge to burst out laughing.
“What about you guys? How long have you guys been dating? It’s a surprise, really, to see you dating someone like Maya, James.”
I immediately began to turn red. What did that mean? Someone like Maya. I knew exactly what she was referring to. She was referring to my less than popular status. She was referring to my less than beautiful looks. Basically, she was mocking me. Bitch. Where did she get off judging me?
I opened my mouth to say something but I stopped when I felt James’s hand on my knee. It was a warning – don’t say anything stupid. I took a deep breath and glanced up at James, giving him a look.
He sighed and turned to Alana.
“We’ve been dating for a couple days, but it’s been wonderful. We’re definitely in it for the long haul. At least I hope so.”
James smiled charmingly down at me to drive the point home. I laced my fingers with his and held them up for Alana’s inspection.
Someone didn’t look to happy.
“Wouldn’t you be happier with someone else? Perhaps someone with better status. Merlin knows your reputation. I’m just afraid that Maya won’t be able to handle you. I know the perfect candidate. In fact, here she comes now.”
Freddie and James looked dumbfounded while I was seething. Who did this girl think she was? The bloody Queen? I squeezed James’s hand in anger, while he brushed his thumb across my knuckles to calm me down.
We all turned to see who the “candidate” was. It was probably some other bint like Samira or Sonia. Or maybe even that one Ashley Davis in Sixth Year.
But no, it was Stella Vernon. My ex-best friend.
I whipped back around, clutching the sides of my chair in an attempt to calm down. Freddie’s stupid bitch was trying to set James up with Stella. James, the sweetheart, wrapped an arm around my shoulders and began to whisper into my ear about keeping calm and not listening to Alana but even he couldn’t calm me down. He didn’t know that Stella had been the best friend who had betrayed me.
“Hey Stella! You here by yourself today?”
“’Lo Alana. And no, I’m here with Nathaniel. He’ll be here in a moment.”
“Why don’t you join us? The more, the merrier!”
“Why not? Of course I’ll-“
Stella faltered and finally realized exactly who was at the table. Namely, me, her best friend before she went and snogged my ex.
“Uh… On second thought, we could get another table…”
“Nonsense darling. I’m sure Weasley, Potter, and Patil would be happy to make some room for us.”
I closed my eyes for a moment, wishing, hoping, just plain out praying that the voice I heard wasn’t Schmidt. Of course, it just happened to be Nathaniel freaking Schmidt.
And he said my last name wrong on purpose.
“Of course it is.”
James’s hand clamped down on my knee. I figured it was so that I wouldn’t do anything stupid and that he wouldn’t be tempted to go knock out some of Schmidt’s teeth. I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to feel too bad about it, if it happened.
Chairs were brought out, and as fate would have it, Nathaniel was seated right next to me.
Joy to the world.
The waiter finally came by, and we all gave our orders. After that, it was a staring contest. Who would break first? Would it be Freddie? Would it be James? Would it be Stella? Or would it be me?
Finally, it was Alana who broke the quiet.
“So Stella, Nathaniel. How’s your relationship faring? We were just talking about Maya and James. Rather interesting relationship, if I do say so myself.”
“We’re doing just fine, Alana. In fact, we’re rather…passionate for each other. Maya here accidentally witnessed it the other day. Didn’t you, Maya?”
All eyes turned to me, and my face turned yet another shade of red. I knocked James’s hand off my knee and pushed my chair back, avoiding everyone’s eyes.
“Got to go to the loo. ‘Scuse me.”
I said quickly before escaping to the loo. I crashed through the doorway in a daze and finally ended up in front of a toilet. One glance at it, and I was gone.
I pushed the door of the little cubicle open. There Stella was with a towel and a glass of water. She wordlessly held it out to me, and I took it with a nod of thanks.
This wasn’t the first time it had happened. First time had happened around Fifth Year. The stress of OWLS had got to me, and well, the only outlet I could find was this. My condition had been sporadic enough that Stella had never told anyone. I couldn’t bear the judgment.
If someone found out… Well, that would definitely spelled trouble with a capital T.
“If you want to convince Nathaniel you’re over him, than you need to step it up with James. He’s starting to believe that it’s a ruse.”
With those words, Stella left the loo. I took a moment to collect myself and make sure that I didn’t look like someone who had retched in the toilet (even if I had done exactly that). I washed my face and made myself as presentable as possible.
I strode out of the bathroom with my head held high. I had to fool Nathaniel. There was no other option.
My seat was waiting for me at the table. I slipped onto it and scooted towards the table where my food was waiting for me. I glanced at it and grimaced. There was no way that I could eat after the whole…situation.
James and Freddie, ever the predictable ones, were annihilating the food on their plates. You would think that they had never seen food in their lives prior to now. Nathaniel, in contrast, was using his cutlery to delicately eat his food. A real gentleman, that one.
I scooted my plate towards the two cousins. James gave me a questioning glance to which I responded with an encouraging one.
“I’m not really hungry anyways. Eat it.”
Well, they certainly didn’t need a reassurance. Within seconds, they were onto devouring my plate.
Really, it would be lucky for the restaurant if they got their plates back in one piece.
Finally, they slowed down and everyone fell into their own conversations. Freddie and Alana began talking about Merlin-knows-what (though I can tell you that Fred looked highly uncomfortable). Nathaniel was murmuring words to Stella, pressing kisses to her ear as he did. Her giggles were like shards of glass to my skin. They hurt and burned. By the little looks Nathaniel was throwing me, he knew exactly what he was doing.
James tugged my chair closer to his and began to mimic what Nathaniel and Stella were doing.
“Are you alright, Maya?”
He asked, pressing a small kiss to my eyebrow. I guess it was supposed to be a soothing gesture, but all it did was agitate me even more.
“James. James. I-I need to get out of here. I’m going insane with them right there. Please James.”
I whispered to him, trying to convey with my eyes what I was feeling. He took one glance at my eyes then looked towards Freddie.
“Well then, Freddie, looks like we’ll be off. People to see, things to do. You understand, don’t you? I’ll see you later.”
Fred began to complain, probably not wanting to be left with the hag. James ignored him and didn’t even bother to say goodbyes to the other three, one of whom seemed quite disgruntled.
Three guesses as to who.
“Won’t you say bye to the rest of us, James?”
Alana said, blinking her baby blues at him. He gave the other three a tight smile.
“So long then.”
With that, I forcefully dragged him away from the Shamrock.
“What’s wrong Maya?”
James asked, as we walked hand-in-hand towards the Shrieking Shack. Neither of us wanted to go to another store, just in case the others had made their way over. James mentioned it, and said that it was perfect for what he had in mind. Hopefully, I wouldn’t end this date with a bald head or something as horrible. I certainly wouldn’t put it past James. He and his family were known for being masterminds when it came to pranking. Hell, his uncle had a shop just down the road – Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.
“I think I should explain to you exactly what happened,” I started. “I was pretty vague when I explained the situation. See, Stella – girl in the café Stella – was my best friend. She’s actually the one who found Nathaniel and the slag he was with. The day we started dating…Well, I had found Nathaniel and Stella sucking their faces off in the middle of the hallway.”
I threw James a look. And? Really? Was he seriously asking that? Upon seeing my murderous look, he put his hands on my shoulders and leaned down so we were eye level.
“It kind of seems to me like you’re taking this out of context. Do you know why Stella was snogging him? How do you know he isn’t conning her? He’s certainly capable of it.”
I tried tuning James out, but his words made so much sense. More than I cared to admit. I squeezed my eyes shut and shook my head. He couldn’t be right. Stella couldn’t have been blackmailed.
Or could she have been?
I sucked in a breath and opened my eyes.
“Stella’s smart, James. She can get herself out of any mess. She’s a prefect, in fact she was so close to being Head Girl, and she’s bloody genius, and…”
James tried to stop my rant by shaking me lightly, but I wouldn’t stop. Reasons why Stella couldn’t possibly have been blackmailed kept falling from my mouth.
Suddenly, James’s lips were on mine.
A/N: Merry Christmas & Happy New Years my lovely readers! Wow, this chapter was not what I expected it to be. You don’t know how many times I changed this, but I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I hope you liked it! I really like Al. What do you guys think? Oh gosh, Alana was fun to write, hah! Sorry about Freddie this chapter (he was just there), but I think this chapter is really important in setting up future plot points. The Shamrock is something I came up with on the spot, so yeah. More insight into Maya’s & Stella’s relationship! Like it? (: I couldn’t squeeze in one of those Girl Code things, lol! I didn’t realize I had made a slight habit of it, but hey! Finally, the kiss! (; but no details?! No worries, Maya will be gushing all about it next chapter.
DISCLAIMER: Everything you recognize isn’t mine!
About last chapter, I just saw a your/you’re mistake. -___- My bad! Please review and critique? Like? Dislike? And where are those Quidditch players [hint next chapter hint]? And if you guys have any Girl Code rules/suggestions, please mention them! LOL. I can’t think of any.
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