Chapter 6 : 'cause it seems to me, this thing is breaking down
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Oh, P.S., I've decided to enter this story in Houlestar’s What the Hell is a Hufflepuff Challenge, so, wish me luck!
I looked up at Dom, and was surprised to see that she wasn’t angry – at least, not as angry as I thought she was going to be with me.
“I bet James that if Gryffindor won, I would go out on a date with him. It’s stupid, I know. But the offer was just so enticing – he would leave me alone for the entire year!”
At this point, I started rambling again; a habit that I really needed to stop. But, the filter in my brain had some how decided to completely shut off.
“And I mean, I don’t know what I'm going to do! I can’t actually go out on a date with him; one, I’ve got Briscoe – who can’t ever figure out that this happened, by the way. He’d be so upset with me, and I don’t think I’d ever be able to forgive myself if that happened. And two, EW! It’s James Potter. That git has been the biggest arsehole in the world for the past four years –” I paused only to let out a loud gasp, “what if this is a trick, Dom? What if I make the biggest fool out of myself for this? God, that’s a terrifying thought – I can’t go through with it. I just can’t. I'm gonna –”
“Sarah,” Dom forcefully said, grabbing my shoulders, “calm down. It’s not going to be the end of the world. I could talk to him if you want; tell him you don’t want to go through with it. And if he keeps insisting, then I’ll hex him.”
I gave a small chuckle that sounded more like an ungraceful snort. Dom was always one to stuck up for me, and I was glad, no matter how predictable she was.
“Or, you know,” she continued on, jokingly (though I knew there was some truth to it, “I could skip the talking part, and just hex him the next time I see him.”
I bit my bottom lip as I smiled, trying hard not to laugh. As satisfying as that idea was, there was a small part of me that wanted to say no. I was just so sick and tired of Dom fighting my battles for me. This was something that I needed to figure out on my own. I wasn’t that little girl anymore – at least, I was trying real hard not to be.
“Or, here’s another idea,” Dom said, a bit more seriously then before, “what if you prove him wrong. He knows that he gets under your skin, and I honestly think he believes that by you saying ‘no,’ he’ll be doing just so. So prove him wrong, and go out on that date with him.”
I sat there for a moment, taking in what she was saying. Of course, Dom was right; I couldn’t let him control my life like that. I would go, only to show James that I wasn’t going to let him push me around anymore. However, I was still having a hard time accepting the fact that I was going to have go out on a date with him. I was still trying to come to terms with my predicament when dinner rolled around, and James had decided that he wanted to talk.
“Hey Sarah,” he said as I took another bite of the brisket on my plate, “I was hoping we could talk about the … the thing we talked about. You know.”
Of course, I didn’t really acknowledge that he was there. But, suddenly, I felt as if I had lost my appetite, so I stood up (rather dramatically, which was completely unintended), and I made my way out of The Great Hall. I hadn’t intended for James to follow me, but he did. It didn’t take long from him to catch up to me
“I was thinking we could go to Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop,” he asked as he strode by.
“It’s usually empty, and in a pretty remote location, you know,” he continued, “that way, you won’t have to deal with those unwanted eyes, and everything.”
Well, at least he had enough decency to pick a place that was out of the way. It meant less attention would be put into actually making sure none of my friends – or even worse, Briscoe – saw. I stopped in my tracks, as a few tears started to fall from my face. Briscoe.
James, who had stopped only a few seconds after I had, looked over at me with a confused look.
“O’Connor,” he said, snapping me out of my thoughts, “You alright?”
“Yeah, of course,” I said, wiping the tears from my face as I started to walk again, “Anyway, let’s meet at your uncle’s joke shop, at ten next Saturday. I assume it’s not that far from the tea shop; we can walk from there, yeah?”
“Really,” James asked, seriously surprised with how well I was taking this, “You’re not going to try and get out of it, or anything like that?”
I took a deep sigh in, and slowly let it out.
“No,” I replied, “I'm not going to try to get out of it. I made a bet, and I lost. I intend to go through with it.”
“Alright,” James slowly said, looking me over once, probably looking for any indications that I wasn’t just some Sarah look-alike, or imposter, or something, “Okay, fine. Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. Ten O’clock. I’ll be there.”
“Good,” I replied, “Then so will I.”
And with that, James and I went our separate ways. I headed straight towards the Hufflepuff Common Room, eagerly ready to talk another shower, before getting into bed, and going to sleep, hoping this entire day had actually been nothing but a horrid dream.
It didn’t take long for the other girls to make their way to the room, though by that time I was at least curled up in bed. I closed my eyes as the rest of them walked in, pretending to be asleep in hopes that they wouldn’t dare to ask me any questions about earlier tonight.
“Sarah, we know you’re just pretending to be asleep,” Minnie said as she sat on her bed, “So, don’t think you’re getting out of answering our questions.”
“Yeah,” Avril replied, “we want all the juicy, little details about what’s going on with you and Potter. Like what on Earth happened at dinner, tonight? You sure did seem upset when you left.”
I let out a small sigh as I lifted myself up into sitting position, and then I told my roommates about everything: the bet I had made with James, how devastated I had been after the game, and what Dom had told me. I went into great detail about everything that happened at the lake, and then what James and I had talked about after dinner. Everyone seemed to be listening carefully. I was glad to have friends like them, but I knew even they couldn’t get me through it all unharmed.
The week had seemed to move and at alarmingly quick pace. It was unusual for me to be dreading Hogsmede weekends, but this was certainly one that I was not looking forward to. During the week, I had thought a great deal about it, and I was determined to believe that this outing was nothing more then a prank, and I should’ve gotten out of it when I still had the chance. I was becoming more and more like the old Sarah, getting more and more uncomfortable with the whole situation. I tried to convince the other’s to hex me, or put me under a sick spell, or something to get me out of this whole ordeal, but once Ari had found out, she refused to let any of us go through with it (She said that, as a prefect, she couldn’t condone using magic for personal gain, even if it was to get out of going somewhere with a slimy prat like James), so I had no choice, but to go to go. The more I thought about it, the less I actually wanted to go, even just to prove to James that I wasn’t who he thought I was.
When Saturday actually came, I woke to Dom and Avril running around like chickens with their heads cut off.
“What’s going on,” I asked as I watched Dom rummage through my trunk. Minnie, whose bed was to the right of mine, just smiled as she eagerly watched the two girls run around.
“They’re helping you get ready,” she replied.
“Why,” I asked, more to myself then anyone else. This was just James. Surely it wouldn’t take that much effort just to prove a point.
Clearly, I had been mistaken.
“You need to look stunning today, when you go to the tea shop,” Dom said as she pulled me out of bed, holding up a simple, yellow wife-beater, “that’ll really show James not to mess with you.”
She looked at me for a split second, before shaking her head no, and throwing the shirt aimlessly down on the ground. Avril sat me back down on the bed, as she sat behind me, playing with my hair.
“I think you should keep most of it up,” she said, “but let some of it fall down, and frame your face.”
For the next forty-five minutes, I seemed to be a human Barbie doll, letting Dom and Avril poke and prod me, forcing me to try on probably over fifty different outfits, and not liking any of them, while Minnie just watched from her bed, every so often commenting on something or another. Eventually, though, they decided on a simple pair of dark, skinny jeans, with a pale red, low cut wife-beater with small jewels bordering the hemline. I was wearing a few necklaces, mostly jewelry that Dom’s mother had gotten her, so it was beautiful, but it didn’t take away from the shirt, and Dom had also let me borrow a pair of golden flats. Avril managed to do my make-up, layering on all sorts of bronze, and gold colors that seemed to just undertone my natural beauty. She also managed to curl my hair a bit, putting most of it in a high ponytail like she had wanted, but a few curls managed to fall in just the right place to frame my face. I usually hated when they tried to do this to me, but even I had to admit – looking at myself in the mirror, I realized I looked good.
“Alright,” Dom said, looking over at the clock in our room, “it’s almost nine; we should get going.”
I simply just sat on my bed, as I watched Dom, Avril, and Minnie get ready for the day. It didn’t take them nearly as long, and they certainly hadn’t but as much efforts into their own looks, as they had in mine. But still, it was kind of incredible how beautiful they all were.
It was exactly nine thirty-seven when the four of us made our way down to the Common Room. I didn’t know whom I was expecting to see, but it certainly surprised me when I saw Briscoe sitting on the couch, with some of his sixth year friends. I hadn’t even noticed him until I heard a cat call from the sofa. I looked down, and saw Briscoe looking up at me with a devilish smile. I gave a small blush as I reached the bottom of the stairs.
“Wow, you look hot” he said, as he walked up to me, “Did I forget your birthday, or something?”
A small laugh escaped my lips.
“No,” I replied, “You didn’t forget my birthday.”
“We’re just having a girl’s day out,” Dom added, saving me from what probably would’ve been utter humiliation, “nothing big, just thought it was needed, after last week’s hardship. We’re probably just going to be hanging out at The Three Broomsticks; you know, nothing to fancy.”
“Well, the boys and I might join you a bit latter, then,” Briscoe replied as he wrapped his arm around my waist, pulling me in close, “We’ve got some supplies we need to get, but it shouldn’t take that long.”
I glanced over at the others, with a pleading look on my face. Dom, noticing my panic, took completely and total control of the situation.
“Oh no,” She continued, “We’ll be talking about boring stuff; you know how us girls are – all we care to talk about is boys, make-up, and looking pretty. I'm sure you lot will get bored rather quickly.”
“Really,” Briscoe asked looking at me, “cause I was hoping we could talk about some new Quidditch moves. I’ve actually got a few ideas I was hoping I could talk to you about before practice…”
I could feel the tears starting to swell up in my eyes.
Shit. He was on to us. He was going to go to the Three Broomsticks, and he was going to find that I wasn’t there. And then, he’d find me with James, and he’d think I was a crazy bint. And then, he’d dump me, saying how terrible of a girlfriend I was. Shit.
This could not be happening.
“As you can tell,” Dom said, gently pulling me away from Briscoe, “Sarah’s pretty torn up about the game; she starts crying every time someone brings it up. Which is why this is supposed to be a girls only day. So, I'm sorry. You’ll have to talk about Quidditch some other time, I'm afraid.”
Dom ushered me, Minnie, and Avril out of the Common Room, giving a sweet smile to Briscoe and the others as she waved good-bye.
“Very well done,” Dom said as soon as the door was closed, “those tears were a perfect touch!”
“Thanks,” I sarcastically said, wiping the tears off my face, “I'm glad my pain was able to be put to some good use.”
“Oh don’t worry,” Avril said as she beamed at Dom, “I don’t think the boys will be coming to the Three Broomsticks any time today.”
“Avril…” I said, looking wearily at my friend, “what did you do?”
“Oh, nothing, really,” she said, “I just put a charm on all their bags; the bags will literally eat all the things they bought. They’ll just keep having to get and more and more, until the trip is over.”
“Hot Damn,” Dom said with a smile, “Looks like you really are safe from Briscoe finding out, Sarah.”
“Yeah, yeah,” I replied, “Only if I don’t end up killing Potter before the day is done.”
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