Chapter 2 : Failed Experiments With Flirting
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“What are we going to do about Rose, though?” asks Lolly.
“Dunno,” I reply, munching on a biscuit.
We’re sitting on Lolly’s bed in the Hufflepuff girl’s dormitory after dinner. It’s a good thing none of the other girls are here to overhear our plotting and scheming. Or rather, Lolly’s plotting and scheming and my biscuit-munching and not really paying attention to what she’s saying.
“Custard cream?” I offer her one.
“Ugh, no thanks. I don’t want to end up with all the health problems.”
I shrug noncommittally and shove the biscuit down my throat. It’s my last custard cream, anyways, until I get another pack from the kitchens.
“We could publicly humiliate her.”
I roll my eyes. “I don’t think that would work. I hate to say it, but Rose Weasley is smart. The brightest witch of her age, they say. She would easily find out our diabolical schemes.”
“Ooh, I have an idea!” Lolly’s eyes brighten in excitement.
“What’s it this time?”
“We need an idea to outsmart her, so...”
“Yeah, but do you really think you of all people could outsmart Rose Weasley?”
She looks hurt for a second, and I feel slightly guilty (it must be that Hufflepuff-y speck buried deep within me) and amend, “Because no one can outsmart Rose Weasley and get away with it. Least of all two Hufflepuffs.” I offer her a consolation biscuit, too.
She takes the biscuit from me this time and chews thoughtfully for a moment before replying, “Well...”
And now she’s reached the rut and then she’s going to say that we can’t go through with this absolutely ridiculous plan and I won’t have to get Albus to like me –
“....I’ll think of plans for Rose, but for now we should focus on Albus and–”
“What about Albus?”
This comes from the doorway, where our other two dorm mates, Kathleen Walters and Phoebe Tuggle have just come back from Quidditch practice.
“He’s got a girlfriend now,” says Phoebe, flicking her wavy blond hair over her shoulder and joining us on Lolly’s bed. “And my poor muscles are bloody sore – McLaggen is such a bloody arsehole.
“He’s also a shit Captain. I dunno why McGonagall appointed him as Hufflepuff Quidditch Captain; even that idiot Pemberton would be a better choice,” says Kathleen, sitting down on her own bed.
Lolly scoffs and says,“Who cares about Quidditch – Albus Potter has a girlfriend?”
It’s probably just a lie cooked up by one of those silly 5th and 6th year fangirls in our house. Albus Potter hasn’t had a girlfriend since third year – his very first girlfriend.
“But how could he have a girlfriend? He’s in love with that Malfoy boy!” wails Lolly dramatically. I had always thought (and still think) that when we graduate, she should get a job in Wizarding theatre. Probably performing Alas, I Have Transfigured My Feet or some shit like that.
I roll my eyes. “No he’s not. They’re probably just close friends.”
Lolly ignores me. “Ooh, it’s probably a cover!” she squeals. “But then he’ll ditch the girlfriend and come out of the closet with that Malfoy! But then Potter, Rose, and Potter’s girlfriend will be destroyed, and Malfoy will realize that I’m the one for him!”
We’ve added the bloody girlfriend to the ever-growing list of people to destroy? I swear, by the time this ordeal is done, the whole school will be in ruins and half the students will be dead.
Kathleen looks at Lolly like she’s grown a tail or something. Phoebe doesn’t know whether to be amused or frightened. So she settles on a strange mix of the two, which makes her look rather like a constipated old goat. (Not that I’d ever seen one before.)
“Who’s the girlfriend?” I ask, wondering how we had all forgotten to have mentioned this little detail so far.
Kathleen’s face darkens. “Fanny Barlow.”
“What?” Lolly and I burst out at the same time.
“Yes, you heard right,” nods Phoebe.
Lolly is still gaping like a drunken fish.
Fanny Barlow (heinous bitch) is an utter cow. She’s a Slytherin in our year. Most of the time she acts like how one would think a stereotypical Hufflepuff does, but don’t be fooled. Underneath that exterior is a carefully concealed layer of cunningness (and bitchiness).
Fanny Barlow (insipid bitch) is also the president of the OASPFC (Official Albus Severus Potter Fan Club).
Everyone always has something to say about her (hideous bitch).
“I heard that she went out with a guy on Puddlemere for a whole summer!”
“I heard that she does Floo powder commercials. In Japan.”
“I heard that when she was dating Lorcan Scamander, she slept with his twin brother, Lysander. Countless times.”
“Once she punched me in the face. It was awesome!”
These are just a few. I’d probably eat my glasses if most of them were actually true, though I wouldn’t put it past her to punch someone.
“No one in their right mind would ever date someone like Fanny Barlow!” exclaims Lolly.
“Who ever said Albus Potter was in his right mind?” I ask.
“Well,” Lolly mutters in an undertone to me as Phoebe goes to brush her teeth and Kathleen is already fast asleep, “at least if he’s dating Barlow, then Scorpius may get discouraged and may fall out of love with Albus.”
I sigh and shake my head disparagingly.
“Budge over, Potter,” I say, taking a seat next to him in Potions class.
He quirks an eyebrow in amusement. “Potter now, is it? Yesterday was Albus, wasn’t it, Cadwallader?”
I toss my hair haughtily and decide not to deign this with a reply. “Have you been suddenly struck with an idea for our potion, Potter? I certainly know that I haven’t.”
“Of course you haven’t,” he replies lazily. “You’re just a Hufflepuff, after all.”
I narrow my eyes at him in anger. I used to think Gryffindors were arrogant. Before I met Albus Potter.
“And you’ll be the next Voldemort. You know, since you’re a Slytherin. I suppose the Boy Who Lived will have to destroy you, just like he did with ol’ Voldy. A pity you’re his son.”
Potter doesn’t have time to reply as Slughorn makes his way to our table, preceded by his huge potbelly and walrus mustache, fluttering comically as usual.
I swear the guy has at least tripled in size since my first ever Potions class.
“Still no ideas? Well, we can’t wait all day, Mr Potter, Miss Cadwallader!” He chuckles jovially, as if he’s just said something largely amusing. If he has, I seem to have missed it. So has Potter, because he’s not laughing either.
As Sluggy waddles away, Potter says in an undertone to me, “We’ll make a Potion to stop mustaches from fluttering.”
And that’s that to our temporary lack of imagination.
A few seats away Lolly is giggling at something Scorpius has just said. She flutters her eyelashes, but he seems oblivious to it.
“Do you have something in your eye?” he inquires to her.
She blinks in surprise. I try not to snort into my cauldron. “No, of course not!” she says. “What makes you think that?” She shoots him a dazzling smile.
“Well, you were blinking repeatedly, so naturally I assumed that there was something in your eyes.”
“Oh, t-the po-potion fumes are just irritating my e-eyes at the moment,” Lolly stutters nervously.
I would feel sorry for her, but I’m not, because she’s the one that’s gotten me mixed up in her crazy schemes.
I need a new best friend. Perhaps if I hung a few flyers in the Great Hall…
“Well, Albus has a girlfriend–”
“A bitchy one at that.”
“So that may keep Scorpius distracted long enough for us to get Rose and him to break up.”
“How exactly are we going to achieve that?”
Lolly ponders for a time, and then replies, “No idea.”
“So you’ve finally run out of ideas. Good. Now this sinking idea sailboat will finally drown. Thank bloody Merlin.” I tear open the new pack of biscuits and shove one into my mouth.
“No, we just need to think,” says Lolly.
“Lolly, you’re really good at Disillusionment Charms, right?”
“Good,” I say.
By the time dinner rolls around, our plan is complete.
Lolly’s Disillusionment Charm, while undeniably strong, especially tonight, can only last half an hour. It would have lasted at least three hours if it had been cast on an inanimate object, but I’m obviously human.
As I pass the Slytherin table, I hear Potter say to Fanny Barlow (bitchy bitch), “Did you see something over there?” He points in my general direction and my breath catches in my throat as I desperately hope they can’t see me.
“See what, Albie?” giggles Barlow (once again, bitch). “Are you imagining things? I don’t see anything.” She leans in closer to him. “Though if you’re feeling unwell, perhaps I can help you feel better...”
It takes all my effort not to gag on my own spit. I dash away to the Gryffindor table quickly, close to where Rose Weasley is sitting, chatting with her friends.
I reach into my robes and bring out a huge, hairy spider. I try not to look at its huge, pupil-less eyes, the hair on its legs, the way it’s crawling on my finger, slowly, slowly making its way up my arm...
From another of my robe pockets, I take a chunk of early December snow that has an Unmeltable Charm put on it.
Fast as a cheetah, I dart forward and slip the chunk of ice down the back of her robes.
She jumps up and squeaks. “Eeeeeeeek! Oh my Merlin, there’s something down my back! Someone get it away; it’s so cold! Eek! Eeeeeek!” By now she’s attracted the whole Great Hall’s attention. Most of them are laughing, including Scorpius.
Then, as she’s busy jumping, I take the disgusting spider and place it quickly on her head. It doesn’t take long for one of her chatty Gryffindor friends to notice.
“Rose! T-there’s.... there’s–”
A first year boy looks fascinated by the spider. “A spider! There’s a huge hairy spider on your head!”
Rose reaches up to feel her Weasley-red hair. The spider latches onto one of her fingers. She sees it and lets out a horrified, piercing scream. Now she’s in the midst of doing some sort of flailing dance. Her elbow hits a jar of pumpkin juice, and it spills all over the food, splattering all over Rose’s previously impeccable robes.
Rose lets out a wild cry and then runs out of the Great Hall with a sob.
I feel a little twinge of guilt, but shake it off. It was rather funny.
Over at the Hufflepuff table, Lolly is sipping her own pumpkin juice delicately. “Tsk, tsk. Head Girls do not run out of a room – especially surrounded by so many people – without making a proper curtsy!”
A/N: Harry Potter belongs to J.K Rowling. The lines “I heard that she does Floo powder commercials. In Japan.” and “One time, she punched me in the face. It was awesome!” are both based off of quotes from Mean Girls.
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