Chapter 8 : Awkward
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“Loria!” a voice called, “we’re over here.”
I turned around to face the source and was mildly surprised to see Zoe and Louis. Of course, I had expected to see them considering we were all going to Hogsmeade together – much to my dismay. It wasn’t going with Louis that upset me, it was Zoe.
Now don’t get me wrong, I liked Zoe; I thought she was really nice but in a way I felt as though she was stealing my Louis. My Louis had never officially been my Louis but I still classed him as that. In my dreams, we had a rather blossoming relationship in which he was my Louis.
Nevertheless, I walked over to where they stood with what I hoped to be a happy smile. It probably just looked awkward, if I was honest. But you couldn’t blame me, I was terrified. Considering I was about to tag along to Hogsmeade with the boy I’d fancied since first year and his girlfriend – a situation in which I’d have to pretend that I wasn’t completely love struck with Louis – I was acting relatively calm.
“Um, hi,” I greeted them.
Zoe pulled me into a rather unexpected bone crushing hug which sent me into a flail of panic. Why was she hugging me? I wasn’t used to people being this forward, especially with me. Instead, I awkwardly patter her on the back until she let go.
Louis grinned at me and said a simple, “hi,” which automatically sent me into a quivering wreck of wobbly knee’s and fluttery stomachs. I was pathetic. I was sure that anyone who could have seen me at that point would have been shaking their head in embarrassment and shame for me. The one thing that surprised me was that Zoe never seemed to notice. I couldn’t decide whether she did notice and chose not to say anything or just simply unobservant.
“Well, shall we go?” Louis asked.
I nodded as Zoe took Louis’ hand in her own.
All together, the three of us walked down the wide and very long path to Hogsmeade; Louis and Zoe walking hand in hand looking all cute and loved up with me to the left, walking awkwardly by myself. I was like the chicken egg in a basket of dragon eggs.
I pulled my cardigan which had been knitted for me by my gran, tighter around myself as a cold wind blew right at me. A glance over to Louis and Zoe told me that they were unaffected by it. At this point, Louis’ arm was around her keeping her as snug as a bug in a rug. I scowled slightly in annoyance, slightly wishing I’d declined the offer.
Why was I such an idiot? I could have just said no and I’d have been happily at Hogwarts in the warm, attempting to plot. Instead, I went down a totally different path which led to unbearable awkwardness on my part and a tiny bit of resentment towards Zoe.
I could tell they were trying to engage me in conversation but I couldn’t reply due to all my self-hating internal thoughts on what an idiot I was. Really, you don’t get more idiotic than Loria Kent. It was a surprise Breanne stuck with me all that time – although she did sort of end up leaving. Actually, I wasn’t sure what was going on between us.
Soon enough, we reached Hogsmeade. But that wasn’t to say this diffused any of the awkwardness – it didn’t break down my 10ft tall wall of awkward I had created during the walk. In fact, it stayed just the same, if a little bit more.
All I did was hang back while Louis bought Zoe stuff and Zoe kissed Louis in thanks for said stuff. I bought a super-size box of chocolate frogs and a quill. Those are the finer things in life.
I paid for my quill and walked across the street to some clothes shop Zoe was raiding. Well, I guess it was more a browse but then you had to take into consideration the amount of clothes she had. The basket she had been using was long gone – now she had to use a trolled. Most clothes shops didn’t have trolleys and only brought it out when people like Zoe had to request one because all her stuff wouldn’t fit into the basket.
How was Louis paying for this? He must have had one heck of a rich family.
I jumped in shock and turned around, only to see Louis smirking at me. For a smirk, it was a lovely smirk that made him look really handsome and stuff.
“Hi,” I mumbled.
“Having fun?” he asked.
“Er, yeah. Tonnes,” I lied.
Well, only slightly lied. I guess it wasn’t the worst time I’d ever had but it definitely wasn’t the best. Quill shopping wasn’t exactly fun – even by my standards. For me, eating my dessert before my dinner was rebellious and exciting but quill shopping? No.
“Good because you looked a bit bored,” Louis said.
How unobservant and naïve.
“Oh,” I said.
I’m glad Zoe insists on paying for her own clothes, Mum and Dad would go mental if I spent that much on ‘er.” Louis chuckled and I laughed weakly along.
Awkward was the only word I could have used to describe the situation. As always, Louis seemed oblivious to it but I just wanted to leave. I wished I had just stayed at the castle because the castle during Hogsmeade trips was lovely. All that was there were first years to third years and the occasional person from a year higher than that that had detention or just didn’t want to go. It was a nice change from the riot it was during school time.
“So, how are you doing in Ancient Runes?” Louis asked conversationally.
“Erm, slightly better actually…”I said.
Louis smiled a bright, genuine smile. “Really? That’s fantastic. You’re going to pass your N.E.W.T’s no problem.”
“Er, thank…you.” I smiled.
“I think I’ll get Molly to make a tutoring timetable for us so I don’t have to keep organising these last minute ones because, let’s admit, my tutoring’s been all over the place so far. I mean what about that homework I set you on our first lesson? I never even asked you if you did it,” Louis mused.
“I know the homework was just crappy but did you find out the symbol for love?” Louis stared directly at my face as he said this and I suddenly began to feel very uncomfortable; very hot and very red.
“Er, yeah. It’s…um…” Come on, I knew this. “It’s like a, er, ‘p’ with a line going diagonally through it?” It came out as a question which wasn’t as confident as I had hoped I’d sounded.
“Pretty much.” Louis nodded a nod which I think was approving. “Well done.”
I blushed, unsurprisingly. The colour of my face was just so predictable. Louis probably talked about me as the ‘tomato girl’ when he told people about our tutoring…if he told people about our tutoring. Thinking about it, he was probably too embarrassed to even be associated with me let alone tell people he tutored me. Silly Loria.
“Louis,” Zoe called in an annoying high voice.
“Yeah?” replied Louis.
“Help me carry all of these bags.”
When I looked up from where I’d been staring at my feet, I was shocked by the amount of shopping bags Zoe held. How could one girl need that much stuff? It was complete madness. Whenever I went shopping I only came back with one, maybe two, bags. Not even Breanne shopped that much. Safe to say, Zoe Walters was a mad woman.
Under his breath, Louis muttered, “fucking hell,” before reluctantly taking the majority of her bags. Even he appeared to be struggling under the weight.
“Um, do you want me to help?” I asked.
Louis shook his head.
“Let’s all go to the Three Broomsticks,” Zoe suggested cheerfully, completely oblivious to Louis’ slight struggle.
Both Louis and I agreed and we made our way to the Three Broomsticks. It was no surprise that the place was chock full of students. We only just managed to get a small table right in the back, right corner.
Louis went off to order our two butterbeers and one gillywater – the gillywater for Zoe as she was ‘watching her weight’ – which left me lone with Zoe; a situation which made me even more nervous and my hands clammier than I was with Louis. In my mind, it was almost a nightmare.
Plaiting her hair, Zoe looked at me smiling. She carried on smiling and looking as she did the long plait and tied it with a hairband. Only after that did she begin to initiate conversation. I would have preferred it if she had carried on plaiting.
“Loria,” she said.
“Uh, Zoe?” I said unsurely.
She clasped her hands together and leaned forward on the table. “I think it’s time we had a talk.”
Oh Merlin, that’s it, she knew. She knew I fancied her boyfriend and she was going to tell me to back off or else and I’d have never got to see Louis again and I’d fail all my N.E.W.T’s because I had no tutor and my whole life would be one big shambles. I was on the verge of tears just thinking about it. I braced myself for what I knew was to come but it never did.
“I’ve noticed that around boys you tend to blush and stutter a lot.”
Only around Louis, only Louis and maybe good looking boys but other than that I was fine. I was just shy.
“And I want to help you with that. Tell me, Loria, how many boyfriends have you had?” Zoe asked.
“Well… there was that…none. I’ve never had a boyfriend,” I admitted.
“I knew it,” said Zoe triumphantly.
I wasn’t that repulsive was I?
“I am going to teach you how to be around boys,” she said.
“No…you don’t have to.”
“But I want to.”
“Please, Loria.” Zoe made her eyes wide but I wasn’t giving in that easily. I didn’t want to talk to boys; I wanted to talk to Louis and only Louis. But Zoe wouldn’t help me with that.
“N – no,” I said.
“Oh come on.” Zoe looked annoyed now and I knew I’d gone down a bad path but I was adamant. I didn’t want to be made out as a fool. Lessons on talking to boys? You didn’t get more pathetic than that especially if said lessons were to be given by Zoe Walters. She’d have probably had me in six inch heels and a dress that only just covered my bum. I had modesty.
I shook my head.
“You know, I wasn’t always such a guru on boys. There was this one boy who I fancied the pants off his name was S –” Zoe stopped mid-sentence and I couldn’t help but wonder; was she going to say Scott? Also, why did she stop?
I looked up startled as Louis placed the drinks on the table. He looked between me and Zoe: Zoe’s face looked a mix between pleading and annoyed while mine must have just looked uncomfortable. No change there, I guess.
“What’s going on here?” he asked.
“I was just offering Loria – “
At that point I needed to do something. I would not have Zoe telling Louis that she’d offered me lessons on talking to boys – at least not while I was there. I had to get out of there and fast.
“I…I, er, I need to go,” I said hurriedly before picking up my bags and hurrying as fast as I could out of the crowded pub.
It was a relief to step out into the chilly spring air and being stuck in that corner in the crowded pub. I couldn’t think straight in there but now my mind was clearer. I was in my element – by myself. I adored being alone, in my eyes it was the best way to be. Of course, not all the time but occasionally some ‘me time’ was always a good thing.
I walked along the cobbled pavement of Hogsmeade with the intent of going back up to the castle and studying but then something – or should I say, someone – caught my eye. Thinking back, it was probably quite funny sight because it wasn't every day you saw Emily Savage playing detective.
Not playing detective exactly, more like stalker. Yes, Emily was following rather closely behind Scott Bones and the poor boy knew nothing of it. And if he did, he wasn’t doing anything. I also noticed that Alfie wasn’t there. Surely Emily hadn’t ditched him to stalk – I mean investigate – Scott.
Slowly, I walked up to Emily and took great care in being quiet. When I tapped her on the shoulder, she must have jumped about a foot in the air. I held my hand over my mouth to stop my laughter.
“What are you doing?” I asked, laughing slightly.
“Following Scott,” Emily replied casually as if this was just an everyday thing for her.
“What about Alfie?”
Emily looked confused for a second before realisation dawned on her. “Oh…I sort of ditched him at Honeydukes.” She bit her lip nervously.
“I’m sure he won’t mind,” I tried to reassure her.
“I’ll speak to him later…not that I care if he gets angry or anything. It’s not like I even like him that much,” said Emily although I could easily see through her lie although I didn’t tell her this, I just let her think that she was a good liar.
“Anyway,” Emily continued, “I need to find out the places Scott hangs out and stuff so that I can find out his interests, become his friend and ask him about Zoe.”
“I’m still not sure about this,” I said.
Emily’s head snapped round to look at me. “What? Why? I’m putting in so much effort.”
“It’s just mean. Zoe’s really lovely and what if Louis found out? He’d hate me,” I exclaimed.
“But why would he find out? If it was by natural causes, he’d never know.” Emily smiled smugly as if what she had just said was the final answer.
“He might and then we’d never get marri- … together,” I hastily corrected my slip up and I didn’t think Emily noticed.
Except she did.
“Married, eh?” she smirked. “Taking things a bit fast there, Lori. You and Louis aren’t even friends yet.”
“Yes we are,” I told her.
Emily raised an eyebrow disbelievingly. “Really?”
“Yes,” I confirmed, “since yesterday, actually.”
Then I stuck my tongue out at her like the mature seventeen year old I was. Because unlike most students in my year who were eighteen, I was still at the small age of seventeen. Woe is me.
“Shit,” Emily muttered.
“Scott. We’ve lost him.”
I looked around and spotted a flash of blue turn the corner leading the way up to Hogwarts.
“No we haven’t,” I said.
Emily looked at me as though I was dumb, which I was but not at that moment. “Yes, we have.” She gestured to the street around us which was almost empty expect for the both of us and a group of giggling fourth years. “Do you see him anywhere?”
I rolled my eyes. “Follow me.”
I walked in the direction I had seen Scott leave and Emily, while reluctantly, followed. Muttering things under her breath that “we’ve lost him” and “no one appreciates a good old fashioned plan to get a boyfriend these days”. I found it all rather amusing.
As we turned the corner, I pointed out Scott rather triumphantly. “Look, there he is.”
Emily squinted at the blue headed figure who was now quite far away before turning to me, a look of disbelief and ‘are you stupid’ and her face.
“You complete and utter twit.”
“That’s not Scott, that’s Alfie…oh shit that’s Alfie.” Emily suddenly looked panicked.
“How is that Alfie?” I demanded.
“He was wearing a blue hat.”
Oh…well that made sense. But I was so sure it was Scott. Maybe Emily’s right, I really am dumb. No wonder I was failing in every class – not only was I lacking academically but also in general. I was lacking in social skills, skills with boys, common sense. You didn’t get dumber than Loria Kent. Well, at least I was reasonably nice.
“Alfie,” Emily shouted. “Alfie, wait up!”
And then she was off running towards Alfie who was either ignoring her or couldn’t hear her. The latter seemed more likely as from what he had said to me, Alfie really liked Emily so I doubted he’d just ignore her when she was running towards him shouting his name. So much for not liking him that much.
Alone, I trudged up to the castle thinking over Emily’s plan. It could work but was I willing to take the risk? I didn’t know. The benefits were what I had wanted for seven years but there was also consequences if anyone ever found out. One side of me wanted to go along with Emily but the other was telling me not to. If you were quoting a cheesy muggle song, it would have been a battle between my head and my heart – my head was overthinking as usual and saying no but my heart was being it’s careless love-for-all self and saying yes.
The problem was – which did I choose?
At dinner later that day, I sat alone. Emily was off somewhere with Alfie. As I sat, I noticed Breanne enter the Great Hall, scan the hall and her eyes landed on me but then they moved onto the Gryffindor table to where Louis and Zoe sat. She went there instead, ignoring McGonagall’s glare.
I didn’t know why I expected her to come over to me because why would she? She hadn’t spoken to me for at least a week so there was no reason for her to start now. Breanne was probably still annoyed about whatever I had done to make her annoyed in the first place. For the life of me I couldn’t figure it out.
With my knife and fork, I cut a large square off of my steak and stuffed it in my face. The attempt to chew it taking my mind off everything.
I choked on my steak and the person began to pat my back, trying the calm it until the steak flew out of my mouth and landed in my drink. Lovely. The person was Louis, fantastic just the person I wanted to see.
“Uh, yeah?” My face was red with in embarrassment because one, this was Louis Weasley and two, he had just witnessed me choking on my steak and it flying out of my mouth into my drink. That was definitely not the impression he wanted to get of me.
He handed me a piece of parchment. It was our tutoring time table.
“Molly did it,” he explained.
“Oh…well…thanks.” I smiled.
“You’re welcome,” he said and glanced towards the door. I followed his gaze and saw Zoe waiting with Breanne. “Well, I’ve gotta go. See you on Monday?”
“Yeah…” I said, “see you on Monday.”
With one last smile, he was gone and I was left trying to get the steak out of my drink with a spoon.
Ok, so first of all I'm so sorry for the long wait! I had a quarter of it written out a while ago and planned on working on it the other day but then something in RL happened and I was just a bit too shaken up to write. But anyway, I hope you like this because I'm quite pleased with it and am really enjoying these longer chapters, he he. Was the Hogsmeade awkward/good enough? Let me know what you thought :D
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