Chapter 19 : Nineteen - Elation
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The person that I actually made an effort to avoid was Delta, which was unfortunate considering she was probably the only person that would have any sympathy for me. But I didn’t necessarily like the idea of being around someone who could always tell how I was really feeling. It was actually pretty unnerving. But, other than Delta, I didn’t necessarily avoid anyone else. In fact, I just spent most of my time alone in the library. I knew I couldn’t keep this up forever though. Lorcan and Lysander would probably be last to notice, considering I still saw them on a regular basis. Al, Rose, and Lauren, on the other hand, had probably already noticed after a few days that I was being distant.
In fact, it was actually Rose that noticed first considering she stopped me in a corridor one day after classes, “You aren’t avoiding me now, are you?”
I shook my head, “No. I’ve just been busy.”
“Okay, but in all seriousness, I don’t care what anybody thinks, not even Malfoy. So you don’t have to worry about me telling you to back off until this all blows over or anything.”
I didn’t necessarily believe that she didn’t care about what Malfoy thinks, considering she was in love with him or something, but I didn’t push it. It didn’t have anything to do with why I had been secluding myself, “This actually doesn’t have anything to do with that. I’ve been busy like I said.”
Then I found some excuse to leave her behind in the corridor, before she could question me about it. I knew that if there was anybody I could talk to about it, besides Delta, it was Rose. She had told me she fancied Malfoy, after all, and I had kept it a secret... Despite that Lauren would occasionally ask me who I thought Rose actually liked. But telling Rose about what happened would mean admitting to how I really felt about it, and I still wasn’t ready to do that. In fact, I spent even more of my time studying than anything else because I was trying not to think about it.
It occurred to me after a few days that I didn’t even know if Lauren and Lysander were continuing to date or not. For one thing, Lysander didn’t mention it if they did. Although I assumed that was because he was still afraid that I was pissed about it, despite the fact that I had told him several times that I wasn’t. Secondly, I couldn’t recall seeing them together after Valentine’s Day. However, I could probably guess that was because I was sort of avoiding everyone or they were simply being secretive about it.
Another minor issue I had to deal with was the fact that Sarah had told everyone in our house that I had been cheating on her. So nearly everywhere I went I was followed by occasional whispers and disgusted looks, and sometimes there would be the occasional person that was brave enough to say what they thought of me aloud. I had learned to ignore them after a while, though, and after I had been nearly killed by the Whomping Willow it really wasn’t that bad; it seemed like some people were sympathetic. I’m not entirely sure how we managed to get out of detention for dueling on the grounds, but I supposed that was probably because I had almost died as a result. Maybe the professors assumed we had learned our lesson, or maybe when Al and Malfoy were asked about how it happened they lied. I didn’t know which was the case but I didn’t really care, I was just grateful I hadn’t landed myself another month of scrubbing tables.
Anyway, there was another Quidditch Match coming up in March, so I found that the rest of the Quidditch team was very insistent on practicing. They basically had us practice until our limbs were past sore. I didn’t really care though because practicing with my team meant that there was too much going on for me to become bored. One night, however, I elected to stay in the pitch long after my team had left, beating the bludger until I felt like my arms were going to fall off. It was quite cold out, too, although the snow had melted since Valentine’s Day. But I paid little attention to the fact that I was nearly frozen because I was taking my frustrations out on the bludger. I hardly noticed when Al entered the pitch, at least not until he flew up towards me.
“I’m pretty sure the bludger has learned its lesson,” he said, and I realized that he must have realized I had been out there for some time. I agreed silently and we managed to wrestle the bludger back into its case before leaving the pitch together.
“Do you mind if I ask who you’re angry with?” he asked as we were crossing the grounds.
I considered shrugging and saying nothing before realizing that was probably a bad idea, so I settled with telling him that I was just frustrated. I didn’t know if he believed me or not, but he didn’t press any further. Instead, he said, “Okay, well Rose and I have noticed that you’ve been isolating yourself. I’d bet Lauren has probably noticed, too. Unless you have been talking to her?”
I shook my head, “I haven’t talked to her since Valentine’s Day.”
Al stopped walking after a moment, “So you are mad that Lysander fancies her, aren’t you?”
I stopped to turn and take a look at him, “No. I don’t care if Lysander fancies her. In fact, I wouldn’t care if every bloke in Hogwarts fancied her.”
“Dude,” Al seemed to grin, starting to walk beside me again, “You need to chill. Besides, they’re not even dating anyway.”
Well that’s curious...
He shook his head, “Nope. Lysander’s too afraid to even talk to her now. Apparently she told him she needed some time to think or some rubbish like that.”
Very curious, indeed...
“Yep. They haven’t talked much since Valentine’s Day as far as I know. It’s weird because I thought that maybe she fancied him after she wouldn’t admit it was a date.”
It took me a moment to reply because I was under the impression that she just didn’t realize it was a date. Although I realized that maybe I was just hoping that was the case. But that couldn’t be it, could it? I mean I had come to that conclusion even before I saw Lysander snogging her... Surely that conclusion wasn’t influenced by how I felt about it.
“That is weird.”
He didn’t seem to notice that my mind was elsewhere and continued the conversation, “Anyway, now I’m thinking that something else is going on. Maybe she fancies somebody else or something.”
“Or maybe she just doesn’t fancy Lysander,” I was still trying to convince myself that my feelings had nothing to do with why I thought she didn’t like him, so I paid little attention to how I said this. Actually, I wasn’t even looking at Al anymore.
“Mmm,” Al took a moment before saying, “Well maybe you should talk to her about it.”
Now that pulled me out of my thoughts, and I looked at him like he had just told me he secretly wanted to become a ballerina, “What?”
“I said that maybe you should ask Lauren about it. You know, since you’re her best friend,” He said, smirking.
I continued to look at him quizzically, “You can’t be serious. If anyone should try to talk to her about this it should be Rose, or some other girl.”
Al was smiling now, “All right, I see your point. Maybe it should be Rose that talks to her. All I know is that she won’t tell me what’s going on.”
“So you’ve asked her, then?”
“Like I said, she won’t tell me what’s going on. She just told me she needed to figure it out on her own.”
At this point, we had just entered the castle and were starting to walk toward the stairs. When I didn’t have anything to say in reply, Al changed the subject, “So, back to Valentine’s Day. What did you and Delta do after I left?”
I am ashamed to admit that I replied automatically, without considering what I was about to say, “We went to The Three Broomsticks.”
Al nearly tripped over the first step up the stairs, “You did what?”
I nearly made to hit myself in the forehead. Stupid stupid stupid!
“It didn’t even cross my mind that Lauren and Lysander were going to be there – I just wanted to be somewhere with the least amount of red and pink as possible.”
“Well,” Al took a moment, “If they saw you there they didn’t say anything about it.”
“Good,” I replied, “I don’t want either of them to think I was spying.”
Then Al looked at me skeptically, “You weren’t actually spying, were you?”
I clenched my fists, frustrated that he would even ask me such a thing, “No. Why would I do that?”
He seemed to make a face as he thought of what to say, looking ahead at the steps as he answered, “I don’t know, it just seems strange that you immediately went to The Three Broomsticks after I left.”
“Delta wanted to go there, too,” I added, “She didn’t want to be around a lot of red and pink either.”
“So she suggested it, then?” he asked as we were passing the third floor.
I took a moment to think, trying to decide whether or not to tell him that it was actually me that had suggested it. However, I realized that Al had learned the answer in the time that I took to reply – if it had been Delta that suggested going to The Three Broomsticks then I wouldn’t have had to think about it before answering. Defeated, I said, “No, it was my idea.”
Al shook his head, “You’re really not building a good defense for yourself.”
At this, I started to really get mad, and the muscles in my jaw flexed in response, “I shouldn’t have to defend myself. I don’t care if Lysander and Lauren date or not, nor would I spy on them if they did. Seriously, drop it before I really get angry.”
Then Al stopped looking at me curiously, seeming to realize he was going too far, “All right, I’ll drop it.”
I let my face relax, “Thank you.”
The next morning I was sitting beside Lorcan in Defense Against the Dark Arts as Professor Cauldwell was going on about nonverbal spells again. It seemed like nonverbal spells was all that we had been working on since January, but considering how difficult they had proven themselves to be, it really was no surprise that we were still practicing them. On that day, however, when he dismissed us to pair off with a partner to practice nonverbally shielding ourselves, I was a bit surprised when Lauren nearly bolted from her chair, grabbed my arm and said, “Be my partner?”
“What about Jessica?” I asked, only then noticing that Lauren’s usual partner was absent.
“She’s ill, now please be my partner before Lysander makes his way over here,” She pleaded.
I glanced over to where Lysander was sitting, looking at us curiously, before agreeing and rising from my chair. Lauren led me to the far corner of the room, farthest away from Lorcan and Lysander – they had apparently paired up and were on the other side of the room.
“Erm,” Lauren started, raising her wand, “Are you any good at nonverbal spells?”
I gave her a look, “I suppose, though I haven’t tried shielding myself nonverbally.”
“Well maybe you should try it first – I’m not any good at this nonverbal crap.”
Smirking, I agreed and allowed her to try and disarm me. For the first ten or fifteen minutes, she succeeded in sending my wand flying through the air – most of the time landing in her outstretched palm – before I finally managed to summon a shield strong enough to throw the spell back at her. She had to drop to the ground at the last second to avoid being hit by it, and when she got back up she was grinning at me.
Finally, after another few minutes of me successfully blocking her spells, I suggested that she tried it.
“No way,” she said, shaking her head, “I already told you I suck at nonverbal spells.”
I tried not to laugh, “What are you worried about? I’m not going to hurt you.”
I thought she was going to protest, but then she surprised me by agreeing to let me try to disarm her. However, the first time I sent the spell her way, she verbally shielded herself and I had to duck to avoid being hit. “Sorry,” she said, looking surprised by what she had just done, “It just makes me nervous when something is flying toward me.”
I would have said it was fine, but at that moment Professor Cauldwell decided to dismiss us and we found ourselves out in the corridors again. Lauren managed to catch up to me as I was making my way upstairs alone, surprising me when she called after me. I turned around and considered telling her I needed to study or something before I gave in and walked back down the stairs, “Yes?”
“Erm,” she bit her lip, looking around for a moment, “I was just wondering if maybe you would help me out.”
I raised a brow, “With what?”
Lauren looked at me like I should already know what she was asking, “Nonverbal spells, of course. You said you were good at them. So I thought that maybe you could help me with them?”
I looked at her for a long time, trying to decide what to do. On the one hand, I didn’t necessarily think it was a good idea to let myself be alone with her considering the fact that I had been trying not to think about her since Valentine’s Day. Yet, on the other hand, I really wanted to help her out... And spend some time alone with her, I’ll admit. And maybe I could figure out why she hadn’t given Lysander an answer.
She was beginning to look at me oddly before I answered, “All right, I’ll help you out. But keep in mind that there’s a match coming up, so I don’t have a lot of free time right now.”
Lauren beamed at me, which made me suddenly feel elated, and then said, “Okay, just let me know when; I don’t have a match to get ready for.” As I stood there, trying to push away the elated feeling that had just flooded through me, she told me that she needed to go check on Jessica. Just as she was about to walk off I called after her, and she turned around.
“I’ve got one condition if you want my help.”
I couldn’t help but smirk as I said it, “You can’t call me cupcake.”
Lauren laughed and called back, before turning to walk off, “Okay, shithead!”
A/N: I actually don't have much to say right now.
So please review haha :)
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