Chapter 9 : Picnic
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When I woke up, the first thing I did was take a better look at the timetable. In boxes which didn’t contain the words ‘tutoring’ and which tutoring it was, there was a messy scrawl of ‘fun!’ which I presumed was Louis’ doing as I didn’t think Molly would have written that – and so untidily as well.
I looked at the schedule for Sunday and was surprised to find a little box at noon with the words ‘fun!’ scribbled in it. Sunday was today which meant spending time with Louis. Which meant me going into awkward Loria mute mode. That was just dandy.
I sat up and crept across to Emily’s bed and poked her. She didn’t wake up so I tried again.
“Emily,” I whispered.
Emily flapped her hand around and hit me in the face, it hurt quite a lot actually. “G’way,” she mumbled.
“Please, Em, I need help,” I whined.
A voice from Breanne’s bed said, “Stop your whinging.”
I ignored it and poked Emily again, this time her eyes flickered open and she sat up with a frown creasing her forehead.
“What time is it?” she asked.
“Er,” I looked at the clock, “a quarter to eight.”
“On a Sunday?”
“Why, Loria, why?” asked Emily – I think she was annoyed at being woken up so early.
“I’m sorry,” I apologised and handed her the timetable, “but look at this.”
Emily’s eyes lit up as she read it and when she looked at me she winked. She didn’t offer any advice, just winked. This, ladies and gentleman, was my closest friend.
“This is perfect for the plan.” Emily rubbed her hands together evilly.
I sighed. “I’m in.”
“What?” asked Emily.
“I’m in with the plan,” I said.
I turned around and Emily looked horror stricken. Breanne was sat up in her bed, brown hair all over the place staring at us with one of her perfectly plucked eyebrows raised. Well, wasn’t this just peachy? Emily and I glanced at each other, neither of us knowing what to do. We couldn’t just tell her – we couldn’t have been sure whether she’d keep it to herself or not.
“Nothing…” I trailed off when I saw Breanne’s disbelieving smirk.
“I’m not all that bothered – Emily’s always scheming one thing or another.” Breanne swung her legs out of bed and padded over to the bathroom not sparing us a backwards glance.
When she had disappeared into the bathroom, Emily and I let out a sigh of relief. As of then, we were sure that Breanne hadn’t figured anything out. Not that the plan was exactly bad, it wasn’t like we were planning to rob Gringotts or anything but it would have created so much teenage drama. More than I, my little social reject self, could handle.
I talked to Emily some more about what to do when I had to meet Louis at noon. She told me to just relax, Louis and I were friends now and there was nothing to be awkward about. Friends were not awkward around each other and I had to learn to be at least semi-normal around Louis. He probably didn’t want to be friends with a silly unsociable person so I had to try and be a less silly, more sociable person. It couldn’t have been too hard. I was fine with Emily so there was no reason for me not to be fine with Louis. Other than the fact that he was bloody gorgeous and I fancied the pants off of him. That was it really.
Maybe if I didn’t make eye contact with him – because eye contact always caught me staring deeply into his eyes – I’d be fine. I could have just looked at his hair…no, too perfect and windswept. Or his ear, his ear could have been a good choice. Although he might have found it weird if I stared at his ear the whole time.
I was ready for this.
When eleven o’clock rolled around, Emily was back asleep and I was ready. An hour too early but ready nonetheless. I thought I looked quite nice – nicer than usual anyway. I didn’t look too dressed up but I didn’t look too shoddy either. I looked pretty casual and casual was the way to go.
With my head held high and my confidence levels at their highest, I left the dorm and walked through the tunnel leading to the common room. Unsurprisingly, it was very busy but that did not deter me. I dodged in between the various different people and left through the entrance.
The Hogwarts corridors were empty as most people were having a late breakfast, sleeping or studying. Sunday was a good day for me to emerge out of my dorm. Louis had chosen well. I wondered what Louis was doing at that moment. Was he excited for our afternoon of fun? Probably not but I, although slightly nervous, was practically buzzing with excitement and anticipation for what this day would bring.
I entered the Great Hall in a good mood and walked breezily down to my usual spot at the Hufflepuff table. I had my usual breakfast of blueberry and apple porridge and my usual drink of tea – it seemed almost wrong to have anything other than my porridge and tea. I just couldn’t do it.
The Great Hall was surprisingly quiet aside from a few little groups chatting here and there but other than that, the atmosphere was relatively nice and calm. In case you hadn’t guessed, I loved peace and quiet. Probably more than the average person should have, but that was just me. Although, bear in mind that my love for quiet was the only small thing to differentiate me from most people – other than that, I was fairly average.
“Ugh, George, you are disgusting,” a second year girl four seats down from me whined.
I looked at the George in question and couldn’t help agree that George was, indeed, disgusting. He had milk dribbling down his chin and had his mouth open to reveal all the mushy cereal in his mouth. Clearly, he was going to be a catch when he got older.
When I saw Breanne approaching the Hufflepuff table, I busied myself with pretending to pour more tea but there was only so much tea and milk you could pour into a mug before you had to look up. To my slight disappointment, Breanne had sat in what used to be her usual seat. I guess it was still her usual seat but she hadn’t sat in it for so long which made seeing her on it so strange for me.
“Hello,” said Breanne.
“How’re you and Louis?” she asked.
“Me and Louis...there is no me and Louis,” I answered sadly, although I hoped she didn’t pick up on it. Not that it would matter because she knew anyway but there was something about not really being friends with Breanne anymore that made me feel awkward talking about it with her.
“Of course there’s a you and Louis,” said Breanne, “you’re always together. Maybe only as friends but you’re still sort of a pair.”
“Oh, I didn’t realise,” I said plainly.
“Tell me this, Loria, why do you like him?” asked Breanne.
“He’s funny…nice…good looking…lovely and an all-round top boy,” I replied.
“But he’s not the right one for you – not to mention he’s taken!” she exclaimed.
“It’s not like I’m going to split him and Zoe up or anything…” I trailed off realising my mistake.
The mistake being that I was going to try and split Louis and Zoe up – in the nicest way possible of course but still the guilt kicked in almost immediately. Who was I kidding; I would have never been able to do such a thing without the burden of my overwhelming guilt afterwards. It seemed that Breanne had picked up on it as well. If she knew, Emily would kill me.
“You wouldn’t.” Breanne looked scandalised.
“Wouldn’t what?” Yes, Loria: play it cool, act as if you don’t know what she was on about. That was always a good path to take in the art of avoidance and in the art of avoidance I was practically a pro.
“Try and split Louis and Zoe up! I thought you were better than that Loria.” Breanne shook her head.
She was right; I was better than that. It was completely out of character for me to do such a thing but the benefits…I couldn’t help but think of the benefits. As long as Louis never found out, it would all be fine but knowing me, it’d stay on my conscious for ages until I just had to tell him and then he wouldn’t speak to me ever again. He’d hate me forever.
“I…I’m not doing that…”
I don’t know why I even bothered saying that. Breanne knew and there wasn’t anything I could have done about it. If Breanne knew she’d probably have told Zoe who would have told Louis and both of them would hate me and the whole school would hate me and… No. I was overreacting, surely. I always overreacted and it was one of the worst things about me.
It was all Breanne’s fault. If she hadn’t turned up and acted shocked that I’d do something like that then saying I was better than that. She was in it for the guilt trip. But I wouldn’t be guilt tripped; I refused to let Breanne send me into such states of panic. These states of panic were completely irrelevant as they most likely would never happen so I didn’t know why I worried so much.
Breanne gave me a sceptical look but let it go much to my surprise. Breanne wasn’t one to just let things go. Look at how she’d treated me for example: without explanation she’d just let while I was in the hospital wing too! That, ladies and gentlemen, was a prime example for overreaction. Just the smallest things made her go into overdrive.
“Well…I’ve gotta…go,” I said awkwardly before scrambling off the bench and hurrying away from the table, not even daring to look behind me in case Breanne was watching me.
Of course, while I wasn’t looking behind me I still wasn’t really looking where I was going. This led to me crashing into someone.
“Whoa, watch where you’re…oh hi Loria.”
I looked up and saw Louis smiling down on me. Suddenly, I remembered our plans for that day and a nervous giddy feeling came up inside of me. More scared than anything.
“Ready for today?” Louis asked as we walked side by side. Yes, that’s right, I was walking beside Louis Weasley and I hadn’t even tripped or stuttered once. Granted I hadn’t yet spoken but still, call me butter because I was on a roll.
“Yeah!” I said a bit overenthusiastically.
Maybe I should have just stuck to stuttering and mumbling, it suited me more and while embarrassing, wasn’t as embarrassing as what I had just done. Shy Loria over crazy maniacal sounding Loria any day.
“Well that’s good.” I could hear the laugh in Louis’ voice and felt my cheeks heat up and redden. I was a complete and utter idiot, even Louis thought so. Although, he probably had already thought that but it was nicer to not bring that up to myself as it made me upset and just a tiny bit self-conscious while around him.
For the rest of our walk he led and I followed, completely unsure of where we were going. I didn’t know where I expected we’d end up really. Over the past month I’d learnt that Louis Weasley could be very unpredictable and sometimes a little dangerous. I guess I was willing to take this risk, after all we were friends now and he was going to teach me to be fun and have fun. Friendships were in a way, sort of like relationships in the sense that they were built on trust and at that moment all I could do was trust him and hope that I wouldn’t end up like last time. That time was purely my fault but either way, I refused to end up in the hospital wing again.
The air hit me as we walked out of the large doors. Technically, it was supposed to be the middle of spring and getting warmer however that kind of whether shouldn’t have been expected at a school in Scotland. I started to wish I’d worn one of my woolly cardigans instead of just a long sleeved top but it was too late now. I needed to man up and brave the cold.
“Come on,” said Louis excitedly and began to walk faster.
I had to jog a little to keep up with him as my legs weren’t as long as his. Not to say that Louis was the tallest bloke around but he was a lot taller than me which was bad enough. Scurrying alongside him, much like a mouse actually, Louis and I walked across the grass and down a hill.
We passed a large round patch which looked like a small house or something had been burnt down. Come to think of it, I’m sure Binns had taught us something about that back in Fourth year but I couldn’t be sure. Maybe he did but maybe he didn’t, I decided I’d ask Emily later that night - that is, if I didn’t get myself knocked out and end up in the hospital. I’d have hated for that to happen because I hated the pity people gave me. Yes, I was injured but it didn’t mean I couldn’t think for myself. Merlin, people those days. Although they were only being nice and I shouldn’t have been so mean about it…
“We’re here,” Louis announced.
I dragged myself away from my apologetic thoughts and looked at what was in front of me: a broom and a picnic basket. If it wasn’t for the broom, I would have been perfectly happy with this arrangement. I loved picnic’s.
“We’re going to have a picnic on the roof of Gryffindor tower!” said Louis enthusiastically.
Well that explained the broom but a picnic on Gryffindor tower? Surely that was impossible. The roof was a long point, it would have been impossible to sit on and if it was possible, it would have been extremely uncomfortable.
“W-what?” I squeaked.
“I know, it sounds really strange but I promise it’s safe, I tricked Molly into telling me a spell that flattens the tip of a point and I used it on the roof and it worked.” Louis smiled hopefully at me.
“O-okay.” I smiled slightly back.
Louis picked up the picnic basket and tied it to the back of his broom and climbed on, gesturing for me to get on behind him. That’s when I realised how close Louis and I were actually going to be. I would be right behind him, possibly having to wrap my arms around him. This was too much for me to handle. Sure I wanted to be as close to him as I possibly could but I was not ready for this…this closeness. It was extremely scary and daunting and I could already picture everything that could have gone wrong. What if I held on too tight? What if he decided to throw me off because I was too heavy for the broom?
“Come on,” Louis urged.
Reluctantly and slowly, I walked over to where he sat patiently on the hovering broom. I hesitated.
“Just get on the broom, Loria.” Louis rolled his eyes.
With my legs shaking due to the sheer amount of nervousness I felt, I climbed – well, clambered – onto the broom awkwardly and left my hands in my lap. I didn’t want to appear too eager by putting my arms around him straight away or anything.
“Hold on to me,” said Louis.
“Oh?” I squeaked.
Louis paused. “Well you’ll fall off otherwise…”
“Oh, right, yeah,” I mumbled and wrapped my arms around his slightly podgy stomach. Of course it wasn’t exactly fat because I could feel muscles but he wasn’t muscle man. Either way, he was still extremely attractive and I didn’t want him to be like a body builder or anything. Louis had a perfect stomach obviously.
Louis kicked off from the ground and we were flying higher and higher. I felt my grip get tighter on Louis the more scared I got but at that point I didn’t care. Terror made all rational thoughts fly out of the window. If Louis noticed my tighter clinging, he didn’t say anything and for that I was grateful.
At last and much to my relief, we soon landed on the roof which was, as promised, flat. However it was still higher up than I was comfortable with and I was scared. Scared of falling and dying to be more specific because with my bad luck, something like that probably would have happened.
Louis set out the picnic blanket – woolly and tartan of course – and opened up the picnic basket. Cautiously, I sat down on the blanket opposite him and took a jam sandwich gratefully.
As I munched on it, Louis began to talk.
“So what do you think?” he asked smiling.
“It’s…it’s nice,” I replied and I wasn’t lying. After a while, I had started to realise how nice this was; me and Louis, alone, having a picnic on Gryffindor tower. For me it was pure heaven. For Louis it was just doing something nice for someone else.
“Good, good…I’ve got lots more to come.” He winked playfully and I laughed.
It was probably the first time in Louis’ company where I had actually laughed properly. No holding back, I just let it out. In all honesty I wasn’t sure what exactly I was laughing at. Maybe it was the way Louis’ face had looked when he winked? I didn’t know. But what I did know was that I was starting to come out of my shell around him and that fact pleased me. After all, if I wanted this plan to even have a chance of working I couldn’t be so awkward around Louis.
“What do you think of the sandwiches?” Louis asked as I reached for another one.
“They’re nice,” I said.
“I made them myself; I made all the food myself. Except for the brownies, Zoe made them with some old recipe book she found,” Louis said.
“Oh…” I was slightly disappointed at that but I couldn’t bash Zoe’s brownies, they were lovely. “Zoe’s a good cook.”
“Yeah.” Louis smiled. “When I’m unwell I can always count on Zoe to bake me something. Can you cook, Loria?”
Zoe was evidently the perfect girlfriend and she and Louis were obviously perfect for each other. I didn’t know why I even bothered. The plan was pointless and considering how great Zoe and Louis were together, I didn’t think I had the heart to break them up.
“Not really,” I told Louis because I was a terrible cook but I didn’t want him to know that because he was a boy and it was common knowledge that boys liked girls who could cook and make them food.
“Well, I’ll just have to add that onto my fun list then,” mused Louis.
Bloody Nora, we weren’t going to have a cooking session, were we? That would have been the ultimatum of my embarrassing moments. Believe me when I say this: I wasn’t exaggerating when I said I was a terrible cook.
“Oh…yeah…that would be, um…fun.” I tried to sound convincingly happy about this but obviously I failed. Was there anything I didn't fail at?
Oblivious as always, Louis didn’t notice or make a comment on my obvious displeasure. Instead, he continued to cram potato salad into his mouth. Let me tell you this, I found it very attractive despite how disgusting it should have been. He even made disgusting cramming of potato salad into his mouth look good. Zoe was definitely the luckiest girl alive.
“I almost forgot,” said Louis suddenly, “I brought you a surprise!”
A surprise? I liked surprises…well, only nice surprises and I was sure that this would be a nice surprise.
Louis searched around in the picnic basket for a minute before pulling out a bowl of something. I guessed it was something hot by the oven gloves he was wearing. Yes, I was in love with a boy who brought oven gloves to a picnic. I smelt something familiar, very familiar. Something that I was sure I’d smelt a lot but I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was.
Placing the bowl down in front of me, Louis glanced up grinning. I looked into the bowl and the butterflies in my stomach went wild, my face started flushing and my heart was racing. Louis had brought blueberry and apple porridge to the picnic. If I wasn’t in love with him already I sure as hell would have fallen in love with him then. I couldn’t believe he’d remembered.
“Th-thank you,” I stuttered in awe.
“I remembered you liked it and thought it’d be a nice surprise,” said Louis.
“I, er, I appreciate it,” I said, “I just, um, can’t believe you remembered.”
“Who can forget a girl whose favourite food is blueberry and apple porridge?” Louis chuckled.
I giggled slightly and picked up the spoon. Feeling just a tiny bit self-conscious, I scooped up some porridge on my spoon and swallowed it gratefully. Then, all feelings of having to act like a lady in front of Louis were gone. Hungrily, I ate the porridge similarly to how Louis had eaten the potato salad. We really were just a pair of animals.
“Enjoying it?” Louis smirked and smirk that made my legs go to jelly.
“It’s nice to find a girl who isn’t ashamed to enjoy what they eat and…show that,” he said.
I blushed and smiled slightly; taking what he had said as a compliment because I was sure it was a compliment.
“Thank you?” I said.
“You’re welcome,” said Louis.
For the next hour we just talked and ate and laughed and I could really feel myself opening up to him. I couldn’t have wished for a better day. Honestly, who wouldn’t enjoy a fun-filled picnic with their one true love since first year in which said love gave them apple and blueberry porridge?
aloha! I know it's only chapter 9 but I honestly didn't think I'd get this far in the story, I thought I'd give up at chapter 5 but here I am! Haha, anyway what did you think? Did I do the picnic all right or was it too brief? Tell me what you think! :D
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