“Is he here yet?” Daphne hisses.
“No sign of him yet,” Millicent responds in a hushed whisper.
I sigh; leave it to my friends to make it their mission to have my pre-date go just as well as my actual date. Currently Daphne is running a brush through my hair for like the fiftieth time, Pansy is reapplying blush to my cheeks, and Millicent is keeping watch.
It’s all part of a grand master plan for everything to go off without a hitch. According to Pansy the trick to getting a boyfriend is to make them chase you. Under no circumstances are you allowed to chase them even in minor ways. Thus it would make me look too needy to just wait in the common room for Theodore to show, I have to make him wait on me. I know, I don’t really get it either.
Pansy stops with the blush and leans back to examine her work, “There, you’re gorgeous,” she declares.
“Thanks Pansy,” I say impatiently, “Can I go out now?”
Pansy looks over to Millicent who shakes her head slightly, “Absolutely not,” she scolds me, “Remember the rules of the first date. You need to make him do everything. He has to wait for you to be ready, he has to hold the doors open and pull your seat out for you, and no kissing. That’s for second dates.”
“What if he doesn’t hold doors open or push my seat in behind me?” I ask for the fun of it.
Pansy gives me the ‘are you stupid?’ look. “Then you just stand there until he does,” she says.
I laugh openly at this. She can’t think I’m going to stand outside in the cold until he opens a door. Can she? Then I realize that she is staring at me with pursed lips. Oh, she actually does.
“Alright Pansy whatever you say,” I comfort her. I think I’ve been saying that too much lately. It’s a problem. I think I need to find out a new way to make Pansy stop talking other than just telling her she's right.
Pansy smiles and puts her hand on my shoulder, “You are ready.”
We wait around anther minute or two before Millicent declares her sighting. “He’s here!” she squeals. Pansy shoots her a look and she quiets herself. I’m already at my feet walking out the door.
“Make sure you remember-“Pansy starts up again. I shut the door in her face. Theodore is sitting on the black posh couch with his feet resting on the coffee table. When he sees me he stands immediately.
I am almost ashamed to say this is the first time I’ve actually looked at the boy. I mean sure I’ve seen him around but me never really examined him as a romantic interest. It was a complete surprise when he asked me out the other day. I was so caught off guard by it, the word "sure" just kind of slipped out; however, now that I am looking at him in that way I can’t say I regret agreeing to this. I have to admit Theodore Nott is kind of cute. His face is a little gaunt and he isn’t muscular or anything but he is nice and tall. And he had really curly dark hair. I’m a sucker for curly hair.
“Hi Tracey,” he says, “You look really nice.”
I blush, “Thanks, you look pretty handsome yourself.”
His lips twitch into a hint of a smile. “After you,” he says holding one hand out theatrically towards the exit. I find that I am suppressing a small giggle, but hey I suppressed it right.
“So what’s on the agenda?” I ask him. He hasn’t informed me on the details of our day yet. I’ve inferred that we were going to Hogsmeade. Why else would you ask a girl out on this specific weekend?
“Want to go to the Hogs Head?” he inquires with a shrug.
“You want to go to the Hogs Head?” I ask surprised. Usually people go to the Three Broomsticks, it’s a lot nicer than the Hogs Head and well, it’s just more popular.
Theodore looks at his feet kind of embarrassed, “I thought it would be nice to go to a place that’s a little more private. We can go to the Three Broomsticks if you want?”
I smile and shake my head, “Let’s go to the Hogs Head,” I say. My hand finds his and our fingers intertwine. It seems so natural that I don’t even realize that I’ve done it until it’s already happened. His hand feels smooth in mine. The boy probably has never done a day of work in his life. That’s fine though, neither have I.
We walk in silence the rest of the way to the tavern. It’s not that awful awkward type of silence that happens during dates gone wrong, it’s completely comfortable. We simply walk and enjoy each other’s presence. It occurs to me that the walk to Hogsmeade is really pretty, especially during this time of the year. The leaves have fallen off of the trees coating the ground with an autumn blanket. There isn’t a cloud in sight, so the sun is reflecting off of the yellows and oranges on the ground. The air is crisp, but the cold doesn’t bother me that much. You see I have a tall handsome teenage boy on my right keeping me warm.
When we start getting close I have a moment of unreasonable panic. I’m worrying about what would happen if he doesn’t open the door for me. What will I do? Will I just go in myself? What will Pansy say? It all turns out ok though as he is image of chivalry, opening the door for me and everything.
When we get inside he leads me to a booth in the corner. Obviously he doesn’t pull back the seat for me because booths are permanently stationary, but I’m sure Pansy would approve. We sit down and almost immediately the bar tender is there taking our order. He is an ancient man that Theodore seems to be acquainted with.
“What can I get for you two?” the man asks in a not so friendly gruff voice.
Theodore glances at me, “Butterbeer?” he asks.
“Sure,” I say.
“Two butterbeers then,” Theodore says.
The old man nods curtly before stalking away like we’ve pissed him off. “What’s with him?” I ask Theodore.
“I don’t think he likes me very much,” Theodore muses. “It’s a family thing I think. He was perfectly fine with me until about a month ago when he heard my last name.”
“Yeah I know the feeling,” I sympathize quietly.
“How’s your dad doing?” he asks with a wry smile.
“The same,” I say casually, “Hanging with the dementors and all.”
Theodore snorts and I do a poor job of suppressing a smile. It probably wasn’t the best joke in the world. You see both our dads were in Azkaban at the moment because they broke into the ministry last year trying to get at Harry Potter and company. They might be cell mates for all we know.
The old guy returns with our butterbears now. “That was fast,” I mutter surprised.
“Well there it isn’t exactly a full house hun,” the man shoots back sourly. Oops he must have heard me.
“He’s just so charming,” I comment sarcastically.
“Aw he’s not that bad,” Theodore says, “You just have to get past the part where you interact with him. After that he’s seems great.”
I roll my eyes, “So basically if you ignore him suddenly he's your best friend?”
“Yup,” Theodore says with a goofy lopsided grin.
“How’d you end up getting to know him so well anyways?” I ask narrowing my eyes in false suspicion.
“I always come here when we go to Hogsmeade,” he responds serious again.
“How come?” I ask curious,” Wouldn’t you rather be at the Three Broomsticks with Draco and friends?”
He shrugs, “Not really. I mean there is only so much Draco you can take in a day. Anyway I like it here. It’s quiet and nobody bugs me.”
“You would,” I say with a smile.
His black eyes light up slightly in amusement. “What’s that supposed to mean?” he asks.
“I don’t know. You just spend a lot of time in the library for a Slytherin,” I tell him.
“I like the library too,” he informs me.
“Let me guess,” I say squeezing my eyes closed so it looks like I’m reading his future, “It’s quiet and nobody bothers you?”
“How did you know?” he asks sarcastically.
“It’s magic,” I tell him. We both laugh again. We talk for a little while longer about random things: teachers, courses, our future, ect. It’s nice.
It takes me an hour to down my butterbeer and to be honest I don’t really want another one. They are a little too sweet for my taste. “You want to go for a walk?”
“Why not?” he says with a shrug. We both stand and I lead him out the front door. The cold air blows my hair back as we step outside.
I turn to make sure he is still behind me. He is there of course. Both of his hands are stuck in his pockets and his scarf is covering his mouth. “Are you cold?” I ask him amused.
"Nope,” he says.
“You’re a really bad liar,” I inform him. I think he’s smiling now but I can’t tell because his scarf is covering his mouth.
“Come on,” I say wrapping my arm around his so that he can keep his hand in his pocket. I lead him down the row of shops and point to strange places asking him if he wants to try them out. He wrinkles his nose and asks why anyone would want to spend their date in a joke shop, or in a herbology shop. I laugh, mostly because he looks really weird when he wrinkles his nose. Finally after we walk around for a little longer I point towards Tomes and Scrolls. He nods and we both step into the book store.
I’ve never been in Tomes and Scrolls before. I guess I figured if I needed a book the school library would suffice. It’s a relatively dark shop with rows and rows of novels lining the shelves. Most of the books look used as their covers are folded and bent or even falling off in some cases. Theodore seems right at home though. He leads me down one of the rows his fingers traveling along the spines of the books.
After a moment he stops and pulls one off the shelf, “This one’s my favorite,” he says. I take the weathered book from him and read the tiny golden type on the cover.
“Broken Wands,” I read aloud. “What’s it about?”
“It’s a mystery,” he explains, “Some witch is killed and her wand goes missing. It’s about the auror that hunts down the murderer.”
“Sounds cool” I mumble as I flip through the pages. I know I don’t have the attention span to get through a book so long but his interest in books is kind of cute. He seems so at home in the dusty shop. I'm not going to raiin on his parade by informing him of my squirrell-like attention span.
I look towards the end of the row and find myself smiling again. There is a table set up in the back with a bunch of picture books. I walk over and start browsing through their covers until… “This one’s my favorite,” I say showing him the book.
He flips it over and examines the cover, “The Witch and the Wizard,” he reads aloud, “Hmmm I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this one. What is it about again?”
“It’s about a wizard and a witch. The witch gets stuck in a tall castle without a wand and the wizard saves her,” I tell him matter-of-factly, “Then they live happily ever after.”
“How very realistic,” he says sarcastically.
I grin, “What’s the fun in realism?”
“No fun whatsoever,” he assures me. We both grin at each other for a moment.
“Clearly you need to learn the benefits of pictures,” I say dragging him to front checkout line. There is an astute looking woman behind the counter. I plopped the picture book in front of her, "Theodore would like to buy this."
"I would?" he says doubtfully.
"Yes you would," I inform him.
"Alright well then I'd also like to buy this one," he says placing his book ontop of the one I picked out. "A little bit of quality reading wouldn't hurt you." The astute woman purses her lips and fulfills our order.
“Think we should head back?” Theodore asks as we both exit the store, our purchases in hand.
“I guess so,” I say examining the sky. The sun is starting to go down making the weather even colder. We must have spent more time in the Hogs Head than I thought.
“We’re going to be late,” Theodore pointed out after a moment.
“Probably,” I say. Neither of us show any sign of hurrying up. “You know everyone is probably having a fit right now.”
“Everyone?” he asks confused.
“Yeah you should have seen them,” I say. “It was like mission impossible in there, getting me ready for all this.”
“Oh yeah?” he inquires raising a dark eyebrow.
“Mmmhmm,” I hum resting my head on his shoulder as we go.
“Vincent and Gregory were giving me all this advice before I left,” Theodore confesses. “Like they have so much experience themselves.”
“You should have heard how many times the words Draco and I did blah blah blah came out of Pansy’s mouth today,” I say with a laugh.
“Luckily Draco hasn’t been around to give his two cents,” Theodore says, “I’m sure I would’ve heard about it if he was.”
“We can get them back next time around,” I tell him, “When they have their first dates we’ll suddenly be the wise ones.”
Theodore snorts, “I highly doubt that Vincent and Gregory will listen to a word I say when they go on their first dates.”
“If they go on a first date,” I correct them, “No offence but they aren’t exactly the most handsome guys in the world.”
“None taken,” he assures me.
We reach the common room and stand there for a moment. Everyone must hiding to give us some room because we have the room to ourselves. This is the point where we are supposed to go our separate ways. “I had a really good time today Tracey,” Theodore says.
I smile, “Me too.” We both pause not really knowing what to do next.
Theodore is looking at me and I’m looking at him. Then things start happening. He is leaning towards me. I suddenly become acutely aware that he smells like cinnamon. I think I fancy the smell of cinnamon. I practically have to force myself to turn my head to the side slightly. His lips brush against my cheek. Before he pulls away I draw him into a big hug.
“First kisses are for second dates,” I whisper in his ear. The entire maneuver was very smooth and took a surplus amount of self control. When we seperate we are both smiling like a couple of idiots.
I turn to go back into my dorm before my smoothness vanishes. “Tracey,” he stops me.
“Will you go out with me next Friday?” he asks. I don’t say anything. I just give him a wide smile. It doesn’t say yes, but it most certainly doesn’t say no. It leaves him hanging.
Pansy would be proud.