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Chapter 3 : Sixteen
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At sixteen life was all about euphemism: about having sex and about not having sex, about emulating adulthood years too soon, about pretending to be something much smoother than you were...
Molly hating being sixteen. Fifth year meant that the pressure simply didn’t end and instead of the usual paragraph at the end of each letter asking about school work, her father had had two introductory paragraphs about how stressful OWLS were at the beginning of every letter, followed by a paragraph assuring her that he knew she’d get O’s in everything (surprisingly, this didn’t actually help), concluded with a paraphrased summary of everything he’d said in the first paragraph at the end – the snippets of information about how various family members were doing was a condensed version sandwiched in the middle. Molly had taken to weighing the letters on her potions scales before deciding whether it would be too depressing to open and reading Lucy’s letters instead.
There were rumour going round that she was either a lesbian or hadn’t reached puberty yet after she’d asserted the fact that she wouldn’t date any of the boys in their year if someone paid her, although this might have been a slight exaggeration because, well, Molly did have the odd soft spot for some of them. Really, though, all Erin and Roxanne (who was, at the minute, going by Roxie with an ie, in some weird ‘I’m so individual’ fad replicated by anyone who’s names finished in y) had achieved by their childish attempts at ‘dating’ was securing the fact that all the Gryffindor forth year boys jeered at them when they walked by – something which, incidentally, they appeared to have taken as a compliment.
In fact, Roxie was being so god damn annoying lately Molly couldn’t wait for the Christmas holidays to start – two days and counting – where she could accidentally forget to not reply to her letters and not have to spend so much time with her. Of course, that was assuming that Roxie actually wanted to talk to her – because increasingly it seemed her cousin was viewing her more as an annoying tag along than an actual friend, which was beyond frustrating. Molly hated the fact that none of her friends understood her.
And it was all Erin’s fault.
No, actually, it was Erin’s parents fault for having passed down the genetics which meant that Erin was pretty in a girl-next-door sort of way, that she was both clever and funny and, this was important, a complete flirt. This meant she’d picked up one of the most popular guys in the year. It had been unexpected because Erin wasn’t one of the elitist, slightly orange populars herself – she was friends with Molly, for goodness sake, and everyone knew that being friends with sarcastic and slightly bitter Molly Weasley wasn’t going to buy you any friends.
It had caused a lot of changes. Molly had endured weeks of listening to Roxanne – who was then just plain Roxy – complain about how Erin didn’t care about them anymore, which was a bit hypocritical considering she’d been ecstatic about the match and convinced that it would make them all instantly popular (why she even wanted that, Molly didn’t know), but eventually Erin had managed to balance things to minimise Roxie’s complaining and still hung out with her boyfriend and some of his friends. The calm before the storm, more or less.
Because then Erin had come back to the dorm, biting her lip and folding her clothes repeatedly until, on Simrath’s third time of asking her if she was okay, Erin had blurted out that she and Tom had done stuff.
And so, it had begun.
“Molliee!” Roxanne called, causing Molly to grit her teeth and resist the urge to find her birth certificate and throw it in her cousin’s face. Maybe she was paranoid, but she could definitely the hear the difference when someone was envisioning her name spelt with the abomination that was an ie ending. And Roxanne was guilty. “Rodger says that he’ll take me out to dinner over the Christmas holidays.”
“Where to?” Molly asked irritably. “Burger Palace?”
“Pronto’s Pizza Place.” Roxanne gushed, throwing herself on top of her bed and looking nothing short of gleeful: if anyone tried to take Molly to bloody Pronto’s Pizza Place and call it dinner, she’d decimate them. Yes, she liked their stuff crusts – but the idea that Roxanne was physically capable of being excited about having a date in Pronto’s Pizza Place was tragic.
If Molly was to characterise everything she hated about the opposite sex, and human kind in general, into a singular human form that form would probably look an awful lot like Rodger. He was a mediocre Quidditch player (automatically meaning half his brain cells were occupied in making sure he had multiple opportunities a day to take his top off, which was unfortunate considering he looked like a toaster. Molly maintained that fifteen years old were not capable of having nice torsos and yes, she’d been caught looking at some of the seventh year Quidditch players before, but being on the Quidditch team didn’t automatically mean you were a sex symbol). He was cocky, nerdy and a complete prat. He made feminism look like it’d regressed by several centuries simply by the way he looked at the sevenths years who’d probably had boob jobs or, like Molly, wore extreme push-up bras. He’d date anyone that looked at him more than twice because he was on a mission to make his transition into ‘manhood’ (read: prathood) look effortless and easy – AKA Rodger wanted to get laid.
Then again, Molly now spent so much time watching as her classmates tried to pretend they knew everything about sex that it wasn’t even amusing anymore. Everything was a euphemism, sex was hilarious and the hottest topic remained which couples had done it.
Before fifth year, Molly could have named the girls that it was rumoured weren’t virgins on one hand (although, the fact that no one ever bothered to tell Molly the gossip probably meant that there could have been more). Now, there seemed to have been a sudden explosion of sexual activity.
He did this to her, her hand went there, they had sex in that broom cupboard.
It was acceptable for everyone to run around sleeping with people, being a virgin was now akin to how Molly always imagined being a mudblood used to be – a status to be hushed up or, where possible, gotten rid of as soon as possible.
Erin had slept with Tom. Molly tried very hard to be reasonable about it and not condemn the whole thing, because they had been dating six months and that didn’t seem completely ridiculous - of course, she was crazily young but, well, they were in love. She’d allowed it.
Then Roxie had fallen into the trap of not wanting to be left behind, which meant that she’d selected Rodger, who was on the same fruitless mission; both of them attempting to journey into realms of awkward and uncomfortable passion together. Whatever, Molly had lost all respect for her cousin/best friend the day Roxie had decided that to be slutty was to be cool.
Now, the only thing anyone in her dorm could talk about was the big s-e-x and after recounting this experience until it made Molly’s ears bleed with excruciating detail (after the equally annoying ‘it’s just sex you know, you just... I can’t explain – you’ll have to wait and see’ that Erin had delivered with such decadence) it was very high up there on the list of things she didn’t want to talk about... along with why she’d let Lucy cut her hair into a bob (I thought you weren’t vain, Molly); exactly what she was going to do with the rest of her life and anything related to Georgina Simpson. Because she was a first class bitch.
Either way Roxy’s desire to not-be-left-behind and resulted in the speedy execution of the deal, and even more well practiced ‘well one day you’ll know’ by her dear cousin and now growingly disgusting conversations between Roxy and Erin about what next?
She was so uncomfortable sitting anywhere near them these days she was beginning to think she might end up sitting with her sister at lunch instead – even if it meant crawling her sorry arse over to the Hufflepuff table and listening to her idiotic friends talk about boys like they were gods who could fix the fact that they all hated themselves more than they hated a lack of community and disloyalty (ruddy Hufflepuffs). Molly knew full well that boys couldn’t fix a damn thing and it was frustrating that her friends couldn’t see that she was actually the more mature one of the bunch – whilst they raced along with the other conforming idiots acting as though the fact that they’d had sex with a couple of nerdy, spotty, teenagers made them really grown and cool.... completely oblivious to the fact that they were being so childish that it made her want to pull her gut out of her throat.
Molly was entirely sure that she would never have sex. Well, no, she would... but for a start they weren’t old enough (she’d only just turned sixteen, damnit) and she’d wait until there was some really great guy before she hoped into bed with them, then detailed the whole experience to her friends whilst they either tried to use their pillow to smother their giggles, or in Molly’s case, just go right ahead and smother herself.
“Molly,” Roxie said loudly, “you could at least try to fit in.”
“Why would I want to?” Molly returned grumpily, throwing her things in her trunk and slamming it shut with a grimace – since Roxanne had gone about reinventing herself to be some un-virginal grown up, or whatever she thought she was emulating through all this crap, their friendship had been both sidelined and tense.
“I’m not asking you to go do it,” Roxie retorted, putting her hand on her hip and looking at Molly with her eyes narrowed, “you’re not ready, anyway.”
“Sod off.” Molly spat, balling her hands in her pockets and frowning – the audacity of Roxanne to think that she could possibly be more mature than her made her insides burn and the superiority she seemed to feel because she’d slept with Rodger of all people was plain ridiculous.
“You’ve never even kissed anyone.”
“So?” Molly demanded. “Who cares? You’re so... immature to think that it matters.”
“It would be nice,” Roxie said, “if you could try and be supportive.”
“Then stop acting like an idiot,” Molly said, kicking her trunk before muttering, “I’m going to dinner.” and disappearing down the stairs.
Erin was sat with Tom and Molly knew that she wasn’t exactly a hot commodity with his friends and didn’t particularly feel like subjecting herself to more of the endless teasing that always seemed to follow her around – not that she cared, it would just be nice to be able to eat a meal without having someone throw some food down her top and then declare that it was the first thing that had ever gotten into Molly’s bra. Especially when she was arguing with Roxanne, which she hated doing.
Instead, Molly folded her arms and trudged over to the Hufflepuff table, plopping down next to Lucy and sending her murderous gaze at the table.
Molly hated all of it. She hated all the expectations, the digs and the constant tension between them. She couldn’t sit there and listen to Erin talking about sodding positions without wanting to curl up into a ball or run away. She hated fifth year. She hated feeling like she was the only person who didn’t fit in, in a sea of friends who no longer seemed to understand her: Roxanne, who’d been her best friend since the day she was born, was suddenly someone alien and foreign. It was uncomfortable.
“Hey, Molly,” Lucy said, looking up from where she was bent over a piece of parchment with Rose. Lucy had always been so much more delicate than herself. Molly, who stumbled through life with regular trips and falls, lacked the grace. They were just different. Lucy would probably fit in more with Erin and Roxanne with her unshakable desire to be liked. Molly seemed to want to be hated. “Rose came over to help me with my Defence essay.” Lucy continued.
“You could have asked me.” Molly said, helping herself to a plate feeling content to sit and brood.
“Dad said not to disturb you too much from your studying.” Lucy admitted, shrugging as she pulled another piece of parchment from her bag and scrawled her name across the top. Lucie.
“Not you too?” Molly demanded, pulling the piece of parchment out of Lucy’s hands and staring at the letter. “Lucy, that doesn’t even make sense! You know your name would sound completely different it was spelt like that? It’s ridiculous.”
“Ignore her.” Rose told a rather crestfallen Lucy.
“Fine.” Molly muttered, slamming down her knife and fork and folding her arms – aiming for a dramatic exit as she stalked out of the Great Hall. Her stronghold on her emotions didn’t hold, however, because the second she’d walked past the last of the eating students she could feel the tears bubbling up in her eyes and spilling over.
Why was it all so difficult?
“Molly! Molly!” Rose called after her, following as Molly barrelled into the girl’s toilets and started furiously wiping her cheeks clean of tears. “Molly,” Rose said, leaning against the counter and giving such a Hermione-ish look that Molly wanted to rebel against it and go kick a House Elf, “look, fifth year is hard –“
Molly folded her arms, torn between sulking and feeling immature, or giving it up and feeling like a push over.
“-it’s Roxie and bloody Roger. She’s so -”
“Yeah, Mols, I know,” Rose said, “look, things get a bit crazy when everyone suddenly to decide to get it on. But it’s just... It’s just sex, Molly. It’s important and it’s not important.”
“Is she going to regret it?”
Rose made a face, “Well, in about a year she’ll probably regret it, then in another three she probably won’t care, and then maybe when you’ve got kids you’ll start to care again. The sex obsession, it’s just one of those things – everyone just goes a bit crazy. Everyone tries to pretend that it doesn’t matter to them, then, later it won’t matter anymore.”
“I’m so left out,” Molly muttered, “why are they leaving me out just because they’ve all gone and had sex with -?”
“-look,” Rose said, “people just make it into a big deal for awhile. In a year, this isn’t going to make a difference. People just act like it’s the shit for awhile.”
“You slept with Scorpius.”
“Yeah,” Rose said, “and it was pretty good I suppose.”
“You don’t sound very convinced.”
“Dom’s assured me it’s better when the guy actually knows what he’s doing,” Rose said with an eye roll, “you’ve just got to survive this year, okay? Everything gets better from this point onwards. Don’t stress.”
“I’m just fed up of Roxanne acting like she’s more mature than me.”
“You’re both mature in different ways,” Rose shrugged, taking a seat on the sink and watching me carefully, “she’s better with people than you are.”
“She tries to impress everyone.”
“That’s what people do, Mols.”
“I don’t.” Molly muttered, angrily putting her hands back in the pockets of her robes and feeling huffy.
“You do, just in a different way. You like being different, Molly, you want everyone to know that you’re not the same and you like to think you’re better in a different way. Anyway,” Rose said, pushing off from the sink and jumping back to her feet, “Lucy’s homework isn’t going to away – but, if you want to talk Molly...”
Molly spent a lot longer in the girl’s toilets, leaning forwards and clutching her tap so tightly that her fingers were slightly white – looking at her reflection. She was wearing makeup, when only a year ago she’d thought she’d never succumb to Roxy, as she’d been then, and Erin’s nagging that she should start to wear mascara and start plucking her eyebrows. Molly wasn’t exactly sure when she’d given in, or why she’d given in, or if she’d even made a conscious decision to give in at all. She thought that perhaps it might have just happened.
Molly grimaced at her reflection in the mirror. Honestly? She hated the way she looked back at herself, with her stupid eyebrows and her grimace and her pale spotty skin. She hated the fact that when she got to the end of the day they only thing that had complimented her was her underwear (‘who needs Quidditch with an arse like this!’) because no one else in the world seemed to have anything good to say about Molly Weasley.
Roxanne was barely talking to her, obsessed with discussing something Molly couldn’t possibly understand with Erin. Lucy was, apparently, writing her name with that bloody ie ending. Her Dad was sending her endless letters about her homework.
Molly wasn’t ready to have sex with anyone. She couldn’t imagine getting undressed in front of anyone, was still convinced that she was hideous and was too insecure to actually have a boyfriend. But she was a kid. She was young. She was mature enough that she didn’t need everyone else’s opinion of her to make her feel like a good person and immature enough that she wanted to perpetuate her snarky, unapproachable, unlikable image.
Lust; one of those untouchable, incomprehensible abstract nouns. She didn’t understand, didn’t need it, didn’t want it. Then again – she was only sixteen.
This story won first place for the lexicon challenge! Yay! The word for this chapter was 'euphemism.' Next and final chapter, Molly is confronted with the horrors of mascara. Reviews are lovely :D
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