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Chapter 3 : How to Maintain Your Dignity
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So the summer before sixth year, Taylor could drive. Brad did too, and they shared the old pickup truck they had inherited from their father, who they hadn't spoken to since the arrest two years earlier. They were staying at their aunt's place in the country so they could get away with driving wherever as long as it wasn't too far out of the way of the friendly policemen who turned a blind eye to Taylor and Brad's driving.
One time while I was visiting them at their aunt's farm near Wales, we decided to go and visit the seaside for the day, which was about two hours away. We got up around eight, packed up our stuff into the truck, and said goodbye to their aunt.
"Hey Al, want to drive?" Asked Taylor, dangling the keys in front of my face.
"What?" I asked, confused. "Me? I'm the one here who doesn't have the liscense."
"Exactly. It's time for you to drive." She said. "Now get in the car."
She looked at me, and that face left no room for arguing. I got in the car, (still maintaining my manliness) and turned the keys to start the engine thingy. Except the key didn't fit.
"Tay, this key is broken."
"Really Al? That's the house key. Use the one with the bit of tape at the end. "
I found the correct key, and turned it, the old engine sputtering to life.
"Congratulations. Now switch gears to reverse."
"What gears?" I didn't see any gears anywhere.
"Use the stick here and move it to the 'r' while holding the break."
I found the stick. "Why is it's name 'Prindley 123'? It's not a very nice name."
"Those are the differnt gears."
"Oh. So it's not really named Prindley?" I was disappointed. A little. Not really. Okay, really.
She rolled her eyes. "Just move the prindley to the r and press the gas pedal lightly."
"Gotcha." I said. More or less. I would've said that if I hadn't screamed from lurching backwards after following her instructions.
"Gently Al!" She shouted. "Brad and I would like to get to the beach in one piece please!"
"Very much alive if you don't mind." Brad said from the seat behind us.
"Sorry..." I apologized and backed up a little slowly.
"Okay, you're going to want to turn around a little here, and then change to the d for drive."
I did so, only knocking into some hay once. Okay, twice.
No more than three I swear.
I'm serious. Three. Is it that hard to believe?
Anyways, I eventually hit the main road, and pressed down on the accelorator, feeling the rumbling engine pick up.
"Change gears here."
"Change the prindley to the next number gear."
I did so with only minimal squabbling with Taylor.
"You know Al, you can go over twenty miles an hour. We're on a country road. Feel free to go to fifty or so."
Shut up Taylor. I would go faster, I just happen to like going seventeen miles an hour. This speed is totally dignified. "I'm working on it."
"Well, work on it faster if you want to get there in the next day and a half." She snapped. "Or I can just threaten you with pain. And you know what kind of pain."
I floored it, the car jerking forward. The speed zoomed up to fifty, then fifty five, then sixty, and I eventually hit seventy five.
It felt insane. Well, I thought I was insane to drive so fast, but it felt good. We rolled down the windows, and although the road was dusty, we simply didn't care. Taylor screamed out the window.
"Al!" She shouted in my ear. "You're going eighty five!! WWoooooooooooooooo!!"
"Nice, Taylor." Brad said from the back, where he was sprawled out on the seat.
I just laughed, the speed and Taylor's giddiness were getting to me and I felt great.
We reached the beach in an hour or so, although the trip went pretty quick. Taylor was the first one out of the car, not bothering to tell me how to stop the engine, leaving me to simply yank the key around until I got it out, shutting the engine down.
She yelled, running over the sand dunes to the shore. Me and Brad followed, racing to the water. Taylor got there first of course, what with her head start, but we reached the water, splashing the salty spray all over each other. I grabbed Taylor from behind and slung her over my back to toss her in the water. She kicked herself free before we got too deep though, and she splashed down, landing on her butt.
No one uses my full name. Except for Taylor I suppose. It's just not cool. I splashed her for that.
The clouds settled for overcast that day, and the sea was actually pretty brimy, so we didn't actually swim. We just settled for getting completely wet then laying out on the sand to dry.
Of course, that didn't work too well as it was seventy degrees out and cloudy. We settled for lunch (roast beef sandwitches, curtousey of Taylor and Brad's aunt), trying not to think about the salt making our skin sting and our damp shorts.
Taylor drove us home, and I swear she was inching around one hundred miles the whole time. Brad was snoring in the back seat, and Taylor and I played the category game where you see how many things you can come up with in a certain category, all with the same letter.
"Fruits and Vegtables." I said.
"What the hell is a bunberry?"
"It's a berry that's orange and shaped like a mini pear. Gosh, Al. Haven't you ever heard of them?" She smiled.
"Okay Tanner, it's your turn. Pick a dare." I spoke.
We were back in the astronomy tower, sitting around the jar.
Tanner grinned wolfishly and grabbed the jar, leafing around for a scrap of parchment.
He picked one and unfolded it, reading it. He started laughing out loud, passing it to Brad, who passed it to me. It read:
Use the phrase 'in bed' after every sentence for a week.
I burst out laughing and read it out loud. Taylor found it 'gross and immature' but it was fantastic.
"This is gonna be epic!" Tanner said. "In bed!" he added.
Taylor rolled her eyes.
"What? You think I'm liking this Taylor? In bed?"
She punched him in the gut. Not as hard as she could though, and she was smiling, beginning to laugh.
"We'll just see how you like this Tuesday night." She said warningly.
The next couple of days were absolutely hilarious.
"Hey professor McGonagall- how'd I do- in bed?" Tanner asked, referring to the test we had taken the day before.
She smacked him across the head and gave him three nights detention.
"Oh, and Wood?" She added over her shoulder, "Quite poorly. Quite poorly indeed."
It was pretty funny.
For the record, that joke was hilarious. But, as a distinguished human being, I find it disgusting and immature. But it was pretty damn funny.
So anyways, that same week, I was in the library with Al, doing Charms homework.
"Al, I know Chang's a bitch, but you still have to do your homework, so stop gazing off into the distance." I said as I looked up at him staring over my shoulder at something off in the distance. He had a glazed look on his face.
"Uh huh..." He said.
I snapped my fingers in his face. "Al. Earth to Al. Albus!"
"Hey! I thought you'd said you'd stop using my full name." He scowled at me, breaking his trance.
"It's just a name Al, time to get over it. And we all say things we don't mean. That was one of them."
He rolled his eyes, finally looking back towards his essay.
Exactly three point two minutes later, Al was dazed again, staring at the same spot.
"I swear Al, you have the attention span of a puppy. What are you even staring at?" I looked over my shoulder and realized what had been hogging his attention.
Angela Erikson was sitting on the other side of the library, sitting with her friend Marissa.
No, not Marissa, Mary. No wait, her name was Mildred. No, Mikayla. Oh, shit. I forgot her name.
Anyways, Angela Erikson was that perfect blonde girl in our year. I was roommates with her. She was perfectly beautiful and the nicest girl in our year. Her friend however, Marissa/Mary/Mildred/Mikayla, was a piece of work. This made me suspicious about Angela's true persona. I mean, how could someone so 'nice and perfect' like someone not as perfect and definitely not nice at all. Basically, Angela hung out with a bitch.
"Ooooooohhhhhhhhhhh." I said, cleverly. "Albus Severus, do you like Angela?"
"What?" He spluttered, trying to look abashed. "Why would you think that?"
I cocked an eyebrow.
"Okay, so I do sorta fancy her."
"'sorta fancy her'? You've been gaping at her like a fish out of water for the past hour!" I exclaimed. "Enough is enough!"
"So what should I do?" He asked seriously.
"How daft could you be? Just ask her out! Scrape up some dignity! She's single!" I was getting frusturated.
"Will you help me?" He asked sincerely.
"How am I supposed to help you?"
"Well, I've been developing this plan for the last twenty minutes or so where you could wear a fake mustache and suit, and then I'd come in as..."
"Al!" I nearly yelled. "Just go up and ask her out already! I am not putting a mustache on for the third time this month just because your manliness has sunk lower than Tanner's morals!"
Yes, it would have been the third time this month. Isn't that sad?
"Allright, I'll do it. When I come to dinner tonight, I will have asked her out!" He said confidently.
"Great! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to meet with my brother to help him with his Magical Creatures assignment. He has to take care of a flobberworm for a couple of days." I said, getting up.
"Does he know that you prefer spaghetti and meatballs as opposed to bugs?"
I smacked him. "Smartass."
That night when Al came to join me, Brad, John and Tanner at dinner, he had a sullen look and a huge red welt on the side of his face vaguely in the shape of a handprint.
"Oh Al, what happened?" I asked.
"I asked out Angela." He said, sitting down.
"And...?" John probed.
"She slapped me."
"Why? What exactly did you say to her?"
"I found her in the corridor and I started talking to her about the Charms essay."
"And have you even finished it?" I asked.
"Not relevant. She was smiling and touched my arm at one point, and that's a good sign right?"
We all nodded.
"So, I casually say, 'You know, you're pretty cool Angela. How would you like to go to the Hogsmede weekend with me in two weeks?' That's good right? Not to formal, not to laid back?"
We nodded again, urging him to go on.
"Then she gets really mad, says 'I'm not some skank you can use to cheat on your girlfriend with, you manwhore' Then she slaps me across the face!"
"That sucks man! In bed!" Tanner said.
Brad however, was laughing. "She thinks you have a girlfriend, mate!"
"But I don't!" He protested. "That's why I was so confused."
"Wow. Angela's usually so nice. I'm suprised to hear she actually slapped you. The look on your face must have been priceless." I said, trying not to laugh.
"Are you serious? Angela? She's actually pretty nasty. Dated her for a month last year and she was the definition of 'high-maintinence'." John added.
"She is pretty nasty... In bed!" Tanner exclaimed, high fiving Brad for that one.
I rolled my eyes. "Why don't you just tell her you don't have a girlfriend, Al?"
"She won't even look at me, none the less come within twenty meters of me. Hey! You're dormmates with her! Can't you tell her for me?" His face lit up.
"Are you serious?" He looked so pleading and sad. "Fine. I'll talk to her when I get a chance."
That night, I meant to talk to her about it, but before I even had a smidge of a chance, Scorpius and Al showed up at my window, begging me to come with them on some late night Hail Mary task. But that's a different story.
So, anyways, the next morning, I dragged myself out of bed(even though I had originally planned on skipping first hour Transfiguration) to catch up to Angela walking to breakfeast.
She was very chipper, as she had been up for an hour already to do her hair and makeup, while I was dreary from rolling out of bed ten minutes before, so I cut to the chase.
"So, Al asked you out, huh?" I said, catching up to her in the corridor.
She blushed, clearly embarrassed about it. "You know?"
"Of course I know! He practically tells me everything. And I mean everything." I explained.
"I hope you're not mad. I refused him and told him off. I'm sure he didn't mean it."
"Well, he did mean it, and I think you should reconsider his offer. He is available, you know." I said. "Wait.... why would I be mad?" I creased my eyebrows together, confused. We stopped walking.
"Well, you are his girlfriend."
Okay, just hold on a minute. I'll be with you in a moment.
Why the hell would she think that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Al and I??????
Okay, I'm back.
I burst out laughing.
Well, this is awkward.
"Why, the hell, would you think, that Al, and I are dating?" I said, out of breath from laughing so hard.
"Wait, you're not?" She said, shocked.
"No! We bloody are NOT dating!"
"Oh!" Her hands flew to her cheeks. "Oh my!" (okay, seriously?) "I'm so sorry, I've been thinking that for the past year and a half! I can't believe that you weren't actually dating! I'm so sorry Tatum!"
"It's fine." I said, sighing as we entered the Great Hall. "And my name's not Tatum."
I walked away, going over to where Al was sitting with Tanner and John.
"What's with the weird look on your face?" John asked.
"You look like you just swallowed a cow. In bed."
I ignored Tanner. "Well, I talked to Angela."
"And?" Asked Al. I avoided eye contact with him.
"She definitely thought you had a girlfriend." I cleared my throat, getting rid of the gunk that had settled there. "I told her to give you another chance. So you're good to go. Oh, and she thought my name was Tatum. I mean, what gives? We've lived together for six and a half years! I mean, for god's sake, I remember her name!"
"But not Maryanne's." John pointed out.
"Touché." So that was her name.
"Well, I'm going to go talk to her before class starts." Said Al, getting up.
Once he had left, I groaned, saying, "I definitely should have stuck to my original plan of sleeping through first class."
"Let me guess," began John. "Angela thought you were Al's girlfriend."
"How'd you guess?!" I exclaimed. "Isn't that ridiculous?"
"Not really. You guys are pretty much best friends." John said.
"Yeah, we are best friends, but that doesn't mean anything. Does it?"
"Well, you guys do spend a hell of a lot of time together... in bed."
"Shut up Tanner. You are so NOT helping."
While maintaining your manliness, It's important to always keep up your own personal dignity during any sort of competition, event, brawl, fight, melee, match, game, or race.
Of course, the exception of this is to let the girl win. I know, it sounds pathetic, but there's a science to this.
HOW TO MAINTAIN DIGNITY WHILE PARTICITPATING IN A COMPTETITION, EVENT, BRAWL, FIGHT, MELEE, MATCH, GAME, OR RACE:
1. Always put yourself in 97.5%, and use the other 2.5% to make it look like you're only putting in 60% effort, to make it seem effortless.
2. Keep a poker face, especially during card games and mind games.
3. Make sure you don't look ridiculous
a. for example, do not wear a leprachaun hat while competing in a game of chess. Your oponent will view you as a lunatic.
I. The only exception to this is if you are trying to purposefully throw off your oponent, in which case, I recomend covering yourself in green body paint while wearing a ridiculous hat that makes noise.
4. When competing against a girl in a competition, event, brawl, fight, melee, match, game, or race, let her win every three games, at least.
a. If you really like this girl, you should let her win every other game so that she doesn't view you as a sore loser or big winner.
b. A good rule of thumb for this sort of thing is to measure how much effort she is putting in, then one up your effort to make it look like you're trying a tiny bit harder than her.
I. On this note, make sure you don't go past seventy percent, or she'll see you as trying TOO hard.
b. If the girl you are up against is Taylor Ackhart, then all I can say is good luck to you, and I hope you wear some sort of protective head gear. Just note that if you want to try and beat her, you should definitely put 100% effort into it, and disregard any rules about letting girls win.
No, I haven't read Al's rules on How to maintain dignity during a competition. They're probably just a bunch of bullshit that guys think is necesary while competing against one another.
Why? Does he mention me in it?
A/N: Thanks for reading once again!! Please leave a review! Let me know what you liked about the chapter, the story, the rules... etc. Anything you want to see in the future? Let me know in a review!
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