Chapter 8 : The Stars Just Blink For Us
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When Ari came out, she didn’t say a word to us, and fell right asleep on a mattress she had conjured up. Rose gave me a worried look but slipped into her bed silently and I sighed, tired after the whole day.
The next morning at breakfast was awkward, to say the least. I was still slightly mad at James (come on, he was being an idiot!), Ari was just generally being silent and Al was glaring at his sister.
Of course, Fred had to complete his dare. He approached this pretty (but the very giggly, fake kind) girl at the Slytherin table and started to sing to her. He conjured up roses and dramatically offered them to her. The girl actually looked as if she was going to become a puddle any second, the way she was looking at him. When he was done, she literally jumped on him, squealing.
He turned to us, his mouth wide in horror, as he clutched onto her weakly. Everyone, including the glarers (haha, like the name?) were laughing loudly, some of us with tears in our eyes.
“Fred, why don’t you return to your own table,” Professor Longbottom suggested, but even a smile was tugging at his lips. James clapped him on the back when he returned, and did this whole man kind of thing. Whatever. I didn’t care.
Owls were starting to fly in, and one dropped off a letter for me. Of course, with my luck, it landed half in my bowl of cereal. I grimaced and shook off the milk, causing Roxy to give me a look (don’t piss off Roxy!) and shook a think piece of parchment out. It was written in English, and I recognized the familiar handwriting.
I’m sorry, I haven’t had time to write to you. Work has been extremely busy the past few weeks but I know you will have managed well. How are you enjoying Hogwarts? I suppose the food there is quite different but you’ll get used to it. I hope Emily has helped you find your way around: she truly is a very good cousin. She did tell Aunt Claire that you’ve made quite a few friends, especially with the Potters and Weasleys – that’s good to know.
I will be visiting your French grandparents in Christmas; however, most of my holidays will be spent in travelling. You wouldn’t mind spending the break with your grandparents, would you? Elodie said that she and Orville are looking forward to having you.
Take Care, Dad
Well that was a nice letter, wasn’t it? He could have just cut to the chase and said he was shipping me off to my grandparents. Don’t get me wrong. I love Grandmere and Grandpere, but my dad never spent Christmas with me anymore. Instead, I would just wake up on the 25th and find a perfectly wrapped package from him.
It’s not as if he was always like this. Before my mum was gone, he doted on me, would spoil me. After her death, he seemed to shut down; I know he still loved me, but there were times when I wished he showed it more. That wouldn’t hurt once in a while, you know.
“Lena, you coming?” Lily called out, as she grabbed our Quidditch gear. I nodded, and stuffed the letter into my bag, putting all thoughts of my dad to the back of my mind.
“Hey, look, I wanted to thank you for keeping my secret. I thought you might have told Rose or even Al and Scorp, but you haven’t so thanks,” Lily whispered as we made our way to the pitch.
“I meant it when I said you secret’s safe with me,” I said sincerely. Sure I loved finding out a juicy piece of gossip, but I always kept secrets.
“I know, it’s just hard. I haven’t even told Lauren, and it feels awful to lie to her. And the problem is, it wasn’t just that once,” she confessed. Okay what? “No, I promise I didn’t like to you at the party Lena! That was the first time. But Aiden and I are spending more time together and even though I realize we wouldn’t be together in a million years, he’s sweet and funny.”
“You like him,” I said simply, rolling my eyes the slightest.
“What? No, of course not! I just…okay fine, I feel something for him, alright?” she huffed as I linked my arm through hers, and grinned.
“Oi Rosseau, if you’re done gossiping, get a broom and start working on those exercises,” James shouted out to me. Lily gave me a sympathetic look as she went off to find Aiden. I grabbed a broom, and swiftly made my way into the air, shooting the Quaffle through the hoops.
I soon realized that James was in a very bad mood today. “Rosseau, at least put some effort when you aim!” he screamed for the tenth time. Some of the team had stopped temporarily to watch us, but he quickly set them off to work.
When practice finally ended, I was putting some of the stuff back into my locker when James entered the changing room. “Think you can try more next time, Frenchie?” he said harshly. The way he said ‘Frenchie’ made my stomach tug in hurt, but I brushed it off.
“You’re a dick, you know that?” I pointed a finger at him, stepping a little closer. His eyebrows rose.
“Best comeback you could come up with?”
“Please, I haven’t even started.”
“Do go on, it’s very entertaining.” He crossed his arms with a smirk.
“Forget it, you’re not even worth it.” I turned round to leave when he said darkly, “And what? Sanders is?”
What was his thing with Liam? Okay, he was in an opposing team but that was no reason to hate the guy.
“I don’t need to defend myself or Liam to you. It’s up to you to realize you’re being stupid for nothing.”
“You’re right, I’m sorry.” What? I looked at him, my eyes narrowed, but I stopped when I saw the resigned look on his face. He suddenly looked tired and I so badly wanted to push the hair out of his face, and hug him. But I didn’t. Instead, I just asked, “Why? Why are you sorry?”
“What you do is your business. Not mine. Yours. I should obey that. And to be honest, Sanders isn’t that bad. I know he’s quite a good guy, actually,” he gave me a smile. I grinned and then hugged him; he wrapped his strong arms around my back, and I felt the warm, fuzzy feeling in my stomach again as the butterflies decided to reappear.
I had to lean on my toes slightly to reach him, because he is so tall, and as I came down, I stumbled slightly on my feet. He quickly put an arm around my waist to steady me and I balanced myself with my hands on his chest.
Let me just say this: James Potter has muscles. Lots of muscles.
Trying not to sigh contently, I flushed a deep red and disentangled myself from him. Why is it that I always seem to fumble when he’s around? He must be thinking I’m like the biggest klutz.
“You got to be anywhere?” I shook my head, “Well, then what do you say to a little quality James time?”
I laughed and followed him, as we made our way to the Astronomy tower; He walked over to the edge and calmly sat down, beckoning for me.
“Are you crazy?” I managed to get out, “You could fall off!” James rolled his eyes and tugged on my arm, forcing me to sit beside him. I looked down and gulped; we were high, much higher than I thought. “How do you like this? We’re so high up.”
“Look up, Lena, not down,” he coaxed, and I did just that. The sky was brimming with colours of purple, pink and orange as the sunset was taking over. It was spectacular. I drew in a sharp breath, and simply watched in amazement.
“Cool, isn’t it?” his voice broke through my thoughts. “Teddy brought me here back when he was in Hogwarts, and was asking Vic to go out with him. Merlin, he was so nervous. Thought that if she said no, it would be the end of the world. I laughed at him then, but now he’s marrying the girl!”
I laughed, and then asked him about this Teddy. “Well, you see, he’s my dad’s godson, but really he’s just like an older brother to us. When I was younger, I always said that I wanted to be just like him. He’s an auror, with my dad. Not to forget that he’s got blue hair because he’s a metamorphagus.”
I am not even kidding, this family never fails to surprise me. “What are you going to tell me next?” I laughed weakly. “That your cousin’s a seer?”
He laughed, his eyes crinkling slightly as he grinned. “Na, everyone looks up to Teddy. When he and Victoire left, I was the oldest along with Freddie and Dom. But Freddie hates responsibility and Dom acts as if she couldn’t care less. So it’s up to me to make sure no one gets hurt and everyone stays out of trouble.”
I raised my eyebrows and teased him, “Trouble? Are you sure you’re the right person to talk about controlling that?”
He winked at me in return, “Oh I’ve still got a lot to show you. Maybe another time. So…you really like Sanders?” he asked me, but from his slightly stiff voice, I could tell he didn’t really want to talk about it.
“Well, I don’t know him very well, but I guess so. He’s certainly charming, and he’s not an arrogant jerk, so that helps.”
“What, like me?” James asked quietly, his voice surprisingly soft. His hazel eyes looked into my own blue ones with a sincere gaze and I couldn’t tear my eyes away from him.
“No, not like you. You said it yourself. It’s in your nature to look out for people and make sure they’re not getting themselves stuck in something. Sometimes, yes, it does seem to make you an idiot. But, hey, what do I know? You’d be much better asking someone like Emily or Fred.”
He squeezed my hand suddenly, making it feel warm, and I blushed deeply. “Thanks, I try not to come off too strong, but I can’t help it, you know? And you’re wrong. You do know me quite well. We’re friends, Lena, right?” he asked sweetly.
I nodded, my eyes still locked with his. He seemed to lean in a little bit, but I must have been dreaming because he got up quickly afterwards, and suggest we go to dinner. When we reached the Great Hall, he sat down next to Emily as I took my place among Rose and Ari. The latter was ranting on about something.
“What do I do, Rose? I mean I haven’t been on a date to Hogsmeade since like, Al! God, why does your stupid cousin have to ruin everything? He’s everywhere; he even pops up in my dreams. And now he’s ruined me for other guys. I mean, come on, I’m nervous for a date with Eric Johnson. Last year, I would have been like, pfft, Eric Johnson, whatever. Now, I’m freaking out!” she exclaimed dramatically, now turning to me, “What do you think, Lena?”
I was surprised she was even talking to me. She had been completely silent this morning and seemed so mad yesterday.
“Um, well, he obviously likes you so just be yourself. And try not to run into Al, maybe?” I suggested, knowing fully that Al would probably try to seek her and her date out.
“Yeh, yeh, that’s probably what I should do,” she mumbled distractedly, and turned to glare at Al as he sat down next to her. “What do you want, Potter?”
“Ready for your big date with Johnson?” he taunted, “The poor guy’s probably wetting himself after you asked him out. Maybe it’s good. You two suit each other.”
“For your information, Eric is a really nice guy and we got on well together at the party before you interrupted. And our date is going to be great, just you see. I’m sure Eric’s got it all planned out. Much better than you at least,” she smirked at him, and his eyes darkened angrily as he glared at her.
“We had a great first date. You even said so,” he said defensively, but Ari waved him off.
“Well, I wasn’t going to tell you it was terrible, was I?” she replied; Al looked stunned for a moment before stabbing his food hard and concentrating on his plate. Ari looked pleased that she had finally outwitted him.
“Hey Lena,” I turned around to face Liam, who had his hands in his pockets, and was grinning sheepishly. All my friends’ eyes were on him as he said, “I was wondering if you’d like to go to Hogsmeade with me this weekend?”
A date. He was asking me out on a date. I mean, Rose had been telling me he would soon, and he had indicated, but it was different when he actually did ask me, Everyone was looking at me now, waiting for my answer.
Did I like him? Sure he was pretty much all I could hope for in a guy, but it was not as if I waited to be alone with him. But as Lily would say, it’s only a date. What harm could it do?
“Sure I’d love to,” I flashed him a smile, and he relaxed, then returned to the Ravenclaw table. Emily started gushing over how happy she was for me: “Ooh, Lena, this is so exciting! I’ll help you get ready, alright?” and continued her girly squeals. Although Rose and I rolled our eyes at her, I admit it did make me feel nice to know that my cousin was still there for me. Which made me feel even guiltier about the whole James situation.
Speaking of James, he wasn’t really responding to Emily as she kept on talking about Liam and I, but when I sent him a questioning look, he just shook his head and smiled. Okay, who is he fooling? Even an idiot could see that was a forced smile. I really hope he would get to know Liam well, like Al and Scorp had, because it would make things so much easier. I also knew that if it was him asking me out, I wouldn’t think twice about saying yes…I hate my life.
I honestly didn’t think I’d manage this chapter in time. It took me about two days to write this but it seems like ages.
I hope that in this chapter, Lena’s home life is more exposed, and I will be building on that throughout the story. Before you start hating her dad, it is slightly complicated. Also, added a lot of James/Lena in there because I felt as if James’ character hasn’t really been built much. I have been getting quite mixed reviews, some hoping for Al/Lena so you never know, but I find Al/Ari pretty cute, as do some of my reviewers! What do you think?
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