Chapter 3 : Any gossip?
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Breakfast is generally an uneventful event – so can it really be considered an event? There’s the usual Gryffindors making a ruckus on the other side of the hall, the Hufflepuff’s just being generally cheerful and the Slytherins brooding and rating how angsty the other is out of ten.
Well, that’s not strictly true but that’s what I imagine to be happening compared to the dreary atmosphere in here every day. The bit about Gryffindor I almost true, though. Except ruckus time is at dinner time – when they’re all fully awake, obviously – which I why I eat dinner a quickly as possible just to get out of there and tend to my Ravenclaw need. My need for studying. Only at nights, mind you, I’m not as bad as some of the others who I’ve never seen without a text book. And that isn’t even an exaggeration (which is surprising, for me anyway).
Hugo lifted his cup of tea to his mouth and slurped from the china mug. It took all of my willpower to not shoot him my bets death glare. It’s not the scariest but it would be enough to stop him which is just what I want to do. Unfortunately, Hugo stops before I get the chance but on the bright side - he stopped.
Isobel sends me a sympathetic look from where she sits opposite me. At least she understands.
‘What have you got first lesson?’ asks Hugo through a mouthful of toast, leaning over to look at my timetable.
A small piece of chewed up, soggy toast falls onto the parchment. I want to be sick. It lies there all brown and wet and just disgusting. I want it off my parchment – I carry this everywhere with me should I forget my lesson (which I never usually do but better safe than sorry, eh?) and I can’t do that with that thing on it.
‘Get it off,’ I say to Hugo.
He gulps down his toast and stares at me, dumbfounded. ‘What?’
I just point to the toast and don’t say a word. Hugo rolls his eyes at me and wipes it away with a napkin. Finally, I can breathe again. I’m not weird; anyone would act like that in my situation. I just choose to make it seem more disgusting than it is.
‘You’re vile,’ I say, aiming it at Hugo.
‘What?’ He gasps – he’s so girly. ‘I didn’t mean to do it, Tea, it’s just a bit of toast.’
‘A soggy, chewed up piece of toast,’ I mutter.
This is when Isobel joins in. ‘You two are so funny.’
‘Huh?’ we both say at the same time – completely in sync.
She giggles. ‘You’re both so mean to each other – and I’m friends with a bloody Slytherin for goodness sake so that’s saying something.’ Then she adds as an afterthought, ‘But I can understand why you’re so mean to Hugo, Tia, who wouldn’t be?’
Trust Isobel to ruin a moment in which she and Hugo hadn’t fought once. They haven’t spoken either but let’s just ignore that tiny, insignificant detail.
Hugo shrugs. ‘I love her really.’ He wraps his arm around me and pulls me towards him and I take note that he smells very nice. Looks like he’s been making an effort for Eleanor as Hugo rarely makes any effort on himself other than his hair. Personal hygiene? That word doesn’t seem to exist in Hugo’s vocabulary. However today he’s pretty dapper – spick and span almost.
‘You can, um, stop leaning on me now,’ says Hugo.
That’s when I realise I’m still leaning on him. I guess I was lost in my thoughts on how much he has changed recently. All for that Eleanor girl. I can’t say I like her much but I definitely like what she’s done to Hugo. Just as long as he doesn’t end up ditching me in the long run to be with Eleanor than I’m completely behind this relationship without a doubt. Hugo’s happy and his smell makes my nostrils happy. It’s a win-win situation.
When I sit up, Isobel looks at me funnily but Hugo has forgotten instantly because of one girl. Eleanor has just entered the hall and is now sauntering – not walking, sauntering - up to us and Hugo is absolutely stricken. His eyes will pop out of his head if he doesn’t stop ogling her.
Eleanor must get this a lot, what with her looks and all that. She literally has boys falling at her feet which just prove how gorgeous she is. Although I bet she has a bland personality because Hugo is very shallow when it comes to girls.
I wave my hand in front of Hugo’s face as Eleanor gets nearer. I don’t really like Eleanor that much but if Hugo really does like her then I don’t want him looking like an idiot. Unfortunately, waving my hand in front of his face doesn’t work. Hugo is still staring at her as if he’ll never see again. This is bad, so, so, bad.
‘Hugo,’ I hiss, poking him with force in the shoulder.
He jumps and yelps, turning to glare at me. Well, at least he looks more normal now that he isn’t gaping at Eleanor. I don’t know how she does it. If that were me, I would be majorly creeped out. I bet she likes all the attention – let’s be honest, who wouldn’t?
‘Hey Hugo,’ says Eleanor in a low voice. I think she’s trying to be alluring.
Hugo just stares at me, his face is horror stricken. I wonder why, I mean, they have been together since the train ride up her. Sure that isn’t long but long enough for him to feel comfortable around her. According to Hugo’s facial expression, that’s not true.
Eleanor clears her breath; she’s waiting for Hugo’s full attention on her and only her. Him facing me is clearly not good enough in her mind because of course everyone must stop mid-conversation to talk to Eleanor. Obviously, I can’t believe I forgot that.
With a composed face, Hugo clears his throat and, facing Eleanor, says, ‘Hi.’
‘Are you finished eating?’ she asks.
Hugo’s plate is full – she can clearly see that – yet she asks that. I guess it’s true, Gryffindors really are stupid.
Despite this, however, Hugo nods and stands up. I know how much it pains him to leave all of that food untouched but if he wants to keep Eleanor, I guess he has to follow her every demand. He is wrapped right around her little finger.
‘Well see you, Tea,’ he says and ignores Isobel as per usual.
As they walk away with Hugo’s arm awkwardly slung around Eleanor’s shoulders, I hear Eleanor scold, ‘call people by their proper names, Hugo.’
Someone’s a bit of a demanding girlfriend.
Isobel’s staring at Hugo’s food with longing and I can see why. For starters, all her breakfast consists of is a small bowl of porridge (she’s trying to diet) and Hugo’s plate is almost overflowing with food.
‘That looks good,’ says Isobel, ‘even if it is Hugo’s.’
‘Yeah,’ I agree with a rumbling tummy.
‘You know, it would be a shame to waste it. Just think of all the work the House elves had to put in to make all of that food,’ Isobel sighs.
‘Oh definitely,’ I say and I can see where this is going.
‘Maybe I should…you know…take one for the team. Just to put all of their hard work into good use of course – I’m still on a diet.’ Isobel’s hand inches towards the plate and stops right next to it. She looks at me.
‘Go ahead,’ I say.
In no time at all, Isobel has dragged the plate towards her and is digging into the food. Usually I would ask myself how she can fit all of that food in her stomach however she’s barely eaten for the past week due to this diet so I can completely understand. One thing I don’t understand is how she kept up a diet for a week. I tried it once and by the third day I’d eaten more than I would have on a day before my diet. Let me tell you, it was a lot.
So I watch Isobel eat and am shocked at how graceful she is even when she’s stuffing her face. Crumb on her chin? Wipe it off with a napkin. Props to Isobel for hygiene despite hunger. I’d never be able to do it. I admire Isobel – a lot. That doesn’t sound weird does it? It’s just that she has so much will power and strength. Except for right now but I can’t really blame her for that.
Isobel takes a swig of her orange juice and I take a sip of my cranberry. Mum told me it was good for you or something like that. If Mum says it, it’s obviously true. She may be slightly crazy – but not as crazy as Dad – but she knows her stuff, so I’ll trust her on this one.
‘Tia,’ Isobel moans.
I look at her and then the empty plate. Yes, that’s right; she actually finished the whole breakfast and not a crumb in sight. Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves Hugo Weasley in female form. Don’t ever let her hear me say that, she’d hate me forever.
‘Yeah?’ I ask.
‘I feel sick’.
‘She’ll be fine, just a bit of sleep and keeping away from sugary sweets and Isobel will be back on her feet again,’ says Madam Brown.
After Isobel had told me she felt sick, she’d promptly thrown up. All over the table. None of it got on me – thank God – but I’d felt it necessary to take her to the hospital wing like the good friend I am.
I sit on the plastic chair next to Isobel’s bed where she is currently sleeping. Next to her bed is a bucket just in case she wakes up and feels the urge to throw up. I guess Madam Brown doesn’t want her white bed sheets ruined – I can’t blame her. It’s amazing how pristine these sheets really are actually. They haven’t even gone grey or yellow. Oh the beauty of magic.
‘Don’t you think you should be getting to lessons now?’
I jump at Madam Brown’s voice and almost quiver in fear at her raised eyebrow. Meekly, I nod and scurry out of there. I heard Madam Brown’s a bit of a gossip so I don’t want her telling teachers I was trying to skive. That would ruin my reputation. Got to have some street cred among the teachers…innit.
As I stride the empty corridors I begin to get too caught up in my thoughts because I’ve started to walk in a sort of slow motion. But as long as no one can see that’s fine, right? Come on, we all have our secret slow motion walks at some point. It appears that now is my time for it and let me tell you this, I’ve never felt so cool. People really underestimate us Ravenclaws because you don’t get cooler than us.
I hear a snigger which makes me stop. Spinning around, I see no one – but I’m quite dizzy now. I walk normally now because now I’m on the watch. Someone has spotted me.
The snigger turns to a cackle and my stomach sinks in dread. There’s only one thing I know that can cackle like that.
Peeves and me, we have history. It’s not good history. Peeves hates me and I hate him and I’m constantly avoiding him. Unfortunately it seems that this time I won’t be able to get away. Or maybe I can if I run. That’s it. It’s decided. I’m a terrible runner but I must run. Even though I run like a stereotypical girl.
It’s weird that males tend to run better than females because the male species are generally bulkier – bigger bones and more muscle – than girls so shouldn’t that make them heavier? I’ll never understand the world. I have many different logics but no complete solution.
Just as I turn a corner panting and out of breath with the thought that I’ve lost Peeves, a loud cry of: ‘Fifth year skipping lessons!’ is let out.
This is just my luck; of course I haven’t lost Peeves. Nobody escapes Peeves especially not me. Maybe I shouldn’t have got the Bloody Baron on him that one time but in my defence, he was asking for it. Peeves needs to be put in his place but obviously I’m not the one to do it.
Any other person would be telling Peeves to shut up and trying to bribe him; not me. I know for experience that this isn’t the way to go. Peeves hates being ignored so what better way to get rid of him than ignore him? He literally haunts for attention.
When I think I’ve got away – actually got away this time – I walk slower down the corridors. I’m aware I’m missing a lesson right now but I ignore the panic I feel inside. All teachers are teaching right now, I won’t be caught. I’ll just do some extra homework tonight to make up for it. Although if I am caught, I have an excuse and Madam Brown to back me up on it.
Luckily for me, no teachers seem to have heard Peeves’ outcry. Peeves: 0, Tia: 1. I think, just this once, I am saved from the wrath of a teacher and the detention that comes with it. I’ve never had detention but I’ve heard about it. Apparently, one girl was forced to clean the whole dungeons for two days straight without rest just for being out after curfew. But she was a Slytherin so I can understand. I overheard the girls in my dorm talking about it and it horrified me. From that moment, I’ve avoided detention as much as possible. Two benefits: I’m in the teachers’ good books and my sanity is still intact. I also heard the girl went insane and jumped in the Black Lake never to be seen again. Horrifying, isn’t it? I bet it was that Astronomy teacher, nobody ever sees him other than in lesson. I bet he’s too ashamed to show his face as he should. Shame on you, Professor Whatever your name is!
Of course that is only a rumour but I believe it all the same. Isobel tells me it’s a load of rubbish but she’s one person against the three girls in my dorm. I love Isobel but I’ve got to believe the more reliable source.
Thinking about Isobel makes me miss her a bit. I mean, I know she’s only in the hospital wing but usually I’m with either her or Hugo. Right now, I have neither. I don’t even know where Hugo is. I hope he’s in lessons and not with Eleanor although I wouldn’t put it past her to make him skip lessons. She’s like some sort of mind controller. I might have to ask around about her – if I can get the courage to actually talk to other people. But that is my goal for this year so it’s killing two birds with one stone.
The clip clopping of high heels distracts me. That only indicates a teacher; they’re the only people allowed to wear high heels. I’m in a bit of a sticky situation because there’s no escape route unless I walk straight ahead. I guess that’s my only option, maybe if I walk past I’ll be able to get away before they see me.
My luck from earlier is short lived, however.
‘Excuse me,’ trills the teacher.
Slowly, I turn around to come face to face with Professor Kenwick, I’ve never had her for a lesson but I’ve heard about her. She’s supposedly one of those strict but nice teachers.
‘Yes, Professor?’ I say as innocently as I can.
‘What are you doing out of lessons?’ She peers down at me through her square glasses. They’re quite trendy, for a teacher.
‘I was, erm, going to the toilet?’ My voice gets higher at the end making it sound like a question.
Professor Kenwick sighs. ‘I’ll go lightly on you this time because I can’t note any previous offences from you but that’s ten points from Hufflepuff. Don’t do it again.’
I let out a sigh of relief but quickly compose myself. ‘Yes, Professor.’
Professor Kenwick smiles at me and strides away in the direction I was heading. This time, I let out a proper sigh of relief.
Did someone slip some Felix Felicis into my drink this morning?
Later that day, I sit in the Fifth year girl’s dorm with Isobel who has been let out of the Hospital Wing. We’re doing a truck load of homework. Revision for OWL’s doesn’t start until early December for us. Hello, my name is Tia ‘Tea’ Birch and I am your stereotypical Ravenclaw.
‘Tia,’ says Isobel while I’m in the middle of solving a difficult Arithmancy equation.
Looking up, I reply, ‘yeah?’
‘I have gossip,' she says, grinning slyly.
This makes me perk up. I can't deny it, I love me some gossip.
'What kind of gossip?'
'Hugo and Eleanor gossip.'
I shuffle over to Isobel. 'Tell me more!'
'You know Eleanor's ex-boy friend? The butch Gryffindor keeper?' says Isobel.
I know the bloke she's talking about. He's not bad looking, actually, which isn't surprising considering it's Eleanor.
'He's angry about Eleanor and Hugo and when I say angry I mean furious.' Isobel grins but my heart sinks. Poor Hugo! He can't know what he's getting himself into.
'What's he gonna do?' I ask.
'Something butch and manly to, and I quote what I overheard, 'put that little Weasley prick into his place'.'
'Should we warn Hugo?'
Isobel stops smiling and cackling. I can tell she doesn't want to.
'Oh come on,' I plead, 'I know you hate him but he is my best friend. I think it's my duty to tell him.'
Isobel sighs. 'Fine,' she says before muttering under her breath, 'you take the fun out of everything.'
Hi! How was this chapter? I made it a bit longer than the last ones so I hope you like it and it wasn't too bad because for some reason I've decided to tackle nano which means updates probably won't be as fast as I'd like but I'll try! Please tell me what you think and thanks to anyone who's reviewed so far :)
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