Chapter 5 : Confused
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If Percy and I started dating in public, we would probably turn heads.
We didn’t fit each other. Like a thestral and a unicorn, we were an odd pair.
Alicia once told me that I was “a looker”. I suppose she was right; I mean, I didn’t think I was the prettiest girl in the world, but I never saw myself as appearing unfortunate either. The French from my father’s side and the Japanese from my mother’s side had blessed me with long, straight locks with a slight wave and chocolate brown eyes, a lean figure and a heart-shaped face. The summers spent not at my uncle’s manor in England when I was little but building sand castles on the shores of France had permanently sun-kissed my skin, leaving it “glowing gold”, as my first boyfriend had once described. (He was a self-proclaimed poet.) I was, as a thirty-four year old English man had drawled whilst I was shopping in London the summer before my fifth year, an “exotic specimen”. Creepy, but I couldn’t help but be a little bit flattered.
Percy, on the other hand, was, well...Percy. A Weasley through and through, he sported a head of bright orange hair with matching freckles dotting not only his face, but his ears and neck and arms, too. He was tall and gangly and could stuff down twice his weight during dinner and still walk out of the Great Hall looking as if he had eaten only a pea. He sauntered around the castle in a way that he thought looked dignified but really just made him come off as somewhat of a pretentious git. His generous grants of detentions now that he was made Head Boy didn’t help his case.
If Percy told anyone that he snogged me on a daily basis, they’d probably just laugh in his face.
But they never looked at him long enough to notice his calculating blue eyes, or how his smile lit up his entire face. They never spent enough time around him to realize that underneath his prattish nature, there was a bloke who could make you feel as if you were the most important girl in the world.
But I did.
“Would you like a chocolate-covered strawberry?”
“A chocolate-covered strawberry,” Nolan repeated. “Want one?”
I smiled thankfully at Nolan and took a bite, savoring the sweetness that melted onto my tongue.
“Lucie?” His eyes examined me as I looked at him. “Are you alright? You’ve seemed quite distracted all afternoon.”
I blushed, embarrassed. After Percy left me alone the night of the Ravenclaw match, I had made my way back to the common room and bumped into Nolan—quite literally, knocking the both of us flat on our bums—as I was climbing through the portrait hole. After a quick apology, I made up my mind and said to him, “Still willing to hang out?” He had grinned down at me and told me to meet him in the Entrance Hall at two o’ clock the next day.
When I went to see him, I found him waiting for me at the foot of the staircase, clutching a picnic basket in one hand and a checkered blanket in the other. He escorted me to a shady tree by the lake and laid out the blanket, pulling snacks and sandwiches and numerous desserts from the basket, which had to have been magically extended in the interior to hold all that food. He acted like the perfect date, cracking jokes and starting conversation and even shyly reaching for my hand sometime after the sandwiches and before the chocolate-covered strawberries. And all I had done was get lost in thought as I gazed across the lake, completely ignoring the boy beside me.
“I’m sorry, Nolan,” I apologized abashedly, guilt welling up within me. “This picnic is great, it really is. I just...have a lot on my mind, is all.”
He nodded his head in understanding. I spent the rest of the afternoon making an effort to be present in the date, laughing right on cue when he told me about a mishap he had had in the Potions storeroom during his first year and even sharing with him that my favorite color was green and I was deathly afraid of clowns. We walked back to the common room together and, after telling me how much fun he had had, he kissed me on the cheek and headed up the stairs to the boys’ dormitories.
I sighed and plopped down on the couch next to Alicia, who I spotted doing her Charms essay by the fire. Sinking further into the squishy cushions, I grabbed a pillow and hugged it to my chest, gazing moodily into the flames.
“Had fun then?”
I was startled out of my reverie by a pompous voice that could only belong to Percy. I had not noticed that he was reading in the armchair beside the couch. (The book was Magical Misdemeanors in the Modern Law this time. Merlin, could the bloke be any more mundane?)
“Yeah,” I said simply, and he gave a stiff nod.
We fell back into silence, avoiding each other’s gazes, hearing only the lick of the flames, the scratching of Alicia’s quill against parchment, and the background chatter of the rest of the Gryffindors in the common room. I noted Percy flipped the pages of the volume all too quickly—and all too forcefully, as well—to actually be retaining information.
Eventually, I grew tired of watching Percy glare daggers at his book out of the corner of my eye and, remembering that I needed to finish the letter I had been writing to my uncle the night before, I excused myself, ran up to the dormitory, and flopped down onto my bed, grabbing the parchment and a quill off my nightstand. I stared at what I had written already, deemed it unsatisfactory, wrinkled it into a ball, and chucked it in the rubbish bin. Pulling a fresh piece of parchment out of my bookbag at the foot of my bed, I inked my quill and began to write.
Dear Uncle Wyatt,
We won! We won! We won! We won our first match!!! Aren’t you proud of little ol’ me?
Oliver, of course, deserves a lot of the credit. He may be a slave driver, but at least he gets good results. The git was beating himself up after the match, though. Scared he doesn’t have what it takes to play professionally. I think you might need to be his voice of reason, since he refuses to listen to his parents, Percy, Alicia, the rest of the team, McGonagall, Hooch, and me when we try to lift his spirits. Merlin knows how stubborn the boy can be. Send him a letter, yeah? And it wouldn’t hurt to attach something edible along with it. He tends not to be so thickheaded when his stomach’s full.
Speaking of edibility, thank you for the chocolates! They were delicious. I didn’t let Alicia and Oliver know I had them because I wanted them all to myself; they were that yummy. Yeah, I know, your niece is greedy. What can you do? But I did share with Percy, though! He thought they were divine as well. And while we’re on the topic of Percy...
I bit my lip as I looked at the words, still wet and gleaming on the paper. Should I tell him, or no? I couldn’t go to Alicia or Oliver, and as Percy was the one I was having a problem with, he was ruled out as well. Besides, I had written to my uncle for advice about boys many times before; in fact, I was fairly certain he knew more about my love life than even Alicia did. But then again, this was Percy. My best friend, Percy. Often, the bloke wrote letters to my uncle himself—I counted at least ten that he sent when he was dating Penelope Clearwater, asking for birthday gift ideas for her or searching for advice on how to tell her that he loved her. I couldn’t very well let my uncle know that I was having a purely physical relationship with one of my best mates! But the awkward silence that had ensued earlier came to my mind, and I sighed. Best to go vague on this one, I thought and penned on.
Uncle, what are you supposed to do when your best friend won’t talk to you and you don’t know the reason why?
I added in a “Hope you’re enjoying Switzerland!” and signed my name with a flourish. I rolled up the parchment and grabbed a thick jumper from the top of my trunk before leaving my dorm, knowing it would be cold in the Owlery. I saw that Oliver had joined Alicia and Percy by the fire but they paid me no mind, not noticing as I ducked past a huddle of third years standing in front of the portrait hole and climbed out of the common room. I pulled on my jumper, already feeling the October chill in the castle corridors, and enjoyed the last glimpses of sunlight through the passing windows as the day reached its end. By the time I reached the Owlery, the sky had almost completely darkened.
I heard voices as I rounded the corner, and I caught sight of Harry with his two best mates, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, Percy’s youngest brother.
“Wotcher you lot,” I greeted them.
“Hi Lucie,” Harry said back. He was stroking the wings of his snowy white owl, which was perched on his shoulder. “Saw you down by the lake getting cozy with Nolan Abbey today.” He smirked, and Ron snickered. Hermione just rolled her eyes.
“Oi, mind your own business, would you?” I snapped, but my voice was light. I knew Harry was only joking around. I ruffled his hair—I nearly had to stand on my tiptoes to do so; for a thirteen-year-old, the boy was getting freakishly tall—as I walked past him to find my owl.
“Hey!” He glared at me, and I stuck my tongue out at him. Then his expression turned devilish. “It looked like he was torturing you. I know he’s a bit of a tosser, but is he really that bad for company?”
It was my turn to shoot a scowl at him, although it wasn’t that effective as my cheeks had turned red. Was it really that obvious that I hadn’t been paying the slightest bit of attention to Nolan? “Oh, shut it,” I muttered.
“Serves the bloke right, though,” mused Ron, unaware of my blushing. “Almost shoved me down the stairs the other day on my way to Defense. He and his friends are gits.”
My eyebrows scrunched together in confusion. That didn’t sound like the Nolan who had treated me to a picnic this afternoon.
“And besides,” he added, “you and Percy the Pratty Prefect are supposed to end up married one day.”
“Sorry?” I asked, not trusting my ears—although I did admire his clever alliteration. But had Ron really just said the ‘M’ word? While talking about Percy and me?
“What?” He shrugged. “You’d be a cool sister-in-law. And the only time the bloody twit doesn’t have a wand up his arse is when he’s around you.”
“Ron!” Hermione scolded, but he just shrugged again. Harry was laughing. “Sorry about these two,” Hermione apologized, her voice exasperated as she gestured to them. I instantly pitied her for having to spend almost every waking minute with the adorable nutters. “Sometimes they’ve got less manners than a mountain troll.”
“Oi!” they cried out indignantly together. Hermione just shoved them out of the Owlery, waved goodbye to me, and then disappeared around the corner herself.
Percy and me, married? I laughed to myself—slightly hysterically, I’ll admit—as my owl, Gwenog (after Gwenog Jones of the Holyhead Harpies, of course), landed on my shoulder. If Ron really thought that would happen, he not only had the manners of a mountain troll, but the brains of one, too.
The damn Weasleys were all off their rocker, that was for certain.
Author's note: Hi, all! So, I know this chapter is rather short and a bit of a filler, but hey, at least I updated right? I thought I'd have more time to write and send chapters through the queue come summer, but for some reason I'm finding my life pretty hectic. It's my last summer before college, so I'm squeezing in as much quality time with my friends and boyfriend as I can before I leave. And when I'm not doing that, I'm filling out some form or application for jobs or college. I don't think I've had a full lazy day at all since school let out. But oh well! It's worth it. :)
This chapter isn't my best, I know, and Percy's only in it for like, five seconds. Not to mention Oliver only gets a name mention. But I threw Ron in there, being all Ronnish and stuff, so hopefully that'll suffice!
I'll try to get the next chapter in ASAP, promise. But until then, I hope you guys are having a great summer! (Well, unless you're in like, Australia or something. Isn't it winter there?)
11/4/13 edits: title, minor text changes, grammatical errors
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