Chapter 11 : The Fireplace
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“Where the bloody hell is Harlow?”
The Scottish accent and the voice were easily recognizable.
“Wood, all things considered, you probably don’t want to make a scene here asking for her. You’ll just give ‘em something else to talk about.”
“Shut up, George.”
I lingered on the staircase as I didn’t want to confront Wood, but I didn’t feel like going back to the dormitory either.
The stone stairs sent a chill through my spine as I sat down to rest on them while waiting for Wood to leave. I attempted to peer out the window, but I was too short in my sitting position and could only see the dark clouds moving in on the castle. As the conversation between Wood and George subsided, a second-year made her way up the stairs. She smiled at me as I shuffled over towards the wall to make space for her to pass. It was as if she was unaware of all the gossip surrounding me even though that was seemingly difficult to believe. Everyone knew about it, but the girl even had the courtesy of muttering a meek “thanks” as she continued her way up the spiraling staircase.
I stayed on the staircase for a while, watching the night creep up on the castle and the rain start pouring. It made a thumping sound as it hit the windowsill which was oddly calming. It almost made me unaware of the groups of girls walking by and staring at me.
I tiptoed down to the bottom of the stairs to make my footsteps as inaudible as possible and peered through to have a look at the Common Room. Thankfully, Wood was nowhere in sight. The common room was empty except for Harry, Hermione and Ron occupying the area around the fireplace.
I attempted to pass by unnoticed, but Hermione heard me and turned around, startled by my sudden presence.
“Blimey, Rye! You scared me!” Ron screamed.
“Oh, sorry, I tried to be quiet so as not to disturb you. Where is everyone?” I said, still whispering and doing my best to be as quiet as possible.
“Probably in bed, it was quite a long day,” Hermione added.
I nodded in agreement.
“I’m sorry about the whole thing with Wood,” Hermione said sympathetically.
“Yeah, me too,” I replied. “Listen, I don’t mean to impose, so I’ll be off now.”
“Where are you going to go at this time?” Harry asked. “Sneaking around the castle isn’t as much fun as it’s made out to be, the three of us would know. Sit here with us for a bit. I can imagine you need a friend right now.”
I smiled and nodded before making my way over to the fireplace. I sat down cross legged next to Hermione.
“So, anything particularly special about the fireplace or are you just huddling around to warm up?” I said.
“Err, it’s quite a long story actually,” Harry said, trying to remain mysterious.
“Right, of course it is,” I said. “Everything you three do is a long story, isn’t it?”
“Not by our own choosing, I assure you,” Ron interjected. “If I could have it my way, we would never be involved in any long stories.”
“Oh man up, Ron,” Hermione huffed. “Stop being such a coward.”
Harry laughed at their bickering and I decided to join in.
“So, is everyone in Gryffindor shunning you as if you were a Death Eater?” Ron asked.
Hermione elbowed Ron in the rib to tell him to shut up, but Ron didn’t seem to get the hint as he let out a painful yell.
“It’s okay, ‘Mione,” I said while laughing. “Yeah, I’m not exactly a living, breathing example of Gryffindor student traits right now and they’re not too happy with me. You’re probably the only people who even want to talk to me. Hopefully they’ll forget about it by next year, though I doubt I’ll ever get rid of the reputation.”
“I’m sorry about it all. I’m sure they’ll forget about it soon,” Harry added.
“I’m hoping for a scandal of epic proportions to cast the shame away from me, but it all seems pretty hopeless,” I continued. “I’m hoping Sirius Black makes an appearance, to be honest.”
The group shuffled around uneasily as I mentioned Black.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Harry,” I quickly apologized, realizing my stupidity. “I didn’t mean it that way. I don’t really want him here. I sometimes really don’t think about what I say… or do. You might have noticed that this morning.”
“It’s fine, Rye, it really is,” he said through a rather genuine smile.
That’s great, Rye. Tell them that you want Sirius Black here. You really can’t do anything well, can you?
“I should probably leave before I say something equally as stupid. I’m so so sorry. Good night you three,” I muttered while getting up.
“I’ve been looking for you for all day, Harlow,” a voice from behind me said. Once again, the Scottish accent was impossible to mistake.
I turned around and surely, Oliver Wood was there, his arms crossed over his chest.
“Wood, listen can we do this some other ti—”
“No,” he said, cutting me off. I could see that he was fuming and trying to contain his anger as much as possible. “Let’s go somewhere private. Harry, we’ve got practice tomorrow morning, you better not be tired.”
I sent Harry a sympathetic look as I knew how Wood got about his quidditch. I’d like to think that I wasn’t as fanatical about it as he was.
Wood grabbed me by the arm and dragged me off outside of Gryffindor tower.
“Where are we going?” I whispered so that none of the patrolling teachers would hear me.
“Shut up, Harlow.”
He tightened his grip around my arm, dragging me down a flight of stairs with him. When we got to the bottom, he looked over to make sure there wasn’t anyone in sight. When he was sure that nobody had seen us, he pulled me through a secret passageway behind a painting.
“Where are we?” I said in awe.
“It’s a secret passageway which leads outside. I found out about it from Fred and George when we snuck out to play quidditch,” he said, while taking a seat on the ground.
“Of course, why else would you ever sneak out and risk your position on the team,” I scoffed.
He decided to ignore my remark and continued with what he had intended.
“We won’t go any further. Nobody is going to find us here,” he stated.
“That’s great,” I remarked sarcastically.
“Shut up, Harlow. I can’t bloody believe you!” he began his rant. “One bloody thing I ask of you to do, to keep your mouth shut, and you fail to do it! Can’t you do anything right? And to make matters even more interesting, you tell me that if I can keep it a secret you will actually start to have some respect for me! Fuck you, Harlow! I really wouldn’t give a fuck about it, but now everyone’s talking about it. Everyone. This is my last chance to win the Cup, Harlow. I really don’t need people giving me looks because we shagged when I’m doing my best to focus on the upcoming match!”
“Way to care about your girlfriend, Wood,” I snorted.
“Ex-girlfriend, thanks to you. And it was never serious with her anyway. If it was, she would have been angrier with me than she is with you. At best, her ego is bruised a tad. That is not the main issue here; have you even been listening to me?”
“Yes, I have. Okay, everyone found out, it was my fault. Deal with it. And I’m so sorry that you’re having trouble with your quidditch team, Wood. If I recall this is the same team you kicked me off of because I wouldn’t comply with your ridiculous requests!”
“You’re so fucking stubborn. You never listen to anyone and have no regard for authority. I’m your captain, therefore you listen to me. Hell, you wouldn’t even listen to one thing I asked you to do that would work to your advantage!”
“I have no issues with authority, it is only you I dislike being subordinate to,” I stated matter-of-factly.
“Well, good thing you’re off the quidditch team and don’t have to deal with that anymore,” he smirked.
“Fuck off, Wood,” I yelled, but he immediately muffled my screams by putting his hand to my mouth. He was inches away from me and using his other hand put a finger to his mouth to signalize that I should be quiet.
“Someone might hear us, Harlow,” he said and took his hand off my mouth.
“We’re in a secret passageway, Wood. The chances of someone actually hearing us through the stone and shit is almost non-existant. So I’ll fucking yell if I want to,” I said, my voice rising with every word. I then decided to start screaming everything that comes to mind simply to prove a point. “I fucking hate you, Wood! Shagging a completely drunk girl is even low for you, you know that! I hate you! You’ve made a goddamn mess of everything, but it’s not as if you give a fuck since you’re leavi—”
Wood shuffled around nervously, scared that somebody will hear my yelling. He seemed to be scanning for options to make me shut up, but as my yells grew louder he seemed at a loss about what to do. Suddenly, he pushed me towards the wall and pressed his lips to mine.
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