Chapter 2 : Love rule #2
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Love rule #2 – When in doubt, fake it
The rest of summer consisted of early morning runs, ignoring Malfoy when he showed up with the boys and learning to relax a bit from the girls. I was also learning to say no to dessert and second helpings of dinner.
When September 1st at last rolled around, I made sure that my shining new Head Girl badge was pinned firmly in place on my uniform.
Opening my school letter that year and seeing that badge was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. It was the culmination of six years of hard work and leadership, and something I'd be proud to add to my resume at the end of school.
Being head girl almost made my chubby limbs and hours in the library worth the work.
That day at the station, Mum had touched the badge with trembling fingers, and Dad had pretended to bow down before me. I kicked him.
“Get up Dad, you’re so embarrassing!” I wailed, but he just grinned and kept bowing.
“Have a good year, honey. I’ll send you some more course information during the year,” Mum said as she hugged me. I hugged her tightly back, and was surprised to discover I was taller than her.
“I miss you already, munchkin,” Dad said, finally standing up. Merlin, he was going to make me cry. Dad and I had always been close. I hugged him and hopped on the train before I could start bawling, watching them say goodbye to Hugo from where I sat in our usual compartment.
I peered out of the window at the still-busy platform, and spotted a familiar mop of blonde hair. Malfoy and his parents were saying their goodbyes, and I quickly looked away. No need to make him think I was staring, considering that I hadn't said a word to him since the start of summer.
Even without the awkward, life-changing moment at the beach, Malfoy and I already had a weird relationship. He was conviced I thought that I was better than him, and I was convinced he hated me.
Pushing him from my mind, I looked at my best friends from where they were sitting across from me and smiled. It was our last year of school. Sophie had her prefect badge on, and Callie had her quiddich captaincy. We were going to go places. Without warning, I jumped up and hugged them.
“Get off, you great lump,” Sophie giggled even as she hugged me back.
“What was that for?” Callie asked, and I smiled and shrugged.
“Felt like it.”
“Your robes look too big,” Sophie commented lightly, and I looked down with a thrill. Were they really? Maybe all those runs were starting to pay off?
“Wow, cool! You girls have to promise to go for runs with me this term. Otherwise I won’t keep it up.”
“Sure, honey,” Callie flashed me a smile and went back to her usual magazine. The compartment door opened and the boys trundled in.
“Here you all are,” Freddie said, and Sophie turned pink. We shuffled over to make room, and I found myself sitting next to Malfoy. We nodded at each other stiffly, before I pulled out some parchment and starting jotting down notes. I wanted to be on top of my head girl duties before we got back, so I didn’t end up too stressed when the school work started piling up.
“Are you sure that Hogsmeade weekend is a week before the ball, or is it two weeks?” a deep voice suddenly asked, and I looked up with a frown. Malfoy was peering over my shoulder as I wrote, and I tried to ignore the heat radiating off his body.
“What’s it to you, Malfoy?” I asked, and he shrugged. As he did, a badge caught the light. I glanced at it, and froze. “No way.”
“No freaking way!”
“Get over it, Weasley,” he said, heaving a long-suffering sigh.
“How can you be head boy! It can’t be possible!” I wailed, and knew the others were watching in amusement. I was over reacting, but I couldn't be civil to Malfoy for a whole year!
“It is possible and you’re going to have to be mature about it so we can work together.”
I just about exploded. Malfoy was trying to teach me how to behave? As if I needed his pig-headed help! Just ridiculous. How could Professor Higgins do this to me?
“We might be different, Weasley, but I reckon we can work through your... quirks... and get on with it.”
Sophie was giggling behind her hand, and Albus and Freddie were nudging each other in glee. I swallowed my sour feeling and took a deep breath.
“You’re right Malfoy. We can make this into a professional team and work together this year. I look forward to it,” I spat out through clenched teeth. So embarrassed and frustrated I felt like I would explode, I stood up and left the compartment, slamming the door behind me.
“Reeeeally mature, Rose!” Freddie called out, and I flipped him off through the glass. I stomped off to go and find someone to vent to.
Albus finally came to find me. It’s funny – when they were kids, everyone though that James would turn out to be a bad boy figure, like Uncle Harry’s father. In reality, James was incredibly studious and actually rather boring. It was Albus who turned out to be the bad boy of the family. He only came to me after he’d snogged his latest girlfriend for a good hour or so, dumped her and then pranked the Slytherins.
How he was ever made a prefect, I have no idea.
As it was, it wasn’t until a few hours later, a good Albus heart-to-heart and three black coffees (Al had raised his eyebrows when I refused his proffered cauldron cakes) from the lunch trolley that I was finally calm enough to face the prefect meeting in the head’s compartment. Albus had dressed me down equally, if not even better, than Malfoy - something about growing up and seeing past my prejudices and Malfoy was a nice guy and no, really Rose, don't give me that look. Blah blah blah.
I faced the meeting with Albus and Sophie by my side as a prefects and Malfoy opposite. The prefects this year would make our job easier – they were a good bunch. Apart from Loretta O’Walsh and her perfect raven hair and huge boobs and a tendency to snog all the boys.
“… And to conclude, everyone, meetings for the Winter Ball will be held as early as next month. We want to make this year’s ball to be a mammoth, excellent event. With Rose’s organisation skills and my wicked ideas, we’ll have the best ball yet,” Malfoy finished.
My mouth dropped open and Albus raised an eyebrow at me, as if to say ‘told you he was a good guy’. I mean, Malfoy just paid me a compliment despite my rudeness earlier. Did the world stop spinning as well? Unsure of whether he was being nice or not, I plastered a pleasant look on my face to hide my doubt. When the meeting was over, everyone started leaving. I caught Malfoy’s arm as he walked past, intending to apologize.
“Malfoy, look, I just wanted to –“ I began, but he cut me off.
“I want to work together Rose. That doesn’t mean we have to like each other too.” He glared at me, and I was overly aware of how close we were standing. I could see the light freckles on his nose, and amber sparks in his eyes.
As I opened my mouth to reply hotly, he interrupted again. “No, I don’t want to hear it. I tried to be nice. I tried all summer whenever I saw you at the beach house. But you’re just a rude, ignorant little girl. See you around, Rose."
I stared at his back as he stalked past me at last, then burst into tears.
“I just wanted to apologize,” I said to no one.
Wiping my eyes and leaving the compartment, I was surprised to see Jake was waiting for me outside.
With Malfoy’s words still etched in my brain (“You’re a rude, ignorant little girl”) I tried my best to be nice and patient with Jake. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great guy. Gorgeous, too- he is Callie's twin after all. We’ve been friends for a long time but his puppy dog eyes got on my nerves in my current mood. Plus blonde just isn’t my type at all.
“Hey Rose,” he said, and I nodded at him. “Have a good summer?”
“Actually yeah, it was great. Spent most of it with the girls at the beach.”
He laughed at that. “I can see! You look great. So fit and tan,” he complimented.
I blushed –actually blushed- and decided that maybe blondes were alright after all. He dropped me at my compartment but I didn’t go in, not wanting to face anyone. Instead, I roamed, killing time until we got to Hogwarts.
By the time I finally got to the feast later that night, I discovered that I’d missed dinner and no one had bothered to save me any food. A run-in with Peeves and a missing first year ensured that dinner was well and truly over when I at last wedged myself between the girls.
About to be angry at someone, I took a deep breath and calmed down. Me and Sophie both had terrible tempers. But when she lost it, she started ranting and swearing in rapid French. Malfoy’s words were taunting me. Just because I was upset didn’t mean I had to be rude or unreasonable. Wait, why was I even listening to anything Malfoy said? He is just –
“Rose, are you okay?” Callie broke into my mental musings, and I jumped.
“I’m just great. I guess I’ll have to wait until breakfast though, I missed dinner,” I said, slumped in my chair.
“That’s okay honey, just have some dessert instead!” she said brightly, about to reach for my favourite pecan pie. Just as she was about to grab it however, it disappeared and Professor Higgins stood up. I could have cried in frustration. It just wasn’t my day.
“Welcome, students new and old!” he boomed in his deep, loud voice. “I have some exciting news to announce for our senior students – Hogwarts now has a gym, which will only be shut during curfew hours and accessible to anyone above fifth year. Quiddich teams are allowed to book for periods of time, and the sign on sheet is available at Master Treelore’s office. This new castle addition is a part of the Ministry’s new healthy citizen initiative.”
My heart lifted. Maybe today wasn’t so bad after all. I could still work on my running even if it was raining or snowing outside! “Yes,” I whispered to the girls, “Let’s go sign up!”
Down the table, Loretta O’Walsh leaned past some of her friends to scathingly say, “You’re going to join, Weasley? Why? They don’t offer food as a good work incentive.”
I felt sick. Beside me, Callie turned pink and Albus stiffened. What did I ever do to make her say such awful things? It was Soph who acted, whipping her wand out underneath the table and casting a silent spell. Before our eyes, Loretta began to swell up until she was like a miniature hot air balloon. I believe Uncle Harry did the same thing to a muggle when he was our age. I couldn’t help but giggle, even though I was still cut from the comment. Titters began through the hall when people began to notice, and some of the new first years look horrified.
“Dear me,” said Higgins in a bored voice, for these things did tend happened on a regular basis, “Someone go and take Madam Rivers her first casualty for the year. You’re all dismissed.”
“I sick of being… lame,” I sighed to the girls later that night. We were all sitting cross-legged on my new bed in the Head’s dormitory, having just admired my new home. It was like a miniature version of the Gryffindor dorms, only closer to the great hall and far more luscious.
Plus, I was sharing a common room with Malfoy. Merlin, the very thought of it. Although it did, as Callie pointed out, make the perfect party venue – teachers wouldn’t suspect, no one really knew where the head’s dorm was, and it had a lovely, open space for a decent amount of people.
“We wouldn’t be friends with you if you were lame, Rosie,” Sophie giggled. I shrugged, and looking down at my crossed legs, tugging at a loose thread on my pyjamas.
“I guess that I’m just sick of being the snappy goody-goody.”
“Is this anything to do with Malfoy this morning, on the train?" Sophie asked, patting my hand sympathetically. I shrugged non-committedly, but the truth was, Scorpius Malfoy made me feel like an idiot. A wet towel. And I wanted to prove him wrong.
"Throw a party,” Callie said with a grin, her mind still clearly running with her previous suggestion. Sophie stared at her, shaking her head.
“It’ll cost Rose her badge if she gets caught.”
“We won’t get caught. Go on, Rose, say yes,” Calle said smoothly.
“Yes,” I said without hesitating, at the risk of sounding like a pushover. Callie squealed excitedly and Sophie allowed herself a reluctant smile.
“So when will this party be happening?” Sophie asked, and I furrowed my forehead in though.
“In a month, maybe? When everyone is settled in and has enough work to start getting stressed. Then we can party and get over the stress, and be good for some more school work! It’s perfect. As far as I see it, we’re teenagers and it's our last year of school – let’s make the most of it! It’s the new Rose Weasley.” I smiled at my idea and convieniently shoved Scorpius Malfoy from my mind.
I went to bed that night feeling somewhat troubled. Loretta O'Walsh's words kept spiralling through my mind, keeping me awake.
Restless, I went into the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror. Maybe my favourite pyjama bottoms were getting a bit loose? Perhaps my school robes did feel a bit big?
Glaring at my body, I sat down on the floor and started doing sit ups.
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