Chapter 7 : A Blustery Day
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A/N: Sorry guys! I normally update faster than this but the queue closed. :( Sad day indeed. But I'm back and so is Beth! :)
Just a heads up: Things are gonna be pretty crazy from here on out. The story becomes a rollar coaster ride, so please keep your hands and feet inside the car at all times. :)
I wrapped my gold and scarlet scarf tighter around my neck and lowered my head against the on coming wind. Rose gripped my arm as we joined the students already headed down for the quidditch pitch.
“I’m just saying, what if this plan doesn’t work out. Do you really believe you’re going to snog him and he’ll just change his feelings for you? Chances are, if this doesn’t work out you’ll get super pissed at him before you actually start to fight for him again.” Rose said in a knowing tone. I had explained my whole new plan to Scorp a few days ago, and he had naturally told Rose. She was now in the process of making me re-think everything.
I huffed in annoyance. “I know what I’m doing, Rose.” I think.
Rose pulled her own scarf up to cover her mouth from the frigid cold. “Whatever you say,” was her muffled response.
We crammed into the stands with the rest of the school and awaited the players. “Well, hey! I didn’t realize you would get out of bed for a quidditch match that didn’t involve our team!”
I turned and saw Rebecca, her brown hair pulled up into a messy ponytail, and her green eyes just visible over her own gold striped scarf. Her fit jeans were tucked into a pair of boots and a white t-shirt hung loosely over her pants. She looked really pretty as her eyes crinkled in joy- a warm greeting.
“Yeah, well dating James and all I figured I should probably come.” I suddenly felt a little self-conscious in my ripped jeans, converse, and baggy sweatshirt. I didn’t even do anything with my hair- I just left it down at the mercy of the wind. That’ll come back to bite me later, I’m sure of it.
“How are you Rose?” Rebecca asked politely.
Rose responded with a warm smile. “I’m well, and you?”
“Well,” Rebecca answered.
Man, hearing smart people converse really sucks the fun out of the mood. It’s all proper grammar and what not. Lame.
Rebecca gestured to Rose’s choice of clothing. “I assume you are supporting both houses today?”
Rose pulled on her green t-shirt and lifted the end of her scarf. “Yeah, I couldn’t seem to pick a side.”
“Understandable. It’s difficult choosing between your boyfriend and your house.”
Rose rolled her eyes. “Tell me about it.”
Madam hooch raced onto the field and the crowd roared in excitement. Over the loudspeaker, Amy could be heard announcing the start of the match. “Welcome everyone to the Gryiffindor vs. Slytherin match!” The crowd erupted in more cheers.
“I, of course, am your beautiful announcer, Amy Parkings.” I could picture her giving her hair a subtle flip and I couldn’t help but smirk.
“Let’s give it up for the Slytherin team!” A green and silver parade filed out of the dressing rooms, headed by Scorpious. Slytherin house went crazy. The Gryffindors went crazy too, only they were booing.
“Alright, alright. Now let’s give it up for the Gryffindor’s!” James led his house players onto the pitch. This time, the Slytherin’s jeered and the Gryffindors screamed.
“Calm it down kids. How about the captains go up and shake hands.” Amy spoke charismatically from the audio booth.
James sauntered forward offering Scorp a good-natured smile and gave his hand a strong pump. The two parted ways back to their own teams and Madam Hooch gave the signal for everyone to get on their brooms. Fourteen people rose up into the air and raced off to their respective places.
“Let the game begin!” Amy cried from the booth.
A Gryffindor chaser was quick on the pick up and was already flying towards the goal posts on the other side with the quaffle. She threw with surprising gusto but to no avail, as Scorp swooped in and blocked the ring with ease.
“Yeah! That’s right baby! Show ‘em whose boss!” Rose shrieked from beside me.
Scorpious blushed furiously and tried to hide his face. Al stopped patrolling his three hoops and gave Rose a strange look. James roared with laughter from his broom.
“Might I ask for the pretty little red head in the front row to calm down?” Amy joked.
I grinned at a now thoroughly embarrassed Rose. “I have never heard you scream so loud.”
She buried her face in her hands and quickly sat down while I laughed at her pain. I’m a great friend aren’t I? The game raged on, and it was a close one. But I wasn’t really paying attention because James had become a flying show pony.
He kept doing flips and dives and all sorts of stuff while he was waiting for the snitch to show up. He’d do a little stunt and then immediately look at me. I retained a cool face of pure blasé. I’m a great actress, I know. Every time I failed to show some sort of reaction, James seemed to get vaguely frustrated and would amp up his tricks.
A lot of girls were swooning, and giggling, and tossing their hair trying to get his attention. But he only seemed to have eyes for me. Game, set, and match girls. Even Rebecca was laughing at his lame attempts to get my reaction. He was much more focused on my response than the game, not that I was complaining. I wonder what’s going through that head of his.
For. The. Love. Of. Merlin. Beth. Look. At. Me. Gah!! Come on! That was a perfect Wronski Feint! Even Rebecca looked impressed! How come you won’t give me something? A smirk, an eyebrow raise even!
I huffed for what felt like the millionth time and resumed my watch for the snitch. “Oi, James!” I turned to see Erik giving me a sly grin, and nodding his head to the stands. “Showing off for the girl?”
“What?” I tried to hide the nervous edge in my voice. How had Erik known I was trying to get Beth’s attention?
Erik’s grin faltered only slightly. “Rebecca. She’s in the stands right next to my sister. I thought you were enjoying the reaction you were getting from her.”
“Wha- oh yeah! I am. This is the first time she’s acted impressed after all.” That’s not a complete lie. This actually is the first time she’s ever found my antics amusing. So why don’t I care? Why am I more enraptured with Beth than I am with the girl I’m trying to win over?
I mean, it can’t be the way they’re dressed. Rebecca looks smokin’ in those tight jeans and t-shirt. But there’s something slightly sexy about Beth’s baggy clothes and messy hair. She doesn’t even hesitate to show off how different she is from most wizards with her hockey sweatshirt. Part of me kind of wishes it was my sweatshirt that she was wearing.
Whoa! Stop right there, James. We told ourselves we weren’t going to have these thoughts anymore. So why can’t I stop checking out Beth and that challenging look she’s giving me? Ah, too many questions.
I ran my hands down my face and caught a flash of gold from between my fingers. Huh, that’s strange. Oh… wait a second. I gripped my broom and raced after the snitch, which was zooming in and out of the game. I was right behind it now. I stretched out my arm, closing the gap ever more slightly. I felt a bump and was somewhat shifted off to the side. The Slytherin seeker had joined the chase and was putting up a good fight.
I pushed my broom to as fast as it could go and stayed tight on the snitch’s tail. The little golden ball dropped into a dive and the Slytherin seeker and I followed. The wind whipped back my hair and caused my eyes to water. I was faintly aware of the screams of the crowd as I rushed downwards. My stomach slipped up to somewhere in my throat but I continued to hold out my hand, ready to snatch the little ball away at a moments notice.
We were getting closer to the ground with every passing second. The Slytherin punk chickened out and pulled up out of the deadly dive. I however kept going. A little further and I would have the snitch and by extension the match. The atmosphere in the stadium seemed to shift from excitement to tense anticipation. Amy was screaming something over the microphone but my determination blocked out all other sounds. It was just the snitch and I.
Just a little further, and… yes! I wrapped my fingers around the tiny golden ball and enjoyed a brief moment of jubilation before I hit the ground. The last thing I heard before I blacked out was Beth scream.
I don’t think I’ve ever run so fast in my life. I was down on the pitch in the blink of an eye, pushing through the crowd of players. My stupid brothers were blocking my path with their backs. Get out of the way wankers! I grabbed their jerseys and yanked backwards with as much force as I could manage. Completely caught off guard, the two stumbled back, allowing me entrance.
Madam Hooch was attending to James, making a quick assessment of the situation. Without really thinking, I ran up and placed James’ head onto my lap. “What’s wrong with him?” I asked, slightly hysterical. I didn’t care. I couldn’t seem to think past James’ unconscious body.
Madam Hooch shook her head. “Nothing serious.” A huge weight lifted off of my heart and I took in a deep, but shakey breath. “His arm seems to be broken. We’ll have to take him up to Madam Pomphry.” Madam Hooch continued.
My brothers came forward again. “We’ll take him.” Adam offered.
I scooted back as Madam Hooch waved her wand. A stretcher materialized under James. Erik and Adam grabbed both ends and carted him back to the castle. I watched them for a moment, unable to stand. Finally, I found the strength to get up and chase after them. Before I left, I heard Madam Hooch mumble, “Just like his father.”
I skidded into Hospital wing and quickly found James’ bed- it was the only one filled. Erik and Adam were on opposite sides, waiting for James to awaken. I pulled up a stool and sat on the end. “What’s the verdict?”
“Madam Pomphry fixed his arm. Now he’s just resting.” Adam rubbed his face tiredly. “Always the hot shot, James. This win was a little too risky for my taste.”
Erik nodded, “Agreed.”
Rose, Scorp, Amy, Al, Lily and the rest of the Potter-Weasley family came rushing in. “Damn it James!” were Al’s first words.
“That could have killed him!” Rose burst from beside him.
“Great save!” Hugo chimed in. He received more than a few dirty looks. “What? I thought it was cool.”
"What it looked like doesn’t matter. It was dangerous,” Rose retorted sharply.
"Why do I have a daft prat for an older brother?” Lily placed two fingers on her temple and began to rub. “Mum is going to kill him. This is the third time he’s been in the hospital wing for quidditch injuries.”
Before anyone could say anything else, Madam Pomphry rushed in and began to go off about James having too many visitors. “He needs his rest!” She barked at us.
We all turned to leave, but Scorp shoved me back into my seat. “If anyone should stay it’s his girlfriend.” He flashed me a small smirk and a sly wink before leaving with the rest of them.
I blushed, and looked at Madam Pomphry. I expected her to usher me out as well, saying even girlfriends weren’t allowed. But she just went about her business, fluffing his pillow and what not before heading back to her office. Seeing as I wasn’t reprimanded, I moved to the seat Adam had recently vacated. I figured sitting by James’ head was a little less awkward than sitting at his feet.
I fiddled with my hands, quite unsure what to do in a situation such as this. I had never visited James in the hospital before because I was afraid of seeming kind of stalker-ish. Now- since I was technically dating him- I was morally obligated to be here. Not that I didn’t mind an excuse to watch James sleep… ignore what I just said.
The door to the hospital wing was pushed inwards and Rebecca peeked in timidly. “Am I allowed to be here?”
I couldn’t help but giggle at her awkwardness. What a flip. Normally I’m the one being awkward. “Of course you can be here.”
Rebecca strode over to the bed and sat down across from me. “I can’t believe he did something so brash.”
I shrugged. “Its James. What can you do?”
We both watched him sleep in silence, me perhaps a little more intently. He was moving his nose around as if he was trying to itch it unconsciously. He kinda resembled a bunny. I bit back a laugh because I got the funniest image of James wearing bunny ears and running around Hogwarts, throwing eggs at people. He would so do something like that.
"You still really like him, don’t you?” Rebecca blurted out suddenly.
The question caught me off guard and I stared at her blankly for a few uncomfortable seconds. “Well, of course I like him. We’re dating after all.”
Rebecca shrugged. “Yeah, but I remember you used to like him a lot. Only you stopped talking about him for a while, so I wasn’t sure if you got over him or not.”
I sighed. “I’ve never actually gotten over him.” I mumbled back. I couldn’t lie about my feelings to Rebecca. Not only had I been pouring my guts to her for six years, she read me too easily. She’d be able to tell if I was lying about my feelings for James.
Rebecca nodded knowingly, “I figured.”
We sat in silence again, both unsure of what to say. During this time, I felt content to watch James again. I wondered if he was dreaming, and if he was, were they dreams of me? I’d even be content if I was in the background, so long as he was thinking of me. I’m pathetic. I realize this.
"I like your sweatshirt.” Rebecca said in a lame attempt at conversation.
I looked down at my comfy outer layer. “Oh, thanks. It’s from my hockey days.”
Rebecca nodded. “How long did you play?”
I thought about it, silently crunching the numbers in my head. “I started when I was six, so roughly ten years?”
"And you started ballet after that?”
I grinned. “No, I did ballet before then. I was pretty good. The kids down the way from our house played hockey and after I learned the basics I was hooked.”
Rebecca gave me an admiring once over. “You did ballet, hockey, and went to Hogwarts? And I thought I was good at multi tasking.”
I scoffed. “Hardly. I went from the best in my ballet class to mediocre at best. I was too focused on hockey. I finally stopped ballet a few months before I quit hockey. When I went to Hogwarts things became harder but I was still able to participate during the holidays. But once I got into fifth year, studying for O.W.L’s became my priority and I had to give up hockey as well.” I sighed sadly.
"I heard you were good.” Rebecca said encouragingly.
I shrugged. “I was alright.” A moment of silence, in which Rebecca raised an eyebrow and I was unable to fight back my own pride. “Alright! I was more than good, I was the star of the team!” Rebecca let out a little giggle but I plowed on. “I mean, you should have heard the crowd when I skated onto the ice. They went nuts! Even the other team’s families would cheer for me because they respected what I could do with that stick.” I paused and frowned slightly. “That sounded kinda sexual.”
Rebecca let out a little laugh. “No, it’s fine. I know what you meant.” She looked at the watch on her hand and stood up. “I really should get going. I still have a transfiguration paper to right.” With one last twiddle of her fingers she left the hospital wing. I sighed and slumped into my seat.
"Man, I thought they would never leave,” James said suddenly conscious.
I jumped in fright and nearly fell off my stool. “How long have you been awake?”
James shrugged and ruffled his hair. “Awhile.”
Oh no. Oh no, no, no, no, no, no. How long was “awhile”? Did he hear my conversation with Rebecca about my feelings for him? I mean I intend to reveal them sooner or later… but later rather than sooner. “What did you hear?” I said, sounding a little too defensive.
Another shrug. “Just something about hockey and ballet.”
My shoulders sagged in relief. “Oh, okay.”
"And something about appreciating the way you handle a stick?”
My cheeks flushed and I buried my face into my hands. “Oh, Merlin.”
"You know,” James said in a seductive voice that made my heart do flips. “If you want, I can show you some stick techniques sometime- Ow!” I punched James in the chest, effectively cutting off his feeble attempts at flirting.
I stood. “And to think I was worried about you.” I turned to go but he grabbed my wrist. A jolt of electricity shot up my arm and my stomach filled with butterflies.
I stopped and looked over my shoulder into his apologetic chocolate eyes, although there was a glint in the back that suggested he wasn’t that regretful. “I’m sorry. I’m glad you came to visit me. If madam Pomphry doesn’t let me out today, do you think you can come see me tomorrow?”
I pretended to contemplate his suggestion even though I was fully aware of my answer. “I suppose. I’ll have to check my schedule and make sure I’m not too busy.”
"A good girlfriend would come tomorrow.” James pointed out.
I huffed. “Fine. I guess I can spare you a few minutes,” Or an hour or a lifetime.
"Sweet. Oh, and Beth?”
"We’re still on for Hogsmeade right?”
My heart thumped in my chest at the prospect of going to Hogsmeade with James. I have to keep it cool, I reminded myself. I can’t let him know how giddy I am over this. “I’ll pick you up at ten.” I gave him a slow once over. “Wear something pretty.”
James’ laugh echoed the room as I closed the door behind me.
* * * * *
Back in the common room I found Cal waiting on one of the plush couches. He stood up the moment I walked in. “Beth, I heard what happened. Is he okay?”
I nodded before collapsing onto the overly stuffed furniture. Cal fell next to me and propped his elbows on the back of the couch. “Well, on the upside we know your plan is working.”
I shot him a sideways glance. “And how, Mr. Heith, do we know that?”
"Rose told me about how James kept showing off for you.” Cal waggled his eyebrows whilst smirking.
I flushed and a smirk of my own unfurled across my face. “So?”
"So, your plan’s working!” Cal threw out his arms excitedly.
I suddenly remembered something from earlier that week. “Yeah, which means that your plan will go into affect. But what exactly is this plan of yours?” I leaned over to Cal, seriously invading his personal space. “Better speak up Heith, or you and me are gonna have some serious problems.”
Cal snorted. “Beth, we’ve been friends for six years. Your threats don’t scare me anymore.”
Well, poo. First Rose and now Cal. What is the world coming to? “Just tell me Cal!” I snapped, completely losing my patience.
"Beth! You’re back!” Rebecca walked into the common room in cotton shorts and a sweatshirt. “I was going to come wait for you. Anything change?” She sounded concerned.
I felt a little resentment. My plan looked like it was working, but so far so was James’. I just had to work a little harder, that’s all. “He’s conscious. He should be out in time for our date.” I made sure to mention the fact that I had a date with James and she didn’t. Territorial much? You bet.
Rebecca smiled, “Oh, good! Well, I’m going to head to bed.” As if to further make her point she yawned and stretched out her arms. “Night, Beth. Night, Cal.” And after twiddling her finger at us, she left for bed.
We both waved, but Cal kept waving even after she left- and he sort of had a dazed look on his face.
"Cal?” I asked slowly.
He seemed to jolt out of his thoughts and he quickly lowered his hand. Now Cal was the one flushing and avoiding my gaze.
I looked between Cal and the spot where Rebecca had been standing. “Cal… what exactly is your plan?”
Wow. So Beth likes me. Well, I assume she likes me considering the fact that she and Rebecca used the word “still”. I had to pretend like I woke up during their conversation about hockey. At least, I think it was about hockey. Everything went kinda numb after Beth admitted she had feelings for me.
“I’ve never actually gotten over him” those were her words. Why do I feel like I’ve just won more than the quidditch match? No, I should be concerned about Rebecca and how she’s taking this news.
Now, If I could only stop smiling like an idiot.
What?! Did that really just happen? Yes... yes it did.
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