Chapter 5 : Waste of Energy
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How is it that after three weeks of school... THREE... I felt like I needed another holiday. Unfortunately Charla and Dominique continued their little spat, and we’re still not on good enough terms to sustain a decent conversation that passed anything besides “Go to Hell!”
Freddie’s theory was that both girls were PMSing and would get over it. I knew really that Charla is just scared for her baby sister, and I guess I am too, the more I lay awake at night and wonder what pushed things so far that lovable Rory really couldn’t stop the pain, the more I wonder if Charla goes through the same thing and is just better at hiding it from me.
However by the fourth week with Quidditch matches looming closer, I had to push all thoughts of hurt best friends to the back of my head and focus on other things.
I hate focusing. Waste of Energy.
I called tryouts for Monday, because everyone hates Monday and I was in a bad mood at the time, luckily, or unluckily, depending on how you look at it, almost half of Gryffindor turned up to tryout, the other half turned up to watch and from the corner of my eye I saw Luke Davies draping an arm around Lily... MY LILY! MY BABY LILY HOW DARE HE!
So I sent a jinx at him which made me feel considerably better.
‘James is everything ok?’ I recognised Sisi’s voice and turned around in the door of the changing room to see her, dressed in her Quidditch robes and leaning against a wall.
‘Yeah, why wouldn’t it be?’ I pulled a grin up from somewhere deep down.
‘Isn’t that obvious, Charla and you’re cousin are arguing, Charla’s little sister is upset for some reason or another and you just jinxed your little sisters boyfriend.’
‘He deserved it,’ I scowled unceremoniously and slumped onto a bench. The changing rooms were not usually used during tryouts, which was why for now this was my hideout.
‘Did you know Dominique is trying out for Chaser?’ Sisi added, as she took a seat on the bench beside me.
I pretended not to be shocked out of my mind (which I was), why would Domi tryout, she had no interest in Quidditch, she had told me just the other day, and Charla was going for Chaser. Well I supposed that was the obvious answer, she was taking Charla’s place away from her. Trouble was I really would rather Char was on the team, and it would be hard enough to tell Dominique she didn’t get a spot, but what if the positions were reversed and Dom won tryouts?
‘Think positive James,’ Sisi smiled and put a comforting hand on my arm, ‘you’ve seen Charla play a million games and we’ve lost two, Dom hasn’t ever wanted to play Quidditch for the house so maybe she won’t be that good anyway.’
Obviously, this was a good point, Charla knew the other teams back to front and knew all the tactics they used as well as how to play one damn good game, Dominique’s only experience was the games we played at home and they hardly counted, plus she was better at Beating than Chasing.
~ ~ ~
‘Oi you losers,’ I yelled out with a magically enhanced voice making the sentence ring out through the stadium. Once I’d got everyone’s attention I quietened down a little. ‘We don’t need any other Beaters or a Seeker so if that’s what you’re here to try out for, get lost.’
A bunch of firsties and two dozen other kids took to the stands instead, one little kid was sobbing her heart out because she was certain she could be the next great seeker for the Gryffie’s, I had half a mind to tell her that if she thought she could be Albus in tryouts she would have to be some kind of Quidditch God but that might have sounded like I was giving her a chance... and I wasn’t because the last thing I needed was cry babies on my team.
I decided to hold Keeper tryouts before Chaser, settling on that arrangement so that hopefully most people would scram before Chaser tryouts.
Twenty people in all wanted the Keepers spot, which was ridiculous because half of them couldn’t catch and a quarter of them couldn’t throw from a broom which left me with about five people who might actually play a decent game.
As I expected, little Weston was in that group of five. So were a pair of second year boys and a third year girl and a seventh year girl who looked like she was going to burst into tears.
‘Right,’ I pointed to the seventh year, ‘up to the posts.’
She nodded meekly and took up her broom, it was some crappy cleansweep... 10 I think. She wasn’t terrible, she caught three out of the five Quaffles so I made her stay but both second year boys could only manage to guard one hoop at a time and when they were asked to pass the Quaffle back they could only chuck it about a meter or so. I told both of them to bugger off.
There wasn’t much luck with the third year either but as I expected, Mini Weston was brilliant. She caught everything thrown at her and could pass a Quaffle three quarters of the way across the pitch. Not to mention she was fast as anything and had a nice broom, definitely a Firebolt.
‘Right Sophie,’ I called to her from the air as she landed triumphantly. ‘You’re hired, practice Monday, Wednesday, Thursday at four, don’t be late.’
She blew me a kiss and sat down on the grass among the other first year girls, waiting until she would be needed again.
I was also pretty pleased with myself for predicting that half the people had left to go up to dinner by the time the Chaser tryouts came around and there was only a handful of people left to watch and even less wanting a place on my team.
I set up several exercises which meant cutting down to half the people and then it was merely a matter of which out of the four people left could score against my new found Keeper.
And I managed to cut it down again to two people.
I’m pretty sure you can guess who those two people were.
‘Dominique, Charla, three more Quaffles each, the one who scores most out of those wins, if it’s equal, you play rock-paper-scissors for the place.
Both girls snarled at each other but Charla let Dominique go first, she scored two out of three. So did Char. Except Char’s was closer to going in than Dom’s.
‘You can’t make us play rock-paper-scissors.’ Dom complained, ‘how has that even got anything to do with Quidditch.’
‘I’m hungry so it has everything to do with Quidditch.’ I snapped, ‘Unless you want Char to have the place?’
In truth, I really thought Charla deserved it, there was something about her that radiated a love for the game, though it sounded like some complete soppy rubbish that you’d read in Witch Weekly.
‘Nope, I’ll play.’
So they did. And it was the worst decision of my life because within thirty seconds Charla was mounting her broom and flying far over the black lake and Dominique was wearing the smuggest expression that ever crossed her face.
‘Why are you doing this,’ I asked, I could even hear the irritation and hurt seeping through my voice.
‘Why is she angry at me for saying something about her sister?’
‘Because she loves Rory, when you bloody grow up Dominique, come back to me, then you get the place on my team.’ I yelled, backing away and taking to the air.
Following Char was simple, she had pulled her hair out of its pony tail and the red ringlets were flying everywhere. I even caught up but she didn’t acknowledge me until we were on the ground on the far side of the lake when she dropped her broom, staggered forward and collapsed into my arms.
‘You can’t think I’m gonna give her that place Charla,’ I muttered.
‘She won fair and square.’ Char’s voice cracked but she wasn’t crying, not for the moment.
‘You can’t win over a game of rock-paper-scissors.’ I said, pulling her down to sit beside me on a rock that jutted out abnormally.
‘You suggested it.’ She murmured.
‘I was wrong and you get the spot!’ I insisted.
‘You want it way more than she does.’
~ ~ ~
I was much happier knowing I’d given Char the spot on the Quidditch team, maybe it was just the feeling of telling myself; she just needed one thing to go her way. However it did earn my some irritated glares from another certain cousin which I could seriously have gone without.
‘What’s her problem?’ Fred asked, sitting down opposite me at dinner while instead Dominique flounced over to sit beside Lucy at the Slytherin table.
Things must be pretty bad if she picked snakes over us.
‘Idiot.’ I sighed.
Charla ended up filling him in on the Quidditch experience throughout which he sat open mouthed and gaping like a fish. It took only the presence of Sisi to snap him out of his little trance.
‘Hi Roisia,’ he smiled, and knocked over his glass of water all over Charla’s lap.
While he and Charlie were busy mopping up that accident I caught sight of Rory across the hall. She appeared to be grinning with two other third year girls. There was a coloured girl with long hair plaited down her back whose giggle carried over to us, and a girl with blonde bunches and rosy cheeks.
I pointed this out to Charla and she immediately seemed to relax, her stiff shoulders dropped and she smiled down at her food.
Her little grin even made me smile.
I was thrilled to the point of weirdness that we continued through the rest of the dinner, uneventfully, until the end, when I was passing by the Slytherin table with Charlie, Sisi, and Fred, ready to leave when a bang set off.
I turned round just in time to see a banner erect across the entire great hall. A gasp resounded.
There was a picture of Char, dressed in nothing but a bright pink bra and underwear twirling round the dorm, laughing with Sisi in the background, also in the same sort of attire.
The word, ‘Bitch’ flashed up in multicolours.
‘That bitch,’ I seethed, pulling my wand out and directing it at Dom. The next few moments happened too fast to account for but I found myself being held back by Fred, who had my wand stowed in his robes, and my hands pulled behind my back. Charla was standing stunned, being gawped at by the entire Hogwarts population and Sisi and Dominique were in the middle of a raging duel, Sisi bearing growing teeth and Dominique had her hair dyed blue and her skin an ominous shade of green.
‘STOP,’ the voice of the Hag from the dorm last night called out again, ‘STOP STOP STOP!’
‘The following people,’ the hideous woman smiled unpleasantly. ‘Will see me right now in my office, on the third floor, Charla Wood, Dominique Weasley, Fred Weasley, James Potter and Roisia Weston.’
~ ~ ~
Despite much arguing and complaining and a whole bloody unnecessary hour in an office when I could have been finishing homework (a screw that I know I wouldn’t have been doing homework), we were given detention that night and every night for the next week. Charla, Roisia and I were assigned to cleaning the owlery, which was a pretty hefty job, not to mention grotesque, the stench was horrific and mouse skeletons were scattered among the poop. Fred and Dominique had to mop out moaning Myrtles bathroom. I couldn’t decide which was worst.
‘I’m going to be sick,’ I muttered, throwing the sopping wet scrap of cloth into the already dirty bucket on the third evening of detention.
‘Please don’t be,’ Sisi growled, doing the same and standing up straight, stretching out her arms in the corner of the room. Charla had escaped for a bathroom trip momentarily, but would probably be back soon.
Even though I had given her the space on the Quidditch team, even though her sister was happy, Dominique had made it her mission to put Charla through hell.
‘What goes on in the girls dorm that makes Dominique hate Char so much?’ I asked desperately, taking advantage of Chars absence to ask Sisi, because I knew I could trust her.
‘You haven’t guessed already?’ Sisi raised her eyebrows, when I shook my head she continued, ‘Everyone loves Char, and everyone’s always going on about how much they missed her when she wasn’t here and whatnot, I guess Dom just feels left out.’
‘How can she, she has boys falling over themselves just to say Hi to her.’
‘But she hasn’t got you on her side!’ Sisi insisted, ‘and right now, that makes all the difference.’
‘I’m her cousin!’ I cried indignantly, disgusting thoughts taking over my “innocent” and “clean” mind.
‘Yeah, I don’t really get it either,’ she grinned, ‘but James you don’t know how obvious it is that you’re completely in love with Char, and maybe Dom has always counted on you loving her more because you’re family.’
‘I’m not in love with Charlie,’ I protested, but I could feel a blush creeping up upon me.
Roisia only smiled knowingly as Char returned, and my face lit up in a smile.
Ok, maybe I loved her a little bit...
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