Chapter 6 : Some People Need to Grow Up
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Well, I’ve been having that moment a lot lately. Like every time I go on “Prefect patrol” with Noel. Which happens to be code for “snogging in empty corridors.”
I guess, when I think about it, what Noel and I are doing probably isn’t the smartest idea in the world. I mean, any second someone could come walking through the halls, see us, and automatically assume that I’m cheating on What’s-His-Face...
Come to think of it, this really could end poorly.
But Noel’s so damn gorgeous.
I honestly think that I might be in love with him. Or his body. Or his general snogging ability.
Because let’s be honest here - he is one good-looking and talented bloke. Speaking of...
“Noel,” I murmur, slowly pushing him away with two hands to his fit, muscly chest. Ah...
“What? Right! Yes! Huh?”
Come on, Lexi. Pull yourself out of that Noel Coma. You can do it.
“You said my name,” Noel says pointedly.
Oh, right. I guess I did. What was I talking about again? I think it had something to do with snogging and Noel...
Wait, I could be snogging Noel right now. What am I doing?
No, hold up! I remember now. Okay. The world is good.
“Noel,” I begin again, tracing my fingers over his chest and smoothing out his shirt. “Remember how you said you would get Danny to back off?”
Noel nods and leans in so he can start to kiss my neck, his hands wandering a bit too far down my back for my liking. “Do you have a point?” he murmurs against my skin.
“Well... I was thinking that now that you’ve done so, there’s really no more need for me to pretend to be with What’s-His-Face. So don’t you think I should break up with him or something?”
At my words, Noel lifts his head away from my neck, leaning his forehead against mine so our eyes are drilling into each other’s.
God, I love his eyes. They’re the most gorgeous shade of green I’ve ever seen, all dark and forestey like the sea...
Wait, that doesn’t even make sense. Does it? Eh, screw it. Who the frick cares?
Okay. Focus. You’re on a mission here.
But before I can even ponder what I’m about to say, Noel slams his mouth back onto mine and then we’re snogging like there’s no tomorrow. And Godric, it’s the absolute best feeling in the world. Ladies, if you ever get the chance to snog Noel Hemsley, then do it. Actually, don’t. He’s mine, bitches.
Honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing about snogging this bloke. He’s perfect. Well, no, that’s not exactly true. I mean, the part about him being perfect is. What I mean is that I would only change one small thing about snogging him, and that’s being able to do this in public. Well, not this exactly, but -
PUBLIC. That’s what I was going to talk about.
“Noel,” I insist, shoving him off me again. “Hear me out. I thought that if I break up with The Annoying One, then you and I would be free to, you know, be a couple.”
Noel’s eyes widen immediately at my words, and he looks almost like I’ve blind sided him. “Uh...”
“Don’t you think that would be a good idea?”
“I mean, it would be great, wouldn’t it? We could be official and everything - go on dates and hold hands and -”
“I don’t think that’s the best idea, Lex.”
“- and have an anniversary and do cute coupley things and - wait, what?”
Did he just say - I think he just said - but - no, he can’t have -
Seriously, Noel? I had this really long list of things that couples do together all planed out in my head and you just ruined it. Merlin knows I don’t even write lists for classes - doesn’t he see how committed I am to this relationship? This list writing thing is practically a proclamation of love -
“I said, I don’t think that’s the best idea, Lex,” he repeats slowly.
“Wh-why?” I pout.
“Well, because - because -” Noel clears his throat gruffly and drops his forehead back onto mine. “You wouldn’t want the other girls to get jealous, would you?”
“Screw those bitches,” I growl, plotting their murders in my head. Even look at my Noel and I will -
“And I wouldn’t want to do that to Danny. He is my best mate, after all.”
“Oh.” My smile falls off my face and my eyes drop to the floor. “I guess you have a point.”
WHY DOES HE HAVE TO BE SO INTELLIGENT? WHY?
Ugh. Sometimes I think this boy is too perfect for his own good.
“I should go,” I murmur.
“Aw, come on, Lex,” Noel pines as he goes back to kissing my neck.
Bloke has some serious self-control issues here. And I thought that I was the messed up one in this relationship... or non-relationship. Whatever this is. And we are definitely not snog buddies, if that’s what you’re thinking. He fancies me and I fancy him and it’s all happy-dandy-rainbows-and-unicorns.
HE LIKES ME.
“No, Noel - seriously - I have to go - stop -”
He lets out a sigh of defeat and releases me, eyes filled with regret and longing and - oh, Noel, I love you too! Of course I’ll marry you...
Hey, a girl can dream.
One of Noel’s fingers traces over my neck, stopping at what I can only assume to be yet another bruise. “Sorry,” he mutters, but I can tell that he’s really not sorry at all. Because we share a connection like that.
He shrugs noncommittally. “Ollie gonna be miffed?”
I gaze at him for two seconds more, then turn resolutely on my heel and head off down the corridor. You know, as much as I love being with Noel and as much as I love him loving me (although he hasn’t admitted it yet), sometimes I feel like... I guess what I mean is... I don’t even know what I’m going on about. I just wish -
Go on, Lex. You know what you were about to think. Spit it out. Er... think it out.
I just wish he was more like Oliver.
I mean, not because I like Oliver or anything, but... He has this quality about him - a quality that I wish Noel had. Oliver’s driven. Simple as that. He has focus. He knows what he wants and he knows what he has to do to get it.
I have to admit that I admire that about him, even if it does lead to him blackmailing me. Regardless, I wish Noel had a little bit of something like that. He’s just so... so...
Clueless? Is that the right word?
No, not really. I kind of feel like he’s just floating. He doesn’t really have a goal; he doesn’t have a plan for after he graduates. He’s just dancing through life, figuring things out as he goes. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that’s all bad, but I feel like he needs to get a grip and make some decisions.
If he doesn’t get his life plan in order, how will he be able to support me and the three kids? I mean I am going to be his wife, after all. Gosh, he’s so inconsiderate.
But it’s not just his life plan that I’m worried about. Sometimes I feel as if... as if... he’s floating by with me. I know it’s silly and I know I shouldn’t think it, but I can’t help but feel like he’s just use-
“Raaahh!” I screech as a calloused hand snakes out to grab me. The fingers latch firmly around my little stick of an arm, and I’m tugged towards the owner of the Mystery Hand.
Of course, I know right away who it is. The only person who would dare touch me (besides Noel) without fear of getting punched, kicked, and possibly stabbed.
(Kidding about the last one, by the way... Sort of.)
Yes, of course I know it is Oliver. I can tell by the recklessness of the action - I mean, really. No one with their head screwed on straight would ever even attempt to invade my personal space.
But the hands are the things that really give it away. Yup, I could recognise his hands anywhere, seeing as he’s the only person nutso enough to play Quidditch without gloves. They’re always rough, toughened up and battered by never ending Quidditch practices and catching Quaffles with his fricking bare hands. Claims gloves create a “wider margin of error.”
Yeah. Like I even know what that means.
Anyway, I can tell it’s him from touch alone. But that doesn’t stop me from beating the shit out of him.
“Unhand me, you fiend!” I cry dramatically, pummelling him as hard as I can with my free hand.
“Lexi - Lex, stop - holy shit, that hurt - Lex!”
“Oliver?” I ask in wide-eyed innocence as I glance up at his face for the first time. “You scared the Wrackspurts out of me. I thought you were some foul -”
“Yeah, whatever.” He cuts me off abruptly and slips his hand off my arm. “But you just violated the no violence clause, Lex. I hope you realise that.”
“I truly thought you were a miscreant with mal intentions -”
But I can tell he’s not buying it.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever.”
I scowl at him and he scowls right on back. It’s like one big Scowling Fest going on between us. Oh, happy days, happy days.
“What. Do. You. Want?” I hiss at him.
“We need to have a little chat,” he spits back just as venomously.
“Okay, then chat, and stop wasting my bloody time.”
Oliver rolls his eyes and says quite simply, “You haven’t been to any Quidditch practices.”
I pause for a beat of silence. “...well, yeah.”
“The deal is that you join the Quidditch team.”
“You never said anything about practices.”
“It was implied.”
“Then maybe you should stop being such a shitty captain and make sure that all of your team members show up for a change.”
“Don’t push me,” he spits out, anger sparking in his eyes.
I honestly cower a bit as Oliver’s figure looms over me, glare prominent on his face and muscles large and... muscley. If he wanted to, he really could hurt me. Best not to test his temper today. Any other day, sure, I would absolutely love to get under his skin, but today is... different. Today is a Bad Oliver Day™. Trust me, I can tell.
Six years of being around the bloke constantly and you get pretty good at eyeing his mood swings. When he’s pissed off (like today, for example), it’s scowls galore accompanied by a stony expression - much different than his regular Quidditch crazed self.
So yeah, he’s not happy today.
And seeing as I’d rather not end up dismembered in the bottom of the Black Lake, I think I’ll just hold off on the taunting for once.
Bad Oliver Days are not fun. Let’s just leave it at that.
“Okay, fine,” I concede slowly in an attempt to not set off the bottled up volcano that is a Bad Oliver. “How about this? I can practice on my own, not with the team, at whatever pace I so choose. You can give me the plays, and I’ll learn them, just so long as I don’t have to go to one of your bloody five in the morning training sessions.”
Oliver’s jaw clenches and the corner of his left eye begins to twitch as he considers my proposition. “It’s... acceptable, I suppose,” he mutters darkly.
I let out a breath of relief. “Okay. Good. I guess we should - oi, where the bloody hell do you think you’re going, you -”
“Common room,” he growls as he stalks away from me in a huff.
Well. That was quite rude. Yup, it’s a Bad Oliver Day for sure. I guess I should go warn the others...
Although, it would be quite fun to see Andrew and Justin torn up and spit out by Bad Oliver...
To tell or not to tell?
ARGH. Why do I have to be such a bloody good person? Why can’t I just be an evil Slytherin and not give two fricks?
Mind made up, I duck off into a passageway that connects to the main third floor corridor, then shove my way behind a tapestry and wind my way through the never-ending secret short cuts and hidden hallways of Hogwarts.
See, normally I wouldn’t bother with the secret passages. But since Oliver left for the common room before me, and he’s got longer legs and thus bigger strides, I have to make up the lost time somehow. Luckily for me, my little brother Wren is best mates with FrednGeorge, and those two (three?) are always crawling around the castle. I swear, sometimes I think they have a map of the bloody place.
I climb through the portrait hole about ten minutes later, but I’m pretty certain that I’ve got at least a solid five minutes on Oliver. A loud peel of Chloe’s obnoxious “I’m trying to flirt with you but don’t want to make it obvious even though it so totally is” laughter erupts from over by the couch in front of the fireplace, so I shove my way over there and frump down on the scarlet cushions.
“Hey,” Justin says, nodding at me from an armchair to the right of the couch. “Where’s your lesser half?”
“Well, that’s what I came here to tell you guys...” I say, twirling a piece of hair between my fingers nervously. “You see, he’s having a Bad Oliver Day.”
“What?” Chloe and Andrew’s heads both whip up to stare at me from where they’re sitting in front of the fire.
“Oh no,” Justin whimpers in terror.
“A - a - say it ain’t so, Lex! Say it ain’t so!” Andrew moans. “We haven’t had a Bad Oliver Day since - well, since The Match of Evil last year.”
I shudder in remembrance at his mention of the Unspeakable Event, a.k.a. the Gryffindor loss to Ravenclaw in the final Quidditch match of last year.
Bad Oliver Day?
Try Bad Oliver Weeks.
It was not a fun time.
“I’m sorry, but it’s true.” I nod in grim affirmation.
“Well, I’m just going to go upstairs and cower under my bed in terror. Goodnight,” Justin says before full on sprinting to the boys’ dormitory.
“Such a Gryffindor,” I mutter sarcastically.
But it appears that Justin left not a moment too soon. A dull thud echoes around the common room as Oliver slams the portrait shut and comes stalking towards us, scowl large and prominent, practically daring someone to cross his path. He flops down on the couch next to me and crosses his arms pointedly, angry eyes glued to the ceiling.
I don’t know what the ceiling ever did to him, but apparently he’s very offended. I mean, the look he’s giving it is practically a death glare. And here I thought it was quite a nice ceiling.
“Hey, mate,” Andrew says slowly, testing the waters.
Oliver lets loose a growl of annoyance, and Chloe, who apparently has been frozen in terror at the thought of a Bad Oliver Day, squeaks in fear. Andrew, however, looks completely oblivious to the magnitude of Oliver’s annoyance with him.
“In a bad mood, Ollie?”
“Would have thought you’d be in a quite a good one, considering that you’ve left Lex another hickey -”
Andrew seriously does not value his health. Or his life. At all.
“What, wasn’t it a good snog?”
Oh, dear God. This boy does not know when to shut up.
“Lex, maybe you should give him another good one right here. Might cheer him up -”
“Drew,” Oliver says stonily, “shut your fucking mouth right now or I swear I’ll shut it for you.”
Ooh. He’s really not happy today. This might even be worse than the weeks following the Match of Evil. Wonder what’s got him all pissy.
“Just like Lex shut your mouth -”
Oh, no. Andrew, you poor, misguided fool.
“I’m going to fucking kill you,” Oliver snarls. In terror, Andrew leaps to his feet like a fricking cat and sprints off towards the portrait hole, Oliver right on his heels.
Chloe sighs as the two boys disappear out of the common room and takes a seat beside me on the couch. “What was that about?” she asks quietly.
“I’ve got no idea,” I respond truthfully, eyes still fixed to the spot where the boys vanished.
“So, what? You two were snogging and he randomly started having a Bad Oliver spazz out?”
“Erm... kind of?”
Honestly, I’ve got no idea what’s up with the bloke. I’ve barely even seen him today. His grabbing of my arm in the corridor was the first time I spoke to him.
“And they say we’re complicated.”
“I know, right?”
“I hope Andrew’s all right...” Chloe says, gazing dreamily off into the distance - er, fire.
“I’m sure he’s fine.”
“I don’t know. Oliver was really pissed off. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it this bad.”
We lapse into a stoic silence as we sit there, mesmerised by the swirls of the fire. Chloe yawns once or twice, and I - well, to be honest, my brain’s been completely overtaken by thoughts of Noel. Gosh, that boy is just delicious.
“Maybe you should go and look for him.”
“Huh?” I ask stupidly.
I glance sideways at Chloe as I break out of my Noel Coma, and she bites her lip nervously. “Go and try to calm him down, Lexi. He was really angry about something. As a girlfriend, it’s your job to find out what's wrong. Plus I’m worried for Andrew’s life.”
I let out a sigh of resignation and get to my feet, then head out of the common room on what I know is sure to be an aimless search of the castle. This place is huge - how am I supposed to find him? He could be anywhere in the bloody place.
As soon as I set foot out of the common room, I lean back against the wall and shut my eyes, thinking hard. Where would Oliver go? I’m sure he’s not still chasing Andrew - he hasn’t got the patience for that. Concentrate, Lexi. Think.
The trophy room.
That has to be where he is. He always wanders through there when he’s got something swirling around in his brain. It’s like his zen room. I’m pretty sure he just likes to imagine his name on the Quidditch Cup, though.
So that’s where I go. And as I approach the room, I immediately know that I’m right. I hear his footsteps pounding back and forth on the marble floor as he paces restlessly around the room and see his shadow pouring out of the open doorway.
“Oliver?” I say tentatively.
The pacing stops.
Taking my cue, I step inside the room. Glittering trophies line the walls, glinting brightly in the torchlight from behind their glass cases. And yup, there he is. Standing in front of the Gryffindor section of the wall, right by the Quidditch Cup that was won back in the seventies when James Potter was captain.
What am I supposed to say? Am I supposed to ask him to talk about it? Please. I’m not doing any of that mushy therapy feelings shit with him. We’re Gryffindors. We’re above that.
I meet his gaze from across the room and immediately wish that I hadn’t. Chloe’s right. He’s fricking pissed. If looks could kill, I’d be dead on the floor.
“Go away,” he hisses at me.
“Well, I really would like to, but Chloe insisted that I come after you and make sure you hadn’t murdered Andrew - you haven’t, have you?”
What? It’s a perfectly legitimate question. Besides, I don’t see that prat anywhere around here. Maybe Oliver has offed him.
He growls something incoherent and turns his eyes back to the trophies. “Just get out of here, all right?”
“Didn’t you hear me? Chloe wants -”
“I don’t give two fucks what Chloe wants!”
I shrink back against the wall, feeling that same fear I felt in the hallway earlier. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him yell. I mean, he has at Quidditch practices (Chloe dragged me down there to watch the shirtless Ravenclaw team - don’t judge me), but he’s never yelled because he’s actually angry. He doesn’t get angry. Not really.
“Hey, just calm down, all right?”
“Calm down? Calm down? I -”
“Just tell me what the frick is wrong with you today, and then let’s get over it,” I say impatiently.
“All right. You want to know what’s wrong, Lexi?” His voice is so venomous that I think I might actually be poisoned from the sound of it. “I’ll tell you what’s wrong. What’s wrong is that you are so fucking stupid that you can’t see what’s right in front of your face!”
“Oi, what’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means that you’re fucking stupid.”
“I am not stupid, Oliver -”
“No, it’s worse than that. You’re completely oblivious. Clueless. Blind. Take your pick.”
“What are you going off about?” I demand angrily, taking a step closer to him. I don’t care about his fricking no violence clause, I’m just about ready to take a nice good kick at his shin. He deserves it, the bloody tosser.
“What I’m going off about is that Noel Hemsley doesn’t fucking deserve you, Lexi!”
I stop short at his words, barely four paces away from him. He’s upset because of Noel. Again. I really don’t get this bloke. I swear, he’s from a whole different planet. Noel’s never done anything to him - never done anything to anyone.
“Not this again,” I mutter with a sharp roll of my eyes.
“You - you’re so - you’re fucking stupid, Lex. He’s playing you in broad fucking daylight, but you’re too blind to see it. Stop being so naïve and grow up already.”
“You know what?” I demand angrily. “I don’t have to stand here and take this. What I do is my decision, not yours. And I’m sorry that you don’t like Noel - truly, I am - but this is none of your business. So stop acting like a baby and get over whatever it is that’s bugging you.”
“Whatever it is?” he repeats flatly, eyes drilling holes into mine. “Wow. You don’t even know.”
“Then why don’t you just tell me?” I ask in exasperation.
“I shouldn’t have to. If you can’t even see what’s two feet in front of you, then you really are a fucking idiot.”
“Oh, enough already, Ol-”
“You know what? Just forget it. Forget about all of it. Forget about Quidditch, forget about this whole dating fiasco, and forget about me. Go and be with your precious Noel. Tell Chloe that we’re over - that’s sure to get the news around. You can say that you broke up with me if you want to. It doesn’t fucking matter to me. I don’t want to do this anymore. Go ahead and fuck up your own life, Lexi. See if I care.”
And with that, he brushes past me roughly and slams the door to the room, leaving me with only the trophies as company.
Someone really ought to teach that boy some manners.
A/N: Yeah, yeah. I know. It’s been a long time. And I’m sorry. I really am. I feel like I write that in every author’s note for this story... Hmm...
Anyway, I have been gone for a while, but it wasn’t just this story I was missing from, so don’t feel discriminated against. I was super-busy, but I’m back now. And I have a rough idea of the next chapter! Yaayy :D
You know what you should do?
Because that would be awesome.