A massive thank you to SophieScarlette @ tda for the amazing chapter image!
James and I were like ninjas.
Scratch that: we are
I walked down to the Great Hall in my all black outfit, looking for James who- as agreed- would be similarly dressed.
"Tessa!" James waved me over.
"Hey," I said and smiled, trying not to ogle at him through his fitting black t-shirt.
"I decided that we need face stripes!" He announced triumphantly and produced an eyeliner pencil.
"Where did you get that?" I asked as he pulled of the cap.
"The bathroom," he shrugged and lent in to me to draw on my face.
"And why on earth is there eyeliner in the boy's dorm?" I said and raised my eyebrow.
"You don't even want to know," he said mysteriously and applied the black gloop to my face.
James was standing so close to me. His face was literally, like, a foot away. He smelled yummy; sort of like a mixture between cinnamon and soap. It sounds gross, but trust me- it's amazing.
"Stay still," he said and grabbed my shoulder. Crap, I hadn't even realised that I had been swaying.
"So, if we're trying to be ninja's," I said, trying to get the conversation going, "Why do we need camouflage stripes?" James handed me the eyeliner and I leant into him to draw on his face.
"Because," James said nonchalantly and nodded his head like it was the most obvious thing.
"Don't move!" I shrieked and grabbed his chin before the eyeliner could drag across his (may I say, perfect) skin.
"I won't," he said teasingly and then smiled, causing his cheeks to move again.
"Don't," I said and attempted to smile disapprovingly before my face cracked into a smile.
"We need theme music," James whispered into my ear as we ducked into a door way as Rose turned her head.
"What song?" I asked.
"Dunno," he shrugged, "What kind of music do you like?"
"Uhhhh," I was suddenly distracted by a massive shop across the street with a pink and orange sign proclaiming it to be 'Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes', "We have to stop here."
We stepped into the brightly like shop. Hogwarts kids were everywhere, looking at this and trying out that.
"Woah." I was momentarily overwhelmed by everything.
"I know right," James said like a proud mother hen, "I helped design some of the products for Uncle George."
"Really?" I said, quite impressed.
"Yep," he said and puffed his chest out, "I know all the products and which do what best."
"Could you help me find all this stuff, then?" I said and showed him Layla's list.
"Of course." He scrutinised the list for about 5 seconds before whizzing off into the hectic store.
He wove in and out of shelves, tossing numerous item at me: 3 Skiving Snackboxes, 6 Canary Creams, 2 Extendable Ears, a Punching Telescope, 4 Spell Checking quills and one Smart Answer quill.
James stopped when he saw a lanky man with bright orange hair appear from around an overflowing shelf.
"Uncle George!" He called out and went whizzing off again.
"James..." I wheezed as I juggled all the items, "Slow...down...."
When I caught up with him and his uncle, they were already deep in conversation.
"...make them explode and the-" James stopped abruptly when he saw me. There was an awkward silence.
"Um...hi?" I said, but it came out more like a question.
"Hello!" James' uncles said in a deep voice, "I'm George." He stuck out his hand for a shake, which I took.
"I was just finding some things for Tessa," James explained to George when the introductions were out of the way.
"What were you looking for?" George asked and James handed him the list.
"Well..." he said as he looked at the list, "Didn't take you for a prankster."
'Oh, it's not for me!" I said quickly, "It's for my friend Layla and a few of her friends."
"Well, it seems like McGonagall's going to have her hands full," George said and grinned, "Well, I must be off. Everything's free for you two."
I opened my mouth to protest.
"No, no," George said and waved his hand with a smile, "I insist! And I know that this Layla friend off yours will put it too good use."
'Well, thank you so much," I said as he walked away.
The toilet door bangs shut behind me.
Tears are already spilling out of my eyes and I thank Merlin that there is nobody else already in here.
I twist the lock and then sink against the door.
Hugs sobs rack my body while the bathroom has this weird echo that distorts sounds.
A wave of nausea washes over me and the bathroom tilts alarming sideways but I manage to stay standing up.
My heart pounds in my chest and I hear the blood pounding in my ears.
It never used to be like this: I never used to get so angry or sick whenever Mum or Dad showed obvious favouritism towards Julia. It was always like that: Julia and her sister, never Tessa and her sister or even Julia and Tessa.
And over such a little thing as well! Julia had gotten a letter from home and I hadn't. Even if I had gotten a letter, I probably wouldn't even have read it.
The bathroom door whooshes open and lets in a brief gush of happy students at lunch.
I hear a group of girls walk in- just about the toughest bunch of girls in school; I mean piercings, extremely dyed hair, ripped clothing and a liking for punching up nerdy girls.
I know I had a few minutes to flush the toilet and get out of there before they got suspicious so I wipe the tears away and try to stop my crying.
I blink a couple of times and realise that my eyes must be red and puffy but there is not much I can do about it. So I take a couple of deep breaths, flush the toilet and walk out like nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
"Come on," James said and rubbed his arms, "Let's get a few butterbeers."
"Butterbeer?" I said as I readjusted my numerous bags of shopping.
"Merlin, don't tell me you don't have butterbeers in Australia?!"
"Um...no," I said sheepishly.
"You have not lived, my friend," James said as he held open a door for me. I stepped into the smoky room and felt my face start to frost from the heat. I followed James after we bought our drinks to a table that had a good view of his cousin and Luke.
"You should just leave them alone," I said casually and took a sip of the butterbeer.
James was 100% right that I had not live. The creamy sweet taste was literally the most beautiful thing ever.
"She's my cousin," James said matter-of-factly.
"No shit, Sherlock," I said and rolled my eyes. James stared confusedly at me.
"I'm not Sherlock..." he said uncertainly.
"Oh, don't worry," I sighed, "It's just an expression." I sipped more of the delicious drink and let the sweet taste swish around my mouth.
"You're crazy, you know?" James said and waved over Fred and Louis as they walked in.
"I thought you two had dates!" James said as Louis sat down next to me.
"Shut up, mate," Fred said and sat down heavily, "They ditched us for dress shopping."
"I said that we would stay and help them pick out dress," Louis said, "But Freya laughed and said that we would be hopeless at choosing dresses."
"Are the dresses for anything?" I asked shyly. Louis nodded and I couldn't help noticing that he had a very nice neck: it wasn't beefy like some guys had but it wasn't scrawny and looking like it would snap off at any second.
I wondered what it would be like to run my fingers down the back of his neck or -
"Did you hear me, Tessa?" Louis' voice broke me out of thoughts.
"Uhhh..." I said and wondered what Louis would think if he knew what I was just thinking about.
He'd probably run out the door screaming...
"It's for the Yule Ball at the end of the year," Louis repeated.
"What's the Yule Ball?" I asked, wondering why the hell I knew so little about Hogwarts.
"Its's a ball at Christmas that Hogwart's has every year. It used to only come around when the Triwizard Tournament was on but a few years ago they started holding it by itself every year."
"So is it actually like a ball and everything? Or is just like a party?" I asked.
"It's super formal. All the guys wear black dress robes and the girls spend forever choosing dresses and accessories and make-up," Fred explained.
"But it's all worth it, eh, Louis?" James said and jabbed him in the ribs. Louis face turned bright red.
"Shuddup," he said and sculled his butterbeer to avoid saying anything.
"Louis finally got with Freya when he saw Freya in her dress last year," James grinned at me. Louis slapped him across the head.
"You make me sound like a sleaze, James," he said.
"Ahhh, but do I lie?" James said. "Did you not finally dance with her and ask her out AND kiss her that night?"
"True, but I'm not a sleaze," Louis said defensively.
I sighed loudly on the inside. Looks like Louis and Freya were pretty close so I did not even have the slightest chance with him.
"Target and Rose are leaving," Fred suddenly said in a low voice. James and Louis' heads whipped around to see Rose and Luke leaving.
"You call Luke 'Target'?" I asked, sceptically.
"Yep," James said and pushed his chair back to get up, "We do not address Them by their names."
"Them?" I asked, confused.
James nodded, "Yep, guys that get too close to Rose. We would be personalising them if we called them by their names."
I sighed again.
"Seriously?" I said as I slung my bags over my shoulders. Layla owed me a ton.
I try to keep my breathing steady as go to wash my hands. I try to ignore the girls staring intently at me. As I turn on the tap, i see my inflamed eyes and red nose- a dead give away. I glance up at the girls and quickly look away as I realise that they are looking at me.
I can practically smell the cigarette smoke rolling off them. I just want to get out of there as fast as possible and avoid all contact with these girls.
I almost get out the door when one girl- Flick- calls out to me.
"Hey, it's Tessa right? Julia's sister." My stomach plummets to the deep dark crags off the Earth. I turn around, trying to think of a way out this. Nothing comes to mind.
"Yeah," I say and try to give her a confident smile. I probably look more constipated than anything.
"What's up?" She says casually as she leans into the mirror to apply some more mascara. Her three sidekicks, Ruby, Winter and Georgia, lean against the wall and eye my like a bunch of vultures.
"Not much," I squeak and stand like a deer in the headlights. Winter reaches into her pocket and carefully dabs on some lip gloss from an expensive looking tube.
She reaches out towards me and I stop just in time before I flinch.
"Want some?" She asks and offers me the tube.
A million thoughts erupt in my head.
Is this a trick? Is the lip gloss infected or something? WHY ARE THEY BEING SORT OF NICE TO ME?!
Almost hyperventilating, I take the tube tentatively; waiting for her to suddenly pull it away and say "Ew, I was just joking!" but it never comes.
"Thanks," I say and lean into the mirror, painfully aware of the gang of girls watching me intensely, even Flick had stopped her make-up applying. I put on the barest of smears and had the tube back to her.
"So are you ok?" Flick says going back to her mascara and then moving onto her eyeliner.
"Yep." I glance at the sweat door of safety, wondering how long they would detain me before letting me go.
"Didn't sound like it," Ruby says and crossed her arms. I gulp as her arm muscles bulge but I know I have to act calm if I want to make it out of there without being beaten up.
"Well, I'm cool," I say, hoping my face doesn't reflect my internal panic.
"Wanna talk about it?" Georgia says and picks at the already threadbare hem of her super mini skirt.
"Not really." I say. Flick raises a pierced eyebrow and I my nerve breaks.
"I have to go to and do my homework!" I squeal and sprint out of the bathroom before they can chase me down.
a.n. Hey guys, thanks for reading this far. This chapter is only the first part of Tess and James stalking Rose and Luke at Hogsmeade. The next chapter will also be set (mostly) at Hogsmeade :)