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Chapter 5 : How to Recover From a Mistake of Epic Proportions
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I remember my first Quidditch try-out more clearly than any other event of my first year at Hogwarts. I was one of those scrimpy first years in a clump on the day of the try-outs. I have loved Quidditch since the age of about one, when I got my first training broom from my uncle George. I had been the first kid on the block besides James to get a real broom, and as kids, me and James would always play pick-up games with our neighbors John and Aaron Harvey and Alex. We would even let Lily play once in a while to even out team when we had an odd number.
Then James and Alex left for school, and they both made the team as second years. James was named captain his sixth and seventh years. They were pretty much legends. Aaron Harvey made the team as a fourth year (he missed try-outs his 3rd year when he and my cousin Fred got into trouble for sneaking twenty five pounds of treacle tart out of the kitchens) and he's been the leading scorer since, with Taylor right behind him.
So I was playing at high skill levels the majority of my childhood.
I showed up to try-outs, standing with the other first years brave enough to try-out, most of them struggling to pick up their brooms still. I paid no attention to them or to my brother, as I wanted to get onto the team without his help.
To start, we did some really easy passing drills up in the air. My partner only lasted for a couple of my throws, before he lost balance, and sort of jerked down in a long, clumsy descent.
After this preliminary round, the keepers had their try-out.
Then it was the seekers' turn. A snitch was released into the stadium three times.
The first two times, the returning seeker, a seventh year girl, caught it within the first five minutes.
But the third time, It was released into the air and I could just feel the anticipation in the air from the crowd, from the other players, everything. It was like time slowed down.
I spotted the snitch after only two minutes. I dove, going as fast as my borrowed broom would allow me to. I had to shake a couple of others of my tail, but I did so with a simple dive.
I reached for the snitch and grasped it tightly in my hand. I had caught the snitch.
Of course, the seventh year girl got the spot, but the captain was impressed enough to take me on as a reserve, letting me practice with the team.
Now I know that the captain, a sixth year bloke, was just training me for the next year, when their seeker was gone.
But that rush I felt as a first year, when I knew that I had won, that I had done well, was the most alive I had ever felt at Hogwarts for the next year.
I rediscovered that aliveness in the summer before sixth year. I had been wandering around London one day with my cousins Louis and Hugo, like any other random summer day.
Taylor's kiss was like sunshine, chocolate chip cookies, and cucumbers, all mixed together. It was completely warm, comforting, yet fresh and completely Taylor.
I still don't know why she did it, and I don't think she knew at the time either.
I knew she would be coming by the coffee shop by the park at some point that afternoon. When she arrived, she didn't just waltz in; she stormed in with the force of a stampeding elephant. She was obviously pissed about something, as she yanked my arm out of the caff and pulled me out into the alleyway, where her lips crashed against mine.
“Shit.” She says, seeming to realize what has happened.
“Shit.” I agree.
But I suppose that isn’t enough to stop us, because my lips are pressed against hers again and we’re snogging.
It’s beginning to rain really hard, as opposed to the soft sprinkling it was five minutes ago, drenching us in cool water.
Taylor pulls away again, and is now standing in front of me, pacing back and forth.
“What was that?” I ask.
“Shit. I have no idea.” She says, touching her fingers to her lips.
My best friend and I had just snogged. Passionately, I might add.
This is definitely not good.
“Well, this is just brilliant.” Taylor remarks “Why the hell did I do that?”
“No idea, but when you figure it out, let me know.” I’m dragging my hands through my sopping wet hair.
“Yeah, just give me a minute.” She says.
“Yep. No problem.”
“Al…” Taylor starts, forming a conclusion. “I didn’t mean to do that, promise.”
“I figured.” I say, licking my lips nervously.
“It’s just, I got a letter from my dad, and I was upset, and I just acted on impulse.”
“Impulse?” I say incredulously. “You call that impulse?”
“I know, but that’s not important. My dad’s in trouble again, and won’t be getting out for a long time again.” She continues. “And even worse, he acts like I actually wanted him home in the first place.”
“Taylor…” I say as nicely as possible. “Did it ever occur to you that maybe you should forgive your dad? I mean, yeah, he broke the law, but he didn’t stop loving you. And not important? Are you serious? We just bloody snogged!”
“Wait, are you saying that you’re taking his side? And it’s not important if we agree that it’s not important.” She argues.
“No, I’m not taking his side, I just think that maybe he deserves a chance. It’s not like he’s the one who stopped trying. And did it occur to you that it might be important to me?”
“Are you saying that I stopped trying to deal with my dad? Because I have been dealing with it.”
“Yeah, the silent treatment’s real effective when it comes to reconciling with your own father.”
“Wait, why is this important to you?” She looks confused.
“He’s your bloody father, Taylor. He doesn’t deserve this. And neither do you.” I respond.
“No, the whole snogging thing. Why’s that so important?”
“Did it ever occur to you that this could change everything? We’re best friends.”
“Yeah, which is why nothing will change if we just drop it.”
“What if we don’t want to drop it?” I probe.
“We do!” She says quickly, forcing.
“I don’t.” I say quietly. I realize what I just said, and run a hand through my wet hair, shaking some of the droplets loose.
“Al…” She gets a look on her face, one of pity.
“Look, you kissed me. Are you sure that it meant nothing? Because if you just say that it meant nothing, I’ll drop it quicker than pancakes on a griddle.” I say, somewhat business like.
She looks contemplative, biting her lip, and pushing her wet hair out of her face.
“I… I don’t know…” She trails off.
“C’mon Taylor, just say it. Did it mean anything to you?” I say, annoyed.
She opens her mouth, then closes it. Then opens it again.
“No. It didn’t mean anything….” She says so quietly I’m not sure she even said it.
“What was that?” I ask.
“No. It didn’t mean anything. And I’m sorry.” Her big bright eyes pour into mine. She looks earnest.
“Fine. It didn’t even happen.” I say. “We okay?”
But I can tell we’re not okay. Not at all. There’s an awkwardness that’s present that’s never been there. It’s like there’s a barrier that this argument brought up that will take a lot of force, not to mention time, to break down.
“I’m sorry, Al. It was a mistake.” She says again.
I nod solemnly. “If you say so.” But I don’t think I want it to be a mistake.
“I think I just needed the comfort.” She says quietly. She looks so small, all I can do is give her a hug, the most awkward we’ve ever shared. But it seems to help, as she leans into me, and inhales my scent.
So thus concludes the story of how our friendship was ruined. All the years of trust and ease, gone.
Which is where James comes in:
James Potter II’s How to Recover After a Huge Mistake of the Female Sort (a.k.a. DUMB – as in, what you did to mess it up)
Put distance between you and her for until you receive ‘the look’
i. The Look: a significant glance, eye catching, etc. You’ll know it when you see it.
Utilize Anger to Release Tension
Strike up your differences to get rid of that tension – Warning: don’t make it personal, and whatever you do, don’t bring up anything sappy, and apologize for everything afterwards.
Mark Common Grounds
Get her to remember why you two connected in the first place, remember your history
Bounce back into the game once it feels normal again. It will feel right.
I was on step number three when something extraordinary happened. I found someone else.
“C’mon Taylor, you know it’ll be fun.” Tanner coerces.
Taylor rolls over in her bed and I try not to think about how attractive she looks. “It’s friggin’ November. I’m not going up to the astronomy tower with you guys for a stupid Dare Jar meeting.”
“Taylor, please… we have pickles!”
She sits bolt upright at my exclamation. “You do?”
“Yeah, of course.” Brad says, looking at me sideways.
“All right, I’m coming.” She says, throwing the covers aside and putting on a gray hoodie off the floor.
I lean over to Brad, whispering, “Hey, tell Frank to get some pickles from the kitchen on his way up to the tower.”
He nods, receiving the message. “Done.”
Tanner wastes no more time, scooping up Taylor and throwing her over his shoulder.
“Tanner!” She whisper-shouts in indignation. “You are so dead! Especially after last week’s escapades with the rubber duck and the-“She’s cut off as Tanner hops out the window onto his broom and we never find out what happened with the rubber duck.
We all make it to the astronomy tower within ten minutes of each other, and thankfully, Frank brings pickles.
“Shall we commence the meeting?” Taylor asks, mock-pompously.
“Why of course.” I answer, just as pompous. “Who would like a turn at the Dare Jar?”
“Me and John want to tag-team one.” Scorpius suggests. He plucks a piece of parchment out of the jar.
He clears his throat very loudly and showily, before reading out the dare.
“Steal the portrait of Sir Cadogan and place it in the bloke’s loo with a permanent sticking charm for everyone to view.”
Definitely a good choice.
“Anyone else want to do a dare this week? And it is agreed that people with a dare have exactly one week to complete the dare?”
There is a general mood of assent in response to the second question.
“I vote Al for a dare.” Brad suggests.
“I vote Al tag-teams it with Taylor.” Scorpius adds.
“I second the motion.” John comments.
“Same here.” Tanner agrees. “Frank, do you agree?”
“Absolutely. Taylor, you may do the honors of picking a dare for you and Al.” He says.
Taylor reaches into the middle of the circle and reaches into the jar. She grins, and passes it to me.
“This will be quite the presentation. Professor McGonagall isn’t going to forget about this one.” She says.
I clear my throat and read off the dare.
“Sing the song 'Sexyback' at dinner in the Great Hall on top of the tables.”
Oh for the love of all things pickles.
A/N: It's alive!! So sorry, I truly am. I've had a bad case of writer's block for this story, and I have been extremely busy these past few months. I can't believe it's been so long since I added a chapter to this story. It's very short, but I'll try harder to update this time, I promise! Hopefully you'll still leave me a review, I got a huge wave of reviews recently, and they are what prompted me to get past my writer's block and just write the dang chapter, so please review!!
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