The Time of Cupids
The sun was brighter than I ever remembered it to be.
The sound of birds was more annoying than usual.
This sounds like a shitty hangover.
I groaned and rolled on my back.
Oh yeah, this was a shitty hangover.
“Shit.” I cursed as I slowly tried opening my eyes.
There was so much green.
And that smell. What on Earth was that smell… It was musky, and unfamiliar, and good.
My hands moved across the surface of the bed. I felt silk slip in between my fingers, as opposed to my thick, fluffy duvet.
Where the bloody hell was I?
My eyes adjusted to the sudden brightness, and more green filled my vision.
The events of the previous night suddenly chose that precise moment to come flooding in. I shot up as fast as I could, forcing my head to spin in endless circles. "Holy shit." I cursed some more. "Shit, what time is it…" I muttered to myself as I searched the room. My eyes landed on a clock sitting on the bedside table.
It was fucking three in the afternoon.
I slept in through all my classes.
Holy shit, I slept through Quidditch practice.
I was so dead.
I didn't make it back to my room last night.
I was going to die.
Potter was going to murder me.
And he was going to enjoy it.
“Fuck.” I scrambled for my shoes and my wand, and bolted out the door.
I ignored all the strange looks coming from each and every Slytherin I passed by on the way out of their common rom. It was the walk of shame, but I was too preoccupied freaking out in my head to soak up even an ounce of shame. While I ran up the stairs, I cursed the Slytherin common room for being all the way down in the dudgeons.
"Shit." I cursed again as I tripped up the stairs.
Once the portrait hole was in sight, I shouted the password as loud as I could, ran right into the common room, and headed straight for the staircase. My dorm was empty once I arrived. I shed all my clothes and took the quickest shower of my life, got dressed, and readied myself to present my Quidditch captain with the best apology on the planet in order to keep myself from getting kicked off the team.
The moment I opened the lavatory door, Potter was just walking through the bedroom door. "Potter." I breathed with surprise. "Oh god, Potter, I'm sorry I missed practice. I just… I went out last night and I got really, really drunk, and I was really out of it, and I wasn't really sure what I was doing. And then Greyson took me back, and I suppose since he didn't know the password to the common room, he couldn't bring me back here, so he brought me back to his dorm, and I ended up spending the night." I was rambling like there was no tomorrow. Potter simply stared at me with a look on indifference the entire time. "And he didn't bother waking me up this morning, which explains why I missed practice, and the rest of my classes, and even breakfast and lunch, and I know that we have a game coming up, and I know that I really, really have to work hard if I want us to win, and I do want us to win, which is why I decided to spend a couple hours after dinner today practice to make up for the lost practice time, and I'm really, really, really sorry."
After a few moments of silence, Potter's face unexpectedly split into a smile. He chuckled as well and brushed a stray strand of hair away from my face. "Why are you so afraid that you're going to get in trouble?" he asked with amusement evident in his voice. "I'm not your father, Vicky. I'm not going to ground you for coming in late."
I stared at him incredulously. "Who are you, and what have you done with James Potter?" I interrogated. "You'd normally be yelling your head off by now because I missed practice."
He shrugged. "Like you said, you'll make up for lost time. I'm not worried that you're out of shape." He said as he walked towards my bed and collapsed on the surface. "After dinner, we'll head out to the pitch and practice."
"What the fuck?" I asked, confused. "Potter, what's wrong with you?"
"So… you're not mad at me at all?" I asked slowly, afraid that this was just some kind of dumb practical joke that Potter spontaneously decided to play because he was bored, and I was late and hung-over. "You're not mad that I was out till all hours last night?"
"I'm not your dad, Vic. I thought we already went over this."
"You're not mad that I was out with Greyson?"
The kiss between Greyson and I resurfaced in my memory, along with the guilt I should have felt last night when I kissed him.
He shook his head.
"So… I'm off the hook?" I asked hesitantly.
"Well you have a ton of work to catch up on, but yes, other than that, whatever."
I rolled my eyes at the sound of 'whatever'. Everything was always 'whatever' to Potter.
"So what are you doing here?" I asked him, planting myself beside him and finally relaxing against the familiarity. I collapsed on my back and folded my hands over my stomach. "If you didn't come here to yell at me, then what?"
One minute, Potter and I were laying side by side, staring at the canopy of my bed in silence. And the next minute, he's propped himself on top of me while a sexy smirk played on his lips.
"Potter, what are you d — " He cut me off with his lips; his incredibly soft, inviting lips. They moved against mine slowly, as if slowly inviting me in. I could almost feel him smiling against me, and that was all I needed to give in.
One hand gripped the side of his face, while the other moved along his shoulders and upper back. I wanted to feel every single part of me. I wanted to run my hands over every inch of his skin while pressing him as close to me as humanly possible. Every single trace of my ungodly hangover immediate disappeared under the presence of his lips on mine. I was in bliss, and all I could think about was Potter and the way he was touching me.
I moaned involuntarily, causing Potter's hold on my waist to tighten to the point where it hurt so good. I flipped us over, regaining control of the situation. I was so unbelievably turned on, that I detached my lips from his and planted them on the base of his neck. My tongue grazed the surface of his skin before I sunk my teeth down and sucked. An animalistic growl rumbled through his throat, and as fast as our song session began, it ended.
I woke up.
I woke up, and unlike my dream, I didn't wake up alone. I woke up with an arm wrapped around my bare waist, and a tickling breath hitting the back of my neck. Within seconds of being awake, I resisted the urge to shoot out of bed and throw a fit in the middle of the dormitory. Instead, my eventful night was replayed in my head while I drowned in a pit of my own shame. Not only did I fail to return to my own dorm last night, but I also failed to display even an ounce of rational judgment.
Fuck my life.
Searching for a clock, I craned my neck back to look at the bedside table. It was fucking three in the afternoon. I missed morning Quidditch practice.
Potter's going to kill me.
Desmond will —
I stopped mid thought.
In normal situations, Desmond would be trailing right behind Potter in the 'Kill-Victoria' bandwagon, but this was not a normal situation. Desmond and Potter were no longer the ultimate duo that always liked to gang up against me.
"You're strangely calm this morning."
"You're awake." I whispered as I slowly turned to face Greyson. "Did I wake you?"
He shook his head. "I've been awake for about thirty minutes, trying to get some sleep."
"We slept through the whole day." I pointed out.
He chuckled. "We got in really late last night… Or early, depending on how you want to look at it."
"We slept together." I was captain-fucking-obvious, wasn't I? "Shit, we had sex."
"Ouch." He spoke as if I caused him physical pain.
"Stop that." I scowled as I pushed the duvet against my chest in order to sit up and retain some of the dignity I had left. "Now is not the time to be cute."
He frowned, following suit, except he did not need to cover a set of breast. "Calm down, Victoria. We didn't have sex." He reassured softly. "We made out until all our clothes were off, and you stopped me before we could go any further."
"So… nothing happened?"
"Well… if by nothing, you mean sex, then yes. Nothing happened."
I released an unintentional sigh of relief. "That's… comforting to know." The moment the last word slipped out of my mouth, I immediately felt a twinge of regret. Greyson's face looked… disappointed. "I just… I'm sorry, Greyson. I just don't want any more on my plate than I need." I admitted softly. "My life is a mess right now, and my friends lives are messes too, and somehow, I was dragged into the eye of the storm. I don't mean anything by it…"
He sighed. "I get it. Your life is currently too complicated. But coming from a third-party observer, something like this," he paused. "something like us," he continued. "could be good for a complicated life such as your own. I just… I just think that you need someone who's not part of the teenage drama you're trying so hard to pull yourself out of. I could keep you sane, in other words."
My bottom lip found its way in between my top and bottom teeth, and upon instinct, I nibbled. Greyson provided more sincerity than I’ve experienced in a long time. No matter how many times I tried to avoid it, his eyes bore into mine as if he was trying to look straight into my soul. Despite my unwilling heart, I couldn't bring myself to break his.
"I don't need you to decide anything right now." He said. "It's just something I wanted you to know. The last thing I want to do is force you into something you don't want."
Sighing, I began. "Greyson… Look. I'm a big girl. I don't need a knight in shining armor —"
"Because you already have one." Greyson finished with a nod.
I blinked. "Since when were we talking about Potter?"
"He's your 'knight in shining armor' or whatever bullshit you want to call it." he answered dryly.
I snorted. "Oh please. The day Potter becomes my knight in shining armor is the day I literally shit my heart out."
Without another word, Greyson sighed heavily as he trudged out of bed. He grabbed a pair of worn slacks off the top of his trunk and slipped them on. He refused to look my way. Slowly, I followed suit and began getting dressed. I did not want to press the matter, feeling that we had both worn it out once that wanker Potter was mentioned. So I left Greyson's dorm, clear of goodbyes, and slowly began the walk of shame — shame reeked through last nights’ clothing — back to the Gryffindor common room.
Last night was supposed to be a form of release, so why did it feel like another load had just been dropped on my shoulders?
I stood in the middle of the pitch with my arms crossed over my chest, looking like a fucking boss.
I was surveying my players, all five of them who chose to show up that morning for Quidditch practice. I incessantly barked orders, blew my obnoxiously loud whistle, and corrected their every move even though they were already correct. Needless to say, I was in a sour mood. I was short one player, and guess who that fucking player was. Victoria fucking Rose, that's who.
"LAYLA! THE LOOP GOES AFTER THE DROP. HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU?" I shouted.
Layla swerved on her broomstick and stuck her middle finger in my direction. "BITE ME, JAMES." she screeched back. "I DID THE FUCKING LOOK AFTER THE DROP. ARE YOU BLIND?"
"DO IT AGAIN!"
Despite my incredibly chipper mood that morning — note the dripping sarcasm — I failed, or refused (if you want to get all technical) to take it out on the third person on my 'To Kill' list. Desmond has been flying around like he was a victim of the infamous confundus charm. Each time he messed up one of the drills or wobbled out of a dive, I chomped down on my whistle in order to refrain from punching him off his own broomstick. For as long as I've known Desmond, never in his life has he flown that badly. I had no idea what the fuck he was trying to do, flying like an imbecile, but I sure as hell wasn't going to show that I gave a flying fuck. Just as long as his imbecilic ways did not cost us a game, I was good.
Again, I took a breath, as if I was about to free-fall into the abyss, and released everything into the small whistle in my hand. The sound echoed throughout the pitch, and all five players groaned loudly.
"Fuck, James, WHAT IS IT THIS TIME?" Fred grumbled, flying over to me. "Look, cuz, I love you and all, since you're a Potter and we're related, and I'm required to love you, but you're seriously killing us today."
I glared in his direction and ignored him, nonetheless. "PETER, I WANT TO SEE YOU HUSTLE. YOU'RE NOT HUSTLING!"
Fred grumbled beside me some more.
Being the loving captain and cousin that I am, I ignored the little fucker some more.
Instead, I focused on Layla and Desmond, who had abandoned their assigned posts and were now hovering close to one another. The sudden urge to protect Layla from the heartache Desmond was bound to cause was overwhelming, to say the least. My anger towards Desmond intensified, forcing me to blow my whistle for a lengthy period, signifying the end of practice. I didn't say another word to my team before I gathered my belongings and stalked back to my dorm.
I went through the rest of the day as irritated as ever. I kept the socializing to the bare minimum while dealing with the stares and whispers that never seem to cease in this bloody castle. For now, as far as everyone knew, I was the current Baby Daddy, and a title like that never went unnoticed.
Fuck the world and Earth's entire population.
Everything and everyone pissed me off.
All I wanted to do was crawl under a rock and stay there forever, but the universe hated me enough to entirely rule out that option as completely impossible.
On my way back to the common room, I took a detour to the library, in hopes of finding a book that would help me with my transfiguration essay that was due in exactly two and a half hours. The library was a bloody wasteland. There was not a single student in sight, which didn't surprise me, considering the time of day. I walked around slowly, unsure of where to find transfiguration resources.
“I should have bloody brought Layla with me.” I muttered to myself with regret. I had no idea what I was doing, and I had no idea what I was even looking for.
Turning a corner and entering one of the aisles labeled 'T', I walked all the way to the end and surveyed all the books on the top shelf. A large, emerald-green book titled "Transfiguration and the Core of Magical Elements" caught my eye. Being the half-assed student that I am, I grabbed the first transfiguration related book I spotted and called it a day. I reached for the book, and along with it, came a small, barely noticeable paperback, titled "Cupids: Mythology"
I blinked, suddenly intrigued. It suddenly occurred to me that never, in all the six years I — or anyone else for that matter — have known Desmond, I’ve never bothered doing an ounce of research. I didn’t know where he came from, or how he came to be. I never bothered asking such questions, and I had no idea why.
Taking both books with me, I briskly walked to the nearest table, pulled out a chair and delved straight into the book. My transfiguration essay was long forgotten.
Dating back to the Greek Gods, Cupids thrived, and depended on romance. The genes of the Cupids are sporadically passed down through generations, making it impossible to know when it will reappear within a family lineage.
I skipped all the generic shit.
… The Cupids’ aging factors, one of the creature’s most difficult studies, remain ambiguous. Patterns show, however, that the aging process significant slows at maturity, leaving various lifespan possibilities ranging from 150, to 300 years. The oldest Cupid ever recorded was 289 years old. However, legend states that a Cupids’ aging process picks back up once they have chosen their mate. Certain rituals can range from mere speech, to intimacy. All Cupid-related abilities start to fade, increasing the chances of early death.
The Wizarding War dating back to 1300 BC, wiped out colonies and colonies of Cupids. Due to their aging process, Wizards believed in the possibility of harnessing immortality through a Cupids’ blood. Thus, most were slaughtered, leaving the Wizarding world darker than ever. Certain clans survived, went into hiding, and learned to adapt. Evolution and crossbreeding has allowed Certain Cupids to harness magic — although significantly less than any normal wizard — and retain its original ‘abilities’ as well. In 1783, the Ministry of Magic branded Cupids to be completely, and absolutely extinct in order to preserve and protect the remaining species.
I flipped through the book impatiently, suddenly uninterested in their history.
Throughout the years, Cupids became nomadic creatures, straying away from their nature of cultivating clans and colonies.
Desmond? Nomadic? I think not. The kid can’t even stand being alone for the afternoon, much less for the majority of his life.
Skip, skip, skip.
It is unsure how Cupids determine their prey. According to legend, in their earlier years, before evolution, Cupids were very similar to Vampires. It was believed that a bite from a Cupid was similar to an injection of amortentia. However, even after studying the remains of old-aged Cupids, it is difficult to prove their previous lifestyle factual. Upon death, all magical entities are whisked away with their soul, leaving completely human remains. In recent years, Cupids ‘hunt’ with a bow and arrow while following their intuition, which was believed to have been either controlled, or highly influenced by Fate itself.
In order to ‘cure’ a Cupids’ shot, one must be loved in return. In severe cases, a potion may be brewed for the victim. Rose thorns, doxy egg, fairy wing, moonseed, and moonstone. However, the side effects of such potion have been reported to be as severe as death. This is not a suggested method.
Well, that’s just bloody perfect, now isn’t it?
In rare cases of failure, victims of Cupids have been reported to develop multiple personality disordered, obsessive-compulsive disorders, dementia, and depression.
That is so comforting. Victoria and Dominique may just turn into a pair of basket cases.
It is impossible to target the significant other of an already-made-victim.
I shut the book with a surprising amount of aggression. Not a single bit of information benefitted anyone who was affiliated with a Cupid. Reading this shit left me in the same place I’ve always been: Fucking hopeless.
I wanted to show Victoria what I discovered the moment I left the library, but I remembered that she was nowhere to be found. The amount of foolishness I felt was unbelievable. I felt like a child searching for approval as if I was dying to please this girl. I stuffed the urge down my throat and attempted to focus all my attention on my transfiguration essay that was due in an hour and thirty minutes.
So I finished my half-assed transfiguration essay, which was filled with the bullshit I managed to pull out of my ass after reading on page of the book I found in the library. That is what I call skill.
“I still can’t believe you managed to finish your essay.” Layla shook her head with disappointment as she piled mashed potatoes on the side of her plate.
“I told you before, Layla dear. You underestimate my power.” I mimicked with my best Darth-Vader voice. Albus was bloody obsessed with the muggle series for Merlin-knows-how-long. I think he still secretly keeps action figures underneath his bed.
“You know, James, you should really listen to me more often and do your homework earlier.” She sounded like my bloody mother.
I stared at her for a while, before asking, “Tell me again, why are you not in Ravenclaw?”
She rolled her eyes. “I’m too much like you guys to be in any other house.” she huffed. “Anyway, it wouldn’t hurt to be on top of your school work.”
“I find it incredibly hard to believe that you’re one of those girls.” Tyler commented.
“And what kind of girls are you speaking of?” She raised a brow.
“Like those cute dorky girls from Ravenclaw who are too smart to have fun.” he answered.
“What Tyler means,” I interjected before Layla could go on and on about how judgmental and shallow Tyler sounded. “Is that you are so behind on everything, but your school work.”
“Victoria takes care of everything else for you.” Tyler added.
She shrugged. “I just have more important things on my mind, that’s all. See, we balance each other out perfectly.” She flashed a bright smile.
“Speaking of, where is Victoria?” Tyler asked looking around. “I haven’t seen her all day.”
Layla’s eyes met mine before she quickly glanced down at her plate. “She’ll be down any minute, I suppose.” she answered. “She wanted to take a shower before coming to dinner.”
“Where has she been?” he asked further.
I simply stayed quiet and kept an open ear.
“She wasn’t feeling very well, so she stayed in.” she answered quickly.
“Anyway, James, you never did tell us what happened with Amelie.” Layla changed the subject. I almost snorted with bitterness.
“She wants to keep the baby, and she wants me to be a father.”
“No freaking way.” Tyler deadpanned.
“You said no, right?” Layla demanded. “Please, for the love of Merlin, tell me that you said no.”
“Of course I said no!” I exclaimed. I was insulted that she even had to ask. “I wasn’t going to let her manipulate her way into getting what she wants. Again.”
“Merlin, I really hope that she’s just a lying fuck who’s got nothing better to do that ruin other people’s lives.” I snorted into my goblet at Layla’s choice of words. “Just knowing that you fathered her child makes me shiver.”
“So I have a theory.” Tyler started, completely ignoring Layla’s comment.
Layla then rolled her eyes. “Tell me that this isn’t another one of your Cinderella theories.” She pleaded exasperatedly.
“Cinderella theories?” I questioned with confusion. “What sort of Cinderella theories?”
“Tyler is convinced that this mystery girl from the ball is trying to play Cinderella. You know, that muggle fairytale where the commoner parties with the princes, loses her shoe before she jumps into a big ruddy pumpkin?”
“Did this girl leave a shoe?” I asked quite seriously before I spooned my dinner into my mouth.
“No.” Tyler grumbled in response. “BUT, she did leave me some clues as to who she was. That’s more helpful than a shoe.”
Layla rolled her eyes, but remained quiet.
“So what did this prince do with this shoe the commoner left behind?” I asked.
“He went around his Kingdom and found the girl who fit the shoe perfectly.” Tyler answered.
I blinked. “Whut?” I asked with disbelief. “He went around his entire kingdom and put the show on every single girl that lived within the vicinity? What the bloody fuck?”
“Don’t hate, James.” He sounded like a bloody poof.
“I’m sorry, I just can’t believe that there is not one girl in his kingdom with the same shoe size.”
“Thank you!” Layla exclaimed. “That’s what I said.”
“You’re both cynics.” Tyler grumbled.
“No, we’re realists. Just like you should be.” Layla shot back as she reached over for a treacle tart.
“So your theory is…” I trailed off, waiting for Tyler to continue explaining.
“Well, this girl,” he continued, sounding much too excited for his own good. I abruptly felt sorry for the poor sod. Here he was, ridiculously infatuated with a girl who didn’t care enough to step forward and claim her ‘prince’. “She’s a redhead, did I mention that?”
“Yes, plenty of times.” Layla snapped with a great deal of annoyance. “Let’s hear more, shall we.”
“She was so… real.”
“And the other girls in this castle isn’t?” she countered. “I’m sorry I was unaware that I am, in fact, made of plastic.”
In return, Tyler gave her a dry look. “That’s not what I meant, you little turd.” He snapped irritably. “Why are you so bitter over this?” he asked. “Is it because of Dom, or is it because of Desmond?”
I dropped my fork, knowing that Tyler had just entered dangerous territory. Even I was afraid for him. I knew better than to test the limits of Layla’s temper, and I was almost positive that he had just reached the edge.
For the past week, Desmond has been avoiding Layla. Judging by the looks she gave him whenever he walked by, he knew that Layla still did not know about his newfound relationship with Lily. Because of Desmond’s sudden cold demeanor, Layla has been in a foul mood. It was fucking ridiculous — how something as little as a cold shoulder could completely turn a girl’s mood upside down. It was one of the reasons why I absolutely hated relationships. It did horrible things to good people.
“What?” she spat. “What could this have anything to do with Desmond?” she demanded.
Tyler snorted at her attempt to hide the heart she wore on her sleeve like a fucking Christmas ornament on a Christmas tree. Free for the fucking taking. “It’s bloody obvious how he’s got you in a rut!” he exclaimed. “Is it Des that’s got you so foul and bitter? Or is it your loyalty coming out to defend Dom’s honor?”
“Shit, Tyler, you’re so fucking full of yourself, you know that?” she slammed her silver-wear on the table and snarled. Her face grew red with each passing breath. She almost looked like a dragon, and I was almost positive that I was about to witness smoke coming out of her ears. “You are so fucking full of yourself.” She repeated before she swung her leg over the bench and stalked out of the Great Hall with steaming ears.
Both Tyler and I watched Layla storm out of the Great Hall with an immense amount of regret. I wasn’t going to lie. An angry Layla was a combination of amusing and sexy, which were one-hundred-percent of the reason as to why I was still watching her go.
“Bad move, mate.” I commented.
Tyler shrugged. “She’ll release some repressed feelings from the past week. I did her a favor.” He said nonchalantly. “She’s been asking about Des, you know?”
He nodded and continued eating. “She asked me about it two days ago, and then again earlier today. You can’t expect her not to notice Des’ sudden absence… She knows there’s something going on, but everyone refuses to tell her.”
“How do you break news like that to someone like Layla?” I asked, wincing at the thought of her heart shattering by my words. “She’s so fragile.”
He shrugged. “I don’t know how to handle women, mate. If I were you, I’d pass that job over to Victoria. She probably knows how to handle it.”
I snorted. “If anyone broke down and sought Victoria as a form of comfort, she’d probably pat their back with her wand and call it a day.”
“That’s… rather insensitive of her.”
“Yeah, well, that’s Victoria. She can handle problems, just not crying people.”
“There’s always Dominique?” he suggested. “She’s good at that.”
“Dom doesn’t know anything. I was hoping to keep it that way until things are sorted out.”
“Well, someone has to tell her.”
“What did you say when she asked?”
“What else could I have said?” He asked. “Des has been out doing Cupid business. It was the best lie I could come up with. He’s been extra busy lately, and we’ve made sure not to bother him until he’s sorted his own business out.”
“That doesn’t exactly buy us enough time.” I said dryly.
“Yes well, you try lying to the girl who’s been in love with the bloke for how long now?” he scowled. “Poor Layla.”
I chuckled sadly. “She’s the only one who hasn’t been shot by an arrow, and yet, it seems like it’s never going to work out of her.”
He nodded. “I thought about that too. She’s gorgeous, after all. You’d think that a girl like her wouldn’t have any problems with men.”
“She doesn’t have problems with men.” I corrected. “She has problems with a Cupid.”
During his school years, it was a habit of my fathers’ to stay up late at night, studying every nook and cranny of Hogwarts through his handy dandy map. I wasn’t sure whether it was a good or bad thing that I inherited this habit of his. It was half past eleven, and half my dormitory was already asleep while I stared at a still pair of footprints planted on the edge of the south-wing towers. The name ‘Victoria Rose’ hovered about the single pair of footprints in the area.
After a ten-minute long mental debate, I finally decided to swallow my pride, and succumb to what the less logical side of me has wanted to do since I spotted her almost an entire hour ago. The moment I left my dorm, however, I immediately regretted it, but decided that it was too much of a hassle to renter the dorm with as little noise as possible.
Fuck, what did I just get myself into?
The journey to the south-wing towers took longer than I expected. When I finally climbed up the stairs and into the small space of the tower, it was almost midnight. I was met with the melody of a familiar song, accompanied by a familiar voice.
I was taken aback by what I witnessed. She was sitting on the edge of the window with her legs outstretched along the roof. A guitar was tucked beneath her right arm while her fingers danced along the neck. As far as I knew, the furthest her musical talent ever went was a couple of frustrating guitar lessons, followed by countless of temper tantrums. And each and every time she’d sing, her voice was obnoxious and shrill.
Her voice was low, soft, and incredibly soothing. I wanted to stand here and listen for a little while longer. At that moment, listening to her voice didn’t seem so bad after all. Suddenly, she stopped and turned to face me. I was surprised that she had been aware of my presence. “What are you doing here?”
I shrugged, shaking from my trance. Her voice was no longer soft and soothing. It was suddenly annoying again, and I scowled. “I found you on the map.”
She turned around and cursed “That blasted map.”
“It’s dark.” I pointed out. Fuck, I immediately wanted to slap myself after I realized how moronic it was to point out something so painfully obvious. “What I meant to say was,” I quickly corrected myself before my giant-ass foot found its way deeper into my mouth. “It’s way past curfew.”
Victoria snorted with disbelief. “Since when did you pay attention to the curfew?”
“Since you decided to hide out here in the middle of the night with nothing but a guitar and a thin piece of wood as protection.” I found myself saying.
“You care an awful lot, Potter.” She teased. “Be careful, or else I might just think that you were worried about me.”
What in Merlin’s name was I doing here…
“I thought you gave up learning how to play.” I nodded towards the guitar. “Desmond was never really the best teacher.”
She laughed and nodded, most likely recalling the faint three-year-old memory. “He yelled more than he actually taught.” She said. “I learned the song on my own. To be honest, it’s the only song I know how to play.”
I stared at her as she spoke.
“It was one of my ex’s favorite song. So I learned it.” She reminisced softly.
“Which one?” I asked.
“Honestly, I can’t remember.” She answered with an embarrassed laugh. “It was all so long ago. Everything that happened before this year became a blur.”
I snorted. “We made a mess of this year.”
Silence settled between us, and I took it as an opportunity to share my findings of the day. I stuffed my hand in the pocket of my jumper, and pulled out the small black paperback. “Look what I found today.” I held the book out, and she took it in her tiny hands. “Doesn’t it surprise you that in the past six years, we’ve never bothered to do any research about Cupids?”
“Layla has.” She spoke without looking up from the open pages. “She’s the only one out of all of us who even bother’s stepping into a library. She’s told me the general history of Cupids. They became extinct after some kind of war.”
“According to that book, they were hunted because of their blood.” I informed her. “Wizards believed that they would be able to harness immortality through Cupids.”
“Because of their aging?”
I nodded. “I read somewhere that they used to resemble Vampires. How strange is that? Imagine vampires were actually created from a Cupids’ image. I don’t think anyone has ever actually seen a vampire. They’ve been purely mythological.”
“Possibly.” Too overwhelmed by the information in her hands, she answered passively. “That’s strange. Cupids start to grow old once they’ve mated. So the only way to live forever is to live forever alone. That’s horrible.”
I shrugged. “That’s life. We’re all going to die alone anyway. It’s all the same.” I waved her sympathy away.
“There’s a cure?” She completely ignored my comment as her eyes lit up.
“Don’t get too excited…”
“What…” she whispered as she read to herself. “What the fuck? The only cure that doesn’t lead to potential death is being loved in return?” she demanded as if there was a higher being that she was questioning. “THAT’S NOT BLOODY FAIR.”
Her outburst surprised me slightly, but I made sure to show no signs of such shock.
“This potion contains poison.” She deadpanned. “Who ever fucking made this potion was an imbecile. This potion would only work if the person was immune to moonseed, and the chances of that happening are slim to none. And moonstone? Seriously? When was the last time someone found an actual moonstone? Six centuries ago?”
“Just about.” I said with a shrug. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a half-empty twelve-pack. I pulled the cigarette in between my lips and lit the tip with my wand. I chose to completely ignore the fact that Victoria hated when I smoked. A part of me hoped that I would be able to get a rise out of her through my dirty habit. Maybe that’s what we needed to set things back to normal. A good-natured fight. Maybe that’s what I needed to get my head straightened out. It was ten past twelve, and I was sitting in the south-wing towers, with Victoria of all people. I could be sleeping right now. I could be reading one of my many Quidditch magazines stuffed into my nightstand. I could be fucking some girl silly in the broom closet on the second floor (the biggest one of all). Anything else in the world would be more productive than sitting here, with Victoria of all people.
To my dismay, the smoking didn’t faze her one bit. The words printed on the page had her too preoccupied to notice. She was staring down at the book with her eyebrows knitted into an unruly frown. Her fingernails drummed along her bottom lip, a new deep-in-thought habit that she seemed to have developed. Thank Merlin that the lip biting was over.
Fuck, I spoke too soon.
As she brought her hand down to turn the page, she slipped her bottom lip in between her teeth and began nibbling.
I forced myself to look away to take a long, calming drag.
“So I’m stuck like this forever?” she concluded. I turned back to her only to see worry etched across her face. Her fingers took a liking to flipping the pages until they reached the end of the book. I supposed she was in search for answers and possibilities. “I’m going to be in love with you forever, Potter.” She stated bluntly. “I’m going to be in love with your horrendous manners and pretentious personality. That is just bloody perfect.”
I scowled. Leave it to Victoria to have a beautifully structured sentence into something completely dysfunctional. I took another drag, as I looked away. I didn’t think much of the words that were leaving my mouth. The moment didn’t give me a reason to.
“Don’t worry.” I said in attempts to reassure her. “There’s still hope for you.”
“What?” she asked.
I shrugged nonchalantly. “Who knows, Vic. You may not have to be in love with me forever after all.”
“And what makes you say that…”
“You — you’re just someone anyone could fall in love with, that’s all.” I admitted.
“I don’t know if you’re being serious, or if you’re being the biggest jerk on the planet…”
I rolled my eyes. “I’m serious. Now don’t go all gaga thinking that I’m in love with you or anything like that… I still can’t stand you.”
“Then what are you saying?” she asked softly.
“Never mind.” I failed to cover any hints of annoyance.
Unexpectedly, with slow, hesitant movements, she reached for the pack of cigarettes sitting beside me. She gently tapped the bottom of the pack before her slender fingers swiftly drew out a cigarette. Soon after, the cigarette was dangling between her already parted lips as she pressed her wand to the tip. There was something oddly fascinating about watching Victoria smoke. Perhaps it had something to do with her increasing vulnerability with every drag.
Despite my better judgment, I didn’t bother stopping her. I knew for a fact that if Desmond witnessed my allowing her to slowly kill herself, he would beat the bloody shit out of me. But at that moment, I didn’t care. She could smoke all she wanted. I was too preoccupied watching her every move.
She blew out a line of smoke and said, “You’re staring.” She pointed out.
“You can be quite interesting.” I replied with a smirk. I sounded more entranced than I would have liked.
Without another word, she took a drag, swirled the smoke around in her mouth, and released a train of smoke rings. Fuck, it was so hot.
I wanted to kiss her right then and there. Shit, I wanted to kiss her so badly. Cigarettes and Victoria. What a lovely fucking mix. It took every bone in my body to keep myself from leaning forward and having my way with her. Merlin knows she would have complied.
She released another set of smoke rings. “If I tell you something, will you promise you won’t be angry?” she began hesitantly.
My curiosity sparked, as well as my suspicion. “It depends what you tell me.”
“Just please promise that you won’t go on some kind of rampage.”
“Tell me.” I said a little more distracted than usual. My eyes were set on the burning cigarette in between her lips.
“You know that girl Tyler’s been looking everywhere for?” she began biting her lip again. The pair of pinkness captured my attention more than her words did. “Yesterday, I found out who she was.”
“Remember that you promised you won’t be angry.”
“Would you just get on with it?” I growled.
She nibbled on her bottom lip again and looked at me before she continued. “It’s Lily.”
“She’s the girl Tyler’s been going mad over.” She continued. “Before Lily hooked up with Desmond during the masquerade ball, she was with Tyler. It wasn’t a long encounter, I suppose, since Desmond and Lily were together by the time we were unmasked. And you two were playing that switcheroo game till midnight, so they couldn’t have possibly hooked up then.”
“How do you know this?” I didn’t do well hiding the anger in my voice.
“I overheard Lily and Desmond talking about it. Lily feels guilty, and Desmond is beyond infatuated.” After I remained silent, she felt the need to speak nervously. “Some love triangle, huh?”
I didn’t say anything for a long time. We sat in silence. My world stopped, but time refused to. It sped by, and we chose to do absolutely nothing but waste it. I was too overwhelmed with shock and anger to even bother speaking, while Victoria looked as though she was afraid of pushing my temper straight off the edge.
I was abruptly more aware of her presence when I realized what time it must have been. For a moment, I thought about asking her whether or not she was tired. I thought about taking her back to her dormitory so that she could get a good night’s sleep. But then I thought about Victoria. I thought about who she was. I thought about who I was. And then I thought about Lily and Desmond.
For years, the bastard has done nothing but shove Victoria and I together with every passing chance that came his way. There were countless of lectures, yes, but he, along with the rest of our wonderful (note my sarcasm) friends of ours, relentlessly rooted for our ungodly potential relationship.
Suddenly, nothing made sense anymore. I knew nothing, and I realized it now.
“Layla was asking about Desmond today.” I began, my voice softer than expected. At the sound of the broken silence, Victoria looked up from her hands. She turned to me with a careful gaze. “I realized that we never told her the truth.”
“I’ve been thinking about that everyday since I found out.” She replied with a twinge of regret. “I wasn’t sure if I should tell her. Unfortunately, I waited it out long enough to know that either way, tell her or not, she’ll be angry.”
“It’s not our place to tell her. I think she understands that.” For Victoria’s sake, I hope Layla was more understanding that she let on. “It should be Des.”
“You should talk to him.” Victoria said. “I’m not saying you should forgive him, but I think that a conversation should straighten a few things out…This is a big mess, Potter. We can’t go about it like we always do.”
I chuckled bitterly. “You mean sweeping it under the rug?”
“I’m tired of dysfunctional.” She told me after tucking her hair behind her ear. “It’s all I’ve ever known this year, and I’m tired of it. Swallow your pride and talk to him. He’s your best mate.”
“He’s the reason you’re in this mess.” I reminded her. I wasn’t sure why I was so hell-bent on putting Desmond at fault.
“He may be the reason why I’m in love with you, Potter, but you’re the reason why being in love with you feels like utter shit.” she snapped in response. “Don’t forget that he has absolutely no control over how big of an asshole you are. You cause 99.99% of my pain, not Desmond.”
What could I possibly say to something so brutally honest? I’m sorry that I caused you pain, I’m just being myself? I’m sorry that I can’t give you the things you want? I’m sorry that some fucking creature forced you to fall in love with the biggest asshole on the planet.
Shit. I was pissed. I felt like we were having the same fight over and over again, and I was fucking tired of it. I didn’t understand why I wanted to get a rise out of her earlier, and I was glad that I didn’t. Otherwise, we would have fought about the same thing we’ve been fighting about the past two fucking months.
“I didn’t ask you to fall in love with me, Vic.” I replied darkly. No, I fucking reminded her, because I was positive that the same exact sentence with the same exact order of words came up in an argument a long time ago. “It wasn’t easy for me adjusting to the sudden change in responsibilities.”
“You talk as if I’m some sort of child.”
“Well you are a child. You’re a teenage girl, in love. Therefore, you’re a child with fickle emotions. Do you know how difficult it is to suddenly shift lifestyles just to accommodate someone who barely even meant a thing to you?”
Victoria laughed bitterly. “Don’t make it seem like you actually tried, Potter. Those rumors — or has it already been proven factual — about Amelie carrying your fucking child proves that you didn’t.”
“Those rumors aren’t true.” I snarled. “How can you believe the rest of the castle, especially when it comes down to a girl who fucks more than a pair of rabbits?”
“I’ve got ears in the dungeons.”
I looked away, feeling my anger rise at the mere thought of his name. “That little rat Greyson, I presume?”
“He’s not a rat, Potter.” Victoria spat. “Just because he had the decency to approach me and tell me the truth himself.”
“Are you insinuating that I would have lied and kept this shit from you?”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if you did. Why would you of all people care to inform the girl who’s fucking in love with you about impregnating another girl?”
The thought of Greyson forced my mind to put two and two together. “Is that why you ran off yesterday?” I demanded, my voice rising slightly. “After you got that note, that’s why you ran off? To go fucking meet Greyson so he could rat out his fellow Slytherins?”
“I went to meet Greyson because he’s my friend, you fucktart.” She snapped.
“And is he the reason you ended up staying out all night? You completely fell off the map, and something like that does not just happen.”
“I don’t need to tell you where I go and who I see.”
I looked away, suddenly feeling out of place. “I didn’t take you for that kind of girl.”
“W-what?” she sputtered. “What are you saying, Potter? That I’m some kind of whore who sleeps around?”
“I didn’t say anything.” I replied dangerously.
“For your fucking information,” Victoria grumbled with a great amount of annoyance. “Potter, even though this is absolutely none of your business, I didn’t sleep with Greyson.”
I didn’t say anything. Instead, I kept my gaze glued to the darkness within the forest. I didn’t care about what she had to say. I didn’t want to care about what she had to say.
“We just…” her voice softened, causing my ears to perk. I made sure to show no signs of interest. “We just…” she sighed heavily. “We just snogged for a bit.”
Again, I didn’t say anything. I remained silent, leaning against the windowpane, trying to drown out Victoria’s voice with my thoughts.
She sighed again and folded her hands on her lap. “Potter, it was the first time in a while when I actually… It was the first time in a long time I didn’t feel like I was head over heels for you.” She admitted. “I don’t know why, but when I was about to stop him, I realized that it wasn’t because of you.”
Her words took me by surprise. I quite fucking literally felt my heart drop into the pit of my stomach out of shock, or perhaps it was out of pure fear. We both read the words printed on that page. Whether or not the book was a complete hoax, Des’ confirmation was sure as hell enough for me. I immediately turned to face her, despite myself. Her eyes were fixated on her fumbling hands. She was nervous; I could tell by the way she moved.
Nothing else seemed to matter anymore. Not Desmond, not my ruddy sister, and certainly not Tyler’s infatuation with a girl he did not even know. At that moment, everything came to a halt.
Dysfunctional became the norm because for one thing, nothing in Hogwarts ever happens the way it’s supposed to. Because people don’t fall in love the right way anymore. Because falling in love now meant a bow and an arrow, instead of legitimate feelings that I have yet to learn about. Because teenagers no longer grow up with eagerness and an open insight. They grow up with an incurable amount of bitterness that eats away the child-like hope harboring in their chest. Because we fuck more than we play. Because substance, alcohol, and illegality means absolutely nothing to us. Because sixteen became the new thirty, and we’re so fucking eager to get there. Because a girl like Layla is left to suffer the pain of unrequited love. Because a princess like Dominique had her heart broken by her best friend. Because my little sister fancied a Cupid. Because my best friend made it his life long plan to force two people who hate each other to somehow find out that they’re more alike than any two people on the planet. Because it’s no longer normal to personally admit feelings anymore. Because the norm suddenly changed to a girl admitting that I was in love with her, instead of the other way around.
Victoria was right. Dysfunctional was all we knew, and it was downright fucking sad.
Because this girl — This girl whom I was barely beginning to get along with, just admitted that I was potentially starting to fall in love with her. How fucked up was that? A minute ago, I couldn’t stand the sound of her voice, and now, here I was, listening to her indirectly professing just how possible it was that I was, in fact, fucking in love with her.