Chapter 2 : Magnetic
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by loveatfirstview @ tda
featuring teddy lupin & greg rowle
I spend the next few days ignoring everyone, which wouldn’t be too hard of a feat most days to accomplish considering everyone ignores me as well, but lately, it has been a tad more difficult. For one, our seventh year group projects are coming up and the professors are more hands-on than normal. Two, Geoffrey and Greg keep looking at me; Geoffrey scowling like the bad-tempered captain that he is and Greg in… awe. I think. I’m not too sure about that one. Three, Teddy has apparently been looking for me but I haven’t seen him since our morning rendezvous that Monday. And four, I have a crazy feeling someone’s been watching me—but I think it’s just the stress.
By lunchtime on Thursday, I feel drained. I keep trying to picture that serene and tranquil lake but dark grey clouds seem to have descended upon it.
I sigh as I push open the great oak doors that lead into the Great Hall only to stop in my tracks.
“He was an asshole,” Greg is saying to Teddy just a few meters ahead of me. “But I’ve never seen Milly react like that. Ever! It was awesome!”
Teddy laughs with what I believe is pride in his eyes. “She is a little spitfire but usually when it involves her brother though. She prefers to stay away from any confrontation.”
“Well that’s a shame, I quite like that side of her,” Greg replies earnestly.
“Milly!” Teddy exclaims suddenly, his face breaking out into a grin, as he spots me cowering in front of the doors. “Where have you been?”
I knew I should’ve skipped lunch! Damn…
I reluctantly walk over towards the two boys and try my best to look innocent. I smile warmly at them and cock my head to the side. “What do you mean? I’ve been around.”
“You’ve been avoiding me,” Teddy deadpans.
“No, I haven’t.”
“Milly,” he says my name in that accusing tone he knew I hated. He also knows I’m a terrible liar.
“Oh alright, fine! I have,” I sigh with a roll my eyes and throw up my hands exasperatedly. “What do you want me to say? Your mate is a prick, my brother’s an imbecile and I overreacted. Probably. But I’m not sorry I called him an asshole.” I huff and cross my arms over my chest.
Greg roars with laughter. “Boy Milly, where the hell have you been hiding?”
He looks at me with that same expression of, now I’m sure of it, awe, and laughs again. “And don’t, please don’t apologise! Geoffrey was a twat and deserved it plus I love seeing him put in his place.”
“Sure! Geoffrey’s the biggest control-freak in this entire castle! As much as I love the guy that’s the truth!” He puts his arm around me consolingly and I feel my shoulders relax. “You should’ve seen his face when you called him an asshole! Priceless!”
I smile up at the boy. Greg is a tall and lean with a strong prominent nose and ivy green eyes, and lacks the boyish good looks like Teddy or the strong rugged looks like Geoffrey. But Greg has his own charm. I notice for the first time that when he smiles, he really smiles. His whole face lights up like a Christmas tree, his eyes dance with humour and two dimples appear on either side of his cheeks that is sure to win girls over. It made me warm up to him instantly despite my better judgment.
“To be honest, I wish I had been there to see that,” Teddy chuckles.
“So I’m not a horrible person?” I ask. I still don’t particularly like Geoffrey but I also don’t like how angry I had gotten with him.
Both boys throw their heads back and guffaw raucously causing my cheeks to turn an unattractive shade of scarlet red. They look at me then back at each other and laugh some more. Teddy is the first to speak, slapping me gently on the back, and steering me towards the Gryffindor table.
“Love, not in any possible way. Please, you have both of our permissions to have a go at him again if you want.”
“Oh no, I’d rather not,” I say stopping, looking at both of them seriously. “Honestly, that wasn’t very like me. Promise you won’t tell anyone about this?”
Teddy nods without a second thought. Greg on the other hand eyes me curiously at first then shrugs and says, “Of course, Milly. Whatever you want.”
We walk over to the table and I take a seat besides Teddy as normal or as normal as I possibly can, what with all the anxious knots in my stomach. The girls are already there and I watch as Greg walks around the table to sit next to Rachel. Her eyes dart to his face and the tiniest hint of pink tinge her cheeks. He looks back at her and smiles shyly.
Victoire is next to me on my other side and Adele next to her. Geoffrey and Seamus McLaggen are both missing out of our little seventh year group and I am desperately hoping they don’t turn up (or just Geoffrey because Seamus has always been lovely to me). On most days, I would hardly notice any of them except for Teddy but today I seem to become strangely aware of every movement. I feel like there is some magnetic force pulling me towards each person as it attracts me to each of his or her unique quirks. For instance, Adele giggles at every little joke while Victoire just sits there with a pursed lip, hiding her own amusement, and Greg and Rachel are usually the ones whipping out these jokes, wrapping everyone in their joyful personalities. Teddy, as I expected, sits there and throws in his own remarks when the timing is right that cause the entire table to erupt in laughter.
I smile at the lot of them as I silently pile my plate with food. Once the conversation dims down to a comfortable silence, my mind wanders to the group project. Every year, the project’s theme changes and last year, it had been Wings. The idea was simple enough; they had to create a presentation that could be basically anything to do with wings. I knew one group did it on dragons and another did it on Snitches. I wonder what this year would bring. Hopefully I have a group I can deal with, a group that wouldn’t test my nerves. I can go in, do my bit, and leave. That seems ideal.
I become so lost in my thoughts that it takes me a few long seconds to notice the bright red envelope floating in front of my face. It hovers precariously above my food when abruptly, there’s a loud pop and several tiny multi-coloured streamers shower down onto my food. I am too stunned to touch the envelope. It’s only till Teddy elbows me hard in the ribs that I’m snapped back to reality. I gingerly take a hold of the floating thing, very much aware of the eyes boring into my skull at that moment.
I open it, not quite sure what to expect but expecting the worse nevertheless.
Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
There is no love
Compared to mine for you.
Milly Swanson, you are my reason for living. XXX
“What the…” I mutter out loud.
A secret admirer? Is the universe having a joke? This can’t be right. It must be addressed wrong! But there it was, my name written in bright silvery ink that glowed wondrously on the red parchment paper.
Oh lord, there seems to be dancing cupids on my ship now and the pulsating thumps of their feet are matching the frantic beating of my heart. I feel nauseas again.
Teddy whistles beside me. “Wow, Milly! Didn’t know you were such a sought after commodity!” He nudges me, chuckling.
“Well, why wouldn’t she be? Milly’s a beautiful girl!” Victoire snaps with some venom, which pulls me out of my stupor for a brief second.
Teddy looks just as shocked as I am but he quickly recovers. “Bloody hell, Vicky. What is up your arse?”
“Nothing,” she retorts and scowls at her food, refusing to make eye contact with him, who in turn is still staring at her clearly baffled.
I ignore them both. I have issues of my own, like why do I have a secret admirer? I’ve hardly done anything to be… admired about. Oh Merlin, my cheeks are burning and I know I have turned the colour of my hair.
I do not want this. I do not need another disturbance. Seriously.
I’m lying in my bed with my curtains drawn staring up at the maroon coverings of my four-poster bed. The envelope and letter is lying by my side and I know now that niggling feeling that someone was watching me probably wasn’t a feeling at all. Someone has been watching me. And that someone might be… my secret admirer.
Goodness, it sounds cringe even when I think it!
Who has secret admirers these days? I thought that was an outdated thing, only relived in fairy tales and cheesy romantic novels.
I sigh. At least I managed to get through the rest of the day without any more interference into my once quiet life. After the whole envelope debacle at lunch, everything else actually appeared to have settled down a bit. I never did see Geoffrey or Seamus, and I went to dinner early so I didn’t see them then either, which helps. I don’t think my day could deal with another interaction with the great and mighty Geoffrey Wilkins Wood. Or so he likes to think.
“Hi Milly!” Adele jumps onto my bed, pushing the curtains to one side with her body. Victoire pops her head in as well and sits on the edge of my bed.
I instantly sit up. “Err, hi.”
“Gosh, isn’t it so romantic,” Adele coos, her dark hair lying just above her shoulders making her look like a dark-haired pixie. The faraway look in her eyes adds to the effect, and all in all, it is slightly perturbing to me.
“Your letter, silly,” she laughs, shoving me playfully. “No one does that anymore. I don’t know why though. It’s just so romantic!”
I resist the urge to groan. I nod. “Right, yeah.”
“It is rather sweet, Milly,” Victoire agrees. “I know Teddy made that jibe at you but you shouldn’t let that get you down. You really are beautiful, you know.”
“You are!” Adele chimes in. “I mean you’ve got lovely red hair and such flawless skin. You just need to let yourself have fun a bit. Ooh I can help if you want! It’ll be like a little makeover!”
“Adele,” Victoire says warningly.
But she didn’t have to worry I’m not offended. In fact, I find Adele’s candidness quite refreshing. In fact, it made me laugh.
“It’s okay. And thank you for the offer but I really am fine.”
“Are you sure? I mean you’re naturally pretty, Milly, but in a cute way,” Adele tells me, “but I can make you like a fiery sex goddess!”
I stifle a giggle. “I don’t think I can pull that off.”
“Sure you can!” Adele insists. “I read in Witch Weekly that every girl has an inner goddess and it’s all about tapping into it.”
Victoire rolls her eyes and sighs. “Oh good heavens.”
But before either of us can say another word Rachel storms into the room with tears streaming down her face. Adele and Victoire quickly jump to their feet and wrap their arms around her as I hover on the edge of my bed awkwardly.
Goodness, I’m horrible around people as it is, crying people just baffle me entirely. I don’t know what to do.
But before I could even open my mouth, all three girls manoeuvre their way back onto my bed. Rachel sits down beside Victoire on the edge of the bed and hugs her legs to her chest, rocking herself slowly, tears still falling down her cheeks. Eventually, she begins to tell us what happened. Apparently, her boyfriend (or well, ex-boyfriend now), Avery Lynch (one of Ravenclaw’s Chasers) dumped her for some ‘bitch’ named Lucy something or another, who is a perky fifth year Ravenclaw. Adele and Victoire say some choice swear words directed at Avery and Lucy to console Rachel. I stay rather silent for the most part but I did contribute a ‘his loss’ at one point, which Rachel seemed to appreciate greatly.
Look at me, being useful in conversation!
Twenty minutes of slagging off Avery and Lucy and some soothing words later (on Victoire and Adele’s parts), I find myself in the middle of my bed with all three girls snuggled up around me fast asleep. I don’t know how I managed to get myself into this position but here I am with more people around me than I care for.
I suppose I don’t necessarily hate it. I just don’t know if I like it either but with everything that’s happened over the past few days, I know now with more certainty that my lone solitary sailing ship was in danger of visitors.
“So who do you think it is?”
“Go away, Greg.”
“C’mon, you must have some idea!”
“Greg,” I say warningly.
“Do you think he’s in Gryffindor? Do you think he’s a SHE?”
“Gregory Royle!” I want to shout but somehow manage to say in an even tone. “Can you please go bother someone else?”
Before Greg could respond, a satchel drops loudly into the seat beside me.
“Hey Greg. Hi Milly.”
I look up into a pair of big brown eyes that belong to a very round shaved head and extremely bulky muscles. Seamus McLaggen, one of the best Beaters Gryffindor has ever seen, or so says Greg and Teddy. I don’t know much about Quidditch but looking at the sheer size of Seamus now, I don’t doubt that it’s true. He’s so broad that his school robes seem to be bursting at the seams. He is terribly frightening from far away but the twinkle in his eyes as he looks at us now I know he is just a great big softie at heart.
“Hey Seamus, what’s up?” Greg asks, doing some ritualistic male handshake that they seemed to have committed to memory.
“Knackered,” he groans, sitting down. “I am still in so much pain from that bloody fitness exercise he had us do two nights ago!”
“Oh, tell me about it…”
And this is where I drone out the conversation.
Ever since last week, I’ve had more interaction with the Gryffindor seventh years than I can even remember. They’re nice people but they were very colourful people. I rarely ever had a quiet moment when they were around. They were always going on about something or another in extreme hyperboles. The only person that isn’t speaking to me is Geoffrey and I am more than happy about that.
I focus back in on my book about herbal remedies when I spot a familiar mop of strawberry blonde hair.
I get up from my seat and rush towards my little brother, who tries to run as soon as he sees me but I’m too quick for him. I grab hold of his robe and pull him into a quiet alcove of the library. “We need to talk.”
“Really? I mean I have so many papers to write, sis,” he rambles on, a sheepish smile spreads across his face. “Then there’s Quidditch training and…”
“Oh all right, what’s up?” he sighs and slouches in defeat.
“I want to talk about your behaviour,” I lecture sternly. I realise I sound exactly like his mother but considering our mother is… well, I just had to do it. “What you did was dangerous and reckless, Marcus.”
“I know,” he hangs his head.
“Someone could have gotten seriously injured!” I continue on. “How could you be so dumb? I am very disappointed in you!”
“It was an initiation!” Marcus cries out in defence. “Every rookie on the team had to do something and I got stuck with that.”
“And you still went along with it? Have some backbone, Marcus.”
“I know,” he mumbles. “I’m sorry.”
I sigh and grin. “Just don’t do it again. I know how much you hate for me to save your fat bum.”
A smile breaks out in his boyish face. He quickly gives me a big hug before bouncing along on his way, elated that his stupid sucker of an older sister forgave him. Marcus is and has always been my weakness. Although he is only two years younger than me, he’s my baby brother. I will always put aside all my qualms about people to come to his aid and he knows it. He’s a good kid, just a little bit thoughtless.
“You sure are full of surprises, Milly Swanson.”
Geoffrey Wood steps out from a hidden aisle with a bemused grin on his face. He admittedly has a nice face though when he’s not scowling. It’s strong full of character and life with dark brown hair that fluffs up on top of his head and a scar that lies just above his right eyebrow. His light hazel eyes contrast brightly against his dark features making them daunting to look into.
“Why do you say that?”
“Because of how you portray yourself to people and how you really are.”
“And who am I exactly?” I ask, more curious than annoyed at his obvious misconception that he knows me.
“You’re definitely not the mousy girl I thought you were,” he tells me frankly, stepping closer towards me. I have the urge to step back but I stand my ground, just to show him that I’m not afraid of his tough guy attitude. “You’re tough. A spitfire.”
“That’s the second time I’ve heard that this week,” I tell him dryly.
“Okay, I’ll try again,” he laughs. “You think you’re an introvert. You think you like peace and quiet but you’re actually more like me. You thrive on adrenaline. You love the rush.”
My eyes narrow a fraction of a centimetre. “I’m nothing like you, Geoffrey.”
“Please,” he scoffs. “I bet yelling at me was the most alive you’ve felt in a long time.”
I flash back to that morning. The storm. My figurative lake hasn’t been the same since… but that was not a good thing! I don’t like feeling so disjointed and flustered!
“No, that was the most out of control I’ve been in a long time,” I grit my teeth, willing myself to stay composed. “I apologise for yelling at you but one conversation doesn’t constitute you an expert on all things Milly Swanson. You do not know me.”
I move to turn away but his voice stops me.
“Maybe not. But I’ll figure you out. I figure everyone out eventually.”
A/N: So I'm starting to get my muses back for KtS and RtS but I'll keep updating Storm since I have quite a few chapters written already :) I hope you guys like this one! Please do leave a review at the end. I would love to hear from you! xxx
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