Chapter 2 : Gingers, Maniacs And First Crushes.
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Again, J.K.Rowling owns it all.
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I woke in a cold sweat, trembling and crying. My covers were on the floor and my head hurt. I was scared and in shock. Nightmares (or dreams, whatever you classify as a dream) often happened to me, especially before important days like today. I woke up crying, but I was never trembling, or thrashing around like this.
It’s probably the nerves.
Today is the first quidditch match of the year against Hufflepuff, and James had been piling on the pressure as soon as the draw was announced. My legs were just about ready to fall off after all the running and training that we’ve had over the past month. The team hadn’t changed since last year, so we had a “advantage” as James calls it, over all the other houses, as we didn’t have to hold tryouts and could therefore start training earlier.
I personally didn’t think of it as a advantage.
I thought of it as a bloody suicide mission.
James keeps on saying that it’ll all pay off in the end, and I bloody hope it does because my legs are still fucking KILLING me from practice on Friday.
I took a few deep breaths, brought my knees up to my chest and wiped away my tears before I spotted Mikhala sitting on her bed. She gave me a smile before joining me on my bed and hugging me. I leaned my head against her shoulder and calmed myself down.
“Why aren’t you asleep?” I asked her, sniffling.
“I woke up to check on you, to see if you were alright.” She said. I took another deep breath before replying.
“I’m okay now, just a bad dream, and, thank you.”
“For what?” She asked, amusement and confusion in her voice.
“For being there for me.”
“Stop it Nala. I’ll always be there for you. No need to thank me.” She said smiling.
Khala is one of those friends that is quiet and shy but listens when you need to talk. She is one of those people who knows everything about you, and doesn’t judge. She’s one of the few people that I would trust my life with, no questions asked.
And it doesn’t hurt that she knows how to make the BEST tiramisu I’ve ever had. IN. MY. LIFE. Nope. Doesn’t hurt at all.
Everyone else was asleep besides Mikhala and I, so I decided that I would go to breakfast early. It was only 6:30, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep. I brushed my teeth, washed my face and suddenly found myself staring into the mirror. I looked absolutely smashed. I had large dark circles under my eyes and my face was drained of colour. My eyes were bloodshot and I looked exhausted. I really didn’t want to play today, but I knew that I had to. James would not be very happy with me if I didn’t.
I headed out of the bathroom to see Khala ready with my quidditch robes. So thoughtful, that girl. Mikhala started getting ready and I assumed that she was going to join me, so I grabbed my sketchbook and sat on my bed while I waited for her.
I looked to the window to see the sun rising. Its yellow shine was rising from the forest, creating a rainbow of oranges, pinks and purples. I could hear the birds happily chirping and see them soaring high into the sky. At least they’re happy in the mornings.
After Mikhala got ready, we headed downstairs into the common room. It was empty except for a few nerdy seventh years who were asleep on top of their books. I hope that I won’t have to do that next year, it’s excessive, and the only 2 people I know that would do that are Khala and Lucas. Hell, they even do it now, they probably won’t make it through the year from their lack of sleep. How they survive, I’m not sure, but I would definitely like to find out. Lord knows how many times I’ve tried to stay up and study, finally succumbing to my drooping eyelids at around 2.
Most of the seventh years I know (except the quidditch teams of course) probably would have spent last night getting wasted.
Chris was like that last year, always going to parties and pubs after he turned 17. But now that he’s in his 7th year, and James is captain, he’s turned it down. He did it last year because he didn’t give a shit about Lara, our former captain. They used to go at it like rabbits until she graduated. Arguing I mean, not eww, not them together. I mean, that would just be disgusting. Fuck. Bad mental image. BAD mental image.
Think of puppies. Cute, small, adorable puppies that just go around playing and wagging their tails off. Yeah, puppies.
Anyway, now that it’s his NEWT year he’s kind of settled down a bit. And he’s planning on moving to London with James after school. Getting a flat and all with him too.
Man, I’m going to miss him a lot when he leaves, but that’s a whole year away.
The hallways and corridors were silent, only the echo of our footsteps audible. The portraits still snoring in their slumber, didn’t wake as we walked by.
I clutched my jersey close to me, the chilly breeze sucking all the heat away from my body. As we descended the stairs into the Great Hall, I saw a few early risers scattered around the tables, a lone Hufflepuff girl sitting at the end of the furthest table with her nose in a thick book and of course a handful of Ravenclaws vigorously studying with their notes scattered everywhere, nibbling on their waffles. Erika was one of them.
“Hey Erika,” I said as I sat down opposite her. She looked like the mirror image of myself, with dark circles under her eyes and a steaming mug of coffee by her side. Her brown hair was messily thrown into a bun, and although she looked so tired, she looked very pretty, with trundles of her curly hair finding its way out, framing her face.
“Anala! What are you doing up so early?!” Her eyes surveyed my face, as she took in my hazardous state. Mikhala left to go talk to one of her friends, who was also up early.
“Couldn’t sleep,” I said as I poured myself my own mug of coffee.
“Me too. Nightmare?” She asked quietly.
I nodded as I took a sip. It scorched my throat as I swallowed, warming up my body. Her eyes were full of understanding, and she took my hand and squeezed it. A silent promise that I could go to her, anytime.
I nodded again.
For the next hour, Erika studied and scribbled notes, constantly mumbling to herself, while I sketched in my sketchbook. Before we knew it, the hall started filling up, and the noise increased. Erika, however was oblivious, lost in her own world. I refilled our mugs, and cleared my mind for the day ahead.
I was interrupted however, by the sound of Tristan and Dom walking into the Great Hall. Tristan looked furious, his jaw & fists clenched, gazing deathly towards Dom, who was sheepishly walking towards us, with a slight smile on her face. She scurried forward, and took a seat on the opposite side of the table, next to Erika, and started stuffing her mouth with toast, trying to hide the ever growing smile on her face.
Tristan steadily approached us and asked me,” Nala, do you notice anything different about me?”
I glanced him up and down, when finally my eyes rested on his hair. My mouth formed a perfect O in shock, and my eyes doubled in size.
“Your hair. Different. Red,” I managed to choke out.
“Yes, dear Dom here, KNIDLY put hair dye into my shampoo bottle, which I happened to use THIS morning, and turned my hair RED?! Its RED?! I’m not a Weasley?!” He squeaked as he thrusted bits of his hair into my face.
“It’s falling off! Nala, IT’S FALLING OFF?! Help me!” He pleaded. “I’m not 50 yet! I’m not meant to be going bald!”
At this point, Dom was hunched over, in hysterical laughter, repeating the words, “Bald! He’s going bald!” over and over again, while wiping tears from her eyes. Erika and I were both in shock, while the rest of the hall, that heard Tristan’s outburst, were giggling and pointing to his newly fashioned hair.
Dom abruptly fell off the bench, and was quickly carted out of the hall, by her younger brother, Louis and Hugo, who were wearing expressions of concern and fearing for her sanity.
After calming Tristan down, and promising him that everything would be fine, I asked Erika to take Tristan to the hospital wing, and get Madam Pomfrey to fix him up, and I quickly made my way down to the pitch. After all, the match was about to start in a half hour.
I entered the locker room and saw that everyone was already here, seated in front of the chalkboard that James was busy scribbling on. I quickly grabbed my broom from my locker and sat next to Aiden, who was annoying Rose.
“Come on Rosie, can you please ask her?!” Aiden pleaded, simultaneously poking Rose on her leg.
“No. Not now, not ever. If you really like her, you gotta ask her yourself! You like her right?”
“Mhmm.” Aiden started going red.
“What was that again?”
“Yepblghr.” Aiden started to fiddle with his fingers. James cleared his throat, to get everyone’s attention.
“I can’t understand what you’re saying Aiden!” James did it again, louder this time.
“YesIreallylikeher!” He said loudly, his face going tomato red in embarrassment. He suddenly found a fascination with the floor, his eyes not daring to look upwards. The entire room was now staring at a flushed Aiden, and Rose was smiling and smirking, at him while he was glaring at her.
“Like who?” Fred poked into the conversation, now interested.
“Rose, don’t.” Aiden pleaded with her, looking wearily at Fred, knowing that once he found out, Aiden would be constantly teased. Rose took sympathy on Aiden, but could not contain her giggles.
Fred had inched closer to them, and was now sitting next to me, a look of pure excitement on his face. James was looking on the scene with a look of amusement, enjoying the idiocy of our team.
“Come on then! Who is this special girl that Aiden has a crush on?” Fred asked Rose, his eyes twinkling.
“ Erika Nolan.”
The entire room gasped with surprise, including myself.
Erika?! Reallly?! No. I would’ve known. I should’ve known!!
The entire room was silent except for a giggling Rose, and a mumbling Aiden, who was pacing around the back of the room, swearing at himself for telling Rose in the first place. Fred eyes were calculating, and he turned to Rose and said, “Prefect Perfect Ass Erika, with the killer legs?”
“Hey! Guys!” Aiden whined from the back of the room.
Rose nodded while she was giggling, and Fred turned to James, and pointed to Aiden, as to say, Really? James had a look of surprise on his face, and responded after a while, “Nice rack too.” Fred nodded in agreement.
HONESTLY, THESE BOYS.
I walked up to James and smacked him hard on the chest, and his face changed to a wounded expression.
“Ow! Bloody hell woman, I was just stating a fact!” Fred looked on with humour, but only before I gave him a glare, and he looked down like a child being caught with his mothers makeup.
“Honestly, you boys are so insensitive! How can you be such prats?!” James and Fred looked wounded, and looked to Chris for help.
“Don’t you start mister.” I gave him the biggest glare I could muster, and he fell silent. “Just because all three of you treat girls like objects, doesn’t mean every other boy does! Aiden happens to like Erika, one of my best friends, might I add, for who she is!? Not only because she may be very attractive with a nice rack and a FIRM ASS!? All of you are appalling! And who says that you don’t think of me that way?”
My voice went solemn as realisation dawned over.
“‘Oh, and I’m only friends with Nala so I get to look at her legs all practice.’”
The room was silent, and Fred and Chris were looking down with shame. Everyone else was looking at me in surprise, especially James that I had shouted at them. I was not known to loose my temper, but it was Erika that they were talking about! Their attitude is just so fucked up. And James! I thought he was a nice guy, you know, one who respected girls, I guess not. That is what surprised me most I think, I thought he was one of the good guys.
I huffed a little, and looked at them all again with frustration. “If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to cool down.” I started to walk to the shower rooms, before shouting, “Fred, stop looking at my ass!?”
In the background I could hear a faint “Ouch!”, and I deduced that Chris must’ve hit him. “I wasn’t I swear!” He pleaded.
“Like hell you weren’t.” Chris grumbled.
After that all I could hear were faint grumbles as I turned on the taps and leaned against the counter.
Gosh, today isn’t a good day. I washed my face, and looked at myself in the mirror once again. My face was ashen with tiredness, and my cheeks were flushed with heat. I couldn’t believe what I had just done. I’m a quiet person usually, and you’d think I would be used to the way that boys talk about girls, but having them talk like that about someone who you’ve grown up with, someone who is your best friend, who you would tell anything to, just hit me. They should feel guilty. They should, for a little longer anyways. Get used to the new feisty Nala who doesn’t take their crap anymore.
I looked to my watch, and it was time for us to head out onto the pitch. I made my way out, and just in time too. Everyone was lining up in announcing order, and just as I took my spot, the commentator was announcing Ellie’s name.
James who was behind me, started to apologise before I silenced him with a soft “Don’t,” and just then, my name was called. I got on my broom and flew out, but not before I saw the mournful look on his face.
Well, some heavy stuff at the end there, but I feel like it had to be adressed. No time like the present hey?
What do you think of Nala so far? Or Tristan and Dom? Classic pranksters they are, but more of that soon. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear it!!
Thanks for reading!