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Chapter 9 : I is for Insomnia
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Charlotte Present Day
A few weeks had passed since the funeral and from the outside nobody would be able to tell that anything was wrong.
Liam and Al were back on the quidditch team and training hard for the upcoming match against Ravenclaw Saturday. Talia and Holden were still dating much to Liam’s dismay. Liam was dating this blonde from Hufflepuff to what he hoped would be Talia’s dismay, but wasn’t. Rose was excelling in every class but Care of Magical Creatures which wasn’t anything new, but she did have her sight on this Ravenclaw boy, which was.
And Charlotte was fine, just fine. Nobody was treating her any different anymore and that was just the way she preferred it. She was perfectly content to suffer without anyone else knowing about it. Only occasionally did Al send her a glance that let her know that he knew she wasn’t “fine.”
In order to lessen the pain Charlotte had taken to obeying Granny’s last bits of advice obsessively. There was rarely a night when she wasn’t breaking curfew searching for a party to go to or a boy she could seduce.
She was getting good at having fun.
Right now she was lying in bed unable to sleep. This wasn’t any sort of a surprise she hadn’t been sleeping well since Granny died. Whoever thought that counting sheep would help you fall asleep was an idiot.
She shut her eyes again and wished for a couple hours of sleep. She didn’t know at first that she had drifted off, but then there was her Granny standing in front of her.
“Sweet girl” she whispered before disintegrating in front of Charlotte. Charlotte watched in horror as her Granny turned to bones. She fell to her knees and clutched at the bones of her dead Granny and wept.
“Shit!” She sat straight up in bed. She was covered in a layer of cold sweat. Screw it Charlotte thought. She pulled back the curtain and stumbled into the bathroom. She looked at herself in the mirror and was frightened by what she saw.
Her face was pale and had a sunken in look to it, her eyes had dark circles under them, and her hair was hanging limp just above her shoulders.
She got in the shower and let the scalding hot water run over her.
After showering she got dressed and performed a quick drying spell on her hair. Since she had plenty of time before classes she carefully put on foundation, blush, eyeliner, and mascara.
That helped her appearance, but she still looked a little sickly.
She checked her watch…two-thirty.
Walking back into the dorm she noticed that Talia was sitting up in bed, her curtains pulled back. “What the bloody hell are you doing taking a shower at this ungodly hour? It’s two o’clock for shits sake.”
“Such language is not becoming for a lady,” Charlotte said, struggling to keep a straight face.
“Fuck you,” Talia said grinning.
“Shh, you’ll wake the others,” Charlotte said.
“You’re the one that took a bloody shower this early,” She grumbled. She got up and also put on her school clothes.
“What are you doing?” asked Charlotte.
“Well neither of us is falling back asleep; we might as well do something.”
“I dunno…let’s get ice-cream or something.”
“What the hell?” said Charlotte, “yeah, lets go get some ice-cream.” They walked down to the common room. They struggled to keep their voices down, for some reason both of them were very giggly.
“Who’s that?” They both noticed someone asleep on the couch in the common room.
“It’s Al,” Talia realized, “wonder what he’s doing down here.”
Charlotte walked over to Al. She bent down, right next to his face and yelled, “ALBUS!”
He shot up so fast that his head slammed into hers. “Merlin!” he yelled.
“Ouch!” she complained, “what did you do that for?”
He looked at her, still dazed. He shook his head a couple times, “what did you do that for?”
“Tal and I are getting ice-cream; I was wondering if you wanted to come?”
“Ice-cream?” he repeated, clearly still half asleep, “but it’s nighttime.”
“Well observed,” Talia noted dryly.
“Your intelligence astounds me,” Charlotte teased.
“What are you doing down here anyway?” Talia asked.
“I uh… must have fallen asleep reading.” Charlotte had the vaguest sense that he wasn’t being entirely truthful.
She looked around and noticed that there weren’t any books lying around. She raised her eyebrows at Al to let him know that she knew he was lying, but she didn’t press the issue further.
“So are you coming?” She asked. He shook his head though and said he was going up to bed.
“His loss,” Talia shrugged and pulled Charlotte along.
“Pipe the fuck down,” Talia hissed at Charlotte for the fifth time as they were creeping down another set of stairs, “You’re going to wake up the whole castle!” She whisper yelled.
Charlotte giggled at her before making sure to step extra hard onto a step that she knew creaked.
“What the hell?” Talia mouthed at her.
A few words of Granny’s had been floating around in Charlotte’s head, “get in trouble.” She’d been doing great at staying out after curfew, ditching class, kissing boys and having fun, but so far she hadn’t got into any serious trouble.
Getting caught out of bed would do it though.
However, nobody seemed to be around. Charlotte thought for sure Filch would hear her and come hobbling over.
They were nearing the kitchens when they heard a muffled sound of music. “What’s that?” Charlotte said grinning. It seemed to her like she found a party.
“Guess the Hufflepuffs are throwing a party,” Talia confirmed Charlotte’s thoughts, “You know what? I assumed they were so lame that they never threw parties.”
“Me too,” Charlotte agreed. In the past few weeks she had attended Slytherin, Gryffindor, and occasionally Ravenclaw parties. She had never thought to seek out a Hufflepuff one.
“Let’s go,” Charlotte said excitedly. She walked towards where the sound was coming from and noticed that two people were pressed up against a wall. They were making gross moaning sounds that made Charlotte and Talia a little uncomfortable.
“They are probably our only hope of getting inside,” Talia pointed out, “we don’t even know where the entrance is.”
“Excuse me?” Charlotte said, trying to get their attention. They turned a little whilst sucking face and Charlotte got a better look at who they were.
Apparently so did Talia, “OI!” She yelled, “LIAM!”
He jumped apart from his blonde and turned to the two of them. “Hey guys,” he simultaneously grinned and turned red, “what are you doing here?”
Before Talia could start yelling again Charlotte answered, “We want to get into the party; can you help us out?”
“Sure, anything for my ladies,” He sang. He might have been a little drunk. He walked, stumbling a little, towards these enormous barrels on the right side of the kitchen.
“Let me do it Liam!” The blonde squeaked. She ran up next to him and shielded the view of the barrels from Charlotte and Talia. Charlotte looked to Talia to see what she thought, but Talia was busy sending a death glare at the blonde.
Charlotte smiled a little and shook her head. She was going to whisper something to Talia about it when a passageway was revealed.
“Awesome,” she breathed out. Charlotte stepped forward to crawl through the tunnel and was about to enter when she realized Talia wasn’t behind her. “Talia?” she questioned.
“I’m going to go find Holden,” she said stiffly, “I’ll see you at breakfast.”
“Fine,” Charlotte said annoyed, “whatever.” She crawled in the passage after Liam and they emerged in a warm, circular common room which was packed with people.
The music was louder in here and people were swaying to the beat. Liam grabbed the blonde’s hand and dragged her to the middle of the room where they started kissing again.
Charlotte looked around for a bottle of something and was pleased to see half a bottle of firewhisky sitting on a table next to her. She reached for it at the same time as someone else did. She looked up and met eyes with Johnny Westbrook.
She smiled, “Want to share?” She tilted her head at the bottle.
“Okay,” He smiled back, “Ladies first.”
Charlotte tipped the bottle back and then gave it to him. They found a spot on one of the couches, but it was so packed that Charlotte had to sit on his lap.
Johnny was a nice boy.
He talked to her about his little sister back at home and their family owl that was getting older and couldn’t really make long trips anymore. He was very worried about his owl.
“I’m sorry,” Charlotte crooned and ran her hand up and down his arm, “This must be really hard for you.”
She had to work really hard to keep the mocking tone out of her voice. So his pet owl couldn’t make long journeys anymore. Big fucking deal, she thought. He had a family, a whole healthy family with a pet owl, and she had nothing.
Charlotte wanted to give him a little perspective, but she knew that if she did she wouldn’t get what she wanted.
“I’ll be okay,” he said, “It’s just hard.”
“Let me make it better,” she said in a soft voice and leaned forward. He kissed her gently at first, they all did, and then he twisted his hands in her hair. Charlotte let herself succumb to the kiss and soon enough the numbness washed over her.
She broke apart to take another shot of firewhisky and then twisted around so that she was straddling him and bent down to his lips again. Too soon there was a rough hand on her shoulder yanking her back from Johnny.
She disentangled herself from Johnny and stood up. She swayed a little, but was able to regain her balance. She looked up at who interrupted them and wasn’t quite sure who the boy was that stood in front of her.
“Can I help you?” She asked amused.
“What the fuck is this?” The guy yelled.
“None of your fucking business, I don’t even know you!” She yelled at him. She might have been a little more wasted then she thought. Her face was really hot and her head felt really heavy.
“Maybe this will remind you,” he said before crushing his lips to hers. Charlotte leaned back and smiled wickedly up at him.
“That I remember.” He was a seventh year Hufflepuff that she hooked up with last weekend.
At that moment Johnny leapt forward and punched the seventh year in the nose. They threw punches for a little bit before everyone was crowded around chanting “Fight! Fight! Fight!”
When they pulled out their wands Charlotte realized that she wasn’t getting anymore out of them, she grabbed the bottle and moved to a far corner of the room. Sliding to the floor she kept drinking until she fell asleep.
“Charlotte,” a voice broke her from her much needed sleep, “Come on get up.”
“Five more minutes,” She mumbled.
“No, get up, I’m hungry!” She recognized the voice now as Liam’s. She sat up and opened her eyes.
Then she shut them.
“It’s too bright in here,” she complained.
“Drink this,” Liam put something to her lips and she drank obediently. Almost instantly her mind cleared.
“Ahh,” she sighed and let Liam pull her up, “What was in that?”
“You’re welcome,” he laughed and pulled her towards the common room exit, “So did you have fun last night?”
“It was fine,” Charlotte hoped he hadn’t seen the fight.
“Really? I would have thought having two guys fighting for your love would have been a bigger deal.”
“Don’t tell anyone!” Charlotte yelled laughing, “It was ridiculous.”
“Yeah for a while we thought Robby was going to put Johnny in the hospital wing,” Liam said, “They had to break it up when my dad came in to tell everyone to go to bed and quiet down.”
“I forgot your dad was the head of Hufflepuff!” Charlotte said, “did he see you?!”
“No I hid up in Leslie’s room after throwing a blanket over you; you’re welcome by the way.”
“Thanks,” Charlotte said sheepishly. They had made it to breakfast by then. They sat down across from Al and Rose at their usual spot.
“Good morning,” Charlotte said brightly, “How are you guys?”
“Tired,” Al said grumpily. Rose just glared.
“What’s wrong Rose?” Charlotte couldn’t help but chuckling a little, Rose’s glare was priceless.
“Why would you and Talia go out for ice-cream and not invite me?”
“Rose,” Charlotte said, “It was in the middle of the night and you were sound asleep. We didn’t want to wake you up. Besides would you have even wanted to go? We were out after curfew.”
“Okay fine,” She relented, “But an invite would have been nice!”
“I’m sorry, next time we go out for ice-cream we will be sure to invite you.”
“Did Talia make her really good caramel sauce?” Al wondered.
“Uh, actually we didn’t really make it to the kitchens,” Charlotte admitted.
“Then where were you all night?” Al asked.
“Well I was with Holden,” Talia sat down in between Charlotte and Liam, “nothing new to tell there, what I want to know is what Miss Charlotte did last night.”
“Yeah Charlie,” Liam joined in; “tell them what happened last night.”
Now it was Charlotte’s turn to glare. “Nothing happened.”
“Oh just spill,” Talia said, “They’ll hear eventually. There was already buzz about it in the Slytherin common room this morning.”
“Seriously?!” Charlotte asked, “How is that possible?”
“Stop stalling,” Al said to her.
“Yeah we want to know!” Rose chimed in.
“Fine,” Charlotte glared at all of them again, “You guys know Johnny Westbrook from Defense? Well we were just talking and stuff on the couch when—“
“And by stuff she means snogging,” Liam interrupted.
“You’re one to talk,” Charlotte said indignantly, “when we first got there it looked like he was eating Emily’s face off, it was gross.”
“Okay first off her name is Leslie!” Liam said, “Secondly, if it was so ‘gross’ then why did she keep asking for more?” He reached across the table to high five Al who slapped him on the back.
“Back to Charlotte!” Talia demanded.
“Right, so then all of a sudden someone yanks me away from him and there was a little tussle and then I fell asleep and that’s all.” Charlotte said really fast.
“You aren’t telling it right!” Liam complained. “This is what really happened—I was ‘talking and stuff’ with Leslie,” he threw a look at Charlotte, “when all of a sudden I look over and Robby Pearson tears Charlotte and Johnny apart. At first it looked like Robby and Charlotte were fighting when Robby, out of nowhere, kisses Charlotte! Right in front of Johnny! And I told Leslie that Charlotte was going to hit Robby, but she didn’t she just smiled up at him. We’d all forgotten about Johnny, but then all of a sudden there he was punching Robby in the face! They threw some punches and dueled and by time they were finished Charlotte was passed out in a corner. Both of them wanted to go over to her, but I told them to back off and let her sleep. That is the whole story.”
“Slut!” Talia said to Charlotte appreciatively patting her on the back, “Look at you! You kissed two guys within the span of three hours and had them fighting over you, I’ve taught you so well.”
Charlotte blushed and tried to look anywhere but at Al. Everyone else started talking again about what classes they had and who they were planning on going to Hogsmede with this weekend.
“It’s only four days away!” Talia was saying to Al and Rose, “You guys need to get dates. I’m going with Holden, Liam is going with that blonde whore, Charlotte apparently has an abundant supply of men at her beck and call, and you guys don’t have someone yet.”
“I miss it when we were third years and we could just go to Hogsmede with our friends.” Rose pouted.
She turned her head and saw Johnny looking at her hesitantly. “Johnny” she raised her eyebrows and made herself smile. He smiled back hugely and kissed her on the cheek; Charlotte couldn’t help but tense up a little.
“Help,” she mouthed at her friends when he sat down next to her, “What’s up?” She asked Johnny.
“Can’t I eat breakfast with my beautiful girlfriend?” He helped himself to some toast.
“Girlfriend?” Talia leaned over to whisper in Charlotte’s ear. Charlotte looked at her with wide eyes.
“We should really be getting to Charms,” Rose said with her eyebrows raised.
“Right!” Charlotte said quickly and stood up, “Seeya later Johnny,” She said and awkwardly patted him on the head.
“Don’t be silly,” he caught her hand, “I’ll walk you.”
“Oh no,” Charlotte said, “You’ll be late.”
“No I wont, besides that’s not as important as being with you.” He kept a hold on her hand and grabbed her book bag.
The walk was awkward and to make it worse her friends were slipping sexual innuendoes into everything they said. By time they made it to the classroom Charlotte was ready to kill all of them.
“I’ll meet you here after class,” Johnny said and leaned down to kiss her lightly on the lips. Charlotte turned her head at the last second so he got her cheek again.
“Deuces!” She said before disappearing into the classroom. Deuces? She mentally slapped herself in the head.
“Deuces?” Al caught up to her and was laughing really hard, “That was great.”
“You’ve got yourself a new pet!” Talia exclaimed.
They didn’t stop teasing her through all her morning classes. Then at lunch Charlotte thought everything was settling down when Johnny was nowhere to be found, but of course he showed up.
He was carrying a basket, “I want to take you on a picnic.”
“Oh lovely,” Charlotte said in what she hoped was a thankful tone of voice. However, she thought she could hear the sarcasm a little. She knew her friends did because they were all snickering into their pumpkin juices.
He took her to the owlery to meet the family owl, Feathers.
Rose Present Day
“Did you guys see the look on her face?” She asked everyone.
“She looked like she was going to kill him,” Al said and chuckled.
“Yeah I don’t think she was looking for a long term relationship when she hooked up with him last night,” Liam observed.
“Honestly,” Rose added, “She looked a little nauseated.”
The rest kept talking and taking bets about what they thought would happen between them, but Rose tuned out.
What Talia said earlier was still bothering her. She did need to find a date to Hogsmede. Al could find a date in about two seconds if he needed to, but she could not. Her thoughts strayed to this brilliant Ravenclaw boy and, much to her displeasure, to Scorpius.
She didn’t know what to think about either of them. The Ravenclaw boy had never even introduced himself to her and she would get so much crap from the gang if she went with Scorpius.
She didn’t even like Scorpius so she wasn’t sure why she was thinking of him at all.
She would probably just end up staying back to study. It was easy to hide behind the nerd façade, but really she wanted to be normal. Besides, she couldn’t miss Hugo’s first ever trip to Hogsmede.
She resolved to somehow, someway find a date. She thought she might ask Charlotte to help her out.
Charlotte Present Day
They were currently at Care of Magical Creatures with the Ravenclaws. Hagrid had them rubbing chili powder on the salamanders who were suffering from scale rot.
“What I don’t understand is how they all got it,” Charlotte complained as she massaged the powder into the blue salamander she was working on.
“Well,” Rose began, but Charlotte cut her off.
“I don’t really care Rose, I’m just complaining.”
“Right,” Rose said sheepishly and turned back to her red salamander. She timidly sprinkled a little bit of powder on it and then just stared at it.
“Ye have to rub it in Rosie!” Hagrid called from where he was talking to Erin Lockwood, a sixth year Ravenclaw, about the symptoms of scale rot.
“Right,” she muttered again and kept looking at the thing. “I can’t do it!” She finally yelled and threw her hands up dramatically, “It’s so gross with its nasty little scales hanging off like that and Merlin! That smell is awful, just awful. If you ask me these things are better off dead. Then we would be able to collect their blood which has powerful regenerative properties and..and” She seemed to realize that she was making a scene.
Hagrid looked scandalized at the thought of letting his salamanders die. Al, Liam, and Charlotte were used to Rose and weren’t surprised by her little rant. Erin was looking around nervously as if frightened of Rose, but Oscar Scott (another sixth year Ravenclaw) was studying Rose.
“You know,” he started conversationally, “with the gloves on you really can’t feel anything. Also, it makes much more sense to keep them alive; dead their blood is only good for about a day. Alive you can take small increments whenever needed at no harm to him.”
Everyone was shocked now. No one ever tried to speak to Rose logically when she went off like that.
“Look,” he said after the silence that followed his last words. He walked over to Rose who was still looking at him funny and shook more powder onto her salamander. He then began rubbing it in, “It doesn’t feel weird or gross or anything, honest.”
“Okay,” She said quietly, “I’ll try it, but if it’s slimy or something I’m out.”
“Fair enough,” he smiled at her.
“What just happened?” Charlotte leaned over to ask Al and Liam.
Before they could discuss it more Hagrid dismissed them for dinner. “Oscar and Rosie,” Liam started to sing.
“Merlin!” Rose yelled, “Are you five?” But she couldn’t help blushing a little bit.
“K-i-s-s-i-n-g,” Al continued.
“First comes love, then comes marriage,” Liam picked it up.
Charlotte couldn’t resist, “then comes salamanders in the baby carriage.” She sang at the top of her lungs.
Rose’s blush matched the color of her hair when Oscar walked by them with Erin chuckling to himself.
“Our bad…” Charlotte said.
“I’m finding new friends.”
“No you aren’t,” Charlotte said looping her arm through hers, “you love us too much.”
“Where are you going?” Al asked when Charlotte turned a different way than to the Great Hall.
“I’m not going in there!” She said, “I’d rather miss dinner than spend anymore time today with Johnny.”
Al laughed, “How bout I grab us both some food and meet you in the common room?”
“You’re the best, I love you so much.”
“Don’t let Johnny hear you say that,” Al teased and went the other way.
Rose Present Day
Oscar finally talked to her. She couldn’t stop thinking about him and how smart and cute and charming he was. She had a crush.
She told herself to stop being such a child, but then she thought of his blue eyes and blushed again.
She decided that she would ask him to Hogsmede tomorrow in Herbology.
Charlotte Present Day
She was waiting for Al in her spot on the windowsill thinking about a way to break up with Johnny. She felt absolutely nothing towards him and she thought it would be the right thing to end it.
Mostly she was glad she didn’t have to do it tonight. Al was great at getting her out of sticky situations.
Then the door swung open and two people stepped through it—Al and Johnny.
It took everything Charlotte had not to start screaming at Al. “Hi!” She sang in this fake voice.
“Hey baby cakes,” Johnny said kissing her on the forehead, “Al said you were eating in here so I said I’d come to surprise you.”
They ate in an awkward silence; Charlotte glared at Al whenever she could without Johnny noticing.
They were wrapping up dinner when Charlotte had a sudden burst of inspiration. She pulled up a few fake tears and turned to Johnny, “I can’t stand this anymore.”
“What’s wrong baby?” He asked gently. Charlotte wanted to gag.
“It’s just, I’m sorry, it’s just that I’m in love with someone else. We’ve been keeping it a secret for a while now and I just can’t sting you along when I know I love someone else.”
“Who?” He said in a broken voice.
Charlotte said nothing but reached out and grabbed Al’s hand. “We’ve been in love almost our whole lives.” She dug her nails into Al’s hand.
“That’s right,” he said, “We just don’t know how to tell anyone.”
“Then why did you kiss me last night?” Johnny asked.
“I was feeling vulnerable and sad because Al and I can only see each other in secret. Johnny, you made me feel so much better and you gave me the strength to realize that we can tell people about our relationship. Thank you for that. We’re in love!”
“I’m not going to lie…this hurts. Especially now with everything going on with Feathers, but who am I to stand in the way of true love. I’ll miss you Charlotte.”
“I’ll miss you too Johnny, thank you for being so understanding.”
“Your welcome.” He said and then thankfully he left.
Charlotte dropped Al’s hand and looked at him, “Yes!” She yelled, “Worked like a charm.”
“Oh yeah,” Al said sarcastically, “I can just think of one little problem.”
“By morning everyone is going to know that we are ‘in love’ and have been ‘keeping our relationship a secret’” He said in a whisper so the rest of the people in the common room didn’t hear them.
“I didn’t really think that far ahead,” Charlotte admitted. Actually she had forgotten all about the rest of the people in the common room when she was putting on her little skit, they all heard everything.
“Sorry we’ll deal with it in the morning okay?” Charlotte asked, “I’m going to go to bed.”
Al waited for her to be climbing the stairs before yelling, “Goodnight baby cakes have sweet dreams! You’re the best girlfriend ever!”
Author’s Note: SO! Shout out to Ines who guessed correctly who would “get together” even if it wasn’t exactly how she imagined it. I was going to split this chapter in two, but I thought I’d just give you guys a long one since I haven’t been doing that great at updating. Now that it’s spring break I finally have time to write! YAY! Leave me a review please!
Hang loose mongoose,
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