Chapter 6 : Truth Will Out
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Potions lessons were also a nightmare as James never stopped talking about her. However, whenever Claire saw that James was talking to me she’d automatically saunter over to our desk and interrupt us. At first I didn’t mind as it meant I could get on with my work but after a couple of lessons it started to get annoying. Extremely annoying. She seemed to think that the fact that I was just sitting next to James would be enough make him break up with her to be with me, which was ridiculous. I guessed that she was just wary of James’ reputation as a ‘player’ who liked to switch between girls at a frequent rate, but that gave her no excuse to be a downright bitch to me. I’ll give you an example of this:
About three weeks after James and Claire had started going out, I was sitting in a Potions lesson whilst talking to James about dragons (don’t ask me why, I honestly don’t know) when suddenly Claire came striding up to our desk and stole my stool so that I almost fell over. I wouldn’t have been so angry if it weren’t for the fact that she could have almost harmed my baby. However, I contained my anger and continued to work standing up. However, that wasn’t the worst of it; for the rest of the lesson she casually insulted me and remarked about how James preferred redheads over blondes, etc, etc. But what hurt the most was the fact that James didn’t even bother to stick up for me. He just let Claire talk as he stared at her. I didn’t understand how he could like her so much; she was a malicious cow. The only way James could have possibly liked her was because of her looks and it angered me so much. I didn’t want James myself, but I didn’t want Claire to have him. It’s hard to explain, but when the father of your unborn child is in a relationship with an outright bitch then you can’t help but feel somewhat sad.
Claire was annoying me so much that I had decided to ignore her and James altogether and try and temporarily forget about my baby’s paternity, but I couldn’t. Just seeing James’ face around the corridors was making me feel guilty about not having told him yet. I knew I had to but now with Claire around I just didn’t see how. However, to make matters worse, these guilty feelings almost tripled whenever I saw Al in and around Hogwarts. He didn’t appear to be quite himself and his bright eyes had almost lost their sparkle. I knew that Al was annoyed with me; he had all the reason to be- but I just couldn’t fathom why he seemed to be so upset about the whole malarkey. Even Scorpius had noticed a change in him:
“Vi, is it just me or does Al seem a little different recently?” asked Scorpius at dinner time after Albus had left to do some homework.
“Er, I dunno. I guess.” I mumbled.
“It’s just that he’s been a bit more reclusive recently and he just seems somewhat down.”
“Look Scorp, I really haven’t got time for this at the moment, I’ve got a pile of Transfiguration homework due in for tomorrow which I need to get cracking on.” I said hurriedly, finishing off my apple crumble.
“Even James has noticed, everyone has.”
“Wait, James has noticed?” I asked anxiously, stopping all movement.
“Er, that’s what I just said, isn’t it? Anyway, why does it matter to you?”
“Oh no, it doesn’t, it’s just…” I stumbled, trying to think of something to say, “It’s just that James doesn’t really spend so much time with Al so I wouldn’t have thought that he’d have paid much attention, especially considering that he seems so transfixed with Claire.” I said, bitterly emphasising my last words.
“Actually, I think you’ll find that James doesn’t like Claire as much as he appears to.”
“Well, y’know, you can kind of tell from his body language. Every time Claire comes up to James, he shifts uncomfortably and when he smiles around her it seems just a little bit forced.”
“Hmm. How come I’ve never noticed this?”
“Because you’re a girl and girls don’t really notice male body language as they’re too busy focusing on their hair or whatever it is you females like to do with your spare time.” He said.
“Oh whatever.” I said, walking off. But come to think of it, Scorpius had a point. James was becoming slightly more hostile towards Claire, not that I minded. However, it worried me that James had noticed Al’s secluded behaviour of late as, if he questioned Al about it, he could just go ahead and tell him. Of course I had noticed that Al had been completely ignoring James, but I’d never thought that James would noticed; he seemed too self-absorbed to pay attention to his brother even when he was acting his usual self. In fact, Al had been sending glares in James’ direction whenever he saw him, but I just hoped that it wouldn’t be enough to make James actually talk to Al about it.
But, as per usual, I was wrong; however not entirely. James didn’t ask Al about his problems, but he did do something else. I was walking into the Transfiguration courtyard when I heard what sounded like a rather loud shouting match:
“What the hell is your problem lately, Al? I know we don’t have the best of relationships but to outright ignore me and even glare at me as if I’ve got a dog turd smeared on my forehead is completely out of character for you, Al!”
“Shut up, James! You don’t know anything!” replied Al. A crowd was now gathering in the courtyard, eager to see what all the racket was about. Meanwhile, I was standing rooted to the spot, worriedly wondering what the hell was going on.
“Well then help me, Al! How do you expect me to know anything if you won’t tell me?!”
“Maybe instead of waiting to be told you should go and find out for yourself, I mean it’s your responsibility after all!”
“What’s my responsibility, Al?!” asked James frustratedly, ignoring the crowd surrounding himself and his brother.
“Nothing…” said Al, avoiding James’ eyes.
“Bollocks! I know there’s something you’re not telling me, Al. I know you, I can tell when you’re upset about something!”
“It’s got nothing to do with you.” Said Al, mumbling.
“Oh so whatever you’re not telling me is my responsibility and yet it has nothing to do with me? For goodness’ sake Al, make your mind up!”
“Just leave it, yeah?”
“No, I will not ‘just leave it’, tell me what the problem is, Al”!
“No! You’ll just make everything worse, like you always do!”
“What are you on about?!”
“You! You always have to be in the spotlight, you always have to take a situation and make it much worse than it already is!”
“What?! Al, I have no idea what you’re on about right now!”
“You knew I loved her and yet you went and slept with her like she was some sort of toy to be used and then thrown away!”
“Loved who?!” asked James as he ran his ran through his messy black hair.
“Viola!” shouted Al. The crowd of students all started whispering to each other in surprise.
“How did you…?” said James, looking shocked.
“She told me.”
“Oh, believe me, it wasn’t out of choice!”
“Well then why did she tell you?!”
“Oh I don’t know, maybe it’s because she’s PREGNANT!” shouted Albus, glaring at James, completely oblivious of my presence. Suddenly the crowd were whispering even quicker as they digested the news. All I could think was ‘shit, this isn’t how I planned it’.
“Pregnant! Happy now that you' know what your litte problem is?”
It was only then that the two boys seemed to notice me in the corner. James stared at me, wide-eyed with shock, his eyes momentarily flicking to me concealed stomach. Al shifted uncomfortably, I never had an inkling of thought that Al loved me, although I guess it explained his irrational behaviour and reaction to my pregnancy.
“You’re lying.” said James after a long silence.
“What, you think I’m making this up? Do you have any idea of the mess you’ve made?!” asked Al, with angry tears in his eyes. Then James shrugged arrogantly.
“You PRAT! You absolute GIT, JAMES!” shouted Al, before punching James square in the face.
“Argh, fuck off Al!” exclaimed James angrily before punching Al back and then storming angrily back into the castle. Well now everything was truly screwed up. James had walked away as if he had nothing to do with it all, when he had everything to do with it.
“Al, I… I never knew. I’m so sorry.” I murmured quietly to Albus, who was nursing a bloody nose.
“Yeah well, it’s too late for that now, isn’t it.”
“Please, Al, understand that I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”
“I know you didn’t, but that’s not the point. You’re having my brother’s kid and nothing’s going to change that.”
“Al, just because I’m having James’ baby doesn’t mean we have to stop being friends!”
“Viola, you put a stop to our friendship as soon as you slept with James! You’ve ruined everything!”
“I’m sorry Al” I cried desperately, but to no avail; Al had already walked back into the castle, clutching his nose, leaving me standing amongst the group of students staring at me and whispering. I couldn’t help but feel like an animal at a zoo being put on display for the whole world to see just because of one stupid mistake, and that’s exactly what it was, a stupid mistake.
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