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Chapter 11 : Eleven
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So, I have a boyfriend.
No. That's way too direct.
I kind of have something to tell you...
No, that's too vague. She'll think it's something really bad if I start out like that.
Do you remember how you told me to tell you if I ever started dating anyone? Well I have.
Ok, that's the worst one yet.
I crumpled up the parchment and threw it in the fire, watching it crinkle and smolder, and soon it would be nothing but ash. I thought I could just come out and say it like the whole thing really wasn't a big deal, but it was proving to be harder than I expected. It's probably because we aren't actually dating... Right?
As I started drawing swirls and dots on my parchment, thinking of how I could possibly write this letter without sounding incredibly awkward, Lucy and Lysander came into the common room, sitting down next to me.
"How's the letter going?" Lysander asked, eyeing the burning pieces of parchment in the grate.
"It's all bloody fantastic," I said drily, raising my eyebrows at him.
"And I see you're making progress," he added, smirking as I hid the scrap of parchment I had drawn all over.
"Oh, shush! This is hard!"
"Maybe you should just wait to tell her in person," Lucy suggested.
"That would mean waiting a whole month... And Mum won't be happy if I keep this from her that long. I just don't know how to tell her... I never thought this would be so uncomfortable!" I cried, flopping back onto the couch we were sitting on.
"Well why don't you just come back to it later? Maybe if you have some time to think, something will come to you," she said, hiding a grin at my dramatics.
"Yeah, I think you're right. I'll just write her something and conveniently leave out Louis."
I got a new piece of parchment and quickly wrote out an answer to my mother's letter, feeling a little disappointed when I lied to her saying I didn't have any news. I hated lying to my parents, but I just didn't know how to tell them about all of this yet. Sometimes I could swear my dad still saw me as the six year old who wore mismatching socks and pink ribbons in her hair. I didn't think Mum would mind so much. She didn't have a temper like Dad did (she says it's his Irish blood), and would actually probably be happy for me. Which made lying to her make me feel even worse.
I know, I know. It wasn't a big thing that I was keeping from them. I mean, Louis isn't even my boyfriend! I don't even like him like that! It's more of an... arrangement, I guess you could say. But my family is so important to me, that I didn't want to make them disappointed that I hadn't told them. Suddenly, I sat up, smiling.
"What's that face for?" Lysander asked warily.
"That, my dear Lysander, is the face of a genius!" I said, grinning.
"And what's this genius plan you've come up with?" Lucy asked.
"If I wait to tell them in person, I can just way it's because I didn't think it was something I could get across in a letter, and that I felt more comfortable telling them that way."
"Isn't that what I just said?" Lucy said, raising her eyebrows at me.
"Yes, but I also realized something."
"What?" Lysander asked, looking nervous for my answer.
"If I tell them at Christmas, you two will be there to back me up!" I said, grinning. It really was the perfect plan. "Plus, Louis said he's going to France over the holiday, so he won't be there for my parents to talk to, and the situation couldn't get any more awkward than it already is!"
"That's never going to work!" Lysander said.
"Would you have some faith in me please? I'll make it work. If I say I'm happy then they won't freak out that much. Mum won't, anyway. If Dad gets upset, I might have to use you as a human shield, Lys."
Lysander didn't laugh, but instead shot me a half-hearted glare, and said, "I think you're just making this whole thing way more complicated than it needs to be."
"Everything's fine!" I said, throwing my hands in the air. "Besides, Louis and I can always break up after a while." I saw Lucy make a disbelieving face, and I turned to her. "What was that for?"
"What was what for?" she asked innocently.
"That face! You made a face!" I turned to Lysander. "Didn't she just make a face?
"I'm staying out of this," he said, raising his hands to show that he wouldn't help me. Prat.
"Come on, Lu! Why the face of disbelief?"
"It's nothing, Dee." I raised my eyebrows at her, crossing my arms over me chest. "Ok, fine it's not nothing! But it's nothing I haven't told you before."
"What did you tell her before?" Lysander asked.
"That she's kidding herself with this whole fake dating thing. I know you don't hate him like you say you do, Dee."
"How do you know?" I retorted.
"Because you're trying to work through this with him, and you don't act like he's completely unbearable! You might even like him eventually."
"What? That's crazy, Lu!"
"It is not! Would you please just admit that you can actually stand being around him?"
"I- you- he... I'm going for a walk," I sputtered, practically running from the portrait hole.
I wandered around for a while, taking as long as I could to get from one end of the castle to the other. It was a nice day, but it was also cold, and I didn't want to go back to my dormitory to get a jacket, so I stayed inside, taking whatever staircases I came to, and trying not to think about what Lucy said... It wasn't working. Because the thing that scared me more than anything was that she might just be right. And if she was right, that meant I would actually really like Louis at some point, possibly in the near future. And that just didn't make sense.
If they've had to describe me, most people have thrown around the word stubborn once or twice, and- let's just pretend for the moment that they're right- if I'm stubborn, and have been completely and utterly aggravated to no end by Louis Weasley, I'm not going to wake up one day and fancy him! If I was in control of anything in this situation, it should be myself, and not being able to control how I felt was a frightening thought. My thoughts were interrupted by the sight of a large group of students walking toward the Great Hall, and I checked my watch. It was almost time for lunch. Which meant I had to meet Louis in the Entrance Hall. Oh, sweet Merlin, why did I agree to this?
I walked quickly- but not too quickly, I wasn't ecstatic about spending time with the kid who lived to irritate me- to the Entrance Hall where I saw Louis waiting for me.
"Hey," he said, smiling at me.
I was used to name-calling, not smiling. Smiling was weird. For us, anyway I wished he would stop.
"Hi," I said, shuffling my feet awkwardly. Could this situation get any more awkward? Spoiler alert, the answer is no.
"So I thought we could just go for a walk around the castle. I figured we should know something about each other if we're dating."
I squirmed. Fake dating. We were fake dating.
"Sure, a walk's good. I need to go and get a jacket, though, so-"
"Here," he said, slipping out of his own jacket and holding it out to me.
"No, it's fine, I'll just go and get mine."
"I'll be fine, just take it."
"No, really I-"
"Take it, Darcy," he said. "You'll be cold otherwise."
"Ok, fine!" I said, putting it on. "Happy?"
"Ecstatic," he said, smirking.
We walked out of the Entrance Hall and onto the grounds, and I was suddenly glad Louis had made me take his coat. Being late November, it had gotten cold, and I felt a twinge of guilt as I looked over at Louis. He didn't look like it bothered him though...
"What are you looking at?" he teased.
"Nothing," I said quickly, feeling my cheeks heat up. Did I really have to blush now? I wasn't even looking at him in a remotely interested way!
"You were checking me out, weren't you?" he asked, smirking again. "I never thought I'd live to see the day!"
"I was not!" I said, shocked that he would even suggest it. Please! As if I would ever check him out!
"Whatever you say," he said in a sing-song voice, grinning.
"Prat," I muttered, looking down at my feet. After a few moments of silence, things started to feel awkward again, so I looked up, clearing my throat. "So what did you say about getting to know each other? I don't know what you want to know, but you could always just ask Lucy, you know."
"It's no fun that way! Besides, going out on our own for a while will give everyone something to gossip about."
I rolled my eyes. "Because your lovely public displays of affection and being dragged into broom cupboards isn't enough."
"I'm glad we're on the same page," he teased.
"Yeah, yeah. Didn't you want to ask me about myself?"
"How about we switch off? I'll ask a question and then you ask a question."
"What do you want to do after Hogwarts?" he asked.
"I want to be a healer," I said simply.
"What do you mean that's it? You asked what I wanted to do, and I told you."
"But there must be something more to it. You didn't just decide one day that you'd be a healer just because. You have to have some reasoning behind it."
Jeez. The kid wanted the whole story. I might as well tell him, because I had a funny feeling he wouldn't give up until he knew everything.
"I visited my Gran in St. Mungo's once when I was seven, because she'd had a case of Dragonpox, and I started asking all these questions, because I wanted to know what was wrong. One of the nurses told me that Gran was sick, and that they needed to keep a close eye on her so it wouldn't get worse. She said it was her job to help people like my Gran, and because she worked in a hospital, when she saw someone sick, she could do something about it. I knew I wanted to be a healer after that, because I wanted to be able to help people, too."
"Wow," Louis said quietly. "I never knew that about you."
"I don't know why you would. It's not something that usually comes up when I'm calling you a git," I said, giving him a smirk of my own.
"See?" he said, unfazed by my sarcasm. "I told you getting to know each other would be a good thing."
And I guess he had a point. But don't tell him I said that. I'd never live it down if he knew I agreed with him on something.
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