She made me sit in the corner. Professor Trelawney made me sit in the corner. All I did was yell profanities at the top of my lungs and try to punch Louis Weasley in the face, which I think was rightly justified considering the situation. I certainly didn’t deserve to get put in the corner. This isn’t primary school, for Merlin’s sake!
“Okay, Miss Longbottom, now that we’ve finished our activity with The Stone, are you ready to come and be a big girl with the rest of the group?” Trelawney asks me condescendingly.
“Yes,” I grumble despite the pout still on my face. I feel like a six year old. But it’s Louis that’s acting like one! He’s the one that didn’t tell me something that he knew I deserved to know.
“And also, because of this incident, I have decided that it would be healthiest for you and Louis to automatically be partners in any two-person activity we participate in. Maybe that way you two just might learn to get along,” she doesn’t notice James muttering something about Louis and I knowing how to get along just fine, “Now, come and join us,” she called me back into the oval-circle-thing.
“As I said to Miss Longbottom,” she continues, addressing everyone now, “We will do some partner activities, beginning now. Choose your partners, everybody!”
I notice Maylin and James being quick to partner up with people other than each other, probably not eager to discuss everything that’s just been revealed. I’m glad, though, because Maylin is with Rose. I love the Weasley family, but most of them aren’t excellent at navigating through crazy, hormone-induced emotions. This is probably for the best.
Reluctantly, I trudged over to where Louis stood. He had his arms crossed, watching me walk over with that stupid expression he gets that I will just never understand the meaning of. His hair was perfect, as usual, except for one tiny strand sticking out to the side that I really wanted to fix for him. I feel my hand instinctively start to reach up, but I immediately slap it back down. Fixing someone’s hair isn’t the way to show you’re angry at them.
“Did you just slap your own hand…?” are the first words he’s said to me in days.
“Yes. I did. Just be lucky it wasn’t your face,” If no one’s noticed, I’m not always the best when it comes to snappy remarks.
The stupidly attractive boy sighs, “You know none of this is my fault, right?”
“Are you implying that it’s my fault?”
“I didn’t not imply it,” he says before thinking for a second, “Wait…”
“Hah! You didn’t make sense!” I take relish in aggressively laughing at him.
He furrows his eyebrows, “You’re one to talk. You speak more nonsense than anyone I’ve ever met!”
I glare at him, but Trelawney speaks up before I can reply, “Children, children! Please stop talking, now is the time for building of character! Now, here’s what you’ll be doing; you will be creating stories together. One person will begin a sentence of the fictional narrative you’re designing yourselves, and the other will complete the sentence. You will continue to do so until either your story is completed or I tell you to finish.”
Louis and I look at each other, both unsure. He finally starts to stutter a bit, but then speaks, “Uh, ladies first.”
“Louis, if you wanted to have good manners, you’re a bit too late,” I narrow my eyes at him, “You start.”
He narrows his eyes back at me, “Fine. Once upon a time, there was a very, extremely stubborn girl.”
“Unfortunately, the girl became caught up with a boy that didn’t know his place,” I quip easily.
“The boy had the right intentions, but the girl was too caught up with a little toy she’d acquired to notice, even though the toy was dangerous,” Louis was obviously referring to Danny.
“That toy needed help getting fixed, what was the girl supposed to do?” I find myself beginning to fume again.
“Maybe give the boy a heads up as to what she was trying to accomplish by playing with the toy right there for everyone to see?” He was losing his temper as well.
“She didn’t need the boys permission! She’d already assured him that she didn’t want to play with the toy anymore, and the boy should have trusted her about that!”
“He did trust her! It was the toy he didn’t trust! She’d hurt herself playing with it before, how could the boy know she wouldn’t hurt herself again?”
“He couldn’t! But it was her decision, and the boy should have respected that! He should have told her the secret that the toy never did.”
He’s silent for a second, looking me over as if making sure I’m still Chase. When he finally does talk, his voice is quieter and less angry, “We’re not telling a very good story.”
I give him a look with a bit of longing in my eyes but mostly anger, “Really? I think it’s quite the satire.”
“Why are you so stubborn?”
“I’m no more stubborn than you are!”
“Well maybe that’s the problem!”
“The problem with what?”
The word affects me more than I thought it would, “What are you trying to say?”
“I don’t—I don’t know.”
“No,” I say, “You know perfectly well. And I know you’re thinking it. If we can’t manage as slightly romantic friends, how would we ever survive a relationship? We were perfectly fine as just friends.”
“That’s not what I’m thinking at all. We’ve always had fights! Friends or more than friends, that’s something that’s never going to change. It just seems scarier now that we know just how much there is to lose.” I’m surprised Trelawney hasn’t noticed our lack of storytelling. Maybe she figures we’re creating an elaborately intense dialogue.
I shake my head, now only able to look at the ground, “You should have trusted me. I’ve always trusted you, but now you’ve gone and kept something from me that was my right to know.”
“You wonder why I didn’t tell you?” I’m still not looking at him, but he sounds sad, “You act like you don’t care about him, but then why do you have this burning need to know whose pants he got in?”
“I don’t have a ‘burning need’, okay? I just—I don’t—I can’t…”
“Can’t what? Can’t let the idea go? Can’t let him go?”
“No!” I groan, “When will you get it through your thick skull that it’s you I want?”
“When you apologize and go on a date with me.”
I’m taken aback at first, but then I smile, “Fine, that’s easy. You apologize first, and then I apologize for whatever it is you think I did wrong, and then we go to Hogsmeade, where we will most likely just snog the entire time.”
“Exactly. Except you apologize first. I’ll apologize too, if you really think it’s necessary, but I think it’s only fair that you start us off.”
“Um, that’s funny,” I laugh even though I really don’t think it’s funny at all, “Now you go ahead and apologize and we can do the snogging part even sooner.”
His playful expression turns slightly more serious, “Chase, I think I’m being pretty fair—“
“That’s quite enough, everyone!” Trelawney interrupts us, “Most of you have finished your stories by now. Wasn’t that… enlightening? Working together to create something so wonderful, yet so easily taken for granted as a story? Ah, children, that is the beauty of art. It’s a powerful thing; did you know that DaVinci was a great seer? It is also well known that—oh, my, I’m sorry, dears. It seems that our session has ended for the day. Convenient that these motivational seminars only last half the day, yes? Now off to lunch, the lot of you! And do not forget to write to your anonymous pen pal tonight, it is your only homework for the week!”
I turn around quickly to Louis and say, “We don’t talk until you apologize,” and before he can get in a word of reply I spin back around and walk over to Rose and Maylin.
“Let’s go,” I tell them, and they know better than to question me when I’m in one of my angry-at-Louis moods.
We’re about a quarter of the way down the big staircase when I find control of my temper. I realize who I’m walking with and what just happened.
“So, Maylin,” I smirk and decide to have fun with this, “Who in that room is secretly in love with James? I can’t seem to recall. It couldn’t be you, could it? I mean, after all, nobody would predict that. Oh, wait, I DID.”
“Oh, shove it. There is a good chance that you have fully and completely screwed me over! I mean, think about it. James and I suck at talking about our feelings, and seeing as Hugo and Roxanne were in there, word about him and I liking each other or whatever will be all over the school. That means that not only will James not have the balls to make an honest girl out of me by starting an actual relationship, but every other guy in the school will be too afraid of getting pummeled by the Potter-Weasley clan to even look at me.”
“Oh. I’m sorry. Although, I wasn’t the one who said anything about actual feelings, just that you two were snogging. The rest was all on James and slightly you and Albus.”
Rose sighs, “None of it was anyone’s fault! Nobody meant to say anything up there, the room was enchanted. So just get over it already, okay?”
Maylin and I are slightly taken aback, but we give each other a look of agreement to just listen to Rose on this one.
I consider telling them what went down between Louis and me during story-telling time, but decide it’s pointless. He and I are just as angry at each other as we were before today; it’s just a bit more official and a lot more painful.
“Do you guys want to go back to the dorms first or straight to lunch?” Maylin asks.
“Straight to lunch,” Rose replies easily, “I’m starved.”
Lunch had been quiet and awkward. I sat now in the dorm room, laying stomach-down on my bed. In front of me are my ink and quill, along with a hardback textbook underneath the Pen Pal Parchment so that I have something hard to write on. My mystery writer has already written:
Me: Hey, mysterious pen pal person.
Them: One question. What the fuck are we supposed to talk about?
M: We’re allowed to cuss on this thing??
T: I guess so. I kind of did that as a test run.
M: That’s cool, I guess. So are we even allowed to state whether we’re a boy or a girl?
T: Well, I just tried to write my gender and the parchment sprayed ink at my face, so I’m assuming no.
M: Doesn’t that slightly defeat the purpose? I mean, couldn’t I just go around the school looking for an inky face?
T: I’ve got the feeling that I’m not the only person to try and write something about themselves.
M: If we’re not allowed to write about ourselves, what are we supposed to talk about?
T: I have no idea.
M: But I’m soooo bored. I’m going to go find something less mediocre to do. Talk to you tomorrow, mystery kid.
T: Oh thank Merlin, I’m bored too. See ya.
Well THAT was utterly pointless. I make a mental note to try and think of more interesting topics to talk about with my mystery friend.
As I’m putting the stuff away, Jenny Corner and Sienna Khan walk in. They’re our only roommates, though they never seem to be around. I guess they’ve gotten pretty into the party crowd, because on the occasion that we do see them they either look like they’ve come straight from a rave or like they have a deadly hangover. Rose and I don’t mind, because they’re actually really nice. The only times we actually mind having them as roommates are on the rare times that they bring their boyfriends in late at night. *shudder*
“Hey, Chase,” Sienna gives me a friendly smile, “Haven’t seen you in a while. Bummer that you and Louis are fighting.”
“What?” I ask, alarmed, “Who told you Louis and I were fighting?”
Jenny responds, “Danny and I grew up with close families. I don’t talk to him that much, but when I do we talk a lot,” Sienna nudges her and they both giggle.
“Oh,” I can officially say I’m completely confused, “Do you guys… um… hook up?”
“Chase!” Jenny laughs, “You know I have a boyfriend. Danny and I tried dating once, it was just weird. He’s like a brother, you know?”
“Yeah, I get it. Well, um, I’m going to leave now. Bye guys, see you in a month or so,” I give them a salute and slip out the door.
I stroll through the Common Room and out into the corridor, trying to decide what to do. Since we didn’t have classes today, I hadn’t seen my dad, so I decide to go to his office. I mean, not that I have to see my dad every day or anything. That would be totally lame. Cough.
There are a lot of people walking, but I notice that Macey Ackerly is walking by herself. Macey Ackerly is not the type to walk by herself, so when she sees me she immediately catches stride next to me.
“Hey,” she smiles.
I politely smile back, “Hi, Macey. What are you doing without, um, Nicole or whoever?”
“Oh, Nicole Q. and Nicole S. are studying in the library. Anyways, I’d been meaning to talk to you.”
“About anything specific?”
“No, actually, I just had been thinking that you have a lot of potential.”
This puzzles me, “What do you mean?”
“Chase, obviously you’re not the most popular girl in your year. Not even close. But I think you just might have what it takes to take my place when I finish Hogwarts next year,” Macey Ackerly looks at me expectantly.
“Excuse me?” I’m still trying to wrap my head around what on earth she’s talking about.
“I’d always thought that it would be Rose that would be the ‘It’ girl next year, but obviously she showed she didn’t have what it takes when she went and got fertilized,”
“Now I don’t think—“ I begin to defend Rose, but the unnaturally black haired girl doesn’t seem to notice.
“But then I realized just how much you and I had in common, and I knew that you’re the perfect lump of clay for me to shape into a real leader for Gryffindor.”
“What exactly is it that you and I have in common?” I could honestly think of nothing. She had blonde hair (before she dyed it, anyways), blue eyes, perfectly pale skin, and a nose ring that I could never pull off. Meanwhile, my hair was long, brown, and unevenly wavy at the ends, my eyes were confused about whether they’re brown or gold or green instead of just being a pretty, solid color, and my skin refused to be either pale or tan, just awkwardly in between. We definitely weren’t doppelgangers, and don’t even get me started about how different our personalities are. From what I know of her, anyways.
“Obviously, we have the same taste in guys! You know I dated Louis, and he’s told me about the complicated but cute relationship you two have. And I’ve noticed that you and Danny have become good friends, I’m sure he’s told you about him and me,” she lowers her voice, “Don’t tell anyone, but he was my first time. I’d planned on it being Louis, but he wasn’t the least bit invested in our relationship, which I now know why—“
Macey continues talking, but I stop listening. I can’t breathe. Danny did it with Macey Ackerly. That’s why he wouldn’t tell me. That’s why Louis wouldn’t tell me. Danny hadn’t slept with her in spite of Rose like he’d originally intended, he’d done it in spite of me. It all fit.
“—and you don’t mind me still being friends with Louis, right?”
“What? Um, no.”
“Oh, right, I’d almost forgotten that you two were fighting. I guess I’ve kind of become his confidante now that he can’t talk to you about everything. So anyways, what do you think about becoming my protégé of popularity?”
We’d just reached my dad’s office, “Probably not, Macey.”
“I’ll take that as a maybe!” she says as I slip through my dad’s door, leaning on it after I slam it shut. There’s a lot going through my brain at the moment.
“Hello?” My dad’s voice calls from through the door opposite me, the one that leads to his living quarters.
“It’s me, Dad,” I yell back, “I’m just going to chill in here for a sec, okay?”
“Sure,” he says, “When you feel like it come in and I’ll microwave us some dinner.”
I roll my eyes. He’d learned a microwaving spell and had been living off ramen noodles and Salisbury steaks ever since.
Taking a deep breath, I try and gather myself. I was still having trouble believing that Danny had gotten intimate with Macey Ackerly just to hurt me. Obviously he regretted it afterwards, but that didn’t matter. The deed was done.
Sinking to the floor, there’s only two people in the world I want right now. One is pregnant and has bigger problems of her own, and the other isn’t talking to me because of a stupid fight.
I look up and see a pile of letters on my Dad’s desk. They definitely didn’t look official, and my brain was searching desperately for something to think about other than Wonderboy and Macey Ackerly doing the horizontal hula. Standing up shakily, I walk across the room and pick up the first letter in the pile. My dad wouldn’t mind, he’d spent my whole life assuring me that he would never keep anything from me (it wasn’t until I was older that I understood that he felt it was necessary considering the ass-load of secrets and lies my mother had built up).
Despite my current disposition, a small smile comes to my face. It was a letter from Luna. I sort through the pile and see that they’d been writing nonstop since they saw each other at the Quibbler HQ. So far none of it was romantic, but I was crossing my fingers that the second Dad got over Hannah he would go for her. The happiness it would bring him would definitely be worth having the Scamander twins as stepbrothers. Dad obviously really cared about Luna, and it seemed like the feeling was mutual, I don’t understand why anything should keep them apart.
As I think this, something slowly clicks in my head.
“Chase?” Dad calls, “You still out there?”
“Yeah, Dad. Sorry, I can’t stay for dinner, I have to go. I’ll come back tomorrow.”
With that, I put the letters back where I found them and rush out the door.
An unnatural source of energy powers me as I run through the Common Room and up the stairs. I burst into the boy’s seventh year dorm, where I see James and Maylin having an argument while Louis lays on his bed, obviously bored with their fighting.
“What do you mean, you didn’t mean it?” she shouts, “The Stone was fucking enchanted!”
“Everything was going just fine until that stupid stone—“
I quickly interrupt James midsentence, “Guys, can you deny your feelings for each other somewhere else, please? I need to talk to Louis.”
At first they look offended, but then they seem to realize I’ve given them a chance to ignore the subject a bit longer and they silently shuffle out of the room without any objections.
“Chase,” Louis says as he stands up, “It was Macey that Danny—“
“I know,” I cut him off, “I don’t care.”
He gives me a confused look as he walks closer to me, obviously prepared for another argument.
Instead, I say, “I’m sorry,” I take a step closer, “Can we go on that date now?”
He smiles and, for once, doesn’t say a word. He just leans down and kisses me.