Chapter 16 : A Date with A Gryffindor
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Charlotte’s POV- moments later
Dom was chattering away as we walked back to our common room, so we could drop our bags off before dinner. She was so excited that Asher had asked me out you’d think that it was a) my very first time being asked on a date, or 2) that he had asked her instead of me. It wasn’t as if I’d had a secret crush on him or anything. It was just a date. A date with Asher Wood, hands down the 2nd cutest guy in Gryffindor, and probably in the top 5 of the hottest guys in school.
Asher Wood was one of the most well liked boys at Hogwarts. He was down-to-earth, super friendly and was one of the top students in our year. He had short, spiked light brown hair and light jade green eyes that apparently only had eyes for me. Asher was tall, with broad shoulders, narrow hips, and amazing abs. I knew this, as did everyone else, because all the Quidditch players had a tendency to walk around without their shirts on after a game.
To be honest, I was surprised she was so happy about this turn of events. She’d been silently, and not so silently nagging me about making things happen with James. She said her cousin was being a coward and didn’t deserve to be called a Gryffindor anymore, which meant that I had to be the one to step it up.
My multiple attempts to get her off that track had so far failed. She was as persistent as ever. Until now it seemed. Asher Wood had asked me out, and I’d said yes. That little bit of information was slowly sinking in.
I had always been attracted to him and of all the guys to ask me out, I was quite happy it was him. And yet… I had two thoughts going through my head. I kept going over and over the same two thoughts, the words varying, but the point remained the same.
I’m glad it was Asher. I wish it had been James.
I’m happy to go on a date with, but sad my first Hogsmeade trip this term won’t be with James.
Asher was a great guy, James was better.
Asher was gorgeous, James was still more attractive.
Asher wanted to date me, James didn’t.
And that right there was a major factor. The deciding factor. The one that felt like a punch in the gut. Dom had to poke me several times before I remembered that she was walking next to me.
“Earth to Charlie? Have you even been listening to me?” I looked at her apologetically and she got into her annoyed stance- hands on hips, head titled to one side, the whole thing. “Aren’t you even excited?”
“I am excited. Just surprised.” Ok. so that was a slight lie. I wasn’t excited. Not yet. I figured I would be when the date got closer. He was Asher Wood after all, major hottie and all around nice guy. Who wouldn’t want to date him?
“That someone asked you out? Honestly Charlie, I’m flabbergasted it’s taken someone from the male population of this school this freaking long to ask you out. Including James, the coward.” She rolled her eyes, and linked her arm through mine.
“I have had a boyfriend before you know, Asher isn’t the first guy to ask me out.”
“I don’t count him.” Dom never said his name. He’d broken up with me, and she declared that as my best friend, it was her sworn duty to hate him.
“You never do.” I said rolling my eyes. “It’s not a big deal.”
“Gia will be thrilled. Oh, hurry up I want to go tell her!” Even in heels, Dom could walk faster than me. She got annoyed at my slow speed, and yanked her arm back as she lengthened her strides. Georgia hadn't been around, as she'd left immediatley after class ended.
“Shouldn’t I be the one that’s excited to tell her? Not you?” I jogged to catch up with my best friend, shoving my hair out of my face as it whipped around me.
“You should be, but something is clearly wrong with you. You aren’t nearly excited enough that one of the hottest guys in school just asked you out. If James won’t do it… take the opportunities that come.” Dom froze and stared at me. She looked perfect, as always. Long hair pushed back with a blue headband, and her uniform looking immaculate. I probably looked like a mess. It sucked having a part veela for a best friend sometimes.
“I’m just surprised is all.”
“Sometimes I don’t know why I’m friends with you. It’s like you don’t even understand how amazing you are.” She crossed her arms over her chest and looked pointedly at me.
“Dom, I’ve been practically invisible at this school for 6 years now. I’m mostly surprised that anyone besides you girls and my sisters even knows that I exist.”
“James knows you exist.” She turned to me with her creepy smile. That look always made me nervous. It meant that, regardless of the turn of events today, she still had a plan. Truly, that was never a good thing. Not in the slightest.
Sometimes her plans involved lots and lots of scheming and back-door deal making. Other times, her plans involved being the most obnoxious person ever until she got what she wanted. Then again, sometimes her plan was to just sit back and loudly comment on what she wanted to happen.
“James only remembered that I existed this summer, and only then because he ran into me on the road after I almost broke my ankle.” I became suddenly interested in the floor, not wanting her to see my blush at the mention of James’s name. Or my irritation.
“Maybe so, but he didn’t look too happy when Asher was asking you out.” I smiled, glad that she had noticed that too. James hadn’t looked happy at all when Asher had asked me out. Served him right. He had his chance, and told me he didn’t want to take it.
“Yea… well… James made his choice.” I stalked on ahead, wanting to just drop my bag and head down to dinner. I was starting to feeling uncomfortably hungry.
“James is a moron.” I laughed and was rewarded with one of Dom’s blinding smiles. I wouldn’t tell Dom, but I felt sure that something
“Why are you talking about James?” It was bad enough that I was thinking about him too much, I didn’t need to hear about him too. One shouldn’t be thinking about the guy that DIDN’T ask you out.
“Because you’re thinking about him. You have been this whole time, don’t deny it. Is that why you aren’t excited about your date? Because you’d rather be with my moronic cousin?” Dom grabbed my arms and shook me once, a manic glint in her eye.
“Back up there Dom. How did you get from being through the roof excited about Asher asking me out, and now you’re asking if I fancy James, when we both know I do?” When in doubt, stalling is always a great tactic.
“Because James fancies you, even if he’s having trouble doing something about it. You should be going out with him, but if you’re going to settle for Asher, then fine. He’s a good guy to settle on. I mean, he’s super hot. And nice. And seems like a good student which is more important to you than me.”
“I think I’ve had enough of this conversation.” I started walking up the stairs, knocking on the door to get into our common room. A riddle sounded, and Dom answered it before I could even think about it. Something something about a lion and a chair.
“Your stars have changed Charlie. You went from being, as you say, invisible for 6 years, to having two of the hottest guys in school wanting you. Not that I think James is hot, he’s my cousin and that’s just weird.”
“Maybe I didn’t want my stars to change. Maybe I was perfectly happy being ignored by everyone.” I stalked into the common room, startling a few second years heading downstairs. I apologized to them and whirled around to face Dom, crossing my arms over my chest as I let out a loud huff.
“Except you weren’t really happy.” She walked past me, grabbing my elbow and spinning me back around towards the stairs.
“No, I wasn’t.” I let out a loud sigh. The statue of Rowena Ravenclaw looked down at me, and I imagined a smile on her face. She prized honesty in her students.
“So should I be advising you to date Asher, or date my cousin?”
“I’m not talking about this anymore.”
“Just because you won’t doesn’t mean I’ll shut up about it.”
“Oh I know, Dommie, I know.” The door to our dorm room opened before we got there. Sky and Rory came skipping out, and down the stairs, waving at us as they walked past. Dom and I heard a snippet of their conversation as they breezed down the stairs, something about if Snorkelepts preferred buttered rum or fire whiskey with their rock salads. We looked at each other, utterly confused for a moment before we burst out laughing.
As we walked into our doom room, we saw Georgia and immediately knew something was wrong. She was sitting in one of the chairs by the window, writing furiously on a piece of parchment. I became concerned when I noticed that she was stabbing through the paper and had a very angry look on her face.
“Georgie? What’s wrong?” I walked over towards her and sat down on the edge of her bed.
“The nerve! I can’t believe… so angry… ughhh.. what is wrong…” It was never a good sign when people couldn’t speak in complete sentences. It was especially a bad sign with her, because of the three of us, she was easily the most level headed in a crisis. This seemed to be a crisis beyond anything I’d ever seen her go through.
“Complete sentences might help us darling.” She kept muttering under her breath, and Dom and I looked at each other. What was going on?
“Gia! Snap out of it! What’s going on?” Dom was, as usual, far more direct than I. Georgia finally looked up at us, and I took a step back. I had never seen her that angry, ever. She shoved the letter at me, the one that had caused her angry fit in the first place. Dom stood next to me and we read it at the same time. Like black storm clouds, the anger in me started bubbling and being a magical child, it wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibilities if lightning bolts shot out of my wand. Or my head. I’d seen it happen before.
Georgia and I had something in common. We both had crappy families. Her parents at least acted like they loved her, but they mostly did that in public. Georgia and I had two very different reactions to having utter failures as parents though- she became the most extreme extrovert and I became the most extreme introvert. Georgia decided that they didn’t deserve her love, shut off all emotions regarding her parents, and remained a pretty happy and upbeat person. This, however, was too much. I was about to speak, but Dom beat me to the punch.
“What the FUCK are they thinking?”
“Withdrawing me from Hogwarts! To transfer to fucking Beauxbatons! They’re MENTAL! I HATE THEM!”
“They can’t actually do that, can they?” I asked, my eyes widening as the horror seeped in.
“I’m telling them I’m not going. They can disinherit me, they can do whatever they want, I’m NOT GOING!” She threw her hands up in the air and stared at us with a wild, angry woman look in her eyes. In a rare moment of boldness I told Gia to tell them to fuck off. She looked at me with pride.
“They don’t get you. You’re home is Hogwarts and if I have to hide you in the Chamber of Secrets, I bloody well will.” I sat down next to her, and drew my arms across my chest, my brow furrowed in anger. Dom sat down on my lap. She did that when she was upset, even if she had plenty of other places to sit down.
“You can come live with me Gia. You have your family right here.” Then we all started tearing up, and lept up into a group hug. Dom had the smirk I hated on her face when we all untangled from each other.
“Charlotte has some good news!”
“Tell me, anything has to be better than this utter load of crap!” She crumpled the letter up and levitated it into the fire across the room.
“Dom, you’re making a bigger deal of this than needs to be made of it.”
“Actually, she has two pieces of good news. Both of which she is completely ignoring.”
“Charlie, fess up!” Georgia grabbed both my wrists and stared at me. A loud sigh escaped and I stuck my tongue out at Dom.
“Asher asked me to Hogsmeade next weekend.” Georgia squealed loudly, and I dropped my head into my hands.
“Tell her the other news!”
“It’s not news! It’s your opinion!” Georgia looked back and forth eagerly between us. I wasn’t going to say anything and I pushed my lips together tightly. She stared at Dom, who still had that stupid smirk on her face.
“James fancies her too.”
“WHAT?!?” Her anger at her parents must have addled her brain, because she was acting way to surprised over something she was already very much aware of.
“Remember breakfast? How he kept staring at her? And he looked pissed when Asher asked her out. I know my cousin, he fancies her. Like, fancies in a way he’s never fancied anyone. I’m telling you Charlie, James Potter…”
“DOES NOT FANCY ME! STOP SAYING THAT!” Great, now I was being the loud dramatic one. I looked out the windows to the grounds below. A bird flew past our window and I stared at it. The lie tasted bitter on my tongue. He’d said a few weeks ago he fancied me. He just didn’t want to date me. It made me angry. And sad.
“Did you say yes?”
“To Asher! I told you he liked you!”
“Yes, I’m going. Now would both of you stop making such a big deal about this!” I stomped off, through the door, hoping they’d leave this alone. I head the sound of scuffling and my two friends yelping as they ran into each other.
“So, who do you prefer? Asher or James?” My cousin slung her arm around my shoulder and grinned at me. I stared back with a dead look in my eyes. It had only been a few weeks, and I was already over this whole James liking me, but not doing anything about it thing.
“I’m so not answering that!” They both looked at each other and had a silent conversation. We had been friends so long that we were all pretty good at it. At the same time, they turned to me and said, “James.”
“I thought you were both Ravenclaws. That means that you apply logic to situations, not make stuff up!” My feet moved fasted in a desperate attempt to distance myself from my two friends. They were like hounds that had caught the scent of the thing they were meant to be hunting.
“She totally fancies James!”
“But Asher is the one that asked her out!”
“She can use him to make James jealous. He’ll man up eventually and ask her out.”
“Would you both stop!” They both looked at me with huge grins. I whirled around, aware that I must look like a mad bull, with my wide eyes and nostrils flaring in anger.
“Asher is such a sweet guy though.” Dom said, smirking at me, knowing that it was going to irritate me even further.
“She can try him out! You’ll know after you kiss him honey. If there’s no sparks, dump him and go snog James.” They were going too far. I let out a strangled scream and stalked off, hearing them laughing behind me. They still didn’t leave me alone, and I got slowed down when they ran in front of me, still grinning from ear to ear.
“Asher is not a toy. I will not play with him, I will not use him. He is a human being with feelings and I will always take those feelings into consideration. Asher is the one that asked me out, not James. It’s one date, not a relationship I agreed to. Under no circumstances are you allowed to get involved in my date with,” and I put heavy emphasis on the next word, “Asher. You are not allowed to analyze everything James does to determine if he will change his mind. James Potter has never struck me as the shy type and if he wants to ask me out I’m sure he will tell me. That’s what I pay attention to. Now, I’m going down to dinner and I don’t want to hear another word about this.”
They, mercifully, didn’t say another word that night. They still stared back and forth between James, Asher and I and passed notes to each other. I ate dinner quickly, in stony silence, before stalking back off to bed. I ignored my large pile of homework, and just curled up in bed, closing my eyes. Immediately, I was assaulted with images of two handsome men fighting over me in a very romanticized, old fashioned way. I dream cycled over and over, with no definitive ending. I wished my subconscious would make it easy for me. It didn’t.
The week passed quickly, and the weather didn’t improve. Hogsmeade days were rarely cancelled because of weather and I didn’t figure a lot of rain would be enough to postpone it. Dom and Georgia had been insufferable this week. If they weren’t my only friends, I’d stop talking to them. Anytime we were in the great hall for meals, they would both sit across from me, facing the Gryffindor table, so they could let me know just how many times James and Asher looked at me. They had kept a log going to see who did it more.
I’d eventually gotten so fed up with them repeating the numbers back to me that I wadded the paper up and threw it into a jug of pumpkin juice. I was quite pleased with myself. They, however, were not. I wish Asher had asked me out closer to the actual day of the date. We still had classes together, and since we were permanent partners in DADA, it was slightly awkward. It was actually pretty obvious that Asher liked me, and though I thought he was a nice guy, I just wanted to get through the date and go back to my life of non-existence.
My bed was hidden by the sheer amount of clothes piled on top. Students could wear whatever they wanted on weekends, and I didn’t realize how easy life was when you didn’t have to pick a new outfit everyday. I scowled at the pile and willed something cute to come flying out at me. Nothing happened. Georgia and Dom came bouncing into the room, and they both squealed at the exact same moment.
“I have nothing to wear!” I wailed, throwing my arms down at my side in frustration.
“I thought you weren’t excited about the date?” They spoke in unison, leaning against the bedposts. They also wore identical smiles. Brats, I thought.
“I still have to look cute! I don’t hate Asher, he’s cute and if it’s going to be a date with anyone I am glad it’s him.”
“You’d also be perfectly happy to date James.” Georgia smirked at me. James had apparently outnumbered Asher when it came to how many times the two guys looked in my direction. They were both on the James bandwagon now. It was annoying me to no end.
“Can we focus on this date. With Asher! You know, the guy that actually asked me out.”
“Well you need to wear something warm, it’s freezing out.”
“Thanks Captain Obvious.” Dom glared at me and I smirked back.
“Start with jeans and your tall rain boots.” I stripped off my robe and slid into my favorite pair of jeans, put my warmest pair of socks on, and stepped into my rain boots. I motioned towards my near naked torso. I had on a bra and nothing else. They both looked at my pile of clothes critically and had another silent conversation. Dom threw a tank top at me, telling me I had to layer to stay warm. I slid it over my head and waited for them to hand me the next item.
“C’mon besties, I’m starting to actually freeze over here!”
“Green or plum?” Georgia was holding up one of my favorite cashmere wool blend sweaters, with a deep V neck. It was a rich plum color. Dom was holding up my other favorite sweater, also a cashmere wool blend in a spring green color. That one had a scoop neck and thick cuffs.
“Wear this!” The green sweater was shoved at me, and I slid it on, immediately grateful for the warmth. Dom also handed me a scarf and a knit hat. Georgia shoved my black trench coat at me, and after getting all my clothes on, they deemed me fit for a date. I rolled my eyes and tried to leave, but was dragged back.
They sat me down on Dom’s trunk and re-did my make-up. When I looked at my reflection, I didn’t recognize myself. They had made my eyes look twice their size, and using a light shimmery powder, my cheekbones became more prominent. My hair had been styled into an intricate braid, coming down to the base of my skull, and leaving my ponytail to hang off of one side. They made me look far better than I could have ever done on my own.
“You two are the best!” I hugged them and walked out of the door. They yelled back at me, at the same time.
“We want details later! Have fun!”
I joined the queue of people wandering towards the main doors. My watch said that it was ten to ten. My heart started fluttering nervously and I started fidgeting. I tried giving myself a pep talk and failed. I had had a boyfriend for all of a few months last year, and that hadn’t really started the traditional way. We just kind of ended up on a date unexpectedly and went from there.
The great hall was full of people, and the first person I noticed was James. My eyes swept past him, looking for Asher. I was here for him, not for James. I didn’t see him though, and looking at my watch, realized I was a bit early. I looked back over at James, to see him staring straight at me. James waved at me, and I waved back, noticing that he took that as an invitation to come over.
“Here for your date?” I looked at him critically, his voice sounded strained.
“Yes. Going to the village too?”
“Freddy and I need to go to his Dad’s shop to get some things for the party. You’re still planning on coming, right?” He seemed very concerned about my answer, and he started with his habit of ruffling the hair on the back of his head.
“I didn’t think you were serious about that.” I really hadn’t, just figured it was his way of getting attention.
“I was, and am. I’d like it if you would come.” I heard my name being called, and saw Asher walking towards us. His face registered a few emotions, and I was guessing he couldn’t be too thrilled that his date was talking to James Potter, known ladies man of Hogwarts.
“Ok. I’ll come.” A large grin split across James’s face, to be replaced by a frown as Asher came to stand behind me.
“Wood, have fun on your date.” With that he spun around and left, walking quickly outside and into the elements.
“That was strange.” I commented, looking up at Asher.
“James has been weird lately. Must be all the stress from party planning, because it surely can’t be from studying.” I laughed and then bit the inside of my lip to stop. I had inside knowledge that James secretly studied in abandoned classrooms so people wouldn’t know he was actually smart. “Sorry I’m late. I couldn’t find my coat.”
“It’s ok. I’m always early anyway, so you’re probably actually on time.”
“Oh, well good then! How are you Charlotte?” Merlin, the boy seemed super nervous. He was cute nervous. I smiled at him.
“Looking forward to a day off from studying. A little rain might even be nice.” He looked surprised that I had made a joke before letting a chuckle out.
“Right, rain. Shall we then?”
We made our way outside and joined all the other students walking down into the village. It was pouring rain out, which didn’t affect us much as we both used spells to keep the rain off us. Asher and I made small talk during the walk, and it was a relief to show up at the Three Broomsticks. It was crowded inside, but blessedly warm. Asher, being much taller than I was, spotted a small table in the back and we made our way there. He left after making sure I was seated and comfortable to grab our drinks. Everyone usually got butterbeer, but I asked for a coffee.
Asher came back after 10 minutes holding both drinks. What was I doing here? I could be nestled in my bed, and not dealing with an awkward date. “You look really nice Charlotte, in case I didn’t say it before.”
“Only like 10 times before.” Asher was definitely a gentleman and I smiled at him. He blushed, and I made sure my smile looked reassuring.
“I was raised to be nice to ladies, just doing my duty.”
“Well thank you. Again.” We both smiled at each other and took a sip of our drinks.
“I realize it’s stupid to say thank you for agreeing to come with me, but thank you.” He wrapped his hands around his own cup of coffee and stared at me for a brief moment before staring down into his cup. I saw his cheeks reddening again, and I smiled down into my own cup of coffee.
“You seem so surprised. I should be surprised that you asked me, I thought only 4 people at the school knew I existed, not counting the teachers of course.”
“I’ve always known you existed. It’s kind of embarrassing, but I’ve liked you since 2nd year.”
“That’s what Georgia said.” My eyes widened in horror, as I realized seconds too late that I had let him know she had told me about their conversation this summer. “I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to say that! Bollocks, you know how best friends are. She told me she ran into you this summer and I’m sorry!”
“It’s ok Charlie.” I looked up surprised. Both that he was ok with my slip-up and that he had called me Charlie. It was pretty much only Dom and Georgia that called me that.
“Still… I shouldn’t have said that.”
“I would have told you eventually anyway. Just had to take 4 years to get the courage to ask you out. I’m glad you’re here.” He really was very, very sweet and I caught myself smiling at him. It wasn’t often I was around truly genuine people.
“What could Asher Wood, attractive Quidditch star, want with a Ravenclaw like me?” I mentally slammed my head against the table, did I really just say that?
“Well, for one, I think you’re the most beautiful girl in the school. Two, I don’t understand why more people don’t know who you are, I’ve always noticed you and wanted to be closer to you. Three, I think that, or I hope that, you will let me make you happy. In whatever way I can.”
“You’re far too sweet to be in Gryffindor you know.” The air was getting too warm, and I took off my coat and hat.
“The hat debated about putting me in Hufflepuff.”
“Well Gryffindor ended up getting lucky then.”
“Were you destined for Ravenclaw?”
“The hat actually debated about putting me in Gryffindor, which is ridiculous. I’m not brave and daring like you crazy lot of lions.”
“I think you’re far braver than you know. Remember, the hat is magic and can see who you can become.” He smiled at me and I noticed just how green his eyes were, less like jade and more like spring grass. Gods, he really was attractive.
“Well, so far, I’ve never had my courage tested. I hope it doesn’t happen anytime soon.” Unless you counted having courage to keep talking to James, even knowing it hurt because it wasn’t what I wanted. I shouldn’t really be thinking that. Shut it brain, I thought.
“I think you’ll be surprised by how capable you are.”
“Well… thanks Asher.” I smiled shyly at him, and tucked my hair behind my ear.
The rest of our date passed in a blur and I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed his company. He made me laugh and he drew out my hidden side, which was very unexpected. His eyes twinkled every time he looked at me, and it was beyond adorable how happy he was every time he made me laugh. He held his arm out towards me as we walked out of the pub, and back up to the castle.
The weather had decided on a light mist, instead of pouring rain on the way back, which made walking much easier, although the ground was still very muddy. I kept my arm linked with his the entire way back, which ended up being a good thing as I slipped a few times and it was only his sturdiness that kept me from falling onto my butt.
Once back in the castle, we walked all the way to my common room. I had to lead the way, as he’d never had a need to go to Ravenclaw tower before. I wondered if he would try to kiss me, some guys were forward like that on the first date. The door with the bronze knocker came before us in no time at all. Asher smiled down at me.
“Safely returned, my lady.”
“Thank you Asher. It was very kind of you to walk me back.”
“Anytime you need an escort, here I am.”
“I will remember that.” He took a step towards me and grabbed my hand lightly.
“Charlotte, thank you again for joining me today. I hope that I can see you again soon?”
“Well… I’ll see you in class in a few days.” Really, this was the time my sarcasm decided to come out? “I had really good time Asher.”
“Can I…. Can I take you out again?” He was even cuter when he was nervous, I realized. James flashed through my mind, and I quickly pushed him out. James hadn’t asked me out, Asher did. It was Asher that I had spent a lovely afternoon with, and I realized with a jolt, someone I would be perfectly happy to spend more time with. I smiled up at him.
“I’d like that.” His lopsided, adorable grin split across his face and he beamed at me.
“Then… til next time.” He raised my hand to his lips, and briefly pressed them to my fingers. He turned around and walked back down the stairs, looking up at me after taking the first few steps. I smiled at him and waved, before turning around and finding out what stupid riddle I would have to answer before entering. It was surprisingly easy and I bounded up the stairs to my room, grinning the whole time.
Dom and Georgia shot up off their beds the second they saw me, and tackled me onto my bed, demanding answers. I think they could tell from my smile though that I had had a good time. Maybe they’d shut up about James for now. And I wondered why, for the thousandth time, I was thinking about James when I should be thinking about my date with Asher.
A/N- So I was on a roll with this story and editing it and then life happened. Break-up, move, wildfires, etc. It's been exceptionally hard to sit down and write, but things are calming down so I am hoping to get back to this story soon. I really do want to do this justice and finish it. Please bear with me. :)
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