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Chapter 4 : Call Me Pretty
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I mention something about the Yule Ball being in May, which is out of canon for two reasons:
There's no Triwizard Tournament
The Yule Ball wasn't in May, as far as I'm aware.
But for the sake of this fanfic, it's gonna be in May for no particular reason, just as an annual event. Don't hate me! >_<
I was only half-aware of the snog, and was just going through the basic motions. I mean, it's not like I'd never had a boyfriend before. Even shy little Esther's had a snog before. I was more concentrating on the sound of a choked sob from my right and the sound of running, then the jingling of the bell that rang when the door opened, then closed. Then I quickly pulled away from James, who seemed to have his fingers running through my hair and and was staring at me with a happy, yet confused expression on his face.
“You don't need to call me by my first name now. Snape's gone.” I pointed out.
“Let me call you Lily.” he replied, a pained expression on his face. “We just snogged. What now?”
“Nothing now. I don't think Snape will bother me again.”
“Stop. I'm going”
His eyes pleaded with me to stay, but I ignored them. I put some money on the table, and told him he could have my Butterbeer when it arrived.
“Goodbye Potter.” I said, and walked out. I only looked back once, and I think I caught a trace of a tear in his eye.
I found Mandy, Esther, Laura and (surprisingly) Ashley in a shop that sold dress robes.
“Hey girls. Ashley, what happened to your date?” I called out to them, waving.
“He kept feeling me up. I may go on a few dates, but I'm not a whore.”
“Good on you.” I replied.
“Hey, what about your date?” asked Laura, who had appeared from behind a rack of emerald green dress robes.
“Oh, well, to get Snape away I had to snog Potter. Then he got all upset-”
“Who got upset? Potter or Snape?” inquired Mandy, who had also appeared with Esther.
“Huh, both I guess. Snape ran out, then I pulled Potter off me, and he was upset too. What a pain, honestly. But hopefully neither will talk to me again, which I guess makes it worth it.”
Laura looked at me with a penetrating stare, then looked away.
“Was he good? Potter I mean, was he good at snogging?” asked Esther, who then blushed furiously.
“Er, I dunno. I wasn't really focusing.”
To be honest though, he was pretty good. He'd had girlfriends before too, but they all told me afterwards he only ever talked about me. But I guess he'd must've managed a quick snog here and there.
“Sure Lils... Anyway, how do these look on me?” asked Ashley, holding up a some beautiful, shimmering silver dress robes.
“Gorgeous Ash, as always. Hey, isn't the Yule Ball soon?” I said.
“If by soon you mean in three months...” sighed Laura.
“Three months isn't nearly long enough!! Okay girls, today we are buying dress robes. Next trip is dedicated to shoes, then the one before the Ball itself is for makeup and jewellery. Right, let's go!” dictated Mandy, ever the organiser. She was good at it too: dress robes first, then shoes to set them off, and then finally makeup and jewellery to match. It would be a disaster if we did it any other way.
Eventually, just before we were due to go back to Hogwarts, we all settled on our dress robes. Esther had a strapless dark blue number made of silk, which was going to be for Ashley, but it was far to tight a fit for her. But I'm glad Esther got it, because it made her look simply stunning.
Mandy had a dark green one, (which of course looked amazing with her dark skin) with orange swirls on the hem and sleeves. The sleeves gave her a very cute look, since they were wide and went a bit over her wrists.
Laura of course, got a ruffled lemon yellow one with sleeves to her elbow that frilled out. It was very bright and cheerful, just like Laura. The neckline sure dipped steep thought, and she made me promise that when we got back to Hogwarts that I'd make it a little more modest.
Ashley had settled on a gorgeous dark pink strapless one. It looked fabulous with her glossy blonde hair. The top half of her dress was ruffled and was a slightly lighter shade of pink than the rest of the dress, which really set off her dark blue eyes. All of the girls looked absolutely stunning.
And I had settled for an autumn orange coloured dress with quarter sleeves. There were brown and dark yellow leaves around the neckline. Mandy complimented me endlessly on how well it went with my hair, which made me feel happy. It also reminded me of how James had called me pretty...
No. I shouldn't think about James, I hate him. I hate him, I hate him, I hate him.
We put our dress robes into our bags and thanked our lucky stars they were on sale, for only seven galleons instead of eleven. Seven galleons was also pretty expensive, but we were happy to spend all our money on this. We'd have to write home for more before our next Hogsmeade trip.
When we arrived back at Hogwarts, we put our dress robes in our cupboards with dust repelling spells on them. I had fixed Laura's up, making the neckline more rounded and higher. We hung around the common room for a while, since dinner hadn't started yet. James, Sirius, Remus and Peter got half way down the stairs coming from the boys dorm before James turned on his heel and sprinted back up upon seeing me sitting with the girls.
Laura gave me that same penetrating glance from when we were in the shop, and I briefly wondered about it, before I heard Ashley calling me for more help on her homework, this time Transfiguration.
“Ash, you've had this for a week? Why didn't you ask for help before, it's due in Monday morning!” I scolded.
“I'm sorry Lily, I just forgot! I'm hopeless, I know!” she replied dramatically, flopping into an armchair with a sigh.
“No you're not, you're okay. I'll help.”
So I helped her with her Transfiguration essay until dinner, then after that until about ten. By this time, Ashley was sleeping peacefully, so I just finished it for her. Professor McGonagall might be suspicious that the conclusion is written in different handwriting, but Ashley is good at making things up, luckily. She'll probably say her hand fell asleep and she got me to write it. Which is sort of true, I guess.
I woke up the sleeping beauty, and dragged the half asleep girl to our dorm, where the others were up still, gossiping about something or rather. Ashley instantly woke up of course, and sat herself next to Esther, while I sat next to Laura, leaning in to hear what gossip Mandy had found now.
“- and so, then that seventh year boy, the one with red hair? Weasley or something? Yeah, so he told me that he didn't even know her, but I just saw them sneaking out together! So I asked him where he was going, and would you believe it, he just glared at me and told me to go stuff it, and walked out!” she finished dramatically, and looked at us expectantly.
“What a dick. Who was the girl again?” asked Esther, who lived to please.
“I dunno, I forget her last name but I think her first name is Milly? No, Molly... Or is it Milly? I don't know, something Prewett. Yeah, I saw her name on the list for the Gobstones club. Dorky, huh? She's got red hair too, and freckles.”
“What's wrong with red hair?” I asked indignantly.
“Oh gosh Lily, not your hair. Your hair is a gorgeous dark red, hers is some ugly orange shade. Ugh, right?”
“Right. Okay girls, what else did we miss?” injected Ashley.
So for the next hour, we heard about the various escapades of a Ravenclaw in our year who's last name was Clearwater, and how naughty he was in class. Then about what a nasty girl Bellatrix Black, a seventh year Slytherin was. And of course, eventually Esther fell asleep halfway through a tirade about how stuck up Narcissa Black was.
Since Mandy was probably the strongest, she picked up Esther and carried her to her bed. But she was unable to get her up to the top bunk, and she looked so cute sleeping that no-one wanted to wake her up. So we put her in Mandy's bed, which was below her, and Mandy would sleep in Esther's.
“Hey, Lily. There are an awful lot of Blacks at school, aren't there? And they're all in Slytherin, except Sirius.” whispered Laura.
“Yeah, they're an old family apparently. I don't know much, since I'm muggle-born. But I do know they've all been in Slytherin, all pure-blood too, apparently.”
Laura snorted. “I doubt they're really all pure-blood.”
I nodded absently. Then I remembered what Sirius had talked to me about that morning, and quickly repeated everything.
Laura kept quiet through the whole story, which I didn't expect. When I finished, I just heard a small. “Oh. Well I'm going to bed now. Goodnight.”
I was confused. Shouldn't she be jumping for joy that he took an interest in her romantic life? It made her day if he even said hi to her in passing. Why was this different?
“Laura? What's wrong?”
“Nothing. Just... Why now?”
That was a good question. Why now? Was it because they were talking more? Were they even talking that much now?
I heard Laura tossing and turning all night.
I happily slept in in the morning, since it was Sunday and I had no plans. It seemed the girls were doing the same, except Mandy who had gone somewhere. At about ten in the morning, when we were all in the common room in some comfy clothes, Mandy finally returned. Laura swung around dramatically, hands on hips, and acted angry.
“And where have you been young lady?” she glared. She looked around and quickly grabbed Ashley, who was sitting next to her, and stood her up next to her. “Ashley and I have been worried sick about you!”
Esther was rolling about laughing at Laura's convincing acting, and Ashley was only still standing because of Laura's iron grip on her wrist. Mandy was flushed pink, and only smiled a little.
“Why aren't you laughing at my hilarious jokes Mandy?” said Laura, relinquishing her grip on Ashley, looking a little worried.
“Well, there's this guy called Allan Jordan... and we kinda... hooked up... Oh gee Laura, not like that!”
“Aww! What house is he in?” inquired Esther, who had gotten off the floor. Laura was still grinning suspiciously.
“Ravenclaw. He's in our Transfiguration and Charms class, remember? He's a real sweetheart, pretty fun guy too. I think I really like him.”
“Great! When do we meet him?” laughed Laura, who was obviously relieved nothing bad had happened.
“Well, he said he'd be coming into the common room in about five minutes, he just needed to finish up some homework.”
“Wonderful. Let's tell him all the embarrassing stories about Mandy we can.”
“Don't you dare.” Mandy laughed. “Well, anyway, now the rest of you need boyfriends. Ash, you go with whoever. Esther- hey Esther, who do you like anyway?”
“I, uh...” she blushed.
“Oh c'mon, I won't tell! None of us will!”
“Well, uh... You really won't tell?” she looked up at us with her big brown eyes, which matched her dark hair, and bit her lip.
“Of course not!” said Ashley sincerely. I nodded, and Mandy made a noise of agreement.
“Oh okay then... Well... That- that Japanese Ravenclaw, Akio Chang. We're in a lot of the same classes, and he's really clever, and nice... and-and he's in my Herbology, and I'm not very good at it, so he always helps me...”
“Oh my god that's so cute! Or should I say kawaii?” grinned Laura, who knew a little Japanese.
Esther smiled too. “But don't tell anyone, ever!”
“Haha, your secrets are safe!”
“What about you Ashley? Who's the guy for you?” asked Mandy, now interrogating Ash.
“Well, I dunno. Guess I'm still looking.” Ashley shrugged. Mandy didn't press for further information. When Ashley got angry, she got extremely scary. Just like a real Veela I guess.
“Laura, we all know who you like.” grinned Esther, feeling bolder after divulging her little secret perhaps. Laura blushed and threw a cushion at her. Sirius and James weren't sitting that far away from us. Peter and Remus were opposite them, focusing on their homework instead of vanishing the chairs from under the first years, or moving them around.
“So that leaves Lily!”
I thought for a moment. Who did I have a crush on? Anyone? No, Definitely someone... But who? I didn't want to think about it for some reason.
“Bull-crap Lily.” deadpanned Laura. Esther gave a small gasp, since she never swore and nobody ever really did around her, since she looked so sweet and innocent. Bull-crap wasn't really a swear word, but it was for Esther.
“Come on! You definitely like someone.”
“Well, I guess I do like someone. I just don't know who.” I replied. Mandy shrugged. I guess she had other things on her mind, like a certain Allan Jordan who just walked in.
“Hey, Mandy!” he called, waving to her. She grinned at him and said “Hi Al,” before being wrapped in a hug.
Allan also had dark hair, but his skin wasn't as dark as Mandy's. It wasn't pale either, just tanned. Once they had finished their hug, he came around and introduced himself to all of us. Mandy was right before, he was a lot of fun, and within ten minutes, we were all laughing and chatting together like we'd known him a million years.
“Hey, I gotta go. Me and my mate, Reg, will come up at about three. Sorry about Reg coming too, but he'll get bored without me, and I'm sure you girls will really like him.” he turned to Mandy. “You'd better not like him too much.” he grinned, and gave her a quick peck on the cheek. “Bye!”
We waved as he climbed out of the portrait hole, and congratulated Mandy on having such a nice guy as a boyfriend. She grinned and we all finished our homework.
We had resorted to just watching James and Sirius moving around the furniture, when James got up. I looked away, back at my book, but he walked over to me.
“Lily- I mean Evans, about Saturday...” he started nervously. He looked over his shoulder at Sirius, who gave him the thumbs up. He turned back to me, and I noticed the girls watching curiously, particularly Mandy.
“Well, I want to apologise.”
What?! I definitely wasn't expecting that, but I let him continue.
“I shouldn't have taken it too seriously, since it was just to get rid of Snivellous. So... I was wondering, if we could be friends?”
Friends? Just friends? He wasn't asking me out, wasn't being a git, was just... Asking to be friends?
“I mean, Sirius, Remus and Pete too of course... with all you girls. I mean, we have most our classes together, wouldn't it be better to have more friends?”
I was thinking. I hated James... But Remus, Pete and Sirius weren't too bad. I thought of Laura, this was an excuse to hang out with Sirius more. Plus, all the boys were exceptionally good at Defence and Transfiguration and... well, they were in fact just great students. Not Pete so much, but he was still pretty good, especially at charms. It would be beneficial to all of us to have them as friends. I figured I could put up with James if my friends would benefit. Friends are everything.
“Okay. Do you want us to call you guys by your first or last names though?” the girls had been listening and had gathered around my chair, and James's friends too. Well, I guess now they were also mine. Our friends.
“Eh. Either. Whatever you're comfortable with.” shrugged Sirius from behind James, who nodded along with Remus and Peter.
“Great. I've been stuck on this essay on Unforgivable Curses on Defence, so could you help?” asked Laura from my left.
“I'll help!” said Sirius eagerly, and he got up quickly to take a slightly blushing Laura to a table in the corner, where he started helping her very enthusiastically.
I pointed over to them.
“Does he like her?” I asked Remus, who seemed to also be looking with interest.
“Sure looks that way. But he won't admit it. I'll assume she's liked him for a while?”
“Yup.” I instantly regretted saying it so easily. Remus just had a face that made you want to tell him everything. I knew he wouldn't tell though, so I guess Laura's secret was safe. Remus snorted though.
“Idiot. He should just ask her out.”
“Yeah. Why... why does he like her now?” I asked shyly, repeating Laura's question from last night.
“God knows. To be honest, I think he's liked her as long as she has, he's just never shown it. At least Laura knows herself. I think he's just scared though. Laura's half-blood, right?”
“Yeah. He's run away from home, he's living with James in fact, but all his life he's been... trained I guess, to grow up, marry a pure-blooded second cousin or something, then have couple of kids then die. It's odd for him.”
I nodded again. I couldn't even begin to understand what Sirius must've gone through his whole life, being expected to be something he's not. I wondered what it was like to know your parents were very disappointed in you for believing in something else. My parents were ecstatic that I was a witch, and my closest family members who knew were all happy for me, except Petunia of course. I thought of the sensation that came with Petunia yelling at me in tears about how she hated me. I imagined my entire family screaming at me like that, and it made me just want to cry.
“What do his parents think of him being in Gryffindor?” I inquired nervously. “I mean, you don't have to say, I'm just curious.” I added hurriedly.
Remus smiled at me. I really liked him, he was such an easy to get along with guy. Very comforting and made you feel at ease in his presence. “I don't think Sirius would mind. After all, we're friends now, right?” he gave me a lopsided grin, and I noticed the bags under his eyes. I wondered briefly if his 'furry problem' was troubling him. Apparently, Remus had a rabbit back at home who could only be controlled by him. He usually had to leave school once a month to take care of it, and always returned looking very tired. “Anyway,” I looked up quickly, looking Remus in the eyes so he knew I was paying attention. He was also the kind of guy who demanded respect, yet quietly and unintentionally. It crossed my mind quickly that he'd make an excellent teacher.
“Anyway, Sirius's parents in fact hate him.” he paused at my look, one that I hadn't realised I was giving. “And don't go thinking: oh at the end of the day, they're his parents and love him deep down, because that's not true at all. His parents are awful people. They've disowned him.” he smiled absently. “He is a rebel, really. Not just a try hard like you may think, but a real one, at least away from others. He put up Gryffindor banners and posters of motorbikes and muggle girls up in his room solely to piss off his parents, his mother in particular.”
“Are they Death Eaters?” I asked quietly.
“None yet, but they sure do agree with You-Know-Who's methods. Sirius reckons Regulus is gonna sign up as soon as he finishes school.” he looked distracted for a moment, and ran his fingers through his hair quickly, but not in the arrogant way James does, in a worried and kind way, and he looked stressed. He's definitely going to make a good friend, I thought to myself. To care so much about friends that he shares their stresses.
He quickly regained his usual cheerful and friendly composure and we talked about other stuff, like our Potions essay. It seemed this was one of the few things he was not good at, and I told him I'd help him if he helped me with Transfiguration. I was in fact, scraping by with an A in Transfiguration, but I felt I should be doing better.
I looked over my shoulder as the portrait hole swung open, to reveal Allan and his friend, who I assumed was Reg. He was a smallish guy, but not as small as Peter. He had light brown hair which turned orangey in the light, and a smile that seemed very natural on his face, and like it would never leave it.
I waved a quick goodbye to Remus, since I had finished with my Transfiguration essay. I told him I'd help him with Potions later. Then I went over to join the rest of the girls, minus Laura, since she seemed to be in a very earnest conversation with Sirius.
“Hey. I'm Reg Cattermole, sorry I had to tag along, but all my friends are out somewhere or rather, and Al said it was okay if I came with him.” he grinned at Mandy, who was sitting next to Allan on an armchair. “Besides, I've been wanting to meet you Mandy.” he shook her hand briefly, gave Allan a quick grin and then turned to Ashley, Esther and I.
“You must be Ashley,” he said to her, grinning the same slightly lopsided grin. “And Esther.” I liked the way he looked them both in the eyes earnestly, and gave them equal attention. Obviously, Reg was a nice, fair guy. “And Lily Evans, I guess? I've only heard your name being yelled out by James about a dozen times.” he laughed, and I blushed angrily. “Oh well, I'll assume by the look on your face you're not that into him?”
“Not at all.” I laughed. “Just friends.” I added.
We talked for a while, and Reg seemed to be able to flow from each conversation topic with ease. I looked over at Mandy and Allan, (who had insisted we all call him Al) and how happy they looked together. I wanted to look like that. I wanted to feel that.
Esther and Ashley got up and announced they were going to sleep now, they were both tired. They both said goodbye to Reg and Al, and Esther didn't even blush when she said it was nice to meet him. Reg put her at ease, which was definitely good. She didn't usually blush around us girls unless we were talking about something intimate.
“So Lily, guess it's just us now.” he smiled earnestly. He edged a little closer to me, since Ashley and Esther had left a gap from where they were sitting. Mandy and Al were snogging on the other end of the couch.
“So, um Lily, this is going to sound really creepy and... I mean, if you don't feel the same I understand and I still want us to be friends...” he started, blushing lightly, but still looking me in the eyes. I thought it might be a little early on in our friendship for him to be asking me to be his girlfriend, but he was a really nice guy. It didn't seem to matter with him.
“Will you... be my girlfriend? Please?” he asked. Behind him, I saw James grip his wand tightly, and noticed Sirius had stopped his conversation with Laura to make sure James didn't curse Reg.
I looked at how angry James looked, and enjoyed it. Reg was a great guy, he was definitely boyfriend material. I imagined butterflies in my stomach, and believed the illusion.
“Yes. That'd be great Reg.” I smiled back at him, and he gave me a quick kiss on the cheek. I briefly saw James running up to the boys dormitory and Sirius giving Laura an apologetic shrug before running up after him.
Al and Mandy had broken apart their energetic snog and grinned at us. “Guess Laura, Esther and Ash all need boyfriends now.” she laughed. I could just tell she couldn't wait to gossip about my new relationship. I didn't really care.
“I'm sure those girls have guys lining up around Hogwarts wanting a date. They're very pretty.” smiled Reg politely, who then looked at me with care in his eyes. “Not as pretty as you though.”
“Oh, thanks Reg.” I smiled back happily. I liked having boys call me pretty, apart from my family, James and Severus.
Boys I liked.
Laura had been observing us since Sirius had got up to go comfort James, and sat down next to me.
“Maybe they'll be lining up for Ash and Es,” she started. She was the only person who called Esther Es. Esther got mad at anyone else who did, but appreciated Laura doing it. Admittedly, it sounded almost... crude coming from another persons mouth. But from Laura, it made Esther sound even more endearing, more innocent and cute. “But they certainly won't be for me.”
“What about Sirius just now Laura?” protested Mandy. We were all too used to Laura's insecurity, and knew exactly how to deal with it.
Laura blushed lightly, turning her head to face Mandy more than Reg and I.
“He-he was just being nice! He was helping with my homework!” she stuttered. We never understood why she insisted on rejecting compliments and finding other reasons on why good things happened to her. She never took credit for anything, and it might've annoyed other people. But not us. We were her best friends. To everyone else, she was the loud Laura, the funny one. To us, she was this also, but deeper too.
“Pfft. Didn't look like he wanted to help you to learn Defence, looked to me like he wanted to help you learn to snog.”
“I-I'm going to bed now!” she said squeakily. She pushed up her glasses, trying to divert her own attention. “Night!”
“I'd better go to bed too. Night!” I said cheerily, giving Reg a kiss goodnight and grinning a goodbye to Al. “See you in a bit Mandy, unless you go to Al's dorm.” I winked and walked upstairs, not a care.
Because now there was someone new to call me pretty.
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