Chapter 4 : The Debut Match
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“How are you feeling? Nervous?” Clara asked me as I sat down. She then began to pile my plate with food. Why do people always do this before Quidditch matches? It’s not like I’ve been starving for a week beforehand.
“Hoping for the best and expecting the worst,” I replied with a sigh. That’s kind of my motto for life in a way.
“Morning prefect partner!” A certain someone with a certain loud carrying voice had just sat down between Ava and me. Now even more people were staring at me. Thanks for that, Greg.
“Morning Greg,” I replied in the usual monotone voice I use when I talk to him. I picked up about five pieces of bacon at once and shoved them into my mouth so I wouldn’t have to talk to him.
“Good luck today,” he said in a much more normal voice. That was a surprise. I didn’t think he was capable of being normal. I almost smiled at him. Then I remembered about the bacon.
‘Thanks. I better go,” I said, still with a mouthful of bacon and practically sprinted out of the hall with my broom over my shoulder. Five seconds later, I ran into Sirius, James, Peter and Lara who was obviously just the tag-along. Oh joy.
“Hey Georgie, where’s the fire?” Sirius snorted. Why does he always act like such a moron around his friends? Lara apparently found this tremendously hilarious as well. Well, some friend she is. I noticed Remus wasn’t there to bring some niceness to the group of displeasure.
“I don’t know but if you could start one that’d be great,” I replied sarcastically to Sirius, ignoring Lara entirely. James was looking as though he felt sorry for me which irritated me even more. Maybe this is a good thing; at least I’ll have lots of energy on the pitch in half an hour.
“Don’t worry about it Georgie, it’ll be over in about five minutes… Isla Limpley is a great seeker,” he said in, what sounded like a genuine a sympathetic voice.
Is he for real? Isla Limpley is the Ravenclaw seeker.
I am so sick of James Potter having a go at Hufflepuff (whether it’s subtle like he just demonstrated or just outright) and me every time I run into him. Literally, every time I see him he has some smart ass comment about me being a Hufflepuff or being a Chaser. No wonder Lily hates his guts.
“And you’d know all about things lasting for five minutes, wouldn’t you Potter?” I snarled at him before walking away. No, more like strutting away in the most awesome fashion possible.
I was immensely proud of that comeback- I don’t care how low of a blow it was. I even did a little victory leap. Like those sailor’s ones with the clicking of the heels in mid-air. Lily will be proud when I tell her. Or disappointed, since she can’t use it now.
Wow, I never realised how small you feel when hundreds of people are looking down on you. It was humbling in a way, but now was not the time to be humble.
I wanted to win.
Of course, Ravenclaw did as well.
Fittleworth and Bagman shook hands in a friendly enough manner, we mounted our brooms and in three… two… one- we were off.
I grabbed the Quaffle first, zigzagged past the other two Chasers, dodged a beater which was pelted my way, faked a throw into the right hoop- the keeper fell for it- then lobbed it straight through the left hoop.
“Hufflepuff scores first by their newest member- Georgie Hart! What a way to start her season!” Bertram Aubrey who’s a seventh year Hufflepuff was doing to commentary like usual. My team went nuts and I felt great.
“You beauty!” I cheered and held my had out to high five Calvin Copplestone as he zoomed past. He got me with his bat, which hurt like you wouldn’t believe. He didn’t even apologise. Though, I don’t think he realised.
My great feeling almost wore off immediately- the game just went rapidly downhill from there. Our teamwork was sloppy, our Quaffle got intercepted, our beaters kept missing the bludger and our keeper had yet to save a single goal. I watched the Ravenclaw chasers and they worked very well as a team making it almost impossible for me to intercept.
“Come on Macmillan!” I yelled at our keeper, loosing my temper a little as I soared past and he gave me a very dirty look. Well, he is a seventh year after all but he should be performing better than that.
Ten painful minutes into the game the score was 30-120 to Ravenclaw (not showing off or anything but I had scored all three goals… for the record), my fellow chaser Ebony Carmichael had been hit with a bludger so now we were down a player. Also, Lena O’Flaherty, our seeker was having no luck whatsoever and was continuingly being blocked by Isla Limpley. She seemed way too hesitant to do the same to her which was just ridiculous.
However, Owen Fittleworth and I were not bad as a team- he was always there for me to pass to him and never dropped the Quaffle but when it came to actually scoring- he panicked and either chucked it to me or threw a wimpy shot. Some captain he is.
“Ooh I think Limpley has seen the snitch! And she goes for a dive… O’Flaherty is nowhere near her, come one Nora… Limpley’s very close… she’s about to grab it… RAVENCLAW WIN! Bad luck team.” I wanted to punch Aubrey in the head. Where was his team spirit for heaven’s sake?? He had to be the most neutral person I’ve ever met. Who says ‘bad luck team’ in a cheerful way after their Quidditch team just lost? I don’t like him.
I landed, ignoring the screams of joy from the Ravenclaw side whilst also trying not to look too pissed off. Even though I was really, really pissed off. I strode away from the pitch with my head held high, looking straight forward. I didn’t want to speak to anyone who wasn’t on the team. I waited for the rest of my team to land- they looked pretty downcast and I knew what I had to say to them wasn’t going to make anything more positive.
“I think we need a team meeting,” I said tersely once we were all walking back to the change rooms. Everyone just looked at me, too tired to even glare.
I wasn’t tired- I was pumped up and seeing them all tired made me even madder.
“Guys!” I suddenly exploded, making Lena jump, “why are you acting like this? Like you don’t even care?”
“Georgie,” Owen began wearily but I didn’t want to hear it.
“I know I’ve been on the team for less than two months but why am I the one who’s the most pissed off that we lost?” I asked them sharply. We had reached the change rooms and everyone seemed glad for an excuse to turn their back on me. Owen didn’t though; he just smiled at me in his unnerving calm way.
“Georgie… it’s just part of life- learning to lose. You don’t want to be one of those people who-”
“Owen, wake up,” I interrupted him and he looked taken aback. Everyone else had spun around in shock as well. “Hufflepuff has been ‘learning to lose’ for at least fifty years now,” I looked at everyone although they seemed too scared to contradict me.
“I don’t think we’re a loser of a team,” I said defiantly, “I think we deserve better than this- Hufflepuff deserves better than this.”
“Yes, Georgie but-” Owen began but I had had enough.
“But what Owen!?” I cried. “Why are you making excuses? There is absolutely no reason Hufflepuff should feel inferior to the other Quidditch teams any more! We’re just as good as they are and maybe, just maybe even a little bit better. We know how to lose and lose and lose! I want to win for once! Where’s the fight in you?” I stopped only because I could feel tears forming in my eyes.
Lena had silent tears streaming down her face whilst the boys just looked dumbstruck.
“You’re right Georgie,” Owen finally spoke in a low voice. “What do you suggest we do?”
“For now… for just tonight we’re gracious losers,” I replied noticing that everyone was giving me their full attention. “But starting from tomorrow night, we train. And I mean we train smarter than we have been doing. We’re going to learn to work as a team.”
Everyone was just nodding silently although a little too sombrely for my liking.
“We’re going to get the Hufflepuff spirit back,” I said with a grin, “that’s my promise to you.”
I walked into the Great Hall for dinner, keen to spot Clara so I could sit with her and she could tell me how I really was during the match. I can rely on her to be honest with me. I did find her- and she wasn’t sitting at the Hufflepuff table.
She was sitting at the bloody Gryffindor table with Kate Zeller and Bailey. Who both were sitting with bloody James and Sirius. I’d rather sit with the bloody Ravenclaws.
So, after seeing that sight, I decided I wasn’t that hungry and making sure not to make eye contact with anyone I did a full 360 and stalked right back out of the hall. I was halfway up the staircase when I heard my name being called.
I arranged my face into a pleasant expression only to find myself ten meters away from Sirius Black. The pleasant expression dropped a little.
“What?” I asked exasperatedly, wondering where his lapdog Lara was. She didn’t even wish me luck, I reflected grumpily.
He walked towards me so we didn’t have to have a shouted conversation. Although, I would’ve preferred it if we had- since I still hadn’t vented my feelings from the match.
“What’s up?” He asked looking at me with his head cocked to the side and a little grin on his face. It was adorable and I could feel myself blushing.
“Nothing mate, what’s up with you?” I asked tiredly.
“Do you intentionally mould all your words in a sentence to make one big word?” He asked me.
My brain couldn’t even comprehend what he just said.
“Nothimatewhasupwithyou,” he imitated when I didn’t reply.
I snorted because it wasn’t a bad imitation- he even got the accent right. He beamed at my reaction which then made me break into a fit of reluctant giggles.
“I dunno… guess it’s just the ‘Strayan in me,” I said, completely away that I say ‘strayan’ instead of ‘Australian’. But come on who doesn’t?
“Yeah, I guess it is,” Sirius chuckled. “Anyway, I just wanted to say that you don’t need to avoid anyone tonight because you played well today.”
I was just about to retort the fact about avoiding people before I realised that he had just complimented me on my Quidditch skills. See what I mean about being nice in a one on one situation!?
“Thanks,” I said in a soft voice, mostly because I was taken-aback.
“I just thought I should let you know… since I saw you walk out of the Great Hall alone. Even James thinks you’re fairly decent.”
Why can’t he be nice like this all the time? Why does he act like such a wanker with his friends? Why is he going out with Lara (then I remembered that was my fault) Why does it infuriate me so much? I thought about pointing this all out to him before the sensible Georgie voice inside my head took over.
Take the compliment, you idiot.
“Tell him I say thanks,” I replied graciously.
“No problem,” he grinned at me and gave me a clap on the back, “I’ll see you around, then.”
I resisted watching him walk back into the Great Hall and instead turned and headed in the direction of the common room, the place where he touched me tingling, trying to figure out where his tactful streak suddenly appeared from.
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