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Chapter 26 : Shut Up and Kiss Me
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Rose and I are in the Great Hall. She’s refusing to talk to me because she’s been wanting me to break it off with Anthony since,,,,well, since the start of the relationship, really. She’s a smart girl.
Rose sighs and looks over at me. She looks like she wants to say something. “What is it?” I ask her. More like plead with her. I’ve been lonely lately.
“Look, there’s someone I want to tell you about,” she whispers, looking around for any strangler students.
“Who?” I lean in and whisper back.
She bites her lip nervously, her feet shuffling underneath the table. “His name is Gary,”
I wait patiently for her to continue. She looks up at me and relaxes a bit. “I...er, I dated him earlier this year. Before Daniel.”
“He’s the bloke-”
She interrupts me, “That I ‘lost my virginity’ to? Yeah, he’s the guy. Look, everyone warned me about dating him. Everyone. Even random girls in my classes would take the time to come up to me and warn me. What did I do? I dated him in secret. Albus caught us once, but you know Albus, he kept it to himself.”
“I’m sorry Rose,” I say softly.
She shrugs. “I didn’t give him what he wanted, so he dumped me. My point is this, Charlotte. You may not see it now, but other people really care for you. Anthony’s a great bloke and all, but you’re obviously miserable for a reason. Heck, even James suggests you back out. What’s keeping you with him, eh? Some imaginative loyalty you’ve created in your head?”
I hesitate in my response, “I’m...well, he’s good to me,” I stumble across my words.
Rose frowns at me, but doesn’t respond. A hufflepuff boy, maybe a year or two younger than me comes over to our table and hands me a note. “Some Slytherin bloke asked me to give this to you,” he explains, his eyes wandering to Rose.
She blushes modestly and nods at me to open it. I shake my hand and place it in my bag, “I’ll open it later.”
“Er, I was give specific instructions to wait for you to read it,” the boy mumbles, frowning at the ground as Daniel walks over and places his arm around Rose.
I glare at the kid, but retrieve the note from my satchel. I gasp upon opening and revealing its contents. It’s the tree I drew long ago, only its different. Someone placed a charm on the image so that the leaves from the tree fell from the branches. The leaves spell out a strange message: A1055.
After exhausting the resources in my own brain, I hand the note to Rose. She smiles and breaths, “It’s beautiful, but what does it mean?” she asks out loud, looking at the boy.
He shrugs and walks away, his task completed. I roll my eyes after him and turn back to Rose. “So a Slytherin boy? Albus? Leo? Scorpius?”
“Definitely not Scorpius, no offense to him, but he’s not very proficient at Charms,” Rose giggles. Daniel stares at the table and pokes at his food with his fork.
I agree with a nod and conclude, “Not Scorpius, so Leo or Albus?” I go further and conclude to myself that it must be Leo, because I have hardly had a full conversation with Albus. The conclusion scares me.
The confusion and dread set in and I sink further into my seat, an action Rose would surely notice if she had not been in a silent argument with Daniel.
“We’ve had classes with Scorpius since first year, everyone knows he’s absolute rubbish at Charms. Every spell he tries turns into an arsonist dreamland,” Rose curtly hisses at Daniel who is still staring at the table with indifferent anger.
He drops his fork, causing it to fall to the ground, and gets up from the table. “Look, people are talking, and what their conversations are not flattering,” Daniel says, still avoiding eye contact.
“People always talk,” Rose replies harshly.
Daniel shrugs the comment off, “I’m just saying that it doesn’t look good when you run off with Scorpius. Some girl even told me that you guys go into the forest and hit each other with sticks.”
“We do not ‘hit each other with sticks,’ we’re preparing to go into battle,” Rose corrects.
Daniel finally looks at her in confusion.
“Swordsmanship, Daniel,” she sighs.
“Swordplay? Are you joking?” he hisses, his voice raising.
She shrugs, “And other practical practices.”
Daniel shakes his head and looks to me for help. I look away from the argument in hopes I won’t be dragged into it. He finally groans and scratches his forehead. “Look, Rose, you can tell me the truth. In fact, I think I deserve it.”
“What are you going on about?”
“Everyone knows you and Scorpius are...you know...snogging and such.”
Rose laughs, it’s dry and cold, bringing shivers down my spine. “Oh, everyone? Do you mean Stacy and Tessa?” She points down the table at two girls, former friends of Lily.
“Does it matter?” Daniel’s voice breaks the normal conversation level of amplification causing a hush in the Great Hall. This has been a much anticipated for argument among gossipers.
Rose stands up to meet his height and glares at him. “You trust their word over my own?”
“I don’t know what to believe anymore,” Daniel’s voice cracks and Rose’s eyes soften in sympathy.
“Believe me,” she whispers.
Daniel shakes his head and grabs his satchel from the floor. “Look, Rose. Swordplay, catching fairies, reading children’s stories, and whatever rubbish you tell me every day...it just doesn’t sound like you. I can’t do this anymore.”
Rose frowns, “I understand. I can see how it seems...immature, but you have to believe me, Daniel.”
He looks around at the silence Great Hall before reaching in and whispering to Rose. She pales at his words and begins to shake her head.
He says louder, “Just think about it, for me?”
“Okay,” she responds and he leaves.
After staring at his departing figure for a while, Rose turns to me and says, “It’s a book.”
“What?” I ask, confused.
“The leaves spell out a book code, in the library,” Rose explains, packing her things.
Oh, its so obvious. “Thanks Rose. Will you be okay?” I ask her, placing a hand on hers.
Her frowns deepens, “I don’t know. I suppose I will have to decide that for myself.”
This time is different. I take in a deep breath before opening my eyes. I don’t look at myself, I don’t want to see what happened. Instead, I look to the light playing on the screen surrounding my bed. There are other people here, which is not strange. Students get sick or injured regularly. However, I hear familiar voices.
“Will he be okay?”
“Who did the spell?”
“God, Scorpius, man up will you? Stop that sniffling.”
“He was a great man.”
“Is a great man, you dolt. It’s not like he’s going to die, right Madam Pomfrey?”
My heart drops in surprise and my stomach churns. What are Albus, Leo, Lily, and Scorpius doing here?!
Madam Pomfrey’s soothing voice takes command of the chaos, “Calm down, kids. James will only experience some bruising. The poor child hit his head hard. It doesn’t help that you all are crowded around him. Don’t you have class?”
“We’re not going anywhere,” Leo responds. Madam Pomfrey would have properly argued more if it was anyone else, but she has a soft spot for Leo. He does visit me often.
Everyone falls silent, except for Scorpius’s quiet sniffles, as Pomfrey works on James. I try not to think about what happened, but my situation of immobility allows my brain control of itself and I picture many horrid scenes that could have happened while I was...busy.
Fear takes over and throw myself into misery. Could I have stopped whatever happened if I wasn’t a...you know, mindless animal? Was it my doing?! Oh God, that throws me into an even further anxious quarrel with myself.
Finally, Madam Pomfrey pushes everyone out claiming that James needs to rest, but I know she’s really just tired of depressed attitude they've brought into the hospital wing. She comes over to me and examines my injuries while I fight with myself. Passion controls my better judgment and I blurt out, “Is he going to be okay? What happened?”
She smiles knowingly and grabs the purple bottle from my nightstand, but before she can answer my questions a mumbling comes from beyond my curtain.
“Ellie…Ellie…” James whispers softly, causing mixed emotions to dance around on my heart.
I become mute as Madam Pomfrey laughs to herself. It turns into a quiet inspection until she tries to touch my left arm. I cry out at the searing pain and grip onto her arm.
“Oh dear…” Madam Pomfrey frowns in pity.
I lower my eyes from hers and look at the injured arm. It’s twisted in an unfamiliar way and I become nauseous.
Pomfrey pats my head, but says with a stern, loving tone, “I have to touch it, Ellie. The bones can’t settle like that. I would have moved it while you were unconscious, but I got a visit…” her voice trails off.
“Can’t you make it less painful?” I plead in an unfamiliar voice.
She shakes her head, “Not this far into your settling process, dear.”
I nod in understanding and wince in anticipation. The pain comes quickly and greatly. I hear crackling noises before screaming out. It soon becomes too much and I black out.
More voices wake me up. The curtains, usually a light blue in color have darkened into a orange-blue color. It must be late afternoon. I become aware of the fact that I am hungry. Very hungry. I sit up and see soup and bread waiting for me. As I eat, I listen to the voices and recognize them, faintly remembering them from this morning.
“Professor Longbottom is upset, suffice to say,” Albus grumbles.
“Who cares?” Lily snaps, closer to my bed than Albus’s voice.
“I do,” a rough voice answers her. My stomach drops and I have to stop myself from coughing my food back up. It’s James.
“Don’t worry, James, we’ll just have Albus do your make-up work,” Leo replies.
Albus cries out in protest, but I hear a clear SMACK! effectively quieting him.
“I don’t care about schoolwork. Well, I do, but...never mind. I just need Longbottom to be happy with me right now,” James’s voice raises in strength and quality.
“Enough, you guys are depressing me,” Scorpius teases, “I want to hear about what happened with Charlotte this morning.”
“Don’t know yet,” Leo replies.
Everyone groans in response making me laugh softly to myself.
“Go find out!” I hear Lily screech and I wince in response. My head still hurts.
Madam Pomfrey comes out of her office and walks over impatiently. There are complaints in response to her shooing them out, but it obviously wasn’t their first warning and they leave without too much fuss.
James calls Pomfrey over and asks, “Hey, er...has anyone else visited me today?”
“The Burke boy,” Pomfrey responds. I can hear her pushing him back into the bed.
“Is that it?” James asks, obviously disappointed.
“Potter, you should focus your energy on getting better, not on your social life,” Pomfrey sniffs, walking back to her office.
I can’t help but giggle as I hear James groan in response. Unfortunately, James hears my outburst and rustles the covers, probably sitting up in his bed.
“Hullo?” he calls. When I don’t reply he grunts, “I heard you, no point in being quiet now.”
Oh there’s definitely a point to my silence.
He sighs and I hear his bare feet walk across the room. I panic and bury my head under my covers. The curtains squeak as they are pulled open, but I don’t hear anything from the boy who pulled them apart.
Finally, he asks, “What are you doing?”
I respond in a rough, low voice, hoping to mask my own, “Get back to bed, will ya? I’m trying to sleep.”
“What’s wrong with you? Some kind of throat problem? Fine, sorry I bothered you,” James sighs and leaves my bed. I didn’t hear him close the curtains, so I keep my head covered.
After a few minutes, James calls from his side of the room, “Aren’t you clever? Come on, at least tell me who you are so I don’t fall asleep anxious.”
“No thank you,” I reply again in the same voice.
“Don’t you want to know who I am?” James complains.
I stupidly respond with, “I know who you are.”
“What? Now that’s just unfair.”
I stay silent. I just know he’s pouting right now. That’s just who he is.
After a while, he says, “Fine, how about we play a game?”
“What kind of game?”
He shifts in his bed, “It’s quite simple, really. I ask you a question, vice versa. You can respond as ridiculous as you want, just as long as you respond.”
I think about it, but curiosity gets the better of me and I agree to play his game.
“Yay! All right, my question...hmm, if you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?”
Not here. “Er, Portugal?”
“What?” James responds with a creaking from his bed.
“I hear its lovely around this time of year.”
“Er, right...your turn to ask the question.”
“Someone’s really creative,” he laughs, but answers, “I would want to be with my family. Just at our house, playing quidditch or something. What’s your favourite flower?”
I decide to answer truthfully. “I like Gladiolus.”
“That’s a flower?”
“Shut it. What’s your favourite class?” I ask, blushing in embarrassment. Not that he’d see that.
“What a weak question. You’re going to have to step up your game, mystery person. I prefer Transfiguration, but mostly because it’s easier to sleep through.”
“You don’t sleep through Transfiguration,” I say before I could stop myself.
“I don’t?” James laughs, and I become uncomfortable. I’m such an idiot. When he finishes laughing, he asks, “What does a Gladiolus flower look like?”
I shiver at my memory of receiving that particular flower from a particular boy in our fifth year. “It’s a flower.”
“Oh come on, describe it for me.”
I clear my throat. “Well, it’s got petals. Er, they form into a star looking shape. It’s really just like any other flower.”
“Why do you like it so much?”
“Hey, it’s my turn to ask the question, Potter. What’s your favourite colour?”
“Seriously, kid. These questions are boring. I tend to wear green, but I’m impartial. Now answer my question, if this flower is like any other flower, why is it your favourite?” James says.
Part of me wonders why his voice sounds closer, but I shake off the question and focus on an adequate answer, “Well, I suppose that I prefer the smell of it, the texture, er, the layout...it’s just...pretty okay looking.”
“Pretty okay looking?”
“Yes. What is your favourite joke?” I ask, lost in my own thoughts.
James laughs. “Now that’s better! Okay, why didn’t the melons get married? Because they cantaloupe!” he begins to fall into a silent fit of laughter.
I roll my eyes, but wait for him to finish.
“Okay, okay, okay, so my question is where have you seen these favourite flowers of yours? I can’t for the life of me remember their name.”
“Gladiolus, Potter. If you must know, I received them from someone.”
“It’s my turn. Why do you keep asking me about the stupid flower?”
It was a silent for a minute, and I began to feel guilty. Suddenly I feel weight on my bed and covers around me are stripped away. James smiles down at me and shrugs, “Because it’s not a ‘stupid’ flower to you, Ellie.”
How long has it been since I’ve seen him? Too long. I don’t know what to say or do. I’m stuck just staring up at his face. He looks down at me with a sad smile and strokes my frizzled hair.
“What happened, Ellie?” he asks looking down at my bandaged arm. Madam Pomfrey was able to get everything else looking...normal? As much as she can, anyways.
“Just me being clumsy,” I say dismissively.
He frowns, but doesn’t push it. “What happened to you?” I ask him.
“Just me being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he says, equally dismissive.
We both stare off away from each other, upset at each other. Finally he looks back and nudges me gently, “You hungry?”
“Not really, I just ate. You can go get food if you want.”
“Nah...I’m not really that hungry,” he sighs and gets up from my bed. I stop him from making his way back to his own bed.
“Hold on, James. It’s your turn to ask a question.”
He looks back and smiles, “What happened to your arm?”
“I slapped a rhinoceros,” I smile back at him and gesture for him to come back.
He walks back over and shakes his head at me.
“So, James. What happened with you?” I ask.
He sits down on my bed and groans, “Well, its a long story. Basically, you should stay away from mallards. They’re horribly obnoxious.”
I laugh and slap him, playfully, on the arm. He winces in fake agony, making me laugh harder.
“I believe it’s my turn,” he says, laying down next to me, “So, Ellie, will you do me the pleasure of being my date for a night in the near future?”
“James,” I groan, covering my face with my arms, “don’t do this now.”
“Come on, it’s just one measly date. You can go back to secretly flirting with me afterwards,” he says in an impassive tone of voice.
“You don’t know it all.”
“Why don’t you explain it all, then.”
“I’m not completely stupid, Elizabeth. I understand a lot, actually. Maybe I’ve already figured it all out,” he says, closing his eyes.
“You have? Brilliant, do tell.”
He looks over at me and says, “You are afraid of what your parents might say.”
“What?” I ask, completely off guard.
“Look, I understand. I have strict parents too, granted, my parents aren’t reputation obsessed…” he trails off, “I see how upset your parents got when they saw you talking to Charlotte,” he adds seeing my confused face.
“Sure,” I say, giving up, “I won’t go on a date with you, because I’m worried about how my parents will respond.”
“I’ll talk to them,” James concludes.
“Sure,” I allow.
We fall silent for a second, and I’m nearly certain that he fell asleep. His voice startles me, “It’s not your parents.”
“Nope,” I sigh, “not my parents.”
He props himself up with his arm and looks at me. “If whatever it is wasn’t there, would you say yes?” he asks.
I look away, “Probably.”
He crashes back down on his back. “Some parts of me think it’s obvious, this reason of yours.”
“Yeah, like, maybe its you are allergic to me?”
“Maybe. Or maybe you just smell?” I tease him.
He grunts in reply and we lay in silence, listening to each other’s breaths. I decide to try and explain it without really explaining it. “It’s just me. There’s a part of me that is not me, and I can’t let part go beyond myself.”
He looks over and glares at me, “What the hell did you just say?”
I try again, “I have this physical and something of an emotional problem with...myself?”
“Nope, not better.”
“Well I can’t explain it without giving it away,” I complain.
“Ellie, shut up.”
I look over at him in surprise, “Excuse me?”
“Stop talking,” he replies, looking down at me. He’s completely serious.
I glare at him, but do as he says. “I’ve tried giving up on you, and it’s miserable. So, I want you to just shut up and give me a chance.”
I roll my eyes and attempt to get away, but he grabs my shoulders. “It’s simple. You can’t come up with a reason to reject me if you can’t talk. So, shut up and go out with me.”
“Potter-” he covers my mouth with one of his hands and continues on with his rant.
“No, you complicate things whenever you talk, so just shut up and let me make you happy.”
I wiggle out from his hands and finally say, “My problem won’t go away if I don’t talk about it.”
“Yes it does, I bet you it’s all mental. Just shut up for a day and let me prove myself.”
I shake my head at him, tears burning at my eyes. It’s not that simple at all. I’m a monster, an abomination to any and every society. An animal controlled by the light reflected off the moon. Nothing he says, or for that matter, anything that I say or don’t say will change the matter. He’d run off for the hills, or worse, he’d stop loving me. I don’t know what I’d do if he’d stop looking at me like I’m the reason he lives. All these years of his yearning have given me someone other than my brother. I can’t lose that.
He’s staring at me right now, probably thinking he’ll never have me, but that’s not accurate. My rejection ensures that he will always have me, and that I will always have him.
I’m being selfish. “James, look-”
“Shut up and kiss me,” he says, grabbing my face and pulling it to his own.
His lips aren’t gentle, his face is rough with unshaven hair, and his breath smells horrible, but all those factors didn’t stop the kiss from being effective. I gave up in that second and let myself enjoy the moment, touching his coarse, raven hair and feeling his hands draw me in closer. This is simple, isn’t it? It’s the simplest part of being human. Stolen kisses, laughs, and caresses in the night. It’s what comes after that terrifies me enough to keep the kiss going, trying to lengthen the moment.
Eventually, probably the fact that we have to breath, we break apart. I cry and he holds me, stroking my hair. “Man, Ellie. You really know how to kick a man’s ego. Crying, really?” he teases, but doesn’t expect an answer.
“Shut up,” I say, causing him to laugh into my hair.
The sun outside begins to set, the golden light hits the windows at such an angle that the thick glass bends and sends heightened rays all over the room. It’s beautiful, but painful to watch. James pulls back from our embrace and stares at me in content.
“You know, they never talk about how brilliant werewolf kisses are, because if they did, I’m sure a lot more guys would be going after them,” he says, tracing my cheeks where I expect there to be scars.
The obvious implications of that statement take a while to sink in. It’s like a hot hand slapping across your cheek as your body settles into an icy state. My senses heighten, my stomach lunges down in an uncomfortable fashion, bile settles in my throat, and my eyes, once crying, sting in shock.
“I was hoping that you’d tell me...eventually,” James says, reaching over and kissing my forehead.
“How long?” I croak.
“Since the late morning,” he whispers against my forehead, “Pomfrey was carrying around an elixir of sunflower and unicorn liver. It has this unique tint to it, purple and silver. I’ve seen many pictures of it, because it’s the only known potion that can cure the pain caused by a werewolf biting itself. It’s not made much because most werewolves use wolfsbane, so they don’t usually cause self-harm.”
“You knew it was me?” I ask.
He pulls away and holds me against him. “Not until you gave yourself away with that awful fake voice.”
“So you knew it was me through the whole game?” I groan.
“Gladiolus is a funny name, isn’t it? You never quite forget when you give a girl a Gladiolus,” James comments, playing with my hair.
“Shut it,” I moan.
“Seriously though, it sounds like some kind of mental disorder. I was going to-” I effectively shut him up with a kiss, which he gladly accepts.
However, the dolt pulls away and says, “So you’re going on that date with me now, right?”
I roll my eyes, but reply with a quick, “Yes.”
“Come on, Ellie. You’ve gotta just give me a chance, okay?” he complains.
Surprised, I repeat myself, “I’ll go out with you James.”
“You’re breaking my heart!” he groans, clutching his chest.
I grab his face and glare at him, “James Sirius Potter, I would love to accompany you, as your date, for however long you’ll have me.”
His eyes widen and he sits up so quickly that he falls off the bed.
“James!” I cry out, scrambling up to see if he’s okay.
I’ve never seen such a strange sight. James is on the floor, staring up at the ceiling with the biggest smile, the green flecks in his deep, brown eyes dance around and glisten in the light. Finally, he glances over at me, his laugh lines ever present on his face.
“Ellie…” he whispers and gets off the ground. “You said yes. Oh my god, you said yes.” He looks around the room, maybe looking for witnesses, but I pull him back towards me. “You can’t take it back!” he warns.
“Get over yourself,” I tell him. Beginning to regret agreeing to the date. James laughs and the sound reminding me of why I said yes.
Great, he’s never going to let me live this one down.
Just kidding, I've got an epilogue for you guys. Put the pitchforks down. Hey, Kimberly, put it down. Good girl.
Leave your complaints about my tardiness in the reviews, and let me know which pairing in this novel you would love to see together for all of eternity! I ask this question a lot, because I'm geeky over my characters, okay? James/Ellie, Leo/Charlotte, Scorpius/Rose, Daniel/Staring at the ground, Peeves/Spoons, etc.
Um, also, sorry about the length, but I couldn't bring myself to cut it down.
So, some of you will be like: IT'S DONE?! BUT I HAVE SOOOO MANY QUESTIONS STILL!
Good, because I will answer those questions in the sequel. It's going to be a good sequel full of laughs and puppies (warning: may not contain puppies).
Thank you! Next chapter will be out very soon (I mean it).
Mallards are very obnoxious. I have the scars to prove it.
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