IF YOU HAVEN'T READ ANY OF THE PREVIOUS 11 CHAPTERS SINCE SEPT 11 2013 THEN
you probably won't completely understand what happens after this, and you'll miss some pretty awesome scenes that i added in late. so go on back and reread! it'll be worth it!
Sam was in shock. Nick was in denial. Freddy looked like he might cry.
“No, no, no. Not happening.”
“Why did the student ministry think this was a good idea?”
“This is dumb.”
“I don’t do dress robes, princess.”
“Make them stop it.”
We were in the common room on our way to breakfast, looking at the newly stapled notice on the bulletin board announcing the details of the Yule Ball, the traditional school dance that was taking place this Saturday.
I sighed. “Boys, I can’t stop the Yule Ball. And it isn’t that bad, trust me.”
Nick shrugged. “At least there’ll be hot chicks.”
I rolled my eyes.
Sam nodded. “That’s a given.”
Another eyeball orbit.
“But we have to find our own dates!” Freddy pointed out.
I laughed. “Won’t be a problem for you lovely Quidditch players—you’ve got a fan club, remember?”
“Oh, yeah. Oops.”
“I really don’t see what the big fuss is. It’s just a dumb dance,” Finn whispered in Charms second period.
“It’s not ‘just a dumb dance!” Dom hissed indignantly. “It’s the social event of the season? Right, Ella?”
“…I invoke the right to remain silent.”
“That’s my girl.”
“She’s not your girl, Finn McClintock. She’s my best friend.”
“Mine too.” Finn retorted. “Tell her, Ella.”
“No comment.” I said quietly, and I tried to tune out their argument, just like I had tuned out the past five arguments. In the past two days. I stared blankly at the blackboard while old Professor Flitwick outlined some wrist-twisting movement. I’ll just let these two resolve their own argument for once, I thought. See how it goes.
“You don’t own her Dominique. You can’t own people in general. That’s slavery.”
“Ella’s not my slave, you—”
“Dominique! Finn!” Flitwick squeaked suddenly. “No talking! Ten points from Gryffindor. Now back to this exhilarating, revolutionary wrist-twist thought up by…”
Finn glared at Dom. She glared back.
“Uchh. Thanks, Dominique,” he snarled.
Apparently not so well. Maybe I should go back to interfering.
“Ughh That Finn McClintock is such a jerk!” Dominique fumed as she stomped out of Charms. “He’s just so obnoxious and just… argh! Why are you even friends with him?”
I hurried after her down the hall to Defense.
“I mean, who does he think he is?” she asked the air, swinging the classroom door open. “Calling you his best friend—“
“He’s one of them.” I piped up. “I have… eight best friends. Nine, if you count boyfriends.”
Dom wasn’t listening.
“—and then completely blowing off the importance of the Yule Ball!” she continued, slamming her books onto her desk. “Surely you understand that it’s important, right?”
Professor Ciarlo entered the room, instructed us to practice some Shield Charms, and then sped back into his office. Important Auror business, as usual, he’d said. We’d have to teach ourselves.
Dom vented her feelings to a timid Rose while I partnered with the object of her aggression, Finn.
“Who does Dom think she is?” he seethed, trying to penetrate my weak Shield Charm. “She doesn’t own you. She’s always so protective and possessive. It’s annoying.”
“Sure.” My legs turned to jelly as his charm broke though. I cast up a new shield.
“—And the dance is so dumb.”
“Who even cares who wear what dress or who asks who to do or—“ He shot another hex at me.
“—such a big fuss over nothing.” Leg-locker jinx, twelve-o-clock.
“That’s nice, dear.”
Finn stopped ranting. “You’re not even listening to what I’m saying.”
He glared and then stuck out his tongue. I sighed in exasperation. Finn and Dom really needed to sort out what was going on between them. I couldn’t have my two best friends arguing all the time.
I walked out of Charms with Rose and Ryan, leaving Dom and Finn to bicker behind us.
“Ughhh, they’re so annoying!” Ryan moaned. “Can’t they just shut up and admit that they like each other already?”
“Exactly what I’ve been thinking this whole time!” Rose exclaimed.
“Really?” Ryan asked. He looked shocked to be sharing the opinions of the smartest witch in our year. “So I’m not that only one who found it completely obvious?”
“So I’m the only one who didn’t notice this?” I said in disbelief. “These guys are my best friends!No offense to you two. I love you both.”
“None taken,” Rose said. We turned off the main hallway and headed to Gryffindor Tower to grab our books for our next classes.
“Maybe if you took a step away from your relationship you’d notice what was happening right under your nose, princess,” Ryan said callously.
“Ryan!” Rose cried. “That’s so insensitive!”
He shrugged. “Well it’s true.”
Rose sighed, as if to say, what did I ever see in you?
“We need to do something about this,” she said decisively. “And it needs to be us three, as you two are their best friends and they trust you most. We need to get them together. Dom could tame Finn’s occasional insanity,”
“—and he could show her that it’s okay to be occasionally insane.” Ryan added.
Rose looked star-struck. “That’s… exactly what I was going to say. Almost word for word.”
My hopes rose for a moment. Maybe I could get two couples to become reality…
“Anyways, Ella and Ryan, are you in?
“Sure. But I think that you and Ryan should be the main two to do it. Dom knows me too well and would be able to see through whatever I tried in an instant.”
“Count me in.”
At lunch, Nick and Sam were concocting a long list of “Hogwarts’ Sexiest Chicks” to decide who to ask to the dance. Freddy was looking over their shoulders fretfully, The Standard Book of Spells, Grade Four still clutched in his hands from his last class.
“I’m never going to be able to pick just one to ask!” he said exasperatedly. “This is torture!”
“Just pick the hottest one on their list, dude.” Ryan suggested. “That’s what I do. Except I don’t have a list.”
His comments deflated all the hopes I ever had that he might be thinking about asking Rose.
“Yeah, Freddy, how about Tess Whirring? She’s smokin’,” Nick said.
“Wait, no, I want her,” Sam whined.
“You boys are idiots.” I spoke up. “Why don’t you pick someone that you actually know and is nice, or someone who isn’t the biggest ditz in the year or ‘smokin’ hot’.” Again, thinking of Rose Weasley.
“…so we should ask you?”
“Nope. I’ve got a date.” I said.
“Who?” Ryan asked.
“Uh, my boyfriend, duh.” I flicked his forehead. Did this guy really just hold a mildly intelligent conversation with Rose and I two periods ago? “Maybe the biggest ditz would be the best match for you.”
I met up with Chase during afternoon break, a 15 minute stretch of free time before the last period of the school day.
“Hey, babe,” he said, lightly kissing me hello.
“Day been good?”
“Yeah,” I said, “except I totally bombed a History of Magic quiz last period. I didn’t have time to study because of Quidditch.”
“Mmhmm. Question- you’re taking me to the Yule Ball, right?”
“Oh, about that…”
I froze. “What?”
“Well I’m leaving Thursday to go visit my family over in America, so I’m not gonna be here. Sorry, babe.”
“Oh, it’s fine,” I said, plastering on a smile. “I’ll just find someone else. No big deal.”
…It was a big deal.
“What do you mean you’re not going to the Yule Ball with your boyfriend?” Dom asked incredulously on our way down to dinner.
“Like I said the last five times, Chase is going to be out of town.” I sighed. It wasn’t that difficult of a concept to grasp.
“But he’s your boyfriend.”
“Yes, that’s a nice observation.”
“Then who are you going to go with?” Dom wondered. We sat down in the Great Hall. It was spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, one of my favorites.
I shrugged. “Probs just one of the boys. A total ‘just as friends’ deal. You?”
“I don’t know yet. Maybe one of my friends from Charms Club.”
“What about going with Finn?” I asked carefully.
“Ugh, no, that would be disastrous,” Finn said, disgusted, plunking down next to us on the bench. He helped himself to some pasta.
“Come on guys, you’ll have fun!” I pleaded.
Dom looked at me in shock. “Were you even present during second period today? And if you’re so set on finding Finn a date, why don’t you go with him yourself?”
“She’s going with Chase, Dom. You of all people should know that.” Finn said.
“Actually, she isn’t. Chase isn’t gonna be here for the Ball. And you of all people should know that.” She glared at him. Finn narrowed his eyes and entered the staring contest for a moment, then dropped his gaze to his pasta.
“So Ella Levine is in need of a date?” Sam approached me the next morning in the common room.
“She should check out one of these fabulous options,” his twin added, gesturing to himself and Sam. They smiled big goofy smiles at me and batted their eyelids. I laughed.
“Or,” Freddy appeared from behind them, “you could choose me to save yourself from the potential of being serenaded by a chorus of crappy rhymes.”
“Or,” Ryan said, coming down the stairs with the rest of the team, “she could go with me so I wouldn’t have to be limited to just one girl.”
“Or,” Finn added, “you could go with me, your very best friend, and we could have the loveliest time staging date-destroying James Bond missions.”
“Or,” Al said, “we could stop harassing Ella, let her choose for herself, and go downstairs to eat breakfast.”
Over the course of the remainder of the week, I was constantly pressured by my teammates to accompany them to the dance. I received a confusing array of amusing enchanted objects, subtle threats, and pestering questions. Nick and Sam went so far as to burst in my History of Magic class on Thursday and serenade me. I laughed through the whole thing.
Ella, Ella, is looking so stella.
She’s golden like a bell-a,
All the fellas say hella.
She’s betta then Cinderella,
So we’re singing A’ capella.
Come to the ball with us Ella,
Or we’ll give ya salmonella…
During our last period Transfiguration class (only minutes after the conclusion of my dreadful serenade), Rose and Ryan updated me on the situation with Finn and Dom. Rose and I had finished our Transfiguration exercises and were helping Ryan struggle through the last one—vanishing the object—his weakest subject. The classroom was full of the squawks of twenty toucans sick of being Transfigured, so we were free to speak as loud as we’d like. Apparently they’d gotten Finn and Dom to grudgingly agree to go to the dance together.
“What!?!” I exclaimed. “How much happened when I ran to the bathroom?”
“Well,” Rose began, “we basically told them that their constant squabbling was driving you over the edge, and they decided to go together to make you feel better.”
“What she said.” Ryan said.
“So that’s why I was getting shot death glares all though lunch from those two.” I reflected.
“Minor side effect.” Ryan said dismissively. “Mission Accomplished, right?”
“Right.” Rose said. “Now back to your toucan…”
“ELLA LEVINE, YOU OWE ME BIG TIME!” Dom roared in our dorm after dinner. She was positively livid. I gulped.
“I’m going to be spending the most important night of the season stuck with a total asshole who doesn’t give two shits about the Yule Ball! Do you know how hard this is going to be for me?”
“I’m so, so sorry, Dom, but you’ll survive,” I said timidly.
“You bet I will—you’re gonna be stuck with me.”
“Well you and whoever you end up going with are gonna double date with us so we don’t claw each others’ eyes out. Finn and I decided on it.” She spat, practically choking on the word ‘date.’
I was quiet for a moment, sinking onto my bed. Then I rose suddenly and tugged open my trunk, grabbed some clothes, and sped to the bathroom to change.
“What the hell are you doing, Ella?” Dom shouted through the door. “I’m in the middle of a social crisis that you practically brought onto me, and you’re locking yourself in the bathroom?”
I pulled open the door and began hunting for my Quidditch cleats.
“Listen, Dom,” I began pulling one of my shoes out from under the bed, “I’m really sorry that you’re so upset about all this, but you’re the one who told him that you’d go. If it makes you so upset, just go tell Finn you’re not gonna go with him, and move on. You don’t have to do this for me. Seriously.” I found my other shoe and stomped my feet into them. “So why don’t you think on that. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m in need of some nice fresh air to clear my head. I’ve got an important decision to make. I need to decide which one of my friends I’m gonna take to the dance.”
Before Dom could say another word, I was out the door.
I went out towards the pitch. It wasn’t too cold out and it wasn’t snowing—there was just a thick layer of frost all over everything. The sun was just beginning to set. It was probably the best set of conditions that I could ask for. A nice mental conversation began to play out in my mind.
Who to bring, who to bring— now that’s the question.
Hmm… let’s see… Nick and Sam serenaded me this afternoon. That was a nice gesture. But how could I just pick one of those two?
I grabbed my broom from the cupboard behind the announcers’ box and kept walking.
And if I go with Ryan, I’ll be able to set him up with Rose, which would be good for both of them.
I turned into the pitch, and noticed a familiar figure crouched in the middle of the field, bent over a crate of Quidditch supplies.
“Al!” I called out, waving him over.
“Whatcha doing out here?”
“Just testing out a few new moves,” he replied smoothly. “Wanna help?”
“Sure!” I clapped my gloved hands together.
A moment later we were up in the air. I spun a few loop-the-loops to get energized.
Al was having me play the defender, so basically my job was to ram into him and take the Quaffle if possible.
Key word “if.”
It was impossible. He was so good. Sometimes I just watched, entranced, while he sped past. His Quaffle-handling skills were incredible. No matter how much I lunged, my hands just swatted at empty air. And don’t get me started on his maneuverability. Insane. It was like watching a lean mean Quidditch machine instead of a sixteen-year-old boy.
“Enjoying your eye candy?” Al smirked, catching me gazing at him after he scored a goal. He flew over next to me.
I blushed. “Hush. You’re just really good at Quidditch, that’s all.”
“Well thanks… Remind me why you came out here again?”
I blushed again. Stupid face. “Err, just to clear my mind. I’ve gotta decide who I’m gonna take to the Yule Ball.”
“Oh. And the lucky bachelors are…”
“The usual suspects. Ryan, Freddy, and the twins. Who are you taking?” I asked, eager to push the subject away from my own romantic struggles.
“Oh, you know…no one.” Al stared at the ground below.
“What do you mean ‘no one’?” I asked incredulously. “That’s ridiculous. You’re Al Potter! Chaser extraordinaire, victorious team captain, and the son of The Boy Who Lived! There’s no way that no one in the school is interested in you.”
“No, it’s not that,” Al said hurriedly. “No, I’ve been asked like five times a day for the past week.” He grinned sheepishly. “It’s pretty annoying actually.”
“And you’ve said no to all of them!?!”
“Well, yeah. I only knew like half of them, and none of them were people I wanted to take as my date.”
“So then who do you want to take?”
Al paused. “You promise you won’t tell the guys?”
What’s the big deal? “Of course I promise.”
“Ok. Don’t laugh.”
I crossed my heart. Al took a deep breath.
“It’s Daisy Abrams.”
Daisy Abrams huh? The most popular, perfect person on the planet. I felt my heart sink. Poor, poor Al, chasing after a perfect girl he has absolutely no chance with. I wanted to laugh. I wanted to cry. I ended up shoving my fist in my mouth to stifle a moan, and said as convincingly as I could, “Well that’s… interesting.”
Al looked hurt. “Ella come on. What’s wrong with Daisy? I really like her.”
“It’s just that she’s such an… unattainable standard, you know? It’s like she’s just too perfect. Too sweet. Too girly.”
Al wasn’t convinced. “Well I think she’s great,” he said haughtily.
“And that’s just fine. So why don’t you ask her?”
“I did. She’s already going with someone.”
“Oh,” I say in a small voice. That’s awkward. Yeesh.
He shrugs. “I’m fine.”
He’s not. He stares at the ground. I feel guilty. Like this sensitive side to Al is something indecent that I’m not supposed to see. It’s the same way I felt talking to him before our first Quidditch match this year. Al just projects such an image of confidence, so whenever I see him like this it’s like Shield your eyes! You aren’t supposed to see this!
“Well, good luck with your romantic woes, I suppose,” I say lamely. God, I suck at this feeling stuff.
“You too, kangaroo.”
A rhyme war, huh?
“See you soon, err… macaroon.” I tilted the front of my broom towards the ground and began to descend.
Al laughed. “Good night, rainbow kite!” He shouted.
I waved crazily from the ground, then turned and sped back to the castle with a plan to solve both our problems.
Thanks for sticking with me, kiddos!
I know I haven't been writing a lot lately, but hopefully the cold weather will encourage me to stay inside in front of my laptop (hahaha) this story DEFINITELY isn't abandoned-- i'm just distractable.
On a slightly different note... would you guys at all be interested in some CIs (character images) drawn by yours truly? let me know in your fabulous review of this chapter!
also let me know if you have any cool ideas for the impending yule ball and inevitable drama (maybe i'll make it canon!!!) i love hearing what you have to say-- it truly makes my day!
AT LAST... IT IS FINISHED.
(the chapter. not the fic gosh no)
it just took me... four months? wow. speed writing to the max.
Hope you like and make sure you review!
another A/N (bc I just can't shut up) What do you think of Nick and Sam's serenade? I had a lot of fun with the rhyming dictionary... And what do you think Daisy's going to be like?