Chapter 1 : Why I shouldn’t act impulsively.
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Finishing school is a very obscure concept. You look forward to it months before it arrives. You cannot wait, you want the freedom, you don’t think you’ll miss anything.
But then, closer to the fateful day, nostalgia kicks in. Suddenly you don’t want to leave anything and find yourself clutching to the banister of your four poster, crying, sure that you will never sleep in a bed so fine again.
On the very, very last day, the nostalgia mixes with excitement again. Which, when combined with the five shots of straight vodka you have downed at the graduation after-party, can make for a little bit of confusion.
“I’m going to miss this cushion so much, I want to throw it out the window,” I said solemnly, stroking the threadbare blue fabric fondly.
“Go to bed, Anastasia, you’re drunk,” Roxanne told me, laying her zigzagging mass of hair on my shoulder. It should be said that I couldn’t actually feel her head through the cushion of her hair. Her hair felt like I imagined a soft cloud would after being slightly electrocuted. Roxie had a lot of hair.
“I’m not, I’m just melancholic,” I answered smartly, going to take another sip of my three quarters rum one quarter butterbeer mix, and spilling half of it down my front. Good riddance, too, I don’t know what possessed me to mix those two drinks. “I’m going to miss everything so much! I’m going to miss the teachers, and learning about… magic ‘n shit. I’m going to miss going to Quidditch games… and breakfast! All that food…” I buried my head in Roxanne’s explosion of cloud, sure that nothing in life was going to be as great as my seven years at school here.
“What about the bad things?” James chipped in, his smirk a little softer than it usually was. A strange thing about James’ smirk was that it actually made him seem nicer. He smirked nicely.
“Bad things? James, point out one bad thing. Do it James. Do it now!”
“So drunk,” Roxanne muttered to herself, while James’ smirk widened.
“Detentions. You’ll never have to pay for your misguided actions in that way once you leave here, Ana. Also think of all the gits you don’t like. Never will you have to gaze upon their insufferable faces again.”
“I’m going to miss every git there is,” I answered, “especially you guys. Yes, you’re gits. I’m going to miss seeing you every day, you make me happy!”
“Ana, honey, we’re going camping for six weeks on Monday, you’ll be seeing way too much of us then,” Roxanne pointed out.
“And then, you know, we’re moving in together,” added James.
I was about to retaliate – with what, I don’t know – when Roxanne took her hair off my shoulder, and shot a glance at the other side of the room. It was a curious, furtive glance, like that of a hunting ferret. I knew exactly what it was she was looking at.
“Basil’s over there, I think I’m going to go staunch the area,” she said, standing up and brushing down her dress. “Catch you losers later.”
“Not again,” I groaned, curling up into the edge of the couch. James came over and tapped my bum to make me move. When I didn’t, he just sat behind my legs.
“How did you not see this coming? As soon as you walk into a party and see Basil and Rox not talking, you know they’re going to get it on.”
“It’s just so messy! They have the most confusing relationship ever.”
“It’s not a relationship.”
“That’s what’s so confusing, James. They do the dirty every now and then, slyly check eachother out every day, but won’t talk to eachother or admit they have a thing. What is wrong with these children?”
“Have they… you know,” James waggled his eyebrows, smirk widening. I laughed and shook my head.
“Not yet, I think Roxy’s scared to. But at the same time making out for a while before finding a dark room to get to third base in might be getting a tad repetitive.”
“I don’t think sex would change anything between them,” James said, a little sadly.
“Exactly. That’s why I think she’s scared.”
This situation of Roxanne’s was probably more tiring for her friends than it was for her. I just wanted to shake her, and shake Basil, and ask them why the fuck they weren’t together. It didn’t help that both of them where stubborn mules who thought themselves too tough to show their true feelings. Who knew what was going on in their handsome heads. Maybe they liked the way things were.
But I knew they didn’t. There was just nothing I could do.
“I’m quiet sleepy…” I murmured, closing my eyes a little. When I opened them again, James’ face was right up in front of mine and I could count every freckle on his nose. He was pulling a very frightening face.
“Did I scare you?”
“Yes I did. It’s time to get you to bed.” He stood, and pulled me up after him. “Come on.”
I had reached the tired stage of my drunkenness, and so followed him up the stairs to his room without much protest. Crashing in James’ bed after a night of drunken escapades was not new to me. In fact, seeing as James could not enter the girl’s dorm and insisted on seeing that I got to bed safely, it was a very common occurrence.
It was his belief that a dark spirit haunted the halls of the girls dorms at night, waiting to pounce on every solitary victim. It did not shake his belief that no one had actually been attacked by said spirit as of yet.
“You know, I do envy Roxanne a little,” I murmured, as we walked into the dark room filled with four posters and smelly boys clothes. I had also reached the mindless rambling stage of my drunkenness.
“Why’s that?” James steered me gently towards his bed, and I only stumbled on littered debris thrice.
“Because at least she’s getting some. I’m so sexually frustrated, I got turned on by clothed Quidditch players the other day.” I began to undress, as James sat down on his bed and chuckled.
“Why don’t you seduce some unsuspecting man-beast? Dress in provocative clothing, giggle a little. You girls have it easy.”
“I don’t want an unsuspecting man-beast,” I said, pouting. Now comfortably free of most of my clothing, I stretched out on the bed next to James.
“What do you want?” he asked, turning around so he was facing me. I shrugged sleepily.
“I want an attractive, willing man-beast. I want to flirt, and be unsure, and giddy when things go my way. I want some excitement. You know?”
“I’m a boy, Anastasia, all I want is the V.”
“Gross.” I sighed, and buried my face in my pillow. James and I had comfortable kind of friendship, one that made it ok for us to lye next to eachother in our underwear and talk about sex. It was comforting, to be able to do this with someone of the opposite gender.
“You know…” James sidled closer, something strange and suggestive in his eyes, “I’m attractive and willing.”
“It’s just an idea. You’re hot, I’m hot, we’re mature adults capable of separating the physical from the emotional. It will get rid of your sexual frustration until you find your ideal man-beast.”
I wasn’t sure if it was the alcohol or if James’ idea just made a whole lot of sense, but I wasn’t as surprised as I should have been. I was also very aware of how close he was, and how undressed we were, with a new kind of excitement I hadn’t experienced before. It was dark, but I could see the outline of his face – I must stress, the Potter’s do handsome well - and I could see his bare shoulder, and collarbone, and hipbone… all the bones you want to see. I could not, however, remember him taking his shirt off. That boy was efficient.
“You could be onto something Potter,” I said, rolling onto my stomach. I looked down at him, “I’m going to kiss you now.”
James seemed to agree with the statement. He showed me this by sliding his hand behind my neck and bringing my face down to his. It was odd, but nice to kiss him. He smelt like soap and tasted like vodka, and had his technique down.
“Perfect amount of tongue, my friend,” I said, pulling away. James followed, eyes closed, like he wanted the kiss to linger.
“Oh that is the least I can do with my tongue,” he murmured, opening his eyes and brushing his hand down my back, my hips, the side of my leg, “care to see what else I know?”
As I placed a hand in James’ hair, and closed my eyes, and bit my lip, I realised that this all felt very robotic and not natural at all. It was comforting to just lie next to him and be vaguely aware of every part of us that was touching. It was not however nice to be this intimate with someone I knew so well. I coughed slightly, to show my discomfort. James paused in his kissing of my neck – that did feel nice – to look down at me.
“No, good,” I said, nodding vigorously, “but good for someone else. This is us, we don’t kiss. I am simply now stopping us from doing something we’ll regret.”
“Ah.” James dropped back onto his side, and stared at me through eyes like a puppy. Man, James had some professional puppy dog eyes. They were the spitting image of the deep brown peepers of a wounded canine baby.
“Trust me you’ll be thanking me in the morning,” I told him happily, still very drunk but in my mind thinking I was very sober for making this decision.
“Will I though?”
“Yeah, you’ll be baking me cakes, showering me with gifts, that whole jazz.”
“I just thought…” James’ brow furrowed, “I forget. Anyway, night Wiles. Sleep tight.”
“Night my canine baby.”
“We just kissed, James, how drunk do you think I am?”
“So that was sufficiently weird.”
It was morning now, and I was sober with the slight stirrings of a hangover. The sun had woken me, half naked in James’ bed next to a half naked James. He was already awake and was on his back, staring at the roof of his four poster. When he felt me stir he looked over and said that thing about it being weird.
“Not weird enough,” I stated, crossing my hands behind my head.
“Clearly weird enough, seeing as we stopped.”
“True. So, hey, never mention this again?”
“All goes back to normal?”
A small smile, and a look in his eyes I couldn’t quiet name. It reminded me of Roxanne’s the morning after she’s kissed Basil and he sits five seats away from her at the breakfast table. “Sounds like a plan.”
“Do you think we have everything?”
“We know Roxie does, her list is fully checked off,” Gwendolyn was a sarcastic, sassy type of girl, who seemed able to pull off wearing lipstick every day in an effortless manner I envied.
“You won’t be making fun of my list when you’re borrowing my aloe vera,” Roxanne answered smartly, closing her trunk with a snap. Roxanne had already dressed for the seaside, in a colourful playsuit with sides that opened onto the crocheted side of her swimmer top. Gwen, on the other hand, was still in her docs and scrunched up socks. Her lipstick was dark today. Dark like her soul.
“Oh, aloe,” I groaned, “I forgot that. And I did remember coconut oil, so I’m going to need it.”
“You can borrow mine Ana,” Roxanne was a kind friend.
“Thanks darling. And full disclosure, if you said no I was just going to wait until you were asleep and use it then.”
Gwen and I had apparated over to Roxie’s with our suitcases, and were just waiting for her to finish packing so we could meet up with the boys and get to the beachside cottage we had rented out for the summer. I was looking forward to dropping our bags in the singular bedroom the cottage boasted of, and finding a secluded corner of beach I could skinny dip in.
“Say, Rox, you’re ok with Basil coming yeah?” James had invited the boy on a last minutes notice when Cooper had dropped out due to the early release of some online game he was keen to spend the summer playing. Our only other classmates we felt we could spend six weeks with were either Lupe or Bas. We had gone with Basil. James’ idea was that it would make Basil and Roxie finally speak words to eachother. My idea was that it would make Roxanne cry repeatedly.
“Of course I am. If we get drunk enough we’ll get it on and that’s fun,” she cocked her head to the side, her eyes innocent, “although my new plan is to make him want to shag me so I can be like nup. Just once, so he doesn’t think I’m so desperately keen for him.”
“But you are keen for him,” Gwen stated, popping a piece of gum I had no idea she had been chewing. Gwen was like an angry raven, and Roxanne like a spring goddess. I wondered what I was.
I was thinking something majestic, like a lioness.
“We don’t speak of my keenness,” Roxanne said reproachfully, “I am in denial of the keenness.”
“Whatever floats your boat, my cockroach” Gwen said with a shrug, “You don’t need boys, you have us. You guys ready to go?”
“Of course,” I answered, heaving the strap of my bag over my shoulder, “Hey, guys?”
They both looked at me expectantly.
“This summer is going to be magical.”
Gwen rolled her eyes. “So lame Ana.”
“Seriously,” Roxanne said, “don’t say shit like that.”
A/N: Greetings, fellow Potter-beasts. Faring well? I hope you enjoyed this. Even a little. Even if you just got through it. Even if the only reason you finished was because you are someone who can't leave things undone.
However, actual enjoyment is much better for everyone involved, I think :) A review would be lovely, even it it's just a smily face, or the letter y. I love hearing from anyone, so send out the love guys!
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