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Chapter 12 : The one with gran gran, snowball fights and feelings
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At parties, non-benders did things like the conga and the Macarena; benders had their own famous songs and dances too. Mum was teaching Al and I my dances, Al being my partner as my actual partners wouldn’t be here until the party (sweet relief!). Dad was watching sullenly, keeping a careful eye on Al’s hands and where he was putting them. I almost scolded him; we were dancing, his hands are meant to be on my waist! Its not like they’ve gone any lower, Al is too much of a gentleman for that! I doubted that would help though; so I kept my mouth shut. I did scowl at him a few times over Al's shoulder though. Just so he knew what I was thinking.
“Vida, can you show me your air bending dance please? Your father can do this one with you; it might wipe that sour expression off his face” Mum said, and I giggled as dad looked at her, offended. The air bending dance was quite fast but since air benders weren’t all touchy feely (I’ll say mostly here, because let’s be honest- I do love hugs) we didn’t touch throughout the whole thing. It was air bending moves, very graceful and light, and I found it very easy.
Mum turned on the music and I got lost in it, feeling graceful as I always did when bending. I was free when I was off the floor. I felt a little sad when the dance was over.
“Now water” Mum said. Water was like a contemporary dance; there was a lot of hands involved. Lifting, pointed feet; I liked the dance, not my potential partner. I didn’t want any of those water tribe boys near me. Dad could lift me easily (he was not allowing Al to do this dance with me- ‘too touchy-feely’ he says), and mum helped me by telling me how to stretch my arms and legs during each lift. During a lift, I pulled a face at Al, who snickered quietly. I was rather pleased with myself. Mum told me to concentrate.
“Oh, I like this one!” I squeaked. Fire was a salsa dance, it reminded me of flamenco. Fast paced, sharp; fiery would be a good word to use. Dad couldn’t do the fire bender dance at all but mum was great, and she danced with me happily. We laughed at dad as it ended.
“Okay Vida, this is the only one you struggle with; earth” Mum said. Being an air bender, earth was my polar opposite; plants tried to eat me, I fell over a lot, and in general gravity and I didn't get along. The dance was hard to do for me. I couldn’t get the steps right, and it didn’t help that neither of my parents could do it either, and Al was unfamiliar with it. I huffed, making the glass doors fly open and a flurry of snow drifted in.
“We have time Vida, you’ll get it” Mum reassured. I really hope so.
We practiced all day and mum decided that to celebrate non-benders being at the party, Al and I should do a dance too. It was a nice dance, slow and a mix of air and water; there were lifts and dips and stuff like that. Practising with Al, it made me nervous. We would be very close on the dance floor, more intimate than best friends normally were, was that okay? I wondered what Al thought of all this. He seemed happy. I was kind of happy about it too. It worried me a little.
“Albus, you have to look at her during the dance; a lot of eye-contact creates the perfect effect” Mum advised and he stopped looking at his feet and focused on me instead. His eyes were even brighter than usual; such a nice shade of green, hidden behind his glasses. I could almost see him counting, nodding a tiny bit and I smiled, knowing he was trying to get this just right. He lifted me gently and my air bending helped, before we carried on with our steps. I really liked this dance.
Mum cooked us a lovely dinner and we ate happily, me a tiny bit nervous, as the place was decorated ready for tomorrow. The party started at nine, and lasted three days. Three days of hardly non-stop dance, drink and food. At least if I messed up the dance everyone had two more days to get drunk enough to forget about it. Everyone was chatting and laughing, my parents were being very nice to our guests and were in high-spirits; a good sign this close to the party.
“So, boys, what are your intentions with my girls?” Grandpa asked conversationally, setting his fork down and resting his head on his clasped hands, looking mischievous. Both Emma and I spat out our mouthful of food.
“Grandpa!” I spluttered. He chuckled.
“You don’t need to worry Vida, I’ve already interrogated Albus. He was very honest; I approve” He said, and Al flushed, looking down at his plate.
“You two however, I haven’t had the chance to talk to. You’re dating Nikita, aren’t you?” Grandpa asked James. Nikita looked like she wanted nothing more than to sink through the floor and disappear. She couldn’t tell my grandpa to stop; no one did that, it was very disrespectful. I had a feeling Grandpa was using this fact for his entertainment at the moment. If anyone ever tells you that master air benders are all serious, do not believe them. They are worse than small children and butterfly kangaroos.
“I am sir” James replied easily. He'd probably had this conversation with a lot of girlfriends' family; its no secret that James had dated a lot of people.
“I hope you treat her well. You know that I am a master air bender; if you hurt her, I’ll hurt you twice as much” Grandpa warned. James nodded.
“I understand sir” He said.
“And you better keep your nose clean too Hugo. I would threaten you, but then you’ve meddled with the avatar; no threat I can give you could match her” Grandpa told him. Hugo nodded.
“Got it. She made the giant squid fly, I’ll be sure not to mess with her” Hugo muttered, and I giggled, whilst Emma looked mortified, and refused to meet anyone's eyes for the rest of dinner. Hugo found this hilarious.
Once we’d finished dinner Mum ordered us up to bed to get a good night’s sleep ready for tomorrow. Al and I headed to my room, and he waited outside whilst I changed into my pyjamas, and then we swapped.
“My shirt” he said quietly. I blushed and tugged at the bottom of the weird sister’s T-shirt.
“Sorry. It is really comfortable” I told him. He chuckled and sat down in the bed we put up for him. I thought for a moment as he shut off the light, before crawling in next to him. Even though he'd only just lay down, it was like a furnace, as Al was always so war. Was it really bad that I almost considered not leaving? Maybe.
“Vida? W-what are you doing?”
“I have a question” I said simply, enjoying the warmth and not liking how cold my bed would be from being empty all day.
“Couldn’t you have asked me from your bed?” He asked.
“Uh maybe, but then I would’ve felt like I was talking to myself, and that’s no good” I replied. I heard him laugh a little.
“Alright. What’s your question?” He asked. I stared at the ceiling for a moment. Well, it was that general direction; but the room was so dark that all I could see was blackness. It was comforting, almost.
“What did grandpa ask you? He said he approved, and that’s not easy to do. What did you say?” I asked quietly.
“Um it was nothing really I just- he was just making sure I- I was treating you right” He stammered. Something told me he was lying. He seemed nervous, but I just couldn’t figure out why.
“You are Al, no need to sound so nervous, I’m only curious. Did he say anything else?” I asked.
“He said that your gran gran liked me, although I haven’t met any gran gran. I’ve not even seen her” He told me. I sighed.
“That’s because she died when I was younger. Me and grandpa can visit the spirit world and talk to her. I think she’s waiting for him. Most disappear to somewhere else but she- she stayed”
“You can do that?”
“Of course, if its someone really special. If I died tomorrow- probably from dancing or lack of sleep- I’d wait for you” I said honestly.
“Wow Vida that’s- really sweet of you. And a little creepy. Would you be following me around like a weird ghost?” He asked, and I giggled. Silly Al; I'd have to explain about the spirit world one day, it was a fascinating topic.
“No! I’d be able to see you, but you wouldn’t see me. It would be very lonely. I hope I don’t die that long before you, it would be horrible. But enough talk about death. The party starts at nine which means mum will probably start getting me ready at seven; that gives us all day to have some fun. What do you fancy?” I asked. He thought for a moment, and I admired him through the dark patiently, his face lit by the light that was coming through the bottom of my door from the landing, very dim. It went out a moment later, and I heard footsteps, probably Grandpa's, pass by my door.
“I’m not sure; I’ve never been in an air bender’s home before. We’ll have to decide in the morning” He said, and I nodded.
“Yeah, that would be best. Night Al. Where’s your forehead? I can’t see a thing” I said, and he chuckled. I decided to just guess and kissed something, though I wasn’t sure what part of him it was. Probably his nose or something, although it felt too soft to be a nose. Eyelid maybe? I’ll have to ask tomorrow. I stood up and felt my way to my own bed.
I felt asleep quite quickly after that.
“WAKE UP LAZY BUTT WE HAVE THINGS TO DO!” I cried, pouncing on Al the moment I woke. He grumbled.
“Like what?” he asked.
“Good point. Um, it snowed really hard last night, so we can have a snowball fight!”
“Okay. Five more minutes”
“Please?” He asked, peeking out from under his covers with two bleary puppy eyes. Damn, he got me. Why do Puppy eyes have such a big effect on me? This isn’t fair!
“Fine. Five more minutes. I’ll be meditating if you need me” I told him, and kissed his forehead before heading off to the meditation room. I found Grandpa already inside. The candles were lit and my mat was already laid out on the floor, so I sat down cross-legged and placed my fists together. I felt the shift that came with entering the spirit world almost immediately, and even though I never re-opened my eyes, my vision was back; I was surrounded by thick fog. I turned automatically, to see the person I had come here for smiling at me.
“Hello dear, how lovely to see you so happy again” Gran gran greeted, and I smiled.
“Thanks gran gran. Are you talking to grandpa? He’s meditating too right now” I said, and she nodded.
“Yes, we’re talking about you actually. He’s telling me all about tonight. I wish I was there to see my little duckling turn into that swan I know she is”
“That’s very cheesy gran gran” I pointed out. She chuckled.
“I know dear. What’s also very cheesy is you and your relationship with Albus”
“How so?” I asked curiously.
“Oh Vida, there is so much nomad in you. For a girl so in tune with herself and the spirit world, you don’t even see how you feel”
“I don’t know what you mean gran gran. Al is my best friend, has been for six years” I told her. She chuckled.
“You don’t look at your best friend the way you look at him Vida. And you don’t dance with a best friend the way you dance with him. Your feelings have crept up on you” She told me wisely. I felt my cheeks go hot.
“I still don’t understand” I admitted, though I had a feeling I might be starting to.
“You’re certainly a nomad Vida, and I was too. I didn’t think of having any romantic feelings toward anyone. When I first met your grandfather I didn’t know what those feelings were, because I had never explored them before. It took me a while to realise that I had feelings for him. I think you’re realising that you might be harbouring some for Albus right now” She told me, and I stared at her, stunned. So that’s what it meant?! All those butterflies and my fingers feeling warm and feeling all fuzzy and random daydreams about him and broom closets, this is what it was? Whoa, that is terrifying.
“How did I not know?” I asked thoughtfully, the calm of the spirit world washing away any fear about feelings that I had before I even felt them. Gran gran laughed.
“Child, air benders aren’t born to know. But we learn. I hope you learn in the best way Vida”
“Thank you gran gran. I’ll have to go now, I can hear Al calling me”
Gran gran gave me a knowing smile.
“Good luck tonight my swan, and merry Christmas!”
“Vida?” Al asked, and I looked up, the spirit world gone and replaced once again by the meditation room.
“You up?” I asked cheekily. He smiled and ruffled his hair. I turned away, a little red. Feelings were so weird.
“Yeah, and so’s everyone else, and they’re up for a snowball fight. You in?”
“Am I- do you even know me Al Potter? Of course I’m bloody in!” I cried and stood, walking with him out of the room and downstairs, where everyone was waiting on the couches.
“Well guys, door’s that way” I said, gesturing to the front door. They got up and charged outside, and I grabbed my hat, coat, scarf and gloves before joining them. What? I loved bundling up in the snow! I charged after the others, but no sooner did I run three steps, I slipped on ice, and hit the floor. Emma laughed loudly.
“Whoops! That was meant for ‘Kita” She called. I got up and floated upward and off the ice.
“Not fair. You can’t freeze the floor” I complained. Emma grinned and flicked her wrists, and the snow on the road rose like a wave, crashing down on Al and I.
“Jesus Em, really necessary? I thought I already told you ages ago that I didn’t want to freeze my arse off!” He complained, and I giggled.
“Hey, if I can’t freeze the floor, I can make snow waves. Fair is fair” She shrugged.
“This really isn’t fair” Al muttered. I nodded, and looked around at the snow.
“Now I’m no water bender, but I’m pretty sure I could make a blizzard for Em. What do you think Al?” I asked him. He grinned.
“Go for it”
I nodded and began bending, the wind lifting the snow and turning it into a swirling mass. I pushed it toward Emma, who bended it a little, however it still hit her full force, knocking her to her arse on the floor. Hugo, Nikita, Al and James roared with laughter. She scowled.
“I’ll get you back for that!” She cried. A snowball sailed over my head and struck her in the stomach.
“Whoops, looks like I’m on your hit list too!” Al called. Another snowball hit Nikita.
“Oh dear, my hand slipped!” James said. Nikita picked up a handful of snow. I did the same; best to arm yourself.
Several snowballs flew at once, one hitting me right in the face and almost knocking my hat off. I threw mine randomly and hoped for the best, because lord knows I wouldn’t hit an actual target. A thumping noise told me that I had hit someone, and that was good news. Bad news was that I hit James, and as a chaser, he was good with his throwing. He got me right in the face, and this time my hat did fall off, and was immediately buried under another one of Emma’s snow waves.
“My hat!” I cried. Oh spirits, that was my favourite hat! I looked around for it to no avail, and pouted. Emma would pay for burying my hat. I began piling up some snow...
After an hour, it became evident that you didn’t challenge Emma to a snowball fight. We returned to the house soaked and freezing. Nikita tried to dry us off with her fire bending, but she didn’t want to burn us, so we were all still a little snowy and more than a little cold. Emma was laughing in triumph as we collapsed on the sofa, shivering and undoubtedly defeated. I was shivering more than the others, as I was the most soaked (James was really good at throwing snowballs) and Al took pity on me, letting me curl up next to him as he rubbed my arms.
“You kids look freezing, how’s about some hot chocolate?” Mum suggested from nowhere, and we nodded.
“Oi, Potter, move those hands or lose them” Dad called, and both Al and James jumped. Not sure where James had his hands, but Al was only touching my arms. Dad didn’t seem to care, he just let out a whistle as he walked by, and Emma giggled.
“Your dad doesn’t half make me laugh Vida” She said.
“Must be where I get it from then” I replied, teeth chattering. I snuggled up into Al’s chest, because I couldn’t feel my fingers and he was like a furnace (really? How are you so warm, we've just been outside in frozen water!), and Jinjin joined me, whilst Breezy curled around Nikita’s legs and let out a strange purr.
“Al looks like a teddy bear like that, doesn’t he?” Hugo asked, and Emma chuckled.
“Definitely. A cuddly fluffy bear” Emma agreed. I giggled as Jinjin made himself comfortable.
“Or a pygmy puff” Hugo suggested.
“Yeah, I think that really suits him. Albus the pygmy puff!” Emma grinned.
“Shut up, both of you” He grumbled.
“Don’t worry Al, Vida loves Pygmy puffs, don’t you Vida?” Nikita teased.
“Oh yeah, I adore pygmy puffs!” I said. Jinjin squeaked “And butterfly kangaroos, can’t forget those perfect little creatures”
Jinjin’s squeak sounded very much like approval that time. Al chuckled.
“guys sit up, have a hot chocolate to warm you up” Mum said, carrying a tray of steaming mugs.
“Thanks mum” I said gratefully and took a mug, taking a sip and feeling much better as the liquid warmed my insides. Emma was bending her hot chocolate into her mouth, the cheater. Everyone took a mug, and we were silent for a moment, just sipping our hot chocolates happily. I leaned on Al and rolled my eyes as Jinjin hopped onto my shoulder and tried to have some of my drink, only to find it too hot. He squeaked and shook his head.
“Well, that’s what you get for trying to have human food all the time you daft sod” I told him, and Al chuckled.
“Human food is too nice to leave, even for a butterfly kangaroo” He said, stroking Jinjin’s ears. Jinjin left my shoulder and hopped back over to Al, and I tutted at how he changed his favourites so quickly. Its not like I’ve had him for six years or anything.
“So Vida, have you got your dances done?” Emma asked. I could tell she was smug about skipping hers thanks to that blizzard, and I scowled.
“Yes thank you very much. I don’t know how I’ll do it in that dress, but yes I’ve got the dances all done” I replied moodily.
“Know who you’re dancing with yet?” She continued.
“No, I don’t find out until tonight” I huffed.
“You don’t like any of the water bending boys our age do you?”
“Would you shut up? You’re making me feel worse about this” I complained, and she snorted behind her hot chocolate. Smug cow, I bet she made that blizzard so that she didn’t have to do the opening dances. I wish I’d have thought of that; I could’ve made a tornado and had it sink all the water tribe boy’s boats. Ha, that would show them.
“You know, I bet they’re going to kick themselves when they see you this year, all done up. They were horrible to you every year because you looked goofy; ha, can’t wait to see ‘em now” Nikita mused, and I giggled.
“I hope their jaws fall off their faces because if your make-over skills are anything to go by- you’ll work a miracle and I’ll be a stunner” I said.
“you don’t need a miracle for that Vida” Al muttered quietly. My face suddenly felt very hot, and the hot chocolate had nothing to do with it.
I hope no one noticed.
Hello lovelies, how are you! So, things are moving forward and the party is on its way! Tell me what you think in a review, as they make my day!
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