Chapter 5 : Making a Move
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“YOU’RE LATE, JACK!”
“BOTH OF YOU, SHUT THE FUCK UP!” screams Arianne, a short, carrot-top girl in our dorm. Clark and I both turn to her, eyebrows raised. Her pale, freckled skin goes dark red.
“Um, I mean...” the usually mild-tempered girl starts, but never finishes. Monica, her best friend, grabs her by the elbow and tows her out, glaring at us. However sweet plump little Arianne is, her stick-thin dark-haired best friend is just as resentful.
“C’mon, Ari,” Monica mutters as they disappear down the staircase.
“Temper much?” Laela, the fifth and last member of our dorm mumbles sleepily, rolling over in bed.
“Late night?” Clark says slyly. Laela lifts one chestnut-brown eyebrow at her and snorts.
“You know it,” she says, and puts her head back down immediately. Clark and I exchange a humor-filled glance. Laela is often- ahem- out all night and sometimes- ahem- doesn’t do much sleeping at all.
Not that she’s a whore, per se.
Just a slut.
She’s pretty cool, though.
“So big day, huh?” I hiss to Clark as I roll out of bed and scramble into my wrinkled, stained uniform. Clark huffs and murmurs a few spells. My uniform smooths out and reverts to its original colors. I make a face.
“Straflis,” she waves her wand at my hair, which flattens into a straight, shiny blonde waterfall.
“Very nice,” I flick it over my shoulder and grin at my best friend; I’ve always been terrible at those little beautification spells.
“Put on your makeup, we’ve got shit to discuss,” Clark orders, and I only then notice that she’s dressed, made up, and looking perfect.
Just to screw with her, I say,
“Yeah, we do. I want to talk to you about Fred.”
Clark glares murderously at me.
“We’ve gone a month since you told me about his thing,” God, she makes his feelings sound like a tumor. “And we haven’t talked about it since. What makes you think I want to now?” she hisses as I run to the bathroom and pull out my toothbrush.
“You said we have shit to discuss!” I argue, globbing on toothpaste and sticking the brush in my mouth.
“I was talking about you finally making a move on Al!”
“Spit out the toothpaste first Jack, for the love of god.”
I spit it out.
“You’re going to hell.”
“Oh, fuck off.”
“I said I don’t want to make a move on Al! It’s too soon!”
“It’s been a month! Everyone is waiting for you, and you’ve got plenty of backup! What’s the matter with you?”
I sigh and turn to look at my best friend.
“I’ll tell you at breakfast,” I murmur, jerking my head towards the obviously eavesdropping Laela. Yeah, she’s cool, but that doesn’t mean I want her nosing around in my personal business.
“Fine, I’ll go back to sleep,” she mutters somewhat resentfully, and rolls over so she’s not facing us.
“Just don’t be late to Transfiguration, Thomas just about killed you last time,” Clark reminds her, throwing my shoes at me and strutting out the door.
Always has to make an exit, that girl does.
I throw my toothbrush back in the drawer and slip on black ballet flats before running after my best friend, waving at Laela as I go.
Yeah, that’s a typical morning.
“So tell me now. Why are you so hesitant to make a move on Al?”
I turn to Clark and bite my lip, hesitant. Yes, we’re alone at breakfast, so now is a good time, but I still don’t particularly want to put my insecurities into words.
“I just...” I sigh and gulp down my orange juice. Liquid courage.
“C’mon, love. Spill it,” Clark orders, but she’s talking in an unusually nice voice, so I decide to humor her.
“I don’t want a boyfriend. The thought of having one makes me feel like... like...” I struggled for the right word, until I finally found it. “Claustrophobic. The thought of having anyone get that close to me, literally and figuratively, makes me feel claustrophobic.”
“Ohh, so this is about your whole screwed-up-family-issues thing.” Clark nods knowingly, and my mouth drops open.
“My what?” Who else knows about my secret insecurities?
“Oh, put some food in it,” my best friend snarls, and shoves a pancake into my gaping mouth, whole.
“How many times do I have to say it, swallow then talk.”
Then I yell.
In a whisper.
Whatever, close enough.
“What in the name of god are you talking about?”
“You’re going to hell.”
“I know I am!” I snap, not in the mood.
“Oh, get real Jack, of course I know that your family has messed you up. They suck, of course you’re screwed. And then there’s Jacob...” Clark pauses to give me a sympathetic look. Yes, she’s a totally insensitive bitch, but despite that she feels how much I still hurt over my brother. “And I’m your best friend, so of course I know.”
That makes sense.
My family- my fucking terrible family- has screwed me into an unbelievable mess of insecurities and thin-as-paper walls. And Clark, as my best friend and the one person in the world I tell everything to, would easily be able to figure that out, probably even before I did.
“Who else knows?” I ask carefully. That’s the important question, really.
“No one, don’t worry love. I would never tell.” She winks at me, and I roll my eyes.
“Well, thanks,” I say begrudgingly.
“Anytime,” the girl flips that inky hair over one shoulder and digs into her eggs and bacon.
“So I hear you’ll be making your move on our dear Albus today,” Grant says smoothly as he slides in beside me. Lars, who’s accompanying him, gives me a quick nod and winks flirtatiously at Clark, who totally ignores him. Scorp and Peter, still at the Slytherin table, appear to be trying to set a record for most sausage eaten in one sit-down.
“Yup. Got any tips?” I ask dully. Fleshing out my issues hasn’t made me feel any less nauseous about attempting to seduce the one person I find more annoying than any other.
“Dry-humping always helps,” Lars grins mischievously at me and takes a forkful of Clark’s eggs. He only just avoids being stabbed by her fork.
“Oh, stop being so ribald,” Grant tells his younger friend as he drinks my orange juice.
“Why thank you.” Grant twists into an awkward little half-bow in his seat.
“No, but seriously,” I insist. “Tell me what to do.”
“Oh, just make out with him,” Lars says. He’s actually serious. “That’ll get your point across.”
“No, do not listen to that idiot,” Clark rolls her eyes and literally pushes Lars off the bench. He hits the ground with an exaggerated umph.
“So tell me what to do!”
“Alright, listen to the master,” Grant begins. Someone snorts. “Shut up, Clark. Okay Jack, here’s what you do. Just giggle at whatever he says, even if it’s totally stupid. Find excuses to touch his arm. Play with your hair.”
“I know how to flirt, Grant, Clark’s been having me do that for a month.”
“Fine then. At the end of class today, just full-on ask him to Hogsmeade.”
“Al, would you like to go to Hogsmeade with me? Just like that.”
“Do I have to say it in that high-pitched mocking voice?”
“No you do not.”
“I think I can manage that.”
“Of course you can!” Grant says, slapping me heartily on the back. I nearly choke on my juice.
Then the bell rings.
“Knock ‘im dead, Jack!” Grant says cheerily.
“Good luck.” Clark’s voice is wry.
“You coming, or what?” Lars tugs my attention aways from the two of them, who are now heading to Transfiguration together.
“Yeah,” I answer vaguely, stumbling after my friend. He rolls his dark, attractive eyes and links his arms with mine, pulling me steadily along.
“Don’t stress yourself out, mate. If he doesn’t want to date you, then he’s a blind, deaf, completely insane mother fucker.”
“Thanks... I think.”
“Anything for you, Jack!” Lars smiles too big, and with that he pulls me into the crowd, dragging me inexorably towards the very thing that I am dreading.
“Jack, hello!” Albus Potter greets me with a smile when I run up to him after class. He’s been much nicer to me ever since I started to flirt constantly with him.
I force myself to give a short, idiotic little giggle, then continue on, trying to remember the exact words that Grant gave me.
“Al, would you like to go to Hogsmeade with me?” Just like that.
I wait for a second, nervous and desperately trying not to appear so. This is the first time I’ve ever asked anyone out. This will also be the first time I’ve ever been on a date.
If he even says yes.
He’s being quiet. He looks surprised; his almond-shaped green eyes- like his father’s, or so I’ve heard- are wide. But he doesn’t look upset, or awkward.
I think that’s a good sign.
I grin. Success.
Step one, complete.
Six months to go.
“So where are you meeting him, again?” Clark asks for the third time as she tosses an orange blouse at me.
“I don’t want to look like a pumpkin!” I retort, throwing it back at her. “And we’re meeting at the Three Broomsticks, at one.”
“Hallowe’en is in two weeks, get in the spirit! And I’ll track you down at three, so you don’t have to spend too long making out with him.”
“One, there is no way I’m wearing orange, it looks terrible on me and everyone knows it. Two, do I have to make out with him?” I whine.
“Yes, you do. Sorry.” She doesn’t sound sorry at all, and I tell her so.
“You’ve only ever made out with two guys, Jack, and they’re two of your best friends. Surely you can do better than that!”
“Better than Lars and Grant? I don’t think it gets much better.”
“You may have a point. But still, Jack, this will be good for you.”
“One hundred galleons, love, plus we win the war. Pull it together.”
Clark is right. I should listen to her.
“And for the love of god, take a fucking shower! You look like a stable threw up on you, and you smell like unicorn shit.”
The reason I have straw in my hair and clothes, and I’m covered in unicorn excrement, is because I woke up early this morning to visit Sunlight, the unicorn I befriended during my second year. I think Clark’s just in a foul mood because she woke up super-early to join me, and Sunny thanked her by almost gutting her with his horn. Animals may love me, but they usually hate Clark. Probably because she hates them just as much.
“C’mere, Calypso,” I coo to my kneazle, just to bug Clark. The cat-like creature jumps onto my lap with a mrrow and curls up, purring. And getting her hair all over my jeans.
“Disgusting,” Clark mutters.
“It’s socially acceptable to bring Calypso on the date with me, right?” I ask. I know it isn’t, but it’s really tempting. That way, I can just ask her to run away, then freak out to Al that I lost my kneazle. Losing an extremely rare magical pet? Damn good excuse to ditch out on a date.
“No,” my best friend snaps, cutting off that fantasy. “Now go shower, then put this on.” She holds up a pair of her best designer jeans, a sparkly gold tank top, and a brown leather jacket.
The outfit is acceptable.
“Fine,” I mutter darkly, and stand up, apologizing to Calypso as I do so. I snatch the clothes away from my best friend and step into the bathroom, still grumbling to myself about kneazles and ditching and how much I hate sparkles.
We arrive at the Three Broomsticks at half-past noon for a pre-date chat with everyone who knows about the bet. Since it didn’t take long for Fred to spill to James that he’d told the Slytherins, James had decided to man up and just accept that the people on my side now greatly outnumber the people on his.
“There’s my girl!” Grant stands up and yells as soon as I walk in the door. That attracts a few strange glances, which quickly turn to giggles and raised eyebrows when the girls realize how handsome my friend is.
“Hey, Grant!” I greet him as I take my place at the large, round table, between him and Clark.
“Sorry, we couldn’t make them sit at another table,” Peter apologizes, jerking his thumb at James, Marshall, and Fred.
“Don’t worry about it. After all, we don’t want to risk getting kicked out for jinxing anyone.”
“You mean you don’t want to,” Clark mutters, glaring murder at Fred. Apparently her policy of avoidance has turned to a policy of hatred.
Because that’s so much better.
“Yeah, whatever, Clark.” Lars rolls his eyes.
“So are we going to get started?” Scorpius urges in his quiet, sensible voice.
“Yeah, I’m meeting Ana at Zonko’s in fifteen, so can we make this fast?” Marshall adds, and I shoot him a smile. He still owes me for making it happen between him and Ana. They’re actually quite cute together, to be honest.
James groans. I don’t think he’s too happy about one of his friends getting an actual girlfriend; now he is forced to spend even more time with Fred, who’s been wallowing for the past month because of Clark’s reaction to his... feelings.
Not that I would know, really. I haven’t so much as spoken to James about anything but the bet since we made it. Now that I know how he really thinks of me, our friendship is over. Conversely, since we’ve called a temporary truce on the war while the bet is hashed out, I’ve become much closer to Marshall and Fred.
They’re good guys, unlike their fucker of a best mate.
“Marshall’s right, let’s make this quick. Hit me up, guys.”
“Okay, ground rules,” James starts. “Please, for the love of god-”
“You’re going to hell!” Clark and I cut in together. Everyone looks confused, and I roll my eyes while Clark motions for our archenemy to continue.
“Alright...” he mutters, still looking a little clueless. “Just please do not have sex with my brother, okay? Just don’t do it.”
“That was never part of the deal,” I say airily, although I have absolutely no intention of sleeping with Albus.
I mean, yuck.
“Jack makes no promises,” Clark tells James in her bitchiest voice, obviously trying to rile him up.
“Fine. Whatever. Just no sex on the first date.”
“I can agree to that,” I say, shaking hands with him. ‘Cause I mean really, in what world would I ever have sex with anyone (especially annoying-Albus) on the first date when I’m fucking sixteen. Come on. I’m the girl who’s never had a boyfriend, who’s only ever kissed two guys, who happen to be her best friends.
Let’s be real here.
“What else?” Grant challenges, raising an eyebrow at James. They’ve never really been enemies, but Gryffindor and Slytherin traditionally don’t mix, and Grant will always be on my side in any fight.
“Hmm...” James pauses to think, doubtlessly about how to make this harder for me. “Aha!”
“Oh god, did you really just say aha?” Clark says disparagingly, cocking an eyebrow. “You’re pathetic.”
“I couldn’t agree more!” Lars exclaims, and the two of them high-five.
“Guys, cut it out,” Scorp sighs. “Let’s just get this over so Jack can get on with winning her bet.”
“Damn right,” I snarl, glaring at James. Damn, I hate him. Calling me undesirable. Practically insinuating that no one will ever love me.
“Jack, no having Clark here to-”
“I know, I know, I’m leaving as soon as Al arrives.” Clark glares at him.
“James, you and Fred and Marshall can’t watch,” Peter cuts in unexpectedly. See, he wasn’t usually that talkative, especially around Clark, who very noticeably didn’t like him. Hey, maybe he was finally coming to his senses!
“I won’t be watching, I have my own date!” Marshall protests, checking his watch. “In fact, I’ve got to go!” He gets up in a hurry, grabbing his money pouch and his wand, both sitting on the table, and waves as he runs to the door.
“Have fun!” I call after him.
“Yeah, good luck,” Fred snorts, and I kick him under the table. He sticks out his tongue.
“This is ridiculous,” Clark says suddenly. “I agree with Pete.” Now there’s a shocker. “James, you’ve said your piece, now leave. We don’t want you here.”
“Seriously, guys?” James raises an eyebrow, like he thinks she’s kidding. Lars glares at him. Pete nods. Scorpius makes a shooing motion with his hand. Fred shrugs, and Grant puts a protective arm around my shoulders.
“Yeah,” Clark says. “Seriously.”
“And don’t even try to talk to Jack unless it’s about the bet, okay? I feel pretty damn confident saying that she hates you,” Lars tells him.
“He’s right,” I agree, looking my former frenemy in the eye. “I never really realized what an asshole you are, you know that?”
James actually has the gall to look hurt.
“I was drunk, Jack, c’mon. You can’t blame me!”
“I know you, James. When you’re drunk you tell the truth. And if that’s really what you think of me, then the closest I’ll ever come to liking you again is the moment you hand me those hundred galleons. Now,” I pause to shake off Grant’s arm, and pull out my wand. “Shoo.”
With one last disbelieving glance, James Potter gathers his things and leaves. Fred mouths sorry and hurries after his best friend, making a definite effort not to glance back at Clark. She narrows her eyes at his back.
“I seriously can’t believe the nerve of that guy,” Grant says quietly. “How could he ever say that about you? And how could you even stand to be around him after that?!”
“It’s been over a month, guys,” I say tiredly, taking a sip of my butterbeer. “I’m over it.”
Even though I’m not.
“No, you’re not,” Scorp says, but his smile holds no pity, just understanding. “But that’s alright.”
“Seriously, love, you’ve perfectly entitled to hate his guts,” Clark insists.
“I do hate him,” I admit.
“That’s my girl,” Lars grins.
“Now y’all should probably leave soon. Al will be here soon and I don’t want you scary Slytherins to run him off.”
“He’s a scary Slytherin too,” Scorpius points out blandly.
“Ah, can it.”
“She’s right, guys. You need to go!” Clark backs me up.
“And what about you? You’re way more scary than us!” Grants protests.
“I’ll sneak out when Al gets here. Now, for the love of god, just go!”
“You’re going to hell,” I whisper in my best friend’s ear as the four boys gather their stuff and leave grumbling.
“At least I won’t be alone,” she shoots back, giving me a wide smile. I smile in return, and suddenly I’m not as scared anymore.
A/N: So who's your favorite couple/friendship so far?? Let me know!!
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