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Chapter 1 : Cold Shoulder
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updated 19th May 2014: Chapter beta-ed by Lululuna. Thank you so much!
14th November, 2020.
To my lovely friend Allie,
I’m sorry for missing our scheduled study time yesterday. Something came up and I had to take care of it.
Merlin, I know you’re probably glaring at this letter right now with those little eyes of yours. Fine, I got detention. Happy now?
On another note, Chelsea and I are back together. Yeah, no surprise there. But anyways, all is well now, so you don’t have to worry about me getting into trouble again. Yesterday was the last time, I promise.
P.S.: Once again, I’m so so so sooo sorry, Al. Wanna meet up somewhere so I can make it up for you?
Alessia “Allie” Bletchley heart beat fast as she carefully read the letter she’d just received from Snitch, James Potter’s owl. Trying to ignore the stabbing pain in her chest, she slowly folded the parchment and put it on the desk near her bed.
So he’s back with that girl, she thought grimly. She had known this would happen sooner or later. James and Chelsea Finnigan had been going out for a year now, and Allie knew perfectly how much love James had for the pretty blond Gryffindor. She had braced herself for their reunion, but who would have thought it would be this painful?
She sighed, letting herself lie back on her bed. There was nobody else in the Slytherin Girls’ dormitory at the moment, so she could cry without getting worried people would see her.
But no, she didn’t want to waste tears over James. She hadn’t cried for the last two years and sure as hell wouldn’t let it happen again. She had promised herself to never again let a boy hurt her heart.
Allie wasn’t the same person as she used to be. She had been a normal girl with big ambitions and dreams of becoming a Healer. She had been cheerful and carefree, although she could be a little bitchy sometimes. But it all changed after a certain guy came into her life, destroying everything.
Ethan had been a fresh Hogwarts graduate when Allie had started dating him at the end of her fourth year. He was a more perfect guy than Allie could have asked for: he was handsome with a pair of piercing blue eyes and brown hair, caring, had a good sense of humor, and such a gentleman. She had fallen hard for him and would have done anything to keep him forever. Every touch, every kiss meant a lot to Allie. Sure, there were ups and downs in their relationship, but these hiccups had been nothing the happy couple couldn't handle. Ethan always knew how to make things right.
“What’s this?” Allie had asked when Ethan handed her a small red box on her sixteenth birthday. She eyed the box for a moment and then looked suspiciously at the smiling boy in front of her. “You aren’t proposing to me, are you?”
Ethan just chuckled. His face looked amused. “Well, it depends. Do you want to get married now?”
Allie felt a blush creep up her cheeks. “As much as I want to marry you, Ethan, I’m still sixteen and have school to finish. Otherwise, my dad would kill me,” she retorted, opening the box slowly. She had gasped, finding a silver ring with a heart-shaped aquamarine. “Oh, Ethan, this is so beautiful.”
“Do you like it? I purposely chose aquamarine just because it’s the birthstone for March, which is the month you were born.”
Oh, he was so sweet, all right. “I don’t like it. I love it.” Allie had said, wrapping her arms around his neck and giving him a smile. “Thank you so much.”
“Anything for you, baby.” He had kissed her temple affectionately. “Happy belated birthday. You’ll get your real engagement ring soon, I promise.”
Unfortunately, life wasn't all perfect for Allie. Their relationship started to crumble after she found out Ethan had been cheating on her. Hell broke loose a week after he had given her the damn ring.
Ethan. Her sweet Ethan.
She still remembered it clearly. It was a Saturday night and Allie had been busy sketching in her room, enjoying the last week of Easter Holiday. That was, until she got a Floo call from her best friends, Daniela Zabini and Alexander Nott. They had claimed that Ethan was with a girl at The Leaky Cauldron. At first, she couldn’t believe it. There was no way he was there because Ethan had told her earlier he was going to Ireland to see his grandparents. But Daniela and Alex were so sure that Allie had finally decided to come over and see it for herself. And boy, they were right.
Ireland, my arse.
There he was, sitting at a booth with a blonde girl in his arms. From what Allie could tell, the girl was probably older than her and much more beautiful. Allie felt her entire world shatter. It really hurt, seeing them kissing and all cuddly like that before they disappeared upstairs, no doubt into one of the rented rooms at the pub.
“That son of a bitch…” Alex was just about to barge out of their hiding place to give Ethan a piece of his mind when he was stopped by Allie’s trembling hand on his arm.
“No, Alex. Don’t. He’s not worth it,” Allie had said, eyes brimming with tears. It was too much to handle and she just wanted to go home.
“It’s fine. I’ll deal with him later.”
The Easter holidays were over few days later and so was Allie’s relationship with Ethan. The truth had been revealed: Ethan was nothing but a massive player. He didn’t love her. It was all an act. A mirage. To him, Allie was just a clingy teen girl who happened to be his tenth target.
And so ever since, Allie had drastically changed from a cheerful girl into a quiet one. Not only that, she had also sworn she would never have another relationship so she wouldn’t get hurt again. Some said it was her fault for being too naïve and blinded by love, but then again, what did you expect from a sixteen year old?
Several guys had tried to date her since they found out she was single, but alas, Allie usually would just give them a polite 'no.' That was, until she got closer to James Potter.
At first, she always considered James Potter a bit of a tosser. Not only because he was a Gryffindor, but he always seemed a little arrogant - not to mention mischievous. Compared to Albus, who was sorted into her house a year later, James was very childish in Allie’s opinion. She had made a mental note to stay away from him, despite him being the child of Harry Potter, the war hero whom Allie had always adored. James and Allie had remained mere acquaintances throughout the years.
However, that changed a few months ago at the start of their seventh year, when she was assigned to partner up with him for a project in Muggle Studies. She got to see the other side of James, who actually had to struggle from being in his father’s shadow. And the problems with Chelsea didn’t help either. He was a mess, always getting into trouble and often being caught drinking firewhiskey by the prefects. Allie, being the sensible one, often tried to stop him from doing so, even though sometimes she also helped him to hide the evidence of his destructive behavior so he wouldn’t get caught. She didn’t know why she was willing to do so. Perhaps it was because James kind of reminded her of herself, broken and desperate because of love. Or perhaps she was already attracted to him at one point but she hadn’t yet realized it. Allie really had no idea.
She had tried to push her feelings aside due to her commitment to staying single. But this obviously was destined to not work out considering they spent so much time working on their Muggle Studies project about the invention of Internet. It was getting even harder, especially since James would often flirt with her.
“Allie?” a feminine voice came from the door, snapping Allie out of her reverie. Daniela was leaning on the doorframe with a smile on her face. However, when she realized that her friend wasn’t looking so good, her smile faltered and was replaced by a worried expression. Some said they sort of looked alike with same almond shaped eyes, thin lips, and dark brown hair, although Daniela looked more exotic than Allie. Daniela’s skin was more olive coloured, whereas Allie was more fair. Allie also had more prominent cheekbones than Daniela. “Aren’t you coming to dinner? What’s wrong? Are you sick?”
And see James with his girlfriend? No way, thank you very much. Allie shook her head. “I’m fine. Just uhm… sleepy.”
Daniela apparently wasn’t buying it, judging by how she arched an eyebrow suspiciously. “Are you sure?” she asked again, walking toward her friend, then putting her palm on Allie’s forehead to check her temperature. When she was certain that Allie wasn’t sick, she averted her gaze to James’ letter. “What’s that?”
Allie hurriedly snatched it from the desk before Daniela could have it. “Just a letter from my mum. Nothing important.”
Daniela just let out a heavy sigh while taking a seat beside Allie. “Come on, Allie. We’ve been friends for a long time. You don’t expect me to believe that, do you? It’s from James Potter, right?”
“How did you know that?”
“Well, I saw him at Owlery and heard him talking to his owl,” the daughter of Blaise Zabini and Pansy Parkinson answered, taking the letter from Allie’s hand to read it. “Oh Allie darling, I’m so sorry.”
Allie merely shrugged as she gave her friend a reassuring smile. “That’s okay. It’s not like I want him to be my boyfriend or something. You know perfectly well I already have this commitment.”
“But you can’t stay like this, Allie. How will you ever get married in the future?”
The dark-haired girl was silent for a while. “Well, I suppose I won’t get married then,” she finally replied as she got up from her bed. “Come on, let’s go to dinner before I change my mind.”
The Great Hall was already filled with students by the time they got there. Daniela took a seat in between Alex and Harrison Montague, while Allie decided to sit on the opposite side of the table. But she instantly regretted it because now she was facing the Gryffindor table, and James was staring at her, mouthing something like, ‘did you get my letter’ across the Great Hall. His girlfriend was sitting beside him, laughing at something Rose Weasley had said.
“You’re late.” Allie heard Albus Potter’s voice from beside her. Thank Merlin for a distraction. “And you look pale too. Are you sick?”
Now why the heck everyone kept asking if she was sick? Although now that she thought about it, she actually felt a little dizzy. “Maybe,” she simply answered, helping herself to some food on her plate. She secretly cast a quick glance toward the Gryffindor table and noticed that James’ face had fallen, hopefully because she had ignored him.
“So, is it just me or did something happen between you and my dear brother? You seem to be avoiding him,” Albus asked before shoving a spoon full of mashed potatoes into his mouth.
“I’m pretty sure it’s just you. We’re fine.”
“Aw come on, Allie. I saw you giving him a cold shoulder earlier. Something happened. Or at least you’re mad at him. So tell me, what did James do this time?”
Allie let out a defeated sigh. “Alright. I’m just mad because he didn’t show up at the library yesterday. That’s all.”
“Typical James,” Albus commented with a chuckle. “By the way, have you heard the news about him and Chelsea? I really have no idea what he sees in that girl. She had dinner at our house once. Oh man, she was so nosy and annoying. To be honest, I’d rather have you as his girlfriend. At least you guys would look good together. And you’re cool too. Right, Scorp?” Beside him, Scorpius nodded as he slowly chewed on roasted chicken.
Surprised at Albus’ statement, Allie couldn’t help but choke on the water she was drinking. Albus helped her by patting her back to ease her coughing fits while her friends looked at her in panic, especially Alex.
“You okay there, Alligator?” he asked, using his pet name for her when they were little. His handsome face looked genuinely worried.
“I’m fine, I’m fine,” she answered, getting up from her seat. “I think I need to go to Hospital Wing. Sorry, guys.”
She hurriedly ran off before her friends could reply, leaving them to stare after her in bewilderment.
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