Chapter 5 : Chapter Four: Positively Bonkers.
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Two hours go by quickly at Hagrid’s and before I know it, it’s time for dinner. “Well, Hagrid, we all best be heading for the Great Hall.”
James stands and stretches, “Is it finally time for dinner? I’m starved!”
Hagrid walks to the door and opens it for us, “The two of ya go ahead, I ‘ave somethin’ to tend to before I leave.”
Alone. I’ll have to walk with James…alone. I can’t tell if I’m happy about this or if I’m dreading it. True, I now recognise I have feelings for him. True, if anything happens between us, I’ll have to be alone with him eventually. However, everything is still new and although I’ve had my epiphany about falling for James, I have yet to accept the situation. Realisation and acceptance are two entirely separate subjects.
How does Old Quinn morph with Stupid-Romantic Quinn and convince Smart Quinn to join their league... so that in the end, all the Quinns are just Quinn but possibly dating James, Quinn’s best friend’s brother and other best friend’s cousin…
Holy Hufflepuff my life just got way more complicated than necessary.
Speaking of realisation, I suddenly realise that I’ve been standing in a daydream for probably a good minute or two, just staring at the fire in the fireplace. James and Hagrid are both watching me.
“Dinner! Let’s go!” I leave Hagrid’s and start for the castle.
“Someone’s a little anxious to go eat,” James says from behind me.
I notice how fast my legs are carrying me and slow down some. Yeah, I’m in panic mode. I’m in serious panic mode. Why am I so weird? Why can’t I be seductive and calm like Dominique when she’s around someone she likes? “Just a little hungry, that’s all.”
He’s beside me now and I feel like a cat being introduced to a dog: jumpy and standoffish. It’s like he’s contaminated with this awful disease where, if he touches me, I’ll fall madly in love with him and probably die.
“So how about that duel today?!” He seems awfully proud of himself, even though he didn’t exactly win. Is he making small talk in an awkward silence? Or does he genuinely want to talk to me?
Why am I so freaked out by his company? I mean sure, I have new feelings for him, but I’m still Quinn and he’s still James. We’ve known each other for years. Why can’t it be at least semi-normal? Or maybe it doesn’t work that way?
Do I really have zero skills with men?!
“It was gr-sw-greswool… what?”
Kill me. Kill me now.
James laughs that damn charming laugh out of that damn sexy mouth that makes me want to kiss it every time he makes it smile that damn crooked smile at me. DAMN. “What the hell is wrong with you, Pipsqueak?”
“Nothing, okay?!” I halt in my tracks and round to face him. He’s closer than I expect, but my anger keeps me from swooning this time. “Just stop it!”
“Stop what?!” His cheeks are turning red and I’m not sure if that means he’s pissed or embarrassed. “Quinn,” He uses the name I go by, as opposed to Pips or Pipsqueak… he’s serious now. Serious is a rare sight with James Potter. “You’ve gone bloody mad!”
My jaw is clenched, my chest is heaving, and my hands are balled into fists. “Y-Y-You! You’re mad!”
Noooo… he’s right. I’m mad. Hell, I’m past that. I’m positively bonkers.
James stares at me incredulously. His full, perfect lips are opening and closing like a fish. I just made the James Potter speechless and serious within the same five minutes. I’m either a genius, or he officially thinks I’m a loon. Maybe that’s for the best though. If he thinks I’m crazy, he won’t want to be around me, which makes things a ton easier on my end.
I want to smack him. I want to kiss him. I want to smack him and kiss him. Simultaneously.
But I don’t.
I don’t do either of those bold choices.
In fact, what I do isn’t bold at all.
I inhale and exhale a huge breath.
And I walk away.
The rest of the walk to the castle is in silence, James a good three feet behind me the whole time.
“Where did you disappear off to?” Rose asks at dinner.
I’m pushing the peas around my plate of uneaten foods. “Hagrid’s.”
“Why aren’t you eating?” She sounds so much like a mother sometimes. “You need to eat.”
I feel her blue eyes piercing into the side of my face, but I refuse to look at her. “Quinn, do you want to tell me what’s going on? Or are you just going to sulk about it and bitch every time I try to talk to you?” She had bounced from her inner Hermione to Ron rather quickly. At least I’m not the only bi-polar one today.
She’s my best friend, I tell myself. She’s going to find out sooner or later. And maybe talking about it will do me some good. “I’ll tell you… just not here.”
“Back at the dorm?”
I nod soberly and play with my food until Rose is finished eating. She hurries so we can get back to the dorm before our two other roommates do.
The dorm is, to my dismay, empty when we arrive. Rose sits on my bed and pats the spot beside her. “Spill.”
“You’ll tell me I’m an idiot,” I warn.
She rolls her eyes, “I will not. It can’t be that bad. Now, tell me before I get the Veritaserum.”
Rose doesn’t own any Veritaserum. It’s a hollow threat, but I already promised I’d tell her, so I do. It’s that loyalty factor we Gryffindors supposedly have that keeps me from lying to her about everything.
I tell her my feelings for her cousin and how I didn’t want it to happen, but those said feelings relentlessly keep coming back whenever he’s around. I tell her the incidents that just happened at Hagrids. How I let the feelings become real. How I went ballistic. Everything.
Her eyes are enormous when I finish. She’s frozen.
Oh Merlin, I’ve stunned her or something. I’ve put her into shock!
I broke Rose Weasley!
“Rose! Say something.”
I think she’s going to break bad and rage and tell me I’m a belligerent fool and get really red like she does and maybe even have a coronary. But she doesn’t.
It’s not even a twisted spiteful laugh either. It’s a genuine ‘I-think-this-is-hilarious’ laugh.
“You’re…laughing?” I’m amazed and a little relieved. But mostly confused. “Rose. Why are you laughing?!”
She continues to laugh until tears are running down her cheeks. “ROSE. It’s not FUNNY!”
By now, she’s doubled over and holding her stomach. She can’t even talk because of all the air she’s sucking in. There’s no way to stop this madness so I just wait it out. After the longest laugh session I’ve ever seen, she spits out, “You… like… my… cousin?!” More laughter ensues. “You like James?!” She tries catching her breath, but sounds kind of like a pregnant woman doing those breathing exercises. “Hooooooooo…. I’m so sorry, Quinn. But really… James? Of all people?”
I don’t know what to say, so I just blink as my response.
She’s right. It shouldn’t be James, of all people. But it is, and I can’t shake it for some awful reason. I thought telling Rose would be a good idea, seeing as she’s my best friend and all, but I’m starting to regret my decision. It would be so beneficial to own a time turner right about now.
“Oh, Merlin,” Her face falls into concern, “Oh, Merlin’s beard, you’re really serious about this aren’t you? I mean not that I doubted you were serious, but I didn’t think you were this serious.”
“Yes, I’m serious. I’m bloody seriously serious!”
We’re using “serious” way too many times.
Rose wrings her hands and gets that look that her mum gets when she’s under too much pressure. “Well, what are you going to do?”
“I don’t know,” With a groan, I fall back onto my bed. “I did contemplate living in a hole somewhere far, far away.”
“I hate to say it, but you may have ruined it for yourself after going mad on him like you did.” Rose sighs. “And to think, we could have been related.”
I laugh a little at that. “Yeah, you know you’d be my maid of honor, right?”
“Well, I sure as hell wouldn’t be the best man!”
We laugh together, and for the first time in the past few days, I feel back to normal.
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