Look at that. An entire chapter in one shot.
As soon as I got back to the dorm, I went on a hunt for a respectable scrap of parchment. I had a letter to write.
At last, I procured some from under a stack of old Potions pop quizzes. I borrowed Dom’s sparkly pink bottle of ink and sprawled out on my four poster, my own scraggly black quill in hand.
I wrote in my neatest handwriting and used the fanciest words I could think of. It was quite the effort.
Because the both of us, unfortunately, cannot bring our lovers to the upcoming ball, what do you say to going together as best of chums?
Looking forward to your speedy reply,
(that’s for hugs and kisses, not Gryffindors and Slytherins, you Quidditch obsessed ninny)
I added some hearts on the border for emphasis.
The letter was ridiculously sappy and absolutely perfect. I rolled it up and tied it with one of Dom’s pretty hair ribbons. I then coaxed Dom’s owl out of it’s cage (the dumb bird was too prissy to live in the Owlery), and charmed its feathers so they turned a deep shade of magenta.
I then mercilessly chucked it out the window and sat back down on the bed to take off my cleats.
“You’re back! Good! We have to talk.”
It was Dom. Rose peeked out from behind her in the doorframe.
My heart sunk. Time to talk to Dom about Finn again. I sighed and stood up. “Listen, Dom—“
“Stop.” She said. “Finn and I talked. We’re going to be absolutely lovely to each other, don’t worry. And it’s probably good for us. We’ve been arguing a lot lately. So problem solved.”
“Really?” I asked in total disbelief. “Are you sure you’re okay with it?”
“Really.” Dom said. “Rose helped me think it out. I’ll survive.”
Rose grinned shyly.
“So. Next order of business.” Dom pushed up the sleeves of her school oxford. “I have a date, Rose has a date—“
“My friend from Advanced Herbology,” Rose interjected.
Just then, Dom’s owl appeared in the window. I grabbed it and read Al’s reply while Dom shrieked over the state of her precious Lula.
I’d be absolutely delighted to attend the ball with you. Finn and I will meet you and Dom at the gates to Hogsmeade and precisely seven thirty three in the evening. Don’t be late.
All my love,
Your Al (not bus)
“What did you do to my owl?” she exclaimed.
I quickly explained everything. “Okay,” Dom said once she cooled down. “So I guess you have got yourself a date now. That’s another issue down.” She smoothed her sleek blond hair. “Now for dresses. I say we go to this cute little Muggle shop. That way, no one will have the same dresses as us. There’s a secret passage that apparently leads to it from Hogsmeade. My sister told me about it. We can go tomorrow after class.”
“Fine with me!” Rose said.
“Do I have to wear a dress?” I moaned, already knowing my argument was futile.
“You’re going with our cousin. You’re looking good.”
And that was that.
On Friday the three of us got out of History of Magic early and snuck down to Hogsmeade. Dom showed us the secret passage- it went through Madam Rosmerta’s huge walk-in closet in her apartment above the Hog’s Head.
After walking though a grubby passage for what seemed like a thousand hours, we arrived at a small wooden door. Rose pushed it open to reveal the storage room of some shop. We snaked through stacks of cardboard boxes and made our way to a door that let into the shop itself.
I could immediately tell it was a place made for Dom. The entire store was full of glittering ball gowns in a rainbow of colors, rows of matching high-heeled shoes, and rotating racks of sparkly accessories and little purses. Everything smelled sweet, like the perfumes Dom’s mom sometimes brings back from France for her. Dom let out a giddy squeal and dragged us into the throng. We blended right in with the other women in the shop, despite our school uniforms.
Dom ran from rack to rack, pulling gorgeous gowns from their hangers. Rose picked her way through the section of green and blue gowns, while I just stood stock still by the cash register where we’d come in, my mind overloaded by all the glitter.
“Here!” Dom said breathlessly, flinging a stack of gowns into my arms. I was instantly buried under a mountain of taffeta, chiffon, and assorted frills. “Try these on!”
“Oh… kay?” I made my way over to the little changing stalls. Rose and Dom followed me, each of them handed with an armful of dresses. We each stepped into a stall and locked our doors.
“Everyone try one on, then come out and show the rest of us.” Rose announced.
“Got it!” Dom exclaimed. “Ella?”
“Yeah yeah,” I called, unbuttoning my oxford. “Can’t wait.”
“Oh, don’t be such a spoil sport.” Dom whined. “Just let go of your extreme tomboyishness for an hour.” Her voice was muffled by the swooshing sound of a ball gown being pulled over her head.
I made the most annoyed, guttural groan I could muster, then pulled my own dress up over my head.
“Not a chance.”
“In my defense, it looked fabulous on the hanger.”
“I look like a fucking cupcake.”
“You look cuteeeee” Rose chimed in.
I crossed my arms over my ridiculously poufy dress. “Fucking. Cupcake.”
The dress was awful. Layers upon layers of frilly light pink fabric, all dusted over with a fine layer of glitter. Ridiculous.
“Fine.” Dom pouted. “Try on the next one.”
I groaned and stomped back into the changing room, ripping the cupcake dress off of myself and chucking it into the pile of discards. It was the ninth dress I’d tried on, and I had grown absolutely sick of dress shopping. I had one dress left, a slim little red number. No glitter. I sighed and put it on, then stepped out to see my friends.
Dom’s eyes widened. Rose grinned and nodded.
“It’s a keeper.”
Now that my own trying task of finding the perfect dress was over, I got to sit in a squishy green armchair and judge Dom and Rose’s newest finds. I took to giving out my reviews in a posh Parisian accent.
“A bit drab, really, love.”
“Oh no. That clashes horribly with your hair. Fashion don’t, m’dear.”
“You look like a whore. Pull down your skirt.”
Dom flipped me off and tugged down the hem of her bedazzled minidress. “Better?”
“Still a first class prostitute, darling.”
“Fuck you, Levine.”
Rose giggled uncontrollably into her hands. I couldn’t help but smile. Who knew that dress shopping would be… fun?
In the end, both of them found perfectly lovely dresses. Dom used her stash of Muggle money to buy them- Rose and I would just pay her back when we got to the castle. We dashed back to the castle through the secret tunnel, the waxy handles of our shopping bags digging into the palms of our hands as we swung them back and forth, laughing as we went.
The next day, the entire school was positively buzzing with excitement. Teachers bustled around the castle, various winter-themed decorations blossoming from their wands. Suits of armor sang carols as students walked by, and the staircases glistened with sparkling icicles. There was a decked out Christmas tree at every turn. Gaggles of girls gossiped about their dates and dresses, and giggled unabashedly into their hands each time a guy walked by.
After descending into the madness to eat breakfast with the guys around 11, I returned to my dorm to spend the day with Dom and Rose. For some incomprehensible reason, they were already in the beginning stages of getting ready. All our gowns were laid out, and the two of them had a stack of gossipy magazines between them. They were poring over the pages, looking for ideas of what to do with their hair and makeup. I picked at my cuticles while they went at it.
“Ooh, look at this one!” Dom held up a page graced with a portrait of a sultry witch. “Ella, do you like this hairstyle?”
“Lovely,” I answered automatically.
I looked up and actually glanced at the picture of a messy braided updo. My scalp hurt just looking at it. “Looks great. Honest.”
“Great, because this hairstyle’s yours!”
After a couple of hours of this, along with several conversations filled with pre-ball gossip, Dom declared that it was time to start getting ready.
I glanced at my watch. It was 4:30.
“Don’t you think it’s a little early for this? The ball starts at 9.” I said tentatively.
“And we’re going out to eat at 7:30.” Dom countered. “Three hours, three girls.”
“Fine,” I muttered. Let the madness begin.
We spent the hours in full-blown glittery, girly, glory. Rose blasted a pop music playlist from a Muggle music player that she’d somehow gotten to work inside the magical boundaries of the castle. She ran around the dorm, bouncing on the beds while singing the lyrics into the hairbrush she was pretending was a microphone. Dom and I twirled around and danced like we were insane. We were all still in our pajamas- an assortment of sports bras, camisoles, and boy shorts. Dom held a flat iron in one hand, straightening chunks of her platinum blond hair as we danced. Rose painted her nails electric blue, then did mine too. We were crazy, drunk on our happiness, and loving every minute of it.
Dom pulled her dress off its hanger and pulled off her top, revealing a lacy strapless black bra and matching knickers. “Hot damn, Dominique,” I laughed. “What are you planning to do with poor Finnie, seduce him to death?”
“Maybe,” she purred, shaking her hips suggestively. She flipped her hair like a master seductress and coated her lips in a deep shade of red lipstick. Rose roared with laughter. “But you’re next, hot stuff.” She opened her trunk and pulled out a regular bra. She tossed it to me. “All yours.”
“Nooooo,” I moaned, dropping it and streaking across the room. Regular bras were my nemesis. I didn’t own a single one- too many clasps and cups and wires and no, no, no, they were so uncomfortable I couldn’t stand it. Sports bras are a girl’s best friends, after all.
“Come on, love, it’s just one night,” Dom pleaded, unzipping her dress and stepping into it. I sighed, snatched the bra off the floor, and stalked into the bathroom. “That’s my girl.”
I flipped her off and locked the door.
“Sorry, boobs,” I muttered, snapping the bra on. “We’ll survive, I promise.”
“The boys are going to shit their pants.”
“We’re hot as fuck,” Rose fist pumped to celebrate our victory.
“Amen, sister.” Dom said sagely.
We really were. From head to toe, each of us was a walking, talking seduction machine.
First there was Dom, Queen of Eternal Hotness. She wore a curve-hugging, sequin-encrusted, slate blue minidress-- incidentally, the minidress she’d worn when I had so affectionately labeled her a whore in the dress shop. Rose had lowered the hem a bit for her. Her hair was a sweeping sheet of platinum blond glory, and her black stilettos could pierce the eyeballs of any men she caught staring. Her smoky eyes looked like they were staring into your very soul.
Rose looked like a million bucks, too. She wore a short black dress that had strategic sheer paneling. Not slutty, but sexier that Rose would usually go for. She had accessorized with a thin electric blue belt and matching pumps, and her usually curly hair was now pulled back into a sleek, straight high ponytail. She was almost unrecognizable.
And I, Ella Levine, looked downright spectacular, if I say so myself. My red dress was a “skater” dress according to Dom, which meant it was tighter on the top and fell into a circle cut skirt (Dom’s words, not mine. To me it was just a sexy red dress.) I wore black heels (yes, heels), and Dom and Rose had tag teamed to get my hair up into the sexily disheveled braided updo they’d seen in the magazine. My eyes were outlined in black eyeliner with a thick layer of mascara to boot.
We were gonna blast the pants off this Yule Ball.
.Tell me what you think! Did Ella make the right decision in chosing Al? What did you think of the girls' prep stage? it was really fun to write! What are the guys going to think of their dresses? what's going to happen at the yule ball? review, review, review!
some good news- unlike last summer, this time around I get to keep my laptop.
bad news (but also good news)- OOTB is in need of some major editing (see the big a/n at the beginning of chapter one), and long story short, i wont be adding any new chapters until i fix the new ones. sorry DONT EAT ME YOU BARBARIANS but it's necessary for the kick-assery factor of this fic. be sure to reread old chapters (1&2 are ok as of june 2014), though, and check for updated versions.
thanks for being patient, love Jils