Chapter 5 : Complication #5
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Complication #5: Sobriety is a necessity when it comes to making good decisions.
Last time: Hair was made unnatural colours, rumours were spread, and Abigail just might have pushed James up against a wall and hexed him.
We all skip our last class on Friday – party preparation takes priority, after all.
The afternoon consists of makeshift spa treatments, attempts to follow Witch Weekly’s ridiculously complicated make-up and hair tutorials, and lots of loud noise and laughter. It’s probably good that Dominique doesn’t come back to the dormitory after classes, because she’d probably get frustrated by our antics.
But hey, what’s party if you can’t have fun getting pretty?
When we’re all dressed and ready, I have to admit that we all look pretty amazing.
Brooke is wearing a sparkling champagne dress that shows a nearly scandalous amount of leg and has made her normally stick-straight hair flow in loose waves. Her dark eye makeup makes her blue eyes stand out even more.
Scarlett, on the other hand, is wearing a dark green one-shouldered dress, paired with black and gold heels and a necklace to match. Her blonde hair is pulled into a low side bun, and the gold powder she used on her face means she’s practically glowing.
Caroline’s dressed in a blue high-low number that makes her legs look miles long. Her short black hair is perfectly smoothed as ever, and her make-up is simple – her sharp cheekbones make up for that, however.
I’m wearing the same white dress I bought at Juliette’s, along with red heels. I’ve curled my hair and pinned it up, and paired that with some bright red lipstick. I like to think that I look very classy.
“Come on girls, let’s go!” Brooke says, clasping her hands together impatiently. We’re already a few minutes late, but there’s a clear difference between fashionably late and late late.
“I’m coming!” Scarlett and I sigh in sync, both in the process of spraying perfume.
We start heading out the door, but Caroline is still standing over by her nightstand, fiddling nervously with something.
“Are you coming, Caroline?” Scarlett asks, stopped in the doorway.
“Yeah,” she sighs, “but you guys can go on without me. I’ll be there in just a few minutes – I need to do something first.”
“Okay then,” Scarlett shrugs, and we all head out of the room.
We start down the stars, but I can’t help but feel a sinking feeling in my stomach regarding Caroline. Something seems off with her; throughout this week, she hasn’t really been herself, and now she’s letting us leave without her, when we never arrive at a party separate.
“I just realized that I left something in the dorm,” I lie, stopping in the middle of the staircase. “I’m going to run up and get it, but you guys can just go ahead. I’ll come with Caroline.”
Once again, the girls shrug and keep going, and I’m left to go back up to the dormitory alone.
When I walk in, Caroline’s in the process of taking off her dress and sliding on a pair of pajama shorts and a tank top. She sees me and freezes, her cheeks turning a bright shade of pink.
“What are you doing?” I ask, more than just a little confused. “I thought we were going to the party.”
Caroline, now fully clothed in her pajamas, sits down on her bed. She sighs, twisting a strand of hair around her finger. “Can you keep a secret?”
It’s an odd question, and I’m momentarily taken aback. “Yeah, of course I can,” I eventually reply, walking towards her bed and sitting at the end of it.
She sighs again, pulling a textbook off her nightstand and into her lap. “McGonagall pulled me aside on Monday. You know all that drama that happened last spring with my father trying to contact me and my mum?”
I nod, staying silent so that Caroline can explain herself uninterrupted.
“Well, it had me so stressed out that I let my grades slip. I failed three of my final exams. Three. I can’t get any sort of job if I fail that many of my NEWTs. So I have to study more this year to make up for it, even if it means I can’t go to the party.
“I’m sorry, Caroline, I didn’t know,” I start to say, but she cuts me off.
“And that’s how I wanted it. I probably should have told you all, but I was embarrassed. I mean, what kind of Ravenclaw fails exams?”
“Hey, if it makes you feel better, I failed my practical final in second year for Herbology,” I supply.
“That’s because something squirted pus on you and you got so freaked out you fainted in the middle of class,” she replies, laughing at the thought.
I smile too, thinking back to that day, and all of my thirteen-year-old dramatics.
“So are you sure you don’t want to go to the party? You could always study more this weekend,” I say.
She shrugs. “Nah, I’ve already put on more comfortable clothes and everything. I didn’t really want to go all that bad anyway.”
“Okay,” I reply slowly, “well just let me know if you need anything. I’m always here for you.”
“Alright, well can you do me just one favour?” she asks.
“Yeah, whatever you want.”
She reaches into my hair, pulling out a pin. “Let your hair down for once,” she says, smiling at me. My hair comes tumbling down my shoulders, still in curls.
I run my fingers through the curls, loosening them slightly. “I’ll try.”
I get up from the bed, and start to leave the room. As I’m heading out the door, Caroline says, “And Abigail?”
“Thanks. You know, for everything.”
I smile at her. “No problem.”
By the time I get to the Room of Requirement, the massive place where all of the Fit’s parties are held, I’m definitely late. And by that, I mean late late.
The entire party is in full swing. The lights are so low there’s practically no light at all, and people are packed into every corner of the room. I immediately feel uncomfortable at arriving alone, and realise why the Royals always arrive as one group. There’s power in numbers.
I try to wade through the crowd to find Brooke, Scarlett, or Blaise, but the task becomes difficult and I get tired of pushing through the masses of people.
After about fifteen hopeless and exhausting minutes of searching, I give up and make my way to the drink table, more than a little stressed and definitely a bit uncomfortable.
I get to the large bar area and grab a Firewhiskey shot. I’m not usually one for drinking, especially not heavy liquor, but it seems necessity right about now. I’m at a party alone, Blaise and the other Royals are nowhere to be seen, and I have no idea what to do with myself.
I tip the glass back, letting the burning liquid fall into my mouth and slide down my throat. I can’t help but shudder at the unexpected strength of the alcohol.
“Can’t handle your liquor?” a voice asks, and I whip my head around to see Potter leaning against a nearby windowsill.
Prat. And I still haven’t figured out my revenge yet.
“I can handle it perfectly fine,” I snap back. For emphasis, I grab another shot and pour it down again, this time managing to contain the shudder. The liquid feels like it’s moving through my veins, warming me up from head to toe. It’s almost – dare I say it – pleasant.
“Well then, maybe you’re not as much of a lightweight as I thought,” he replies, a smirk evident on his face.
I can’t tell whether it’s the low lighting or the shots I’ve just consumed, but I find myself thinking that Potter actually looks rather attractive. His dark messy hair catches the light, and his smirk reveals a small dimple on his cheek. He’s dressed in a dark button-down shirt, and the sleeves are rolled up to the elbow, revealing his rather nice-looking forearms. I stop myself internally at that – did I just think that Potter’s forearms were good-looking? Forget that, did I just think that Potter as a whole was good-looking?
I need another drink.
As I take the third shot, I realise that Potter has left his place against the windowsill. Where are his friends, anyway? He’s constantly with at least one of them, so seeing him isolated is a bit of a shock.
But then again, I'm constantly with my friends too.
“Whoa, easy there,” he says, sidling up next to me. “Don’t wanna go too fast there.”
His words are slightly slurred together, meaning that I’m not the only one who’s consumed Firewhiskey tonight. “Yeah, because you’re one to talk. Your words aren’t ever clear anymore.”
“Touché, Winchester,” he replies. “But I have a reason to be drinking.”
Yeah, well so do I, Potter. “And that is?” I shoot back.
He grabs a shot from the table, and drinks it all in one go, not even making a face at the bitter taste. “Nothing you need to know about. Or would care about, for that matter. But a reason nonetheless.”
“You’re not alone in that one, Potter. My life isn’t all too hot either,” I say bitterly, thinking of the horrible week I’ve had. Granted, Potter and all the rumours associated with him have been a part of it, but the continuing fight between my parents and trying to maintain the lie about Blaise aren’t helping anything either.
“So Miss Queen Bee’s world isn’t perfectly perfect anymore?” he says, chuckling to himself. “Well hey, misery loves company.”
I just nod. The alcohol’s already going to my head and making everything a bit fuzzier. I don’t try to talk – I’m afraid that if I do, my words will slur and reveal that maybe I can’t hold my liquor as well as I’m trying to make it seem.
“Bottoms up, I guess.” I try to re-focus my eyes and I see that Potter’s holding out another glass for me. I take it and we both pour the drinks down.
The evening continues similarly, with no sign of my friends of my boyfriend, until I’ve drunk far more than I ever have before, and everything’s swimming around me. I’ve given up on staying silent, but it also takes far too much effort to separate words. I’m slurring and swaying, but at this point, I don’t even care.
“I’m bored,” Potter complains. He apparently gets whinier when drunk. “Let’s go do something else.
“That’s fine by me,” I giggle. I apparently laugh more when drunk – I also am more likely to agree to propositions made by the guy I vehemently dislike.
We make our way out of the crowded room, but not without our fair share of stumbles. I have no idea how much alcohol I’ve actually had tonight, but it’s irrefutable that I’m completely drunk.
The sensation is entirely new, but I’m not opposed to it, either. Everything’s a little less pressing – I don’t think about every little failure or every little thing that has to be perfect. Instead, I’m just enjoying things and letting things go where they go.
As we finally get out of the loud and crazy Room of Requirement, we start trying to travel down the long hallways.
“Where are we going?” I ask, trying to think logically. It makes my brain hurt. “We can’t just wander the hallways – we’ll get caught.”
Potter pauses for a minute, screwing his eyebrows up in concentration. It’s a comical look on him, and I can’t help but laugh again. I’ve probably laughed more in the past two hours than I have in the past two weeks, but I can’t help it. Everything’s just so much funnier now.
Suddenly a look of realization dawns on his face. “I know where we’ll go! Follow me!”
He starts running, but I quickly realise that with both alcohol and heels, I can’t keep up. “Oi, Potter! Slow down!”
He doesn’t seem to hear me, and keeps going like an overexcited puppy.
I take my shoes off, and start running after him. I follow him all the way to the entrance hall, where he pushes open the huge doors and steps outside.
“Okay, where are you taking us?” I’m confused, because there’s really not much to do outside, and I don’t really want to go into the Forbidden Forest because there are animals in there.
“You’ll see. You’ll like it, I promise.
We walk across the grounds, until Potter finally gets near the Whomping Willow. He picks up a pile of stones and starts throwing them at the base of the tree. It takes him a few tries, but he finally hits a certain spot and the whole tree stops moving, almost as if it had been immobilized.
Potter grabs my hand and starts to pull me towards the base of the tree. “Let’s go, Winchester! You’re being slow.”
I giggle. “Well, I’m sorry I don’t know where I’m going. It’s not my fault.” It crosses my mind that, if we were sober, this would be an argument, not a conversation. But the thought leaves my mind as quickly as it came.
“Okay,” Potter tries to explain, his words slurred heavily, “just slide down this hole after me.”
I stare at the hole in the ground by the tree – what am I supposed to do with that? But before I have the chance to ask Potter anything, he’s sliding down the hole, making a whole bunch of noise as he does so.
I figure it’s now or never; I crawl towards the ground and slide down the hole after him.
I don’t know what my drunken mind was expecting to find, but I’m shocked to see a whole passageway forming from the small hole we came from. Potter is standing up a few feet away, casually brushing dirt off his jeans. I unintentionally stare at him, once again that he’s actually quite good-looking.
And this time, there’s no sober part of my mind to snap me out of it.
“Like what you see, Winchester?” Potter says, smirking.
I roll my eyes – or try to, anyway. My eyeballs just don’t want to move in that way. “As if. Don’t let that head of yours over-inflate.” I try not to laugh as I talk, but my shoulders shake anyway.
“Good to know you still hate me even when you’re drunk.”
“I – I don’t hate you,” I reply, stumbling on my words slightly. “You’re a right immature idiot, but I don’t hate you. Vehemently dislike you, maybe.”
Potter tilts his head, almost to ponder this thought. “Well that’s good to know, I guess. Let’s just keep going.”
I finally stand up and start following Potter through the passageway. It’s small, narrow, and dirty – barely tall enough for me to stand straight. As if walking normally while drunk was hard, walking hunched over while drunk was even worse.
From ahead, I hear an oof, but I don’t think of much of it. Until, of course, I end up tripping over something and falling flat on my face.
I’m fully expecting to make contact with the dirt, and I hold my arms out for impact, but instead I land on something else. A person. Potter, to be exact.
I scramble to stand up quickly, feeling my cheeks heat up uncomfortably. Thank Godric it’s dark.
“Whoa there,” Potter says, and standing up. “Watch your step.”
I realise that somehow we’ve ended up only inches away from each other.
“Oops,” I reply, giggling. “But in my defence, you tripped first.”
“Maybe I did, but – “
I don’t understand exactly how it happens or who initiates it, but somehow, Potter doesn’t finish his sentence and suddenly his lips are on mine.
He tastes like Firewhiskey and faint mint, and his lips are remarkably soft, a sharp contrast to the roughness of his hands, which are currently entwining themselves in my hair.
I find myself pulling him closer; if there’s even a pocket of air in between us, it’s too much. He’s like drug, even sweeter than the alcohol I’ve gone through tonight.
I don’t know how we end up getting through the passageway, but I do know that we hardly break from one another for a second. My legs are wrapped tightly around his waist as he trails his mouth down my jaw and collarbone, causing me to moan with pleasure.
The whole world is forgotten – for the moment, I don’t care where we are or what my friends are doing or why my parents are fighting. All I care about is the feeling of his mouth on mine.
His shirt comes off, and eventually, so does my dress.
Sunlight streams into the room, the brightness making my head pound. I reach for the curtains around my bed, but end up grabbing at nothing. I open my eyes, just enough to see my surroundings. They quickly open all the way when I realise that I have no idea where I am.
I’m in a poorly crafted, ancient-looking bed, and the whole room around me looks to be unkempt and rarely used. There’s also the soft sound of someone breathing, and I look to my right to notice that I’m not in the bed alone.
It takes only a few more seconds for me to realise that I’m also not clothed.
I sit bolt upright in bed, clutching the sheet around me, headache entirely forgotten. From beside me, the person rolls over, blinking briefly at the bright sun.
It’s Potter. As I gape at him, the whole night comes rushing back to me, and I look at him, eyes practically falling out of my head in shock. His expression mirrors my own.
The next word that leaves my mouth is not one I’m proud of.
Up next: James and Abigail try to sort things out (which may or may not end horribly), hangovers are dealt with, and a fight finds itself featured in the Prophet.
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