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Chapter 1 : Step One: A Grand Entrance
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He was hiding from his cousin James. That too was a rare occurrence. The fifteen year old boys were as close as twins and rarely seen apart. However, there was a tiny problem. It was Valentine’s day in two days and James had just asked out the prettiest girl in their year, Mariana Crawley. Tall and blonde, she had everything a fifteen year old boy desired in a girl. Freddie, being single as usual, did not fancy hearing a long, love-filled rant from his cousin and had hence resorted to hiding in the library. As in the case of Freddie, James wouldn’t be caught dead in this room.
Freddie stared absentmindedly out the window. As much as hated to admit it, he was jealous of the way James effortlessly got his girlfriends. The practically worshipped him while Freddie was sidelined as the ‘side-kick’ in James’ adventures. The very word made Freddie’s blood boil. He was responsible for 90% of the pranks the duo had played and yet he never got any credit.
One more word from James about how amazing Mariana was and Freddie was going to wallop his cousin over the head. He turned frustratedly to a nearby bookshelf only to find to his horror that he was in the gossip and love advice section. 5 ways to make your eyes twice as big. 14 ways to get rid of blemishes. 20 ways to get your perfect skin tone. 10 ways to become a size 0. The list went on and on. Freddie shuddered in disgust. What was with girls and trying to become someone else? The extremes they went to in order to be considered ‘pretty’ were unfathomable to Freddie. Of course, the boys were guilty of this crime as well. Freddie had seen the sheer number of cologne bottles in the Gryffindor Boys’ bathroom. Most of them belonged to James, of course. Freddie had one can of deodorant that was often shoved to the corner of the shelf. Just like in every other aspect of life, James took centre stage.
Freddie was in the process of flipping through the books (and avoiding the strange looks Madam Pince was giving him) when he noticed a tiny book wedged in the corner of the bookshelf. It looked as if had been shoved to the corner, out of the way and unimportant. Feeling a sense of empathy towards the book, Freddie reached for it.
The book was old and a layer of dust had settled over it. Brushing it off, Freddie got a glimpse at the title.
Five Foolproof Ways to Get the Girl.
No wonder it had been shoved to a corner. In the midst of beauty tips and fitness advice, here was a book for boys like Freddie who didn’t know the first thing there was to getting a girlfriend. Freddie hesitated before opening the book. James would have laughed his head off if he saw the book Freddie was about to read. However, it was Valentine’s day soon and Freddie was sick of waving off James and the new girl on his arm as they strolled into Hogsmeade. This year, Freddie would be strolling with them. Well not with them for that would be very creepy, but with a girl of his own. With a renewed determination, Freddie opened the cover.
It turned out the book had been written by a woman named Maud Chaucer. A black and white photograph showed a woman with a long, horse-like face and a wide smile full of crooked teeth. The book had been written more than 30 years ago. The lady must surely be 85 now, a definite expert on love, Freddie thought. He flipped through the book until he came to the first step to get a girl.
One: Make the grand opening.
First impressions are very important and tend to influence the entire relationship. Go introduce yourself in the most memorable way possible. Start off by complimenting her looks. That is the surest way to a woman’s heart.
Freddie scrunched his nose in disgust. He had to praise someone’s appearance? That sounded hard. Freddie sighed. Things would be much easier if he just asked his father to send him the latest love potion in the market. Unfortunately, Angelina was extremely vigilant about what went inside and outside of their home, especially after Freddie spread a particularly nasty set of puking pasties around the school. Hence love potions or any other forbidden substance was out of the question. He had no choice but to follow the words of this weird looking lady.
Freddie looked around the library to find a girl to test this step out on. It was the block just after lunch and while Freddie had a free period, most of the students were in class. However, he did spot a girl reading a book at a table on the opposite side of the room. She looked about his age with blonde curls pinned back so she could read the book. She was alone. Perfect opportunity, Freddie thought as he made his way over in a manner as casual as possible.
“Aren’t you a beautiful thing?” Freddie drawled upon reaching the girl.
She looked up and fixed him with a dark eyed glare.
“Don’t you have someone else to annoy?”
That certainly wasn’t the answer that Freddie was expecting. However, he assumed that this was all part of the plan. Why have five steps when you only needed one? There was obviously more to come. He pushed on.
“No one as gorgeous as you,” he replied and the girl groaned.
“See, you already know my name!” Freddie cried and Madam Pince hissed from her position behind the librarian’s desk.
“That makes it much easier for us to get along,” Freddie continued, reducing his voice to a whisper.
“Not unless you know mine,” the girl whispered back.
There was an awkward pause and the girl smirked.
“You don’t know my name, do you?” she said.
“Of course I do!” Freddie lied, racking his brains furiously to find an answer. Why couldn’t he remember this girl’s name? He was sure he’d seen her before.
“It’s just that we haven’t met of late-” he explained.
“I was your potions partner two days ago.”
There was another pause, this one more drawn out than the other. Freddie never paid attention during Potions. He usually let his partner do all the work while he chatted to James about the latest prank they had pulled. Since James and Freddie were never paired together after they tried to brew Felix Felicis and nearly blew up the classroom, this usually meant screaming to each other from opposite ends of the class.
The finally girl relented, unable to let the awkward tension last.
“Perhaps you’ll remember me as the girl who dropped the pitcher of lemonade at that party over by the Burrow this summer,” she said, rolling her eyes as she saw Freddie’s light up.
“I know you! You’re Alice Longbottom!” Freddie cried, again receiving a scowl from Madam Pince. That lady could be so interruptive without even uttering a word.
Freddie couldn’t believe he’d forgotten who Alice Longbottom was. The youngest daughter of the Longbottom family, Alice was the quiet child among her boisterous siblings. When the Longbottoms and the Weasleys met up, which they often did, Alice preferred curling up in a corner with a book rather than play with the other children. This summer, however, she was forced to make social interactions with the children her age. Nana Molly had asked her to carry a pitcher of lemonade outside for a picnic the families were having. As Alice was carrying out this task, little Hugo Weasley was running away from a garden gnome that Freddie had accidentally enlarged. The boy collided with Alice and to cut a long story short, the garden grass still smelt of sugared lemons.
“One hundred points to Gryffindor,” Alice replied sarcastically, “For remembering me.”
“You should be glad that I’ve forgotten,” Freddie replied. “It means that you’ve lived down that embarrassment.”
“Hugo still refers to me as ‘lemon’, so I don’t think anyone else is going to forget that incident any time soon.” Alice muttered.
“What’s got you in such a bad mood?” Freddie replied, realizing a second too late that he had derailed from his original mission. He was supposed to be complimenting her.
“Aside from you?” Alice cracked a half-hearted smile.
Freddie shot her a wounded look before nodding.
“It’s these Ancient Runes,” Alice side, gesturing towards the book she had been initially engrossed in.
“Let me give you a hand,” Freddie offered. “I’m pretty okay at the subject.”
“Why not?” Alice said, sliding the book across the table. “Give it a shot.”
Freddie studied the runes for a minute.
“Oh, you’ve made a small mix up. That’s why your translation doesn’t make sense. Ehwaz means partnership but you’ve mixed it up with the words for defense, which is Eihwaz,” he explained.
“How do you remember this?” Alice groaned.
“I like it, that’s why,” Freddie responded. “What subject do you like the most?”
“History of Magic.”
“You don’t have to look that shocked,” Alice muttered. “I didn’t say I was going to live on the moon or something.”
“I- I never thought that was humanly possible,” Freddie responded faintly. “Are you sure?”
“Positive,” Alice replied, unable to prevent an small grin from spreading on her face.
“The subject is rather useless, you have to admit. What job can you get with an O in History of Magic?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Alice retorted. “Practicality means nothing in the matters of love.”
“I guess you’re going to have to convince me about that, Ms.Longbottom,” settling himself in his seat for the a long discussion that was sure to come.
Step one complete.
Another story! This one's going to be rather fluffy because it's for the awesome Valentine's Day Challenge by LightLeviosa5443! Don't forget to leave a review, I really want to know your thought on the story!
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