Chapter 9 : Choices
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Okay, that's probably a lie, there was that one time when I was nine with the pie and the lampshade. Now that's fear in it's purest form.
But that doesn't change the fact that I'm worried.
Worried that they'll find me.
They being my roommates, that is.
I mean I wasn't exactly covert with my hiding place.
They know I missed dinner. And they know that I'm, well, me.
Yet I still chose to run to the kitchens. Unarmed aside from the rolling pin I snatched from the bench as I dove under it.
I'm surrounded by open bags full of flour and had managed to hit one hard enough to puncture the wrapping when I dove under here about 10 minutes ago.
And so now, for the last ten minutes, I have been watching the flour slowly flow out of the packet like a river as I jump at every noise.
That's them. It must be them. I tighten my already fierce grip on the rolling pin as I prepare to strike.
Is that falling flour making a noise?
I feel like it's very, very, very loud and they're going to hear and then they're going to find me then we'll have to talk and I just can not deal wi-
“Food for Miss Nina?” I jump out from under the bench, swinging the rolling pin rapidly while screaming at the voice.
“AHHHHHH I WAS WRONG, THIS IS DEFINITELY WORSE THAN THE PIE AND LAMPSHADE INCIDENT!”
As soon as the voice registers in my mind I drop the pin and stop screaming.
“Oh, I'm so sorry Minnie. I thought you were someone else.” I apologise. I look down and notice that the stack of flour bags have toppled over as a result of my thrashing of the pin, and a huge pile of flour now lies on the floor; the occasional piece of wrapping paper visible through the white powder.
“That's quite alright Miss Nina, Minnie is sorry for disturbing your quiet. Would you like some food?” Minnie's asks in her high sing-song voice.
Minnie is by far my favourite house elf. She always knows what I want and never questions my or my friends antics. Plus, she helped me through my break-up with Charlie Eaton in fourth year by providing me with more chocolate cake then any girl could possibly want or consume. She's totally great and I love her to bits.
“Nah, I'm alright today Minnie. Thanks though.” I smile at the house elf as she nods and clicks her fingers twice, instantly apparating away to another part of the castle.
I bend down to pick up my fallen rolling pin and begin to crawl back under the bench among the flour.
“I didn't know you baked, Summers.” I jump at the voice and my eyes widen in suspicion as I look out at the pair of legs standing outside my hiding place.
And suddenly, those legs become eyes.
Hazel eyes that I have lost myself in many times before.
“There's a lot you don't know about me.” James' mouth curls into a smile as he holds out his hand for me to take.
I accept his offer and allow him to pull me up with him as he too stands, sweeping the flour off of my clothes as I straighten myself to my full height. As I look at him I feel a heat make it's way through my body.
“Did you follow me here?” I take a step back away from him as I speak, hoping he won't notice my flushed cheeks.
“What makes you think that? Do I give off a stalker vibe?” He smiles wryly. I simply shrug and raise my eyebrows slightly in response.
“I missed dinner and was hoping to grab a snack, you?” James runs a hand through his hair while leaning on a bench with the other.
“Same. Well, half- same.” My answer is met with a bemused expression from James.
“Uh, I was kind of running from my dorm mates, Caroline and Alaska, and my first thought was to come here. Figured I could kill two birds with one stone and grab some food.” I shrugged, catching sight of the caramel slice Minnie must have left over for me (caramel slice is her specialty, along with chocolate cake).
“Why exactly were you running from your dorm mates?” James asked, half his mouth curved up into a very attractive smile. I frown as I try to remember why I was running from Caroline and Alaska in the first place. Being around James has the side effect of completely addling my brains. A deeper blush colours my already rosy cheeks as the conversation comes back to me.
Caroline finding out I know about her and Al. Alaska finding about about Caroline and Al. Caroline and Alaska finding out that I snogged James on Halloween. James. Who is currently standing before me, waiting for an answer to a very simple question.
“Nargles.” I say with a shrug, as though that's all the explanation he should need.
He nods in understanding and we spend a minute in silence, just looking at each other; letting our eyes speak for us.
“I was thinking it's time we talked.” said James nervously. I nod in agreement.
“But first- caramel slice?” I offer with a flourish. James ignores the slice and takes a few steps towards me, effectively closing the distance between us. I draw in a sharp breath as he raises his hand and runs a finger down my nose.
He pulls back his finger, now coated in flour, and puts it in his mouth; pulling a face before removing it a few seconds later, clean again.
“Ew, flour's gross.” He comments. I throw my head back and laugh, effectively missing him reaching down and scooping up a large amount of flour in his hands, only noticing once he's already blowing it in my face.
“You try it.” He laughs at my flour covered face as I scrunch it up and spit out the pieces of flour that have flown into my mouth. I run my hand down my face in one, fluid movement and quickly run the excess flour from my hand through James' hair.
“No!” He yells. His hands immediately fly to his head, where mine still lie. Our laughter dies down as our hands touch. James carefully plucks my hands from his head and holds them softly in his own, his eyes trained on our interlocked fingers intently.
“We should talk, shouldn't we?” James' voice wavers slightly as he lightly swings my hands back and forth. I nod, more to myself than James, but nonetheless James drops my left arm and pulls me from the kitchens.
The slice left behind, forgotten and untouched.
“Where exactly are we going?” I ask for the umpteenth time. James and I have been walking for a few minutes now. At first, we just walked beside each other, our hands occasionally brushing for no longer than a second at a time as we strolled down the abandoned corridors.
A few minutes ago, however, James deemed it appropriate that I not see where we're going. So his genius idea was to blindfold me. With his hands.
I can't say I mind the close proximity we are in as a result; there's only so far a person can wander when their hands are resting over another’s eyes. I can feel the heat coming off his body along my back, and occasionally I'll feel his arms or chest brush against me as he walks.
Although, I could do without his lacking of the ability to properly navigate me along the halls. The amount of walls I've walked into because he figured I'd dodge them is ridiculous.
“None of your beeswax.” Is James' muttered reply.
“What does that even mean?” I pull a face at him, even thought I know he can't see it. Maybe he can feel it.
“None of your beeswax.” He repeats, his tone teasing.
I abruptly stop walking and cross my arms against my chest.
If I'm being honest, I don't think I really thought this through completely.
Meaning, I didn't think of the fact that if James is walking behind me, and I stop walking while he does not; we're going to collide. And it's not going to be cute or graceful.
I open my eyes and blink wildly as I adjust to the lighting. I register the fact that I'm laying on my back, on the ground, my head, booty (which was already considerably sore) and elbow all flipping hurt, and there is a 17 year old boy with messy black hair and a disgruntled expression currently straddling me.
So it's not all bad.
“Good one, Summers.” James teases with an eye roll.
“Get off of me, Potter.” I demand as I wriggle under his weight.
“I don't think I will actually.” James crosses his arms across his chest and wears a satisfied smirk on his face.
“Sod off, James.” I command, but he acts as though I didn't even speak.
“I like it here.” James leans in closer, so that our chests and noses are just centimetres away from touching.
“Don't you?” He reduces his voice to barely a whisper and I find that I have stopped struggling. And breathing. Breathe Nina. BREATHE!
I draw a sharp breath as James continues to hang over me.
He slowly leans in, bringing his face closer to mine, and so I do what any reasonable girl would do in such a situation. I bring my arms up and tickle his sides.
He immediately erupts into laughter and rolls off of me, leaving me free to stand as he contains himself.
“Low blow, Nina. Low blow.” I laugh as he stands and sweeps dust off his jeans in two fluid hand movements.
“We're here anyways.” He announces, though we stand in an empty hallway.
“Well, I can't say you never took me anywhere nice.” James holds up a finger as he begins pacing the hallway, a deep look of concentration plastered on his face. I look around the hallway, for a clue on where we are. It does seem vaguely familiar.
That's when the door appears on the wall, and my memory clicks in place.
“The Room of Requirement. Feeling nostalgic James?” He pokes his tongue out at me and opens the door, revealing a room completely different to that of his earlier Halloween party.
For starters, this room is a lot smaller than the one James used before, it also has a lot less furniture. In fact, all it contains is a small mahogany desk sitting between two plush looking, cream chairs that are indirectly facing each other.
James walks into the room first, and takes a seat in the chair closest to the left side of the room. I follow him in and take the other seat. I fiddle with the ends of my skirt to keep myself from having to look at him. James clears his throat, and I slowly tear my eyes away to meet his.
“I don't really know how to go about this.” James grimaces briefly as he runs his fingers through his hair. Jeez he does that a lot.
“You do that a lot.” I state matter of factly. He stops the movement and pulls his hand from the top of his head, looking at it for a beat before placing his hand back in his lap and settling his eyes on me.
“It's a habit”
“A nervous habit.” He elaborates. I see his hand flinch towards his head, but he settles it back down.
“I make you nervous?” I smile lightly at him, my tone teasing.
“Yes.” James admits.
“Yes.” He repeats, his hand flinching again.
“But, I'm just Nina.”
“Well, Nina is very intimidating.”
“Intimidating? In what way exactly?”
“Well for one, you're very attractive.”
“So I'm intimidatingly attractive?”
“A bit, yeah.”
“That's excellent. I strive for people to be both aroused and terrified in my presence.” James and I both laugh at that and without a warning I am struck with how carefree and infectious the sound of his laugh is, and how it may very well be one of the best sounds I have ever heard.
“I really do like you Nina, I don't know if I ever actually said that.” says James after a minute.
“I really like you, too” I reach across the small desk to rest my hand on his. We sit in silence again, just watching as our hands slowly wrap around each other. James leisurely tracing circles on the back of my hand with his thumb.
“I think, if we really do like each other, we should stop the snogging for a while. Just take a beat and figure out what we want to do.” I say as James nods lightly.
“Guess it's a good thing that holidays are coming up and we won't really be seeing each other then, because all I can think about when I'm with you is how much I want to kiss and be with you.” Despite James' semi- cocky smile I can sense the vulnerability in his eyes and squeeze his hand gently before realising what he said and dropping it. James looks at his hand and back up to me, his face a huge question mark.
“Um, you see, well...” I give up on trying to explain with my words and instead reach into my pocket where I have been keeping the letter my mother sent me since I received it. I pull the letter out and smooth out the folds as I observe my mother's flowery, neat handwriting. I wordlessly hand the letter to James, who is looking very confused, and he hesitates for only a second before opening and reading the letter.
I don't watch him read it. Instead I look around the room, admiring the small details and how magical this room really is. I only know James has finished the letter when I hear a sharp intake of breath from his direction and the sound of the paper getting placed on the desk between us.
I steal a quick glance at him, and find to my surprise a small smile playing on his face. He catches me staring at him with what I'm sure is a look of utter confusion on my face.
“So...” I begin, waiting for him to finish my sentence; and hopefully explain what it is he's thinking.
“So,” he continues with a smirk, “I guess this makes that plan a touch more difficult, doesn't it?”
“We'll be fine. It's just for, what, a few weeks? We're not animals, I think we can control ourselves.” I nod more to myself than James.
“You're right, it's no big deal. No reason to stress.”
“Now that that's settled, what do you say we go somewhere quiet for a while?” James asks with a mischievous glint in his eye.
“James, we just talked about this: detox.”
“Yeah, I know. But here's what I think: I think we just need to get all of this snogging out of our systems now, so that by holidays we won't be tempted.”
"Whatever, casanova." I roll my eyes as he laughs and leans back into his chair.
"Can't blame a guy for trying." He throws his hands into the air with a wink. I glance down at my wrist and widen my eyes at the time.
"I have to go. I've got a potions essay due tomorrow, still have to go over my closing paragraph." James stares at me in disbelief, his head tilting to the side as he blinks at me slowly and deliberately.
"Potions essay? If you need a fifth year to write it for you, I have an excellent shortlist. I'll even let you use Nikki Thomas, she's brilliant."
"Thanks for the offer, but I'm alright. Good night, James" I stand to leave, taking my time walking to the door. When I do reach it and walk through, I stop myself as its mere centimetres from shutting. I lean lightly on the door, peering through the small crack cautiously.
"Good night, Summers." James tips an imaginary hat at me when he catches my eye.
I nod and smile before finally shutting the door and heading back to my dorm.
For whatever reason, I feel unsatisfied that my night will be spent with some parchment and a quill rather than a gorgeous boy with sparkling hazel eyes.
A/N: Because what fan fiction is complete without a playful, flirty food fight in the kitchens?
Okay, so I guess you couldn't really call that a food fight- but it was playful and flirty, was it not?
I'm too sleepy to think of questions right now so you'll have to find some way to deal with that.
Also 3,000 reads- you guys are phenomenal <3
Hugs not drugs, and I'll see you next time x x
Yes, yes I altered the ending.
How ever will you deal with all these changes?
I felt a tad rushed with the original ending as I hadn't updated in a while and really wanted to put this up. I'm much happier now with it ending this way so yay!
In addition to this Mindset hit 4,000 read which is beyond crazay considering literally just up there ^^^ I thanked you for 3,000.
Irrelevant/fun fact: It's my birthday next Friday (the 11th) so yay very exciting.
So much excitement and change in this update, y'all are probably feeling overwhelmed so I'll be off.
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