If you recognise it, it belongs to JKR
“Ow! Gin! You’re pulling too tight!” Francesca squealed as Ginny tried to put her hair up for the Yule Ball.
“Do you want it to stay in or not, Ces?” Ginny challenged, but relinquished her grip slightly all the same.
“What do you think it’ll be like?” Cesca wondered.
“Who knows? All the boys drooling over Phlegm and all the other girls following Krum around?” Ginny grinned as she placed the last few pins in her best friend’s hair.
“Probably.” Francesca laughed, standing up to put her dress on. It was a deep crimson colour which set off her dark hair and pale colouring perfectly. Ginny was in green.
“There!” Ginny said, putting the final touches to her make up. “Will we do, do you think?”
“I’d say so.”
They went downstairs to the Common Room where Francesca was to meet Dean Thomas and Ginny was to meet Neville Longbottom. Francesca hadn’t let on to her best friend quite how excited she was about it, as she had kept her crush on Dean a secret.
“Have you seen Hermione anywhere?” Ginny’s brother Ron asked them grumpily. They shook their heads. “See?” he said triumphantly. “I bet she lied about having a date and now she’s too embarrassed to come down.”
“Don’t be a pillock, Ron!” Ginny told him, rolling her eyes. She failed to mention to her brother that they both knew Hermione’s date was; and that Ron was sure to be furious when he saw them together.
“You alright, Harry?” Francesca asked her cousin, who was looking fed up as well.
“Yeah, fine. Just wish I didn’t have all this to worry about…” his voice trailed off. Francesca suspected that he would have liked to have taken Cho Chang instead of Parvati Patil.
“Cesca. Are you ready? Dean appeared beside her as Neville approached Ginny.
“Yeah. Lets Go!” She said.
Later on, the Yule Ball was in full flow. Dean had gone to get some drinks so Francesca sat down with Harry and Ron as Ginny was still dancing. She looked again when she realised that her best friend was no longer dancing with Neville, but with a Ravenclaw called Michael… something. Francesca caught Ginny’s eye and grinned, checking that Ron hadn’t noticed. He was to busy sulking over Hermione going with Victor Krum to pay attention to his sister, however.
“Where are the Patil Twins?” Francesca asked. The boys shrugged.
“Dancing I spose!” Ron said.
“You two are hopeless. You can’t ask someone to a ball then ignore them all night!”
“We didn’t…” Harry began to protest, then gave up as Francesca gave him a look that was so like Terese that he decided it wasn’t worth debating. “Where’s Dean anyway?”
“Gone to get some drinks.”
“What did your… what did Snuffles say about you coming to the ball with him?” Ron asked.
“Not much. I think he probably asked Uncle Remus about him though.” Before they could say anymore, Dean arrived back and handed Francesca her drink.
“Want to dance again?” he said to her as she finished her butterbeer.
“Sure!” She said, leaving her bag on the chair, making it clear to Harry that he could keep an eye on it.
The band playing was the Weird Sisters. She had always liked their music, as her Mum’s friend’s daughter, Dora, had played her their songs when she babysat her.
“I thought Ginny went with Neville?” Dean asked her, looking across the dance floor.
“She did. I think he kept treading on her feet!” Francesca laughed.
“I didn’t know she knew Michael Corner.”
“I don’t think she did” Francesca replied with a sinking feeling at the slightly despondent expression on his face.
“Serves me right for not plucking up the courage I guess.” He said, mostly to himself.
“Is that why you asked me?” She said, hoping her voice wouldn’t show that she felt like crying. “Because you weren’t brave enough to ask Gin?”
“It wasn’t… I didn’t… I asked you because we’re friends, Francesca.”
“Friends.” She repeated faintly. “Yeah, right.” He smiled at her. “You won’t say anything to her, will you?”
“No, of course not!” she said, forcing a smile.
“Are you ok, darling?” Terese asked, alarmed, as her daughter’s head appeared in the fire place.
“I’m fine.” Francesca replied with a false brightness that instantly had her mother on the alert. She was sitting in the deserted common room the following morning, knowing that very few people would be up. She had had a sudden desire to speak to Terese despite their recent strained relationship.
“How was the ball?”
“And did you have a nice time with Dean?” Francesca nodded, suddenly unable to speak.
“Darling, what’s the matter?” Francesca looked around and up the staircases to make sure that no one was there.
“He likes Ginny, Mum. He just didn’t have the courage to ask her, so he asked me because we’re friends.”
“Oh sweetheart!” Terese said, sympathetically. “What did Ginny have to say about it?”
“He asked me not to tell her.”
“Does she like him?”
“I don’t think so. She met a guy in Ravenclaw last night and she seems to like him quite a bit!”
“And does she know you like Dean?” Francesca shook her head miserably. “I don’t know what to do, Mum!” she said, wishing she could be at home.
“Do you want to come home for a few days darling? I could owl Professor McGonagall.”
“Will Snuffles be there?”
“I don’t think so, darling, but we could go shopping in the sales, go to the muggle cinema, whatever you like.”
“Really?” Francesca said, hopefully.
“Of course sweetheart. It’s your home too.”
“Yeah Please then, Mum.” Terese beamed at her daughter.
“Alright then. I’ll send an owl to Mi… Professor McGonagall and let work know I won’t be in for a few days. They owe me some time.”
Francesca, cheered by the prospect of getting away, said goodbye to her mother and went to pack. It was the first time in her life that she was quite pleased she wouldn’t be seeing her best friend. It wasn’t Ginny’s fault but she didn’t relish the idea of keeping her promise to Dean and also hiding her own feelings as a result.
In Brighton, Terese hummed to herself as she made preparations for Francesca’s home coming. She was sorry that she was upset, but couldn’t help but be happy about having some bonus days with her baby. Their relationship hadn’t been easy since Francesca started Hogwarts and began to seriously question who her father was. Then when Sirius came back into their lives, she had to struggle to accommodate him and the fact that he and Terese subsequently got back together.
But now they had a chance to try and build some bridges, and Terese couldn’t wait!!