Chapter 9 : The One With The Chewed Quill
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Thanks to Isobel aka The Misfit for her help on this chapter and to Sam aka TheHeirOfSlytherin for being my amazing beta!
“Are you listening to my ideas?”
I was brought out of my thoughts by James. I blinked a few times as I processed what he said, remembering that I was meant to be working with him on our project for Muggle Studies.
“Sorry, I was in my own little world,” I told him honestly and apologetically. “What did you say?”
“I was just saying that we could come up with an idea about following a Muggle around all day. Letting everyone see the boring things that they do, such as eating their toast or brushing their teeth.”
I gave a laugh at his idea, “Why on earth would Muggles want to watch something like that?”
“Muggles watch programmes like that all the time!” James told me. It couldn’t be true; why would people want to watch the daily lives of other people? It sounded boring.
“How about a Muggle that’s put into Wizard situations and has to deal with things in a Muggle way?” I suggested, realising that it was probably a shit idea; this was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
“Well, whatever we do, when we give our presentation to the class, I think that we should re-enact it. That would probably give us extra points.”
“You think that we should perform the show for the class?” I asked him. There was no way that I was going to perform in front of the class, I wasn’t confident enough to do that.
“I can play the role of the Muggle if you want? I think that I would make a good Muggle,” James suggested.
I laughed at his words; he turned to me with a hurt look on his face.
“I’ll have you know that I could have been born a Squib.”
“Didn’t we all have the chance of being born a Squib?” I asked him. James gave a shrug at me and continued writing his idea down on the piece of paper in front of him.
“Probably,” he stated as he chewed on the end of the quill in his hands. I tried not to think about the fact that it was my quill that he was chewing. Also the fact that I was clearly creepy, as I hoped that he would give it back to me at the end of the lesson so I could keep it.
We settled into a comfortable silence. James working on his ‘following a Muggle around’ idea, whilst I stared around the room and tried to think of another idea. Just in case that one fell through. I had to admit that absolutely nothing was coming to me. My mind was too preoccupied with the thoughts of James chewing on the end of my quill. I’m not sure if I could ever use the quill again; if he did give it back to me, it would be too special a quill.
I rolled my eyes at myself as I sunk lower in my seat, glad that James couldn’t hear my thoughts. My mind was trying to convince myself that we could actually frame the quill, possibly becoming the start of a shrine to James. If James was privy to any of that, he would never speak to me again.
I turned around at the sound of James’ voice to face him; he was sitting at the table to the left of me and Michelle, with his friend William.
“Yeah?” I asked, wondering why James was talking to me in Potions. He only really talked to me in Muggle Studies, mainly because we didn’t have a chance to talk in the other lessons we did have together.
“Maybe we could do a talent show for our Muggle Studies project?” he suggested to me. He seemed quite excited about this new idea he had.
“Do you have any talents?” I asked him, wondering if he was still planning on performing like he was going to do earlier.
“Oh, I have many,” he told me with a wink, which caused my stomach to clench and for William to scoff next to him.
“We could maybe get the other students to ‘take part’ in it, make it an entire class activity. What do you think?”
“Err...” I began, not sure what to say.
“Brilliant,” James exclaimed. “You think it’s a good idea.”
I gave a small laugh as I turned back around to face mine and Michelle’s potion. A smile began creeping across my face at the idea of James’ many talents.
I wondered what on earth they could be? Maybe he could sing? Or knew how to dance the Robot? Maybe he could eat ten hot dogs in five minutes? Not really a useable talent, but I would be really impressed if he could.
I looked over at Michelle and the look on her face made the smile drop off of my own.
“What?” I asked her timidly.
“Do you think you could stop drooling for one moment and help me finish this potion?” she snapped quietly at me.
“I wasn’t drooling,” I stated, resisting the urge to sigh in annoyance.
“You may as well have been.”
What did it matter to her if I was or wasn’t?
“He started talking to me,” I told her quietly, not that it would have made much of a difference; what did it matter who began speaking first? I can’t just ignore James, we were talking about our Muggle Studies work. Michelle just ignored what I had said and went back to our potion, not saying a word to me as a hard look crossed her face.
Feeling dejected, I went back to preparing the ingredients for our potion. I felt stupid for wanting to cry. Why did I want to cry? I was being stupid for letting her attitude affect me. I blinked quickly and tried to focus on weighing the ingredients.
After a while a movement beside me caught my eye and caused me to look up at James, who was giving me a warm smile and a small wave. He must have either heard what was going on with me and Michelle or he guessed from the way that we weren’t talking to each other.
I smiled back at him, feeling a lot better. Who knew that such a small thing, such as James’ smile, could have a big impact on my mood?
His smile took away the urge to cry. At least there was someone in this class who would talk to me.
The feel of Snowball's fur underneath my fingers was bringing me a tiny bit of comfort. I was hoping that by stroking him, it would calm me down. It wasn’t really working, but it was something to do instead of looking up at Michelle.
She had barely spoken to me since we left our Potions lesson. Dinner was spent in quiet, which had caused me to come up to my dormitory earlier than normal. I didn’t want to be around her when she was behaving like this; it wasn’t my fault that she was in a bad mood and was taking it out on me. It wasn’t long before she came up to the dormitory herself and began to make a show of getting her Quidditch stuff, making sure to make as much noise as possible. I contented myself with stroking Snowball and trying my best to ignore her presence, hoping that our inevitable ‘discussion’ wouldn’t happen.
Sadly, the world seemed to be against me. I sensed her turning towards me as she grabbed her broomstick, knowing that she would want to talk about this before she would leave.
“When are you going to see that he’s only talking to you for a laugh. He’s not interested in you, Abigail. He’ll never be interested in someone like you and me, we are in two entirely separate places at this school. The whole lot of them think that they’re above us and at the moment they seem to have targeted you in this little game they have. You need to realise this before you fall too deeply and cannot get out. James isn’t interested in you and you should cut your loses whilst you can,” she snapped at me. I noticed that she was trying her hardest not to yell. Not that it would have made a difference, she was still saying hurtful words at me. Still making me feel bad.
I gave a shrug even though her words were cutting at my heart like a knife. I didn’t understand how my best friend could talk to me like this. How she could be talking about how James and his friends would treat me like shit, when she was doing exactly the same thing in trying to ‘save’ me from them?
I wished I had the backbone to say something back to her; it was all on the tip of my tongue. The words were playing out in my head. I imagined myself telling her that she was jealous, that I wasn’t going to stand for her not being happy for me. That she had no right to talk to me like that. But, like always, I said nothing, just stayed silent. I was too scared to say anything that would cause her to stop talking to me forever. If she was right and down the line I found out that James was using me for some reason or another, who would I have then? No one. I would rather Michelle was my friend, albeit a terrible one, then have her as my enemy.
Maybe if I kept stroking Snowball, Michelle would realise that I wasn’t paying her any attention. That I clearly didn’t want to talk about it.
“You know what, when he turns out to be exactly like Barry and Elijah, don’t you dare come running back to me.”
I heard her storm out of the room, slamming the door shut behind her.
I honestly hated her at that moment for making me feel so incredibly shitty about everything. I had been having a nice time having James talking to me and she just wanted to come and taint everything, as though she was spreading some sort of disease on it.
Moving my knees up, I wrapped my arms around them and rested my head on top of them. Frustration flooding through me in waves. Why do I let myself put up with this? Why was I such a bloody coward?
I heard the door open again and I glanced up, seeing Isabella walking into the room and looking at me in concern.
“Are you okay?” she asked me.
“Yeah, fine,” I lied, moving my knees and trying to make myself look less vulnerable. But Isabella saw straight through my lies.
“Did you and Michelle have another argument?” she asked. “Michelle practically pushed me to the floor as she stormed away from here.”
I nodded, unsure what else to say.
Isabella moved over to my bed and took a seat on it, next to Snowball.
“You know that you shouldn’t let Michelle control your life so much. It’s your life; if you want to do something, then you should do it. You shouldn’t only do things because Michelle said that it was okay for you to do something,” Isabella told me honestly. I knew she was right, of course she was right; what sane person would let her friend dictate her life like that? I would, apparently, although my sanity could be called into question because I talked to my cat on a daily basis.
“I know I shouldn’t but, I just...” I faltered, struggling to find the right words for what I wanted to say. How could I explain it when I didn’t even fully understand my reasons to begin with?
“I do get it, Abigail. I’s hard to stand up to your friends, especially your best friend. But best friends are meant to make you feel good about yourself. They should be there to support you when you have an achievement or something that you want to share. They shouldn’t just make everything about them and only care if it is something that affects them directly. She should listen to you talking about James without throwing a hissy fit; you like him, it’s good. You just need someone that you can talk to about it.”
I nodded, feeling like she had explained it perfectly. What else could I say to that?
"Abigail.” She took hold of my shoulders and made me look up at her. I looked into her green eyes and saw the sincerity in her eyes, making sure I knew that she was being honest. “If you need to talk about James, then come to me. If you need advice, I will be here for you. You should not be made to feel like shit just because Michelle thinks that you should.”
I nodded again and she pulled me into a hug.
“Oh, how I wish that things were different, or that she grew up even if it was just a little bit. She needs to realise that the whole world does not revolve around her,” Isabella stated as she pulled away from me and smiled at me. “Are you going to be okay?” she asked me as I went back to stroking Snowball. I smiled down at him before looking up at Isabella who was looking at me expectantly.
“I’ll be fine. Thank you, Isabella. You always know how to make me feel better, especially when other people try to make me feel like shit,” I admitted. It really hurt that Michelle couldn’t be nicer to me, that she just couldn’t be happy and help me through everything.
“I can honestly tell you that James seems like a great guy. We shouldn't be judging him on how his friends have behaved. He is honestly not like them. How would you like it if people would judge you on how Michelle behaves?” Isabella asked.
“I wouldn’t like it at all as Michelle and I are totally different people. “
“Just like James. I can see that he is being genuine with you,” Isabella admitted as she walked over to the dormitory door and opened it. She stopped at the door and looked over at me. “You should let yourself be happy around him. You deserve it, Abigail, you really do. You are such an amazing girl.”
I smiled at her as I thanked her for her kind words that I wasn’t sure I even deserved.
I lay down next to my cat and looked at him, thankful that there were people in the world who loved me. Like him, he would never make me feel like shit or treat me like I was nothing.
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