Chapter 10 : Problem Number Ten.
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I gasped for breath, sucking in my stomach and using all my will power continued jogging along the stony path that went around the lake.
God, I hate my brother.
You see, we had this random bet during dinner yesterday and if he won then I had to jog six rounds around the lake and if I won then he had to ask Kenny out.
I’m sure you all must have figured out by now what the outcome of the bet was.
Stupid tosser. I bet he cheated or something.
That’s the only rational explanation.
“SETH!” I roared, collapsing on the damp grass besides the path, clutching my sides. “I FUCKING CURSE YOU.”
“Now, now.” I saw Seth smirk, “Let’s not be rude.”
“I wish you die a painful death.” I mumbled, closing my eyes, hoping this was all a bad dream and I was actually lying on my lovely bed peacefully.
“Love you too.” I didn’t even need to open my eyes to know he was smirking. I could just hear it in his voice.
“You do know what I do is because I love you right?” Seth asked and I groaned. Great. Now he was going to guilt trip me.
“I mean, exercising is important Rocky,” he went on, “especially if you want to live a long life.” His voice turned sad. “I’ve already lost a lot of people, Rocks. I don’t want to lose you too.”
Now I feel bad.
“Sorry,” I murmured, opening my eyes to find a desolated face. “You know, that deep, deep, very deep down, I appreciate all that you do for me.”
His face broke out into a grin which literally spelled, ‘ha-ha I’ve won and I can’t believe you fell for that’.
“I knew you’d understand.” I made a face. Uh huh. Yeah, sure. “Now since you’re done, how about we go back to the castle, eh?”
Yeah, sure. That seems like a good idea if you know, I could walk. Oh god, everything hurts.
How do people run for fun? It sounds like some sort of demonic ritual to be honest. Like, hey, run six rounds and you get to meet Satan for free and ask him for a favour! Woo hoo!
Just ignore that. I never really make sense in the morning.
Yeah, yeah. I know, I’m in the Quidditch team and I shouldn’t be talking. But you play Quidditch sitting down. I don’t see why you need to run.
“No. I’m not moving.”
“I’m dying and all you care about is your stomach?” I screeched. Well, it was more like a whimper but we all know what it was meant to be.
Seth contemplated for a moment. “Yes?”
Ladies and Gentlemen. My brother.
I turned over, my cheek pressing to the grass and shut my eyes once more. “Go away.” Albeit, my position was uncomfortable, with the small grass blades poking my face, hands and legs but I wasn’t going anywhere with my brother.
“Fine,” he huffed, “Stay here and suffer.”
“I will.” I shot back.
I heard Seth walking away and I suddenly wished I hadn’t sent him away. Now I’d have to stay in this pokey grass for a good amount of time before I could go show my gob to my brother.
I sighed and closed my eyes, taking in the entire environment around me quietly. It was still early in the morning, so the there was no noise to drown out the sound of russet leaves on the ground rustling and the birds chirping.
A sudden gust of wind blew and that’s when it hit me. Why the hell was I out here in the middle of fucking November? I was already sleeping with three pairs of socks at night and somehow I had mindlessly wandered into the open only wearing track pants and a windcheaters?
Seth. This is all his fault. Bloody tosser.
I got up, sitting cross-legged in the grass, my head in my arms.
Too. Lazy. To. Move.
“You look like you could use some help.” I looked up to see none other than Nathan Root.
“Oh, hello.” I muttered, not looking him in the eye. I was too pissed off to interact with anybody from Albus’s past properly, especially if they happened to be Bitch Aimee’s cousin.
Only now do I really realise how vast can the gene pool be.
“So, how come you’re here early in the morning?” he continued cheerfully, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you before.”
“And you’ll probably never see me again.” I replied curtly, “Excuse me, but I have to get ready. See you around.” And then I promptly walked off.
I had only taken about five steps, when Nathan grabbed me by the arm and turned me around. He inspected me closely.
“Now, I’m no detective but I can see that you’re pissed at me and I’d like to know why.”
“I’m not pissed at you.” It wasn’t a lie. I really wasn’t angry at him. I was furious with Aimee and I was just generally cross with the problem that had been handed to me.
I tried to walk past but he held me back, looking at me, his face confused. “Okay seriously, why are you annoyed with me?” His sky blue eyes were looking at me pleadingly. Seriously. How did that boy ever get into Slytherin? Kid should have been a Hufflepuff.
“It’s not you, okay!” I burst out, “It’s your bloody cousin!”
“Aimee?” He asked, confused. “What does she have to do anything with this?”
Everything. She has every fucking thing to do with our annoying little bad boy’s stupid little temper tantrum.
Against my will, I told him the whole story of the encounter between me and Aimee while he stood there in the cold November wind, looking more and more flabbergasted with each word I uttered. I even had a thought to get into a full blown bitching session, but subconsciously decided not to. Personally I didn’t think Nathan would appreciate it if I went ape shit on his lovely little cousin.
“I’m sorry.” Nathan finally said, after a prolonged silence, “I’m sorry for what Aimee said to you.”
“Appreciate it.” I gave him a wry look. “But it doesn’t help and quite frankly, for some strange reason I’m really cross with you too so I’d appreciate it if you don’t talk to me for a few days.” Nathan nodded and before he had the chance to reply – I walked off.
God, I miss the days where my biggest problem was transfiguration and Quidditch.
* * *
I lay on my bed on my stomach, holed up beneath my soft white comforter, my head shoved into the pillow and my long black locks were splayed all over the place. My hands were spread out over the bed as if I was approaching someone for a bear hug and my feet lying lazily on the edge.
In short – I was in one of those moods where I just generally didn’t feel like existing. I didn’t want to eat. I didn’t want to read. I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t want to do anything.
“Come on, Rocky!” I heard Kenny’s voice. “Get off your lazy ass or we’ll be late for Hogsmeade!”
I grunted in response.
“I don’t want to go.” I snapped. “You guys go ahead without me.”
“Why don’t you want to go?” Rose asked from the door, looking concerned.
I sat up in bed, thoroughly annoyed. “The last time I noticed this was our dormitory not an interrogation room.”
“Okay, then.” Rose, looking miffed walked out of the room.
I groaned silently. “Apologise to her from my side when you meet her.” Kenny nodded and walked out silently.
I flopped back onto the bed, staring at the odd patterns on the wooden ceiling. None of them made sense. Then again, when had anything made sense? Just when you start to understand somebody or something, the entire story changes and suddenly your back to square one and your brain’s just sort of fucked up then.
Yippee for fucked up brains.
Just then I heard a door slam. I looked up to see Nell come out of the bathroom, which had been her safe sanctuary for the past few days, using her soft (really, it’s the softest thing you’ll find), rubbing her blonde hair dry.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, with a hint of disappointment in her voice. The displeasure in her voice annoyed me.
“What?” I said, my voice snarky. “Upset you’re not alone?”
“Sort of, yes. I was hoping that I’d get some time off from the nagging all of you have been doing. So seeing you here wasn’t exactly a joyful moment for me.” Nell shot back.
Nell hadn’t exactly been a pocketful of sunshine these days after her break-up with Louis. She had been angry, hostile and most of all a crying mess. Out of twenty four hours of the day – at least 12 of them were spent crying and the rest of them were spent yelling at us and poor unsuspecting first years. I didn’t blame her, but since I wasn’t exactly in the nicest of moods today, I was in no frame of mind to console her and make her cry again like I had done the past few days.
“Sorry to be of inconvenience.” I turned over, so I didn’t have to look at her face. “I’ll stay out of your way.”
“Please do.” She spat.
A few moments passed until she mumbled a soft sorry and I retaliated. But none of us bothered to engage in conversation.
Looks like a wonderful day out.
It was around noon and I was bored out of my mind.
Nell had fallen asleep a little while after our conversation and I hadn’t done anything else except stare at the ceiling or occasionally do a little leg exercise to stimulate my muscles so that I wouldn’t feel like a lazy fuck.
I could have done the pile of homework that was lying on my desk whispering ‘do me’ (no pun intended), in my head but I ignored its virtual cries and lay in bed.
Gosh my life sucked.
Before my body could protest, I quickly got out of bed and slipped on a pair of warm skinny jeans and a navy blue hoodie along with black boots which went up to just below my knee. My red scarf went around my neck and I was good to go.
I slipped out of the bedroom, careful not to wake Nell and walked towards the giant open doors of the castle which was the sole reason that the cool air was touring our castle.
Following the cobbled path, I began making my way to Hogsmeade, regretting my decision immensely as the cold air blew in my face.
Reluctantly I trudged forward. It was when I was at the halfway point (it was a self-appointed title) when I heard, “Hey.”
I whipped my head back, bad idea since all the hair whacked into my face painfully and squinted my eyes to see who had willingly made conversation with me.
I stared at the green eyed, bad boy of the year, surprised. Before I could think of a response which should have been ‘hey’ or something like ‘hello’, I blurted out, “Are you following me?”
Wonderful, Coral. Really.
“Erm, no. I was heading to Hogsmeade.”
“Oh, okay then.” I gave him a last look and continued to march forward. Right now, I really couldn’t care about anything – much less about making conversation with him.
We walked in silence for a bit, with Albus trailing behind me until he said, “So, who are you cross with?”
“Who,” he repeated, “are you cross with?” I stopped in my track and he caught up to me, his calm yet stormy green eyes boring into mine, “It’s clear that you’re annoyed at something.”
“Right.” Annoyed at the fact that he wasn’t the only perceptive one in our duo, I snapped, “well, I don’t think its any of your business.”
There wasn’t a flash of anger or any hurt etched over his face. He simply nodded and began walking ahead.
Right. Now I feel bad. Should I apologise? Maybe not. I was irked because of him anyway. Well, not him per say but his ex-girlfriend.
“Hey!” I called, jogging towards him, “Wait up!” I reached at where he was standing and panted slightly, “Sorry I snapped. Lot of things have been going on.”
So much for not apologising.
“It’s okay.” He nodded and then there was a silence. It was just the both of us standing there as the entrance of the village as noises of laughter filled the air as kids rushed about chasing each other, enjoying the rare November sun.
“So where do you want to go?” I asked, suddenly. Where the fuck did that come from. Merlin, its like the dinner thing all over again. But something good did come out of that so I’m not complaining about this slip up either.
“You really don’t need to hang out with me.” He replied, looking a tad bit surprised. I’m not sure why really since I have been inviting him for dinner and we have been hanging a lot in an old transfiguration classroom. Silently, but nonetheless hanging out.
“Well, I don’t want to hang out with any of my other friends and I don’t want to be a loner either so its just you left. So, I’ll ask again. Where do you want to go?” I responded, my tone snarky.
“Wherever.” He said, after contemplating for a few moments. “But why are you annoyed with your friends?” I groaned and began to walk forward.
“You’re not the counsellor here so shut it.”
“Seriously?” I couldn’t hide my tone of disgust. “You’re buying cockroach clusters?” To follow up on my disgust, I mimed puking into the shelf.
Albus looked visibly offended. “They taste nice.”
“Yeah, as nice as Mrs Norris’s poop.”
“Must you say that?” Albus put the packet of cockroach clusters back on the shelf, glaring at me slightly. “Now, I won’t ever be able to eat these without thinking of Filch’s cat.”
I snorted. “Well good thing I said it then.”
“You need to tape your mouth shut while I’m buying chocolates.” My reply was on the tip of my tongue but I was more surprised with the fact that Albus was actually talking and well sort of joking around.
“Nobody would be there to save you from your heinous decision making skills then.” I answered innocently, trying not to laugh at his offended expression.
“Oh yeah?” Albus challenged me, his eyes burning with the desire to make sure I was wrong, “Which chocolate would you suggest then?”
“I don’t know,” I looked around the colourful shelves which were decorated with various swirly designs and various coloured streamers, “Chocolate Frogs?”
“They’re made with too much chocolate.”
“Gosh really?” I responded sardonically, raising an eyebrow, at which he gave a brief laugh, “Now I know why you’re one of the smartest in our year!”
“Very funny.” He picked up the cockroach clusters again, “But I think I’m just going to buy these.”
“Please don’t.” I was practically begging now. Trust me, I was doing him a favour. They tasted absolutely disgusting. They left such a bitter taste in your mouth which took forever to get out. I couldn’t get rid of the taste until I had eaten dinner and toothpaste.
Yeah, toothpaste. Now do you get how bad it tastes?
He shot me a look which said ‘you can’t change my mind’ and then began walking towards the counter, rummaging his pocket for any money he could find.
For a moment, I felt jealous and angry. He had all the money and the love in the world he wanted and yet he was sulking and complaining about everything in his life.
He just had it all so easy and yet he found a reason to complain. Suddenly I felt like yelling at him. How could he? How could he be so selfish? How could he ignore his family like that?
Didn’t he know that I would give anything to have money and a loving family?
No. Of course he didn’t.
Suddenly all that anger drained away and I stood there clenching my fists, holding them to my side and stared at the back of the boy’s head who I had wanted to punch just moments ago.
Cool it, Coral. Just cool it.
You can’t go around blaming the rest of the world for the problems that you have. You can’t. Albus has other problems. Just because people are better off doesn’t mean they’re problem free.
Albus is a spoilt brat.
Before I could think ill of Albus again I rushed after him. “Oh come on. They’re cockroaches! I mean, have you seen them? They don’t even look appealing.”
“Oh and frogs do?” He shot back playfully. His tone brought a smile to my lips but all those thoughts were still swirling through my head. I shook my head and tried to concentrate on what was going on here.
Before I could reply, I heard a scream. I turned to see Nell standing there in her worse clothes she owned (a pair of loose denim jeans and a baggy t-shirt) with her curly blonde hair uncombed which was sticking up in various places, looking like as though she had stuck her fingers into an electrical socket. Her red face was facing my best guy friend Louis Weasley who was looking scared shitless.
“OH, SO IT’S MY FAULT?” She yelled in his face. Louis flinched.
“Uh-oh.” I whispered.
“What’s going on?” Albus whispered, leaning in slightly, “Why is she pissed?”
“She thinks Louis cheated on her.” I explained quietly.
Albus snorted loudly which in normal circumstances would have probably grabbed the attention of the whole store. Luckily for us they were all focused on the drama between Louis and Nell.
“What are you laughing for?”
“Is your friend high or something?”
Albus looked at me incredulously. “Can’t she see how desperately Louis is in love with her? Why on earth would she think that he cheated on her?”
“I don’t know.” I shrugged, although secretly I agreed with him. “Maybe she found some reason to think so.”
Albus raised a brow and shot me look a look.
“Okay fine,” I conceded grudgingly, “It’s pretty stupid but what do you expect me to do?”
“Convince her that he didn’t.”
“Yeah she’s going to listen to me.”
“Okay!” I raised my hand up and looked at him feeling slightly annoyed, “I’m not doing anything. Its their relationship and they can sort it out.” I looked at them again where both of them were now engaged in a shouting match. “Besides they’ll figure it out. They’re meant for each other.”
“Your naïve attitude on this situation is astounding.”
“Well,” He looked at me expectantly, “What are we going to do with poor Louis here?” Nell had just stormed out of the store leaving Louis behind in her wake, looking devastated.
“We can’t leave him here. He’s our friend.” I paused. “And cousin.”
“Right.” Albus nodded assertively. “We’ll just tell him to hang out with us.”
“Well, I’ll go talk to him and you pay for this.” He handed me the cockroach clusters and some money and headed over to Louis.
I walked towards the counter feeling surprised at how Albus had taken charge of the whole situation. Just two weeks ago the boy was sulking around the place and now he had strutted towards Louis as though he ran the world.
I don’t know how but Albus Potter was slowly coming out of his shell.
* * *
“I mean how could she ever think I cheated on her?” Louis cried out, taking a huge gulp of his butterbeer.
Thank Merlin butterbeer can’t get you drunk. If it could Louis would now be on the side of the road, lying on the stone cold ground mumbling about Nell.
“I don’t know,” I said, taking a sip of my own drink, “Have you tried talking to her?”
“Oh no, Rocky,” Louis snarled, sarcasm dripping from every word he spoke, “I was leading her on saying I did cheat on her.”
“Look, mate.” Albus inserted quietly after being silent for like ever, I mean he hadn’t spoken until he had convinced Louis to come with us, “Just leave it. You can’t do anything about it now.”
“I can sleep on it.” Louis replied, dejected. Poor Lou. He looked absolutely terrible. His blonde hair was dishevelled completely, sticking up in various directions while his face just looked saggy and tired.
“Well go on then. No point moping about Hogsmeade.” I replied.
Louis pushed his chair back. “Sayonara.”
I raised my hand. “See you then.”
Louis left and Albus and I sat silently across from each other simply listening to the noise of the usual chaos in Three Broomsticks.
“Well that was that of that I guess.” Albus said, tapping his fingers on the wooden table, looking outside the window.
“I suppose.” I sighed. To be honest I was kind of annoyed at the whole thing Nell and Louis thing. I mean, it was such a stupid fight and now all of us were stuck in the middle of it. Obviously nobody was directly involved but them fighting affected the whole group.
For the last week this is how it had been. Kenny would be comforting Nell so she wouldn’t talk to Louis or even make eye contact with him when she was around. Rose would be in a right mess because she didn’t know who to choose. While Jake wouldn’t talk to Nell because she hurt Louis and Scorpius and I would be wondering how the fuck to solve the whole issue.
“If you’re so worried about them, why don’t you just fix it?” Albus finally looked at me, his expression sombre.
“Why do I have to fix everything?” I asked, feeling annoyed. What was with him pestering me with all this fixing nonsense today?
I think I liked him a lot better when he kept his mouth shut.
“Because you like to. It’s a good thing to help people.” Albus replied simply. “You literally go around looking for things to fix, Coral. So why are you acting as if fixing Chanel and Louis’s problem is such a big issue?”
I stared at him, gobsmacked. I didn’t have the foggiest idea of what to say because I didn’t know myself.
Why lie Coral? What he is saying is true.
I continued to gape at him.
“While you ponder over this, I’m going to get another drink.” Albus got up and walked towards the counter, pushing past the busy crowd on his way there.
What he said was absolutely true. I did like helping people. It was the only thing I was good at. I was an average student. I wasn’t a comedian like Jake or a sportsperson like Kenny. I was good old Coral Carter who liked lending a hand to those who needed it.
For the first time I realised that that’s how people saw me as.
At least I was of some use to someone in this world. Even if my mother didn’t want me – I had someone who would always need my help at some point.
And that kind of made me happy.
I stared off into the distance outside the window happily for a few minutes after this realisation until I heard someone sit down on the table.
“Oh good.” My voice sounded a little dreamy. “You got your drink then?”
That voice wasn’t Albus.
My head snapped towards where Albus was supposed to be sitting and to my horror my eyes spotted none other than his ex-best friend – Nathan Root.
“What are you doing here?” I hissed, panicking, leaning my head closer to his over the table. “Why are you here?”
“I spoke to Aimee.” Nathan said, his tone quiet.
“Okay then!” I wanted to know what he said but not now when Albus could show up any moment! “Tell me later. I really don’t want to know now.”
“Just go!” I waved my hand towards him, gesturing towards the door wildly. Merlin, if Albus showed up it would be a right disaster.
“Why are you panicking so much? Is-“Nathan paused and suddenly became very still, his eyes slightly wide.
I turned around, following his line of sight and my heart sunk.
It was Albus, a little distance away, staring at the two of us, his face expressionless.
I stared back at him.
Suddenly he slammed his drink down on an empty table and walked out the door.
In a matter of seconds I abandoned my own drink, leaving behind a very surprised and upset Nathan and ran out of Three Broomsticks, the cold air immediately attacking my face.
I ran towards the path which led back to the castle where I could see Albus walking at an extremely speedy pace.
“Albus, wait!” I cried out, desperation ringing in my voice. Oh gosh, I can’t imagine how angry he is at the moment.
He whirled around, his expression livid. His furious green eyes locked with mine. “What do you want?”
“I-“ I took a deep breath. I was going to say I was sorry but the words just weren’t coming out of my mouth.
“I know I said it’s a good thing that you help people but stop trying to help me.” Albus snarled, looking even angrier than he did a few seconds ago. “We had a deal. You would stop trying to fucking meddle in my bloody life. Talking to Nathan proves nothing but you fucking meddling.”
“I’m just trying to make things better.” I replied feebly.
“Well fucking stop, goddamit.” Albus took a step closer and said, his voice filled with ire. “There are a lot of things in the world that you can fix Coral Carter, but you can’t fix me.” With one last final glare, Albus turned around and stalked off towards the castle.
*hides* Hi guys! How long has it been? 4 months? *hides again* I am so terribly sorry! I really am! I tried to get this out as soon as i could (clearly didn't do a good job of that) but my muse wasn't working one bit so it took me ages to get this out. Also i was concentrating on my other short story (which is now completed) - Boy Hunt. And of course pile up a bunch of stuff from school and you have yourself a late update! Once again - i'm really really sorry :( But.. the good news is that my muse is back in action and now I have a whole bunch of chapters planned so updates should come relatively quickly! :)
Leaving all my excuses behind? How did you guys find this chapter? Liked it? Hated it? Anybody have any guesses as to what is going to happen next? All reviews would be lovely and much appreciated <33
Thank you all for sticking with this story <3
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