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Chapter 1 : Confession
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Disclaimer: This is loosely based on the Korean drama, Playful Kiss. But anything else you recognise belongs to JK Rowling. Everything else is mine.
Chapter 1: Confession
Six years. Six whole years have passed since I had laid eyes on Gabriel Dominic Wood and not for a second had my feelings for him wavered. It was presumptuous to say that an eleven-year-old girl could fall in love with an eleven-year-old boy but that day on that boat to Hogwarts, well, I don’t know how else to describe the insurmountable emotion that washed over me. I felt nervous and excited, my hands tingled and my eyes fixed onto his face as if there was no one else in the boat with us. So for that evening I had made it my mission to find out who he was and somehow land myself in the same house as him.
The first part wasn’t so hard. It seemed that he was already famous throughout Hogwarts; Gabriel Wood was the son of the great Oliver Wood after all. According to all the whispers, he was supposed to be the next great Quidditch star to pass through the castle since his father’s time. I hadn’t been surprised by such a prophetical claim. Even just one glance had told me all that I needed to know; that boy was destined for greatness.
The second part was certainly harder. Swanson came before Wood so there was no knowing what house he’d be placed in, which was why when I was called to the front and all eyes were on me, I sat myself nervously down on the stool. The Sorting Hat was then securely placed upon my head. His voice instantly boomed inside my mind.
“Hmm… Camilla Swanson, you are an odd little thing. A lot of courage, I can see that. A crush already?”
“It’s not just any crush, Mister Hat!” I thought. “Don’t you believe in love at first sight? That’s what it is so please, please let me be in the same house as Gabriel Wood.”
“Well I can’t make any guarantees, girl, but I do see now which house you belong to,” and with those last words, I had been sorted into Gryffindor.
I waited nervously all evening as the Headmistress moved from S to T then U, and finally when I couldn’t handle the suspense any longer, they arrived at the W’s. My fellow peers had been chatting animatedly to each other all evening, discussing future lessons and forging friendships, but I couldn’t join in their excitement. Nervous energy radiated around me as the young Gabriel Wood took his seat in front of the whole school. He was the only eleven-year-old of the evening that barely batted an eyelash at the sudden attention. In fact, he looked almost bored at the prospect. I remembered thinking then that he was definitely one of a kind.
Time seemed to have stood still as everyone waited with bated breath over where the great Wood prodigy would end up. Every Quidditch captain watched on nervously. It was a well-known fact that they were all hoping to have the young Gabriel in their house but after what felt like hours, the Sorting Hat finally decided.
That was the day my whole life changed forever. I just wish I could say it had changed for the better.
“Class is over, c’mon,” Victoire Weasley stood by the door of the classroom as I lifted my head up to meet her gaze. I then turned to my left and right only to realise that the class was indeed over. The only people left seemed to be just Vicky, Molly Weasley and me.
“Oh right,” I mumbled before shoving my notebooks into my bag and following in step to my two best friends. You would think that being best friends with two cousins would elicit some envious feelings but Vicky and Molly had never made me feel left out. Or maybe my mind was always so preoccupied with other thoughts that I rarely ever notice when they do. Needless to say though they were the two greatest friends I could ever hope to have and I say that with the utmost sincerity. After all, who else could put up with my Gabriel-addled brain?
“Is it lunch time yet? I’m starving,” Molly piped in, linking her arm with mine while Vicky repeated the action with my other arm.
“Me too,” Vicky moaned on my right hand side. “I can’t believe it’s only lunch time though. I feel like this day has been going on for hours.”
“I don’t think I can stand another lesson where the professor just lectures us about wand-work,” Molly continued. “You would think they’d give us a little more credit now that we’re sixth years!”
“Exactly. Right, Millie?” Vicky suddenly stopped walking, jerking both Molly and me back with her. “What’s up with you? You’ve been more dazed than usual.”
I sighed deeply. “It’s…”
“Gabriel?” they both asked in unison.
I rolled my eyes and pulled them forward again. “Yeah, him. I just thought that by sixth year that something would have progressed by now but if we weren’t in the same house I doubt he would even know my name!”
“Oh honey,” Vicky put her arm around my shoulders and squeezed tightly. “You do have to realise that that boy barely notices any girl though. If it’s not about Quidditch or school he has zero interest so you’re not alone there.”
“I guess so,” I murmured but I was feeling dejected. For six years I had remained diligently by his side, watching all his Quidditch games, silently praying to the gods every night before exams so he would do well, and supporting him on the sidelines. After all that effort, I suppose I just assumed he would suddenly wake up one day to realise just how much he loved me too, but my fantasies had never been the most realistic.
“You know what else?” Molly was now the one to suddenly stop. “You haven’t professed your love to him yet.”
“What?” I nearly shrieked. Profess? My love? To Gabriel Wood? That’s -- “That’s absurd!”
“And why is it so absurd, Millie? You’ve been in love with the git since first year and in a few short weeks, we’ll be away for the summer. It’s now or never!” Molly enthused, a bright smile now widening her face, and something in that expression disturbed me. When Molly got something into her head, there was no stopping her from making it happen, even if that something had nothing to do with her whatsoever.
“You know, I never thought I’d say this but Molly has a point,” Vicky chirped in, a smile now too gracing the half-Veela. “What have you really got to lose? If he rejects you then he goes back to ignoring you except now you can actually move on. If he actually returns your feelings then everyone wins, right?”
Somehow I knew both of my friends had a point. I had a year and a half left at Hogwarts with nothing to show for it. My marks were less than stellar and I wasn’t apart of any exciting club; the only mark I would leave Hogwarts with is the massive gash I left in one of the sofa cushions in the Gryffindor Common Room. So if by some miracle Gabriel returned my feelings then maybe… just maybe…
“Okay!” I beamed at them. “I’ll do it! I’m going to profess my love to Gabriel Dominic Wood!” The girls cheered but I think they were just happy to shut me up about Gabriel for the time being. Nevertheless, we skipped down the corridor towards the Great Hall in a much more jovial fashion than a couple minutes ago. We were just about to enter when another thought occurred to me.
“Wait,” I pulled them back. “But how do I do it?”
Today was the day. Today, I would profess my love to Gabriel Dominic Wood and hope to Godric that he returned the sentiments. At least, maybe he could just smile at me and tell me how touched he felt for my heartfelt letter. I think if I were to be rejected then that scenario would be the less traumatic one for my ego and pride.
Vicky and Molly were still asleep but I couldn’t wait for them any longer. I knew that Gabriel went out to the Quidditch pitch every morning for an early fly around the hoops so if I just catch him on his way back in then maybe the endorphins from his workout would put him in a really good mood. Besides, people enjoyed being told they’re loved, right? It’s human nature so surely only good things could happen today.
I smiled at myself in the mirror, fixing the loose piece of blonde hair and tucked it behind my ear. Wearing the school uniform didn’t leave me much to work with but I took extra care with my hair today. I washed it with Vicky’s special lilac scented shampoo (which her mum swore drove men crazy) and brushed it out so it shimmered when it caught any light.
“This will have to do, Camilla,” I said to my reflection before giving myself a stern nod and exiting the room. The morning air chilled the castle and I wrapped my maroon cardigan closer around my body. I hoped I wouldn’t have to go outside to see Gabriel.
But as I made my way down the stairs, he was nowhere to be found; in fact, no one was anywhere to be found. The castle felt like a ghost town and an eerie sensation crawled up my spine. “Ugh,” I groaned to myself. I would not let a little chill deter me today from my mission. Gabriel had to be somewhere. I walked outside into the cool Scottish air. The wind whipped angrily against my cardigan and nipped at my nose and ears. My feet quickly took hold, speedily pulling me towards the Quidditch pitch, but he was not there either.
“Where are you?” I craned my neck towards the sky in case he had ventured too high up. Not even a bird though. Godric, for someone my body had been so attuned to noticing it was irritatingly difficult to find him when I needed him most. “Gaaabriel?” I tried to call out but my teeth chattered so loudly that it surely came out as gibberish anyways.
Ten, fifteen minutes must have passed before I finally gave up searching and walked back inside the castle. My shoulders sagged as I moved -- deflated from my earlier excitement -- towards the Great Hall. So much for all that effort this morning. My hair was surely a mess now; the wind hadn’t been too kind to me.
Suddenly like a spotlight had appeared out of nowhere, I found him. He was coming down the stairs on his way to breakfast with his crisp white Oxford shirt immaculately tucked into his black trousers. It was the standard issue uniform for a Hogwarts student but something about the way Gabriel filled out his clothes definitely separated him from the rest of the boys at this school. At sixteen, he already looked like a man. A very handsome, very muscular man.
Oh Godric, if I didn’t catch him now, I won’t be able to summon up the courage again!
Rushing forward, I stumbled over to where Gabriel was with his friends and shoved my letter into his hands.
“Here!” I blurted out, my eyes wide in anticipation. My heart was beating so fast it drowned out any other noise in the corridor. All I could focus on was Gabriel. My Gabriel. “It’s… It’s for you.”
He stared back at me with those depthless grey eyes before glancing down at the letter in his hands. The parchment was a pale pink and if he put it to his nose he would smell a faint waft of apple blossoms (my signature perfume) but as the seconds dragged on, Gabriel merely just stared back at me. Not even a word or a smile. He then slowly handed me back the letter, shook his head before walking away from me. I wasn’t too sure what actually happened next but suddenly all the noise that I had drowned out came rushing back to me in full force. Waves upon waves of words and sounds crashed down onto me, pushing me further and further away from reality.
Why didn’t he even read it? Was it the perfume? Was it too much?
Oh Godric, how could I have thought that someone like Gabriel Dominic Wood could ever fancy me?
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