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Chapter 10 : The One With The Talent Show
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A massive thanks to my beta Sam! :D
“Are you ready?” James whispered to me.
I shook my head at him, my hands wringing themselves together in my lap through nerves. I wasn’t a good public speaker, I was too worried that I would freeze up and everyone would laugh at me.
The idea of performing a ‘talent’ in front of the class made me cringe, I didn’t have any talents at all. James, on the other hand, was planning some sort of circus act for everyone; apparently he used to want to be in the circus when he was younger, so took classes. From the stories that James told me in class, he wanted to be a lot of things when he was younger; a clown, a gymnast or a superhero. I had no clue what a gymnast was until James told me. I was glad that I knew what a circus and a clown were because of a lesson in Muggle studies last year, or I would have been totally lost on that one as well. I was a little jealous of the things that Muggles got to do, although I’m glad that I grew up in the Wizarding world and with magic.
“Not at all. What if I mess up?” I asked him, trying to stop my hands from shaking. I was a bundle of nerves.
James noticed this and placed his hand on my own, catching me off guard and making my ears burn as I felt my cheeks begin to flush at the contact of his warm hand.
“Hey, you’ll be fine,” James assured me, giving me a smile. I tried to smile back, but my nerves were mixing with the butterflies that he was giving me by holding my hand and it was becoming overwhelming.
He seemed to have noticed that I had gone a bit pale. “Look, you don’t have to do it. I’m not going to make you.”
“But our presentation... I can’t just not take part. We’ll fail.” I didn’t want to be the reason that we would fail this assignment, I didn’t want James to have a reason to stop talking to me.
“How about you just be the presenter?” James suggested, “Your only job will be telling the class about the talent show and saying which guests will be on next with their talent.”
“But it’s only us two. There will only be the one act.”
James thought for a moment before his face lit up; I knew that he had an idea. “Leave that to me,” he told me, “All you have to do is make up a name each time I finish whatever it is I’m doing.”
I gave a small laugh and James smiled back at me, removing his hand from my own. “What are you going to do? Do you have enough talents?”
“I have many talents,” James told me, “Although we better stick to three, I think.”
“I hope we don’t fail.” My nerves were beginning to build again. I took a few deep breaths to try and calm myself down.
“We won’t, have faith in me.” He looked so sure of himself, trying to smile at me in a comforting way. It did make me feel slightly better.
I nodded at him in response.
Once Professor Hargreaves had settled the class down, he called James and I to the front of the class. I walked up slowly, feeling better about the presentation, knowing that James was there. I had a piece of parchment in my hands - that me and James were both meant to read from - back when I was originally going to show off my ‘talent’ but now I was going to have to edit it to fit in with whatever James’s new plan was. I turned to look at him, but he had disappeared behind a curtain near the teacher’s closet. He ran out before I could start and handed me three small red balls before running back behind the curtain. This earned a few laughs from the other students and I couldn’t help but feel a bit confused. Nonetheless I carried on, thankful that I could still hold my parchment so that I could read from it.
“Hello,” I stuttered slightly, before coughing. I needed to relax, I didn’t want to muck up and fail both me and James in this assignment. “Welcome to the Hogwarts talent show. We have a great showcase of talent to show you all, one of which you will crown the champion at the end of the show.” There were a few claps from the students and our Professor, and I couldn’t help the small smile that crossed my face, feeling slightly more confident.
“So, I am excited to present our first act, James Potter.” I looked in the direction that James had disappeared in and waited for him to appear as I moved to the side of the room. James appeared a moment later with some sort of a wheel with a seat on it, I had no idea where he had gotten it from. But I saw that the Professor’s closet was open and I knew that it was a place that he kept a lot of Muggle artefacts. I was amazed that James had thought to try and find something in there. I was also a little worried about what he was about to do.
James took a bow to them all, before he climbed on top of the wheel thing. I felt slightly worried, it really didn’t look like he would be able to sit on it without falling off. I was very surprised when James not only managed to keep balance but he was moving around on the wheel with ease as though he had been doing it his whole life. It was only then that I realised that it had to be like one of those Muggle transportations Professor Hargreaves had taught us about a few years ago. Only this one had one wheel instead of two.
The class let out claps; they looked really impressed that James could keep his balance as well.
“Thank you, thank you.” James said smugly, a look of severe concentration on his face. “Abigail, would you be so kind as to chuck me one ball at a time?”
I gave a small frown before I did as he asked. He caught each ball with ease and proceeded to juggle with them, impressing everyone in the room, including myself.
He continued juggling and balancing on the wheel thing for a few more minutes, before catching all of the balls in one hand and jumping down from the wheel. He gave a bow at us all and the class cheered and applauded, someone even whistled.
James disappeared behind the curtain again and it was my turn to introduce the next act. “Er...” I began, looking back down at my parchment and realising that it was meant to be my act now. I was trying to think of a fake name off of the top of my head. “Next is Joe Muggle.”
James came back out and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the fact that he had managed to draw an ink moustache on himself, as though he were a different person. He also had what appeared to be a sock on one hand, I had no idea where he had managed to get one from and I had a sneaking suspicion that it had come from his own foot.
“Hello, everyone. My name is Mr Sock.” James said to the class, his voice in a higher tone than normal. The entire class laughed and I couldn’t help but chuckle from where I was stood.
He was brilliant, absolutely brilliant and I was so thankful that James was my partner on this project and that he had somehow managed to save the day. The way that he managed to captivate the entire class with his ‘talents’, taking the attention away from me, something that I appreciated fully, just made me realise that I was lucky to have him around. Even James’s last talent, which was just him doing a handstand and walking around on his hands, was entertaining.
The class had to vote on which James was the best one and it was unanimous that Joe Muggle and Mr Sock were the clear winner of the talent show. Professor Hargreaves had to jump in and stop James before he began to make a speech, to let us all know that he would be marking our performances and presentations over the weekend, as it was nearing the end of the lesson.
“Where did you learn to do all of that?” I asked James at the end of the lesson as we walked out of the room with the rest of the class, a few of them congratulating us on a great idea.
“I wanted to be a Gymnast and a clown when I was younger, so my dad signed me up for some Muggle classes. He had no choice in the matter, I can be very persistent when I want something,” James told me, a mad grin on his face.
“You really pulled it off and saved the day,” I told him, hugging my school books to my chest and nudging him slightly with my shoulder. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, although I bet if you’d performed your talent, we would get an Oustanding.” James told me, nudging me back. I smiled in embarrassment as we continued walking down the corridor. James was walking quite close to me now, which couldn’t be helped as we passed fellow students, each making their way around the castle.
“I don’t have any talents, that was the problem in the first place,” I told him honestly. I really didn’t, the only thing I would consider a talent was my drawing, but I’m not sure how I could have shown the class that.
“You do have talents, they’re all just hidden,” James stated, before he looked at me as though examining me. It made me feel slightly nervous; I hoped I didn't have any ink on my face, unlike James, who still had the ink moustache.
“I can assure you that they’re not.” I was embarrassed, trying to look away from him and carry on walking.
“Maybe you’re a secret singer?” James suggested.
“You wouldn’t want to hear me sing.” The only time I ever sang was around my family and even then it was at a push; I didn’t have the confidence to sing in front of anyone else.
“I bet you have a beautiful singing voice,” James told me, waving his hand to silence me, as I tried to protest the fact as we went back to walking down the corridor. I had no idea where we were even heading, our classes were over for the day and dinner wouldn’t be for a few more hours. It was like we were just walking aimlessly. Not that I was complaining about spending more time with James. “I’d like to hear it one day.”
“That would probably only happen if I get incredibly drunk.” I laughed and looked at James out of the corner of my eye to see him smiling at me.
“That can so be arranged.” His eyes seemed to have lit up slightly and I shook my head at him.
“Oh no, I am not getting drunk. I’d only embarrass myself and I would like to keep the little amount of pride that I have, thank you.” Although the ideas of being drunk around James were all I could think of. I wonder what he’s like drunk?
“It’ll be alright, I’ll get just as drunk as you. That way, we’ll both be embarrassing ourselves, not just you.”
“That’s reassuring.” I laughed, shaking my head at him and also trying to rid myself of a drunken affectionate James from my mind.
“Hey, James. There you are.”
We both turned around at the new voice from behind us. James’ friend William was jogging up to us.
“Alright, William? What brings you to this part of the castle?” James asked him as we both stopped walking to let him catch up to us.
“Yeah, I was just trying to find you,” William said to James, his eyes flickering down to the ink moustache on James' face. William seemed to be biting his lip to stop laughing at it, but didn't seem to acknowledge it was there other than that. He turned to me instead a friendly smile crossing his face. “How are you, Abigail?”
“I’m fine, thank you,” I replied, giving him a friendly smile of my own. I really liked William, especially after how he saved me from a James under the influence of a love potion.
“What have you two been up to?” he asked us, a smirk and pointed look on his face as he looked at James. I tried not to read too much into it; it probably meant nothing.
“Oh,” I answered, hugging the books tighter for something to do. “We just finished Muggle Studies.”
“How did the talent show go?” William asked me. We all set off on a walk together.
“It went really well, James saved the day by performing. I didn’t really have a talent.”
“She does have a talent, she’s just hiding it,” James told William. I shook my head at him.
“I really don’t. Especially not compared to you, James.” I turned to look at William, who was still smirking at James. I noticed that James was trying to ignore him.
“James likes any occasion to show off,” William assured me, which earned a scoff from James. James attempted to get William into a headlock, but William darted out of the way of him with a laugh, attempting to flatten his blonde hair back down. “Let me guess he did some sort of flip?”
James could do flips? I shook my head in response to William, who raised his eyebrows in surprise before turning to look at James, who was looking a little embarrassed.
“You haven’t shown off the fact that you can do that? Are you ill? That’s normally the first thing any of us learn about you,” William joked, a look of shock across his face.
“Ha ha, William. No, I haven’t shown that off; the classroom was too small.”
“So, you’re saying that you need an empty corridor, like now?” William said, indicating the now empty corridor that we were down.
James looked at the corridor before turning to look at both of us; he shook his head at us before putting his head in his hands and beginning to walk again, letting out a mortified laugh.
“Stop it, you’re embarrassing me now,” James told William as we followed him.
“I’m sorry, you’re embarrassed? The fearless James, who can do anything and isn’t scared of anything or anyone?” William asked. James rolled his eyes at William.
William couldn’t help but laugh. I smiled at the two friends, I knew that there was something that I had missed, an underlining meaning between the two, but it wasn’t for me to pry.
“Can you believe this guy?” William stage whispered, turning to look at me and pointing at James next to him. “He can jump off of his broom at large heights, no problem. He can argue with Ministry officials, no problem. He could tackle that rather large seventh year to the ground when we were in our fourth year, no problem. But you ask him to do one tiny flip and he suddenly becomes this joke.”
My smile widened as I wondered just when James had done all of that stuff, as well as being impressed. I wouldn’t have the guts to do any of that.
“That argument wasn’t my fault,” James told us defensively. “He was yelling at my dad, so I yelled back.”
“I still think that you’re being a coward for not showing us. Abigail wants to see you do it.”
I didn’t really want to get involved in their ‘bickering’, but I also really wanted to see this flip. James turned to look at me before letting out a small groan of reluctance; he handed his bag to William before he went to take his robe off.
“Oh no, there are people in the corridor,” James said suddenly, shrugging his robe back on and grabbing his bag back from William, who shook his head in disappointment at this friend.
I turned to look down the corridor and saw a group of what looked like either first or second years heading in our direction. I noticed Isabella was walking behind them.
“Ah, isn’t that convenient,” William stated. James rolled his eyes again before grabbing William’s arm.
“Abigail, we need to run,” James told me, trying to silence his friend by putting a hand over his mouth. “If I don’t see you before the Hogsmeade trip tomorrow, have fun.”
I nodded and waved goodbye to both of the boys as they left, noticing that James had let go of William and had punched him in the arm. William’s laugh could be heard as they walked away. Both of them gave Isabella a wave in greeting as they passed her.
“What was all that about?” she asked me as she got closer, turning back to look at the two boys who turned a corner.
I shook my head slowly, “I have no clue.”
I had been looking forward to the first Hogsmeade trip for a few weeks now, mainly because there had been a few items that I had run out of and I needed to stock back up. Including getting more ink - I had somehow managed to spill most of my last bottle the other day - and more lip balm. I knew that with the colder weather sneaking upon us, my lips would become chapped. There was also the fact that I wanted some more chocolate, I liked to have a little supply when I was in my dormitory doing my homework or reading and I couldn’t just keep relying on my parents sending me some.
As Michelle and I walked around the village and waited for Isabella to meet up with us - she was visiting an aunt who was in the village as well - we glanced in a few shop windows while we talked to each other, the conversation changing to the comics that I was looking forward to my dad sending me soon.
“I have personally never seen the point in them,” Michelle stated with a shrug, her hands in her pockets as she looked into the shop window of a shop that sold robes. They had a Halloween style window display and I looked at it with a smile. I really do love Halloween, not as much as Christmas though; wizards and witches really went all out with their decorations and it did seem so magical.
“I think that they’re wonderful,” I told her as my eyes watched a tiny witch flying around on a broom, “My dad’s imagination is so amazing. I wish that I had one like him. The things and storylines that he comes up with are just brilliant. That’s why I want to be a comic book writer myself.”
“Would you be able to deal with the fame?” Michelle asked me.
“I really don’t think that I could,” I told her honestly, “That’s why I’d probably write under a pseudonym like my dad has; he didn’t like the idea of the fame either and he likes to keep his personal life separate from his work life.”
“It sounds like it’s been a lot of work to do something like that,” Michelle told me. I had to agree with her; I knew that my dad tried very hard and it wasn’t easy for him. It was good that he had a very reliable work team who helped keep his identity secret as well - who knew how many ‘fans’ would try and come to my house if they knew who my dad was? I didn’t even want to think about it.
“So, where did you want to go first?” Michelle asked me. “I don’t think that Isabella is going to be meeting us for a while.”
“Can we pop into that beauty shop? I want to get some more of that honey lip balm. I left my other one at home and I’m running out of the one that I did have on me,” I told her. She nodded at me and mentioned that she needed to get some more shampoo and conditioner as she was running low as well.
We spent a good half an hour in the shop, going around to the different products and taking a good smell of each individual product, talking about how much we loved or disliked - in a quiet voice in case the owner heard us - the smells, and what we would buy if we had unlimited money.
Leaving the store with our purchases, we began making our way to Scrivenshafts Quill shop so that I could restock up on ink. I had been so clumsy with it lately that I decided that I would get a few extra bottles; who knew if my clumsiness would continue? Especially as I seemed to only be getting clumsy around James. Maybe I needed to keep things away from me whenever he was around?
Isabella was waiting outside for us and smiled upon seeing us, rushing up to hug us both and ask us how our day had gone as we walked slowly around the village. I listened to Michelle and Isabella having a conversation about whether or not we could go back to the beauty shop to just smell the items, as I looked around the students, searching for James.
I spotted him hanging around outside The Three Broomsticks, with a group of his friends. He seemed to have sensed me looking at him, because he turned around and gave me a big smile, that seemed to want to make my knees weak and my heart flutter.
I gave a shy smile as I waved at him quickly, before looking away embarrassed. I could feel my face flushing. Isabella saw the look on my face, before turning to look at where I had been looking, smiling and waving at James as well, before turning to giggle at my reaction.
Michelle rolled her eyes next to me and I could sense her displeasure at our behaviour, whereas James’s friends seemed to be nudging him and pushing him whilst they laughed at his wave over at me.
“Why don’t you go and see your new best friend,” I heard one of them laughing.
“Don’t be a douche,” I heard James say back before giving me an apologetic smile. He grabbed for his friends to move them along.
“His friends are such losers,” Michelle muttered in annoyance. I had to agree with her I didn’t particularly like his friends, apart from William Sutton; he was the only one that I actually liked.
“The only decent one of the bunch is William. But enough about them, shall we make our way to Honeydukes?” Isabella asked us, we all nodded happily and walked towards the sweet shop, planning to spend more money than we should.
Isabella had left us as soon as we came back from Hogsmeade; she wanted to meet up with Sian, who had been on a date, and wanted to find out how it went. So Michelle and I had spent the rest of the evening in either our common room or our dormitory. When we were down in the common room we had overheard Louis Weasley, who was James’s cousin, telling his friend Horatio Demarcus in hushed tones about his date that day with Freya. Horatio didn’t seem to be too thrilled as he was apparently left on his own all day.
After hearing the story and Horatio complaining for a while, Michelle and I decided that the best way for us to get our homework done would be if we went upstairs to the quietness that was our dormitory.
This plan had worked for a while, as we lounged in silence, eating sweets and writing essays, until Snowball decided to lay over my things to get attention. After that, we both agreed that the homework could wait until tomorrow, so we both decided to spend the rest of the day in our pyjamas, I moved to sit on Michelle's bed with her as I read through her magazines and she began to French plait my hair, something which we hadn’t done in quite some time. It was nice to go back to how we used to be and I absolutely loved it.
A/N: Michelle can be nice? :O Who knew? :P
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