Chapter 9 : The Other Happening That Happened at the ‘Back 2 Skool' Party + the Answer to a Melancholy Miserable McCartney
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(c) to azur.ite @ TDA
"Am I in love with you?
Or am I in love with the feeling?
Trying to find the truth,
Sometimes the heart is deceiving"
The Feeling by Justin Bieber ft. Halsey
“I don’t wanna go anymore.”
“No moping, I refuse to butter your ego.”
“Darcy, you’re so insensitive!”
“Don’t make me go.”
“I’m not insensitive! I’m just frank.”
“I have a cousin named Frank.”
“Shut it, Zära. Anyway, McCartney is obviously upset and you’re just so rude, Darcy!”
“I just want to stay in my bed and watch The Lion King on instant streaming.”
“Dominique, it’s not rude to tell the truth!”
“Abraham Lincoln told the truth and he got assassinated.”
“Zära, nobody knows who that is!”
“Don’t make me go!”
“Being honest is wonderful thing!”
“Not when you’re rude about it!”
I flung myself into a niche in the corridor and huddled there. I just sat there with my arms locked around my knees as if I could disappear into the stone.
No Mother Earth this is not me asking for your help.
I’m still pissed at you.
“Hey.” Someone’s hand was on my arm. “What’s wrong, McCartney?”
I looked up to see James’s dark eyes. My own blue ones were large and miserable. His thick eyebrows were furrowed in worry. “It’s just been a bad week,” I replied and let my head drop again.
“Well, that’s too bad.” James unwound my arms from around my knees. “But the party is this way.”
“I don’t want to go,” I told him as I stood on my own and we began walking down the corridor. Dom and the rest of our group hadn’t even stopped. I could hear her and Darcy bickering from back here.
“People that I don’t like are there.”
“Well, that’s everywhere isn’t it?” James smiled slightly as we walked through the door after Dominique and the rest of them.
“I suppose so, you pessimist.” I looked around the room worriedly. I spotted two girls having a row just a few feet away. I couldn’t hear their words, but I recognized them as Arya Desai and Maxima Brankovitch.
“What’s that about?” James’s words mimicked what I was thinking.
“I have no idea.” I shrugged as the Arya girl tripped and fell revealing a horrendously unattractive pair of panties. “Oh Godric, that’s awful. I can’t watch this social destruction.” I covered my eyes.
I peeked out as the girl fled past us out the door. I noticed Lennon and Cécile were now standing. I felt the heat rush to my cheeks, an angry heat. Lennon then walked and sat down right beside Vincent, cuddling up close to him. He grinned down at her and wrapped his arm around her shoulders.
Merlin, I’m going to vomit.
“Shots!” I called and raced to the bar to escape it.
That’s right. Vincent dumped me. For Lennon. Saying it in my head isn’t as bad as saying it aloud. I almost couldn’t even tell Dominique. It was like eating sandpaper. But it wasn’t really, because it was Vincent so much as because it was caused by Lennon. A few weeks ago she couldn’t even remember Vincent’s name. Now they’re best friends on OwlChat and “talking” apparently. Mental note: Contact Lily about revenge plot later.
I shook my head as I waved down the sexy bartender from the Hog’s Head.
“Hey McCartney, what can I get you?” Atticus asked me.
“Any shot strong enough to make me forget things.”
Atticus nodded solemnly and began mixing. That’s what I loved about Atticus. He didn’t ask questions. He just fixed a quick and easy remedy and sent me on my way.
“Thanks,” I replied as I downed the shot and the chaser. “Keep them coming.” I motioned as I looked out over the dance floor. I turned back to get the next shot.
“I didn’t know you liked shots so much.” James was back.
“Alcohol floods through my family events,” I replied. “Don’t worry about me.”
“I’m not worried. I just figure you’d be a rum kind of girl.” James grinned slyly at me and winked.
Wow, he’s being way more talkative with me than usual. Typically, at these types of parties James is drinking with AC and carrying her wasted self out of the RoR.
“I am.” I grinned back. I looked out over the dance floor once more and noticed a familiar figure moving forward through the crowd.
Shit. Fuck. Damn.
Vincent is coming this way.
I turned to James and looked at him, but he looked different now. There was a slight fuzz clouding my vision and a sort of buzz in my ears.
“McCartney?” He raised an eyebrow.
I then reached up and delicately placed my lips on his.
James pulled away. “McCartney, you have a boyfriend,” he told me sternly. James was such a good guy. It almost hurt. Why didn't he have a girlfriend again?
“Not anymore, Vincent broke up with me.” I shrugged.
“So, you’re using me to get back at him?” James’s expression was blank, but not angry.
“No, I—” I broke off. “I didn’t—”
James then looked a bit torn. “What happened between you two?”
“He, he wanted to date my sister instead of me.” I turned and took another shot. “He said that I was, I was um t-, to-, too boring and that I never paid attention to him and I read weird books.”
I felt anger and sadness building and boiling underneath my skin like a swelling sea threatening to pull me under.
“And that I wasn’t interesting or even nice,” I spat. “He told me that I wasn’t worth his time.”
James looked appalled. “He really said all those things to you?”
I nodded slowly. “After Quidditch practice a couple of days ago.”
I felt a warm hand on my bare back. My red dress had almost the entire back out and the edges were scalloped.
“I didn’t want to tell anyone, but Dom and my girlfriends. It’s quite embarrassing.”
“Being bullied isn’t embarrassing,” James argued fiercely. “Hey, look at me Mick.” His hands were gentle as they wrapped around my cheeks.
He called me Mick. James called me Mick. He usually never did, he only referred to me by my full name. We were never on the “nickname level” of friendship.
“You want to make him jealous?” James asked me, looking into my eyes only.
I nodded slowly blinking my eyes like a child.
“Then let’s do it.” James scanned the crowd and then quickly looked away. “He’s coming this way.”
James’s hand roped me in close. I could smell his cologne and our hips were pressed together. We both did a shot and a chaser.
“Hey Mi—” I heard Vincent’s voice, but James’s lips were on mine.
His tongue traced the bottom and top of my lips and I parted my lips wider. James’s hands clinched around my waist like I was strapped in on a roller-coaster ride.
James Potter was making out with me. James Sirius Potter who was my best friend’s cousin. And on the Quidditch team that I helped managed. Who was also totally unattainable and attractive and so far out of my league we were on different planets. His lips were on mine and his hands were on my waist.
How the hell is this happening?
I pulled back and looked up at him with wide eyes. James just grinned at me.
“That…” I drifted off. “That was nice,” I concluded eloquently. I could feel my heart thudding in my throat. My pulse was racing so fast I don’t think that I’d ever catch up with it.
“Just nice?” James teased. “I figured it was better than that,” he nudged me, “at least from my end it was.” I grinned at him and blushed as I downed another shot.
James Potter was a grade-A snog.
I woke up the next morning with no headache. I woke up the next morning in nothing, but my silk slip. I woke up the next morning as the little spoon with a male playing the big spoon.
“Good morning sunshine,” a voice rumbled.
“James?” I asked as my head throbbed suddenly. Memories of shots and lips flooded my brain and made it ache. Someone must have made me take a memory potion as well as a no-hangover potion.
“Present!” He chirped.
“Quit yelling!” Fred hissed from somewhere close by.
James sat up and pushed his curtains back. Fred was standing in nothing, but boxers that were low on his hips, beside James’s bedside table. He gulped down one of the no-hangover potions.
There was a girl in his bed, her long hair slung out across his pillows. I recognized her as Aspen Carmichael. She was one of the pretty Ravenclaws in our year. She had long blonde hair and a twiggy body. Fred’s type was skinny as hell surprisingly enough. He liked tiny girls and usually smart ones (probably so they could do his homework). Aspen was a feisty, but sweet, girl and was Fred’s on-again-off-again chick, because Fred didn’t “do relationships” and apparently Aspen didn’t either.
Aspen sat up; her long, curls spilling effortlessly over her bare shoulders, “Fred?” She yawned loudly.
“Girly!” Fred pounced on her and they were rolling around on the bed like little kids.
“Goofy!” She giggled as he tossed her around like a rag doll.
I stretched again and nuzzled my head back onto James’s pillow. It smelled like cologne and Old Spice shampoo and boy.
“Sleepy kid?” James asked as his fingers played with the ends of my hair.
“Definitely.” I nodded. “Although I thank you for shoving the NHP down my throat. It’s much appreciated.”
“It was my pleasure.” James laughed.
“Let’s go get breakfast, Jimmy.” Fred was looking at us expectantly.
Aspen was in the bathroom washing her face.
“Well, we’ve got to get ready first.” James insisted.
I sighed and rolled out of bed.
“Here, Mick.” James threw a t-shirt and some joggers at me.
“Thanks Jay.” I smiled and ducked into the bathroom with Aspen. “Hey I’m going to shut the door if that’s cool?”
“Yeah sure, go ahead,” Aspen grinned as I did. I changed quickly into the Falmouth Falcons sweatshirt and the comfy black joggers. “You’re McCartney Luck, right?” She asked.
“Yeah and you’re Aspen Carmichael?”
“The one and only.” She gave a mock bow.
“I don’t know whose wand this is, but I’m borrowing it to conjure a toothbrush,” I said and Aspen laughed.
I waved the wand, concentrating hard. I was very proficient at nonverbal spells, surprisingly enough. A toothbrush appeared on the counter.
I waved the wand again and the old make-up left my face. Cosmetic and beauty spells were some of the first spells I ever learned. I waved it once more and new, lighter make-up coated my features.
Damn, I love magic.
“That is so cool!” Aspen was looking at me. “You’ll have to teach me that.” She grinned as she was applying a light coat of foundation.
“Just wait.” I waved the wand around her face. Make-up instantly applied itself.
“You’re a life-saver truly.” She grinned.
“It’s gift what can I say?” I laughed as I used a few different hygiene spells to freshen myself up, just to be safe. I saw Aspen doing the same non-magically. She literally had a duffle-bag with her stuff in it.
“My hair always gets so knotty in the mornings.” Aspen complained as she brushed it out.
I nodded my agreement as I brushed my teeth meticulously.
“It’s such a pain.” She whimpered as she yanked the brush through it.
As I finished brushing my teeth, she was done brushing it and had braided it over her shoulder. I quickly ran a brush though my own hair and vanished the toothbrush. It was pretty easy to get the tangles out of my hair and rarely took long.
“Ready?” Aspen smiled at me.
“As I’ll ever be.” I smiled shyly.
She laughed and opened the door. “Finally!” I looked up to see Fred huffing at us.
“Oh hush!” Aspen shushed him.
“Don’t tell me what to—”
The door slammed open. “Give me the NHP and nobody gets hurt.” Troy Clearwater looked disheveled with his button-up hanging open and his pants rumpled like they’d spent the night on the floor.
“It’s on James’s bedside table.” Aspen answered. I laid my slip with my dress that was folded on top of James’s trunk.
“We’re going to breakfast, want to join?” Fred offered.
“No thanks, I’m going back to bed,” Troy said as he stripped off his shirt. He tugged a white t-shirt on and slipped out of his slacks.
“Okay see you later,” James replied. Our quartet then marched out the door and went downstairs.
“Who’d Troy leave with last night?” Fred asked as we made our way down the stairs.
“Maxima Brankovitch.” Aspen nodded and gave us a look signifying that it was a big deal.
“Damn!” Fred whistled. “She’s one of the fittest girls at this ruddy school.”
“And one of the scariest,” Aspen replied.
“Agreed.” I nodded and we exchanged glances.
“You’re only saying that, because you’re girls.” James laughed.
“Also true.” Aspen and I smiled at each other.
“Don’t talk at the same time, it freaks me out.” Fred looked at us with his face skewered in distaste.
Aspen rolled her eyes as we walked into the Great Hall. “Shut up Fred.”
Fred glared at her, but did in fact shut up.
There weren’t a lot of people in the Great Hall who were above the age of fifteen. Everyone was recovering from the night before. I don’t blame them. Not everyone knows how to brew NHPs and memory potions like James does. The kid is a genius at Potions.
“I’m starved!” Aspen proclaimed. She sat down by Fred on one side and I sat by James. She began loading down her plate with food. “I’m going to have to run for ages after this!” She sighed. “Fred, feed me bacon,” she ordered.
“As you wish Madame.” He began feeding her bacon and we all started giggling.
I took a picture of them and uploaded it to my Portrait with the caption: literal goals.
I began looking through all the videos and pictures from the night before. There was a selfie of me, Dom, Zära, and Darcy. Then a selfie with Fred, James, and Drystan Llewellyn, one of their Ravenclaw friends. A few more selfies with random people and a multitude of videos of dancing, yelling, and singing. They were kind of embarrassing, but I left them anyway.
Fred was talking with Aspen as they ate and so I turned to my own food.
As I was loading my plate I heard James ask, “Did you have fun last night?”
“I did, I really did.” I smiled at him. “You were—”
“Mickey.” I heard a sigh of relief behind me.
I turned around to see Vincent standing there, running his hands nervously through his hair.
“Can I talk to you?” He asked.
My voice caught in my throat. All the snarky, funny, witty comebacks I had thought of for when he finally spoke to me were sticking to the roof of my mouth like peanut butter.
“Uh okay.” I almost choked on my toast.
“Do you want me to come with you?” James asked me.
“No…no, I think I’ll be okay.” I nodded.
I stood up and followed Vincent a little way away where we couldn’t be overheard, but were in sight.
“Why are you up so early?” I blurted out.
Vincent looked a bit startled, but shook his head. “I um I couldn’t really sleep last night.” He shrugged.
“Oh…” I drifted off.
“So, I wanted to ask you if you know, you and Potter are like a thing now?” Vincent stammered.
“I uh, um why?” I asked him.
“What do you mean why?”
“Like why do you care?” I shook my head to clear my thoughts.
Vincent was right in front of me and honestly it was jumbling my brain all up. I felt like an Etch-A-Sketch that someone had shaken all around.
“I was just wondering,” he snapped defensively. “Because that’s a slaggy move, we just broke up like a couple of days ago. I guess I always knew you were a closet slut.”
I looked at him with wide eyes. “Excuse me?”
“Don’t ever talk to her like that every again, Goyle.”
I felt James’s hand in my own before I saw him. He shoved past Vincent and pulled me back toward him.
“If you do, I’ll beat the living shit out of you.” James’ brown eyes were furious.
Vincent looked at him wide-eyed before huffing and storming out of the Great Hall.
“Are you alright?” James asked me, his voice gentle and lulling once again.
“Yeah.” I looked at him with my wide, blue eyes. “They’re just words.” I smiled, but I didn't hear only Vincent’s words in my head. I heard a multitude of words.
Thousands of people’s voices echoed in my head, just about every mean word since grade school was pressing against my skull. I know it shouldn’t matter and I know that I shouldn’t care, but I remembered every word. Every single nasty word that had fallen in my path was picked up and tossed in my brain like a token. So when a new one was added they all rattled around in my head like stones being thrown.
James smiled in relief and we began walking back to the table.
“Why are you always protecting me now?” I asked James suddenly. The words came out of my mouth before I could even stop them.
James looked at me and tilted his head with an unrecognizable emotion flickering across his face. “I don’t really know.” He shrugged. “After you told me what that prat did to you I just felt awful. I mean I have a little sister if some guy treated her like that I would want someone to be there to protect her.”
“So, I’m like a sister to you?” I knew it was a loaded question and so did he.
He looked at me sideways and shook his head. “No, not at all.” He then beamed from ear-to-ear. “I don’t do this with my sister.”
And in a precise motion, his lips were on mine. It was light and breathless like the flutter of a butterfly’s wing.
I looked at him as he pulled away and smiled. “I don’t either.”
James laughed so genuinely that I saw crinkles around his eyes.
Lily and I met up out by the Black Lake. She was already waiting on me when I got there. “Sorry I thought we said meet at one?” I raised an eyebrow.
“Oh we did. I’m always early.” She shrugged is response. “So, do you know if Lennon has a planner or a journal that she keeps and is really important to her?”
I paused for a moment in thought and nodded. “Yeah, she has a planner I know. She writes everything in there. I’ve never been allowed near it, but she has one.”
“Thought so.” She nodded. “Well, we need to get our hands on it. I have a feeling that if we can read it then we can figure out how to take her down.”
“Okay,” I agreed. “And how do you propose we get her planner?”
“You wait till Lennon’s gone or in class or whatever and then go see if she leaves it in her room somewhere. I’m telling you to do it so if she catches you then you can say you needed to talk to her about something. If it’s not in her room then we know she keeps it with her. So after she goes to bed we sneak in there and get it,” Lily explained.
“Sounds easy peasy,” I said sarcastically.
“Do it this afternoon. After practice.” She nodded. “We can meet up tomorrow after the game.”
“Alright,” I said uneasily. “This better work, LP.” I gave her a wary look.
“Oh relax! What’s the worst that could happen?” She grinned mischievously.
“Don’t even get me started…” I grumbled.
“Drink up guppy!” James tossed AC a NHP as the team stood out on the pitch.
I idly tossed the Quaffle between my hands, the red leather cool and soft.
“AC, I want you working on your Keeping.” Drew pointed toward the goalpost. “Roxanne and Albus, fly up and play Chasers.”
Albus grumbled, but Roxanne grinned at the idea of playing Chaser. They grabbed their brooms and AC followed after she downed the rest of the potion. She had been viciously hung-over, but everyone else had either not been hung-over or taken NHPs.
“Chasers in the air! I want you doing drills. Gryffin and Gallagher, play Beaters against them.”
The team flew off at Wood’s command.
“Fred, you and I will do Beater drills. LP, practice your dives and feints. McCartney, come with me.”
I followed after Wood.
“Throw up targets for us,” he ordered.
“Yes sir, Mr. Captain sir,” I replied and Fred laughed.
I tossed up the exploding targets for Fred and Drew to hit with ease. The targets were enchanted to explode when you hit the Bludger in just the right spot. It was an aiming drill.
We’d been doing this for a while when there was a loud noise in the stands. Everyone turned to look, including me. I didn’t see anything and held up my arm to toss the next one. And then I was on my butt in the grass. And pain was shooting up my arm drastically.
“Shit!” I heard Fred curse loudly.
“McCartney, are you okay?” Wood appeared above me.
I felt my eyes watering, but blinked rapidly. Tears began spilling over before I could stop them, but I tried to regain my composure. I knew what this was.
“I’m fine, I just should get to the hospital wing.” I sat up, cradling my arm with my other arm, wiping under my eyes. “This is the arm that I’ve broken before and I think it’s broken again,” I told Wood through trembling lips. So much for sneaking into Lennon’s room after practice.
“Okay, okay.” Wood nodded.
“Shit Wood, I’ll take her to the hospital wing.” Fred offered, biting his lip in worry.
“No, no I can find it on my own,” I stammered.
“What the hell happened?”
The rest of the team flew down and landed behind us.
“Mick.” James materialized by my side. “What in Godric’s name did you do to her, Fred?” James’s voice was more worried than accusatory.
“I’m fine, I just need to go that way.” I started through the crowd, holding my arm tightly.
My arm had pain shooting up and down it and I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. But I can’t full-on cry with all of these people around me. I have the ugliest cry-face ever. As in worse than Kim Kardashian.
I started up the hill and let a few more tears fall down my cheeks.
“I’m coming with you.” James was behind me.
“I kind of figured you would.” I laughed as I brushed the tears off my cheeks.
“What happened?” He asked.
“That loud noise startled us and Fred hit the Bludger wrong. I held up my arm to throw up the target and the Bludger hit my arm,” I explained through puffs of air.
As we reached the top of the hill, James stopped me.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Hold your arm,” he said. I did as he commanded and he picked me up. “And don’t take the mickey out of me for being a stereotypical guy.”
I just managed a laugh, “If you insist, but my arm’s broken not my legs, Jay,” I muttered the sarcasm before I buried my face in the crook of his neck.
I could feel his laughter vibrating his chest. My arm was burning now and a few tears escaped my stronghold.
I heard James tell a few people, “Quidditch accident,” as we walked.
I just pretended not to hear him.
“We’re here McCartney,” James said as he opened a door. “Aunt Hannah!”
“James, what happened?” I looked up to see Madam Longbottom standing before us. She had long blonde hair that was braided down her back. She looked on with worried brown eyes.
“A Bludger hit her arm and we think it’s broken,” James replied.
“Well, put her on the bed then!” Madam Longbottom bustled about as James set me down. He pulled up a chair beside the bed.
“You don’t need to stay,” I said, my voice cracking.
James just rolled his eyes and leaned back in the seat.
“I mean it—” I was cut off as Madam Longbottom came back.
“Hold still dear.” She looked at me pitifully.
I felt terrified. What was this wonky lady about to do to me? I’ve never done this before, a Muggle fixed my last broken bone.
“Brackium Emendo!” She pointed her wand at my out-stretched arm.
I yelped as the bones in my arm were snapped back into place, quite harshly. I squeezed my eyes shut as there was a grinding noise. The noise of bones rubbing against each other. I felt my heart catch in my throat as tears spilled over once more. The pain then began throbbing in my arm. It wouldn’t stop and I tried to ignore it. I opened my eyes and looked up at Madame Longbottom.
“The throbbing will subside, but for the rest of the week I’d like for you to wear a sling as much as you can.” She went over to her desk and brought back a sling. “It should help if you wear it.” She fitted it around my arm snuggly.
“Thank you.” I managed to squeeze the words out from between my tightly ground teeth.
“That’s all dear, you don’t have to stay just promise me you’ll get some rest.” She smiled and gently stroked my hair as I nodded. “Now go ahead you two. James, get back to practice. I bet Andrew is having a fit.”
James laughed. “Bye Aunt Hannah!”
We walked out of the hospital wing and stopped by the door that led back out to the courtyard.
“Tell Wood I’m sorry, but I’m going to sleep it off,” I told James.
“Alright.” James nodded. “I’ll text you after practice.” He promised.
“I want too.” He shushed me. “Look Cart, if you were ever an inconvenience I would enlighten you.” He grinned impishly.
“Well thanks.” I looked a bit affronted.
“Talk to you later!” James kissed my cheek before going back out across the courtyard.
I smiled after him and turned to begin the long walk back up to Gryffindor Tower, my dormitory, and most importantly—my bed.
Hi all! Thanks for reading if you're still with me!
Aspen Carmichael is portrayed by Katrina Bowden (she is featured in the CI)
Drystan Llewellyn is portrayed by Dave Franco
And Vincent Goyle (portrayed by Penn Badgley) is also featured on the CI
In the next chapter... The Gryffindor JV has their first match of the season. Bones are broken. The varsity team gets put in a bind. Scorpius visits someone in the hospital wing.
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