Gorgeous ci by Callisto @ tda
I had never been a particularly flexible girl, In fact merely reaching for my toes could cause serve damage mentally and physically. It was this thought that went through my mind as I watched the 7th year girls of Gryffindor tower, leap and cartwheel around the room in blissful panic.
"Dom, have you seen my pencil skirt?" Valerie yelled from somewhere in the depths of the jungle of clothes. The Dominique in question appeared in that moment coming from the jungle itself.
The only adjective that could come to mind as I watched the current proceedings was: Lost. So utterly and ridiculously lost.
"Yeah... I think it was on Zinnia's bed." Dom yelled back to the unknown whereabouts of Valerie. "Can I leave now?" I asked eyeing a hideous red tank top she had thrust towards me.
"Poppy for god's sake you promised to come to this party you're not backing out now." She snipped, sounding like a mother telling off her 4 year old daughter. I sighed heavily giving her a meager grin before inspecting the top she had given me.
"This is disgusting who in Merlin's name would wear this?" I cried dramatically my eyebrow lifting at the very bright pink sequins adorning the neckline. "It's my favourite top actually." A hurt looking Zinnia murmured, snatching it out of my hands.
"What is the point of all this again?" I said gesturing to the whole dorm in a flourish. It currently looked like all three girls wardrobes had exploded all over the room. "Have you ever been to party?" Zinnia asked giving me a pointed look her hands resting on her hips.
"A few." I lied.
"Then you would know you can't turn up just wearing bloody anything you have to look the part! Now, you should get ready we need to leave soon." Zinnia told me throwing my attire consisting of a robe and some slippers a meager glance.
"I am ready." I stated challenging her with a steady look. She rolled her eyes instead of pressing me further. Humming along to the popular wizarding tune blasting from an unknown source. Zinnia looked smashing in a cream hued lace romper, paired with sparkly pink pumps and a matching head band.
"You look like a girl I used to know Zinnia." I purred watching in interest as she turned towards me again in curiosity.
"Really what was her name?" She asked smiling with a slightly perplexed expression.
"Her name was Halle James and she was by far the best dressed girl at kindergarten." I smirked watching as her shoulders sunk in defeat.
"You my friend are a royal bitch." Valerie commented her voice booming over the music; a small cheeky smile was playing on her face all the same. I gave her a wink drenched in sarcasm. Before throwing myself back on the unbelievably comfortable bed I had proclaimed as my second home in last 5 days.
"Ignore her Zinnia. Poppy's just got her panties in a twist because she doesn't want to go to this party." Dominique pouted in mock sympathy, flicking a blonde lock off her shoulder in the process.
I once again cursed the universe for allowing someone to be that stunning. Dominique, unlike Zinnia, had gone for a more subtle look. Her hair straightened immaculately so that there wasn't a kink in sight and nude lipstick had been smeared onto her perfectly pouted lips. I glared at her in distaste..
"SHIT." Valerie cried almost falling over in panic as she inspected the hour. This drew the attention of the other two girls who seemed to be completely oblivious to the fact that they were in fact very, very late.
"It's twelve o'clock." Valerie gasped looking between them frazzled. Dominique looked like she was about to burst into tears.
"Fuck, Poppy! Why didn't you tell us!" She yelled. I tried to hide my smirk. I miserably failed.
"I guess it slipped my mind..." In that split second I was sure Dominique was about to throttle me. Luckily, Zinnia saved me by reminding us all that we were very unfashionably late.
With a shriek from Zinnia the Gryffindor girls ran from the tower, leaving me behind alone in a jungle of clothes.
Then Valerie came back and had to carry me down the stairs over her shoulder.
"I can't believe your wearing bloody slippers." Zinnia all but whimpered staring at the, charming, bunny slippers on my feet with a look of distain. "Really? I happened to think they went quite well with my outfit." I mocked, grinning toothily in her miserable face.
"What outfit? your wearing your pyjamas." Valerie interjected, muffling her laughter as she too caught a glimpse of my batman pyjama shorts. I shrugged almost crashing into a wall as they took a sharp and unexpected turn down the corridor.
"Where exactly did you say this party was?" I asked
in confusion as we past another set of unfamiliar portraits, in an unfamiliar hallway, on a unfamiliar floor. Dominique grinned at no one in particular linking her arm through mine.
"We don't really know- actually." I looked at her in bafflement about to pipe up another question- before Zinnia cut me off with some word vomit.
"No one does actually, the invitation specifically stated that we were meeting in a alcove on the fourth floor. Knowing James he has some sort of bizarre destination- But it's all very secretive. Exciting, if you ask me... I've always loved a bit of mystery. My mum is obsessed with crime TV you see. All of that muggle malarkey-"
She stopped as we walked into a dead end, Dominique scratching her head in confusion. "The invitation said it's here." We looked around but there was no one to be seen.
"This can't be right?" Valerie muttered turning to Dominique for guidance. Detaching myself awkwardly from Dominique's arm I looked around, knocking on each wall to see if there was a reply. "Perhaps we just went the wrong way?" Zinnia asked shivering.
Dominique shook her head coming to join me at one of the stone walls. Pushing her blonde locks back, she pressed her head to the stone waiting for something. I frowned going to open my mouth- after a beat of silence. She quickly shut me up beckoning me towards her.
"Here that?" I shook my head.
She frowned straining again to hear something. "Dom maybe we should just go" Valerie muttered looking around the dimly lit corridor. And there it was. It was small but I heard it this time. The faint sound of laughter... Both Dominique and I looked at each other wide eyed.
A small frown had creased at my brow; getting up from my hunched position I looked at the wall again. It was perfectly normal. Round grey stones collecting together. Perfectly boring. Centuries old, perhaps even older then time itself. My eyes tried desperately to detect something, some sort of unique feature.
It felt like I had been staring at the fricking wall for 1 hour. Zinnia had started mumbling something about being cold when I saw it- it wasn't much. But it was something. A soft sheen from the candles cast a orange glow over the rounded rocks. Lighting it up like fire. And then- a small ripple crossed the wall. So small I wouldn't have noticed it unless I hadn't been looking properly.
Slowly I inched closer pressing my face to the cold stone. But it wasn't cold, it was strangely hot actually. With one hand I felt my way across the wall feeling for a pattern. Warm, warm, warm, cold. I shook my head running it over again and again.
"Poppy?" I silenced the blondes questioning gaze with a gesture.
"Is it just me or is it abnormally warm here." Taking Dominique's hand in mine I pressed it delicately against the warm stone. She grinned nodding, before repeating my actions and running her hands against the stone.
The other girls had caught on both of them feeling against the wall soon enough. Whipping out my wand I ran it across the surface. Tapping each hot brick once. The girls pointing me towards them. Small beams of light started to emerge from the cracks piercing at my skin with its intensity. Taking a step back, the rocks slowly began to break away folding in on each other till there was no wall left.
People. Everywhere. People dancing, talking, drinking. Masses and masses of people.
It was one of the most beautiful rooms I had ever set my eyes on. Marble pillars incrusted with golden leaf, held up the magnificent dome ceiling. A complicated pattern of gold's and whites, looping and curling around in a kaleidoscope of colour. Fountains were spread out across the room, bubbling champagne streaming into a mountain of champagne flutes. Gold, White and Black lights were flashing down onto the world of dancing body's. The dancers seemed to blur, and jump back into focus in time with the music. The colours casting beautiful shadows on the mass of dancers.
A voice chuckled loudly approaching me in a steady saunter. His golden eyes brought alive in the light. "This is amazing!" I yelled unable to take it all in.
James smiled, "Only the best for my 18th," He seemed laid back, cool almost. Unlike the alert, overly confident boy I had become used to seeing. "I'm surprised you managed to find it, it's not exactly the easiest location to find, believe me." He grinned widely, his smile was slightly crooked.
"How did you find this place by the way?" I inquired, still looking around in disbelief.
"A magician never reveals his secrets, young one." He chuckled leaning back on his heels in excitement.
He seemed to notice me properly for the first time just then, taking in the full attire with a boyish grin. "Ah Pop-ster you are just look ravishing tonight."
I gave him a sarcastic flash of teeth. "I did chose my outfit especially for you."
He grinned taking a swig from his glass. "Did you really now? Well I'll have to borrow those slippers sometime, they are quite something." He laughed, winking cheekily.
"Anytime," I said dryly, quickly losing interest.
"I'm glad you came actually, I certainly wasn't expecting you to after you
-"After I punched you in the throat?" I finished for him, the memory sending a jolt of pleasure through me. He frowned taking another sip from his drink. "You can throw punch that's for sure." He said bitterly. This only made me grin more.
"Well you deserved it, I was only doing what was right." I said defending my actions, which were completely called for, his head snapped towards me in outrage. "I deserved it?! All I did was ask you a question." I narrowed my eyes.
"No what you were trying to do was to make me angry. And it clearly worked, hence that beautiful purple mark on your neck." I smirked, even though I was getting more and more irritated by the second.
"Merlin, it was just a question, your just to bloody sensitive." WARNING. We were entering in danger territory now. If there was one thing I did not like it was being called 'sensitive'. My heart rate went dangerously slow, my fists clenching at my sides. I breathed in, and out. Nothing was working. Everything seemed to loud, the music the people. The lights were to bright, I couldn't breathe. My vision started to swim and then-
"Poppy! There you are!" My shoulders were being grabbed hold of as Dominique spun me around. "Are you okay?" James asked hesitantly Dominique's eyes mirroring his, brimming with concern.
"Fine" I replied monotonously.
Dominique raised an eyebrow in confusion, "James, what did you do?"
I took a deep gulp of air, letting it calm me as it ran its course down my windpipe. "He did nothing, it's just too loud in here, I need a drink." I inputted before James could say anything. Dominique didn't look convinced but dropped the subject. "I didn't even realise you guys had gone." I said, my head was still spinning, the heat slowly leaving my face. James stared after us, as Dominique slowly steered me away, I gave him a small nod of assurance.
"Yeah you wondered off as soon as we got in." She informed me, leading me to a slightly quieter corner away from the dance floor. "Are you sure your ok?" She asked again, staring at me intently. I gave her a small nod, eager to please.
"I told you I'm fine, I'm just not good with parties." I told her. She seemed satisfied with my answer, starting up a conversation with Valerie and Zinnia who sat chatting away on the sofas.
I sighed heavily, falling onto one of the sofas myself.
This night was already shaping out to be a long one.
I had only been at this god forsaken party for 27 minutes and I had already been abandoned. Dominique had run off somewhere yelling something about Freddie and a chicken. Valerie decided to leave me to suck face with her girlfriend. And as for Zinnia, I had run away from her as soon as she started talking about cauldrons.
This left me at 40 minutes past midnight, sitting alone, depressed and extremely sober. Even the girl behind the bar was sending me pitying looks.
I sighed heavily swirling the fruit juice in my mouth.
I looked up almost spitting out the contents of my drink at the sight before me. Wiping at my mouth I turned away hoping she was talking to someone else.
"Poppy?" Ellen repeated edging forward, the two girls behind her giving me quizzical glances. I gave her a weary glimpse out of the corner of my eye. "What do you want?"
Not the slightest bit put off by my clear discomfort Ellen beamed. I narrowed my eyes.
"I just wanted to introduce my friends to you, girls this is Poppy. Poppy these are my girlfriends Lola and Cara." The two girls behind her smiled, both smiles just as forced and fake as the next. "It's so good to finally meet you, I have just heard such wonderful things!" A girl with a sleek bob stepped forward. Ellen's smile broadened as she stepped back to watch from the sidelines. My eyes narrowed even more. This was getting weirder and weirder by the second.
"Right... So what did you want?" I asked, there was too much smiling going on it made my eyes hurt. The girls head tipped back in laughter, I have no clue what was so funny. "Ellen was right, you are just so- funny!" and then it clicked.
These girls thought they were sly. They were far from it.
"Funny huh? She didn't happen to mention my severe dislike for fake bitches too, did she?" I asked putting on a face of mock curiosity. It was there, very small but the slight flinch. Recoiling like a snake, she continued smiling.
"So I just love your outfit! Don't you girls?" She asked reaching for my fluffy yellow robe in wonder. The other two smirked, both of them cooing about how much they loved 'my get up'.
"Where did you get this robe? Something of this quality must be vintage!?" The girl giggled, giving her friends a look that said 'so pathetic'. It was too early in the morning for this. I took a quick swig of my apple juice. Savouring the sweetness for a second before turning back to them all. They still were blabbing on about my robe obliviously.
"It was my Grandma's robe actually. I just love it!" This was met with a chorus of coos, Ellen and her friend began to stroke it, marvelling at its 'softness' and putting it to their faces. My smile broadened. I picked up my glass, swivelling the contents of my drink around before chugging the lasting contents down my throat.
"Yeah she died wearing it actually, poor old Grandma Minnie- died of dragon pox. Sad life she lived," I murmured, jutting out my bottom lip. The robe was dropped immediately.
"Oh really that's so sad..." The girl with the bob said through gritted teeth, trying desperately to refrain from running away screaming at the top of her lungs. "Yeah before she died, she put a extra layer of Bitch repellent on it.. Seems to have faded off by now, it just doesn't work the same anymore."
All three girls smiled nastily. Realising with discomfort that they had just been beaten at their own game.
"Well, it was just lovely meeting you Poppy, I hope to see you again. Come on girls." The girl with the bob smirked, before storming off in a fury. I snorted into my empty glass. Teenage girls never failed to amaze me.
"Another drink?" The bored girl behind the bar asked me. I nodded solemnly. This time she gave me my juice with an umbrella. I had jugged it within two seconds.
And so it continued.
By my fifth drink I was almost 110% positive that I was dying from severe case of boredom. No one I knew was anywhere to be seen. I was starting to get lonely. Or maybe I spoke to soon...
"Okay! this may be the alcohol talking but, I need to say this. I'm sorry for being a prat earlier. It was wrong of me." James rambled appearing from nowhere in particular at my side.
I turned around half in shock, half in genuine intrigue. "Can, can you just repeat that please?" I said in disbelief. The corners of his mouth were tugged downwards in a grimace.
"Do I have to?" He mumbled. I nodded eyes wide in fake astonishment. "I'm sorry for being a prat..."
I couldn't help myself, as I exploded into tears of laughter.
James stared at me in bewilderment, desperately trying to make out what I was saying through giggles. "That is the biggest lie I've heard all night!" I wheezed gasping for air.
He looked more confused than before, patting my shoulder to make sure I wasn't having a mental break down.
I stopped laughing holding the gaze of his brilliant golden eyes. "You didn't seriously think I would believe you, or are you just used to girls eating out of the palm of your hand all the time?" I asked enjoying his confusion. For once he was speechless.
"I don't understand I apologised-" I grinned his arrogance unbelievable. "And do you think that covers it? Since my first day you have been nothing but a arrogant asshole towards me. Frankly it's hard to believe I lasted so much as 5 days without punching you." I laughed hugging my glass to my chest.
James blinked, trying to conjure up magic words to put him in a brighter light but miserably failed.
I giggled again taking another swig. "You going to say anything, or just sit there and look dumb?" I asked. He opened his mouth and closed again.
I chuckled bitterly, "That's what I thought?" I muttered taking a chug from the delicious juice. "Okay, fine maybe I wasn't the most welcoming of people. But you were no princess!" He informed me. I laughed turning to face him with a steady look. "And I don't claim to be, I know I can be rude, moody, antisocial and cold. At least I don't act like I'm any better then that."
His face was a picture, an emotional turmoil. I could lie and say that it didn't please me that I had made the boy, now known to me to be as emotional as a spoon, flustered and stuttering like a four year old.
He stared at me dead in the eye, his golden eyes flickering like flames, so hot they were threatening to scorch my skin. "No you just pretend to be something you're not," I frowned.
"What do you mean by that?" He looked down at his hands, mulling over his thoughts. Something desperately trying to sputter out of his lips but he seemed to be suppressing it his teeth clenched in effort.
"You smile a lot-"
He cut himself off, biting down on his lip. Now gawking at me as if I was about to go off like a bomb in a fit of anger. All I could do was share the same dim expression, "I-I what?" I spluttered unable to make sense of what he was trying to say.
"I am seriously going to regret this" He groaned under his breath before taking a massive swig from my glass, grimacing as he was clued in that it was in fact apple juice. "You're always smiling, always. You don't even try to fight it off like you did on the first day, you're a cheap laugh and you seem amused by everything- Unusual qualities for such a moody person..." His golden eyes met mine, unwavering yet I could still see uncertainty swimming somewhere in between where his eyes were slightly green and transitioning into golden flecks again.
"What are you getting at here Sherlock?" I replied dryly, my head hurt from trying to decode the meaning behind it all. "Well-" He paused to think a bit, the suspense driving me insane, his eyes darted towards me before jerking towards his hands again, the action repeated more times than I can count. Then he stops, thinks a bit, and begins to speak.
"I think it's a defense mechanism- the moodiness- to cover something else, what I couldn't figure out was from what. The obvious reason could have been that you're afraid of getting hurt... But then the other night when Fred asked you all those questions, it was the one about your parents that made you tick. So that led me to believe that maybe it's all a natural reaction; to act moody to drive people away, because, because they're-Shit." Every word that came out was rushed out, shouting over the next in a rush of words desperate to get out. The glazed over look in his eye told me that the alcohol and the concealed thoughts had taking its toll and now he was letting everything spill.
Only grasping control in the millisecond he caught my eyes.
"Poppy- I'm sorry. Shit. I don't know what I was thinking." He impaired, desperately trying to catch my eye. I drowned out all of the white noise, cutting over him with one sharp and painful word, "Finish."His eyes darkened, "Poppy-" I shook my head, my hands were trembling in fear. "Finish what you were going to say." My voice sounded hollow and weak even to my on ears. Perhaps this is what convinced him to continue, or perhaps it was the small but tangible tremor that had spread to my shoulders.
"They're dead... Aren't they?" His voice was so soft, like silk, sliding into my ears delicately and yet it still had the power to rattle me to the core. Shattering the facade I had tried so hard to put up as my own skin.
"You did it; you'd be a great detective- very good." James gazed at me in commiseration, even attempting to console me by giving me an extremely awkward pat on the arm.
We sat there in numbed silence, to overcome with shock to even look at each other. Everything felt hot and bothered. Everywhere I looked I felt like people were watching me. Like now everyone knew my big secret.
I don't know how long we sat there like that, perhaps 30 seconds perhaps 3 hours. Either way it felt like an eternity.
"I'm sorry Poppy." James murmured, his hand soon finding his neck to rub at anxiously. I made sure my eyes didn't leave the bar in front of me, I couldn't stand the look I knew he had on his face. "About what? My parents? Don't be, it's not exactly your fault, so there's no need for apologizing."
I could hear him shuffle in his seat, I didn't dare look at him, "That and for everything else, I was being a prat. I had no right to say any of that, I was just irritated and it was a dick move." The sincerity in his voice spoke to me more than his words did.
When I didn't reply he carried on apologizing, when I didn't reply he would apologize again repeating my name and that word, the word that excruciated me like no other. It had now become routine, James would apologize, I would drink, and the bar maid would sigh.
"Will you please shut up." I growled my eyes burning from staring at the same spot for so long. Black dots beginning to poke their way into my line of vision. James did as I said, drumming his finger on the bar in thought.
"I'm not always like this you know, for some reason, I just turn into a massive arsehole when I'm around you. It's stupid." He murmured, for reasons unknown to me this made my lips twitch upward. My head swivelling a round to look at him.
"Yeah why is that?" He shrugged, his shoulders noticeably slumping in relief as I met his eye. "I don't take well to being challenged I guess?" He said wincing as the conversation took a swerve, plunging directly into his own feelings.
I snickered, shaking my head in hilarity, "Don't like being challenged?! What are you five Jimbo?" I asked him mocking automatically lacing into my voice.
He winced, "Please don't call me that."
This made me grin, "Why not Jimbo?" I teased.
"That's what my Great, Great aunt Tessie calls me." I chortled in amusement urging him to continue.
"She's the type of aunt that gives you mouldy sweets from her moth ridden coat pocket. You know the ones that kiss you directly on the mouth when greeting you?" He shuddered. "The amount of spit is enough to kill a man..."
I exploded into a fit of laughter unable to contain it as the image of James being attacked by an old woman with kisses entered my mind. He joined in soon enough, laughing till are throats were sore and it had now become awkward. There was an agonizing pause of silence where we both stared at our empty glasses in.
James cleared his throat, only making the situation a hundred times more awkward.
"Could I get another vodka and Coke please," He asked the girl behind the bar who jumped at the chance of something to do, "What would you like Poppy?" He asked turning towards me, "Another apple juice I guess." I replied, eyeing my empty glass wearily.
James smirked in amusement, "Well aren't you just a bucket full of fun." He chuckled the teasing tone lacing into his tone.
I glared at him, "I am actually, when I left Ilvermorny they gave me a medal for sergeant of fun and all things pleasant." I replied sourly. He chuckled at my lame retort, "Prove it," He grinned urging me onwards.
Accepting the challenge I leaned over the bar taking my own sweet time in deciding what I wanted. "Can I have a..... Orange Juice please. And extra ice. Oh and an umbrella?" I sat back down in my seat, satisfaction radiating off me in waves.
James snorted into his drink "How come you don't drink- If you don't mind me asking!" He all but shrieked as an afterthought. I smirked, "Calm yourself James I don't mind you asking me." The colour slightly returned to his cheeks.
"Tell anyone and I will make sure you will never have children." James sat up in hist seat his grin practically flapping off his face it was so big.
"It was the summer holidays I had just turned 15 and had never had alcohol before. I didn't really have many friends but there were these girls on my road who I grew up with you know, the typical sort of forced together play dates that we've all experienced, anyway their mothers forced them to invite me to a party they were going to, little did they know their daughters were actually going to an abandoned house with some 17 year old boys in the middle of the night. So wanting to fit in, I chugged a hole bottle of tequila- in less than 30 minutes- and ended up spending the hole night playing limbo with a shower head while I had my foot jammed in a toilet. The girls were so drunk that they called the fire brigade to try and get my foot out. Let's just say I never lived it down, and after that I swore to never drink again."
I waited, waited for the inevitable laughing.
And as promised James was soon in a hysterical fit of shrieks, a giggling pile of messiness on the floor. "That is hysterical." I rolled my eyes drumming my fingers on the bar in annoyance. "Shut up."
"I can't help it! You can't tell someone a story like that and expect them not to laugh." I rolled my eyes again but the smile on my lips gave away my true feelings. "Now I want to see you drunk."
"Well you never will-" Just as the word left my lips a loud shriek came from the crowd. Both our heads swiveled towards the direction of the cries, just able to make out the form of a boy making his way towards us, elbowing his way through the masses of swaying bodies.
"JAMES!?" The boy cried shielding his eye from the strobe lights so he could see. James seemed to relax as the boy came to stand in front of us, his green eyes taking us both in. "What's up Al?" James asked.
I soon came to the realisation that the boy must be James' younger brother. He had the same, dark tousled curls, carelessly strewn around his face although this boy's was longer hanging down, shielding his eyes which was a shame since the green hue was enough to make anyone dizzy. A bead of sweat trickled down the side of his face, only then did I notice how flustered he looked, blood had rushed to his cheeks tainting them with a mosaic of reds and purples. His eyes wide in fear.
"Al? What's the matter," James asked his voice lowering and entering a tone of concern. Instinctively I leaned in closer.
"It's Fred he's going insane on the Astronomy tower, he keeps going on about freeing the chickens and no one can get him down." James groaned leaning back in his seat. "This happens all the time Al I'm sure it'll be fine." He reasoned although he didn't look to convinced himself.
I stared between the brothers, from Al's slightly queasy expression and back to James. "You should go," I told him, he glanced at me in doubt. "Are you sure?" He asked, there was this look on his face. One I couldn't read, a smirk almost.
I rolled my eyes in expiration, "Yes, I don't need you to babysit me you know." I said.
"I wouldn't be so sure..." He murmured under his breath, getting up all the same. Al sighed in relief already darting back into the crowd with a small smile in my direction. Before James followed hi, he turned to face me, a cheeky smile playing on his lips.
"Enjoy your Orange Juice."
With that he was gone, I swivelled around in confusion, finding the orange juice I had completely forgotten about looking extremely tempting on the counter. With a shrug I downed it in one.
And that's when everything went black..
A/N: I AM SO SORRY! Unfortunately for me I hit the wall that is writers block while writing this chapter, and it was extremely hard to overcome, but hopefully I’ve made up for such the long wait with an extremely lengthy chapter!! Which I am actually quite proud of :)). Anyway I hope you enjoyed it, and thank you to everyone who’s been commenting on my lil fic. 3k+ reads!!
DISCLAIMER: If you haven’t already, I would strongly advise to read over the previous couple of chapters as I have made changes to a couple of names and some parts of the plot, so if that’s the case and your feeling lost after reading this chapter please do!! :))