[ Printer Friendly Version ] [ Report Abuse ]
Chapter 7 : unbroken and wild
| ||Rating: Mature||Chapter Reviews: 36|
Background: Font color:
"Come on," said Mikey, who had visited that morning, putting his feet up on my bed, helping himself to my untouched, and by this point rather cold breakfast. "This is the life."
"Yeah, I'm really living it up right now," I retorted, and he snorted at my expression.
Aspen, Oscar, Mikey, Liam, Albus and the Quidditch team... By the time Aspen and Oscar departed for the second time that morning, I was very ready to pretend to be asleep the next time a person strolled in to discuss how scary my fall was, how scared they were, how brave I was.
So when I heard footsteps approach my bed for the sixth time that morning- why Madame Pomfrey didn't apply the same no visitors rule to me as other patients, I didn't know (and did take slightly personally)- my automatic reaction was to lie there, still as possible, eyes squeezed shut.
Was I that bad at playing sleep? I remained dormat, as the figure sat down in the chair beside me. And I could smell tobacco and strawberries.
"I've been in the Hospital Wing countless times," the voice said, and I could hear laughter laced between its words. It was undeniably James Potter, and I had to consciously stop my mouth from dropping open in surprise. "Half of the injuries as a result of Quidditch, actually. Anyway. I am an expert at pretending to be asleep to ward off visitors, and quite frankly, Wilderson, you're terrible at it."
My eyes flashed open, and I shot him a dirty look as he laughed a throaty laugh. I sat up, propped on my elbows, and smiled weakly. "I've never been a good actor."
"It's fine. I'm sure you have other talents."
"Yeah, I've been told I'm very good at scaring people in the past four hours."
He snorted again, ruffling the back of his hair. "I'm glad to see you're alright, Wilderson."
"I know your name," he said, leaning in towards me, a smirk on his lips. I could see the coarseness of the skin around his nose- it was dry, and flaking slightly, and stubble was starting to show along his jawline. But the weak November sunlight made his skin almost glow that morning, as even the shadows under his definitive cheekbones looked almost ethereal. I was trying desperately hard to remember to breathe, breathe correctly.
"I just wanted to apologise for yesterday," he said, smiling slightly, the corners of his eyes crinkling. "I was out of line. I think I've been relatively rude to you all month, actually."
"I just assumed it was your personality," I countered, and I watched his smile transform into a grin.
"Middle child complex on the oldest child?"
"Middle child complex on the youngest child," I said, lazily pointing in my direction as I referred to myself, and he snorted. "But no... It's so fine."
"I'm not usually that rude. I'm actually quite a good guy."
"Yeah, I can imagine."
"Oi," he countered, shoving the mattress in jest as he couldn't quite reach me. He looked at me for a moment, a smile still on his lips, looking almost pensive. "I don't apologise often, you know.”
"I can't stand apologising. I try to do the right thing just to avoid it."
He laughed again, and stood up. "I'll see you around, Wilderson.”
"Whatever," he called back, as he walked away.
Bandages were wrapped tightly around my ribs, and when I showed Aspen and Oscar as we took a turn into the girls’ bathroom by the Hall, they were most amused.
“Maybe I should break my ribs if it gives me that dramatic boost in the chest area,” sniggered Aspen.
“You’ve gone from heroin chic to Victoria’s Secret Angel,” observed Oscar. “Oh no darling, don’t button up your shirt, this is so exciting.”
“It’s not funny,” I scowled, as Aspen bent over the sink in laughter.
“Your chest looks fucking huge, babe! At luh-EAST a double D-”
“Not quite that big, Az, I’d say a D at most.”
“No, because she’s skinny they look even bigger-”
“Oh haha,” I snapped at my teasing friends. “You're a bunch of real comedians, Green and Spinelli. Let’s all laugh at the injured who scored a hundred and fifty points for Ravenclaw.”
“Points are so over-rated,” said Oscar, waving his hand to further his point. “If only you were allowed to the party last night, with that rack you’d be putting the F into Fabulous-”
“Never take them off,” pleaded Aspen. “You were so flat beforehand. Oh my God, Eff, this could be the catalyst for you to become the new It girl of the year!" Oscar roared with laughter at the idea of it, and Aspen continued in her jest, her eyes welling up with tears as she tried to plow on with her ever so witty banter. "Everyone’s talking about you anyway, because of the game and James Potter’s reaction-”
“Yeah, I had noticed,” I said, but I was interrupted by two Hufflepuff girls, whom with their plain faces, long skirts and massive bags, couldn’t be anything but First Years.
“Ew!” shrieked one, pointing at Oscar. “There’s a boy in the girls’ bathroom!”
“OH MY GOD DANNY DE-”
“Oh shut up,” I snorted.
"I LOVE YOUR WORK!" Aspen and I laughed as the two girls ran out of the toilets, and Oscar turned to us with a smug look upon his face.
“Oscar," said Aspen. "You... poo head."
“Funky vocab, babe, where did you get that from?”
"Louis Weasley's latest Care of Magical Creatures essay, you?”
“Anyway,” I said, as we began to sit down. “What’s the gossip mill tuning out the Sunday after this game?” After every Quidditch game came a Quidditch party, and after every party, regardless of the outcome of the game, there was unlimitless gossip to be discussed the next day.
Oscar began to open his mouth but Aspen elbowed him, and he closed it and gave her a glare. “Do you want my version or Oscar’s version?” she asked, and then dipped her hand into the massive packet of crisps Oscar had smuggled under his jumper from the kitchens. Mikey and Liam had taught him how to get in after Liam got curious on a round of Prefect Patrols and Oscar refused to tell us, claiming it was a “bro issue”.
“Yours,” I said, grinning at Oscar who looked offended.
“Homophobic, the pair of you.”
“You’ve been pulling that line ever since we worked out you were gay in first year,” I sneered.
“Yeaaaaaah,” agreed Aspen, clicking her fingers in a sassy manner.
“Oh my God. It’s like Russia in this girl’s bathroom. Or is it Kenya? I can never quite keep up.”
“Actually, it’s Somalia-”
“No you idiots, its Uganda,” I said, rolling my eyes. “Don’t either of you pay attention in Muggle Studies?”
“Alright, calm down Head Girl Molly Weasley-”
“Bloody bint just gave me a detention for finding me and Scorpius behind a tapestry on one of her rounds last night-”
“Well you and Scorpius do go about it in quite the animalistic manner-”
“Oh shit!” cried Oscar, cutting me off. “What’s the time?”
Aspen checked her watch. “Quarter past one- oh no, Oscar, we’re late!”
“Late for what?” I asked, feeling left out.
“Apparition test,” Oscar muttered, standing up and brushing himself off.
I had totally forgotten. Oscar, Aspen, Albus, Mikey, Liam… They all had their apparition test today. I was born in early August which didn’t meet the deadline, and I had been dreading this afternoon since they put up the dates for it a month ago.
“What am I meant to do?” I wailed, following them reluctantly in getting up. “I can’t believe you’re leaving me- only just recovered from a near-death experience-”
“Jasmine already passed hers in Morocco, so I assume she’ll be around,” soothed Aspen, as we walked out of the bathroom.
But Oscar shook his head. “She’s with her grandparents,” he said. “They’re either getting married or dead, I wasn’t paying attention.”
So I walked them to where the majority of the year was assembling, by the Student Entrance of the school. Albus ran from where he was huddled with his usual group of Slytherin sixth form boys to hug me and tell me how glad he was that I had made a recovery, and Mikey bounced up to say the exact same.
“Hey!” cried Scorpius, who had also come up to kiss Aspen. “It’s like a convention of all the boys Effy’s been on a date with!”
In the gloomy light of the grey skies shining through the windows of the hall, I could feel my cheeks turn bright, vivid red. I felt almost breathless at the intensity of the heat that had flooded my face, I felt mortified, I felt overwhelmingly very sorry for myself.
“Oh my God,” breathed Oscar. “Let me go run and get my camera. This is priceless.”
“Shut up, Oscar,” I hissed, and turned to Scorpius, who looked back at me, an expression of mild confusion upon his pretty face as he registered my scowl.
Mikey and Albus were laughing hysterically, and Aspen looked puzzled until Oscar reminded her that Scorpius and I went on a Hogsmeade date in third year, only for me to forget I was on the date in the first place and accidentally leave Scorpius in Honeydukes with some girls from my dormitory.
“You have this incredible ability, Eff, to turn every potential boyfriend into a mate,” said Mikey, and Albus lightly hit him.
“Not all of us have your flirtatious sense of humour, Lancaster!” joked Albus as he impersonated what Professor Longbottom had screamed at Mikey in a double Herbology lesson a few year ago. Despite myself, I smiled at the memory of it; Mikey had turned a red similar to the shade I was right now, and it took Longbottom a full twenty minutes to regain control of the class after it erupted in laughter.
Suddenly, the Professor himself appeared, and told everyone to form an orderly line as they signed in with himself and the National Board of Magical Transport committee, which comprised of three old men wearing matching circular glasses.
“Good luck,” I said, deliberately shoving Scorpius as I moved to hug Albus, feeling his slim, wiry figure engulf mine. I then walked out, crossing my arms in the coldness of the building, the wind from outside the Entrance making my hair fly ahead of me.
I didn’t quite know what to do, so I wandered around the corridors of the old castle for a bit, my fingers tracing the cool stone walls, feeling the cracks of the age. I knew from History of Magic that this castle had been built by magical Celts before being reconstructed by Norman invaders, who gave the castle as a gift to the four founders after the founders gave King William their word that the magical world would coexist peacefully alongside the Muggles.
Coexistence was lovely, wasn’t it? Just like the way that I was ever so happy to coexist with boys I had once fancied- developed relationships with them resulting in calling them my best mates after a month or two. I was not the mayor of the friend-zone, I was the Queen, the King, and all of the government’s parties.
I spun around, my thoughts interrupted, and grinned happily at Jasmine Azalea, who was running up to me. Jasmine and I were never especially close, didn't even speak before this year, only met through Oscar; but she was funny, wild and exciting, the kind of person whos company makes you feel like you're glowing, you're flying, you're almost invincible. I immediately made a resolution to be more like Jasmine Azalea, as I grinned at the dark-haired beauty strolling up to me.
“Oh- Jasmine!” I said, elated with relief. “Oscar said you were at some funeral-”
She snorted, and hugged me with one arm. “I knew he wasn’t listening. Nah, I had to fly out to Morocco to celebrate my uncle’s divorce. Don’t ask,” she began, as I opened my mouth to question her.
“Thank God you’re here,” I said, taking one of the bags she had around her shoulder. “Everyone’s just gone off to do their apparition tests-”
“Yeah, I saw them on the way in. I forgot your birthday was in August! No yeah, I’m really happy to bump into you.”
“How was Morocco?” I asked, as we walked down the Charms corridor. I turned from the corridor ahead to the girl herself, and started to appreciate, if not slightly envy, her beauty up close.
She rolled her eyes. “My Muggle side of the family are insane. But the weather was nice,” she added brightly. “So, what are we going to do for the next five hours?”
“I have no idea.”
She grinned at me, heisting up the black sports bag further up her shoulder. “Do you fancy spending a Sunday afternoon in the Gryffindor common room?”
I like to think I dress well, you know? I like to think I make an effort; I spent a half hour after being released from the Hospital Wing today doing my eyeliner, fixing up my long, dark brown hair, applying blush to highlight my cheekbones. I smirked at myself in the full length mirror in the bathroom, knowing I looked nice in the outfit I had put on; black skinny jeans and a red sweater that was kind of fitted, but not really, you know?
I liked to think I was a well-educated girl, who knew the secrets of Hogwarts better than the average student. I prided myself on my natural curiousity and my knack for working out problems faster than others; I was rarely surprised, or taken aback.
But when Jasmine uttered the password to the portrait guarding the Gryffindor common room, I took it all back.
It was covered in gold and scarlet, the emblem of a lion woven into tapestries across the room; it smelt faintly of butterbeer, and reminded me of an old English pub. A hearty fire was surrounded by comfortable sofas, armchairs and tables, but there was a massive space in the middle which I was mildly confused by, until I noticed more armchairs and tables stocked on top of each other by the sides of the walls.
Loud jazz music pumped out of a radio, and people were dancing. They were dancing, or talking, milling around with red, cheery faces on, drinking butterbeer or pumpkin juice.
“Oh my God!” cried a figure, standing by a very pretty dark haired girl. “Effy Wilderson! You’re alright!”
It was Alfie Ronson, who left the girl- Eve Chang, I think she was called, cousins with Lara Swift- and came running up to me and Jasmine, swinging me in the air and kissing me on the forehead. He smelled of butterbeer and I found myself laughing from the sheer surprise of it all.
“What are you doing here?” asked Eve, crossing her arms.
Jasmine, next to me, rolled her eyes. “The rest of our year are doing their apparition tests, Eve. It's cool, I brought her here.”
Alfie nodded eagerly, hiccuping in his earnestness to get words out. “I’m so happy you’re alright, I really was quite worried.” He took my arm and dragged me across the dance floor, where people were jiving to a beat I faintly recognised, and brought me up to Freddie Weasley and another attractive girl I felt like I knew, with long blonde hair and bright red lips.
“Look!” Alfie cried, grinning in the manner only the mildly drunk can, wildly waving his arm in my direction to highlight my presence. “Effy’s alive! Longbottom won’t threaten to kill me anymore!”
Freddie grinned at me. “Good one, Wilderson,” he said, taking a long sip of his butterbeer. "Always thought you had it in you."
The girl also smiled at me. “I’m Annie Delta,” she said, hiccupping. “Nice to meet you.”
But what surprised me the most was somebody wrapping their arm around me, bringing a lingering scent of tobacco and strawberries.
I looked up at a grinning James Potter. “Wilderson! Fantastic, you’re here. Fancy a butterbeer?”
He was in the same state as all the twenty-odd others in the room; drunk and totally elated, and I felt really rather excluded by my sobriety. “Oh- yeah, go on then.”
Eve waved her wand and muttered something I didn’t quite catch, and suddenly a bottle of butterbeer appeared in her hand. I was about to tell her that it totally went against Gawp’s Law of Transfiguration, but then she handed it to me and I couldn’t not drink it, could I?
I felt the warm, sweet taste of it flood down my mouth, bringing me to a level of serenity and happiness I hadn’t felt in a while. My worries shrunk with every sip, and I wondered if there was something more in the substance than just butterbeer.
But I finished the bottle regardless, and grinned up at James.
“This is my favourite song,” he said, taking me by my hand and leading me onto the dance floor. It was old-school swing, and I let James take the lead by twirling me under his arm. The beats made the floor vibrate beneath me, and the air was filled with laughter, the scent of the beer and the uplifting jazz.
We danced the whole song. Oh, he was such a good dancer; I’ll remember James Potter as a graceful mover for the rest of my life! And he had such rhythm; we were no longer two white teenagers of the first century, but cool, exotic dancers in a speakeasy in Louisiana.
He held my hands as we danced, and I watched his eyes glimmer in the vivid amber and scarlet light from the fireplace. He was laughing merrily the whole time, sometimes singing along, sometimes breaking to take a massive gulp of his bottle. It grew darker outside and warmer inside; more and more upper Gryffindors piled in, from varying years.
And then we weren’t even dancing but simply spinning round, and I held onto his sweaty fingers for safety, feeling my hair fly behind me and laughter bubble out of my mouth. He spun me under his arm and I fell against him, dizzy from laughter and total elation.
His eyes twinkled into mine as we leaned our foreheads together, and his scent of a summer’s evening and tobacco mixed with sweat and butterbeer intoxicated me.
And then as somebody in the corner of my eye changed the song playing from the radio to some wild and upbeat and suddenly I was flying and we were on the floor, laughing at each other. Somebody came to offer us a hand up but we ignored it. Isn’t it funny, the word we? We. We. We. I loved it, I loved it, I loved the way made my lips curl and the slight smile that was produced; I loved the way it meant a union of people. People. I loved people. I loved life, I loved music, I loved the way James’ fingers fit so smoothly between mine and the slight creases by his eyes. I loved the way he laughed; I loved his laugh.
But then we were up again and dancing, and the swinging saxophone thrilled me to the core, his every touch making my smile widen even more until I couldn’t stop laughing, laughing, laughing not at but with, like we were in a massive inside joke with the universe.
Drunk on the raw emotion of teenage spirit, unbroken and wild, I danced in his arms. My thoughts were elated, high as clouds. My hair cascaded around my waist as he spun me around, and his eyes sparkled in the amber lights from the crackling fire.
And then, god, I have no idea what happened- I think there was something more in the butterbeer, but who knows, I didn't, I didn't even care- but we were falling, tripping up over onto the floor, our legs messily entwined and our mouths laughing into the other, separated only by a few inches of air.
As I noticed my hair curl around his neck, and the racing pulse of my heart, his eyes, crinkled and merry, met mine.
“I think about you way more than I should,” he muttered into my ear.
I looked into his eyes, and noticed the way little gold and amber specs glimmered in the brown iris from the fire's light beside us.
"So do I," I murmured back.
I woke up with a pleasant, if not somewhat annoying, buzzing in my head.
“Guys,” I said, excited. "It's snowing."
“Welcome to a Scottish December,” muttered Veronica Clearwater from under her duvets. She hasn’t liked me the first night of First Year, but she’s absolutely detested me since I accidentally farted on her pygmy puff aged thirteen.
“I just thought you should know,” I muttered, rising from my bed and walking over to the sink in the bathroom. My pale face was looking even more sunken than usual- I looked like I belonged in a rehab clinic for heroin addicts. Purple bags hung under my eyes, and the shadowing of my cheekbones looked haunting.
“Morning babe,” said Aspen happily, closing the bathroom door behind her as she joined me by the sink. Obviously she looked radiantly beautiful at half past seven in the morning, her golden hair waving in just the right places around her face and not a trace of morning redness about her skin.
“You’re happy for a Monday morning,” I said, leaning against the sink and crossing my arms against my grey Appleby Arrows tee-shirt.
She beamed at me. “I’m just so happy about you and James, Eff! Finally! I knew that you two would end up together, I knew it- ask Oscar!”
“All we did was dance,” I muttered.
“And he said he thinks about you more than you should-”
“I honestly don’t fancy him, Aspen.”
She smirked at me. “Oh, yeah? The sexual tension between you two is on another level. I knew you didn’t actually hate him, you so want his d-”
“Aspen!” I hissed, wacking her with my towel. “Shut up!”
She laughed, and pulled me into a one armed hug. “I’m just so happy.”
I smiled at her. “I don’t think anything will come out of it though, Az. We were both drunk, and dancing doesn’t get people anywhere-”
My sentence faltered with her glare, and I raised my eyebrow back, as if to demand an explanation for her sudden hostility.
"Dancing doesn't get people anywhere," she scoffed, shooting me another scowl. "It's almost as if you've never seen Dirty Dancing."
Aspen, for one of the first times in a long history of being wrong (Oscar likes to keep a bible-like journal of Aspen Spinelli predictions gone awire), was not quite right; but she wasn’t wrong, either.
I didn’t see him all that morning, but when Aspen and I were walking from Charms to lunch, I saw James and Freddie Weasley, their tall physiques making them stand out against the hustle of the crowded corridor with an almost-majestic air. Girls turned around and grinned at the duo as I’ve observed them do since hormones kicked in during third year, and Freddie goaded them, turning around and winking.
James didn’t, which was odd, because he usually would. What was stranger, though, was the way in which he acknowledged me after months of hot and cold behaviour that I often, despite myself, reflected on during late nights and early mornings.
“You alright, Wilderson?” he said as we passed each other, his mouth curved into a grin, his hazel eyes glinting in the golden light emitted from the fire brackets on the walls.
“Not bad, cheers.”
As soon as Aspen thought he wasn’t within earshot- which, as usual, was totally miscalculated- her face broke into a wide beam. “Told you!” she cried.
“Aspen,” I hissed. “Shut up.”
“He’s already behind you, so he can’t hear you-”
“Are you sure you’re a Ravenclaw-”
"I should hope so," she retorted, as we turned a corner and approached the Great Hall. The warm scent of the day's lunch welcomed us into the room, and I appreciated not for the first time the luxury of the house elves' constantly, unfailingly, good food.
"You're just here for your looks," I teased, looping my arm through hers. "The Sorting Hat decided Ravenclaw needed a few regulation hotties to counter the Veronica Clearwaters amongst us."
“Holding number two on the Hottest Girls league in the Third Floor boy’s toilets just doesn’t cut it on my CV like an Acceptance in my O.W.L Potions, does it?”
“Number two? I know Dominique Weasley is still Number 1, but I thought you were number three-”
“No, no, no,” she interrupted, waving her hand as we sat down at the Ravenclaw table. “Dahlia Moss has been reduced to number 3 after the pregnancy scare.” In September, at the peak of her and James’ relationship, there was a huge rumour that spread- in the speed and intensity only a boarding school could accomplish- through the years that Dahlia Moss was pregnant. Was she actually, we never knew, but it was all anyone could talk about.
And as I saw her, perched on the Slytherin table, surrounded by other long-legged beauties, I felt almost sorry for her as I reflected upon the new term's big gossip.
“Look,” I said, drawing my eyes away from Dahlia Moss, spotting something out of the corner of my eye. I pointed and Aspen spun around, following the direction of my finger, and we watched Hagrid lunge a Christmas tree from behind the Slytherin table, exciting a group of third formers sitting by him.
“I forgot!” said Aspen, excitedly. “It’s the first of December! Only two weeks until we break up for the holidays!”
“Speaking of holidays,” said a familiar voice, and I looked up to see Albus slide in next to Aspen, his handsome face grinning. “I’m inviting both of you to my seventeenth birthday party.”
“Brilliant,” I said happily.
"AndJamesIsDatingDahliaAgain,” he said.
“Wait, what?” asked Aspen, and I froze.
I was in a rush. I was late for Charms, and I was already in Flitwick’s bad books for not doing yesterday’s essay. I had spent the last hour napping in the gloriously empty common room, only to be awoken by sniggering seventh formers, making embarrassing remarks about the dried drool on the left of my mouth.
I spun around in the mildly crowded corridor, and make eye contact with James Potter, over the heads of several chatty third formers. His sharp cheekbones and defined jaw looked even more prominent in the pearly grey light emitting from the window opposite him, and his hair messier than ever.
“What?” I called, crossing my arms and standing still for him to catch up to me.
“Let’s talk,” he said, grabbing my arm, but I sharply withdrew it from his grip, and he frowned at me.
“I know you’re a sixth former, but no need to be immature about it all-”
“Immature?” I hissed. “Do you want to discuss immaturity?”
He leaned back against the cool marble wall behind him, raising his left eyebrow. “What do you mean?”
“Don’t tell me you can’t stop thinking about me and then ask out Dahlia Moss the next day,” I snapped, crossing my arms even tighter across my chest. The bruises were more or less faded, but they still hurt, and I winced.
“Are you alright?” he said, his tone gentler.
“No. Anyway, I’m late for Charms.” I turned around and began to walk away, until I heard him call out behind me.
“Meet me here at nine tonight,” he said, his words bouncing off the walls in the empty, cold corridor.
“Why should I?” I said, turning around.
“Because,” he said, his voice laced with smugness, "you'll spend- perhaps not your entire life, but definitely the rest of the academic year- wondering what would have happened if you did." And before I could reply he sharply turned around and left me in the middle of an empty corridor. And I was late for Charms.
Hey! I don't own anything you recognise; Victoria's Secret Angels, Mean Girls (SNL studios) or Dirty Dancing (Great American Films). So Effy and James are finally getting their act together- what do you think? I cannot express how much I love reviews; they make my day! Even if it's just a quick one-liner, please leave them and tell me what you think- thank you all so much!
Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Other Similar Stories
by Maximum Dusk
The sky is h...
Status: In W...