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Chapter 12 : wild horses, part.2
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I was sooooo pissed.
I was sooooooooo pissed.
“I am so pissed!” I roared to Jasmine.
“You’ve only had five shots!” she roared back. “Here- have another-”
I took a shot glass from her hands and wolfed it down, as she grinned at two approaching boys. One was dressed as a soldier, and the other was naked from his waist up, bright face paint on his face in two thick stripes along his cheeks.
“Ruddy! Louis!” cried Jasmine, hugging the two. “You’re both looking hot!”
“Who’s your mate, Jas?” asked one of them. They were two boys from Gryffindor, really close with Jasmine, and both Beaters on the Gryffindor Quidditch team. One of them- Louis- the shirtless one- was tanned, with messy blonde hair and a chest so toned it looked almost fake, glistening with sweat in the vivid lights. He looked me up and down, in my slutty cat costume, and grinned at me.
“You’re the Ravenclaw Seeker, aren’t you?” he asked, and then his eyes widened. “Fuck! You’re doing a thing with my cousin, aren’t you?”
“I saw him go into a bathroom with Eve Chang an hour ago,” stated Ruddy, crossing his arms and furrowing his eyebrows.
“Really?” I asked, as Jasmine pressed another shot glass in my hand. The small cup was overflowing with the sticky thickness of firewhiskey, and I could feel it dribble down my hand as I looked up at the barely dressed duo before me with as much curiousity as excitement.
“Yeah,” said Ruddy, exchanging looks with Louis. “I’m sorry, babe. He came out with his shirt undone.”
“Do you think he shagged Eve?” asked Jasmine.
I felt violently sad. And then, I felt a sudden burst of fire.
If James Sirius Potter can go around snogging people, then so can I.
This time, I helped myself to a shot, and smirked at Jasmine.
“I’m teaching her how to party like a Gryffindor,” she explained loudly.
“I can help with that,” said Ruddy, smiling wolfishly at me, and I giggled.
So, so pissed.
My head was foggy and yet it was cloudless. I felt heavy and yet as light as a stone, and my heart throbbed along to the beat of the bass, the fast voice of the rapper thrilling me to my core.
“Shots for everyone!” cried Jasmine, and I felt another shot glass pushed into my hand.
“You should stick to snogging in your own year,” said Ruddy.
“What about your own house?” Louis asked, and Jasmine laughed out loud, as Louis thrust his arm around me. I smelt his sweat, his boyish deodorant and alcohol, and I felt his every bare muscle along the back of my head.
“Oh, Effy!” cried Jasmine. “I love this song- come on, let’s dance.”
“There’s a massive dance scene in the living room,” said Louis. I only then just realised we were in the kitchen, and I could barely move with all the people congregated around the drinks table.
“No,” said Jasmine. “We can dance here.” And I watched her pushed people aside, and I watched her, and I watched her climb onto the table, and I watched her. I watched her motion for me to come and join her on the table. And I watched myself shake my head, and I watched Louis tell me that I looked hot. And I watched Jasmine call me out. And I watched Louis and Ruddy thrust me up. And I watched Jasmine drop to the table and back up again. And I watched her dare me to do better.
And I watched myself to do better. And I watched myself slut drop better than she did. And I watched the lights of the room flash in my face, flash in my head, flash in my mind, flash everywhere, all over me.
“I love you,” said Jasmine, as we walked away twenty minutes later, our arms linked and our legs strutting in perfect sync. “Why are we not, like, joined at the hip in school?”
“I don’t know,” I smirked.
“Urgh. We should be.”
“Right? Such a power couple right here,” I countered, and Jasmine threw her head back in laughter, hair cascading down her body.
“I’m sorry about James,” she said.
“You know what?” I said back, just before we were about to walk into the living room. “Guys can fuck around with girls all they want, but as soon as girls do it, it’s not okay.”
“Well, I call bullshit on that!” Jasmine cried. “Fuck that! I have had to share a house with that arsehole and his arsehole cousin for six years now and nobody ever mentions how shitty they actually are- they are the dictionary definition of a fuck boy!”
“So true!” I cried, my tone excited in my drunken haze. “Fuck them!”
“Fuck them mentally, but fuck them physically!” she cried cheerily, here dark eyes glinting as we passed a neon light in the darkness of the hall, and I laughed, as she led us towards some Beauxbatons students she faintly knew in Al’s living room, the quartet of boys dressed up in orange jumpsuits.
They were very very good looking, but very very dull. After twenty minutes of sexual innuendos and dancing to shit dubstep, I excuse myself, saying I needed a drink.
Jasmine nodded. “I’ll join you.” We pushed our way to the kitchen, and I grabbed two bottles of water. She asked me if we could go outside, and I nodded, and I followed her to the doors of the kitchen opening outside.
The cold air was refreshing, and it made my cheeks sting. Only then did I notice how cold I really was, and Jasmine was shivering, too.
“Here,” I said, throwing her a bottle. She grinned at me, and opened it.
“Cheers. So what’s it been like being a Gryffindor for the night?”
“When Oscar first told us about you and Aspen, I’ll admit,” she said, in the brazen manner that most Gryffindors have, “I assumed you two to be massive nerds. I mean, I knew Aspen was beautiful and dating Scorpius Malfoy, so not her as much. But when Oscar told me he was inviting you two to that club on the night of Halloween, I was like, urgh, not another geek. I already have one for a brother.”
I nodded, sipping my water.
“But I was so wrong,” she said, smiling. “You’re brilliant. I hate how everyone’s so concerned with exams and school, you know? We’re young! Who actually cares? I want to create memories, not good grades.”
I nodded again. “Thanks.”
“It’s fine,” she said, smiling again. “Sit with us at school. Louis and Ruddy already like you.”
That reminded me of Mikey and Liam, and that in turn, reminded me of the other girls. And then I thought of James Potter, and I really wish I hadn’t.
“What do you think the others are doing now?” I asked.
Jasmine paused for a second. “Ophelia is probably having sex,” she said. “She did it for the first time in October, and since then, she’s been on a rampage. And I imagine Aspen’s with Scorpius.”
“And Al’s with Niamh Collins,” she said, referring to a girl in Slytherin. “I saw them a half hour ago. What do you think of that?”
I shrugged, taking another sip from the water bottle. “I just don’t know what I’m going to do about James,” I confessed slowly, feeling my numb fingers run through my sticky, damp hair. “I had really liked him.”
Jasmine tilted her head at me, and smiled slightly. “I’m genuinely sorry, Eff. But it just wasn’t going to work out. I did a thing with Freddie Weasley last year, and he and James aren’t the types for relationships, you know? Look at how badly James and Dahlia Moss turned out.”
“She’s awful,” I said, and Jasmine nodded in agreement.
“James and Freddie are in a different league from the rest of us, Eff. I’ve been saying this ever since I caught Freddie having sex with some year above Ravenclaw the night after our second date. And James? He’s beautiful and funny, clever and charming- but he’s not worth the heartache.”
I nodded, thinking over it. “He tried getting me to leave the Ravenclaw team,” I admitted.
Jasmine rolled her eyes. “You don’t need that, babe. Come on. Let’s get you super-duper drunk, and then you don’t have to bother with James for the rest of your life. I mean, having sex in his own bathroom? How sleazy is that? I only do it in bedrooms.”
“Your classy scale is rising higher and higher, Jasmine.”
“It surprises us all.” She patted me on the back, as if she went in to hug me but then thought against it, and we went back inside. And my sad mood left me, as I downed my fifteenth shot of the night.
Jasmine and I bumped into Ruddy and Louis again, and the four of us congregated in the living room, where the music was quieter but the lights flashing like they had been before. Louis’s arm was around my shoulders, and he smelt of weed.
“Want?” he said, offering me the blunt.
“No thank you,” I replied, and Jasmine giggled.
“Got anything harder?”
“Do I look like a drug dealer, Azalea?” Louis replied, and I smiled up at him.
“Urgh. Go make out with your reflection,” said Jasmine, putting the blunt to her lips. She waited for a moment and exhaled, the thick, smelly smoke coiling out of her lips. “Actually, do it later. Angela left early and Ophelia’s been with Mikey the whole night. I don’t want to be left alone.”
“You’ll never be left alone, Jas,” said Ruddy, grinning at her. He had discarded his army shirt and was naked from the torso up, like Louis. But unlike Louis, who was tanned with dirty blonde hair, Ruddy was darker-skinned, with wild brown hair. He had told me his mum was Jamaican, and it made sense.
“How chivalrous,” quirked Jasmine, turning to me. “You can tell he’s a Gryffindor, can’t you?”
I smiled, and turned my head as I tossed my head over my shoulder. And then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something.
James, wearing a pair of dark denim jeans and a grey shirt- of course he wouldn’t dress up, and I suddenly felt very foolish standing there in my costume, really immature. I watched him whisper something in a girl’s ear, and she giggled. And she was absolutely beautiful. Pale skin, vivid red hair cascading around her shoulders, and really great boobs. Wasn’t it a Potter man trait to be into redheads?
I caught his eye, and turned away.
“So how did you get your stomach like that?” I asked Ruddy, rubbing my hand up and down it. I could feel his skin, smooth and glistening with sweat, and I could feel every single pac of his- there must have been more than six- glide under my fingers.
And I wasn’t even doing it to get back at James for going into a bathroom with Eve Chang. I was genuinely very impressed. I think.
Ruddy smirked, rolling his neck. “I work out.”
“Yeah, you can tell by your arms,” I said, coiling myself into him and sliding my fingers around his toned biceps. “I can’t even fit my hand around this.”
“And I’m not even tensing.”
“How much do you lift?”
He smirked again. “Oh, like 30.”
“That’s so cool,” I purred. “I can’t lift a single thing.”
“Maybe I could teach you, Wilderson.”
“Yeah,” I said, not thinking about how James also refers to me by my surname. “I’d like that.”
“Oh my God!” Jasmine cried, suddenly. “Is James Potter seriously snogging Robin Waters?”
“Get in,” cheered Louis, and then when Jasmine and I turned to him, turned red. “Sorry. Cousins.”
I then realised why the redhead James was with looked vaguely familiar. “Isn’t she meant to be a model?”
“Yeah, she walked for Elle Delacour,” gushed Jasmine. “That’s his aunt, isn’t it? Probably how the two know each other…”
I gazed over at them, and they weren’t in the spot I had seen them in previously. But then I followed Jasmine’s line of vision and saw the two kissing passionately on an armchair, Robin’s legs spread wide open on his lap.
I looked up at Ruddy, and twirled a lock of my hair. “So what were you saying about working out?”
And I heard Jasmine’s laughter ring in my ears as a minute later, we too were snogging. Except I wasn’t on his lap, I was literally being held in his arms, my whole body up in the air, my arms around my neck.
And he was a good kisser. He was a very good kisser, and we broke apart as Jasmine said she wanted to take a picture of the two of us. I grinned into the camera, and noticed out of the corner of my eye, James still wasn’t paying attention.
The party was dwindling down. The next day was Christmas Eve, so I suppose loads of people were going home for that, but there was still a large group of us who stayed behind, the majority too drunk- or too stoned- or too lazy to leave.
It was mainly sixth years at Hogwarts who were staying behind, and Al said that was okay, as the music grew quieter and quieter as the party reached the early hours of the morning. The girls I had arrive with were all staying, as were Mikey, Liam and Scorpius, of course; Louis and Ruddy were too, and dozens of others who I recognised by face, but not necessarily by name.
A group of us were congregated in the living room, passing around a joint and talking lazily. This was my favourite time of the night, for if you want to know a person’s true colours, you speak to them at 3 in the morning. If you want to know their hopes, dreams, their fears and their fantasies, you speak with them at 3 in the morning.
“Fuck yeah I’d enrol!,” Ruddy said. He had his arm around me as we sat on the sofa, discussing the war. Louis, sat opposite him, cheered, and the two fist-pumped.
“I don’t know if I would,” said a Hufflepuff boy, Teddy Oliver, the one who Jasmine thought was hot. Teddy was really, really nice, and I reflected on our time as Potions partners last year as I listened to him speak, feeling myself gradually sober up. “I don’t mind fighting against normal magic, but dark magic? That’s a whole new level.”
“I would enrol,” said Jasmine, exhaling from the blunt. “My mum’s a Muggleborn, and it’s personal.”
“So’s my dad,” I said. “He’s never forgiven himself for being in America during the past war.”
“I want to go to university,” said a Ravenclaw boy, Declan Ainsley, a friend of Mikey, Liam and Oscar’s. “If they force us to fight-”
“But they can’t,” yawned Albus. “It goes against our human rights.”
“They’re drafting in America,” said Louis.
“Since when has America ever bothered with human rights?”
“Since when has the Ministry ever bothered with human rights?” Teddy said, and everyone laughed.
After an hour, the conversation dwindled, and everyone was asleep. Most people were asleep, anyway, lying in various positions in the living room. Teddy Oliver had left the sofa Ruddy and I were on to join his girlfriend in an upstairs bedroom, and I was just about to fall asleep before re-adjusting my position on the sofa for maximum warmth. I was freezing.
“You cold?” asked Ruddy. We were sleeping head-to-toe, as if we were ten year olds on a sleepover.
“So cold,” I said.
“Come on,” said Ruddy, patting the space next to him. I got up, my movements stiff, and lay with him on the sofa. He put his arm around me and I nestled into his body. It radiated warmth, and I was grateful.
He put his other arm around me, and I put my arm around his neck, like we were hugging, our bodies pushed against each other on the velvet sofa. And in my sleepy haze, still effected by the alcohol, we were kissing. My fingers in his hair and his fingers going from my jaw, to my chest, to my shorts.
I moaned into his mouth, lightly dragging my teeth over his bottom lip, and he clutched me harder to his body. And then too hard to contain my moans in his mouth, so my lips moved onto his neck, and he groaned into the morning’s silence.
“No,” I mumbled, after ten minutes. “I’m sorry.”
The pressure beneath my thighs stopped. “Don’t worry,” he muttered into my hair, and I pulled my underwear back up. My shorts were by this time, discarded at the end of the sofa, and I pulled his underwear back up too, and then his shorts.
“Sorry,” I muttered again in the darkness, and I could see his brilliant white teeth glint in the moonlight.
“I know I can be a dick,” he said, laughing quietly, his words trapped between the minimal inches seperating his lips to my ears. “but don’t feel like you have to apologise for not wanting to have sex. Have you never done it before?”
“No,” I admitted, and he laughed again, ruffling the top of my hair.
“Oh my God. Now I feel like a prick. Night, Effy.”
I drifted off to sleep after that, my body entwined with his, but then I woke up again, and this time there was a blanket over us.
And it smelt of cigarettes, summer, and fresh laundry.
Christmas came and went. I got a black cashmere sweater- “suits your soul,” quirked Jack, and my dad snorted- a pretty bottle of perfume and a new bra.
“You have big boobs,” commented Jack, as I unwrapped.
“Shut up,” I replied.
Aspen had gotten me a pretty new make-up bag, and Oscar’s owl delivered a hardback book, the front cover a candy pink and in bright blue writing, declaring 50 Influential Role Models for Young Women of the Past Century. It was a Muggle book, and Oliver spent the whole day reading it. I had owled Aspen and Oscar what happened on Saturday night, telling them what had happened with James- or not with James, as I hadn’t even spoken to him the whole night.
“Are you sure he was in the toilet with Eve Chang? I thought they were good friends,” said Aspen, doubtfully, as we met a few days after Christmas, once again at a coffee shop near Oscar's. I don't know why we congregated by Oscar's so often- you can't floo to his house, he's a Muggleborn, and my dad can only occasionally side-apparate with my when he's going to the Prophet offices too, in London- but it was sunny and there was snow on the ground, and I was excited to shake off the drag of the season's festivities and get back into a Hogwarts routine.
“I saw him come out with his shirt undone and her lipstick all over the place,” said Oscar, dismissing Aspen with a wave of his hand. “Good one with Ruddy Walcott, though.”
“Yeah, he’s handsome,” said Aspen, nodding happily.
“And he plays with James, doesn’t he? On the Quidditch team? So that’ll be exciting.”
“Shut up, Oscar,” I moaned.
“What? Look!” he said, thrusting an open copy of the week’s Witch Weekly at me. Page 7 showed James and the model from Al’s party kissing outside what appeared to be some glitzy London club.
“But he really liked you,” said Aspen, looking mildly concerned, slightly confused. “Alfie Ronson told me that he once heard James talk about you in his sleep.”
“When did you speak to Alfie?” I asked.
I looked down at the magazine. James Potter, Hogwarts bad boy and Quidditch protégée, spotted with Robin Walker, American model one year his senior. I wonder if he felt like laughing at his status of being a “Quidditch protégée” like I did.
“They’re not even dating,” said Aspen, as Oscar turned to give directions to a passing woman. “They’ve been snogging each other. That’s it. She’s probably as boring as watching paint dry, babe.”
I smiled at her, and threw my arm around her shoulders. “Thank you.”
A week later we were back at school, and it didn’t take long for the physical education lessons Oscar had gossiped about ages back to begin.
“How do I look?” Aspen asked, turning to me. She was in the black shorts, blue tee-shirt and white trainers that was the Ravenclaw girls’ uniform, but she had added white knee-high socks, and her the neckline of her top was cut, and it draped off her left shoulder. Some quip about an 80's music video was just about to emit from my lips when I was, rather rudely, interrupted.
“En route to getting a uniform detention,” snapped Veronica Clearwater. She was a girl in our dormitory, who like the other three girls, didn’t really get on with Aspen and me. She had jet black hair cut into a sharp bob resting above her shoulders, and not a single strand was out of place.
“Always the charmer,” I said, turning around and grinning at her. “Ronny! Missed you over the holidays.”
“Oh yes,” she said, her head high and snorting. “I forgot how annoying you were in your month’s absence.”
A couple of Hufflepuff girls turned our way- all the girls of the year were in the brand new girls’ changing rooms, positioned in rooms above the new gym that the school had built over Christmas. The gym itself was built on to the Transfiguration wing of the school, which meant Ravenclaws had to walk practically halfway around the school to get to it.
I beamed, and twirled a lock of hair around my finger. “Bet you’re super-duper excited for PE lessons, Ronny. My dad says that if one’s good at Quidditch, they’ll be good at sports, too- oh, hey! That’ll make it the second class you’ll be suffienctly below me in!”
She crossed her arms, and looked at me, coolly. Aspen looked up from tying her shoelaces on a bench, as did another girl in our dormitory. Because we had all miscalculated how long it would take us to get from the common room to the changing rooms, we had arrived late, and the six of us had to squeeze into a tight corner of the room.
“What I hear,” breathed Veronica, her eyes lighting up, “is that you snogged James Potter.”
“Well, I’m not ashamed of it,” I began, grinning at Aspen as she laughed.
“Yes, and isn’t he dating that Scottish model now? Robin something? Oh dear, Elizabeth. Were you another little play thing before he dumped you for the better prize?”
Aspen gasped, and the other girl- Riley Connelly, she was called- looked amazed.
“Well, I don’t like referring to fellow women as prizes,” I began, but I was fuming. I wish I knew a jinx embarrassing and humiliating and permanent enough for Veronica right then.
But then Veronica interrupted me. “And then I also heard you had sex with Ruddy Walcott. And then I heard that he wasn’t the only one you were getting physical with over the three weeks off. Is there, perhaps, some psychological issue behind your slutty behaviour?”
“Veronica!” cried Aspen, and this time, it was more than a few Hufflepuffs who had turned around to watch.
“See, I’m just interested in psychology,” she said sweetly. “Perhaps there’s some family issues? Perhaps something with your dad, even-”
“Oh my God!” I cried, and I could hear Jasmine’s voice in the background, asking what was going on. “Oh my- how dare you-”
“Alright, ladies,” said a voice, and I whipped my face around, my cheeks red hot. A tall, strapping woman stood by the door, ginger hair tied up in a lazy high ponytail. She was wearing black jogging bottoms and a grey hoodie, and her words tumbled out in a sharp, Scottish accent. “I’m Keegan, and I’ll be your physical education teacher this term.”
“Why are you allowed to wearing a jumper and we’re not?” cried Julianna George, a girl from Slytherin. "It's barely positive degrees outside!"
Keegan grinned, and I could see a wad of chewing gum in her bright, white teeth. “Let’s get going, ladies.”
I stood in a huddle of Aspen, Jasmine and Ophelia, in the middle of the Quidditch pitch. We had to walk through the gym, and suddenly we were right in the pitch, the air bitingly cold.
“Why can’t we be inside?” demanded Ophelia, her teeth chattering.
Aspen rubbed her hands up and down her upper arms. “I’m s-s-s-s-o c-c-c-old,” she said, her breath twirling opaquely in the January air.
Jasmine turned to me, breathing on her hands. “What happened in the changing rooms?” she asked, sharply. She was in the mandatory Physical Ed uniform for her house- this time, a red tee-shirt with the house crest printed on the back of her shirt, black shorts and trainers, and her hair was weaved into thick French braids, strands of scarlet and gold glittering through them in the winter sun. “Between you and that Clearwater girl?”
“She tried to suggest that just because I snogged a few boys,” I said, heatedly, “that I had daddy issues.”
Jasmine looked outraged, and looked over at the main cluster of girls a few metres away from us, fighting over some ball. “She the one with the black hair?”
“Right,” she began, but I held onto her arm.
“Don’t even bother,” I said, squinting, for whilst it was freezing, there wasn’t a single cloud in the cornflower blue sky. “She’s right.”
“Your dad molests you?”
“No! Of course not,” I said, quickly. “No! But I mean, maybe it was quite slutty of me- four boys in one night-”
“Who cares?” demanded Jasmine. “Urgh. I hate girls. Apart from myself. I love myself-”
“Oi! You two!” roared Keegan, blowing her whistle. I turned around, and noticed Aspen and Ophelia had edged further into the game of football, which was a clever move, as Keegan took our names down for a detention.
“Detention?” roared Jasmine. “Why? We didn’t do anything!”
“Exactly!” roared Keegan, back. “You’re both on Team A, now move it!”
Half an hour later, it became increasingly obvious to us that Team A, or whatever team we were, lost by eight points. In Quidditch talk, eight pounds to lose by is absolutely nothing, a borderline draw- but in football, apparently it’s quite a big deal.
“Perhaps we need to go over the rules of the game,” said Keegan.
“Inside,” I said, and she shot me a look, the kind that symbolises the bad things that would happen to me if I didn’t shut up immediately, Wilderson. We were sitting on the grass after a disgusting hour of running after some ball, and I had decided that I really did not like physical education. But at least it was slightly more bearable, after Keegan finally cast a warming spell on our area of the pitch. This was only after, of course, Jasmine and Rose Weasley had temporarily put aside their differences and orchestrated a strike of Teams A and E.
It was something rather beautiful, in retrospect.
I whipped my face around to the source of the voice I knew so well, and my hair, held up in a high ponytail at the top of my head with a royal blue scrunchie, hit Jasmine in the face.
“Ow,” she muttered.
“Potter,” replied Keegan, her voice crisp and sharp against the January wind. I tried to avoid looking at James, and instead, focused my vision on the back of Julianna George’s hair.
“Unfortunately, I’ve booked this pitch for Quidditch practise,” he said, striding up towards Keegan. I finally looked up, and wished I hadn’t. He was in full school uniform; the dark charcoal trousers, the crisp white shirt, the grey sweater and his robe, draped across his left arm, and after not seeing him for a week, it was odd seeing him in uniform, completely ignoring me.
It would be really great if he didn’t look like the type of person who I would have on a poster in my bedroom.
His dark hair, which he arrogantly ran his right hand through, even though he just simply was not fooling anybody, I knew that the messy look of it had taken him ten minutes in the mirror to complete this morning. It glinted in the winter’s sunlight, and the sun had his strong jawline, his cheekbones and his temples almost glow.
“Have you?” she said, her eyebrows furrowing. “You’re the Gryffindor captain?”
“Well, I don’t mean to brag,” he said, and he grinned at us as a few girls giggled. Jasmine turned to me and rolled her eyes, and started pretending to vomit when his back was turned.
“Alright, we’ll be out of here in a minute,” she said crisply. “Azalea, Wilderson- you can pack up.”
“Why?!” we demanded, our faces looking equally as put out as the other.
“Because you’ve been the rudest and laziest duo I’ve had to put up with all week,” she snapped. "And that is quite the achievement, girls, I just had to teach the Fourth Years lacrosse."
“I am not RUDE!” I said indignantly, as Jasmine shouted she was not lazy, and I could feel the outrage on my face. Because honestly- a detention for being late? Fine. Points docked for delayed homework? Annoying, but understandable.
Detention for Physical Education?
“You,” she said, pointing to Jasmine, “recommended hair extensions and you,” she said, pointing to me, “let in eleven goals.”
“Honestly,” I said, overriding Jasmine’s reply, “if a ball is coming at seventy miles an hour towards me, then it is only logical that I move out of the way.”
“You were in goal for twenty minutes, Wilderson!" she trilled. "And only after I forced you- just to remove you from human company!"
“I don’t really think it’s fair to compare my physical abilities towards other pupils, it’ll only lead to yet another insecurity-”
“What do you think, Potter?” asked Keegan, turning to him.
"And honestly, Professor, you know how difficult it is to be a teenager nowadays- so far away from home, so much peer pressure around me..."
He grinned lazily, and looked at us, and I deliberately ignored his gaze as I nodded frantically at Keegan to further illustrate my point. Although I don't, in hindsight, know exactly why I thought looking like a broken doll in anyway presented the case for the many woes of being seventeen. “I’d give them both a detention, Keegan. Can’t have these two idiots talk to you like that.”
“Aye, they’re already in detention.”
“Azalea, in detention? Watch out. They’ll start directing your evening owls there,” he said, and even more giggles emitted from our huddle of girls. “They can pack up, Keegan. Without magic, and within five minutes, before my team come out.”
“Detention at eight tonight, girls,” said Keegan, and we got up, as the rest of the girls followed Keegan inside the changing rooms. Aspen looked back and grimaced, and I shrugged it off.
James turned to the two of us, cupping his hand on his forehead, as if the sunlight was getting in his eyes.
“I want the pitch spotless before the rest of the team comes out,” he snapped. “And Wilderson, don’t try to pull any silly stunt to set back our practise.”
“Why would she do that?” Jasmine snapped back. “She’s too busy snogging your Beater.”
Under the shade of James’ hand, I could see his eyes roll. “Double detention, Azalea, for rudeness.”
“You can’t do that!” I cried. “You’re a Captain, not a Prefect.”
“I think you’ll find, actually, I can.”
“That is a disgusting abuse of your power-”
“No, you know what, Eff? Its fine,” said Jasmine, lazily. “We can spend detention discussing Ruddy.”
“Sounds enthralling, Azalea,” said James, boredly. “Wish I could join in, but I need this pitch cleared. Get a move on, girls.” And before either of us could retaliate, he walked towards the Gryffindor changing rooms, in long, quick strides.
Jasmine turned to me. “I hate him,” she fumed.
“I can’t believe he gave you detention!”
She watched his figure retreat into the faded red door under the Gryffindor stands. “Come with me, Ruddy and Louis to the Three Broomsticks on Friday night,” she said, her dark eyes illuminated by a mischievous glint.
“Sure,” I replied. Jasmine grinned, and she whipped out a wand from inside her bra.
“As if Keegan expected us to clean it without magic,” she said, boredly.
I was walking back from the detention that night, sat inside an Arithmancy classroom and led by the boys’ Physical Ed teacher, a man called Bruce with an Australian accent. My wrist was sore from writing lines, and I really didn’t appreciate Keegan popping in and saying, oh no, Azalea and Wilderson didn’t forget their kit, they were being cheeky, and so having to re-write the ten-inch long parchment from the beginning.
It was a silent walk from the Eastern Wing to the Western Wing, where the Ravenclaw tower lay, and I was almost at the tower until I climbed a trick pair of stairs that led me to the Transfiguration corridor, right round the corner from the Gryffindor common room.
I swore at myself. It was already well after curfew, and I had forgotten to ask Bruce for a note explaining why I was out in the castle at half past ten. And then I heard footsteps coming from down the corridor.
“Is that a student out of bed, Miss Norris?” said the figure, and my eyes widened. Filch was a man I, unlike Mikey and Liam, had never really encountered in my life, being a generally rule-abiding student. Mikey had told me stories of magical chains in his office, and long, thick whips he would stroke lovingly.
I ran down the corridor, and noticed a tapestry, draping from the ceiling to the floor, depicting some Medieval-style scene of Merlin and a hag-like woman.
I glanced over my shoulder, and saw that Filch was still approaching, gaining momentum. I pressed my hand against the tapestry, and to my relief, it was hollow- keeping an eye on Filch, I leapt behind the tapestry, praying that the shadows around it had concealed me.
“What are you doing?”
I turned around, and noticed James Potter was sitting there, his face to a window and a cigarette in one hand.
“Brilliant! I was looking for you!” I said, and sat opposite him by the window. The way he turned to me and then back to the window told me that he knew I was being sarcastic.
He exhaled smoke, and I watched it coil in the air. We looked at each other; I looked at the way the moonlight held his beautiful face, and I tried not to think about the last time we were together and alone at night.
Finally, he spoke. “Is Filch outside?”
I nodded. “The staircase did a complete U-turn, and I’m on the other side of the castle.” It wasn’t unusual for the stairs to redirect students from the Ravenclaw side of the classroom to the Gryffindor ward, and he knew that.
He put the cigarette to his lips, and then after a moment exhaled again, and the grey smoke- opaque in the light of the moon- danced and twirled and paraded between us.
“Unlucky,” he commented. “ The Transfiguration staircases can be a bitch. Right. Hold this.” He offered me the cigarette and I held it between his fingers, as I watched him bring out some form of parchment from his back pocket.
“Lend us your wand,” he said. “I left mine in the Common Room.”
I gave it over, and he tapped the parchment. “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good,” he muttered, and then added, “Well, Wilderson isn’t, anyway.”
“It’s like stand-up comedy night at the Leaky Cauldron in here.”
“Oo, you’re so funny,” he quipped drily, not looking up.
“Really? Oh fab! I’ve been taking classes. Hard work truly does pay off!”
He looked up, smirking, and turned the map over for me to see. It wasn’t plain anymore, but a beautifully detailed composition of ink blotches and lines that were slowly joining together, gaining shade and tone-
“Is that Hogwarts?” he nodded, and I peered over it, and noticed the words forming above it. “Who’s Moony?”
He ignored me, and instead traced his finger lightly on it. “Filch is well by the dungeons now. You can go.”
I stood up, and smoothed over my skirt. And I truly did make my way to the tapestry, that separated this starry alcove from the corridor, until I turned around.
“No,” I said suddenly, looking at him. “Why did you give Jasmine a detention?”
He looked me up and down, and I raised my head, crossing my arms. “Wouldn’t you?”
I opened my mouth, and then closed it.
I wanted to tell him how all my thoughts at night concluded with him, and how he was the one who went into a bathroom with Eve Chang, not me. If anything, I was simply the innocent party in all of this, as usual. But then he spoke.
“I was offered Head Boy,” he said, turning from me to look outside the window. “I got the badge, the letter from McGonagall- everything. My parents were elated.”
“So why didn’t you?” I asked, moving to sit down beside him again. I watched his face, as he watched the moon.
“Molly got Head Girl,” he stated. “Makes sense, doesn’t it? Two academically able, popular children of war heroes, both in Gryffindor house. Her dad was Deputy Minister, my dad saved Britain. It was only fair.”
“They could have given it to Freddie-”
He burst out laughing, but it wasn’t a merry laugh. It was cold, and sent chills up my spine. “I’ve gotten more detentions in a term than most people get in a lifetime of education, and I haven’t shown any initiative for leadership apart from Quidditch. I’m sick of people seeing my surname before my first name.”
“So stop acting like you don’t yourself,” I snapped.
His head jerked up, and he was about to open his mouth to retort, when I interrupted.
“Why would you snog Eve Chang literally a day after the Prophet’s Ball? Even though we argued before that- you can’t just do that-”
“Classic,” he snapped, interrupting me and stubbing out his cigarette by his foot. “Everything is always about you, isn’t it Wilderson?”
My eyes widened, and I leaned my head back and laughed. “All you ever do is make things about you!”
His eyes narrowed, and he leaned coolly against the marble pillar, crossing his arms and staring at me. “Do you have an example?”
“How about you trying to get me to leave the Quidditch team?”
“Get over it,” he said, lazily. “I remember already apologising.”
“Well- actually, it’s late and I’m tired. I’m going to bed now,” I said, standing up and just as I was about to tear the open the tapestry to leave, he grabbed my arm.
“And Wilderson,” he said, standing up and brushing down his robes, “Eve threw up, and I was making her a remedial potion.”
By now he was standing right by me, and I could smell the cigarette smoke from where my nose almost met the his chin.
“So why were you shirtless?” I asked, trying not to sound breathless.
“Why did you have sex with my Beater in my home?” He replied, pointing his finger occupationally at me, moving all the more closer.
“Why were you with that redhead the whole night?”
“Well,” smirked James, “perhaps it runs in the blood-”
“You are the biggest hypocrite I have ever spoken to in my life,” I hissed, yanking my arm away from his grip. “You can’t just claim that-”
“Shhh,” he said, suddenly, and I was annoyed at being interrupted.
“No, you will listen to me-”
“Fuck’s sake,” he muttered, and he pressed his body against mine and into the wood behind the tapestry, muffling my voice. His smell was suffocating me.
This would be the time where Oscar’s theory of lady-boners comes flooding back to me, obviously.
I was about to push him off me when through the tapestry, I heard voices.
“I definitely heard people,” said a girly voice. Was that Amy McCarrick in Hufflepuff? I distantly recalled that she was a Prefect, and looked up at James. But he was too busy looking through a minuscule gap between the cloth and the outside corridor.
“Our shift ends in ten minutes, Amy,” said another recognisable voice. It was Teddy Oliver, and I smiled at just hearing his low, smooth voice.
“Definitely somebody behind the tapestry- hey!” called her high-pitched voice from just outside us. “Hey- I know someone’s in there! Come out, or we’ll come in!”
Suddenly James pushed himself off me, and walked straight out.
“What were you doing?” Amy asked, but her tone was softer. Most peoples were, when they talked to him, and I pressed my ear against the tapestry to hear his reaction.
“Just got a bit stuffy in the common room,” he said.
“Are you the only one?”
“There’s not really enough room for two-”
“Don’t be a prat,” I said, pushing myself out of the tapestry. Amy began to open her mouth, but I interrupted her. “And no, we were not doing anything, Amy McCarrick, and if you even think about spreading something made-up I’ll tell the whole year about that time I caught you with JJ Fletcher-”
Her lips hardened, and I met Teddy’s eyes. He winked at me, and I smiled back.
“I’m afraid I’ll still have to give you a detention,” she said snottily, crossing her arms. I watched her look at James, and smile. “However, with you-”
“Are you an idiot, Wilderson?” he said, interrupting her and starting on me. “Are you thick?”
“I’m not going to have you get detention on my behalf-”
“I get detentions on a weekly basis anyway-”
“Stop it with your hero complex!”
“It’s not a hero complex to do a decent thing-”
“Look, Amy, our shift is almost over,” said Teddy, suddenly. “Let’s go.” Amy looked hesitant, but Teddy guided her by the elbow away from us, and as soon as I saw them turn the corner, I turned on James again.
“Leaving me behind that tapestry like some pathetic damsel in distress-”
“I have never once thought of you as a damsel in distress,” he said, hotly. “I was trying to save you-”
“Well don’t bother!” I cried. “I am perfectly capable of doing that for myself! Instead of trying to save me-,” and I imitated James’ voice for the last phrase. And I was going to continue, until he interrupted me.
“You’re fucking mental, Wilderson,” he snapped. “That is the last time I am ever doing anything nice for you.”
“So you can go back to snogging Eve Chang in your toilet,” I said, crossing my arms.
James laughed, and pinched the bridge of his nose. “I told you, she was sick! Don’t act like it was easy for me seeing you with half the boys on the Quidditch team in my own home, Wilderson- because it wasn’t, it fucking wasn’t.” he breathed heavily and looked at me, as we stood there in the middle of the empty corridor, both our breathing heavy and irregular.
“I thought I didn’t mean anything to you,” I said, and I was surprised at how quiet and almost humbled my voice sounded.
After a long pause, I said, “I’m sorry for snogging boys in your kitchen.”
He nodded. “It’s okay.”
And then after an even longer pause, I added, with a little bit of indigance, “and I didn’t have sex with Ruddy Walcott!”
James tilted his hand slightly and laughed. “I know you didn’t.”
“Because everyone thinks I did, and it's just so annoying- really! How?”
He just smiled at me, and it was the first genuine smile of the night. It made the ends of his eyes crinkle and slight dimples appeared, contrasting against his sharp cheekbones. And then he reached over and tucked a loose strand of hair from behind my ear.
“We should be going now,” he said. “It’s almost midnight.”
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