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Listening to... by Jinx333
Chapter 4 : Letters
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 3


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Hogwarts Year 6

I received a letter today, while I was smoothing down Epona's feathers an owl dropped a letter at my feet. I never got post, unless you counted the Daily Prophet, so it made me curious. So I opened it.

Dear Girl with a Flower in Her Hair...

I stopped reading and glanced around me, touching the asphodel that I'd placed in my hair that morning when I was walking. I'd found a unicorn in the Forbidden Forest, which allowed me to give it an apple after I bowed in respect. It was beautiful with its silverish-white coat. It almost let me stroke its side when I noticed a little golden foal poke it's head out from a bush. It was a spectacular sight to see and I smiled, unsurprised at them trotting away. The small family, reminding me of my mother and I, left me standing in the meadow surrounded by thousands of wild flowers.

After I'd left the Forbidden Forest, the only other place I'd gone was the library and then I went to see Epona. How strange. I looked back down at the letter in my hands, wondering who it could be from.


Dear Girl with a Flower in Her Hair,

Thinking of you today I mixed morning glory and rosemary in potions class. Our professor was less than pleased because that wasn't one of the ingredients for Drought of the Living Dead. Truth is... It might seem strange but I've noticed you for quite some time now. I just always seem to get tongue-tied around you. Did you ever realize that your eyes resemble sea glass? That sounded so terribly cliche, didn't it? But it's the truth, I promise. I've noticed them change, especially when you're thinking really hard about something or when you wear the color green. I have often wondered what your favorite color is; would you tell me? What are your favorite classes and teachers? My favorites are Advanced Potions and Advanced Care of Magical Creatures, though I must admit that it has to do with getting to see you, as well as enjoyment of the classes. Let's see... I also am partial to the color brown, which I suppose could be a rather boring color but it's warm. It reminds me of my Nan's house when the logs are burning in the fireplace. Anyways, I won't keep you any longer. You probably have places to go and things to think about.

Hopefully awaiting your reply.

Yours truly,

Admirer

I folded the parchment up and slid it into my bag, attempting to decipher who it could be from. I couldn't recall any of the faces I'd passed in the library this morning, but the letter made me smile. After thinking it over for a few minutes, I pulled out a piece of parchment and began writing back.

After my classes that day, I went to send the letter. I was at the owlery when I saw Ryan, Fred and James walking down the stairs and laughing. Apparently, an owl had pooped on Freddy's shoulder.

"I'm telling you, it's supposed to be good luck," Freddy insisted, waving his arms around. James just shook his head, took out his wand, and then he vanished the droppings from his cousin's shoulder.

Ryan laughed and rolled his eyes. "Yeah right, Freddy. But hey, maybe we could sell that rubbish to the Puffs before our next game. Wouldn't that be a laugh?" Ryan was your classic handsome, but he was no where near as devastating as James Potter or even Fred Weasley. He had short, cropped light brown hair and blue eyes with a fit body that was lean, as opposed to the broadness of James and Freddy. Huh. Must be a Wotter gene. I heard the three argue with their voices getting closer, as I pondered walking into the Forbidden Forest once more. Maybe I'd see the foal again, and this time I had my sketchbook with me so I could capture the moment more clearly. I decided to give it another go before dinner time when my thoughts were interrupted.

"Nice flower," Freddy commented. I blushed red and glanced away, pretending I hadn't heard him. Ryan started laughing obnoxiously, mockingly imitating Freddy. The strange thing is that when Freddy had made the comment it hadn't sounded malicious. It was merely an observation. Maybe it was though... I sighed in relief when I was out of their sight but that didn't stop me from pausing my steps when they continued.

"What is she five-years-old or something?" Ryan's tone was just as mocking as when he'd imitated Freddy. "Maybe she is with that rack on her." They all laughed at that one and I looked up at the sky to keep their words from bothering me.

"Who even is she?" I think that insult hurt the most and I hadn't even recognized who said it. I ran to the Forbidden Forest, instead of following through on my urge to sit in a closet to think. It was disappointing to realize that a description of the flower in my hair had changed so dramatically since it made my heart soar this morning. I pulled the asphodel out from my hair, and bitterly tossed it aside.

Days followed and the letters kept coming, filled with sweet words and deep sentiments. The admirer had started each letter with a description of me that day. Dear Girl with the Flower in Her Hair, Dear Girl with the Cute Laugh, Dear Girl with the Book Always in Her Hand... It was by the third letter that Delilah found out. Savannah, the perceptive little minx, found out by the second. Savannah had merely smiled and said, "Mhmm," when I tried to make up an excuse.

Delilah, on the other hand, dramatized it. She peered over my shoulder like the nosy little thing she is and began crying out, "In vain I have..." She stared around the room, searching the air for the Jane Austen quote, until Savannah rolled her eyes and mumbled "struggled."

"Struggled!" Delilah announced and flopped on my bed. "In vain I have struggled."

I laughed, with a blush creeping up my cheeks.

"This is so romantic! And you have know idea who it could be from?" Delilah was practically jumping on the bed at this point, homework long forgotten. I just shook my head, a small smile on my face as the butterflies fluttered around in my stomach. There was a quick tap on the window and I saw the owl that brought my letters. Delilah squealed and pushed me out of my bed. "Open it; open it," she insisted.

After getting the letter from the owl, I fed him a one of the treats I had. I glanced at Savannah shyly, before letting the owl fly back out the window. With a smile, Savannah said "Leave her," and I rushed out of the dorm to read it privately. On my was out of the dorm entrance, I began opening the letter. I was not paying attention to my surroundings as I read the first sentence.

"Dear Girl with a Beautiful, Gentle Touch,

I apologize if that sounded at all creepy, but you are so calm and confident when working with creatures. It was really difficult to stop smiling, even when-"

And then I ran straight into someone.

I fell back on my butt painfully, while my belongings scattered down the hall. "Oh my god, walk much? Watch where you are going, you freak!" Isabelle Wood stared at me through narrowed eyes, while her league of mean girls laughed.

"Really, Isabelle?" I kept my eyes on the floor as I heard someone approach. It hurt my heart that that voice was so easily recognized. "Don't you have something better to do?"

"Come on, James," Isabelle whined. "She's hardly worth worrying over. She wasn't even watching where she was going." I heard her cackle with her friends and leave, assuming that she'd taken Potter with her. Someone kicked some of my stuff down the hall as they passed me by. Great.

With a sigh, I collected the various items that had escaped from my bag. "Oh no," I whispered, searching around for my letter.

"You dropped this," James unexpectedly said above me, causing me to jump. He held the letter outstretched towards me in his hand. I grabbed it quickly, hoping he didn't see the writing, and tucked it into my bag. "Oh, this too.." he trailed off and bent forward a few feet away, where my sketchbook was flipped open to a random page. "This is..."

"Stupid, I know," I commented quickly, rising to my feet to grab it from him.

"No, these are amazing," James said looking down at the picture of the unicorn foal that I'd drawn. "Really, I mean it." He stared at me so intensely, a blush creeped up my cheeks.

"Thank you," I muttered and shrugged my shoulders. When he passed the sketchbook back to me, his hand touched mine. I had every intention to walk away and find somewhere private to read my letter.

"Ainsly?" My heart beat stuttered and then ramped up again. He had my attention now. Turning slowly, I met his eyes and raised my eyebrows at him, not pretending to be unsurprised. "But people, your friends mostly, call you Sly."

I nodded with a smile.
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Present day (One Year Post-Hogwarts)

We were down a roast. Now, it might not seem like such a big deal to be missing such an ingredient but it so was. These people were going to be expecting a main course soon. They'd only take to so much meatballs, crab cake, shrimp, and stuffed mushrooms. Then there was the bacon wrapped goat cheese strawberry bites, which were as horrendous as they sounded. A new feature on our menu. Don't ask.

"Alright, Sly. Go to the store and see if you can get us a roast." Delilah practically pushed me out the door, while Savannah threw me my wand.

I ran to the store, chest heaving as I ordered and then I leaned against the counter.

"Wow, you're really out of breath." A voice observed. I turned, eyes widening as I saw James waiting in between the potatoes and avocados. "Why didn't you just Apparate?" I glanced around us after he said it, concerned at the fact that this was a Muggle supermarket.

"Muggles," I whispered as a warning and he just awarded me a smile. "Besides...I don't have my license."

"You don't?" He sounded shocked and I just shrugged. "Why not?"

"Couldn't afford it when I was in school," I responded with another shrug.

"You do that a lot, you know." I raised an eyebrow at him. "You shrug a lot. It's like you sell yourself short or something."

"I don't," I mumbled at the floor. There just wasn't all that much to sell, and not anything that I wanted to. I was through trying to change for people.

"I hope not," James said nudging me with his shoulder. "You're pretty great." I blushed.

"What are you here for?" I glanced at James, honestly curious for the true answer.

"Freddy ate us out of just about everything. The man's a black hole, it never stops." I laughed and his grin widened. "What are you here for?"

"A roast beef," I said, just as my order popped up. I thanked the man behind the counter, paid, and was surprised to find James waiting for me.

"Hungry tonight?"

I sent him a blank stare, but the corner of my mouth perked upwards. "No, someone forgot the entree to a wedding that we are working right now." I stared down at my watch and cursed. "I got to run. I hope they still have shrimp and haven't resorted to the bacon wrapped strawberry cheese balls."

James raised his eyebrows at me in disbelief. "Bacon wrapped strawber-"

I held up a hand, interrupting him. "Don't ask." He beamed, shaking his head in amusement. "It wasn't my idea."

"Merlin, Delilah?"

I snorted, which made him smile wider if that was at all possible. "Try Savannah."

"Uh-oh, should I warn Simon?"

"No, she's learned from her mistake. Hopefully," I added wistfully. "I seriously have to go though. Thanks for the...chat."

"Why don't I Apparate you? I have been noted as a gentle side along." He stared down at me with that smile. I nodded, blushing. "I forgot how easily you blush."

That only made me blusher harder. How embarrassing. "Shush up. Are you going to Apparate me or not?"

He laughed. "Of course." I walked forward and out of the store, keeping my eyes trained on the ground. "Hey," he said softly, touching my cheek gently. "I only mentioned that because I like it when you blush. It's really beautiful."

Standing there with a beef roast in my arms, I couldn't help but gaze up at him in disbelief. He fancied girls like Isabelle Wood. Not me. And yet, after I told him the location of the wedding, James placed his hand on my lower back carefully and made my head spin. Looking back, I'm not certain the effect was just from Apparating. I didn't realize then that I beginning to fail at not fancying him. Stupid.

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I don't own HP!

Let me know what you think of the story so far? Thanks!


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