Chapter eight – Correct usage of a smile

On Sunday morning I wake up, later than I usually do, but I feel pretty good. The dorm is empty again since it's almost eleven in the morning. It's been ages since I slept in like this. I decide to take an extensive shower and afterwards get dressed in some comfortable clothes and a warm jumper.

When I enter the Common Room, my friends almost immediately notice me. They're sitting at the fire place, quietly talking amongst themselves. Scarlett jumps up and walks over to me, asking me if I'm okay right away.

I give her a reassuring smile. 'Yes, thanks, it was just a concussion.'

She frowns. 'Are you sure? I came by twice and Pomfrey sent me away. She only sends you away when it's serious. Sören said that you got hit by a Bludger and fell off your broom.'

My smile turns into a grin. 'It's nice to know you worry about me', I say and we join the guys, who also inquire about my health. I tell them I'm fine as well.

'Next time when you're hung-over, you don't get to fly, Leclair', Sören says with a frown, clearly disapproving. 'Our first match is coming up, you better be sober then because I really need you on the pitch.'

I laugh. 'Aw, I'm touched, Larson.'

Sören rolls his eyes. 'It's not funny.'

'Of course not, it's hilarious', I reply and Sören's huff makes me laugh louder. 'We're playing against Gryffindor, right?'

'Yes', Sören grumbles, 'and we better win.'

Now it's my turn to roll my eyes. 'Like I'd throw the match or something – by the way, Nate, you better get your Horse out of there.'

'Hey!' Sören exclaims at the same time as Nathaniel says: 'Thank you.'

Nathaniel is smarter, but Sören is better in strategy. It's no wonder that Nathaniel always loses. I just wonder why he keeps on playing. 'If you move your Queen now you'll win', I tell Nathaniel when Sören moves a pawn, earning myself a dark look from Sören.

Nathaniel smirks and does as I told him.

'This is really unfair', Sören complains while clearing the chessboard. 'After lunch I want a rematch!'

'Do you want me to get you some tissues?' I ask Sören, smirking as well, receiving another ugly look from Sören. He's clearly unhappy.

'Next week is a Hogsmeade weekend, did you know?' Scarlett asks me as we leave the Common Room.

'Yes, Severus said something about that a few days ago.'

Scarlett frowns. 'I don't understand how you can stand him, really.'

I shrug, not interested in discussing Severus again. Scarlett made clear that she doesn't like him one bit a few times now. His choice in friends is terrible – he hangs out with Avery and Mulciber, but I like him. Besides, he has picked me multiple times over his so-called friends, giving me the impression that he doesn't like them very much. 'He's nice to talk to.'

'You should be careful with him', Nathaniel adds, agreeing with his girlfriend.

'Don't worry, I will be', and I smile reassuring.

'Are you going to Hogsmeade with him?' Scarlett asks, clearly disapproving if I did.

I refrain from rolling my eyes. It's annoying how they think that they can choose with who I hang out with. 'Why do you ask?'

Scarlett shrugs. 'No reason. You're welcome to join us, if you want to.'

'Thanks, I'll keep that in mind', I reply while sitting down at the Table of Slytherin. The smell of food hits me, making my stomach grumble. I'm starved – my last meal was Friday evening after all – but just looking at the food makes me a bit nauseous. Because I do need to eat I decide on some soup. It's light enough for my stomach to digest, and nutritious.

Before I can take a spoonful, I can feel somebody stare at me. It takes me a moment to find the person who's staring at me. It's Sirius. He's looking concerned. It makes me irritated. I can't eat when somebody is watching me. I throw a glare in his direction and ignore him, but I can still feel his gaze on me.

Scarlett notices that instead of eating, I'm staring daggers at my soup. 'Are you okay?' She asks quietly, making sure the question stays between the two of us, knowing that it's best that not everybody in Slytherin knows I was in the hospital wing.

I smile thankfully at her. 'Yeah, just a bit nauseous, that's all', and I put down my spoon. It's unlikely that I'll be able to eat, so I grab a slice of bread and say goodbye to my friends – who are a bit displeased that I take off so fast. I just flash a smile in their direction and tell them I forgot about a homework assignment.

On my way to the library I make a quick stop at the dorm to get my books. I smuggle my slice of bread inside the library (you're not allowed to eat in there) and when I find a quiet spot in the back of the library I eat my lunch. Afterwards I start to read a potions text that I found in the restricted area a few days ago. It looks fairly promising.

'Mind if I join you?'

I look up at a redhead smiling shyly.

'I know you like to study by yourself, but that text looked interesting.'

'Sure, Lily', and I clear a bit of the table so she has some room for her books. When she sits down I notice that something's up, because she's a little bit nervous. 'What's wrong?'

Lily bites her lip. 'James said something about you being in the infirmary. I saw you walk out of lunch as well. Are you alright?'

Dread settles in the pit of my stomach. What did James tell her? How much does she know? I show her a wide, reassuring smile. 'Yes, I am, thanks. It was just a concussion and the food made me nauseous.' Her demeanor changes slightly, she relaxes a little bit, letting me know that's all she knows. I decide to quickly change the topic, to make sure that she doesn't get the feeling that something is off. 'Since when are you and James talking?'

The redhead starts to blush, and all I can think is bingo!

'You can't tell anyone', she whispers, clearly embarrassed.

'Only if you tell me everything', and I give her a wink.

Lily turns even redder, her skin almost matching her hair. 'Yes, well, you really can't tell anyone, okay? It's pretty embarrassing.'

I lean back and smirk. 'We'll see about that. Now, spill.'

'I mean it, Violette!' Lily says, her voice turning a bit shrill at the end.

'Yeah, yeah, relax Lily. Give me some details!'

Lily does just that.

Apparently Head Girl and Head Boy have a lot of things to discuss. At the beginning it was mostly duties, like making schedules for the Prefects and preparing meetings, but the meetings between the two of them got longer every time, and slowly the conversations changed in something more personal. Turns out Lily and James have a lot more in common than Lily thought, and it appears that James has more depth than Lily imagined possible. Slowly she has started to grow fond of him.

'You look happy,' I observe, 'but why do I get the feeling that you absolutely don't want this?'

Lily shrugs and looks away. 'It's not that I don't want this...'

'You're afraid he'll break your heart', I say what she can't say.

Lily bites her lip and looks conflicted. 'I know him, Violette. James has a good heart, I'm sure of that, but he often forgets to use his head and does stupid things. He has done a lot of dense things in the past.'

'Maybe so, but if you don't give him a chance you'll never know what could happen.'

The redhead keeps quiet.

'Just go with the flow and stop worrying', I tell her, and when her eyes lock on mine I give her a reassuring smile. 'People don't die of broken hearts, or so I've been told. Now, if you are going to be the first one that does, I'll make sure your funeral will be one to remember, okay?'

'Thanks', Lily laughs. 'You'll probably turn it into an event or something.'

'You got that right', and I wink, happy to see her laughing again.

'What about you?' Lily asks, turning serious again.

'What about me?'

'Your love life', Lily clarifies. 'You don't seem interested in anyone here. Did you leave somebody behind?'

The question is unexpected and leaves me stunned.

Lily notices right away. 'I'm sorry, I was just curious. You don't talk much about it, so I thought I'd ask. It was a stupid idea, forget it. Sorry.'

'It's okay, Lily', I reassure her and check my nails so I have something to focus on. I conclude that I should spend more energy on them, because they look terrible. Maybe I can ask Scarlett for some nail polish. 'I dated somebody, yes - but I broke it off before I moved, so technically I didn't leave him behind. Sort of.'

For a short moment, Lily keeps quiet, as if she's giving me space to add anything if I want to. When it becomes clear that I don't, she carefully places a hand on my arm. 'I'm sorry, it still must be difficult.'

I'm at a loss for words. It's been a while since I last thought about the people who I left behind in Europe, both my friends at Beauxbatons and the ones I made while growing up. I've tried to just forget it all, but Lily is right. It still hurts.

'Hey, are you okay?' Lily asks me softly, noticing my mood swing.

I push it all away and smile weakly – a perfect smile for this occasion and I'm sure it will help to get Lily to believe the lie I'm about to tell her. 'He cheated on me. Turned out it wasn't the first time. We dated for four years, but apparently that didn't mean anything.'

Poor Gauthier, he really doesn't deserve being dragged through the dirt like this. However, I don't have another option, I can't tell Lily the truth. I need her to stay as far as possible from the truth.

Lily is, as I expected it, absolutely buying it. She's calling my so called cheating ex-boyfriend all kind of names that she wouldn't if she knew him.

I feel terrible for lying to her and slandering Gauthier's reputation like this. Lily misunderstands my lack for words and really goes for it – the girl is fierce after all. She tries to make me feel better, but I can't shake off the guilt.

'I should go, Lily', I manage to say when she pauses for some air. 'It's almost dinner time and I want to change first.'

Lily gives me such a sweet smile that I feel even worse. I grab my stuff and say goodbye to the redhead, telling myself that I'm not running away.

While walking back to the Common Room I reflect on my day. It went from bad to worse. I can't get Gauthier out of my mind, and my eyes fill with tears by the mere thought of him. He sent me letters weekly, for months at a time. It's been a while since he last sent one. I pushed him away and he finally gave up, I suppose. He didn't deserve any of it.

I take a deep breath to calm myself down and enter the Common Room.

'If that isn't our very own Mudblood', Greengrass sneers when she sees me enter.

Greengrass is sitting on one of the sofas, together with her friends, who laugh as if she just said something extremely funny. It makes Greengrass sit straighter and looki even more smug.

It makes me want to hit her. 'I never knew it was possible to lack so much originality', I retort calmly, not really interested in having a fight with her. 'Do you even understand the concept?'

'You should be careful with your words', the blonde says coldly. 'You really don't want to upset me.'

I roll my eyes. 'Yeah, I'm really scared now. Look, even my pants can't stop shaking in fear.' I don't wait for her to reply and go up to my dorm. I dump my books next to my bed, not in the mood to organise everything, and get into bed with a good fiction book. I'm really done with this day.

Author's note I'm so sorry that I made you all wait like this! Hopefully it was worth the wait and I'll try in the future to update sooner, however I can't promise anything. Got a lot of personal things to deal with (like everyone I suppose) and that has priority. However, I can promise that I really want to finish this story. Anyways, let me know what you think of the chapter, please!