Chapter 21:

A/N: Thank you for all the nice reviews (and threats) I got while I was away. I don't know why but I just wanted to upload this old chapter which has been sitting in my hard drive. Thanks if you're still reading.

-212121-

Cho's POV

For a brief period, I was a little lost and unsure of what my next steps would be. I needed to take some time off from everything and everyone to spend in solitude, but being in the middle of the school year just didn't afford me the kind of "me" time that suited my present ordeal.

But I was itching to do something. Something to mix things up. So, one night, I just decided to cut my hair. It seemed oddly fitting that I got rid of my excess tresses, as part of my quest for change. My long flowy hair, now just sits as an edgy bob over my shoulder. I kind of like it. Marietta said I was going bonkers.

Despite the physical adjustments, I was still not emotionally settled. Marietta's concealer has become my suit of armor as the dark circles around my eyes got shadier with each night that I was not able to get a wink of sleep. The girls couldn't console me despite the seemingly endless supply of butterbeer and chocolate on hand. To put it simply, I really just felt like shit.

Still have not had the chance nor the guts to speak to him. Besides, I didn't know what to say? I wasn't even sure what I wanted to happen. The first few days were brutal. Mornings were spent battling the alarm clock, swimming deep into my comforters, and having to zone out Padma saying dumb stuff like "Morning is life's way of telling you you have another chance…" It was supposed to be inspiring. Spare me.

The days thereafter left me gutted. If he wasn't on the pitch releasing all his pent-up anger through sports, he was behind some curtain or a dimly lit hallway with Su Li releasing his… well, little Dracos. I know this not because I intended to stalk him, but because, by some stroke of luck, I always catch the pair shagging like banshees in heat during my shift in patrolling the corridors. No matter what I do or how hard I try, their half-naked bodies will forever be imprinted in my mind. Not that it's the first time I've seen him in action; it certainly wasn't the first girl, either.

Speaking of stalking, Terence has been extra present and available through all of this. He took his moves to the next level and asked me out the other night while I was in the library trying to read 'Why Men Marry Bitches' sandwiched between a History of Magic textbook. I was just so shocked – and scared that someone would find out about my reading material du jour – that I said yes. So, I think I agreed to go on a date with him on the next Hogsmeade trip, which is still next month, even though I know he will never be more than a friend. I've been trying to shove it to the recesses of my brain, hoping to hope he forgets, but that's a long shot. I've really become the worst person in the world.

-212121-

I thought I was starting to get my groove back, until Marietta did the unthinkable one Friday morning.

The note I scribbled in my calendar about the big exam today was taunting me in big, bold letters: ARITHMANCY TEST! STUDY!

"Fuuuuck!" A couple of students turned to look at me as I stuffed my face inside my locker, inhaling the rust and dust altogether as I banged my head on the metal panels. I hate it. I hate not being confident about anything, though it has been a constant emotion for me these days.

I made a dash to the loo to sort out some lady business, when I had a chance encounter with one Su Li. I entered the farthest cubicle, and when I came out, she was outside, waiting to pounce. Instinctively, I placed a hand on my pocket, gripping my wand.

"Do you have a lippie I could borrow? I ran out," she said sweetly, words coated with her Mandarin twang.

"I'm sorry?"

"Lip gloss?"

"Umm, yeah, I may have one." And so I fished it out of my bag. I normally would not loan cosmetics, even to my best mates, but the shock must have prompted me. After an annoyingly loud lip smack, she declared that she looked "gorgy," glanced at the mirror and asked if I wanted to walk to class together.

I mumbled a feeble, "Sure," but what I really wanted to say was, "whyyyy?"

I've dealt with crazy, neurotic girls before. Pansy Parkinson was one, and she had attacked me more times than I would care to count. She was blatantly jealous, angry, and wasted no time telling me that she hated my guts. At least, she was being direct.

Su Li was a big mystery to me. Whatever she had up her sleeve – I had no idea, and it was unnerving.

The girl blabbed on as we exited the lavatory. She was a year lower, but apparently had some kickass Arithmancy skills that allowed her to advance in my year for certain courses mid-term. Who the hell knew?

"I'm like major at Arithmancy, although I pretend to be ditzy, because boys like that. And the accent, well, I may be exaggerating it a little bit for flair."

"Brilliant," I said, confused more than ever. Why was she telling me this?

Then, she inserted her hand on the crook of my limp arm as if we did this kind of thing everyday. The fuck?!

Before long, the-blonde-who-must-not-be-named, who held his coat casually over his shoulder, was sauntering towards us, with a mild look of interest. I hadn't really talked to him in a while (four weeks, three days, and nine hours to be exact, but who's counting?). I did not foresee this as our first brush after the whole ordeal.

"What's going on," he asked, looking solely at Su Li before matching our stride by his girlfriend's side. I was looking straight ahead, trying my best to be as cool as him, but my anatomy has betrayed me. My arm was frozen like an icicle, contrasting the warm rush of blood across my cheeks. White hot heat all over, like Bengay was on every inch of my skin.

Su Li sighed exasperatedly, then said, "Oh come on, you two."

She stopped at her tracks, releasing me from her grip. I looked at her questioningly, then at Draco, who has his brows furrowed. He didn't meet my eyes.

"I know you two used to fuck (I flinched at her directness), and that's NOT fine with me. But this is massively awkward and I'd rather you two just hash it out and get some closure or whatever, so we can all move on. No funny business, though, or else I'm coming for you," she pointed her wand at my chest with an odd smile on her face, "and you." The wand flew to Draco's groin area. He did not flinch, as expected, but I was definitely not expecting any of the words coming out of her gloss-slicked mouth. My fucking lip gloss.

Su Li withdrew her wand, placed it in her robes, and turned on her heel towards the other side of the hall.

"Bloody hell," he declared, watching Su's little wiggly arse disappear quickly behind the taller students who were making their way to their own classes.

"We don't have to do this," I said, starting to walk away, but my wrist was caught by his hand with a gentle tug.

And then electricity, again. I have been aching for his touch, and finally, the familiar currents are coursing through me. I was lonely and I miss him, I was angry and I hate him, and I couldn't explain the million different feelings I had from that single brush of skin.

"Why not?"

"Because, because… this is not normal. This is mad."

He looked at me as I struggled for coherence, hating myself for being weak at the sight of him. Then, something about the way he looked at me made me crack. His fucking girlfriend can't patronize me. I'm the Head Girl of this school and she can't make me do anything.

"Look. This doesn't make sense. Who does this? What girl arranges a little pow-wow session for us to get 'closure.' I don't need it."

I wasn't done.

"Does the chick have killer blow job skills that's why she's so overtly confident? Does she have three tits? Or is she on some Asian herbal medication? Because I'd like to be on them, too, to be honest… The fuck is wrong with her?!"

Shit. I lost control, but at least I let it out.

He smirked at my incoherence and bewilderment, studying my agitated face.

"From what I reckon, she's not taking any oriental crack, has the regular quantity of breasts on a female, and also has about average mouth skills," he responded matter-of-factly. "Now, if you talk about her handies…"

"Malfoy." I cut him off, shaking my head in disbelief. "Don't mock me."

And for a second he just kept still and finally, his eyes revealed him. I saw something stir in his pale gray eyes that looked like guilt.

"This has been sufficiently bizarre." I looked away, mortified as ever. "I have to get to class."

"Hang on. I need to tell you something."

"Hit me," I crossed my hands across my chest. "It can't get any worse, I reckon."

But apparently, I spoke too soon.

"Truth is, I've been thinking about you. And, I might have accidentally said your name out while I was in bed with her last night."

My brain has finally exploded into microscopic lumps on the marble floors. Did he really just say that? Right now? To my face? Someone please help me mop up my cerebral cortex.

"There is a very high probability that it has prompted this whole exchange. Just thought you should know."

He looked at me, testing eyes waiting for any response. Seconds passed and he asked, "Is there anything I should know?"

I mirrored the thin line of his lips, my best take on his signature expression, and said in the most deadpan of voices, "You're a dick and you disgust me."

He cocked his brow and left me there, my suede shoes firmly rooted to the ground as I felt my back hit the metal lockers behind me.

"What the hell just happened?" Padma demanded an explanation as she dragged me inside class.

"I don't know. I really don't know."

"Truth serum always works," Marietta said, flipping though her notes with a glint of malice in her eyes. "You can thank me later."

"Oh my god," Padma said, sliding in her seat. "How'd you do it?"

"I bribed one of the elves to spike the lovebirds' juice this morning. Easy-peasy."

"But how the hell did you get it in me? I wasn't even in the Great Hall!" I demanded, confused, aghast.

"Oh darling," she shook her head, smiling. "I didn't. That was all you."