A/N: So THAT's what I wanna call an eventful summer. I graduated, I met a guy, I was ditched by guy, I switched to mac :O, AND I moved to the us! So this might explain why I haven't been updating. At all. But finally it's here, and I have a feeling you're gonna like this one. Being ditched my aforementioned guy hasn't had me losing faith in love, as you will find out in this chappie..
A Seeker's Troubles
What followed was the two most boring days of my entire seventeen-year existence. Madam Pomfrey insisted I had to stay in the hospital wing for "observation". Apparently a blow in the head can be very "dangerous" and I could just have been seriously "injured."
But ha, joke's on you, Madam Pomfrey, since, as my friends often like to remind me of – particularly Alicia - I am very thick-headed. And apparently - when it comes to getting hit by Bludgers - that is a good thing.
However, after two days of my constant complaining I guess Madam Pomfrey finally tired and set me free, but only if I promised to be careful.
"Oh, I think not," I chuckled gleefully to myself as I high-tailed out of the hospital wing and stealing a glance at the clock as I did. Quidditch practice was in two hours and before that I had every intention of eating since I was starving.
But first… after taking a look at myself – still dressed in my disgusting (in a dried-old-sweat-kind of way) Quidditch outfit - I quickly decided that there was no way I was even considering showing my un-showered (for two days) self to anyone. Therefore I abandoned my course for the Great Hall, where they were still serving the-previously-hated-but-now-wonderful-since-I-was-so-hungry-afternoon tea (I hoped) to sprint up the stairs towards the Gryffindor common room.
Gasping for air (I keep forgetting that it is impossible to run up seven flights of stairs in a rush) I managed to pant the password to the Fat Lady, whom swung open after giving my lovely appearance a reserved look. I shot her a winning smile in return and leapt through the portrait hole with about as much grace as a middle-aged hippo. Emerging out into the common room I was relieved to find that even though there were a few Gryffindors hanging about none of them were anyone I knew particularly well, which was why I was able to jog past them with my hair obscuring my face, hoping none of them would recognise me. Hey, I had been the Gryffindor Seeker for five years; people were bound to recognise me by now. And also, if what I've heard from the twins regular reports the past two days was true; then the Gryffindors now showed quite a bit of resentment towards Hufflepuff because their beater had injured the former house's 'Star Seeker' or so George had phrased it. So, bottom line is, I didn't want anyone recognising me and asking me how I was and all that crap. Especially someone I didn't know. And especially not in my current disgusting appearance.
So it was with a sigh of relief that I closed the door to the seventh year girl's dormitories, having made it there safely. To add further sunshine on my parade I found to my delight that the room was deserted. So there was nothing more to it than dive into my trunk and fish out some fresh set of clothes – all the while trying to avoid Memphis who attempted to ambush me – and skip into the bathroom. I removed my foul-smelling clothes with an appalled expression on my face, seriously considering burning them up – yet on second thought I threw them into the laundry bin. They were the house elves problem now.
Turning the shower to scolding I then stepped in, suppressing the squeal threatening to wrench its way off my lips as a result of the scalding water. But after a moment or two my body started to numb, just the way I liked it. Dirt and sweat from the Hufflepuff match simply evaporated into mist as the scalding water ran down my limbs and after assaulting my filthy hair with a buttload of shampoo I was finally starting feel clean again.
As I opened the door from the bathroom after my shower there was a cloud of steam erupting from said room and I instantly shivered as I stepped into the now chilly dormitory. I quickly snaked into the clothes I had lain out on the bed – a pair of dark blue skinny jeans and an oversized dark blue polo, which collar had a habit of falling over my shoulder.
After a bit of muttering and swearing I finally managed to locate my wand (Memphis had stolen it to challenge it in a wrestling match, which was kind of a brave act on her part considering my wand was twice as long as she was) and pointed said piece of wood to my head, instantly drying my hair. Feeling much warmer again I tucked my wand into my pocket and was about to leave… until I noticed my make-up kit by my bed.
I cast a longing glance at it (let me remind you, people, I had spent two days without as much as a brush) but putting on any make-up just seemed plain stupid, considering it was probably going to be running down my cheeks accompanied by a humungous amount of sweat later in Quidditch practice. Or so a nasty experience back in fourth year told me.
Still, I surrendered partly to my inner girl and applied a little mascara before I wrestled myself away from the mirror and headed out the door. Once down in the common room I opted to once again use my best stealth skills to get out of there unnoticed. I wasn't hideous any longer but now I was literally dying with hunger and if any little third-year or whatnot threatened to attempt to talk to me there was the slight chance I might start chew on his arm. And that wouldn't be particularly pleasant for either of us.
Another record-setting minute later I was strolling through the doors to the Great Hall and to my supreme joy the now brilliant afternoon tea was still being served. And afternoon tea meant cakes.
To add further joy was that I found the girls and the twins lolling about by the Gryffindor table. They were probably finished a long time ago but stayed down there until practice since none of them had the will to start doing homework. How do I know this, you ask? Well, seeming as I was the one who never wanted to start doing homework I then naturally made everyone stay in the Great Hall with me.
And today, it seemed, was no different. Save for the fact I wasn't there. Until now.
"Hullo," I managed casually, giving my friends only the briefest of glances until my famished eyes caught sight of a particularly wonderful-looking cake. I instantly slid into a seat next to Katie and proceeded to shuffle cake on my plate and then stuff my face.
"Elle!" Katie managed a sort of happy squeal to the fact that I was out of the hospital wing, but then recoiled slightly at the sight of me devouring the cake like the lion I was.
"Welcome back," Angelina drawled, evidently bored out of her skull as she was terrorising a muffin with her fork. Unlike Katie she was apparently unfazed my ravenous eating, having seen it many many times before.
None of my friends seemed to show any sort of extreme emotion over the fact that I was back. I wasn't fazed by this; you'd be surprised how many times the Gryffindor Quidditch team has been in and out the hospital wing. This wasn't really different from any of those times.
"So what'd you do to get Pomfrey let you out?" Fred asked, quirking an eyebrow. It was always a challenge to get Pomfrey to allow you to leave the hospital wing in a somewhat reasonable time, seeming as she always wanted you to stay for 'observation', no matter how small your injury was. Fred was the one with the record – a day and a half – after a sibling fight with George involving their beater clubs. Only he hadn't technically earned Pomfrey's consent; he had sneaked away when she wasn't looking.
"Oh," I said airily, "you know, I assaulted her, tied her up and gagged her. So if I were you I wouldn't go near the broom closet on the third floor. And ignore whatever strange noises that might come from it."
The twins immediately perked up at my violent explanation, both of them simultaneously going "Really?" in awed voices.
Angelina shot them both a flat look. "No, you morons."
The twins both cracked two identical "Sheesh, Soorryyy" expressions but Angelina firmly ignored them and simply continued her merciless muffin-mashing. A little smirk edged its way over my lips at her reaction, though without her noticing. It was always entertaining whenever Angelina's time of the month came around. It brought with it one heck of a temper but the funny part was that she always reserved the snippyness for the twins. Like now. But the hilarious part was that they never had any idea as to why the raven-haired girl suddenly seemed to hate their guts.
After swallowing a particularly huge chunk of pie I suddenly found myself chirping happily:
"So anyone know what we're doing for practice today?"
I don't know why I was in such a sunny mood. Perhaps it was the rush of sugar from all the cakes I had now devoured, or the fact that I was sitting with my friends again. More likely it was the fact that the time I had spent in the hospital wing had been a good rest from a few of my problems, considering the fact that neither Cedric nor Wood had visited me during my stay there. Needless to say, it was quite the relief.
"Oh…" Katie said, with an expression that could only be described as uncomfortable, "about that."
"God, I hope Olive- I mean Wood – doesn't make me do bleacher sprints cause I missed out on practice yesterday," I began, a little too wrapped up in my Quidditch addiction to hear her. Hey, give me a break, since a) I'm a Quiddtich junkie which leads us to b) two ruddy days without Quidditch is a bloody challenge!
Katie cringed a little, her whole posture practically screaming "awkward". "Elle… Oliver told us to tell you that… you're… kind of let off practice this week."
The sound I made was a mixture of a disbelieving snort and a longing sigh. "Yeah, that'll be the day." Then I chuckled slightly at the banality of the suggestion. As if Wood would let anyone off practice. Ever. I once had a sprained wrist but was I allowed off? That would be a hell to the no, I believe.
Suddenly Angelina's time-of-the-month-no-nonsense voice cut in. "No, Elle, open your sodding ears. He let you off practice."
I held her flat gaze, my expression still frozen in a kind of chuckle. "…What?"
"I'm serious. He said you probably shouldn't be playing with that injured head of yours," Katie said, taking over.
I narrowed my eyes at them suspiciously. This was kind of a weird thing to joke about, but what did I know? Perhaps it was joke-around-with-previously-hospital-wing-imprisoned-Elle day?
"You're joking, right?" I asked, daring a sort of nervous chuckle. But the suspicion suddenly fell as I glanced at the twins. Usually I could tell they were messing with me since they would be unable to hide the mischievous sparkle in their eyes. But there was no sparkle this time. Just a sort of dread as to what my reaction would be. And that's when I realized that they were not joking.
My face immediately fell, succumbing to the familiar prickle of anger that soon started to hum inside me. Me, off practice? The thought soon made me boil with rage, and I could see my friends' eyes fill with dread, leading me to the assumption that my expression was now murderous.
Who. the. Hell. Does he think he is? Why the effing squid would he let me off practice?
Did he think I couldn't handle playing Quidditch after that tiny, insignificant little injury? Why, that bloody… I launched into a series of inaudible snarls and curses, mainly about a certain insufferable Quidditch captain.
"Come on, Elle," Alicia snorted, always the ignorant one, "don't tell me you're not relieved. You've done nothing but ruddy complain about that headache of yours the last two days."
"No," I protested, "it's not that!" And before I could stop myself I found myself blurting "I'm sick of his ruddy behaviour!"
The eyebrows of said friends went up simultaneously.
"…because he let you off practice?" Katie asked, beautiful features twisted into a bewildered frown.
"I… no – he…" I was too frustrated to string together even a remotely intelligent sentence but even so I realized if I did I would sound even more like a moron. Because really, why would they understand? I hadn't told them about Wood's new attitude or about the bet. And just then I was reminded of that the girls were dead-set of that Wood fancied me. And correct me if I'm wrong, but blurting out "he's being nice to me!" would probably not stray them off that path.
So instead I sighed huffily. "Whatever," I growled, standing up. "I'm going to practice anyway; he's just plain stupid if he thinks I'd do anything but."
And with that I stalked off, whatever traces of my previous good mood completely dissolving. I couldn't help it, but I was utterly and completely loosing it. All thanks to Wood. Hadn't he been supposed to revert back to his old ways after this bet? But no, of course he had to keep being sodding annoyingly nice and not even remember the bet when I told him I lost!
I wouldn't exactly call the conditions of the bet fair. That's what he had said. I mean, what the ruddy hell was that??
But deep within my currently anger-fuelled brain I knew exactly what it was about. I wasn't kidding myself anymore. I knew what it was all about…
And it made me positively livid.
This was why, ten minutes before practice, I was standing on the pitch with my Firebolt and in my Quidditch robes, awaiting the team. I crossed my arms, beginning to tap my foot huffily. Where were they already??
To pass the time I looked up at the sky. For late November it was unusually dark, and I realized it was because heavy rain clouds were huddling just above. If possible, my scowl deepened. Lovely.
Finally I spotted a mop of curly brown hair approaching from the changing rooms. It could only be Wood. No one else was ever early for practice. We would always roll in causally on the second or piss Wood off by arriving a minute late (that would usually be me) so naturally the one strolling in ten minutes early had to be him.
I glared at him from where I was standing and just as the first raindrop hit me the Scot noticed me. Even at the distance and through the increasing darkness I could make out his bright amber eyes widen slightly in surprise.
To answer his incredulous query I simply arched an eyebrow in what I assumed was in a piss-offed manner. He must have noticed it, since a strange look crossed his features, one I couldn't quite pin down, as he stopped a few feet ahead of me, putting down the case containing all the quidditch equipment.
"Katie told me the strangest thing," I began, using a cheery voice but I hoped he got the sarcastic undertone. "She said you let me off practice today."
That annoyingly handsome smile suddenly replaced the odd look on his features. How he dared to smile in my murderous expression I do not know.
"Did she?" He inquired airily. "Well, it's true."
His smile did not waver as my expression plummeted into a scowl. At the same time the rain now developed into a drizzle, as I stared at him.
"Why?" I demanded, crossing my eyebrows. But just as he opened his mouth to speak, I changed my mind.
"You know what?" I said, fed up, "never mind. Just release the bloody snitch."
He eyed me for a long moment, looking slightly amused. "Why are you angry? I thought you'd like a little rest."
"No," I blurted, instantly realizing how much I sounded like a moron. What was I supposed to say? No, I don't like having a rest, because I want to be in your
Up went his eyebrows as expected. "No?" he echoed, trying – but not hard enough – to keep the laughter from his voice.
Down went my eyebrows as his went up. "Forget it. Just release the snitch."
But then Wood did something he'd done far too many times: he pissed me off, by crossing his arms and saying "No." And he didn't have the grace to wipe that stupid handsome smile off his face.
By now I was quite positive that there was steam erupting from my head as the raindrops hit it; that's how angry I was with him. But the part that really annoyed me was that I couldn't tell him why. Because that certainly wouldn't wipe the smile off his face. More the opposite.
So instead, I opted for another technique. Being a downright bitch. "Release the snitch," I demanded in my nastiest voice.
One of his eyebrows went up daringly. "No."
I took one step closer to him, doing my best to look as threatening as I possibly could. "Release. The. Bloody. Snitch."
His eyes were suddenly rid of all humour as he too took a step closer. "No," he said, but now it was more of a whisper. And he was so close that I ended up feeling his breath. Dang it, why did he have to be so close? Suddenly it was hard focusing on what I really wanted…which was…uhm…
"Well, hullo," a chirp voice suddenly rang out, right next to us. I instantly hurled myself backwards away from Wood, as Alicia appeared beside us, looking gleeful. I made a mental note to never ever give her the opportunity for her to say "I told you so."
So instead – as the rest of the team's arrival distracted Wood - I instantly kneeled to the ground and opened the case with quidditch supplies and snatched the snitch. Then, I proceeded to send Wood a triumphant glance and received in return a gaze clouded over with something not quite readable. I couldn't help thinking that as far as silly arguments between Wood and me went, this had to be the worst by far. I – who constantly complained over Wood's Nazi training techniques - was actually arguing with him to let me participate in practice. Now even I considered that silly, which was why I opted to ignore Angelina's hissing "What's going on?" comment as she noticed mine and Wood's looks.
"Couldn't stay away, could ya?" Fred said, leaning to his broom as he eyed me with grinning eyes.
I wasn't feeling too jokey at the moment so I simply rolled my eyes at him, something he apparently found amusing. Then I shot Wood another look, whom I found already looking at me with aforementioned strange look.
So just to annoy him some more, I simply wheeled around, threw the snitch into air and watched it unfurl its wings and zoom away. Then I mounted the Firebolt and shot off, leaving my friends merely a cloud of dust.
By now the rain was steadily pouring down, and a good hour later it was downright torrential. Seriously, it was as the clouds were heaving floods down the pitch. Needless to say, it impossible to hear anything over the roar of pouring water, it was freezing and the snitch was nowhere to be seen. Not that I had been able to seen it even if it had been an inch from my face.
Still, I wasn't about to give up and go back to the castle and snuggle down my warm bed – which by now seemed so appealing – unless I wanted to eat my words. So I stayed put in the air, even though I noticed the rest of the team breaking up.
"Elle!" I faintly heard Angelina bellow through the rain. "We're finished, come on down!"
"I'm just gonna catch it one last time!" I shouted back, not sure if she could make out my words through the wind. Still, I could make out her dark silhouette shrugging and walking away with the rest of the team.
Or so I thought.
"Belle!" Wood's powerful voice was by far easier to make out than Angelina's light voice. "Come down, it's freezing!"
"No!" I shouted back, through clattering teeth. He might've had a point with the freezing part, but I didn't care. I didn't want to come down. My mood was as dark as ever, and having him trying to embarrass me was just not something I was up to. Even if it involved potentially dying in ammonia.
"Belle…" Was it just my imagination, or… did his voice have a begging tone to it?
Still, I ignored him, continuing my fruitless quest to find the snitch.
"If you don't come down, I'll kick you off the team!"
I knew it was an empty threat, but my stubborn attempt to prove my point now seemed stupid even to me. So I finally descended, leaving the snitch to its fate. As I touched ground the grass made this squishing sound, like I stepped on a sponge. Did I mention it was pouring down?
Then I picked up my broom and started towards the castle. Only, I wasn't rid off Wood.
"You didn't answer my question," he said, voice barely carrying through the rain, as he followed behind me.
I made the mistake to submit to my curiosity. "What question?" I growled over my shoulder.
"Why are you angry with me?"
I shot him a look over my shoulder again, not giving him a reply at once. Mostly because I didn't have one and mostly because I just wanted to get back to the castle. Because as I made eye contact with him I saw that look in his bright eyes that told me one thing: I had to get away from there.
So I sped up, intent of getting rid of the scot.
"Belle," he said, though I tried to ignore him. "Belle, are you alright?"
"No!" I suddenly found myself blurting out, coming to a halt. Hmm, so the getting-the-ruddy-hell-out-of-there-plan wasn't exactly working.
Wood stopped too, for once silent, awaiting my rant about to come.
So I wheeled around. "No, I am not alright!" I took a step towards him, and even thought the rain was pouring down so heavy I could still see his bright amber eyes looking at me, searching. I couldn't quite believe what was happening, but suddenly it came tumbling out of me.
"Why?" I demanded. "Why are you being like this? It's not-You're not supposed to be like this!" The question that had been nagging me since…since the start of the year basically, had finally been thrown out. It was actually kind of a relief…but then I could feel tears welling up in my eyes and my throat got this familiar throbbing feeling. Oh my God, what was this? I was about to start crying? Maybe it was all the frustration I'd been feeling the past weeks. So I added in a cracking voice, "You're driving me insane, you know that?"
He took a step towards me, water dripping off his face. "And how is that?" he asked me in a low voice, barely audible over the thunder the rain was causing.
"Because when you're like this, I-" I broke off. I couldn't say it. I wouldn't let myself.
"You what?" he asked, taking another step towards me. He was really close now, less than a two feet away.
I let my gaze drop.
"And Cedric is so nice…" I argued, trying desperately to argue. But I had no idea what I was arguing for. I had no idea what I wanted any longer. I knew I hated Wood... Right?
"He's nice," Wood repeated tonelessly, and now I dared to raise my gaze again. "But nothing more."
"When I'm like this you like me. That was what you were going to say, wasn't it?" he asked, and my words immediately came to a shrieking halt in my throat. A silence followed his words, save for the noise the rain was making.
Oh my God. It was true. It was so true. I did like him. Maybe I even loved him! This whole time… maybe all these seven years, I haven't hated him… I haven't hated him at all. All this time… I've liked him!!
Panicking, I did the only thing I could think of. Flee. I wheeled around; my goal set somewhere far away. But I only got as far as one step before Wood shot out his hand and wrapped it tight around my wrist. I had barely registered that fact before he suddenly yanked me back again towards him… and then his lips crashed down on mine.
I didn't know what shocked me the most, the fact that Wood was kissing me or the fact that I didn't pull away immediately and slap him for his rudeness.
The hand that was not still tightly holding my wrist was placed on the small on my back, holding me close to him, pressing me to the warmth of his body. Like he was afraid I was going to break away from his grip. And I am sorry to say that I didn't have any plans on slipping from his grip any time soon. Because I liked it. I liked being kissed by Wood!
In fact, I liked it so much that I kissed him back. For a second everything else didn't seem to matter: not the rain, nor the fact that I actually had a boyfriend or the fact that we –supposedly- hated each other's guts. His lips were surprisingly soft and he was such a good kisser. The hand that had been holding my wrist now dared to let go – since I wasn't exactly showing any signs of running away – and instead moved to my rain-stained cheek, gently cupping it with his warm hand. My hands might have ended up around his neck, grasping the back of his hair – you know, in the heat of the moment and all of that.
But then the cold rain finally seemed to cool down my over-heated brain. Instead of just enjoying how good a kisser Wood was, all sorts of emotions flooded me. Guilt, confusion and... well, guilt and confusion. Finally I saw just how weird the situation was. This was Wood, after all!
So I decided to something about it. Thus, I managed to place my hands on his chest and gave him a shove. He didn't topple backwards into the mud as I had originally intended, but it was enough for him to release me and back a few steps.
We stood like this for a few moments, looking at each other –dripping with water – and panting like we had just been running a mile a minute.
I couldn't think of a single thing to say to him. A million thoughts were running through my mind and my head was spinning. I needed to think, and I couldn't do it while he had his bright brown gaze fastened on me. Funnily enough I seemed to do stupid things when that gaze was on me. Like kiss him.
So instead I wheeled around and started to dash back to the castle. I ran because I was afraid he was going to chase after me, and also because if I didn't run there'd be more time to change my mind. Because a big part of me wanted to turn around and throw myself back into his strong embrace and kiss him some more.
A/N: So? Sooo? What'da think?? Just press that tiny button below :) Lots of love to ye for sticking with me!