time is it now?" asked Mandy Brocklehurst chewing furiously on one fingernail.
"Five minutes after the last
time you asked!" snapped Lisa Turpin irritably. Her voice softened after a bit.
"I do hope Cho's alright."
hope they're all okay," said Padma Patil quietly. The three Ravenclaw girls sat quietly among the tense crowd
watching the second task of the Triwizard Tournament. The champions had been given an hour to retrieve their respective
hostage from the bottom of the lake.
With two minutes left to go, there was no sign of any of them. Low, edgy snippets of conversation
surrounded them as students wondered aloud what could possibly be happening
beneath the stationary surface of the lake.
looked down at Padma's wrist watch then turned to the girls, pale faced and
wide-eyed. "That's it. The hour's up."
blanched as well, but forced her voice into a sensible tone. "There now, remember what Dumbledore
said? Nobody's in danger, not the
champions and not the…"
ripple of noise ran through the crowd cutting off Lisa's statement. It started out as a murmur burst into a
full-blown roar. Padma leapt to her
feet and pointed to the far side of the lake, across from the spectator
stands. "Look! It's Cho and Cedric!" she cried
breathlessly. They watched as Cedric
led Cho over to Madam Pomfrey where he insisted that she be attended to first.
they make the cutest couple?" asked Mandy dreamily.
certainly do," said Lisa with a wistful sigh.
patted her arm in a gesture of comfort.
Lisa had recently broken up with her boyfriend. The noise level of the crowd had finally
settled down when two forms broke the surface of the water. Viktor Krum and Hermione Granger struggled
towards the shore, hampered by their sopping robes.
being rescued by Viktor Krum," said Mandy in an awe filled voice tinged with a
bit of envy. "Who would've thought
Hermione Granger could snag a world champion Quidditch player?"
must admit, she did look quite pretty at the Yule Ball," said Padma in all
fairness. "She's really nice, clever
too. I don't know why the Sorting Hat
didn't peg her for Ravenclaw."
I don't what he sees in her," said Lisa sourly.
appearance of the hysterical Fleur Delacour without her hostage caused another
thunder of noise to cascade through the crowd.
They watched with interest as Madame Maxime attempted to prevent her from
flinging herself back into the water.
Roger Davies rushed down to the edge of the lake, attempting to calm the
distressed Fleur, but she took no heed of him.
at that great lummox fawning all over that French tart," snorted Lisa
"It's not as if she picked
him for the thing she would miss the most."
Roger can't help it. Cho told me that
girl is part Veela," said Mandy with an air of vindictive triumph.
asked Lisa with raised eyebrows.
wonder what's keeping Harry?" asked Padma nervously. She nudged Mandy and indicated Penelope Clearwater who was seated
a couple of benches down from them.
Penny's gaze was riveted on the judges' table where her boyfriend Percy
Weasley sat watching the lake with increasing agitation. Of course, thought Padma, he must be worried
about his brother Ron. From the midst
of students Padma distinctly heard Pansy Parkinson's shrill voice say, "Good! That's two less Gryffindors to put up
with!" Padma's face flushed with anger
but instead of looking for Pansy she turned behind her where her twin sister
Parvati sat with her Gryffindor roommate, Lavender Brown. Parvati met her twin's gaze with a brave
sort of grimace that belied the uneasiness in her eyes. Padma turned around and fixed her sight on
the lake again.
the crowd jumped to its feet, exploding with sound. Harry Potter was dragging Ron Weasley and a little girl out of
the frigid water. Percy Weasley ran out
and grabbed Ron about the middle of the chest, dragging him backwards out of
the water. Padma watched the unfolding
events with a keen interest. Ever since
Penny had told them about how Percy had conjured up a bed of roses for her in
the broom shed on the night of the Yule Ball, Padma had been thinking about Ron. If Percy had such a passionate streak,
surely Ron must have one as well. Of
course he had made her terribly angry the night of the Yule Ball, but perhaps
it was just the awkwardness of the first date thing. Padma wondered if Ron was seeing anyone. The only girl she ever saw him with was
Hermione Granger. Padma noted the way
Hermione and Viktor had huddled together in intense conversation earlier. If Ron and Hermione were an item, surely she
wouldn't carry on like that with Krum, right?
was surprised with the twinge of indignation that coursed through her when
Fleur Delacour kissed Ron on the cheeks.
She looked about sheepishly, but was pleased to see that everyone's
attention was on Ludo Bagman who was calling out the scores. Padma took this opportunity to study Ron
Weasley intensely. He had the same
tall, lanky frame as Percy, though Ron had a gangling look while Percy held
himself with stiff dignity. His bright
red hair looked dark with the dampness of the lake. It spiked in the front but clung to the nape of his neck in wet
curls. The red-brown freckles that
dotted his long nose offset his winter pallor.
He had a childish mouth, pink and pouty. Padma had a sudden recollection of the two older redheads she had
seen with the Weasleys at Kings Cross station on September first. Surely these had to be Ron's oldest
brothers. How handsome they were! The
one with the earring was especially good looking…
started as someone poked her in the back.
She looked around her and saw that everyone was making their way back to
the castle. Lisa poked her again.
to Padma! You coming or what?"
felt burning color rise on her face.
"Oh! Er…yes, I just have
to…um…talk to my sister."
gave her an inquisitive look, but went after Lisa anyway. Padma climbed down to the bottom of the
stands where she found Parvati waiting for her.
up? I sent Lavender on ahead because I
sensed that you wanted to see me."
said nothing, but slowed her pace so that the crowd pulled ahead of them. She had no patience for her sister's
preoccupation with Divination.
Apparently Professor Trelawney had recently convinced her that as twins
they shared some kind of psychic link.
Load of tosh as far as Padma was concerned.
is it?" asked Parvati.
hesitated. She knew that her sister and
Lavender Brown were the biggest gossips in their year. She had no desire to hear her interest in
Ron Weasley going about the whole school.
is about a boy, isn't it?" asked Parvati with a breathless giggle. "Is it Mathieu from Beauxbatons?"
attempted to keep the irritation out of her voice. "It is not about
Mathieu. Actually it's someone from…"
tell me! Don't tell me!" interrupted
Parvati putting the back of her hand over her eyes. "My inner eye will pick it up from your aura." She waited a few seconds. "It's a Gryffindor," she said with a misty,
yet definite tone.
stared at her in disbelief. Perhaps
there was something to the psychic twin link after all. "You saw that in my aura?"
smiled knowingly and said, "Yes, that and the fact that Lav and I were
consulting the orb last night and we saw that you would soon be taken with a
Gryffindor." Parvati frowned. "It also indicated that you wanted him to be
good at Herbology for some reason. But
really Padma, are you sure you want to pursue
irritated look quickly replaced Padma's surprised one. "No, you great, silly twit! I'm not interested in Neville! It's Ron Weasley."
it was Parvati's turn to look surprised.
"Ron Weasley?" she asked in disbelief.
"But I thought you said he was the most immature boy you've ever met,
and the worst dresser too."
well," said Padma, annoyed with herself for blushing. "Perhaps I was too quick to judge him. So I need a copy of your class schedule so I can decide when to
gave her a skeptical look, but pulled a notepad and quill out of her pocket and
began copying down her schedule. "Here
you go, but I have to tell you, I'll be consulting the tea leaves tonight to
see if you're even compatible with Ron."
do that Parvati," said Padma with an air of resignation.
To be continued…..