Matt and I continued to see each other in the evenings and on the weekends. As a prefect he had special privileges and got to sneak me up to the boys dormitory, at the penultimate level of Ravenclaw Tower. We spent plenty of nights watching the stars and enjoying each other's company when the other seventh year boys were out doing homework or other activities.
"Is it ever going to get serious between you and Matt?" Lisa asked me one day in early October.
"I dunno," I answered, "We'll see if he ever wants to take it to that level." Lisa sighed at my indecision as we went into a seminar about continuing education and resources to get a job in the wizarding world. We took a seat next to James and Brad waiting for the headmistress to join us. James hadn't spoken to me since I'd been involved with Matt, but had become a bit friendlier in the past week.
"Did you take any of the pamphlets," he asked as he turned to look at me.
"No, I didn't," I replied going to get up.
"No worries," he sweetly told me, handing me a small packet of information about continuing education.
"I figured with your marks that you would certainly be interested in something much more fulfilling." In just a month and a half I'd managed to obtain a close friend, lose him and as of now regain. It was extremely confusing to me why James hadn't said a word to me over the past three weeks, but it was great to have him back. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Matt step in and sit in the back with a group of Hufflepuff girls. The headmistress finally joined us and began a long talk about our plans for next year. First she spoke about opportunities for work right out of school. James paid pretty close attention to this part, the most attention I've ever seen him give anything. I figured he had more in him than choosing just to go straight to work and maybe he'd reconsider. I listened to the second presentation about studying specialties around the world from Paris to Beijing. With my luck I would definitely look into that program.
"See you at dinner," James muttered after the Headmistress dismissed us.
"I see he's finally come around," Lisa stated as we picked up our bags to make our way to the Great Hall.
"It's been a while, I'm glad he's stopped being sour."
"Where's your man candy?" I looked around for Matt but he'd disappeared, probably off to the library.
"Who knows," I chuckled, and we headed off to dinner. The gathering on this evening was especially enjoyable. All of my friends were in a tremendous mood and we had a grand old time; on top of that the food was spectacular. The fruit punch served with dessert was heavenly. After stuffing our faces James challenged me to see who could eat one of the largest cupcakes the fastest.
"The first to finish has to slam their fist on the table," Kieran shout before giving us the all clear to begin the competition. We were neck and neck at the same time we extended our arms. James' left arm reached the table first leaving my right first to slam into his forearm, knocking a cup of punch onto his shirt.
"I guess winners don't always reap all the rewards," Brad said with a smirk. We got a good laugh as James unbuttoned most of his shirt to give us all a good laugh.
"I definitely owe you a shirt," I told him as we left the Great Hall, "What size are you?"
"Oh gosh I love women's clothing," he retort, "But I'm sure one of yours would fit fine under a sweater in the winter, thank you." He followed me to the Ravenclaw common room to pick out whatever white shirt of mine he desired. We reached the door to the tower and were presented with a riddle.
If you break me,
I do not stop working.
If you touch me,
I may be snared.
If you lose me,
Nothing will matter.
What am I?
I was certainly stumped for a moment, but then came to an answer.
"A heart," I swiftly replied. We stepped inside and a few younger students sat around the fire doing homework. I hoped they wouldn't notice me taking my friend the way to the dormitories. When we turned the corner I was thankful to note not a single student picked up his or her head.
"How're you going to manage getting me up there," James questioned, "If we go near the girls' dormitories the stairs turn into a slide."
"Ours are luckily downstairs, a slide would be an advantage." We climbed down the steps and luckily nothing happened. I opened the door and not one of my roommates was around.
"You're extremely lucky to be able to smuggle opposite gender companions down here," James commented, I presume curious about what was going on between Matt and I.
"I actually never have," I honestly answered. It was true; Matt had never been down here. I opened my trunk and took a clean white shirt from the top and threw it at James.
"Such a polite hostess," he snarled taking a seat on my shockingly made four-poster. I flopped down on the mattress and watched one of my many pillows fall to the floor. "And ever the graceful one as well." He unbuttoned and removed his shirt and stood stoic for a moment, looking out my window.
"I remember meeting you here that night I gave you the tour." I pushed myself up and sat on the edge closest to my window.
"That was definitely the best view I've gotten of the campus." A short silence settled in as I sat at level with his bare chest. We made ephemeral eye contact before Lisa walked into the room.
"Getting a little hot in here," she shout jokingly, tugging at the collar of her shirt. James rolled his eyes and put on the shirt I gave him. To make me feel even better about myself, it was slightly big on him.
"To be honest, I have zero clue how to remove a stain," he chortled, "I'd usually just send it home with my owl for Mum."
"Can't you just leave it with your father this semester," I inquired.
"It's completely escaped my mind that he even works here still," James answered.
"Possibly because you skipped class enough to forget we were even in session," I suggest. James shot me a scowl and finished buttoning his shirt.
"I really like his style of teaching, it's certainly challenging and stimulating." "God you sound way too much like my cousin Rose," James spat, "You're pretty good at kissing the Professor's ass."
"Probably the best Ravenclaw attribute," Lisa interjects taking a sip of her smuggled coffee from the Great Hall. I nodded my head in agreement.
"Going off to see the gentleman friend today," she asked.
"I'll let him find me," I told her, "I've asked him to hang out each time this week." As I said this I noticed Matt was being slightly distant, not immediately approaching me in common settings and other small things. James stood awkwardly aside from our conversation, examining the decorations I had on my window.
"Well," he mumbled, "I'm off, I'll see you two tomorrow." He made his way out of our room and noisily closed the door.
"I'm certainly glad James stopped being a princess," Lisa told me through munching on a pastry. I picked up a book and pulled my blanket over me. Something fell to the floor and I decided to not pay any attention to it. Later when I got up to brush my teeth before bed I stepped on something sharp.
"Damnit" I muttered as I pulled a pin out of my bare foot. I flipped it over to discover it was a Gryffindor prefect pin. I thought to myself how James probably dropped it when he changed shirts before. I wrapped my foot in a sock and put on a pair of sandals before making my way out of the tower. Lisa must have been asleep because she didn't question where I was heading. Halfway to the Gryffindor common room I realized that I had no way of getting through their picture hole without a Gryffindor student to let me in. Turning a corner I ran into Matt, literally, causing me to drop the pin. He accidently tugged down at his collar, which he was holding up, revealing a huge red mark; in his pocket was a black and yellow tie.
"Christine," he stammered, "I was just heading to the tower to say goodnight to you." My mouth was slightly opened and I stared at him for a moment.
"What's that on your neck," I pressed, knowing fair well what it was. The most suspicious aspect of this encounter was him coming to say goodnight to me, he was never sentimental in our short record together.
"Blast ended skrewt," he fumbled over his words. I knew he wasn't in care of magical creatures this term.
"Ah," I mumbled.
"I'll see you later," I heard through what I'd consider blurred hearing. I dodged a hug and made my way to the Gryffindor portrait hole. On my way there I made up my mind that I wasn't feeding into Matt's games anymore, and although this was only the first incident in a relationship (if it could be called that), I decided to no longer see him. When I reached the portrait hole I was lucky enough to find Kieran.
"What brings you here," he asked, "Are you okay?" I hadn't noticed that my eyes had begun to leak what I believed to be tears.
"I've been better," I told him, "I have something for James, can I leave it for him?"
"Sure." He gave the password and we filed through the relatively full common room to the boys dormitories. Kieran opened the door to his room to discover it empty.
"Maybe James is being productive in the library," he chortled.
"Doubtful," I returned, leaving the pin on James' pillow.
"Are you sure you're okay," Kieran asked, offering me a spot on his neatly made four-poster. I decided to tell him about what had happened.
"I'm so sorry," he stated somberly, "You didn't deserve to deal with his bullshit." The sides of my mouth turned up in a smile for Kieran's blunt take on the situation.
"I haven't even been back to get a great 'I told you so' from Lisa."
"Oh it'll be waiting for you." We chatted for a few more moments and then I dismissed myself to get some sleep.
"If you need anything, don't hesitate to ask," Kieran finished with a smile, leaving me with a hug as I scurried back to the tower, avoiding being caught out after hours.