Chapter 16 : Been a Long Time Since I Came Around
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“Would you still be my friend if I died my hair black?” Dom asked, twirling a lock of her silver hair around her finger, and looking at me questioningly.
“I think it would be a loss of beautiful hair, but yeah I’d still be friends with you,” I responded, looking down at my freshly painted lilac nails. I noticed a chip on the nail of my pointer finger, and felt myself frown. There was nothing more annoying than having your nails ruined mere hours after you painted them. “Would you still talk to me if I had no hair?” I asked Dom.
Dom and I always seemed to fall back onto this game. Whenever we were presented with a boring situation, we always would ask each other ‘would you still be friends with me if…’ questions. It gave us something to do and was also amusing, depending on what we came up with.
“Of course,” Dom answered easily, “hair is not a necessity, merely a decoration... How about if I was blind?”
I put my hand on my chin, pretending to be deep in thought over Dom’s question.
“I could look like shit around you,” I stated after a long pause, “so yeah... But I’m not sure if I’d be able to deal with your Seeing Eye dog. I hate dogs.”
“I could get a seeing eye niffler,” Dom suggested. “They’re so cute!”
“Eh, I guess,” I said shrugging my shoulders, “But I couldn’t wear anything shiny because they’d attack me.”
“So then does that mean you wouldn’t be my friend?” Dom asked, narrowing her eyes.
“Maybe,” I responded, knowing I’d get a rise out of her. Dom let out a huff as expected and crossed her arms.
Instead of telling Dom I didn’t mean it (which I knew she knew) I stared at the door of the classroom, waiting for the professor to enter. We were in the Charms classroom on our last class Monday morning before lunch, and Professor Flitwick had yet to arrive. He was notoriously late to his classes, because he had to teach another class on the opposite side of the castle, so it always took him forever to hurry his way to our room. Not that anyone in the class actually minded.
“Alright, I have another one!” Dom said excitedly, her previous huff evaporated. “Would you still be friends with me if I was obliviated and couldn’t remember anything?”
I thought about it for a nanosecond before replying. “Nope.”
“Harsh,” Dom said, pretending to act offended.
“Well…” I started, trying to put my reasoning into words, “you wouldn’t be you anymore, you know? And it’d just be depressing to hang out with you and know you didn’t remember anything about our friendship. Hell, maybe you would hate me in your obliviated state.”
“I would never hate you,” Dom stated matter-of-factly.
“You can’t guarantee that.”
A giggle erupted in the back of the classroom and I felt the back of my palms itch. So, as Dom continued to try and prove that she wouldn’t in fact hate me, I found my gaze trailing over to the table that I had been avoiding all class. There, Madison and Elise were sitting side-by-side, laughing and whispering to each other without a care in the world. As if they hadn’t single-handedly crushed me just a few days ago. It seemed so odd to me that they could be so unaffected by what they had done.
“Corinne,” Dom said, snapping me back to reality and causing me to look at her. She seemed to have figured out who I was looking at, and I noticed a crease pinch at her forehead.
She had been coddling me more than usual since the Great Hall incident. I hadn’t been able to go anywhere without her constantly tagging along, making sure I was fine, and if anything about the Great Hall was mentioned, I would notice her tense and glare at whoever brought it up. It was almost as if she was more angered by it than I was. Not that I wasn’t angered. I was far from okay with it. I had just learned to accept… somehow… that things would never change. People would never change.
I found my thoughts starting to drift to James, and what I had thought might’ve been the slightest bit of change (not that it mattered if he had) and I instantly shook my head, clearing it. I refused to think about him, because when I did all I felt was rage at him and his friends and everything they had done that affected me even to this day. They were arseholes and they always would be.
“Corinne,” Dom snapped.
“Yeah?” I asked Dom, blinking a couple of times and finally registering that she was waiting for a response.
“I asked,” Dom said looking at me a bit annoyed that she had to repeat herself, “if you think we should like…. Ask her to sit with us.”
I looked to whom Dom was referring to and my gaze came upon Roxy, who was walking into the room late, her cheeks flushed from what I assumed was her running to make it here before Professor Flitwick. She was looking around the room, obviously searching for a seat, and I saw her gaze flicker over Madison for the briefest of moments, with hurt reflected in her eyes.
This whole school day had been full of new adjustments, but not just for me. I had noticed this whole day, that Roxy was being intentionally shunned by Madison and Elise. While they still made snide comments under their breath about me, I noticed they were also doing the same to Roxy. And since Roxy had been associated with Madison for so long, nobody else was reaching a hand out because they thought her to be just like Madison. I had seen enough people shove past Roxy in the hallway to understand that her association with Madison had made people hate her.
“I don’t know…” I said, as Roxy’s gaze trailed across Madison and Elise again, who sent her matching smirks. “I mean it was nice what she did and all… But wouldn’t it be weird? We’re not even friends.”
“It was just a suggestion,” Dom responded, shrugging her shoulders as if it was no big deal. “I just thought I’d ask.”
I kept my eyes trained on Roxy, as she finally made her way over to a table at the front of the room that nobody else was sitting at. A couple of people snickered at her, and some people even glared at her. There was something inside of me that felt incredibly guilty as I watched the scene, but I decided to shake it away. Roxy was fine. Who knew if she would’ve even wanted to sit with me. I mean, I was the reason she no longer had friends. Wasn’t I?
“Alright class!” Professor Flitwick announced, strolling through the room and climbing onto the stack of books that was a permanent fixture in the front of the room. “I’m sorry I’m late. Let’s not dilly dally any longer so I can teach you all about memory charms!”
Everyone in class seemed to sigh at the fact that we were, in fact, going to learn, but I didn’t have the energy to join in and instead was zoning out as I scanned the room again. Someone was missing….
“Hey, Dom,” I whispered, causing her ears to perk up as she looked at me. “Where’s—”
The door to the Charms room burst open, causing a lot of people in the classroom to look away from Professor Flitwick and instead at the student who had managed to be even later than the professor.
“Sorry I’m late, Professor,” Wyatt stated, looking a bit flustered as he entered the room. “I was held up in Arithmancy I have a note here from the professor…”
“Oh that is quite alright Mr. Bergeron,” Professor Flitwick said, beaming at him. Wyatt had managed to become one of his favorites, by reasons unbeknownst to me. “Just take a seat.”
Wyatt scanned his eyes around the room for a split second and then he began to walk towards the front row right towards the empty table Roxy was sitting at. He stood in front of the vacant seat next to her, while Roxy looked up at him in shock.
He said something to her, to which she nodded her head slowly, and then he took the seat next to her, causing a bunch of onlookers to break out into whispers. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the smirks on Madison and Elise’s faces were wiped off.
“Hm…” Dom said to me, seeming just as confused as I was. “That’s weird.”
“Yeah,” I echoed, as I watched Wyatt start to pull out his notes, acting as if sitting by Roxy was nothing out of the ordinary. “Weird.”
“You know,” Tyson started, sitting across from me as I now sat in my usual seat at the library, “you’re going to have to go back into the Great Hall eventually.”
“I know that,” I said as I scanned over my Potions textbook, reading over what Professor Cosgrove had taught us the previous class. “I just have a lot of homework to catch up on. Besides. It’s a lot quieter in here.”
“Mhmm…” Tyson said, giving me a disbelieving look. I chose to ignore it, and instead grabbed the apple Tyson had brought for me, taking a bite out of it.
It was now dinnertime, and I still had yet to set foot into the Great Hall. It wasn’t that I was scared of going in there, because I wasn’t. I mean I wasn’t afraid of entering and seeing a million embarrassing pictures of my old self taunting me, because that had already happened. It was just…. The thought of the whole school shoved into one room, all of them looking and staring at me, wondering what I was going to do next, waiting for me to break down… It made my skin crawl.
“So,” I started, keeping my eyes fixed on Tyson, “Did I tell you that Wyatt sat next to Roxy in class today?”
I searched his face for some reaction, because I knew if Wyatt had said anything about Roxy, it would be to Tyson. Tyson’s face, however, remained impassive and he shrugged his shoulders.
“I think he sat by her, because they’re friends,” Tyson responded, not giving anything away.
“Since when?” I asked.
“I dunno. They have a lot of classes together. He mentioned to me that they worked with each other on an Ancient Runes project.”
“Hm,” I said, acting as if I wasn’t interested. “So do you think he like… likes her?”
Tyson opened his mouth looking as if he was about to go into a very long explanation when—
“I hate him!” Dom exclaimed in anger, pulling a chair out from the table Tyson and I were sitting at and plopping down onto it loudly.
Tyson and I exchanged a look, before I turned back to Dom and decided to bite the bullet. “Hate who, Dom?” I asked tentatively.
“Chaise!” Dom responded. “He’s such a prick!”
I found myself furrow my eyebrows in confusion as I opened my mouth up again. “What do you mean?”
“I mean that he’s acting like Quidditch is more important than I am!” Dom exclaimed, raising her hands up in the air to solidify her point.
“I’m sure he’s not Dom,” I reasoned, looking at Tyson for some support. He just shrugged his shoulders, as if saying he wanted nothing to do with the conversation and looked back down at his Potions book.
“But he is!” Dom shot back. “He practices every day. Like nonstop. And when practice ends, he practices on the pitch alone! I barely see him anymore because they have that stupid game with Slytherin next month, and he keeps saying he needs to ‘prove his worth’ on the team. What about proving his worth to me?”
“Well,” Tyson said, finally joining the conversation. “I did hear that Slytherin has a new team member. He’s supposed to be the best beater in the world. And he’s insanely hot too.”
“Shut up, Tyson,” I said, shooting him my best ‘you’re not helping’ look. I then looked back at Dom, who was glaring at Tyson. “Dom, he’s just trying to do his best to win the Quidditch game. Maybe cut him a bit of slack, yeah?”
Dom seemed to think over what I had said. “Maybe…” she said, as if deep in thought. “Although I don’t understand why you’re so okay with this. He keeps going on and on about how amazing his team is, and how ‘amazing’ at leading the captain is.”
I felt myself tense at Dom mentioning this. Chaise was actually becoming friends with the people who had hurt me so badly? He was actually praising James’s captaining skills? Did he not realize what they had done to me?
“What?” I asked Dom, my voice immediately taking a bitter tone.
“I know!” Dom said, eager to have me on her side. “He’s fraternizing with my idiots of cousins, and not only that but he’s acting like they’re his…. Friends.”
“Hey, hey,” Tyson said, seeming to want to diffuse the situation. “Let’s not throw around words when we don’t actually know anything for certain. I don’t think he’s friends with any of them. Just Quidditch mates. There’s a difference.”
“There most certainly is not,” I responded. “If he’s socializing with people that made my life hell, then that’s all that counts.”
“He’s not socializing with them,” Tyson said firmly. “I swear I’d tell you if he was. He’s just trying to get along with his team so that they win the next match.”
Dom and I looked at each other, wondering if we should believe what Tyson was saying. Tyson seemed to be sincere, so I let out a sigh.
“Fine,” I stated. “I’ll let it go.”
“Me too,” Dom said, albeit a bit reluctantly.
“Good,” Tyson said, clapping his hands together as if a problem was solved.
Dom looked as if she was about to say something, but before the words came out a clearing of the throat stopped her. We all whipped our heads around to where the noise was coming from, and I noticed what looked to be a first year, staring at us with a very timid expression on her face.
“Um… C-Corinne Beaumont?” The first year stuttered, looking up at me with wide green eyes.
“Yeah?” I asked.
“H-Headmistress McGonagall wants to see you in her office. She told me to give you this, it’s the password to her office.” With that, the first year girl handed me a slip of parchment, and then scurried off.
There was a short silence and then—
“Why does Headmistress McGonagall want to see you?” Dom asked, staring at the spot the first year had once been standing in, curiously.
“Not sure,” I responded, getting up from my seat at the table and slinging my purse over my shoulder. “Guess I’ve got to go figure it out. I’ll see you guys later, yeah?”
“Course,” Tyson said easily. “Have fun.”
Fun? Visiting the office of the Headmistress, who had already made it very clear she did not like me, was not my idea of fun. Tyson really needed to get his head checked.
“Oh yeah, it’ll be a blast,” I responded sarcastically before turning on my heel and leaving the library.
Headmistress McGonagall sat in her office chair, looking at me with a flat expression. Her bun was pulled especially tight to the back of her head, and her black robes looked as if they had just been ironed, while her eyes did not move. Instead of returning her gaze, however, I found myself concentrating on counting all the wrinkles that had formed around her eyes. Her eyes that were continuing to stare at me as if I was a very confusing puzzle.
I wasn’t sure why, but something told me that this couldn’t be good.
“So,” Headmistress McGonagall began, keeping her gaze trained on mine, while I fidgeted in my seat, “I have asked you here so that we can talk.”
“Talk?” I asked, suddenly very confused.
“Yes, talk,” McGonagall repeated, before opening one of the drawers in her desk and pulling out a round tin. She opened the lid of it and then got up and walked over to where I was sitting. “Would you like a biscuit?”
“A… biscuit?” I asked, looking down in the tin at the rows of biscuits all lined up next to each other, the white doilies holding each one separately.
“Take one,” McGonagall said, sensing my trepidation. “They’re rather good if I do say so myself.”
I found myself completely gob smacked at the curious way in which the Headmistress was acting, so I took the biscuit, not really realizing what I was doing. I noticed she was still staring at the biscuit in my hand, so I took a bite of it, which satisfied her.
“So,” McGonagall said after a long moment that was filled by my chewing. “How are your classes so far? Do you like them?”
“Uh… Yeah. They’re pretty good,” I answered, not knowing what else to say. I couldn’t very well complain about them, now could I? I mean she was the Headmistress.
“That’s good,” McGonagall said, nodding her head. She then looked at me, seeming to take in my very confused expression and sighed. “Okay, I guess I should tell you why you’re here.”
“Well,” McGonagall started. “I’m sure you’re…uh… aware of the spectacle that was put on in the Great Hall on Friday.”
I found myself not knowing how to respond to this, so instead I remained silent.
“And,” McGonagall continued, sensing my discomfort. “I wanted to formally apologize to you for it happening at all. We have punished the people responsible for it, and are sure that they will never do anything of the sort again.”
“Okay,” I said.
“And, it is my duty to ask you if…” McGonagall inhaled a sharp breath. “If anything of the sort has happened to you before.”
There it was. The question that I suddenly knew she had been intent on asking me ever since I entered her office. I noticed her study me closely for a reaction, as I thought over my answer.
I knew the answer. I knew that everything of the sort had happened to me before. Picking on me had been a sport for the Gryffindors in my year. But did I want to tell McGonagall? Would telling her even make a difference?
“Um…” I said, if only to buy more time. It was odd to me that now I was presented with the chance to tell someone, who wanted to know, everything that I had gone through, I suddenly didn’t want to. “I don’t…”
“You don’t what?” McGonagall asked, peering at me very interestedly. I found myself wondering if she actually wanted to know because she cared, or because it was her duty to.
“I mean,” I started, my eyes meeting the headmistress’s. “No.”
“No?” Headmistress McGonagall asked, shock evident in her tone.
“No,” I repeated firmly. Telling McGonagall would hardly make a difference, it had happened so long ago, for any of it to really matter now. I was the only one that still clung to the past, and I didn’t need everyone else to as well.
“Well,” McGonagall said, straightening up, “if you think of anything, you know you can tell me. My office is always open.”
I found myself inwardly rolling my eyes. Headmistress McGonagall hated me. She was only saying these things out of obligation. I hardly doubt me telling her anything would make a difference.
“Okay,” I said. “Can I leave now?”
“Uh-Yes. Of course,” Headmistress McGonagall said looking a bit taken aback, and then gesturing to the door. “Just remember what I said, okay?”
“Alright,” I responded, getting up from my seat and walking out of the McGonagall’s office. Once I closed the door behind me, I found myself let out a breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding and leant my head against one of the walls.
I had thought for a long time that if only the teachers had taken charge and asked me about the bullying, that maybe everything would’ve gotten better. I wouldn’t have been picked on, if only for fear of getting in trouble with the school. People would’ve eventually learned to accept me, and one day I could’ve been happy at Hogwarts. But that wasn’t the case.
It wasn’t the teachers that were at fault. It was me. I had countless opportunities to let them know what was happening, to give them the chance to put a stop to it. But I didn’t. I was too afraid of shedding light on it all and letting them know what had happened, if only because it would make it all true.
“Do my eyes deceive me?” I heard a voice ask, as I walked down one of the hallways, on my way back to the library. “Or am I actually seeing the elusive Corinne for the first time in forever?”
I turned around at the mention of this, and came across the grinning face of Scorpius with an ever disgruntled looking Al in tow. A smile tugged at the corner of my lips as I saw them.
“It’s her, mate,” Al said, looking a bit put off by Scorpius’s dramatics.
“I think it is her,” Scorpius continued as if Al had not said anything, a joking tone in his voice, “But I can’t be sure. It might be an optical illusion.”
Al rolled his eyes at Scorpius as he walked over and pretended to examine me as if I might not be real.
“Oi! It is me,” I exclaimed, pushing Scorpius away from me as he continued to wave his hand in front of my face while his other poked my arm.
“Ow!” Scorpius exclaimed, pretending to be physically hurt by my shove. “I haven’t seen you in Merlin knows how long, and this is my hello?”
“Scorpius, you haven’t seen her for three days,” Al stated. I began walking away from the Headmistress’s office to the library, and Al and Scorp fell into step with me. The halls were empty, since most people were either at dinner or back in their common rooms, so our conversation echoed around us.
“Forever I’d say!” Scorpius exclaimed putting his arm around me as we walked. He then switched his tone to a more serious note. “So. Explain to me where you’ve been.”
“Um… ” I looked at Al uncomfortably and wondered if he, in any way, knew about the conversations I had had with James. I couldn’t quite tell, because the expression on his face remained inscrutable. Damn him for always being so hard to read. “Well I mean… After Friday I kind of… stopped going to the Great Hall.”
“Stopped?” Scorpius asked, looking confused.
“Yeah,” I responded, my voice a bit more strong. “Can you blame me though?”
“Yes,” Al responded looking at me with a bit of… disappointment. Scorpius nodded his head eagerly as if to agree.
“What? Why?” I asked, suddenly very confused.
“You’re ignoring us! We’re in different houses, and we’re in different years. Meal times are the only times we get to see each other!” Scorpius exclaimed.
My walking slowed as Scorpius said this, and I suddenly felt insanely guilty. He thought I was ignoring him? That I didn’t want to see them anymore? How did everything get so skewed? If anything, I expected it to be the opposite way around.
“I think,” Al started, ever the serious expression on his face, “that avoiding the Great Hall is not a way to avoid your problems. They still exist, whether or not you’re there.”
We all came to a complete stop as Al said this, which just so happened to be in front of the entrance hall. I studied Al, who still had an unreadable expression on his face.
“In more understandable and non-cryptic terms,” Scorpius said, “we both miss your company.”
I found myself feeling a bit surprised. I hadn’t expected them to really care whether or not I sat at the table. Especially Al, considering his family and everything. I looked at Al with an arched eyebrow, and he just shrugged, which I had learned previously was his mysterious way of agreeing with Scorp.
“Aw you guys,” I exclaimed, suddenly so overcome with flattery. I flung my arms around the both of them. “You’re the best.”
“We know we are,” Scorpius shot back, causing me to laugh.
I heard the noise of the doors of the Entrance Hall opening, just as I was beginning to pull out of our group hug and once I trained my eyes on who was entering the fuzzy feeling in my stomach evaporated. Instead, it was replaced with the feeling of being slapped in the face.
James, Oliver, Aidan, and Chaise were in mid-laugh, joking around as if they were the best of friends. They were all still in their Quidditch robes, so I assumed they had just finished practice, but I didn’t really take that in and was instead starting at Chaise and James who were looking particularly chummy.
Dom was right. Chaise was befriending them. I mean, I understand if he was polite to them because they are on the same Quidditch team, but actually, seriously befriending them? Was he fucking kidding? After everything they had done to me? I felt my hands clench and my teeth were definitely gritted, as I kept my gaze trained on Chaise.
Chaise’s eyes suddenly locked with mine, and his expression of laughter seemed to freeze, before switching to a deer-in-the-headlights expression. The guys around him noticed and turned to look at me. I was pretty sure it was evident how royally pissed I was.
I felt someone take hold of my arm and I looked at Scorpius, who seemed to be trying to silently convey something to me, but I shook him off and felt my eyes switch to Janes for the briefest of moments. He was lazily flicking his eyes over Scorpius, and them seemed a bit surprised as his gaze landed on Al. Al suddenly looked very, very uncomfortable.
“Hey, Coco,” Chaise said slowly, lifting his hand up into a small wave, while the others looked on in interest. I noticed James now seemed to be looking directly at me, wondering how exactly this exchange was going to go, the corners of his mouth turned up just the tiniest bit. As if everything was playing out just the way he wanted. I felt my anger flare.
Chaise was using my nickname, acting like it was all okay. As if everything was fine. As if he wasn’t stabbing me in the back. He knew how badly they had all hurt me. He knew how they’d affected me. He just… He just knew goddamnit. I mean he was acting like he was friends with James! James who had been at the center of every bad thing in my life, and who had most certainly had a hand in the Great Hall debacle.
And I just couldn’t. I couldn’t respond to Chaise and pretend it was all fine, and that he could be friends with them. Maybe people would see this as me being too controlling, but you know what? Call me a Gryffindor, because I saw it is a loyalty thing. Chaise’s loyalty most definitely didn’t lie with me, and that was that.
So instead of responding, I sent him a look of pure disgust and stomped off, the sound of my heels the only noise as I turned a corner and disappeared.
I was wrong. I had thought all of my friends accepted me after the whole Great Hall issue. I thought none of them saw me differently, but I had seemed to overlook Chaise. He obviously didn’t want to be mates with me anymore and I felt something tug at my heart at this realization. He was one of my best mates. Why didn’t he care?
I let out a huff of indignation and then kicked one of the walls in the vacant hallway I was now in. One of the portraits started to complain about the fact that I had almost hit him, but I didn’t care. I was losing one of my best friends, and I didn’t have time to care about this stupid painting. There were more important things. More important people.
And for Chaise, I was not one of them.
A/N: Here you are my lovely readers! Chapter 16!
So I'm rewriting this author's note for the second time, because the first time I went to post this chapter I accidentally clicked 'switch to the simple editor' and lost all of the things I edited, which really annoyed me. But now I'm calmer and I'm going to retype this and try and remember what I had said before as best I could.
So anyways, I really don't like this chapter, and I've been dwelling on it the past couple of days, trying to decide what I can do to save it. But, I decided to just post it and get it over with, and hope that the next chapter I write turns out better.
Regardless, I still hope you guys likes this chapter :)
So onto my ramble of questions: What do you think about Wyatt sitting by Roxy? What about Coco refusing to sit in the Great Hall? How about her chat with McGonagall? OR what about Chaise?! Did Corinne overreact?
Also a reminder, please keep your reviews 12+ (which means no cursing) or else the review you left me will get deleted! I've been losing several of my reviews because of it, and I just wanted to remind you again, because it makes me sad when I lose a review.
Anyways, please review and let me know what you think. Your lovely support really means SO much to me, and I don't think I'd be as far into this story as I am without you. So THANK YOU for being amazing readers.
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