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Clash by shenanigan
Chapter 37 : Closer
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 48


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Disclaimer: I own nothing.



I could name a hundred different girls who would kill me in a blind jealous rage if they knew what I was doing at this very moment.

That was the only surviving thought in my hormone-addled brain as Potter and I blindly stumbled into my bedroom, knocking clumsily into the doorframe and then the bookshelf, kissing all the way. Even as his mouth slanted over mine, insistent and warm, all I could do was imagine the different deaths I'd be suffering if at the mercy of an envious fangirl horde.

They would attack me with their arsenal of stilettos and fake nails. Bury me alive in a fatal pit of romance novels and custom-made James Potter bobbleheads. Poison me with their perfumes (Eau de Lack of Self-Respect). Whatever tactic they chose, it would be a guaranteed slow, painful death.

Which was why it was a good thing, really, that I wasn't around any fangirls at the moment and instead inside my bedroom snogging James Potter, every inch of my body fused against him, his hand on the back of my neck, his (very talented) tongue in my mouth.

Bollocks.

I peeked open my eyelids for a split second, curiosity getting the better of me, and registered a strong jawline and the curling ends of inky dark hair before I slammed them shut again. No. I couldn’t. Seeing meant believing, and I absolutely refused to believe that this was really happening.

It was all just a dream. A very... er, graphic and enjoyable dream.

And since I was already in the middle of it, I might as well just play this dream out, you know? See what my subconscious had to say for itself. Just for...research purposes. In the name of science!

For example: it was interesting, really, this chemical reaction (see? I used the word chemical! Chemical means science) that took place between me and Potter.

How the second our lips touched, it was game over, our surroundings up in flames, caution thrown to the wind, anything we’d ever promised ourselves shot to hell. Potter’s lips brushed mine, and instantly we were doused in heat. Grappling for each other, frantic hands and the harsh flush of his body against mine, snarling for breath, his hungry mouth bruising and rough. All from one simple touch. Chucking a cigarette into a puddle of gasoline.

I made a sound that was suspiciously similar to a sigh (and let me reiterate — THIS WAS ALL IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE. SCIENCE!) as Potter nipped at my bottom lip, his tongue grazing it ever so slightly before slipping back into my mouth again. Mother of Merlin, the boy was good. I grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, my shoulders scrunching together as I drew him even closer.

I never really liked oxygen, anyway.

Heat lapped at my insides, desire flickering inside my lungs as my hands trailed down Potter's shoulders. He smelled like soap and laundry and boy. Potter’s left hand was holding my face, thumb grazing my cheek as his lips melded over mine. The kiss was a surrendering of control, of will, of all that pent up anger and aggression and hate and —

Potter stumbled backwards, and in a spectacularly graceful motion, we fell on top of my bed.

He wasted no time in rolling us over so that I was underneath, and I let him take the lead, too overwhelmed by the weight of his body against mine to do anything else. His hand pushed underneath my body, against the cold skin of my back exposed by my dress, and I arched against him with a gasp.

Time was streaking by in a haze of teeth and tongue and urgency — it almost felt like fighting with him, this snog. We both wanted to be the aggressor, the dominant one, and we both refused to back down. At one point, I’d shoved Potter to try and roll us over, and the result was the two of us almost falling to the floor.

Which was to be expected, really, when you and your mortal enemy are on your bed. Together. And both of you are conscious and there is a noticeable lack of prank shaving cream — which would be the only acceptable reason for being near James Potter and a bed: to smear bathroom products on his face while he sleeps — but no, instead you’re kissing him, this boy you absolutely despise, this boy who has made your life hell with every snarky comment and smirk and annoying ruffle of his hair, and now you're here, and how has it come to this?

I was just starting to let myself enjoy the kiss, any coherent thoughts or doubts of mine fading into hazy scraps and curls, when there sounded a sudden knock on the door.

“Hey-hey, girl! Guess who’s back in town?”

I could’ve recognized Dom’s voice from a hundred feet away (in fact I had, seeing as one of Dom's favorite pastimes was screaming for my attention from the opposite end of the corridors at Hogwarts), and even from behind my closed bedroom door, I could instantly identify her.

Oh, crap.

In a flash, I was shoving Potter off of me, not acknowledging his muffled oof of pain as he fell to the floor in surprise. My brain worked sluggishly as it registered what exactly was happening in this situation — Potter, Dom, Me — and panic rushed through me in a nauseous wave.

This could not be happening.

“What the hell, Benn — ”

Shhh!” I hissed, flapping my hands spastically — because we all know how much boys love outbursts of epilepsy — as the reality of what was happening sunk its hooks into me. My heart felt like it was trying to lunge out of my chest, every beat a thunder clap.

“Aggy — open up already! Is this really any way to welcome your best friend when she gets home? After surviving the mountains for a week?" Dom demanded loudly as she continued banging on the door. This, I thought, was a bit of an exaggeration — Dom had been at the Alps, after all, not fricking Kilimanjaro. All "surviving" the Alps entailed, I was pretty sure, was buying a snowsuit that matched your ski poles and refraining from ingesting too many hot chocolate calories.

Potter’s annoyed glare had fallen right off his face as he, too, began to realize what the severity of the situation. We stared at each other with wide, panicked eyes, me crouched on the bed like a hunted animal and him in a heap on the hardwood floor.

We were literally trapped with no way out. Dom would walk in on us, see Potter by my bed, and...Oh Merlin, I didn’t even want to think about the hysteria and bouts of gloating and future-wedding-planning that would ensue.

Potter gestured for me to speak — the words ‘are-you-sodding-brain-dead-do-something’ written all over his face — but my mind was wiped clean. Oh Merlin, this was really not the time for my braincells to be playing a sodding game of cerebral Hide and Seek right now.

Come on, Agatha, talk.

“Er — just a minute!” I winced as the words left my mouth, knowing full well a strangulation victim could have enunciated more clearly than I just did. You could barely make out my voice, it was so swaddled in panic. The fact that my heart was currently lodged somewhere in my esophagus wasn't helping, either.

Luckily, Dom didn’t notice, brusquely ignoring my comment as she prattled on with her rant. “What are you trying to do in there?” I could sense her impatience even through the door. “Are you knitting again? Aggy, we've spoken about this. As your best friend, I feel it's my duty to inform you knitting is lame. I mean, I can't hang out with someone who knits! Ugh, I thought I'd confiscated all your needles! You better not have gone out and bought new ones, because I will burn them, Aggy, I will burn it all!"

Oh great, Dom's pyromania was showing. Just what we needed right now.

Potter shot me a weird look, his hair sticking up in little tufts towards the back of his head. “You knit?” he mouthed, like stranger things haven’t happened, and annoyance flared inside me.

“Is that what you’re preoccupied with right now?” I hissed back. "Is that really your big take-away here?"

Potter dropped his mouth to give his reply, eyes flashing with the promise that it was about be very sarcastic, when Dom rapped on the door once more and we both flinched.

I ninja-rolled off the bed, being careful to avoid tripping over the length of Potter’s very unhelpful body, and dusted myself off with shaky hands. Oh Merlin, what were we going to do? I frantically started pacing to and fro, as if the sheer kinetic energy of moving alone could magically produce an idea. Potter hastily pushed himself to a stand as well, rubbing his sore elbows (which he must have landed on) as he watched me, mild irritation flicking across his face.

“Alright, that’s it!” I heard Dom declare, and I froze. “I’m coming in — ”

“No!” I shouted, louder than I had intended. Potter’s eyebrows shot up as he leaned casually against the wall behind him and folded his arms, obviously having given up. His blasé attitude made it clear he'd accepted the fact I wasn't getting us out of this mess, and the thought made anger chafe against the fear inside me.

I cleared my throat, trying to lower my voice to a normal, non-suspicious pitch.

“Sorry, Dom, but you can’t come in right now!”

“And why's that?” Dom shot back, affronted.

“Because — because I’m not wearing any pants!”

Okay.

In my defense, coming up with a decent lie in times of extreme stress can prove really, really difficult. Especially when you're faced with a snarky teenage boy in your bedroom and an arson-happy best friend behind your door.

So if I had to become that person who lounged around their bedroom without pants on, in the middle of January, in sodding England, then so be it.

Potter cocked an eyebrow at me, snarky amusement dancing in his gaze, and I tossed him a warning glare that just dared him to say anything.

There was a long pause behind the door. Then:

“And, er, why exactly aren’t you wearing any pants?”

I rounded on Potter, silently pleading for help, but the prat just shrugged lazily, looking like he was almost enjoying watching this. Arrrrrgh! “Because," — Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit — “Because, um, you’re right. I’m knitting!"

Right. I wasn't wearing any pants because I was knitting. Now that made absolute sense.

Agatha: 1. Logic: 0.

Somehow under the illusion that talking more would help what I'd just said seem a little less fucking weird, I allowed my fat mouth to ramble on. "Sorry, Dom! I know how much you hate it but I just — I can’t be tamed! It’s an addiction! I’m a lean, mean, knitting machine!”

There was an even longer silence.

“Okay, so let me get this straight," Dom said slowly. "I can’t come into your room because you're not wearing any pants, and you're not wearing any pants because... you're knitting.”

“Er, yup, sounds about right!” I exclaimed brightly. “So why don't you just wait a minute until I find something to put on — ”

I whirled around, eyes desperately scanning the room for a hiding place that would allow Potter to stay unnoticed, and my gaze immediately flattened in annoyance when I caught sight of the prat himself, his fist stuffed into his mouth, shoulders and chest shaking as he hunched over in silent laughter.

"Are you bleeding kidding me right now?” I whispered caustically. Potter straightened, eyes crinkled with mirth, still chuckling away at the apparently bloody hilarious predicament I’d talked myself into.

“Lean — mean — knitting machine?!” He managed to get out through his stupid guffawing. My brow furrowed with frustration.

“Oh shut it, you prick! I am honestly going to kill you!” I marched up to him, shoving his chest with my two hands —

And was promptly cut off when Potter grabbed me by my wrists and pulled me towards him, his mouth landing on mine in what was the second time that day he'd caught me totally off guard.

The tension in my shoulders melted away immediately, my squeak of surprise silenced by his lips against my own. He tasted sweet — dark chocolate, peppermint, summer days drenched in sun.

It was a gentler kiss than before. It was a kiss that took its time, a kiss that had me feeling every sensation rolling languidly through my body. And it felt good. The fact that Dom was standing possibly twenty feet away became only a tiny afterthought, a nonissue.

Time was ticking. Potter was playing with fire right now, seeing how far he could push it, how far he could push me. But for one split-second, with Potter’s warm hands cupping my face, I found myself not caring.

I could feel him start to smile through our kiss.

And that was when reality settled in.

“Are you bleeding insane?” I pushed Potter away for real this time, and he went stumbling back, smirking, eyes sparkling with arrogant laughter.

“Calm down, Bennett,” Potter's voice was a taunting challenge as he brushed past me and started ambling towards the door, hands casually shoved in his pockets, as composed and unflappable as ever. “I don't see what the big deal is here."

"The big deal?!" I said, in what could only be described as a shriek-whisper. Potter's smirk visibly widened. All traces of previous concern were gone — having accepted the fact that Dom would find us out, the situation now didn't bother him in the slightest.

He was worry-free, as cool as a cucumber, indulging in the entertainment of my hysteria. The more I freaked out, the less seriously he seemed to take me when it should have been the opposite. This shit was dire.

"Yeah," Potter nodded with mock-thoughtfulness, amber eyes rogue and playful and just a tiny bit mocking. "I think you're overreacting."

This was so typical Potter — to breeze through any problem without a single regard for the potential consequences. His charm and name always managed to grease him out of any tight squeeze, so why should he care?

"In fact," Potter was saying, getting closer and closer to the door, his wicked gaze trained on me. I felt the colour drain from my face as I realized where he was goign with this. "Why don't we just get it over with and just let Dommy dearest in?"

I almost yelped at the thought. Potter was bluffing. He had to be bluffing. He was just saying these things to get a rise out of me, to garner some kind of hilarious, satisfying reaction. He couldn't possibly want Dom to see us, could he? It would be bad for him too! Could he really be that bloody insane?

But even as I was trying to reassure myself, Potter was already reaching out towards the doorknob, his lips curved knowingly. My back went stick-straight as I realized what was about to happen, and then — before I knew it — I was taking a running head-start and tackling Potter to the ground in a brilliant (and surprising) display of physical coordination.

We landed with a conspicuous thud on the floor, me on top of him, our limbs becoming hopelessly tangled in the fall.

"Oof — Bennett, what the hell?"

"Are you kidding? You were just about to screw us both!"

"Oh come on, I told you. it's not a big deal! It'll be funny!"

"You can't be serious."

"And you're only ever serious, Bennett, which is your problem."

"Are you really saying that it'd be okay with you if Dom had walked in on us — "

"Well — "

"And seen us both — "

"I — "

"In some compromising position?"

"You mean like this one?" Potter was all of a sudden leaning up on his elbows, his mouth coming dangerously close to grazing my earlobe. Eyebrows raised, he gestured with his chin to the two of us, and I suddenly became aware of just what this might look like to an outsider. I was sitting on top of Potter, straddling his waist, my hands planted on his chest.

That shut me up.

I snapped my mouth shut and gingerly removed my hands from Potter's torso, flushing Quaffle red.

“Does it really take this long to put on some pants?” I heard Dom complain boredly from the other side, but I was too busy scrambling off of Potter to reply.

“Er — sorry!” I chirped hysterically towards the door once I managed to come to a stand, trying to ignore the memory of Potter’s breath on my neck, his stare on my skin. “I tripped and fell — you know how clumsy I am. Just, er, give me a second!”

I shot a glare at Potter, who was taking his own sweet time getting up as he lazily dusted his hands on his pants, mouth curled in a satisfied smirk.

...A satisfied smirk that quickly slid off his face when, fed up and breathing heavily, I pointed towards the bedroom window behind him and hissed, "Out."

Potter cocked an eyebrow. He looked at me, then the window, then back at me again. “You’re joking.” When he saw the seriousness of my expression, the other eyebrow quirked up to join its friend. “You’re not joking.”

“No,” I shook my head firmly, eyes blazing. “I’m really not. You're going out that window.”

“That’s about a twenty foot drop, Bennett,” he said, in the same tone you might employ when trying to teach a non-English-speaking child the alphabet.

I crossed my arms over my chest. This was the last straw. “Do you not understand the situation we’re in?”

“Do you not understand the concept of gravity?” Potter volleyed back in exasperation.

“I don’t give a flying fuck!” I marched towards him and, noticing the crazed, panicked look in my eyes, Potter took a wary step back.

“Bennett, as someone who enjoys the use of his legs, I refuse to jump twenty feet to the ground just so you can avoid having an awkward conversation with my cousin.”

“You don’t have to jump! You can climb down!”

“Oh, right. Just give me a minute while I go put on my Spiderman suit first,” Potter snapped back.

“What, don’t tell me you’re scared, Potter? I thought you were a Gryffindor!”

“Being a Gryffindor doesn’t mean I also have to be suicidal!”

“You are going through that window!”

“There is no way in high hell I am going through that wi — Ow! Ow! Okay okay, I’m going, I’m going through that window — just stop hitting me! Jesus Christ, woman!”

Satisfied, I withdrew my hands, chest heaving, and watched as Potter stalked across the room and heaved the tiny window open, all the while muttering something about moving to Mongolia to become a monk and get away from "crazy, psychotic bints" like me.

“Yeah!” I rasped after him, my voice somehow managing to stay quiet while still employing the appropriate amount of scathing. “Go ahead! I'll be happy to book your plane ticket for you!”

“As long as it's not a round trip, princess, by all means, go ahead,” Potter shot back oh-so-maturely as he slung his leg over the sill, his broad shoulders hunched comically low so he could fit in the small space.

I crossed my arms, jittery foot tapping against the ground. I couldn’t resist getting the last word in. “Fine, why don't you take a bloody Vow of Silence while you’re at it?!”

The last thing I saw before Potter dropped out of sight was the lovely view of his middle finger.

Prat.

Finally there was relief, making my knees wobble as I gulped in gutsy breaths and walked over to the door, patting down my slightly wrinkled shirt before I readied myself. Potter was gone, and yet the memory of his skin on mine still had my teeth chattering. Oh well, here went nothing.

The moment I swung open the door for my bestfriend, I was immediately bombarded with a giant bear hug, a mouthful of strawberry-blonde hair and an onslaught of Dom-isms.

“Holy crap you dyed your hair — it's been so long — is that a hangnail I see — did you lose weight — you should really tweeze your left eyebrow, Aggy — it feels like it's been forever — just your left though, mind you, the right one's fine — did you get some new freckles — “ My best friend pulled away and paused in her monologue, presumably because she just remembered she needed oxygen to live. I smiled nervously, uncomfortable under Dom's scrutiny.

My best friend, though many saw her as just another blonde Veela ditz, was actually one of the most perceptive people I knew. The girl had eyes like a hawk and a nose like a niffler. She could walk into any room and immediately absorb all its details, like a really creepy, really nosy sponge.

"Dom," I said, forcing a strained smile. "Calm down. It's been like, four days since we saw each other."

"No, it's been forever!" Dom gushed and broke into a huge, blinding smile, squeezing my shoulders excitedly. Her smile quickly disappeared though, to be replaced by a puzzled frown. "Hey, you look kind of sweaty."

I froze, trying not to betray my anxiety at this observation, which had been different from the other fifty bajillion Dom had made in the past two minutes. It was different because it had a reason.

...And that reason was with James Potter. In my bedroom.

“Oh, you know how... intense I get when I knit,” I said with fake cheeriness. I grabbed my best friend by the bony elbow, dragging her inside before she could get another word in. “Anyways, enough about me! How were the Alps?"

But Dom was having none of my poorly-executed deflection. She was too busy treating my room like a CSI crime scene, inspecting every surface with a shrewd, careful glare. “Something’s... different here,” she murmured slowly, cat-like eyes trailing over the far wall. “Something’s not right.”

“Okay, Sherlock,” I joked, heartrate spiking. “Why don’t you just whip out the magnifying glass already?”

My best friend looked like she was about to say something sassy, but then thought better of it. With a bright smile, she snapped her mouth shut and stalked off towards the bed, me trailing haplessly behind her.

I perched myself on the edge of the mattress and tried to appear as natural as possible. It felt like my heart was trying to punch itself out my chest.

“So what have you been up to while I was gone? Besides desperately pining after moi, of course.” Dom flopped backwards next to me, her hair fanning out across the bedspread, and kicked off her indigo-blue kitten heels with a satisfied sigh. I leaned back as well, blinking at the ceiling above me.

“You don’t know?” I mumbled. “Haven’t you seen Freddy’s Wizbook page yet?”

“Oh yes,” Dom mused thoughtfully, grabbing a pillow and fluffing it aggressively before rolling around to shove her face in it. “The pictures of everyone at the New Years concert. Did you end up going?"

“Unwillingly.”

“How bad was it?”

I dragged my eyes away from the ceiling to meet her steady gaze. “I had to put up with the idiots all on my own, Dom. And they were so drunk."

Dom winced appreciatively. “Terror level?”

“We’ve been at a steady Orange ever since you left.”

In Third Year, when Dom and I began to hang out more and more with the Tweedle Trio, the two of us developed a little code that could serve as a way for us to gauge my mood. It was similar to the weather rankings that categorized hurricanes and potentially dangerous storms, but instead of wind or rain, our system was based off of how hostile I felt towards Potter at any given moment.

Yellow Alert was when I wanted to punch him in the face (because I always wanted to punch him in the face). Orange was when I got a smidge more homicidal than usual. And Red was for situations when I wanted to chop Potter's head off and put it in a formaldehyde jar so that I could use it a paperweight. But that was a rare level of crazy. Whenever I reached Red, Dom was supposed to lock me in a closet and phone the police.

“Orange? Dude, that blows,” Dom hummed sympathetically, hugging her legs to her chest.

“Yeah. It’s been bad around here, Dom. Debbie showed up,” I huffed. “I had to go to a press conference."

“Debbie? Ew! Please say you told her to fuck off!” Dom squealed, pointer finger wagging in typical Jersey Shore bitch-out fashion. There was only a hint of joking in her tone.

“Actually...” I began warily, remembering with only a pinch of shame the screaming match between my step-mother and me. Wow, had that been only an hour ago? It felt like forever since Debbie had been here. "I kind of did."

Dom’s eyes widened in delighted surprise, her lips dropping into a smile.

“No way! You didn’t!” Her voice was low with excitement.

“Well, I didn't ‘tell her’ so much as ‘scream it out hysterically'... But yeah, man. I did.”

“Have I ever told you how abso-fucking-lutely amaze you are?" My best friend shook her head, grin wide and easy. “Wish I had your guts. The whole trip, Fleurzilla would not get off my case. Whether it was my hair, or how my nails didn’t match my snowsuit, or the fact that my socks weren’t fucking thick enough... She just wouldn't leave me alone. God I wanted to tell her off. What's worse is that we pretty much spent the whole vacation catering to Victoire’s every need because she was 'the bride to be.' Seriously, she just sat there the whole time like a white-girl Jabba the Hut, watching Say Yes to the Dress marathons and drinking diet hot cocoa with a spoon."

"Wow," I said. "That's a weird way to drink hot cocoa."

Dom ignored my unhelpful remark, plundering on with her rant as she struggled to an upright position. Her rage seemed to be increasing with every word. "Every night she would make Louis roll around in her bed for an hour before she went to sleep because she didn't want the sheets 'to be too cold' when she got in. She is a fucking psychopath, Aggy. She is the future aunt of my children, possible Maid of Honor at my wedding, my genetic relation — and she is a psychopath."

“I thought I was going to be your Maid of Honor?” I pouted, hurt.

“THAT’S NOT THE POINT," Dom positively exploded, clutching the pillow to her chest with scary intensity. "THE POINT IS THAT MY FAMILY DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF NORMAL. THE WHOLE VACATION, WE HAD TO EAT VICTOIRE’S STUPID DIET FOOD BECAUSE MY MUM DIDN'T WANT HER TO FEEL 'LEFT-OUT.' IT TASTED LIKE CARDBOARD AND SADNESS. CARDBOARD. AND. SADNESS. THEN LOUIS WOULDN’T STOP COMPLAINING IT MADE HIS HAIR ‘LOSE ITS LUSTER.’” Dom sucked in a breath, her eyes widening to Japanese cartoon-size. “I was going to fake a tragic ski-lift injury to get away from it all, but then my dad beat me to it. He pretended to sprain his ankle and got to spend the whole trip in the infirmary.’”

“Well in his defense,” I said meekly. “You’re younger. He’s had to put up with Fleur a lot longer than you.”

“He said that too!” Dom cried, throwing her hands in the air at the injustice of it all. “Said the had seniority. That I should give him time to live life to the fullest while ‘he still could.’ Yeah, I guess living life to the fullest consists of sitting in a hospital gown with your arse hanging out and eating jell-o cups all day. The fat lard.”

“Wow, Dom, your family's an inspiration.”

Practically shaking with leftover rage, she waved my comment away, her coral-painted nails glinting in the light. “Yeah, whatever. It was horrible. Thank Merlin I had Xander — I don’t know what I would have done without him.”

“Xander? Who's this Xander?” I asked as I struggled to sit up, attractively sputtering hair out of my face (I should do Pantene commercials, I really should).

I was feeling immediately wary. Dom had thrown around boys’ names before, but they’d all been very French — to the point where you practically had to italicize the syllables in your head when you said them. Jacques. Emmanuel. Gaston. These were names that belonged to Dom’s conquests from her family trips to Paris. Boys who wore capri pants. Boys who still didn’t know how to make direct eye contact with a female. Boys who Dom, no doubt, chewed up and spat out in a couple of days.

The name Xander, however, sounded like it belonged to a motorcycle-riding, toothpick-chewing thug who called girls 'babe’ and leaned on the two back legs of his chair like a madman.

I did not approve of this Xander.

Dom obviously saw the look on my face because she sighed, raking her fingers through her beachy auburn waves. “Aggy, relax. Xander’s harmless — you know him, actually. He goes to Hogwarts, but his family just happened to be in the Alps with us. They own a condo there. Xander McLaggan? Sixth-year, Ravenclaw, real dishy...”

“Oh, yeah!” Realization dawned soon enough. “Isn’t he the one rumored to have once peed on the gargoyles outside the Headmistress’ office?”

Dom’s face quickly turned an angry shade of mauve. “That was one time. And he was drunk.”

“Sounds like a real catch. And I mean that in the way you catch tuberculosis.”

“Har har.” Dom lifted her pillow to give me a smack upside the head, which I quickly failed to dodge. Ah, physical violence. Glad we’re back to our roots now. “I’ll have you know that Xander was super nice to me the whole time we were together. He’d carry my skis and fetch me hot tea and everything. We spent a lot of time chatting on ski-lifts, and he’s actually really sweet. I know you’re going to do your Grandma Aggy thing — ”

“Grandma Aggy? What’s that supposed to mean?!”

“ — where you give him the evil-eye for the next straight month at school, but... Well, I really like this one, Aggs. It might even turn into something serious.”

For a moment, I thought I’d suffer a concussion from that pillow-hit and was experiencing temporary hallucinations. “What? Serious as in... dating serious?” As in forget about Aidan serious?

“Mhmm,” Dom smiled absentmindedly, twirling her hair around her finger in girl chat, 80’s music video fashion. “I know he doesn’t seem all too bright but... He treats me well.”

“Wow.” I sat back against the headboard, taking this in. Dom with a new boo? While the supportive best friend in me was happy she was moving on, my inner cynic wasn’t satiated. And this Xander kid seemed like some sort of wannabee-frat-bro. Peeing on Headmistress Vespertine’s gargoyles? As a girl, I always felt like there were two warning signs that made a guy un-date-able:

1. If he wears jeans skinnier than your own.

2. If he's ever disrespectful to teachers, waiters and/or authority figures.

And Bladder Boy seemed to fall right under category number two. I mean, even Potter — who I absolutely hated, and who would occasionally snark at Professor Nott — was never outright rude to teachers.

I blinked, coming back to reality. Despite the cloud of unease lingering over me, I couldn’t bring myself to voice my doubts. Dom had this dopey grin on her face, and it was the biggest smile I’d seen from her in months. I wasn’t about to ruin it.

Instead, all I said was: “What will the Tweedle Trio say when they find out?”

Dom seemed to snap out of her dreamy, lovey-dovey state, and she furrowed her brow. Obviously, she was realizing that my brother might not react well to this news (he would probably have a sulk-a-thon, slam a bunch of door and then hole himself in his room with all his romance novels he thinks we don’t know about).

“They won’t say anything,” Dom began slowly, chewing on her plump bottom lip. “Because they won’t find out. Don't tell anyone, Aggy, okay? At least not yet.”

A secret romance? I was tempted to groan. But then I realized that I had snogged my brother’s best friend (multiple times) and failed to inform said brother about it, so I promptly shut up.

“Alright,” I held my hands in the air. “It’s your call, Doms.”

My bestfriend gave a relieved sigh, spring eyes flooding with gratitude. With her dainty, haven’t-worked-a-day-in-her-life hands, she grabbed my arm and gave it a squeeze. “Thank you, Aggy. Thank you.”

Even though I smiled back at her, I still couldn’t shake the feeling this would only end in disaster.


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