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Chapter 3 : Winning and Losing
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"Hey," he said, a little breathless.
Connor glanced at him from the corner of his eye and gave what Hugo could only describe as an annoyed sigh. Which he didn't think was necessary due to the fact that they had barely spoken a word to each other during Charms. Or ever. "Hi," he said at last.
They continued to walk in silence, Connor turning his head slightly to him every now and again, until they reached the second floor and Connor could no longer take it. He stopped in front of the youngest Weasley with a curious, and a little suspicious, expression. "Is there something you want?"
Hugo gave him his most innocent look and pointed in the direction they were heading. "The library. You're going there, too, right?"
"Yeah," Connor said slowly, nodding once. He turned to look behind him, although there was nothing to look at. When he faced Hugo again, his suspicions were raised further. "Not once have I ever seen you go to the library during a free period. You've never follow me after class."
"True, I usually wait until after lessons are over to start my homework and it's usually after the first week," Hugo shrugged lightly. "But I've got nothing better to do and I like to complete my homework during the week so my weekends are free."
"So, you're going to do that Charms homework now?" Connor asked.
Hugo nodded and changed the subject. "Do you realize that this is the longest conversation we have ever had?"
Connor snorted and rolled his eyes, then pointed behind him, in the direction of the library. He said nothing more as they continued walking, not that Hugo expected him to, and the moment they made their way to the Charms section, Connor walked away from him to find whatever he needed. Hugo sat at the first desk he came to and pulled out his textbook, paper and a pen. He focused on his work, wanting it finished and out of the way, and he didn't notice he wasn't alone until he heard a book hitting the desk when it opened. Hugo looked up and smirked, chuckling lightly.
Connor glanced up, his eyes narrowed at the Gryffindor, but Hugo was sure he'd look back down. "Shut up," he muttered, his lips twitching upwards a little. "Muggle equipment?"
Hugo continued to complete his homework; he'd heard enough comments about the way he worked for it to not cause him to actually stop. "Quills are annoying, I never could use them properly, ink is messy and pens don't really work properly on parchment, not that I'd use it if they did; I don't like it. I'm strange that way."
The boy in front of him replied with just another nod, taking out his own pen and twirling it in his fingers as he read for Hugo to see. It was quiet after that. It wasn't much, but it was definitely a start. Hugo carried on with his homework, his smile a little wider, his plan slowly falling into place.
Hugo strolled into the common room after his last class with a renewed enthusiasm and stretched out over the length of the couch, his head rested on the arm while his feet dangled over the other side, ankles hooked. He lay there watching the flames, waiting for his cousin and the conversation that was surely coming.
"I heard you were talking to McCarthy."
"And there it is," he muttered to himself. He looked up to where Lily was hovering over him. "Not really. He doesn't say much."
Lily rolled her eyes, though Hugo was sure she looked a little relieved, and moved to sit on his stomach. He raised an eye brow. "Sit up then." He didn't move. "That's what I thought. So, if he's not talking, that will mean you have to give up, right?"
Oh. He understood why she looked relieved. He didn't understand how, despite knowing everything about him, she would assume he would give up. She took his amused, cocky grin as a no and leaned back. "I told you I was only making myself known, Lily. We agreed that was fine."
"I had time to think about it," she replied. "I think you should just tell him you want to work in advertising and that you're looking for a future job. At least then he'd understand why you're choosing now to talk to him and might actually give you a chance." She laughed at the new look that graced his features; one of confusion. "You're not the only one who hears things around here. People have noticed, they're asking questions, they're even asking me questions."
"Of course they'd noticed," he scoffed. "And they were bound to gossip too; it's brand new information. And no, I won't do that; I want Connor to get to know me. It sounds a lot nicer to ease into it, to mean something to him and talk about work then just being a stranger wanting a job. Who would do that?" Hugo asked, crossing his arms underneath his head.
"People wanting a job," Lily said slowly. "Interviewees tend not to know the interviewers."
He brought his knee up to bump her arm, but said nothing. He didn't give people gossiping a second thought; he knew it would happen, he'd had time to mentally prepare for it and now he didn't care what they said. From the few times he'd been around Connor, he got the feeling the man didn't care either, so he'd probably heard them, too. If he cared, he'd have brought it up, told him to leave him alone or something, right? But he didn't.
It didn't mean Connor liked that Hugo was interested, though, he knew that. If he were to tell him to get lost, that would be the reason why, and honestly, Hugo was still waiting for that. He wouldn't press his luck; if Connor were ever to tell him to leave, he would and just try again the next time. That would prove to the Ravenclaw that Hugo was as stubborn as any Gryffindor and wouldn't give up. Connor would have to talk to him properly eventually.
Hugo could wait.
"So, what did happn today?"
Hugo gave her a small smile, small but real. "We talked a little in Charms, he came and sat with me in the library when we did our homework, and he tried to ignore me in Defence when he knew I was watching, but kept turning to see me and shaking his head."
Of all the things he had told her, Hugo couldn't believe that he wasn't surprised by the one piece of information she chose to comment on. "You did homework on the second day?"
"Hmm." She was quiet for a few moments and Hugo almost thought she was finished with her interrogation and going to leave. "I've decided I don't need to worry about your little plan."
"You never had to worry."
"I did," she stated casually. "But now I don't. Because Connor McCarthy is a business man and he will treat you the way he would in business. He won't let you get to him and everything will be fine. You'll give up on seducing him when impatience finally kicks in and just tell him. He'll have figured it out anyway, he's not an idiot. Maybe he'll turn you down, maybe he won't, but it'll be over quickly."
"You've thought this through," Hugo said quietly when he noticed others had entered the common room. Lily nodded and told him she had. Shaking his head, Hugo sat up and she slid off of his stomach to the floor. "I think you're wrong," he whispered in her ear, before turning and walking up to his dorm.
"I hope you know what you're doing!" Lily shouted, not caring that others were now staring at the cousins. Hugo didn't reply, just continued walking. He shut the door to his room, opened up his trunk and pulled out his business magazine. Hugo jumped up onto his bed and lay back against the board, watching the front cover of the Muggle magazine. The issue was centered around McCarthy Advertising and the heir to the business was photographed on the cover. The man looked comfortable in the business world, successful, desired, and Hugo was instantly drawn; his family had always told him he was attracted to power and success. Maybe that was true, but he didn't tell them it wasn't about the money, it was about how they made their money. Hugo thrived on success and perfection and Connor McCarthy was their poster boy.
So, his plan would work no matter how long it took and, in the long run, he'd achieve his goal. Hugo would make sure of it.
Things had gone back to normal by dinner, lily had obviously chosen to forget about his goal completely, and they were back to their usual selves, talking about what they were going to do during the first Hogsmeade visit as dessert came.
It was around then that Hugo noticed he was being watched from the other table. Searching the room, it didn't take him long to lock eyes with the one staring. Did Jordan never stop glaring? The man was likely to pop a vein or try to hurt him; Hugo amusedly wondered which one would come first.
"Who's that?" Lily asked in confusion.
Hugo didn't release his gaze from Jordan until after he answered her. "That's Connor's ex." Lily raised an eye-brow. "I told you I caught him with someone; that's him," he said, jerking his head in Jordan's direction.
"He hates you," she said quietly.
"He wants Connor back and I showed an interest, he's not happy with me," Hugo replied, remembering what Connor had told him in Charms. "He didn't take the break up well and I don't think Connor will ever get back together with him."
"Good. I wouldn't," Lily scoffed. "He looks like a dick, what did McCarthy see in him?"
Hugo shrugged, but found the question intriguing; he'd have to ask the boy next time he spoke to him. Though he'd be surprised if Connor answered. Hugo went back to his dessert, not caring about Jordan, until Lily nudged him in the ribs and told him to look to his right. They watched Jordan have a whispered discussion with Connor, who looked up when Hugo did and chose to wave. His mouth twitched and he watched a small smirk form when he'd glanced at his ex; Hugo knew he'd waved on purpose. He waved back.
Connor said something to Jordan then and got up suddenly. "Connor," he said loud enough for the rest of the students to hear, grabbing his arm.
Connor pulled back and glared. "Enough," he said slowly and quietly, yet it seemed deafeningly loud in the newly formed silence of the Great Hall. "Leave me alone."
Hugo watched Connor walk away, leaving Jordan embarrassed in the hall, and turned to face Lily once more. "I think everything will be fine," he whispered, glee showing on his features.
He left soon after, going to straight to his room; he would shower and dress for bed, then he would plan for a new day with Connor McCarthy. He'd happily endure his Irish weakness if it meant pissing off Shane Jordan. He had to know he'd lost, maybe not to Hugo, but he had lost Connor and nothing was going to change that.
A/N: New update. This has actually been written for a while. I just wanted to get other things posted first. Next chapter should hopefully be sooner. :)
Please let me know what you think.
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