Now, at half-past six, we were in the kitchens while I pleaded with Winky.
"Please, can we have it? I promise it's going to a good cause."
Winky looked sceptical. "Winky is not sure about all this. Taylor is up to no good, and Winky will have no part in it!"
Okay, this clearly called for my puppy-dog eyes. "Please, Winky? This will be the last time!"
Winky sighed, defeated. "Winky will help you this time, but this is the last time! Winky will not help next time, and Winky means it!" She bustled off into the kitchens to get what I had asked for while Scorpius, Sarah, Jason and Evelyn (who had woken up, found us not in the beds and went into the common room, where she had found us plotting how to smuggle the stuff into Hogsmeade). Luckily, Evelyn knew a charm to make heavy bags feather-light and Sarah knew how to make them look like coats flung over an arm. I knew how to get the stuff, and Jason knew how to pack it into bags without leaving a single space empty. Scorpius just tagged along to carry stuff.
That was our system. Sarah was the brains, Jason was the bag-packer, I was the person who got stuff and Scorpius was the pack-horse.
Well, that's how it evens out.
Winky returned with bottles and platters of food. I thanked her, gave her a smile, which she insisted was the only payment she needed, and handed the bottles to Jason. He stuffed them into the first bag while I covered the platters of food in plastic wrapping to stop them being squashed.
What can I say, I prefer my snacks non-squished.
Jason accepted the wrapped platters and put them in another bag, which meant we only had two bags. Evelyn and Sarah charmed them, and Scorpius and I took a bag each. They were surprising light. I raised a brow at Evelyn. "Girl, your charm works really well. We might have to make you a permanent part of the catering committee. Now come on. We need to pack another bag."
I walked out of the kitchens, everyone trailing behind me. Evelyn darted to the front. "Why do we need to pack another bag?"
"To put our party outfits in. What, you thought I'd be wearing this?"
Two hours later, we were in Hogsmeade. As always, it smelled like freshly baked bread, cakes and Butterbeer. I breathed in the aroma of the many bakeries as Scorpius and I walked down the road to the warehouse. Sarah and Jason were having a quick shopping trip for outfits and Evelyn was meeting with some friends.
"So, you wanna get something to eat once we finish setting up?" I looked at the space next to me, where Scorpius was walking.
"Sure. Why not?" Somehow, I'd managed to disguise the joy I was feeling and make it sound like I was not any more excited than I should be.
If I wasn't a professional Quidditch player, I was going to become an actress.
I was just that naturally good at acting.
Scorpius smiled. "Great! Now come on, we have to get there before Albus does." He rushed off, leaving me to chase after him.
Bloody Potter-Malfoy rivalry. Sometimes it drove me nuts.
I ran to catch up, but ended up almost running into Scorpius, who had stopped in front of what was known to Hogwarts students as simply the Warehouse. We stepped inside with what can only be referred to as reverence. This was where all the parties happened: Halloween, Christmas, birthdays, anything really. It was where I first had alcohol and where I had my first kiss.
Needless to say, I respected the place.
Roxanne was levitating a banner into place. She glanced at us. "Oh good, you're here. Can you start putting out tables? Tablecloths are in the corner." Scorpius waved his wand at the tables, making them arrange themselves into the places marked on the ground.
Seriously, Roxanne Weasley is a control freak. She needs everything perfect.
I made the tablecloths fly over to the tables and land neatly on them. They were purple and had silver stars embroidered onto them.
Very clever, Roxanne. You've avoided house conflict.
"What else?" Roxanne glanced over again, whilst sending streamers over to the other side of the Warehouse.
"Um...I dunno, maybe arrange the balloons?" Scorpius shrugged and headed off to the bunches of multi-coloured balloons. He began putting them in various places around the room. Once floated so close I could reach out and grab it. I didn't, but I could have.
They all settled into their positions just in time for Albus Potter and Kaitlin Chang to walk in. Albus was once again wearing a corduroy vest, but not a jumper underneath this time. Instead, he had a white short-sleeved Oxford shirt and a pair of worn jeans. I clicked my fingers at him.
"You, get that jacket off. Corduroy is an abomination and must be dealt with accordingly."
Albus stared at me. "No! I happen to like this vest! It's got character!"
I raised a brow. "Please tell me you're not wearing that tonight."
His guilty expression told me all I needed to know.
"Accio vest!" The vest came off Albus' shoulders and into my hands. I put it into a bag and levitated the bag onto the highest spot I could see - on one of the exposed beams of the roof. Albus went to call it back, but I put a shielding charm around it. "No way, buster. That thing ain't seeing the light of day until this party is over." Albus pouted briefly, until he noticed Scorpius glaring at him.
Cue manly stare off until one concedes temporary defeat. This time, it was Scorpius, mostly due to the fact that Roxanne tapped him on the shoulder and told him to help her move the bucking Buckbeak into position.
Albus started to move closer to me. What the fuck!? "So...Taylor...what are you doing later?" I blinked at him. "I'm having lunch with Scorpius. Why?" His face fell, and his disappointment was clear in his bright green eyes.
"Oh. Okay. Well, see you." He darted off to Roxanne, leaving me standing awkwardly in the middle of the room while everyone was bustling about. Roxanne had become the Party Nazi and was making sure everything was organised. Food wouldn't go out until an hour before the party, and drinks only half an hour before. She looked around once more and nodded approvingly.
"Well, we're basically finished here. Come on, let's go have some fun!" I whooped, Albus grinned and Scorpius cheered. Roxanne ran out the door, followed by Albus who glanced back at me once with an almost remorseful expression. Scorpius walked over to me and extended his hand. "Shall we?" I laughed at him and placed my hand in his. "We shall." We walked out the doors and towards the best bakery in Hogsmeade - the Gingerbread Man.
We settled into a two seater by the window. I glanced at the menu. Pointless, really, since I knew it off by heart. Scorpius glanced at it too. "What would you like?" I pondered it for a bit. "I'll have a toasted tomato and cheese sandwich and a cinnamon scroll. Thanks." He wandered off to the counter to get us food, leaving me to think about what I'd been wondering the entire day - who the hell was X? I still had no clue. At some stage, I thought it had been Falkner Longbottom. Don't judge him for his name, his mother chose it. Rumours are when she came here, her nickname was Loony Lovegood.
Oh well, you can't pick your parents.
I dismissed it being Falkner, mostly because he was never out of the library, but also because his chin has a unique red birthmark in the shape of a feather. Worst place for a birthmark ever, but it helped me cancel him out.
Scorpius returned, carrying plates. He put the sandwich and scroll down in front of me and placed his own meal at his spot - a ham and cheese croissant and blueberry muffin. I took a bite of my sandwich and swallowed, looking at Scorpius. "So, was there any particular reason for asking me to lunch?"
He stiffened and blushed slightly. "Oh no, of course not! Why would there be? I mean, we're friends!"
Friends? That was all we were?
I nodded stiffly. "Sure. Of course. Why else?" Damn, I was a good actress. I'd managed to keep the disappointment out of my voice and face.
Scorpius took a bite of his croissant. We finished the meal in awkward silence.
Since when had things been awkward between us? You know, apart from that time in fourth-year...
"Taylor! Please come back! I didn't mean it!" I twirled around, holding a cloth to my forehead.
"How can you not mean to hit someone in the head with a fucking Beater's bat?!?"
Scorpius swallowed. "I am so sorry. I promise you I'll never do it again, no matter how annoying you are. I'll never hurt you. I swear it on Dumbledore's beard." I looked at him. His grey eyes were filled with anguish.
"Thanks. Now can you heal the bloody cut?" Scorpius charmed the cut closed, which stopped blood pouring into my eyes. He kissed where the cut used to be. "There. All better."
I blushed, which made him blush, and we walked back to the pitch in silence.
That was when I'd realised I had a crush on my best friend. Now, I'd finally realised that was all I'd ever be to Scorpius. A friend.
Thank Merlin Roxanne, Kaitlin and Sarah turned up then, otherwise we would have spent who knows how long frozen in silence.
"Taylor! We've been looking for you everywhere! Sarah had a look at your outfit, and we decided that you need a new one, stat. Come on!" I shot an apologetic glance at Scorpius, who shrugged. Sarah grabbed my arm and literally dragged me outside. I checked my watch. It was only three in the afternoon. "Why are we getting an outfit now? It's at least five hours until the party starts."
Kaitlin laughed. "Well, we have to buy an outfit, get you into it, do your hair and makeup and convince you that you don't look completely trashy and stupid. That should take four hours. Then after that we need to put out food and drinks."
I poked my tongue out at her. Taylor Zabini, the most mature person you will ever meet.
The girls laughed and dragged me along behind them. I looked at Kaitlin. "When did you get here?"
"When you were having your date with Scorp!"
"It wasn't a date!" The girls laughed and pushed me into a clothes shop.
"I can't wear this. I look like a slut!" I was in the attic of the Warehouse, which Roxanne had made into a dressing room. I was standing in front of a mirror while Kaitlin, Roxanne, Sarah and Rose Weasley (who had arrived a few hours ago) stood around me to stop me from getting to the door.
"You do not! You look fine!" I glared at Sarah, who smiled evilly. I looked back at the mirror. They had forced me into a black dress that barely covered my kneecaps and had an extremely low-cut V neck. It did have a pretty emerald green sash that almost matched my eyes, though. I had sensible black flats with silver bows on them, and a silver and emerald necklace that drew attention to my already apparent cleavage exposure. They'd put my hair into an fancy updo and put a hairband decorated with silver leaves and flowers on me.
I hated it. I looked like an absolute slut. But no, I was being forced to wear it against my will. My clothes had been put with Albus' vest. Turns out my charm was one-way only. I'd have to try to fix that.
"Sweetie, you look fine. Stop worrying. All the boys will be drooling after you." I stuck my tongue out at Rose. She winked at me.
I guess it's a Weasley thing. You know, winking at inappropriate times. As well as the red hair and freckles.
"But what if I don't want boys drooling all over me?" Roxanne shrugged. "You'll learn to love it. Trust me, it's nice. Just ask Dominique!"
"Ask me what?" Of course, Dominique looked gorgeous in a golden silk dress that matched her hair perfectly. She had on a pair of killer heels that I'd never be caught wearing, and her hair was in waves down to her creamy shoulders. She had a sapphire necklace on that matched her eyes and a matching bracelet.
As always, she looked like perfection. Even Dominique with bed-head and hangover looked perfect.
"That having boys following you everywhere and lusting over you is good." Dominique smiled, showing off perfect ivory teeth.
No, I'm not jealous of her. Not at all. Why would you think that?
"You're right, it is pretty good. And Taylor? You definitely look amazing! Don't worry, babe, you look fantastic." I shook my head. "I look like a tramp."
"No, you don't!" everyone chorused. I flipped them all off and turned to the door. "Okay, let's go. I get the feeling I'm either wearing this or naked, and I'd rather cover some of my body than none of it." Dominique went first, followed by me and everyone else.
Since it was still half an hour till the party, there were only friends of the party planners. Scorpius and Jason were in a corner, levitating drinks onto a table. Fred, Albus, and James were playing Exploding Snap. Dominique's boyfriend, some Hufflepuff called Luke Macmillan, was sitting with them watching. Not playing. The Gryffindors wouldn't let him play.
Albus, on the other hand, being a Ravenclaw, had probably weighed the pros and cons of letting him play, then swayed to peer pressure and decided that they would ignore the poor bloke.
They were all wearing black jeans and a variant of the same print shirt, except Luke. He was wearing a collared shirt with a yellow tie. Don't ask me why, but Hufflepuffs always wear something yellow.
Luke gave Dominique a quick kiss. "You look good, honey. How long do you think before that dress comes off?" Dominique fluttered her eyelashes at her while I made gagging sounds. Jason put down some cards, stood up and smiled at Sarah. "You look beautiful, Sarah." She blushed, and smoothed down her skirt. which was silver and black striped. Her slightly see-through blouse showed a lacy white bra that made Jason blush. Her mouse brown hair was curled and hung to her shoulders, and her ice-blue eyes were accented by mascara and silvery eyeshadow. Jason gave her a peck on the cheek and put his hand in hers.
Fred was the next to stand. He looked at Roxanne and shook his head. "No. You are not wearing that. I forbid it. Take it off." Roxanne laughed and raised a brow. "You would prefer me naked?" Fred glared at her. "No. You're going to get guys chasing after you, and then I'll be forced to hex them." Roxanne laughed again and played with one of her silver hoop earrings. She had a light green dress and black glossy heels. "Fred, I can handle myself. You know that, considering I've hexed you Merlin knows how many times." Fred turned an exquisite shade of maroon and looked at me instead. "You look good, Taylor!" I blushed and ducked my head.
James and Albus had come up to Rose by this time. James smiled evilly at her. "Since your brother is not old enough to be here, we've decided to be the people who tell you to change into more respectable clothing. Change. Please." Since Rose was wearing a long cream dress and navy blue heels, he was wrong about her looking slutty. She was the most modest of us all, so she looked a lot less slutty than me.
Scorpius had come over to see me by this time. He looked at me and swallowed a few times. "Um...you look good. Like...really good. Um..." He blushed, which made me blush, which made us look at the ground for a few seconds. Roxanne had made it turn from grey concrete to lush purple carpet. How the fuck was that possible?
Roxanne chose that moment to stand on the stage and shout in her everyone-pay-attention-or-I-will-burst-your-eardrums voice. "Come on guys, party starts in ten minutes! Pack up the Exploding Snap and get those drinks out!" That gave me an excuse to turn away from Scorpius and levitate some bottles onto the tables.
I wished things between us weren't so awkward.
Maybe then I'd be able to look him in the eye without blushing.
Party outfits, purple carpets, lots of blushing, oh my! Don't you just love everyone?
What? You don't? Well, fie on you. Fie! Fie!
Just tell me what you thought of it in the reviewing box thingy below! Love you all so much!
Cheers, Phoenix Quill :D
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