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Disclaimer: I don’t own Harry Potter. Also, I do NOT own the title for this chapter for it is the title of Meg Cabot's new book (not based on it though). Also, ‘cakeaholic’ and references belong to Janet Evanovich :)

‘Love - A temporary insanity curable by marriage.’
- Ambrose Bierce

Chapter Seven: Ella, Size 12 is NOT Fat

Stupid light. DO YOU WISH TO BURN OUT MY RETINAS???

We were entering the ballroom – again – and – again – the brightness of the room had left me temporarily blinded… again.

When I regained my sight, my eyes immediately combed the crowd for Marissa and Ella. My eyes skimmed over Mrs Potter, laughing with her friends; Black, who was snogging the poor blonde in the corner; Remus, who was sulking (why?) in a chair of one of the tables, his head between his knees; and the duck – what was it doing here? – but no Ella or Marissa. But when I found them conspiring around the food table – the EXACT food table where I had been attacked by glazed fruit just moments ago – they were NOT looking very happy.

In fact, they both looked distraught.

But in different ways of course. Ella’s face, on one hand, was tear-streaked and blotchy obscured by mascara – that had not lived up to its waterproof guarantee – with an Oh-My-God-My-Life-Is-Not-Worth-Living-Anymore expression. Marissa face, on the other hand bore a different expression. She was looking quite panicky, her hand awkwardly patting Ella’s back, her eyes darting from person to person while her face showed a Jesus-Christ-Ella-Get-A-Grip expression. Marissa was not very good with human relations.

But when they saw me there expressions immediately changed to ones of shock. I felt my blood turn cold as I realized how, well, chummy I looked with Potter. I looked down at my arm in horror– which was still linked with his – then my eyes traveled up his shirt and rested on his face. He looked like he was in heaven.

Arrogant jerk-off.

I shook off his arm, a blush rising to my cheeks as he looked at me. Stupid blasphemous – no, traitorous pale skin. HOW DARE YOU DEFY ME?

‘Tell me when you want that dance,’ I told him stonily, avoiding eye contact. I gathered up my shirt and hurried down the marble stairs.

I let the skirt down at the bottom of the stairs and smoothed the wrinkles out with my hands, trying to regain some composure. I ran a hand through my hair and flicked back some rebellious curls. I ran a hand down my dress nervously, grimaced in disgust of myself for being so nervous when nothing had happened and walked over to my friends.

The shock of seeing me looking chummy with Potter had obviously passed. Ella was saying something and Marissa was looking like she was about to kill herself. I edged closer till I could finally hear.

‘…And then,’ Ella hiccupped wiping tears away with the beck of her hand, ‘h-he said, he said he c-couldn’t b-b-be with me!’ she let out a smothered cry and stuffed her fist in her mouth.

‘Well, did he say why dear?’ Marissa asked tiredly. She glanced up and saw me eavesdropping. She rose one eyebrow, cynically.

‘Nothing happened,’ I blurted.

She looked at me like I was from Mars. ‘I swear,’ I said, sealing the conversation.

I got another one of those Mars looks.

‘Right,’ I said.

She forced a smile (sometimes I wonder why she still says friends with me and Ella – we are so weird. I think she loves us too much – that and the fact we probably couldn’t function without her) and said, in a false cheery voice, ‘Look Ella, dear, Lily’s here! Do you want to tell her what happened?’

Ella took one look at me before she threw her arms around my neck and buried her head into my shoulder. I stumbled back as her body hit mine and awkwardly her back. I shot a pained look at Marissa who just shrugged.

Devil whore…

Just kidding.

Ella sobbed into my shoulder while I pulled her over into one of the many tables that had been set up on the sides of the room. The tables were round and sat six, decorated with plain white tablecloths and napkins and silver dining wear. Silver cutlery and crystal goblets sparkled happily and contrasted fabulously with the white. The plates held no food but small menus had been placed in front of them. I had seen this method of dining only once before – at Hogwarts one Halloween (and only then because Dumbledore had been celebrating the arrival of the Minister of Magic, who’d been there assessing the school). In fact, that had been the only ball I’d been to besides this one.

Whoop di do.

I glanced back over at the food table. Apparently that was only for snacks. I felt my lips tighten and my eyes narrowed. What a waste! And the house elves had obviously gone to a lot of trouble to do it…

I eased Ella into a chair and told her to order something. She didn’t look at the menu.

‘Cake,’ she said clearly to the plate and a rich, sticky, sweet and overwhelmingly yummy cake blossomed. The smell of sugar, butter and vanilla was tempting. I sighed. Come to think of it, the cake didn’t sound too bad. Ella and I always have been comfort eaters. We were cakeaholics, chocoholics and just plain foodaholics when it came to stress or depression. I ordered the same (with dairy substitutes, as I was lactose intolerant and I’d forgotten to take my potion from Madame Pomfrey) and dug in.

Marissa snorted in disgust and ordered some pork chops.

Poor Marissa, didn’t know what she was missing.

~*~

Two pieces (…okay, seven) of cake later, I had calmed down and Ella was read to speak without crying.

Almost.

‘It’s Remus!’ she said, her voice breaking. ‘H-he doesn’t like me!’ she stabbed her fork, rather viciously, into her cake and brought it to her mouth. She suddenly stopped, her fork half way to her mouth and her face contorted into one of pure revulsion. She glanced at her stomach then back to the cake. I stiffened.

I wasn’t going to like this.

‘Oh my God,’ she said, softly. Her voice rose to a shriek, ‘He thinks I FAT!’ She threw the fork hard, like it had all of a sudden contracted plague, toward the wall and buried herself into Marissa’s shoulder. The fork clinked lightly off the plaster and the cake dribbled down the wall.

Ella was crazy.

I slowly got up and dislodged the fork. Figuring that, in a place full of magical people, my wand couldn’t be focused on, I whispered, ‘Reparo!’ and the wall mended itself. A glanced at the cake blob sliding down the wall and my stomach clenched. What a waste. I swiped at the cake sliding down the wall and stuck my finger in my mouth. Yum. Had I been alone, I probably would have licked the wall. I gave a snort of disgust. I was a cakeaholic.

I sat back down and said sternly, ‘Ella, size 12 is NOT fat!’ Ella let out a muffled sob and buried her head deeper into Marissa’s shoulder, earning our table a glare from the fellow patrons. ‘Come on Ella, get up; how about we go for a walk, hm?’ I didn’t wait for an answer. I pulled Ella to her feet and smoothed the wrinkles from her dress. I tucked a few strands of hair behind her ear and smiled. She managed a pathetic smile back.

I blew out a sigh; it was going to be a very long night.

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