Chapter Six—Broken Hearts That Failed to Mend
“And what’s he doing now?” I asked Padma at breakfast the next morning. I was concentrating on my eggs, afraid to look at him.
“He’s still eating, Mel. The same as the last time you asked,” Padma responded, clearly irritated. “And the time before that.”
“Oh,” I mumbled dumbly. I couldn’t help but wonder about him. I felt terrible about yesterday’s disaster. “Do you think I should go talk to him about what happened?”
“Definitely not,” she declared. “Judging by that death glare he is giving his breakfast right now, I would give him some time to cool down.”
Tired of staring at my food, I made a quick glance in his direction. Roger seemed to be taking out all his anger on the toast he was buttering. “You’re probably right.” I conceded, looking longingly at him. “I feel horr—Oh shite.” Roger had stopped staring at his meal only to find my gaze. And Padma was right; he did not look happy. After a quick peeved look in my direction, he got up and left the table.
“So you’re meeting with Draco tonight, right?” Padma asked.
“Unfortunately, I am,” I responded, groaning. “But I don’t want to talk about that right now. Especially while I am eating,” I said stupidly; I wasn’t eating anything. I felt sick to my stomach, not hungry in the least.
“Well, how exactly are you planning on doing… it?”
“I said I didn’t want to talk about it, Padma,” I answered a little too forcefully.
“I was just wondering,” she snapped back. “You don’t need to get upset about it.”
“Fine, I won’t then. I’ll see you later,” I replied curtly, getting up from the table. I knew I souldn’t have gotten so short with Padma as she was my best friend. This whole situation was just growing so frustrating. And because I needed to go clear my head, I departed the Great Hall and made my way outside.
After a good walk around the lake late that morning, I headed back towards the castle. Being completely wrapped up in my worries about “tutoring”, I didn’t notice two certain boys come sprinting down the path I was treading on.
Before I knew what had happened, I was on the ground with a slight pain in my shoulder.
“Watch where you’re going there, McCormack,” Roger stated heatedly as he continued past me towards the lake.
I looked up to find Eddie, stopped there with his hand out to pull me up. “I’m really sorry about that, Mel,” he told me concernedly. “Roger’s been acting really strange lately.”
Standing up, I brushed myself off; I looked to Roger, who was looking back and glowering in our direction. Eddie must have noticed this as well because he shouted, “I’ll catch up with you later, mate.”
I nodded, setting right my robes.
“Do you mind if I join you?” Eddie enquired, a hopeful look on his face.
“Not at all,” I said in earnest. I rarely got the chance to chat with him.
“Excellent. I really don’t care to continue on Roger’s ‘little ten kilometre run’,” he said with a smile. “He needs to blow off some steam as it is and I’d rather not be there.”
“What’s got him in such a foul state?” I probed. Though, I clearly knew the answer.
“I haven’t the slightest clue. He’s not usually so secretive with me. But I can’t get a word out of him on the subject.”
“Odd,” I said, not wanting to seem too concerned in the matter. I didn’t want to press the subject any further.
Upon entering the library that evening, I found Malfoy sitting at a table in the far back corner. “Was it necessary to sit all the way back here?” I questioned, noticing that there were no other students back there. Being alone with Malfoy made me exceedingly nervous.
“Draco Malfoy doesn’t do libraries,” he stated pompously, giving the surrounding area a contemptuous sneer. “And he doesn’t do tutoring either.”
I couldn’t help letting out a small chuckle. And I thought Cormac was an egotistical sod. Ha.
“So this is about your reputation, Mr. I Speak About Myself in Third Person? You don’t want to be seen in the school’s library?” He gave me an irritated expression as I took the seat beside him. Okay, I’m supposed to be making him want to kiss me not curse me, I thought, trying to get myself back to the task at hand. Time to put on the charm. Taking a deep breath, I added, “Well, you needn’t worry because I don’t believe much tutoring will be going on tonight.”
“And why is that?” Draco asked, looking at me quizzically.
Trying to appear somewhat alluring and not as if I wanted to retch, I slipped off my cloak to reveal my tightest blouse and shortest school skirt. I had put them on earlier in hopes that they would make the boy more inclined for a snogging session. From Draco's gaping mouth and stunned look, I could tell the approach was effective. “I had other plans for this evening.”
“Oh,” he stated lamely, his eyes wide. After a few seconds, it seemed the idea had registered. His astonished face transformed as he donned his characteristic smirk. “So what exactly did you have in mind?”
“I think you know what I want,” I said brazenly as I gave him a smirk if my own. This was easier than I thought it would be. In lieu of his prior foul behaviour, I wasn’t the least bit concerned about Roger’s impending arrival. Like he had said, it was a just a task; it meant nothing. Before I could say anything else, Draco had pulled me closer and gone in for the kiss.
We were still snogging when I heard the approaching footsteps. I opened my eyes to see Roger standing there. Our eyes connected for a moment, and he gave me another disappointed look before leaving. Draco, however, remained unaware of this and continued rather eagerly.
“What in the name of Merlin is going on back here?!”
I immediately pulled away from Draco only to find Madame Pince staring venomously at the two of us.
“I will not have this sort of lascivious behaviour in my library!” she shrieked as she grabbed us by the arms. The good amount of students still studying watched as the noisy scene unfolded, and the two of us were dragged across the entire library towards the exit. “What is it with kids today and getting a kick out of having a go between the bookshelves?” And she gave us a not so gentle push out of the library door before slamming it shut.
“That crazy old bat,” Draco said, obviously amused by the situation. He turned his attention back to me. “So where were we?” He had placed his hand on the side of my face and brushed a blonde curl out of my eyes.
“Actually, I think I’ve had enough,” I stated, pushing his hand away. “You were a good snog, Draco... but I’ve had better.” And with that, I departed, leaving a befuddled Malfoy standing in my wake.
“That’s her. That’s the one.” I entered the Great Hall the next morning later than usual to a peculiar situation. After scowling at the first year Gryffindor girl who appeared to be pointing me out to her friend and feeling more than self-conscious, I hurriedly found a seat next to Michael. He gave me a concerned look.
“Erm… what is going on?” I questioned, surveying the rest of the hall as I quickly grabbed a piece of toast. To my horror, I realised that those two girls were not the only ones staring. All around the hall, students were looking in my direction. Some looked scandalised; others repulsed.
“Well… people are saying things,” Michael replied with obvious hesitation.
“What kind of things?” And before he could respond, I heard the answer I had been dreading from some less than subtle girl at the next table.
“…shagged Draco Malfoy in the library!”
After this registered, I began to choke on that piece of toast I had been trying to get down. Coughing, I tried to regain at least a semblance of composure. It was futile, of course. My face grew crimson as the mortification set in.
“So… did you?”
“No! Of course not,” I spat. I felt completely miffed that he would ever think I would stoop so low. “How could you even think that? I just did, you know, what was required.”
“I see,” Michael said slowly, as he understood what I had been implying. "Sorry.”
“But why would people think I shagged Malfoy?”
My worst fears were realised when I glanced over to the Slytherin table and found Draco, glowing with self-importance, as he appeared to be telling some sort of impressive story to the mass of students surrounding him. Now I truly felt nauseous.
“How about we get out of here, Mel?”
Later that evening, I found myself alone, waiting for Roger in the common room. He wouldn’t be back for some time from his prefect duties, but I wanted to be there just in case he came back early. I wanted to talk him. I really needed to talk to him.
I occupied myself with the rubbish that was Defensive Magical Theory to keep myself awake; it was nearing midnight, and I assumed Roger would be done in an hour.
Shortly thereafter, I was startled by the influx of students returning from Potter’s defensive club. Padma and Anthony came over and sat on either side of me.
“What are you doing up?” Padma asked.
“Waiting for him,” I replied dejectedly. They knew, of course, to whom I was referring.
Padma sighed and said, “You should get some sleep.”
“Yeah, it’s been a long day,” Anthony told me as he put a comforting arm around me.
“The worst day.”
“People are idiots, Mel,” Padma said. “Don’t worry. By tomorrow they’ll have found someone else to torment.”
“Yeah, it’ll all blow over,” he added.
“And what if it doesn’t?”
“Then—I promise to spread a rumour about Marietta shagging Hagrid,” Padma said, appearing to be completely serious.
I laughed. “That is so wrong.”
Anthony made vomiting sounds. “Okay, that is officially the most disgusting thing I have ever heard. You are sick, Padma,” he said.
“You know you love me,” she said with a mischievous grin. I turned to Anthony and I swear, he was blushing. She got up from the sofa. “I’m going to bed. Goodnight, you two.”
“Goodnight,” we said in unison.
“What time do you think he’ll be done tonight?” I asked Anthony. He, too, was a prefect.
“No later than midnight. Do you want me to wait with you?”
“That’s okay. I have some reading I still need to do for Umbridge’s class.”
“Yeah. Thanks for offering,” I said.
“Goodnight, then,” he said. He got up, kissed my forehead, and went up to his dormitory.
Now alone, I grabbed my defence book, if you could even call it that, and opened it to Chapter 15: The Theory of Counterjinxes.
“Let me get this straight, Mel,” I heard a nasty voice sneer. “First, you snogged Cormac, then you shagged Malfoy. And now you’ve got innocent, little Anthony Goldstein wrapped around your bony finger. And all in one week. Who’s next?”
“Sod off, Marietta. You know the only reason I—” I said, stopping myself from bringing up the task as she was surrounded by a group of her dim-witted friends.
“The only reason you what, Mel?” She was really enjoying this. “The only reason you snog everyone is because you are Ravenclaw’s newest whore.”
Before I could move to slap Marietta, someone was between us.
“What? Have you officially resigned from the post?” Eddie asked her. “Of all people, Marietta, you have no room to talk. Last time I checked, you’re the one who, when pissed, takes off her skirt and tries to straddle anything with two legs.”
Marietta looked like she was about to cry from the humiliation. She screamed one of her horrible, shrill screeches as she stormed up the stairs with her friends trailing behind.
“Thanks,” I said, feeling somewhat relieved.
“No problem, Mel,” Eddie replied as he sat down next to me. “I’m sure today was bad enough. To add that twit on top of it is far worse than what anyone deserves.”
“Merlin, it’s been a nightmare. Why anyone would believe I slept with Malfoy, I have no idea.”
“People will believe whatever they want to believe,” he said. “You probably won’t remember this, but in my third year someone started a rumour that I snogged a house elf so I could get a more food at breakfast.”
I chortled at the stupidity of this tale. “That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard.”
“I know,” he stated, a not so cheery expression coming across his face. “They called me Elfboy for a month.”
I attempted to stifle my laughter but it was in vain. This was too amusing.
He playfully punched me in the arm. “It’s not funny,” he said, his visage softening.
“Oh, yes—it is,” I said in between laughs.
“So what are you doing up so late anyways?” he asked, evidently wanting to get away from the subject. The common room was now empty, save for the two of us.
“I could ask you the same thing,” I said with my most coy smirk.
“You could, but alas, I asked you first,” he told me matter-of-factly.
“If you must know, Eddie, I was catching up on the theory of counterjinxes.” I held up my sad excuse for a Defence Against the Dark Arts textbook.
“Oh, most invigorating,” he retorted.
“Indeed. And to what do I owe the pleasure of your company, Mr. Carmichael?” I asked. I can safely say, I was now officially flirting with Roger’s best friend. And I’ll admit it: I liked it.
“Only the pleasure of your company, Miss McCormack.”
“Is that so?” I enquired.
He was leaning in towards me. And I knew he was going to kiss me. “Eddie,” I breathed, stopping his advances.
“Yes?” he asked.
“Would you be my third?”
“I would be honored.” He leaned in even more.
“I think Roger will be back from his prefect duties in a few minutes, so that will be perfect,” I said, again halting his advances. The air was different now; we both felt it. Eddie sat up, giving me a strange look. He seemed to be a little insulted.
Honestly, I wanted Eddie to kiss me. To know he had wanted to was extremely flattering. But it still felt wrong. He was his best friend. And his kissing me because I had asked him to seemed less wrong than if he had done it of his own accord. I couldn’t have that on my conscience.
“So—” I started. Before I could finish whatever awkward comment I was going to make, I heard the door to the common room open, and I felt Eddie’s lips on my own. His deft lips moved rhythmically against mine. But for some reason, it didn’t feel like passionate kiss, but a contrived one. He pulled away after a decent length of time.
“Congratulations,” Eddie said coldly, getting up from the sofa. “You finished the sodding task.”
“Eddie?” I called after him, too exhausted to follow him. Great. Look what I’ve done now. Not only have I managed to hurt Roger, but his best mate as well.
Groaning, I got up off the sofa and walked as composedly as I could manage up to my dormitory. I shut the door behind me and crumpled on the floor against it. It was over. I had snogged three boys and in the process, ruined whatever type of relationship I ever had with Roger. My name had even been smeared by the whole school. I was Ravenclaw’s newest whore. Bloody perfect.
Not wanting to face the music, as they say, I stayed in my room all Tuesday and Wednesday, not even bothering to attend my classes. I had Padma get my homework, but that wasn’t important right now. I was more concerned with Roger and how I had ruined any chance I had ever had with him. There was no way he would even speak to me now. But I couldn’t blame him. I spent the whole two days replaying the past week’s events in my head, examining my every misstep and stupid decision. I must say, it was the most demoralizing time. From time to time, Padma would stop in to check on me. She even brought me meals, albeit, it was pointless for her to do so. There was no way I was even remotely hungry.
By Wednesday night, my roommates were all settling into their beds and Padma was settling into mine. “Move over,” she said. Too dispirited to argue, I did as instructed, so she could lie next to me. “I can’t believe you’re not going,” It was ten minutes before midnight, ten minutes before another meeting.
“You really don’t understand,” I declared stubbornly.
“Then help me to,” she demanded.
“I don’t want to see him. I can’t, Padma. You didn’t see how upset he was when he saw Eddie and me together.” I groaned into the pillow that I had considered suffocating myself with earlier. “It’s all Marietta’s fault. If she hadn’t have assigned that stupid task, this would have never happened. I hate her!”
"Melanie McCormack, get a bloody grip! Now, I’ve been a good friend and listened to you gripe for the last two days, but I really can’t hear this anymore. I can’t believe you are just going to roll over and die like this. So you wanted to cut classes all day, I understand. You’re not hungry. Okay. That’s fine. But you can’t do this every sodding day from here on out. Just talk to him.”
“Okay,” I said slowly, conceding. Maybe she was right. “But I’m still not going to the meeting. I’ll talk to him… just not tonight.”
“Fine,” she said, getting out of my bed and closing the curtains behind her.
I heard Padma return a short while later. When I attempted to ask her about the meeting, she replied with a stern “Good night, Mel.” And now I’ve upset Padma, I thought. Terrific.
A/N: Thanks for reading. I apologize for waiting a year to put up this chapter. I've been very lazy. Also, I apologize for the atrocious writing in the first chapters. One of these days, I will get around to doing some rewrites! And as it is my last year before university, I will be even busier so don't expect the next chapter for anytime soon. But please do leave a review because I'd love some feedback.
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