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Disclaimer:  I do not own Harry Potter, JKR does.  The only thing I own is the plot and any original characters that you do not recognize.  Also, Hermione G from the forums came up with the summary for her Summary Challenge in the forums and the name Marisol Mendez.  I just took the story from there and created the personality of Marisol.


Chapter 10
Stubborn

The following morning in Herbology, Marisol found herself paired up with Holden. Usually she was paired with Evelyn and Jazzy was paired with Kyle, but Professor Longbottom decided to switch it up today. He had done this so that everyone was working with a student in a different House to form outer House unity.

Marisol could feel a certain messy, raven haired boy’s eyes on her as she worked with Holden on the day’s project, which was dull. They had to read the chapter on Snargaluff stumps and taken notes for the next class, when they would get to the hands-on part.

Occasionally, Marisol found herself looking back at where James sat next to Kyle Macmillian. Every time she did that, she would notice his head snapping back down to his notes and he ruffled up his hair at the same time. She smiled as he did that while she thought how adorable he looked when he was flustered.

“He really does like you, you know,” Holden said, breaking into her train of thoughts. “Kelsey means nothing to him.”

“Then why was he with her?” Marisol rounded on him. “Why did he kiss her? Can you answer those questions for me?” She crossed her arms in front of her as she blew a lock of wavy brown hair from her face.

Holden ran his fingers through his messy golden hair before he responded to her rant. “You shouldn’t be angry at James for something that Kelsey did. It isn’t fair to him, or to you.” He added the last bit with a note of knowing in his voice that rang in Marisol’s ears as she absentmindedly turned a page of her textbook that sat on the table in front of her.

“How am I not being fair to myself?” Marisol couldn’t help but ask that question regardless. She knew that she still liked James, but she was still allowed to be mad at him, wasn’t she?

“Mr. Summers, Miss Mendez,” Professor Longbottom’s voice carried over from across the room to where the two of them sat. “Would you care to share with the class what’s more important than taking notes on Snargaluffs? I can assure you that you will need to know a lot of what is written in your book for next week’s in-class group assignment.”

“Not really, Professor,” Holden was the first one who spoke as Marisol quickly picked her quill up and continued to write, the quill scratching against the parchment.

“Then get back to work,” Professor Longbottom said in a somewhat stern, but light tone before turning back to the pair of students he had been talking to moments before.

When Marisol was sure that Professor Longbottom wasn’t paying them any attention, she asked Holden the same question, intending to get an answer out of him as to why she was being unfair with herself.

“Because you like James just as much as he likes you,” Holden replied simply. “And to be honest, I think you’re afraid of getting hurt.”

“What?” Marisol responded in an exasperated tone. “I’m not afraid of getting hurt, that’s crazy.”

“Is it?” Holden questioned sardonically. “I think it’s a perfectly respectable reason as to why you’re this upset about him and Kelsey.” He looked at her with an expression that clearly said that the truth was obvious.

Marisol didn’t say anything for the rest of the class time. She walked up to the castle with Evelyn, Jazzy, and Kyle while Holden walked with James and Fred; he had given her a knowing grin before he had walked over to his friends. That had made her even angrier and it only made her want to whip their butts on the Quidditch field even more on Saturday.

With that thought in mind, Marisol made her way toward Muggle Studies with Kyle as Jazzy and Evelyn headed down to the common room. Marisol was completely lost in her thoughts of James the whole way toward the classroom and occasionally would look out the window at the sun streaming in. It was such a nice day out, she hoped it would be just as nice for the game on Saturday.

“What are you thinking about so deeply?” Kyle’s voice intruded into her thought process, making it the second time someone had interrupted her thoughts that day. Marisol shrugged, but that only made Kyle give her a look that said that he didn’t buy into her ‘it’s-nothing-act’.

“What has you in such a slump?” Kyle asked as they came within several feet of the classroom. Their classmates were standing around the door, waiting for Professor Knowlton to let them in.

Marisol stopped by the window and turned to face him before she responded to Kyle’s question. “It’s nothing, really.”

“It couldn’t be because of James, could it?” Kyle asked as he raised a brow while looking at her inquisitively. “If it is, then I think you should talk to him about whatever it is before the game this weekend. I do not want to lose against Gryffindor again this year.”

“Why is it that guys get all competitive over Quidditch?” Marisol snapped at him. “Quidditch is meant to be fun, not to get all worked up over who wins.”

“It’s only the best sport known to wizard kind!” Kyle exclaimed. “Duh!”

Marisol rolled her eyes.

At that moment, the door to the classroom opened and Professor Knowlton stepped out and told the students that class would be starting soon. The students filed into the classroom and took their seats.

~*~*~*~*~

The next couple of days flew by before James’ eyes and before he knew it, it was Friday. He was sitting in the Great Hall eating lunch with Holden, Fred, Dominique and her friends, while looking over at the Hufflepuff table where Marisol had just sat down. Marisol still wasn’t talking to him and James was starting to get annoyed.

“James, are you with us?” Dominique’s voice drifted toward his ears and he turned his head back around to face his friends. They all rolled their eyes at him as they went back to their conversation on Quidditch.

“Did you guys hear about the bet that Madam Longbottom and Professor Longbottom made?” Fred asked the others before going on after they had all shook their heads. “The losing House has to bow down to the winning House the whole day on Monday, every time they pass a member of the House that won the match.”

“Which means that the Hufflepuffs will have to show all of us Gryffindors some respect and bow to us,” James said with a comical expression on his face as he tried to forget about Marisol for the time being. It wasn’t hard, but then again he had actually only shoved her to a different part of his brain that he wasn’t using.

“Definitely,” chorused both Fred and Holden as they high-fived one another, grinning from ear-to-ear.

The day continued to move on in a fast pace. The students walked to and from their afternoon classrooms with a certain jest that might have indicated that they couldn’t wait for the Gryffindor/Hufflepuff match the next day.

James found it increasingly difficult to sit still in his classes. His mind kept wandering toward Quidditch and Marisol at separate intervals throughout the remainder of the day. How was he going to get her to talk to him? How was he going to keep her from his mind long enough in tomorrow’s match to be on his best form?

Instead of going to dinner, James climbed the numerous staircases that led him to the top of the Astronomy tower. He breathed in the crisp, cool air that hung in the surrounding atmosphere before he looked out across the grounds below the castle.

The leaves that were still attached to the surrounding trees were in various shades of yellow, orange, maroon, and brown. Scattered beneath and around the trees were leaves that had already fallen from their respective trees. And the surface of the lake was calm with a glazed look to it as though it would soon be frozen solid in no time; leaves floated on the glassy surface.

James thought of Marisol as he scanned over the grounds. He needed to talk to her before the match. He could go down to dinner and hope that she was there so that he could ask to talk to her. Holden had told him that Marisol still liked him, but that she was afraid of getting hurt if they ever became a couple. James had to prove to Marisol that he wouldn’t hurt her, ever.

Without giving it much thought, James went back down to the entrance hall at a fast pace; as he passed portraits and ghosts on the way, they yelled at him to slow down and that there was no need to rush. James ignored them.

James slowed down and came to a stop just outside the great hall doors, which stood open to reveal to him that most of the school was there at the moment. He gulped down a few breaths of the surrounding air until they were evened out before entering the dining hall.

James walked over toward where Marisol sat with Evelyn and Jasmine. He saw her look up at him with a look of surprise on her face when he was standing next to her. “We need to talk.”

Marisol looked up at him from where she sat for several seconds before standing and following him back into the entrance hall, where he turned around to face her.

“What did you need to talk about?” Marisol asked in a voice of indifference. “I thought we had covered it all on Tuesday.”

“No,” James said in a crisped tone, “we didn’t.”

Marisol crossed her arms in front of her chest without saying anything.

James ran a hand through his messy raven hair before he went on. “Marisol, I’m re –”

At that moment, the last person that James wanted to see came walking down the grand marble staircase. The person stopped at the sight of James and Marisol and was none other than Kelsey, James’ ex-girlfriend.

James groaned and ran a hand down his face and toward the back of his neck, the gesture showed just how aggravated he was.

“Hey Jamie,” Kelsey gushed, “Have you been thinking about us?”

“Kelsey, I’m kind of in the middle of something right now,” James started in a tired voice before he added, “and there is never again going to be an ‘us’.”

“But Jamie,” Kelsey pouted.

James rolled his eyes; he couldn’t stand when anyone but his family called him ‘Jamie’. He especially hated it when Kelsey called him that. It made him hate the nickname even more.

Marisol could see that James was getting tired of Kelsey and that was why she said the first thing that she could think of. “Get lost, Kelsey.” Her tone was hard and stubborn; her face was set in a defiant expression.

Kelsey backed down, surprisingly, but not without stomping her feet and crossing her arms as she walked off into the great hall.

“You are now my hero,” James said in awe. “I’ve been trying to shake her off all week with no luck.”

Marisol shrugged and asked, “You were saying?”

“Oh, right,” James voiced again, “I was saying that I was sorry for what happened between Kelsey and me. I should have done something else to get her to back off.”

Marisol didn’t say anything, she couldn’t. How would she know if he really meant what he said? How did she know that he was right for her? Was he–?

“I like you, Marisol,” James cut into her thoughts, “give me a chance to show you that I won’t hurt you. Will you be my girlfriend?”

James waited for her response, but when it came it wasn’t the one he had anticipated.

“I’ll have to think about it,” Marisol softly spoke. “I’ll get back to you with the answer tomorrow.”

“Before the game?” James asked with hope in his voice.

Marisol shrugged.

“Whenever it is,” James said, “I’ll be waiting.”

~*~*~*~*~

Marisol walked down to breakfast the next morning before the game with Evelyn and Jazzy. She had told them both about the conversation that she had had with James the previous night.

“Are you going to accept James’ offer to be his girlfriend?” Evelyn asked as the two entered the great hall and sat down at the Hufflepuff table.

Marisol was about to answer Evelyn’s question when her owl landed in front of her with a scroll of parchment tied to her leg. She untied and unraveled it before she started to read what it said to herself as her two friends watched.

Dear Marisol,

            I miss you, too. I’m sorry if my letters have been brief and sparse, but I’ve been busy. Charles finally came around and asked me to be his girlfriend. It’s about time. I was starting to think he was completely loco and couldn’t see any of the signs I was sending his way.

            Anyway, about your whole James dilemma, it’s just like you to doubt what your heart is saying. That’s why your relationships always ended badly, but I’m not trying to bring you down.

            Mari, you need to not think about it. Just jump in feet first and see where it goes from there. If you like James, then go for it. I’m saying this as your best friend; we’re practically sisters, and I think you should give him a chance. What have your new friends been telling you to do? If they said they same thing I did then that’s more reason for you to go out with the guy.

            Now, I expect to hear that you are going out with this James the next time you write. Everyone sends their graces and miss you as well.

Good luck,
Maria 


Marisol rolled her eyes, Maria would always be the same no matter what and that was what she loved about her friend. She finished her breakfast while she talked to her two friends before leaving the great hall with the rest of the Hufflepuff Quidditch team.

Marisol changed into her yellow and black Quidditch robes in the girls’ changing room feeling particularly nervous. Which would be fine under any other circumstances, but this would be the first Quidditch match she played in at Hogwarts.

When Marisol and the other two girls that were on the team were finished getting changed for the game, they all headed over to the boys’ changing rooms to see if it was safe to enter for the before-match pep talk that Kyle was going to go over. The girls knocked on the closed door and waited until they heard the sound of scurried footsteps and a quick shout of “Come in!” met their ears as they all raised their eye brows at the weirdness of the situation.

“You two can go first,” Annabelle Longbottom said as she poked both the girls standing next to her. Annabelle was a Chaser like Marisol and quite popular amongst her fellow seventh years. She had her mother’s warm heart and friendliness, and then she had her father’s loyalty, courage, and stubbornness. Her face was set in a determined expression as she crossed her arms to show that she would not be the first to enter the boys’ changing rooms.

“Oh, no,” Renee Spencer shook her head. “Last year before the first match I was naïve enough to enter first and ended up getting squirted with water in the face as Nathan had used the Aguamenti charm on the first girl to enter. Who knows what they’d pull this year.”

Marisol tried to hold her laughter, but couldn’t as a giggle escaped from her lips. “They doused you with water?”

“Not they,” Renee started heatedly, “Nathan did. He’s so immature; sometimes I wish I was an only child!” The other two laughed at Renee as she crossed her arms and huffed.

Renee was the Keeper on the team and little sister to Nathan Spencer, who was the Seeker. She was soft-spoken outside of the Hufflepuff Quidditch team and tended to spend more time in the library. She was a fourth year and Annabelle often took her under her wing and watched out for her like a big sister watched out for a little sister.

“I’ll go in,” Marisol said as she put her hand on the knob and turned it. Before either of the two girls that stood behind her could say anything she pushed the door open and walked in. Nothing happened … at first … until Annabelle and Renee walked in cautiously after her. The boys were nowhere to be seen at first glance, until they walked further into the stinky, messy locker room – boys seriously need to learn how to clean up after themselves – and then the three girls were bombarded by four boys.

The boys tossed about half a dozen small, colorful Nerf balls at them before bursting out laughing and taking their seats on the bench in the centre of the room. The girls were not amused, to say the least, but they sat down on the bench before their Captain – who had a wide smile spread across his handsome features from the laughter that he had just contained only a few seconds before.

“Alright team, settle down,” Kyle MacMillian said in a half forceful, half joking tone before clearing his throat and sobered up with a serious face. “We’ve worked hard these past couple of months and I’d like to see you all go out there, and prove to those Gryffindors that we can beat them once and for all!” The room filled with a chorus of “Yeah”’s, when it died down he spoke again. “Let’s go kick ourselves some Gryffindor arse!”

~*~*~*~*~

James walked out onto the pitch with his team closely behind him and his broom rested over his shoulder. He was ready to kick some Hufflepuff arse, even if the girl he liked happened to be on the Hufflepuff Quidditch team and he wanted her to forgive him for the whole Kelsey fiasco.

When both teams met in the centre of the field, Coach Krum approached the teams and told the Captains to shake hands.

James stepped forward at the same time that Kyle did to shake hands. Both of the Captains had each other’s hands in vice-like grips, though neither complained as they let go. Both the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff teams mounted and kicked off from the ground at the sound of the whistle.

James heard the sound of one of his cousins, Louis Weasley’s voice as he began to commentary the match between the Lions and Badgers. He could also see Marisol as she flew upward with the rest of the players and groaned at the prospect of beating Hufflepuff yet again because she was on the team, but that didn’t matter at the moment.

“Both teams kick upward on their brooms,” Louis started, “On the Hufflepuff team, Captain Kyle MacMillian, Annabelle Longbottom, Marisol Mendez, Blake Hartley, Tyler Bennington, Renee Spencer, and their seeker Nathan Spencer!”

“And flying on the Gryffindor team are Captain James Potter II, Holden Summers, Melinda Reynolds, Fred Weasley II, Dominique Weasley, Hugo Weasley, and their seeker Albus Potter!” Louis finished the introductions just before the balls were thrown into the air and the game begun. “And it’s Potter with the Quaffle, who passes to Summers, who passes back to Potter. Potter flies forward and tosses to Reynolds, who aims the Quaffle at the centre hoop. Will it make it, ladies and gents?”

The crowd, mainly Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors, were on their feet as they watched the red ball soar in a perfect arc toward the goal…

“And it’s in! The score is 10-nil to Gryffindor!” Louis exclaimed into the megaphone with a bit too much Gryffindor pride for someone who was supposed to be an unbiased commentator. “Spencer tosses the Quaffle to Mendez, who easily catches it and takes it toward the centre before passing to Longbottom.”

“Longbottom catches and whizzes past Potter as he makes an attempt to intercept; nice try, mate.” Louis continued after a short pause for effect. “She passes to Macmillian, who passes to Mendez and in turn, passes back to Macmillian, who makes it in. That’s 10-10!”

The game went along the same lines as that, with the occasional Bludger being sent toward a player. Dominique and Fred were quite the duo when it came to hitting bludgers at the other team. They had hit Nathan, who had been about to catch the snitch; and they had hit Kyle, causing the leather ball that he had firmly under his arm to drop into the arms of James as he was flying underneath him at that moment.

It had been going on for 40 minutes when Louis could be heard as he said, “And what’s this? It appears that both seekers have seen the snitch!”

Indeed, Albus and Nathan were both neck-and-neck as they raced around pitch in pursuit of the glint of gold zooming in front of them.

“Mendez scores!” Louis exclaimed from out of the blue as everyone in the audience had their eyes on the two seekers at the time. “That’s 60-110 to Hufflepuff with Gryffindor still in the lead!”

Moments after the Quaffle soared through the left hoop, a Bludger hit Marisol in the arm with enough force to cause her to momentarily lose control of her broom for several seconds. She steadied it again, just as the Hufflepuffs in the stands broke into thunderous applause.

“Spencer catches the snitch!” Louis shouted above all the cheers and chants in a rather disheartened voice. “Hufflepuff wins with the score at 210-110!”

Both teams flew down to the ground. The Hufflepuffs surrounded their team as the Gryffindor team headed toward the changing rooms in a rather gloomy state.

“I can’t believe they beat us!” exclaimed Fred as the boys entered their changing room and he kicked his locker for extra measure to relieve the anger at not winning, but it only made his big toe hurt.

“They beat us fair and square,” James interjected before his cousin or any of the other guys could say another word. He didn’t want to hear about them complaining about not winning when he was thinking of how his stomach had dropped when Marisol was hit with that Bludger. If she hadn’t gained control back over her broom…well, James didn’t want to think about that.

When the boys were changed, the girls entered and together they all walked back up toward the castle. The Pitch was already empty, meaning that the Hufflepuffs had probably already headed back up to the castle to have an after party in their common room for their win over Gryffindor. But at a second glance of the Quidditch Pitch, James could make out someone sitting in the centre of the field on the grass with their broomstick lying beside them. He knew who that was and without a second thought he walked back toward the field.



Author's Note:  So, what'd you think of this chapter?  I'd love to hear your opinions and if you noticed any mistakes then I'd also greatly appreciate it if you pointed them out to me.  I only sent this chapter to my beta once before I posted it instead of the usual two times.  Though, I actually did send her the final draft, I just decided that you guys had waited long enough for an update and decided to post it.  I'll edit any more changes she makes to the chapter.  Let me know what you thought of this chapter, please.

Also, this story is almost complete, yay!  But I am a little sad as I get to the ending.  It'll have either one or two more chapters, depending on how the last scenes of the story flows.

Thanks to slytherinprincess over in the forums for beta'd this chapter for me!

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