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"You did WHAT?!"

"Sssh!" Beth said quickly, shoving her hand over Olivia's mouth to stop her from shrieking anything else. "You promised!"

Olivia murbled something through Beth's fingertips, something that sounded like Gobbledegook (or French, but the two languages were very closely related), and Beth took pity on her. She released Olivia, and let her fall onto the bed. It was two o'clock in the morning, and they were sitting on Beth's four-poster in the Beauxbatons Dormitories, discussing the scandalous events of the night. None of the other Beauxbatons girls were back from the Yule Ball yet - apparently they had made it their personal duties to dance with as many boys as they could.

Unlike Beth, whose mind was only on one particular boy.

"So, once you 'ave finished killing me," Olivia said as she sat up again, a broad grin on her face. "What did you do next?"

"Huh?" Beth said ungraciously, unwrapping her Galaxy bar and beginning to nibble.

"After you kissed. What did you do?"

"Oh, right." She thought back to the moment. "Erm ... not much. We chatted for a bit. Joked around. Kissed a little more. Oh! Actually, I remember now. George went to steal us some food from the Ball, and when he came back, he was carrying one of those massive Gobstoppers - you know, the ones the size of your fist? Anyway, he bet me I couldn't fit a whole one in my mouth."

For some reason, Olivia was looking a little unenthusiastic about this idea. "You didn't," she said hoarsely.

Beth beamed. "I did! It was amazing. George was really impressed - do you know what he said? He said 'Only a girl with an exceptionally large gob could possibly fit one of those in her mouth.'"

Olivia put her head in her hands. "Beth!"

"What? It was brilliant! Only it sort of got stuck between my teeth, which was ... er... painful. George had to tug at it for ages. Then finally, it got dislodged and made this massive 'PUH' sound, and flew halfway across the room like a cannonball!" Beth burst out laughing, rolling around on the bed and clutching her stomach as she relived the moment.

Olivia just watched, dismayed. "You are crazy," she said.

"Don't you know it, my petit chou!" Olivia waited patiently for her friend's giggles to stop - giggles she blamed, naturally, on love. After a few minutes, Beth finally sat up, having contained herself. "But anyway, I haven't finished my story," she said, as though it were Olivia who had become hysterical. "At about 1 o'clock, we decided it was getting a bit late, so he said he'd walk me back to my dormitory. And when we got there, I took off his jacket and gave it back to him, and he said, "Thanks, beautiful." And I went all melty inside, and then he kissed me really lightly on the lips again. And THEN he said, 'Thanks for ... er .... kissing me tonight. As a friend.'"

Olivia's eyes widened. "What?!"

"Well, exactly! What does that mean? He said 'As a friend' really weirdly, like he was giving me a secret message or something."

"But what message? Does 'e mean 'e just wants to stay friends, and zis was just 'is chance to kiss a girl?" Olivia wondered aloud. When she saw Beth's face, she said hastily, "No! Wait! Zat's ridiculous. 'E probably is trying to tell you, zat 'e wants to be more than friends. It was you who suggested eet in ze first place, wasn't it? Just kissing as friends? Well, maybe 'e is telling you, zat 'e wants more."

Beth nodded, looking a little cheered up. "Yeah. Or maybe he was just joking around. Maybe he was being sarcastic about us just being friends, because it's obvious that we can't just stay friends ..." She trailed off, a little awkward.

Olivia sighed. "Well, Beth. You can never be too sure. I guess ze only zing to do, is to act like you just want to be friends too. Zen if he seems to want more, zen you can go ahead. But ze one zing you CANNOT do, is go after 'im. If 'e really means zat 'e just wants to be friends, zen you do not want to embarrass yourself."

Beth nodded. It made sense.

She could only hope that George would want her like she wanted him.

The next day, Saturday, the school was buzzing. The few students that had managed to drag themselves out of bed after their late night sat at their tables in the Great Hall at breakfast, gossiping and shrieking and sharing scandalous stories. Beth was not one of them. She finally traipsed down with Olivia at 11 o'clock, when most of the school seemed to be waking up, and they met Luna in the Great Hall. Beth filled her in on the night's events as they ate lunch together, then Luna told her own story - one of the Durmstrang boys at the Ball had asked her to dance, and now she was wondering if he was one of the Rotfang Conspiracy in disguise - Beth didn't know what that meant, but she still choked on her Pumpkin Juice with laughter.

"He did seem to have very clean teeth," Luna was saying thoughtfully. "A bit too clean, though, if you ask - oh! Beth! One of the twins is coming over."

Beth froze. Oh, crap, she thought, panicked. What if he wants to be friends? What if last night meant nothing? Ohcrapohcrapohcrap ...

She could almost sense them walking towards her. When she tried to dive under the table (maybe they hadn't seen her yet?) Olivia grabbed the neck of her robes and pulled her back up again, chortling. "You 'ave to face 'im sometime, you know," she said sternly.

Beth swallowed, and turned around. George stood in front of her - she knew because he was wearing the string around his wrist again - and she noticed with a slight thrill that his hair was slightly rumpled, as if he had just got out of bed. In fact, she couldn't stop looking at his hair. She was mesmerized by it ...

"Hi," said George.

Okay, Beth thought, trying to pull herself together. This is it. Just think ... friends.

"Erm, yes. You too. I mean - er - hi, to you. Too." He looked a little taken-aback, so Beth said hurriedly, "Mate."

"Right," he said.

"Where's Fred?" She asked desperately.

"Oh, he's with Angelina Johnson. You know, his date to the Ball? Apparently they had a great time last night, so ... looks like they'll be spending a lot of time together." He grinned.

Beth tried to grin back, but her mouth didn't seem to want to. "Cool. That's ... erm ... cool. Mate." She cringed a little inside.

"Well, anyway," said George. "Gotta go. Things to do, toilets to blow up, that sort of thing. We're all gonna go down to the lake again tonight, if you guys want to come."

"That'd be glorious," said Beth. "Mate."

He gave her a bit of an awkward nod, and walked back over to the Gryffindor table where Fred sat, chatting to Angelina. Beth watched him subtly. He wasn't talking, just sitting there, staring at the plate of chicken legs in front of him.

"Bloody 'ell," said Olivia, and Beth turned around to see her two friends watching her as though she were mad. "What were you zinking?"

"What?" said Beth defensively. "I was being a mate."

"Beth, being a mate doesn't mean just saying 'mate' after every sentence," Olivia said, rolling her eyes. "And what was with the accent?"

"What accent?"

"When you were talking to George, you put on this weird accent," Luna explained.

"It was as if you came ovair all German, or somezing," added Olivia.

Luna shook her head. "No, actually, I thought it was more Spanish."

Olivia considered. "You're right. It sort of fluctuated between ze two."

Beth groaned, and covered her face with her hands. "Oh flip. Flip, flip, flip. What is wrong with me? I -"

She stopped. Someone had caught her eye. A couple had just entered the Great Hall, hand-in-hand ... and one of them was Cedric Diggory. She watched them curiously as Cedric whispered something in the girl's ear, and she laughed, and they went to sit down together at the Ravenclaw table. She sighed, and turned back to her friends, who were watching her warily and waiting for her reaction.

"Well," she said, a little cheered up. "At least one good thing has come of this. I don't even care that Cedric is going out with some tart - I mean, girl."

"Really?" Luna said anxiously.

"Really. I look at him, and ... nothing." Beth started piling chicken legs and mashed potato onto her plate in a determined sort of way, her face flushed. Olivia and Luna said nothing, just exchanged a silent, knowing glance and went back to their own meal.

It was true. Cedric Diggory meant nothing to Beth anymore. All she could think about was the way George had looked at her, and she couldn't help repeating his words over and over in her head: 'It's been nice ... er... kissing you tonight. As friends.'

Boys were so damn difficult to figure out. This was exactly why Beth had never bothered with them before - that, and she'd never met a boy like George. A thought occurred to her. What if she and George couldn't manage to either stay friends or become something more? What if they stayed in this awkward, uncomfortable unfriendship forever, and never joked together or hung out again? The thought almost made her cry.

Well, there was only one thing for it. She was going to have dive in at the deep end, and take a chance.

"Gird your loins, girls," said Beth. "We're going in."

They had been hunched behind the gold statue of 'Remnick the Great'' for the last half an hour, Luna, Beth and Olivia, waiting. And they had seen many things. Many weird, frightening, exciting, funny things. But finally the time had come.

Beth knew that she had to get George on his own, preferably without Fred, to tell him how she felt. They had thought long and hard, but finally, they had found the solution. When was the only time Fred and George were apart? When one of them needed the bathroom.

It was a genius plan. Not exactly the most romantic, but it would do. Remnick the Great was situated in the perfect position, opposite the second-floor boy's bathroom. And just as they had expected, George had decided to take a visit - without his brother. He was walking along the corridor now, whistling and swinging his bag left and right in a carefree sort of way; Beth noticed he still hadn't fixed his hair.

"Alright," she said, breathing slowly. "This is it."

"Just GO!" said Olivia's desperate, muffled voice, and Beth felt some one shove her - she lost her balance and fell out into the corridor.

For a moment, she felt a wave of annoyance towards her friend - but then, she couldn't really blame her. There hadn't been much room behind the statue, so Olivia had spent most of the last half hour with her cheek squashed up against Remnick's rear end.

Beth straightened her t-shirt, preparing herself. George's friend Lee Jordan had stopped him, and they were chatting loudly - she momentarily considered diving back behind the statue when she saw the very person she did not want to see - Snape.

Bloody hell, she thought, disgruntled. That man is stalking me, surely.

"Wilkinson," Snape greeted her icily, with a look on his face that suggested he was not exactly overjoyed to see her, either. "Up to no good, I presume." (How did he know? thought Beth) "You may be interested to know that your Headmistress is not at all pleased with your current Potions grades. Not at all."

"Ah," she said, distracted. George was still talking to Lee, although thankfully he hadn't yet noticed Beth. "You're right. That's very ... interesting."

Snape bared his teeth in a most unattractive way. "You may think this is funny," he snarled. "But I assure you that if your marks sink any lower, you will be sent back to Beauxbatons in an instant! Don't think that can't happen, Wilkinson -"

George was saying goodbye to Lee, and was starting to walk towards the boy's toilets.

"Okay, bye, sir!" Beth said quickly, and tried to side-step Snape - he blocked her way.

"Are you even listening to me? I have been discussing your marks with the Headmaster and I can safely say that if you dare to put a TOE out of line, you will be on carriage back home in an instant -"

George was almost at the door. Beth had to catch him before he went inside.

"- and I'm sure I'm not the only one that thinks this way. You have not only disregarded me, but the entire staff -"

"PROFESSOR!" Beth said desperately. "Your fly is undone!"

She didn't even wait to see if he had fallen for it - she ran like the wind towards George, who was just at the toilet entrance ...

He was stepping over the threshold ...

And he was in.

She didn't stop - she flew past the boy's loos, and carried on running, and didn't slow down until she reached her dormitories, leaving Snape and the others behind. It was only when she fell onto her bed that she noticed the tears flooding down her cheeks.

Hey everyone, again! So, this chapter is one of my least favourite chapters ... ever. Sorry. But I hope you like it, anyway. And PLEASE REVIEW! I know you're reading it, so reviews would be awesome.

Anyway. I might come back and rewrite this chapter, but mostly I want to get down to the really juicy stuff. Haha.

Again: PLEASE REVIEW! If you do I might consider updating veeeeery soon ... *evil grin*

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