This week: I watched Morning Glory. Ate a lot of chocolate. Sulked.
Problem 33: I can’t tell what’s worse about this situation: the fact James was on the warpath for an unknown reason – though I have a strong suspicion – or that he now has blackmail material.
I think, for now, the second point is most terrifying.
“What did say he say exactly?” I ask. Caspar is looking like she’s going to cry again.
“We were in one of the hidden passageways – I swear, I just turned down there and she was already in the tunnel! There was one of those really awkward moments, and then I sort of... launched myself at her,” she says quickly, looking embarrassed, “And while we were having a really intense moment –“ Oh sweet mother of Merlin I have so many awful mental images now! “—James stumbled into the bloody place too! I looked around, saw him and found my brain had stopped working in a panic-like manner. He didn’t say anything for a very long moment,” she pauses, gulps, and then continues, he voice rising, “And then he opened his mouth and told me if I didn’t tell Harry by next Friday that I was cheating on him he’d tell him that I—“ she abruptly stops, looking in horror at the doorway. Professor Chang is back, and looking stunned.
“Well,” she finally manages to say.
“Yeah,” I reply intelligently.
She comes into the room and closes the door behind her, casting a silencing charm over it. Then she draws up a chair and sits down in front of us.
“Since you’re obviously not going to be able to work whilst it’s all running through your mind,” she says casually to us, “I think we should talk about this. Think of it as free therapy.”
“Oh no,” Livi says quickly, “That’s not—“
“Olivia, you’ve filed every Charms lesson plan under ‘Ancient Runes’. You’ve also burnt the word ‘gah’ into the table. I think you need to talk.”
There’s a pause. Professor Chang leans back in her chair.
“I don't even like Luke," she starts, "He's stupid and selfish and he makes me want to scream with boredom. I am dating him because of his looks and that makes me stupid and shallow in the extreme." She stops and gulps. Professor Chang nods.
Oh, fuck it.
“My whole family is going to hate me,” I start. I can feel something lifting in my chest; could it be that I should actually talk to people like normal human beings do? “Because they all hate the Malfoy’s, and I’ve gone and fallen in love with one of them. Dad will never forgive me. My cousin told me he’s gay and his mother is desperate for him to get married and have lots of kids. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over Scorpius if he gets bored of me. I don’t ever seem to forward plan either so if he wants me out of his house it’ll probably just leave me as a tramp on the streets.”
Yes, I am planning on living with him. Indefinitely. Well, that’s my therapy over!
We all turn to look at Caspar. She sighs. “There’s a girl called Caspar Clark. Her parents divorced when she was three, and she lived her life between their homes until she was eleven. And then an owl came with a letter. It said she was a witch. Her mum cried a lot at that, because she was scared of being home alone. Since her dad had gone, she had no-one. Her dad was really pleased, and he was the one who took Caspar to Diagon Alley. She saw such amazing things there, brilliant things,” she smiles, looking down at her lap, “She was so happy. And then the time came to go home. Caspar and her dad – they waited for her mum to pick her up. Spent hours sitting outside The Leaky Cauldron, telling each other about all the fascinating things they’d seen. But by two o’clock, the pub had shut and Caspar’s mum still hadn’t turned up. So they went home by themselves.”
We all keep waiting for her to continue, but she just gazes at her hands, neatly folded in her lap.
“Go on,” Professor Chang urges, “You’re doing really well.”
“I don’t want to,” Caspar mumbles. A tear is making its way down her cheek.
I can honestly say I’ve never heard this story before. That her parents are even divorced is news to me.
How well do I know my friends?
Let’s play a game, kids!
Question: which of your friends is a closet lesbian?
No! You got it wrong! She’s too busy crying to think of any relationships right now!
I put an arm around my tearful friend.
“Olivia,” Professor Chang says, “Would you please fetch the tissues from my cupboard?”
“Olivia,” Professor Chang says, “Would you please fetch the tissues from my cupboard?”
Livi walks off in search of the fabled Box of Tissues. Apparently they have a cheering charm placed on them.
Caspar takes a deep breath. “We got a taxi home. Dad made me some tea, and we carried on talking about Diagon Alley and wizards and all these amazing things,” she carries on. Now she’s in the first person it’s scarily real. I have never, ever heard Caspar discuss her parents.
How do I spend so long in the company of one person and still know so little about them?
She’s talking again. “Dad went into the lounge to watch television, and he came out really pale. He said ‘Your mother’s gone’. I didn’t know what it meant, so I packed my stuff into a bag like he told me to and we went off to his house.”
She stops again. Livi’s back with the tissues. Caspar smiles half-heartedly and blows her nose.
“Then what?” I ask, somewhat unkindly – fuck it, I’m curious.
“It’s Livi’s turn to talk,” she replies.
DAMN IT ALL.
Livi shrugs. “My mum’s a hormonal wreck and my dad is very nice.”
...Isn’t that every family?
Actually, both of my parents act like grumpy teenagers. I’m obviously damaged due to them.
Why isn’t anyone talking? Wasn’t this supposed to be the part where we all discuss our feelings?
“Back to the present,” I say, after a spectacularly boring pause, “What are we going to do about the Caspar Situation?”
It’s officially grown capitals. That’s how serious it is.
“Caspar Situation?” Professor Chang queries. I ignore her, and so does everyone else.
“What can she do but beg profusely for forgiveness and be a good girl in the future?” Livi asks, looking pointedly at Caspar, who’s looking glum.
“Actually,” she says slowly, “I was thinking of... getting rid of him.”
We goggle at her.
“Heh?” I say intelligently.
“Well... If I didn’t care enough about him to stop in the first place, what’s going to stop me if it happens again?” she says logically.
I’m still goggling.
“No, sorry, take it back a step,” Livi demands, “You snogged someone else—“
“It wasn’t snogging! I had sex!”
It seems we’ve decided to ignore Professor Chang completely. She’s looking shell-shocked. After all, Cas is her best student.
“—once, and now you’re willing to throw away three years of relationship for that?”
Caspar shrugs. “I just... don’t think I care about him anymore.”
She looks shocked that she’s said it out loud, and covers her mouth with her hand before starting to cry in earnest.
Livi puts an arm around her. Fuck, I suck at sympathy. Honestly, I have inherited my father’s tact.
“Even if you don’t care, you still need to do some grovelling. He’s going to care, Cas, and you need to apologize... and break up with him if you don’t want to be with him anymore,” I say firmly.
I did say I sucked at sympathy.
“That will, at least, sort out your little James problem,” Livi agrees. Caspar blinks at us, and removes the hand from over her mouth, looking dazed.
“B-break up with him?” she chokes, “I don’t know what I’ll do without h-him!” She hiccups and clutches her head.
“You just said you wanted to get rid of him!” I remind her tersely, “What else could you mean by that, bumping him off?”
Okay, wrong thing to say. Cue a new bout of tears.
“I don’t know!” she wails, “I just wanna... I just want to be alone!”
With that, she pushes her chair back and shoots out of the room. Livi makes to stand up, but I grab her hand.
“Geesh, Livi, weren’t you listening?” I snap.
That was mean of me. My shoulders sag in defeat. Where’s Scorpius when I need him? I need him now, damnit!
I need a hug. All Caspar’s drama has taken the wind from my sails.
“Well,” Professor Chang says primly, “I guess it’s about the end of your detention. You can go, girls.”
Livi and I glance at each other, both of us daring the other to say the magic words.
“Thanks, Professor,” I say slowly, rising from my seat, “I think... we’d better... goafterher.”
And at that, we both dash from the room in the direction we think she went in.
Where’s that stupid map Uncle Harry had when you need it?
All this dashing around is going to make me fit.
We search every classroom, every passageway, the library, the Great Hall, we even go down to Hagrid’s.
He greets us with “I think the Kelpie’s are eating my cabbages” and swears blind he hasn’t seen Caspar. We trudge back to the castle utterly defeated and feeling like crappy friends.
“We’re crappy friends,” Livi moans.
“Yep,” I agree.
“We should have gone after her straight away,” she continues.
“Yep,” I say.
“Luke isn’t sweet at all.”
“Scorpius and you are going to be in so much trouble when your parents find out.”
“Enough searching!” Livi orders, promptly sitting down on the grass, “I don’t want to search for a boy, for a friend, for answers, for anything! I’d rather wallow in self pity and wait for them to find me.”
Oh crap, now she’s crying too.
I sit down by her and wrap an arm around her shoulders.
“Livi, do you want to move to somewhere more private so we can talk?” I ask quietly.
She laughs. Well, sort of. It’s more like a parrot vomiting. “Fuck it! I don’t care if anyone sees me now.”
“What do you mean, ‘sees me now’?”
She shrugs. “James already saw me clawing at The Fat Lady because I forgot the password; Roxanne saw me having an argument with Sir Cadogan; Caspar saw me throw a biscuit at a first year because she looked at me; freaking everyone and their mothers have seen me do something freaking dumb this week. I hate it when you’re ill, I really do.”
She pouts as I try to comprehend what she’s just told me.
“You threw a biscuit at a first year?” I finally manage, “Why?”
“Because I’m tired. Because I’m stressed. Because everything sucks!” she punches the ground and glares at the Whomping Willow. “I don’t want to do anything. I just want... I want to cry. And eat.”
“Let’s go to the kitchens then,” I suggest hopefully. I can see some weird little kids pointing at us.
She shrugs and stands up, wiping her eyes. “Sure. That way I can stuff my face, at least.”
We start walking back to the castle again, my arm around Livi’s waist. Everyone’s having a bit of a drama, it would seem.
I wonder what Louis is going to do about his situation. I haven’t seen him in a while.
As we reach the castle steps I notice that there’s still a group of people chatting in the entrance hall. Livi doesn’t seem to mind, though, so I just keep walking. We carry on past them, and I notice one of the people is Luke.
He notices Livi, who is pointedly ignoring him.
“Libby! Come and say hi!” he says, a big smile on his face.
This is too much for Olivia, apparently, as she spins around out of my grip and yells:
All this ice cream is going to make me so fat.
And I know you’re rolling your eyes, but honestly. We’re on our fourth bowl. Each.
“I just don’t care if he kicks me off the team,” Livi says, and then pauses to lick her spoon, “I want out. Out of the relationship, not out of the team, obviously.”
She catches my eye and nods meaningfully. It’s somewhat lost on me; I’m a bit preoccupied with glaring at my bowl of ice cream, hoping it will result in Caspar bursting through the door, announcing that it’s all been a dream and no-one has cried today.
And that James has no blackmail material.
The house elves of the kitchen have taken refuge in the opposite end of the room. Occasionally a couple will venture over and offer us some more food. I’ve given up declining and instead I nod as Livi reels off a new list of fattening flavours.
“I mean, it’s not like I’m having much fun, anyway. He’s a whiny little git, frankly. He just happens to be beautiful. And a good kisser. And he can be really, desperately charming.” Livi sighs heavily. Oh, her life is so hard.
I mean, beautiful boyfriend with faults that make him mildly irritating?
Hang on. That’s my situation, too.
Where is Scorpius, anyway?
The door to the kitchen begins to open and my heart leaps in anticipation, could it be – oh. It’s Al.
“Hi, Albus,” I say glumly, “How’re you?”
He shrugs, looking like he’s hiding something. “Fine, fine,” he says airily.
“So, what’s up?” Livi says, scooping more food into her mouth. Albus looks even shiftier.
I give it ten second until he cracks. He can’t help but tell us stuff.
Ten, nine, eight, seven—
“So I saw Scarlett today,” Al says quickly. I grin at him, and he smiles sheepishly, running a hand through his hair.
“Have a seat, Al,” I say politely. A house elf rushes over with another spoon.
“Thanks,” Albus says, digging into my bowl of chocolate ice cream. With sprinkles, of course.
I wait a few moments. Okay, not so many moments, but enough time for me to eat another spoonful of ice cream.
“So what happened?” I ask casually.
Albus rolls his eyes. “Jeez, Rose, I know you know something about this situation, stop playing innocent,” he chastises, “I saw her for a few moments – all she did was squeak and leg it in the opposite direction. What on Earth have you said to her? Does she think I’m infectious or something?”
I can’t help but snigger. He glares.
Pulling my best innocent face, I gesture for him go on with my spoon.
“There’s very little more to it,” he shrugs, and runs a hand through his hair. “What the hell’s gotten into her?”
This time its Livi’s turn to snort. “Are you really as thick as you look?” she asks, “It’s not what’s gotten into her – it’s what’s gotten out of her. Like something she thought she could hold in.”
Al just looks confused. And irritated. “I don’t look like an idiot! And I’ll have you know I’m very intelligent. It’s not my fault you lot are so bloody cryptic!”
I’m trying not to laugh. It’s not working at all, so I stick another spoonful of ice cream in my mouth. Mmmn.
“Albus,” Livi says tiredly, “Why don’t you track the girl down yourself, like a redneck after an elk, and politely ask her to go to Hogsmeade with you. I have my own issues right now, I can’t afford to waste time on yours.”
Albus is looking like Christmas has come early, despite Olivia’s random simile. “Ask her to Hogsmeade?” he questions, a broad grin spreading across his face, “You mean she likes me?”
“Al! I am supposed to be the girl here! Can’t you just be a real man and bottle your feelings up until you start violently lashing out?” Livi snaps, “Of course she bloody likes you!”
He seems to be ignoring Livi’s snappy, grumpy attitude. He puts down his spoon and jumps up from his seat, cheerily waving goodbye to us as he departs.
“Stupid Albus,” Livi grumbles, “Stupid Scarlett. Stupid Luke. Stupid you and mouse boy. Stupid Caspar. Stupid Evie. Stupid essays. Stupid school—“
“Shut up Livi,” I interrupt, “You’re ruining a vaguely romantic moment. Al might have a girlfriend soon!” I grin at her. She flicks a spoonful of ice cream at the table. Oh, for crying out loud.
I’m sorely tempted to stand up and yell ‘GET A BLOODY GRIP’ at her, but resist for fear of making her cry once more.
“I want your cat. I want Sassy,” Livi mutters.
“Okay, that’s cool, let’s find my cat,” I reply, “Come on – to the Gryffindor dormitories!”
Livi pushes herself out of her seat and starts to stomp off, and I stack our bowls quickly before following her.
“This is ridiculous,” she mutters, “All I want is a guy who likes me as much as I like him, preferably without body odour or a creepy ex, to come up and ask me out. Then I can dump Luke, get kicked off the team, and all will be fine! Fine, fine, finey fine fine!”
I nod silently. What the hell am I supposed to say in reply to that?
We walk on for a while, and by the time we’ve reached the classrooms, Livi’s shoulders have relaxed and she’s smiling as she talks to me.
“—I mean, I dig his looks, too! Scorpius has got nice hair,” she agrees with me, “But I just don’t look at him and think ‘Wow, I’m going to follow you around all day’.”
I laugh. “Speaking of following people around, I haven’t seen Marius in a whole two days!” I exclaim, “It’s like he’s finally gotten the message!”
Livi frowns. “Funny, I saw him earlier. He was talking to – brace yourself – another girl. Maybe he’s found someone who thinks he’s charming when he slips chocolates into their bag?”
I pout. “I kind of miss it. I know that’s bratty of me, but—“
Livi abruptly slams a hand over my mouth. “Did you hear that?” she whispers, and then starts advancing towards the nearest classroom’s door on tiptoe.
Honestly, no, I didn’t hear ‘that’. Livi’s lost her mind. Again.
I creep up with her anyway, already wondering how to break the news to Caspar that Livi’s lost the few marbles she had. Slowly, so she doesn’t make any noise, Livi opens the door a crack and peers through. She closes the door sharply and turns her back on it, sliding down to the floor wearing a stunned expression.
The tears start to leak from her eyes and I’m still none the wiser to what she saw.
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Thank you to Ellie, harrypotter417, Wendelin the Weird, estefania, bostonsboy227, Mel, caputdraconis, :), Olwyn, ginny_malfoy22, The Blunt Phoenix, a_rollerball and hermionniny9 for your lovely reviews on the previous chapter! You're all amazing <3
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