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I blinked back tears as Hermione helped clasp the hook on my necklace. I still wasn't over the other day's big event where I walked in on my boyfriend (sorry...ex-boyfriend) and close friend (sorry...ex-close friend) in the middle of a shag fest.

 

“Don’t worry about it,” Hermione assured me, sensing my emotions. “It’s his mistake.”

 

“Yeah,” I said. “But I still have to go to the stupid Ball with him.”

 

“You could have called it off,” she suggested. “You could have told him to go with Angelina and you with Fred.”

 

“It’s too late now,” I debated.

 

“Perhaps,” she said. “But you never know.” She went in the bathroom to fix her hair. That was dangerous for me now, to be alone. Every time I was, I thought of Oliver. It hurt to think about him. I had something with him, that's the truth. I gave him as much as I could. Apparently, it wasn’t enough. How weird it would be to be going to the Yule Ball with my ex boyfriend. That itself was going to be the talk of the night. Along with the fact that the entire word of Oliver’s little incident had gotten around school faster than the snitch being unhitched from the case. I hated Quidditch now. I couldn’t think about it. Everything was going too fast. This entire situation was so mind boggling I didn’t know where to begin.

 

“Hermione?” I asked, a lump forming in my throat. She walked out and I was absolutely speechless. She actually bought a pink dress, first off. Secondly, she looked stunning in it. It made the lump in my throat go down and I smiled with approval.

 

“Let’s get going,” I suggested.

 

“Emma,” she stopped me. She sat down next to me and took my arm. “You will be alright, right?”

 

“Of course,” I said. I didn’t know if I was lying or not. “I’m going to try at least.”

 

“Emma, listen to me,” she said. “If…well, things happen at Yule Balls. Things no one can explain. Nothing too bad. But it can damage a person’s heart sometimes. And I’m not just talking about their own.” I wasn't quite sure what she was getting at. “Fred is a good guy, Emma. Don’t forget that.”

 

“Oh, um…I won’t…” I said, not quite sure why she was telling me this. Still, I couldn’t argue with that. Fred was the best guy out there in my opinion. Then again, how could he not be? He was my best friend. I loved him so much…so much…

 

“Promise me, promise me, promise me, promise me,” she pressed. “That you will not doanything stupid tonight.” Her face was serious. Mine was confused, but I nodded.

 

“Good,” she said. She got up and flattened out her dress. “Let’s go.”

 

Oliver was waiting down in the Common Room. My stomach grew empty when I saw him. It felt like I had been shot in the heart but was still breathing. I should have been dead but I was alive.

 

“I’ll see you later tonight,” she said, when I was a few feet away from him. “I’m off to find Viktor. Remember, nothing stupid.” She glanced at Oliver when she said that. She left and Oliver met me half way.

 

“Hey,” he said. He kissed the back of my hand, the way a gentleman would. I sadly couldn’t say he was one, though. Not anymore. “You look beautiful.”

 

“Thanks.” I didn’t mean it. I wanted to get this over with. The more he talked the bigger the hole inside grew.

 

“Really, you’re…just so beautiful,” he said. It almost sounded like it was rehearsed. It took all I had to keep from clutching my stomach at that point.

 

“Can we just go?” I asked. I could tell he’d rather be with “someone else” and everything he was saying was just an act. He nodded and put out his arm. I took it but only for looks. We walked to the Ball Room in silence. Complete silence. When we entered the room, everyone was staring at us.

 

“I’ll meet you later? On the dance floor?” he asked when some people from the Quidditch Team had called him over. His eyes looked promising.

 

“Sure,” I said. I really didn’t care. I knew he didn’t want to be here with me, but there was nothing I could really do about it now. He left and I stood alone for a minute. I scouted for Hermione, Ron, Harry, Ginny, George, Fred, anybody I knew. Suddenly, I heard someone.

 

“Emma?” It was Roger Davies. We weren’t friends or anything -- more of acquaintances. He had had a secret crush on me since third year. Of course, it wasn’t so secret. But then again, it was since I was the only one that knew.

 

“Hey, Roger,” I said.

 

“You here with someone?” he asked.

 

“Unfortunately, the last person I want to be with,” I said sullenly. He put his hands together and rocked back on his heels.

 

“I’m sorry about what happened,” he said.

 

“Roger – ”

 

“He’s a jerk, Emma, why are you here with him?!” he looked almost hurt. Like he was hurt because he knew I deserved someone a lot better. Someone like him.

 

“Aren’t you here with someone?” I asked.

 

“Yeah,” he said. “But…” I put my hand on his lips to shush him. I held his hand.

 

“I can’t answer that question for you,” I said. “I don’t know why I’m here with him. It isn’t right to be. I’m becoming more and more heartbroken every time he says something. But if I’m away from him it hurts more.”

 

“Does it hurt now?” he asked. I thought a minute. I didn’t feel a big hole...

 

“No,” I said. “Not right now.” I smiled at him to make the moment lighter. He smiled back.

 

“Just know that, I am sorry, and if you need anything…”

 

“Yeah, Roger, I know. Thank you,” I said. He nodded and left. I figured I'd be getting a lot of conversations like that with everyone. I saw Fred and Angelina enter from the opposite side of the room. They didn’t look like they wanted to get away from each other. Angelina was actually laughing at something Fred had said and clutching on his arm. I wanted that. I wanted to be laughing, not moping tonight. That’s what I had envisioned when I was thinking about the Yule Ball before. George and Katie were behind them, Katie talking like crazy and George obviously not listening. Fred finally spotted me and gave a soft smile. I waved and Angelina turned to my direction. She turned to Fred and smiled as she left his arm to go see some other girls from Gryffindor.

 

“Oh my God…” Fred said, reaching me. I smiled at the compliment. He took my arms and kissed me quickly on the cheek. “You look freaking amazing.”

 

“Speak for yourself,” I said checking him out. I hadn’t meant to, honestly. It was just one of those things that happened. He looked really hot, I had to admit.

 

“Ha! Yeah? Well, I’d definitely tap that,” he said eyeing me up and down. He was joking, of course, but I played along anyway.

 

“I’d like to see you try, Weasley,” I said playfully. He bit his lip and raised his eyebrows, interested.

 

“I can arrange that,” he said, in a more seductive tone than normal. Holy cow was that hot...I mean, wait, what? I mean, in all honesty it really was sexy and definitely turned me on. But still...we're just friends.

 

Fred broke the seriousness with a stifled laugh and I returned the same. I liked being this close to him; I liked it more than I had ever realized. I wished so badly I had gone to the Yule Ball with him instead of good-cheapskate Oliver. Fred turned his head and waved to someone. When I turned to see who, my eyes met Angelina’s as she returned Fred’s wave. She gave a short grin toward me, if you’d even call it that, and turned away back to the girls she was with.

 

“She’s not ready to talk to me yet?” I guessed when he turned back to me.

 

“It was a little hard for her to talk to me at first,” he said. “Where’s Oliver by the way?” Ugh, Oliver. Why did he bring him up?

 

“Ugh, who knows,” I said in an annoyed tone. Fred could tell this irritated me and gave a look that wished he hadn’t brought it up.

 

“Well, you having fun?” I sighed.

 

“It could be better,” I admitted. He gave a sorry grin.

 

“Well, you will now,” he said.

 

“Oh? What makes you so sure?”

 

“Uh, I’m here?” he said like it was obvious. I hit him in the arm and he made a face at me. The thing was, things did get better everytime he was around. 

 

“So, were you talking to Roger earlier?” he asked.

 

“Yeah,” I said. “But everyone’s been staring at me. Everyone knows.”

 

“Oh,” he said. “Well, if you want them gone…”

 

“Behave yourself,” I told him, smirking. He laughed and the first song came on.

 

(“The Great Escape” – Boys Like Girls)

 

“I love this song,” I said. He smirked and leaned in to me.

 

“Well, what good is loving a song if you’re not going to dance to it?” he said. I smiled at him. He was about to take my hand when Angelina showed up around his other arm.

 

“Come on, Fred, let’s dance,” she said. She glanced at me with an awkward expression on her face. I returned the expression. Fred shrugged at me and went away with Angelina on the dance floor. And there I stood alone. Again. I sat down on the floor next to the punch and suddenly found Draco next to me.

 

“Don’t you have a date to grind on the dance floor?” I asked him coldly.

 

“I’d like to try it on you, first,” he started. I gagged, letting him know to forget it, when he continued. “Look, I’m not one to do this, so don’t get used to it. But I am sorry about what happened. Oliver is a douchebag and, between you and me, I’ve always thought you were a lot better than he was. Like, you’re a pretty okay girl at times. But don’t tell anyone that. Anyway, Oliver can suck it for all I care. I’ve made my mistakes, but he sure as fuck didn’t have any right to do that to you. Anyone else, I wouldn’t care so much. But you didn’t deserve that at all.”

 

“Look, Draco, I don’t want to think about it,” I said getting up. “But…thanks anyway. I…actually appreciate it.”

 

“We never had this conversation,” he enforced. I nodded and left then, not knowing where exactly I was headed. I glanced over at the dance floor a few times. I couldn’t help but keep staring at Fred. I hated how that wasn’t me on the dance floor with him. Oh, gosh, was I jealous?! I couldn’t be. He was my best friend! But…

 

‘Ugh, I wish I could rip her arms off right now!’ I thought. I couldn’t stand that she was throwing herself all over him. It made me sick. She was literally on top of him, her arms touching his torso, his hands caressing her hips. I didn’t want to look, but I couldn’t stop. Finally, the song ended and a slow song came on.

 

(“Boston” – Augustana)

 

I watched Angelina pull her arms around Fred. They looked like they were having fun, at least that’s what it looked like. I stood in the same spot for a few moments, wishing I was the one with my arms around Fred. Ugh, what was wrong with me?! This is my best friend and I'm talking about him like he’s a freaking crush! …And then it hit me…did I…oh, gosh, no… I couldn’t possibly – 

 

“Hey,” Oliver said behind me. I turned around and he put out his arm. “May I have this dance?” I took his arm and he guided me to the middle of the dance floor. It wasn’t like the first time we danced. But that was obvious, wasn’t it? I put my arms around him and his arms were around my waist. I danced without saying a single word. I knew how ridiculous it was, to be giving him the silent treatment. But then again, did he not deserve it? I noticed that Fred and Angelina were dancing about a few feet away from us.

 

‘Boy, this can’t get any more awkward, can it?’ I wondered.

 

I noticed that about halfway through the song, Oliver was looking at Angelina a lot. He was pretty much trying to take in as much of her without having me notice. But I did. And this bothered me like crazy. I don’t know why it bothered me – probably because just the other evening he had told me he loved me and was kissing me like I was the only love of his life. Apparently, that wasn’t true. I glanced once at them and when I did, I met Fred’s eyes. I wanted to be in his arms. And I could tell he wanted to be in mine too, his expression gave that away. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. I couldn’t help it. I should be dancing with him right now. And Oliver should be dancing with Ange. It was obvious. He couldn’t stop looking at her! 

 

I noticed after awhile that as much as I hated Oliver looking at Angelina, I couldn’t help but keep looking at Fred. It was pathetic really. Oliver and I, desperately wanting to be with the other person yet here we were with each other. I couldn’t help but notice that Fred and Angelina were getting awfully close and awfully comfortable with each other. I was surprised by how hurt I was by this and how worried I actually was. Their heads were touching, almost like when Fred and I were alone in Oliver’s room the day of my birthday, right before we… 

 

And that’s when it happened.

 

There, only a few feet away from me, was Fred kissing Angelina.

 

I felt like a million bullets just hit my heart. I wanted to cry but the tears were just stuck and a fog fell upon my vision. I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t watch, couldn’t move, couldn’t do anything. I, finally, couldn’t take it anymore.

 

“Screw this,” I said harshly. And with that I ran off as fast as I could. I didn’t care where. I just needed to get out.

 

“Emma?” I heard Fred following me. He was close too. I didn’t want to see him. I couldn’t. I found myself trying desperately to get away from him, get away from everything, so I quickly made a sharp left outside the Great Hall entrance and ran into a small study room. I went in behind the doorframe where the room was low lit by a very small amount of candles. He was right behind me when I spun around, my hands close to my face.

 

“I can’t do this, I can’t do this – ”

 

“Shh, shh, shh, Emma, hey, listen to me,” he whispered trying to calm me down. He held my arms and looked in my eyes. “You’re going to be ok. You’re going to get past this, ok? Everything’s going to be fine.” 

 

“Ha, no, no. Nooo way. See, Fred, you don’t even know anything, so don’t act like you fucking do!” I screamed, tears falling down my face. He was taken aback by the use of language and how upset I was. “What the fuck was that back there with Angelina??”

 

I didn’t care if that was obvious or not. I was tired of fighting it. When he kissed Angelina it freaking hurt. Hurt like a freaking monster. Why hide it? What was the point? He stammered, not knowing what to say for awhile.

 

“I…Emma, I don’t effin’ know, okay?” he began.

 

“Well, do you like her or something??” I said, wiping tears from I cheek. “'Cause it'd be better to just tell me now if you do!!"

 

“What? No. No, I don’t like her. Are you kidding me?”

 

“Then why would you kiss her?! I don’t get it, Fred. I don’t freaking get it.” There was a pause before he went on.


 

“Emma, she came onto me, number one. Secondly, I didn’t enjoy it.” That was news. It looked like he did. 

 

“That’s not what it looked like,” I continued, still frustrated, confused and hurt.

 

“Well, I can tell you one thing,” he said, wiping the tears from my face. He kept his palm on the left side of my cheek, his face close to mine. “I felt like bloody hell when I saw you run off.” I calmed down and knew he was telling the truth. 

 

“Why are you so upset over it anyway?” he asked.

 

“…That’s the thing…” I started. “…I don’t even know.” I did know, I finally knew. I liked Fred. Big time. Why else would that have upset me?

 

“It’s just…” I could feel the tears start up again. “I…” A tear slid down my cheek. Fred caught it with his thumb and kept his hand on my cheek.

 

“I know,” he said, moving his other hand against my cheek. “…I’m sorry.” I knew in his eyes that he was. He would be here for me. Always. My best friend. I went to wipe a tear that had escaped, and ended up touching Fred’s hand. I kept it there and held it. My heart began pounding again and he moved in close to me.

 

“Did I ever tell you how beautiful you are?” he whispered. I gazed into his eyes and put my right hand along his neck. My whole insides were bursting from the compliment alone.

 

“No,” I said. I was so close to touching his lips now. I could almost taste them.

 

“God, I’m a bigger idiot than I thought,” he said, closing the space between us. Our lips touched and I was immediately amazed at how amazing it was. It was 200% the best kiss I had ever had. I slid my right hand up his chest and around his neck, which brought us closer. His right hand cradled my jaw while the other made its way to my waist. We were starting to get a little more passionate with it and I finally got a hold of myself.

 

“No…” he begged in my ear when I let go.

 

“We…” I started. “We should get back. Don’t want people getting the wrong impression or anything.” He looked in my eyes and I became lost.

 

“What if it’s the right impression?” he questioned. And then I knew. It was the right impression. It had always been the right impression but I was pushing it away. I met him with another kiss, this one even better than the first. The hole I felt earlier was gone, for now I knew. The entire time I was with Oliver, the entire time I had known him, I had been in love with Fred Weasley.

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