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°~*◊*~°

Light from the sun shone through the hallway window. I shielded my eyes from the harsh rays as I stared outside. The leaves had not changed to fall colors yet. There was not a single cloud in the sky and the temperature was just starting to cool from the summer heat. It was a perfect day NOT to be inside but of course I was inside because life is unfair.

“Hey!” I heard Josh say as I felt him tug on my ponytail.

I turned and pouted at him in response.

He smiled back at me as we walked toward the Great Hall. “Listen, I know you’re nervous about the hundreds of judgmental teens sitting at breakfast right now and you’re probably wondering how widespread that rumor is that someone started yesterday…”

“You started,” I chimed in.

“… but I bet no one will even care. First of all, you don’t date…”

I scoffed. “Thanks.”

“…and you’re a rule-follower to the point that it’s slightly annoying…”

“I hate you,” I deadpanned.

“No one is going to take this ridiculous rumor that some rando started seriously,” he concluded looking proud of himself.

As we walked into the Great Hall, I tried to smile back at him but it probably looked more like a grimace.

I pretended not to notice the pairs of eyes on me as I walked toward my regular seat next to Ama. Josh, always taking things to the next level, made a point to whistle while he walked with pep in his step toward our seats.

“Morning, Ama,” Josh said to Ama who had her nose in the Prophet. She jumped a little at the sound of Josh’s voice.

“'The Flying Hippogriffs’ are coming to Hogsmeade in December,” she stated without looking up at us.

“Ohhh, I love them,” Josh mused. “Who are the Flying Hippogriffs?” I asked at the same time.

“They’re playing at Quidditch Sticks and Butterbeers,” Ama reported with a frown on her face.

“They play muggle music like us,” Josh explained to me. “But, unlike us they actually play in front of crowds,” he added giving me a pointed look.

My Grandma Nott insisted that I learn to play an instrument when I was six years old. I protested loudly and often for weeks. My father wanting to be done with the situation said I could pick any instrument of my choice. When I declared I wanted to play the guitar, my grandmother gave me a look I can only describe as disgusted, distraught, and disappointed. Ama and Josh can also play instruments. So, during our Second Year, they somehow roped me into forming a band with them. We have never performed for a crowd. Admittedly, it was entirely my fault.

“Does their name even make sense? Can’t all hippogriffs fly?” I pondered ignoring Josh’s comment. “So the flying hippogriffs are just… all hippogriffs?”

“Sticks and Beers is a 17 and up establishment, I better not see any of you there,” I heard Addie say in a mocking tone as she sat down next to Josh.

I raised an eyebrow at her. Addie had been sneaking in and out of bars since she was 14 years old.

“Do as I say not as I do,” Addie stated reading my face.

She winked and stole a pastry from my plate. I growled at her in response.

“Tsk, tsk, Cass, what would Grandbitch Nott, say?” she teased.

I pretended to actually think about the question. “Ade, you know she doesn’t talk to me so she’d probably just scowl, shake her head, and demand another DNA test."

“Ha, well at least you do not get letters telling you to hook up with the ‘nice young purebloods in your house,’” Ade retorted.

“She still doesn’t know about Stretton,” I asked with a huge smirk on my face already knowing the answer.

“You’re dating the Jay Stretton, the Captain of the Ravenclaw team?” Josh asked amazed with eyes wide.

“He’s Fiendfyre hot,” Ama said with a dreamy look on her face.

Ade raised an eyebrow at Ama who immediately shrunk in her seat.

“‘Dating’ is a strong word,” Ade responded to Josh with a smirk on her face. Dating definitely was a strong word for Addie.

“So what brings you to our neck of the woods?” I asked Ade wondering why she was sitting with us. Deputy Headmaster Longbottom continually commented that the House Tables were “suggested” rather than mandatory seating arrangements these days. Addie and I also got on just fine. But, she repeatedly commented on how she thought Ama was weird… sometimes, to Ama’s face. Addie also repeatedly told me that hanging out with 6th Year "nerdy Gryffindors" was “detrimental" to her non-existent “bad-ass reputation.”

Addie’s face split into a mischievous grin. “Can I be the one to tell Grandfather Nott?”

I narrowed my eyes at her expression. “Tell Grandfather, what exactly?”

Addie rolled her eyes like the answer was obvious. “About you and James Potter.”

“Oh my Merlin,” I groaned.

“Listen,” she continued. “I won’t tell him you’re shagging him because then he might…”

“Ade, seriously?” I complained.

“…actually kill him. But what if I just wrote that 'Cass is dating James Potter’? His reaction will be hilarity. You are dating him, right? He better not be liking it without putting a ring on it. I will so kill him….”

“You’re actually insane, do you know that?” I asked.

“Oi, Potter!” Ade called down to where James and his friends were sitting.

“Addie!” I shouted lunging across the table to cover her big fat mouth.

Potter and his extremely attractive crew were already looking at us before I could reach her.

Freddie Weasley was just as tall as James but with caramel skin and blue eyes. He was slightly more muscular than James because he played Beater for the Gryffindor Quidditch team. He also smiled and laughed a lot showing off his perfectly straight and blindingly white teeth. His features made for a swoon-worthy combination. Freddie had a mischievous grin on his face as he looked down toward us. It rivaled the one my sister just had on and made me nervous.

Louis Weasley, my cousin, had light blue eyes and swishy blonde hair. His skin seemed to actually glow. He wore eyeglasses sometimes but Ama claimed it made him look “sexily intelligent” rather than “nerdy.” Louis was giving us a polite smile.

Oliver Wood, Jr., the other Beater for Gryffindor, had long, curly dirty blonde hair that he was wearing in a man bun. He had sea green eyes and slightly tanned skin. He was also quite tall and muscular. Ollie was smiling and waving at us.

James looked like he was… blushing a little? The idea of hooking up with me was so embarrassing that it was making the James Potter blush?

I hate everything.

“Dee e worna tok e an of meh?” my sister mumbled into my hand while throwing daggers at me with her eyes.

“No, I don’t want to take my hand off you,” I hissed back. “Unless, you promise to stop embarrassing me.”

“Eyye woo bah e,” she responded.

I quickly removed my hand. “Don’t bite me!”

“And, you honestly think I’m the embarrassing one in this situation?” she deadpanned. “Why are Gryffindors so awkward?” she asked eyeing Potter and his crew.

I groaned.

“Someone started this baseless rumor about Cass and James,” Josh explained to my sister.

“We have no idea who,” Ama volunteered as she started scratching her hand.

I gave Ama a heavy dose of side eye. She has this weird thing where she starts itching if she lies.

I truly have insane friends.

“Oh, Potter’s headed this way,” Ade said excitedly. “Your life is such a spectacle,” she hummed as if she were watching her favorite show on the WizTele.

I looked up and sure enough Potter was walking toward us in all of his Potter glory. He was looking straight at me.

My stomach dropped. I was so not ready to explain why there were rumors about our completely non-existent relationship.

I grabbed my bag. “I really should be heading out,” I said pretending to look at my wristwatch.

Josh frowned. “We still have 15 minutes until classes start,” he observed unhelpfully.

“Well, you guys know how I like to be early to class,” I forced a laugh as Potter was quickly approaching.

“No, that’s not true at all actually…” I heard my so-called best friend, Ama, respond while I made a beeline for the door.

We really needed to work on her lying skills.

°~*◊*~°

Maybe there was something to Josh’s Ollie and Dom rumor. Ama and I were sitting on a bench outside overlooking some of the Hogwarts grounds. It will still sunny outside so I had the perfect excuse to wear sunglasses, which allowed me to openly people watch my fellow students.

Dom Weasley had a huge smile on her face as she sat next to Ollie in the grass. Her light blonde hair had a new light blue streak that matched the color of her eyes. Ollie appeared to be using this as an excuse to play with said strand of hair.

“Mimi’s definitely not going to like this,” I muttered to Ama.

Ama followed my line of sight. “Actually,” Ama whispered back, “rumor has it that Mimi is focused on bedding James Potter. She hasn’t noticed Ollie and Dom yet.”

I bit my lip. “Is that why she dyed her hair red?” Mimi had large brown eyes, her skin was always heavily powdered with bronzer, and she always wore bright red lipstick. She had recently dyed her naturally brown hair to an interesting red-orangish color.

Ama nodded her head. “Yup,” she said popping the p. “People are saying she dyed it because of Potter’s redhead fetish.”

I frowned as I turned toward Ama. “Do you think the redhead fetish thing is true?” I asked.

Ama shrugged. “James’s longest relationship was with Heather Bateson and her hair is auburn. Also, we know his dad does and his Grandfather did. Maybe it’s genetic.”

I ignored the genetic comment because that’s ridiculousness, but I nodded my head in response and thought about Heather. She was a Hufflepuff with sleek, shoulder-length dark auburn hair and a lean body with curves in all the right places.

Ama narrowed her eyes at me. “Oh, shit, do you actually like Potter?” she asked as her eyes quickly went from narrowed to comically wide.

I scoffed as I felt my stomach knotting up. “How pathetic would it be to like someone who doesn’t even know my name?”

“Nice evading,” I heard Josh yell as he walked up from behind us making me jump.

“Josh, one of these days you’re going to give me a heart attack,” Ama stated putting a hand over her heart dramatically. “Guys, act natural! He’s coming,” Ama suddenly snapped.

Josh immediately started to play with his WizPhone while Ama pulled out her compact mirror and pretended to fix her make-up.

I stared at both of them for a few moments. “Who?”

Ama scoffed. “Betrayal,” she stated abandoning her plan to look “natural.” “You’re not my best friend anymore,” she added while pouting as I rolled my eyes.

Josh smiled widely as he stood up and led the way to our classes. “I’m her best friend,” he stated proudly. "Adam Rickett just walked by. That’s Ama’s crush these days,” Josh said pointing toward a dirty blonde boy with long hair and grey eyes. “Attractiveness, high, I mean, look at that arse,” Josh commented.

Ama nodded vigorously as she continued to act “natural” and openly stare at Rickett’s arse.

"You people have no shame,” I commented.

“Athleticism — fairly high, he is the captain of the Hufflepuff Quidditch team,” Josh continued as if I hadn’t said anything. “But, the Hufflepuff days of winning Quidditch Cups graduated with Teddy Lupin.”

“Oh yea,” Ama stated not even hiding the fact that she was checking him out. I had to steer her away from running into a stone wall.

Josh continued, “Intelligence low. Off the charts, low. Oh so low.”

“I know, but everything else is perfect,” Ama said with a sigh.

Josh raised an eyebrow. “Ama, I love you deeply but this is another instance where you’ve picked a guy that would actually be terrible for you. Like dead wrong. Like no.”

“No, he’s definitely the one,” Ama insisted.

“Oh my gosh, Ama, he had to repeat 2nd year! Even Professor Hagrid…”

As he spoke, Mimi in all her newly red-orange hair glory hissed at us from across the hall. She… hissed… like a snake… at us. And then she walked away with V and Tay in tow. V had a hard look about her while Tay was mouthing “Sorry,” to us with eyes wide as she walked by.

Veronica Riberio or “V” was tall with beautiful milk chocolate skin and brown eyes. She was always styling her hair in different hairstyles but her black hair always looked silky and voluminous. Today, it was styled in sleek waves reaching the small of her back. Taylor Finnigan or Tay was extremely adorable. She was short, shorter than me. She usually wore her brown hair in big curls that also fell down her back. She had green eyes and pouty lips. She really had that girl next-door look going for her.

“What was that?” Josh asked still looking at the now empty space on the wall. He then walked to the wall and pulled a flyer off of it.

I frowned at what just happened and his actions. “I think she probably hates me. Ama says she likes Potter,” I explained.

“Oh wow, we have an enemy,” Josh stated excitedly clapping his hands like a small child. He handed me the flyer as we continued on our way to class.

“You know, if we are going to make enemies with the Queen Bitch of the school, we might as well do it during the first week of school, right?” Ama asked.

My eyebrows furrowed as I started to look down at the flyer.

“Hey Spawn!” I heard someone calling from behind me. I rolled my eyes and kept walking. “Oi! Spawn! I’m talking to you! I need a favor!” I stopped walking because I was thoroughly confused and a little curious.

I turned around and looked up into the beady eyes of Christopher McLaggen. “McLaggen, are you seriously calling me ’Spawn’, when you need a favor?” I asked slowly while Josh and Ama snickered.

McLaggen had the good sense to look down at his shoes. “I think of it now as a term of endearment?” I rolled my eyes and walked away. Chris liked to call me names like “Spawn” and “Death Eater Spawn.” He was worse than the Daily Prophet sometimes.

He caught up with me and gave me a grin. “Ummm, look… Ca-Car,” he spluttered.

Is this another person that doesn’t even know my name?!?

Josh started laughing while Ama gasped. “Holy shit,” she said incredulously. “He doesn’t even know your name?” she turned to him. “You realize this is our Sixth Year, you patrol together, you’re in the same house, and you don’t even know her name!”

McLaggen shot my friends a dirty look. Josh stopped laughing and grabbed Ama. “We’ll catch up with you later, Ca-Car,” he said with a grin before walking away.

I frowned. “How dare you leave me with this STD-infested troll!” I yelled after them.

“Hey!” McLaggen protested while my friends continued to walk away and a group of First Years looked at me with horrified expressions. “That’s rude! People love me,” McLaggen said while crossing his arms.

I stared up at him as my eyes narrowed into slits. “What’s my name?”

McLaggen smirked. “Nott,” he said confidently.

“My first name, you imbecile.”

His face dropped and he swallowed hard. “Ca-ra?”

My eyes narrowed again and I started walking away.

“Look,” he whispered as he fell into step with me. “I just need you to cover for me during Prefect Rounds on Friday.”

“Why?” I responded while raising an eyebrow.

He looked around. “I can’t tell you that but I’ll owe you one,” he replied in a low voice. I sighed. I didn’t really need anything from the likes of McLaggen but a quiet night without bickering with him sounded kinda nice.

“Fine,” I spat.

I was horrified as he started jumping up and down. “YES!” he screamed before sprinting away.

“You’re welcome, arse!” I called after him.

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