The water was moving slowly, the light dancing on the surface was mesmerizing, calming. For some reason, I took comfort in the fact that the water wasn't completely clear. It looked slightly murky under the sunlight. The water was dark blue with hues of brown and green.
I slipped off my shoe. It was still oddly warm-ish outside and there was no telling how long the warmth would last. I dragged my toe against the surface of the water feeling a nice chill roll through my body as my skin made contact with the cool liquid.
“Cass, you just got over the PLAGUE, you shouldn’t be putting your foot in there,” Josh chastised wrinkling his nose as he handed me a champagne flute filled with orange liquid.
“Mmmm, but apparently drinking mimosas is actually what I need,” I retorted pulling my foot out of the water.
Josh gave me a huge smile before taking a large swig of his mimosa. “Everyone knows alcohol kills the germs in the body.”
“Where do you even get this stuff?” Ama asked rocking her body back and forth to make the boat we were sitting in sway a little.
Everyone forgets about the boathouse. The large, wooden shed sitting on the bank of the Great Lake houses all of the boats that the First Years travel in at the beginning of each year. Except for the momentous and hectic occasion of the new First Years’ arrival, the boathouse remained abandoned throughout the year. When we really needed to escape (read: to run away), this is where we went.
We would open up the shed doors, sit in a boat, and look out at the lake and grounds of Hogwarts.
After dramatically downing my medicine and confidently telling my best friend that I didn’t care if a certain boy remained in my bed (while the certain boy was in my bed), I slept, woke up, and panicked.
Ama, after being frantically awoken by me, woke up Josh (spoiler alert: he wasn’t happy about it), and dragged us down to the boathouse. We had a hidden bottle of sparkling wine that Josh had "borrowed" (read: stolen) from his mother under a floor board in the boathouse. It was only meant for emergencies and... this sure felt like one.
“So,” I said straightening my spine and spinning the stem of my flute in my fingers. “What’s the plan?” I asked looking at my friends.
Ama took an exaggerated swig of her mimosa and looked away from me.
Josh made a face at me. “The plan for what?”
My shoulders relaxed. “So, you didn’t hear about...” I trailed off feeling hopeful that maybe Mandy and Lisa were kind after they had stomped out of the dorm room.
“You and James in bed together doing the hanky panky? Everyone’s heard,” he drawled.
I rolled my eyes. “Right, so I assume we are down here in this boat to make a plan to figure out how to stop this clusterfuck that is my life?”
“Nope,” Ama said popping the p. “We are down here to relax, hide out, and delay the utter shitshow that is your life,” she said being unusually blunt before taking another swig of her mimosa.
“Cheers!” Josh said raising his glass.
My mouth dropped before I frowned. “You guys...”
“RULE!” Josh yelled like a maniac making me almost fall into the water. “You are not allowed to talk about James.”
“Or Quidditch!” Ama amended.
I rolled my eyes and shrugged in response to their smirks. I sipped on my drink frowning a little when I realized it was more wine than orange juice. “I can’t believe we are drinking in the morning,” I said turning in the direction of the sun.
“It’s 2 AM somewhere,” Josh responded topping off my mimosa with more sparkling wine.
“You’re going to get her sick again,” Ama warned.
“I’m not even sure I’m not sick now,” I retorted testing whether I could breath out of my nose.
Josh made a show of leaning away from me.
I scoffed at him and stuck my tongue out. “Okay so... tell me what I missed during the week. What’s going on with your lives?”
Ama wrinkled her nose. “My dad wrote to me,” she said quietly dragging her hand across the surface of the water.
“Oh?” I said genuinely surprised. Ama’s father wasn’t exactly the loving father type and he was a major workaholic. I stayed with Ama for a week one summer and saw him for a total of 20 minutes and spoke exactly 10 words to him.
“He got a dog,” Ama muttered as she poured herself some more wine.
“Wait, seriously? A dog?” I asked as I eyed Josh. He was fidgeting with his flute and biting his lip. “I didn’t realize he was an animal person.”
“I didn’t realize either,” Ama snapped nose flaring. “He sent like 8 pictures of her! Cute dog, don’t get me wrong but I don’t hear from him for weeks, months! And when I do hear from him 80% of the letter is about his new dog that I’ve never even met,” she ranted.
“I’m sorry,” I said reaching for Ama’s hand. “That’s... hard. That sucks.”
She sipped her drink again and sighed. “I don’t know. I thought the reason... I thought he didn’t know how to show...” she trailed off and swallowed hard.
Josh put an arm around her and gave her a side hug. “We love you and I promise when I get a pet, I’ll love you more... or at least the same amount,” he declared making Ama laugh out loud.
I smiled glad that there was a smile on her face again.
“And Cassie promises to never love James more than you! Right, Cass?” Josh said with a smirk on his face.
I snorted. “I thought we weren’t supposed to talk about James,” I retorted trying to imitate Josh's voice.
Ama gave a faux gasp. “That was not an answer! You want James!”
I snorted again and tried to ignore the fact that my cheeks were heating up. “I do not!” I said grabbing the sparkling wine myself to distract from wherever this convo was going.
“Apparently, James was all the medicine you needed,” Josh teased. “You climb in bed with him once and you’re cured!” he continued dramatically.
“I hate both of you,” I deadpanned.
“I’m actually warming to Potter,” Ama mused looking as if she was saying something particularly thought provoking.
I scoffed. “What happened to ‘We hate you!’” I said exaggerating Ama’s very slight Colombian accent.
“Apparently, we don’t if you’re jumping into bed with him,” Josh stated unhelpfully looking bored as he sipped his mimosa.
“Are we forgetting that this is the same guy who yelled at me in front of half of our House?” I asked.
Ama and Josh looked at each other for a second. Clearly they had spoken last night.
“What?” I asked feeling like they were being suspicious. And clearly so.
Ama sighed. “Well, I didn’t want to wait until you woke up from your medicated coma to find out the full story of how you ended up in bed together and he was kinda just sitting there for a few minutes staring at you while I stared at him, so naturally, I grilled him,” she reported while shrugging.
I snorted and adjusted my eyeglasses. “I doubt James was ‘staring’ at me while I slept.”
Ama snorted right back. “Oh, yes he was. He barely took his eyes off of you.”
“Own your hotness,” Josh advised with a shimmy. “James would be so lucky to have you in bed again.”
I rolled my eyes and combed through the knots of my hair with my fingers. “Well obviously, he wanted something, did he tell you what, Ama?”
“He didn’t tell me exactly what he wanted but he did tell me about try-outs,” she said gnawing on her bottom lip.
“We already know about try-outs... we were there,” I said slowly not following.
Ama and Josh looked at each other again.
“What?” I asked feeling nervous.
“Don’t freak out,” Josh warned sternly making me freak out that he thought it was necessary to tell me not to freak out.
“You’re clearly making her freak out more!” Ama chastised hitting Josh. “Look, James didn’t want me to tell you this but obviously I’m going to.”
I nodded my head feeling my stomach knot up.
“Your father attacked the family members of three people on the team... not including Rose,” she said slowly watching my face carefully.
I felt my throat get dry as the names came to me like a bucket of ice, cold water.
Rebecca Thomas, Frank Thomas’s mom in Second Year.
Diane Spinnet, Adam Spinnet’s aunt in Fourth Year.
Who was the third if she wasn’t talking about Rose? I thought hard feeling embarrassed that I couldn’t place it.
“So certain members on the team weren’t exactly huge fans of yours...”
I let out a humorless laugh. That had to be the understatement of the year. I didn’t even know Thomas and Spinnet so the only impression of me they had was probably from articles about my father.
“...so those three threatened to leave the team if he picked you.”
I looked down at my hands feeling queasy and frankly tired from... everything.
“At try-outs, obviously Freddie stuck up for you. And James pitched the idea of putting you on the Reserve Team and they agreed... reluctantly,” she stated rocking the boat back and forth again.
I started rubbing my eyes wanting to be anywhere but here, hearing this.
“That’s so stupid!” Josh assured me. “He still shouldn’t have yelled at you like that!”
I dropped my hands and groaned.
“Agreed,” Ama said reaching for me. “He thinks so too,” she added quickly. “I was all like ‘that gave you no right to go off on her!’ and he agreed and was apologetic... but still give him hell,” she advised.
“He also should have just kicked them off the team and replaced them all with females,” Josh said with a snap.
“Ugh, replacing half your line-up with new people is a guaranteed way to lose,” I responded feeling sick all over again.
“Well, sometimes you just need to do the right thing and take a stand. Everyone knows you’re not like your father,” Josh said dismissively.
“Does everyone know that?” I asked hugging myself.
“Of course!” Josh answered immediately.
Ama chewed on her lip. Josh nudged her. She made a face. “Cass, obviously, very obviously, I know that, we know that but...”
“But, what?” Josh retorted nose flaring. It was sweet that Josh was sticking up for me but I knew exactly what Ama was saying.
“I’ve never publicly spoken out against my father,” I finished for Ama.
“That shouldn’t matter!” Josh retorted.
“If my father attacked a family member of yours and you didn’t know me and I hadn’t said anything to you, and I hadn’t said anything publicly, how would you feel about it?” I asked quietly burying my face into my hands.
There were a few seconds of silence.
“Well, I would give you the benefit of the doubt,” Josh finally said. “You saved Lily and you saved V and you shouldn’t let this bring you down.”
“Have you ever thought about speaking out?” Ama asked quietly.
I groaned. “I did apologize to Rose,” I said feeling queasy. “But when I apologize I’m admitting that he’s... I just... I keep having this stupid dream, hope, and wish that it’s not really him,” I admitted. “That somehow all the eyewitness reports are just... wrong or, or mistaken,” I said voice cracking. “I guess it’s getting easier for me to accept it but it’s a recent thing. I’m starting to give up on him,” I said looking down.
Ama carefully shifted in the boat to sit next to me and give me a hug.
“It’s not your fault,” Josh leaned toward me taking my hand.
“It’s fine, I’m glad I know now about tryouts,” I said sitting up straight and shaking them off a little.
Ama and Josh both gave me disbelievingly looks.
“No, seriously,” I said nodding. “This... this at least makes sense to me. I could see myself being uncomfortable with playing with me if I were them and they were me.”
“Don’t blame yourself,” Josh started.
“We’re breaking both of our rules right now,” I said before downing the rest of my mimosa. “Let’s talk about something else. What’s gong on with you, Josh?” I asked giving him a pointed look.
He looked at me for a couple of seconds clearly trying to figure out if he should let the topic go. His shoulders eventually slumped and I knew he was going to move on.
“Sooo, now might not be the best time to tell you-all that I have a royal trip coming up,” he winced before finishing his mimosa.
“What? Nooo,” I whined.
“This is unacceptable,” Ama complained at the same time.
Because Josh was the only representative for the Royal Family in the Wizarding World, it was his “duty” to make royal visits to the major Wizarding Schools around the world. McGonagall absolutely detested these visits because they sometimes overlapped with classes. Shockingly, not even McGonagall could take on both the Ministry and the Crown. So more times than he liked, Josh was attending a foreign school on his tour.
“Where are you going?” I asked.
“Illvermorny,” he responded shrugging. “I think it’ll be fun. The states. Americans. It’s only a couple of weeks.”
“Well... this is depressing,” I pointed out.
“Yea, this was meant to be a time where we sit on the lake and be young and dumb and nostalgic,” Ama complained. “We’re supposed to be distracting ourselves from the fact that everyone is probably gossiping about Cass right now.”
“Thank you for reminding me,” I deadpanned.
“We have each other which is...” Josh started to say but I tuned him out.
At first, it was a speck in the sky. But, it gradually got bigger until I could make out the outline of an owl. It had the wingspan, the height of an adult as it flapped its wings rhythmically and harshly cutting through the air.
“Shit,” I said out loud as I watched it get closer.
“What?” Ama and Josh said clearly confused.
The grey and black owl landed gracefully, balancing on the edge of the boat. It held out its leg as it stared forward as if my mere presence offended it somehow. I swallowed as my hand reached out to untie the parchment.
I was running, trying not to breakdown, trying not to panic. I needed to stay focused. I needed a plan. I needed everything to be fine. As I ran toward the Castle and then in the corridors, in the very back of my head, I registered that people were watching me, pointing at me, and talking about me. Likely about the James debacle... but that didn’t matter I needed to focus. To not cry.
I finally stopped in the dungeons, in front of the Slytherin Common Room. I tried to catch my breath but it was difficult. I was on the brink of tears and I was still recovering from being sick.
A small child, maybe a Second Year, was walking past me toward the Slytherin Common Room.
“Um,” I said stepping in front of him clearly scaring him a little as he looked up at me. “Can you please tell Addie Nott to come out here? Can you tell her it’s really important, please? Please?”
He looked taken aback before nodding his head quickly and rushing into his common room.
I leaned against the wall across from the Slytherin entrance, closed my eyes, and slid to the floor pulling my knees toward my chest. I covered my face, clutching the parchment in my hand, worried that I was going to be seen in the hallway crying.
I needed to pull myself together before seeing Addie or before seeing anyone for that mater.
The voice was low and raspy and becoming entirely too familiar.
I slowly removed my hands from my face and swallowed. From my position, I could see two legs covered in dark denim.
But seriously, why?
I looked up to see James in a green sweater that brought out the green specks in his eyes. He looked worried, concerned making a face that created a crease between his eyebrows.
He tucked an old piece of parchment in his pocket before he stepped closer and kneeled next to me. My world was falling apart around me but I could not help but notice how his muscles rippled and the way he ran a hand threw his dark hair. It looked incredibly soft from this close up.
“Hi,” I said quickly trying to wipe away my tears from my cheeks. “How goes it?”
He frowned in response. “Are you crying?” he asked in a disbelievingly tone.
“No,” I responded immediately making to get up.
Instead of getting up gracefully like a normal teenage female with a modicum of self-respect, I stood up with the same amount of grace as a newborn giraffe. That's right folks, my forehead somehow collided with, essentially slammed into, James’s nose.
“OW... Merlin, I am so sorry,” I said clutching my head as Potter covered his nose. “I know some spells that can...”
Of course my sister would show up at this exact moment. Me, clutching my head and wincing. Potter, kneeling before me and groaning with his hands covering his nose.
“Are you okay?” Addie asked sidestepping and completely ignoring Potter to look at me with her eyes narrowing with concern.
“I...” I started to say.
“Have you been crying? In public?” Addie continued clearly shocked with a hint of disgust.
I rolled my eyes in response. “No, you arse, my face is just wet.”
One of her eyebrows immediately shot up and she pursed her lips. “Excuse me for being concerned.”
I sighed as she finally turned and noticed Potter. “I...” I started.
“Potter,” she spat pointing in my direction. “Did you do this?”
“Huh?” he groaned still covering his nose.
“I should probably repair...” I started to say.
“I will kick your arse, break all of your bones, and kill you... the muggle way,” she said in a voice that sounded way too calm and way too collected for someone stating she was going to kill another person.
Potter quickly stood up and backed away from Addie, still covering his nose.
“He didn’t do anything,” I said annoyed before she could decide to pounce on him. “Read this,” I said thrusting the parchment in her direction.
She looked confused as she plucked the parchment from my hand. I watched as her blue eyes moved from left to right and as she visibly swallowed.
The letter was short, simple, and very blunt so I knew she was done reading. She was trying to hide her alarm as her lips set in a thin line.
“What am I going to do?” I asked while hugging myself and leaning against the wall.
Addie stuck the letter in her pocket and steadied my face between her hands. “Hey, calm down, calm down right now,” she said looking me directly in my eyes. “The question is – what are we going to do. Okay? You’re going to be okay, I’m going to be okay, Maman’s going to be okay, we are all going to be okay. Breath.”
I wondered how long it would take before the Prophet knew my grandfather had disowned me. I grabbed the letter and read it again:
You are a disgrace and an embarrassment to the Nott name. I no longer consider you a grandchild of mine.
Your actions have consequences.
-Cantankerus Nott II
It was short yet, what else was there to say? I could tell by the harsh and angry ink strokes that he meant every single word. I was at least thankful for the fact that I wasn’t there when he wrote this or when he found out.
I started to read it again to fully comprehend what was happening.
“Cassie, you have to stop reading it,” Addie demanded while taking the letter back from me. “We can’t tell Maman.”
I nodded my head as my throat felt tight and my stomach squeezed. Obviously, I knew we couldn’t tell her. She would worry more than necessary and try to send money she didn’t have to make up for the allowance.
“What do you think he means by ‘your actions have consequences’?” I asked with my voice slightly quivering.
“I think he just means that messing with Goyle and Flint means you’re disowned. That’s it,” she assured me making a point to crush the letter in her hand before handing it back to me.
“What do I do?” I asked staring at the floor and dragging the heel of my shoe against it.
“As long as I’m not cut off, you’ll be fine,” Addie stated with an indifferent shrug.
“That’s true, I can use your hand-me-downs,” I contemplated out loud while wondering how long it would take for me to re-size the clothes she didn’t want.
“Hand-me-downs?” Addie asked while wrinkling her nose.
“You realize maman doesn’t know just how much grandfather helps us, right?” I asked trying to communicate the seriousness of the situation. “Other than the money I have saved and until I get a job at Hogsmeade, I have very little money. Do you get that?”
“Yes, you will have money,” Addie stated while folding her arms.
“Our grandparents barely keep track of how much money I withdraw from their Gringotts account. I’ll easily get the new password.”
I gasped as my eyes went wide. “You want to steal from our grandparents?” I hissed.
“Seriously? You realize these are the same grandparents that sent you a letter disowning you, right?” she asked motioning toward the parchment in my hand to emphasize her point.
“Ade, you’re going to get in a lot of trouble if you get caught,” I muttered.
She glared at me “Do you even know me anymore?”
I rolled my eyes and pulled my hair out of its bun to put it back up in a bun again. “I’m sorry Ade, you never get caught.”
“Say that again,” she demanded.
“You never get caught,” I said in a bored tone.
“Thank you. Okay, when I go home for the holidays, I’ll visit Nott Manor and I’ll start taking enough money for your tuition, books, and supplies for this year and next year,” Addie replied.
“And then I’ll need more for maman since we both won’t be putting money in her account.” Addie was in full planning mode.
“I could just talk to McGonagall about applying for a scholarship for my…”
Addie wrinkled her nose in disgust as if she smelled the foulest scent ever known to wizard. “Ew. A scholarship? Isn’t that for poor people?” she whispered.
“Again, you realize I won’t have any money to my name, right?”
“Well… yes… but that doesn’t mean you have to be a charity case,” she whispered again.
“You… amaze me sometimes,” I replied while shaking my head. “Stealing money? Fine. Scholarship? Hand-me-downs? Ohhhh nooo,” I said while gesticulating wildly to prove my point.
“Really? I amaze you? I’m not the one dry humping the son of half the family’s sworn enemy in my sleep,” she said while motioning to Potter before sauntering away.
“LOW BLOW!” I called after her while my face heated up. Of course, Potter was still around. That’s just what my joke of a life had become. I cleared my throat and willed myself to look up at him. He looked deep in thought and he was frowning. And... his nose was swollen. “I can fix your nose,” I said while shifting under his gaze.
He shook his head. “It's...” he trailed off. “That letter,” he said pointing to the crumbled up parchment in my hand. “Are you actually nervous about the threat?”
I looked down at the crumbled parchment in my hand. “Oh, um, I...” was not prepared to answer.
“Do you want me to send it to my dad?” James asked seriously. “Maybe he can be on the lookout or something.”
I snorted feeling caught completely off guard by his offer. “I don’t want to waste his time. I mean, he is the Head Auror, I’m sure he has other...”
Before I could finish my sentence, Potter had approached me and I held my breath as he plucked the letter out of my hand.
“No problem,” he muttered before rushing away with me staring after him feeling completely and utterly exhausted.
The days continued with awkward stares and glances, loud whispers, and obvious finger pointing in my direction. Two days after receiving my grandfather’s letter, I was wondering through the corridors looking at the directory of shops and restaurants in Hogsmeade. I needed a job and I needed one fairly quickly. At least, it really, really felt that way.
“Cassie, Cassie, bo-bassie banana fanna fo-fassie fe fi fo fassie, Cassie!”
“Frederick,” I said looking up with a forced smile on my face. He linked arms with me and led me toward the edge of the hallway away from students trying to make their way to classes.
“I saw what you did to JP’s face, Cassie! You should be one of those muggle UFC fighters,” Freddie commented with a huge smirk on his face.
“Do you know any shop that’s hiring?” I asked holding up the directory of stores ignoring the nose debacle comment.
Freddie was clearly taken aback by the abrupt change in subject but looked over the directory and hmm-ed and ha-ed for a couple of seconds. “Tay works at Sticks and Beers. I bet she can get you in the door.”
I gnawed on my lip. “I don’t really know Tay that well.”
“Tay’s a sweetheart. She’d help Voldemort if he needed it,” he said with a laugh.
I made a face at him.
“I didn’t mean it like that,” he said quickly dropping his smile. “You know what I mean.”
I nodded my head. “Okay, I should go find her,” I said making to leave.
“Cass,” Freddie said stopping me in my tracks. “Are you okay?”
I forced a laugh. “Other than being the talk of the town,” I said motioning around. “I’m truly splendid.”
He cocked his head to the side giving me a look that clearly communicated he didn’t believe me.
“Gotta go,” I said quickly before intentionally getting lost in the crowd trying to find Tay. Things felt like they were falling apart... more than usual and it just felt like it was up to me to hold it together. Show no weakness and hold it together. That was my mantra. Show no weakness and hold it together.
I spotted Taylor Finnegan right outside of the Transfiguration classroom talking to... Frank Thomas.
I swallowed hard before approaching them.
Thomas looked immediately tensed while Tay gave me a warm smile.
“Hi, Cassie,” Tay said looking at me.
Thomas gave me a nod. “Taylor, why don’t we talk about the project later. I’ll see you...”
“Actually,” I interrupted feeling light-headed. “I want to apologize for what happened to your mom back in Second Year. I should have apologized sooner and then but I didn’t because it was really hard for me.” I said in one breath before swallowing hard. He was looking at me with eyebrows furrowed. “It was hard for me to accept,” I added. Tay quickly stepped out of earshot of us but I signaled for her to stay close.
“Obviously harder for you,” I added looking back at Thomas, making sure to keep eye contact, trying to communicate that I was being genuine.
Thomas was playing with his lip for a couple of seconds before opening his mouth. “Look, you don’t have to say that to get on the team. We already decided that...”
“This is not to get on the team,” I said shaking my head. “I swear. I just... realize how it looks to have the daughter of your mother’s attacker never acknowledge how terrible that was. I don’t condone...” I said breaking off and feeling tears well up in my eyes.
“She’s fine now,” Thomas said looking down rubbing the back of his neck. “At first it was scary. She was in the hospital for...”
“Months,” I finished shaking my head.
“Oh no, actually,” he said lowering his voice. “Between us, it was shorter than that. I’m not sure why it was reported that way but we, the family I mean, we were asked not to correct the record.”
I was so confused and lost. The attack was plastered all over the major newspapers. And, it was reported across all of them that his aunt was in the hospital for months.
“Wait, what are you saying?”
“I’m not supposed to share that,” he whispered. “I just wanted you to feel better. I don’t know but I, uh, appreciate the apology,” he said before backing away and taking off.
“What was that about?” Tay asked looking as confused as I felt as she approached me again.
“I’m not entirely sure,” I said slowly. “But, can I talk to you?”
She gave me a blinding smile and pulled into a windowed alcove that was a few feet away from us. The way the sun was hitting her brown hair was creating an odd halo effect. I truly hate people with tame-able, angel-like curly hair.
“So,” she said with a mischievous grin on her face. “You want to talk about you and James?”
“I... um... no?” I said completely thrown by the question.
She squealed. “I’m glad it’s you,” she admitted whispering. “Don’t tell Mimi but I think Mimi’s a little toxic in relationships and poor James so...”
“Oh, no relationship, none, no, none of that,” I reported shifting from foot to foot feeling extraordinarily uncomfortable.
Tay’s eyes got wide as she stared at me. “Oh, well, wow. I didn’t realize you were into...”
“Oh, I... what? Wait, no, not, that’s not what I was saying,” I said swallowing hard.
Tay squealed a little louder this time. “You little vixen! I love but don’t tell Mimi I said that,” she said while looking around. She skipped away quickly, “bye!”
“Wait!” I called after her feeling incredibly confused. But, of course, she was gone.
It was the end of a mess of a week and it was raining, raining hard. The drops hit my skin feeling like refreshing needles all over my skin. I was drenched to the point that my bones felt wet but I really didn't care.
I needed to move, I needed to run, and I needed to run fast. And, I loved the rain. The drops of water felt like it was washing all the bullshit and nonsense away, even if temporarily. The sound of my sneakers squishing against the wet grass made me want to run faster, harder, with more power. The usually calm Great Lake was splashing against the banks with vigor making me feel alive as I buzz ran through my body.
I stopped in my tracks slipping and sliding a little as I recognized the voice.
I was surprised to hear his voice. Grayson hadn’t been in class for the past week and I, honestly, missed his presence.
I smiled turning in the direction of his voice expecting to see him in his gear ready to run with me but he was wearing an oxford white shirt and slacks and they were completely soaked. The rain was making his hair stick to his forehead too.
“Grayson, what are you doing out here? It’s raining!” I yelled to him as if it wasn’t completely obvious.
“Cass, are you dating him?” Grayson asked moving in my direction with determined steps. I noticed that his chest was heaving up and down. His eyes looked darker and had large bags under them.
“Who? James?” I asked voice cracking suddenly feeling like Grayson had burst my bubble of ignorance. I was trying to run away from my problems and Grayson was standing there reminding me of some of them.
“Cass, please tell me you're not,” he said starting to fidget. “Because I want to do something, something that I’ve been thinking about that could be idiotic to even think about if you were dating him because it would mean that I was crossing...”
“Grayson,” I said interrupting him. “You’re not making...”
“My family doesn’t want me to talk to you,” he said standing completely still in front of me and staring directly into my eyes.
“I know you’ve been disowned. They know. And they don’t want me to have any interactions with you at all. The Goyles and Notts have been friends for decades maybe centuries and you’ve been kicked out. To them, you’re worst than muggleborns and muggles and creatures...”
“I get the idea,” I said quietly surprised that my eyes were stinging. It felt like I was being broken up with even though Grayson and I were never dating.
“No. You don’t understand,” he said shaking his head making raindrops fall from the tips of his hair. “For the first time, I’m willing to defy them. To tell them to go... go pet a nundu!”
“Nundus are extremely dangerous,” I said feeling like it was important to point that out before he actually told his family to pet them.
“I want to do something,” Grayson said ignoring my comment and looking more determined than ever as he stepped closer to me. “But, I just need to know if you’re dating him,” as he said this and stepped closer to me I could actually feel his breath on my face.
Before I could get the sentence out of my mouth, Grayson’s lips were on mine. They were so soft and gentle against my lips. Almost like kissing a feather. They were warm... and soft. Did I mention soft?
And before I could fully let the shock of Grayson kissing me roll through my body and be comprehended by my brain, his lips were gone.
“Holy shitty Merlin. I just did that,” he said staring at me with wide eyes and clear shock evident on his face.
“Grayson,” I whispered but I was talking to his back. He was running quickly and determinedly away from me.
Thank you to everyone who voted for me and congratulations to all the winners!!! I really hope you continue to enjoy what I’m doing with this.
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