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Disclaimer: I don’t own what you recognize. Twelfth Night and A Winter’s Tale belongs to Shakespeare.


 




 

The dream was just as eerie the last one: indescribably fluid, yet somehow with more forward momentum and change. It felt as if I was floating through some vast amnesia until there was a hot weight upon my body, holding me down in place, and through the subtle consistency of the dream all I could do was flail about with my voice unheard. But then, as quickly as the fear had come it was gone, sucked into a tunnel of darkness, and when my vision returned only a pair hands remained, held out in front of me as if in a peace offering, pale and slightly unsteady. As I stared at them, my eyes were not drawn to the body that they were attached to, but instead to the splattered red that painted their palms, and when I awoke, I couldn’t shake the trepidation and anxiety that had paralysed me the entire night.

 

 


~   ~   ~ 


 

“You can’t be serious.”


 

“What?” I held up my favorite cable knit sweater out in front of me, inspecting it for stains.


 

“Nellie, at noon it’ll be almost twenty-four degrees out," Mia pressed.


 

“But, I get cold easily!”


 

“You cannot be anything but sweltering in twenty-four degree weather wearing both a blouse and a jumper!”


 

“I could be,” I protested, holding my desired top between my thumb and forefinger. “Besides, it’s practically November! It shouldn’t be this warm!”


 

“It’s an Indian summer.” Georgina Rivier piped up from inside of her four poster bed, not being able to resist an opportunity to sprout knowledge that she felt we didn’t know.


 

“Well, it is,” Mia crossed her arms, ignoring Georgina like we always did. “You can just Accio a sweater if you need one. Which you won’t.”


 

“But, remember the last time I Accio’d something to Hogsmeade? It got stuck on that tree near the Shrieking Shack and then we had to ask Al and Scorpius to go get it, and they got all weird and twitchy - remember? So, I might as well just wear the sweater and then take it off-"


 

“No. Wear this.” Mia flung a very low-cut blue top at me.


 

Christ, Mia, we’re going to the Three Broomsticks, not the Leaping Leprechaun!”


 

“It lightens your eyes!” Mia argued, attempting to grab me in order to illustrate the supposed likeness between the shirt and me. “And your hair contrasts so nicely with it! C’mon, you’re going on a date! Act like it!”


 

“Why don’t you wear it?” I grumbled, wrenching my braid from her grasp. “I’m sure Joshua Hadley would just love a sneak peek before you inevitably give him the full show tonight-”


 

Cornelia Burke!” Mia smacked me with what I truly do believe was unnecessary force, then went back to fixing her dark locks down her back. Usually, I would have objected to the use of my full name, but I sort of deserved it then. “You have Quidditch in a few minutes, yeah? You’ll see how warm it is. And besides, you’ll be coming directly from practice to Hogsmeade. You’d be way too hot to wear a sweater, anyways.”


 

I warily glanced back at Mia, who was staring me down with her mouth set in determination and her eyes brightly fierce: a look of triumph.


 

“Fine.” I grabbed the blue shirt from her and threw it in my Quidditch bag, where I had already packed away a short jean skirt for Hogsmeade later today. “You win. No jumper.”


 

“Victory is sweet,” she grinned, and then checked her watch. “Milo is probably thinking I abandoned him for breakfast."


 

“He can wait,” I rolled my eyes. “Even if he starts without you, you’d finish first. Remember that time it took him three hours to eat a piece of shepherd's pie?”


 

“Incredible,” agreed Mia, shaking her head as I rolled off of my bed and made to leave.


 

“Well, at any rate watching Milo dissect his oatmeal will be good for you,” I told her, pausing at the door of the dormitory. “You can finally learn the ancient art of patience.”


 

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Mia waved me away dismissively, but as the door fell shut I heard her snort.


 

 




 

“No, no, no!” Moose screamed, flying over to where Jack and Benjy were using the Chasers as targets for their practice Bludgers. “Robinson, my great grandmother would have better hitting form than that! And Brown - what in Merlin’s name do you think that move would accomplish? You’re trying to avoid dropping the Quaffle and getting hit by the Bludger, not just the latter!”


 

“Maybe don’t aim them directly at me for an hour straight, then!” Cicely yelled back, pushing her sweaty hair from her eyes in frustration.


 

“Moose, we’re already thirty minutes over,” Benjy called, his Beater’s bat balanced lazily over his shoulder. “Can we please just call it?”


 

Moose’s face turned an unhealthy shade of puce, and I knew he was about to rip us a new one until Kato flew over to him.


 

“Mate, it’s Hogsmeade. If we don’t get there soon you’ll only be able to have three hours in British Quidditch Supplies.”


 

Moose’s breathing slowed down as he registered Kato’s intelligence. I noted with relief that his skin colour returned to its normal paleness.


 

“Fine,” Moose finally barked. “Robinson and Brown - you’re on clean-up with me. And thirty minutes extra tomorrow to make up for ending early today!”


 

“Can’t fucking wait!” Beck called bitterly as we landed on the ground, and even though Moose shot her a look as we began walking towards the lockers she gave him the evil eyes back, and he wouldn’t dare argue with the menace of a Davidson Glare.


 

“Oh, I love the first Hogsmeade trip of the year,” I said once we were far enough away from Moose, and the way I did sounded so much like Mia in its breathiness and positivity that Beck looked at me weirdly. But I was truly excited for the trip - not necessarily for my date, but just for the warmth and friendliness Hogsmeade always brought to students.


 

“I’m just looking forward enjoying a nice hot Butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks,” Benjy commented offhandedly, and Kato snorted.


 

“You mean, you’re excited to see Julianne.” Kato supplied. Julianne was the current barmaid at the establishment, and she was widely lusted after by the male population of Hogwarts for her infamous vodka tolerance and even more infamous...well, you know.  


 

“She’s a rare breed, mate,” replied Benjy, dreamily. “And mark my words - today is the day she’ll finally notice me.”


 

“Is that why you’re planning on wearing your yellow plaid vest?” Beck scorned him. “Is your theory that she’ll see you and be so disgusted she’ll finally internalise you in her long term memory?”


 

“No,” I shook my head, already grinning. “He’s trying to make her embarrassed for him so that she gives him a few pity drinks, see.”


 

“Well, you know what comes after pity drinks,” said Benjy, cheerfully. “Some pity fu-”


 

God,” I groaned, while Beck shook her head exasperatedly and tugged my arm towards the women’s rooms.  


 

“We’re getting changed and then going,” she told them. “After I meet Luke for a bit I’ll find you two.”


 

“We’re looking forward to it, Rebecca,” Kato winked at her, and she punched his arm playfully in response before we went inside. Beck has always been one of the boys, with Kato being her first friend at Hogwarts. It wasn’t until I joined the Quidditch team that she even had a close girl friend, and now other than Mia Ilana Darlington was really her only other good mate.


 

In record time, we were in the changing stalls, showering and performing drying spells in under ten minutes, a feat that I was certainly impressed by considering that I was known to take long luxurious showers.


 

“Are you excited for your date?” I asked Beck as I swiped on a brush of mascara in front of the mirror.


 

“I’m not dreading it,” she shrugged, and I shrugged back at her in agreement. Beck never entertained boys for too long; she got bored fairly easily, and it was always interesting to see what personality trait or quirk would be the final straw for her.


 

“How many times do you think Benjy is going to try with Julianne?” I snorted, capping my makeup, but Beck merely grunted and got to work on smoothing down her dark mane with some hair potion.


 

“Yoo hoo!” someone called through the locker room door, just as I had gone back into the changing room to put on my skirt. “We decided to come grab you so you wouldn’t have to walk all the way back up to the castle!”


 

“Splendid!” I called back, and Mia and Willow appeared in the locker room entrance just as I was exiting my stall.


 

“How was practice?” Willow asked, as Mia began to fret over the state of my hair with her wand.


 

“Fucking awful,” Beck replied from behind her changing room door. “I think Moose needs to get laid.”


 

“I volunteer Mia for the job,” I said immediately, and Mia pulled on the bit of my hair she was playing around with in response.


 

“Seeing as I’m dating the Captain of the Hufflepuff team, that might get a little sticky.” she replied breezily, and Willow laughed.


 

“Well, someone’s gotta do it,” Beck said as she opened the door, and then stopped, gaping at me for a second. “Jesus, Nellie, we’re going to Hogsmeade, not The Leaping Leprechaun!”


 

“That’s what I said!” I hissed, shooting a look at Mia and crossing my arms tightly over my chest as we made our way back outside.


 

“I’m kidding,” Beck rolled her eyes while tugging on my wrist. “You look great. Let those itty bitty lads breathe for once.”


 

“Lads?” Mia snorted. Beck shrugged innocently, while I scowled at the way she had characterised my cleavage, which wasn’t even that small, okay?


 

Milo and Flynn were waiting for us on top of the hill, evidently too lazy to walk all the way down to the lockers and then back up again.


 

“You look good,” Flynn told me, almost surprised, and I rolled my eyes through his compliment like I always did.


 

“You look normal," I responded lightly.


 

Flynn smirked, in that self-assured way he always did when he had a good insult. “Funny - my normal is at a much higher standard than yours."

 

“You know what’s really funny?” Beck retorted. “You lot have a total of zero dates, and yet just Mia alone has two.”


 

Milo laughed goodnaturedly, but Flynn scowled to himself moodily, and he was relatively quiet for a couple of minutes as we chattered while we trekked over the hill to reach the Hogsmeade below.


 

“This,” said Mia a couple of minutes later, panting slightly through her words. “This is what global warming is.”


 

“I reckon we learned about that in Muggle Studies,” remarked Flynn smartly, his previous displeasure evidently forgotten. “Cars and cows and Muggle stuff are making everything too hot, right?”


 

Cows?” asked Beck incredulously, wiping a bit of perspiration from the side of her temple.


 

“Yeah, when they fart it smells up the entire atmosphere-”


 

“No, no, they’re emitting greenhouse gases,” Mia corrected impatiently, as we finally reached the streets of the town.


 

“Greenhouses are the problem?” asked Willow, and then frowned with alarm. “But we have greenhouses here.”


 

“We should make a petition to stop Herbology!” Milo said excitedly. “It’s murdering the planet!”


 

“It’s not actual greenhouses, it’s just the gases from the pollution that people make.” I said with an air of disdain, but I had to double check that what I had even said was correct with a quick glance at Mia.


 

“Well, what happens if the world keeps getting hotter?” Milo asked us, clearly concerned.


 

Mia raised her eyebrows ominously, and both Willow and Flynn blanched.


 

“Oh, my God, the Muggles and cows are killing us all.” Flynn said hollowly.


 

“We’re all going to die! Die!” yelled Milo, and then again for emphasis.


 

“God, I love being Muggleborn,” Mia sighed contentedly as we arrived in front of the Three Broomsticks, which from the looks of it was already pretty crowded.


 

“Ah, we told Al we would stop in at the Hog’s Head with him and Scorpius for a bit,” Flynn grimaced, ruffling the hair behind is head so it stuck up in strange but rather endearing ways. “‘Parrently one of Abe’s goats died and he’s really cut up about it.”


 

“Whatever,” said Mia dismissively, entering the pub without another look behind her, and I caught a flash of annoyance on Flynn’s face before he turned away and set off in the other direction with Milo who waved enthusiastically, his previous concerns over the fate of humanity apparently forgotten.


 

“What’s up with you and Flynn lately?” I asked Mia once we had squeezed the four of us girls around a table meant for two.


 

“He’s just irritating.” Mia clipped, and the way she said it left no room for questions. “Nellie, would you be an absolutely angel and get us drinks?”


 

“Why me?” I complained.


 

“Because Beck got them last time, I got them the time before that, and Willow is new to our little entourage so she shouldn’t have to pay.”


 

“Her logic is unfortunately sound.” said Willow solemnly, and I made a face at her but still scooted my chair out and made my way back towards the way we had come, nudging myself into the bit of the bar where Julianne the barmaid was.


 

“Four Butterbeers, please,” I told her, and she nodded distractedly, handing a warlock squeezed in between two chairs to my left a purple drink that was emitting blue smoke.


 

For its impeccable quality of food and drink, the timeliness of The Three Broomstick's service was never something to be celebrated, and so I managed to deposit myself in the chair that was partially obscured by the warlock just as he left.


 

It must have been pure misfortune that he would be sitting right next to me. I knew it was him before I saw a flash of his artful hair in my peripherals, and I really wasn’t going to say anything, either, but soon enough curiosity gave out and I stole a quick glance over at him just as he was looking at me.


 

“Hey,” he said after a moment, after I had already turned away again.


 

“Hey,” I said coolly, directing my gaze just past his head as I responded to him.


 

“Hi!” Fred Weasley poked his head from around James Potter, eager to be made known. “How’s it going, Nellie?”


 

“Pretty good, and you?”


 

“Oh, it’s going spectacularly,” beamed Fred, and then gestured to the two boys on his other side further down the bar. “Have you met Q and X?”


 

“I told you, I’m not going by X,” said the one closest to Fred. He had curly hair and a wide jawline with a slight shadow of stubble going down to his neck, making him look almost rugged.


 

“But it’s cool!” Fred protested. “C’mon, try it on Nellie.”


 

The boy merely shook his head and turned towards me. “I’m Axle,” he said, extending his hand. “Axle. Not X.”


 

“I’m Quil,” said the second boy while I shook Axle’s hand. He was darker skinned than Fred, but had much lighter eyes, making his features rather startling. “AKA, Q.”


 

“Nice to meet you both,” I told them, but before either Axle or Q could respond Fred waved his hand on my face, calling my attention back to him.


 

“Nellie - tell me, am I pulling this off?”


 

“Pulling what-”


 

But Fred had already slid off of his seat and stepped towards me, revealing an ensemble of green tights with orange and white shamrocks printed down the sides, and for a moment I could do was I stare at him while I tried to discern any possible reason for him to be dressed in such a way.


 

“Why?” I finally asked, warily.


 

“I’m glad you asked!” Fred exclaimed. “I’m trying to bag Emilia Campbell - I mean, respectfully get Emilia Campbell to sleep with me-” I snorted; the phrasing was terrible either way, “-so I figured I would connect back to my roots, you know? Wave the proud colours high!”


 

“But...you’re not Irish.” I said slowly.


 

“Well, she is,” shrugged Fred. “Anyways,” he continued, glancing furtively at James, and that’s when I could tell Potter had told him all about our last encounter. Fred wasn’t exactly an unsubtle person - he wasn’t as bad as Milo, who simply didn’t pick up social cues - he was just more uninhibited; he didn’t care whether or not I saw his efforts, in fact, it seemed like he almost prefered me to. “I’ve got to go find her, so I’ll let you all…chat.”


 

“Mate, I am not letting you embarrass yourself like this,” said Q, jumping off of his stool after Fred. “C’mon, X,” he called, smirking slightly, and Axle slid off his seat too, nodding once in goodbye in my direction.


 

In the absence of conversation, I drummed my fingers on the smooth wood of the bar, tapping out a rhythm to nothing in particular, but every movement I made I was hyper aware that James Potter was watching.  

 

 

Out of my peripherals, I saw James run his hand through his hair and steal another glance in my direction. “About what I said the other night-”


 

“Forget about it,” I said immediately. I never wanted to think about unpleasantries; I’d always rather just forget them and move on instead of holding onto them as a grudge, where they could voluntarily take up space in my head and remind me of things I didn’t want to remember. Repression and ignorance was my survival instinct, and it worked so well for me that I couldn't imagine changing my strategy.


 

“No, I just really wanted to say-”


 

“It’s really fine.” I told him firmly, and after he knew I was telling the truth he broke into a wide smile.


 

“Great.” From the slightly distant look in his eye and flushed cheeks, he was already a couple of drinks in. “So, what did you really think of the tights?”


 

Awful,” I pronounced. “Why would Fred ever think that’s a good idea?”


 

“I may have convinced him it was,” James shrugged, but he was so clearly proud of his planning that the action came off as incredibly cocky, and for some bizarre reason I didn’t really mind. “Said that girls are really into meaningful gestures.”


 

“Well, maybe Emilia will see it as a melting pot metaphor,” I suggested, not able to help letting a little humour seep through my words. “I’m told Dubliners do love diversity.”


 

James tipped back his head and barked out a laugh, and the sound was so abrupt and startling that I couldn’t help but giggle a little, too.


 

“You’re funny, did you know that?” James scooted closer to me. I instinctively shifted as well, until our arms were almost touching.


 

“I did, actually,” I said, chancing another look at him. He was already staring at me, and as I stared back, with a jolt I realised that I didn’t really know him at all. I didn’t know what it meant when his eyebrows quirked together slightly, or when his tongue ran over the surface of his bottom lip, or when his eyes flitted down towards my - okay, I knew that one - but the thought that I wasn’t really a part of his life besides these brief, intermittent moments we occasionally shared suddenly really bothered me.


 

But maybe that was part of the draw everyone seemed to have to him. His life was immortalised in the public, flashed across tabloids and gossiped about openly, but you never really knew him until you did, never truly understood what would make him smirk or smile or just simply unbored until you experienced him in all his glory firsthand.


 

As I continued staring at him and James continued staring at me, he opened his mouth as if to say something, but-


 

“Hey, Nels,” Kato Millican draped his arm over my shoulders, effectively turning me away from James Potter.


 

“Hey. Did you even shower from practice?” I wrinkled my nose, shaking him off slightly. I honestly welcomed the distraction; I never liked to admit that interactions with James rendered me speechless.


 

“I’ll have you know that I rinsed and lathered twice,” Kato tousled his golden hair with one hand as he leaned against the bar with the other, resting in the space that the warlock had been positioned previously, right between Potter and I. “Anyways, have you seen Benjy? He seems to have disappeared, and we’re afraid he’s done something drastic to get Julianne’s attention.”


 

I shook my head, and as I did my gaze focused on a corner booth, where a Gryffindor in the year below me was watching us carefully, and as I spotted the jacket next to her in the seat I realised who she was waiting for.


 

“Sorry - no, I haven’t,” I refocused back on Kato. “But you could check Willy’s Plaid Emporium. I’m sure he’d just love to get some trousers to match that God-awful vest.”


 

“Funny, Nellie,” Benjy appeared from behind Kato, glowering at me. “I just went to the toilets. You didn't have to enact a bloody search party.”


 

"We were afraid you would try to climb into Julianne’s extendable purse again," Kato clapped Benjy on the shoulder and began to steer him away. "See you later, Nels."


 

“Bye,” I waved slightly, and then slowly, almost reluctantly, turned back to Potter. The spell that seemed to captivate me before had long been broken, and as I glanced around my surroundings a rush of stimuli came flooding at me, as if it were making up for the time I had lost earlier.


 

“It looks like your date misses you,” I used my head to gesture towards the corner, where the girl was still fixated on James as she sipped her drink from a straw, swirling it around with her tongue.


 

“She’s not my date,” grunted Potter, and I tried my best to ignore the strange swooping of content I felt at his words, even though they weren’t true.


 

“Well, she’s giving you the eyes.”


 

“Just like Millican was to you, Nels?" Potter’s head snapped up, and he glared at me with no ounce of friendliness.


 

“Excuse me?” I raised my eyebrows, a giggle ripping out of me before I could stop it. “Kato’s my teammate.”


 

“So?”


 

“So, he’s like family.” I said slowly, ignoring the twinge I felt at the lie. Although I had fully realised that the feelings I’d felt for Kato were fleeting and he would always be a brotherly figure in my mind, I still - objectively, of course - found him rather fit.


 

James snorted but didn’t say anything.


 

“She’s still looking,” I said, making one last attempt to lighten the conversation.


 

“Will you just leave it alone, Burke?” he snapped. “Jesus.”


 

What is your problem, Potter?” I crossed my arms. Had he been this curt five minutes ago?


 

“You.” he retorted, throwing some galleons onto the bar as Julianne set down my Butterbeers and his drink.


 

You. Real mature.


 

“Well, don’t let me bother you, then,” I said coolly, tossing my money as well, and without another glance towards him I grabbed the handles and stalked back to the crowded corner where our table was nestled.


 

“What’s gotten into you?” Mia looked rather alarmed as I slammed the drinks down onto the table, causing some of the frothy foam to splatter.


 

“What do you think?” I said irritably, jerking my head towards the front of the room, where Potter was bent over the bar, scowling down at his hands.


 

“Git,” said Beck conversationally as she wiped her blouse clean.


 

“What did he do?” asked Willow, frowning slightly as she glanced back towards the front of the pub.


 

“Just - the usual.” It was too frustrating and difficult to explain how quickly interactions between James Potter and I always went south.


 

“Well, from where I was sitting it looked like he was about to kiss you, or something,” Mia’s eyes widened suggestively, and I nearly choked on the sip of Butterbeer I had just taken.


 

“Are you already drunk?” I asked her, flicking a peanut from the bowl in the middle of the table at her, and Mia picked it up, threw it high in the air, and caught it cleanly in her open mouth.


 

“No, I’m really not,” she said smugly, cracking it loudly with her teeth, and I made a face at her. “And I seriously think he was about to ask you out.”


 

“I already have a date, you dolt,” I objected, but even though Beck and Willow both told Mia how ridiculous she was being, that omniscient glint never once disappeared from her eyes.


 

“When are you meeting Nathan?” asked Beck through a mouthful of chips, and briefly I wondered where she’d gotten them if we hadn’t ordered any.


 

I checked my watch. “He was going to meet me out front around now. I better get going.”


 

“Oh, I so hope it goes well!” Mia squealed, previous preoccupation with James Potter forgotten.


 

“Yeah, good luck,” Beck told me offhandedly, her hand already claiming my barely touched Butterbeer.


 

“Good luck with Luke, too,” I grinned at Beck. “Hope he measures up.”


 

“They rarely do,” she sighed, feigning melancholy, and as I began to walk away Mia snorted and threw a peanut at her.


 

“Bye!” Willow called, and I was turning back from waving at her when I collided face on with a solid mass.


 

“Woah,” the mass said, steadying my shoulders slightly, and as I took step back I realised I had just bodychecked none other than Christian Flint. “Easy there, Nellie.”


 

“Christian,” I squeaked, absolutely mortified. “I am so sorry-”


 

“Don’t be,” he smiled broadly, and as he did I felt a little more relaxed, like we were somehow friends. “And, can I just say that you look great? Or, sorry - may I?” he corrected himself, his grin turning into a bit of a smirk.


 

“You may,” I gave him a tentative smile back, as I recalled our interaction at the Amesbury Gala. It seemed so long ago, so strangely far away even though it was only seven weeks prior. “Thank you.”


 

“Did you just take my compliment without a clever denial?” Christian pretended to be shocked. “I’m honestly a little disappointed.”


 

“Well, better a witty fool than a foolish wit,” I said loftily, and then immediately outwardly cringed at my own awkwardness as Christian paused, his mouth slightly ajar. I braced myself for his ridicule, Merlin, why did that side of me always come out when I had nothing else to say?


 

“Is that a line from Twelfth Night?” Christian finally said, and even though I knew I must’ve looked like fish gulping for water with my jaw dropped open like that I couldn’t manage to close it.


 

“You know Shakespeare?” I asked after a missed beat, and I couldn’t succeed in keeping the awe out of my voice.


 

“It was on the recommended reading list,” Christian said, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, and I swear, it was like angels had descended from the heavens and placed a fucking halo on his head.


 

“That’s amazing,” I told him honestly. “I absolutely love his work.”


 

“Really?” Christian’s eyes lit up. I never noticed the way that his cheekbones lifted when he smiled, but when they did he just seemed so genuine and approachable that it made me want to smile too. “Have you read The Winter’s Tale?


 

“It's one of my favorites!” I exclaimed. “I just love how it’s such an impressive balance between a romantic comedy and intense psychological-”


 

“Burke,” someone barked from behind me, and suddenly I was face to face James Potter for the second time that day. “I need to talk to you.”


 

“You’ve already talked to me.” I told him frigidly, turning away, but he persisted.


 

“It’ll be quick. Just follow me.” James made to grab my arm just as Christian stepped forward, smiling amicably enough.


 

“Is there a problem, Potter?”


 

“I just need to ask Cornelia a question about my brother,” said James smoothly. “It’ll only take a second of her time.”


 

Before I had a chance to open my mouth, I was being led across the bar towards the bathrooms. Heads swiveled towards me one by one and for a moment I thought I had spilled something on my top, but then I realised it was because of the eligible bachelor attached to my wrist.


 

“Okay,” James glowered at me once we were hidden from view. “What the hell are you doing with Flint?”


 

“Excuse me?” I hissed. “I thought this was about Albus, or else I would’ve-”


 

“He’s not a good guy,” James continued, speaking so low and fast that I had to lean in to hear him. “Don’t go out with him.”


 

“It’s none of your business,” I replied scathingly, “but Christian Flint is not my date.”


 

“Oh,” an inexplicable expression of relief flooded through him. “That’s-”


 

“Nathan Cromley is.”


 

James’s features quickly transformed to a vision of disgust. “You can’t be serious.”


 

“Fuck off, Potter.” I snapped, making to move past him, but James put his hand on my arm lightly. His grip wasn’t what stopped me - it was the way I felt a slight shiver run through my body at the feeling of his fingertips on my bare skin.  


 

“Look,” said James, taking advantage of my obvious shock. “About how I acted earlier-”


 

“I don’t want to hear it.” I said, pulling my arm away and thus breaking the dazed trance that had unwillingly taken a hold of me.


 

“Yes, you do, Cornelia,” James’s gaze intensified as he took a deliberate step closer, closing me in with my back against the wall. “Every other girl would want to.”


 

I could feel my breaths become quicker and my pulse rising and my cheeks flushing, but it wasn’t enough. For weeks, I had been staring at James Potter for a moment too long and searching for him in the throng of crowds and subconsciously waiting for him to show some sign of interest in me - but now, as I could feel his heat encapsulating my body, as I could plainly see the way the golden flecks in his eyes darkened and lips parted ever so slightly - it wasn’t enough to distract from just how uncaring and self-righteous and insulting he had just been. It just wasn’t, however much I wanted it to be.


 

“Then save it for one of them.” I said, low and dangerous, as I pushed away from him and walked towards the front door, towards my friends and my date, who had just arrived. Back to the place I belonged.


 

 

 




 

Author’s Note: Thank you so much to those of you who have been reacting positively to my story! The next chapter is going to be a bit of a turning point in the series, where things start to get a bit more emotional and the actual plot develops, so stay tuned and please review!


 

Up next...A story of bloody palms, shattering silence, and Weasley sweaters.

 

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  • How To Make Writer's Block Your Best Friend ❤️
  • ...And more!
“The lessons that were offered helped me enormously. Suddenly it was easier to write scenes, imagine them and bring suspension and romance in it. I loved it! ​It helped me in a way other bloggers couldn’t and still can’t.” - Student