A/N.: Hey guys! I didn’t forget about this story, just took a bit more time writing this chapter. It’s fairly longer though, so I hope you enjoy! As always, I’d love if you could leave a review.
For those who like it, the song that inspired this chapter is:
I wish it was me by Etham
It goes in the Halloween scene with James!
I forget sometimes how time flies by. So I’m a bit scared when suddenly we are already into the middle of October. For the Hogwarts population it means that this weekend is our first Hogsmeade weekend and that Halloween is just around the corner.
- So, just to be clear, today you’re not gonna have lunch with us? – asks Zoe.
- Noo! today is her lunch with Matt! – Anna answers for me.
It had been almost a month since I talked with Matt when he approached me during class yesterday, very shy, and finally invited me to that lunch we had talked about. I was with the girls getting ready for the day and, after applying some mascara to my blue eyes and passing a hand through my brown hair, decided I wouldn’t dress any different for today. It was just a lunch, no reason to get all dressed up.
Classes passed quickly and we were already in Charms before lunch. I was trying to focus on the properties of the Muffiato charm but my mind kept going to James, seated in my diagonal.
I know I wasn’t exactly going to a date, just a lunch with a classmate. But from what Matt had told me he did think of it as a date and the thing is, I wasn’t as interested as him. The one I wanted was still James and I couldn’t think of anyone else who would spark these feelings in me. I owed it to the girls though, and to Matt, to at least try. Otherwise I would be stuck with this crush on James that wouldn’t lead to anything.
After a very unproductive lesson, the bell rang and a sea of students rushed to the door. I had a quick time to exchange some words with my friends before heading to the Great Hall.
Anna started fussing with my hair while Zoe said:
- Remember...Don’t eat more than he does, always wipe your mouth with a napkin, don’t talk with your mouth full... – she was counting on her fingers – Ah, and don’t steal food from his plate!
- Who would do that? – I ask, exasperated.
- I did. It wasn’t very charming. – she answers.
Freddie doubled over with laughter.
- But the most important: – Anna says after she deems my appearance acceptable – don’t forget to have fun!
- Ok, I wasn’t nervous about this but now you’re making me paranoid. I’ll have to watch so much what I’m doing I’m not gonna have time to talk! – I say. My hands were starting to sweat, a clear sign I was getting nervous.
- Relax Em, no one is capable of disliking you. You are too damn adorable! – Jake says giving my cheek a kiss.
- Yeah. And if that jerk tries any funny business, we’ll make sure it will have consequences. – James completes, rubbing his hands.
I roll my eyes.
- Alright, I better go.
They all give me byes and after I turn around, James calls me:
- Emma! Don’t worry. He’s gonna love you.
And I make my way to the Great Hall with extra confidence in my steps.
When I arrive at the entrance, Matt is already waiting for me and opens up a smile when he sees me.
- Hey, Emma! I hope you don’t mind sitting at the Hufflepuff table with some of my friends. They would like to meet you. Or if you prefer we can have lunch in the Gryffindor table.
- No. That’s fine. Let’s go to your table.
He grabs my hand and takes me to a group of boys wearing yellow and black. There’s a boy with asiatic features and a big smile, a readhead that surprisingly doesn’t belong to the Weasley family and a blond that I remember belongs in my Herbology class. Matt introduces me to them all. They are all very nice and seem keen to mock Matt.
- So that’s Emma from History II. – Liam, the redhead says.
- The one you won’t stop talking about. – Sam, the blond continues.
- You’re right. She’s very pretty. Pleased to meet you, Emma! – the third one, Scott extends his hand and I take it with a smile.
- Thank you! – my cheeks get red – A pleasure to meet you too. You’re all very sweet. Don’t know why Matt didn’t tell me that. I would have met you all sooner.
- I didn’t tell you because they are all jerks who just want to embarrass me. Don’t mind them.
- Ahh Matty! – Sam whines.
And the lunch passes really fast with a lot of embarrassing stories of Matt. But they are all in good fun and you can see the four of them are very close. I laugh so much I don’t even remember why I was so nervous in the first place.
When we are at desert, Matt’s friends start a discussion between them of which color was Matt’s boxers with little snitches and Matt turns to me.
- So, are you okay? I know they can be a bit much...
- No! They are very funny. I’m having a great time.
- Good. It’s a pity though that we didn’t have much time to talk alone.
My cheeks start getting red again and I get a bit nervous. This is the part I’m not good at.
- What did you want to talk about?
He is looking at me very seriously, without the playful air of before, his clear brown eyes looking at my face.
- You know what I think about you. And I had no idea you were so funny, we’re having such a good time. So... I was thinking... do you wanna go to the Hogsmeade weekend with me? As a date, I mean. And I won’t bring my friends this time. – he was getting flustered – You don’t have to answer it now, you ca-
- Yes! – I say, interrupting him. There was a handsome, funny boy who wanted to take me to Hogsmeade! It’s not the time to think too much like I usually do. I can let myself go for a bit and not be the girl that keeps waiting for someone to notice me like that.
- Oh! – he gets surprised by my enthusiasm – Awesome! I promise you won’t regret it.
- You mean you’re gonna buy me some good sweets at Honeydukes? Cause, you know, a girl needs her chocolate.
He smiles, relaxing with my joking manner.
- I might. But I’m not gonna say. A guy doesn’t reveal his tricks.
I laugh. When he said “tricks” I strangely remembered Albus telling me of his ways with the ladies in our last meeting. “I aim to please, darling” were his exact words to me. I look at the Slytherin table. In the last few weeks James’ brother and I hadn’t talked besides some looks exchanged in the corridors and quick greetings. I find his black haired head and I don’t know how, he seems to know I’m looking at him, and his eyes meet mine. He has that look of confidence he wears so easily as if he’s always in control of everything and nothing can affect him. I want to pretend I wasn’t looking but he’s quick and gives me a wink. I smile and turn away.
- What was it? – Matt sees my distraction.
- Nothing. Just a friend. – I get surprised because I actually mean it. Albus isn’t just an acquaintance to me now, not even just a study partner, I do think of him as my friend and I wonder for a bit if he feels the same.
After that, Matt and I pick up our conversation and we talk about classes, Quidditch and trivial things. We finish lunch and I leave for my next class, excited for the weekend ahead.
Saturday morning I am glad I decided to wake up 2 hours before we leave for Hogsmeade. All of the girls decide it’s their job to make me look “breathtaking” for my date. Including Julia and Kate, our two other roommates.
- I think you should wear a dress. If you want you can borrow any of mine. – Kate says while she’s getting ready for her own date with her long term boyfriend, a Ravenclaw from the year above, Luke Brians. I had my makeup already on, courtesy of Anna, and was looking for something to wear.
- Emma doesn’t get on very well with dresses. – Anna replies for me.
- Yeah, I mean I was thinking of using some jeans maybe and a cute blouse. – the rest of summer was totally gone with the end of September and I couldn’t believe these girls were going out with dresses and skirts. I myself preferred comfort over beauty.
- I know what you could wear! I have this beautiful coat which is long but not too warm. Then you just have to put a basic shirt underneath. – Julia says and starts going through her trunk. A minute later she holds out a very cute wine coat that reaches underneath the waist.
- That’s perfect! And with it, you put your black leggings and those sexy boots you have! – Zoe claps her hands, excited.
- Well, I better put them on then! – I go to the bathroom to get dressed.
The clothes fit perfectly and I thank all my roommates for the help while they all wish me luck with the date. Anna and Zoe are gonna spend the Saturday together and try to find whichever of the boys don’t have a date.
I find Matt at the Great Hall waiting in line with the other students to hand in his signed permission paper. He’s looking sharp, wearing black jeans and a button up blue shirt.
- Hi Emma! You look beautiful! – he greets me.
– Thanks! You look good too!
We submit our slips to Joey, the caretaker, and make our way to the carriages. During the ride we start to talk about our week and classes and I lose my initial nervousness. When we’re making our way to the village he takes my hand and I look away to hide my smile.
With the fall weather, the cold is very mild and the streets are crowded since it’s much better to walk outside. Though I still prefer the winter’s charm when everything is covered in snow, even if we have to go from store to store to warm up.
In the last ten years Hogsmeade village has passed through a big reformation. A lot more stores opened destined to the students, including another unit of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and muggle clothing stores. There were also at least three more restaurants to take care of the demand of the old ones and a coffee shop that sells a delicious hot chocolate.
Some of the traditional ones still stood firm though and we made our way to the famous Honeydukes. I bought chocolate wands and chocolate frogs to fuel my stock of chocolate and Matt bought a licorice wands pack for us to share during our walk.
I was having a lovely time. Matt was easy to talk to and we went to Flying High, the Quidditch store, to check out the new Thunder broom and then to the bookstore that opened last month where I bought a Wizarding novel.
- So, what do you think of making a stop for lunch? – he asks me when we’re leaving the bookstore.
- Sounds great! – I agree relieved, because my stomach was already growling.
- Do you have somewhere you prefer?
I was happy he asked my opinion instead of reserving a table somewhere. I was worried he could take me to Madame Puddifoot’s. In that case I would have to end the date right there. The pink mess unbelievably already existed and I couldn’t believe there were still girls who liked to go there.
- Maybe we could go to the Three Broomsticks. The food there is still great and it isn’t too full because people like to go to the newer places. – I suggest.
- Yeah. Fine by me. – he smiles and we go to the old restaurant.
Although there aren’t too many people inside, the Three Broomsticks still has an excited atmosphere. There are mostly people from the upper years as the younger ones wanna know the new places. We stop by the bar to order our drinks when a voice says by my side:
- Fancy seeing you here, Parker. – I turn around and none other than Al Potter is leaning by the bar with a smile on his face looking at me.
- Do you come here often Potter? – I smile back.
- Only on weekends. – he continues our banter. – Are you here alone?
- No! – I rudely forget that Matt is by my side – I’m here with Matt. – I lean back so they can see each other.
- Potter. – he extends his hand with a nod.
- Schyer – Al clasps Matt’s hand politely.
- Are you alone here? I find it strange the great Albus doesn’t have a date. – I tease Al.
- Not today. Some poor girl is missing on a lot. – he replies in that laidback manner. – I’m actually waiting to get those idiots drinks. – he points at his friends.
At that time our Butterbeers are served and I turn to find a table with Matt.
- So, I gotta go. See you around Potter.
- Have a great day Parker. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. – he smiles and turns to the bar.
We find a table and enjoy our drinks, then order a delicious lunch.
When we’re done Matt insists on paying and I only agree after much arguments and a promise to buy us hot chocolates later.
Our next stop is Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, something that can’t miss on my visit, to go there and say hello to George Weasley who always comes to this unit on Hogsmeade weekends.
- Hey, George! – I go to the counter to greet him.
- Hi Emma! – he gets excited to see me. – Noah, can you assume here for a second? – he calls the young employee from the back room to take care of the huge line of people paying.
- No, you don’t have to! I don’t want to get in the way!
- Of course I have to! It’s not every day I see dear Emma here. – he comes and gives me a hug.
From the Potter-Weasley family the one I know the best from the adults is George. I can always find him here at the shop. The rest of them I normally just see at the Platform 9 ¾.
- So who is this strapping lad here? – George asks.
- I’m Matt Schyer, sir.
- Really? And what are your intentions towards Em? – he asks seriously.
Matt starts to gape and mumble things when I come to the rescue.
- Stop with the act George!
- Don’t worry mate. – he pats Matt’s shoulder and laughs – I’m just kidding. It’s not anyone who can take our Emma on a date. But I’m sure James and Fred already approved of you, I taught those boys well.
- Uh, sir? I haven’t talked to any of them.
- Oh but they know all about you by now, be sure about that. – Matt was starting to look worried again so I decided it was time to say bye.
- We have to look through your amazing shop now, George. Bye! – I say as I drag Matt away.
- Bye, kids! And remember Emma, any item, 20%% for you!
- Funny guy him, right? – Matty still doesn’t look too comfortable, so I take him to see the pigmy puffs.
We’re laughing at the antics of a jumpy blue one when James and Fred appear.
- Well, look who is here?
- Parker and Schyer!
I roll my eyes.
-What do you want? You don’t happen to be spying on us, do you?
- Of course not! – Fred acts offended. – We just decided to take the girls to familiar territory, you know? – he points to two seventh years in the cosmetics section, a blonde and a brunette.
- I hope Schyer is treating you well. – James puts his arm around Matt in an intimidating manner. Which isn’t exactly much since Matt has quite a few muscles as a keeper.
- Way better than you, who abandoned your dates. – I say.
- Ouch! And after that, I’m leaving. But I’ll keep an eye on you. – Fred makes a gesture to his eyes and to us and leaves.
James gets closer to me.
- By the way, thank you so much Em! Your advice was great! I asked Sophia to Hogsmeade and now things are going really well between us. I owe you one!
Of course. Sophia Lauren, the blonde one, was the girl that James likes. And it isn’t so surprising. She is the seeker for the Ravenclaw team and very fierce, something James likes in people.
I try not to react to his words or the kiss in my cheek he gives me before he leaves. That certainly wouldn’t be right with Matt.
- So, let’s go? – he asks me.
Our last stop of the day is the Charmed Café to get our hot chocolate. We are seated on a table outside and I start to get nervous again. Matt is very quiet and doesn’t seem as happy as the beginning of the day. I know now I’ll have to talk to him about what this date means. That to me it’s just a friendship rather than a romance. I had a great time with him and we have a lot in common. But it just lacks something. I just know this isn’t what it feels like to be attracted to someone and it isn’t right to string him along. Now how do I tell him that...
- This isn’t gonna work, Emma. – he sighs.
I just stare at him.
- You know I think you’re beautiful and funny and smart... And I had an amazing time with you today. But I just could see that you’re interested in someone else.
I start to protest but he goes on:
- No, it’s fine really. It’s not your fault or anything. I’m just very happy that you still gave me a shot at this. You’re gonna make some guy very lucky. – he smiles sheepishly.
- Friends? – I say hesitantly.
- Friends. – he takes my hand.
Later, I say goodbye to Matt, who gentlemanly took me to my common room and meet my friends all seated in the comfy red chairs. I internally roll my eyes at this because I’m almost positive they took the place of some frightened first and second years claiming seventh year superiority.
- Hey guys!
- Hi, Emma! – Anna pulls me down beside her.
- Please tell me everything! I had to spend the day with Jake and his troglodyte friends from Slytherin and Ravenclaw Quidditch teams. – to which Jacob himself interrupted with an indignant “hey!” – Zoe left me for her love Oliver at the beginning of the day.
- Really, Zoe? – I ask Zoe who was seated at our feet. – Tell me! How was it??
- Awn it was great Em! We got to talking a lot, something you know, we didn’t do at the party. – She raises her eyebrows in a sly look andthe boys catcall. – I really like him... – she got a dreamy look on her face.
- Ok Emma, but tell us about your date with the handsome Matt Schyer! How was it?
- Oh it’s not gonna work out. – I tell her. Freddie started to say something... – And before you say anything Fred Weasley, he was perfectly nice and we got along really well. We had a lot in common and talked a lot. I just couldn’t see him as more than a friend.
- Ahh that’s a pity Em! – says Anna.
- Yeah, but at least we agreed to be friends.
- That’s great! It was worth it after all then. – she grabs my hand.
Zoe squeezes my knee and gives me a smile. The rest of the guys gave me smiles too.
I felt so grateful to have the friends I do. The kind that support all my decisions and are always by my side. Speaking of friends...
- Where is James? – I ask the rest. I had just now realized my best guy friend wasn’t here.
- He’s with his date still. Has been glued to her all day. – Fred says and Anna privately grimaces at me, knowing I wouldn’t like this piece of information.
- Oh right. The one from the shop. Well, good for him, right?
Opposed to what Anna was thinking James’ date wasn’t bothering me too much. I was more occupied wondering about what Matt had said to me, that he “could see I was interested in someone”. I thought I had done an amazing job pretending I didn’t like James. When we met I didn’t act any different or anything. It was a bit strange he thought that.
Like September, October passed rapidly and we were at its last day which meant it was Halloween. There was a climate of excitement at Hogwarts which normally was just rivaled by Christmas and Quidditch days. Everyone was taking about costumes they were thinking of wearing for the big party after the feast. This party, of course, was work of Fred, Jake and James. They turned our common room in some different scary scenery each year and it was always a big success.
The boys were very sweet though. They started to throw this party at fourth year but they didn’t want to leave the lower years out. So there is a party in the afternoon just for first through third years and the rest of us party after the feast, when drinking is involved.
- I’m going as a dragon! – Zoe proclaims at lunch. It was conveniently a Friday, so our partying wasn’t gonna mess with our morning classes the next day.
- What? – I say. Anna laughs.
- And don’t try to convince me otherwise! I had this costume picked out since the Holodays.
- Alright, we’re not saying anything! – I placate her.
The boys were busy spreading the party and taking care of preparations already so they weren’t having lunch with us. It was just us three until the girls from our dorm arrived.
- Are you talking about the party? – Julia asks as soon as she seats. – Besides Zoe, what are you going as? I have no idea. I wanted to dress as a Disney princess but I already did it last year. Maybe Superwoman this year?
Julia was muggleborn also but Kate, who only had magical relatives looked completely lost and Anna looked very excited by my side.
- I think I’ll dress as one of the Weird Sister. Get a rockstar look. – Kate says.
- That would be so cool! – Anna exclaims – I’m still not sure but I think I’ll impersonate one of the heroines from my muggle books. They are so inspiring! I was going as Hermione Granger-Weasley but I don’t think Rose Weasley will appreciate it. Besides, my hair isn’t brown.
- Oh you know, there is always loads of Harry Potters and the Potters take it fine. Though I like your second idea. There is bound to be someone already dressed as the other parts of the Golden Trio so it wouldn’t be very original. – Kate replies.
- And you, Emma? – Julia asks me.
- I’m thinking a Quidditch player. Probably Gwenog Jones.
I had actually thought about Ginny Potter. But I wouldn’t go like her because of James...or maybe because of Albus.
Later that day, much later if you were to count the long process of us dressing up, Anna, Zoe and I went down to the common room. There were very few people there, just helping to clean up after the afternoon party and rearrange the decoration. And what a decoration! The whole room was made to look as a cave. One of the talented Seventh years had put an enchantment in the ceiling and it now had the look of a rock and was very uneven. The space in which we were was much bigger, work of a group of Ravenclaws who enlarged it in the afternoon. The bar was made of ice! There were spider webs falling to the ceiling which were sure to catch some distracted people and there were actually noises of bats flying. The lightning was very faint with some kind of purple tone.
- Wow guys! This is amazing!! I know I say it every year but it is! – I tell them as soon as we find our friends dressed like zombies with ripped jeans and their shirts off. Of course, they took every opportunity to show off.
- It really is! – Zoe was testing the webs.
- And you still sound surprised – Jake says. Anna rolls her eyes at him. She is dressed as Katniss from Hunger Games, which was so Anna it made me smile. She even had an arrow and arch on the back of her black suit and a braid on her hair.
Zoe actually looked very good as a dragon. She was wearing a sparkly red suit as her scales and black heeled boots. Her make up made her eyes stand out and was all based on the colors red and gold. Her hair was tied in a ponytail with a tiara on her hair that had the same scales as in a dragon. The most important: she had a tail attached to her clothes. Her costume made me want to be a little more creative.
- My dear Zoe, you look wonderful! – Fred says as he hugs her. – By the way, you all do. Though, Anna, I don’t know what you’re supposed to be and Emma, why are you dressed for Quidditch?
James saved me the job of answering by putting his arm around me and saying:
- That’s her costume mate! Didn’t you get it? She’s a Professional Quidditch Player.
- If you say so... – Fred didn’t look convinced.
The party was a blast. There was an energy in the room with a crowd of people dancing together. And it was too fun to look at all the people dressed up. It made me feel as if we were all one house, no distinction between red, blue, yellow or green.
I had taken a break and went straight to the bar to get one of the different Halloween drink inventions. I had just ordered when the student next to me turned and I recognized him.
- I’m getting a bit worried with you, Emma. – Albus said mock-seriously by way of greeting – I only seem to find you at bars lately.
I laugh – I could say the same.
He is dressed as a pirate. And I never knew a pirate could be so damn hot. He’s using an eye-patch in one of his bright green eyes. I notice he didn’t shave so there is a faint stubble on his chin. And his clothes consist of a ripped black jeans and a vest with the sleeves ripped off. The vest is open in his chest. And there’s No. Shirt. Underneath. I certainly didn’t expect that from him. Of course, it isn’t as revealing as his brother but still, he is such a discrete guy normally.
I take a guilty look at his chest, which seems practically sculpted, all the muscles fitting perfectly, and I have to force my gaze upwards to his face, hoping the dark lights didn’t capture my blush.
- You..you dressed up! – I stammer, hoping he thinks I’m surprised by his costume, not his fit chest.
- Yeah... I thought of taking the role of the guy who criticizes the superficialities of society and doesn’t come dressed up as some form of protest... But where’s the fun in that? – he jokes.
I smile – So, you always dress up?
He nods – My aunt Hermione had this tradition in her childhood, so she passed it to all of us kids.
- That’s cool!
- But what about you? Quidditch Player!
-Yeah... – I suddenly wish I had put a little more effort than changing my Quidditch uniform’s colors and putting a light makeup on.
- You make a very pretty Gwenog Jones. – he says.
What I think is “please, Emma, don’t lose your cool just because the guy called you pretty” but what I say is – You noticed I’m Gwenog Jones?
- Which other Quidditch Player wears her hair in her signature side ponytail?
- You’ve noticed that? You’re the first one!
- As I said, I may not play Quidditch but I do like it. – he smiles.
I smiled back and we just stayed looking at each other. His eyes had some kind of magnetism that got me fixed into their green depths.
The moment was broken as a fifth year dressed as Harry Potter came between us to ask for a drink. He had a drawn scar on his forehead, the round glasses and everything. I just looked at Albus to see his reaction while I struggled not to laugh. He raised his eyebrows at me.
Just as the boy left I cracked up.
- It doesn’t surprise me anymore, really. Specially today. You wouldn’t believe how much adults dressed as Harry Potter there are out there. – He says, shaking his head.
- You mean because of Halloween?
- Yeah, and the holiday today also.
Of course! I didn’t read the papers this morning. That’s why I must have forgotten! Today was a holiday in the Wizarding World, because it was Potter day, an event created to celebrate Harry Potter’s first defeat over Voldemort more than twenty years ago.
- It must be strange for your family, right? – I couldn’t imagine having a holiday for the day tragedy tore up their father’s family.
- It is. Today is very hard for my dad. But he takes comfort in thinking that Potter day stands for his mom and dad, not him. He always says they were the ones who should be honored today.
I nod thoughtfully. Someone calls Albus’name from a distance and I see his group of friends surrounded by girls.
- Well, I gotta go. – he says, getting off his seat.
- Sure you do. – I tell him slyly.
He sends me a wink and goes meet his roommates.
I decide to try to find my friends in the middle of the crowd again. Squeezing through all the people dancing together I suddenly feel very excited.
My smile falls off my face as I spot a familiar sighting. James is with his arms wrapped around someone and his mouth glued to her. As I look closer I recognize the girl. She is Sophia Lauren, his date from Hogsmeade.
I’m used to seeing James kissing loads of girls in all these Hogwarts parties. But this time it’s different. He took her on a date and now, after two weeks, he is still hooked with her, something he doesn’t do because he never wanted a serious relationship. That changed now, which means he does want something serious with Sophia. He thanked me for helping him conquer her. Because, of course I’d help him. I’m his friend, I want him to be happy. But he isn’t gonna see me as more than that. I should have known that sooner, though I didn’t want to lose my hopes before. This time what I felt was conformation and tears prickled my eyes.
I turned to leave when I stumble in the blurry image of Anna. She took a hold of my arms:
- What happened?
Looking over my shoulder, she sees the couple I was watching.
- Oh! – Anna looks at me with compassion. – Let’s go find Zoe.
Our third friend is attached to Oliver’s mouth. Anna pokes her to turn around and starts talking to her, though I don’t pay attention in what they are saying. That looks so ridiculous to me, being so affected because of some boy crush. I never thought of myself as this kind of girl. But what could I do? The night’s excitement was lost on me and I just wanted to leave.
- Alright, Ollie. Sorry, my friend needs me. – I hear Zoe unceremoniously leave Oliver.
Both of the girls put their arms around me and lead me to the dorms’ stairs.
- Let’s go, Em. – Anna says. – I have a whole stack of chocolate waiting for us while we discuss every one of James’ flaws.
I love my friends.
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