Fandom: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Katie Bell/Marcus Flint
Characters: Katie Bell, Marcus Flint, Angelina Johnson, Alicia Spinnet, Terence Higgs, Adrian Pucey, Millicent Bulstrode
Additional Tags: One Night Stands, Loss of Virginity, Alternate Universe, Romance, Attempt at Humor
Series: Part 2 of Unconventional, Almost Unlikely
Angie and Ally knew that Katie would never say 'no' to a dare. It was always a matter of misplaced sense of pride for their friend and the girls always knew how to exploit that.
Katie knew that she was as crazy as her friends when she uttered the words that would change the course of her whole life.
“Fine. I’m in.”
Chapter 8: Some girl talk
It was an hour past curfew and to Katie’s great relief, the corridors were empty. Sneaking out Gryffindor T had been hard enough and getting caught now after all the trouble she'd gone through to shake off her nosy housemates would be a pity.
Hidden in the long shadows, she hurried through the dimly lit corridor to the statue of Wilfred the Wistful: the entrance to the hidden passageway she had used a few weeks earlier. Again, she was sneaking out and the excitement she felt for breaking the rules was a bit disturbing. However, this needed to be done, even if it wasn’t the wisest of decisions seeing that expulsion so shortly before her N.E.W.T.s was her fate if Filch caught her.
In reaction to commotion further down the corridor, she ducked into a small alcove. Pressed flat against the wall, she held her breath when Filch and Mrs Norris passed her. The caretaker was whistling some off tone tune as he petted the purring hellcat in his arms. Katie had never seen the grumpy old man so, well, normal before. It was an unusual sight, disturbing even. Who knew there was an actual man behind the ever-present scowl? She sighed in relief when they rounded the corner. After another few seconds of waiting to ensure that he wouldn't return, she continued her way.
The statue was in sight, meaning that the most difficult part of her journey was about to begin: crawling through the dirt and cobwebs. Images of spiders and slimy creatures clouded her mind for a minute, and she was in her right mind to turn around and go back to her room. If it hadn't been the prospect of wine waiting for her at the end of the tunnel, she wouldn't have thought twice about sneaking out again. After the week she had, Katie reckoned that she deserved a glass of comfort.
“I might have a serious problem,” she mumbled as she thought of all the times she had used booze to soothe herself, celebrate, or ease boredom.
Her daydreams of drowning her sorrows were currently in danger of staying just that when she noticed someone standing beside the statue, engrossed in the map in his hands. The messy jet-black hair was a dead giveaway to who it was.
‘Boo, you sod! Trying to sneak out, are we?’
Yelping in fright, her Housemate, Harry Potter, jumped up and turned around with his wand drawn. The black eye he got last week was already starting to fade away. It was a sickening purple with a ring of yellow now. It clashed well with his green eyes.
After last week’s disastrous Hogsmeade weekend, Katie had expected to be subject to gossip and teasing after Flint’s loud announcement. But they had left her alone, thanks to Harry and his ability to attract the wrong sort attention to himself without even trying. Thank Merlin for that boy’s bad luck.
That faithful Saturday, before Katie'd even reached her dormitory to wallow in her misery, Potter had started a good old-fashioned fistfight with a Slytherin boy named Theo Nott -the one Millicent had been fawning over- without no apparent reason. The fight had ignited a fresh feud between the Houses, and it was the only thing everyone talked about since then, forgetting Katie in the process. All but McLaggen that is. The prick had ‘dumped’ her over breakfast the next morning. Her reminder that they hadn’t been ‘together’ to begin with lost on him.
“Bloody hell, you scared me.” Harry pushed back his glasses, wincing when the frame touched his sensitive skin underneath his eye. “What are you doing here?”
“I can ask you the same thing.” Katie crossed her arms and cocked her head at the statue when she saw her housemate flush. “It seems, Potter, that we have the same plan for tonight. You know, deserting the fort, so to speak?”
“I guess,” Harry mumbled, avoiding her eyes, “Well, uh, in that case, carry on then.”
‘Am I supposed to thank him now?’
Katie rolled her eyes and pushed on a panel on the side of the statue, making it slide to the left. “Aren’t you coming?”
‘Please say no, please say no.’
Harry shook his head and hastily held up his map. “You go ahead. I, uhm, I am waiting for someone. Potions notes, we're sharing notes, yes.”
‘Oh? Who could it be? Ginny? Cho? Tell me!’
Something in his expression pleaded with Katie not to push for an answer, so she didn’t. They weren’t friends and besides, everyone was entitled to their secrets. Sweet Circe, she used to have plenty of them until Flint had opened his big mouth. After a muttered goodbye, she slipped into the tunnel, braving the cobwebs and slimy crawlers on her own.
“And then I walked back to school. I couldn't think of anything else,” Katie concluded and took another sip from her Elderberry cordial. The drink warmed her from the inside out, just as Rosmerta had promised, and loosened her lips as Alicia had hoped.
She had underestimated the combination of the damp tunnel and the below zero temperatures outside. By the time she'd made it to the pub earlier, she had been wet and cold to the bone.
“Sodding idiot,” she cried in indignation. “When is it ever okay to blurt out something like that?”
Alicia nodded in understanding and took a gulp from her drink to hide her sniggers. The girls sat in the farthest corner of the Three Broomsticks, shielded away from curious eyes. It wouldn’t do anyone any good if word got back to Hogwarts that one of their students had snuck out and was doing her best to drink as much as cordial as her body could handle without falling over.
The letter Katie had written the night of the most embarrassing day in her life had been full of nonsense since actually writing out what bothered her was too painful. As usual, Alicia had picked up on the underlying tone and wrote Katie back to meet here tonight, worried that her friend was in mortal danger. Well, not mortal or in danger, but something had felt off. Although it wasn't out of the ordinary for Katie to write about McGonagall’s tartan robes or how the bristles on her broom were getting brittle, she had overdone it with an elaborate description of the texture of mash and bangers she had for dinner. Knowing her friend, she had reckoned that something was bothering her about boys or the lack thereof and she was too embarrassed to talk about it. Of course, Alicia had it by the right end. She just hadn’t expected this mess.
Katie felt a bit guilty for not asking Angelina to tag along. However, she needed serious advice and for that, you needed a sober Alicia. Angie had the ability to turn an innocent or severe conversation raunchy, whether she was drunk or sober. Katie didn’t need Divination to know what her friend’s advice would be; get under a bloke to get over a bloke. A philosophy she seemed to live by herself.
“He’s an idiot, no surprise there,” Alicia started. She had never liked Flint. The big-headed former Slytherin had always rubbed her the wrong way because he was a better player than she was. And while she was stuck as a reserve player, he had a flourishing career. “I’m surprised that he was able to talk properly. I always thought that his means of communication were grunting and huffing like all trolls do.”
‘Hey, that’s my Flint you’re talking about!’ Katie scowled at her friend, strangely offended by her insult. “He’s quite articulate actually, and don’t call him a troll! Be nice.”
If Katie’s outburst stunned her, Alicia didn’t show. Instead, she sipped her tea and cocked her brow. “Are you done?” Seeing Katie nod, she continued, “Why do you care about what I say about Flint? Or what he says, for that matter?”
‘Because he’s my Marcus!’
Not sure how to answer, Katie shrugged and intently studied her miniature wine glass. Hearing Alicia insult him like that didn't sit well with her for some reason. If someone was to do that and had reason to do so, it was she.
“I just do. I don’t know why. That’s where you come in; I need you to tell me.”
“Why listen to me? The last time Angie and I told you to do something, you went home with that prick and got your cherry popped.” Alicia sighed when Katie cringed. How the girl had managed to have sex was beyond her. “Be honest here. What's this all about?”
Katie pouted, miffed that Ally was forcing her to say it aloud. Would she understand if she told her about all her fantasies since that first night with Marcus? How her heart fluttered in her chest whenever she thought about him? He dominated her dreams at night, making her resolution to forget all about him obsolete. She didn’t even understand herself.
‘Can she read minds now?’
“You're thinking out loud, you idiot.” Alicia chuckled and then turned serious. “Listen, be honest with yourself for a minute. Don’t give me that look; I’m serious here. I know you, Katie. You had all these fantasies about how your first time was supposed to be, preferably on your wedding night, with the love of your life. Are you sure that you’re not trying to fit Flint into that picture? I mean, you two only had one actual conversation, and I think you had your wine goggles on for most of it. How well do you know him? Do you want to know him, really want to know him?”
Katie kept her eyes on her glass, processing what Alicia was telling her. Was she trying to mould Marcus into her expectations? Thinking back about that night in the Leaky, she had to admit that he had both annoyed and amused her. Halfway through their conversation, she had realised that he made her feel funny inside. That hadn’t been the wine trying to revolt, though, she was sure of it. Moreover, if she was honest with herself, she had wanted more than just a snog, even before he had suggested going somewhere else. And the only solution to figure why she felt that way was quite obvious now.
“I want to get to know him.”
Alicia inwardly groaned at her friend's answer, realising that there was a big chance that she would have to put up with Flint in the near future. Knowing Katie, and no matter how ludicrous it seemed right now, she was probably already planning her wedding. But, as it befitted a good friend, Alicia managed a half-hearted smile and patted her hand over the table.
“So, do you fancy him or is it your fanny speaking?”
Katie nearly choked on the sip she had just taken. Between coughs, she spluttered, “Excuse me? I’m not sure about fancying, yet, but it’s certainly not my You-Know-What speaking.”
Alicia laughed aloud at Katie’s indignation and flushed cheeks. Some things never changed. “Give it some more time. You still have months of school left. If you still feel the same way after your N.E.W.T.s, you should go for it.”
“What if he doesn’t want to get to know me? What if I was just an easy shag to him? I haven’t heard of him since last week. He's probably laughing at me with his friends.” Katie knew she was whining, but she had no one else to talk about these kinds of things and all her cropped up emotions came out in one go.
She had expected at least a dozen owls Flint-style with one or two-word apologies. Roses would have been nice, too, and maybe a present as compensation for humiliating her. None had come, though, and even Millicent was avoiding her. What if he found someone better in the meantime, someone easier, and forgot all about her? Who'd want to waste their time on a schoolgirl, anyway?
“In that case; good riddance and don’t waste your energy on him. Just forget and move on then. And in the case he does, make him pay for last week, hard, until he bleeds and begs for mercy. I can help you with that. George and Fred are looking for guinea pigs for their newest line all the time.”
Katie smiled as she thought of the twins. They were the best at getting revenge. “Thanks, Al. For meeting me, letting me vent, and wanting to hurt Marcus as much as I do.”
Alicia waved her off, “That’s what girlfriends are for, love. You’d do the same for me. Now if you really want to thank me, buy me something stronger than this shite. I’m parched.”
The rest of the night, the friends spent chatting and gossiping, mainly about Angie’s latest conquests and Alicia’s strong suspicions that something shifty was going on with that. The fact that no one had ever seen any of these conquests or that she conveniently forgot their names had triggered her inner Auror, and she had taken up shadowing their friend as much as possible. In the last three weeks, there hadn’t been a sign of a paramour, even though Angie had boasted about it. Katie agreed that it sounded curious, and she ordered Alicia to keep her updated to keep her distracted from her own woes.
It wasn’t until the clock struck midnight that a tipsy Katie returned to Hogwarts. And despite having trouble to walk a straight line, she managed to avoid Filch like the professional she was. Sneaking out had been worth it, she felt relaxed for the first time in a week. Her talk with Alicia had lifted her spirits and relieved her more than she had expected.
And what was even better, was the russet coloured owl impatiently waiting for on her windowsill, keeping her dorm mates awake with its incessant pecking and hoots. She gladly ignored their curses and threats to report her to McGonagall. The thick envelope attached to the bird's leg demanded all her attention.
As she turned envelope in her hands, pillows were flung in her direction. She still couldn't be bothered, though. In fact, a fond smile crept up her face. The messy scrawl could only belong to one person.
Marcus Flint had finally resurfaced.
Chapter 9: The not so master plan
February rolled into March and Katie found time slipping away from her at an alarming rate. Her workload for school only seemed to have doubled with her final exams in sight. Quidditch had become more brutal usual since Harry decided to dump his newly found anger issues on his teammates and forced them to train five times a week. She didn’t know who put or what caused that stick up his arse, but if he kept on like this, he was in danger of ending up on the wrong side of a stray Bludger. Most likely, she would be the one hitting it his way.
For the first time in weeks, it didn’t rain, and the watery sun preluded the spring to come. Katie decided to spend her lunch outside to soak up the first rays. She wasn’t in the mood to sit in the noisy Great Hall; her head was pounding, and she was still sore all over from colliding with Demelza during training last night. The girl was as pliable as a rock and Katie wasn’t sure what had hurt the most: hitting Demelza or crashing to the ground at high speed.
Katie groaned as she tried to find a comfortable position to sit in on the stairs and failed. Every fibre in her abused body hurt too much. It would have been more sensible to visit Pomfrey for a pain-relief potion. But the thought of straining her muscles by climbing, crawling in her case, all those stairs wasn’t all that appealing. With a sigh and an accusatory glance at the stone steps, she gave up and chose the easiest way; letting herself fall on her bum.
Her afternoon Charms class would have to do without her; she wasn’t planning on getting up any time soon. Besides that, the mere idea of swishing and flicking her wand was pure torture.
“Ow, ow, ow!” Katie cried when her bum hit the cold hard steps. Exaggeration was a fine art, and she needed to be convincing in case one of the professors decided to go for a stroll and found her here when she was supposed to be in class.
After pulling herself together and summoning the last of her energy, Katie reached for her schoolbag and dug up a torn envelope and her new diary; a present from Marcus he had sent two weeks ago. The accompanying letter didn't say much and was barely more than a rag, torn and creased. He had crossed and scratched over words, spilt ink on it, and most likely had crumpled the letter in frustration and smoothed it out again to send it after all.
From what she had deciphered -his scribbling resembled Ancient Runes at best- the diary was another way of making up for his cock up, a sentiment she happened to agree with.
Not that she would have given the option, but Katie had to admit that the diary was too beautiful to turn down. The dark leather cover had her name embossed in elegant golden letters. Together with the gold-plated lock and corner covers made it something from a fairy-tale. What girl does not like a fairy-tale?
“So pretty,” she murmured in a low voice as she ran her finger along the spine. The smooth leather felt like silk to the touch. The itch to write in it was overwhelming again. It was as if the diary called out to her, urged her to put her quill on paper and entrust it with her deepest secrets. Without thinking, she grabbed a quill and opened to a new page. She had some much to tell.
Ever since receiving it, Katie had written in it whenever she could. Which, in all honesty, turned out to be all the time, even when she didn't have the time. Several nights in a row already she'd stayed up late just to pen down something. From simple things, from what she had done that day to her disturbing thoughts and fantasies about Marcus and her frustration with him for not having contacted her since sending the diary. Even though he didn't talk back, writing it all down did felt like chatting with him.
Her aches and pains momentarily forgotten, her quill scratched furiously over the paper. Her thoughts were overflowing today, mainly about what she would say and do to Marcus when their paths crossed again. She was just right in the middle of tying him down and working him over with hot wax -Angie had written her about doing that last week to some sod- when someone flopped down next to her. She groaned inwardly at the disturbance and looked up scowling, only to come eye to eye with a miserable looking Millicent.
Katie’s frustration with the unwanted visitor turned to apprehension. With the currently raging feud between Gryffindor and Slytherin, you couldn’t be too careful in the presence of a snake, no matter how harmless they seemed. It wouldn't be the first time one of them tried to hex her fun.
“Hi?” she asked and looked around to see if other Gryffindors were nearby in case she needed help.
“You’re skiving off too?” Millicent asked.
“Yeah, I feel a bit under the weather,” answered Katie. The black circles under Millicent’s eye were even more prominent than she recalled. Maybe, she was sick. “Are you alright?”
“I always am.” Millicent shrugged and looked away. She didn’t need to hear again that she looked like shit. “Like you, a bit under the weather, I guess.”
Katie didn’t believe her for a minute and was dying to interrogate her further on the matter. But as it was, she barely knew her, and the chances of her confiding in her were slim to none. That didn’t mean that she was not going to try, of course.
“Are you sure? So, it has nothing to do with that boy you were talking to last time in Hogsmeade?”
Millicent, who had been rummaging in her schoolbag, briefly froze at Katie’s words. As she returned to her rummaging, she quietly said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I am having a bad day, s’all.”
‘Sure, and I’m Snape’s favourite student.’
“What’s his name again? Nobbs, Nicks?” Katie continued with a sly grin, pretending not to have heard Millicent. Deflecting from her troubles and focussing on others was always so much more fun. It made her feel good about herself.
Millicent didn’t look up and looked like she wanted to crawl into her bag. “Theo Nott. He is just a friend.”
‘Yeah, and Marcus is prince charming on a white Pegasus.’
Katie was about to ask further when Millicent looked up and tilted her head when she noticed the leather-bound book. “Oh, you’ve got one,” she remarked in surprise.
“You’ve got the Riddle Diary. My mum wanted to give me one for Christmas, but there is a waiting list for them. Can I see?” She judged Katie’s hesitation correctly when she hastily added, “I won’t open it, promise.”
‘I’d like to see you try.’
Katie handed over the diary after spelling the lock shut. She wasn’t about to take a Slytherin's word for it. “Careful,” she warned, “Twas a gift.”
Millicent admired the leather-bound book in her hand, turning it over a few times. “It’s dragon hide, isn’t it? To be honest, I am glad that Mum didn’t manage to get one. It’s bad enough that I must listen to her yap non-stop at home and read her daily owls when I'm here, having her bother me every day would probably drive me crazy. So, who has the other half?”
‘I didn’t know that she could string this many words together. Wait, what?’
“What 'other half'?”
“This one's twin.” Millicent held up the diary. Seeing the confused look on Katie’s face, she narrowed her eyes in suspicion. “You do know what a Riddle Diary is, don’t you?”
“A brand?” Katie felt a little stupid. Her only interests were Quidditch and Quidditch gear; she was rarely up to date about what was hip and happening outside that. She usually brushed off her friends' attempt to catch her up because, well, she didn't care.
“Sweet Salazar,” Millicent said sighing and rubbed her face. “Let me guess; Marcus gave you this? Without an explanation?”
‘I don’t like the sound of this.’
Katie nodded as dread began to form in the pit of her stomach. Already feeling another bout of embarrassment at the hands of Flint coming up, she snatched her diary back. “What does it do? What's so special about it?”
“Whatever you write in this one immediately becomes visible in its twin and vice versa. That’s why my mum wanted to get me one so that we could keep in touch every hour of the day,” Millicent answered. “Some use it to pass on test and exam questions.”
“Yeah, I’ve guessed so much.” Millicent nodded knowingly.
The girls sat in silence for a while as Katie’s mind reeled into a million different directions in panic. Her most intimate thoughts were described in there, and Flint knew all of them now.
“Oh Gods,” she groaned and dropped her head to her knees as bile rose in her throat.
“It can’t be that bad?” Millicent offered, knowing very well how humiliating it could be when someone read your most intimate thoughts. She had learnt her lesson the hard way at the age of twelve when her mother thought it'd be funny to read her daughter’s diary out loud during tea time with her friends.
“It is. It really, really is. I’ve written things in there that I haven’t told anyone else. What am I going to do?”
‘Run away. Yes, I’ll pack my bags and emigrate to…to Peru. No-one knows me there. I hear that they have Quidditch there.’
“Well, uhm, I have an idea. You just have to use your imagination.”
By the end of Millicent’s short explanation on how to get back at Marcus for his latest stunt, Katie felt a little bit better. The plan wasn’t perfect, and it required a lot of creative writing. But all in all, it promised to be fun.
As he had always done in times of stress, Marcus paced up and down the room as he muttered under his breath. Any minute now, Pucey would return with the final verdict on their master plan. The answer had to be yes; people had been persuaded and the necessary bribes paid. The only thing missing was the final go from Dumbledore.
‘If he says no, I’ll push him off the Astronomy Tower.’
Marcus was getting more desperate with each passing day. Judging by everything Bell had written in the diary, her interest was declining at a rapid pace. Since a week or two, her focus had shifted to other blokes. Who the fuck was Roger Davies and why was Bell kissing him behind the rosebushes? Why was she suddenly gushing about McLaggen’s strong arms? But the most disturbing of them all were her fantasies about Snape. She had described the dour man’s deep voice and the things it did to her in way too much detail. 'Thigh clenching' she kept calling it. Fucking Snape!
He knew very well that giving her a Riddle Diary without informing was a tad bit unethical seeing that he had no intention of writing her back anytime soon. But, since Pucey told him to woo the girl, it had seemed the best option to learn something about her. How was he supposed to woo her otherwise if he didn't know where to start?
In the last few weeks, he had learnt that blurting out personal details to others was not acceptable, that she liked lots of chocolate whenever she was on her monthlies, and that she had some rad fantasies about hot wax and blindfolds. All those were useful pointers he could work with, all thanks to Riddle.
“Will you sit down? Your making me dizzy,” Higgs drawled.
Ever since Sophia had fallen off the face of the earth, he'd become a permanent fixture at the manor much to Marcus’ annoyance. All the man did was drink his finest Ogden and sit in his favourite chair ordering Crumpet around.
“What’s taking him so long? There must be an answer by now!” Marcus exclaimed without stopping his pacing. He wasn't a patient man by nature and the wait drove him stir-crazy.
“It’s only been two hours. You can’t expect Adrian to bolt out there as soon as he has his answer.”
“Why not? Sounds reasonable to me.”
Terence watched his friend in amusement. He had rarely, never actually, seen Marcus this worked up about a girl before. Whatever spell that Bell girl put on him must have been a strong one. He just hoped that she didn’t turn out like his Sophia, demented as hell.
Luckily, Marcus’ torment ended when Adrian finally returned a few minutes later. He had spent his free Saturday afternoon in the company of his Head of Department, Mr Crouch, and Albus Dumbledore to convince the latter to put their plan into action.
He dragged his feet as he entered the study and slumped into the first chair he came across. For the past two hours, he had witnessed the two older men budding heads on every imaginable subject. Where Crouch had got winded up by the minute, Dumbledore had remained infuriatingly calm, complete with twinkling eyes and lemon sherbets.
Adrian was sure that at one point, his former Headmaster had read his mind. The way the man had briefly narrowed his eyes at him had made him feel like if he was sixteen again and just got caught in one of the broom closets with his trousers around his ankles. The whole day had been utterly draining, and he needed a drink, badly.
“Well,” Marcus asked expectantly, “Out with it.”
Adrian shook his head. “No.”
“No? What do you mean 'no'?”
“No, as in not going to happen, ever. The old codger didn’t budge, instead went on and on about students’ safety and how allowing such an event on Hogwarts grounds for a few days could endanger his students’ wellbeing and some other bull.” He'd discuss the subject of the ‘other bull’ in a few minutes.
Terence’s boisterous laugh broke the tense silence that had followed Adrian’s explanation. He hadn't helped with the machinations, finding the plan too ludicrous to begin with, but seeing the disappointed faces was just too funny to keep quiet. How could they have thought that this would be a good idea? A murderous glare from Marcus stopped his laughing, and he cleared his throat to explain.
“C'mon, Dumbledore’s answer can’t be a surprise. I mean, did you honestly expect him to host the Premier League try-outs at Hogwarts? Those are public events with a lot of public, you arses. The risk of brawls with that many Quidditch fanatics in one place is too high. Remember the last World Cup and the following riots? Crouch can plant the whole of the MLE on Hogwarts grounds, and he still won’t be able to guarantee that nothing will happen.”
“Now you tell us,” Adrian snapped.
“You were too busy with planning to listen to me, remember?” Terence shrugged; feeling satisfied that he got that off his chest. “I’m surprised that Crouch went along with the idea in the first place. How much did you pay him?”
Marcus felt defeated, how was he going to win over Bell now? He couldn’t wait for another few months until she finished school. Too much could happen in the meantime, like her running off with Snape. “What am I supposed to do now?”
“Wait until Easter. You've said it yourself that she had permission to attend the try-outs. It’s just a few weeks away,” Terence offered, believing that some exercise in patience would be good for his friend.
Marcus shook his head; Easter was too far away. If Dumbledore had gone along with his plan, he would have volunteered at Hogwarts every weekend to help with the preparations and during the try-out week, he would have camped there with Bell right under his fingertips. Waiting six weeks wasn't an option, certainly not after reading her diary. She was already well on her way to forget about him as it was.
Adrian cleared his throat; it was time for the ‘some other bull’ part of the conversation. He felt Marcus’ pain. He did, but his friend hadn’t been the one to face their all-knowing former Headmaster and then had to explain to his boss what the man was talking about.
“There is something else. Uhm, right, just before we left, Dumbledore took me aside for a minute.”
"To laugh in your face, I reckon," Terence mumbled in his glass.
“Yeah, funny. No, he told me that he was allowing an extra Hogsmeade-weekend next week and suggested that I tell ‘my friend’ to be a proper gentleman and ask the girl out in a normal fashion.”
The last bit of the ‘other bull’ part came when Adrian pulled out something from his inner pocket, which turned out to be a leather-bound book. Marcus didn’t need to read the golden letters on the cover to know to whom it belonged since its twin lay on his nightstand. He grabbed the diary out Adrian’s hands, thankful it was spelt shut.
“How did you get this?”
“As of today, Riddle Diaries are on the forbidden items list. Something about manipulations and cheating. Dumbledore requested me to return it to its rightful owner.” Adrian slumped further in his chair. “Come on, mate. I need a drink.”
Marcus resumed his pacing again. His plans were falling apart around him.
“What am I supposed to do now?” he repeated his earlier question and wished he could drink himself into a stupor right now. That he had to play against Puddlemere tonight, was the only thing holding him back. The urge to crush Wood after what he had read last night needed satiating.
‘She's seen him naked. When did that happen? Why did that happen?’
Terence, who had been pouring an Ogden for himself and Adrian, turned around. “Here is a crazy idea: do what Dumbledore's suggested and ask the girl out on a date.”
“Ask her out? Just like that?” The idea was crazy indeed, too simple. “How would that work?”
Terence nodded, realising why his two friends were still single. Neither knew how to approach women. “Yes, just like that. It isn't that difficult.”
“Speak for yourself,” Adrian grumbled.
“I’ll help you.”
It took him a few hours, and his good intentions shortened his life with a decade or two by answering frustrating questions, but Terence helped Marcus with composing a decent letter. Having grown up with three older sisters, he knew something about what girls liked to hear. To be fair to Adrian, he had it by the right end when he said that girls wanted to be wooed.
That afternoon, as Marcus watched his owl fly off with the most romantic letter he had ever written and really hoped that he wasn’t too late to get Bell to say yes to him.