Chapter 27 : The Setup

Class, while annoyingly sunny, wasn’t that bad. Wibert was an okay partner and Professor Longbottom was actually a great teacher. He deserved more respect from the students. Even if he was a bit awkward, his explanations were great and so was his help. The subject he taught was annoying though and very tedious. If you weren’t a plant person I could see why you hated this class.

On the way out Coriander pulled me aside. “I’m really sorry for this.” Oh no. Oh no. OH NO. She didn’t. I looked at everyone in my year. They were all smiling except Albus. However, he didn’t count since he barely ever smiled. I turned around to flee but found myself paralyzed. Cena’s wand up as he smiled cruelly. NO.

I could see Pembrooke and Avis. The two were smiling excitedly. Did everyone who was kind just always misread situations? Li walked forward from the crowd. Was he so cruel that he had to do this in front of a crowd? And why was he pretending to smile awkwardly? He was clearly a devious person!

Watching his performance was painful. Each fake awkward step and nervous habit as he approached me. “Hyo-Eun?” I couldn’t move. Why would you pretend I‌ could say anything? Assholes. All of them. Li may have been faking being awkward but his eyes were lit up like he was having the time of his life. “I‌ know you went out on a date with Tir yesterday and we just met but…” I could tell everyone in the crowd was growing excited. Well, we can minus a house from that everyone. The intense daggers from their stares never seemed to go away.

Li took a deep breath. The two of them were such actors. “Would you go out with me?” Cena’s wand lowered. If there was not a crowd the first thing I‌ would do is walk over there and punch his smug happy face. Why did I even have to act on my vacation? This was unfair. Ailean should be in the spotlight from now on. I officially resign. I pretended to look confused. “Li…” Everyone made sounds of ooohs and aaahs.

He was still pretending to be nervous. I wonder… whatever his goals were aside….couldn’t I‌ make him my excuse for vacation? “We just met? And I‌ went on a date with your best mate?” Li nodded his head and turned to Tir. Tir smiled awkwardly. “Actually, I‌ asked you out to find out about you for Li.” There was the ooohs and aaahs again. I hate this. I’m really starting to lose my patience. “I‌ see.”

Florence stepped out from the crowd. “You should say yes.” What? Why was she even getting involved? There was beautiful shiny red corner that she belonged to. There was no need to leave it. “I don’t think this has anything to do with you, Florence.” Of course, she got offended. “It does. I am being helpful. Trying to make it up to you.” No one could think that was the case with a bitter and forced looking face like that one. I‌ shook my head no. “No, you just don’t want me to date Tir.”

She got angry. “You don’t even like him!” I looked behind Li. “She’s right. I‌ don’t like you that way.” He smiled. “That’s great since you’re in the middle of being confessed to by someone else.” No one was letting me get out of this mess. I guess I‌ had to follow their schemes for now. Li and I would have a mutual understanding of using each other. As soon as I‌ found out what he really wanted…

I copied his move and looked awkward myself. “It’s hard to say no to at least a date when you do all of this.” The crowd laughed as he pretended to look embarrassed. “Sorry, I was afraid you’d run away.” I‌ nodded my head smiling. “I would have.”‌ The laughter continued. My eyes moved over to Coriander. She was smiling widely and had crossed her fingers for luck. Inside I was sighing. “Li…”

He looked at me with false fake hope. “Yea?” I pretended to avert my eyes. “One date. And it has to be private.” Li nodded his head eagerly and the crowd erupted in cheers. Even Florence was clapping. He pulled me into a hug and I‌ froze. The crowd growing louder. His obnoxious whisper tickling my ear. “I’ll go over the terms with you later.” I smiled tensely at him and turned away. “But there’s no way I’m heading to lunch with you after pulling a stunt like this.” He laughed.

I turned to look at my ‘friends’. “Or with any of you for helping. You know I‌ wanted to be done with crowds.” They all pretended to look away. I marched over to Pembrooke and Avis. My arms linking with them. “Today you two are the only ones I’m talking to besides the Professors.” Everyone laughed as I wanted them to. There was a performance that needed to be carefully managed after all. The two of them nodding as I‌ pulled them away.

Once we were away the two apologized. “We heard about it.” “Sorry we didn’t warn you.” I waved it off. “It’s fine. It is too entertaining for my house mates to let me avoid it.” They both nodded their heads. “Slytherin.” “Seems right.” I‌ gave them a wicked look. “The real question now is are either of you dating someone or have someone you like.” They both looked at me nervously. “Because now as my friends you have to join me on these things.” Pembrooke chuckled. “That’s not how dates work?”

I shrugged. “Well, that’s how they should work.” Avis sighed. “Is it?” I‌ leaned closer to them and gripped their arms even tighter. “So?” Pembrooke looked away shyly. “Edde. I like Edde.” Oh? The cute and kind baker liked the possibly nefarious Edde? I looked over at Avis. She turned her head on me. “Miguel.” Ah. They both had horrible taste in men. “Well, now I am committed to do something about that.”

They both turned to look at me. “How?” “What?” I smiled at them. The two trying to pull their arms free. They seemed very nervous all of a sudden. “Not crowds. Please no crowds.” “I’m okay really.” I shook my head no. “No, as a friend I‌ must do this.” The two teared up a little. “Really, It’s okay.” “We can leave it alone.” I freely allowed my evil smile to slip out a bit. “No, you helped me. I should return the favor.”

Pembrooke turned to Avis. “I told you she’d be mad.” Avis looked at her scared. “I didn’t think it would be that bad!” I smiled at my two friends. “Don’t worry. I‌ have more tact than Li. I’ll help you ensnare their souls.” The two began to struggle to free themselves. “That’s alright.” “I really don’t need his soul.”

I continued to fake denial. “I already have some ideas. Pembrooke how do you feel about polyjuice potion?” She looked at me confused. “Polyjuice?” I nodded my head eagerly. Pembrooke looked over at Avis for help. Her friend had clearly committed to not getting involved and finding freedom. Although she seemed apologetic. “It’s…”

I released the two of them from my grip and laughed. “Don’t worry. I won’t do anything. The look on you two’s faces was enough.” They both looked at each other and finely laughed. “That’s not funny.” “You really had us scared for a moment.” I‌ gave a bow. “Your welcome.” The two of them giggled and relinked their arms with mine.

Pembrooke smiled at me so warmly. There was definitely something nurturing and motherly about her. She was like a warm house filled with scented candles and fresh desserts. “You have Study of Ancient Runes right?” I nodded my head. Avis smiling. “Then we can go together. Since Pembrooke abandoned me.” She smiled sympathetically. “Sorry, Muggle Studies is the same time and it is an easier class.” That it was.

I smiled at Avis. “It’s alright Ms. Future Code Breaker. We can decipher the ancient languages together.” She cracked up laughing. “That’s right. We can.” Pembrooke smiled widely. Really, there was something motherly about her. “And I’ll prepare the baked rewards for when you succeed.” See! She was exactly like the mother from a story book. To think they actually existed in real life.

I take that back… To think they survived in real life. Pembrooke was like a walking miracle.

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Neville & Luna

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