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Blue Eyes

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Summary

The main character is happy with where they are. At college, they joined the Quidditch team and have been making friends. For the first time in a while, they're happy. But that all changes when they take their teammate and friend to the annual Yule Ball, and old memories of blue eyes begin to haunt them once more. Check out Determination, Deliberation, and Dragons wherever you get your podcasts.

Status:
Complete
Chapters:
10
Rating:
5.0
Age Rating:
16+

Chapter 1: The Ball

It’s difficult to hear a whistle while lying face down in the mud. The thunder roaring overhead didn’t help much either. As I tried to push myself up without slipping, I noticed what appeared to be shadows trudging through the rain to the sidelines.

Lightning illuminated the captains. Grabbing my broom, I slipped after them. They appeared to be speaking, but it was impossible to hear them clearly. Finally, with a dejected wave, the captains gave up. We quickly packed up the goalposts and fled to the dining hall.

With great relief, we walked into the warm hall filled with the aroma of hot food. Tracking mud up the stairs, we headed to our usual spot and pushed five tables together. Everyone dispersed momentarily to find food. Once we had all gathered at the table again with our meals, one of the captains stood up.

“I have an important announcement that I was trying to make before at practice. As you know, the Quidditch Team - that’s us - hosts a Yule Ball every December. We have it scheduled for next Saturday!” The captain paused as the damp team cheered. I clapped along politely. “We hope you’re all as excited as we are!”

For the rest of dinner, the team chattered happily. Reilly told everyone who would listen about his smooth swing dance moves, Samira and Jenni discussed what they would be wearing, and Bevin began organizing a group to bake for the festivities.

I sat quietly, listening to everyone’s excitement. Though I obviously wouldn’t be going, I enjoyed imagining the rest of the team having fun. Quidditch practice was all that I needed, but if everyone else wanted to go to a Ball, they certainly could. Hopefully, they would have a good time. With all the hard work they put into practice, they deserved a chance to let loose and have some fun. No one noticed as they were too busy talking about the Ball, but I smiled quietly.

The conversations gradually died down as the excitement grew within everyone’s mind. As was usual, I stood up first from the long table. Reilly also stood, and we left the dining hall together to return to the dorms.

“You’ll be amazed by my swing dancing at the Yule Ball! Not to brag, but I’ve been practicing all year,” Reilly explained as we put up our hoods to keep the lightening rain off our faces. “Actually, I meant to ask you, when we’re there, could you film me so my friends back home can see my skills.”

“I won’t be at the Ball,” I replied.

Reilly frowned. “What do you mean? Of course you’ll be there! Why wouldn’t you be?”

“Oh, you know my rule about hanging out with a group of people: three including me. The Yule Ball may go over that limit a bit.”

“Quidditch practice had more than three people including you.”

“Well…I suppose that’s true…I just really don’t want to go. Dances like this just…aren’t for me. I went to a high school dance once and I really don’t want to go to another. And besides, I have an essay due the day after the Ball for Professor Rutherfjord, and you know how he is when essays aren’t up to his standards.”

We reached the entrance to my dorm. Reilly stopped. “You really don’t like fun, do you?”

I held up my hands in mock admission. “You caught me. I don’t particularly like having fun. Fun for no one, I always say.” I grinned, and Reilly laughed before turning away and continuing along the path to his dorm. I watched him go, breathing in relief.

***

The sky darkened every consequent day. On Monday, the field was hardly distinguishable from a swamp. By Wednesday, it was little better. Though the rain had almost stopped, the grass we had played on two days earlier had been completely torn up after our latest practice. Walking through ankle-deep pools of muddy water, we decided to move the goalposts over a bit to an area mostly covered by grass. For a few minutes, it seemed as if we had avoided the worst of the problem, but eventually we tore up enough grass to create a new mud pit. By the end of practice, no one was spared. If only our brooms really could fly.

When practice had ended and the goalposts were lugged back to the closet, we all walked to the dining hall, up the stairs, and to our usual spot.

Unlike usual, Rose sat down next to me. She liked to sit on the other side of the table with the seniors, but every so often she found herself on my end. Though not friends, we each admired one another’s playing on the field. No one was as physical or present as Rose. When you saw her messy red hair barreling towards you, all you could do was run. She alone accounted for ninety-seven percent of our team’s tackles, and she made sure people remembered it. In every scrimmage, I could rely on her to clear a way to the opposing goals for me and mark the most formidable opponents on defense. She took charge and led the charge, more than earning the nickname “The Tank.”

That’s why it was strange to hear her plans for the Yule Ball.

“I want to ask out this guy I like from my geology class and take him to the Ball. I’ve never gone out with anyone, but I’ve always dreamed of taking someone to a dance.” She stared dreamily, her green eyes seeing something only she could see.

“Really?” I replied, trying my best to be conversational. “I...never thought of you as a dancer.”

“Well, I’m usually too busy knocking people off their brooms! But it would be nice to hold someone and not tackle them for once, do you know what I mean?”

I hesitated, unable to think of how to respond. After a few mumbled sounds came out, Rose laughed.

“I forgot,” she said, “you don’t like romance. I can’t imagine you ever agreeing to go to a dance with someone if they asked.”

“No...I’d probably...no. But the important part is...you. And what you want. And that guy. The one you like. You’re going to have so much fun at the Ball, I’ll tell you that.”

“Thanks! I’m really hoping he says yes. We’ll dance together, he’ll get me some punch, and I’ll show him off to the rest of the team because I know he’ll be brilliant. He’ll hold me underneath the stars, and then maybe by the end, just as we’re about to finish up the last dance, maybe he’ll fall in love with me. Wouldn’t that be something?” She asked.

“Something is a word, that’s for sure.”

“I might even pull out my old prom dress for this. It should fit. It was only two years ago, after all. It will be perfect for the Ball! Did you ever go to prom?” her green eyes stared at me intently, momentarily ignoring her daydreams and focusing entirely on me.

“Well,” I began, trying to navigate out of this. “I umm...You did say I don’t like romance. That’s correct, by the way. Completely factual. And accurate.”

“That doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t go though.”

“Oh, no? I thought...I thought it did.” She stared even more intensely, tilting her head thoughtfully as she did. I quickly knocked over my glass of water. “Oh goodness! There I go again with the clumsiness! I’m going to go downstairs and refill.” It wasn’t until I had made it halfway back to the dorm that I realized I had forgotten to take the glass downstairs with me.

***

By Thursday, the temperatures dropped, and snow began to suffocate the already-soaked campus. People would step into pools of water hidden beneath the snow, and it was not unusual to see people change into dry socks and shoes throughout the day. If anyone thought the weather would improve the next day, they were wrong. Overnight, everything froze. If someone managed to break through the hardened snow, they found themself slipping on a solid layer of ice waiting beneath the surface. It was a common sight to see people stuck in the snow after having wiped out on their way to class.

Quidditch practice that day was messy. No one could run without falling. That didn’t stop Rose from trying. Though she was always aggressive, she seemed even more intense that day. People tried to get out of her way before she tackled them, though hardly anyone was successful. She brought them down hard, cracking some of the ice beneath the snow as she did. It almost seemed as if she were trying to hurt the other players. While she was our most physical player, she always tackled people properly and avoided injuring anyone. Though it was frigid out, her eyes shouldn’t have been that red.

When she brought down a player hard on his shoulder, causing him to yell out in pain, the captains finally called a halt to practice.

“Alright, this has gotten out of hand! I don’t know what’s gotten into you today, but you need to stop hurting the other players! We have a Ball to host tomorrow, and we don’t want anyone missing out because they’re in the hospital!”

“Oh, who cares about some stupid Ball!?!” Rose exclaimed. “It’s just some stupid excuse for people to pretend to be happy, and there’s no way you’ll see me there tomorrow!” She ran off the pitch, still holding her broom.

The captains looked at each other. “I guess I need to talk to her?” asked the one who had yelled.

“No. I do.” I was surprised by my conviction. The captains looked at me.

“But you didn’t do anything,” one of them said. “It doesn’t make sense for you to talk with her.”

“It makes a lot more sense than you realize.” I followed Rose off the pitch, leaving the puzzled captains behind.

It wasn’t hard to find her – I just had to follow the trail plowed through the snow. It led to her dorm complex. A small stream of melted snow led off to one of the common rooms on the ground floor. Inconsistent sobbing came from within. Hesitating for only a moment, I opened the door.

Rose sat on the floor, leaning against the wall. She hid her face in her arms and hadn’t noticed me enter. I took a step forward, then stopped as she let out another sob. When she stopped, I stepped forward again. After walking halfway through the room, I paused for a second time.

“Hi, Rose,” I said.

She lifted her head, glaring at me as if she believed I would vanish if she stared hard enough. But then her face softened and turned instead to confusion. “Oh,” she said. “I kinda thought you were one of the captains.”

“Yeah, they wanted to come, but then...I did.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re my teammate, and you were sad, and unlike the captains, I know why.”

“No, you don’t.”

“Yes, I do.” I crouched down to her level. “You asked the guy from your geology class to go to the Ball with you, didn’t you?” Her jaw opened. “You told him how excited you were, how you were planning on wearing your old prom dress. You told him you wanted to dance and be held under the stars. You told him how you always dreamed of going to a dance with someone.”

“How did you...?”

“He said no.”

It was silent. Rose stared at me. I held her gaze. She nodded. Her head fell into her lap. I sat down across from her, waiting. A few minutes passed. My legs began to hurt, but I didn’t move.

When she looked up again, her face was red. “I just wish,” she whispered, her shoulders hunched forward, “that I could have gone to the Ball with someone. Is that too much to ask?”

“Maybe...you don’t have to go...alone.” Even as I spoke, I understood what I would have to say next, though I didn’t want to say it. If he had said yes to Rose, everything would be fine. But he didn’t. Now, I found myself looking at a teammate I wanted to help, a teammate I understood in that moment. Yet to help her would remind me of so much that I had elected to forget. But what other option did I have?

“What do you mean?”

I swallowed. “Would you...maybe...want to go to the ball...with...m-me?” Her face swam out of focus, and for a moment, I could have sworn that I was looking at someone else, that her red hair had suddenly become blonde. But when I looked again, Rose still sat there. But now she was smiling.

“Yes...of course! I’d love to go! Thank you so much.” She jumped up from her spot on the floor and hugged me. “You’re a really good friend.”

I could only grunt in agreement as I felt my throat slowly constrict.

***

The sky was dark. No more snow or ice fell, but the clouds had not disappeared. Somewhere behind the clouds, the sun must have been hiding. Though if it had gone, there was no way to be certain of it.

Time flew by, though I didn’t do much. At least, I can’t remember doing much. I must have gotten out of bed and dressed because I found myself at different locations throughout the day. One moment, I was eating breakfast at my usual spot in the dining hall, and the next I was being told that the library was closing and that I needed to leave.

Shuffling down the sidewalk back to my dorm, I realized I had about an hour until the Ball started.

I could call in sick or pretend to have suffered a grievous injury. If only malaria was common here, I might have a reasonable excuse not to go.

But this was no longer about what I wanted. I had asked Rose to go with me, and so I had to go.

Forcing this thought through my head repeatedly for the next hour, I found myself outside Rose’s door. I raised my hand to knock, but immediately froze. Focusing, I moved my hand forward. It tapped lightly against the door but made no sound. With another concentrated effort, I knocked again. This time, there was a soft knock.

The door opened. Rose stepped out into the hallway. It was odd seeing her off the Quidditch pitch and wearing makeup, though she hadn’t put on much. She wore heels that raised her about two inches from the ground and a dress that floated about her as she walked. Her normally braided hair had been combed so that it ran in curls about her shoulders.

“Hey! You look SO good!” she said, grinning as she admired my outfit.

I took a moment to respond. “Thanks...you also look nice. That’s a nice blue.” I added, gesturing to her dress.

She blinked. “It’s red.”

I shook my head and looked again. It was indeed red. “Hmm, that’s odd,” I mumbled.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” I nodded, “yeah. I’m fine. Just...yeah. Fine, fine.” Rose didn’t look convinced. I gestured down the hallway. Would you like to...I mean...It probably started. I think.”

“Oh yes! Let’s go.” She began to walk towards the stairs, then turned back. “Would it be too much to ask for your arm?” she asked shyly.

“My arm?”

“Yes. You know, when two people go to an event that’s as fancy as this one person walks in holding the other person’s arm?”

“Oh, yes. Of course.” I extended my arm, and she placed her hand on it. Thankfully, she was too excited to notice me shiver. She skipped as we went along, dragging me forward.

Music and laughter slipped through the cold night air as we neared the Ball. A faint, crystal blue light was cast upon the fog outside. Rose led me through the front door. Reilly and a few other Quidditch Team members sat at a table between the entrance hallway and the main Ballroom, checking people’s IDs as they walked in. He finished marking the hand of a tall boy in front of us and looked up.

“Hey! I was wondering when the two lovebirds would get here!” Yelled Reilly, grinning. The others at the table looked at us curiously.

Rose smiled and waved enthusiastically while I hurriedly responded. “No, we’re not dating. Just friends going to a Ball. As friends.” Reilly smirked as he marked my hand, and the others turned to talk among themselves.

We walked through to the next room. The music that had dissolved outside now reverberated throughout the room as the jazz band played. Saxophones maneuvered around the solid bass line while trumpets tried to take all the attention. Occasionally, a flute rose above the other instruments only to nestle between them once more. On the open dance floor, students stepped in time to the music, hopping and twirling and swinging. A table buckling beneath hundreds of cupcakes and cookies was pushed up against the wall next to a red curtain where students posed with all sorts of props for a photographer. On the other side of the room, tables with materials to make and decorate your own paper snowflakes were clumped together. There were far too many people.

“So...Rose...um...what would you...what would you like to do?”

“Let’s make a snowflake!”

We each made a snowflake. Despite the excessive amount of glitter that I was told was completely necessary, it was fun. Once we finished, we hung our snowflakes on the wall overlooking the snack table. Since we happened to be next to the table, we decided to sample every snack offered. I laughed as a gooey marshmallow cupcake sealed Rose’s mouth, and she roared as I gagged on a peanut butter cookie. A handful of unlabeled jelly beans definitively drove away the taste of the peanut butter, but replaced it with a myriad of other horrible flavors, none of which I could place. Rose and I looked at each other and dashed to the bathroom sink to wash out our mouths. We took photos with the photographer, posing with masks and brooms and an assortment of wizarding equipment. One picture showed Rose casting a spell at me, while in another, I almost managed to hold her in the air. We ran onto the dance floor and did our best to keep up with the music, though neither of us knew how to dance. I stumbled and would have fallen to the floor if Rose hadn’t caught me. It was hard to thank her through her laughter.

I never thought that the Ball could be this fun.

Rose and I cycled through everything a few times. We ate copious amounts of cupcakes and made the photographer take more elaborate photos. By the third time on the dance floor, I managed to stay on my feet. Reilly kept glancing over at us from the table where he was monitoring party-goers, but I didn’t mind. I waved once or twice and resolved to explain tomorrow that Rose and I were nothing more than friends. In that moment, though, I was too surprised at how much I was enjoying myself. The crowded room and loud music still bothered me, but Rose was happy. I smiled.

The band paused. One of the Quidditch captains grabbed a microphone and stood in front of the band.

“I hope everyone has had a wonderful evening!” he said to a round of applause. “We want to thank everyone for coming out here tonight. We are so happy to have been able to organize this Yule Ball for you all. The jazz band has one last song to play. We hope you enjoy.”

The band took up their instruments once more. Slowly, music began to wash throughout the room. Rose looked at me. She reached out her hand. I took it, and together, we walked out on the dance floor.

I have never been a good dancer. Admittedly, I had spent my life avoiding dances with very few exceptions. But as I stumbled about trying to follow Rose as she led us around the dance floor, I couldn’t help but feel okay. Good, in fact. Though I probably would not be attending any dances after this anytime soon, I was happy that I went to this one. It had been fun. More importantly, Rose was having fun. As I looked into her green eyes, it was hard to connect her to the person who had been crying yesterday because her hopes for a magical night at the Ball had been swept aside. Though she may still have felt hurt by her classmate’s actions, it didn’t seem to be bothering her now. There were no tears in her eyes, and her face was no longer red. Her lips were lightly curled in a smile, and her head was slightly tilted. Seeing her happy had been all that I wanted. Now that I stood there with her as people flowed around us, I couldn’t help but smile back at her.

I stumbled a bit as she stopped. Her smile seemed to fade but didn’t leave entirely. It changed. Though she still looked happy, there was something else present.

“Hey,” I asked, “is everything alright?”

She nodded and gently bit down on her lip for a moment before responding. “Yeah...everything is fine. Thank you for making this Ball perfect.”

That’s when she kissed me.

As I stood there in shock, Rose had disappeared. Her messy red hair was gone. Now, it was blond. Her eyes had lightened from green to blue, and her nose had become sharper. Her red dress was blue and was missing one of the straps along her right shoulder.

She stepped back. The smile had returned, but it was different. This smile didn’t make me feel happy for her. I felt cold.

“Are you okay?”

I heard Rose’s voice, but I couldn’t find her. Though it sounded like it was coming from the direction of the girl standing in front of me, I knew that it couldn’t be. There was no concern in that smile. There was no concern in that person. There never had been.

“Hey, can you hear me? Are you okay?”

One step. Then two. Three was too much. I fell. Hard. My head smacked against the floor. People gasped around me.

“Someone help! I don’t know what’s going on!”

My fingers wouldn’t move. I pushed with my feet. I had to move. She was here. She was back. She had been gone for years. Away. Too far to keep scaring me. Or I thought. I yelled. She smiled. Blue eyes.

Where was Rose?

“Are you okay?”

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mellinscer: Really enjoyed this story

Justine helda: Trop addictif pour être bon pour la santé

Gabriela Downing: Go Lilly. Great high school crush story! I can’y wait to read the end.

Susanne Ross: Einfach nur wieder der Wahnsinn!!!! Sehr sehr gut geschrieben!!! Sofortige Suchtgefahr!!! Klasse und bittttte noch viele weitere Story ‚s hier von DIR!! Dankeeee ❤️

annemirl56: Gefällt mir sehr gut! Gut und zügig zu lesen.. deine Bücher laden zum entspannen ein.Danke dafür 🫶🫶🫶

Clovene: L'histoire est génial mais je reste perplexe sur l'orthographe de certains mots comme s'ils étaient écrit à ma phonétique. Et le Chris qui apparaît pendant 2 chapitres, on est d'accord que c'est Bryan ?

klzink63: I love everything that this author writes. Wonderful plots, easy to get caught up in the story. Great characters. Her series all work well with each other, no gaps in the stories.

reful: Buena en general...

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