Much Ado About Hogwarts

Dramatis Personae

Warm, comfortable and surfacing from a dreamless sleep, Eleanor became aware of two hushed voices, hovering somewhere above her bed.

“They must have moved the bed in last night…”

“What, after we went to sleep? You’d have thought we’d wake up…”

Perhaps she should have closed the curtains of her four poster bed before sleeping the previous evening – it would at least have given her the opportunity to assess her new roommates – but then, she had been so tired after her journey she hadn’t even thought about it.

“Who do you think she is?”

“I’m assuming a transfer student…”

“She must have been sorted already… she’s really pretty, isn’t she, Lily?”

Presumably ‘Lily’ had smiled, as there was a pause.

“Yes… come on, let’s back off, we don’t want to frighten her by looming over her when she wakes up – that would be a great way to start your first day at a new school.”

Two pairs of soft footsteps retreated, and there was the sound of a shower starting up in the next room. Eleanor felt that it would be politic to wake up at this point, and made a show of yawning and stretching.

“Oh, hello,” said the owner of the second voice. “We didn’t wake you, did we?”

“No, erm… hi.” Great way to make friends, Ellie, a voice in the back of her mind teased.

“I’m Alice, by the way, and Lily’s in the shower, she’ll be out in a minute – welcome to Hogwarts!”

“Eleanor – thanks!” she smiled.

Alice appeared to be bursting with questions, but she held back as Eleanor rummaged through her new wardrobe for some fresh clothes, brushed some of the tangles out of her hair and took in her new surroundings. The room was curved along one side and decorated in rich reds and golds. There was a brazier in the middle of the room and three four-poster beds were against the curve of the wall. She was still admiring the general splendour when the noise of running water stopped and Lily walked back into the room followed by a billow of steam, her hair wrapped in a towel.

“Oh, hello – ” she began, but Alice got their first.

“Eleanor, this is Lily, my best friend, and Lily, this is Eleanor…”

“Hi,” said Eleanor, more confidently this time; Professor McGonagall had been right, these girls were lovely.

“Welcome to Gryffindor,” said Lily with a friendly smile. “I imagine you got in rather late last night…”

“Yes, well after midnight – you were both sleeping, I didn’t want to wake you…”

“Oh, don’t worry, if we can sleep through next door shrieking all night, you won’t wake us.”

“Fifth years,” said Alice on her questioning glance. “I’m sure we weren’t that loud last year.”

“Well there are more of them –” Lily disappeared behind her four-poster briefly, before returning and brushing her long, dark red hair. “So where did you transfer from, Eleanor? Beauxbatons?”

“Actually, I was home-tutored,” she said, playing with the hem of her blouse. “In the Alps…”

“Really? Wow! My Dad took us skiing up there two Christmases ago, it’s beautiful!” cried Alice, beaming.

“Yeah,” grinned Eleanor. “I like it best in summer though – there’s a sheltered lake not far from the chalet where I like to swim.”

“Sounds lovely,” said Lily smiling.

“Maybe,” said Eleanor, surprising herself, “maybe next summer you two could come out and visit…”

She’d never really had chance to make friends before, but the idea of sharing her private little alpine word with these two lovely young ladies seemed to fill her with happiness.

“That’s very kind of you,” smiled Lily.

“I just might hold you to that, you know,” added Alice, grinning. “Come on Lily, or there won’t be any breakfast left… it’s Hogsmeade weekend, you see, we all go down to the village after breakfast.”

“I’d find a warm jumper though,” said Lily, reaching into her wardrobe, “might get chilly – although I suppose you’re used to it being a bit colder.”

“Colder, but not this wet,” said Eleanor, glancing out of the window. Last night’s rain had stopped, leaving behind a gloss of shimmering raindrops on the wooded grounds.

Alice chuckled.

“Take your purse too, if you get pocket money – there’s a sweetshop and a café and loads of stuff to do – ”

Eleanor rose and gathered her things, suddenly self conscious; Lily and Alice were one thing, but a whole village full of students was a bit daunting. Noticing this, Alice patted her arm.

“You’ll be fine,” she said. “You look great, most people here are pretty friendly and the sun’s out. What could go wrong?” And with that, she bounded out of the dormitory and down the stairs, leaving a stunned Eleanor and a laughing Lily behind her.

“Well, just look at Little Miss Optimism go! She seems to have got even more bubbly since she started seeing Frank – you’ll meet him downstairs.” She paused, “a word of caution though, Sirius Black and James Potter, try to avoid them…”

“Professor McGonagall mentioned them last night… said they thought of themselves as jesters…”

“Pains in the arse would be more accurate,” said Lily, firmly. “Black is a bit of a pervert, and he’s made his way through the majority of the girls in school, so watch yourself, he might see you as a new challenge.”

“Oh, goody.”

“And Potter is an odious little toe rag who likes to play ridiculous pranks on people, without considering the consequences.”

“Do you think anyone would mind if I just stayed up here?”

Lily’s expression softened.

“Don’t worry, if they start on you they’ll have me to deal with. Besides, not all the Gryffindor boys are bad…”

0o0o0o0

Much to Remus’s dismay, the headache he had been nursing the night before had not dissipated with sleep and appeared to have doubled in strength by the time Sirius had woken them all up, hideously early in the morning, by announcing that he had a brilliant plan that they were all going to help him with.

Remus had flat out refused this time and, unusually, been unwilling to budge; Peter, who liked his lie-ins almost as much as Remus, had followed suit and the two of them had gratefully gone back to bed as James and Sirius snuck out of their rooms to instigate some havoc.

He was feeling a good deal better when breakfast time arrived, largely, he suspected, because he and Peter managed to get dressed, navigate the common room and make it downstairs without anything exploding, anyone slapping Sirius, or James gushing about Lily. As dearly as he loved his best friends, a morning of quiet every so often was worth its weight in gold.

He was a little worried that James and Sirius hadn’t got back from wherever they’d gone, however… Peter told him not to be such a ‘big Jessie’ and started wolfing down some sausages, leaving him to glance up every time the doors to the Great Hall opened. He saw Alice bounce in when he was part way through his third slice of toast, and she practically ran over to the two of them, narrowly avoiding a collision with a startled Ravenclaw third-year.

“Oh sweet Merlin have I got gossip!” she grinned, as he and Peter stared up at her, open mouthed.

“What did they do?” asked Remus, in horror.

“What?” Alice seemed confused.

“Morning, beautiful,” said Frank, walking over from the Ravenclaw table and planting a kiss on his girlfriend’s nose. “I’d appreciate it if you refrained from flattening the younger members of our house in future though.”

“Oh, sorry!” Alice turned round to wave at the girl, before turning back to Peter, Frank and Remus. “It’s just, I have news!”

“Did they set fire to the Slytherin Common Room again?” asked Peter, hopefully.

“What? No! This has nothing to do with Sirius and James… where are they, by the way?” she asked, sitting down.

“No idea, we thought you’d seen the fallout of whatever brilliant idea Sirius had at five this morning,” said Peter. Frank winced in sympathy.

“Oh… well hopefully it won’t be something too explosive…” said Alice doubtfully. “But never mind them. Me and Lily woke up early this morning too and – guess what?”

“What?” the boys chorused, obedient to their excited friend.

“There was a third bed in our dormitory!”

“What, you mean there’s a new girl?” asked Peter, interested.

“But it’s a fortnight into term, why’s she joining us now?” frowned Frank. “She’ll have a bit of catching up to do.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure of that,” said Alice, candidly, “she said she was home tutored.”

“You’ve met her, then?” asked Remus.

“Yes, first thing – she’s really nice and a bit shy, her names Eleanor – she’s really pretty too!”

Remus arched an eyebrow. The thing about Alice, and the thing that made her the most endearing, was that she never thought anyone was anything other than ‘pretty’ or ‘nice’. It wasn’t that she was stupid when it came to social dynamics, she just chose to see the best in people.

“She’ll be down in a minute, I left her with Lily.”

“Lily’s going to be down in a minute?” asked James, coming up behind her. “Morning Frank.”

“James, Sirius,” Frank nodded.

“You sleeping beauties missed the best prank ever,” grumbled Sirius. “It was epic – songs will be written about it-”

“It wasn’t that good, Padfoot,” said James. “All we did was put hair colour potion in the teachers’ tea urn.”

“They’ll never know it was us,” grinned Sirius, rubbing his hands together happily.

“They always know it’s us, mate, they just can’t prove it,” said James. “Anyway, shouldn’t take effect until they head to the staffroom on Monday morning. You were saying about Lily, Alice?”

“What?” asked Alice, who had been following the verbal tennis match that was a conversation with the Marauders. “Oh, yes. She’ll be down in a minute, with the new girl.”

“New girl?” asked Sirius. “When did that happen?”

“Last night,” said Peter. “Ooh, look, there they are…”

All of them peered to look as Lily entered the Great Hall talking to the mysterious Eleanor. Craning to see around James, Remus conceded that Alice had been right. She was very pretty… shapely, in a delightfully curvy sort of way, and wearing a blouse and skirt that seemed to accentuate her curves in a wholly accidental fashion. Although she was glancing around the hall in slight trepidation, she bore herself comfortably, and kept her head high as a few hundred pairs of eyes turned to stare at her.

Her gold wavy hair was short and clung to her face and neck in a way that made his hands tingle in a truly unnerving way, and when she gave them a brief, nervous smile as she and Lily approached the table, he saw that her eyes were a beautiful, stormy blue-grey, as if they, like the enchanted ceiling above them, reflected the weather outside.

Abruptly, he realised that he’d been staring at her and quickly looked away.

“Good morning my beautiful Lilyflower –” James began, but Lily cut him off.

“Can it, Potter. Everyone, this is Eleanor, she’s just starting at Hogwarts today… Eleanor, this is Remus, Peter, Frank – you know Alice already – Black and Potter.”

Everyone nodded at her as they were introduced.

“Welcome to Hogwarts,” said Peter, cheerfully.

“Thanks,” Eleanor managed. There were so many people in here… and pretty much all of them were looking at her. She sat down next to Peter.

“Toast?” he asked.

“Er, thanks…”

“Welcome indeed, ma chère mademoiselle,” said Sirius, suddenly appearing at her other side. “May I extend my sincerest hopes that you are happy and comfortable here.” He bent slightly and pressed a light kiss to her knuckles. “Should you ever require it, my assistance will be yours in an instant, I assure you.”

If she hadn’t been warned about him, she might have fallen for it. However…

“Ah. You’d be the notorious Sirius Black then?” she asked, arching an eyebrow.

“My reputation precedes me,” he said, preening slightly.

“Yes,” Eleanor said, with calculated calm. “I’ve been here for less than twelve hours and I’ve already been warned to stay away from you by two separate people.”

Across the table from her, the boys identified as Remus and James sniggered.

“You’ve been spreading salacious rumours about me again, haven’t you Evans?” he growled, turning to Lily, who raised an eyebrow and shrugged.

“It wasn’t just me, McGonagall warned her off you too.”

“Minnie? Warn someone off me? But she loves me!” Sirius clutched at his chest dramatically. “I’m stung! I am undone! Life is not worth living!”

“Oh sit down, Padfoot, you pillock, people are trying to concentrate on eating,” James admonished. “Anyway, Lily’s right, you are a bit of a perv.”

Eleanor decided to cut in as Sirius spluttered in indignation.

“Actually, she warned me about you, too.”

James stared at her open-mouthed for a few seconds.

“What for? I’m nowhere near as much of a skirt chaser as mutt-boy over there!”

“Oy!”

“I think it was more your sense of humour she was telling me to watch out for.”

Beside him, Remus grinned. He rather liked her; in less than ten minutes she’d cut both of his best friends’ egos down to size, befriended two of the nicest girls in the school and hadn’t yet been put off by Peter’s table manners… this could be an interesting year.

“Oh, that’s all right then,” said James, as Lily scoffed. “But what she doesn’t know is that since you’re new you get a two month grace period before we start pranking you – you know, so you can get used to Hogwarts first.”

“How very gracious of you,” said Lily, the sarcasm dripping from her words.

“They’re not all bad,” said Frank, conversationally as the rest of the group dissolved into the usual breakfast bickering. “Lily just refuses to see it.”

“I take it that ‘they’ means you’re from another house?” asked Eleanor, interested.

“Yep, Ravenclaw. Generally we sit over there –” he waved at another long bench behind him, “- but since today is a Hogsmeade trip I’m invading.”

Eleanor smiled.

“Have you and Alice been together long,” she asked.

“Since last March,” he said, and gave his girlfriend’s shoulders a squeeze. “And I love her to bits.”

Eleanor grinned.

She took them in as the breakfast progressed and they bickered and chatted in a familiar and comfortable way. Lily was easily the most beautiful girl in the room, with her long, dark red hair tucked behind her ears and her green eyes flashing at whoever she spoke to, Eleanor could see why James couldn’t keep his eyes off her – and began to suspect that that was why she hated him so much. Alice too, was pretty, with her honey coloured hair and bright blue eyes, beaming out at the world like a ray of sunshine in corduroy dungarees. Frank was the antithesis of his girlfriend, in looks at least: where she was petite and fair, he was tall and dark, his shrewd glances tempered by his warm brown eyes.

Peter, who had turned his attention back to his breakfast, was a fairly plain young man – at least compared to his friends – with dirty blonde hair and a wry grin; he was a little overweight perhaps, but he didn’t look like he let it bother him. Across the table, Sirius was still bickering with Lily, his long dark hair framing his face perfectly. Eleanor wondered how long it took him every morning to get it just right… he was very handsome, she supposed, with his tanned skin and flamboyant airs, but that didn’t mean she had to like him. Next to him, James had apparently given up trying to intercede and was instead chatting to Frank and Alice. He too was handsome, though in a less roguish way than Sirius. He looked to be the shortest of the group, with messy black hair that looked as though it had eaten the last comb it had encountered and large, round spectacles; he gave off an air of cheerful arrogance and she wondered fleetingly whether he wore them just to look ‘smart’.

The last member of the group, who was keeping very quiet, was looking straight at her when she glanced at him, but quickly looked away. This boy was quite tall, slim and bookish; there were thin scars across his face and hands, which he ran tiredly through his thick brown hair. When he glanced back at her, grey eyes looked out from under his long fringe, and they smiled at one another.

“You’re almost as quiet as Remus,” said Peter, giving her an appraising look.

“Sorry,” she apologised, “I was home tutored – I’ve never even seen this many people in one place before…”

“Gosh, really?” he asked, astonished. “Well we’ll look after you, don’t worry.”

Eleanor gave him a grin, which he returned.

“Isn’t that right chaps?” he asked the group at large, which turned to look at him. “We’ll show Eleanor around, help her settle in, right?”

The chorus of assent was a bit enthusiastic for her liking, but she smiled back at them when Remus gave her a reassuring grin.

Well, she thought, it seems you’ve fallen on your feet my girl.

0o0o0o0

The tour of Hogsmeade was fun, and certainly informative, though Eleanor suspected that the official version would be a lot less explicit in places… it was a toss up between what was more entertaining: listening to the anecdotes everyone had at each new place, or watching James’s hopeless attempts at chatting up Lily and her subsequent rebuttals. They had spent most of their day alternating between running amok in the shops of the tiny wizarding village and popping into the Three Broomsticks for a butterbeer whenever it had started raining, and despite herself, Eleanor was really beginning to enjoy the camaraderie.

They were heading back down the hill from the allegedly incredibly haunted ‘Shrieking Shack’ and back up towards the school, when she found herself walking next to Remus. He’d been relatively quiet throughout the day, choosing to let his friends talk over him unless they were wildly inaccurate, and Eleanor was curious about him.

“I hope they’re not too loud for you,” he said, quietly. “They can be rather excitable…”

“It’s ok, actually,” she smiled, “I mean, I’m not saying this many people in one go isn’t a shock to the system, but they’re being really kind… even James and Sirius, who I was told to steer clear of.”

Remus chuckled, and she noted that none of his earlier tiredness appeared to be with him anymore.

“I think that made their day, actually, having a reputation as widespread as that.”

Eleanor snorted in an undignified manner, which made Remus laugh again.

“May I ask,” he said as they followed what had quickly become an argument up the slope towards the Castle, “why are you joining us in Hogwarts now, if you’ve been home-tutored thus far?”

“I –” she began, and then stopped. As much as she loved her mother, she didn’t want to continue the tradition of secrecy that she had established any more than she had to. “I actually don’t know,” she told him, quietly. “Everything was carrying on as normal, tutors coming and going, letters from my mother… and then, two weeks ago, the housekeepers announced that I was coming here.”

“Your housekeepers? You don’t live with your family?”

“Can you keep a secret?” she asked, pausing at the entrance to a long wooden bridge that crossed a great gorge in the grounds.

Remus nodded, wondering at how trusting his new friend was being.

“I might tell the others later, but… I was born out of wedlock – not just out of wedlock, actually, as a result of an affair. My mother is of sufficient status for this to be problematic, sufficient sense to get me safely out of the way and sufficient means to keep me and educate me in a private chalet in the French Alps.” She was aware that he was staring at her. “I hope you don’t think I’m trying to boast, but it’s the easiest way to explain.” She looked out across the grounds. “She’d come to visit me sometimes, when her husband was away… I suppose that will stop now. I can still write to her though,” and she smiled again, and Remus felt his heart leap at the genuine warmth in her expression. “She always calls me her ‘Jenny Wren’ – that’s how I sign my letters to her.”

She looked back at him.

“Sorry, I realise I sound as if I’ve just fallen from the pages of some Regency love affair…”

“Well,” he said, clearing his throat, awkwardly, “you can hardly be held responsible for that.”

They walked on in silence for a while, each wondering privately about the other. After a few minutes Remus realised that perhaps her silence was embarrassment, and he endeavoured to save her further distress.

“Er – what subjects are you taking?” he asked.

“Oh: Charms, Transfiguration, Ancient Runes, Herbology, Defence, Astronomy, History of Magic and Potions.”

Remus made a face.

“Potions?”

“I like Potions.”

“I suck at Potions,” he said. “That’s almost a full nine subjects… if you were here you would have dropped one…”

“Care of Magical Creatures,” she said, anticipating the question. “I took that at OWL level… apparently my mother favours the British system of wizarding education. I got a smattering of all the subjects though, until I chose those eight.”

“I think we’ll be in a few of the same classes then,” he said, smiling. “Except Herbology and Potions... I dropped it as soon as I could.” He gave her a wry smile.

“What are you taking instead?”

“Arithmancy and Muggle Studies; I dropped Care of Magical Creatures too.”

It was Eleanor’s turn to pull a face.

“Arithmancy sounds evil,” she said. “All those numbers can’t be good for you.”

Remus chuckled.

“I like numbers, they’re just another language, really.”

“Unfortunately not one I speak,” laughed Eleanor.

They looked at one another for a moment, happy in the knowledge that they’d made a new friend.

“You know,” he said, a little awkwardly, “if it all gets too much for you, you could always take refuge in the library with me… I’m there a few nights a week, trying to avoid being dragged into one of Sirius and James’s schemes.” He rubbed the back of his neck, embarrassed.

“Does it work?” she asked, amused.

“Not always,” he conceded, and she laughed.

“I might just take you up on that,” she said.

“Great!” he beamed, and they started up the main stairs into the Castle.

0o0o0o0

Dinner, between the boys’ antics and Peter’s table manners, was an intriguing affair, and by the time they retreated back up to the Gryffindor common room, Eleanor was more than a little sleepy. Alice and Frank veered off en route for a goodnight kiss in one of the empty classrooms, to a chorus of whistles, catcalls and laughter.

“Bless them,” said Lily, “they’re so sweet together.”

“Don’t you think-” James began, but Lily cut him off.

“Give it a rest James, we’ve had a good day today, lets keep it that way for a few more hours,” she said, before climbing through the portrait hole.

James turned back to Eleanor and Remus, who were once again bringing up the rear, and grinned manically.

“Did you hear that Moony? She called me ‘James’!”

“Interesting nickname,” Eleanor commented as they followed him into the common room.

“Not one I chose for myself…”

“Undoubtedly,” she giggled, and he blushed.

They sat for a while, chattering together and making a dent in the vast array of sweets they’d brought back from Honeydukes, but it wasn’t long before they were all yawning and stretching at every other stairs.

“Time to climb the wooden hills, I reckon,” said James sleepily.

Lily, Alice and Eleanor stared at him as he wandered towards the dormitories.

“He means the stairs,” said Sirius. “It’s something his Dad always says. All joking aside Eleanor,” he said, pausing by the twin staircases, “it really is nice to have a new face about the tower.”

“Thanks Sirius. It’s nice to be here.” He gave her a warm grin before trailing up the stairs after his friends; when Eleanor turned around, Lily was giving her a speculative look.

“What?”

“He’s never been that polite to a girl in his life…” she flashed a grin. “Perhaps we should see if Madame Pomfrey will take a look at him.”

“Madame Pomfrey?” asked Eleanor, following her friend up to the dormitory.

“She’s in charge of the Hospital Wing…”

“Who needs Madame Pomfrey?” asked Alice, drying her hair.

“Sirius. Eleanor appears to be having a disturbing effect on him.”

“Oh?”

“I am not,” said Eleanor, blushing.

“He was polite to you, he didn’t try to look down your blouse and you’ve been here for more than a day and he hasn’t pinched your bottom yet. For Sirius, that’s disturbing.”

Alice laughed, “Oh, leave her alone, Lily. Anyway, he’s not the only one acting strangely.”

“How so?” asked Eleanor, glad that the conversation had been deflected.

“James was being much less persistent than usual – and you didn’t tell him off as much, Lily.”

“I didn’t have to, did I?” said Lily, sounding a little uncomfortable.

“And you called him ‘James’,” said Eleanor, remembering the joy on his face when she had. “He looked over the moon about that.”

“Oh Merlin, I didn’t, did I?” moaned Lily from somewhere in her bed. “I’ll never get rid of him now!”

Eleanor chuckled; as tired as she was she didn’t want to go to sleep just yet. It had been such a good day, and she really liked her new friends…

“…maybe subconsciously you don’t want him to give up,” Alice was saying. Lily threw a pillow at her.

“Then my subconscious can go to hell,” said Lily, flatly. “Let’s face it ladies, Frank excepted the pickings are thin.”

“What about Sirius?” Eleanor asked with a wicked grin. “They say that there’s a fine line between love and hate, after all…”

The effect this simple question had on the room mates was greatly entertaining: Lily developed a look of utmost revulsion face and sputtered at her incoherently for a few seconds while Alice shrieked with laughter.

“Oh, that’s priceless!”

“I’d rather have sex with a bubotuber!” she said, firmly. “Anyway, from the looks of things he’s set his sights on you Eleanor.”

Eleanor shrugged.

“He’s pretty good looking, and he has the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen,” she said, thinking of another pair of eyes entirely. “But he’s a bit too full of himself. I really don’t think so.”

“See, I knew I liked you,” Lily grinned.

“What did you think of the others?” asked Alice, curious.

“What, in terms of how cute they are?”

“Yeah,” said Lily. “You already know what we think, it’s your turn.”

“Oh, well, I guess James is fairly handsome… but there’s the same problem with Sirius.”

“You mean he thinks the sun shines out of his arse? Yeah, a bit of a problem, that.”

Alice snorted.

“And Peter’s not bad – seems quite sweet too.”

“He is,” agreed Alice, “I think he’s after one of the girls in choir though, so he’s probably off limits.”

“You seem to have got the pick of the crop, Alice,” said Lily fondly, and her friend blushed.

“Remus is cute,” said Eleanor, thoughtfully, remembering the shy way he’d smiled at her that morning.

“Remus is dreamy,” said Alice firmly. “And the best part is that he doesn’t know it. If I wasn’t with Frank… well,” she grinned.

Eleanor laughed.

“I’ll tell him you said that,” she giggled.

“Oh, you mustn’t!” cried Alice, still laughing. “It’s bad enough he knows that Lily fancies him –”

“That was a long time ago, Alice,” said Lily, with a wry smile.

“What happened?” asked Eleanor, as a hot, twisty sort of sensation settled in her stomach.

“Well, he’s always been a bit shy around girls – except us, but still – so I decided that I wasn’t going to get anywhere without taking matters into my own hands…”

“This was last year,” put in Alice, helpfully.

“… and I was a bit sick of him asking me out on Potter’s behalf, so I… asked him instead.”

“Yeah,” said Alice, “by snogging him in the middle of the Library.”

Eleanor laughed, her hand over her mouth.

“What did he do?” she asked.

“He kissed me back, at first…” Lily smiled. “But then he backed off, saying that he couldn’t… he couldn’t do it to James you see. It would be like betraying him, even though I assured him that Potter and I would never be together.” Her smile was a little sadder now. “Which was fair, I suppose, since I’d never do it to Alice… I still have a bit of a crush on him though… even now.”

“I’m still astonished that you didn’t smack him,” said Alice, thoughtfully. “Technically he led you on for about a minute.”

“I imagine he was probably in shock…” said Eleanor quietly.

“I suppose,” said Alice, and yawned. “Well, good night you two.”

“Goodnight.”

“Night…”

So, she thought. Definitely off-limits… He wouldn’t do it to James, Lily wouldn’t do it to Alice… and I won’t do it to her, she thought firmly, and turned over.

He was off limits, and that was that. No use sitting up and thinking about it.

She glared at her pillow for a few minutes.

Really Ellie? What’s the use? she thought to herself, angry that she could be so caught on someone barely a day after they had met.

It’s all a matter of will power, girl.

Angrily, she tried to force him from her mind…

It was some time before she drifted into sleep, still unable to shake the image of those grey eyes looking fondly back at her.


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