Playing With Fire

Chapter 5

Disclaimer: I don't own anything except the original characters you see!

December 25, 1989

Dearest Tilly,

You're beautiful.

From the top of your head to the bottom of your feet, you exude grace and loveliness.

I wish I could be there with you this Christmas, our first Christmas and I blame my parents for scheduling this trip to Paris for the holidays. Then again, who would've known this summer that by this time of year I would be the luckiest guy in the entire world?

I do consider myself entirely too lucky to have you agree to be my girlfriend and I am honored to call myself your boyfriend.

I hope my present and this letter will make up for me not being there. You are spectacular.

Yours,

Benson Robertson

Tilly blushed, looking down at the butterfly shaped necklace that rested in her hand. She had only gotten him a wrist watch!

She wondered if they were far enough along in their relationship to be giving each other gifts. She hadn't really known him until this year when they met in her N.E.W.T.s level Arithmancy class. Benson was handsome though, jet black hair and brown eyes, a little dimple in his left cheek when he grinned that cute little crooked smile of his. He was smart, a fellow Ravenclaw she just never really noticed only because she spent more time in Gryffindor and Hufflepuff than her own house, kind, and he made a good boyfriend, her first boyfriend` and her first kiss.

But something was missing.

"Charlie. Charlie, wait!"

Tilly looked up as Charlie came storming into the Great Hall, Tonks trying to push him back. Tilly quickly hid the note and the necklace. It wasn't that she didn't want Charlie to know about Benson . . . she just hadn't gotten around to telling him yet.

Tonks gave up on trying to hold Charlie and rushed to the table. "Tilly I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to let him know, it just sort of slipped out, I –"

"Tonks!" Tilly hissed, shocked. Tonks had been the only one who knew about her and Benson's relationship but only because she had seen them holding hands in the library.

"I'm sorry! I didn't mean to –"

"Who is that from?"

Tilly and Tonks looked up as Charlie sat down across from them. He didn't look angry but the girls knew better. Charlie was a pro at the fake smiles; had been since their first year.

Tilly looked down at her bag and saw the necklace hanging over the edge.

Well, the cat was already out of the bag, almost quite literally. Tilly pulled the necklace from the bag, holding it tightly. "It's, eh – a present from my boyfriend."

"Boyfriend! Huh, didn't even know you had one."

Tilly and Tonks exchanged glances and Tilly charged on. "Yes I do."

"How long has this been going on?"

"Just – just since the end of October."

"Wow, October! So that's almost two months then yeah?"

Oh. Oh! This wasn't about her having a boyfriend! This was about her keeping it a secret. . . . So why did she feel sort of let down? "Yes."

"So who is the bloke?" Charlie asked, leaning back. Before Tilly could answer, however, he continued, "He must be awful."

Tilly stopped. Besides her, Tonks groaned. "What is that supposed to mean?"

"I'm just saying," Charlie responded, chuckling. "You've kept him this big ol' secret for two months. Either he's just completely and totally awful or he doesn't exist."

Tonks let her head drop, hitting the table.

Tilly absolutely adored Charlie. He was her best friend, had been for the last five and a half years now but sometimes, like now, he could say some pretty nasty things. They weren't always about her, no; a lot of the times it was directed towards his brothers, especially the twins, who, admittedly, could be the most annoying little ten-year-olds who had ever met and they always laughed it off. She had always figured that maybe it just came from being a sibling and being used that sort of thing.

But this – this was unforgivable.

"How dare you?" she started off, her voice just above a whisper. "How dare you? Charlie Weasley, you are – are such a jerk! I can't believe you would say something like that! For your information, I am dating Benson Robertson, a completely nicer guy than you'll ever be! He treats me as if I am something worth while, unlike you! You – you – Secousse! Je ne peux pas vous reposer! Jen e veux plus vous parler a nouveau! Vous – crapaud laid!"

Tilly wasn't sure how many people in the Great Hall at that moment could understand French or how many were actually paying attention to her and Charlie's argument but at that moment she didn't care, didn't care that Charlie looked incredibly shocked. She grabbed her things from the bench getting up, ready to storm off. "And this time, I did call you an ugly toad!"

Flicking her hair over her shoulder she left the Great Hall in a dignified manner, but no one could mistake the anger on her face.

Tilly managed to avoid Charlie. Tonks helped but after a while it did get tiring, making sure she wasn't in the Great Hall when he was so mostly she stayed in her House.

She couldn't tell what she was most hurt by: Charlie's blatant disrespect for her feelings or that he was right. Benson, while a good guy to her face and behind close doors, didn't pay her much mind in front of the rest of the school. They didn't go on dates, didn't participate in PDA like other couples. She didn't really understand until one of her dorm mates brought up her a gift she had gotten: a necklace from her boyfriend, Benson.

He was the jerk, a rotten, awful jerk.

And now she had lost her best friend because of him. Needless to say, she had already sent a letter to Benson, most of it in block letters and French but the point was there; she was so done with him.

Now she sat with her arms around her knees in one of the many passageways of her school, trapped underneath an enchanted mistletoe Flitwick must have forgotten. It didn't make sense! It was New Years Eve and here she was, stuck, because she was avoiding her friends.

She started crying. Her life really sucked at the moment.

"Tils." She looked up, not surprised to find Charlie standing over her. He smiled softly before sliding down the wall to sit next to her. He placed his arm around her shoulders and she leaned in to him.

Tilly already knew that her whole drama had circulated the castle. Nothing ever stayed secret in Hogwarts. She wiped her eyes on the back of her sweater, pulling the ends over her hands. "Please don't say I told you so."

"Of course not," Charlie murmured. "I'd rather say I'm sorry."

"It's okay."

The two of them sat there for a while in silence, all forgiven. This was the longest they had gone not talking to each other and Tonks could attest to the fact that they were both miserable.

"You know, it's hard to get angry when you curse me out in French," Charlie told her suddenly. "I never know what you're saying, for one, and then, like I told you before, it's very distracting."

Tilly blushed, a light smile on her face. "You're not an ugly toad. You know that right?"

"So you've told me." Charlie grinned, getting to his feet and offering his hands to her. "Come on. I'm hungry and I'm sure you are too."

She smiled back, wiping her eyes on the back of her sleeves again and taking his hands. He lifted her up, letting go of one hand and leading her to the Great Hall. . . .

Only to be stopped.

"What is this?" Charlie asked, pressing both hands against the invisible barrier.

"Oh," Tilly flushed again, coming to stand next to him. "I – I forgot. I was sitting here because I was trapped. Under that," she clarified, pointing up at the mistletoe.

Charlie shrugged, leaning forward to press a kiss against her cheek. "That should do it," he said, turning back to where the barrier was, not noticing the blush deepen on Tilly's face.

But when he tried to move forward, he found that they were still stuck.

Tilly felt rather than saw him turn in her direction because she suddenly found a speck of dirt on her trainers very interesting. Charlie stepped over to her, placing his hands on her shoulders. She could hear the smile in his voice as he said, "Might as well get it over with."

This was horrifying, Tilly thought, and embarrassing. Not that she didn't want to kiss Charlie it was just . . . he was her best friend. Best friends didn't –

Charlie placed a finger underneath her chin, lifting her face up so that they were seeing eye to eye. Charlie smiled softly at her but it dropped quickly. Tilly couldn't remember when she'd had seen her goofy friend this serious. His hand spread out on her cheek as he leaned forward, pressing his lips against hers.

Now this . . . this was a kiss.

Benson's kisses had been sloppy and rushed and horrible and she never would have realized it if she hadn't kissed Charlie Weasley.

She lifted her hand, placing it against his on her cheek while his other hand moved from her shoulder to the back of her neck, his fingers dancing through her hair. His lips were so soft against hers and he moved slowly, taking his time as if he were trying to memorize every contour of her lips. Butterflies swarmed her stomach and tingles ran up and down her body. She was sure they hadn't needed to kiss this long to remove the barrier.

But, Merlin, she didn't mind.

They broke away though, both their eyes opened part way. Tilly started first, letting go of Charlie's hand. Charlie started as well, backing up half a step. His ears were red like they always were when he was embarrassed.

"I – I'm not very hungry," Tilly muttered. She stepped out of the circular barrier.

"Right," Charlie replied, shoving his hands into his jeans.

They stared at each other a second longer before Charlie turned quickly in the direction of the Great Hall while Tilly hurried off in the direction of her dorm.

Oh . . . wow.

The next day, on her way to the Great Hall for breakfast, Tilly wasn't sure how she was feeling.

Part of her was incredibly ecstatic to have kissed Charlie Weasley. He was incredibly handsome, funny, smart, charming. . . .

And her best friend!

Merlin what was she thinking?

She couldn't think about her best friend like this!

She entered into the Great Hall, not surprised to find Charlie and Tonks sitting at the Gryffindor table. Her two best friends looked up as she approached, both of them grinning. Tilly grinned back.

Apparently, this is how it would be. They would pretend as if nothing happened. That was fine. It probably shouldn't have happened.

"Merlin am I glad you two have stopped fighting," Tonks said happily. "It was miserable with you two apart for so long!"

"Yea well, you know, best friends and all that, right Newt?" Charlie asked, smiling.

"Of course," Tilly replied, reaching for the jam at the exact same time as Charlie.

Their hands touched and Charlie blushed, his ears red as he pushed the jam in Tilly's direction. Their eyes met and Charlie gave her a small smile.

Well maybe not nothing.

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