Chapter 36: Pang
Erela tapped her pencil at a quiet rhythm during a lecture in Transfigurations while her eyes were down on her textbook. She appeared to be reading when she was really looking at the same sentence over and over again without processing any of the information. How could she be thinking of Transfigurations when there was a Dark Arts cult in the school throwing Unforgivable curses whenever they felt like it? Didn't the headmistress sense any danger? Didn't any of the strong professors sense anything even with that cloaking spell covering their whereabouts in a physical level? There was no way that spell could even cover their energy. Unless that was the point of having to kill that owl . . .
Oh god, how would she even pay any attention to school when danger was afoot . . .!?
The lanky girl felt eyes on her and rigidly looked up for whoever she felt was staring at her. Her eyes carefully looked up around the classroom and looked over at Landon and Stacee's usual shared desk where she saw Landon's honey brown eyes on her. Erela immediately looked away out the window and pretended as if her original plan was to look out the window instead of accidentally make eye contact.
What was he staring at her for? There honestly shouldn't be a reason, in her mind she thought. Erela looked away from the window and set her eyes on the professor to try and pay attention again. Erela's cheeks glowed bright pink and swore she felt herself nervously sweat. She shook her head, screaming at herself that it was over between them and that she shouldn't have to keep the romantic emotion that boiled in her being. They were done. No more fluff . . .
The Transfiguration professor dismissed the fellow Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors with a request to practice the incantation they had just learned. While Erela started packing her things, she peeked up toward Landon and Stacee's table. Stacee had wandered off to Laila who was seated with her friend in the back of the class while Landon slipped his book and notebook into his bag and made way to Erela's direction. Erela quickly and clumsily shoved her things into her book bag and slipped away out before Landon could reach her.
She didn't want to hear what he had to say . . . too much was already on her mind . . .
Erela maneuvered about around the sea of students down to corridor of the castle and to the Grand Staircase. She had jumped to a flight that just broke apart from her floor, making Landon miss her. That gave her a head start to lose him. Erela made way down the stairs to the main floor and ran out to the courtyard and through the bridge. She needed air and a quiet place to think.
The lanky Hufflepuff girl stumbled down the hill toward the Black Lake. Her usual quiet place was the library where she felt like she was in her element. Her spot at the rocks of the lake was her other spot where she needed air and possibly a good cry is and when stress was at the brink of breaking her. Landon was aware she loved the library, he didn't know about the lake.
When she made it to her spot, she bent over and placed her hands on her knees for support as she gasped for air. God, she really needed to work out. Erela dropped her book bag and hugged herself for warmth when a gust of late autumn wind blew as it sent goosebumps up and down her body. Should have worn her robes . . .
Erela brushed her fingers against the arm of her long sleeved sweater, underneath she felt the stiffness of the bandage that was wrapped around her gashes just like around her back in long streaks. It was healing . .. very slowly. At least those wounds were healing progressively . . .
She pressed her fingers against her chest, wishing so badly to take her heart out and free herself from—
Erela turned around automatically when she heard her name. Dammit, she forgot about his keen sense of smell. He could easily pick up her scene out of a crowd and hunt her down like a hound.
"I thought you said you didn't want me around you . . ." she said bitterly.
Landon rolled his eyes at her. "You just look like you could really use someone to talk to." Erela blinked at him and Landon just shrugged. "Dog thing . . . you know?" he started off as a reminder. "Can easily read an emotion from certain people right off the bat . . . you also look pretty out of it . . ."
"I'm fine . . . really . . ." Erela lied and pursed her lips.
"You sure?" He sat down next to her and slung his bag to the ground.
"Yeah . . . I think so . . ." the girl sighed and puffed her bangs away from her eye. "How are you?" She started to change the attention away from her.
"Alive." He smiled and looked out to the lake. "You?"
"Still breathing . . ." she shrugged. Just barely, at least . . ., Erela thought to herself. "I'm assuming Stacee and Laila are a thing now?"
"Yeah, they officially started dating a week or two ago."
"Guessing that's distracting him from his little witch hunt . . ." she commented.
"I left him alone about it . . ." Landon mumbled and ran a hand through his hair.
The girl pursed her lips and thought quietly to herself. "Laila blabbed that you've been pretty down lately. That's not very like you . . ." she started and looked toward the boy next to her.
"Yeah . . . I guess," he sighed and shouldered his bag. The atmosphere to leave lingered in the air.
"And thanks for kind of coming to the rescue that time," Erela mumbled. "I didn't get the chance to say it before."
"I wouldn't have . . . Especially after what I said."
Right . . . if he hadn't injured her, then the argument between her and Michael wouldn't have happened. Erela let out a sigh and messed with her braid. "The fault was on me . . . I was too close to you that time."
Landon stood up and turned to walk away, "I'll see you around."
A hard pang in the chest, right on cue. Erela nodded to him before she looked away toward the lake. "Yeah, see you . . ." she muttered. She pursed her lips as she heard his hesitant steps away from her and back to the castle. The girl kept it together a lot longer, so he wouldn't smell the tears that threatened to spill. She couldn't tell him what she saw. Not after the freak out he had when Stacee went out searching for the cult and not when Landon had ended his relationship with Erela for her safety. Erela had to keep it to herself.
The Hufflepuff girl let out a shaky sigh that tasted salty to her. Landon actually came to check up on her. She wasn't entirely sure if that was endearing or not. Erela wasn't entirely sure, really. To be honest, she wasn't sure how to react at all in those situations, it was just too unfamiliar for her and it made Erela feel incredibly uncomfortable . . .
She let out a sigh and kept her eyes on the water as it increasingly became darker. Erela shivered and hugged her knees close to her. It was cold . . .