I scooped scrambled eggs into my mouth as Ernie sat across from me and stared at my breasts with a look of disgust. "Wha'?" I asked, food spraying from my mouth.
"Why do you have to bring that thing down to meals, you know how dirty I think they are." He said.
I gasped and picked Minnie, my black and white mouse who was poking her nose out of my shirt pocket, and covering her little ears I cried: "How can you say such a thing about my baby?"
Our daily routine of bickering carried on for a good five minutes until Professor Sprout came along with our time table. My eyes scanned and I gave a small triumphant "yes!"
"What is it?" asked Ernie.
"Oh, erm... I'm just glad we've got Herbology first, it's my favourite lesson!" which was only a half truth. The whole truth is that we had it with Gryffindor, which meant that a certain Neville Longbottom would be in my class!
I've liked Neville since first year, but I've always admired him from afar, as for some reason when I'm near him, it feels as if someone used the langlock curse on me. But this year I'm determined to talk to him, to befriend him, and maybe even tell him how I feel.
I saw Neville leave the Gryffindor table, I stood up and followed him out - Ernie just rolled his eyes and followed me, still talking rapidly to me. Today I was determined to befriend Neville, or at least talk to him. My luck was in as when I entered the greenhouse I saw a space next to him. Summoning up all my courage I walked over to him. Why was I shaking though? I shouldn't be nervous; I talk to guys all the time, so why is talking to Neville different? Well because he is different, he's kind, amazing with plants and he's right in front of me! How did I get here so fast? Quick say something!
"Erm... hi." I managed to say.
Neville turned, with a pleasantly shocked look on his face, and gave me a half smile, "Oh, erm, h-hi Elizabeth," he sweetly stuttered back to me.
"Is anyone sitting there?" I asked indicating to the stool next to him.
He said that no one was, so I sat there. An awkward silence surrounded us as neither of us knew what to say.
I opened my mouth to say something, but Professor Sprout came in, ruining my chance.
I sat there for the whole week, none of us talking much, apart from to ask to pass some fertilizer or another plant pot. And to be honest I was fed up with it. I want to be able to talk freely to him, without being nervous, instead of just wondering what he's thinking. I ended up spending the whole of dinner trying to think of conversation starters, jokes, and how life might be like if I could talk to him. I was pulled out of my thoughts by Ernie who flumped onto the seat next to me. "Okay Liz, who is it?" he asked
"Who's who?" I asked innocently.
"You know who" stated Ernie "The guy who's had you in dream land all week - assuming he is a guy..."
I blushed a red which could easily challenge the Gryffindor flag. "Okay, I admit, I do like someone, but I can't tell you here, people will listen!"
Ernie sighed "Fine, but you better tell me!"
"Of course I will Ern! I pinkie promise!"
Satisfied with my reply, Ernie went on to talk about how ridiculously hard transfiguration was getting and how he wished that he had dropped it like I had. Then my attention was diverted again, by Neville walking across the hall, and then Malfoy followed him alone. Knowing that it wasn't a good sign, I made my excuses, and left too. Ernie sighed and turned to talk to Hannah Abbott.
I left the Great Hall, just to see them disappear around a corner, their footsteps getting fainter, but when he thought they were alone Malfoy cried; "Oi, Longbottom, you still here? I didn't think you were smart enough to pick up a wand. I guess Hogwarts' standards are lowering."
My speed increased and I turned the corner, and before I knew what was happening my mouth said: "Like you can do any better Malfoy, all you do is talk big; I bet you couldn't do a simple levitation charm!"
For a moment there was silence, but then Malfoy rounded on me, "Butt out of this, Clarke! This has nothing to do with you!"
"It may have nothing to do with me, but I can still throw my opinion into it!""What worth is an opinion if it values something so pathetic?"A smirk crossed my lips; "Malfoy, I was standing up for Neville not you, though if you want a worthless opinion, ask one of your cronies. I'm sure they'll be able to keep you happy."
Malfoy's face gained a light pink tint, as he stormed off.
"Erm, thanks for that Elizabeth." Said Neville shyly.
Realising it was just me and him, my cheeks began to darken. "Oh, erm, it's fine. Can't have people like him thinking they rule the roost. I, er, better go back to Ernie, so, I guess I'll see you in Herbology."
"Yeah, I'll see you in Herbology." We stood there in an awkward silence for a couple of moments. "So, yeah, erm I guess I will be going." Said Neville, and we turned and walked in opposite directions.
After a couple of steps my feet turned me around and my mouth said; "Hey Neville, would you like to take a walk around the grounds with me."
"Oh, I can't, I have a potions essay due tomorrow, sorry."
"Oh, no, don't worry. I probably have to do something too!" I said in an overly cheery voice, hoping that it would cover up my disappointment, "I'll see you in Herbology then!"
I then walked briskly down to the common room, stormed into the boy's dormitory and hid under Ernie's duvet.
Justin Flinch-Fletchley stretched as he walked into the dorm. He was about to collapse on his bed when he noticed s lump in Ernie's bed. With a knowing yet worried smile he sat next to it. "Hey Liz, are you okay?" He asked gently.I shook my head, not caring if he saw or not.
"Is there anything I can do to help?"I shook my head again. He sighed, realising that he wasn't getting anywhere he finally asked, "Would you like me to get Ernie?"
I shook my head and mumbled, "He's doing his prefect duties at the moment, but when he comes back would you mind telling him I'm in here please?"
"Of course I will. Now I think you should have a nap, you're looking quite tired." He said, smiling softly at me, "and if you need anything, I'll be in the common room."
I nodded and closed my eyes, and even though I wasn't able to sleep, I did fit in a good sulk.
"Justin told me you'd be in here, what's up now?" Ernie questions while sitting next to me on his bed.
I played with the corner of his duvet. "I just want to know if he likes me too."
"Well even I can't tell you that unless you tell me who he is."
"It's Neville." Ernie stared at me for a few seconds and then burst out laughing, "Hey, you can't laugh at me, you jerk!" I said, throwing his pillow at him.
"Hang on, you're being serious."
"Yes I'm being serious!" I exclaimed and buried my head into the pillow that Ernie threw back at me. "And I have no idea what to do! Every time I try to talk to him I get nervous."
"Well I'm sorry, Liz, but you're going to have to learn that lesson yourself."
"Ernie! Why do you have to choose now to go all wise on me?" I whined, Ernie just ignored me and began to look through his transfiguration book.
It was now mid November, and I was walking up to charms, whilst comparing homework with Hannah, when I realised I had picked up Ernie's transfiguration book by mistake. I ran back to the Great Hall, hoping Ernie would still be there.
He wasn't there, so I turned to look elsewhere for him. "Wait, Elizabeth!" I turned to see Neville half walking, half running towards me "Can we talk?" he asked.
"Sure." I said.
"Well, I wanted to say thank you for standing up for me against Malfoy at the beginning of the year. Even I wouldn't stand up for me." He said looking down at his feet.
"It was nothing, seriously. Malfoy needed to be put in his place, and what he was saying was a load of bull, you're an amazing wizard!"
I realised what I said and blushed, and an awkward silence surrounded us, which was broken by Neville; "Anyway, I was wondering if yo—"
"Hey, Nev! Stop talking to your girlfriend and get a move on, you don't want to be late to Slughorn's lesson." Seamus Finnigan hollered as he walks past us and towards the dungeons.
Both Neville and I blushed furiously. "Well, er, I'd better go." Said Neville, indicating over my shoulder and towards the dungeons.
"Yeah, me too."
We make to pass each other, but both went the same way, and for about half a minute we were side stepping, until we stopped and I went left while he went right.
I flumped into my seat next to Hannah, 10 minutes late and just stared at the bored. Luckily we were just writing up about a charm we learnt last lesson, so my full attention wasn't needed. What was Neville going to say before Seamus interrupted? My mind speculated from things as simple as wondering if I could lend him a book, to as ridiculous as wondering if yodelling would be a good career choice. "Hello, Liz, are you listening to me?" asked Hannah. I apologised, she shook her head "I said: did you know that the Slug Club are having a Christmas Party? You can only go if you're a member or you're a date. I hope Marcus Belby, you know, the Ravenclaw in the year above us, I hope he asks me." She said as she goes off into a little daze. "Do you want anyone to ask you?" she asked.
Although it wasn't a complete surprise, the question still caught me off guard. "Erm, well, you see..." I fumbled, trying to think of an answer, as I didn't want to tell her that I liked Neville, because I knew it'd be around the Hufflepuff common room before I could blink. "Well, parties aren't my forte, I'd rather just enjoy Christmas quietly."
I thought that that was an acceptable answer, though Hannah's face said it wasn't. Luckily she didn't push the point further.
Was that what Neville was trying to ask me earlier?
For the next few days that was all that I could think of, and during every Herbology class I would subtly hint that I wanted to go, but I clearly was too subtle as weeks passed and he still hadn't shown any signs of asking me. But on the second Wednesday of December, it looked as if my luck had begun to change.