“Gryffindor versus Slytherin. Who’ll win?!” Seth stood on one of the benches in the hallways, shouting as if he was a paperboy in the streets. “Ten galleons on Gryffindor! Anyone care to contribute?!”
Callie and I watched his “performance” as he was trying to squeeze money out of people.
“He’s going to have to pay all of that back if he loses.” Callie said as a line of students formed in front of Seth. “Who do you think’ll win?”
“Well, Gryffindor won the last time but then again... Slytherin might cheat to have their way.”
“True.” She shrugged. “You know what? I’m gonna get in line. Ten galleons in Slytherin’s victory. Let’s see how cocky he is when he has to pay that back.”
My eyes followed her as she walked to the line and with a small sigh, I stepped back, leaning against the arch that separated the hallway to the courtyard.
Then the twins showed up in either side of me, crawling in from the courtyard to sit in the ached windows.
“Hi Julie.” They said in unison. I mumbled a quiet ‘hi’ back, eyes concentrated and focused on the crowd of people.
“Freddie told me you were back together.” George’s voice sounded to the left of me. I slowly turned my head to look at me before I turned it the other way and looked at Fred.
“Hi.” I breathed as I now fully noticed him. He laughed softly, his eyes leaving mine to look at the crowd.
“What’s going on here?”
“Oh—” I muttered, going back to watching them as well. “Seth is making bets on who will win today’s game. He thinks Gryffindor.”
“Does that mean Callie thinks Slytherin?” George asked and I nodded slightly. “How insulting!”
“How about you, babe?” Fred asked. I felt his fingers brush against the skin of my neck, gently caressing it.
“I’m rooting for you.” I said. “Cause I’m not playing.”
“What are you hinting at?” Fred asked, biting back a chuckle.
“... that we wouldn’t be able to lose if you were playing?” George asked, causing me to look at him with a cocky smile, my tongue pressing to the back of my front teeth.
“Ow.” Fred took his turn to talk and once again I turned my head so I could look at him. “You are wounding us, Pegas.”
I rolled my eyes and patted his knees. “I’m sure you can handle it. You’re both big boys, right?”
Fred grinned while George snickered loudly. “Don’t bring me into whatever sexual games you’ve got going on.”
Fred discreetly wrapped his pinky around mine by my side before leaning closer while looking around. “You’ll be there to watch us win, right?”
“Of course.” I smiled. “Wouldn’t miss it.”
He hummed and winked at me before his pinky left mine and he and George disappeared out into the courtyard again. I looked after them for a moment, grinning. Then my eyes connected with Melba’s from across the hallway and I straightened up while my grin dropped.
She shook her head at me and I silently cursed under my breath before she turned around and walked back towards the Hufflepuff basement.
I decided to follow her so I could give her an explanation. Her steps were fast but I followed her. When we reached the common room, she went directly to the sofas and threw her bag next to where Nick and Nate sat.
“So what?” Melba turned towards me. “We know you and Fred fucked but now you’re what— back with him? What was that in the hallway?!”
“What was what in the hallway?”
“Don’t play dumb.” She scoffed. “Are you back together?”
“The guy who cheated on you?” She laughed. “You’re back with him? So... everything is completely forgiven? He just sat and basically cuddled her in the hallway on Tuesday!”
“They’re not together.” I shrugged. “He told me that.”
“And you believe that?!” She laughed again. “Of course he’d say that.”
"Yes, I do believe him.” I told her. “I also believe how sorry he is that it happened. How regretful he is—”
“Oh he’s regretful?!” Her voice raised even more and at this point, Nate and Nick watched us. “If he was regretful he wouldn’t have cuddled her in the hallway only four days ago!”
“That was nothing!” I groaned. “He explained it to me yesterday. They’re just friends now. Just like Seth and I are just friends when we cuddle. Just like you and I are just friends.”
Melba placed her hands on her hips, shaking her head at me. “He’s gonna hurt you again.”
“And if he do, it’s over for good.” I shrugged. “But right now we’re taking it one day at a time. He knows I don’t fully trust him right now, knows he has to earn that and be patient.”
“What kind of relationship is that?!” She yelled. “You shouldn’t be with someone you obviously can’t trust! You don’t get back with your ex. You never do because it never ends well!”
“Well being broken up obviously didn’t work!” I yelled back. “You heard what Nick said. I was never gonna stop loving him!”
“Yeah—” Nick spoke and sat up straight. “But I never said get back with the guy who cheated on you and made you feel worthless.”
“He didn’t make me feel worthless.” I sighed. “I made myself feel worthless because I compared myself to her.”
“And that was his fault!” Melba yelled. “You wouldn’t have made yourself feel like that if he hadn’t cheated!”
I knew this was going to be difficult. That’s why I was so terrified of telling my friends, especially Melba and Seth.
“I love him.” I told her. “And yes, he cheated which I have neither forgotten or forgiven. We’ll work to get back to where we were before it happened but I also know that Fred made me really happy and he’s the reason I’m who I am. Before him I didn’t live my life and you know that. I was a closed book, no fun.”
“Oh c’mon.” She laughed, shaking her head. “You were perfect then, just like you’re perfect now.”
Nate stood up, placing himself next to Melba with his eyes focused on me as well.
“You may have been quiet but you were the same person behind closed door. He did help you be more outgoing though and that was nice. Just be careful you don’t get hurt again, alright? We all saw how broken you were when you saw them together back in May.”
“You’re actually condoning this?” Melba looked at him and he shrugged.
“It’s her decision.” He said. “And if he makes her happy, that’s all I want.
Then he came towards me and opened his arms, meeting me in a hug.
“This is unbelievable.” Melba said in an I-give-up tone. “Wait ’till Seth hears. He’ll think the same as I.”