This girl was driving me up the wall. I had no idea how much more of this close proximity I could take. I was treading on dangerous territory, but there was no way to escape without leaving her defenseless. I knew that even if I had wanted to leave Sid in the protection of someone else, I would never be able to let her out of my sight. I would keep magical tabs on her. No, I'm not a stalker. I'm a concerned authority figure.
She and I had chosen a remote diner called The Wise Owl. We stepped in and approached the podium behind which a young man with slicked back hair and horrible posture sat.
"How many?" he asked us. I looked around. There was nobody behind Sid and I.
"Just the two of us . . ." I said, fighting to keep the acid from my tone. Sid bit her lip. The young man twitched.
"Of course. It'll be just a moment. We'll need to find an available table," he explained, pulling out his wand and heading toward a booth at the back of the diner.
Once more, I looked around. We were the only customers. How difficult might it be to find an available table? I did not have the patience for this.
He came back and stood in front of us with his hands folded, almost as if in prayer. "You're in luck. There's a table ready right now." He looked to my left, seeming to spot Sid for the first time, and his face lit up. I felt a growl bubbling up in my throat, but I suppressed the noise.
"Oh," he said, his attention now focused deliberately on Sid. "My name is Chuck, and I will be your server this evening. If you will, follow me."
Now, I couldn't be positive, but could have sworn that I saw him wink at her as he was turning. I wrapped my arm around Sid's shoulder, and she looked up at me with confusion on her face. She probably thought I was creepy. I was her professor, after all. I looked toward the waiter, then back to her, but she didn't seem to understand. I would explain when we were seated.
Once we had slid into the booth on opposite sides, Chuck began to speak again. "Would you like something to drink? A cuppa, pumpkin juice, butter beer perhaps for the lady?"
I looked at Sid. "Tea, please." I asked for the same, and Chuck strutted away.
"He's a rather odd bloke, isn't he?" Sid said in a low voice.
"I don't like him. The git's a wanker," I sulked. I realized I was being childish, but I couldn't help myself.
I sighed. "He has not taken his eyes off of you since we walked in." Looking over her shoulder, she spotted Chuck peering through the window on the kitchen door, and then ducking down, very red in the face.
Sid blushed as well. "It must be the new look. I'm not used to that."
"You don't see yourself clearly at all. You know that, right?" I asked her, rolling my eyes. This beautiful young girl sitting across the table from me right now always drew this sort of attention. She was only now becoming aware of it for the first time.
Sid cleared her throat. I made her nervous. "Excuse me." She began to slid out of the booth.
"Where are you going?" I said before she could stand up.
She knit her eyebrows together. "I need to visit the ladies' room."
"Oh . . . right," I felt my face heat up for some God forsaken reason. I watched her walk away. True, her current form was adorable. However, I missed her vivid orange hair and the way her biological limbs moved when she walked. I would not call her a graceful person, but something about her awkward uncertainty was very endearing to me.
I looked around The Wise Owl. It appeared as if I was its sole customer at the moment. Straining my ears, I could not even hear the usual sounds of scraping pots and pans from the kitchen area, no running water, nothing. It was curiously quiet.
Chuck walked through a pair of swinging doors. He had that dreadful grin on his face once more as he brought our drinks toward the table. I released my wand from where I had been holding it in the inside pocket of my robes. The silence had made me wary, but I realized I was just being paranoid. This bloke had a better chance getting with Sid than inflicting any harm on me.
He set down our cups of tea, then continued to stand there looking at me with that rubbish look on his face.
"Yes?" I asked, failing in an attempt to refrain from getting sharp with him.
Before I could so much as blink, Chuck had drew his wand, pointed it at my heart and muttered, "Imperio."
I washed my hands and checked my reflection in the mirror. How could I ever go back to being that gangly ginger girl who only turned heads when I was tripping over my own feet. I sighed, then opened the door and headed back for the table.
Before I exited the hallway in which the doors to the water closets were located, a brawny, tanned stranger walked around the corner. Then, I remembered that Mr. Malfoy was in disguise.
He looked excited about something as he neared me. "You, too?" I questioned, inquiring if his bladder was as little as mine.
Mr. Malfoy shook his head at me and continued in my direction until I was forced to back up into the wall. He braced his hands against the wall on either side of my head, and his body pressed closer to mine. His eyes kept darting back and forth, as if he could not decide what to focus on.
"Hey," he breathed against my face. His breath was warm and sweet. I was beginning to feel light-headed.
"Erm, what's up?" I said in a vague attempt to sound nonchalant. He saw through it.
"I think you know," he placed his lips against my hear for a second, and chills were sent down my spine. Oddly enough, they were not the good kind. I was beginning to get a bad feeling about this.
"Mr. Malfoy, are you sure?" I said as his lips began to trace my jawbone. The level of my discomfort increased as a low sound came up from the back of his throat, and his eyes were shut tight. What did he think he was doing?
There was no denying my stupendous attraction to the man nibbling at my face. However, he seemed not at all himself at the moment.
"Let it happen," he murmured, his breath ragged.
"I really don't think this is a good idea. That creepy waiter could come back any minute; we should get back to our seats," I was searching for any excuse to get out of this hallway with him. I could not understand what was happening. I had always felt so safe with Mr. Malfoy. He had never scared me like this before.
"Creepy?" he said, opening his eyes for the first time, which were still darting around. He seemed very distracted. There was some kind of internal struggle playing beneath his surface.
"That's what you . . ." I trailed off.
The color must have drained from my face. Chuck. My eyes widened and began to water in fear. He seemed to know what I had realized, and pinned both of my hands over my head in one of his larger, stronger hands. This was not going anywhere good.
"Your boyfriend's putting up a good fight," he sneered in my ear. "We should get this over quickly, so that we can go on our merry way."
It felt as if I was paralyzed. My wand was completely inaccessible from this position, and I had no idea how to fight. I used the only weapon I could: my words.
"Mr. Malfoy!" I shouted at him, looking straight into his eyes, willing them to focus on me. "Please, come back! You can beat this guy! I need you. I need your help! Don't let him do this! You're stronger than he is, I know you are!"
Chuck's defenses were failing before my eyes. His grip on my hands loosened enough for me to shove him away. He stumbled and fell on his back. Without thinking, I climbed on top of him, and pinned him down so that my face was hovering over his, my eyes locking his in place.
"Look at me, and come back, Mr. Malfoy!" I yelled louder. Chuck started to laugh. He was regaining the upper hand. I had to do something.
I looked down at his face, which I had been clamping between my hands so that he would focus on my eyes. "I'm sorry, Mr. Malfoy!"
Then, I slapped him with all my might. His body went rigid. I jumped off him, and held my wand out. It appeared as though he were having a seizure.
Mr. Malfoy was coming back. I had not told the waiter my name. It had worked. "Mr. Malfoy, I'm right here! I don't know what to do!"
With what looked like tremendous effort, he lifted one trembling hand and motioned me toward him. There was nothing to do but comply with this gesture.
"If you can hear me, tell me what to do, Mr. Malfoy? How do I help you?!" I cried.
He grabbed the back of my neck and brought my face closer to him, looking into my eyes right on for the first time, he said in all seriousness, "Kiss me."