I was still muttering to myself by the time I reached the dungeons. I could not quite believe what I had just done. I had just seduced Draco Malfoy. I had just aroused my professor. The blush would not leave my face. It was only when I noticed somebody standing near the common room entrance that I forced myself to shut up.
"Rafe," I said. "You didn't have to wait up for me."
He shrugged, but it was hard to make him out in the darkness. "I've been worried about you, Sid. After everything that happened with your parents, and then you disappeared. You were supposed to stay with me over the holiday, remember? Then, I never got an owl from you, and I thought something bad may have happened. I'm not prepared to lose you. I care about you way too much. I don't like the way Malfoy looks at you, either. He's supposed to be a professor. It's so unprofessional. I know he was supposed to accompany back for the visitation, but what has taken so long to return?"
I shook my head and approached the wall that led to the common room. "Bloody Baron," I said.
Rafe followed me as the wall melted away, and we were surrounded by silver and green. "I sent you an owl. Something must have happened to it. I apologize for not being able to make it to your house for Christmas, but some things came up back in America that I had to deal with, and I wasn't very well allowed to stay there unsupervised."
I began to head up to my dormitory, but he took my hand in his. "Sid, I'm sorry for kissing you like that."
"It's okay . . ."I trailed off, feeling awkward.
"Can we talk about it a minute?" he let go of my hand and sat down on the couch. I scratched my head but went to sit next to him anyway.
"You know how I feel about you," he began.
"Don't do this, Rafe," I had to stop him.
"I don't understand," he furrowed his brow in confusion.
"You're brilliant, really. However, I'm sort of in a mess right now. It wouldn't be fair of me to drag you into it. I just lost my parents. I can't handle anything romantic right now. I'm so sorry. You remember what I told you a while back? Lily likes you. She would be much better for you, you know," I tired to worm my way out of it as gently as I could. I did not want to hurt anyone.
The more I thought about what I just said, the more I realized how true it might be. The two most important people in my life had just been killed, and here I was shoving my tongue down by DADA professor's throat every chance I got. They had a word for girls like that back in America. One that I dare not think about here. I should be putting all of my focus into my schoolwork right now. I would need top marks if I wanted to be ready for training as soon as I graduated. I would need to do everything I can to prepare for the man who killed my parents. I could not get distracted. And Draco Malfoy was a big distraction.
He nodded, but looked positively crestfallen, and my heart broke a little. Before I could stop myself, I reached out to cup his face and I brought his lips to mine in a sweet kiss, closing my eyes for a brief moment before pulling away.
"I care about you a lot," I whispered. "But you deserve so much better."
Then, I walked away, marveling at what I had just done, and what I was about to do. That kiss had almost been too perfect. What kind of harlot did I think I was, going around snogging everyone in sight this evening? This was not the kind of reputation I wanted for myself.
After dragging myself up the stairs, and closing the door behind me, I walked to the last bed in my dormitory, not looking to see if any of the other girls were in their beds, and I collapsed onto it, falling fast asleep.
It was the last day of Christmas break. Tomorrow, classes would start up again. I had no idea where my trunk had gotten off to. I recall Draco mentioning it was supposed to be flooed to his manor, but we left there before it had the chance to arrive. Therefore, I presumed all of my belongings to be sitting in front of an empty fireplace, probably being rummaged through by the invader.
I had slept late into the afternoon, not realizing how tired I must have been. It was nice to change into some fresh, clean clothes. The girls had all been gone from their beds when I awoke, so I sat in front of the mirror, and played around with my appearance some more. At last, I left everything as it was, not wanting to face questions from any fellow students. It was between lunch and dinner in the Great Hall, but I was starving. left the dungeons in search of some food, hoping to avoid anyone I might know.
The Great Hall was empty, and I couldn't very well sit down alone at the Slytherin table and will food to appear in front of me. Instead, I set out in search for the kitchens. My sense of direction was horrible, as I discovered at Malfoy Manor, but perhaps I could ask somebody for directions.
A familiar head of red hair was heading up a staircase just to my right, and I hollered after her. What could it hurt? "Lily! Oi, stranger!"
She turned around, appearing confused. Then, she spotted me, and her jaw dropped in surprise. What was I, a ghost? "Sid!" she screamed, rushing over to me, knocking a 2nd year boy down the stairs on her way. She had to stop, help him up, and pat him on the head in a condescending manner, before meeting me at the foot of the stairs. I could not help but laughing. She was so spastic.
"I haven't seen you all holiday! I've been worried sick. How have you been?" she asked.
I was hit with the painful memory of that incident in the hospital wing after I had found out about my parents' death, and I lashed out at everyone for no apparent reason.
"Oh, you know. I've been better. I'll be fine though. Actually, I'm ravenous. Can you tell me where the kitchens are?" I asked, keeping it polite.
Lily nodded. "Sure thing. There's a giant picture of a pear near the basement. Just tickle it, and you'll get right in. I have some great news though! You'll never guess what happened this morning!"
I was not in the mood to gossip, but in order to avoid hurting her feelings, I shrugged. "What?"
"Rafe asked me to go to the next Hogsmeade trip with him! Can you believe it?" she squealed.
Something cold filled my chest. I did not like this feeling. Although it had been me to advice Rafe do just this last night, it still came as a shock to me. I was selfish, and I cared about Rafe a lot. I had always been bad at sharing. However, I knew that was not fair of me, and I did my best to look happy for Lily. She deserved him more than I did.
"That's . . . that's fantastic news, Lily. I'm so happy for you both," I smiled at her.
She looked suspicious but seemed to blow it off. "Also, did you hear? Mitchie and that girl she was friends with are dating now! She's bisexual, who knew?"
"Wow, that's so great. As long as she's happy, right?" I said, and began to head off in the direction of the basement. "It was good catching up, Lily. I'll see you at dinner?"
Lily nodded. "I'll save you a seat."
I found the massage pear portrait without much difficulty. I felt stupid reaching up to tickle it, and even more so when it giggled. Then, it swung open, and I was met with a glorious smell.
At once, I was surrounded by half a dozen house elves. "Miss! We elvsies will help you, Miss! What would the red-headed miss like to eat?"
I grinned at the adorable male-elf that had spoken up. "Whatever's easy," I said. He took me by the hand and led me over to where something was cooking by the stove.
"Miss, they calls me Peeta. In the potses and pans, there is much food! Look!" Peeta, the little elf, lifted the lid off a couple pans, and it all smelled delicious.
I nodded my head. "Okay, I'll have whatever's in there."
Peeta snapped his long fingers, and a plate began to soar our way. He began ladling mashed potatoes and roast beef onto my plate, before holding up a gravy boat. "Would miss like some gravy?"
"Yes, please!" My mouth was watering as Peeta covered the plate in gravy. He led me over to a little stool near the fireplace and stared at me as I sat down and began to eat.
"Peeta wants to ask what miss's name is," he said, wringing his hands together.
I swallowed a painfully large amount of roast beef before answering him. "I'm Sid. Sid Greyson."
The house elf's eyes lit up. "Miss Sid! Peeta will be happy to help Miss Sid out if she ever needs anything!" he shouted at me. I almost fell out of my chair.
"Thanks, Peeta! I'll let you know if I ever get hungry," I smiled before continuing to stuff my face. As I ate, he asked me many questions about what year I was in, what house. He was intrigued by America, and wanted to know what it was like to fly in an airplane.
Once I was full, I felt much better. I stood up, and Peeta snatched by empty plate away. "Peeta will clean Miss Sid's plate with utmost joy! It was so nice to make a new friend with a human. Come back soon!"
Then, Peeta scurried off, and I left the kitchen in laughter. Stomach full, I decided to go on a walk. It was winter, and I'd left my coat upstairs, but I was pretty adept at conjuring those portable flames. I made my way back up to the main floor and slipped outside, unnoticed by anyone.
Pulling out my wand, I muttered a few well chosen words. There was no specific incantation. The blue flames appeared in my left palm, warming me immediately, but never burning my skin. I trudged through the snow , wind biting at my skin.I figured it might not feel so cold if I was shielded from the wind, so I headed for the courtyard and sat on a bench there.
"Mind if I join you?" a deep, familiar voice asked from behind me. I didn't jump or flinch. I had expected that he would find me sometime today. I did not know what to say to him, however.
"Suit yourself," I scooted over to make room for him.
"I've been looking for you all day," Draco said.
"How come?" I asked.
"I want to have dinner tonight," he looked around, but we were quite alone. "Can you meet me in my office at ten? I know it's late, but I don't want to risk anyone seeing us." The back of his hand brushed my cheek, and my defenses began to crumble.
"I have class tomorrow . . ." I tried.
"I won't keep you too late," he murmured in my ear. "It will be fun. Just the two of us. We'll have a picnic on the floor, surrounded by candles. I'll have the house elves whip up something special."
I was hit with the image of Draco and I rolling around on a picnic blanket in the candle light, and I could not help myself. "Okay."
He glanced around once more before kissing the corner of my mouth and standing up, leaving me wanting more. I was never satisfied when it came to him. It was never enough. It would be hard to put all my focus in my schoolwork.
"I'll see you then. And why don't you get inside. Your lips are turning blue," he suggested, walking away.
To be perfectly British, I felt like rubbish.