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The Girls
Night In
Thu Dec 11, 2014 05:00
86.128.129.142


Rebecca Barnes was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a B. She didn't have a fully stocked drinks cabinet, or the finest aged steaks. What she did have was a night stand drawer full of snacks, and a travel cauldron and ladle set. With it, one was able to heat and scoop their favourite drink, soup, or minor potion, depending on which bag of mix one chose. At least that's what the box it came in said. She had gone for drinks this order even though the weather outdoors was encouraging soup. It was usually enough for just her and Ellie, but now it she wasn't sure if it was enough for her guests or even if would be the right kind. From what she knew, they were more the beer and whiskey sort. She had considered getting some, but felt rather embarrassed at putting in such an order. What would people think? Worse, there was a chance of someone seeing it and interpreting it as an invitation, turning her small affair into an unruly mess. She poured in another generous spoon full of strawberry blush pink powder, a little more water, hung it from its tripod over the room's central fire.

"That should work," she said. "Do we have enough chocolate covered pretzels? And marshmallows? And the popcorn?"

She wanted this to go well. It was rather like meeting the parents. Though in this case she already knew them, but the context was different. Orion Hardy and Grace Schuler were Randy's school family, a matter he took seriously so she took pains to make sure everything was close to perfect. Ellie glanced from the mound of snacks that were laid out to Becca and smiled.

"I think so," she laughed.

There was a loud, melodic knock at the door and Ellie jumped up from her spot on the floor to answer it.

"Hi!" she smiled brightly as the door pulled back to reveal Orion, looking tired and a bit grumpy but otherwise pleased to be there.

"Hey. Present," she gave Ellie and Becca an exhausted grin and held up a packet of marshmallows. "Not that you need it," she added after eyeing the pile of snacks Becca had laid out. She dragged herself over to a bed and immediately made herself at home by settling into a pile of cushions.

Grace's Dad had made a point to teach them the basics of politeness which included bringing food when you visited. Years ago, she had done it by cooking the Hardy family breakfast. They were a mostly coffee and toast people - hardly anyone had touched her animal pancakes. So she was under the impression that she had done something wrong. In Aelcrest, she had greater access to the kitchens, owing to her detentions, and she used her influence to arrive with a platter. So it was a bit disappointing to see that there was already sweets and crunchy things in the room.

"I think I messed up. I'll just go and --"

"No you won't. Get in here." Becca pulled the Reym girl in, taking the platter from her and setting it by the cauldron. Grace pulled away a little. "Oh, yes touching. I'm sorry, I forgot. Here, have a seat." She gestured to the bean bags which passed for chairs in the girls dorms. Grace perched on one, carefully. Becca opened the platter to face a variety of potato skins, chicken wings, and nacho fixings. "Oh, how colourful. We'll be a bit of a banquet, won't we?" Becca said, well aware that Randy took food -especially breakfast- quite seriously.

The moment Grace came in the feeling in the room changed. It had been peaceful for just a few moments there, much calmer than the rest of the school anyway. Ellie was delightfully fuzzy and warm and Becca felt safe and motherly but Grace...well she was always on the edge of something. It made her leg twitch.

Becca looked to Ri. "I'm sorry, is it too late for you? We could reschedule."

Grace glanced in Ri's direction at the asking, and double checked that she had most of her thoughts and feelings on lock down, though she still hadn't quite figured out the loudness factor yet.

"No!" she smiled, sitting up in case she found herself dozing. "I just haven't been getting enough sleep lately." The two Weir girls stared back at her suspiciously. "Quidditch," she exclaimed, pulling her hood lower.

"Is Bradley working you too hard?" Ellie piped up, shuffling closer and holding out a mug of coffee sympathetically.

"Understatement of the year," Ri muttered. She inhaled the scent of burnt coffee with too much milk and managed a smile.

"I know it's none of my business," Becca started cautiously. "But are you sure you wouldn't be better off one of the other teams..." Ri's eyes begun to widen. "The Firestorms are good. Or what about the new one?" Her fingers snapped together as she tried to think of the name. "The Cannons!"

"You have got to be kidding!" Ri said, barely concealing a growl. As if she would be caught dead flying with Fiddle again, even if he didn’t curse those brooms. Or Cindy Hutton. Or any of those other bullies he tried to pass off as players.

"What's wrong with the Cannons?" Ellie asked.

"It's just something to consider," Becca continued, cutting Ellie short. The last thing they needed was a rant. "Bradley just seems to a little too intense with his team mates lately."

"There's nothing to consider. I'm a Thestral," Ri said firmly. "Brad'll calm down he just needs...needs..." The word rolled over her tongue like it knew what to say but nothing came out.

"...Needs?" Becca pressed.

"He needs to get laid!” Grace finished for them, rolling her eyes.

“Grace!” Becca gasped.

“What?” Ri suddenly asked, having missed every word Grace had said under the rustle of a packet of marshmallows. Ellie dove onto the bed and put her hands over Ri’s ears to prevent her hearing anything else.

“Oh, like no one else was thinking it,” Grace shot back.

“Even if we were,” Becca hissed. “Don't you think Ri's a bit...young?” she nodded her head in the younger girl’s direction and gave Grace a pointed look.

“Bit young for what?” Ri asked, wrestling Ellie’s hands away. Grace started poking her way through the pile of pretzels in search of the one with the perfect chocolate to crunch ratio.

“She's not five,” she reasoned. “I reckon she knows what men like Bryant want.”

“A good kick in the face?” Ri said. ‘I bloody wish’ was what she thought.

“But, she's dated.” Ellie pointed out in a tone that suggested the young Reym girl was no longer in the room. Becca pulled a quizzical face. “What about Dagon Hounslow?”

“One date,” Grace shrugged.

“But what a date!” Ellie grinned. News of the Thestral boys being tied to the lamp post in their underpants had kept the school entertained for over a week.

“I am right here,” Ri frowned.

“Yes, what about Dragon?” Becca asked, turning her inquisitive stare on Ri who hated that look. It always came just before she tried to make her answer questions. “I wouldn't have thought you two had much in common, then all of a sudden you two are tying Thestrals to lamp posts? Not that I'm complaining mind…” she trailed off as her lips turned into a secretive smile. “Max Bradbury is definitely making good use of those Spelling sweets.”

Ellie giggled in agreement and even Grace had to tilt her head from side to side in approval. Ri suddenly felt the need for a long hot bath and a metal scourer, as far away from the three girls and their thoughts of her best friend as possible.

“He plays Quidditch,” she said. When given the choice she’d rather talk about Dagon than Max’s body.

“Yes he does,” Becca breathed.

“She means Houndstooth,” Grace said, digging her elbow into Becca’s side.

“Oh!” Becca exclaimed, turning a little pink. “Him too.”

“And...?” Ellie pressed.

“What more in common do you need?” Ri shrugged.

“That's not what I meant.”

“I wouldn't have thought you two would do much together outside of Quidditch. Do you even like the same drinks?” Becca asked, leaning forward and refilling her mug.

“Better question. How'd he get you to turn on your favourite horsey boys?” There was a glint in Grace’s eyes as she said that, like she was dying to know herself. The two Weir girls made a collective ooh noise of intrigue.

“Well, Mina has been filtering quite a lot of her confections through the Traders of late…” Becca confided in a conspiratorial whisper.

“And she does have a sweet spot for Max...if you know what I mean. Maybe Ri ate some accidentally?” Ellie added, trying to increase the intrigue of the gossip.

“Can you not see me or something?” Ri huffed as, once again, the three girls seemed to forget she was even there. They each turned their stares on her and she wished she hadn’t said anything. “Look, he asked I said yes. What's the big deal?”

“Didn't think you liked 'em brainy,” Grace said.

“You have a certain…reputation,” Becca told her gently. Ri looked confused, she wasn’t aware she had a reputation when it came to dates but luckily Ellie was on hand to give her examples.

“There was that time Fiddle asked you out and you kicked him in the...you know,” she made a gesture and Becca winced.

“Or at all, 'apparently,” Grace grinned and glanced at Becca who didn’t look amused.

“Or when…which Lou was is? I seem to remember you punched him in the face...”

“That was hilarious!” Grace laughed. “Went down like a boneless scarecrow.”

“Are you done?” Ri scowled.

“Oh no,” Ellie smiled. “I have loads more.”

“It's just a bit odd is all,” Becca steered the conversation away from dangerous waters once more in the motherly way that she did. “And after all the oddities we've all dealt with in the past few years, we like to keep an eye out for each other.”

“And we want to know what happened,” Ellie added, much more honestly.

“If I tell you will you stop asking?”

“Yes!” the Weir girls said in unison.

“No. They won't,” Grace said, through a mouthful of potato skin. “Pretty sure it's a Weir thing; keep asking questions til you brains fall out yer ears.” Then she had to duck as Becca smacked her with a pillow. Ri sighed.

“Nothing happened, with Dagon I mean. Captain Brainless and Sergeant Blabbermouth saw to that by telling him I spoke French and liked stars and other stupid things. So we tied them to a lamp post.” Ellie was still looking at her expectantly. “The end,” she finished firmly.

Becca sighed. “Boys!”

“Right?” Grace agreed.

“So, that’s it?” Ellie sighed, disappointed. “Nothing is happening between you and Dagon?”

“Nothing,” Ri repeated.

“See. She came to her senses and now hound dog is up or grabs again,” Grace said, looking pointedly at Becca. The Weir girl avoided her gaze.

“He's not my type,” she said dismissively.

“Alive. Quidditcher,” Grace counted off his virtues on her fingers. “You can find out if they all look like Bradbury under the whole smarty look,” she finished, a gleeful look on her face.

“If you’re so interested, why don't you?” Becca retorted, blushing furiously.

“Not into sports. Can only listen to a guy talk about his broomstick for so long,” Grace shrugged.

“Broomsticks?” Ri looked up hopefully. She’d been distracted by the marshmallows again, only tuning in when something that sounded interesting came up. Ellie batted her head with a pillow.

“Always on the brain with you ain't they?” Grace sighed.

“They're not on yours?” Ri asked, genuinely confused. She spent the majority of her time in the sphere of Quidditch players, where the sport was literally the first and last thought of the day as well as all the thoughts in between.

“Why would they be?” Grace asked, her eyes narrowed. “They're floaty sticks.”

“They're a little more than that,” Becca prodded, noticing the hurt look on the younger Reym girl’s face.

“Tell me you're not gonna lecture me about the history of the noble broom!” Grace asked, her eyes rolling. “I haven't recovered from Thom's history of the noble wand.”

“It couldn’t be as bad as Scott Macall's lecture on the life cycle of Gilly weed,” Ellie pointed out, a similarly strained look on her face. The turning cogs of Grace’s mind could practically be seen on her face.

“I don't remember that one,” she admitted finally.

“That's because you didn't go,” Ri said.

“That'd explain it,” Grace shrugged, looking relieved.

“Neither did you,” Ellie pointed out.

“I know,” Ri shrugged in a similar way. “That's how I know she wasn't there.” Ellie rolled her eyes and shook her head, meeting eyes with Becca.

“Reym girls!” she muttered.

“Look, it's not our fault that things are way more interesting outside of class,” Grace protested. “We have important business, like figuring out how tie up Quidditcher…”

“One time!” Ri muttered from the corner.

“It was a pretty good one time,” Grace laughed.

“Can we...change the subject a bit?” Becca asked, the redness coming back to her cheeks for the third time that evening.

“You brought it up,” Grace pointed out.

“And now I'd like to change it.”

“Aw,” Ellie sighed. “But it was just getting good!”

“Why are you so red?” Grace asked. Reym girls being as subtle as a sack of bricks.

“To anything besides that,” Becca pleaded.

“Yeah, why are you so red?” Ri chimed in.

“Cakes!” Becca blurted out loudly. “I forgot to bring out the cakes. Ellie, dear can you just check the other drawer and see if we have any left?” Grace recoiled at the high pitch of her voice and Ellie made absolutely no attempt to move.

“You sure you should be eatin' cakes?” Grace asked, eyebrow raised. “Your face and voice are going all weird. You allergic to something?”

“Well if you're going to start in on these sorts of things,” Becca flustered. “What about you and…” she glanced over at Ri and suddenly stopped talking.

“Me and what?” Grace pressed.

“You and...ehmmm…” Becca gestured towards the young Reym girl again. Grace looked over and then back to her again, completely missing the point.

“Me and the lamp?”

“She's talking about Leo,” Ri sighed and rolled her eyes.

“Oh,” Grace said. “What about him?”

“Well I don’t know,” Ri shrugged. Becca looked between the two Reym girls, disbelief etched into her face.

“Really?!” she burst out. “He attacks Georgia Derby in front of half the school, and neither of you have anything to say about it?!”

Grace and Ri looked at each other and shrugged. No, no they really didn’t have anything to say about it.

“Derby attacked Grace first,” Ri offered eventually.

“And I nearly got in a few hits,” Grace added, trying to placate Becca. “Before Troy decided to play Prince Rescue…”

There was an unexpectedly loud, dreamy sigh from Ellie that interrupted her though. “Troy…” she muttered wistfully. Her body slumped as though she had melted into the carpet.

“But I thought you and Leo...” Becca continued, determined to get her answers.

“Randy wants us to get along,” Grace interjected, employing the same tactic that all Reym students used when faced with questions. Short answers with no real information.

“That was more than getting along. That was...” Becca looked to Ellie for assistance, who promptly tried to solidify and be helpful.

“Cuddly,” she offered brightly. Grace almost choked on a potato skin.

“Cuddly?!”

“Sorry...” Ellie muttered. “I don't know what else to call it!”

“That was more like hot,” Becca finished her own sentence. “I have never heard of a guy who was just friendly with a girl going that berserk over a girl fight!” Grace ignored this and instead looked disappointed.

“I didn't get to fight,” she muttered.

“...That's not exactly my point,” Becca said. She was starting to think she would rather face a 24 hour long Divination exam, at NEWT level, with only one arm and no caffeine than try and get a straight answer from a Reym girl. “Can I be honest?” she asked, exasperated.

“Pretty sure I can't stop you,” Grace shrugged.

“Are you and he...” There was a long pause where she tried to find the right word to use, but Grace had never been very patient.

“Are we what? Fishes?” Becca looked over at Ri, who looked decidedly uninterested.

“...together?”

It was Grace’s turn to look in the same direction but she had no idea exactly what Becca found so interesting about that corner of the room and ended up stari

    • Re: Night In - The Girls, Thu Dec 11 05:02
      It was Grace’s turn to look in the same direction but she had no idea exactly what Becca found so interesting about that corner of the room and ended up staring blankly at the wall behind Ri’s head.... more
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