“I can’t believe I’m saying yes, but… yes! Let’s help Penny to get the votes she needs to show all of Hogwarts her brilliant dance-decorating talents.” Bill said while eating his sandwich.
I somehow managed to convince him to help Penny get elected to lead the decorating committee. Honestly, I thought it would be impossible to persuade him, given the fact that Emily Tyler will be there. Thankfully, he’s a kind soul and I’m glad he’s my friend.
“Thanks, Bill. I’ll meet you at the Library soon,” I replied before leaving the Great Hall.
And now for the hard part… Bill is all nice and friendly, but I cannot predict what strategy Emily will use to convince others to vote for her. That’s why I’ve come with a backup plan that will almost guarantee Penny’s victory.
The Courtyard was fairly quiet today. Aside from a couple of students hanging around near the fountain, there weren’t that many outside. I noticed Merula sitting in one corner, reading something. She was very deep in her thoughts. By the looks of it, whatever she was reading had her full attention. She didn’t even notice me when I sat beside her.
“What are you reading?” I smiled while asking her the question.
She almost jumped when she heard my voice. Apparently, she was so fascinated with whatever she was reading that she did not notice me until I started talking. She quickly closed the book and moved it out of my sight. I could see a slight embarrassment on her.
“None of your business, Edwards,” she coldly answered. “Why are you skulking around? Don’t you have some stupid election to attend with your merry bunch of friends?”
I gently patted her hair, while giving her an even bigger smile. “I do. In fact, that is the reason why I’m here. That and the fact that I miss you…”
“Edwards, I told you how many times that we can’t be seen together… not like this.” She replied, trying to make an angry face. But I could notice that underneath, she was still blushing. She didn’t even try to move my hand away.
“Seen by who exactly? The only ones here besides us are those two second-years playing Gobstones. And by the looks of it, they are too concentrated on their game to even notice us,” I said.
“Still, anyone could arrive at any moment. Imagine if any of the students saw me...” She started explaining.
“...the most powerful witch at Hogwarts snuggling with the ‘cursed mad Gryffindor,’” I interrupted her.
“That’s not what I was going to say! I hate you!” She crossed her arms and turned away from me.
She looked so cute at that moment, I instantly started laughing.
“I should definitely blast you with the Knockback Jinx more often! Perhaps that will remove the stupid smile from your face.” My laughter surely had an effect on her.
“And make me like you even more!” I tried saying it with a serious voice, but I just couldn’t stop smiling at her cuteness.
“Shut up! Besides, why are you really here? You said it has something to do with that ridiculous elections?” She asked, trying to change the topic.
“Yes, about that… I need your help...” I answered.
“Why would you need my help? Don’t you have plenty of friends who could help you with that?” She gazed at me with a curious look.
“I do, but none of them could do this better than you,” I started explaining. “The thing is, both Penny and Emily are trying to become the head of the decorating committee. Penny wants to win fair and square, but as for Emily… I am almost certain she won’t hesitate to use any means necessary to win the election.”
“And what does it have to do with me?” She asked.
“That’s where you step in. If you help me promote Penny’s campaign to other students, I am sure she’ll get enough votes to win. After all, Emily could try to use some dirty tricks, but no matter what she does, none of the students would be bold enough to vote for her, especially if the most powerful witch at Hogwarts kindly asks them to vote for Penny...”
She looked at me for a moment before she started grinning. “Perhaps the Sorting Hat was wrong about you, Edwards. You are way too cunning for a Gryffindor.”
“Does that mean you’ll help me?” I smiled cheekily at her.
“That means I like your idea. Now the question is, why would I help Penny win the election?” She asked.
“Well, because I asked you nicely...” I smiled again. “...And because I have a special surprise for you if you do.”
“What kind of surprise?” She looked at me curiously.
“Well, it wouldn’t be a surprise if I tell you now, would it?” I grinned.
“Ugh! Fine, I’ll help you!” She agreed to my proposition. “But if it turns out that you are messing with me, I’ll...”
“...hit me with a Knockback Jinx on every possible occasion.” I continued her sentence.
“Grrrr! I hate you!” She was making an angry face. I found it so cute every time I saw her like that.
“Just try not to be too aggressive when talking to students, we don’t want to… look out, Snape is coming!” I warned her.
“What, where?!” She turned her head to look at the door leading to the Courtyard. “I don’t see anyt...”
As she was turning back toward me, I used the opportunity to give her a big smooch on her right cheek.
“Love you! See you soon at the Library.” I said as I was getting up and leaving the Courtyard.
She stood there for a moment, speechless as if she was struck by the Full Body-Bind Curse. When I was about to leave the Courtyard, I turned my head to look at her one more time. She was smiling.
Madam Pince was still counting the votes from everyone. She wanted to make sure that everything is in order. Needless to say, she didn’t want help from any of the students. I noticed Penny standing there, all nervous, waiting for the outcome of the election. Apparently, this means a great deal to her. To be fair, I am quite sure she’ll win. I didn’t tell her anything about Merula’s involvement. I found it quite hilarious when I was observing her persuading other students to vote for Penny. She was actually talking to most of them in a fairly pleasant tone. Well, as pleasant as she can be, to be fair. But most of them were just nodding and making various scared faces.
“The votes have been counted and...” Madam Pince interrupted the awkward silence. “Miss Haywood wins. She will lead the Celestial Ball decorating committee.”
“THANK YOU, EVERYONE!” Penny shouted while smiling at all the students present in the library.
“SHHHH! This is still the library!” Madam Pince reminded her.
“Sorry! I just want everyone to know we’ll have a beautiful star-filled Celestial Ball!” Penny explained.
“Congratulations, Penny!” I smiled at her. I was really glad she won. To be honest, I have no doubts that she’ll make excellent decorations for the ball.
“How can this be? I thought all of my friends would vote.” Emily angrily stated. I could sense a lot of negative energy radiating from her.
“Perhaps all of your friends DID vote,” Barnaby replied. “How many friends do you have? One… Two...”
“Barnaby’s not out to insult you, Emily. He’s genuinely counting.” I said, trying so hard not to burst in laughter.
“Very well then. Now everyone get back to quietly studying, or leave the library at once.” Madam Pince ordered.
“I can’t thank you enough for believing in me.” Penny turned to me, still filled with happiness.
“Of course, Penny! I’m glad we could help.” I replied.
“I hope you’ll help me make the decorations, too! Meet me in the Charms Classroom!” She kindly said before leaving the library.
“Don’t think you’ll rope me into making decorations, Dylan. My work here is done.” Bill quickly stated before I could even think of asking for his help again.
“Thanks again, Bill. I know it must have been awkward to be around Emily,” I replied. “But your help meant quite a lot to Penny.”
“And it seems Penny means quite a lot to you…?” He asked with a friendly smile.
“Of course, Penny has been a good friend to me. She’s always helpful. I’m glad I could help her in return.” I answered honestly. Apparently, he isn’t aware that I’m crazy about Merula. In fact, I am fairly certain that none of my friends know about it. I personally wouldn’t mind them knowing, but she prefers to keep our relationship a secret. I guess she’s quite embarrassed to show that side of her to anyone else.
“It’s been fun hanging out with you, Dylan. I should get to class,” Bill said before leaving.
When he left there were only a few of us left in the library. I noticed Merula standing with Ismelda, talking about something. I winked and smiled at her while nobody was looking. Then I quickly made a heart symbol with my hands before leaving the library. She smiled back.