“I love seeing everyone so happy!” Penny said, full of excitement and enthusiasm. She was cheerfully looking at everyone holding their presents.
To be fair, I was also excited. I mean, how could I not be after fighting a Yeti and openly telling everyone I was going to get a present for Merula. To make things worse, she even heard it from across the Hall. But I am fairly certain she didn’t believe I’d actually get something for her. Well, that’s where she was wrong.
I couldn’t help but gaze at her every time my friends weren’t looking. And then her mysterious purple eyes met mine.
“I should have left for the Christmas holidays just to get away from you,” she said.
Did she really mean it? Does she hate me that much? And then I noticed the unusual silence as everyone’s eyes were pointed at me. They noticed. How could they not… I was gazing at her every chance I had.
“Who should open their present first?” I quickly pulled myself together and asked them the question to break the awkward silence.
What the heck… I thought to myself as I got up and went to her. Now’s as good a time as any. And I am fairly sure they all know what’s on my mind. They are just too kind not to tease me about it.
My feet were shivering with every step that drew me closer to her table. My legs were shaking with excitement. Her head was down, but I am pretty certain she heard my footsteps, each one filled with fear and anxiety. Finally, she raised her head as I got close to her.
“How about you, Merula?” I said, trying to put a smile on my already terrified face.
“You seriously got me something?” She asked with a confused look. I couldn’t tell if she was curious if I am trying to trick her or just genuinely surprised that I actually got her a present.
“You’re such an idiot,” she said with a serious look as I sat down across her.
I did, however, notice the slight smile on her beautiful face. And I was close enough to notice the sweet smell of cloves radiating from her.
My hands were shaking as I was placing down the present box on the table. Hopefully, she didn’t notice it. I tried my best to maintain the smiling face, but it wasn’t easy.
“Just open your present, Merula,” I told her as I was shaking with excitement.
She slowly placed her gentle fingers on the box, as if she was trying to figure if it’s filled with some nasty prank from Zonko’s. Finally, she couldn’t hold herself from smiling anymore. It appears that she is convinced that my present is genuine.
But what if she doesn’t like it? What if Peeves was messing with me and tricked me into getting her something she hates? Judging by his personality, it is entirely possible. Thousand different thoughts went through my head, each one ending worse than the previous. Well, now is too late to take it back I guess.
“You got me a songbook?” she asked as she finally opened the box.
I tried to collect myself and answer to her while keeping the artificial smile glued to my face. “I know it’s sort of strange, but I-”
“How did you know I wanted a songbook?” she asked again, this time rather confused. Could it be that she actually likes it? Was Peeves telling the truth?
“I… didn’t really,” I said with a lot of anxiety, still trying to pull myself together. “Peeves told me. Do you like to sing?” I somehow managed to ask her that question.
“I…” she stopped mid-sentence, looking at my comically terrified smiling face, and then she continued, “Thank you, Edwards,” she said, this time with a huge smile decorating her gorgeous face. And it wasn’t her usual mischievous grin, this was a smile of true happiness.
“Happy Christmas,” she told me with a gentle voice. It wasn’t her serious voice, this was a gentle, sweet voice, filled with kindness and joy. She looked so beautiful. I wish she was always this way. At least, now I am positive that her heart isn’t made of stone. I am so glad I got her this present.
We slowly made our way to the rest of the group. Now that I think of it, all of them were staring at us as we were talking. It explains the awkward silence that was filling the Halls while she was opening the present. As we approached them, they resumed their cheerful laughter as if trying to hide the fact that they were observing us.
“Open yours, Dylan!” Rowan demanded, with a huge grin on his face. He was excited to see my reaction.
“All right…” I replied as I took the box into my hands. Truthfully, I’d be happy with anything. They were so good and supportive these past few years. I couldn’t wish for better friends.
I slowly opened the box, and inside it was a lovely picture of all of my friends. Even she was on it! I am pretty sure I made a quite funny surprised face, judging by Penny’s joyful chuckling.
“It’s a photo of all of my friends…” I said to them, still awed by this lovely present they gave me.
“We took it before everyone else left for the Christmas holidays,” Tonks replied, with a face full of satisfaction and joy, mixed in equal measures.
“The frame is made from an alder tree grown on my parent’s farm,” Rowan added, with a smile full of happiness and pride.
“Do you like it, Dylan?” Penny asked, cheerfully smiling at me.
How could I not like it? I thought to myself. “I love it. Thank you so much. All of you. I don’t know what to say…” I replied.
“You don’t have to say anything, Dylan. Happy Christmas,” Bill said, smiling excitedly.
What more could I wish for? I got a wonderful present, I was surrounded by my caring friends and I even got Merula to join us. She was standing there, nervously, occasionally glancing shyly in my direction. Could it be that she also feels something for me? Was all that though talk just an act? I couldn’t help but wonder.
Then again, I’ve made a small step towards her. Apparently, she is a person capable of caring and loving, I just need to get there. It is likely going to be a long road, filled with hardships and obstacles I’ll have to overcome. Granted, it might take some time, but eventually, she’ll realize how much I care about her. Unless the cursed vaults get me first… But no, I won’t let the problems and worries ruin my Christmas spirit. Now is the time to celebrate and enjoy the holidays with the ones I hold dear to my heart. Now is the time to be happy!