Yule Ball

Yule Ball

6th year Rose Weasley sat in the Great Hall, nervously inspecting her fingernails. Sarita Patil-Finnegan was sitting next to her, twirling her hair and talking a mile a minute. The din in the Great Hall was muffled by Rose’s thoughts. She stopped inspecting her fingernails, instead turning her attention to her hair where she began running her fingers through her curls, removing loose hair. Rose had the telltale Weasley hair though it was big and bushy like her mother’s.

“Earth to Rose,” Sarita said, waving her hand in front of Rose’s face.

Rose snapped out of her trance. “Sorry. What were you saying?”

“I said, what do you think the announcement will be about,” Sarita asked, exasperated.

“You know I can’t tell you,” Rose said, grabbing a custard tart. Even though Sarita was her best friend, Rose was a Ravenclaw prefect. She couldn’t indulge important information.

Sarita reached for a chocolate éclair. “I heard the term was going to be cancelled.” She stuffed the éclair in her mouth, chewing thoughtfully.

Rose shook her head. “There’s always rumors that school is going to be let out early.”

Sarita shrugged. “It could happen.”

“Well I heard from Alexandre Zabini that we’re hosting the Triwizard Tournament,” Scorpius Malfoy chimed in.

Rose felt her cheeks turning red as she tried to keep her face neutral. That prat! Can’t keep his big mouth shut!

Sarita pointed her fork at Scorpius. “I bet two knuts that he’s lying. Why are you talking to Slytherins anyway?”

Scorpius sighed. “I can’t help it if they still won’t accept that I’m a Ravenclaw. Besides they’re not that bad anymore.” Scorpius was the son of Draco Malfoy. He had caught a lot of flack at first from both the Ravenclaws and Slytherins, but he was a good guy. He couldn’t help who his father was.

“Yeah right,” Sarita scoffed.

“Don’t start it you two.” Rose hated being in the middle of them when they fought. “The house hatred is supposed to be behind us Sarita. People didn’t sacrifice themselves so that we could still bicker at each other.”

Sarita blushed. “Sorry Scorpius. You know I get all riled up sometimes.”

“It’s okay,” Scorpius said, patting Sarita’s back.

From the corner of her eye, Rose saw Professor McGonagall walk to the podium at the front of the Great Hall.

Professor McGonagall cleared her throat and the room fell silent instantly. “Thank you. I know you have all been curious about the announcement. Rumors have been flying with very little truth. Term is not cancelled.”

A collective groan went through the room.

“The truth is much more exciting. This year,” McGonagall paused for dramatic effect, “Hogwarts will be hosting the Triwizard Tournament.”

Rose covered her ears, anticipating an excited roar. Instead, an unsteady murmur swept through the students. Many of the students had parents or family members who had fought in the Battle of Hogwarts. The wound, although healing, was still fresh in the minds of many.

McGonagall held up her hand for silence. “I understand that there may be some concern. However, severe precautions have been made to ensure everyone’s safety. Please do not be discouraged from participating, though you must be 17 to compete in the tournament.”

Rose and Sarita looked at each other, shaking their heads. Even if they were of age, they had no interest in joining the tournament.

Professor McGonagall continued. “This year we will be joined by Mahoutokoro from Japan, Uagadou School of Magic from Africa, and Ilvermorny from the United States. They will be attending classes here this year as they participate in the tournament. I also want to remind you that there will also be the Yule Ball and only 4th years and older may attend. You are dismissed.”

Rose groaned. She would be expected to attend because she was a prefect and she was not looking forward to it. Last year, she had broken up with her longtime boyfriend Ty Jordan and she hadn’t dated anyone else. Although Rose didn’t have hard feelings about the break-up, she didn’t want to see him at the ball with someone else. It was hard enough seeing him at her uncle’s shop when he went to work with his dad.

“Don’t be upset Rose, it’ll be fun.” Sarita was smiling from ear to ear.

“That’s easy for you to say. You already have someone to go with,” Scorpius said. Rose gave Scorpius an appreciative glance.

Sarita had been dating Margaret Chang since 4th year. “You could always go with Scorpius,” Sarita said to Rose, trying not to laugh.

“I have a girlfriend remember,” Scorpius said, pointing his finger at Sarita.

Sarita rolled her eyes. “Yeah yeah. I’ll believe it when I see it.”

His face turned red. “It’s true, I’ll go get her right now. And you owe me two knuts.” Scorpius walked off while Sarita laughed.

“Let’s save him the embarrassment and leave, yeah?”

“Okay.” Rose stood, turned, and ran into another body.

“Sorry, sorry,” a male voice said.

Rose looked up to apologize and her blood ran cold. It Michael Thomas, the guy she had had a crush on when she first arrived at Hogwarts.

She had seen him first at the sorting ceremony. When Michael was called, he and Rose made eye contact, causing her to have butterflies in her stomach. She had never seen a boy that cute before and she hoped that he would be sorted with her. He ended up being sorted into Gryffindor while she became a Ravenclaw. That was her first disappointment. Her second one came when she was walking back to her common room after the sorting ceremony and something hard ran into her, causing her to lose her balance. She fell, skinning her knee and Michael laughed and told her not to be so clumsy.

Rose shook the memory away and stepped forward to say something when Sarita marched in front of her with her arms crossed.

“What are you doing Michael?” Sarita asked. Her eyes were narrowed and she looked positively scary.

Michael rubbed the back of his neck. “Uh, nothing. I came to talk to Rose.”

Sarita raised her eyebrow. “Is that right? If you’re going to be a jerk, I’m going to tell Aunt Padma-”

“Don’t say anything to my mum all right,” Michael scoffed. “I’ll be nice.”

Sarita turned to Rose. “I’ll be in the common room, okay? Just Stupefy him if he does anything dumb.”

“All right.” Rose watched Sarita walk off then turned back to Michael.

“So. What do you want?” Rose crossed her arms, trying to act tough like Sarita. Even if he was a prat, he was a cute prat and just being near him caused her brain to go all fuzzy. He was tall with dark skin and full lips, like Rose. Girls were always fighting over him.

“Well,” Michael began. He shifted his weight from foot to foot and he couldn’t make eye contact with Rose. “This may sound weird because I know I can be a jerk sometimes, but-“

“Michael!”

Rose turned her head towards the Gryffindor table and saw Michael’s on again off again girlfriend, Bianca Wood, waving at them. She started walking towards them and Rose sensed Michael stiffening next to her.

Bianca stopped in front of Michael, blocking Rose. She started rubbing his arm and Rose rolled her eyes.  “Hey babe, everyone’s waiting.”

Bianca grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the entrance. “Let’s go.”

Michael shrugged at Rose and said, “I’ll talk to you later.”

Rose watched them walk away then shook her head. “Well, that was weird,” she said out loud. She looked around and noticed that everybody else had already left. She sighed and left the Great Hall.

         ____________________________________________________

The next few weeks passed in a blur of activity and excitement. The new students arrived and settled into the routine at Hogwarts and new friendships were forged. Names were pulled for the Tournament, Hogwarts champion was a Slytherin 7th year girl, and everybody had coupled up for the Yule Ball, except Rose. Rose said she didn’t have an interest in going to the ball, however, her heart became heavier every passing day that she was not asked. She had given up hope that she would have a date and resigned herself to going alone.

Five weeks before the Yule Ball, Rose decided to go to the library to study. Sarita was busy practicing with the Ravenclaw Quidditch team and Scorpius could usually be found wrapped around his girlfriend, a Hufflepuff named Mary Longbottom. The only solace Rose had from hearing about the Yule Ball was in the library, where she lost herself in her studies.

Rose was sitting in a back corner, away from the few students who were also studying, reading her copy of Hogwarts: A History when someone sat down next to her. She lowered her book to look at whoever it was when she came face to face with a boy she had never seen before. He had dark hair and eyes and he smiled brightly at Rose.

“That is a huge book. What’s it called?” The boy had an American accent.

Rose coughed softly. “It’s Hogwarts: A History. It’s about the founding of our school and interesting facts about the grounds.”

“That’s cool.” The boy held out his hand to Rose. “My name is Samuel Hyong, what’s your name?”

“Uh, Rose. Rose Weasley.” She closed her book and shook Samuel’s hand awkwardly.

“Weasley huh? I remember hearing that name somewhere. Did any of your family fight in the Battle of Hogwarts?”

“Yeah. My mom, dad, all of my uncles, my aunt, my grandparents-” Rose stopped. “I have a large family.”

Samuel nodded his head. “I have a large family too.”

Rose looked at Samuel and felt her nerves dissipate slightly. He had an easy-going air about him and he reminded her of her Uncle George. Rose opened her book again and he could feel him staring at her though she pretended not to notice as she read.

“So,” Samuel began. “Are you going with anyone to the ball?”

Rose felt her throat become dry and she shook her head vigorously. She must be the only loser in the school who didn’t have a date and now this new boy she just met would find out that she was undateable.

“Would you like to go? With me that is?” Samuel asked. He looked into her eyes with a smirk, not losing contact.

Rose looked at him for what seemed like ages and felt her face warming up. She wasn’t sure what was going on, but it would be more fun not going alone. “Yeah, I’d like that.”

Samuel looked at Rose with the biggest smile and she couldn’t help but smile back. How did he not already have a date with that smile?

“Cool,” Samuel said. The pair sat in mutual silence and after a moment Samuel spoke again. “I’m not used to the schedule here so when is lunch? I’m starving.”

Rose’s stomach growled loudly and they both laughed. “Lunch starts now, come on.” Rose and Samuel stood up and he grabbed her hand making Rose smile even bigger. She wondered when the last time she smiled this much was. When they arrived at the Great Hall, Rose saw Michael frowning out of the corner of her eye, but she ignored him and continued to her seat quickly saying goodbye to Samuel.

              _______________________________________________

Rose and Samuel became inseparable and they found that they had many classes together. Samuel told her he already knew that, that he had been mesmerized by her for a while now. Before Rose knew it, it was time for the ball. She felt happy though the realization that Samuel would return to America after this year weighed on her mind.

The day of the ball, Rose stood in front of her mirror admiring her dress. It was long and dark blue with a sweetheart neckline, her bright hair pulled over to the side. Sarita looked just as amazing in a red sari that complimented her freckled skin.

“We are two hot ladies,” Sarita said, striking poses in her mirror. “Our dates will worship at our feet.”

Rose laughed and turned towards Sarita. “Should we head down now? I’m getting antsy.”

Sarita shrugged as someone knocked on the door.

“Sweetheart,” Margaret said through the door. “Are you ready?”

Sarita hurried to the door and threw it open. “I am so ready.”

The three girls made their way down to the common room entrance where Scorpius, Mary, and Samuel were waiting. The group was talking amicably when Samuel turned around and stared at Rose.

“You look amazing,” he said.

Rose grinned and looked at him appreciatively. He was wearing a black suit with a tie that matched her dress. “You look great too.”

They stood there for what seemed like hours before Scorpius broke them from their trance.

“I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m ready to dance.”

Samuel grabbed Rose’s hand and they headed for the Great Hall which had been transformed into a twinkling wonderland. The ceiling was splashed with stars and the room was dark and intimate. Rose saw many of her classmates and waved as they made their way inside. The group danced to their favorite songs without stopping and Rose was pleased that she had attended the ball despite her reservations.

A slow song came on and Rose’s joy knew no bounds. For a moment she could pretend that Samuel would never leave and that he would stay at Hogwarts with her. After two slow dances, someone tapped her shoulder. Rose turned around and was surprised to see Michael standing there.

“I’m sorry to interrupt, but can I have this dance?” Michael asked.

Rose looked at Samuel and he shrugged. She turned back to Michael. “Sure.”

Michael pulled Rose closer to him and placed his hands on her waist. She placed her hands on his shoulders and admired their broadness. She shook her head and cursed her traitorous mind.

Rose cleared her throat and tried not to look at him. “Where’s Bianca? I don’t think I’ve seen her.”

“I’m sure she’s here,” Michael said without taking his eyes off of Rose. “We kind of broke up.”

Rose looked up then, her hearting leaping in her chest. “Oh, I didn’t know. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. It was a long time coming.”

Rose nodded and looked away.

“I actually wanted to talk to you,” Michael continued. “I wanted to tell you that I was going to ask you to the ball.”

Rose frowned and looked at him again. “When?”

“That day, in the Great Hall. I finally got up the nerve and I was going to ask you then tell Bianca it was over, but she caught me before I could. I know I’ve been a jerk to you and I’m sorry. There’s no excuses for my behavior and you deserve better.” Michael stopped dancing as the song ended. “I just really wanted you to know that.”

Michael bowed slightly and walked away through the surging crowd. Rose stood there stunned, wondering what was going on. Is this a dream? She turned to look for Samuel and saw him wave to her from their group table. Rose walked over to her friends and sat down, pushing Michael from her mind.

            ________________________________________________

Saying goodbye to Samuel at the end of term was one of the hardest things Rose had ever done. She didn’t think she could ever cry that much yet tears kept coming. Over the summer they sent owls back and forth, but that soon slowed down to a trickle. Occasionally, she would look at their photo from the ball and watch the two of them dance for a while. She put that away when the last letter came.

Sarita and Scorpius tried their best to come over as much as possible, helping her through her heartbreak by cursing Samuel’s name and watching romantic films with her. The few times she stayed with Sarita, Michael also happened to be there and she did her best to avoid him. Sometimes Rose caught Sarita whispering furiously with Michael in some dark corner and they’d break apart and look guilty when she got too close. Rose hoped that what Michael said at the ball was true though she wasn’t ready to move on just yet.

Soon summer was over and she was back at Hogwarts for her last year. She watched the first years be sorted and wondered what sort of adventures they would have. As she watched her cousin Lily walk to her new place at the Gryffindor table, she noticed Michael looking at her. He waved and smiled shyly. Rose felt the familiar tug at her heart and waved back. Maybe this year won’t be so bad after all.

 --

Tayci is a Ravenclaw that teaches GATE in California. She discovered her love for Harry Potter at the age of 10 and she shares that love with her three sons. Tayci can be found on Wattpad and Twitter @taycibear.

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