Harry & Cho
By: Karen Kinkaide
Chapter Twenty-Six: Melt me Down
He was paying for his purchases and was leaving the bookstore when he almost collided with her.
“Sorry,” he said, his fingers lingering longer than was normally appropriate behaviour for running in to someone you knew.
She didn’t seem bothered. Instead, she seemed almost willing to have his fingers stay on her upper arm. Cho Chang smiled warmly at Harry. “It’s all right, Harry.”
He smiled, and moved out of the way of the door, two wizards nodded to him and vacated. She watched this, and had to laugh. “Follows you everywhere,” she said.
“How have you been, Harry?” she asked. “I haven’t seen you since I ran in to in September.”
“Good.” He exited the store, not checking to see if she was following him.
He knew that particular action would bother her, but he had to get away from her. He could not keep living his life in limbo. He told Ginny that his relationship with Cho had ended, and it had! Considering their argument over his chaste kiss with Cho in Diagon Alley that day in the summer, he was almost ready to call it quits with Ginny. He had decided against that. He knew it was his fault she was still hurting. So, when she apologized after sending Trevor and Lily on their way, he accepted.
That was a big step in their relationship. Ginny’s willingness to admit that nothing was going on between Cho and him anymore was a huge coup for them both. It meant that they may actually be able to start healing what he had broken so long ago.
Harry felt her presence falling in to step next to him. He didn’t say anything. Not because he did not want to, but because he promised himself that he had to try to heal Ginny’s hurt. He couldn’t very well do that if he kept bumping in to Cho. Harry chanced a glance at her. She was still beautiful. Her seventeen year old youthfulness had been replaced with a worldly look, and her long dark hair fell to her shoulders, curling slightly at the ends. Her dark eyes were still expressive, and her lips were slightly parted as she contemplated what to say to him.
“You’ve been avoiding me,” she said. “I hope it is not intentional.”
His shoulders slumped slightly then. “It is.”
She bit her bottom lip in an attempt to hold back the tears. “Do I get an explanation?”
He inhaled deeply, before turning to look at her. “I can’t keep doing this,” he said, “this back and forth. I’ve hurt her enough.”
“This is because of the kiss I gave you then, isn’t it?”
He didn’t have to say anything; his answer was etched in his eyes. She offered him a half-smile. “I see.”
Harry reached for her, but she stepped out of his reach. Her eyes cold. “You know, Harry, you’re not the only one who is suffering because of that tryst we engaged in over two decades ago.”
“Of all the ...” he started angrily, clenching his fist, and raising it to his mouth. He bit down on the knuckle of his clenched hand, to calm the anger he felt at her blasé comment. “That’s what you’re reducing what we did to?” he shot back, trying desperately to keep his voice low.
Cho did not want to admit that she was hurt, seeing as how she felt it made her look weak. All that seemed to matter was hurting him as much as his words had hurt her. How dare he blame her completely for kissing him casually on the cheek! Didn’t he know that she was suffering for that kiss too? David never let her forget. They still continued to live their lives separately from each other. The worst part of it was Robert and Rebecca knew of her indiscretion. She was quite sure they were mature enough to understand why, but she still wished she could keep that secret from them.
“What would you like me to refer to it as?” she asked frostily. Her eyes were like ice.
“I was in love with you,” he said. “You loved me to. I know you did.”
She crossed her arms across her chest then. “The operative word there being ‘loved’.” Cho narrowed her eyes into slits. “You’re a very hard person to love Harry. Especially when you get like this.”
His eyes darkened. She was sure she had pushed him too far. Harry locked his eyes with her; something in the way he looked at her commanded her attention. She was captivated by his look. Then, he said the one thing that made her want to push all sense of proper etiquette in public as far out of her mind as possible.
“At least I didn’t have sex with my partner, all the while thinking it was my ex flame, and then bearing two children out of that shag.”
She clenched and un-clenched her hands at her sides. Harry watched her hands warily, half-expecting her to slap him. Instead, she leaned in and whispered to him, “If we were not in public, Minister, I would not hesitate to deck you right between your eyes, propriety be damned.” Cho pulled away then, and straightened her spine, making her small frame appear taller and more powerful. “Stand aside,” she said.
He moved out of her way. She stepped around him then. “We’re done. Done,” she whispered, trying to keep her voice as emotionless as possible.
Harry watched as she walked away, suppressing the urge to catch up to her and apologize. Maybe this was for the best. Despite this thought, Harry shivered. The Spring air not being able to dispel the chill he felt as he turned and headed down the street in the opposite direction.
x x x x
“Your marks are improving, Mr. Avery,” Professor Bella said. “I’m impressed. Miss. Potter’s tutoring seems to have paid off.”
Brian smiled. He did not bother to correct his Professor on the tutoring bit. He had actually stopped his official tutoring sessions with her, but for some reason, they still met in the Library. Brian had to admit that Lily was actually quite pleasant company. She was intelligent; a quality that he felt was lacking in many of the girls who were attracted to him. The only ones who seemed less than thrilled by his association with her were Andrew and Paul.
“Thank you,” he said, taking back the sheet Bella held.
Professor Bella smiled at him. “Well, keep up the good work.”
He thanked her again, and left the Transfiguration classroom. Brian was walking down the corridor, when he caught sight of her by the notice board. She turned when she heard him call her name; or rather, he called her Lillian, and she was about to correct him for what would be the umpteenth time, when she felt him hug her.
She was so shocked, she did nothing but stand there limp, her arms pressed stiffly to her sides. He pulled away shortly after, his blue eyes bright.
“What was that for?” she asked, disguising the breathlessness that hug left in her body.
His basic common sense flooded back to him then, and he straightened. “I wanted to thank you.” He held out his hand then.
She raised an eyebrow at him. “By hugging me?”
Brian shrugged. “You never been hugged before, Lillian?”
Lily sighed. “I’m not even going to dignify that question with a response.” She tossed some of her hair off her face. “In any case, you are welcome.”
“Shake?” he asked, a hint of teasing in his voice.
She rolled her eyes, but took his hand. It was warm, and she felt the warmth flood her body. Lily was sure she was blushing madly then. If she was, he did not say anything to her.
He smiled. “I’ll meet you in the Library as usual?”
Her brow furrowed in confusion. “Why? You ended our tutoring sessions. We don’t have anymore scheduled.”
Brian shrugged. “You don’t want to meet up anymore?”
She was scarlet then. “I ... I didn’t think there was any point in us meeting anymore.”
He sighed, and leaned against the board. His flaxen hair falling attractively into his face. “Would you prefer it if we got together outside of the Library hours?”
“Are you asking me out, Brian?” she asked stupidly.
“For a Hogwarts Prefect, you are quite dense when it comes to dating,” he said, his blue eyes dancing with laughter. “Yes, Lillian, I am asking you out.”
She blushed. “Are you sure that is such a good idea?”
“Well,” he said, stretching, “think of it as my way of repaying you for helping me avoid being benched for the rest of the Quidditch season. Seriously, Lillian, if it was not for your tutoring, I would have been benched for sure.”
Lily hesitated. Half expecting his Slytherin cronies to pop out of the dark corners and tell her it was all a joke. He sensed her hesitation.
“One date,” he said. “What do you say?”
“One date?” she asked.
He held out his hand. “One date. I promise.”
She grasped his hand. What is the worst thing that could happen, she thought. “One date,” she agreed.
x x x x
Robert was gathering his belongings up, and stuffing them into his bag, when he noticed her waiting for him by the door.
Cheryl Beauvais smiled at him, and waited until he was close enough for him to hear her speak. “Hello, Mr. Philips,” she said, her sultry voice filled with coquettishness.
“Cheryl,” he said, nodding to her as he stepped around her and continued on his way.
She fell into step with him, her flowery perfume following her. “How are you? I barely see you anymore, now that Quidditch season is in full swing, and classes are causing us grief.”
He smiled down at her. Robert had to admit she was quite attractive. Her brown curls flowed over her shoulders, and her hazel eyes sparkling. “Busy,” he said pointedly.
She slipped her arm into his. “I miss your company,” she said.
This struck Robert as odd, seeing as how he barely exchanged two words with her. He told her so.
“I suppose sitting next to me in one class is not enough for you to remember me.” She pulled his upper body down, so that her lips rested near his ear. “I’m sure if we sat next to each other more often, you would remember me. I’m not that easy to forget,” she said suggestively.
He swallowed. “I’m sure you are not.” Robert disentangled his arm from hers. “I have to be going. Quidditch.” A lie, but a white lie was not going to get him into trouble.
She smiled seductively. “Hufflepuff has the pitch tonight.”
They reached the stairs then. He took a step up one of them, and stared down at her from his spot on the wide stone step. “So they do,” he said, half-attempting to disguise his obvious knowledge of this fact.
Cheryl stood on tiptoe then, and lightly she pressed her lips to his. “I forgive you,” she whispered. “See you tomorrow, Robert.”
She slinked up the stairs, stopping only once to stare down at him. Cheryl winked, let out a giggle and hurried up the rest of the stairs and turned the corner.
“I see someone has taken a shining to you.”
Robert turned to see Rebecca walking towards him.
“Rebecca,” he started, “I thought for sure she would have jumped me given the chance.”
She laughed. “That would have been no fun for her.”
Robert fell into step with his sister as they trekked up the stairs together. “I seriously don’t know what to do. She constantly finds me.”
She clucked her tongue. “Oh, poor Robert, it must be such a hassle to have a girl chasing after you.”
He rolled his eyes at his sister’s comment. “All jokes aside, I don’t know how to shake her.”
Rebecca finished tying her hair up in a loose bun, and shrugged. “Why not just go out with her. Then you can break it off by telling her the chemistry is not there or something like that.”
They reached their dorm then.
“You think one date will be enough?”
Rebecca shrugged, and headed for the stairs. “Probably.”
“Probably,” Robert said, exasperated by his sister’s lack of help. “You are not helping.”
She tapped his cheek in a lovingly sister way, before she turned towards the girl’s dorms. “Oh, Robert, don’t be such a woman about it.”
Before he could reply, she was enveloped in the laughter of the girl’s dorm. The door shut firmly after her.
“I’m not being a woman,” he muttered indignantly, but he hurried off to the boy’s dorm nevertheless. He had homework to do.
x x x x