Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Two)
I sit in the Great Hall, surrounded like by my friends, eating. Thinking. As always, my thoughts predictably head towards Professor McGonagall. My eyes whip around, searching. They finally rest on McGonagall. She is sitting between Headmaster Dumbledore and… Madam Hooch. Seeing her reminds me of my omission several days ago. Like an unspoken pact, neither one has mentioned it to me. But I can't help thinking…
It's been almost a week since I told Professor McGonagall that I'm "not straight". Almost a week since the hysteria and uncertainty set in. Almost a week since I spent every waking moment worried that she or Hooch would figure out it was McGonagall inspiring these feelings.
I'm sure they both know. It's only a matter of time before I hear "Hermione, I think we need to talk," from McGonagall while Madam Hooch stands behind her nodding in agreement. Just nodding. I doubt she would say anything as I'm not close to her. But she would stand there and nod. I can see it so clearly.
I keep asking myself why I didn't just tell her everything. I knew she would be supportive. Well, as supportive as she could be while still making it perfectly clear that my first life changing crush would always be someone I could only love and admire from afar. But Holy Merlin! If she sent another message! My heart would explode!
Would I want her to send another message? Part of me screams yes while the other knows I just want her to be happy. I know she's happy with Madam Hooch. That's part of what kills me. The part being killed screeches "No! I could make you just as happy!" while cursing the recent year I was born. The other part is content to sit in the background and watch as her life happily unfolds thinking myself blessed to have her as a teacher. I know which side I should listen to, but it's so hard. It's hard to sit back and not want to be a bigger part of her life.
I smile when she looks over at me. She smiles back. I instantly feel the heat return to my face. "Not now!" I think to myself. I put my head down and for once in my life I'm grateful for my bushy locks. I know they completely cover anything my face could give away. Unfortunately, my hands are not covered by my bushy mane and I can see them beginning to blotch and shake.
I remember my talk with Professor McGonagall moments before.
"I know who you like." She teased. I knew this was not true but my stomach began sinking anyway.
"Oh really?" I challenged. "Who?"
"Lavender." She answered smugly.
My heart rose. "Nope. I said confidently. Then I noticed she was shuffling through papers. "What are you doing?" I asked.
"Consulting my class lists." She began guessing names. Once she had filtered through almost all of her class lists, she had left Slytherin out, she shook her head and looked up. "That means Xiomara was right…" She seemed troubled for an instant. Then she brightened again. "I know who you like," she repeated. This time, my stomach sank again. I feared she was right.
I knew I had begun to show nervousness then. I knew that I was going to give it away. I simply could not control my nerves. My blotchiness had only increased, as did my shaking.
"Hermione, you okay?" Ron asked me, noticing instantly that I was shaking quite a bit.
"I'm fine, Ron, really." I noticed that Harry was now also looking at me. "I'm fine, really!"
"Well, here's news that will boost your spirits," Harry told me, "We have Transfiguration after breakfast!" I tried to grin at them to make them think their pep-talk of sorts had helped. After a few moments of looking at me, they were satisfied and they looked away. This left me to the memory of McGonagall smiling back at me, the shaking of my hands, and the sinking pit in my stomach left after the thought of Transfiguration.
While Transfiguration did mean seeing my beloved McGonagall, I know that I won't focus in her class. I haven't for days. Not since I told her. In any class, really. I have read the whole textbook through for each class, so I suppose I'm not really missing much. But I know that magic is something that one must actively learn. It's just so hard to concentrate when I'm petrified that McGonagall is going to figure it out. Or when I'm thinking of anything she has said or done.
"Hermione," Harry said, jerking me out of my imagined state yet again. He was getting up meaning it was time to go to class. He looked at me. "Are you sure you are okay?"
I rolled my eyes, which is something I never did, to show I was fine. "Harry, I'm fine. It's just… Crush drama. Don't tell Ron, okay?" Harry stared at me.
"Who do you like?" Harry asked me, wide-eyed. It looked as though he didn't know I could get crushes. I swear, if I'm not telling Harry and Ron at that moment, they have no idea I'm a girl!
"Harry," I scolded, "I'm clearly not going to tell you. So stop. We have class now. Transfiguration. Come on." I began dragging him while hiding my blushing face with my hair. It's ridiculous that I begin blushing with the mere mention of her class.
"Hermione… Tell me!" Harry pleaded from behind me.
I shook my head as I spoke. "No, Harry."
"Can we play Twenty Questions?" Harry asked.
"I suppose," I sighed. Why had I just agreed to that? Because I knew that he wouldn't guess? Yes, that was why. Just like McGonagall trying to guess. She was guessing students from her class lists. There was no way she would guess herself. Now that I thought about it, McGonagall had taken a strange interest in my love life since I told her.
"Light hair?" Harry asked from behind me.
"No." I answered without looking up. We were almost out of the Great Hall by the time he had begun his next question.
"Dark, then?" He questioned, staring at me.
I stopped in my tracks and my eyes automatically flickered to the staff table. They rested on McGonagall. She was rising from her seat to prepare to leave. She leaned over to Madam Hooch and whispered something in her ear. They both laughed. I visibly shook to remind myself to keep walking. "Yes, dark hair."
"Third year?" Harry continued.
I sighed. "No, Harry." I looked back. He had begun to write down my answers on a piece of parchment. "Harry! Tear that up!"
Harry continued to ask me questions and write my answers down. We finally reached McGonagall's classroom. I hoped he would stop asking questions soon. So far, he had hair color and length, eye color, height, and he knew that my crush was older than me. With that information, McGonagall could very well learn that it was her inspiring the feelings. I turned to Harry, "You must promise me that you will show no one the list." Harry avoided my gaze. "Harry…"
"I promise." He sighed.
"Good. But… Just in case. Accio Parchment." I managed to steal the parchment and I threw it in fireplace. "Incendio." The parchment caught fire and Harry scowled at me.
"Fine," He said while removing another piece of parchment from his bag. "I remember the important stuff." He began writing again.
"No!" I cried. "Accio Par…" Harry quickly stopped writing, folded the parchment, and clung for dear life.
"Hermione…" He warned.
"Fine." I breathed. At that moment, Professor McGonagall strode in.
"What are you both doing here so early?" she asked. Eyeing Harry's relaxed grip and the parchment which Harry had so conveniently titled Hermione's Crush, she took out her wand. We were both confused as to why she had done this. Then she uttered those fateful words that I, myself, had uttered not minutes before. "Accio Parchment." She unfolded it as my eyes grew wide in terror. "Brunette, blue eyes, taller than Hermione, older than Hermione…" She began laughing as she spoke.
My stomach felt as though the bottom had dropped out. She read the list perfectly describing herself and while she did so, she laughed. I slumped to the floor and started beating my hands on the floor.
Harry looked at me in surprise. He had no idea what he had just done.