"I love fall..." I shoved my hands deeper into my cloak pockets and inhaled deeply so I could smell the crisp air. The intoxicating smell of decaying leaves...I know, I'm freaking crazy.
"God, Tay, why? It's so cold." Heather buried her face in her blue scarf.
"I like cold. And Halloween. Come on, COSTUMES!"
She didn't care, I knew. But I kept talking anyway "Yeah, there's this one costume store in the city where I'm from and when it got close to Halloween, it would get so well-stocked that the ailes were yea wide-" I held my hands about two feet apart "-and they had fucking everything. God, I loved to go there and just humiliate my grandmother beyond reason...like put on a mask and hat and find some plastic weapon and sing. 'Sex and Candy' was always a favorite...Seriously, that was, like, my favorite place ever. All the gorgeous masquarade masks...they were all pretty and sparkly...Damn, I haven't been there in forever..." I continued to go on as we entered Hogsmeade. The drab cobblestone High Street was scattered with vibrant reds and yellows; the only spots of color breaking up the gray. Gray street, gray houses, gray shops, gray sky...Red leaves...and bright red hair...I saw the hair and trailed off. The red hair came towards us at a fast pace. Fred was running. Probably away from something, yet again. Running directly towards us. And not veering away-
I felt Fred grab my waist at high speed and plow me into the leaf-coated tall grass at the side of the road.
He pulled his face out of the hollow of my collarbone and looked down at me "Hi!"
"Hi. Unusual greeting today, I see..."
"Thought I'd mix it up today." He grinned, his signiture cocky, mischievous grin. "Anyway, I have a question for you."
"Well, you have my attention."
He cleared his throat and shook his ginger hair out of his eyes. He inhaled deeply in a for-the-sake-of-drama fashion: "Will you go to the Halloween Dance with me?" He poked me playfully in the ribs. I squeaked and giggled. He noticed my reaction, and I could see him thinking 'Oh she's ticklish, I'll have fun with this...'
Ummm..."What Halloween Dance?" Hogwarts didn't have a Halloween Dance...
"The Fred and George Bloody Awesome Invitation-Only Halloween Dance. It's Friday at Midnight in the Shreiking Shack and if I don't have a date, that brother of mine will never let me live it down. Sooo...the answer is..."
I don't even have to think about it. "The answer is yes, I would love to!"
"YAY!!!! Bloody Awesome costume needed for entry. I'll see you later, Tay, got prep work to do!" With that, he jumped spryly up, and with a wave, sprinted away, his long hair and gangly legs flying as he ran.
Heather looked down at me, her arms crossed as they had been since Fred had tackled me. She didn't like him. His reputation alone was off-putting to her. She had no idea what I saw in him. She just didn't get why I got all stare-y and drooly whenever he came within sight. She gave me the "Why the hell did you just say yes to that?" look. Like always, I totally disregard her, make her pull me up by the wrists, and said nothing except "Costume time!!!" and ran off up the cobbled street, tripping occasionally as I do.
"Okay, loving this!" I was turning round on the spot in front of the full-length mirror in my dormitory. I'd decided to dress as Mrs. Lovett from Sweeney Todd...(I'd had to explain who that was to so many people, it was rediculous. I suppose it makes sense; no one I hang out with watches muggle movies. My sister made me watch it when I came home last summer, and I got addicted.) I'd found an off-the-shoulder, Victorian-style dress with a flounced, full skirt, mostly black, with crimson trim. I'd powdered by chest, neck, and face to a smooth porcelain, and applied heavy black eyeshadow and dark red lipstick. I'd curled my dark hair and pinned it messily on top of my head. I looked amazing by anyone's standards. "Happy, happy Tay."
Heather was sitting cross-legged on my bed, watching me. "God, you're a freak." She looked ar me thoughtfully "You look fucking scary, but awesomely so."
"That's what I was going for." I pouted in the mirror. "I wish I could have worn a mask with this though...awww..." Glancing at the pocket-watch I'd won in a bet with George, I pulled on my black elbow-length gloves, and headed for the door, waving to Heather. She raised an eyebrow and shook her head at me.
I stayed in the shadows as I scurried to the entrance hall, where Fred told me he'd be waiting. And there he was, dressed as a Victorian vampire, in a velvet tailcoat, ruffled shirt, and his hair tied back in a low ponytail...elegant...sensual...
He smiled as I approached him. He bowed and offered his arm to be "M'lady?" I giggled and took his elbow and he led me out the front doors.
We ran, arm in arm, across the dewy grass, occasionally tripping on my skirt and laughing every time. I let him directly, not toward the Whomping Willow, as I'd expected, but to the far side of the lake, shelted from veiw of the prying eyes of the school. It was a moonless night, and the stars twinkled bright, each one mirrored in the quiet surface of the water.
He pulled out his wand to dry a patch of grass for us to sit on. I crossed my legs under my skirts and smiled at him "So, no dance tonight?"
He raised an eyebrow "This is the dance, baby." He extended a hand to me and pulled me to a standing position. He put an arm around my waist and pulled me close. With my free hand, I lifted my skirts so they just brushed the earth. He began to hum, a delicate, music-box sounding waltz. We began to dance, perfectly in time. As he continued to hum, the tune changed. Slowly, the lyrics came to me, and I sang quietly: "In all your fairy tales, how did the prince tell you he loved you? How did your father die..." I looked at him in surprise "'Mad Girl.' Emilie Autumn...My-"
"Your favorite song. I know." He smiled gently at me, and cradled my cheek in his hand. "I wanted our first dance to be set to the right music."
I smiled, and felt myself blush softly "Our first dance...I like the sound of that."
He leaned his forehead in to rest against mine "I thought you would." He kissed my forehead. And together, we sang:
"In all your fairy tales, How did the prince say he loved you?"