“Greengrass! Go to the ball with me.”
Her shiny brunette head turned around, and for one brief moment, she flashed a brilliant smile.
“No, but try again.”
And with that, she hooked her arm through Pansy Parkinson’s, and the two of them walked off.
Zacharias looked after her, his expression shocked and amused, before walking away in the other direction.
There’s a notice on a bulletin board in the Hufflepuff Common Room about dance lessons for the Yule Ball.
They’re mandatory, and it’s ridiculous because Zacharias has known how to dance almost for almost as long as he’s known how to walk. It isn’t one of the talents he shows off all the time, but Zach knows he can dance.
He heads to the lessons, held by McGonagall, with Ernie, Justin, Susan, and Hannah.
The moment he sees the partnering, Zacharias changes his mind about the lessons. He searches across the room until he sees her, surrounded by her Slytherin friends. He smirks, and on cue, she looks up from across the room and smirks back.
Three lessons had passed, and he’d told her twice more to go to the ball with him. But the answer was still the same each time.
McGonagall walked around the room, correcting postures and holds.
He took advantage of the step in the dance that required him to pull her closer and hissed into her ear, “Why won’t you go to the ball with me?”
“Just because,” She whispered back.
Suddenly, he twisted her around, all restrained aggression and perfect elegance, before expertly letting her fall back into his arms.
“Wonderful, Mr. Smith. Would you like to demonstrate for the rest of the class?” McGonagall called out.
He looked at Daphne and smirked.
A month turns into two weeks left, and he’s asked her a total of five times now, and she still declines.
But that statement she casually throws out with a smirk still taunts him, teases him, so he’s not giving up.
Besides, it’s not as if she’s taken up any other offers either, and she’s certainly had more than her fair share of hormonal boys asking her. She’s not called beautiful for no reason after all.
It’s one of the last dance lessons before the ball, and Neville’s managed to knock down another vase of flowers.
“Please do try not to be so clumsy, Longbottom,” McGonagall’s voice rings out.
And Zach looks at Daphne again and wonders how someone can be so stubborn. It’s obvious she wants to go with him, he thinks. So why won’t she just say “yes”?
“Go to the ball with me, Greengrass.”
“No, try again.”
He sighs in frustration this time.
The ball was in just two days, and now he’d asked her nine times. Any other boy would have given up and just asked another girl. After all, Daphne wasn’t the only pretty girl at Hogwarts.
But Zacharias Smith loved a challenge, and he wasn’t giving up.
She was walking down the hallway with that Tracey Davis girl now. He hid in an alcove and watched her pass by.
He slipped out and grabbed her arm, “Greengrass, I want to talk.”
Davis smirked at him before turning to Daphne, “Go on, humor him. I’ll catch you later.”
“So what do you want to talk about?”
“Go to the ball with me.”
“You didn’t say it.”
“You didn’t say the ‘try again’ part. You always say that after you tell me ‘no.’”
“So what does that mean?”
“Wow, very observant, Smith. I never expected so much out of a Hufflepuff.”
“You’re not answering.”
“Figure it out yourself, if you’re so clever.”
She turns to leave.
Zacharias spent the next twenty-four hours figuring out what Greengrass had meant.
What the heck was that supposed to mean?
Did she want him to stop asking? But if that was the case…she didn’t have a date to the Ball yet, and if he knew anything about Daphne Greengrass, he knew that she would never go to an event by herself.
He couldn’t exactly walk up to Ernie or Justin to help him figure out the complicated, twisted, secrets of the female mind. They never understood why he was so bent on asking a Slytherin in the first place.
She had to be playing a mind trick on him. Hell, who was he kidding? Of course she was playing with his mind.
It is the very last dance lesson. In fact, it’s less than eight hours away from the dance, and Zacharias is determined to figure out what Greengrass had meant and to make her go to the Yule Ball with him.
He isn’t a Hufflepuff for no reason, after all.
His mind isn’t on anything but her words all throughout the lesson, and Daphne’s noticed.
“Why are you so out of it?”
“You stepped on my foot for the second time just now.”
The lesson whirls by in a blur, and they’re leaving now.
And something snaps into place.
“Hey Greengrass!” he chases after her.
She stops but doesn’t bother turning around, “Yes?”
“Will you go to the ball with me?”
Daphne Greengrass turns around now, and a brilliant smile slowly spreads across her face.
“Why, I thought you’d never ask, Smith. I’d be delighted.”
She turns away again and leaves Zacharias Smith, not for the first time, shocked and amused.