5. Play dirty: Try slapping when kisses don’t work
“Four times?” Penny is giving me a Simon-are-you-off-your-trolley
stare that not even her thick glasses can buffer. “You’ve slept with him four
times,” she accuses, rather than asks. Pure Penny style.
“Not with him,” I tell her. “Beside him, rather.”
She adjusts her glasses with her middle finger and decides she’s
done with lunch. “Different preposition,” she says. “Same difference.” She’s
now giving me her patented Judgemental Stare. This is bad.
“Merlin, Penny,” I protest, taking her plate and stuffing the last
piece of roast beef in my mouth. “There’s a huge difference, and you know it,”
“Fine,” she gives in, softening her features. “I hope you know
what you’re doing.”
“Yeah.” I fix my eyes on the now empty plate. If only we were
allowed to repeat lunch, then I could avoid this conversation. Plus, more food.
Double win. “Baz is evil and has a plan to finish me off, but I’m one step
ahead this time,” I say, my eyes still on the plate.
“I’ll regret asking this later but,” Penny pauses for a moment, as
if reconsidering it. “What is this evil plan, exactly?”
“Oh, uhm,” I say to the plate. “Baz is… Trying to…” I take a
breath and say, “He wants to seduce me and attack me when my guard is down.”
Penny lets out a laugh. A loud one.
In my defense I’ll say it sounded better in my head. Why do some
things lose all sense when you say them aloud?
I look up at her again.
“Nicks and Slick, you’re serious,” she realizes. “Attack you how?
With his mouth?” She tries and fails to suppress another laugh, then continues,
“So what are you doing to fight this terrifying plan of his?”
“I’m making him fall for me instead.”
“I think you have no idea what you’re doing,” she says, so
matter-of-factly that it leaves no place for arguing. Penny usually has that
effect on people.
Breaking news – I may have no idea what I’m doing.
We start heading out of the dining hall in silence and I think
she’s going to leave without any further discussion when she stops and turns
around, looking at me. Studying me. Penelope’s studying face can be very
frightening. Hands down one of the most terrifying things I’ve seen. And I’ve
killed a dragon. “Are you sure you don’t…” she starts. “Like him?”
“I don’t like Baz,” I hurry to say. “He’s the enemy.”
“You’ve slept with the enemy, Simon,” she says. “Four times.”
“I’ve slept beside the enemy. Since first year,” I clarify.
“And you kissed Agatha during the game, too, that doesn’t mean you like her,
“Yeah but we don’t go around snogging between classes.”
“You saw that?”
“You’re not being as sneaky as you think.”
“Anyway, it’s not like he likes me either… He hates me,” I say,
realising for the first time thatI’m not exactly happy about that. “And
I don’t like him,” I add.
“Okay,” Penny says.
I run a hand through my hair. “I don’t like him,” I repeat.
“Sure, Simon.” I can see she’s trying hard not to laugh.
“I don’t,” I insist.
Penny raises one of her accusing eyebrows and says, “Nobody said
“You asked. I just want to make it clear.”
“Yeah, Simon. You made it clear.” Penny stares me down, smiling
like she knows better. (She always does.) (Know better.)
“Let’s play Slap or Kiss tomorrow and you’ll see,” I
suggest. “I’m going to slap him so hard.”
“What about the evil plan and your,” she pauses. I see the corners
of her lips fighting a smirk. “Clever comeback?”
“This will confuse him.”
“It’s ridiculous,” she says. “This will backfire. Spectacularly.
Like most of your plans do.”
Okay, she has a point.
“I don’t. Like him,” I insist for the last time.
“Okay,” Penny finally concedes. She breaks her know-it-all façade
and grabs my arm. “Just– Be careful.”
“Of all the stupid ideas you idiots have ever had, this is by far the stupidest one. And that’s to put it nicely.” I don’t know why I agreed to this. We are sitting, forming a circle, in the middle of an empty classroom. Snow is seated directly across from me. Great, now I have full sight of him.
“You’re free to go if you want to,” he says.
“We were here before you arrived,” I protest. “I’m not moving.”
“Come on Baz, let’s play,” Dev pleads. “It will be fun!” he says. Fucking traitor.
“Okay, so which game should we play?” the pixie asks.
“Never have I ever,” Wellbelove says, nonchalantly, as if she’s done this sort of thing many times.
The first thing I notice is the smell of smoke. Snow. Then I notice something wet and warm on my chest. I open my eyes and I see him.
I can’t find any plausible explanation for why I have a very sleepy Simon Snow in my bed.
I indulge myself into watching him sleep for a few minutes. He’s a mess. His hair is even more unruly than usual. He’s got drool falling down the corner of his mouth and onto my jumper. I imagine myself licking it and then kissing him awake. Crowley, I could get a fucking boner right now. Thank snakes I haven’t fed yet, because Snow’s leg is dangerously near my crotch.
“Snow,” I say after some minutes. “Get out of my bed.”
He doesn’t open his eyes but mumbles something unintelligible.
He then starts to regain consciousness and looks at me, confused.
“Snow,” I repeat. “What the fuck are you doing in my bed?”