Joanna crept down the stairs slowly with renewed energy she had just obtained through her curiosity.
When she heard the front door shut softly, she hurried down the steps, made a grab for her cloak, scrambled into her boots and peek through the main door’s keyhole.
Joanna watched as Tom hurried out of the front gate and into the cold and deserted town. Without hesitation, Joanna went after him. As she tailed him not too far behind, she forced herself to take bigger strides and draw deeper breaths, hoping not to lose sight of him.
When she saw Tom enter a tavern, Joanna slowed down, and eyed him through the old glass window panels. Tom took a seat at the far end of the tavern, where a hooded figure joined him shortly after.
Making sure not to be spotted, Joanna sneaked into the tavern and sat at a table behind a half-giant. She was close enough to spy on Tom, but not close enough to eavesdrop.
As she peeked over the old, dog-eared, menu, she watched Tom get into a private conversation with the hooded figure, as they bowed their heads low, over what looked like a list of something. Finally, after watching them converse for nearly an hour, Tom stood up, shook the figure’s hand and watched as the figure left.
Just as Tom was to leave as well, Joanna sunk deeper into her chair, burying her head behind the menu. But when she heard someone clearing their voice, she was pretty sure it wasn’t a waitress.
“Pleasure meeting you here,” Tom said.
“I needed a drink,” Joanna lied unconvincingly.
“Oh? It must be silly of me to think you were spying on me then.”
“It is,” Joanna quickly said as she looked away.
“I don’t understand you. Why don’t you just ask me, instead of spying on me?” Tom asked as he sat down across from her.
“Fine. What were you doing talking to that person?”
“That wasn’t a person. And I was asking on where to obtain certain items.”
“Rowena Ravenclaws diadem. And other special items for my horcruxes.” Tom said it so blatantly as though he didn’t care if anyone overheard him.
“I see. Was he the one who saved me from Rose?”
“No.” Tom chuckled. “He’s incapable of duels. I saved you.”
“Oh. Thank you.” Joanna almost whispered her gratitude.
“Don’t worry about it. She won’t be bothering you anymore.”
“Why? What did you do to her?” Joanna asked, but immediately added, “Wait, I don’t wanna know.”
“I didn’t kill her if that is what you’re worried about.”
“Right, well, good. Let’s go back now, shall we?” Joanna asked as she stood up and waited for him to follow. There were old rugged men staring in their direction and Joanna did not want to stay any longer.
After the short silent walk in the cold, they finally reached home, and Tom did the same thing he did before. He made sure Joanna was in bed before he went to his room. And this time, he shut his door loud enough for her to hear it.
When morning came, Joanna quickly forgot about the night before because Rose had a miraculous turn around. She gave Joanna her room back, and became the goody two shoes no one would have expected her to be in her lifetime. It was all thanks to Tom. He mentioned about speaking to Rose, but Joanna knew he was lying. Joanna was certain he did something to her, but she couldn’t be bothered in finding out what.
When the holiday finally ended and school was back in session, everything took on a different turn. Joanna realized that she did no good to Tom, but rather, he did good to her. And the moment she settled down in her dormitory she had a feeling the year was going to go by very quickly.
And though she was happy to be able to finish her studies, without being expelled again, Joanna knew that when it came to Tom, she was running out of options, and she couldn’t think of graduating when she knew her friend was going to commit such a hideous act.
Joanna was at the end of the road as she could not convince Tom to stop what he was doing, and she failed miserably at proving that being good paid off. So what was she going to do next?
After a week into classes, Joanna found herself bombarded with homework and she didn’t even have time to think about Tom. Their final exam was happening earlier this year as the ministry of education made a mistake with their scheduling, and this was such a horror to most students.
Tom, however, was rather relaxed. Apparently, he had already prepared the year before and he just couldn’t wait for it to be over. It was in that very same conversation that they were having, at their secret tower hideout, that Tom asked about her future.
“Where do you see yourself after you graduate?”
“I don’t know. You?”
“I’m still planning,” Tom answered.
“World domination and the disposal of muggles?” Joanna asked jokingly.
“That’s part of it,” Tom replied without addressing the question as a joke.
“I see.” Joanna immediately regretted her question.
“Part of my plan is to have you with me.” Tom caught Joanna off guard, and continued, “What are plans if you don’t have anyone to share it with?”
“But, I’m not really excited about you splitting your soul,” Joanna replied quickly.
“Then you have to make a decision now,” Tom said as he turned to look her in the eye.
“Are you with me, or are you not?”
Joanna didn’t know how to answer Tom. It was a tough question, but deep down, she wanted to be with him.
“I can’t contradict my beliefs,” Joanna said softly and Tom heard her.
“Then I’ll make you the exception. You don’t have to help me with my plans, you just have to be in it.”
“How does that work? Are you asking me to be… your girlfriend?” Joanna asked, extremely confused at his statement, yet secretly hoping that that was what he meant.
“Just say yes,” Tom replied.
To Be Continued…
(Leave a comment below or vote on how Joanna should respond!)