Albus ate all of the roll and a few bites of the green beans and noodles on the plate. Nothing really tasted good to him, though. He sighed and leaned his head back on the chair as Holly sat down in a chair near his. Albus closed his eyes and heard the Common room door open and a few sets of footsteps walk in. Albus opened one eye and saw James at his side.
"You feeling any better?" James asked softly. Albus shrugged as he looked forward again.
"It's not your fault, Albus..." Derek said softly. Albus closed his eyes again and shook his head.
"I don't want to talk about it." He mumbled. Just then, the Common room door flung open and someone ran in. Albus heard someone breathing heavily over his shoulder and he opened his eyes and looked up. It was Percy.
"Hello, you lot." He said, forcing a smile. He was still panting and leaning on the back of Albus's chair. Percy cleared his throat then continued. "Listen, Professor McGonagal doesn't really want word spreading about... Well... Andrea." He said slowly.
"I know." Samantha said quickly. Percy gave her a confused look then continued.
"She wants us to come up with a story that sounds believable but-"
"Isn't the truth. In essence, you want us to lie to the student body. Do you realize you're just digging yourself a deeper grave?!" Samantha asked, clearly angry. "I know she doesn't want the parents to find out, I can understand that! People would think she wasn't right for the job anymore, but I will NOT lie to my fellow students. I'm not gonna sink to that level." Samantha was almost yelling, and Percy was looking around frantically to make sure no one was listening. There were a few other people in the Common room, and a couple of them were staring. Percy glared at Samantha and clamped his hand over her mouth. She glared back at him, looking almost evil.
"Listen, I've come up with an idea. All you have to do is tell it to whoever asks about Andrea. You lot are her main group of friends, so I suspect there won't be many questions. Now, just listen and tell me if it's believable." Percy paused to clear his throat then continued.
"Andrea tripped on a raised root while in the forest. She scratched herself up pretty badly, so she got taken to the hospital wing. She's still in pretty bad condition, so there's a curtain hanging around her bed. She'd prefer not to have visitors, because she scratched up her face badly and is a bit embarrassed about the whole thing." Percy sighed then forced another smile. "Make it sound believable, all right? Add in your own phrasing, but don't change stories." Percy gave them all a warning look then released his hand from Samantha's mouth.
"You're so lucky I didn't grow fangs and bite you." She growled angrily. Percy faked a laugh, and Derek, James, and Peter chuckled. Albus sighed and stared ahead glumly. Percy bent down next to him and looked at him sympathetically.
"I'm sorry you have to do this, Albus..." Percy began in a whisper. "But, please, do it for the school, all right? And for the safety of the students. I mean, if they know what really happened, some of them might go out into the forest to find her themselves. They could be seriously hurt. I just need you to do this. Please?" Percy finished and patted Albus on the shoulder, then stood and looked over the others. He nodded to them all then quickly walked out of the room.
"You know what this is?" Samantha asked, glaring at the now closed Common room door.
"What?" Derek asked, glancing over at her.