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Chapter 24: Better Than You Know Yourself
I was sure that some of my dorm mates were feeling the results of the fire whiskey the next morning. I opened the curtains at 12:30 and Susanna George moaned, rolled over, and grunted, "Turn off the sun!" I giggled and closed the curtains again. I picked up my book to let everyone else sleep. I tip-toed out of the room and walked down to the common room.
Remus and James were sitting there talking in low voices. Remus seemed upset and James was rolling his eyes. As I reached the bottom step, they both stopped talking and turned to look at me. "Hey Lore," James said. It sounded forced, which made me suspicious.
"Hi James, Remus," I nodded at each of them and sat on the opposite side of the couch as Remus.
"Did you just wake up?" Remus asked. He shot a look at James that clearly said they weren't going to continue their previous conversation. I could have asked what they had been talking about, but I knew they wouldn't tell me anyway. Since they had stopped talking just as I entered, they obviously didn't want me to hear.
"No, I've been up but I can't say the same for my roommates. They might have had a bit too much to drink," I said with a small smile. "I came down here so I wouldn't disturb anyone."
"Sounds good," Remus smiled awkwardly and began twiddling his thumbs. Literally. I was about to say something, but he stood suddenly. "I'm going down to lunch. Anyone want to join?"
I shook my head, "I'm not hungry just yet."
"Me either," James added. "But I'm sure Wormtail will go with you."
Remus nodded briskly and left. "That was weird," I frowned at James who merely shrugged and bit the inside of his cheek.
"Anyway, did you see me and Lily last night? She danced with me for a long time! She even let me put my hand on her waist," James beamed like a child. "She's really warming to me."
"That's great," I smiled. "Yeah, I have a feeling it's only going to go uphill from here, James. I'm so happy for the two of you. When it's time, you're going to make a great couple."
"What do you mean? Do you know something I don't?"
My eyes grew wide. Oops! I had let something slip that I hadn't meant to! "What I mean to say is that… I mean… uh… Oh crap," I dropped my head into my hands when James just laughed at my attempts to fix it.
"So, what's going on?" James prompted.
"Well, Lily's decided she likes you, but she's worried about her reputation. She doesn't want to be seen as a hypocrite because she claimed to hate you for so long. She decided that it would be better to be your friend first and then start something so it doesn't look like she just woke up one day and didn't hate you anymore."
James leaned back and took off his glasses to rub his hazel eyes. "Woah. That's a lot to process. So let me get this straight. She likes me, but doesn't want anyone else to know?"
"Exactly. Which is why you can't tell anyone I told you. Just continue being the charming bloke we all know you are, and you'll be fine. And we'll never speak of this again, right?"
James nodded, but he was grinning so widely he looked deranged. "Of course not." He settled back in the seat and looked at me with a strange glint in his eye. "So, Lore, how are things going with you and Si-"
"Shh!" I interrupted. I fought the urge to blush. "Actually… erm…"
"Because I wanted to know if-"
"I've sort of moved on-"
"You still liked him because he… wait, what?" James cut himself off as he realized what I had been saying as he was talking.
I didn't know what motivated me to lie. It was like all of the sudden it hit me and I didn't want to talk about Sirius anymore. I wanted to be over it already because he liked Gretchen. The easiest way to move on would be to claim to like someone else. Or at least, the easiest way to make it look like I had moved on would be to claim to like someone else.
"You've moved on?" James was still flabbergasted.
"Yeah," I looked down at my hands, not sure if he would be able to call me on my bluff. "I like someone else."
"That was quick…" he muttered, but I heard it. He seemed at a loss for words otherwise. "So no more Sirius?"
I looked into his eyes and shook my head. This part, at least, wasn't a lie. "No more Sirius."
"Who is it?"
"What?" I hadn't expected this question.
"Who do you like?"
"Um… it's sort of private. I don't really want to talk about it," I looked back at my hands and swallowed. "So do you actually want to go to lunch now? I think I actually am hungry," I stood, as eager as Remus had been to leave a few minutes ago.
"Uh, sure," James nodded. He stood and we went down together, but James was strange, almost heavy-hearted. Was he really so intent on me and Sirius being together? It that was the case, then he should have concocted some sort of love potion for Sirius so it wouldn't just be a one-sided love.
"Did you talk to her?" Sirius asked, trying not to sound to eager as James entered their dorm later that night. He had essentially camped in his room all day. Not only had he awoken with a royal headache, but he was also avoiding Lore.
James bit the inside of his cheek and jumped onto his own bed. He felt like drawing the curtains and hiding completely from his best mate. He didn't want to report bad news to him. "Yeah."
Sirius frowned. James only bit the inside of his cheek when he was hiding being upset or about to lie. "And?" he prompted.
James sighed. Last night when Sirius had asked him to see how Lore felt about him, James had been reprehensive then too. He didn't like the idea of being sneaky around Lore—she was too sweet and didn't deserve it. "Bad news, mate."
Sirius fell back on his pillows, filled with an emotion strange to him. He was actually getting upset over a girl. A girl he had liked a lot, granted, but nonetheless. Sirius Black didn't get upset over girls. "What did she say?"
James really didn't want to say the next bit. But all the same, he heard himself say, "She said that she likes someone else. I didn't tell her you like her," he said, hoping it would be some sort of consolation for his love struck friend.
"At least," Sirius breathed a sigh of relief. At least she wouldn't think he was an idiot and things could be sort of normal. At least she didn't know how he really felt. He didn't think he could stand not being her friend either because things had gotten awkward. "So that's it?"
"Don't get down, Mate," James urged. "Plenty of other birds in the sky," he attempted to grin.
"You're right," Sirius said. He was still bummed. He had really thought Lore liked him back at least a little. After all, there was a time where all it took was a look from him to make her blush. But not anymore. Maybe she really had moved on. "Who is it that she likes?" he asked, still not entirely ready to let it go.
"She didn't say. But don't worry about it. You're probably just not her type or something," James reasoned.
Sirius rolled his eyes. He was everyone's type. Whose type wasn't charming, good-looking, smart, funny and passionate? "Let's just drop it then. Thanks for trying for me, Mate."
"Anytime." James was worried that Sirius was more upset than he was letting on, but didn't say anything more. If anything, he knew not to bother Sirius over girls. And to tell the truth, he was kind of glad that Lore had given an excuse not to date Sirius. At first he had wanted them to get together, but the more he thought about it, the more he thought it was better if they didn't get together. Sirius didn't feel the same way about Lore that James felt about Lily. Sirius tended to confuse his feelings and mostly ended up just sleeping with a girl and getting bored of her immediately afterwards. James didn’t want to see either of his friends hurt each other.
So overall, he was glad Lore had made up some new love interest. She had been lying so badly, it would have been hard not to figure it out. Plus, there was no way she had gotten over Sirius so fast. Yup, she had been lying all right, but he didn't care. Not as long as it was protecting both his friends from each other.
Sirius lay in his bed staring at the ceiling, stewing in his predicament. Lore didn't like him? Well, he wouldn't dwell on it. He'd get over it just like she had gotten over him. And how did Sirius Black get over a girl? He moved onto another one. And for now, anyone would do.
A/N- Again, sorry about the mix up with the chapter I forgot to add. So if you haven't, please go back and read the story from the chapter, "Falling for him." The story will make a lot more sense. And thanks again to BeBe_Marauder for realizing my mistake!