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Chapter 8: You Can't Wait To Fall In Love
Yeah what I'm saying is do you, do you want to lose it all?
Cause this is more than just a dance hall drug
You can't wait to fall in love
-Boys Like Girls
I had never had a boyfriend before. I had never wanted one either. I had snogged guys before, in games of truth or dare, and once, the year before, I had had an almost boyfriend, before it fell through with no disappointment to me. (To be honest, it was sort of my fault.)
Aaron was the first guy that I had come to like in a long while. I had started talking to him by chance, but less than two weeks into school, I was charming notes from his class to my own.
Ugh, I’m so bored.
I would whisper an incantation, and the parchment would whiz over to wherever Aaron was, classrooms away. A few minutes later it would return with a reply.
I know what you mean. And I can’t even sleep in this class. It’s so bright in here.
I’d check up to make sure my teacher wasn’t watching and reply back
I can’t even do anything but stare intently at McGonagall. She’s still sore at me and Marauders for the stunt we pulled in the beginning of the year.
It got to the point where I would feel kind of detached when I wasn’t chatting with him. I never spoke to anyone in my classes, only when I had to, so having something to do other than pay attention was good for me.
Even at night, parchments would whiz around the castle all night. I cannot figure out why no one ever tried to grab them, but after a while Aaron became paranoid, and we began sending the notes out our windows, rather than through the castle.
Often he would come sit at the Gryffindor table since I outright refused to leave the Marauders side during the few hours a day I got to spend with them. It was nearing Halloween, the end of October, when Aaron came with us to Hogsmeade. Usually it was just the Marauders and I causing havoc, but it was the day before when Aaron asked, "Would it be alright if I came with you and your friends to Hogsmeade?"
I eagerly told him yes. I had fallen for him fairly hard.
Saturday morning, Hogsmeade morning, I trudged out of bed at ten (far too early for me) and slipped into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. To top it off I threw a sweatshirt over my head; I didn’t like being cold at all. (Unless there was snow involved, of course.)
I arrived at the Great Hall around ten thirty, after I had brushed my teeth and located my wand. I sat down next to Sirius. "Morning," I grumbled. I took some hot chocolate and gulping it quickly before clutching and my throat and gasping. "Hot!"
"Careful there, Anna, it’d be a shame if you died on us," Remus taunted.
I smiled and turned around, still coughing a bit. "Aaron! Are you lot ready?"
"Not quite yet," said Sirius, piling some more pancakes onto his plate.
"Good," I said, not having eaten yet myself. I looked at the number of pancakes on Sirius plate and put twice as many as mine. Sirius looked over and saw my challenge, before piling a bunch more on.
This went of for quite a while before Aaron burst out, "Will you two bloody hurry it up?"
I nodded, shoving the last of my pancakes into my mouth. I chewed as well as I could before swallowing the clump of pancakes. It was sort of painful, actually.
Sirius shook his head and went to grab some more pancakes. James, who was getting frustrated with Sirius, grabbed his arm and dragged him up. We all started walking towards the Entrance Hall.
"So how has your day been so far," Aaron asked me.
Next to me, I could see Sirius rolling his eyes. "Well, not terrible considering it hasn’t started yet. But I was a little bit put out about having to get up so early."
"Oh! We didn’t have to leave so early," Aaron said apologetically.
"It’s alright," I told him. "It’s probably healthier for me to get up early anyway."
"And since when do you care about being healthy," quipped Sirius, butting into the conversation.
"I don’t," I said simply.
We were silent for a bit, until we reached Hogsmeade Village.
"Anyone up for Three Broomsticks?" Aaron said amiably.
"I don’t know. I was thinking-" Sirius started to protest.
"Three Broomsticks sounds great," Remus said, putting his hand over Sirius mouth. He retracted it nearly a second later.
"You licked my hand!" he claimed, scandalized.
"Yes I did," said Sirius proudly.
"That’s just a bit gross, mate," Aaron said earnestly.
"Did I ask you?" Sirius snarled.
I sighed but accepted it. He could have said something even more mean. Like-
"And I’m not your mate."
That brought an awkward silence to things. It was broken only when we got into Three Broomsticks and sat down at a large table, each of us ordering a butterbeer. I noticed Evans and her friends sitting nearby, each drinking only a small gillywater, except one girl, who was drinking some fun looking concoction that I had never seen before.
"Rosmerta!" I yelled across the cheery pub.
The young, smiling witch came over. "What can I do for you, dear?"
I pointed and the girl and her drink. "Can I have whatever that is as well?"
"Sure, dear," she replied, still smiling and turned away.
"Do you even know what you ordered?" Aaron asked me.
"Nope, where’d the fun in that be?" I asked, in all seriousness.
Aaron laughed. "That’s what I like about you." He gave me a pointed look that I barely noticed.
"Why, thank you," I said graciously.
Rosmerta interjected on the pleasant conversation carrying a tray of drinks. She set a butterbeer down in front of everyone, and a second drink down in front of me. I took a sip of the bright red liquid and my eyes widened in delight. It was like a mix of sugar, cherries, more sugars, and a light lemony flavor.
"This is incredible!" I yelled.
"I like incredible things! Can I try!" Sirius cried.
"Me as well," Aaron said.
I passed the drink to Sirius, on my left, who took a large gulp and smiled in delight, just as I had. With reluctance, he passed it on to Aaron, who also had a similar reaction. By the time everyone at the table had tried it, there was none left.
Sirius, who had downed his butterbeer in two sips, was already bored. I finished mine shortly after and joined him on the bored list.
"I wanna go!" I whined.
"I’ll go with you," Aaron offered, getting up.
"Drinks were my treat," James said, getting up to pay. "Padfoot, mate, why don’t you wait for me?"
Aaron and I left The Three Broomsticks alone and headed down the gusty street together. We were about to head into Zonko’s when Aaron pulled me aside. "Listen," he said softly. "There’s something I’ve been trying to say to you for a couple weeks now."
I smiled in excitement, having an inkling of what he was going to say. I was absolutely stoked; the first guy I had really liked, liked me back!
He made a few protesting noises in his throat before he said, "The thing is, Anna, I really, really like you."
I smiled broadly and took his hands in mine. "Well thank goodness for that, because I’d feel a bit unloved if I liked you and you didn’t like me back."
He smiled and let go of only one of my hands. We continued into Zonko’s, fingers laced. "So," he said as we were browsing the shelves, waiting for the Marauders to catch up. "What are we going to do about our predicament?"
I looked at him oddly. "What predicament?"
"Well," he said, as if it was obvious. "We’re in different years, and different houses, and we like each other."
I failed to see the predicament, and the big deal he was making out of it.
"I don’t know," I shrugged.
The Marauders chose that opportune moment to appear around the corner and yell in joy at finding us. Remus saw our hands and gave me a slight smile. James nodded in congratulations and Peter did the same as James. I fleetingly wondered if he knew why he was nodding at me.
Sirius did not seem as pleased but whispered, "Congratulations," in my ear anyway.
I spent probably more money than I should have on what Aaron called, "Pointless joking items."
"They’re not pointless if they make someone laugh," I explained.
He nodded. "Now there’s a point."
"You ready to go?" I asked, after I had handed over a few galleons and sickles to the shop owner.
"I’m up for whatever you are," he said.
"Back to the castle?" I asked.
"Of course," he said. This aggravated me slightly, him being so compliant, but with our hands laced, we made our way back to Hogwarts.
We were enjoying light banter when Aaron stopped the conversation dead. "So, this predicament."
What had come in an undertone before was more prominent now. I felt closed in, like Aaron was pushing me to solve this predicament and attach myself to him. And to be honest, I no longer wanted to solve it.
I groaned inwardly. This guy, the guy that I had liked so much; so much that I had even let him into the little, happy life I led with the Marauders, and within seconds I no longer wanted to be near him.
"Well, we should just, er, see what happens," I told him, trying to get him off my back. Aaron shrugged.
In the next few days I figured that what he wanted was commitment. And over those same days, as I was late, time after time for meeting him, and constantly found myself wishing that I was planning a prank, or riding my new broom, or just being able to get up from his presence as I pleased, like I could with the Marauders; I realized that commitment was exactly what I could not give him.
"Remus, can I talk to you?" I asked him one day. It was late at night, I had already sent a message to Aaron telling him that I was going to sleep, but I had no intentions of it.
He turned to me and rolled his eyes. "Please tell me you’re not going to get all serious on me."
"Did you ever think about the irony that the least serious person in the world has a name that sounds like the word serious?" I asked, getting sidetracked. I took a look at Remus face; he obviously knew that was not what I had wanted to talk about. "Right, sorry; staying on track."
I took a deep breath. "Let’s do this quick," I said. "So I can go back to being stupid. Okay. I really, really liked Aaron up until he told me that he liked me and now I feel like I’m obligated to be near him and he’s pushing for more obligation. And until he told me he liked me I wanted to be near him, and didn’t feel obligated." I said this all quickly, but Remus, who had experienced dealing with a stressed me before, caught it all.
Before he could speak, I said, "Wow. That feels a lot better."
"You need to tell him," Remus said.
I looked down towards the ground. "I know."
"He’s a good guy," Remus told me. "You can’t keep him going like this."
"I know that too," I said. "And I want to be free of this.
"You know, dammit, I really thought that he was going to last for a while."
Remus smiled sadly. "It’s a right shame too. He was Head Boy; we haven’t been getting as many detentions lately."
I laughed. "If you like the benefits so much, you go out with him," I suggested.
"No thanks," said Remus, laughing. "He’s not my type."
Laughing, I made it to the top of the girls staircase. I turned back around and looked Remus in the eye. Well, I looked him in the eye as best as I could from so far away. "Thanks."
He only nodded in response and went up his own spiralling staircase to the boys’ dormitory.
The next day, after a more restful sleep, I met Aaron down at breakfast, seventeen minutes later than I had told him.
"Sorry, I’m late," I said.
"It’s alright," he said kindly. "I’ve come to expect it. In fact, I think I’d be a bit disappointed if you showed up on time."
I gave a small nervous laugh. "Listen, Aaron, er. Well. The thing of it is. Hmm."
I stopped, thinking of how to put it. I decided to tell him the whole truth. "I was more comfortable with you when we were friends, and I’m sorry, I just can’t deal with obligations, as you can see, from my chronic lateness. Not that I’m not late to everything else as well but-"
Luckily, Aaron was fairly smart, and picked up on my subtle break-up with him. "I only expected as much," he admitted. "You’ve been distant ever since I told you. I only wish I wouldn’t have worked up that courage to find that you felt differently."
"But I did like you, I really did. You have no idea how much," I told him. "Just until I found out you liked me as well."
He nodded and smiled a bit sadly at me. He kissed me quickly on the cheek and gave a quick wave.
"Feeling better?" asked a voice in my ear.
I turned to see Remus, and I nodded eagerly. "So much," I told him.
"Hey, where’s the Head Boy?" Sirius asked when he got to the table.
I smiled, knowing he’d be pleased with the news. "No longer joining us here."
"Really?" asked Sirius hopefully. I laughed at my rightness.
I nodded. "Good."
"Then how about a pancake eating contest," I suggested, "and this time there’s no one to interrupt us and telling us to hurry."
"You’re on, love," he replied, before spearing a large stack of chocolate chip pancakes and putting them on his plate. I did the same. We both drenched our stacks in maple syrup before James counted down and we both dove in.
Yes, I thought, it feels good to be back into the normal routine.