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Chapter 5: 5. Red Dress
Image by: Jenna at TDA
Chapter 5: Red Dress
"SHIT!" Anna cursed loudly, as she threw outfit after outfit on the floor. She couldn't find the black dress she had especially for these rare fancy moments - and it was the only dress she owned.
She had sold her two fancy dresses she had ever owned; the Masquerade gown, and the graduation gown. She had got a nice price of them, and she wasn't a sentimental person unlike Lily, who probably had her dresses framed somewhere.
Anna glared at the door as she heard Cat and Sirius laugh loudly at something funny on the telly. Oh, how she wanted to pull on her old pair of sweats and just crawl under a blanket in the armchair, and--
She wanted to go to Signor Pucci's, she wanted to spend a romantic evening with Alex, she wanted to for once dress up, and she wanted to do it right.
But most of all, she really wanted to really want all that.
Anna's face spread into a victorious grin, as she saw a glimpse of the silky dress right under her old Hogwarts books. She took a hold of it, and pulled.
Her grin froze, as she heard the horrible sound of silk ripping. She carefully managed to shove the books aside, and pick up the ruined dress - and let her mouth fall open in shock. The beautiful dress was torn all the way from the hem up to the narrow waistline, and there was no hope for it to survive - and Anna sure as hell wouldn't use magic!
"Damn it, damn it, damn it..." she chanted, as she threw the dress aside, glancing at the clock - she would be late for sure. "Cat!" she called, and snatched an overbig t-shirt from the floor, which she pulled over her head on her way out. "Cat, can I rummage your closet?"
"Be my guest, love," Cat said, and waved her hand at Anna.
Anna nodded with a grateful smile, and hopped quickly across the room and into Cat's messy room, feeling Sirius' eyes on her the entire time.
If there was one thing Cat was very specific of, then it would be the sorting and folding of her clothes; nothing and no one could ruin them, not if she had a say in it. With a smile, Anna shook her head as she saw three boxes of clothes standing in the corner, while the rest of the things were sprawled all over the floor.
Almost letting the panic of getting late take her over, she pulled off her t-shirt, and snatched the first dress from one of the boxes, pulling it on.
"Cat!" she called loudly, hopping around to get the zipper up. "Shit, shit, shit... CAT!" she roared, and spun around as she heard the door creak. "Cat, could you--"
"Whoa," Sirius let out, his eyes wide as he stared at the dumbstrucked Anna, half dressed in the tiny, red dress.
"This..." Anna started awkwardly, feeling her cheeks burn. "This is not what it looks like!" she exclaimed feebly, trying to cover the exposed skin as much as possible by pulling up the dress - only to reveal more of her legs.
"Whoa, though," Sirius said quietly, and leaned against the door. "Need help w-with that... that...?" he stammered, nodding at her with raised eyerbows, not quite finding the rights words.
"The zipper? Oui. Help from you? Non," Anna shot back, wrinkling her nose in distaste.
"You're going to a Spanish place, not French," Sirius pointed out coolly, not one bit taken back by her reluctant tone.
"Fine," she caved in, and spun around with a suffering look on her face. "Make it fast, please."
"Always," she heard him say, as he walked up behind her. Anna held her breath as soon as she saw him lower his hand, and watched his face the entire time. He took one look at the zipper, before looking up at her, meeting her gaze in the mirror. He smiled quickly, and slowly slid up the zipper, his fingers brushing against her bare skin. Anna felt her heart beat faster and faster, her blood pumping wildly through her veins. As she heard the zipper click shut, she stopped breathing all together, and flinched away from his touch. She spun around and stared right into his eyes, blushing again as she realized how close he was. "There," he murmured, his bright eyes boring into her dark ones. Anna swallowed quickly, as Sirius lowered his eyes to her lips, and then back to her wide eyes. "Anna..."
Anna jumped away from him with a wild look in her eyes. "I'm late," she breathed, and snatched the black high heels from the floor and rushed out from the room. Cat sat in the living room with a bucket of ice cream in one hand, a spoon sticking straight up from it, and with a bottle of Firewhiskey in the other hand, just as Anna ran through the room towards the front door. She looked up with raised eyebrows as Anna continued without saying a word, and then turned her cat-like eyes accusingly at Sirius who followed Anna.
"What the hell did you do, Black!?" Cat barked, twisting around in the sofa to look after them. "Oi! Black! What did you do!? Anna, what did he do!?" she yelled, trying to get their attention - with no success. "DOES ANYONE CARE WHAT I HAVE TO SAY!?"
"NO!" both Anna and Sirius exclaimed loudly, just as Anna wrenched up the door. "See you, Cat," Anna said quietly, just as Sirius caught the door with his hand, stopping Anna's way with a firm look.
"Sorry," he whispered, his eyes wide at her reaction from earlier.
"Are you?" Anna said icily, before shoving past him while gritting her teeth.
"A reservation under the name 'Volchok'," Anna told the charming looking hostess, with startling red hair.
For a second Anna thought it was Lily, until she got a better look at her face; it was too pointy to be Lily's - Lily had a beautiful, warm heart-shaped face and freckles.
And Lily's eyes got red and puffy of eyeliner.
"Volchok... Volchok... Volchok..." the hostess chanted, and let her long finger slide down the several pages. "Ah! Right this way, miss."
Anna smiled faintly, and tried her best to keep up with the hostess' fast walk, while looking somewhat elegant among the ancient looking dinner guests in the bright room. She felt all of the eyes on her, and she realized they were examining her. Obviously this was a place where certain people were regular customers, and any newcomer was a victim - new blood - for the fancy pant hyenas.
"This is your table," the hostess said, and gestured to the small table with two chairs opposite of each other. There were candles on the table, and one single red rose on one of the plates. Anna assumed it was her seat, and she moved towards it. Before she could pull out the chair, a young looking man had hurried up behind her, and pulled out the chair for her, while another one helped her remove her coat.
"T-thank you," Anna stamered, amazed by the gestures of politeness.
"Miss," they chorused, and bowed their heads in a deep bow, while backing away into the shadows.
"If there's anything you might want to order," the hostess said, and Anna looked up at the girl. "Then Javier is here to attend every possible wish you might have."
Anna couldn't help but stare; did this really happen to her?
"O-okay," she whispered, and slowly closed her mouth she had left wide open. "Thanks..."
The hostess bowed her head once, and returned her station by the front of the restaurant, greeting new guests in. Anna moved nervously in her seat, brushing a curl behind her ear as she glanced around. She met the eyes of a curious looking old woman, who quickly looked away and whispered something to the man sitting next to her. Anna blushed deeply, as the man gave her a long look, before whispering back to the woman.
With a sigh, Anna picked up the rose from the plate and rolled it between her fingers with her thoughts elsewhere. She truly hated roses. She hadn't always hated them, really. It just seemed so... weird and unfamiliar to get a single rose from anyone but Sirius.
Afterall, it had been their thing.
But Alex couldn't know, right? It wasn't his fault.
Anna leaned her chin against her palm, and turned her head to the side to stare expectantly at the door. She hoped to see Alex rush in, looking as charming as ever with his hair combed back, while searching for her with his bright eyes. She smiled at the thought, and let out a small chuckle.
She jumped a little, as she heard a 'hmph!' from the table next to hers. She looked slowly around, and stared at the old lady with the ugliest dress Anna had ever seen in her entire life. It reminded Anna of a purple chicken suit, matched with a similar humongous hat. Anna raised her eyebrows at the woman's expression, which was anything but warm and welcoming, and only got an ungraceful scoff as a response.
"She looks like a cheap prostitute in that so called dress," the lady hissed to her friend, who nodded in agreement, while glancing at Anna over her glasses.
"You don't say, Hilda."
"I'm telling you, Gertrude," the first woman said. "The teenagers today... ugh, no sense of style and timing at all! Like my sister's grandchild, Marlene - I told you about Marlene, did I not, Gertrude? The teacher? Well, she's marrying some Lord knows how old man, who could practically be my husband!"
"Goodness gracious!" Gertrude gasped, clutching her chest.
Anna could feel her face turn bright red, as she swiveled back around in her seat, trying her best to not look guilty at eavesdropping. What were the odds that Marlene and Cat's great-auntie - the only squib for over two hundred centuries - happened to be at the same restaurant as Anna at the same night she was about to have a nice dinner with her boyfriend?
Yeah, talk about bad luck.
"Can I get you something, miss?" the man who had pulled out Anna's chair, Javier, asked smoothly, and smiled a small smile - obviously trying to flirt for more tip.
"No, thanks," Anna said and shook her head a little. "I'm waiting for my boyfriend, he should be here any minute now..."
Javier's smile faded a little, as he nodded politely. "Very well, miss."
"Thanks anyway," Anna said quickly, before Javier disappeared from sight.
Now she could only wait for Alex.
"More water, miss?" Javier asked in a flat voice.
"Yes, please," Anna whispered quietly, and stared blankly at the half-plucked rose between her fingers. She tore her concentration from the rose just to watch Javier pour yet another glass of water to her, before smiling faintly, and returning back to her rose plucking ceremony.
It had been two hours now, and no sign of Alex. No message of being late, nothing. She had stopped bothering Josephine, the hostess, about the matter for over fifteen minutes ago, constantly requesting her to check if there had been any phone calls from Alex.
Of course he wouldn't call, though. Alex was a pureblood, he barely knew how to use an oven, so how the hell would he know how to use a phone? Surely someone in his family or company knew how to work a phone - why hadn't he called, then? Was he really that ignorant and full of himself to leave her waiting like that for hours, without letting her know that he was going to be late?
No, that was not the Alex Anna knew.
"He loves me," she whispered, and pulled out a red pedal from the rose, and let it fall down on the shiny plate covered with the already plucked pedals. "He loves me... not," Anna mused, and pulled out another one.
She heard the door open, and she looked up with a hopeful look on her face. To her great disappointment, it was just a dark haired girl who had just entered the restaurant, and was greeted by her boyfriend with a loving kiss and embrace.
She secretly envied her. It was supposed to be her! She was supposed to be greeted like that by Alex, and not sit around, waiting for him to show up. He knew better than to leave her waiting like this with no note of being late.
Yet, Anna couldn't help but wonder if life would've been different if she had made other choices.
Before the 'what could've been' thoughts could even form a place in her mind, she shoved them out as rudely as a French chef would throw out a stinking rat, and stood up, grabbing her purse as she clutched the rose in her hand.
"Leaving so soon, miss?" Javier asked, already helping her with her coat.
"Yes," Anna said and sniffed, trying to keep the angry tears away until she was outside. "If he... if he ever shows up, tell him I waited for him. Tell him, I'm done waiting!"
"Yes, miss," Javier said quietly, and watched as Anna dropped the rose on the plate.
"Thank you," Anna whispered, and shuffled her way out from the restaurant, ignoring Josephine's calls after her.
Anna crashed out on the street, and inahaled deeply as she closed her eyes, trying to calm down. So he had forgot to show up, so what?
She could've been spending a nice evening with Cat, watching old movies, gossip about all kinds of things, drink Butterbeer and Firewhiskey, stuff her face with ice cream and whatnot - and what did she end up doing? Waiting hour after hour for a guy who never showed up.
Yes, that was indeed worth it.
With a bitter taste in her mouth, she slowly leaned down, and pulled off her high heels, carrying them in her hand instead. Why bother to look nice when there was no one to look nice for?
With a sigh, Anna glanced around, still hoping to see Alex come running downt he street with some bloody good excuse for being a total arse, before finally giving up all hope in the male population, and started for home, where she knew Cat would wait up with an un-corked bottle of Firewhiskey - just what she needed right now.
"It's just me," Anna called quietly with a hollow voice, as she closed the front door behind her.
"Hey," Cat said, glancing over her shoulder with wide eyes. "What are you doing here? We thought--"
"He never showed up," Anna whispered, and walked to the living room, where both Cat and Sirius were sprawled on the sofa, Cat in one end and Sirius in the other.
"He didn't even call?" Cat asked with a confused expression.
"Nope," she said and shrugged. "I don't really care... it's not like I dressed up for it, or anything..."
Cat scoffed in disbelief, and kicked Sirius' feet down. "Come join us, yeah?"
"No, I think... I'll just go to bed..."
"Oh, come on!" Cat called out, grimacing. "Don't be such a pain in the ass! Sit down, and watch the movie with us!"
"Depends on the movie," Anna said hesitantly, and narrowed her eyes as she looked at the screen.
"'Gone With the Wind'" Sirius said quietly, and continued to stare at the screen with a blank look on his face.
"Ick," Anna said shortly.
"Hey, it's a classic!" Cat said, looking offended. "And your favourite."
"Fine, I'll just go and change," Anna said with a small smile and walked to her room.
She slowly stepped out from her dress, and let it stay on the floor with the shoes. Anna pulled her curls in a loose bun, and pulled on her holey pajama pants, and a loose t-shirt. With a look of a martyr, she returned to the living room, where Cat was arguing quietly with Sirius - and they both fell silent when they heard Anna close the door.
"Sit!" Cat demanded, and shoved Sirius rudely aside.
"Sit, damn it," Cat said through gritted teeth.
Anna glared back, but walked reluctantly over to the sofa, and sat betweent he two of them. She stared at the screen without really following what was happening - she mainly tried to remember how to breathe normally, and not think about who was sitting on her left side.
After twenty minutes of silence, Cat yawned and stretched, which made Anna jump. "Boy! I think it's time I got my butt to bed now!" Cat said, and stood up. Anna followed her example, only to get shoved back down by Cat. "No, no! You sit down and watch the movie!"
"G'night!" Cat cut off.
Anna stared at the screen, her lips pursed tightly together. She had no intentions to talk with Sirius - but why didn't she just leave then? No. She didn't want to give him the satisfaction of her being awkward around him, no, no. If anyone should leave, it would be Sirius!
"Interesting movie," Sirius mused quietly, staring at the screen with the same boring expression as Anna.
"Sure," she said, and pursed her lips tightly together again.
Why had she caved and talked to him? She should be angry at him for being such a... such a... what? He hadn't done anything - not actually.
"I thought you would've stayed over at his place," Sirius continued, and Anna blinked at his comment.
"Well, obviously, I didn't, since he didn't even bother to show up," she shot dryly. "Now, can we please just watch the movie?"
"I thought you didn't like it," he said, and grinned at Anna's blush. "So, what went wrong tonight, at the restaurant?"
"None of your freakin' business, Black," Anna growled, and snapped her head around, glaring straight at him.
"Ooh, someone's grumpy!" Sirius said darkly, and looked back at the telly. "Forgot to take your beauty nap?"
Anna sighed heavily, and narrowed her eyes as Scarlet O'Hara threw herself in her true love's arms - Anna was starting to get annoyed by her pathetic behaviour, but she didn't comment on it.
"Not that you need any..." Anna heard Sirius whisper, and for a second, she couldn't remember how to breathe.
Which probably explained why she blurted out the massive wave of unthinkable things right then and there.
"When will you actually get over it!?" she asked sharply.
"What?" Sirius asked, giving her a confused look.
"The fact that I'm with him, not you?" Anna said. "I thought we had a deal, right? I thought, you know, that we would help each other out and move on? Wouldn't that be fair for everyone?"
"Just because I agreed on some stupid deal thing, doesn't mean I actually agree with all the terms you lay out there!" he said loudly. "Do you really think I actually would let you go, give up on you - again? Do you expect me to be stupid enough to do the same mistake - again!?"
"Yes!" Anna called out, and stood up at the same moment Sirius did. "I am happy, and that should be enough to keep you satisfied - and away! Yes, I agreed to live with you, but don't you even think for one second that this will be carved in stone - our situation is temporary!"
"What 'situation'!?" Sirius asked and raised his brows. "The fact that you still have the hots for me, eh? Because, you know, that's nothing new - otherwise you wouldn't react this violently to every little thing I say or do!"
"I love Alex!" Anna roared, just as Cat barreled back to the living room, her curls flying wildly after her as she went to break them apart. "And I will marry him, so don't for one second think that I feel anything for you! That ship sailed long time ago, along with all the hopes of ever getting along with you like a normal human being!"
"Good!" Sirius yelled, and took a furious step closer, ignoring little Cat who tried to shove him back by his shoulders. "Because you're the last person I would ever be with, anyway!"
"Stop it - both of you!" Cat tried to tell them, but Anna and Sirius just glared at each other without even noticing Cat.
"I'll be out by the end of the month," Anna hissed, and narrowed her eyes. "Good thing we could have this talk before I unpacked my things."
"Yeah, wouldn't want you to be stuck here for too long," he snarled back, giving her a cold look.
Anna huffed, and lift her chin up. She glanced at Cat, who glared furiously at Anna. "Sorry, Cat..." she muttered, before dashing towards her own room.
"You come back here, Anna Bea Parker!" Cat called after her, just as Anna slammed the door in her face. Anna sat down on her temporary bed - the old mattress - and folded her arms, just as Cat came stomping in, slamming the door behind her with more power than Anna had. "You're such an idiot, Anna!" she yelled, and got a cold glare from Anna. "Why did you have to go and start a fight with him!?"
"HE STARTED IT!" Anna exclaimed with wide eyes at her friend's comment.
"Oh, yeah?" Cat asked sarcastically. "And surely, you said nothing to push him over the edge?"
"No," Anna said hesitantly, and pursed her lips - she was done talking, because she knew she would just make things worse from now on.
"Anna," Cat sighed, and walked slowly to her, and sat down next to her. "You have to... understand something..." Anna didn't look at her, but didn't cut her off, either. Cat took this as a sign to continue. "Are you really that stupid?" she asked, and didn't wiat for Anna to answer. "Can't you seriously see what this is all about, huh? Can't you see, that no matter what kind of deal you two made, he'll never be able to truly let go of you - I mean, come on! You two had a pretty intense history, and as cliché as this sounds, you'll never get over your first love - not completely."
"What would you know about true love?" Anna whispered harshly.
"Because I'm still not over my first love," she answered gently, and wrapped her arms around Anna's shoulders.
This took Anna by surprise. She knew that Remus still had feelings for Cat, but that Cat still... well, Anna had lost all hopes of them ever getting back together.
"Because I can't!" Cat cried out, and pulled her arm away, and folded them just like Anna. "I can't, Anna..."
"He didn't really lie to you, Cat," Anna pointed out. "Not technically..."
"You sound like my mum," Cat grumbled. "When I told her, she called me an 'idiotic little girl with words larger than herself'."
"Your mum knows about--"
"Of course," Cat cut off before Anna could finish her question. "I had to tell her why Remus didn't come over anymore, and she knows whenever I'm lying to her. She didn't tell dad, though - he would throw a fit, I suppose..."
"Because of the werewolf thing, or the fact that he broke your heart?"
"Naah," Cat said and smiled a little. "He would be terribly upset that he'll be stuck with me for a little longer now - he put all his faith in Remus, and now he has to pair me up with some other bloke... it's rather amusing, actually..."
Anna smiled a little, as she watched Cat's solemn expression. For a second, she felt like the teenage girl she had once been - carefree, happy, and still so young and innocent. How had the time slipped away so fast? Was she really a responsible adult now, who had to make serious decisions that would probably change her entire life?
"Anyway," Cat said suddenly, and nudged Anna. "Just... think about what I said. Don't do anything... radical and stupid just yet. Not without letting it go through me, yeah?"
"So, no eloping, then?" Anna said and chuckled.
"Not if you want to live to experience the honeymoon," Cat said with a serious tone, before smirking. "Nothing against Alex, of course - just trying to keep you from doing something you'll probably regret."
"Thanks," Anna said truthfully, and nudged Cat back. "You know, we really need to go bed shopping tomorrow..."
"Want to drag Alex with you? You could test drive some beds," Cat teased.
"So much for keeping me from doing anything stupid..."
Cat giggled along with Anna, and shook her head. "We have to take Lily with us - it's been so long since we last had a real girls' day!"
Anna couldn't agree more.
A/B: Ah, so sorry for the wait - I'm experiencing a post-pregnancy writer's block. And yes, that's a common disease that people get... :D No, quite honestly, I've been too tired to update. Sorry. A long chapter with drama, drama, and more drama, though! I can't believe I did it again - me with my mood-swing-OC's! xD So sorry for that - can't help it once it hits my creative side... it's like watching Titanic sink in slowmotion before your own eyes, ain't it? Horrible and unavoidable!
- Lily xxx