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Chapter 56: I Left My Conscience (Stupid Conscience)
To the love, I left my conscience pressed
Between the pages of the Bible in the drawer
"What did it ever do for me" I say (I say, I say, I say)
-Fall Out Boy
I loved being at James’ and Anna’s houses. It was awesome. There was always something going on.
At James’ house, some well-known person or another was paying a visit, or you’d walk into a room and unexpectedly find Lily and James romping. Either that or Mr. and Mrs. Potter would have some sort of family game night cooked up; that was always fun.
At Anna’s house, well, her Dad was an absolute riot. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say his nonchalant, ‘I-don’t-give-a-shit’ attitude was a result of him dipping into the stuff a bit.
Hell, who knows - maybe I don’t know any better.
Anyways, there was her Dad, and her Mum, who got worked up so easily; it was funny to watch her explode. And, of course, there was Jason, the twenty-something older brother that was debatably more immature than Anna herself.
Ah, yes. I do believe I like it here.
It was one o’clock in the afternoon and the start of July when I yawned appreciatively of my good sleep and rolled right off my cot. I groaned at the rude awakening.
“Wake up, dumbarse! We’re going to the beach!”
Ah, and who could forget the beach. I’d never been to one before the two weeks we’d spent at Anna’s house. “Where are the guys?” I wondered aloud, observing the room and noticing not a single sleeping body.
“Damon had to go home for the weekend and the Marauders are . . .” The long pause pretty much told me that whatever came out of Anna’s mouth would be a complete, and total lie. “Learning how to fly!”
“Learning how to fly,” I repeated, unable to believe that Anna could come up with an excuse quite as ridiculous and lame as that.
“Yup. Now get your suit on - we’re going!” She turned around and left the room, shutting the door for me on the way out. I heard the muffled sound of her own door closing.
I hummed to myself as I pulled my pair of swim trunks out of my trunk and quickly changed into them. I threw a casual, collared shirt on and slipped my feet into my sandals before heading out into the hallway to wait for Anna. (For once, it was me waiting for her.)
She bounded out of her room a minute after me, and I had to avert my eyes at first, and mentally prepare myself to look back at her. She had on a bright, red bikini top (that was, quite honestly, most likely made for someone of a smaller chest size than her) and the white sarong that was tied around her waist exposed a bit of black, which I could only assume was the swim suit bottom.
Oh, dear. In the history of bad ideas, going to the beach with Anna - alone - is definitely up there somewhere near Nuclear warfare.
“Ready?” she asked, adjusting the half-skirt in a way that made even more of her leg visible.
I nodded, and started down the stairs before Anna could get in front of me. If I had to watch her from behind while she walked at the moment, well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be good.
When we got down the stairs, I made my way to the kitchen, where Anna met me a few moments later, dragging her giant beach bag on the ground behind her. She stopped when she reached the door that led to the basement, and glared angrily at the bag.
“Fuck this!” she yelled, and grabbed only two towels and the volleyball out of the bag. “Is Jason here?” she asked me, after she had kicked the bag out of her way.
I shrugged. “I dunno.”
“Jason!” she screeched. Damn. For such a little girl, she makes a lot of noise.
There was no answer.
“Good.” She dropped the ball and the towels and picked up one of the kitchen chairs. “Go to the sink,” she demanded.
Nutter, I thought, before complying. “Now take three steps.” So I did.
She carried the chair over to where I was standing and hopped up on top of it. “Still. Can’t. Reach.”
She jumped down, glaring at the chair and told me to climb up onto it and tap the ceiling three times. I did, and to my surprise, a small square of the ceiling popped open on a hinge. “Now feel around up there until you feel keys.” I did so, and smiled triumphantly when my fingers hit cold metal. I pulled them out and Anna smiled excitedly.
“Good. Good. Now just close that and I’ll put the chair back and then we’ve got to leave.”
Anna quickly dragged the chair back to the table and grabbed the keys from me. I picked up the towels and the volleyball and followed her as she charged noisily down the stairs. We walked quickly through the basement until we got the garage, where the Jeep CJ stood.
“Yes,” Anna whispered. She turned to me as she pulled open the garage door and said, “I was worried that Jason was going to take it somewhere. My whole family’s been extra cautious ever since I took the car for a little joyride a couple of summers ago. It was completely harmless - I swear.”
I bet it was. “Nothing’s ever harmless with you,” I pointed out.
She shrugged and swung herself into the driver’s seat. I cautiously hopped into the passenger seat and buckled my seatbelt. Merlin knew I would need that things help. “Do you even know how to drive this thing?” I asked, as Anna started up the car.
“Didn’t I just tell you I’ve driven it before?” Anna replied, as she checked her mirrors and judged her angles.
“That doesn’t mean you actually know what you’re doing,” I pointed out. I was praying that there would be no crashes today; the CJ had no doors - nothing to protect us from the perils of Anna’s potentially bad driving skills.
“Calm down. Gosh, Darren, when did you become such a worry wart?”
“It’s your fault,” I accused, as I shut my eyes tightly; Anna was backing out of the garage - a feat that I did not trust her with. “You and the Marauders; you lot made me go soft.”
And it was true! I hadn’t slept with a single girl the past year, the only person (besides Anna) that I’d snogged all year was some Fifth year Hufflepuff named Maria - and then I had to stop because I barely knew her and it made me feel bad.
I mean - what the hell!? Seriously!
I hadn’t realized I’d been holding my breath until I started to feel extremely dizzy, and bright, white lights flashed under my closed eyelids. I let go of the breath I was holding and gasped for air. But my eyes had opened to a pleasant surprise, Anna had managed to back up, and then put the car into drive without crashing.
“Alright, this is good . . . No one’s dead yet.”
I probably just spoke too soon . . .
Shortly after, I had reason to believe that I was right. As soon as Anna pulled out of her driveway, she slammed on the gas and started propelling the car (which really isn’t all the aerodynamic, and probably wasn’t exactly meant as a race car) forward at an increasingly fast speed.
“Anna. Anna! Don’t you think you should slow the car down a bit?”
She shook her head vigorously, with a maniacal grin on her face. “Nope. Slowing the car down is for lame-os!”
Merlin, help us.
By some amazement, we’d managed to entertain ourselves at the beach for seven hours. Honestly, I never would have believed that I’d be able to spend seven hours in one spot with a bloody gorgeous girl like Anna and not snog and/or shag her. I amaze myself sometimes.
Granted, I had to try and drown myself in the salty, tangy water when she took of her sarong, dove into the waves, and then traipsed back to me soaking wet like nothing had happened.
Merlin, how have the Marauders been friends with her for all these years and not jumped her bones?
Of course, Anna’s tactlessness had rubbed off on me, so I asked her that same question.
I think she thought I was joking. But, she laughed and answered, “I wasn’t always this hot, trust me.”
I found it hard to believe. “Is there photographic evidence of that?”
“Oh, yes,” she answered, lying out on her stomach in the sand. “But there’s no way you’ll get to see it. Ask the guys, if you really want to know. They’re always brutally honest like that.”
As my eyes traveled down the side of her body - from her thick, black, curly hair, to her ample chest, down her shining, tan back, over her curvy bum and down her legs - I still couldn’t believe that, at one time, Anna didn’t have that body that was built for sin.
If only she’d use it . . .
“I was like the ugly duckling that turned into the swan,” Anna explained. I suppose, though, I had to believe Anna when she said it.
I mean, she obviously thinks a lot of herself, so, why would she lie?
“Come on,” Anna urged, jumping back up. “Let’s go in the water!”
“Didn’t you just come from there?” I asked, groaning, as she tugged at my wrist.
“Yes, but I’m not ready to nap yet and I can’t just lay around.”
I surveyed the beach as Anna pulled me along the sand. Almost all the girls at the beach were doing exactly that - lying around. Not moving, not making it unbearable for me to watch as certain body parts that called the upper torso area home bounced up and down.
Anna let go of my wrist as she pounded over the last bits of wet sand and splashed into the wavy water again. “Come on!” she called. “Get in!”
I shook my head. “It’s going to take me a while - it’s cold.”
“Get your arse over here, lame-o!” she shouted, before diving under the water again.
She really likes to call me that, doesn’t she?
I grumbled and shivered my way through the water until I reached Anna. “Anyone ever tell you that you catch more flies with honey?”
“Nope.” She waded farther out into the water, and I was temporarily saved from having to ignore the sight of her body. Not that looking at her from the neck up wasn’t something - her Mediterranean skin had a crisp, summer tan; her cheeks and nose were slightly sun burnt, and therefore even more rosy than usual.
And that’s how the majority of the afternoon went - Anna being her oblivious self, and me trying to keep my mind out of the gutter. (And, of course, failing miserably.)
We were lying out on the sand, watching the sunset, as Anna had insisted. “I’ve never been here this late before; I want to watch it.” So we were next to each other, on our backs. I had to admit, the sunset was rather nice-looking.
The dark bluish water looked black in the light, and layers of orange and red adorned the sky as the glowing ball of sun sunk lower into the horizon.
“So, I heard you and Damon having been hooking up,” I brought up, for lack of better thing to talk about. I’d been meaning to ask her about it eventually, and now seemed as good a time as any.
Maybe she doesn’t want to talk about it . . . What am I saying? She’s Anna - of course she doesn’t want to talk about it.
“Nope. We snogged once for a bit last Christmas, and he’s rather good-looking, and I’m attracted to him, so it seemed like a good a thing as any to do.”
I laughed, I couldn’t help it; Anna was starting to sound like me. It was like we’d switched roles.
“Man, I wish you were this loose with your morals back when we were hooking up.”
Anna laughed; I was glad. As soon as it had come out of my mouth, I had worried that Anna might’ve been weirded out by it. But I should have known better; Anna is the one who does the weirding out. “Do you?” she asked.
“Er . . . Is this a trick question?”
“I dunno. It depends on your answer.”
Where is that nutter going with this?
“Then how about we make up for it now?”
Woah . . . Wooaaaah!
“Woaaahh!” I jumped up, forgetting that Anna had forbid me from getting up until the sun was completely set. I backed up a meter from Anna and pointed my finger accusingly at her. “What the hell!? Who are you - and why have you stolen my personality?!”
Oh crap! Oh crap! Oh crap! Oh crap!
“I haven’t stolen your personality, I’m just . . . Having a little summer fun, being a little bit bad, and snogging all the blokes I think are attractive.”
Then snog Sirius! Sirius! You’re in love with the bloody fellow!
I resisted the urge with every fiber of my being, to tell Anna what she had said those few months ago.
Dammit! Keeping a secret from the person who really should be the one to know it is so difficult!
But I had to keep cool; I had to play my part . . . And if playing my part involved snogging a bloody gorgeous girl, well, then I’d just have to take one for the team.
“Fair enough.” I sauntered forward, so that I no longer looked like I was afraid of Anna and the alien that had possessed her brain. I dropped to my knees and crawled forward to Anna, running my hands over her smooth, soft stomach before lowering my head to hers.
Her skin is so soft. Why are girls always so soft, dammit!?
My lips had barely touched her for a second before I had to pull away. The guilt of snogging some girl when she was in love with another bloke (albeit she didn’t know) was immense.
But I covered for it really well. “Didn’t you want to get the CJ home before your parents and Jason came home?”
“Crap!” she cried, quickly snatching the towels from the sand. I grabbed the volleyball that lay forgotten, a few meters away, and followed her frantically paced run to the car.
Running on sand was quite difficult, I learned. But once we got to the pavement, it was easier. We both raced through the parking lot (not worrying about other cars hitting us - we were one of the few left at the beach, as it was nearing nine o’clock) towards the Jeep.
When we got there, Anna threw our stuff in the backseat and pulled the key out from under the front seat, where she had hid it, not wanting to have to worry about losing it.
She jumped into the car, started it quickly, and slammed the car into reverse. Once we were turned around, she put the car in drive and pealed away. “What time is it?” she asked nervously.
“Eight fifty-five,” I answered, looking at the clock on the dashboard.
“Shit,” she muttered, uncharacteristically stressed.
“Any reason you’re freaking out over this?” I asked. Being Anna, I was sure that she’d gotten in trouble loads of time.
“My parents think I’m an angel,” she answered.
I laughed. Wow. Not expecting that.
“Are you shitting me?” I asked. “Don’t you get, like, a minimum of one detention per week?”
“Yeah,” she said, smiling fondly. “But no one ever owls home. And I never mess around like that when I’m home, so they’re all under the impression that I’m completely innocent.”
“So they’re also completely unaware of your sexual past with me, Damon and Sirius.”
This got an outright laugh out of her. “Yeah, that’s right.” She paused for a bit, and slowed the car down to a reasonable speed as she turned into the neighborhood of houses that she lived in. “Thanks for that, Darren. Got me calmed down a bit.”
I nodded. “No problem.
“Holy crap, watch out!”
“What!?” Anna cried and slammed on the breaks, stopping he car short and throwing us forward a bit.
Thank God for seatbelts.
She looked frantically around, wondering what it was that could have gotten me to shout that.
But I was just messing with her. “Ah, nothing. Just playing.” She spent a subsequent minute pounding me, before getting the car moving forward again.
“Eight, fifty-nine,” she said appreciatively, as she pulled into the garage and turned the car off. She sat back and sighed heavily and contently for a moment before rushing me out of the car. “Hurry!”
We stampeded back through the basement and up the stairs. Anna didn’t even have to tell me; I counted out the steps from the sink and she dragged the chair over. I popped up quickly, tapped the ceiling three time, and threw the keys back into their hiding spot just as we heard the garage door open.
Anna jumped. “Hurry, hurry! That’s my Dad! My Mum and brother will be Flooing in any minute!”
I jumped off the chair and replaced it at the kitchen table. We heard footsteps coming from behind the door.
“Act natural!” Anna cried, running off across the kitchen and into the pantry.
“Natural? How the hell do I do that?”
Anna was back over to me in a second and before I knew what was going on, there was a large smattering of chocolate frosting across my face. When Anna’s dad opened the door and walked into the kitchen a moment later, I was looking at Anna like she was a complete nutter, and said nutter was licking the chocolate off her hands.
Her dad smiled and continued through the kitchen, into the common room. “Yep, everything seems to be in order here.”
I laughed and we collapsed into a fit of laughter behind the counter. Anna offered me the tub of chocolate frosting and I dipped one of my own fingers into the mess. “That was close,” she said.
“Forget something?” Anna screamed, jumped up and hit her head on the counter.
“Ugh,” she muttered clutching her head, and glaring at Jason, who was hovering over us. “How the fuck did you get in here so quietly.”
“A lady never asks, a Jedi never tells. Now, I’ll ask again - did you forget something?” This time, he dangled something over our heads. I had to quickly cover my eyes as something sand rained down upon us.
Jason was holding the two towels and the volleyball that we had foolishly left in the back of the CJ.
“Psh. And you thought I wouldn’t know if you took that car.”
“Whoopsie.” Anna shrugged and continued eating the frosting.
“You’re lucky that you didn’t damage that car, Anna; you’re not even allowed to drive!”
Anna waved him off. “Rules, rules. What are these rules you speak of? Besides . . . If anything had happened to me and Darren, our magic could have taken care of any Muggle mess I made.”
Jason shook his head. “You never learn, do you?
“Now . . . Hand over that frosting.”
I’d changed into a pair of flannel pajama bottoms and was lounging on the big bed in the guest room in Anna’s house.
If I go to snog Anna, she’d let me . . . Do I want to snog Anna?
No, no, I assured myself. You don’t like her; you just think she’s bloody hot.
That has never stopped you before.
And that was the first time a second voice was heard in the back of my head.
But this is Anna, she’s different. And she loves Sirius, and Sirius loves her. Just because she doesn’t know that she loves Sirius is no reason to take advantage of the situation!
. . .Or is it!
I chastised the part of my brain that most resembled my old self, and remembered a time from almost a year ago.
Anna and I were snogging on my bed. Anna had gotten drastically better at snogging since we’d first hooked up. It had been a bit frustrating at first, having to mold her kissing abilities and teach her, but it had actually become rather fun, and witnessing the fine job I had done was extremely rewarding.
I was also pleasantly shocked at the little quirks of snogging that Anna had developed. She had this thing that she liked to do with her nose - whenever she wasn’t busy with her lips, she would nuzzle my neck or the side of my face, and then slowly trail it up and down. I don’t know where she came up with it, but it always got me going.
"Darren, ouch. That hurts; if it’s supposed to feel good, it doesn’t."
Okay, so, maybe Anna wasn’t in the mood for being felt up at the moment; I’d do her one better.
I pulled back from the kiss and took my hands off her chest. “Alright, then,” I said, smirking. “I’ll give you something that does feel good.”
And I would - I knew from my countless escapades with other girls that you had to round all the bases before you could get to home plate.
“Oh, Godric,” she groaned. I raised my eyebrows at her; I did have to admit, her lack of enthusiasm at some of my sexual ploys was a bit frustrating. Honestly, I’d shagged girls on the first date before; I’d been working on Anna for a good month or two and we weren't even close to that yet.
Okay, so, maybe I move a bit fast - so what?
She smirked at me. I rolled my eyes.
Well, whatever you feel like doing, Anna, you better figure it out fast, I thought.
My hands traveled up her thighs, groping gently in all the right spots, before my fingers came to a rest at the button of her jeans. I saw her eyes travel down to my hands; I briefly wondered what exactly it was she thought I was going to do.
“Do you trust me?”
She shook her head. “Not at all.”
Well, I can’t say I expected any different.
However, Anna made no move to stop me as I unbuttoned her jeans and slowly pulled them off, kissing down her leg, in a practiced, perfected manner.
Up until recently, I hadn’t become a total wimp with a guilt-ridden conscious. I could play the same moves on Anna that I could on all the other girls that never mattered.
But, unfortunately, Anna did matter. That thought, at least, made me feel a bit better. As I contemplated how to best approach her, I knew that I would have no trouble accomplishing what I was (at that time, all those months ago) unable to. I was sure that the new, sexed-up Anna would have no troubles getting into it as she had before.
Direct approach is the best, I decided. As I walked out of my room, I pushed aside my guilt towards Sirius. This is to not arouse any suspicion in Anna; you can’t let her know what she or Sirius really thinks, I told myself. It was a pitiful attempt at abating some of my monstrous guilt, but even the guilt wasn’t enough to overpower my male fantasies.
Because when I say, ‘Anna’s body was built for sin,’ I sure as hell mean it.
I opened the door to Anna’s room and jumped back, covering my eyes for decency purposes.
Decency purposes - what the hell?! This is when you jump her! Come on, Darren! I know you’re still in there somewhere!
Anna was standing with her back to me, but I still got a lovely view of her black, lacy panties, that cut off at a tantalizing angle, while still being decent enough to cover a good amount of her backside
Black lace panties . . . How un-Anna of her.
“Oh, shit!” we said at the same time. I closed the door quickly and Anna threw a plain white t-shirt over her head before opening the door again.
“Sorry ‘bout that,” Anna said, smiling as if I hadn’t just opened the door on her, mostly naked. “But it’s not like it’s anything you haven’t seen before, right?”
I laughed, immediately at ease because Anna was. Her ‘devil-may-care’ attitude about the potentially awkward situation made me remember that, somewhere, Anna was still down there, no matter how disguised by intentions of snogs and sex she was.
“Anna, can we talk?” I asked her.
“Sure,” she replied. “Let me just put some pants on and I’ll meet you in your room.”
I laughed again. Leave it to Anna to bring humor to an awkward situation.
Thank Merlin she is who she is.
I closed the door and sat down on the big bed, seeing as the Marauders were (quite suspiciously) absent. I made a note to ask Anna about it later on - it was obvious that she knew exactly where they were.
A few seconds later, Anna walked in and sat down on the bed with me, with her legs crossed, Indian-style. She looked at me, her hazel eyes waiting patiently for me to start talking. She was biting on her lower lip a bit and her eyebrows were scrunched up.
I worked over what I was going to say in my head a few times; the best way to confront Anna about her completely out-of-character behavior. “What the hell is wrong with you!?”
Okay . . . Not exactly how that was supposed to come out . . .
She looked a bit taken aback by my harshness; I don’t blame her - I would have been too. But then, she played dumb. “I don’t know what you mea-”
“Don’t even try it, Anna. You know exactly what the hell I mean. I’m not Sirius or James - you can’t trick me that easily.
“Anna, you know something’s up just as much as I do. And Remus does. And Pete does. And James does. You’re lucky no one’s told Sirius; he’d pummel Damon!”
She cast her eyes downward and I followed her gaze to a rut in the wooden floor. (The small part of it that was visible and uncovered by a trunk, bag or article of clothing.)
Well, at least she’s not denying it anymore . . .
“I know.” A-ha! She’s admitted it!
“So what’s the deal?” I asked. The amount of concern in my voice was pitiful; I’d have to remember to get my hands on a time turner, so I could go back in time and pick a fight with myself from a few years ago; I’d make sure my younger self won.
“I dunno. I’m . . . confused, I guess,” she answered, not taking her eyes off the floor. It weirded me out to see Anna in a mood like that. “I feel a bit like there’s something that I don’t know. You know, something that’s hidden under a rock in the back of my mind, and it’s nagging at me.”
I resisted that overwhelming urge to smack myself in the forehead. Isn’t it just perfect; Anna knows there’s something that she knows that she doesn’t know! . . . Oh, crap, now I sound like Anna!
“You’ll figure it out eventually,” I assured her. And then, I found myself submitting to torture. “If it’ll make you feel better, you can make me sit through Star Wars tonight. And I can go introduce you to Oliver tomorrow, before or after the Marauders get back from learning how to fly.”
Yeah, learning how to fly - what a load of crap.
“Really?!” Anna got excited again.
Phew . . . Mission accomplished.
I nodded. “Yeah.”
“Yes!” she cried, and ran excitedly out of the room and down the stairs.
Darren, my man, you are a sad, sad little person. Let me recap. Mistakes you made today: 1) turned down a snog with Anna. 2) walked out of the room and covered your eyes when you accidentally walked in on her mostly naked. 3) felt guilty and consequently talked about Anna’s feelings - though that was probably as painful for her as it was for you. 4) You just submitted yourself to two hours of the force, dumbarse.
A/N: Wooo! Darren POV! Isn’t it exciting (and slightly disturbing) to see the world the way Darren does? I had lots of fun writing this one, naturally, and can’t wait until I do it again. :D
A/N2: On another note, I’ve decided that this trilogy of stories (Polychromatic, and its two, eventual sequels) needs a name. You know, this could be Part I on the . . . whatever it’s going to be called trilogy. It makes it sound all epic and cool, you know?
A/N3: I want to give an awesome thanks to The Arethusa Got Lucky, who mostly wrote my entire new, Anniversary summary. :D And also many thanks to Tara.Seanan, who is helping me look of this and subsequent chapters. :D
A/N4: Fun facts! Hoorrraaaay! (And, in honor of this Darren and Anna chapter, the Fun Facts section is dedicated to them today.)
Anna: Fears having kids because she is afraid that she will accidentally set them on fire.
Darren: Can play the guitar and drums - there is a recording studio in his house for no reason whatsoever.
Anna: Can whistle every 1 out of every 10 times she tries.
Darren: The mother of Oliver is named Kara O’Neil.
A/N5: So, did anyone else recognize a familiar scene? It’s the Anna/Darren scene where Anna and Darren . . . get up to stuff for the first time - except from Darren’s POV!
A/N6: I just want to thank every single person who has taken the time to review this story - just as I posted this chapter, I noticed that Polychromatic has 1000 reviews. Guys, it means so much to me that you all are liking this story, and keep reading and reviewing long enough to get me to 1000-freakin-reviews. So thank you!