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Chapter 8: Pool
A/N: So before you read this, I’d just like to say THANK YOU to all my loyal readers and THANK YOU for all my reviews. I’ve got almost 300 now! You have no idea how much all these reviews mean to me, and I’m sorry if I take a while to reply. I promise you I read every single one, probably multiple times. And I’m also sorry for taking so long to update, but school is kicking my butt. I’ll try and be better about updating in the future. Anyway, on to the story!
Disclaimer: I own the plot, and Mellie, and all characters you don’t recognize, but Rowling owns the rest. Oh, I didn’t make up the “The beatings will . . .” saying, my dad has a hat that says that.
Chapter Eight: Pool
I’m sitting under the tree in my front lawn, reading Frankenstein (only ten more chapters to go), and wishing it was twenty degrees cooler, when I hear voices coming down the Potters’ driveway.
I look up from my book and see four teenage boys, all talking and joking. I spot Sirius right away, and, oh my, he’s shirtless again. I have to look back down at my book, because otherwise I’m probably going to start drooling again.
They start walking past my lawn, and then I hear Sirius’s voice.
“Oi! Mellie,” he yells from the pavement. I look up, a bit startled. Sirius is grinning widely at me, but the other boys, including James I now realize, are still talking amongst themselves. “We’re going to that pool a few streets away! Want to come?”
Wow, he really took that “tomorrow, maybe” seriously. I didn’t actually expect to hang out with him this soon. I need some time to recover from yesterday’s traumatic experiences.
But, oooh, the pool. It’s so nice and not hot. I was considering going anyway, so I yell “Sure! Let me just change!”
I dart inside and run upstairs to my room. I head to my wardrobe and then stop because I’m faced with a dilemma. What swimsuit to wear? I could wear my new two-piece, or my old swimming team one-piece. The two-piece is much more flattering, but I’ve learned from past experiences that wearing a swimsuit that easily comes off around teenage boys is a bad idea.
So I pull on the neon orange (and when I say neon, I mean it really does glow in the dark), rather hideous, one-piece that has “Hartburton” written across the chest, and put on over it cut-offs and a plain shirt. I grab my pool bag, slip on a pair of bright yellow oversize sunglasses and head downstairs. I pass Mum in the kitchen.
“I’m going to the pool,” I tell her. She puts down the paper and looks at me.
“With whom?” she asks, sounding suspicious for no good reason.
“James Potter and his friends,” I reply, inching towards the exit. I wonder if I can just make a run for it.
“Yes, Mum, boys. Four of them.” She doesn’t seem to notice my exasperation.
“You can’t go out alone with four boys! You’ll get raped!”
I sigh, but then inspiration strikes.
“What if I invite Kenzie?” I ask.
Mackenzie is my next-door neighbour, who lives to the left of me. She’s in my class at Hartburton and on the swimming team with me. She lifts weights and plays football for fun. She’s about three heads taller than me (and almost everyone else for that matter) and twice the width of me. She has a pit-bull, and a tattoo that says “I love Fang”. (That’s the pit-bull’s name.) She has thick blonde hair that she wears in two braids, which makes her kind of resemble a Viking.
Mum thinks for a second. “Fine, just be home before dark.” I give her a quick hug, and head to the door.
“Hey, Sirius?” I yell. They stop talking. “Is it okay if a friend comes too?”
“Yeah,” he yells back, and I head back inside to call Kenzie.
“Hello?” she answers. I lean against the counter and refrain from making a face and Mum, who’s busy eavesdropping on me.
“Hi, it’s Mellie,” I say cheerily. A little too cheerily, considering it’s before noon on a Friday, and during the summer, Friday is my sleep in until noon day. What’s with me?
“Oh, hi, Mellie, what’s cookin’?” Kenzie replies brightly. What’s cookin’?
“You know that James Potter kid that lives on the other side of my house?”
“The strange one with glasses?” That pretty much sums James up.
“Yeah. Well he and his friends and I are going to the pool. Want to come?”
There’s a pause, and I hear muffled talking.
“I will, if Cameron can come over too. She’s sleeping over,” Kenzie says, and I try not to sigh too loudly. Cameron also goes to Hartbuton and she’s the definition of the noun “flirt”. I have yet to figure out how her and Kenzie are possibly friends, they’re complete opposites. Example: Cameron’s a slag, and Kenzie is not. I think maybe the only reason they’re friends is because their mums are practically attached at the hip, always volunteering together and hosting boring adult parties together.
Ugh. There’s no way Sirius will even look at me when she’s around.
Not that I really want him to look at me.
Okay, fine, I want him to look at me.
“That’s cool,” I answer, even though its’ really not. I don’t want to be rude. “See you outside?”
“Okay, great. It’s so hot. We’ll be fast,” she replies and hangs up.
“Kenzie and Cameron are coming,” I tell Mum, then grab my bag and head out the door before she can say anything. I do this a lot.
Sirius smiles when he sees me. I jump over the low picket fence separating my yard from the sidewalk, and head over to him and the other blokes.
“Mackenzie, my neighbour, and her friend are coming,” I say. James seems to pale slightly.
“Isn’t that the girl with the pit bull?” he asks, sounding slightly nervous, the wimp.
I grin. Kenzie’s been my best friend since we were six and I got my Frisbee caught in a tree. She climbed all the way to the top and saved it for me. She doesn’t look like it, but she’s the nicest person in the world.
“Yup,” I reply. James gulps. Sirius ignores him. I glance over at the other two boys, who are being suspiciously quiet. One has light brown hair, is slightly shorter than Sirius, a tiny bit taller than me. He has light blue eyes, and a nice smile. He’d look kind of like a librarian, except for the wicked scar he’s got on the side of his cheek. The other boy, the shortest, has blond hair, nice brown eyes, and is bouncing on the balls of his feet.
“So, Mellie, you know James, now, meet the Marauders,” Sirius says, grinning. I stare at him dubiously.
“The ‘Marauders’? What are you, some sort of crime-fighting team?” I ask, wondering why I’m even here with these clearly mentally-unstable boys. The one of light brown hair bursts out laughing, while the short boy looks confused, and James and Sirius indignant.
“Well, it does kind of sound like that. ‘The Marauders maraud around, delivering justice wherever they go’ would be their catchphrase. I dunno, I don’t watch those types of shows!”
“I told you two it was a stupid name,” the brown-haired bloke says to James and Sirius, before sticking out his hand, which has several wicked scars on it, to me with a friendly smile. “My name’s Remus Lupin, and I apologize for my friends’ behavior in advance.”
Holy cheese! Remus is a real person! No way! Oh, that poor, poor, boy. He must hate his parents. I mean, really, naming him after some Roman mythological wolf-kid? And his last name sounds a lot like ‘Lupus’, which means ‘wolf’ in Latin. (Finally, a reason that taking Latin hasn’t been a complete waste of my time!) Those parents, they might have just been a little more blatant and named him ‘Werewolf’ or ‘Freak’ or ‘Wolf-man’ or even ‘kid who will be teased the rest of his life’.
There goes that overactive imagination again.
“Nice to meet you,” I reply to him with a smile, “and it’s a little late for apologies.”
He laughs again, and this time Sirius joins him with his barking laughter. Really, Remus and Sirius should switch laugh’s, the bark would be more appropriate with Mr. Wolfman.
“A marauder is someone who attacks and plunders! Like a bandit, or outlaw, or pirate, or something macho! Not a crime-fighting team,” James exclaims suddenly. We all look at him. That semi-normal conversation we had has been completely negated by this outburst. I think he’s lost his mind again.
“It was bothering me,” he adds by way of explanation. I just nod slowly at him. And then I suddenly realize that a much more appropriate name for their little group would be ‘The Knight’s of the Round Table’, because that would fit so much better with my theory that James thinks he’s King Arthur.
“And this is Peter Pettigrew,” Sirius says after he’s done rolling his eyes at James. Finally, a normal name! Peter grins at me.
“You don’t seem as mental as James said you were,” he says by way of greeting, and then winces when James smacks him on the head. I narrow my eyes at James, who is busy glaring at Peter and avoiding looking at me.
“Thanks, Peter, I appreciate it,” I reply, still giving James the evil-eye. I’m about to say something else about how James shouldn’t be questioning my sanity, as he’s not the most sane person around, when I hear a door slam shut and turn to see Kenzie and Cameron coming towards us.
I turn again to see the boys’, and more specifically Sirius’s, reactions to Cameron, who is wearing what must be the skimpiest bikini I’ve ever seen, and a sarong, that looks like it’s about to fall off.
I have to try really hard not to laugh when I notice James and Peter are staring nervously at Kenzie, who is looking particularly scary today in a snazzy tank top with a skull and crossbones on it that says “the beatings will continue until morale improves”, and also fails to cover the tattoo on her arm.
At then I notice Sirius isn’t looking at Cameron at all, or Kenzie for that matter, he’s looking at me. And smiling. Kind of creepily, actually. Or charmingly, depending on how you look at it.
Holy cow, his teeth are shiny.
I give a less-shiny smile of my own back at Sirius, and then turn to Kenzie and wave. She grins back, while Cameron glowers at me. She’s never really liked me very much. I bet she only came because she heard there’d be boys.
When they reach us, I introduce everybody.
“Kenzie, Cameron, this is Sirius, James, Remus, and Peter,” I say, pointing to each of the boys respectively. Cameron practically beams at them. “Marauders,” I say with a smirk, “meet Kenzie and Cameron.”
And with that, we’re on our way to the pool.
Somehow Sirius and I end up bringing up the rear, walking side by side. I honestly didn’t try and make it happen. I’m actually surprised it happened, because I was sure Cameron would finagle it so she was walking next to him/hanging on him and flirting. But hey, I’m not complaining.
“So, James, Kenzie never told me she had such an attractive neighbor.”
Well, that explains it. Cameron, for some strange reason, has decided that James will be her victim of the day. Poor bloke.
In reply, James makes a weird noise, it sort of sounds like he’s choking on his own saliva. I grin, and look over at Sirius and find he’s grinning too.
“Erm, well, thank you,” he replies haltingly, and I really wish I could see his face right now, but I can’t, because he’s walking in front of me.
“I’m just being honest,” Cameron purrs (that’s the only word I can think of to describe it anyway). She’s leaning very close to James, who, shockingly, messes up his hair. Please note the use of sarcasm there.
“So, Mellie,” Kenzie begins, oblivious to Cameron and James, “Has being locked up with your parents driven you utterly mad yet?”
I’m about to reply but I’m completely distracted by the feel of someone’s hand brushing up against mine. And I’m pretty sure that someone is Sirius. And for some reason, even though it’s a million degrees outside right now, goose bumps explode all over my hand.
That royal fool sure can be distracting.
“Er, not completely, but I’ve had to resort to actually doing my summer reading to get away from them at times,” I say, hoping I didn’t take too long to respond. Kenzie laughs.
“We have to read Frankenstein, right?” Cameron asks. Without waiting for me to say anything, she continues. “That book is so gross. Who wants to read about a hideous monster? It’s just disgusting.”
“Like the way you’re throwing yourself at James,” I mutter under my breath so that she can’t hear me. I doubt she’s even opened the book. Unfortunately, Sirius hears me, and bursts out laughing.
Five people turn to look at him, while I determinedly don’t look at him, because I’m afraid if I do, I’ll laugh too.
“What’s so funny?” Cameron asks him, looking pouty. Sirius fights to stop laughing. “Am I missing something?”
She’s missing quite a few brain cells, due to all those hairspray fumes she inhales, but I refrain from pointing this out.
After several wheezes, Sirius manages to get out, “I just got . . . a joke . . . Mellie told . . . yesterday.”
That was an exceptionally lame excuse.
“Way to be thick, mate,” James quips, shaking his head at his friend’s behavior.
“Your stupidity amazes me,” Remus says, wearily, before rolling his eyes. Kenzie and Cameron just look at Sirius like he’s mental, which he is, they’re just not use to it like everyone else is.
“So, James, how do you get your teeth so shiny?” Cameron asks once she’s gotten over Sirius’s oddness. James makes another weird choking sound, while Remus, Peter, and Kenzie, who are walking ahead, start a normal conversation between themselves.
I think my IQ level’s going to drop just listening to Cameron.
Sirius makes a hideous face at the back of her head, and I grin, glad he’s on my side. I make a more hideous at her, and Sirius smirks.
And then, being the mature seventeen year old boy he is, he mimes smacking her arse. I have to cover my mouth with my hands so no one hears me laughing.
And so I, also being mature, mime beating her head with a large club. Sirius manages to laugh silently this time.
We spend the rest of the walk there entertaining ourselves by stepping on the back of James’s trainers every time he messes up his hair.
“Water! Sweet, cold water!” James cries as he cannonballs into the deep end. I laugh as water splashes me, while Cameron shrieks. The other boys quickly cannonball in after him, while Kenzie and I burst into our swimmer dives.
Sirius seems mildly impressed when I surface. “Nice, you didn’t make a splash at all,” he comments, and I grin.
“Lots of practice,” I reply, before quickly sending a tidal wave of water towards his face. He sputters while I giggle. Behind me, I can hear Cameron squealing as she eases herself into the cold water, but I decide to ignore her, because as soon as Sirius is done getting water out of his mouth, he sends a tidal wave of his own my way. I duck, but still get some in my eyes.
While I’m blinking water out, I feel someone grab my hands and pull me into deeper water, away from the Marauders (chortle), Cameron and Kenzie. And I can’t really see, but I’m pretty sure that someone is Sirius.
“Hey now!” I protest, trying to pull my hands back. “I’m incapacitated here! You’re taking advantage of me while I’m crippled and can’t see.”
Sirius laughs. “I wouldn’t call pulling you towards the deep end ‘taking advantage of you’.”
I can finally see, and so I give him a stern look. “It depends what you intend to do after you’ve got me in the deep end.” He smirks mischievously. I note that even though we’re now treading water in the deep end, he still hasn’t let go of my hands.
“Well I was just going to ask you something, but if you’d rather me do something else, go ahead and name it,” he says and then winks. I roll my eyes at him to cover how my face is heating up.
“Oh shut it,” I say lamely. “What’d you have to ask me?”
He’s still smirking, but he answers, “I was just wondering why you hate Cameron so much.”
Ugh. I sigh and pull one hand away from him to push my hair away from my face, biding my time as I think. Sirius is looking at me intently, which isn’t helping my concentration any, because I have try not to think about those deep grey eyes.
“I don’t hate her,” I begin. “I just strongly dislike her.” Sirius grins.
“Alright, why do you strongly dislike her?”
“Okay, well, there’s a story involved. Are you sure you want to hear it?” I ask.
“I’m sure,” he says, but then pulls me towards the side of the pool. “But I think I need to take a break from treading water.” He holds on to the side with one hand, and my hand with the other.
“Well last year, my friend Liz was going out with this bloke Aaron, who we all thought was decent but turned out to be a scumbag. Anyway, Liz was madly in love with Aaron, they had been dating for four months, when Cameron started spreading around this rumor that Liz was cheating on him.” I pause to see if he’s still listening, and he is.
“I know you might think that it’s possible it isn’t Cameron, but I was going to the loo and heard her telling three other girls that Liz was a ‘cheating slag’. Of course the rumors weren’t true at all, but they made Aaron break up with her. Then, a couple of days later, we found out that Aaron and Cameron had been shagging for the past month, and she just spread those rumors to give Aaron an excuse to dump Liz.”
“Blimey,” Sirius says, frowning. “No wonder you strongly dislike her. She messed with your mates.” I nod, and then glance over in Cameron’s direction. She’s busy flirting with James, who’s still running his hands through his hair. He looks funny without his glasses.
“And that’s not all. A little bit after I found out what she did, I kind of accidentally-on-purpose spilled an ammonia solution on her in chemistry. It didn’t burn her or anything, but she did have to get an emergency shower,” I continue. Sirius laughs, but for some reason he looks slightly confused.
“So for revenge, she told everyone I talked to myself, and that she overheard me arguing with myself,” I say, and just thinking about it gets me irritated. Sirius chuckles. “Don’t laugh! I had to see the school counselor for three months before I finally convinced him and the rest of the school I didn’t have schizophrenia.”
Sirius stops laughing and looks thoughtfully over at Cameron. “I think we might need to get some more revenge today,” he says, looking mischievous.
“Um, no thank you, I’m not going down that road again,” I reply. Sirius makes a noncommittal noise, a cross between a grunt and a snort. I look down into the water and notice that he’s still holding my hand, and it’s been at least five minutes. Five minutes! And now his thumb’s rubbing my palm in soft circles. Even though it’s at least a million degrees outside, I have to suppress a tiny shiver.
Ugh. He needs to stop that right now before I turn into a puddle of hormones and get sucked up by the pool filter.
“Besides, James probably fancies her by now,” I say, to distract myself. At this, Sirius shakes his head fervently.
“No way, no how,” he says confidentially. “James, as you might’ve noticed, is just uncomfortable, because he loves Lily. I mean, he thinks they’re going to have ten ginger children together. There’s no way he’s going to start fancying Cameron just because she’s all over him.”
I look over at them, and decide Sirius is right. James is basically pushing Cameron off him at the moment. “Well, that’s good. I mean, it’s kinda creepy about the ten ginger children thing, but good that he doesn’t fancy Cameron. Because she’s nothing but trouble.”
I look back at Sirius and find he’s staring at me with an odd expression. I take this opportunity to splash him right in the face.
“Hey!” he exclaims, flinging his arms up to protect himself from another attack, as I laugh and try not to regret that he’s let go of my hand. “Not nice!”
“Well I’m not nice,” I reply, before swimming back towards our friends, and Cameron. Sirius follows me. When I reach Kenzie, I announce, “Let’s race!”
She smiles. “Awesome. Is anyone else up for a challenge?” She turns to face the boys and cracks her knuckles. Peter quickly shakes his head. Remus, clearly not knowing what he’s getting into, nods with a grin.
“I’m in,” Sirius says. “Mellie, I’m sure I could swim circles around you.” I just raise my eyebrows at this.
“Okay, so, me, Remus, Sirius, Mellie . . . James, Cameron, are you in?” Kenzie asks. Cameron wrinkles her nose.
“No, thank you. I don’t want to be humiliated,” she jokes. Kenzie turns to James, who seems excited to race now that he knows Cameron isn’t.
“I’ll race,” he says, “Even though I can’t see a thing right now, and will probably crash and die.”
I have to laugh at the image this gives me.
We line up at one side of the pool, and as I look across it, I wish it was less crowded. I’ll have to spend this whole race dodging people. Kenzie announces that we’ll race to the far side and back, and Cameron and Peter will announce the winner.
“Ready, set, go,” Cameron shrieks. I kick off from the wall and immediately have to dodge a fat, balding man who really should be wearing more than a speedo.
And then I have to swim around a toddler, and almost get kicked in the face by James, who’s doing pretty well without his glasses. But then I realized that almost getting kicked in the face by James means he’s ahead of me, and I kick harder.
Pretty soon I’m ahead of everyone, or at least I think I am, with so many people in the pool it’s hard to tell. I flip off the far wall of the pool when I reach it and start swimming back, and when I pass Sirius I smirk at him.
Next thing I know I’m hitting a wall of fat face-first. It’s the speedo bloke. Oh hell.
This man has obviously never invested in any sort of hair-removal procedure. Hell.
“I’m sorry!” I sputter, coming to a halt and popping my head out of the water. He looks a bit bemused, almost puzzled as why I would be saying sorry. Did he not feel me go crashing into him? I sure did. “I was just racing my friends, and I wasn’t looking where I was going! I’m really really sorry!”
I know I’m bright red, but the man doesn’t seem to care. “Oh, it’s quite alright,” he says, and his voice is as high-pitched as little girl’s. “I didn’t even feel anything.” At this I have to try really hard not to burst into giggles. He turns away from me, and I take this as my queue to get the heck away. I walk as fast as I can, because there’s no way I’m risking another crash, towards the edge of the pool, where I can see everyone is waiting for me, and laughing.
I consider ducking under the water to hide my blush, but again, I don’t want to run into anyone, so instead I settle for not looking anyone in the eye.
“Next time try watching where you’re swimming, Mellie,” James says, leaning against the pool with a smirk. I suppress the urge to smack him. Cameron, on the other hand, cackles (that’s really the only word I can think of to accurately describe her laugh) loudly.
“Who won?” I ask once everyone’s laughter seems to be stopping. I pull myself out of the pool and sit on the edge, next to Sirius, who’s still in the pool, and seems to actually be smiling sympathetically.
“Kenzie,” he says, and then pulls himself out to sit next to me. “You would’ve won if it hadn’t been for that little . . . accident.”
With that, everyone’s laughing again, and this time I can’t help but join in. The confused look on speedo-bloke’s face was just too much. Kenzie’s grinning good-naturedly at me and when I congratulate her on the win, her grin widens.
“Thanks, Mellie,” she says, and then she too pulls herself out. “I’m gonna go hit the snack bar? Who’s with me?”
“Me!” Peter exclaims, and Remus nods as well. James glances at Sirius and me and then exclaims that he’s dying of hunger too. I see right through James’s plot, but I decide to play along.
“I’m not hungry,” I announce, and James smirks at me. I narrow my eyes back at him.
“Me neither,” Sirius says, and James just raises his eyebrows at me before turning to leave.
Sirius waits until everyone’s gone over to the snack bar before saying, “If you wanted to make a move on that bloke, running into him wasn’t the best way to go about it.”
I decide to attempt flirting back.
“Oh, and what do you know about making a move?” I ask, and lean a tiny bit closer to him. Sirius smirks that smirk I absolutely adore.
“A lot,” he replies, his voice softer, more intimate. I really want to just snog him right this instant.
“Oh really?” I don’t know what’s come over me, why I’m actually thinking of things to say and not just drooling.
“Yeah, really.” His voice is even softer now; I have to lean a little closer to hear him, which I think is his intention.
“Prove it.” The smirk widens, some mischievous sparkle enters his eyes that can’t mean anything good, and I’m having a hard time getting my brain to stop going crazy. There seems to be a high pitched squealing going on somewhere in there.
Sirius is leaning closer and closer, very slowly, and I’m frozen, trying to memorize the moment, the warm feel of his hand on mine, the familiar smell of chlorine, the intense look in his grey eyes, the soft touch of his other hand on my cheek.
“Sirius! They have regular jelly beans! I don’t have to worry about getting snot flavor!” Peter exclaims from a few feet away, and Sirius and I jump apart.
I liked Peter up until this moment, but right now, I want to brutally murder him.
“That’s great, Pete,” Sirius says, but he’s not looking at Peter, he’s looking at me, and he’s running his hand through his hair with the same intense expression he had right before . . . I’m not exactly sure what was going to happen.
And that hand-through-the-hair thing has got to stop. He better not be picking up that awful habit from James.
Speaking of James, he appears, looking irritated. “Peter! I told you not to—” He notices Sirius and me, a foot apart, and rolls his eyes. “Way to go, idiot.”
“What’d I do?” Peter asks, a bit hurt. I sigh and hop into the pool, hoping the cold water will clear the images of what might’ve happened if he hadn’t interrupted from my head.
“Nothing,” I say shortly before going under. I swim a slow lap across the pool, carefully avoiding people and relishing how all sound is muffled. When I get back, Kenzie and Remus have joined James, who is currently having a quiet discussion with Peter. Sirius is looking over at Cameron, who’s walking towards us while eating an ice cream.
I stay under the water once I reach them, my head hasn’t completely cleared yet. I shut my eyes and sink towards the bottom.
The next thing I know, there’s shrieking, and someone’s crashing into the water next to me. I open my eyes and am met by a very disgruntled Cameron, ice cream covering her face. I pop out of the water so I can burst out laughing.
Everyone else is laughing as well, and Sirius’s barking laugh catches my attention. I look over at him and he motions me closer.
“Sorry, I couldn’t resist a little revenge,” he confides with a grin. I can’t help but grin back at him.
A/N: That was a long one! And speaking of long chapters, I recently made an outline for this story, and realized that’s it’s going to be about 20 chapters. And with my current average length of chapters that means this story is going to be a novel! Holy cow! Just letting you guys know that I changed it to novel, this isn’t a novella anymore. I’m kinda freaked by that. I feel a little intimidated. But I’ll be okay. :)
So anyway, thanks for waiting patiently for so long, and thanks for reading, and please review, because I adore your reviews. The next update will be faster!