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Chapter 5: Awkward Moments
!TheInbetweener @ TDA
It's all so quiet.
Well, not really. I can hear people speaking in hushed tones around me and the scratching of quills on parchment, but between me and Louis there is silence. Shame, I thought he really wanted to talk to me after this morning.
I think a lot of things, though, sometimes all at once. I also think he might be sulking. In every lesson we had today, he watched me take out my quill, muttered about it being unfair then shut up for the rest of the lesson, only speaking when I asked a lesson-based question. During our free, which was right after lunch, we stayed in the Great Hall so Louis could finish marking an essay for his tutoring lesson this afternoon and I was so bored I almost wanted to do some homework. That's up there on the 'what the hell, Ciaran' scale with getting up early.
I feel like I'm being punished more than he is. Damn.
...For the record, the 'what the hell, Ciaran' scale is real; Jack, Simon and Declan made it up and use it whenever I do something they consider 'out of character'. Personally, I think they're insane.
"What are you thinking about?"
I glance up from the desk to his voice, we're at my desk in the library and he's sitting across from me. I'm surprised he's able to give me the time of day; he hasn't stopped writing since we got here an hour ago. I, unfortunately, have nothing to do while I wait for Abby to get here.
"I've been watching you for ten minutes and you haven't noticed, so you're thinking about something."
Did I say something out loud again? Or does he know how to read minds? Oh, that would be awesome... And slightly terrifying. I wonder what it would be like to know what others are thinking about you. Would you even want to know that? Deep down.
I've confused myself!
...And I haven't answered his question. Why do I even want to answer his question? The git's being punished. Oh, yes, it's because I have manners. "The scale my dorm mates came up with."
I laugh quietly. "The 'what the hell -" I stop; I almost told him my name. "The 'what the hell' scale, when they think I do something I normally wouldn't they go 'what the hell' and they give it a sort of scale of one to ten on how crazy they think I am. Which is not fair because they don't have one for Jack or Lucy."
"Oh," he says. "What's a sort of scale?"
"Instead of numbers, it goes from 'oh' to 'oh, my God' and 'what the hell'. Hence the name of the scale," I explain.
"Interesting. I have one for Lucy." I raise an eye-brow, this is brand new information. "It's called 'you're crazy'."
Oh, it's not new. I've heard that before...
I think this is the longest conversation we've had all day.
"So, what were you thinking about so hard that it was actually the reason you didn't notice I was watching?"
"What makes you think I know when you're watching? I can't see you," I remind him.
"You tense up when you notice, like you know when you're being watched. I found this out this morning when you came out of the bathroom."
"Oh." I never noticed that I tense when that happens. Interesting... No, I don't care. I fold my arms onto the desk and lean forward, but then decide not to rest my chin on top. Instead I spread them apart and thread my fingers together. "I didn't know you were talking to me. This is the first actual conversation we've had since you told me about your brother in our first lesson."
"Is it?" he asks, sounding genuinely surprised. When I nod, his tone turns teasing. "I had no idea you cared so much."
I glare and move back. "I don't. I'm just not good with boredom, I get agitated."
If patience is a virtue, then I guess I'm still undeserving.
"Sorry," he says softly. "I guess I'm just not used to spending all day with someone. I focused too much on class again."
I did it again, didn't I? I forgot about his need to help others and I've upset him because he thinks he's done a bad job. Crap. "It's okay; it's a new situation that's all. Hey, we may not even have to get used to it. Jack won't be gone for very long. The only reason it's been this long is because of some nerve damage. He's a bloody idiot."
"So I hear," Louis replies, laughing again. There I made it better. Apparently I can do that. Awesome. "We're waiting for your tutor, right?"
"Right," I nod. "Her name is Abby; she turns my notes from class into Braille for me to study and helps me with wandwork. Jack helps me with potions. Are you good with potions?"
"Good enough," he answers. "Tomorrow will be fine."
I give an appreciative nod, though I kind of hope he inwardly knows he'll just be making any potion himself while I watch because that's the only way nothing will be ruined. I am just terrible at potions, and I think I would be whether I could see or not. I change the subject, turning when I can hear footsteps. "Is this Abby?"
"No," Louis tells me.
"How longs it been?"
"One hour and twenty-three minutes."
"Then where is Abby?"
"She's not coming."
I jump out of my skin. Literally. Seriously, what the hell? I ignore her evil laughter and Louis asking me if I'm okay, while he tries to hide his laugh, and just focus on stopping my heart from jumping right out of my chest. I really don't think I mean that figuratively; my heart rate is faster than I've ever felt it.
"God, Lucy, are you trying to kill me?" She answers with more laughter. I turn to glare at Louis when he slips and lets out a chuckle. "Warn a guy next time. Don't just say no when I ask if someone's there, tell me who the bloody hell it is, or my death will be on your conscious."
"Well, I wouldn't want that," he says and I just know from his tone that he's still smiling.
"Ignore him, Lewis, he's just being melodramatic."
That gets to him. "Stop it! My name is Louis!"
She ignores him. "Abby sent a note saying she was unwell and apologizing for not coming today. I'm going back to the common room." Lucy squeezes my shoulder gently. "I'll see you later. Sorry for scaring you."
Neither of us speak for a while; I don't know about him, but I don't want to talk to him. Not now, not ever. He really is a dick, I don't care what anyone else says about him, and I am definitely adding to his punishment.
I hear him move and the next thing I know he's sitting next to me. "I'm sorry, I wasn't expecting that to happen or see your expression, and I shouldn't have laughed. I promise that if it's ever to happen again, I will tell you exactly who it is and I won't laugh."
He pushes my hair back and I lean away from him automatically. I feel this is something I should really get used to, but I'm just not used to someone else touching me. "Sorry," I find myself saying. "I'm just not used to it."
I smile softly, and then I bite my bottom lip. Damn him. It's the aftershave, I swear. It's everywhere. It's getting to me. It's evil.
"Are you okay? You went from smiling to frowning in, like, a second."
I probably did. I won't disagree with him. But I'm not telling him why; I'm not ready to embarrass myself completely. "I'm okay, I was just thinking about something."
"Thought as much."
I swing my arm out to swat him, but he grabs me easily and drops my arm to my side. "So, what was it your tutor was going to do today? I can't write in Braille, but maybe I can help with something else."
I'm grateful for the change in topic; we're going back to business, so to speak. I clear my throat. "She was going to help me with the wandwork for Charms." My eyes widen slightly when I remember how Abby helps me. "But you don't have to do that," I add quickly.
But he stands up and takes my hand. When I pull away, Louis just takes it again, holding on tighter the second time. "Come on, stand up." He pulls slightly when I don't move. "I will lift you up."
I think about not moving, wondering if he actually could, but I'd rather not chance it. I stand up slowly and he turns me around so my back is to him. Louis let's go of me and I hear him turn the pages of my book to get this morning's lesson. I had it open when we first got to the library, but flicked through the pages before I closed it out of boredom. Now I'm glad I did; his distraction might give me time to run.
"Here we go."
He picks something up from the desk and places it into my hand; my wand. Louis covers his right hand over my own while his left grips my hip. I stop breathing for what feels like forever, and then it comes out kind of ragged. This is so strange for me.
I really hope he doesn't notice. If he does, he doesn't say anything; he just talks me through it, moving my hand as he does so I can copy. The first time I try, he still holds my hand. The second time, his hand moves to my hip. I get it wrong the second time, but it's not my fault I can't concentrate with him holding on to me.
"It's okay," he whispers, gripping my hand again, and he talks me through it once more. He moves closer, pressing my back to his chest like in my room this morning, and his scent seems to completely take over.
I have no idea what's going on in my head or his, but there's one think I do know; if he was sulking before, he's definitely not now.
After the library incident on Thursday, I kept my distance. I sat in the corner and practiced my wandwork while Louis tutored someone I don't know. Then we met Lucy at Hufflepuff on our way to dinner and I made sure she was between the two of us the entire time. I'm pretty sure my actions confused them because I heard them talking about me in the Great Hall. I just ignored everyone until Roxanne came over and suddenly Declan’s alien conversation became interesting.
Lucy and I left Louis in the hall and went back to our common room. She tried to ask me what was going on with me, but I shook my head and didn't answer, going to straight to my room.
On Friday, I actually got up first time, but that was mostly because I hadn't slept much the night before. It was quiet all through our classes, breaks and lunch. We barely talked in the library when I went through my Braille notes; Abby was still ill. Dinner was pretty much the same was Thursday.
And I'm not entirely sure why.
I narrow it down to awkwardness. I'm new to this entire situation and I guess that, like Louis, I'm still unsure how to handle having someone new in my life, however brief. But I think he's handling it better than me.
What happened in the library really freaked me out, I felt things for another that I'd never felt before, that I'd never been able to; it's not like I've ever been able to stare at a guy and talk about what I find attractive, like my cousin does.
Not that I could ever see myself doing something as girly as gossiping about boys; that would be weird.
I don't think I like Louis, I've never really liked anyone. I think it's because he's only the second guy to ever be so close to me in any way (although the first one doesn't really count; it was basically light flirting and touching and me realizing why I'm not interesting in girls). It was new and different and a little scary, but I'll get used to him being around me and the feeling will pass.
Thank God I already know I'm gay, otherwise that would have come as a big surprise. That definitely would have freaked me out; he probably wouldn't be standing next to me right now.
"Are you okay?" He asks me that a lot. "You've been ignoring me since Thursday afternoon and I'm not sure why."
"I just had something on my mind, but it's fine now, I think." I don't say anything more and wait for Lucy to come back. We're at St. Mungo's to see Jack again. Digby is always nice enough to let us use his office fireplace to floo to the hospital. My mother's influence, er, friendship, I'm sure. Jack's talking to his healer first and Lucy's gone to see how much longer we have to sit in the waiting room and, well, wait.
The door opens. "Come on, then."
Louis and I follow Lucy to Jack's room. "So you're not ignoring me anymore?" he asks hesitantly.
I don't turn to face him. "No."
"Oh, good." He sounds relieved. "Here."
Louis holds open the door for me and I make my way to my chair; the one closest to Jack's bed. Then I lift my feet up and rest it on the edge. "Hey, trouble."
"Key." I glare. "Hey, stud."
"Is he talking to me?" Louis asks from my left. I nod. "Why?"
"They like to make up stories about people," Lucy reminds him. "This is what I believe to be the most ridiculous."
"Why? What is it?"
What is it? It's the reason I know he's been 'around'. Oh, I still don't know whether I want to laugh or throw up now that I remember it. Part of me hopes Jack doesn't mention it, that he makes something up and changes the subject. But the universe is not that kind to me; Jack laughs and he's cocky and smug.
"Rumor has it you were with Tyler Davies in an empty classroom not far from Hufflepuff."
"Told you it was ridiculous," Lucy says.
But Jack's not done yet. "Hey, Key, wasn't it you who told me that?"
Louis' in my face, I can feel his breath tickle me. "How the hell did you know that?"
Ciaran: 1. Universe: 1. Well done.
"Next time you wanna do something like that, make sure you're alone first," is all I say.
"Oh, my God," he groans. Lucy repeats her question, her voice louder than the first time. "Yes, Lucy, it's true," he sighs, sounding slightly scared. Maybe he should be; she always thought he was the innocent one, a good boy through and through. He's not; it's the only social setting he's good at apparently.
Uh oh... "Jack, am I really bitchy in private?"
"Yes and in your head."
"Oh..." Okay, world, Ciaran's secretly a bitch. Get used to it.
I don't hear what Lucy is muttering about, but Louis groans into my lap and I'm getting awkward again. So, so awkward. I want him to move. Universe, I'll give you an extra point if you move him.
...The universe cannot be bribed.
He lifts up his head. "What else do you know?" Louis whispers. I raise an eye-brow and rest my cheek into my open palm, my elbow propped on the arm rest. It's all I can do not to push him away.
I really don't deal with awkward situations very well.
"I need to know what I'm getting myself into by helping you," he continues. "Are there any more surprises I should know? What do you know about my personal life?"
"Only what I was there to hear... And what I heard about you and Meyer."
He groans again. Seriously? No bloody way.
"That's true?" Jack asks and it's the first time I've heard him so genuinely confused and unhappy. "You went out with Justin Meyer, too! Do you get a kick out of sleeping with all of our enemies?"
"He's not our enemy," I remind him.
"He's friends with Daniel Scott; we hate him. Leave."
"Stop being melodramatic, Jackson," Lucy says angrily. They're always angry with each other. Love can do that... I take it Jack was telling Louis to leave.
"I don't deal with traitors. He should not be a part of our group."
"I now understand why you don't know why he doesn't have his own 'what the hell' scale," Louis mutters. He stands up. "And for the record, both of those relationships were so brief, they might as well have been purely physical, sorry Lucy. I went out with each of them for a couple of weeks at most and dumped both primarily because of their bad words against you... Well, against Lucy. Also, because I didn't want a relationship, but that's not the point."
And I thought this would be awkward. I tap Jack with my foot and I hear him yelp. Oops. "What did the doctor say?"
"Oh, I can walk again, well, a little, and it's just my left leg that is still healing, but Healer Jones said I can go soon. I'll probably be using crutches, though. You can help me around school, right?"
"Is he smirking?" I ask Louis, who says yes, and I give him a smirk of my own. "That's what Louis' for."
"Well, I think the traitor can handle two jobs."
It's silent for at least a couple of minutes and I'm a little scared about what I can't see. I hate silent conversations.
"Lucy said no," Louis speaks at last. "I'm only helping the sneak in the chair who knows more about my life than he should."
"But you said it yourself that we rarely leave each other's side," I remind him. "Would you really ignore someone in need right be your side?"
I'm not so sure I should have said that; Jack can't stop laughing, his smug tone filling the room; Lucy is snapping at him (again); Louis' either been stunned into silence or is choosing to watch rather than comment. The second option makes him relatively smart.
"Well, I'm going to the restroom," I announce, getting to my feet. That shuts them up.
"You remember where it is?"
"Lucy, thanks to Jack I practically live here; I can find the restroom."
"I'll go with him." I groan and open my mouth to tell him I'm fine when he presses his lips to my ear. "Please don't make me stay with them."
And that shuts me up, not just because of his proximity; my crazy best friends are a handful when together. It's best not to spend too much time with them at the same time. I nod and we leave their room and whatever their new argument is about.
Welcome to the group, Louis. Gonna run away yet?
A/N: Ciaran should not know about other people's business, especially when he tells Jack, who you've finally met. And who is now here to stay. :D
Next chapter: Louis talks about his relationships... See you next Sunday. :)