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Chapter 9: Below the Belt
MagicalInk @ TDA
I barely noticed September leave us, but I did notice the change in weather, the September taking the Summer sun away and giving us all Autumn breeze and false hope. Seriously, you go out thinking it's warm and it's actually freezing. Although, I should have learned by now that Jack lies and should not be listened to.
I focused more on what was actually going on around me. Louis really became a part of our group. It seemed as natural as breathing to include him, like he'd been with us forever. By the time October rolled around, I genuinely started to forget that he'd only been with us since halfway through September. Man, does time fly.
Jack's warming up to the idea of Louis hanging out with us. Well, he's stopped telling me I'm joining the dark side. Almost. He says it to Lucy to get a reaction. There's something going on with Jack, it's really strange. His fights with Lucy seem to be getting worse. They can't even go five minutes without some sort of argument and then they ignore each other for ages afterwards. I hear other people whisper how they are really starting to hate each other, that it's a miracle they can still manage to be in the same for as long as they have for me. Louis wondered if it was because they don't want me to choose between them if they stopped hanging out. I think different; Jack's defense mechanism is to argue, but he really only ever has to put up that defense if he really doesn't want someone to know something. It's how he hides from them; if they get too close or something he thinks or feels starts to show and he doesn't want it to, he'll push them away by arguing. That way he thinks they're less likely to try and get closer. It's only because of me that Lucy won't be leaving any time soon. Which begs the question; what doesn't he want Lucy to know?
I said this to Louis and he asked me that question. He was amused by my answer; that he likes her. He said that it was probably because of his injury (he knows all about Jack's adrenaline obsession) and that he was most likely bored and restless, so he was taking it all out on him and Lucy. Well, I'll show him, even if that may partly be right.
But Jack's not trying to persuade me that Louis should go anymore, which I'm glad for. He told me he can't handle the multitude of Weasleys in our life, which made me laugh and say that there were only two, but that Louis was not so bad once you got to know him and could stay.
I learned a lot about Louis over the month and a bit we'd been friends, particularly about why he was so eager to leave the Great Hall the night he ran into me. That 'something' he had to do was a painting he'd been working on; it was almost done. He still won't tell me what it is of, but apparently he really wanted it finished. I also learnt that he uses the Room of Requirement, a hidden room on the seventh floor, which makes sense, considering he likes his privacy; no one could know what type of room he thinks about to get to his work. So no one would ever be able to open the door, not even accidentally. He won't let anyone go there, Lucy doesn't even know about it, all she knows is that he's always liked to draw.
I've learnt more about the Weasley family this year than I ever had before, more so about Louis' siblings; he's close with both of them, tells them everything, but Dom is closer in age and they'll always have a bond that will be stronger than with his sister. Victoire is following in her dad's footsteps and is already making a name for herself as a Cursebreaker for Gringotts, despite her young age, due to her willingness to prove herself; hard work pays off. Dom, however, has an internship with Witch Weekly. Yeah, he's a journalist. Louis and Lucy both say it's definitely his calling in life.
"Don't get too close to Dom. He really knows how to read people, it's like a weird, psychic power; you only have to spend a couple of minutes with the guy and he can tell you your biggest secrets." That's what Louis said and Lucy agreed completely.
Maybe he can read minds.
He works on the fashion side of journalism mostly, though; he says that what he loves and he's good. Although, as an intern, he is asked to write different things. He's done a few celebrity pieces and a crime story about a case of his uncle Harry's, which had interested him enough to really have to think about which field of journalism he'd want to go into in the future. Lucy thinks they'll let him write for both if they need him, because his crime piece was so good.
I found during the month and a bit that I was actually interested in the stories Louis told me about his family, maybe because Louis himself is actually interested and not just casually passing on information before quickly going back to something else, as Lucy does. Although, when he talks about his brother, I do use it to tease him by showing a bit more interest than I should. His flirting no longer makes me uncomfortable, but it still feels good to get to him. I don't think it'll last; he'll figure out why I'm doing it eventually, I'm sure, and he'll stop feeling so uncomfortable about me pretending to like his brother. It is funny how much he stresses that Dom is straight, though.
"Hey, are you even listening to me?"
I jump, not expecting his voice to be so close, and come back to earth, as they say. "What?"
Louis laughs. "I said fair warning, Jack has been planning on doing something for Halloween."
Oh. I roll my eyes. Jack loves Halloween, so I figured that was what he was doing. His planning for tomorrow has kept him relatively quiet for the past few days and he and Lucy haven't had one argument. I even heard him ask for her opinion yesterday, for what I don't know; it freaked me out a little bit, having rarely heard that happening. I can only imagine how Lucy took it. I think she asked him if he was sick at some point.
"Do you know what it is this year?" I ask him. He thinks of something new every year; first year we trick or treated the teachers, second year we were ghost hunters, we pranked everyone we could in third year. It's good fun, but I'm not particularly in the Halloween mood this year, at least not in the trick or treat and pranking sense. Maybe I'm growing up.
...Not that I was any good at pranking. I mostly just followed Jack around for that.
"He's been planning a way of getting a party going," Louis tells me. "I don't think he's going to be able to achieve that here in school."
"You'll be surprised by what I can achieve." I jump again. Damn, I did not know Jack was still here with us. He was just too bloody quiet. "But it won't be in school, it'll be in the Three Broomsticks. Digby is only allowing Seventh Years to go, being of legal age and all that, and I cleared it with Rosmerta and her kid ages ago. I already got it around school, it's fancy dress and there'll be carriages to take us back by one. We're only allowed to do this because Halloween happens to fall on a Saturday."
"That explains all the talk of costumes I've heard so much about," I say, not in the least bit surprised that Jack managed to organize all of this.
"Probably. Your costume should be here by morning, by the way."
"What is it?"
"Wait and see. Well." He changes the subject. "You'll be there to make sure he's ready and everything, won't you Louis?"
"Great. I'll see you both later, I've got a party to plan."
I wait until I can't hear him anymore, I forgot how hard it is to do that when he's not banging crutches on the floor, and can assume he's left the library before I turn back to the front. Another thing I learnt about Louis is that Lucy was kinda right. Unless it's something really bad or something he's really uncomfortable with, Louis will pretty much say yes to anything you ask of him. Saying yes to Jack just now is only one example of many. Every time he talks about doing something, someone comes, asks him something and he does that instead. If I were him, I'd get sick and tired of quickly. Hell, I'm not him and I'm sick and tired of it. So, while everyone focused on Jack's plans, I made one of my own, mine a bit less Halloween related and more life related. Okay, it's nothing to do with Halloween and everything to do with life, or Louis' life specifically.
"I would like you to do something for me." Better to just get to it, I think.
"Sure." I try not to roll my eyes. Of course he'd say yes; he doesn't even know what it is. "What?"
"See, that's just it. You said yes before you even knew what it was. That's what you do, do you notice? You always say yes to what people want you to do. Do you even want to do half the things you do?"
"Sometimes it's better to just not cause a fuss, depending on who you talk to," Louis laughs quietly. "Why should I say no to someone when I can do what they ask, when I can help them? I just think it's... Easier. What does this have to do with what you want me to do?"
His answers, or his questions rather, make sense when he says them, it helps in understanding why he is the way he is; he is a nice guy, genuinely so. Not everyone would do that for someone. It makes me like him just that little bit more. But it's not exactly what I feel deep down; it's like every time the subject of himself comes up he closes up and talks about something else, like he has to help others rather than himself because he doesn't want to help himself. Why do you think it took me a month to learn about his paintings in the Room of Requirement? And why I still don't know what that painting he finished that day is?
I shake my head. I like who Louis is as a person and if I didn't feel something deep down that told me he was like this for a reason, I'd never have come up with this plan of mine. Because Lucy told me a few weeks ago, when her and Louis were laughing about Dom being stubborn, that Louis was the same. He was always helpful as a kid, wanting to do things, but never as much as when he was older and he was always saying no.
He rarely says that anymore. I've never heard it.
"I don't want you to do anything. If you choose not to, don't do it." I shrug. "I just think it'll be good."
"What is it?"
"I want you to write a list."
"A list?" he asks.
I can tell he's confused. "Yeah, a list. You write down every thing you want to do, things you don't have time for when you're helping others, and you make sure you do them, even if that means saying no to others every once in a while."
"Oh, like a bucket list," he finally says, sounding amused by my plan. I think it's a good plan. I nod. "Okay."
"Are you saying that because you say yes to everyone or is it just to humor me?" I groan.
"I'm saying I'll write a list, I haven't said anything about actually completing the list or even going through with it at all," he elaborates. "I guess we'll see what happens. But thank you for the choice."
"You're welcome." I smile. We don't say any more about his list; he's not tutoring anyone today so I wait for him to finish his homework and we go to Hufflepuff to get Lucy and go to dinner. Everyone is talking about the party tomorrow and now I actually know what they mean, I can join in when they ask. Except when they ask what I'm wearing, as I don't know. Apparently only Jack knows and he hasn't told anyone. I'm kinda scared.
Me and Louis are trying to guess what my costume could be when someone taps me on the shoulder. "Hey, Rosie. What's up?" Louis asks her.
"CJ, right? That's what Lucy told me to call you."
"Yeah," I nod, my head turning slightly to the right, only because I know that's around where she's standing. "Rose?"
"Yeah. I just wanted to ask you what Roxanne is doing. I asked her and she said you'd given her something she had to figure out." I tell her that that's true and ask her if her cousin has figured it out yet; it's been about a month, so either she hasn't or she has and can't cope. "No, she hasn't. Now I'm wondering just what it is because she won't tell me or James or anyone."
"I told her she doesn't need to worry about the female population coming after me." She's quiet for a while, thinking I bet. Maybe she wants to figure it out to understand. I don't think she'll get it like Louis did; I was really hoping I stressed what I meant, trying to get Roxanne to figure it out then. I'm calmer now, casual. Could mean anything.
Rose laughs suddenly and I can only assume she's laughing at something Louis has done, so I turn my head in his direction. There's a slight breeze by my ear when something moves past me really fast. His hand, I guess. Wait a minute, is he giving her signals? "Stop it," I warn.
"Oh. Really?" She knows? "I bet Lou's just thrilled to know you're in his league, because the female population will be sad."
She knows. And I doubt it. I scoff.
"Don't believe me, eh?" I shrug. "Well, that's up to you. I'll see you guys later and I won't tell Roxy. It was nice to finally meet you, CJ."
I wave, say good bye and turn back to Louis properly. "So far, only one member of your family I've met is crazy. This is a good sign."
"You're so skeptical."
"You're a pushover," I counter.
"You're a controlling, manipulative ass."
I place my hand on my heart and hope my faked, wounded expression looks genuine. "Below the belt, Weasley."
"Not even close," he whispers in my ear.
So maybe I'm quite as used to his flirting as I originally thought...
A/N: Yay for a new chapter. This one is more of a filler, information that will come back up during the story, but I hope you enjoyed and leave a review to tell me what you think. This is still a new thing for me to write. :P
Next chapter: Halloween.