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Chapter 11: The Lists
Drowned @ TDA.
I wake myself up. Well, it's kind of easy to do when you've barely slept at all!
I don't know what to do. I mean, I know what to do, what I have to say, but I don't know how. Really. The different scenarios in my head scared me. They kept me awake and that's a hard thing to do.
I stay in bed until the silence and my thoughts compete for the winning title in the 'Drive Ciaran Crazy' tournament and I have to get up preserve any hope of keeping what's left of my rational mind. Because the irrational side of me is freaking out; Louis didn't come up to see if I was awake, he always does that. Is he mad at me? Is he upset? Does he feel guilty for trying to kiss me? Will he avoid me forever?
I don't want that to happen.
But rational me understands that maybe it's because it's still early and I'm usually asleep. He might be up later and my worry about what happened last night is just making the fact that he's not here yet seem worse than it actually is and everything is fine.
I like rational me. Too bad he never stays for very long.
I dress in the jeans I wore yesterday that I threw on top of my trunk and find a t-shirt in the pile, search for my sneakers and grab my stick. I don't hear anyone around me as I walk through the common room and out into the hallway, which leads me to assume that it's breakfast or they're sleeping or they're studying. I'm going to go with breakfast or sleep, which means quiet, which means I know where I need to look for Louis.
It doesn't take me very long to get to the second floor, considering it's a Sunday and if you're sane you're not up and around school so early unless you have to be, and I make my way to our section of the library. The closer I get, the harder it seems to put one foot in front of the other. I'm so nervous and also slightly scared; I don't want this to end badly and have him ignore me or hear his emotion in his tone when I get there. If he's even there, that is.
I stop, lean against the bookshelf and just listen. I don't smell anything, no aftershave. But I hear; the light scratching of a pencil and soft breathing. "Hey."
"Hey." He sounds indifferent, but he's too quiet for me to tell for sure, and he goes back to whatever it is he's doing. "How did you find me?"
"We come here every day; it seemed the most obvious choice," I admit. "But it was just a guess, I didn't know if it was you here and if you'd kept quiet I'd have left." I don't know why I'm telling him this, I don't want him to want me to leave. I'm glad he spoke. "You doing homework?"
"No," he says softly. "Drawing."
"Stuff." I don't know what to say to that. Usually I just roll my eyes and tell him he's being mean because I know he doesn't want to talk about his art, but this feels different. Probably because of the tension and last night; Louis sounds... Off, distant. I hear him drop his pencil. "I'm sorry about last night. I had no right to -" He stops, pauses for a second, then continues. "I shouldn't have tried to kiss you."
"It's fine, honest."
He let's out a deep breath, like he's relieved, and I open my mouth to continue, to tell him my reasons, but he speaks again before I get the chance. "I finished the list."
I lean my stick up against the books, fold my arms over my chest and move forward slightly. "Oh?"
"Yeah, and it's quite long. I didn't realize there was so much I wanted to do. I don't think I'd have ever known if you hadn't asked me to write it, I suppose I should thank you for that."
His tone is a little teasing, more like the Louis I know, and I smile. "You're welcome. Can I hear some of it?"
"No." I frown, confused as to why I can't. And I think it shows more than my surprise over the fact that he just said no. I've finally heard him say no! "I would like you to do something for me first."
"Okay," I answer hesitantly. Now I'm scared for a different reason.
"I want you to make your own list and I want us to do them together. You think I hold myself back, but you do it, too. The only difference is I know why I do it."
"What makes you think I hold myself back?"
He scoffs at me. Maybe he even rolled his eyes; it's something I would do. "You sat in the corner at your own friend's Halloween party and drank butterbeer while I got drunk. You could have been up and talking and dancing, but you didn't because you hold back. So, will you tell me your list so I can write it down?"
I start to shake my head, but stop. Should I? I did want him to do it and he did it for me, so I should do the same. It's only a list, right? It's just words on paper that may or not be completed. Is there even anything I want to do? What is there I can do? What I want, I can never get. I nod before I can give myself the chance to back out.
"What makes you so sure I can complete this list?"
"Because, CJ, you can do anything. Just don't think about what might stop you and don't hold back."
"I can do anything," I repeat. It's exactly what Lucy and Jack are always saying. "Okay." Now's the time to tell him, to explain. "The first thing on the list will explain last night." I take a deep breath and shut my eyes; I don't know why really, I just want it to help, or he'll never know. "I want, er, I don't know how to say this without sounding like a girl. I want it to be special. Even if it doesn't work out with the guy I'm with, I want to be able to look back with good memories. It has to be special and no offense, but you being drunk is not special."
"So, you moved away." He finishes for me and I nod. "Oh, everything makes so much more sense now. You've never kissed anyone."
"Well, not everyone is like that, okay! Especially not me. I mean, look at me, I'm -"
"What?" I'm pretty sure I heard him correctly, though.
He coughs. "Nothing," Louis answers quickly. Oh, so now he's shy. "Let's continue, eh? Why didn't you ever tell me this?"
I shrug. "Because it's embarrassing. Other guys have gone all the way and here I am, seventeen, and have never been kissed. My decision is my own and I stand by it, but that doesn't mean I want to tell people." He's quiet for a long time, feels like forever. I have no idea what could be going on inside his head. I hate that. "What are you thinking?"
"I'm thinking if I had known sooner, I wouldn't have drank so much."
"So sure I'd kiss you," I tease.
"Yes." I stop smiling once I realize just how serious he sounds. "I know you like me. I was so sure you did last night, but then you turned away and I got confused, wondering if I had misread you. I was thinking about it all night. But now I know, I'm not confused and I wish I hadn't drank as much as I did. Or at all. Well, maybe one."
"I wouldn't have denied you one drink, maybe even two."
"So, you admit you like me."
I smirk; this is gonna be fun. "I didn't say that. The second thing on my list ties in with the first." I change the subject back to the list; it was his idea for me to have one after all. "I want that to be special, too."
"You're a hopeless romantic at heart," he laughs.
"As are you, Lucy says. I've noticed."
Louis sighs. "key word being hopeless. What's the next thing on your list?"
I know he'll like the next one; it's something I always think about, every time I go and visit my grandparents. But I've never had the chance before. "I want to stand at the top of the Eiffel Tower, just so I can know what the big deal is. People say standing at the top is so romantic; I wanna know why. The same with the Empire State building."
I am right. But, then again, I'm always right. Shh. "Let's just start small and stick to Paris, yeah?" he replies between chuckles. I just shrug and agree; he did say we would do the lists together, he's the one who has to take me. "What else, CJ?"
It seems to go on and on for ages. I understand what he meant before; I had no idea there was so much I wanted to do, stuff I usually don't think I can. I don't stop until I really cannot think of anything else. Does he really think I can do all that?
"You really believe I can do anything?" I ask him quietly.
"I do," he says after a minute of silence. He's right in front of me, his hands pulling the bottom of my t-shirt. "Say it."
"I can do anything." Louis pulls my t-shirt forward, which pulls me towards him, and he whispers in my ear to close me eyes and say it again. To feel it and believe it. "I can do anything."
"Yes, you can." He wraps his arms around me properly then and I'm just stood there for a second before my own arms find their way around his neck; he's never hugged me before, like a real hug. Like this. It's surprisingly nice.
"I'm sorry about last night, I didn't want to upset you," I blurt out.
Louis responds by squeezing a little tighter. "You didn't upset me, you confused me." I swat the back of his head, my fingers flicking his hair out; he is such a liar. "Okay, maybe just a little, I was rejected. But I was also drunk and I shouldn't have done it, so it doesn't matter. I wasn't going to ignore you for it."
My breath catches in my throat. It's like he really can read minds. "You didn't come to Hufflepuff today." It's like word vomit.
I feel his lips curve against my neck. "You're usually asleep. I don't see if you're awake until later."
See, I was right again. Rational me really should stay for longer.
"but if you really want to apologize -"
"You still have to guess," I interrupt. "Give up with the hints, I'm not gonna tell you. You can let go now."
"I'll let go. If -" No, I'm not telling him my name. "You admit you like me."
Oh. "Blackmail, Mr. Weasley? As if I would stoop so low."
"Wasn't it just last night when you said you'd blackmail me into helping with your revenge?" he counters. And it's very successful.
"But! That is so -" What's the point? "I like you."
"Like you like Jack?"
I shake my head. "More than how I like Jack."
He let's go. "Was that so hard?" I hear amusement in his voice and I wanna say yes, but I mutter a no instead. I hate word vomit. I muffle a yawn while he's picking up his things from the table, but I think he catches it. "Wanna go back to the common room and take a nap?"
I hug him again. "Yes, please." I pull away when he starts to laugh. "What?"
"Nothing," he assures me, I think. "It's just, stubble tickles."
I don't care what he thinks, I really need a shave.
"Did you know that Simon has a girlfriend?"
Seriously, Louis just has a habit of catching me off-guard. Food and drink currently have a habit of being on me rather than in me. He pulls back from whispering in my ear, so others wouldn't know, and I frown. Good for Simon and all, but he's stranger than I am.
"If Simon can date someone before me, I am screwed."
"Your words hurt me."
I try not to smirk; I know he's talking about him. But even if we do like each other, I have my reasons for not wanting to date him. Reason one: we've only known each other a month and a half. I don't consider that a reasonable amount of time to go out with a friend; I wanna get to know him more first.
"All I have is a stalker and a guy with a fear of commitment."
And that is reason number two. He doesn't have relationships, he said so himself. He needs to work on that first.
"You're making it worse. Now you're just being mean."
Then I smirk. "You're fine."
"I don't get your jokes."
I look up. "Hey, Jack. Where have you been all day? And where's Lucy?"
"No where and I don't know, in that order."
"Here's Lucy," Louis says.
I wait for her to say hi before I talk. "So how was your night? You both disappeared."
"No, we didn't," they both say.
I'm confused. "Louis said you were arguing and went into another room."
"Oh," Jack mumbles. "That we did."
Yeah, because I mentioned them doing anything else? What is going on with them? "What happened last night?"
"Nothing," they simultaneously say again.
You know what? I just don't believe them. But I ignore it for now; they obviously aren't going to tell me. I think back to last night; we did joke about Jack being with a girl. And we know what Lucy's like when she's drunk. And they were both missing for a while...
No, I don't wanna imagine that. If they want to (finally) get together, good for them, but I don't want mental images. I go back to my dinner, it's safer.
"We can go through our lists and see what we can do first tomorrow," Louis says, starting conversation.
I nod. "Sounds good," I answer, all the while keeping those four words in my head. And for once, I think it's starting to stick.
I can do anything.
A/N: Two updates in two days, I'm so happy. And now you know Ciaran's reasons for not kissing Louis at the party and for not dating him. He's so cute and innocent, I just want to hug him. :P
Now that I've got this chapter up for AC's 'I'm a Believer' challenge, the next update might be a little longer, though probably not by much. I just want to update my Albus/OC, Silver Linings, first. :)