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Chapter 12: Honest Words
Drowned @ TDA.
Louis was not happy when he came to wake me up on Monday morning and found a freshly shaved Ciaran sleeping peacefully in bed. He complained about how unfair it was and asked if it was his punishment for Halloween; it was actually quite funny. But I told him no, he wasn't being punished, that it just had to go, and by the time breakfast was over he had grudgingly accepted it.
I don't get it, personally. I can't even imagine what he finds so attractive about it. Just like I have no idea what his cousin sees in me. I still have Louis' words running through my head, his slip of the tongue that he obviously had not wanted me to know; that I'm hot. I'm not hot, nowhere near... Am I?
I don't think I'll ever truly know; Louis hasn't said anything about it since and I don't know how to bring it up. Nor do I think I really want to. And this is what I have chosen to think about in History of Magic instead of listening to Binns go on and on about something I don't care about and will get from Abby later. I let my quill do the work while I lean forward with my elbow propped up and my face resting in my palm, my eyes covered so I can keep them closed undetected.
This is my favorite lesson.
"CJ?" I say nothing, but I do acknowledge him; I turn my head slightly so he knows I heard and that I'm listening. "What's with the sunglasses inside? It's finally time to ask."
My next acknowledgement is a smile. He finally asked; I was wondering when this day would come. I know it's not what he technically asked nor what he wants to hear, but I give him my medical reason, the 'science' behind it. "Sensitivity to light. It still hurts your eyes, you know."
"Yes, but you spend most of the year in dimly lit classrooms and a library in a creepy, Scottish castle. So, what's with the sunglasses inside?" I lift up my glasses a fraction, show him my closed eyes. He scoffs, amused, I imagine he's holding back a laugh. It probably doesn't even surprise him. "You sleep."
"It's perfect," I whisper, sighing dramatically, happily. Then I feel the glasses disappear and my eyes snap open before people notice. "Hey!"
"They are really good for a lesson like this," he murmurs.
"You're wearing them, aren't you." It's definitely not a question.
"I was. Now they're on my head."
I roll my eyes, tell him he can keep them and search for a spare pair from inside my bag. I put them on and resume my previous position; elbow propped, face cupped, eyes closed. I whisper that Jack takes them, too, well it came out as an unintentional whisper, and my friend agrees from behind me.
Next thing I know my elbow gives way and I almost hit the table, just managing to jump up before my face falls flat against the desk. "What happened?"
"Lessons over." I recognize Jack's voice at my side, but he sounds further away than that. It feels like I've just woken up. Did Louis really let me sleep? In class? Interesting. No one ever let's me do that. This could also be a bad thing. "You wouldn't wake up, so he knocked you."
That he'll have to pay for...
I lift up my glasses enough to rub my eyes and someone hands me my bag as they're dropped back down. I point in the direction to walk in, only to be turned the other way (I must still be half asleep; I usually know the way at least) and I get out of there; walking will do me good, wake me up. Maybe. So will talking.
"I can't believe you let me sleep."
"Yeah, we don't do that for a reason," Jack scolds, speaking slowly as though to a child. Knowing Louis as well as I do, I wouldn't be surprised if he took offense to that, just a little bit, not that he'll say anything. I'd take offense to that.
"But he looked so adorable," he protests, giving it that whiny, baby tone which I'm definitely going to take offense to. Maybe he wasn't protesting, maybe they planned it to annoy me. That is something they'd do. They shouldn't be friends, it's too dangerous.
"I'm standing right here, you know!" I call back. And they say I'm bad. "I'm so glad Lucy isn't here right now; it'd only get worse."
I was talking to myself, but they're not far back that they can't hear me and Louis comments anyway. "Where is Lucy? I haven't seen her all day."
"No idea," Jack says way too quickly, trying to be casual about it though it's clearly not working.
I know from Louis' next words. "I'm not even gonna go there. It's not worth the headache."
He means listening to me and my theory later; every time I finish he tell me it wasn't worth the headache. Says we could be doing better things like the lists we finished the other day (among other examples). We told Jack about the lists on Monday in class and Lucy yesterday. They doubt either of us actually completing them; well, we'll show them. "What's first on your list, Louis?"
"We did that on Sunday," he answers, now at my side. I raise an eye-brow; did we? "You told me that you liked me."
Oh. Figures that'd be on there. "Well, what's number two?"
He's quiet for a moment. When I ask him why, he says he's trying to remember. He doesn't tell me until we're in Hufflepuff. I can't believe it took him that long to remember something on his own list. "I started with little things first; number two is relaxing on a school day, no library no tutoring, no homework."
I think; when does he not have a tutoring lesson? Today. And Abby had a family emergency; she has to help her brother. I know we don't have homework for tomorrow, as we're in the same classes. It's a school day and neither of us are in the library. I take off my glasses, put my feet up and grin. "Done."
"Now?" I nod, tell him today is a rare and perfect day. We should not waste it by working. He laughs at that, but agrees. "Okay."
"You two are crazy. You could do that whenever."
"I think he's mocking my list," Louis murmurs.
"Hmm." I cross my arms over my chest, trying to look serious, and agree with him. "He just doesn't understand the simple pleasures in life."
"Ah, the poor boy."
Our words were funny. Jack's? Not so much. At least not to us. I bet he found it hilarious.
"Of course, Louis knows all about life's pleasures. Could have done better, though," he says as an afterthought.
The first thing I do is press the back of my hand against Louis' shoulder; his love life is a sore subject and he shouldn't say anything because Jack will tear him to pieces. Not literally... Maybe literally. The second thing I do is throw a cushion in Jack's general direction because he's a git who deserves a cushion being thrown at him.
Louis takes my hand, squeezes gently before letting it fall to my side. "Don't worry, he just hasn't gotten any in a while. Probably why he's angry all the time."
"Just like you focus on flirting."
They've moved from potential arguments to friendly banter. And Jack says we're confusing; I just don't get them. "I thought we were relaxing," I argue.
"This is relaxing," Jack tells me, chuckling. "You said you wanted us to be friends."
I roll my eyes. In August his version of relaxing was jumping off a cliff; look where that got him. I'm not so sure I want them to be friends after all. They scare me when they're together. "I changed my mind."
"He's lying, he loves that we're friends," Jack mock whispers. It's gets quiet after that, but it's comfortable, actually relaxing. Then his tone turns more from playful to serious. "I kinda hope nothing changes."
"I don't follow," Louis says slowly. He nudges me. What? Does he think I have an answer? I shrug.
"I have no idea, but I do know that I need to go to the bathroom, so I'm gonna go do that." I get up.
"You gonna be okay?" Louis asks, taking hold of my arm.
"Yes, I am a big boy and if I can do anything it's pee properly." I smirk. "Most of the time; I might forget exactly where the toilet is sometimes."
Jack scoffs. I wink. Louis groans. "That is more information than I needed to know." He let's go of me. Who knew that would be a fun game to play?
I point in the direction I started walking in, leaving the common room, but I stop a few steps up because that's when Louis starts speaking and I'm curious to know my friend's answer.
"What did you mean before, about not wanting things to change?" he asks.
"Exactly that." A pause. "Look, you're great. You've made a couple of mistakes, not naming them, but I like you and CJ likes you. He's never been in the type of situation where he's really liked someone, he's never let himself, so this is all new for him and, if you give him time, he'll get to that point where you become more. After he's gone through every possible reason as to why and why not."
I grit my teeth, but hold back; best friend my ass!
"If that happens and you do get together, but then break up -" Jack stops, then continues, changing his words. "If it happens and it's natural, it couldn't be helped, you won't loose CJ in the long run; you'll pretty much be stuck with him for life, even if you are just friends. But if it happens because of what you said, you can't handle the relationship and end up doing the same as with the others, it'll only get awkward and it'll get worse until you lose him and I go with my best friend. It would kind of suck if that were to happen, that's all."
I hold my breath, I can't seem to move; Jack has just gone and inadvertently told Louis my reason number two for not doing anything about liking him. Why'd he have to choose now to be honest?
"He's just not very good with new situations and I don't want him to get hurt. That is the only reason I'm telling you this." He may have also inadvertently answered my question.
"I don't want to hurt him," Louis says quietly. He sounds distant, like he's thinking about something else.
I feel slightly better hearing Louis' intentions, until I realize he never said he wouldn't, just that he didn't want to. Now I'm nervous as to what he's thinking about that has obviously made him this way, terrified about his words and more determined than ever to go slow with whatever it is we have. I'd rather be his friend than get dumped and lose him later.
Jack either doesn't pick up on his word choice like I do or doesn't want to point it out. "Good."
"I never thought I'd see a day where Jackson Ryder is honest and serious." It's something he'd normally say to tease him, but he sounds a little too serious, something he's trying to cover up.
And Jack follows suit. "Tell anybody and I'll hunt you down and kick your ass."
"You'll have to find me first."
I leave then, continue my way to the bathroom. When I sit back on the couch, the first thing I'm asked is what took me so long. I tell them I didn't want to miss, which gets a laugh. We're back to relaxing and chatting until Lucy says hi and Jack closes up. They confuse me too much lately and I'm agreeing with Louis today; I don't need the headache. Especially not after before.
Lucy doesn't stay for very long; she wants to put her stuff away and get changed before dinner. Jack says he'll meet us in the Great Hall, that he has to go talk to Burns, the Transfiguration teacher. The moment we're alone, Louis threads his fingers through mine. He does that a lot when his cousin's not around; he says it's because he knows I don't like it when she talks about us and because he hopes it'll change my opinion about us and go out with him sooner rather the later.
Okay, he didn't say that second one, but I swear it's true! Ever since I admitted I liked him, he's gone crazy with the flirting and the touching. I'm still trying to process this!
"You know, I think we can at least work up to being able to cross off the first thing on your list."
See, I told you!
"I'll think about it."
I hear Lucy come back down and he leans closer to whisper in my ear. "I'll be thinking about it, too."
He let's go of my hand and I use them to cover my face to try and control myself. Even with me still thinking about before, he manages to make me laugh. He keeps being able to make situations better.
I like that about him.
A/N: I said to people that this would be up on Tuesday, but I didn't get to finish it, then I wasn't well yesterday, but I didn manage to finish it for today. Hopefully the next chapter will be up faster. :)
Feel free to shake your head at Louis for unknowingly pushing Ciaran even further away from him. ;)
The medical reason for the sunglasses is a brief version of what I found while researching.