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Chapter 13: Handstands v Rollerblades
Drowned @ TDA.
There are times in my life when listening to Jack, scratch that, when going through with one of his insane dares is a very bad idea. The rational part of my mind reminds me that right now is one of those time in my life. However, silly me does not agree. In fact, it's the most simple, easiest dare I've ever been asked to do. Well, told. Jack never asks.
"I can't believe you're doing this."
I laugh; of course Lucy doesn't approve. Much. She thinks it's rather funny, she just doesn't believe I'm actually doing it. I push myself up with my arms, stretching as much as I can in an effort to get rid of the cramp. It only helps a little, but it's enough to relax back into my original position. "How long do I have to be like this for?"
"Until I say otherwise," Jack replies.
Translation: indefinitely. He finds it way too funny. It's gonna be a long day. My arms will cramp up again soon, I see myself stretching in an effort to release said cramp often. I nod. "Okie dokie."
"Your actions and your words both prove that you are a child at heart."
"Took you this long to figure that out, Luce?"
"Don't be a smart-ass, Mr. James." She throws something at me; it hits me in the chest and I almost fall. My arms are starting to hurt again. I have little upper body strength. I'm starting to forget why I accepted this dare. And then I wobble.
The common room door opens. "Are you actually doing a handstand?"
Louis? Oh, yeah. Lucy sneakily gave him the password, says he's allowed it because he's a prefect. But not Head Boy. I wonder why. Given everything he does for the school and the students, I'd have thought he'd have been given Head Boy and not the other Ravenclaw boy. His name also begins with an L. I ask him.
He chuckles weirdly, his confusion is evident. "I didn't want it, I shouldn't be allowed to be put in charge of others; it's not safe for them. You know what I'm like. Luka is a great Head Boy. Why are you suddenly asking me this?"
"It just popped into my head," I shrug. "I think the blood is rushing straight to my head. I'm not thinking straight."
You'd think that would be my incentive to get down, besides the sore arms and the cramps. Ouch, it's really starting to hurt. Why did I take this insane dare and agree to handstand until Jack told me to get down? Because I'm an idiot, that's why. Ah, but sometimes you have to be an idiot. At least it's nothing embarrassingly stupid. Just the normal kind of stupid.
"So, tell me, CJ." I hear footsteps come my way. At least I think they're coming my way. I can't tell; everything sounds fuzzy.
"What?" I choke out. This is getting harder. He's right in front of me now; he runs his hand down my chest. Or up; his fingers start at my belly button and stop at my chin. He tells me to lower my head to the ground. There's a cushion on the floor; yes. I rest my head on top and make sure I'm balanced and it's safe before I move my arms and cross them over my chest. I have no doubt Louis would catch me if I were to fall, purely because he's right there. Jack calls it cheating, but I don't care. "Much better."
"For now," Louis agrees. "So, how come you'll willingly balance yourself on your hands and risk falling on your face, but we can't rollerblade in the halls?"
Jack let's out an over dramatic gasp. "Hey, you're rollerblading in the halls? Digby said I couldn't do that anymore."
"I'm not rollerblading in the halls," I protest, rolling my eyes at Jack's words. "That is far from unsafe, it's deadly. You've seen the stairs. And I'm getting woozy."
They ignore that last comment, which is probably the most important thing I've said. "It's on your list, Key."
He did that on purpose. "Rollerblading is on my list, like in a park. Not in the halls. I'm not that stupid."
"You do know what you're doing, right?" Louis counters. I assume it's a rhetorical question; I don't answer him. "You're going to hurt yourself or pass out if you don't stop soon."
"Neither is going to happen." My head wobbles, the cushion slides a little and Louis' hands grab my waist. I start again. "Neither is going to happen because you are here."
Now my legs start to shake. I move forwards and Louis doesn't wait for me to say anything; he holds on tighter, lowers me down and then pulls me to my feet. Or, to be more specific, or maybe I'm just being my usual awkwardly perceptive self when it comes to the guy, he pulls me closer to his chest. He smells fruity, as usual. See, I'm not so bad that I forget the little details about him. I recall them. Vividly. Personally I think it's him that is making my head cloudy. "Better?"
I don't answer him until I'm no longer all wobbly and can let go of him without the fear of falling on my face. And his aftershave is not distracting me. "Yes. Thank you."
"So, who's stupid idea was that?" I only point past him, but I know he understands exactly who I'm pointing at. "Oh, I should've known."
"Hey," Jack calls out. "It was either handstand indefinitely or make a pass on Davies. He decided to leave the latter to you."
"You're hilarious," Louis replies sarcastically. "Next time you play Ryder's Comedy Show, leave my personal life out of it."
"I'd listen to him, Jack, he doesn't like people talking about him."
Lucy gives him the best, most sincere bit of advice she can give and do you know what he picks up on. "Did you just call me Jack?"
She mumbles incoherently, to me anyway, probably about his question; it's most likely for Jack's ears only. I don't care what she says. They continue to talk amongst themselves; from what I can pick up, Jack is teasing her about using his nickname rather than his full name. At least they're not arguing anymore. Something seems to be fixing that. You know what I hear is helpful...
"Stop it," Louis whispers in my ear, pushing me backwards until I hit the wall. I sit on the floor, Louis sat besides me. "You have no proof, so stop. You don't know that they're together."
"If they're not, they should be," is all I say on that matter. I go back to the other week instead, to when I overheard Louis and Jack's serious conversation. Between class, the library and turoring, this is the first time since that night that we've been able to spend any time alone. I look up when I hear Jack laugh; well, almost alone. It seemed almost planned, like Louis was dodging me (I did try to talk to him), but that can't be right. Louis doesn't know anything about me listening. Does he? But that's not what I want to talk about anyway, not even close. I just don't want to go there; my fear is my own. That Jack and now Louis knows about it... I don't like it. "The other week when we were relaxing in here, why did you want to come with me to the bathroom when you're usually on Team 'You Can Do Anything'?"
He laughs at me. "I didn't want you to leave me with Jack."
"Why? I thought you were friends."
"We are," he agrees. "But I can only take Jack's friendship in small doses as he talks about awkward things that I'd rather not discuss and he likes to do it when you are not around because you can't save me from him."
"Of course," I grin, shaking my head. "Jack in small doses is probably best until you've known him for at least a couple of years."
"I can hear you, asshole," Jack growls.
I smirk. "You were meant to." Ow. Okay, people have got to stop throwing things at me; it's hazardous. At least this one was just a cushion, admittedly it was probably aimed at, and successfully hit, my face, but it's soft and cushion-like. I'm not sure that's actually a word, but I like it. I love Hufflepuff's soft, cushion-like cushions, perfect for nap time. Unfortunately, I don't get to have one often.
"Don't start anything with him; he was being quiet and they weren't fighting," Louis moans quietly. He can bitch and moan about anybody when he wants to, just as long as they don't hear him. And they never seem to. Sneaky.
"I won't if you explain why you always come to Hufflepuff and we never go to Ravenclaw," I say, a cocky smile on my face. At least I hope it looks cocky; one can never tell. I already know his answer; he tells me often, thinks I don't listen. But I just like to annoy him by making him repeat himself.
Listen to that sigh; I'd say he's sick of repeating himself, but maybe he knows. He's quick when it comes to me and my games. Sometimes he plays along. Depends who the game is focused on.
Like Roxanne, for example. He doesn't like to play that game. I'm not even sure there's still a game to play; I don't know her answer, she hasn't talked to me in a while. At first I thought she just hadn't figured it out yet, but she'd come to me wanting to know more if that were the case. Now I think she does know and just isn't handling it very well. Who will she go to now that she knows she can't have me?
I don't say any of this to Louis. Ever. He tells me to be nice. It's best to keep quiet.
I am actually nice around people, it's just in my head or to him that I say something and I am then told I have to be nice. It's not like anyone else'll ever hear me.
"I come here because it's peaceful and quiet and because you like it here; it's familiar to you, you know your surroundings and the people here know you," he answers. Which is all very true. "You'd never go to Ravenclaw." I snort; also true. "And I don't want to; they're all nosy and annoying. Not here, I like it here."
I nod, trying not to laugh at his tone. "Do you want me to stop asking that?"
"Yes," Louis says, exasperated. "Please stop, I'll do anything."
I raise an eye-brow, loving the pleading tone. I am just evil to him, aren't I? "Anything?" I wink, nudging him with my elbow.
Louis' hand wraps around my upper arm, leaning closer to me, and his lips are on my temple, lingering slightly before moving to my ear. I guess my friends don't notice, because they'd have definitely commented on it. Wouldn't they?
He whispers in my ear, "Just say the word."
I don't even try to suppress my body's reaction; he knows how I feel about him. At least, he knows enough. I lean my head back against the wall, pull my legs up to my chest and he let's out a husky chuckle. Damn him is all I can think while he kisses the shell of my ear. And then it's not all I can think about.
"That's not fair, Lucy!"
Jack's shout jerks me from my thoughts and the movement is enough for Louis to remove his mouth from my skin (I can't believe I already miss the contact), but he doesn't let go of my arm. "I'm just waiting for you."
He eventually does let go of my arm, but only to take my hand instead. "I want to say that you make it really easy to tease you after you mess with me, but it kind of gets to me, too."
"Kind of?" I ask, pretending I'm insulted. Okay, maybe I'm just a little insulted. It should get to him way more than 'kind of'; at least as much as he gets to me. And, yeah, he gets to me a lot, I'm way past the point of caring or denying.
"Maybe more than 'kind of'," he says quietly. "But I'm not saying how much more."
"Because I have to go; I have a tutoring session. I only came here to see you." Louis kisses my cheek and leaves, calling out a good bye as the door shuts behind him.
"What was he saying to you?" Lucy asks, curious.
"Yeah, before that."
I shake my head, I'm not telling her mine and Louis' business. "What's not fair, Jack?"
"You remember I brought my pack of cards down this morning? The one's my dad gave me when I was stuck in St Mungo's?" I nod. "Yeah, well, I regret teaching her how to play poker."
"Don't worry, Jack, it's not like you're alone in that; she'd probably beat me, too." I try to look serious, but my lip twitches. Lucy laughs first, followed by me, and then Jack. And this is just one of the reasons why the three of us are still friends, despite their fighting. We can laugh and joke and make light fun of each other and it means nothing.
I must be in a really good mood to say this, but I love my friends. Even the one who could be more.
Yeah, I must be in a really good mood.
A/N: Look! Chapter 13! What is this madness that's taken so long? It has a good reason; who knew that college would be time consuming in the days before Summer? :P But as of today, college is over. Even so, I'm working on my original fiction, which means updates might still be a little slow (compared to the usual...).
Hope you enjoy this chapter. Because we're starting to get somewhere... ;)
See you soon,