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Disclaimer: I don't own all the lovely (and occasionally sexy) wizards in this story. That's J.K. Rowling. And the absolutely awesome chapter image is made by .ducky at TDA. And a big thank you to my fabulous beta, redherring.
Chapter One: Evidence
I’m ninety-nine point nine percent positive that my neighbours are crazy. Please note the point one percent margin for error, because I’m often wrong about these types of things. For example, I once thought the potted plant on Mum’s window sill was really a monster that was going to eat my feet. Mum says I have an overactive imagination. I agree with her.
But this time I have evidence on my side! This time is different than the time with the plant, because I’ve made a notebook of my observations! Only, I seem to have misplaced it. Again. Ah well, it was about time for another spelunking expedition under my bed.
Fifteen minutes, and five frightening encounters with dust monsters later, I find my notebook. It has a suspicious big brown stain on the cover. I cross my fingers and sniff the stain. Oh, thank goodness, it’s just chocolate. There’s a load off my mind.
I open the notebook to reread my evidence. I’m really quite proud of myself for going about the matter of my crazy neighbours so scientifically.
I’m almost positive my neighbours, the Potters, are insane. Here’s the evidence:
Monday- 10:00 A.M. Just heard loud crack coming from Potters’ house, sounded like gunshot, or car backfiring. Must get binoculars and investigate. 10:15 A.M. From carefully observing Potters’ house for fifteen minutes, determined no casualties, and no cars backfired. Just some smoke in the front room. Very bored, so have decided to make cookies.
Tuesday- 1:05 P.M. Was sitting in bedroom, enjoying cookies, when blue sparks were seen coming from Potter boy’s (Note to self: figure out that kid’s name.) bedroom. Was very alarmed, so ran downstairs and hid under sofa for approximately one hour (fell asleep). Am now recovering through help of chocolaty goodness.
Wednesday- 6:41 P.M. Just finished supper. Was very tasty. Am sitting in tree house with binoculars, eavesdropping on conversation taking place in Potters’ backyard. Yes, the binoculars are necessary for eavesdropping. Conversation is between Potter Boy and Potter Man, who is most definitely Potter Boy’s dad. Both look a bit peeved. Here’s conversation:
PB (Potter Boy): Can’t I please borrow your broom to play quiditsh (spelling?) at remus’s, I promise I won’t break it! I need to have the speed advantage over serious, and your broom is faster than mine!
PBD (Potter Boy’s Dad): No.
PB: But, Dad, I won’t fly too high! No muggles will see me!
PBD: You always fly too high, James, and I don’t want my broom confiscated by the ministry when you get seen by muggles.
PB: But, Dad!
PBD: I said no.
PB: But serious nicked, er, I mean borrowed, his brother’s broom and it’s a nimbus 1500!
PBD: (sighs) Fine.
PB: Thanks, Dad, you’re the best!
PB hugs PBD and dashes inside. A few minutes later, another loud crack comes from house. I jump and hit head on tree house ceiling (tree house not meant for sixteen year old girl). PBD looks my way. Spent next twenty minutes flattened against floor of tree house, having staring contest with spider. But have now determined PB’s name: James.
Thursday- 4:25 P.M. In tree house again, with binoculars. Have brought dad’s boot up here to kill spiders with. Mrs. Potter spotted in her backyard, sitting on lawn chair and reading. Lawn chair looks pretty shifty. Use zoom feature on binoculars to read book cover. Book called “Three Hundred Useful Household Spells.” Interesting.
See! That is most definitely evidence of the Potters’ craziness! I mean what’s “quiditsh”? And what’s “muggles”? And why was the Potter boy, I mean, James, going on about “serious”? I won’t rest until I solve this mystery!
“Melanie! Come and do the dishes!” my mum bellows up the stairs. Shoot. The mystery will have to wait until after the dishes are done.
I really hate doing the dishes. There are always many unidentifiable substances in the dish water that I’d rather not deal with. It also takes way too much time. And when I’m finally finished, Mum decides it’s time for some family bonding time in the living room. I abhor family bonding time. It’s always practically painful. Dad and Mum ask me embarrassing questions about my social life, or even, God forbid, my sex life, (or lack thereof) and then tell anecdotes about when they were teenagers, as we sit around drinking mineral water, which, by the way, I also abhor. Water was meant to be mineral-free, thank you very much.
Mum’s a physiatrist, so she thinks she always knows what I’m thinking, but she doesn’t, not at all. Dad’s a chiropractor, which means whenever I’m the least bit stressed he says it’s probably because I’ve been slouching a lot lately, causing back problems. Ugh.
“So, Melanie,” Mum begins. She and my dad are the only people in the world that call me that. All normal people call me Mellie. “How’s your summer been so far?”
“Fine,” I say. Mum and Dad exchange looks, and I know they’re thinking I’m avoiding telling them something, so I elaborate. “I think the Potters might be crazy.”
“Really?” Dad says, frowning slightly. “Well that son of theirs was playing his music rather loudly the other day, but that’s no reason to question their sanity.”
“I don’t know, there’s something funny about Mrs. Potter,” my mum says. I nod enthusiastically, happy we’re having a discussion that doesn’t involve therapy, myself, backaches, or sex. “I have a feeling she’s repressing a lot. She should see someone. ” Oh dear, spoke too soon. The physco-babble is about to begin.
“Mum? Don’t you think it’s time I practice piano?” I ask quickly, before she can launch into her analysis of Mrs. Potter. Mum nods, completely distracted.
“Oh yes, of course, practice makes perfect, after all.”
I dash out of the room and into the library, where the piano is located. I’ve been taking piano lessons since I was ten, and I’m pretty good, since I use practicing as an excuse to get out of a lot of things. Can I go shopping with Mum? Oh no, I have to practice piano. Do I want to have some cocoa with Dad? Oh no, I have to practice piano.
Once there, I plunk though a few songs before heading back up to my bedroom to get my binoculars and notebook, for some observation time. On my way out of the backdoor to my tree house, I hear Mum and Dad talking in the living room. I hear my name, which is never a good sign, so I stop and listen. It’s not eavesdropping if you’re not really hiding, just standing out of sight.
“I’m worried about Melanie,” Mum says. I frown. Why’s she worried about me? Have I given her any reason to worry? It’s not like I’ve gotten a tattoo or anything. Or any unusual piercings.
“So am I,” Dad replies. Their voices are surprisingly casual, like they’re talking about the weather or something. Oh! Maybe they’re worried because I fell asleep under the sofa on Wednesday!
Hhmmm . . . that can’t be it. I’ve fallen asleep under there before. It’s surprisingly comfortable down there.
“She hasn’t been spending much time with her friends this summer,” Mum continues. “I’m worried she’s becoming antisocial; and this thing with the Potters . . .” She trails off, but that in meaningful way she has.
Argh! All my friends are gone this summer! I’m not antisocial, there’s just no one around to socialize with! And Mum and Dad should know this, because I told them on the last day of school.
Susan and Katie are nerds, and therefore taking summer courses at a university a couple of hours away. In maths. Insanely-intense maths, where there’s so many Greek letters involved it doesn’t even seem like the professors are speaking English. I can barely count to a hundred, so there’s no way I could have gone with them, even if my parents bribed the university people.
And Courtney’s taking summer classes at this private Drama school. I’m not sure about all the details, but it sounds like a lot of acting, and singing, and dancing, and I’m not good at any of those. She had to recite Shakespeare in her audition to get in. Shakespeare gives me a headache. Too many ‘thee’s and ‘thou’s.
Mary’s off in some third-world country with her parents, building schools and houses for poor people and sleeping in tents and peeing outside. She invited me, but as soon as she mentioned “no indoor plumbing” I politely declined. I cannot pee outside. Believe me, I’ve tried before, but I just can’t.
Liz is travelling all around Europe with her family. I feel for her, because her parents are even worse than mine, and she has a little sister who is pure evil. I’m not exaggerating. That little girl once dyed my hair blue in the middle of the night when I was staying at Liz’s house. The dye didn’t fade for a month. And, she didn’t do a very good job, and got some dye on my face, so I looked like I had some sort of weird skin disease for a month. Four different doctors stopped me on the street and asked if I’d “had someone look at that rash”.
Even Kenzie, my neighbor, is at football camp, and won’t be back until next Saturday. So it’s really not my fault all my friends are gone, and I’m not being antisocial. My parents are just worrywarts.
“Yes, she has been very anti-social,” Dad agrees. I roll my eyes. “She’s also been slumping lately.”
Agh! I can’t take anymore of this! I’m leaving this madness! I turn and carefully sneak away from the living room, careful not to let them hear me, and towards the back door so I can spy on the Potters and not think about my irritating parents.
I sneak out of back door, and then dash over to the fence that separates our backyard from the Potters’. There’s a small peephole in the fence that I put the lens of my binoculars up to. Perfect. James is in his backyard, holding something in his hand, and talking to it. I zoom in a bit to try and see what he’s holding, but then he turns and his back is to me. I take out my notebook.
Saturday-6:45 P.M. PB, now known as James, in backyard, talking to something. Do not know what. Think might be mobile phone, but is too small, and he’s not holding it up to his ear, he’s holding it in his hands, in front of his face. Here’s what he’s saying:
James: Are they giving you a hard time again?
Well just come over! My parents won’t mind, they love you.
Honestly, mate, you really need to get away from them. They’re mental.
Pause I zoom in with my binoculars, but I can’t see what he’s talking to for the life of me. And now it’s getting a bit dark. I hope James finishes his conversation soon, I don’t want to be out here alone in the dark with the psychos and the serial-killers and the stalkers and the wild animals.
James: Bring everything, I don’t care! Come tomorrow, first thing in the morning, before your mum wakes up.
A very short pause
Serious, really, you have to come.
A longer pause
Brilliant! See you tomorrow!
James stops talking and turns around. He begins to pocket what he was talking to, but I see it first.
It was a mirror. James Potter was talking to a mirror.
A/N: Haha, those last two lines rhymed. Heh, anyway, what did you think? Is it funny? Loopy? Cliched? Do you like Mellie? Review please! In the next chapter, which I've already written, she meets Sirius. Excited? 'Cause I am.
Disclaimer: Any characters *coughsiriuscough* that you recognize aren't mine. And the superly cool chapter image was made by .ducky at TDA. She rocks. Another person who rocks is my awesome beta, redherring.
Chapter Two: Serious
Since it’s Sunday, the parents are home, so I escape by going outside. I’m sitting on the porch drinking lemonade, with the notebook open on my lap and my trusty binoculars at my side. I came out here to observe the Potters, but it’s too hot and nothing’s happening, so right now I’m just doodling. It’s really hot. I bet I could fry an egg on the pavement.
Suddenly I hear someone coming down the Potters’ driveway, whistling. I quickly pretend to be very interested in my notebook, holding it up so it covers my face. I risk a peek over my notebook and spot a teenage boy towing a rubbish bin, smiling and looking generally happy, which is odd. If I had to take the rubbish out on such a hot day as this, I’d be cursing, not whistling. Oh wait, I do have to take the rubbish out on such a hot day as this, I have to take it out today. Oh well, I’ll do it this evening, when the horrid sun has gone down.
The boy is definitely not James Potter. He has darker skin, no spectacles, and longer black hair that goes just past his ears. Even from a distance I can tell he’s gorgeous. Also, James is a horrible whistler. I know this because I sometimes hear his whistling attempts from the back garden, and they hurt my ears.
“Hey,” the boy says, waving at me. I pretend to be so engrossed in my notebook that I don’t hear him. “Notebook girl!” Oh dear. That’s me. He’s reached the curb and is now walking back up their driveway, and he’s spotted me. I wave back, and then duck behind my notebook. When in observation mode, a spy should never be noticed.
“What’s your name?” he calls, smiling in a friendly manner. I put my notebook down, since my cover’s obviously blown.
“Melanie,” I say, and smile back. He’s stopped, leaning against the fence that separates the Potters’ driveway from our lawn.
“That’s a pretty name,” he says, still smiling. His smile is absolutely gorgeous. Honestly, if I was any closer, I’d be blinded by its shininess.
“Thanks, but I go by Mellie,” I say, “What’s your name?” He takes this as his invitation to hop over the fence and start walking towards me. Oh dear. I’m not ready for a fit-bloke encounter today. I’m all sweaty and gross. My hair’s in messy ponytail, and I’m wearing a boring tank top and short shorts that have mysterious stains all over them, that I think are paint, but I’m not quite sure. Gah! I’m practically indecent!
“Sirius,” he says. Oh! He’s that bloke James was talking about going to play “quiditsh” with! Unfortunately, I must’ve had a really big “light bulb over my head” look on, because he notices and raises an eyebrow. “What’s with the look?”
“Um, nothing. Is it spelled ‘serious’ as in ‘not joking’ or ‘Sirius’ as in the star?” I ask, improvising quickly. He looks confused for a second, but then smiles again.
“The star,” Sirius answers. He’s reached the porch and is now sitting down beside me, next to the binoculars. He picks them up. “What are these for?” Uh oh, time for some more improvising.
“You never know when you’re going to need binoculars. They’re very handy,” I say, trying to sound knowledgeable. Oh dear, now I just sound like a demented, binocular using, star name remembering, freak. Sirius holds the binoculars up to his eyes and looks at me through them.
“Whoa, these are pretty powerful,” he comments, sounding slightly surprised. Well they should be powerful, considering I spent three month’s pocket-money on them when I was twelve and going through my bird-watching phase. Don’t ask.
“Thanks,” I reply, even though that wasn’t really a compliment. Sirius looks at the house across the street with the binoculars, then at the big tree in my yard, and then sets them back down on the porch.
“So, what’s in the notebook that’s so fascinating that you didn’t immediately respond when me and my sexiness said ‘hey’ to you?” he asks, stretching his legs out on the steps and leaning back a bit. I tuck my own legs under my chin. I gulp and quickly try to think of an explanation of what’s in my notebook. When I can’t, I decide to change the subject.
“What makes you think the notebook is fascinating? Maybe you’re just not sexy.” I tease. Wow, that was quite flirty, especially for me. I am not a flirty girl. At all. I embarrass myself when I attempt to flirt.
“Ouch,” Sirius replies, placing a hand on his (well-defined, not that I’m checking him out or anything) chest dramatically. “That hurt. My sexiness is not to be questioned.” I giggled in a very girly -- so not me -- fashion.
“I’m questioning it,” I say. He shakes his head at me.
“Not really. You’re secretly in awe of it,” he counters. I giggle again. What is up with this giggling nonsense? I never girlishly-giggle! I giggle, but not in a flirty, girly, I-think-you’re-so-funny, way like I am right now.
“Fine. I’m in awe,” I say, since I can’t think of anything else. He grins.
“Now that that’s settled,” he says, “what were you doin’ before I distracted you?”
“Um, nothing really. Drinking lemonade. Doodling. Debating whether or not I should try and fry an egg on the pavement. You?” I answer. He smirks good-naturedly, and I find I like his smirk even more than his smile.
“I bet you could fry an egg on the pavement, it’s unbelievably hot,” he says. I nod, really not used to conversing with random boys that come out of my crazy neighbour’s house. Sirius doesn’t seem at all uncomfortable, but he seems like the type of bloke who never feels uncomfortable or awkward, like he’s one of those people who are perfectly comfortable in their own skin. I envy those people.
“I was taking out the garbage, since James is a lazy git who’s still asleep.”
I check my wristwatch, a digital one with a huge face that you can read from a mile away, and about a million different buttons and gizmos, some of which I still don’t know how to work. The alarm on it still goes off every day at noon, and I don’t know how to turn it off.
“But it’s three o’ clock!” He chuckles. I smile. I like his chuckle.
“Yeah, but try telling him that. That boy sleeps like a log,” he replies. Hhhmm, I should note that in my notebook. It’s not normal for a person to sleep so long. Two o’ clock is the normal sleeping-in limit.
“So are you like, his cousin or something, because I thought James was an only child?” I ask, trying to figure out who this “Sirius” character is.
“He is an only child; I’m not related to him. I’m his friend. I’m staying with him for the rest of the summer,” he explains, only this just makes me think of more questions. Why is Sirius staying with him? Can crazy people really have friends? Don’t crazy people’s friends have to be crazy too? Does this mean Sirius is crazy? I don’t want to seem nosy though, so I just smile and nod. A few seconds pass in a surprisingly comfortable silence, with me tracing a pattern on the porch with my finger, and him looking at the cloudless sky.
“So where do you go to school?” Sirius asks me. He’s still looking at the sky, not me, so I take this opportunity to admire his very nice profile.
“Hartburton High School,” I answer. I hope he doesn’t ask me if I like it, because then I’ll have to go off on my rant, and I think that might scare him.
“Where is it?” Oh. That’s a bit of an odd question.
“Just around the corner,” I say, pointing to my left. He nods, and I see a flicker of realisation cross his grey eyes. “Where do you go? The same boarding school as James?” I ask.
“Yeah, Hogwarts,” he replies, looking away from the sky and at me now.
“That’s a funny name,” I say. It is a funny name, just like ‘Sirius’. “And where’s that?” I ask, since he asked me.
“Up north somewhere,” he answers, “by a lake.” I raise my eyebrows at this interesting location. “How old are you?” he asks.
I smile. Usually I absolutely hate small talk, and the ‘How old are you?’ ‘ Where do you go to school?’ questions, but with Sirius, it’s actually fun, and interesting. Or maybe it’s just because he’s so fit, and his smile’s so shiny. Yup, I think it’s the shiny thing.
“Sixteen, to turn seventeen in exactly twenty-nine days,” I reply. Sirius laughs slightly at my preciseness. Or, at least I hope it’s at my preciseness. Maybe he’s laughing because I have a giant bogey sticking out of my nose! I do a quick nose scratch/bogey check. Phew, I’m clear. And oh, his laugh is lovely, I like it. It sounds like he’s barking. “You?”
“Seventeen years, one month and---”
“Melanie!” Mum bellows from inside the house. I groan. Sirius looks a bit alarmed. “Come inside! You need to practice piano!” I groan again. I practiced this morning, for a whole hour. I played almost every song I know. “Now!”
“Sorry, Sirius, I have to go, before Mum blows a gasket,” I say quickly, grabbing my binoculars and lemonade. He starts to reply but Mum yells again and I dash inside.
“Nice to meet you,” I hear him yell after me. I smile. Yes, it was very nice.
A/N: Yes, it was very very nice to meet Sirius. Did you like meeting him too? Thanks so much for the reviews so far, I'd love to get more! Tell me what you think of Sirius, and Mellie, and their chemistry, or lack thereof. And for anyone reading my other two stories, I'll update those soon!
Disclaimer: I don't own the wizarding world and all that. Oh, and the line about the birthmark is partially from Drake and Josh. But Mellie is all mine. :) And, a big thanks to my beta, redherring.
Chapter Three: Caught
I can’t find my notebook! I’ve looked under my bed three times and searched the whole house once, and I still can’t find it! I’m trying to remember where I last saw it, and I’m retracing my steps and all that, but it isn’t working! I think the last time I had it was outside, two days ago, Sunday, when I was on the porch and . . .
Oh. Hell. Hell, hell, hell, and every other bad word out there.
Sirius must have it. Hell. I must’ve left it on the porch when Mum was screaming at me, and then he picked it up and started reading it and . . .
Now he knows I think his mate is mental. Ugh. Hell. I’ll just pretend I don’t know anything about that notebook, and then ask Mum and Dad if we can move to China. I think China’s far enough away.
Only I don’t speak Chinese, and neither does Mum, so she’d have a really hard time finding work, what with her whole job being talking and all. Ugh. Hell again. I’m just going to have to avoid Sirius and James like the plague. Shouldn’t be too hard, considering I just discovered James’s name a few days ago.
I’m currently sitting in my tree house, attempting to read Frankenstein for school, but it’s super boring. I have to read it by the end of summer, and do a report on it, but I think I might die trying.
I’m so bored, and it’s so hot.
What to do. . . what to do? I know, I’ll examine what I’m wearing. Let’s see, a nice blouse and a polka-dot skirt (since I went shopping with Mum this morning when she didn’t have any patients and she likes me to look nice, no matter how hot it is), and a necklace with stars on it. I would feel pretty if I didn’t have sweat dripping down my back right now.
Well that took up all of three seconds. Maybe I’ll go to the pool. Ugh, it’s too hot to move. Maybe I’ll—
“Prongs, come on,” a voice coming from the other side of the fence says. I sit up and look out the window, then groan. It’s Sirius, pulling along a very disgruntled-looking James. I slump to the floor of the tree house so they don’t see me. “I have to show you something!” I peek through the window, and groan again, slumping back down to the floor. Sirius is holding my notebook. Hell.
“Padfoot, I’ve seen the birthmark on your back, and it doesn’t look like Slughorn doing a polka!” James protests, sounding irritated.
“That’s not what I have to show you,” Sirius replies, and then adds as an afterthought, “and yes, it does.”
“Then what do you want?” James asks. I hear a thud, and pages being flipped. Oh dear, Sirius as given him the notebook. I’m doomed. James will probably stab me in the middle of the night, being the nutter that he is. Oh gracious, I hear James muttering things, probably profanities.
“Bloody hell,” James says, loud enough for me to hear him.
“Yeah, I know. What are we gonna do?” Sirius asks, sounding anxious. I hear James groan, and then,
“Modify her memory, of course,” he replies, and then adds, “Or, we could move to China.” Hey, I called that idea first!
“No!” Sirius exclaims. I’m really confused now. And a little bit scared.
“Whaddaya mean, ‘no’?” James asks, as if amazed Sirius said no. “She’s going to find out about---“
“I mean,” Sirius interrupts, “That when was the last time you modified someone’s memory properly?”
There’s a pause, as if James is thinking. I’m still really confused, and very uncomfortable in my awkward position on the floor of my tree house, and there’s a large beetle attempting to crawl up my skirt.
“Well, never, but we can’t just do nothing!” James replies. I brush the beetle away. “Sirius, for Merlin’s sake, she’s a Muggle!” What the heck is a muggle? And I thought Merlin was that one wizard that helped King Arthur, what does he (or maybe Merlin’s a she) have to do with anything?
“Well we can’t try and modify her memory, something could go wrong,” Sirius protests. I’m getting a little scared now. “And we can’t tell the Ministry either, because then you’d probably get in trouble for being so obvious. And we can’t move to China because I don’t think they have Quidditch there!”
I really wish these two would speak regular English. I have no idea what they’re going on about.
“I wasn’t obvious! She was sneaky! How the hell was I supposed to know that she would be spying on me?!” James sounds defensive. I feel a bit insulted by the sneaky comment. I wasn’t sneaky, I was on a top-secret-mission for the good of the neighbourhood. Yeah. “And there’s Quidditch everywhere!”
“Fine, you weren’t obvious, but we still can’t tell the Ministry, or your parents, for that matter,” Sirius replies. He sounds anxious.
“Yeah, I guess so. They’d probably have a cow if they knew the neighbour girl had heard all that,” James agrees.
“Her name’s Mellie,” Sirius says, and now he sounds slightly defensive. I smile, weirdly glad that he remembered my name, and then I feel pathetic.
“So, what, have you talked to her?” James asks, confused. I’m really glad I’m not the only one that’s confused around here. Oh great, the beetle’s back. And it’s headed towards my skirt again.
“Yeah, I have, and she doesn’t seem like the type who would go around telling everybody, if she finds out,” Sirius explains, “and I doubt she’ll actually find out.” There’s silence for a minute or two. I kill the beetle with my bare hand and get beetle guts all over it. Ew.
“I still say we should modify her memory,” James says.
“No, we can’t she’s ---” Sirius stops himself suddenly. I really wish I could see his face right now.
“What, Padfoot, do you fancy her or something?” James asks, and from his voice it sounds like he finds this quite comical. I feel a bit insulted.
“No,” Sirius replies immediately, almost defensively, and I frown. “But she is different. In a good way. She’s not like the girls at school.” James snorts.
“Of course she’s different, mate, she’s a Muggle,” James says as if he’s explaining something to a small child. What does muggle mean?! Does it mean ‘crazy person’ or something?
“I know that,” Sirius says, “but she’s different even for a Muggle.” Oh great, I’m different even for a crazy person. That’s just spiffy. There’s silence for a bit.
“Maybe if we just act perfectly normal from now on, she’ll forget all about it,” James finally suggests. I snort, seeing a very obvious flaw in this plan: James could never act normal. He’s a screwball.
“Agreed,” Sirius says quickly, sounding relieved by this course of action. I attempt to wipe the beetle guts off my hand, but instead end up smearing them all over both my hands. Double ew.
They’re so quiet for a minute I think they’ve gone inside, so I feel safe enough to prop myself up on my elbows and look outside. They’re still there. James is flipping through the notebook again, and Sirius is staring at the ground, thinking.
“I never would’ve suspected that tree house as a place for eavesdropping,” James says. Sirius nods. “Do you suppose she’s in there right now, and she just heard everything we said?”
Oh, bugger it all. Sirius and James both turn to look at the tree house, and in my haste to make myself invisible, I hit my head against the tree house floor, causing a loud bang. I’m sure they saw me though, and now I hear them climbing over the fence and walking over to the tree house. I grab Frankenstein and sit up, then open the book and pretend to be immersed in reading. Oh hell, now I’ve gotten beetle guts on the book, and it’s a library book.
I hear Sirius and James climbing up the wooden boards that my dad nailed to the trunk of the tree. I wish I had a rope ladder I could pull up to stop them from entering, but Dad said a rope ladder would be too dangerous and “unstable”. His brain is unstable.
I’m still staring at my book when Sirius pulls himself up into the tree house and plants himself next to me. I pretend not to notice his arrival, and instead read the same sentence over and over again.
“Hello, Mellie,” he says. I feign shock.
“Oh, Sirius, I didn’t hear you come up!” I exclaim, and watch his eyebrows go up in amusement. “I was just so engrossed in this book! Sometimes, when I’m reading I don’t hear anything around me at all!”
Wow I’m a horrible actress.
“Really?” he asks, smirking. I nod fervently. Just then James pops up, and pulls himself into the tree house as well. Oh dear, this tree house was not meant for three teenagers. I think it’s maximum capacity is two hundred pounds.
“Hello there,” I say to him, and smile brightly, hoping I don’t show any evidence of the fact that I think he’s mental. “How are you on this fine Thursday afternoon? I was just reading this lovely book, and didn’t hear you two come up, or anything else I wasn’t supposed to hear!” He shoots me a look that shows he thinks I’m mental. I feel insulted.
“It’s Wednesday,” James points out, and I cringe.
“Oh, right, I knew that,” I reply, still smiling brightly. “I was just seeing if you did.” Now Sirius and James are both looking at me like I’m a bit mad. I think they have no right to look at me like I’m mad, when they’re the mad ones.
“Er, right,” James says. “Now, is this yours?” He holds up my notebook.
“I found it on the porch the other day,” Sirius adds. I think fast for an explanation.
“Oh, that old thing!” I cry, causing Sirius and James to jump a bit. “That’s my little sister’s notebook, and she has quite the imagination!” The two boys exchange looks.
“Really?” Sirius asks. I nod so much I’m sure I look like a bobble-head.
“I didn’t know you had a sister,” James says suspiciously. Well, I don’t, but they don’t need to know that.
“That’s because she doesn’t get out much. She’s a disturbed little soul, so we keep her in her room most of the time. She tends to frighten people,” I explain.
“I see,” Sirius says. “Then why were you reading it the other day?” Darn these boys and their observations. Why can’t they just stare at my chest like other blokes and be stupid? Okay, to be honest blokes never stare at my chest, but they are usually non-observant.
“Because,” I say in a voice that I usually reserve for speaking to small children like my nonexistent sister, “I was making sure she wasn’t writing gruesome murder stories like she usually does.” I’m really proud of this excuse. “I just flipped through it, really.”
“Then why does it say ‘Property of Melanie Parrish’ on the cover?” James asks. I slap my forehead, and then curse loudly when I realize I now have beetle guts on my forehead.
“Do either of you have a handkerchief?” I politely ask the two alarmed-looking blokes. “I seem to have gotten beetle guts on my forehead.”
Mechanically, Sirius hands me a crumpled tissue, which I take and use to dab the guts from my face. “Thanks,” I say once I’m gut-free. I make to hand it back to him but he shakes his head.
“Keep it,” he says. I smile my thanks and put the tissue next to me, next to my forgotten book.
“So, er . . . what were we talking about again?” James asks, shaking his head as if to clear it. I beam at him, hoping that the shininess of my teeth will stun him and he’ll go home and forget this whole thing never happened, but no such luck. My teeth aren’t particularly shiny, like Sirius’s. I probably have lettuce from lunch stuck in them, too. “I remember! This notebook.” He points at my notebook and I cringe.
“What about it?” I ask innocently.
“See, you seem to be under the impression that I’m mental,” James begins. I nod, and he continues. “This, however, is completely—“
“TRUE!” Sirius blurts out. Both James and I stare at him. “Well, not completely true, but James, I’ve always thought you were a bit odd.” James looks insulted as I giggle.
“I’m not mental! My mum says I’m just special!” James cries indignantly. I giggle again. Sirius shoots an apologetic look at James before turning to me.
“There’s some things we have to explain, though. In that journal you had some questions about what the things James was saying meant,” Sirius says, and I nod.
“What’s a ‘Muggle’?” I immediately ask.
“A ‘Muggle’ is someone that doesn’t go to our school,” Sirius explains. I guess that makes sense. “And Quidditch is this sport we play at our school. It’s like football, only we use brooms to hit the ball around.” That makes a lot less sense. “And er, the big bangs you sometimes hear are James’s cat. Fluffy.”
James and I are both staring at Sirius now, mouths open.
“It’s a very large cat,” Sirius adds wildly. It’d have to be tiger-sized to make those bangs. “And anything else weird you remember is probably just James’s rather eccentric mother.”
I nod slowly, but am more confused than ever before now.
“So, we’ll just go then,” Sirius says, and starts prodding James towards the hole in the tree house floor that’s the exit. James starts down, and Sirius waits until he’s out of sight to say, “By the way, Mellie, you look really nice, even with beetle-guts on your face.”
I start to reply, but Sirius is already headed down the tree trunk.
I open my notebook.
I think Sirius is mental too.
A/N: So, what do you think? Tell me and add this story to your favorites so you can read the exciting update as soon as possible! Will James and Sirius manage to convince Mellie they're normal? Will Sirius flirt with Mellie some more? Will James stab Mellie in the middle of the night like the nutter he is? Will the beetle's son come to avenge his father's death? DUN-DUN-DUH!
Disclaimer: I'm not J.K. Rowling. All I own is Mellie, and her fantastic spasticness.
Chapter Four: Chocolate
It’s been two days since James and Sirius confronted me about the notebook, and I haven’t seen them at all since. In fact, I haven’t even gone outside in two days. I feel like a hermit. Maybe I should grow a beard.
I think a beard would be itchy. I don’t like anything itchy.
I’m considering putting on my two-piece and heading to the back garden to work on my tan. No, that’s not a good idea, because I don’t tan, I burn. And pink is not a good look for me.
The parents aren’t home, so I could walk to that newish little shop nearby and buy a chocolate bar! Hhmm, I think it’s called “Herman’s” but I’m not sure. I jump off my bed and dart over to my wardrobe to change out of my pyjamas.
On second thought, that creepy old man with the lazy eye works there, and he always stares at me (with one of his eyes, the other one kind of stares off into space). The man has all of one hair on his head, and a surplus of hair coming out of his nose and ears. He frightens me.
On third thought, I’m really craving chocolate, and Mum ate all the chocolate in the house after her session with the chocoholic didn’t go so well. I guess I’ll risk it.
On fourth thought, I’m completely broke. I really should get a job. But the last job I had didn’t go so well. It was at an ice cream parlour. I lasted a week, but when the fifth spoiled little kid threw a tantrum about the size of his ice cream scoop and how there were too many sprinkles, I screamed and chucked my scooper-thingy (I forgot what they called it in the employee-handbook) at the wall. I’m still banned from that place.
Ah, hell, I’ll just nick some money from one of Mum’s many handbags. She won’t notice. And even if she does, I’ll only have to undergo a few weeks of therapy from one of her physiatrist chums and a bunch of lectures on why stealing is a sin. The therapy isn’t all bad, I get sweets and free tissues. And I get to rant about the parents and school and other rant-worthy-things for an hour a week.
Thirty minutes later, I’m properly clothed in a completely mysterious-stain-free outfit with enough money to buy two chocolate bars in my pocket. I run a brush through my mess of dirty-blonde hair, tie it back into a ponytail and slap some sunscreen on.
Keys? Check. I don’t want to accidentally lock myself out of the house again. Note for Martha (the cleaning lady) saying that Dad will pay her next week, and saying to make sure and dust the piano? Check (even though I don’t think we should even pay her at all, considering she refuses to clean my bedroom and all she really does is shove things under the rugs, and one day I’m going to get photographic evidence of her eating the leftover cake). Shoes? Er . . . check.
I remember to lock the door behind me and head down the driveway. I’ve just reached the pavement when I hear someone whistling.
Oh bugger. That whistling sounds suspiciously like Sirius. Which is not good at all. I speed up.
Now the whistling sounds a tiny bit like “Mmeeeeeeeelllliiiieeeeee.” I start power-walking. I really do not want to deal with that nutcase right now.
“Oi, Mellie!” Sirius shouts, and I hear his footsteps behind me. I power-walk even faster, but for some reason, Sirius doesn’t take the hint, and speeds up as well.
“Mmmeeeellllieeee!” he shouts even louder, and now I stop, because I don’t want the neighbours to get mad at us for noise pollution. I turn around and give him an evil-eye. He’s standing a few feet away from me, and looking cheerful. Well, mental people are usually cheerful, aren’t they?
“What, Mr. ‘can’t-take-the-hint-that-I-don’t-want-to-talk-to-you’?” I ask, crossing my arms in an attempt to look intimidating. Sirius, instead of being intimidated, laughs.
Laughing at absolutely nothing is one of the first signs of madness. I think. And the fact that his laugh sounds more like a bark is probably another sign of madness. I shoot him another evil look, one that I think, despite my mates’ assurances to the contrary, is quite menacing.
It works! He stops laughing! Unfortunately, he walks closer to me and puts on a mock-pouty face that I think makes him look like a toddler. He should stick to smirks.
“And why wouldn’t you want to talk to me?” he asks. Oh, let me list the reasons . . .
“I think you’re mental,” I say bluntly and seriously (Hah! No pun intended!) before turning and walking away. I wasn’t really expecting him to go away, but I wasn’t expecting him to follow me quite so quickly, and I certainly wasn’t expecting him to sling his (heavy) arm around my shoulders.
I’ve always wondered what it was like, walking with a bloke’s arm around your shoulders. It might be nice for some girls, but I’ve always suspected I have unusually narrow shoulders, and his arm is big and heavy, so it’s really rather awkward and uncomfortable. Plus, I’m walking faster than him (trying to get away from the nutcase), which increases the awkwardness even more. At least I’m not a foot shorter than him, because then it’d be even worse. I’m just an inch shorter than him.
“I thought you thought James was mental,” Sirius says, sounding completely unworried by the fact that I think he’s insane.
“I do. But after that little episode in the tree house,” I pause for effect, and to sneak a peek at his lovely profile, “I’ve decided you’re both barmy.” He stops now, and I have to stop too, because his arm’s still around me.
“Mellie, I hate to break this to you,” he says, placing his hands on my shoulders and turning me to face him, “but you’re the barmy one.” I shake my head at him.
“Nope. In a survey conducted by my friends of approximately fifty students, only one said I was ‘mental’. The overwhelming majority said I was ‘just a little out there’. One in ten said I was ‘normal’,” I say to him, proud to have statistics on my side. However, instead of this convincing Sirius of my saneness, it seems to amuse him.
“Your mates ‘conducted’ a survey about you?” he asks me. I shrug nonchalantly.
“It was for a statistics class,” I say. Susan and Kelly couldn’t think of anything else. I’m not going to sit around and let my friends fail! “But it proves I’m not mental, or barmy, I’m just a little out there!” Whereas, you, Sirius, are as nutty as a forest floor.
“No it doesn’t. It just proves your mates are as mental as you,” he replies. I stick my tongue out at him before yanking myself out of his grasp and marching away. I sigh as I hear him catch up with me, but I refuse to look at him.
“So where’re you going?” he asks, but I’ve decided that the best way to get this nutjob to go away is to ignore him, so I say nothing, and continue walking.
“Mellie, the silent treatment doesn’t work with me. Remus uses it on me all the time, and it never works,” he informs me. I resist the urge to ask who Remus is, and what’s with the weird names. But then again, Remus probably doesn’t even exist. He’s probably a figment of Sirius’s imagination.
Hey! I just remembered. Remus is Romulus’s twin brother, the one who founded Rome, according to mythology. They were raised by a she-wolf.
That proves it. Remus is definitely not a real person. No one would name their son after a mythological wolf-kid, who, by the way, is killed by his own brother. Poor Sirius and his imaginary friends.
He doesn’t talk for a few minutes and then . . .
“Mellie, why aren’t you talking to me?” he asks, sounding slightly whiny. I roll my eyes.
“My mum told me not to talk to strangers,” I say very matter-of-factly. I glance over at him, he’s grinning.
“But I’m not a stranger. You know my name,” he counters, and his expression shows he thinks he’s bested me with his logic.
“You certainly seem strange to me,” I say with a smile. Oh, wow, that sounded a lot better in my head. Sirius rolls his eyes.
“I’m choosing to ignore that,” he informs me. I stick my tongue out at him again. “I’m going to ignore that too.” He’s walking beside me now, but fortunately hasn’t put his arm on my shoulders again. “So, where are you going?”
I sigh. The ignoring-him method is definitely not working. Time to go to Plan B (also known as the plan I just now came up with): put up with the nutter. It can’t be too bad, he is, after all, exceptionally good-looking.
“To that newish shop that the creepy old man with the lazy eye works at,” I reply shortly. Sirius laughs.
“A lazy eye, eh?” he asks with a grin. “Sounds fun.” I nod.
“Oh it will be. Because, there’ll be chocolate involved,” I say. “But you’re not invited,” I add when he laughs. Sirius puts his arm around my shoulders again. It’s slightly less awkward this time, but only because we’re walking at the same pace now. But his arm really is heavy. I think it’s because it’s muscular.
Oh goodness, I shouldn’t be thinking about how this crazy person’s arm is muscular. But muscles don’t necessarily mean that the owner of them is good-looking, after all, I have arm muscles!
Sometimes my friends tell me my logic makes no sense. I agree with them.
“And, why,” Sirius begins, snapping me out of my internal-monologue, “am I not invited?” Because I’m scared you’re mental friend is going to murder me in the middle of the night and I think you’re wacko too and this was supposed to be a boring but relaxing summer and you are adding unnecessary drama! And I don’t like drama!
“Because,” I reply shortly, instead of shouting at him like I feel like doing.
“Um, did I do something wrong?” he asks, sounding slightly concerned. I can feel his eyes on me, even though I’m determinedly looking at the pavement right now instead of at him. “You sound like you’re mad at me.” Ugh, I am such a horrible actress. I was trying to sound nonchalant with my “because” but it obviously didn’t work out. “Did my tissue give you a rash or something?”
I can’t help it, I chuckle at this. Aw, screw it. I don’t care if Sirius is mentally unstable or not. He’s funny. I’m going to hang out with him and enjoy it! And I’m going to try really hard not to think about the green sparks I saw coming from the Potters’ chimney yesterday.
“No, no rash either, unless one has popped up in the last five minutes,” I reply, looking away from the pavement and back at him, and I’m relieved to hear my voice sounds completely normal, even joking. “Has one?” Sirius makes a show of examining my face for a rash and then smiles.
“Nope, you’re lucky.” I chuckle again. “So then, can I come?”
“Nope,” I reply again, only because I know he’ll come anyway, and I want to see how long I can last with saying no to him. I’m not a stubborn person at all.
“Aw,” Sirius does that pouty-thing again, the one that makes him look less-attractive, almost like an average-bloke. I grin back at him. “Will you let me come if I buy the chocolate for you?”
Huzzah! Free chocolate! I’ll take it!
“Deal!” I reply. Sirius smirks at my overeager tone. “What? I really like chocolate,” I add defensively.
“I figured that out on my own, thanks,” he replies, still smirking slightly. Ah, there’s that smirk again, it was missing for about five minutes there.
We’re about halfway there now. And he hasn’t done anything particularly mad, yet. It’s only a matter of time.
“So how’s Fluffy?” I ask casually, because there’s an awkward pause in the conversation and I always feel the need to fill awkward pauses. I look at Sirius and discover he looks really confused right now.
“Huh?” he replies dumbly. I try not to laugh at his expression.
“How’s Fluffy? You know, James’s cat?” I repeat, smiling.
“James’s doesn’t have a c—“ He stops himself as a look of realisation spreads across his face. It’s funny. He looks just like that little kid I tutored for about a month did when he finally figured out a maths problem. “Oh. Right. That cat! Fluffy!” I giggle.
“Yeah, er, Fluffy’s great, absolutely spiffy!” Sirius says quickly, in obvious “I’m lying but I don’t want you to know I am so I’m overcompensating by almost yelling” voice. “
I spoke too soon. He’s just done something particularly mad.
“Riiiight,” I say slowly in the voice I reserve for people who are bonkers, like Sirius. “That’s great.”
There’s another awkward pause, and again, I feel the need to fill it.
“We had a cat when I was little,” I say, and then I suddenly realize is arm is still around my shoulders. Wow, his arm’s been there for a while now. It doesn’t seem so heavy anymore. “He used to sit in the bathtub and meow until someone would pour some water in the tub for him, and then he’d lap it up.”
Sirius laughs/barks at this, so I continue.
“And, he’d run in fright whenever anyone crinkled a plastic bag, but then he acted all tough whenever a bird got to close to one of our windows, and attack the window.” That cat really was quite mad. I miss him a bit. He died of old age a while back. Sirius laughs again.
“We used to have a cat too,” he says once he’s finished laughing. “But then she tried to kill Kreacher, the, er, neighbour’s dog, so we had to give her to a shelter.” I laugh aloud at the thought of a cat taking on a dog. He grins.
“Was the dog badly hurt?” I ask, not managing to keep a straight face. Sirius smirks.
“Unfortunately, no,” he replies. I laugh before I can stop myself, because even though it was a mean thing to say, it was funny.
We swap a few more cat-stories and then we’re standing in front of the shop. I look at the sign. Darn, I was wrong; it’s called “Herbert’s”, not “Herman’s”.
“Here we are,” I announce. Sirius looks it over dubiously. “What?”
“’Herberts’s’? What kind of name is ‘Herbert’s’? It’s so boring,” he says. I roll my eyes at this.
“What’d you expect, ‘Herberto’s Chocolate Emporium’?” I say sarcastically before slipping out from under his arm and darting inside. I hear him say something like “Well, yeah,” but I’m already headed towards the chocolate aisle.
I don’t care what the shop’s name is. It has a whole aisle devoted to chocolate. That’s my kind of place.
Sirius moseys on in and comes over to me, glancing around with a curious expression on. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he’d never been in a shop before. But who, besides the aliens and hermits of course, has never been in a shop before?
I carefully select a chocolate bar, and look at Sirius, who is still looking a bit bemused.
“Need help deciding?” I ask him, smirking a wee bit. He shakes his head slightly, and picks up a chocolate bar. He seems to be reading the ingredients or something.
Remember Sirius’s little-kid-figuring-out-a-maths-problem-look? Well, it just appeared again. I can’t help but laugh at it. He mutters something, but I’m too busy laughing to hear him.
“Mellie, stop laughing at me for a sec and listen,” Sirius says. I stop, and shoot him a “I’ve got good reason to laugh at you” smirk. He ignores this. “I just realised I don’t have any money with me.”
He attempts to prove this by exaggeratedly turning his pockets inside out, but out falls a shiny gold coin.
“Then what’s that?” I ask, confused on why he would pretend to not have any money, when he did offer to pay for the chocolate. I go to pick up the coin, but he grabs it before I can and shoves it back in his pocket. But before it’s out of sight I notice it’s got what looks like a dragon on it.
But my eyes must just be playing tricks on me. No coins have dragons on them.
Sirius looks slightly alarmed. “It’s a Canadian dollar!” he blurts out.
Wow, he’s officially, utterly, and completely, lost it. First of all, I’m pretty sure Canadian dollars are paper, not golden coins. Second of all, even if Canadian dollars were coins, they wouldn’t have dragons on them. There’re no dragons in Canada, it’s too cold for them. Duh.
“Okaaaay,” I say slowly, not wanting to anger the mentally-unstable person. “I’ll just pay then. Is this what you want?”
“Oh, no, you don’t have to buy me one,” he says quickly. Aw, the mad one is also a gentleman!
“It’s fine, it’s my mum’s money,” I say, before taking the chocolate from him and heading to the counter. Ugh, the creepy old man’s there. Deep breath, Mellie, try not to look him in the eye, especially not the lazy one.
“This all?” he growls as I hand him the chocolate. I nod, looking at his forehead instead of his eyes. Ugh, his breath stinks. Really lovely. “Fifty pence,” he says. I hand him one pound and cringe when I accidentally touch his hand when he gives me the change.
His hands are all gross and clammy.
Sirius owes me big for this.
I might accept one of those dragon coins as payback.
A/N: So, first of all, I'm sooooo sorry for the super long wait you all had to suffer through (because I'm sure it was agony). Second of all, thanks a bunch for all the reviews so far, and I'd love it id you could keep them coming! Third of all, I'd just like to remind everyone that I have a "Meet The Author" page, and I'd love it if you guys asked me some questions! It makes me feel popular! Fourth of all, what do you think of the new banner? Is it better or worse than the old one? Lastly, don't you love these super long author's notes?
Disclaimer: I am not J.K. Rowling, and I don't own anything that she owns. Get it? Good.
Chapter Five: Detour
“Mellie, I think that’s the third time we’ve passed that hedge,” Sirius says, sounding worried. I roll my eyes at him. We have not passed that hedge three times, this is the first time we’ve passed it. I think. I hope.
“Honestly, I know how to find my way home from a shop three streets away,” I reply, irritated that he’s questioning my judgment, (Actually, he has every right to be questioning my judgment when it comes to getting to and from places, considering I got lost at school the second-to-last day before term ended, and I’ve been going there since I was fourteen. In my defense, they did repaint, and that was very confusing.). “And all the hedges look the same!”
“That one’s different!” he protests, and I let out a frustrated ‘why are you being so irritating’ sigh. “That one’s got a big hole in it shaped like an owl.”
Who sees a random hole and says it looks like an owl?! I’d say the boy’s just lost his mind, but it’s been lost for a while now. As proven by how he was raving on in the tree house about giant cats and such.
I turn around to get a good look at the hedge-with-the-owl-hole.
He’s right. It does look just like an owl. Freaky.
“This is the first time we’ve passed it,” I say, reassuring myself more than him, and continue walking. He shakes his head but follows me. He’s quite for about two seconds, and then,
“That tree looks familiar!”
I sigh, stop and glance at the tree he’s pointing at. Oh bugger. It does look familiar.
“It’s a pine tree,” I say, “all pine trees look familiar.” I start walking again and Sirius heaves a huge sigh before following me.
“They do not,” he mutters. “That pine tree has a pinecone on it that looks like a broom.” I ignore his ramblings and turn the corner. I stop, staring at the house across from me.
Oh crap. Crappity crap crap. I KNOW I’ve seen that house before. That crazy dog lady named Wilhelmina or something lives there! And it’s nowhere near my house! We are lost!
“Hey, I know I’ve seen – ” Sirius starts.
“Don’t say it!” I interrupt him. He smirks, knowing that I know he’s right. Prat. He’s so fit when he smirks. Super prat. I turn in the other direction, the direction I hope home is in. I’ve had quite enough Sirius for one day. In fact, I think I’ve had enough Sirius today for a whole month.
The super prat follows me, still smirking.
We had a nice chat when we had just left the shop, while we were eating our chocolate, but ever since I took one wrong turn and we went down the same street twice, he’s been bugging me. And now, we’re more lost than ever and he’s irritating me more than ever.
I turn another random corner that looks vaguely familiar (I’m hoping it’s familiar because it’s near my house, not because I’ve already passed it two times today.) and grin when I see the sign at the end of the lane that simply has an arrow and reads “Green Park”.
It’s the sign for the park! Huzzah! I know my way home from the park (due to my parents dumping me there all the time when I was little)! Hallelujah!
“Mellie, just admit you’re lost,” the super prat says. I give him the evil-eye. He pretends to not be alarmed by it and just smirks at me in that superior fashion of his. It wouldn’t tick me off nearly as much as it does except he looks so darn fit when he does it!
“I am most definitely not lost,” I reply, this time speaking the truth. He raises an eyebrow at this. I raise my eyebrows right back at him and put my hands on my hips for added effect.
“Really?” Darn that smirk.
“Yeah. Really. I was taking you the scenic way. I know exactly where I’m going.” I hope I sound like I know where I’m going.
“And what scenery did you have to show me?” he teases. I point randomly, and he looks at what I’m pointing at. “A rock?”
I can feel myself turning bright red. “No, not a rock.” I can tell the super prat is trying hard not to laugh. “But there’s all the pretty houses, and such.”
He’s losing that battle not to laugh.
“Oh shut it,” I say, and then cut him off before he can say “but I wasn’t talking” by pointing to the park sign and saying, “Actually, I was just taking us to the park. It’s lovely this time of year.” I don’t know where that last bit came from. I sounded just like my mum.
The super prat looks dubiously at the sign. “The park, eh? You sure you didn’t get us lost because you were distracted by my good looks and charm, and then by pure luck managed to see that sign and then decided to pretend that’s where you were going all along?”
Whoa. That was kind of scarily accurate. Curse the super prat.
“Er . . . no! Of course not!” I reply quickly and probably defensively. The super prat smirks again.
“Fine then, let’s go to the park,” he says sounding like he’s suppressing laughter, and heads towards the sign. I really want to throw something at his head, but I stifle the urge and follow him.
Green Park contains lots of trees, bushes, some flowers, a small pond, a bunch of benches, and some swings. Oh, and there’s a small merry-go-round that I haven’t been on ever since went too fast on it and then puked on an old lady, who proceeded to beat me with her handbag.
Needless to say, I’m scarred for life.
“So . . . .” I say when we come to a halt in front of the swings. “This is the park.” Goodness. As my mates like to tell me, I really am a horribly awkward person sometimes.
Sirius looks around. “Looks like a great hang-out for old ladies and small children.” I grimace, because he’s absolutely right.
“Er, right. It is,” I reply. “Wanna swing?” He’s now looking at me with a peculiar expression on his face. “What?”
“Nothing,” he says, and then walks towards the swings, “get on, I’ll push you.”
I hop on a swing, still trying to figure out the weird expression he had. It was less of a “you’re nuts” look and more of a “you’re one-of-a-kind” look. I think. I hope.
And then next thing I know, Sirius’s hands are on my waist, and he gently gives me a shove. I don’t go very high.
“What kind of wimpy push was that?” I tease as I’m coming back down. Sirius laughs.
“I didn’t think you could handle much more than that,” he replies, before giving me another push, this one harder, and I go much higher. I laugh as the wind whips some hair loose of my ponytail.
“That old lady we saw earlier is stronger than you,” I joke. He laughs again, and next time I swing back towards him he grabs the swing and stops it. I barely manage to not fall off.
“Hey!” I cry, but his arms are already on my waist again, gently helping me regain my balance. I’d say it was unwanted physical contact, but it isn’t exactly unwanted. He smells good.
“Okay then,” he says, letting go of me and sitting on the swing next to me, “If you think I’m so weak we’ll just see how high you can go by yourself.”
“Is that a challenge?” I ask, grinning. He nods, and when I look at him I see he’s smirking again. “I’ll have you know, I have some major skills in the swinging department.”
He scoffs. “I bet I can go higher than you,” he says. In response, I kick off from the ground. “Hey, that’s cheating!”
“No it’s not!” I shoot back as I soar upwards. Sirius kicks off too.
For a while we swing, shouting abuses at each other as we each try to go higher. An old lady hobbles by and stares at us as if she’s never seen two teenagers having fun on the swings before.
Okay, she probably hasn’t.
And then, once Sirius and I are swinging in rhythm, just as we’re going as high as we can, and it’s about even, he reaches over and grabs my swing, yanking it towards him. Once again, I barely manage to hang on.
“Are you trying to kill me?” I ask, as we touch the ground. “Because I just saw my whole life flash before my eyes.”
I did too, and I never realized I had such an interesting life. Lots of horrific memories.
Sirius laughs. “Oh, Mellie, I wasn’t trying to kill you. I just thought that since it’s obvious I was swinging much higher than you, we should stop embarrassing ourselves and do something else.”
“What if I like embarrassing myself?”
“Well, then, you should be happy, because you’re very good at it.”
I give his swing a shove and he goes flying into the metal bars of the swing set.
“Ouch!” he cries as he clutches his probably-bruised shoulder. Now it’s my turn to smirk.
“You deserved it,” I reply. His eyes narrow and now it’s my turn to yell “Ouch!” as he pushes me into the other side of the swing set.
“That was uncalled for!” I exclaim as I rub my side. He raises an eyebrow.
“I think it was very much called for,” Sirius replies.
“Will you two pipe down?,” the old lady, who gave us the funny look before, shouts at us from her position at a bench several metres away. “You’re disturbing my peace! And Mellie, that definitely was called for, so both of you just shut up.”
Sirius and I try very hard not to burst into laughter.
“Sorry, ma’am,” I manage to get out without cracking up. She nods briskly and then goes back to her knitting. Sirius has got a hand shoved in his mouth to keep from laughing. I roll my eyes at him and then grab his free hand and drag him away from the swings and the crotchety old lady, towards an empty clearing a short distance away with a few benches. Hopefully the old lady can’t hear us from there.
Sirius starts laughing as soon as we’re a safe distance away, and I can’t help but join him.
“Wow,” he says once he’s stopped laughing. “You got told off by an old lady.”
“You did too,” I reply, and then we reach the clearing, so I release his hand and plop down on one of the benches. Sirius shrugs and sits next to me.
“She was probably just jealous,” he states. I snort.
“Of you,” he explains, grinning. “She wishes she was the one getting to spend time with the incredibly handsome Sirius.”
Well, somebody is certainly full of himself. It’s kind of a turn on.
Er, forget I just thought that. I’m definitely not attracted to Sirius. He’s a nutter.
“I really doubt that,” I inform him. He shakes his head but doesn’t reply, and we sit there in silence for a moment. It’s a really nice day, not too hot, not too cool, just right.
“So what do you want to do now?” Sirius asks lazily. I shut my eyes.
“I could go for a nap right now,” I reply. My legs feel like they’re about to fall off. I suppose it was that grand-tour of the neighbourhood that did it.
“Well, you’re no fun. Napping is boring,” he teases. I open one eye so I can deliver my brilliant comeback with some dignity, but when I do so, I realize that Sirius’s face is mere millimetres from mine, and instead all I can say is,
“ACK!” I jolt backwards, which causes the bench to fall over backwards, which causes Sirius to fall too, on top of me.
Besides the huge bump that’s forming on the back of my head, and the fact that Sirius is really heavy so I can barely breathe, it’s actually not all that bad. Sirius does smell quite good, after all.
“Er, sorry about that,” he says uncomfortably, pushing himself up a little with his elbows. “You, er, had a beetle on your face, and I was just getting it off, and er, yeah.”
Well at least I can breathe now. And wow, is Sirius actually blushing? Yes, I think he is. Hhmmm, he definitely doesn’t seem like the blushing type.
“Is it gone?” I ask. He looks confused.
“Is what gone?” he replies. I can’t help but roll my eyes.
“The beetle,” I clarify, “Is it gone?” Sirius still looks uncomfortable.
“Right.” He glances at my hair. “Nope, it isn’t. Hold still.” Propping himself up with one arm, he grabs the beetle with the other, flicks it away, and then rolls pushes himself off me. I sit up, a little relieved to be out of that situation, even if wasn’t entirely unpleasant.
Sirius stands up and then offers a hand to help me up. I take it, and once we’re both upright, we push the bench upright too.
“What do you say we head home?” I ask Sirius, feeling tired and like I’ve had enough excitement for one day. “I need to put ice on my head.”
“Sorry again,” he says, and I smile to say “it’s fine”. We start walking towards the park exit, with me slightly leading the way.
“So, will we really be heading home this time, or will there be another detour?” Sirius asks, smiling.
“No more detours,” I reply. My head hurts too much for detours.
Suddenly, there’s a sharp pain in my right hand. I look down and see a dead bee fall from the air. Ooh, I hate bees. And hell, now my hand really hurts! The bugger must’ve stung me!
“OW!” I cry as I stop walking and clutch my right hand with my left. Sirius looks alarmed.
“What happened?” he asks. My hand really, really hurts. Ow ow ow ow ow.
“A . . . bee . . . stung . . . me,” I manage to get out, my eyes watering with pain. Sirius, looking concerned, carefully takes my hand and examines it. I can’t help but whimper when his finger brushes against the sting.
“I’m gonna try and get the stinger out,” he says. I nod, because I don’t trust my voice right now. The combination of my head throbbing, and the pain in my hand is not a good one, and I don’t want to cry in front of him. I have low pain tolerance. Courtney says it’s because I’ve never had braces.
“There, got it,” he says after a minute. I let out the breath I just now realise I’ve been holding in. “You should probably put some ice on that too when you get home.” I nod again, and we start walking, a bit faster now.
“I’m usually not this much of a wimp,” I say after a minute. “I’m just . . .tired.” I don’t want Sirius thinking I’m the damsel-in-distress type. He frowns.
“I didn’t think you were being a wimp,” he replies. He sounds like he’s telling the truth, not just trying to make me feel better. “My little brother cried for ten minutes when a bee stung him. And he was twelve.”
I can’t help but giggle a bit. But my hand still hurts. And my head.
“I didn’t know you had a little brother,” I say, purely for the sake of saying something to get my mind of my hand/head. I can’t help but notice his face darkens a little bit.
“Yeah, Regulus,” he replies shortly. Okay, really now, what kind of name is ‘Regulus’? I’m pretty sure it’s a star system or something. That cannot be a real name. Regulus must be imaginary too.
I suddenly realize that Sirius hasn’t let go of my hand, and it’s been at least five minutes now since he got the stinger out. Oh my. I’m no dating expert - in fact the last date I had was five months ago and was a complete disaster - but I’m pretty sure there’s generally no hand-holding until at least the first date. And we haven’t even been on a date! He better not be counting this as a date, because it wasn’t. A date usually involves two people both acknowledging that they fancy each other, and I haven’t done that. So there, Mister Makebeliever.
I have to remedy this hand-holding situation immediately. But I can’t just yank my hand out of his, that’d be really rude, not to mention awkward. I could pretend to sneeze, and use that hand to wipe my nose, but that’d be kind of gross. Hmmm. . . . oh, I know!
“Look at that!” I exclaim, and pull my hand away from Sirius and use it to point randomly. He doesn’t seem to notice this, and looks to where I’m pointing.
“What?” he asks, looking confused. Oh, I hadn’t gotten that far.
“Er, nothing, sorry, I thought I saw another bee,” I answer, staring at the pavement to keep from blushing.
“Right,” he says, and I can’t see his expression because I’m still staring at the pavement. Well, at least he’s not holding my hand anymore. “Maybe you’ve got some sort of post traumatic stress disorder.”
Oh goodness, don’t get me started on PTSD or we’ll be here all night. Every single time I have a nightmare I have to analyze it with Mum, and nine out of ten times, she decides I have PTSD from “The Event”, and have to go to therapy.
“The Event” happened when I was seven, and Mum and Dad and I were driving back from Gran dad’s house in the country, and got stuck in a blizzard. The car rolled off the road, and then it wouldn’t start, and we had to walk to the nearest house in the freezing cold, and we all almost got frostbite.
And it was not traumatizing. I remember the whole time I was thrilled because the blizzard would mean school was cancelled the next day, which was brilliant because I had to give a presentation on the history of the royal family in front of the entire class.
I decide not to inform Sirius of this, because we’ve reached my driveway.
“Well, I’d better head inside and put ice on my hand, and head,” I say quickly. “I’d invite you in but Martha, the cleaning lady, is probably in there, and last time I brought a boy inside the house when she was there—“ I stop myself from relating the truly horrific events that took place. “Well, it wasn’t pretty.”
Sirius laughs/barks, and I grin back at him.
“Bye then, Mellie,” he says, cheerily. “Thanks for the chocolate.”
“You’re welcome, Sirius,” I reply, “See ya.”
And then I run inside to stick my head and hand in the freezer.
A/N: SOOO?! What'd you think? Did you notice how I snuck the beetle's son's revenge in there. Tricky, aren't I? And did you like the Sirius/Mellie action? I sure hope so, because there won't be a lot in the next chapter. Sorry about that, but there will be other good stuff in it, I hope. But I can't have Sirius fall on top of Mellie every chapter, or that would get repetitive. Anywho, review please, I love you all.
Disclaimer: I am not in my forties, therefore, I am not J.K. Rowling, and in conclusion, I do not own any characters, words, phrases, and ideas you recognize from the Harry Potter series.
Chapter Six: Observation
Mum is home. She usually has a few patients on Saturday, but, lucky me, today she doesn’t.
For most kids, with normal mothers, that might be a good thing. For me, it means a mad woman is running loose in the house, trying to get me to reorganize my wardrobe.
I do not want to reorganize my wardrobe, nor do I need to.
But for some reason she’s decided it smells “dingy” in there, and so here I am, stuck in my room on a fine summer’s afternoon with a bottle of cleaner and a pile of hangers.
There’s a knock on the door and I quickly jump off my bed, where I was previously lounging, and start throwing clothes around, to look like I’ve been hard at work.
“Come in!” I call, folding a random shirt and placing it on top of another random shirt. This is me, organizing. Mum walks inside and looks around, frowning. I frown right back at her.
“Melanie, it doesn’t look like you’ve made much progress,” she says after inspecting the clothes-strewn room. I sigh. It’s been about five minutes since I started, or, pretended to start.
“It’s only been five minutes,” I reply, but she doesn’t seem to hear me, and instead she walks over to the window.
“Well no wonder you haven’t gotten any work done, how can you with the window shut! It’s such a nice day, and it smells so dingy in here, you need the window open to let some fresh air in,” she exclaims as she flings it open. Sometimes my mum talks so fast I wonder if her patients can ever get a word in.
I roll my eyes, but she doesn’t notice, and instead she flits about the room, folding clothes and making piles. I roll my eyes again and plop back down on my bed.
“Mum,” I say, trying to get her out of my room before she really gets going, “I can handle it, honestly. You can go now.”
She stops scrubbing the back of the wardrobe and turns around to cast me a disbelieving look.
“Are you sure, sweetie? Because I’m thinking you could organize by colour, you know, all your oranges together, and then the yellows, and –”
“Thanks, Mum, I’ll do that,” I interrupt, and then take the cleaner from her and set it on the floor, before steering her towards the door. “Thank you, good bye.”
I shut the door behind her with a sigh and flop back down on my bed. A colour-coordinated wardrobe? Honestly.
After a few minutes of staring at the ceiling and trying to decide if I should actually do some reorganizing, I get up and go over to the open window to see if there’s some sort of way I can climb out of it and escape.
I wish I was a monkey, because that’s the only possible way I could climb out of this window and live.
I dunno, the only thing the monkeys at the zoo do is itch themselves. It doesn’t look very fun.
Maybe if I was a lemur . . .
“So, Padfoot, you never told me what you were really doing yesterday.”
Okay, near-death experience just avoided.
Note to self: Do not lean out of the window, because when surprised by loud voices coming from the Potters’ back garden, it is very easy to fall out.
“Come on, mate, spill.” I recognize the voice as James Potter’s. Figures. I always knew he’d try and do me in.
Well, I suppose while I’m trapped in my room I might as well get some eavesdropping in. I am, after all, on a mission for the good of the neighbourhood to see what exactly is up with the Potters.
I grab my notebook and a pen, and then position myself under the window, sitting very comfortably and out of sight, so there will be no repeat of the episode in the tree house.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” I’m pretty sure that’s Sirius.
“Well, it was a good cover-up, telling my parents you spent the day with that Muggle girl,” James says casually.
Weird things about PB:
Keeps using term “muggle”. What exactly is a muggle? No boarding school is snooty enough to have a special name for people who don’t go there. I think. Must ask Courtney, who went to boarding school once.
“I mean, there’s no way you did something as boring as going to the park with her,” he continues, and I frown, insulted. The park happened to be kind of fun! “Unless, of course, you were snogging her.”
Both Sirius and I have sudden coughing/choking fits. What the hell is wrong with James Potter? Insinuating that the only way Sirius could enjoy spending time with me is by snogging me! The nerve! What did I ever do to him? (I mean besides spy on him and maybe suggest that he was mad.)
Seems to be obsessed with snogging.
Okay, maybe that’s normal with teenage boys, but I’m still writing it down.
“I wasn’t snogging her!” Sirius exclaims, sounding indignant. “We went and got chocolate at a shop, and then to the park, and it was fun!”
Woot! Go Sirius! Way to attempt to get Potter’s mind out of the gutter! Only, why did he sound so annoyed? What, is the idea of spending the day snogging me repulsive?
“Really? You weren’t going to Zonko’s, or checking out the local pub, or something?” Potter asks, sounding incredulous.
“No, I wasn’t, I didn’t lie, why is that so hard to believe?” Sirius asks, sounding irritated now. I second that!
“Well, it’s just hard to believe that you let a whole day go by without causing any trouble at all,” Potter replies jokingly. Sirius chuckles, but I don’t. What was that supposed to mean? Is Sirius usually causing trouble? Is that because he’s a madman?
Seems to think that a day spent not causing trouble is a day wasted.
Actually, that might be normal with teenage boys too. Darn.
“I decided to mix it up a little and be relatively good for a day,” Sirius jokes. I think he’s forgetting about how he almost killed me! And forced me to touch the gross old man’s clammy hands. And caused a huge lump to form on the back of my head.
“It still sounds like you had more fun yesterday than I did,” Potter says. “Mum forced me to clean my room all by myself, because apparently the smell of it made a house elf pass out.”
What’s a ‘house elf’? I mean, I know what an elf is, a little person that makes shoes and such, but a ‘house elf’?
Talks about mythical creatures in everyday conversation.
“And,” he continues, “Lily replied to my letter.” Sirius makes a sympathetic noise.
“Was it death threats or castration threats this time?” Sirius asks nonchalantly, as I sit here in confusion.
“A combination of the two,” Potter replies sadly. Um, okay, who’s this Lily girl and what did Potter ever do to her?
Gets letter(s) threatening to kill/castrate him.
“Sorry ‘bout that, Prongs,” Sirius says. I hear Potter mutter something, but I can’t understand it.
So, wait a second, did Potter just reply to ‘Prongs’? Is that his nickname or something?
His nickname is ‘Prongs’.
They are both strange, strange boys.
“So has Peter replied to your letter yet?” I hear Sirius ask. Finally, a normal name. Potter says something else I can’t here, and then Sirius says another thing I can’t hear, and then I assume they go back inside, because I hear the door slam shut.
I glance down at my notebook, reading the notes I’ve taken.
Weird things about PB:
Keeps using term “muggle”. What exactly is a muggle? No boarding school is snooty enough to have a special name for people who don’t go there. I think. Must ask Courtney, who went to boarding school once.
Seems to be obsessed with snogging.
Seems to think that a day spent not causing trouble is a day wasted.
Talks about mythical creatures in everyday conversation.
Gets letter(s) threatening to kill/castrate him.
His nickname is ‘Prongs’.
I didn’t really learn anything from that conversation, or at least anything helpful to my mission. I already knew Potter was a weirdo.
I suppose the only thing moderately useful is that apparently Potter thinks Sirius is a troublemaker.
Which is weird.
Because if I’m being completely honest with myself, Sirius has shown signs of fancying me. And according to Potter, he’s some sort of hooligan. And hooligans tend to completely ignore me, much less do things such as hold my hand. Normal, slightly dorky blokes tend to fancy me, not blokes like Sirius (insane miscreants).
First there was Tommy Miller, who asked me to the school dance in a note, when we were thirteen, met me there, gave me a corsage, and only danced with me twice, spending the rest of the time sniggering with his mates in the corner. That was fine with me, since he had clammy hands.
And then, when I was fifteen, (that’s right, two years of absolutely no boy-action) Michael King, who was on Hartburton’s swimming team with me, told me I had ‘pretty blue eyes’ and asked if I wanted to go to the movies with him. I said yes, of course, and we had four more dates (three group and one private). I really liked him, but then he moved to the other side of the country and only ever wrote me one letter. He was my first kiss.
Oh, and I can’t forget Jacob Lowsley, who was the lead in the school play with Courtney. We went out for three solid months last winter, until Susan and I walked into my favourite ice cream parlour, and got a lovely view of Jacob snogging some girl with green hair. I’ve never seen Susan so mad, or heard her scream so much.
And five months ago I had a horrific blind date, but I prefer not to think about that experience.
I also just remembered Stevie Thomas from daycare. He drew me pictures every day. We had a wedding involving five other toddlers and the snack lady as the priest.
In conclusion, all my dating experience has consisted of average blokes, not hooligans like Sirius.
So why does he seem so interested in me?
Ugh, if I think about this too much I’ll get a headache. I have to think about something else. I know, I’ll make a list of the weird things about Sirius!
Weird things about Sirius _____ (note to self: find out last name)
Is friends with obviously mad PB.
Has coin(s) with dragon on it, claims it is Canadian dollar, but that’s false.
Has weird name.
Brother has weird name.
Has imaginary friend named Remus.
Held my hand for extended period of time.
Can’t take a hint.
His explanations for Potter’s weirdness were obviously false.
Thought hole in hedge looked like owl.
Has abnormally shiny teeth.
Is abnormally good-looking.
According to PB, is hooligan.
Possible Explanations for Sirius’s and PB’s weirdness.
Are both mad. (Very likely)
Are both secret agents. (The odd coin is evidence of this, plus the abnormally shiny teeth)
Both were dropped on head several times as children. (Or possibly thrown)
This is just one long, strange dream, and soon I’ll wake up. (Hopefully)
Are both scientists. (Would explain random sparks, bangs, and weird words)
Are both superheroes in disguise. (Not very likely, as I can’t see either of them voluntarily wearing tights)
Are both mad. (Very, very likely)
I think the first, third, and last explanations are most plausible.
Tuesday- 4:47 P.M. Discovered yesterday that if I sit on bedroom windowsill with binoculars, can see into Potters’ back garden. Is a bit tricky, balancing notebook on thigh with binoculars in one hand and pencil in other, but have wrapped one leg in curtain to help balance.
Anyway, was reading Frankenstein when heard noise coming from Potters’, so got into observation mode.
Have observed Sirius exit house with an owl perched on his arm.
An owl is a very unusual pet.
Sirius glances around, looking a bit shifty, and then removes a folded piece of paper from his pocket. Only, it looks funny, the paper, kind of old-fashioned-ish. Oh my. He seems to be giving it to the owl. The owl is taking the paper in its beak! Sirius pats its head, and says “Here you go, Harold. I’ll give you some owl treats when you get back.” The owl just flew off. With the piece of funny-looking paper clamped in its beak. Sirius looked at it for a bit, and then walked back inside.
What the bloody hell just happened?????
And is there even such a thing as owl treats???????
Tuesday- 5:10 P.M. Near death experience just avoided. Was carefully observing Sirius retreating into house, when Mum bellowed “Melanie, phone for you, it’s Kenzie!” and caused me to almost fall out window. For the second time this week.
But all is okay, only dropped pencil into stupid little duck pond Dad insisted we get because apparently “listening to running water relieves tension, especially in back, which leads to less backaches.” Rubbish. Told Dad if I wanted to listen to running water, would just flush toilet, but he didn’t listen.
The good news is, Sirius didn’t catch me spying on him, I didn’t die, and Kenzie, my neighbour, is back, so now I won’t be bored out of my mind!
The bad news is, Sirius gave a piece of paper to an owl, and called the owl “Harold”.
I just can’t figure that boy out.
I’m sitting in the tree house, reading Frankenstein, trying not to think about anything other than the book. I’m trying really hard not to think about a certain boy who may or may not be a secret agent.
It’s not really working. This book is so boring it’s impossible not to let my mind wander. It’s almost as if I fancy him or something.
But I obviously don’t. There’s some other reason I keep thinking about him.
Okay, I can’t think of another reason, but I will soon, I know it!
“Oi!” Oh, who could that be, disturbing my peace and quiet?
I poke my head out of the tree house window and am shocked to see James Potter standing in his garden, staring up at me.
“What?” I yell back down.
“Can I come up?”
Oh. I wasn’t really expecting that. I was expecting something a bit more hostile, or mental.
I don’t really know why I said that. I suppose I just need someone to get my mind off Sirius, even if it is a potential nutcase and murderer. A few minutes later, Potter is sticking his head into my tree house and pulling himself inside. I scoot my legs over to make room for him.
“Sorry if this sounds rude, but why are you here?” I ask him once he’s properly seated.
“I’m here because Lily Evans, the future mother of my children, told me that it was impossible for me to have a mature conversation with a girl,” he explains very matter-of-factly. I stare at him. He really is quite odd.
“So, you’re a girl.”
I have just concluded that James Potter is definitely not a secret agent, or a mad scientist, because he is, in fact, an idiot.
“Yes, I am a girl, glad you noticed,” I say, slightly irritated now. “I suppose you want to have a mature conversation with me now.” He grins and doesn’t seem to notice my irritation. Boys.
“That’s the idea,” he replies, leaning back against the wall. I hope he gets a spider in his hair.
“Well, to start with, who’s this Lily Evans and why does she think you can’t have a mature conversation?” I ask, since he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. A dreamy expression comes over his face.
“Lily goes is in my year at Hogwarts and I’ve fancied her for two years now, except she’s under the impression that she hates my guts,” he explains. He picks up my dad’s boot, which had previously been lying in the corner, and examines it. “And why do you have a boot up here?”
“It’s to kill spiders with,” I answer. Duh. “Why does she hate your guts?”
“She doesn’t actually hate my guts, she’s just convinced herself she does. She’s actually madly in love with me,” Potter says, confident. I nod as if I understand but I really don’t.
“Why is has she convinced herself that she hates your guts?” I ask after a minute, because this “mature conversation” isn’t going anywhere fast.
“I dunno,” he replies, and I sigh. “I was hoping you could tell me that.”
Another sigh. I am not this boy’s therapist. I don’t have time to figure out why this girl hates his guts, even though I already have a sneaking suspicion it’s because he’s a nutcase. Okay, maybe I do have time, and plenty of it, but that doesn’t mean I want to.
“Well, nut—er, James, there’s the small matter of your hair,” I say patiently. He looks confused. “It looks like a comb has never once touched it.” An indignant expression appeared on his face.
“I combed it two months ago!” he exclaims. Wow.
“Maybe you should try combing it more often, to make it less . . . bushlike,” I reply, not meanly, just honestly. He frowns.
“Nope. My messy hair is my thing,” he says, and I stare at him, confused again. “At school, I have a reputation and my amazing hair contributes to it.” I can’t help but roll my eyes. He’s a bigger nutter than I thought.
“Fine. Don’t do anything drastic like brush your hair. She must hate you for some other reason,” I say, losing my patience quickly. James starts to say something along the lines of “she doesn’t hate me” but I interrupt.
“How do you act around her?”
“My usual charming self.”
I have just the determined that both Sirius and James have serious ego problems.
“And how does your, excuse me for a sec while I gag, ‘usual charming self’ go?” I reply, trying to get rid of him now, because I’d rather read Frankenstein than continue this conversation.
“I ask her out a lot.” Bingo. I have found the problem.
“And that’s why she hates your guts,” I explain. “Girls don’t like blokes who are over-eager.” James frowns and seems to consider this.
“Then how should I act around her?” How am I supposed to know? I don’t even know this Lily Evans girl!
“Just, er, have a mature conversation with her, like you are with me,” I answer after a second. James seems to consider this.
“I can’t.” I sigh for what seems like the millionth time.
“Because, she’s . . . I’m . . . I dunno, she’s just so pretty!”
Ouch. I have discovered another possible reason why Lily Evans, who I have more and more sympathy for, hates his guts. He’s got all the sensitivity of a blunt fork.
“Just letting you know, my self-esteem has just been severely lowered,” I informed him. He frowns, puzzled.
“Oh, James, my not-so-charming neighbour, you basically just told me I wasn’t pretty,” I explain, being absurdly patient. I’m trying to figure out why I haven’t kicked him out of my tree house yet. James, being the idiot that he is, takes a few minutes to think about this, and then I watch as realization dawns upon his good-looking, but not as good-looking as Sirius’s, face.
“I didn’t mean it like that!” he exclaims quickly. “You’re pretty too! It’s just, er, I really fancy Lily, and I don’t really fancy you, not that you’re not fanciable, because you are, I mean, I’m pretty sure Sirius fancies you, but I don’t, so I have no problem talking to you, and that’s why, not because you’re not pretty, because you are.”
Okay, I didn’t really understand all of that.
“Can you repeat that, only slower?” I ask, seeing as it’s my turn to be the confused one. James sighs.
“I didn’t mean to hurt your self esteem. You’re pretty too, it’s just that I fancy Lily so much that it makes it hard to concentrate on the conversation when I talk to her. Sorry,” he says. I nod.
“You’re forgiven,” I say brightly, and he smiles in relief. “Now what was that about Sirius fancying me?”
James looks slightly embarrassed. “How about we just forget the past few minutes ever happened? I don’t want Sirius to shave my head while I sleep or something equally awful.” I can’t help but giggle at that.
“All right,” I reply. “So here’s my advice to you, next time you see Lily, just pretend she’s not there, and don’t that thing where you mess up your hair when you’re nervous.”
“How’d you know I m---“ James starts to ask, but I interrupt him.
“You’ve done it four times since you got here.”
“And don’t say anything to her until she says something to you first, and when you do say something, make it sound semi-intelligent,” I continue, and then am a bit proud of my own wisdom, especially considering my own woefully lacking love-knowledge.
James nods and considers this for a second. “I’ll do that then. Thanks a lot, Mellie!”
“You’re welcome,” I reply, and then pick Frankenstein up and put it in my lap, hoping he’ll take that as his cue to leave. I don’t think I can take much more madness, even if this conversation wasn’t particularly mad. Actually, it was semi-normal.
“Well, I’ll be going then,” he says, and gets up, almost bumping his head on the roof of the tree house. “See you later, Mellie.”
Whew. That boy is quite something.
I wait until I hear the Potters’ door slam shut, and then reach behind me and grab my notebook from where I hid it before James climbed up.
Wednesday- 4:13 P.M. Had a not-exceptionally-mad conversation with PB. Was interesting. Probably was trying to lull me into false sense of security so he can kill me in my sleep more easily.
A/N: Two near-death experiences in one chapter! Poor Mellie! Anyway, did you like it? I'm not positive if I do. It might be changed, but I had to post it before I went away to camp, because I love you all too much to keep you waiting for another week.
So who saw the Half-Blood Prince at midnight? Me! Who loved it? Me! Who dressed up? Not me. :( My friends wouldn't let me. All I had was my henna tattoo of a dragon in honor of the event. Just call me Hagrid. :)
Another long author's note, but I've been informed that some people actually like them! So that just encouraged me!
Oh, and one more thing. I am insanely excited that this story has reached 101 reviews, and 101 favorites. That siriusly made my week. So thank you all for reviewing and adding my story to your favorites list! You rock!
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter stuff is not mine!
Chapter Seven: Delivery
“Okay, Mum, remind me again one more time why I’m delivering this ‘Welcome Basket’ to the Potters, when they moved in over four months ago,” I say as I stick cellophane over the chocolate cake she made. I really do not know what goes on in my mother’s head. Today, since she didn’t have any patients in the morning, she randomly decides she’s going to bake a cake for the Potters to welcome them to the neighbourhood.
Which was a bad idea for several reasons. One, it’s a little too late to welcome the Potters. Two, I don’t want to welcome them anyway, since they’re all nutters. Three, Mum cannot bake.
It’s true. She makes decent dinners, and breakfasts, and lunches, but she cannot bake anything. She’s not a big fan of measuring, and that’s an important part of the baking process. She’s also not a big fan of remembering when to get things out of the oven at the right time, which is why right now the whole kitchen smells of smoke.
“Because you need to get out of the house, you’ve been moping about all day, and it’s never too late to welcome someone,” Mum replies briskly as she scrubs burnt cake crumbs off the stove. I have not been moping today! I was just staying inside because it’s bloody hot out!
“Fine,” I reply, and plop her cake into the basket next to the one I made, because I was feeling merciful and didn’t want to just give the Potters one inedible cake. Now they’ll have one inedible cake and one edible one, and hopefully James won’t kill me in my sleep.
Next I pick up the book on the counter that Mum told me to put in the basket and frown. Why does she want to give the Potters “A Frenchmen’s Guide To Basic English”?
“Plus, I saw one of their sons walking down the street the other day, not the one with the glasses, and he was rather fetching,” Mum adds after I shrug and set the book in the basket.
Oh dear God. I’ve just come to the conclusion that my mother is going through her mid-life crisis. It all fits! The obsessive organizing, the random baking, the noticing the attractiveness of much-younger blokes. Next thing you know, she’ll be off buying a sports car!
“And you haven’t had a boyfriend in quite a while.”
Oh. So that’s it. Very nice, Mum, very nice. Way to pummel my already fragile self esteem. Just because I haven’t had a boyfriend in a while doesn’t mean she has to creep on Sirius and it definitely doesn’t mean she has to do something as drastic as bake!
“First, the Potters only have one son, James, and he’s the one with glasses. The other one, Sirius, is just staying with them for the summer. Don’t ask me why, ’cause I don’t know, and I have no intention of asking. Second, it hasn’t been ‘quite a while’ since I’ve had a boyfriend. Third, I enjoy being single,” I say as I tie a bow to the top of the basket and stick in the three maps Mum decided the Potters needed, one of the city, one of the county, and one of the entire U.K.
Mum just gives a little tut and turns around. She wrinkles her nose at me. I’m about to reply with a full-of-attitude 'what?!’ but then she says “Is that really what you’re wearing?”
Oh. My. Goodness. What exactly is wrong with wearing shorts and a t-shirt to my possibly crazy neighbours’ house, especially when I’m being sent there against my will? It’s not like I’m trying to impress anyone!
I give her a dramatic eye-roll and sigh, rather impressively if I do say so myself, and then stomp up the stairs to my bedroom. I quickly go over to my wardrobe and select the lowest-cut blouse I have, a deep v-neck that I think actually belongs to Liz. Not sure. The few times I’ve worn it I wear a tank top underneath, but today, just to see what Mum says, I don’t.
I shake my hair out of its ponytail and brush it, and then put on a bit of lipstick for good measure. I look in the mirror and stick my tongue out at my own reflection. There. Mum can’t possibly complain about what I’m wearing now, I look like a girl about to go on a date, which is where Mum seems to think I’m going, instead of just going over to my mad neighbours’ house.
I stomp back down the stairs.
“Oh, there, Melanie, you look so pretty!” Mum says when she sees me. Darn. I was hoping she’d say, ‘You look indecent! You can’t go out of the house like that!’ and then I wouldn’t have to deliver the stupid welcome basket.
“Thanks, Mum,” I reply wearily, and then grab the basket and slip on some sandals. “I’m off. If I’m not back in an hour, call the police.”
I hear my mum say something about silly teenagers, but ignore her and walk over to the Potters’.
Balancing the basket in one arm, I ring the doorbell. After a minute, the curtain beside the door moves and a pair of huge, yellow eyes appears. I jump. What the . . .
There’s a small crash, a squeal that sounds a lot like ‘Master James’, another small crash, I jump again, and the door is flung open by James Potter. His hair is looking even more disheveled than usual. It looks like he’s got a dead animal on his head.
“Er, hello, Mellie,” he says, running his fingers through his hair and making it even messier, which I didn’t think was possible.
“Hi, James,” I reply, shifting my weight. Well, this is uncomfortable. “I was just sent, under protest, by my mum, to deliver this ‘Welcome to the Neighbourhood’ basket.”
He looks confused. Why is it that whenever James and I have a conversation, and I use the term ‘conversation’ lightly, at least one of us is always confused?
“I know you’ve already lived here for a while, but try explaining that to my mother,” I say. “She’s going through her midlife crisis, I think.”
He’s not confused anymore, instead he’s grinning. “Yeah, I know how mothers can be,” he says cheerily. “Come on in.” He steps back to let me in, and before I have a chance to stutter a ‘no, thank you’ he pulls/pushes me inside.
“Um, you can just take the basket and I’ll go,” I begin, but James just grins again and shuts the door behind me. Well, someone certainly doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.
“Nah, my own mother would hate to miss the chance to meet you,” he explains brightly, walking over to a set of stairs a few metres away. “Sirius has told her a lot about you.” Okay, what is that supposed to mean?
“You just stay right here and I’ll get her,” he says, and then bounds off. I sigh and look around the room.
There’s a small table a few feet away from me, and lying on it is what seems to be today’s post. There’s a boring-looking letter on top, but under that is a bright purple leaflet. I take a step closer, not really caring that I’m being nosy.
All I can read is without moving the envelope is “The Ministry of” and then below it says “PROTECTING YOUR HOME”.
Weird. The Ministry of what? Why does the Potters’ home need protecting? And why on earth is the leaflet purple?
I take another step towards it, but just then James bursts into the room, followed by a woman with dark grey hair and the same hazel eyes as James, only hers have some laugh-lines around them. She looks old enough to be James’s grandmother, not mother. She smiles brightly when she sees me.
“Oh, you must be Melanie!” she exclaims. Am I seeing things, or is James’s mum wearing what appears to be a very fancy bathrobe? “I’ve heard so much about you!”
I absolutely hate it when people say that. How do I reply to that? And who was telling her about me? Sirius? Was it good, or bad? Did he and James tell her I was spying on her? Ugh!
“I’m Mrs. Potter. Are those cakes for us? How sweet! James, where are your manners? You don’t make a pretty young lady carry a heavy basket for any longer than absolutely necessary,” she says, rather quickly, and then takes the basket from me before smacking James’s head. “Boys, honestly,” she adds with a wink at me.
“It’s a ‘Welcome to the Neighbourhood’ basket,” I say as she ushers me into the kitchen. “I know it’s a little late, but my mother’s been really busy lately, and plus I think she’s going through her mid-life crisis.”
Mrs. Potter laughs and then sets the basket down on the table. “Now, dear, since you’re here, you must stay for a bit. Would like some Butterbeer?”
What’s ‘Butterbeer’? Is she offering me beer? I’m only sixteen! Wait a second, do I look like I’m old enough to drink?
“Um . . .” is my witty response. James appears in the kitchen and takes a seat at the table.
“Mum, she’s never had Butterbeer before,” he says before pulling the basket towards him and investigating the contents.
“Oh, right, silly me,” Mrs. Potter says as she gets out four mugs and sets them on the table. I sit down next to James since I can’t think of anything better to do. “Well, then, you’ll just have to try some. I know it’s not really the season for it, but I’ve had craving all day.”
She’s been craving beer all day? That’s not something you admit to almost-strangers! What is with this family? I knew they were mad, but I didn’t know they were this mad! Next thing I know Mr. Potter’s going to walk in wearing rubber-ducky footie-pyjamas.
James notices my alarmed expression and chuckles. “Don’t worry, Mellie, it’s not actually beer. It’s kind of like hot chocolate, only different, like butterscotch,” he explains kindly. I nod as if I understand, but I really don’t. Why would you call it Butterbeer if it’s not beer? I guess it’s just a crazy-person drink.
“Oh, so sorry! I didn’t mean to give that impression,” Mrs. Potter says, and somehow I get the feeling that she’s trying not to laugh. “I would never offer an underage teenager alcohol!”
I nod again. “It’s fine, I was just a bit . . . confused.” Mrs. Potter and James both chuckle, but they try and cover it with a coughing fit. I’m not amused.
“Well, here you go,” Mrs. Potter announces. She sets two mugs of what I assume are Butterbeer down in front of James and me, and a third mug in front of the empty chair next to me. She takes a deep sip of her mug and lets out a contented sigh. “Ah, lovely.”
I cautiously sniff mine for poison. Oh hell. Who am I kidding? I can’t tell if there’s poison in a drink just by sniffing it! I’m doomed.
Oh! Brain blast!
When James and his mum aren’t looking, I carefully pour a dash of my “Butterbeer” into the potted plant on the table. If the plant shrivels up and dies, I’ll know it’s poison!
“James, where’s Sirius?” Mrs. Potter asks. James, with a mouth full of “Butterbeer”, shrugs. She sighs. The plant hasn’t died, yet.
“Probably out in the garage, working on that motorbike,” she answers herself. Motorbike? That confirms it. Sirius is indeed a hooligan. Mrs. Potter set her nearly-empty “Butterbeer” down on the counter and walks out the door. “All day he’s been out there. I don’t know how he expects to make it run! He doesn’t know the difference between a hammer and a saw for Merlin’s sake.”
Wait a second! ‘for Merlin’s sake’ I just figured it out! The Potters are all under the impression that they’re actually living in Camelot! It all makes sense now! The dragon coin, the weird words, the snazzy bathrobe, the owl, and most importantly, not knowing the difference between a hammer and a saw!
I was right! They really are nutters! Mr. Potter probably thinks he’s Merlin, and Mrs. Potter probably thinks she’s Guinevere, and James imagines he’s King Arthur, and Sirius is the Royal Fool!
“Sirius Black!” Mrs. Potter bellows. I frown. Black? That’s not a last name, that’s a colour! “Get in here!”
No harm seems to have come to the plant, so I take a tiny sip of my “Butterbeer”. Hhhhm . . . it’s actually very good. Warm, and . . . buttery. And I’m not dead yet! Huzzah! Uh, oh, I feel warm. Is that the Butterbeer, or am I slowly dying?
James, who apparently has been watching me, the creep, laughs at my reaction. “Relax, Mellie,” he says. “It’s not going to kill you.”
Yeah, that’s what you want me to think. But a spy has to be ever vigilant.
I’m saved from thinking of something to say by the reappearance of Mrs. Potter. She’s shaking her head.
“Honestly, I don’t know what’s with him. He only works like this when he’s trying not to think about something,” she says, frowning in concern. James smirks.
“Oh, I think I know what, or who, he’s trying not to think of,” he replies. I frown at him. What is that supposed to mean? I take another sip of Butterbeer and out of the corner of my eye I see James catch his mother’s eye and tilt his head at me.
I really want to hit that boy.
A door slams somewhere and I hear Sirius yell “Why do I have to come in?”
Mrs. Potter gives James a look, and then yells back, “Because we’re having Butterbeer!” I take another sip of the Butterbeer and try to figure out what James means exactly.
“It’s bloody hot out! Why are you having Butterbeer?” Sirius asks, and then appears in the doorway.
Oh. My. Goodnes.
Sirius is shirtless.
And . . . . muscle-y.
And . . . . sweaty.
And . . . . blimey.
Let’s just say the boy obviously works out. But not too, body-builder, obvious. Just, er, nicely-shaped. Oh gracious, I quickly look away, down at the table, because I’m pretty sure that drooling is an unattractive look for me. Also, I can already hear James chuckling at me. Darn him.
“Sirius! We have company! Put a shirt on!” Mrs. Potter scolds, only I can tell that she’s also holding back laughter. What is so bloody funny? Am I really drooling? I discreetly wipe my mouth with my hand just in case.
Sirius, who apparently hasn’t noticed me yet, replies “Whaddaya mean, we have com---“
And then he looks at me, and our eyes lock. And I’m pretty sure it’s not the Butterbeer making my face feel like it’s on fire.
Sirius blushes too. Only he looks really good when he blushes, and I probably look like a goof. I quickly look back down at the table and take a rather large gulp of Butterbeer.
“Er, right,” Sirius, ever the brilliant conversationalist, says. “I’ll just go, and er, put my shirt back on. Which I only had off because, like I said, it’s bloody hot out.”
And then he turns (his back is almost as gorgeous as his front!) and practically runs away. James’s chuckles turn into full blown laughter. He’s obviously enjoying my discomfort. Probably because he’s an axe-murderer who thinks he’s King Arthur.
Sirius reappears within minutes, fully clothed, and Mrs. Potter steers him to the seat next to me. I avoid looking at him, because if I look at him I’m afraid I’ll start imagining that the shirt is gone and then start drooling again.
Why did she have to make him sit next to me? Why?
“So, Mellie, what brings you here?” Sirius asks after a short awkward silence that James and Mrs. Potter seemed to enjoy immensely.
“Mum sent me over with a ‘Welcome to the Neighbourhood’ basket,” I answer, shooting a glare at James for grinning so much. I’d glare at Mrs. Potter too, but I’ve been told not to glare at my elders.
I look at Sirius out of the corner of my eye and see him nod, as if this isn’t weird at all. Mrs. Potter finishes her Butterbeer and places the empty mug in the sink.
Ah! I just accidentally touched Sirius’s foot with my foot! He’ll think I’m trying to play footsie with him! I immediately tuck both of my feet under my chair and pray that he’ll think that was James.
“Well, I’m off. I’ll leave you kids to it,” she announces, and then winks in my direction. I’m really wishing the Butterbeer was actually poisoned right about now.
“I think I’ll go too,” James says after his mother leaves the kitchen. Sirius and I both glare at him. “Or not.”
Sirius pulls the basket towards him. “Is there cake in here?” he asks eagerly.
“Yeah, but don’t eat the chocolate cake if you value your taste buds,” I reply, finishing up the last of my Butterbeer. James and Sirius look confused.
“What’s wrong with chocolate cake?” James asks.
“Nothing, if baked by someone other than my mum,” I explain. “And if it hasn’t been accidentally set on fire.”
“Oh,” James says, looking a bit wary now. “What about the other one?”
“I made that one, so it’s safe,” I say. James grins and Sirius gets up and gets a few plates.
“Why don’t we test it out, just to be sure?” he suggests, grabbing a knife as well.
I smile. There’s nothing like cake to make a horrible afternoon better. Well, maybe it hasn’t been all that horrible. I did, after all, get to see the very attractive Sirius Black (I still can’t get over the last name) shirtless.
The cake turns out to be delicious, as I knew it would be. Sirius and James both compliment me on my excellent baking skills and I modestly thank them. Neither of them say anything particularly mad, except for when Sirius takes a bite and says “Merlin’s trousers, this is good!”
I suppose it is his job as Royal Fool to say random and mad things once in a while to get a chuckle out of everyone.
I spend most of the time trying not to look at Sirius, because I know if I do, I’ll end up blushing again. But funnily enough, every time I do glance at him, I realize he’s looking at me. A bit creepy, but flattering all the same. Unless, of course, he's staring at me because I've got cake all over my face.
“Thanks a bunch for the cake, Mellie,” Sirius says as he takes our empty plates and puts them in the sink.
“You’re welcome,” I reply, trying to keep my voice sounding perfectly normal. It’s hard, because I really want to either say “You’re all mad! I’m getting out of here!” or “James, can you please leave so I can snog Sirius in peace!”
Whoa. I don’t know where that last bit came from.
James is investigating the rest of the basket’s contents. “Does your mum know that we’re not from out of the country?” he asks as he holds up the map of the U.K. I shrug.
“Honestly, I don’t know what goes on in that woman’s head, and I don’t want to,” I answer. They both laugh. I think James’s laugh is a bit on the raving lunatic side to be perfectly honest. Very befitting of an axe-murderer.
“I can empathize with that,” Sirius says as he sit back down, this time across from me. This is even worse than him sitting next to me, because now it’s easier to look at him. Gracious, in the few days I haven’t seen him, I’ve forgotten how gorgeous he is up close.
I have to get out of here.
“Well, it’s been fun, but Mum’s probably wondering where I am,” I say in what I hope is a cheerful tone. “Sorry, but I’ve got things to do, er, people to see.” I think I’ve pulled off my lovely exit, but then I push my chair back too quickly and it somehow my legs get tangled with the chair legs and then next thing I know we’re both on the floor.
“Mellie, are you okay?” Sirius asks, but his concern is marred by the fact that he’s trying not to laugh. James, on the other hand, isn’t even trying.
I pull myself up. “I’m fine. Nothing’s broken.” I glare at James. “Thanks for your concern.” He doesn’t even bother to try and look concerned.
Sirius grins. “Do you really have to go? You might be seriously injured. It’s probably best if you don’t move around too much.”
It’s probably best if I get out of this mental hospital before I start thinking I’m Lancelot or something.
“Um, yeah, sorry,” I say, smiling at him. “But we should hang out again, tomorrow maybe.”
Whoah! Where did that come from? Did I really just invite that nutter to hang out with me tomorrow? I knew it! The Butterbeer was poisoned! That’s the only explanation for such nonsense coming out of my mouth.
Sirius is grinning like a loon. “Great. Tomorrow then,” he says, and for some reason James smirks at him.
I nod and head towards the exit. “Enjoy the rest of the cake!” I call over my shoulder. I’m almost to the door when Sirius comes after me.
“Mellie?” he says. I turn and can’t help but smile when I see that he’s smirking. I really do like his smirk.
“Why’d your mum give us ‘A Frenchmen’s Guide To Basic English’?”
There goes that blushing again. I doubt red is a good colour for me. Sirius takes a couple steps closer. He’s infringing on my personal space now.
“I really don’t know,” I reply, honestly. Sirius’s smirk widens and he takes another step closer. For some strange reason, probably the poisoned Butterbeer, my heart is pounding.
“Gotcha. And Mellie?” Now his voice is lowered, he’s almost whispering.
“Yes?” I squeak.
“You look absolutely gorgeous today,” he says, and this time, I swear, my face is going to burst into flames.
“Thanks,” I mutter, and then turn around and practically run all the way home.
Oh my goodness, I think I fancy the Royal Fool.
A/N: Gah! She finally admitted it! Aren't you proud of her? I am. I can't really think of anything else witty to say right now. I'd just like to thank you for all your reviews, I love all my readers! And, I don't like school. (I just went back.) AP English? Madness! So, yeah, if my updates are late now, I'm going to blame it on that class. I love having excuses handy. Not that I'm planning on taking forever to update! I always try and update fast!
Oh, and what'd you think of Mellie's latest theory?
Anyway, that's all I had to say. Review please!
A/N: So before you read this, I’d just like to say THANK YOU to all my loyal readers and THANK YOU for all my reviews. I’ve got almost 300 now! You have no idea how much all these reviews mean to me, and I’m sorry if I take a while to reply. I promise you I read every single one, probably multiple times. And I’m also sorry for taking so long to update, but school is kicking my butt. I’ll try and be better about updating in the future. Anyway, on to the story!
Disclaimer: I own the plot, and Mellie, and all characters you don’t recognize, but Rowling owns the rest. Oh, I didn’t make up the “The beatings will . . .” saying, my dad has a hat that says that.
Chapter Eight: Pool
I’m sitting under the tree in my front lawn, reading Frankenstein (only ten more chapters to go), and wishing it was twenty degrees cooler, when I hear voices coming down the Potters’ driveway.
I look up from my book and see four teenage boys, all talking and joking. I spot Sirius right away, and, oh my, he’s shirtless again. I have to look back down at my book, because otherwise I’m probably going to start drooling again.
They start walking past my lawn, and then I hear Sirius’s voice.
“Oi! Mellie,” he yells from the pavement. I look up, a bit startled. Sirius is grinning widely at me, but the other boys, including James I now realize, are still talking amongst themselves. “We’re going to that pool a few streets away! Want to come?”
Wow, he really took that “tomorrow, maybe” seriously. I didn’t actually expect to hang out with him this soon. I need some time to recover from yesterday’s traumatic experiences.
But, oooh, the pool. It’s so nice and not hot. I was considering going anyway, so I yell “Sure! Let me just change!”
I dart inside and run upstairs to my room. I head to my wardrobe and then stop because I’m faced with a dilemma. What swimsuit to wear? I could wear my new two-piece, or my old swimming team one-piece. The two-piece is much more flattering, but I’ve learned from past experiences that wearing a swimsuit that easily comes off around teenage boys is a bad idea.
So I pull on the neon orange (and when I say neon, I mean it really does glow in the dark), rather hideous, one-piece that has “Hartburton” written across the chest, and put on over it cut-offs and a plain shirt. I grab my pool bag, slip on a pair of bright yellow oversize sunglasses and head downstairs. I pass Mum in the kitchen.
“I’m going to the pool,” I tell her. She puts down the paper and looks at me.
“With whom?” she asks, sounding suspicious for no good reason.
“James Potter and his friends,” I reply, inching towards the exit. I wonder if I can just make a run for it.
“Yes, Mum, boys. Four of them.” She doesn’t seem to notice my exasperation.
“You can’t go out alone with four boys! You’ll get raped!”
I sigh, but then inspiration strikes.
“What if I invite Kenzie?” I ask.
Mackenzie is my next-door neighbour, who lives to the left of me. She’s in my class at Hartburton and on the swimming team with me. She lifts weights and plays football for fun. She’s about three heads taller than me (and almost everyone else for that matter) and twice the width of me. She has a pit-bull, and a tattoo that says “I love Fang”. (That’s the pit-bull’s name.) She has thick blonde hair that she wears in two braids, which makes her kind of resemble a Viking.
Mum thinks for a second. “Fine, just be home before dark.” I give her a quick hug, and head to the door.
“Hey, Sirius?” I yell. They stop talking. “Is it okay if a friend comes too?”
“Yeah,” he yells back, and I head back inside to call Kenzie.
“Hello?” she answers. I lean against the counter and refrain from making a face and Mum, who’s busy eavesdropping on me.
“Hi, it’s Mellie,” I say cheerily. A little too cheerily, considering it’s before noon on a Friday, and during the summer, Friday is my sleep in until noon day. What’s with me?
“Oh, hi, Mellie, what’s cookin’?” Kenzie replies brightly. What’s cookin’?
“You know that James Potter kid that lives on the other side of my house?”
“The strange one with glasses?” That pretty much sums James up.
“Yeah. Well he and his friends and I are going to the pool. Want to come?”
There’s a pause, and I hear muffled talking.
“I will, if Cameron can come over too. She’s sleeping over,” Kenzie says, and I try not to sigh too loudly. Cameron also goes to Hartbuton and she’s the definition of the noun “flirt”. I have yet to figure out how her and Kenzie are possibly friends, they’re complete opposites. Example: Cameron’s a slag, and Kenzie is not. I think maybe the only reason they’re friends is because their mums are practically attached at the hip, always volunteering together and hosting boring adult parties together.
Ugh. There’s no way Sirius will even look at me when she’s around.
Not that I really want him to look at me.
Okay, fine, I want him to look at me.
“That’s cool,” I answer, even though its’ really not. I don’t want to be rude. “See you outside?”
“Okay, great. It’s so hot. We’ll be fast,” she replies and hangs up.
“Kenzie and Cameron are coming,” I tell Mum, then grab my bag and head out the door before she can say anything. I do this a lot.
Sirius smiles when he sees me. I jump over the low picket fence separating my yard from the sidewalk, and head over to him and the other blokes.
“Mackenzie, my neighbour, and her friend are coming,” I say. James seems to pale slightly.
“Isn’t that the girl with the pit bull?” he asks, sounding slightly nervous, the wimp.
I grin. Kenzie’s been my best friend since we were six and I got my Frisbee caught in a tree. She climbed all the way to the top and saved it for me. She doesn’t look like it, but she’s the nicest person in the world.
“Yup,” I reply. James gulps. Sirius ignores him. I glance over at the other two boys, who are being suspiciously quiet. One has light brown hair, is slightly shorter than Sirius, a tiny bit taller than me. He has light blue eyes, and a nice smile. He’d look kind of like a librarian, except for the wicked scar he’s got on the side of his cheek. The other boy, the shortest, has blond hair, nice brown eyes, and is bouncing on the balls of his feet.
“So, Mellie, you know James, now, meet the Marauders,” Sirius says, grinning. I stare at him dubiously.
“The ‘Marauders’? What are you, some sort of crime-fighting team?” I ask, wondering why I’m even here with these clearly mentally-unstable boys. The one of light brown hair bursts out laughing, while the short boy looks confused, and James and Sirius indignant.
“Well, it does kind of sound like that. ‘The Marauders maraud around, delivering justice wherever they go’ would be their catchphrase. I dunno, I don’t watch those types of shows!”
“I told you two it was a stupid name,” the brown-haired bloke says to James and Sirius, before sticking out his hand, which has several wicked scars on it, to me with a friendly smile. “My name’s Remus Lupin, and I apologize for my friends’ behavior in advance.”
Holy cheese! Remus is a real person! No way! Oh, that poor, poor, boy. He must hate his parents. I mean, really, naming him after some Roman mythological wolf-kid? And his last name sounds a lot like ‘Lupus’, which means ‘wolf’ in Latin. (Finally, a reason that taking Latin hasn’t been a complete waste of my time!) Those parents, they might have just been a little more blatant and named him ‘Werewolf’ or ‘Freak’ or ‘Wolf-man’ or even ‘kid who will be teased the rest of his life’.
There goes that overactive imagination again.
“Nice to meet you,” I reply to him with a smile, “and it’s a little late for apologies.”
He laughs again, and this time Sirius joins him with his barking laughter. Really, Remus and Sirius should switch laugh’s, the bark would be more appropriate with Mr. Wolfman.
“A marauder is someone who attacks and plunders! Like a bandit, or outlaw, or pirate, or something macho! Not a crime-fighting team,” James exclaims suddenly. We all look at him. That semi-normal conversation we had has been completely negated by this outburst. I think he’s lost his mind again.
“It was bothering me,” he adds by way of explanation. I just nod slowly at him. And then I suddenly realize that a much more appropriate name for their little group would be ‘The Knight’s of the Round Table’, because that would fit so much better with my theory that James thinks he’s King Arthur.
“And this is Peter Pettigrew,” Sirius says after he’s done rolling his eyes at James. Finally, a normal name! Peter grins at me.
“You don’t seem as mental as James said you were,” he says by way of greeting, and then winces when James smacks him on the head. I narrow my eyes at James, who is busy glaring at Peter and avoiding looking at me.
“Thanks, Peter, I appreciate it,” I reply, still giving James the evil-eye. I’m about to say something else about how James shouldn’t be questioning my sanity, as he’s not the most sane person around, when I hear a door slam shut and turn to see Kenzie and Cameron coming towards us.
I turn again to see the boys’, and more specifically Sirius’s, reactions to Cameron, who is wearing what must be the skimpiest bikini I’ve ever seen, and a sarong, that looks like it’s about to fall off.
I have to try really hard not to laugh when I notice James and Peter are staring nervously at Kenzie, who is looking particularly scary today in a snazzy tank top with a skull and crossbones on it that says “the beatings will continue until morale improves”, and also fails to cover the tattoo on her arm.
At then I notice Sirius isn’t looking at Cameron at all, or Kenzie for that matter, he’s looking at me. And smiling. Kind of creepily, actually. Or charmingly, depending on how you look at it.
Holy cow, his teeth are shiny.
I give a less-shiny smile of my own back at Sirius, and then turn to Kenzie and wave. She grins back, while Cameron glowers at me. She’s never really liked me very much. I bet she only came because she heard there’d be boys.
When they reach us, I introduce everybody.
“Kenzie, Cameron, this is Sirius, James, Remus, and Peter,” I say, pointing to each of the boys respectively. Cameron practically beams at them. “Marauders,” I say with a smirk, “meet Kenzie and Cameron.”
And with that, we’re on our way to the pool.
Somehow Sirius and I end up bringing up the rear, walking side by side. I honestly didn’t try and make it happen. I’m actually surprised it happened, because I was sure Cameron would finagle it so she was walking next to him/hanging on him and flirting. But hey, I’m not complaining.
“So, James, Kenzie never told me she had such an attractive neighbor.”
Well, that explains it. Cameron, for some strange reason, has decided that James will be her victim of the day. Poor bloke.
In reply, James makes a weird noise, it sort of sounds like he’s choking on his own saliva. I grin, and look over at Sirius and find he’s grinning too.
“Erm, well, thank you,” he replies haltingly, and I really wish I could see his face right now, but I can’t, because he’s walking in front of me.
“I’m just being honest,” Cameron purrs (that’s the only word I can think of to describe it anyway). She’s leaning very close to James, who, shockingly, messes up his hair. Please note the use of sarcasm there.
“So, Mellie,” Kenzie begins, oblivious to Cameron and James, “Has being locked up with your parents driven you utterly mad yet?”
I’m about to reply but I’m completely distracted by the feel of someone’s hand brushing up against mine. And I’m pretty sure that someone is Sirius. And for some reason, even though it’s a million degrees outside right now, goose bumps explode all over my hand.
That royal fool sure can be distracting.
“Er, not completely, but I’ve had to resort to actually doing my summer reading to get away from them at times,” I say, hoping I didn’t take too long to respond. Kenzie laughs.
“We have to read Frankenstein, right?” Cameron asks. Without waiting for me to say anything, she continues. “That book is so gross. Who wants to read about a hideous monster? It’s just disgusting.”
“Like the way you’re throwing yourself at James,” I mutter under my breath so that she can’t hear me. I doubt she’s even opened the book. Unfortunately, Sirius hears me, and bursts out laughing.
Five people turn to look at him, while I determinedly don’t look at him, because I’m afraid if I do, I’ll laugh too.
“What’s so funny?” Cameron asks him, looking pouty. Sirius fights to stop laughing. “Am I missing something?”
She’s missing quite a few brain cells, due to all those hairspray fumes she inhales, but I refrain from pointing this out.
After several wheezes, Sirius manages to get out, “I just got . . . a joke . . . Mellie told . . . yesterday.”
That was an exceptionally lame excuse.
“Way to be thick, mate,” James quips, shaking his head at his friend’s behavior.
“Your stupidity amazes me,” Remus says, wearily, before rolling his eyes. Kenzie and Cameron just look at Sirius like he’s mental, which he is, they’re just not use to it like everyone else is.
“So, James, how do you get your teeth so shiny?” Cameron asks once she’s gotten over Sirius’s oddness. James makes another weird choking sound, while Remus, Peter, and Kenzie, who are walking ahead, start a normal conversation between themselves.
I think my IQ level’s going to drop just listening to Cameron.
Sirius makes a hideous face at the back of her head, and I grin, glad he’s on my side. I make a more hideous at her, and Sirius smirks.
And then, being the mature seventeen year old boy he is, he mimes smacking her arse. I have to cover my mouth with my hands so no one hears me laughing.
And so I, also being mature, mime beating her head with a large club. Sirius manages to laugh silently this time.
We spend the rest of the walk there entertaining ourselves by stepping on the back of James’s trainers every time he messes up his hair.
“Water! Sweet, cold water!” James cries as he cannonballs into the deep end. I laugh as water splashes me, while Cameron shrieks. The other boys quickly cannonball in after him, while Kenzie and I burst into our swimmer dives.
Sirius seems mildly impressed when I surface. “Nice, you didn’t make a splash at all,” he comments, and I grin.
“Lots of practice,” I reply, before quickly sending a tidal wave of water towards his face. He sputters while I giggle. Behind me, I can hear Cameron squealing as she eases herself into the cold water, but I decide to ignore her, because as soon as Sirius is done getting water out of his mouth, he sends a tidal wave of his own my way. I duck, but still get some in my eyes.
While I’m blinking water out, I feel someone grab my hands and pull me into deeper water, away from the Marauders (chortle), Cameron and Kenzie. And I can’t really see, but I’m pretty sure that someone is Sirius.
“Hey now!” I protest, trying to pull my hands back. “I’m incapacitated here! You’re taking advantage of me while I’m crippled and can’t see.”
Sirius laughs. “I wouldn’t call pulling you towards the deep end ‘taking advantage of you’.”
I can finally see, and so I give him a stern look. “It depends what you intend to do after you’ve got me in the deep end.” He smirks mischievously. I note that even though we’re now treading water in the deep end, he still hasn’t let go of my hands.
“Well I was just going to ask you something, but if you’d rather me do something else, go ahead and name it,” he says and then winks. I roll my eyes at him to cover how my face is heating up.
“Oh shut it,” I say lamely. “What’d you have to ask me?”
He’s still smirking, but he answers, “I was just wondering why you hate Cameron so much.”
Ugh. I sigh and pull one hand away from him to push my hair away from my face, biding my time as I think. Sirius is looking at me intently, which isn’t helping my concentration any, because I have try not to think about those deep grey eyes.
“I don’t hate her,” I begin. “I just strongly dislike her.” Sirius grins.
“Alright, why do you strongly dislike her?”
“Okay, well, there’s a story involved. Are you sure you want to hear it?” I ask.
“I’m sure,” he says, but then pulls me towards the side of the pool. “But I think I need to take a break from treading water.” He holds on to the side with one hand, and my hand with the other.
“Well last year, my friend Liz was going out with this bloke Aaron, who we all thought was decent but turned out to be a scumbag. Anyway, Liz was madly in love with Aaron, they had been dating for four months, when Cameron started spreading around this rumor that Liz was cheating on him.” I pause to see if he’s still listening, and he is.
“I know you might think that it’s possible it isn’t Cameron, but I was going to the loo and heard her telling three other girls that Liz was a ‘cheating slag’. Of course the rumors weren’t true at all, but they made Aaron break up with her. Then, a couple of days later, we found out that Aaron and Cameron had been shagging for the past month, and she just spread those rumors to give Aaron an excuse to dump Liz.”
“Blimey,” Sirius says, frowning. “No wonder you strongly dislike her. She messed with your mates.” I nod, and then glance over in Cameron’s direction. She’s busy flirting with James, who’s still running his hands through his hair. He looks funny without his glasses.
“And that’s not all. A little bit after I found out what she did, I kind of accidentally-on-purpose spilled an ammonia solution on her in chemistry. It didn’t burn her or anything, but she did have to get an emergency shower,” I continue. Sirius laughs, but for some reason he looks slightly confused.
“So for revenge, she told everyone I talked to myself, and that she overheard me arguing with myself,” I say, and just thinking about it gets me irritated. Sirius chuckles. “Don’t laugh! I had to see the school counselor for three months before I finally convinced him and the rest of the school I didn’t have schizophrenia.”
Sirius stops laughing and looks thoughtfully over at Cameron. “I think we might need to get some more revenge today,” he says, looking mischievous.
“Um, no thank you, I’m not going down that road again,” I reply. Sirius makes a noncommittal noise, a cross between a grunt and a snort. I look down into the water and notice that he’s still holding my hand, and it’s been at least five minutes. Five minutes! And now his thumb’s rubbing my palm in soft circles. Even though it’s at least a million degrees outside, I have to suppress a tiny shiver.
Ugh. He needs to stop that right now before I turn into a puddle of hormones and get sucked up by the pool filter.
“Besides, James probably fancies her by now,” I say, to distract myself. At this, Sirius shakes his head fervently.
“No way, no how,” he says confidentially. “James, as you might’ve noticed, is just uncomfortable, because he loves Lily. I mean, he thinks they’re going to have ten ginger children together. There’s no way he’s going to start fancying Cameron just because she’s all over him.”
I look over at them, and decide Sirius is right. James is basically pushing Cameron off him at the moment. “Well, that’s good. I mean, it’s kinda creepy about the ten ginger children thing, but good that he doesn’t fancy Cameron. Because she’s nothing but trouble.”
I look back at Sirius and find he’s staring at me with an odd expression. I take this opportunity to splash him right in the face.
“Hey!” he exclaims, flinging his arms up to protect himself from another attack, as I laugh and try not to regret that he’s let go of my hand. “Not nice!”
“Well I’m not nice,” I reply, before swimming back towards our friends, and Cameron. Sirius follows me. When I reach Kenzie, I announce, “Let’s race!”
She smiles. “Awesome. Is anyone else up for a challenge?” She turns to face the boys and cracks her knuckles. Peter quickly shakes his head. Remus, clearly not knowing what he’s getting into, nods with a grin.
“I’m in,” Sirius says. “Mellie, I’m sure I could swim circles around you.” I just raise my eyebrows at this.
“Okay, so, me, Remus, Sirius, Mellie . . . James, Cameron, are you in?” Kenzie asks. Cameron wrinkles her nose.
“No, thank you. I don’t want to be humiliated,” she jokes. Kenzie turns to James, who seems excited to race now that he knows Cameron isn’t.
“I’ll race,” he says, “Even though I can’t see a thing right now, and will probably crash and die.”
I have to laugh at the image this gives me.
We line up at one side of the pool, and as I look across it, I wish it was less crowded. I’ll have to spend this whole race dodging people. Kenzie announces that we’ll race to the far side and back, and Cameron and Peter will announce the winner.
“Ready, set, go,” Cameron shrieks. I kick off from the wall and immediately have to dodge a fat, balding man who really should be wearing more than a speedo.
And then I have to swim around a toddler, and almost get kicked in the face by James, who’s doing pretty well without his glasses. But then I realized that almost getting kicked in the face by James means he’s ahead of me, and I kick harder.
Pretty soon I’m ahead of everyone, or at least I think I am, with so many people in the pool it’s hard to tell. I flip off the far wall of the pool when I reach it and start swimming back, and when I pass Sirius I smirk at him.
Next thing I know I’m hitting a wall of fat face-first. It’s the speedo bloke. Oh hell.
This man has obviously never invested in any sort of hair-removal procedure. Hell.
“I’m sorry!” I sputter, coming to a halt and popping my head out of the water. He looks a bit bemused, almost puzzled as why I would be saying sorry. Did he not feel me go crashing into him? I sure did. “I was just racing my friends, and I wasn’t looking where I was going! I’m really really sorry!”
I know I’m bright red, but the man doesn’t seem to care. “Oh, it’s quite alright,” he says, and his voice is as high-pitched as little girl’s. “I didn’t even feel anything.” At this I have to try really hard not to burst into giggles. He turns away from me, and I take this as my queue to get the heck away. I walk as fast as I can, because there’s no way I’m risking another crash, towards the edge of the pool, where I can see everyone is waiting for me, and laughing.
I consider ducking under the water to hide my blush, but again, I don’t want to run into anyone, so instead I settle for not looking anyone in the eye.
“Next time try watching where you’re swimming, Mellie,” James says, leaning against the pool with a smirk. I suppress the urge to smack him. Cameron, on the other hand, cackles (that’s really the only word I can think of to accurately describe her laugh) loudly.
“Who won?” I ask once everyone’s laughter seems to be stopping. I pull myself out of the pool and sit on the edge, next to Sirius, who’s still in the pool, and seems to actually be smiling sympathetically.
“Kenzie,” he says, and then pulls himself out to sit next to me. “You would’ve won if it hadn’t been for that little . . . accident.”
With that, everyone’s laughing again, and this time I can’t help but join in. The confused look on speedo-bloke’s face was just too much. Kenzie’s grinning good-naturedly at me and when I congratulate her on the win, her grin widens.
“Thanks, Mellie,” she says, and then she too pulls herself out. “I’m gonna go hit the snack bar? Who’s with me?”
“Me!” Peter exclaims, and Remus nods as well. James glances at Sirius and me and then exclaims that he’s dying of hunger too. I see right through James’s plot, but I decide to play along.
“I’m not hungry,” I announce, and James smirks at me. I narrow my eyes back at him.
“Me neither,” Sirius says, and James just raises his eyebrows at me before turning to leave.
Sirius waits until everyone’s gone over to the snack bar before saying, “If you wanted to make a move on that bloke, running into him wasn’t the best way to go about it.”
I decide to attempt flirting back.
“Oh, and what do you know about making a move?” I ask, and lean a tiny bit closer to him. Sirius smirks that smirk I absolutely adore.
“A lot,” he replies, his voice softer, more intimate. I really want to just snog him right this instant.
“Oh really?” I don’t know what’s come over me, why I’m actually thinking of things to say and not just drooling.
“Yeah, really.” His voice is even softer now; I have to lean a little closer to hear him, which I think is his intention.
“Prove it.” The smirk widens, some mischievous sparkle enters his eyes that can’t mean anything good, and I’m having a hard time getting my brain to stop going crazy. There seems to be a high pitched squealing going on somewhere in there.
Sirius is leaning closer and closer, very slowly, and I’m frozen, trying to memorize the moment, the warm feel of his hand on mine, the familiar smell of chlorine, the intense look in his grey eyes, the soft touch of his other hand on my cheek.
“Sirius! They have regular jelly beans! I don’t have to worry about getting snot flavor!” Peter exclaims from a few feet away, and Sirius and I jump apart.
I liked Peter up until this moment, but right now, I want to brutally murder him.
“That’s great, Pete,” Sirius says, but he’s not looking at Peter, he’s looking at me, and he’s running his hand through his hair with the same intense expression he had right before . . . I’m not exactly sure what was going to happen.
And that hand-through-the-hair thing has got to stop. He better not be picking up that awful habit from James.
Speaking of James, he appears, looking irritated. “Peter! I told you not to—” He notices Sirius and me, a foot apart, and rolls his eyes. “Way to go, idiot.”
“What’d I do?” Peter asks, a bit hurt. I sigh and hop into the pool, hoping the cold water will clear the images of what might’ve happened if he hadn’t interrupted from my head.
“Nothing,” I say shortly before going under. I swim a slow lap across the pool, carefully avoiding people and relishing how all sound is muffled. When I get back, Kenzie and Remus have joined James, who is currently having a quiet discussion with Peter. Sirius is looking over at Cameron, who’s walking towards us while eating an ice cream.
I stay under the water once I reach them, my head hasn’t completely cleared yet. I shut my eyes and sink towards the bottom.
The next thing I know, there’s shrieking, and someone’s crashing into the water next to me. I open my eyes and am met by a very disgruntled Cameron, ice cream covering her face. I pop out of the water so I can burst out laughing.
Everyone else is laughing as well, and Sirius’s barking laugh catches my attention. I look over at him and he motions me closer.
“Sorry, I couldn’t resist a little revenge,” he confides with a grin. I can’t help but grin back at him.
A/N: That was a long one! And speaking of long chapters, I recently made an outline for this story, and realized that’s it’s going to be about 20 chapters. And with my current average length of chapters that means this story is going to be a novel! Holy cow! Just letting you guys know that I changed it to novel, this isn’t a novella anymore. I’m kinda freaked by that. I feel a little intimidated. But I’ll be okay. :)
So anyway, thanks for waiting patiently for so long, and thanks for reading, and please review, because I adore your reviews. The next update will be faster!
Disclaimer: If I actually owned this you people wouldn't be reading it for free! Teehee, anyway, Mellie is mine, but those wizards are not.
Chapter Nine: Cursing
I’m in my room, reading what I have officially decided is one of the most awful books ever, Frankenstein, when I hear Mum yell something. I shut the book and open my bedroom door.
“Melanie, phone for you!”
I grin and bound down the stairs to the kitchen. I’ve begged and pleaded for my own phone in my room, not even my own line, just a simple extension, but Mum refuses. She claims it’s because she doesn’t want me to become some sort of charlatan call girl, but I know it’s really just because she likes eavesdropping on me.
I get my nosiness from her. I mean, the woman makes a living listening to people talk about their lives and asking them nosy questions.
“Who is it?” I ask her once I’ve reached the kitchen.
“Courtney,” Mum answers and hands me the phone. I smile widely. It’s been forever since I’ve talked to Courtney.
“Mellie?” Courtney says as I put the phone to my ear. My smile widens just at the sound of her voice.
“Courtney! I’ve missed you so much!” I exclaim, while glancing at my mum, hoping she’ll get the picture and leave the room.
“I’ve missed you too, but I’ve been so ridiculously busy and haven’t been able to call till now. I’m Beatrice in “Much Ado About Nothing” and I’m in the chorus of this musical,” she says, talking quickly without taking any breaths, as usual. “So have you been bored out of your mind?”
“Actually, no. See, there’s this b—” I start to say, but then I stop myself when I realize Mum’s still in the room.
“Were you about to say that there’s a boy?” Courtney asks excitedly. When I hesitate, she adds, “Oh, your mum’s right there, isn’t she?”
“Yup,” I reply shortly, and then glare at the eavesdropper, who’s innocently humming and examining the spice rack.
“Well darn. I guess we’ll have to do yes or no questions until she leaves, then.”
“I’m giving her a death glare.”
“Oh, Mellie, your death glares are pathetic,” she says fondly. I grin.
“Only because I’ve missed you, I’ll forgive that statement,” I say. Courtney laughs. Mum pretends to dust the table.
“I appreciate it. Now, is this boy a romantic interest?”
Courtney is the only real person I know who uses words like “romantic interest” in everyday conversation.
“Um, kind of,” I answer, thinking of Sirius’s face as he came closer and closer yesterday at the pool.
Courtney lets out a very girly squeal. “Oooh. Is he cute?”
“Yes,” I answer, trying not dwell too long on the image of him shirtless.
Mum has now resorted to fixing herself a sandwich. I might have to commit murder to be able to talk in peace.
“Was that a ‘He’s so exceptionally handsome it’s hard to believe he’s real’ yes?” she asks, and I laugh.
“Yes,” I say, still giggling. There’s another girly squeal.
“Huzzah! You need a hunk. All your past blokes were so average,” Courtney exclaims. Huzzah? I knew all that Shakespeare would get to her.
“No,” I reply, because if I remember correctly, Stevie from daycare was pretty hunky.
“Whaddaya mean, ‘no’?” she says, sounding indignant. “That wasn’t a question!”
I glance over at Mum. She’s almost done making that sandwich. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a person spread jam that slowly.
“Ugh, just get your mum to leave,” she says, exasperated.
I grin and resort to Plan B, the plan that usually works. The plan is simple: I talk about the one thing Mum can’t stand to even listen to. Maths.
“So how do you think Susan and Katie are doing at that university, learning all about maths?” I ask her, turning away from Mum so she doesn’t see the evil smirk on my face.
Courtney laughs—she knows Plan B too well.
“Do you think they’ve covered logarithms yet?” I continue.
“Mention something about functions,” Courtney says, giggling. I take a quick peak over my shoulder. Mum’s eating her sandwich with a slightly disgusted look on her face, and I have to bite my tongue to keep from laughing.
“I hope Katie’s practicing her polynomial functions,” I say casually, internally complimenting myself on my acting skills. “She always had trouble figuring out the degree, and the multiplicity of the zeros.”
I’m talking complete nonsense, just throwing in all the complicated-sounding maths terms I know, but I can tell it’s working. Mum’s eating her sandwich so fast I’m mildly worried she might choke.
“Is she almost gone?” Courtney asks. I respond by throwing out a few more maths terms, including a couple of Greek letters, and Mum gets up and leaves.
I wait until the kitchen door shuts behind her before saying “She’s finally gone.”
“Finally! Ugh, I’m getting you your own phone for your birthday,” she says. I grin and sit at the table, glad to be able to talk in peace.
“Are you going to be back by then?” I ask.
“Um, don’t hate me, but no. Our final performance is that day, and then I’ll be back the day after,” she explains apologetically. I sigh. No one will be back for my birthday. It looks like I’m stuck with a family dinner, and then a party with my friends a few weeks after. Ugh. I hate family dinners.
“It’s fine,” I say, even though it’s really not.
“Anyway, so who’s this boy?” Courtney asks, always eager to hear about anything slightly romantic.
“His name is Sirius,” I begin, but she interrupts me.
“Sirius? What kind of name is that?” she exclaims, giggling. I can’t help but join her.
“I think he’s named after the star,” I reply, and there’s more giggles. “He’s now my neighbour. Or, he’s staying with the Potters. And he caught me spying on him, but he’s really fit and his smile’s very shiny, and we kind of, almost kissed yesterday at the pool, but then his mate interrupted us.”
“Oh, Mellie, that’s so great! Oh, what’s he like? Is he funny? Nice? If he cheats on you like that tosser Jacob Lowsley did I’ll kill him for you,” Courtney says quickly. While she stops to breathe, I answer.
“Well, first of all, he can’t cheat on me ‘cause we’re not even together,” I explain calmly. I ignore Courtney’s muttered “yet” and continue. “And yeah, he’s really funny, but in a slightly mad way, and nice too, when he’s not teasing me.”
“Aw, that’s lovely. Now, what’s he look like? I need to be able to picture him,” she says, and I can tell just from her voice that she’s got a goofy smile on her face.
“He’s got black hair, and really great grey eyes, and he’s taller than me, not by much, no blokes really are, but tall enough that I can wear heels around him if I want,” I say, smiling what might be a dangerously-goofy smile.
“Ooh, sounds dreamy,” she replies, and I laugh. “Uh-oh, Mellie, I’ve got to go. The shower’s finally free and I have to snag it before Emma does. I really need a shower too; I’ve been dancing all afternoon.”
“Aw, okay,” I say, feeling lonely before she’s even hung up. “I miss you.”
“I know, I miss you and the whole gang soooo much,” she says sincerely. Just then, I remember something.
“Oh, wait, before you go, I have to ask you something!”
“Remember when you went to that snooty boarding school?”
There’s a groan. “Ugh, how could I forget? I still have nightmares.”
“Did your boarding school lot ever have a special name for people that didn’t go to your school?”
Courtney laughs. “No, how snobby do you think we were? What kind of school would have a special name for people that didn’t go there? What, something like ‘plebeians’?”
I force out a laugh too, but I’m frantically thinking about if James and Sirius really do go to that snobby of a boarding school, or if they’re lying to me, and if they are lying, why they’re lying.
“ Er, right. Yeah,” I say, forcing my voice to sound normal.
“Why do you ask?” she replies curiously.
“Er, it’s a long story, I’ll tell you when you get back,” I say, not up for explaining James’s and Sirius’s madness. “Goodbye.”
“Goodbye, Mellie. I hope I don’t waste away from missing you,” she says dramatically, and I giggle as she hangs up.
I set the phone back on the receiver and go up to my room to think.
So what does “muggle” really mean? Does it really just mean someone that doesn’t go to their school? Because if it does that makes James and Sirius snobs. And James’s house may be huge (about the same size as mine, actually), but he definitely doesn’t strike me as the snobby type.
But maybe he is! I mean, I’ve only ever seen him around his friends, and they might be snobby too! Well, and Cameron and Kenzie were around, but being a snob to Kenzie is not a good idea if you like your face the way it is, and I’m pretty sure James would’ve realised that, judging by the minor fact that he seemed terrified of her.
And maybe Sirius is secretly a super nerd that goes to a super nerdy boarding school and so is James and “muggle” is actually some ancient Greek word that means “stupid” and they use it to describe anyone who doesn’t go to the nerd-tastic boarding school. This would totally explain the references to Merlin, as nerds and fantasy go together like my mum and eavesdropping. It would also explain James’s glasses.
I’m going to give myself a headache if I keep analyzing this. I have to get my mind off things.
Not just the whole “muggle” issue, but what happened, or almost happened, at the pool yesterday. Every time I let my mind wander, Sirius’s face, inches from mine, pops up.
It’s very irritating.
Maybe some mind-numbing music and brain-frying sun would help.
I smile at this thought, and slip on my bikini, manage to find some sunscreen, and almost kill myself getting my wireless down from the top shelf of my wardrobe. That thing is not small. I told Mum it shouldn’t go on the top shelf. Stupid reorganizing.
I lug my wireless outside into the back garden, ignoring my mum in her study, and lie a towel down on one of our many lounge chairs, and cover myself in sunscreen. The plan is to put more sunscreen on every five songs, so I get a tan but don’t turn bright pink. I really hope it works.
Three songs later, I’m humming along and only thinking of the lyrics, not certain neighbours. I’m kind of afraid I’m going to fall asleep and wake up completely sunburnt.
Two songs later, I put more sunscreen on and then zone out again. But suddenly there’s a crash like the Potters’ backdoor is being slammed shut.
I open my eyes and sit up. I don’t hear anything now. Maybe they were just letting Fluffy out?
But then I hear several curses in what I recognize as Sirius’s voice. Actually, there’re a lot more than several now.
Okay, someone needs to wash his mouth out with soap.
I get up and creep over to the knothole in the fence. Sirius is sitting on a stump several metres away, reading a letter with a very angry expression on his face. Weird. How can a letter make someone so mad? And mad enough to keep up this stream of cusses for so long?
Actually it’s pretty impressive. He’s being very creative. I should write some of these down so I can use them later.
I start to walk back to the house so I can get my notebook. And then—
I sneeze. Loudly. So loudly that Sirius hears, the cussing stops, and I have to sprint over to my towel, fling myself on it (ouch, my head), shut my eyes, and bob my head to the music. Like I wasn’t just spying on him.
“Mellie?” he calls. I pretend to be so engrossed I don’t hear him. “Mellie!”
I open my eyes and sit up to find that Sirius is sitting on the fence staring at me. And I blush when I realize I’m wearing barely anything. This top is smaller than my bra! Why did I even buy it? I’m indecent!
“Hello there,” I say, smiling what I hope is an innocent smile.
It must’ve actually looked innocent, because I receive a small smile in return.
“Whatcha doing?” he asks, sounding slightly suspicious still. I’d be offended, but he does kind of have a reason to be suspicious. I stand and walk over to the fence.
“Sun bathing,” I reply. Not spying! He nods, seeming to believe this.
“Did you, er, happen to hear me?” He sounds embarrassed.
“Kinda,” I answer, because could I have not? He sighs. “Um, what . . . er, why . . .”
“I got a letter from my mother,” he says, sounding slightly miserable. He lifts his right hand and I see the letter’s crumpled in it.
“Oh,” I say, confused, and concerned. “Do you want to, um, come over and talk about it? I think there’s some brownies left from the batch I made yesterday.”
Yeah, I was trying to get my mind off the pool incident, so I made brownies.
Sirius looks a little surprised by the offer, but he nods and says, “That would be nice.”
I grin as he hops off the fence, and lead him over to the lounge chairs. “Have a seat; I’ll be right back with some brownies.”
I quickly get the brownies and come back, because I don’t think he’s in any condition to be left alone for very long.
I sit down next to him on a lounge chair and set the plate of brownies between us. He takes one and so do I and we eat in awkward silence for a minute.
“My parents are the reason I’m staying with James,” Sirius blurts out suddenly. “We don’t get along, at all, and I just couldn’t take it anymore, so I left, and now she’s sending me letters, and they’re awful and I hate how she keeps trying to tell me what to do, even though I’m of age, and there’s nothing in the world that could make me go back there.”
I wait a second before replying. “Why don’t you get along?”
He sighs. His sigh sounds too weary for a seventeen year old boy.
“It’s kind of hard to explain. Let’s just say we have completely different ideas about morals,” he says bitterly. I bite my lip. I want to help him, make him feel better, but I don’t really understand what’s going on.
“Try explaining,” I suggest.
He stares at his hands, clenched into fists, instead of looking at me. “My parents . . . are . . . well, see, they support the bad guys. Criminals, I guess. They’re not actually criminals, but they’re friends with them all, and they expect me to be too, and be perfect, and not be the rebellious son, but I have to rebel, because if I don’t I’ll end up as one of them and I can’t let that happen, even if it means leaving Regulus—”
It seems like he’s talking to himself now.
“Oh Merlin, Regulus. He probably hates me more than ever now that I’ve left. I wish there was some way I could’ve taken him with me, but he wouldn’t come. He’s completely one of them now. I hate it. I hate not being able to help him. I hate my parents for doing this. I hate being helpless.”
He sounds like he’s breaking into a million pieces, and I move the brownies and put my arm around him, and I feel like I have to hold him together, because there’s so much sadness in his voice, and I’m surprised and concerned and worried for him all at the same time.
“And Mother’s letter just said basically the same usual thing,” he continues bitterly, brokenly, “that I’m a disgrace to the ‘Noble House of Black’ and she’s burned everything I left behind and blasted me off the family tree, but then it said that Reggie’s started hanging with the ‘right’ crowd, and she said he’s—she said he’s with the—the Lestrange brothers, and I know them, and I know that Reggie’s in way over his head, and I don’t want him to get hurt, I don’t want him to become one of them.”
He stops talking and draws a shuddering breath, and I pull him closer and hug him and try to think of the right words.
“Oh, Sirius,” is all I can think to say, and so I just hug him for another few minutes, till he stops shaking and I don’t think he’s going to break anymore.
“You don’t have to feel guilty for leaving your brother with your parents,” I say softly. He tenses. “I mean, we all have to make our own decisions in life, and I know I don’t have any siblings, but I have friends who do, and well . . .” I trail off, trying to think of a story to explain myself.
“Okay, so my friend Liz has a little sister who I think is part demon. And Liz and her little sister, Amy, were at this sweet shop and Amy wanted to buy this certain type of chocolate that’s bloody awful and made Liz sick once. Nobody likes this horrid chocolate, and Liz tried to tell Amy that, but Amy insisted she wanted that kind, and she wanted to buy it with her own pocket money. Liz told Amy over and over that it tasted awful, and was usually rotten inside, and she thought she saw maggots in it once, but she finally gave up and let Amy buy it, because she knew that she had to let Amy make her own decisions, and learn her own lessons. So Amy bought the chocolate, ate half of it, and then ran outside to throw up.”
Maybe that wasn’t the very best story, but I think it got the message across.
Sirius is now looking at me with an expression of confusion and amazement. “Um, was there a point to that story?”
“Yes!” I say. “The point is, Liz let Amy decide for herself, and Amy learned a valuable lesson: always look at the expiration date.”
Sirius shakes his head, but I can tell he gets the point, because his expression is thoughtful.
“You’re kinda right,” he says slowly, and I smile at him, a smile that I hope says that I know I can’t make him feel better but I do want to try. “But you’re also kind of mental.”
I smile again, and suddenly his expression is a lot more intense, his grey eyes seem deeper, much deeper, and my brain has gone completely blank except for one thought:
I’m pretty sure my hand is moving of its own accord to his shoulder, and then he takes my other hand, and then I’m pulled forward and somehow I end up in Sirius’s lap. And he’s warm and I’m burning up and he’s pushing my hair away from my face and his fingertips feel like they’re on fire.
“Mellie, thanks,” he murmurs, his voice lower than usual, full of something, but I’m not sure what. “For listening.”
It’s really hard to make my brain focus enough to make words, because I keep noticing tiny little details, like how Sirius has a tiny scar above his left eyebrow, and freckle by his lip, and his lips. And he smells like just-cut grass and cinnamon.
“You’re very welcome,” I say, and I don’t know why, but I’m whispering. Maybe it’s because we’re so close, with just the smallest gap between us, talking at a normal volume just seems awkward. “I’ll listen to whatever you have to say.”
And then his lips—those smirking lips—curl up, and he smiles, but I only see it for a second, because now there’s no gap between us, and my eyes are shut, and I’m pretty sure there’s that high pitched squealing going on somewhere in my brain again, and he’s kissing me. And I lean closer, pull him closer, push my hands through his hair, anything to get him closer, so that his sweet kiss turns less gentle, and I’m burning up and think I’m going to explode, but Sirius has his arms around me so I can’t.
He opens his mouth, and now the squealing is getting louder, because it feels so good.
I’ve been kissed before, but never like this.
We break apart, and I didn’t realize it, but I’m breathing heavily. I look at Sirius and he’s grinning like a loon, but I have a feeling so am I, and as soon as I catch my breath I kiss him, and I can feel his grin now.
My mum’s yell surprises me so much I jump and fall backwards out of Sirius’s lap, and hit my head on the ground. Luckily I hit a bush, so it doesn’t hurt.
“You okay?” Sirius asks, standing up to help me. I sit up and nod, but I’m dizzy, though from the snogging or the fall I’m not sure.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I say as he pulls me up, but when he pulls me up he pulls me against him, and now he’s got his arms around my waist, and I am not fine.
“Melanie! Susan and Katie are on the phone!”
“Um, I have to go, or my mum will come out here and . . . it won’t be pretty,” I say, even though I really don’t want to. But I also don’t want Mum to see Sirius, and ask all sorts of questions that I don’t want to answer.
“Right,” he says, and then kisses me quickly before letting me go. I smile and head inside, but miss the door and hit the wall instead.
“Bugger!” I exclaim as I rub my forehead. And then I stumble inside, leaving a grinning Sirius behind me.
A/N: Oh, snap, it got deep! Did I see some angst there? Well omg, I believe I did! Teehee, anyway, how was my attempt at deepness? OH! And how was the KISS? Did it live up to all that build up? I certainly hope so! So, this chapter wasn’t that funny, but I hope I made up for it with deepness and smooching. Review and tell me how it was! I’m so nervous about this chapter!
And one more thing, YOU ALL ROCK. 300+ reviews! Holy crap! I will totally reply to them all eventually! Also, in case you didn't notice, I'm a bit hyper at having completed this chapter.
Disclaimer: Unfortunantly, I do not own Sirius.
Chapter Ten: Run
“Melanie! My long lost friend,” Katie exclaims as soon I take the phone from Mum (who practically runs out the door, apparently scared of lots of maths talk) and say “hello”.
“She’s not the one who was lost, I should remind you,” Susan says, and hearing my friends’ voices almost makes up for them interrupting my snogging session. “Oh, I miss you so much, Mellie.”
“I miss you more!” Katie cuts in, and I can tell she and Susan are sharing a phone, because there’s a muffled “oof” from Susan as Katie pushes her away from the receiver.
“Also, I wasn’t the one who got us lost, it was all Susan. Susan, who is breathing on the back of my neck right now, even though she knows I hate that,” Katie continues, and I can tell she’s ready to launch into a monologue. I was hoping weeks away from Courtney would’ve cured her of that.
“See, the reason why we haven’t called right now is because we’re only supposed to use the phones on campus to call family, and we’re only allowed to go into the city on weekends. It’s basically all maths all the time, which is brilliant, except for actual social time. I swear, every person here is an even bigger nerd than Susan.”
There’s a “hey” from Susan and I smile.
“So anyway, we tried to find a phone booth somewhere in town, but we got hopelessly lost the first time we went into the city, and I mean, really, really lost, and we barely made it back alive. There was a really close run-in with a rabid squirrel. So the next weekend, last weekend actually, we went out again, with a map this time, but we still went the longest way possible and took three wrong turns and basically toured the entire city before we finally found a phone booth, but we got into the booth and then realised we had no money. “
For a couple of really smart girls, sometimes they have absolutely no common sense.
“And so now we’re finally here, and you better appreciate this call, because of all the blood, sweat and tears that went into it. I’m not even exaggerating about the blood part. When we were running from the rabid squirrel Susan fell and scraped her knee.”
“Wow, I appreciate the bloodshed just to talk to me,” I say jokingly. There’s another “oof”, as I assume Susan wrestles the phone back from Katie.
“Oh, you should, but it wasn’t that bad. I’m not limping anymore,” Susan replies. “And I’m going to tell you about what we’ve been up to, the short version, because I know Katie will ramble too much, and I want to hear about what you’ve been up to.”
I laugh, and then reply, “I can’t wait to hear it.”
“Well basically we’re taking three different maths classes and then enjoying having a dorm to ourselves in our free time. It’s really great, but I know you’d hate it. There’re mostly older kids here, but the hall we’re in is reserved for sixteen year olds like us and some of them are surprisingly fun. Not everyone is a huge nerd like Katie says. So it hasn’t been very eventful, but really, maths never is,” she says in that calm voice that’s so different from Katie’s.
“Well I’m glad you like it,” I say, and resist the urge to tell them they’re both mental for actually liking maths, and spending their summer doing it.
“So what’ve you been doing? How have your parents been? Your mum psychoanalyzing everything?” Susan asks. I sigh at the mention of my parents.
“Pretty much. I’ve gotten a lot better at the piano, there’s been that many after-dinner ‘talks’,” I answer, and then think of the right way to bring up Sirius. I’ve managed to not think about him as Susan and Katie talked, but now our kiss is on replay in my brain.
“So how ‘bout a concert when we get back?” Katie says, her voice sounding slightly softer, as if they’re sharing the phone now. I grin.
“Sure, if you promise not to talk too much about maths when you get back,” I reply. They both laugh and then agree to keep the nerd talk to a minimum.
“I met a boy,” I blurt out, casually working Sirius into the conversation going out the window.
“Oooh,” Katie sing-songs, and I smile.
“What’s his name?” Susan asks, and I can tell just by her voice she’s smiling too.
“Sirius,” I answer.
“Wait, like the dog star?” Susan asks, and I laugh because she’s the only person I know who would say that, besides me of course.
“Yeah, his family’s just weird, I think,” I say. And I decide not to mention much more about his family than that, because I have a feeling what he just told me is really private. But I can’t help but wonder what he isn’t telling me. I am naturally nosy, after all.
Katie giggles. “Really weird, with a name like that. He better be really fit to make up for that awful name.”
I laugh too. “I think his fitness more than makes up for the name,” I answer, and then sit down in a kitchen chair, because as completely cheesy as it sounds, my legs still feel a bit wobbly from the kiss and I didn’t realise it until now.
“He just kissed me,” I whisper, partly in case Mum’s listening, and partly because it just feels right to whisper such momentous news.
“Melanie Bryn Parrish! Why didn’t you tell us earlier! That should’ve been the first thing you said when you answered the phone! Oh my gosh! Did we interrupt you? Wow, I’m so sorry! But wait, I’m not because we’re the first to know! Tell us everything!” Katie practically shouts into the phone, and I hear Susan laughing in the background.
“Well, we were outside, talking, or, he was talking and I mostly listening, and then he gave me this really intense look, and then he kissed me,” I say, sounding like such a giggly girl, but I really don’t care.
“Brilliant! Our little Mellie getting snogged while we’re away!” Katie jokes, while Susan laughs. “Wait, was it a proper snog, or just a short kiss?”
“Um, a proper snog. It was . . . nice,” I reply, smiling.
“Nice? I’m going to need more details than that. I don’t care if I have to go through this whole bag of change to keep you on the line, Mellie, you need to tell us more,” Katie demands, only partially-joking.
“We have to save some money,” Susan protests, but Katie ignores her.
“So, tell us everything. What’s Sirius like? How old is he, where’s he go to school, a few of his likes and dislikes. I need a general idea here,” Katie says, trying to sound all-business but I can tell she’s still joking. I open my mouth to reply but then stop.
I really don’t know what to say. “He’s living with my mental neighbours that think they’re living in Camelot, and he goes to some nerd school by a lake and he’s the royal fool” doesn’t even sound good in my head.
And then it hits me. I just kissed, no, snogged, a bloke I haven’t even been on a date with, a bloke I don’t really even know, a bloke who might be insane. I mean, I don’t even know his favourite colour, his past girlfriends, his religion, or even his shoe size! And for all I know he could be a super-nerd! And I can be friends with nerds, but I draw the line at dating one! Or will he even want to date? Maybe I’m just a friend with benefits! No, a neighbour with benefits!
Why did I kiss him? Why didn’t I say “get off of me you royal fool”? And why was that kiss so fantastic?
I blame the sun. It clearly melted my brain. Completely.
“Erm, Mellie?” Susan asks, and I realise I’ve probably been quiet for a while now; having a breakdown can take some time. “You okay?”
“Of course I’m okay!” I exclaim, my voice sounding oddly high-pitched. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Well, because you were really quiet for a while and didn’t answer, and now you’re using your freak-out voice,” Katie replies matter-of-factly.
Freak-out voice? I don’t have a freak-out voice, do I?
“What do you mean?” I ask, trying to make my voice normal.
“See! That’s the voice! The voice you use when you’re having a mental breakdown but are trying to make it seem like everything’s fine,” Katie says, and Susan agrees.
My friends clearly have spent way too much time with me. They know me too well.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I say in one last desperate attempt to make them think I’m fine so I won’t have to talk about Sirius anymore and I can just listen to them talk about nerd heaven.
“Yes, you do, so what the heck made you freak out? And don’t lie. You’re a bad liar,” Susan replies.
I sigh. Katie and Susan sigh back. I refuse to giggle, and instead decide to just tell them.
“Well, the thing is . . .” I start off slowly but then my voice gets faster, and higher-pitched. “I just kind of realised that I don’t really know Sirius at all. He’s staying with James Potter, my neighbour, who I think is mental, and we haven’t even been on a date or anything and I don’t even know his shoe size!”
“Oh, Mellie,” Susan says mournfully after a moment.
“Seriously? You’re upset because you don’t know the guy well?” Katie asks, and I can tell she’s rolling her eyes at me. “It’s called a summer fling, you goober.”
I don’t know if I’m more stunned by the way she thinks not-knowing-but-snogging someone isn’t a big deal, or the fact that she just called me a goober.
“A summer fling?”
“Yeah, you know, like in movies. Fast, passionate and sexy,” Katie replies, and again I think she’s been spending too much time with drama-queen Courtney.
“Oh Katie, shut it,” Susan puts in, her tone exasperated. “This is Mellie we’re talking about here. Over-thinking things Mellie.”
I’d be insulted if it wasn’t slightly true.
“Mellie, just think about the things you do know about him. I mean, you obviously fancy him if you kissed him back, and I know you wouldn’t fancy someone for no good reason,” she says and Katie mutters about wanting her own summer fling and how I do over-think things.
I think and then smile. I have a whole notebook about Sirius (and James). And I know that he’s nice, and got revenge on Cameron for me, and has a lovely smirk, and thinks I’m gorgeous, and is really funny, and sometimes irritating and he has issues with his parents, and is a bit of a hooligan, and has shiny teeth.
And I think that maybe I know enough.
I like to think I’m a generally happy, optimistic person, but right now, I hate my life. And I want to punch something. Or someone.
Why? Well, because my mum saw me sitting on the couch watching telly and eating crisps and decided that I had been doing that a lot lately and must be depressed. And since I had decided back in the spring to take a break from the swimming team over the summer I was clearly not getting enough exercise, the cause of my depression. But if I went for a run I wouldn’t go spiralling into depression and instead would still be able to fit into my swimming costume come autumn.
So now I’m standing in my room, angrily pulling my hair into a ponytail and cursing the patient who cancelled on Mum this morning, thereby allowing her to spend the morning at home and use her psychoanalyzing talents on me instead of the schizophrenic she gets paid to analyze.
“Bloody psychos,” I mutter as I shove my feet into trainers.
As soon as I’ve got running shorts on (with my wallet in the pocket) and an oversize tee, I clomp downstairs and fill a water bottle. The plan is that I’ll run until I’m out of sight of the house, and then jog until I’m out of the neighbourhood. I’ll walk a few more blocks to the cinema, watch whatever decent movie is playing and then walk back until I’m two blocks away from the house, dump the water bottle over my head, and then run the rest of the way back to my house, panting heavily and exclaiming about what a great work-out I just had.
And Mum will think I’ve just spent hours getting exercise and hopefully won’t nag me about it for the rest of the week. It’s a brilliant plan, if I do say so myself.
“I’m leaving, Mum,” I bellow and then slam the door shut before I can hear her tell me to make sure to hydrate or something equally annoying.
I walk down the front steps and then jog down the driveway, a quick glance over my shoulder revealing that Mum is looking out the window after me just as I knew she would. I roll my eyes and keep jogging, past my yard and then burst into a run, until I can’t see my house anymore.
Finally. I slow down and try not to wheeze. Blimey, I really am out of shape. But in my defence, I’ve never really been good at running. In fact, I kind of hate it. There’s a reason I only partake in one of the few sports that doesn’t involve running at all.
I jog so slowly I’m actually moving at a fast walk.
Finally, I’m out of the neighbourhood and just a block away from the cinema. This wasn’t a good plan. Any plan that involves any running (or even jogging) at all is not a good plan.
What I really should’ve done is just run around the block and then snuck past my house and to the Potters’. And then I could’ve seen Sirius. And talked to him about what happened yesterday. Well, hopefully there wouldn’t be much talking going on.
But then he would’ve seen me all sweaty and wheezy and gross. Yup, this is a much better plan.
Maybe I could go see him after I go home and shower. Oh, I really want to see him.
I reach the cinema and see that there won’t be another movie playing for an hour. Crap. What am I supposed to do for a whole hour? This is what I get for going to the really small cinema that only has like two theatres. But the big one’s a mile away and I don’t want to do anything drastic like actually get some exercise today.
Even if I wait around an hour, the movie will be at least another hour, and I’ll be gone two hours, and Mum will be suspicious then. There’s no way I could run for over two hours. So maybe I should just head home now, at a leisurely walk. I can stop by the park on the way back to waste some time.
Now that plan, the plan that involves minimal running, is a good plan. I stop at the store across the street from the cinema to buy a trashy tabloid so I have something fun to read at the park, and then set off towards home, walking nice and slow. Emphasis on the ‘slow’.
Okay, maybe this wasn’t such a good plan after all.
I really do hate my luck.
I am definitely the only person in the world (under the age of sixty) who would somehow manage to fall asleep on a park bench while reading a magazine, and not wake up until an hour later when it starts to rain. The rain itself isn’t so bad; in fact, I wish it had come sooner, because if it had I wouldn’t be completely sunburned, except for most of my face, which the magazine fell on. So my face is its usual pale colour, except for the pink stripe on the top of my forehead the magazine didn’t cover. Lovely.
I trudge back towards my house, trying not to feel too sorry for myself. But that’s hard to do when you’re sunburned, still half-asleep, dripping wet, sweaty, and you’re thoroughly irritated with your mum.
I can finally see my house so I start running, deciding that I can still pretend I’ve been running this whole time. I’m in front of Kenzie’s house when I see him.
I’m beginning to think God is up there in heaven having a good laugh at my expense.
Because there’s Sirius, sitting on his porch, watching the rain or something, and here I am. Gasping for breath, my hair a dripping mess, my face bright red from running (at least it matches the rest of my sunburned body) and I just realised I’m wearing a soaking-wet white t-shirt. And a purple bra on underneath.
Maybe I can just sneak inside and he won’t see me. Not likely, but it’s worth a shot.
I walk up to my porch, chuck the magazine into the bushes next to our porch, and just when I’m opening the front door I hear Sirius exclaim, “Mellie!”
God, if you’re enjoying this, you obviously have one twisted sense of humour. Of course, God having a twisted sense of humour would explain the platypus.
“Heeey, Sirius,” I say slowly as I turn and walk off the porch, ignoring the urge to just run inside. That would be rude.
Aw, his whole face seems to kind of light up when he sees me. He’s got this huge grin on that just makes me smile back at him.
I walk through the rain over to his porch, because really, I can’t get any wetter than I already am. He comes down the steps to greet me, pulling me into a hug.
Mmm, he’s nice and warm and boyish and . . . Sirius. I can’t help but feel a little better at his touch. He squeezes me tight and then turns to help me up onto the Potters’ porch.
“Um, Mellie, you’re really wet,” he says, smirking. I can’t help but look down at my very wet and basically see-through shirt and blush when I feel his gaze follow mine.
“Yeah, I, er, went for a run,” I explain, pushing strands of wet hair out of my eyes. “So, you know, I don’t get fat. Like my mum thinks I will.”
Sirius, his eyes on my face now, frowns at that. “First of all, you definitely don’t need to be worrying about getting fat. Second, why did you go for a run in the rain?”
I sigh. “First, thanks, but I’m not the one who was worried. Second, it wasn’t raining when I left,” I say, my mood rapidly declining just thinking about the whole stupid run and the stupid reason behind it. “I kind of fell asleep reading a magazine in the park,” I add in a mumble.
Sirius laughs at this and then hugs me again, obviously not caring that I’m getting him wet too.
“Want to come in and dry off?” he offers, looking hopeful. “I mean, I know your house is right next door, but I kind of wanted to talk to you about something and I don’t want you to get hypothermia walking over there all cold and wet and –”
“Sure,” I say, cutting off his rambling with a smirk of my own. “I’d love to.”
He grins and leads me inside, one arm draped over my shoulders. For some reason it doesn’t feel heavy like it did before. It just feels nice and warm.
He leads me into what looks like a living room, only there’s no telly. I mean, maybe it could be a formal living room, but there’s a big cupboard on one wall that looks like it’s meant to hold a television, but instead there’s a big painting propped up on it, of a wizened old man that looks a bit like James. Maybe it’s his great-grandfather or something. Whoa. I swear that old man is snoring. I shake my head and look at Sirius, who is now rummaging through another cupboard. I look for a place to sit down, but all the furniture looks antique and I don’t want to ruin it with my wet clothes.
“Here,” Sirius says after a minute, and he hands me a blanket. I smile my thanks and pull it around me, and then I sit on one of the sofas, carefully making sure the blanket is between me and the sure-to be-expensive upholstery. Sirius sits down next to me and then pulls me close so I’m leaning against him.
I’m trying to remember why I didn’t just come over here in the first place, but I really can’t. Sirius is just so sweet and he smells good too.
“So, what did you want to ask me?” I say after a moment. Sirius lets out a breath.
“Um, well yesterday was . . . er . . . really nice.” He pauses. I can’t help but smile.
“Yeah, it was,” I reply, trying to make my voice sound normal, not higher pitched than usual.
“I was just wondering, er, hoping, if you wanted to go on a date with me. Tomorrow night. Dinner or something.”
In the words of Courtney: Huzzah!
He just asked me out! That means he wants to be more than neighbours with benefits! I think. Well, anyway, it means that tomorrow I get to have dinner with him, spending lots of time together, no James or anyone else there, just me and Sirius and it’s going to be great.
“Okay,” I squeak. Yes, squeak. Sometimes my voice just gets ridiculously high pitched. I hope he understood me, because I might’ve been at dolphin-decibels.
“Cool,” Sirius replies, and I look up to see him grinning like the royal fool he thinks he is. “How ‘bout I pick you up at say six tomorrow?”
“Sounds good,” I say, my pitch sufficiently under control now. But I’m grinning like a fool too.
“Good,” he says, and then he dips his head down and kisses me, holding me close against him, and grins through his kiss and I smile as I kiss him back. He lifts me into his lap so that we’re so close and even though I was never that cold now I’m completely warmed up.
Sunday- 1:14 p.m. Have determined that Sirius is exceptionally good snogger. Really brilliant. This rules out super-nerd theory. Still think secret agent/spy theory is a good one.
A/N: I apologize for the long wait, (and the filler-ness of this chapter) but school is just kicking my butt. Thank goodness for spring break right? Anyway, I have lots of excuses for the wait, but let’s just say I’m in all advanced or AP classes and I have a straight A’s that I work really hard for. So I’m not going to get into that. I’d just like to say thanks so much to all my reviewers, I really am overwhelmed sometimes by all the great feedback I receive. Every single review makes me grin like a royal fool. Also, I have no idea what the date’s going to be like, so suggestions are very welcome. Oh, and one more thing, check out my ask the author, people! Ask me anything you want, the link’s on my author’s page. I look forward to hearing from you! :)
A/N: I'm baaaaaack! And I know I suck for taking so long to write this chapter, but I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me. More on that at the end of the chapter.
Disclaimer: I only own Mellie, and the ridiculous plot.
Chapter Eleven: Explosions
It looks like a bomb has gone off in my room. Some sort of new-age clothing bomb. The military really should get to work on those.
There are clothes everywhere. In my bed, on the floor, on my bedside table, on my desk, under my bed, in the corner, on my armchair, even on the curtain rod. I’m not sure how I even managed all that.
But what the hell am I supposed to wear?!
I know it shouldn’t really matter what I wear. That Sirius should like me for who I am on the inside and all that. Plus, he’s seen me all sweaty and gross, and in my awful swimming uniform, and dripping wet. So he clearly doesn’t care what I wear.
But that hasn’t stopped me from spending most of my morning trying on clothes. And rejecting clothes. And flinging clothes to the floor in frustration.
Should I wear shorts? No, all my shorts are too casual, or short, or mysteriously stained. But it’s too hot for trousers, I mean, I don’t know what we’re doing or where we’re going, but it’s best to be prepared for all temperatures. A skirt then. Not a really dressy one, a slightly casual one. Because again, I don’t know where we’re going.
Ooh, if I’m wearing a skirt I should probably shave my legs. I haven’t in a few days. But wait, what’s the thing people say? If you want to make sure you don’t have sex, don’t shave before a date?
Oh, my God. I’m already thinking about sex. Mellie, you are not that type of girl. I mean, I want the L-bomb to be dropped well before I even think about having sex with a bloke. Ah! Now I’m thinking about love! We haven’t even been on date yet and I’m already thinking about sex and love! I am obviously a hormonally-deranged teenage girl.
Okay, I’m shaving.
After I’ve finished, I check myself out in the mirror. Oh bloody hell. Is that spot?
It is. A massive one, right in the middle of my forehead. Bugger it all. It’s planet sized. The size of Pluto! I swear that was not there this morning. I have the worst luck ever! My first date in forever and my face decides to try and grow another head. Brilliant.
Okay, I’m definitely wearing make-up. And . . . a blue shirt, because I read in some magazine that if you’re breaking out and you wear pink it just emphasizes it. Or something like that. Anyway, blue brings out my eyes. I hope.
I walk out of my bathroom once I’ve applied make-up and survey my room. Blimey, it really is messy. Thank goodness Mum and Dad are at work, or they’d see the mess and start asking me what I was picking an outfit out for, and then I’d have to tell them about the date, and then they’d insist on meeting him, and I don’t want to subject Sirius to that torture.
And another thank goodness they’re going to be gone until eleven or later tonight, because after work they’re both going straight to some party with a bunch of snooty rich doctors.
I start tossing clothes back into my wardrobe, picking out a nice, casual denim skirt and a blue top. I get dressed and then flop down on my now clothes-free bed (there’s still a dress hanging from the curtain rod) to mentally prepare myself for this evening. It’s five o’clock now, so I have an hour before the date.
I’ve been lying on my bed for a good twenty minutes, just staring at the ceiling and thinking about Sirius (pathetic, I know) when I hear the phone ring downstairs. Thinking it’s one of Mum’s doctor acquaintances so low on the social ladder she didn’t even know about the party, I walk lazily down the stairs and pick up the phone with a bored “Hello?”
And then I drop it, because whoever’s on the other line is screaming, “MELLIE?”
What kind of crazy person has rung me? I carefully pick the receiver up, but hold it away from my ear as I cautiously reply, “Yes?”
“THIS IS SIRIUS, IS THIS MELLIE?” Huh? Why is Sirius ringing me and why is he screaming? Has he gone off his meds or something?
“Yeah, it’s Mellie,” I reply at a normal volume, holding the phone slightly closer to my ear. “Why are you yelling?”
“CAN YOU HEAR ME?” he shouts, and I jump a foot in the air and almost drop the phone again.
“Yes! I can hear you! Is something wrong with the phone you’re using or something?” I ask, completely confused. There’re some muffled sounds and then a scratchy noise before Sirius responds.
“Um, no, I don’t think so. Um, can you hear me alright?” he says, not shouting, but still a little too loud.
“Yeeees,” I say slowly. “Can you hear me?”
Honestly, does the boy not know how to work a phone or something?
“Yeah,” he replies, and then there’s a slightly awkward pause. “Sorry about that.”
“It’s fine,” I say, because I’m polite, but I’m still wondering what this whole thing is about.
“So I’m ringing because I just realized that I have yet to make my motorbike run, and the Potters’ are going out tonight so they’re using their car,” he says, and he sounds just a little bit nervous.
“Oh,” I reply, a sinking feeling in my stomach. He’s cancelling. I know it. And I got dressed up and everything. Why, why, why?
“I was thinking you could just come over here instead, and we could stay in, without James or any other obnoxious people around, and I’ll make dinner and we could watch a film,” Sirius explains, and now I smile, partly in relief and partly in anticipation of what I’m sure will be a brilliant date.
“That sounds great,” I say, sounding a little too eager. I’m clearly not one for playing hard-to-get.
“Honestly, yeah, it’ll be brilliant. I love having people cook for me,” I reply, in what I hope is a casual tone, but I’m pretty sure I’m failing.
“All right then, just come over in about half an hour, and there’ll be feasts waiting for you,” he says. “See you soon.”
I say good bye and then there’re some muffled noises, and I hear Sirius say “how do you turn this thing off?” There are some more muffled noises, and then Sirius says, loudly,
“Um, sorry about that, Mellie. The Potters just got a new phone, and it’s malfunctioning. Er, bye now.”
There’s a very loud click, as if someone has flung the receiver down, and I can’t help but laugh. How hard is it to work a telephone, for Pete’s sake? I set the phone down and then waltz off to watch the telly until what should be a fantastic date.
And twenty five minutes later I’m standing in our entrance hallway taking deep yoga breaths. Breathe in. Breathe out. I’m kind of freaking out a bit, thinking of all the things that could possibly go wrong on this date. As I’ve said before, I have a very active imagination.
So I do some more deep breathing and then walk over to Sirius’s house, a fashionable two minutes late.
When I ring the doorbell I see Sirius push back the curtains from the window beside the door, an expression of mild panic on his face. He mouths “hold on” to me before closing the curtains and leaving me a bit confused.
Then there’s an explosion.
Not a huge explosion, a small one, like maybe a minor grenade going off. It was enough to make a huge bang but not enough to shake the foundation of the house or anything, but enough to make purple (yes, purple) smoke gush out from under the Potters’ front door.
It takes me a few moments to process exactly what was going on. Mum would say I just went into a mild state of shock for a minute there.
By the time the shock fades, I’m busy freaking out, because what the hell just happened?! What exploded?! And what kind of explosion creates purple smoke?! Probably a poisonous one, and I’m about to die, and I’m going to die before my date with Sirius, and my parents won’t discover my dead body for hours, until they come home and see my rotting corpse on the neighbours’ doorstep and—
The Potters’ door flies open and Sirius tumbles out, coughing and fanning smoke away from his face. I start coughing too, because Sirius has let a ton of smoke out, and soon we’re both coughing and fanning until I hear Sirius mutter something and the smoke suddenly disappears. I wipe my eyes, which had been watering from the smoke, and see Sirius shove something in his pocket with a shifty expression on his face.
“What was that?” I ask, my voice freakishly-high pitched.
“The oven,” Sirius replies quickly. ““It kind of, partially, somewhat, a little bit, exploded. But don’t worry, the food is fine. I think.”
The food is—how can the food be fine with an explosion like that? There was purple smoke! Purple! I’m beginning to think that I must’ve fallen asleep on my bed, before Sirius called, and this is all just a very weird dream, due to the fact that I was stressing about the date and I always dream about what I’m stressed about.
Yup, it has to be a dream. I’ll just pinch myself then.
“Ow!” I exclaim, and Sirius gives me a very strange look, which is a bit rich coming from the boy who just exploded an oven.
“Are you okay?” he asks, sounding more curious than concerned. I probably shouldn’t have pinched myself. Because unfortunately, this is in no way a dream. I should’ve known. In dreams I never think I’m dreaming. And my dreams are usually even crazier. An emu would’ve generally run by at this point.
“Yeah, just peachy. Should I come in then?” I reply brightly, hoping I don’t sound mental. “Or should we wait for the smoke to clear?”
“Sure,” he says, and then he takes a step back and holds the door open for me like a gentleman. Aw!
I walk inside and head to the kitchen to check out the damage. But Sirius sees where I’m going and leaps in front of me.
“Er, actually, the smoke’s probably still bad in the kitchen, so you should just wait in here for a sec while I take care of things, and then we can go to the living room and eat and watch this film I found about zombies,” he says in a way that makes me very suspicious of what’s in the kitchen.
I try and casually lean around him to get a peek of the kitchen, but he moves so I can’t see anything. I suppress a frown and instead say, “Okay, sounds good.”
I refrain from saying “Sounds good, except for how you somehow exploded the kitchen, and I’d love to know if it was a grenade or some chemistry experiment gone bad because I feeling that going out with a bloke who causes shifty explosions is a bad idea!”
I turn and head to the living room and Sirius turns and heads to the kitchen but as soon as he turns his back I turn and sneak a glance of the kitchen.
So, there are three possible explanations for what’s happening right now: One, I have gone completely, utterly, bonkers. Two, this is actually all a very strange dream. Three, there are actually floating pans in the Potters’ kitchen, which appear to be cleaning themselves.
Sirius blocks my view of the pots for a second and when he shifts they’re all lying on the counter, not floating and not cleaning themselves.
Right, so I must’ve just lost it completely then. Brilliant.
I plop down onto a sofa and try to do deep yoga-breaths, because the possibility (certainty) of me being mental has shaken me a bit. More than a bit actually.
WHAT IS GOING ON!?
Just as I’m about to start hyperventilating Sirius comes in, carrying two steaming plates food and grinning adorably. He sets the plates of food (which are absolutely fine, which is weird because the explosion should have damaged them) on the coffee table and sits next to me, giving my hand a little squeeze.
For some reason I feel better. I’ve pushed the pot incident (or as I shall now refer to it, the P.I.) to the back of my mind and I find myself smiling back at him.
It’s probably those freakishly shiny teeth that did it.
“No, don’t open the closet, you bloody idio—AAAAAHHH!”
The film Sirius picked turned out to be a horribly gory, zombies attacking everyone, mutilated corpses popping out of nowhere kind of film. He also put a huge telly in the cupboard I saw yesterday and so we’re watching it on video while cuddling on the sofa with a blanket and a fire in the fireplace and it’s quite romantic, except for the fact that I keep jumping a foot in the air every time a zombie appears from nowhere, which is every five minutes.
Sirius, however, doesn’t seem to mind the fact that I’m scared out of my pants (or skirt), since I keep using his hand, or arm, or chest, to cover my eyes. In fact, I think he’s enjoying it and he picked something terrifying on purpose.
It’s not that I’m some sissy who’s scared of bad effects, I just hate being startled by things jumping out suddenly and that’s all this movie is.
Okay, maybe I’m a little bit of a sissy. But like I’ve said before, I have an overactive imagination, and I just know that later I’ll have horrible nightmares about zombies. And I might be overreacting a bit on purpose, because I like holding on to Sirius’s rather muscle-y arm.
“People in scary movies are always stupid,” I say, leaning back against Sirius after I just leaped up to yell more degrading remarks at the telly. He wraps his arm comfortably around my shoulders.
“Yes, but yelling at them isn’t going to make them any smarter,” he replies playfully. “In case you forgot, they can’t hear you.”
I elbow him in the gut, not hard, and he laughs. “Oh shut it, it makes me feel better,” I reply. Sirius laughs again, which earns him another elbow in the gut.
Despite the elbowing, the being terrified, the P.I., the explosion, and the whole phone thing, this has been the best date I’ve ever been on. I think it has something to do with the fact that being with Sirius is just . . . easy. I just feel comfortable around him (unless of course, something’s exploding) and he knows how to make me laugh or smile. Talking to him is easy, there’s never a lull in the conversation. It’s really nice.
The fact that he’s an excellent cook helped make this date great too. I mean, really brilliant; the food’s so good, I kind of suspect Mrs. Potter made it before she left.
There are still some things nagging at me though. The explosion, for one. The P.I. And how when I made a comment about Sirius must have a “magic touch” when it comes to cooking, he kind of froze up for a second and then started laughing really loudly, almost hysterically. It was odd.
But I’m choosing to ignore these things and instead focusing on the feeling of Sirius’s warm arm around my shoulders, and zombies and crazy people running around on the telly’s screen.
After the bloodbath—I mean film—is over, Sirius grins at me, gets up, and pops in another. I fake a groan but I don’t mind the zombies if it means I get to continue overreacting and grabbing Sirius’s arm. I feel like such a stereotypical girly girl for doing it, but I can live with that. I mean, I’ve already spent hours on getting ready for the date in typical girl fashion; I might as well go all the way and continue with the girly screams and squeezing Sirius’s hand.
I’m having such a good time that I completely lose track of time until I look at the clock, and after getting past the weirdness of it (it has moons on it instead of numbers), realize it’s half past eleven and my mum and dad should be back any minute now and if they find out I’ve been out this late with a boy they’ll go crazy.
Dad will probably lecture me about making good decisions, while Mum will ask me for all the little details of my date, like we’re friends or something. Obviously, I want to avoid this at all costs.
“Hell!” I exclaim, and leap up, barely managing to disentangle myself from Sirius without falling over. He stands up, much more slowly, and looks at me, confused.
“Sorry, but it’s late and I should really be home before my parents, or I’ll have to tell my mum all about the date, and she’ll probably comment again on how attractive you are, which creeps me out, and my dad will give me a safe sex lecture, and it’s really best that I just not tell them anything at all, because they overanalyze even more than I do, which I know is hard to believe possible,” I explain, and then have to pause for a few seconds to breathe.
“Um, okay,” he says, sounding confused, as if he didn’t get all of that. But a second later a smirk settles on his face. “Your mum says I’m attractive? How attractive?”
Really bloody attractive. Or at least I think so.
“Ugh, never mind, pretend you didn’t hear that,” I say as I back towards the exit. “The point was, I really should be leaving.”
Sirius follows me to the door but then grabs my arm and pulls me close before I can open it.
“I—I had a great time,” I stammer because being close to him makes it hard for me to remember why I should leave. He grins and hugs me.
“I’m glad you did. So did I. Even though I think you permanently damaged my hearing with your screams,” he says. I lean away and stick my tongue out at him. He chuckles, then tilts his head down and kisses me.
A fantastic ending to a fantastic date, I think as I walk out the door, hoping Sirius doesn’t notice the way I’m walking like I’m about to fall over. I look like a drunkard.
As I lock my door behind me, thanking my lucky stars my parents aren’t home yet, a weird feeling nags at me, but I push it away with thoughts of how good Sirius’s lips feel against mine.
I’ve got a goofy grin on my face that’s not going away as I wash my face and get ready for bed. I feel silly and ridiculous, but happy. Really happy.
To get rid of some of the happy jittery feeling I have, I jump up and down on my bed a few times before putting the rest of my clothes away, clearing away all evidence of the clothing bomb.
The clothing bomb reminds me of another explosion, and suddenly my happy feeling is spoiled.
There were so many little things that happened today . . . things just . . . off.
I feel like I’m not noticing something huge about Sirius, like I’m missing this big, obvious secret he has. I should probably write down all the weird things I noticed in my notebook.
But when I plop down on my bed to start writing, a wave of exhaustion hits me and I let my eyes fall shut.
I’ll save the worrying for another day.
A/N: Soooo again, I'm sorry I took so long, but real life got the best of me. And I hit a major writing slump. There will definently not be another 5 months between this chapter and the next. Thank you so much everyone who's reading this and has stuck with me through the big gaps in updates, you are the best readers ever. :)
Please review!! I ADORE reviews!
A/N: I know I suck at updating. Please find it in your hearts to forgive me.
Chapter Twelve: Bonding
A shout jolts me out of sleep, and when my eyes fly open to see bespectacled hazel eyes very close to my own, I let out a yelp and wriggle backwards. However, when I move backwards I manage to hit my head on the very solid headboard of my bed, causing me to jump forward and somehow sideways. The sideways factor of the jump causes me to miss my bed and land on the floor, bruising my bum in the process.
“Bloody hell!” I exclaim. I rub my now-throbbing head and look up.
I’m surrounded by four teenage boys, all looking down on me with a range of expressions on their faces. James looks like he’s about to laugh, Remus looks weary, Peter looks concerned, and Sirius . . . well I’m not sure what Sirius’s face looks like, because he’s shirtless and I’m too distracted by his chest.
“What on earth are you lot doing in my bedroom?” I cry once I’ve managed to stop looking at Sirius’s chest and get my brain functioning again. Everything’s kind of fuzzy though, due to me still being mostly asleep, and due to the fact that I think I just suffered serious head trauma.
“We’re going to the pool!” James replies before leaping onto my bed and starting to bounce on it. Clearly, someone’s morning cereal had too much sugar in it. “By the way, Mellie, nice shirt,” he says with an eyebrow waggle.
I look down and immediately feel myself blush. Thankfully, I didn’t choose to sleep in the nude last night like I sometimes do when it’s bloody hot out. Unfortunately, all I’m wearing is an oversized t-shirt that barely covers my knickers, which I am exceptionally grateful are not the usual granny-sized ones I usually wear. I’m not as grateful that my shirt happens to be the joke one that Katie got me last year for Christmas. It says “Slag” on it in big neon pink letters.
“Didn’t know you were like that,” he continues to tease while he jumps up and down. Peter laughs before sitting on the foot of my bed and bouncing slightly along with James. Remus just shakes his head.
“Oi!” Sirius exclaims before grabbing James and pulling him off the bed and onto the floor. “Stop eyeing my girlfriend!”
Is it bad that I still feel a bit giddy when I hear Sirius refer to me as his girlfriend? I mean we’ve been dating for about two weeks now, so maybe I should be over the thrill.
Today is turning into quite the day. Sirius and James now appear to be wrestling on the floor, Peter is bouncing on my bed, and Remus is finally offering a hand to help me up. I take it and then quickly climb back into bed and under the concealing covers.
“Mate, you’re the one who’s dating a slag!” I hear James say and but Sirius’s reply is incomprehensible, probably because James is sitting on his head. I sigh and glance at the clock by my bed. It reads nine o’clock, an ungodly hour.
“Um, anyone mind telling me what the hell is going on?” I ask, rather politely I think, considering four teenage boys have apparently broken into my house and then rudely woke me up by shouting in my ear, and all before noon, mind you.
“I tried to stop them,” Remus says, standing by my bed rather awkwardly. “But James is pretty hell-bent on going swimming today, and he wants to go early, because then there’ll be fewer people. The fact that your house was locked and you were asleep didn’t manage to discourage him.”
“Oh, swimming, lovely,” I mutter, trying to figure out if I’m actually awake or not.
“So are you coming, Mellie?” James shouts, or at least that’s what I think he shouts, because his voice is a bit muffled because his face is now against the floor, with Sirius’s foot forcing it down.
“Erm, I wasn’t really planning on waking up till way past noon, sooo . . .” I begin, but then I’m cut off.
“Puh-LEASE,” Peter whines, still bouncing at the foot of my bed. I give him a look because that whine just got freakishly high-pitched.
“Look, I don’t blame her for not wanting to go to the pool with you lot,” Sirius says, sitting on James’s stomach. “I mean, from the sound of it, Pete’s actually a first year girl.”
Peter jumps off my bed at that and together he and James assault Sirius. While Remus shakes his head and I consider attempting to go back to sleep, they manage to pin Sirius to the floor. James sits on his head while Peter sits on his legs.
They’re an odd bunch.
“Mellie, you have to come swimming with us,” James announces, ignoring the muffled shouts from Sirius. “Because Padfoot—”
“Padfoot?” I interrupt. Is padfoot some sort of foot fungus?
“It’s Sirius’s nickname. Anyway, he’s been spending far too much time with you, and not enough time with us, his best mates. So we’ve—“
“I’ve decided that you need to bond with the marauders,” James declares matter-of-factly. The fact that he can keep a straight face when he’s being so completely ridiculous amazes me. It’s a skill, really.
“It’s not that I don’t want to spend time with you, I just—” I attempt to explain, with what I think is incredible patience, considering they woke me at such a hideous hour.
“Meeeelllliieeeee!” James exclaims. “You have to come. Even if we have to tie you up and levita-I mean drag you there. I’ll do it. Or, I’ll have Peter do it while I restrain Sirius. We need to bond with you.”
Is “bond” on his word of the day calendar or something?
“James, honestly, how about in a few hours I—”
At this, James leaps off Sirius, who then proceeds to start wrestling Peter off him. James ignores these two and marches over to my bed, leaning over and crossing his arms to strike a menacing pose.
“Melanie Whateveryourmiddlenameis Parrish,” he starts, in a tone scarily similar to my mother’s when she’s angry. “You are coming to the pool with us now, because if we go any later it will be crowded and you’ll get a face-full of fat man again. And it’s already too bloody hot to do anything else but go to the pool today. And I know you still think I’m mental, so you need to spend more time with me to realize I’m perfectly normal . . .”
“And Remus and Pete barely know you at all, they need to spend more time with you to experience all your charming qualities and see what an excellent person you are, so they can help me write the best man’s toast at yours and Sirius’s wedding . . .”
Our wedding?! I feel my face heating up; I’m probably bright pink now.
“And I’m sure you secretly love a good excuse to ogle Sirius’s chest—” Oh dear God. “And don’t shake your head because I saw you checking him out earlier, the drool was obvious, thank you very much.”
If I was bright pink before, I’m neon pink now. I look at Sirius out of the corner of my eye and see that he’s taken a break from wrestling Peter to give me a very self-satisfied smirk.
“So. Are you coming?”
“You lot leave the room so I can change.”
And so half an hour later I find myself in the deep end of the pool, laughing as I try and hold James’s head underwater. He’s grabbed onto my arms and is attempting to pry me off him or pull me down with him, but he shouldn’t be because this is only payback for when he pushed me into the pool, which was payback for me stepping on his trainers the whole way here, which was only payback for him waking me up so damn early in the first place. So really, he should just stop fighting and accept his dunking, because I was wronged first.
But he gives my arms a yank and then pops up, gasping for air. Peter, Sirius, and Remus, who had been throwing a beach ball around while James and I struggled, laugh and clap for him.
“Aw, not fair, you’ve got a good 30 pounds on me,” I say as he mock-bows for his adoring crowd. It is a bit impressive that he can bow while treading water.
“Oh, pshaw. It’s the fantastic upper-body strength I have from years of being a Quidditch star that gave me the upper hand,” he replies while flexing. Then he giggles. “Hah! Upper-body strength, upper hand. Geddit?”
The boy has all the maturity of a five year old.
Then I remember something.
“You get upper-body strength from hitting a ball around with a broom?” I ask, dodging the beach ball Peter chucks at my head. James looks confused.
“We don’t—” he starts, but then notices Sirius frantically shaking his head and stops. “Er, yeah, you do. Or, at least I do. It takes skill.”
“I see,” I say, even though I really don’t. I slowly swim over to the other side of the deep-end to retrieve the ball so I can pelt it at Peter’s face. “So, what kind of posh boarding school do you lot go to, anyway?”
I hear many things at once.
“It’s not that posh,” from Sirius.
“It’s in a castle!” from Peter.
“The headmaster’s a bit eccentric,” from Remus.
And then, “I’M NOT TELLING YOU ANYTHING ABOUT IT AND IT’S DEFINITELY NOT SUSPICIOUS AND YOU CAN’T MAKE ME TALK!” from James.
There’s a pause while we all stare at James, before Sirius and Remus both tackle him and force him underwater.
Peter swims over to me, skirting around the mass of flailing limbs that is his best mates. He gives me a sympathetic smile.
“Mellie, I have a secret to tell you. You have to promise not to tell James I told you,” he says conspiratorially. I nod for him to continue. “No, promise.”
“I promise,” I reply wearily, because I think I’ve already had enough bonding for today.
“Alright. Well, the thing is, James is in fact, mental,” he says as if I’m supposed to be surprised at this information.
“No, I mean clinically. They never officially diagnosed him with anything, but that’s just because they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him.”
“Who’s ‘they’?” I ask. Peter glances over his shoulder to make sure James is still occupied.
Actually, I can’t really see him right now. He’s probably underwater. Maybe dead.
“Yup. Psychiatrists and psychologists and lots of people wearing white coats and holding clipboards,” he says seriously, but Peter trying to be serious is kind of like a puppy trying to be serious so I have to suppress a giggle.
“Really. It was around third year, and it was bad.” I kind of want to pinch his cheeks right now, what with this adorable serious face he’s got. “They did lots of tests and stuff, but never could figure it out. They took him away to a mental institution for a while, but James hated it there, which is why he never talks about it and gets really defensive when you say things about his sanity,” Peter explains solemnly.
That would explain a lot. But not everything. Not the weird stuff with his parents and with Sirius, and just the general sense of secrecy I’m beginning to notice more and more when I’m around James and co. It frustrates me if I start to think about it, so I haven’t been thinking about it.
“Okay,” I say, because Peter’s looking at me expectantly but I don’t know what to say. “Thanks for telling me, I suppose.”
“You’re welcome!” Peter exclaims with a grin, and then darts past me to grab the beach ball and chuck it at my head. It hits me full in the face and I let out an angry yell before tossing it back at him. I’m a hideously bad throw and the ball goes soaring over his head to where James, Sirius, and Remus have finally stopped wrestling, hitting James in the face. Okay, maybe I’m actually an awesome throw.
James makes some sort of outraged noise, and just like that, a beach ball war commences.
After the beach ball war dies down, after Sirius started using me as a human shield, Remus and I are lying on our backs, floating, while the rest of the hooligans take turns diving off the high dive and trying to make splashes big enough to capsize us. Yup, they’re really mature.
“You know, James really does mean well,” Remus says, breaking the comfortable silence between us. I’ve recently discovered Remus isn’t really a chatty kid.
“Yeah, I know,” I reply, letting my eyes drift shut. If I didn’t know James meant well I would’ve murdered the kid by now. Well, not murdered, since I know I wouldn’t do well at all in jail, but I definitely would’ve smacked him or something.
“You do?” he asks, sounding a bit surprised.
“I know he doesn’t mean to be as obnoxious as he is,” I say with a smile, “it just comes naturally.”
Remus chuckles. “True. But I meant with the whole breaking-and-entering-thing. That’s his weird way of trying to befriend you.”
“He could’ve just sent flowers,” I inform him and there’s another chuckle. Flowers, or a nice card, or some chocolate, or anything but breaking into my house and waking me up SO EARLY.
“That would be way too sensible,” he replies cheerily. “This is James we’re talking about here.”
I laugh, and then cough when I get water in my mouth. It’s surprisingly hard to stay afloat while laughing.
“But honestly,” Remus says after I’m done sputtering and he’s already swum over to me and asked a million times if I’m alright, and we’re both just floating again. “James is oddly protective of Sirius and basically does a background check on every girl Sirius dates, but Sirius dating you has thrown him.”
“Whaddaya mean?” I ask, a bit confused on how I’m different from Sirius’s previous girlfriends.
“Hogwarts is kind of a small school so every other girl Sirius has dated we’ve all known since we were eleven or twelve. But James doesn’t know you very well and that freaks him out a bit. And being James, this causes him to be even stupider than usual,” Remus explains.
“I get it,” I reply. “I’m the same way with my best mates.”
I probably shouldn’t tell Remus about the time Katie and I followed (it’s not stalking if you’re friends with the person) Liz and her date around for a good four hours, even sitting in the back of the cinema and throwing popcorn whenever he tried to get fresh with her. I mean, it was the first date, and he was from out of town, and we didn’t know anything about him, so we took drastic measures. And it turned out he was quite handsy. But I shouldn’t tell Remus about this, because he might tell Sirius, and he might think it was creepy. Even though it completely wasn’t creepy. Not at all.
“Good,” Remus says, and we fall back into that comfortable silence for a while. But then I think of something.
“Sometimes I get the feeling that Sirius is hiding something from me,” I confess.
Remus coughs and then swallows water and finally, after he’s done sputtering and I’ve already swum over to him and asked a million times if he’s alright, and we’re both just floating again, replies, “What do you mean?”
“It’s just, he sometimes stops himself from saying things, a lot of the time actually, and he’ll sometimes get a little panicky over what seems like nothing. I dunno. I can’t think of a specific incident,” I say slowly. There actually is a specific incident, I’m thinking of the P.I. But I can’t tell Remus about that or he’ll think I’m a nutter.
“Well he’s definitely not cheating on you,” Remus replies quickly.
Thank you, Remus, for that lovely thought that hadn’t even occurred to me until now.
Oh hell. He must be cheating on me. Why didn’t I see it before? He probably has a snobby other girlfriend that goes to that posh school of his and she’s super beautiful and super smart and really skinny with huge boobs. She’s probably graceful and charming and just bloody perfect. He must secretly visit her and together they laugh about the stupid things I do.
Or maybe I’M the other woman! Maybe he’s been going out with this super nice girl for years now and I’m just some summer fling hussy! And I’m going to unwittingly tear a beautiful relationship apart! And then she’ll kill herself out of grief and it’ll be all my fault! Or she’ll challenge me to a duel for Sirius and then I’ll lose and she’ll brutally stab me to death with a sword! But then again, doesn’t the other woman have to be a slag? That’s how it always is, isn’t it? Oh hell, I’m a slag!
Remus must notice the panicked expression I have now, and how I’ve stopped floating and am now frantically treading water, because he swims over to me, looking concerned. I’m trying not to hyperventilate, so I swim over to the edge to pull myself out of the pool. There’s less danger of me drowning now, so that’s good. Then again, I think I’d rather die by drowning than by being stabbed to death by Sirius’s paramour.
“Mellie?” Remus asks me, flopping out of the pool and looking alarmed at the strange wheezing sound that’s coming out of me as a result of me trying not to hyperventilate. “Are you okay?”
“Yup,” I manage to get out after several yoga breaths. “Peachy.”
For some reason he doesn’t seem to buy this, and gives me what I’m sure he imagines to be a piercing stare that’s supposed to make me confess. I, however, am stronger than that.
“Now I think Sirius is cheating on me!” I exclaim. Okay, maybe I’m not stronger. But he is really good at the piercing stare. He must practice it in the mirror or something. Remus looks away and lets out a sigh. Uh-oh, that’s a bad sign. He must have known all along I was the other woman.
“He’s not cheating on you,” Remus says, thus deepening Sirius’s guilt. “Why don’t you talk to him about it?”
He is SUCH a boy. Talk, pshaw. It’s times like these that require serious undercover surveillance.
“Oh, right, and be the psycho-stalker-accusing-rabid-jealous-suspicious-girlfriend? No thank you!” I say, and is it just me or is my voice getting slightly more high-pitched? That’s odd. Remus lets out another one of those sighs.
“You don’t have to accuse him of cheating on you, because he’s not; just talk about how you feel like he’s hiding something from you,” he explains patiently. Now it’s my turn to sigh.
“He’ll just say he isn’t,” I reply.
“You never know, he might surprise you,” Remus says, in one of those voices that imply there’s lots of hidden wisdom in the seemingly simple statement he just made. It makes me want to stick my tongue out at him. Instead, I sigh again, and he gives me a look, and I sigh again, and he gives me another look, one that says “I’m obviously much wiser than you so you’d better do what I say.”
“Fine, I’ll ask,” I huff. He grins, that cheeky “I know I’m right” grin that he and his friends seem to have all perfected. I decide the appropriate response to that grin is to shove him into the pool.
He falls in with a splash, and when he surfaces, spluttering and glaring, he grabs my leg and pulls me in too. I’m too busy laughing to offer much protest as he hauls me over to where the other boys are busy diving.
“Mellie just pushed me into the pool,” he announces. “James, sic her.”
“No! That’s too cruel!” I cry, smiling. “You can’t just turn James on me! Anything but that!”
The idiotic boys around me laugh and I join in, and as James grabs me in a head-lock I can’t help thinking that the bonding is actually going quite well.
Okay. I’m going to do it. It’s taken a day, but I have officially worked up my courage, and I’m going to go ask Sirius about his other lover. Well, maybe not in those exact words. I’ll be all cool and casual, not the mental-stalker-harpy-jealous-overreacting-beeyotch-girlfriend. Yeah.
I’m just about finished picking out the perfect “I’m so innocent and pretty, how on Earth could you lie to me or cheat on me?” outfit when I hear the noises that must be Sirius and James coming from the Potters’ back garden. Perfect, I can just go straight over there and not have to risk a run-in with mad Mrs. Potter.
I go out the back door, and, still hearing Sirius’s voice from the other side of the fence, head over to it.
“Hey, Sirius, it’s me, Mellie,” I shout as I put my foot on the bottom of the fence and start to climb over it. “Mind if I come over? I have to talk to you.”
I hear something that sounds vaguely like “sure” so I continue to climb. I drop off the fence, and turn, putting a very nice “I’m not here to interrogate you” smile on my face.
And then everything goes black.
A/N: Dun dun DUH! I know I am very evil for a cliff hanger, but the next chapter is almost completely written, so there will not, and I promise this time, be a huge gap between chapters. And let me just say, stuff happens in the next chapter. Big stuff. And I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has stuck with me through super long waits for chapters, and reviewed and been awesome. I really love the fact that I have such great readers.
Disclaimer: I own Mellie but I only own Sirius in my dreams.
Chapter Thirteen: Dream
“James, you are so stupid!"
“Mate, you’re the one dating a muggle! You should’ve known this would happen sooner or later.”
“Yeah, I should’ve known you’d be a complete and utter moron!”
“I didn’t know she was coming!”
“We should’ve been more careful!”
“It’s not like she’s going to remember anything! Calm down!”
“But what if you permanently brain damaged her? What if she doesn’t wake up?”
“Sirius. It’s okay. It’ll be fine. She’ll be fine.”
My head hurts like an obese elephant is Irish step-dancing on it.
Bloody freakin’ hell.
I open my eyes for a split second but then shut them when the light blinds me. Ugh. I feel like death. Oh, maybe I am dead. I think, trying to remember the last thing that happened to me. Did a train hit me?
I remember climbing over the Potters’ fence . . . and then waking up here. Where is here anyway? Hhhmmm . . . this feels like my bed. The question is: would I be lying in my bed in heaven, or hell? Because I personally think my bed is too comfy to be in hell.
So, heaven then. Brilliant. I’ll go ahead and open my eyes then, so I can meet God. I’ve got a few questions for Him.
Oh, that’s not God. It’s just Sirius. I must be alive then. Unless the train hit Sirius too. Or maybe Sirius is an angel.
“Mellie! Thank Merlin! Are you okay?” Sirius exclaims, far too loudly for the elephant-headache I have. He looks really concerned, and a bit freaked-out. It’s weird; I’ve never seen him like this.
“I’m dandy,” I tell him, although my head still hurts. And I feel a little funny. Like . . . my brain is fuzzy. Yeah . . . fuzzy. Like a bunny.
“Do you remember what happened?” James asks. He’s standing on the other side of me. I wonder how we got in here. I wonder if Mum knows I have two boys in my bedroom.
“Nosireebob,” I tell him, smiling at the way the light reflects off his glasses. It’s pretty.
James and Sirius exchange funny looks. Like they’re relieved. Sirius’s hair looks fuzzy like my brain.
“What’s the last thing you remember happening?” Sirius asks, slowly. It hurts to think.
“Climbing over the fence,” I answer, and then roll onto my side, hugging the pillow to me. I wish I had a blanket over me, but it seems like too much work to pull one up from where they’re tangled at the bottom of my bed. “I’m sleepy.”
“Is she supposed to be sleepy?” I hear Sirius whisper from what must be a great distance away. He sounds worried. I wonder why he’s worried.
“I dunno,” James replies, sounding just as worried. He’s so silly. They’re so silly.
“Mellie? Listen. Are you sure you don’t remember anything happening after that?” Sirius asks in that silly worried voice. I nod. I’m sure. I remember climbing, and then waking up and all the fuzziness. “Do you remember everything that happened before that? What’s your last name?”
“I remember. It’s Parrish. You’re silly,” I inform him, and then shut my eyes so I can be comfier. Comfier. That sounds silly.
“Mellie, I need you to look at me,” Sirius says. I open my eyes and stare into his deep grey ones. They look like storm clouds. “See, after you climbed the fence, you fell. Off of it. And you hit your head,” Sirius explains. I nod, still staring. “And so James and I brought you back here. A doctor came, he said you have a mild conclu—coll—concushion. No, that wasn’t it. Oh, concussion. You have a mild concussion. You’re mum was here too. She said it was okay if we stayed with you. But you’ll be fine. The—er—the doctor said so.”
I feel fine now. The elephant went away.
“Okay,” I say, smiling at his silly worried face. “Okay, Sirius.”
He smiles back at me, the worry fading. “Now, how about you go to sleep?”
Sleep sounds lovely. Absolutely lovely. And fuzzy. Lovely and fuzzy.
“Okay,” I repeat, and then slip into nice, lovely sleep, where silly dreams await me.
I drop off the fence, and turn, putting a very nice “I’m not here to interrogate you” smile on my face. But what I see puts all thoughts of an interrogation out of my mind.
James is standing across the garden, his eyes closed and his legs splayed, using what appears to be a stick as an air-guitar. He’s singing along with a wireless, very loudly and off-key.
“Sure, honey, you can hold me tight!” he sings/screeches. “Just want to keep you safe tonight! Don’t be afraid of all those curses and frights!”
He’s so into the song I don’t say anything to interrupt him, just grin and watch as he swings his arm the way I suppose he thinks guitarists do. It’s very entertaining.
“I’m right here, it’s gonna be alright! Alriiiiiiiight!” he bellows, and then thrusts the arm holding the stick into the air.
And then . . . sparks shoot out of it.
Well that’s a neat trick. I didn’t realize he was holding a firecracker. He spins and then points the stick at Sirius, who, until now, I didn’t notice was sitting on a lawn chair facing away from me, reading a magazine.
The pictures on the front of the magazine are moving.
“And drum solo!” James shouts at Sirius, while drums blast of the wireless. Sirius, engrossed in his magazine, ignores him. “Come on, mate, drum solo!”
“Levicorpus!” James exclaims when Sirius continues to ignore him, while pointing the stick at Sirius. Some light shoots out of it, another neat trick.
It seems as though an invisible hand plucks Sirius off the lawn chair by his ankle and dangles him in the air, a foot or so off the ground.
Bloody hell. That’s not just a trick.
“Prongs!” Sirius, irritated, shouts. “Let me down!”
I’m frantically looking for some sort of string or harness or rope or a jet pack or some explanation for why Sirius is now floating upside down.
“You wouldn’t do the drum solo,” James replies, dancing out of reach of Sirius’s frantically waving arms. “We both know the drum solo is always your job.”
“Hand me my wand and there will definitely be some drumming,” Sirius threatens.
If I was still eleven years old and going through my fairytale-obsessed phase, I’d probably think that Sirius is being held up not by wires and a harness, but by magic.
No. No. It’s not magic. It can’t be. Magic isn’t real. This isn’t real. There’s a perfectly logical explanation for what I’m seeing right now.
I seem to take in all the details at once, in an oddly detached way, as if I can’t really process what’s going on so I’m just taking it in.
There’s a wireless playing on a patio table near the two boys, still playing the song James was jamming to, turned up loudly, which must’ve been why they couldn’t hear me. Mrs. Potter’s garden looks nice, with the nicely-pruned row of shrubs and the brightly-colored flowers sprouting alongside them. James is busy cracking up at Sirius’s angry expression. They’re two teenage boys having fun. The sun beats down on a picturesque garden and I feel like I might faint.
“Sure, honey, you can hold me tight,” James begins to sing along with the wireless again, now sounding even worse because he’s holding back laughter. Sirius is still dangling in the air. What’s holding him up?! After James butchers another verse or so, with me standing frozen, the song is over and he starts to take his bows.
“That was the Screaming Hags’ new hit, ‘I’ll Be Your Auror’,” a voice from the wireless announces. “Next up is Judy and the Witches, with ‘I’m Not Your Banshee, Baby’.”
“I hate that song,” James proclaims, completing his bows and turning the wireless off. Then he turns. And sees me. And his mouth drops open. And he lets loose a string of f-bombs.
At this Sirius turns as much as he can, still being upside down, and seeing me, freezes. His expression is shocked, guilty, horrified, and stunned, all at once.
“James, your singing is really awful,” is the only thing I can think to say.
There’s a horrible pause, a pause that’s completely empty and at the same time full of things: shock, amazement, awfulness.
“Stupefy,” James says shakily after what could be seconds or years.
Red light flashes out of his wand, towards me.
Then the dream shifts and everything is purple.
James and Sirius are arguing. I’m sitting on a patio chair, listening to them fight about what to do. I think I might’ve screamed at some point, because my voice feels scratchy like it does after a good scream, but I don’t remember screaming. An emu runs across the garden, and I know I must be dreaming but it feels real. Even if everything is purple, even my own skin. My skin, the sky, Sirius’s anxious face and James’s angry face.
James keeps shouting about how he’s not sure if he can do a memory charm correctly, and Sirius is shouting about how he’s too nervous to do it himself and I’m just sitting here.
I’m dreaming. Sirius and James are waving wands around. I’m dreaming.
I wake up, feeling more exhausted than when I fell asleep. The first thing I realize is that James and Sirius aren’t by my bed anymore. The second thing is that I just had once of the strangest dreams of my life.
Not strange because of the content. I’ve had dreams much more insane than that. The one where I was being chased by a giant beetle carrying an axe who was seeking revenge for me killing his beloved father had some pretty weird content.
It was strange because of how real—but at the same time, not real—it was. It wasn’t like in most dreams when I don’t really question the odd things that are happening, I just accept them with dream logic, and only later, when I wake up, do I question them. This time, I questioned what was happening when it was happening. And even though it could never, ever happen . . . it felt so real.
Sirius and James, wizards. No. It’s not possible. My life is not some kid’s fairytale where I discover magic exists and I’m a fairy and my boyfriend’s a warlock. No. That doesn’t happen in real life.
It just happens in really, really oddly realistic dreams, apparently.
It’s also a weird dream because of how it picked up just when I blacked out before. I mean, I remember clearly going over the fence, and I remember blacking out and waking up to Sirius and James. But everything in between is now perfectly filled in by that dream.
Ugh! Why can’t I just have a normal day! All I wanted to do yesterday was talk to Sirius about his potential paramour and I end up falling and hitting my head and having weird dreams! I fling myself out of bed, barely noting that I’m still wearing the clothes I wore yesterday to see Sirius (the clothes I was wearing in my dream). I go downstairs, ignoring my mother as she calls good morning to me from her office, and head straight to the kitchen phone.
Before I’m even sure what number I’m dialing, my hands are punching buttons of their own accord, and then it’s just a matter of seconds until I hear the voice I need to reassure me that everything is alright.
Sirius. His phone voice is almost just like his in-person voice, only slightly deeper. I smile at the sound of it, sinking against the counter onto the floor.
“It’s Mellie,” I reply.
“How are you feeling?” he asks hurriedly. “Does your head hurt? Do you remember your name? Your address? Your birthday?”
I have to laugh. The oh-so-normal sound of him is already pushing away the odd dream. “I’m peachy. Remember everything, except for, you know, blacking out.”
I decide, without really deciding, not to tell him about the dream.
“Good,” he answers, the relief in his voice warming me like a caress.
“I can’t believe I fell,” I say, smiling. “I’m so clumsy. A danger to myself and others.”
Sirius laughs. I ignore how it seems to sound forced. It’s not the usual bark of his laugh.
“Yeah. A menace to society,” he replies teasingly.
I decide I want to see him in person. No, more like I need to see him in person. I need to see him so I can prove to myself my dream was just a crazy, random dream. I stand up and stretch the phone’s cord over to the calendar so I can see Mum’s schedule.
“You know,” I say in what I hope is a seductive voice, but probably just sounds ridiculous. “In about ten minutes, my mum leaves to deal with the nutters and she’ll be gone until like six. So will my dad. Do you want to come over?”
“Hhhmmm, I’d have to check my calendar,” Sirius says, and I can tell he’s grinning. “Oh, lucky me, I’m free.”
“Well there’s a relief,” I joke. “I know how busy you are.”
He laughs, and it’s more real this time, less forced. “I would love to come over,” he says sincerely.
“Good. I’ll call you as soon as Mum leaves,” I say, already excited to see him. I pause, about to say good bye, but then I change my mind—or lose it, not sure which.
Oh bloody hell. Could I sound any more insecure? And that is not at all casual like I planned! Why does my mouth refuse to cooperate with my brain? Why?
“What?” exclaims Sirius, sounding completely surprised. “No. Why on Earth would I do that?”
Because you’re hiding something from me. I know it.
“No—it’s just, I had this feeling . . . like you weren’t telling me something . . . and I just thought I’d ask. About, the, you know, hiding. Things. From me. And Remus put the idea in my head!” I say. Hell. Smooth, Mellie, smooth.
“Remus wha—” Sirius replies, sounding confused now. “Oh bloody hell. No, Mellie, I am not cheating on you. And I will prove just how much I am not cheating on you by snogging you senseless when I come over.”
I giggle, but the weird feeling isn’t going away.
Maybe with a few hours of snogging, it will. I tell Sirius good bye and then go upstairs to hurry my mum out the door. When I lean against her office doorway she looks up from her desk and smiles.
“Good morning, Melanie, how are you?” she asks while putting some papers away. Good, she’s already dressed for work.
“Okay,” I reply, and then add, in case she was worried, “my head feels fine now.”
Mum pauses from sorting her session notes to look up at me, confused. “Your head?”
Sometimes before she’s had her morning coffee my mother is extremely slow.
“Yeah, you remember yesterday how I fell. It doesn’t hurt now,” I explain, barely refraining from rolling my eyes at her. Her expression changes from confused to concerned.
“You hurt your head, Melanie?” she asks, raising her eyebrows. “You sure fall quite a bit. You really need to be more careful.”
This time I do roll my eyes. I don’t fall that often. “Thanks for the advice, Mum. Next time I feel like falling, I’ll resist the urge,” I tell her sarcastically. She shakes her head at me before snapping her briefcase shut.
“I’m just saying, head injuries have to be taken seriously,” she says, and then walks over and gives me a little shoulder pat, the kind I hate. “I’m on my way to work; I’ll be back around six.”
I roll my eyes again and follow her down the stairs. When Mum heads towards the garage door, I stop her.
“Wait, don’t you need your morning coffee?” I ask her, about to head into the kitchen to get it. She shakes her head.
“Already had it. Bye, Melanie!” she replies and then leaves.
Huh. I guess lack of coffee wasn’t why she was being so slow. She must’ve just been distracted by work.
Anyway, Sirius time!
After ringing him, then running back upstairs because I belatedly remembered I just got out of bed and have horrible bed-head and morning-breath, I quickly change clothes and then rush back downstairs just in time to get the door.
Just seeing Sirius makes me smile. He looks completely normal (not dangling upside down) and happy to see me. He barely has time to shut the door behind him before I’m kissing him.
Kissing Sirius has got to be number one on my list of favorite activities. It’s really, really nice.
And it has great distraction properties. When I’m kissing him, I’m not thinking of anything at all, especially not weird dreams and how he might be hiding something. It’s lovely.
My legs wrap around Sirius’s waist as he attempts to maneuver us over to the sofa. But the sofa is all the way in the living room and since I don’t feel like removing my lips from his to make getting there any easier we bump into the wall a few times. We collapse onto the sofa, the very same sofa I’ve fallen asleep under numerous times, and continue to snog.
“Mellie?” Sirius murmurs after a bit. I decide to pretend I don’t hear him. “Mellie.”
Ugh. Stop talking. Talking requires thinking and I don’t feel like thinking because thinking leads to me thinking of a certain dream and badness. I would much rather think of the way Sirius’s exceptionally fit body is pressing me into the sofa cushions, and the way his hands feel roaming from my face through my hair to my back.
But alas, he pulls away, scooting his weight off me to lean back against the sofa. I don’t move, hoping he’ll take the hint and forget about talking.
“Mellie, as much as I enjoy kissing you, I also enjoy breathing,” he jokes, and I stick my tongue out at him. “Plus we need to talk about why you think I’m cheating on you.”
I groan and flip onto my stomach, so my legs are on his lap and my face buried in sofa. Sirius prods my side.
“I’m assuming that means you don’t want to talk about it,” he sounding partially serious, partially like he’s mimicking a shrink. “But we’re gonna. Avoidance isn’t healthy.”
Avoidance is how I survive in this world.
“Did you nick one of my mum’s shrinky books?” I accuse, tilting my head a little so my words don’t come out completely muffled.
“I might’ve borrowed a couple without asking,” he replies, and I can tell he’s smirking. “I was curious. Anyway, why’d you think I’m cheating on you?”
I feel stupid saying it out loud. Because although I just feel like he’s hiding something, I don’t have any concrete evidence of it. I don’t remember a specific incident, I just have this feeling.
Wait a second. I do have evidence. A whole notebook full of it.
But I can’t just show him the notebook. The notebook will make me seem creepy and stalkerish. I mean, yes, he’s already seen it, but hopefully he’s forgotten about it. No one wants a stalker for a girlfriend.
I heave out a huge, dramatic sigh, that only makes Sirius chuckle. So I kick him in the face.
“Bloody hell!” he exclaims and now it’s my turn to chuckle. Although laughing at my boyfriend’s pain is probably not a good thing. Probably a sign of bad mental health. And stalker-ness. “Okay, that’s it.”
With that, Sirius flips me around so I’m lying on my back, resting in his lap, and wondering what exactly that evil smirk he has means. He’s got one hand clamped around my wrists, and the other resting on my feet. What is he . . . oh hell.
“If you don’t stop this avoidance thing right now, I will tickle your feet. Mercilessly,” he threatens, with a smirk that says he’s clearly enjoying himself. I for one am regretting not showering and shaving this morning before he came over because my legs are all prickly and now he’s going to feel the gross stubble.
“I’m not avoid—” I start to say, but Sirius just shakes his head and begins the torture.
Why, oh why, did I tell him the only place I was ticklish was the bottom of my feet? Why? I guess because he was being absolutely adorable at the time and not threatening to use torture to get me to talk.
“Sirius!” I manage to get out between the uncontrollable giggles. I try to get free but he’s holding my wrists so I can’t shove him and it’s hard to kick him when the feet I normally use for kicking are being tickled ruthlessly. “St-stop it! I can’t breathe!”
“I’ll stop when you start talking,” he says, smirking and clearly enjoying himself. The prat. I refuse to give in to his demands. I’ll stay strong and never cave! I have an iron will! I’ll be as stubborn as a mule! I’ll—bloody hell.
“I think you’re cheating on me because I feel like you’re hiding something from me because it feels like you stop yourself when you’re talking a lot and change what you’re going to say and sometimes you just do really weird things and I dunno!” I exclaim, and then take a few deep breaths because Sirius has finally stopped tickling me and now that the giggles have stopped I can breathe normally.
Damn. So much for my iron will. I roll back over and shove my face into the couch cushions because I can’t look Sirius in the eye right now.
I hear him groan. I have no sympathy for him. He asked for it. He actually used torture to make me talk so he has no right to groan now that I have. The super prat.
"Mellie, I would never cheat on you. I mean, we had the boyfriend/girlfriend being exclusive talk last week and once I have that talk with a girl I never ever cheat on them. Unless you count that one time, but I don't, since it was revenge for her cheating first. Plus I was a fifth year and a prat," he says.
"And you think you've grown out of being a prat?" I can't resist sarcastically asking.
"What was that? I couldn't hear you with your face pressed against the cushions like the big avoider you are," Sirius replies. I don't respond, since I know he heard me and he's unfortunately right about the avoiding thing.
"Anyway," he continues. "The reason it seems like I'm, er, hiding something from you is . . . well . . ." he trails off, and I pull my face from the pillows so I can look at him. He's running his hands through his hair and looks frustrated. I'm trying to figure out of that's a good thing or a bad thing.
"It's just, some things I just can't tell you and, um, I wish I could but I'd be breaking some law I think. Shoot, I mean, not breaking any laws, it's nothing serious, but I shouldn't tell you anyway 'cause it's not my place to tell and . . ."
He looks highly uncomfortable now. Which makes me think he's actually being honest, but at the same time makes me very nervous because if whatever he's trying to say makes him uncomfortable, it's bound to make me uncomfortable. Also, it's just weird seeing Sirius uncomfortable. Really weird.
"And it'd probably be dangerous if you knew, and the last thing I want to do is put you in danger but I probably already have and now I'm freaking you out and I dunno what to say but I really, really, really like you Mellie and--"
I decide to take pity on him. So I shut him up with a kiss. He pulls me close but this time I'm the one to pull away.
"So, is this one of those, 'I'd tell you but then I'd have to kill you' kind of things?" I ask, giving him a smile I hope puts him at ease. Because the uncomfortable look on him is freaking me the heck out.
"Er . . . "
Okay, I was joking, but the look on Sirius's face says I hit the nail on the head.
I knew it! Sirius is a super spy! I mean, he definitely has the whole super-fit-spy-charm thing going on. Just look at his smile! I bet if when he wears a pair of sunglasses he looks exactly like some exceptionally posh spy.
But if he's a super spy, a James Bond-esque spy, then I am clearly not cool enough to be his girlfriend. Or sexy enough. And my name is far too boring. Melanie Parrish is NOT a Bond girl name. Maybe the Melanie part, but not Parrish, which puts you in mind of church. And church is not sexy. I'll have to change my last name then. Something French, maybe. Like . . . Lalonde. Yes, Melanie Lalonde has a nice, spy-ish ring to it.
Or he's a secret agent. Wait, is there a difference between a spy and a secret agent?
Anyway, I need to react correctly. I mean, the girlfriend of a secret agent has to be supportive, even if she doesn't get to know everything that goes on in her hot boyfriend's life. Sexy and supportive. That's me.
Oh, and cool. Don't forget cool.
"It's okay, Sirius. You don't have to tell me whatever it is you apparently can't tell me, I understand," I say, in what I hope is a supportive, sexy, cool tone.
But it seems that I haven't quite yet mastered that tone, because Sirius looks at me like I'm ill.
"Do you have something stuck in your throat?"
"Erm, no," I say, dropping the supportive, sexy, cool tone. "Anyway, It's okay if you don't tell me everything. But you should know that you can. Tell me anything, I mean."
Sirius gives me a smile. One of those smiles that somehow manages to make me feel all warm and floaty and happy. One of those smiles that tells me everything is going to be okay. For now, at least.
I no longer think Sirius is cheating on me. However, there's definitely something he's not telling me. I guess I'll just have to just wait for him to spill the beans. But in the mean time . . .
I give him a long, slow kiss as he pulls me into his lap.
"You're the best girlfriend ever, you know that?" he says, and I grin at him.
I'd be even better if I had a sexier last name.
"Oh shut up and snog me," I reply, and then lean in to continue what has to be one of my favorite activities.
A/N: This was a surprisingly difficult chapter to write, and one I never intended to write. So I really hoped you liked it. Also, who's seen Crazy Stupid Love? Because the model that's Mellie in the banner and chapter image, is in it! Annaleigh Tipton. I saw it and went "Woah, there's Mellie!" Anyway, I'll try and make updates more often, but no promises, because I'm a college girl now, and therefore mucho busy. And I can't exactly turn a fanfiction in to my creative writing class.
I'd just like to thank all my reviewers and readers, everyone who's still reading this after about a year of me posting chapters with super long gaps in between. You all rock, and y
our reviews make my day!
One more thing . . . Dobby nominations, anyone?