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Chapter 1: Sexy-Four-Eyes, Gorgeous, and my Humiliation
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Disclaimer: Everything is JKR's. Except for the Muggles that you don't know and the plot. :)
Please keep in mind that I have adjusted the time setting of the Marauder era to MODERN DAY for reasons necessary for the plot. Sorry for any confusion or annoyances.
“Hi. You must be new I guess
At least you're new to me” – Ludo “Go-Getter-Greg”
I wasn’t supposed to survive.
They had to cut me out of the car and I was unconscious for two months before I even twitched. I was supposed to be dead just like my brother and mother was, but I wasn’t. Somehow, for some reason, God decided that I was the one that was supposed to live. The drunk driver didn’t make it, my mother lasted two weeks in the hospital but never pulled through, and my brother was gone on impact. But me, the one that had been sitting on the side the other car slammed into and the one that should be dead somehow survived.
Dad moved us out of our small English town and into a rich, even smaller neighborhood. He couldn’t stand our too small home anymore where there was nothing but memories.
That and I couldn’t navigate through it with a wheelchair.
I survived, but really, only half of me did. I had back injuries that left me paralyzed from the waist down. Another miracle, doctors said. I shouldn’t be moving at all. But my upper half worked just fine. Still, I was doomed to the humiliation of a wheelchair for the rest of my life, which was why I had grown very accustomed to the downstairs of my home and my very large bedroom. I found a love for reading and music, specifically the piano (my dad had a special machine installed so I can even hold down a pedal without the use of my foot), and of course, online shopping.
Dad works all the time. He is a lawyer and beginning to climb up higher and higher with his promotions and popularity. It’s all the extra work he puts in, I always say, but he usually ignored me. I guess he can’t stand to look at me anymore. His family is half gone and I’m nothing more then a cripple. And because he is gone so much, he has a nurse hired for me. She’s like my grandmother to me, though I can’t tell her for fear of calling her old in the process. She goes by the name of Missy Collins and is always checking on me, even though she knows I’m perfectly capable of doing things on my own. It has been over a year, after all.
I also have a personal tutor. As I said, I don’t often leave the house. My wheelchair is an embarrassment, though I know I should be thankful. But I guess its guilt, too, that locks me inside. I hate knowing that I am all that’s left while my poor brother and mother are buried. So I punish myself. I really shouldn’t have survived. But somehow, I did, and now I was going to punish myself by never leaving the house. I had everything I need here at home.
But home got boring. Especially in the summer.
It was one of those hot, slow summer days. I was sitting on a lounge chair by my pool, listening to the everyday life of my street, which included six houses. All were the same, very large red brick homes with nice cars and shiny gates. I didn’t know anyone’s names so I did what I have done since I was a toddler when names were horrible for me to remember.
Old-lady-with-the-bad-perm lives to the left of me. She waters her garden everyday at the same time and has grandchildren come and visit on the weekends. Across from her is Balding-man and Hooker-wife. Hooker-wife is Balding-man’s wife/sex toy. She is typically dressed in short skirts, heels, and must have had implants, because her cleavage is visible from my house. Hooker-wife also has a lot of friends that are all young and attractive men who come and visit when Balding-man isn’t at home. Across the street from my house is a family known as the F-ers. This family wears the same thing as each other every day. If one has on a plain red shirt and jeans, the rest of the family does, too. And they yell a lot. And I mean, they yell the F word as loud as possible as they fight, but then turn around to the public and act like saints (literally, they’re rather religious). Not that they associate with the public much. On the other side of the F-ers are the Gay-Guys. Yeah, they really are gay, but really nice. And they have a beautiful landscape!
And finally is the house on my other side. Out of all my neighbors, this family is definitely the strangest. They are friendly enough, which is how I know their name, but they keep mostly to themselves, say funny things like “Merlin” and they don’t own a car. I mean, when they go to work, it’s not by car. And when they have visitors, they never bring a car either! They also dress funny in robes and I saw the man of the house waving a stick at a grill last summer. Yes, the Potter’s were odd. But they did say hello. Unfortunately, all I know is their last name.
But they have a son. And he’s a pretty attractive boy that might be maybe a year older. He goes to a boarding school, I suppose, because he’s not home any other time of the year other then summer and Christmas. I call him Sexy-Four-Eyes-With-The-Messy-Hair. It’s long, so I sometimes shorten it to Sexy-Four-Eyes. Though, I know there is a boy a lot more attractive then Sexy-Four-Eyes.
He came in the middle of last summer. I had been up all night and decided to sit in the front room and watch the night when he came limping up the street. I really don’t know where he came from, but he was holding what looked like a broom and looked pretty upset. I don’t know what happened, but he stayed with the Potter’s for the rest of the summer and I was cursed with having to listen to the laughter and shouts of teenaged boys all summer. Not that I minded. Sometimes listening, I would close my eyes and pretend I was laughing with them.
I never got close enough to name the strange, new boy. So I call him Strange-New-Boy. Not that he’s really that new anymore. I heard both him and Sexy-Four-Eyes laughing yesterday in their pool.
That brings me back to my own pool. Here I was, sitting there and minding my own business with a book on the table beside me with a tall glass of lemonade. Missy had allowed me to sit out there because she knew it made me feel normal. I didn’t have to sit in my chair and I asked her to push it out of sight so I could concentrate on tanning and pretend that the accident never happened. It was one of my favorite things to do. I could act as if I could walk and run. I used to be a very good volleyball player.
I was even wearing my favorite bathing suit: my light blue string bikini with the beading along the stitching. It was featured in Glamour Magazine so I bought it. Besides, bikinis can’t really go out of style. My blonde hair was down around my shoulders and my aviator sunglasses were perched on my nose. I won’t lie. Even with my accident haunting me, I didn’t have a horribly unpleasant body, despite some light pink scars. I was always thin with an hourglass shape and my boobs were a decent B-cup. Back before the accident, fashion and dieting were my life. Now, they were an obsession. I didn’t diet much anymore, but fashion . . . it’s my love.
I was in a very good mood for once. Usually, I mope a little and complain that I have to sit all day but do nothing to make another miracle happen and walk again. I reached over to the table and grabbed my book. It was a romance novel. One of those sappy, dirty ones that you can’t put down. I was fascinated with this one and was just beginning to read about Esmeralda’s passionate despair while Damian risks his life to protect her when I heard a noise.
Pausing in my reading, I looked up and around. There was no one in my yard but there were definitely voices. I sat up a little straighter and spun around.
“Look at that, you idiot, she heard us!” one voice said.
“You’re the one that said this angle was better. What are we doing spying on innocent girls, anyways? What happened to Lily?” the other voice snapped.
“Lily is the fairest of all fair women,” the first voice replied, “And we’re not spying, we’re exploring. Besides, I didn’t know I had a neighbor my age.”
I found the source of the voices. It was coming from the fence where there were some very high bushes. There was a gate, never used, right beside it, but I hadn’t heard it open. I wasn’t even sure if it could open, really. It’s never been used and I never really expected it to be. But apparently, teenaged boys just couldn’t resist an innocent teenaged girl minding her own business. I could see parts of them behind the branches and leaves.
Ah, shit. There were two teenaged boys spying on me.
“Hey, pervs!” I called loudly to the bushed, “Wanna introduce yourselves properly?”
There was silence and more whispering and then suddenly, Sexy-Four-Eyes and Strange-New-Guy were standing by the gate. Well, Sexy-Four-Eyes was standing, Strange-New-Guy had stumbled out of the bush and was hastily trying to stand straight. Both were shirtless, probably having been ready to go swimming. They were both well toned, though nothing like the Fabio on the cover of my romance novels. Sexy-Four-Eyes was leaner the Strange-New-Guy. But Strange-New-Guy was more handsome and more filled out. He was absolutely gorgeous, earning the new nickname of More-Gorgeous-Than-Sexy-Four-Eyes. Or just Gorgeous for short. I stared at them for a long time, shocked that I was meeting them face to face for the first time and that I had been brave enough to call out to them.
It was stupid really. What if they had been rapists? I can’t run. I can’t walk. I should be screaming my head off for Missy, but I wasn’t.
“Hello,” Sexy-Four-Eyes said.
“Hi,” I replied.
There was an awkward pause. Both of them still stood on the other side of my pool by the gate. They were probably waiting for me to stand up, jump into the pool, and come climbing out like some playboy model. I suddenly became very aware that I was sitting before them in nothing but a bikini and sunglasses. Geez, no wonder they were spying. Then again, how did they even know I was out here?
“You can come closer,” I call to them. The boys exchange glances and then tripped over themselves to come closer. I didn’t move. Both of them were even more attractive up close. And Gorgeous . . . wow. That’s all I’m going to say.
“We didn’t mean to disturb you,” Sexy-Four-Eyes said.
“Yeah, Prongs here was just wanting to meet you,” Gorgeous added and Sexy-Four-Eyes (Prongs? What the hell?) nodded eagerly before he smiled at me.
“I hadn’t known there was a teenager here! I just thought it was that one guy, who I’m assuming is your father, and that older woman,” Sexy-Four-Eyes shrugged apologetically. I was a little relieved. They didn’t know I was crippled. If they could walk away before Missy comes out with my chair . . . it would be my luck that she would decide that an hour and a half is too long for someone like me to be sitting out in the sun.
“Well, you don’t really live at home much, huh?” I asked.
“Nope, we go to school really far away,” Gorgeous said and grinned as if he couldn’t be happier to tell me that. In a way, that kind of hurt my ego. I smile, just because he had a nice smile himself and it was quite contagious.
“I go to school home here,” I replied.
“Wow! A Muggle that is home schooled!” Gorgeous said like it was the best thing in the world. Sexy-Four-Eyes glared at his friend.
“Seriously, Sirius? Seriously?” he asked in an exasperated voice.
“Sorry, James, you know I can’t keep myself quiet when I get excited. I warned you about this,” Gorgeous said rolling his eyes and then shrugging at me.
“What’s a Muggle?” I asked, scared that they really did know I was crippled and that was a cruel name for it. Oh no! What a fool I am, asking them to come over. I should have sent them away. Why did I ask them to come closer?
“Don’t worry about it,” Sexy-Four-Eyes said and held out his hand, “My name is James Potter. Your not-so-well-known neighbor.” I shook his hand.
“I’m his best friend and his fellow Marauder,” Gorgeous said, “Sirius Black.”
“Sirius?” I raised an eyebrow as I shook his hand next, “Like the star?”
“Exactly like the star! His initials are S.O.B,” James added more then excited to give me this little piece of information, “Get it? Son of a –”
“We get it James. And we both know how true that is,” Sirius laughed. It was an odd laugh and though it wasn’t flawless like the rest of him, it completely fit him. It almost reminded me of a dog’s bark. Though I was slightly distracted. How can someone who is lucky enough to have a mother call her something so horrible?
“My name is Eliana Grant,” I said, tucking some hair behind my ear, “Or Ellie for short. Whichever you prefer. I answer to anything.”
“It’s grand to meet you Eliana!” James said eagerly.
“What are you reading?” Sirius asked, leaning over to try and get a look at the cover my novel.
Okay, I was a little embarrassed that I read romance novels like I do Glamour. I mean, books with people practically having sex on the cover probably make me look like a horny teenager. That’s why I find self-check-out machines amazing. The best romance novels can’t be found in book stores, but in the grocery store. And well, the young guys that work there would probably give me a funny look. Not that I buy my own novels anymore. I do all that stuff online now. It makes things easier.
Anyways, I was embarrassed by the novel that was even titled The Passions of Lust and I quickly hid the cover from view, which probably wasn’t a good idea. The moment that James and Sirius realized that I was trying to hide the book, they became even more curious and definitely more eager to see the cover of it. Crap.
“Is it dirty?” James asked hazel eyes bright with amusement.
“No!” I gasped, all too familiar with the part of the novel I just read, “It’s just a book. You know, a romance novel. Nothing a teenaged boy would want anything to do with. Nuh-huh. Just a bunch of people kissing.”
I blabbed on and then suddenly, Sirius was reaching for the book that I was holding far away. He leaned over me, one knee resting on my chair. The smell of boy, shampoo, and a very desirable aftershave hit me and I couldn’t help but inhale a little. I was so distracted by him leaning over me that I didn’t realize that James had walked around my lounge chair and easily plucked the book right out of my hand. Sirius was off me in a moment and both he and James read over each other’s shoulders.
“Wow. This is dirty,” James said with wide eyes.
“Is this what Muggles do for entertainment?” Sirius asked, trying to get a better look at the book, “If books at school were like this, I would do my homework a lot more frequently.”
“No kidding,” James agreed.
“You guys are perverts,” I snap at them, “I mean, first you spy on me. Now you’re reading the sex scene in my book. You guys can leave and go watch your home made porn on television. I’d like to get back to my book.”
“We’re the pervs?” Sirius asked, raising an eyebrow, “Look, El, love, I can see how it might have looked back there for Prongs and I to be caught spying on you, but we weren’t like doing it to be sick minded. Besides, you’re the one reading the dirty book. I do believe that you are just as guilty as being a pervert as James and I are.”
“Well said Padfoot,” James nodded.
I stared at them both in a total shock for a moment and then shook my head. Padfoot? And again, with the Prongs? I began to wonder if these guys really were serial killers and that’s why the Potters always came off as strange. They don’t use cars because the blood and guts from their kills gets too messy so instead, they’ll drag them into their house and spray down the driveway. Wow. That was kind of a gross thought.
“Are Padfoot and Prongs your stripper names?” I asked them.
“No!” James said defensively.
“They are our nicknames,” Sirius added, again with the whole proud thing.
I raised an eyebrow and reached for my Lucky Magazine. It wasn’t my favorite, but it was close enough. I opened it up and muttered, “My nicknames are so much better.”
This caught their interest and my romance novel was suddenly no longer important. They put it on the table where my lemonade sat. Sirius took the liberty to sit at the end of my feet while James took a seat in the opposite lounge chair that typically went unused. I found this both shocking in a comfortable and uncomfortable way. Never has someone wanted to be my friend so quickly and never had anyone gotten so comfortable around me. Back when I could walk and attended school, I had my tight clique of friends, but they all stopped talking to me when I started ignoring their calls when I couldn’t go hang out with them anymore. When I was around them, they were nervous and always tried to do something boring and simple because I was in a wheelchair. So I made things easy for myself and avoided everyone from my old life.
Always, though, I had my friends. Not everyone liked me, some hated me, others loved me and wanted to be me. Maybe it was because I was always dressed in labels and judged people by what they wore? I know I come off as snobby sometimes. Or at least, I did. Now, I’m just me though. People judge me even more.
But anyways, back to my comfort. I was uncomfortable for the above reasons. People don’t feel at ease with someone who can’t walk. These guys couldn’t have been any different because they were human. I was a stranger, why should they feel a need to protect me? But I was surprisingly comfortable because it was like these guys didn’t even care who I was. I mean, I’m sitting in front of them in a bikini and they haven’t gawked at my boobs at all. I haven’t even seen any glances. They weren’t going to judge me and that made me feel good for now. When the chair came out, I wouldn’t be so easy.
“You have nicknames for us?” James asked and then got eager, “What are they?”
“D-one and D-two,” I replied. Sirius looked confused.
“Sexy doesn’t start with a D. Neither does Hot,” Sirius thought for a long time and then brightened, “I know! Damn-Hottie-One and Damn-Hottie-Two. I’m one, of course. Am I right?”
I looked at James who was staring at Sirius with a little bit of concern. Then he turned his attention slowly to me. I saw he was really quite amused by this entire situation. But I also saw that while Sirius had been much too eager to guess such nicknames, he was really just kidding. I could see it in his face. There was a radiant confidence coming off both James and Sirius, and yet I knew there was a bit of modesty, too.
“He’s actually very bright, I promise you,” he said matter-of-factly,
“But last night during a pillow fight, which I won, he fell off the bed and his head on a dresser.”
“Oh, I see,” I nodded like it was tragic. In a way, it could have been.
“So I’m wrong?” Sirius asked. He was very cute, really. Both of them were. They even acted cute in a mature and yet very immature manner. There was something about them that screamed ‘Like me!’ and you had no choice but to like them. I wish I had that sort of charisma.
“Yeah, I was going to say it stands for Dolt-One and Dolt-Two, but you can still be one if you like,” I said, but I couldn’t keep a straight face and I let out a laugh.
“Hey, I’ll take Dolt over Prat,” James said, leaning back and putting his hands behind his head with a sigh and then added, “And Prick. And Idiot. And Moron. And Show off. And—”
Sirius decided that I should probably know why James is called these names. After all, why would I want to make friends with a Prick? Certainly, James had to have earned all these names somehow. Maybe he had bipolar. Or a multiple-personality-disorder and I was just seeing the nice James. I wondered if James was a scary person when angry.
“Jimmy here is in love with a pretty little red head by the name of Lily Evans,” Sirius explained, examining my toe nails. I put a light pink polish on them the night before when I couldn’t sleep, “But Lily Evans absolutely despises James. I mean, I don’t see why, he treats her like a Queen. He’s asked her out time and time again. He knows all her favorite things and even the things she hates. And he’s always ready to bow down to her. But the girl just keeps telling him no.”
“I would turn a stalker down, too,” I said honestly.
Both James and Sirius just stopped and stared at me then, startled. Did I say something wrong? Because I won’t lie. As nice as it would be to have a boy so in love with me, he insists on asking me out repeatedly that would get creepy after about a month. That and if she hates him, I really doubt it’s this Lily telling James what her favorite color is. Though the girl certainly sounded stubborn. Two years and she’s still turning him down? Sweet Lord Jesus. That’s a little ridiculous.
“Sorry,” I muttered.
“I only have one year left to get her to fall in love with me,” James explained and suddenly grew very sad, “She’s going to go off and do something great and I’m still going to be chasing after her, but she’ll marry some other bloke who won’t treat her the way I will.”
“Have you tried not stalking her? Maybe offering her help on a homework assignment or carrying something to her class?” I asked. I wasn’t sure if romance worked the way I read in books or not. Sure, I’ve had my boyfriends before the accident, but they were just flings and nothing truly serious.
“Well,” James paused, “No, I just sort of . . . follow her.”
“See, there you go. Don’t act like a lost puppy but a gentleman. I’m sure she’ll fall for you in no time,” I smiled at him and he suddenly seemed a lot happier with himself.
“Great! Thanks, Ellie, I’m going to take your advice seriously,” he said with a wide grin. It was a bit goofy, actually and I giggled.
And then I stopped almost instantly. The sliding glass door slid open and I turned my attention to the house. James and Sirius both did, too, interested in what family member they will be meeting next. I felt panic double up inside me when I saw that Missy was humming to herself, backing into the house to get my chair. I know I said these guys wouldn’t judge me, but I completely forgot about that, as I knew I would. I searched for some way to distract them, but what could I do? I couldn’t move.
Missy turned around, my chair in her hands, and then paused when she saw the two boys sitting with me. Missy was a round, older woman with grey curls. Her children had long moved out and her husband passed away. She had been a nurse all her life and when she had no one living in her house, she retired from the hospital and sought a job as a permanent nurse in someone’s household. I couldn’t ever stand anyone as my nurse but Missy. She reminded me of my mother sometimes and I took great comfort in that. Plus, she tried to understand it when I had a breakdown and wanted to give up life in general. But sometimes, she got on my nerves. I mean, it wasn’t like she was fussy, but she worried a lot and she didn’t know when to back away.
“Eliana, dear, you’ve been out here nearly two hours. Too much sun isn’t good for the skin,” she said. James and Sirius were eyeing my chair like they had never seen anything like it before. My heart sank. Maybe I was wrong about them judging?
“Just a few more minutes, Missy, please?” I asked, wanting her to leave. I could say that chair belong to her if she leaves.
“Who are your friends?” Missy asked, ignoring me as she parked my chair next to me and looked at the two boys with stern faces.
“Oh, Sirius Black and James Potter. They live next door,” I said quickly,
“You know, we’re just talking and all. Why cut a conversation short?”
Missy looked at the boys as they both stood up. They bowed to her and then kissed her hand and I knew that they both had charmed her almost instantly. She laughed a little and greeted both the boys with smiles. But she wasn’t going to be swayed.
“I have to get Eliana back inside, I hope you boys don’t mind,” she said and turned to me, ready to help me up.
“Please, Missy? Please?” I begged and Missy shook her head.
“Don’t be spoiled, dear, your father is going to be home for dinner tonight and he’s bringing some colleagues over, too. You have to be ready when they get home at five and it’s already two o’clock. And I have to cook dinner and help you. I’m afraid there won’t be enough time. You can see these nice gentlemen tomorrow,” she promised with a smile.
“Uh . . .” I said.
James and Sirius were watching curiously, still eyeing the chair. I once saw James mutter something to Sirius, but Sirius had simply shrugged. They were talking about me right in front of me! I couldn’t believe it. I took a deep breath and allowed my nurse to help me stand. I leaned heavily on her and then twisted my body so I could easily sit in my chair. Missy let go when she knew I had everything under control. I positioned my legs properly and then grabbed my magazine and my book as well as my lemonade.
I couldn’t even look at the two boys as I took off the safety lock and backed myself out. I was angry and humiliated. My good mood was gone and two boys that I thought were going to be my friends were now just more spectators at a life I never wanted. And I felt even more upset with Missy because she had been the one that insisted.
“Hey, El,” Sirius said, stopping me while Missy went ahead to get the door for me. He sort of fell over his own feet in the process and I wondered if it was natural for Sirius to fall over a lot or if it was just part of his haste. I stopped and glared up at him. He backed away a little bit but still asked, “What’s this chair?”
“My wheelchair?” I asked. God, they were going to bully me now?
“Wow! What’s it for?” James asked, touching it like it was something fascinating, “I’ve never seen anything like it before. I mean, it’s like a chair. With wheels.”
“Hence the reason it’s called a wheelchair,” Sirius rolled his eyes and returned his attention to me, “What’s it for? Why do you have to have it?”
“I can’t believe you!” I said, disgusted, “Acting like you don’t know what this is? I can’t walk, you assholes. I’m paralyzed. And you should be ashamed for laughing at me.”
The boys looked at each other and Sirius said, carefully, “We didn’t mean to upset you. Really, neither of us has seen a wheelchair before. Or heard of one. It was just our curiosity. We would never laugh at you. Why, one of our best friends has a disease that should send us running in the opposite directions and we don’t judge him.”
“Yeah, we don’t judge him, we help him!” James nodded, “Why would we judge you? We aren’t laughing at you, Eliana.”
Angry and now embarrassed that they literally seemed clueless about my chair, I rolled my way into the house. I heard Missy say some things to the boys as I rolled myself into my room, trying to forget everything that happened. I didn’t shut my door, just rolled to my dresser and pulled out some clean knickers and went to my closet to find a pair of jeans and a stylish top that looked a little hippie-ish. That was my current look: hippie. And I don’t mean the jeans and oversized stained t-shirt, natural hair, and stuff, but the flowing skirts, loud patters, headbands and all. It was featured in Glamour and I couldn’t resist.
Missy came into my room looking very concerned and troubled as I rolled into my bathroom. She followed me and started the bath. I liked to sit in the tub and soak while music played in the background. She kept glancing at me.
“I’m fine, Missy,” I finally snapped.
“I know, Ellie, I’m sorry you had to tell your new friends about your chair. But it’s a part of you now. You can’t hide something like this. I know it’s hard and I know I don’t even have the slightest clue how difficult it is for you, but those boys weren’t trying to hurt your feelings. They were apologizing to me like crazy, trying to explain that they really didn’t know that you would be so offended,” Missy explained.
“Then why were they whispering?” I sighed.
“Maybe they really didn’t know what the chair was? Some people are completely oblivious to the misfortunes of others and while they’re off at boarding school year round, I doubt they are very aware of things like this,” Missy guessed, but I wasn’t buying it.
“I just want people to accept me,” I whispered as Missy helped me stand. I had long gotten over the embarrassment of being naked in front of my nurse. Yeah, it wasn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, but really, what choice did I have? Besides, she carefully would advert her eyes and focus only on my face and getting me into the bath tub.
I settled into the tub as bubbles began to grow around me. I had the jets on that made the tub more of a Jacuzzi then anything else. With a sigh, I leaned back against the sloping wall of the tub and sank low so only my head floated above the bubbles and water. It was relaxing, the bubbles, but I was still upset.
“Eliana, darling, the only way people can accept you is if you can accept yourself,” Missy said carefully as she pushed my chair to the corner of the bathroom. I looked towards the windows. The curtains were drawn, as they always were, but I could still see the sun.
“I accept myself just fine,” I argued, though there was no firmness in my voice.
“If you really think so, I suggest you take a long look in the mirror,” Missy headed towards the door, “I’ll be back in a half hour or so, alright? Just call if you need anything.”
I nodded and waited until she was gone, leaving the doors open. I then sat up and leaned over to the window that sat above the bath. I pushed the curtain aside and pushed the window up, letting the hot summer breeze come in. Smiling to myself I sank back into the tub and closed my eyes. I found myself thinking about Sexy-Four-Eyes and Gorgeous, or James and Sirius. They were interesting, different. And if they really had a friend that was sick, maybe they wouldn’t judge me. Maybe possibly, they really did want to be my friend and would try and contact me. I would have to apologize.
But I wouldn’t be getting my hopes up.
Author's Note: So you know the feeling when you have one too many things to do, but you get a plot bunny and you can't push it aside and then you start writing and suddenly you just can't stop and the story gets more and more exciting until it's all plotted out and you HAVE to post it?
Yeah, that's what happened.
For people that are reading other stories by me, I promise I have updates coming. I'm working hard on all my plots and I am not planning on abandoning ANY of my stories. :) Promise.
I'd love to hear everyone's opinions on this. Really, even if you think it sucks, just tell me nicely and I'll love you. Thanks for reading!
Chapter 2: To Tip the Course of Someone’s Life, You Have to Dance
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Disclaimer: The magical world is JKR's.
To Tip the Course of Someone’s Life, You Have to Dance
“And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance”
– Lee Ann Womack “I Hope You Dance”
I was never a shy person.
Actually, I’ve always been incredibly loud and friendly, making friends with just about anyone I laid eyes on. That also gave me a bit of a reputation back when I could still walk. You know? People thought I was obnoxious because of my labels and loud eagerness to be nice to everyone. Some people said I was phony, others said I was just trying not to be a snob. Of course, that all led to be really being stuck up and all, but I’m not really. And if I was really a stuck up snob, then I feel absolutely horrible.
It had been two days since Sexy-Four-Eyes and Gorgeous – or James and Sirius – appeared in my yard. It’s been two days since they discovered that I was crippled and two days since they gawked at my wheelchair like they’ve never seen it before. I haven’t been outside in two days. I was scared, really. I didn’t know if they seriously were morons that lived in a box, or if they really were laughing at me in their own twisted way. And I didn’t want to find out if I ruined what could have been a perfectly good friendship.
When I had gotten out of my bath two days ago and dressed in my hippie-style clothing, I put on my make-up (using new tips from Glamour) and waited until five o’clock when my father got home with his friends from work. They didn’t pay much attention to me. As usual, they asked how my life was going, how school’s been, stuff like that. They carefully avoid looking at my chair and did things for me (like moving the ketchup closer to the edge of the table), though I am perfectly capable of bringing my own dish to the sink and cutting my own meat. I hate when Dad brings company home. They’re always too polite and I can sense their awkwardness.
Anyways, I was in a horrible mood that night and I tried to put up with everyone’s fussing until they left. I barely managed and when Dad went straight to his study the moment they left, I threw a tantrum that left Missy tsking and trying to make me listen to her. If Dad knew I was upset I would never know. His study is coincidentally up the stairs where I cannot go. The downstairs was my territory and the upstairs was his.
That night, I couldn’t sleep so I went to the back porch and looked out at the garden. I had a very large back yard. The six houses on my street all did. The F-ers across the street used to own horses, but after a rather loud fight over the cost, the horses were sold and it’s been silent and the scent in the air pleasant. Anyways, I had been looking out at my garden when I began to worry that maybe Sexy-Four-Eyes and Gorgeous were just stupid and self-centered. That would explain why they didn’t know what my chair is.
I began to worry that I ruined a friendship before it began and I started to wish that I hadn’t allowed them to come talk to me in the first place. I should have threatened to call the cops. But because I was me, I invited them closer. Was I just desperate for company? Or were they both just so good looking that I didn’t care if they could be rapists or stalkers (though, James certainly seemed to stalk that one girl he talked to me about)? I had decided that I hadn’t been stupid, but that I was just friendly. And my friendly, out-going personality was what had made me call them over.
Of course, two days later, I was pretty convinced that any hope of a friendship was dead. I got angry at them and now, they were done. Really, I was angry at myself. I ask for attention so badly and when I get it, I turn it away.
I was sitting at the dinner table now, eating a chicken sandwich and crunching on some carrots. Yeah, it’s pretty healthy, I know, but I had always preferred the healthy foods. I mean, I’ll eat a chip or two every so often, but really, I didn’t care very much for them. And besides, I don’t get as much exercise as I used to. Sure, the physical therapy keeps me rather fit, but I was still watching what I eat.
“Why so glum, dear?” Missy asked me as she wrapped up what was left of our chicken and put the ranch dressing back in the refrigerator. I barely look up.
“Just bored,” I shrugged.
Missy clucked her tongue, “You haven’t played piano for a few days. Why don’t you practice? Or maybe you can take your guitar out back? You haven’t been outside in a few days, either. And you know what I say, no sun is just as bad as too much sun. It’s not good that you’re coped up in this house with just an old woman for company,” she laughed at herself and I forced a smile as I crunched another carrot.
“I don’t feel much like playing music today,” I shrug, “Maybe later.”
“How about that book you’ve been reading? I noticed you started another one. You’re going to need another shelf for how many books you keep ordering,” Missy was trying to be nice by suggesting things for me to do. She wasn’t trying to be bothersome.
“Reading seems so . . . isolated,” I shrugged.
“Then why don’t you give one of your old friends a call? I’m sure they’ll be willing to talk. Maybe they will come over?” Missy seemed thrilled by the idea of my old friends and me to meet up again.
“I think I’m just going to do some online shopping,” I said instead, ignoring the disappointed look that Missy gave me. I took a bite of my sandwich, “Really, I think that might make me feel a little better. Maybe I can get a new pair of shoes? Gladiators are really popular right now and my pair is a little worn.”
I was talking to myself. Missy wasn’t paying much attention as she finished straightening up the kitchen. I was just about to go into the pros and cons of gold shoes when the doorbell rang. We don’t get many visitors so I really had no idea who it could be. It was, after all, a Saturday and Dad was in his study up the stairs. There wouldn’t be any dinner parties tonight or tomorrow. He was on his “break” though I knew he was still working on something or another. He always was.
Missy went off to answer the door because Dad wouldn’t be getting up. I continued to eat my sandwich. I noticed a chip in my French manicure. I had done it myself last night when I couldn’t sleep. It had taken many hours and was dull enough to put me to sleep once they dried. But there was a chip despite my hard work. I wasn’t that obsessive though so I paid no mind to it and focused on my lunch.
Minutes went by and Missy hadn’t return. I began to get nervous that Sexy-Four-Eyes and Gorgeous really were serial rapists and had gotten my nurse when they thought I had forgotten all about them. Angry that anyone would hurt my beloved nurse, I wiped my hands on a napkin and then rolled myself away from the table and into the front room, a glare on my face. I was half way there when I realized I should have grabbed a dinner knife or something for some defense. But hey, I got wheels that can squish toes.
However, when I entered the foyer, I stopped. My wrath was unnecessary and so were my wheels of doom. Missy was laughing at something that Gorgeous had just said to her. Sexy-Four-Eyes was standing right behind him, nodding with agreement.
There were two other boys with them today, too. One looked like he was just getting over a nasty flu. He was cute in a bookish way, though he looked a little older then James and Sirius. He also had some nasty scars on his face. I called him Cutie-Scarface because that was really the best I could come up with. The other boy was heavier and not as nicely built as the other three (even the sick one looked like he spent quite a bit of time at the gym), but he was still somewhat attractive with a mousy look to him. I mean, he wasn’t jaw dropping like Gorgeous, of course, but I wouldn’t mind stealing a few glances at him once in a while. Though, he seemed awkward with a slouch and nervous, watery eyes. I named him Shy-and-Awkward-Though-Still-Cute. Or just Shy-And-Awkward for short.
I wasn’t sure whether or not I should be shocked that Sexy-Four-Eyes and Gorgeous were back at my house or not. Though I was now sure they weren’t going to cause any harm to me or my nurse. Still, I rolled myself into the foyer silently, curious to their purpose of ringing my doorbell and even more curious to their purpose of charming my nurse. Though I must say, it was cute how her cheeks would turn pink.
“Oh! Eliana, I was just going to go get you. Your friends have come to visit you,” Missy smiled, the flush still in her cheeks.
“Oh,” was all I said. Was I glad they were there? Yes, definitely.
“If you want us to go, we can go,” Sirius said quickly, nearly falling over in his haste to stand before me. James was still right over his shoulder. Were they attached at the hip or something?
“Uh, no. You guys can stay,” I said, still hesitating a little. I realized that Sirius had very pretty eyes. They were more of a grey then a blue, which I’ve never seen before. They contrasted very nicely with his tanned skin and black hair.
“Yes! Hear that Moony? Told you that she would want us to stay. And you were so quick to say that after us being moronic enough to ask what a wheelchair is that she’ll never want to speak with us again!” Sirius said, turning to his sick looking friend with a triumphant grin. I wanted to laugh. If he had a tail, I’m sure it would be wagging.
“Padfoot! Remus was wrong!” James gasped.
“Merlin, Prongs, so he was!” Sirius added, gasping as well. Cutie-Scarface rolled his eyes and stepped around them towards me. I could see the corner of his mouth poking upwards, though, and I knew that though he was trying to be more mature then his two friends, he had a pretty good sense of humor.
“I’m Remus Lupin,” he said, holding out his hand. I reached forward and shook his. He didn’t feel feverish. But really, what kind of name was that? Remus.
“Eliana Grant,” I said and then smirked, “You don’t happen to have a twin by the name of Romulus do you?” The smile appeared for real now. He was a nice smile. It was a little crooked and not too big.
“You know the story of Remus and Romulus?” he laughed.
“She knew Sirius was a star,” Sirius said, as if that was better then any ancient story that I only came across because I was forced to do an assignment about a mythological story and I had to read through quite a few to pick one. Of course, I may have spent a little more time reading a bunch of interesting stories then doing the assignment, but that was beyond the point.
“Everyone knows Sirius is a star, Sirius,” James said punching his friend in the shoulder. Missy winked at me and then she turned and left the room. I wasn’t sure where she was going, but I didn’t dwell on it to much.
“They do not! Peter didn’t!” Sirius argued.
“I was a very sheltered child!” Peter said in a voice that was much higher then the others. It made him seem younger almost, “We already went through this.” He shook his head and nudged Remus out of the way, “Hi, Eliana, I’m Peter.”
“Wormtail, stop hogging Ellie,” Sirius said and nudged Peter aside to stand in front of me and give me a grin. Peter scowled, though his eyes betrayed him and I knew that he was enjoying himself. Sirius winked at me, “So, how much did you miss Prongs and I?”
I was tempted to tell them not at all. Sirius and James obviously had a lot of confidence. They were close to cocky, but didn’t quite cross the line. Remus, I could see, was the quieter and probably much calmer on of the group. Just the way he stood to the side and observed everything gave him away. Peter was harder to figure out. I was sure he had a sense of humor, but his lack of confidence and the way he continued to glance around nervously seemed to make him stand out. Then again, each one of these boys stood out somehow. Remus with his calmness, Sirius with his looks, James with his confidence, and Peter with his awkwardness. Hmm.
Anyways, I wanted to tell Sirius that I hadn’t missed them at all, but then I decided against it. I don’t know what made me do it, but I did.
“Terribly!” I said, exaggerating my voice.
“Was it like a piece of you went missing?” James asked, practically jumping on Sirius’s back now.
“You have no idea! I didn’t think I could take another breath when they doorbell rang,” I shook my head in disbelief and put my hand over my heart.
“Aw, I knew we made an impression on you,” Sirius grinned.
“Which reminds me,” James said, “Remember our friend with the disease? That’s Moony. See? He’s not at all offended by us.”
“Thanks, James. Way to keep a secret,” Remus muttered, looking startled that James and Sirius had given me so much information about him. James just grinned and patted Remus on the back. Still, I saw the worry in his face. Did he think I would judge him? I decided that I wouldn’t even ask what he was sick with.
“Again, I must ask,” I said, moving off the topic of disabilities, “What’s with the poorly chosen stripper names?”
Peter snickered a little and even Remus looked ready to laugh, the worry disappearing. James and Sirius looked absolutely stricken, however, as they looked at the ceiling and shook their heads.
“They’re nicknames. We don’t strip,” James explained.
“You’re a little old for having nicknames like Wormtail, aren’t you?” I asked, though I didn’t think nicknames were possible to grow out of. After all, I call James Sexy-Four-Eyes behind his back, so what does it matter? But still, I was incredibly curious. I mean, Moony? Padfoot? Those aren’t even cute.
“We’re the Marauders,” Sirius said.
I vaguely remembered Sirius introducing himself as James’s fellow Marauder. At the time, I hadn’t put much thought into it. Or any concern at all. What did it matter how Sirius decided to introduce himself? But now, I realized that these boys had a name for each other. For themselves as a group. I stared at them for a long time, trying to make sense of it. Back in my old school, we had groups like jocks and nerds.
“What, like a club?” I asked, confused.
It seemed logical, didn’t it? My school had new clubs popping up all the time! Stupid things like ‘Sandals Club’ or the club for those that loved fall. Then you had the usual clubs: 4-H, Chess Club, International Club, Drama club, etc. Maybe these guys had a Marauder’s club. It seemed impossibly odd. What school would want a bunch of people encouraging others to make mischief and be annoying?
The boys seemed confused for a moment, too. Then they laughed. I realized that if they ever laugh at me for being in a wheelchair, I would know. Openly, they doubled over in hysterics. Peter actually pointed! I felt myself flush because of the question that I had thought was a logical question. I thought it was a good one. But no, these guys obviously understood something that I completely misunderstood. Maybe I was just stupid and out of touch with the world. Or maybe that’s how boarding schools worked. I’ve always heard boarding schools were crazy places for the rich.
“No,” James explained, “Us four, we’re the Marauders. It’s not a club. We’re just four best friends that find it funny to wreck havoc on the school.”
“Oh,” I said. Okay, that was weird. They were seventeen and had a name for themselves.
“It’s a boarding school thing,” Remus said, seeing my surprise and horror on my face. He was smiling slightly and friendly.
“So you’re . . . pranksters?” I asked.
“The best!” Sirius, James, and Peter shouted in unison. Sirius somehow managed to lean too far to the left and bumped into James. Remus didn’t join in but he looked at me and nodded sheepishly, that smile still in place. I laughed.
“Well, that’s good to know,” I muttered and then turned my chair around.
I rolled myself back into the kitchen as the boys followed. I wanted to return back to my lunch since I had left it half eaten on the table. Missy wasn’t in the kitchen. I wondered if she was staying out of the way on purpose. I had to admit I was thankful for the privacy, though I wouldn’t have minded if my dear nurse had stayed out in the open and chatted with us. To be honest, I found myself a bit nervous with the situation. Four boys following me around the house? Four boys that I don’t know a thing about?
Before I settled myself back at the table, I looked over my shoulders at the boys. They were looking around the house with interest. Twice, I saw James pull on Remus’s shirt and point to something. Once it was the vacuum cleaner, the second time it was my toaster. I wasn’t going to ask. James obviously was incredibly sheltered and probably lazy. I wondered if the Potter’s had any servants at their house. That would explain things.
“Do you guys want anything to eat?” I asked.
Remus and Peter politely turned down the offer, but James and Sirius seemed absolutely determined to feel like they lived in my house. They eagerly accepted and asked me what I have. I went to the refrigerator and listed some things. In the end, I ended up making Sirius a sandwich, which I was proud to be able to do for him, while James seemed perfectly satisfied with my bag of carrots, which he ate raw. Carrots just weren’t great without some dressing on them.
“Why would I destroy a perfectly delicious carrot with a dressing?” James asked when I offered him some. I shrugged.
“Because it tastes better?” I asked.
“No, it does not! It ruins it completely!” he said with too much dignity. And to make his point clear, he ate a carrot without any dressing.
I looked at Sirius who had gone quiet when I had given him food. Because he didn’t even see me looking up at him, I turned my attention to Remus and Peter who were looking both embarrassed and amused.
“James is a vegetarian,” Remus explained, seeing my look, “And Sirius inhales anything that you set in front of him.”
“We once offered him a moldy pastry. He ended up in the hospital wing he got so sick from it,” Peter added and he and Remus laughed at the memory. James laughed, too.
“You’re not a fanatic, are you?” I asked James, “I mean, you don’t obsess over meat and animal killers and all the works, do you?” I give those sorts of people a ton of credit and all, but really, sometimes things went too far. Really, that happened with anything. Like people that would buy twenty dollar coins off the television just so they could add it to their collection.
“Nope,” James said, “Meat just doesn’t really appeal to me that much.”
I nodded with understanding. I wasn’t a big meat lover, either, but I would never abandon it. Returning to my own meal, I listened to Remus and James and Peter talk. They told me about some pranks that they pulled this past school year. And then Sirius joined in, having finished eating. James interrupted a lot to give me a very important detail (in his words) about a Lily Evans, who I remembered was the girl that James had a habit of stalking. Of course, Remus had said that James made it sound a lot worse then it was. It wasn’t like he followed her or anything, though he was always very aware of what she was doing.
Just because I didn’t want to sit in the kitchen all afternoon, I invited them into my room. I don’t know if they were just being polite or what, but they all agreed. I didn’t want them to get bored and my room was where I had my radio and my computer and some other interesting, somewhat fun things that they could probably find entertaining. I rolled the way into my room and then turned to face them. The boys walked in slowly.
“Holy Hippogriffs!” Sirius gasped, “What is that?!”
He was pointing to my laptop that sat on my desk. It was on from this morning when I had checked my horoscope for that day. I didn’t really believe in my vague prediction for the day, but it entertained me. Today, I was supposedly going to find a new love interest. And that was absolutely ridiculous because the only boys I talked to were ones that said “Holy Hippogriffs” and asked me what a laptop was.
“Um, my laptop,” I said, “My computer.”
“Oh yeah! I learned about these this past year,” he said, touching a key. The screen lit up and my screensaver, which was a picture of my family before the accident, disappeared. My desktop was a simple picture of me and my old friends. My arms were thrown around my friend Justin, and beside him was my best friend Beth. We were smiling and laughing and running around on a beach in Paris. Beth was rich and she often took me and Justin on vacations. Staring at the pictures always made me feel happy, knowing that I at least had the experience, though I doubt I’ll ever see Beth and Justin again.
“Hey Sirius! More sex books!” James said looking at my very large collection of romance novels. I rolled my eyes as Sirius looked up briefly. He didn’t seem very interested which was a little surprising.
“They aren’t usually such kids,” Remus said to me as I watched them with disbelief, “It’s just, well, we don’t usually associate with people outside our school. And I guess you can say our school’s criteria is a little different then what you’re probably used to.”
“Everything is so old fashion!” Peter complained.
“I know!” James said, forgetting about my books, “But our school is so incredible, it’s not even funny! You would probably love it. Though it has a lot of stairs.”
“No elevators?” I asked, surprised.
“Old fashion,” Remus said.
Sirius was still looking at my computer. He looked over his shoulder, “Hey, El, is that your boyfriend you’re hanging on?”
I laughed, “No, that’s a friend from my old school. I don’t talk to him very much.”
“Why not?” James asked as he sat on my floor and picked up my Cosmo that I had been reading the night before. I would have laughed, but I was a little distracted by the question. I shrugged.
“After the accident, I didn’t feel right around my friends anymore. I felt like they were always judging me and being careful about what they did,” I explained in a hushed voice. I went over to my radio and dug through some CDs. I found the Ataris, which was a very good band that I enjoyed. They also had redone one of my favorite songs. The original was better, but they managed it quite well. I put the CD into my CD player.
“So you just stopped talking to them?” Sirius asked.
“Well, yeah, I wasn’t the same person anymore. I didn’t want to be around them, really. They reminded me constantly of what happened. It was like I was always holding them back from bowling and stuff,” I gave a sigh, not sure why I was talking about this. Sirius let out a loud groan and shook his head as if frustrated.
“What?” I asked as I changed the song.
“You and Remus, both! Why does an accident have to ruin your life? It’s stupid. Just because there is a challenge set up in front of you doesn’t mean you have to change your whole life and isolate yourself from everyone! I mean, you’re still you aren’t you?” Sirius almost seemed angry and Remus rolled his eyes.
“Sirius, I do believe her situation is a little different then mine,” he said and I was tempted to ask what exactly his situation was, but I didn’t want to pry. I barely knew him why should I be allowed to ask?
“But still!” Sirius looked at me, his eyes flashing, “Just because you’re in a wheelchair doesn’t mean you can’t do what others are doing. Your legs are the wheels; that’s all!”
Sirius still seemed angry as he turned away and looked at my computer again, pressing buttons and gasping at times. I raised the volume on my radio and restarted the song. The Marauders all froze. James looked at me in surprise and Remus and Peter looked worried. Sirius turned around slowly and a smile crossed his face.
“I love this song!” he practically screamed. A grin spread across my face and I had to laugh with him, despite the fact that I was completely shocked by his sudden change in mood.
“It’s my favorite!” I agreed.
“No way! It’s mine too! Growing up I wasn’t allowed much music, but when I got to Hogwarts, our school, I started listening to a bunch of stuff. It’s great, really. And this song!” he was moving to the beat now. Surprisingly, he moved quite well despite is previous clumsy movements that I have been witnessing. And then he started singing, “I’m driving by your house, though I know you’re not home!”
I couldn’t help it, I joined in on the chorus, “But I can see you. Your brown skin shining in the sun. You got your hair combed back and your sunglasses on baby.”
I don’t exactly know what happened, but Sirius was suddenly in front of me. He was grinning and looked suddenly very alive. James was laughing, as was Remus. Peter watched with excitement. I reached over and raised the volume even higher and Sirius was holding out a hand. I felt my smile fall away as I stared at it and then up at him. He was still smiling like an idiot, not seeing the problem.
“Dance with me!” he said.
“If you’ve forgotten, I can’t even walk,” I pointed out, backing away a little with my chair. Sirius just smiled wider.
“Trust me, I’ll hold on to you,” he promised. I began shaking my head, but Sirius wouldn’t hear no as an answer. And neither would the other marauders. Remus leaned over and hit the safety lock on my wheels while Peter cheered me on. James just watched, looking a little odd in a happy sort of way. Like he was watching something absolutely adorable. I suddenly felt sick.
“I-I can’t,” I stammered.
“Trust me, love,” Sirius said and he grabbed my hands, wrapped them around his neck and then pulled me to my feet, his arms easily sliding around my waist. He pulled me right up against his chest. It was the most graceful way I’ve every gotten up out of that chair since I got it. Not once did I feel awkward or off balanced. But I didn’t want to dance. I didn’t want to put myself through this.
“No, Sirius, I don’t want to,” I said, trying to ignore the encouragement from the other three Marauders. I tried to pull away and when I did that, I felt myself begin to fall, but Sirius tightened his arms around me again, holding me up and smiling.
I became aware of Sirius being against me. He was as toned as he looked and his body heat spread into me with comfort. His shoulders were broad and strong. I hadn’t noticed that when I pulled away, one hand had made its way into his hair. It was silky and thick and soft. His grey eyes had flecks of darker blues in them and his skin was flawless. I had named him Gorgeous, but at the moment, I truly believe he was the most beautiful creature I have ever laid eyes on. And he was actually dancing with me. He had set my feet on top of his so I moved with him effortlessly.
I allowed myself to melt into him after a few steps. He spun me around and I laughed, amazed by the freedom I felt just to be held up against a boy and out of a chair. It was really the chair that was my prison. But here I was. Moving without it and it was all thanks to Sirius, no matter how short a time.
The chorus barely finished repeating itself for a second time when I glanced towards the door. My laughter stopped almost immediately and I gasped.
Sirius stopped, too, and turned towards the door, making me look over my shoulder. His face was one of confusion and anger. I understood why. His crippled daughter was in the arms of a very good looking boy while three watched. He didn’t know who any of the boys were, which didn’t make the situation look any better. Remus leaned over and lowered the music, unable to figure out how to put the music on pause.
The room was oddly silent.
“Eliana, what is this?” he asked. Sirius shifted my weight and brought me back to my chair. I hung onto him as long as I could before I settled into the dreaded thing. I looked at my dad.
“These are my new friends. James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter. James and Sirius live next door. You know, the Potters?” I tried, my voice very small suddenly. I wasn’t scared of my dad, but he hasn’t been the same. He had dark hair that was always neat. He wore polos and slacks all the time when not in his suit and he was aging fast since the accident.
“You boys, out!” he snapped at them all.
“Dad, honestly, I can have friends,” I tried, trying to move forward, but the lock on the chair kept me from going anywhere. The four boys were slowly heading towards the door. Sirius seemed a little torn between me and my dad’s orders. He finally turned to leave, tripping on the end of my carpet.
“Friends are fine, Eliana, but you’re in no shape to be waltzing around the room,” Dad said in an angry growl, “You’re in a wheelchair, for God’s sake. What would even give you the idea to try and dance with someone? Why would you even put yourself in that position? Missy told me you met the neighbors. That was what, two days ago? I raised you to respect yourself and to have some common sense.”
“I respect myself just fine. We were just fooling around to our favorite song,” I said, feeling myself get hysterical. Tears were coming and they were coming fast.
“Fooling around. Those boys will take advantage of you easily,” Dad said, he looked absolutely distraught now. I glared at him.
“You don’t know them,” I snapped. Missy appeared in the doorway and looked ready to intervene, but Dad looked over his shoulder at her and gave her a look that said she should keep her mouth shut.
“And neither do you!” Dad said. He was right.
“But I do know them better then you,” my voice was quieter now, “I need a social life, Dad. I sit in the house all day reading and playing music. Is that how I’m supposed to live my life? As a hermit.”
“You never wanted a social life since we moved here,” Dad argued.
“How can you be so sure? You never asked what I wanted. You just moved us here and now I’m alone and trapped and I need fun. I’m seventeen years old!” I was shouted the last part.
“You’re not allowed to see those boys every again, understand?” Dad asked, ignoring my argument that I thought was pretty legit. I didn’t answer him. I was fuming, upset, and angry. This wasn’t fair at all. This was child abuse! At least, I think I could call it that. Dad wanted an answer, “I said, do you understand?”
“No, I don’t,” I said.
“Which is why you can’t see them. Never again,” he said.
“Sir, you’re only going to encourage her more by forbidding her to see them. She is a teenager after all,” Missy finally spoke and my father looked over her. He was just as angry as I am, though I was in tears.
“Missy, she cannot walk. She can’t even stand. I was once a teenager. These boys might seem charming, but there is always more to them then meets the eye. Eliana can’t defend herself is she needs to. We need to protect her. Those boys are forbidden,” Dad said, looking at my nurse so angrily, I wanted to roll up to her and hold her tight.
He glared at me and then turned around and stomped from the room. I heard him go up the stairs and I even heard the slam of his study. I sat there in tears for a long moment and Missy came over to me and enveloped me in a tight hug. She tucked some hair behind my ear and smiled at me kindly.
“Don’t cry, dear, he was just in a bit of a shock. You’re all he has left and those boys put a smile on your face and a sparkle in your eye that I bet he hasn’t seen since before this horrible accident. He doesn’t want to lose you, too. And losing his only daughter to a boy is probably worse then losing her to a car accident,” Missy spoke softly, making me look right into her eyes. I listened but I didn’t understand.
“He can’t stop me from seeing them,” I said through my tears, “They’re my friends.”
“I know, honey. Give him a few days and we’ll talk to him soon,” she dried my eyes.
I nodded, though I knew my dad wouldn’t be changing his mind if what Missy said was true. But I was also aware that my quiet summer, and my life, just took a sharp turn.
A/n: So, when I posted this I thought, "I've been promising to return for so long, no one probably remembers me." So, I was more then ecstatic when I logged in one day and saw the number of reads and reviews for the first chapter of this story. Then I smiled and was inspired to write some more (I have up to chapter 8 right now, but I'm working on it).
I have to say, I'm really excited about this story. With school starting, a job, and cheer going on, I'm actually staying up into the late hours of the night to write. Just because I love you guys.
So please, let me know what you think about the story. Don't be shy. Give me advice, insult it (nicely, please), and tell me your favorite lines or moments or whatever. Just let me know.
Chapter 3: New Times are Always Different from the Old
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Disclaimer: Everything you don't know is mine. The rest if JKRs.
New Times are Always Different from the Old
“Is it worth the pain, with no one to blame?
For all of my insecurities, How did I ever let you go?”
– Billy Talent “Pins and Needles”
That night, I sat up in bed reading a magazine. My radio was on playing the White Tie Affair rather low. I hummed along to it as I flipped a page, glancing at the clock to see it was going on one in the morning. A warm breeze blew through my open window that I would be needing to shut soon. I should be sleeping, but I was having a difficult time.
Dad hadn’t come down for dinner. He didn’t come down at all and Missy kept muttering about how he can’t stay in that room forever. Nevertheless, he never made an appearance. So Missy and I ate alone. After dinner, I went straight into my room, did some online shopping, and then started to read. I’ve been sitting up in bed reading since. Missy had long said good night to me and told me to yell if I need her. Her room was directly above mine and we both slept with our doors open in case of an emergency.
Just as I was turning another page in my magazine, that was outdated, something flew through my room and out into the hallway. I sat up straight, both startled and nervous. Another small item flew into my room. This one hit the edge of my bed and I could see that this was a rock. Completely confused, I pulled my chair closer and climbed into it. Then I rolled myself to the window, another rock narrowly missing my head. I pushed my curtain aside.
“—stupid, Prongs!” Sirius was hissing at James as he bent down.
“I’m telling you, Padfoot, I’m pretty sure the window is open. Those rocks aren’t coming back like they do when I throw them at Lily’s house,” James was trying to explain.
“I’m also on the first story,” I said in a whisper, getting both of their attention, “You could have just knocked on the window pane and then I wouldn’t have a bunch of rocks littering my room. Trust me. It would have made things incredibly easier.”
Gorgeous and Sexy-Four-Eyes both smiled widely when they saw me. The carefully picked their way through the bushes and flowers that was underneath my window. Sirius, however, managed to trip twice and step on a blooming flower, squashing it to nothing. I pushed my curtains to the side and opened my window a little wider then gave them both a look. They couldn’t have seriously been throwing rocks at my window. And where was Cutie-Scarface and Shy-and-Awkward? They didn’t seem to be there.
“Hey, Ellie!” Sirius said, leaning up against the side of my brick house. He tried to make it seem casual, but he had stumbled into it. They had changed into plain t-shirts and sweat pants. I assumed that they, too, had been getting ready to go to bed when they decided to pay me a visit.
“We wanted to check on you,” James whispered, “You know, make sure that you didn’t get into trouble since you had four teenagers in your room.”
I smiled a little and shrugged, “I’m not sure whether or not I’m still allowed to talk to you guys anymore.”
“Was he that mad?” Sirius asked, “I thought that we all looked quite innocent. It wasn’t like we were taking advantage of you or something.”
“Missy thinks he’s afraid of losing me. But I don’t know. And anyways, he’s never around anyways. If you guys aren’t afraid of the risk, I’m still willing to be your friend,” I grinned at them both and they exchanged glances. There was a mischievous look in both their eyes.
“We aren’t called Marauders for nothing!” Sirius said brightly and a little loudly. James and I both hushed him. I was sure that a boy being at my window was way too much then what my dad was ready to handle. Two was a completely different situation and I wasn’t ready to deal with him if I was caught. He might have them arrested, saying they were trying to kidnap me or something of the sort.
There was something exciting and thrilling about these boys. I couldn’t place my finger on it, but they were different and fresh. Their boarding school could be the reason, but there was something else. The way they looked at me like they knew something I didn’t. But more importantly, there was something terribly thrilling about disobeying my father. I’ve never done anything of the sorts before. And I certainly had never done it for some boys. Besides the fact that I wasn’t in love with either James or Sirius, I felt like this was a chapter out of one of my romance novels.
“So you’re not mad at us?” Sirius was suddenly very serious, his eyes wide and puppy-dog like. I gave him a smile as his look caused my heart to pound a little more.
“No, I’m not mad,” I promised.
“What a relief,” Sirius said, sighing with content as he waved a hand as if swatting a fly. James, too, looked absolutely relieved that I wasn’t going to shun them and hold them responsible for fighting with my dad.
I wanted to tell them I would come out and hang around with them right now, but just because I was going to go behind my father’s back and talk to these boys doesn’t mean I was going to start right away. I was a little nervous and I wasn’t sure if I could get away with getting my chair in and out of the house. What if he noticed something in the morning? What if I ran into something? I was pretty good at navigating the safest route, but still. I decided to take things slow at first, start with a midnight talk and maybe tomorrow I’ll leave the house.
During the day, I knew, would be different. I had no doubt that Missy would help me with this. She understood that I needed a social life and that these boys were probably best for me. I mean, she was a romantic and probably hoped I would fall for one, but that was beside the point. Really, it didn’t matter to me. If she was on my side, fantastic. If not, well, I guess I’ll be having a lot of late nights in the future.
“I actually felt like myself for the first time in nearly a year,” I whispered to Sexy-Four-Eyes and Gorgeous now, leaning out the window a little. Sirius and James looked at me and I saw Sirius smile. It wasn’t a smile of triumph, but one of gratefulness.
“That was, actually, my goal,” he said, though I knew he really probably had no idea that dancing to my favorite songs and laughing with some friends was what I really needed. But hey, anyone that loved to dance to their favorite songs, sing along, and not be ashamed to admit it or do it in front of people is a friend to me.
“Sure it was,” I rolled my eyes.
“No, really,” Sirius corrected, “I want you to feel like yourself. You know, not be afraid to do things that people that can walk can do.”
“I completely agree with Padfoot there,” James agreed, running a hand through his hair and making it twice as messy as it was before. It looked almost windblown, “Do you really want to spend your life sitting by a pool and reading romance novels?”
“Well I don’t have anything better to do,” I muttered, a little embarrassed that they seemed to find my life so dull.
I won’t argue with that point, though. My life was incredibly dull and incredibly quiet. Romance novels were my outlet to love and happiness because I could lose myself to the thoughts and horrors of another’s life. Shopping helped me feel like I was still me and the internet always made me feel like I wasn’t completely isolated from the rest of the world. Unfortunately, those distractions could only last for so long. Then they come rushing back to you and I’m forced to remember what had happened and who I was.
“How about living?” Sirius asked.
“Yeah,” James added, “Doing things that all Muggles do. Bowling, a trip to the cinema, stuff like that.”
“What the hell is a Muggle?” I asked, definitely not for the first time. James and Sirius looked at one another and shrugged.
“People who don’t go to Boarding school?” Sirius said, though he phrased it like a question. Though I was curious about his hesitance, I found his answer was good enough for me, so I shrugged and moved on. Though, I certainly wasn’t going back to the conversation about bowling and going to a movie. The mere thought of it made me nervous. What would people think of me?
“Where’s Cutie-Scarface and Shy-and-Awkward?” I asked.
“Who?” James looked confused. I realized I used their nicknames. Those were supposed to stay in my head. Damn. They were looking at me odd now.
“Um, Remus and Peter. Sorry, I gave them nicknames, too,” I shrugged, trying to act nonchalant, though I knew my cheeks were pink.
“They had to go back home. Remus lives with his mum, who is a nervous woman, and Peter just has really strict parents. But they’ll be back in a few days. Anyways, why did you give them those names?” Sirius asked.
“Obviously because Remus has those scars on his face. And he’s cute. I actually call Peter Shy-and-Awkward-Though-Still-Cute. It’s just a little long, but you know. He’s just kind of awkward,” I was still blushing, though I wasn’t really that embarrassed anymore. I mean, the Marauders were attractive people. They couldn’t help it. And Remus and Peter didn’t acknowledge that they were attractive the way James and Sirius practically oozed with their confidence.
“Oh,” Sirius was thoughtful.
“What are our names?” James wiggled his eyebrows up and down with a smirk in place. I had to laugh just because his expression was sort of funny.
“Douche-1 and Douche-2,” I said.
“That’s not funny,” James pouted.
Grinning I stifled a yawn and said, “Well boys, I’ll have to talk to you tomorrow. It’s Sunday so my dad will be home all day, but in the evenings he goes up to his study and stays up there watching television. I’ll be on the front porch watching the F-ers and Gay-Guys,” I smiled at them both and reached up to close the window.
“What time exactly?” James asked.
I thought for a moment.
“Seven o’clock? No, make it seven-thirty to be safe,” I said and then nodded, satisfied with my suggestion.
“I’ll bring the chess board!” Sirius said, again too loudly. I shushed him.
“I don’t know how to play chess,” I said.
“Then I’ll teach you,” he countered and he and James began to pick their way out of the bushed and back to the lawn. I watched them.
“Goodnight, Eliana,” James said.
“Sleep tight, El, don’t let the bedbugs bite!” Sirius agreed and grinned widely. I rolled my eyes and gave a wave.
“Night guys,” and then I shut the window and locked it.
I had gone straight to bed after that. My room was dark except for the moonlight that bled through my curtains and my radio I had left on low. Before I had gone to sleep, I found myself wishing I had switched it to the Airborne Toxic Event, but I was much too lazy to put myself back in my chair and going to switch it. Instead, I rolled myself onto my stomach, hugged my pillow underneath my head and closed my eyes. In seconds, I was deep in a dreamless sleep.
I woke up the next morning to Missy shaking me. She did this every morning when she thought I was beginning to sleep in too late. Groggy, I sat up and looked around the bright room, rubbing my eyes. I had chosen a yellow and blue themed bed room. A shaggy blue rug was in the middle of the floor, which was otherwise a hard wood. Yellow and blue plaid drapes hung on my window with a sheer white curtain beneath it. On my dresser was yellow and blue placemats so I wouldn’t get makeup all over the dark wood of my dresser. I had always loved my room. It was large and fitting, though I always felt like it had too much space.
On my walls were pictures of my family and some old friends. My closet door in particular was covered from top to bottom in a collage of my favorite modeling ads mixed in with some of my favorite bands. In one corner was my CD player, my iPod plugged in right next to it, with piles of CDs starting from the floor. Some were on what was supposed to be a book shelf. I had two book shelves in my room set aside for books. Not all were romance novels, but a good many of them were. There were also posters of bands and movies that I enjoyed on that wall, but not quite so many that they drew the eye.
I found my clock and checked the time. Was it really so surprising that it was a quarter till two? Not really. I still felt unbelievably exhausted as I raised a hand to my bed head and yawned widely. Then I got into my chair, went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and wash up and then I returned to my room, closed the door, and opened my closet. Missy didn’t need to help me dress anymore. I had long gotten the hang of doing so myself, though she typically hovered over me, anxious that I would get stuck.
Today, I chose to wear a pair of white shorts and an off-the-shoulder, perfectly baggy white black top. As I always did, I had to accessorize. I found my favorite silver necklace that hung to my bellybutton and put in a pair of large hoop earrings. Then I combed out my hair and let it fall over my shoulders. Ponytails never really were my thing and I rarely wore them. I then put on my makeup, taking a few minutes to experiment with a new gold that Missy had bought for me the other day. It had a shimmer to it, but I found it perfect for summer. After covering my blemishes with a cover-up and then putting on some clear lipgloss, I left my room.
Missy was waiting for me in the kitchen, a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit waiting for me. I thanked her and immediately dug in. It was almost two-thirty now. Five hours until James and Sirius came over. That seemed like an incredibly long time and I couldn’t seem to think of a thing to do to pass the time. It pissed me off, really, that I even had to occupy myself until my father locked himself in his room, but I guess it was the price of disobeying.
Just as the chill of doing something forbidden went down my spine, Dad himself walked into the room. He was dressed in his polo and a pair of kakis, his hair brushed and gelled the way he liked it. I could tell that he had been up much longer then I had been.
“Well, good afternoon Eliana,” he said, his tone joking.
“Good morning,” I replied and Dad smiled slightly, though it never met his eyes. I wondered if he was still angry from last night.
He sat down at the table and picked up the paper that had been sitting at the corner. He opened it and looked at me casually.
“You haven’t mentioned how your therapy has been going,” he said reading the sports section. I looked up at him, feeling my heart sink. I haven’t mentioned how my therapy went because I haven’t been doing too hot. The typical exercises revolve around my core and upper body with the side of manual exercises to keep the unused muscles in my legs from shriveling up completely and leaving me with bones for legs. My physical therapy always puts me in a foul mood and I hate to think about it.
“It’s been fine,” I lie to my Dad. The first of many, I sighed.
“Are you sure? Do you like the man we chose? If you don’t, Ellie, we can very easily get someone else,” Dad put his paper down. I wondered where this new found concern was coming from. I shrugged instead.
“He’s fine. It’s only twice a week,” I muttered.
“Phil is very nice,” Missy added, feeling the tension at the table and attempting to break it, “Very young, too, but very intelligent. He’s always ready to answer our questions and when things get difficult, he always manages to stay calm. I doubt we’ll find another like him. People today are just so impatient!” she laughed. I laughed, too, though it certainly wasn’t funny.
My appetite was now gone. I put down my fork and pushed myself back from the table, “I’m going to go play guitar or something,” I announced and then rolled to the front room where the piano and my guitars sat.
The front room was especially designed for my music. I had a Gibson acoustic guitar and a Fender Telecaster in the corner on stands. They both had picks stored between the strings and were well taken care of and cleaned. There was a baby grand piano in the middle of the room. Unfortunately, the beauty of the instrument was damaged. There was what looked like a box where the pedals should me. A tube followed it to above the keys, lifted like it was a microphone. There was a thin piece that went in my mouth; I just pressed down on it with my tongue and the pressure caused the pedals to work, though the sound was never exactly right.
The addition had been ridiculously expensive, but Dad had pulled the money together out of desperation for me to feel comfortable. It was, after all, my favorite instrument and I had been ruined to know that some songs would never be the same because I couldn’t press the pedal when necessary. I had been grateful and the instrument was getting its use, though it was just as clean and shiny as it had been when I had first gotten the piano years ago.
I rolled to my guitars and picked up my Gibson. Straps weren’t necessary since I wouldn’t be standing up. I warmed my fingers up and strummed a few chords before I broke out in song. Since I was little, I had never been able to control myself. When I hear a song I love, I have to belt it out loud. Even when it was me playing the music, I had to sing. Now, I’m not going to say I was a fantastic singer. My voice was somewhat pitchy and I couldn’t hold a note for more then two counts. But I could at least keep the tune and hit the note for at least one beat. My voice was soft and I definitely lacked the talent and ambition of a real artist, but still, my voice satisfied me and I was happy with it.
And so that’s what I did. I played the Offspring and belted out the lyrics to My American Heart before going for something a little softer with Plushgun. Then I grew bored and went to the more complicated and depressing things, playing It Dies Today and then moving on to Blessthefall. I wasn’t a screamer. Actually, I’m terrified to shriek into a microphone the way some of these singers do. I mean, it just wasn’t good for your vocal chords. But I would talk out the parts that I was supposed to scream or just sing them to my own harmony. Sometimes it worked and other times I destroyed the ever talented bands that dedicated their lives to drugs, sex, and the road.
I could only play for so long. Music never got boring but my fingers started to ache when five o’clock rolled around and I had stopped singing long ago, taking to humming instead. Now, as I set my guitar aside, I rolled into my living room where Missy was folding laundry and watching a show about a real judge, real people, and real cases. Really, I thought it was just a bunch of trashy people that weren’t afraid to walk on television looking like they just came from the hills or something.
“Done playing already?” Missy asked me sarcastically. I flushed.
“Just trying to pass the time,” I shrugged.
“And what is it that you are waiting for so impatiently? I do hope you didn’t order another package of clothing. Honestly, you spend way too much money on clothes that you never go out to show off,” Missy clucked to tongue though I knew she was always as excited as me when my clothes came in the mail.
But I told Missy just about everything. Besides music and reading, she was my only companion and she had never judged me. I mean, she raised her kids and then she moves in with one that can’t get in and out of the bathtub without her help. My plan was not to tell anyone about my now-secret friendship with James and Sirius. Now, as I stood before my beloved nurse, I knew that there was no way I could expect not to tell her. I felt guilty, suddenly, for not coming out with it in the first place.
“Sexy-Four-Eyes and Gorgeous are going to come over later tonight,” I muttered, not looking up at my nurse.
I had expected two things. One, Missy would gasp and scold me. And two, after the scolding she was sigh and say it was to be expected. Then she would go about her work and pretend that she hadn’t heard a thing I told her while I went off and got myself into trouble by seeing two boys, not just one, that I wasn’t suppose to be speaking with anymore. But Missy had done neither of these things.
“Well, I expected as much,” she said and I heard a giggle in her voice, “Are those the name you chose for them? Sexy-Four-Eyes and Gorgeous?”
“Actually, it’s Sexy-Four-Eyes-With-The-Messy hair, but that was too long. And then Gorgeous was Strange-New-Guy for a long time, but then I actually saw him and well, now he’s More-Gorgeous-Then-Sexy-Four-Eyes,” I explained, wondering if those names were really as stupid in my head as they were when I said them out loud. Hmm. I’m not really as clever as I had figured.
“They are very attractive,” Missy nodded, smiling at me.
“Aren’t they? James is in love with some girl that goes to their school,” I laughed a little, “I swear, he’s a creeper.”
“But Sirius is single, hmm?”
Oh, shit. I hadn’t realized that I had just given Missy a reason to be giving me that look. She was a romantic at heart. Having met her late-husband in Paris, she was always telling the most amazing love stories. Those romance novels I read, she always said, were nothing compared to real love. None of them truly catch the real emotions and desires that one really feels when they are in love. Over and over again she would tell me that I will find magic when I find love. And that it would be a feeling I would never be able to describe.
Though I typically retorted with the fact that no one wants to love a cripple. Men like sex. And well, I won’t be the most thrilling partner in bed.
But anyways, Missy always was searching for a boy for me. And now, four were becoming my friends. Well, two and through them, two more. Each was good looking and made me smile in their own way. My nurse definitely would see this as a moment of opportunity. She would do anything to get me to at least start to crush on one of these boys. But when someone had expectations, they were usually disappointed.
“Missy . . .” I sighed.
“Oh, don’t be such a pooper, Eliana. You even named him Gorgeous. I’ve never seen a boy quite so attractive in all my years. And he certainly has a charm about him. You don’t have to marry the boy, Ellie, but you can at least get to know him a little more and see if a spark happens,” she grinned widely, excited by the idea.
“I’m sure that Sirius has many school girls all over him at school. And I’m sure that Sirius probably has a lover or something waiting for him at – what did Sirius call the school? Oh, Hogwarts!” I muttered and then added, “He’s ridiculously clumsy, too, always stumbling about. It’s crazy since he’s obviously so sure of himself.”
“What?” Missy straightened, looking surprised.
“Sorry?” I returned.
“The school. What did Remus call the school?” she looked absolutely shocked and there was brightness in her eyes I had never seen before.
“Hogwarts? A horrible name if you ask me. Definitely not very charming,” I muttered the last part because Missy was shaking her head, smiling for real now as she piled clean towels into a basket, “You’ve heard of it?”
“My brother attended,” was all Missy said before she lifted the basket, “Just give Sirius some thought, okay? Maybe you’ll find that both the boys are just not attractive once you really get to know them.”
“Maybe,” I shrugged, though I doubted that.
Finding is shocking and curious that my nurse had a brother that went to the very same school as my neighbors, I headed into my room. My laptop was already on and I woke it up from its hibernating status and then opened up the internet to my favorite search engine. Then I typed ‘Hogwarts’ into the search bar. After clicking enter, I waited about two seconds for the search. There were only a few pages of options.
Oddly enough, they were all role-playing sites about strange creatures and such. I went back to my search and corrected it to ‘Hogwarts School.’ But there were no finds. Curious, I changed school to academy. And from academy to institution. But no matter what I typed in, nothing came up. According to Google, the school everyone seem to know did not exist. Completely baffled, I shut down my computer and frowned at the blank screen for a while. Then I left my room in search of Missy.
She was starting dinner and talking to Dad. He was helping her peel potatoes, though he seemed to be having a more difficult time then Missy did with the peeler. They were talking about some reality show that I hadn’t known my father watched. Missy smiled widely at me as I rolled into the room. My latest romance novel was on the table where I had left it. I picked it up and was about to find the spot I had last left off on when my dad cleared his throat.
“Your playing earlier was lovely,” he said. That was the first time since the accident since my dad expressed his interest in my music.
“Thanks. I’ve been practicing,” I nodded and put my nose to my book. But Dad wasn’t done.
“I think you and I should do something tonight,” Dad said suddenly and I stopped reading and looked up at him, quite confused.
Since the accident, Dad had avoided me like I was the plague herself. I mean, I was a constant reminder of my mother with my blond hair and dark blue eyes. Not only that, I was the only survivor. Each time Dad looked at me, I was sure that he had images of me in a hospital bed, unable to breathe on my own and in a coma. I was sure that he remembered Mum trying her hardest to pull through but slipping away anyways. And I was sure that he remembered driving up to the scene of the accident having been on his way to work and recognizing Mum’s car upside down and destroyed. Honestly, I would have turned away from me every time I saw me, too.
I may have been the one in the car but I remembered very little of the car accident. Sometimes, I’ll have a dream of a bright light and a heavy rocking that ripped me from my seatbelt. I would awake with a start with the sound of breaking glass in my ears. But otherwise, I didn’t remember. It was a big gap in my memory. I was in the passenger seat coming home from my volleyball game that had run late and the next thing I know, I’m unable to move in a hospital bed completely clueless as to how I got there.
Call it a cliché, but I even woke up to ask “Where am I?”
Now, Dad was suddenly taking interest. Was it because of what Missy had said the night before? Did he feel as if he would lose me to some boys that were really nothing more then strangers right now? Or maybe he knew that I was planning on meeting James and Sirius later. He could have heard me last night or earlier talking to Missy. But I doubted it. If that was the case, Dad wouldn’t keep it to himself. That wasn’t the type of person he was. He would force me to admit to it and then scold me, yell at me, and ground me to the wall of room until I get so sick of them that I throw a tantrum.
“Like what?” I asked, hesitating.
“A movie maybe? We can order something off pay-per-view,” he suggested, shrugging as he finished peeling on potato and moving onto another one.
“Oh. Um, I guess,” I muttered, though I was thinking about not being able to meet up with James and Sirius now. Maybe they would wait up for me?
“Great! It’ll be like old time,” Dad said with a grin.
But it wasn’t like old times. I had moved out of my chair and onto the sofa for more comfort and he sat in his favorite arm chair. Missy sat next to me on the sofa and I watched as the clocked moved past seven-thirty and then past eight-thirty. I wasn’t even sure what was happening in the movie that consisted of a lot of explosions and much yelling. Dad wasn’t paying attention, either. He had his blackberry out and was reading something on it for a long time. Twice he excused himself and went to make a phone call. Once, someone had called him. Then he went up to his office before the last ten minutes was up. I waited until the movie was over and then Missy rolled me outside to the front porch.
I was sure that Sirius and James weren’t going to arrive. The F-ers were yelling loudly across the street again and I smiled a little listening to them. The Gay-Guys seemed to have gone out for the night and Balding-Man was just coming home from where ever he had decided to go. It was almost nine o’clock and I was sure that I had stood up James and Sirius. But then –
“Told you she wouldn’t chicken out,” I heard someone whisper.
“Yeah, yeah. I believe you said that girl has more fire in her then a flame. I’m not sure how you know that since we don’t really know her . . .” a second voice replied.
“It’s all in the eyes, Prongs,” the first voice said.
And then suddenly, James and Sirius came into view – almost out of thin air – and walked up the porch (Sirius did some sort of move that looked like a stumble he only just managed to make look graceful) with large grins on their faces. I wasn’t sure if it was just because of my discussion with Missy earlier, but Sirius seemed to be glowing tonight. That glow seemed to spread into me, making me feel quite warmer then I had seconds earlier.
A/N: So, I have to let this out: YOU GUYS ARE FABULOUS. Love that word, Fabulous. Really, I adore you all. No, I'm in love with you all. Really, you're amazing. Look at how eager I am to update for y'all. I love being back!
Oh, and Blessthefall really is amazing, just like Ellie said before. Trust me, they're tied with Billy Talent on my list of favorite bands. And well, I just love Beau Bokan. He was great in Take the Crown and now with Blessthefall . . . my God, he's talented.
Anyways, I'm so excited for this! And guess what?! I have another story too, but i'm not posting it for a long while. It's a James(II)/OC tied in with a James/Lily/OC type thing. Really, it's more original then it sounds. Promise. :)
Thank you all so much. I love you.
Chapter 4: Sliding Down A Hill of Grass at Midnight
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Disclaimer: It belongs to Jo. Except the Muggles. :)
Sliding Down A Hill of Grass at Midnight
Don't wake me 'cause I'm dreaming of angels on the moon”
- Thriving Ivory “Angels on the Moon”
These guys were nuts.
I’m not kidding. They literally were the craziest guys I had ever met in my life. In a way, I was scared of them because their minds were not normal. They said funny things like “Holy Hippogriff” and “Merlin’s Beard.” They made comparisons like “moved faster then a Snitch” and “smelly as a Troll.” The troll thing I could understand, but what the hell is a Snitch? Of course, when I asked they simply laughed and said Boarding school lingo and the subject changed almost instantly. But their odd phrases were not what made them crazy.
It was their humor.
For the first hour of the night, we sat on my porch and talked (Sirius having forgotten the chess board). Sirius and James told me stories of things they did at their school. The pranks they pulled that took all night and half the morning. The number of detentions they had and how they teased their Professors to the point of near violence (apparently one teacher by the name of McGonagall had grabbed Sirius by the ear and dragged him to the Headmaster’s office for punishment). They told me about late nights running around the school and even leaving the campus for some fun in the near by town. They weren’t scared to do things that may get them expelled.
But the craziest part was that I had much in common with them both. James and I both had a love for sports. Of course, I had only been a volleyball fanatic when I could walk and now I paid no mind to anything while James obsessed over them, but it was close enough. He also was interested in keeping healthy food choices (though I still enjoyed eating my meat) and he was a bit of a neat freak. Sirius and I had a bit more in common. Such as his love for staying in style. Not in a gay way, but in a typical way that would cause people to appreciate him for his taste. He was also very talkative (and clumsy, though I was thankfully quite graceful) and seemed to enjoy the night as much as I did. But the main thing we had in common was music, even if he claimed to not be able to listen to a lot of it since he’s always in school. But he had played piano since he was six and enjoyed it immensely, just like me. I mentioned a few bands to Sirius, testing his knowledge, and even though he claimed to not be as widely educated like me, he knew a ton.
In that hour, I was sure that I had grown to love both James and Sirius – in a friendly way. They were just what I needed after a year of being locked in my house. Their jokes and their stories made me feel like nothing was wrong in the world. But the way they treated me was even better. I actually forgot about the wheelchair that sat beneath me in that hour. I forgot that I couldn’t walk just because these boys didn’t act like I was a cripple.
Of course, good things come to an end. No, my dad didn’t walk out onto the porch and lock me in my room. Missy didn’t come and tell me that it was after ten and time to come inside. James and Sirius seemed very unconcerned for the night. But they were getting restless. Typically, they told me, they went exploring and on ‘adventures’ in the night. Sitting in one place simply talking was not their idea of an adventure.
“Hey,” James said, “You said that Hooker-wife always has a boyfriend over, right?”
“Yeah,” I said slowly.
“Well, about a half hour ago, we saw Balding-man leave the house with a wave to his wife,” Sirius explained, looking over at the house thoughtfully, “Five minutes later, we watched another car pull up and Hooker-wife dragged Stranger-Danger inside. Why don’t we go and see if we can see what they’re doing?”
“Because that’s possible,” I rolled my eyes.
“It is! We just sneak down there, find a window, and if it’s anything like those books you read, I say we get the hell out of there and check in on the F-ers instead,” Sirius was already on his feet. James was already down the porch steps.
“I can’t!” I hissed at them and then pointed to my stupid chair.
“James, help her get on my back,” Sirius said and James came back, not hesitating to pull me up from the chair. Even though I let out a squeal of protest and surprise, I had no choice. James practically threw me on Sirius’s back and I wrapped my arms around his shoulders to keep from falling back on my butt and hurting myself.
“That should do it,” James said as Sirius secured me.
“Don’t hold on too tight, love,” Sirius said over his shoulder as he stretched his neck a little bit. I clung to him, very aware that Sirius was not the most graceful person in the world.
“This is crazy,” I gasped, terrified as Sirius and James began running down my lawn, Sirius managed to stay upright and sturdy. I was going to die tonight, I was sure. And if I wasn’t going to die, I would surely end up in the hospital, unable to move my upper half.
“Trust us, Ellie,” James said as they paused and looked both ways before crossing the street. That was something that I did not expect from a Marauder, who claimed to break every rule there was to obey. It was known that looking both ways before crossing the street is practically a rule taught to us at birth.
“You just threw me on top of a boy’s back and you want me to trust you?” I snapped angrily and gasped with surprise as Sirius started to walk again and stumbled slightly as he tried to clear the gutter.
“Hey, you’re not the one that’s going to have bruises on your shoulders in the morning,” Sirius replied, though he sounded very calm about the pain I was inflicting on him and I was sure that he had received many bruised simply because he can’t walk across a street without almost falling, “So I really wouldn’t be complaining.”
“I don’t want to die,” I muttered.
Sirius laughed, “As long as I’m around, you won’t die. Promise.”
“And when Padfoot makes a promise, he will go through hell just to keep that promise. Trust me, I’ve seen him do some ridiculous things,” James shook his head in horror.
I wanted to laugh. And if I weren’t still worried about falling to the ground because Sirius decided he couldn’t hold me up anymore, I was sure I would have. Now don’t get me wrong: I loved a little adventure. But since I was released from the hospital, I’ve only left my property a few times and they were mortifying enough for me to never want to leave again. But nonetheless, I was clinging to Sirius’s back and sneaking into the backyard of Hooker-Wife and Balding-Man.
Of course, Balding-Man wasn’t home. In his place was what Sirius had insisted on calling Stranger-Danger, though I found the name to be quite lame. Personally, I wanted to call him Hottie-With-A-Volvo, but the boys didn’t seem to think this new guy was hot or that him owning a nice car was very impressive. I believe Sirius had muttered something about a motorbike and James muttered something about faster ways to travel then a death trap driven by a moron that thinks too highly of themselves. That and they pointed out that I really had no idea whether Stranger-Danger was a hottie because I was just too far away. But honestly, if Hooker-Wife was hooking up with someone, I do believe she would want him to be attractive. Otherwise, I just don’t see the point of cheating.
Okay, let’s pretend that wasn’t shallow.
We approached the house, having crossed my yard, the street, and Hooker-Wife’s yard. The house was much like mine and James’s: red brick, dark shutteres, two stories, and much too big for two people to live in, even if the one was in a wheelchair. James ducked low, saying something about invisibility, which was exactly what I was thinking. It was times like this that I wanted to be invisible to all so I could go unnoticed. Of course, I’ve rarely been in a situation like this, but really, that was beside the point. Sirius crouched low, but that did very little for the person on his back. I was still well in view of the windows.
“They’re going to see me,” I hissed at them both, clinging still to Sirius.
They both stopped and thought for a moment.
“I can’t bend any lower with her on my back,” Sirius said, almost to himself and then suddenly, he was dropping my legs and practically tossing me around to the front of him. He lifted me bridal style, “You have amazing upper body strength,” he commented.
“You have amazing strength in general,” I returned, a little dizzy and surprised that he hasn’t dropped me yet.
“You’re really not that heavy,” he shrugged and then crouched again, for once staying quite balanced. Twice, my hair got caught in a brush and I cursed out loud as it tugged sharply. Sirius and James would smirk, seeming to fine my physical pain and colorful language amusing, but they didn’t stop. James was peeking into windows.
It wasn’t until we had crept through the backyard and practically fallen over each other that we stopped. Hiding from the windows, it seemed, had been a waste of precious time and effort. Stranger-Danger and Hooker-Wife were both in a hot tub just mere feet from us drinking red wine and laughing at something that apparently Stranger-Danger said. Though, I have to admit, I was dead on with the whole Hottie-With-A-Volvo thing. Even though this guy was older, he reminded me a ton of George Clooney and like Carrie Bradshaw says, George Clooney is like a Chanel Suit, he’ll always be in style.
“What are we doing here again?” I whispered in Sirius’s ear. He merely shrugged.
“Lack of better things to do with our time,” he replied.
Hooker-Wife, who I had always seen at a distance and now realized, was quite young. She couldn’t have been thirty yet. Her boobs were too big and perky, though, giving away that they were fake. And her nose was too perfect. The bikini she wore was tiny and red, her nails fake and tipped so fancy I was sure she was in the chair for hours. But she looked completely at ease in a hot tub with a man that wasn’t her husband. Of course, I had absolutely no sympathy for her since she was obviously a gold digger.
There wasn’t much to watch. Hottie-With-A-Volvo was telling boring stories of work and Hooker-Wife laughed shrilly at everything he said, even when it wasn’t funny. James and Sirius, disappointed, decided this wasn’t worth it. They wanted to go over to the F-ers, because they were amused to hear my explanation about their nickname, but we saw a cross hanging on the wall of a room that we could clearly see into from their driveway and instead crossed the street, heading to James’s house. For a moment, I thought we were going to go inside and I almost panicked, but then they stopped at the top of the hill.
Gently, Sirius put me down on the ground while James collapsed like he was a rag doll. Once Sirius was sure I was solidly on the ground, he sat down with just as much rag-doll like quality as James, though I had a feeling he didn’t sit down like that on purpose. They lay down on their backs and stared at the sky for a long time. I, too, laid back and looked up at the stars. They were tiny and few. Sirius gave a content sigh.
“I know this is nothing compared to what we see in Astronomy, mate, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen the sky so breathtaking,” Sirius said.
“It’s too bright, we can’t see nearly as many stars as I would like,” James replied, “Remember that last night by the lake with Remus? When he threw you in? That night had an amazing sky. It was so clear and the moon was so big!”
“Yes, but last Summer at this time I was sitting in a cold room in London praying that my lock will hold just a few moments longer. And in the city, you can barely see any stars. It’s too bright,” Sirius laughed bitterly for a moment and then looked at me as if he just had remembered I had been there.
“Have you always live here?” he asked.
“Oh, no,” I replied, “I lived a ways outside of London before the accident. The stars were just the same there as they were here.”
Sirius nodded, taking in that information. I realized that while I found the fact dull and absolutely boring compared to these two boarding school students that acted more like brothers then friends, Sirius and James took the information and processed it. Even if they don’t remember what I said word for word and thought very little of it, I was sure that if the topic ever was to come up by some impossible means, they would be able to draw up the information and this entire conversation. It was something that I never really managed to do. People gave me what I think is pointless information and I forget it immediately, which usually hurt their feelings later on.
“Hey!” Sirius gasped, “Prongs, remember when we were twelve?”
“When your parents had decided that you were unworthy to bring shopping and took your brother to get his school supplies and you snuck out and came over to my house?” James immediately responded, sitting up just as fast as Sirius had.
Sirius glanced at me, “My parents are mad, trust me. If you are ever unfortunate enough to meet them, I advise you to turn around and roll away as fast as you possibly can,” he said and I felt a little taken aback as he turned back towards James, “Exactly! And after we went swimming and attempted to make ourselves lunch we went rolling down this hill?”
Suddenly James’s face lit up like he was just told his birthday has come early, “Let’s do it!” he practically yelled. We all froze for a moment and glanced over at my house. I specifically looked up at the bedroom that I knew belonged to my father. The light was off and the window was dark. It remained so.
“Do what?” I asked when I relaxed again.
“This!” James said.
Like my house, James’s house rested at the top of a hill. It was rather steep going down. When it would snow, I typically looked out the window watching the F-ers’s children going down sleds across the street. Last winter, when it was Christmas holiday for James and Sirius, I had watched them both go down their own hill a few times and had to look away because of how much fun they made it seem. But now, on this warm summer night that was pretty much giving me a new life, James threw himself on his side, thrust his shoulders to the side and was rolling down the hill like a log, right down to the bottom.
“Ha!” Sirius said, barking his laugh hysterically, “I can get a lot more speed then that, deer boy!”
And then Sirius, too, threw himself down the hill. Laughing all the way down. He rolled right into James who was trying to stand up and took him down. Together they laughed, Sirius coughing up grass. Then they looked back up at me who was still sitting contently at the top of the hill with no desire to pull a stunt like that. But James and Sirius wanted me to join them. They wanted to see me roll down just as they had.
“Come on, love!” Sirius yelled.
“Ellie, come on, you have to!” James shouted. They seemed to have completely forgotten to keep their voices down and I glanced worriedly at my house.
“I can’t,” I said.
“Sure you can! It’s all in the shoulders!” Sirius called.
But these boys were not taking no for an answer. They hurried up the hill, tripping over themselves in their haste. When they reached me, they were barely out of breath. Sirius, whose hair was very long and fell very elegantly, was now tousled with pieces of grass in it. James’s hair was even messier then usual and when he ran his hand through it – which apparently is a bad habit that wasn’t as annoying as it was sexy – grass fell out of it and to the ground. His glasses were slightly askew but he didn’t seem bothered to fix them.
“You have to, Ellie!” Sirius said, his voice getting impossibly high as he whined.
“Yeah, really, it’s fun and easy. We’ll even carry you back up!” James said, his voice excited and breathless as he looked longingly down the hill again.
“It’s so childish!” I said, shaking my head.
“You’re only seventeen, right? You’re still a kid!” James said, his eyes bright, “And even an adult has childish moments sometimes. Its how life is. You’re not supposed to grow up and never have fun again. And you, Eliana, need to have more fun.”
“James . . .” I hesitated.
“Do it for me?” Sirius asked, and gave me what could only be described as a puppy-dog face. He pouted his lips, managed to make his grey eyes larger and more breathtaking, and tilted his head to the side. It was astonishing really how well he managed to make me feel instantly guilty. But that wasn’t why I felt myself caving. It had something to do with Sirius wanting me to do the simple task of having fun with them.
“Only if you do it with me,” I said, looking directly at Sirius. I heard James snicker a little and he was already off, down to the bottom of the hill.
“I’ll be right behind you,” Sirius said and I knew that was a promise.
I pushed myself onto my side and with one last look at Sirius, I threw my shoulder towards the ground and I was off. Now, rolling down a hill of grass at eleven o’clock at night was bittersweet. It was sweet because it was fun. I felt like a two year old as I rolled faster and faster, my hair everywhere and grass and dirt flying into my mouth. It was bitter because I had absolutely no control of my legs that stayed anything but stiff and tight on my way down, causing me to bounce painfully on my shoulders as I rolled down. But I could ignore the pain because I was having fun, something I lacked for a long time.
When I hit the bottom I stopped on my side, my feet dangerously closer to James’s head, who was still laying down on the grass, watching. Sirius was definitely right behind me. For a split second, I thought he was going to ram into me quite hard but somehow, he managed to stop himself, lifting himself so that actually managed to push me onto my back. Then he hovered above me, his lower half most definitely directly on top of me.
He certainly looked very surprised to see that this was how he stopped. I was sure that my face mirrored his to perfection. I felt like I was in one of those stories where the charming young man kisses the young heroine while she is trapped beneath him. Of course, a kiss like that would usually be written into something much more dirty but it was really the idea that Sirius was so close. Yeah, he’s been carrying me and had danced with me pressed up against him, but his face had never been mere centimeters away from me.
His shock cleared away much faster then my own. A lazy smirk appeared on his face and he rolled off me onto his back beside me.
“Now, Eliana, wasn’t that fun?” he asked.
“I have to admit, it was,” I laughed. James was sitting up watching both Sirius and I as we laughed and Sirius sang a song about how he told me so.
“Another go?” Sirius asked.
As he picked me up with what seemed like no effort at all, Sirius began walking, James just two feet ahead of us both. I was sure that I had grass in my hair because I most definitely had grass all over my cute off-the-shoulder black top. And I noticed a grass stain, too, on my white shorts. My long, silver necklace was tangled and I was sure it would be choking me in a little while. Typically, I would throw a fit. But something kept me from doing so. The stain would come out and any knot can come undone. There was nothing that my nurse couldn’t do and as long as Dad didn’t notice, I was going to be fine.
“So,” I said as we moved up the hill, “You hate your family?”
“I promise the feeling is quite mutual. Well, mostly. I have a cousin, Andromeda, who is rather fond of me. And my uncle left his entire inheritance to me because he said I was in my right state of mind. My brother, Regulus, he’s kind of hard to decide if I hate or not,” Sirius was thoughtful for a moment and then shrugged, “But for the most part, yes.”
“How can you hate your own blood?” I asked, wanting to tell Sirius that he was lucky that he still had them.
“They don’t approve of those I choose to be friends with,” was Sirius’s answer. His eyes were carefully guarded as he tripped his way up to the top of the hill.
“Surely that’s not reason for hate to arise,” I shook my head, not understanding at all.
“To them, it is. Really, I want nothing to do with them. They aren’t very nice people and once I headed off to school, I became unworthy,” Sirius said, his voice matter-of-fact like he didn’t care, though he wouldn’t look at me, “Besides, I don’t think my mother kept me on the family tree after last summer.”
“What happened last summer?” I wondered.
But we had reached the top of the hill and Sirius changed the subject to rolling down the hill again. Which we, of course, did.
Actually, we rolled down that hill until well past midnight. Sometimes it was Sirius that carried me up the hill and other times, it was James who seemed to find it funny to pretend to almost drop me or complain loudly about me needing to lay off the brownies. Of course, it was all in good fun and I easily had a comment to respond with, which seemed to amuse Sirius more then it did James. Sirius actually did manage to drop me, but only because his feet had slipped out from under him and he went down, too (though he seemed to try incredibly hard to make my fall as easy as possible and try not to land on me himself). I was sure that if a tall, rather lanky woman hadn’t stuck her head out the front door and told James and Sirius to lower their voices before someone complains, we would have rolled down that hill all night.
But at a quarter to one, Sirius and James called it quits. Really, I was surprised. I had expected them to just get louder, but something told me that James wouldn’t cross what was so obviously his mother. Sirius, too, seemed a bit hesitant to do the opposite of what the woman said and lowered his voice considerably. I teased them about it as we sat down on James’s porch. He had set me down on the steps and I leaned back against the pole. The grass had left me slightly itchy, but I wasn’t worried.
“Mum and Lily are the only ones that can control me,” James said, smiling despite himself. Sirius laughed silently.
“His mum is one scary woman when angry,” he explained to me, “But Miss Evans? She’s like a dragon. Trust me, James and I could hide in an empty room for hours and she would still be fuming when she would see us next.”
“Ended up in the hospital wing once,” James said thoughtfully.
“Though Lily was quite sorry about that one. I mean, you had a concussion,” Sirius pointed out. James shrugged.
“I had thought that was when things would change. She stayed up all night with me, you know. Wanted to make sure I wasn’t stupid enough to go to sleep when Madam Pomfrey told me not to. I didn’t tell her that I was given a po – I mean, er, stuff, to stay awake without any conflict,” he laughed to himself.
“Why does she hate you?” I asked.
“James has a hard time not acting like a git around her,” Sirius explained before James could answer, “He’s often bullying the bullies or pulling a prank on someone. And he’s been captain of Qu—uh, a school team since he’s been in fifth year. Really, it’s not his fault. Lily jumped to conclusions and decided that he was too arrogant for her.”
“That,” James added, “And Sirius and I are the best looking guys in our year, not to go tooting our own horns or anything. It’s just fact.”
“We were actually voted so,” Sirius nodded, looking quite modest about this.
“Well I don’t doubt it. You both are very attractive,” I shrugged, not at all embarrassed to admit this, “But wouldn’t that make Lily like you?”
“Lily doesn’t like to follow the crowd,” James said and then got dreamy, “She’s a very strong individual.”
“Yeah, personally, I think she ignores that James is a looker because she doesn’t want to admit that she agrees with what she thinks are brainless girls,” Sirius explained. He was thoughtful for a moment and then shook his head, “Not that all girls at Hogwarts are brainless, of course, she just thinks so when it comes to men and dating and all.”
“Lily believes school and a career comes before boys,” James was still talking with that dreamy voice. I raised an eyebrow and looked at Sirius.
“He’s in love with a nerd?” I asked. This made Sirius laugh a little loud and I had to slap a hand over his mouth to silence him and keep Mrs. Potter from coming out and yelling at us. I didn’t want to meet her while she was angry. That would be a bad impression on me, I was sure. She might already pity me for my disability, but you never knew.
“Lily is not a nerd!” James gasped, putting a hand to his heart like I had poked it with an arrow, “She’s an intelligent, hard working, kind, gorgeous young woman. And I invited her to my house sometime this summer. I just need her to write a letter in response and then you’ll be able to meet her.”
Sirius rolled his eyes and I knew what he was thinking. I didn’t know Lily enough to predict what she would do, but it was obvious that Sirius didn’t think that she would be writing back any time or coming to visit James at all. I felt bad for James to think that. When I had a social life, I had no problem getting dates. I could be a bit of a flirt when I wanted to and I typically set my sights on single boys that were easily won over with a few laughs and a short skirt. I wasn’t easy, don’t get me wrong. I never completely resorted to physical appearances to get a boys attention, but I won’t say that a low cut shirt didn’t help.
I hoped, for James sake, that Lily did write, though. He was obviously more then smitten with the girl. She seemed irritably stubborn to me. Not to mention, she can’t be nearly as smart or kind as James said. If she was smart, she would know better then to think James as arrogant. After all, I doubted arrogant boys rolled down grassy hills. And this might be stereotypical of me, but would an arrogant, boarding-school-attending boy talk to his crippled neighbor? But Lily was definitely not kind if she was so quick to judge James. I mean, she so obviously did not know him. If she did, she would probably be just as much in love with him as he is with her. James was truly sweet and he obviously was loyal to people he liked.
“Looking forward to it,” I said to James, not knowing what else to tell him. He just smiled and looked out at his lawn, his face becoming quite sad.
We sat in silence for a while. Hottie-With-A-Volvo left a little after one and shortly after that, Balding-Man pulled into his driveway. The lights were shut off until only one upstairs light remained on. The Gay-Guys were in bed, as was the woman with the bad perm and the F-ers. Looking over at my house, I saw my chair was missing from the porch and that all lights but the back porch were shut off. Missy had made it seem like we all were in bed for my sake. I would have to thank her for that in the morning.
“What do we do now?” James asked.
“I should probably go home,” I muttered, not really wanting to make that idea reality..
“But it’s only one-thirty!” Sirius gasped, looking at the watch on his wrist. He looked up at me and smiled, “What time does your Dad work tomorrow?”
“Mondays? He leaves at like six in the morning. Doesn’t usually get home till seven. Sometimes he comes home later. I think he avoids home,” I shrugged. Sirius nodded.
“We can hang out all day then!” James said, suddenly looking very happy again. I smiled, also excited by that idea. Sirius wiggled a little to express his own enthusiasm. I swear, if he had a tail it would have been wagging like mad.
“All day with you boys?” I asked. I looked to the sky and said, “God, help me!”
“Ha ha,” Sirius said loudly, “Very cute.”
I smiled at him and James wacked him on the back of the head and hushed him. Sirius offered to walk me home and James said goodbye, literally bowing to me before he went inside. Sirius then lifted me and we walked in silence to the gate and he let himself into my backyard. We walked me quietly around the house and I told him the back door should be unlocked. Sure enough, the glass door slid right open and Sirius poked his head in. My chair was right by the door but Sirius ignored it, sliding the door behind him and carrying me directly into my room as I told him how to shut off all the lights.
Sirius ignored most of what I said as he set me down on my bed where Missy had set up my pajamas for me. He left without a goodbye but returned moments later with my chair and I had him push it right next to my bed. He said good night and then left. I saw the kitchen and living go dark. Surprisingly, all the lights seemed to shut off at the same time instead of one at a time, but I didn’t think much about it as I heard the door shut. I swore I heard the sound of the door clicking locked, but you couldn’t lock the door from the outside.
I put on my pajamas and into my chair. I rolled to the sliding glass door and was surprised to see that the lock most certainly was turned into the locked position. I wondered how Sirius managed it but decided that the lock was probably just broken. It wouldn’t be the first time the lock got loose and would fall shut on us while we sat outside. It made Missy quite angry quite a few times.
Returning back to my room, I finished getting ready for bed, brushed the rest of the grass from my rather messy hair and then climbed into bed after putting Senses Fail into my radio. I turned it on low, just the way I liked it, and wrapped my blankets around me. For a long time, I stared at the ceiling and wondered if James and Sirius had gone straight to bed like I did. Really, I had doubted that they would. They didn’t seem the type to be exhausted when four in the morning came around.
With a yawn, sleep came to me. My last thoughts were about Sirius and that lazy smile he had given me when he was just inches above me, looking down at me with surprise after rolling down the hill.
A/n: I bet ya'll think i'm lazy because this is the third unedited chapter and there's no chapter image. Plus this chapter went up sort of late . . . But trust me, life is very busy. Very, very busy.
But how was it? Good? Bad? Realistic? Corny? Fake? I want to know EVERYTHING! And if you have an idea or something that you think would be fun for Ellie and Sirius to experience, let me here it. :)
Oh, and if you ever find a steep grassy hill (you'll know the perfect one when you see it), I do suggest you roll down it. You life is not complete without such an experience. Trust me.
Until next time.
Did I mention I love you guys so much? Because I do.
Chapter 5: An Underwater Wrestling Match with Sirius Black (with some help from James Potter)
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Disclaimer: It's all Jo's. Plot is mine. Lyrics are Escape the Fate.
An Underwater Wrestling Match with Sirius Black (with some help from James Potter)
that has the chemicals that makes me fall in love”
– Escape the Fate “You Are So Beautiful”
I don’t know whether it was boredom that caused James and Sirius to come over every single day or just the idea that there’s a girl next door them that can’t walk and therefore has to do anything they decide to because they never hesitated to pick me up and carry me to their destination. At first, this was incredibly annoying. Then it made me feel pathetic and weak (until I realized that both James and Sirius had rather long hair that was easy to pull, that is) and I threw a fit. Of course, I liked to think that James and Sirius both just loved my bubbling personality and kindness, wanting to know me more and more. But that was just my own little imagination there.
It had been over a week since Sirius, James, and I rolled down the hill for hours. Since then I had been woken up everyday at eight-thirty, told to hurry and dress, and then dragged on some sort of adventure until Dad got home. Then I would return home myself, eat dinner and take a bath before meeting the boys out on my front porch where I would, again, be carried off to do whatever it was they had in mind until around two or three in the morning. Of course, I sometimes had physical therapy to attend. Whether or not James and Sirius ever slept was a mystery to me, though sometimes while laying out in the sun, Sirius would actually doze off, giving James the opportunity to draw on his face or something related to that.
I had fun with the boys, really. They became my best friends in less then three days. I wasn’t sure how that
happened, to be honest, but it did. There was something about James and Sirius that was very comforting. It wasn’t just the whole “like me” energy they had and it had nothing to do with their immaturity that was actually still mature. No, really, I think it had to do with the idea that Sexy-Four-Eyes and Gorgeous were really oblivious to the fact that I was a girl and that I couldn’t walk. They made me do anything and everything they felt like doing (though they were always quick to double check that it was fine with me since I discovered hair pulling) and my excuse that I can’t walk was nonsense to them.
No longer was I truly embarrassed around James and Sirius. I could literally say anything about anything, even the personal private stuff that I would typically be horrified to mention. And it was because these boys did not hold back. If I got too girlish or whiny, they told me so. If I was boring them with talk about celebrities, they talked over me and told me they didn’t care. But if I told them something that was of obvious importance to me or that had me troubled, they were all ears. Nothing could turn them against me because they had decided they liked me.
It was weird, really.
Every friend I’ve had in the past now seems so fake! I remember the way Beth would roll her eyes when I mentioned my online shopping, how Justin would snort with laughter at my romance novels. They had been my best friends since I was five and they really didn’t listen much to me. That and all my friends from school! The girls that would fuss over my new outfit and beg to borrow something of mine only liked me because I had style. The way boys talked with me like I was the only girl in the room until someone with bigger boobs or revealing more skin strutted in never wanted me for being me in the first place.
When I mentioned this to Sexy-Four-Eyes and Gorgeous, they seemed confused. Of course, these guys were completely clueless about designer labels and why girls care about them so much. But they were very concerned that boys would flirt with me like I was a toy. From what I understood about both James and Sirius, they didn’t date much even if they were the hottest guys in Hogwarts. Sirius claims he has more important things in life (like fixing a motorbike that apparently had been overpriced) and James, of course, had eyes only for Lily.
It was now a Thursday afternoon and very hot. The sky was clearer then ever and the sun was burning down on everything without mercy. I was exhausted, having been jolted awake by my personal alarm clock that happened to be two very hot boys. I had been unable to sleep the night before. My room had been rather warm, even with my fan on. I ended up sleeping on top of sheets with only a t-shirt on, which gave James and Sirius reason to tease me about my Victoria’s Secret undies (and not even that embarrassed me).
Within that morning, James attempted to make me French toast, only to burn half a loaf of bread and have Missy running in, flipping out. Sirius, meanwhile, told me how Cutie-Scarface and Shy-And-Awkward would be coming over later that day and staying for a few days time. That excited me. I wanted to know Remus and Peter both a little better. They had been very nice when I had met them a week and a half ago.
“Their parents are strict?” I asked when Missy served me some decently made French toast and told James how a stove works. He apparently never cooked before.
“Peter’s are,” Sirius explained, playing with the salt shaker and shrugging a little, “They think he’s gotten out of hand since he’s been getting detentions so much. And Remus’s mum just frets a lot. His dad died when Remus was five and she’s all he has so she freaks out that the moment she turns her back on him, Remus will get himself hurt or something.”
“Must be awful,” I commented, “Remus being sick and all.”
“Yeah, but he gets on alright,” Sirius shrugged again and I knew he didn’t want to talk about it anymore.
When I had finished eating, James and Sirius insisted that I go for a walk with them. They did that a lot, telling me it was time to go out and explore town. Typically we did it at night with me clinging to their backs or making faces at them in their arms (James insists I look like a two year old when doing so). But today, they wanted me to see what they called the world during the day. I hadn’t tried to refuse, but I didn’t really enjoy myself. Missy made us bring the chair, so Sirius pushed me and pointed out different sorts of bushes.
“This here is a rose bush,” he said, “See the roses?”
“Beautiful,” I muttered.
“Look it here! It’s a Geranium!” James said, pointing to a flower bed in someone’s yard. My neighborhood was quite small with very large homes. Some had beautiful landscaping and I admired the foreign homes.
“James, that’s a petunia,” I said, looking up at him with a frown.
“Same difference,” James waved a hand and then nudged Sirius, “Let me push now!”
We had returned to my house a few hours before and I was now hot and sweaty. I didn’t mind sweating so much, though I would prefer to stay dry, but the heat. Eh, don’t even get me started. I complained very loudly as I rolled to the sink and got myself a glass of water. James and Sirius didn’t need to be asked, they just helped themselves.
“Let’s go swimming,” Sirius suggested.
I liked swimming with them. Whenever I would swim alone under the supervision of Missy who didn’t want to get wet, I never really had much fun. But James and Sirius played games and dunked me. They weren’t afraid to splash me or make me swim in the deep end. Of course, they were always near by. They seemed to know that even if I could float and swim decently, I wasn’t the greatest swimmer ever. Typically, I was hanging on to a Styrofoam floatie I liked to call a Noodle.
“You mean I have to change?” I complained, just because complaining to the boys was sometimes worthwhile and fun.
“Unless you want to swim with your clothes on,” James replied and then paused, his face lighting up, “Hey, Padfoot, how about we bring Ellie over to my house? Mum is home and she’s been wondering what we’ve been doing lately. Then we can swim in my pool!”
“Why, Prongs, that’s a fantastic idea!” Sirius brightened up considerably, almost knocking over his glass of water that he had set on the counter, and I felt my stomach twist and my heart immediately start to pound a little faster. I looked at both dark haired boys in both shock and worry.
“I’m sorry, guys, but I do believe this is where I am going to have to put my foot down,” I said, trying to sound stubborn and confident. Though I certainly felt like I was going to faint. I didn’t really worry about meeting James’s mum, it was the idea of her knowing about my disability.
Really, it was like this with anyone. I panic when people have to look at me and realize that I’m not quite like them. Not everyone judges, I know from James and Sirius that they don’t always judge, but many do. And I know that because I was one that used to judge everyone. From the number of zits on their face to the smell of their hair. Literally, I was picky and stubborn and I laughed at many behind their backs. What if someone laughs at me? I have to admit, I feel pretty shitty now for being so horrible.
“El,” Sirius said, rolling his eyes, “Go get changed. We’ll wait here with Missy.” He gave me a wink and I stared at him, open mouthed.
“Sirius –“ I began.
“No, no,” he said and I could now see his eyes were amused as he raised a hand to silence me. I stared at him a moment longer and then went to my room.
I found my bikini and dressed. Then I put on a sundress to use as a cover up. I also found my beach towel to use and then rolled out to the kitchen after braiding my hair to the side, not that it was kept tame like that. Water did horrible things to my hair. Especially chlorine water. Even after changing, I was still scowling at the ground and I purposefully ran over Sirius’s foot as I went by. Of course, karma got me back by nearly knocking the chair over.
“Easy, now,” Sirius said, laughing at me.
“I’m mad at you,” I told him as he handed James my towel and picked me up bridal style. I looked over at James, “You too, Potter.”
“Last name terms, are we?” James asked and then smirked, “You’ll love my mum!”
I had no doubt that I would like Mrs. Potter. She was, after all, related to James and therefore he has to be a little like her, right? Or maybe James got his energy from his father . . .? The real question was whether or not Mrs. Potter would like me in return. Who was I anyways but a silly little girl that liked to run around with boys all day and night?
With a goodbye to Missy, we went out my back door. James grabbed my lime green Noodle and, holding it above his head, led the way to the gate. This was why I never bring my chair to James’s yard. There was no path leading to the gate from either house. The grass wasn’t so bad to roll on; it was the rocks and roots that really got me. We weren’t going to risk me getting hurt just so I could have some fun with James and Sirius.
James’s yard was much like mine. It was entirely too big with a pool and plenty of grass. James had a giant oak in the middle of his yard and there was a garden filled with vegetables at the far end of the yard. There was also a flower bed and many bushes and plants scattering the wall of the yard and the house. Beyond that was a pond that Sirius insisted was the home of a rather nasty fish that had a personal grudge against him (he didn’t believe me when I said fish have an extremely small memory span). The rest of the yard was grass. It was extremely healthy for this time of year being a bright, lush green and would probably be incredibly soft under my feet. Definitely not like my grass. I had never seen sprinklers on in the Potter’s yard, however, and found that very strange. James just said that his mother had a green thumb.
I had never set foot inside James’s house. We typically stayed outside or in my house this past week and a half. Of course, James claimed that his parents weren’ home a lot of the time and the house got rather boring with just Sirius for company. Really, I didn’t understand how Sirius could be boring company. Anyways, James left my Noodle and towel on a chair by the pool and led the way into his house, opening the glass door. Sirius stepped inside, still carrying me, and James shut the door behind us.
The moment I had come into James’s house, the smell of fresh laundry hit me. It was mixed with the smell of wood with a tad of smoke. The kitchen, which we had stepped into, was beautiful. The stove and oven looked brand new and dark cabinets lined the walls. The counter in the middle of the kitchen and along the walls was made of the same stone-like material that mine was, only it was a dark onyx and spotted with a lighter brown. The floor was a tile that contrasted beautifully with the darkened cabinets in the room. The table that sat in the dining room to the left was a handsome piece, also of dark wood, with a beautiful chandelier over the table. The chairs had a soft looking, off-white cushion to them.
The room was beautiful and I now wanted to see the rest of the house. However, I was momentarily distracted by a picture of what looked to be a baby James. I swore the baby in the picture was moving, but when I turned my head to look, it was quite still the way a photograph was meant to be.
“Mum!” James called, looking around, “Mum! I want you to meet my Muggle friend from next door!”
“Is it really important that she knows I’m a Muggle?” I asked, still a little offended that their boarding school would go as far as giving regular kids a nickname that was so silly.
“More or less,” Sirius shrugged, smirking considerably.
I heard footsteps and then a woman’s voice saying, “Honestly, James, you could have given me some warning. It would be thoughtful.”
She came into view as she finished speaking and I was quite shocked. I have seen Mrs. Potter many times before. She was quite tall and very lean, just like her son. Her hair was lighter then James’s was and her eyes were a deep blue. Her skin was quite pale, but contrasted nicely with her dark hair. Of course, there was a glint in her eye that was very similar with James’s when he was amused or coming up with an idea, but she was quite an attractive looking woman who was obviously aging very nicely. She was wearing a pair of shorts that went down to her knees and a collared button down shirt that hugged her sides. Her feet were bare and she had her hair clipped back.
A smile spread across her face. It showed all her teeth, the way James’s did. I was shocked by the similarities. I had thought that James might have taken more after his dad. But now that I think of it, from the glimpses I have seen of Mr. Potter, he was a burly man, though quite tall with dark hair. Otherwise, I had never seen him up close.
“Mum!” James said, “Mum! This is Eliana Grant. She lives next door. She’s the girl Sirius and I were telling you all about.”
He sounded like he was twelve. Mrs. Potter must have agreed because she looked at her son for a long time, her eyes still sparkling with amusement, but her face sporting a look of horror. James took to pulling on her arms and Sirius suddenly seemed to be bouncing a little, causing me to shake a little. He had put my feet down so I was upright. I was leaning very heavily on Sirius and he was holding me up considerably well, even though both feet were flat on the ground.
“I remember,” she said and then turned to me and smiled again, “It’s nice to finally meet you, dear, neither of this boys stop talking about you when they are actually home.” She held out a hand and I took it. We shook.
“It’s nice to meet you, too,” I said politely. Mrs. Potter looked up at Sirius.
“You don’t talk nonstop about me with her?” she asked. Sirius hung his head as if he was ashamed, but he was smiling as Mrs. Potter turned back to me, “Oh! Here, have a seat. I’m sure Sirius doesn’t want to go his hold life holding you up like that.”
“I don’t mind,” Sirius said quickly and then looked at me as if scared that I would disappear at that specific moment with the idea of that didn’t want to help me out, “I like watching out for you. Promise.”
“Aw, thanks Sirius,” I smiled, touched. Really, I couldn’t help but admit that Sirius did do a pretty good job of keeping an eye out for me. He led me to the chair Mrs. Potter pulled out anyways and helped me sink down into it. The he tripped over the leg of the table and settled himself down on a chair beside me. James, too, took a seat, but Mrs. Potter remained standing, smiling at me.
“Would you like anything to drink?” she asked me, moving towards her fridge. I shook my head and stopped her.
“It’s alright, I’m fine,” I said.
“At least let me cut up some watermelon,” Mrs. Potter insisted and pulled out half a watermelon from the bottom shelf of her refrigerator. I wanted to protest and tell her she didn’t have to fuss, but I decided that she just wanted to be a good hostess and I should allow her to do so. Missy always said it was polite to accept with in someone else’s home.
I smiled, “That sounds great.”
“It’s not a problem,” she said, finding herself a knife and then, “Sirius had told me you were quite pretty. I have to say, that was an understatement.”
I blushed considerably and looked at Sirius who gave me a wide smile as if to flatter me some more, “Oh, thank you,” I gave Sirius a wink and he laughed out loud. Mrs. Potter glanced over her shoulder at us. She smirked a little and then turned away back to her watermelon cutting that seemed to prove difficult for her.
“Hey!” James shouted, “I was the one that said she was fun!”
“Don’t shout, James,” was all his mother said.
“I’m not sh—” he stopped midsentence, becoming very aware that he most certainly wasn’t talking at a regular level. Sirius and I laughed at him and James pouted, muttering something about hexing, though I was sure I had misunderstood.
“So, Eliana, how’s your father doing? He always seems to be in and out of the house,” Mrs. Potter changed the subject, her knife hitting the cutting board she was using with a dull crack and then making a squishing noise as she pulled it from between the slices.
“He works a lot. But, you know, he’s doing alright,” I replied, trying to sound casual.
“That’s good. I hate to sound like a nosey neighbor, but he seems like he works too hard. I had always thought my husband was the biggest workaholic,” she laughed a little and I was surprised by her bluntness, but then I figured that’s where James got his own. That and she most definitely wasn’t saying such things to offend me. It was conversation.
Maybe it had to do with Sirius and James sitting on either side of me like this was normal – like it was everyday when they brought a young crippled girl into their home to meet their mother – but I felt incredibly at ease with them all. I felt safe and protected and very calm. Mrs. Potter was just another friend. James and Sirius were the greatest friends I’ve ever had the opportunity to get to know. And Mrs. Potter wasn’t going to be like my father and forbid the boys from seeing me.
“Hey, Mum, we’re going to go swimming, alright?” James said, drawing attention from me and back to his mother.
“That’s fine,” she replied and her knife hit the cutting board again.
“Need any help, Mrs. P?” Sirius asked, getting up. He ran into the island in the middle of the kitchen. Mrs. Potter didn’t even turn around even though he winced and cursed under his breath when the corner hit his hip in what looked and sounded very painful.
“No, no, Sirius, you can sit down. I’ve got this covered,” she said simply.
“Great,” Sirius said, rubbing his side.
“Only you would run into a counter,” I commented and Sirius looked at me and smirked.
“Oh, hey, El, I forgot to tell you. Remember that band you wanted me to listen to?” Sirius asked, suddenly very excited. James groaned and put his head in his arms, banging his forehead on the table rather painfully. But still, Mrs. Potter didn’t turn to hear what the thud was.
I assumed she was used to Sirius running into things and figured the thud was him missing his chair or something. Of course, James’s moan gave away that it wasn’t Sirius at all. Maybe both of them ran into a bunch of things? I couldn’t recall James doing anything very clumsy the way Sirius always was.
“You mean Atreyu?” I asked, pushing a loose strand of hair behind my ear.
“Yeah! Them! Well, I gave them a listen. They aren’t half bad,” Sirius grinned, “I’m rather fond of their song Tulips are Better.”
“It’s a good song,” I nodded.
“He played it for an hour this morning. The same song over and over again,” James said, raising his head from the table, “Literally, I’m going to think about nothing now but living, loving, burning, and dying. Beautiful.”
“Here you go!” Mrs. Potter put a plate of watermelon in front of us. I thanked her while Sirius and James grabbed a slice almost immediately. As always, Sirius fell silent with food in front of him. James started picking out some of the white seeds that were stuck in the fruit. I politely took a slice myself. Mrs. Potter smiled, “I was working when you came in. If you need me, I’ll be in the office. You know the rules James, Sirius.”
“Yeah, yeah,” James said rolling his eyes. Sirius didn’t even look up from his watermelon slice, just gave a thumbs up.
“And clean up when you’re done,” she said and then smiled at me, “Nice meeting you Eliana. I hope that you and your family can come by for dinner one night. I’d love to meet your father and your nurse personally and I’m sure my husband would love to meet you.”
“Oh, definitely,” I said, though I knew my dad wouldn’t be coming.
“Remember, Mum! Remus and Peter are coming over today,” James said.
“Yeah, yeah,” Mrs. Potter replied, much like her son.
She turned and left then, shouting a warning to James and Sirius about the “rules” once more before she disappeared. I bit into my watermelon. It was juicy and sweet, like no other watermelon I had ever tasted before. I was a little surprised by the taste of it, but I wasn’t complaining as I took another bite. Juice dribbled down my chin.
“Told you she’d love you,” James said.
“I know you did,” I replied and then laughed a little.
We finished eating our watermelon, Sirius eating the majority of it. Then, after I made Sirius and James wash their hands, we headed out to go swimming. Sirius was carrying me again, even though James had originally gone to lift me. I wondered if Sirius was really just trying to prove that he liked taking care of me, or if it made him feel special that he got to carry me. He set me down long enough for me to pull off my cover-up and then scooped me back up into his arms. However, I soon learned that Sirius hadn’t wanted to prove anything at all. He just wanted to throw me in, which he did.
James’s pool wasn’t a square like mine. It was more kidney shaped and the tile that made up the floor was a darker tile then my own. However, it was nearly as large and there was a waterslide and a waterfall made of rocks at one end. I suppose I was a little jealous about the slide and the waterfall. My pool only had a diving board that was never used, not that I really wanted to dive in anyways. The water was also quite warm and not really as refreshing as I would have liked it to be.
But that didn’t matter. I had been ready to pull myself into the water like I always do, but Sirius apparently thought throwing me in was a lot faster and more amusing. I nearly lost my top and clung to it as I came up for air, putting my floating skills to work. Sirius was grinning up at me. He pulled off his blue t-shirt (it brought out his grey eyes considerably) and dropped it on the ground. Then he jumped over my head and did a canon ball right into the water. James, meanwhile, went down the slide and gave a yell as he went down and skidded into the water, splashing me and a now surfaced Sirius.
“Sirius Black!” I said, ignoring James as I pulled myself towards Sirius. I lifted myself onto his shoulders and pushed down with all my might. Sirius’s head went under.
“Hey!” he said, sputtering, “I didn’t—“
But he was cut off again when I dunked him a second time. James laughed.
“Come on, Ellie, you were going to get wet anyways,” he teased and splashed me. I turned my head away and lifted an arm to block my eyes.
“Ha!” Sirius said triumphantly and then I felt his hand on the top of my head as he dunked me under in revenge. I blew bubbles out of my nose. When I surfaced, I was laughing.
From there, Sirius and I started a rather slow and rather ridiculous wrestling match with the water. The concept was to try and get the other underwater. Sirius easily overpowered me, not just with his strength, but also because he could kick with his legs, while I didn’t have that luxury, though that didn’t truly matter much. I still got Sirius under the water a good handful of times and he was coughing up water just as much as I was as we both fought. I wasn’t going to surrender.
Meanwhile, James continued to go down the slide and often helped me try to beat Sirius despite his distraction in the beginning of the game. He seemed to find Sirius choking on water very amusing, but the fact that Sirius was letting a girl win at wrestling was even more amusing to him. Not that I really was beating him. Though I dunked Sirius a good amount of times, Sirius was definitely giving me some free shots. I pretended like I didn’t notice though.
“Hey!” someone yelled. Sirius and I paused. One of my arms was around his neck the other caught in his left hand while his right prevented my arm from cutting off his air supply. I was on Sirius’s back and he was treading water, keeping his head above water despite my forcing it beneath the surface.
James was sitting on the steps of the pool, grinning. Remus and Peter both were standing on the edge, watching Sirius and I with bemused expressions. I supposed it was pretty amusing. I couldn’t help but notice that Cutie-Scarface looked healthier. His skin wasn’t so pale and he didn’t look so tired. Peter was still the same as I remembered, though he looked at me a little bashfully. I was, after all, in a bikini on his best friend’s back. I let myself smile widely at them in greeting. Sirius too, grinned.
“Moony! Wormtail!” he yelled, “You’re here!”
“I just couldn’t stay away, Pads,” Remus said, clearly joking at he rolled his eyes, “Are you guys going to be in much longer?”
“Of course!” James said, climbing out of the pool, “You know Sirius and I. And Ellie doesn’t take quick swims either. We just got in a half hour ago.”
“It’s only been a half hour?” I asked as I tried to pull my arm out of Sirius’s grip. He was holding on tightly, though, and had managed to get my arm from around his neck so now he was in control.
“What exactly are you doing?” Peter asked, pulling off his t-shirt. He had a very average body, I immediately noted, with a mild farmer’s tan. Obviously, Peter was a little shy without his shirt because he jumped in the water the moment he put it on the chair, as if he had been scared that I would stare at him and then laugh. He was a little on the pudgy side, but it wasn’t like he was overweight.
Remus, on the other hand, made my jaw drop. For someone who is supposed to have a disease that makes people want to run in the opposite direction, his body certainly claims otherwise. I had been expecting the quiet Marauder to be scrawny and very thin. Maybe he would look a little malnourished or something, I had figured. But I had been so wrong I can’t even call it funny. Because Sirius was the most attractive, I instantly thought that Sirius had the nicest body, too. But no, Remus blew Sirius’s body away. He had abs. Rock, solid abs. His deltoids and biceps were strong. His trapezius muscles melted into each other naturally as he tugged his shirt off his head.
I hadn’t been aware that I was staring, with my mouth hanging open, until Sirius dunked me under the water and I swallowed a mouthful. I came back up, sputtering and out of my trance. I shook my head and coughed a little, my throat burning from the chemicals in the pool. I turned to glare at Sirius to see that he was actually glaring at me.
“What?” I asked, angry that he just won our match.
“Stop gawking,” he said and I was taken aback.
“I wasn’t gawking,” I insisted.
“Liar,” Sirius said and then swam away and joined James where he was sitting on the steps, pouting. James glanced at me and then Sirius, looking confused for a moment before he smirked.
“Hey, Remus,” I said, moving to the edge of the pool, “Can you hand me that floatie before you get in?”
“The wha—oh, sure thing,” Remus said and then grabbed my Noodle and handed it to me. I leaned on it and paddled myself over to Sirius and James, giving my arms a rest from having to keep my head above water. I made sure not to stare at Remus for too long, though it was pretty tough not to.
“I’m the one that works out,” Sirius muttered as I floated in front of him. I almost laughed, but decided that it wouldn’t be a good idea to push his buttons right now.
“Hey, Remus, has Lily written you at all this summer?” James asked as Remus stepped into the pool and then pushed off towards the middle of it. I saw the look in his eyes. It was a look that said he wanted to lie, but knew he couldn’t. There was guilt and pity hidden behind the look and I knew what his answer would be.
Apparently, Sirius did, too, because he sighed and patted James on the back as if to comfort him. Lucky for me, though, he was distracted and his scowl turned into worry. There was no pity in Sirius’s eyes like there was in Remus’s(and Peter’s, though he seemed determined to stay out of this particular conversation). I wondered why there was no worry in Sirius’s eyes. I could only guess that he feared James would forever hold on to this Lily Evans. Then again, Sirius may also just have more faith in James then to pity him.
“Yes, a few times,” Remus answered finally.
“Oh,” James said and then chewed his bottom lip thoughtfully.
“Maybe she just didn’t get your letter,” Peter suggested.
“Peter!” Sirius snapped, turning towards Peter and giving him a nasty look.
“Don’t yell at Wormtail, Sirius,” Remus scolded and Sirius sulked for a moment. James was sitting there thoughtfully for a moment.
“She’ll answer. I’m sure she will,” James nodded and then climbed out of the pool and headed towards the water slide. He didn’t have his usual energetic step in his walk this time and I felt my heart go out to James. What could it be like to not have the one you love?
For the next ten minutes, the pool was absolutely no fun. Sirius wouldn’t talk to me, even when I called him names, and James continued to sulk, going down the slide over and over again. Remus and Peter made conversation with me that was entertaining but not like the conversations Gorgeous, Sexy-Four-Eyes, and I all had. I wanted to get out and go home, but Sirius was too busy ignoring me, so I couldn’t ask, and I didn’t want to hurt James’s feeling by asking him to take me home.
But I guess James realized that he was killing the fun (with the help of Sirius) and soon bounced back with an attempt to drown Peter, who didn’t seem to like water wrestling as much as Sirius and I did. That made Sirius laugh, who then tried to drown Remus. Remus went under and came up coughing, having been caught off guard. And then, just like that, everything was fun and exciting again. Sirius swam over to me, grinning widely, and grabbed my hand.
“I want to show you a trick!” he said, his voice extremely loud.
“Alright, show me,” I challenged.
He grabbed my Noodle from me, causing my head to go under. When I resurfaced, he was pointing one end of the Noodle at James and dunking the other end under water. Then he pressed his lips to the hole and blew hard. Water sprayed from the opposite end, hitting James right in the face, knocking his already wet glasses clear off his face.
A/N: Yes, I know its been a while. I've been busy. Very, very busy. But things are getting ready to slow down, which is always a good thing, right? I hope you liked the chapter. Please, let me know what you think. :)