Chapter 4 : A Funny Feeling
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Remus Lupin awoke the next morning tangled in both his bed sheets and his thoughts. He couldn’t get the image of a freckled face and cool, soft hands out of his dreams. Shelley hadn’t even been out of his life for twenty-four hours, and he was already finding himself completely enthralled with a new pair of lips. No matter what people thought of his friends’ reputation, no matter what they thought of him, he didn’t normally behave this way.
With an exasperated snort, he opened the curtains and sat on the edge of the bed, rubbing his eyes. Sirius was still snoring next to him, and he felt like throwing a slipper at him. Sirius and James had more than enough of a reputation, and that extra “enough” poured out into Remus’s reputation.
On the other hand, he thought, crossing to the bathroom to brush his teeth. I’m not too far behind on my mental tally. Maybe I’m just as-
Before he could finish the thought, Peter came stumbling into the bathroom, bleary-eyed and a little sweaty from sleep. “You were late,” he grunted, relieving himself.
“I kissed Elle,” he said, looking in the mirror to gauge his friend’s response.
“You did what?” asked Sirius, who had just entered with a huge grin on his face. “Thatta boy, Moony!” He went for a high-five, which Remus completely ignored. “So are we talking just a bit of snogging or…?” He made a rather rude gesture that caused Remus spit out his toothpaste with more gusto than was necessary.
“I like to get to know a girl before shagging her senseless,” he replied, pushing his way out the door. “It wasn’t anything but a kiss, and it will remain that way.”
“Mental tal-“ began Sirius, but Remus interrupted him with, “Breakfast is far more important.”
“Agreed,” said Sirius, fixing his friend with an uncharacteristically shrewd eye. “But this is far from over.”
“Morning, Lil,” said Brigid, plopping next to her at the breakfast table. “Sleep well?”
Elle sat down gingerly on Lily’s other side, trying to keep all attention from falling on her. So far, so good; Brigid hadn’t asked anything about Remus, and Elle had kept her mouth completely shut. She had to; at least until she figured out a way to make it sound like she hadn’t actually enjoyed it. That wasn’t part of the plan.
“I tried to kiss Potter but ended up slapping him instead,” commented Lily casually, buttering her toast with great delicacy.
“Not helpful,” groaned Brigid.
“I don’t see you doing anything to help,” retorted Lily, jamming the toast in her mouth unhappily.
“Oh, don’t worry,” said Brigid, watching as the Marauders sat down on the other end of the table. “I have something very brilliant and shocking planned.”
“We will certainly know who to turn to when we’re looking for world domination,” said Elle, with a smile as she reached for a banana.
Her eyes locked briefly with Remus’s, and a blush crept into her cheeks. She averted her eyes quickly, only to fall into Sirius’s gaze, who waggled his eyebrows suggestively at her. She stashed the fruit in her bag and muttered, “I have to go.”
Unfortunately for her, none of this went unnoticed by her very observant friends. “What the hell happened last night?” asked Brigid, grabbing her arm to stop her from leaving.
Elle looked nervously back at Remus, but he seemed too involved in trying to get Sirius to stop deep-throating a banana to pay her any attention. “We just kissed,” she said as quietly as possible, her face turning beet red.
“I told you the book would work,” said Brigid, filled to the brim with self-satisfaction. “Where are you going to go from here?”
“I don’t know,” said Elle uncomfortably. “I’m making it up as I go along. Which I think I ought to be doing. Right now.” Remus met her eyes again, and he seemed to be wordlessly apologizing to her. “See you in class!”
Lily and Brigid watched her go in absolute amazement, and they were even more stunned when Remus got up just a minute later to follow her. “I never thought I’d be saying this,” said Brigid. “But she actually does know what she’s doing.”
“More than us, anyway,” grumbled Lily. “This isn’t going to work.”
“Shut up, Lils,” said Brigid, with a fierce smile. “It has to work. There’s no such thing as giving up when it comes to Gryffindors.”
Lily thought for a moment that she might tell Brigid about the feelings that kissing James had awoken in her, but wisely held her tongue. The blonde was a force to be reckoned with, and although Lily usually had no trouble taking her on, she had also never seen Brigid so determined to make something work. “So what’s your grand master plan?”
She was rudely interrupted when a fairly large hand ruffled her hair and irritatingly attractive voice boomed, “Good morning, darling. I hope you slept well. I know I did, but then I’m always a little exhausted after it gets too rough.”
“Buzz off, Potter,” said Lily, knocking his hand away.
“Come on, do you think it’s really fair to go from hot to cold so quickly?” asked James, batting his eyelashes at her. She rolled her eyes at him and abruptly left the table, storming out of the Hall. “Why must her bottom bounce so beautifully when she’s pissed?” he said, with great longing.
“Still at the table,” said Brigid, fixing him with a death glare.
“It doesn’t matter, Mullins,” said Sirius, only half-glancing at her. “We’re not even sure you’re fully human.”
“Human or not,” said Brigid, standing up from the table and gathering her things. “I don’t need to hear about people’s bums.” She punctuated her last word by squeezing Sirius’s tush so quickly, he wasn’t even sure that it really happened.
The stunned silence as she sashayed out the room was enough to cause her to erupt into a fit of giggles as soon as she was out of sight.
Elle’s heart leapt into her throat as she came to a dead halt in the middle of the hallway. She wasn’t sure if her plan of letting him follow was a good one, but she thanked whatever divine being had led her to do it. She tried to get a hold of herself as she turned around, but as soon as she saw his handsome face, she lost everything that she was going to say.
“I’m so sorry if Sirius upset you back there,” said Remus, jogging up to her. “He’s an idiot. I didn’t want you to think that I was cheapening what happened-“
“It’s okay,” interrupted Elle, finally able to speak again.
“-Not that what happened is a big deal,” finished Remus. Hurt, Elle fell silent, and he kicked himself for messing it up. “I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just-“
“Yes?” she asked, looking up at him with hopeful eyes.
“Look, I just got broken up with, and I’m not necessarily looking for anything right now,” explained Remus, though his words trailed off as he saw the disappointment in her face. “But I like you.”
“Really?” asked Elle, a careful smile playing on her lips.
He hadn’t planned on saying, but now that he thought about it, it was true. She seemed far more interesting that Shelley Tambrin (possibly because Shelley only had two things that were interesting about her), and he had felt a very real connection with her the previous night. There was only one way to see if it was still there-
“I’m going to kiss you, okay?” he murmured, moving carefully, remembering how skittish she was.
“Okay,” gasped Elle, her heart pumping madly, trying to ignore the fact that they were in a very public hallway and that, in a moment, his lips were going to be touching hers.
When it happened, though, both their fears melted away. Both felt the same wonderful connection that they had felt the first time; it was almost as if their lips had been made for one another. They moved in perfect synchronization, tasting and relishing, until, of course, the moment was broken by a very baudy, “Ahoy there!”
The other three Marauders came swaggering over, grins spread to their ears. “My dear Moony,” said Sirius, adopting a very proper air. “Weren’t you just saying only moments ago that you weren’t ‘in the mood’ for another girlfriend?”
“Clearly, fair maiden,” said James, jumping in on the joke. “Thou art needing saving from this scalawag.”
“How has horrible breath, I might add,” said Sirius, winking.
Remus clunked him over the head with the palm of his hand and muttered, “Shut up!”
"Well, we'd love to stay and chat," said James, with the same false gallant air. "But there are other fair maidens that need saving."
"Three minutes till class, kids," said Sirius, winking at them. "Remember, there are certain things that cannot be done in that short of time."
Elle turned bright red and with a cry of "Onward, ho!" from Sirius, the three boys hurried away.
"Sorry 'bout that," he mumbled apologetically.
“So you’re not ‘in the mood’ for another girlfriend?” she asked, trying to sound like she was teasing.
“Miss Insontis,” said Remus, with a warm smile. “I would be honored to call you my girlfriend.”
She was unable to censor the brilliant smile that appeared on her face. Even more distressing, she could not stop the butterflies that sprang into action as soon as Remus took her hand in his. It was all happening very fast, faster than she had ever imagined. Only days ago, they were planning this prank of all pranks, and now, here she was, developing feelings for the person she was going to hurt.
As they turned the corner, she saw Brigid and Lily about to go into the classroom. Brigid grabbed Lily by the shoulder, and then gave Elle a delighted thumbs up. Elle acknowledged her with a small nod, trying to ignore the sickening feeling in her stomach. If only she knew.
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