Chapter 1 : Softer Than The Rain
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Summary: One late evening, an unsuspecting Remus Lupin runs into Emilie Applewhite – the girl he spent an eventful summer with several years ago. They slowly get reacquainted with one another, but find that many things have changed.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. All things recognizable belong to J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury Publishing, Scholastic Books, The WB, etcetera. No copyright infringement intended.
What a dream I had: pressed in organdie
Clothed in crinoline of smoky burgundy;
Softer than the rain.
- Simon & Garfunkel
The sun bore down on the forest. Its bright rays bounced off Emilie’s dark, silky hair and sparkled and shone on the brook’s water. Remus sighed contently, lounging back against the willow tree. His jeans were rolled up to his thighs, his legs dipped knee-deep in the brook.
“I never should’ve left,” Emilie said, flicking her hair over her shoulder. She leaned back against the tree trunk, her hand brushing over his.
Remus merely nodded in agreement, distracted by the nearness of her. The light summer breeze played with her hair, lifting it off her shoulders before gently letting it down again. Her dark eyes looked at him – non-judging, open and honest – and her lips were drawn into a teasing smile. His insides squirmed.
“You’re beautiful,” he blurted out. His cheeks were on fire the second the words left his mouth. For a moment, he wished he could’ve taken them back, but then she giggled and said, “Why, thank you.”
They sat in comfortable silence for a little while. Her hand softly traced the scar on his left arm, her fingers running up and down his skin. The feeling of her touch was tantalizing, and it took him every ounce of self-control he possessed to keep his hands off her.
She cocked her head to one side, her hair brushing across the bare skin of her shoulder. “Remus… you mean everything to me.”
He gulped. “You… you mean a lot to me, too.” He wanted to avoid her eyes, but found himself unable to do so – her gaze was holding him captive.
Biting on her bottom lip, she studied his face as though waiting for something more. He was too embarrassed to tell her what he really wanted to say, though, and she eventually let go of his hand. Suddenly, she sat upright and stared intently at him. He blushed under her fervent gaze.
She slowly raised a hand to her chest and started to unbutton her blouse, her movements deliberate and seductive.
“Emilie? What… what are you doing?” he stammered once he had gained control over his voice. His cheeks were aflame. “Emilie?”
He couldn’t shrug off the hazy feeling that this had already happened to him, that the exact situation had occurred before, far back in his past.
Emilie smiled bewitchingly, sliding one shoulder out of her blouse. Her skin, tan and flawless, seemed to call out to him. “What does it look like I’m doing?”
“I – I don’t…” Remus struggled to find the right words, distracted by the thoughts and scenarios popping up in his mind. “You’re… you’re wearing a swimsuit, aren’t you?”
She pulled her bottom lip between her teeth and moved closer to him until she straddled him, her knees flanking his legs. Her face was just inches removed from his when she whispered, “Would you like to find out?”
“Em?” he managed to get out, but then she pressed her lips against his, effectively cutting him off. Her hands tangled in his hair and pulled him closer. He wound his arms around her back and held her tight, pleasantly surprised by her sudden aggressiveness. The tiny moan that slipped past her lips filled him with an almost childish feeling of giddiness. Daringly, he lowered one hand to her hip and pressed her closer – as close as she could possibly get.
Emilie suddenly pulled back, her hair mussed up, her lips dark and moist. “I love you, Remus,” she whispered, caressing his cheek with the back of her hand. “I love you.”
Remus Lupin awoke in cold sweat, his breathing ragged. The loud, erratic beating of his own heart overpowered the sounds of the street below. He kicked the covers off, his head light and befuddled. Disorientated, he sat up and peered through the darkness. He could discern the vague contours of his chair and desk in front of the window. The curtains blew in the wind, the pale moonlight filtering through.
He groaned and let himself fall back to his bed, the intense pleasure he’d experienced in his dream dampened by the pain of realizing he was alone. His heartbeat gradually slowed down, but the pounding in his head would not go away. Always the same dream, always the same ending. He had once tried a spoonful of Manny Morgan’s Draught of Dreamless Sleep before going to bed, but its side effects (a runny nose, morning headaches and a blotched skin) had led him to chuck the flask away the very next morning. Part of him wanted nothing more than for the dreams to stop; the rest of him savoured the stolen moments with Emilie, the exhilaration of being so close to something he knew he’d never again have.
Remus rubbed his temples wearily and turned to lie on his side. It was a dark night – the moon a mere sliver – and from where he was lying, he couldn’t see any stars at all. He wondered what Emilie was doing. Did she still live in London? Did she still think of him? Or dream of him, even? He could almost picture her, only several miles away from him: blissfully asleep, her lips parted, her dark curls fanned out on her pillow.
Emilie, he had to admit, was the main reason he had chosen to move to London. The idle hope of running into her – someday, somewhere – was one he couldn’t quite quench. Occasionally, on the underground, he would see a woman with her hair, her way of walking, or her smile. Or he would catch a whiff of the perfume she used to wear - the scent of cinnamon and apples. The air would be knocked out of his lungs as memories assailed him.
But it never was Emilie. He hadn’t seen her since their summer in Little Angleton – the best summer of his life.
Reaching underneath his mattress, his fingers closed around the picture she’d given him. Its corners were crumpled and the edges had started to yellow. A large fold ran across the picture, resulting in a seemingly crooked grin on Emilie’s face. The grin was contagious: he felt a smile tugging at the corners of his lips.
He placed the picture on the pillow next to his own, his thumb grazing briefly over Emilie’s face. He hadn’t seen her for over four years – she must have changed. Closing his eyes, he tried to imagine just how she would have changed, and where she could possibly be. He wasn’t quite sure how, but somehow, he ended up picturing her underneath the willow tree again, a full-out smile dimpling her sun-reddened cheeks.
“And I love you,” he whispered as he fell asleep, joining her underneath the willow’s canopy. “I love you, too.”
Emilie Applewhite awoke early in the morning; it was still dark outside when she wrestled her way out of David’s embrace. He mumbled something in his sleep and switched sides, turning his back to her. Smiling, she gave him a light shove. “Get up, you lazy bum. You have class in an hour.”
He groaned and threw his arm over his head. She shook her head, smiling, and hauled up her jeans. “You’re going to be late,” she said good-naturedly as she pulled her sweater over her head. “Gardner will kick your arse for sure.”
“Not going to happen,” he said knowingly, rolling over on his back. His eyes followed her as she crossed the room and pulled on her shoes. “Gardner loves my arse too much.”
She cast him a doubtful look. “I wouldn’t count on it, love.”
“Jealous?” he asked, moving into a sitting position.
Grinning, she rolled her eyes. “Oh please. As if.” She grabbed her hairbrush off her nightstand and wandered into the hallway. “Breakfast?”
His reply - somewhat muffled - came from the bedroom. “I’d love some.”
Drawing her brush through her hair, Emilie entered the living room. Her eyes automatically searched the vase on top of the telly. A familiar shiver ran up her spine - the rose’s petals had turned red yet again. Was Remus thinking of her? Her stomach clenched, and her lips curled into a hesitant smile.
She heard David moving around in the bedroom and - remembering that she was already running late for today’s lecture - shook off her thoughts. She was halfway through her bowl of yoghurt when David popped up behind her and kissed her neck. His unkempt, dark brown hair tickled her skin, and she giggled quietly. “I’m off now,” she said, handing him her bowl. Winking, she added, “Give Mrs. Gardner my regards.”
David grinned and pulled her in for a kiss. “Mm… all right. I will see you after class?”
Shaking her head, Emilie grabbed her keys off the kitchen table. “I have to work tonight. I don’t think they’ll let me go before ten.” The bookshop she worked in - Dilley & Littleton on Charing Cross Road - would be open until nine tonight, and many of the shelves had to be reorganized.
He grimaced. “I’ll be thinking of you.”
“And I’ll think of you,” she smiled. As she closed the door behind her, though, any thought she might have had about David had already vanished; instead, memories of a certain Remus Lupin filled her mind.
I know it’s not a very long chapter, but I wanted to get things started before you would forget all about Remus and Emilie. Hope you liked it so far, though.