A/N: Chapter SEVEN. The long-awaited explanation for a rather terrible cliffhanger. Read and enjoy!
Disclaimer: “Gidget” and all related references are owned by ABC. “The Brady Bunch” is also owned by ABC. “M.A.S.H.” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” are owned by 20th Century Fox. “Fawlty Towers” is owned by BBC. “Monty Python” is owned by Columbia Pictures Corporation.
“Wha—what are you doing here, Sirius?” Rhian asked shakily, praying that the situation wasn’t what it looked like. She felt Will’s arm drop from her shoulder.
“James has the keys to my motorbike,” Sirius mumbled, eyeing Will with a look of hate, but also looking ashamed and guilty.
Sirius and Rhian stood staring at each other for a few awkward moments, before Will quickly said, “I’ll go ahead, then,” to Rhian. She nodded and watched him disappear down the steps.
“Me too,” the girl said, sounding very embarrassed and sincerely sorry. Rhian almost regretted the situation. Sirius’s…whatever…sounded nice.
“So,” Rhian began, her voice cracking, “who wants to go first?”
“Who is he?” Sirius asked.
“WHO IS HE?”
“Stop yelling, you hypocrite!” Rhian folded her arms.
“Hypocrite? I’m not cheating on you!”
“I’m not cheating on you! Will’s just a friend!”
“Real original, Clark!”
“Siruis, please. I don’t want to yell and I don’t want to be yelled at. I’m angry and hurt just like you are, so can we just talk about this?” Rhian sat on one of the steps, and Sirius did the same.
“Who is…Will?” Sirius had difficultly saying the name.
“I’m serious, he’s just my friend. He works at the coffee shop I go to every day. We were going to an a capella concert tonight.” Rhian thought that everything she said sounded lame.
“I don’t remember him from school. Did he go to Durmstrang, or Beauxbatons—?”
“Eton. He’s a Muggle. He goes to university now.”
“A Muggle?” Sirius sounded surprised.
Rhian nodded. “I swear, Sirius, we were just going to this concert as friends.”
“You were wearing the same t-shirt.”
Rhian felt incredibly stupid. “It’s just…I don’t know, we do goofy things sometimes.”
“I’m sorry I yelled. I just feel so—”
“Believe me, I have a reference point,” Rhian reminded him.
“Oh, yeah. Isolde and I definitely weren’t on a date. We went out third year, and I saw her in Diagon Alley about a month ago. We’ve met up for lunch and dinner a few times since then.”
“You know I’d never cheat on you, Rhian.”
“You two did look good together.”
“You and he would have made an attractive couple.”
Rhian felt so guilty she felt nauseas. “Sirius?”
“I don’t think things are working out.”
“You mean with us?”
“What I mean is…I like Will.”
“Oh.” Sirius seemed taken aback.
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry! I don’t know how it happened, but it’s just the way things are and—”
“What?” Rhian was dumbfounded.
“To be completely honest, I like Isolde.”
“What are the odds?”
“I’m sorry I didn’t say anything earlier, but I didn’t want to hurt you. I totally screwed everything up the first time around, and you’re an amazing girl, and I didn’t want to lose what we had. But when we graduated, we just—”
“—didn’t have it anymore.” Rhian finished his sentence. “I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but that’s exactly the same reason why I didn’t say anything to you. I didn’t want to hurt you like I hurt Remus.”
“So, I guess we’re broken up.”
“I guess,” Rhian shrugged her shoulders. “Have you told Isolde you like her yet?”
“She’s told me she likes me.”
“How did you respond?”
“Well, I said that I had a girlfriend and we were going through a rough patch.”
“Hey, you’re a free man now.”
“I suppose. What about you and Will?”
“I haven’t told me how I feel. I have no idea if he likes me back.”
“I bet he does. You’re such a nutter that any guy who puts up with you must have some ulterior motive.”
Rhian smacked him.
“You can’t say you don’t deserve it!”
Sirius chuckled. “Yeah, I’m really a dick, aren’t I?”
“I think we’re going to be just fine, Sirius.”
“Best breakup I’ve ever had.”
“Maybe we can actually be friends now.”
“Without all that pesky sexual tension.”
“We’ve never actually been friends before, you know. I mean, we went out, broke up, never stopped liking each other, and went out again.”
“We should probably get going…I mean, if you’re going to catch Isolde and I’m going to catch Will.”
“Take care of yourself, Rhi.” Sirius patted her shoulder.
“Goodbye, Sirius,” said Rhian, heading in the opposite direction. With that business over, she had to find Will. Where could he have gone? Hopefully he hadn’t gone ahead to the a capella concert, because Rhian had no idea where it was. Maybe he headed home? Rhian quickly realized that she actually had no idea where he lived. She glanced inside the coffee shop as she walked by and spotted a figure sitting at the counter.
“Will?” she called out, opening the door that should have been locked at this hour.
“Rhian,” Will answered, turning around with a look of melancholy. “I’m so, so sorry! I didn’t mean to cause you guys to fight, I acted completely inappropriately.”
“You’re sorry?” Rhian asked, sitting down beside him.
“Yeah, of course.” Will seemed a bit surprised. “I mean, your boyfriend looked really angry. You know I’m not the kind of guy who tries to break up relationships. Hey, maybe I can talk to Sirius, once he cools down, and explain—”
“You said you were sorry? For what?” Rhian was scared now. Did he know how she really felt about him? Did he not feel the same way?
“Yes, I mean, your boyfriend must have thought that there was something going on between us,” Will said nervously.
“There wasn’t?” Rhian felt heartbroken.
“What? No,” Will paused. “Am I missing something?”
Rhian looked down at her feet, determined that she would not let herself cry. It wasn’t like she could salvage her friendship with Will at this point; things were certain to always be different from now on. Rhian bit her lip and decided to come clean.
“I love you!” she burst out.
“Pardon?” Will’s eyes widened.
“Well, I don’t quite know if I love you, because I’ve only known you for what has it been, four or five months?” Rhian said very quickly, standing up and pacing. “All I know is that seeing you every morning is my favorite time of the day, and every time I see you my heart races, and you understand my sense of humor better than anyone else, which is saying something because it’s really complex and bizarre!” Will stood up and Rhian stood still as he walked over to her. “And now I’m telling you this because I can’t keep it a secret anymore, and I don’t want to keep it a secret, but you’ve made it pretty clear that you think I’m just this mental patient who’s addicted to coffee and should probably tip you better, but honestly my salary isn’t that high as a trainee, once I graduate from the program I’ll make a lot more—” Will slipped his arms around Rhian’s waist and kissed her. It goes without saying that Rhian did not foresee this, and was very surprised, but pleased at the same time. She wrapped her arms around Will’s neck and kissed him back.
“Huh?” Rhian asked when Will pulled away.
“I love you too.” Will smiled.
“But you never said anything.”
“You never said anything either. Plus, you had a boyfriend, so you weren’t exactly on the market…oh no, you have a boyfriend.” Will’s face fell.
“Oh, no, we just broke up!” said Rhian happily. “Turns out he liked that girl he was with, and I liked you, so why should we stay together? The only reason neither of us said anything was because we still cared about each other as friends, and didn’t want to hurt the other.”
“That’s a relief.”
Rhian took Will’s hand and beamed. “I’m happy.”
“Me too,” he grinned back. “Oops.” Will checked his watch. “We missed the a capella concert.”
“I think I’ll live,” Rhian said.
“Do you want to do something else?”
“Is there anywhere we can go and not look stupid wearing matching The Clash t-shirts?”
“Hey, let’s go to my place and watch TV. It is across the street, after all.”
“Uh, could you wait outside for like two minutes?” Rhian asked, realizing that Lily and James were inside and probably should be clued in on the events of that evening.
“Got to tell Lily and James what happened?”
Will kissed her. “I’ll be right out here.”
“Yoo hoo?” Rhian called as she closed the front door behind her.
“What are you doing home so soon?” Lily asked, Scourgifying the dishes in the kitchen and being assisted by James.
“Alright; this is a really complicated story that I am about to tell you, and you must promise not to get angry and to realize that everything turned out for the best. You too, James,” Rhian said, looking at him.
“Um, sure,” James said, sounding very suspicious.
“Okay, when I left here with Will, we saw Sirius and this blonde girl in the stairwell.”
“Who’s Will?” James asked.
“Rhian’s coffee guy. Ignore him, Rhian,” said Lily.
“Well, needless to say it looked pretty bad. Sirius looked really angry, and Will and Isolde left really quickly. Then Sirius started yelling at me, and I started yelling at him, and it got pretty ugly.”
“Hold up now, Padfoot would never cheat on you, Rhian!” James exclaimed.
“Then,” Rhian continued, “we realized that we weren’t mad at each other, but that we were more ashamed at liking different people but staying in our relationship.”
“Sirius liked someone else too?” Lily asked.
“No he didn’t,” James affirmed, “he loves Rhian. He will always love Rhian.”
“Oh, shut up for a second, James,” said Lily. “He and Rhian were never going to get married and live next door to us.”
“Sorry, James,” said Rhian, realizing just how much her relationship with Sirius affected everyone around them. “But then we decided that the best thing for everyone would be to break up, so we did. And now…I’m going out with Will.”
“Oh, congratulations Rhian!” Lily hugged her best friend.
“Well, if you and Padfoot are happier, I guess I approve,” said James.
“Sorry Rhian, but James and I will be late if we don’t leave now,” said Lily.
“No, it’s fine, I actually almost forgot that I left Will outside the door,” Rhian said. She ran to the door and opened it, smiling and winking.
“Good to see you again,” Lily said. “I’m just sorry that James and I have to leave.”
“Nice to meet you,” James nodded, extending his hand. Rhian breathed a sigh of relieve that James could mask his disappointment, if for a few minutes.
“Likewise,” Will replied, shaking James’s hand.
“We’d best be going!” said Lily, taking James with her.
“Okey dokey,” Rhian said now that Lily and James had left, “let’s take a look at what’s on the telly.” She took Will’s hand and led him to the living room. Will sat on the couch as Rhian scrolled through the channels.
“Yes!” she exclaimed once she found a suitable program.
“What is it?” Will asked, putting his arm around Rhian’s shoulder once she sat on the couch beside him.
“Gidget!” Rhian grinned.
“You don’t know Gidget?” Rhian said in disbelief.
“Apparently not,” Will said.
“It’s like the best show ever! Okay, it’s about this girl from America and her nickname is Gidget and she likes surfing and her boyfriend is called Moondoggie!”
“Do you have any idea how insane you sound?”
“And does Gidget learn a valuable lesson every episode?” Will asked when the end credits were rolling.
“Without fail,” Rhian smiled.
“I think it’s because of shows like this that I wasn’t allowed to watch television growing up.”
“You weren’t?” Rhian couldn’t believe it. “Well, mister, we’re going to have to give you a crash tutorial. Okay, so The Brady Bunch led the revolution in step-family comedy, but the show isn’t really that funny, so we’ll discuss what I deem to be the most humorous show, M.A.S.H. I’m also a student of The Mary Tyler Moore Show…”
“Are these all American programs?”
“You didn’t let me get to Fawlty Towers yet! You do know about Monty Python, right?”
“Vaguely,” Will said. “You aren’t going to yell at me, are you?”
“Poor, poor Will,” Rhian patted his shoulder. “We’re going to have to get you to stop reading and start watching a bit more telly.”
Above their heads, raindrops began to fall from the clouds and lightly hit the roof, streets, and world outside. For now, the world was at peace and full of love.
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