So if you're lonely why'd you say you're not lonely
Oh you're a silly girl, I know I heard it so
It's just like you to come and go
And know me no you don't even know me
You're so sweet to try, oh my, you caught my eye
A girl like you's just irresistible
-The Fratellis, Whistle for the Choir
“Well, lucky you, you get the fully fledged tour of the Potter mansion,” said James, laughing. I was taken aback when we first rolled up the drive to their house. I always knew James was well off, but I guess I never expected… this. They had a mansion. Huge grounds. There was a fountain in the driveway.
I dropped my suitcase beside the front door. The Potters bustled straight across the hall and into another room, and James turned to me and put his hands on his hips.
“So? What do you think?” he asked, glancing around the hall with a smile on his face.
“I can’t believe this is for real,” I said, gazing around. “You never told me you had a mansion.” He grinned.
“It never really seemed necessary,” he replied. “Okay, so follow me. We don’t have time to go around every room, but I’ll show you the essentials.” I followed at his heel like a puppy as he led me through corridors and hallways, showing me the kitchen, dining room, living room, study, library, “. . . and this is the ballroom,” he said, smiling at the expression on my face as he pushed open a huge door to reveal an enormous, lavishly furnished and decorated room, with white marble flooring and a painting on the rounded ceiling. My jaw hit the floor. “This is where we have the New Years Eve Ball,” he continued, closing the door. “Which you’re invited to, if you want to come,” he added.
“Um . . . I guess . . .” I answered, wondering what I would wear.
“So do you want me to show you your room?” he asked and I nodded. He led me up the first flight of stairs and down a corridor. He opened the fourth door on the right, revealing a four-poster bed with blue covers, a desk, a bookcase filled with books, a thick blue carpet and blue walls.
“Wow. This is beautiful,” I said, forming my first coherent sentence since I had arrived. James flicked his wand and my suitcase appeared on the bed. “Thank you,” I said, turning around and smiling into his eyes.
“If you ever need me, I’m just a few doors away.” He grinned, gesturing back down the corridor to a door covered with signs saying things like ‘Keep Out’ and ‘Danger: No Entry’. I couldn’t help laughing at the immaturity of it.
“I’ll bear that in mind,” I replied with a smile.
“Dinner is at seven, and despite what you’ve probably seen in films, you do not have to dress for dinner,” he said, laughing. He then paused. “Okay, I’m not suggesting you come down naked. I mean don’t dress UP.”
“I know what you meant, Potter,” I replied, laughing. “I’ll be fine, thanks for showing me around.” He waved and I closed the door quietly. I looked around my room slowly. This was definitely going to be my most interesting Christmas holidays to date.
“Christmas Eve!” James called excitedly. I hung out of my bedroom door and grinned as I saw him hanging out of his and waving. It had been about a week since my arrival at the Potter mansion. The days so far had been filled with playing Quidditch with James (although I was awful), teaching him how to play football (which I played a little bit in primary school), watching wizarding television (which was pretty interesting) and reading the many books in the Potters’ library. It was really quite uneventful. That was, until Christmas Eve.
“Want to go downstairs and watch Christmas movies?” I asked. I had figured out how to bewitch the Potters’ magical TV to play my muggle videos, of which I had brought a stash. James nodded and I walked over to his door and we made our way downstairs together. We stopped in the front hallway so James could show me a picture of him and Sirius in primary school that he’d told me about earlier that day. It was late evening now, the stars hidden by clouds that promised snow in the morning. James and I had been planning our sledging exploits for the next day already.
“Hey . . . look at that,” said James softly, putting the picture back on the mantelpiece. I glanced at his face; he was looking up. I followed his gaze and saw what he was staring at.
“Mistletoe,” I murmured quietly, gazing at it hovering above our heads. I looked back at James’ face again. I think he noticed me looking because he dropped his gaze and met my eyes. For a second I swear he leaned in towards me, and I guess I must have started to do the same. Our faces were inches apart. I could feel his warm breath on my cheek-
“Prongs! Prongs, mate, open up!” came a shout from outside the front door. James and I sprang apart and he ran to the door where a figure could be seen through the opaque glass, banging on the door frantically. James unlocked the door quickly and swung it open. Sirius practically fell through the door, coughing and shivering.
“Mate, what’s wrong? What’re you doing here?” asked James, worriedly. He put a hand on Sirius’ back as he coughed. I went over to the front door and closed it to stop the freezing wind blowing in.
“Couldn’t take it any more, Prongs. I ran away,” Sirius wheezed between coughs. He looked up for the first time and I gasped. His face was covered in bruises and cuts; he had a black eye.
“What happened to you?” I asked, horrified.
“My parents-” he began, but was unable to finish the sentence as he burst into a coughing fit. It seemed the worst was over, and he stood up straight to reveal more bruises on his neck and arms. “Sorry, Prongs, I didn’t know where to go. It was worse tonight than it’s ever been. I apparated straight here.”
“What’s all the noise?” called Mrs Potter, who appeared in the kitchen doorway and gasped. “Oh Sirius my dear! Come with me, what happened to you?” she bustled over and took Sirius away into the kitchen. James and I were left dumbstruck in the hallway, staring after them.
A/N: I'm going to stop apologising for the length of chapters, because seriously, they're all roughly the same length. You'll live with it. Heh. Anyway, please review! You know I love to hear from you!
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