Chapter 4 : Lay Down the Cards
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Disclaimer~ I don’t own the Marauders or black jack. Nor am I old enough to gamble. But once I turn 21, VEGAS HERE I COME!
“I don’t mean to be rude, but where are we go-“
“Shush! I don’t want to here your incompetent voice when I don’t have to.” Sirius made an angry pout and kept walking. They were going through the many halls of the castle to get to their destination. With his arms crossed, he looked like a little boy out shopping in the market with his shorter, and evidently younger, mom.
Sirius noticed something again. There was that square lump in her pocket. This was the second time he had seen it. What on earth was in it? He was very curious to find out what it was. But Sirius knew better than to ask. He didn’t want to tick off Alex again.
In about three minutes, they were there. It had been their first meeting place. “Why on earth are we in the courtya-“
“I said shush! Don’t you ever listen?” Alex angrily walked to a large rock in the center as Sirius trailed after her like a puppy. He was so curious to what she was going to do.
Alex was now the first to speak. She had started to smile that strange smile again. “I am willing to make an agreement with you, but you have to go with my rules. No negotiations.”
The comment and the smile scared Sirius a bit, but he didn’t show it. He brushed it off. Now he was really curious as to what she was planning. He decided to listen to what she was going to say.
She was staring at him. “Have you ever heard of black jack?”
Sirius seemed annoyed at her comment. “For the last time, my name is Sirius!”
Her smile turned to a frown in an instant. “I’m not talking about you, I’m talking about black jack. A game.”
“I sure haven’t heard of it. I have no time for games.”
“Do you want me to tutor you or not?” She did have a point. That kept him quiet. Alex dug through her cloak pockets and found what she was looking for. It was the mysterious, small, square object. She pulled out a small deck of cards. On the backs of them, they were decorated with a golden letter G, and had two red and yellow lions on the sides facing each other. This obviously marked her as a Gryffindor.
Alex looked back up at him. “The game is simple. We each try to get as close to the number 21 as we can get, but we cannot go past it.” Looking at Sirius’s intrigued face, she went on. “In a game, there is one dealer; that’s me, and there are players. In this case, it is you. The dealer will hand out the cards. You get two face down cards, and I get a face down and a face up.
Sirius was trying as hard as he could to make mental notes of these strange rules. Alex went on.
“You look at your cards without showing me and add them up. You either choose to get another card to add to the amount, or you choose to stay. If that card makes you go over 21, you lose. If it doesn’t, then you can stay with your amount, or pick another card.
“Once you are done with that, I show my face down card. I have no choice but to keep on adding cards until I am at 17 or higher. Whoever gets the higher amount without going over the limit wins. Got it? Oh, and I forgot to mention, all the royalty cards are worth ten and the ace can be worth either eleven or one.”
Sirius looked completely off guard. Simple? This game was far from it. Sirius thought about the rules in his head. He needed a strategy. “Can we have a practice game?”
Alex looked kind of annoyed at his request, but shrugged and started shuffling the cards. Her handy work was quite impressive. Sirius just starred at her hands as she played around with the deck.
She dealed them out in the fashion that she had explained in deep concentration. Her face up card was an ace. This gave her the advantage. Did he dare look at his cards?
It was a five and a seven. He thought twelve was pretty good to start on.
“Give me another card.” She gave him a card face down in front of him. He picked it up and looked horrified. It was a queen. He had lost with just one over the limit. He laid down the cards he had and Alex had lit up. She flipped over her face down card to Sirius a jack.
“Black Jack. I win.”
But Sirius had looked at her like he had just accomplished something great. “That was just a practice round. I’ll do better in the next game!”
Alex made a very disgusted face at him. “Don’t count on it.”
She began shuffling the cards again. “Now it’s time for business, time to gamble.” She was thinking of her next move. “Now, this is the real deal. Let me think… if you win, I tutor you for the entire year. Now if I win…” She paused for a moment. “you have to work for me. Carry my things for me. Wait on me hand and foot.”
Sirius didn’t like the circumstances, but he didn’t see any reason for protest. He nodded his head and they began.
She dealed out the cards again. She was keeping a very close eye on Sirius to make sure he wasn’t about to cheat. He probably would have, if he weren’t so scared of her. The card formation was exactly the same, except for one thing.
Alex couldn’t believe her horrible luck, she had gotten a two. A TWO! That is one of the worst cards for the dealer to get. It would be very easy for her to go over the limit.
Sirius then looked at his cards. He got ten and five. He had to think hard to either get another card, or stay at 15. After some thought, he decided to risk it.
“Give me one more.”
He was passed the card. It seemed to go very slowly at him. He really didn’t want to work for Alex at all. He was almost scared to pick up the card he was given. Finally, he picked it up. Three. That was a great number to get for him. He thought it smart to stay at 18 and not go on any further.
Now it was her turn. She flipped over her second card to see a nine. That made eleven. She reached over to the pile of cards to take the top one. She peeked at it. Five, But she couldn’t stop at sixteen. She needed just one last card. She went for the pile again to come to her demise. King.
That had ended it all. Sirius had stared at the two sets of cards. He had won. He was the undisputed winner. Anyone could see that. He just couldn’t register it all into his brain with all the shock. He gave a deep sigh of relief. The game was over.
But then, being Sirius Black, he needed to do the one thing he does best, next to pulling practical jokes.
“HA, HA! I beat you! I beat you! NA, NA, NA NA, NA!” Alex didn’t think the gloating was necessary. Anyone who knew her personally knew that she hated to lose.
“Alright! I get it. Fine, I’ll tutor you. What a pain in the neck. Ugh, I need an aspirin.” She took out a piece of parchment and put it on the rock to write on. “I will meet you every week day. From 4:00 to 8:00. I expect you to be on time, unlike our first little meeting.”
Sirius gaped his mouth wide. “FOUR HOURS? I’ll never have time! I have important business to attend to each day.”
Alex looked very displeased at this. “Oh? Like what?”
“Um… you know… stuff?”
“Oh! Like hanging out with your friends and dumping fish on woodland creatures?”
Sirius was even unhappier. In his mind, he is the only one who can be sarcastic. He didn’t like people stealing his mojo. That kind of stuff was important to him. What did this girl think he was? Obviously one who socializes too much. “It’s a deal then. Remember, 4:00. Bring your school things.”
She picked up her things and started to walk away. Then she half turned. “Oh, and just so you know, you have three minutes to get to class.” She nonchalantly walked away, without a care in the world.
Sirius scrambled for his bag and screamed. “Oh my gosh! Classes!”
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