Chapter 2 : Nothing Going Right
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“You stay two feet away from me at all times, unless you see James.”
“Holding hands only if James is around.”
“If you feel the urge to put your arm around my waist, restrain that urge.”
“And if you kiss me, even pecking me on the cheek, I swear I will make your life miserable forever.”
“Glad we understand each other.”
Kelsey and Sirius were standing a little ways from the common room, talking. Well, Kelsey was talking. Sirius was nodding and smiling. Anyone who saw them would’ve been convinced of what they were trying to get James to believe: that they were going out. People streamed out of the common room toward the Great Hall for breakfast, giving them odd stares. So far their plan was working. “Come on, let’s get this over with,” Kelsey groaned, seeing a couple of second-years snicker their way.
“You say that like it’s going to be a horrible experience, Kelsey,” said Sirius, smiling winningly. He made a grab for her hand, but she stuck it on her hip.
“Do you see James?”
“Then TWO FEET!”
They made their way toward the Great Hall, looking around at all the tables. A fourth-year with a tangled mess of dark hair sneered hatefully from the Slytherin table. Kelsey raised an eyebrow. “Who is that?” she asked Sirius.
“No one. Oh, look, here comes James.”
“No…no, I can’t go through with this, give me my hand back!”
“I see James…”
“Sirius! He’s not going to—hi, James.”
James was upon them, grinning slightly with an eyebrow raised, looking at their entwined fingers. The assortment of attached appendages seemed to be moving slightly. He wasn’t to know that Kelsey didn’t want her fingers interlaced with those of Sirius Black and was struggling to free them. “Hey, Sirius. Hi, Kelsey. You two seem…friendly today.”
“You haven’t heard, mate?” Sirius asked jovially. Kelsey attempted a smile, which turned into more of a grimace. “I asked her out, and she said yes.”
“You did?” James was genuinely surprised.
“Yes,” Kelsey said through gritted teeth.
“It was amazing, really. I hadn’t really noticed her before. But now she’s stepped in to a whole new light!”
Kelsey stepped on his foot, a feat that would’ve been impossible in front of James if she were wearing anything but robes. Sirius winced.
“What’s wrong?” asked James.
“Oh, I…stubbed my toe earlier. Burns like heck, it does.” He rubbed it mournfully.
“Ah. I see. Well, then, I’ve got to be—Lily! Where were you?”
Lily Evans had emerged from the common room into the Great Hall, and James swept her up into his arms. “No, no, please! No snogging!” Sirius begged, but they ignored him. Kelsey and Sirius both turned away with expressions of distaste, and Kelsey did the same thing to Sirius. “This disgusts me,” Sirius said brightly.
“Do you have to be so cheerful about everything?” Kelsey asked him.
“It’s part of my irresistible charm.”
Kelsey snorted. “What irresistible charm?”
She tuned into James’s and Lily’s hushed conversation to hear, “Did you know that Sirius and Kelsey were dating?”
Lily’s face contracted. “They are?” She looked over in complete surprise at Kelsey, who tried her best to arrange her face into a lovesick expression, the same one James wore when he saw Lily. “You are?”
“Yes, we are,” said Sirius. “She’s lucky, really; I had ten offers for dates to this weekend’s Hogsmeade trip, but she’s the winner!”
“Bighead,” Kelsey muttered under her breath.
“Let’s go to breakfast, darling,” Sirius said in a mock-sweet tone. Kelsey tried to smile and followed him to the breakfast table. James and Lily uncertainly took seats at the other end of the table.
“Two feet!” Kelsey hissed.
“I think I have him convinced,” said Sirius.
“He didn’t believe a word of it! I can tell!” Kelsey moaned.
“He didn’t believe you. There’s a difference. I really think I could be an amazing actor, you know. You looked kind of tense and strained.”
“That’s because I am tense and strained! I have you tying up my fingers!”
“James is believing every word I say. We’re getting there.”
Kelsey glared at him. “I hope so. You have three days, Sirius Black. Three days.”
“So…you and Sirius are going out,” said Lily evenly. It was February twelfth, and nothing seemed to be going Kelsey’s way. While James and Lily had believed every word of their story, even that Kelsey had accepted Sirius (which Kelsey would have never believed), James seemed to be accepting of their relationship. He didn’t seem to have a problem with Kelsey dating Sirius, though Kelsey did. And now Lily wanted to know all the details, which Kelsey was forced to make up on the spot. She made a mental note to remember all that she said and fill Sirius in, just in case James took a hint from Lily and interrogated him too. Right now they were sitting on the couch while Lily prodded for information. “This happened…”
“Not last night, but the night before. I was sitting on the sofa here, you know, just scribbling in my notepad and—” She faked a humongous, lovesick smile. “He asked me.”
“The notepad was a turn on, huh?” Lily laughed. “Wow, I thought you’d never get over James.”
“I’ve been over him for a long time,” Kelsey lied. It was only a small, teeny white lie. Right?
Lily didn’t believe her, but she didn’t say anything. “So your Valentine’s Day is going to be better than last year, isn’t it? I mean, now you have someone to celebrate with. And according to most of the female population of Hogwarts, Sirius is probably the most romantic one out there. He’ll probably give you flowers and things…I’m so happy for you, Kelsey.”
“Uh…thanks. So what are you and James going to do for Valentine’s Day?” Kelsey asked, carefully leading the topic away from her.
“Well, the Hogsmeade trip is that day…but we really don’t have anything planned. Hey, I have a great idea! Maybe you and Sirius and James and I can double date at that new little shop…what’s it called…Madame Puddifoot’s, or something similar? I hear it’s very nice.”
Kelsey’s stomach flip-flopped. A date. With Sirius. This plan was going haywire before her very eyes. She had to stop it. But how would that look if she refused to go on a date with her boyfriend-for-hire? “I’ll ask Sirius, but it sounds good to me.” She began to strangle a pillow behind her back, so Lily wouldn’t see. It was a black color, and she could imagine it being Sirius, his hair folding as she throttled him for getting her into this.
“I’ll ask James. He won’t mind, I know it. Oh, Valentine’s Day is in two days! I can’t wait!” Lily squealed. Kelsey sobered. Lily loved James so much, and she, Kelsey Spencer, was selfishly trying to tear that happiness away from her. If it worked, how could she wake up and look at herself in the mirror each morning?
For one thing, it can’t work. Sirius is mad and James is completely fine with the idea of us dating. And if it does work, you’ll live with yourself by remembering that James likes you! she thought.
“So…have you been there before?” Kelsey asked Lily. “Madame Puddifoot’s, I mean?”
“No, but I heard from Alice and Frank that it’s quaint.” Lily smiled and sighed. “We’re going to love this Valentine’s Day, I just know it.”
Sirius approached with James and plopped down on the couch next to Kelsey, who recoiled slightly, just enough to make it invisible to Lily and James, who were getting a bit preoccupied anyway. “Hello, Kelsey,” Sirius said slyly, slipping his hand into hers. She made sure that their fingers weren’t tied together like before. “How are you doing tonight, my raven-haired beauty?”
“Fine, your annoying-ness,” Kelsey said quietly, so her best friend and her would-be-boyfriend wouldn’t hear. “Where have you been? Lily’s been questioning me about just about everything! And she suggested a double date, on Valentine’s at Madame Puddifoot’s. I told her I’d ask you. Please say you have plans.”
“Plans? Kelsey, I’m supposed to be your boyfriend. What kind of boyfriend would I be if I abandoned you on the most romantic day of the year?”
“You’re not my boyfriend,” Kelsey growled.
“But Lily and James think I am,” said Sirius. Kelsey sighed exasperatedly. He was hopeless. “Look, Kelsey, we can make this work. Soon James will be wrapped around your little finger.”
For a tiny moment, Kelsey imagined that and really didn’t think it sounded so good after all. It sounded like something a Slytherin might come up with: payback, manipulation, and complete domination. But then again, this was Sirius Black.
“So, tell me, Sirius,” she said, trying a different topic. “Who was that boy we saw at the Slytherin table yesterday morning? You never mentioned him again.”
“Oh, he’s no one,” said Sirius dismissively. “I don’t know the kid. What else do you want to talk about?”
Kelsey saw through this lie, but she decided to leave it alone for the time being. “I don’t know. How maybe this is going a little overboard? I mean, James and Lily haven’t been going out that long. Four, five weeks, maybe? If this turns into a longtime thing, then they’re going to expect us to be like…that.” She motioned with her head at the snogging couple.
“I told you, if it doesn’t work by February fourteenth, which it will, the deal is off and I’ll probably have to be your slave forever.”
“But I don’t want you to be my slave, Sirius. I want you to be a friend. A distant acquaintance, maybe. But not my slave.”
“Well, then, it’s a good thing our little plan is going so well, isn’t it?”
Kelsey sighed. “What are we going to do about this whole date thing on…what? Saturday? Wow, that’s not tomorrow, but the next day.”
“Thursday. My favorite day of the week,” said Sirius, rubbing his hands together.
“And why is that? Why not Friday or Saturday or Sunday, when we have off school?”
“Because Friday is always a bit too…noisy.” Kelsey pulled a face. “I may not seem like the kind of guy who likes peace and quiet, but believe me, it’s better than roaming the halls and seeing ten billion little first-years chattering like parakeets. And I get to plan pranks…I mean, sit down and do my homework in the silence.”
Kelsey almost cracked a smile, but she caught herself just in time and turned it into a patented Kelsey Spencer glare.
“Don’t give me that look! You’re supposed to like me, remember? Anyway…” He suddenly paled. He looked far less handsome with blotchy paper-white skin, Kelsey noted. “What is tomorrow?”
“The thirteenth. The day before Valentine’s Day, remember?”
“I know that, but…do you have your lunar chart?”
“I don’t take Astronomy anymore. I dropped it after O.W.L. year.”
Sirius didn’t even ask why, though she was sure he knew that she had passed the level required for entering N.E.W.T. level classes, and she sort of wanted to tell him that she had given it up because she didn’t like it. All he cared about now was finding a lunar chart. He got up, leaving Kelsey with a mildly puzzled expression on the couch, and hurried over to Peter Pettigrew, a small, mousy-haired boy whose stomach bulged slightly under his robes. “Peter, do you have your lunar chart?”
“What lunar chart? Professor Celestina kicked me out after O.W.L.s. She seemed to think that a Dreadful was nowhere near passing…”
Before Peter could go on a rant about teachers and grades, neither of which was his forte, Sirius hurried over to Remus, who was reading over a Defense Against the Dark Arts assignment with a little concern wrinkling his forehead. “You have your lunar chart, don’t you, Moony? I mean…Remus?”
“Sure I do. Why? You haven’t forgotten about…”
“I did. I don’t believe that tomorrow’s already…”
“Shh! Someone will hear you!” Remus said, casting his eyes around the common room. The only one he saw looking suspiciously at them was Kelsey, who quickly buried herself in writing in her notepad. “You forgot. Padfoot!” Remus was nearly whining now, sounding more like Peter than his usual self. “You have to be there! Prongs can’t keep me in check by himself.”
“I know that. I’ll…rearrange a few things and be there, Moony. I know how important this is.”
He hurried away, a slightly mournful expression on his face, said good night to Kelsey, and hurried up the stairs to the boys’ dormitory. Kelsey watched him go, wondering at what she had just heard. He would be where? Why did he call Remus Moony, and why did Remus call him Padfoot? Who was Prongs? What was so important? She determined to find out. While Lily and James snogged away next to the empty spot next to her on the couch, Kelsey began writing on her notepad again, this time with a lot more in mind.
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