Chapter 29 : So What If He Comes
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I awoke the next morning, the sunlight bouncing off of the bitter-cold snow and into my bedroom window. James' mother tapped the door gently and told me breakfast was on the kitchen table.
"Thank you, I'll be down in a minute." I yawned, stretching my arms high above my head.
I heard footsteps and gathered that she left. Yay, party tonight! And shopping... Grr. I hate shopping; I don't like finding "the perfect dress" because it takes like a year...
I rolled out of bed and stalked over to the mirror hanging above the dresser innocently. My hair was askew and unruly and frizzed out the slightest bit. My face needed washed and I was wearing the clothes that I had worn the previous day, but I made my way downstairs anyway.
Walking into the kitchen, I smelled eggs and sausage. Smiling, I took a seat next to James, who shrieked in terror.
"OH MY -- Merlin! Please tell me you're not going to look like that tonight," Prongs pleaded, fumbling with his fork.
"Shove off," I snapped playfully, jostling James' shoulder.
"James Potter, you behave yourself. Respect the ladies," said Mr. Potter imperiously.
"It's kind of hard to respect someone who looks as if she--"
"--I just woke up, James," I said flatly and unconditionally. "I didn't want to spoil my breakfast by taking a decade to make myself presentable when I have later for that."
"Yeah, James. Leave the girl alone," Sirius smiled, jabbing eggs into his mouth. "These are good." He said this with his mouth full, and he pointed to his breakfast plate.
"Loola made them," Mrs. Potter said, taking a sip of her coffee.
"Loola? Who's Loola?" I couldn't help but want to laugh when I voiced her name.
"Loola is one of our house elves. I named her," said Mrs. Potter happily. "James is our other house elf. James named him after himself."
I stared at James and chuckled, shaking my head as I forked egg into my mouth.
"What?" James shrugged innocently, wiping his hands on a napkin.
"That is so egotistical," I said in a joking manner. Sirius and James gave each other a look and burst into a short laughter.
"So," Mr. Potter started conversationally, "What are you all doing today?"
"James and I are going to hunt down Manny and convince him to stalk the basement instead of Kris' room," Sirius said, looking over at me. "So that should take us all day."
"Oh please, it will not," claimed Mrs. Potter, who chuckled. "When you finish, you're helping with the decorations. Both of you are. It's your friends that we're trying to impress, not ours."
"What about Kris? Doesn't she have to help?" James whined, controlling the anger rising inside of him poorly. He did not want to impress anyone. He never enjoyed the parties that his parents hosted, yet they didn't realize it.
"If she wants to, she surely may," said Mrs. Potter, nodding at me.
"Well, I don't want to. So I'm not going to help," James stated, dropping his fork.
"You'll do as your Mother tells you." Mr. Potter raised his voice.
"This is stupid!" James roared, standing up from his chair at the dining table. "We're all living under your roof, and we should all have the same rules apply. Just because her Dad died you let her not do things. 'Oh, Kris can sleep in!' 'Oh, Kris can leave the house!' 'Oh, Kris can hang out with her friends all day and not help decorate!' I'm sick of it! Why donít Loola and James do the decorating? It's all dumb. C'mon, Sirius. Let's bail."
My heart had a stake pitched in the middle of it. I had no idea James felt that way. I was also oblivious to the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Potter were giving me special treatment because of my loss.
I don't need someone to protect me or help me mend... I'm perfectly fine being treated like everyone else. James is right.
As Sirius started to stand up and run after James, I couldn't help but feel a little left out. James didn't care if he left me alone with his parents in an awkward silence. He just cared about himself and getting away from his problem. To me, he had only created another.
"Sirius!" I called up to him, running up the elegant staircase.
Padfoot turned around and looked down at me quickly. We stared into each other's eyes and I could catch the We'll-Talk-About-This-Later in them. I sighed deeply and nodded. He turned around and raced up the steps once more.
I breathed and sat down effortlessly on the stair-steps.
"Am I missing something? All I did was just sit there." I talked to myself while cradling my head in my hand.
Later that day, I had taken a shower, gotten dressed, and did my usual make-up. I wanted to ask Sirius for money to buy my dress for the party. I only had five galleons, and I didn't want to spend them on a stupid dress. The problem was: I wasn't sure what reaction I would get.
Sure, he would definitely lend me the money. But what if Sirius thinks I'm too needy? What if I'm too problematic to deal with?
I sighed to myself as I looked in the mirror. "When did everything get to be so complicated?"
Moments later, I walked out of the bathroom casually. I was keen to avoid James, but it was hard because he and Sirius were sitting on my bed. James' eyes were averted strictly to the window and nothing else. Sirius stood up and pulled me to one of the four corners of the room, one furthest away from James.
"He isn't in a good mood," Sirius tried to persuade.
"I hadn't noticed," I lied, trying to seem as comfortable with the situation as I could. It was so unlike me not to speak my mind, but everything normal about me seemed to drift farther and farther away these days. "What are you doing in my room?"
"Looking for Manny," Sirius replied, glancing behind his shoulder and around the room.
"Is Manny the ghost dude?"
"Yeah, how'd you know?"
"It seemed clear at breakfast when you said you were going to get him out of my room."
"I almost forgot," Sirius reflected in seemingly deep thought. "We were waiting for you to get out of the bathroom. Manny likes it in there the most."
"Want to switch rooms?" I begged.
"Fat chance," Sirius teased. "I wanted to talk to you."
"About what?" I asked, surprised at his sudden change of subject.
"Snivelly RSVP'd," Sirius scowled. "Well, his mum did, anyway. She wants him to get out more and make a friend or two." At this, it was hard for Sirius not to burst into complete laughter. It was as if he thought this task to be impossible. "She's making him come, and since James' parents encourage this sort of thing..."
"So what if he comes?" I retorted heatedly. "He'll probably just stay away from everyone anyway, like he won't even be there. That actually doesn't sound half-bad--"
"You don't like parties?" Sirius questioned in shock. "You've come to the last five; I didn't know you never wanted to be there--"
"No, it's not that. It's the mingling, the talking to people you don't care about, and the alcohol."
"I always considered the booze to be a plus--" Sirius interjected.
"Padfoot!" I barked, sending a cold spell at him.
"Can you two take any longer?" James complained in a whiny tone.
"One more minute," Sirius lashed at him.
"It's okay; I'm late to meet Lily and Amber at Madam Malkin's. And Sirius?"
"I meant to ask you a favor," I started nervously.
"Anything, love," he smiled down at me warmly.
"You see, I have five galleons left after converting all of my Dad's money to Muggle money to pay his hospital bill. I kind of didn't want to spend it on a dress. I'll be getting a job this summer, of course, but until then... Can I borrow some money?" I hated asking him, I thought it made me look weak and desperate. Luckily, he smiled down at me and laughed in relief.
"You were scaring me with that hospital talk at first, but of course I'll lend you money. I've got enough to support the both of us, remember? I told you not too long ago..." Sirius reminded. "Follow me. James, I'll be right back. Stay here."
Just as we walked out the door, I heard James' voice fading faster and faster.
"Wait a minute..! You can't tell me what to do, it's my house!"
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