So now things were extremely awkward as neither Lily nor I could be around Gretchen and I couldn't be around Sirius. Lily and I stuck together, with time designated for boyfriends. But I didn't see Henry often because he was always studying.
Lily was with James again for the time being and I was on my own. I sat in the common room trying to read my potions book but failing because the only thing that I could think of having to do with potions was a particularly vexing bloke. No sooner did I think his name then he came through the portrait hole, accompanied by Peter and Remus and some other people that I assumed had just come from class as well.
He saw me and I saw him—he looked away though. I sighed. Sometimes I wanted to just stop the childish stupidity and talk to him. It was hard to make the first move in these situations though—I had a big ego, just as he did. But I had to start somewhere and I had to figure out a way to make him talk to me too. I missed my friend and I wasn't really angry anymore anyway.
"Sirius, wait," I called out, standing and grabbing his arm when he tried to ignore me. He had pulled that before, so I knew how to react.
He turned. "Yes?" he asked in a monotonous and disinterested voice.
"Are you still mad?"
"I'm not mad," he answered tersely.
"It seems like you are. Look, can we just stop all this already? If you aren't mad at me and I'm not mad at you, can't we just both try and be like before? I miss you."
Sirius looked pained for a brief second, but it passed as quickly as it appeared, and was replaced with the same blank face. "I guess," he shrugged and walked off.
"I don't understand," I whispered as I watched him leave. I wanted us to be close again. I wanted to be his friend again. Why was he freezing me out?
I checked my watch and saw that I was going to be late for my study date with Henry. Since he spent most of his time in the library anyway, I figured the easiest way to see him would be to get some studying of my own done. As I hurried to make it there in time, I thought more about Sirius.
He barely spoke to me in potions. He didn't acknowledge me in the halls. He ignored me at meals. What had I done to deserve it? And he was the one in the wrong, if I remembered correctly. And if I was willing to forgive him then things should have been good. So why weren't they?
"Hey," I greeted Henry slightly out of breath.
"Hey," he smiled at me and immediately returned to studying his arithmancy book. I took that for all the greeting I was going to get, so I set up my things and got to studying. But after a little while, I stopped trying and just let my mind wander over the matter I couldn't seem to forget for even a few minutes.
"What's on your mind?"
"Why is he shutting me out?" I asked. It was really more of a rhetorical question.
"Who's shutting your out?" Henry asked mechanically, not looking up from the scroll on which he was scribbling rapidly.
At the name, Henry's quill scratched and stopped briefly before picking up and continuing at the same rate as before. Clearly Henry was trying to act like he didn't care. "Oh?"
"Yeah. And he has no reason to be either because he's the one that's done something wrong. I mean, I'm the one that should be shutting him out."
"Why, what has he done?" Henry asked with an air of disinterest.
I bit my lip. "Oh, he was just being a complete git. He was… Never mind. The point is, I've forgiven him and he's decided that I don't mean enough to him for him to even tell me what's bugging him."
"That's immature. Just forget about it for a while—he'll come around. You guys are friends, right?"
I nodded and took that as the conversation closer. Burying my head back in my book, I tried to concentrate. But it was a book on transfiguration, the other class I had with him! Argh! Why couldn't I get away from him? "You know the other thing that's really irking me?"
"No, but I'm sure you'll tell me," Henry's voice indicated he was getting annoyed, but I chose to ignore his passive aggressive statement.
"It's that when I ask him if he's mad, he says no but he obviously is! Why is he lying to me about how he really feels?"
"I don't know."
I bet it's because-"
"Lore?" Henry's voice was strained.
"No offense but I have a lot of work to get done and I don't really want to talk about this anyway, ok?" he asked with forced patience.
"Ok. I'm sorry," I said softly. But I couldn't study transfiguration so I took out my Herbology book. It was easier to concentrate on something that had no affiliation with Sirius Black.
But it wasn't long before he popped back into my head—the look on his face when I told him I missed him, him shrugging off my hand when I touched him, him yelling at me that I was blind. I wasn't blind; what had he meant by that? It didn't make any sense.
Well I wasn't literally blind, so he had to have meant it as a metaphor. It had to mean that I was missing something obvious. But what? I looked at Henry. Was it something having to do with us? Was it something having to do with Sirius and me?
Henry glanced up and saw me looking at him. "What?" he asked, but continued working.
I paused. "It's just… I reached out to him and he cast me off like it didn't matter. Like I didn't matter." Why had I just said that after Henry had made it perfectly clear that he didn't want to talk about it? Sirius was on the list of things I did not discuss with Henry. I usually knew better, but perhaps it was a Freudian slip—maybe I was trying to start something with Henry because Sirius had gotten to me. All the things he had said about Henry and me… maybe I was starting to believe them. Maybe I wanted to see Henry get fired up about something.
Well it worked. "Sirius again? Oh for God's sake."
"I just mean I don't know what's gotten into him lately," I protested, trying to fix what I had started. I had opened a can of worms, it seemed.
"Yes you do," Henry said with a sigh. He stood, gathered his books, and looked at me coldly. "You know exactly what's going on. You're just pretending you don't so you don't hurt me. And I'm tired of it."
"Shh!" someone at a nearby table hushed us.
I swallowed and lowered my voice. "What are you talking about?"
"He likes you and you like him. Don't deny it. And you know what? I'm not even going to ask you to admit it because I don't need you to. I know it's true. I'm not blind, or stupid. But… I'm not angry. Actually, I was but since this has been such a long time coming, I'm not angry anymore. I'm tired of trying to ignore Sirius and I'm tired of trying to make us work. So I guess what I'm saying is… we're over." Henry turned, leaving me completely without words. He turned back around and looked at me sort of sadly, "Good-bye, Lorelei White. Maybe we can be friends someday." Like that, he was gone.
I took deep breaths. Inhale. Exhale. Henry had just broken up with me. Henry and I had just broken up. I was no longer his girlfriend. He was no longer my boyfriend, nor did he want to be anymore. And it was all because of a fight about Sirius? My fight with Sirius? That didn't seem right.
I was in shock for a while. I waited for the tears, but they never came. I couldn't help but think back to when I had accidentally walked in on Sirius and Gretchen and I had started crying immediately. Why wasn't it like that now?
Henry's words rang in my ears, "you like him." Was it true? Did I like Sirius still? Was that why I wasn't crying over Henry? Oh, be honest with yourself, Lorelei, I instructed myself. Of course I wasn't in love with Henry. He just… wasn't Sirius. And how pathetic was I? All along I had been just wasting Henry's time because I had been harboring my feelings for Sirius. And pretending like they didn't exist.
Oh Lord, he was right. He had known I was in love with Sirius. And I had hurt him, like really hurt him. I mean, if I had been in his shoes, I would have been hurt too. Oh boy, this was not OK. I didn't want Henry to hate me or think I was just using him to make Sirius jealous. He had to know that.
But there had been something else. Henry was apparently under false pretenses that Sirius liked me back. That was… no way. Impossible. Sirius was one of those people that always acted on his feelings. If he had liked me, he would have done something about it—before I had started my relationship with Henry, or possibly even during it. He'd been known to do that sort of thing before.
My heart was heavy. I was in some strange limbo of emotion—part of me wanted to go cry to Lily that I had just been dumped by my first real boyfriend, and the other part of me wanted to go tell Sirius how I felt about him. But I couldn't do that.
"I thought I'd find you here," Lily said slyly, taking the seat next to me. "You have to help me with herbology. Where's Henry?" she looked around.
"He's gone," I replied in a small voice. I had to tell Lily. Oh, how was she going to respond?
"Don't sound so sad," she chuckled, patting me on the arm. "I'm sure he'll be back."
I shook my head. "No, I mean he's gone. He just ended it."
"He what?" Lily asked rhetorically. She was clearly taken aback.
"He just left," I repeated. Did he hate me?
Lily was hugging me and consoling me but I didn't really hear it. I was stuck in my moment of horror. I had hurt Henry. I must have. But I didn't mean to! I honestly thought I liked him, or at the very least would grow to like him. Oh dear, I had really mucked things up.
"Lily, I was so awful."
"What? He broke up with you, he's the wanker here," she protested, ever the loyal friend.
I shook my head sadly. "No, it was my fault. Yes he broke up with me technically, but I deserved it. No, worse—he should have humiliated me publicly or something and then we might have started to be even. Lily, I led him on for months! I've never really liked him like that—I was lying to myself and to him. I'm a terrible person!"
"Of course you aren't," Lily shook her head and took my hand. "You still love Sirius, don't you?"
I nodded and to my continued horror, a tear slid down my cheek. "I'm a terrible, terrible person."
"No you aren't," Lily wiped another of my tears and smiled gently at me. "Sometimes we get confused, or we try to convince ourselves of something that isn't true, but that doesn't make us bad people. I think it was brave of you to go and try to be happy with Henry. And maybe it didn't work, but that's not your fault. We don't control our feelings. And personally, I'm glad you've finally admitted how you really feel about Sirius after all this time."
I sniffed. I wanted to believe what she was saying, but at the same time I needed Henry to hear it before I could start believing it myself. But he was too mad at me to listen to me for the time being. So I'd find him and let him know, but first I had to give him time to cool off.
A/N- OMG *squee!* Chapter 36 got like 3x the number of reviews of any other chapter. There were like 60! Do you guys know how happy that made me? *Dances*
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