Chapter 3 : Sticky Toffee Pudding
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Chapter Image by Ariana_tithe @ TDA
It wasn’t until I got back to my dorm and saw the pile of presents at the foot of my bed that I realised what day it was.
Perfect. Bloody perfect.
In that one swift little move Sirius Sodding Black had not only ruined two years of friendship without so much as a second thought, he’s also ruined my Christmas.
Ok, I might be being unfair. After all, I was the one who technically kissed him, because I was the one who technically put my lips on his. But if he hadn’t started the whole bloody chain of events with his “what would happen if I kissed Dee” then none of this would have happened! How dare he? How dare he jeopardise our, already fragile at times, friendship on a whim? Just a random little curiosity. How dare he?
And what had come over me to go along with it?
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
I unceremoniously flung each of my presents onto my unmade bed and swept the pile of dirty washing onto the floor. The navy carpeted floor creaked as if in agony at my every stomping step, so loud that I was sure he could hear them from his own dormitory on the other side of the castle.
I sat on the edge of the bed, vaguely becoming aware that my teeth were gritted and my hands squeezed into such tight fists that they were shaking.
I picked up the present nearest to me, recognising at once Freddie’s shoddy wrapping and untidy scrawl, but I couldn’t bring myself to open it.
This wasn’t how it was supposed to be.
Christmas morning, I was supposed to wake up in the early hours and run through to force Freddie out of his living death slumber, tease him about his slightly frightening bed hair and dopey eyes and rip open the presents immediately. We’d always save our presents for each other till last, opening them at the same time, because they were always the best ones. After all, who knew me better than Freddie, and who knew him better than me?
And now I couldn’t even assemble my trembling fingers to open his present.
Lobbing it back onto the small pile, I decided to go for a shower. After all I needed it. When I thought about it, I could distantly smell his scent on my skin, in my hair… still faintly taste him on my lips…
I scrubbed viciously until my skin was red raw, determined to rid myself of the feel of him on my skin. Not that it had felt bad, hell no. But that wasn’t right. Nope. The way I saw it, the sooner I got rid of it, the sooner I could forget about it and…
…And then what?
How was I supposed to act when I next saw him? Cool and indifferent? Keen and desperate? Like a complete arse? Well I suppose the latter would be more like the normal me…
Shut up, brain.
And what was I supposed to say? Hey best friend, how’s it hanging, and oh by the way, thanks for all the amazing sex? Call me old-fashioned but that kind of relationship seems all a bit warped to me. And it’s not like I want him knowing how amazing he is anyway, he hears that enough to boost his ego thirty times a day, by practically every girl in the sch… Oh my god.
Oh. My. God.
I am one of them now. Just ‘another girl’. Another notch on the bedpost. Not that he does the whole notch on the bedpost thing. But he is the annoying sort that remembers the name of every girl he’s ever been with so he must have some sort of internal tallying system.
Dear lord, I am just another notch on his internal bedpost.
In fact, he probably only made a pass at me because I’m pretty much the only female he hasn’t had. Shit. And I made it easy for him. I always laughed at the way he used almost an identical method to make every girl fall for him, completely dismissing the hilarious notion that I would ever be one of them.
Although to be fair, he didn’t use his precise method with me. Oh sodding hell, he hadn’t needed to. All he’d needed to do was make up some lame line about how ludicrous the idea of kissing me was and I turned to mush.
I think it’s safe to say that this is the most embarrassing and stupid thing I’ve ever done. And now I have to face the consequences.
Maybe I shouldn’t even acknowledge it. How hard could it be? I could just act normal and he’s a smart (ish) guy, he’d catch on. After all, he got what he wanted - another notch on the old mental bedpost; it didn’t have to mean anything to either of us, no complications. It’s a plan.
I just have one question.
Why the hell do I keep hearing his voice in my head?
I didn’t see his face when he said it, but I didn’t need to. Sirius could act the blasé playboy of Hogwarts all he wanted, but his eyes, his face, his voice, were a dead giveaway to his feelings.
That invited another question.
If his voice showed his feelings, then that meant that he had feelings which meant that he had feelings about what we just did… Why the bloody hell would he have feelings about that??
Well, ok, there was no need to jump to conclusions. He’d sounded anxious, but that was probably because he was concerned. Concerned about the heinous thing he’d just done to jeopardise our friendship, and concerned about how we were going to act when we saw James and Lily…
James and Lily.
Oh sweet lord.
They could not know about this.
Their relationship, if you could call it that, was a vast amount more tenuous than Sirius’ and mine. And I mean a vast amount. You could actually use the term friendship to describe the relationship between Sirius and me (could being the key term – past tense). James and Lily, they were… well there isn’t a term to describe it. They were two-people-who-occasionally-get-on-but-mostly-he-gets-on-her-wick. Oh, it was getting there. Give them a few more months and I reckon they’d be there. James would catch on to the fact that Lily would never in a million years wish to date him if he kept up the goofy love-struck act, and Lily would be able to tolerate him for more than a matter of minutes.
That day would come.
But not if they found out about this. Seriously. I don’t mean to be bigheaded, but Sirius and I were the glue that held our little group together. I know, in the beginning it was the whole issue with Lily and James that brought us together, but that kind of love-hate relationship would have sparked out if I wasn’t for us two.
When Lily got angry, I was there to calm her down.
When James got rejected for the nth time, Sirius was there to pick him up.
And meanwhile, Sirius and I were there to keep the banter flowing and to keep the two of them headed on the way to something vaguely resembling a relationship.
This massive rift in our foursome could ruin it for them. I couldn’t be responsible for that. I mean, the time Lily was sick in the hospital wing (because James put essence of Bulbadox in her morning pumpkin juice thinking it was Sirius’ to play a hilarious joke… but that’s a different story of which she shall never know) she gave me her Transfiguration essay to hand in, I left it in the girls’ bathroom and Myrtle massacred it with toilet water and faeces in some kind of frenzy because I was in some way offending her death.
I can’t help it, these things just happen to me.
I can’t let that happen to James and Lily’s relationship. I can’t let their relationship be destroyed by metaphorical toilet water and faeces. I can’t and I won’t be responsible.
That gives me two options. Blag my way through it and pretend like it never happened, or avoid them all forever.
I can never leave this room again.
I was hungry.
And laying on my bed watching the clock ticking past three o’clock wasn’t helping in the slightest.
The Christmas feast must have been well underway and yes, I’d chickened out. But can you imagine it? There were only about a dozen students staying for Christmas, which meant that I would have to sit in close proximity to both the guy I just slept with and my headmaster. I mean, eew. I cannot imagine a more awkward situation, and as we could all tell by the subtle and ingenious “what have we done?” wail I emitted this morning, I am the queen of getting myself into awkward situations.
To try and take my mind off it I had calmly opened my presents. By ‘calmly opened’ I mean ‘ripped open in a starving frenzy in search of possibly edible gifts’.
Of which there were none.
Seriously, what kind of friends do I have? I didn’t receive so much as a Chocolate Frog. Alright, if I had received a Chocolate Frog for Christmas in any other circumstances, that person would have received the silent treatment until they recognised their wrongful actions and substituted it for a respectable gift.
But still. I’m hungry alright?
The bangle Freddie got me was beautiful, and the Wimbourne Wasps sweater was a worthy joke (He got me some sort of Wasps, his favourite team, merchandise every year, just as I got him the latest Tornados, my team, socks each year. The rivalry between the two clubs reflected our own sibling rivalry well.) Even if it was signed ‘love Freddie and Marlene’.
But I have to say I was disappointed by Lily. Just a card? I was beginning to regret the Celestina Warbeck Greatest Hits record I coughed up ten galleons for. I mean, come on Lily, at least a Chocolate Frog for your starving friend.
I was going to have to make a break for the kitchens. It was the only way to stop my stomach growling at ear-splitting decibels every few seconds. If I ran fast enough, I should get to the kitchens before they all start leaving the Great Hall and questioning my absence. Alright, that’s a tad self-centred… the only person likely to notice my absence would be him, and considering the whole running out on him thing, he probably had the sense to avoid me and skip the feast too.
This was the opportune moment.
Honestly, you’d think the portraits of Hogwarts would have seen more bizarre things in their time than a girl sprinting (at an impressive speed, might I add) down the halls in her pyjama shorts, woolly socks and her brand-new Wimbourne Wasps hoody. At the way they were going on you’d think a party of trolls had blundered through.
Annoyance at busybody portraits aside, I must declare my love for the house elves of Hogwarts. They are such sweet, polite, non-interfering creatures. Practically skipped off to get my roast dinner, they were so pleased to be asked. One got so overexcited he tripped into the fireplace and had to be taken off to the corner to calm down.
I was halfway through a mouth-watering sticky toffee pudding when my warm, sugary peace was intruded upon.
It could have been anyone. Really, if it wasn’t me we were talking about it would have been a stranger, some random student, or even Dumbledore. Even Filch, for crying out loud, with his threats of shackles and thumbscrews and Merlin knows what other brands of torture he rabbits on about. But this is me, and my luck. There was only one person it could have been.
For about thirty, very awkward, seconds we just stared at each other. I wasn’t even registering that it was him really, my brain just seemed to shut off and leave me stranded and staring. Then it jumpstarted up again, I took in the awkward staring situation with a jolt and instinctively turned my head in the opposite direction. So fast that I cricked my neck
I didn’t move. It was like some sort of survival instinct. The whole fight, flight or freeze thing. I’m the first to admit that I would usually go for the ‘flight’ response and get the hell out of there without a second thought. But he was blocking the only exit. Naturally, instead of having the guts to face him, I went for the ‘freeze’ option.
You were staring at him for about three years you twit, you can’t just pretend you didn’t notice him now, my brain informed me, as if to make up for deserting me approximately two seconds earlier.
Bollocks. Brain was right for once.
I looked back round to see a flicker of amusement pass across his face, only to vanish in a second and be replaced by the troubled look he’d been wearing originally.
He stood self-consciously at the portrait hole, stuffing a tatty piece of parchment into his pocket, as if unsure whether I would jump for the window if he came any closer. Actually, that idea wasn’t half bad…
Oh no, it was another awkward staring situation. His eyes were on mine, his mouth half open, clearly considering what to say or whether to talk at all. I was looking anywhere around his eyes but directly at them. I couldn’t risk another ‘lost in his gaze’ scenario, look where that got us last time.
His eyes flicked up and down. Oh lord. He was taking in my attractive outfit. The hoody, chosen by a clueless Freddie, was about three sizes too big and consisted of a ‘tasteful’ pattern of thick black and yellow stripes. The shorts were really, nothing more than pink hot pants and didn’t cover nearly enough leg to be considered decent in current circumstances, and the socks were enormous grey woolly things… Oh just my sodding luck. The socks were his.
The tension became too much for me.
“You should have the sticky toffee pudding, it’s bloody amazing.” My mouth said tonelessly, without consulting me. Why? Why was I advising him on dessert choices in this horribly embarrassing situation?
Before the bemusement could even register on his face another plate of pudding had been delivered to the table courtesy of my new best friends, the house elves.
It was another mind-numbingly uncomfortable five minutes of silence apart from the sound of metal scraping on china as I did all I could to ignore the fact that he was sitting next to me, close enough to touch. I busied myself by pulling up my socks and stretching down my shorts to cover some leg. By the time he dropped his fork on the plate with a clatter, I was just about ready to kill myself, if the heart palpitations didn’t get me first.
“So, I came to talk.” He announced after clearing his throat. I did a pathetic little half-nod thing, involving the tiniest bob of the head ever by anyone.
The house elves seemed to sense the tension and were busying themselves at the far end of the kitchen. Little gits. I take back every nice thing I said about them, now that they abandoned me in my hour of need. Still it gave me something to watch. Something to fix my gaze on so that my traitorous eyes didn’t resort to staring at him again.
“How did you know I was here?” I asked, a little more curtly than I intended. All I could concentrate on was not letting the words ‘don’t tell anyone I was so stupid and never talk about this again’ leave my mouth. Even without looking at him he had some kind of effect on me. Even though I was doing my absolute best to ignore how close he was – not even looking at him – I just wanted to bury my head in the warm arch of his neck and…
Did this happen to everyone after they slept with someone? It had to be some kind of normal side-effect, right? It would go away?
I could still smell the musky scent of his skin, even though he’d showered, mixed with the citrus aroma of whatever shower gel he used, and it was messing with my head. Irritating me. Just like his normal attire of well-fitting jeans and shirt was annoying me. What gave him the right to dress so well and smell so good? And I could feel his eyes on the side of my face, making it hot on one side. I put the backs of my fingers against my cheek to cool it down.
“Listen, about what happened -” He ignored my question and proceeded to talk about the thing that I really didn’t want to talk about.
Again, my sorry excuse for a brain stepped in to save me.
“Sirius, we don’t need to talk about it,” I interrupted, “It’s fine. I’m not some dopey fan girl who thinks that by sleeping with me you’ve pledged your undying love. I get it. We can just leave it -”
“You get it? You get what? Leave what?” He was being tiresomely slow.
“I get that it didn’t mean anything! I get that…” I spun on my stool in exasperation and faced him. Shit. Just the thing I hadn’t wanted to do. My next words died on my lips as I took in his storm cloud grey eyes. His faintly furrowed brow. His slightly parted lips. His freshly washed hair hanging with a casual stylishness partly over his forehead, looking just as sexy as it had last night when it was tousled and messy…
“It.... didn’t mean anything…” He repeated, an unreadable expression passing over his face as he stared down at his plate. He opened his mouth to say something else, no doubt to repeat something else I’d said like the moron that he was, and loosened his hand. I didn't notice until he removed it that it had been gripping the table so hard that his knuckles were white.
He blinked slowly and when his eyes opened again they were on me. The intense look in them scared me a little. Why was he doing that? I was agreeing with him for crying out loud! I was giving him what he wanted, telling him it was alright.
The hand he’d lifted from the table was edging towards mine. All of a sudden I was certain that I couldn’t have him touch me. It was unbearable enough to be sitting this close to him with these weird feelings going on. I flinched, pulling my hand away and standing up with a piercing scrape of my stool.
“That’s right. It meant nothing. And it’s fine, it’s cool,” I blathered on, my cheeks hot, “I just… I just don’t want to talk right now!” I backed off towards the portrait hole where I turned and ran, without a backward glance at him.
I didn’t notice the portraits tutting and gossiping on the way back. I just ran and ran, and didn’t stop running until I reached my bed, strewn with bright shreds of wrapping paper, where I threw myself down, muffling the angry sobs with my pillow.
Well that went well.
A.N. First chapter after Christmas for me! What did you think? Dee too much of an emotional wreck for you to carry on reading? Want to hear more of Lily and James? They will be more prominent later on, as will Freddie and Marlene but Dee and Sirius are the stars of this little shindig!
Please leave a review :)
Preview of Chapter 4 - New Years Eve...
A pair of warm, bare arms caught me around the waist before I fell.
"So can we talk now?" A voice whispered, so close that it tickled my ear.
My breath caught in my throat. The arms pulled me to my feet but still held me close.
"Please?" Sirius asked.
"It's nearly midnight! I -"
"Please, Dee," He was giving me that look again. The one I couldn't say no to. The one that got us in all that trouble before....
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