Chapter 3 : Caught
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Chapter Three: Caught
I can’t find my notebook! I’ve looked under my bed three times and searched the whole house once, and I still can’t find it! I’m trying to remember where I last saw it, and I’m retracing my steps and all that, but it isn’t working! I think the last time I had it was outside, two days ago, Sunday, when I was on the porch and . . .
Oh. Hell. Hell, hell, hell, and every other bad word out there.
Sirius must have it. Hell. I must’ve left it on the porch when Mum was screaming at me, and then he picked it up and started reading it and . . .
Now he knows I think his mate is mental. Ugh. Hell. I’ll just pretend I don’t know anything about that notebook, and then ask Mum and Dad if we can move to China. I think China’s far enough away.
Only I don’t speak Chinese, and neither does Mum, so she’d have a really hard time finding work, what with her whole job being talking and all. Ugh. Hell again. I’m just going to have to avoid Sirius and James like the plague. Shouldn’t be too hard, considering I just discovered James’s name a few days ago.
I’m currently sitting in my tree house, attempting to read Frankenstein for school, but it’s super boring. I have to read it by the end of summer, and do a report on it, but I think I might die trying.
I’m so bored, and it’s so hot.
What to do. . . what to do? I know, I’ll examine what I’m wearing. Let’s see, a nice blouse and a polka-dot skirt (since I went shopping with Mum this morning when she didn’t have any patients and she likes me to look nice, no matter how hot it is), and a necklace with stars on it. I would feel pretty if I didn’t have sweat dripping down my back right now.
Well that took up all of three seconds. Maybe I’ll go to the pool. Ugh, it’s too hot to move. Maybe I’ll—
“Prongs, come on,” a voice coming from the other side of the fence says. I sit up and look out the window, then groan. It’s Sirius, pulling along a very disgruntled-looking James. I slump to the floor of the tree house so they don’t see me. “I have to show you something!” I peek through the window, and groan again, slumping back down to the floor. Sirius is holding my notebook. Hell.
“Padfoot, I’ve seen the birthmark on your back, and it doesn’t look like Slughorn doing a polka!” James protests, sounding irritated.
“That’s not what I have to show you,” Sirius replies, and then adds as an afterthought, “and yes, it does.”
“Then what do you want?” James asks. I hear a thud, and pages being flipped. Oh dear, Sirius as given him the notebook. I’m doomed. James will probably stab me in the middle of the night, being the nutter that he is. Oh gracious, I hear James muttering things, probably profanities.
“Bloody hell,” James says, loud enough for me to hear him.
“Yeah, I know. What are we gonna do?” Sirius asks, sounding anxious. I hear James groan, and then,
“Modify her memory, of course,” he replies, and then adds, “Or, we could move to China.” Hey, I called that idea first!
“No!” Sirius exclaims. I’m really confused now. And a little bit scared.
“Whaddaya mean, ‘no’?” James asks, as if amazed Sirius said no. “She’s going to find out about---“
“I mean,” Sirius interrupts, “That when was the last time you modified someone’s memory properly?”
There’s a pause, as if James is thinking. I’m still really confused, and very uncomfortable in my awkward position on the floor of my tree house, and there’s a large beetle attempting to crawl up my skirt.
“Well, never, but we can’t just do nothing!” James replies. I brush the beetle away. “Sirius, for Merlin’s sake, she’s a Muggle!” What the heck is a muggle? And I thought Merlin was that one wizard that helped King Arthur, what does he (or maybe Merlin’s a she) have to do with anything?
“Well we can’t try and modify her memory, something could go wrong,” Sirius protests. I’m getting a little scared now. “And we can’t tell the Ministry either, because then you’d probably get in trouble for being so obvious. And we can’t move to China because I don’t think they have Quidditch there!”
I really wish these two would speak regular English. I have no idea what they’re going on about.
“I wasn’t obvious! She was sneaky! How the hell was I supposed to know that she would be spying on me?!” James sounds defensive. I feel a bit insulted by the sneaky comment. I wasn’t sneaky, I was on a top-secret-mission for the good of the neighbourhood. Yeah. “And there’s Quidditch everywhere!”
“Fine, you weren’t obvious, but we still can’t tell the Ministry, or your parents, for that matter,” Sirius replies. He sounds anxious.
“Yeah, I guess so. They’d probably have a cow if they knew the neighbour girl had heard all that,” James agrees.
“Her name’s Mellie,” Sirius says, and now he sounds slightly defensive. I smile, weirdly glad that he remembered my name, and then I feel pathetic.
“So, what, have you talked to her?” James asks, confused. I’m really glad I’m not the only one that’s confused around here. Oh great, the beetle’s back. And it’s headed towards my skirt again.
“Yeah, I have, and she doesn’t seem like the type who would go around telling everybody, if she finds out,” Sirius explains, “and I doubt she’ll actually find out.” There’s silence for a minute or two. I kill the beetle with my bare hand and get beetle guts all over it. Ew.
“I still say we should modify her memory,” James says.
“No, we can’t she’s ---” Sirius stops himself suddenly. I really wish I could see his face right now.
“What, Padfoot, do you fancy her or something?” James asks, and from his voice it sounds like he finds this quite comical. I feel a bit insulted.
“No,” Sirius replies immediately, almost defensively, and I frown. “But she is different. In a good way. She’s not like the girls at school.” James snorts.
“Of course she’s different, mate, she’s a Muggle,” James says as if he’s explaining something to a small child. What does muggle mean?! Does it mean ‘crazy person’ or something?
“I know that,” Sirius says, “but she’s different even for a Muggle.” Oh great, I’m different even for a crazy person. That’s just spiffy. There’s silence for a bit.
“Maybe if we just act perfectly normal from now on, she’ll forget all about it,” James finally suggests. I snort, seeing a very obvious flaw in this plan: James could never act normal. He’s a screwball.
“Agreed,” Sirius says quickly, sounding relieved by this course of action. I attempt to wipe the beetle guts off my hand, but instead end up smearing them all over both my hands. Double ew.
They’re so quiet for a minute I think they’ve gone inside, so I feel safe enough to prop myself up on my elbows and look outside. They’re still there. James is flipping through the notebook again, and Sirius is staring at the ground, thinking.
“I never would’ve suspected that tree house as a place for eavesdropping,” James says. Sirius nods. “Do you suppose she’s in there right now, and she just heard everything we said?”
Oh, bugger it all. Sirius and James both turn to look at the tree house, and in my haste to make myself invisible, I hit my head against the tree house floor, causing a loud bang. I’m sure they saw me though, and now I hear them climbing over the fence and walking over to the tree house. I grab Frankenstein and sit up, then open the book and pretend to be immersed in reading. Oh hell, now I’ve gotten beetle guts on the book, and it’s a library book.
I hear Sirius and James climbing up the wooden boards that my dad nailed to the trunk of the tree. I wish I had a rope ladder I could pull up to stop them from entering, but Dad said a rope ladder would be too dangerous and “unstable”. His brain is unstable.
I’m still staring at my book when Sirius pulls himself up into the tree house and plants himself next to me. I pretend not to notice his arrival, and instead read the same sentence over and over again.
“Hello, Mellie,” he says. I feign shock.
“Oh, Sirius, I didn’t hear you come up!” I exclaim, and watch his eyebrows go up in amusement. “I was just so engrossed in this book! Sometimes, when I’m reading I don’t hear anything around me at all!”
Wow I’m a horrible actress.
“Really?” he asks, smirking. I nod fervently. Just then James pops up, and pulls himself into the tree house as well. Oh dear, this tree house was not meant for three teenagers. I think it’s maximum capacity is two hundred pounds.
“Hello there,” I say to him, and smile brightly, hoping I don’t show any evidence of the fact that I think he’s mental. “How are you on this fine Thursday afternoon? I was just reading this lovely book, and didn’t hear you two come up, or anything else I wasn’t supposed to hear!” He shoots me a look that shows he thinks I’m mental. I feel insulted.
“It’s Wednesday,” James points out, and I cringe.
“Oh, right, I knew that,” I reply, still smiling brightly. “I was just seeing if you did.” Now Sirius and James are both looking at me like I’m a bit mad. I think they have no right to look at me like I’m mad, when they’re the mad ones.
“Er, right,” James says. “Now, is this yours?” He holds up my notebook.
“I found it on the porch the other day,” Sirius adds. I think fast for an explanation.
“Oh, that old thing!” I cry, causing Sirius and James to jump a bit. “That’s my little sister’s notebook, and she has quite the imagination!” The two boys exchange looks.
“Really?” Sirius asks. I nod so much I’m sure I look like a bobble-head.
“I didn’t know you had a sister,” James says suspiciously. Well, I don’t, but they don’t need to know that.
“That’s because she doesn’t get out much. She’s a disturbed little soul, so we keep her in her room most of the time. She tends to frighten people,” I explain.
“I see,” Sirius says. “Then why were you reading it the other day?” Darn these boys and their observations. Why can’t they just stare at my chest like other blokes and be stupid? Okay, to be honest blokes never stare at my chest, but they are usually non-observant.
“Because,” I say in a voice that I usually reserve for speaking to small children like my nonexistent sister, “I was making sure she wasn’t writing gruesome murder stories like she usually does.” I’m really proud of this excuse. “I just flipped through it, really.”
“Then why does it say ‘Property of Melanie Parrish’ on the cover?” James asks. I slap my forehead, and then curse loudly when I realize I now have beetle guts on my forehead.
“Do either of you have a handkerchief?” I politely ask the two alarmed-looking blokes. “I seem to have gotten beetle guts on my forehead.”
Mechanically, Sirius hands me a crumpled tissue, which I take and use to dab the guts from my face. “Thanks,” I say once I’m gut-free. I make to hand it back to him but he shakes his head.
“Keep it,” he says. I smile my thanks and put the tissue next to me, next to my forgotten book.
“So, er . . . what were we talking about again?” James asks, shaking his head as if to clear it. I beam at him, hoping that the shininess of my teeth will stun him and he’ll go home and forget this whole thing never happened, but no such luck. My teeth aren’t particularly shiny, like Sirius’s. I probably have lettuce from lunch stuck in them, too. “I remember! This notebook.” He points at my notebook and I cringe.
“What about it?” I ask innocently.
“See, you seem to be under the impression that I’m mental,” James begins. I nod, and he continues. “This, however, is completely—“
“TRUE!” Sirius blurts out. Both James and I stare at him. “Well, not completely true, but James, I’ve always thought you were a bit odd.” James looks insulted as I giggle.
“I’m not mental! My mum says I’m just special!” James cries indignantly. I giggle again. Sirius shoots an apologetic look at James before turning to me.
“There’s some things we have to explain, though. In that journal you had some questions about what the things James was saying meant,” Sirius says, and I nod.
“What’s a ‘Muggle’?” I immediately ask.
“A ‘Muggle’ is someone that doesn’t go to our school,” Sirius explains. I guess that makes sense. “And Quidditch is this sport we play at our school. It’s like football, only we use brooms to hit the ball around.” That makes a lot less sense. “And er, the big bangs you sometimes hear are James’s cat. Fluffy.”
James and I are both staring at Sirius now, mouths open.
“It’s a very large cat,” Sirius adds wildly. It’d have to be tiger-sized to make those bangs. “And anything else weird you remember is probably just James’s rather eccentric mother.”
I nod slowly, but am more confused than ever before now.
“So, we’ll just go then,” Sirius says, and starts prodding James towards the hole in the tree house floor that’s the exit. James starts down, and Sirius waits until he’s out of sight to say, “By the way, Mellie, you look really nice, even with beetle-guts on your face.”
I start to reply, but Sirius is already headed down the tree trunk.
I open my notebook.
I think Sirius is mental too.
A/N: So, what do you think? Tell me and add this story to your favorites so you can read the exciting update as soon as possible! Will James and Sirius manage to convince Mellie they're normal? Will Sirius flirt with Mellie some more? Will James stab Mellie in the middle of the night like the nutter he is? Will the beetle's son come to avenge his father's death? DUN-DUN-DUH!
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