Chapter 4 : Encounters;
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You never heard me break your heart; you didn't wake up when we died.
Since I was lonely from the start, I think the end is mine to write.
– “Cry For You” by September
“What shoes are you going to wear?!” Klara blasts through the dormitory. She’s a nerd. She’s obnoxious. And she doesn’t know when to shut up.
I love it.
“Does it matter what shoes I’m going to wear? I mean we’re just meeting up to talk-”
“- and I still don’t know where he’s taking me. I mean, where can he go, really-?”
“- How about these heels…”
“Are you listening?” I snap.
“No, I’m not. Because meeting up just to ‘talk’ is complete rubbish. And my mother raised me with a zero tolerance for bullshit.”
I give her an impossible look.
“Seriously, she wrote it on my birth certificate,” Klara defends.
I roll my eyes and tell her to shut her gob. “It’s not a real date, Klara. Don’t get all excited.”
“No,” she whines, “I want to! The fun part for me about this getting-back-at-Amos plan is me treating you like a sock puppet. I know it’s not real, but it’s still a date. And every date counts. I never got to play dress up with I was young, don’t take this from me!”
I quirk my eyebrow. She is so dramatic. “You didn’t play dress up because your mother stopped buying you dolls. You kept losing their clothes. Ergo, there were no dolls to dress up. And you never wanted to play dress up yourself when we were kids! I wanted to play princess, but you said no and threw your older sister’s dictionary at my head. You hated getting primped up.”
“Hah…I thought you’d forget about that.”
I give her a little glare. “The bump hasn’t exactly disappeared.”
“Oh, whatever. It’s fun now! I have a human doll, and that’s way more exciting than clothing naked dolls. So just for me, pretend that something is truly happening between you and Sirius. Pretend you’re going on a blind date, and somebody told you it was the cutest boy at school- we can role-play!” she eggs on.
There are so many wrong/ironic things in that sentence.
First, she likes role-play. And for that, Klara Isaacs is a wanker.
Second, I kind of am going on a blind date. With someone I know.
Third, Sirius Black is more than just the cutest boy in school. Try most gorgeous man at Hogwarts.
Four, Klara wanting to play dress up and comparing me to a naked doll scares me.
Fifth, this isn’t a date at all.
See? No sense. It’s all ironically wrong and inaccurate.
“Try these on.” She throws a pair of electric blue high heels at me. One nearly misses my head.
“Or these, I just got them.” She throws red peep-toes at my stomach. Ouch.
“I just had dinner, Klara,” I throw the shoe back at her. Must we always throw things at each other? There is no sense in the world. “I almost regurgitated my meal. Stop throwing things! They hit me, and they hurt. In case-you didn’t-know,” I grit my teeth. I rub the soon to be bruise near my belly button.
Her head pops up. “Well, fake date or real date, or no date at all, the shoes you wear when you hang out with a boy matter,” she concludes.
“It’s okay, really. It’s just Sirius Black. Shouldn’t I wait until later to dress up? What if I run into people? Not good,” I explain. “This needs to run smoothly. Besides, Sirius said it was just a casual friend thing.”
“For now,” she reasons. I roll my eyes again and say, “For now,” back to her.
I can only imagine what she’d make me wear. The thing with my best friend is that she is always highly motivated. And when she gets excited, she can’t contain herself. She’s always the one whose excited for me when I get an O on my essays, when I gain House points, when guys ask me out. Even when Amos asked me out. I inwardly shudder.
“Don’t get too excited over this, fairy godmother. I promise that when the good stuff happens around school, like when our list is half way finished, and everyone thinks Sirius and I are a couple, you can do what ever you want.” I smile at her and put on my sneakers. I pat her shoulder and walk out to meet Sirius, grabbing my cardigan on the way out.
“Promise?” I hear her call out. “Yeah,” I yell back.
Walking down into the common room, I find only a couple students residing on the recliners and loveseats. In the corner, near the window, I spot two guys huddled over. One is rubbing his forehead like he has a migraine, and the other one is talking to him at a rapid pace. My breath catches in my throat.
Amos is bent over his knees, thinking to himself. His best friend, Blake Sanders, is next to him, no doubt telling Amos about the gossip he’d heard about today. It being after dinner, he’d have plenty to tell his BFF. Mealtime in the Great Hall was where all gossip started and finished. It was everyone’s sanctuary, where they could talk to whoever, whenever (most of the time), and talk about whatever with their friends. There are a little over a thousand students at Hogwarts; just imagine how fast things can get around in one cramped room. I mean the Great Hall is huge and comfortable, but for that many students, it’s easy to get cramped up and end up sitting on top of someone if you’re not careful…and it’s easy to listen in on other people’s conversations.
I try to ignore Blake Sanders and Amos Diggory as I walk in the opposite direction. I hope to God they don’t see me. I just keep walking and pretend I don’t see them. But something bad happens. I step on a creak near the portrait hole. The cackling fireplace isn’t loud enough to engulf the sound coming from the floor, and they look up.
“Hey!” I hear, but I don’t look behind me. I just pick up my speed and before I know it I’m running down the halls.
I come to a halt when I reach my destination, and I let out a huge breath. What if I had stayed in there? I could only imagine what Amos would say to me. What would he think, or ask? I shake my head and keep steady until I read the doors of the Great Hall. I put my hand on the doors and catch my breath. The cool air coming from the marble decorated hallways give me a chill, and I slide on my cardigan. I pull my hair out of the loose bun and let it fall down to my shoulders. I put my hands through my bangs, loosening the strands. After fixing my fringe, I check my breath to make sure the pasta I ate for dinner didn’t give me garlic breath. I momentarily thank the heavens for not punishing me for not brushing after this one meal.
I’m safe, no garlic breath. My hair is down, warming up my neck. My cardigan is snug, keeping my arms warm. Yes, fantastic. Everything’s just fantastic.
“Natalie,” I hear from behind me. I hesitantly turn around.
“Sirius,” I smile, “Hey.”
“Hello,” he greets. Tonight he’s wearing the same beautiful necklace with the delicate chain. His tee is worn loosely over a pair of dark colored jeans. He’s wearing sneakers. I’m wearing sneakers. Hah! Casual, just like I thought. Awkwardness has left the building! We just stand here, and we say nothing for about fifteen seconds.
Nevermind, awkwardness has made a comeback.
He breaks the ice. “So…”
I gulp. “Yeah…”
“Let’s take a walk,” he tilts his head, telling me politely. As if he had to tell me politely. I’d have followed him anyways.
We walk and take the stairs, surprisingly. I was so nervous that the entire time we walked I didn’t even ask him where we were going. Oh, Merlin.
“Sometimes I come here to talk with my mates. You know, get away from school for a little bit. Here,” he opens the doors to a balcony I didn’t know existed. It has a railing and exotic potted plants put at the corners. Very roomy.
“It’s my go-to area whenever I want some space,” he tells me.
I don’t even mumble a word.
Say something, you amnesic squid, you!
I am begging my brain for something to say, but all I get in return is, “That’s nice.” I don’t even say it with interest. I say it mildly, like I accidently bit into an ear-wax flavored bean. This is just fabulous. He turns to look at me (probably to ask me why I’m acting like a freak), but I pretend to scratch my arm. Oh, crud. I’m stalling. I’m stalling my own date! Wait, this isn’t a date. Stupid brain.
“Here, have a seat.” Sirius plops down on the ground. I take a tumble next to him.
Real graceful, Natalie.
I find myself staring at his profile, hoping he didn’t notice my stumble. He doesn’t move, he just looks up at the stars above. So I keep gazing.
His skin is flawless. Why is he prettier than I am?! That should be a law: boys can’t be prettier than girls.
“So, Natalie,” Sirius starts, while still staring up at the night sky, “What does the average Hufflepuff do everyday?”
I cough and sit up straighter. “Well,” I say too loudly. “Well… not much, really. I’m a boring person.” Every word I say gets quieter than the first.
“I doubt that.”
“You’d be surprised. My life is pretty bland.”
He looks at me and I swear, his eyes are telling me: not for long.
“You look mischievous,” I blurt. I freeze on the spot and my eyes grow wide. That did not just come out of my mouth.
Sirius laughs, “And you look nervous.”
Touché, Gryffie. Touché.
“Let’s play a game,” he announces. He smiles at me. I can tell he’s trying to make me relax; how sweet of him. Too bad it’s not working! And it should, I mean, I don’t get too uncomfortable around boys. Why is Sirius getting a reaction out of me? This better not be a bad omen.
“What kind of game?”
“How does it work?”
“Each person goes back and forth asking any question they want, and the other person has to answer. You only have 20 tries to get to know the person, so you don’t ask then anything obvious. But you can ask anything you want; any kind of question. No rules. Answer quickly as possible.”
Simple enough. “Alright, you go first,” I reply.
“What got you to this point? Getting back at your ex?” He asks slowly. Sirius turns his head to the side and a strand of his hair gets in his eyes, but he’s looking down at me and doesn’t touch it.
I swallow quickly. “Uh, to be honest… I have no idea. I thought I was in this perfect relationship, but I think that I was just in denial. I told myself whatever worked, so that I could make myself happy by myself…when really it takes two people to make a relationship work.”
Sirius nods knowingly. “That’s true. One person can’t do all the work. But sometimes, I guess people blur what they think are meaningless flaws, when really they’re just huge problems that are being ignored.”
I give him a small smile. “Exactly.” I cross my arms against the chill of the night. He grazes my finger against my shoulder and electricity shoots up my arm.
“Are you cold?” He asks, telling me to scoot over.
“Is that your second question?” I ask him slyly. He tries not to roll his eyes and gives me a small smirk. “No, it’s not.”
He pushes me closer to him. Our shoulders are touching and he’s as hot as a furnace.
“If you’re cold we can go back inside-”
“No, I’m fine. Next question?” I don’t want to leave. I want him to get to know me.
“Favorite color?” Sirius asks.
I respond quickly with, “Red.”
“Ah, the color of love.”
I look away from him and blush a bit. Awe, jeez. “Eighteen left.”
“Hm…how old are you?”
“Where’s your family from?”
“Manchester and extended family lives in Poland,” I respond quickly. I’m getting the hang of this game…
I open my mouth and then close it. Er, I didn’t see that coming. “Billy Kingston in wizards’ daycare.”
“Oh, really?” He laughs. “What?” I defend, laughing back.
“When you were a toddler, huh? Didn’t know you were having relationships that young.”
“Oh, shush. It was a one time thing,” I wheedle.
It’s quiet for a moment as we hear a ruffle in the trees. Sirius sighs.
“This isn’t boring you, is it?”
I tilt my head in his direction, and his big eyes are looking right down at me.
“Not at all! What better way to get to know someone? Besides, it’s interesting. To be honest, I was kind of nervous before hand. Coming down here to talk to you… it makes everything else more real. And I’m not the type of girl to do this to an ex boyfriend, so it’s still kind of surreal for me. All I can think about is how awkward it might be for me and you to have a friendship and act natural while pretending to be a couple,” I rush out in one breath.
“Ah,” he says knowingly. I bite the inside of my cheek.
He turns to me fully and tells me two things. “I don’t want you to feel that way. I agreed to do this because everyone deserves what’s coming at them. I believe that the rocks should always fall where they may. If someone was to do something wrong to Peter or James or Remus, I’d have done anything I could to get back at them. For me, it’s not personal, but to you it is. And in me doing this, I’m helping someone that’s been wronged…that was my fifth question, by the way. Fifteen more to go.”
I have somewhat become more relaxed around Sirius. I try not to smile too wide. All he’s trying to do is the right thing… if this is even right or morally correct thing, what we’re doing to Amos. He just wants to help me. And I get the distinct impression that we’re both on the same page, here. So there shouldn’t be any nerves from either side. So I’m going to try and stay calm.
“Hit me with your best shot.”
“Who do you fancy at the moment?” My mouth drops and I shove him.
“No one! I just got out of a really long relationship. It was rubbish, really, but other than Amos I haven’t had my eye on anyone in while.”
Sirius thinks to himself for a moment before asking, “Blonde or brown haired blokes?”
For some reason, my heart starts to race. Amos has blonde hair. A lot of people in Hufflepuff have blonde hair. Now that I think about it, I’m one of the few in my house with dark hair. I wouldn’t mind dating a guy that ISN'T a blonde. I feel like turning around, just in case a flock of blondes is ready to attack me, but I don't.
Because that would be weird...
“Brown hair,” is all I respond with.
“Favorite eye color?”
“Anything but blue.”
He chuckles. Oh, poop. Sirius knows that Amos has blue eyes.
“Favorite ice-cream flavor?”
“Coffee!” I get excited. Coffee is great. I love it. Caffeine is good. Except when I freak out, like what I’m doing right now in my head. Nevermind, caffeine is bad.
“Favorite vacation spot?”
“Poland. I went once with my Aunt Rosa. It’s a beautiful place.”
Sirius stops asking me questions. “Hey, you have ten more to go,” I tell him.
“I know, but I want to stop. I want to save those for later.” Sirius puts the loose strands of his hair behind his ear. I stare at his necklace. It’s so cool to look at, even at night.
“Well, when I get to know you well enough. I’m sure there will be a lot of things you won’t want to share,” he winks.
“My turn for the questions. And I guess I want to save ten, too.”
“Alright,” he agrees. “It’s a plan.” Sirius nudges my knee with his; I nudge him back.
Does this mean we’re friends?
“Okay, here goes… Who was your first kiss? Have you ever played a sport besides Quidditch? How many girls have you dated?”
“You’re a question-copycat, Jill Nixon next door to my old house and we were seven; I’ve played a bit of football and I can understand how addictive it can be to play; let’s not go there.”
I lick my lips. “No…you have to answer the last one!”
“Ask me that one with your other set of ten.”
“Fine,” I whine. It’s surprising how his cool exterior is bringing out a friendlier side of me. Sirius is good with helping people open up; I think it’s a quality I like about him.
“How can you always stay calm all the time, and help those around you to be comfortable?”
Sirius bends his legs and rests his arms on top of his knees. “Not sure, really. I just try to act calm because people tend to get nervous when the other person isn’t. It’s like a magnet effect. If one person in the room is frightened- then the others in the room are bound to be frightened as well. And it’s easy for me to be calm; there’s no way I can have time to myself with all the pranks us marauders pull, I’ll tell you that. I find a way to be calm and it helps me to have time to myself, even when I’m in a crowded room.”
I never thought… Sirius Black meditated with himself.
Amos used to just ego-trip himself.
“What is your favorite vegetable?” I ask randomly.
I laugh, “That’s gross.”
He raises his eyebrows at me. “Um…no.”
“Ask me you’re fifth question, Hufflepuff,” Sirius says in a fake-sarcastic voice.
“Okay, okay. What is the history behind the necklace you’re wearing?”
His facial features change, and for the first time since I’ve met him, he looks really sincere and child-like. Sirius takes it off from around his neck and hands it to me. As he’s pulling it out of his shirt, I finally see the shiny medallion that is hanging from it.
“Wow,” is all I can manage to say. The chain is a mix between gold, white gold, and silver. It’s delicate and very beautiful; the thin links are no doubt a display of a wealthy buyer. This is antique looking. And the sickle-sized gold frame pendant has images of the moon and stars engraved on it, making it the most gorgeously lightweight medallion I think I’ve ever seen.
“It was my cousin’s. Her name’s Andromeda. My family isn’t too fond of her, but she was always my favorite relative…our grandmother passed it down to her. Before certain…problems in my family came up, Andromeda gave the necklace to me and told me to hold onto it and keep it. Be its guardian, in other words. It’s the one thing I truly cherish. It’s an heirloom; apparently the images in the medallion relate to our family history, considering we’re all named after stars and such.”
He’s a family man! How adorable.
“Family is important to you…”
“It used to be,” he finishes. I don’t push it. Another story for another time.
Sirius looks up at the dark navy sky as I continue.
“Blondes or brunettes? You look like a blonde-loving lad, if I do say so myself.” I keep my voice chipper and bright, and maybe a bit taunting, to get the mood back in our conversation.
“Quite the opposite. Truthfully, I don’t discriminate between hair colors; I like anything as long as the girl has a personality. But if I had to choose… Brunettes. There’s something about how the brown color just reflects so well across the face,” he says to me, motioning with his hands.
I bite my lip and think of more questions. I take the liberty of scooting closer to him.
What? Don’t look at me like that.
…It’s cold out.
“Favorite color? Favorite country? Do you like being a Gryffindor? I hear the Fat Lady’s a tosspot.”
Sirius chuckles and looks at me, entertained with my choice of words.
“You have spunk,” he announces.
“Ah. Well, thanks.”
I have spunk!
“Black goes with everything, and I don’t like how people stereotype it to be a symbol for death. It annoys me. I’ve never been to Italy, but I think I’d call it my favorite country. It’s unique in its own way. Very vintage attractive-ish. And doesn’t try to hide its old beauty and historic memories - it’s all paved in the cracks of the streets and vines of the villas.”
“Yes, I agree. It looks like a wonderful place to be. Nice choice. You get brownie points for that one.”
“And Gryffindor is the best house. Sorry. I can’t spill our scandalous secrets, now matter how fat the lady in the portrait is. It’s not like she’s in Gryffindor herself. She’s more like…a lost cause. A nuisance.”
“There were rumors around last year that you had a tattoo…do you have one?”
Sirius’s face lights up and he immediately looks entertained. I can’t tell if this is his ‘ready to mock’ face or an ‘oh, this will be fun’ face. I think it’s a mixture of both. “Is that your last question?”
“Do YOU think I have a tattoo?”
“Now, don’t go playing mind games with me.”
“Yes, you are, and you know it.”
He laughs, but this one is more like a bark. But an elegant bark. It’s a laugh that makes one think of memories and regrets and things you’ve done that make you ask yourself: Sweet marbles, did I really do that?!
He’s silent and I keep pestering. “Answer me!” I poke him.
Sirius looks me in the eyes, and I now notice how close we are to each other. I can see the specks of gray in his eyes. No blue at all.
“I won’t deny it. But, I won’t show you where I have it just yet,” he gives me a mischievous smile. “Another thing you’ll have to find out on your own.”
My mouth falls open.
I think I need to fan my face.
Darn you and your charm, Sirius Black!
“Why can’t you just tell me?” I choke out.
“Now, Natalie Rouz, how proper would it be for me to truly get to know you if you told me straight off the bat, everything about you? What fun would that be? I’d like to get to know you myself, in my own eyes. Wouldn’t you like to get to know me in the same way?”
“Sure,” I say quietly.
“I answered you’re question though, so you can’t do that cute little pout thing.”
I bite my lip. My cute little pout thing? “What?” I say, intrigued.
He throws me an impossible look. “Every woman has that little pout. It’s like a secret weapon, to melt the hearts of all men.”
Well, in that case…
“Stop that,” he covers his face with his hands while I pout my heart out.
“Please! Tell me where it is!”
“No,” he whines.
I push his shoulder and he pushes my back and before we know it, we’re laughing and having fun, and we start to tickle each other. His fingers move at lightening speed on my stomach and I laugh so hard I almost regurgitate my dinner. I slip my hands free from his grasp and find somewhere near his neck to tickle, and my thumb grazes right below his ear. Sirius goes ballistic and twitches, almost dropping me all together. I keep tickling it and every time I do, he convulses. This makes him look so ridiculous I just end up laughing harder in his face. I found his tickle spot, ha!
Sirius smoothly grabs my wrists and pins them on the ground. Wait, on the ground? Oh. Right. I hadn’t even noticed that we weren’t sitting next to the wall anymore. Looking up, I see his face in full view, and his necklace is dangling. It tickles my chin and it stays there. My heart is beating so fast.
Thump, thump, thump.
His stare is penetrating and we just stay there for a while. I stare at the contours of his face for the thousandth time, out of jealousy. He is immaculate.
I mean his face.
His face is immaculate.
Sirius’s upper lip rises just a bit, and he whispers to me, “It’s obviously not in a place everyone can see in broad view.” I swallow.
“With clothes on.”
“Obviously,” I agree, dumbstruck.
He nods slowly before getting up and pulling me up with him.
“Come on. Let’s go down to the kitchens to get a snack.” And with that he leads me down the hallway, grabbing my wrist and showing me the way.
If this is what it’s like to be ‘friends’ with Sirius Black, I can only imagine what it’ll be like when I have to date him in public, heart palpitations and all.
Author's Note: So, what did you think!?
=) please review! I'm so sorry it took so long for me to update, but I'm going to try and be consistant with the next chapters! More reviews, more updates. PROMISE!
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