Chapter 4 : Chocolate
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Chapter Four: Chocolate
It’s been two days since James and Sirius confronted me about the notebook, and I haven’t seen them at all since. In fact, I haven’t even gone outside in two days. I feel like a hermit. Maybe I should grow a beard.
I think a beard would be itchy. I don’t like anything itchy.
I’m considering putting on my two-piece and heading to the back garden to work on my tan. No, that’s not a good idea, because I don’t tan, I burn. And pink is not a good look for me.
The parents aren’t home, so I could walk to that newish little shop nearby and buy a chocolate bar! Hhmm, I think it’s called “Herman’s” but I’m not sure. I jump off my bed and dart over to my wardrobe to change out of my pyjamas.
On second thought, that creepy old man with the lazy eye works there, and he always stares at me (with one of his eyes, the other one kind of stares off into space). The man has all of one hair on his head, and a surplus of hair coming out of his nose and ears. He frightens me.
On third thought, I’m really craving chocolate, and Mum ate all the chocolate in the house after her session with the chocoholic didn’t go so well. I guess I’ll risk it.
On fourth thought, I’m completely broke. I really should get a job. But the last job I had didn’t go so well. It was at an ice cream parlour. I lasted a week, but when the fifth spoiled little kid threw a tantrum about the size of his ice cream scoop and how there were too many sprinkles, I screamed and chucked my scooper-thingy (I forgot what they called it in the employee-handbook) at the wall. I’m still banned from that place.
Ah, hell, I’ll just nick some money from one of Mum’s many handbags. She won’t notice. And even if she does, I’ll only have to undergo a few weeks of therapy from one of her physiatrist chums and a bunch of lectures on why stealing is a sin. The therapy isn’t all bad, I get sweets and free tissues. And I get to rant about the parents and school and other rant-worthy-things for an hour a week.
Thirty minutes later, I’m properly clothed in a completely mysterious-stain-free outfit with enough money to buy two chocolate bars in my pocket. I run a brush through my mess of dirty-blonde hair, tie it back into a ponytail and slap some sunscreen on.
Keys? Check. I don’t want to accidentally lock myself out of the house again. Note for Martha (the cleaning lady) saying that Dad will pay her next week, and saying to make sure and dust the piano? Check (even though I don’t think we should even pay her at all, considering she refuses to clean my bedroom and all she really does is shove things under the rugs, and one day I’m going to get photographic evidence of her eating the leftover cake). Shoes? Er . . . check.
I remember to lock the door behind me and head down the driveway. I’ve just reached the pavement when I hear someone whistling.
Oh bugger. That whistling sounds suspiciously like Sirius. Which is not good at all. I speed up.
Now the whistling sounds a tiny bit like “Mmeeeeeeeelllliiiieeeeee.” I start power-walking. I really do not want to deal with that nutcase right now.
“Oi, Mellie!” Sirius shouts, and I hear his footsteps behind me. I power-walk even faster, but for some reason, Sirius doesn’t take the hint, and speeds up as well.
“Mmmeeeellllieeee!” he shouts even louder, and now I stop, because I don’t want the neighbours to get mad at us for noise pollution. I turn around and give him an evil-eye. He’s standing a few feet away from me, and looking cheerful. Well, mental people are usually cheerful, aren’t they?
“What, Mr. ‘can’t-take-the-hint-that-I-don’t-want-to-talk-to-you’?” I ask, crossing my arms in an attempt to look intimidating. Sirius, instead of being intimidated, laughs.
Laughing at absolutely nothing is one of the first signs of madness. I think. And the fact that his laugh sounds more like a bark is probably another sign of madness. I shoot him another evil look, one that I think, despite my mates’ assurances to the contrary, is quite menacing.
It works! He stops laughing! Unfortunately, he walks closer to me and puts on a mock-pouty face that I think makes him look like a toddler. He should stick to smirks.
“And why wouldn’t you want to talk to me?” he asks. Oh, let me list the reasons . . .
“I think you’re mental,” I say bluntly and seriously (Hah! No pun intended!) before turning and walking away. I wasn’t really expecting him to go away, but I wasn’t expecting him to follow me quite so quickly, and I certainly wasn’t expecting him to sling his (heavy) arm around my shoulders.
I’ve always wondered what it was like, walking with a bloke’s arm around your shoulders. It might be nice for some girls, but I’ve always suspected I have unusually narrow shoulders, and his arm is big and heavy, so it’s really rather awkward and uncomfortable. Plus, I’m walking faster than him (trying to get away from the nutcase), which increases the awkwardness even more. At least I’m not a foot shorter than him, because then it’d be even worse. I’m just an inch shorter than him.
“I thought you thought James was mental,” Sirius says, sounding completely unworried by the fact that I think he’s insane.
“I do. But after that little episode in the tree house,” I pause for effect, and to sneak a peek at his lovely profile, “I’ve decided you’re both barmy.” He stops now, and I have to stop too, because his arm’s still around me.
“Mellie, I hate to break this to you,” he says, placing his hands on my shoulders and turning me to face him, “but you’re the barmy one.” I shake my head at him.
“Nope. In a survey conducted by my friends of approximately fifty students, only one said I was ‘mental’. The overwhelming majority said I was ‘just a little out there’. One in ten said I was ‘normal’,” I say to him, proud to have statistics on my side. However, instead of this convincing Sirius of my saneness, it seems to amuse him.
“Your mates ‘conducted’ a survey about you?” he asks me. I shrug nonchalantly.
“It was for a statistics class,” I say. Susan and Kelly couldn’t think of anything else. I’m not going to sit around and let my friends fail! “But it proves I’m not mental, or barmy, I’m just a little out there!” Whereas, you, Sirius, are as nutty as a forest floor.
“No it doesn’t. It just proves your mates are as mental as you,” he replies. I stick my tongue out at him before yanking myself out of his grasp and marching away. I sigh as I hear him catch up with me, but I refuse to look at him.
“So where’re you going?” he asks, but I’ve decided that the best way to get this nutjob to go away is to ignore him, so I say nothing, and continue walking.
“Mellie, the silent treatment doesn’t work with me. Remus uses it on me all the time, and it never works,” he informs me. I resist the urge to ask who Remus is, and what’s with the weird names. But then again, Remus probably doesn’t even exist. He’s probably a figment of Sirius’s imagination.
Hey! I just remembered. Remus is Romulus’s twin brother, the one who founded Rome, according to mythology. They were raised by a she-wolf.
That proves it. Remus is definitely not a real person. No one would name their son after a mythological wolf-kid, who, by the way, is killed by his own brother. Poor Sirius and his imaginary friends.
He doesn’t talk for a few minutes and then . . .
“Mellie, why aren’t you talking to me?” he asks, sounding slightly whiny. I roll my eyes.
“My mum told me not to talk to strangers,” I say very matter-of-factly. I glance over at him, he’s grinning.
“But I’m not a stranger. You know my name,” he counters, and his expression shows he thinks he’s bested me with his logic.
“You certainly seem strange to me,” I say with a smile. Oh, wow, that sounded a lot better in my head. Sirius rolls his eyes.
“I’m choosing to ignore that,” he informs me. I stick my tongue out at him again. “I’m going to ignore that too.” He’s walking beside me now, but fortunately hasn’t put his arm on my shoulders again. “So, where are you going?”
I sigh. The ignoring-him method is definitely not working. Time to go to Plan B (also known as the plan I just now came up with): put up with the nutter. It can’t be too bad, he is, after all, exceptionally good-looking.
“To that newish shop that the creepy old man with the lazy eye works at,” I reply shortly. Sirius laughs.
“A lazy eye, eh?” he asks with a grin. “Sounds fun.” I nod.
“Oh it will be. Because, there’ll be chocolate involved,” I say. “But you’re not invited,” I add when he laughs. Sirius puts his arm around my shoulders again. It’s slightly less awkward this time, but only because we’re walking at the same pace now. But his arm really is heavy. I think it’s because it’s muscular.
Oh goodness, I shouldn’t be thinking about how this crazy person’s arm is muscular. But muscles don’t necessarily mean that the owner of them is good-looking, after all, I have arm muscles!
Sometimes my friends tell me my logic makes no sense. I agree with them.
“And, why,” Sirius begins, snapping me out of my internal-monologue, “am I not invited?” Because I’m scared you’re mental friend is going to murder me in the middle of the night and I think you’re wacko too and this was supposed to be a boring but relaxing summer and you are adding unnecessary drama! And I don’t like drama!
“Because,” I reply shortly, instead of shouting at him like I feel like doing.
“Um, did I do something wrong?” he asks, sounding slightly concerned. I can feel his eyes on me, even though I’m determinedly looking at the pavement right now instead of at him. “You sound like you’re mad at me.” Ugh, I am such a horrible actress. I was trying to sound nonchalant with my “because” but it obviously didn’t work out. “Did my tissue give you a rash or something?”
I can’t help it, I chuckle at this. Aw, screw it. I don’t care if Sirius is mentally unstable or not. He’s funny. I’m going to hang out with him and enjoy it! And I’m going to try really hard not to think about the green sparks I saw coming from the Potters’ chimney yesterday.
“No, no rash either, unless one has popped up in the last five minutes,” I reply, looking away from the pavement and back at him, and I’m relieved to hear my voice sounds completely normal, even joking. “Has one?” Sirius makes a show of examining my face for a rash and then smiles.
“Nope, you’re lucky.” I chuckle again. “So then, can I come?”
“Nope,” I reply again, only because I know he’ll come anyway, and I want to see how long I can last with saying no to him. I’m not a stubborn person at all.
“Aw,” Sirius does that pouty-thing again, the one that makes him look less-attractive, almost like an average-bloke. I grin back at him. “Will you let me come if I buy the chocolate for you?”
Huzzah! Free chocolate! I’ll take it!
“Deal!” I reply. Sirius smirks at my overeager tone. “What? I really like chocolate,” I add defensively.
“I figured that out on my own, thanks,” he replies, still smirking slightly. Ah, there’s that smirk again, it was missing for about five minutes there.
We’re about halfway there now. And he hasn’t done anything particularly mad, yet. It’s only a matter of time.
“So how’s Fluffy?” I ask casually, because there’s an awkward pause in the conversation and I always feel the need to fill awkward pauses. I look at Sirius and discover he looks really confused right now.
“Huh?” he replies dumbly. I try not to laugh at his expression.
“How’s Fluffy? You know, James’s cat?” I repeat, smiling.
“James’s doesn’t have a c—“ He stops himself as a look of realisation spreads across his face. It’s funny. He looks just like that little kid I tutored for about a month did when he finally figured out a maths problem. “Oh. Right. That cat! Fluffy!” I giggle.
“Yeah, er, Fluffy’s great, absolutely spiffy!” Sirius says quickly, in obvious “I’m lying but I don’t want you to know I am so I’m overcompensating by almost yelling” voice. “
I spoke too soon. He’s just done something particularly mad.
“Riiiight,” I say slowly in the voice I reserve for people who are bonkers, like Sirius. “That’s great.”
There’s another awkward pause, and again, I feel the need to fill it.
“We had a cat when I was little,” I say, and then I suddenly realize is arm is still around my shoulders. Wow, his arm’s been there for a while now. It doesn’t seem so heavy anymore. “He used to sit in the bathtub and meow until someone would pour some water in the tub for him, and then he’d lap it up.”
Sirius laughs/barks at this, so I continue.
“And, he’d run in fright whenever anyone crinkled a plastic bag, but then he acted all tough whenever a bird got to close to one of our windows, and attack the window.” That cat really was quite mad. I miss him a bit. He died of old age a while back. Sirius laughs again.
“We used to have a cat too,” he says once he’s finished laughing. “But then she tried to kill Kreacher, the, er, neighbour’s dog, so we had to give her to a shelter.” I laugh aloud at the thought of a cat taking on a dog. He grins.
“Was the dog badly hurt?” I ask, not managing to keep a straight face. Sirius smirks.
“Unfortunately, no,” he replies. I laugh before I can stop myself, because even though it was a mean thing to say, it was funny.
We swap a few more cat-stories and then we’re standing in front of the shop. I look at the sign. Darn, I was wrong; it’s called “Herbert’s”, not “Herman’s”.
“Here we are,” I announce. Sirius looks it over dubiously. “What?”
“’Herberts’s’? What kind of name is ‘Herbert’s’? It’s so boring,” he says. I roll my eyes at this.
“What’d you expect, ‘Herberto’s Chocolate Emporium’?” I say sarcastically before slipping out from under his arm and darting inside. I hear him say something like “Well, yeah,” but I’m already headed towards the chocolate aisle.
I don’t care what the shop’s name is. It has a whole aisle devoted to chocolate. That’s my kind of place.
Sirius moseys on in and comes over to me, glancing around with a curious expression on. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he’d never been in a shop before. But who, besides the aliens and hermits of course, has never been in a shop before?
I carefully select a chocolate bar, and look at Sirius, who is still looking a bit bemused.
“Need help deciding?” I ask him, smirking a wee bit. He shakes his head slightly, and picks up a chocolate bar. He seems to be reading the ingredients or something.
Remember Sirius’s little-kid-figuring-out-a-maths-problem-look? Well, it just appeared again. I can’t help but laugh at it. He mutters something, but I’m too busy laughing to hear him.
“Mellie, stop laughing at me for a sec and listen,” Sirius says. I stop, and shoot him a “I’ve got good reason to laugh at you” smirk. He ignores this. “I just realised I don’t have any money with me.”
He attempts to prove this by exaggeratedly turning his pockets inside out, but out falls a shiny gold coin.
“Then what’s that?” I ask, confused on why he would pretend to not have any money, when he did offer to pay for the chocolate. I go to pick up the coin, but he grabs it before I can and shoves it back in his pocket. But before it’s out of sight I notice it’s got what looks like a dragon on it.
But my eyes must just be playing tricks on me. No coins have dragons on them.
Sirius looks slightly alarmed. “It’s a Canadian dollar!” he blurts out.
Wow, he’s officially, utterly, and completely, lost it. First of all, I’m pretty sure Canadian dollars are paper, not golden coins. Second of all, even if Canadian dollars were coins, they wouldn’t have dragons on them. There’re no dragons in Canada, it’s too cold for them. Duh.
“Okaaaay,” I say slowly, not wanting to anger the mentally-unstable person. “I’ll just pay then. Is this what you want?”
“Oh, no, you don’t have to buy me one,” he says quickly. Aw, the mad one is also a gentleman!
“It’s fine, it’s my mum’s money,” I say, before taking the chocolate from him and heading to the counter. Ugh, the creepy old man’s there. Deep breath, Mellie, try not to look him in the eye, especially not the lazy one.
“This all?” he growls as I hand him the chocolate. I nod, looking at his forehead instead of his eyes. Ugh, his breath stinks. Really lovely. “Fifty pence,” he says. I hand him one pound and cringe when I accidentally touch his hand when he gives me the change.
His hands are all gross and clammy.
Sirius owes me big for this.
I might accept one of those dragon coins as payback.
A/N: So, first of all, I'm sooooo sorry for the super long wait you all had to suffer through (because I'm sure it was agony). Second of all, thanks a bunch for all the reviews so far, and I'd love it id you could keep them coming! Third of all, I'd just like to remind everyone that I have a "Meet The Author" page, and I'd love it if you guys asked me some questions! It makes me feel popular! Fourth of all, what do you think of the new banner? Is it better or worse than the old one? Lastly, don't you love these super long author's notes?
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