Hello everyone! This is just a note to eliminate any confusion that may arise. I’ve thrown in a few letters that are exchanged between Mack and Inconspicuous. They do not have anything to do with the story that they are placed before or after. Unless something about a particular part of the letter is mentioned, these letters have nothing to do with this particular part of the story. Thanks a ton and I hope you enjoy this chapter!
Banner of Mack and her dad by Ande @ TDA!
Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.
My dear Inconspicuous,
I’m glad that I surprised you, then. I’m always happy to be unpredictable. It keeps my life in motion. Oh, yes. You got it. That is what Dumbledore said. Ha, I probably laughed for four minutes straight after he said that. Yeah, I guess that I believe you now and I’m definitely relieved that you’re no spinny stalker.
Wow. That’s deep, Connie (oh, do you mind if I call you that? It’s so much shorter and easier on my hand to write. Haha). I completely understand what you mean. I bet that gets really irritating for you, eh? I’m sorry. Is this person a close friend of yours?
Oh, thanks! (Sarcasm) I actually think that ‘Bloody Brilliant’ is much better. That does make sense. Is this person someone that you fancy? Wait…you are a boy, aren’t you? I mean, I just assumed that, but I’m not at all sure. Your handwriting’s a bit neat, so it’s possible for you to be a lass. But, I really hope that you’re not. I mean, I just don’t really feel right talking to girl like this. Girls just irritate me. They strive on drama and their sole purpose in life is to make everyone around them miserable. They’re just wretched. I mean…except for me, I guess.
Ugh! Why does everyone keep asking me that? It’s kind of annoying. Well, because I don’t know you, I don’t really mind telling you secrets, as long as you don’t go telling anybody. Promise you won’t?
Okay, well, me and Rem. He has this girlfriend, you see, and I rather despise her. She confronted me in the library about a month ago and told me to ‘back off of Remus’. Then I told her that he and I were just friends, which we are, and she tried to get in a little comeback contest with me (which I totally won, by the way). She ended it, though, by saying something about my mum. I had to use everything in me not to punch her. And then, just last week, at the Gryffindor party (I’m sure you heard about that), she told me she wanted to be friends and introduced me to Mark Walker, saying that we needed to get to know each other. He…was a bit too friendly, we’ll just say. Remus actually saved me from that and I’m in so much debt to him for that. Right now, we’re both stuck on a wire. He doesn’t really believe me that Barbie planned the whole Walker thing and I’m just mad at him for actually believing the doll. I’m not really sure what’s going on, so…yeah.
Tell me about your love life. Not like I usually ask these types of questions. But I don’t know anything about you and I couldn’t really think of any other things to ask about.
P.S. Sorry that was so bloody long. I hadn’t planned on ranting so much.
“You ready to go home?” Mason asked me excitedly during dinner.
Tomorrow was the day we were supposed to go home and we really couldn’t wait. We hadn’t seen Dad in almost four months. Christmas at our house was always the best. Even though we didn’t get much, it was always insanely fun. Remus and his mum came over on both Christmas Eve and Christmas day and we had a jolly good time together. For each and every meal, we all cooked together in our kitchen without using magic. Mason, Rem and I usually ended up getting kicked out for throwing food and Dorothy made sure to keep me away from the oven. Ever since Christmas of ‘69, I’ve been officially banned from using any sort of electronic heating device. But it really wasn’t my fault, how was I supposed to know you were supposed to put food on a tray before putting it in the oven? On Christmas day, we all exchanged gifts, even though they weren’t much. Dorothy stopped giving me make-up after about the third Christmas, when she realized I usually threw it all away. Us kids usually exchanged silly presents, some inside joke or another. Dad usually picked up something on his way home from work a few days before. He wasn’t much of a gift-giver, anyways. Then a few days after Christmas, all of us Marauders usually got together at one of our houses and partied until the time came to go back to school.
I nodded enthusiastically. “Of course I am! I really can’t wait,” I told him, my words slurring together, they came out a bit too quickly.
But what could I help it? It’s exciting.
“What’re we gonna get Dad this year?”
I shrugged. “I honestly haven’t thought about the presents at all. I’m just focused on the food that Dorothy’s planning.” She was an extraordinary cook. Insanely good stuff. I swear, if I ever throw up from eating too much, it’s probably going to be at the Lupin’s house.
Mason laughed in agreement. “Yeah, definitely. But I’m not going to let you put anything in the oven, Mack. I mean, we all thought you learned a bit after ‘69, but last year’s turkey certainly proved each of us wrong.”
“Okay, the little thing in it hadn’t popped up yet, so I just left it in the oven!”
“When you smell something burning, that’s a sure-fire sign to take it out.”
“Damned bird,” I muttered, shaking my head and ripping a bit out of the chicken wing I was eating.
Ha, I’m not planning on addressing you as that any more, so enjoy it while you can.
Good. I’m glad that you believe me now. I was afraid you would never tell me anything if you didn’t think that I went to Hogwarts with you.
Connie? That’s a bloody girl’s name! But I guess I don’t mind. Whatever helps your aching hand. Haha. And yeah, it is rather vexing. They don’t see how much I’ve changed and how much I’ve really grown up. I don’t run around their garden and play anymore. We’re very good friends and I just want them to see who I really am.
I completely understand what you mean about girls and I’m happy to say that I am a bloke, thanks. Girls can really just get on my last nerves most of the time. It seems the only thing they do it their spare time is fix their hair and put on more make-up. I know that’s not how all girls are, but very well most of them. And, even though I don’t know you all that well, I can already tell you that you’re nothing like the lot of them. Completely different.
Oh, I promise I won’t tell anybody. Why would I do that, anyway?
So you don’t like that girl? What’s her name…Amber? Andrea? Oh, it’s Ashleyn, isn’t it? She doesn’t really sound like she’d be a walk in the park. What did she say about your mum? It must have been pretty bad to make you want to punch her. Ah, and I heard about that little incident with Walker. That bloody douce-bag. He had no right to take advantage of you like that. You think that Ashleyn set that up? But why would she do such a thing? That’s just horrid. I just don’t see why you pin this on Remus. He’s just dating the girl, after all. He can’t be responsible for her actions. And aren’t you grateful that he saved you from that bloke?
Ha, my love life? I have none. I mean, I have a girlfriend, but she's...nothing special. Don't worry about it.
Now it’s your turn. Your love life? Are you interested in anybody in particular?
We were silent for a moment and Mason looked over at me. We were both thinking the same thing.
“So, are you and Remus going to be alright?” he asked, quietly.
Ever since the ‘Christmas’ party, Remus and I have been on fairly good terms. When we’re with each other, it’s just like old times and nothing really seems any different. We laugh, we joke, we talk. It’s fun. Then…Ashleyn comes along and sweeps him away, which was why I still didn’t sit with the lot of them during meals. Whenever she was around me, she acted bitter and I knew it was because her little plan didn’t entirely fall into place. She had her boyfriend to thank for that.
I nodded. “Yeah,” I said, firmly. “Yeah, we’ll be just fine.”
He smiled. “Good. So, where are the Marauders going to have their ‘family reunion’?”
“Oh, I dunno. Probably at our house or the Lupin’s. Seeing as we can never go to the Black’s, obviously, and the Potters are going to Brazil over break.”
“Wait, is James going to be gone, then?”
“No, his parents are having him stay home with Sirius, since he’s been having family issues.”
“Okay, so it’ll be at the Lupin’s then?”
I nodded. “Yep.”
Dad never really fancied the idea of me having no girlfriends. He said it wasn’t ‘proper’ for a teenage girl to be constantly in the presence of boys, especially troublemakers like the Marauders. When he realized, however, that I wasn’t making any girlfriends and that the Marauders were basically my only source of happiness, he eased off a bit. He said, ‘as long as those rowdy boys are nowhere near my home’ that it was alright for me to be friends and spend most of Christmas with the lot of them. So, this year, our reunion would be at the Lupin’s. Not like Dorothy really minded, though. She loved the Marauders. She would always tell us how adorably funny we were and how our pranks just make her laugh. We’ve spent three out of the six Christmas’s we’ve had at the Lupin’s because she treats us so wonderfully. Their house is fairly large, so we all get our own rooms, mine the furthest from the boys’, of course. ‘It was only right,’ Dorothy told me. But I didn’t mind much, as long as I was with my mates most of the time, I was pretty happy.
I’m glad that you don’t mind much because I would’ve called you that anyways.
‘Run around in their garden’? So you’ve known each other since you were tykes? Wow, then their impression of you must be pretty outdated. I’m sure, if you two really are such good friends, that it’ll all work out in due time. If you don’t think that it will, just talk to them. I’m sure that they’ll understand if you lay it out for them.
Good. I’m glad that I’m nothing like the lot of them. I would probably hang myself if I was anything like them. Thanks a load.
It’s Ashleyn and I pretty much hate her with a burning passion equal to that of a thousand suns. If that gives you any idea at all. Yeah, I do think that she set it up. I mean, she was the one that introduced him to me not thirty minutes before, wasn’t she? And she winked at him when she was leaving. She did it because she hates me. She hates me because I’m Rem’s best mate and I just happen to be a bloomin’ girl. And I pin this on him because it’s his fault he’s dating the harpy. He knows that she’s good-for-nothing and yet he continues to act like there’s nothing wrong! It irritates me more than anything that he likes her so much. She’s so dreadful and he doesn’t even care! And I’ve seen him kiss her and all, which is just disgusting, but she told me that he pulled her into a broom closet and almost…did something with her. Almost. But that just proves that he’s ready to do that type of thing with her! Rem has never done anything like that with a girl before. She’s just not right for him.
Of course I’m grateful that he saved me! I mean, after all, I was at the edge of disaster and he pulled me back, preventing anything from happening. I’m lucky that he can when he did because Walker was close to…well, I’m just really thankful that Rem was there. He’s always there for me when I need him.
'Nothing special'? Ha, what a nice thing to say about your girlfriend.
Hahaha. Me? A love life? That’s really funny. I don’t have a love life. Not at all. Sorry.
“I’m sure it’ll be great, no matter where it is,” Mason said subconsciously, watching as a skinny fourth year Hufflepuff walked by our table, her skirt hiked up so high, you could see a bit of her lacy black underwear.
I frowned and punched his arm. “Honestly, Mas,” I rolled my eyes. “That’s just disgusting.”
He shook his head. “Oh, no, my dear sister. That is why I love fourth years.”
I groaned in repulsion.
Mason was definitely the 'ladies man' type. Much like Sirius and James, he was constantly surrounded by a dozen or so girls, who were always swooning pathetically over him. I could always hear them as they walked down the corridors, talking loudly about how adorable they thought he was and how they wished he would give them the time of day. They loved him, the turned right around and bullied me into the floor. Yeah, shallow.
“Be grateful, Mack,” he told me, watching another girl walk by. “I gave up all of that so that I could sit with you during meals. It’s a great sacrifice.”
Sometimes, I found it incredibly embarrassing to tell people that this was my twin brother.
“Oh, look! The post!” I observed loudly, glad for the temporary distraction. “Dad said he’d mail us with all the plans for Christmas.”
We watched as Mist flew around stupidly in circles before dropping a small letter right on Mason’s head. I laughed and plucked it off, eagerly tearing it open and reading it aloud to him.
“‘My dear children’,” I began excitedly, “‘I know that the two of you are ardently awaiting the opportunity to come home for the Christmas holidays and I must say that I want nothing more than to see both of you again.’” I smiled up at Mason.
“Keep going,” he urged me.
“‘Christmas has always been a time of sacrifice and giving in our family. We sacrifice some things to give to others—’”
“Ha! Like I sacrificed the girls for you, Mack!” Mason interrupted.
“‘—And we do this to make each other happy, even though it might upset us a bit’,” I stopped. “What’s he getting at?”
“Well, I dunno. How ‘bout you keep reading?!”
“‘Mason and Mackenzie, I’m sorry to say that you are not going to come home for the holidays’! WHAT?!” I almost shouted.
A few people turned to watch as Mason and I stared at each other in disbelief. We always go home! We’ve never spent the holidays apart! He couldn’t do that!
I continued to read. “‘I’m aware that you’ve already signed up to come home, but I’ve arranged it with Minerva that you’ll stay at Hogwarts together.
“‘The reason I’ve made this decision is not really any of your concern, but, because you are my children, I will tell you. I’ve met someone. We have actually known each other for years through work and we started seeing one another after the two of you left for school. She moved in with me a month ago and we are preparing to spend our first Christmas together. She asked me specifically if we could spend it alone, without you both. I, of course, agreed with her. We need some time together and we thought it best for you to stay where you are. She is a wonderful woman and I know that both of you will adore her. I have to say, children, I’m in love with her. However, my personal life is none of your concern and I will not have you prying any more past that.’”
My lip was trembling and I could hardly read the letter. Mason simply sat there, staring at me, his brows knitted together, fists clenched.
Yeah, I guess you could say that we’ve been mates since we were little. I just really hope that we’ll stay friends for a long time. I really value their friendship a load.
I really don’t think you should worry about being like them at all. You’re just so different, I don’t think that there would ever be the slightest chance of you becoming one of them.
Okay, so you really think that it was her fault. I get it. But I still don’t see why you are blaming Remus. Maybe he doesn’t know that she’s rude to you. Maybe you should tell him. Woah. Remus in a broom closet? I never thought that I would ever hear about that. Well, I guess he really must like her. I mean, if he’s going that far when he’s never really done that type of thing before. It’s either that or…he’s sick of not getting that sort of attention from girls. I mean, Sirius and James have probably been caught in broom closets loads of times and Remus sounds like he’s never gotten any action like that. Maybe he’s just ready and he doesn’t care who it’s with. But, anyways, how do you know he’s never done that type of a thing? Does he tell you that type of stuff? And if you’re really that concerned, again, I think you should just talk to him. Haha, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say that it sounds like you fancy him a bit, Mackenzie.
Oh, bull. You must have some type of love life. Or at least, you must want to have something of the sort? How about you just tell me what you want in a bloke. That seems like a good enough compromise. I gave you my insight of Remus from a bloke's point of view. It's the least that you can do.
P.S. Sorry this was so short. I’ve got a load of homework that I need to finish.
Dad was seeing someone? He was in love
with her? That was impossible! He couldn’t love another woman! He loved Mum and that was it! And she was living with him? In our house? Without us. And she didn’t want us to come home for Christmas. And Dad was agreeing with her. He was putting this woman before us, his children. His wife’s children. Why hadn’t he told us about her before? Did she work with him and Dorothy? Why was he saying that his personal life was none of our concern?! Of course it was! He was our father! Everything he did was our concern! He was dating someone, for God’s sake, and he said it wasn’t our concern! He was in love with her. He loved her. He loved her and he didn’t love Mum anymore. He didn’t love us. He just loved this woman. This woman who has stolen our father away from us.
Tears blurred my vision as I tried to speak. “Wh — Why can’t we stay with the Lupin’s?” I asked Mas.
He grabbed the letter out of my hands and continued to read. “‘I know that you’re probably wondering whether or not you can stay with Dorothy and Remus. I have discussed this with Emily’— that must be the lady — ‘and she and I have agreed that it is highly inappropriate for Mackenzie to be spending all of her time with boys. And it is especially immoral for you to stay somewhere with so many boys. So, we will be discussing more on that. You will not be having your ‘Marauder reunion’ or whatever you call it ever again. We will not allow you to stay in a house with all those boys. For your own good, you’d better find yourself some girlfriends. Those boys are a horrible influence on you and, after all, Mackenzie, you are a girl. Act like it, for Merlin’s sake. Emily and I agree that you have taken to spending all your time with boys because you have had no female influence since your mother passed away. Now that she is here, Emily with provide some guidance for you. During your Easter break, you and her will be spending a load of time together, so that the two of you can get to know each other. We will be making some permanent changes with you, Mackenzie. No longer will you fiddle about with Mason or his friends. You will start to do chores around the house, including cooking and cleaning, like a young woman should. You won't be wearing anymore of your shredded bell bottom jeans while you're home. You will start to wear skirts and dress like a girl, not like the boy you pretend to be. And you, Mason. Let's just say that you will not be having any more of your lady friends over. Like I said, these will be made permanent from now on. We will discuss this more the next time we see you two.
"'I'm saying this now and I'd better not have to say it again: I do not want any trouble from you two. I do not wish to get any more letters from your professors saying that either of you is misbehaving. I've raised you better than that. Mason, you will do the homework that you are assigned to do and you will not back talk any of your professors. They deserve respect, much of which you do not possess for many people. You will spend less time in broom closets and more time in the library, learning the things that are indispensable for your future. And Mackenzie, like I said before, you had better find yourself some girlfriends, or you will be forced to spend your last two years at Hogwarts chiefly alone. I do not want you to spend your time moseying around with those damned boys. I really expect to see the two of your behaviors to improve much.
“‘Happy Christmas. Richard Hathaway.’”
Alright, enough with all the ‘Miss Hathaway’ and ‘Mackenzie’ formal rubbish. It’s Mack. Just Mack, alright, mate? You can just call me Mack and I’ll be perfectly happy.
Yes, Remus was caught in a broom closet. I still can’t really grasp it. Let alone imagine it. Ugh. Imagining my best mate in a broom closet with Barbie. I think I just threw up a bit in my mouth. Um…about all that…I really don’t think that’s right. Rem definitely isn’t that type. He hardly ever looks at girls the way James and Sirius do. He just keeps his eyes to himself and whenever the other boys are checking out some girl, he just talks to me and ignores them. But that was before he had a girlfriend, I guess. I still don’t think he would rush into anything like that, though. He’s just not that type of guy. I know him better than that. And no, we don’t really tell each other that kind of stuff, but we still know it. I mean, he knew that my first kiss was with Sirius and all. And I know that Ashleyn’s his first real girlfriend. We just know those things about each other, I don’t really know how, but we just do. Huh, maybe I will talk to him. I dunno. Um, rubbish! I do not like Remus. He’s my best mate. That would never happen. Besides, he’s got Ashleyn, after all.
Ugh. Honestly, I don’t really like talking about this type of stuff. Blech. Alright, well, my ideal man… He’d have to be funny. I love laughing and that is definitely a necessity. He’d have to be a good listener and a good talker because I like to talk a load, but I like listening to stories more. He’d need to really love me for me. I mean, I can be irritable most of the time and I say a bunch of things that I don’t mean and that people would get really offended by if they didn’t know me well. He’d have to be prepared to deal with me. To deal with me when I’m mean and when I'm in a bad mood. He’d always have to be there when I need him. I get into a load of trouble and he’d have to be able to get me out of the crap I get into. He’d have to be able to give me a bit of time with the physical stuff because I’m really not that type of girl. He’d have to be there to catch me when I fall. I’m a clumsy girl, what can I say? I’d like him to call me Mackenzie occasionally. Even though I don’t like people to call me that, coming from someone who really cared about me, it would actually mean a lot. I’d want him to call me beautiful. Boys never tell me that and I really think that it would be nice. It might have something to do with the glasses, but whatever.
Uh, that’s about it. I mean, that’s just the deep down stuff. I mean, I’d like him to be tall, kind of attractive, smart, all that jazz. But what about you? Who is your ideal girl?
I’ve just got to say, writing to you is really quite enjoyable. Some of the things that I’ve written to you…I’ve never even told my best mates. So, you should definitely feel special.
“How could he do that?” Remus asked in disbelief after I told him what the letter from my father had said.
I shook my head and closed my eyes. “I dunno, but I don’t really want to think about it.”
He and I sat in the Common Room that night, in our nightclothes, much like we usually did. The fire in the hearth was much larger than normal, because of the colder weather outside. We sat squished in the large armchair closest to the fireplace, sharing a large, soft blanket and talking quietly. Now, I know exactly what you’re thinking. Normally, a boy and girl do not share an armchair and blanket when they’re ‘just friends’. I’m here to tell you to shut the bloody hell up. Because that was the dumbest thing I’d ever heard.
“What’s he mean by us being a horrible influence over you? We’re not that horrible,” he shrugged.
I chuckled. “You know him, Moony. He always thinks like that. He hates the idea that I have no girlfriends. That’s just him.”
"And what's all this about wearing skirts and cleaning the house? Sounds like he wants you to be a fifties housewife."
"Yeah. News-flash: It's 1977. The fifties ended thirty years ago. Get over it, Dad."
“Hmm…I’m just wondering who this Emily character is. She doesn’t sound like a very jolly lady. ‘Emily and I agreed’, ‘I have discussed this with Emily’, ‘Emily will provide guidance’. Who the hell does she think she is?”
“She’s not my bloody mum, so I think she should stop acting like she possesses power over us. I haven’t even met the woman and she’s already effecting my life dramatically.”
“I hate her already.”
“Me, too,” I agreed. “Lucky you, you get to go home to Dorothy, while I’m stuck in this bloomin’ castle all alone.” I sighed. That was definitely not the way I wanted to spend my holiday. I didn’t even know what they did here during the holidays. Lock us up? Slide food under the door? Keep us alive with only bread and water? Naw, Hogwarts is better than that. Maybe we’ll get Pumpkin juice.
He looked thoughtful for a moment, then shook his head. “No, Mack. I’m gonna stay here with you.”
I frowned. “No! You can’t leave Dorothy alone!”
“Relax, relax. The Potters invited her to go to Brazil with them and she still hasn’t given them an answer. I’ll just post her tomorrow morning and tell her to go with them and that I’m staying here with you. I bet I can even convince the rest of the guys to stay. Sirius will be happy to stay and James won't care. I dunno about Peter, but I could ask him.”
“I don’t know…”
He nudged me. “It’s okay, Mack. It’ll be fun. I hear that Hogwarts is alright over the holidays,” he paused and smiled. “And…Ashleyn won’t be here.”
I looked up at him, a small smile forming on my face. Hmm…No classes, no Barbie, Marauders, no Barbie, Hogsmeade, no Barbie. “Oh, alright,” I agreed, reluctantly.
He nodded, smiling widely, and slipped his arm around my shoulders. I stiffened for a moment, but he just pulled me close, squeezing my shoulder. And, for some reason, I relaxed and snuggled into him, resting my head on his shoulder.
Merlin, when did we become the touchy feely kind of people?
I didn’t know, but I liked it. And hadn't the slightest clue why.
Hahaha, yeah, I wouldn’t suggest imagining that at all. Well, if you don’t think that’s right, I really don’t know what to tell you. Remus is a guy, after all and girls can really change guys, for better or for worse. You really don’t know what kind of power you lot have over all us. A simple kiss can enchant us in the most unexpected ways. A smile alone can send our hearts fluttering. If Ashleyn’s Remus’ first girlfriend, he probably doesn’t have any idea how to handle the bewitching ways of women. So, I’m guessing he’s ready to cave. He may not be the type of guy to rush into that sort of thing, but it’s not like he knows how to deal with Ashleyn’s alluring presence.
I’m glad you told me all of that. It gives me a bit of insight about you. I’m going to address a few things that you said. I don’t usually say these kinds of things, but I think you have the right to know.
First, it’s good that you love to laugh and that you have a sense of humor. Blokes love that in a girl. You’re a good listener. That’s something so new. Most girls will just talk and talk and never let the guy say a thing. Men will be attracted to your willingness to hear them out. If you find the right guy, he’ll definitely love you for just you, whether you’re irritable or not and I’m sure that they won’t take anything you say to heart. Guys like to be protective over girls, so hugging you when you’re down will be the least they could do. They will definitely be there to get you out of whatever silly trouble you get into and guys will love your adventurous attitude and willingness to break the rules. No matter what you think, guys don’t think only about the physical parts of a relationship and I’m proof of that. The biggest thing that makes an impression is you and you alone. The moment you fell, a boy would be there to help you. Like I said, we’re protective. Mackenzie’s a nice name and I’m sure anyone would be willing to call you that, if you’d like them to. And Mack, you are beautiful. You may not think so, but even with your glasses, you’re probably one of most attractive girls I’ve ever known. I just think you should know that.
As for my girl, well, I really don’t know either. She would have to be different from all of those girls who look more like dolls than humans. She’d have to be funny and not take life too seriously. I want to be able to protect her from anything and everything that could harm her. She would need to be smart and somewhat knowledgeable about the world in general. She’d be laid-back and fairly carefree, not running around worrying about everything all the time. She ‘d be caring and determined. Sweet and adorable. Interesting and daring. She’d have to be accepting because I’ve got quite a few secrets nobody but my closest friends know. She would be loyal and reliable, so I could count on her for anything. She’d be flexible and spontaneous, willing to do things that weren’t exactly according to plan. She’d be strong and confident. And most of all, she’d be herself.
The library was quiet as I ambled between the bookshelves, searching for the one person I needed to talk to. I held my bag securely on my shoulder and looked around each and every corner. I had only spotted one or two people in the entire library and realized that nobody really liked spending their holidays in this death hole. Yet, I was looking for the one person who could spend his whole life here and never get bored. My light footsteps echoed around me as I quickened my stride. Where was that bloody boy?
Not a second after I thought those words, did I spot a sandy-haired boy sitting at one of the tables, leaning over a roll of parchment and scribbling at a rapid speed. I almost ran over to the table the moment I saw him. I slammed my bag on the table, causing him to jump and me to smile before speaking.
“I can’t get him out of my head,” I told Remus, my voice firm.
He furrowed his brow and looked at me in confusion. “Uh…who, Mack?” he asked.
I pulled a chair out and sat with him at the table, pushing my glasses up my nose. “Inconspicuous.”
He raised his eyebrows and leaned casually back in his chair. All of the Marauders knew about Connie. They knew how eager I always was to write back, even though I didn’t tell them. James and Peter thought it was silly I was actually writing to this bloke I didn’t even know. Sirius and Rem, on the other hand, thought it was ‘cute’ and that ‘the lad must be someone special to work up the nerve to write me’. Their words, not mine. “Oh, really?”
I looked at him, biting my lip, then nodded slowly. “Rem, you don’t understand,” I said, my voice drawn out. I ran my fingers through my hair, which was pulled back in a loose, low ponytail. “I’ve never felt this way before. And I don’t even know what ‘this way’ is.”
Remus just stared at me, waiting for more.
“We’ve only exchanged nine letters and yet I can’t stop thinking about him and all the things he says,” I muttered, not really sure what I was going to say.
“What has he said?” he asked, sitting back up in his chair.
I opened my bag and dug through it until I came upon the stack of his letters, which I had tied together with a ribbon. Grabbing Connie’s most recent letter, I unfolded it and looked back up at Remus.
“He asked me what are some qualifications that I would want in my ideal bloke. I told him and this is how he responded," I then read him the last part of Connie's last letter.
I looked back up at Remus, who was staring at me with a thoughtful expression. He sat with his elbows resting on the table, his fingers intertwined. For a moment, I couldn’t help but notice how his hair lay so perfectly against his forehead and how blue his eyes were, but quickly banished the thoughts from my mind. This was Remus
. What was I thinking
I shook my head and looked down at the letter in my hand. “It’s not just that, though. It’s the little advice he gives me. The way he tells me what he’s thinking, but keeps his letters to the point. The insight he has on different topics is extraordinary. He’s such a gentleman and doesn’t try to pry into my life. I feel this…attraction
to him that I’ve never felt for anybody before,” I stopped, scratching my head. “This all sounds so stupid. I mean, I don’t even know the bloody guy and yet I can’t get him out of my bloomin’ head!”
He chuckled. “It kind of sounds like you fancy him a bit, Mack,” he smirked.
I glared at him. “No, I don’t, Remus. I do not
fancy him. I don’t even know
him. It’s impossible for me to fancy him.”
“It’s really not that impossible, Mack. I mean, Sirius and I can always see how anxious you are to reply to the letters and you can never sit still in the morning when you’re waiting for the post. We can see you jumping in your place even from the Gryffindor table,” he leaned back his chair once more and gave me a knowing look.
I frowned. “Oh, don’t you look at me like that, Moony.”
He rolled his eyes. "Okay, okay. You don't fancy him. Happy?"
"Yes," I muttered, tucking the letter back into my bag.
I didn't even know why I came to him. Why was I pouring my bloody heart out to him? Even though we were best mates, we really didn't really talk much about this kind of stuff. I mean, the whole being attracted to somebody part. I think he realized at a young age that it was more useful to go to Sirius for girl trouble than to come to me. He certainly knew a load more than I did about how a normal girl's mind works. So and so said this, what did she mean? So and so did this, what did she mean? Haha, like I knew. And the reason I never went to him was because...I just never really felt very comfortable going to anybody about that kind of stuff. I was more of a closed up kind of person.
We sat in silence for a moment, and Remus looked at me thoughtfully. "Did you do something different to your hair?" he made up, wanting to start up a new subject.
"Help me, Remus!" I exclaimed, exasperated.
“Well, what do you want me to do about all of this?”
I bit my lip. “Uh…” I hadn’t actually thought about that at all. How could he help? I mean, he didn’t know who Inconspicuous was, after all, so that wouldn’t be any help… “You could help me figure out who he is,” I said, suddenly.
Remus almost fell back in his chair with surprise. “I could…what? How am I supposed to know who the bloke is?” he asked, incredulously, grasping the edges of the table.
I shrugged. “You can think of something. Together, Sirius and you are quite the dynamic duo. I’m sure you could come up with something plausible.”
He ran his fingers through his hair. “Um…Hm…” He thought for a moment. “I dunno. Maybe we could do something like a blind date sort of thing, where we could line guys up and you could have a date with ‘em or something? Maybe we'd find Inconspicuous that way? I really don’t kn—”
I stopped him. “But Moony, you know I judge too quickly. What if he’s somebody I already had an opinion of? Like a Slytherin or something? I—”
“Well, if he’s a ruddy Slytherin, you wouldn’t want to date him anyways!” Remus threw in.
I continued as though I hadn’t heard him. “—I don’t want to miss him by judging too quickly.”
He sighed and sat thoughtfully for a few seconds. “Well, then, we’ll have to take the term ‘blind date’ in a literal sense. We could put a charm on you that would prevent you from being able to see him. And we could disguise his voice or something so you couldn’t tell who he is.” He shrugged.
I stared at him. “Merlin, that’s brilliant!” I slapped the table in excitement and stood up, grabbing my bag. “Thanks, Remus.” I flashed a quick smile before turning and taking a step away from the table. Of course, I couldn’t even do that. My foot caught on the leg of the chair and I tumbled to the ground, landing flat on my face.
“Mack!” Rem came rushing around the table, just to see me sprawled out over the floor, my glasses thrown somewhere a few feet away from me. He took one look at me, then burst out laughing.
Bloody great friend, he is.
I sat up, rubbing my forehead and smirked at him. “Oh, thanks for the help, mate,” I said, sarcastically, looking up at a much blurrier version of the Remus I knew.
His chuckles subsided and he knelt down to my level, his face rather close to my own. “I’ve just got to say that little stunt made my day, Nightingale,” he smiled.
I rolled my eyes and glanced around at the floor on which I sat. “Now, where’re my glasses…?” It was no use for me to look for them, seeing as I would probably just crush them accidentally.
Remus reached over to the book shelf next to me and grabbed what I assumed to be my bifocals. He wiped the lenses and looked up at me, his expression a bit concerned. “How have you been feeling lately?” he asked me, quietly.
I knew exactly what he was talking about. Mark.
I nodded quickly. “Uh, yeah, I’ve been fine,” I told him. “Thanks.”
He shook his head and bit the inside of his cheek. “You really have no idea how much I want to tear him apart,” he looked up at the ceiling, swallowing hard. “I — I just can’t control myself. We saw him in the hall the other day and Padfoot almost had to hold me back. You can’t even imagine the dirty, vile things he must have been thinking. If he so much as looks at you the wrong way, I swear, I will rip him limb from limb. That bloody son of a—”
“Remus,” I stopped him.
He looked at me and his face softened. He smiled slightly and shook his head.
“You know, Mack,” he said. “Inconspicuous is right. You don’t know that you’re beautiful. Without—” he gently slipped my glasses onto my face, “—and with
your glasses.” Giving me one last smile, he stood up and walked back to the table. I watched quietly as he gathered up his things and exited the library.
What the bloody hell just happened?