For the first time in several days, I was the first one to awaken that morning. I’m not sure why, as I was quite warm, quite comfortable, and quite happy. Wait, that must be it—as I thought about it more, I remembered the events of the previous night. My mind buzzed as I raced through the memories, which apparently I’d wanted to suppress.
I closed my eyes again and thought about the very last memory I had of last night. There was that ridiculous game, the lavatory, the…lavatory, the porch, the sunset, sleeping. Nothing out of the ordinary. Wait. I’d woken up in the middle of the night. It all rushed back to me.
I winced violently as I remembered the last few moments of our exchange. Please Merlin, let me be wrong! I repeated over and over as I slowly turned. I tried to look at where James’s cot should be, but something was obstructing my view.
“Dammit!” I whispered as I stared into the face of my worst enemy. Okay, that’s a bit melodramatic, but these are desperate times.
“Hmm?” James shuffled a bit more into the pillow and licked his lips. I stared at his face for a few moments, wondering what brought me here. Two weeks ago I would have been screaming and kicking if I’d woken up to find James Potter near me when I woke up, let alone under the covers curled around me. Something had changed, and I couldn’t understand how.
“James,” I whispered quickly, my voice straining out higher. I closed my eyes, waiting. My ears picked up the sound of his breath quickening just a small bit as he became fully awake. He moved a bit and was silent for a while.
“Why can’t I remember anything past the snog session in the loo?” his said, his voice sounding rather panicked. I kept my eyes closed, not wanting to face him now that he was responding.
“Don’t know,” I said off-handedly. “James, you need to get out of my bed.”
“Yeah I do,” he said quickly, sliding out of the covers and into the cot next to mine. I looked past his form and onto the sleeping people I shared this little house with. Sirius was tangled in his sheets, his feet hanging off the bed. Remus was leaning away from me and I couldn’t see Jenny at all.
“I’m dizzy and I haven’t even gotten up yet,” I breathed, bringing my hands up to cradle my head a bit as I sat up in my bed. The blanket fell from my shoulders into my lap and the cold air drew around me like a cloud of ice. I sucked in a breath and shivered whilst diving back under the warmth and security of my comforter—although without the extra body it was a bit less warm.
I shook away that thought and rolled over, facing Potter and the new day. His eyes were closed and his expression was rather grim. I wanted to ask what was wrong. I wanted to run a hand through that shaggy mop he called his hair. Most of all I wanted to forget about that awkward night we just experienced. But unlike the first two wishes, the latter needed to be eliminated. While I could continue to withhold and deny any sort of feeling, any single inkling of feeling, towards Potter…I couldn’t erase the past. Merlin what I would give for a time turner!
He grunted and rolled over, looking incredibly uncomfortable. I chose not to press it, wrapping my blanket around me and sitting up. This time, I was prepared. I stood up, sheltered in my blanket, and waddled over to the lavatory where I quickly prepared for the day.
After brushing the many tangles out of my hair, which just seemed to be getting twice as long twice as fast lately, I noticed that I’d forgotten to grab the clothes to change into. I cursed very softly and thought about how I might disturb the fellow housemates if I went back out there. Well, it was most likely time to get up anyway, so it’s not like I’d be doing them a disservice. I opened the door, and quite frankly, made one of the biggest mistakes of my life.
Reader, I won’t divulge just what I saw when I opened the door. I will simply point out that it should never be witnessed by any self respecting girl who minds their eyes and heads and…oh it was awful. To sum it up, there was a low groaning and lots of soft grunting, and while the housemates slept, I saw exactly why Potter had looked so uncomfortable before. I blanched and stumbled back against the door to the loo, completely shocked.
I gasped quite loudly, and made Potter look up from his ministrations to see the flabbergasted look on my face. I held my hand over my mouth, waiting with my eyes open wide from him to explain or at least try to apologize for being such a guy, but he just stared at me through hazy, humiliated hazel eyes.
I raced forward and he stumbled back a bit, almost falling off the opposite edge of his cot. I grabbed the first clothes that my hands came into contact with and shuffled backwards, shutting the door to the loo with a quick bang. There were groggy groans, meaning I’d charmingly awakened our housemates. But I didn’t care. Trauma does that to you.
“How long she been in there?” I heard Sirius ask. I was huddled in the tub, curled up in dirty jeans and a tanktop that didn’t suit the situation. I’d gone from pulling out my hand strand by strand, to biting my nails, and when they were gone I began pulling the thread out of the hole in the jeans at my knee. I sighed and began to stand up, but realized how tormented I felt and sat back down.
“Since this morning. Hasn’t muttered a peep, hasn’t even flushed the bloody toilet, I’m telling ya, she’s mental!” Jenny squealed. It was the first time I’d ever heard her say such vulgar words and yet it felt all too familiar. I saw her image in my head and blinked a few times to erase the displeased countenance. A girl like Jenny should always be smiling; the counter is blasphemy to her good looks. I sighed, curling inward just a bit more and putting my hands up to cup my head on either side.
Jenny was a stereotypical beach blonde who never had to try for anything. Her grades, from what I knew, weren’t terrible. Her eyes were sparkly and seemed to be perfectly lined and framed by mascara coated lashes everyday. Her curls were loose, and her fringe didn’t have a single strand that fell out of place. She’s so pretty, it’s difficult to be in the same room with her and not feel your own self-esteem drop just a smidge.
It’s not as though I’m jealous. I know that I have a lot going for me, but there’s just something about being in the middle of a forest, having no contact with any of the other houses, and being surrounded by three hormonal, completely mental blokes who apparently don’t mind pleasing themselves whilst others are in the vicinity!
My thoughts race so fast that I have to take a few calming breaths despite my silence. The loo suddenly seems smaller than it was a few moments prior; quite a feat for such a diminutive area.
I stand up and face the mirror. Adjusting my hair so that half droops down my back and half rests carelessly over one shoulder, I stare straight into my eyes. I note quickly that at the angle I’m facing the mirror, I have a double chin, my eyes have bags, and I’m slouching. A deep breath in. I’m straighter, thinner, more alert, and ready.
But then I slouch again and I feel all the self assurance drain a bit. Regardless, I step out of the vacuum that is the tub and rest a hand rather fastidiously on the doorknob. Another deep breath. A tree branch slams against the small window just as I’m about to twist the handle and face the people. The branches outside sway back and forth with the wind and remind me vaguely of ocean waves. I walk closer to the window, looking up and out at the dark gray sky that’s swirling into a light storm. The clouds align to form seashells and fish, floating in the ocean outside the white house.
I’m losing my mind, I think as I stumble backward and turn. I close my eyes and quickly open the door, pulling the bandage off my wound quickly so to speak.
Four pairs of eyes stare back at me. The only ones I look into are hazel and wide with embarrassment and shock. I look down, assessing the fact that all my clothes are in the correct position and there is not any sort of bath tissue on my shoe. My eyes wander back up to see that Jenny is smiling empathetically, her hands in the food cabinet.
“Lunch time already?” I ask. Sirius dives in the space between his and Remus’s bunk. I stare off in his direction, the scene replaying in my mind. Remus coughs and then clears his throat. I look in his direction and see that in his lap is a broom, being polished slowly and thoroughly. “You’re going to go out flying in this weather?”
“It’s the absolute best time!” Sirius yells from somewhere.
“This is one room, Sirius, we can hear you—you don’t need to shout,” Jenny rubs the bridge of her nose and lets out a huff of air. I climb onto my bed and sit with my legs folded under me, my fingers absentmindedly twirling a lock of red hair.
“We’re going just before the storm. You wanna come?” James asks me calmly, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s just acting, pretending to be collected and cool. I’m sure he’s freaking out. As he should be.
“No, I don’t. But thank you.”
“Your loss, Evans!” Sirius’s voice comes from underneath his cot.
“Are you looking for a troll or something?” I shout at his volume, causing Jenny, who had just sat down on the corner of my cot, to jump slightly.
“No!” He replies childishly. “This!”
When Sirius lunges back up, in his hands are three bottles—three very large bottles—of butterbeer. He uses his wand to levitate them and quickly opens them all. Whoever had the brilliant idea of mixing butterbeer and firewhiskey clearly never knew Sirius Black. Once the combination is complete and the bottles are once more temporarily closed, he giggles like a young schoolgirl and jigs about as though he’s already drunk.
“No way,” I stand up. “No alcohol. McGonagall specifically stated that anyone caught with illegal substances would be expelled. And it’s too bloody close to graduation for any one of us to be—“
“Evans, live a little!” Black tilts his head, making the dark hair swing just a bit in front of his gray eyes and give him a more devilish stance. I groan and fall back onto my cot, knowing without looking that the others have no problem with the alcohol and will outvote me in a heartbeat.
“Cretin!” I sigh. Black chuckles and puts the bottles on the floor. I sit up, resting back on my elbows for support. “Are you going to fly out in the storm drunk? You could fall, die, or worse!”
“Okay, mum!” Remus smirks, giving the handle a quick swipe and placing the broom neatly in the corner by the front door. I watch as he flicks his wand to clean the kit that he used and levitate it back under his cot, into his trunk. The thought occurs to me that it was all completed with a level of poise. The idea is planted and is therefore never shaken the rest of the day: we’re almost adults.
“Fine. Do what you wish. I want no part of it,” I conjure a goblet of plain water and sip from it whilst leaning back onto my pillow and cracking open my novel.
“Well, how shall we do this?” Jenny smiles, still seated at the edge of my bed.
My eyes are vaguely aware—and when I say vaguely, I mean watching like a hawk—that Potter is moving. He’s cleaning his glasses.
“How ‘bout a drinking game?” Remus suggested. The scene began to spiral from there.
Two hours later, we’re all sitting on the floor taking quick chugs from the bottles. At first I was skeptical, but somehow they managed to get me down there through coaxing, peer pressure, and perhaps the look in James’s eyes when I said I might consider watching the flying later might have swayed my opinion a bit. For no reason in particular though.
“What if,” Remus chugged a few gulps. “Every sentence you said had to end with the same word? So the next sentence I said would end with word. And the next sentence would end with word. And the next sent—“
“What if,” I took the bottle out of his hands a bit too roughly. “You never knew who you knew? And you just were a completely different person than yourself because you don’t even know you! Would you still like you if you were another you and not who you knew?”
“What if,” Black politely waited for the bottle while it traveled down the circle to him. “I just ran away? I never went back?”
“You already did that mate,” James laughed loudly.
“Yeah I did!” He chuckled and gulped again.
“What if,” Jenny takes a delicate sip that leads to a hefty chug. “I just…I just…was!”
“Now that,” I feel dizzy, like the room is turning horizontal every few moments. It’s moving so quick that I’m in the same place and so is the furniture. Like when you pull a cloth away from the table and the candlelit feast remains in the same location, perfectly unperturbed. “That is deep my…Jenny. My Jenny!”
We all start laughing loudly. Remus, who’d been chugging at that point, had the butterbeer racing down his face, coming out of his nose. It wasn’t gross, it just added to the hilarity of the entire scene.
“Hey!” Sirius whispers. He wheezes a bit at first, not able to process what he needs to say just yet. Finally, his mouth contorts and the words spew from his lips, “I love you guys!”
“I love you too man!” I say in a low tone, suddenly the hyper mood drifting away, replaced suddenly by a chilled out relaxation.
“I love you,” I heard Remus say as his back floats down and he is sudden flat on the ground. His eyes are fixed on the ceiling and he’s smiling.
“I love you,” Jenny said to me. I say it back completely sure of the statement. We all exchange the words, James and Sirius going so far as to hug. Then the laughter erupts. I noticed, even in my drunk state, that when I turned to James to say I loved him, the words didn’t come out. Neither did his. And although, at the moment, we just turned the other way and said it to the other people, something deeper was going on. I just didn’t understand it.
Remus shrugged his broom so that it fell over, no longer leaning in the corner.
“Are you not going?” Jenny asked. I stand up and walk to my cot. Except that when I reach it, I realize I’m actually at the food cabinet.
“Who moved the furniture around?” I shouted. The others laughed loudly. I felt a hand brush my own and lead me to my cot. James laid me down, his hand hovering over my own just a bit too long.
“Sleep it off,” he swayed.
“You’re not going to sleep with me this time?” I asked, my face contorting into some strange whimpering pout. He nods but doesn’t move. “I don’t want you to. I don’t need you. I don’t want you.”
“All right,” His voice was thick and I heard that tint in his accent.
“Isn’t she the best at that?” Jenny appeared just beside James’s head. I silently wished her to leave.
“At what?” I asked, still pouting.
“Lying, you tosspot!” She squealed.
My vision became blurry, the edges fading into black. I saw James’s face before I fell asleep, but I didn’t hear his words.
This is the long awaited sixth chapter. I hope that it brought you joy. Thank you so much to everyone who has been reviewing! It truly means the world to me and I'm extremely flattered that some of you are so into the story. Thank you.
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