Chapter 10 : 10. Show Me
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Chapter 10: Show Me
Everyone had finished their meals, and now sat casually at the table, sipping their wine and beer, chatting casually. Anyone who would look their way would think they were all close friends, having a good time. But Anna knew better; Cat and Remus kept giving each other glances, and quickly looking away, whereas Alex and Sirius acted overly polite towards each other, the politeness just dripping with coldness, something Anna found very awkward, as she was emotionally situated between the two of them, no matter how much she hated it.
"So Andie," Lily asked politely, her eyes at Sirius' date. "What do you do?"
Anna perked up, tilting her head to the side as she stared at Sirius, expecting him to shush Lily down, and change the subject. Maybe he was embarrassed for her career choice, which was probably some stupid secretary at some stupid firm, or maybe she was unemployed, and spent most of her days dreaming about marrying a rich wizard with a reputation that would get her into nice Ministry parties--
"I'm the Head of Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes," she said in her warm voice, and smiled unsurely. "Siri must've told you lies about me and my job, right?"
Anna's lips pursed tightly together, as she stared at the girl in disbelief. There she sat, with Sirius' arm resting on the back of her chair, wearing a cashmere blouse and a knee-length black skirt, her light-brown hair reflecting the amber colour of her eyes. Anna couldn't find one single flaw in her; she was friendly, funny, beautiful, smart, and had a top-job at the Ministry. And what was Anna? Anna was the complete opposite; she hadn't smiled a genuine smile during the entire evening, she hadn't paid much attention to the conversations around her, she hadn't even reacted to Alex's gentle kiss on her cheek, and she was unemployed.
"Wow, that must be exciting," Lily said in awe. "Sirius, how did you find her?" she asked curiously, as the entire table shifted uncomfortably.
"I, erm," Sirius stammered, exchanging a glance with Andie, who grinned now.
"Actually," she said, and raised her left hand - a beautiful diamond ring sparkled on her finger, and everyone gasped. "I'm engaged already."
"Is it a new hobby, eh, Sirius?" Cat laughed loudly, her voice slightly slurred by the amount of drinks she had had. "Hitting on girls that are clearly out of the market? Even an engagement ring ain't stopping you!"
She was the only one who laughed. Everyone else looked embarrassed for Cat, Anna more than anyone else. She looked nervously at Alex, who was clutching his wine glass with one hand, as the other one clasped Anna's hand on the table. She quickly turned her palm up, and held his hand back, giving it a gentle squeeze. He looked over at her, and she raised her brows, as if to ask if he was alright. He nodded once, and let out a sigh - she could tell he wasn't.
"Cat," Remus said slowly, moving Cat's drink away from her. "Should you be having anymore of these things?"
"You're probably right, Mr Lupin," she muttered, rubbing her forehead as she snorted, still affected by her clever remark. "As always!"
"Then what...?" Lily started, just as James' eyes suddenly widened.
"Andie!?" James exclaimed, leaning forward. "As in Andromeda Black!?"
"What?" Anna said, looking at James, and then back at Sirius, her eyes accusing.
"Yes," Sirius said, and shrugged. "If you hyenas had let me finish with the introduction, I would've announced at the beginning of the evening that this is, in fact, my dearest cousin!"
Anna felt like she was going to throw up. Now Anna realized why Sirius had looked so confused when she had talked about 'his date'. It wasn't a date, not like Anna had thought, atleast.
"Actually, it's Tonks, now," Andie said, and brushed a loose curl behind her ear.
"Tonks?" James asked incredulously. "That fella from Magical Transportations, Ted Tonks?"
"Yes, the one and only," Andie said softly, and Anna could almost feel the warmth radiating from her voice as she spoke of her fiancé. She glanced at Alex, who seemed to be staring at the table intently, as if he was thinking about something. "Are you two close?" Andie asked, and Anna looked around at James.
"I've seen him a few times," James said, and shrugged. "Never thought he would be the one to tie you down, Andromeda!"
Everyone laughed, while Andie blushed furiously, a small giggle escaping her lips. Anna stared at her, her eyes wide. Andie seemed to sophisticated, so mature and sure of herself, but there was still that hint of a childish girl in her, the way she giggled, and the way her face looked like when she talked about Ted Tonks. Anna wondered, if she ever looked like that when she talked about Alex.
Everyone continued to chatter, and Anna felt the tension in her shoulders slowly disappear, and she started to pay more attention to the people around her. She noticed that Sirius was staring at her more often than before, his eyes so intense that it made her blush. But instead of dwelling over it, she decided to involve Lily in a conversation, while Alex sat next to her, looking at her with such adoration that it was hard to ignore.
"What?" she laughed, as Lily turned around to James to hear what he whispered in her ear.
"What what?" Alex said, and smiled a bit.
"You've been staring at me like that for a while now," Anna said, and shook her head, as she raised her glass to her lips. "Stop it, okay?"
"I can't help it," he said, and shrugged. "This... burden, has been growing on me over these days, and... I can't keep it in anymore."
"Okay," Anna said, frowning at his serious tone. "Tell me, Alex, maybe I can help."
Anna watched him closely, as he pulled something from his pocket, and slid from his seat. He went down on one knee beside Anna, holding up the blue satin box, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. Anna's eyes widened, and she covered her mouth with her hands, as she realized what he was doing. All the others at the table fell silent, as they stared at them, some of them gasping (probably Lily and James), while some 'aww'd openly (Anya).
"Anna," Alex said quietly. "Yesterday made me realize, that I couldn't spend the rest of my life with anyone else but you."
"Alex..." Anna started, completely loss of words.
"What are you afraid of?" he asked gently, and took her hand in his.
"I..." Anna said, shaking her head slowly.
"I love you, Anna Parker," Alex murmured.
"I... love you, too," Anna stammered, and swallowed.
"Then make me the happiest bloke alive," he whispered, and Anna bit her lip. "Marry me."
She glanced around the table, searching for someone who would tell her what to do. Lily and James both seemed anxious as they stared back at her, while Remus and Cat looked mildly surprised by Anna's hesitant response. Peter and Anya seemed more than eager to hear her answer, but they didn't know what kind of jumble of emotions ran inside of Anna, as she finally met Sirius' cold eyes. She could see the hurt in them, but also the burning desire to just grab her away and make a run for it. She quickly turned back to Alex's beaming face, and smiled a small smile.
She knew what she had to do. She loved Alex, and no matter what Sirius had told her, she wanted to be happy, and make Alex happy. He deserved happiness, more than anyone else, and even if Anna couldn't quite realize it, he was only happy if she was by his side.
"Yes," Anna whispered. "I'll marry you."
Alex clearly didn't see it coming. His eyes grew wide, and quickly opened the lid to the box, revealing a very sparkling, huge diamond ring. He picked it out, and slid it on Anna's finger, before pulling her face down to his, and kissing her lovingly.
"Ladies and gentlemen!" Alex shouted, and stood up, holding Anna's hand. Everyone in the Leaky Cauldron looked around at Alex. "This woman right here just agreed to marry me!"
Anna blushed furiously, as everyone cheered and clapped. Alex grabbed her in his arm, and pressed his lips against hers again. As he pulled away, he received congratulation hugs from their friends, still holding Anna's hand in his.
Anna smiled as she watched Alex, and slowly looked across the table at Sirius. He had his head cocked to one side, as he stared at her with a calculating look. He shook his head slowly, and let out a sigh, before standing up.
She watched as Sirius very subtly walked towards the bathrooms, without no one even noticing - they were all too busy congratulating Anna and Alex - but Anna noticed.
And that was enough.
Anna walked into the flat, Sirius right behind her, while Remus carried the sleeping Cat effortlessly up the stairs. Anna took off her coat, and gave Remus a smile as he passed. Sirius stared intently at her, not saying a word. Neither one reacted, as Remus bid them goodnight. He stood between them with a troubled expression, probably afraid of leaving them alone with each other.
"Are you sure--" he asked.
"Just go, Moony," Sirius said stiffly, his voice hoarse and strained.
"We're fine," Anna agreed, never looking away from Sirius.
"Okay," Remus said, and quickly walked to the door. "Remember to check on Cat every once in a while, yeah? And... try not to kill each other, okay?"
He waited for a response, but when he didn't get any, he shrugged and left.
The very moment the door closed behind him, Anna swiveled on her heel, and tried to hurry into her room. Sirius ran around her, and stopped her way. She glared at him, and tried to walk around him, but he just moved with her.
"Move," she growled.
"You don't want to do this," he growled back, more fiercely than she had. He took her left hand, and raised it up so that her shiny engagament ring was visible. "You're doing this because you want to prove something."
"How dare you?" Anna exclaimed loudly.
They both looked quickly towards Cat's room, and listened if they had woke her. When it was silent, they looked back at each other, both fuming with anger.
"You don't love him like you love me," he accused and Anna gasped, as if he had slapped her. "Do you honestly see yourself with him, forever?"
"Y-yes!" Anna said, her voice breaking. She gritted her teeth at the suddenly smug look on his face, and pulled her hand back. "Now move!"
"And the kiss?" he demanded, making Anna flinch back at the lapse of self-control she had had.
"If you can call that a kiss," Anna muttered, and glared down.
"Oh, I'm sure Alex's kisses make you weak in the knees, breathless, even," he snarled.
She said nothing, as she pushed past him angrily. Anna heard Sirius take a few steps after her, but no more. By the time Anna reached her door, she was fuming, feeling the familiar feeling of anger take over - the anger of the wolf that wrestled within her.
Anna swiveled around, her hands clenched into fists. "Why do you even care?"
"What?" he asked, completely taken by surprise at the question.
"You gave up on me!" Anna whispered for what seemed to be the tenth time - how many times would she have to go through the same thing? "The least you could do is to... is to tell me why!"
"If you have to ask me to tell you that, then you're blind, Anna!" he said loudly, making Anna blink rapidly to keep the tears away.
"Love is blind," Anna whispered, and watched Sirius' entire face twist in pain. "I suppose our love was... mentally challenged, then."
Without waiting for his response, she retreated to her room, closing the door quietly behind her. Her entire body was numb, as she undressed and crawled under her covers. As Anna stared at the ceiling, waiting for the sleep to come, she had time to replay the events from that day in her head.
Firstly, she had agreed to marry Alex. That was the most dramatic thing.
And secondly, she still loved Sirius, and there was no point in denying it.
"Oh, dear..." she whispered, and rolled over, burying her face into the pillow.
Anna tossed and turned in her sleep, a deep frown etched on her forehead. She used to get nightmares as the transformation came closer - Remus said they would eventually go away with time, but she wasn't sure if she wanted to wait.
Who could stand to watch the people she loved being killed one after another, sometimes by her, sometimes by her own mother?
But the most difficult face to see was Sirius' - this had bothered Anna a lot, but it was the pain it caused that hurt more. In her nightmare, she stood still, watching the life leave Sirius' bright eyes, her personal stars in the dark night.
And it was no surprise that Anna bolted up into sitting position, a hysterical scream almost escaping her lips.
"Anna?" someone murmured, and Anna quickly brushed away the tears.
"It's me," he said, and Anna frowned. She recognized his voice - she would recognize it in a crowd. "Sirius."
"I know," she whispered, as she watched him enter the room. He was still fully dressed, and Anna watched him sit down on her bed next to her. "What do you want?" she asked harshly, remembering her anger from earlier.
"You asked me to tell you," he started, his eyes firmly on the floor. "And I know you deserve an explanation, but... but I can't tell you."
"Oh," Anna said, and pursed her lips tightly together, as she felt a fresh wave of sadness wash over her.
The next gesture took her by surprise. Sirius angled his body so that he was facing her completely, and cupped her face with his hands. Anna froze at once, half-shocked, half-angry. Her eyes grew wide, as she felt his thumb brush down her cheek, making her blush in the dark.
"Don't," she whimpered, as he leaned slowly forward.
He hovered just an inch from her lips, his eyes still open. "I can't tell you," he repeated, his breath washing over her face. "But I can show you."
A/N: Here ya go! ^_^
- Lily xxx
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