The sun shining in my face woke me. Where was I? Right, in my bed still wearing the same clothes from the night before. That talk with Carson struck something inside of me. I came close to revealing everything, but I couldn’t stop it. In order for her to be with me, she needed to trust me. I wanted her. I needed her.
I sat up, hearing my name. The voice was light and familiar. Lily. She was suppose to be checking in on me to see about Carson.
I pulled myself out of the bed and left the room, spotting Lily standing by the door in the sitting room.
“Good morning,” she said.
“So, what’s going on with your little girlfriend?”
I shrugged, slouching down on the sofa. “I kissed her last night.”
Lily placed herself next to me. “And it didn’t end well?”
“No, it did, but I wanted more. She knew that I did.”
“Is she still going to see you?”
“Yes. We’re going out again in a few days.”
“Well, that’s wonderful…. You look a bit different.”
“I don’t know.” Lily shifted to get a better look at me and grinned. “You’re glowing.”
“I am not.”
“Oh, please, Remus. I’m a soon-to-be bride. I know when someone’s glowing, and you are doing just that. You’re falling for this girl.”
Lily was wrong. I wasn’t falling for her. I had already fell. I fell during that first dinner we had out with each other and I wasn’t planning on getting up anytime soon.
“She just…,” I tried. “She makes me…. I’ve never felt like this before, Lily. I can’t describe it.”
“It’s a wonderful feeling, love,” she said. “Soon, all you could possibly think about will be her. She’ll run through your mind every second of every day. Whenever you pass someone, you’ll think it’s her at first glance. Her scent will be the only thing you could smell.”
I looked on from Lily and down to my hands as she described everything I couldn’t. “That sounds like eternal torture.”
We both managed a laugh and Lily gave me a hit. “You sound just like James.”
“Is that good or bad?”
“A bit of both. So, it’s a definite ‘yes’ that you’re going to continue seeing Carson?” I slowly nodded at her question, able to fully absorb it in. She gave me a pat on my knee and stood back up. “Good, I’m glad you stuck with it. And if it doesn’t work, then it doesn’t work. At least you tried, right?”
“That’s the spirit. Now, please wash up so we can catch the Order meeting. Brushing your teeth in the morning always helps.”
She gleefully laughed and ducked out of the way as I attempted to grab her. “I think James is influencing you more than the rest of us.”
“Well maybe you and Sirius shouldn’t have tried so hard to get us together. We would never be in this predicament if weren’t for you lot.”
“Yeah, whatever. Give me a few minutes.”
I made my way to the restroom, closing the door behind me, and stared at myself in the small mirror. I wasn’t going to allow my condition to get in the way of me and Carson. I’d just have to come up with excuses when it comes to my…time of the month. Either way, I was going to be with her, and that was that.
August 15, 1979
I had given Carson her space, as we discussed. Lily was right, all I could think about was her in those passing days. Thankfully I wasn’t doing much for the Order, but Carson still invaded my mind during the meetings. I was barely even aware much for James and Lily’s wedding, something that Lily silently forgave me for while the others could only look on in confusion. I still didn’t tell them. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. They were my best mates, but telling all of them about Carson would somehow be bringing her into our world, and I wasn’t going to have that. The closest she would ever get to our world would be by staying around me.
Once five days had crept by, I couldn’t wait any longer. I would burst if I did, so I made a drop by Carson’s house. I didn’t know what to expect popping up at her place in the middle of the afternoon, but she surprised me by opening the door after I knocked several times.
“Remus?” she asked, surprise in her voice. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong. I just wanted to see you.”
“Oh, come on in.”
She stepped aside and allowed me into her home. Warmth struck me as I walked further inside. With the various pictures of family and friends on the walls leading down to her sitting room and the light smell of food cooking, her place was much more of a home than my shaggy house.
“I like this,” I told her.
“Thank you. Sit down.” She waited until I was seated on the large sofa to address me further. “What’s been going on?”
“Oh, nothing. My friends got married yesterday.”
“Oh, that’s wonderful. Tell them ‘congratulations’ for me.”
“I will…. Can you come here?”
“Sure.” Carson walked over and placed herself next to me. The tension from that night before was gone, though I could still see fragments of it left in her eyes. I just had to come out and say it then or I’ll never keep her.
“I like you, Carson,” I said.
“I like you too,” she said back, confusion evident in her voice.
“No, I mean, I really like you.” I took hold of her hands, trying my hardest to keep my voice from shaking. “You’re the only person besides my friends that ever made me feel at ease with myself. You…you’re an amazing woman, and I want to be with you.”
Carson’s jaw clenched for a moment. “Remus, I--,”
“And I know that you don’t trust me, and I know that you think you’re too old, but you’re not. Age doesn’t matter, and--,”
She cut me off with a lingering kiss; all I was able to taste then was strawberries. She must have ate some earlier.
Once she backed off, I couldn’t find it in me to finish everything I was saying.
“That was bold,” was all I managed to get out.
“Well, someone did say to be spontaneous.” I smiled and she stood up. “I’m cooking lunch, if you’d like to stay.”
She gave me a soft smile before disappearing into the kitchen. There was no stopping the grin from spreading on my face. I leaned back on the sofa and let out a relieved laugh. It was going to be better than I expected. Much better.
Carson and I seemed to see each other every other day for the next few weeks. Whenever she wasn’t working, she was over my house. Whenever I didn’t have an Order meeting, I was with her. The time couldn’t have gotten any better for me. And my mood had shown. Even Dumbledore went so far as to ask if I were okay. Believe me, I was beyond okay. I was at the epitome of ‘okay.’
I was thrown away from my thoughts by my name being called. Looking around, I saw that I was still sitting with Peter and Sirius at Sirius’ house. We had all just returned from an Order meeting.
“What’s going on in there?” Peter asked.
I shook my head and took another drink of the Firewhiskey in front of me. “Nothing. Just thinking.”
Peter took my excuse and stood. “Well, I have to go.”
“All right then, mate,” Sirius said. “Sleep well.”
Peter nodded and Disapparated. He hadn’t been sleeping well. None of us have (well, my dreams filled with Carson did make the nights go by smoother). The war had taken its toll on all of us. Especially Peter. He looked dreadful.
“What’s going on with you lately?” Sirius asked, moving to sit in the chair next to me.
“Nothing’s going on. Why would you ask that?”
“You’ve been…distant. It’s like you’re not here anymore.”
I pushed away my glass, feeling my head get a little lightheaded. “I’m sitting right here.”
“That’s not what I mean. Even James and Peter can see it.”
Sirius stared hard at me. He wasn’t just being a concerned friend. No, there was something underneath that stare. Something that I probably wouldn’t like.
“Look,” I said, standing, “I have to get home. The Firewhiskey is hitting me hard.”
If possible, Sirius looked even more suspicious. “It never hit you this fast before.”
“Sirius, if you have a problem with me, then say it,” I snapped, fed up with his comments.
Sirius glared at me. “You’re hiding something from me. From all of us.”
“Just mind your own business.”
I didn’t wait for him to say anything else before Disapparating back home. As soon as I landed in my sitting room, a knock came at my door.
“Carson,” I said after opening it.
She stood with her briefcase over her head, blocking out the pouring rain. “Can I come in?”
I stood aside to allow her in. She tossed her things off on the sofa and turned back to me.
“Where were you?” she asked.
“Umm, in the shower. How long were you knocking?”
“Just a couple of minutes…. Is everything okay?”
“Yeah, everything’s fine.”
“Oh, well, I brought some dinner,” she said, holding up the brown bag in her other hand.
My slight anger towards Sirius evaporated as she smiled at me. “Great, I’m starving.”
The next hour or so consisted of us trying each others’ food and making small jokes about random things. The more time that passes, the more Carson lets her hair down, and I was loving every moment of it.
“Thanks for the late dinner,” I told her as I cleaned up our empty containers.
“Go on and sit down, I’ll finish cleaning up.”
She gave me a quick peck on the cheek before leaving me to finish in the kitchen. I went over to throw the brown bag away, but a figure popped in right in front of me.
“Lily,” I hissed.
Her mouth opened but she froze, looking around the kitchen. “She’s here?”
I nodded and grabbed her hand, dragging her quickly to the restroom.
“Remus, are you okay?” Carson called.
“I’m fine. I just have to use the loo.” I forced Lily inside the room and slammed the door. “What are you doing here?”
“James told me to check in on you,” she whispered. “He said you and Sirius had a small row.”
“It was nothing.”
“You’re lying to me.”
“Look, he’s just putting his nose in my business, all right.”
“You still haven’t told them about Carson? Remus, if you’re getting serious with her, then you have to tell them. They’re your best friends.”
I groaned; I should have known it would get to that point. “I’ll tell them when the time’s right, now go.”
“Fine, but don’t wait too long.”
Lily left me be and I hurried back out in time just to see Carson heading my way.
“Are you sure you’re all right?” she asked.
I nodded. “I’m fine. Thanks for the meal.”
She went to turn around, but I took hold of her arm. “Carson, wait.”
Taking in a deep breath, I jumped ship. “Would you like to…stay the night?”
An eyebrow raised on her face and she eyed me curiously. “You’re asking me to stay the night?”
“And that’s just a blanket for what we’re going to…do tonight, right?”
Once the heat crept up from my neck to my face, I had to look at anything but her. “Y-yes.”
A beautiful laughter filled the house and halted my racing nerves for the moment. “I’ve never heard a guy actually ask for that. After all this time, you still manage to surprise me, Remus.”
“That’s a good thing, I suppose.”
“Yes, it is. Well, the answer to your question is ‘yes.’”
My heart did a flip; I wasn’t prepared for that answer. “Really?”
“Sure, why not?” the question seemed more directed at her than at me, but I didn’t press it.
She smiled at me and took hold of my hand. “Relax, Remus.”
“That’s easier said than done.”
Though her smile did manage to calm me, I still felt my heart pounding in my throat as she led the way back to my bedroom.
“Still awake?” I started as we both lied in my bed. Her head rested on my chest as her arm lazily wrapped itself around my stomach. It had been about two hours, yet we both stayed in that spot. Her body next to mine brought this incredible warmth that I never wanted to be without.
“Yeah,” came Carson’s smooth voice.
She started tracing some kind of design on my chest once again. I sighed, taking in the comfortable feeling.
came that voice.
Did I really need to tell Carson the truth? I mean, we were doing fine without it. At least she doesn’t think I’m some kind of freak.
‘If you want to spend your time with her,’ the voice said, ‘then you have to tell her the truth.’
It was right. For once, that mad side of me was right. I did want to spend more time with Carson. With all the people getting married and starting families at the height of the war, why wouldn’t I want to settle in with someone? Screw if she’s a Muggle. I had to try. I had to see if she felt the same.
I cleared my throat, suddenly overcome with a dry spell inside. “I...I really care about you.”
“I care about you too.”
“No, I mean, I--,” just say it, idiot. “I love you.”
Carson’s head lifted and she stared at me with wide eyes. “You what?”
“I love you,” I said, more firmly. “I know it’s only been a few weeks, but I know how I feel. I-I don’t want to be with anyone else. I can’t.”
I sat up, bringing her with me. “Because of that, I have to be more honest with you.”
“Okay, honest about what?”
Telling her straight-up was on the tip of my tongue, but instead I asked, “Do you believe in magic?”
She let out an uncomfortable laugh. “For real?”
“Yes. Do you?”
“Well, I don’t know. I mean, there are some things that can’t be explained in the world. But I don’t know if magic has anything to do with it…. I guess you can say I believe in more illusions than actual magic. I mean, magic isn’t actually real.”
“Yes it is.”
That laugh came back, but it wasn’t the one I had grown use to. “What?”
I attempted to calm my rapid heartbeat, but failed. I had to get on with it. “I’m a wizard.”
Carson quieted for a few seconds before letting out a shaky laugh. “Yeah, sure you are.”
“No, I’m serious. Wait.” I turned to my bedside table and opened the drawer, pulling out my wand. I hesitated for a second, but I had already begun. I couldn’t turn back.
Pointing at Carson’s blouse that rested on the on the floor in front of my wardrobe, I uttered the words, “Accio blouse.”
The blouse slowly rose to the air and flew towards me. Carson never made a sound. I glanced at her only to see her staring down at her blouse in my hands.
“I would have told you sooner,” I said, “but I-I wasn’t…. I didn’t know how you’d take it.”
“Then why did you tell me at all,” Carson whispered, still staring at her blouse.
“Because I love you.”
“I have to go.”
No. She-she couldn’t just leave. But she was going to. She took her blouse from me with a shaking hand and quickly threw it on.
“Carson, please let me explain.”
She didn’t stop to listen to me. She stumbled out of the bed, shoving on her skirt and grabbing her shoes and handbag. I barely had time to throw on my boxers before she was half-way out the front door. She couldn’t leave. No, she couldn’t leave me.
“Carson, don’t do this,” I called out as she started away from the cabin, neglecting the smack of cold air that hit my bare chest.
I caught up to her and grabbed her arm. She immediately recoiled as if I had burned her. I had been gut-punched. The look on her face was a mixture of fear and…disgust.
“I have to go,” she said.
A lump rose in my throat. I could only stand rooted to the spot as my heart was stabbed with a burning knife after every step she took away from me.
“Carson, don’t leave me,” I shouted in the cold morning air. The further she walked, the quieter I became. “Please…don’t leave me.”
She continued walking, and my heart continued breaking.