Chapter 9 : Cursing
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Chapter Nine: Cursing
I’m in my room, reading what I have officially decided is one of the most awful books ever, Frankenstein, when I hear Mum yell something. I shut the book and open my bedroom door.
“Melanie, phone for you!”
I grin and bound down the stairs to the kitchen. I’ve begged and pleaded for my own phone in my room, not even my own line, just a simple extension, but Mum refuses. She claims it’s because she doesn’t want me to become some sort of charlatan call girl, but I know it’s really just because she likes eavesdropping on me.
I get my nosiness from her. I mean, the woman makes a living listening to people talk about their lives and asking them nosy questions.
“Who is it?” I ask her once I’ve reached the kitchen.
“Courtney,” Mum answers and hands me the phone. I smile widely. It’s been forever since I’ve talked to Courtney.
“Mellie?” Courtney says as I put the phone to my ear. My smile widens just at the sound of her voice.
“Courtney! I’ve missed you so much!” I exclaim, while glancing at my mum, hoping she’ll get the picture and leave the room.
“I’ve missed you too, but I’ve been so ridiculously busy and haven’t been able to call till now. I’m Beatrice in “Much Ado About Nothing” and I’m in the chorus of this musical,” she says, talking quickly without taking any breaths, as usual. “So have you been bored out of your mind?”
“Actually, no. See, there’s this b—” I start to say, but then I stop myself when I realize Mum’s still in the room.
“Were you about to say that there’s a boy?” Courtney asks excitedly. When I hesitate, she adds, “Oh, your mum’s right there, isn’t she?”
“Yup,” I reply shortly, and then glare at the eavesdropper, who’s innocently humming and examining the spice rack.
“Well darn. I guess we’ll have to do yes or no questions until she leaves, then.”
“I’m giving her a death glare.”
“Oh, Mellie, your death glares are pathetic,” she says fondly. I grin.
“Only because I’ve missed you, I’ll forgive that statement,” I say. Courtney laughs. Mum pretends to dust the table.
“I appreciate it. Now, is this boy a romantic interest?”
Courtney is the only real person I know who uses words like “romantic interest” in everyday conversation.
“Um, kind of,” I answer, thinking of Sirius’s face as he came closer and closer yesterday at the pool.
Courtney lets out a very girly squeal. “Oooh. Is he cute?”
“Yes,” I answer, trying not dwell too long on the image of him shirtless.
Mum has now resorted to fixing herself a sandwich. I might have to commit murder to be able to talk in peace.
“Was that a ‘He’s so exceptionally handsome it’s hard to believe he’s real’ yes?” she asks, and I laugh.
“Yes,” I say, still giggling. There’s another girly squeal.
“Huzzah! You need a hunk. All your past blokes were so average,” Courtney exclaims. Huzzah? I knew all that Shakespeare would get to her.
“No,” I reply, because if I remember correctly, Stevie from daycare was pretty hunky.
“Whaddaya mean, ‘no’?” she says, sounding indignant. “That wasn’t a question!”
I glance over at Mum. She’s almost done making that sandwich. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a person spread jam that slowly.
“Ugh, just get your mum to leave,” she says, exasperated.
I grin and resort to Plan B, the plan that usually works. The plan is simple: I talk about the one thing Mum can’t stand to even listen to. Maths.
“So how do you think Susan and Katie are doing at that university, learning all about maths?” I ask her, turning away from Mum so she doesn’t see the evil smirk on my face.
Courtney laughs—she knows Plan B too well.
“Do you think they’ve covered logarithms yet?” I continue.
“Mention something about functions,” Courtney says, giggling. I take a quick peak over my shoulder. Mum’s eating her sandwich with a slightly disgusted look on her face, and I have to bite my tongue to keep from laughing.
“I hope Katie’s practicing her polynomial functions,” I say casually, internally complimenting myself on my acting skills. “She always had trouble figuring out the degree, and the multiplicity of the zeros.”
I’m talking complete nonsense, just throwing in all the complicated-sounding maths terms I know, but I can tell it’s working. Mum’s eating her sandwich so fast I’m mildly worried she might choke.
“Is she almost gone?” Courtney asks. I respond by throwing out a few more maths terms, including a couple of Greek letters, and Mum gets up and leaves.
I wait until the kitchen door shuts behind her before saying “She’s finally gone.”
“Finally! Ugh, I’m getting you your own phone for your birthday,” she says. I grin and sit at the table, glad to be able to talk in peace.
“Are you going to be back by then?” I ask.
“Um, don’t hate me, but no. Our final performance is that day, and then I’ll be back the day after,” she explains apologetically. I sigh. No one will be back for my birthday. It looks like I’m stuck with a family dinner, and then a party with my friends a few weeks after. Ugh. I hate family dinners.
“It’s fine,” I say, even though it’s really not.
“Anyway, so who’s this boy?” Courtney asks, always eager to hear about anything slightly romantic.
“His name is Sirius,” I begin, but she interrupts me.
“Sirius? What kind of name is that?” she exclaims, giggling. I can’t help but join her.
“I think he’s named after the star,” I reply, and there’s more giggles. “He’s now my neighbour. Or, he’s staying with the Potters. And he caught me spying on him, but he’s really fit and his smile’s very shiny, and we kind of, almost kissed yesterday at the pool, but then his mate interrupted us.”
“Oh, Mellie, that’s so great! Oh, what’s he like? Is he funny? Nice? If he cheats on you like that tosser Jacob Lowsley did I’ll kill him for you,” Courtney says quickly. While she stops to breathe, I answer.
“Well, first of all, he can’t cheat on me ‘cause we’re not even together,” I explain calmly. I ignore Courtney’s muttered “yet” and continue. “And yeah, he’s really funny, but in a slightly mad way, and nice too, when he’s not teasing me.”
“Aw, that’s lovely. Now, what’s he look like? I need to be able to picture him,” she says, and I can tell just from her voice that she’s got a goofy smile on her face.
“He’s got black hair, and really great grey eyes, and he’s taller than me, not by much, no blokes really are, but tall enough that I can wear heels around him if I want,” I say, smiling what might be a dangerously-goofy smile.
“Ooh, sounds dreamy,” she replies, and I laugh. “Uh-oh, Mellie, I’ve got to go. The shower’s finally free and I have to snag it before Emma does. I really need a shower too; I’ve been dancing all afternoon.”
“Aw, okay,” I say, feeling lonely before she’s even hung up. “I miss you.”
“I know, I miss you and the whole gang soooo much,” she says sincerely. Just then, I remember something.
“Oh, wait, before you go, I have to ask you something!”
“Remember when you went to that snooty boarding school?”
There’s a groan. “Ugh, how could I forget? I still have nightmares.”
“Did your boarding school lot ever have a special name for people that didn’t go to your school?”
Courtney laughs. “No, how snobby do you think we were? What kind of school would have a special name for people that didn’t go there? What, something like ‘plebeians’?”
I force out a laugh too, but I’m frantically thinking about if James and Sirius really do go to that snobby of a boarding school, or if they’re lying to me, and if they are lying, why they’re lying.
“ Er, right. Yeah,” I say, forcing my voice to sound normal.
“Why do you ask?” she replies curiously.
“Er, it’s a long story, I’ll tell you when you get back,” I say, not up for explaining James’s and Sirius’s madness. “Goodbye.”
“Goodbye, Mellie. I hope I don’t waste away from missing you,” she says dramatically, and I giggle as she hangs up.
I set the phone back on the receiver and go up to my room to think.
So what does “muggle” really mean? Does it really just mean someone that doesn’t go to their school? Because if it does that makes James and Sirius snobs. And James’s house may be huge (about the same size as mine, actually), but he definitely doesn’t strike me as the snobby type.
But maybe he is! I mean, I’ve only ever seen him around his friends, and they might be snobby too! Well, and Cameron and Kenzie were around, but being a snob to Kenzie is not a good idea if you like your face the way it is, and I’m pretty sure James would’ve realised that, judging by the minor fact that he seemed terrified of her.
And maybe Sirius is secretly a super nerd that goes to a super nerdy boarding school and so is James and “muggle” is actually some ancient Greek word that means “stupid” and they use it to describe anyone who doesn’t go to the nerd-tastic boarding school. This would totally explain the references to Merlin, as nerds and fantasy go together like my mum and eavesdropping. It would also explain James’s glasses.
I’m going to give myself a headache if I keep analyzing this. I have to get my mind off things.
Not just the whole “muggle” issue, but what happened, or almost happened, at the pool yesterday. Every time I let my mind wander, Sirius’s face, inches from mine, pops up.
It’s very irritating.
Maybe some mind-numbing music and brain-frying sun would help.
I smile at this thought, and slip on my bikini, manage to find some sunscreen, and almost kill myself getting my wireless down from the top shelf of my wardrobe. That thing is not small. I told Mum it shouldn’t go on the top shelf. Stupid reorganizing.
I lug my wireless outside into the back garden, ignoring my mum in her study, and lie a towel down on one of our many lounge chairs, and cover myself in sunscreen. The plan is to put more sunscreen on every five songs, so I get a tan but don’t turn bright pink. I really hope it works.
Three songs later, I’m humming along and only thinking of the lyrics, not certain neighbours. I’m kind of afraid I’m going to fall asleep and wake up completely sunburnt.
Two songs later, I put more sunscreen on and then zone out again. But suddenly there’s a crash like the Potters’ backdoor is being slammed shut.
I open my eyes and sit up. I don’t hear anything now. Maybe they were just letting Fluffy out?
But then I hear several curses in what I recognize as Sirius’s voice. Actually, there’re a lot more than several now.
Okay, someone needs to wash his mouth out with soap.
I get up and creep over to the knothole in the fence. Sirius is sitting on a stump several metres away, reading a letter with a very angry expression on his face. Weird. How can a letter make someone so mad? And mad enough to keep up this stream of cusses for so long?
Actually it’s pretty impressive. He’s being very creative. I should write some of these down so I can use them later.
I start to walk back to the house so I can get my notebook. And then—
I sneeze. Loudly. So loudly that Sirius hears, the cussing stops, and I have to sprint over to my towel, fling myself on it (ouch, my head), shut my eyes, and bob my head to the music. Like I wasn’t just spying on him.
“Mellie?” he calls. I pretend to be so engrossed I don’t hear him. “Mellie!”
I open my eyes and sit up to find that Sirius is sitting on the fence staring at me. And I blush when I realize I’m wearing barely anything. This top is smaller than my bra! Why did I even buy it? I’m indecent!
“Hello there,” I say, smiling what I hope is an innocent smile.
It must’ve actually looked innocent, because I receive a small smile in return.
“Whatcha doing?” he asks, sounding slightly suspicious still. I’d be offended, but he does kind of have a reason to be suspicious. I stand and walk over to the fence.
“Sun bathing,” I reply. Not spying! He nods, seeming to believe this.
“Did you, er, happen to hear me?” He sounds embarrassed.
“Kinda,” I answer, because could I have not? He sighs. “Um, what . . . er, why . . .”
“I got a letter from my mother,” he says, sounding slightly miserable. He lifts his right hand and I see the letter’s crumpled in it.
“Oh,” I say, confused, and concerned. “Do you want to, um, come over and talk about it? I think there’s some brownies left from the batch I made yesterday.”
Yeah, I was trying to get my mind off the pool incident, so I made brownies.
Sirius looks a little surprised by the offer, but he nods and says, “That would be nice.”
I grin as he hops off the fence, and lead him over to the lounge chairs. “Have a seat; I’ll be right back with some brownies.”
I quickly get the brownies and come back, because I don’t think he’s in any condition to be left alone for very long.
I sit down next to him on a lounge chair and set the plate of brownies between us. He takes one and so do I and we eat in awkward silence for a minute.
“My parents are the reason I’m staying with James,” Sirius blurts out suddenly. “We don’t get along, at all, and I just couldn’t take it anymore, so I left, and now she’s sending me letters, and they’re awful and I hate how she keeps trying to tell me what to do, even though I’m of age, and there’s nothing in the world that could make me go back there.”
I wait a second before replying. “Why don’t you get along?”
He sighs. His sigh sounds too weary for a seventeen year old boy.
“It’s kind of hard to explain. Let’s just say we have completely different ideas about morals,” he says bitterly. I bite my lip. I want to help him, make him feel better, but I don’t really understand what’s going on.
“Try explaining,” I suggest.
He stares at his hands, clenched into fists, instead of looking at me. “My parents . . . are . . . well, see, they support the bad guys. Criminals, I guess. They’re not actually criminals, but they’re friends with them all, and they expect me to be too, and be perfect, and not be the rebellious son, but I have to rebel, because if I don’t I’ll end up as one of them and I can’t let that happen, even if it means leaving Regulus—”
It seems like he’s talking to himself now.
“Oh Merlin, Regulus. He probably hates me more than ever now that I’ve left. I wish there was some way I could’ve taken him with me, but he wouldn’t come. He’s completely one of them now. I hate it. I hate not being able to help him. I hate my parents for doing this. I hate being helpless.”
He sounds like he’s breaking into a million pieces, and I move the brownies and put my arm around him, and I feel like I have to hold him together, because there’s so much sadness in his voice, and I’m surprised and concerned and worried for him all at the same time.
“And Mother’s letter just said basically the same usual thing,” he continues bitterly, brokenly, “that I’m a disgrace to the ‘Noble House of Black’ and she’s burned everything I left behind and blasted me off the family tree, but then it said that Reggie’s started hanging with the ‘right’ crowd, and she said he’s—she said he’s with the—the Lestrange brothers, and I know them, and I know that Reggie’s in way over his head, and I don’t want him to get hurt, I don’t want him to become one of them.”
He stops talking and draws a shuddering breath, and I pull him closer and hug him and try to think of the right words.
“Oh, Sirius,” is all I can think to say, and so I just hug him for another few minutes, till he stops shaking and I don’t think he’s going to break anymore.
“You don’t have to feel guilty for leaving your brother with your parents,” I say softly. He tenses. “I mean, we all have to make our own decisions in life, and I know I don’t have any siblings, but I have friends who do, and well . . .” I trail off, trying to think of a story to explain myself.
“Okay, so my friend Liz has a little sister who I think is part demon. And Liz and her little sister, Amy, were at this sweet shop and Amy wanted to buy this certain type of chocolate that’s bloody awful and made Liz sick once. Nobody likes this horrid chocolate, and Liz tried to tell Amy that, but Amy insisted she wanted that kind, and she wanted to buy it with her own pocket money. Liz told Amy over and over that it tasted awful, and was usually rotten inside, and she thought she saw maggots in it once, but she finally gave up and let Amy buy it, because she knew that she had to let Amy make her own decisions, and learn her own lessons. So Amy bought the chocolate, ate half of it, and then ran outside to throw up.”
Maybe that wasn’t the very best story, but I think it got the message across.
Sirius is now looking at me with an expression of confusion and amazement. “Um, was there a point to that story?”
“Yes!” I say. “The point is, Liz let Amy decide for herself, and Amy learned a valuable lesson: always look at the expiration date.”
Sirius shakes his head, but I can tell he gets the point, because his expression is thoughtful.
“You’re kinda right,” he says slowly, and I smile at him, a smile that I hope says that I know I can’t make him feel better but I do want to try. “But you’re also kind of mental.”
I smile again, and suddenly his expression is a lot more intense, his grey eyes seem deeper, much deeper, and my brain has gone completely blank except for one thought:
I’m pretty sure my hand is moving of its own accord to his shoulder, and then he takes my other hand, and then I’m pulled forward and somehow I end up in Sirius’s lap. And he’s warm and I’m burning up and he’s pushing my hair away from my face and his fingertips feel like they’re on fire.
“Mellie, thanks,” he murmurs, his voice lower than usual, full of something, but I’m not sure what. “For listening.”
It’s really hard to make my brain focus enough to make words, because I keep noticing tiny little details, like how Sirius has a tiny scar above his left eyebrow, and freckle by his lip, and his lips. And he smells like just-cut grass and cinnamon.
“You’re very welcome,” I say, and I don’t know why, but I’m whispering. Maybe it’s because we’re so close, with just the smallest gap between us, talking at a normal volume just seems awkward. “I’ll listen to whatever you have to say.”
And then his lips—those smirking lips—curl up, and he smiles, but I only see it for a second, because now there’s no gap between us, and my eyes are shut, and I’m pretty sure there’s that high pitched squealing going on somewhere in my brain again, and he’s kissing me. And I lean closer, pull him closer, push my hands through his hair, anything to get him closer, so that his sweet kiss turns less gentle, and I’m burning up and think I’m going to explode, but Sirius has his arms around me so I can’t.
He opens his mouth, and now the squealing is getting louder, because it feels so good.
I’ve been kissed before, but never like this.
We break apart, and I didn’t realize it, but I’m breathing heavily. I look at Sirius and he’s grinning like a loon, but I have a feeling so am I, and as soon as I catch my breath I kiss him, and I can feel his grin now.
My mum’s yell surprises me so much I jump and fall backwards out of Sirius’s lap, and hit my head on the ground. Luckily I hit a bush, so it doesn’t hurt.
“You okay?” Sirius asks, standing up to help me. I sit up and nod, but I’m dizzy, though from the snogging or the fall I’m not sure.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I say as he pulls me up, but when he pulls me up he pulls me against him, and now he’s got his arms around my waist, and I am not fine.
“Melanie! Susan and Katie are on the phone!”
“Um, I have to go, or my mum will come out here and . . . it won’t be pretty,” I say, even though I really don’t want to. But I also don’t want Mum to see Sirius, and ask all sorts of questions that I don’t want to answer.
“Right,” he says, and then kisses me quickly before letting me go. I smile and head inside, but miss the door and hit the wall instead.
“Bugger!” I exclaim as I rub my forehead. And then I stumble inside, leaving a grinning Sirius behind me.
A/N: Oh, snap, it got deep! Did I see some angst there? Well omg, I believe I did! Teehee, anyway, how was my attempt at deepness? OH! And how was the KISS? Did it live up to all that build up? I certainly hope so! So, this chapter wasn’t that funny, but I hope I made up for it with deepness and smooching. Review and tell me how it was! I’m so nervous about this chapter!
And one more thing, YOU ALL ROCK. 300+ reviews! Holy crap! I will totally reply to them all eventually! Also, in case you didn't notice, I'm a bit hyper at having completed this chapter.
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