Chapter 8 : Chocolate
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The weeks passed quickly and before I knew it, it was the day before Christmas break. I was sitting next to Sirius writing in my journal and trying unsuccessfully to block out Professor Perfect’s annoyingly squeaky voice. Sirius tapped his quill against the desk and eventually I couldn’t take it anymore. I sighed in annoyance and put my hand over his to stop his quill tapping. He smirked at me.
“Am I annoying you?” he whispered.
I glared at him and said nothing. I kept my hand on his; I knew the moment I moved my hand he would start tapping again. Absentmindedly I chewed on the cap of my pen.
“Why do you write with those muggle things?” Sirius asked. I looked back up at him to see him staring at me curiously.
I shrugged. “I don’t know. I like them.”
With a snap I shut my journal. I ran my hand through my hair tiredly and smiled at the thought of the things Stephanie would say if she saw me messing up my precious hair. Sirius let his quill drop out of his hand and laced his fingers through mine. I stared up at him in surprise. His eyebrows were pulled together in confusion.
“What?” I asked after several minutes of staring at each other.
“You’re upset,” he stated.
I scowled at him and looked away. I tried to pull my hand out of his but he held on tightly. I stubbornly refused to look at him.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Nothing,” I mumbled. I slowly turned to look at him and forced a smile. “I’m fine.”
Sirius raised an eyebrow at me in disbelief. He opened his mouth to say something to attempt to convince me to say what was bothering me but professor perfect beat him to it.
“Mr. Black, Miss Kamier.” We both looked up. Professor perfect stood at the front of the class with her hands on her hips. “Pay attention, please.”
“She doesn’t like you,” Sirius stated quietly when professor nice turned around.
I snorted. “Really, I had no idea. I thought I was her favorite student.”
He stared deeply into my eyes; he wanted to push me for answers. I stared at him defiantly trying to let him know that I wasn’t telling him anything. But Sirius, being the stubborn person he was, ignored me.
“It’s the last day of school,” he said. “You should be happy.”
I sighed and ran my hand through my hair again. “I really don’t want to talk about it okay.” I silently begged him to drop the subject with my eyes.
He slowly nodded. “But this conversation isn’t over.”
I nodded and laid my head on the desk. Sirius kept a tight hold on my hand. It felt kind of weird to have someone holding my hand. It reminded me that Sirius was my boyfriend not just a friend. Boyfriend, the word felt strange. I’ve been dating him for a month but he’s more like a friend. I was surprised he hadn’t dumped me yet. I think this is the longest he’s ever had a girlfriend. I wonder why. I thought this would be over quickly but this is going to take longer than I thought.
I jumped when the bell rang knocking my books off my desk and falling off my chair.
“Ouch,” I whispered.
I looked up to see Sirius laughing at me. I pouted at him.
“It’s not funny.” I whined.
“Yes it is,” he gasped out.
He smirked at me when I said nothing. He thought he had won. I grinned evilly before pulling on his arm making him fall off his own chair.
“Now that is funny,” I laughed at him.
“You cheated,” it was his turn to pout.
I stuck my tongue out at him and grinned smugly.
“You two are so immature,” we looked up to see Stephanie shaking her head with her hands on her hips.
I shrugged and grinned. “I know. Now help me up.” I held out my hands for Stephanie to grab. She did, pulling me to my feet.
I turned and helped Sirius before pointing at my fallen books.
“Pick them up,” I commanded him.
He rolled his eyes and gave me a bow. “Yes, your majesty.”
I turned back to Stephanie to see her glaring at me.
“What did I do this time?” I asked while crossing my arms and rolling my eyes in annoyance. I was always doing something wrong.
“What did you do to your hair? All the time I spent on it this morning is wasted. Hold still.”
She reached over to fix my hair. I tried slapping her hands away but instead she slapped mine away.
“I will not let you walk around looking like you just rolled out of bed. Hold still or this will take twice as long as it needs to.”
I crossed my arms and grumbled at Stephanie but I held still. Who knows what she would do if I didn’t do what she said. That girl can get dangerous when it comes to hair. If one hair is out of place she freaks out. I hid her hairbrush once and she refused to leave the dorm until she found it. She just couldn’t go out in public with unbrushed hair.
Sirius smirked at me and handed me my bag which he had put my fallen books into. I stuck my tongue out at him and pulled my bag up on my shoulder making Stephanie sigh in frustration. Professor Perfect glared at me. I narrowed my eyes at her. I really didn’t like her, she was just so perfect. She reminded me of Sarah.
“Are you done yet?” I whined and fidgeted impatiently.
“I’m done, stop complaining.” She snapped.
I ran out of her reach and hid behind Sirius. “Don’t let the mean girl get me,” I told him.
Stephanie rolled her eyes. “Will you ever grow up?”
“The mean girl’s talking to me,” I yelled pointing a finger at Stephanie.
Sirius pulled me to stand beside him and wrapped an arm around my shoulders. “Don’t worry; I’ll protect you from the mean girl.”
Stephanie rolled her eyes again and ignored us. She spun on her heel and walked out of the room. Sirius and I followed close behind listing all of the reasons Stephanie was a mean person.
“Stephie! Cinderellie!” I winced. Suddenly Stephanie was attacked by a mass of blonde curls and too much energy.
“Gaby,” Stephanie’s muffled voice made me laugh. “I can’t breathe.”
Gaby ignored her. “I am so glad classes are over for the holidays. I can’t wait to go home for Christmas. I love Christmas. I love the lights and sparkles. And presents, I love presents. Ribbons are so pretty. I love ribbons; they’re fun to play with. I need to go shopping. I haven’t bought any presents for anybody yet. We need to get together over the holidays.” She bounced excitedly up and down. That girl had way too much sugar today. “We should go shopping. Cinderella, you need some new clothes. You have a boyfriend, you need to dress nice.” I shrugged my shoulders at Sirius when he raised his eyebrows at me.
“Gaby,” I put my hand over her mouth. “How much sugar did you have today?”
She shook her head wildly. “I didn’t have any.” She stopped her bouncing for a moment. Her teeth bit down on her lower lip. She tried very hard to not start bouncing again but she failed miserably and soon gave up.
I stared at her in disbelief. She squirmed uncomfortably under my gaze.
“Okay,” she said. “I might’ve had a few sugar quills during ancient runes.” Stephanie smacked her forehead. “I didn’t have very many.” She lied unconvincingly while trying to look innocent.
“Great,” I muttered under my breath. “Now she’ll be up all night.”
“I thought we hid all her candy,” Stephanie whispered to me while Gaby drifted off into her own little world.
“She obviously found it.” I whispered back. Sirius watched the scene amused.
“It can’t be that bad,” he said.
Both Stephanie and I glared at him. “You don’t have to live with her,” Stephanie replied. “She has way too much energy.”
“She’ll keep us up all night.” I added.
Sirius laughed and ruffled my hair making Stephanie growl at him. “Sucks to be you.” I smacked the back of his head playfully. He could be so annoying.
“That’s not fair. You cheated.” Gaby yelled. Several people around us glared at her.
“It’s not my fault you can’t play chess,” Remus replied with a grin. He reached over and took the pile of chocolate that sat between him and Gaby.
Marissa and Stephanie laughed at Gaby’s pained expression. She had bet her newly recovered stash of chocolate that she could beat Remus at chess. He loved chocolate nearly as much as Gaby did except he didn’t get overly hyper like she did. She stared longingly at the chocolate. She looked so sad and all because of chocolate. I couldn’t help but laugh at her. Sirius looked down at me when he felt me shaking with silent laughter. I was leaning against his legs while he sat on the couch in front of the fire in the Gryffindor common room. I smiled and laughed at my friend but lying just under the surface was a monster that threatened to ruin everything. I couldn’t push it aside so I hid it from my friends’ sight.
Sirius leaned down and whispered in my ear while everyone else was distracted. “You never did tell me why you were so upset today,” sometimes I felt like he could read my mind and see right through me into my soul.
I scowled. “Maybe I don’t want to talk about it.” I growled at him.
“It might make you feel better to talk about it,”
I ignored him. Maybe he would leave me alone if I didn’t talk to him. Maybe he would forget it and realize that I really don’t want to talk about it. It’s none of his business. I don’t have to tell him anything. Suddenly his legs were pulled away from my head and I was jerked to my feet. Before I could say anything I was forced out of the common room. I tried unsuccessfully to twist out of his grasp.
“Stop it, let me go,” I yelled.
He pulled me into an empty classroom and locked the door with his wand. I crossed my arms across my chest and glared at him.
“Why did you do that?” I screamed at him.
He shrugged. “You wouldn’t talk to me.”
“I don’t want to talk to you.” I could feel my anger starting to bubble over and took a deep breath.
I ran my hand through my hair and leaned against the wall. Slowly I slid down to sit on the floor. I took a shaky breath and tried not to cry. What was wrong with me? I never cry. But the pressure was building up. I could feel it crushing me. It was always there waiting to destroy me. It never went away. I pulled my knees to my chest and wrapped my arms tightly around them. I buried my head in my knees wishing I could disappear. Sirius had seen me fall apart once. I couldn’t let him see me break again. I hated feeling so vulnerable and weak.
I felt him sit down beside me but he said nothing.
“Why can’t you just leave me alone?” I begged desperately after my breathing had slowed and I had regained control of myself.
“Why won’t you tell me what’s wrong?” he argued.
I sighed in annoyance. Why couldn’t he just drop it? I said nothing. What if I did tell him? I glanced up at me. His intense gaze met my own. His eyes were full of concern. I felt a sudden urge to tell him everything, things that I hadn’t told anyone. I bit back the urge and buried my head in my knees again. I sighed again before looking up and brushing off my wet cheeks in frustration. Why did I have to cry?
I ran my hand through my hair again; I seemed to be doing that a lot lately. It was becoming a habit.
“I just don’t want to go home,” I whispered without looking him in the eye.
“Why,” he pressed.
I paused briefly and let my eyes flicker up to his face before quickly looking away again. “My family and I have problems. We don’t exactly get along. It’s-“I paused as I searched for the right word. “Complicated.”
He wanted to press for more. He was persistent, curious, and stubborn. He didn’t give up easily and loved a challenge. Prying anything about my family out of me was impossible. Nobody had ever succeeded and Sirius definitely wasn’t going to be the first one to accomplish it.
“Can you please just leave it at that,” I begged. I stared him in the eye. “Maybe I’ll tell you the full story someday but not right now. I’m not ready.” I lied. I would never tell what happened that caused so much tension between me and my family; no one would ever know.
He nodded. He obviously couldn’t see through my lie and I internally sighed in relief. I felt safe knowing that he couldn’t see past all my lies. If I needed to I could hide behind fake smiles and carefully fabricated lies. I wasn’t as absentminded as everyone thought I was. I was just a great liar. I was a lie, a perfectly constructed lie. I couldn’t let anybody see past that lie or everything I had worked so hard to hide would come out and my world would come crumbling down. I couldn’t, I wouldn’t let that happen again.
I leaned against Sirius’s shoulder. He wrapped his arm around my shoulders and held me close. His head rested on the top of my head. If I had a normal life this scene would be considered perfect, having one of my best friends holding me and trying to convince me that everything was going to be alright, but this isn’t a perfect world. All I could think of was what could never be because me being happy was impossible. This isn’t a fairytale and there is no happy ending.
“Cinderella, why didn’t you do this last night?” Marissa asked annoyed. She tapped her foot impatiently as I scampered around the dorm searching for all of my scattered clothes.
“I didn’t feel like packing last night.” I told her simply with a shrug.
Stephanie rolled her eyes and then began helping me search for my clothes.
“You really should be more organized,” she suggested when she found one of my shirts under her pillow. “How long has that been there,” she asked and wrinkled her nose.
I glanced over at her and shrugged. “Who knows?”
She shuddered and quickly threw it in my trunk. “That’s disgusting, Cinderella.”
I smirked at her but said nothing. Gaby bounced nervously as she chewed on a sugar quill. “We’re going to miss the train,” she whined.
I rolled my eyes. “Calm down Gaby. We’re not going to miss the train.”
“We might if you don’t hurry up,” I stuck my tongue out at Marissa in reply. Gaby’s nervous bouncing increased.
I glanced around to see if I had forgotten anything before attempting to shut my overcrowded trunk. I pouted and blew my bangs out of my eyes. I backed up and ran at my truck screaming as loud as I could. I jumped on top of my trunk and smiled in satisfaction when I heard it click shut.
“Ready,” I exclaimed cheerfully.
Stephanie shook her head. We had to run to make it to the carriages before they left. We were all panting and out of breath. I felt like my lungs were going to explode. For once Gaby had nothing to say, she had no air left in her body to speak. Half an hour later Marissa, Gaby, Stephanie, Andy, and I were sitting in our usual compartment exactly in the middle of the train.
“Please, Steph, please,” Gaby begged. “I have to practice. I need to win my chocolate back.” her big blue eyes widened and a single curl fell in her eyes.
Andy and I glanced at each other then quickly looked away. That girl was obsessed with her chocolate. She wasn’t over the fact that she had lost all of her chocolate to Remus. She stayed up all night playing chess with herself. She looked like she always did, happy and full of energy. Getting no sleep had obviously had no effect on her. I would be dead if I had stayed up all night, I need my sleep.
“Fine,” Stephanie finally gave in.
Gaby squealed and threw her arms around Stephanie. She then dug her chess set out of her neatly packed trunk. I leaned on Andy’s shoulder and yawned.
He chuckled. “You tired, Cindy?” he asked.
I punched his shoulder. “Don’t call me Cindy.” I mumbled. I was too tired to be angry. My break down the night before had left me drained and exhausted. It didn’t help that Gaby had kept me up all night with her never ending frustrated yells. She was going through chocolate withdrawal. I think this is the longest she’s ever gone without chocolate.
Twenty minutes later Marissa’s boyfriend, Markus came and kidnapped her. Soon after that Andy’s girl of the month came stumbling into our compartment giggling madly. I rolled my eyes at him as she dragged him away. He smirked and waved at me. Gaby bit her lip in concentration. Her hand hovered uncertainly over one of her chess pieces.
“Will you just move one already,” Stephanie sighed in annoyance.
Gaby ignored her and furrowed her eyebrows. She studied the board for another minute before finally moving her piece.
“Finally,” Stephanie muttered.
Suddenly the compartment door flew open making both Stephanie and Gaby jump. The chess board was knocked to the floor and the pieces scattered. Gaby looked like she was about to cry but quickly got over it and stuck a sugar quill in her mouth. Sirius’s loud laugh sounded throughout the compartment at Gaby’s reaction.
It was then that Gaby noticed Remus standing behind Sirius. Her eyes lit up and she jumped to her feet. She knocked Sirius aside and grabbed Remus’s hand. She dragged him inside and pushed him into a seat.
“I want a rematch.” She demanded as she picked up the fallen chess pieces.
Sirius chuckled softly at Gaby and then sat down next to me. Stephanie rolled her eyes and pulled out a book.
“Gaby and Remus would make a cute couple,” Sirius whispered in my ear.
I snorted. “Would he be able to keep up with her?”
“He stole her chocolate. I don’t think she’ll ever forgive him.” I smirked and glanced over at them. They were now absorbed in the game and oblivious to the world around them.
“He likes her,” he stated as he stared at them.
“How can you tell?” I asked curiously. I saw nothing but two people playing chess for chocolate.
“He’s the best chess player I’ve ever met. He has never lost a game but he’s going to purposely lose to Gaby. He’s going to let her win her chocolate back because he wants her to like him.”
“No he won’t.” I argued. “Why would he do that?”
Sirius shrugged. “Some people call it love. I call it stupidity.” I laughed. I couldn’t agree more. “But just watch. You’ll see, he’ll let her win.”
I nodded silently. I didn’t believe him. Remus loves chocolate. He wouldn’t give up his entire stash so Gaby would like him. I stared out the window. It was snowing. I smiled absentmindedly. I longed to be out running in the soft gently falling snow. As soon as I got home I would be outside and that was where I would stay for the rest of the day.
“What are you thinking about?” Sirius whispered in my ear.
“The snow.” I whispered back. “There’s a park near my house.” I continued without thinking. “I like to go there when it snows. The trees look so beautiful. I walk around there for hours just thinking.”
“What do you think about?” he asked.
I suddenly realized what I had said. For a second I had let him inside. My walls had fallen; I quickly rebuilt them. I shrugged. “Everything.”
Sirius sighed. I was a closed person and he knew that. He was lucky to get anything personal out of me. I had slipped but it wouldn’t happen again. A few minutes later Gaby squealed in triumph.
“I win,” she yelled. She jumped out of her seat in her excitement. Her curls bounced wildly around her small round face.
I glanced over at Sirius. He smirked down at me. I shook my head in amazement. Remus really did like her. I watched him hand over his huge pile of chocolate with a smile. He didn’t even look upset. Gaby bent down and kissed him on the cheek before sticking a chocolate frog in her mouth. Remus’s eyes glazed over and a goofy grin spread across his face. Gaby didn’t even notice; she was too happy that she had her chocolate back. Gaby’s eyes twinkled happily. I smiled. She could be annoying sometimes but I liked it when she was happy.
I went back to staring at the window without saying a word. Gaby babbled happily to Remus. He hung onto her every word like her senseless rambles were the most interesting thing in the world. I said nothing for the rest of the train ride. With every second that past my good mood slipped away a little more and dread took its place. My stomach clenched nervously. Time seemed to speed up just when I wanted it to slow down. Sirius seemed to sense my growing unease and took my hand in his. He gave it a gentle squeeze. I would never admit it but it made me feel better to have him there. It made me think just for a moment that everything would be alright but I quickly shook that ridiculous thought from my head.
I felt the train slowing and I felt sick. This was the part I hated most; the reunion. I hated seeing all the happy families being reunited after months of separation. I hated the tension between my parents and me. I hated my sister’s constant hints at how worthless I am and my parents never- ending talk of fairytales.
The train jerked to a stop. Gaby immediately jumped up. Remus grabbed her trunk for her and they walked away. I didn’t move and neither did Sirius. He held my hand and rubbed small circles with his thumb. It reminded me of my circles I drew in the lake and it calmed my nerves slightly. I needed my circles. I took a deep breath before standing up. Sirius grabbed my trunk for me before I could. I tried to smile at him but it came out as more of a grimace. He pulled me into a hug and somehow that made me feel better.
“It can’t be that bad.” He whispered.
I laughed humorlessly. “It is,” I nodded into his chest. He wouldn’t understand. I pulled back slowly. “Can you do something for me?” I asked. He nodded. His eyes were full of concern. “My family doesn’t know that I have a boyfriend and I’d like to keep it that way.”
His eyebrows pulled together in confusion but for once he kept his mouth shut and didn’t question it. He nodded and bit back his questions. For that I was grateful. I don’t think I could have handled his questions. I took another deep breath before turning on my heel. We were some of the last people off the train and I immediately spotted my parents and my sister. Sarah, of course, looked perfect. She smoothed her already perfectly straight dark brown hair with her hand. I could see a diamond ring glittering on her finger. Anger bubbled up inside of me, she was just so perfect.
Stephanie ran over to me and said a quick goodbye before running off with her brother. Marissa was already long gone with her boyfriend’s family who she was spending half of the holidays with. Gaby also gave me a quick hug before skipping off with her family. I saw James waving wildly at Sirius with who I assumed were his parents. Sirius held up a finger to tell him to hold on. I dropped Sirius’s hand and started walking away. I waved halfheartedly at Andy when he waved at me. My mom suddenly looked my way and caught my eye. Her dark brown eyes lit up. She raced over to my side and tackled me with a hug. I kept my arms at my sides and didn’t hug her back.
“Oh, sweetie,” she gushed not even noticing my lack of enthusiasm. “I’ve missed you so much. How has your year been so far? Are you keeping up with your school work? Are you getting enough sleep?” she pulled me into another bone crushing hug. “I’ve missed you,”
After she finally released me my dad gave me a quick gentle hug and kissed the top of my head. “It’s good to have you home, baby.” He told me quietly with a warm smile. I faked a smile back at him.
Sarah suddenly danced forward and gave me yet another hug. “We have so much to talk about. We have to go shopping. I already picked out your dress for the wedding but we need to get shoes and jewelry. Oh, we have so much to do.” She clapped her hands happily. “You are going to look beautiful in your dress. All the guys will want to dance at you.” I didn’t answer her I just nodded numbly.
I listened quietly without really hearing their words. I had been with them for a few minutes and already I felt like I was drowning. Their happiness was overwhelming.
“Cinderella,” Sirius’s voice cut through theirs. Sarah stopped talking and stared at Sirius in surprise. “Can I talk to you?” he asked.
I looked up at him and nodded. He pulled me aside. My parents watched curiously. Sarah analyzed every move we made.
“Every year the potters have a party for New Years. I want you to come,” I stared at him. A party? Dresses? Dancing? Shoes of death? Not a good mix. He chuckled at my disgusted expression. “I thought you might want a break from your family. You could stay for the rest of the holidays if you’d like.”
His words slowly registered in my numb mind and I smiled wildly. I screamed and jumped on him. He laughed and picked me up. “I take that as a yes?’ he asked.
I nodded wildly. “You are amazing.”
“I know,” I smacked his shoulder playfully. For the first time all day I felt truly happy. Sirius was going to rescue me from my prison. “But you have to do something for me.”
I raised my eyebrows suspiciously. He smirked mischievously. “You have to introduce me to your parents as your boyfriend.” I pouted. There goes my happy moment. “I want to know what they’re like.”
I thought for a moment before nodding glumly. If it meant leaving my family early it was worth it. I jumped down to the ground and grabbed Sirius’s hand. My happy mood quickly returned. I was going to escape.
“This is Sirius.” I said to my family. Sirius nudged my shoulder. I glared at him. “My boyfriend.” I added unhappily.
Sarah squealed and attacked me in a hug. I was getting was too many hugs today. She then hugged a surprised Sirius.
“Oh, Cinderella,” my mother said giving me a hug. “It’s very nice to meet you,” she shook Sirius’s hand. “You can call me Patricia, dear.”
“It’s nice to meet you too,” Sirius answered politely. He then shook hands with my father.
“You be good to my princess,” he told Sirius. “Don’t hurt her,”
“I won’t, sir.” Sirius answered staring at me. I rolled my eyes at him. Half the time I didn’t even remember we were dating. It felt so weird calling him my boyfriend.
“I should get going,” Sirius said. “They’re waiting for me,” he pointed over his shoulder at the potters. I raised my eyebrows at him. He wasn’t going home with his family? He shook his head slightly to tell me he would explain later. I nodded.
“See you later, Cinderella,” he smirked and kissed my cheek. I almost smacked him. He was doing that to make me miserable but I couldn’t help smiling at him. He was taking me away from this place.
I ignored my family’s questions. For the moment I was happy and nothing could bring me down, not even my family.
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