Chapter 9 : Stars
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Three days, it had been three days and I was already loosing the little sanity I had left. I couldn’t get five minutes of peace and quiet. They never left me alone. Sarah was going crazy over the wedding preparations. The wedding wasn’t for another two months and she was already freaking out. Who would want to get married anyway? Marriage is overrated.
I ran my hand gently over the chain of one of the swings at my favorite park near my house. I had finally managed to escape through the bathroom window. I brushed the snow off the swing with the sleeve of my sweatshirt before sitting down on it. It was a beautiful winter day. The sun reflected off the snow making it glitter like diamonds. It was cold but not freezing and it was just barely snowing. I pulled my hair up into a messy ponytail. I could almost hear Stephanie’s lecture about the importance of perfect hair. I hadn’t realized how much I liked dressing myself until I had the chance to. For the first time in a month I wasn’t wearing any makeup and Marissa, Gaby, and Stephanie weren’t treating me like their Barbie doll. They are the best friends I could ever ask for but sometimes I just needed a break from them.
I slowly pushed the swing back and forth with the tips of my toes. I wasn’t wearing shoes; I wasn’t thinking about shoes when I climbed out the window. I drew pictures in the snow with my foot and smiled. It was quiet. Nobody was outside. That was one reason I loved winter so much; I could be outside and completely alone. When I was alone I didn’t have to pretend to be okay. I didn’t have to fake smiles or force laughs to prove that everything was fine. I didn’t feel like I was suffocating. I was free when I was alone but I also hated being alone at the same time. It made me feel lonely. Sometimes I felt like there was something missing in my life. Sometimes all I wanted was someone that understood what I went through.
“What is with you and not wearing shoes in the middle of winter?” I jumped at the sudden interruption of my thoughts.
I looked up and smiled despite myself. “What are you doing here?” I asked him. I hadn’t realized I had missed him so much. I couldn’t stop smiling up at him.
“I came to see you of course,” Sirius answered simply. He smiled and sat down on the swing beside me.
“How did you find me?” I never told him where I lived.
He smirked. “I have connections.” I rolled my eyes. “I knew you wouldn’t be at your house and you said you loved the park near your house.”
I shook my head in amazement. I really could care less how he found me, although it was a little creepy, I was just happy he was here. I needed to forget my family for awhile and I knew Sirius would help me do that.
“You never answered my question,” he stated after several minutes of silence.
“What question?” I asked confused.
He smirked at me. “The question about you and your lack of shoes in winter.”
I smirked right back at him and shrugged. “I like snow and most of the time when I’m going outside I just don’t stop to put shoes on.”
“And you feet never get cold,” he asked in disbelief.
I shook my head wildly. The tips of my ponytail whipped my face. “I’ve gone outside during the winter without shoes on for as long as I can remember.” I shrugged. “I guess I’m just use to it.”
I laughed. “I know. Life’s more fun when you’re insane.”
He nodded in agreement. The snow began to fall faster now. The sun was slowly sinking behind the trees and houses. I leaned my head against the chain of the swing and watched in slip away. I heard Sirius stand up and stand behind me. He put his hands above mine on the chain and rested his chin on the top of my head.
“You okay?” he asked. I could hear the concern in his voice and could picture what it would look like in his eyes.
I thought about lying and telling him that everything was alright but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
“No, but I’ll survive. I always do.”
He said nothing. He lifted his head off of mine and gave the swing a light push. I lifted my feet slightly so they wouldn’t drag on the ground and slow me down.
“You do realize,” he began. I could tell he was smirking. “That today is my last day as your slave,”
“It is not,” I shouted. It couldn’t’ have been a month already.
He laughed at my disbelief. “It is. We had the snowball fight exactly a month ago today.”
I pouted. “But who’s going to do my homework for me?” I whined.
I couldn’t see him but I knew he was smirking. “You’re going to have to do your own homework,”
I groaned. “But that’s no fun.”
I leaned my head back to look at him and flashed him my most charming smile.
“Oh, no. that smile isn’t going to work on me. There is no way I’m going to keep doing your homework.”
I continued smiling at him. He looked quickly away and then glanced back. He sighed in defeat.
“You are very manipulative, you know that.” He told me.
I shrugged and smiled in triumph. “I try,”
He smirked evilly. I knew that smirk. Before I had time to run Sirius tipped the swing. I screamed in a very girly way and landed face first in the snow.
I sat up quickly and wiped the snow from my eyes. I glared at Sirius who was laughing so hard he could barely stay standing. I held back my evil smirk and with my foot kicked one of his legs out from under him. His laughter suddenly stopped and his amused expression was replaced with a shocked one. There was several long seconds of silence before I erupted in laughter. It was his turn to glare at me. He shook the snow out of his hair like a dog and before I knew it there was a pile of snow being shoved in my face.
“That wasn’t very nice,” I pouted and crossed my arms.
“I never said I was nice.”
I smacked his shoulder playfully and lay back in the snow. Sirius crawled next to me and lay beside me. The snow had stopped falling. The sun was long gone and I could see the stars twinkling at me from the dark night sky.
“When I was little I would lay out here all night just to look at the stars. I would watch the sunset and the stars slowly come out of hiding. In the morning I watched the sun slowly block them out again. It was peaceful.” I smiled slightly. “I haven’t done that in years.”
“Why not?” he asked. I looked over to see him staring at me intently. He had a look of deep concentration as though he was trying to solve a complicated problem.
I shrugged and smiled bitterly. “Things changed.”
He didn’t push me to elaborate and I didn’t. We sat in silence watching the stars. The stars made me feel connected to the world because I knew somewhere someone was watching the same stars I was. That thought made me feel not so alone in this big world.
The days seemed to pass at an excruciatingly slow pace. I spent every morning with my crazy sister listening to her go on and on about how her wedding has to be perfect. I could barely stand to be in the same room as her for more than five minutes. But every night I met Sirius at the park. He was the only thing keeping me from going completely insane. He made me forget about everything for a little while. Two days before Christmas Gaby, Stephanie, and I went shopping for Christmas presents. Marissa had already finished her Christmas shopping. I bought Sarah a mirror and my parents a book about fairytales. I got Gaby enough chocolate to last a normal person a year, Stephanie an expensive shirt that she had once mentioned she wanted, and Marissa a new pair of shoes. It took me awhile to find something for Sirius but I finally decided to get him a book about muggle cars. He has a weird obsession with them.
On Christmas morning I was rudely woken up by the sound of an owl tapping on my window. The owl was carrying a note telling me to meet Sirius in the park in an hour. I quickly pulled on the first pair of pants and shirt that I could find and hastily pulled my hair up. I then climbed out my window so I wouldn’t have to deal with my parents’ questions about where I was going.
Ten minutes later I was sitting on my favorite swing waiting for Sirius to show up. I thought it was going to be awhile since I was almost an hour early but I was surprised when he tugged on my ponytail making me jump and sat down on the swing next to me.
“Merry Christmas,” I told him cheerfully. He smiled brightly back at me.
“You are really hard to shop for,” he stated.
I grinned. “Sirius Black goes shopping,” I gasped dramatically and put my hand over my mouth faking a shocked face.
“Very funny,” he shoved my swing lightly.
“So what did you get me?’ I asked impatiently.
He laughed at me and ruffled my hair. I scowled at him and tried to bite his hand.
“I’m not going to give you your present if you bite me,” he smirked his annoying smirk. He knew I wanted my present and he was using it against me.
I stuck my tongue out at him but didn’t try to bite him again. He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a neatly wrapped present. I snatched it out of his hands and ripped off the paper to reveal a box. Sirius laughed at me but I ignored him. I flung off the lid of the box then froze.
“Wow,” I breathed.
“Do you like it,” he asked nervously. Sirius was nervous? He was never nervous.
I grinned happily. “I love it.”
Lying inside the box was a snow globe. I carefully pulled it out of the box and shook it. White snow swirled around the inside and with a jolt I realized that inside the snow globe was the park we were at right now. On the swings were two little people.
“It shows exactly what’s happening in the park,” Sirius explained.
“That’s incredible.” It was amazing.
“I know how much you love this park. Now you can take it with you everywhere,” he smiled at my goofy smile.
I suddenly jumped up and tackled him in a hug. “It’s the bestest present I’ve ever gotten,” I whispered.
We spent the rest of the day together talking and walking in circles around the park. Every few minutes I would shake my snow globe and giggle happily like a little girl.
“Do I have to wear a dress?” I whined to Sirius after he mentioned the New Years party.
“Yes,” he laughed. “It’s a fancy party,”
I pouted and shook the snow globe. “But I don’t have any dresses.”
“Lily’s coming too,” I raised my eyebrows. Lily Evans was willing going to be in the same room as James. He shook his head at my expression. “It’s a long story. She has a million dresses so you can borrow one of hers.”
“Stupid dresses,” I muttered under my breath. “Pure evil those things are. They’re almost as bad as the shoes of death.”
“Talking to yourself is a sign of insanity,” Sirius commented. I punched his shoulder.
“I am not insane,”
“Keep telling yourself that,” he smirked at me.
I ignored him and shook my snow globe again. I watched the snow swirl and smiled. It was the best Christmas I had ever had.
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