Chapter 1 : Real World
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Chapter Image by reyes @ TDA
Welcome to West Lake. Remus could never resist rolling his eyes at the overly extravagant sign, five feet tall, built with stones imported from Italy. The glossy marble lettering always reflected the sun just right, so that when he drove past the sign it reflected into his eyes. An overly extravagant sign for an overly extravagant town. West Lake was one of those small towns in mid-California, where all of the houses resembled miniature palaces; they were huge with elegant entryways and etched flooring. These were the kinds of houses that had ten bedrooms and four sitting rooms to accommodate the three people living there. The kinds of houses with six car garages all holding imported sports cars and gas guzzling SUVs. The kinds of houses that had smaller houses behind them for guests, because Heaven forbid that a visitor should have to stay in the huge house with the owners.
Luckily for Remus, these houses were owned by people who wouldn't dare mow their own yards, plant their own flowers, clean their own pools or take down their own Christmas lights. You see, Remus Lupin did not live in West Lake. He worked for a small company which contracted to the families that did live there. This company offered yard services to the wealthy home owners who couldn't be bothered with trivial matters, such as remembering their gardener's name or that he understood English just fine and it wasn't necessary to speak slowly or extremely loudly to him.
Remus pulled into the proper driveway, the one designated for employees, of number 12 Grimmauld Place early one Sunday morning in the beginning of January. He let out a heavy sigh as he cut off the engine to his small and worn Ford Ranger and opened the door to step out. This was the stop he had been dreading all week. He had been reassigned to the Blacks' attendant three weeks ago, after their last attendant had moved back to Texas. The Blacks weren't a difficult family to please; they were no different than any other family he worked for. Remus just didn't like having to work for families who's children he went to school with.
Remus was smart. Actually, smart is an understatement. Remus was a genius, a certified, 162 IQ testing by the Mensa scale, genius. He lived in South Lake, the small, average town that lay a fifteen minute drive away from West Lake and its prestigious Milton Preparatory Academy.
Milton Prep was a top rated school. Graduating from there would almost guarantee that you got your choice of top colleges. The best education that mommy and daddy's money could buy. Most of the students that attended Milton Prep were the spoiled children of West Lake, who were there because of their wealthy parents or because they had their last name on a building at the school. However, a handful of students such as Remus, were attending on scholarships. The scholarship students were easy to spot. They were the students who didn't have the plastic covers on their books and were awake in every class. They were the students who made use of the library which bore the plaque reading: Dedicated by Orion and Walburga Black.
That brings us back to where we left Remus, stepping out of his truck in the side driveway of the Black house. Today would be fairly easy for him; he was only there to remove the Christmas lights. It would be quick going, for the Blacks weren't the most festive people in the neighborhood. He smirked as he thought about who was going to get stuck doing the house next door. The Potters went all out on Christmas; it would take hours just to get all of the blow up reindeer off of their roof.
He slammed the door on his truck and bent over to check his reflection in the side view mirror. He quickly ran his fingers down his shaggy brown hair, making it as neat as possible, and frowned at the dark circles beginning to grace the under side of his light blue eyes. He moved to the back of his truck and lifted the ladder from the bed. His muscles, clearly defined from many years of physical labor, flexed under his sweater as he carried the ladder to the front of the house and propped it up.
Within the hour, he had rid the upper layers of the house from their string lights and was starting on the yard decorations. He lifted a donkey from the manger scene, but quickly put it back down. Even with the chill in the air, Remus was sweating heavily. He pulled off his sweater and tossed it into his truck, deciding to finish working in only his thin, white tee-shirt. He lifted the donkey again and headed towards the storage shed in the side yard, unaware that he was being watched by a pair of grey eyes inside the Black home.
Grey eyes covered by thin, rectangle, black framed glasses, spiky black hair, two perfectly straight rows of dazzling white teeth all set with smooth, soft features and finished off by an irresistible crooked smile. This was Regulus Black; the boy who had spent forty-five minutes in front of his bathroom mirror just to sit on his knees facing the back of the couch to stare out of a small slit in the curtain at Remus. He was so focused on Remus, in fact, that he didn't hear his older brother enter the room and sneak up behind him.
“What are you looking at?” Sirius asked, hovering inches behind his brother.
Regulus nearly jumped out of his skin at the sound of his brother's voice. He turned, one hand resting over his racing heart, to face Sirius.
At first glance, one would mistake the two for twins. They were often asked if they were. Sirius was two years older, though, and tried everything he could to make his appearance different from his brother's. The two ways he did so were drastic. First of all, Sirius did not wear glasses. Luckily, he didn't need them, because he wouldn't have worn them if he did. The other way the boys differed was their hair. While Regulus opted for short spikes, Sirius chose to wear his jet back hair down to his chin. It was slightly curly and always gave the appearance that he had just left the shower. Sirius was also taller than his brother, but the height difference was so miniscule that it often went unnoticed.
“I'm not staring at anything,” Regulus lied as he climbed off the couch and headed towards the kitchen.
Sirius narrowed his eyes with skepticism and assumed the position that his brother had been in. He peered out of the window and made a loud scoffing sound as his eyes fell over Remus. He jumped off the couch and followed Regulus into the kitchen. “You little flamer. How long were you sitting there?” He reached out and grabbed the muffin that he knew Regulus was reaching for and took a huge bite with a smug smile on his face.
Regulus rolled his eyes and picked up a different muffin. He carefully peeled away the paper and sat down on a stool near the counter. “What does it matter? Oh, and don't call me that.”
Sirius smiled as he crammed the rest of the muffin into his mouth. He was about to speak, but decided against it as one of the housekeepers rushed into the kitchen. He watched as she collected some cleaning supplies and rushed back out. He was fairly certain that she was one of the housekeepers that spoke a different language, but he wasn't going to risk it. He and Regulus had gotten into far too much trouble over the years by making assumptions on which employees they could speak in front of. “It matters because it's funny. Oh, and if you weren't gay, I wouldn't call you a flamer. Flamer.” He stuck his tongue out at Regulus.
Regulus narrowed his eyes and picked a blueberry out of his muffin. “I'm not gay,” he said, defiantly.
Sirius gave a loud, barking laugh. “No, you aren't gay. I know lots of straight guys who fog up the windows staring at the gardener.” He shook his head and picked up another muffin.
“I'm meant that I'm not gay, I'm bi. Stop being such an asshole, Sirius.” Regulus stood up and tried to walk out of the kitchen, but Sirius jumped in front of him.
“You'd better watch it or I'll tell mom that you're eying the help.” Sirius raised his eyebrows and swayed his hips tauntingly.
Regulus rolled his eyes. “Like she'd even care. As long as I go to law school like she wants, she couldn't care less who I fuck when I'm there.” He pushed past Sirius and ran towards the staircase.
“Hey!” Sirius cried out as he stared out of the door. “You'd better watch your mouth. Don't fucking talk that way.”
Regulus stuck up his middle finger as he bolted up the stairs towards his room. Sirius flared his nostrils and charged after his brother, tackling him in the hallway just before he reached his room. He knocked him in the floor and was attempting to shove his head into the carpet, which would cause his hair primping brother to whine loudly, when their mother cleared her throat and snapped at them from down the hallway.
Sirius immediately jumped off of his brother and retreated to his room. Once inside, he picked up the remote and turned on his stereo, smiling as 'Basket Case' by Green Day blared out of the speakers. He dropped onto his bed and clambered to his knees to look out of the window. He pulled back the curtain and peered down at Remus as he carried away the last of the Nativity scene from the front yard. He shook his head and dropped onto his bed properly, sighing loudly.
Remus, who was unaware of the scuffle that was caused by his mere existence, stretched his back after loading the last piece of the Nativity scene into the Black's storage shed. He pulled the door closed as he dialed his supervisor on his cell. He reported that he was finished with the Black job and offered to pick up another task since he was finished early. After hanging up, he climbed back into his truck and headed to next assignment down the street.
It was a little after twelve when Remus pulled his truck onto Hog's Head Boulevard and watched his house come into view. He pulled into his driveway and hesitantly turned off the truck. He was halfway up the walkway to his house when he heard a voice.
“Remus! Hold up,” a girl called out and Remus turned around.
Standing across the street, next to her mailbox, was a short girl with long, straight, red hair reaching to her lower back. She had sharp features and deep green eyes that sparkled when she smiled. She was plump but still very attractive, it suited her frame. She waved excitedly to Remus and he walked over to her, stowing his keys in his pocket as he moved.
“Hey, Lily,” Remus said as he stepped up beside her.
Lily smiled brightly, revealing a mouthful of braces which actually seemed to make her more lovely. “Hey, you home for lunch?”
“Nope, all finished for the day.”
“Have you eaten yet? Mom just made some chicken if you wanna come in.” Lily motioned for him to follow her, not needing to wait for his answer.
Remus followed Lily into the house and greeted her mother with a smile. He nodded towards Lily's older sister who merely rolled her eyes at him and headed into the kitchen. He shook his head and turned back to Lily. “Where's your dad?” he asked, sitting down at the table.
“He got called in,” Lily answered with a shrug. “Hey, did you finish your Economics project for Binns' class?”
This would be a good time to mention that Lily also attends Milton Prep. She isn't on a scholarship, she merely has connections. Her mother was born and raised in West Lake and grew up in one of those overly extravagant homes. When she was sixteen, she got pregnant by the man she later married. Even though they have been happily married for eighteen years, her parents never approved of the relationship and cut off support. Thus, the reason she now lives in the run down section of South Lake. However, when it came time for the girls to enter high school, they happily handed over the tuition for their granddaughters to receive the best education possible.
Remus smiled and nodded. He thanked Mrs. Evans as she sat a plate in front of him.
Lily smirked as she started eating. “I bet I get a better grade,” she said, teasingly. She and Remus were in constant competition for the top two spots on the grade list. Lily knew that she didn't stand a chance, but she loved giving Remus hell about it.
Remus merely laughed quietly in response as he attended to his plate.
A Note From the Author: Hey guys, thank you for reading. I hope that you choose to follow this story. Leave me some thoughts. --Jenna
Now Beta'd by ANP – Thank you!