Chapter 11 : Happy New Year
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“Cinderella, hold still!”
“You’re never going to be ready in time if you don’t stop wiggling.”
“Has anyone seen my chocolate?”
Everything suddenly stopped and silence filled the room. Gaby stared at us innocently. A smile tugged at the corners of my lips. All that girl thinks about is chocolate.
“Has anyone seen my chocolate?” she asked again. She bit her lip anxiously. I wonder how long it’s been since she had chocolate.
“It was in your room,” Marissa answered amused.
Gaby launched herself off of Stephanie’s bed and ran out the door faster than I thought possible. We stared after her in silence.
“Up or down?” Stephanie asked Marissa as though nothing had happened. She picked up a brush and started running it through my hair. I winced when it caught on a knot.
Marissa considered it for a moment before replying. “Down.”
Stephanie grabbed her wand and started tapping my head with it while muttering spells under her breath. Marissa rummaged through her makeup bag and every few moments flicked her gaze from me back to the makeup bag. She has all sorts of torture devices in that bag, I know she does. She’s trying to decide which one to torture me with first.
“Close your eyes,” Marissa demanded. I glared at her before reluctantly doing as I was told.
I squirmed impatiently. Stephanie tugged very hard on my hair making me jump and yelp in pain.
“Cinderella!” Marissa and Stephanie yelled in unison.
“What?” I yelled back. “How do you expect me to hold still when you’re pulling my hair?” I crossed my arms stubbornly over my chest. Stephanie shook her head at me before continuing to torture me mercilessly.
“I hate both of you,” I grumbled.
They laughed at me. I was trying to be mean and intimidating and they were laughing at me! Why can’t anything in my life ever go as I plan it to? I hate my life and my so called friends. True friends wouldn’t torture me like this or leave me to be tortured. I have no friends. I’m all alone in this big world. It’s all their fault; I hate them with a fiery passion.
~ ~ ~
Two hours, 47 minutes, and 13 seconds later I was finally declared presentable and ready for the party.
Gaby twirled one of her perfect spiral curls that had fallen out of her elegant ponytail around her finger absentmindedly and chewed happily on a chocolate frog.
Stephanie nodded in approval at me and smiled. She turned toward the door to leave before abruptly halting and spinning around to face me with her scary crazed look in her eyes.
I took a cautious step backwards. I knew that look. I was about to get yelled at very loudly by a very angry Stephanie who will most likely end up inflicting some kind of serious physical harm on me.
“Where are your shoes,” I could almost see the smoke billowing out of her ears. That mental picture almost made me burst out laughing but I held my tongue knowing that now was not the time to be laughing. It would only make Stephanie angrier.
I glanced quickly down at my bare feet before looking back up into Stephanie’s fire filled eyes.
“I’m not wearing any,” I stated simply with a shrug.
Silence. She’s going to explode. I take another step back and brace myself for the explosion.
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU’RE NOT WEARING ANY? YOU CAN’T NOT WEAR SHOES TO A PARTY. ARE YOU INSANE? YOU ARE WEARING SHOES WETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT.” I opened my mouth to argue. “DON’T YOU DARE EVEN THINK ABOUT IT.” She knew me so well.
I took one look at her expression and closed my mouth. There is no way I am going to wear the shoes of death, never again. She can’t make me. I’d rather die than wear those evil shoes. They hate me and are trying to kill me. I did the only think I could think of, I ran for the nearest exit. I was doing that a lot lately, running. I think it might be becoming a habit.
I hear Stephanie screeching after me but she didn’t chase me, it would have messed up her hair that she spent a half an hour perfecting. I heard her yelling at me for messing up my once perfect hair but I didn’t stop. I refuse to wear those shoes.
Doors and staircases whirled past me but I didn’t slow down. I had no idea where I was going but I didn’t care. I finally stopped when I couldn’t hear Stephanie’s angry hollering anymore. I leaned against the wall and closed my eyes. I inhaled quick sharp breaths and placed my hand over my heart to feel my heart thumping at twice its normal pace. Slowly my heart rate slowed and my breathing returned to normal.
“You weren’t trying to run away from the party were you?” I jumped and yelped loudly in surprise.
James laughed at me and I glared at him.
“No, I wasn’t trying to run away from the party, although I was considering it.” I brushed my bangs out of my eyes in annoyance. “I was running away from Stephanie. She was trying to make me wear the shoes of death.”
He raised one eyebrow at me (how does he do that?) and smirked at me in a way that was so similar to Sirius’s it was scary.
“Shoes of death?” he repeated slowly. He raised his eyebrow at me.
I punched his shoulder. “I’m not crazy!” I yelled at him. “The shoes of death are trying to kill me, I swear!” I waved my arms around wildly.
He nodded slowly and smirked again. “Right,”
I groaned in frustration. James laughed and threw his arm around my shoulders. “We have a party to go to,” he stated and started dragging me away.
I groaned again. “Do I have to go?” I whined.
“Yes,” he answered and smiled.
“How did you get Lily to agree to come?” I asked curiously. I had been wondering since Sirius told me she was coming. She hated James, why would she agree to come to his house for a party?
James laughed and ruffled my hair like Sirius does. If Stephanie was there she would have smacked him.
“It’s complicated,” he said with a bright smile. “It involves firewhiskey, an intense game of truth or dare, and some more firewhiskey.”
I stared at him. “Do I really want to know?” I asked.
He shook his head, “probably not,” he admitted. “But my Lilyflower is here, at my house. It doesn’t matter how she got here. She will fall for me one day, I know she will. We’ll get married and have little black-haired, green-eyed babies and-”
“I get it,” I cut him off and smiled.
“I love her,” he told me with a goofy smile. His eyes were glazed over as though he was in an entirely different world.
I snorted loudly. He snapped out of his daydream and looked down at me.
“What?” he asked.
“Love is a myth,” I answered. “It doesn’t exist and only fools chase after such a silly fantasy. Love is an illusion and nothing more.”
He was silent for a moment before he smiled kindly at me. “You sound just like Padfoot.” He stared into my eyes with a knowing look that gave me a very uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. “Did you know that this is the longest relationship he’s ever been in?” he asked me. That knowing look never left his face.
I pushed it to the back of my mind and tried to ignore it. “Yeah, I did. I’m surprised it’s lasted this long. I thought it would be over in less than a week.” I admitted.
“Why did you agree to go out with him if you didn’t think it would last and you don’t believe in love?” he asked.
I said nothing and for once thought about what I was going to say. “I don’t know,” I shrugged my shoulders. “But I’m glad I did. He has become one of my best friends and that never would have happened if I hadn’t agreed to go out with him. He’s so different from what I thought he was. It’s kind of weird to think of him as my boyfriend, I think of him more as a friend. I can’t see this relationship lasting forever but I can see our friendship lasting for the rest of my life.”
He didn’t say anything. “Just don’t hurt him, okay. He’s been through a lot and I don’t want to see him get hurt again. He cares a lot about you.” He smiled at me. “He would do anything for you. If you do fall for him,” He slapped his hand over my mouth to stop my protests. “If you do fall for him promise me you won’t run away.” He stopped us and turned me so I was standing directly in front of him. He put his hands on my shoulders. He stared at me with a seriousness I didn’t think he was capable of. “If you fall in love with him, please, do not turn your back on him just because you’re scared. He’ll be just as scared as you are. Promise me,” he shook my shoulders lightly.
“I promise,” I whispered.
He stared at me in silence for a minute before nodding and continuing to walk. He once again wrapped his arm around my shoulder.
“So, you ready for a party?” he asked with a smirk.
I groaned and smacked his shoulder playfully. We stood at the top of a huge, fancy staircase that you only see in princess movies. There were a few people standing at the bottom of the staircase dressed very elegantly and looking more graceful than I’ll ever be in my life. I could hear a soft hum of voices and the occasional high pitched laugh floating up to my ears from a nearby room.
I gulped loudly. I really don’t like parties. “I can’t do this.” I shook my head and started to back up.
“Oh no you don’t.” James pulled me back up gently but forcefully and in a way that suggested he wasn’t going to let me get away anytime soon.
I narrowed my eyes at him. “Traitor.”
He laughed. “No, I’m keeping my promise to Padfoot. I told him I wasn’t going to let you escape.”
I muttered to myself some of the possible ways I could murder Sirius the next time I saw him. James laughed at me.
“I’m glad I’m not your enemy, I’d hate to be on the receiving end of one of those ideas. You can be very scary sometimes.”
I grinned. “Good. Being scary is so much fun.”
He laughed at me and led me down the stairs.
“You look very beautiful, by the way,” he told me once we reached the bottom.
I scowled at him. “I have the worst friends in the world. You have no idea the torture I went through to look like this. I could care less what I look like,” I flicked my bangs out of my eyes.
“That’s one of the reasons that Padfoot likes you so much.” I glanced up at him to see him smiling slightly with that annoying knowing look back in his eye. “He likes that you don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. You likes that you’re not fake and don’t try to change yourself so someone will like you.” He chuckled softly. “Most of the girls he has gone out with try too hard to get Sirius to like them and he ends up hating them.”
I said nothing; I didn’t know how to respond.
“You’re good for him. You two might not see it right now but you really are perfect for each other.”
I could feel a scowl forming at the corners of my mouth but held it back after seeing the sincere look on James’s face. Something in his eyes made me bite back my sarcastic remark. My eyebrows furrowed together in confusion. Usually I wouldn’t hesitate in correcting him but that unidentifiable look stopped me in my tracks. We stared seriously at each other in silence.
“Can I have my girlfriend back?” we both jumped at the interruption. Sirius grinned at us.
James laughed and lifted his arm off of my shoulder. “I don’t know,” he pretended to be seriously considering it. “I guess so,” he gave me a light push toward Sirius. If I had been wearing the shoes of death I would have fallen flat on my face. “I need to go find my Lilyflower anyway.” He gave me a dramatic bow and kissed my hand. “Until next time my fair lady.”
I laughed and smacked his head lightly. “There goes your princess,” I pointed behind him to where Lily was talking animatedly to Gaby.
Her long red hair was curled and pinned up simply. She was wearing one of the green dresses she made me try on that was the exact same shade of emerald green as her eyes.
Gaby was wearing a light blue dress that had way too many sparkles on it and a light blue ribbon held up her elegant ponytail. A few curls hung around her face after having fallen out of her ponytail. She was wearing blue shoes of death too. It amazed me how she didn’t kill herself in those dangerous looking things.
“They’ll be together by the end of the year.” Sirius whispered in my ear as we watched him nervously run his hand through his hair.
It was then that Sirius saw my bare feet. “No shoes of death?” he asked.
I smacked him. “No way. They tried to force me to wear them but I wouldn’t let them. Stupid evil shoes.”
Sirius smiled. “You look beautiful,”
I growled. “Why does everyone keep saying that?”
He grinned at me. “Maybe because it’s true. Most girls would take that as a compliment.”
“I’m not most girls.” I answered stubbornly.
He let out a bark like laugh. “I’ve noticed.” He grabbed my hand and started leading me toward the ballroom. “Come on, I want you to meet my parents, well James’s parents.”
“You never explained that to me.”
“It’s complicated,” that didn’t answer my question. A dark look crossed his face. It was a drastic change from his usual cheerful expressions. “I don’t get along with my family very much.”
I nodded and didn’t press him for answers. I knew better than most people what it was like to have family issues. He didn’t have to tell me if he didn’t want to.
He led me over to a kind looking couple that I assumed were James’s parents. James looks exactly like his father except he had his mother’s hazel eyes.
“This is Cinderella,” he told them as he gestured toward me. “Cinderella, this is my mom and dad.”
James’ mom rushed forward and gave me a gentle hug. “We’ve heard so much about you.” She smiled kindly at me.
I smiled at her awkwardly. Mr. Potter put his arm around his wife’s waist and pulled her close to him. “It’s very nice to meet you,” he said as he shook my hand.
“It’s nice to meet you too.” I answered.
“Would you like to dance?” Sirius asked me. He seemed to notice my obvious discomfort.
I nodded and smiled gratefully at him. “Sure,”
He grabbed my hand and pulled me out to the middle of the room where almost everyone at the party was dancing. I noticed Lily dancing with James and smiled. James was grinning goofily as though this was the greatest day of his life and Lily looked like she was about to slap him. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed Gaby dancing with Remus. She was babbling on about something and he nodded as he hung on to her every word.
“I’m an awful dancer,” I warned Sirius as he put one hand on my waist and grabbed my hand with his free hand.
He grinned. “Don’t worry, I’m a wonderful dancer. I’ll teach you.”
And he was right, he was an amazing dancer. He led me gracefully around in dizzying circles.
“Where did you learn to dance so well?” I asked him.
“My parents forced me to take lessons when I was little.”
I nodded but said nothing else. I could tell he really didn’t like talking about his family so I wasn’t going to force him too.
I was really glad I wasn’t wearing the shoes of death. If I had been I’m sure Sirius wouldn’t still be dancing with me after all the times I’ve stepped on his feet. I really was an awful dancer. I’m the clumsiest person to ever walk the earth. I must have stumbled at least a dozen times and the only thing that kept me from falling was Sirius catching me before I completely lost my balance.
“This isn’t so bad, is it?” he asked.
I rolled my eyes. “I guess not. I just wish I had a less arrogant, self-centered partner.” I smirked.
“I don’t know, I think he’s rather handsome,” he smirked right back at me.
“Cinderella!” I rolled my eyes and sighed. I halted our dancing and shook my bangs out of my eyes. “What did you do to your hair?” Stephanie screeched. She put her hands on her hips and tried to look angry but she couldn’t stop the smile that crept up her lips. She shook her head. “I spent a half an hour making your hair look perfect and you go and mess it up again.”
“It’s your fault,” I informed her. “If you hadn’t tried to make me wear the shoes of death I wouldn’t have run away and my hair wouldn’t have gotten messed up.” I stuck my tongue out at her and smiled smugly.
She smiled and hugged me. “You look beautiful despite your hair being a wreck.”
I scowled. “Will you people stop saying that?” I mumbled.
She chuckled and pulled back. “Now, I have to go find myself a cute boy to kiss at midnight. There’s only twenty minutes left.” She strutted away quickly and scanned the crowd eagerly.
“There’s only twenty minutes left of this year?” I asked.
Sirius glanced at the watch on his wrist and nodded.
“Tonight went fast,” I muttered to myself.
“Time flies when you’re having fun,” Sirius smirked and pulled playfully on one of my curls.
“Who said I was having fun? I said nothing about having fun. I hate parties. There are way too many people. I hate people. They can be so annoying. And dresses, I hate dresses. They are the most uncomfortable things in the world, right behind the shoes of death. I’d rather be sleeping right now. There are so many things I would rather be doing than be at this party. I could be-”
Sirius slapped his hand over my mouth to shut me up. “I get your point.”
I licked his hand and he jerked it away from me.
“That’s disgusting Cinderella,” he wiped his hand off on my shoulder. I squealed in a very girly manner and smacked his hand away.
Lily then came storming past us with a very dangerous look on her face. Her hands were balled up in fists at her side. James stumbled after her as he attempted to stammer an apology for whatever it was that he did wrong. I rolled my eyes. James was always finding some way to make Lily mad.
Sirius grabbed my hand and gently pulled me out of the crowd of people dancing. He pulled me out of some big fancy doors and into a dimly lit garden. I could hear a fountain somewhere nearby. I hadn’t realized until the cool air blew against my skin how hot and suffocated I had felt. I took a deep breath and smiled. I held on tight to Sirius’s hand and smiled up at him.
“How come you always know exactly what I need you to do or what to say to make me feel better?” I asked him.
He shrugged and smiled. “I know you.”
“You know me better than most people ever will,” I admitted. “Sometimes I think you can read my mind.”
He laughed his bark like laugh that seemed to echo in the still air. The sounds of the party quickly faded into background noise that I could barely hear.
“You bite your lip when you’re nervous,” he told me. “You won’t look people in the eyes when you’re uncomfortable or you look at your feet. You push your bangs out of your eyes when you are frustrated or annoyed. And you get really quiet when you are upset. You also smile this really fake smile when you are upset. When I see that smile I know something’s wrong.”
I furrowed my eyebrows. I didn’t even know I did most of that stuff. He must have really been paying attention to me. I smiled broadly. There was something comforting in the fact that he knew what I was thinking just by my actions that I didn’t even realize I was doing.
“Did you see Gaby and Remus dancing?” he asked me suddenly.
I laughed and nodded.
“I bet they’ll get together tonight,” he said smiling. “They’ll kiss at midnight and live happily ever after,” I could tell by his voice that he was joking about the happily ever after part.
I smacked his shoulder. “Happily ever after doesn’t exist.”
“You are a very violent person, you know that?” he rubbed the spot on his shoulder where I had hit him.
I grinned. “I know.” I replied cheerfully.
Suddenly I could clearly hear the people at the party counting down the seconds until midnight. “Ten, nine, eight,” their voices echoed loudly through the night. Sirius suddenly came to a halt. I looked up at him curiously to see his eyebrows pulled together in deep thought. “seven, six, five,” he had a strange look in his eyes, one I couldn’t read. “four, three, two, one.”
And he kissed me. I could barely hear the screams and shouts coming from the party. I was so shocked I didn’t respond but I didn’t have to for the kiss was over as quickly as it had begun.
“Happy new year, Cinderella.”
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