Chapter 22 : All I Wanted
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A loud annoying buzzer went off next to me, I groaned. I had to get up. Yawning I hit the button to stop the alarm from blaring in my ear any longer and sat up. Sirius turned over and pulled his pillow over his head maturely. I snorted at that and went to take a shower. It was weird but after two days of living here I had learned my way around perfectly. So barefoot I slipped into the shower and used his shampoo. Half way through shampooing I started laughing because printed clearly on the bottle were the words baby shampoo. It took me only fifteen minutes to fully shower. Then I grabbed a towel from the counter and wrapped it around myself tightly before going back into the living area. Sirius was sitting up, shirtless, reading the daily prophet with a grin on his face.
“You know this area is pretty damn open.” I remarked as I rushed over to my box of clothes.
He shrugged. “I never had a problem.”
“Of course you didn’t. You don’t mind if someone walks in while you’re sleeping.” I told him snottily as I grabbed a long sleeve shirt and some jeans.
“You want to move into a bigger place?”
I shrugged half heartedly, “The only problem with this one is we have no privacy.”
“Want to move into yours?”
“I don’t know…I mean do you want to live there?”
He smiled. “It didn’t look too bad. This is more of a bachelor pad anyway.”
“With baby shampoo included,” I added under my breath wryly.
“You got a problem with my shampoo?”
I smirked, “I just forgot that I was married to a man boy.”
“Well I’m glad you’ve received the memo.” Sirius spread out his arms and stretched gradually. “What do you have to do today?”
“Go to work, fill out some paper work and probably go on mission. Then at like two lunch with Chloe. Before we go see the church and make sure everything’s set up. Then the rehearsal dinner.”
“Which I have to dress nice to?”
I nodded and pulled on a bra and tugged my shirt over my head. “And please try to ignore me brother. I don’t know if he’s just reincarnating five years of buried brotherly concern or what but he’ll get over it.”
“Why doesn’t like me?”
“To be honest with you I have no idea…” I let out a low breath and pulled on my underwear and dropped the towel.
“Are you hungry?”
I smiled at him. “Yeah.”
“Want some pancakes?”
“Sure,” I pulled on my pants and leaned over to kiss him. “Will you burn them again?"
He brought me down to the bed bluntly and tossed me on top of him. Before gently brushing my hair out of my face, “You still don’t know how to cook anything but eggs do you?”
“Oh sod off!” I scoffed heaving myself off him only to be grabbed into a kiss.
It was gentle at first. His lip were barely brushing against mine for moments until our lips parted and his tongue slipped into my mouth. His grip on me tightened. Sirius flipped me over without breaking the kiss, his hand moving up my shirt as the other caressed my cheek. I shivered at his touch and ran my hands along his soft well-built back. Then, without any warning, he stopped. Aburptly he went into the kitchen and started getting out cooking supplies.
“What was that?!”
He turned to look at me with a look of exhaustion. “If we kept that up you wouldn’t make it to work.”
I laughed as he faced the stove and began cooking. With a sigh I buttoned up the buttons on my shirt that had somehow come undone. With little effort I went up behind him, tilted my neck up so I could reach his shoulder and left a trail of small kisses.
I felt his torso shake as he snorted, “As much as I want to ...and believe me I do. I know how important your job is to you.”
“Oh well thank you for not tempting me.” I leaned against him but a dark owl in the window caught my eye.
Opening the window the owl dropped a letter in my hands with my name labed on it. I opened it and found a list of names. There must have been a hundred names of girls. I didn’t understand the importance until I read the bottom.
‘All girls who have slept with your husband in the past three years.’
I sat on his bed and starred over at him. He whistled innocently as he flipped my pancakes and I couldn’t bring myself to say anything. Instead I walked over to him, handed him the letter and said. “I’m not hungry anymore.”
I grabbed my purse and walked out of his apartment. I could have apparated out but I had too much anger going on to think logically. Of course he had girlfriends in the past three years. I didn’t expect him to be a monk like me... or did I? I mean I clearly wasn’t coming back so could I really be mad at him? Going outside I walked down the street and apparated out of an alley and into the ministry. No one gave me weird looks I was in a thick crowd of people and for once I blended in. It took a few minutes to fight through the crowd before I made it to the elevator. I was next to a bunch of people I knew but never worked with. None of them acknowledged me. It wasn’t untypical but it was a bit weird. Usually one of them would say something to me but instead they all just starred forward like I didn’t exist. I got off on the third floor and walked over to my cubical. Alice got to me first. Her hair was piled ontop of her head and her jeans were ripped. She looked ...off.
She grabbed my arms. “Some high ministry official is interrogating us to look for moles.”
“Lestrange escaped custody last night.”
My jaw tightened. “WHAT?!”
“Yeah! So she’s interrogating people she already fired three people for insubordination.”
“Yeah. I checked your appointment's in twenty minutes.”
I swore under my breath. “Great….Thanks for warning me Alice. I’ll go get my paperwork together.”
I rushed off to my desk to find it in disarray. Someone had gone through all my files. All of them. I went over to Lorenzo’s desk to find him reading the Daily Prophet calmly. None of his desk was disturbed. His legs were propped up on his desk his face was somber, his eyes had deep setted bags underneath them and he looked …miserable. When I cleared my throat I saw his eyes darken and his chin tense up. Clearly I was not wanted.
“What happened to my desk?”
He refused to answer.
Nothing. He even turned the page and pretended to read the next one. Which I would have believed if his eyes had moved even just an inch from the spot he was glaring at on the paper.
“Lor-enzo.” I repeated scathingly as I moved next to him.
He still didn’t give me the time of day.
“Look I don’t know what your problem is. I’ve been owling you since I got out of the hospital.” I told him hotly but he remained unfazed.
Lorenzo then had the nerve to turn to the next page.
“You’re being a baby. Just talk to me.”
“Lorenzo. Are you serious right now you are being so fuc-“ I started fiercly but I was interrupted.
“Hem-Hem.” A high pitched woman cleared her throat nosily causing me to turn and stare at her furiously. There stood a squat little woman with a bow in her hair and a bright pink cardigan on.
She chuckled at me condescendingly and I had the strangest urge to slap her across herself entitled face. “Ms. Paxton I’m assuming?”
“How can I help you?”
She chuckled again. “Well I’m here to fix some of the leaks in this department. So I was wondering if we could have a quick chat to see how we can improve your work activity.”
I looked at Lorenzo for support. I didn’t get it so I shrugged and put a big fake smile on my face. “Sure.”
“Please sit down Ms. Paxton.”
I shook my head feigning politeness. “No thank you. I’d rather stand.”
“Okay well then let’s just get down to it then.”
“First question,” She smiled creepily.
“How long have you been working here?”
I crossed my arms. “Three years.”
“Oh no," She laughed coldly to herself, "I was referring to your actual active duty not your internship.”
“Seven months,” I told her icily.
“And what is the relationship between you and Lorenzo DeMarko?”
My body tensed up involuntarily. “Excuse me?”
“What is the relationship between you and Lorenzo DeMarko?”
“He’s my partner.”
She pushed on. “Just your partner?”
“What are you implying?”
“I have some reports,” She pulled out a file with my name written on it. It was pretty thick. “That say otherwise.”
I narrowed my eyes at her. “Look I’ve never had anything but a professional relationship with him but I would like to know who my accuser is.”
“That’s classified. Now I see her you were at St. Mungos recently…right when Rudolphus Lestrange escaped actually…”
“I was the one who arrested him.” I breathed furiously, “How can you think I had something to do with this?”
She smiled up at me sweetly it made me sick. “I’m not accusing you of anything Ms. Paxton I’m merely inquiring on your whereabouts. Just how did a qualified Auror get captured by Death Eaters and manage to escape?”
“They kidnapped my roommate. I went after her and they caught me.”
“How did you get out? Did you make a deal with them?”
I seethed at her. “No. My husband came and rescued us.”
“Ah yes…A Mr.….Mr. Black. A man with no experience or knowledge of rescue work.”
“Do you have any concrete questions? I have some work I have to get back to. If you don’t believe my sincerity read my case file more clearly. I have more arrests than Thompson and Jefferies combined!”
She surveyed my reaction and wrote a small note in her notes. “I see.”
“I understand your purpose here but honestly I don’t see what my relationships have anything to do with my loyalty to the ministry.”
“Your husband is Sirius Black as in the heir to the Black family fortune. His cousin is Bellatrix Lestrange Rudolphus’s wife. See the connection?”
I was livid. “My husband,” I spat defensively, “Was disowned. He hasn’t seen any of his relatives in years and if he did he would turn them in. He didn’t want to be in that family. He couldn’t help who he’s related to.”
“It still leaves questions-”
“Well I’m answering them. I’m in no way affiliated with any Death Eater and neither is my husband.”
Umbridge screwed her face up. “Very well.”
“Any job related questions or concerns?”
“No,” She shuffled her papers, “I will meet with you later this we to continue this session.”
I headed to the door, “Looking forward to it!”
Storming back to my cubical I felt enraged at myself. Why did I just walk out on Sirius? I needed to stop running away from him. If that little meeting with Umbridge taught me anything it was that I needed to stop holding onto the bad things and just talk to him. I had expected him to wait for me. It was unreasonable. He was guy and I had kicked him to the curb. How could I expect him to just be celibate and miss me? My coping method was becoming detached and refusing to get close to anyone. His was sex. It was meaningless so how could I have gotten so furious? And what the hell was with Lorenzo? Did i do something to personally offend that asshole? And why did Umbridge think I was the leak? I was more loyal than half the Auror’s in this place!
Storming out of the interrogation room I planned my next actions. I would owl Sirius and apologize. I had to stop leaving when I didn’t like something. It wasn’t a good habit and I needed to stop. I would confront Lorenzo, shake him if necessary and demand to know what the hell his problem was. Tell Moody about Umbridge and see if he could back me so I wouldn’t have to do so much damage control. I can’t believe I yelled at her….I never lose my cool at work. Ever. I was losing my mind. Turning the corner I was fully ready to handle my life when I saw Sirius by my desk. A smile jumped onto my face as I realized he came to speak to me.He came after me... I moved faster until I saw Lorenzo stand up and say something to him. Lorenzo then shoved Sirius hard in the chest. I paused in horror watching helplessly as Lorenzo decked Sirius in the face. I ran to get in between them.
“WHAT IN-THE-HELL IS GOING ON HERE?!” I turned on Lorenzo’s smirking face quickly, “WHY DID YOU HIT HIM?!”
Lorenzo glowered at Sirius darkly. “He had it coming.”
“How did he have it coming?! HOW COULD HE POSSIBLY HAVE DONE SOMETHING TO YOU?!”
“You wouldn’t understand!”
I poked him hard in the chest. “Oh really I wouldn’t?! Then explain it to me.”
“He has you!”
My heart stopped in my chest. “What?”
Lorenzo looked at my left hand and walked away without another word, leaving a crestfallen me and a bruised Sirius alone in his wake. I didn’t know what to say. I moved towards Sirius in bewilderment.
“What was that about?”
He scowled. “Clearly you.”
“But …” I hesitated, “I don’t understand. He’s never ... why would he be mad at you?”
“I’ll explain it later,” He told me hastily rubbing his swollen eye. “This is what I get for coming to apologize for something."
“You don’t need to apologize. I do. I should have expected you to be a virgin after we broke up.” I told him taking out my wand and creating ice to put on his face. “You don’t deserve this.”
He sighed, “Actually he owed me one.”
“Look I’ll explain it later. I’ll see you at the rehersal dinner okay?”
“Yeah…Okay.” I kissed him gently and he went off moodily.
Alice came over mystified. “Well you know how to clear a room.”
“Yeah,” I glanced at Lorenzo’s empty desk. “I guess I do.”
“Come on,” She moved me into my cubical.
I sat down at my desk and leaned back in my chair uneasily. “I really am skilled at getting myself in the worst situations.”
“Here I’ll tell you what. I’ll help you with your paperwork if you talk.”
I starred at her in surprise. “Okay.”
“Start with Sirius. When the hell did you two have time to get married?”
I laughed and it broke any lingering tension in the air. “Three years ago.”
“Do you love him?”
“Yeah…” I sighed, “Sometimes I think it would have been easier if I didn’t.”
“That’s a pretty ring.” Her smiled warmly.
My smiled matched hers as I stared down on it. “Yeah,” I whispered fondly, “He couldn’t afford anything else. He didn’t have money back then….He spent all the money had on it.”
“Sirius,” I breathed happily starring down at my own hand. “It’s beautiful.”
“It better be.”
I gave him a confused look then frowned. “Please don’t tell me you spent all your money on me.”
“What if I did?”
“Sirius! I can’t accept this! It’s too much-“
He put a finger to my lips and he smiled. “I don’t care how much it costed. Money I can make. You deserve something as beautiful as you are.”
“Do you not like it?”
I looked horrified at the thought. “Of course I like it!”
“Then shut up and accept it.” Then before I could protest he drew me into another kiss.
“That’s sweet…you know.” Alice beamed pulling me out of my memory. “It sucks though.”
I furrowed my eyebrows at her. “Why?”
“Because.” She shrugged, “You could have been with him all this time. I mean when you came in I couldn’t even tell you two knew each other let alone…” Alice drifted off, “And we’re trained to see that kind of stuff.”
“We were trying to forget it.” I admitted sheepishly.
Alice put the finished papers on the counter and we continued talking. “How’d your interrogation go?”
“I’m probably going to be on probation. “ I revealed guiltily, “I didn’t mean to well…yell at her but I couldn’t help it she was being completely unprofessional.”
“Me too.” Alice scoffed, “She kept asking if I planned on being pregnant in the next year. I was like, ‘How the hell is that any of your business?’”
“Yeah I was about to deck her in the face.”
Alice snorted, “Not the wisest decision but I wouldn’t hold you back.”
I paused and considered something before speaking. “How’s Lily?”
Alice’s face darkened. “Not so good.”
“…I was thinking…” I blurted out loud. “I could …talk to her. I mean I know it’s weird between us and she hardly knows me but…I lost a baby too. I can’t understand how she feels exactly but I can relate.”
“You…” Alice stared at me oddly, “You lost a baby?”
“Three years ago.” I confessed.
She put down the papers and starred at me sympathetically. “I’m sorry…I had no idea.”
“It was a long time ago.”
“Well,” Alice began uncertainly, “If you feel up to talking to her. I’m sure it would make a difference.”
I shifted my weight. “If it wouldn’t be too awkward. I don’t want to upset her.”
“Honestly I don’t think James knows what to do anymore.”
“I’ll try and see if I can help.”
We spent the next three and half hours on small talk. It was strange. Alice was always very nice to me but this was so unusual. I was never was the girl that had a group of girlfriends. I always just got along better with guys they are more…manageable. But after a few minutes of conversation my perception was altering. I could talk to girls. I just needed to ease into it. We even laughed a few times. When my timer went off I felt sad. I didn’t want to leave my new friend but Alice understood.
“Thanks for helping me. “ I smiled at her sincerely.
She grinned back. “Anytime. Owl me about Lily later.”
“Are you off the rest of the day?”
“Yep, I have to help the bride to be.”
She raised her eyebrows. “Good luck.”
“Thanks.” I laughed clearing off my desk and making my way to the elevators.
Making my way into the elevator I rubbed my eyes. It was two o’clock and already I was ready for sleep.
Chloe sat in the back of the restaurant. She wore white long earrings with her chocolate hair pulled back off her face and an adorable blue and white pokadot dress. Her bright eyes searched across the massive seating chart that took up nearly half the table. I laughed at her and sat down in the chair opposite her.
“Are you okay?”
“If I can’t figure this out I’m going to throw my plate at the ugly mustached guy that keeps starring at me.” Chloe threatened grumpily.
I took the plate from her and scooted my chair closer to hers so I could examine the problem. “Okay Maid of Honor reporting for duty. What’s wrong?”
“I can’t figure out what to do. My families so big….and like ten of your relatives are even bothering to show up.”
“Believe me it’s better that way.” I glanced at the tables and shook my head at her. “You put my Uncle Henry at the back table with Aunt Mindy…”
Chloe looked at me confusedly. “Yeah your uncle who’s in the wheel chair and his sister whose-“
“The one that crippled him in the first place.” I finished in agony, “You realized you put him between her in the bar right?”
I pulled out my wand and put Aunt Mindy next to the bar and Uncle Henry three people down from her. “Mind if I fix a few other things?”
She raised her hands in agreement.
I waved my wand and fixed a few easy mistakes and struggled to remember her family history. “Wait Chloe. Doesn’t your mother hate your grandfather?”
“Well you put them right next to each other.” I laughed softly, “Here,” I put my wand back in my pocket. “How’s that?”
She let out a sigh of relief after taking in the changes. “Better. Thanks.”
“We have to check out the church after we’re done eating and …” She held her breath for exaggeration. “Talk to Mim.”
I wasn’t too pleased with Mim but I thought it was funny how Chloe felt about Mim. “She’s really not that bad.”
“She tried to manipulate Nik to see her so he could set her up with ‘nice girls’ while we were dating, tried to break us up by telling Nik that I seemed like a decent girl but not good enough for him and made Nik attack your husband for some ass-backwards reason.”
I cringed. “Yeah…I guess you’re right.”
“Speaking of which have you talked to Nik?”
“He sent me an apology letter but I’m sure you pushed him to write it.”
Chloe didn’t refute it. “You know you’re brother better than anybody. He’s stubborn as hell. I did inform him that you were bringing Sirius to the wedding and if he had any problems he could shove off.”
“Thanks Chloe.” I replied before sipping my water.
“Of course… Though I have yet to meet this guy. I feel like I’ve heard his name before though….Anyway what’s going on with you? You look frazzled.”
I massaged my temples. “Just …stuff.”
“Lorenzo getting into a fight with Sirius at the ministry…”
Her eyes widened with delight. “They fought over you?!”
“I’m not sure but Lorenzo said something weird…”
“That he loves you?”
I let out a sharp breath of outrage. “Why does everybody think that?”
“Because he does.” Chloe answered simply before turning to the waiter and ordering, “What do you want Jules?”
“Hamburger, fries and a big chocolate shake please.”
She let out a low whistle as the waiter left. “Stress eating much?”
“Yeah well I deserve it.”
“Alright well then let’s talk about a brighter subject…Have you spoken to your parent’s recently?”
I let out a grunt of laughter. “What?”
“Well I thought if I went into the subject from an odd angle…” She began with a knowing smile on her face.
“No. I have not.”
Chloe pursed her lips. “They sent RSVP’s.”
“I thought they refused.” I whined immaturely.
“Apparently your grandmother spoke with them.”
I gave her an questioning glance. “They weren’t on the seating chart.”
“You bet your ass they aren’t. I refuse to be in the same room as those people. They can come to the ceremony but I’ll be damned if they show up to the reception.”
I could have hugged her. “Thatta girl.”
“There's just so much shit...I almost wish we would just go to a minister and ask him to marry us."
"Except that you've already paid for everything."
"So?" Chloe complained softly.
I reached over and rubbed her back sympathetically. "Think about it this way. You get to show everyone how much you love my dumb ass brother and wear a pretty dress."
"Yeah but wasn't it easier the way you did it?"
"Honestly i always wanted a big wedding. The cake, the guests, the band. I wanted all of that."
Chloe looked shocked. "Really?"
"Well i figured if i was going to commit my whole life to somebody i might as well kiss my single life goodbye with a bang."
"Good point," She mused thoughtfully, "What's your song anyway?"
"We don't have one...What's yours?"
A smile crept onto her lips. "The Sweetest Thing By: U2."
"You really don't have a song?"
An embarrassed blush consumed my face and i shifted in my seat.
"You totally do."
"What is it? I bet it's really sappy."
I glowered and took my food from the waiter. "Don't worry about it."
"I'll figure it out." She assured me.
"Alright." I shot back grabbing the ketchup bottle. "But Parker doesn't know that and Sirius probably doesn't remember it."
Chloe shook her head, "I'm sure he does. Don't worry I’ll interrogate him during the rehearsal dinner tonight."
"Yeah," I mocked as she practically swallowed her club sandwich whole, "Because that's what I’m worried about."
An hour and a half later I was sitting in a well lit church. Chloe was talking to the minister about something but I wasn’t listening. I wasn’t needed. As I rested my back against the bench I began to drift off into my thoughts. Mim came over and took the seat next to me.
“Chloe may be French but she has no sense of style.” Mim breathed haughtily. “I mean really…cherry for the bridesmaid’s dresses?”
It took me a few seconds to work up the nerve to speak. When I did my voice was calm and rational. “Why did you lie to Nik?
"Juliette this is neither the time nor the place-“Mim started with her heavy accent but I cut her off with a glance.
“My father hit me.” I declared softly, my lips trembling. “My father nearly killed me. My father was the one to blame.”
Mim glanced away from me evasively. “That’s not the point.”
“That’s the entire point.” I stared at her unwaveringly. “Mim, look at me.”
“Juliette…don’t push it.”
“You can ignore me but I’m not going to stop talking. You knew what happened. I know you did. So why would you try and punish Sirius?”
She let out a scaling breath. “He doesn’t deserve you.”
“Bullshit.” I told her scornfully, “I don’t even know why you like Lorenzo so much.”
“Because he’s good for you and I know you love him.”
I scowled. “No I don’t. I used to have feelings for him when I met him but I realized that I’d rather be alone then be in a relationship someone that I just care for. I don’t think that’s something you’d understand.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“I saw how you were with Pepere. You loved him. You were devoted to him and you married him because you loved him. Can you say the same for your current marriage?” I felt my voice shake, “I lied to you because I knew you wouldn’t understand.”
Mim remained silent and I knew I was right. She was racist but she usually never enforced it. I always let her believe I was engaged to Regulus and that it all was just one big accident that just...happened. I wasn’t pretending anymore. The truth was out and I wasn’t going to go around anybody’s feelings anymore.
“I love you Mim but I haven’t spoken to my parent’s, family and friends since that night and I don’t intend to break that,” My gaze was fierce. “Right now you and Nik are the only exceptions…Don’t make me put you on that list.”
Then I forced myself to stand up and walk away.
When I got home it was seven and Sirius was nowhere to be found. We had the rehearsal dinner in a half hour and somehow I knew he wouldn’t be coming. Walking over to the closet I found my dress for tomorrow next to his suite. I pushed them out of the way and grabbed the knee length black dress I had planned to wear tonight and started to put it on.
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