Chapter 24 : Atonement
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I’ve never been one to think I was meant to do anything. Growing up I was always told I was meant to be a pureblood housewife but apparently that wasn’t true. My O.W.L.S said I should be a healer…and considering my lack of people skills and current career path I can say with ease that I wasn’t meant to be a healer. My father came from a long line of males. I’m actually the first girl in five generations. Pattern wise I was meant to be a boy but I’m not. So I’d never believed in, ‘meant to be,’ because I never in my life came across something that was actually meant to be. I mean I think we all make our choices and get where we get. Most days of the year are unremarkable. They begin and they end with no lasting memory made in between. Most days have no impact on the course of a life. That was until the next day.
I was deep asleep in Sirius’s arms. I didn’t have to wake up for a few more hours. My dream was so…real. I was younger, much younger, definitely before I started Hogwarts…
I was moving through the crowd in a dress my mother had picked out for me. All the kids around me were laughing and playing around. I found Parker in the corner with five other people playing spin the bottle. I sat down and leaned against the wall next to Parker. I watched as the person who spun the bottle was blindfolded beforehand so they wouldn’t know who they were kissing. I laughed as Parker unknowingly kissed Alice Prewett. When he took off his blindfold I laughed harder as they both blushed. Parker gave me the bottle, wrapped the black material around my eyes and placed my hand on the bottle. I jerked the bottle and it began to turn. I prayed silently that I wouldn’t have to kiss Nott or someone awful like that. I heard giggling and I knew the bottle had stopped. I leaned forward unsurely. This wasn’t the way I wanted to get my first kiss but by the time I thought about walking away a pair of lips was already on mine. I froze and didn’t kiss back for a moment until I felt a whirl inside the pit of my stomach. His lips were soft and I wanted to keep kissing him but he pulled away just as I started to kiss back. Did all first kisses feel like this? I didn’t know how but I knew that it wasn’t. Nervously I took off my blindfold and searched for the boy who had kissed me. I looked around to see everyone laughing. I passed the bottle over and saw a dark haired boy walking away. He turned before I could see his face. I got up to follow him. I heard my friends calling me but I ignored them. I needed to know how he was. I went into the next room to find him but didn’t see anyone my age. All the adults were drinking it up and I felt lost.
Then my dream faded into when I was fifteen. I was at a party with a bunch of pureblood’s I didn’t know. It wasn’t a distinctive memory until I walked over to the stairs to find Sirius arguing loudly with his father. They didn’t see me, I backed away slightly to keep it that way and listened.
“I WON’T DO IT!” Sirius roared at his father defiantly.
His father was livid, “YOU WILL MARRY HER, YOU WILL STEP IN LINE AND YOU WILL DO AS I SAY!”
“No,” Sirius laughed bitterly to himself, “I won’t.”
I watched quietly as Mr. Black got in Sirius’s face and seethed in front of him. “You have been a failure long enough. I will not have you make a fool out of me any longer. You will marry this Evangeline girl-“
“Or what?” Sirius dared his eyes fiery with intensity. His voice lowered as it got darker. “I refuse to marry that money grubbing whore.”
“You will not defy me.”
“Watch me.” Sirius announced storming off.
I opened my eyes to Sirius holding me in a tight embrace. “Shhhh…”
I let out shallow breaths and felt tears filling up in my eyes. “What happened?”
“You were screaming.” He told me softly stroking my hair, “What did you dream about?”
I furrowed my eyebrows trying to remember. “The first part…I think…I was playing spin the bottle…Then the next dream …I can’t remember.”
“Oh.” He loosened his grip a bit and he smiled at me. “They always had spin the bottle at those parties. It was before we could bewitch them to land on who we wanted them to.”
“Yeah.” I wiped my eyes. “I don’t know why I would cry at that…”
He smirked at me cockily, “Maybe you wanted to protect me.”
I scoffed and laughed, “You can take care of yourself.”
“So who’d you kiss?”
“I don’t know…” I frowned, “Never saw the kids face…” I looked up at his face as the moon light accented his rugged face. “When did you have your first kiss?”
Sirius yawned. “Um…No idea…Couldn’t have been too long before I started Hogwarts…Guys don’t really track that as well as girls.”
“It’s a bigger deal to us.” I shrugged knowingly.
“Merlin…” He groaned checking his watch.
He showed me the time. 4:20 flashed back at me. I whimpered angrily. “I’m going to look like hell tomorrow.”
“Nothing a few pounds of makeup can’t fix.”
“Oh thanks.” I drawled sarcastically. “Your everlasting support is just dandy.”
Sirius snickered and laid down. “I’ll get you a bagel later.”
Tiredly I shifted over and adjusted myself to fit in the gap between his arm and his torso. I rested my head on his chest, tucked one hand under his back while I dropped the other carelessly to his abs. Sirius cradled me into him as he kissed the top of my head gently. His hand intertwined with mine and I saw his gold banded ring shining back at me. A smile spread across my face as I traced the ring with my thumb.
Sirius shifted awkwardly and had trouble looking me in the eye. It had been a week since he dropped the I love you bomb and I was beginning to suspect that he regretted saying it.
“Okay look,” I told him firmly as I sat next to him on the staircase. “If you are trying to take it back just tell me.”
Sirius furrowed his eyebrows at me. “Take what back?”
I moved away from him. “What you said.”
“What? That I love you?”
“You don’t have to say that just because you think that’s what you think I want to hear.” I told him sulkily.
He turned to me. “What are you talking about?”
I hated him for lying to me. “Just say it okay? You don’t really love me.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You’ve been cold for the past week. I know why.”
He wrapped his arm around me and forced me to face him. “Jules. I told you I love you and I meant it.”
“You’re not taking It back?”
“No,” He laughed softly. “Why would I take it back?”
“Then what’s been bothering you?”
He looked down. “…I saw my brother…he had a gauze over his left arm.”
“Yeah…” My face dropped, “I asked him about it. He wouldn’t tell me.”
“They didn’t ask you to join?”
I didn’t answer.
“Don’t worry I can handle it.”
He pulled me into his chest gently. “If anyone so much as says a word to threaten you into doing it I’ll break their knee caps.”
I smiled at the thought of him protecting me and held him tighter.
“Whatcha thinking about?”
I looked into his eyes. “You.”
“My rugged good looks?”
“More like your supersized ego.”
He grinned down at me cockily. “Oh that’s what you think is it?”
“What are you going to do about it?” I taunted him knowingly.
He moved so he was hovering over me. In the darkest I could barely make out his body but I reached up and kissed where I thought his lips might be and hit my target anyway. He lowered his body down upon mine as I threw my arms around his neck. His tongue thrusted into my mouth proficiently as one of his hands wrapped itself around the back of my neck and the other began unbuttoning my night shirt leisurely, like he had all the time in the world. Our snogging became ravenous as he pulled off my shirt and I tugged his boxers down. The next half hour was a blur. A very rapturous blissful blur. I rested on his rib cage once again this time my heart was poorly attempting to slow down.
“Well,” He mused loudly with a grin.
I laughed easily. “Oh aren’t you proud of yourself?”
“Oh and you aren’t?”
I rolled my eyes and yawned.
He groaned and traced my stomach with his free hand. “Don’t do that unless you want round four.”
“Why don’t you go back to sleep?”
“How can I with you stretching your sexy body right in front of me?”
I snorted, got up and started buttoning up my shirt. “Sirius…shut up.”
“What are you rebuttoning those for? It’s just more work for me later.”
I laughed and moved out of his grasp. “I have to take a shower!”
“It’s not seven yet!”
“Yeah but I doubt if I lay down I’ll get any sleep.” I told him accusingly.
Sirius raised his hands in defense. “It’s not my fault you look like that.”
I laughed and took a long relaxing shower. I was surprised he never joined me but then I figured he might have fallen asleep. It was still early in the morning. I grabbed a towel and wrapped it tightly around myself and dried myself off. Then I changed into jeans and Sirius’s old Quidditch jersey. By the time I was done I peeked out and saw that Sirius wasn’t in bed still. I turned the corner and found a blonde tiny girl throwing her arms around my husband. The look of disgust on his face was plainly obvious but the girl clearly wasn’t getting it. I walked over, pretending I didn’t see her and planted a wet hot kiss on him. Before smiling at him and putting my hand out.
“Hi, I’m Juliette, his wife. Nice to meet you.”
The girl looked shocked. “Sirius…you’re married?!”
“Yes,” I answered on his behalf with a big fake smile. “He is. Now honey I have to go into the office for a quick second but I’ll see you at the church. Okay? “
He peered down at me curiously but nodded and kissed me. “Yeah.”
I walked pass the girl. “Please bring my dress to the church honey.”
I apparated to the ministry to find it pleasantly vacant. I went to my cubical did all the new paper work and signed up to work with the interns tomorrow morning. Everything was all set. When I went out I saw someone under Lorenzo’s desk. After one look I could tell it was Lorenzo himself. He’d been an ass for the past week. To the point where I was ready to just stop trying even but seeing him there I knew better. He was still the guy who had been there for me for years without asking for anything in return. I put my pride aside and slumped next to him. His eyes opened and I could smell the booze from his breath.
“Hi.” I muttered.
He looked at me and for the first time I saw the longing there I don’t know how I missed it before. “Hi.”
“I’m sorry Lorenzo...You never made a move so I assumed everybody was just…saying it.”
Lorenzo shook his head. “It’s my own fault.”
“Are we going to be okay?”
He took a minute to answer, his face low and his eyes set. “I’ll be going undercover for awhile.”
My heart broke slightly but I didn’t let it show. “Oh.”
“This is for the best I think…”
What was I supposed to say? I’m sorry you’re in love with me but I’m in love with my husband. I did love Lorenzo and if I never met Sirius I would feel the same way he did about me. But I did meet Sirius and even If I tried to fight it I wouldn’t win. The problem was Lorenzo was one of my closest friends. One of the few people I could always count on when the chips were down to have my back. I would get another partner. With my luck he’d be some arrogant, sexist, bigoted, asshole with zero common sense. Plus…I really liked being partners with Lorenzo. I hated that because of …this mess we had to go our separate ways. He rose to his feet with ease proving that though he might have been drinking but he had spent the past few hours to sobering up. He gave me a hand up and gave me an even glance. I hugged his torso quickly taking him off guard. Despite the anger that my feelings didn’t match his he still found the kindness to hug me back.
“I guess this is goodbye…” He told me barely audibly.
I held him more closely hoping my grip would convince him to stay but I knew better. He couldn’t pull out of a mission once he signed on for it. But I was afraid for him. Undercover was no joke. Our job had risks but undercover was constantly lying and worrying about whether everyone believes your cover or not.
“I didn’t want this.”
He broke my grip and held my shoulders. “It’s for the best...”
“Be safe okay?”
He kissed my forehead tenderly. “I’ll do what I can Paxton,” and he was gone.
Chloe was traditional when it came to marriage. She slept at her mother’s house while Nik remained at their apartment. Under the protection of her three brothers Nik wouldn’t dare try and see his bride before the wedding. It was six forty and only Chloe’s mother was awake at this hour. I knocked on the door quietly and she opened the door, her robe and curlers still in her hair.
“Oh Juliette! Come in dear.”
I smiled at her and took a seat at the kitchen table. “How are you?”
“Oh as you’d expect I’d be.” She sighed and started flipping some eggs manually. “I heard what your present was to Chloe for the wedding. I think three hours of professional pampering is just what she needs to bring down her stress.”
“And gives me time to make sure everything’s in place.” I grinned half honestly.
She shook her head at me. “Don’t you pull out that modest against me dearie I know you did it just for her.”
I shrugged and didn’t deny it.
“Here sweetie.” She handed me a plate with a bunch of eggs on it. “Eat.”
“Thank you.” I took the plate and ate gratefully.
She sat across from me and poured some milk for me and herself. “What are you plans for today?”
I swallowed a chunk of food and squinted my eyes thoughtfully. “In a half hour I have to go check on the church, make sure everything is set. Then go check on the caterer, get in touch with the band and talk to the staff all before picking up your daughter and delivering her to get her hair and makeup done. While she’s doing that I have to talk to the minister, pick up Chloe’s wedding dress, orchestrate the rest of the the brides maids, talk to the groomsmen, check on Nik.” I let out a long sigh, “Then I have to get the bride, bring her to the church, help her into her dress, make sure she’s set, help the guests, make sure everyone is good, go get Chloe for her entrance.”
Chloe’s mother looked at me exhaustedly. “You’re going to have one hell of a long day my dear.”
“Yep…Oh and somewhere in there. I have to get dressed and eat lunch.”
She smiled at me fondly. “I couldn’t be happier that my daughter is marrying your brother because that means that not only do I get yet another son but I get another kind sister for Chloe.”
“I’m glad too.”
I finished my plate and checked my watch. “Damn…I have to go. Thank you-“
“Oh nonsense honey you’re family. I feed all my children.”
I hugged her warmly and left in a happier mood than I came in.
The church was already set up thankfully. By the door were boxes upon boxes pink roses, Chloe’s favorite color. The windows had pink tinted veils covering them and the wedding booklets were already laid out on the tables leading into where the ceremony would take place. Someone tapped my shoulder, I spun around to find Sirius with my dress carelessly over his shoulder. I crossed my arms and raised my eyebrows at him.
“You’re a bit early.”
He gritted his teeth. “Thanks for leaving me to deal with that.”
I grabbed my dress from him swiftly with a fierce stare. “She’s your fuck bunny, not mine.”
I continued to the brides dressing room and hung my dress up in one of the wardrobes when something clicked in my mind. “FUCK….” I swore loudly and started repeating the same word until Sirius grabbed me.
“What is wrong?”
“Mim.” I whined furiously. “I forgot someone has to get her….”
Sirius was torn for a moment before briefly closing his eyes. “I’ll do it.”
“And I don’t have time to go. Even if I put my own feelings aside-“
“Jules,” He held my face, “I’ll do it.”
I stared at Sirius liked I never had seen him before. His appearance hadn’t changed same strong facial features, sharp gaze and muscular build. But this couldn’t be Sirius. Sirius Orion Black would never talk to bigoted purebloods. The very essence of them insulted him and he was standing here with a straight face telling me he would go pick up one of their finest? He had to have gone insane.
I felt his forehead worriedly. “Are you feeling alright?!”
He grabbed my hands with one of his with an amused expression. “Jules. I got this. Don’t worry about it.”
“How are you going to convince Mim to come with you?”
Sirius gave one of his smirks, dipped me very low to the ground so I was forced to cling to him and eyed me like I was the most coveted scoop of his favorite ice cream. “Honey despite what you think I have a way with woman. I got you didn’t i?”
Then before I could reply he kissed me. One of those spine tingling kisses that I felt all the way down to my toes previous to putting me back up right and leaving the room. I tried to say something anything but my mind was clouded as I was flabbergasted. What did I just agree to?
“Chloe dear how are you?” I greeted her affectionately as I dragged her out of her house.
She glared at me grumpily. “Oh just splendid.”
“Come on three hours of them making you look and feel gorgeous?” I put my arm around her shoulder and squeezed it. “What could be better?”
“You are really freaking me out with this optimistic thing you’ve got going on.”
I rolled my eyes at her, “Look just relax okay? I got it all covered. I swear.”
“Why are you so together?”
“Because I’m try to make sure everything goes as its planned.” I apparated to the spa and checked her in. “Look just relax. I got this.”
She yawned and nodded. “Okay.”
Chloe then mindlessly followed one of the ‘spa technicians’ to a room in the back. I glanced down at my watch anxiously before rushing out of the room. I was late.
Hours later I was resting in the bridal suite. I thought maybe I could get a few minutes of sleep before I had to go get Chloe. I had been working my ass off with out stopping and I just wanted a few minutes to de-stress. To collect myself fully so I could better organize the tasks i had to perform. Of course that wasn’t happening. All I could do was worry and when I finally drifted off to sleep i was interrupted.
I groaned and looked up to find Parker hovering above me. “Yeah?”
“The caterer wants to talk to you.”
I swore and followed him into the lobby to find a squat Pilipino man with a chef’s outfit. “Ms. Paxton! We have a problem.”
“There is no dessert.”
My jaw dropped. “What do you mean there’s no desert?”
“It was accidently sent to another wedding and they already cut the cake.”
“Okay…” I closed my eyes and tried to think of a solution and after a few moments I thought of something that could possibly work. “Alright…Frank,” I addressed the chef, “Can you make me a cake in the next two hours?”
He grimaced. “I don’t know…”
“Look,” I told him fiercely. “There is a huge wedding happening today and despite the fact that you’ve already been paid and you should have this under control I’m letting you off the hook here. I’m not asking for much. I’m not asking for the lavish desert that we ordered I’m just asking for one medium sized delicious cake.” I grew dangerously closer to him. “I’m aware it’s hard under the time crunch but I think under the right pressure you can come up with a magnificent cake. The better tasting the better.”
“It won’t be enough to feed more than a few-“
“I will take care of the rest.” I cut him off sharply. “You get me a well made cake and I will figure something out.”
Parker kept up with me with ease as I sped out of the church and down the steps. “So what’s the plan?”
I held out my arm for him to grab. “We are going for a little detour.”
I raced up the stone steps leading up to the house and nearly broke the door from pounding on it so hard. Alice came to the door immediately startled. “Juliette what’s-?”
“I need a favor.” I blurted out rudely.
She moved out of the way and let us walk in. “What’s the problem?”
“The caterer for the wedding messed up and didn’t make enough food for everyone so I was hoping you could make some of your mince cakes.”
“How long are we talking?”
I cringed. “Two hours.”
“I think I can get you four but that probably won’t be enough….”
I paced and rubbed my temples. “Okay…I can multiply them magically to equal sixteen…Shit!”
“Lily’s a good cook. I’m sure she could cork out ten.”
“Alice…” I beamed. “I could kiss you!”
She laughed. “Just owl me the location of the reception and I’ll be there.”
“THANK YOU!” I shouted before apparating to Godric’s Hollow.
I was in a frantic state of mind. All i could keep thinking about was Chloe. This was the one day she didn't have to worry about anything and just be pretty. If I didn't make it perfect i would be failing Chloe. She put this important day in my hands and i had to make everything work. I just had to. Lily thankfully was a good sport.
“Yeah I can get you twelve." She told me graciously. "And then you can multiply them and have more than enough for everyone.”
I sat down in one of her dining room chairs and let out a large sigh of relief. “Thank you so much!”
Parker sat next to me. “Where’s Sirius?”
“Getting Mim.” I laughed exhaustedly.
“Yeah okay where is he really?”
Parker gave me one of those looks where he was try to decide if i was trying to be funny or just being mean.
"Who's Mim?" Lily piped in curiously.
I lowered my head to the table. "My grandmother."
"You can't be serious." Parker murmured. "I mean even as tolerant as she's been she hates muggleborns and loathes blood traitors."
And the quietest voice I responded. "He offered."
"Why would he offer that?" Parker clicked his tongue on the roof of his mouth cynically. "It's a death sentence."
"I didn't have the time or the energy so he offered and I accepted."
He traced his chin thoughtfully. "You were going to make me do it weren't you?"
"Yeah," I sat up straight. "She likes you."
Lily gave us a funny look as she stirred a large bowl of butter. "Maybe he's trying to help."
"If you knew Mim. It's a little above and beyond the means of just being kind to spend time with her." Parker proclaimed darkly.
I rolled my eyes. "She's always been nice to you."
"Not to Chloe. It's her wedding and last night she practically shouted her disapproval with the death glares she was sending her."
I rolled my wrist over to see to see my watch sneering at me tauntingly. I had to pick up Chloe in one minute exactly. Tucking the strands of hair that had come out of my ponytail behind my ear I got up from my chair.
"Thank you so much Lily. I owe you one."
She waved it off. "You're giving me an excuse to cook."
"Nice meeting you Lily," Parker smiled at her politely.
I shut the front door and exhaled deeply. "Okay I need a favor. Can you go to the store and get different colored cupcakes? As many as you can find?"
"Thanks," I handed him money. "Just make sure you get them as quick as you can."
"I will Jay."
I glared at him. "What's with the smirk?"
"Oh nothing...I'm sure you'll figure it out." And Parker apparated leaving me clueless as to what he was talking about.
Chloe's skin was glowing and she couldn't look more relaxed. I was grateful. One of us had to be a nervous wreck and I was glad for once that it was me.
"You look awful."
I side-glared at her. "Oh thanks...it's the look I was going for."
"Nothing." I answered naturally, "Just a lot of stuff I have to get down before I can toss you down that aisle."
She bought it. "Are there any problems?"
"Nope," I lied through my teeth.
“You’d tell me wouldn’t you?”
I starred at her directly in the eye and smiled. “Of course Chloe.”
I had an hour. To get dressed, put on make-up, do something with my hair and check on everyone. First I went for the cupcakes. I had all the chef’s assistant’s write the date on each and every cupcake as I hung the banner with their names in bold above the large table. Parker helped me down with a smirk.
“So guess what?”
He gestured to the long three rows of freshly made deserts on the table. “Compliments of Alice and Lily.”
I beamed and hugged I him in relief. “Thank Merlin.”
“I thought that might cheer you up.”
“You have…no idea!”
Parker took my hands. “Look I’ll check with everybody.”
“No Parker you’ve done enough I really should-“
“You look like shit Jules.” He interrupted bluntly. “You need to look nice today. You’re maid of honor. So while you are cleaning up I will take care of all of it. Because really all I have to do is put on a suit.”
I laughed softly. “Thanks…I think.”
Turning into the bridal suite I moved past the brides maids and female relatives and snatched my dress. In the roomy bathroom I finally decompressed. At this point the rest of it was out of my hands. All the planning and preparation would have to hold up. I carefully stepped into the dress, shimmied it up my body and zipped it up. The dress didn’t look bad…but the color…ugh. That was another story. I went over to the mirror got out my small bag of make up and went to work. Gone were the dark circles. Gone were the uneven skin tones. Pop goes the eyes. When I was done I looked quite good the problem was I had no idea what to do with my hair. After a moment of thought I realized I didn’t have the time to put it up and make it look nice so I was going to curl it. Using my wand I took my hair strand by strand and curled it before adding some gloss to it to make it shiny. Last touch, deodorant. I was going to be running around for the rest of the day and the last thing I needed was to smell like a horse. I finished with ten minutes to spare.
All the brides maids were getting instructions outside of the chapel. I headed for the bridal suite to find Chloe alone. She was starring at herself in a floor length mirror with an anxious expression on her face. Chloe looked stunning, I had never seen her so gorgeous. A smile jumped to my face as my eyes became oddly wet.
“Chloe…” I murmured gently.
She smiled at me shyly. “Yeah…It’s a bit much-“
“I think it’s just enough.” I hugged her from behind. “How are you feeling?”
Chloe gave me a heartened laugh. “You’re the first person to ask me that. I’m nervous.”
“No no nothing like that…You know that one line…”
I held her tighter. “Honey…I asked the minister to exclude it.”
“You did?!” She brightened up instantly.
“Of course. I wouldn’t give anyone the chance to ruin this.”
“I’d hug you back but I’m not suppose to move too much.” She laughed tearfully.
I grinned. “It’s alright honey.”
Chloe’s eldest brother Jake popped in. “Batters up Chlo.”
“You ready?” I asked her
She nodded and carefully wiped her eyes. “I’m ready.”
Her brother came over and she linked arms with him. I went outside and got in the line behind the four other girls. Chloe and her brother came along a minute later. Just as the music started. As each girl in pink left to walk down the aisle I felt my heart sink. Did I do this for Chloe? Or did I do this because nobody would have done it for me? This is what I wanted, a huge wedding, tons of people and the guy of my dreams waiting down the aisle for me. Where was that guy now? I’d rather Mim refuse to come then Sirius not show up at all. As it was my turn to go up my chest clamped up. I knew it was ridiculous. I knew I was being a weak idiot but I couldn’t help how I felt. I was always the girl that never needed saving and always saved herself with minor exceptions. Now I felt alone.
“Jules it’s your turn!” Chloe whispered roughly.
I nodded numbly and started moving. Not for me but for Chloe. I glanced around the crowd. I saw many familiar faces and a few strangers gawking at me. I didn’t care because at the moment Sirius’s smirk caught my eye. That one of a kind cocky smirk that gave me the strength to keep going. My jaw dropped as I saw that the woman sitting next to him. The woman with the biggest ass hat I’d ever seen and the biggest grin on her face was in fact Mim. I couldn't believe it. How the hell did he convince her to come? In awe I forced myself to quit gawking and kept moving to the tempo of the wedding march beat. I stood next to Chloe's only sister in a right state.
Kimberly gave me a strange side glance. "What's wrong with you?"
I shook my head. "Nevermind."
"Holy shit is that your parents?"
No...fucking way. Just before the music slowed down. Just before Chloe made her long awaited début. Just before I the air completely vacated my lungs. Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Paxton slid into seats in the very back of the church. I couldn't breathe. Literally the air around my body seemed to be as far away from me as possible so i was silently but effectively suffocating. Nik's eyes were as big as saucers as he seemed to be rooted in his spot. Yes my parent's had been invited but it was always a polite thing. A oh-they-would-never-come-thing-so-why-not-invite-them scenario? Never did anyone even think for a second that they'd actually show up. Chloe didn't even put them on the seating chart for the reception. The saying, 'when hell freezes over,' became all too real. Nik's face became abnormally pale but he didn't have time to react because that's the particular moment when the potent music began to prelude to the brides arrival. Chloe as always, was perfectly on time.
The minute the doors opened to reveal her and her brother though I forgot all about my parents. Which would have seemed truly impossible moments before her entrance but now made perfect sense. The way she looked, the sheer determination on her face, she didn't care that they were there she was going to marry their son no matter what they said or did. When she got to the end of the aisle she stood next to my brother and sent a wink. I grinned at her proudly as my brother took her hands in his. I will never forget the look on his face as he recited his vows. My brother had always liked things; quidditch, writing, a good ham and cheese sandwich but I'd never seen him love something as much as he loved Chloe. It was like there was a light in his eyes that was sparkling so bright that the brown in his eyes seemed several shades lighter.
"I take you to be my lawfully wedded wife," He told her devotedly, "In sickness and in health for as long as we both shall live."
The minister closed the book in his hands and smiled at the couple. "I know pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."
Nik didn't need to be told twice. He grabbed Chloe by her waist and kissed her deeply. Applause broke out when they separated, grinning like fools.
"Thank you Merlin." I breathed thankfully as Nik and Chloe went down the aisle without any interruption.
Kimberley raised her thick blond eyebrows at me bemusedly. "Well that went well."
Kim picked up the bottom of her dress and walked out with the rest of the crowd. I didn’t. The wedding party would get to the reception in next few minutes but I needed to sit down for a minute and get it together. When everyone had left that church I held my head in my hands, trying desperately to get my head to stop spinning. Sirius popped up out of nowhere and sat next to me.
I threw my arms around him and seized him.
“What’s wrong Jules?”
“My parents came to the wedding.”
I didn’t have to see his face to know how he felt about that. Sirius kissed my forehead. “They won’t make a scene. They are just trying to get under your skin.”
“Well it’s working.” I told him faintly.
He slipped his arms underneath me and lifted me off the ground without staggering for even a second. “Come on.”
Sirius carried me all the way down the aisle without even a flicker of discomfort before lowering me to my feet at the entrance. He cupped my face. “Jules. You need to loosen up. They won’t cause a scene because that would only make them look worse. Just don’t talk or look at them. You planned this entire thing without a hitch. Now you need to go make your toast and dance with me the rest of the night. You are a strong independent woman.... Now this doesn’t sound too hard does it?”
I shook my head. “No it doesn’t.” My resolve was flimsy before but after a speech like that it hardened. I wasn’t a seventeen year old teenager. I was twenty year old woman and I was more than capable of handling this. “Let’s go.” I grabbed his hand and apparated to the reception.
The reception was in a hall right on the beach. When Sirius and I came in I couldn’t help but beam at how well everything looked. Everyone was lined up at the bar, filing through name cards to find their own and see what table they were at. I didn’t need a name card. I went straight for the head table with Sirius in tow. Nik and Chloe weren’t there but the rest of the table was filled out. We sat on the groom’s side next to Mim and his best friends and grooms men Charlie, Noah and John.
“Sirius,” I asked simply, “How did you convince Mim to com-?”
“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!” A tiny old man interrupted me loudly, “Welcome MR. AND MRS. NIKOLAS PAXTON!”
I stood up just as Nik and Chloe came marching into the room. Their jaws stretched far past their limit with the wideness of their smiles. They walked over and sat in the empty seats next to me. All of the people who were standing sat down except for me. Speech time. This was the easy part. I put my wand to my throat to make my voice louder.
“Hi everyone I’m Juliette Paxton.” I smiled at the crowd, “I’m the groom’s little sister and the Maid of honor. I’ve known Chloe for the past two years and I’ve grown to see that she is a kind, hard working and warm hearted person who is frankly too good for my brother.” That earned a collective laugh from the guests as I continued, “Thankfully she doesn’t see that way…I was there the night my brother was trying to figure out how to propose to Chloe. He was so nervous and though I didn’t keep up with him for a few years I did see him with girls at Hogwarts and he never got as worked up about any of those girls the way he does about Chloe. And Chloe I know how you love my brother too by just the way you look at him. So Chloe I welcome you proudly into our family and hope that you will continue to put up with my way ward brother.” I finished laughing.
Chloe stood up with tears in her eyes. “Thank you.”
“Anytime Sis.” I replied.
The best man gave a short speech and I got back into my seat. Sirius had one arm around the back of my chair and his other hand was tightly clamped onto mine. If he was trying to make me feel better it was working. His presence was soothing and after just a few minutes of sitting with him I felt remarkably calm. I turned and found him staring at me with a grin on his face. I leaned forward and kissed him. When we broke apart that oddly familiar little man appeared again this time he announced that it was time for Nik and Chloe’s first dance as a married couple. Sentimentally I wrapped Sirius’s arm around my waist and watched.
“Now,” The man announced after their song ended, “The couple would like to invite other couples to the floor.”
Sirius lifted me to my feet and led me to the dance floor. He wrapped his one arm around my waist and the other held my hand firmly.
“Going old school huh?”
He gave a half hearted glare. “This is the only way I know how to slow dance.”
I let go of his hand, put it on my waist and threw my arms around his neck. “This is the more modern version honey."
“What were you going to ask me before?”
“Oh,” I exclaimed, “How did you get her here?”
He stood outside her door for a half hour before she decided to come out. “Young man. I suggest you leave. I will not be escorted by you.”
“Well,” He sighed purposefully. “That’s too bad because I’m not leaving without you so…” Sirius sat on her porch, stretched out his legs and leaned against the closest pillar.
Mim left irritated by him. Sirius though true to his word didn’t leave. Instead he pulled out the Daily Prophet and began reading it. From the window Mim checked on him from time to time in between cleaning and cooking. Once he was done reading the paper he did the crossword puzzle on the last page of the paper. Hours passed and he remained on her porch. He whistled to himself, he took a nap, he started reading a book he brought with him. Sirius was determined and despite herself Mim found herself admiring him.
“How long do you intend on sitting there?” She barked from the window.
“Until you are ready to go.” He replied confidently.
Mim felt an odd sense of guilt the boy had to be starving he had been sitting outside of her house without so much as a meal in hours. So she called Etienne into the room.
“Tell that boy to leave.”
Etienne scowled. “No.”
“You’re being ridiculous,” He told her bluntly, “Her partner at the ministry was half blood. Why should it matter then if her husband is one of those blood traitors?”
Mim frowned. “He’s not good enough for her.”
“Dear,” He kissed her cheek, “You are too picky.” Then he went into the kitchen made Sirius a sandwich against his wife’s wishes. “Here. She’s as stubborn as Juliette so you might be out here awhile.”
Sirius grinned appreciatively. “Thanks. I’m prepared to wait.”
“Good man.” Etienne replied happily walking by his wife unconcernedly.
Mim struggled with herself but finally caved and went outside. “How are you going to make her happy?”
“It’s not that simple. She has a demanding job-“
Sirius stood up. “I know she does.”
“And it’s taken her a long time to come back from what happened to her.”
“I know that too.”
Mim surveyed him cynically. “How do I know you won’t leave her again?”
“I already lost her once. I wouldn’t let her go again."
“And you absolutely love her?”
Sirius rose to his feet. “Yes. I do.”
Mim took of one of her rings it wasn’t the most modest of the three on her left wedding finger but it was definitely the most polished one. She handed the ring to him firmly.
“Fine. Then that ring you gave her is your engagement ring.”
Sirius was perplexed. “I don’t understand....”
She turned her nose down at him.“I expect you to remarry…Recommit and all that. And this will be your wedding ring for her. It was mine when I married her grandfather.” She announced clearly.
“But we are already married.”
“Yes,” Mim spat bitterly. “Something I did not witness nor did her brother so I suggest you remarry so we can be allowed to celebrate this…union.”
Sirius laughed, “I’ll ask her.”
“Yes, you will…. Garçons anglais.” She muttered under breath. “Now I will be out in an hour. I suggest you come in and change into your tux.”
She scoffed. “That’s Mim to you.”
I shook with laughter. “She’s so funny.”
He slipped the ring in question onto my finger. “So what do you think?”
“You actually want to?”
“Yeah…She’s right. We didn’t get a chance to do it right the first time…Not that I regret it or anything but it would have nice to have our friends and your family there.”
I bit my lip. “I’d love to.”
“Oh and I hope you don’t mind but I’d kind of like a big wedding.”
I reached up and kissed him hard. “I don’t mind at all.”
“I’ll be right back.” He told me as Parker slid into his place.
I furrowed my eyebrows. “Where’d did he go?”
“No idea.” Parker shrugged and started moving along with the new faster beat of the song. “Think you can keep up.”
“Yeah,” I snorted sarcastically, “I think I can manage.”
He twirled me and dipped me with a smirk. “Good.”
“Where’s your date?”
“At the bar…What’s he doing?”
I followed his gaze to see Sirius talking to…oh no. I mumbled an apology and went to him. “Sirius….”
I looked at my mum. “Hi.”
She nodded at me emptily and I became enraged. That’s all she had? “Why are you two here?”
“We were invited.” My father answered rigidly.
“Fine.” I told them stiffly. “We will stay on our side and you better stay on yours. If you say one word to upset Chloe-“
My mother suddenly grabbed my hand. “Honey.”
I shook it off. “Don’t you …dare.” I whispered harshly.
“I didn’t know-“
“What you didn’t hear him screaming at me?” I spat at her lividly, “You didn’t know what would happened when he confronted me? Go fuck yourself. I always thought you were just a product of your environment and that’s why you never showed me any affection but now I know that you are just a cold heartless bitch who doesn’t deserve to have any children.” I glared so hatefully at my father. “And I have absolutely nothing to say to you.”
I then took Sirius’s hand and went over to get some food. He kissed my cheek cheerfully. “I’m so proud of you honey.”
“What were you saying to them?”
“Actually the exact same thing you did.”
I piled food onto my plate. “I thought you were going to deck my father in the face.”
“I was tempted.” He revealed honestly. “But it wasn’t my place."
“Well thank you…I thought for a second there I thought you might have to hold me back.”
“I would’ve.” Sirius promised nudging my side teasingly. “You know you look really beautiful.”
My cheeks lit up scarlet. “…Thanks…I trust I don’t have to tell you how good you look.”
“Nope. I already know.” He snickered softly.
I slapped his arm half heartedly. “Conceited.”
“You knew that when you married me.”
“Jules?” Nik sighed as he grabbed some desert. “What are these?”
I cringed hesitantly. “Cupcakes…”
He took a bite into one of them and nodded. “They’re good. I don’t remember them being a desert option.”
“Well they are obviously.”
“Huh…” He muttered before walking to the head table.
I let out a throaty and grabbed a cupcake. “I’m so glad he’s so stupid.”
After we ate Chloe got up to make a speech. “Now we will have music playing all night so don’t get worried but I want to thank all of you for coming and most importantly for your support. Now there has been one person who has gone above and beyond. Today I didn’t have to worry about a single thing because I knew my Maid of Honor would take care of it. I want to publically thank her for basically being my unpaid wedding planner.”
I grinned up at her. “Never again Chloe.”
She laughed sweetly. “So to pay her back I’ve devised a plan. At her wedding to her husband they couldn’t afford a reception like this. I’ve heard they are going to renew their vows soon but I thought before that I would let them slow dance to their own song.”
“But you don’t know it.” I told her loudly.
She shook her head mischievously. “I have sources…So I would like to ask that all of you stay of the dance floor for this one song. Enjoy the food and I thank all of you for coming.”
I glared at Chloe. Why did she have to put the spotlight on me? Sirius had to pull me out of my seat and onto the dance floor. He was enjoying this far too much.
“It’s probably going to be Ozzy Osbourne.” I joked.
He rolled his eyes. “Yeah that’s definitely romantic.”
“Well it would suit us.” I argued without logic. I looked into the crowd and saw …Lexi. Except she didn’t look like the girl I had seen before. The girl I knew was put together and well dressed. This Lexi had her robes torn and cuts on her face. She was fighting with a boy that looked oddly like James Potter. “Hey-“ I began trying to draw Sirius’s attention to the pair when she turned and her robes came into full view.
She was wearing Gryffindor robes with the last name Black on the back. My voice caught in my throat. Then she was gone. I knew there was no way she could have apparated because I’d put a spell on the hall to prevent that very thing. This meant she must have used a time turner…. I was in a total state of shock when the music finally came on. I closed my eyes and rested my head on his shoulder.
“Nobody does it better
Makes me feel sad for the rest
Nobody does it half as good as you
Baby, you're the best
I wasn't lookin' but somehow you found me
It tried to hide from your love light
But like heaven above me
The spy who loved me
Is keepin' all my secrets safe tonight
And nobody does it better
Though sometimes I wish someone could
Nobody does it quite the way you do
Why'd you have to be so good?”
“You know,” Sirius whispered, “I lied.”
I gave him a confused look.
“I know who was my first kiss.”
Sirius peered down at me. “You.”
“No…I couldn’t have been.”
“You’re right in a way because I kissed you.”
I gave him a look and he continued.
“I was at that party you told me about this morning. I hadn’t thought of it in years because I never knew who the girl was because the minute I sat down to steal some of Regulus’s Butterbeer the bottle landed on me. Now I was fully prepared to walk away. I had no idea who you were but I felt bad. Besides the blindfold you were cute. Your black hair was down and you were wearing a tiny little blue dress. Now if that didn’t sway me it helped that your lips were all puckered out, ready to go. So I figured, what the hell. Why not get it out of the way? You would never know who I was. Then I kissed you….” His smile was blinding. “I never thought I would enjoy it so much. It actually scared me a bit so I walked away and I never thought about it since.”
I kissed him because in that instead everything was as it was meant to be. Yeah I could have chosen differently but whenever Sirius’s path was thrown into mine I choose to love him even from the start when I had no idea what could happen. So maybe meant to be was bullshit and I just simply chose him but I’d like to think fate had a hand in giving us so many chances.
“I love you Sirius.”
He held me tight. “Forever.”
It has been a delight writing this novel. I thank everyone who has reviewed and read since i started writing this last year. It meant a lot to me. Now Juliette's story isn't completely over. Now you will see the world through her daughter Lexi's eyes. PLEASE REVIEW. I hope you'll like it. I've been working on that story on the side and I think it ties in nicely. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU EVERYONE!
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