I woke with a start.
The first thing I noticed was that my curtains had been pushed aside and Lily, Mary, Marlene and Alice were all surrounding my bed looking concerned.
The second thing I noticed was that I was soaking wet,from my own sweat and shivering.
Third thing I realized was that I had been crying.
“What happened?” Mary asked biting her lip.
“You were screaming in your sleep.” Marlene informed me.
“And thrashing around.” Alice looked at me worried eyes examining me up and down.
“Kayla? Say something please.” Lily said sitting on my bed much like my mother had done in my dream and held my hand.
“That's it. I'm getting Sirius. Or Remus. Or someone.” Marlene said moving away from my bed.
“No.” I said hoarsely. My throat was parched.
“Did you say something?” Lily asked.
I nodded, my dry throat not permitting me to say any more. I indicated that I wanted water and Lily conjured a glass.
I drank the water in few large gulps and looked at all their concerned faces.
“I'm fine, just shaken up. It wasn't anything- just a bad dream.”
“It seemed like a nightmare to me,” Alice said, and looked at the others for confirmation.
“I'm fine, I just need to wrap my mind around it.”
Then put it into the back of my mind where it should have stayed.
“Are you sure?” Mary was still biting her lip anxiously.
“Yes, I've had bad dreams before. Not this bad but, there have been times. Please, don't tell anyone okay?” I looked at Marlene silently telling her not to breathe a word to James, Remus or Sirius.
“Go back to bed, I'll be fine, I'm just going to go down to the common room for a bit. I don't think I can fall back asleep.”
“Lily, I'll be fine. Trust me when I say I've had these dreams before.”
It was true, I used to get the same dream a few times a month, but ever since I came to England for the summer, they stopped.
I got out of bed taking my blanket with me and padded down to the common room to take a seat on my favorite sofa but I saw Sirius and Remus were still occupying it, both fast asleep and James had fallen asleep in the chair I had left only a few hours ago.
I glanced at the clock in the common room. It was almost six. I smiled at them. How typical of them to not leave if one of them fell asleep down here.
It was cold and the fire in the fireplace had died a long time ago.
I lit it again and took off my blanket to wrap it around Sirius and Remus and another one I found one lying in the common room, around James.
Watching them sleep here brought back the realization of how short their lives actually were.
I sat on the hearth with my legs crossed staring at the flickering fire for a while thinking about old times.
You know, those times you think about when you look at old photographs and smile and wish you were back there?
Except for him, I didn't need photographs.
I closed my eyes, the heat licked my closed eyelids, and remembered his face.
Everything about him was the exact opposite of me. From his pale golden hair to his gray eyes and his marble white skin.
He was shy, quite, spoke only when spoken to and very very cautious.
I was loud, exuberant and didn't know when to leash my tongue.
I didn't even know the word cautious existed until I met him.
“She's the Yin to his Yang,” my mother always told people whenever we were together, which was almost always.
Since I was three he was everywhere I was; trying to fix my fights and calm my (then) wild temper and over time we became more similar than different.
Even now, seven years later I missed him and his smile and the way his voice cracked when he laughed.
They never found him, and could never solve the mystery of how he left when the doors and windows were locked shut. And with no sign of forced entry the Police were left baffled, his parents torn and I alone. They looked for him for a two years until finally giving up, his parents left New York with his younger brother and moved back to their old home in England.
He was the reason I'd wanted to spend my summer in England and the reason I ever even contemplated living here permanently. I was going to apply to universities in England and get a job here and everything.
Being thrown into another universe was not in the plan.
The only consolation I ever had was that hopefully he still had the charm I had given to him.
I had found it in the storage of my Grandfather's antique jewelery store. It was laying forgotten in a small box under his desk.
I had asked my Grandfather if I could keep it if he didn't want it, because it looked neglected.
He laughed heartily and said I could. But not before telling me to use it well because it was one of a kind and no one ever made intertwined initials anymore.
I promised him I would.
That night I gave it to him. It looked so perfect glinting against his white skin in the diminishing sunlight. I used to wish there could have been two so we both would have had identical home made bracelets.
Later, I knew it was best that there was only one.
It suited him; a one of a kind bracelet for someone as unique as him(albeit, I was biased). One of a kind, just like him.
I hadn't realized how long I had been sitting in the common room until I felt the early morning rays of sun hit my hand.
“Are you meditating?” an amused and groggy James Potter asked me holding up one hand to block the sunlight shining directly in his face.
“No, just savoring the warmth. How are you sleepy head?” I extinguished the fire.
“Fine...hey! Who's blanket is this?” He looked down at himself.
I shrugged one shoulder, “I found it laying around and you looked cold so...”
“Thanks,” he smiled graciously. “Have you been up for long?”
“About an hour. I had a bad dream and I couldn't go back to sleep.”
He arched a sleepy eye, but the effect was lost as he started to yawn at the same time, “Thaahaat baah-aad?”
“Not really, I've had it before, just haven't had it in a while,” I smiled at his sleepy state.
He didn't press me for details and that was one of the many things I loved about him. James wasn't like Remus. He didn't feel the need to talk more than was necessary and if he knew something was wrong, he used Quidditch as therapy.
Honestly, why Lily didn't give in already, I didn't know.
Now if it were up to me....
Just kidding, James Potter was off limits whether Lily Evans knows that yet or not.
I saw James glance at his two friends to see if our chatter had woken them up.
It hadn't. Both of them were still peacefully sleeping. The blanket was slipping off Sirius so I got up to wrap it back around him.
I had never seen a sleeping Sirius and the difference between the awake Sirius and the slumbering one was great.
In sleep, his face was slack and free of all the facial expressions that he adorned on a daily basis. His dark long eyelashes rested softly on his pale, high cheekbones and his jaw looked less determined to show up the world. That constant defiance was absent, as was the cocky smirk he threw at me so often. His black hair tickled his eyelids and if he were awake he would have haughtily brushed them to the side still managing to leave a few strays hanging in his eyes.
I brushed them softly to the side taking care not to wake him, ignoring the sharp shock traveling up my arm. It didn't work because he moved his head and let out a soft groan at the light in the room.
I stood back up so that if he woke up, he wouldn't find me standing over him and looked back at James who was smirking.
“What?” I asked.
“Nothing,” He smiled mysteriously.
I narrowed my eyes at him but he just silently laughed and went upstairs to get ready for Hogsmeade before anyone else woke up.
I occupied his recently abandoned seat and wrapped the blanket around myself looking at the sun's rays trying not to think about my dream.
I searched for a distraction around the common room and spotted Sirius stirring again, and I wondered how he fit his tall six feet seven frame on that sofa, especially with Remus right next to him.
“James?” Sirius asked looking at me squinting his eyes against the sun.
“Unless James had suddenly become a foot shorter, with longer hair and curves overnight, no,” I told him laughing quietly.
“Oh, Kayla,” He sat up immediately running a hand through his hair and rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and face.
I commented on his odd behavior, “Relax, Sirius, I'm not going to attack you in your half sleepy state.”
“Right, so where is James?” he glanced all around the room.
“He went upstairs to get ready. He can't be looking shabby when he's going to try and chat up Lily all day, can he?”
“Definitely not,” he grinned. “What are you doing up so early?”
I rolled my eyes. Couldn't a person just feel like waking up at six thirty in the morning voluntarily?
“Couldn't fall back asleep.” I said simply.
Don't ask me why I didn't give him the same answer as the one I gave James.
Because I don't know.
Before he could say anything else Remus let out a loud snore.
We looked at him and I giggled. “If only Mary could see him now.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Well, she likes him, and usually guys act all tough and shit around girls, but when a guy is sleeping, you see their vulnerability,” I blushed realizing how cheesy I sounded just then. “Sorry...I- don't- forget I said anything.”
“No, that...that actually made sense,” he brushed his hair out of his eyes leaving a few strands hanging in his eyes just as I predicted.
I looked away to avoid the sudden urge to walk over and carefully brush his hair away so his gray eyes could be more visible.
I cleared my throat deliberately, “Well, I'm going to go and get ready too. See you in Hogsmead, Sirius.”
“Yeah, see you,”he flashed me a grin.
That was unnecessarily awkward.
My first question once I clocked into TB was,“Fuck, why is this place so crowded?”
“Hogsmead weekend love, we always get a full house. Rosamerta thrives on these weekends. Hurry on out babe.” Kelly, another barmaid threw an apron at me.
I went out and saw Hogwarts's students crammed onto all the tables.
The locals hadn't even bothered coming out today.
A Sunday with a bunch of students.
Great. Like I didn't see enough of them five days a week.
I barely had space to weave in and out of the tables with all the bodies pressed in from all sides.
Rosa really needed to expand this place magically for these weekends.
I had barely taken an order from one table and placed it at the bar when I had another table ready to be served.
It was a waitress nightmare. To make matters worse, those who didn't know I worked weekends had a grand time making snide jibes and innuendos about what I could get them
and how much I would benefit
I ran around for the next six hours taking orders and clearing tables until finally at three I was able to get off work.
The girls had asked me to meet them in Gladrags for a remaining day of 'girlish debauchery' as Marlene put it.
Yeah, I try not to think about it too much either.
Needless to say, I wasn't sure what to expect. I opened the door and the bell above chimed musically.
I heard giggling in the back and knew that they were already here.
“Hey- wow, Alice, you look amazing!” I greeted them.
She did indeed. Standing in the entrance to the changing rooms she was wearing a pale pink dress with thin straps, and empire waistline and floral bodice that stopped just halfway down her thighs.
She looked beautiful.
I saw Mary and Lily holding armful of dresses and were shoving Marlene in the changing stalls to try on the clothes.
“Uh...you guys, why are you all looking for dresses like they are the last thing on the face of the planet?” I asked them confused.
They all looked at me with identical stunned expressions.
“No one told her?” Alice said.
“I...I assumed she knew.” Lily looked at the Mary who just shrugged.
They were doing that thing again, the one where they're talking about me but not to me.
“I thought you would tell her, what with you being head girl and all.”
“Hi, still here. Tell me what?” I asked looking at each of them.
“Every year, at Christmas there is a dance, a Ball of sorts for fourth years and above. And it's a big fancy celebration.” Alice told me.
“Oh, like a Yule Ball?” I said comprehending.
“Yeah, yeah. Exactly,” Lily confirmed. “So, we need to get you a dress. Mary and I already picked ours out.”
Dresses? Yeah right, because I was so the the type to wear a dress. Or go to a ball.
“Um...I don't do dresses. Or Balls. I think I'll pass.”
“What do you mean you don't do dresses?” Marlene asked incredulously dramatically pushing apart the curtain of her changing room.
“I mean, I don't like wearing dresses.”
“Well like them, otherwise you won't be going to the Ball. And there is no way I am going to let you not attend,” Lily said sternly pointing a finger at me.
“No but. We need to get dresses now, or there won't be any good ones left closer to Christmas. And we have only a month and half.” Alice said collecting random selections off the racks. “I think I'll take this one. I like the pink.” She added as an after thought as she pushed me into the changing room next to Marlene's.
ONLY a month and half? The spoke as it it were the same as a day and half.
“But I don't even like Balls.”
Lily and Alice giggled.
I rolled my eyes at their immaturity, “Not those, I mean the ones where you dance. I didn't even go to prom last year!”
The looked at each other confused and asked together, “What's a prom?”
“It's like a Ball, but a bit different and we- never mind. Point is, I don't go to these things.”
“Well you have to. It's compulsory for all seventh years. There are people from the Ministry and it's a great place to make connections.”
I looked at them aghast, “So it's a career fair and a dance all rolled into one?”
They nodded enthusiastically. I found it difficult to join in their enthusiasm.
“Now, take these and try them on,” Mary shoved fifty million dresses into my arms.
Marlene chose her dress soon after I went in; she was going to wear a short deep purple taffeta strapless with an uneven skirt. It was perfect for her, with her long legs and dark hair.
Choosing my dress took much longer than expected.
I tried on short, long, whites, blues, pinks (gag), and reds. My feet were hurting from all the posing until I finally, with my own two eyes spotted the perfect dress.
“So Alice, how was your date with Frank today?” I heard Lily say.
“Wait, you had a date with Frank?” I said from the changing room.
“Yeah...” she said in a dreamy voice. “It was beautiful. He took me to Madam Puddifoot's and then we took a walk along the street and when it started to rain we went into Honeydukes where I bought out the entire store. He wanted to buy the candy for me but I insisted he shouldn't. Then I came here and he went to meet some of his friends in Three Broomsticks.”
“Wow, sounds like you had fun. How did I not know about this date?” I was done changing into the one I had spotted.
“Don't worry. Mary and I didn't know until we got here either,” said Marlene.
Lily turned to look at me, “Kayla! You look-”
“Smashing!” Alice said coming out of her dreamlike state.
“Thanks guys,” I looked at myself in the full length mirror.
The dress was black with a light blue sash at the waist and a layered organza skirt that flared out and a sequined, but not blindingly shiny bust.
“You have to get it! It is so you, and if you don't I might have to kill you,” Marlene said standing behind me with her wand pointed at me threateningly.
“Don't worry Marlene, the dress is mine,” I walked over to the cash register and paid the lady.
We left the store and were heading back to the castle when I realized that I had left my jacket and bag at TB in my rush to get out of there and grabbed only my pouch of coins.
“You guys go ahead, I'll catch up. I forgot my bag in TB.” I told them and rushed back.
“Wait! I'll carry your bag for you so you can get your things quickly,” Lily said holding her hand out for my bag.
I gathered my things and was almost out the bar when someone blocked my path.
“Aw, look. It's ittle wittle Nichols, and without the protection of my dear cousin too. Whatever shall she do?”
“Bellatrix,” I snarled.
Why now? I was tired from busing and cleaning and posing and my arms felt like they wanted to die.
Unless Bellatrix killed me first.
A/N: Dun dun dun dun! Whatever shall happen?
This is a pretty filler chapter, except at the end when something acutally happens.
So, Bella's back! I do love writing her. So any guesses on what's going down? Not that is isn't that obvious.
But any thoughts, comments, or concerns? Let me know.