Very soon, the day of December 19th was upon them, and Sirius and Rachel were preparing for their anniversary date. They were very excited at the accomplishment and also because Christmas breaks had started. Tomorrow, they would be parting ways to spend time with their family, so they were spending as much time together as possible.
Rachel was fussing over what she should wear. She narrowed her outfit down to two different dresses: a dark red halter one that fell at her knees or a dark blue halter dress that fell just above her knees. She had a pair of black boots that she would wear with the outfit, but couldn’t decide on a dress.
“I think you should wear the blue one,” Lily said after Rachel’s plea for help. “It’ll bring out your eyes, plus the color looks fabulous on you.”
“You think so? I was actually leaning towards the red one.”
“Yeah, go with the blue one. I promise that you’ll look great.”
“Thanks, Lily, you’re the greatest!” Rachel said and she gave her other best friend a quick hug before running into the bathroom to change.
“I still don’t know why you two have to have some big fancy romantic thing. I mean, it’s only been one year, and you’re only sixteen, Rachel.”
“I know it seems a little extravagant, but it’s a big deal for us. Plus, you know how much of a sucker I am for romantic things.”
After an hour of preparing, Rachel had made her brown hair wavy, put on some makeup, gotten dressed, and put on her silver necklace that she had received from Sirius the previous year. Everything looked absolutely perfect. Rachel dug in her bag for a minute to find the small gift: it was wrapped in gold wrapping paper and had a gold bow on it.
When Rachel had double-checked everything, she started down the steps to the common room where Sirius was supposed to meet her. Instead of Sirius, the ones in the common room were James, Remus, and Peter. They smiled as she walked down the stairs, but she was getting a little anxious.
“You look gorgeous.” Remus said as they gave her all hugs.
“Thanks, Remus. Where’s Sirius? We were supposed to meet here. Plus, you guys are acting like I’m getting married or something and you guys are giving me away” Rachel asked awkwardly.
“Well, my lady,” James said, suddenly taking on a much more mature tone. “I am supposed to accompany you to a certain place that you shall be having your date. Unfortunately, we need to go under the Invisibility Cloak, but I don’t think you’ll mind.”
James threw the Cloak over them, held out his arm for Rachel to hook onto, and they left the Gryffindor tower and went down a passageway on the seventh floor. After a minute of walking together, they came upon a door that Rachel had never seen before, even though she had walked by the area many times before. James took off the Cloak and opened the door for Rachel and said, “Your date awaits you.”
Rachel walked into a small and cozy round room. It was filled with candles and red roses. There was a small square table covered by a white tablecloth and the table had two chairs that reminded Rachel of fancy restaurant chairs. The entire room was the most beautiful thing that she had ever seen. Then, she happened to notice Sirius standing by the table in a suit, watching her as she took in the entire room.
“This is amazing.” Rachel said breathlessly. “Did you do all of this?”
“Well, this is called the Room of Requirement and it adjusts to the users need. I set up the candles and flowers but the rest was already set up for me when I arrived. This room practically has its own mind.” Sirius told her.
Rachel, absolutely beaming, walked over to her handsome and well-dressed boyfriend, wrapped her arms around his neck, and softly said, “Happy anniversary.”
“Happy anniversary,” Sirius whispered back, and then he kissed her with more passion than ever before. They stood there for many minutes, enjoying each other’s company, before Rachel pulled away to catch her breath. “You look absolutely breathtaking, as always.” he told her.
“Thanks, it took me a while to figure this outfit out. If you don’t believe me, you can just ask Lily. She was there when I experience my minor panic attack about my outfit.” Rachel told him, laughing at her recollection of worrying so much.
“Well, you look beautiful in any outfit,” he complimented her.
“What a line,” Rachel joked, “but I appreciate it anyway. So, I skipped dinner; what are we having to eat since I see a table set for two?”
“We are having Tilapia with New Orleans style rice along with some champagne. James’s mom made that type of rice stuff before when I was at his house and it was the most fantastic food I’ve ever tasted.”
“It sounds delicious. But aren’t we a little young to have alcohol?”
“Yeah, that’s why it’s only one glass for each of us, so we don’t become hammered and do something stupid.” Sirius told her. He walked over to one of the chairs and pulled it out for her, indicating that she sit down. She obeyed and then Sirius took his chair across the table from her. Rachel set her present on the ground next to her chair.
“So, should we exchange gifts first or shall we eat?” he asked her.
“I’m absolutely starving, so let’s eat first.” she answered.
Sirius flicked his wand and their plates filled with the course Sirius had described earlier. They sat there, eating, drinking, and having small talk until they had both finished their meals.
“Time for gifts.” Rachel said excitedly. She loved getting presents, but she was also excited about giving him her present.
Sirius reached into his pocket and pulled out a small jewelry box. He opened it and held the box out to her so she could see what was inside it. It was a golden ring with a pink leaf and a green leaf connected with some vines, and in the middle there was a ruby.
“Before you get any ideas, I would like to inform you that this is a promise ring, just in case you thought otherwise. I know how you girls think.” Sirius said quickly.
“Sirius, it’s absolutely stunning.” Rachel told him.
Sirius removed the ring, grabbed Rachel’s left hand, and started sliding the ring onto her ring finger.
“With this ring, I promise to respect you, love you, and be there for you. I love you, Rachel.”
“I love you too, Sirius. And I know that this isn’t a proposal, but it still sounds like one.”
Sirius blushed, surprisingly. “Well it’s not. I just wanted to let you know how I feel.”
Then they started kissing again. Soon afterward, Rachel was getting very tired and insisted that they get back to the dorms to get some sleep, forgetting the wrapped up box that had been set aside. Rachel and Sirius left the Room of Requirement holding hands and both smiling. Sirius walked Rachel to the stairs and parted ways. As Rachel got into her pajamas and got into bed, she was much happier than she had ever been in her life.
After Lily practically dragged her out of bed, Rachel got her stuff packed up and made her way towards the Gryffindor fireplace that she would be using to get home. Five minutes later, Rachel was in her living room and ran up the stairs to drop off her stuff. She came back down and greeted her parents. They were both surprisingly excited and Rachel finally asked, “What’s going on? You two are practically skipping,”
“Well, we’re going to take a little trip over to New York City! It’s been your mom’s dream since she was a little girl, so we figured that this year would be a good year.” her dad answered.
“And as much as you may want to, there is still no magic allowed. They will know about it, honey.” Her mom added quickly.
“This is so great!” Rachel squealed, and ran to hug her parents. She’d only seen pictures of the city, and inherited her mother’s want to travel there. This was one of the best Christmas presents ever.
The rest of the day was spent packing and scribbling letters to her friends, informing them of her plans and where to send their gifts. Danielle and Angela kept squealing and dancing around. Their mom had to force a calming potion down their throats before their neighbors called the police.
Obviously, the trip to the city was really short. They had organized some things with some Wizarding connections they had, and were able to stay in a small vacation home right on the coast. The snow that fell that night as they watched the beautiful city lights was breathtaking.
The next day, the family spent the entire day decorating their temporary home. Nothing could get them in the mood for the holidays like decorating for Christmas. They couldn’t really do much in the city, though, because they had received so many inches of snow overnight. But that was okay. Rachel took her sisters out to go sledding, build a snowman, and have the classic snowball fight.
As Rachel proceeded to make a snow angel, she paused to observe her baby sisters. They were filled with such light, such happiness. It caught Rachel off guard for a moment. Their innocence filled her up with an undistinguishable emotion. This was true happiness.
Rachel pondered about the moment when her innocence disappeared. There wasn’t an exact time. Thinking back on her past, Rachel realized something new about herself: she pushed herself out of her childhood. A childhood is meant to be carefree, relaxing, and joyful. From a ripe age, she pushed herself into ballroom dancing, not caring that her life was different from every other kid her age. Plus, her brother was always the favorite. She worked her ass off trying to be better than him. When she should’ve been playing, she was nitpicking at herself, looking for ways to improve. There was so much that she wished she could change about that time, to enjoy her innocence.
‘Hold onto it for as long as possible, girls.’ She thought to herself, watching Danielle tackle Angela. ‘It won’t always be here.’