Chapter 8 : Confrontations;
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I check my reflection in the lavatory mirror as I wait for Klara to finish. I take out a cherry lip tint from my bag and re-do my lips. I love the color it brings to my face - it also happens to be Sirius Black’s favorite. He’s told me countless times.
“So you two haven’t had a snog yet?!” Klara shouts over her bathroom stall.
My mouth drops in shock and I stop applying my lip color. I have a quick look around the lavatory before telling her to shut her gob. “HUSH! Someone could hear you!”
“Oh, please. We’re the only two girls in here. Who’s going to hear? The dust particles resting on the window sill?”
My best friend is getting more and more sarcastic by the second.
“I told you, Klara. We’re taking it slow. We haven’t even become exclusively official to the whole school yet. One thing at a time.”
“Hah! The entire school already thinks you two are shagging like bunnies. I was up all night last night trying to concentrate on my studying, but couldn’t because Melanie Stormheart was yapping away about how she thought you two would make weird offspring.”
My bottom lip sticks out. What am I supposed to do with that information? Sigh. “Um…wow.”
“Tell me about it!” Klara exclaims, followed by a toilet flush. “I was reading the same Potions equation for an hour because I lost my train of thought.”
“What did she say our babies would look like?” I ask her. I’m a but put off by this.
She swings the stall door open and rests her arm on the side of it. “Who cares? You two are the talk of the school. Have been for the last two weeks. And all you’ve done is hold hands? You’re killing me.” She cocks her hip out to the side and throws me a skeptical look.
“Awe, come on!” I whine, “You know if something happened I’d tell you! I’m not keeping anything from you. Promise. It’s just that we really want to make sure everything is complete perfection.” I turn to face her and lean on the sink. “ Besides, we discussed it, and he thinks our first snog should be in the Great Hall.”
Klara Isaacs looks horrified. “How romantic.” She walks up to the sink next to mine and washes her hands.
“We’re stringing this out as long as we can! This relationship needs to be heavy and serious. Besides, if the whole school thinks we’ve already slept together then they won’t know it’s our first kiss. But we will.”
Klara dries her hands and puts one over her heart. “Oh, the lies. The secrets. The suspense!”
“Why do you want me to snog him so badly?” I spit out, curiosity getting the best of me. I swear I just saw her smirk.
“Does anyone need a reason for snogging Sirius Black?” She quips.
I open my mouth to protest, but it’s not like I can say anything. He may be my pretend boyfriend, but even I have trouble keeping my heart rate steady when he’s close to me. There was one date we went on in Hogsmeade and we almost kissed, but his mates saw him and called his name out. Unfortunately, they didn’t see that he was with me, his back was to his friends. They looked apologetic but got over it pretty quick. Sirius repeatedly apologized for his friends, considering that there were a good 30 people with us in the pub that were on eggshells around us. They were waiting or us to snog and it would have been a good first kiss.
It was staged, of course. It wasn’t a real kiss.
“Besides that almost kiss in Hogsmeade last week, we’ve done nothing of the sort,” I promise my best friend. “I’m hoping this week we’ll come out as official. I’m excited to see the look on Amos Diggory’s face when I walk by him in the hallways again…except this time, with Sirius holding my hand.”
Klara looks impressed with my new found confidence and determination. “Who are you and what have you done with Natalie Rouz?”
I grin in response and finish doing my makeup. “I don’t know, I guess having the right people around you can really boost your self esteem.”
Klara, Sirius, and the rest of the boys have really been so great. I never thought I’d be this self-assured and confident but they’ve made me improve myself in ways I never thought they would. You know that saying, that the people you hang out with influence your outlook on life? Well, it’s kind of like that. Surround yourself with people that care about you and keep you positive, and you’ll feel yourself getting better; in any sense. Whether it’s with yourself or with your friends. This plan to get back at Amos has made my friendship with Klara stronger, and has made Sirius close to becoming another best friend. James Potter, Peter Pettigrew, and Remus Lupin are three people that I now can confidently say are my close friends.
“Group work brings people together,” Klara shrugs in agreement, seeing my point of view.
“By the way, how is the strategy working so far? You haven’t been keeping me up to date with the rumor mill.”
She and I start to walk out of the girls’ lavatory. “As of yesterday, Amos hasn’t come in contact with any living female. Only a few people are talking to him, I think. Only his really close buds. But his other friends can’t really stand him anymore, so he’s been by himself every Friday night and at Hogsmeade. I feel kind of bad, but he sort of deserves it.”
I grimace. “I think that’s a bit harsh. I don’t want to turn his friends against him. That’s just cruel.”
“Hey,” Klara reassures me, “He still has two or three close bros around him. Being less social isn’t going to kill him. Besides being deprived of a good snog for the past month, I’d say he’s living the life of an average nerd with no social standing. I heard he aced his last Potions essay. So in a twisted sense, we’re helping him out with his studies.”
“Isn’t that sort of contradictory?” This whole plan was meant to ruin him, and yet, we’re somehow improving his academic profile in the process.
“Sort of, but I found some mercy in him. He literally has nothing. This whole week, he hasn’t spoken to anyone except his professors. So we have to give him something, we’re not demonic school girls. Irregardless, this week is going to be important because you’re going to come out as a couple with Sirius. Right?” She nudges my shoulder.
“Yes,” I drag out exasperatedly. “Eventually we will come out as a couple. But we have to kiss first.”
“And when Amos sees you two practically eating each other’s faces off, he’ll go berserk and get very emotional. He’ll want you back. This will fully complete stage three of the Six Ways agenda. He’ll see how strong and confident you are, and how Sirius is treating you. He’ll be crawling back because no woman’s touched him for weeks now. But you’ll calmly turn him down; this will make him realize what he’s done. Not to mention the affect he’ll have on people. Now that he doesn’t have a social life, the few friends he has will be gone.”
“Yeah, I remember that part- he’ll go ranting to his friends and complain about how much is life sucks and how much he misses me,” I wheedle. “But Amos was never the ranting type, besides ranting about how perfect he was, that selfish bastard…” I shake my head.
Klara shakes her head, getting me to shut up, “Yeah, sure, he was a troll- ANYWAY, it doesn’t matter if he’s the type. It’s going to be all he’ll think about. Ergo, he’ll turn into an emotional seventeen year old girl on the first day of her menstrual cycle. And then BAM, his last standing friends won’t stand him anymore. They’ll run off and he’ll be all lonesome with his pathetic thoughts.”
Her excitement and graphic detail is very alarming. “Klara, you should really work for some sort of secret service. You are way to into this,” I tell her as we turn the corner and head towards the Great Hall for lunch.
“I’m an adorable Hufflepuff geek with a lack of entertainment in my life,” she defends with a laugh. “Gimme a break. I’m expressing my feminism and my hatred towards men in a fun game against horrible ex-boyfriends.”
Wow, that’s a mouthful.
“Not all men…” I try to hid my smile but nothing gets past Klara Isaacs.
“What do you mean, Nat?” She hesitantly opens the door to the Great Hall but stops to turn to me.
“Oh, nothing. Just that I’ve been noticing some long ye gazing between you and a certain someone…”
Named Remus Lupin.
She turns red on the spot. “I have no idea what you’re babbling about,” she says at lightening speed. Swinging the door with super strength, she practically power walks to our usual spot with the boys, leaving me at the entrance as I slide through.
While walking behind Klara, I can’t stop myself from giggling. Remus and her totally have an eye-romance going on.
“I think pink panties are cute,” is the first thing I hear when I take my usual seat between Klara and Sirius.
I give all the marauders a quizzical look. “Did I just hear what I think I just heard?”
“Yes,” James says fruitfully. “Remus was indeed talking about his new pink fetish.”
Remus feigns laughter and makes a mocking face. “HA- HA- HA. You’re unbelievably hilarious.”
James Potter smiles and shrugs proudly, “I try.” He pats Remus on the shoulder but Remus is clearly not amused.
And yet, Peter and Sirius are still laughing.
“What Prongs is trying to say-” But Klara cuts Peter off with a firm hand.
“Please, save us the embarrassment.”
Peter just raises his eyebrows playfully and smiles jokingly. “Alright, your loss.”
Nothing good could have come from that conversation.
“How was your day?” Sirius asks, diverting his attention to me.
“It was good.” Without knowing it, we end up just smiling at each other.
We keep smiling at each other until someone throws a bread roll at our faces.
“Oi, two o’clock,” James alerts with food coming out of his mouth. His cheeks are filled with food to the point where they look like they’re going to burst.
Hiding my disgust, I look to the left of me to see what James has so feverishly brought to my attention.
I gasp, and immediately hold Sirius Black’s hand. “It’s Amos,” I say nervously.
A brooding, angry look Amos.
Who is stalking his way over here with an angry set of eyeballs.
All directed towards the boy on my left.
Sirius looks worried about me. “Why do you look scared?” His eyes follow mine, and he turns his head ever so slightly to Amos Diggory.
I gulp nervously. “Yeah.”
Amos is stomping his way to our table from across the Great Hall, with a defiant look on his face. Oh, boy.
“Maybe he won’t even stop by our table. Maybe he’s just looking for something.”
“Sirius,” I say, “His eyes are staring right at you. He’s never confronted the two of us, at least not when we’re together.”
Klara said the visual of him seeing us together was enough to ‘stab him softly in the chest with helplessness’ or something like that.
Sirius throws me a small smirk. “Relax. What’s the big deal?”
I shouldn’t be so nervous. It’s not like I’m scared… But you should see the way Amos is looking at him. How can Sirius be so calm? He has fire in his eyes. This is going to put a bit of a hitch in our plan.
I lean over to Klara. “I thought you said he’d be more reserved and soft-spoken, not confrontational!” I lethally whisper.
Klara throws me a pathetic smile. “I think I underestimated the man’s feelings. Er..”
I raise my eyebrows, motioning her to do something. Or tell me why this is happening.
“Perhaps it’s a negative trigger to all this alone time,” she tries explaining to me quickly. “Amos is probably so fed up with not being around girls that he can’t take seeing you two so close to each other. It’s teasing him, maybe. The whole school is convinced you guys are a couple yet you haven’t made yourselves exclusive. So maybe he’s at the edge of his seat and he’s gotten tired of it.”
My face is deadpan. “So you’re saying he’s walking over here to pick a fight with Sirius because he can’t take it anymore?” I demand quickly under my breath.
“No! I’m saying that it’s sort of a last effort for him. This is the only anger he has in his body right now and it’s directed towards Sirius out of jealousy. After this, he’ll fizzle and just wallow. I’m sure of it! He’ll be emotionally drained. This is his last shot, then he’ll give up!” Klara reassures me with alarming eyes.
This is moving too fast! Everything in our plan is working out on its own accord; it’s all out of order! Leave it to Klara to not have a back up plan in case something went wrong…
My back stiffens. I stand up straighter and turn my head around.
“Diggory,” Sirius greets, unimpressed. He folds his hands in front of his lap.
“I need to talk to you outside.” Amos says this calmer than I would have thought.
I look into my ex boyfriend’s eyes and I can tell that there’s actual pain behind his façade. I bite my lip and stare at my plate.
“Nonsense. You want to talk to me? Talk to me,” Sirius replies, opening his hands to display a sense of openness at our table. “Surely you can say what you need to say in front of my mates.”
Amos huffs for a minute too long before responding. “I hear you’re dating my girl. And I want to know if it’s true.”
My mouth drops. I am not his girl! I look at Sirius Black to see what he has to say, but his smug expression is a silent reply all by itself.
My ex boyfriend broods even more. “Well? Is it true?”
Sirius sighs. “Firstly, she isn’t your girl. If I remember correctly she broke up with you because of your lamentable lack of respecting a single lady at a time. Second, it is NONE, and I mean absolutely NONE, of your business what she does and who she does it with.”
How does he come off as aggressively protective and charmingly classy all at once? Only he could pull off both.
I smile, resting assured that Amos really is harmless. No need to fret. “Is that enough of an answer for you?”
The question surprises even me when it comes out of my mouth. Amos Diggory is taken aback for a moment and then looks at me.
“We’ll see if it’s enough of an answer.”
Pfft, as if. “You don’t need an answer, period,” I stay strongly, looking him dead in the eyes. I’m not glaring at him or threatening him, but my strong statement sends the same message of distaste.
Sirius sticks his thumb out to me behind his shoulder. “What the lady said,” he backs up, with a small smirk.
Amos gives Sirius a long hard look, up and down, like a bully ready to attack a small miscreant. Except, well, it’s sort of comical because it makes him look more pathetic. How could I have ever been interested in this guy? He uses his confidence to put other people down, and then when he doesn’t have any confidence of his own, he tries to feign it to get it back. He has no integrity at all. He wants power. Too bad I’ve stopped giving it to him.
Amos’s face looks threatened, but he hides it behind a smug face. But it’s totally breakable. He’s scared, and embarrassed. “Yeah, whatever. I’m just surprised she’d stoop so low.”
That’s the last thing he says before stalking off back to his table with all of his two friends.
“What a tosspot. What did he think he was going to prove? He’s such an attention hog,” Klara comments, taking a mean stab into her chicken with her fork. “And you thought it would turn into an ego showdown…”
I’m a bit red at her comment, as everyone at the table is silent and looking at me. “Yes, okay. Maybe I was worried but you were right.” I stick my tongue out secretly. “There, I said it.”
She smiles in a gloating manner as Remus Lupin voices his opinion. “The guy’s a total slug. He makes me want to stick this fork into my eye.” He raises said eating utensil.
“Same here, Moony.” James shakes his head is disappointment. “He’s embarrassing.”
I loop my arm around Sirius’s and he slightly turns his head to the right. “See? No big deal.”
“You were good,” I confess, not trying to hide how impressed I am.
He smiles at me when he sees my face. “Of course I was, I know his kind.” He pretends to brush off dust from his shoulder. “No sweat.”
He is the cutest thing ever.
Wait, I didn’t just think that.
“Dork,” I tease.
“Oh my god, I am going to vomit,” James Potter declares, putting down his silverware.
Sirius feigns an expression similar to being put off. “Now, now, Prongs. The pot is calling the kettle black, no? Who was it last year that serenaded Evans at the bottom of the girls’ staircase in the common room?”
James’s lips purse together. “That was one time…”
“Seven, actually.” Remus Lupin agrees, wags his finger.
“Pfft,” James waves off. “Details…”
While we resume our lunch Klara and Remus talk in hushed tones and I stare at them for a bit. I try not to smirk, of course. She’ll see me and kick me under the table…
“Why are you staring at them?” Sirius quizzically asks me after a few long minutes. I’m still looking at Remus and Klara, though, afraid I’ll miss her cheeks going red about something.
“I think they like each other,” I say softly, turning back to Sirius.
He juts his lip out in and shrugs, “Maybe.” He turns to me. “I see you trying to hide your smile. Are you waiting for something embarrassing to happen?”
I smile at him, the little devil. “Kind of. Klara blushes sometimes for no reason and it’s fun to watch. I think it’s cute. How did you guess?”
“One of my former ex girlfriends used to do that to her mates. Except she wasn’t so playful about it. She’d wait until she could witness something gossip worthy and then laugh about it. She was quite bitch-y. Liked sending her friends secret notes of discomfort and watching them turn scarlet in shame. Not a quality I particularly liked about her,” he finishes in a pensive state of mind. Probably reminiscing about his past dating life; and the vast majority of women he’s courted.
I wonder… he never talks to me about his past girlfriends. I’m sorta surprised he’s actually mentioned one of them. Sirius told me that there was ‘plenty of time for that kind of rubbish’ and that we should be focusing more on said plan of vengeance. Although I’m very curious about his life.
“Well you won’t have to worry, because I actually like seeing my best friend blush out of the sheer joy of awkward flirting. Not because of gossip.” I tilt my head to the side to prove my point.
“Don’t give me that triumphant look, woman,” Sirius raises his eyebrow. “No need to throw me that. I already knew that you weren’t like the other girls I dated.”
My eyebrows come together in confusion for a millisecond before I catch what he’s just said, but the second is gone and the moment is past, and we’re holding hands now.
“So,” he begins, putting down his pumpkin juice and slapping his left hand on his leg. “I wanted to know what you’d be doing tonight.”
I blink. “Oh. Tonight? Nothing, maybe studying for Potions. Why?”
Excitement builds in me as I wait for his reply. I love it when he asks me what I’m doing later on - because it means he has something planned for the both of us. And he always chooses to do the best stuff. One time, he showed me a secret passage to Honeydukes and I nearly wet myself. I’ve never had so much fun fake-dating someone! Even when I was seeing other guys , their dates are nowhere near as wonderful and creative as Sirius Black’s, let me tell you.
Sirius just stalls by saying, “Well…” and bobbing his head left and right.
I punch him in the arm. “Tell me! Another date? Where to? Are we going to use the invisibility cloak again?!”
His eyes grow a bit wide at my level of loudness. “Oi, let’s keep it to a dull whisper,” he voices.
“Sorry,” I say giddishly. “Spill it!”
“Well,” Sirius starts with a smile, taking my hand in his. “I wanted to know if you’d like to accompany me to the annual Quidditch banquet tonight.”
Oh. My. Avocado.
“Oh,” my mouth drops. “Holy crap! Wow… Yes! What is it?” I ask wondrously, a thousands volts of eagerness surging through me.
“It’s a reserved banquet for all the Quidditch teams each year. After dinner, the Great Hall is reserved for us players, and it’s a banquet of achievement. We get rewards and talk and have a good time, I guess. And I thought I’d bring you. It’s a quiet and reserved event, so I thought you might enjoy that. You get to dress up, if that makes it any better.”
“Are you kidding me?! I’m definitely there!” This is so great! I didn’t even know this existed, and he’s so sweet to even consider bringing me to this banquet. “I’ve never heard of a banquet for the Quidditch players; did Hogwarts always have this?”
“I’m glad you’ve decided to come with me,” he smiles, “And no, it’s a tradition we’ve just started a few years back. I’ve never brought a guest before so I thought now would be a good time to start.” He looks into my eyes and I swear I saw them twinkle.
For a moment I forget what to say. “Well,” I inhale, taking this all in, “What’s the dress code? Gown and tuxedo?”
He laughs. “Hardly. It’s a suit and tie event, and perhaps a nice evening dress. But no gowns. I may have to leave you in the common room if you walk down the stairs with tulle and tafetta.”
How exciting, a secret social event for Quidditch players! And I get to go! Wait until I tell Klara, she’s going to pee herself. Oh, Merlin. Maybe I shouldn’t tell her. Heaven knows she’ll be throwing heels at my face again and coming at my eyebrows with tweezers that look like medieval torture devices.
Sirius Black’s eyes begin examining my face. I’m not sure why….
“But you’ll have to skip dinner, since we’ll be eating later on. Around 8 o’clock. Is that okay?”
“That’s more than okay,” I ensure. “I’ve never been to one of these things!” I start bouncing in my seat. “And this will be a great opportunity to seal the deal and make ourselves exclusive.” Oh, this is perfect. How classy would it be to come as Sirius’s date at a secret gathering for the Quidditch community?
His face gets more pensive, and then he snaps out of it. “What?” comes out of his mouth before he registers what I’ve just said. Giving me a once over, he concludes with a “Oh, yeah. Right. The exclusive couple thing. Yes, good thinking.”
I get this quizzical feeling for the rest of lunch, as we eat surrounded by small talk. Didn’t Sirius invite me because of our plan? Wouldn’t he have known that before acting surprised in the first place? Strange…
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