Chapter 3 : Party Time and a Kiss With a Fist
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At 8 o’clock that evening, Sirius climbed up to the attic and knocked on Marion’s door. The house was uncharacteristically quiet at this time of evening, but you couldn’t hear much going on downstairs from up in the attic anyway. She only opened it a crack of the way to see who it was, and then pulled him through the space, shutting it again quickly behind him. She didn’t say a word, not even a quick ‘come in’.
As she sat down casually on her bed, Sirius looked around her room with interest. He had never seen a girl’s room before, well not at their homes anyway, only their dormitories at Hogwarts. It intrigued him. There was a drape hanging down over her bed and the sheets were silk. The satin curtains blew in the warm breeze as the window to the balcony was open wide. There were pictures on the walls of Marion and her friends at Hogwarts. Sirius looked at them all individually. There was one of her and Lily sitting by the lake, Lily with a book in her lap as usual; one of her, himself, James and Colleen, another quidditch team mate, after a successful match; one of her and James before Hogwarts at one of their parents parties and one of her when she was 9, Johnny was 5, Mischa was 14 and Val was 13 with their father. He was grinning and laughing in the photo, tickling Marion in the side with the arm he had around her. She giggled and writhed in the moving picture. Sirius smiled slightly, and then an abrupt cough snapped him out of his daze. He turned to face Marion, who was looking at him funny from the bed.
“So, Black, had any bright ideas?” She asked him, beckoning for him to sit with her. He did so without a second thought.
“Hey, you're the brains of the operation.” he pointed out cheekily and she rolled her eyes, sighing heavily.
“Yes, I suppose that's better than having you in charge.” she threw back. “You’re not fit to be in charge over anything more important than a 3-course meal.”
Sirius shook his head, chuckling. Marion definitely knew how to combine an insult and a joke. She thought hard and drummed her fingernails on her thigh idly for a few moments before turning to Sirius and shuffling closer to him, moving to where he perched on the side of the bed from her spot in the middle. When she saw the look on his face caused by him thinking, she raised her eyebrows in a mixture of amusement and disbelief.
“Don’t hurt yourself, Black. You have precious few brain cells to spare.” She muttered. He frowned at her, but she wasn’t paying attention. “If we could just get into her head and know what annoys her most.” she mused.
“Other than us, you mean.” Sirius laughed. Marion hit his arm and gave him a ‘you’re not helping’ glare. “Well you're her daughter you must know something.” Marion turned to face him, her brow pinched.
“Believe me, I’ve tried every trick in the book over the past 16 years, and have never caused so much as one hour’s worth of damage. The woman’s a block of ice. And she’s the most calculating, cunning, conniving bitch I have ever worked with.” she strained.
“Ah, I knew you had to get it from somewhere.” Sirius joked causing Marion to slap his arm again, harder this time. “Ow!” he complained, but she wasn’t listening. They sat in silence for a moment longer, the same look of intense concentration etched on Marion’s beautiful face. Her bright turquoise eyes stared off into the middle distance.
“Come on, you must have something.” He said eventually. “Like you said, you’re the expert.”
“All I know is she hates public humiliation. She’s good at handling it, but it’s the best way to get to her. That’s the trick I’ve had the most luck with.” She said, looking at him, wondering what they could do with that.
As they were thinking, an owl swooped in and landed on the bedpost, dropping a letter there next to them on the quilt. It flew out again as Sirius reached over and picked it up. Marion plucked it out of his grip quickly before he could even realise what she had done. She opened it and pulled out the parchment and began to read, Sirius looking over her should to try and read it too.
You and all your folks are invited to my end of summer bash on the 29th of August. It's gonna rock so don't miss it. Be at my house at 7and bring as many of your family as you want. There are gonna be a lot of people there because my parents are inviting their higher ups from work, so even your mom will be occupado and won’t spoil our fun. I know she has a thing about social circles.
Marion and Sirius smiled and looked at each other simultaneously, with a sneaking suspicion that they were thinking the same thing. Marion stood up, continuing to read the letter. Sirius got up and followed her to try and keep reading over her shoulder as she paced up and down, the cogs and gears in her brain working so hard they were nearly audible to him. When she suddenly stopped walking, he was too close to her to stop so bumped into her back, and she looked over her shoulder to see how close he was. She rolled her eyes and ignored it even though he didn’t move.
“Higher-ups from the American Magical Government, eh?” she said slyly. Sirius nodded.
“I think we just got lucky, Preston.” He agreed. He then realised the unfortunate phrasing as she looked at him in surprise and distaste. “You know what I meant.” He said.
“Yeah, at some point during this party we have to make her look bad in front of these ‘higher-ups’. She would be mortified. These government officials won’t know anything about all the rumours floating around at the Ministry at home about her so she’ll be all out to impress to boost her status.” Marion deduced. Sirius nodded.
“I don’t even think we would need to make anything up. We would only be passing on common knowledge. Technically we wouldn’t even be doing anything wrong.” He said cleverly. Marion gave an impressed smirk.
“I like the way you think, Black. That’s the sort of logic I can get behind.” She said as she turned to give Sirius the letter so he could show everyone else, and realised how close to her he still was. His head was practically resting on her shoulder. She smirked again, know amused at the mild shock on his face, and gave him the letter between her two forefingers. He took it and left without a word. She stared after him with her hands on her hips and shaking her head.
‘Poor old Black’ she thought ‘he doesn't know when he's getting too close for comfort.’
The next day, the whole family were in the living room talking about the party. Sirius and Marion had eagerly spread the word in the hopes that more people would be there to witness their prank. Unfortunately, Val was putting up a bit of a fight. Marion knew he would be the hardest to convince to go seeing as he didn’t like Kyle all too much anyway. He didn’t like straying too far from his bedroom. He liked the quiet and solitude. Parties were not his thing at all.
“I'm not going.” Val said sternly, hatred lacing his words.
“Oh, don't be such a wet blanket, Val.” giggled Mischa. Val's face didn't soften. His sister punched his arm gently before walking over to their younger sister.
“C'mon, go for Marion. Who knows what they could do if her protective big brother isn't there to stop it, huh?” Mischa gave her younger brother puppy dog eyes and Marion nodded with a cheeky grin, causing the others to smirk and their mother to look horrified, although she herself was known for that sort of behaviour.
“Maybe I could make an appearance.” Val moaned gruffly as he gave up. Everyone knew he didn't like Kyle. Ryan scooted over and wrapped an arm around Mischa.
“Well I personally think it’d do you good, Val.” He drawled in his native accent. “It’s kinda sad seeing you holed up in that room of yours 24/7. We worry about you, buddy.”
“You shouldn’t. I’m fine.” Val grumbled. He frowned. He didn’t like other people questioning the way he lived his life, even if their hearts were in the right place. This was where his mother always pushed his buttons.
“Oh, Valkyrie, why you have to shut yourself away all the time I’ll never know.” She huffed, examining her reflection in her compact. “Don’t you want to make connections with other humans?”
“Not the same ones you do.” He mumbled, causing everyone else to laugh, even the Potters. Persephone abruptly shut her compact and wrinkled her nose in distaste, but chose to pretend she hadn’t heard him.
The night of the party came sooner than anyone thought it would. The rest of the summer just flew by. Marion and Lily were really looking forward to getting dressed up. Well, Marion was. Lily did like to look her best at these things, and liked a good time, but was less conscious about her looks. She sat on the floor of Marion's bedroom playing with the shoes she had already thrown out of her wardrobe while Marion was still sifting through her clothes, throwing many on the floor as she violently searched for the perfect outfit.
“Marion, are you sure you haven't found the perfect outfit yet?” Lily whined, “You've tossed aside some pretty cool ones.”
Marion's head emerged from the closet and looked at her red headed friend sternly, causing Lily to put her hands up in surrender and go back to playing with the discarded shoes. She had already chosen what she was going to wear, but she was definitely the more organised of the two of them. When Marion emerged again, she was holding a cute black number with small white polka dots. She was mumbling to herself, which never boded well.
“I suppose this will do with the right accessories...” she muttered as she made her way to the jewellery rack on her vanity. She walked right past Lily, ignoring her question. That annoyed Lily. Marion continued mumbling nervously to herself; she sounded like an absolute nutter. Lily got up and strolled over to her, turning her violently so they were face to face and shook her by the shoulders.
“Calm down you mad woman!” she cried and Marion nodded, realising she was too nervous to even think straight.
“Sorry, Red.” she said, “I can't help it. It's the last time I'm seeing Kyle until Christmas. I need to look perfect.” Lily looked at her friend in utter disbelief.
“You ALWAYS look perfect, Marion.” she said, stopping Marion as she riffled through the necklaces. “There’s a reason why all the boys at school love you, and all the girls hate you.” She smiled on Lily and dropped what she was holding. She took a few deep breaths.
“Now, let’s get dressed before mum comes flouncing in here asking why we’re taking so long.” She said, picking up the black and white spotted dress from the floor and walking over to the bed with Lily where she had laid out her clothes.
As the rest of the family waited downstairs for Lily and Marion to make their grand entrance, Sirius tapped his foot impatiently and turned to James, who looked just as annoyed. They had expected that they would take the longest to get ready, but they were already late and they had been looking forward to this party too.
“For the amount of time this is taking they better look like bloody angels!” he whispered harshly. James didn't reply as his attention was drawn by two figures descending the stairs. At a first glance, they did look like angels. When Sirius saw them, he couldn't believe what he was seeing. First was Lily, whose flaming hair was dead straight and billowing over her shoulders. She was wearing a white fitted dress down to her knees with sequins down the front with a grey, long cardigan and pumps.
As she walked to Mischa, the second figure became clearer. A brunette girl with an angelic face and bright turquoise eyes. She was wearing the cute little black and white spotted dress which flared out at her knees with matching accessories and a sequinned black cardigan. She wore black heels to match and she was one of the very few women out there who could walk in them looking elegant and not taking so much as a stumble. As she went to join her sister and friend, she turned to Sirius and snapped him out of his daze.
“Shut your mouth, Black you'll catch flies.” she giggled, joined by the other girls. Sirius scowled at them. The entire family - including the reluctant Val - used side-along apparation to get to the party. It was a very adolescent gathering for the most part. There was a disco ball, the dance floor was made of panels that lit up different colours whenever someone stepped on them, and the music was blasting. Kyle greeted them all and directed the adults to another room where his parents were having their own party. Sirius and Marion muttered a quick consensus to each other that later on when everyone had arrived, they would slip in and begin the gossip chain.
Val was meant to go with them, but had strongly suggested that he ought to stay. Kyle allowed him although he warned him that he wouldn't enjoy himself much. Val had said quite harshly that he would rather take his chances than leave his sister unattended (although Mischa had stayed as her fiancée Ryan had begged her to). Kyle kissed Marion gently before guiding her to the dance floor. Johnny was dancing with Lily, she giggled as he showed off to her. James a Sirius were left alone on the side-lines, huffing and puffing as they watched the others having fun. Kyle had invited loads of students from Lamontwood who had no idea who was popular from Hogwarts. They were completely out of their comfort zone. James voiced his outrage as he watched Lily dancing around with Johnny. It was only a laugh but still, James couldn’t get that much out of her.
“How the hell is this possible? The bloody 12 year old is having more luck with her than I am!” he sighed angrily. Sirius nodded but he was looking at Marion dancing with Kyle. Kyle wasn't much of a dancer but Marion was amazing. She twisted and twirled to the music with beauty unknown. Sirius had no idea why he couldn't stop looking at her. ‘It must he the nymph thing’ he thought. He had no clue about nymphs apart from they were beautiful and Marion was one. ‘Yeah, that must be it’ He told himself.
Soon he and James were just moving along with everyone else to the usual tunes. The Beatles, ABBA, that sort of thing seeing as Kyle was an advocate for muggle music. Marion bought him some records over from England and he found them most intriguing. Val watched from elsewhere, scowling at Kyle every time he got so much as an inch closer to Marion. He was the only person not having a good time by this point. Marion and Lily were both a bit tipsy, but Lily was a lightweight and Marion had quite a strong stomach.
Marion was dancing with Kyle when she looked across the room and saw Lily looking rather green by the beverages. Her face sank out of its wide grin as she saw her friend retching with a cup in her hand. She told Kyle she wouldn't be a minute and walked over to Lily, putting an arm around her and rubbing her back. She took the cup off of her and placed it back on the drinks table. James a Sirius saw this and thought that this was an amazing opportunity to escape the awkwardness of not being able to get a date and followed Marion guiding her drunken red-headed friend out into the back alley.
Marion burst through the door just in time as Lily threw up in between the rubbish bags and skips. James and Sirius winced as they stepped outside and smelled the vomit. Marion was tenderly rubbing Lily's back and holding her hair up as she puked. James held his breath and Sirius retched slightly. There seemed to be a never-ending stream of vomit coming out of her. Even Marion was forgetting to be sensitive.
“Jesus, Lily. Anymore? God, I could swear I just saw last weeks’ Mushu Pork come out of you.” Marion said as she continued watching her friend throw up. She groaned as more came out. She turned to face the boys, who looked equally as disgusted.
“Black, can you please go and tell Kyle that this is going to take a while?” she asked. He nodded and walked back into the party room, just glad for the opportunity to get away from the smell. He wasn't prepared for what he saw. When he scoured the dance floor for Kyle, he saw him and another girl dancing together. She was blonde with curly hair, but she wasn’t as conventionally pretty as Marion from what Sirius saw. At first he hoped somewhat naively it was just his friend but then he saw him kiss her. Violently and lustfully. Sirius felt the small amount of distain he had for Kyle multiply a thousand fold in a single moment. Clenching his jaw, he stomped back out to the back alley without a word.
Marion looked up as she heard Sirius return. She was on the alley floor hugging Lily, who looked really ill. James was still standing well back and had his nose wrinkled in distaste. The smell was foul, but Sirius didn’t really notice now. He didn’t want to have to tell Marion this. He wouldn’t want to tell anyone this. His face dropped from one of anger to uncertainty. Marion looked at him expectantly.
“What did he say, Black?” she asked. A bubble of guilt welled in Sirius' stomach as he took a deep breath.
“Pads, what's wrong?” asked James. Sirius stuttered and looked at Marion, she suddenly looked serious.
“What?” she asked sternly, a little annoyed at is silence.
“There's something you need to see. Prongs, look after Lily.” Sirius said. Marion got up and Lily gave a shaky sigh of annoyance as James sat with her and the other two left. To be honest James didn’t look too thrilled either. Even looking after Lily wasn’t something he wanted to do with the smell of rotting rubbish and vomit in the air.
Sirius didn't say anything as he showed Marion back into the party room and pointed out to the dance floor. At first she had no idea what she was supposed to be looking at when she follow the direction of his finger, but then she saw what it was Sirius meant. She saw Kyle kissing the other girl. Anger welled inside her and her fists clenched, aching with something to hit.
“Preston, I am seriously so sor-” Before Sirius could stop her, Marion had stridden out on to the dance floor and approached the pair, who hadn’t even pulled away from each other long enough to see her coming.
“Enjoying yourself, are we?” she sneered. Kyle turned and before he could say anything or even see who was addressing him, her fist collided with the smug and dazed look on his face.
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