Chapter 4 : Secrets
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Chapter Four: Secrets
I knew it wouldn’t be long before Lily asked me why I had whisked Remus away into seclusion at the library. It was obvious I was hiding something from her, and I feared that would hurt her feelings.
But as I lay in my bed, staring up at the ceiling in thought, something occurred to me: If I tell Lily my secret, that would essentially out Remus as well. To explain my sudden interest in him I would have to tell her that he was a werewolf and therefore needed his advice.
Remus’s secret was not mine to tell. I suspected that James, Sirius, and Peter knew. It would explain why they’re protective of him. It would also explain why he was never an object of their trickery.
I also suspected that Remus wouldn’t tell them about me. I can’t claim to know him well, but he seems to be the type to not gossip. And even if he was, the magnitude of my secret should stop him.
By the time the moon had risen high in the sky, I had made a decision.
The next morning, I was cornered in the bathroom by Lily. She shut the door and latched it behind her.
I turned to stare at her, my toothbrush sticking out of my mouth. I was in mid-brush.
“Okay, spill it,” she demanded.
I opened my mouth and a mixture of spittle and toothpaste leaked down my chin.
Lily didn’t find my interpretation of “spill it” as funny as I did. I finished brushing my teeth while she impatiently waited. I was expecting her to start tapping her foot at any moment.
As I dried my mouth with a towel I asked, “Spill what?”
“You know what I’m talking about!” Lily backed up against the counter, leaning against it. She crossed her arms over her chest and looked me straight in the eye. “What’s going on between you and Remus?”
Lily was by no means a gossip monger. She understands the importance of people’s privacy as much as the next woman. But when it came to the matters of the heart, she just couldn’t help herself. I guess that was the hopeless romantic in her. And part of my plan was to play off of that for as long as I could.
Amazingly, as I looked down bashfully I actually did blush. I guess I was a better actor than I thought. “Oh…um…” I stammered. I went back to my daily routine, washing my face and then working on my hair. I never did more than brush it and use bobby pins to pin the bangs back, but today I took extra care in fixing it.
“Do you like Remus?” Lily asked in a scandalous whisper, leaning closer to me as her intent increased.
I gave a tiny nod, not trusting my voice to tell such a lie.
Lily looked as a woman might as she looked upon a fluffy kitten for the first time. The fabricated realization dawned on her and she cooed. “Aww!”
I glowered at her.
Lily looked sheepish. “I’m sorry, Lace, but you’ve never liked a boy before!”
I still don’t, I thought, but I said, “I know…But he’s really sweet.”
“He is!” Lily looked thrilled. “The only problem is those friends of his…” The thought of James brought a scowl to her face. “They would probably try to ruin things for you.”
“But wouldn’t that hurt Remus?” I quickly amended with, “If he likes me, that is.”
Even Lily couldn’t deny the loyalty of the friends. At one point in the past she would have, but I could see her judgments of them were starting to change, especially towards James. But if I said that out loud she would probably box my ears.
“You have to tell him!”
If I had had anything in my mouth, I would have spit it all over Lily when she said that. “W-why?” I sputtered. “Why can’t I admire from afar?”
“Oh, Lacelin, that’s just fear talking,” she smiled encouragingly. “No one can be positive someone likes them until they tell them!”
My face was burning. I knew it must have been redder than the reddest beet. “N-no, no, no!”
Lily gave me a knowing smile, but I could also tell that I had really stepped in it this time. “I’m not going to let my best friend sit around and sigh over a boy without doing something about it!”
“Lily!” I had to take in a breath to come down; my voice had come out in a panicked shriek. “Please, don’t. Not right away, at least.”
Lily looked a little confused, but after a moment she nodded and smiled. “Okay. But you’re not off the hook yet, young lady!” She laughed and flounced out of the bathroom, her long red hair trailing behind her.
I turned to the mirror and noticed my eyebrows were pushed together with worry. I picked up my towel, buried my face in it, and screamed.
x x x
For the rest of the day, every time I would look at Lily I would get a little impish smirk. If for some reason Remus or the others came around, my heart would drop into my foot and I would scoot away as quickly as I could. There was no way they could know about my lie, and I trusted Lily and knew her well enough to know that she wouldn’t go behind my back and tell after I had specifically asked her not too, but my fear and guilt made me afraid of them. I’m sure they noticed, especially Remus. Maybe he would chalk it up to me being afraid of the coming moon?
They wouldn’t be completely wrong, if that’s what they thought. It was under a week until my first moon, and I was starting to feel the anxiety. I was restless and clumsier than usual. I kept dropping things. During charms I accidently sent my inkpot flying through the air. A few Ravenclaws had to dive out of the way before it crashed into the wall over their heads. At meals I knocked the salt over, dropped food in my lap, and on my way back from changing in the dorms, I fell down the stairs.
The only way I could escape this was to tell Lily the truth. But again, that would be outing Remus, a secret that was not mine to tell. I kept revisiting this fact over and over.
I could always ask Remus for permission. Of course, I would have to allow him to tell James, Sirius, and Peter. Would they ridicule me? They didn’t pick on Remus, but he had been their friend for years.
Could they be so protective of Remus because of what he is?
I shook my head and sighed. I needed to pay attention to class, or I would have even more worries than I already did.
x x x
It was Tuesday, September sixteenth, and I was sitting in the alcove of the Gryffindor common room. My charms book was open on my lap, but I was unable to concentrate on it. There were only two nights left before the full moon. Looking up at the night sky, I could see the nearly full orb glaring down on me as if taunting me.
I sighed, dropping my head so that I was looking at my book again. But I just couldn’t make sense of anything tonight. With another sigh, I closed the book. I made a promise to myself to spend this weekend completely dedicated to work.
I screamed and threw my book into the air in surprise. I covered my head so that when it came down it wouldn’t hit me, but it landed on the floor.
Lily bent down and picked it up, looking at me with an expression of surprise. “I didn’t mean to scare you. Merlin, are you okay?”
I nodded, blushing with embarrassment. This whole fiasco was turning me into a nervous wreck. “Sorry, I was completely lost in thought.”
Lily suddenly got a very impish smile on her face. She sat on the alcove across from me, handing me my Charms book. “Daydreaming about Remus?” she said in a sly voice.
“Shh!” I waved my hands at her as if I could dispel the words that were already in the air, and frantically looked around the common room. We were practically alone; most people had already left to go eat dinner.
“Calm down, Lacey,” Lily said as she patted me on the shoulder. “I wouldn’t be that tactless.”
I sighed. “I know, I’m sorry.”
“It’s about time you told him anyway,” Lily said with a smile.
My eyes widened. “Lily, you promised—”
“I know, but look at how you’re acting!” Lily said. “You need to tell him or this anxiety is going to start to affect your schoolwork.”
Well…at least now I have a good excuse for my nerves. “Lily, just let me deal with it, okay?” I asked, pleading with my eyes. “This is my first real crush, remember? I need to figure it out myself.”
Lily blinked and for a few moments she was quiet. Finally, she smiled and nodded, leaning forward to give me a quick hug. “Okay. But remember I’m here for help!”
I nodded and smiled at her, though I was actually smiling from relief. “Let’s go eat, okay?”
As we walked down to the Great Hall, I happened to glance into an alcove in the wall and saw Remus sitting at the window, gazing up at the moon as I’d been doing earlier. As we walked by, he glanced over and gave me a weary smile. I returned the smile, but was careful that Lily didn’t see me.
x x x
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