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Chapter 14 : Inconvenient Feelings
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After that massacre of a ball it had been a relief to go home for Christmas break. It was two weeks of non-Sirius bliss and "inner" healing time, if you will. Of course, I still broke down every now and then when I saw something that reminded me of him. Which was basically everything, all the time.
I had never realized how much Sirius-related stuff covered my room until I started throwing it away. There was a scrap of paper that had "Mrs. Lacy Black" scribbled all over it, a twig from his broomstick that fell off during a Quidditch game, several pictures of him that I drew, and more things that I'm too embarrassed to even think about. All of it went in the trash can except for a few lucky items that got put into a "Sirius" box of things that I couldn’t part with just quite yet and was stored in the darkest corner of my closet.
But besides all of my purging the best part about Christmas was that I got new glasses that didn’t eat up my entire face and a new hair serum that de-frizzed my unruly curls. It was amazing how much better I looked with just a few improvements. I was still fat but at least I wasn’t fat and hideous. Even though I looked significantly better though, I was freaking out a little about going back to Hogwarts. I wasn't quite sure how I was going to act if I saw him but fortunately I had a whole train ride to think about all of the ways I could ignore Sirius. Or maybe I should start calling him Black now, like Lily refers to James as Potter.
My parents dropped me off at Platform 9 3/4 like always, this time however they were just a little more reluctant to let me go.
"Lucy, honey we're just worried about you," my Mum said patting my shoulder, "you seemed so down over Christmas, are you sure there's nothing wrong? Is it a boy? Are you on good terms with your friends? Are you -"
"Margaret, leave the poor girl alone!" my Dad came to the rescue. Then he leaned down so only I could hear him as my Mum distracted herself chatting with another parent, "But if you do need anything Luce just send an owl," he winked at me as he slipped me galleon. Gotta love dads.
Thankfully then I spotted Lily and Bridgette waving me over to them so I gave my parents each a quick kiss on the cheek and a hug goodbye and rushed over to the train door where they were waiting.
"Thank god you guys are here! My mum was just about to drive me mental!"
They laughed at my facial expression and we chatted a bit about how our breaks had gone, just giving the highlights. It was painfully obvious that we were all not talking about the one thing we were all curious about, which was where each of us had been after the ball, but no one wanted to be the first to broach the subject. Just then Lily got a startled look on her face.
"Um lets get on the train," she stammered nervously.
"But it doesn’t leave for another 20 minutes - " Bridgette tried to cut in.
"NOW," Lily said almost frantically, pushing us towards the door.
I looked in the direction she was staring and saw her reasoning. James Potter, Sirius Black, and Remus Lupin were all walking somewhat purposefully in our direction. Fortunately, they were far enough away that we could make a clean get away. Bridgette, noticing the same thing, rushed onto the train behind us. We searched the hallway until we came upon an empty compartment then we rushed in, locked the door, and pulled the blind down.
"Well that was an exciting way to start off the second half of the school year," Bridgette said sarcastically as she threw her trunk up onto the top storage rack.
Lily flung herself onto the seat by the window and let out a sigh of relief, "Do you think they saw us?"
Before either of us could answer her there was a loud knock at the door, "Oi Evans? You in there?"
"Um, yep, I think they saw us," I whispered back, barely breathing.
Lily gave us the signal to all stay quiet and we barely moved an inch, listening to the voices outside the door.
"Maybe they're not in there Prongs," we heard Remus say.
"C'mon Moony, who would pull down the compartment blind if they weren't trying to hide from someone?" I heard Sirius say. I hated that his voice still sent shivers down my spine.
"Evans I am going to camp right outside this door for the entire train ride unless you talk to me, and we all know you're going to have to come out eventually," Potter said through the door.
I crawled over to Lily as quietly as I could and whispered to her, "Lily do something! I don’t know if you noticed but he is being even more persistent than usual so you can either tell us what really happened the night of the Ball or you can go out there and tell them to go away!"
Lily's eyes got wider from my threat and she cleared her throat, "Is there a third option?"
I rolled my eyes at her, not quite sure when we switched personalities, and walked over to the door.
"Lucy no!" Bridgette cried.
"I'm sending them away Bridge, not letting them in," I said. Then I took a deep breath channeling that inner Gryffindor courage and slid out of the door, shutting it behind me.
My breath caught in my throat when I came face to face with Sirius, James and Remus. I really REALLY hated how even though Sirius had humiliated me, my feelings for him didn't just conveniently go away. It's hard to explain how you can still feel something for someone who hurt you but it just kind of sticks around in your gut and clenches tighter when you see them. It's a pain that hurts but is addicting at the same time.
"Where's Evans?" Potter wanted to know.
"Not coming out," I said stronger than I felt, "and it would be great if you could all leave about (I looked down at an imaginary watch on my wrist) now."
They all looked somewhat shocked that I had said that to them. Me, Lucy Davis, finally getting some (figurative) balls. I hoped that I looked more intimidating than I felt.
"Lucy can I just -" Sirius started to say.
"You can do whatever the hell you want Sirius," I said indifferently, looking him straight in those gorgeous grey eyes, "as long as it doesn't involve me," then I turned to the rest of them, "Now go away!"
"But I need to talk to Evans!" Potter protested.
With that I turned on my heel and went back into the compartment, locking the door behind me, "They're gone."
Lily and Bridgette just stared at me in awe.
Lily spoke up first, "Lucy when did you turn into - "
"Lily!" Bridgette finished.
I blushed, pleased by their praise, and sat back down on my seat, "Oh shut it."
The rest of the train ride went by, thankfully, with no interruptions and we arrived at Hogwarts before we knew it. It still bothered me that we hadn't discussed what had happened the night of the ball. Every time that I brought it up both Lily and Bridgette would all of a sudden be very interested in something else. It felt like they were both trying to hide something and I was determined to get down to the bottom of it.
Something else that bothered me was that I now felt people staring at me in the hallways. Word had spread incredibly fast after the dance about my little showdown with Sirius but I had hoped that the news would diffuse over break. Apparently not. I got a mixture of looks that ranged between pity and encouraging, and it was all sickening.
But none of these things were quite as annoying as Sirius, who would not leave me alone! I literally had to go out of my way, using the most obscure corridors that I could find, to try and avoid him. Every time though, he seemed to pop up wherever I was. It was almost like he had a map that told him my exact location in Hogwarts, but that would be ridiculous.
The old me would've been thrilled that he was making such an effort to talk to me but the new me wanted nothing to do with him. Now that I knew what it felt like to be stalked I was almost sympathetic to his outburst. Almost.
Classes had just resumed as well, and seeing that we were both Gryffindors we shared an extremely similar schedule. It was on my way to one of these classes that fate happened to pop in again, or should I say Sirius.
He was waiting for me around the corner, or at least I assume he was waiting for me since he really had no other reason to be there.
"Lucy," he said standing up straight at my presence.
I rolled my eyes and gave a frustrated groan, "You have got to be kidding me!" I turned around to try and avoid him but he blocked my path.
"Wait! Where are you headed?"
"To class," I said briskly, trying to keep all of my answers as short as possible.
"Great, I'll walk you."
"Fine then I will just walk on this side of the hallway and you can walk on that side, pretending I don’t exist, and we can not walk to class together in the same direction," he joked. He could tell that he was walking on a very fine line so there was a slight hesitation to this statement but for someone who had spent his whole life being confident in who he was he didn't falter very much.
I gave him a glare and without saying another word to him I headed off at a brisk pace towards my next class, Transfiguration. We had only been walking for about 2 minutes when Sirius started to whistle. It's not that he was a bad whistler but for some reason this expression of contentment really annoyed me.
"Will you stop that please?"
"Oh Lucy, funny seeing you here," he said in mock surprise, knowing perfectly well that I had always been there, "Are you headed to Transfiguration as well?"
"You know perfectly well that I've always been here," I said breaking my icy composure for just a minute.
A smirk spread across his face, "I know, but you were just doing so well at ignoring me that I figured you had forgotten I was here so I thought I would remind you."
I stopped dead in my tracks, crossed the hall, and grabbed his arm roughly, "Sirius how can I forget that you are here if you NEVER LEAVE ME ALONE! I get it! I was really annoying when I used to follow you around, your point has been made, now will you please go away!"
For his part he genuinely looked surprised that I had done such an aggressive move against him but his mask of perfect cocky composure quickly replaced it, "Let me apologize properly and maybe I'll leave you alone."
"No," I said coldly turning to walk away. I didn’t want any apology from him, and I certainly wasn't ready to forgive him. Bitterness can last a long time, especially when you're a girl.
This time it was his turn to grab my arm. He looked at me straight in the eyes and said, "You do get that you are killing me, right?"
I met his gaze back, "Good, maybe if you're dead you'll leave me alone."
His eyes softened and he let go of my arm, "Lucy please, just let me make this right."
"What if I’m not ready to forgive you?"
"Then I'll just have to keep bugging you until you are," his smirk returned.
I got that same gut-clenching feeling that I always used to get whenever I saw him and I quickly shoved it down into the deepest parts of my mind so that I could try to forget it. I was furious with myself that I still felt something for this arrogant jerk, and I hated that feeling didn’t just conveniently go away when you wanted them to.
I rolled my eyes and moved back to my side of the hall and we walked to class.
Transfiguration was always a class that I used to love because it was something that Sirius enjoyed. From teasing Professor McGonagall to changing a hairpin into a porcupine, he seemed to do everything with ease. I had always enjoyed watching him work because whatever had made him happy, had also made me happy. Now however, it just made me mad. Did that prick always have to show off?
There was a nervous excitement humming throughout the classroom as I went in because since it was the first day of the semester Professor McGonagall was going to give us new seating arrangements. This made me extremely happy since my old seat was in perfect view of Sirius' old seat so I was really hoping to get a seat that was on the other side of the room from him.
Everyone lined up against the back wall as she called out our names in pairs. The right half of the room filled up, including Lily and Bridgette and James who all were seated with their new partners. James was looking particularly spiteful that Lily's new partner was handsome boy that took an immediate liking to her, and Lily was looking everywhere but at James.
McGonagall moved on to the left side of the room and I was immensely relieved when she called Sirius' name paired with a pretty brown haired girl. There was still a part of my (that I ignored) that immediately didn’t like this girl just on principle, but who was I to judge her? It's not like I had, or wanted, any claim to him.
Unfortunately for me, I got in the pairing that sat right behind him. On the bright side, I sat next to a very attractive Slytherin boy who had light brown hair and brown eyes. Who said all Slytherins had to be bad? And it secretly made me happy that I was sitting next to someone that I knew Sirius would automatically hate. Maybe then he would truly leave me alone if he wanted to avoid talking to a Slytherin.
When the entire class had been assigned to their seats, including Remus who sat in the pair right behind me, Professor McGonagall told everyone to introduce themselves to their new partner and then get started on the assignment she had written on the board.
I turned somewhat shyly to my new partner who had an appraising look in his eye. I stuck out my hand, determined to get over the worst part, "Hey, I'm Lucy Davis."
He took my hand an said, "Aidan Malbrook, you're a Gryffindor aren't you?"
I got slightly nervous when he asked me only because there has always been such a tension between Gryffindors and Slytherins that I really didn’t want to start out on a bad note.
"Yeah, what does it matter?"
He held up his hands in mock defense, "Whoa whoa there, calm down little lion, just making an observation," a grin was spreading across his face, "I'll just have to overlook that minor detail and see if you haven't been tainted like the rest of that house."
Realizing that he was joking I laughed, "Well I suppose if you can do that then I can look over the fact that all Slytherins are snakes and blood snobs."
He gave a look of fake astonishment and hurt but I could see a smile peeking through his facade, "Well don't be shy, please tell me how you really feel."
We both laughed at that and I felt like a little kid bursting into a fit of giggles, but for the first time since I had been back at Hogwarts I was starting to feel better about myself.
My new partner and I, however, seemed to be the only ones happy about this new set up. Sirius turned around with an ugly look on his face that told me right away he didn't like this new arrangement, "Did you ever think that maybe the rest of us don't want to hear your manic laughter Malbrook?"
Aidan regarded Sirius with a cold look on his face, "Maybe you should turn around and focus on something else then blood traitor."
Sirius sneered back, "Better a blood traitor in Gryffindor than a cowering idiot in Slytherin."
"At least Slytherins can keep their girlfriends," Aidan said getting a wicked gleam in his eye, "I heard that Lauren Nichols dumped your sorry ass after the Christmas Ball. It's a shock that even you can lose a girl whose that easy."
Sirius looked enraged. I had no idea that him and Lauren weren't together still. I had just assumed that they were since he had chosen her over me at the dance. Since the only thing I wanted right now was for the subject of the dance to be forgotten I cut him off before he could say anything.
"Sirius just leave it alone okay?" and then I turned to Aidan, "and stop being such a jerk."
Both boys looked mildly astonished that I had spoken up but they didn't say anything else but their eyes both said that this conversation wasn’t over yet.
Aidan turned back to me, "We should start on the assignment Lucy, otherwise we wont get it done before class is over."
Sirius gave him one final glare and then turned back around to work with his partner who looked at him with awe and adoration. It was a look I was a little too familiar with to be comfortable…
Class went by in a blur and Aidan was really starting to grow on me. Sure, he had said some mean stuff to Sirius earlier but it wasn’t like Sirius hadn't said anything mean back. We finished our assignment before class was over and when the bell announced that class was finished I got up and started to pack up my things.
"Hey Lucy," Aidan said getting my attention, "What are you doing this weekend?"
I was a little taken aback by his forwardness and didn’t really know what to think about it. I wasn't used to boys paying this much attention to me. I snuck a glance over at Sirius who was also in the process of packing up his things but had momentarily gone still. I don’t know why I looked at him, or why it made me secretly pleased that he was now noticing that I was being noticed but I quickly shook off the feeling.
"Um, nothing yet, why?"
"Well there's this party after the Slytherin vs. Gryffindor Quidditch match this Saturday in the dungeons and I was wondering if you wanted to come?"
That really got Sirius' attention, "Bit soon to be planning a victory party isn't it?" he asked, "Especially since we're going to slaughter you."
"I don’t believe I was inviting you Black," Aidan said with spite.
"I don’t know Aidan," I said cautiously, " I mean thank you for inviting me but I don’t know if they'd want a Gryffindor there."
"I would want you there," he said with a charming smile returning to his face.
"Let me think about it okay? I'll let you know tomorrow in class."
"Alright, I'll see you then," he seemed confident as he walked out of the room after that.
A smile played across my lips as I threw my bag over my shoulder and headed out of the classroom. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it very far before Sirius was upon me…again. This was really starting to annoy me.
"Are you seriously even considering going to that mistake of a party?" he asked, disbelief coloring his voice.
"Why wouldn't I?"
He looked at me as if the answer was the most obvious thing in the world, "Because they're Slytherins Lucy! As in bad people, as in Death Eaters in training. He probably only invited you because he thought it would tick me off."
Ok, that made me angry, "Is it honestly such a shock that a guy would ask me out because he actually likes me for me?"
Sirius ran a hand through his hair, realizing what a stupid mistake he had just made, "That's not what I meant Lucy, I just think he's an ass hat who wants to piss me off, not someone who genuinely likes you."
Like that explanation made me feel any better. I mean, who was this kid to think he could just waltz into my life and mess it up over and over again? As far as I was concerned he had had his chance for the past 6 years so there was no way in hell that I was going to give him one now. Especially, not after a comment like that.
I gave him a tight smile that didn't reach my eyes, "Thank you for making this decision so easy for me."
With that I turned on my heel and walked away from him briskly. I had an invitation to accept.
A/N: WOW THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL OF THE LOVELY REVIEWS ON THE LAST CHAPTER!!! they REALLY made my day!!! and I'm so sorry that it's taken me so long to get this one up but not only is validation long right now but I was finishing up my final projects for school so I didn't have any time to write. Anyways, I hope that you all enjoy this chapter! Review if you want to make someone's (mine) day :)
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