Chapter 35 : Mad About the Boy
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My eyes were bloodshot and red, my hair scraggly and somewhat matted, skin stained, dirty and discoloured.I just watched in horror and she looked back at me with glassy expressionless eyes, ripped, partially destroyed clothes hanging off an impossibly skinny frame and then she began rocking, a trigger in my mind dragging forward a picture of Cepheus doing the exact same thing.
I looked around me wildly and the rest of the scene began to slot into place, small cramped imposing walls forming from smoke, the light dying and the smell seeming to form itself into a physical presence, hanging above my head like some great beast, attacking with each intake of breath. I felt myself begin to panic as the walls pressed in, the breath squeezed out of my lungs long before the walls had neared me and before me, the scraggly half shadow of a person began to hyperventilate, the mirror image of Cepheus, following suite although they seemed unchanged.
I felt the pain begin to fire through me until eventually, I tried to scream, tried to fight it but I couldn't and slowly, I felt myself begin to break, shattering piece by piece, I tried to suck in another breath, tried to scream once more...
I awoke with a start, thrust into consciousness, my skin burning and sweat pouring off of me as the darkness pressed into me.
There was no constricting feeling though, no tightening walls, no imposing sticky darkness, just clear cold air.
I sat there for a while in my bed, the sheets twisted around me and aching with tiredness but I got up nonetheless, moving to the bathroom and throwing water over my face, unable to stop the weak, sickening shaking running through me. They were getting worse, my nightmares, I could barely remember the last time I'd slept properly, the whole night through, I dreaded the night time, I dreaded the things I'd seen. My visions had slowed during the day, ordinarily I would have been delighted, from 3 - 4 a day it'd gone down to 1 or 2 but my dreams were becoming increasingly disturbing.
I stood over the sink before glancing at myself in the mirror, taking in the ugly circles beneath my eyes. I looked like crap, in fact I looked almost ill. I felt it, I felt tired and...even old.
I hated lying to Sirius, I hated lying to Antony too.
Sirius was a good guy, I think he was pretty much everything you could have asked for in a boyfriend but...I don't know somehow it didn't feel right anymore. Antony didn't make sense, he was too old, too busy and I didn't spend every day with him but he was sweet and I swear that was a quality I never appreciated but I did somehow. He was timid and inoffensive and so terribly...gentle...I don't know why I liked him but I did. I closed my eyes before letting out a sigh, eventually moving back out into my dorm, pulling out a jumper and some shoes before walking out. I didn't really have any destination in mind, I didn't want to talk to anyone and even if I did, it was 1 in the morning, I doubt they'd be all that delighted to hear from me.
I spent the majority of the night out of my dorm before rolling in at about 6, utterly exhausted but reluctant to so much as attempt more sleep.
"Where have you been?" Lily frowned as I shuffled over to my bed.
"Couldn't sleep," I said simply.
I don't think she actually believed me but ah well, she didn't ask any other questions. Katy was still asleep so it was easy to slip into the bathroom after Lily (she got up the same time everyday...unless she was ill...or dying). I breathed a sigh as the water pounded against my skin. I was so glad it was Friday, I was seeing Bridgett later and Antony tomorrow, the latter meeting still requiring some planning. I didn't want to have to cancel but it'd also be folly to go to the Three Broomsticks and then blindly hope that it didn’t end up circulating the school.
I closed my eyes, my body aching feebly but I ignored it as I continued to change and make myself look a little more human. I sat cross legged before the full length mirror in our room, Lily joining me a little after as she brushed her hair.
I didn't say anything as I continued to add my eyeliner, more because with my brain as dead as it was, I was pretty sure I'd come out with a load of jumbled nonsense.
"Sirius is really happy you know," She smiled after a bit. I think I only just managed to halt the guilty grimace threatening to take hold.
"Is he?" I said somewhat more quietly than I meant too. She nodded before she laughed.
"And we all thought you'd never get it together," She teased.
I wanted her to shut up but I was rather sure this was the point where I was supposed to gush happily. So I did and it was true, all of it but without the conviction, it was just a lie. I liked Sirius, I really did but the guilt just knawed at me, endlessly. I was cheating on both of them but I didn't see Antony every day, I didn't feel horrible every time he wrapped his arms around me.
"We'll be doing some duelling..." I heard Professor Moore say distantly.
Moody was busy today, there'd been an explosion in the ministry, 20 people injured but none dead, It was that that I’d seen last night, that which I’d been too slow to stop.
The papers of course were having a field say, doing what the media has always done best and pointing fingers at various people, particularly the head of security.
They'd caught the man I think, or were soon too from the sound of things but I'd seen a few anxious faces in the corridors, a few tears too.
"Iris," a voice repeated and I glanced up, somewhat surprised to see the rest of the class were already lined up by the sides to begin.
I moved pretty quickly, joining the shortest queue. I didn't even notice Sirius until he spoke.
"You ok?" He asked quietly.
I looked at him before nodding.
"I'm fine...just tired," I said with a small smile.
He nodded before sneaking a quick kiss, grinning slightly. I smiled half heartedly before leaning my head against his shoulder.
"You sure you're ok?" He asked.
"Yeah," I said quietly.
He nudged my neck lightly with his nose before moving his arms round me.
"You could go up to the hospital wing and sleep?" He suggested despite the fact we were supposed to be listening to the demonstration.
I shook my head.
"There's no point," I breathed.
"Maybe I could tire you out," He said waggling his eyebrows.
I gave a small snort, nudging him.
"Shut up," I said as I rolled my eyes despite the small smile.
He laughed quietly before nipping my earlobe affectionately.
I smiled as I moved my head back against his shoulder.
He got called out pretty soon, Professor Moore giving a laugh and pretty much everyone turning to look at us. I rolled my eyes, the small smile still there as I nudged him away and towards the front, Sirius obliging with a cocky trot. Of course this only strengthened the already 'well known fact' that we were shagging wildly at every opportinity. I think the 'Iris Tear is pregnant' brigade were still going too but anyone with any common sense knew that that wasn't true by now so at least that had abated a bit.
But hey, a new boyfriend, a new set of rumours!
I didn't have any other classes for the rest of the day and most of my work was done so I decided to leave early, sending Bridgett a patronus as I sat in the student commons, curled up against Sirius on the largest sofa.
"Do you have to go?" He pouted.
"Yes," I said.
I was feeling a great more alive now which could only be a good thing.
"Are you coming back tonight?" He asked.
"Yup," I said.
"Meet me in the astronomy tower then?" He said.
"I'm not meeting you in the astronomy tower!" I laughed.
"Just think of my reputation!" I exclaimed teasingly.
"I don't mean it like that," He said nudging me.
I laughed as I settled back down against his chest.
Who was I kidding? Sirius was fine, I was an idiot to want anything else. I DID like him and he was a good guy.
"It depends what time I get back, I'm trashed," I said.
"Oh yeah...I can't really go to Hogsmeade tomorrow," He said.
"Why?" I frowned.
"Well we've got detention haven't we?" He grinned. I rolled my eyes.
"How could I forget?" I laughed.
He grinned before moving his hand against my hip.
"You know Iris, you're alright," He teased. I paused slightly, saddening somewhat but I forced a smile none the less.
"So are you," I said ask I rested my head back down again.
His hand slid to my waist before he shifted down beside me, brushing his lips against mine softly before kissing me.
"You're not going to have a girlfriend left if she doesn't leave soon," I chuckled.
He grinned and I felt a genuine smile form itself on my lips before I kissed him.
I left a little after, chuckling as I pretty much climbing over him. The sun had made another rare appearance out of its home in the clouds as I walked through the castle.
My mind was made up. I couldn't cheat on Sirius, or lie to him, I'd end it, tomorrow when I saw Antony, I’d end it because this thing was ridiculous, I didn’t want to play around.
The carriage was waiting, as usual and the journey was particularly smooth, leaving a vast amount of time for uninterrupted thought. The more I thought about Antony the more it pained me but I was determined nonetheless. I knew Bridgett had plans for today, another unsuspecting bloke with particularly deep pockets I suppose although I really don’t think I had the patience for it today.
The place was in Central London, near Bridgett’s new apartment as a matter of fact. The frontage was an old dilapidated department store of somewhat faded glory, of course stunning none the less, as the visages for all these grand places always were and the interior of course, failed to disappoint. I walked through the huge elaborate double doors, life seeming to light up the place as I did, pausing as they took my coat, unable to stop my wonderment as the rooms mapped out before me, enormous chandeliers looming above as, distantly, a grand piano played.
I'd heard about the place plenty of times, even if Francesco complained and called it 'drab' and 'full of pompous prats' (although the last point would lead one to question why he didn't fit right in...), generally, it was wholly positive and the extensive glassed gardens were supposed to be nice. I was shown to Bridgett's table who, of course, sat perfectly comfortably and blended beautifully with her surroundings.
"I thought you were still on honeymoon?" I said as I slid into the seat opposite.
"A week was long enough," She said flatly, setting her cup back atop it's saucer, centring it neatly and watching it refill instantly before helping herself to a bit of cake.
"So, how have you been?" She asked me, eventually looking up although something about her didn't seem quite right. She stared straight through me, her lips pursed slightly and with that observation, slowly, I began to see the tension in her, the careful mask of cool locked into place.
"...Bridgett..." I began with a frown.
"It was a simple question Iris," She pointed out somewhat waspishly.
"I'm fine," I said, somewhat bewildered.
"I'm glad to hear it," She said dabbing her mouth with her napkin before placing it on the side of the table.
"Come, let's go for a walk," She said simply as she got to her feet with her usual grace of elegance, long blonde hair cascading in great waves past her shoulders. We turned heads as we walked and it was for the first time in a long time that I knew the appreciative glances weren't all for me. I don't really know but this made me uneasy. Bridgett had ALWAYS been stunning yet today it seemed to pulse like some kind of deadly weapon. I frowned slightly at myself, it was such an odd thing to think but I couldn't help but be ever so slightly anxious. She didn't say anything for rather a long time, looking interestedly at the plants when we were both perfectly aware of the fact that Bridgett was not the least bit interested in botany.
"Bridgett," I said eventually with a sigh when the silence had become too much.
I know she heard me but she didn't answer for a while. I just followed as she walked until eventually, after what seemed like an age, her lips parted and she let out a sigh.
"I was an idiot," She said.
"What?" I said.
She glanced at me before giving the smallest of chuckles.
"I give you everything, for what? I always knew you'd throw it back in my face, after all, in real terms it was what I was training you to do," She said, cupping one of the plant heads before she simply snapped it off the stalk.
"Do you want to know why I helped you Iris? It was because people like us always 'have everything' and I did, I had it all, my mother-" She gave another small chuckle although the sound was hollow.
"My mother was a bitch. No matter what everyone may paint her out to be, no matter what clothes she wore, she was a heartless bitch, too wrapped up in herself and her own affairs, I didn't mean anything to her, I was a toy for her to drag out and show off every so often. My mother used to drink herself into some pathetic mess and I'd watch her crumble on the sofa and dissolve every time she was chucked and I'd be ashamed to call her my mother. Then I remember that interview, she turned up completely off her face and then went on to completely slag me off. It was hushed up of course, money changed to the appropriate hands and it was all fine, it stuck with me though. It always has. But The Nobles were always there for me, Antony was always there for me, he's a good man Iris, as I said, the best I know," She said somewhat absently.
"When we were younger, when everything was falling apart we'd spend our summers with Marie and Francesco in the south of France on the beaches, he'd always been my best friend, we grew up together and he's the closest thing I have to a brother, girls never paid him much attention you know, he wasn't much when he was younger, well he was to me but still. Then in 6th year, I remember it clearly, we went back to school and everyone started treating him differently. Suddenly girls who'd never so much as GLANCED at him were just SO interested, all he'd done was grow a bit. And you know, just like that, they loved him. But you know, Antony's never been one for that, he's too nice see so he let them walk all over him. Now of course things have changed, it has nothing to do with him anymore, it's just about his money, I don't need to tell you just how large Noble's is," She said, picking the petals off the flower in the hand.
"Do you see what I'm getting at Iris?" She asked me seriously.
I looked at her before shaking my head slowly. She gave another small hollow laugh.
"Of course you don't. You see Iris, I care about Antony, there aren't other men like, other men deserve whatever they get, Antony doesn't," She said before pausing.
"So, putting this simply, so that there's no need for you to play dumb; I will not let some smutty money grabbing little ho, a category which you are now classed under, hurt him. I've set up match after match for you, I tried and...and you do this, to ME. Antony means the world to me and from what I've heard, he likes you, just enough for you to completely gut him and I won't let you do it. His money..." She began.
"You think I'm after his money?" I frowned. She laughed, her eyes sparkling this time.
"No. I KNOW you are," She said before taking a step towards me.
"You've known me for long enough to know that it'd be a bad idea to be on the wrong side of me and believe me, in this case, I'll destroy you beyond recognition, do you understand me?" She said.
I looked at her, an inexplicable anger beginning to rise through me before I shook my head.
"Surprisingly enough, my life DOESN'T revolve around money. I LIKE Antony," I retorted heatedly.
She just looked at me.
"And what is that supposed to mean?" She asked.
"I mean that you've been setting me up with idiots with about the same level of conversational skills as a fucking newt! About as charming as a fucking hippogriff with the illusion that they can just...just fucking BUY ME!" I snapped.
"I don't know what this is! I like Antony and I didn't realise it'd be such a...a problem for you! He's not a bloody asset," I snapped.
She didn't say anything for a very long time, waiting for me to come to an end before she dropped the petals.
"As touching a speech as that was, I don't give a shit. Stay. Away. From. Him...or you can see exactly type of a bitch I can be," She said before turning, and walking away.
"Oh...and good luck getting out of this one," She said just as she disappeared out of view.
...I hadn't even noticed us walk out of the greenhouses or the steady arrival of series of towering hedges riding above my head. She'd lead me into a maze...ah shit.
To say I was not in a good mood by the time I got out of there was an understatement. What idiot has a fucking maze anyway?!
She of course had long gone by the time I'd returned to the main hall. I knew she was furious, I knew that her being furious was not a desirable state but as I collected my coat, bag and gloves, her words began to replay. 'walk all over him' 'chuck him'...that was what I was doing, I'd dump him and stick with Sirius...yet the reason it'd all been so complicated was because I DID feel for Antony. I'd gone and insisted how much I liked him and then, within the same week, I'd break it off with him, make it look like I was cutting loose and jumping ship, making it look like she WAS right...I shook my head. I'd made up my mind, Sirius had been there first and forgetting that simply to bolster my pride was stupid.
The fact that I’d been unwittingly led into a maze however was the only point Ace seemed able to concentrate on when I grudgingly relayed it, simply laughing his head off. Apparently I was his greatest source of entertainment at the moment and he therefore took great delight in reminding me.
"You walked into a fucking maze without realising? Iris how fucking blind are you?" He laughed.
I glared at him.
"Well I'm sorry; I didn't expect her to get me stuck in there. It took my bloody ages to get out of there too," I said irritably.
"And you call me thick...Iris you know you have a wand right? You know that thing, give it a wave, say a few words and bam! It's like magic!" He said amusedly as he leant forward.
I opened my mouth then closed it again, blinking before my face settled into a scowl.
No. I had not thought of using my wand. Yes. I am aware that was ridiculously stupid.
Ace chuckled, ruffling my hair a bit so I gave him a whack.We were predictably in the room of requirement; I was waiting for Hemera to arrive actually but had crossed Ace on the way.
"So what you gonna do then?" He yawned.
"I don't know," I said as I lay back down against the carpeted floor, staring up at the high glass ceiling which allowed the steady influx of light.
"I'm going to have to break up with him I guess," I said grimly.
He paused for a moment before moving down next to me, propping himself up on his side.
"Iris I hate to sound like I care and all but...if you hate the idea of breaking up with the toff so much, why are you?" He asked gently.
"Antony's not a toff," I argued.
"You're avoiding my question," He tutted.
I pressed my lips together, allowing my gaze to finally swing towards him.
"Because I can't cheat on Sirius," I said.
He looked at me for a moment before he chuckled.
"Why'd you like Sirius Iris? 'Cause when you two fight you don't even look like wanna shag each other afterwards," He said. I rolled my eyes.
"Not everything revolves around sex," I said flatly.
"I'm serious, why d'you like him?" He said.
"Because, he's a good guy," I frowned at him.
"And the way you go on about Antony, he could be the fucking pope the sun shines so brightly out his arse," He said.
"Sirius..." I began.
"Plus you don't want a good guy anyway," He said with a suggestive waggle.
"Oh for...Ace!" I cried in aggravation, giving him a little shove.
He chuckled as he turned onto his back.
"You know you want me," He said arrogantly.
"One of us would end up dead if we ever got anywhere...most likely you," I said.
"Nah, you loved dating me," He said cockily as he moved his hands behind his head.
"You let me put my hand up your skirt at any r..." He began but I cut across him.
"Let it go Ace!" I cried in aggravation.
He sent me a grin.
"I dunno what I did when I wasn't winding you up...it's like without you wittering all the time...and yelling...and nagging...actually...no I could really do without those things...I still wouldn't mind shagging..." He mused absently to himself.
"You're sick Ace," I told him flatly.
"That's not nice Iris," He pouted at me. I rolled my eyes, chuckling slightly as I relaxed back down.
"So when do I get to give Antony the check then?" He asked.
"The what?" I said.
"The check, I'm not listening to you moan if he turns out to be some pervy twat, so we start early, let him know that if he goes out of line I'll beat the shit out of him, you know, that kind of thing," He said pleasantly.
"Not you too," I said flatly.
"I care about your welfare," He said innocently.
"You just want the chance to beat someone up," I said.
"That too...mostly that but still," He grinned.
"Stay away from him," I said bluntly.
"I'm an Aimes bloke, it's in my genes," He said lightly.
I rolled my eyes.
"You know Iris, one day you're gonna roll your eyes and they'll get fucking stuck and I'll laugh my arse off," He said.
"My eyes'll 'get stuck'?" I said sceptically.
"Don't underestimate changing winds," He said wisely.
"My god you're full of such shit," I said amusedly.
He chuckled before rolling onto his side beside me again, propping himself up with his elbow.
"Ace," I said after a moment or two.
"Yeah?" He said.
"Firstly I can see you looking at my chest, please stop, secondly...why do you keep with Cane?" I asked.
He paused, the silence stretching on for ages and I let it, simply watching the moving fresco of swifts and swallows across the high airy ceilings, the sweet song chirruping through the room.
"So?" I asked eventually.
He just shrugged.
"He's my mate," He said flatly.
"I always thought you liked Ell better," I said.
"Ell's a fucking..." He started.
"You do realise I didn't sleep with him, don't you," I said flatly.
"It's not you thats the fucking problem, if I had issues about you I wouldn't be sitting here while you went on about other blokes now would I?" He said.
"So what's the problem then?" I asked.
"...he's doesn't fuck my fucking girls! That's the fucking problem!" He said.
"Well who did he shag then?!" I asked in aggravation.
"You!" He said.
"Oh for...I just said...!" I began.
"Well you'd say that wouldn't you," He retorted.
"Ace you know I don't sleep around," I snapped.
"You've got a fucking lock if your knickers," He grumbled.
"Exactly!" I cried, choosing for a moment to ignore the actual statement.
"I dunno, he just pisses me off," He said scratching his chin.
"And Cane? You hate Snape and the Carrows," I said.
He didn't say anything for a moment before he gave a sigh.
"You won't understand," He said.
"Try me," I pushed.
"Iris drop it," He said flatly.
"You can't just..." I began.
"I said fucking DROP IT, ok?!" He snapped.
I paused looking at him for a moment and there it was, that tiny flicker of something unfamiliar. It was saved though, from going further as Hemera made her entrance, yattering absently although she came to an complete halt as she clapped eyes on us, going slightly pink.
Hemera reverted to Pete-style squeaking around Ace. She went impressive shades of red in his presence too. He of course milked it for all it was worth, flirting shamelessly to make her as uncomfortable as physically bloody possible. He brightened considerably with that, the darkness gone as he sat up but I remained where I was, silently puzzling over it.
I was distracted eventually, my mind moving on to other things.
"Alright Blondie?" He grinned.
"Ace, it's Hemera," I pointed out with an aggravated sigh.
It of course didn't make an ounce of difference.
We separated eventually, charms was the only class Hemera and I actually shared and Ace went in the opposite direction after some predictably lecherous approximation of a goodbye.
"Hemera deary you look rather pink, are you sure you're not ill?" I teased, feigning concern.
"Shut up," She mumbled.
"So what, do you fancy Ace then?" I asked.
She frowned, looking slight perplexed.
"No...but he's Ace Aimes," She said.
"And you're Hemera Nero...you have a title too now darling," I teased. She laughed before shaking her head.
"So anyway...you and him?" She said. My gaze flattened as I turned to her.
"Hemera..." I began.
"What! You bicker like an old married couple!" She replied defensively.
"So? I don't know how many times I have to say I don't fancy him, I can be friends with blokes without drawling over them," I said.
"Fine," She said holding her hands up in defeat.
I rolled my eyes.
For your information, no, I really did not fancy Ace.
The remainder of the day was pretty boring, there was match the week after next, Gryffindor vs Hufflepuff, so Sirius was spending pretty much 24/7 on the pitch anyway and I went down to watch occasionally but as I've highlighted so many times before, I really am not the greatest fan of quidditch.
I stayed up as late as possible that night, working on my various assignments and bits of homework, attempting to keep myself awake but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't help but how my eyelids began to slowly droop, the gentle seductive ache of tiredness reeling me into my soft warm mattress...resistance was futile, I fell asleep anyway.
And that night was the worst in a long time. I tried to wake myself, through it all I repeatedly reminded myself that it was 'just a dream' but they weren't.
I couldn't wake myself or lift myself out of it, I was simply rooted.
I sighed as I looked at myself in the mirror, pulling self consciously at the hem of the dress and pushing a hand through my hair again. I looked awful no matter what I did. My skin was pasty looking and the unattractive dark circles beneath my eyes simply reflected my sleepless night. Ordinarily I would have just slapped some make up on but I didn't even quite feel like doing that today. I dragged myself down to breakfast before most people were awake, tiredly picking at my food.
My plan was simple.
I'd meet with Antony round the outer boundaries where people were less likely to be, break up with him (I felt a small stab of misery at this point) then return and continue on as usual without the guilt of knowing I was two timing. The simpler the plan, the less room for error, that's how I liked to think of it. I'd thought and rethought about what I was going to say but so far, nothing had really sprung to mind. It was stupid really, I'd never had any problem whatsoever with breaking up with other blokes in fact it had always been the part that I enjoyed most but I couldn't claim to feel that way now.
I studied the daily prophet absently, watching the ever growing list of those missing or declared dead, it rose by at least one or two a day nowadays, anxious faces around the corridors were becoming ever more a permanent feature...I closed my eyes, breathing a sigh as I rubbed my temples. Now was not the time to get myself into a bloody state!
I was kind of relieved when it was time to leave, although that too soon faded as I drew closer. He was waiting for me, as I knew he probably would but it just made it harder.
"Hey," He grinned when I reached him.
"Hey," I said meekly.
"You didn't get into too much trouble with Moody did you?" He teased.
I paused, ever so slightly confused before I gave a chuckle.
"It's not me you should be worried about," I said.
"Urm...do you wanna walk a bit?" I said.
"Sure," He nodded.
I had been planning a more 'arrive, dump and run' kind of tactic but I couldn't quite bring myself to do it. He was pretty talkative that day, obviously in a good mood and I hated it, I wished he could just be...I don't know, act like a git or be rude or SOMETHING, but of course, he wasn't, he gave me absolutely no reason to do it, other than my conscience.
What a bloody stupid thing a conscience is.
"Antony," I said eventually just as he was in mid sentence.
"Yes?" He asked.
I paused before sitting myself down on the slight grassy bank.
"...what's wrong?" He asked, a hint of concern colouring his voice as he moved down beside me.
I didn't say anything, playing with my hands in my lap, my gaze remaining fixed on them as I struggled for the right words.
"...Iris?" He said softly, the worry seeming to magnify and that's when I came out with it. Finally.
"I can't..." I blurted out an inaudible level before taking a deep breath and starting again.
"I...I can't you see you anymore,"
"Oh...why?" He said, his voice straining ever so slightly.
I didn't say anything for a moment before I slid my head into my hands.
"Because I'm a bitch and Bridgett's right, you really do deserve better," I said quietly.
"Bridgett..." He sighed tiredly as if this answered his question perfectly.
"I...Iris, whatever she's said..." He began.
I shook my head.
"It's not just that but she's right anyway," I breathed and I had the horrible sensation I was about to cry.
"Iris..." He said before he sighed, moving round and gently removed the hands covering my face.
I just stared at him for a moment before dropping my gaze. I wanted to just go ahead and tell him everything but I couldn't. I hated the idea that I'd already proved Bridgett right.
"Please don't worry about it because...well...I like you don't I?" He said with a soft almost shy smile.
I felt my stomach sink.
I should have said it now, I should have told and done the right thing and broken it off. It couldn't work, he was too old for me, there were too many people out there who looked down on the match, I'd end up fucking everything up...
"Do you really like me Antony?" I asked finally looking up at him.
He looked at me before he gave me a smile.
"Yes," He nodded.
I looked at him before breathing a sigh, glancing down again and at his hand over mine and I just thought...well...'fuck it'. I looped my fingers through his before looking back up at him.
"Ok," I said quietly.
He watched me cautiously.
"Ok," I nodded, slightly more forcefully this time.
He looked at me before a small smile spread across his lips although he still looked ever so slightly guarded. I watched him for a moment before getting up and pulling on his hand slightly.
"Let's keep walking," I said with a small smile. He followed and we walked in silence for a bit before he spoke.
"Iris...you'd tell me if something was wrong, wouldn't you?" He said somewhat timidly after we'd walked for a bit. I looked up, before I sighed.
"It's not...it's not you it's my visions," I said.
He did like a tiny bit relieved actually.
"What's wrong with them?" He asked. I didn't say anything for a moment, that same horribly fragile feeling creeping through me.
"It's nothing really..." I began, my gaze returning to my feet as I let out a long sigh.
"You can tell me Iris," He said gently. I glanced at him before speaking.
"I can't sleep anymore," I said quietly, my voice catching and wavering slightly.
"I see...I see things at night, when I dream and...I'm afraid to close my eyes," I said quietly.
"I've tried everything, and I just want to end it all, all of it," I said brokenly. He stopped at that point, turning towards me, looking at me for a moment before pulling me gently into his arms.
"Iris please don't say that," He murmured. I sighed, wincing ever so slightly.
"I didn’t really mean that...it sort of just...came out. Lack of sleep obviously develops a mind and a tongue," I mumbled into the folds of his shirt. I really DID NOT mean it, I did wish it'd all end and disappear but that sounded rather more drastic than I'd intended. He smiled ever so slightly before giving my hand a small squeeze.
"Look I...I don't know how to make it better but...I can listen, if...if you need me to," He said almost shyly. I glanced at him, a small smile catching my lips before I let out a small laugh.
"You've got enough to do already" I said. He pretended to think about it for a moment before he spoke.
"Nope, I don't think I do," He replied, giving me a teasing grin. I laughed and nudged him before moving under his arm. He gave my shoulder a squeeze before kissing my cheek.
"Promise me you'll tell me if something's wrong?" He said.
"I will...thank you Antony," I said softly. He laughed quietly.
"I didn't do anything," He said gently.
"You did," I smiled gently.
I don't know why it made me feel better but it did. Antony just...he just had this air about him, he was so calm and it helped, when rationality was starting to fly out the window it was like an anchor.
"Ok so, top favourite places?" He asked as we continued to play our rather pathetic game.
"That's not fair! Hogwarts and the but round the orphanage are the only places I go." I complained.
"...good Merlin! That was a clone in Venice?!" He said in mock horror.
I paused before I laughed
"Oh yes, she's been cropping up all over the place apparently," I said sadly.
"Oh dear," He said.
"Indeed," I nodded before I laughed.
"Ok so Venice is definitely up there," I said.
"I'm sure the Venetians would be very pleased to hear that," He nodded. I laughed.
"Although it was a sham, that was a very pretty wedding," I commented.
"Yes, well, Bridgett tends to enjoy forging her own rules," He said. I laughed slightly before reaching up and kissing his cheek.
"Ah but you wouldn't have had the pleasure of asking me out if I hadn't been there," I said innocently.
"True," He said fairly.
"I just wish she could have married someone a bit better," He frowned absently as he scratched his chin.
"I guess they needed to want the same things out of it," I shrugged.
"Mmm...I don't want her to get hurt though, she's not all chucking fine china and yelling," He chuckled.
"I know, I'm like living testament to that...although I don't think this is putting me in her good books," I said.
He waved his hand dismissively.
"It doesn't matter," He said.
I smiled before leaning my head against his shoulder, my arm still sitting around his waist as his remained against my shoulders. We'd been walking aimlessly for over an hour but it didn't particularly feel like it.
"You know Antony, I think I rather like you," I said lightly.
"Hmmm...the feeling is mutual," He told me matter of factly. I smiled as we came to a natural halt.
"It looks like it's about to rain," He commented.
"Mmm," I said absently although in all honesty I really didn't give a crap. He glanced down at me before bringing a hand to my cheek, his thumb sliding gently against my cheek.
We stood like that, in silence for a while before I kissed him.
"I think I like you rather a lot," He laughed quietly, leaning his forehead against mine.
I grinned before allowing my arms to wrap around his neck as I kissed him once more. I could have stayed like that for hours, days even. I felt as if I could burst with the great wave of warmth that swept through me. I broke away eventually, my hands sliding from his shoulders to his chest as his arms remained around my waist.
"It really does look like it’s about to chuck it down," I laughed glancing up at the sky.
"I don't think I particularly care," He said recapturing my lips in a series of soft kisses before something began to vibrate steadily in his top pocket. He paused before sighing.
"I'm sorry," He said as we drew apart.
"Don't worry, I should be getting back...you'll write, won't you?" I said almost hopefully although I knew, in all honesty, there really was very little point in my asking him too.
He always did, without fail.
"I always do," He said with a lop sided grin. I smiled before kissing him lightly.
"Wait...I have a day off next Friday, I said I'd watch David's match and...well I don't know if it's possible but I thought maybe..." He began.
"A quidditch match?" I said.
"I know you don't like them but..." He put in hurriedly, that irritating persistent hum continuing all the while.
"I'd love to," I grinned at him.
He grinned back before gently pulling me back to him and kissing my cheek.
I laughed before kissing touching my lips against his.
"I don't bite Antony," I told him with a smirk before I turned and lightly moved off, a huge grin playing on my face as I did so. The storm hit just as I reached the school gates but I didn't mind, walking all the way, despite the fact that my hair soon clung unattractive to the back of my neck and my Cardigan was absolutely sodden.
It didn't matter though.
I did it...eventually. I broke it off...with Sirius. I spent the entire night awake with only Antony on my mind and after that the decision was easy. In my mind everything was rosy and perfect and Sirius would understand with no questions asked and we'd still miraculously be friends, Antony would continue to prove that I'd made the right decision...it of course didn't happen like that. Not the first part at least, the second worked beautifully, Antony was worth it.I hadn't anticipated the nerves when it came to breaking it of with Sirius though, the heart sounded like a great pounding drum as I approached him but I still managed it.
I broke it off.
I broke it off after 2 weeks...and it was bloody awful. Whoever said 'the truth set you free' was a delusional bastard. The truth did not set me fucking free it added a whole pile of crap instead. I had no explanation to give when he asked me why other than a rather timid shrug, I thought mentioning Antony would simply be insult to injury...but of course, somehow he managed to come up anyway. I think I probably apologised more in that 5 minutes or so than any time in my life...and when that didn't work I grew angry and simply yelled back at him. He was hurt and I knew it and I wished I could stop it all and rewind but it'd been fucked from the moment I'd first spoken to Antony.
I never meant to hurt him, I tried to tell him that too but nobody listened because after all, break ups and heartbreak were what I did, right? I'd OBVIOUSLY ensnared Sirius, all this time. This of course meant the silent treatment from at least half the school and James probably more angry than I thought I'd ever seen directed at one person...who wasn't Snape...or in Slytherin.
"What is wrong with you?!" He cried in frustration as he caught up with me in the corridor later that day.
I drew to a stop, sighing as I waited for it.
"In fact, I know what’s wrong with you, you're TWISTED. You let every single one of us believe you were alright and then you go and COMPLETELY FUCK HIM UP!" He yelled.
...I don't think James had ever yelled at a girl before...either way it still pissed me off.
"I did not bloody..." I began.
"YOU DIDN'T WHAT?! He likes you and you know it and you do it over and over again! What do you have to fucking prove Iris?! What is your fucking problem?!" He yelled.
I didn't say anything for a moment, watching him coolly as his heavy breathing steadied. I was hurt really but the last thing I wanted was for him to see that so I just turned and walked off, ignoring the eyes that followed my departure.
My 'friends' of course were soon among those who threw the disdainful glances, in fact Ali soon became ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE that it was me who'd slept with Tom, not Mary, that I'd been playing everyone around me all along and that I was heartless and selfish. It had all been said before though and I didn't particularly care anyway, I still had Hemera and Ace (when other people weren't around) and Antony too...I think I'd planned my outfit for the following Friday at least 10 times...
"Iris...Iris! You're grinning again!" came an aggravated cry beside me.
I frowned and turned to find my daydreams interrupted by Ace who, whichever way you looked at it, was not the same as Antony and therefore disappointing.
"For fucks sake Iris, it's hard to understand what he did to you, screw you or screw out your fucking brains," He grumbled.
I sent him a mild glare.
"Antony isn't like that," I sniffed.
"What you mean he's a gay twat who can't g..." He began but I promptly whacked him.
"Ace shut up," I said shortly.
He grinned, opening his mouth to speak when the sound of footsteps sounded from round the corner, he instantly veered away from me, walking slightly ahead at the opposite end as if I had some kind of infectious disease. I rolled my eyes but it ignored it, taking the next turning until I was standing outside Hemera's history of magic class, leaning absently against wall by the door for her to appear. The rest of the class came out before she did, she had to be the only person in the entire castle that'd actually have the patience (and sheer stupidity) to actually start a conversation up with Professor Binns). It took me a moment to realise it wasn't just me who was waiting for her, Andy was too, he seemed to notice this at the same time I did because his face promptly settled into a scowl. I rolled my eyes and snorted.
"Still at it then?" I said pleasantly.
He tensed before throwing me a very dirty look.
"Because you know I'll be very sad to lose a minion," I pouted.
"Hemera's not a bloody minion, she's MILES better than you Iris," He snapped.
Jackpot. I laughed, leaning back against the wall.
"If you knew Hemera half as well as you thought you did, you'd know she wouldn't stand for it. She's my best friend," I said casually. I swear if he had fur, his heckles would have raised by now.
"Why don't you just stay out of everyone's lives Iris? You're a spiteful evil bitch and Sirius deserved better anyway," He said.
"I'm sure he does," I said dryly.
"You're a slag and that's it..." He began when the door opened and Hemera appeared.
"Oh..."She said when she clapped eyes on him.
You know as much as I disliked Andy, as much as I enjoyed winding him up and as entertaining as I found him over protectiveness, I still thought they were good together.
He was loyal at any rate, a little too much of a Gryffindor for my taste but he seemed to like her and she seemed to like him too.
"Can I talk to you...alone," He said throwing the last bit with a disdainful glance at me.
I rolled my eyes.
"Urm...I said I'd..." Hemera began.
"Please Hemera..." He began...and it was about then I thought I'd leave before it got appropriately mushy. I sent Hemera a small wave, ignoring the slight shake of her head, before skipping off to my next class...minus the actual skipping because no matter how good a mood I'm in, skipping is always a no no. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful...apart from some creepy girl from Sirius' 'fan club' having a go at me...oh and another one trying to do something to my food...so I hexed the second one and ignored the first. As far as I was concerned the only one I'd take any crap from was Sirius himself because no one else had any right.
I frowned ever so slightly as I twirled my fork in my pasta absently.
I didn't know what to say to him. I didn't think I could bear to hear him yell at me either because he'd got it wrong, I didn't 'string him along' or set out to hurt him. I just...I just liked someone else and I couldn't help that fact. He would have found out eventually and it would have been worse...I sighed before mentally shaking myself. There was no point dwelling on it and no point trying to apologise until he was prepared to actually listen. Hemera sat down beside me after a while, giving me some relief from my thoughts.
"And?" I said as she started helping herself to some food.
"Cane's going to kill him," She said grimly.
"You're back together?" I said in surprise. She smiled shyly and nodded.
"Why the hell did you wait so bloody long!" I cried in aggravation.
"Iris be quiet," She hushed.
"And anyway, you can't talk, your 'playing hard to get' takes bloody ages," She retorted.
"That's the whole point of it," I said with an eye roll.
I felt her grin beside and I rolled my eyes, turning back to her.
"What?" I said snippily.
"Nothing," She said innocently.
"What!" I insisted.
"Nothing!" She laughed.
"Hemera you know I hate it when you do that! Spill!" I snapped.
"Nah I just think it's funny how you manage to shoot down pretty much anything male within a 5 mile radius, you come across Antony, who makes my awkwardness look like nothing, and you’re miraculously...tamed!” She declared.
“Antony is nowhere near as awkward as you, no one’s as awkward as you Hemera,” I snorted.
“I beg to differ!” She laughed.
“And when you’re around him you’re no better, you know what, I think he’s good for you!
"He makes my awkwardness look like nothing," She snorted. I opened my mouth with another scoff before I paused, my eyes narrowing suspiciously.
"...you've been nosing around, haven't you," I said. Her fork paused halfway between her plate and her mouth, her gaze darting to mine and then back again before she gave a sigh.
"Well...you like him! Like proper like him and I didn't want him to turn out to be a git so I thought I'd check him out a bit and I didn't mean to but...he's a very interesting person, you know he drew up the blueprint for one of those clocks, you know..." She began.
"My god! Not you too! Does EVERYONE have to stalk my dates?!" I demanded.
"...well..." She began.
"I think you'll find you mean 'rhetorical'..."
"Knew that'd come up at some point in the conversation," She smiled back pleasantly.
I looked at her before I rolled my eyes, returning to my food.
"...so he really is interested in clocks?" I said.
"...I thought he said that just to make me laugh..." I said slowly before I felt a smile pull at my lips. I don't know why I found it so humorous but well...despite everything Antony appeared to be at first glance, the charming and 'aristocratic' looking features, the look of a relaxed, confident and handsome man...and make no mistake, Antony WAS handsome. Not hot or fit just...handsome...that had my mind veering off onto another course, lightly dancing off subject in a cloud of infatuated bliss...which Hemera of course shortly interrupted.
"Iris...you're grinning again," She told me uncertainly. I looked at her before I frowned.
"What were you saying again?" I said vaguely.
"...nothing," She chuckled amusedly with an eye roll.
"But anyway, I asked Mr Binns..." She began.
"Hasn't he popped his clogs yet?" I said in aggravation.
She frowned at me.
"Iris that's a horrible thing to say! Just because you think the professors are inhuman..." She began.
"No," I said impatiently.
"I just mean he's supposed to die at some point fairly soon, of course, being Mr Binns and all, not even that can stop one of his lessons and he continues on anyway," I shrugged.
"But...Mr Binns is a great teacher, they can't get rid of him that'd be...deadism!" She said.
"Oh you Ravenclaw. I don't know what universe you're living in but Mr Binns is the most mind numbingly boring old twat I've ever met," I said flatly.
She scowled at me.
"I love History of Magic," She replied.
"Well you would do, you have your head stuck in the past...when you're not snooping into other people’s business...and don't get me started on what you're wearing again...it's a really good thing Francesco doesn't know you because he'd simple 'die'," I said.
"You may enjoy prancing round in short skirts but I don't, they make me uncomfortable and I couldn't bend down properly," She sniffed.
"You learn to bend appropriately," I said wisely.
"There's nothing appropriate about your skirts," She teased.
"Argh! How old are you woman! You have tits and legs and a waist! Use them!" I cried shaking her.
"Use them and then I can end up like you with perpetual boy issues," She quipped lightly. I paused before shrugging.
"Touché," I said fairly.
"Although not entirely true," I said.
She laughed, opening her mouth to speak when a shadow was cast over the both of us. We both glanced up to see Mary of all bloody people....flanked by Ali and...ugh I think I forgot to mention Mary had taken over, somehow managed to convince Ali that I, as the evil bint I was, had been the one who'd REALLY slept with Tom and that I was simply a ho bag. I allowed my expression to cool, waiting for her to start but she ignored me completely, turning to Hemera.
"Hey," She simpered.
Hemera just looked at her for a moment.
"...hey?" She replied.
Mary nodded slightly.
"We've decided you can sit with us now," She continued.
I rolled my eyes.
"Err...I think I'm alright actually," She said.
"Not that you can sit with us today because today's 'heel day' and well...you're not wearing heels but tomorrow it's 'eye shadow day'...I'm sure you have eye shadow...somewhere," She said somewhat patronisingly.
"Right...no I still think I'm pretty ok where I am..." She continued.
"Ah...well if you ever get bored of sitting on your own, feel free," Mary smiled, adding a great deal of emphasis on the ‘on your own’ part before finally glancing up at me with a cool smirk and sweeping off.
"Amateur," I scoffed when she was gone.
"And what the fuck is 'eye shadow day'?" I snorted.
"I guess it's where they wear different coloured..." She began, stopping when I sent her an aggravated look.
"You shouldn't ask questions if you don't want them answered," She mumbled defensively. I rolled my eyes.
It got worse of course, Mary had officially moved in and soon went about making a few 'changes', colour coding days of the week, the one day a week 'matching rule' and other various atrocious and ruthless acts. It was strange only having two friends in school, I mean just because I hadn't actually LIKED them, didn't mean I didn't enjoy having on entourage, just like I complained about being stunningly gorgeous and how difficult it could be but my god, I'd be damned if anything ever affected my looks.
That said I didn't miss them THAT much. In fact despite that fact that everyone was icing me out completely (including my dorm mates, which included a rare specimen of 'peeved off Lily') I was...well...happy. The whispers didn't affect me because I just 'didn't hear them' and they were still mostly too afraid of me to come out and say anything openly.
...ok so I may be exaggerating. Somewhere in me, it did affect me, I missed Sirius terribly and I hated the comments I heard whispered when my back was turned but I just remained focused on my date with Antony and dampened down the rest of it.
My motto had always been along the 'out of sight/earshot, out of mind' line of things so it came naturally I suppose.
I didn't stop my excitement though.
I got permission to leave school early on the Friday evening and he met me at the gate this time.He spotted me at the same time as I did him, allowing a huge grin as I moved down to meet him when he reached forward, taking my head and pulling me closer, his lips coming down on mine. I was admittedly rather bewildered...but that soon departed as I found myself to be rather enjoying it and happily kissed him back, eventually breaking apart breathlessly with a laugh.
"Pleased to see you to," I said.
He laughed before kissing my cheek.
"I thought, seeing as you'd assured me there was no risk of being bitten, I might kiss you 'properly'," He teased, grinning impishly.
"Ah, well if we're being honest I do have a few vampiristic qualities..." I said sarcastically.
"You look great," He said.
"You can say that to Francesco next time you see him because, as usual, I think I'm in quite a bit of pain...or at least would be...if I could actually feel my feet," I said pleasantly.
"Ah," He nodded.
"I heard you on the radio earlier in the week," I grinned playfully as I started walking.
He turned bright red.
"I know," He said.
"What, you were good!" I laughed.
"I had a minor panic attack before I went on," He winced.
"You didn't sound like it," I assured him comfortingly.
"Try telling my dad that, he's always thought I was prat for being scared of public speaking," He said, scratching his chin.
I couldn't help but laugh ever so slightly and he chuckled too.
"I used to stammer when I was a kid, he never quite forgave me...he used to shoot at me too sometimes, his physician told him he could 'scare a stammer away'," He said pleasantly.
"...shoot at you?" I said slowly.
"He always missed," He added in before chuckling at the look on my face.
"He just has a keen interest in shooting at things," He told me comfortingly.
I looked at him before I laughed.
"Oh god and I thought kneeling on a chair with books on hands was bad," I snorted.
"That's what my father calls the 'mamby pamby way'," Antony grinned.
"Well tell him to try it," I snorted. He chuckled.
We arrived at the match in plenty of time but Antony and precision when it came to timing were a rather comical (and supposedly serious) affair.
"You know you need to relax," I laughed. People of course were queuing long before the doors opened. I only saw them briefly as we moved through a different, far quieter way, emerging through one flight of stairs into a large open room, a bar standing at one end and it was about then that I truly discovered exactly what it was all about. Most of the people there were so rich that to lose a million would have been a single drop in the ocean then. Quidditch matches, generally weren't considered the kind of event the 'upper classes' usually graced but a sudden fad with that of the younger generations had taken it by storm and it soon became a 'must' for young horribly rich people to do. Which was slightly strange but ah well. It was like my world at school...only larger, with far more money involved and with a far greater chance of ending up having a breakdown at the end of it.
And people say school is a waste of time!
"I think we can probably just go str..." Antony began, angling me towards another door across the room, looking a great deal like he wished to be ANYWHERE but there.
"Antony, darling! Over here," A voice called mere seconds later. He paused, a mix of muted horror and resignation crossing his face before he turned.
"...Arabella," He said.
She beamed as she flounced up to him, a strong perfume hitting me moments later like a slap in the face.
"Mummy said you'd be here," She beamed at him.
"Oh...did she?" He asked, his voice straining slightly.
"So...I heard there's the hunt ball down at yours next week..." She said delicately.
"Urm...would you...like to come then?" He said.
"Oh I'd love to!" She beamed happily.
"Ell darling you really should leave well alone," a voice simpered before a girl with blonde waist length hair appeared.
"Hello darling," She said silkily and that was quite enough.
"I'm sorry, Antony weren't you going to show me the seats?" I said. The now 4 or 5 strong, group of girls turned to look at me.
"...sorry who are you?" The second girl said. I had the greatest urge to say 'your worst nightmare' but sadly didn't quite get the chance.
"This is Iris," Antony said looking rather relieved by the change of conversation.
"And she's right...we'll erm...see you later," He said, his hand dropping to my waist before promptly guiding me off.
"I know I'm generally a jealous bitch but...care to explain before that comes into full swing?" I said pleasantly.
"It's nothing to be jealous about...promise," He said as he navigated the way to our box.
"It's just...well I'm supposedly inheriting soon and...well it's urm...a bit of money so...there's some interest," He finished lamely and rather uncomfortably.
"'A bit of money'?" I said amusedly.
He looked up at me, giving a sheepish grin.
"...quite a bit of money," He said.
"'Quite a bit of money'?" I teased, laughing now.
"Ok! It's a lot but most of its tied up anyway," He chuckled. I laughed.
"Well someone ought to tell those girls that I'm an evil bitch who will be 'somewhat' unfriendly," I said.
"No you're not," He chuckled, his lips rather near to my own by now but I couldn't help my laughter.
"Oh good god, you're dating a horrible person and don't know it, this evil woman has cheated you!" I said. He chuckled, touching his nose against mine.
"Well I don’t care because I think she's a lovely person," He murmured against my ear.
I laughed before kissing him.
...well I'm sure I could manage being a lovely person just for him.
"So urm...it sort of ruined the surprise but...I thought...well I was going to ask you if you want to come to mine for the weekend next week it's just...it's a big event and I usually have to go home for it..." He said almost nervously.
"Just ask Marie and Francesco to write in and I'm there," I grinned.
"Yes...well easier said than done," He chuckled.
"Why?" I asked.
"You haven't heard?" He chuckled.
"They got into an argument and are now constructing a 'separation'," He said.
"...I didn't know Marie and Francesco even got into fights," I frowned.
"Trust me, there's nothing to worry about, they used to be in and out of fights all the time, they ALWAYS make up. I just think they'd forgotten they were married until recently and getting a divorce sounds like something exciting," He said. I looked at him before I laughed.
"My 'parents' are loonies," I said shaking my head. He chuckled.
"Sadly I'm going to have to agree with you," He said. I laughed before kissing him.
"So I'm meeting the parents then?" I smirked.
He paused as if this thought had only just dawned on him.
"I...I suppose you are..." He said somewhat worriedly.
I looked at him, giving a laugh.
"You look positively thrilled by the idea," I said with an eye roll.
"Oh no, no it's not...it's just my parents are urm...well I guess you'll see," He said.
I looked at him, a smile dancing on my lips but no matter how much I pushed he deflected pretty much every question until eventually we were interrupted by the start of the match. It was actually surprisingly enjoyable, apparently Antony was extremely keen on Quidditch and detailed pretty much every move they performed.
Even if I really didn’t give a crap, I enjoyed his company and even found myself actually interested in the match which was such a rare occurrence it was practically unheard of.
Towards the end we were joined by a few other people, mostly who seemed actually ok although the end of the match was marked by something rather different. Sadly Francesco mostly designed for generally appearance and insisted everything was so tight it was impossible to bend. In this case it involved an unfortunate ‘skirt split’ as I bent to retrieve the bracelet I’d dropped on the floor. Luckily no one saw but I still.
"Antony," I said quietly after a moment, he turned to me, frowning ever so slightly.
"What's wrong?" He murmured back. I felt myself flush slightly.
"Do you mind waiting for everyone to go first?" I whispered as everyone began to get up.
"Wh..." He began.
"Minor wardrobe malfunction..." I said.
I think he was rather confused but he still stayed.
"Wh..." He began.
"My skirts split," I said gritting my teeth as I tried to fix it.
"Ah," He said.
I turned to look at him, watching his lips quirk.
"It's not funny!" I whined.
He laughed before shrugging off his robe and handing it to me.
"Problem solved," He grinned.
"Francesco is going to KILL me," I said as I shrugged it on.
"He can repatch easily enough," He said.
"I was talking more about the fact that his 'master piece' won't be fully 'admired'," I said.
"Ah...yes well that may cause a few problems," He said.
"Very comforting," I said.
"...but you still look very good?" He said.
I laughed, kissing his cheek.
"Thanks for the robe Antony," I said softly.
"No problems," He smiled.
We started the journey down after that, I'd done a haphazard job of temporarily sitching the things back together but I didn't trust it enough.
"I was thinking we probably have a bit of time so..." Antony started but he was interrupted.
He turned, before rolling his eyes as a short platinum blonde guy bounced up to us.
"Aaand who is this lovely lady?" He said waggling his eyebrows.
"Mo..." He began.
"No need to get nervous dear Ant, that's David's type, I like them chunky," He said.
I just looked at him before giving a snort.
"This is Iris..." Antony said slowly.
Mo paused for a moment before turning and catching another bloke by the back of collar as he passed.
"I just thought I'd have double confirmation," He told the other bloke who was currently rubbing his neck.
"On what?" He scowled.
"THAT is Iris," He said pointing at me. The other bloke paused before looking at Antony.
"Merlin," He said.
"All is forgiven mate," Mo said clapping him on the back as he flushed an uncomfortable shade of red.
"Urm..." He said clearing his throat uncomfortably.
"He talks about you eeeeendlessly," Mo said.
"'Iris looked at me',"
"'Iris smiled at me',"
"Please stop," Antony pleaded in a very small voice, his face burning as he ducked his head.
"He's never had much luck with girls our dear old Ant, so naturally we assumed you were ugly," Mo continued matter of factly.
"I'm sorry, who are you?" I said raising an eyebrow.
"His best mates, other ones in the changing room and twats being...well...a twat," He said pleasantly.
"Right..." I said slowly, luckily the whole episode was interrupted (and broken up) by the arrival of the cameras. I easily stepped to the side as the other two flashed grins.
"...I'm...sorry....about that..." Antony managed to get out eventually, clearing his throat awkwardly. I looked at him before I gave him a wicked grin.
"So..." I began.
"You talk about me," I grinned.
Although the red had begun to subside it returned with the same potency.
"I..." He began but I laughed as I flattened his collar.
"Don't worry about it," I grinned.
"It was all good?" He offered.
"It better have been," I smirked.
He looked at me before he chuckled, planting a kiss on my cheek before rethinking and kissing me lightly on the lips.
"And again!" I said in mock surprise. He laughed and I smiled back before kissing him on the cheek.
"So what, are we heading down to the changing rooms?" I asked.
"...I don't think that's really..." He began but he was cut off when he saw my grin.
"They're a pain ok?!" He laughed.
"Antony they're meant to be your friends!" I said feigning shock.
"Plus I like hearing what you say about me," I said lightly.
"Yes...well...another time..." He said clearing his throat slightly as the tips of his eyes burned pink.
I felt my grin widen before I laughed.
"Fine...we still have the whole day?" I said.
"Yeah," He grinned.
I can barely remember everything we did that day, it was cold and I remember walking through a frozen park, the sun shining meekly onto the solid ground. I remember lunch in some impossibly grand place, I remember finally rolling into Hogsmeade late and then finally, that kiss. I remember feeling as if I were going to melt and it was probably round about that moment that I really knew, that I knew that despite all the crap I was getting about breaking it off with Sirius, Antony was worth it.
Of course as with most of the 'perfect' moments in my life it promptly dissolved when Moody made an appearance, pretty much growling at Antony before marching me off.
It didn't matter though because the damage was already done, Antony could have done anything he pleased with me right then because I was just putty in his arms.
He had me.
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