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Chapter 12 : Chapter 12
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So I know you’re probably sitting there thinking, “Why is Sirius writing to me? Sirius avoids writing at all costs, even recreational forms of writing. This is amazing, what a breakthrough! I have to inform the Daily Prophet!”
Okay, I’ll stop telling you what you're thinking and start telling you what I’m thinking.
We miss you over here in Potterworld, buddy. Things aren’t the same with only half the Marauders. I’d write to Pete as well, but to be honest, I’m not entirely sure he knows how to read. (That’d be news to inform the Prophet of.)
James is still obsessing over Lily. Having her next door isn’t helping. Yesterday we went to Diagon Alley with her and Mads and he was drooling all over her-
I was not!
I was simply admiring her beauty, intelligence, and kind heart!
Come off it, Padfoot! Stop exaggerating!
Prongs, write your own letter to Moony, this is mine!
Fine. I sense I’m not wanted.
Gee, what gave you that idea?
Anyway, things have been pretty good here. We’ve been playing chess, and I’ve beat James more times than you’ve read Hogwarts, A History.
You have not!
As I was saying, we’ve been just relaxing over here. We can’t wait to see you for the party. Write us back and tell us how things are in Lupinville.
The best mate you’ll ever have,
And the better mate you’ll ever have,
Prongs, that makes absolutely no sense.
I don’t care.
Lily and I have been spent a lot of time with James and Sirius since Lily’s arrival on the 26th. We’ve had a snowball fight, visited the local Muggle village, and played so much Exploding Snap that I don’t think I ever want to play again. We ate dinner at the Potters’ last night, which was an interesting experience. For someone who “doesn’t care what James Potter thinks”, Lily sure seemed to care a lot what James Potter’s parents thought. She was polite, even more so than usual, didn’t make one rude comment to James all night (even when Aunt Laura and Uncle Robert weren’t in the room), and even offered to help with the dishes. It’s no wonder James was beaming when he bid us good-bye.
Sirius and I haven’t gotten any alone time, since Lily knows what’s going on. She doesn’t think we should keep “sneaking around.” The way I see it, we aren’t “sneaking”, we’re just waiting to say anything until there’s something to say. We still haven’t discussed what’s going on.
When I wake up on the 31st, Lily is already downstairs at the kitchen table eating breakfast, a glass of orange juice in one hand and a copy of the Daily Prophet in the other. She’s wearing an emerald green dressing gown and her dark red hair is pulled back into a ponytail. My mother and father have already left for work.
“Good morning, sleepyhead,” she says cheerfully when I sit down. “Juice?”
“Yes, please,” I say, allowing her to pour me some.
Just then, James’s owl, a handsome tawny named Alastair, flies up to the kitchen window and begins pecking on it. I get up and open it to let the owl in, attempting to close the window before much of the cold can creep its way into the kitchen.
I take the scroll tied to Alastair’s leg, unfurl it, and read:
Dear Lily and Maddie,
My mum is making us help out all day to get ready for the party. It’d be ever so lovely if you’d come save us from what will otherwise be a day full of unprofitable boredom. We’re begging you. We can’t spend all day decorating and preparing vol-au-vents by ourselves without becoming mentally unstable. If you care about us--or our sanity--at all, please owl us back and say you’ll come.
James and Sirius
P.S. Don’t worry; we’ll set you free in plenty of time to get ready for the party.
I laugh. “What do you think, shall we go?”
“It sounds like they need us,” says Lily.
I send an owl back with our consent, we get ready, and then we head over to the Potters’. Aunt Laura opens the door.
“Oh, Maddie!” she says, ushering us inside and giving me a hug. “How sweet of you to offer to come and help! And Lily!” She hugs Lily too. “You two are too much. Come in, come in!” Aunt Laura gets quite flustered on the day of the party. Her hair is pulled back into a sloppy bun, she’s wearing an apron with a hole in the front, and her wand is sticking in the back of her hair, giving her quite a frazzled look. She’s holding a list that I can see has about fifty things to do on it, and she’s smiling at us but I can tell inwardly she’s going mad.
As soon as we’re inside, Aunt Laura calls the boys in.
“The boys are so excited to prepare everything,” she tells us in an attempted cheery voice. James and Sirius emerge, grinning at us.
“I’ll be right back, I’m just going to finish up the list of things to do,” Aunt Laura informs us and she disappears into the kitchen.
I put my hands on my hips. “Offer to help?”
“The boys are so excited?” Lily adds.
James and Sirius look at us somewhat guiltily.
“It won’t be that bad now that we’re all together!” Sirius says cheerily.
“Okay, here we go,” says Aunt Laura, returning into the room. “James and Lily, why don’t you two start with the decorations? Everything you’ll need is here-” She motions to a pile of streamers, balloons, and signs reading “HAPPY NEW YEAR.” “-and James knows where everything goes,” she finishes. “Maddie and Sirius, I’d be ever so grateful if you would start the baking for me. Maddie, I know you’re a natural at baking, and Sirius you can follow the directions. I’ve got to go and put all the Undetectable Extension Charms and the Muggle-Repelling Charms on but I’ll be finished in about a quarter of an hour and then I’ll take over the baking,” she tells us. “I’ve left instructions for all of you explaining what you need to do. Let me know if you need anything!” And she leaves us there with our assignments, and our partners.
“To the kitchen we go!” announces Sirius, grabbing my arm and bringing me with him. Lily gives me a look but I just shrug back at her.
“Ah, here we are!” Sirius exclaims as we enter the kitchen. I can’t help but smile. I start getting out the bowls and wooden spoons, and sometime during that process, Sirius taps me on the shoulder.
“I’ve located our instructions,” he announces proudly, handing it to me. I look down and read it. There’s a list of various baked goods and platters to be prepared and how exactly to prepare them, and then, beneath “Allow pudding to freeze” is a final point, written in a different handwriting.
“Sirius,” I say, “I’m not quite sure this right.”
“What?” he asks, peering over my shoulder. “Make cream puffs? Yeah, I don’t like them either.”
“No,” I say, “this one right here.”
He looks and grins. “Ah,” he says. “Well it looks right to me.”
“Really? I don’t remember ‘Snog Sirius’ being one of the things I have to make.”
“Make? No. Do? Yes,” he says, looking at me with a genuine smile. And then we’re snogging again, in James’s kitchen, with people in the next room who are oblivious to what is happening. Déjà vu.
I don’t know how much time goes by, but I don’t care; the instructions and bowls and spoons lay forgotten. I feel Sirius’s hands in my hair, and mine are in his, and it’s perfect, until-
Sirius and I spring apart as if someone has cast a Shield Charm between us. Staring at us, openmouthed, clearly flabbergasted, is James.
“What-you-snog-what the bloody hell is going on?!” he demands, still looking very confused.
“Hey, mate,” says Sirius in what he clearly thinks is a jaunty, winning voice.
“Hi,” I say weakly. Lily comes in behind James, looking at me half-worried, half-amused.
“You didn’t answer my question,” says James. He looks from Sirius, to me, and back again, as if deciding something.
“Sirius, a word?” he asks, and without waiting for an answer, he takes Sirius by the arm and drags him from the kitchen.
We don’t stop until we’ve reached James’s room. Only then does he release me and order, “Explain.”
“I don’t really know what there is to explain, per say,” I answer. “More like fill you in on events I’m not even sure what to make of myself.”
“Events? Plural? This has happened before?” James questions. He doesn’t look angry, just confused and slightly frustrated.
“Er-well, yes,” I say. “After the last Quidditch practice before the holidays, I sort of kissed Mads.”
“You sort of kissed her?”
“Okay, okay, I kissed her. And then on Christmas, when we were ‘washing our hands’? More snogging. And then, er-before we Floo-ed to Diagon Alley? We may have snogged then too.” I look at James, who eyes have widened.
“How long have you fancied her?” He demands. I know he's hurt that both Maddie and I neglected to tell him about this, but in my defense, I didn't tell anyone. It's not like I was trying to hide it from Prongs, it's just that I still don't know what's going on, and I'd been afraid he'd overreact.
Kind of like this.
“Well, I mean, I don’t know if I-”
“You don’t know?!” James shouts. “Padfoot, you can’t do that! You have to know! You can mess around with Maddie’s feelings like that! You can’t just snog her when you feel like it and not expect it to have consequences! You-”
“PRONGS!” I bellow. “I didn’t say I don’t fancy her! I was starting to say that I don’t know if I can pinpoint when I started having more-than-friendly feelings for her, it just happened! I couldn’t help it!”
There’s a pause, as if James is thinking things over.
“You can’t hurt her, Padfoot,” James says after a moment, more calmly now, but still seriously. “Not after everything that’s happened. You can’t hurt her.”
“What makes you think I’ll hurt her?” I ask, offended. “I would never do anything to hurt Mads-ever.”
There’s another pause. When James speaks again, it’s in a much more friendly tone.
“Okay, I’m sorry,” he says. “I shouldn’t have overreacted.”
“Overreacted?” I repeat. “Gone completely mental is more like it.”
“But you do fancy her?” he asks.
Do I fancy Mads? Let’s review:
I want to snog her.
Yes, but you want to snog a lot of girls.
Okay, I enjoy spending time with her.
Yes, but you enjoy spending time with Alice and Lily, and do you fancy them?
Okay, this is getting me nowhere.
Uh oh, James is staring at me, waiting for a response. Maybe I should say something.
Yup, I definitely should say something.
Quick, Padfoot, something! Anything!
This has got to be the longest anyone has ever gone without saying anything.
Do it! Now!
“I’m sorry, what?” says James, looking genuinely puzzled.
I take a deep breath. “I think so, but I don’t know. I don’t usually fancy girls. It’s not my style.”
James nods. “I wish I could say I understand, but it’s kind of the only style I’ve got.” He frowns. “Well, just do the best you can, mate. Sorry I can’t be more of a help.”
“It’s alright,” I say. “I really just need to talk to her.”
He nods. We depart from the bedroom, and go back downstairs to face the girls.
After James and Sirius leave, Lily opens her mouth to speak, but I beat her to it.
“Please don’t say I told you so.”
“I wasn’t going to,” she says, sounding slightly hurt. “I was only going to ask if you were okay.”
I sigh. “I’m sorry, Lils, it’s just…Sirius would never do anything if James wasn’t okay with it, and neither would I. Which means that if James isn’t okay with it, nothing else is going to happen.”
Lily nods. “Well we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?”
As if on cue, James and Sirius reenter the kitchen, James looking much calmer.
“Alright, back to work everyone!” he says cheerfully. Lily smiles at me before following James out of the room.
When they’re gone, Sirius turns to me. “Maddie-”
“How is the baking coming?” says Aunt Laura as she enters the kitchen. Sirius and I look at one another, and then Sirius takes over.
“Oh, Mrs. Potter, I’m so sorry,” says Sirius. “We couldn’t find the instructions, and we’ve been looking for them all this time.”
She frowns. “I thought I left them right on the counter.”
“It’s quite alright,” says Sirius gently, giving her a kind pat on the back. “You’ve been under a lot of pressure. It’s no wonder you accidentally put them in the pantry.”
“The pantry?” repeats Aunt Laura, putting her hand to her forehand. “Oh, I’m so sorry! There’s just been so much to do and-”
“It’s alright,” says Sirius again. “We understand you’ve been under a lot of pressure. Why don’t you go and lie down for a little while?”
Aunt Laura looks slightly horrified. “Oh, I couldn’t,” she says. “There’s still so much to do and-”
“It’s alright, Aunt Laura,” I say, following Sirius’s lead. “We can whip this stuff up in no time.”
Aunt Laura looks from me to Sirius, and then says, “Well, I suppose for a little while…”
“Don’t you worry, Mrs. Potter, we’ve got things under control in here,” says Sirius.
“Thank you,” says Aunt Laura. “You two really are wonderful.” Then she leaves the kitchen.
“Okay, Maddie, we really need to talk,” says Sirius.
“I know,” I say, “but right now we really need to bake. And looking at this list, I don’t think we’re going to be able to multi-task.”
“You’re right,” Sirius agrees. “How about we talk later at the party?”
“Sounds good,” I agree. “Now let’s start in on these cream puffs.”
It’s about four o’clock when the girls leave. Since the party starts at six, they wanted time to get read. I don’t know what’s going to take them two hours, but that’s girls for you.
James and I head upstairs and lie down on our beds.
“Who knew preparing for party could be so exhausting?” James asks. “If I never have to hang a streamer again, it’ll be too soon.”
I shrug. “I had a good time.”
James looks at me suspiciously.
“Relax, Prongs, we actually baked,” I tell him. “How was spending time with Evans?”
“Great,” says James. “We actually had some good conversations. She didn’t call me ‘Potter’ once.”
“Ah, the days of ‘Potter and Evans’ are over,” I say, pretending to wipe a tear from my eye.
James smiles. “I don’t mind.”
“Well, shall I remind you whose idea it was that you call her by her first name?” I ask.
“I haven’t forgotten,” says James, still smiling. “Thanks, Padfoot.”
A/N: Hey, everyone! I hope you enjoyed this chapter. So the stage is set: James and Lily both know about Maddie and Sirius, Maddie and Sirius have both admitted there's more to this than just snogging, and they've agreed to talk, and Lily and James are on a first name basis. Coming up next is the party! Thank you to everyone who has been reading and reviewing, your comments and support mean so much to me. More will be up soon!
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