Chapter 6 : Rule 34: Invitations
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Lovely Chapter image by Holly_Mist over at TDA!
Rule 34: When inviting someone new to the group, it is unfavorable to try and curry favor with the new member unless said new member has already expressed favor towards an existing group member before being added into the group.
“We look so freaking hot that it is literally insane.” Looking at Blair in the full-length mirror, I made a little twirl, watching as my black, mini-skirt flared out around me. I tucked my strappy white tank top into my skirt again, teetering on my glittery black pumps. Unbuttoning her cream colored blazer, Blair smoothed her hands down her gray high-waisted shorts and pale pink sequined tank top. “This is literally not a lie, you all. I feel like I could take advantage of someone tonight.” Kicking her nude booties at her reflection in a cheerleader move, she winked at herself and then went to grab something from the bathroom.
“Damn, Lyla!” I heard my friend’s voice echo down the retro hallway of the hotel we were staying at for the bachelorette party and then teetered down the way to where Blair was watching Lyla finish curling her hair. “Holy hell, mama.” I let out a whistle as my sister rolled her eyes and then stood to full height.
Standing in a v-neck dress with no sleeves and a short hemline, her brown sparkling sandals making her almost my height, my sister looked like every young bride should. Most of all, the dress made her growing assets…well, they didn’t look shabby, coming from a purely unbiased source. Anyway as she blinked her enhanced lashes at her reflection, I looked at each of us in the mirror.
We had all had our make-up professionally done today at the spa that my mother had booked for us, paid for by my gracious aunts who wanted my sister to have a fantastic time even though she wouldn’t be partaking in any of the extra curricular activities. Blair’s makeup had been left very natural, apart from her winged eyeliner that was dark and bold with a metallic black added to the end. Lyla had her make-up with lots of gold and brown with just a hint of a reddish bronze to compliment it all together.
Letting the make-up artist go all out with my own makeup, I blinked my eyes and watched as the navy and green played with the color in my eyes. My own dark eyeliner made the whites of my eyes stand out and the soft pink of my cheeks made me look healthy for a change. Tilting my hair back and forth, I watched in amusement as my straightened hair, now close to reaching my elbows when not in curls, fell like a wave. Then stopping, I looked up and smiled at my friends. “I agree with Blair; we look like badasses.”
“Well, what are we doing in here looking at ourselves in the mirror? Let’s get out there and get this party started!” As Blair walked over to the gramophone, Lyla sauntered her way out into the sunken living room of the hotel suite and began to dance around in her high heels, swaying to the music before being joined by Blair. Grabbing a few of the bottles I had stolen from Sirius’ private stash the last time I was over at the Potter’s residence, I made my way into the kitchen type area which had been stocked for our arrival.
Sure, there were only the three of us tonight, but we had wanted Lyla’s Bachelorette party to be as fun and real as possible, even though the bride-to-be couldn’t drink or anything. “Ladies,” I called over the music and both girls swung to face me, their eyes alight with the anticipation of the evening I had planned for us. “I’d like to propose a toast to this very momentous occasion in Young Lyla’s life.”
Rolling her eyes, but smiling at me, Lyla grabbed the glass of sparkling grape juice I handed her while Blair took one of the shot glasses of tequila as well as a wedge of lime from the small porcelain bowl I had set the pieces in. Raising each of our glasses, we all clinked them as I made the toast. “To the best sister and mother around, and to a happy marriage full of love and,” I paused as they both looked at me expectantly. “And, well, happiness!” We all cheered while Blair and I did shots and Lyla downed her cider like it was the real deal.
“When I have this little child, the first thing I’m going to do is make you all watch while I sit back and take shots.” I laughed at my sister before setting my lime wedge on the counter top. Blair made a sour face before setting the fruit down as well and we looked towards Lyla for instruction. “I would like to know what we should be doing for my very insane party.” She mused while gesturing around the streamer-ed room. Decorated in pink and purple and blue and silver banners saying ‘Bride to be” and ‘Number one Bride’ and the like, the room looked like a confetti canon had blown up in it. Very tastefully, of course.
“Hmm. Tonight we shall,” I was interrupted as through the telephone on the wall began to trill very loudly. “Bloody hell.” I murmured while Blair turned the music down and Lyla poured herself another glass of juice. “Hello?” I spoke into the receiver and held the earpiece up so I could listen in.
“Yes, Ms. Parker? This is the front desk calling.” A short voice staccato through the phone and I held it out for a minute before speaking again.
“Uhm, hello, front desk?” I said with curiosity coloring my voice, making my statement seem more like a question than intended. “This is Ms. Parker speaking.”
“Very good. There are two visitors here to see you. They say that they were invited to a private function being held in your room for the night.” Trying to think about who this could possibly be, and praying to Merlin that Blair didn’t order strippers like she had jokingly (or at least I thought) said she was going to do, I told the woman to send the visitors up and then walked over to the doors of the suite.
“Blair, I swear to all the beings above, if you ordered any type of dancer or,” Swinging the door open as a knock sounded, I let out a surprised, and not entirely happy noise. “Lydia.”
“I don’t believe I ordered Lydia to the party, Alexa, but that was a good try. Now who’s at the door?” Blair asked while lining up another tequila shot. Looking at my younger cousin with disdain in my eye, I rolled my heavily lined eyes before walking over and stealing Blair’s shot. Downing the bitter liquid quickly, I sucked on the wedge of lime I had abandoned before and fought against my gag reflex. I really wished we’d gotten salt before hand.
“Lydia is at the door, dear Blair.” Nodding over to where our cousin was standing in her white stilettos, short red dress, and curly hair, I slammed the shot glass back on the counter. Could we never do anything in this family that didn’t get gate crashed by this little home-wrecker? Sighing, I watched as Lyla tilted her head and peered at Lydia.
Straightening back up, Lyla walked back over to the music and turned it up before smiling at our confused cousin. “Since you’re already here, you might as well stay and make sure nothing bad happens to any of us tonight. It’s my party, and I won’t be the one babysitting.” Then with a large smile, she shouted ‘Monica’ and raced towards the door as carefully as she could in her enormous heels.
Coming around the corner and brushing past a bewildered Lydia, I peeked over Lyla’s head and smiled when I saw my oldest cousin. “I didn’t think you were going to be able to come!” I said while hugging my cousin and laughing when she pulled out a bottle of Whiskey from her small, obviously enlarged on the inside, clutch.
“Well, my husband got to go out with his friends, so who says I can’t go out with my cousin for her bachelorette party?” With a wink, she shut the door and then made her way to the kitchen while setting her bottle down and hugging Blair as well. Looking over to Lyla, I shrugged and linked arms with her before joining the rest of the girls in another round of shots.
“Now that we are all fairly on our way to being inebriated,” Blair said with a laugh as she took a large swig of soda to chase away the burning aftertaste in her mouth. “Will you please tell us what the plan is for the night? I’m having as much fun as we always do, but when we look this nice, we need to go out on the town.”
“And that we shall do, my good friend.” Turning towards everyone, I put my hands on my hips and smiled. “Now originally, I had told Sirius that we were going to a muggle club called Jigsaw just outside of London.”
“Are you out of your damn mind right now?” Lyla asked as her eyes bugged out of her pretty little face. “That place is where you go to get taken advantage of and mugged. I really do not want to be killed before my wedding and baby get here.” She said in an outraged voice and I couldn’t help but laugh at her face.
Blair laughed along as well before adding her own opinion. “I’m not going to lie to you, Alexa. That place is literally a playground for the seedy and shady people of the world.” Lydia and Monica remained quiet and stood watching me while I continued to laugh at all of their faces.
“Which is precisely why we won’t be going there. I have to tell Sirius stupid shit like that so he won’t think we’re going to be going anywhere that is totally awesome. I have to win for the best party. It’s not an option at this point.” While everyone rolled their eyes, I adjusted the necklace that lay on my shirt and waited for them to stop judging.
Crossing her own eyes, Lydia looked at me like I was an idiot talking in a room of geniuses. Newsflash: you’re not cool. “Then where exactly do you plan on going?”
Smiling widely, I looked to Lyla and said, “The Headless Horseman.” Her eyes widened and then she too smiled in appreciation while getting up and finishing off the rest of her juice. “What are we waiting for then? I’ve been wanting to go to that club since I heard about it.”
“Lyla, you wanted to go to a club?” Monica asked in a surprised voice and Lyla looked at her in shock.
“Monica, this is not simply a club. This is where all the high-class people go to hang out and get their picture taken for the daily prophet. You have to be on a list to even get in the door. How you pulled this off is beyond me.” She said while turning towards me and pulling me into a hug.
“James’s mom knew one of the people that works security there and he pulled a few strings to get us on the list. It really wasn’t even my doing.” As we all gathered up our few things we were taking with us, I laid the rest of the plan on them as well. “We’re also going to eat dinner in the hotel before we go. Can’t have us all clubbing on an empty stomach. Besides, the car won’t be arriving until around eleven to take us anyway.”
Making one last look in the mirror, I pursed my lips before walking towards the door and shutting the light off before stepping into the hallway and closing the door. Then walking towards the elevator, I stepped in and we closed the gate before pressing the button that would take us to the main floor to where we would grab dinner. The bell dinged a few floors later, and as we stepped out, a group of men dressed and suits stepped on, glancing at us as we walked by. Turning back around, we caught one more glimpse of them as the gate shut and Blair threw them a wink as it did so.
“This is going to be one fantastic night.” She said with a smile and I rolled my eyes before linking arms with her and catching up with Monica, Lydia, and Lyla who were waiting for us by the restaurant’s door.
After a lovely dinner and drinks, as well as a few more glasses of champagne and liquor in the car, we were all feeling very loose as we got to the Headless Horseman. Stepping out of the car and swinging my legs around so I wouldn’t flash everyone my underwear, I stood a bit shakily on the curb and smiled at the bright flashing lights on the top o the club’s roof. Linking hands with Lyla who was climbing out after me, I bounced around a bit with my excited sister.
“This is going to be so much bloody fun!” Lyla said as we moved over and waited for Lydia, Monica, and finally Blair to get out of the car. With smiles, we all made our way to the front door and the short line of the club. We were all chatting loudly, while Lydia tried to keep us all from falling over, when I saw a particularly familiar green button down shirt. One that I had forced Sirius to buy while we went shopping one day.
To make things even more peculiar, the shirt was attached to a torso the led up to a neck and head of extremely shaggy black hair that I had been telling him to cut for weeks. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I said out loud, loud enough, it turned out, for most of the line to turn and look at us. Including Sirius, Remus, James, and Peter, all of who were looking at us with shock on their faces.
“What are you doing here?” Sirius asked in a shocked voice, looking me up and down and then turning to look at the rest of us as well. “And why the hell are you dressed like you’re open for business?”
“I’m going to ignore that statement because I’m sure you’ve had plenty to drink tonight, Sirius.” Lyla said while putting her hand on her hip and narrowing her eyes at Sirius. I rolled my own eyes at him while countering his question with one of my own.
“The real question is what are you all doing here? Did you all know that this is what I had planned for my party?” I said with a glare and James and Remus rolled their eyes at all of our antics. A fairly inebriated Blair smiled at James before giving in and wrapping her arms around his waist. “Who cares? Now I can dance with my boyfriend instead of finding random men to hang out with all night!” She said with a loud laugh.
James looked slightly shocked and then shook his head when he realized she was joking. After wrapping his arm around her waist, he shrugged at Sirius and Remus. “I don’t really care. We can stay or go, but we’re already both here and I’m pretty sure this is one time that putting competition aside would be the right thing to do. This is one of the hottest places to be right now.”
“I’m not particularly sure I want my fiancé to be at this club right now, though, seeing as she is carrying my child.” Remus said to Lyla, who raised an eyebrow at him before crossing her arms over her chest.
“I don’t think you have the right to make that choice for me, Remus. I’m a grown woman, this is my party, and I’ll go where I want to.” With that, she made her way to the front of the disinterested line, Blair and James following while talking to each other and laughing every once in awhile. Lydia, Monica, Remus, Sirius, and I watched while Lyla gave the bounce a coy smile and he flashed a large set of white teeth at her before opening the rope and allowing her in.
“Bloody hell.” Remus said while raking a hand over his face and stalking in after Lyla. Not, however, before sparing me a glance that read he was very mad at me for allowing her to come out. Feeling myself deflate slightly, I gestured Lydia and Monica ahead, telling Lydia to make sure no one got out of hand.
Turning to Sirius, I crossed my arms over my chest before looking him in the eye. “How’d you know we were going to be here?” I asked him while raising my eyebrows. He rolled his eyes before reaching for my elbow and pulling me closer to him, which I did after stumbling slightly trying to resist. In these heels it was just easier to not be mad.
“At this point, I have no clue how we ended up at the same place, just that I’m slightly buzzed and you look very nice in your clothes. Also that I want to dance with you.” He tilted his head slightly to look at me with a smirk, and I felt my cheeks flare as the blood rushed to my head and my stomach exploded into butterflies.
Taking a deep breath, I let my curiosity slip away before taking his hand and pulling him into the club with me. Going from the bright outside world into the dark smokiness of the club was a shock to my senses and I strained my eyes slightly to see inside the darkness. There was a DJ up at the front of the dance floor, where people were dancing around and throwing their hands around. Along the sides of dance floor there were booths full of people as well as tall tables with stools where women and men sat and watched the partygoers or sipped drinks and talked. Then lit up by neon lighting, not as bright as outside, but still lighting a side of the room, was the bar. Spotting James and Blair at one of the booths closest to the bar, I dragged Sirius with me and scooted into the booth.
“Where is the rest of the crew?” Sirius asked taking a seat next to me and placing a hand on my knee under the table. Even in her drunken state, I could tell Blair did not miss the move. Raising an eyebrow at Sirius, he shrugged his shoulder and smirked back at her.
As her eyes lit up, she gestured towards the dance floor in answer and then pointed at me. “You and me, to the bar, right now.” She sounded less than menacing than I’m sure she would have liked, but I followed her anyway, needing a drink and getting the thrill of climbing over Sirius and making him sweat a little bit. When we were safely seated at a barstool and waiting for our drinks to arrive, she turned to me, full Cheshire grin on her face. “When were you going to tell Lyla and I that you and Sirius were shagging each other senseless again?”
My face flushed again and I took a large drink of the mixed cocktail the bartender had just sat down in front of me. “Because I knew you would react like this and Lyla would react in a way that she was happy but also slightly disapproving. And I didn’t want to tell anyone. It’s kind of embarrassing, isn’t it?”
Contemplating this for a moment, Blair then looked at me and shrugged her shoulder. “I mean, you love each other, that much is clear. And you can’t retaliate and say that you don’t have some sort of feelings for him, even though you two are stupidly broken up right now. So why should it be embarrassing?”
“Stupidly broken up? Are you saying that you all think we should have stayed together through everything?” I felt dumbfounded as Blair played with the rim of her pink and orange cocktail. She looked around the bar for a minute before I finished off my drink and gestured for the bartender to send over another.
“Look, Alex, I’m not saying that you all haven’t had hardships, but you belong together. And no one should keep you two apart; not even yourself.” With that, she dug a few Knuts and a sickle out of her pockets and then we made our way back to the table. Trying not to let my head spin from the words Blair had just thrown on me and the drinks that we had just put away, I smiled at my sister, Remus, James, and Monica who were all sitting at the table we had been at.
“Where’s Lydia and Peter?” I asked while I sat my glass down on the table and looked around the club. I couldn’t see them until James pointed to one of the writhing couples off to the side in the corner. Looking thoroughly drunk and like he was having the time of his life, Peter Pettigrew was dancing with my younger cousin, who I knew for a fact was not drunk and who looked to be enjoying herself anyway.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Peter is a nice guy with a semi-sense of humor and good friends. He is not, however, someone that I would want to get sweaty with on a dance floor. Especially not if I was sober enough to remember it the next day. Speaking of dancing, I felt a hand on my shoulder and looked up to see Sirius grinning down at me. Tilting his head down so he could speak in my ear, he asked, “Want to do a much better, less spastic version of dancing?”
Looking over at Remus, Lyla, and Monica who were all chatting and then Blair and James who were snogging in the booth, I took his hand and nodded my head. “As long as you manage to keep me up and walking, I think we’ll have a blast.” Then, I grabbed Lyla’s freehand in my own. “Why don’t we all get out there on the dance floor and show this place how to dance Hogwarts style?” I said with a smile and Lyla rolled her eyes at me before dragging Remus up with her. Remus, not wanting to be the only boy dancing with just Sirius as a wingman, grabbed James’ collar and drug both he and Blair from the booth.
“I’ll pass on this one.” Monica said with a smile before settling back into her chair more. I shrugged and we made our way to the dance floor, the original crew back in business again. Dancing with Sirius, I put my hands over his shoulders and leaned forward to speak in his ear. “Want to know one of my favorite parts about you?”
Looking at me with a raised eyebrow, he tilted his head to the side and slid his hands down my waist so they rested on my hips. As we swayed back and forth, not necessarily in time with the music, I touched his slightly parted lips with my index finger. “You have perfectly straight, white teeth. I envy them.”
“You may be partially insane.” He told me, putting his forehead to mine and then very slowly leaning his head down to capture my lips with his own. Sliding my tongue along his teeth, I wrapped my arms tighter around his neck and pulled myself closer as Sirius tightened his hold on my hips, sliding them up my body a bit more and pulling me up towards him. When we parted, I caught my breath, feeling my friends’ eyes on me. “I think we have an audience.” He whispered against my damp neck, sweat beginning to coat my back.
Putting my hand to my lips, I casually wiped them off and then bit my bottom lip slightly. Turning to face the rest of my friends, I noticed that Blair and James had taken this moment to thoroughly remove themselves from any sorts of human activity and were flailing around the dance floor like robots. I couldn’t help the chuckle that escaped my lips as I watched them for a moment. Then, I turned back to look at Lyla who, instead of a stern look on her face, looked like she was going to yell in joy.
“Finally, you two have pulled your heads out of your asses!” She shouted across the thumping music at me. I laughed loudly as Sirius wrapped his hands around my from behind and smirked over my shoulder. “Technically I still haven’t asked her to be my girlfriend again.” He remarked and Lyla just rolled her eyes before Remus pulled her back towards him and started to dance with her again. From the slight glaze in his eyes, I could tell he was drunk.
As it should be, I thought as I pulled Sirius off the dance floor with me and fought my way through the crowd to sit at the table that had been occupied by Monica. “Thank Merlin! I’ve had to use the loo for ages now!” She cried while leaping up and hurrying to the loo without a second glance. Not being able to contain my giggles, I slid into the booth and then curled myself into Sirius’ side, draping my tired legs across his under the table.
“So, if you’re not going to ask me to be your girlfriend right now, then can I ask you to be my boyfriend?” I said with my best coy expression I could manage. Running his fingers across my exposed collarbone, Sirius tilted my chin back with his forefinger and then smiled widely at me.
“No, I don’t suppose so. If you asked I’d probably say no.” He was smiling but I felt the confusion and warning signs blaring in my ears through my drunken haze.
“Excuse me?” I stuttered and Sirius laughed his bark-like laugh before leaning down and kissing me quickly on the lips. Then, nuzzling my neck and placing a kiss right below my jawbone, he pulled back and looked at me with a slight fire in his eyes. I felt myself flush just looking at him.
“Because, this time around, it’s going to be perfect.” He said and the flush that had taken over my bodies intensified and made my insides melt. Flinging my arms around him and squeezing him tightly, I felt a huge sense of relief that I hadn’t felt since we broke up in April. Even though we weren’t technically back together, everyone knew. And we were well on our way to making this right again.
Pulling back, I looked him in the eye and smiled for real this time; a true smile of happiness, nothing else bothering me. “Take me home?” I said feeling like I was walking on air. He nodded his head before taking my hand and then, finally, we left together.
“Well, I must say, Mr. Lupin, you are a tad bit drunk this evening,” I joked, as Remus held me tightly, stumbling around the dance floor.
“Well, I must say, soon to be Mrs. Lupin, that you are a tad bit not drunk,” he said. I just laughed at his rebuttal. I didn’t get to see Remus like this often, especially as of late, but he just seemed so carefree and happy. There was no worry on his face, just pure joy. Remus tucked a stray hair behind my ear and smiled at me. “I am the luckiest guy in the whole world, did you know that?”
“And why is that?” I coyly asked.
“Because I have you,” he said simply. He leaned down and placed a loving kiss on my lips, lingering there for a moment.
“Good answer,” I told him with a smile. “I need to get some air, want to come with me?” Remus nodded his head and I took his hand leading him toward the door. As we made our way through the throngs of people, I noticed that Sirius and Alexa had disappeared. I felt a rush of happiness for my sister. Things were finally starting to work out for her and she and Sirius would finally be back together soon!
Once outside, I breathed in the cool summer air that washed over my hot skin. I welcomed the cool air and wiped the slight covering of sweat that had formed on the back of my neck. I leaned up against the wall of the club and rested my hands on my stomach. Remus slid next to me and I could feel his eyes on me. “Are you feeling okay?”
“I’m great,” I told him, “I’ve honestly never felt better.” The normalcy of the evening was so refreshing. It was the first time in a long time that I felt even a semblance of my old self.
“If you want to head home, we can head out right now,” he told me, wanting to make sure I wasn’t over doing it.
“Absolutely not,” I said definitively. “Tonight is all about having fun and letting off some steam; I’m not going to cut that short.”
“Oh, don’t worry about that Lyla,” he told me. “I’ll take you home and if I feel like it, I’ll come back and meet back up with the boys.” At this, I pushed myself off of the wall and turned toward Remus.
“And why is it okay that you stay out tonight, but I can’t?” I questioned. “Last time I checked, this was my hen night.” Remus put his hands up, signaling me to slow down for a second.
“Lyla, I’m just thinking of you,” he tried to explain. “You’re nearly five months pregnant, you shouldn’t be staying out to all hours of the night. We’re about to have a baby, we can’t do whatever we want anymore.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “No, what you mean is that I can’t do whatever I want anymore,” I said, my voice rising slightly. “Is this how it’s going to be, Remus? Me at home with the baby while you go out doing whatever you please?”
“Now, you know I didn’t mean it like that,” Remus said, sounding irritated. “I was merely pointing out that lifestyle changes are going to have to be made once we are married and once the baby arrives.”
“Lifestyle changes for who?” I questioned him. “I understand that I’m not going to be able to go out every night and party when the baby arrives, but just because we are getting married and having a child doesn’t mean that I am going to become this perfect, submissive little housewife. I may be carrying this child, Remus, but we are in this together.”
“You are just being ridiculous, now,” he told me. “You know damn well that I am fully in this and that I in no way expect you to care for our baby on your own. This is just the pregnancy hormone talking.”
“Is it?” I laughed slightly. “Then why did you suggest that I should go home while you stay out all night with your boys?”
“Okay, Lyla, you got me!” Remus exclaimed dramatically. “To be honest, I don’t entirely feel comfortable having my pregnant-soon-to-be-wife staying in a club all night. I worry about you. I worry that you’re going to have another episode like you did in Hogsmeade. I worry that some random person is going to try to hurt you. So, yes, I would rather have you safe at home than have you hanging around sleazy guys in a bar all night.”
I shook my head as he spoke. “This isn’t about making sure I’m safe, this is about your insecurities,” I told him. Maybe it was the hormones acting up, but I could almost feel the anger bubbling up inside of me. “Ever since Lucas, anytime that we are around other guys besides the Marauders, you get all weird as if you’re just waiting for me to jump into some other guy’s arms. If you haven’t noticed, I’m sort of committed to you.” I pointed to my stomach when I spoke this last sentence.
“That is bullshit, and you know it,” Remus said angrily. “This has nothing to do with Lucas. And for you to even think that just shows how much you truly know about me.”
“You know, Remus,” tears welling up in my eyes, “you’re right. After tonight, I have no clue who you really are because you clearly aren’t the man that I thought I was going to be marrying.” With that, I turned away from him and went to find Blair. I grabbed my purse that I had brought, told Blair that I was heading home and not to worry. She said that she’d be at the hotel with James if I needed anything and to be careful.
When I exited the club once again, Remus was still out there standing in the same place. He moved to follow me as I walked down the street but I turned quickly toward him, stopping him right in his tracks. “Don’t follow me, Lupin.” I told him sternly. “I mean it.” Remus just stood there and I turned my back to him and continued down the street. I didn’t know where I was going to go, but I knew that I couldn’t go back to our apartment.
As I walked away from the club, I had to force myself not to look back. I knew that if I looked back and saw Remus, I was going to completely lose it. When I had walked quite a good distance, I snuck a quick peek over my shoulder and saw that Remus had headed my warning and didn’t follow me. I was wandering aimlessly, but deep down I knew where I was going to end up.
My feet stopped instinctively and I looked up and took in the sight of my old house. I had never seen it look more welcoming. All the lights were off except for a dull glow coming from the living room. I fingered the familiar house key that mother had insisted I keep and walked up the walkway to the big door. Opening the door as quietly as I could, I slipped inside and shut the door behind me.
I stepped further into the house and peeked into the living room. Sirius and Alexa were sitting on the couch, holding each other closely. I just smiled when I thought of those two finally getting back together. Neither of them had fully admitted that they were back together, but I could tell that they would be back to normal in no time. They finally could stop sneaking around and thinking that none of us knew, when we pretty much knew the entire time.
Not wanting to interrupt whatever was going on with them, I quickly snuck past the living room and headed up the stairs, making sure to skip over the particularly squeaky step at the top of the staircase. I also didn’t want to have to explain why I showed up here in the middle of the night. Once I was safely closed up in Alexa’s old room, and mine I dug through the dresser to find any sort of clothing that would fit me. I had left some clothes behind when I moved, but none of it fit me with my ever-growing abdomen. I finally discovered an old pair of sweatpants and an extremely oversized shirt and quickly changed out of the dress that I had adorned for the evening out.
When I moved out my parents had bought Alexa a new bed and had gotten rid of the old twin beds that we had slept on since we were young. Hoping Alexa wouldn’t mind, I pulled the covers back and eased myself onto the bed. As I became more pregnant it became harder and harder to fall asleep. I could never get comfortable. I tossed and turned for a while before I finally fell asleep.
I woke up suddenly the next morning with a sharp intake of air. I stretched out my tight joints and rubbed my stomach as I shifted slightly in the bed. When I opened my eyes my heart skipped a beat at what I say. “Oh my goodness,” I whispered, my hand to my chest as I say Alexa and Sirius sitting at the foot of the bed on either side of my legs. “What on earth are you two doing?” I questioned and I pulled myself up into a sitting position.
“I think we could ask you the same question,” Sirius said, shaking his hair out of his eyes.
“You can only imagine my surprise when I ventured up to my room late last night only to find my bed otherwise occupied,” Alexa said, very business-like. “And let me tell you, it’s nearly impossible for me to share a bed with you anymore what with that baby bump of yours and the incessant tossing and turning.” I gave Alexa an apologetic smile and she continued. “Now, dear sister, care to explain why you have taken residence in my bed?”
I looked down at my fingers and then back up at my sister and my friend. “Remus and I had a fight,” I told them. “I couldn’t go back to the apartment and I didn’t know where else to go.”
Alexa’s face softened and she put her hand on my knee. “You are always welcome here, Lyls,” she told me. “Now, tell us what happened.”
I relayed the whole argument to them and saying it all again to myself and to others just made it that much more real. It was really easy for me to pretend that it hadn’t happened until I actually told somebody else. “And then, I came here, saw you and Sirius in the living room and just decided to go to bed,” I finished. “That brings us to now.”
“Remus better check himself,” Alexa said angrily. “How could he even say those things to you?”
I suddenly felt kind of bad for talking bad about Remus. “Well, in his defense, he was a little drunk,” I offered.
“No, Lyls,” Alexa said quickly, “Don’t make excuses for him. He should have never said those things. He’s made his bed and now he’s got to lay in it.” I looked to Sirius with a slight smile as Alexa went off on a slight tangent. “Sirius, you better talk to Remus and tell him to get his ass in gear.”
“Yes dear,” Sirius said, putting his hand on Alexa’s, which was resting on the bed. Alexa pulled her hand away and began to blush furiously. Sirius smirked uncontrollably and I just shook my head at his antics.
“Anyways,” Alexa said abruptly, standing up, “Sirius, if you’ll please vacate the room, Lyla and I shall get ready for the coming day. Off you go.” Alexa motioned toward the door and Sirius happily removed himself from the room.
“I’ll just be downstairs with Evon and Gary,” he informed us. Once Sirius had headed down the stairs, Alexa closed the door behind him and rejoined me on the bed.
“So, how are you really?” Alexa asked me.
I shrugged my shoulders at first. I was feeling all sort of different things and I honestly was unsure of the feelings that I was actually feeling and those that were because of the baby. “Well, I’m still pretty pissed at Remus and I’m honestly a little embarrassed about running here after the fight. I mean, we just moved in together, we’re about to get married, we have a fight and the first thing I do is run home to Mommy and Daddy.”
“Oh, Lyla,” Alexa said, “You may be getting married but you’re still only seventeen years old. You and Remus got into a fight and you freaked out about it. That’s completely understandable. Any grown woman would probably have done the same thing you did if she were in the same situation. You and Remus have a home but this will always be your home too and you’re always welcome here.” I gave her a nod and then she pulled me into a hug. “Now, you hop in the shower and I’ll find some clothes for you to wear.”
I headed into the familiar bathroom and let the hot water soothe my stiff back and wash away the remnants of last night. Alexa had found an oversized white button-down shirt and some black leggings for me to wear and she had placed them neatly on the edge of her bed. After changing into the clean clothes and throwing my wet locks into a messy bun, I headed down to the living room where Alexa and Sirius were talking.
“Well, don’t we look revived?” Alexa said with a smile. Sirius got up from his seat on the couch next to Alexa and moved to the chair positioned across from the couch. I took the previously occupied seat next to my sister and leaned against the back of the couch. “Mama and Dad left for work while you were in the shower, but they said that if you wanted to stay for dinner they’d really like to see you.” I nodded my head, not really sure where I was going to be come dinnertime.
“So, Moony knows you came here last night, right?” Sirius questioned.
“No,” I shook my head sheepishly. “I told him not to follow me and then I left.”
Alexa’s mouth dropped and she hit me on the arm. “Lyla!” she exclaimed. “You just left without telling anyone where you were going? For all he knows, you could be dead in a ditch somewhere.”
“When I left, I honestly didn’t even know where I was going,” I said defending myself. “In hindsight, walking around that late at night by myself was probably not the best idea, but at the time I just had to get out of there and I just wanted to be alone. Plus, if I had told Remus where I was going, he would have come over here and wanted to talk about it.”
“You guys are going to have to talk about it eventually,” Alexa said matter-of-factly. “You guys are getting married in a week and should probably get all this sorted out before then.” When I didn’t say anything in response Alexa continued. “You are going to talk to Remus about this aren’t you?”
“Well, of course I’m going to talk to him about it,” I told her, putting her at ease. “I just don’t know when. I have a week to figure it out,” I joked. Sirius laughed slightly with me, but Alexa didn’t think it was funny.
“What is with you?” Alexa asked. “All you and Remus used to want to do was to talk about your feelings and all that mess. Your feelings toward each other, your feelings toward others, others’ feelings; you love talking about feelings, Lyla. Now, you don’t want to talk about it at all? What’s that about?”
I rolled my eyes at my sister and looked past her exaggerated comments about my love of feelings. “I don’t know, Alexa,” I said, not really wanting to go into the real reasons. Alexa and Sirius just both stared back at me, clearly telling me that we weren’t going to move on from the subject until I gave them a legit answer. “Okay, I just feel like I can’t talk to him sometimes. And he’s driving me crazy with this whole pregnancy thing. I know he only means well, but he is smothering me,” I vented.
“It’s like I can’t make a damn move anymore without him freaking out about something. I can’t lift anything because he’s afraid it might be too heavy and I’ll put stress on the baby. He won’t let me use magic because I could over do it and hurt the baby. And ever since the whole Lucas thing, he thinks I’m going to just run off and fall in love with the next bloke that I see.” I bit my bottom lip slightly and tugged at the hem of my shirt.
“I love our baby and I’m doing everything to make sure nothing happens to it while it’s still in there,” I said pointing to my stomach, “But Remus has gone overboard. It’s like he doesn’t see me as his fiancée anymore, I’m just a baby incubator. And he’s freaking out so much about money and what’s going to happen once the baby gets here that he’s missing being with me right now.
“I know I should be grateful that I have someone who’s willing to do all these things for me, but I can’t just sit and do nothing. I’m kind of a control freak and not being able to control my own life is killing me. The only think I could control were my thoughts. So, I kept them to myself and kind of shut him out because anytime I tried to talk to him about anything I would get nowhere. To answer your question, that is why I don’t feel like talking to him.”
Alexa and Sirius just looked at me, not really knowing what to say. “Damn,” Sirius said, breaking the silence. “I am so glad I’m not Moony right now.”
“Wow, that really sucks.” Alexa said bluntly. “That truly is a downer.” I nodded my head in agreement. “Can I do anything to help?” she offered. I could tell by her expression that she was hoping I would say no, I just smiled at her and shook my head. She let out a sigh of relief and patted my knee. “Well, let us know if we can do anything.”
Quickly jumping at the opportunity to change the subject I said, “So, are you two back together? I notice that you guys are an ‘us’ again.”
Alexa’s eyes widened and she tensed up nervously. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she denied. This was classic Alexa. “When I said ‘us’ I was just referring to our duties of Maid of Honor and Best Man; nothing more.”
“Not yet, anyways,” Sirius muttered under his breath. Alexa gave him a look and then turned back to me with a smile. “He means nothing by that,” Alexa continued for him. “There is nothing going on.”
“Well, you two seemed pretty cozy last night,” I pointed out.
“Yeah, well you know what happens to me when I drink,” she said defensively. “I do dumb shit! I make bad decisions and get way to flirty for my own good. I will literally flirt with anything. Sirius was there so I flirted with him but that’s it. And the only reason he stayed here last night was because…” she paused here for a moment trying to figure out what to say next. “Because there was a slight chill late last night, Sirius didn’t have a jacket and I didn’t want him to catch a cold. Could you imagine if he had a runny nose during your wedding? Sniffling and sniffling all over the place. Annoying. I did you a favor. You’re welcome.”
“Thank you,” I told her with a smile. Sirius was watching Alexa as she squirmed under the pressure and was laughing. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.
Alexa willingly got up from her seat and rushed to the door. When she opened the door I heard an all too familiar voice say, “Please tell me that Lyla is here.” Sirius looked over at me obviously recognizing Remus’s voice as well.
“Yeah, she’s here.” Alexa said leaning against the door. “She’s right inside.” I could hear Remus move to come in but Alexa stepped in his way. “I don’t know if you should come in Reems, Lyla’s not too happy with you right now.”
“I understand that, Alex, but that’s exactly why I need to talk to her,” he said. “I need to make things right.”
Alexa leaned her head back slightly so she could see me and gave me a questioning look. I knew I should give him a chance to explain, but I just didn’t want to do it right then. I shook my head slowly at her and she nodded back. “Remus, I just don’t think it’s a good idea.”
There was a silent pause for a moment and then Remus spoke again. “Lyls, sweetheart, I know you can hear me in there,” he said. I looked over at the door picturing Remus on the porch. “You have to believe me that I am truly sorry. I just want to talk to you, please. I love you.”
I pulled myself off the couch and slowly walked over to where Alexa was standing. I came around the other side of the door and saw Remus. He looked like he hadn’t slept all night but when he saw me I could almost see the relief on his face. Alexa headed back into the living room and left Remus and I alone.
“Hey,” he said with a smile. I gave him a slight smile and then took his hand bringing him into the house and closing the door behind him. I led him into the living room and Remus and Sirius exchanged a few words before we continued out into the backyard. We sat down on the patio chairs and just looked at each other. “I’m glad you’re okay,” he started. “I was worried about you last night when you didn’t come home.”
“I’m sorry I worried you,” I told him. I honestly didn’t know what else to say. Literally, in my mind, there was nothing. Just blank.
“Damn it, Lyla!” Remus said harshly. “What do I have to say to get you to forgive me; hell, to say more than ten words to me?” He ran his fingers through his hair like he always did when he was worried. “What is going on with you lately? You’ve been distant and I don’t know what’s going on in your head.”
“I’ve been distant lately because you are suffocating me,” I said frankly. “You are constantly on me about stuff with the baby and I feel like I can’t even make a move without either running it by you first. I can’t live like that Remus, I just can’t. I like doing things for myself.” I felt tears stinging my eyes but I kept them from falling. “And I don’t know what you’re expecting out of me as a mother and wife but if you expect me to be this 1950s house wife, I don’t think I can do that.”
Remus let out a sigh and rubbed his forehead. “I’m honestly sorry that I said any of that last night,” he said. “I was a little drunk last night and I wasn’t thinking clearly. I in no way expect you to be a certain kind of wife or mother, Lyls. If you love me and our daughter, that’s good enough for me.”
“You may not have meant it, but you still said it, and I can’t help but think that maybe, subconsciously, that’s what you want,” I said, thinking out loud. “But that just scratches the surface, Remus. You have got to back off a bit with this whole protective thing. I cannot stand it anymore. I am not made of glass; I’m not going to break. I know my limits and I promise that I will not do anything that I think will put the baby or myself in danger.”
“But what happened in Hogsmeade could happen again, and you didn’t see that coming at all. You didn’t realize there was a problem until after the fact,” he argued.
“That was an extreme case, Remus,” I pointed out. “Doing a simple spell to clean something up is not the same as casting several defensive spells right in a row. I know when to stop.”
“See, I worry that you won’t stop though,” he confessed. “You are fiercely independent, Lyla, and that’s one of the many things I love about you, but you will push yourself and push yourself before you’ll ask someone else for help. There are just things that you can’t do while you’re pregnant but I know that you’ll want to try them all.”
I laughed slightly and shook my head. “That’s absurd!” I exclaimed. “I have no problem asking others for help, I ask for help all the time.”
It was Remus’s turn to laugh. “You also have that Parker stubbornness that you and your sister both share,” he said coolly. “I’m just trying to make sure you stay safe and that the baby stays safe. We can’t only think of ourselves anymore, we also have to think of the baby.”
All I’ve been thinking about since the day I found out that I was pregnant was the baby! What I said next I really didn’t think through but I said it anyways. “Well, I think the baby and I just need a break,” I told him. “Let’s just see how I do when I’m not under your watchful eye. And if I somehow screw this baby up, I will admit that you were right.”
Remus shook his head again. “This isn’t about who’s right or wrong, Lyla,” he said.
“Regardless,” I responded, “I think we just need some time apart.”
I saw Remus’s jaw clench tightly together as if he was biting back his anger. The full moon was coming up and I knew it was hard for him to control his emotions. “You want to take some time apart a week before we’re supposed to be getting married?” he questioned. I nodded my head, unable to speak. “Fine, take all the time that you need. I’ll be gone for the next four days for the full moon, so feel free to stay at the apartment, I won’t be there.”
“I think I’ll just stay here, but thanks,” I spoke quietly.
He stood up from his chair and looked at me before he turned to leave. “I’ll be back in four days,” he said again. “I know you’re pissed, but I still love you and I still plan on marrying you in a week. I hope you’ll decide to come home by the time I get back.” After he said this, he turned his back to me and went back into the house to exit through the front door.
When he was gone completely, I closed my eyes and placed my hands on my stomach. I felt like I should be apologizing to the baby. I felt guilty for fighting with Remus. I didn’t want us to be the kind of parents who fought about everything; I didn’t want our kid to have to deal with that. I truly believed the time apart would be good for us. We could both calm down a bit and get out of each other’s hair; but this wasn’t what marriage was. Marriage was about facing problems head-on, together. I suddenly was filled with this awful feeling that I was going to be the most terrible wife.
Alexa joined me outside after a few moments and took the seat that Remus had been sitting in. She didn’t say anything at first; she just smiled at me sympathetically. “Don’t worry, Lyls, Remus will come around; he always does,” she assured me. I gave her a weak smile. “Sirius went with Remus to make sure he didn’t do anything stupid, with the full moon coming and all. I’m sure he’ll be fine though.”
“Do you mind if I stay here with you for a few days?” I asked.
She quickly nodded her head. “Of course, I’d be happy to have you in the old room again,” she told me. “It’ll be just like old times. We’ll have chatsies until the sun comes up, we’ll do each other’s hair, and gossip about countless numbers of people; we’ll do it up big.” At this I laughed. Alexa could put me in the worst mood sometimes, but she also always knew how to make me laugh and pull me out of my inner darkness.
“Come on,” she continued, extending her hand to me from her now standing position. “Let’s go inside, laze about, and then when Mum and Dad get home, we’ll tell them that you went to the doctors today and found out that you’re having twins. They’ll freak out, it’ll be hilarious, and we’ll both be in a better mood.” I took Alexa’s hand and we headed back into the house and just sat about like old times. We sent word to Blair that we requested her presence for a sleep over and she eagerly showed up not thirty minutes later, a large bag packed with all sorts of goodies.
A couple hours later, an owl landed at the kitchen window and began to tap at the glass. Blair hopped off the floor and ran to the kitchen to see what the owl had and returned with a delicately folded letter. Blair was looking at the letter quizzically. “Who is it for?” I questioned.
She looked up from the paper and said, “It’s addressed to all of us,” she said, confused. “Who would send a letter to your house addressed to all of us?”
Alexa pulled Blair to the floor where we were sitting and took the letter from her. “Well, to be fair, we are together all the time,” she laughed. “Either that, or whoever sent this letter has been creeping in the bushes or a nearby tree and know that we’re all here together.” I rolled my eyes at my dear sister and encouraged her to open the letter. Alexa unfolded the letter and her eyes lit up. “It’s from Lily!” she exclaimed, scandalously. “This is so random.”
“She did say that she would write at the concert,” Blair said trying to make sense of all this. “But I never thought that she would actually do it! The fact that she remembers promising us to write is quite remarkable given the state she was in when she said that.”
“Well, what the hell did she say?” I asked impatiently.
Alexa cleared her throat and began to read the letter. “Dear Lyla, Alexa and Blair. I hope you ladies are doing well and are thoroughly enjoying your summer. It was absolutely delightful to see you at the concert and I hope I didn’t embarrass myself too much! As promised, I am writing to you to simply say hello and wish that you all were well. It’d be great to see you all again, on slightly more coherent terms this time, but I know we are all super busy. If I don’t see you before school starts we can just catch up then. Give my best to the Marauders, who I’m sure are close at hand. Best wishes. Lily.”
“Wow,” Blair said in disbelief. “That was surprisingly pleasant. She sure has changed from the days that she was running with Bree and Andy Ablo.”
“Those two can bring out the worst in anyone,” Alexa said. “I can’t believe that she wants to hang out with us.”
“Do you think we should?” Blair asked. “I mean, she’s been a bitch to us in the past, but it seems that she is really a different person and we really did have a good time at the concert with her. Do you think she could roll with us?”
Alexa thought about this for a moment and then gasped. “Lyla, get some paper,” she told me and I looked back at her confused. “It’s time to make a pro/con list.” I shook my head at Alexa but did as she asked. Whenever there was an important decision to be made, we usually ended up making a pro/con list. Alexa simply swore by them. When I returned with the paper and a pen, I drew a line down the middle of the paper and scribbled “Pro” and “Con”, one on each side.
“Con,” Blair started. “James used to be obsessed with her. If she’s around all the time, he may have a relapse.” Alexa and I didn’t think that would happen but I wrote it down nonetheless.
“Pro,” Alexa added, “She’s actually pretty damn funny.” We all nodded in agreement. “Con,” she continued, “She used to be friends with Andy Ablo and Bree. Pro, she used to be friends with Andy Ablo and Bree.” Blair and I looked at her curiously. “It would bring me great satisfaction to take a friend from those bitches.” We all laughed as I wrote down a pro and a con.
“Pro,” I said, “When she found out about Remus and I, she didn’t rat us out. She kind of used us for a bribe, but I look past that.” We all agreed that her covering for Remus and I earned her a pro.
“I’ll give her a pro for bringing some new blood into the mix,” Blair spoke. “I love you guys, but having someone new in the group may shake things up.”
“Going off of that,” Alexa added, “We could try to hook her up with Peter. I feel sorry for the poor boy sometimes.” I looked at the list and the “Pros” currently outweighed the “Cons.” After a few moments of deep thought, we really couldn’t think of any good reasons not to hang out with Lily. The “Pros” won out and the decision had been made.
“So,” Alexa said, “We’ll send her a letter back and we’ll meet up with her soon.”
“Why don’t we just do it tonight?” I questioned. “We aren’t doing anything tonight, and making this a four person sleepover will be fun.”
“Don’t you think it’s a little soon?” Blair asked, genuinely concerned. “She just wrote us today.”
“No better time than the present, Blair,” Alexa told her. She grabbed another piece of paper and hastily wrote a note to Lily. “It’s official ladies,” she said as she gave the owl our response, “We have invited Lily Evans into the crew. Hold on tight, everything’s about to change.”
Prongslittleflower: Well, well, well. This was quite the interesting chapter, was it not? I’m sincerely sorry for not writing and updating sooner, but Christmas holidays came and went a lot faster than expected. By the time you all read this, I’ll already be sitting through one of my many English classes, writing papers for dictator teachers. Nevertheless, I am also going to be outlining the next few chapters while in those classes (got to love being in three creative writing courses). Hope everyone enjoyed the story and we look forward to hearing from you all!
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