A/N: Sorry for the late chapter :/ I had it finished but didn't have enough time to edit it throughly, thus not being able to submit it in the queue in time. Sorry if you find any mistakes!
A whirlwind of students pass me by in the corridor. Everyone passes me like they’re in slow motion, all of them giving me a good stare from head to toe. A few guys wink at me, and some of the girls actually roll their eyes when they see my face. Every other person has a look of disbelief written all over their face, and there are a few that are simply just gazing at me, wondering about how I got chosen to escort Sirius Black to the Quidditch banquet.
Geez, I’m only going to the library.
“Wow, you’re causing quite a bit of a stir,” Klara comments, entertained by the plethora of expressions being thrown at me.
I turn to her, and purse my lips together. This does nothing, as Klara continues to giggle at my distress.
“This was supposed to be a small little banquet, not something the entire school knew about!” I protest, nervously looking away from the entire student body. “How does the entire school know about tonight? I haven’t even picked out what I’m wearing yet, and they’re all painting me red in their minds,” I tell Klara.
“Hah! Look a Melissa, over there, near the statue! Sirius dated her in Third Year. Oh my, she’s giving us the death glare. Walk faster…” Klara is doing whatever she can to shield me from everyone’s judging looks whilst trying not to laugh at my situation.
“Just my luck,” I mumble, pouting at the finger pointing boys and whispering girls around me. “This would happen to me, wouldn’t it?”
Shaking her head, Klara looks at me with an apologetic face and an amused smile. “Sorry, mate. This is the price of popularity. Apparently he’s been going stag to these Quidditch dance things-”
“Banquets,” I intervene. This is not a dance. At least… I hope not. Banquets are full of awards and food, no? It’s not as if it’s a Ball.
“Right - sorry. Banquets,” she emphasizes monotonously. “He’s been going alone to these Quidditch banquets ever since they started. In our Fourth Year, I think? It’s a relatively new tradition… I guess everyone assumed he’d be going alone again this year.” She shrugs, thinking to herself. “I guess some of the girls are just jealous that you got asked to go.”
“Why does this school care so much about the love life of Sirius Black?!” I say exasperatedly, dodging another cold glare from a Fifth Year. We turn the corner and even more students are roaming the halls. What is going on? Is there a massive book club I don’t know about? Dinner just ended twenty minutes ago, don’t people have homework to do?
“It’s not so much Sirius, but the marauders in general. Especially since Quidditch season just finished, all the Quidditch players are going through their last rounds of popularity before Hogwarts mellows out in the middle of term. It’s all part of the social ladder, Nat. Surely, you know how this works,” my best friend explains to me, tugging me behind her so I don’t get smacked in the face with someone’s parchment. We’re practically running to the library now, although I’m not objecting. The faster we get there, the better. I’m not particularly fond of this attention.
“Not to mention the fact that Sirius Black has been single this entire year. Everyone’s been on their toes, wondering who the next girl on his arm would be. Not that you’re an accessory,” she strongly points out, whipping her head at me. I quickly shake my head, silently telling her that I’m not offended in the slightest.
“That’s her!” some girl calls out randomly, practically pointing kill shot at me.
“Oh, god,” I grimace, covering my face. Klara and I were just down the corridor from the library, damn it. We were so close. I was hoping we’d reach our destination before someone decided to cry out in frustration over my lack of sustainable popularity. And my dating life.
Smiling, Klara looks at me. “Time to be salvaged,” my best friend whispers to me fruitfully. Gripping my wrist, she pushes through the post-dinner crowd. She drags me down the hall until we reach the library doors.
We burst through the doors like Armageddon.
Klara snags us a table quick, all the way in the back between Merlin’s Council and 18th Century Sorcery. Originally we came to the library for some peace, quiet, and essay writing. I wanted to make sure all my assignments were completed before I started getting ready for the Quidditch banquet. Which would start in roughly two hours. But I needed to be ready before 8 o’clock. So I had maybe 40 minutes at the most, to complete my Transfiguration essay and answer the review questions for Chapter Four in Potions. I had no time to stop and catch my breath, let alone take a break to loosen up my future hand cramp.
“How long did it take you to finish McGonagall’s essay?” I ask her, rummaging through my bag for parchment and ink. There weren’t that many students in the library, surprisingly. But I guess since it’s the end of the week, no one wants to get started on their homework early.
Luckily for me, I actually had a social life that needed attending to now at this point in time, and my focus had to be on getting back at Amos Diggory, not my homework. Extra time no longer exists in my world. Which basically means that I have to do twice the amount of work I usually did, because my academics are no longer the number one priority in my life. So to fit both of Natalie Rouz’s alter egos, Natalie Rouz must work twice as hard.
Yes, I used third person. Sue me.
“Not too long, there was a book in the Transfiguration section of the library that really helped me out. It had this whole chapter dedicated to what we talked about last week,” she nods along, flipping through her Astronomy textbook. “It took me about fifteen, twenty minutes, tops.”
“Perfect!” I grabbed my quill and opened the bottle of ink that was hidden at the bottom of my school bag. I roll out a bit of parchment and look up at Klara expectantly. “What’s it called?”
“Doyle’s Metal Power-Spheres of Transfiguration: Thirteenth Edition,” she shares, speaking slowly so I can write down every word. She reminds me again that McGonagall just wants the information to be accurate, so there is no specified word count, and I thank her before I go running like a baboon towards the Transfiguration section.
It really does help to be best friends with a brainiac. Klara’s a walking information pamphlet and she’s always ahead of me when it comes to homework, which is insanely helpful. Klara Isaacs is the closest thing I’ve had to a study partner and/or tutor since First Year. She exceeds my expectations of her every day.
She’s always surprising me, and I know that as soon as I finish my Transfiguration and Potions homework, she’s going to surprise me once again at how domineering she can be about dressing up… because I haven’t even decided what to wear to this thing. And something is telling me that her flat iron and bobby pins are going to be put to good use tonight.
“Are you nervous? I’d be nervous,” Eliza Boghartt babbles as she gets ready for the banquet. She got asked by Jonathan Davies, Ravenclaw’s best Keeper three years running. She and I are the only Gryffindor girls in our year going tonight. Some of the Sixth Year students in Gryffindor got asked to go, but I’m not sure how many precisely. We’re the only ones in Seventh Year and we’re both going for the first time. We’re both newbies at this, except she’s been freaking out for the majority of the half hour.
After I got my homework done, Klara and I talked about what I should wear to the banquet on our way back to the dormitories. Of course, she repeated the agenda for the next coming week and our estimated completion of the next step on our Six Ways list.
So far, the mission has been going as planned. Just a few hitches here and there, because Amos wasn’t always as predictable as we thought, but everything’s been going smoothly. Tonight I’m going to kiss Sirius Black in front of the Hogwarts Quidditch population and before midnight, everyone will know we’re together.
“Maybe you should calm down,” I suggest sweetly to the panting girl in front of me.
“Jonathan said he was wearing a blue tie,” Eliza continues, ignoring my advice. “Does this dress look too navy? Because navy is not blue, it’s a darker blue. And if he said blue then maybe he meant a pale blue or an electric blue. Oh, god do I even own an electric blue dress? The sod only asked me two days ago, I barely had any time to prepare-”
Klara swiftly turns me around by my shoulders, shifting my attention away from the stressful Eliza Boghartt who is now rampaging through her trunk for something else to wear.
“Ignore her, everything is going to be fine. Sirius is wearing all black, anyways,” she says as a precaution, worried that I’ll catch Eliza’s stress.
“He is? Good. Because I love this dress!” I twirl around in my flowing black wrap dress. I ordered it through Witch Weekly’s catalog and I was determined to wear it tonight and return it tomorrow in time. It was quite beautiful but very expensive. I ordered it on a whim, really. Sirius said simple, and this was the most elegant and simple thing they had.
Klara reads my calm face, slightly surprised by my lack of nerves. She surveys me. “You seem pretty cool about this,” she states, leaning back and crossing her arms. “I’m impressed.”
I smile. “I’m actually really excited for this, Klara. For once, I’m not a bundle of nerves. I mean, I am a little. But it’s mainly just excitement because I’ve never really been to one of these things before! Do you think he’ll like my dress?” I twirl around again just for the hell of it.
Klara raises her eyebrows. “Are you kidding? Look at you, you’re a fox.” She adjusts her retro eyeglasses and runs a hand through her tussled blond hair. She winks at me and point to the mirror.
“You pull black off really well, love. You just need some red lipstick and a long necklace to compliment that neckline.”
I am slightly alarmed. I look down at my cleavage. “Is this too much? I mean, I’m not heavy up top like the other girls at Hogwarts but this isn’t too much cleavage, is it?”
Klara waves me off while she picks a really long silver necklace from her jewelry box. She clasps it around my neck. “Perfect!”
I give her my best model pout while she spreads the ruby red lip color on my lips. She blows me a kiss and I blow her one back, before she screams in delight. “You have to tell me everything that happens! Tell me how the food is and if sparkling cider will be served…And make sure Amos sees you enjoying yourself.” She practically pushes me out of the common room like a mother giving away her daughter or something.
“I spritzed you with a coconut spray before we left, sorry, I didn’t have time to ask you if you wanted it but I’m sure you do because now you smell like paradise. I hope it doesn’t clog your sense of smell… Don’t forget to sniff him! I need to know what kind of cologne Sirius wears because, well- cologne says a lot about a man and there’s this new survey in Witch Weekly that I’ve been dying to try out, so find out if he smells musky or sweet. The more I found out about this man the better I can operate. Also, if Amos gives you any immature pouts or unnecessary glares remember that he isn’t going to try anything in a room full of people, especially when he’s been vying for their attention the whole season long enough to win a Quidditch Award.”
Klara Isaacs hands me a beaded black clutch I had no idea she was carrying and thrusts it at me, and sighs. While I just take it and blink profusely at the rate she’s going getting multiple sentences out at once. “I put everything you might need in here; a foundation brush with some face powder for touch ups, some antiperspirant if you start to get nervous like you usually do, your wand in case you spill something on the dress, that tube of red lipstick your wearing, and notepad with a pen just in case you want to jot down some observations.”
I just stood there, incredulously dumbfounded by the amount of words escaping from my best friend’s mouth, that I couldn’t reply.
“Um,” I say airily. “Thanks!” I’m so frazzled that I just go with it.
Flashing me a pearly white smile, she smacks my bum and tells me to have a good time. It took only a few moments after Klara ran back into the common room that Sirius Black turned the corner.
He should not be allowed to look this good. I cannot take this whole pretending thing seriously if he continues to make it hard for me to look away from him. I already feel like a giddy schoolgirl when I’m with him, I don’t want to feel like a complete idiot-
“Hey,” Sirius greets, approaching me and taking my hand.
He’s wearing a crisp black button down shirt with the collar button undone, and an equally sharp black sports coat. That heirloom necklace I’m so fond of is around his neck and tucked under his shirt, but I can still see the chain glimmer under the light.
A small smile appears on the corner of his face when I say hello back to him. His eyes twinkle at me and I try very hard not to be entranced by them. After taking in my appearance his eyes dart straight up to mine quickly.
I don’t know what to say so I exhale a little bit and tell him I like his shirt. We proceed down the hallway quietly.
He murmurs to me as we pass a few other students that are headed down to the Great Hall as well. “You skipped Dinner, right? Because I can’t eat all the pork by myself.”
“I ate a slice of bread,” I reply. “I wasn’t that hungry anyway. But my tummy is definitely starting to grumble.”
“Good.” He gives my hand a good squeeze.
I wondrously look around at everyone’s attire in front of the Great Hall doors. The banquet isn’t open yet so everyone is standing idle with their dates, talking and laughing. Not knowing my place, I just keep my fingers laced through Sirius Black’s and go where he goes. Greeting a few people from Ravenclaw, he moves down and makes his way to were James Potter and his date are standing.
“Padfoot,” James bellows in acknowledgement, arms opened wide. Sirius grins when he sees his best friend, and they do the whole boy hugging/handshake thing.
“Looking sharp, Prongs,” he comments. James responds with a charming smile at the three of us. His date, whom I think is Rebecca Gorman, just stands there timidly and wraps her arms around herself, nervously smiling at me. I’m surprised Lily wasn’t his date, but heaven knows how those two are. One second they could be on the verge of snogging, and the next thing you know he’s dodging her face slaps. I never really thought much of the two before Sirius and this whole fake relationship thing came into the picture, but now that I was spending time with the marauders, I was feeling more and more a part of their world.
James and Lily’s numerous fights, confusing signals, and obvious innuendos were part of the daily agenda. Now, Sirius Black’s people were becoming my people (at an alarming rate, might I add) so it only made it just that James and Lily’s situation was somewhat a part of my business, or a part of my life in some way. And to be honest, it’s highly entertaining. They love to make the other jealous, which is probably a bit of a half-truth for James Potter right now. The more they fight, the more they look good together. Does that make sense? Oh, well. We’re teenagers, and we only get a chance to be stupid and crazy in love only so many times in our lives. Might as well be stubborn and have fun with it.
Sirius said I was turning into him when I told him this, because he’s the hopeless romantic one. I don’t know, I never thought of myself as romantic. Maybe a little- okay, I did the teenage girl squealing thing constantly with Klara and I was a bit sappy when it came to cute couples holding hands in school… alright, maybe I’m a sucker for romance. But blame Sirius! He’s the one who escalated it.
“I like your dress,” Rebecca comments.
Before I have the chance to say thank you, Sirius intervenes. “So do I,” he winks, pulling me closer to him.
I try not to flush as James and Sirius share a knowing glance. I mutter a thank you to Rebecca and look around the room, or anywhere else, besides Sirius. Damn it, must he make my stomach flutter all the time? The boy has powers over me that I cannot control.
I scan the open corridor and I see Amos in the corner with his date, surprisingly the same Fifth Year girl he cheated on me with. Or at least, ONE of the girls he cheated on me with. I recognized her auburn hair and long face. She’s wearing a red halter dress with a hair clip; she would have looked pretty if she didn’t have such a grimace on her face. She looks downright annoyed, or bored. Amos Diggory, who’s standing right next to her, looks like he’s sweating. He’s tugging his collar anxiously and keeps darting his eyes back and forth across the floor.
Was he searching for me? Did he hear that I was going with Sirius?
A deep satisfying emotion overcomes me as I realize that I’m truly the one with the power now. My ex boyfriend can’t even enjoy himself because his thoughts are always about Sirius and I. He always was protective of his territory… and unashamed of his disloyalty.
The Great Hall doors suddenly open and all the couples turn and watch in silence, as Professor McGonagall glides out and announces to the room, “Good evening, and welcome, all students and their dates, to the annual Quidditch Banquet. This Banquet has been a fairly new tradition and I’m glad that you all could attend and share it with us faculty. We hope you enjoy your time here, just as much as Professor Dumbledore and I had planning it. Now, I’d like to ask you all to enter the Great Hall, and please, go to your assigned tables.”
Everyone’s happy faces light up the room as we all, one by one, enter the Great Hall. As soon as I step past the entrance, I followed the hazy glow coming from the ceiling. My eyes took in the loveliest sight; the ceiling was adorned with deep purple candles, all lit and covering the Great Hall in a musky, dark undertone. It smelled like the forest after a heavy rain - clean and full of life. It was the perfect scent to set the mood. It relaxed me instantly.
“Now remember, this night is for Quidditch only! No talk of classes or coursework allowed,” Professor Dumbledore beams at us at the head table.
I am so excited for this!
“You’re mesmerized,” he states, studying at my face.
I rip my gaze away from the grey smoky colored skies covering the ceiling and turn to him. “Just a little bit,” I admit. “It’s just so pretty. It feels like we’re literally under the moonlight. And it smells like it’s just rained.” I’ve never been to something like this before. Sure, back home I’d gone to my fair share of bridal showers or weddings or graduation parties, but this is downright gorgeous. There are bouquets of dark red and purple roses at every corner, and the walls of the Great Hall are dim, giving the room minimal light. But it works.
Sirius and I head towards Gryffindor tables, which aren’t their usual rectangular length - for this occasion they’ve decided to seat each team separately at a round table. They’re impeccably large, definitely big enough to fit the entire Gryffindor team and their dates. There is one for each house and thankfully the Hufflepuff table is on the other side of the room, and Sirius Black’s assigned seat at the table faces the window. At least now I won’t have to catch Amos Diggory glaring at us since our backs will be turned to him.
We take our seats. I sit next to another girl who is in Gryffindor, escorting Markus Saunders, one of Gryffindor’s Beaters. I can’t remember the girl’s name for the life of me, but I know she might have been in my Advanced Herbology class. Sirius is on my left, which leaves James and his date next to him.
The chairs are all plushy! Oh, this is comfortable. My bum feels like it’s sitting on a cloud. And the tablecloths are embroidered with gray and blue swirls, too. Does Professor McGonagall read interior decorating magazines? Because this banquet is spot on, especially with this color palette.
Listen to me, I’m talking about color palettes at a Quidditch Banquet… sigh.
As soon as Professor McGonagall begins to announce the course of events for tonight, I feel the rumble in my stomach groan loudly. But it’s not until Professor Dumbledore flashes us all a smile and waves his wand in front of us that I start to salivate. Our meals appear in front of us on individual plates and a tall goblet filled with some sort of bubbly drink is right next to it.
I’m in the middle of devouring my creamed spinach when Sirius nudges me.
“What’d I say, huh? Delicious.” He gestures at the piece of pork hanging from his fork before eating it.
I dab my face with a napkin. “It’s so good! These mashed potatoes look divine. Ugh. I’m in heaven,” I say too happily.
“Got hungry, did you?” He says amusingly. I don’t stop to chew this time.
“I’m starving,” I tell him, growling just a tiny bit. Hey, I have food in my throat, it’s not my fault!
He laughs at me. “Good, I’m glad you’re taking advantage of this, because not everyone gets to come to these banquets. One of the best parts about being a Quidditch player,” he leans in closer, bringing his goblet to his mouth, “is the accommodations.”
I narrow my eyes playfully. “Oh?”
“You get to leave classes early for matches, get to fly around in the sky after hours for practices, and the extensions some professors give you for your coursework-”
“Hey, that’s not far,” I point out, a small ounce of innocent jealousy making me drop my jaw. “Do you get extensions on essays?”
Sirius gives me a coy look, stoic as a male model, before caving in at my gaping mouth. “Only if we’re injured and in the hospital wing for longer than necessary,” he explains, tilting his head fruitfully. “I just like to make it sound like we’re celebrities to see the look on your face, but we’re the farthest thing from it.”
“Well, you sort of are,” I say simply. “Quidditch players are the closest thing to celebrities at this school. I mean, it’s all in the name of the game, but you guys are bound to get special treatment.” I know this because Klara made me study the Quidditch history of Hogwarts and made me change my whole perspective of the game before I started fake dating Sirius Black. “There’s nothing wrong with admitting you’re popular.”
He gazes at me for a while before saying, “What if I don’t want to be popular?”
I don’t really know what to say so I answer with another question. “Isn’t that what comes with playing a sport?”
“I don’t know,” he says. “It shouldn’t have to, in my opinion. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure why people seem to care so much about our lives. It’s definitely fun playing Quidditch, it really is, but people treat us entirely too differently. I like being able to fly and enjoy the outdoors when I freely please, especially because it’s a privilege not many people have. But it’s also because I truly enjoy it. Some of the small stuff like getting out of class early and not getting decked in the back of the head by McGonagall for fooling around in her classes… it’s all small stuff. It’s nice, sure, but I could do without it. Sometimes I think there are people in the school that play the sport just for the special treatment. It’s a shame, because it’s not like I view myself as popular, although you probably think I am.” He tilts the goblet into his mouth and drinks the contents without breaking eye contact. I try to think of a response.
I would have never thought he viewed himself as that way. Surely he knows the power he has over the people in this school? I try to explain this to him and he assures me that people are just assuming he has this power.
“But that’s what popularity gives you. It isn’t a bad thing, you know… being popular. It just means that everyone knows who you are and they all like you,” I reason, shrugging and taking a bite of my vegetables.
“Yeah,” he half wheedles, half whines, “but do you really know if they like you? Because half the people in this room don’t really know me, do they? Most of the school just assumes what they think about me is true, and I never really have the time to waste to explain to them who I am. Why should I? It just seems like a lost cause.”
I nod in understanding. “I get what you mean. But at least you aren’t evil about it. You may say that everyone builds you up in their minds, but you’re very self assured and don’t take advantage of the attention they give you. You’re aggressive, but quiet. You’re a nice person, and sometimes when people are given that kind of power from the student body they become gits.”
I turn around, just to see if Amos Diggory is looking at us. And alas, he’s burning holes in the back of Sirius Black’s sports coat with his angry eyes.
My fake boyfriend’s lips turn upward into a bit of a smirk. “Talking about Diggory, are we?”
The sight of Amos makes me roll my eyes automatically. “He’s staring at you,” I inform him, shaking my head. “Ignore him,” I insist, once I see Sirius ready to turn around.
“Let him stare,” Sirius tells me. “He’s oozing with jealousy at the sight of us, and I secretly enjoy it.”
“You’d think he’d at least acknowledge his date,” I shake my head.
Sirius turns to me, a childish smile on his face.
I anticipate what he’ll say next by staring at his crooked grin.
“There are also other accommodations to being a Quidditch player.”
The one thing I really like about Sirius is the fact that he’s such a wise arse sometimes. He’s always in a light mood, always joking. He has his dark moments, of course, but spending time with him goes by so quickly. And he loves teasing me, which of course makes me secretly swoon. Damn him and his corny charm.
“Really?” I say in the same interested tone as his.
“Well, the girls…”
It’s silent for a while before he looks up from the tablecloth and directs his dark irises at me, where my fork is midway between my plate and my mouth. He chuckles at my expression, and I lightly punch him in the arm.
“Oh, come on,” he defends, trying to grab my hand as I try to slap his knee. “You knew that was coming.” He does that breathtaking cocked eyebrow thing. He puts my hand in between both of his.
I roll my eyes playfully. “Of course.”
Not that I’d ever let on how worried I was about his dating past, or how many women he’d courted over the years at Hogwarts. Although we had been fake dating for a good couple of weeks, we never really talked much about his past girlfriends or my old relationships. It was really just Amos, anyway (I had kissed a few boys growing up but it didn’t amount to anything). Amos was my first real boyfriend. I guess Sirius would be my second, except it’s not real. However, I feel more connected to Sirius than I ever felt with Amos. And although Sirius and I have become good friends, him not sharing anything about his former girlfriends has created a gap in between us.
A few drinks later, they announced the awards. I’m proud to say that Gryffindor’s team won a lot of trophies! Best Seeker went to James Potter, along with Best Captain of the Year. Sirius got quite a few as well. The Ravenclaw team got a lot of honorable mentions and the Slytherin team barely won anything; they weren’t even nominated for Best Sportsmanship because, well… honestly it’s kind of obvious. After dinner had ended and the plates vanished from our tables, the lighting slowly began to dim.
Looking up at the dramatic effect it’s giving to the Great Hall, I become a bit hesitant.
“Sirius, is the banquet over or something?”
“What? No, why would it be? We only just finished the awards, we still have to dance.”
My eye begins to twitch. “Dancing?”
I don’t remember that being part of the deal?!
I was not informed of this!
…why was I not informed of this?
Klara knows I can’t dance, and she of all people would know whether or not this Hogwarts tradition involved footwork. I mean, she’d tell me. Right? Right?!
“You look slightly alarmed,” he points out.
Klara is going to get it!
“Me? Alarmed? Hah!” I wave my hand nonchalantly - except it’s more of a jerking motion so it makes me look absolutely uncomfortable. But hey, who’s checking?
“Don’t be timid about the dancing,” he goes on, sensing my stiffness. “This is supposed to be the celebration part of the whole thing; they’ve announced the awards and it’s impossible for everyone not to feel absolutely happy at this point. We’ve eaten, we’ve been rewarded, and now it’s time to relax with the people we came here with.”
I exhale out of my nose. It’s impossible not to say no to a face like that.
“Do we have to?” Mush my lips together like a toddler.
“Yes,” he says strongly, picking up my hand and standing up with the rest of our table. “It’s a form of unity with your team when you dance together. And besides, you’re dressed deserves to be admired,” he quips.
Oh, that little snarky-
“Don’t give me that face,” he advises, swinging me to the dance floor.
Is this really necessary? I never really took lessons and I don’t know how to tap dance.
I somehow feel as though that information isn’t relevant but for some reason I feel like I need to address it.
“I don’t know how to tap dance, or do any leggy tango stretches, or… things of that nature,” I let him know quickly.
Sirius stifles a laughs. “I don’t know how to tap dance, either. But I’m glad you let me know. And we don’t do the tango, because, well- for starters: we’re seventeen. And secondly,” he raises my elbows and stands me up straight, and looks right into my eyes before saying, “We’re English.”
The music starts, it’s a contemporary piece but I’d still consider it classical. I start to panic at the formation everyone easily adopts on the dance floor, but Sirius grips my back tighter to bring my attention back to his face. Meanwhile I’m trying to steady my breathing because I cannot have this man’s face that close to me. His chest is already so close to mine and I’m afraid I’ll start sweating soon.
“Just follow my lead. It’s a boring dance, I promise. Simple steps with a few dips,” he shrugs.
He raises his eyebrow at me, questioning my anxiousness.
I take a step back when he takes a step back, he twirls me, steps to the side, and I follow. After a while I familiarize myself with the dance steps and go along with him. About halfway through the song he can sense I’m no longer nervous and a lot less frigid.
“There’s a lot more to you than you allow people to see,” he says randomly.
My response is almost automatic.
“I’m boring,” I shake my head.
He gives me an obviously deceiving “Mmmmhmm” in a way that tells me he doesn’t believe me.
Step back, twirl, step forward, pull away, twirl…
“There’s a lot more toyou than you allow anyone to see,” I repeat back to him with a small smirk.
His eyes narrow playfully, challenging my words with a bit of curiosity.
“What do you think of me?” Sirius almost whispers it. And when I look at him, I know he’s asking me for the truth.
“I don’t know you enough to think much of anything,” I say slowly, trying my hardest not to sound mean.
“Ouch,” he scoffs, before giving me a tiny grin. “Okay, well, what about your first impression of me?”
I don’t think he realizes he’s always had a bit of an impression on me.
I take a deep breath, and ransack my brain until I come up with a good enough answer for him.
Pull away, twirl, step back, pull in, dip, step back….
“What about it?” He’s intrigued.
“I liked your posture. The way you carried yourself… I was a little bit jealous, actually. You seemed so certain of who you were every time I walked by you. You stand up straight and walk with assertiveness.”
He gazes downwards to nothing in particular, thinking about my words. “Huh,” he smiles a bit to himself before looking up at me.
I’m feeling a bit antsy about his response. What if he thinks that’s weird? Well, crap. It is weird. Who comments on their fake boyfriend’s posture? I should have just said something else…
“No one’s ever told me that before. Usually when a girl comes up to me, she comments on my looks, not the way I walk.” There’s the ghost of a laugh of his face as he looks me in the eyes. He twirls me slowly and then rests his hands on my back. “I didn’t think the way I carried myself was all that noticeable.”
I feel a blush start to creep to my cheeks as he continues talking and I can’t figure out if it’s because of shame or lack thereof…?
He has an unfathomable expression on his face, and the dim lighting isn’t helping. I blink at him and we continue dancing.
I shouldn’t have to watch what I say around him, because he’s just a regular guy, and I know that; but sometimes you get intimidated when a really good looking guy asks you these kinds of questions. I’m not sure what to say so the truth seems the easiest, for me, to respond with. Should I be worried? Part of me is uneasy with the idea of saying things randomly. I always notice things other people don’t see – some people understand it, and others don’t. I just don’t know what he thinks of me and to be honest, I don’t think I want to know. But curiosity gets the best of me.
“What do you think of me?” I mumble it ever so softly. Light enough to not be taken so seriously but loud enough to know I want an answer.
There’s a kind crinkle in Sirius Black’s eyes as he pauses for a moment, and licks his lips. He’s taking his time thinking about the answer, which leaves me a bit anxious. Does he know me enough to say anything? I don’t know.
Twirl, pull in, step to the side, dip, step back…
When he pulls me in one last time before my final twirl, he says, “You’re lovely.”
The music stops abruptly, and before I can comprehend anything, I see Amos facing me. It’s all happening in slow motion, within maybe a nanosecond. He looks up and we lock eyes. There’s no expression on face until he sees me. He looks a little jealous but also a little pained, and he sighs. Sirius’s hands fall to my waist when the dancing ends and he rests them there. He looks down at his shoulder; almost trying to see what he’s already speculating is behind him. I still haven’t taken my eyes off of Amos, even if it’s only been a few seconds. Sirius lifts his head up and pulls me in with a strong gaze, telling me he knows Amos is behind him.
With confidence I didn’t know I had, I snake my arms up Sirius Black’s chest. He doesn’t move but he knows full well what’s going on. I grab the side of his face with one hand and his neck with the other. I pull him to me, and kiss him on the mouth.
His lips are soft and surprisingly comforting. His mouth moves with mine and it feels like exciting and intoxicating at the same time. Sirius moves his hands past my waist and wraps his arms around the small of my back, pulling me into him. Everyone’s voices are zoned out and the clanking of silverware and the scraping of chairs against hardwood has disappeared. It’s just him and I.
And we don’t pull away for a while.