Chapter 7 : Chapter Seven: Tilt
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Chapter 7: Tilt
My jaw drops. “Um, excuse me, dear cousin, but could you repeat that?” I ask politely. “Because I think you just said you want me and Sirius to make Lily fall in love with you. While she has a boyfriend.”
“No, you heard me right,” he replies, pushing his round wire glasses up his nose. “I need you to break them up.”
“Prongs, you did not just say that,” Sirius says, eyes wide.
“Think this over, mate,” Remus says, trying to reason with him. “Think about what you’re saying, what you want them to do!”
My cousin’s hazel eyes bore into my own as he says, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
How dare he use my words against me.
“Isn’t this a little too desperate?” Remus asks. “Prongs, Angie and I are Lily’s friends. We can’t do that to her.”
He just said “Angie and I”! I think I’m going to faint! I look over at him and flash him a smile. He grins back. My cheeks redden, and I feel light-headed. I shake off the feeling and get back to the matter at hand.
“James, we’re not doing this,” I say firmly. “Right, Sirius?” I glare at him, but he’s staring wistfully at the pile of money on the table. His hand goes out to touch a galleon, black eyes sick with greed and jealousy. “Sirius!” I lean over the table and snap my fingers in front of his face.
He jumps up in surprise. “Huh?” He looks at me angrily. “No, of course I’m going through with this!” He smiles at James. “I’m on your side, mate.” He frowns. “Although, I don’t know much about ‘love.’” He sticks his tongue out in disgust. “I mean, if you want to get laid—”
“Padfoot,” Remus says, “we all know you’re still a virgin.”
His jaw drops and he glares at Remus. “What? What lies! I am not a virgin.” He frowns and stares Remus down.
Remus raises an eyebrow. “If you think that’s going to make me take back what I said—”
Sirius leans back and sighs. “Oh, forget it.”
“Anyway!” I exclaim, trying to get us back on track. “James.” I look at him. “I’m not doing this.”
“Then you won’t get your money back,” he says. “And you didn’t lose just one galleon in this game.” He holds up his rucksack, full of the day’s winnings. He digs inside the bag full of galleons, sickles, and knuts. The coins jingle as he rummages through it. I feel sweat form on my forehead; I know I lost a bit. Not as much as Sirius but enough to make me feel weary. He plucks out a piece of paper and scribbles something on it. “Okay, Remus, you lost four galleons, ten sickles, and twelve knuts.”
Remus’s eyes widen. “What? That’s not possible…”
“You were the big blind four times today so four galleons,” Peter says, folding his hands on the table. “In regular blinds, you mostly betted in sickles and knuts.”
“Oh,” is all he says.
“Ange,” James says, peering at me over the top of his glasses, “you lost three galleons, twenty-five sickles, and fifty knuts.”
I feel sick. I lost that much? Dad’s going to kill me… How do I cover up the losses? I can’t say I bought something; he’ll look for it. Maybe I spent it on candy? No, he knows I don’t fancy candy very much. Oh, Merlin. I’m in deep shit. Well, if I just tell him the truth, maybe he won’t mind too much.
“Angie,” Peter says, “you were the big blind three times—”
“I know how I lost the money, Peter, okay?!” I hiss at him.
“Ooh, feisty,” Sirius laughs, shooting me a wink.
“Thought I made you vomit,” I snap at him.
“You do,” he says. “You’re not very pretty or really interesting, but I do like it when a girl has that…fire to her.”
“Stop screwing around, Padfoot,” Remus says, rolling his eyes.
He’s like my knight in shining armor! He’s totally into me. AHHHH!
Calm down, Angie, I tell myself. Don’t get way ahead of yourself.
There’s a knock on the compartment door. Greg pokes his head in.
“Well, look who it is!” James says bitterly.
Greg glares at him. “Potter,” he spits. He notices the galleons on the table and the bag full of coins. “Bloody hell…?” He shakes his head. “Never mind.”
“No, I’ll tell you,” James cuts in. “We’ve been playing poker all day, and I just keep winning. How about you and I have a go at it?”
Greg raises his eyebrows. “I’d rather not, Potter. Besides, I have to go to the Prefect meeting.”
“Who died and made you prefect?” James says venomously.
Greg looks at him like he has three heads. “I’ve been a Prefect. Now I’m Head Boy for Gryffindor.” He flashes his badge at James. “Better watch yourself, Potter. You too, Black. I know you’re obsessed with Lily, James, but I care about her. I really care about her. Probably in ways that you can’t. So grow up and find someone new, eh?”
James looks as if he’s been slapped across the face. But the look is gone in an instant. He jumps up, enraged, and throws himself at Greg. I scream and jump in front of the latter. Before James reaches me, Remus pushes James into the table. Galleons spill off the sides. Sirius yelps and gets on his knees, picking up the precious coins.
“Stop, stop!” I shriek. “What is wrong with you, James?!”
“Prongs, calm down!” Remus snarls, James pinned to the floor.
Wow, he’s stronger than I thought. Not that I thought he was weak. So…fucking…hot.
“Let’s go,” Greg says gruffly. “C’mon, Remus. We need to get to the meeting. Lily’s already there, waiting for us.”
“Wormy, Padfoot, watch out for him, okay?” Remus asks. He notices Sirius under the table, picking up galleons. “Padfoot!”
“Huh?” he asks, not looking up.
“Sirius, you git!” I scream. “Listen to Remus! Please!”
“And let go of the damn money!” James snarls. “That’s mine. I won it fair and square.” He glares at Greg. “Like I’ll win Lily fair and square.”
“Yeah, right!” Greg yells.
I put a hand on his chest. “Don’t,” I order.
Sirius puts up his hands, and the gold falls out onto the floor.
“Sirius,” I snap.
He sighs and empties the pockets of his trousers as well. Clink, clink, clink.
“I’m going to let go of Prongs on the count of three,” Remus explains. “When I do, you and Wormtail grab him. Got it?” Sirius and Peter nod. “One…” His hold slackens slightly on James’s arms. “Two…” He sits on James’s legs, holding him by his wrists. “Three!” He jumps up and pushes Greg and me out the door. He slams the compartment door shut, and the last bit I see of the inside is Sirius jumping on top of James. Peter, I guess, is sitting on the side, just watching this all go down. Typical.
I tear my eyes away from the door just in time to see Remus angrily shove Greg into the wall.
“Remus!” I scream.
He ignores me and grabs Greg by the collar. Shaking him, he says, “Why the hell did you say that?”
Since when has Remus been so…aggressive? I’m not sure whether to be turned on or scared.
“You knew James would freak!” he yells. “What the hell?!”
“Calm down, mate!” Greg says, peeling Remus’s fingers off his shirt. “Just needed to rough him up a bit, show him that it’s all over. Lily is mine.”
“Awww, Greg!” I gush. “That’s so sweet!”
“You still shouldn’t have done it,” Remus snarls, breathing heavily. Calming down, he looks at me and cocks his head down the corridor. “C’mon, Angie.” He opens the door to the next car and swiftly walks into the prefects’ car.
I follow him but turn around at the last second. “Greg, you coming?” I ask kindly.
“In a bit,” he replies through clenched teeth. Frustrated, he runs his hand through his dark hair.
I walk over to him and put a comforting hand on his shoulder. “It’ll be all right,” I say. “James is just…a passionate person. He wants what he can’t have, I suppose. He’ll get over it. And Remus…I dunno. I’ve never seen him act that way. But he’ll get over it, too.”
“Right,” he says stiffly. “I’ll catch up with you in a bit. Don’t start the meeting without me.”
I nod. “Of course.”
After the meeting—just a quick run-through of the first day routine and the school rules that I know so well—Remus and I head back to the Marauders’ compartment. Lily left a little early to check up on Reina, who is sleeping. Greg stayed behind to talk with the other Heads.
“I’m a little afraid to go back in,” I say as we reach the door.
“Don’t be,” Remus says kindly, back to his normal self. He smiles at me. “You know they’re all just talk.”
“And you’re not?” I smirk.
He raises his eyebrows. “No, I probably am, too.” I laugh and he opens the door.
“I raise the bet to ten sickles,” James says, throwing down the money.
“Oh no,” I say. “Please tell me I’m just dreaming and you’re not really playing poker again.”
“You’re just dreaming and we’re not playing poker again,” Sirius says dully, studying the cards.
“They’re not betting a lot,” Peter reassures me.
“It’s okay,” James says, not looking at me. “Sirius has agreed to help me. Are you in, Angie?”
“James, you’ve got to stop this!” I exclaim. “This is crazy!” I gesture to them. “You’re all crazy!”
Sirius snorts. “Look who’s talking.”
I grab a sickle off the table and throw it at his head. With his Beater reflexes, he easily swipes at the coin, and it falls to the floor. Well, it was going to miss his head anyway.
“So, Moony, how’s your little furry problem?” Sirius asks jokingly. “Never seen it affect you to the point of aggression.”
“Ha-ha,” Remus says sarcastically. He plops down in his seat and looks wistfully at the cards in Sirius and James’s hands. Peter reaches over and begins to deal him in. He watches his friend place the two hole cards in front of him, then shakes his head and pushes them away.
“How about we go check on Reina?” I say to him. He nods and stands, hurrying to the door.
“Wait, Ange,” James says, looking up from his cards, “what about my proposal?”
“No, James,” I say. “I’m not doing that to my best friend.”
“But I’m your cousin.” He pouts.
“James, don’t play the Cousin Card with me,” I snap. “I’ll see you later.” I grit my teeth and head out.
“Hold on,” Remus says. He snatches his battered suitcase off the shelf, which is over the seats in the compartment. He follows me out into the hall and slams the door shut. “You okay?” he asks.
I nod. “Yeah.”
“James will get over it, you know that,” he says, offering me a comforting smile.
I shake my head. “I highly doubt that. We need to stop lying to ourselves, Remus.”
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