Chapter 10 : Halloween
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MagicalInk @ TDA
It's Halloween, the party is in an hour (told to me by my scary alarm clock, which someone switched back on) and I'm still sat on my bed, my costume hanging up on the end, waiting for Louis. I suppose I could guess what it is if I put it on now, but if I hate it I want the chance to say no. If I wear it then I hate it, I can't take it off; he wouldn't let me. So, Louis needs to hurry up so he can tell me what it is and if I do end up hating it, I'm either going as myself or not at all. There's no discussion involved in this. I have made up my mind. And, if I have to, Louis will be bribed into helping me get revenge on Declan, Simon and everyone else here in Hufflepuff, who know exactly what the bloody costume is and refused to tell me. Simon even lied and said he had no idea and I know he lied because he's a terrible liar. It's like in fifth year when my quill mysteriously disappeared; Simon ended up giggling half way through.
You'd think it would be easier to lie to me. It's not. It's really not.
"You're not dressed yet."
I don't acknowledge his presence until I speak, I'm too depressed to even wave... Too overdramatic? "What's my costume? I refuse to wear it until I know."
Louis pulls me to my feet, a little too closely to him, and places a hat on my head. "Howdy."
"Oh." I run my hands over the sides of the hat. Okay, now I'm excited. "I'm a cowboy!"
He starts laughing at me, but I don't care; I'm a cowboy... Who's seventeen? Me? Really? Well, I'm a child at heart. "All that worrying for nothing. You could have easily figured it out all on your own if you had put it on." He bats the hat down; I can feel it hovering just above my eyes. "Now get dressed. I'm gonna use the bathroom."
I'm just putting on my shirt when he comes back, pants and boots done first, and am fastening the buttons. It's all quiet until I'm done; he's probably waiting for me to finish so we can go. We promised we'd be there earlier because it's Jack's party and we're Jack's friends. Yes, we; like I would leave Louis out. I'm not that nice.
I run my hands down my shirt and across the band of my pants, making sure my shirt's tucked in and I am presentable. My hat is back on my head. "What d'ya think?"
He doesn't answer. He wraps something around my waist, letting hang loosely at my hips; the belt, I feel it, were a cowboy's gun would go. "I've never had inappropriate thoughts about a cowboy before."
"And you never will," I smirk, too used to him flirting for him to actually get to me now. Is that good or bad? I push him backwards. "Lead the way or do I have to lasso you?"
"Promises, promises," he whispers and I groan and walk away, leaving him to follow me instead.
Ciaran: 1. Louis: 2.
He's never going to stop!
We talk about little things as we walk to the carriage and again on our way to the party, random things like homework and how we think the party will be because he keeps steering the conversation away from himself every time I find a way to ask about his art. It is very annoying.
When we get to the pub, a few people are already there, music is already playing and people are talking and laughing. Maybe we're later than I thought.
"Ah, there's Jack."
Louis places his hand on my back and leads me in my friend's direction, weaving me in and out of what I presume are small crowds, until we stop and Jack's arm is around my shoulder. "Howdy, partner." I tip my hat. "Cas."
"Cas?" Okay, I understand The Untouchables reference, but who the hell is Louis?
Ah, never mind. "Imagine that," Jack whispers in my ear, sniggering.
"Yeah, big coincidence."
"I didn't even have to give him a nudge the right direction," Jack admits and he sounds way too smug. "Such a clever boy, he came up with it all on his own."
I glare, Louis asks what we're whispering about, Jack laughs again, makes a poor excuse about mingling with his guests and leaves. I preferred it when he thought Louis was no good and wasn't using his flirting to annoy me. The moment he leaves I'm turned back around and lead in the direction we had originally intended to go, until I'm stopped. I put my hands out in front of me, press them against the wood I feel and lean forward. Are we at the bar?
"Just a butterbeer," I answer. "I don't drink."
"Somehow that surprises me," Louis admits. He sounds hesitant, careful, like it might offend me. Should it? Should I be surprised by how little I'm bothered? They're just words. "Two butterbeers, please."
Hearing him order pulls me away from my thoughts. Right. Drinks. That's why we're here.
"Here you go, Louis. Anything else?"
This girl sounds a little too flirty. It's wrong for me to not like it. I shouldn't care. I don't care. "I'm with someone," he tells her and raises my hand. I'm not smug. Shh.
She makes a strange 'that's not fair' kind of noise, like a high pitched 'oh', which I associate with pouting and reminds me of my cousin. My cousin does that a lot. "Who was that?" I ask. I don't know whether or not she's still there, but I feel I have to ask anyway.
"That was Haley, her mum owns this pub. She still has a bit of a thing for me, hasn't quite let it go."
I nod, then I remember exactly what he told her. Whoa, it took me longer than it should have for his words to register in my head. "You're with someone?"
"I promised Lucy I'd be a gentlemanly date."
Oh, really? I need to talk to her soon. Right now, I'm gonna change the subject. It's for the best. "I take it she knows you're gay."
"It doesn't stop her from hoping." He gives me my drink and takes my free hand, leading me away again. "We'll find a table before everyone else comes, unless you want to stay at the bar and listen to Haley flirt some more."
Did he notice my dislike? Oh, that cannot be good. "Time to find a table."
Sometimes, I miss the days when people didn't notice me. But then he threads his fingers through mine and rubs his thumb in small circles on my skin; it's comforting and I forget my awkward feelings. And I don't miss those days.
He moved on from butterbeer to fire whiskey relatively quickly and a tipsy Louis is a funny Louis. Very much so. He talks nonstop about anything and everything and he speaks so fast and he slurs; I'm not even drunk and I feel like my head is spinning. I can't keep up with the conversation, I can't even remember what we were talking about.
"Do you still believe that Jack likes Lucy and vice v- the other way around?" he asks suddenly.
I laugh; who knew 'versa' was such a hard word to say when drunk? "Yes, I do. Why?"
"B-because they're a-fighting again, over there." I roll my eyes. "Oh, they t-took their fight into the other room."
"You're drunk," I state, not really caring what my friends get up to right at this moment.
"Probably. Just a little. Dance with me?"
I spit out the mouthful of butterbeer I was about to swallow. I wasn't expecting that, especially so randomly. "What?"
"Will you dance with me?"
"I don't think that's a very good idea," I tell him honestly. "Not exactly safe, is it, Louis?"
"Because I'm drunk?" he asks slowly. Drinking damages his brain cells. As funny as he is, he really shouldn't drink, not if he would rather live without embarrassing moments. I imagine bets gone wrong, revealing secrets, being tied naked to a post.
Or was that just my dad? To clarify, my dad did all those things... My mum did two... Apparently.
I realize he thinks I've been quiet for too long when he nudges me. Because I'm blind, I can't dance I almost say, but I hold back and nod. "You're a catastrophe waiting to happen, Louis Weasley. I'd fear for the people around us if we were to dance."
"Then we'll sit and talk. About you," he adds.
"Or we can talk about you," I suggest.
"S'nothing about me worth telling," he mutters. He's so quiet, I can't tell if he's angry or sad or even indifferent, but I don't push either way; it's not my place and there are stuff I haven't told him.
I stand up; I'll give him a couple of minutes to himself, he'll probably have another drink, and then he'll go back to being funny Louis. "Where is the restroom?"
"Er... That way." Seriously, brain cell damage. Which way? "You know, the restroom sounds like a good idea. I should go there."
The table wobbles when he gets up. Drunk Casanova is not light on his feet. I worry. "Do you need to be sick?"
"Nooo, I need to pee." I hope the direction he's taking me is actually the way to the restroom.
I'm starting to wish Jack had been around so he could show me the way instead. Is he still arguing with Lucy? He wouldn't spend that long away from his own party. "Hey, has anyone seen Jack?" I call to the people surrounding me.
There's a collection of no's around me, which, despite being an answer to my question, is not helpful at all. "I'm sure he'll turn up." We stop. "And, for the record, I'm not so bad while drunk. If you ever see Lucy or, God forbid, Vic, you will understand. After you."
"You are funny when you're drunk," I tell him as I enter. "Lucy is... Interesting."
Lucy is so interesting when drunk that once she didn't talk to me for a week. "You're allowed to say flirty or... N-No, I'll leave it at that; I should be nice. Here... Didn't she try to kiss you one time?"
And just when I thought it was quiet. You see what I mean about drunk Louis never shutting up. This is supposed to be non-talking time. "Yes, she did. She was very embarrassed, she hid, and then I told her I was gay and it was fine. She got over it pretty quickly."
"She does that. We're all different after a drink; Al gets overly emotional and cries."
"Isn't he underage?"
"Shhh." And listen to that; nothing. Silence. He stopped talking. Did he die? No. I can... Hear him. He finishes before I do. "You stand like you're ready for a showdown." The sound of running water. "One day you'll be a real cowboy. The stubble actually helps." I finish. "Follow the sound of my voice."
I do; it'll be so inconvenient if he suddenly tells me he's a ventriloquist and that I'm on my way out the door. But I feel him and then the sink, so all is good. I gesture to my face. "Would you trust me with a razor?"
"Well, let's see." I was joking; he's not supposed to bloody think about it! "The day we met, you hit me with your stick, something you continued to do. You've slammed me into a bookshelf and you constantly walk into me. I'm beginning to think you do that on purpose. So, no, I wouldn't even trust you with a pencil. Around others, yes, just not around me; you'll hurt me with it."
I just shake my head. "Not that I want you to get rid of it. Unless it gets bushier, then it's gotta go."
"Thank you for sharing what you find attractive in a man." I love sarcasm. I hate being genuine. And part of me actually is. "We can leave now."
I refuse to tell him that this is about as much as he's gonna get because stubble is all I can get to, as I have this inability to grow a beard; the consequences could be severe for me, considering what we just talked about. We stop outside the restroom doors, just out of the way of everyone else, and he asks me if I want another drink. I decline.
"What time is it?"
"Just after midnight, just less than an hour left."
"And Jack is missing it," I mock sigh.
"Maybe he's with a girl," Louis says and it sounds like he's joking. But that could actually be true, knowing Jack. Louis' hand cups my right cheek and I can suddenly feel his breath against my lips. How long was I quiet for? This is why thinking is a bad thing. He moves closer, pressing himself to me, and I forget to breath.
"There's something about you," he whispers. It's not the same as when he flirts, it's different, it's... Real. And it causes me to feel funny inside and throw all attempts of denial out of the window. I was fine before when I could easily ignore it, but now... He's way too close. His forehead touches mine and...
I turn away.
"Sorry," he mutters, I know he's stepped back. "I think I've had too much to drink tonight. I shouldn't have tried to do that."
"It's fine," I tell him. "I just want to go back to school now."
"That sounds like a good idea. I'll take you back to school."
My subconscious is screaming at me and I want to kick myself because he doesn't know why I did it. He thinks I just rejected him; I can hear it in his tone. "Louis."
"It's fine." He takes my hand. "Come on."
The walk to the carriage and the ride back is quiet and awkward. I try talking to him, but he doesn't answer, and by the time we get to Hufflepuff, the tension is horrible. I will try again tomorrow. He needs to know. "Good night, Louis."
Nothing else is said, not an 'I'll see you tomorrow', and I hate it.
I have got to fix this.
A/N: Ness, Jack's costume, is a reference to Eliot Ness, who is played by Kevin Costner in the 1987 film The Untouchables, which belongs to Paramount Pictures. Casanova, Louis' costume, is an 18th Century Italian, best known for his womanizing. And Ciaran... Is a cowboy. Because they are cool. :P
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