“So, you don’t think it’s a little weird that we’re going on our honeymoon with our friends?” I asked Remus as he unloaded our bags from the car when we arrived at the airport.
As he shut the trunk and pulled the bag up on his shoulder, he looked at me. “The only reason that we’re going on this trip is because of our friends, so I’m looking past the weirdness,” he told me, matter-of-factly. “We’ll have a normal honeymoon with plenty of alone time and occasionally see them. We’re going to have such a great time.” He placed a gentle kiss on my lips and gave me a smile. “I love you.”
The smile across my face grew to the size of the sun. I’ll admit that we’ve been pretty lovey-dovey ever since the wedding; but what could you expect? “Is this what it’s going to be like the whole time?” Alexa questioned, rolling her eyes at us. “If so, I think I’d like to opt out of this trip.” Remus put his arm around me and stuck his tongue out at her.
“I’m not letting anything ruin this trip for me,” Blair stated, coming up behind us. “So, you two can just carry on and I’m going to work on my tan.” Blair insisted on dressing for the beach even before we got to Italy. She had on a long light blue dress that billowed out around her body in the wind, big sunglasses that nearly took up her entire face, and a large floppy hat. It was almost as if as soon as she stepped off the plane she was heading right to the beach. By this time, the rest of the crew had unloaded their stuff and joined us on the curbside.
“Yeah, thanks so much for inviting me, guys,” Lily said very sweetly. “I feel so honored, but I feel like I’m intruding on your trip.”
“Evans,” Sirius started, putting his arm lazily around her shoulders, “The girls here have claimed that you can roll with us. While I remain skeptical of this, mainly due to the fact that you are more straight-laced than Moony here and you generally look down upon everything we Marauders do, we are willing to give you a chance to prove yourself. This will be the ultimate test. No one vacations like the Marauders. We party hard, no exceptions.”
“Well, Black,” Lily responded, slipping away from Sirius, “Your confidence in me is astounding. And mark my words, I will prove you wrong.” Sirius smiled deviously at her and I knew that he was going to push her to her limit.
Once our entire luggage was unloaded, we headed into the airport. James had insisted that we travel by plane; which, do doubt, would be an experience. I myself had only flown one time before but it was when I was very little and don’t really remember it. “So, what do we do now?” Alexa asked, looking to James, clearly ready to get this show on the road.
“Well, how am I supposed to know?” James responded looking a little put off. “You two are half muggle, shouldn’t you know the ins and outs of this sort of thing?”
“James! Why would you insist that we fly if you had no clue what you were doing?” Alexa chastised. “And we may have a muggle mum but we never travel by plane. We usually use port keys or apparate, which is what we should have done for this.”
“Where’s your sense of adventure, Alex?” James nudged her grabbing up his bags to lead the pack. “We’ll just figure it out as we go along. I’m sure it can’t be that difficult.” I gave Remus a worried look and he just shook his head at his friend.
Once we had finally found the desk to check-in to our flight and drop off our luggage, we then were directed over to the security guards so they could check our belongings. One by one we placed our carry-on bags onto the conveyor belt and then stepped through the large metal detector. We all made it through, but of course, somebody had to mess something up. James was the last person to pass through the detector and as he stepped through he was immediately called to the side by a surly looking security guard.
“Sir, I’m going to need you to open your bag and then step back,” the man said to James. James did as he was told and unzipped his relatively small backpack. The guard quickly looked through James’s bag. The guard’s face changed as he found what he was looking for. “Can you explain to me why you are trying to carry a stick onto the aircraft?” Stick? Why the hell would James bring a stick? The security guard pulled out the ‘stick’ in question and I think we all collectively gasp and we realized that it was no stick at all; it was James’s wand.
Why James thought it would be a good idea to bring his wand onto a plane that was primarily filled with muggles is beyond me. I didn’t particularly like not having my wand with me but I knew that I couldn’t bring it on the plane with me so I packed it in my suitcase like a normal person. James cleared his throat nervously and began to explain. “Well, you see, that isn’t a normal stick,” James hastily said. Alexa clapped her hands over her face and Blair began to bite her fingernails.
“What do you mean?” the guard pressed, clearly intrigued. “What are you planning on using it for on the plane, Sir?”
“I just brought it for protection,” James continued. “If something happens and I needed to defend myself or my friends, I would have that.” The guard stepped back and the people around us began to stare.
“Are you telling me that you’re planning on using this as a weapon on the aircraft?” he questioned, growing increasingly tenser. “I’m going to need you to come with me, Sir,” he added, grabbing James’s upper arm. James looked back at us in panic and I quickly jumped forward and rushed over to James.
“Wait,” I said, grabbing James’s other arm to stop the security guard. The guard stopped and looked at me, waiting for me to say something. My mind was racing as I tried to figure something out. “I apologize for my friend here,” I told him. “He’s not particularly mentally stable,” I continued. James gave me a look but I shot him a look telling him to go along with it. I moved in between James and the guard and leaned in to whisper to him. “He thinks he’s a knight and that the stick is a sword. He won’t go anywhere without it. It’s pretty sad really; he hasn’t been right for many years.”
The guard looked slightly shocked. “What’s wrong with him?” he questioned.
“He’s just crazy,” I said shrugging my shoulders. “We try to just go along with it so he doesn’t get upset.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” the guard said, confused, “But I still can’t let him take this with him.”
This guy was going to make this difficult. “Oh man,” I said urgently. He looked at me questioningly. “You see, I just got married,” I told him, “That’s my husband over there,” I added, pointing over to Remus who smiled awkwardly. “We’re actually going on our honeymoon with our friends and family. This is just going to throw everything off. James is going to be so upset and will no doubt make a scene; we’ll have no choice to cancel the trip and our honeymoon.”
The security guard let out a sigh. “That is very unfortunate ma’am, but I can’t let him have this back.” Seriously?! I’m slightly ashamed of what I did next, and James owes me big time for this. I suddenly started to ‘cry’ being as loud as I possibly could. I let my fake emotions pour out and the guard immediately got uncomfortable. “Ma’am, please don’t cry,” he said, trying to quiet me down as even more people began to gather around.
“I’m sorry,” I said through my tears. “It’s just this was going to be the happiest day of my life,” I told him. “We were going to go on this trip and I looked forward to telling my children about all the wonderful things that I saw and did. But I’ll never get that chance now! I’ll have nothing to show for myself. I’m having a girl by the way. My daughter will never get to hear how I went to Italy with my closest friends!” I cradled my stomach and let out one last good sob for good measure.
“Okay, okay,” the guard whispered. “Your friend can have his stick back; just please stop crying.” I began to wipe my eyes and sniffle as he handed me back James’s wand. Seeing that I was finally done making a scene, the guard looked at ease.
“Oh, thank you so much,” I gushed. I pulled him into a hug and patted him on his back. “You are a beautiful man, and again, I’m so sorry for my friend.”
“It’s fine,” he responded quickly. “Just make sure he doesn’t do that again.” I assured him we would never have this problem again and he let us go about our day.
I walked back over to where everyone else was standing and quickly ushered them all away before the guard could change his mind. As we hastily made our way through the airport I handed James his wand. “Lyla, you’re a life saver,” James expressed.
“You have no idea how much you owe me for that,” I told him with a smile.
“That was just so horrifying but I couldn’t look away,” Alexa said, still laughing at my display. “I wish I had gotten that on camera.”
“Why would you even think to bring your wand in the first place?” Blair questioned, pulling her bag higher up on her shoulder. “We were coming to a place full of muggles and we were going to be stuck on a plane with them for hours; you couldn’t have used your wand without being exposed.”
James just shrugged his shoulders as we drew nearer to our departure gate. “What if the plane malfunctioned and we started plummeting to our death? If I have my wand I could suspend the plane until we safely land. I don’t trust these muggle contraptions, so you’re welcome. I’m just thinking of you guys.”
Alexa took out the latest issue of Witch Weekly from her bag and hit James over the head. “If you don’t trust these flying death traps, why did you want to take them one all the way to Italy?!”
“Maybe because it’s super badass!” James exclaimed.
I laughed as Alexa let out a frustrated sigh at her good friend. James and Alexa always got on well, but he always knew how to push Alexa’s buttons. “If this plane goes down and we die, I hope by some miracle that you live so I can haunt you for the rest of your life.”
“Okay, okay, you two,” Remus said, calming Alexa down. “We’re about ready to board the plane, so if everyone could control themselves, that’d be great. James, don’t pull your wand out at any point on this flight. Alexa, refrain from killing or seriously injuring anyone.” Everyone nodded his or her heads in agreement as we formed a line to start boarding the plane. “If we make it there and back in one piece it will be a miracle,” Remus whispered to me as I handed the person our boarding passes. I gave Remus a smile and then took his hand in mine.
One flight and a nap later, we had finally landed in Italy without any mishaps. We collected our luggage and then hailed a taxi to take us to the house that our parents had arranged for us to stay at. It was still like a dream that we were all actually there. After everything with the wedding, this trip was just too much for our parents and friends to give Remus and me.
As we pulled up to the house, I almost stopped breathing. The house was bigger than I was expecting and it was right on the beach. There was a large porch facing the water and the entire back part of the house was glass, which allowed the late afternoon sun to fill the inside with beautiful natural light. “Oh my goodness,” Blair gasped. “This place is gorgeous!” she squealed. The small portion of Portofino that I saw on the drive in was so beautiful and I was eager to see more, but the beach was so stunning.
Remus helped me out of the taxi and while the boys unloaded our bags, I went to explore the house with Blair, Alexa, and Lily. We had been told that the key would be under the doormat and we were to just leave it there when we left. Alexa quickly retrieved the key and opened up the front door to the house. I didn’t think it was even possible, but the inside was almost more gorgeous than the outside and its surroundings.
The house was very open and bright. The foyer was decorated in warm yellows and beautiful wall hangings. The foyer led into a large room with a couch, chairs, and a fireplace. Off of the living room there was a kitchen, a dining room, the porch, and then three bedrooms with their own bathrooms. There was a master bedroom with an enormous king sized bed with a canopy of flowing fabric blowing softly in the wind when the doors to the porch were open. The master bath was equipped with his and her sinks and a tub and shower that could fit nearly ten people in each. After the long day of travel, all I really wanted to do was to climb into that large fluffy bed, but Alexa pulled me along to look at the other two rooms.
The two other bedrooms were very similar to each other. They bother were rather large and each had three twin beds in them. The only difference between the two rooms was that in one room, two of the beds were bunked. This house apparently belonged to a family with six kids and they rented the house out to vacationers when they weren’t there. You could tell that the two rooms belonged to children because there were cute hand crafted items all over the room. “So, I guess the three of us will stay in this room and then the three boys will stay in the other room, with Remus and Lyls in the master bedroom,” Blair stated, placing her large purse on one of the beds.
As the boys entered into the house and came over to the room they would be staying in, Alexa said, “I hate to tell you this, Sirius, but we will not be rooming together.” Sirius stepped up next to her, looking into the room and gasped.
“James!” he exclaimed excitedly. “Bunk beds!!!” James quickly ran over to see the beds and his face lit up. They both pushed us aside and rushed into the room. “All of our dreams are coming true,” Sirius told James as they both inspected the bunk beds.
“I call top bunk!” James suddenly spouted out.
“Doubt it,” Sirius said, throwing his belongings up on the top bunk. “I totally already called it.”
“When?” James questioned.
“You and I both know that I called the top bunk when we talked about it in first year,” Sirius explained. “When we talked about getting an apartment after seventh year, we agreed that I would get top bunk, and that applies to all bunk bed situations that we ever will encounter.”
“Oh, good Lord,” Blair muttered as she shook her head.
James turned rapidly to look at Blair. “Blair, tell Sirius that he is being completely unfair and that he doesn’t get to call the top bunk for the rest of our lives. Everyone knows that you have to call it each individual time,” James told us.
“You two are ridiculous,” Alexa said as she turned around to go back to her own room to unpack her things. “Good luck with them, Peter,” she yelled to them over her shoulder. We all followed Alexa’s lead and headed to our respective rooms to sort out our things and to freshen up a bit before we continued on with our day.
Remus had placed our suitcases on our bed, so I headed over and unzipped the bag. Remus closed the door to our room behind him and then came over to where I was standing. He slipped his arms around me and pulled me closer to him. “Finally a few minutes alone with my wife,” Remus whispered as he placed a gentle kiss on my neck. I giggled slightly as his lips tickled my skin. “Are you happy, sweetheart?” he asked me. I nodded my head as I let my headrest on his shoulder.
“I just want to enjoy this time with you and our friends,” I told him. “When we get back, reality is going to set back in and we are going to have to start figuring out what we’re going to do at school and how we’re going to handle having this baby.”
Remus turned me around to face him and he brushed the hair off of my face. “Now, I don’t want you to be worrying about any of that,” he instructed. “Everything is going to work out. We’ve gotten through all of this so far and we’ll get through everything that is to come. This trip is about being together and having a good time, we’ll deal with all that other stuff later.” I gave him a smile and then placed a kiss on his lips. I couldn’t help but think that I was one of the luckiest girls in the world.
There was a soft knock at the door and then Alexa poked her head in tentatively. “Hey, guys, sorry to interrupt, but the boys are getting somewhat restless and are pretty hungry,” she told us. “Lily, Blair and I were going to go explore town and pick up some things for dinner. You want to join us, Lyls?”
I gave Remus a look and then patted him lightly on his chest as I walked past him to join Alexa. Before I could get too far, Remus snagged my hand and pulled me back to him, wrapping his arms around me once more. He pulled me into a kiss that was passionate but tender. I smiled against his lips as he lingered on my skin. “I love you,” he whispered to me.
Before I could respond Alexa grabbed my arm and pulled me away from Remus. “If you guys weren’t so damn cute and related to me, I’d have to kill you guys for being so perfect,” she informed us. I snagged my bag off the chair and waved goodbye to Remus as Alexa directed me toward the front of the house where Blair and Lily were waiting for us.
The four of us headed down the road that led to town and took in the stunning countryside as we passed. After some basic chitchat, Blair got to the question we had all been asking ourselves. “So, Alexa,” she started, “We couldn’t help but notice that you and Sirius were pretty close at the wedding. Anything you want to share?”
Alexa’s face began to redden and I could tell she had feared this very subject being brought up. “I have no clue what you guys are talking about,” she stated hastily.
“Oh, come on, Alex!” Blair exclaimed, drawing some questioning looks from some nearby people. “Anyone with a brain and eyes can see that you two are all up in each other’s business again.”
At this, Lily chimed in. “Even though I’m relatively new to the group, even from the outside it’s pretty obvious that you guys like each other. I know you guys broke up and stuff but I could tell that neither one of you really truly moved on.”
“Plus, that night of my bachelorette party, I definitely saw the two of you looking pretty cozy on the couch when I snuck in,” I added. “You guys are practically dating again so you might as well make it official. And if you think Blair and I didn’t know about the two of you rendezvousing all summer, you’re dumber than I thought.”
Alexa just shrugged her shoulders. When none of us accepted that as a valid answer she let out a sigh and continued. “Sirius asked me to be his girlfriend again at the wedding and I said yes,” she simply said.
A wide smile spread across my face and Blair let out a whoop. Alexa, however, didn’t have the look on her face that I expected. She had a worried look on her face and I could tell something was wrong. “What is it Alexa? And why were you so hesitant to tell us?” I questioned.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy to be back with Sirius,” she told us, “But I keep going back to when we broke up and how much that hurt me; how much we both were hurt. I don’t want that for us anymore. I don’t want to fight with him. And I didn’t want to say anything because as soon as other people know, it makes things so much harder. When we were sneaking around it was just the two of us and it was simple. I just want it to work this time.”
I put my arm around my dear sister and pulled her closer. “Alex, you shouldn’t even worry about the past, just be with Sirius in the present,” I advised. “You two are perfect for each other and are meant to be together. It may not be easy all the time but no relationship is easy. And you just have to accept that the two of you are going to fight, because Merlin knows you both are too stubborn not too, and just learn to shake those fights off. I know Sirius loves you and you love him. That’s all that matters.”
Alexa gave me a smile and nodded her head. “The whole crew is put back together. All is right,” she said in a satisfied tone. “Now, all we need to do is find Lily a man. Peter perhaps?”
Lily let out a nervous laugh and began to play with her fiery hair. “Peter’s a sweet guy, but not really my type,” Lily disclosed. “I’m sure Peter will make some girl very happy someday, but I am not that girl.”
“So what is your type Lily?” Blair asked casually, but I knew what she was hinting at.
Lily looked around as we entered the market and answered. “Well, right now, my type is hot Italian men,” she joked, waving over to a strapping young man at a bread booth.
“You’re in luck!” Alexa shouted. “We happen to have plenty at our disposal. So, why don’t you go over there and buy us some bread and introduce yourself to that fine piece of ass.” Lily threw us a wink and headed over to the guy that had been checking her out. As Lily flirted away, we continued deeper into the market to search for dinner. “What are we feeling tonight, ladies?”
“Hey, you guys,” Lily said as she rushed over. “Giacomo over there,” she said pointing to the bread guy, “Says that if we’re looking for some great food then we need to go to a restaurant called La Bella Luna. He said he knows the owner and can take us there and help us. Did I mention that he’s smoking hot and has the most gorgeous accent that will make you melt.”
“Well, since I don’t know my head from my ass in Italian, I think we’ll go with Lily’s new boy toy,” Alexa casually stated. “Besides, he does have rather nice eyes,” she added, looking over to Giacomo. Does he have any brothers?”
“Alexa!” Blair laughed. “You’re in a happy committed relationship now.”
“That doesn’t mean that I can’t window shop or let a cute Italian boy order me some food in Italian,” she said with a wink as she headed over to where Giacomo was waiting for us.
After Lily introduced us to Giacomo he began to lead us down the street toward the restaurant. I did have to admit that he was extremely good looking with his olive skin and dark luscious locks, and if I wasn’t just recently married and with child I’d have to get my flirt on. And if his good looks weren’t enough, he had the most wonderful personality and did have quite the adorable accent.
“So what’s good here?” Lily asked as Giacomo watched her every move.
“Oh, everything, bella,” he informed her. Lily just smiled goofily and nodded her head. “They have a lasagna that is filled with the finest sausage on the coast, an alfredo sauce that is so creamy and rich that it’s nearly impossible to finish an entire plate, and all of the pasta is freshly made. You can’t possibly go wrong. And the desserts are to die for. My personal favorite is the tiramisu; the espresso is incredible. The cannoli are so light and the gelato is the best.”
Everything that Giacomo described sounded simply delicious and I felt my stomach growl below my hand that was resting on it. “I think we should just get it all,” I told them. Alexa smiled at me and just laughed. “I can’t help it that I’m hungry all the time! And right now, I’m literally craving everything on the menu.”
“Well,” Lily said shrugging our shoulders, “I guess we’ll take one of everything. And we need it to go, if possible, we have some friends waiting for us at home.”
With a large smile on his face, Giacomo said, “There’s nothing more beautiful than a woman with a hearty appetite. I’ll see what I can do for you.” He headed over to an older looking gentleman and began to speak to him in Italian. The older man seemed elated by the order. He grabbed Giacomo’s face and placed a large kiss on both cheeks and exclaimed, “Il mio nipote!” He took off toward the kitchen and Giacomo returned to where we were standing.
“He said there was no problem and that he’d get it out as fast as he could,” Giacomo informed us. “He also is giving it to you at half price and giving you some fresh bread free of charge.”
We all looked at each other in surprise. “Half price? Why would he do that?” Lily inquired.
“I told him you all were my friends and that you just got to Italy and he wanted you to have a true taste of Italy. Besides, I can get my nonno to do about anything,” he mentioned.
“That was his grandfather,” Lily whispered to us. Clearly Lily had learned a little Italian before we came. “Thank you so much, Giacomo, we really appreciate it. I hope you’ll join us for dinner, it’s the least we can do to repay you for your kindness.” Giacomo nodded in agreement to our invitation and then directed us over to a small table where we could wait for our meal.
As we waited for Giacomo’s grandfather to return we got to know Giacomo a little better and Lily seemed to get even more smitten with every passing minute. Giacomo was the oldest of four and was the only boy. He had explained that he and his sisters, Lia, Giovanna, and Carina, lived with his grandparents because his parents died six years ago in a car accident. His littlest sister wasn’t even a year old when they passed. His grandfather had wanted him to take over the family restaurant like his father would have if he were still with them but his grandmother insisted that Giacomo stay in school.
She enrolled him in a boarding school in Rome and that’s where he has spent most of his time for the past six years. Every summer he returns to his home here and works for his grandfather who apparently still hopes that he will want to enter the family business. Giacomo told us that when he left to go to the school in Rome it was hard for him to leave his sisters so soon after his parents passing away but he knew he needed to go to school so that he could make something of himself in order to give his sisters everything they would ever need and to repay his grandparents for all of their help.
Giacomo seemed like such a sweet guy and I was amazed at how upbeat he was given the horrors he has had to endure. Before we knew it, Giacomo’s grandfather, Giuseppe, returned with his wife, Aryana, and several bags filled with what I assumed to be delicious food that I couldn’t wait to eat. Giacomo got up and met his grandparents and took the bags from his grandfather and we followed after him. “I nonni, questo è Alexa, Blair, Lily e Lyla,” Giacomo introduced. The older couple nodded to us and greeted us in Italian.
“Molte grazie,” Lily offered to Giuseppe and Aryana. Alexa laughed slightly at Lily’s brown-nosing ways.
Giuseppe said something to his grandson that I didn’t understand and Giacomo just smiled and looked to Lily. “He says your Italian is very good and that you all are always welcome here and as far as he is concerned, you are family.” Lily blushed slightly and we all gave our thanks to his grandparents. “Let me just tell my grandparents that I’ll be back later and then we’ll get you all home.”
Once Giacomo was safely out of hearing distance, Lily turned to us excitedly. “Is he not the greatest?!” she whisper exclaimed. “I think I’ve found something to keep me busy during our time here.”
“Easy there, Lils,” Alexa suggested. “Just because you found him doesn’t mean you get to keep him. I think it’s only fair if you share with the group.”
“In your dreams!” Lily replied. “You all have a guy and now I’ve got one of my own. Besides, he seems to like me best so I doubt any of you would have a chance with him anyways.” Lily smiled slyly and gave us a wink to let us know she was joking.
“Well, how do you expect us to compete with little-miss-I-learned-Italian-and-can-speak-the-language-of-love?” Alexa questioned. “But look, I don’t think it’s us that you have to worry about. Good luck getting the boys to accept him. They go nuts whenever there’s a new guy around; they’re highly territorial.”
Lily just shrugged her shoulders. “Oh, those boys don’t scare me,” she informed us. “Peter won’t initiate anything on his own, he’ll only back the others up. Remus is normally too polite to make a guest feel uncomfortable. And as far as James and Sirius go, I can handle them.”
“Somebody’s a bad ass,” Alexa sarcastically muttered under her breath. We all laughed and continued to give Lily a hard time. That’s what I liked about Lily, we could joke with her and she didn’t take anything personally; in fact she usually would dish it right back.
“Ready to go, bellas?” Giacomo asked when he rejoined the group. Lilly nodded and took one the bags of food from Giacomo and began to lead him out of the restaurant.
We began to follow after them and Alexa just started to laugh. “Sirius is going to go nuts when he sees this guy,” she explained her laughter.
“And I’m sure you’re not going to put his mind at ease, are you?” I jested.
She gave me a sweet smile. “Now, what kind of girlfriend would I be if I didn’t shamelessly make Sirius jealous? Of course I’m going to play this whole situation up.” I just shook my head as Blair began to laugh and agreed with Alexa.
When we got back to the house, I threw the door open and Alexa entered first. “Hey, losers, we’re back with food!” she shouted. I hit Alexa slightly on the shoulder and she just have me a ‘what’ look. As we made our way into the kitchen, we saw the boys standing around the counter moving something around.
“Welcome back,” Sirius said, sounding mischievous. “While you ladies were out we did a bit of shopping of our own.” Sirius stepped aside to reveal several bottles of alcohol lined up on the counter. Sirius looked down at the display with pride.
Alexa went over to Sirius and put her arms around his waist. “I have never been more proud of you,” she told him adoringly. He placed a kiss on her lips and smiled. “We are going to have a real good time tonight.”
Lily and Giacomo entered into the kitchen carrying the food and could almost feel the silence fill the room. “So…” Sirius started looking at Giacomo. “Who’s this guy?” Ah, Sirius, blunt as always.
Like a brave soul, Giacomo stepped toward Sirius and stretched out his hand. “Ciao, I’m Giacomo, pleasure to meet you,” he introduced himself to Sirius. Sirius hesitantly took the hand extended to him and shook it.
“The pleasure is all mine,” Sirius commented. Alexa gave Sirius a look as he let go of Giacomo’s hand and Sirius just watched the boy before him with a calculated stare. The Marauders all exchanged a look concerning our guest and before they got defensive Lily stepped in. “Let’s eat!” she exclaimed.
“You take that shot or get out of my house!” Sirius exclaimed, pointing to a shot glass in front of James that was filled to the brim with whiskey. Soon after dinner, the alcohol started to flow and needless to say, everyone was having a good time. Remus laughed at his friends as he sipped his drink and rubbed my shoulder that his arm was around.
Somehow, James and Giacomo had gotten into a competition of who could take the most shots and Sirius was very much the cheering section for James. We quickly learned that Giacomo held his alcohol very well, and honestly, James didn’t have a chance in hell of beating him at any drinking game.
James picked up the small glass and brought it to his lips. He stuck his tongue into the brown liquid and his face soured. “Padfoot, mate,” he started, leaning over to Sirius, “I don’t think I can do it. He’s too good.” Sirius shook his head and brought James closer to him to whisper something to him.
“Look at him,” Sirius attempted to whisper, “He’s got nothing on you. You are a Marauder. We never back down from a challenge and we never walk away as losers. Now, look at Blair over there,” Sirius pointed over to where Blair was mixing a drink with Alexa at the counter, “Do you think that she’ll want to date you if you aren’t a winner? Blair’s a winner, James, and winners date winners.” James’s brow furrowed and he looked down at the glass in his hands again.
In one swift movement, James downed the fluid and slammed the glass onto the table. Sirius erupted into cheers and even Peter was on his feet to celebrate his friend. Lily, who was seated next to Giacomo, patted him on the back and said; “He’s going to drink himself into a coma if he keeps this up.” Giacomo let out a laugh and then drew himself out of the competition, allowing James to win.
Even though I wasn’t able to participate in the drinking, my friends were entertaining drunks and I couldn’t help but have a good time. It was really nice to see everyone so carefree and just blowing off some steam. Remus was laughing like a fool and it was a laugh that even I rarely got to see. I could tell that he was really just letting loose tonight.
James and Sirius became even more immature when they drank but they also would get super competitive about anything. In addition, Sirius got a lot flirtier when he drank and was even a bigger fan of showing affection. Peter didn’t drink often, but when he did, we got to see the Peter that he kept hidden deep behind his shy quirks.
Then, there were the girls. I mean, even though Lily hasn’t been hanging out with us for too long, I had seen Lily at the concert and pretty much had a good feel for ‘drunk Lily.’ Lily became one of the guys when she drank, and could probably drink any of the guys under the table. Blair was simply a blast when she was drunk. She was the life of the party and could be persuaded to do pretty much anything while under the influence, including doing handstands, which ended with her crashing to the floor; but to her, every time she did it, she ‘nailed it.’ However, Blair also had an even bigger jealous streak when she drank. Blair’s emotions could shift from one end of the spectrum to the other in a matter of minutes if just the right words were uttered or if she saw something she didn’t like.
And then there was my dear sister. Alexa was that drunk that didn’t quite know her limit and even when she was clearly lashed would swear up and down that she was totally sober. Oh, and when music played, there was no stopping her from tripping the light fantastic (dancing). So as I looked up and watched my sister sashaying toward me, moving in all sorts of directions, I couldn’t help but let out a laugh and roll my eyes. She sat down next to me and put her head on my shoulder. “Hey, Lyls,” she said.
“Hey, Alex, you having a good time?” I asked her.
She sat up quickly and looked at me with a frown. “I’m not even drunk. I’m totally fine,” she insisted. “Totally fine,” she repeated. “Don’t even worry about it.” I nodded my head in agreement and threw up my hands in surrender. As usual, she patted my extended belly and then left her seat to take up residence in Sirius’s lap. I watched them for a few minutes as they whispered back and forth to each other and I was so incredibly happy for them.
Remus squeezed me closer to him and when I looked up I found him staring back down at me. I leaned into his body and wrapped my arm across his abdomen and around his waist. “Happy honeymoon,” he told me. I lifted my head slightly and reached up to place a kiss on his lips. The slight taste of whiskey reached my mouth as Remus deepened the kiss.
Remus and I broke apart as Alexa exclaimed, “I have the greatest idea!” We all turned our attention to her as she excitedly spoke from Sirius’s lap. “Let’s go down to the beach!” Okay, I was all for having a good time but, to me, mixing a bunch of inebriated people with deep water just didn’t seem like the safest option.
“Are you sure that’s safe?” I questioned. I was taken back a bit as everyone looked to me now like I was crazy.
“Live a little!” James exclaimed.
“It’s probably safer for me to fall down on the sand than on this hard floor,” Sirius logically said.
“Plus, I’m pretty much sober, so I can make sure everyone stays safe,” Alexa assured me, trying to put my mind at ease. Within a matter of minutes, everyone was out of his or her seats and they were ready to take off toward the beach. Knowing that I wasn’t going to be able to stop this, I just went along with it and threw caution to the wind.
Alexa, leading the way, threw open the back sliding door that led to the balcony which had stairs leading down to the sandy beach. Remus ‘helped’ me down the stairs but I was really the one helping him down the semi-steep steps. Blair had surpassed Alexa in the race toward the water and was running extremely fast. Blair was gliding over the soft sand but as she neared the water, there was a slight drop in the terrain that she didn’t notice and she went face first into the ground. We all collectively gasped but within seconds, Blair was back on her feet and continued her pursuit. Once she reached the clear water, she once again fell, this time on purpose, allowing the water to consume her body.
Soon enough, the others reached the edge of the water as well and began to splash around. I stopped a little way away from the shore, Peter and Remus with me. Remus looked at me and then looked at the water longingly. “You can go in, but know that if you die out there because you’re being stupid, I will bring you back to life just to kill you again,” I told him jokingly. “Please just be careful.” He gave me a quick kiss and then joined our friends out in the water.
As I moved to take a seat on the beach, Peter helped me get onto the ground and then took a seat next to me. “You don’t want to get in, Pete?” I asked as I crossed my legs.
“I’m not too fond of open water, or swimming for that matter,” he explained. “Besides, someone’s going to have to jump in to save their sorry asses if they start to drown, and I don’t think you’re quite fit for that right now.” I smiled at Peter and let out a slight laugh. Peter could be quite the kidder when he wanted to be and the thought of him having to dive into the water to save any of them was quite funny.
Alexa came running toward us and stopped overtop of me and began to shake out her hair, slinging water all over me. I protested slightly, but not really caring because the cool water felt amazing on my skin. James who was complaining about something then called Peter closer to the water and Peter, not seeing the obvious trap set before him, did as requested. Once Peter was close enough, James grabbed his arm and pulled him into the water. Alexa began to ring her hair out as she gave me a smile. “How are you doing, Lyls?” she questioned.
“I’m great,” I responded. “How are you?”
As she looked out at the water and with a smile on her face she responded. “I’m so incredibly happy,” she told me. A wide smile just crept across my face as I felt immense joy for my sister. “Now, I’d never admit this to anyone else, but I really think Sirius might be the one.” She turned to look at me and there was a mix of excitement and nervousness in her eyes. “With you and Remus getting married and starting a family, it’s really got me thinking about my future and mine and Sirius’s future together.
“I remember you told me one time how you knew Remus was the one you wanted to spend the rest of your life with. You told me that you seriously pictured your life without Remus and nothing seemed to fit. Nothing felt right if he wasn’t in the future scenes of your life. Well,” she continued, shrugging her shoulders, “I pictured my life years from now and I couldn’t even come up with a scenario where Sirius wasn’t there. And I don’t know if we’ll be together romantically until the end, but that doesn’t matter. Regardless of what are relationship becomes, I want him in my life.”
She paused here for a moment and looked down at her feet that she had dug into the sand. I could tell that something was bothering her beneath the surface level of happiness. “But, Lyla,” she said, “It absolutely terrifies me that I want him so badly. I’ve been starting to realize that, in some ways, I need him in my life, and that scares me; especially given our track record.”
“Alexa,” I told her, “I know exactly how you feel.” I gave her a comforting smile. “Even though I knew Remus was the one, the whole time we were planning the wedding I was freaking out inside. Falling in love with someone is one of the greatest experiences a person can have but when you love something so much it can be a bit overwhelming and scary. To think that you’d be willing to do things that you maybe wouldn’t normally do for another person is, at times, an unsettling experience. But the love that you share with the other person makes all the scary parts totally worth it and you experience them together and that makes you even closer.” She let out a breath and nodded her head to what I was saying. She seemed a little bit more at ease but far from content.
“And let me tell you,” I added, “Even though I had come to the realization that Remus was the one, I also remembered that a relationship comprises of two people. Remus was the one for me, but what if I wasn’t the one for Remus?” Alexa took in what I said and looked a little panicked. “Now, before you freak out, I just want to say that you shouldn’t worry about what will happen to you and Sirius in the future. Don’t think about the ‘what ifs’ just concentrate on what is. If you make the most of your relationship in the present I have no doubt you two will go the distance. And for what it’s worth, I love Sirius, he’s one of my best friends, and if you were going to spend your life with anyone on this planet, I could think of no better person for my sister.”
She gave me a smile and a slight nudge. “That means a lot to me, Lyls,” she said. “You have no idea how reassuring that is.”
“And just so you know, even though I’m married now and about to be a mother, I will always have time for you,” I told her. “As cheesy as it sounds, even though we’re growing up, we’ll never grow apart. I’m so lucky to have you by my side as I open this whole new chapter of my life; without you, I think I’d go insane.”
Alexa pulled me into a hug and we held each other for some time. When we released each other, Blair had joined us on the beach. She pulled her soaked hair over her shoulder and attempted to rid it of excess water. She must have picked up on the sentimental moment Alexa and I had just shared because she herself began to purge herself of all her emotional worries. “This is our last year at Hogwarts, ladies,” she stated. “After this year, it’s off into the real world where we are expected to make something of ourselves.”
We sat there for a few moments, letting what she said sink in. With all the stuff going on with the wedding and the baby, I hardly had had time to realize that we were approaching our final year of schooling. “I’m scared shitless,” Blair admitted. “And I’m sad. I mean, after this year, we won’t necessarily get to spend every day and every moment with one another. I’ve gotten so used to having you lot around that I don’t know what I’m going to do without you guys. We could all end up in completely different parts of the world and never see each other again.” At this, Blair began to cry. The alcohol must have been heightening her emotions because Blair just cried freely and unashamed. After a few moments of tears, her mascara began to run and there were noticeable lines streaking her face.
“Don’t say that, Blair,” Alexa comforted, looking like she was on the verge of tears herself. “We’ll always stay in touch, no matter where we end up. Nothing will keep us apart.”
“That’s easy for you to say,” she countered. “You two are sisters, you guys will always have to see each other. However, it will be all to easy to let me fall to the wayside.”
A wave of sadness consumed me as I listed to and watched my dear friend. My hormones were running rampant and my emotions were uncontrollable. I began to cry as well, not able to contain the tears any longer. “Blair, we couldn’t let you fall to the wayside even if we wanted to,” I informed her. “You are our sister, Blair. You’ve have been a part of this family since first year. We are a family and there’s no changing that.”
Alexa let out a sob and grabbed the two of us and held us close. It was a little melodramatic but none of us really cared. We clung to one another like it was our last night together and let our tears and laughter roll freely as we relived some of our finer moments and discussed the future. We promised each other right there on that beach in Italy that we would never forget one another, no matter where life took us and that we would always be there to support one another.
“What the hell is going on?” we heard James ask. We turned toward the water and saw all of our friends had abandoned the cool waves to join us on land.
“We were just talking about our seventh year and how we’re going to miss everyone after we graduate when everything changes and how much we love everyone,” Blair replied.
“And you guys are seriously crying about that?” Sirius asked. “I don’t understand women.”
Alexa wiped the residual tears from her face and pulled her hair up off her face. “I’ll give you something to cry about, Black,” she threatened. Alexa sprung up from her seat and took off after Sirius. Sirius quickly ran toward the house, evading Alexa for only a moment. She launched herself onto his back and he caught her with ease. The others followed after them and drifted into the night. Remus helped me from my spot on the beach and we walked silently back to the house.
Once back at the house, Giacomo bid us all goodnight and stepped out onto the front porch with Lily for a few moments. The rest of us were pretty knackered and retired to our rooms to get some sleep, the jetlag definitely setting in by now. I climbed into bed first and immediately threw all the covers off me and onto Remus’s side of the bed. I had put a cooling charm on our room and the room still felt a little warm. I was wearing a thin loose nightgown and I still felt uncomfortably hot. Remus, on the other hand was wearing a sweatshirt, sweatpants and thick wool socks when he came to bed. I laughed slightly at his winter attire and was so thankful that he was being patient with my all my crazy temperature changes.
As he pulled the covers on his side of the bed back I said, “Goodnight, Remus.” He helped me arrange the pillows so I could get comfortable and then he bent down and placed a gentle kiss on my protruding belly.
“Goodnight, my sweet little daughter,” he whispered to the baby. “And goodnight to my darling wife,” he said, now to me, placing a deep kiss on my lips. “I love you so much.” I returned his sentiments and then we both drifted off to sleep.
The week passed and before we knew it, we were back in good old England. It had been one of the best weeks of my life. Every day we just spent our time enjoying the beach and each other’s company. Lily had grown rather close to Giacomo over the week and I wasn’t sure if he was going to let her leave. I was surprised he didn’t ask her to stay and marry him or something. Lily said it was just a summer, whirlwind romance, but I knew that wasn’t entirely true. They agreed to write to one another and that maybe one day, he could come visit her, and us, in England.
Upon our return, Remus and I threw ourselves into married life. Not every day was easy and we fought about stupid stuff occasionally, but we were still in the honeymoon phase of our relationship. Alexa and Sirius spent quite a bit of time at our apartment and we would often assemble the entire group to hang out.
I also had another doctor’s appointment when we got back. I was moving right along in my pregnancy and the baby was growing. They said that she was a little smaller than most babies at that stage but that it was nothing to worry about. I didn’t really dwell on it because Alexa and I were both small when we were born but Remus was convinced something was wrong. He became his overprotective self again for a while and I had to remind him to back off otherwise I was going to go nuts.
As school approached we received our lists and such, but for some, an added little bonus came that shocked some. Remus had been chosen as prefect again but I hadn’t been chosen for the upcoming year. I obviously knew why I hadn’t been chosen and I probably would have declined even if I had been, but it still hurt a little. I was a little jealous of Remus but I knew I was going to be extremely busy and wouldn’t have time to carry out any prefect duties. Although, I wondered if Remus would even have time for his prefect duties given that he will soon have father duties, but I didn’t want to ruin the moment for him; we’d cross that bridge when we came to it.
Lily was chosen as Head Girl, a position that she had been vying for, ever since first year, and honestly, no one deserved it more than she did. The surprise came in the appointment of Head Boy. Alexa was convinced that Dumbledore was drunk when he appointed James as Head Boy. Even though James’s behavior was questionable at times, I truly believed that he would rise to the occasion and make us all proud; I know his parents were thrilled.
Our last year was hurdling toward us and there were days that I felt like I could barely breathe. We had NEWTs this year and I had the added pressure of my daughter being born. I was beginning to doubt my ability to do this but I tried not to let on to anybody. I just had to pray, hope and wish that everything would be okay; and I don’t know if that’ll even do it.
Author's note: So, I know it's been forever. But school and lack of inspiration and many other things have taken over our lives. We promise to start writing soon! Although, chapters may have to be a little shorter from now on. Thanks to all for reading and sticking with us even when we fail you hardcore. Love to all!