Chapter 8 : Falling Into A Schedule
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I was shocked beyond words.
“You were really far gone last night and I didn’t know where you lived so I brought you home with me,” Elsie was quick to explain. “Nothing happened.”
“Weren’t you drunk, too?”
“I only had two drinks,” Elsie said. “You on the other hand had seven, and however many you may have had before we ran into each other. By the time you had finished your seventh shot of firewhiskey, I was sober enough to Apparate.”
“If it helps, you were highly entertaining.”
I buried my face in my hands, wishing I could disappear right then and there.
“What’d I do?” my voice muffled against my hand.
“Nothing,” Elsie said, smirking, “except dance.”
Oh, no, I didn’t. I couldn’t have. I sucked at dancing, and I mean really sucked hardcore.
“Those moves of yours are... cute to say the least,” Elsie said, “especially that one where you shake your booty up against random girls.”
“No,” I said. “I didn’t.”
“Oh, you did.”
“But nothing happened between us,” I said, suddenly wanting confirmation. I was still freaked that I was on her couch with no memory of how I had gotten there.
“Nothing,” Elsie said. “I wouldn’t have taken advantage of you like that, plus you’re still a baby.”
I glared. “I’m 23. That’s not much younger than you; just a five year age gap.”
“Five years can be quite the gap, too.”
“Sure, whatever,” I said, not believing her.
“Besides, I’m not like that.”
“I didn’t say you were,” I said. “I just worry that I may have tried something even if I can’t remember it. I don’t want things to turn weird between us. I like having you as a friend.”
“Well worry no more because nothing happened.”
The way she said it made me doubt the legitimacy of her response. But I wasn’t about to call her on it. I had been so drunk that I had blacked out anything that had happened after the third or fourth shot, and that was my problem not hers. Though, I was surprised that my mates hadn’t noticed I was still there and shitfaced. They must have left before I had started acting disorderly. I’ll have to ask Brody and Mike the next time I see them, which unfortunately won’t be until tomorrow since our schedules overlapped.
Until tomorrow I was going to have to take Elsie’s word that nothing had stirred between us.
My night shift in the Dai Llewellyn ward was dull to say the least. Nothing eventful happened aside from routine check-ups. A lot of the time there would be a patient in Dai Llewellyn that would wake up screaming from a nightmare due to the trauma they had experienced.
It was a couple days later when things picked up at the hospital. I was working a day shift on Dai Llewellyn ward; I was getting a lot of those shifts. So far the day had been incredibly fast-paced. I was happy when my lunch break rolled around because it meant I would be able to take a break from dealing with other people’s trauma.
I looked over my shoulder after I had entered the cafeteria to find Frank sitting at a table with his lunch.
“Frank, how’s it going?”
“Alright,” Frank said. “I’ve had exams for most of the week. Please tell me it gets better.”
“Uh,” I said. “You want me to lie?”
“If you have to,” Frank replied.
“It gets better,” I said. “How was that? Was it believable?”
“You know, I almost believed you for a second there.”
I laughed and then told him I would come back after nabbing some lunch. There wasn’t much to choose from, but then again it was a hospital cafeteria.
“Have you told Lily yet?” I said as I set my tray down and sat across from him.
“Why must we talk about this every time we see each other?” Frank groaned. “Of course I haven’t.”
“Do you want me to talk to her for you?” I said. “I will, you know. I’m sure she likes you, too.”
“Yeah, she just likes spending all her time dating Lysander because she can’t stop thinking about me,” Frank said. “Seriously, we’re just friends.”
“I know that,” I said. “But whether you know that is something else entirely. I mean, we both know you wish she was dating you instead of Lysander.”
“Yes, but that doesn’t mean anything,” Frank said. “No matter how many times Lysander makes her cry she always runs back to him after I dry her eyes.”
“You know what, mate, it’s her loss. Just forget her. If she can’t see you for more than a friend, then she doesn’t deserve you.”
“Yeah, I suppose,” Frank said. “What about you?”
“What about me what?”
“Any girls you have your eye on?”
I looked down at my tray, fiddling with a napkin. “I’m too busy for a girlfriend.”
“So you say that every time I ask,” Frank said. “Yet I’ve never believed you less than I do right now. There is a girl on your mind.”
“There is not.”
But I knew Frank would be able to read through my lies. He had been my friend way back in our Hogwarts days despite being in different years. Frank was able to tell when I was lying. Of course it also helped that I was a terribly liar.
“There’s something you aren’t telling me.”
I stared into the bowl of soup on my tray so intently that I didn’t notice who had entered the cafeteria. If I had been paying attention I would have known that Elsie had entered and it may have given me some time to brace myself as she approached the table we sat at. But no, I was too busy studying the vegetables in the bowl in front of me.
“Hi, Louis, how’s it going?”
At the sound of her voice I startled so much that my bowl of scolding hot soup tipped forward into my lap, causing me to jump up faster than a caffeinated Cornish pixie. Damn, damn, damn. Why do I always manage to make a complete fool out of myself in front of girls? That’s why I’m still single. I don’t know how to act around them. I felt like an inexperienced teenage boy all over again.
I could tell that Frank was trying, and failing I might add, not to laugh at me as I blotted at the front of my lime green robes with napkins. These robes were definitely ruined. It was a good thing I had a spare set of healer robes in my locker. I was able to dry my robes with my wand, even if the stain was still there, though.
I could tell Elsie was trying not to laugh at my expanse, though I kind of wished she would. If she thought it was funny then she should just laugh and get it over with.
I wanted to bury myself in my misery right then.
Elsie sat down next to me. “So, what are you boys talking about?” I wish she wouldn’t say boys. It made me feel even more incompetent than spilling soup in my lap.
“Louis’s love life,” Frank said. “Or rather, lack of one.”
I glared. “Thanks for that.”
“Ooh,” Elsie said. “Did he tell you about our scandalous sleep over a few nights back?”
“Sleepover?” Frank said, instantly interested.
“Oh, yeah,” Elsie said. “He was so drunk that I had to take pity on him and bring him back to my place. The poor thing had no one to take care of him.”
“Where were Brody and Mike?” Frank said, directing the question at me.
“They had already left by that point and had thought I had done so already,” I said. “Of course I hadn’t since I ran into Elsie on my way out and she forced me to stay for drinks.”
“How many drinks did you have?”
“Apparently seven,” I told him, rubbing the back of my neck self-consciously. “But I had had a couple before.”
“More than seven?!”
“He was completely gone,” Elsie said. “It was hilarious.”
“I’m glad I could amuse you,” I said. “By the way, thanks for ratting me out. I had so far managed to not tell everyone how much I drunk that night. Brody and Mike had just assumed that I had got lucky and went home with some random chick.”
“Well you did go home with a woman,” Elsie said. “Whether or not it was random is entirely up to you.”
“Are you sure nothing happened last night?”
“Really, because it almost seems like you’re hiding something from me.”
“Well, you did try to come on to me,” Elsie said. “But I didn’t let you get away with anything. You’re definitely manageable.”
“You make it sound like I’m a dog.”
Elsie shrugged. “You were already house broken, thankfully, too.”
“Now you’re just adding more fuel to the fire.”
“No, of course not,” Elsie said through a smirk.
“Why don’t you join us?” Frank asked. “I’d love to hear how Louis tried to come on to you, especially since he has such crap luck when it comes to the ladies.”
“As much as I’d love to recall that particular story,” Elsie said, “I really have to get going. I’m only here to grab a sandwich to take back to Spell Damage with me. It’s mad busy up there and I’m going to have to work through my break.”
“Do you need any extra wands there?” I asked. “It’s pretty quiet in the Dai Llewellyn ward.”
“You’ve been getting quite a many shifts in Dai Llewellyn.”
“Yeah,” I said. “I prefer Spell Damage, though.”
“I suppose we could benefit from some extra help,” Elsie said. “I’m sure we’ll still be busy when you get back from break. Strangest case I’ve had so far has been the guy who somehow managed to get a Quaffle stuck up his nose; his brother dared him that he couldn’t make the inside of his nose larger to fit the Quaffle in and he proved them wrong. There were bogeys on it.” She shivered at the recollection. “Seriously, though, some wizards are insane.”
“A Quaffle, really,” I said. “I’m kind of curious how that would look.”
“No, trust me, you’re not.”
“Can I be curious?” Frank asked.
“Considering you haven’t actually done any work outside the training room,” Elsie said, “I’d say you can be curious. But after your first shift in Spell Damage we’re taking you out for drinks because you’ll need at least one after some of the stuff you’ll see.”
“It’s that bad,” Frank said. “Enough to drive a healer to drink? Really?”
Elsie and I nodded solemnly.
“Well, I really have to get back,” Elsie said. “I’ll see you in a bit, then, Louis.”
“Yeah, see you,” I said.
“She’s nice,” Frank said the instant Elsie was out of earshot. “And cute.”
“No point,” Frank said. “Just that I can see why you’re attracted to her.”
“I am not attracted to her.”
“Is that why you’re blushing?”
“I’m not blushing, either,” I said, even though my cheeks felt considerably warmer. “She’s just a work friend.”
“Why don’t you try saying that without blushing?”
“I’m not blushing.”
“You know, rosy cheeks are a good contrast on your pale skin, Lou,” Frank said, “matches your hair.”
I scowled. There would be no point in denying it since Frank would continue to insist. I was also pretty positive he was right about my blushing. The temperature in the cafeteria suddenly felt hot, which doesn’t make sense when maintenance kept the temperature on cool to keep germs from spreading. Germs manifested in warm weather.
I’m such a nerd.
Honestly, it’s not like Elsie would ever want to go out with me. I should just get over whatever I was feeling toward her now. It was probably just a crush. There was no way I actually legitimately liked her. Not that there was anything the matter with her. There wasn’t. I just don’t date women I work with. I learned my lesson back when I was still in training.
Her name was Cynthia and she had gone to a different magical school instead of Hogwarts. She had seemed alright at first, but then she started showing up at my flat unannounced. I hadn’t even told her where I lived either. It freaked me out.
I ended up having to get a restraining order against her and switching training classes. I hadn’t even done anything to lead her on either. I was just nice to her. But I was nice to everyone so why she had thought I was into her in that way was beyond me. I mean, she was cute, but some of the things she said were awkward and made me uncomfortable. Mike had said her craziness far outweighed her cuteness, whatever that meant. I still wouldn’t have been interested had she been cuter. She was just far too weird.
But anyway, I digress. After that instance I hadn’t felt all to up for dating. Having to get rid of a crazed stalker really took a lot out of a bloke. I mean, there had been other girls since, but I had been too scared that they would resort to stalking me if I showed even the slightest interest in them. I was only just getting over the whole stalking debacle; at any point, I was still far from starting a serious relationship.
Not that I wanted to be with Elsie. I didn’t, or at least I don’t think I did. I was enjoying having her as a colleague that I could rely on that wouldn’t treat me like some stupid kid.
“I should get back to work,” I said, suddenly. “Make sure everything’s alright on the ward before heading over to Spell Damage. It was nice catching up. Talk to Lily.”
Frank gave me that look he always gave me when I insisted he talk to Lily about how he felt. I ignored it and stared back pointedly. The only way to get past it would be to talk to her. If she didn’t feel the same, then at least he would have told her. And if she did feel the same... well, at least she would know that he liked her more than a friend. Those two really were hopeless when it came to each other. I knew Lily liked Frank more than she let on, I could just tell by the way she spoke of him when he wasn’t around. Why she was still hung up on Lysander despite their constant bickering was beyond me. Women, honestly, they just couldn’t make up their minds.
“She’s back with Lysander,” Frank said resolutely.
“So what,” I said. “She still deserves to know the truth about how you feel. You owe her that much, even if she chooses to stay with Lysander. Honestly, she deserves to know all of the choices she has.”
“You make it sound as though I’m holding her back from making an important decision.”
“If you don’t think you’re important then maybe you don’t deserve my cousin.”
I started to turn, but was stopped by Frank calling me back.
“Do you really think I have a chance with her?”
“Would I encourage you to tell her if I didn’t?”
Frank let out a sigh. “I dunno, I guess you wouldn’t.”
“Well, there’s your answer,” I said. “Talk to her.”
If Frank ended up telling Lily about how he felt then I could consider a side job in matchmaking because I was sure she would dump Lysander for Frank in a heartbeat. No lie, I was that confident that my cousin felt more than camaraderie.
After I finished checking on the Dai Llewellyn patients I took the lift down to the fourth floor to help out in Spell Damage. It was a madhouse. I had barely stepped out of the lift before Thomas saw me and barked an order for me to head to room 459 to help assist the minor cases; 459 was where minor cases went when the ward was swamped with all sorts of cases coming in left, right, and centre. Major cases always had priority.
I immersed myself in making right as many patients as I could for the rest of my shift plus an hour before I was told to go home. Apparently I had bags under my eyes. That and St. Mungo’s was good about making sure healers didn’t work overtime because they wanted us to be well rested for our shifts. I wasn’t complaining, but I really didn’t mind staying late. I was helping cure people of the idiot mistakes they had brought upon themselves. One kid had even managed to cause his dad to sing a Weird Sisters song in an off-key voice. Ah, how I miss the bursts of magic that I had exhibited when I had been little.
My parents had had to keep both eyes on me. The first burst of magic I exhibited was turning Victoire’s hair neon green when she had been yelling at me for leaving a toy truck laying out in the living room. The toy truck in question had an enchantment to drive itself around in circles and Victoire hadn’t been paying attention to where she was walking when it ran into her foot, causing her to fall forward. All I can remember thinking is how much she would resemble a monster with green hair as she yelled at me. Dad had found it amusing, but Mum had punished me with a time-out in a corner to ‘think about what I had done and why I shouldn’t do it.’ I had been too excited about using magic for the first time to care about the consequences of my actions, though.
I ended up heading home to find both Brody and Michael already there. They were listening to a Quidditch match on the wireless. By the sounds of it I could determine that Portree was playing Appleby. Neither were my team, but I still grabbed a seat. It was Quidditch which was enough reason to listen. Plus, I had nothing else to do.
By next week I had fallen into a regular schedule of sleep and work. For the first time ever I was actually getting a healthy amount of sleep, even if it was at odd times of the day. Despite hearing horror stories from older healers about the lack of sleep I was finding it easy to fall into a schedule.
Still no progress on the werewolf, though. The full moon was that weekend and we were all on edge in the lab. If the werewolf attacked, leaving behind more evidence that wasn’t conclusive, then we would have to halt our research, which none of us wanted to do.
Also, Victoire still hadn’t managed to bring Remus in to meet Jonah. I was still keeping my fingers crossed, though. Jonah was anxious with this being his first full moon. He had woken up from nightmares of the night he had been bitten every night shift I had been on the Dai Llewellyn ward, and I’m sure even on nights that I wasn’t scheduled.
I had written to Victoire a couple days ago and was still waiting to hear back from her. I knew she was probably busy with work and Remus, especially since the full moon was drawing close. Remus was always cranky the closer the full moon drew. I knew she had her hands full, but I also knew that Remus could help Jonah and vice versa. They could help each other. Remus didn’t know any other kids with lycanthropy; he deserved to know that he wasn’t the only one. It would give him some extra support in knowing that others knew what he went through once a month.
I would ask her if she’d given it any further thought since she was going to be at Shell Cottage for dinner with our parents on Friday if she hadn’t already brought Remus up to meet Jonah by then. The full moon was on Saturday.
With that last thought I headed down to the locker room to change out of my healer robes and into a pair of Muggle jeans and t-shirt. I had gone home the past weekend so all my clothes were clean, including the robes that I had spilled soup on. I was meeting up with Brody, Michael, and a bunch of my cousins at the Leaky that night. We hadn’t been able to have a night out since I had gotten drunk and woken up on Elsie’s couch. Speaking of Elsie, she still hadn’t told me how I had come on to her that night. I also felt like I was getting mixed signals from her.
One moment we seemed like friends, the next she was shutting me out. I had never been more confused in my life. But whatever. I wasn’t about to let her get me down. Tonight was supposed to be a stress reliever. I wasn’t about to worry over our friendship. She was probably just as stressed as I was. No big deal.
Author's Note: So sorry for the delay between updates. I had leakycon two weeks ago and then I had to work every day last week/end. But I'm planning on writing a lot more this month so hopefully I can get back on a regular updating schedule. Also, these last two chapters were more filler/transition, but more plot to come in the next chapter. Hope you enjoyed this chapter and thanks for reading!
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