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Chapter 10 : His Story of Miscommunications and Girls With Never-Ending Legs
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Waking up, I had decided long ago, was a numb and annoying process.
Numb because, just for a split second, you forget everything but the fact that you’ve just woken up. You don’t know where you are, what day it is, what you were just dreaming about.
Annoying because after that split second of ignorant bliss, you remember everything again. All the niggly bits in your brain that you’ve been worrying about, like your annoying problems, or things you don’t want to think about that automatically pop up in your head because that’s what they’re there to do.
It’s not always numb, though. To be precise, it isn’t numb once a month, when the moon is bright and full. I feel the pain from the moment I feel consciousness, even though I cannot process it properly. The cuts, bruises, breaks, snaps and dislocations can be felt from the second I feel my dreams drifting away from me.
This morning was no different to an ordinary, non-full moon day. I felt the numbness for a second. Then my eyes lurched open and I awoke suddenly, and everything came rushing back like someone had opened a dam in my mind. The werewolfism, magic, the Marauders, Ophelia. My feelings rushed back as soon as I thought her name, but I forced myself to think of other things. Like Hogwarts. Magic. My parents, my classes. Ophelia’s Potions tutorage with Regulus this afternoon…
My heart gave an uncomfortable squeeze of jealousy that I’m still getting accustomed to. I’m not used to seeing Ophelia spend so much time with someone who isn’t like one of my brothers, who would never dream of going near her because it would be a complete violation of friendship. For her to be so blind as to the fact Regulus fancies her…
Well, I thought, she hasn’t realized about me yet. Maybe she just can’t see it?
I rubbed my eyes roughly, cleaning them of sleep and preparing for the day ahead. Showering, drying and brushing my hair, getting dressed, retrieving my books from the deepest corners of the dorm…if I could remember which deep corners they were in.
“Morning,” Sirius said heartily, grinning as he sat up in bed when I wandered over to collect an Ancient Runes book that I’d seen lodged under his four poster. Normally I serve as the guys’ personal alarm clock. When I’m moving about the dorm getting books and things they know it’s time to get up.
I grunted at him in return and slid the book into my bag, returning to my bedside table to pick up my wand.
James laughed from his bed, running fingers through hair that looked as though he had been electrocuted. Lily thinks his hair is messy normally? Just wait until she sees him in the mornings. It’s like normal…but a thousand times worse.
“Seven years and it still shocks me that you’re not a morning person,” he chuckled, getting out of bed and grabbing a towel on the way to the bathroom.
Of course I’m not a morning person! The most irritating thing you do in the day is wake up and then spend a few hours in a coma-like state before you have access to caffeine.
I hated waking up.
I rolled my eyes and exited the dorm just as Peter passed me on his way to the bathroom too, rubbing his eyes sleepily.
I normally waited around in the dorms for them, but today I really just wanted to be up and out. I wanted this day to be over and done with so it could be Friday and then Saturday. I loved work, I loved proving myself, but even smart people need a day off sometimes. And plus, the full moon was getting closer and it was making me edgy.
I traipsed down the stairs, my bag hitting every step as I dragged it behind me. I was probably waking people up but I really didn’t care.
I jumped the last two stairs and hooked my bag over my head. As I walked into the Common Room I spotted Lily and Ophelia quickly exiting their own dorm.
I think now would be a safe time to say that I was in love with Ophelia.
Yes, I said in love. Not I think she’s mildly attractive. Not I rather fancy her. Not I love her. I am in love with Ophelia Meadows, and have been for about a year now.
Being in love is a strong emotion, and you could argue that I’ve never experienced love, so how on earth could I be sure?
Well, I’m sure. As sure as I know that I’m a werewolf, and with each coming moon my body transforms beyond imagining.
I know I’m young. Seventeen, to be exact, almost eighteen. But that doesn’t mean that all my emotions are a mix of hormones. This has nothing to do with hormones. This is…wanting to protect her. Wanting her to be happy, to be secure. I care about her far too much for my own good, and I know that she’ll never see me as anything other than a friend. But it’s okay if she feels that way, I just want to be in her life. Of course it hurts with each waking moment that we’ll never be anything but friends, but not having her in my life would be more painful than that. Pain beyond my transformations. Unbearable.
“Oh Remus, hi!” she smiled when she spotted me, and Lily brightened up and waved too.
I started walking to meet them at the portrait hole and forced a smile when all I wanted to do was gulp down copious amounts of coffee.
“What are you doing up so early?” she asked as she hugged me, her tiny arms squeezing round my neck for just a second before she let me go. Lily hugged me too as I was answering her question.
“I just woke up early, that’s all,” I shrugged, taking a glance at her.
She was small.
That was the main thing you noticed about Ophelia; that she was tinier than anyone of our age you’d ever met. She was barely tall enough to pass for a teenager, but if you saw her head, the shape of her face, the depth of her eyes, you could tell she was older than she looked. She had to go on her tip-toes to hug me, which was incredibly endearing.
And after seeing her in a swimsuit no one could say she didn’t look like a teenager. The thought of it made me hot under the collar.
“Well, you’re right on time to walk us down to breakfast,” Lily commented breezily, leading the way out of the common room and into the seventh floor hallway. I nodded at her and we walked in silence for a moment.
“Are you alright?” Ophelia asked in a curious tone.
“Me? Yeah, why?” I asked, confused. She immediately blushed, my favourite of her skin tones.
“Oh, you just look…a bit annoyed?”
“No, I’m not annoyed,” I said, and then I realized I’d never seen her this early in the morning so she wouldn’t know about my problems with waking up and functioning. “I’m not a morning person,” I explained, pausing, “at all. I’m not happy in the mornings until I’ve had something with caffeine in it.”
Ophelia giggled at me, the most beautiful sound in the world.
“I’d imagine you as the type to wake up full of energy,” she informed me as we trekked down the grand staircase together. Lily was just in front of us, but I could tell she was smiling.
“Nope. I’m a monster in the mornings,” I said, and I smiled at the irony of my words. She understood and gave me a small sympathetic smile, linking my arm with hers and squeezing it as tight as she could muster, which wasn’t tight. She wasn’t very strong.
As we entered the Great Hall I looked around at the students already out of bed, early worms like us. A few from Ravenclaw who I remembered vaguely from various study sessions in the Library. A few Hufflepuffs. One or two Gryffindors. Only two Slytherins; Severus and Regulus were sitting together near the end of the table, their heads together reading a book. I admit, I’m still insanely jealous every time I see Regulus look at her. Because he gives her those looks. The looks that I probably give her as well. She doesn’t see either though, which is strange, although I’m glad she can’t see Regulus is completely besotted with her.
As we passed them, Severus and Regulus both looked up and Ophelia smiled at both, whereas Lily and I ignored them. We picked a seat at the Gryffindor table and sat down, and I immediately pulled the closest coffee pot to me.
“You really weren’t kidding,” Ophelia said in an amused tone, and when I had poured myself out some I drank from it deeply and smiled.
“Not in the slightest,” I replied, watching as she poured herself a glass of water and looked around at the table, scrutinising the dishes before piling bacon and eggs onto her plate. I smiled at her cuteness.
Now that I had had some coffee, my stomach grumbled. Looking at the selection, I quickly decided on some toast and dug in, and after ten minutes of silence the Hall started to fill. My gaze flickered to Ophelia, as it did a lot, and she was still munching through the amount of bacon she’d put on her plate. She caught me looking.
“What?” she asked with her mouth full, “can’t a girl get bacon cravings?”
I laughed and shrugged, before returning to my toast.
We were greeted by the others about fifteen minutes before lesson. Ophelia, Lily and I went to Runes and everyone else went to Care. When Runes had finished, Lily, Ophelia and I made our way to Potions, but suddenly when I turned round in the corridor she wasn’t there.
“Lily? Where’s Ophelia?” I murmured to her as we were walking. Lily looked around and shrugged.
“She’ll turn up,” she soothed.
“Maybe I should wait for her?” I said anxiously. Lily rolled her eyes.
“What if she’s already there?” she asked. I cocked my head in thought.
“True.” We continued on to Potions and Ophelia turned up about five minutes later. Slughorn didn’t mind so much, because of the improvement Ophelia was showing in his subject. She was doing extraordinarily well.
“Where did you go?” I asked as we set up for the Potion we were going to make today.
“Amelia cornered me in the hallway and dragged me to a hidden corridor,” she sighed quietly, taking a sideways glance at Sirius. I raised my eyebrows.
“And, um, why did she do that?” I queried.
“She wanted to talk to me about Sirius,” she said, in almost a whisper this time. She grabbed a ginger root and started cutting thin slices with sudden force I got a little alarmed.
“What happened?” I asked warily. She stole another look at Sirius and lowered her head.
“If she should say yes if he asked her out,” she said, “honestly, I don’t know why people ask my advice, I’m useless at stuff like that. Can’t they tell?” I laughed at her and patted her arm sympathetically.
“If you want, I’ll never ask for your advice,” I said, and she beamed at me.
“Thank you, Remus.” We smiled at each other for a second and turned away at the same time, giving the recipe in front of us our full attention.
After Potions had ended, Ophelia went off to her tutor lesson with Regulus. I had nothing to do until our Astronomy study session, at which, I had decided, I was going to finally do as Sirius, James and Peter had told me to do about a year ago – tell Ophelia how I felt.
I went to the common room for a moment, spying James and Sirius playing chess with Peter watching them. They looked up and waved as I approached.
“I’m telling Ophelia how I feel in just under an hour,” I announced. They looked up from the game in shock.
“Are you serious?” James asked, and automatically slapped a hand over Sirius’ face to stop him telling the Sirius-Serious joke. I nodded.
“Good luck, Moony,” Peter said enthusiastically, patting my shoulder. I smiled at him.
“Yeah, good luck Moons. Not that you need to be nervous or anything, it’s obvious what she’ll say back,” Sirius said with a wink. I rolled my eyes at him.
“I’m hoping for an ‘I-like-you-but-in-a-friend-way’ at best, as opposed to the ‘never-speak-to-me-again’ sort of direction.”
“Seriously mate, by the end of the day you’ll have a girlfriend,” James said encouragingly. I couldn’t stop myself from grinning.
I sure hoped so.
I checked my watch.
“I should go and meet Ophelia from her study session,” I sighed, getting up.
“That’s got like what, quarter of an hour left? Moony, you’re whipped,” Sirius smirked. I shrugged. So long as it was her, I couldn’t care.
“Good luck!” they chorused as I walked out the common room and ran down to the library. When I got there I noticed them right away. Ophelia was reading from a text book and Regulus was watching her, looking ill and drawn. I moved out of their line of sight before either of them noticed me, and watched them for a minute.
Maybe I could convince her to leave now…
I saw her look up to near where I was standing and hastily grabbed a book and put it in front of my face before she saw me. Then she looked round to Regulus, who had been tapping his foot.
“Regulus, are you alright?” I heard her ask in a quiet voice. There was a moment of silence.
“I have to tell you something.” I glanced at them, half-intrigued and half-alarmed.
“Regulus, it’s alright, you can tell me if you want to,” Ophelia coaxed when he stopped talking.
“I think I’m in love with you.”
My books dropped out of my hands in surprise and crashed loudly on the floor, but neither turned to find the source of the noise. I picked my books hastily in time to hear Regulus say, “Ophelia, you’re perfect!” I glanced at them quickly and saw, with a stab in my chest, that they were holding hands.
Why did she never tell me…?
“You’re perfect to me!” he continued urgently, “I could love you so much more than anyone would! I love you!”He put particular emphasis on the word love and I felt I was going to be sick.
“Oh, Regulus…” I heard her sigh. My book fell to the floor again but I didn’t bother to pick it up. Unable to listen to anymore, I almost sprinted out of the Library and to the classroom where Ophelia was going to meet me.
I slammed down my bag and sat on the teacher’s desk, rage suddenly building so badly I wanted it to be the Full Moon so I could hurt Regulus as much as he had hurt me.
I was right to be wary. Right to be jealous. And all this time I was thinking there might have been a chance, she might have suddenly realized…
And I was going to tell her. Today. Bloody useless that is now, when she has Regulus. He’s rich and sophisticated, things I never thought would matter to her. Things that have never mattered to her before.
The door opened and I tensed – I wasn’t nearly as composed as I needed to be to see Ophelia at the moment – but it turned out to be Amber, a girl with notoriously long legs and the shortest skirt ever seen. I remembered her as one of the ones we pranked, Jennifer’s friend, but the way she was smiling at me wasn’t enemy-like.
“Hey, sweetie,” she smiled, “I saw you storming in here and I thought something might be wrong, so I came to see if you were okay.”
“Thank you, Amber,” I sighed, and she tottered over in deliciously high heels that made her legs look even longer to sit next to me on the desk. She was completely aware of the fact that her skirt rode up even higher than it was as she crossed her legs, and she was aware that I was all too aware of this fact. “I’ve just got a bit of a problem.”
“Do you want to talk about it?” she asked sympathetically, rubbing my arm gently, and I shook my head.
Part of me wanted to slap her because of the way she’d treated Ophelia, but with a painful stab I remembered what I’d just witnessed.
“Well, I can help you forget about them if you want,” she said, and there was a playful element to her voice.
“Er…how?” I asked, a little confused, and she moved her hand to place it on my thigh. She leaned over me, her face tantalisingly close to mine.
“How would you like?” she asked, closing her eyes slightly, her fingers reaching up to touch my cheek and the scar that lay there lightly.
I was about to reject her and tell her that that Ophelia was going to be here soon, but then I remembered. She had Regulus. And…And I was entitled to kiss another girl, right? It wasn’t as if we were together or anything. And if she saw me kissing Amber, then maybe she’d realize other people like me as well, that I wasn’t fixated on her.
So I leant down and kissed her.
Kissing was strange. Well, with someone you didn’t particularly want to kiss, anyway. Someone who you had no romantic attachments to. Someone who wasn’t the someone you wanted to kiss, the one you loved.
And yet there I was.
She knew what she was doing, that was for sure. I vaguely remembered in the back of my mind Sirius saying that he had snogged Amber, plus her two friends Jennifer and Stacie, the ones we doused in gunge. Stacie was the worst out of the three although not exactly bad, just inexperienced. It was a toss-up between Jennifer and Amber, he’d said, because Jennifer was extremely attentive but Amber had good technique.
Good technique. I wondered what he meant by that. Maybe technique was the way she was gently biting at my lower lip for moment, before continuing kissing me? Or the experienced hand she ran through my hair before locking on and passionately mashing our heads together?
I idly wondered if Ophelia had kissed anyone. A peck, a kiss, a snog, anything more? Who? When? Why? Did she love him? Would she consider doing the same with me?
This was wrong. I knew it was wrong. I was kissing Amber but I was fantasising about kissing Ophelia, as if it were Ophelia’s waist I was holding in my hand, or her cheek I was caressing with my thumb. As if they were her fingers that were playing with the strands of my hair. As if it were her whispering my name in my ear and giggling and wrapping her leg round one of mine.
The door opened, I heard it creak. And then I heard my name. Amber whipped her head away innocently and gasped and when I saw that Ophelia stood in the doorway, I was sort of glad she saw. Because I’d had to witness her and Regulus, and now she could do the same.
Except after a second, I wasn’t glad. I was horrified. She looked down at the floor as though she were in pain and I wanted to jump off of the desk to help her, but I couldn’t move. I couldn’t think. I was an idiot, a complete and utter fool.
How could I be so stupid?
“Well, I’ll…just…” Her voice cracked and she backed out of the room, closing the door quietly behind her.
I finally got my head back and jumped clean off the desk, running for the door and shouting Ophelia’s name. Amber was asking me something with her stupid simpering voice but I couldn’t care enough to listen. I wrenched the door open and glanced around the corridor.
She wasn’t there.
I ran to the Grand Staircase, but nobody was on it. She wasn’t in the Library. She wasn’t in the Great Hall. She wasn’t in any of the corridors I searched in for hours, endlessly roaming the castle, looking for her, trying to make everything right and to tell her that I didn’t like Amber, I loved her.
I loved her.
I couldn’t find her.
She might’ve gone to the common room, I told myself. I ran up there, almost hitting myself for not thinking she might have gone there, and opened the Portrait Hole only to find my three best friends staring back at me. I sighed in disappointment.
“Where have you been? We’ve been meaning to ask –” James started, but Sirius cut him off.
“How did it go?” he asked excitedly. I flopped on the sofa.
“I did something incredibly stupid,” I said.
“I find that hard to believe,” Peter said reassuringly, and I sent him a withering glance.
“I kissed Amber.” The smiles fell off their faces. “Oh, and Ophelia walked in and saw and ran off and I haven’t seen her since.”
They were silent for a moment. And sure enough, the tirade started.
“You fucking idiot!”
“Why the hell did you do that?”
“Why kiss Amber, of all people?”
“You fucking idiot!”
“What happened to I love Ophelia?”
“Dude, she’s one of the ones that bullied her!”
“You fucking idiot!”
“Alright, alright, I get it Sirius!” I finally cried out, and Sirius closed his mouth grumpily.
“Seriously Moony, what are you playing at?” James said, and Sirius didn’t even attempt a Serious-Sirius joke this time.
“I’ll tell you the whole story, if you stop abusing me,” I said, glancing at Sirius. He rolled his eyes. “Also,” I added, “if we could go up to the dorm?”
They looked around and only just noticed all the people listening in on us. They agreed and we walked our way to the dorm, closing the door shut behind us. As soon as we were in, they rounded on me.
“So what happened?”
I sighed and delved straight in, starting from the library and Regulus, to being angry and storming into the room where I was meeting Ophelia, and then to Amber following and kissing me and Ophelia walking in on us, and then her running off and me not being able to find her. I managed to get through it uninterrupted but by the end of it, Sirius was groaning.
“You really are an idiot, Moony,” he said in an exasperated tone, “she doesn’t like my brother, she likes you!”
“She really does,” James confirmed.
“How can you know that? How can you know that she doesn’t actually like Regulus?” I demanded.
“We ran into Lily earlier,” James said, “she told me that Ophelia had said Regulus had admitted he loved her but she turned him down.” I stared at him.
“Are you joking?” I asked blankly.
“Not even remotely,” James said in a grim tone, “Lily said she turned him down and told him she liked you.” My heart soared.
“I need to and find her,” I said determinedly. “She hasn’t been here, has she?”
“No, I haven’t seen her all day,” James shrugged.
“How about the Astronomy Tower?” Peter suggested, but James scoffed.
“It’s out of bounds Pete, don’t be thick.” Peter went red and remained silent. Sirius coughed.
“Are you all forgetting our genius?” he asked, brandishing the map at me. I snatched it out of his hands and laid it down on my bed flat, searching for her name, anywhere.
“Spotted her?” James asked, also scanning the document. So were Sirius and Peter.
“No…wait – wait, there she is!” I pointed to a dot labelled “Ophelia Meadows” coupled with “Lily Evans” just walking into the common room.
“Quick!” Sirius urged, pushing me out of the room and down the stairs. We ran down to find Lily standing at the foot of the stairs, arms crossed, Ophelia not in sight. We all paled.
“I have never been angry at you, Remus,” she said in a deadly quiet tone, and I have to admit I did think about running for my life, “and I won’t, provided you can supply me with a very, very good reason as to why you kissed that slag.”
“I…I thought Ophelia liked Regulus?” I said feebly, and her nostrils flared.
“Why on earth would you think that?!”
“I was in the library and I heard them talking, but I didn’t hear her saying that she didn’t like him,” I explained quickly, “I…I got upset and I left too early.” She deflated, sort of, and her face softened.
“She doesn’t like Regulus,” she said, but her voice had lost its edge.
“We told him,” Sirius informed her.
“A bit too late, it would seem,” she shot back at him, and he cowered behind James.
“I need to talk to her,” I tried, but she shook her head.
“Talk to her tomorrow,” she said, “she needs to sleep. She was out in the Astronomy Tower freezing and completely wet and so she’s in the shower warming up.”
“I told you she was in the Astronomy Tower,” Peter whispered to James.
“I guess I owe you, mate,” James shrugged, ruffling his hair. Peter beamed.
“Go to bed,” Lily suggested, turning to go up the stairs, “then you can talk to her tomorrow…provided she wants to talk to you.”
She disappeared up the stairs. My head drooped and I followed the Marauders up our own stairs, cursing myself for messing up a chance of a lifetime.
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