Chapter 16 : Broken Silence
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The relentless winds did not seize as the trees swayed violently that night, the branches casting long shadows across the pale walls.
However, I remained in the darkness of the Library, the musty air filling my dusty lungs, attempting to distract myself with another subject besides Jacob while the silence engulfed my mind. The thought of his name came with a wave of stress of not knowing exactly what my next action should be.
Five hours crawled past, three essays had been done and one spell was conquered. I set my quill down and sighed in exhaustion. The dim light of the library set a drowsy setting which caused one to yawn. Twisting my hand around to loosen it from it's tight grip on the quill, I lied back against the uncomfortable, wooden chair and closed my eyes for a few seconds. Locks of blonde hair fell into my face, hiding it.
"Alice, are you awake?"
My eyes flickered open and I was surprised to find Lily standing in front of me with a handful of books in her arms. I smiled at her whilst collecting my parchments and putting away the thick piles of books. "Yes, I just finished the essays that we were assigned. I've been trying to get them done all week!" Lily nodded and replied, "Oh, I know! I just finished the one for Transfiguration!"
I stole a quick glance at the century old clock hanging on one of the walls and found that it was half past nine. With this knowledge I began to worry and picked up my pace for it was past curfew. "Are you alright?" Lily inquired, noting my abrupt jolt of speed. "Oh, I'm fine but I'm not used to being up past curfew."
She let out a small laugh, her emerald green eyes lighting up, "I didn't even notice that it was half past nine. But I wouldn't worry, I am a Prefect for a reason."
"Good point," I noted.
We walked the silent corridors together, whispering quietly about almost everything that we could possibly think of as we listened to the sound of our footsteps filling the empty silence.
But I couldn't help but noticing the echoing sound of one other pair of shoes.
A breath of relief due to the fact that have survived yet another weary week; however, considering the fact that I have nothing interesting planned for another weekend, I will probably spend both days indoors thinking about my boring old life and longing for a new adventure. Whereas for others, they actually had plans for the weekend and eagerly awaited the sound of the last bell of the day echoing through the long corridors of the castle.
History of Magic had to be my favourite class as of now for I could either dream about the universes beyond our own or actually pay attention to the words of the old professor. Today was one of those days where I didn't wish to lose myself in the depths of my dreams but, instead, wanted to stop all thought processes running through the nerves of my brain. To do so, I listened.
"Hello, Remus," I said after several minutes of absorbing Professor Binns seemingly eternal lesson.
"Hi," he said in a slightly curt tone, scribbling down another note. I furrowed my brow, perhaps it was almost the full moon? I had not gazed at the moon for ages, how unlike myself.
"How are you feeling?" I asked with a concerned voice that reminded me so much of a mother that it almost made me laugh.
"Fine, and you?"
I narrowed my eyes, "What's wrong?"
"Nothing, Alice, I just want to pay attention to what Professor Binns is saying."
I wanted to talk to him but I knew that this time I had to hold my tongue before I said something that would make Remus even more upset. I wish that he could understand that I am just trying to comfort him.
The fact that it was Saturday registered into my mind as I lied in the warmth of my bed, soaking in the planned events of the day with an extreme desire to want to simply live in this moment for the next ten hours. I stared up at the deep blue curtains, my mind letting lose to all of my daydreams.
However, with dread hanging like a dead body in the pit of my stomach, I pushed myself up from the security of my bed and dragged myself to the bathroom to face the day.
I looked into my reflection in the mirror whilst dark bagged eyes stared back into mine. It's as if looking at yourself for the first time and realising how foreign your eyes are to yourself.
Peeling my eyes away from the mirror and trying my best to cover any somewhat imperfections on my face, I dragged out every ounce of courage left in my soul and prepared myself to take on the day.
Flakes of snow began to fall from the thick grey clouds above that had began to gather overnight as the wind began to pick up speed, creating a real life snow globe in the world outside, while anxiety ripped the walls inside of me down.
I rummaged through my trunk trying to put together a casual outfit that doesn't consist of the regular pair jeans and plain tee shirt. After forty minutes, I started to lose any sort of spark that had caused me to pull myself up. That's when I spotted a simple cream, spring dress which I had probably stuffed into my trunk for whenever I am forced to go to a formal event, which is an extremely rare occurrence.
I slipped the dress on and noticed that the material was too thin for the harsh winds of Scotland. With a small half grin on my face and a lift of my eyebrow, I whipped out a long, rose pink thick knit scarf. I had only worn it once to a Christmas party at my father's office. The colour was a rich, rose pink. I could hardly think that such a beautiful scarf would look decent on me.
I wrapped the scarf around my neck, the soft fabric itched my neck a bit but it wasn't too uncomfortable. Finally, I slipped on some tights and my grey winter coat. As I pulled my ankle boots on, I grabbed some money and stuffed it into my pockets.
I looked into the mirror.
My hair was pulled up into a bun, although some strands of blonde hair began falling out, my neck was covered with a rose pink scarf. In my eyes, I looked awful. Blotchy red spots on my face made it look like I was stung by a bumble bee several times. As if that wasn't enough, the clothes I wore looked strange on my irregular body.
I wasn't not about to think that I was in anyway beautiful, inside or out, for I had something ugly inside of me, in a locked cage so that no one would know just how terribly disfigured I have become.
Time was slipping through my fingers.
I looked into my eyes and finally said,"You can do this, Alice. I know you can."
I left with reluctance steaming within me, a voice in my mind telling me that I could always just turn back and hide from the world in the depths of my bed; however, another part of me encourage me to face the world for the first time in a long while.
As I walked down the steps, my stomach felt like a deep, empty pit and everything was falling. Do you ever get that feeling? I noticed that my hands couldn't stop shaking so I stuffed them into my deep pockets, hoping that my seemingly relaxed expression would cover my nervousness.
I found him by the carriages with his back to me. Students were gathered in a crowd as they climbed into the carriages as quickly as they could in attempt to escape the strong wind. My cheeks burned from the numbing wind as I slowly walked towards him.
I pushed my face deeper into the rose knit scarf, trying to use it as a shield from the cold.
"Hey," I said quietly as my nervous stomach boiled within me. He jumped a little, surprised at my presence, and grinned at me.
"Hey, you look lovely," he said. My cheeks turned a deeper red and I hoped he would think it was from the cold. I whispered a feeble, "Thank you," and said that he looked nice too, even though I hadn't even examined his outfit.
A horseless carriage stopped in front of us as students began forming into a line. I looked at the carriage next to us and saw Remus with James, Sirius, and Peter. I smiled but when Remus glanced at me, he looked... upset. I also noticed that the bags under his eyes had become deeper and his shoulders were slumped. A mixture of angst and sympathy stirred inside of me as he left my view.
I wanted to run over to the next carriage and tell him that everything is okay. I wanted to comfort him and tell him that being a werewolf doesn't make him a monster, then give him a hug. But I was stuck with Jake, having to listen to his draining voice telling me about how well his last Potions exam went.
Worry flooded my brain, why wouldn't Remus talk to me? And what was that conversation in the Library about? Why is he upset with me? I would just some answers.
Curiosity burned my soul as I waited to board the ancient carriage.
"After you," Jake said, gesturing towards the carriage. I rolled my eyes when he wasn't looking and climbed into the carriage. I sat in-between a sweet girl with blue eyes from Gryffindor and Jake. I felt uncomfortable as his eyes watched me throughout the entire time in the somewhat stuffy carriage. We finally came to a halt and I let out a breath of relief.
I hurried to get off of the carriage and away from Jake's keen eyes (for at least a few minutes). "I was thinking of going to Honeydukes first, what do you think?" he asked me as we made our way towards the village. I nodded, not really knowing what else to say or do due to my lack of experience in this area.
I kept my eyes forward as Jake brought up the boring subject of school. I nodded occasionally as we walked through the cobblestoned streets of Hogsmeade that were now covered by a thin layer of powder-like snow and looked at the colourful shop windows. We finally made it to the cheerful store front of Honeydukes and stepped inside the crowded but warm shop.
Laughter rung around us as I loosened the scarf around my neck. "Choose anything you like, it's my treat," he said as I smiled and thanked him. We gazed at the various candies silently as students talked around us. I don't know how it is like to be on a real date but I'm pretty sure this is not how it normally goes.
I tried to break the awkward silence between us by asking,"have you ever tried these?" I picked up a cockroach cluster and grinned. He laughed nervously and said, "No."
"Well, then I dare you to try one," I said and started filling up the basket with candies. Jake realised what situation he put himself into and quickly said, "That's all right."
"You can't back down on a dare!"
"I just did," he said behind me as I picked up a box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans and dropped it into the basket. A fifth year girl fell into me accidentally and quickly apologised. I smiled and watched her go back to her friends and laugh at something they said. I longed to be someone like her.
I shook the thoughts out of my head and lifted up the cockroach cluster, "Fine. I guess I'll just have to sneak it into your dinner."
He narrowed his eyes at me and quietly said, "You wouldn't." I smirked and then turned towards the counter and waited on line to pay. Of course, I ended up paying since Jake was thinking about whether I actually would sneak in a piece of the dreadful candy onto his dinner plate.
We stepped out into the fierce cold of December and with our heads low, slowly made our way towards the Three Broomsticks. "It's quite cold out," I stated, attempting to make some sort of conversation with him. I pulled my coat tighter around me as a fierce gust of wind passed us, freezing my lungs.
"Yea, I guess," he replied without much interest and we stepped into the cosy pub. I unwrapped the scarf from my neck and unbuttoned my coat. "Would you prefer to sit at a table?" Jake asked, probably hoping I would say yes but I suggested sitting at the bar instead. Sitting at a table with only one other person is much too private and intimate.
Jake looked a bit disappointed as we sat down at the bar. After ordering two butterbeers, an awkward silence dawned upon us. I searched through my thoughts to find an appropriate subject to converse about while he watched the bartender completing each order.
"Are you sure you don't want to eat? I'll pay," he said, changing the subject. I shook my head and internally laughed, remembering how I paid in Honeydukes. Once again silence fell between us and only the sound of bottles being placed on the countertop was heard. There was a loud, bark-like laughter coming from the corner of the pub. Oh, I knew that laugh too well.
I glanced at the corner and found Sirius Black laughing along with the other three Marauders. I wonder what they are talking about? It's probably a lot more interesting than sitting on this stool with the one person in Hogwarts who cannot maintain a conversation with another.
Jake noticed me looking at the Marauders and cleared his throat, I turned my gaze back to him. A strand of blonde hair fell from my bun and I pushed in back under the hair tie. "What do you think of You-Know-Who?" he asked. Lovely, now we are discussing the Daily Prophet.
I laughed, "Why don't you just say Voldemo-" Jake quickly covered my mouth once he realised that I was going to say Voldemort. Angered, I pushed his hand off of my mouth and was about to retaliate when I stopped the words from spilling out of my mouth for there was no point in arguing.
As I took another sip of my butterbeer, I felt my cheeks redden. I quickly turned the other way just as he did the same. I guess we both had mutual feelings of embarrassment at the moment.. "So, did you study for the Potions quiz?" I said after a few minutes.
Oh, Merlin, how many more hours until this "date" finishes? We might as well just put both of us out of our misery soon.
The door to the Three Broomsticks opened once again, inviting a damp gust of numbing wind which sank into my bones and found comfort there. I just wanted to crawl into my warm bed and sleep there for eternity. Although, obviously, that wasn't going to happen any time soon.
"Do you want another butterbeer?"
I shook my head as I took my last sip, the buttery taste coating my throat while my fingers tapped a steady beat on the old, wooden counter. I glanced at a clock on the wall and saw that we had spent one hour and a half here. "Do you want to go for a walk?" Jake asked. I nodded my head and quickly stood up. He picked up my coat just as I went to grab it. He blushed and handed me my coat awkwardly.
"Do you want to do anything else?"
We stepped out into the winter air and wrapped our coats tightly around us in attempt to keep all of our warmth in our bodies'. "Not really, unless if you want to?" I said, my reply was muffled by my scarf but he shook his head to my question. We shuffled along the street as we were joined by other groups of students who were heading back to the warmth of the castle.
I think I'll get some hot cocoa from the kitchens when I get back.
That would be nice.
"I had a good time," Jake said as we stepped out of the carriage.
I nodded, not sure if I was telling the truth, and crossed my arms. The sky was darkening, the snowflakes now coming down at a slower speed, as the students were rushing into the castle in order to seek refuge from the frozen night. I had a strong desire to run with them but I knew that it would be rude. After five or so minutes of standing, I awkwardly said, "Well, I'm going to head back to the common room. Goodbye."
"Do you want me to walk you there?" Jake asked eagerly. I quickly shook my head as I stared at the ground. "Are you sure?" he asked again, a bit disappointed. I nodded and turned around just as he began to lean in. My face turned red as I hurried towards the heavy, wooden doors and didn't dare to look back at him.
Heat warmed my frozen face and I smiled with content. I made it. I looked down at the floor as I made my way towards the stair case. In result, I ended up walking straight into someone. "Oh my, I'm so sorry!" I said, blushing deeply as I looked up to find Sirius chuckling at my concerned expression.
"Relax, Liddell, I didn't even fall due to my extremely manly body," Sirius said with a grin on his face. I laughed and said,"If that is what you tell yourself in order to boost your self esteem, please, don't stop." I began walking up the stair case as Sirius casually walked with me.
"So, where's your gang?" I asked, trying to make a conversation. The staircase we were on began to move and I instinctively held onto the rail tightly, after years of experience, while Sirius smirked at me, casually standing there with his hands pushed into his pockets.
"The kitchens, we are having a small party in our common room for the four of us."
"And what exactly are you celebrating?"
"The existence of me," Sirius said with a hint of joking in his voice. I couldn't help but laugh.
"Where's the Puff?" Sirius asked after a few minutes. My eyes fell down to my shoes and I shrugged, saying, "Where else would he be?"
"I don't know... maybe in a-," he began but I quickly cut in, "That's disgusting, Sirius." His bark-like laughter was heard throughout the echoing walls of the castle and a small smile formed on my face.
"How's Remus?" I asked nervously. I have been wanting to ask that question for days now but didn't have the courage to. Sirius stopped laughing and, surprisingly, a serious expression came over his face. "What do you mean?"
After a minute, I finally said, "Well, he didn't look... that great today."
Sirius paused, his eyesbrows furrowed as he thought about what to say. "Honestly, Alice, you shouldn't be so rude," he said with a teasing note to lighten the atmosphere.
"Actually I think the whole dark circle look suits him," I said jokingly with a small smile and was glad to hear the laugh of Sirius.
We came to a stop at the middle of the corridor, where we had to go our separate ways. "Well, tell the others I said hello and have a good party," I said, not really wanting to retreat to the loneliness of the Ravenclaw common room. "See you, Alice."
I walked hurriedly into the dimly lit corridor and only glanced back once to see nothing but empty darkness, my hears pounding with silence.
The silence was deafening but I am much too used to it by now.
The pale light of the moon shone through a thin layer of clouds as the stars shone down on me through small gaps in between the retreating clouds. Only the stars knew my deepest secrets and true feelings. The stars were my most reliable friends for so long, how could I ever stop gazing at them.
Some go for years without stopping, just once, to look up into the vast sky and realise how little, how insignificant they are to this great universe that we all are a part of and yet at the same time, we are destroying a piece of it.
Oh, only the stars that shine above me bear to listen to my musings and dreams.
But even they refuse to shine sometimes.
The darkness of deep slumber never enveloped me for the remainder of the endless night. My eyes watched the stars blink down from the deep blue sky as the moon shed some light upon the familiar grounds. The carved moon hung in the sky precariously as if it were to fall at any given moment.
A sudden heat began to rise within my body at the thought of the weekend's events. It wasn't the sort of heat that cradled your body in warmth. It was the heat that made one feel as if they were suffering from a fever, it made your pupils grow thin and your eyes widen to a point where you feel your heart beat against your ribs.
I was in no shape to be in a relationship.
Because that meant trust.
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