Chapter 13 : Chapter Thirteen
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I was clutching at straws, trying to think of the easiest way out of this situation – an excuse, any excuse would do. It wasn’t like I could admit the truth, tell Sirius and Lily that ‘Muggle Mike’ was a fictional character I’d created, as that would unveil the lie. I’d become trapped in my own web of lies, and there was no way out.
I blamed Mary. I had no valid excuse to blame her, she was as much a victim of the time travelling situation as I was. But I blamed her nonetheless. If she could have just waited to get involved with Sirius until after the summer holidays, I wouldn’t be stuck trying to fight my way out of a lie about a made-up summer fling.
I realised that all the excuses under the sun wouldn’t be feasible in this situation. How could I explain that Mary hadn’t actually cheated on Sirius during the summer? For a fleeting second, I considered telling the truth, that I wasn’t actually Mary, I was just a girl called Marissa who had time travelled back here and was living each alternate day in Mary’s shoes. But I realised immediately how ridiculous and far-fetched that would sound. I’d have to settle on another lie: ‘admit’ to having cheated on Sirius during the summer with Muggle Mike. In any case, it would help to create distance between us, making it easier to break any attachments before I return to 2020 permanently. You know, if I ever figure out how to do that.
Sirius was glaring at me, his eyes clouded with anger, betrayal and hurt. Lily, on the other hand, looked shocked and disgusted.
“I’m sorry, Sirius.” I said softly, avoiding the looks in their eyes as a guilty feeling flooded through my body. “I should have been honest with you. It’s…it’s the reason I’ve been acting so strangely. I felt so guilty when we got back to school, and every time I saw you I felt so bad, I just didn’t know how to tell you.”
Lily gasped, her hands flying up to cover her mouth, unable to believe I’d be so cruel.
“I knew you were a bitch when I got involved with you last term, Mary,” Sirius snarled, “But I never took you for a liar and a cheat. How many others?”
“W-What?” I stuttered. I wasn’t sure why, but his words hurt me. I knew he wasn’t calling me a bitch, he meant the real Mary, and I knew I hadn’t cheated on him. But I was a liar, and I felt awful for it. It felt even worse to be called out for it.
“I asked how many fucking other guys there were, Mary. You’ve admitted to this Mike but I know there was at least one other guy – Sebastian, was it? Yeah, you slipped up at the start of term, didn’t you? Accidentally called me his name.”
“Sebastian?” I repeated. I almost laughed, forgetting for a moment where (and when) I was. “I never – no, merlin no! I hate him, everyone knows I hate him!”
But they didn’t. Even my friends were questioning my feelings for him, thanks to bloody Mary. Oh shit, Mary! I was Mary today. I needed to remember that, remember where I was, who I was speaking to. I cleared my throat.
“I mean, he’s just…another muggle. He was er, Mike’s friend. He hated me, I hated him.”
“How long was this going on for, Mary?” Sirius asked, slowly. I could see his hands clenched into fists at his sides as he struggled to suppress his rage. “Only, it seems you knew this Mike guy pretty damn fucking well. Even got to know his friends, didn’t you?”
“It was, it started just after you came to visit,” I bullshitted, “It didn’t last long, I promise. I didn’t mean to hurt you, Sirius, it just sort of…happened.”
“You know what, Mary, you can get fucked.” Sirius snarled, pushing past me and storming up to his dorm.
I looked over at Lily. She shook her head.
“I’m with Sirius on this one, Mary,” she said, barely disguising the disgust in her voice, “That was a really awful thing you did.”
Friday 26th September, 2020
Despite the horrible events of the previous night, I’d woken up in 2020 feeling positive: I was going to see Jay again today (score), and – double score – I’d miss tonight’s Quidditch practice back in 1977.
I’d skipped down to breakfast gleefully, squeezing myself in between Lacey and Charlotte and swiping a croissant from the table.
“Good morning, girls!” I beamed.
“You’re in a good mood,” Lacey remarked, as Charlotte beamed back and wished me a good morning too.
“It’s a wonderful day,” I replied, “The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and it’s croissants for breakfast. What’s not to love?”
“As great as it is to see you in such a good mood, Marissa, I hate to inform you that the sun ain’t shining,” a bemused voice sounded from across the table. I glanced up from my croissant to see Grandbaby Potter’s treacly eyes twinkling at me. “In fact, it’s pissing it down. Hope it clears up for tonight…I was wondering if you fancied another flying lesson?”
I beamed. Charlotte beamed. Lacey frowned. Gemma…well I couldn’t tell what Gemma was doing with her face, it was too smushed up into MacMillan’s to tell.
“That’d be great,” I replied. I noticed Sebastian, who was sat next to James, was frowning, and remembered the time he’d accosted me in a broom cupboard. I wondered how much contact time he and Mary had, and how she acted around the group.
“Great,” Jay beamed, taking a bite of his croissant, “I’ll meet you in the common room after classes, we can walk down together. Hey, I was meaning to ask about that actually – where were you last night? I was looking for you everywhere, but couldn’t find you.”
Sebastian’s head snapped up at that point. He glanced at me, a panicked look on his face, and shook his head slightly.
“Yeah, I was wondering that too, actually,” Lacey said, fixing me with a stern glare, “where were you, Maz?”
“I was…at…the library?” I lied, lamely.
Charlotte’s eyebrows knitted together.
“I was in the library last night,” she said, “I didn’t see you there, Marissa. Which section were you in?”
All eyes turned back to me. For fuck sake. I was getting real tired of these lies I was getting caught up in.
“The restricted section,” I said, “I’m doing an extra credit project for potions and I needed a book from there. Professor Malfoy gave me a note.”
They seemed to believe my lie, as everyone turned back to their croissants. Everyone apart from Sebastian, who gave me a hurried thumbs up, then glanced sideways at Jay with a questioning look on his face. I shrugged, not having a clue what the hell he was doing, and turned back to my own croissant.
My positive vibes remained throughout the day’s lessons, punctuated only by the occasional twinge of guilt when I remembered the looks Sirius and Lily had given me the day before. Barton’s odd behaviour also occasionally drifted into my mind, and I assumed he and Mary must have been together the previous evening. Doing what, merlin only knew, but the hairs on my arms stood up on end when I thought of the possibility of his hands on my skin, or the idea of Mary kissing him with my lips. I felt violated, worsened so each time he gazed at me under heavily-lidded eyes. I pushed those thoughts aside, however, choosing to ignore Barton’s flirtatious looks in favour of the sweet smiles Jay was sending my way across the classroom.
After classes, I’d returned to Gryffindor tower to dump my books and change into my ‘flying’ clothes. I purposefully wore shorts again (black, this time) paired with a form-fitting forest green vest top.
“You look like a Slytherin,” Jay joked when I entered the common room. I rolled my eyes, taking in his appearance. He was wearing a crimson t-shirt emblazoned with a Gryffindor lion, and black tracksuit bottoms.
“Just showing a bit of inter-house support,” I quipped.
We headed down to the Quidditch pitch, collecting the school broom I’d been using along the way. Jay cast the cushioning charm he’d used in our previous session, and I flew to my usual position. We warmed up by recapping the throwing and passing technique from my last lesson, before progressing to me moving forwards in a steady line.
“Great!” Jay exclaimed, flying alongside me as I gained confidence and speed. The motion of travelling through thin air, held up by a thin piece of wood, made my head spin a little at first, but I was gradually adjusting to the feeling and beginning to enjoy the sensation of the wind brushing lightly through my hair.
“Okay, so you’ve mastered moving forwards, and you’re beginning to accelerate,” he commented, “now let’s try a turn.”
Before I could manage a response, Jay had flicked to the left and was flying away from me.
“Hey, wait!” I called.
“Gently nudge the broom to your left!” he shouted back. I nudged the broom, and it worked. It worked! I encouraged the broom to pick up speed until I caught his side.
“You’re really getting this hang of this,” Jay laughed, “Look how far you’ve come in just a few days!”
I beamed. A few weeks ago I’d been terrified of flying – and now Jay had helped me to overcome that fear, and I was zipping through the air and actually sort of enjoying myself.
We spent the rest of the session practicing turns, and even moved on to gaining and losing height.
I’d felt so exhilarated as I landed, that I didn’t give Jay so much as a warning – I just started towards him and began kissing him. He was such a welcome distraction from all the shit that was going on in my life. When I flew with him, and kissed him, I forgot about everything for a while. We’d moved over to the stands, where we sat, talking and kissing, until the sky turned inky black.
The common room was almost empty when we clambered, hand in hand, through the portrait hole. A few fifth years were seated at the tables, hunched over parchment with ink-stained hands, and Lacey and Charlotte were sat by the fire. Lacey glanced over as the portrait swung shut. Her eyes travelled from our faces down to our entwined hands. Something about the look on her face made me drop my hand from Jay’s.
“I had a great night,” Jay murmured, turning to me and tilted my chin up to look into my eyes, “Can’t wait for the next.”
“Me either,” I smiled, suddenly feeling awkward and exposed.
Jay leant down and placed a soft kiss on my lips.
“See you tomorrow, Marissa.” He smiled warmly before heading up the stairs to his dorm.
I made my way over to the fireplace and sat myself down on a cushy armchair as casually as I could manage, and pulled my charms homework from my bag to make a start on.
“We need to talk.” Lacey said.
“Hmm?” I murmured, pretending to be engrossed in the title of my essay.
“We need to talk about the game you’re playing with the boys.” She said, more firmly. I looked up at her, affronted.
“What game?” I snapped.
“Don’t play dumb, Marissa, you know what I mean. It wasn’t hard to figure out that you and Sebastian were together last night, and now you’re waltzing in holding hands with James. You’ve never talked about fancying either of them before. They’re best friends, Marissa. You either need to choose one, or leave them both alone.”
“Honestly, I’m not intending to play with their feelings,” I groaned, “And I have chosen one.”
Lacey cocked an eyebrow.
“You need to tell them, then.”
“I will,” I assured her, “I just need to figure some things out first.”
“No, seriously Marissa, you’ve seen how this is affecting their friendship. It’s not fair to kiss one of them one night, and the other the next. You need to make a decision and let them know as soon as possible. Like, tomorrow.”
“Fine!” I threw my hands up in surrender, “I’ll tell them this weekend. I promise.”
The problem was convincing Mary to make the right decision.
I’m not sure what your situation with Sebastian is, but he cornered me the other night and asked me to choose between him and James. Lacey has also advised me to choose between the boys, and I promised her I’d let them know my decision this weekend. I’m not sure how aware you are of the situation between James and I, but we’ve become quite close recently. Of course, I’m not ready for a relationship as I’m still getting to know James, but I’d rather carry on getting to know him instead of Sebastian. I know you must like Sebastian, but you have to remember that it is my life you’re living, not your own, so please for my sake, make the right decision.
I’ve been researching time travel and so far, all I’ve found is information about time turners. Obviously, that’s not the case with our situation, but I was wondering if you had any ideas about why this is happening to us, and how we can get back to our own lives?
I’m also sure you’ve noticed that Sirius and Lily are a little disappointed and are probably acting strangely around you. They thought I fancied James from your time, as he looks so much like James from my time, so I had to make up an excuse on the spot – that he reminded me of a muggle I’d dated in the summer. Of course, I didn’t realise that you and Sirius had been dating during the summer, and so they are now convinced that I cheated on Sirius. I’m really, truly sorry. I’ll fix it, I promise.
Saturday 27th September, 1977
Everyone was avoiding me. I’d spent the day alone in the common room, working on Mary’s homework and ignoring the not-so-subtle glares being sent my way. Word must have travelled quickly of my apparent ‘cheating’ as the Sirius Black Appreciation Society (AKA half of the student population) were treating me as though I was dirt on their shoes. I could handle their glares and the hisses of ‘bitch’ as they passed me by, but I was struggling to ignore the coldness of the looks Sirius, Lily, James, Remus and Peter were shooting me. They were sat by the fire, talking in hushed tones. The message that I was unwelcome in their company had been clear from the moment I’d emerged from the dormitory, and so I had found a table in the corner by the portrait hole and immersed myself in my herbology notes. Occasionally, I’d catch Remus sending me a small smile, but he’d quickly be drawn back into their conversation. This was of little comfort, as I knew that when it came down to it, he was their friend first and foremost, therefore he would always side with Sirius. It hurt the most that Lily was taking their side though. I knew that what I’d ‘done’ was wrong and I didn’t blame them for hating me, but it still made me feel shitty – especially since I hadn’t actually done it.
A few hours passed, and I managed to get through all of my homework. I could still hear Sirius, laughing at something Peter had said, by the fire, so I decided to make myself scarce from the common room as I could barely stand to see their disgusted glances any longer. I decided to head down to the quidditch pitch to get in some extra practice – I needed to convince everybody I was Mary MacDonald, star Gryffindor beater, after all, so I needed as much practice as I could get. Plus, it would be nice to feel connected to Jay again, as I was beginning to associate flying with him due to our sessions.
I went to the locker room and retrieved Mary’s broom, before making my way out to the pitch. I cast a cushioning charm on the ground and spent some time adjusting to the broomstick and gaining balance and control over it, like Jay had suggested, before hesitantly beginning to fly in different directions around the pitch. The sensation of flying made me feel much better, and somehow less alone. I laughed into the wind, forgetting about everything for a moment.
I’d descended to the ground with the intention of charming a quaffle to fly towards me (in order to practice the throwing and catching drill Jay had shown me) when I noticed a figure standing by the crates, broom over his shoulder and frown on his face.
“What the fuck are you doing, MacDonald?” James Potter snarled – the first words he’d spoken to me all day.
“Practising.” I replied, unlocking the crate with a flick of my wand.
“I could see that,” he scowled, “I was watching you the whole time. You look like Fiona freaking First Year, learning how to ride a broom for the first time. Did you knock your head too hard against that muggle’s best post, and forget how to fly?”
“What I choose to do in my spare time is nothing to do with you, Potter,” I snapped, forgetting about the balls. “And what happened with Mike is between Sirius and I, so butt out of it.”
“Oh, but it is to do with me, MacDonald, don’t you see?” James laughed coldly, “I’m your quidditch caption. You and Sirius are both on the team, so what happens between you is my business, as the team can’t afford to have your dirty laundry leak out onto the pitch. And as well as that, Sirius is my best mate. How could you do that to him, Mary? He tried so hard to make you happy, he changed his ways just for your sake. He stopped flirting with other girls the moment he got with you, because he respected you. And then to show your appreciation, you go and disrespect him by snogging the first guy who shows you a bit of attention!”
“It wasn’t like that.” I said weakly.
“Then what was it, Mary? Was it just too much to wait a few weeks until you got back to school? Because believe me, Mary, Sirius had plenty of offers – but he didn’t act on any of them, he waited for you. He shouldn’t have bothered, you clearly weren’t worth it. If you ask me, he made the right decision ending things with you and getting with Marlene. I heard she’s a good flyer actually, pity she’s not on the Gryffindor team, we could have given her your spot.”
“So you’re kicking me off the team?” I snapped, anger bubbling in my stomach at the injustice of it. Of course he was entitled to be pissed off on his best friend’s behalf, but surely stripping Mary of her quidditch robes was a little harsh?
“Not yet,” James said darkly, “but as soon as you give me a good enough reason to, during practice, you’re gone.”
Sunday 28th September, 2020
Just a heads up that Sebastian asked me to be his girlfriend yesterday, and I said yes. Obviously, I don’t want you putting your Potter-infested paws all over him, so do try to avoid him while you’re here until I find a way to keep him away from you every other day when I’m not around.
AN: Sorry this chapter is a little filler-y with a cheeky twist at the end, I originally intended it to be a bit longer but I've decided to split the chapter into two. On the bright side, it means I've updated faster ;)
If you're still reading, thank you, and I hope you're still enjoying the story as there's lots more to come! I'm also in the planning process for a slightly more angsty story, so keep an eye out for that :)
I hate and avoid arguments and confrontation and so I found it really difficult to write the scenes where Sirius and Lily confront Marissa, and I found the part with James shouting at Marissa especially difficult, I struggled to put myself inside their heads so I'm not sure if I've done those justice.
As always, I love your opinions so please don't hesitate to review (good or bad - your feedback fuels me).
See you next chapter!
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