Chapter 15 : Chapter Fifteen
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The amount of time that had passed since the beginning of term was insane. I hated to admit it, but I was becoming sort of accustomed to the 'one day in 2020, the next in 1977' malarkey. Things had become a little mundane and samesy recently, and I was just taking each day as it came and focusing on my NEWTs.
In the present time, things certainly seemed to be going well between Sebastian and Mary. The first weekend in October had rolled around, and with it the first Hogsmeade visit of the year. It was first dates all around - Lacey and Louis, Gemma and Connor, Sebastian and...me (much to Mary's dismay, as she'd expressed in a scathing letter warning me to keep my filthy mitts off her man). Poor Charlotte was dateless, and so tagged along with Jay, McLaggen and Shields for the day.
Once we arrived at Hogsmeade, we separated from the others. Sebastian had suggested we checked out a recently opened café just off the high street. The café was named Cobble, presumably after the cobbled streets of Hogsmeade, and served cold sandwiches along with warm food such as toasties and baked potatoes. The main attraction of the café, however, was their award winning ice cream, which came in a variety of flavours.
We opted to skip the meal and dive straight in to the ice cream dessert. I chose the Pumpkin Punch flavour whilst Sebastian selected a Ravishing Raspberry. Sebastian insisted on paying, causing my inner feminist to scream in despair. Whilst we slurped our ice creams, he suggested we play a game called 'twenty one questions' to get to know one another a little better. He asked about my family and my interests, to which I was careful not to give too much away - as he wasn't my actual boyfriend and I still held some cold feelings towards him, I didn't fancy allowing him too much insight into my life. He did disclose a fair amount of detail about himself and his family though, things I hadn't known before, and I was beginning to find him a little less loathsome as a person.
When we'd finished our ice creams, we'd begun to walk over to the Three Broomsticks, where we had arranged to meet the others. Just before we reached the high street, Sebastian went in for the kill, tucking my hair behind my ears and giving me a speech about how he'd fancied me for years, before snogging me. I'd allowed him to kiss me, feeling increasingly more guilty the less I enjoyed it. All the years we had spent despising one another, he had really been masking his real feelings...whereas my dislike of him had been real. The news that he had carried a candle for me the past few years disturbed me - I wasn't sure what to make of it. And now the poor sod believed he'd finally gotten the girl, but it wasn't really the girl he wanted, it was an imposter. I knew it would devastate him to find out the truth.
After an agonising two minutes of snogging, I broke away and suggested we head down to the Three Broomsticks before everyone wondered where we had gotten to. When we arrived, Lacey was beaming, hand in hand with Louis (who wore a matching expression). Gemma and McMillan were having a rare moment where their lips were attached to their goblets as opposed to one another, and were actually partaking in conversation. Charlotte was chatting amicably to Jay, who was chortling at something she had said, whilst Shields and McLaggen were playing some sort of game which involved rating each girl who walked through the door out of ten. Shields had given me a seven whereas McLaggen disagreed and rated me a six. Thanks guys.
It turned out that Lacey's date with Louis had gone even better than expected, and he had asked her to be his girlfriend, to which she had immediately agreed. They made a sweet couple. At this news, Gemma had instantly turned to Charlotte and insisted that she now become an item with Jay, in order to make four couples. The pair blushed profusely, and I thought I saw Jay glance at me. Lacey had scolded Gemma for embarrassing the pair of them. I felt my stomach twist as I considered the idea of Jay and Charlotte getting together. I couldn't bear to entertain the thought.
The next week or so that followed had the same vibe. Lacey spent an increasing amount of time with Louis, and when she wasn't actually with him, she gushed about how wonderful he was. Gemma was often off somewhere snogging McMillan (hey, what else is new?), which left me, Sebastian, Jay, Charlotte, Shields and McLaggen. We'd become something of a group and spent most of our time together - it was nice to feel included, like a part of something, and I missed it during my initial days in 1977. However, Sebastian would barely leave my side, and could often be heard moaning that I put my homework above spending time with him. Well, obviously. I noticed Jay spent a lot of time chatting to Charlotte, who seemed to appreciate the company (since the rest of us girls were 'coupled up'). I had to admit that I felt jealous of the attention he was giving to her, as he had distanced himself from me somewhat since I had become an item with Sebastian. He seemed to have completely forgotten about everything that had happened between the two of us, and was acting perfectly fine around me, making jokes and acting like a 'mate'. I hated it, but I was glad that he seemed happy.
On the other hand, certain people were still avoiding me like the plague in 1977, with the exception of Remus (who occasionally 'checked in' to see how I was doing - usually when the other members of his gang were absent), along with, quite surprisingly, Lucy from the quidditch team.
Lucy had come along at exactly the right time. My time in 1977 had been becoming lonelier by the day and it was beginning to affect my self esteem and concentration. I kept telling myself that it was for the greater good, that getting close to people would have a negative effect on both my own, and their, lives. But being a typical teenage girl, I couldn't help but despair at the injustice of it all. Why should I suffer, spending whole days alone with nobody to talk to, whilst everyone else had the time of their lives?
At least my grades were improving, with the extra time I had to focus on my homework and revision. I was adamantly refusing to even look at Mary's homework, so her grades were likely dropping as my own were steadily increasing. This was something I couldn't help but feel smugly victorious about. If she was too busy snogging Sebastian to do my homework, then why should I do hers? Friends help each other out, but Mary and I were certainly not friends.
But then Lucy had come along and saved me from complete loneliness. She had approached me days after James had kicked me off the quidditch team, and told me she thought he was out of order. She'd noticed the shift in my relationships with James, Sirius and Co., and although she wasn't fully aware of the ins and outs of the situation, she believed James had allowed personal issues to intervene with his ability to captain the team fairly. Lucy had noticed I'd been singles out, and was spending a lot of time alone, and had told me that she wasn't surprised by how poorly I'd performed in quidditch - she expected anyone would react the same way if they'd lost all their friends and their boyfriend in one fell swoop. I was grateful for Lucy's sympathy and accepted her offer to sit with her in classes and at meal times from then on. I'd spent time getting to know Lucy for the past week or so, along with her friend Alice (another girl who resided in our dorm). The two girls were friendly and easy enough to get along with, however occasionally they'd throw a question at me that I'd struggle to answer - such as asking about my (Mary's) life and family. I'd no idea if Mary even had a family - she could have hatched from a dragons egg for all I knew - and so I'd casually brushed off their questions with a simple "oh, they're crazy, I wouldn't know where to begin!" and deflected the question back to them, finding out more and more about the pair of them each day. Remus had come to 'check in' more frequently, I'd noticed, since I'd befriended the girls, and often stayed to chat a little - particularly when Lucy was present.
Today was one of those occasions. It was a rare warm day in October, and Lucy, Alice and I had decided to go for a stroll around the lake. We'd bumped into a boy named Frank, who I believed shared a dorm with the other boys, and Alice had invited him to join us. Remus, who was sat nearby studying, had overheard and asked if he could tag along, and so the five of us were enjoying a peaceful walk around the lake. However, as Alice giggled at Frank's jokes, and Remus showered Lucy with compliments, I rapidly began to feel an awkward fifth-wheel vibe going on. I extricated myself from the group, telling them that I was going to head back up to the castle to write my parents a letter, and left them to it.
As I walked through the castle, I decided that I would actually write my parents a letter. It seemed a long time since September 1st, when I'd last spoken to them, and I was missing the correspondence and their advice. I decided to head up to the owlery to write there (although I knew sending it from 1977 was pointless). It was peaceful in the owlery, though.
As I walked, I contemplated how much happier I felt now that I had people who wanted to spend time with me in 1977. Things were still a little strange, and I did miss my family. I wondered what would happen if they met Mary, whether they'd be able to discern the difference in personality. Would they realise she wasn't their daughter?
However, the company of Lucy, Alice and Remus helped me to get through each alternate day, even despite the cold shoulders I was receiving from both James and Lily (who seemed to have bonded over a mutual dislike of me), and the jealousy I felt witnessing Sirius with Marlene.
Of course, I still fancied Sirius, but I still had feelings for Jay too - a topic of much confusion in my mind. How was it possible to fancy two boys at once? Was there one that I liked more than j the other? I wasn't sure. On the one hand, Sirius had been more than a bit of a prick recently - but then again, I'd given him good reason to be that way. But on the other hand, Jay was being perfectly nice to me, despite having equally good reason to be a prick (I had strung him along and ditched him for his best mate, after all). I supposed everyone has different ways for dealing with things, and these two boys couldn't be more different if they tried. Sirius had a fiery temper, whereas Jay was always calm and rational.
These feelings I still had for him were what made it difficult for me to watch Sirius with Marlene. I knew that he'd never actually been my boyfriend, but I had developed feelings for him during the time that we were 'together'. I wanted him, but I knew that I could never be with him. However, this knowledge that her was unattainable had only seemed to spark my desire to have him, and I wanted him more and more as each day went by.
I'd noticed him a lot more recently, particularly since he and Marlene had become 'official'. I'd noticed the way his hair curled slightly outwards at the nape of his neck, and the way his lips shifted a little to the left when he smirked. I noticed how he joked around with his friends, but was the first to defend them if anyone else dared to slate them. I noticed the furtive glance he'd toss over to the Slytherin table each time he entered the great hall, and then how his face would light up with a grin when he spotted Marlene waiting for him at the Gryffindor table. I noticed how he would always greet her with a squeeze on the shoulder and a kiss on the cheek, and how he would always stand to greet her when she arrived after him.
I noticed how he held doors for her but played this off in a casual manner, and I noticed how goddamn casual and effortless he was in general.
His hair was effortless, his walk was effortless, his smile, smirk, grin, wave, everything effortless. He made complicated jinxes and hexes and potions look effortless and he completed his homework effortlessly. He even completed detentions effortlessly.
And I liked this effortlessness, I was mesmerised by it, wishing I had the same effortless demeanor. I found myself watching him and his effortless actions beneath my eyelids throughout each day - in classes, at meals, in the corridors, in the common room - always careful to avoid drawing attention to the fact that I was staring.
And so, when I entered the owlery and stumbled across the man himself, I couldn't help but stop and notice how effortlessly his hair blew in the soft breeze through the window, how effortlessly his hand lay slung around her hip, how effortlessly his lips moved over hers. I was so captivated by his sheer effortlessness that it took me a moment to comprehend that he was so effortlessly snogging a girl who definitely was not his girlfriend.
He even made being a hypocrite look effortless.
AN: So here it is, chapter fifteen! I am so so sorry it's taken longer than expected to get here, and I know it's horrifically filler-y and so sooooo short compared to usual. I had a lil bit of writers block and then ended up living in a house with no Internet, so I've had to resort to typing the chapter up on my phone and submitting using my data instead - hence any dodgy typos, damn autocorrect and my clumsy thumbs! I also feel parts of this chapter are a little disjointed, so apologies if it comes across that way!
As usual, I love to read your feedback so any reviews would be well appreciated :)
11/08/17 update: I'm 5,500 words into chapter 16 and I'm roughly only halfway through, so I promise the next chapter will have been worth the wait once it's actually posted (which should hopefully be within the next few days). Thank you to everyone who has read Marissa's journey so far - your reviews make me so happy and really compel me to write! Thank you so much xx
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