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Chapter 9 : The Complicated Love Life of Mirabelle Rose
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I had been kissed before, but never like this.
Every ounce of the venom that had flowed electrically through my veins just moments before evaporated, replaced by adrenaline. All my anger dissolved the moment his lips met mine. In fact, as cliche as it sounds, the whole world seemed to disappear around us. The only thing I could see was Sirius. The only thing I felt was his body coaxing mine. The only thing I could hear was my own body's reaction to it. I seemed to have lost all of my self-control because a soft moan escaped me before I could reel it back in. But I didn't care, I'd wanted this for so long and now it was happening. I was drowning in the very sensation that is Sirius Black. It seemed like he was everywhere.
I forgot about the danger of this, Forgot that, if we were seen, it could mean I'd be disowned... or worse. Forgot this innocent kiss could be my untimely end. Forgot that I was supposed to be livid with him. Forgot that he'd been acting like an inconsiderate prick ever since that perfect day in the summer. I even forgot my own name as I focused on memorizing this over-the-moon feeling.
His lips on mine, his teeth lightly pulling at my bottom lip, his tongue eagerly entering my mouth in a deliciously hesitant way. When our tongues touched, he moaned and my stomach flipped. My skin burned everywhere- my face, my neck, my back, my arm- where ever his fingers grazed. His breath mingled with mine, warming the air. We labored for each breath as our intensity grew. Years of pent up frustration gushed forth into this very passionate embrace, like a dam had finally broken somewhere within us.
As caught up as I was, something in a distant chamber of my mind amazingly kept a speck of logic. Logic that told me I was being ridiculous thinking this was passion (on his part anyway). Logic that told me this feeling would not last. Whether we were caught or not, this was lightening, it never struck the same place twice. It was fleeting, like a butterfly's wings tickling your skin, I was lucky to feel it once. It would be short, a light brush with the destiny I should have had and then it would be gone, never to return. Yes, it was going to be unbearably short and immensely sweet. So I memorized every detail of it, this happiest of moments.
I would file it away forever and relive it every rainy day of the miserable life I could vividly see unfolding before me. When the Death Eaters pestered me into joining the ranks, I'd feel his lips on mine. When Rabastan's hands slid around my waist for a dance, I'd feel Sirius's hands tangled in my hair. When my family demanded perfection, I'd remember his tongue dancing around mine to the most perfect melody of heartbeats the world will ever hear. I would drown in this kiss, to keep myself from drowning in the harsh reality of a war I would have to fight in against my will.
Sirius cupped my face, as if he was afraid I'd pull away.
I wouldn't dream of it. I would never end this blissful escape on purpose.
I brought my arms around his neck and tangled my fingers into his curls to say this without a single word. I'd wanted to tossle these curls for year and my dream was coming true. I sighed contentedly into his mouth. For a few beautiful, precious moments, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. I felt special and wanted. I felt like I was flying, all on my own. Soaring high above the ground, without the help of a broomstick and it was so much better this way.
But, as his lips gave mine a break and trailed kisses down my jaw to my neck, I got a horrifying flash of the night before.
And that was all it took to bring me back to earth.
Just last night he'd made an easy blonde girl giggle by doing exactly this. Hadn't I witnessed with revulsion as he'd trailed kisses acrossed her skin and inched his hand slowly up her skirt? She was no different from any of the others and now, neither was I.
Why should I be?
I was nothing but the girl who, once upon a time, had been his friend. Had I even been that though? Or was I just the one who'd followed him around like a lovesick puppy for years without sparking his interest? Only keeping a shred of dignity by not doing the very thing she yearned to do with him.
And now that was gone.
I'd always prided myself in the fact that I wasn't as easily fooled as the other girls who were pining after him. I'd been comforted by the fact that I could see through his bullshit. That I could tell a line from a genuine statement and a friendly hug from and invitation to jump his bones. But here I was, being fooled into thinking that this meant as much to him as it did to me, just like the rest.
I mean, come on. Passionate embrace? Years of pent up frustration? Burning skin? Flipping stomach? Evaporating anger? Mingling breath? Had I gone MENTAL:? Had I already fooled myself into thinking this was special to him? Did some part of me decide this without my permission? Was I seriously hoping for more?
Finally, my sanity overruled my other- more sensuous- urges. I unlocked my fingers from those wild black curls and moved them to his chest, pushing him off of me.
I didn't do enough to separate us but he got the message and stepped back of his own accord, blue eyes wary. The cold air replaced where his body had pressed to mine and my cheeks flamed with the realization of what I'd just done.
"What? What's wrong, Mir?"
What's wrong, Mir? Was he serious? I wanted to slap him for, once again, leading me on and complicating my life even further. I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to grab him by his shirt and pull him back to me so I could snog the living daylights out of him again. I wanted to say million things, ask a million questions. Tell him exactly how I felt and for how long I'd felt it. Ask him why the bloody hell he'd waited til now to finally make a bleedin' move!
But all I could do was stutter breathlessly, "I-I- I... can't."
And before anything else could happen to embarass me further, I ran as fast as my legs could carry me, in no particular direction.
My stomach plummeted the next morning, as I stared at the bright sign announcing next weeks Hogsmeade trip. Why this surprised me, I wasn't sure. We always had a trip right before the Holidays. But I'd had so much on my mind that I hadn't bothered to check the date. Hadn't noticed the weeks and weeks passing me by. And now, I had the terrible feeling that my week was about to get much worse and regretted my decision to be brave this morning and face the day rather than spend it in bed like I'd wanted to.
I was more determined to avoid Sirius than I'd ever been in my life. I blushed profusely everytime I thought of my stupid behavior. How could I have let him kiss me that way? How could I have lost control that way?
It was funny (in an incredibly frustrating sort of way) how the one thing I'd always clung to was the first thing I lost in Sirius's presence. I'd always hoped to lose something else that was a bit less important in my book than keeping my carefully controlled defenses. But no, I'd lost one of the most crucial things for a girl in my situation.
My body had acted on it's own and my brain had failed (for once) to overrule it. Something I knew (hoped) only Sirius could do to me. Only he had such diabolical powers. Powers, I was sure he knew of (or at least now he did, after my embarassing display last night) but had no idea how strong they were.
"Alright, Mirabelle?" Lena asked me as we headed to Charms.
I don't know why, but I couldn't bring myself to tell Lanora or Kathleena about last night's disaster-slash-dream-come-true. I suppose that I was too embarassed to admit my humiliating defeat. I hadn't known I was fighting my own kind of war before last night, but now I was all too aware of that fact. I'd been locked in battle with my former best friend. A battle of who-can-get-to-who-first and I'd lost miserably. My pride took a collosal blow just admitting that to myself, I wasn't sure it could take another.
So, instead of coming clean to my best friends (in a very crowded corridor, I might add) I said, "Yeah, o'course. Why wouldn't I be?"
"I dunno," she replied, clearly not buying it. "You just seem a bit... distracted."
Distracted. That was a good word for it.
I was distracted, in the sense that I couldn't think about anything but that bloody fantasic kiss. Or how I'd utterly humiliated myself by kissing him and then running away like a child on the playground. Or the fact that I may very well have an unwanted suitor (or two?) asking me to Hogsmeade this time around. Or that I was going to have to go back to pureblood-central in a mere two weeks time.
My stomach churned uneasily.
Yes, distracted was exactly the right word for my behavior.
"Yeah, I guess I am," I agreed. And then, of course, I followed it with lies. "I'm worried about my potions essay. I'm almost positive I made at least one mistake on the correct way to pluck unicorn hairs."
Both of their eyes told me they didn't believe me (we were Ravenclaws, after all). But their faces relaxed at my seemingly normal explination. Melting from worry into teasing.
"Right," Nora rolled her eyes at me. "I'm sure the straight O student is going to fail Potions miserably if she didn't quote the book verbatum."
"I'm not straight O! We haven't even taken exams!" I exclaimed with fake indignance. I was just thankful that they weren't going to press me anymore. One of the many reasons I loved my friends, they didn't push things. They knew I'd tell them eventually, if it was particularly important. Or I'd at least tell them when it became relevant.
This was met with another eye roll, "Whatever. I don't even know why you worry about that class. Next to Lily Evans and Darren Vance, you're like his favorite student here. You can do no wrong in Slughorn's eyes."
"Yeah," Lena agreed. "I bet if you didn't do the essay, spilled Polyjuice Potion on his favorite robes and caused the entire class to sprout massive boils all over their body - like Potter and Black did- you'd still be his favorite in our year."
It was almost true, but I couldn't laugh with them because-at the mention of Sirius's name (even just his surname!) I got jolt down my spine. Like I'd just been doused with a bucket of ice water. It was a dramatic and frankly ridiculous reaction, seeing as I'd commanded myself to get over the sod and on with my life already.
We took our seats in Defense Against The Dark Arts and I aimed to steer the conversation into a more bearable topic. I looked at Gianna Harveston's empty seat in front of me and said, "So how long do you think it's going to take Gianna to get the orange out of her hair?"
Lena snorted, "I hope it takes a month. Serves her right for sneaking in Muggle dye instead of just learning the bloomin' spell."
"She probably didn't read the directions," I told them with and eye roll.
"And she's too thick to know the spell for it," Nora giggled. She was a master at the hair-dying charm (Ahem, which I taught her) who got a good laugh out of how other girls ended up with disastorous results whenever they even attempted it or some other method.
"I hope it at least stays until the Hogsmeade visit," Lena said. A delighted smile lighting her face.
How the hell did this keep happening to me? It was like no subject was safe anymore!
I gulped as we treaded into dangerous waters. I'd been trying to block out the whole Hogsmeade-trip-approaching thing. For several reasons;
One, it meant that the holidays were not far behind and I LOATHED the holidays.
Two, I was so tangled and confused about the Sirius thing that seeing all kinds of couples getting together was not going to be helpful.
And three, I had horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that I couldn't get rid of. A feeling that I might just get asked by someone this time and it was all about to get even MORE complicated.
Any other year, I would have been ecstatic to be kissed by Sirius and even more thrilled about the fact that I may not be spending the Hogsmeade trip like I usually did. Not that hanging out with Lena and Nora was bad. Not at all. But still, it was nice to be the one with the date every once in a while.
But not when the date was going to make everything even worse than it already was.
I stayed silent as my friends debated how long it would take Gianna to come out of our dorm room. Or how long the ever-loyal Missy would nag Madame Pomfrey before she got the hint that the nurse either couldn't or simply refused to fix the blunder they made with Muggle hair dye.
"Yeah, she'll never get a date with orange hair," Nora grinned.
"She will, if she ever comes out. Blokes don't date her for her hair," I told them. "They date her because she's a garentee."
My friends burst into uncontrollable fits of giggles as the teacher came in and demanded the classes attention. Unfortunately for them, they weren't able to control their laughter and the new teacher- not wanting to seem like a pushover- took ten points from Ravenclaw and when the laughter continued, detentions.
We left the class with our heads together, the two of them muttering under their breath about what a complete joke the professor was and how it was insulting that we were actually expected to sit there attentively while he pretended to be a real teacher.
I was so amused by their grumbling that I hardly noticed someone approaching us with a rather determined air until a very large, warm hand closed around my shoulder.
"Bee, can I have a word?"
My entire body siezed up with fear. I knew that voice, I knew those hands. And they both belonged to one of the two people I'd sworn to avoid at all costs today. But, since when does anything go my way?
I turned to look up into Rabastan's liquid gold irisis. To my horror they were warm and oddly hopeful. I'd never seen him look hopeful before- normally he kept his cool. A sheet of ice seemed to have slid into my stomach and acid burned my throat.
My eyes darted around, looking for an escape, as a panicky feeling rose in my chest.
"Um... we'll just... see you back in the common room, Belle." Nora told me reluctantly and then she dragged Lena by the arm back down the corridor, leaving me with Rabastan.
Some friends. How could they leave me, knowing full well what was going to happen and what I would be obligated to say?! I needed new friends.
I gulped and tried to inhale and exhale steadily as Rabastan turned back to me with a burning look in his eyes. Oh Merlin, I was going to puke right here in the crowded corridor, I just knew it.
"Bee, will you go to Hogsmeade with me?"
For a long moment, I just stared at him. I couldn't believe this was happening to me. How did my life become so astonishingly complicated? And how the hell did I manage to get snogged by one of the hottest blokes at Hogwarts one night and then asked to Hogsmeade by another the very next day?
I was absolutely certain that, if I got ahold of a Time Turner, and went back a year to tell my younger self about this whole diabocal she wouldn't believe me. She'd probably have herself committed to St. Mungo's early so she could get a jump start on healing that brain tomber or whatever she'd believe was messing about with my mind.
"Um...." Did I really have a choice here? I mean, if I told him what I wanted to tell him, not only would I probably hurt his feelings (and despite him being a Death Eater I really didn't want to hurt him) but it would also be sure to get around. Fast. Especially with all the people who'd heard his question and had stopped to very rudely listen to our encounter. And then, I was sure to be questioned on my loyalty again.
Because if I was a good loyal pureblood girl, why wouldn't I accept an invitation to Hogsmeade from a dashingly handsome and coveted pureblood boy unless I had qualms about how the new Dark Lord was running things? That and, my mother would be livid. I knew that, the moment we'd danced at Cissy's engagement ball, she'd been spinning wild fantasies about grand weddings and the purest grandchildren the wizarding world has ever seen and bragging to all of her friends how wonderful and rich her son-in-law was. Was that where we were headed? Just the thought made me nauseous as a vivid mental picture of two bouncing babies with raven curls and melting gold eyes swam in my head.
The answer was no. I didn't have a choice. I'd known before he'd even asked the question what my answer would have to be. So, numbly, I gave it.
"I'd be delighted," I told him in a very polite voice. I tried and failed miserably to force a smile, but Rabastan didn't notice.
That's because he'd pulled me off the ground into a tight embrace.
And just as he did this, my eyes locked with a pair of cobalt blues over his shoulder. They looked nothing like they had last night. None of the desire and confusion remained in them, only hard cold steel. The lips that I'd kissed not twenty-four hours ago, so soft and warm, were pressed in a hard line. The jaw I's run my fingers down was locked tight, straining like every other muscle in his knee-weakening body. '
There wasn't a doubt in my mind that he'd heard the whole thing. And now he knew where I stood.
The war raged on.
Over the next few days, I kept my head down.
Misteltoe had been hung throughout the castle by some evil git and I became even more determined to avoid male-female interraction every second. It turns out that I was a lot more popular with blokes than I'd previously thought. It seemed as though suddenly every boy in my year (and even some in the two higher years) was interested in taking me out. (I suspected this had something to do with the fact that Sirius-who'd once been constantly at my shoulder- was no longer in the picture.) But news at Hogwarts never stayed quiet for long, and by the second day of turning down poor suitors who'd been beaten to the punch, most of Hogwarts seemed to buzzing with the news that Rabastan Lestrange was the one I said yes to.
Why they were all so shocked I couldn't understand. According to the rumors that had been flying around the castle, I'd been with Rabastan since the summer. Some had even gone so far as to say that Sirius had caught us shagging and that had caused this whole soap opera to unfold. But now, they seemed to all think that this made Rabastan and I 'official'.
So, mine and Rabastan's names seemed to be grouped with all of those couple who'd gotten together on that invisible list that the older girls of Hogwarts seemed to be keeping somewhere on their person. Maybe before we'd been in the category of eventual-couples like Lily Evans and James Potter or Kyle Vane and Rebecca Jacox and now we'd been upgraded to confirmed-couples.
It was exhausting.
I'd come clean about everything to Lena and Nora that night, after saying yes to Rabastan. EVERYTHING. All of the walls I'd built to keep even my very best friends out had collapsed in the wake of saying yes to Rabastan. I cried in Nora's arms as they tried to sooth me. But they'd never seen me this fragile so they hardly knew how.
I cried myself to sleep and woke up the next morning even more mortified than I'd been the day before. But I very quickly learned that there are huge benefits to letting your best friends know exactly what's going on in your life.
All week they'd been fiercely protective of me. They'd even kept Rosalie out of my hair! And it was much easier to avoid both Sirius and the bloke I was supposed to be dating when I had three pairs of eyes on the look out as opposed to just one.
My only complete escape from it all was Quidditch practice. My teammatesdidn't dare tease me about all of the attention I'd been getting (I'm pretty sure Lena threatened bodily harm if they even tried it) and they would never take part in the insipd gossip about the suspected love triangle I was caught in.
I was extremely gratful for this the actual morning of the date. I'd felt sick enough waking up at the crack of dawn that morning, I didn't need the added nausea of having a ribing by my team too. In fact, not one of them seemed to even remember what day it was until we got to the changing roo, afterwards.
"Stupid wanker," Arina muttered about our Captain as she pealed off her sweaty T-shirt. "Just cause he doesn't have the balls to get a date doesn't mean the rest of us don't have them. I mean, what the hell? How'em I s'posed to get pretty in time for Patrick if I've been sweating like a pig all morning at practice?"
My stomach twisted uneasily. But it had nothing to do with worry that I wouldn't be pretty for Rabastan. I'd been feeling guilty all week and everytime I thought about it Sirius's betrayed look popped into my head and wouldn't let me be.
I argued with myself internally at every pang of culpability. Why should I feel guilty for saying yes to Rabastan? What did I have to feel guilty for? Sure, he'd kissed me. But it didn't mean anything. He kissed girls all the time without it having an ounce of intrinsic value to him, so what should be different this time?
Try the girl he was kissing for start. A part of my brain argued illogically. He was never friends with any of those other girls. Certainly not BEST friends with them! So why would he kiss a girl who was his best friend if he wasn't in love with her.
Mentally, I scoffed at this naive chamber of my mind as Arina hurried ahead of Lanora, Kathleena and I to the castle.
How could she believe Sirius Black was actually in love with me when she-like the rest of my brain- had listened to the constant complaints of said individual about how the girls he snogged always took it too seriously. Had I not felt a torn sense of both smugness (that they meant nothing to him) and agony (that maybe I meant nothing to him as well) at these girls' misfortunes? And had I not had those fears of worthlessness confirmed? So what made this very deluded part of my brain believe that I was any different from the hords of Hogwarts harpies before me who'd kissed those delectable lips? Why did she insist that I was more than just another of those girls who took a good snog too seriously?
I didn't know, but I knew one thing. That look had been nothing more than his pride being wounded. His ego was so bloated that he'd probably just assumed I'd be waiting around for him-turning down blokes as he took his sweet time- to ask me to Hogsmeade.
But I, Mirabelle Rose Echols, was done waiting.
After I got out of the shower, I was still in a particularly insurgent mood. This may be why I made possibly one of the stupidest decisions ever. I decided, as I slipped into one of Nora's little black dresses, to wear the earrings that Rabastan had given me. Dismissing the fact that I didn't trust my date farther than I could throw him (and seeing as he out weighs me that's not far), I donned the earrings and the lacey white sweater thing that I'd borrowed from Rosalie ages ago and went out into the Common Room where Nora, Lena, Everett, Gabe and Leo were about to leave.
"What do you think?" I asked, spinning around once to give them a full view of me.
"Do you want him to shag you?" Everett asked, surveying me.
"No," I repressed a shudder.
"Change," all three boys said at once.
"Don't be ridiculous!" Lena scoffed, "I think you look great. Just right- not too innocent but not like a slag either."
I waited for Nora's oppinion.
She looked me up and down with pursed lips and then interrogated me. "Are you wearing the red heels or the black strappy ones?"
"I was thinking the little black ballet flats." No way was I wearing heels and falling on my face in front of Rabastan and Merlin knows who else!
"Hair up or are you leaving it like that?"
"I'm pulling it back half way."
"Are you using liquid liner for the lids or are you putting eyeshadow on them."
"Neither. Mascara, lip gloss and regular eyeliner- that's my limit."
She sighed, knowing none of this was up for debate and said, "Oh alright then, I guess you'll do. Isn't as if you actually like the bloke."
"If you don't like him, then why did you say yes?" Gabe asked thickly.
Nora and I looked at him disparagingly.
"What? It's an honest question! Why would you date someone you don't like?"
I exchanged eye rolls with Nora and then answered, "It's ... complicated."
(Alright, three out of my four hardest finals are done! So, to celebrate, I'm using the study break I decided I deserved, to update! So what do you think? Too fast? Horrible? What the hell was she thinking? Or fantastic give me more? Reviewers will get cyber-cookies! Ha ha... Til next time!
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