Spring is here, the sky is blue, the story is set May- June, GoF, and I hope readers enjoy this fic as much as the other two! Tonks gets poetical later in the chapter, lol, but I couldn't wax poetic enough to describe how grateful I am to everyone who's ever read and reviewed my stories. Once in a Blue Moon and A Wolf in the Moonlight aren't required reading for any new readers, just highly recommended. Anyone wondering if Sirius will surface in this story, yes, he will, during a memorable camping trip in Scotland. :D
Exclusive bridal boutiques were an abomination unto shopping. They turned what should've been a female bonding experience into a dull spectator sport. It was awful. All the imported tea and coffee in London didn't make Lora's decision to go designer easier to bear, and I knew who to blame: my cousin's wedding planner. She pretended to have Lora's best interests at heart, but the gleam in her eyes gave her away.
Johanna Fuss was a tiny, grey-haired Napoleon. It was because of her that the bridal party had an appointment to view bridesmaid gowns on a Friday night. I shifted impatiently on one of the dainty, uncomfortable salon chairs and tried not to look at my watch again. It didn't make the time go by faster.
On my left, Cousin Rita shook her long fringe out of her eyes and whispered, "If I ever run across Fuss-budget's car, I'm giving her a ticket even if the meter's got time left on it. I should be out celebrating Cinco de Mayo, not sitting here feeling my arse go numb!"
I snickered. "You're not Mexican, and that was Wednesday."
"I like Mexican food, and when Lora finally makes a decision, believe me, I'll be celebrating."
"What do you think of this dress, Tonks?"
I jerked upright like I was back in Potions and Snape had just called on me to answer a question. While the bride-to-be looked at me hopefully, the wedding planner lifted a pencilled brow and said, "I think Boule de Feu over ocean would complement everyone's skin type."
"Yeah, well, I think red on blue will make us look like a bunch of grapes." The moment the words left my mouth, I wished I could take them back. My fellow bridesmaids glared. I could hear teeth grinding when Lora asked to see yet another dress.
Rita kicked me. Technically, she nudged my ankle, but she had wickedly pointy shoes. I rubbed my skin and muttered, "Sorry! It's not my fault Lora can't decide on style or colour, and I don't know why we have to have to suffer through fashion shows either."
Behind me, Cousin Amy whispered, "Look at Mum nodding at every word Fuss utters. She's under that woman's evil sway even more than my sister."
I knew several counter spells, but everyone except me was Muggle, and I didn't know how to counter non-magical witchery. I slumped down in my chair and silently vowed not to say a word against the next dress.
An hour later, Rita accidentally stepped on the back of my heel as we left the boutique and headed to a nearby pub. "Couldn't hold your tongue, could you?"
The cousins behind us giggled. Rita had invited everyone to join her for a drink, but Amy, Liz and I were the only ones who accepted. I narrowed my eyes at them and said, "Pardon me for not wanting my baps squashed down."
Liz, who was barely legal and yet got asked to show proof of age less than I did, said, "I didn't fancy the thought of looking flat-chested either."
"That's because you just got them and want to show off," joked Amy.
"Hey, I'm nowhere near the late bloomer Tonks was," Liz said with a grin. "When did you finally need a bra, cuz? Sixteen?"
"Fifteen," Rita answered for me. "Remember that family picnic and the boyfriend who stared at Tonks's chest after the water balloon fight? I thought I'd die laughing when Uncle Ted made her wear his shirt over that see-through tank." Once the laughter died down, she bumped my shoulder with hers. "What ever happened to Farrell? Do you keep in touch? You could hook me up now that I'm single again."
I shook my head. "Sorry, Rory Farrell's off the market." It made me smile to remember lunch at Jimmy's Pizza last week. Rory had announced he was now managing only the legitimate family businesses. Remus and I had seen Rory and Jenna at the jazz club several times since Christmas. They said Melanie and Jonas often minded Danny for them. I was sincerely glad they were all happy.
"Too bad, he was gorgeous," said Rita.
She was looking kind of down, so I playfully nudged her with my elbow. "You dare bring up my tank, you, the woman who wore a black thong under white shorts last summer?"
"Hey, with all the pretty women in this family, I don't mind fighting dirty to get a man's attention," Rita said with a smile. It faded when she added, "Too bad I couldn't keep it."
The reminder of her split with Paul cast a shadow over the group. We'd all thought they would be the next couple headed down the aisle. Relieved to recognise the lights of the pub ahead, I wrapped an arm around Rita and said, "First drink is on me!"
Seated at the bar an hour and a half later, I told Liz, "You got lucky with that last dart. I would've won that match for sure."
"Sore loser!" she accused with a wide grin.
I wagged my finger at her. "Watch it, or I'll tell the barman your ID is fake."
She tossed back her long, dark hair. "I don't think he'd care as long as something else isn't fake."
Rita, who had been drinking Margaritas steadily, burst into laughter. "He's a man, cousin, he doesn't care what's fake as long as it looks good." Her tone had a bitter edge as she asked, "Did I tell you Paul's new girlfriend has a set she's proud cost the same as her parents' cruise to the Bahamas?"
Amy put down her wineglass to hug her cousin. "I'm sorry he hurt you. I know how much you loved him."
Rita shook her head. "I don't love him anymore. I hate him. I even wrote a poem about how much I hate him."
We were starting to attract attention. Maybe it was the volume of our conversation. In some bizarre fashion, alcohol acted like a Sonorous Charm. I asked our friendly barkeep for another Mexican beer and then said, "No. Don't even think about it, lovely Rita, mental meter maid."
"Maybe it would help," Liz piped up. "Like therapy."
Rita tossed back her drink and called out, "Who wants to hear a poem?"
Apparently, most of the pub did. Encouraged to become entertainment for the crowd, my cousin stood on the bar and began to recite, "I hate the way you're so damn vain, and always check your hair."
I climbed up and put my hand over her mouth. I was booed. After flashing my critics a vulgar hand gesture I told her, "No! A poem shouldn't be about hate. It should be about love."
She licked my palm. I wiped it off against the skirt Aunt Bess had insisted we all wear, like bridal parties had to dress garden party. "Yuck!"
Rita took a breath and belted out, "I hate the way you lied to me, and said you'd always—" She paused to take a breath. Her face scrunched up as she cried, "—care!"
She sobbed as I helped her down to a mix of uncertain clapping and multiple offers to help her get over the bastard. My cousins gathered around.
"He's not worth it," Amy said.
Liz nodded. "Love is over-rated."
My jaw dropped. "Excuse you, no, it isn't!"
"Wasn't what you said a year ago."
I grabbed my drink and took a long pull before pointing the bottle in emphasis. "That was when I was just as ignorant as you are, little girl."
Liz smirked. "Oh yeah? Well, if your Remus is so great, why don't you write a poem about him to cheer Rita up, then?"
Amy and Rita were looking at me expectantly. I said, "Get me a serviette and a pen, and I will!"
Another beer and a quarter hour later, I was standing on the bar, reciting my innermost feelings to the crowd. There was a heartbeat of silence, and then applause. I bowed and fell forward. Luckily, a brawny guy in a rugby shirt caught me and set me on my feet. I looked at his face and said, "Didn't I see you at a rock concert a few months back?"
"I don't think so."
I shook his hand. "Thanks anyway."
My cousins wrapped me in a group hug. "That was beautiful," Amy said.
Liz's face lit up. "You should tell him."
"Who? Remus? I will, first thing tomorrow."
"No, right now," said Rita, wiping her eyes. "Maybe if I'd told Paul I loved him more, I w—wouldn't hate him so much."
That made perfect sense to me. I tucked the poem into my bra, because only my ID and some money fit into the tiny pockets of my mini skirt. "Right." I kissed them all soundly on both cheeks and marched outside to find a cab.
It felt like the journey took forever. Muggle taxis were so bloody slow. The only good thing about the delay was that I got to practise my poem until I could recite it by memory. The cabbie said it along with me on the last go and wished me luck when I got out. I blew him a kiss and looked around for a rock to throw at Remus's window.
The spell I'd used to hurl the bloody thing must've been a wee bit off. There was now a hole in the window of Remus's lounge. It did the job, though. Within moments, Remus had thrown open the sash and leaned out to say, "Nymphadora?"
I waggled my fingers and used a Sonorous Charm so I wouldn't wake the neighbours by shouting. "Wotcher, Remus!"
His robe wasn't tied very securely. I could see lots of skin. I thought about telling him to take it off so I could see more, but he distracted me by asking, "Why didn't you walk up or Floo to see me?"
I rocked back on my heels and swayed a bit. Ruddy shoes cost a mint, and the stability charms were rubbish. If I hadn't got them on sale over a year ago, I would've taken the shoes back. I scowled at them before looking up and smiling. "I can't come up because I'm serenading you, silly!"
"Serenading...you're going to sing?"
I felt my lower lip begin to stick out. "You don't want me to sing?"
"If you want to sing, I would love to hear you."
I pressed my hands to my heart. Remus was so gallant. I wished I could see his face better. I loved his face. It was so handsome. I squinted to try and improve my vision. "I'm not going to sing, I'm going to serenade you...with...a poem."
My pauses had been for dramatic impact. His seemed to be for a different reason. I told myself he was impressed with my talent. Nodding slowly, so the imbalance caused by my wonky shoes wouldn't make me fall over, I reached into my bra and waved the serviette. "I wrote it in the pub. Look! It took the front and back."
Ha! I knew it! Remus loved me for my mind as well as my body. I told him, "Everyone in the pub thought it was brilliant, and my cousins said I had to recite it for you, too, so here I am!"
I peered up and thought his mouth was open, but I couldn't quite tell if he was smiling. His voice sounded funny when he repeated, "Everyone in the pub?"
I didn't want to brag, but I felt Remus should know how he had inspired. "Everyone. There was even a moment of silence when I finished." After a minute, I said, "Kind of like yours, except followed by clapping." I tucked the poem back into my bra and said in response to the strangled noise he made, "I don't need it. Really, I don't. I know the poem by heart!"
I sighed. My knees were wobbly, and it had nothing to do with faulty footwear. Telling myself I could melt into a puddle later, I called up, "Are you ready?"
"Serenade away, fair maiden."
I did what I had only imagined in the pub. I looked at Remus and said, "I love the way you say my name, and how you hold me tight."
I smiled and took a step forward. "I love the way you're in my thoughts and in my dreams at night."
My equilibrium was precarious at best. I decided not to move anymore. "I love the way you smile at me. I really love your hair."
I caught a flash of white. He was smiling!
I grinned. "I love the way you are with kids, the way you teach and care."
He said my name on a sigh.
I started to get choked up. "I love the way you hold my hand, your tender, gentle touch."
I paused and threw my arms wide for the grand finale. "I love everything about you. I love you so damn much!"
My extravagant gesture caused me to topple back and land on my arse. My legs were sprawled unladylike, but I didn't care. Unless he had omnioculars, Remus couldn't see my pink knickers. Not that I'd mind if he could see them. They were pretty and matched my bra.
"Are you all right?" asked Remus, kneeling beside me. He must've Apparated. I loved the way he was so concerned. I loved him so much I started crying. He smoothed my mini skirt down and ran his hands over my legs. "Did you hurt yourself? Are you in pain?"
"No, it feels good," I said, smiling to see him smile. Remus had a beautiful smile. It lit up his face like a sunrise, or a sunset, or something else shiny and wonderful.
"Then why are you crying?"
A tear trickled down my cheek. "Because you make me so happy!"
Remus lifted me to my feet. "You make me happy too. That was a beautiful poem." He shook his head. "And to think you wrote it in a pub on a serviette." He lifted my hand to his lips. "Thank you."
"No, thank—loo!" I exclaimed, running for the stairs. "I need to borrow your loo!"
I came out of his lavatory chewing a brushing/flossing mint. Remus was making tea in the kitchen. He asked, "Feeling better?"
I nodded sheepishly. "I wasn't sick, I just had to...you know...after four beers in two hours."
I counted on my fingers and crooked a pinkie. "Yeah, and half a margarita. Gave the rest to Rita." I giggled. "Senorita Rita Margarita, that's a silly name."
Remus chuckled. "Drink this, novia bonita."
I reached for the mug. "Did you just say I was pretty?"
"Yes, pretty sweetheart."
"Aw..." I tried to put my hand to my chest and promptly sloshed tea onto the blouse.
Remus quickly dampened a kitchen towel. "Here, this will—what are you doing?"
"Taking this off. I can't remember a dry-cleaning spellsie right now, and I don't want the tea to stain my bra." I pointed. "Siren's Secret, got it at Christmas. D'you like it?"
"What there is of it, very much."
I glanced down at what the demi cup revealed as much as supported before telling him, "That witchy wedding planner tried to make us pick a dress that would turn these into pancakes. I had to say no, didn't I?"
His lips turned up at the corners. "Absolutely."
Ha! I knew it! Remus loved my body as well as my mind. I threw my arms around him. Kissing him gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling, but I wanted more. I slipped my hand down and tugged the belt to his robe loose before pushing the annoying fabric off his shoulders.
"Nymphadora, you are putting me in an unfair position."
My dreamy smile at feeling his skin pressed to mine faded. I looked down. He was in his boxers. My smile returned. "OK, I'll make us even."
He tried to grab my skirt, but I'd already wriggled out of it. When Remus bent to pick it up, I dropped my bra onto the pile. He was so tidy. I would've left the clothes on the floor. I hugged him the instant he straightened. "You are hot...in so many ways. Kiss me."
Remus made a cute growling sound and pecked me on the lips.
I pouted. "That wasn't a kiss."
"Yes it was," he said, stepping around me and walking into the bedroom.
I followed, hands on hips. "Not a French kiss."
He looked at me, closed his eyes, and pivoted sharply toward the wardrobe. I kicked off my heels, got comfy on the bed and asked curiously, "What are you doing?"
"Finding you a t-shirt and me a pair of pyjamas."
"But I want to sleep like spoons, skin against skin."
Remus made that growl-y sound again. It was adorably wolfish. He turned to me, shirt in hand. "If you don't wear this, I won't be able to sleep."
I sighed deeply. "Fine." When he just stood there, staring at me, I asked hopefully, "Did you change your mind about the clothes? Which side of the bed do you want?" Remus blinked and then tossed me the t-shirt. I sighed in disappointment and lifted the fabric. My mood shifted into happiness again. I swung my legs off the bed and bounced in glee. "MegaMaggot! My favourite!" I pulled it on and lifted the hem. "Pink and black look good together, don't they?"
I blew my sweetie a kiss.
He abruptly headed for the lav. "I'll be back after a shower."
I was half asleep when I felt the mattress dip and Remus's body at my back. I stroked the arm he wrapped around me and mumbled, "Baby, you're cold."
"Only temporarily, I'm afraid."
I giggled. "You're funny."
"The thought of my being hot and bothered amuses, does it?"
His tone was playful, but I still worried. Shifting to face Remus, I asked, "Am I bothering you? Do you want me to go home?"
"What big eyes you have," he murmured, before pressing a kiss to my eyelids. "I want you to stay."
I played with his hair. It was silky. "You have strands that look like silver moonbeams, or starlight, or something else sparkly."
"They're grey hairs, and I've earned every one of them."
"Cause of being a werewolf?"
He traced my features with a fingertip. "And other stresses."
Remus's smile did lovely things to my insides, and I told him so. He chuckled. "Thank you."
My eyes started to mist. "I should thank you for being so loving and patient." I placed my fingers on his lips to stop his protest, saying, "No, I mean it. We've been together for ages, and we're still spooning instead of sha—"
"Shhh. We love each other and will make love when the time is right, and that's worth waiting for."
My heart melted. I began tearing up again. Wiping my eyes, I confessed, "You know, I have this vague suspicion I'm plastered."
Remus softly pressed his lips to mine and then said, "You know, I have this vague suspicion I'm madly in love with you." He kissed me again and I got the brilliant idea to sneak what he'd denied me earlier. Remus' chest started shaking when I darted my tongue inside his mouth, but I didn't mind him laughing at me. Happy with my French kiss, I scooted back around and drifted off to sleep. I heard him whisper and smiled contentedly. I really did love the way he said my name.
I awoke alone and grumpy. I didn't have much of a hangover, but I felt better after drinking one of Remus's Morning After potions. The tetchiness vanished when he entered the bedroom, coffee in hand. I drank in the aroma. "Mmm...I love you, Remus John Lupin."
"And I have the poem to prove it."
I stopped reaching for the mug and buried my face in my hands. "Did I really serenade you last night and do…all that other stuff?"
"I would show you the broken glass as proof, but I already repaired it."
I peeked between my fingers. He was grinning. I accepted the coffee and took a drink. "I guess I should be grateful I didn't spout poetry in front of my workmates."
"Are you saying you wouldn't stand on the bar in the Iron Shackle and proclaim your love in verse?"
Remus laughed at my appalled expression. I put the coffee on the side table and threw a pillow at him. "Watch out, or I'll stand on the Ministry steps and recite." I caught the pillow when he tossed it back. "I would, you know."
I slid off the bed and kissed him good morning. I sniffed. "Are you cooking bacon?"
"Mmm... You make me hungry in lots of scrummy ways." I took off the shirt and handed it to him.
"What are you doing?"
I opened my eyes wide in exaggerated innocence. "I'm going to take a shower." I strolled into the lavatory and leaned back against the door, giggling.
"I hear you, Nymphadora."
I laughed out loud. He said, "When you get out of the shower, perhaps you'll explain something to me."
I heard the smile in his voice and felt my cheeks stretch in response. "What's that?"
"There's a crossed out line on the serviette. It looks as though you had started to write a second poem. What was it going to be?"
I looked into the mirror. My entire torso was pink. I tried to sound nonchalant. "I have no idea."
"Really? Think about it. Maybe this will aid your memory. The first line went, "There once was a man named Remus..."
I scrambled to engage the hot water charm. After my shower, I found my clothes on his bed, nicely folded. I dressed and entered the lounge, smiling to see him sitting in a chair in the dining nook, his mother's book of fairytales in Latin open on his lap. "What are you reading?"
I concentrated a moment and then grinned to see Remus's astonishment when my hair flowed down to the floor. I shook a length of it at him. "I'd let down my hair for you anytime."
He chuckled. "Aashi wanted to know why the girl didn't hack off her hair and use it for a rope to escape the tower."
I returned my hair to its usual short, spiky hairstyle. "What did you say?"
Remus extended a hand. I took it and was tugged down to sit on his lap. "I told her Rapunzel wasn't smart like her. That she didn't know the prince loved her for much more than her hair."
I kissed him for being sweet, and then said, "Perhaps the prince had one thing on his mind and it wasn't a pair of scissors." I added with a smirk, "Or maybe he didn't know how to use his sword."
Remus gave a bark of laughter. It took us both a moment to realise someone was knocking on the front door. He frowned. "Sirius wouldn't be returning from Hogsmeade."
I reluctantly climbed off his lap. "No, Cami's visiting him this weekend."
He rose and went to answer the door. "I hope it's not Morty again. You don't owe Farrell any more favours."
It wasn't my uncle. It was my best mate. Julia Clearwater, voted Best Dressed at Hogwarts, wore denims with a rip at the knee and had barely run a brush through her blonde hair. I knew something was terribly wrong. Before she could speak, I said, "Come on in."
A/N: Special thanks to WriterMerrin, for casting her editing eye over this story! I wanted to open this story in a different way from the other two, so must give oodles of thanks to Lady Bracknell. I read Under the Table the same weekend I watched Ten Things I Hate About You and the combination of concepts, inebriation and poetry, inspired my brain to come up with this chapter. When I told her about it, Lady B joked about looking forward to a poem rhyming "Remus", which made a limerick immediately come to mind. I also have ladyofthebookworms to thank for asking that "You know, I have this vague suspicion I'm madly in love with you" be used somewhere in the story. Since it fit right into a scene, I was happy to do so. :D I hope readers enjoyed it and let me know with a review!