Chapter 8: Scandals in the Moonlight
Suddenly I bolted for the castle; like a cornered animal, I thought blithely.
I didn't get very far before each of my arms became prisoner of two other pairs of arms. I looked to my left and right quickly, eyes wide, to see the grinning faces of James and Sirius. I thought that they could only be mocking me for my behavior.
"Why in such a rush?" asked Sirius.
"We only want to talk," said James.
"Talk to me?" I asked. "Pardon me if I don't want to bloody believe it."
Sirius and James looked at each other simultaneously, eyebrows arched. In their silence, Peter stepped in front of me and said in a friendly tone, "It's true. Let them talk."
I screwed up my nose but didn't say anything. Despite being one of their mates he had never given her cause to be rude toward him.
"What are you lot doing?" asked a shocked voice. I looked up from Peter to see that Remus had joined them. I had never been more relieved to see him.
"We were just going to tell her the good news," Sirius said innocently as he and James relinquished my arms.
"It's posted in the common room now." Remus turned to look at me. "I was actually on my way to tell you the news too."
"What news?" I asked, my heart fluttering with excitement. "The Quidditch tryouts…?"
"Practice is tomorrow night, right after dinner," Sirius informed her with a smile.
"Don't be late, Beater," James added and the three of them moved away, leaving only Remus and myself.
I barely noticed their departure; I felt shocked. I hadn't expected to get the position. Once it processed through my mind a huge smile spread across my face. I looked up at Remus, who was smiling too.
"Congratulations," he said.
"Wow," I breathed. "I hope I don't let them down."
"I don't believe James or Sirius will allow it."
"Jodie either." I laughed.
Remus was silent for a moment, during which his smile began to falter. I immediately knew that a heavy thought had entered his mind.
"Today is Thursday," he said quietly. "Do you remember what happens in two days?"
I felt my heart drop into the pit of my stomach. "Oh…Yes, I remember." The full moon. It felt like it had only been yesterday that the first one happened. They would spend the weekend in the Shrieking Shack, Monday as well.
"Can't say I'm looking forward to it," I said with a wry smile.
"I would think something's wrong with you if you did," Remus replied with a slight laugh. I smiled.
"Lacelin! There you are!"
I looked around Remus as he also turned to see who had called. Lily was waving to me as she approached. Angelique Kincade followed her, looking elegant in her fall jacket and boots. I fought a frown.
"Did you tell her?" asked Lily as she stopped beside Remus. Angelique stood to the side, looking over the grounds with disinterest.
Remus nodded to her and then said to me, "I'll talk to you later."
I nodded with a smile, and as he walked away Lily tackled in a hug. I returned the gesture, feeling a grin tugging at my lips.
"It's so exciting!" she said as we stepped back.
"You failed to introduce me to Remus, Lily," Angelique interred. Her appearance in the conversation immediately dampened the mood.
Lily gave an apologetic half-smile. "I'm sorry. I was just so excited for Lacelin—"
"Yes, very exciting," Angelique dismissed. She didn't even glance in my direction. I looked pointedly at Lily, who flashed a wry smile before beginning to talk to Angelique again, trying to garner her forgiveness. I had to fight the urge to roll my eyes; she was quite the drama queen, this Angelique Kincade.
x x x
I was doing it again. I couldn't say how many times I had removed my planner from my bag to stare at the next couple of days, but it seemed like every other moment I was catching myself with the little book open. There was nothing extraordinary about it; all I had written was a reminder about Quidditch practice. But under the words" Saturday, October 18, 1975" was a circle and the dreadful words "Full Moon."
This time, as I looked down at it glumly, the planner suddenly disappeared; swiped out from under my nose by Lily. She held it closed in one hand, frowning at me as she said, "Quit doing that."
I huffed, pursing my lips at her before replying, "I can't help it. It weighs heavily on the mind, turning into a beast."
"Not funny," Lily said sternly, pointing at me with the top corner of the book. She dropped it down into my open bag between our chairs and then clasped her hands together on top of the table. Professor Flitwick was trying to find some parchment or another, and while he picked up books and unraveled documents the students decided to take a break and began chatting.
I didn't want to talk about the full moon, didn't want to think about it. Remus had said that there was no getting used to the change. That meant I could expect the same excruciating, bone breaking, muscle realigning pain that I had the first time. Just the thought made my blood run cold.
A change of subject was in order, so before Lily could think up some type of advice or encouraging words, I asked, "So how is your budding relationship with Angelique Kincade?" I was quite proud of my imitation of her accent.
It was Lily's turn to huff and sigh. She hung her head for a moment, her red hair falling onto the tabletop like a curtain of fire. She flung it back over her shoulder as she turned to look at me again. "She's hard to…keep up with."
My laugh came through my nose as a disdainful snort. "That's an understatement."
"Of the century," Lily added, and then laughed when she saw the small smile on my face. "Are smiling at my misery?"
"You volunteered for your misery," I reminded her.
"Yes, but my misery fancies Remus."
I sputtered, I couldn't help it, and then my gaze darted around the room to be sure that nobody had overhead. James and Sirius were in this class with us, but luckily they sat way in the back while Lily and I always occupied the front-left table.
"She does?" I didn't mean for there to be so much surprise in my voice. Remus was extremely attractive—it'd take veritaserum to make me say so out loud—but he didn't seem to be Angelique's type.
I glanced over my shoulder at James and Sirius, who were levitating items from Flitwick's desk, just frustrating him and prolonging his search since he had to stop to scold the boys. Sirius was more Angelique's type, I thought.
I sat up straighter as I said, "Well…" I paused and deflated. "Oh well."
"'Oh well'? No, no 'oh well'!" Lily scolded. "Remus is yours."
I laughed loudly, once, and then lowered my voice. "Lily, he's only my friend. Besides, it ceases to matter if he likes her, right?"
Lily opened her mouth to say something but at that moment Flitwick thrusted the newly found parchment into the air with a triumphant "Aha!" For once I was relieved to have class start back.
x x x
I thought the second full moon would be easier, but I soon found that out to be false. My nerves were as bad—if not worse—than they had been that first night. I followed Madam Pomfrey and Remus quietly, focusing on the mundane task of walking so as not to let my mind wander.
Without a word Remus and I settled into our spot on the four-poster bed, our bags spilling their contents around us. Amongst my books were a couple books on theoretical werewolf curse remedies.
Remus picked up the eldest tome. Its once green cover faded was covered in patches of brown. The spine cracked like a pecan shell when he opened it.
"Have you read it?" I asked after a few moments of silence.
He nodded as he idly turned the pages, glancing at each page's content for only a moment before moving on. "I thought the more I knew the easier this would be."
I felt my heart fall; I thought the same. "I assume it didn't?"
He thought for a moment, obviously waffling between two thoughts. Finally, with a shrug of his shoulder, he replied, "No, but it is worth knowing."
I took the book back and looked down at the old cover; the title couldn't even be read anymore. I put it with the other books and reluctantly reached for my Potions book.
"Do you think you could help me with my Potions essay?" I asked as I turned my head to meet his gaze. I was surprised to find him staring at me already, a small smile on his face.
I blinked, unsure how to react. "Um…"
At being caught Remus averted his gaze and flushed, stammering, "Sorry." He cleared his throat before explaining, "I just…wanted to say…I'm glad I don't have to do this alone." He glanced at my eyes but instantly diverted his gaze again.
I felt my cheeks heat up with a blush, but at the same time a smile tugged at my lips. "I don't know what I would have done without you."
"You would have been fine," he said, now able to meet my gaze. "But it's good to be with someone who understands…"
I don't know what came over me in that moment, but suddenly I had the courage to hug Remus. There was something in those sad eyes of his that made my heart flutter. As I wrapped my arms around his shoulders I knew that what I saw was happiness. Who would have guessed a curse could also be a blessing?
For a split second he tensed and I felt that I had done something terribly wrong, but then I felt his arms wrap around me and we both relaxed.
I didn't want to let go. I felt enveloped in a blissful warmth—a feeling of comfort that caused me to smile. But to prolong this contact would suggest too much, so I pulled away from him, my mouth turned up in what I hoped was a friendly smile.
The first thing I noticed was the pink tinting his cheeks, and then the small smile on his face, but he didn't look sheepish, he looked—
He turned and picked up my Potions book, breaking eye contact. I frowned in confusion.
Remus must have thought I was frowning at the prospect of doing my essay because he said, "C'mon, it isn't that bad. I wrote mine in an hour last night."
He was right, it wasn't a difficult essay, but having to sit next to Remus after our "moment" was so distracting that I finished hours later, when the moon was about to rise.
I closed the door to the spare bedroom and walked to the window, gazing up at the moon through the cracked glass. It was far from the earth, shining like a night light in the distance.
And I felt the beginning of the change.
x x x