Time seemed to be moving painfully slow as I counted down the minutes of their dreaded arrival. Liz resumed putting away her laundry and getting dressed as I laid on her bed, arms spread out on either side of me, staring miserably at the ceiling. I cocked my head at an ungodly angle to glance at the clock again.
"Liz I think your clock is broken," I voiced, refusing to believe that it hadn't been so long ago that she ruined my day.
"It's not," she answered flatly.
I rolled over onto my stomach to look at her properly. "Are you sure? Because last time I checked it said the same thing and that was at least five minutes ago."
"I'm sure. You really need to calm down," Liz looked at me through the mirror on her vanity as she sharpened her eyeliner pencil. "You act like you don't interact with them every day."
"You don't understand! I was just beginning to enjoy my Sirius-free holidays," I whined, imploring her to grasp my dread.
"Ev, we've been off for almost a week," she reminded me with a surprised tone.
I scowled at her. "Couldn't you just pretend you felt sorry for me?"
"Now where's the fun in that?"
"Really glad to see you're on my side. Makes me feel brilliant," I responded sarcastically, my glare deepening.
Liz rolled her sharply lined eyes at me, a smile playing on her perfect pink lips. "Stop being pathetic. It's one day, then you can go back to doing whatever it is you were doing until we go back to Hogwarts."
I sighed defeatedly. "Fine. But if I have a shitty Christmas I blame you." I carelessly slid off her bed, crumpling the purple silk comforter in the process. I didn't fix it, just to spite her. "Now can we please do something so I can be busy when they get here?"
In no time at all, Liz, her sister Courtney, and I were in the sitting room, decorating the pine tree that stood just over seven feet tall. Christmas music was issuing quite loudly from the radio as we danced around the tree, lacing it with a string of white lights. I held the cardboard tube that most of the lights were still wrapped around to my mouth and started belting the lyrics, not well I might add, along with the voice of Brenda Lee. The girls laughed as I put on an over the top show for them, wild gestures and all.
What can I say, I really like Christmas. I only wish I could have saved myself the embarrassment.
Just as I had finished the last verse of Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, arms spread wide apart, reveling in the fun of my own dramatics, an applause broke out to my right. My head snapped in the direction of the noise only to be horrified. Lily, Emily, James, Remus, Peter and Sirius stood in the large doorframe looking positively elated. Bugger.
"Alright, Evangeline!" James praised, a goofy smile plastered on his face as he stepped from the group to give me a slap on the back only to my misery. "Can we see it again?"
I pulled my arms tightly to my sides, embarrassed that they were still extended. "I'm a strictly one-show-a-night kinda gal," I said, unamused.
"Good thing too, I'dunno if I could subject my ears to that again." Sirius jibed in what I'm sure he thought was a playful manner. I made a face at him, sticking my tongue out and scrunching my nose in distaste.
"I thought it was brilliant!" Peter squeaked, watery eyes big as he stared at me. Ah, Peter, my only friend.
"You know, I've always liked you, Peter," I told him proudly.
"Are you sure you won't do it again?" James asked me, trying to teeter my willpower.
I raised my eyebrow, my expression flat. "I think I'm good for the night. What are you guys doing here anyway?"
"You didn't tell her we were coming?" Sirius asked Liz, following James' lead and stepping deeper into the room.
"Oh, I told her," she reassured them. "Ev couldn't--"
"Wait for you to get here!" I cut her off quickly before she said something I didn't particularly like. "But aren't you all a bit early? I thought you were coming at noon."
"We're a few minutes late actually," Remus told me from beside Lily. I saw Liz subconsciously fix her dark hair at the sight of him and I refrained from smirking.
"Liz's mom had pointed us in the right direction just as soon as you started in on that song," Sirius said, taking a seat on the couch next to Courtney and draping his arms over it's length. "Wasn't hard to find the way after that." Sirius winked at Courtney, receiving a blush and ridiculous grin from her. I would have to warn her about boys like Sirius Black.
"We were going to say something," Lily admitted with haste.
"But we didn't think we should stop you," Peter jumped in. "You were really into it."
"Startin' to like you a little less, Pete."
"No need to be so hostile, Evangeline. Pete's only telling the truth. You were so wrapped up in your performance you didn't even notice us or what time it was," Sirius reprimanded me, though it was clear he was still trying to be light hearted. Well, you're failing! Jerk.
"Ooh, are those sugar cookies?" Emily squealed, rushing to the dish on the table excitedly.
"Where?" James exclaimed, following her to kneel around the plate gleefully. Emily, dear sweet Emily, always saving the day.
Beyond thankful for the distraction I looked to Liz angrily. "Why didn't you tell me they were standing there the whole time?" I whispered furiously, punching her in the arm to emphasize my anger.
Liz giggled shamelessly. "I didn't know they were there! You really know how to work a crowd, Ev."
I growled at her. "And here I thought you were on my side."
"How's everything coming in here?" Teri inquired, appearing in the doorway to survey the room.
"These cookies are really good, Mrs. S," Emily gushed, holding a half eaten cookie in the air.
"And there's plenty more where that came from! Now up, up! You can eat while you decorate," she commanded.
Lily stood from the floor, where everyone had congregated moments before. "What would you like us to do?"
"Why don't you four," she answered pointing to Lily, Remus, Emily and James, "finish up the tree. Liz, show them where those boxes of ornaments are and then start hanging the stockings with Peter. Evangeline," she turned to face me, "You and Sirius can trim the rest of the room with the usual. Everything is in one of those boxes over there. The garland is at the top so you'll know you have the right box when you open it. If you gang do this quickly you can start decorating the gingerbread houses!" Teri smiled cheerily and retreated back to the kitchen, Courtney in tow, where I assumed they were setting the houses up.
"Looks like we're partners," Sirius noted, standing from the couch.
I sighed. Of course, the one person I had been trying to avoid. "Looks like it. C'mon." We walked to the stack of boxes in the corner of the room.
Sirius pointed to the largest boxes in the pile. "Rummage through those over there and I'll be over here." I gave the stack an unenthusiastic once-over before turning to face him, only to find him lounging in the nearest chair.
"And what exactly are you doing?" I placed a hand on my hip.
"Supervising," he replied looking more haughty than ever.
"Oh I don't think so. If you're not going to do anything then neither am I." Pulling my wand from inside the sleeve of my left arm I pointed it in the general direction of the mound.
"Accio garland!" A shudder came from under the heap in the corner, and a large box came flying towards me. Flicking my wrist, I sent the box zooming into Sirius' unsuspecting lap, who let out an 'oomph' from the rough impact.
"I see you found it," Sirius managed to say despite the wind having been knocked out of him.
"Let's get to it then!" I chirped, with unnecessary cheer, motioning for him to open the box.
Inside was two identical strings of garland, adorned with gold dusted pine cones and poinsettias. A wide sheer silver ribbon was woven into intricate bows around bushels of shining ornamental fruit. Entwined within the garland was a cord of lights that, I remembered from last Christmas, gave it an elegant effect. Underneath the mass of fake pine, there were sets of nutcrackers, seraphim angles, and porcelain snowmen with sweet, happy faces. Amongst white candlesticks and sprigs of fake holly and mistletoe was a beautiful model of the nativity scene. It half surprised me to find that nothing was broken after my aggressive treatment.
I began to pull out various things from the box and placing them on the nearby table. Once all the contents sat before me, I gazed upon the items, organizing their set up in my head.
"Grab the garland and follow me." I led us to the main staircase, envisioning its transformation.
Before I could give any sort of instruction, Sirius handed me the end of the line. "Hold this and I'll coil the rest around to the top," he said, giving me just enough to fasten it aesthetically to the bottom of the banister. In a minute or so he returned to my side and admired his handy work.
"Nicely done," I complimented him, astonished at the quality. It was very good.
Sirius gasped, feigning a look of utter surprise. "Did Evangeline Garnett just give me a compliment? This is a momentous occasion!"
I rolled my eyes, yet retained a smile. "Yeah yeah. Just don't let it go to your head, it's big enough as is."
"And here I thought I was going to get away unscathed."
Shaking my head I crossed the hall back to the sitting room where I saw the progress of everyone else, who were admittedly much farther ahead than Sirius and I.
"I think we're gonna have to split this up, it'll go faster. Can I trust you to do things as tastefully as the garland?" I inquired.
Sirius placed his right hand over his heart, and raised his left in the universal sign of scouts. "Black's honor."
"That's what I'm worried about," I said.
He made a slight sound of protest which I ignored to scoop up a little bit of everything and exit the room to begin placing the decorations around the front foyer. Soon enough, the Slade household had been transformed into a classic display of holiday spirit. Sweeping an approving eye over my arrangement I returned to the sitting room to see the group watching James clamber up a step ladder and place the star at the top of the tree. I stood next to Sirius in the door jam and observed with the rest of the group. Once the star was securely in place, James descended the ladder and took several bows directed at each of us, muttering 'thank yous' as if he had just done something remarkable.
When his eyes came to lay on me, a huge grin split across his face. "Hey, Evan, you picked a nice place to stand."
Suddenly I felt nervous, hoping I wasn't the target of a practical joke. "What? Why?" I questioned anxiously, straightening my posture.
James' grin grew exponentially as he pointed straight up with his index finger. I immediately followed his direction and tipped my head back to see what he was indicating. My stomach dropped and I became extremely aware of Sirius' presence next to me.
"Aw now who hung that there?" I groaned. Discreetly placed above us was a stem of mistletoe. Seriously? Why would someone do that? Better yet, why wouldn't somebody warn me?
Remus smirked, a look that was foreign, yet oddly at home on his features. "Doesn't matter, you guys have to kiss."
"Not uh, no way!" I disagreed immediately, though my heart jumped at the prospect of kissing Sirius.
"Rules are rules!" Peter taunted lightly. Jeez, Pete. And I really liked you before, I'm gonna have to rethink this.
Sirius remained quiet as the group egged us on, and still I made no move towards him. I could feel my face flushing a tomato red as the seconds ticked by. Unable to listen to their cheers any longer I looked at the boy standing next to me.
"So how's Mary?" My voice was loud, attempting to remind everyone of his relationship status. Only now had I become overly aware that she was missing from our gathering. I'll admit I'm a bit slow, but she's not exactly someone I find myself wildly concerned with.
"She's in Spain for the holiday," James answered.
"Quite far from here," said Peter.
"Roughly twelve hundred and sixty one kilometers," Remus added, emphasizing the point further.
Again I turned my attention to Sirius for his reaction, only to see him gazing back at me. I shot him a look to which he shrugged suggestively and nodded his head. What kind of answer is that? In hope of some real assistance I peered at the girls, who just smiled, looking beyond amused. Gee, thanks you guys.
"Just do it. You guys are friends," Emily said. Traitor!
"Which is exactly why we shouldn't!" I reasoned exasperatedly.
"Here, I'll kiss Lily just so you can see how much of a non-issue it is."
"James Potter, don't even think about it," Lily ordered him.
Taking advantage of the momentary lack of attention while James and Lily held the floor, Sirius whispered at me. "Let's just do it, Ev. It'll get these tossers off our backs." He nodded in our so-called friends direction.
I had to forcefully keep my jaw from dropping open. "What would Mary say?" I shot back.
"She's in Spain. Besides, it won't mean anything so she doesn't have to know." My stomach clenched at his words and I hoped my pained reaction was slight and undetected. Instead of risking my voice giving me away, I nodded my head once in reluctant agreement.
"If you plonkers are done we'd like to get this over with," Sirius announced over the fight, sending the boys into a brief victorious uproar and the girls into a fit of smug giggles. Dear my so called friends, I hate every single one of you and none of you will get a single gift from me this year. Love, Evangeline.
Heart racing and pulse in my ears, I twisted my body to face his. As he leaned into me, the scent of his skin filled my nose, a dizzying combination of musk and sandalwood. His slate eyes were locked on my own and I found myself becoming entranced by their burning depth. The soft pressure of his lips on mine sent a tingling sensation up my spine and my lids fluttered closed. He lingered slightly, the grasp of his lips lightening as if he was going to pull away. Instead he regained a firm hold on my mouth, capturing my bottom lip with his teeth before relinquishing his grasp entirely. Deftly, I angled my body away from his and crossed my right arm over my stomach, bringing the fingertips of my left hand to rest on my lips in an embarrassed manner. My wandering eye met smirks from every mouth in the room and I could feel the heat rising in my cheeks once again.
"Right. Okay. Err-- that was... what you wanted, so now that's over with I'm just gonna go.. make some ginger, ahem, gingerbread houses," I stuttered awkwardly, failing miserably at keeping my composure. Sirius coughed on my left and it took everything I had not to look at him.
"I think that's a great idea, let's go!" Lily agreed enthusiastically, rushing to save me from myself. Emily and Liz followed her, leaving the marauders to trail behind.
I refrained from speaking during the construction and decoration of our gingerbread houses, appearing as though I was extremely focused on it's design. To be honest I slapped the walls together and blindly pasted random candy all over it. I was too lost in my own mind to be concerned with such trivial matters. My skin still burned, almost uncomfortably, where Sirius touched me and I couldn't help but replay what had happened over and over again in my head.
I'm not as cliché to say that I saw fireworks and stars or that kissing Sirius took my breath away, but I would be so bold to say that it felt...right. Not to mention it was bloody well the best damn kiss I've ever gotten in my life-- of course that was probably because it was with Sirius. But the more I replay it in my head, the more I feel like he wanted to keep kissing me. Then again, that could be the illusions of my own sick, twisted, masochistic psyche running away with me. All I can know for sure is that I royally screwed myself. If ever I thought I was on the road to Sirius Recovery then I've just relapsed.
Keeping myself from looking at him every couple of minutes was a much easier feat than I had anticipated, but that didn't mean I wasn't abnormally aware of everything he did. It was several times that we reached for the same thing at the same time, and I had to redirect my hand immediately, resulting in the... artistic appearance of my candied home.
Though Sirius carried on in conversations and made the occasional joke, I knew him well enough to see he was a bit more reserved than normal. I was sure that that least James noticed if not Remus and Pete as well. I wondered if they would talk about it. The four of them were extremely close and from my knowledge there weren't any untold secrets in their group. Even as an outsider you could see how deep their bond went. It was all in their body language, the way their eyes lit up at the sight of each other and how fluid was their every motion, displaying the natural ease of their friendship.
Around eleven o'clock there was a general consensus that it was getting late, and those who remained, everyone except Pete and Emily who had already left to spend time with their own families, should be getting home. We all exited to the large driveway, where I remembered the dreaded contraption in which I arrived. Stupid thing, I had half a mind to leave it here and just apparate home, but I knew my dad wouldn't be too happy with that decision, even if it was for appearances sake.
"Thanks again for inviting us, Liz," Remus said politely.
Liz smiled, positively glowing from his attention. "Of course! It was my pleasure having you here," she gushed.
"Please tell your parents it was lovely meeting them." Remus made as if he was going to hug her, but at the last minute offered a smile instead. She smiled back but I could see the disappointment in her eyes when he moved to say goodbye to the rest of us, having hugged everyone but her. I said my goodbyes to Liz and Lily, giving them each a tight embrace. Sirius was next in line and I found I couldn't avoid him any longer.
"Well have a nice Christmas then. Tell your pops I said hello," he said, stooping down for a quick, one armed hug that was beyond what one could call awkward.
I patted him once on the back before releasing him. "Yeah, right, you too." He remained standing in front of me, both hands jammed into his pockets. We didn't look at each other, but neither of us made to move.
"Oi, Padfoot, stop hogging Evan and let the rest of us at her!" James hollered. If I thought things were awkward before, they were considerably worse now. James walked up to the pair of us and rested his arm on Sirius' shoulder. Noticing our level of uncomfortableness James continued, smirking all the while. "Oh, did you not get enough of her earlier?"
"Uh, Sirius, could you come here for a moment? I have a question about... your broom!" Lily called, once again saving me. I would have to remember to send her a lengthy letter of gratitude with her gifts tomorrow.
"Ya hear that, Prongs? Lily has a question about my broom," Sirius taunted before stalking over to the red head.
"Little does he realize," James started, voice hushed. "That's my broom."
I laughed, it's high octave ringing in the night. "Have a good Christmas James, don't harass Lily too much before break's over."
"Harassment. Love. What's the difference really?"
"Goodbye, James." I opened my car door, but waited, watching as my friends flew up into the night before I shut myself inside and made the perilous drive home.
Before I knew it the holidays were over and I was boarding the train to Hogwarts with my roommates in search of an empty compartment. Once settled we arranged ourselves comfortably and jumped into conversation.
"So what did you ladies get for Christmas, anything good?" I asked leaning against the window.
Lily was the first to answer. "I got some lovely new quills, a couple of muggle books, spending money, and this," She pulled her hair away from her chest to reveal a beautiful and rather large Garnet pendant, accented with thick twisted gold vines. Honestly, I'm not sure how the measly gold chain could sport it, the thing had to be at least the size of a sickle if not a bit bigger.
I'm sure my face reflected those of my friends who were bug-eyed and full of awe. I'm also sure that if anyone had passed our compartment at that exact moment, they would have thought she was showing us something naughty. So, with this new resolve, I forced my mouth shut and resumed position against the window.
"Lil, that's gorgeous!" Emily complimented.
"It's my birthstone." Lily was beaming.
"Well that beats all my gifts, for sure," Liz said.
"Me too," I agreed. This wasn't necessarily true but I didn't want to steal Lily's thunder.
Emily nodded. "Same for me."
"Nonsense," Lily assured us. "What did you lot get?"
"Same as you, new quills, a couple books, new dress robes and the latest beauty potions from Madame Alulove's." Liz ticked the items off on her fingers.
Emily was next to speak, also listing her items similar to Lily's and Liz's. "I didn't get any books, my parents knew that would be useless. I mean really, when was I supposed to find any time for pleasure reading as a seventh year? I did however, get a new cage for Ulaid."
"That's right, didn't he chomp through one of the bars last summer?" I asked, laughing.
"I believe it was two," Lily corrected me, eyes glittering.
"He doesn't like being in there for too long! It's not my fault, I asked Ray to let him out for a few hours every day while I was gone, but apparently he forgot. Poor thing was dying to get out and stretch it's wings."
We laughed as Emily fretted over her owl. We had all heard the story a fair few times, and each time, her feelings on the matter seemed to deepen. To this day she still rows with her brother about it.
"Well let's hope his cage is a bit bigger this time around then," I teased. Emily stuck her tongue out at me, to which I smiled sweetly.
"So, Ev, you still haven't told us what you got," Lily told me, absentmindedly playing with her necklace.
"Oh, well let's see, Casey got me a couple muggle books, a bottle of perfume, and a few rings, like this one I always wear." I flashed them my right hand. My pointer finger sported a silver ring that covered my finger from knuckle to knuckle. It was a fruit tree, cut so you could see my skin through each branch, a few of them with little round pieces of metal acting as fruit. It was my favorite ring of all time, I rarely took it off. "But Papa G outdid himself this year."
"With what?" Liz was eager, as I hadn't previously told her what he got me.
Moving my legs off the bench and swiveling to face them completely, I leaned forward for effect, looking at each of them individually to build the anticipation as an excited smile took it's place on my mouth. Finally, when I thought they'd suffered enough and were positively itching to know, I let them have it. "A Nimbus Seventeen-Hundred."
The girls, though not particularly interested in Quidditch, or flying for that matter, let their mouths drop. It was much the same reaction I'd had when I opened it Christmas morning. To say the least at the risk of bragging, it was an expensive broom, the newest on the market. I was bound to be one of few, if not the only person at Hogwarts to have one.
"Well," Emily started, leaning back against the cushions of her seat. "I'm not worried about the Quidditch cup this year."
My shrill laugh filled the compartment. "Were you ever concerned about Quidditch?"
"Of course I was!" Emily defended. "If not only for the bragging rights.." She added in an undertone.
"Regardless if we were interested or not before, we definitely are now. You haven't told James yet, have you?" Liz asked, clearly interested in my response.
"No, not yet, why?"
"Brilliant. Because I definitely want to be there when you do," she said somewhat evilly.
"Speaking of which, it's about time I round him and Remus up for the prefects meeting," Lily said, utter disappointment etched into her beautiful features. She picked her wand up from the seat and stood, marching unhappily from our company.
The ride continued uneventfully as we waited for the train to pull into Hogsmeade station. I was surprised that we had yet to see Mary, but Liz reminded me that she was probably catching up with Sirius. Really, couldn't they wait at least until we got back to the common room? Scratch that, it's better they do it where I can't see them.
I looked out the window to see night had fallen, a tell-tale sign we should change into our robes. We only had about fifteen or so minutes before we arrived and people usually waited until the last possible second to change, which meant we had to hurry if we wanted to get an open changing room and not have the pressures of rushing. Soon enough the train came to a stop, and we gathered our belongings from the overhead racks.
Being back at Hogwarts made me realize how little time I had left to spend there. It was already January and that meant that we-- all of the seventh years that is-- had a little over half a year left of magical education before we were shoved into the ever treacherous world, forced into taking responsibility for ourselves. It made me nervous, though I hated to admit it. I'm independent, yes, but I'm not quite sure I'm ready to fend entirely for myself.
The war was getting worse, the names of the dead, injured and missing increasing with each issue of the Sunday Prophet, and I, like any sensible person, was scared. I was a half-blood with a fairly powerful, 'blood-traitorous' dad in the Ministry, and a muggle sister. We were targets and there was no use in denying it. I shook my head silently, dispelling those thoughts from my mind. I didn't like to think about it and it would do me no good in the long run.
I pulled my coat tighter around me against the cold January air. With Lily at the helm, each of us dragged our belongings to the drop off area. Emily opened Ulaid's new cage and gave him an owl treat before he took off for the owlry. Watching as it gracefully flew away had me vaguely wondering if my own owl, Naira, made it to Hogwarts yet. Placing my trunk next to Em's, cage on top, I quickly joined my friends in search of an empty carriage. Unfortunately, our only options were to split up or join a single, which were hard to find. Luck, however, seemed to be on our side when Emily found one for us anyway.
"Do you mind?" She asked the girl.
"No." Was all she said in response. As we piled in I noticed her watching us behind her thick framed glasses. She had an air of superiority about her, and I could already tell I wasn't a fan.
"Thanks," said Lily, taking a seat across from our bespectacled peer. "I'm Lily E--"
"I know who you are." The words came out quickly and biting. Yep, she's a bitch.
"Oh," was all Lily managed to say after she'd been snipped. Poor Lily, she was only trying to be polite.
"You're Lily Evans, muggle-born, Head Girl, part of the Slug Club, unusually good at Charms, overly sweet to the point of brown nosing, and the only known female to reject James Potter." Lily's mouth fell slightly open at the summary of her character.
"Name's Morgan Silverkin, Ravenclaw seventh," she informed us, giving her mud brown hair a satisfactory toss.
"Super!" I said with fake enthusiasm and an even faker smile. Did I mention I had a wee bit of an attitude problem? Morgan's eyes snapped to mine, looking me over.
"Let's see. Evangeline Garnett, half-blood, seeker on the quidditch team, also part of the Slug Club, best subjects include Charms, Transfiguration, and Potions, should have been in Slytherin with that personality of yours but settled for the title of resident Gryffindor bitch." The smile Morgan gave me was awfully similar to the one I offered her just moments ago. I, unlike Lily, was quick with my response, not taking a moments hesitation in letting her have it. Sometimes I think I get a little too much enjoyment out of confrontation.
"Favorite color blue, likes to read, sings in her spare time though not well, preferred time of day is night. Oh-- would you like my home address as well? Or maybe you'd prefer my exact birthdate which is October twenty-ninth, nineteen fifty nine, born at exactly eleven fourteen A.M. Gee," I said, bringing a finger to my chin and knitting my eyebrows together in faux concern. "Would it be easier if I just sent you my file?"
Morgan huffed, clearly offended by my mockery and crossed her arms moodily, turning her back on us to indicate that she would no longer be participating in any conversation we held during the ride. When the carriage creaked to a stop, she practically jumped through the door.
"Bye Morgan!" I called, raising the attention of everyone within a six foot radius. After all, I was waving enthusiastically, a huge, ditzy grin on my face, while the girl stalked off angrily. "Like, save me a seat, okay? Stupid cow." I muttered the last part, so only the girls could hear me.
"Are you okay, Lily?" Liz gently asked.
"I'm fine, really," assurance ringing in her voice. "Though the Ravenclaws might be a little more than miffed when they see their hour glass."
"Lily Evans!" Liz exclaimed, a wicked smile on her face. "Are you telling me that you used your Head Girl authority for," she paused dramatically to see if there was anybody in earshot. "Evil?" she finished in hushed tones.
"I will admit to no such thing!" She testified, looking absolutely offended. "It just so happens that we highly frown upon the harassment and unjust profiling of students here at Hogwarts."
"Oh, Lily, you're a girl after my own heart," I told her fondly.
The next morning came fairly too quickly, if you ask me. I was one who preferred to sleep all day, and would, if given the opportunity. Unfortunately, in a dorm full of early risers, this was never an option.
"Evangeline," Emily sang at me sweetly.
"Go away," was my groaned response.
"As much as I'd love for you to sleep to your hearts content, you've got to get up," she lied. I knew she hated it when I slept late, she's reprimanded me for it more than once, even taken it upon herself to wake me up at what she deemed an appropriate hour on the weekends.
"I'm tired, let me sleep." I turned my head on my pillow as a sign of finality. It didn't do much, seeing as I slept on my stomach and a silly little head turn isn't exactly the best way to shut someone out.
"Evangeline Rose Garnett, if you don't get out of bed this instant I will march straight down to the Great Hall and tell everyone you fancy Quinton Cobbs!"
I shot right out of bed. "I'm up, I'm up! Don't leave without me, gimme fifteen minutes." She always knew how to get me.
Quinton Cobbs, though terribly friendly, wasn't exactly one of the most sought after blokes in Hogwarts history. To put it nicely, and this is seriously a sweet as I could get, he looked like something that belonged in a zoo. Or a circus sideshow. Now don't go thinking I'm that shallow just yet. No, my fear of Emily prancing her pretty little face down to the Great Hall and spreading a terrible fallacy such as that was attributed to the fact that Quinton Cobbs has had an abnormally large crush on me since second year, and his stalker-like tendencies were not something I wanted to encourage. Flattering? Yes. Welcomed? Fuck no.
In record time I was showered, made up, sufficiently groomed, and following the lead of the others for a spot of breakfast before classes began. We made our way to the Gryffindor table, finding a break on the bench for us to fill in. I sat next to Remus on my left and Lily on my right, Liz directly across from me, and Emily from Lily. I had still yet to see even a glimpse of Mary, and the girl was in my own damn dorm.
"Good morning, Evangeline," Remus greeted me in between bites of scrambled eggs.
I smiled. He really was the sweetest thing. "Hi, Remus. How was the rest of your break?"
"It was quite enjoyable. Did you do any more singing?" The slightest hint of a smirk appeared on his face, and his hazel eyes twinkled at the memory of Christmas Eve.
"Only to my toiletries," I admitted, decidedly taking the embarrassment in full stride.
"Ah, I see they're getting a special treatment then. I have to say, James won't be too happy about that," He commented, his eyes still shining.
"I suspect not," I said dryly. "Speaking of which, where is James? Or the rest of your friends for that matter?" The other side of him, I noticed, was void of all three of the remaining marauders.
"They fancied sleeping a bit more, but I don't think the breakfast feast could dispel them much longer." As if on cue, the three boys came strolling in, albeit running to the table to secure their spots and fill their plates.
"You'd think," I pondered aloud, "that having three feasts a day would become less of a novelty by at least third year, but apparently, I would be wrong." We all watched as they jumped into their seats, and began ceremoniously loading their plates with everything in sight and stuffing their faces.
Remus looked almost as disgusted as I did. "So it would seem."
"Say, Evangeline," Liz's voice rang out quite clearly. "Don't you have something you'd like to tell James?" Her expression was as innocent as ever, though I knew otherwise.
At his name, the boy in question swiveled his head in my direction and peered around Remus, mid-chew. "What's she on about then, Evan?"
I rolled my eyes in her direction, knowing she only brought this up now to get a sick pleasure before classes began. "Why thank you, Elizabeth. Without you I might have forgotten." With this I returned my attention to James. "I think you'd be interested to know what I've received from my father for Christmas this year."
All the boys cast me a curious look, slowing in their actions to hear the conversation. "So what is it?" He asked, shoveling another fork full of egg into his mouth.
"A Nimbus Seventeen-Hundred." He, and the rest of the boys, respectively let their mouths fall nearly to the table. Unfortunately, they all still had food they weren't quite through chewing.
James dropped his fork and it clattered to the table, though his hand stayed perfectly still in the air. "I'm sorry, I must have heard you wrong. Did you say your father got you a Nimbus Seventeen-Hundred for Christmas?"
"Sounds like what I said, yeah."
"Oh, Evan, I could kiss you! And your father!" To say he was elated was an understatement. His face was absolutely swimming with glee, and I don't think I've ever seen this much of a spark behind his glasses since fifth year.
"I'm not too sure either of us would appreciate that," I laughed. "But thanks for the offer." By now Liz had lost it, and I could see that she did indeed get the sick pleasure she was looking for.
"So have you given it a spin yet? What's it like? Marginally how much of a difference between that and the Fifteen-Hundred? Could I possibly try it on for size? Of course it's fine if you say no, I'm not sure I would let me either," He spewed questions on me, slower than I was sure his brain was coming up with them.
"Slow down there, tiger. I haven't even gotten around to putting it back together yet, it's still at the bottom of my trunk," I told him, trying to calm him down in the slightest bit.
"What do you mean 'put it back together'? What happened to it?" Sirius looked mortified at the thought of such a beautiful broom as that in pieces. Apparently I did not hush their qualms, but fed them.
"Nothing happened to it!" I said a bit surprised.
"So why's it in pieces at the bottom of your trunk?" James asked, still looking absolutely fearful that the now best broom on his team was seemingly broken.
"Well I had to get it here somehow, didn't I?" How did they think I was going to travel with it, fly it alongside the bloody train? Carry it along with my trunk and Naira's cage where it could get trampled? Not bloody likely.
James carried on, refusing to see logic. "But, Evan, it's in pieces. How are you going to get it fixed before practice on friday?"
"What's this? And coming from you, James? How appalling! And to think, you call yourself our quidditch captain. What kind of captain doesn't know how to service their own broom?" I mocked him slightly, though there was a fair bit of truth in my words. Had he really never given his broom a good strip down?
He didn't quite blanch, but he was at a bit of a loss for an explanation. "Well, I mean, I tried it! On some old school brooms of course, but couldn't get it to work right after! And besides, I'm sure there aren't loads of people who can do it either!"
"Yeah!" Agreed Sirius, as if James was leading some sort of speech of enlightenment.
"No need to lose your head, I'm just surprised is all," I said, laughing somewhat. "I thought if I could do it, you surely could." I shrugged and returned to my own plate.
There was a squeak from the right of Sirius, where Peter sat. "You know how to service your broom? So it's not broken?"
I looked up to see them to be all sufficiently shocked, once again. A quick glance at the girls told me that they were less than interested in the subject of this particular conversation, but watched nonetheless in hopes of James making a fool of himself.
"Yeah, dad had me doing it since I was eleven. Well actually a bit before considering it was right after mom left. I think it was his way of simultaneously coping and introducing me to the magical world," I said. Was it really that big of a deal?
Before anyone could answer, however, we were finally graced with Mary's ever-so missed presence.
"Hi, everyone!" She chirped, kissing Sirius on the cheek before squeezing in between him and Peter on the bench. "What's got everyone's kneazle in a knot?" She looked at each of the appalled faces at the table.
"Evangeline, over here has just about knocked us off our respective high hippogriffs, if you will," Remus stated lightly, still recovering from the bit of trivia.
"Jeez, Ev, what'd you say?" I was too busy staring at her to answer though. Spain had really done her some good and I mentally kicked myself as I took in her newly tanned skin. Her brown hair had been lightened by the spanish sun, and even through our figureless school robes did she manage to retain her admittedly fantastic body. She looked like a dream. Too bad she's dating the man that starred in mine.
"Apparently she can perform a full service to a broomstick," Sirius explained, the next one to begin fulling grasping a hold on reality.
"Oh, that?" Said Mary, waving it off. "She does one of those just about every two months in the dorm."
"That often, really? How come?" James inquired with new fervor.
I tore my jealous blue orbs from Mary's brown ones to answer. "The broom lasts longer. If you noticed I had my Nimbus One-Thousand and One for quite some time. I couldn't bring it to Hogwarts as a first year, but that's when I got it."
"Incredible," Sirius breathed. Quickly, however, Mary took his attention away from me and they began acting sickeningly like a couple at Madame Pudifoot's. I took that as my cue.
"Well I'm just about finished here. You coming, Remus?" I announced, looking at him expectantly. We shared Ancient Runes together first set on Mondays.
He smiled, patted his mouth with a napkin accordingly and gave a slight bow. "After you."
before you say anything, i know i know, i used the cliché "forced kiss" but i couldn't help myself! besides, every author is entitled to at least one little cliché every here and there, right? reviews are love people, leave me some :D