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I puffed and panted into the library twenty minutes after I left the Marauder’s at the common room. I was so busy stomping my way to the library that I didn't realise until it was too late that the staircase was switching. I ended up on the fifth floor when I needed to be on the second.

Now as I have said, I’m not that great when it comes to fitness. In fact, I would say I am crap. And you would agree. Merlin himself agrees.

When I realised how far away from the library I was and how Aiden might think I was standing him up, I may have thrown a small tantrum.

Only a small one!

It involved me kicking a suit of armor, only for it to chase me down the hallway for a bit while I ran screaming in terror.

Like I said, only a small tantrum.

Anyway, by the time I made it to the library I was late. And red. VERY red. Like tomato girl red. Great.

I began looking around the quite busy library, hoping that Aiden hadn’t decided that I was a terrible friend who had decided not to show up. Just as I was about to give up hope I found his messy dark brown hair at a table in one of the far corners.

When I say I found his brown hair I hope you know that his head, and the rest of his body for that matter, was attached to it.


I hurried over to him while willing my red face to de-red itself. I don't think it is working. Not surprising, it never does. Sigh.

Aiden was busy reading his charms textbook as I slipped into the chair next to him. “Hey Aiden!” I said cheerfully.

He jumped at the sound of my voice and looked momentarily surprised. Then he looked pissed. Angry, not drunk that is. I wish he was drunk then maybe he wouldn't be mad at me for nearly ditching him by accident. Stupid stairs!

“Hey,” he said flatly before returning to his book.

Great. Bloody great. I just get Sirius to take his grumpy pants off, (wink wink), just for Aiden to put them on! These boys are more moody than girls I tell you!

“Aiden,” I say in a soft 'I'm sorry' voice.


“Aiiiiiden” I whine in a 'don't ignore me' voice.


“AIDEN!” I practically shout in my 'practically shouting' voice.

A loud chorus of “SHHH!” is hissed at me from various students.

“Oh SHHH yourselves!” I snap while waving around my index finger in some crazy shushing motion.

Everyone looked quite alarmed before turning back to their studies. Rolling my eyes at them I slowly turned to look at Aiden.

He was looking at me with a small smile and I nearly swooned off my seat.

Ohhh he is so good looking! He has this dark hair that is messy but in a sexy sort of way. These amazing green eyes that can one minute be all dark and brooding and the next they are all soft and caring. Not to mention he has the whole bad boy Slytherin thing going on. Plus he seems to have forgiven me!

“Do you know you are terribly hard to stay mad at?” he asked, his small smile turning into his full grin and I swooned all over again.

Don't get me wrong, Remus is still the most swoon worthy guy I have ever seen. But Aiden is definitely in the top three. Sirius is the other one. But we won't ever tell anyone that. His head is big enough already.

I shrugged nonchalantly and said, “What can I say? It's a skill,” before laughing at Aiden's snort of laughter.

“Sorry I'm late. The stairs changed on me and there was this whole thing with a suit of armor...” I involuntarily shuddered at the memory, “But I made it! I'm sorry if I made you think I wasn't coming,” I patted his hand comfortingly. Aiden looked down quickly at my hand on his and I could have sworn I saw him smile. Feeling a little weird, and not knowing why, I pulled my hand away.

“It's okay I guess. I got a head start on that essay Flitwick wanted us to write anyway. Have you started yours?” Aiden asked, having looked up when I took my hand away.

“Not yet,” I said a little gloomily. Homework always made me sleepy. And bored. And annoyed.

“Want to work on it together?” Aiden asked sweetly.

I smiled at him and said, “Sure! Only if we can do the potions essay as well. I was supposed to do it the other night but I was... distracted,” I said smiling at the memory of our girl chat.

                                                                    * * *

“The library will be closing in five minutes!” said the librarian.
“Wow is it already nine thirty?” I asked Aiden who also looked surprised that two hours had flown by. It was so easy to talk to Aiden.

“Guess we had better go then,” Aiden said, looking a little disappointed. We slowly packed up our finished essay's and made our way out of the library with the other students.
Walking slowly behind everyone else, Aiden continued to make fun of me. He seemed to do this a lot but not in a mean way.
I think.

  “Okay, fine! I agree that it is weird to like cockroach clusters! Happy?” I asked, finally giving up and admitting that they weren't the most popular sweet.
“Very. I always win,” Aiden said with a smug look on his face. I just rolled my eyes at him.

  I realised just how slow we were walking when we found ourselves at the end of the empty corridor, the other students from the library having already gone off towards their common rooms.
“This is where we part I guess,” I said to Aiden, looking up the flight of stairs that I would have to take to take me towards Gryffindor tower. Why exactly I have to live in a tower is beyond me. I mean do you know how many stairs that is? A lot is the answer.
“Shaylee... There is something I have been meaning to ask you...” Aiden said rather awkwardly.

 Uh oh. What does he want to ask? God I bet it is going to be 'Why am I friends with you?!' or 'Why are you such a weirdo?' Just as I was about to shout at him, 'I can't help it okay!' he said something completely different.

 “Do you... I mean... Are you like... with Sirius?” Aiden asked while looking down at the ground.

 I looked at him like he had spontaneously grown horns.
What? What?! And also, WHAT?!
“What?!” I asked, completely surprised.
He looked at me for a second before looking back at his shoes. “I just mean he always has his arm around you and you always hang out with him now...” he somewhat mumbled.
I continued to stare at him like he was crazy before I burst out laughing. I couldn't help it! I mean, me with Sirius? No way! He is good looking and an amazing friend but I just can't see us ever happening. Also because I think me going out with Remus' best mate would send Remus the wrong 'I'm available' signal.
“I'll take that as a no then,” Aiden said rather happily.
“That is a definite no,” I said smiling at Aiden.
“And that's the same for Lupin then?”
I suddenly froze and nearly fell over. Oh Merlin, why! What am I meant to say to that?
It will not be, 'We are not dating but if he asked me I would run through the Great Hall screaming in delight'.
Definitely not that.
Ohhh no. Aiden is looking at me suspiciously. Quick brain! Say something!
“No! I mean, no we are not. We are all just friends,” I said quickly while trying to act normal. “Friends who do friendly things like... be friends...” Oh god! Shut up mouth! Before I could stop myself I asked, “Why do you ask?”
Aiden looked at me wide eyed for a split second before his normal calm look returned. What was that all about?
“I was just, you know, wondering if my friend was dating anyone, so I know who to hex if they hurt you!” Aiden said jokingly and wrapped his arm around my shoulder in a side-ways hug.
“My hero!” I laughed while wrapping my arm around his waist.

 At that moment Lily and James decided to round the corner. They were all smiling and laughing. Together! Not shouting and hexing each other but SMILING and LAUGHING. And they were alone. Very suspicious.
When they saw us they stopped their suspicious smiling and laughing and looked a little startled to see Aiden and I.
“Uh, hey Shaylee,” Lily said looking at me with raised eyebrows. “And hey Aiden,” she then looked at our arms around each other. James was also looking with a rather confused look on his face. Ohhh no. This is the second time tonight that James has seen me with a guy. He is going to think I am some sort of tart who just flings herself at boys! But I am not! I barely know how to talk to boys!
“Hey guys,” I try to say with a calm voice. I tried to subtly move away from Aiden. “What are you guys doing here?” I asked.
“Prefect patrols,” James answered. “What are you two doing here?” He asked.
“Just having a casual game of Quidditch,” I joked, trying not to seem awkward.
James and Lily laughed but Aiden seemed a little offended.
“We were hanging out actually,” Aiden said with a little bit of an edge.
James looked a bit affronted at first at Aiden's tone and I knew James wanted to bite back a remark but he shrugged and said, “Cool. You had better get back to your common room before curfew, wouldn't want to have to give you a detention,”
Aiden gave James the look of death and they had a sort of mini staring contest. Oh lord, what if they have a throw down?! I don't even know what a throw down is but I am sure it is not good.
Deciding to break up their whole staring thing they had going on, I quickly said, “Wow I am tired!” I fake-yawned very badly. “Better be off to bed! Night Aiden, see you!” I waved like a crazy person at Aiden who looked confused before he turned and walked off in the opposite direction.
He didn't even say good night! He definitely has his grumpy pants on. Great.
Not wanting to give Lily or James the chance to question me, I gave them a quick wave before I nearly ran up the stairs.
What is going on? Did Aiden really think I was going out with Sirius? Or Remus? Ha, I wish!
I do actually. Shut up.
I know one thing for sure, I have to subtly talk to James and make sure he knows I am not some floozy. Just someone who gets hugged a lot... At the wrong moment.


                                                                    * * *


Ten years later I finally reached the common room. Okay, okay so it wasn't exactly ten years, more like ten minutes. But it bloody felt like ten years! I think I might have to take a crack at exercising again. God, I already feel the pain.
As I climbed through the portrait hole I ran into something quite hard. I stumbled backwards and was just about to topple over and embarrass myself further when a pair of hands grabbed my shoulders and pulled me forwards. With an 'OOF' I fell into the person in front of me and we both went toppling to the ground.
Well this is sort of nice. I am pressed against someone's chest while I sort of lay on top of them. This isn't awkward at all. NOT!
They do smell really nice though. Wait a minute... I know that smell... Remus!
I slowly looked up and saw Remus smiling down at me. Oh Merlin, is this really happening? Has Remus really saved me from falling over and I am now laying on top of him?!
Well, is it?!
It is.
Oh my God. What do I do? Do I leap away from him like some demented leaping thing? Knowing my luck I will trip over my feet mid-leap and crash into the sofa. Maybe I could just sort of roll off of him? He is so comfy though.... Wait what am I doing?! Nothing is the answer and Remus is still smiling at me. I'm melting! My legs have gone to jelly and I don't think I will ever be able to walk again.
Ohhh great. Now I can hear Sirius laughing. Fabulous. I can just imagine how this would have all looked. Ridiculous I suspect. Now all I need is for James to walk in and see me in another suspicious position and my life will be over. Thank god he is on prefect du-
He has just walked through the portrait hole with Lily. He is staring at me. Lily is staring at me. I think Remus is staring at me also because I am still on top of him. Great. Just great. Get off him you fool!
I tried, and failed, to get off of Remus in a graceful fashion. It was less graceful and more bumbling idiot. I was saying stupid things like, “I am so sorry Remus! I didn't see you! And then I lost my balance and-” while I got to my feet and fixed my skirt.
I caught sight of James and practically shouted, “It's not what it looks like!”
He looked at me with raised eyebrows. I know what those eyebrows were saying. It is like that crap old saying, 'Eyebrows say a thousand words' or whatever it is.
They were saying, 'Shaylee I think you are the tartiest of tarts and should be locked away so you can not attack any more boys.' That is what they said. Trust me.
“Here mate,” Sirius said as he held out his hand for Remus to help him up. I forgot to help him up! My face was so red by now that I just wanted to crawl under a rock and die.
“I'm sorry!” I said again to Remus. He looked at me and smiled his lovely smile. He isn't even angry with me! Even after I pretty much squashed him. Is it possible to like him even more?
It is.
“It's okay, I was trying to save you from falling over but it didn't go quite to plan,” he laughed and smoothed out his shirt.
I had to control my drool.
“I don't even want to know!” James said with a smirk as he walked past me and flopped into the closest armchair. Peter, who I just noticed, was sitting next to James and he smirked along with him.
“I don't think I do either,” Lily said and she winked at me. I gave her a small smile and telepathically told her I would tell her everything later. I don't think she got my message. Oh well.
Remus and Sirius took up their seats next to their two friends and James asked, “Have you girl's done that Charms essay yet?”
Lily said she hadn't finished hers. I didn't say anything because I was hoping that he would invite us to sit with them.
“Did you want to do the essay together?” James asked us both with a hopeful smile. Yes, yes and yes!
I didn't shout out YES! Like I was in my head. Instead I shrugged in a really casual way and said “Sure,” and Lily did the same. We are as cool as two cucumbers. Cooler even.
The four boys smiled at us and got their stuff out of their bags. Lily and I sat down. I may have sort of shoved Lily in James' direction so she had no choice but to sit next to him. She can thank me later. I casually sat in between Remus and Sirius. They didn't seem to mind so I got comfy by wiggling around to find the comfiest position. They both looked at me before they burst out laughing.
What! I just want to be comfy. Am I the only one who does that? Whatever. I am nice and snugly now in the middle of two fit boys. Maybe my life isn't so terrible after all.
“So, does anyone have a clue what this essay is supposed to be about?” Peter asked while looking down at his unrolled parchment as if hoping words would magically appear.
“Non-verbal spells and we are supposed to describe a real life situation in which they would be useful. I chose a surprise attack on your neighbour,” I said without really thinking.
“I thought you said you hadn't done yours yet,” Sirius said with a suspicious eyebrow raise.
“Noooo, Lily said she hadn't done hers. I finished mine earlier with...” I trailed off. Bugger, I didn't mean to tell them I had been with Aiden.
Though James had seen us earlier so it isn't like the cat is still in the bag. They were all looking at me expectantly. Well Remus, Sirius and Peter were. James and Lily were smirking at my discomfort. They really do belong together those two. They are both horrible friends!
“With who?” Sirius asked.
“With Aiden...” I pretty much mumbled in the hopes they wouldn't hear me and would suddenly lose interest.
Didn't happen.
“Aiden? You mean that McKinnen bloke from Slytherin?” Sirius asked in slight outrage.
Automatically getting defensive I said, “Yes him! So what if I was?”
Sirius opened his mouth to say something but closed it again when Remus elbowed him in the stomach. What was all that about?!
I looked at Remus questioningly. He sighed and said, “So he doesn't say anything to make you mad at him again.”
Well then.
Not really knowing what to say I just smiled at Remus before frowning at Sirius.
“I know you don't like him but he is my friend. We did our essay's together in the library and he didn't try to convert me to Slytherin-ism or anything,” I joked.
“Sure that's all you did,” James fake-coughed under his breath.
Everyone turned to look at James. I wanted to murder him. I am going to hurl myself across this table and bloody kill him.
“What do you mean?” Peter asked while looking from James to me then to Sirius and Remus.
James didn't say anything but was smirking at me. When he saw the look on my face his smirk dropped quickly. He began to look a little worried. I narrowed my eyes. He cleared his throat uncomfortably.
I hate James Potter.
We stared at each other. Well I say stare but I was flat out glaring at him. I can't believe he said that! He is so annoying! Aiden and I were just hanging out and he just so happened to see us sharing a friendly hug. I glared harder and mentally willed to make his hair catch fire or something. It didn't work but I am sure I looked scary in a mentally ill way. Eventually he looked away. AHA! I win!
I still hate him.
Everyone was looking from me to James and back again. Sirius looked a little shocked and asked, “Are you going out with that prat- I mean McKinnen?”
Oh my God. This is a nightmare surely. First Aiden asks if I am dating Sirius and Remus. And now Sirius is asking if I'm dating Aiden! What do they think I am? Some sort of super tart?! Three boys sounds like a lot of work. I just sat there and opened and closed my mouth like a deranged goldfish, completely lost for words.
Remus looked at me and quickly looked away before saying, “Uhh, so what are you going to write your essay about Sirius?” In an obvious attempt to defuse the tension and break the awkward silence.
Sirius ignored Remus and continued to look at me expectantly. Why does he even care! Why does anyone care?! No one has ever cared before and now everyone wants to know and I don't know what to do! Help?
“Heeeelloooo earth to Shaylee!” Sirius said and waved his hand in front of my face. It snapped me out of my inner panic and I slapped his hand away.
“No I am not dating Aiden okay! I'm not dating anyone! I am dateless!” I suddenly said and instantly wanted to take it back.
Way to make myself sound like a dateless loser.
Everyone stared at me for a second before they all cracked up laughing. Why are they laughing?!
Once they had all stopped laughing (meanly) at me Sirius said, “Well that's good to know. Means we don't have to hex him!”
I looked at him for a second before I shook my head and rolled my eyes.
Boys! That is pretty much what Aiden had said. They are obsessed with hexing people. Weird.
After that everyone relaxed and began a conversation amongst themselves, though no one dared to bring the topic of Aiden back up which I was grateful for.
I tried to join in the conversation as normally as I could but I kept catching Remus and Sirius glancing at me. Stop it! I didn't shout that at them because I don't want them to think I am some crazy shouting type girl. I did silently curse James though. It made me feel a little bit better.
An hour passed and everyone had finished their essay's except for Peter. Remus threw down his quill onto the table and stretched out his arms over his head. Ohhh my. I may have snuck a little peek... Okay you got me! I sort of stared. But you would have too!
I quickly looked away pretty sure no one had seen me. That is until I looked towards Lily who was still sitting next to James.
James was looking at me with his stupid raised eyebrows again. He had seen me! He started smirking again.
“Don't smirk at me you... you... smirker!” I shouted at him, my anger finally coming out. I wish I had thought of a better insult than smirker. It was the best I could do okay!
James opened his mouth to say something but I cut him off.
“Don't even try it James Potter. You have said enough tonight!” I slammed my book on the table and grabbed my bag. “I'm going to bed,” I said to Lily, not even looking at James who was looking shocked at my outburst.
“Shaylee...” Lily tried to say but I ignored her and stomped off to bed.
Stupid James Potter and his stupid big mouth. He is so stupid! UGH!

                                                                  * * *

The next day I tried to avoid three things.
1. James Potter. Anything and everything to do with him from his name to sightings of him.

2. Conversations about Aiden.

3. Situations in which I could embarrass myself.
I have come to the conclusion that I am very crap at avoiding things.
The first thing Lily asked me in the morning involved two of the 'Forbidden Three'. She had caught me off guard while I was hopping around our dorm room trying to pull my sock on. Alice had left ages ago so she could, 'casually bump into Frank'. Demelza was in the shower singing horribly. Honestly, she makes my ears cry.
“So you never did tell me what happened last night with you and Aiden. When James and I walked in on you two you looked pretty chummy,” Lily said with a waggle of her eyebrows.
I froze mid-hop with my sock half on and stared at her.
“Nothing happened!” I exclaimed in a low whisper. “We were just hanging out like two friends would.”
“But he had his arm around you,” Lily whispered back.
“Yeah, so? I didn't know putting your arm around someone instantly meant you were madly in love with them!” I pulled my sock on properly and straightened up. “Now can we drop it?”
“Wait, why are we whispering?” Lily asked in her normal voice, only just realising we had been whispering for the better part of the conversation.
I shrugged. “I don't know, you started it,” I said and grabbed my bag.
“I did not! You did!” Lily said indignantly.
“No, I think you will find that you did,” I said and gave her a sly grin. Further conversation of Aiden and/or James Potter successfully diverted!
“What? No you did!”
Lily and I continued our little argument downstairs and into the common room where we nearly ran into the Marauder’s. They were at the foot of the girls staircase and looked as if they were waiting for someone. At the sight of Remus my heart gave a little leap. Though, he was looking a little paler than normal and he had the beginnings of bags around his eyes. Hmm, I hope he isn't getting sick!
Though I would be happy to look after him...
Stop it brain!
“Shaylee, I wanted to talk to you...” James said while he stared down at his shoes.
My things to avoid list is not doing so great at the moment.
Still angry at him from last night I ignored him and tried to push past him. Well I tried. He is a very solid and stubborn bloke. Not to mention Sirius was on his left side while Remus was on his right, both with their arms crossed and grinning down at me.
“What, are you two like his bodyguards or something?” I asked with one hand on hip, trying not to smile at them.
“I guess you could call us that,” Sirius said and flexed his muscles. I saw a passing fourth year girl, who was so busy checking out Sirius, accidentally run into a wall.
“James wants us to make sure you hear out his apology,” Remus said with a heart stopping smile.
I wanted to fling myself at him and say 'I'd listen to anything for you Remus!' but I restrained myself. Just.
Instead I folded my arms and stared at James until he looked up at me. Ooooh no. He is looking all sad and sorry! He has a pouting lip! How am I supposed to stay mad at that!
“I'm sorry for taking it too far last night Shaylee. I explained to everyone once you left that nothing was going on and I was being a stupid prat,” James said with such sincerity that I instantly forgave him.

What can I say? I'm a sucker for the pouty face.

A/N: You might be happy to know that the next chapter is already written. Shocked? You're not the only one. :P

Thank you so much for reading! And again, thank you for all of the amazing reviews! I love them and they get me in the mood to write. So thank yoooou! xo

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