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Chapter Twelve, Dress Rehearsal

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Dance is a song of the body.
Either of joy or pain.
~Martha Graham

Black was not Black anymore. He was Sirius. I couldn’t help it, it didn’t feel right to call him by his last name anymore. Yes, he was kinky as hell, and drooled after practically all the good looking bimbos in school, but he was nice when he wanted to. I doubted he ever had a girl as a real friend, because he eventually ended up dating her, and then dumping her. So I was happy to be his first. The conversation in the hospital wing was not going to be the last deep talk we had. It was the first of many.

Sirius promised he would help me to figure out the stuff about Remus, or at least make it more comfortable than it was. Because Remus and I were not speaking that much to each other any more… It was awkward. Because I had been rejected and knew I still had feelings for him, and Remus because he rejected me and had started to date Gwen.

The little talk I had with Sirius in the hospital wing was freshly in my mind. My head was racing about what I had said that evening, or more correctly, didn’t say… But I chose to let that rest in the waiting room of my head, because the dress rehearsal was getting closer and closer. I didn’t really have time to think about much but that.

I sat thinking in the library, hoping she might enter through the double doors. I just longed to see her face again, I hadn’t seen her in a long time. I felt as if I had become addicted to her bright face. It was as if she became more and more attractive every time I laid eyes on her, like the night she danced to that piano-music.

I made sure nobody saw me before sneaking over to the restricted section. But the grumpy librarian happened to pass just as I was about to slip in between the row of books…

“Johnson? What do you think you’re doing here?” she said, peering up at me. She was a very short woman with layers of clothes covering her, her rectangle spectacles resting on her long nose.

“I was about to go find you,” I smiled falsely at her, straightening the tie around my neck. “I wanted to ask you if I could get into the restricted section for a book on advanced flesh eating plants, I want to do better in Herbology. It’s getting quite hard now in seventh year, you know.”

She screwed up her eyes even more and searched for signs of dishonest features for a moment, before her face softened.

“Of course! I know you’re a trustworthy student, so I’ll let it pass. Just find your book and let me sign a sheet for you so you can have it for a while. The books on that subject are pretty thick if you want to do a thorough job…”

I thanked her and walked in.

Herbology… Yeah right. I read on the spines of the many dusty books running along in the shelves, almost desperate to find what I was searching for. I had read a lot about it already, but I had to be sure if I was going through with the idea that had developed in my mind the last few weeks. I was still unsure if I would be able to do it. It would take a lot of energy and even more risks.

After a while I carefully dragged out a book being placed next to “Moste Potente Potions”. I flipped the book open and hurried through the index to find the chapter.

“It has to be there…” I murmured.

My eyes widened and I pressed myself even further into the corner so nobody would notice me as I found it. I hurried through the paragraphs, trying to remember every word of what I read. After a couple of minutes I pressed the book back in place. I quickly found the book on flesh eating plants, leaving the restricted section.

The more I thought about it, the more I realised how hard it would be. I had to test it in some way, just to make sure it worked. Soon Evans would be in my arms… and nobody would be able to separate us.

It was dinner-time, and I was careful to have a real meal, after madam Pomfrey’s request. Hillary almost watched me with a stunned expression on her face as I tucked in. So did Anna, and Sirius, and Potter, and Pettigrew, and Remus, and practically all the people sitting along the Gryffindor table. I saw Dorothy Hill and her friends whisper among themselves, probably waiting for my body to grow three sizes as I worked my way through the food.

“Wow, I haven’t seen you eat like this in … ever!” Anna gasped. “It looks like you haven’t tasted food for weeks.”

I laughed and had another bite of my Yorkshire Pudding. It was delicious. For once I didn’t care about the calories. I didn’t care about my diet book. All that was on my mind was the food on my plate.

I ate so much we were one of the last people to leave the Great Hall. As we left I saw many people smiling at me, and I smiled back. Maybe they thought me normal now? Nah… Maybe that was too much to hope for. Hillary wanted to take a walk while waiting for the stage to be sat up later for the show, so we walked to the lake and back.

“Lily? Why didn’t you tell me about Remus?” she said, scanning my face.

Then I suddenly remembered I had been too busy to tell her. I had been so into dancing I forgot all about my two best friends.

“Honestly, I forgot. I was too busy … but yeah, I like him, and he found out. And then he said something that made me so confused I was down on the bottom for days. Practically, I still am, because things are not back to normal.”

“He told you it would never be the two of you, right?” Hillary whispered.

“Who have you been talking to? Remus?” I said, a little surprised.

“No … Actually, Black told me,” she said, avoiding my eyes.

“Why would he tell you that? It had nothing to do with you?” I frowned, curious to know what was going on.

“He was worried about you, Lily. And he told me so I could talk to you about it. Everyone has noticed the two of you aren’t really getting along the way you used to. You don’t laugh together the way you used to. You don’t hold each other the way you used to. You’re not spending as much time with each other as you used to. You’re more quiet and avoiding. Of course I’m worried!”

“Ok, ok…” I stopped her.

Hillary gave me a resigned sigh and stopped up, leaning onto a tree.

“On a scale one to ten, how much do you like him? One is a little, teeny weenie crush, ten is madly in love.”

I thought for a while, searching for the right number to put my emotions in.

“I’m not really sure… About six or seven, I think.”

“Ok, over five. That’s serious, in other words.”

“Pretty much,” I said, grabbing her hand and starting to walk back.

“Why do you think he’s all strange now, then?” Hillary asked me as we were almost back.

“Probably because he has something going on with Gwen, and he knows it’s hurting me. And I think he is mad at himself as well, for rejecting me, even though he meant it was best.”

I felt my eyes go wet again, I hated it when I couldn’t control my emotions. In this case, I had no control at all. That made me so unstable.

I found my wand and circled it around my pointe shoes, colouring them pearly blue. I opened the little closet in the room backstage, looking at the beautiful costume. It was a Royal Blue leotard, with kind of a short dark skirt attached to it. I looked at the tiara lying next to my shoes. It was stunning. Was I really going to wear that?

I was starting to get tired, the rush behind stage the last hour had been stressful. As the second class ran off stage, I walked onto it, preparing to do the final dance.

Lindsay sat in the almost empty audience, guiding me through my solo. I had my costume on with the matching enchanted shoes, but I didn’t bother to put on makeup or do my hair properly.

“Yeah, that’s great, but try stretching this hand a little bit more, and watch your turn-out in the pose after the balances… And be careful to remember tightening your stomach-muscles in the pirouettes, because that makes it easier to balance.”

She sat there casually in baggy trousers and a long sleeved jumper, kind of making her look lazy. I liked that look, it was so laid back.

“Yes, that’s much better. Lovely arabesque… We’ll have another run-through since this is the last dance in the programme.”

I went back to my starting position, waiting for the music to start.

Then I saw a familiar face in the end of the room…

Remus’s figure stood by the double doors, smiling at me. I was close to starting at the wrong place in the music, but I managed it narrowly. I jumped into an allegro and continued with the poses and turns. Next followed the pas de bourrée section, and I almost lost the count as Remus steadily moved closer. I didn’t know why I felt this nervous around him, but there was something different. I did the pirouette, only a double, and the jumps ending in a high pose. Remus sat down at the front row, smiling at me. I courou’ed over to the left side, did some balances and the arch with the back which I liked so much.

When I finished, he applauded and grinned.

“Brilliant, Lily. You’re free to go now,” Lindsay smiled, calling for the costume-assistants.

“Hi…” I said awkwardly, walking over to Remus.

“That was amazing, Lily,” he said in awe, standing up and hugging me.

I still felt awkward, and I think he noticed it. Why was he suddenly hugging me? He had been talking to me almost like he used to, just not as much, but physical contact he had been avoiding.

“What’s the matter?” he said, holding me at an arms length.

I creased my eyebrows in confusion. “Nothing,” I said, pulling him back into the embrace.

What was this? Had he forgotten about the not-daring-to-be-too-close-to-Lily-thing? Relief flew over me and I didn’t let go for a long time.

“So, what have you been up to?” I asked as we sat down.

He looked like he was caught off guard for a moment before answering.

“The usual, nothing else.”

He looked paler than usual. It was something about him that told me there was something going on. He looked tired, as if he had been struggling for a while and didn’t have that much energy left. And he avoided my eyes constantly.

“Ok, what week is it now, by the way?” I asked, thinking it might be full moon. On second thought, that had been what gave me away the night that changed everything between us, and I regretted saying that. Of course it wasn’t full moon in a while yet…

But as he answered anyway, I was even more suspicious something was different…

“I don’t know… why?” The look on his face was empty, as if that wasn’t relevant.

“It doesn’t matter,” I said, puzzled by his reply.

“But, can I ask you something?” I said brightly, starting to take out my hair clips. I was freezing in the little clothes I wore and I figured it might warm me if I let my hair loose.

“Do you, Pettigrew, Potter and Sirius share everything with each other? Because it really seems like it,” I laughed.

Again there was this awkward silence. I didn’t really know how it appeared, but it did.

“Pretty much,” he finally said.

“That’s kind of an imprecise answer, isn’t it?”

He seemed avoiding to me. He shifted between being relaxed and smiling and avoiding. First he hugged me as if nothing was changed, and then he was all locked in his secret self? Hm…

“If you want in detail what we tell each other and not, we’re going to sit here for hours. The telling-list is quite long.”

I laughed again. “So … Do you talk about girls a lot? I mean, are you really updated on the other’s love life and stuff?”

This was getting kind of fun. Did the Marauders have the kind of relationship I had with Anna and Hillary when it came to boys?

“Depends, but generally, yeah. We’re not that good at hiding those things from each other. But if there’s something I really don’t want them to know, they don’t stand a chance in finding out.”

I smiled. My Remus was back.

“So, are you going back to the Tower soon? I want to change and go back, I still have some work to do for next Monday. The weekend is occupied by the show, so I have to finish it tonight.”

He thought about it for a moment before agreeing.

I waved at him and went to change. I put the costume back in the closet and changed back into robes. I couldn’t help it, I was so relieved it seemed things were at least close to back to normal. But I was curious if he had decided to date Gwen or not. I wasn’t sure if that would hurt me. I used the door leading to the stage and sneaked down the side, the scene was occupied by the fourth-years.

But when I reached the audience I noticed Remus was gone. Where was he? I ran down the middle and looked down the corridors as I exited the doors. No Remus anywhere. Why would he do that to me? I walked back to the Tower alone, wondering why he disappeared like that. Maybe he just had work to do, and couldn’t wait any longer. Yeah, that had to be it.

I was correct, he was sitting by one of the tables doing homework with Potter. Kind of annoyed, I moved soundlessly over to them and gave Remus a hug from behind.

“You could have told me you were leaving, you know,” I said in a mocking baby voice. His hair was soft against my skin.

“Lily? You frightened me!” he said. He looked surprised … indeed.

“Tell me next time, ok? I was getting kind of worried.”

“Yeah.. sure,” he said, but he scowled horribly. It didn’t look like he knew what he was answering to at all.

“Ok, ok.. quit the joking,” I smiled, sitting down next to him. “I’ll go get my own books.”

“Evans, could you please help me with this charms-stuff? I’m kind of stuck here,” Potter pleaded, pretending to faint over his papers.

“You’re in luck today, Mr. Potter,” I answered.

He snapped his head up.

“Does that mean you’ll go out with me?” he said excitedly, grinning like a child.

“Sorry,” I said, sticking out the tip of my tongue while smiling. “Remembering the wanting to change thing, Potter? I suggest you forget that phrase and things that involve the words ‘go out’ or ‘date’ … okay? Then we might be getting somewhere!”

“Is it just me, or has she started to enjoy teasing me, and started to say things I want her to say, but in an ironic way? How mean isn’t that?” Potter said, sounding irritated.

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