The Grass Is Always Greener

Chapter 18

Adrianna wandered up to Transfiguration from breakfast with a big grin on her face and Regulus Black by her side. He was reciting some anecdote about the family’s eccentric House Elf.

“I should introduce him to Gillie, she’s our Elf. She’s absolutely lovely and I bet she’d kill to hear the secret behind his French onion soup recipe!” Adie laughed, thinking of her friend.

Reg smiled and nodded. “Yeah, Kreacher’s a funny thing but I like him. It’s Sirius that has an issue with hi-,”

The younger boy broke off suddenly, realising that he was talking about his now estranged brother. He missed him so badly although Reg tried his hardest to quash these feelings. In many ways, he was just like Adrianna.

Sirius had asked him, before he left, if Regulus would come with him. He hadn’t been able to leave his family – and he told his older brother this. But he did give Sirius a night’s head-start, not warning his parents that their son had run away and feigning innocence the next morning.

Yet, with this sadness and pain, came a new happiness. He and Adie had always been friends to an extent; polite and cordial and allies, if needed - friends by the Slytherin definition. Now they had something more… Regulus couldn’t define what it was; he’d just felt himself open up to her in a way he had never done before.

Maybe it’s because he needed someone now. He and Sirius hadn’t been too close the past few years, for obvious reasons, but he had always been there. Not only that, Reg realised with a heart wrenching suddenness, but he’s lost his way out.

Now he was trapped with his family forever. So was Adie, she understood him in an unspoken way. They were the same.

“Anyway, Mr Regulus, I’ll have to leave you here. I’ve got to keep up with my Transfiguration work if you want any decent tutoring!” She smiled her sunny smile at him before waving as she spun into the classroom, returning James’ greeting enthusiastically.

Regulus scowled sourly at the bear-hug Potter had enveloped his friend in. He turned away abruptly and headed to his lesson, trying to get the image of the two embracing out of his head. He did not want to dwell on that.

The Transfiguration lesson passed amiably with Adie sitting next to Em, levitating notes across the room to James.

Her attention was, however, captured by the teacher, when McGonagall paused her lecture five minutes before the end of class. It seemed she had another announcement.

“In one month’s time, as I’m sure you are all aware, it is Halloween,” McGonagall began her speech in clipped tones. “We shall be holding a Ball for Fifth Years and above. You may bring a date, formal dress robes are required. Please, do not attempt to bring any alcoholic substances to the celebrations as any sort of inebriated behaviour will not be tolerated.”

With that, the professor dismissed her now rather excitable class. As the students poured out of the room, Em nudged her two best friends.

“How exciting!” She trilled. “We have to do some serious dress shopping this weekend. Do you think a coral dress would suit my colouring?”

“I’d go with a dark purple, more dramatic,” said Lily decisively. “Who do you reckon we’ll go with though – that’s the key question!”

Adie rolled her eyes. “Well, we all know who’s going to ask you, Lils. You should just say yes; he’s a nice guy. Give him a chance, eh?”

The redhead snorted derisively and shook her head. Adie and Em exchanged glances of frustration.

The trio continued their discussions on colour palettes and dates throughout their Charms lesson too. The whole school was abuzz about the dance: the younger years were desperately trying to cadge dates from the older students; girls were planning out outfits, make-up, and hair; boys were attempting to find the courage to ask out their desired dates.

Sirius had never had a problem with asking girls out before and this unfamiliarity was making his already confusing situation even worse. When old Minnie had said that they could “bring a date”, his mind had leapt to one girl in particular.

But he could never ask her out! Sirius didn’t even want to like her, so why couldn’t he stop thinking about Adrianna Greengrass? Shit.

It had only just hit him, that the strange emotions she inspired in him were romantic… How had this happened? Sirius couldn’t understand.

However, there was one thing Sirius was certain about: it wouldn’t last. He would make sure of that. He would not ask her out, he would not think of her, he would completely forget this little epiphany and go back to pretty much ignoring her.

But I’d rather it was me dating her than my brother, Sirius thought to himself. Oh Merlin.

He put his plan into action straight away, stalking off when Adie came to join Remus, Peter, and James at lunchtime by the Lake. The others watched him storm off in confusion.

“Did I do something wrong, again?” Adie sighed as she sat down.

Remus laughed. “Um, not that I know of – although it doesn’t take much for you to piss off Sirius, to be honest.”

“Yeah, maybe you breathed wrong in Potions or something?” James yawned.

Adie laughed along with the boys, but she hated Sirius’ mood-swings. She never knew where she stood with him and that annoyed her.

They spent the next forty minutes discussing tactics with James, on how best to ask Lily out. They reached the eventual conclusion that it was just going to be a “no” whatever way he did it. James seemed quite resigned to this fact now.

“Hey, Moons,” Peter said. “Who are you going to ask?”

Remus thought for a second. “You know, that’s a good question. I can’t really think of a girl that I want to ask, you know, romantically. So, I don’t know – I’m kind of stuck. Yourself, Mr Pettigrew?”

Peter fidgeted slightly. “Well, Adie, I was wondering if maybe Emmeline would go with me, if I asked her?”

Adie smiled widely; Peter was quite cute and well-considered by the girls of Hogwarts. “I’m sure she would, Pete.”

The boy grinned in relief and James clapped him on the back.

“Hey,” Remus looked up as though he’d just thought of something. “Adie, do you want to go with me? I mean, if you actually want to go with someone that you like, or whatever then that’s cool. I just thought we’re probably in the same boat.”

“Nah, that’s a great idea,” Adrianna smiled back at her friend. “Trust me, I’m not waiting on any guy to sweep me off my feet – I’d rather go with my best mate.”

“Aw, bless the both of you,” James murmured from his place relaxed on the grass.

When the boys trooped back up to their dorm after lunch, they found Sirius on his bed and engrossed in a textbook on Charms.

He looked up as they entered the room and smiled at them as if nothing odd had happened.

“Alright, mate?” James asked, somewhat warily.

“Yeah, I was just thinking I might ask that pretty Ravenclaw girl to the Ball. What’s her name? Julie?” Sirius sounded completely casual.

James shot a confused look at Remus, who shrugged in return. “Well, Pete’s going to ask Em and Remus is going with Adie.”

“Uh, as friends, you know – just friends!” Remus wasn’t sure why he felt the need to mention this fact so vehemently. Maybe he’d imagined it, but Remus thought he’d seen a momentary flicker of something in Sirius’ eyes when he heard about his asking Adie out. A slight fist clench and a little tension in the shoulders.

But it was probably nothing.

Sirius felt slightly nauseous. Did Remus like her? No, Sirius knew he was just being a paranoid idiot. He needed to ask that hot Ravenclaw out and forget all about Adie. Regulus was welcome to her, it was for the best really.

Regulus took a very deep breath. They were studying in the Library this week, alone; it was a perfect opportunity.

“Hey, Adrianna,” he started, clearing his throat slightly. The girl looked up from his essay that she was proof-reading. “I was wondering if you wanted to go with me to the Ball, as my date?”

Adrianna smiled at her friend softly and Reg could tell just from that one motion, that it was bad news.

“Sorry, Reg, but I’ve already got a date. Next time, eh?”

“Yeah, that’s cool.”

As she left the study session that evening, Adie was thinking about Regulus’ offer. It was very different from the way Remus had asked her. This hadn’t sounded so… friendly.

Adie’s stomach clenched a little with the thought. Nope, no way, she thought. Don’t be an idiot, Adrianna, he can’t like you. Just forget it.

But Adie knew the truth really, and she felt horribly guilty for not returning his feelings, but there were just no romantic notions on her part. Not for that Black brother anyway.

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