A Change of Plans
“Honneeeyyyy! Welcome hooomee!”
My dear old mum bursts through my front door and captures me in a loving embrace. Notice I use the word capture… because I nearly died.
Long chestnut brown hair with beautiful natural waves and warm auburn eyes. Yup, unlike me and my dad (who’s half-Chinese), Mum is purely British. Born and raised in London and everything, though none of that explains how she could have possibly obtained that supremely flamboyant personality.
“Hey, Mum.” I return her tight squeeze before asking, “So, why's it so urgent for me to come home?”
Mum just gives me a huge grin before pulling me through the front door. “Darling, you are going to be so surprised by what your father and I planned for you!” she practically squeals.
“Wait, planned what? Why do I have to come home for break?” I repeat, trailing behind her up the stairs.
“I can't believe we hadn't thought of this earlier!”
“Thought of what, Mum? Mum!”
“I was so excited that I already started getting everything ready!”
“Ready for what?”
“I already got everything half-packed!”
“Packed for what? Where are we going?”
“Ooh, I'm so excited!”
“Cecilia, you're going to be so happy!”
“Happy about what? Where are we going, Mum?” I yell one last time before my mum bursts into my room, pulling me behind her ecstatically.
She leads me to my luggage and smiles at me with a twinkle in her eyes. “I think the question is, where are you going?”
Amidst all the chaos, my eyes still find time to scan the area and my body relaxes in the presence of the room I had spent so many hours of every day in. I mean, being homeschooled, where else was I supposed to hang out for the duration of the school year? And it is a pretty sweet deal. A bed twice the size of mine at Hogwarts with regal drapes and décor all around it. A fancy dresser made to suit a princess. Not to mention the room itself is epicly huge.
Pure-blood royalty, indeed.
But I made it mine. Especially with how I trashed the entire place with spell books, notes for randomly created jinxes, and assorted drawings littered across the carpeted floor. Ye-up, this is home.
Anyway, back to the problem at hand.
I plop down on my bed next to my mum and luggage. “That is my question, Mum. Where am I going?”
Mum doesn't even take so much as a glance at me as she continues packing. “Why, to Sirius dear's house, of course!” she replies happily. “Where else?”
“WHAT?” I decide to voice out aloud. “Then what was the point of making me come home anyway?”
Mum looks at me with widened-eyes as if the answer was completely obvious. “Darling, that was exactly the reason why we made you come home!” Oh yes, completely obvious, of course. “Your father and I planned it all out way back in the beginning of November!” She throws more excessively girly clothing into my trunk.
Does Mum actually think I'm going to wear all those dresses, skirts, and frilly blouses?
“We're going honeymooning in Romania while you stay over at Sirius dear's place to get to know each other better!” she explains gleefully.
“Honeymooning for the millionth time in the exact same place, I see.” I roll my eyes. “But Mum, we see each other everyday at school!”
“All the more reason to continue seeing each other everyday!” Mum says with an absent-minded wave of her hand before continuing, “And ta da!” She pulls out from behind her back, to my horror, some very racy lingerie.
As if this situation couldn't get any worse.
“MUM! WHAT THE FU—”
“Language, honey!” Mum interrupts, still beaming at me for some godforsaken reason. “You two are getting married anyway, darling! No reason not to get off to a good start!”
WHAT KIND OF MOTHER ARE YOU?
“We are not getting married!” I say defensively, my face a brilliant red. I can’t believe my own bloody mother is encouraging this.
Mum pushes the flaming red lingerie into my arms, ushering me closer towards her. “What are you blabbering about, dear?” she scolds. “Of course you are! Now, come try it on to see if it fits. I knew you were a B, but I wasn't sure if you grew a bit since last year... or maybe you shrank—”
“Mum!” I interrupt quickly before she could finish her sentence. I hold my hands up in defense against the thing. “Uh uh, Mum. No way in hell am I ever going to wear that.”
“Don’t be silly!” Mum pushes it towards me again. “Sirius dear is going to love the design!”
“No, he's not! He’s never going to see me wear it! Ever!”
“Of course he is!”
“No, he's not—”
The doorbell suddenly rings.
I freeze mid-sentence and then sprint to the door, taking this convenient interruption to my advantage. “I'll get it!” I yell back at her as I wrench open my door and bolt down the hall to the stairs.
“Oh, leave it to the maids, dear! You can stay here and pack your other undergarments with me!” Mum calls to my retreating back.
“No thanks!” I bellow over my shoulder before sliding down the bannister and running to the main door.
“I got it, thanks Mrs. Peters,” I call to the bustling maid along the way and then swing open the door only to find none other than Sirius Black standing on my front porch.
“Playboy—I mean, Sirius!” I yelp in surprise. Damn, Freudian slips and all their friends. “Er, what are you doing here? In front of my house?”
Sirius raises an eyebrow at my slip-up, but decidedly lets it go as he gives me an awkward wave instead. “So, uhh, hey.”
“Hey?” I repeat, copying his wave with raised eyebrows.
I look out behind him to check if anyone else is here, but find no one. Weird, did he come here all by himself?
“That still doesn't exactly explain what you're doing here,” I comment with my arms folded over my chest, “in front of my house.”
Sirius kicks at the dirt with his feet, a strangely familiar action. “I'm, uhh, here to pick you up?” he answers awkwardly. Why did it sound like a question?
“Pick her up?” My mum appears out of nowhere by my shoulder and grabs Sirius' hand to pull him in. “Oh, do come in, dear!”
“Wait, don’t bring him in the bloody house!”
And despite my less than discreet attempts to get my mum to loosen her death hold on Sirius, she drags him up the stairs into my room and, to my dismay, shuts the door behind her.
“Mum!” I yell at the closed door, but predictably get no response. I sigh before turning awkwardly back to Sirius.
My face turns pink at the mere thought of this playboy actually being in my bedroom. It wasn’t like I expected anything to happen, but something about being alone with Sirius always made my heart beat a little faster than it usually did. I can never predict what’s going to happen next with him.
Shaking the thoughts out of my head, I look to my half-packed luggage instead, though it's not much of a better audience.
“My mum was packing my trunk earlier before you came,” I explain with a conversational air, or at least I try to, as I grab a few clothes off the ground. “She got a little too excited over clothing choices.”
“Yeah, I see that,” Sirius replies before plopping himself down on my bed.
I spin around to face him. “Don't sit!”
But Sirius just leans back on his elbows and eyes my hands with an extremely amused look on his face. He gives me a sort of crooked smirk. “What exactly did you expect to do at my house?”
I look down at my hands to see the racy lingerie my mum had dropped on the floor before she came running down to grab Sirius. Bloody hell, I was so flustered at the playboy being in my room that I just blindly grabbed that thing and was about to throw it in the trunk!
I let out a strangled yell in shock and lift the dress of my bed to hurl the demonic object under it. “Nothing! I didn't expect anything—”
Suddenly, I feel Sirius' hand grasp my own. I look up at his face only to see that crooked grin again.
“Nah, you can bring that. You might need it.”
My face involuntarily poofs to a brilliant red… yet again. “Excuse me?”
Our eyes connect for what seems like minutes. That is, until I see Sirius’ cheeks puff out in barely contained laughter. And before I know it, he bursts out in hysterics.
“I was kidding, Cecilia! Blimey, are you gullible!” gasps Sirius between snickers.
I glare at him scathingly before turning back to my luggage. “Always a playboy,” I mutter under my breath.
“Well, anyway.” Sirius finally decides to sit up straight and act dignified, though he’s still grinning like an idiot. “Apart from your, er, sexy lingerie, my parents have always been strangely obsessed with dinner parties, so you should probably dress for those too.”
“Dinner parties?” I repeat with raised eyebrows.
“Yeah, they're bloody annoying by the time you're on the fiftieth one, but what can you do, right?” Sirius replies absently as he jumps off my bed and scans my room. “Your mum told you, didn’t she? To pack dresses?” He spins a three-sixty from his spot on the floor, seemingly still searching for something.
“Er,” I respond intelligently. “I don’t recall my mum mentioning anything about dinner parties or dresses, but then again she pretty much failed to tell me anything—”
“Ah ha!” Sirius flings open the door to my ridiculously big wardrobe. “Here, I'll help you choose some dresses since I'm here anyway.”
“Hey!” I jump up from my bed and run to my closet. “Don't go through my stuff like you live here!” I protest as he flips through my clothes. “And what do you know about dresses anyway? You're a guy.”
“I know more than you probably,” he replies after shooting me a sly grin. “You're such a sexist.”
“What, am not!”
“Am not!” Why does this guy frustrate me so much? “Well, you're a lecherous womanizer!” I retaliate.
“Touché.” Sirius appears out of my wardrobe with an armful of dresses and a laugh on his face before starting to unceremoniously throw dresses either on to my bed or into my trunk.
“So… dark blue?” he muses. “Hmm, pretty good choice. This one's too formal. Oh, this one’s pretty nice! Actually, nah, too short. Parents probably wouldn't like that. I would though. And you'll definitely need this one. But what about… nah. And this? Oh, no. This'll definitely make you look fat.”
He snorts and throws a light pink dress over his shoulder.
“I'm just playing with you,” Sirius says with a teasing grin. “I’m sure they'd all look great on you.” He pauses as if it took him a moment for his mind to register what he just said.
My face flushes reflexively, but I can’t help but hold back a laugh. “Did you just accidentally compliment me?”
“No, I mean...” Sirius interjects, quickly changing the subject as he usually does when put on the spot. “Blimey, Cecilia!” he complains loudly, throwing the rest of the dresses onto the bed. “Why don't you have anything in a shade of violet or something? It would really bring out your eyes.”
I wonder if that was a subject change at all since it didn't exactly make my blush subside.
“Well, I didn't buy any of those dresses myself anyway,” I respond in an attempt at nonchalance. “All that cutesy stuff is my mum and Sonata's doing. I swear my sister gets off from trying to make me dress even remotely like she does.” I try to sound annoyed, but can’t resist smiling at the memory.
Sirius looks up at the ceiling in thought. “Sonata, huh? That sounds like something she’d do.”
“Something she’d do?” I raise my eyebrows curiously. “You know my sister?”
“Not really,” he replies quickly, turning away from me to face the trunk again.
I frown at his response. What… why’s he always so vague about these things?
“Now, hold on.” Frustrated, I grab his shoulder and spin him back around. “If you don't know her, then how would you know how she acts?” I demand. “You obviously know more than you're letting on.”
“But I don't—I just…”
And for a moment, Sirius looks at a loss for words. That is, until he looks above my head and yelps so abruptly that it makes me jump in surprise.
“Bollocks, we're going to be late!”
I look over my shoulder at the clock hanging on my wall, which read a little past six. “Late for what?” I ask. “Wait a minute, you didn’t even answer my que—”
“For stuff!” Sirius replies quickly as he hurls an armful of clothes into my trunk, slams it shut with his foot, and heaves it up in one arm. “C'mon, or I'll just leave you here!”
He grabs my hand and pulls me out the door, but not before we speed past my mum, who appeared to have been entertaining herself by eavesdropping outside my room.
“Aw, you two didn't even do anything!” she says with a disappointed frown.
What on earth… okay, I’m convinced Mum is a bigger “Sirius and Cecilia” fan than all the girls at Hogwarts combined.
Sirius merely grins in reply and calls over his shoulder, “We have to bolt, sorry, Auntie! I’m going to use your Floo Powder, alright with you?”
“Use as much as you need, dear!” Mum says with a giggle. “And have fun, Cecilia honey!”
“Floo Powder?” I repeat nonplussed. “How'd you get here then?”
“I walked,” Sirius replies as we run down the two flights of stairs and into the kitchen. “Wanted some fresh air.”
“But you live miles away!”
He just winks at me. “I know.”
We screech to a halt in front of my fireplace. Sirius grabs a handful of Floo Powder out of a small pot on the mantelpiece and throws it into the flames.
The moment the magic dust comes into contact with the warm crimson fire, it bursts into an explosive mass of green flames, the brilliant emerald clashing almost painfully against my lavender eyes.
Sirius gives me a nudge in the back with my trunk and I step into the fireplace, soft green flames licking at my skin. It’s been a while since I’ve travelled by Floo Powder, but thankfully it’s even less complicated than flying. Well, as long as I don’t mumble my way to the destination.
I close my eyes say loud and clear, “Grimmauld Place!”