Over the Top
After finally gathering my scattered wits off the floor (which took quite a while, mind you), I dry my clothes with a quick spell and make my way out of the Prefects’ Bathroom. I peek my head out and slowly tip toe into the hallway when… oh crap!
I give a jolt as I spot a silhouette slouch towards me from down the end of the hallway. I’m about to make a break for it for the second time tonight when I realize… oh, blimey, it’s just Ed Davies, the Gryffindor sixth year.
Or in other words, the top supplier of delinquent goodies for the school’s most notorious troublemakers, Sirius Black and James Potter themselves. Yeah, I definitely won’t get in trouble from this bloke.
After letting out a long breath I didn’t know I was holding, I make my way down the hallway towards him, considerably more relaxed now that students other than myself are roaming the halls as well.
I’d bet my broom that Filch is still out there searching for me…
I shove my hands into my pockets and heave another sigh. No matter how long I stayed in the bath, my poor tired and over-heated brain could not comprehend what just happened.
Remus bloody Lupin, my best mate! I mean, he’s always been sweet on me but I thought that was just because he’s a nice bloke and does that to everyone!
My brows furrow as I try to remember. Does he treat everyone like that? I think so? I mean, when he asked me to go to Hogsmeade with him, maybe he just meant, “Hey, Cecilia, do you want to hang out with me on Hogsmeade weekend?” That’s perfectly reasonable right? No need to jump to conclusions. Wait… but it is on Valentine’s Day. That’s somewhat suspicious. This has to be a date… but that would mean… does Remus like me? Like, like me like me? No… nooooo, that’d be mental…
I pass by Ed and look up briefly to give him a small nod in greeting.
Alright, back on topic. So, let me get this straight. Today is Wednesday, which means classes start at 8 A.M., which means… oh, bloody inferno of hell, I’m going to have to be with Remus all day lo—
“CECILIA, I LOVE YOU.”
“Yeah, g’morning to you, Ed—wait a minute, what?” I spin around abruptly to face the boy, nearly falling over mid-turn. I blink my eyes hard several times in disbelief and repeat again, “What?”
“I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE,” Ed continues, his hands gesticulating frantically as if he’s about to have a panic attack or something. “I LOVE YOU, CECILIA VANCE, AND I’VE BEEN HOLDING IT IN FOR MONTHS BUT YOU’RE JUST SO FUNNY, SMART, AND PRETTY AND IT’S GOING TO BE VALENTINE’S DAY, SO WILL YOU GO OUT WITH M—”
“Wait, wait, wait, stop!” I interject before he wakes up the entire bloody school. I take my hands off my ears and stare at him. “Ed, how long have you been up?”
What I mean by that is, do you just have a serious lack or sleep or something? Well, that shouldn’t be my first question. My first question schould actually be: WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT ME?
After taking a few moments to calm himself down from his theatrical confession, Ed continues between gasps, “I’ve been awake ALL NIGHT ever since the Hogsmeade weekend date was posted. I’ve been trying to muster up the courage to tell you for weeks and finally it’s destiny that I should meet you alone here today so I just had to tell you I love you and I want you to be my girlfrie—”
“Ed, stop.” I hold up a hand to interrupt his huge run-on sentence and take a deep breath. Blimey, and I thought the deal with Remus was dramatic. “Okay, first of all, get some sleep. And second of all, Ed, I’m engaged to one of your best mates, remember? Sirius Black?”
Ed’s face just scrunches up as if he’s about to explode in a fit. “I know, I know! I just can’t take it anymore! I’ve had feelings for you ever since I saw you during Quidditch tryouts and then when I remembered that Sirius was engaged to you I wanted to curse him so badly but I can’t because I’m his mate but now I’m here hoping you’ll accept me anyway because I love you so much I feel like I’m going to explode and—”
“Yeah, Ed, I can tell!” I squeeze my eyes shut for a moment before continuing, “Okay, I’ll consider your, er, confession and I’ll get back to you, alright? Maybe some time today, or just next class session, or breakfast, or lunch, or…” I cover my eyes with one hand in exasperation. “I’ll just get back to you on that, okay? I kind of just got back to Hogwarts.”
Ed’s expression of anxiety quickly morphs into one of excitement as he yells again, “OKAY, CECILIA, JUST REMEMBER THAT I LOVE YOU MORE THAN SIRIUS EVER WILL!” and turns around to literally skip back down the hallway.
What just happened.
I turn my heel and run. Run as bloody fast as I can back towards Gryffindor Tower. I utter a quick “flubber blubber” to the Fat Lady (password courtesy of Sirius), scramble through the portrait hole, and sprint up the stairs to the girls’ dormitories, ignoring the surprised calls of my name behind me.
After bursting through the dormitory door, I immediately rip open Lily’s bed curtains and shriek, “What is my life, are you bloody kidding me right now?!”
“Wha? Wha?” Lily jolts awake and looks around in alarm before spotting me at the foot of her bed. She lets out a loud squeal and practically pounces on me with glee. “Blimey, Cecilia, you're back! I've missed you so much!”
I give her a quick hug in return before grabbing her shoulders and exclaiming, “Did you even hear what I just said?”
“No, I was kind of half asleep. What did you say?” Lily replies, clearly amused at my distress.
I let her go with a great sigh and collapse on her bed on my stomach. “Two guys just confessed to me… TWO,” I groan into her comforter, “within like five minutes of each other!”
“Wait, what? Are you serious?”
“Did they seriously—?”
“I know,” I groan again, flailing my arms hopelessly.
Lily edges closer to me on her bed and asks in a low voice, “Are they who I think they are?”
At these words, I abruptly snap my head up to look at her. “Why, who do you think they are?”
“Remus Lupin and Ed Davies, right?” Lily replies promptly.
“How the bloody hell do you know all this stuff? Are you psychic?!”
Lily giggles and nudges me in the side with her foot. “You're such a dummy. Everyone’s figured it out but you.” Probably because you are all PSYCHIC. “Well, you and Sirius are both dummies. But that's because his ego is so big it creates a gigantic force field that destroys all other egos, but I won't get into that.”
I raise an eyebrow her.
She clears her throat loudly and continues, “Anyway, really everyone knew that Ed and Remus had a crush on you. No, I'm serious when I say everyone. I mean, with Ed, we figured out like mid-term because all he did was talk about how pretty and wonderful he thought you were in that gigantically loud voice he uses when he's nervous.”
I look at her in confusion yet again.
“Yeah, he does that a lot. Frankly, I’m surprised you never heard him talk about you in the Common Room. Ah, well, you're kind of a ditz who can blame you—I'm kidding, calm down!” She laughs at the look on my face. “But Remus on the other hand. He actually kept it considerably more well-hidden than his loudmouth counterpart. The only reason why we even know about his feelings for you is because he rejected a girl just over the winter holidays and told her he had feelings for someone else, even though she didn't return his, which of course got us all thinking who the bloody hell it was. And it’s obviously you, I mean, who else?”
I'm just about to roll my eyes and reply “Well, what about you?” when I remember something.
“Wait a minute,” I start with a sly grin on my face, “speaking of confessions over the holidays, when did you and James get together, hm? What happened to the whole I-hate-James-Potter act? Finally gave in? Eh? Eh?” I snicker, nudging her in the side.
Lily flushes a bright red and suddenly becomes very interested in a corner of her bed sheet. “We… well, I mean, it was the winter holidays and he was, well, and we were—”
“Did you kiss?” I ask promptly, which was evidently the correct thing to ask from the looks of her increasingly red face. The grin on my face broadens. “Well, did you?”
“We…” Lily opens her mouth to begin, but, for the first time in her life, she’s actually speechless. She decides to flick me in the forehead instead. “Too late!”
“Owwwww…” I groan, clutching my head in pain. “Too late for what, violent woman?!”
Lily folds her arms and looks away, pouting. “I was going to tell you once the winter holidays were done, but you just had to go get yourself amnesia and forget all about me! So, too late! Now you’ll never find out!”
My jaw drops as I stare at her aghast. “What, how am I supposed to control whether or not I lose my memories!”
Lily just gives me a little harrumph. “Your problem not mine!”
“Blimey, Lil, am I going to shoot yo—”
“Yeah, you better… wait, what?” My eyes widen. “Did you really?”
Lily hops off her bed and flashes me a miscievous smile. “I kissed James Potter.”
“Oh my god, really?” I can barely suppress a squeal as I leap off the bed and give her a huge hug in reply to her embarrassed nod. But then I look at her in exasperation. “Wait, so why didn’t you just tell me that in the first place?”
Lily giggles, her face still a tinge of pink. “Well, you always go around teasing me, it’s about time I got back at you for it.”
I roll my eyes. “Blimey, Lil, sometimes you are such a troll, you know that?”
“I know.” She giggles again before smacking me across the arm affectionately. “Welcome back, Cecilia.”
Grinning from ear to ear, I stretch my arms over my head and sigh.
“Yeah… it’s good to be back.”
After a near hour of catching up on all that happened over the holidays (of course, Lily needed to know every little detail…), we finally make our way down to the Great Hall for a quick breakfast before double-Transfiguration with the Hufflepuffs.
“…and then he turned to me in the stairwell going up to Gryffindor Tower and, oh Cecilia, it was so romantic!”
I roll my eyes as I push open the hall doors. “Leave it to James to be all Prince Charming when you actually need him to… whoa.” I stop in my tracks the moment I glance towards the Gryffindor table.
Isn’t it the middle of breakfast? Why is a third of the table empty?
“Hey, Lil, how do you reckon—what the!”
Before I can even finish my question, a large crowd surrounds us in seconds. And considering the sheer size of this crowd, that… was pretty bloody incredible. I let out a yelp when two girls grip me by the shoulders and plop me down in the center of the mass of people, or rather, mass of girls, now that I scan the group.
“Oi, put me down!”
And, of course, I look up to the edge of the crowd to see none other than Sirius Black being carried by a group of guys towards me.
His school robes were only half on and his hair was disheveled as if he was just dragged out of bed, er, which by the looks of it he probably was. He was actually putting up a surprisingly good fight, but seeing as he was just plopped down right in front of me by about five blokes, it didn’t go so well.
“Sirius, what on earth are you doing here?” I yell over the commotion.
“How the bloody hell am I supposed to know!” he shouts back. “One minute I’m trying to get some shut eye in my dorm and the next thing I kno—”
“QUIET, YOU LOT!”
Sirius and I jump at the bellowing voice and I look down to see a surprisingly short girl lower her magical megaphone and clear her throat. She had bushy blonde hair, glasses that magnified her eyes to twice their normal size, and a badge on the front of robes that said Sirius and Cecilia Forever.
Wait… wait, what.
My eyes bulge out and I literally gag as the girl announces, “As you all know, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and what better way for Cecilia Vance to show her love than return from her leave of absence to be with Sirius!”
“What the… th-that’s not why I came back!” I sputter out, my face turning a bright red.
Sirius actually lets out a snort of amusement.
“And what better way for Sirius Black to show his love,” the girl continues, “than to take this opportunity to ask his beloved fiancé to the Hogsmeade weekend for the romantic holiday!”
Sirius freezes in the middle of running a hand through his messy hair. “Wait, that’s not—!”
His words are quickly drowned out as the crowd erupts into cheers. “ASK HER, ASK HER, ASK HER!”
My face turns an even deeper shade of red and suddenly I find every thought in my brain willing my body to sink through the floor of the Great Hall and disappear. This can’t be my life right now. Am I dreaming? I must be dreaming. What happened to laying low during my time at Hogwarts!
“ASK HER, ASK HER, ASK HER, ASK HER!”
“I’m not bloody asking her to Hogsmeade, alright!?” Sirius finally bellows over the chanting crowd.
I look up to see his face an equally bright shade of red and some part of my mortified brain actually feels a pang of disappointment. But before that feeling even registers, the girl demands huffily, “Well, why not! You love her don’t you?”
“L-love—what, how absur—beside the point!”
“Then ask her now before someone else does! Aren’t you her fiancé?”
Sirius just opens and closes his mouth wordlessly in response.
“Because what would you do…” The girl reaches into the crowd and yanks out the arm of a random guy. “…if another boy asked Cecilia right now!”
My jaw drops as I realize that out of all the boys in the Great Hall, the girl just miraculously managed to grab Remus Lupin. A piece of toast was hanging from his mouth and his hand was on his tie as if he were just adjusting it before being unceremoniously dragged into this mess.
“What are you doing here…?” I mouth to him aghast.
Remus points at the toast in his mouth and then at the hallway outside the Great Hall before giving me a panicked shrug as if to say, “How am I supposed to know?”
My eyes move quickly between Sirius and Remus and suddenly it occurs to me: this is going to go so badly.
“Ah!” the girl exclaims when she realizes who she pulled in. “See, Sirius? What would you do if someone like Remus Lupin decided to ask Cecilia instead?” She gestures at Remus from top to bottom as if auctioning him off. “Handsome, sweet, smart, prefect? Aren’t you worried that Cecilia would say yes?”
Remus and I exchange a look and I immediately turn away, blushing furiously.
The irony. If only these people knew what happened just an hour before…
Unfortunately, Sirius seemed to have noticed our odd reactions. I look up to see him watching me with narrowed eyes. He opens his mouth to speak, but before he can ask me, the girl carries on loudly, “Go on, Remus! Ask Cecilia! See what happens!”
“Wait, you can’t just make hi—”
“ASK HER, ASK HER, ASK HER!” the crowd begins chanting again, clearly indifferent as to who asked who as long as there was some drama going on. Bloody hell.
Sirius looks between me and Remus as if suddenly apprehensive as to what he’s going to do. No, Sirius, you’re definitely not feeling as apprehensive as I am right now. Remus holds my gaze for a moment, some internal conflict passing over his eyes.
My brows furrow.
Wait, is he actually going to ask me again? Right in front of Sirius? Right in front of all these people? Does Sirius even know one of his best mates likes me? And if he does ask me… am I going to say yes? No, wait, why would I say yes—
The entire crowd goes quiet and I turn my head to see Sirius with his hands shoved in his pockets and a tinge of pink on his face. He looks directly at me and says again in a low voice, “Will you… do you want to go to Hogsmeade with me for Valentine’s Day?”
Cue squealing fan girls.
“SAY YES, SAY YES, SAY YES!”
I glance from the surprised look on Remus’ face to the embarrassed expression in Sirius’ eyes. As I stare at him, Sirius bites his lip and then grins sheepishly at me. My face heats up and I quickly turn away, my mouth suddenly very dry.
“Um,” I mumble, staring resolutely at the ground, “Alright then, I’ll go with you.”
Everyone erupts in cheers and then finally disperses to go eat breakfast after accomplishing their mission, which was, I can only assume, to publicly humiliate me. This is so not how I imagined being asked on my first Valentine’s date!
Without the distraction of the mass of people, suddenly all that remains is awkward silence between the three of us.
Sirius takes once glance at me before turning to stride hastily towards the Gryffindor table, leaving me and Remus standing by the hall doors.
“Sorry you had to be brought into this,” I mutter awkwardly.
But Remus actually grins at me as he takes another bite from his piece of toast. “You mean thank you?”
“Thank you?” I repeat incredulously. “For what?”
Remus laughs and swings an arm around my shoulders, dragging me back towards the Gryffindor table. “For what, she asks… You think if I didn’t let myself get grabbed by Lucy on my way out of the Great Hall, Sirius would have possibly mustered the courage to ask you?”
I gape at him. “You let yourself get grabbed?”
“Of course!” Remus chuckles. “Someone needed to give you two the push you needed for your fabulous Valentine’s romance.” He wiggles his fingers teasingly.
I look at him in concern, still skeptical. “Then what about when you asked me in the prefects’ bathroom? Pretty elaborate scheme if you planned that far back. Do you really not mind that I’m going with Sirius?”
Remus grins broadly before plopping me down next to Sirius at the table and tossing me an apple. “It was a joke, mate. Don’t worry about it.” And with that he pops the rest of his toast into his mouth and makes his way back towards the doors. “Better eat quick, you two! You know McGonagall hates it when you’re tardy!”
“Yeah, mate, thanks!” Sirius throws him a wave.
But I just stare at Remus’ retreating back, my brows furrowed. He was so insistent but… some part of me just doesn’t buy the whole happy-go-lucky reaction to this entire thing. Was it really a joke?