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Chapter 2: Admitting the Facts
A few months passed, and Lily had almost forgotten the episode in History of Magic class. She still felt odd whenever she saw James Potter...especially when she caught him looking back, which happened to be just a little too often for comfort. They didn't really talk, though. In fact, they barely acknowledged each other, but she didn't mind, because the further away from boys she stayed, the safer she was from having one fall in love with her or anything like that. Lily liked things the way they were and had no wish for them to change. She was no fan of change.
Then one day in the last week of school, after a Herbology lesson, James Potter walked up to her, and, though she had expected him to walk right past her, stopped not two feet in front of her. The sudden closeness set off her warning meter, and Lily didn't meet his eyes as she swallowed hard. His presence did have the strangest effect on her, and she didn't like that one bit. She willed him to continue on his way, but this was obviously useless.
"Hi, Evans," James said, causing her to look up at him. The look in his eyes startled her slightly, but she was determined not to show it. She just hoped she hadn't gone red at how close he was.
"Hi," she said quickly, and then tried to walk around him, hoping not to seem too stuck up. She just couldn't deal with the weird feelings right now, particularly when he was so much closer than he usually was when she felt them.
"Wait," James said, grabbing her wrist gently to stop her, "Hey, uh, I was wondering..."
He seemed to be waiting for her to look back at him to say exactly what he was wondering, but she guessed she was probably bright red from the contact of his hand with her wrist, and couldn't bear for him to see it. For some odd reason, her mind was drawn to the feeling of his hand against her arm. It was slightly rough and calloused from his Quidditch playing, but she found herself liking it, which made her feel sick to her stomach. It was strong, and manly, though he was barely in his teens. No, she definitely could not look him in the eyes at that time.
James nervously licked his lips once, and said, "Well, I was wondering if you'd be my girlfriend."
A very audible gasp mixed with something like a scream left Lily's mouth before she could stop it, and she felt her entire body freeze. No, this just could not be happening to her...and James Potter of all people? He was like the cutest, most popular boy at Hogwarts according to her dorm mates, and she was, well, a nerd. He shouldn't like her; it wasn't right. She thought about pulling away quickly and running, but at the moment, she felt more like passing out.
James took a step towards her, slightly concerned by both her silence and her appearance. She was sheet white, making her freckles stand out starkly, and her green eyes were wide. She just looked at him blankly, and then suddenly pulled away and ran across the greenhouse without a look back.
James had no idea what to think of that. He had never actually liked a girl enough to ask her to be his girlfriend, and when he finally found one, this had happened. Apparently Sirius wasn't as right as usual. The past few weeks, Sirius had finally seemed to accept that James was completely smitten by Lily Evans, and had repeatedly assured him that all of the girls at Hogwarts were tripping over each other to be the girlfriend of one of the Marauders.
While he was thinking about this, Sirius came up behind him and slapped him on the shoulder blade, "How'd it go, Mate?"
James turned a look of skepticism on his best friend, "Honestly? Awful. You're an idiot, Sirius, if you really think you can have any girl you want."
"What?" Sirius seemed completely dumbstruck, which was something James had never seen in his friend before. Nothing ever surprised Sirius, so he had obviously believed his own words, "She said no?"
There was a moment of silence, and then James said, "No, actually, but she most definitely didn't say yes."
Lily ran up to her room and fell on her bed, bursting into tears as soon as the curtain hid her from the rest of the empty room.
Why? Why did someone actually have to ask her that question? She had never given James any reason to think that question was acceptable with her, and on top of that, they never talked. Maybe it would have been easier if they had talked, Lily thought, then maybe he would have known how scared she was of romance, and all that stuff that went with it. He might have known that she didn't want a boyfriend, or a love life, or butterflies, or any of the weird feelings that girls said went hand-in-hand with love and crushes.
Then a thought she had pushed away for such a long time that she didn't even know what was in it broke through the thin layer keeping it from the forefront of her mind. "James Potter is actually really cute, so if I have to have a crush on somebody, it might as well be him."
Lily actually thought about that for a moment, before pushing it back to where it had been before. Why was she suddenly so vulnerable to the things she was so afraid of?
Oh no, do I have a crush on James Potter?
The horror of that thought brought a fresh burst of tears. She wasn't supposed to have crushes!
Bad Lily, bad, she chided herself mentally, he'll only let you down and you know it. Better to just forget the whole thing.
Little did she know how impossible that suggestion really was, because she didn't know James Potter.
"She really turned you down?" Remus seemed genuinely surprised as he guessed Lily's response from the look of confusion on James' face as he and Sirius joined Peter and Remus in the second year boys' dorm an hour after the incident in the greenhouse.
"She didn't say no!" James protested.
"But she didn't say yes," Remus stated, "I'm, well...I'm shocked."
Peter seemed deep in thought, and when James turned to him for an opinion, he looked up and said, "Perhaps it was a bit sudden. You never actually talk to her."
"Wow, Peter, really deep!" Sirius seemed annoyed by his friend's suggestion, "James is like the most popular guy at Hogwarts, why should a girl care if she knows him."
James turned to Peter, however, and said, "Yeah, you're probably right. I just didn't expect..."
"You can't predict girls, James," Remus stated simply, "You never know what to expect."
"Well, no answer isn't as bad as 'no', I guess," James thought aloud.
"What? You're not seriously still going after the same girl, mate! That's...man, that's humiliating," Sirius was giving James a look of disbelief, "Just accept that she's not interested and move on."
"Move on? Sirius...I think I'm in love," James actually seemed timid, "I don't want to move on, I just want to be with her."
"Something's wrong with you, Man," Sirius stated.
"Yeah, maybe..." James voice trailed off, then he said, "Alright, this year is practically over, but how about next year you guys help me."
"Help you?" Remus questioned.
"Of course, you're my best friends," James said.
"Oh...great," Sirius seemed positively elated, and James had no idea why. He didn't have a clue what he had just gotten himself into.