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Chapter 9: The Plan - Phase One (Shortcuts)
ZOMG LOOK AT THE PEEERRRFECT CHAPTER IMAGE EASTERLIES @TDA DID!!
Confession time: I kind of forgot to tell James about Courtney’s plan. I raced back to the Head’s Common Room, but he wasn’t there. He wasn’t in his bedroom, his bathroom, my bedroom, my bathroom or the kitchen. He most definitely wasn’t in the library – he said the place brought him out in hives. I thought about using his magical map, but I remembered him telling me in passing that Remus had it. Since I had no idea where Remus was, I had no hope of finding him. Then I decided to finish off my Care of Magical Creatures essay on the correct handling of a wild Manticore. Wild ones and tame ones didn’t seem to have any difference to me.
After I completed the essay, it was almost midnight and James still wasn’t back, so I decided to go to sleep. I tossed and turned all night, my dreams full of Courtney and James and their map and Manticores.
The next morning, James was sitting at the table, chatting with Remus and Peter and Benny Joshua, the fifth boy in their dorm.
‘Where were you last night?’ I demanded as I sat down next to James. ‘I was worried!’
James leaned closer and whispered, ‘Full moon last night. Me and Peter went walkabout with Moony. Sorry, I forgot to tell you.’
I relaxed. ‘That’s alright then.’ I turned to Remus, who was opposite me. ‘Are you feeling OK?’
Remus smiled at me. ‘I’ve been better.’
‘I thought maybe you were –’ I said uncomfortably to James.
‘What? With another girl?’ James suggested, laughing as I nodded shyly. ‘Come on, Lils, you know I’d never do that.’
‘You have in the past. When you went out with Gina McDowell in fifth year and she caught you in the broom cupboard with her best friend.’
‘That was a mistake. I mean, Gina? Seriously, what was I thinking? Lucy Madelyn was much prettier than her.’ James said, finishing off his orange juice. I raised my eyebrows. ‘Not as pretty as you. Obviously.’
I laughed. I swivelled around to face Lisa, whose face was buried in The Daily Prophet. ‘Any news worth sharing with us?’
‘Not particularly,’ Lisa said. ‘England’s playing Brazil in the Quidditch World Cup next summer, apparently.’
‘Really,’ I said. ‘Anything else?’
‘Not really.’ Lisa said, her face still in the pages of the paper. ‘There’s a new member of the Hairy Elf. Some guy called Thompson Hairywold.’
‘He sounds cool.’
‘He can’t sing.’
‘He’s perfect for the band then. They’re coming to the Halloween Ball to perform for us.’ I said casually.
‘Which just happens to be in two weeks and we still don’t have our dresses yet!’ squealed Mary, who was sat opposite Lisa. ‘We have to go this Saturday, or my perfect night will be ruined.’
‘Aw, don’t worry, Mary. We’ll go to Madam Visage’s and you can get that strapless azure blue one with the ruffles, and the matching shoes that you’ve wanted since we first went in third year.’ I assured her.
‘And you can –’
‘Ah!’ I said, reaching across the table and planting a finger on her lips. ‘We don’t want James to find out, do we now?’
Mary smiled. ‘Of course not. Not that James would be listening, anyway.’
‘You’re right,’ I said. I turned to James. ‘What were we talking about?’
James shrugged as he put ketchup over his bacon. ‘Dunno.’
Ella snorted. ‘Wow, trust Lily to get a boyfriend that does nothing but snog her.’
‘Hey, that’s not true! Me and James do loads more than that!’ I said indignantly.
‘Uh. Well, that was the time where … oh, no that was Jake … Ooh, we went … oh, that was Kevin. Oooh! I got one! We went to feed the ducks once. Oh, no, that was Robin. Or was it Luke? Or maybe Adam?’
‘Gee, Lily, I thought I was only the second one?’ James said.
I shook my head. ‘James, James, James. If you look like I do, there’s no way you could have only had two boyfriends by the time you were sixteen.’
‘I’m guessing that wasn’t your first kiss either then?’ James said, raising an eyebrow.
‘I had my first kiss when I was seven.’ I said. ‘By the lake, under the willow tree with –’
‘No, stupid, with Peter.’
‘Peter Pettigrew?’ James said incredulously.
‘No, Peter Kolker. He was a Muggle, you wouldn’t know him.’ I said matter-of-factly. ‘When was your first kiss?’
‘When I –’ James gestured towards Ella. They’d gone out for a bit in third year, but it quickly dissolved. Ella hated him anyway, and still said she had no idea why she said yes when he asked her out.
‘Yeah, but that wasn’t Ella’s.’ Lisa said.
‘Shut up!’ Ella said, red in the face.
‘Who was then?’ James demanded.
‘Why do you want to know? Soon you’ll be asking who our first times were with.’ Ella snapped.
James stared. ‘What?’
She laughed. ‘I’m just joking. This is such a weird conversation anyway. I’m off. See you in Herbology!’
Before James and I went to Care of Magical Creatures, I told him I had to take a quick trip to the toilets, and for him to go ahead. He obliged, and I hurried up to check my hair and makeup (it’s what any self-conscious girl would do!). I quickly made my way down to Hagrid’s hut.
He had already assigned the pairs and, surprise surprise, I was with Sirius Black.
‘I have nothing against you.’ he told me as we set about looking after the baby unicorn. It gave off a faint gold glow to match its fur. She looked at me with huge black eyes and whinnied softly, nudging her head against my stomach. I picked up a handful of sugar cubes and, as I fed them one at a time to the unicorn, I said,
‘Yeah, and that’s why you accused me of cheating on you, then slapped me.’ I patted the unicorn a bit too hard and she neighed angrily, butting her nose on my chest.
‘I’m sorry, I was angry, and crazy –’
‘And high.’ I snapped, picking up a little carrot to see if the unicorn liked it. ‘What are you on, Sirius? After we broke up you went after Courtney?’
‘Hey, she came for me, alright?’ he said, stroking the unicorn’s back. She neighed loudly and bucked and reared.
‘Stay back, she doesn’t like you.’ I ordered. ‘Shh, it’s OK, girl. Nasty boy is gone now.’ She whinnied adoringly at me and sniffed the carrot. She made a noise like gagging and turned away.
‘James looks pretty happy with Courtney,’ Sirius pointed out. I turned so fast that I cricked my neck. Rubbing it fiercely, I saw Courtney petting the baby unicorn and James sitting against a tree, using his wand to bring the sticks and stones to life.
‘He’s not doing anything, which is why he’s happy.’ I said sternly.
Sirius snorted. ‘You didn’t see?’
‘No. And I don’t want to.’ I snapped. ‘Move over, I want to see if she likes apples.’
Courtney’s plan banished my mind completely. Me and James had a make-out session in the Common Room and I decided to head down to the library before it closed to pick up a book to help with my Ancient Runes essay.
‘Hurry back,’ James said, planting a trail of kisses down my neck.
‘I’ll try,’ I said, smiling.
I walked quickly along the corridors. Peeves was waiting just outside the library. He caught sight of me and swooped down.
‘Student in the corridors, eh? Should I call Mr Filch and scream and shout?’ he said, looking at me as if I was a piece of artwork he was scrutinizing.
‘Beat it, I’m Head Girl.’ I snapped.
‘Oooh, are we now? That doesn’t make any difference to me, you see.’ Peeves said.
‘Scram. I’ll get the Bloody Baron.’ I said.
‘You don’t know where he is!’ Peeves said, though he looked terrified at the thought.
‘He’s up at the Astronomy Tower. He likes it there at night times.’ I said, shrugging as if this meant nothing to me. ‘Now get lost, before I go there and get him.’
‘As you wish, ma’am!’ Peeves said in a squeaky voice, giving me a brief salute before whooshing through me and disappearing through the wall. As usual with all ghosts and poltergeists or whatever, I felt as if my whole body had been doused in ice-cold water. I shivered and stood there, before coming to my senses and rushing forwards. Madam Pince was just beginning to close the gates when I said,
‘Please, Madam Pince, I just need one book!’
She considered me with yellow eyes. ‘Oh, go on then!’ she snarled finally. ‘But hurry up!’ I squeezed past her and scanned the bookshelves for what I was looking for. I grabbed it off the shelf and hurried over. She stamped it hard and shoved it back at me.
‘Uh … thanks?’ I said. She glared at me and I took this as the cue to leave. I glanced at my watch. ‘Shoot,’ I muttered as I hurried out of the library.
I stopped in front of my Charms class, wondering whether I should take the long way and leave James waiting, or if I should go through a shortcut and get there fast. In the end, I chose the latter.
A very. Big. Mistake.
What I saw scarred me for the rest of my life. Not to brag, or anything, but I never thought I’d see my boyfriend cheating on me. With his ex.
He was pushed up against the wall while she had her mouth crushed up against his with her legs curled around his waist. Her fingers were knotted in his black hair and his hands were at her hips.
I was about to stumble back out, but the book slipped from my hands and fell to the floor with a bang. They broke apart and turned to stare.
‘Lily, I –’ James began.
‘Save it, Potter,’ I snapped, forcing myself not to cry, ‘I don’t want to hear your pathetic excuses this time.’
And with that, I picked up my book, turned on my heel and fled.
As I approached the portrait of Priscilla, the tears started coming. I choked out the password to her and she swung forwards, but not before gazing at me sympathetically.
I scrambled through the portrait hole and threw the book down onto the table. I charged up the stairs to my dorm and flung myself down onto my bed. I kicked my shoes against the wall and curled up in a tight ball under the duvet.
Using my sleeve, I wiped my eyes and put my head on the pillow. I put on my pyjamas and sighed as I got back into bed. I pulled the cover over my head and dozed off quite quickly. About five minutes later, I woke up to the sound of something tapping. At first I thought it was on the door and I picked up my wand and readied myself to attack, but then I glanced over to the window. Mary’s owl was fluttering outside, holding a note in her beak. She was tapping on the glass with her claws, glaring at me impatiently with her big brown eyes.
I pushed the window open and let Mary’s owl land on the windowsill. I took the note from her beak and unrolled it.
Lily, I saw you running down the corridors. What happened? You looked really upset
I rummaged in my bag for a quill and inkpot. I was tired and shaken, but Mary genuinely cared for me, so I had to be bothered to reply, or she’d get worried. I flipped over the piece of parchment.
I’m alright Mary. I just had a bit of an argument with James. No time for details, I’ll tell you tomorrow morning at breakfast. Lily x
I put down the quill, rolled up my reply and gave it to Mary’s owl. As soon as she set off into the night, I closed the window and slid the latch down. I could see my reflection in the window panes. The lack of light enhanced the shadows in my face, making it look like there was only half of me.
Only half …
And where was the other half? Gone with the brief happiness I had had with James before I foolishly went through the shortcut.
I climbed back into bed. My limbs were aching and my nose was running. After stashing a box of tissues under my pillow, I finally laid down to sleep, dreading the dawn.
AN: Yes, yes, just say it: "Summer (yes, that is my name), I hate you sooooo much!! WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY???" And I have an answer: twists and turns, my dear. I hope you enjoyed it and don't hate me too much. *Spoiler alert* the next chapter will be about Lily dealing with James's betrayal, going shopping for the ball and maybe there'll be some different POVs, too. Just wait and see ;) As always, compliments and critisizm is appreciated. Love you guys xx