Chapter 12 : Eventually
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Lily couldn’t bear to go back to the common room at that moment. She had to get out, away from everyone and everything, she felt so used. She hadn’t slept properly in days she had been thinking about James so much. She had been up early every morning to see him and had stayed late every night. The tiredness of the week, the fear she had felt on the night of his fall, the nerves she had been experiencing when thinking about telling him everything, they all came tumbling out of her in the form of this anger and sadness. She didn’t want to think about what Tara had said, she just wanted to forget everything from the last year.
She ran out of the entrance hall and onto the grounds. It was dark outside and the sky looked like black velvet as the rain began to fall. Lily was glad, the rain would wash away all the pain she felt, it would make it all better. She carried on running until she got to a large clearing between the trees. She just stood there in the middle of the open space and looked up to the sky as her soaking robes clung on to her body and her hair stuck to her face. She screamed as loud as she could up at the sky with frustration when she spun round to see James running up to her.
“Lily, Lily what happened?” he asked and reached out to take her arm. She pushed it away as forcefully as she could and examined with some satisfaction the look of hurt in James’ face.
“What did I do?” he shouted above the howling wind.
“I’m not stupid James, I know what you think of me.” A confused look passed over his face, was she really that mad at him for loving her? “You think you can just use me, tag me a long like one of your stupid worshippers? I thought we were different James, I was foolish enough to think you actually cared for me!”
“Lily, of course I care for you, I care for you like you could never imagine.” he pleaded. The rain was getting heavier now and was starting to pound painfully on his face as the cold wind stung. “Where did this come from Lils? Where did you get these ideas?” he asked feeling completely lost. Tonight wasn’t meant to have turned out like this.
“Tara told me everything James. All about your stupid conversations, how you can click your fingers and I’ll come running like a goddamn poodle. I took care of you without moaning one bloody bit while you were just laughing at me with that bimbo!” The tears were falling more fiercely now down her cheeks getting lost amongst the barrage of raindrops.
James suddenly understood now. When Lily had left, Tara had been wearing an unusually large smirk as she had run out of the door. All week Tara had been bothering him, asking him why he didn’t have a girlfriend, how cute she had found him when she was at Hogwarts and how he’d only gotten cuter when she was away. Sure, he had been flattered after all she was a very attractive and popular girl but he had politely told her that he wasn’t interested. How could she have been so vindictive as to do that to Lily? He must have seriously underestimated this girl.
“Petal, listen to me, please” he was feeling so desperate, like his very life hinged on persuading Lily that she was wrong “Tara’s just jealous because I said I didn’t want to go out with her. If she said something to you before it was just to get back at me!”
“You don’t get it do you James?” she screamed, he didn’t understand but she was going to make him. “YOU BROKE MY HEART!” and after staring at him sadly for a few seconds she turned again to run but realised how tired she actually was. Her bones ached, she was sleepy and the weight of her wet clothes was pulling her down. She looked up at the magnificent castle in the dark and began to walk towards it.
“Lily, please, I’m in love with you!” It had just erupted from his mouth, the words that he had never been able to say, that he had been so afraid of had come tumbling out of his mouth and now he couldn’t take them back. But he didn’t want to.
Lily just froze. Did he actually just say that he loved her? She turned around to see him standing there staring at her. He looked limp, exhausted even as he was drenched to the bone, his white t-shirt now transparent and clinging to his chest, his hair flopping in his eyes. She looked deep into his eyes, she could see the sincerity and desperation in them but above all, for the first time she saw the love her felt for her burning out of them and travelling deep down into her own. He must have noticed the change in her as she saw the corners of his mouth turn into a hopeful smile.
It took all of Lily’s restraint not to run over to James and knock him off his feet with enthusiasm. She walked slowly up close to him and whispered “Really James?” he smiled his most happy and charming smile at her and screamed “Of course!” he picked her up and swung her around in a circle, the puddles splashing beneath his feet. “I LOVE LILY EVANS” he screamed upwards to the world and laughed as he placed her back on the ground.
“I love you too James, I have done for so long now.” She said with tears still in her eyes. He lifted his hand to her face to wipe away the rain and tears from her cheeks. Slowly he ran his finger down her face to underneath her chin and tilted it upwards softly. Their eyes locked together at that moment and his heart was racing. He leant his head down to meet hers and hovered for a second in front of her soft lips, enjoying the butterflies he felt from just being so close to her. Then, as their lips met and their arms enveloped each other the rest of the world seemed to fall away. They were lost in that kiss, in the pure passion of having what they had been waiting for so long.
Neither were sure how long they stood there in the pouring rain, just holding and kissing one another. It didn’t matter. Nothing else mattered during those minutes, just that they were together and loved each other. Finally when they broke apart James took Lily’s hands in his. Both were smiling as widely as they had ever done and couldn’t take their eyes away from the other. “We have to go back now Petal.” James whispered to her as he kissed her forehead gently. As much as she hated it she knew he was right. It was getting very late and both were soaked to the skin and beginning to shiver in the cold night air.
They went back to the common room in perfect silence. They didn’t need words at that time, they were just content with being next to one another, holding each others hands as they walked. The common room was completely empty now as they entered and James led Lily over to the fire to warm up before going to bed. They just sat there and talked and laughed as they always did, it was still so easy. Only now there was more, they could be free with their thoughts and feelings like never before. They didn’t have to look away from each other in embarrassment or for fear of being noticed and they could reach out and touch or kiss the other whenever they wanted.
At 2 o’clock in the morning Lily started to doze off in James lap and he stroked her still damp hair. As he looked down on the beautiful angel on his knee he couldn’t remember ever feeling happier or more complete than at that moment. Reluctantly though he shook her gently awake. “Come on Petal, you need to get to your warm bed. I don’t want you getting ill.”
She looked up and smiled at him. As they walked over to the staircase to her dorm he took her hands and kissed her softly on the lips. “I’ll wait for you here in the morning and we can go to breakfast together.” He said, sounding genuinely excited by the idea. Lily giggled, tomorrow everyone would know about her and James. They said goodnight and went up to their different rooms, longing for the other the second they separated.
The next morning Lily jumped out of bed, desperately hoping that the night before hadn’t been some wonderful dream. Her soggy robes at the foot of her bed told her that it was real. She quickly got showered and dressed, flinging on a pair of low-slung jeans and her favourite sparkly green vest top. As she raced down the spiral staircase she almost ran straight into a figure standing at the bottom of them. James was there and waiting for her and beamed at her when she fell into his arms.
She kissed him delicately on the lips as they wished each other good morning through their massive toothy grins. Lily looked around and noticed that he was alone. “Everyone’s down in the great hall already, I thought it would be a surprise.” And they walked arm in arm laughing at what their friends would say.
By the time they reached the hall for breakfast they were already discussing what they would do with their Saturday and laughing at the prospect of a major prank on Snape as they entered. Every head in the great hall turned to face the couple as they walked by holding hands and whispering into each other’s ears. Scowls followed the two of the most lusted after students in school as they wandered past oblivious to anyone or anything else around them.
They took seats next to the rest of the Marauders and the twins and looked up to see each one with their mouths hanging open in surprise. James and Lily just looked at each other and burst out laughing as Sirius and Remus began applauding the couple for getting together after so long.
The group spent the day together at Hogsmeade wandering around the shops and enjoying their freedom. They even managed to catch Snape by surprise a few times charming his voice to sound like he had inhaled helium, which made it even more amusing when he tried to yell “I’ll get you Potter, I swear I’ll get you!”, They also managed to charm his shoes to make him tapdance wherever he tried to walk and when they got back to school grounds, levitated him above the middle of the lake and dropped him in it, to the great pleasure of the giant squid who seemed to take quite a liking to him. Lily was especially thrilled to have had the whole day being so close with James, even if she did get evil stares from every girl who walked past. He spoilt her very much insisting on buying her perfume that she liked, a stuffed to she said was cute and he even carried all her shopping bags for her. He was a true gentleman as she always knew he was.
The end of the day though brought back the horrible realisation to the group that they knew they would eventually have to face. That was there final Hogsmeade visit while they were at Hogwarts. The NEWTs where drawing ever closer and, from then on there would be nothing but hard work for all of them.
The nights from that point on were long and hard. Rather than enjoying the last few weeks of their school lives, the Marauders knew that it was time to finally put their skills to the test. Luckily Lily had been preparing for weeks and had a revision timetable set out for all of the boys and herself, individually made to suit each individual and their strengths and weaknesses. Sirius finally learned where the library was as they all spent so much time there until it was curfew and they would take all their books back to the common room for a few extra hours. The tension was high as the pressure started to mount from all of the professors and many students needed claming potions and used charms to help them stay awake longer. Not Lily though. She had worked so hard over the years and was of course anxious about doing herself justice in her exams. However, whenever her spirits needed lifting, all she had to do was turn around to see her best friend and boyfriend rolled into one at her side and she knew that everything would be ok.
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