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Chapter 12 : Fresh Tears
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“He’s lucky he only received a minor injury,” a bubbly, feminine voice spoke.
Another voice, much more severe and stubborn, started harshly whispering at the first voice. “Lucky, is he? Lucky? If you weren’t sitting there distracting him this would have never happened! As to his ‘minor injury’ as you refer to it, he bruised his ribs, broke his arm, and landed himself in a concussion! I wouldn’t call that minor!”
“Miss Evans, keep the volume to a minimum,” the school nurse’s voice lectured. “We do have sleeping patients who wish for peace and quiet.”
“Sorry, Poppy,” Lily apologized, sighing at the first voice.
James heard all these voices collide in his head, waking him from his light slumber. His head was aching and a sharp pain jabbed in his side. According to Lily, that was most likely the bruised ribs he had maintained. His eyes fluttered, squinting at the bright light the Hospital Wing cast upon him.
Eventually, he opened his eyes to see Jenna holding his hand and sending unappreciated stares over in Lily’s direction. Lily was pacing the room, more worried than he had ever seen her. Sirius was leaning in the door way, watching him from afar. He was the only one who had noticed that James had awoken, and he winked, shrugging at the two girls.
James didn’t remember a thing other than being hit by the bludger at Quidditch practice. Everything after that was a bit blurry. He heard a voice, a soothing voice, that had coaxed him through the walk from the pitch to the Hospital Wing. He looked from Jenna to Lily, trying to determine whose voice it had belonged to.
“Mr. Potter, you’re awake at last I see,” Madam Pomfrey announced, scuttling in with a syringe and a cup. She poked the syringe into his arm quickly and flicked her wand twice. The pain subsided in his ribs as she did so.
“Drink this,” she ordered, referring to the cup. It was a bitter taste, but he managed to swallow it down. His arm, which was momentarily in a sling, regained some strength and composure. It was still a bit sore, but he knew the bone had mended.
“You took quite a nasty spill out there,” the nurse said, disapproval in her voice. “You’ve always been a bit reckless though.”
“It wasn’t James’ fault,” Lily piped up. “This broad-,” she pointed to Jenna in disgust. “Felt the need to wave to him while he was on a broom.”
“Miss Thompson,” Madam Pomfrey snapped. “Why would you do such a thing?”
“So he knew I loved him,” she explained, smiling sweetly in James’ direction. She didn’t look very concerned, just a bit overwhelmed. Lily, on the other hand, looked an absolute mess.
“That worked out so well,” Lily hissed. Her green eyes were worn down with worry, but seemed oddly relieved that James had awoken. With one last huff, she bid them all goodbye and exited the wing.
“I have no idea what is wrong with her,” Jenna confirmed, misreading James’ expression. “She could use with some relaxation, I tell you. She was very stressed out when you fell, seeming to think it was her responsibility to take you to the Hospital Wing.”
“If she hadn’t done it, would you have?” Sirius questioned, watching Jenna with suspicious eyes.
“I-,” Jenna hesitated. She put on a defensive face after a split-second of thinking. “Of course I would have.”
“Sure,” Sirius brushed off. “So, are you feeling better mate?”
“I think so,” James answered, rubbing his forehead. “I feel a bit dizzy, but that’s nothing our Poppy can’t take care of.”
“That’s good,” Sirius said. “I’ll report back to the others. They’ve all been worried sick over you. Don’t scare us like that again, you hear me?”
The two of them laughed, reminiscing on the countless times Sirius had used that phrase in an impersonation of Mrs. Potter.
“I promise,” James assured his friend. Jenna seemed a bit left out of all of this and started messing with her fingernails.
“I’ll leave you two alone,” Sirius said. “Feel better, Prongs.”
James nodded, watching Sirius leave the room. He looked over at Jenna and she smiled.
“I’m glad it’s the two of us now,” she said. “That Lily Evans was stifling me.”
“What did she do?” James asked, unsure of how to take this.
“She was, oh I don’t know how to describe it. She was just fawning over you,” Jenna said. She must have seen James’ eyes grow big in surprise because she continued on. “It was as if she was your girlfriend and I was some girl sitting on the side lines.”
“Well, you’re not exactly my girlfriend either,” James reminded her. “We had one date.”
Her hazel eyes grew round and wide, looking into James’. She seemed somewhat offended.
“But, we had a good time. I thought that we were meant to be together,” Jenna divulged. “Don’t you feel that way too?”
James had to forget about Lily. Jenna was here, she liked him. He could be with someone who actually wanted him for who he was. Lily was so far in denial it was impossible to tell when she would come to realization. She had fawned over him though. It had indeed been her voice that had stayed with him on the grounds. It was her face he had seen before falling hundreds of feet in the air.
“Yes,” he lied. “I do feel that way.”
She sat back in her chair, dropping his hand and looking to the ground. There was an awkward silence between the two of them. James wasn’t sure what else to say. Did she expect him to elaborate? He had told her what she had wanted to hear. Wasn’t that enough?
“We should both stop kidding ourselves,” she remarked. “Both you and I know you don’t feel that way.”
“How could I?” James demanded. “I barely know you! We had one date. One date! That isn’t enough to determine whether I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“I like you, James,” she insisted. “I really do. You’re a great guy.”
“I like you, too,” he assured her. “You’re nice and you’re a gorgeous girl. What wouldn’t I like?”
“I don’t know,” she sniffed, her eyes running with slow, delicate tears. She brushed a stand of blonde hair behind her ear. “You’re always so distracted.”
“I’m not,” he told her. “No, don’t think that.”
“Stop lying,” she yelled. “I know why you’re distracted. You love her. I know you do. I don’t know why you’re wasting your time with me. We both know she’s the one you want.”
“I don’t know who you’re talking about,” James debated. Madam Pomfrey seemed to know that she shouldn’t come to meddle just now. The two of them, Jenna and James, had some sorting out to do.
“Lily!” Jenna wept, her eyes now red and glossy. James felt bad for making her feel so down. He was doing the best he could not to. In all truth, she was right. He was distracted, he was wasting his time, he was avoiding her.
“You know that’s not true,” he weakly objected. There was no hiding the lies in his voice now.
“I never knew you to be a liar,” she hissed. “Lily is so beautiful and so smart. I don’t know how it took me so long. The way you looked at her when you woke up and then the way you looked at me. It was easy to see who you really wished was at your bedside.”
“I’m glad you were here-,” he started to say. She put a finger to his lips, standing and picking up her purse.
“The sad thing is,” she exclaimed, ready to leave the room. “Is that she feels the same way.”
With those words, she strode out of the room, leaving a dizzy James Potter in his bed. The odd thing was, the dizziness was not caused from his fall.
“I am such an idiot,” Lily whispered, lying in her bed once more.
Erin and Ruby were sitting on the end, staring at the ceiling as Lily wallowed once again. The two of them were the only ones willing to put up with her unpredictable mood swings. She was either angry or depressed, both causing her to fall to extremes.
“I’ll second that,” Erin agreed, her voice calm and patient.
“It’s your own fault, Lily. He wouldn’t be with Jenna Thompson if you hadn’t been so insecure,” Ruby relayed. She was shaking her head of vast black curls and sighing at Lily’s predictable behavior.
“Nothing ever changes, does it?” Erin questioned. “Lily, you’ll always be in this predicament if you don’t step up and forget about the future. Focus on the now. I know you don’t want to get hurt, but this is enough.”
“He let her down,” Lily cried. “She was so in love with him and he let her down! He wasn’t supposed to die. He left us, all of us, and it hasn’t been the same since.”
Erin and Ruby knew without mention of whom she was speaking of. Lily’s father had died when she was thirteen and had left Lily and her family with all sorts of emotional issues. Lily always tried to believe she was ok now, but in all actuality, she wasn’t.
Every so often she broke down. Every time her friends were there for her, they were supportive. Behind Lily’s infamous serial dating lied an issue that was always neglected.
“How could he do that to us? I didn’t want him to die,” she screamed, her eyes flooding with tears and her voice cracking. “I could never do what she did. She had two kids and no husband. That summer she laid in bed for five entire weeks. I don’t ever want to fall in love. Never.”
“It’s a bit late for that, don’t you think?” Ruby asked, her voice soft and comforting. She pulled Lily off of her pillow and wrapped her into a hug. Erin looked over, catching Lily’s eye, tears in her own.
“It was no one’s fault he died,” Erin noted. “It was not his fault he died. I am sure he didn’t plan on it. No one plans on it, Lily. No one wants to die. The woman who hit him apologized over and over. Her son was in the back seat about to eat an earring he found on the floor of the car. I heard her tell you this, Lily. You heard this, I heard this. It wasn’t her fault, it was no one’s fault. It was fate.”
“Fate?” Lily sobbed. “Fate? You mean someone planned on me becoming fatherless? It was all in the books? Why? Why would something like this become my fate?”
“I can’t explain it,” Erin voiced. “No one can. All I know is that everything happens for a reason. Maybe your father was supposed to die so that you would have this fear of commitment.”
“Why would that be important?” Lily asked.
“Because,” Erin explained. “That way you would date a lot of guys who wouldn’t be the ones. When you finally found the one, that fear would be discovered and you would have to try and conquer it. What do you think has been upsetting you so much? It’s not so much James, it’s the fact that you want to get over this. You want to be able to love him so bad that it hurts. Right now, you’re incapable of doing so because of attachments to your parents’ marriage. Don’t you see, Lily? Just because your father died doesn’t mean he didn’t love your mother. He did love her. The reason she was upset was because she loved him back and he was gone. He didn’t hurt her intentionally. If he was alive today he would still love her. You need to realize that.”
Lily hiccupped, feeling salty tears enter her mouth. Her hair was plastered to her face and her eyes were red and puffy. She had spent more time crying than not this year. Erin was right. She was fighting it.
“I don’t know what to do,” Lily cried. Ruby rubbed her back and nodded sympathetically.
“I wish I could tell you,” Ruby said. “I’m not as wise as our dear Erin though.”
Erin blushed and smile. “What do you think you should do?”
“I should be with James,” Lily reasoned with herself. “I should give him a chance. I should get over this fear of commitment. I should take a risk. There are so many things I should do. I just don’t know how to do them.”
“That’s the hard part,” Erin confessed. “No one can tell you what to do and how to do it. That’s for you to decide.”
“I used to think I was strong,” Lily admitted. “I’ve never felt so weak in my life. I miss him.”
“You still have your memories,” Ruby reminded her. “You still have all the good times you spent with your dad. If he were alive, you know he’d want you to be happy.”
“Is James Potter what makes me happy?” Lily questioned, somewhat shocked by this odd feeling she’d been getting. She was so used to fighting with Potter that she wasn’t quite prone to accepting this new change she had experienced. When she had seen him fall from that broom, she had known. A realization had hit her so fast and so hard that she had hidden it away as fast as possible.
For some reason she had seen fit to be there for him. Jenna was panicked and had no idea what to do. Lily had found the urge to relax him, hold his hand, comfort him while he was on his way to the hospital. He had muttered her name several times, cueing her in that he wasn’t completely over her.
“James Potter makes us all happy,” Erin said. “He is a nice person. He is a good friend. He has his bad moments, but then again, we all do. I’ve thought that from day one he was in love with you. I’ve just awaited the day when you’d feel the same.”
“Jenna Thompson complicates this ever-expanding issue,” Lily breathed, brushing a hand through her hair and rubbing the tears from her eyes.
“Trust me,” a voice from the door spoke. “He loves you.”
Jenna Thompson was standing in the doorway, a slight smile and a batch of tears accompanying her.
A/N: So? How'd you like it? I spent some quality time writing that (about an hour and a half..which is long for me). Please review.
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