“Anyone else think it’s cold in here?” Leah asked, opening her eyes wide in disbelief at the latest unbelievable sight.
“No,” Sirius said, looking at Leah like she was insane. “Why?”
“Hell has just frozen over,” Leah declared, turning Sirius’ head so he could get a good glimpse of Lily and James entering the Great Hall together.
“Way to go, Prongs,” Sirius cheered. Lily blushed at Sirius’ words and she and James sat down beside one another at the table.
“Sit down, Padfoot,” Remus said, smiling. All the Marauders seemed happy for some unapparent reason. Even Peter was grinning like a fool.
Erin Parker strolled in with Ruby Wallace, the two of them arguing over something petty.
“Why would someone mow their lawn?” Erin questioned Ruby. “You have got to be out of your blazing mind.”
“Ask Lily,” Ruby dared her. “Muggles mow their lawns so the grass doesn’t get too long.”
“What is that contraption called?” Erin asked. “Would it be some ridiculous name like a lawnmower?”
“Actually,” Ruby insisted. “It is. Go on, ask her.”
“I will,” Erin shouted. The moment she turned to talk to Lily and met the back of James’ head she stepped back. “In the name of holy hippogriffs!”
“What kind of asinine joke is this? If someone is messing with our minds, let me tell you, they’re very fragile,” Ruby called, looking at Sirius with squinted eyes.
“Very fragile,” she repeated in a dangerous voice.
“Hey,” Sirius said, raising his hands. “For once, it was not me. I don’t see why everyone is making a big deal out of this in the first place.”
Everyone, excluding James and Lily, stared at Sirius.
“Well,” he offered. “I guess I can see why. The two of them have been at each other’s throats since the beginning of Hogwarts history. Anyone want to put three galleons on how long it lasts?”
“Sirius,” Vita lectured. “Putting money on things like these is very insensitive and it’s not something one would-”
“I’ve got three galleons,” Leah told him, fishing in her pocket to pick out three golden coins. “I say one month.”
“That’s a bit risky, don’t you agree, Moony?” Sirius turned to his friend for consent. “I’m thinking four days.”
“Four days?” Vita asked perplexedly. “Forty days is Lily’s average relationship duration.”
“I don’t want any bids unless you have the money to back it up,” Sirius stubbornly insisted.
“Fine,” Vita grumbled. “I say forty-one days.”
“Moony?” Sirius tempted.
“Two weeks,” Remus said, looking up from his book and handing three galleons over to Sirius.
“No one is going to want to place money on something like this,” Vita assured Sirius.
“I beg to differ,” he proclaimed. Without so much as another word, he got up and started speaking in hushed whispers to the rest of the Gryffindor table.
“We’re dooming their relationship,” Ruby announced. “They finally got together and now we’re betting on when it will end. We’re great friends.”
“I like to think so,” Leah mused. “Erin, will you be my partner in Potions today?”
“But of course, Leah,” Erin replied. “We are a great team.”
“Good lord,” Ruby sighed. “We don’t need any explosions near Lily and James today. We do want their relationship to last at least one day.”
“Who’s to say there will be an explosion?” Erin inquired.
“With the two of you as partners,” Vita commented. “I’ve seen how distracted both of you are.”
“No, no, I don’t think so,” Leah said, off in the distance. “Wonder how long it takes the house elves to make all this food?”
“I’ve always wondered that,” Erin said. “How early do they have to get up? If it’s before six, I pity them. We should probably ask Dumbledore. He would know, right?”
“Yes,” Leah absently agreed. “He would know.”
“See what I mean?” Vita muttered to Ruby.
While Sirius was off biting people’s heads off about placing bets, Remus and Peter were having an interesting discussion.
“How many times has Lily slapped James?” Peter asked.
“Zero,” Remus reported. “How many times has he touched her hand and/or face?”
“Five, but who’s counting?” Peter off-handedly mentioned.
“This is completely and indescribably bizarre,” Remus declared in a hushed whisper.
“She kissed his cheek,” Peter gasped. “Sweet Merlin, this is unexpected on so many levels.”
“Prongs never gives up, though,” Remus mused. “He’s persistent. It was only a matter of time before they got together.”
“Do you think Lily got sick of him pestering her?” Peter asked, turning to face his friend.
Remus studied the look on Lily’s face. She wasn’t sad, she wasn’t resentful. No sign of regret or anger shone through. Her eyes looked different, somehow complete.
“No,” he answered solemnly. “I think she finally realized.”
Lily loved how James was taking things slow, appreciating the fact that Lily was new to the whole ‘being nice to James Potter’ thing. Over the next two weeks, little surprises were in store for her. One day she awoke to a small pair of lilies beside her head, resting innocently on her pillow. Even though winter was approaching, they had somehow managed to look perfect. She didn’t even need to question where they were from.
The way he walked with her down the halls sent a chill up her spine. His hand would rest casually around her shoulders, sometimes squeezing the back of her neck affectionately. This caused her arms to break out in goose bumps. She never realized how new and exciting a relationship could be.
In all her past relationships, she had followed her ordinary procedure. First month was the happy, can’t-live-without-you moments, followed by the overprotective ordinary meetings. Yet, with James, things were never awkward. He seemed to know her boundaries, what to ask and what not to ask. She didn’t like speaking of her family and he sensed this.
She loved the way his face lit up at the mention of Quidditch. It was cute to see how passionate he could be about that game. Even though she had always supported her house, Quidditch had never really sparked her interest. Hearing about it from James launched it into an entire different perspective.
She loved how he made her feel special, as if no one else was in the room. He paid the utmost attention to her when she was talking. No guy had ever been so kind to her. James Potter was an amazement in himself. She hoped that this change of dating cycle would keep up; she didn’t know if she could handle breaking his heart. For the moment, she was confident and not as scared. She wanted to feel that way forever.
Her friends were still not accustomed to any public displays of affection that the two of them shared, whether it be a simple hug or a kiss goodnight. Lily could have sworn she saw Erin flinch when James had kissed her temple. It was rather odd, but Lily thought it no stranger than Sirius and Leah’s relationship. Although, there was argument there. Sirius and Leah had never been sworn enemies. Leah did hold troubles from her past, but she refused to let them interfere in her love life.
So, as James and her started making the potion assigned to the class, she couldn’t help but admire him. He was hers, her boyfriend, and he actually knew who she was. He liked the person he knew, unlike most of the guys at Hogwarts. She tried to avert her eyes when he looked over at her, but she just smiled instead and resumed cutting up her Belladonna. She watched as James stirred his potion, reading the procedure from the board once more. Lily had never been great at Potions, but she was glad she was paired with someone who actually took their time. It was strange to see a new side to James. If he had been paired with Sirius, the two of them would have been throwing Filibuster’s fireworks inside the Slytherins cauldrons.
She eyed Erin and Leah and saw violent bubbles burst from their potion. As usual, the two girls were too distracted to notice. They were occupying their time with comparing scuff marks on their shoes. Ruby was rolling her eyes behind them, filling a sample flask of her potion to be graded.
Lily smiled once again to herself. She was actually happy with her life, somehow more whole. Something new had happened, something good. That something was James Potter. He was a part of her life, a new part, a good part. He was the cause for such smiles. She loved how the rest of the world acted as well. There was rarely any discord between the group of friends; everyone seemed genuinely happy.
She enjoyed seeing Ruby and Remus blush as they stole glances at one another. She loved the way Vita always made sure everyone was ok before proceeding with anything. She loved the way Erin played with her hair during lessons, even when she was scolded by teachers for doing so. She loved the way Sirius and Leah snuggled up against one another before the fire at night on the Gryffindor couch. She loved how Peter laughed and laughed when Remus beat him at chess. She especially enjoyed the way James smiled in the idle of despair. He was so optimistic, he rarely lost hope anymore. Most of all, she loved the way she appeared when looking in the mirror. She was no longer confused and lonely. She was happy and glowing. She was loved.
“What are you smiling about?” James asked, her squeezing her hand before mixing in the Belladonna.
“Everything,” she truthfully answered. “Everything.”