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Chapter 2 : Technicalities
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Chapter 1: Technicalities
So how exactly does one accidentally end up locked in a passionate embrace with someone in a broom closet?
That’s quite the question, now, isn’t it?
As I nervously explained to my ecstatic best friend, Annabelle Burton, I didn’t really intend for it to happen.
“At least I don’t think I did,” I said softly, leaning over to her as we chatted quietly in a remote corner of the Gryffindor Common Room that evening.
“Well, did he come on to you or you to him?” Annabelle said, her strawberry blonde hair falling into her face and eyes lighting up with the excitement that only new gossip can bring.
“Possibly both. It just happened so quickly…Snape tripped me in the hallway, James hexed him, and just as I went to scold him for using magic outside of class and on another student - ultimately I had take away house points from both the boys, though that scum Snape totally deserved what was coming to him…I looked up into James’ eyes. All of a sudden, I couldn’t really remember nor care what I was supposed to be doing,” I finished, vaguely aware that I was dazedly focused on the ceiling in awe and twirling a long strand of my scarlet hair around my finger.
“That’s so exciting!” she replied in her extremely high-pitched voice that she saved for monumental events. “I’ve always wondered if you two would get together…the Head Boy and Head Girl. You know, you guys are just too passionate to not end up sleeping together.”
I looked at her with disgust. “Sleeping together? Dear Merlin, Annabelle. I just kissed the boy; I’m not having his child.”
“Yet,” Annabelle said with a mischievous smile and glint in her bright blue eyes. “Can I be godmother by the way?”
I rolled my emerald eyes with exasperation. “Sure. Why not? But aren’t you going to scold me for doing something so stupid?”
She smiled at me wearily. “Lily, I can’t presume to tell you what guy is right or wrong for you. But I can tell you that I have never seen you as excited about a boy as I do right now, and frankly, it’s really refreshing. We aren’t meant to meet soul mates like you met Grant…why do you think very few high school sweethearts get married? Your relationship with Grant was a relationship of convenience…you’re both gorgeous people who happen to go to the same school. But haven’t you thought of the fact that maybe he’s not the one for you?”
It was really unusual, this talent that Annabelle had. It was really why we were best friends…her odd ability to go from playful jokes to serious advice made her the ultimate companion. I have never known anyone else like Annabelle, because I don’t think that anyone else exists.
I scoffed slightly in response. “The one? I think if I ever get engaged to Grant, you have full permission to slap me.”
Annabelle’s soft voice jogged me from my thoughts. “Speaking of him, have you told Grant yet?”
The angry guilt boiling in my stomach threatened to curdle at these solidifying words. It was real. That moment in the broom closet with James…happened. It wasn’t a fantasy that I could just pass off…was it?
And yet, as James shook off the dirt from Quidditch practice still stuck to his robes as he climbed through the portrait hole, his eyes met mine…and something had definitely changed.
Instead of an irritated glance for staring, James’ eyes were the picture of serenity. A secret smile and a nod were enough to make me realize that he was just as much on Cloud Nine about this morning as I was.
But what to tell my boyfriend was quite another story.
Grant Ashcroft, heartthrob of Ravenclaw Quidditch and part of the top five in our class (the other four included myself, Potter, Remus Lupin, and Frank Longbottom), had been my steady other half for a year now. Part of Grant’s appeal (though it wasn’t as appealing a trait anymore) was the fact that he was so hopelessly stable. Rather than proposing a challenge to my tempestuous nature, Grant preferred to “roll with the punches” and just agree with whatever I said.
We had definitely had quite a few boring conversations.
But for all of his flaws, to his credit, he always stood by me and stood up for me. Grant made me feel like there was no other girl in the world as treasured and well protected as me. Grant had definitely done his part of defender and wonderful boyfriend.
…which is what makes this so hard.
It is so much easier to feel sympathetic for a character in a story when said character genuinely has it bad…when their situation is so pitiable, that their actions are simply a result of their dire circumstances. But is it ever that way in real life?
The older I grow, the more I find that there is no clear-cut answer to anything. Life is not just yes or no, true or false…there’s so much grey area.
As I lazily turn my eyes toward James Potter, who was currently slowly ascending the staircase, I realize that the grey area in my life is Potter. Never have I felt the passion in my chicken pecks with Grant on lavish velvet four-poster beds that I felt this morning in that cramped and uncomfortable broom closet. Never have I felt the desire, the vulnerability, and the very sensation of being alive until this morning…
And can I ever really go back?
We weren’t always enemies, James and I. We actually used to be quite good friends towards the start of Hogwarts…James was always much more sensitive to Muggle-born wizards and witches than many of his other cold-hearted but pure-blooded counterparts. James Potter started to make my life very difficult towards the beginning of fourth year, however, when he found out that I had got Prefect and he had not. Though Remus emphatically stated that James was just as content pulling pranks and disobeying rules as he ever was, I knew that something had to cause his sudden frigidity towards me.
Of course, there were those three Hogsmeade trips he invited me on that I politely declined (I did have a boyfriend at the time, to my credit) and the Chocolate Frog Collection he gave me for my birthday that I didn’t eat (it’s not my fault I’m bloody lactose intolerant)…well, all in all I suppose we’ve had our fair share of misunderstandings over the years. The main trouble with that is that both of us are too stubborn to correct the misunderstandings.
But there has always been something different about my relationship with James than my relationship with any other boy. There is more passion in one argument with James than I have had in my entire relationship with Grant, and I have never known emotions as I know them in James’ presence.
When I’m around James, it feels like everything is immediately…amplified. My anger gets fiercer (I’ve been told that I’m worse around James than I would be with all my PMS in an entire year put together), my sadness gets gloomier…and on the rare occasions that I’m happy around James, I feel like I own the world. He’s just the kind of magnetic person that you really want to make laugh or smile, just so you can bask in his crooked grin. I would never admit the fact to anyone but Annabelle, but every time that I’m around him, I wish I could be funny like Sirius, or a close friend like Remus…someone that he trusts and cares about just as much.
But nobody will ever know that. Thank Merlin.
“What am I going to do?” I wailed to Annabelle and Emmeline for what felt like the fifth time today. In fact, it probably was the fifth time…James was all I had been talking about all day.
Annabelle and I had decided that since Emmeline shared our dorm, she was trustworthy with this valuable secret. But while Annabelle had egged me on in this forbidden crush, Emmeline preferred to take the responsible side of things and ask about the issues at hand.
“But…what about Grant, Lily? He’ll be devastated,” Emmeline said softly, twirling her jet-black hair around her finger thoughtfully.
“I know, Em,” I said irritably, pulling my knees up to my chest as I huddled in my four-poster. “I’m not exactly thrilled with the development, either.”
And I wasn’t. That day, when Grant had come up to me at lunch for our daily kiss, I could literally feel the guilt boiling in my stomach. I couldn’t bear the thought of lying to him, but I also hated the idea of hurting him. So instead I was caught in a near-purgatory, an unhappy limbo of mixed emotions.
During that same lunch period, I saw James surrounded by all of his friends. I couldn’t hear exactly what they were saying, but I was close enough to overhear bits and pieces. “She’s still dating Grant last I heard, man…” and “Are you actually going to try to win her over?”
I didn’t get to hear James’ answer, but his brow had furrowed upon the posing of the question, and he got that determined look in his eye- the very same look I had glimpsed the previous year when Gryffindor was in last place for the House Cup, and only a spectacular victory in the final Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin (James was Captain, of course) could have sealed ownership of both the House and Quidditch Cups to Gryffindor…and indeed, James had pulled it off. He very nearly killed himself trying, but that was beside the point. So I could definitely guess what the determined look meant this time.
James was going to try to win me over.
“Why can’t this all just go away?” I asked Annabelle later that night, as I lay on the bed with my head in her lap. I had filled her in on the gossip I overheard at lunch, and now she was playing with my hair and chewing on a piece of Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum.
“Lily…”she said softly while running her slender fingers through my scarlet mane, “I really think that if it could go away, I, for one, still wouldn’t want it to. I think that the choices we make (even though they might seem downright idiotic at the time) shape the people we become. Lily, if you hadn’t had that run-in with James, you might have stayed this way too long, Merlin, possibly graduated in the…state you’re in.”
Annabelle could tell she was treading on dangerous ground, and so her voice began to trail off towards the end of her sentence.
I look up at her with an annoyed scowl. “And what state would that be, exactly?”
Her ocean-colour eyes flickered wearily. “You only worry about school, Lils. I mean, yes, you care about me and I completely adore our friendship…but you only stay in your relationship with Grant because he won’t change. You fear change. Lily, if nothing else, the threat of You-Know-Who should be teaching us to embrace change. When we leave these walls in a few months, we have no guarantees that our loved ones will even make it through the following fortnight. You don’t love Grant, Lily.”
I sat up and brought my knees to my chest. Laying my head on them, I scoffed and replied, “Don’t state the obvious, Belle…we all know I don’t love Grant. But I really don’t think I knew that until Potter kissed me. You know the phrase ‘ignorance is bliss’? That’s really why I wish I could get a big Time Turner and completely redo the last few days. If I hadn’t had that moment with Potter, if I hadn’t tasted the passion that was missing, I wouldn’t be any the wiser. I’ve bitten off the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, and I’m just waiting for God to come and banish me from the garden.”
Annabelle patted my knee gently and smiled at me.
Wordlessly, she left to walk downstairs. She knew better than anyone else when I needed to be alone.
Even though I said that speech with a steady voice, the inside of me was screaming. I felt like nothing in my world was stable. So many thoughts were swimming in my head at the moment that I didn’t know where one thought ended and another began. How do I tell Grant? I’m going to die from guilt if I don’t tell him soon! Belle is right…I need to be living my life to the fullest in my remaining year at Hogwarts! I’ve made Head Girl already (to Potter’s Head Boy, much to my dismay), so why do I continue to drive myself to the brink with studying? I need to learn how to live before I can be expected to live on my own.
And underneath all those nagging concerns, there was one underlying question that I was trying desperately to ignore:
Do I love James Potter?
Author’s Note- Sorry we haven’t gotten into any real action parts of the plot yet…I just know that when I have terrible things like this happen to me, I feel the need to incubate with my closest girlfriends for a few days and lick my wounds. Lily will be out there soon enough, only to find two Romeos to her confused Juliet.
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