I looked out into the bright starry night, hugging my knees closely to my chest. It’s cold out tonight, I thought with a shiver.
It had been two weeks since I, Lily Evans, reputable and responsible Head Girl, passionately kissed James Potter in a broom closet. James Potter, a person I was most definitely not seeing at the time. I still have not let my boyfriend, Grant Ashcroft, in on the truth of the matter.
He really doesn’t need to know…it was a harmless kiss. It meant nothing, I tried to reassure myself.
Deep down, however, I was unsettled. This was the fourth night in a row I had come up to the Astronomy Tower after hours. I couldn’t think in my dorm. Annabelle and Emmeline kept asking questions. I couldn’t stay in the Common Room because I ran the risk of running into Potter. I had been avoiding Grant altogether, a fact he had reacted to with slightly longer hugs at lunch and far more wistful goodbyes.
It felt like he knew our time together was coming to an end.
It doesn’t have to, a side of my head protested reasonably. You could forget the kiss, move on, get back into the swing of things with Grant full-force and be...completely…completely adequate.
“But what if I don’t want adequate?!” I found myself protesting aloud, slamming my fist on the smooth concrete.
Clutching my hand in pain, I leaned back against the wall, lost in my own depressing thoughts.
“I need to find out what is going on!” James Potter shouted irritably at his three best friends in the world- Remus Lupin, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew, also known to the majority of the school as “The Marauders”.
“Prongs. Please. Calm down. She will come to you when she wants to talk,” Sirius Black said softly, using James’ nickname in an attempt to calm him slightly.
“It’s been half a month, Padfoot! What if she isn’t planning on discussing it ever again? I can’t let this slip through my fingers! This was the closest I’ve ever come to Lily. I’ve had a thing for her for…”
“Three years,” Peter supplied wearily.
“Yes, thank you, Wormtail. Three years, Padfoot! And I finally got to kiss her! I got to smell her…she smells like cinnamon, mixed with something sweet that I can’t quite place. I’ve never been so close to her before without her pulling away or rejecting me! And now, you want me to wait for her to come to me?!”
“Well, yes, that about sums it up, yes,” Sirius said exasperatedly, leaning back onto his mattress.
Remus looked up from the homework he was doing in the window seat. “Prongs, she will come to you. She hasn’t been the same. I’ve heard from Emmeline that she isn’t even sleeping, she’s out until all hours of the night because she can’t stop thinking. Trust me. Lily will crack. I give her a week.”
While the rest of the Marauders began taking bets as to when I would completely lose my sanity, a thought entered James’ head. Out ‘til all hours of the night? I wonder where she goes…and I wonder if a certain boyfriend goes with her…
Grabbing a worn piece of parchment, his wand and his Invisibility Cloak, James Potter headed out the door to his dorm.
“Hey mate, where are you going?” Peter called curiously.
“I think I’m going to take a bath in the Prefects’ Bathroom. Clear my head. I’ll be back later.”
Finally emerging in the hallway after completely exiting the Gryffindor dorms entirely, James put his wand to the parchment. “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good,” he recited softly.
The map sprung to life. He found Lily’s dot after a few minutes, stationary in the Astronomy Tower. There was no “Grant Ashcroft” dot around her to be seen.
James Potter walked softly into the Astronomy Tower, Invisibility Cloak still safely fastened, not wanting to disturb me in my thoughts.
I was still extremely frustrated, occasionally muttering things in my upset reverie like “so unfair”, “much better kisser”, “life doesn’t make sense”, and much to my embarrassment later, “Why does Potter have to have such a nice arse?”
James was content to sit and watch the way my scarlet locks glinted in the moonlight, lost in thoughts of his own.
We were happily sitting when our silence was suddenly disturbed. Grant Ashcroft himself walked loudly in, his shoes echoing on the stone floor.
“Hi honey,” he said softly, walking over to the bench where I was sitting.
“Hi,” I managed, eyes focused on the moon.
James was regarding us warily from beneath his cloak. He watch Grant walk up to me, put his arms around me, and kiss me on top of the head, his hands balled up into angry fists the entire time.
“What are you doing up here? I noticed the door at the bottom of the stairs open, and I only knew one person who wouldn’t get in severe trouble by you for being up here,” Grant said teasingly, his tan features curving into a smile.
James smacked his forehead softly. Honestly, man. Was that supposed to be funny? She’s just going to think you’re insulting her.
I turned to Grant and smiled, laughing softly, even though inside I didn’t really feel like laughing.
James looked, stunned, from me to Grant. What in the name of Merlin? This is unfair. If I said anything like that, she would have bitten my head off.
Grant was still smiling, and now taking in the stunning view. Apparently he didn’t notice my real reaction to his statement.
Okay, Lily, I thought nervously to myself, stringing my hands. Pull yourself together.
With a deep breath, I began to talk. “Grant, I have something I’ve been meaning to tell you.”
James’ eyes bugged.
Grant, meanwhile, turned to me attentively. “Yes, honey?”
James made a gagging face at the nickname from his spot on the floor.
“W-well…it happened a couple weeks ago. I’ve been meaning to tell you. I-it just seemed so insignificant, really…”
Grant nodded for me to continue, an eyebrow cocked curiously.
“I k-kissed someone two weeks ago. Or, well, maybe he kissed me. It really wasn’t that big of a deal, though.”
He let out a sigh. “I knew something was wrong. You’ve been distant for weeks. Well. This clears it up. We need to clear up a few things, though.”
I nodded for him to continue, slightly shocked at his extremely placid reaction.
“Do you want to stay with me? Do you care about this guy?”
I looked up at Grant, seeing those beautiful understanding brown eyes. Those eyes that had helped me through letters from Petunia, bad Transfiguration marks, terrible insurrection from the prejudiced Slytherins…and I didn’t know what to say. Honestly. I had no bloody idea. I didn’t want to hurt him. Grant was pompous and ridiculous sometimes, sure. But he was my best friend aside from Annabelle. He knew me like nobody else. And standing by him, I suddenly couldn’t remember what I had seen in James. I had lived without James Potter for all the years he had hit on me. And now, my ever-faithful and wonderful boyfriend was saying that that one kiss was just a kiss, and if I wanted to stay, I could. How much more fabulous could a boy get?
“Yes, I’d like to stay,” I said softly, purposefully ignoring the second question, a fact that Grant didn’t seem to register.
I thought I heard footsteps angrily descend the staircase.
At the bottom of the staircase, Grant and I (holding hands, naturally) ran into none other than James Potter himself.
“Look who’s out of bed,” James said in a somewhat sarcastic voice, making eye contact with me. He looked completely livid.
Somewhat unsure of what to do, I simply opened my mouth in shock.
Grant, however, was never speechless. “I was doing my patrol, and Lily here was somewhat upset...this is where she goes when she has too much on her plate.”
Looking at Grant irritably for giving away my hiding place, my eyes made contact with James’. I suddenly didn’t mind so much. Sure, it was James Potter, the boy who had given me a nearly constant headache since he decided he liked me three years ago. But at the end of the day, it was also James Potter, the only boy in my year who made sure I wasn’t hurt when I fell off my broom in the first years’ flying lesson. It was James Potter, who had stayed up with me all night when I was crying hysterically in the Common Room last Christmas. Annabelle had gone home, and I had just received a letter from Petunia at home stating “how much better the holiday has been with no freaks around”. James always joked with me that his parents taking a vacation over Christmas break was the best thing that had ever happened to him and the shirt that I completely ruined with my salty tears.
And suddenly I couldn’t remember why I didn’t want James to know absolutely everything about me and my simple life.
“Well, I’m sure Lily’s got a terribly busy life, what with all her Head duties. Did she tell you that now they’re making us check all the broom closets personally?” James asked; a smart-arse self-satisfied expression on his face.
My jaw dropped as I continued to look into James’ insinuating eyes. I felt a thrill run through me as my mind flashed to that cramped and passionate morning just two weeks ago.
Grant was, as usual, oblivious to this, and replied, “No, she didn’t. Wow, that’s ridiculous. I thought that was a caretaker job.”
I cleared my throat nervously. “Erhm. Yeah. It used to be, but apparently Filch has too much on his plate these days to do menial stuff like opening broom closets.”
Grant laughed softly. “Honestly. What do they pay that guy for?”
“I’ll say,” James said fiercely, maintaining the eye contact with me, a frustrated expression on his face.
But as quick as the eye contact had begun, it was abruptly broken. After a quick muttering somewhere in the sentiments of “good night”, James stomped back in the direction of the Gryffindor dorms, but he was apparently feeling civil enough to wait for me at the end of the hall.
Seeing this as an encouraging sign, I allowed Grant to give me a peck on the cheek before sprinting down the hall to where James was standing.
“So,” James said stiffly after we had been walking in silence awhile.
“So…” I answered softly, trying to get him to make eye contact with me. After an unsuccessful attempt to get him to pay attention to me, I sighed in frustration and planted my feet firmly into the floor. “James. Why are you angry with me?”
James stopped walking and turned to face me, a deadly look on his face. “Don’t play stupid, Lily. You know perfectly well why I’m angry.”
“Oh, so this is about Grant then?” I asked irritably.
“Of course it’s about him!” James spat out in frustration. “We kissed, Lily. There were sparks. You kissed me back. I’ve waited three years for something like this to happen. And you…you just throw it away like it…like it meant nothing!”
My eyes started to prickle. Of course it meant something, Potter, you dolt. I just don’t know how to say it. “It’s not that, James,” was the best I could get out. A start, nonetheless.
“Oh yeah?” he challenged. “Well, what is it, then? Enlighten me, Lily. Explain to me why you obviously felt something in a kiss and yet decided to pass it off as nothing and continue stringing along Grant my-Arse-is-up-my-Croft.”
I giggled softly despite myself. “James…the kiss was great. But I…I’ve been with Grant for a year. You don’t give up a relationship like that based on one kiss.”
James Potter’s hazel eyes looked desperate. Frantically meeting my own emerald ones, he asked fiercely, “Do you give up a relationship for two?”
Face contorted in surprise as I realized what he was about to do, he didn’t allow a word in edgewise as he grabbed my face and tilted it up to meet his, pushing his body against mine for one of the most passionate and fantastic kisses of my life…pressed up against a wall in the Charms corridor, completely after curfew.