Disclaimer: Okay, I've done this stupid disclaimer thing just about one hundred times for every single chapter of every single story I've ever typed up. I seriously doubt this disclaimer will be any different from the rest. I own nothing. See? I was right. Applause, anyone?
Author's Note: Hey. I'm updating. . .well, that's kind of obvious, but whatever. I've been wanting to start a new James/Lily story so much lately, but I keep reminding myself of a few monthes ago when I was being swamped with trying to update four stories at a time, so I'm trying to wait until I've finished this story and have at least just about finished Just the Girl.
Okay, now that we're past all the boring stuff, on with the chapter!- Which I really hope doesn't get deleted three times in a row by the story's clumsy author, Ms. Clumsy the Second.
I mean, Lily Evans being late to something? That just doesn't happen. What will Mcgongall say? I'd hate to be next to Professor Mcgongall when she finds out Lily isn't here yet.
"Mr. Potter, are you listening to me?"
Mcgongall can be one scary fire-breathing dragon when she wants to be (which is alot, actually). Though she doesn't become a fire-breathing dragon, literally or anything. Just figuratively. If her animagus was a dragon, I doubt any student would live to see their graduation day at the end of seventh year. Thank Merlin Mcgongall's animagus is only a cat.
"Huh?- Oh. Professor Mcgongall! I was just thinking about you! Funny. . ." I trailed off. The prefects and Heads were beganing to make their way to the front of the crowd so they could be the first to enter the Great Hall to dance. And Lily wasn't anywhere to be found (neither was her perfect date. Maybe her perfect date has something to do with her disappearance-. . .maybe I should go search around castle. What if Ravendrew is trying to have his wicked way with her! Yes! Of Course! How hadn't I have see this before?). ". . .Professor, Lily's. . ." I trailed off again.
Oh, God. I didn't want to tell Mcgongall that Lily's missing. She'll bite my head off!
"What, Potter? Where is Ms. Evans? She was suppose to be here ten minutes ago!"
Too late. I'm getting my head bitten straight off. I suppose I can go join Nearly Headless Nick. "You see, Professor. Er. Well-. . .Lily, you say? She's, uh, she's-"
"Ah! There you are, Ms. Evans! Good. The prefects are already making their way to the front of the crowd." Professor started looking over my shoulder.
I turned to see Lily. And her date, Ravendrew. Lily seemed to be okay and didn't look like someone had tried to have their wicked way with her. In fact, she seemed rather too cheerful. I wonder just what exactly was going on between Lily and her git of a date. Of course, that's nothing new. I've been trying to figure that out for weeks.
"You and Mr. Potter must make haste and get to with the prefects- Mr. Potter!" I was torn from my thoughts of Lily and her perfect arse-face by Mcgongall.
"Where, may I ask, is your date?"
Blimey. This is embarrassing. Having to explain why you don't have a date to your professor. Of course, I just forgot. . .which really is just as embarrassing in a way-
"Do you have a date, Mr. Potter?" The professor asked wearily.
"Er. No. Not really, professor. I've been too business to, you know, ask anyone." I explained smoothly. She looked surprised at this statement. Mcgongall, I mean. I know. James Potter, without a date? What has this world come to?
"Then who do you intend to dance the first dance with, Mr. Potter?"
This was even more embarrassing. Having to ask someone to dance with you in front of your professor. Why couldn't I have just died today by being suffocated by a string of tinsels this morning? Things would be so much easier if I had. Of died, I mean.
"Well, actually," I started quickly, glancing at Lily,"I was going to ask Lily to dance with me. I mean, we're both Head students. . ." I trailed off, letting the question hang in the air for a moment.
Lily seemed a bit startled that her name was brought up,"Oh. Well. Of course, James, if you need someone to dance with-. . .Is that alright with you, Andrew?" She asked. Everyone's gaze shifted to Andrew.
The git smiled. Well, I'm sure it was smirk deep down, you know, a smug smirk, trying to rub in the fact that he ruined my bet by taking Lily. I'm sure. "Oh, sure. That's fine, Lily." Oh, sure. That's fine because I've already ruined James' bet, so what will it matter now? That's what he was really saying. In his head, that is.
"Good." Mcgongall said tensely- this ball really must be getting to her,"Now, Mr. Potter, Ms. Evans, up to the front, please." She gave my shoulder a small push as Lily began walking to the front, after saying she'd meet Ravendork after we finished the first dance.
"This is. . .nice music." I started a bit sarcastically. The band chosen by me wasn't going to start until later that night since they had another concert today, so it was either have them play late at the ball or not play at the ball at all. Right now, there was just some boring, Fall-Asleep-Two-Seconds-After-Listening classical music.
Lily didn't seem to notice my tone,"Yes, I suppose it is."
I would be a liar if I said dancing with Lily Evans wasn't awkward. Because it is. Awkward, I mean. It's not like in those romance books my mum reads (and quote to my dad a lot, unfortunately) where when two people start dancing, everything else just seems to melt away and they're the only two people around. It's like time just stops. . . they're just floating on the air.
Another sign that love, dovey romance novels are excruciatingly fake.
It's not as though either of us were bad dancer or anything, that wasn't the problem. It's the awkward air around us. Unlike in those stupid love novels, I was very aware of everyone and everything around us. Time didn't stop- it just seemed to slow down a great deal. And not in a good way. And I know Lily and I both had our feet planted solidly on the floor below us.
Lily gave a sigh. It was a content, happy sigh. Not a Oh-Save-Me-Ravendrew-Is-So-Awful sigh."The ball is turning out nicely, isn't it?" She flashed me one of her smiles.
I glanced around the Great Hall, trying not to look into Lily's face (it would cause an even greater awkwardness between us),"Yeah. After all the Christmas tree tackling and biting peppermints, it did turn out fairly well." Lily laughed, I gave a small laugh with her. I really wasn't in the mood for laughter though.
It was now 10:00 (PM).
Two hours. That's all I had left. And I was being an utter coward. I just couldn't, for some stupid reason, ask Lily to Hogsmeade. This really was irritating to me because I'm a Gryffindor. Gryffindor's aren't suppose to be afraid. Especially me.
"After all the trouble, I think the trees turned out nicely." Lily complimented. Wow. She's doing quite a lot of talking tonight. Why is she so cheerful? Perhaps because the stress of the ball is finally over and now we can just sit back and relax (not literally, unfortunately). . .or, perhaps the reason why she was late was because her and Ravendrew had hot and heavy snogging session before coming here and that's why she was so cheerful. . .
But, as much I tried, I really couldn't imagine Lily Evans having a hot and heavy snogging session. . .I really just can't picture that. Not that I'd like to picture her with Ravendrew having a hot and heavy snogging session, that's be just gross.
I glanced at Lily before setting my eyes on the Christmas trees. They did turn out good. As I looked around the Great Hall, I realized everything turned out good. I mean, so far, no one's been tackled or bitten by Christmas decor, the ball really has turned out good.
I decided to do a bit of snooping now, knowing the Winter Ball had turned out okay, I had much more important things to worry about.
"So, what held you up earlier, you know, before outside the Great Hall." I asked.
Lily turned red.
I was right! They did have a hot and heavy snogging session before coming here!
"I couldn't find my wand." Oh. Wait. So they didn't have a hot and heavy snogging session. I knew that picture just wasn't working in my head. . .She was just red because she was embarrassed for losing her wand.
I gave her a grin,"Hey, nothing to be embarrassed about. I've lost my wand four times since I've started Hogwarts." Suddenly, the air wasn't as awkward, for some reason. I just hoped it would last.
Lily laughed and smiled again at me,"You know, whenever I'm around you, James Potter, I never feel as embarrassed by my mistakes."
Er. . .was that a compliment?
Alert. The awkwardness level is back and a lot more, well, you know, awkward.
Lily seemed to realize what she said,"Oh! I mean, I didn't mean it as an insult. . .or, um. . ." She trailed off awkwardly.
"It's okay." That's all I could say. Yes, that's all I could think to say. I'm such an idiot around Lily Evans.
"What?" I asked irritably to Sirius. I knew that tone. It was the How's-The-Bet-Coming? tone of his.
"How the bet coming?" He asked. See?
"I'm-. . .I'm going to ask her in a while." I said rather defeated.
"You do realize that also in a while it will be midnight, don't you?"
"Of course, I do!" I exclaimed. And I did. It was now 11:30. After the very long, first dance with Lily, I sat down at a medium sized round table with my fellow Marauders and had been sitting there ever since. The band had gotten here now and the music was a lot better. But, the music really didn't help improve my mood. The ball would be ending at 12:00. The bet would be ending at 12:00 also. I had an hour.
I had been thinking of ways to get Lily alone (no matter how awkward it may be) and ask her, but there always seems to be something that would make me rethink my plans.
Oh, hey. Lily and her perfect baboon of a date have finally finished dancing (they've been dancing forever) and currently are walking towards my table. Great. I get to meet Ravendrew.
"I have to say, you two did a wonderful job with the ball, James."
I bet you thought we did a good job, you stupid berk.
I was standing around with Ravendork as Lily spoke to Remus about a charm used to make the candy canes sing carols. I really didn't want to talk to ol' arse-face, but he just didn't seem to get the message.
"And from what I've heard from Lily, you and her and the prefects' had quite a time this morning, preparing the ball." He laughed. Yes, laugh it up you evil, insensitve prat. His laugh was stupid. Peter's pig-snorting laugh is a hundred times better.
"We did." I replied politely.
"She said a few of you were tackled by the Christmas trees even!" He gave another one of his annoying laughs.
"Yeah, we were."
"Well, I suppose all that tackling was worth it, though, wasn't it?" He asked gesturing around the Great Hall towards the decorations.
Silence. Ravendrew seemed to be thinking of something to say while I sat watching Sirius dance around some girl and then occasionally glancing over at Lily and Remus chatting away.
"Lily said you're on the Gryffindor quidditch team." Ravendrew started.
He seemed a bit put out by my lack of words,"Cool."
"Yeah." I was starting to turn into Sarah's date, Howard, now. Great. Wonderful. My life just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it? I've become some troll who only grunts a "yeah" when necessary.
"Yeah." You're not even on the Ravenclaw team, Dreambloke!
As I sat and "chatted away" with Lily's perfect Andrew, I realized he wasn't so perfect at all. Very imperfect, actually. So why was a perfect (almost anyways) girl like Lily doing with a imperfect bloke like Ravendrew? He really wasn't that good-looking anyways. Of course, Lily doesn't strike me as the girl to go by looks, though.
What was I saying though? Her and Ravendork may not even be an item. They could jus be friends. So, I can go and ask Lily to Hogsmeade- but wait. What if they are an item? I'm not going to be humliated and rejected because I made the mistake of thinking they weren't any item-
Oh, for the love of God, I'm going to ask Lily to dance with me and get this over with once and for all (it's now 11:45).
"Arse- I mean, Andrew seems like a nice person." I said lieing. It was a bit hard to say Ravendrew was a "nice person".
Lily faintly smiled,"Yes, he is."
"You two, you know, an item?" I asked casually after taking a deep breath.
Lily seemed to tense in my arms (where she didn't fit perfectly, unlike what those stupid romance novels say),"Er, no. We aren't." She answered. She seemed a bit embarrassed. Lily doesn't date much, I don't think.
"Oh." That's all I said. Wow. I'm sure my words are just so charming to Lily. That's why she's always so quiet. Because she in awe by my lack of normal words when I'm around her. Yes. Of course. That's why.
Even though I felt stupid by my reply, Lily's previous reply brought my spirits up some. They weren't an item, so I could ask her. And just in time too! It's 11:55.
So, here it goes. Start out with a compliment for her. Best way to get a girl to Hogsmeade with you. "You look nice. Tonight." I said too quickly. Damn.
I mean, it wasn't as if I was lieing or anything. Lily did look nice. Tonight. She wasn't the glowing jewel of the evening or anything, but she did look nice with her red hair down and curly or whatever. Her dress robes were white.
"Thanks." Lily said, then after a pause continued,"You look nice as well."
"Thanks." Okay. Good. I've got the compliment down. Now. On to the asking part. . .you know, maybe I should just go get a cup of punch or something then I can ask her-
-Dong, dong, dong
Dong, dong, dong
Dong, dong, dong,
Dong, dong, dong
Oh. My. Gillywig's.
NO! The clock must be wrong! It can't be right!
I jerked away from Lily on the dance floor, looking at the nearby clock that had just chimed twelve times signaling that it was midnight.
"James? Are you alright?" Lily was asking.
I stood for a moment, still staring at the clock as it continued on its merry never-ending journey. Then I turned back to Lily,"Lily," I asked warily,"is it really midnight?" She would know. Lily Evans knows just about everything.
She blinked. "Of course it is, James. Why?"
I don't think I can dance anymore. I don't think I can even sit around in the Great Hall. My mood has just gone from bad, to worse, to worst today. And not even Lily's nice smiles were going to make me feel better- especially not Lily's nice smiles- or Lily's anything's right now actually.
It was midnight. I had. . .I had. . .lost a bet. I had lost the bet. I've never lost a bet.
"Uh, I'm tired, Lily. I think I'm going to head to bed."
Lily nodded,"Yes, I suppose I will too, the ball's ended anyways."
"Oy, don't push me!" I called as someone pushed into me. I was squeezed in the middle of the big, noisy crowd that was fighting their way out of the Great Hall and back to their common rooms.
Unfortunately, Sirius was with me.
"I told you you'd lose the bet. This was too easy. I expect my payment within two days." He stated triumphantly.
I grunted moodily.
"What? Did Lily reject you?" Sirius asked. I hadn't told him that I'd never even ask the girl in the first place.
"Move along, you lot!" I yelled to the people. Then to Sirius,"No."
"She didn't?" Sirius asked.
"No, because. . .because I never asked her."
"You didn't ask her out on the dance floor? Merlin, that's what I thought you were doing!" Sirius exclaimed. "Why didn't you ask her, James? Afraid?"
"No." I stated indignantly. I wasn't afraid. Not really. No.
"Well, what was it?" He asked. "I give you a bet to get Lily Evans to go to Hogsmeade with you and you can't even get the courage ask her. What's with you, anyways? You've asked a ton of girls out, but you can't ask Lily Evans out?"
I turned my head to Sirius to tell him to stuff it and to get off my case, but my words got very jumbled when I noticed who was walking alongside Sirius, a bit out of sight, but not quite. It was someone, who by the looks of it, had heard everything Sirius had just said.
It was, I think this is quite obvious, Lily. Oh, and Ravendrew, but he's really not that important right now. The only person I could think about right now was Lily. She'd heard everything. And she seemed to look like she was just hit with a few nasty hexs.
"Sirius, shut up!" I hissed, poking him in the ribs before crossing over in front of him (Sirius) and trying to catch up to Lily who had quickly walked past, Ravendork at her tail. Honestly. Why can't he just butt out of Lily's life? It seems like he's just constantly around.
"Lily! Lily- Wait!" I yelled above the sea of heads. She was speeding up. I was trying to speed up. "Come on. . .Lily! Wait!"
As I got about three feet of her, I grabbed one of her arms.
Well, it wasn't her arm, actually. It was some other girl who I had no clue was. So, I let go of her and continued looking around for Lily.
Why did she have to hear? Why? Why did I have to do this stupid bet in the first place? It's been more trouble than it's worth. And now, well, now Lily's going to hate me forever, probably.
I finally caught up with Lily (and this was definitely Lily because I could see Ravendrew walking next to her) and grabbed her arm, pulling her to halt. I remained standing still next to her even though I was getting elbowing the ribs as people moved past me. Ravendrew also stopped and pushed some people out of the way so he could stand closer to us. "Lily, listen, I'm sorry-"
"Don't you think you've done enough, Potter?" Ravendrew asked angrily.
I shot a glare at Ravendrew as I held Lily's arm tighter,"Why don't you go mind your own business, Ravendork! This isn't about you, it's between Lily and me!"
Ravendrew looked a bit startled at being called "Ravendork", I have to say. Don't know why. It's such a common name. He seemed to regain his stature after a second or two, he pulled out his wand.
People around us were beganing to stop and watch with curiosity.
I heard Lily tell arse-face (she called him "Andrew") to go ahead and go, she'd be fine. Ravendrew reluctantly left, giving me a few evil eyes, which I gladly returned. After Ravendrew was out of sight, I turned my attention back to Lily.
I really didn't want to look at her. It only made me feel like a bludger flying into my stomach, though I think a bludger to the stomach would have been better than looking at Lily right now. She wasn't crying, which was, good. . .I think. . .
"Lily. . ."I started quickly,"Lily, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to. . .to do this. To you." I still couldn't think of anything normal to say in front of her, which really wasn't helping me.
Lily just continued to try and shrug off my arm, not saying anything. Her eyebrows were scrunched up as she frowned at the ground. She wouldn't look me in the eye. She wouldn't look at me period.
"Come on, Lily. . .I didn't- This. . .This bet thing was just a stupid joke-"
"James, forget it." Lily said softly before giving a hard tug and stumbling out of my grip. She hastily straightened up and began to walk off, not looking back once.
Well. I can now successfully say my life is a complete and total mess. Not too mention I feel like crap.
Author's Note: Okay. Lily's found out about the bet. Woah. What will James do? What will Lily do? What will Ravendork do? What will everyone do? We will find out next time on. . .An Off Course Bet! LoL.