Chapter 19 : Nineteen: This Girl
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Nothing in this world can stop us tonight
I can do what she can do so much better
Nothing in this world can turn out the light
I'm gonna make you feel alright, tonight.
-Nothing In This World, Paris Hilton
The night everyone had been waiting for finally arrived. The past few weeks had gone by in a blur; everyone was so excited. I was the only one of my friends who didn’t have a date, though, and I felt a bit like a loser. Dorcas was going with Sirius, obviously, Bliss was going with Jacob, also a given, Remus was going with a friend of Dorcas’ called Marlene McKinnon (and they swore they were going as friends, but we all thought otherwise). That only left me and Potter, and he hadn’t asked me, so there I was on the night of the ball with no place to go and no one to meet.
We stood in an excitedly chattering huddle at the top of the staircase, and everyone walked down one by one to meet their dates waiting for them at the bottom. I held on, waiting till the very last, where I sneaked down behind a fat couple and edged into the hall. I gasped; it was beautiful. Golden ribbons hung low from wall to wall, and above the night sky had been bewitched to show thousands of glittering stars in a cloudless sky. The floor seemed to be luminescent of gold; there were several tables down one end of the room, the other end was cleared for dancing, although couples had already gathered around it, waiting for the music to start.
I made my way over to the dance floor as the music began to start. Apparently there was not going to be a lecture on behaviour or anything like that beforehand, thank goodness. Couples slowly began to descend onto the dance floor and I watched my friends dancing with a smile on my face.
“Lily?” James? No. Amos Diggory. I turned around and smiled broadly. “Would you like to dance?” he asked, smiling shyly.
“Of course!” I replied, surprised that he didn’t have a date. I took his hand and he led me onto the dance floor. I was a little bit disappointed that even with masks on you could still tell who everyone was. I danced with Amos to two songs, and then excused myself to go and get a drink. I sat down alone at a table and picked up a menu. I muttered the name of the drink I wanted and it appeared before me. I took a sip and looked around. Everyone was still dancing. The night really was dragging on!
“Excuse me,” said a voice behind me, and I turned and smiled. I couldn’t be sure thanks to the thin black mask around his eyes, but I was pretty convinced that it was James, judging by the hair.
“Yes?” I asked politely, putting down my drink.
“May I have this dance?” he asked, and I smiled and stood up obligingly. He offered me his hand and led me onto the dance floor just as Amos had done, and placed one hand on my waist and held my hand in his. We danced for a few moments in silence.
“So do you know who I am?” he asked eventually. I surveyed his face and made definitely sure it was him. I recognised his voice, anyway. It was definitely James.
“No,” I lied smoothly. “Do you know who I am?” I asked, smiling to myself.
“I’m afraid not,” he replied, although I was almost certain he was lying as well. My hair was plain to see, and my voice was the same as always. You’d have to be stupid not to know who I was. “But since I don’t, and you don’t know who I am, is it okay if I ask your help with a certain problem?” he asked to my surprise.
“I . . . I think that would be okay.” I replied bemusedly, watching every movement of his face.
“Well, you see,” he began, “there’s this girl.” I bit my lip. Was I about to hear James Potter telling me about a girl he had a crush on? That would tear me apart. Which would really be no good. He carried on, breaking my line of thought. “And she and I went out for a while back in fourth year. And I’ve been out with quite a few girls, but with this one it was different. Because I really cared about her.”
“Really?” I asked, raising my eyebrows. I was aware that the music had stopped and a faster song had struck up.
“Can we continue this outside?” he asked kindly, as neither of us seemed keen to join in. I nodded and he took me by the hand and led me onto a balcony. I had thought the ceiling was just bewitched for the night inside, but outside the sky was just as starry and clear as it had been in there. The gardens were decorated with real fairies, dancing and shimmering in the moonlight.
“Sorry,” said James. He let go of my hand and leant against the balcony ledge. “So as I was saying. This girl. Well we’d barely been together three days and I cheated on her.” I nodded. “This other girl, from a different house, turned up at a Gryffindor party and was all over me. Then before I knew it she was kissing me. At first I wasn’t sure what to do, but then being the jerk I was I started kissing her back. And then this girl, the one I really cared about, found me kissing her.”
The memories came flooding back. I shut my eyes to block them out.
“So, I mean, I made a really big mistake. I never stopped caring about that girl, but now I’m worried she’ll never take me back. What can I do?” I was aware, even with my eyes closed, that he had come a couple of steps closer. I dared for a moment to open my eyes. He was less than a metre away. Was he trying to say what I think he was trying to say?
“I think,” I said slowly, after a few moments, “that she forgives you.” And I stepped closer, slipped off my mask, stood on tiptoe and placed a soft kiss on his lips. I stepped down, smiling at the expression on his face – somewhere between happiness and shock. “You know I know who you are,” I stated. He blinked a few times and then lifted off his mask and held it in his hands. After a moment he put it on the ledge of the balcony. Then he leaned forward, took my face in his hands and kissed me softly on the lips, lingering for a moment before pulling away.
“Will you be my date for the ball?” he asked, sliding his hands down my arms and taking hold of my hands. I nodded, smiling broadly, and he led me back into the ballroom. Instead of going towards the dance floor, however, he led me to a table where all of our friends were sitting. Bliss looked from me to James to our hands which were clasped tightly as we approached, and gasped.
“You guys! You’re together!” Everyone turned to look at us with delighted expressions and I blushed and looked away.
“I knew it was going to happen!” said Dorcas triumphantly. “Cough up, Sirius.” Sirius begrudgingly handed her a shiny gold galleon as we sat down at the table.
“You had a bet?” I said disbelievingly. Sirius laughed.
“Yeah, and I lost. Nice one, guys,” he said, attempting to sound annoyed, but the grin plastered on his face gave him away.
“What a night. Marlene and Remus got together as well!” Bliss informed me, and both the mentioned parties looked down embarrassedly. I smiled. This was certainly not the night I had expected.
A/N: They're together! Whoo!
One chapter left, then the epilogue. Don't go away!
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