The following morning was like any other. After recovering from my many lost hours of sleep at St. Mungo’s I was back to waking up early every day. As I woke up with the sun on my face, I sat up in my bed and nearly knocked Jinx off the mattress I had been sleeping on. Already peeved that he had to change his habitat for yet the third time (he had just begun to get used to James’s house when we left) he hissed at me and scampered away underneath Grace’s bed. His yellow eyes glowered ominously in the darkness.
I looked around my surroundings. I was in Grace’s clean-cut room, with sunlight coming in through the many windows. Even as I established this in my mind, only then did I realize that I was not at the Potters’. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply as the painful memories came back to me. As much as James’ words had hurt me, I found that I was trying to forget what I had said instead. My fingers grazed my left hand and I felt odd as I realized that the ring was no longer there. I knew that it had been the right thing to do to return it, but I still felt strange without it.
Obviously it wasn’t just the ring I was missing. After months of devoting myself to such a serious relationship, I couldn’t believe that suddenly I was single and on my own again. Somehow it was hard to digest, and despite myself I kept thinking that James would soon be stepping through Grace’s bedroom door with Sirius in tow and jumping on my bed, telling me to get up and go have some breakfast.
Footsteps were heard in the hall, jerking me back to reality. Apparently I had not been the first to wake up. The snores coming from the other end of the room where a girl laid sprawled with her long brown hair trailing off the bed and the other vacant bed told me it was Grace.
“Good morning,” she said, pushing the door open with her wand at hand. Behind her a tray towering with buttermilk pancakes floated in midair. “Hope you’re all ready for breakfast.”
“’Morning,” I said as Grace handed me a plate and proceeded to transfer a few pancakes over. “Thanks.”
Grace was now moving towards the other bed where Gaby laid sleeping, pancakes in tow. “Wake up,” she said, pinching her unceremoniously on the arm. Gaby jerked awake, blinking heavily.
“Ow,” she said, scowling up at her. “Why’d you do that for?”
“Because I made you breakfast,” Grace said, dumping three pancakes onto a platter and setting it on her lap. As Gaby continued to look peeved, she added, “No need to thank me.”
Gaby responded by shoving some pieces into her mouth. Grace, in turn, sat on her bed and started on her own breakfast.
There was a silence as we all ate. Predictably, Grace and Gaby kept looking my way. No doubt last night’s events were raising a few questions—questions that I had no desire to answer.
“What time is it?” I asked finally.
“Seven thirty,” Grace replied.
Gaby raised her eyebrows incredulously. “Seven thirty? Aren’t we supposed to be on vacation or something?”
“You forgot that Henn’s train leaves at nine,” Grace reminded her.
Gaby’s face fell. “Oh, yeah.” Then, as if sadness reminded her automatically of me, she turned to me and said, “So. Are you okay?”
They were both looking at me expectantly. “Yes,” I said immediately.
“You don’t want to talk about James?”
“No,” I said levelly.
“What if you see him there today?” Gaby asked.
“Then I’ll see him,” I replied simply. “It’s not like we’re going to go out of our way to avoid each other.”
I thought the finality in my tone would make them take the hint. But as I rose up from my bed to start getting ready Gaby went, “Are you sure you don’t want to talk about it?”
“Yes,” I said, not even turning to look back as I went into the bathroom. “I’m fine.”
We took a cab to get to King’s Cross station. As we all sat in the back seat and searched our pockets for any change that wasn’t galleons, sickles, or knuts, Gaby said exasperatedly, “I’m so sick of this. Cabs, Floo, everything. When can we just take our Apparating test?”
Grace and I glared at her reproachfully as the cab driver looked suspiciously at us through the rear-view mirror. I shoved some money into his hands hastily and followed Grace out of the car.
“My mom scheduled an appointment for all of us next week,” Grace said as soon as we were out of earshot. “Hopefully we’re all ready.”
We had all taken Apparating lessons at Hogwarts during our sixth year but were prevented from taking the test when James and Sirius had purposefully tried Apparating in the castle. The result was two weeks in the Hospital Wing for both of them, and a few scars. The instructor had cancelled the test for the rest of the students, which caused several of us, longing to be able to get our license, to be irritated at James and Sirius.
“After this we should go and see our flat,” Gaby suggested enthusiastically. “It’s not too far from here.”
The first thing that I noticed when we neared the platform Henn’s train was supposed to depart from was a shock of jet black hair. I wasn’t too surprised. He was Henn’s friend too, after all. Before Gaby or Grace could give me any patronizing looks, I sped up and marched straight towards them. If collision was inevitable, I would rather barge into something than to wait for it to hit me.
James had his back to me as he talked to Henn. It was she who first saw me, widening her eyes as she said, “Lily, you came.”
There was an extremely uncomfortable silence as everyone turned around to look at me. Or rather, not look at me. Peter, after glancing at me hurriedly looked the other way, as if embarrassed. Remus carefully kept his face impassive while Sirius gave me a slightly accusatory look. Aaron and Henn were the only ones oblivious to all of this; Henn smiled at me and Aaron shook my hand in greeting, obviously unaware of last night’s events.
But the only person I truly saw was James. There was a brief moment when I saw his shoulders tense—then he turned around to face me. I braced myself for the anger I knew would come my way, but was shocked to see his eyes gaze steadily back at me. I felt his sorrow and hurt rather than resentment and somehow that was harder to face.
It took me a while to recover. Once realizing what I was doing, I quickly looked away. “Yeah, I did,” I replied, forcing a smile for Henn. I hated myself for doing it so convincingly. I stepped forward and embraced her, avoiding James’s eyes.
Henn was obviously surprised that I had hugged her. For a while I forgot why. Then I remembered that James had not been the only one I had mistreated last night. I pulled away and kissed her on the cheek. “I’m sorry,” I said earnestly. “I know that this is a great opportunity for you and that I was being selfish. I didn’t mean what I said.”
I felt everyone’s gaze on me and wondered if James was hoping I’d say the same to him.
Henn smiled at me. She was always more forgiving than me. “I understand,” she said simply. “I’m just glad you came.”
I knew that I didn’t deserve her forgiveness, but pretended that it was no big deal anyway. “Thanks.”
“Henn, I can’t believe you’re leaving,” Gaby said sadly.
Sirius nodded darkly. “It’ll be so different without you around.”
Henn’s eyes were already brimming with tears. “Oh, don’t say that…”
“We’ll miss you,” I said, giving her another hug. “So much.”
When it was time for her to board the train, I was ashamed to admit that I was actually relieved. The sooner she left, the better. It would be easier on all of us than to wait undeterminably on the platform. She hugged us once more each in turn, this time her tears flowing freely, and then waved us goodbye through the window.
“Write to us, okay?”
“And visit us at our flat anytime!”
Henn gave us a watery smile as the train began to move. “Don’t worry, I will.” As the train began to gain speed she waved one last time and retreated into her compartment. Already she was leaving our lives.
There was a silence as she sped out of view. The seven of us plus Aaron all stood and watched the train until it turned the bend around the station and we could no longer see it. I glanced at Gaby and Grace beside me and already felt Henn’s absence—it had always been the four of us girls ever since we were eleven, and now there were only us three trying to carry on without her.
Gaby was the first to speak. “Once we have our license, we can Apparate to Sweden and visit her all the time.”
“It’ll still be different though,” Grace said solemnly. “Without her within walking distance, I mean.”
No one had any reply to that. Finally, Aaron decided that it was time for him to go, and with a smile and a handshake to all of us, he left also. I wondered how he was handling Henn’s departure—they had only been seeing each other for a little while after all. Although I knew what they had was real from the way they looked at one another, I doubted they’d last. James and I hadn’t.
And then there were seven. Four boys, three girls. Henn’s absence was even more noticeable. Finally, Sirius said, “So, what are you girls doing today?” It was like we were at Hogwarts again, just hanging out, contemplating what we were going to do on a regular Saturday morning. But now not only was Henn not with us, but James and I were broken up. Somehow it didn’t seem like we were at Hogwarts anymore.
“Checking out our flat,” Gaby replied. “It’s about four blocks from here.”
“Nice. Can we—” Sirius stopped suddenly at Remus’s look. They both glanced at James, who was looking at me. “Actually never mind. We probably should check out our flat too, right Prongs?”
“Lily, can I talk to you?” James asked abruptly, completely ignoring the rest of us. He was looking at me as if we were alone, with no one around us. My first instinct was to reject him, but the way he looked at me was almost pleading me to say yes. Finally, I nodded, and we moved out of earshot under the watchful eyes of our friends.
I leaned against the brick wall, avoiding James’s eyes. Vaguely I remembered that we were at the place where he had once picked me up to go home when my father had forgotten about me, and where my mother had came to take me to her manor after I had almost hyperventilated at the payphone nearby. I remembered the way I had sat on the bench to my left, examining my scarred wrists as I tried to keep the panic from taking hold of me. With all of these memories it was hard to look up at James in the face, but I willed myself into doing it anyway.
For a moment we just stared at one another. His hazel eyes, so trusting and honest, were hard to concentrate on. He once had said that it was my green eyes that had really attracted him to me. I wondered why, when it was clear that my eyes were full of dishonesty and lies.
Finally, he spoke. “I was a jerk last night.”
It was evident from my expression that I was surprised. I had not expected James to apologize.
“I’m sorry that I said all of those things,” he continued, reaching for my hair and brushing his fingers against my skin. I felt my face heat up, and wondered how after all of this his touch could still make me feel the way I was feeling now. As he stepped closer he said, “You know I’d never want to hurt you on purpose.”
His lips were coming towards me. He thought that what we had last night was just another silly fight that could be rectified easily. I proved him wrong when I turned my head, and he paused just above my cheek.
“I’m sorry too, James, but that doesn’t change anything,” I said quietly. I couldn’t believe that after all we said, he thought I would give in to him so willingly. I thought I had been very final when I had ended the relationship the way I did.
There was a pause. Then, “You won’t forgive me?”
I carefully stepped out of his embrace and forced a smile at him. “No, I do forgive you. But I think it’s better if we are just—”
“Friends?” James finished incredulously. He hand was up against the wall and he was looking at his shoes, not at me. “You really think we could be just friends?”
I was careful to sound very nonchalant, although I knew it made me seem insensitive to what he was feeling. “I don’t see why not.”
“I do,” James said, putting his hand in his pocket and taking out our former engagement ring. He tried giving it to me but I backed away, shaking my head.
“I don’t want it, James. You keep it.”
For a moment he simply stared at me. It was like I had slapped him. Quietly, he said, “I don’t have anyone else to give it to. It’s yours.”
The pain in his eyes was unbearable. “I know it seems hard now—” I started. “But you’ll find someone else. Someone better. I don’t deserve you, James, you know that.”
My encouraging words apparently did nothing to raise his spirits. He gave me a tired look. “And you should know that there will be no one else. That there can’t be anyone else.”
“You only say that now. Trust me, James, this is for the best.” It was ironic that I was asking him to trust me, for I had been the one who had crushed and betrayed him and his trusting heart. I glanced over at our friends, who once seeing that I had saw them, all turned around and opted for nonchalance. The situation was getting too uncomfortable. “I wish you the best,” I said. It was the only honest thing I had said during our whole conversation.
I was about to turn around and leave when he said, “If you think you’re better off without me, I guess that it’s reasonable that we break up.” His voice was constrained, robotic like, as if he was forcing himself to say it.
I left thinking, It’s you who is better off without me, as James stood stationary against the wall. I knew that I should’ve corrected him, but I didn’t.
Our flat was a little shabby place in a rundown building in downtown London. The wallpaper was peeling off, revealing the broken patches of concrete beneath it; the beds were creaky with feathers spilling out of its various holes; and the kitchen sink was inhabited by mold. As Gaby and Grace gushed over the living room with its torn sofa and broken arm chair, I stared at what soon would be our new home.
“This will be your room, and this one Grace’s,” Gaby said, pointing to the two bedrooms straight across from one another in the hallway.
“Where will you sleep then?” I asked, my nose scrunching up in distaste as I smelled an odor coming from the bathroom that reminded me of rotten eggs.
“Couch or something,” she replied. “I’ll be moving out in about a month so it doesn’t make sense for me to have my own bedroom.”
“Nonsense,” Grace said, entering the room herself. “You can sleep in my room. We’ve been roommates for most of our life, so one more month won’t make a difference. We’ll just conjure up a bed or something.”
They had finally noticed my expression. “Something wrong?” Gaby asked.
“It’s just…different.” I paused, careful with my words. ”From, you know, what I expected.”
Gaby and Grace exchanged incredulous looks then burst out laughing. I stared at them, unable to catch the joke.
“Goodness, you didn’t think we’d keep the flat this way?”
“We’re not Sirius who would be satisfied sleeping with rats underneath his bed!”
Clearly, I still looked confused. Which was why Grace explained, “We’re going to redo everything with magic. We’ll fix everything—the walls, beds—”
“The bathroom,” Gaby said, scrunching up her nose.
“So by next week, after we move in, this place will look brand new,” Grace finished. “Although we can’t make too much of a difference—or else the owner will get suspicious. We’re just renting. It’s only in this state because it was the cheapest we could find.”
I giggled a bit with them. “Good, then. I’m relieved. When do we start?”
“Well since we have nothing better to do…why not now?”
Later as I used a simple cleaning spell to clean out the shower drain, I tried to distract myself so I wouldn’t think of James. I hoped that we wouldn’t have another confrontation again. Although there was a small part of me that desperately wanted to give in to him, I felt that as time passed I was letting go more and more of my emotions. I had certainly felt less than before when we had been talking at the train station. It was if I was detached from the scene and not really experiencing it. Soon I would be able to feel nothing with his presence, and I knew it was unfair for it was clear that he was nowhere near accepting our breakup.
“We should invite the boys to come here when it’s ready,” I heard Gaby shout as she worked on conjuring paintbrushes to paint her and Grace’s room lavender while she peeled off the wallpaper. I felt her gaze on me from across the hallway, and heard Grace stop uttering her spells in the kitchen and becoming quiet to hear what I would say.
“That’s fine by me,” I said. And what scared me was that it was fine and that I was already getting over my relationship with James as if it meant nothing to me. But I knew that it meant something—I was happier with him than I ever had been throughout the whole year. So why was it that I was giving all of that up so easily?
“Okay,” Gaby said finally, and they both resumed their chores.
The following week before the Apparating exam, we all tested each other as we fixed our flat. It was all quite easy with magic. As I jinxed a mop to start washing the floor of the bathroom and a sponge to scrub the grime from the shower walls, I sprayed the mirror and worked on making it something we could see our reflections in. Gaby had finished painting Grace’s room and was now proceeding to re-stuffing her mattress, while quizzing me.
“Apparate over here, in our room,” Gaby said.
“I already did that twice,” I said exasperatedly. “Tell me to go somewhere else.”
“Come over here, in the kitchen,” Grace suggested. So I dropped the spray in the sink and turned on my heel, instantly appearing in the kitchen next to Grace, who was cleaning out the refrigerator.
She groaned. “Not with your dirty shoes! I just cleaned the floor, you know.”
“Sorry,” I called out, already back in the bathroom. “Okay, Gaby. Apparate in the shower, if you please.”
With a quick pop! Gaby appeared in the shower and then Disapparated back to her mattress.
“Do you think the boys are practicing?” Gaby asked, a little wistful.
“Unlikely,” I said, flicking my wand so that the mop would proceed to the kitchen to wash away my mud that I had deposited there with my shoe.
“Thank you, Lily,” Grace called from the kitchen as she noticed that I was cleaning up the mess I had made earlier.
“You sure mention the boys a lot,” I said casually.
“I miss them,” Gaby admitted. “I got used to having them around.”
“I already told you that you can invite them over. I don’t mind.”
“Don’t bother, Gaby,” Grace said. “I tried already. Sirius said that it wasn’t a good idea just yet.”
“We’ll see them sooner or later,” I said unconcernedly.
A window opened and I heard a flutter of wings. “Kat and Leah just owled me. They asked if they could come and visit sometime.”
“Yes, invite them over,” Gaby said enthusiastically. “It’s so quiet just us three—without Henn and all.”
Just as she said that there was a knocking at the door. As Grace went to open it, she let out a squeal of excitement.
“Hello everyone!” I heard Leah exclaim. As she and Kat went into the bathroom, they both giggled and came over to hug me.
I grinned. “That was quick. Don’t mind the mess, I’m still cleaning.”
“As if we care,” Kat said, sitting on the closed toilet as Gaby and Grace both came over.
“Thanks for telling us that you’re moving, by the way,” Leah added.
“We were going to tell you only after we fixed everything,” Grace said. “How did you find out anyway?”
“Oh we bumped into Sirius, Remus, and Peter a few hours ago in Diagon Alley. They told us that you were moving into a place four blocks from Kings’ Cross—so we decided to have a bit of fun and owl you, showing up only a few moments later.”
“Speaking of which, where the hell is James?” Leah asked. “I’ve never seen the infamous Marauders missing a person.”
Gaby and Grace both looked at me. “What is it?” Kat asked, giving me a concerned look. “Did something happen between you and James?”
“We broke up,” I said suddenly, and both Leah and Kat stared.
“Broke up? You mean you’re not dating anymore?” Kat asked incredulously.
“No, we’ve broken up but we’re still together,” I said jokingly, but no one laughed.
“How could you have broken up?” Leah asked. “I mean—it’s you and James. It just is.”
I didn’t really understand what she was saying, but all four girls in front of me were nodding vigorously.
“I used to like James,” Kat said abruptly as we all turned to look at her disbelievingly. “When he was dating Eve. But even then I knew that the person he really liked was you, and that you’d end up together.”
I was shocked. “You liked James? Is that why you hated me for a while?”
“I didn’t hate you,” Kat said defensively, and Leah raised her eyebrows. “Fine, maybe I disliked you a bit—” she admitted. “But once I realized that you two were meant to be I dropped it and got over it.”
“Well, we’re not meant to be,” I said, shrugging. “Or we wouldn’t have broken up.”
Apparently none of them agreed with me. “This is probably just a test. All couples go through it. You’ll probably be back together by the end of the summer.”
“Sooner than that,” Grace said. Kat nodded.
“I mean it’s you and James. It’s not just anybody.”
“Actually, we are just anybody,” I said nonchalantly as I started spraying the mirror again, although it was already spotless. “We dated just like anybody else. And we broke up just like anybody else.”
There was a pause. “You were engaged, though,” Gaby said, as if I hadn’t known.
“Hold up,” Kat said, her eyes widening. “You two were engaged?”
Leah’s mouth was wide open. “Why didn’t you tell us?”
“Because we were only engaged for a few weeks, then we broke up. It’s not a big deal,” I said, scrubbing the mirror vigorously. As I saw Kat’s reflection about to open her mouth, I added, “And I don’t want to talk about it.”
Another pause. “Okay. We won’t talk about it,” Leah said. “Now, do you four need help or something?”
Leah looked confused for a moment. Then, as it dawned on her, “Oh, that’s right. I was used to saying ‘you four’ but now— ”
“Henn,” Gaby finished quietly.
“We miss her too,” Kat sighed. “It’s a pity that we weren’t able to go send her off at Kings’ Cross.”
It was another uncomfortable issue. Since it was evident from the way that Gaby and Grace were looking at me that they thought that we should continue to talk about James, I said, “Well, I know that Grace would appreciate one of you helping out with the kitchen. She’s been working on it for a week and she’s nowhere near done.”
“Look who’s talking,” Grace scoffed, her mind successfully distracted away from James. “You’ve been at it in this bathroom for just as long and it’s four times smaller than where I’m working at.”
“You want this bathroom cleaned properly, don’t you?”
“I’ll help you then, Lily,” Kat said. “And Leah can speed up the cleaning process in the kitchen.”
I had hoped to be left alone to finish up the bathroom after suggesting to our friends to help out Grace in the kitchen, but apparently Kat hadn’t taken the hint. Instead of protesting I merely smiled and thanked her, and proceeded to scrub the mold off the floor tiles with Kat in tow.
“You’ve done a great job with this,” Kat noted, glancing at the walls. “I like the periwinkle.”
“Did you pick it out?”
Relieved to talk about anything that had nothing to do with James or Henn, I said, “Yes, actually. At first I thought aqua might do the trick but it was a bit too bright so—”
“Lily,” Kat interrupted, her face serious. “As lovely as it is to discuss the color of your bathroom, I actually still want to talk about James.”
My face fell and I purposefully turned away from her to scrub vigorously at a piece of mold that I could’ve easily taken out with a simple extracting spell. “I thought I was pretty clear about how I felt about talking about that.”
“You were,” Kat said casually. “But you need to talk about it. You might not realize it, but you do.” When I opted for silence, she added, “You’re the only one who doesn’t know that breaking up with James was possibly the worst thing you could’ve done for yourself.”
I still wasn’t saying anything. “Why didn’t you tell us that you were engaged?”
“I already told you. It was only for a few weeks and—”
“And what?” Kat persisted when I didn’t continue.
“It was a mistake,” I finished quietly, but even as I said it I wasn’t sure if it was a lie. Was it truly a mistake to have accepted James’s proposal? I probably would’ve been very happy but would’ve James been equally content? Even though everyone was thinking it, no one needed to tell me that I would never be able to find anyone better than James. But it was obvious that James could do much better than me; find someone much saner than me. Most people were already in the process of closure when it came to the attack at Hogwarts—but I still found myself dwelling on what had happened and on what could’ve happened. And I knew that I would never find the courage to tell James of that terrible period of my life when everything was darkness and depression, and when I had to resort to hurting myself to relieve the pain that lived within me everyday.
Kat’s voice jerked me back to reality. “How can you say that? Who else did you expect to marry?”
I took a good look at Kat. She had hated me for a while, and now she was my friend again, clear by the way she was so concerned. I knew that everyone was still fretting and worrying over me, and that it was time to end it by proving that I was fine. “Look, I know that you’re James’s friend, and that naturally you’re concerned for him. But honestly, he’s better off without me. I should’ve never agreed to marry him, and I realize that now. It would’ve saved him a lot of pain.”
“Even if you weren’t engaged, he would be suffering,” Kat said passionately. “He loves you. And he still does, I’m sure of it.”
“He’ll get over it,” I said easily, knowing how terrible it sounded. From the way Kat was looking at me, it was evident that she was repulsed by my tone. If I knew anything it was that love was the hardest emotion to surpass—the relationship between me and my parents was a perfect example.
Apparently Kat no longer had any words to say. I knew that she was disappointed and perhaps even angry at the way I was handling things and couldn’t blame her for even I felt disgusted with myself. I kept my gaze in front of me, scrubbing the same tile continuously and feeling that like that piece of stubborn mold, my suppressed emotions would be harder than I imagined to extinguish terminally from my heart.
The following afternoon Grace, Gaby and I all Apparated to the Lawsons’ manor, frightening Mrs. Lawson in the foyer as she passed through with a cup of coffee, which was promptly spilled all over her.
“I suppose I’ll have to get used to that,” she said as we all giggled at her and Grace muttered a drying spell for her clothes. “I assume you’re legally able to do that now?”
“Thankfully we all passed,” I said as Gaby proceeded to show off all of our Apparating licenses.
“That’s wonderful, dears. I’m very proud of you all,” she said brightly, smiling in a way that reminded me intensely of her daughter who was standing next to her. Despite that Grace had inherited her vivid red hair from her father, she still resembled her mother more than her father in terms of facial features.
“Well, mum, we’re going to start moving our things now if that’s all right with you,” Grace said, suddenly shy. I noticed that she was looking at her mother a bit timidly, as if afraid that after all the hard work we had done on our flat she would still refuse to let her child go.
But Mrs. Lawson was something that neither of my parents ever were—understanding. She merely smiled and said, “You’re adults now. It’s no longer my decision to prevent you from leaving.”
“Thank you for everything, Mrs. Lawson,” I said.
“Yes, thank you, Mrs. Lawson.”
“Oh, anytime dears. I know that you two must be having a hard time with everything that happened at Hogwarts—” I cringed, but tried to keep my face utterly impassive. “—but now your lives are finally starting, and perhaps it’ll be easier for you girls to put all that sadness behind you.”
Gaby and I smiled at her, both unsure of what else to say. “Thanks,” I said again.
“You two go on up. I just have to say goodbye,” Grace said, her eyes sparkling a bit. When I had left my father’s house I felt virtually almost nothing. I wondered how it must be to have a close parental connection, and how much pain Grace was hiding from leaving the home she had lived in her whole life. Not wanting to disturb the scene, Gaby and I quietly said goodbye and went upstairs, gathering our things to get ready to Apparate to our new flat.
“I have to go on ahead of you,” Gaby said, snapping her trunk shut and glancing around the room to see if she had left anything behind. “I promised I’d stop by my parents’ after I got my license.”
“Of course,” I said, but Gaby had already Disapparated, leaving nothing in her wake.
I didn’t have many things to Apparate with me to our flat. Luckily, Jinx was snoozing on my mattress, and after a bit of hissing and insistent scratching, I shoved my moody cat into his cage. I made my bed and Gaby’s, since she had forgotten to do so. I went into the bathroom and double-checked if I had left my toothbrush or makeup there. After circling the room at least a dozen times, I grabbed Jinx’s cage and my trunk and proclaimed myself satisfied. I turned on my heel and Disapparated, landing in my own bedroom with a bit of a dizzy feeling I was still unaccustomed to.
I looked around what was now my new room, which I had painted mint green the day before after finishing the bathroom. My mattress was stuffed, my conjured sheets white with a translucent canopy. The only thing missing was my belongings, so I set to placing my things in the bathroom, my clothes in my magically expanded closet and drawers, and Jinx’s sleeping basket in the corner where he promptly laid upon after I released him. I conjured a few other necessities like a lamp for my bedside cabinet and a revolving fan on my ceiling just in case it got too hot and stuffy this summer.
It was only after I was finished with my room that I laid down on my bed, exhausted even though it was hardly past midday. I heard nothing in our flat; Gaby and Grace were still saying goodbye to their families. Part of me wondered at all the fuss—they would still see each other after all, wouldn’t they? Grace’s parents lived in the same city as us for Merlin’s sake, even if we did live downtown. But the other part of me wished sincerely that I was saying goodbye to at least my father right now—a proper goodbye, and not a lousy, incomplete one like the one we had a few weeks ago.
It was too quiet. Even when I was alone in the Gryffindor dormitory there was always at least a bit of sound coming from the other dormitories where the younger years slept. I stared at the fan hanging from my ceiling and pointed at it with my wand. Soon the fan was revolving and filling the room with air and a soft, whirring noise. Jinx opened a glaring yellow eye at me, but I ignored him.
It still wasn’t enough. I got up from my bed, opened the window and let the street noises reach my room. Although we lived in downtown London, we were in a bit of a rundown neighborhood where not a lot of cars passed by. Besides the slow going traffic, there was a very drunk man at the steps of our building, screaming profanities at the top of his lungs.
It would have to do, I suppose. Once again I sat on my bed, letting the drunken man’s ranting and fan sounds wash over me, but still couldn’t push the nagging feeling of loneliness and solitude away.
“I’m alone,” I said softly to myself. But I couldn’t complain. After all, I had done it to myself.
A/N: I know that many of you must hate Lily now, but unfortunately that's sometimes the way it goes when you break up with someone. Hopefully I didn't make you wait too long this time...
For those on the northern hemisphere, I hope you're all enjoying your summer. For those on the southern--well, I hope you're enjoying yourselves doing whatever you're doing. :-)
Next chapter hopefully won't take so long, thank you all for your patience!!