I have several points to make here.
1: I do not believe in the Lily/Sirius pairing.
2: This is for a challenge I entered on the HPFF Forums. We were given a quote and told to make something of it.
3: The quote I was given reads as follows: If you and I are a story that never gets told. If you are a daydream I’ll never got to hold. At least you’ll know. I believe it is a song by Taylor Swift, “Stay Beautiful.” I have not listened to it, but the quote is nice.
Her Veil Lies
The feel of the smooth satin made me tremble slightly, a thin layer of goose bumps suddenly appearing over the porcelain skin I had exposed. It was summertime, so there was no reason for that sort of eccentric behavior.
“Lily? Are you quite alright? Do you need to sit down?”
Startled, I turned around, having briefly forgotten that there was indeed a person behind me.
“No, no. I am perfectly fine, Alice.” My voice came out calm and reassuring. I had a knack for that. Did that mean it was the way I felt? Maybe, maybe not, I really could not be sure.
Alice, my best friend for nine years now, seemed to believe so, for she continued to close up the zipper at the back of my dress.
“Thank you for this,” I said for possibly the umpteenth time. “For helping me—,”
Her reply was the same as it had been twenty minutes ago. “It’s not problem. You’re to be married today!”
Ah yes, my wedding. My marriage to James Potter. This was the reason for all the fuss. As if on cue, I heard my own mother walk by outside, talking animatedly with the florist about the placement of the roses. A different colour bouquet at each table. It was all to be perfect. Every mother lived to see her daughter's wedding day—and she would settle for nothing less than flawless.
There was one last tug on my dress and then Alice was turning me around to face the three panel mirror.
“My God, Lily. You look absolutely amazing.”
The creamy, satin concoction hugged my frame at all the right places. And yet, I loathed the thing. Not for its looks, no. At two hundred pounds, this dress was the creme of the crop with its bow ties and silk neckline. No, it was the sense of purity that was supposedly associated with the donning of a wedding gown. It stood for innocence, for chastity. And I was not sure if I could do it—if I was ready...
“And then Slughorn roared, ‘Where the blazes are my spectacles?’”’
The two boys I was with burst into hysterical laughter. It was lunchtime, but none of us were hungry, so we opted to spend the hour wandering throughout the corridors, seeing whatever we could before we had to leave forever.
“Real witty, Sirius,” I remarked sarcastically. “You ever going to grow out of being that easily amused?”
The nearly eighteen-year-old boy turned to flash me a devilish smile. “I don’t think so, Evans. Life’s no fun that way.”
James put an arm around my shoulders and grinned at the dark haired male. “It’s the way you roll.”
The boy gave a shout of laugher. “That’s what she said!”
James aimed a kick at his friend, but missed by several feet. “C’mon, mate. Be proper in front of my girlfriend.”
Sirius threw an arm around me as well, making us a blundering trio that ambled along. “Aw! Lily and James sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G...and then Sirius came and jumped around!”
“Idiot,” I muttered, but laughed all the same.
He grinned and snapped the gum in his mouth. “You two...God, I thought you’d never get together.”
“So you were lying to me for seven years, eh, Padfoot?”
Sirius let go of my shoulder. “No. I was just losing faith in this little lady. I didn't know if she’d ever play her part.”
“Glad to know I didn’t disappoint you,” I threw back.
Something in his eyes dimmed, but when I looked back it was gone.
“Just about done,” muttered Alice, more to herself than to me. She raised her voice slightly. “Okay, stay perfectly still now, Lily. I want to get this absolutely right.”
There was a sound of something being lifted beside me and then a light pressure atop my head.
Silk tulle fell around my exposed shoulders and in front of my face. The soft material caused me to shudder all over again.
The veil. Ordered from one of the many designer catalogues lying around my flat. The white of the fabric was created to match my dress exactly.
“It’s so pretty,” my friend gushed.
I turned to look in the three panel mirror again. The tufts of tulle billowed out from the crown of my head where a small beaded comb had been clamped into the hair. This was the last piece of my attire. The dress had been situated, my face painted, hair fixed. All that had been left was the veil. And now that, too, was done. All throughout the fitting I had not believed it to be real. I had never really thought that this day would come. And yet, here I was. About to tie myself to someone for all of eternity.
Alice was standing off to the side, watching me in wait of a reaction. She only moved to pull a lock of my red hair to the back. Apart from that, she was still. Waiting.
“It is lovely,” I said slowly and hesitantly.
The mirror in which I was reflected showed...a bride.
And that was when I knew that I would not be able to complete the task expected of me.
“I’m not ready for this,” I said in a low voice. “I can’t get married. I’m hardly twenty years old.”
My maid of honour’s arms were around me within seconds, as if she was expecting such a thing. “Yes you can, I know it.”
But I was shaking my head. I could not devote my life...subject myself to the whims of marriage. Sure, we would be in love for the first couple years, but then what? Would he leave for work without a word to me? Prefer to spend the weekend with his friends rather than his wife? Slowly, we would drift apart until there was nothing left. Until we were strangers to each other. “I should leave. I need time...to figure things out.”
But Alice’s fingers closed around my wrist. “If you leave...you’ll regret it.”
“But how can I do it? Be married? Be Mrs. James Potter? It’s not me. I can’t pledge my life to this.”
She stared at me. “But you love him, right? Isn’t that all that matters?”
There was a pause as I continued to stare at myself in the mirror—thinking of everything that had happened within the last two years. It was funny to think that so much time had passed, it could have only been yesterday “Yes,” I finally managed to gasp.
But my mind was taking me back. Was love all that mattered?
“What are you doing out here?”
The voice had cut through the unusually still night air. It was the graduation party and all the seventh years had been celebrating in the Great Hall far past the allotted time had expired. The faint shouts and screams coming from the level below me drifted through my ears. It was dark, only a single light lit approximately twenty metres away. A mellow riff reached me, the light, happy tune echoing around the corridor.
The floor vibrated as Sirius Black took a seat beside me.
“You’re missing the party,” I informed him.
“So are you.”
I remained silent.
“What are you doing?” he finally ventured to ask.
“I couldn’t think with the music playing.” Distasteful music, I could have added.
“You don’t need to think to dance,” he replied, trying to make a joke out of things, as always.
“James,”I said slowly, weighing the name on my lips. “Does he love me?”
“Isn’t that what he told you?”
“Yes. But I want to know what you think.”
Sirius exhaled. “Way to throw a wrench in a good-natured conversation.”
“I’m still waiting.”
“He does?” I repeated.
“Cross my heart, hope to die.”
“How do you know?”
“I can tell.”
What was love? Did anyone really know? What did it mean for the person receiving it? What was expected of me? I knew that James loved me even before I asked Sirius the question. I just wanted to hear it. I would have thought that those three little words would make my life complete—for that was what all the novels portrayed. But as soon as he had said it, I realized what it entailed. Love. It meant devotion, control, power. I would become obsessed with it—making sure that he still loved me. I would change myself to fit him. Because that was what love did. It preyed on one’s mind until it took over. Everyone wanted to be loved. It turned us crazy. I did not want to be like that. I could not change myself, but I knew I would after time went on, it was inevitable. I’d do anything to prevent it.
“Well, I suppose you’re right,” I finally muttered, more to myself than him.
“I’ll assume it’s a good thing.”
“That it is.”
“Stop agreeing with me.”
“As you wish.” A small grin was playing around his countenance.
“Stop it!” I cried, hitting him in the stomach.
“What?” The smile was wider now.
“Making me want to laugh in a serious situation.”
There was a pause. “A what situation?”
“You heard m—oh God, you have got to stop with that.”
“You’re the one who said it.”
“I hate the stress Graduation causes,” I grumbled, crossing my arms over my chest.
“What a little pessimist you are,” he replied, throwing an arm carelessly across my shoulder.
The ever present conscience in the back of my mind argued morals, but I was not listening. This was probably wrong...and I knew that James trusted his best friend more than he, himself, but was it really right for me to be there, with him, alone? It was strange breathing in the mixed scents of aftershave and shampoo from the man seated beside me. I was not quite sure where this new twitter came from?
James had always been there in my life. He was the one who chased me. I had finally agreed about seven or eight months ago. But by now the thrill was leaving. He had told me that he was in love with me and I would always be the one. What was the proper reaction? It was all so much, so soon. I did not want to wrong myself. I cared very deeply for James Potter. He was just granted to me as someone would always be there—who I could never lose. The romantic feelings were definitely there for James. He floated my boat, for use of such a childish metaphor.
But sitting beside Sirius and growing increasingly closer to him over the months, it made me feel a warm, throbbing ball in my stomach. I felt like I could slice open my skin and lift it out at the tips of my fingers—there for me to hold and heat myself with. Had it always been there, lying dormant, waiting for the exact time to emerge. Why did it choose now of all times?
It struck me then exactly how easy life could be. In movies and books it was constantly over-exaggerated. But think—it only takes a split second to kindle an affair, to tear apart a friendship, to kill a man. It is all easy to do and within grasp. But I suppose that there is a word for such emotion and reaction: impulse. If I were to lead the life demonstrated above, my world would fall apart. The consequences would ruin all that had come from a half-second decision. It brought light to the common phrase, “Live today like there’s no tomorrow.”
But how could I refuse temptation?
As if Sirius could hear the thoughts going on through my head he retracted the arm that was wrapped around me and looked at my face.
There was a certain thrill that came with sneaking around and living every day like it was the last.
What was I thinking? This was Sirius Black, my boyfriend’s best friend. They considered each other brothers. How many times had I heard James tell me this? I could not do this to them.
But he smelled so good. I could not stop myself from breathing in his scent. It was like an addiction. I turned to match the gaze of the boy beside me. His face was a mere inches from my own.
Maybe one time, I thought, one time would not hurt.
“Okay Lily” said Alice, who was standing beside me. “You’re going to be the last one to leave. I’m going to have to go before you.”
“Right,” I murmured, my thoughts elsewhere.
“Left foot, together, right foot, together.”
“Okay,” I breathed.
My friend took a hold of my shoulders and leaned her head close to mine, so that her words would only reach the two of us. “Can you do this?”
I exhaled slowly. “I think so.”
I never told Alice, or any of my friends about my double life. It was my secret. And now I was about to walk down the aisle...and see him standing there. And he wouldn’t be in the place I wanted him to be.
A large hand grasped my shoulder and I could not help but jump. The first thing that came to mind was that James had somehow found out and was calling off the wedding.
But it was only my father, delighted to see that he was getting to walk another one of his daughters down the aisle.
“Ah Lily,” He whispered in my ear as he grasped my hand. “This is a big day for you...and we, your mother and I, are both so proud of you.”
“Thanks, Dad,” I managed to mutter to him. Would he have been so proud if he knew what took place? What would he see when he saw me? I was the girl who had been unfaithful, the one who broke all the vows of love. It was disgusting, ugly. What had I become? Now I was expected to wear a gown of purity and walk down the aisle to marry the man whom I had betrayed.
And without warning, without so much as someone saying anything, the doors opened and the organs began to play.
It was only the beginning.
The building was dark as I walked up the pathway.
I found him sitting in the gloom of his flat. Not a single candle was lit.
“Why aren’t you with James?” he asked.
I shrugged out of my knee length coat and threw it onto the table, quickly followed by my purse and shoes. “I had more pressing issues.”
I saw his mocking grin even through the darkness. “And what would that be?”
I walked over and straddled the chair he was sitting on.“I think you know.”
He reached up and pulled the clamp out of my hair, and then ran his fingers through the thin strands. “And where does he think you are?”
Both of us were tense. It was a miracle that we were still able to have a conversation without leaping at each other. We could hardly wait. This was what lust did to us.
I felt him shaking as I wrapped my arms and legs around him and put my mouth by his ear. “Family emergency,” I whispered hoarsely.
Then the bridge broke.
That was how it had been for six months now. I never ran out of excuses to leave the house at night: Out of food, friend got dumped, letters to post, the list went on. Near the beginning a considerable amount of guilt engulfed me, but by now it had faded away into nothingness. I had somehow rationalized my actions: James said something awful, James might be having an affair as well, etcetera. There was always a reason that put me in the right.
“I’m going to leave him,” I whispered twenty minutes later. Both of us had somehow managed to become sprawled on the floor, my clothes considerably more loosened. “Tomorrow morning, straight away.”
I said these same words every time, and yet I somehow could not find a way to end things with James Potter.
Sirius put a finger on my lips and then gave me a long, slow kiss, savouring the ecstatic waves that ran through both of our bodies. My head fell over to the side, so heavy that I could not hold it up any longer.
“Don’t talk about it,” he muttered, tracing a finger down my jawl ine and exposed neck.
Sirius provided me with the exact kind of adventure I was looking for.
I was not sure how he and James were able to get along so well when all this was transpiring. We all lived behind our façades, I supposed. Maybe we just turned a blind eye, not wanting to suffer the amount of hurt that would come if the truth emerged.
“Take your time,” he said.
“How are you so accepting about this?” I asked, unable to hide the question any longer.
He rolled over onto his back. “A small part of me knows that this is bad, knows that I will regret this in a very long time. But then you come...and everything feels so good that I forget why it was wrong in the first place.”
I did not know what to say. “I-I...think we should take things one step at a time. Maybe I’ll wait a little bit before I tell James.”
It happened every time.
Left foot. Together. Right foot. Together.
If my father had not been there to hold my arm I would have fallen over. I was not sure if he was aware of the fact, but he he held me all the more supportively.
He was standing right there, beside James, looking on as if everything was perfect. How could he do it? How could he remain so calm and impassive as the woman he had been having an affair with for two years stepped forward to marry another man? And his best friend, no less. I did not understand.
I could not help but think about what could have happened. Was I making the right choice in the person in which I would grow old with? If I had gone through with my word, would everything have gone the same way, except with a different man? Would my parents have been equally proud of me? Would the friendship between the two men have lasted?
All of this was based on my choices—my split second decisions. What would have happened had I chosen not to kiss Sirius Black that Graduation night so long ago? It would have made this walk down the aisle all the more easier.
But it was too late now. I had made my decision. I had stayed with James—not having had enough courage to leave him. Maybe it was because very deep down I really had feelings for him. He had worked so hard, gone to every length to capture my heart. Even with the dark hair and quick smiles of Sirius Black, I could not so easily forget about all of what James had done.
I was in tears. I could not remember having ever cried so hard. So long.
Sirius cradled me in his arms, letting the salty water dampen his cotton shirt.
“Shh...” he tried to soothe me, but it had not effect.
“I said yes!” I sobbed. “How could I have done such a thing?”
Never before had I felt this much pain—felt this awful. My very heart was cracking up and down the sides. It was splitting in half. Never before had I understood the phrase, “a broken heart,” but now it made the utmost sense. The ache was everywhere. I was the ache. It possessed me—controlled me.
“Why did I do this?” I choked, tears streaming out of my eyes at a never-ending rate.
“Because you love him,” Came the calm reply of the man who held me.
“No I don’t!” I denied. I looked up into his grey eyes and pressed my mouth with its smeared lipstick against his, trying to prove it to him, to myself. “I love you!”
Sirius held onto my wrists. “If you loved me...why are you crying like this?”
I hiccupped. “I would have thought that was obvious.”
“No. You’ re in this state because you are confused. You love James—that is why you agreed to his marriage proposal. You cry because you don’t want to come to terms with the fact that I am the one that caused this mess.”
I did not understand. I had said yes to James before even thinking about what was actually going on. Sirius knew this.
“Why are you saying this?” I whispered, my chin trembling as more water emptied from my eyelids.
“You know it’s true,” he murmured. “I let my emotion get ahead of me. And you cry because you are angry with yourself for agreeing.”
I felt the eyes of all those lining the pews on me as my father arranged the veil and kissed the apples of both my cheeks.
I saw my parents, James’ parents, Remus and Peter, my girlfriends from Hogwarts, my sister...all were here to watch me give myself away. I wanted to know what they were thinking. Were they wondering if James and I were indeed the perfect couple we were so often made out to be?
Throughout the entirety of my affair with Sirius Black, James had remained oblivious.
I now stood facing him. The priest he had hired began the beginning of his speech. I could not bring myself to meet the eyes of the man I was to marry. I thought that if he saw them everything I had done for the past two years, all the deception I had been a part of, would come through and make themselves apparent. It was just too much to handle. A hot tension was pulling at the back of my eyeballs, making it hard to see and concentrate.
And then James released one of my hands he had been holding. He placed it underneath my chin and forced my head upwards. He wanted me to look at him. I stared in his worried eyes and worked to relax.
I tried to tell him that I was okay without speaking.
Instead, my eyes fell on the man standing behind him, his arms folded in front of his stomach.
Sirius had been watching the procession with an unemotional face—but I had always known how good he was at keeping secrets.
He caught my eye and offered the smallest of smiles.
That may have been the encouragement I needed, for I looked back up to James’s face, trying to look as if I had been waiting for this day for the entirety of my life.
James grinned at me and winked, clearly ecstatic.
Maybe that was what jolted me back to reality—seeing his face so happy. I had seen a flash of the mischievous face from when we were twelve or thirteen years old.
And surprisingly, that was all it had taken me to realize what Sirius had been telling me all along.
“What we have...it has to end.”
His words had shocked me. My wedding was scheduled to be in a week, and instead I was sitting on the floor across from Sirius Black.
“I don’t understand,” I started slowly.
“Yes you do. You understand perfectly. I am ending our relationship.”
“We don’t have to,” I protested, taking hold of one of his hands. “James doesn’t have a clue. We can continue on after—,”
“I won’t do it. I can’t lie anymore. Doing this,” he gestured around, “doesn’t make me feel decent.”
“B-But,” my lip quivered, “I thought you loved me.”
It was a bold statement, but I wanted to know what was going through his head.
Sirius lifted the hand I had been holding his with and pressed it up to his chest. “With all my heart. That is why I am doing this.”
He put a finger to my lips. “You don’t love me,” he said. “You think you do, but I know. It’s an infatuation. You liked the sneaking around and deception, but it was just a cover up for the fact that you wanted a reason to not have to depend on James—to not love him. You were afraid of what he had to give.”
Hearing those words from his mouth was almost enough to make my heart leave me. It could not be true.
“James will not wait for you to clean up your act,” he continued. “That’s why I’m making you do this...because I know you love him...and will fall apart if he leaves you.”
“You don’t know anything,” I snapped, trying to stop the shaking of my hands.
“Don’t I?” he leered. “I’ve heard you...you mutter his name in your sleep. Stop trying to avoid love, Lily. It won’t do you any good.”
I stopped. Never before had I heard him address me by my name. He was the type of person who made eye contact when wanting to speak, not calling out the name given at birth. And now he had said it. Now he was serious.
He took my face in his hands. “You will never be able to claim to love me as much as I do you. Because what you feel for me isn’t real.”
I remained silent. How did it come to this? Why did I let it?
“I’m letting you go. If you and I are a story that never gets told. If you are a daydream I’ll never got to hold.” He sighed and I saw that his eyes were glassy. “At least you’ll know.”
He stood up, leaving me where I was on the ground. “At least you’ll know,” he repeated, quieter this time.
“I—,” I tried to string words together. “Why are you doing this?” I whispered for the second time.
“Because I know you love him.”
And then he was gone.
“Do you, James Potter, take Lily Evans to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
Oh my God. It had really come this far I was really standing here—with James.
He was still staring at me. “I do,” he said.
I felt sick. I was about to jump off a cliff without knowing the depth of the water below.
“Do you, Lily Evans, take James Potter to be your lawfully wedded husband?”
Did I? Time seemed to slow down as I heard the question. Flashes of memory struck me, one after another. Several of them were when I was with Sirius, but many more where times I had shared with James. Which outweighed the other?
I could not determine if Sirius made me happy. Was he, like he said, the substitute I had for James? Love was something that I had not been ready for, but was I now? It was my greatest fear that I would one day love James so much that he would use it to his advantage, make me change to greater serve his purposes. Had I pushed him away for that very reason? The reason I took shelter with his best friend, someone whom I could never love, thus never have the worry of being afraid of?
I remembered the time when the three of us were walking down the hallway while Sirius joked about Professor Slughorn. It had been so easy then.
“I do.” The words left my mouth as a gasp. Surprisingly, I did not feel an urge to push them back in. Sirius left me. It was that simple.
“I now pronounce you husband and wife.” There was a pause. “You may kiss the bride.”
And then James was lifting my veil—the veil soiled with all my deceit—my lies.
His mouth was on mine, but I watched Sirius. He was clapping and smiling along with everyone in the room. There was a miniscule hint of regret in his eyes, but one had to really look to see it. Maybe I only wanted to see it.
“At least you’ll know,” was what he had said before turning away.
Yes, I knew. Now I had to live with the guilt of it.
Until death do us part.
I feel like if I say that I tried hard then it will jinx everything, but I did. I went through the draft countless times trying to make it better. While I am well aware it is not perfect, I hope that it at least was okay. Please review. I am not used to writing a pairing I do not support, so any criticism helps. Thank so much!