How many tips does it take to win Mr. Rite?
Chapter 16 – Reality
Lily plodded from the abandoned classroom with Russell at her heels.
Her head was spinning horribly with hazy thoughts and she was frowning absentmindedly.
‘Are you okay, Lily?’ Russell asked, shooting her a curious look. His midnight-blue eyes stood out on his pale face in the shadowed light.
‘I’m fine,’ Lily mumbled, shrugging him off and continuing to stare dazedly into space.
‘Only you look a bit pale…’
‘Russell?’ Lily asked suddenly. Her eyes unclouded for a moment as she turned to face him, using - to Russell’s surprise - the expression she wore when trying to get troublesome students to confess the havoc they had created.
‘Yes, Lily?’ he asked, stopping in his tracks and frowning at her change of character.
She licked her lips. ‘You know before…’
‘Before?’ Russell asked, unsmilingly.
‘Yes,’ Lily said, and then hesitated slightly, still looking dazed and so unlike the Lily Russell had grown to know. ‘When you said…you said…’ She sucked in a breath, looking slightly past him and frowning at thin air. ‘You said I’m your dream girl.’
Russell smiled and instantly relaxed. ‘Yes. Yes?’
‘Did you mean that?’ she asked, suddenly looking at him instead of past him, her features turning surprisingly stern.
‘Yes,’ he said, smiling, but his eyes still looked serious and slightly offended. ‘Of course I did.’
Lily narrowed her eyes, cocking her head to the side. ‘Why did you say that?’
‘Why?’ Russell asked, starting to become bemused. Could someone possible using Polyjuice potion?
‘Why do you think I’m you’re dream girl?’
Russell would have smiled, but the way Lily said it made him frown. ‘Because you love and hate the same things I do, you’re always so cheerful and never get angry or frustrated.’
‘Oh,’ Lily replied, dipping her head sadly.
‘Are you sure you’re okay?’ Russell asked, still looking more curious than concerned. ‘You seem different…’
Lily head snapped up at this comment, her green eyes widening. ‘I’m fine,’ she said after a moment of narrowing eyes and frowning features. ‘Goodnight.’
She walked down the corridor slowly, wavering on her feet slightly as if she wasn’t taking in where she was going. Russell frowned after her messy and drenched hair.
Something bad had happened to his dream girl.
You seem different.
The words echoed through Lily’s head, replaying over and over again in a continuous loop.
You love and hate the same things I do.
Without intending to, Lily stopped in her tracks.
You’re always so cheerful.
Lily shook her head, as if she was trying to shake out all the thoughts.
You never get angry or frustrated.
Was it just her, or did all of those qualities Russell had loved so much in her seem…so unlike her.
‘Shut up,’ Lily mumbled, rubbing at her spinning head.
‘You know, talking to yourself is the first form of madness.’
Suddenly, Lily’s jumbled thoughts were thrown by the amused voice.
She found herself standing in the common room, James Potter grinning impishly in front of her.
‘Potter?’ Lily whispered, looking stupefied as she stared into his face.
‘Are you okay, Lily?’ Immediately James was by her side, staring into her face with such a concerned expression.
If Lily couldn’t think clearly before, it was no way near how her thoughts clouded and jumbled now, until they were just a faint background buzzing.
James was very close. Too close. So close she could feel his warm breath on her skin and see faint freckles dotted around his nose that she had never noticed before.
‘Lily?’ he asked, his voice coming out in a gentle, concerned whisper.
‘Hmm?’ she breathed back, her mind being unable to form any real words. She was sure James could hear her beating heart and unnaturally quick and shallow breathing.
His eyes were really beautiful. Lily had never noticed that before. From a distance they just looked a normal shade of hazel, but up close Lily could see they had flecks of jade green and a honey brown spotted around the iris.
James was staring into her own eyes looking worried and slightly nervous, unaware that Lily’s further dazzlement had been created by himself. ‘Evans?’
James’ informal use of her last name seemed to bring Lily crashing down to reality. She was more than aware she was now staring transfixed into James Potter’s eyes.
She hastily shot backwards, crashing into a plush red sofa that now matched the colour of her cheeks.
‘Potter!’ she snapped, willing the blush to leave her face. ‘What do you think you’re doing?!’
James studied her for a moment, looking confused. ‘I was just wondering if you were okay…’
‘I’m perfectly fine,’ she spat, folding her arms defensively across her chest.
‘Well…that’s good,’ James said, still studying her as if trying to decide whether she had somehow caught a terrible disease.
Lily’s cheeks flushed redder. ‘Well?’
James shook himself and retuned to his usual goofy grin.
‘You wanted to talk to me?’ Lily said pointedly when he didn’t reply.
‘Impatient are we?’ He smirked, and suddenly he was James Potter again. That annoying boy that purposely made it his sole mission to irritate the hell out of her, who just happened to have very nice eyes and be a fantastic kisser…
‘Potter…’ Lily’s voice came out in a warning growl, yet it was nowhere near as angry as it usually was.
James shrugged and smirked yet again. ‘Honestly, you do get frustrated easily, don’t you?’
Lilt couldn’t have been more shocked if he had slapped her.
You never get angry or frustrated. Russell’s words hit her like a sharp wave.
‘Lily?’ James asked, the concern returning to his voice and his smirk instantly dissolving. ‘What’s wrong?’
Lily shook her head, gulping. ‘Nothing.’ Even she would have never believed the lie that came out of her mouth.
‘Tell me,’ James encouraged, quickly looking panicked.
‘It’s nothing,’ Lily said, biting her lip. ‘Ja-’ she quickly caught herself. ‘Potter…do you think that I’m…I’m cheerful?’
James looked startled at the question. ‘Why?’
‘No reason really,’ Lily said, shrugging, but she knew her act was weak.
James continued to study her then shrugged in defeat. ‘I wouldn’t say you’re exactly cheerful…you’re more complex…you have the tendency to change what you’re feeling very quickly,’ James explained when he saw her frowning with puzzlement, when she still looked confused he continued. ‘You can get angry and frustrated easily…and actually very stern, but other than that you’re usually happy.’
Lily’s face fell. ‘I’m not cheerful,’ she stated sadly.
James stared at her as if observing a new species. ‘What does it matter?’
Lily opened her mouth then quickly slammed it close again. What exactly was the matter? Who was she going to believe – Russell, her Mr. Perfect or James Potter? Russell said she was cheerful; therefore she simply had to be. She was cheerful!
Yeah, since you’ve started using the tips! Chortled an annoying little voice in the back of Lily’s mind.
‘Don’t worry,’ James said, grinning at her. ‘I don’t like you because you’re cheerful!’ He snorted, looking disgusted at the very idea. 'If that was the case I would be chasing after you friend, Kelly.’
Despite the meaning to James’ words Lily felt an unexpected pang of jealously towards one of her best friends. Kelly was cheerful. Kelly never got angryor frustrated. Kelly loved sports and hated potions! Why could she be more like her?
‘Lily?’ James said, his voice barely a whisper now. ‘Are you sure you’re okay?’
For a moment Lily just stared back at him, blinking rapidly. It felt like she had been pulled down into the depths of the Black Lake and all her oxygen had run out. It felt so confusing and painful. Then suddenly, Lily was angry.
She was angry that Russell didn’t really like her. She was angry that she didn’t really like him, and she was more than angry at the stupid, concerned boy in front of her.
‘No, I’m am not okay, Potter!’ Lily spat, bubbling with frustration. ‘I am certainly not fine, I am not good and I am not great! I’m BAD!’
James took a shocked step backwards, blinking. Then he opened and closed his mouth a few times, looking like a startled goldfish.
‘This isn’t right,’ she said, more like shouted. ‘I’m so sick of your stupid, perfect face! Why don’t you just leave. Me. ALONE?!?’
James stared at Lily with horror. As his face crumpled, Lily felt a wave of guilt flush over her, quickly washing away all of her anger and frustration.
‘I’m so sorry…’ she whispered, ducking her head to the ground in shame; she had never exploded like that before. Ever. ‘I’m so sorry…’
James shook his head. ‘If you didn’t want to see me,’ he began his voice soft and broken. ‘All you had to do was say.’ Lily glanced up weakly as James turned around to leave.
‘No! Don’t go!’ James didn’t look back, just continued with his unusually plodding walk up to the boy’s dormitory.
She stared where he had retreated from the common room and sniffed.
She missed James already.
Abby Maxfield had been feeling guilty.
After the incident at the dance - when Remus found out she had just been using him to keep him away from what Kelly and Zoey had been doing - she had felt extremely nervous and wary around him.
That was why, when she saw Remus Lupin sitting by the Black Lake, she hesitated to go and sit by him. Would he be mad at her? Would he shout? But Abby knew this was unlikely; Remus was the calmest and most peaceful person she had ever had the satisfaction to know.
So she walked over in his direction, the damp grass squishing beneath her feet. When she sat down next to him, he greeted her with just a small smile, and then continued to study the lake.
Abby followed his gaze and sighed, hugging her knees to her chest.
‘Hello, Abby.’ It was after a few minutes, Remus finally greeted her. He looked tired and weak and his normal amber eyes contained specks of gold that Abby had never seen before. He looked so…un-Remus like.
‘Hi,’ she replied, biting the bottom of her lip nervously. Since when had she become shy?
Remus let out a tired sigh. ‘You shouldn’t be here right now, Abby.’
Abby frowned at him, trying to read his expression, but she found that impossible. ‘Why not?’
Remus sighed again, the sound made tingles go down Abby’s spine. ‘It can be dangerous out here at night.’
Abby blinked at him, looking clearly puzzled. ‘What’s dangerous about Hogwarts?’
Remus gave a painful smile, more like grimace. ‘You could be surprised.’
Abby continued to study him, her brows knotting with confusion. ‘But you’re out here…if it’s so dangerous why aren’t you scared?’
Remus bit his lip. ‘Maybe the dangerous thing is already near.’ His voice was a small whisper, and Abby had to lean closer to hear him at all.
‘What do you mean?’ She began in an undertone as well, though she had no idea why.
Remus picked up a rock and began to study it. ‘Maybe…Maybe I’m the dangerous one.’
Abby snorted and laughed, instantly relaxing. ‘Yeah, right.’
Remus ran a finger over the rock, smiling slightly. ‘No. It’s true.’ He threw the rock into the lake, creating ripples over the water. ‘I am.’
Suddenly Remus wasn’t smiling anymore and Abby’s own grin immediately dropped.
‘What do you mean?’ She whispered, more than aware she had asked the same question before.
Remus scowled onto the lake, kicking a few stray rocks with his feet. ‘I’m a monster.’
Abby was even more confused by this. How could Remus Lupin think he was a monster? He was the sweetest, kindest most lovable boy she knew.
‘Well,’ Abby hesitated as she frowned at him. ‘You certainly don’t look like a monster from here.’
Remus smiled then shook his head. ‘You shouldn’t be so trustworthy.’
‘I’m not,’ Abby said quietly, making Remus stare at her for a long, hard second. ‘But I trust you.’
Remus scowled, returning his gaze back to the lake. ‘Maybe you shouldn’t do that.’
‘Why not?’ She demanded, angry and confused at the boy with the sandy locks.
Remus gave a weak smile. ‘I can be dangerous tonight, that’s why I was sitting here, by myself in the darkness; I was trying to control myself.’
Abby was now more than just confused; she was absolutely bewildered. She stared at him, eyes wide. ‘What are you talking about?’
‘Your presence isn’t really doing anything to help,’ he continued, like he hadn’t even heard her. ‘You smell too nice and it’s driving me crazy.’
He sighed and stared up at the moon, while she blinked at him, trying to work out what she could possible say to that.
Suddenly Remus stood up and grinned. ‘Time to go in,’ he announced, his eyes losing their gold flecks. ‘It’s seems I’m not so dangerous anymore.’
He walked towards the castle. Abby sat frozen for a second, blinking after the boy.
Huh? Was the only word that came to her mind as she ran to catch up with him.
Lily dipped her quill in the ink then hesitated over the paper.
She had had enough. As soon as she had restrained herself from chasing after James and apologising (she had promised herself she would find him and beg for his forgiveness in the morning, even if that was a little out of character for her) she had found a piece of parchment and an envelope.
She needed help.
She needed advice.
She needed Mr. Right.
She frowned at the paper for a second, wondering whether she was actually going to spill out all her secrets to a paper Potter was joint co-editor of. But thinking of James’ name, Lily felt a pang of guilt, and another emotion, a strong one she couldn’t identify. She put her quill to the paper and began to write.
Dear Mr. Right,
It’s Crimson-Cutie here. Sorry about this, but I really need advice. I’m so confused about everything. I don’t know what to do.
I suppose I’ll better tell you the whole story. Well you know Mr. Perfect – the one I’m using your tips to get. I followed our dance tips and I was about to kiss him at midnight at the dance.
That didn’t turn out according to plan. You see, there’s this other boy…let’s call him Messy-hair? Well, Messy-hair and me have been fighting since we first boarded the train in our first year. I hate him and he seemed to hate me apart from the whole asking-me-out thing… So anyway, everything was nice and normal, going according to plan you could say. But then I kissed Messy-hair at the dance instead of Mr. Perfect. I didn’t know it was Messy-hair, when I realised it was him, I ran away.
But Mr. Right, I’m so confused, because when I kissed Messy-hair – the boy I have hated with a passion for years – it felt so right, so perfect. I felt the spark I had been missing with Mr. Perfect and now I’m so confused because I can’t possibly like Messy-hair. I mean it’s Messy-hair!!! Then I got mad and shouted at him and now I think he hates me, and I don’t want him to hate me because if he doesn’t talk to me I’ll miss him so much it will be unbearable. Did I just write that? Oops. Just pretend I didn’t, okay?
Sorry for all the rambling, I hope you can fix this unfixable problem. But you are the genius of love; maybe you can come up with something?
Kelly was leaning backwards on her chair, scanning the letters for Mr. Right.
Nick was grumbling from behind her but Peter wasn’t there – he was doing some homework.
Kelly wasn’t allowed to write anything – Nick had put up a fight about that and - although Kelly didn’t like to admit it – she had lost badly. But Kelly was allowed to read the letters and make suggestions. So that was what she was doing – after all, it was way better than homework.
She sighed and threw a letter behind her, which happened to glide through Nick, making him scowl and start his complaining once again. But Kelly wasn’t listening. She was staring transfixed at the letter in front of her.
‘Oh. My. God.’ Kelly eyes were as wide as saucers and she leaned forwards, making the chair fall back onto four legs with a clunk. ‘Lily kissed James Potter!’
Martha's Note -*Hides and angry readers* I know, I know. 1) I’m so terribly mean to James and 2) I left you with another cliffy!
But don’t worry because 1) It was all part of the plot my wonderful readers, things will get better. Maybe this will show Lily just how much she needs James, hmm? 2) Well…I really don’t have an excuse. But how about I’ll update like super quick with the next chapter? I absolutely promise I will because I’ve finished the next one already! I’ll post it as soon as this one is up. Finger’s crossed that the backlog is quick! *Fantasises of becoming a trusted author* ^_^
Oh, and about that Remus thing. I case you were a bit confused I’ll explain: Remus gets a bit more animal-like when the moon is nearly full, so he was sitting by the lake by himself to try and control the animal inside him…but Abby came along and distracted him with her wonderful scent, which was driving the wolf mad! Lol! This could mean Remus likes Abby as more than a friend… ;D
Thanks for giving this story a chance and please don’t forget to drop me a review ^_^
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