There was somewhat of a loud crash from downstairs. I sensed it before I heard it, just as I’d always sort of known I would end up here. From the very first moment I’d heard about the dare until now, I’d always dreaded being exactly where I was.
“Who is it?” Elsie called, her voice portraying no emotion, keeping our little powwow secret from the outside world. Elsie pushed a few strands of hair behind her ear using her fingers, and then plopped down on her mattress. It took quite a few moments before she called once more, “Hello, anyone down there?”
“It’s Remus. I need to talk to Mute…please,” His voice traveled through the crack in the door. It didn’t sound as polite as normal Remus was, and that was expected. Our eyes all met and we stared at each other for a long moment, silence becoming heavy and suffocating.
“Hold on, she’s coming,” Camilla called back. We heard a small shuffling and then turned towards each other once again.
“What are you doing?” Mute shrieked with her voice barely audible yet holding hostility mixed with fear. “Have you not heard the past half hour discussion? I can’t just talk to him!”
“Do you love him?” Camilla asked. Mute took a small step back, her face shocked. I reached a hand up and played with her hair a bit, positioning it behind her ear on one side and in front of her shoulder on the other. Mute shrugged away from me after a moment, glaring bullets at Camilla.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Just answer the damn question, Mute,” Camilla sighed, a hand rushing to her forehead.
The answer was instantaneous, and Mute didn’t look embarrassed in the least after she very plainly stated, “yes.”
“Then work through this,” Camilla sat down, very calmly, atop her four poster. Then she stood up and began to pull the edges of the comforter that was resting on top of it, making her bed. Elsie giggled. Camilla breathed every word as she worked and moved around her bed, her voice stiff and harsh, “People who are truly in love, they work through all the shit to get to the real stuff. Mute, work through the whole fucking mess, and be in love, dammit.”
“Yes, sir,” Mute said quickly. She seemingly marched out of the dorm, leaving Camilla, doing chores in all her fury, and Elsie, still giggling, and me. The heavy wooden door closed behind Mute, the sound of its closing cutting through the new silence.
“Okay, love guru, what is my advice?” I asked, clearing my throat and moving to lie under my blankets. As I did so, Camilla sort of left my eyesight, so I moved my curtains to ensure that I could view the entire dorm.
“Go tell James the truth, hopefully before the guys did,” Camilla said, smoothing the bedspread on her four poster into flat perfection. I stared at her, mouth agape, bemused as to why all of a sudden the one who seemed unethical and sagacious now had all the answers. She noticed me staring, and then shouted, “Go!”
“Right,” I grimaced, getting out of the warm cocoon that I’d created with all my blankets, and practically running over to my mirror that was hanging just off to the left. I adjusted my hair quickly and dabbed on some lipstick, accidentally smudging it in all my haste.
As I made my way down the stairs slowly, I didn’t think about what Elsie was going to do, or when Camilla planned on letting us know what the ‘or else’ in the contract that we’d all ignorantly signed actually was. I didn’t think about how horrible it would be if all of us had to live with this the rest of our lives, or how embarrassed I would be if the guys, in a final act of revenge, informed the entire school (staff and students alike) about the past few weeks. They wouldn’t do it, but even if they would, I didn’t think about it on my way to see James.
I walked into the common room, ready to be completely honest with him. My ears suddenly were filled with the sound of a guitar strumming. I looked around, my eyes desperately searching for him. And ironically enough, it was the music that lead me to him.
“Oh, James, you play so well,” one third year was giggling.
“Where’d you learn?” Becky Whitlock, a sixth year, and top candidate for head girl of next year, batted her eyelashes at him.
“Play another?” That same third year asked, touching James’s arm lightly. James started playing, seemingly hearing and seeing the girls around him, but not really acknowledging them except every so often when he looked up.
“This one is the only song I’ve ever written that is complete. It’s called My Flower,” he began to play. I knew it was dedicated to me, but in true girl fashion played modest and acted surprised as I sat down. James was still playing, but he looked up.
“Hi,” I mouthed, smiling. He looked overjoyed to see me, his eyes twinkling. The sun was shining brightly in through the window behind him, and I had to squint slightly just to see his face.
The song continued—probably the most beautiful song I’d ever heard—and all the girls surrounding James looked at me with malice and envy in their eyes. They knew who the song was for, and yet they were still overly attentive to every strum just because they longed to have a guy play them a song like this one day.
The final note hung in the air long after he’d played it, and I was just smiling at him. Not reduced to tears, yet still completely speechless, I reached for his hand. He gripped mine as well, and asked, “Did you like it?”
“Are you kidding?” I laughed. It seemed like a completely innocent exchange, and yet my mind was annoyingly plagued by what I had to do. In this way, James was excruciatingly happy, and I had to break it to him. I, the girl he’d sought with so much vigor, the one he had chased endlessly until I was finally his, I had to tell him that it was all to win a bet.
“I was going to write lyrics to it, but I’m no singer, so I figured that wouldn’t be as…good as just the song,” James laughed, running a hand through his hair in that James way, which was weird. I used to describe it as stupid and annoying. But now, it was just…his—an action that was completely and totally reminiscent of James.
“I loved it. But…er…I have to tell you something,” I began, “and you really won’t like it.”
By this point the girls who had been drooling over James’s every word and twitch of finger were gone, distributed around the room; the only common interest they shared was him. I looked around quickly, checking for eavesdroppers and annoyingly observant people that I knew. We were in the corner, by the window, and without the music that James had been playing we weren’t drawing any attention whatsoever.
“I’m all ears,” James said, taking my other hand into his and holding them there between us. I could tell that he didn’t quite understand how terrible this was going to be. And why should he?
“Well, okay, do you want me to say it easy or just come right out with it?” That was dumb.
“Definitely straightforward truth. What is it? Is it your condition? Did the nurse say something?” James asked.
For a moment I was completely bemused by his rambling and questions. And then I remembered that my dear boyfriend, well he thought I only had three or so weeks to live. A stupid lie just to get sex—I’m an idiot.
“Well, hmm…that should make it a quick thing then. James, I’m not dying.”
“But you said you were?” He looked so cute, just sitting there, his eyebrows raised in confusion. I pitied him more than ever.
I snapped, “I know what I said, James. I lied, okay? I’m sorry.”
“Wow…I cannot believe you would—that doesn’t even—why would you…” He continued to stutter and stare me down for a few moments, and I looked down at our hands, strangely still joined.
“There’s more,” I whispered.
“More?” He groaned.
“I didn’t want to go out with you. I still hated you when I told you that I liked you the first time. And then we had lessons,” He interrupted my speech.
“You hated me? What?” He was almost shouting by this point.
“James, there was this bet. Camilla made it. We had to seduce you guys and all, and then we wouldn’t have to suffer the or else that wasn’t specified, and believe me, depending on what the or else was, if I’d known, I wouldn’t have,” He interrupted once more.
“Lily, what the hell—“ This time I interrupted him.
“But then I started to actually like you, because you’re kind of the best guy I’ve ever met, and you’re smart, and funny! And you’re charming, but in that totally accidental way, and I love that you don’t try to be—“
“It was all for a—what do you mean a bet? Bloody hell woman, what sick bet would you fucking want to win so badly that you would completely—and I thought I—and you said—bleedin’ Merlin!” James wasn’t making sense except in the way that he totally and completely made sense. I knew what was going through his head. And I didn’t want to be anywhere nears him right now.
“James, listen, I know you’re really angry, but you have to know, that I was bullied into it. And you didn’t make it any better. You were so bloody annoying that it totally made me want to screw with your emotions. But then I got to know you better, and I found out how amazing—“
“Lily…just don’t,” He winced. I tried to stop myself, but tears spilled onto my cheeks, and I couldn’t even imagine what this scene would look like to those who were observing. In an incredibly obvious fashion, most of the common room was ogling us, staring blatantly and giving me dirty looks. They had no clue what was going on, because they were too far away for them to hear, but if I upset big man on campus James Potter, I was public enemy number one.
“Do the rest of the guys know?” James interrupted my thoughts.
“Huh? Oh, I don’t think all of them, no. I know Remus does, and Sirius might, judging by how bossy Camilla’s been,” I said, evenly. Was he going to forgive me?
“Okay.” He spoke very calmly, but I could tell, simply by looking at him, that this was not good; whatever he was going to say was going to be bad. “I can’t do this. I can’t be near you. Just…don’t talk to me. Don’t touch me. Don’t talk to my friends. Just…let me be.”
“James!” I cried.
“Lily, I can’t do this right now. I can’t believe you would do something so heartless…so…just forget it.” He stood, and left. I looked down at my hands, sweaty from holding James’s, and somewhat cold, a sudden chill from James leaving.
People were gawking at me. And they had reason to; I was sitting there with tears streaming down my cheeks, my eyes red, puffy, and smudged with makeup, my mouth open, gasping like a fish out of water. I felt so alone.
I sat like that for a very long time, just sitting, staring at my hands, feeling the stares. And then there was a hand on my shoulder. I looked up to see none other than Sirius Black looking down at me, a comfortable, friendly, and completely unexpected smile upon his face. His hand crept from my shoulder to my hand, and he wrapped his own around mine, replacing James’s.
Without a word, we left the common room.
Cliff hanger much? Well, thank you to everyone who reviewed! I know right now, the story is just one big confession after another, but it will soon become more, I promise. I hope you continue to enjoy, and review!
edit: ack, stupid typos. sorry everyone who noticed the weird/word mixup!
Reviewer Question: Are there any songs that you think represent any of the characts, or couples? I'm asking, because I am working on another playlist, and I need songs!
Write a Review Bragging Rights: Chapter Twenty-one. Lily.