Chapter 8 : Say Something...
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Disclaimer: I don’t own anything! This is all J.K.Rowling
“What was that about?” Potter asked, looking back at me. I stared back at him for a moment, a thousand different questions running through my mind. Who was this person he was in love with? He had slept with someone? Why had Pippa left so suddenly? Why am I so curious about Potter all of a sudden?
I looked over at Marley and Emilie, who were still staring after Pippa with confused expressions on their faces.
“I should go…” I stood up, almost kicking over my bottle in my clumsiness. I picked it up and finished what was left of it before following after Pippa out the door and down the stairs.
I reached the common room, which was now, thankfully, empty and found her sitting on the couch with her head cradled in her hands. Slowly, I walked around and crouched down on my knees in front of her.
“Pippa…?” I whispered, reaching a tentative hand up to her. She looked up at me, her hands grasping at her silky blond hair, tears streaming silently from her eyes. I quickly moved to sit next to her and wrapped my arms around her, pulling her into my lap. She shook slightly as more tears came and I let her cry.
I didn’t have to ask her to know what was wrong. Sirius had not raised his bottle when Emilie had said she’d never been in love. He had never loved Pippa, whereas she obviously had loved him and maybe still did. I combed my fingers through her hair, hoping to soothe her.
I could think of nothing to say in this situation. I doubt there was anything I could say that would make her feel better. So I let her keep crying.
Not too long after, I saw Marley and Emilie descend the stairs quietly and start to walk towards us. I shook my head quickly and they nodded in understanding. I watched them retreat back up to the girls’ dormitory.
I stayed with Pippa on the couch until she fell asleep and I slipped off my shoes to become more comfortable as I stared into the dying fire.
I thought about Pippa. She loved Sirius so much and he had absolutely no clue. He was off dating other girls while Pippa watched it all and waited for him and there was nothing she could say because she’d already had her chance. But despite that, she’d keep holding out for him with halfhearted hope.
And then it hit me— hard— before I was even ready for it…
Pippa was just like Potter, if what Sirius and Remus said was true. He was in love with me and I was too busy swooning over Chris to even give him a second thought. I looked down at Pippa, her cheeks and nose still red from crying. Is this what it’s like for him when he sees me with Chris? It killed me to see Pippa like this… I understood immediately what Remus had been saying about what hurts one, hurts the other. If I had known how much I was hurting Potter, hurting all of them… well, what would I have done? Dumped Chris and started dating him? Probably not… I still loved Chris, too. I couldn’t hurt him like that either. So what would I do?
I looked down at Pippa who was sleeping soundly and decided it was time to move her upstairs to her bed.
“Mobilicorpus,” I muttered and Pippa’s body was levitated into the air. I directed her towards the girls’ staircase and once we were back in our room, I got her into bed easily. The floor was cold beneath my feet and I realized that I had left my shoes downstairs by the fire.
I was pulled out my wand at the bottom of the stairs to summon my shoes just as Potter stumbled into the common room. I jumped and accidentally shot a stunning spell at him out of reflex. He dodged out of the way quickly.
“Easy Evans, don’t curse me! I didn’t mean to scare you,” he held up his hands in surrender and backed away from me towards the stairs.
“Sorry Potter. Reflex, you know?” I cringed guiltily. Potter walked around to the couch and sat down.
“Is Pippa ok?” He asked. “She seemed really upset before…”
I looked over at him, surprised when I saw an expression of concern on his face. This was definitely a side of Potter I wasn’t used to. Or maybe it was just because I’d never cared to notice this side of him before…
“She’ll be fine,” I assured him. “I just took her upstairs. I don’t think firewhiskey was the best idea for her tonight…”
“Probably not,” he chuckled and then he fell silent, staring at the burning embers of the fire.
“So can I ask you something?” Potter asked turning slightly to look at me. I felt suddenly nervous under his gaze.
I nodded, keeping my eyes on the fire.
“Promise you won’t get mad or anything, I’m just curious…” he trailed off when I didn’t say anything else.
I turned to him and he looked almost nervous, sitting there next to me. He bit his bottom lip and ran a hand distractedly through his jet black hair. Potter, nervous? This really was a side of him I’d never seen. I kept silent, waiting for the rest of his question. His hazel eyes locked onto mine.
“You and Chris… you’ve never… you know,” he muttered and stopped abruptly when I looked away sharply. I was immediately regretting my allowance for his questions. This was the last thing I wanted to talk to him about. Especially now, after I found out he’s—
“I’m sorry,” he said quickly, turning back to the fire. “I didn’t mean to pry or anything.”
“No, we haven’t.” I said stiffly, staring resolutely forward at the fireplace.
“Why not?” he blurted out and I could tell he was mentally kicking himself for pushing me on the subject. “You don’t have to answer that, I’m just being an idiot…”
I sighed. What was the point in hiding anything from Potter anymore? He probably would have found out eventually anyways.
“It’s not like I haven’t thought about it,” I said quietly. I wasn’t sure if it was smart, telling Potter this, but the firewhiskey kept the words spilling out of my mouth.
“It just—hasn’t been right yet.” And then another realization hit me. Would it ever be right? It had been eight months of not-rightness. Maybe it was time to move on… or maybe this is just the combination of very little sleep and alcohol talking. I love Chris, remember? Stupid Lily, stupid, stupid—
“If it makes you feel any better, I completely regret when I did it,” Potter said quickly, glancing over at me. I could have sworn there was a hint of a smile on his face.
“What do you mean?” I pressed. I couldn’t help but be curious by this revelation.
“It was this seventh year Ravenclaw that I barely even knew. Turns out she was just trying to get back at her boyfriend for cheating on her. I found out after she and her boyfriend were back together that she’d just used me…” he explained. “So after that I promised myself I would never use anyone like she used me. So I never did it again because I realized that anyone I did it with, I would be using them to get past….”
I stared at him at a loss for words, not for the first time tonight.
“Look, Lily, there’s something I need to say,” Potter said slowly, turning on the couch to face me. Not knowing what else to do, I turned to face him also, pulling one leg up underneath myself. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to hear what he was about to say. But I also couldn’t honestly say I didn’t want to hear it either.
“I know you’re not too fond of me, and I understand that. I haven’t given you much reason to like me or trust me…” he said quickly, his eyes not meeting mine. “But you’re so smart and beautiful and perfect… you deserve to be with someone better than Chris. Someone who loves all your quirks, annoying or not. Someone who won’t take you for granted or blow you off. Someone like—“
“You?” I breathed. His eyes met mine and the next second his lips were on mine. Softly. More tender than anything I had ever experienced before. Another second passed before my common sense kicked in full throttle and my eyes snapped open.
“James,” I said pulling away from him. He was still leaning forward slightly, his eyes slowly opening as he took in my expression. “I can’t…”
He stared at me, puzzled. “Of course you can…” and he leaned in to kiss me again, but I stood up instead.
“I won’t be the girl who cheats on her boyfriend,” I said avoiding his eyes. I heard him get up from the couch and was aware that he was now standing next to me. I could feel his steady breath on my bare shoulder.
“You’re going to stay with him,” Potter said. It wasn’t a question. It was an accusation. I chanced a quick glance at him. His face was screwed up in concentration and he wasn’t looking at me. It looked had just been punched in the stomach.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered. I grabbed my shoes off the floor and ran as quickly as I could up the steps to the girls’ dormitory. I didn’t look back.
* * *
A beam of sunlight hit my square in the face when I opened my eyes the next morning. I rolled over to my other side. My head ached and my stomach growled with hunger. When was the last time I ate?
Images from last night filled my head abruptly and I groaned. What had I done? I needed to talk to someone about this. Pippa had enough problems already from last night and Emilie’s not exactly the best person to give out relationship advice…
I sat up quickly and waited for the head rush to pass before getting completely out of bed. I glanced at the clock on my bedside table. Eleven o’clock. I couldn’t remember the last time I slept this late.
Pippa was still curled up under her covers and Marley and Emilie’s beds were empty. I slipped into a pair of jeans and a dark blue sweatshirt and stumbled down the stairs, still feeling a little lightheaded. I was glad to see Marley and Emilie in the common room. I was even happier to see that Emilie was busy helping her second-year brother Ben study for his Charms exam. Emilie had volunteered to be his subject while he tested out various charms on her. Marley sat close by, observing.
I walked silently up to them and tapped Marley softly on the shoulder. She turned and smiled her dazzling smile when she saw it was me.
“Hi, Lily! I thought you were never going to wake up. Is Pip still sleeping?”
“Yeah, she’s still asleep. Listen, Marley can I talk to you for a bit?” I whispered so Emilie wouldn’t hear us.
Her face immediately turned into an expression of concern. “Is everything ok?”
“I’m not sure… Can we go somewhere – outside maybe?” I suggested, still whispering.
Emilie was completely absorbed in her study session with Ben so she didn’t notice when the two of us slipped out the portrait hole. As soon as we were out of earshot from anyone, Marley turned to me with rapt attention on her face. Reluctantly I relayed to her the entire story, sparing no details or thoughts. We had reached the grounds by the time I finished and we walked down to the lake.
Marley didn’t say anything for a few minutes after I had finished and I allowed her the time to process everything I had told her. She stopped and sat down at the edge of the lake. I looked over at her and her eyebrows were knit together in deep concentration. Finally, she looked back at me.
“Do you love him?” She asked completely taking me by surprise.
“Potter?” I asked and she nodded. “I don’t think I love him. But I think I could if I let myself,” I said truthfully.
“Oh, Lily,” Marley laughed softly. “Do you know how many people would kill to be in your situation? You have two wonderful guys who are completely in love with you.”
I gave her a small smile. When she put it like that, it really didn’t seem so bad. And then I remembered that by choosing either one of them, I was hurting someone else.
Marley sighed and linked her arm in mine. “You know I can’t decide anything for you… but if it makes you feel any better, I would have done the exact same thing you did last night.”
I leaned my head down and rested it on her shoulder. I took a deep breath. This is why I came to Marley to talk about this. She didn’t judge me or scold me for kissing another boy while I had a boyfriend or try to convince me to go a certain way. She was soothing me, which was exactly what I wanted. She was putting the situation in a positive light, as best she could. She was giving me something to think about. And I loved her for it.
“I can’t imagine how hard this must be for you, Lily,” Marley continued in her soft, musical voice. She began to run her fingers through my hair as I had done to Pippa last night. “On the one hand you’ve got Chris who loves you and you love him and your relationship is something you know and it’s safe. And then there’s James who is undeniably crazy for you and would do anything for you, but you’re unsure of how you really feel about him because this is the unknown, the what-if, and it could go either way. So do you go with what you know? Or do you take a leap and hope it ends up for the best…?”
We were both quiet for a few minutes as we watched the lake. Marley had certainly given me a lot to think about. I picked my head up off her shoulder.
“Thanks, Marley,” I said sincerely. She gave me a small smile and we pulled each other up to standing positions. “We should probably go wake Pippa up. We still have to pack…”
And we walked back to the castle, our arms still linked.
A/N: Back again with another revision! Again, not much changed, just a few spelling errors (grrrrr i hate spelling errors). Anyways hope you enjoyed!
Reviews make me smile :)
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