But break my heart, for I must hold my tongue.
~ Hamlet, William Shakespeare.
Chapter 28: Giving Up and Giving In
Unfortunately, as I was informed by a rather amused Madame Pomfrey, Amortentia potion has only one cure - time. So, after nine long, boring hours during which all I could think about was how much I wanted to - let’s face it - drag James into a darkened corner and have my way with him, I was cured and cleared to go down to dinner.
Ha! Like I was going there. Sit for an hour while James Potter stared at me hopelessly?
Yeah, not my idea of a good time.
So instead, after giving my thanks to Madame Pomfrey, I made my way up to my dormitory, even though I was hankering for some cake.
The first thing I noticed when I walked through my dormitory door was that the sheets had been changed - most probably by the house elves. My footsteps were hallow as I wandered over to the bed. My hand ran across the fabric, cold and starched - there was no reminder of what had happened the night before; nothing, no smells to remind me of what had happened, no creases in the sheets to -
Ugh. Don’t even go there, Lily.
Ignoring the painful feeling building up in my chest, I quickly got changed out of my robes and into some comfortable pajamas. Then I flopped heavily onto my four-poster bed with a huge sigh.
Nothing was ever going to be the same between James and I, that much I knew. I also knew that it was make or break time and it was time to make a decision.
I knew I was being stupid with my feelings - I had always been like this when I liked someone. Always asking questions; What if they don’t like me once they got to know me? or How can they be in love a sixteen, it’s pointless!
But with James it was different - we had history. He knew me at my worst and still pestered me for dates. He slept with me - took my virginity! - and then laughed about it with his unaware friends. Even before that, though, we were close to friends!
And then he had to go and screw it all up.
“I love you, Lily. I really do.”
The words echoed through my head like a rouge bludger, banging around in my head painfully. I remembered the look on his face from the last time I saw him, confused and alone in the corridor and my heart ached a little bit more.
Unreasonable anger bubbled inside me. It all would have been fine if he just had of kept his mouth shut! If it was only -
The dormitory door banged open and the light from the stairwell almost blinded me. “Lily!” I heard Marissa gasp as she flew across the room.
I couldn’t face her. For some reason, I couldn’t tell her - or Ella, for that matter - what was going on. Sometime over the past few weeks, I’d lost touch with my best friends. We would always be friends, I knew, but I couldn’t bring myself to pretend I knew really what was going on with them.
Sometime over the past week or so, James had replaced them. Which made the whole situation that little bit more hopeless.
So I closed my eyes tightly, feigning sleep.
Marissa sounded disappointed. “She’s asleep.”
“I’m not surprised,” Ella said, footsteps light as she moved across the room. “She had a long day.”
I could almost see Marissa frowning when she spoke next. “What’s going on with her and Potter?” she asked, suspicion lacing her voice.
Ella voiced my exact thoughts. “What’s going on with you and Black?” she countered. I heard the rustle of clothing as the girls changed. I guess I’d been up here longer than I thought.
“I dont know,” Marissa was defensive. “I just...don’t hate him anymore, I guess. He’s not so bad.”
“Exactly. That’s probably what’s going on with Lily.” A sigh. “Everything's changing. Remus and I even...I don’t know where we stand.”
“He likes you, Ella, you should make a move.”
About here Ella would bite her lip. “I don’t know - sometimes I think you’re right then he’ll change it all around and suddenly we’re just friends again - ”
Marissa cut across her. I heard the rustle of sheets and doonas as they moved into their beds. “Let’s make a deal. You snog him tomorrow and then you’ll know for sure.”
A giggle. “Wow, Marissa, who knew you had a sense of humor - ”
“Good thing I dont then - I’m serious, Ella. Breakfast tomorrow will be Operation: Snog Remus.”
A long pause. “I don’t see how that’ll - ”
“Just do it, Ella. You’ll see.”
Another pause. “Fine. Goodnight.”
I laid awake for an hour, tossing and turning the events over in my mind, before a distinct growl from my stomach told me that sleep was impossible unless I ate something.
Quickly sitting up I glanced around. Ella and Marissa had fallen asleep quickly after they’d stopped talking and Ceedoor twins had bustled in shortly after. No one seemed to be awake, so I quickly hopped out of bed and stole out of the room. I hurried through the empty common room and out the portrait hole.
I had learned the hidden entrance to the kitchen from James back in third year, when he brought me down here for cake on my birthday. I smiled fondly at the memory - he had organized the house elves into making a huge banquet in honor of my birthday, invited all my friends and my present was that he wouldn’t ask me out for a whole month.
Okay, so he only lasted a week, but the sentiment was sweet right?
I quickly retraced the old route, carefully checking each corridor as I passed. I reached the fruit basket still life with relative ease. I stopped briefly to tickle the pear
The kitchen was bustling as per usual, the house elves scampering about, carrying dirty pots and pans from dinner. It was a rather strange sight as the pots and pans tended to be bigger than the elves themselves, resulting in two or more elves carrying each item.
A rather small - even for elf standards - elf approached me, an eager smile on it’s face. “Hello Miss, is there anything Tinka can get you?”
I smiled kindly. “Actually, I was wondering if I could get some cake - ?”
Suddenly, a dozen trays appeared in front of the me, all laden with delicious baked goods. But I only had eyes for one - a delicious looking cake drowned in chocolate sauce, staring temptingly from the plate. I gingerly picked it out from the bundle, thanking the unseen elf profusely. The other elves disappeared, fleeing off into the general chaos that was the Hogwarts kitchens.
“This pleases Miss?” Tinka asked anxiously.
“Oh, yes,” I said, staring at the cake with unsurpassed devotion. I quickly moved over to the small wooden table in the corner and dug in.
Oh God. One bite and it felt like there was a party in my mouth and everyone was invited. It honestly was that good.
Who needed boys when we had cake?
Then it hit me. I had to tell James.
I had to tell him I loved him. That I wanted to be with him, go to Hogsmeade with him, be his girlfriend.
Tomorrow at breakfast, just like Ella, I was going to take a chance and put my heart on the line -
And that’s when my plan turned sour. The portrait hole swung open, revealing a distressed looking James Potter on the other side. hastily closing door, James ddin’t notice me till he turned back and his eyes widened in shock as he saw me sitting there, my face probably covered in cake.
I swallowed the mouthful and wiped my hand on the back of my sleeve. “Uh...hi,” I said, my voice rather high pitched and squeaky.
“Lily - oh, hi,” he said, before he was enveloped in a swarm of elves, presenting him with another assortment of cakes.
In this brief interlude, I steeled my resolve. I have to tell him, I have to tell him, I have to tell him.
After much confusion, James picked out a chocolate eclair from the swarm and made his way over to me. There was an odd expression on his face, a little like regret.
I have to tell him.
“There’s something - ” we started in unison, breaking off awkwardly.
I laughed nervously, butterflies multiplying. “You go first.”
He looked relieved. “Okay - you’re going to like it anyway,” he said with a small grin. I smiled encouragingly, trying to cover up my nerves. He clear his throat and looked me stright in the eye.
My hear plummeted at what I saw and I could feel my face flatter slightly, before I quickly straightened myself.
“I’m giving up, Evans,” James said, his voice oddly quiet.
I felt my heart break clean in two and despair rushed through me. Why now?“What does that mean?” I asked in a small voice, my voice surprisingly controlled.
I knew perfectly well what it meant. I just needed to hear it out loud.
James smiled at me, small and sad. “It means no more asking you out, now more innuendos over breakfast, no more sneaking about following you - it means you get what you wanted all along. Nothing.” He paused. “Though we could be friends, I guess,” he added, as if it was an afterthought. “Being Heads together and all.”
I couldn’t think. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. My heart was breaking and my whole body screamed for me to make his ridiculous attempt at amends stop. My entire being was tearing itself up but I couldn’t bring myself to say the three words that would save me - save us.
But what if that wasn’t what he wanted to hear?
My whole world felt like it was crashing down around me and yet there was nothing I was willing to do to stop it.
So I smiled. Thin and plastic, I smiled. “Sound great, James,” my voice surprisingly strong. “Thank you.”
And he smiled back, gave me a final, lingering kiss on the forehead and left without another word.
I needed more than cake. I needed a fucking bakery.
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