Chapter 15 : Introducing Holly
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My eyes fluttered open the next morning, confused by the bright light that was filtering through my window. It must be almost noon. I relaxed immediately when I remembered it was Saturday so I hadn’t missed any classes.
I swung my legs over the edge of my bed, waiting for the lightheadedness of sitting up too fast to wear off. I stood up, wobbling slightly as I tried to steady myself, and made my way to my mirror. My hair was matted and sticking out in every direction. There were dark circles under my eyes from getting a bad night’s sleep. Nothing a hot shower couldn’t fix.
I threw on my dark green bathrobe over the black tank top and shorts I wore to bed and shuffled to the bathroom through the common room. I hopped in the shower quickly, combing the knots out of my hair, and then wrapped myself in a soft white towel after. I let my hair hang in wet strands down my back and reached up to grab my pajamas that I had hung on a hook next to the shower. What had James been thinking last night? He seemed so interested in what I had been doing with Chris. And then when he asked me if everything was all right and the way he looked…
I shook my head quickly. Stupid, stupid, Lily. He was with Holly last night, remember? Stupid, stupid, stupid, stup—
“Lily?” I voice behind me startled me and I spun around to see James standing at the door to the bathroom.
“Sorry,” he quickly looked away, seeing that I was only wearing a towel. “I didn’t know you were in here.”
“It’s ok,” I said lightly, trying to be friendly. “You can come in; I’ve got a towel on.”
He looked up hesitantly at me, and walked the rest of the way into the bathroom. I slid past him, clothes in hand, to go change in my room.
“How are you?” He asked cautiously, still averting his eyes from me.
“Fine,” I shrugged casually. I didn’t want him to make a big deal of last night. I shouldn’t have said anything about my breakup with Chris to him. What a dumb idea. What I really wanted was for him to forget anything he’d seen or heard.
“Are you sure?” he said unsurely, as his hazel eyes lifted to meet mine.
“I’m ok, really,” I said evenly. “I appreciate your concern, but I really don’t want to talk about it.”
He nodded and I turned, pushing through the door to go to my room, my cheeks burning red with the fact that James Potter had just seen me in nothing but a towel.
I quickly changed into a dark pair of jeans and a black long-sleeved shirt. I was assembling my bag to head to the Gryffindor common room when I heard a knock on my bedroom door.
“Come in,” I called over my shoulder and turned back to cramming my Transfiguration book into my bag.
“Hey,” I heard James’s voice say and I spun around immediately.
“Hi,” I said, confused. This was the first time he’d been in my room. It was a strange notion, James Potter being in my room.
“Look, I know you said you didn’t want to talk about it,” he started, looking slightly nervous. “But I just wanted to say that I’m sorry.”
“You’re sorry?” I asked incredulously. What was he talking about? “For what?”
“Well, I caught the gist of your…conversation with Chris last night,” he looked up at me apologetic. I flinched slightly. “Breakups are hard, and I haven’t exactly been the nicest person to you since we’ve been back.”
I stared at him, at a loss for words, as he continued.
“Last year I said you shouldn’t be with him. And now you’re not and I’ve been a git anyways,” he paused, his hand rising habitually to run through his hair. “Well, I’m sorry about that.”
“There’s nothing to be sorry for,” I contradicted him and then hesitated. “James, I’d really like it if we could just…somehow…try to be friends.”
He stared at me and raised his eyebrows.
“I’m not joking…” I said, confused by his silence. “Look, it just seems like every time we start getting along, something sends me off into a temper and then we end up hating each other again. I’d just kind of like to end the cycle, I guess.”
James stared at me for another minute without saying anything.
“Ok, never mind” I muttered, grabbing my bag and slinging it over my shoulder. I started to walk towards my door, preparing to go around Potter if he didn’t move. I had just maneuvered around him when he spoke, making me turn to face him.
“I’d like that, Lily,” James said, his expression softening.
* * * *
I spent the day with the Clique. I hadn’t told them about last night. I was debating whether I wanted to or not. They were my best friends after all, they should know what’s going on. Or I could leave out the part about Chris and just tell them that Potter and I are trying to be friends… I finally decided that if it didn’t come up naturally, I would just let it go. Talking about it would just make the memories more clear, and that was something I did not want.
The day passed quickly and before too long we were heading to the Great Hall for dinner. The four of us sat at our usual spot in the very center of the table, Marley and I on one side and Pippa and Emilie across from us.
“Lily, you look exhausted,” Emilie commented, scooping some potatoes onto her plate.
“I’m fine,” I muttered, stabbing a few cooked carrots with my fork and dropping them onto my plate.
I yawned suddenly and Marley chuckled. “These midnight patrols are going to kill you, Lily.”
I blanched slightly. “Very funny,” I smirked at her. “I’ll manage, though.”
We were joined shortly by the Marauders and to everyone’s surprise, including mine, James sat down next to me. I stared straight ahead at Pippa who was sitting across from me and jerked my head subtly in his direction. She gave me a small smile and shrugged.
Sirius was sitting across from James and gave him a strange look. All of us at the table were silent. This had never happened before. Never in the history of our time at Hogwarts had James and I ever sat next to each other willingly. Well, willingly on my part at least.
“So,” Pippa said, breaking the silence. “What’s everyone up to tonight?”
Everyone turned to stare at her. I glanced at Sirius fleetingly, warning him with my eyes not to mention anything of our plans to steal butterbeer from Hogsmeade. Remus and Peter mumbled something about Exploding Snap.
“Um, what are we doing tonight?” Emilie asked, flipping her honey-colored hair over her shoulder.
“I thought maybe we would go down to the kitchens,” Pippa said, trying to be subtle.
“Pippa dear, we can’t go to the kitchens until tomorrow, remember?” I said through my teeth, my eyes flickering towards Sirius.
“Oh,” she said, her eyes widening in comprehension. “I thought that’s why you were so tired today…”
James’s head snapped in my direction.
“Nope,” I said quickly, shoving a carrot in my mouth. “Just late patrol.”
James turned back to his food, a tiny smile on his face that I didn’t understand.
“Do you guys have patrol tonight?” Emilie asked conversationally.
“No,” James answered, glancing over at me. “We bullied the prefects into giving us Saturdays off.”
“I bullied them into giving us Saturdays off,” I corrected him irritably. He looked over at me, his hazel eyes sparkling, and laughed.
Everyone stared at us like we had just grown an extra head. Pippa’s eyes moved swiftly between us as her mouth opened in slight disbelief.
“This is beyond bizarre,” She sighed, shaking her head. Sirius looked over at her, confused. She turned to meet his gaze.
“James and Lily are actually being civil to each other. I never thought I’d see the day,” she shrugged and continued to shake her head.
“Come on, give them some credit. They’re a bit more grown up now,” Remus said, glancing between the two of us from the other side of Sirius.
“Whatever. It’s still weird,” Pippa smirked, winking at me.
James turned his head toward me, shaking his head as he laughed. “What are you up to tonight, Evans?”
It was an innocent question. And I had an innocent answer. I just wasn’t sure what Potter’s reaction to my innocent answer would be. I was still wary of our newly formed friendship. Any small thing could break it at this point.
“Um, I think Sirius and I are going to hang out...” I said carefully, making hesitant eye contact with him.
James’s gaze flickered to Sirius and back to me.
“Yeah, I’m already behind in Charms and Lily agreed to help me,” Sirius offered casually. “Nice of her to want to do homework on a Saturday…”
I cleared my throat lightly. “What are your plans for the night, Potter?”
James seemed to be lost in thought for the moment but quickly snapped out of it. “Huh? Oh, Holly and I are hanging out I think.”
I chewed on my lip and turned back to my food, catching Emilie’s eye as I turned. She shrugged and rolled her eyes.
“Hi Jamie!” A breathy soprano voice chimed from behind us. Marley and I turned in our seats to see a tall blond girl bending over between James and I with her hands over his eyes.
“Speak of the devil…” I muttered to Marley and she giggled behind her hand.
Pippa was rolling her eyes at Holly, who was trying to onto the bench between James and I. I took a deep breath and looked across the table at Sirius. He had his eyes toward the ceiling, muttering something under his breath. Looks like I wasn’t the only one who didn’t like Holly.
The thin girl next to me turned on the bench to face the Clique.
“Hi,” she breathed in her high-pitched voice. “I’m Holly. I know who you all are, of course. But I don’t think we’ve ever been properly introduced.”
Pippa flashed a grin at me from across the table. I could tell she liked how Holly knew who we were, of course. If there was one thing Pippa absolutely loved, it was her popularity. She thrived on it.
Pippa smiled and leaned across the table lazily, extending her slender hand and perfectly manicured nails.
“Pippa Birch,” she said, her voice dripping with self-importance. She clasped Holly’s hand and let go quickly, settling back into her seat. We all knew this was just for show. Pippa was never so conceited in reality. It was obvious to us that she did not like Holly and I was grateful for that. We had an old tradition in the Clique dating back to our first year. We all believed wholly that first impressions counted the most and we occasionally ran into people that none of us had any interest in and rubbed us completely the wrong way. So when such introductions would occur, we had a habit of putting on airs, as some would say. We just couldn’t resist acting our snobbiest. And apparently, this was one of those times. You can’t beat the loyalty of best friends, can you?
Holly smiled unsurely at Pippa and glanced quickly at James who smiled encouragingly at her. I wanted to vomit.
“Emilie Quinn,” Emilie leaned forward too, like Pippa, but acted supremely bored with the whole affair. Her deep blue eyes flitted to the ceiling impatiently and she gently shook Holly’s dainty hand.
“Marley Marquette,” Marley gave her a small smile, not bothering to lean around me. She stuck out her hand in front of me while examining a chipped fingernail on her other hand, not even looking at Holly who hesitantly shook her hand. Emilie swallowed a laugh at Marley’s display. It was funny to us to see our nicest, most caring member acting the most aloof.
I turned towards Holly, putting on my nicest face.
“Holly, is it?” I asked innocently as I lifted a hand and placed it into hers. “Lily Evans,” I smiled as I obviously swept my eyes up and down her, measuring her up.
Marley choked on her water next to me and keeping my eyes on Holly, I thumped her on the back.
My eyes flitted to Sirius who was stifling laughter into his fist and Remus was shaking his head at us, but smiling all the same. By now they were used to the various antics of the Clique.
“It’s so nice to finally meet you all,” Holly said in her breathless voice before turning back to James.
“Jamie, meet me outside my dorm at eight,” she instructed him, tapping him on the tip of his nose lightly with her finger at she said the time.
He nodded and she kissed him on the nose where she had touched him. We all looked away with semi-disgust until we heard Holly walk away quickly toward the Hufflepuff table where her friends instantly swarmed around her.
We were all silent, gazing around at each other and seeing that we were all about to burst out laughing.
“What,” James challenged us, looking around at everyone, his eyes resting on Sirius.
“Nothing,” Sirius said innocently shoving a piece of potato into his mouth. “Jamie.”
Marley snorted into her drink and Emilie turned to the side with her hand over her mouth. I small giggle escaped my lips and Pippa started laughing out loud.
“Oh shut up,” James growled before a grin split onto his face and he joined in our laughter.
A/N: Hey all! Sorry about the wait. Final exams mixed with moving back home and then moving to where my job is was crazy... but I'm back now! Hope you liked the chapter! Love those reviews!!!
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