Chapter 1 : Jealousy
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We’d been friends for barely half a year when it happened. James and me, I mean. Following the slight fallout, of course.
I had really tried hard in the beginning of the year, trying to make it work, and slowly it had come easier to me. Then we had become friends. Close friends even. And then, in the middle of November, he had dropped the bomb. Lucida Garcia.
I sat in the very back of the charms class, watching her shiny caramel brown curls bounce down her back every single time she moved her pretty little head. I could hear her laughter every time he leaned in to her, whispering something in her ear. I could taste the sweetness in the touches his hands made on her arms in the back of my mouth. I could feel the jealousy deep within me.
I hated it.
Not only the jealous feeling in my stomach. No, I hated her. I hated every inch of her. Her too long legs, her too dark eyes with the too long lashes, her too perfect shaped lips and her too sweet voice. Everything.
She had come into James’ life at a Quidditch incident, after the Gryffindor versus Slytherin match. She had accidentally left her scarf on the tribune and when running back, she couldn’t find it, that is until James stood behind her, holding up the brown scarf. They had talked the whole way back from the pitch and before reaching the Entrance Hall he had asked her to go to Hogsmeade with him. Of course she had agreed, why wouldn’t she? And from then on it had been Lucida and James. He called her Lucy. I hated that too. He had never given me a nickname.
He first told me one silent night when we were in the common room, doing nothing really. It was just the two of us. He had said he wanted to talk to me. He took my hands in his, looked me in the eyes... and then dropped the bomb. I nearly fell off the couch in surprise. Of all the things I expected when he had said those words and taken my hands, that was the last one.
The memory made me snort with dissatisfaction.
Remus looked up, but I took no notice of him. I only had eyes for Lucida’s back. He kept looking at me, but after a few seconds, he looked down again, continuing in taking the notes I long had given up trying to do. I hadn’t any books on the table either. Nothing.
Now they were with each other everywhere. Breakfast, lunch, supper. In classes, between classes. Everywhere, all the time. And James first returned to the common room a little after nine in the evening. He walked Lucy to the Hufflepuff common room, just to be nice. He had never walked me anywhere.
But the worst part of it was that she was so nice to me. It made it a lot harder to hate her, but I did give it a try. I shot her as many deadly glares as possible, snickered when she did something wrong and seemed superior when she tried talking to me. I was just the protective friend, I told myself. But she sought me out when I was alone and James was off to Ancient Runes which none of us had, or he was off with the guys (which had only happened once in the last two weeks they had been going out). But I avoided her. I didn’t want to get to know her. Maybe she’d turn out to be nice, and then I just couldn’t hate her. I could when I didn’t know her, like now.
I liked hating her. I didn’t like the way she was leaning close to him just as I was looking, touching his shoulder.
I uttered a loud “pff” and Remus beside me put down his quill and looked at me. I didn’t look at him. He waited. First when my eyes strayed slightly away from Lucida’s back, did he take it into his own hands. Literally. He snapped his fingers in front of my face. I turned to him.
“What?” I snarled maybe a bit too harshly.
“Talk,” he ordered.
“I don’t feel like it,” I said at once. Of course Remus already knew. He was way too observant and knew me too damn well. “I’m fine.”
“No, you’re not.”
I decided to give him the silent treatment, but he didn’t care. He cast a quick glance at the Professor before grabbing my chair, turning it, with me on top, so I was facing him. I tried to look away.
“Talk,” he said again.
I pursed my lips for a few seconds, but then gave up with a sigh. “I don’t like her.”
“That’s because she’s with James.”
I tore my eyes away from her back to Remus. “So what?”
He rolled his eyes. “Why don’t you try and talk to her? She’s a nice person really.”
“I don’t care,” I said.
He quickly looked towards James and Lucida, who sat in the front and then leaned closer to me, lowering his voice to a whisper. “You care, don’t lie. You’re just jealous because she took the chance you let pass.”
“You’re pushing it,” I growled as loud as I dared.
“I know. But if it helps you realise wha-”
“I don’t need to realise anything!” I hissed. “I’ve completely come to terms with my feelings, and they tell you to leave your nose out of this. I can handle it.”
I smiled bitterly. “I don’t know!”
“Ahh.” He smiled that kind smile of his. “Lily, I’m sure-”
“Don’t tell me you’re sure of anything, because you can’t be.”
He was on the way to answer, but the bell rang and I shot up from my chair, grabbed my bag and left.
I was out before anyone had even gotten up from the chair to pack away their stuff. I caught up with Mary just outside of the Arithmancy classroom. She had swung her bag easily over her shoulder. She noticed my bad mood at once so she said nothing.
She waited until we reached the Great Hall before she spoke. “So you just had Charms, correct?”
“Ahh.” She nodded to herself. “Does she look just as perfect today as yesterday?”
Mary understood me. She was acting precisely as a best friend should, in my opinion. Since I first started having feelings for James, she had been absolutely supportive, even helping me with those small things, as needing Sirius’ help at the other end of the room when it was just the four of us, or go to the kitchen with all of them, saying James could just stay. She had done everything she could, it just wasn’t enough.
“Yeah,” I muttered, gloomy. “As damn perfect as yesterday. And the day before then.”
She smiled sadly. Just a second later she groaned out loud. I turned to see the reason. James, Remus, Sirius, Peter, and Lucida were walking towards us.
“Does she ever leave his side?”
She pressed her lips together shortly. “I don’t think so.”
Mary and I exchanged dark glances, which none of the others saw. Maybe Remus did, but he didn’t let it show; besides that, he was still looking at me after five seconds. I glared at him, making him look away.
“So we were just wondering,” Sirius started, “after this, we all have free periods and-”
“Can’t do,” Mary said quickly. “We have other plans.”
“I didn’t even finish.”
“No, but Lily and I have arranged to... cut my hair.” She took hold of a long, brown lock. “And we’re doing that now. Lily’s the only one I trust and she’s only off now so...”
James smiled brightly. “Hey, maybe you could help Lucy too.” He turned to her. “You’ve talked about cutting your hair, right?”
She nodded, her eyes turning to me. “Would you do that?”
“We were planning on doing it in the girls’ dorm in the Gryffindor,” Mary said quickly, smiling, though it didn’t nearly reach her eyes.
“Find a bathroom,” James said. “Come on, ladies. Is it some sort of private party?”
I waited a bit too long with answering, but I didn’t think anyone but I noticed. “No, of course not. We were just planning to be left alone whilst doing it. But of course I’ll help you too, Lucida.”
“Great,” she said. “Thanks.”
I exchanged quick glances with Mary. We hadn’t really intended on cutting her hair today. Maybe some time next week, now we had to. And what was I going to do with Lucida’s hair?
Mary and I ate quickly. We got up, saying we’d have to get the scissors and other stuff. Lucida could meet us at the bathroom on fourth floor. Mary complained as soon as we were out of the Great Hall.
“I can’t believe them!” she said, balling her hands in front of her. “Why would James be so mean?! Can’t he see we don’t want her around?”
“Apparently not,” I muttered angrily.
We waited a few minutes in the dorm before grabbing the scissors and exiting. We didn’t speak on the way to the bathroom. Lucida was waiting for us there. She was smiling, her bag still with her. We entered the bathroom and Mary conjured a chair and pushed it right over in front of the mirror.
I looked between the two of them. “Mary, you first,” I muttered. I could always think of ways to spoil this without her noticing this.
Mary seemed deep in thought too. “Just cut it short,” she said without thinking.
She shrugged. “Just do it. I need something new.”
And so I ended up with cutting Mary’s long locks off, leaving her hair almost as short as James’ hair. I smiled at the result. Lucida had sat still the entire time, not even uttering a word, while Mary and I had chatted away.
When Mary got up, Lucida was quick to take her place. She was still smiling. Did she ever stop?
“So what do you want me to do with it?” I asked.
“Just cut it as you feel will be great.”
Was she kidding me? She was letting me decide? Me, the jealous friend to her boyfriend? The girl who wanted to take him away from her? She had to be crazy.
“Sure,” I said.
I thought about it for a few seconds. She’d get a cut just like Mary. Why? Because James had told me girls should wear long hair. It was a rule really, he’d said. Suited them better. More sexy.
I bit my lip, wondering if I was going too far.
I decided no.
Mary raised an eyebrow at me, but said nothing as I cut the first long lock of her hair. Lucida just studied herself in the mirror, but said nothing. Maybe she wouldn’t mind.
Slowly an awkward silence settled. We had nothing to talk about with Lucida. Nothing whatsoever. Being here with her, made me tense and I used all of my power not to burst out in screams. You only had awkward silences with people you didn’t know. With James or Mary it never happened. We could just stare at each other without even saying a word. I couldn’t with Lucida.
“So how is that Charms essay coming along?” I asked tensely.
“Fine,” she said with a bright smile. “Really good. You?”
“Done,” I said.
Mary moved uncomfortably. I cut a little bit more, feeling the tension settle. I concentrated fully on cutting. It slowly was cut shorter and shorter.
“Lily,” Mary suddenly said.
I looked up. “What?”
Her eyes flashed between the scissor and the hair. “We’re quite busy. Could you please finish?”
I felt my heart pound loud in my chest. “I just want to get it perfect,” I mumbled, cutting a last slightly longer tot. “There.”
She smiled brightly. “Thanks. It looks great, Lily.” She ran her hand through it, smiling.
Oh, James would hate me now. Mary Vanished the chair while I packed my scissors away. Lucida swung her bag over her shoulder, grinning.
“So I was wondering, the guys are outside, and I was going to join them...” We didn’t get the hint, so she continued. “I don’t want to always bother his friends too, but if you were with me, it’d seem...”
“Oh, sorry, we’re busy,” I said. “Essays and stuff. I’ve yet to write my mother a letter. Her birthday is tomorrow and I’ve got to spend time going through it.” More lies.
“What about you, Mary?”
Mary swallowed. “Um, I really was going to take a shower. My feet stink.” She added a shrug.
“Okay.” She smiled at us. “I’ll just go down there by myself then. I’ll see you around?”
“Sure,” we chorused.
Next class I had was Defence Against the Dark Arts, and because so many students took the subject as a NEWT class, it was purely classes by house, which meant no Lucida. James and I had made it a tradition to sit together by the start of the year, and today was no different.
He entered class only just in time. He looked around, found me and then sat down, glaring at me shortly.
“What?” I asked.
“You cut Lucida’s hair,” he said.
“Yeah,” I said. “She asked me to cut it, and I did. We love it, don’t know?”
“It’s not pretty.”
I chuckled, finding my book. “You asked me to cut her.”
“Yeah, but shorter than mine?”
He only pretended to be mad, I could see that in his eyes. He truly didn’t like her hair, but he couldn’t stay mad at me for too long, besides, it didn’t seem to be such a big deal.
I couldn’t help smiling. “I really like it.”
“Yeah, well I don’t. And you knew that.” He raised an eyebrow at me.
“Oh, come on, James,” I whispered, seeing class begun now. “You have to admit that it puts more attention to her face. It’s pretty.” I was lying, but I was glad to find he couldn’t see through the lie.
He shrugged. “You’re still in big trouble.”
“I can shave your head,” I muttered. “Then hers would still be longer.”
He narrowed his eyes at me. “Then you cut it short too.”
“I like my hair long,” I said and flicked it over my shoulder.
He looked at me a few seconds before turning a bit away, paying attention to the class. A little crumbled piece of parchment landed in front of me. I looked up, seeing Mary looking back at me. She nodded at the note.
I unfolded it.
Is he mad?
I chuckled and found my ink and quill. Hiding the note from James, I quickly wrote an answer.
Oh yes. This feels so good.
I know! But really, James could just have not asked us to do it. I mean, can’t he get a hint? She had underlined the ‘not’ with several lines.
I smiled, not feeling the need to respond. I folded that paper and put it in my bag. A few seconds later James nudged me in my ribs. I turned to him.
“Can I ask you a question?” he whispered.
“Do girls ever say one thing and then mean the other?”
Normal girls did. Lucida probably didn’t. She was the kind of girl who wasn’t as dumb as us others; playing hard to get, saying things to boys she didn’t mean because she secretly cared for them. She wasn’t like me... but he had asked me.
“All the time, James.”
He nodded. “Also just about small things?”
I rolled my eyes. “What did she say or do?”
“She’s afraid of animals.”
I shrugged. “So?”
“Yes, but you’re sure we aren’t just talking spiders or bugs?”
He frowned for a second. “I don’t know.”
“Well, she probably loves them... but she wants you to play macho, and save her from the terrible spiders.”
He nodded very slowly. “Would you do that?”
“No, I can kill the spiders myself, but I lie about other things.”
I snorted a little too loud and the professor looked at us shortly. I smiled back and when he’d turned his attention to the blackboard, I answered James, “Like I’d tell you.”
“Come on, Evans.” He only used my last name when trying to make me do something, because he knew it could make me smile. It was too true.
I smirked at him. “For example, I actually do like the way you run your hand through your hair. It doesn’t annoy me.”
“Oh.” He frowned, seeming to think a lot about it. “So if she says I need to stop acting childish, that’s probably just a lie too? To pretend she’s a bit more mature than she really is?”
I bit my lower lip for a second. I wasn’t so sure now. I thought about it before answering. “Probably.”
He nodded, smiling. “Thanks, Lily.” He put an arm around my shoulder and hugged me sideways.
I mentally patted myself on the shoulder. I knew it wasn’t fair, and I knew it was straight out mean, but I couldn’t help it. He asked my opinion. If he’d been dating any other girl, everything I said would have been true. Technically I hadn’t done anything wrong. He had asked what I thought, and I had answered. I hadn’t done anything wrong. I really hadn’t.
I spent the rest of the class trying to convince myself I hadn’t done anything wrong. In the end I was sure; I had every right to say what I wanted. It was James’ fault. He could just have asked Lucida instead of me.
Mary and I caught up after class. Together we walked towards the Great Hall.
“What did he say to it?” she asked me in a whisper.
“That he didn’t like it,” I smirked.
“Well, that’s not your problem.”
We sat down at the Gryffindor table, and I quickly put a few potatoes onto my plate. Not two seconds later Sirius slumped down next to me, and after him followed four other persons.
I groaned inwardly. Why couldn’t Lucida ever sit with her own friends? Did she even have other friends by now?
I started poking my potato, I wasn’t really hungry anymore.
Lucida and James were too obviously holding hands under the table. She was smiling. I wasn’t. I let my head dump into my hand, supported on the table.
“So are you going home for Christmas?” Lucida asked. I didn’t know who she asked, but I preferred not to answer.
“Absolutely,” James answered. “We all planned to have a few sleepovers. Guys' sleepover, sorry.”
“Will I even see you during the break then?” she asked.
He grinned. “Of course.”
It seemed to me the only two persons even conversing were James and his girlfriend. Apparently everyone else wasn’t good enough to speak with them.
It started raining outside.
“Ohh,” Lucida moaned. “I had really hoped for sun today. The rain makes me so sad.”
“I love rain,” I blurted out the next second.
Every eye turned to me.
“What?” I asked a little sharply. “Without the rain we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the sun.” Even before I had spoken the words, they sounded flat and ridiculous.
“But with the sun there the whole time, everything would seem lighter.” She was too positive.
“How would you know?” I asked. I hadn’t yet raised my head from my hand. “Since... Well, not even in the summer does it stop raining for, what, a week, maybe two. So, you can’t know. Maybe too much sun would drive you crazy.”
“You’re looking at it wrongly.”
“Or you are.”
She looked at me a few seconds, and then suddenly smiled even brighter. “You’re so funny, Lily.”
I wasn’t smiling. Could she see me smiling? Did I look like one wanting to be called funny? I got up, leaving my untouched lunch.
“I’ll see you all later.”
As I walked away, I could hear Lucida ask, “Did I say something wrong?” and James’ muted denial.
I slammed the door behind me, hurrying towards the Gryffindor Tower. When inside I sat down on a couch, searching my bag for some school work I could do. I found a book, which we had to read for Transfiguration.
I don’t know what exactly made me discuss with her in that way, but I truly didn’t want to agree with her, and she shouldn’t be right. Idiot. So I liked rain, correction; didn’t mind rain, but why did she have to start bugging me about that. After all, she was the one who started it. Okay, maybe it was me, and maybe it was a silly discussion, but she was just so... Urgh, I couldn’t even find a word for her. I just hated her and her positive attitude towards everything, trying to be everyone’s friend. She couldn’t, she had to face that.
I groaned loud, realising I hadn’t read a single word since I got up here. I removed Lucida from my thoughts and concentrated on the words. I didn’t get much of a chance though. A few minutes later the portrait hole opened and a person entered. I didn’t look up before I realised it was James and he stood in front of my chair, looking at me.
His arms were crossed across his chest, and he looked down at me, looking slightly annoyed.
“Yes?” I said and closed the book around my finger to keep track on which site I had reached.
“What was that about?” he asked.
I frowned, pretending to think about it. “What are we talking about?”
“That!” He gestured with his arm towards the portrait hole. “In the Great Hall. What was that about?”
“We just disagreed on something, James,” I said. “What’s the big deal?”
“You totally rolled her over with your hard comments and mean attitude! Why were you so mean?”
I slowly got up. “I wasn’t mean. You’re making a big fuss about this. It was a simple disagreement.”
“You don’t care about rain,” he stated, surprising himself even.
I crossed my arms.
“You don’t care about rain, Lily.” This seemed to dawn to him first now. He narrowed his eyes at me. “You disagreed just because you wanted to.”
“So what?” I snapped. “It’s not illegal.”
He didn’t look at me anymore, but looked out of the window, a finger pressing his lips. He slowly looked at me. “And you know how much I hate short hair. And you cut her hair extremely short.”
I stood completely still, barely even breathing. He licked his lips, letting his eyes wander around again. He ran a hand through his hair extremely slowly, as if so deep in thought he didn’t even think about what he did. At last his eyes settled on my again, his hand falling too. Then he took a loud, breath.
I stiffened, raising an eyebrow. “I’m not, James.”
“Then why do you hate her so much?”
I looked away.
“Lily, come on. It means a lot to me.”
“To not know?”
“No, that one of my best friends doesn’t like her. Your acceptance.”
“She’s too bright,” I blurted out. “And happy! I can’t be around happy persons that much! And it’s not even okay to be negative around her! Everything has to be so bloody sunny and everyone has to smile. James, I’m a pessimist and love hating things! We’re just so different! Plus, she’s around all the time. It seems pathetic. I mean, doesn’t she have any friends herself or what?” I closed my mouth suddenly; I hadn’t meant to say that much.
He looked at me for five long seconds. At last he nodded his head, disappointed. “Thanks, Lily. It’s nice to know where I’ve got you.” He turned around and walked away.
I sighed. “I’m sorry, James!”
But he didn’t turn around. He exited the common room, leaving me behind. I sighed and turned, going straight for the girls’ dorm, feeling tears in my eyes.
James’ disappointment in me bugged me. He refused to speak to me and even look at me. He pretended I didn’t even exist, and boy I hated it. He had even refused to sit next to me in Defence, so now I sat with no one the next few days. Mary of course was on my side, but she still thought I should try and talk to James about it, but I was too stubborn. Of course I wouldn’t talk to him about it. He could be as mad at me as he wanted. Soon he’d realise I was right and break up with Lucida. Then we’d live happily ever after, get four children and a dog named Rowdy. Really.
I wondered, as James and Lucida sat down in Potions, what would happen if I just told him how I felt. Told him I actually was jealous, told him that he should pick me, told him I was in love with him. He wouldn’t know how to react, I was sure. He would know he’d been right when he said so two days prior, but I had denied it. But what would he say?
“Doesn’t it hurt?”
I looked at Mary, who had been the one asking. “What?”
She poked my forehead. “Frowning so much. It has to hurt.”
I smiled, the frown dissolving slightly. “It doesn’t.”
She nodded. She slowly leaned back, crossing her arms. “So what are we doing?”
“What do you mean?” I looked at her.
“About Lucy,” she answered. “What are we doing?”
I shook my head. “Nothing. I don’t want James to be madder at me.” I sighed heavily. “I can’t stand it.”
I watched them as James found ingredients and put them on the table. Lucida read through the book. They once in a while sent each other small smiles.
“He’s happy with her,” I muttered. “He’s actually... happy.”
Mary nodded. “Yeah.” Apparently she couldn’t come up with some sort of insult this time.
My eyes fastened on James again. He picked up something from a jar. He smiled before, with a smooth movement, letting it fall onto Lucida’s book. She screamed and jumped away as the dead spider caught her eyes. She looked at James, eyes blazing.
“Why did you do that?” she yelled. “You know I hate them!”
James seemed to be lost for words. His eyes slowly drifted from Lucida, around the classroom and landed on me. He looked at me for a very long time, but then I looked away, turning. I could still feel his gaze on me, but I pretended I didn’t know.
“I’m sorry,” I heard him answer. “Thought it’d be funny.”
“Well, it’s not,” she said with a sigh. She blew her hair away from her face with a sigh. “It’s okay.”
What? No more yelling, no calling him childish or getting mad because of what he’d done? Nothing? I couldn’t believe it. Was she really such a pushover?
James seemed to think almost the same. “You’re not mad?”
“No,” she answered. “I was surprised. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t overreact like that.”
“Let me get this straight,” Mary whispered, turning away from them, “He throws a spider almost in her face; she yells at him and then forgives him? What kind of wuss does that?”
“I’ll tell you,” I said heavily. “Those who has the boy. Those nice and sweet Hufflepuffs. The positive girls. The Not-Lily-Evans Girls. Those girls.”
“That’s why it’s not me who has him. Because I’m not able to forgive. I’m stubborn and get mad at people. I slap them.”
It was as if he knew we were talking about him, because as Lucida started brewing the potion, he looked up, meeting my gaze again. He was frowning deeply. I looked back for as long as I could stand, but then his gaze became too much and I looked away. He looked away in the same second.
I banged my head against the table.
Throughout the rest of the class I caught myself several times stealing glances at James. He returned them half of the time, still that annoying neutral hint in his eyes. I wanted to know what he was thinking. Had he realised I had lied to him the other day about the spiders? Probably. Did he still think I was jealous? Absolutely.
“Mary, do you think James could like me?” I whispered as we walked from class.
She looked at me shortly. “Yes,” she answered.
I nodded to myself.
I wanted to apologize. I really did. But at the same time I didn’t. Does that sound confusing? Well, it is to me too... I wanted so badly to talk to James again. I wanted to be able to have that carefree relationship with him again. Be friends at least. But I was too damn stubborn to just go talk him.
But it had been nearly one week since I had last talked to James, and I was getting annoyed and angry.
I hit my hand against the bedpost. “Stupid Hufflepuff!”
And when being angry at one self, people tend to project their anger at someone else. In this case it was Lucida. See, had she never forgotten her scarf at the tribune, James and I would have gone to Hogsmeade together, seeing Mary had a date, so did Sirius, and Peter and Remus had a detention (how James and Sirius managed not to get one is beyond me). Point is, James and I would both have been without anyone to go with, and we’d have gone as friends, but in the end he would have kissed me and then; NO LUCIDA!
I looked at Mary. “Yeah?”
“Go talk to James. Just, if you don’t feel like it, don’t apologize. Say it was your honest opinion, and as your friend, he should accept it. Play the guilt card.”
I pursed my lips. “I’m not sure...”
“Oh, come on. Take a chance, Lily. If you don’t play, you don’t win.”
“And you can’t risk it all,” I answered, “without losing every single bit left.”
“Then it’s a good thing you’re not risking it all,” she answered with a smile and put a hand on my waist as if to guide me. “Just your pride.”
“Exactly what I’m worried about.”
“Lily, you might just win.” She looked at me. “You might win, Lily.”
“Okay.” Before having realised it, I had gotten up. I looked at Mary. “What if it doesn’t work?”
“Then you’ve tried it.”
I took a deep breath. “Okay, I can do this. I can.”
“Tell yourself that!”
I smiled faintly. “What if he’s not there? He’s probably with Lucida anyhow.”
“What if he isn’t?” Mary smiled. “Lily, now you’re trying to find excuses not to go there. I say you just go.”
I walked out of the dorm, leaving Mary behind me, which I wasn’t comfortable doing. I really would have liked Mary with me at my side when doing this. But, I told myself, play the guilt card, just, play the guilt card.
I knocked on the door. Sirius opened. “Hey.”
“Is James here?” I asked.
“Yeah.” He nodded.
“Can I get a chance to talk to him, alone?”
“Um.” He looked uncomfortable. “I’m really not sure now is the right time.”
He shook his head. The door was opened a bit more and Remus popped his head out. He smiled at me.
“Want to talk to James?” he asked.
I nodded. “Can that be arranged?”
He grinned and turned around. “Oi, Wormtail, come on!”
Remus dragged Sirius out of the door and Peter followed a few seconds later, leaving the door ajar. I entered, closing it behind me, but James wasn’t there. I frowned, looking around, but he actually wasn’t there. I was on my way to leave again, when the door to the toilet opened and James entered.
He stopped when his eyes met mine. That neutral gaze of his was there again.
“Hi,” I said flatly.
“What are you doing here?” he asked heavily.
I prepared myself for the whole thing; guilt card, the right to be honest as friends, his ignorance towards me... the whole thing.
“I don’t think you’re being fair towards me,” I said. “I think that even though I was slightly unfair towards Lucida, you should accept my opinion about it. I was just honest because that’s what friends do. We’re honest with each other! Because I’m your friend, and you asked me what was wrong, and you can’t blame me for my opinion. If it was Sirius who had said that, you would have accepted it, yes? You should accept me and my opinion too.” I took a deep breath. “And do not try to force me to anything like liking her, because I simply can't, okay?”
He slowly closed the door and walked a little closer. “So you really feel that way?” He crossed his arms.
I nodded. “I’m sorry, James. But you can’t force me to like her. She and I are so bloody different. I think it’s impossible for me to be friends with a girl so much unlike myself. And if I may say so, I just never pictured you with a girl like her.”
The right corner of his lips pulled slightly up in a smile. “So what kind of girl do you see me with?”
I sighed. “I don’t know! A girl who can give you a little resistance, give you something to work with. You know? A girl who knows what she wants. One with some energy and is not afraid to speak what she thinks! A girl who’s not always smiling! A girl like...” I bit my lower lip, blushing very slightly. I had nearly said ‘A girl like me.’
He leaned slightly forward, raising an eyebrow. “A girl like what?”
I turned a little away from him, crossing my arms.
“Evans?” His voice was daring me to speak and there was a smile in it.
“Fine!” I spun around facing him. “A girl like me, okay, James? You want to know the truth? I think it is me you should be with, not that happy doll! I should have spent the day with you in Hogsmeade. I should be the one to hold your hand between classes. I should be the one you kiss before parting each night. So yeah, I guess you were right the other day. I am jealous. Congratulations!” I took a deep, unsteady breath before pushing past him, walking straight for the door, feeling my eyes sting.
I heard his steps right behind me and as I reached for the doorknob his hand shot out, making it impossible for me to pull it open. I took a deep breath, wondering what he was doing now. I looked at him over my shoulder and he returned my gaze. I looked away again.
“Do you really feel that way?” he asked.
I stopped breathing for half a second. “Yes.”
Very slowly I turned around, finding him much closer to me than a second before. His eyes were dark, reaching into mine. He was smiling very softly.
“Lucida and I decided to end it,” he said evenly. “It didn’t work out. I realised that even though I tried to convince myself of it, you were never really gone from my mind. I guess you’re right. I do need a girl like you.”
I smiled. “Really?”
He nodded slightly. “Yeah.”
Very softly he brushed his fingers over my cheek, leaving a burning trail behind. And I couldn’t resist. I rose to my toes, kissing him.