Chapter 2 : Mistakes
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Disclaimer 2: I do not own either the Harry Potter world (duh) or the titles of most of the chapters, they are song/book tiles adapted to fit the story.
– Of Cherries and Brandy
Fourth Year –Lily is fifteen
She wasn’t exactly sure why she was there, only that she was, and that there was little chance escaping now. But this point, though, it must be said she cared little, as aiming to beat timidity by drinking copious amounts of brandy is never the best of ideas. She was barely lucid, slumped on a floor, head leaning against a cold, stone wall- although of which room she couldn’t say. She was at school, she knew that, but everything else was rather vague.
The air was close, muggy and reeking of men’s perfume and cheap liquor, a choking smell that caught in your nose and burnt your throat. Sweat beaded along her hairline, and coursed down her neck, and every inch of skin touching another became unbearably hot and sticky. There were people pressing in at all sides, she could feel them pulsing in the darkness. The deafening music was an unavoidable, throbbing beat that battered its way into your skull and turned all grey matter to the consistency of jam. Her lids were drooping, but the lights still flashed, flickering hypnotically on and off, creating the feeling that the world was made of a series of flash photographs.
It was only when the feeling of something hot and solid reached her, rather muddled, brain that she realised someone had been sitting next to her. She slowly opened her eyes, realising as she did so that she was incredibly stupid- and not a tad forgetful. She was settled on someone’s lap, their chin resting in the crook of her neck, and their hair tickling her throat. Suddenly the memory of falling burst through her brain. The walls spinning and the floor lurching, the strong arms coming out to meet her. Then, blankness.
She wriggled slightly, trying to test her position. She was stretched out across the lower half of a boy’s body, his arms stifling her, and both propped against the wall. As she stirred he seemed to wake up, pulling her around until she was facing him.
“Hey, Lils,” he shouted, his voice barely audible above the music, “Took a bit of a fall there didn’t you?”
She rubbed her eyes and smiled woozily. “Myhead, sallfunny,” she perhaps wasn’t making all the most sense.
The boy smiled in return, and settled her more comfortably in his arms. His skin was clammy, his hold too tight and he smelled strongly of sweat and beer, but he somehow wasn’t off-putting. He was broad and chiselled, with longish black hair, dark skin, and surprising cobalt eyes. His smile was blinding, teeth flashing between dark lips, causing some bemusement to her befuddled state. Why was this boy looking after her? “Whyoo, lookinaftame?” she attempted the question, but all that came out was an indistinguishable mush of words.
Taking in her current condition, the boy smiled slightly and yelled, “Come on, let’s get you out of here,” and with that he stood up, took her in his arms, and strode towards the exit. She was too confused to care much where they were going, although she did feel infinitely more lucid out of the noise and heat of the dancing. He carried her without any effort whatsoever, as nimbly as he might carry a rucksack.
Reaching the end of a long, chill corridor, the boy carefully put her back on her feet. Determined to stay standing, and try and regain some composure, Lily leant against a nearby door frame. It was further away than she’d thought, but thankfully she was caught again before she could make a spectacle of herself. He slung his arm around her deftly, pulling her up again. She felt his chest thud against her cheek, and could hear his heart beating beneath the thin fabric of his shirt. He was warm, solid and strong, bigger built than the boys in her family, even brawnier than Teddy.
She laughed at the expression on his face, a mix of surprise and caution, and linked her arms around his neck – something she never could have achieved without the use of Annemarie’s borrowed heels. His slanting brows knitted together and he mussed his hair with one hand, making it fall into his eyes. She brushed it away with one hand and pulled herself towards him with the other. She very carefully laid her lips on his, and it all went very fast from there.
He responded hungrily, almost violently, his hands gripping her waist, clutching her close. She felt a thump as her back hit the wall, only to have her feet thrown out from under her. She clumsily levered herself up, gripping his hips in a vice. He covered her jaw and throat in eager, fervent kisses. He traced up the inside of her throat with the tip of his tongue, causing her to gasp heavily. He kissed her once more on the mouth, his lips moving with such ferocity she had never imagined, seeking deeper and deeper, until his tongue brushed hers with a movement that made her insides quiver and her hold become ever the more vicelike. His taste was intoxicating, causing her mind to fly into orbit and sparks to flash in her eyes. He finally withdrew before she collapsed, turning instead to kissing back down her throat, along her collarbones, further and further. She arched her back, closing every last inch between them.
It was at that point that he stepped back away from the wall and they stumbled into a nearby room, falling in a heap amongst tangled bed-curtains.
Sunlight streamed in through parted green curtains, piercing Lily’s eyes and making her brain split cleanly in two. Where exactly was she? And why did she feel quite this crap? She felt like someone had taken to her mouth with a hair dryer. Her teeth felt fuzzy and coated, her tongue heavy, and her entire mouth like the sticky remnants of brandy found in a glass several days after a party.
She could barely feel her body or legs; they only stirred weakly when willed to move. She ran her hands down her torso, almost checking that it was still attached. It was at that point that she realised she was wearing rather little clothing. Or, more to the point, practically no clothing. A blue polka-dot bra was all that remained of her previous outfit- not a particularly good sign. Waking up in someone else’s bed, nude, and with very little memory of how you got there, is really an extremely bad sign.
Her head throbbed, persistently and she closed her eyes and fell back against the pillow. Turning her face to the side, a suddenly familiar smell enveloped her. Beer, boy, sweat, and an odd unidentifiable musky smell- unattractive sounding but surprisingly pleasant. Her brain was suddenly pounded upon again, this time by flashing memories, sometimes blurred, sometimes forcefully vivid, more and more of them; the flashing lights, drink after drink, collapsing in a corner, the boy carrying her to a hallway. Then the more intense ones, kissing him, her back scraping the wall, falling onto a bed, more kissing, then a sharp, sharp pain. He hadn’t hurt her intentionally, she knew that, when the time had come he was very gentle, but it had still hurt. Hurt a lot.
Regret flooded over her, threatening everything in its path. She had lost something irreplaceable, a good year or two before she had intended too, and with no regard whatsoever. It had not been with the ‘right person’, as her parents had so avidly explained during awkward conversations at the age of thirteen. It was hardly love. There had been no magic, not even any romance, just an intoxicated, irrevocable mistake. It was exactly how she had wanted it not to happen. Shameful, humiliated tears streamed down her cheeks. She felt dirtied, damaged, and very foolish. She was nothing more than all those other girls she had looked down, hook-ups of Albus, or slutty girls in her dorm. People were right when they said that pride came before a fall- and she had fallen far. She scrubbed away the tears with angry fingernails, ashamed of herself.
She finally accepted that she was going to have to get up. Staying naked in an unknown room was to be avoided at all costs. She kneeled up on the bed, surveying the rumpled duvets and tossed pillows. She did not want to know how they had got to be like that. Out of the corner of her eye, concealed beneath a pair of blue pyjama shorts, she spotted a scrap of parchment. She picked it up, reading what seemed to be charms notes, before turning it to the other side.
Don’t worry; I don’t expect anything of you. I won’t give you away neither. All the utmost respect,
So that was his name. Suited him.
She fumbled around for her clothes, before realising that they were right in front of her, just camouflaged with the sheets. They were neatly folded, in a way that she must surely not have left them. She tugged her dress over her head, slipped on her underwear and took the note and her shoes in one hand. She peeked her head out cautiously between the curtains. There were four other beds, three empty and one displaying an extremely familiar head of red hair, and the tousled blonde head of whatever girl had decided to give Lily’s brother and extra special birthday present.
So, she was in the sixth year boys’ room. In Slytherin. Next bed from her brother.
Sneaking out as silently as possible, she padded towards the door. She heard a heavy breath behind and jumped out from the room as quickly as possible. The hall was empty, along with the corridor. It made it far easier for her, but it was a bit curious. She dashed up the many stairs to the Gryffindor common room, slowly coming to realise that lessons must have already started.
She hoped upon hope that no one would see her; she couldn’t face any more humiliation. No one even knew what had happened the previous night, but it was still unbearable. Yet more tears escaped her clamped lids, blotching her cheeks and creating light snail-trails of salt-stained skin. Her head pounded violently, and her skin felt tight and tender. Her feet were numb, the stone flags hard and coarse against her bare soles.
Finally she reached the Fat Lady. She rubbed at the last of her tears, took a deep breath, and tried to regain some composure. “Open sesame,” she said quietly.
The Fat Lady laughed merrily, “And may you enjoy a thousand and one more nights,” she cocked one eyebrow suggestively. Lily blushed, not knowing quite what she was on about, but guessing it was something to do with her indicative appearance.
Lily ran up to her dormitory, flinging the door open and raiding her chest of drawers. She roughly tugged her dress over her head and threw it into her trunk- hating the sight of it. She changed her fancy underwear for some ordinary cotton briefs, pulled up some socks( thankful that they were all the same colour) , hastily buttoned her shirt, yanked up her skirt and pulled her jumper over the top. The tie presented more of a problem, but she did finally manage to loop it around her collar and execute a barely acceptable half-Windsor, the silky material slipping frustratingly through her fingers as she did so. She finally shoved on her shoes, grabbed her bag, and headed for the door- hoping that she looked vaguely acceptable.
She hurriedly re-plaited her hair as she stumbled down the multiple, muddled staircases. She rushed clumsily through the ground-floor corridor and out the steps to the grounds. The sun shone strong and sharp, making her head throb and her eyes screw up with pain. They air was cold and biting, despite the sunshine, and she wished that she had brought her coat, or even her cloak. She drew her arms up around herself, making an ineffectual barrier against the cold. Goose-pimples sprung up on her legs, and she tugged her socks up further above her knees.
She was desperately thirsty, her head was spinning, and every inch of her skin ached. She dreaded facing Teddy. He read her emotions like a book- if perhaps not her thoughts or desires. She still felt dirty, like she had committed some great sin. It was as if she’d been unfaithful, although to what she could not say. To the love of a boy who would never reciprocate it? To innumerable years of dreams, thoughts and fantasies? She had nothing to betray, but the feeling persisted, eating at her heart and stabbing holes in her chest.
Would people pick up on it as soon as they saw her? Would they see the shame, the guilt, the stain on her good intentions. It wasn’t so much what she had done, for some people it would be perfectly acceptable, it was what she had done to herself. She would never forgive herself for doing what she had sworn she wouldn’t ever do, for betraying her whole character. Lily was thoughtful, cautious and timid, and would never dream of spending the night with some strange boy, just because he happened to have a nice smile.
She hesitantly approached the class, more tears forming. What would she say? Where would she say she had been? She hadn’t even though of that.
She finally reached the back of the group, wishing that she could be anywhere on earth apart from where she was right then. She tripped up slightly, and twenty curious faces turned to look at her. Some sniggered, some stared, and some had expressions of false concern masquerading cruel thoughts.
Teddy was there, standing tall and straight, glorious and golden. He started walking towards her, faster and faster, until he was at full pelt. He smiled warmly at her, but the worry in his eyes was tangible.
The sweeter he was, the worse she felt, the guilt and the shame piling up inside her, escaping as floods of bitter tears. She had always loved him, and she’d broken that, made it seem dirty, perverted and clandestine. He only cared about her like a friend, a little girl who needs protecting; he would never, ever find her attractive. Over the years she had grown used to that, but the sudden rush of someone finally liking her had ending in deeply regrettable results, and she wished that she had just stuck with living platonically.
“Excuse us for a minute, class,” said Teddy, calmly, trying to keep a straight face.
For two years now, Teddy had tried to conceal the fact that they were close, he even tried not to pick on her in lessons, even when he knew she could give him the correct answer. To have Teddy halt an entire class just to comfort her was a startlingly sweet gesture. Much as she may see him, and talk to him while they were at school, they rarely touched any more- Lily because it made it difficult for her to hide her feeling, and Teddy because he thought that it would be inappropriate.
He slowly drew her away from the rest of the class, the two of them vanishing into a small copse of bays.
“Hey, Lily-flower,” he smiled softly at her, yugging her braid lightly, “What’s up?”
That simple question made her break down, she rubbed at her face with her hands as she started sobbing again, her guilt increasing ever more by the second.
“Lily-child, please tell me what’s wrong,” he asked gently, lifting her chin so that she would meet his gaze. “ his voice was anxious, pleading.
“I made a mistake, and I can’t take it back, and I wish that I could and, and” she was mumbling incoherently, but Teddy still managed to get the gist.
“Well, did you murder someone?” he teased, trying to make her smile. She shook her head, feeling an infant. “Have a baby? Blow up a corridor? Make someone cry?” she shook her head again, smiling ever the less as his questions became more realistic.
“A big mistake,” was all she muttered in response.
“Well, I forgive you, whatever it is, and I’m sure it can’t be that bad. You’re Lily, you find it physically possible to hurt anybody’s feelings,” he soothed.
“I didn’t hurt anyone else, just myself,” she admitted, her nose stinging with oncoming tears.
“Do you forgive yourself?” he whispered low in her ear, sounding as if he was explaining some kind of conspiracy.
“No,” she confessed bitterly, “And that’s the problem,”
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