Chapter 3 : Summer
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Are you okay? I just wanted to make sure. You seemed a little off after we, well, you know… Write me back.
I’m sorry if you’re mad. But really, are you okay? We can get together and talk about it if you want. Just please write me back. I want to hear from you. I’m (several things were scratched out) worried about you. I (several more things were scratched out.) miss you.
Please, please talk to me. I need to hear from you. I need to see you. I miss you. Just please, please, please talk to me. Write me back. Meet me. Please.
She hadn’t meant to ignore the letters. She had attempted to respond to the first one, and had managed to write a sentence before her tears started flowing, and ruined the parchment. The next day she attempted to write another letter. Again, her tears had ruined the parchment. Deciding it just was not worth it, she put the thought aside, and hoped that James was just being courteous.
The second letter told her otherwise. He wasn’t just being polite. It seemed that he... actually cared? It scared her. He wasn’t supposed to care. But, if she thought about, neither was she. Responding to that letter was much harder than the first. She had absolutely no idea what to write. She stared at a blank piece of parchment for at least an hour, before deciding she could just not be bothered with it.
The third did it. It took her shattered heart, put it back together, and then broke it again in completely new ways. She couldn’t ignore this one. Faced with the same problems that had plagued her with the first two attempted responses. She ruined several pieces of blank parchment. Finally, she managed to scratch a single word out before the tears began to roll.
Lily arrived at the Leaky Cauldron at exactly half past noon, just like they had agreed. She was thankful to find that it was mostly empty. Although, it was a Tuesday, and most people had jobs or appointments or children to care for that left them far to busy for an afternoon visit to a pub.
She found a seat at a table facing the fireplace, and waited. The barkeep offered her a drink, which she politely declined. She tapped her foot. The clock read twelve thirty-two. She twiddled her thumbs. Twelve thirty-three. She ran her fingers through her hair. Twelve thirty-five. He was late. He wasn’t coming. Her stomach churned. Twelve thirty-seven. He wouldn’t stand her up. He wouldn't beg her to come and then not show. Twelve forty. The fire roared bright green and her eyes grew hopefully. An old witch stepped out. Twelve forty-four. She checked her makeup in her compact. Twelve forty-eight. Again, the fire turned to emeralds. She held her breath.
She breathed out in relief, “Sorry I’m late.”
“It’s fine,” She said coolly.
“You weren’t waiting long?”
Eighteen minutes. “No, not at all.”
“Good,” he nodded, “Should we be off then?”
The two stepped out into muggle London, and quickly found an ice cream shop. The stepped inside to find it was extremely crowded. They pushed through the crowd to the end of the line. More than once, the pushed, shoved, and bumped into. After ages, they made it to the counter, and placed their orders. To go.
“I hate people,” Lily muttered as she fished through her purse.
“Me too.” He laid some muggle money on the counter. He stopped Lily as she went to lay her own money on the counter. “Don’t worry, I’ve got it.”
“You don’t have to,” she tilted her head slightly to one side.
“I know,” he smiled, “I want to.”
She sent a small smile back at him, “Thanks.”
“It’s not a problem,” he took his change and put it back into his wallet, “Now, let’s get out of here.”
They left the shop, and wandered around searching for a secluded area. They found none. Eventually they came to a park. Children were playing, Lily notice a game of kickball in the grass. Laughter, yelling and shouts of glee surrounded them. They strolled through it, chatting idly about the weather, and avoiding all mention of the reason they were there.
Lily wanted to talk about it. Really, she did. She wanted to tell someone about the emptiness, the loneliness, the ice that consumed her. She just didn’t want to talk about it with him. Yet, he was the only one. She did not talk to her sister. Her mother would be so ashamed she wouldn’t even be able to look at her. She had no close girl friends, and her best friend, Severus, whom she might have told at one point, thought she was scum. Although, when she thought about it, Severus would never have spoken to her again if he found out. And so James was her only option. He, who had caused these feelings, was the only chance she had of dealing with them.
They passed a bench, and Lily motioned for them to sit.
“So,” he started and trailed off.
“So,” she repeated.
They sat in silence for a moment, before he blurted out, “You’re okay, right? You’re not,” he lowered his voice and looked around nervously, “pregnant?”
“No!” she chuckled despite herself, “I-I would’ve told you that.” She looked toward the kids playing kickball.
“Good,” he nodded apprehensively, “so, you’re okay, then?” She nodded while staring intently at the kids in the field. Vaguely, she noticed a red object whizzing toward her. “You’re sure?”
“I-I,” James leaned quickly toward her, and pulled the kickball out of the air just before it struck Lily in the face. “I really hate people.” James laughed as he lazily threw the ball back to the children.
“Nice catch, mate!”
He flashed them a grin and a wave before turning back to Lily. “We can go back to my place,” he offered. Noting her look of shock and apprehension, he added, “My parents are out of town, and we can finish talking there.”
She inhaled deeply, thoughtfully. She exhaled slowly and agreed, “Okay.”
They walked back in silence; their conversation was far too intense to speak while walking. Instead, they stepped purposefully, and remained awkwardly quiet. A passerby might’ve thought they were merely strangers walking near each other.
They arrived at the Leaky Cauldron, and together they flooed to Potter Manor.
Lily was awed by the simple grandeur the parlor alone exuded. James saw the wonder in her expression, and chuckled at her. “It’s pretty great, isn’t it?”
Lily could only nod her head. She looked at him, “I feel like I shouldn’t touch anything,”
He laughed again. “You can take a seat if you’d like,” he offered, and then, seeing her slightly uncomfortable demeanor, “or we can go upstairs...”
“Is upstairs less like a museum?”
“Let’s go then!”
He led her upstairs, through a grand hallway lined with brilliant still lifes and abstract pieces. Lily admired them in amazement, trying to take everything in as she followed absentmindedly. Finally, he brought them to a great walnut door.
As he opened it, he revealed a room Lily was much more comfortable with, however extravagant it was. It was furnished with royal blue and walnut pieces, squashy, well worn, well loved. They were centered around a small cast-iron oven. Across the room, two large windows filled the room with sunlight. Vaguely, it reminded her of the common room.
“Better?” he asked smirking slightly.
“Much,” she nodded.
He motioned for her to sit on the couch. She did, and he sat next to her. “So,” he started, once he had made himself comfortable, “what were we talking about?”
“How your house is like a museum?”
He laughed, “Before that.”
“Right! Er…” she flushed, “I don’t remember?”
“Well,” he shifted in his seat, “You’re not pregnant?”
“This again? No!” she laughed.
“You’re sure?” He leaned toward her, staring her directly in the eye.
“How can you be sure?” He ran his fingers through his hair.
She lifted her eyebrows, “Do you really want me to answer that?”
He sat back, and his face reddened, “No.”
“Well, now that that’s settled,” she leaned back into the couch.
Suddenly, James turned to her, puzzled. He looked directly into her eyes, “Why didn’t you say ‘yes’?” She looked at him in confusion, “That day.”
Her eyes widened, and she was angry. “Why did you ask?”
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“Maybe to have some decency after you had tortured my best friend!”
“Best friend? Best friend? Is that what you call a friend? Someone who thinks you’re scum?”
“HE DIDN’T THINK THAT!” she screamed. The ice, which had slowly started to melt while she was with him, froze over again tenfold.
He was close to her now, mere centimeters from her face, whispering harshly, “Then why did he say it?”
She didn’t answer. She couldn’t answer. So she responded they way she had learned the past year.
She kissed him. Hard. Passionate. Angry, fiery, desperate, sad. She kissed him with everything she had, and he kissed her back with just as much enthusiasm. Their hands roamed each other, the way they always did. Feeling, searching, wanting more. Hair, back, hips, chest, stomach. Soon, his were on her bum, and then just below it, pulling up gently. She took his cue, and jumped up, with his help, wrapping her legs around his waist.
She could feel it already, the emptiness was evacuating. As he walked them somewhere Lily could only guess at, the inclining of a wholeness she had felt once before began to fill her. She was desperate for it, and she knew he could provide it. And so, as he laid her on a bed she could only assume was his, she let him.
She pulled his shirt off; hers had already been lost in the shuffle. She laughed gently at his crooked glasses, and smiling sweetly, seriously at him, reached up, slid them off, and set them on the nightstand.
It was longer this time. A few moments of the same strange, awkward pleasure that had made her feel so complete, and then left her so completely fragmented. She was whole, for those few moments, a person reminiscent of the one she had been before, only better. Much, much better. And then, he rolled away from her, and she was empty once again.
She rolled on to her side, facing away from James. She swallowed, and a few tears leaked from her eyes. James rolled over and wrapped an arm around her waist. He smelled her hair, deeply inhaling it and lightly kissed her shoulder. “You’re beautiful,” he whispered.
It was more than Lily could take. She jumped out of his bed, and began searching frantically for her clothes. She found her knickers and put them on. “What are you doing?”
“I have to go.” She choked out. She found her bra and began to put it on.
James stood up, and wrapped his arms around her. “No you don’t,” he breathed into her ear.
She wiggled out of his arms and turned to face him. He had bothered to put his glasses on, but nothing else, and she was taken slightly aback by his very naked body. “I really, I have to go.”
“I just, I- I, I just do.”
“Yes you can!” he was desperate now, pleading with her. “Please, Lily,” He was holding her hands, and staring her in the eyes, “please, just stay.”
“Okay,” she conceded. He led her back to his bed. He lay on his back, she on her side with her head just above his shoulder. “I’m lonely.” She whispered, needing it to be out there, but hoping he wouldn’t hear.
“Don’t be.” He whispered back. He took the hand she had on his chest, and threaded his fingers through hers. Gently, he placed a kiss on her head. “I’m right here.”
It was consuming her again, the ice. She was withdrawn, and even though she was surrounded by her family, she felt alone. They had begun to notice it. Her parents continually asked her if something was bothering her. She continually put on a smile and lied through her teeth. It wasn’t as if she could tell them what was bothering her, they’d never understand
She wanted to see James again. He made the world seem a little less lonely; he made the ice thaw. She felt better when she was with him, however, she could not bring herself to say so. Writing to him was absolutely out of the question. There was no way she could ask to talk to him, or to see him, or, or, or, anything. Instead, she resigned herself to silent misery.
When he wrote to her again, a few weeks later, she no longer knew what to think. The letter had said he wanted to get together again. The first time that happened, it had been caring. But now, she didn’t know if he cared about her, or if he cared about getting her into bed.
She weighed the decision before she responded. Either she could maintain her integrity, and her misery; or she could sacrifice it for a period of wholeness. At least, less emptiness. In the end, she knew it was never a choice.
Her integrity flew out the window with the owl, telling James she would floo to his house the next day.
He greeted her with a smile in the same museum-like parlor she had entered the first time. Without hesitation, they went upstairs; to what Lily now assumed was James’ private parlor.
“So, how’ve you been?” he asked as they sat down.
She inhaled deeply, “Okay.” She breathed out, “How about you?”
“I’m fine, Sirius moved in last week, but that’s beyond the point. I want to talk about you.”
“Oh? Where’s Sirius?”
“Why are you lying to me?”
“I’m not.” Lily was taken slightly aback.
“You are. You’re not okay, Lily. I can tell.”
“Who are you to say that, James? I’m fine, and I think I would know that more than you.” At this point, Lily was lying through her teeth, and she knew it. What she didn’t know was why she was doing it. She had been pining for someone to talk to about her feelings, and now someone was asking, someone who knew the situation, and she wasn’t talking.
“You don’t smile as much as you used to, and you hardly talk anymore, and you’re just,” he paused, “distant.”
Ignoring the fact that he was describing her perfectly, “How would you know? You’ve seen me once this summer.”
“And you were straight-faced, quiet and distant,” he huffed, and ran his fingers through his hair, “Lily, don’t you get it?” He stood up and moved toward the windows, “I’m not-“ he turned to face her again, “I’m not in this just for the sex.”
“Fine,” she stood up too, but kept a safe distance from him, “You’re right. I’m not okay. I feel alone. All the time. Even when I’m surrounded by people. And there’s this, this, this pit, inside of me, and it’s massive, and it’s consuming me. And there’s no one I can talk to!” She turned away from him, “And I miss Sev, and I miss my sister.”
He enveloped her in a hug from the side, and not knowing what else to do, she cooperated. Her arms slid around his waist, and he gently pressed her head into his shoulder. “You can always talk to me,” he whispered.
She smiled, “Thanks.”
It was happening again. She could feel herself pulling away from her family, and she didn’t like it. It was as if time with James could fill her up, melt the ice, just enough for her to act, and feel normal for a week or two. And then it would happen again. The ice would freeze, and the pit would be deeper than before.
She knew it was happening. She could not let herself fall into it again. And so, she took matters into her own hands. She took a quill, and although she had sworn not to, she wrote to James.
I’m home alone this weekend. Come over?
Of course he said yes. What else was there for him to say? There was no way he could say no, not after promising her she could always talk to him. Talk to him. But Lily didn’t want to talk to him. Not this time.
She waited for him in front of her fireplace. Five minutes late, he showed up. She rose from her seat on the sofa. He stepped out of the grate. Immediately she planted her lips on his.
He began walking forward, until they stumbled over the couch. The four-legged sofa toppled over, and the two laughed as they crashed to the floor. James rolled off of Lily, and the two laughed together for a few moments. Finally, after calming down and catching their breath, they rolled off of the couch, and James put it back on its legs. Still chuckling, Lily kissed him again softly. As soon as he began to respond, she pulled away, grabbed his hand and dragged him upstairs toward her room.
As soon as they made it to her door, before Lily could even open it, James pressed her against it, and began attacking her mouth. As his hands roamed her body, hers searched for the doorknob. She found it, turned it, and the two stumbled through the door. James skillfully turned them around, and pressed her against the other side of the door. His mouth moved to her neck. “James,” she moaned, before grabbing his chin, and moving his mouth back to hers.
Inspired by him, she moved her mouth to his neck, and began sucking, kissing, and occasionally biting softly. She was suddenly very aware of why he was so fond of doing this to her. He groaned her name, and she felt the vibrations through her mouth and it excited her all the more. Her hands moved up his shirt, and began to trace the outline of his muscles. She moved back to his mouth, and smirking, she pushed him backward, guiding him toward her bed.
He sat, and Lily crawled on top of him. She removed his shirt, and began to kiss his vaguely sculpted chest. She pushed him down, straddling his hips, and still tracing his chest. His hands moved to her hips, and slid under her shirt. He tugged up on the hem of her t-shirt, and she helped him pull it off. He grinned, and flipped them over, lying on top of her. She slipped his glass off as his hands moved across her chest.
Their remaining clothing was removed, though Lily was somewhat unsure how. Her hands were threaded in his hair as his mouth devoured every bit of her. Mouth, neck, breasts. She groaned. His calloused hands were surrounding her nether regions, delightfully pleasing. He was causing so many sensations, and so much pleasure; she wasn’t sure what to concentrate on. Rather than frustrating herself, she rolled her head back, closed her eyes, and allowed herself to simply feel.
After many, many agonizingly pleasurable moments, she felt what she had been anticipating. He went slowly this time. Moving, and building something inside of her. She begged for him to go faster, but he would not oblige her. Instead, he continued his slow and steady rhythm. She felt something swelling inside; she was positive he could tell. Steadily, he began to move faster. She matched his movements. Together, they moved faster, and faster, and faster, and faster. The growing thing inside of her exploded, making her feel unimaginable things. It was ecstasy. Pure ecstasy.
“Hey, Lily?” they were lying on her bed, his arm wrapped around her, her head on his chest. She answered him with a small sound. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Sure,” she strained her neck to look up at him.
“Promise you’ll answer?” he looked down at her.
“Promise you’ll tell the truth?” He peered into her emerald eyes. She wasn’t sure how clearly he could see her without his glasses on.
He took a deep breath, “Why don’t you want anyone to know?”
She rolled off of him, and stared at the ceiling. She inhaled, and then exhaled deeply. He rolled over, and looked down at her. “Was it Snape?”
She turned her head, and took another deep breath. “Yeah.”
“But now, he’s out of your life, right?”
“So, can we make this official?”
Another deep breath. She looked back at him. “I-I, I don’t know.”
He rolled back onto his back, obviously angry. “So, that’s a ‘no’ then.”
“James,” she rolled over, “I’m sorry.”
She situated herself on top of him, and began lightly kissing his face. “Forgive me?” She worked her way from his forehead to his jaw, his cheek. He moved his head as she aimed for his mouth, and she kissed the corner of it. “Please?”
He turned his face back to her, and allowed her to kiss him softly. “Fine,” he resigned.
“Good,” they kissed for a while, and then settled back into their positions.
“You know what I just realized?”
“That I’m amazing?” They were looking at each other again.
“No,” he chuckled, “I already knew that. But we’re at your house.”
“Good one, Sherlock.”
“Nevermind. Continue.” She smiled.
“You can’t leave.”
She laughed, “No,” she kissed him on the jaw. “I don’t want to.”
AN: Well, there you have chapter three. I hope you enjoyed it! Please leave a review. I'd love to hear what you think!
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by Luna Plath