The air was cool against my skin as I stepped outside. The sun was in the middle of the sky, preparing to being its descent and allow for night time to arrive. Crickets and other creatures were chirping and singing, and I followed them along a dirt path that went between our cabin and the one next to ours.
There, sitting on a log, his face in his hands, was James. His hair was ruffled more than usual, as though he’d been dragging his hand through it constantly while waiting for me. I felt a little sheepish, making him wait. But at the same time, I felt really good. Like this was how it was supposed to be. James waiting and me taking my time.
“Hey, stranger,” I called, my voice carrying a bit too softly. I wondered if he’d heard me for a moment, but then his head popped up and he greeted me with a crooked grin. It made my stomach flip. “So, where are we going?”
“Just…around,” he told me. He stood and stretched, his quidditch t-shirt rising enough to show his lean stomach. I tried to pry my eyes away from it and when I did I noticed that he was looking at something.
“What is that?” I asked, walking closer to it. It appeared to be an old muggle car, broken down and covered in twigs and leaves, dust on the interior, paint chiseled off from time. I brushed away some of the debris and turned to look at him. “Where’d this come from?”
“Sirius and I found it near the field. We pushed it over,” he mumbled, sitting on the hood. The car creaked and was forced to lean down a bit from his weight to which he acted like he was upset. “Gotta lay off the pasties…”
“Oh yes,” I laughed. “You definitely need to drop a few kilos.”
“Says the girl who merely walked on a floor and broke it,” He grinned. I punched him on the arm a bit harder than I meant to. He swayed a bit to the side and nearly fell off the car.
“That floor was decrepit and you know it!” I leaned forward and placed my hands on the hood, exhaling and staring around us. No one else was outside their cabins, and yet I didn’t feel as though I was doing anything wrong.
“Let’s get going,” He hopped off the car, the structure making a sound and balancing to its previous height. He took a few steps and I followed, wanting very much to grab his hand. I was staring at it, rather goofily, when he turned to look at me. “I need to tell you something.”
“Shoot,” I said, still staring at his hand every five seconds. C’mon Lily. You snogged the bloke, he knows you like him, you’re allowed to make a move.
“Well, things between us have been awkward. I think ever since our little performance for the dare, you’ve kind of been avoiding me. And I just wanted to say that…well, I understand that it was sudden and everything and I’m not reading too much into it. I promise.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I’m not going to grope you or snog you. You don’t have to worry about coming within ten feet of me.” He and I exchanged a look and then I realized how far apart we’d been walking. I scooted closer. But you don’t get it, I wanted to shout, it’s not because I don’t trust you. I can’t trust myself not to jump on top of you. I nearly had to choke down my laughter at the thought.
“Oh,” was all I could say.
“Yeah, and I just want you to know that I’m different from the bloke who stalked and asked you out all the time last year. I’m…er, mature.”
Awkward moment of silence.
“You stalked me?”
“That’s not the point.”
We were headed into a clearing. I realized quickly that this must be the spot where they played quidditch. I hadn’t hopped on a broom since the flying lessons in first year, and I intended to keep it that way. Heights scared the crap out of me. And nothing anyone said was going to change my mind.
“You should come play with us some time, it’s really fun,” He offered. What, does this kid read minds or something? For a twisted second I actually considered the possibility that he could and therefore attempted to clear away all my impure thoughts about him, but trying to push them away merely made me think about them more, and a blush crept up my cheeks. “You all right there, Evans?”
I stopped short and stared at him. Hearing him say my surname made me feel inadequate, as though there was something I could have done to make him refer to me so informally. Did he do it on purpose? Am I overanalyzing everything?
“Yeah, just thinking this is nice.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s just, with you three and Jenny it all comes so easily. Or at least that’s how it seems. You all seem to be completely carefree and at peace in this place, whereas I always feel out of sorts and completely…alone.” Why was I pouring out my soul for James?
“Well, you’re not.” He stiffened and turned to face me. “I mean, I know it’s cheesy, so don’t think me completely mental or anything, but you’re not alone. I’m here for you.”
I laughed at the corniness of the moment. “Thank you, James. It does feel nice knowing that.” I paused and then did it. I grabbed his hand. And it was sweaty and warm and perfect.
His eyes bounced from our entwined hands to my eyes and back again twice. “What are you doing?”
“What I want,” I beamed. “For once.”
“But I thought—you said—and you never---“
“James, calm down.”
“You like me?”
“Yeah, I think I do.”
“Not exactly the reaction I was hoping for,” I dropped his hand and moved away, the heat rushing to my cheeks. I almost, almost felt tears welling up.
“No, Lily, no,” he stumbled. “I mean, I’m so confused! When did that happen?”
“Gradually. These past few days have been very eye-opening.” I smiled, feeling overly happy for no reason.
“So…what do we do now?” He seemed so cute. Boyish and insecure, not at all the devilish and cocky guy he was when he was around the other boys.
“Well, I’m no expert on these matters, but…” I leaned closer to him, grabbing his hand again and placing my other hand on his upper arm. His eyes looked shocked at first and then they closed as his face leaned towards mine.
Our lips met for only a second. We jumped back from each other. I stared at him, expecting more, but he just stood there. Suddenly he pushed a hand through his hair, looking at the ground, a small blush creeping up his neck.
“That…” I started to say.
“Sucked?” He volunteered.
“Redo?” I asked.
We stepped towards each other and I positioned my arms the same way. James put a tender hand on my cheek and we leaned towards each other once more. When our lips touched this time it was as if we both didn’t want to jump back right away but didn’t want to move forward. We stood there, lips joined, and then I moved mine. Softly, delicately, we moved our lips together, and he put his hand in my hair, tangling it.
It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t as good as our first kiss, but it didn’t need to be. We parted. I smiled and he grinned back at me. We enjoyed the beautifully quiet moment as he once more touched his hand to mine. We played a bit, our fingers wrapping around and twisting against each others.
“That was…” I started to say.
“Nice.” He finished, grinning with a crooked smile. I stepped up on my tip-toes and kissed the corner of his mouth quickly, and then pushed my own hand through his hair, surprised at how soft it was.
As I looked at him I realized just how much I liked him. I might even love—nah, not yet. But getting there! I felt foolish though, standing there. I felt as though my heart was bursting with every breath I took, and I figured he couldn’t possibly like me as much as I liked him. But for now, I’ll keep that a secret.
We walked back, hand in hand, stopping every now and then to kiss, on our way back to the white houses.
Hope you guys enjoyed it! This isn't the end, not by a long shot, but I wanted to update and move along the story haha. Please leave a review!
Write a Review White Houses: Chapter Eight. The Walk.