Chapter 31 : Hogsmeade Camping Trip, Part One
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Author's Note: Please forgive me for the long wait :[ if it's anything to you guys, I rammed into a door knob while I sleuthly tried to walk into my computer room just now so I could update for you guys... That has to be some sort of karma, right?
There are three things I am absolutely sure of:
(1) I like him, as much as I hate to say it, I do. On what level, though, I’m not so certain.
(2) There is a strong emotion residing within him - and I don’t know how dominant this emotion may be - that wants me. It connects us together and I can’t fathom it.
(3) Jessica is wearing my socks.
LOL JK WHAT KIND OF INTRO IS THAT.
“I don’t understand why you can’t wear your own. You packed twelve, even the toe-socks with spaces for your toes to wiggle,” I say to her, as we continue to unpack. “We’ve just arrived and you’re already wearing my lucky pink alligator knee-highs.”
I take the many layers of clothing off and check my reflection in the mirror next to the cabin door. I’m all red in the face from the sharp winds of our brisk, yet quite long, walk down to our camping site. Which, technically, isn’t even a camping site, because there’s electricity and all that jazz. But who cares for technicalities?
Jessica sticks her tongue out. “Well, excuse me. But I can’t wear a tank top and jersey short shorts without warm socks for my feetsies. I needed to change into something conformable stat. They were the first thing I saw on your bed. And besides, I need to relax. That hike down around Hogsmeade made my scarf chafe against my neck. I‘m fully convinced that it was knit with barbed wire.”
What’s worse, my best friend saying ‘feetsies’ or global warming?
“My lucky socks.” I incline my head.
“My need for relaxation,” she sing-songs in response, walking over to her nightstand. She opens one of the drawers and begins filling it up with her underwear and pajamas. “You opened your trunk first, ergo, I grab the first thing I see.”
“Ergo, you’re a conniving sock thief,” I reason.
The Sixth and Seventh Years of Gryffindor enrolled in Muggle Studies walked down through Hogsmeade together tonight. Why, you ask? To start off our camping weekend, of course! A few hours ago, the Sixth and Seventh Year students of Hogwarts gathered in the Great Hall where Dumbledore lectured for a half hour about how we should be lucky for taking a course that lets us do fun things… or something like that. Basically, he said that it would be a great weekend for us all because it will really help with house unity as each house is going to be located kilometers away from each other at different camping grounds (so Gryffindors will only stay around Gryffindors). He also spoke to us about this great opportunity to really get into the habits of muggles’ interests and how they have really been connecting with nature for hundreds of years. He also mentioned teepees but I think he was joking…. I was worried at first, until Dumbledore explained that we’d all be gender-separated in nice warm cabins, where magic would be disabled. But we’d still be living close to nature in the early human form, according to Flitwick, who interfered once he saw the relief on our faces.
This kind of boggles my mind because I’m sure the Native Americans residing in the early American lands didn’t have electrical outlets next to their beds. Nor did they have a stable roof or socks. But I guess those concepts are just too archaic for some of the faculty, as they’ve made these cabins extremely comfortable for the students. The camping site is located west of Hogsmeade, in a kind of clearing surrounded by some really tall trees. It isn’t forest-like, though. More like a national park. But there are definite forest-y like trees behind some cabins.
The cabin Jessica and I are staying in have a mixed variety of Sixth and Seventh Years in our House. About 30 meters directly across from our cabin is James Potter’s cabin.
No, that was not the first thing I noticed when getting assigned our sleeping arrangements, JEEZ.
“I think I’m going to talk to Frank tonight,” Jessica says suddenly, folding her tank tops neatly in a drawer. She doesn’t make eye contact with me although I eye her up.
I bite my lip, stop what I’m doing, and sit on her bed. “Okay,” I say kindly.
She looks at me. “What should I say?” Her expression is soft, almost nervous. Her worried eyes look into mine before she blinks and goes digging in her duffle bag. “A-ha! Socks,” she smiles, finding the pile underneath all the clothes she has yet to take out.
“Jess, I think you should decide what to say before you speak to him,” I tell her wisely. “Don’t think it’s going to just magically come up like welcomed word vomit or something. It isn’t going to come naturally when you see him.”
My best friend sighs, and gives me a funny face. “But I want to go with the flow…”
“Listen, you have to word what you want to say correctly, so that the more you rehearse it, the more you realize what he is to you. If you can heart yourself say it, then you’ll be able to deal.”
This thing she has going on with Frank Longbottom is a problem. The kid’s a gem, don’t get me wrong. But the fighting and the yelling and the consensual snogging? It isn’t healthy. They’re hiding over their own emotions and neither are willing to talk about it because they’re afraid it’ll change them.
“I already told you, I find him annoying.”
I purse my lips. “And why do you find him annoying?” I ask routinely, almost rhetorically. I know her answer, obviously.
“I’m annoyed that I like him,” Jessica states simply.
As usual, I am slightly unimpressed. “You are not grasping the situation,” I say monotonously.
“Alright, poopface. I guess I’m not,” she replies playfully, taking off my pink socks and sliding on a pair of her own. “Your socks suck by the way, they do NOT bring luck.”
“Firstly, poopface is a highly unattractive sight and I take offense. Secondly, you’re just nervous about what to say so you’re being dodgy about it. You’re going to go up to Frank, while telling yourself ‘Oh, this is it! I’m going to talk to him about us!’ and then… he’ll open his mouth to say your name and you’ll freak out because you didn’t rehearse. You’ll cut him off with a comment on the USSR’s supposed missile involvement.”
It’s true. When she gets nervous before doing oral presentations in class, she’ll sometimes talk about European warfare and start blaring out historical facts and supposed theories about top secret government officials.
“What the hell am I supposed to rehearse? I can’t even think of a stable phrase,” she huffs exasperatedly.
“Okay,” I tell her calmly, “Relax. Don’t make it bigger than it is. Just convince yourself that it’s not a life or death situation-”
“But it is-”
“Jessica.” I breath out of my nose. “Stop being a pansy. Just practice on me!” I stand up straighter on her bed and breath in and out. “Alright, I’m ready.”
“Oh, I am NOT doing this.”
I narrow my eyes at her until she sighs in defeat. “Fine.”
She sits across from me and thinks to herself. “Hi, Frank.”
“Hello, darling.” Hey, I might as well give her the snide, realistic version.
Her mouth twitches before continuing. “I think we need to talk about something that we’re both avoiding.”
“OH? What ever do you-”
“Don’t be a wise arse, just listen up,” she butts, putting her hand up. I can’t tell if it’s directed towards me or if it’s meant for the real Frank. “There’s a reason we are the way we are, and with the reason being no longer secret, I think it’s time for us to say it out loud. Except I don’t want to. And neither do you. But if this is going to continue, and by ‘this’ I mean - well, let’s cut the crap, I know that you know what that means. So let’s make it official and get on with it, because the embarrassment is bound to happen sooner or later.”
Pretending to be Frank can’t possibly be this confusing.
“What the hell was that?” I blurt. “I understood absolutely nothing.”
She smiles at me, the hag. “Good. That means he’ll get it.” And with that, she bounces off to get changed, and find Frank.
Her cabin is right across from my cabin. I know this because James was ogling Lily who was ogling him back. In fact, I made it known to him that their obvious eye connection was giving me a bowel movement and he told me to sod off. But the important thing is, Jessica is in that cabin.
And by the end of this camping weekend I will tell her how I feel.
I’d like to blame the bromantic heart-to-heart us men had in our dormitory, but I knew this was coming from a while ago. Ironically enough, I needed to hear it from another person other than myself. After a while of, you know, doing this self service thing to others and not having anyone to talk to for yourself, it makes you go crazy not to have someone else’s opinion. I won’t admit it, but I liked being able to share something that I needed advice on, rather going just by my instinct, like always. I’d like to think that our talk was somewhat comforting and heart-felt but I won’t admit it, because it still fully creeps me out.
Sirius tried to hug me. Well, he did hug me, thanks to my damn unresponsive reflexes.
DID. NOT. WANT.
And I’m usually very good at jumping out of the way when one of my clients try to hug me or physically touch me. But when I was the one talking about my problems, my guard was down. Let me tell you, as I sat there, my face crumpled like a rotten and wrinkled tomato, with my fingers morphed into alien claws, and my arms up against my chest in defense/fright, being man handled by an emotional teenager, I knew that I was someone reaching a harsh realization that I didn’t want to admit.
I have a huge fucking crush on Jessica Finelly and I despise her for it.
I turn into a little boy sometimes. Like when I see her in the hallway, I get giddish before I insult her. Who does that, I mean really? It’s a hideous quality that I’ve attained and it’s disheartening to think that I could care this much for a human being.
Now I’m a man that enjoys a nice pretty face once and a while, I’m not going to say I don’t. But I don’t even look at other girls now. Like… at all. I used to appreciate a nice chest or a cute arse, but that’s gone with the wind. Which scares the shit out of me, because even Ass-Groping Amy had a nice arse from a distance when she wasn’t trying to slowly touch you in inappropriate places. Now-a-days, I’m stuck in the middle of the god damn corridor ogling at Jessica’s perfect legs in her school skirt while she gives me the middle finger (that was our signal that we wanted to snog each other in 10 minutes).
Damn that woman.
“Dude, this is my bunk,” Sirius Black whines.
What is this, summer camp?
“Sirius, they’re singles. Bunk beds are two beds stacked on top of each other,” I enlighten him, pulling off my icky shirt from over my head. I had a good sweat during our hike down to the camping ground; ergo, I need to change before I take a walk. I need to clear my head but I won’t be able to if my armpit stains take over my nostrils.
Sirius rests his hands on his hips. “Don’t patronize me, Longbottom. I always sleep across from Wormtail and right next to Prongs. It’s proper protocol.”
I try to stop the giggle that escapes my lips.
“Alright, bro.” I shake my head at his girlie-ness, pulling a clean white t-shirt above my head and tugging it down my chest. Better to just let him have what he wants. I don’t want to turn this into a bitch fit. I’ve already got one that I have to worry about and it’s slowly ruining my life.
I try to hide my smile as I pick up my duffle bag and pillow, and carry it over about two beds down from his. “Your territory, got it,” I say.
He eyes me suspiciously, nose in the air and arms crossed. Like he’s waiting for me to put paprika powder in his trousers or something…
(In my defense, I only ever did that once, and it was to some a-hole in Hufflepuff.)
Peter and Remus walk back in to our cabin, probably coming from a brutal exploration of the camping grounds. Their faces are bright red and their breaths are fogging in our warm cabin. Looks like they’ve been running… or racing each other. Or drunk. But probably the former.
“Hey, guys, look!” Remus says excitedly, throwing black rocks in our direction. One lands on my bed and the other Sirius catches with an open palm. That is, until it starts to sizzle against his skin.
“SON OF A SOCK PUPPET!” Sirius squeals, dropping the now bright red rock on the ground. It slowly cools down and morphs back to black.
I fall back on my bed in laughter at his reaction. Remus and Peter join in.
“What the fuck was that?!” Sirius bellows to Remus, jumping on top of his bed, waving his sizzling hand around.
“We found them!” Peter laughs, reaching inside his coat pocket and spredding the black rocks over his mitten covered hand. “They were next to the bonfire site. They must have put a spell on them because they burn whenever human contact happens.”
“They probably use them to keep the bonfires from going out,” I comment, reclining on my bed and propping myself on my elbows.
Peter shrugs. “We thought we could use them to put in our pockets to keep us warm.”
“Okay, great- BUT WHY DID YOU THROW ONE AT ME.” Sirius continues to wave his hand around with all five fingers spread out like a flesh eating virus has taken over. “It burns! This feels like the ash that burned the streets of Pompeii!”
Remus Lupin is still doubling over in laughter (along with me), keeping himself up right with his hands on his knees. “I just-” he tries to breathe, “I just wanted to see your reaction…oh, the tears in my eyes,” he wails in joyous pain.
"I've entered the first level of human mummification!" Sirius cries.
Remus definitely knew Sirius would reach for the rocks and catch them; that’s actually quite devious. Man, I have to take some pranking tips from him.
Sirius Black’s eyes have turned into slits. “You little bitch.”
Meanwhile, my cheeks are starting to hurt from laughing so hard. So I decide to leave this episode of "The Real Schoolboys of England" and stand up right when Sirius starts threatening to pounce on Remus from the top of his bed. I think this is the perfect time for me to take my walk.
I make it out of the door and grab my hoodie at the last minute, and slam the door behind me just in time to see Sirius land on Remus Lupin’s back. I hear a scream sounding remotely like a banshee behind me but I don’t turn back. It could get ugly. Oh, what am I saying? It could get uglier. And I don’t want to be a part of this mess right now; it won’t end until next year. They won’t even notice I’m gone anyway. Besides, I have an agenda that needs proper follow through-ing.
And the first thing on my agenda is to clear my head and find-
“Oof,” someone says to me, colliding with my chest as I try to slide an arm into my hoodie.
“Oh,” I say, startled to find Jessica Finelly walking up my cabin steps and now firmly pressing her face into my chest. I wonder if she can tell I've been working out.
“Hello,” she says airily, looking up at me. We both kind of stand idle for a while because we are shocked by our closeness.
“Hi,” I manage to blurt, staring down at her mouth. She has the cutest lips.
She breathes in deeply and says, “We need to talk.” Her tone could not be more calming.
“Okay.” The corner of my mouth twitches upward but before I do anything, I look to my left and right. Jessica does the same. When we see no one in our midst we skip merrily out of site holding hands…
I don’t know why I’m urinating on a tree.
The rational side of me knew that there was some sort of communal shower or lavatory on the camping ground, but the irrational side of me could NOT wait. So here I am, in the freaking cold, with a beanie hat on my head and gloves on my hands (yeah, they’re still on), peeing in the middle of the forest behind my cabin. And let me tell you, I am not happy having to mark my territory on a tree in Hosgmeade.
IT’S TOO COLD FOR THIS CRAP.
I have to ask one of my professors where I can find the nearest loo next time.
I also have to talk to Lily. Eventually. And break up with my girlfriend. Sigh. You know, you’d think having a fake girlfriend would be easy to handle, but Leslie is becoming quite the hassle. I mean, you snog a girl once and then ask her out and all of a sudden she wants to marry you.
Okay, I sound like a jerk but you know what I mean. She is so territorial over me it’s insane. When she found out that her cabin was way over the opposite side of the Gryffindor camping ground, nowhere near me, she flipped. Almost called McGonagall. I thought the bint was going to go crazy for a second. I just stood there dumbfounded because, well - hello! It’s not like I need her tucking me in at night. And we lived in separate chambers since First Year so I don’t understand what the problem is. She’s not exactly easy on the eyes in the morning; or easy on any other part of me. She screeches in the morning, followed by mounds of trash talking and never-ending gossip. I would explode if I woke up to that. I wouldn’t want to wake up to that in the next 100 years.
Not that she hasn’t been suggestive. Because she has. I’ve just always found a diversion. But it’s getting quite difficult because she’s catching on. And I’m pretty good at pretending to be my old self because I’m still partially that guy; but it’s getting harder and harder to keep this up. I’m obviously not interested in her and I feel like she’s slowly realizing that. Funny, how I cannot WAIT to break up with her, but at the same time - I’m hesitant. I don’t know what I was thinking asking her to go out with me in the first place. But now that we’re an official couple (I guess) I’m kind of afraid to call things off.
I don’t know. I just have this horrible feeling that something is going to go wrong and I’m going to get kicked in a not so nice place. That is not something I’m particularly looking forward to. Not that I’m saying Leslie would be the one to kick me; I’ve been feeling a universal pull of all females wanting to hurt me recently. Is that weird? I think my conscious is making me believe that every woman in Hogwarts knows my secret. Even McGonagall. No, really. I think the women of this school are trying to kill me. The other day, I was thinking about ways to break the news to Leslie (one of them using duct tape and an anvil) and I swear I thought McGonagall was reading my mind. I looked up as I passed her in the hallway and she definitely gave me a once over look of disgust, with the words I’M JUDGING YOU written on her forehead, followed by a click of the tongue. Almost like she was saying, “You good for nothing bastard.”
My face fell flat in shock and I couldn’t pay attention to what was ahead of me. I almost fell down the stairs.
And then, the next day, when I was staring at Lily’s bum secretly from across the Great Hall, a whole clan of girls in Hufflepuff stopped eating and just looked at me. I felt them staring from the corner of my eye so I turned around and I SWEAR TO GOD, they picked up their eating utensils and put their spoons and knives together to make the sign of the cross. Like I was Satan or something, and they were warding me off! But then I rubbed my eyes and they were back to enjoying their soup.
This is a sign; it’s got to be.
This is punishment. Mental punishment for what I’ve done. And what I’ve got to do. Even though the guys and I had an intense heart-to-heart, the revelation of how much of an ass I am still knocks me off my feet. I mean, I thought it was the smartest plan in the world at the time - but I was hiding behind my shame and my love for Lily when I decided to do it. And now I’ve got to pay for it and make it right at the same time.
I hear leaves rustling and I quickly finish peeing. I zip up my pants just in time to see Frank running in the far distance with some girl. Probably that mystery girl he was talking about. Wait…
I scrunch my eyebrows at the girl Frank’s holding hands with, and pull the beanie off my head. That isn’t… is it? But then she turns around fully so I can see her face.
Sweet Bertha on a hot day, that’s Jessica Finelly! No fucking way!
They stop running and look around for any signs of intruders, but I discretely hide behind a tree so they don’t see me. Frank and Jessica reach for each other’s hands again…and do that gazing-at-each-other thing that couples do. Before I know it, my eyes go wide and my mind gets absolutely blown.
Frank Longbottom’s girl problem was Jessica?
Oh, shit. I’ve got to tell the guys! Wait, no- maybe I shouldn’t… But-
NO. JAMES, YOU DOLT.
I’ve already messed up two relationships, one of them being with the girl I actually like, there’s no way I’m messing with this one. Although I’m pretty sure Jessica’s friends know all about Frank. Which leads me to wonder about other things…
Barnacles, now they’re kissing. I make vomiting gestures as I turn around and slowly head out of the forest. I’m going to give them their space. Mainly because 1) I don’t want to see that and 2) they deserve some privacy.
I stomp up my cabin steps in no time and open the door. And this is what I find: Wormtail on the floor, passed out (or knocked out?) with his winter coat on backwards, Padfoot pulling at Moony’s hair and trying to strangle him whilst riding on his back like a mechanical bull, and Moony trying to swing Padfoot off his back andis gasping for air at the same time. And all while this is going on, Padfoot seems to be flailing his left hand around like it’s on fire.
They all stop as soon as the door closes behind me with a big bang, and look at me.
The professors are taking turns going to every cabin to let everyone know that we can go to sleep now. McGonagall just stopped by to tell us that we we’re going to get a schedule and a list of activities tomorrow and to not worry about it. Just to get used to our living styles for this weekend and get situated in our cabins. How cozy! These beds are awesome. I haven’t even snuggled inside and I’m already feeling the awesomeness radiating off my bed. Each one has a nightstand next to it and a set of drawers on the opposite side. And each cabin has a 7th year prefect in charge of being everyone’s watcher, kind of like a counselor to make sure we’re all here when we go to bed and all that. I’m actually pretty psyched about this whole experience! I’m not very outdoorsy but I’m not completely picky about traveling, and I guess this is like a mini-vacation in a way. Like a permanent field trip for three days! The only thing I’m not so excited about is the communal showers. The professors said that every person gets this blue potion that keeps your body heat in tact when you walk through the woods back to your cabin. Yeah, that’s right. You have to walk back to your cabin in your towel, or carry everything with you and change there. THERE IS NO PRIVACY.
I’m sorry, but after living with the same girls in Gryffindor since I was 11and having them see me in my bra when my curtains weren’t closed already limited me to getting any kind of privacy. But this is down right worrisome. What if I get cat called? What if someone pulls off someone else’s towel!? Or what if the blue potion doesn’t work and we freeze our asses off and get pneumonia? The alternative (bringing a change of clothes with us to the lavatory) is even more worrisome! What if someone steals my clothes as I shower!? There better be curtains separating the showers.
You know what they say: The only difference between a House full of girls from Hogwarts and a European brothel are curtains.
There are about 15 people in each cabin and although it’s getting pretty cold outside, it’s snug and warm in here. There’s a chandelier hanging from the middle of the ceiling with candles charmed to come on after sundown, and a candle on everyone’s nightstand for late reading and whatnot. Although the teacher’s didn’t speak much of curfews, all the students assumed that now was the time to go to bed - or at least for everyone to retreat back to his or her cabin. It’s only half past 8 o’clock but I’m already growing weary.
I lay down on my bed, belly up and just look up at the wooden ceiling. Oh, here we go. Time for me to be all pensive. But what am I supposed to do? Jessica’s gone to find her man and straighten things out, Emma’s gone to take a quick shower before it gets too dark, and all the other girls in my cabin are napping/talking. So I’m kind of left alone with my thoughts right now.
There is something in my heart that thumps for James Potter. There, I said it. But it doesn’t mean it’s everlasting, or explanatory. There are a lot of things that he hasn’t been very clear on and the more I think about it, the more helpless I feel. Like I can’t push him to open up. I just want to howl at him sometimes, but I’m afraid to go near him. Is it bad that I’m afraid of what I might do if I get close to him?
I forget everything when I’m with him and it’s horrible. And you know what’s always in the back of my mind whenever we lock eyes? Frank telling me that he’s in love with me. Or at least, he was in love with me. Now, he’s dating some snarky blonde and kissing me. This is wrong. This is so wrong.
I’m never ‘the other woman’ and I’ve never aimed to be. But there’s something so weird about our situation, it’s making me think that although Leslie is his girlfriend, there are no feelings there. Or maybe there are, I don’t know. Nothing matches up. I don’t feel guilty that he snogged me while dating Leslie. I feel guilty because I’m insulting my integrity by not doing the right thing and pushing him away. I’ve been pushing him away my entire life, what’s so different about our relationship now?
This whole 'love' business is just rubbish if you ask me.
We were best friends. We actually used to talk to each other every day and play in the grass and ride our bikes. Then our Hogwarts letters came and we couldn’t make time for each other. Is that what time does to people? It changes them into assholes? I remember how we went our separate ways and grew apart and the next thing I knew he was calling me pretty in the hallway. I turned around and looked at him for the first time in months and I tried so hard not to blush. I remember that feeling. The feeling he made me feel. It was in front of his friends and they were laughing. I could never tell if they were laughing at James being stupid or if they were laughing at me because he was lying. Like I was ugly to them and they were all secretly teasing me for it. It was in that moment that I go so angry with him, that it made me contemplate who he was. He laughed at my red cheeks and asked if he was embarrassing me. He smirked and I turned around and stomped off. I was so confused and angry.
What kind of eleven year old does that? Then every other day and year after that he’d wink at me and make funny faces and pull pranks and make suggestive gestures and I just felt so betrayed. He changed. He changed and I didn’t know who he was anymore. And what was worse, he no longer talked to me like he’d talk to me when we were kids. I knew nothing about him. And although there were times when he’d approach me without his friends, I could never tell if he was ever telling truth or being genuine with his words; no matter what he was saying to me. I felt like it was all a show. What did I do to him to deserve this, I mean really. I was this kid and he was this kid and we were each other’s friends.
What the fuck happened?
Six years happened. I remember the first week of First Year. And how our every day talks were getting reduced more and more. I found my friends, and I guess, yeah, I hung out with them more than I hung out with James - but we were in the same House! We could see each other whenever. I didn’t think it was a big deal, but I guess we both became so occupied with our new friends and lifestyles that we totally forgot about our friendship.
I remember pinching his arm the first time he asked me out on a date. I left a bruise.
I guess what it comes down to is this: Does he love me? Hell, does he even like me? Or is this still some sort of game? I tried to figure out of acting like a prick since First Year was just a defense mechanism to missing me and not being able to say anything, but I clearly chucked that idea and flushed it down the toilet. The feelings I have for him are… they are indescribable. I just want to know him. I need to know him. I’m torn and I don’t even know why. There’s this pang in my chest because of him and only he can make them go away. My chest is full of guilt and anger and shame and curiosity and I just want answers, damn it I just want answers.
Maybe I should take my own advice and go find James, just like Jess went to go find Frank. But wait, what if he’s with Leslie? Oh, god. What if they’re cuddling? In his bed? DO. NOT. WANT.
Are there even guidelines to having the opposite sex welcomed in our cabin?
I sigh and turn my face away from the monotonous pattern on the wood ceiling and stair at our cabin door. It’s the same color as the rest of the cabin - oak. Oak floors with oak bed frames and oak walls. There’s something very peaceful about this cabin. Something very relaxing. Perhaps because we’re not in Hogwarts anymore and even though physically we’re still here, moving out of the building has done something to me. Like I’ve left all my worries… almost. Maybe the drama this weekend will be on a pause until we get back?
Bahaha, right. Like that’s even possible.
And you know why there is so much drama within the lives of teenagers? BECAUSE WE ARE INDECISIVE CREATURES. We don’t know what we want for the long run so for the short run we do what we think is the best thing, but it ends up being the worst thing. Not to mention the fact that no one actually says what’s on their mind. What’s holding you back? I mean, damn it. I’ve been pretty honest to everyone I know about James and my situation with him. The only one who’s not being honest with me is James. I want to know why he turned his back on me all those years ago. I want to know what happened with him. And I want to know why he has feelings for me, or why he had feelings for me.
Someone knocks on our cabin door. I bolt up, wondering if I actually heard the knock or if I was imagining things. Maybe it’s Emma? No… she just left. Perhaps it’s Jessica? Wait, why would she knock though? Every student who’s assigned a cabin gets automatic admission. Maybe it’s someone of the opposite sex then? Or someone who doesn’t belong to this cabin? McGonagall was pretty vague on explaining how these doors work…
I get up and see if any of the other girls notice; none of them even move a muscle. They are too busy gossiping or reading or sleeping. I walk over to the door but just before I’m about to open it, I get a message slid at me from under the door. I look behind me again to see if anyone’s glanced at it, before picking it up.
One guess who this is.
I write my message on the paper with one of the quills in my schoolbag. I slide it under the door and immediately get a response.
Depends. Who’s this?
I can almost hear him smirk from the other side of the door.
I knew it was you.
I stare at the piece of paper for a while before I actually consider how crazy I look. I’m just standing by a door in front of a room full of girls wondering what the hell I’m doing. They probably think this is the weirdest thing. But what am I supposed to do? Kneel down next to the door? Then they’d really think I’m a nut. I tilt my head slightly and watch over my shoulder. There are a few of them that are giving me suspicious looks. I grab Sense and Sensibility out of my school bag and sit with my legs crossed on the ground, against the wall. Right next to the door. I put the note in my book and scribble in it secretly. Why I’m doing this instead of opening the door, I have no idea.
What do you want?
I wait for a while before he slides the paper back through the door.
They’ve jinxed the doors. No one of the opposite gender can touch the door knob or even walk in.
Oh. Well there goes my theory.
I scribble a response and slide it under the door.
Why did you need to see me?
I’m very curious to see his reply. It’s getting dark soon, it’s not like he can’t talk to me tomorrow.
I just wanted to be near you.
And just then, I feel a weight push itself up against the door. Almost like… almost like he’s just sat down on my cabin porch and is resting his back on the other side of my cabin door. I shut my eyes and my mouth, and exhale out of my nose. His back is right next to mine.
How am I supposed to reply to that?
Is it cold outside?
It’s cold enough.
I’m sorry for not being able to let you in.
They told us to stay in our cabins, James.
I don’t want to break any rules on the first night here. Besides, the professors could still be on the grounds, checking to make sure we’re all here.
Well, I’m not in mine.
You and I are two different people, James.
As I’m about to slide it under the door, I pick it up again. I bite my lip and place the paper back into Sense and Sensibility, and add onto what I’ve written.
I can’t. Not right now. Wait until everyone’s asleep.
Ok. Meet you at midnight?
A million voices of disapproval from the little man in my head make themselves known as soon as I jot down my answer.
I look at my watch.
I look back at the ceiling.
This is dumb.
“This is dumb.”
It feels dumber now that I’ve said it out loud.
What is this meeting supposed to do? Absolutely nothing. We just want an excuse to see each other. It makes me sick. Though, not really. It’s not physically being near him that makes me sick - it’s the fact that it’s come to this. Midnight meetings on my cabin steps? This is how I’m going to spend the first night here? Tomorrow the entire 6th and 7th year Muggle classes are going to have an agenda filled with things to do, and all the while that’ll be happening, I know (I know) that I’ll be spending most of my time trying to decipher what ever it is that is about to happen in seven minutes. I look at the clock again.
Okay, what is about to happen in six minutes.
I already know how this is gonna go. We’ll babble, he’ll say something cute, then I’ll try to talk to him, then he’ll say something insufferable….and I'll go to sleep angry. Next day: I replay the psycho babble until I burst.
This is not healthy, methinks.
I push off my blanket and stand upright on my comfy bed, and look around my cabin. The chandelier full of candles are flickering slowly, keeping the place warm and at the same time keeping a low profile as to not intrude on anyone’s sleep. Emma, who’s in the bed next to mine, is sound asleep, snuggled in her covers. Jessica, who is across from me, is snoring softly with her limbs slowly hanging off her bed, from her bed blanket.
I’m very curious to hear about her rendezvous with Frank tomorrow morning. She came in hours after she went to find Frank, saying that she was too tired to talk. And to be honest, I didn’t mind. I had enough stuff to think about. It’s better for me to wake up with a clear head and be able to pay attention to what went down with her and Frank in the morning. A clear head will help me make more sense of everything; with my best friend and with me.
I hear someone scratch softly against the door a few meters away from my bed, and I immediately (and quietly) get dressed. I slide on some jeans and a big t-shirt, and throw my coat on. I wrap my scarf around myself and put on a knit hat. With the last tie of my sneaker, I creep-crawl my way to the door in a few short steps. I calmly open the door to the outside and slide my way out. The door makes a click and I exhale, my hand still on the door knob.
I turn around slowly to find James Potter with a beanie hat on his head, with his hands in his coat pockets. His coat is open, mind you, but he has a dark purple hoodie on underneath. His white drawstrings are lopsided.
I just smile at James for a few seconds while he just looks at me.
His nose is red. I want to call him Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer but I’m afraid to speak. I feel like the trees will split in half if I speak too loudly. Is that normal? The night is so silent and so cold… I feel like I’m intruding.
“What?” his raspy voice asks me.
“Nothing,” I say nonchalantly, looking anywhere but at him.
“No, you’re looking around like you’re expecting something.” He tilts his head to the side and does that cute boy thing.
I sigh. “I don’t know. I feel like we’re fireflies and the whole night is droning. Don’t you hear it?”
He’s still for a moment, unmoving. “Yes,” he says, nodding. James takes a big breath and releases it. I can see the fog rising out from under his lips. “I hear it. It’s the sound of the night.”
We sit on the cabin steps.
Our knees touch.
I rest my head on his shoulder.
James’s words come out softly, like a whisper, and it takes me a second to comprehend that he’s spoken. Not hiding the confusion on my face, I ask him what he means. I don’t know why. Because he and I both know that there were certain circumstances having occurred that has lead up to this, and there are many things he could be (and should be) apologizing for. Yes, that I know. But… I don’t care for it. It doesn’t matter. Because in this moment I don’t know what he means. His voice tells me that he’s more serious now with those two words than he’s been all day.
And, let’s face it - I’d be a hypocrite if I said there weren’t things I knew I had to apologize for.
“I know everything’s a mess, and that you and I are completely screwed up…but it will all be over soon. Things will get less complicated very soon, trust me.”
We sit still for a while until I raise my head up off his shoulder and sit up.
“I don’t know what’s going on with us, but I do know that what ever it is, we need to solve it.”
I can’t say it. I can’t tell him that I have feelings for him. I know that he knows, but I need to say it out loud. Yet… I can’t muster up the courage.
“I know we do,” he nods, thinking to himself. He turns to me. “I know. I have a list full of personal things I need to sort out, Lily. And the first thing on my list is Leslie.”
I start twitching my legs out of the need of warmth. I put my hands between my legs and fidget a bit before speaking again. “What’s going to happen even after that, James? I mean, what is this right now?”
Are we going to be a couple or something? I’m so stupid. I mean, honestly - what the fuck is this? He’s meeting me at night, as if he isn’t dating someone else. And what is breaking up with her going to do? Are we going to start dating now? I need answers. We need answers. There’s a history between us that’s been building for the past 6 years of our lives and it can’t go unnoticed. Before we can move forward we have to clear the past. And for us to even start clearing the past he and I need to have unyielding amounts of time for each other.
I hear him take a big gulp, like he’s wondering what kind of scary concoctions I’m thinking of in my mind. “Lily,” he timidly asks, looking at me with raw emotion in his eyes. His expression is brave, but his eyes are careful.
I breathe in and out.
“We know what we are to each other. I know it. You know it. Not saying it out loud will do nothing, except maybe deceive us into thinking our lives are simpler than they actually are. I don’t expect anything from you, even though you already know my feelings. Not all of them, sure, but the core of what I feel for you… it’s real. We both know this very well. I’m not ashamed to say it. It took me months to grasp it, to deal with it, let alone say it. I don’t give a shit anymore,” he continues in a soft spoken manner, still staring into my eyes. “My affection for you was always there, always real. And although you and I have questions we need to answer…right now is enough for me.”
My chest hurts. I don’t know how to explain it, but something soothing and peaceful washes over me and it’s the most pleasant feeling I’ve felt all year.
“This, this is enough for me. Right now, I just want to sit with you,” James concludes, heaving a big sigh like a weight has been lifted off his shoulder. He leans back and lays down across the floor of the cabin porch. I watch him.
Biting my lip and taking his words in, I lean back until my shoulders collide with the wood of the porch. Minutes pass by as we lay next to each other. Taking his hand from out of his coat pocket, he reaches for mine across the splintered wood. I give it to him.
“What happened to us.”
It comes out blatant, obviously more as a comment than a question.
James Potter thinks carefully before answering. “Life happened.”
I shake my head, not because I don’t agree with him, but because I don’t understand how.
“People change, people grow up. It’s the fact of life. The only true years of bliss in a person’s life are the years of their childhood.”
We were best friends. Back when the world was uncomplicated. Back when my mom died and James was the only one I felt like hanging around with. Back when we didn’t have problems. Back when we were kids, not teenagers.
“Nothing makes sense anymore. Not my feelings for you, not the way I feel about you… not the way things used to be before Hogwarts, before my mom… before my sister started hating me…” I trail off, not realizing the sting behind my eyes. They aren’t tears, no. Something much stronger than tears. It’s unfathomable, but my eyes have gone all blurry from the memories. Everything that I’m thinking about right now. Things that happen in your life that you have to face.
“It’s God damn harsh, isn’t it? You’re this little kid, imaging what it’s like to be a grown up. You have things set up in your mind about how things are gonna go, like it’s really just that simple. But it never is. Then you grow up and you realize it’s actual work. It’s actual work, trying to find who you are,” James shares.
It really hurts. It really fucking hurts. Imagining the world you lived in when you were younger, remembering how through the chaos around you, you found happiness in the simplest of things. Stories had happy endings and no one felt pain for very long. Laughter was the best medicine and the best friends you had then, would most likely never compare with the ones you’d make when you’d grow up.
Reminiscing about the days when gummy bears were a legitimate food group.
“Sometimes I think about what life would be like if we took opposite paths than the one we’d chosen-”
“I can’t do this,” I pull my hand away, but he grasps my hand tighter.
“Don’t,” James says, looking at me apologetically. Our hands our ice cold now. “Just stay, okay? Just stay.”
I nod in response and resume looking up into the night sky with the boy that quasi-ruined my life. My entire body is numb yet I feel warmth. I look at the gutters surrounding the frame of the cabin and think about possible rain storms, but then perish the thought from my mind. It’s too cold for simple rain. Hail, maybe. The weather’s transitioning.
It’s so dark I can barely see his outline. “So I took a piss in the woods today.” It’s weird how quickly he can say something off topic yet still have a calm voice while saying it.
“And guess what happened…”
“A flying squirrel invaded your territory?”
“No, but something like that,” he jabs, like he’s holding back a small smirk.
I stay silent and wait for him to continue. “Well?”
“I didn’t know Jessica and Frank were a thing,” he confesses quickly. He doesn’t sound guilty, just genuinely surprised. And he’s a little bit giggly about it, like he wants to laugh.
“Oh,” I say, mildly shocked but mostly worried. I turn my head to look at him. “You know?”
“Don’t worry,” he waves off. “I won’t say anything. I was just surprised is all. Here I am pissin’ away and they start snogging in front of me.”
“Er… it’s complicated,” I tell him. James stays quiet and listens to me talk. “Hopefully, they’ll get together soon and save themselves the heart ache. I called this relationship, like, months ago. And it’s just now stating to make sense. Just, just don‘t tell anyone right now, ok?”
He numbly nods his head, understanding. “I won’t tell the guys. I told you, their secret’s safe with me.”
Five minutes pass by as we keeping looking up at the sky. I trust him. I trust him to know about Frank and Jessica… I just know that he won’t say anything. Not until those two are both ready and willing.
“It smells like winter already,” James says for me, shivering slightly. “I wonder if it’ll snow down here.”
“No way, it’s nowhere near cold enough. It’s just a dry, cold forest. I’d wait another week and a half before the first snow fall,” I say matter-of-factly, feeling my nose and ears going pink and slowly moving their way to pale white.
“Well it’s not like it’s gonna rain,” James counters, staring at the gutters.
I look at the roof for a second too long. I smile a small smile, and then I smile a big one. And then… I burst into laughter. My tummy is shaking, I’m laughing so hard. The warmth of my body is burning in the pit of my stomach as James starts poking me.
“What? What is it? Tell me!” He quips, jabbing his index finger into my stomach, tickling me; thus, making me laugh more.
I take a big deep breath, pick up my feet, and try to collect myself, before placing my feet back on the steps. “Oh…oh, goodness. I hung you upside down from your roof!”
His eyebrows morph into one and he looks at me as if I’ve gone crazy. He doesn’t get the amusement, until he tilts his head back and looks at where the gutters are the looks at the wood work around the edge of the roof.
“Wow,” he laughs loudly, his voice getting all silly and goofy. “Oh my taco… you did!”
This causes a big smile to spread over his face. I welcome it immediately and tell myself never to forget this image.
“Yeah, what a bad ass I was! And I used rope…” I’m a residential sleuth!
James closes his eyes for a split second, remembering and laughing all the while. “That fucking rope!” he points out. “I had a bruise that wouldn’t go away for three weeks.”
“You were flailing like a flamingo in heat,” I gasp, trying to breath.
He lets out this barking laughter that, I swear on Merlin’s deodorant, probably woke up my entire cabin.
And we just sit there, lying on a cabin porch, in the middle of Hogsmeade somewhere, laughing and doubling over in hysterics until our stomachs start to hurt.
Author's Note: I hope you all liked this chapter of L&B! Please, leave me a review with your thoughts. If you have an questions, go to my Meet The Author's page and leave them there!
Expect an update this month, my lovelies :)
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