James raised his eyebrow. Amy was trying hard not to laugh but ended up choking on her cereal. Ali Franks leaned across and thumped her on the back, causing her to spray milk all over James.
“Thanks Ali,” she choked, drinking some water to cool her rapidly constricting throat.
Ali smiled. He was the tallest of the group, towering over the diminutive pair at 6’3. He had mahogany hair and soothing green eyes and despite his strength, he was quite a gentle character. He’d been James’ only real guy mate since he’d pulled James out of the way of one of Peeves’ pranks during first year. The pair got along great and shared a dorm, as well as all of each other’s secrets. Ali was the only one who knew a thing about James’ feelings for Amy and he tried to help his best friend out. However, Ali himself was in a similar position, though he’d never admit it to anyone, even James himself. He had major feelings for Macey, who obviously liked him back. It was Macey who was the source of James and Amy’s laughter as she struggled with her bacon. With two rashers hanging out her mouth and her knife snapped in half after she’d given up trying to cut it, she looked quite hilarious.
“What?” she mumbled, causing a piece of bacon to fall out. “Oh for fuck’s sake!”
“Nothing Macey, nothing,” Amy replied, red from laughter as Macey stabbed the offending rasher with her fork violently. Macey got very into her breakfast.
“Is there something in my hair?” she asked, having finally swallowed her bacon.
“No Macey,” Amy sighed. “You look fine apart from the fact that you had bacon dangling out your mouth.”
“Oh good,” Macey replied absent-mindedly, starting on her sausages next.
“Where exactly were your parents when they were supposed to be teaching you manners Mace?” James chuckled.
“Shagging,” Macey replied, not taking her eyes off her breakfast and shoveling food into her mouth the whole time. “Loudly.”
Whilst from anyone else this would’ve been an alarming answer, with Macey it was just typical. She was a huge tomboy and anyone who knew her even remotely well could testify to that. She was loud, rude and violent, especially on the Quidditch pitch. She played beater for four years before retiring and handing over to the Weasley twins, a justified position as she usually ended up breaking someone’s arm or giving them a concussion. This meant that naturally most guys were put off Macey, which didn’t bother her too much. She often told Amy that guys were only good for heavy-lifting and heartbreak and unless she wanted to end up crying over some loser she shouldn’t talk to anyone except James or Ali. Despite that, Macey obviously had feelings about Ali as, although they were good friends, she tended to blush around him and parts of her rough exterior were replaced by nervousness. Parts anyway, she still tended to trip up first years who pissed her off by being whiney. In terms of appearance, Macey was pretty good-looking, even though she made no effort at all. She was tall and strong, which went with her character and she wore t-shirts and jeans all the time, not bothering with crop-tops or shorts or anything else girls showing off their bodies wore. Her light brown hair was naturally curly and exploded out around her shoulders. Her eyes were a similar brownish colour and were full of life, even if they were steely at times.
“So what are you guys studying this year?” Macey asked, having finally won the war with her breakfast and dropping her fork down triumphantly.
“Charms, herbology, DADA, ancient runes,” James replied, finishing his toast off and draining the last of his tea. James loved tea, something he’d clearly inherited from his mum.
“Same here Jimmy,” Amy replied, high-fiving him. They both already knew that of course but they found it fun to emphasise it.
“There’s a surprise,” Macey muttered under her breath. “What about you Ali?”
“Uh, Potions, Charms, Herbology and transfiguration,” Ali replied nervously, going slightly red.
“Really?” Macey stammered slightly. “Me too…”
“Oh that sounds good, we could pair up in a couple of them if you want?” Ali suggested.
“Yeah, that sounds good,” she replied, barely able to keep a crick out of her voice.
“Anyway,” Amy said, interrupting before the awkwardness spread. “Isn’t that really good looking girl Laura Tamserian in our Ancient Runes class?”
“Yes…” James replied worried. “Why?”
“Well she’s always had a thing for you James, don’t you think you should give her a chance?”
Ali winced slightly at the awkwardness of Amy attempting to set up the guy who was madly in love with her with another girl. James almost did the same but contained himself.
“You know me Amy, I’m not really interested in that sort of thing, just like you aren’t interested in anyone really.”
Even as he watched, there was a flicker of something in his best friend’s eyes. What was it? Pain? Anger? He wasn’t sure and within an instant it was gone.
“Who says?” she replied coolly. “Maybe I’ve found some handsome guy to run away into the sunset with!”
Macey snorted into her milk and wiped her mouth with her sleeve.
“Please Amy! Even if you had found someone, why on earth would you want to run off into the sunset with them and leave me with these two?” she gestured to James and Ali. “No offence guys,” she added quickly.
“Macey’s right Amy, you’d never ever settle off like that, we know you too well,” James added anxiously.
“Don’t get too panicky Jamesie poo, I’d never leave you,” Amy teased, punching him on the arm.
“Shut up, maybe I should speak to Laura after all,” James retorted, knowing he was going to live to regret this.
It was their first full day back at school, the first time they’d seen their friends in a while and it was also their first classes. James had been quite subdued since they had bumped into Professor Lupin on the train but it seemed that heading back into the swing of things had done him some good. Amy and James were both looking forward to getting back into the routine of classes but also of free lessons and spending time with their mates. Life away from the great castle had never been quite the same without it and as they headed to their first lesson of the day: Charms, the one thing Amy wanted was to was start doing magic again as soon as she could. The lack of magic she’d practiced over the holidays was startling and the last thing she needed was to get behind in her final year. The only problem she had with this was that her so called “best friend” James was off with Ali having guy chat, leaving her with Macey, who was thoroughly determined to do anything but the work that they had been given by Professor Flitwick, the diminutive Charms teacher.
“Right then,” Macey began, once the lesson was underway, they had some time alone and she‘d placed a silencing charm around them. “For starters, what in God’s name have you done to your hair?”
Amy went red. “I thought it looked nice…”
“Oh yes it does look nice,” Macey reassured her. “But you’re well, blonde.”
“So?!” she practically exploded. “Blondes are dumb, idiotic, stupid bimbos!”
Amy raised her eyebrow. “Tad harsh?”
Macey shrugged. “Probably, but then this is me we’re talking about. My point is, why blonde?”
“I dunno,” Amy replied wistfully. “I just fancied a change I guess. I didn’t want to look like my mum for the rest of my life.”
“So this has nothing to do with James then?”
Amy went bright red and Macey grinned triumphantly.
“Which reminds me. Why on earth did you try to set him up with Laura Tamserian?”
“She’s good looking and she likes him, why wouldn’t I?” Amy asked, now even redder than before.
“Because you’re in love with him,” she replied casually, flicking her wrist and flipping over a table by accident. Flitwick cast her a filthy look and she shrugged apologetically. Amy meanwhile, had switched from red to a deep shade of purple.
“What the hell are you talking about?” she stuttered slightly. “Me, love James?”
“Yep, it’s written all your over your face whenever you look at him.”
Macey bit into an apple she’d transfigured from a cup and Amy knocked it out of her hand angrily. She glanced across at James who was deep in conversation with Ali and blushed fiercely yet again.
“It is not!” Amy snapped. “He’s my best friend for fuck’s sake Mace.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. If you ask me he’s too nervous to say anything, doesn’t want to ruin your friendship,” Macey replied indifferently.
“Macey, you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about!” Amy was almost shouting now, becoming more and more agitated. “What about you and Ali?”
“What about us?” Macey replied nonchalantly. “He’s a good friend. Nothing more.”
Despite her continuously calm demeanor, there was a pinkish tinge to Macey’s cheeks by now and Amy slammed home the advantage.
“Oh please, you claim to know all about me and James, which by the way, is not true whatever you say but you’re completely oblivious to the fact Ali’s in love with you?”
“Look Amy, just drop it alright?” Macey snapped uncharacteristically.
“I will when you will,” Amy retorted smugly. Macey relinquished the silencing charm and went to practice the spell.
James and Amy were lounging around alone in a quiet corner of the common room. They had a free lesson and no homework and Ali and Macey were at Potions with the Slytherins. Macey’s words had disturbed Amy slightly. Every time she looked at James she found herself blushing. She wanted to speak up but she couldn’t. Every single time she opened her mouth to say something to him she faltered. James glanced across at her every now and then until he decided to say something.
“Are you okay Amy?” he asked, concerned.
“Yeah, fine,” she replied in a chipper voice. “Just thinking about, you know, life.”
“Well it beats thinking about death,” James replied cheekily.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” Amy replied thoughtfully. “I just can’t believe we’re back here in the middle of everything.”
“Your dad, Lupin, Clearwater, all that crap. And here we are, just living our lives at Hogwarts, right at the heart of it and yet so far away from it.”
“We don’t have to worry about any of that crap. All we have to worry about is living our lives.”
“That was a God awful persuasion. Next time just feed me crap instead.”
“Nah, I’ve fed you enough crap in your life, I’m gonna stick to the shit for now.”
Amy chuckled despite herself. All she wanted to do was sleep on this, decide if she really did love James as Macey claimed. She looked into his eyes and he bit his lip. He was amazing, she decided. He was very good looking and he was her best friend in the world. If that wasn’t the perfect recipe for them to be together what was?
“So I went to see Laura earlier like you suggested,” James started.
“Oh?” Amy’s heart began to sink.
“Yeah. We’re kind of a couple now. She told me to keep it on the DL for now but I couldn’t not tell you. I mean you’re my best mate.”
And there it was. In black and white. James saw her as a friend. Nothing more. As soon as she realised how she felt she also realised that he didn’t feel the same way. The irony was heart-breaking. Still, at least she wasn’t going to make an idiot of herself. She allowed a grin to escape her like a virus, destroying how she really felt and replacing it with a mask of elation and pride.
“Congrats Jamesiekins, I’m really proud of you!” she replied happily.
“Thanks Amy, but you’re the one who set the whole thing up, I owe you massively for this!” James said awkwardly.
Amy’s mental berating of herself continued. Not only had she failed to inform her best friend how she really felt but also she had set him up with his new girlfriend.
It’s best you did. He doesn’t like you that way, at least now you’ve still got your friendship and he’s none the wiser. No harm done.
It was probably a good thing she’d set him up before things got ugly between them. But it sure didn’t feel that way.
A/N: Hi again guys, thanks for reading and please leave a review :) HP