I felt like listening to Angels and Airwaves while I wrote this chapter, so I did. "Clever Love" was a big inspiration for this chapter, though it hardly relates.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything you recognize, even though I wish every day I owned Sirius Black. I love him.
I avoided James for the rest of the day. In all my classes, I tried to sit on the complete other side of the room so I didn't have to be around him. I didn't know what was wrong with me, but I knew I didn't like it.
"Lily, are you alright?" Leigh asked me at lunch after I made the girls sit on the far end of the Gryffindor table.
I looked up from my chicken and smiled widely. "Yeah, Leigh, I'm dandy," I said. "Why do you ask?"
"Well, you've been acting really weird all day..."
"Hmm." I poked my chicken around on my plate with my fork. "Have I really?"
Leigh nodded and I didn't reply. James - Potter, why was I calling him James - Potter and his friends started walking towards us at the end of the table. Though I had made quite sure I was sitting in between Brooke and Meg so Ja-Potter wouldn't sit beside me, I still didn't want to be anywhere near him until I figured out what was wrong with me.
Brooke stood up and walked over to Sirius, muttering something to him that I couldn't hear. The Marauders all sent curious looks in my direction, but I pretended like I didn't notice them and ate some peas. I was grateful when they turned around and sat somewhere else.
Brooke sat back down and I told her thank you. She said I was welcome and she was always happy to help out.
I had to pee after Defense Against the Dark Arts, which was our last class that day, so I told the girls I'd meet up with them later and ducked into the bathroom.
When I was finished, I washed my hands, gathered my books, and walked out into the corridor.
"Lily," I heard someone call. I groaned and walked faster, hoping that Jam - POTTER HIS NAME WAS POTTER - Potter wouldn't catch up with me.
No such luck. Potter jogged up to me and fell into step by my side.
"Go away, Potter," I said.
"Why have you been avoiding me?" James asked.
I stopped and put a hand on my hip, staring resolutely at a spot on James's forehead.
"That's preposterous," I said. "I haven't been avoiding you."
James sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Yes, you have. Is this about Meg?"
"What?" I said. I had forgotten about that. "Oh, yes. Sure. Yes, Potter, it's about Meg."
"Look, I'm sorry, Lily, I didn't mean to insult you or anything like that -"
"Why are you calling me Lily?" I interrupted.
James's eyebrows knitted together in confusion. "What?"
"You called me Lily."
James scratched the back of his neck. "Oh. Well, is that a problem?"
Yes. "No, I suppose it isn't."
"Anyway, I'm sorry about whatever is was I said to make you mad. I don't want it to come between... whatever kind of relationship we have."
I thought for a moment. What kind of relationship did I have with James? Were we friends? I told him I hated him every day (which I do) (I think) but we still did things together. I still talked to him and ate meals with him and sat near him in the common room. My circle of friends and his circle of friends overlapped, and there was no way to escape him.
A voice in the back of my head told me I secretly enjoyed his company. Clearly, that voice was on drugs and had no idea what it was saying, so I pushed the thought aside and started walking again.
"Look, James, I appreciate your apology, or whatever," I said, "but I have a date tonight and I really need to get going."
I don't know why I told James I had a date. I could've just said I had to go and left it at that, but I had to include exactly where I was going. I guessed I wanted to give Ryan a death sentence.
"Date?" James asked, walking beside me. "With who?"
I hesitated, but the name spilled out before I could stop it. "Ryan Henke."
Potter stopped walking, but I didn't. He didn't try to keep up with me after that.
By the time I had returned to the common room, I found I had very little time to prepare for my date. The girls helped me get ready, of course - Ellen and Brooke picked out my outfit, and Meg helped me put on a little bit of make-up while Leigh looked on with interest.
"What's that cream supposed to do?" she would occasionally ask. Meg would explain it was something to put over your eyelids before you put on eyeshadow. Leigh asked more questions than were necessary, but I supposed she only wanted to know so she could one day put it on herself to impress Remus.
Not that she needed to impress Remus. He looked at her as though she were the reincarnation of Merlin... in female form.
Ellen and Brooke had picked out a purple skirt with flowers on it for me to wear. I paired it with a solid white V-neck, slipped on some flats, and I was ready to go. With many "good luck"s and "have fun"s, I walked out of the dormitory and into the common room. I could feel people's eyes on me, probably wondering why I was so dressed up on a Monday night, but the only eyes I really contemplated were James's. Though I didn't look over at him, I could feel his gaze. For some odd reason, my cheeks burned red, and I all but ran to the portrait hole.
I found Ryan with his back to the portrait hole. He appeared to be studying the portrait of the drunken monks across the corridor, and when I cleared my throat he turned around quickly.
"Lily!" he exclaimed. He hugged me, and I felt awkward. "You look great."
"Thanks," I said, studying Ryan's blue button-down. "So do you."
Ryan smiled at me and we began walking down the stairs.
"We're going to Hogsmeade, aren't we?" I asked.
Ryan nodded. "We're going to Madame Puddifoot's - most girls like it there. Is that okay?"
NO, THAT IS NOT OKAY. "Sure..." I lied instead.
To my surprise, Ryan grinned and began chuckling at me. "I'm only joking," he said. "We're going to this new place called the Magic Noodle."
"Oooh," I said excitedly, "I've heard their chicken alfredo was to-die-for."
"Well good. If you get that, I'd love to try some."
"Who says I'm going to let you try some?" I said cheekily. He shoved my shoulder lightly and we made easy conversation until we reached Hogsmeade. I was quite surprised the doors had been unlocked, and even more surprised we hadn't gotten caught, but I was glad we made it to the adjacent town without any troubles.
We walked into the Magic Noodle and were seated in a booth right beside the window. It was dark, so I couldn't see outside, but I could see my reflection. I was glad to see that I looked quite cheerful.
Being around Ryan made me cheerful, of course. He was very funny, and he always had a good joke to tell. He seemed endlessly amused with my stories about my friends.
"Did Brooke get in trouble?" he prompted after I paused in my story of how Brooke had once broken into Professor Slughorn's office and stolen his crystallized pineapple.
"Professor Slughorn saw her, but she hid the jar behind her back and he didn't notice a thing!" I laughed, taking a sip of butterbeer. "She's done it about six other times since then, too."
Ryan laughed and stole another bite of my chicken alfredo. I glared at him teasingly and speared some of his delicious steak onto my plate. We'd been eating each other's food all night.
He glanced at his watch and yelped. "Wow, it's so late!" he said with a small chuckle. "I should get you back so you don't get in trouble."
I smiled, and Ryan flagged the waiter down so we could pay. He helped me in my jacket, and on the way back to the castle he tried to hold my hand. I didn't stop him.
Before I knew it, we came to a stop outside the portrait hole.
"Thanks for tonight, Ryan," I said. "I had a lot of fun."
He beamed. "Me, too."
"The restaurant was great."
"The company was better," Ryan retorted with a grin.
"True," I consented. Then I laughed. It was more of a giggle, really. "You're a lovely date."
"You're better." I knew this playful teasing was flirting. I kept giggling. Was I a good flirter? I had never really had much practice since James - Potter - scared away most of my suitors. Suitors. What a funny word. "Would you be open to doing this again on Friday?"
I pretended to think for a moment, biting my lip. "Well, it depends."
"We have to go back to the Magic Noodle. I want some more of your steak. That was amazing."
Ryan grinned and told me that of course, we'd go back to the Magic Noodle. He hugged me again, and this time I hugged back. I walked into the common room with a small smile, eagerly anticipating sharing the details of the night with the girls.
I passed the Marauders on my way to the dormitory, and I found it amusing that all four of them had crammed onto the couch. They were guffawing over some piece of paper.
"Get him, Peeves!" Sirius was cheering.
"There he goes - he's stopped!" Pettigrew narrated. "Go, Peeves, go!"
The boys laughed some more and continued cheering on for whatever mischief Peeves was getting into. I assumed they had some dumb drawing of Peeves attacking Filch, so I merely rolled my eyes and hurried up the stairs.
"How was it?" Brooke asked immediately after I walked through the door.
I smiled. "It went well. Ryan's great."
"Where did you go?" Leigh asked.
"The Magic Noodle," I said. I walked over to my bed and slipped off my shoes. "It was a lot of fun."
"Are you going to see him again?" questioned Ellen.
I bit my lip. "Yeah. Friday."
"So soon?" Brooke gasped. "He must really like you."
I laughed but didn't respond. I changed out of my clothes and hopped into bed, exhausted from an emotional day. Was I angry, sad, sick, or happy? I wasn't sure. My feelings of James (hatred, of course) were clashing with my feelings of Ryan. I was confused and nothing in my head was making complete sense, but as I drifted off to bed I found that instead of dreaming about my date with Ryan, I dreamed about my conversations with James.
My last coherent thought before I was completely out was that James might not be so bad after all.
A/N: I like Ryan. He's a pretty cool kid. I'm eating goldfish.
Please review? Yeah, yeah, yeah.