Chapter 8 : An explanation
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“I’ve got to go, Sev, I’m sorry. But I have to go talk to Alice,” said Lily from their perch in the tree.
Sev ruffled a hand through his hair, a gesture that surprisingly reminded Lily of James. “I understand,” he said resignedly.
“I’m sorry. We’ll…talk later, okay?” she asked. Severus nodded.
Lily began to climb down the ladder, but Severus placed a hand on top of hers as it hit the top rung. “Wait,” he said, and he leaned down and kissed her gently on the forehead.
Lily smiled at him before quickly descending the ladder and heading into the castle.
Once inside the castle, Lily went straight the Gryffindor common room, hoping to find Alice there. When she walked through the portrait, she saw her sitting in the same place she had been when Lily had left, along with James and Sirius.
“Hi, Lily!” said James. “Back so soon?” He patted the seat next to him, “Come sit down.” Lily sat down next to him, her heart pounding with the knowledge that Alice sat a mere foot away with full capability of sharing her secret.
James kissed her on the cheek. “So, why are you back so early?” he asked.
“Oh-well, I just felt like maybe I shouldn’t waste a Friday night on a paper after all. Especially not when most of my favorite people are all in here,” she lied swiftly.
At this, Alice stood up immediately and dashed out of the room.
“Erm, I’ll be right back James-I just-I have to talk to Alice for a minute,” said Lily.
James nodded and Lily left the room, catching Alice pacing on the staircase to their dormitory.
“Hi, Alice,” said Lily cautiously.
Alice did not reply except to offer Lily a scathing look before ascending the stairs further.
Lily chased after her, “Alice, wait! I can explain! It’s not what it looked like!” she cried.
Alice whirled around and laughed, a heartless laugh. “Oh really? Explain then. Because it looked to me like you’re dating James in public while hooking up with Severus in secret,” she hissed.
Lily looked around to make sure no one was nearby. “Okay, so it’s a little bit what it looked like.” Alice started to turn away again. “But there’s more to it than that!”
Alice turned back around with her arms crossed and an eyebrow raised. “As your best friend, I am obligated to listen,” she said.
Lily wrung her hands. “Okay. Well when James and I went to Hogsmeade, I started to have feelings for him. So when he asked me out, I said yes. And I still really like him...But then after James and I started dating, Severus admitted that he-that he had feelings for me, too. And he kissed me. I didn’t ask for him to kiss me, but he did. And maybe I should have ended it all there, but when he kissed me…I felt something for him too.”
Lily looked at Alice, hoping for some kind of response, but as there was none, she desperately continued.
“I just couldn’t let him go. I couldn’t let either of them go. Severus knows that James and I are dating, and he’s okay with keeping us secret while I figure out where my feelings stand. If I broke up with James, I wouldn’t be able to figure out who I want or what I feel at all. And if he knew, I couldn’t figure it out either. Do you understand?”
Alice didn’t speak for what felt like hours. “That is unbelievably selfish,” she said.
“I know,” Lily groaned. “I feel terrible about it. But I don’t know what else to do.”
“How could you possibly have feelings for Snape?” asked Alice. “He’s so…dark, and gross.”
“He’s not. He’s romantic and sweet, and...he understands me. We’ve known each other for so long,” said Lily.
Alice thought for a moment. “Well you can’t have them both,” she said.
“I know,” said Lily quietly.
“You have to choose.”
“I know,” Lily repeated. “Alice, please don’t tell.”
Alice again thought for a few moments. “Okay,” she said, “I’ll keep your secret. But not forever. Lily, I know you. You’re so smart and logical, and you can debate who’s right all you want. But you have to choose with your heart. And I think your heart already knows, but you just have to figure out what it’s saying.”
Alice continued, “Lily, You’ll never choose unless you have an ultimatum. If you don’t choose soon, I’ll tell James.”
Lily was stunned. “Alice, you’re supposed to be my friend.”
“I am. That’s why I’m doing this. If you don’t choose, you’ll mess up a good thing either way. These things always have a way of unraveling themselves. I already found out, it’s only a matter of time before others, and James, do too. I’m trying to help you out of it.”
Lily sat down on the nearest step and put her head in her hands. “What am I supposed to do?” she asked. “They are both so important to me!”
Alice sat down next to her and put an arm around Lily’s shoulder. “You’ll figure it out. Just feel it out, think about how each one makes you feel.”
At that moment, Sirius Black turned the corner and entered the stairwell.
Lily stood abruptly, her eyes wide with fear. “Sirius!” she cried.
“Hey,” he said, “What are you two doing? Are you alright? Should I…get James?”
Lily immediately relaxed when it was apparent that Sirius hadn’t overheard their conversation. “No, it’s fine. We were just having girl talk. Thanks, though,” said Lily, flashing him a smile and heading back down to the common room.
Lily spent the rest of the evening with James and their friends in the Gryffindor common room, talking, playing Wizards Chess, and laughing. The fun she was having was almost enough to keep her mind off of her current predicament. Almost, but not quite.
The next morning Lily awoke early. She had tossed and turned all night, which was spent having dreams that alternated between visions of Severus and visions of James.
She lay in bed, debating pros and cons of the two boys. Severus is sweet, loyal, and passionate. But he’s a Slytherin and most of my friends don’t like him. James is cute and makes me laugh like no one else does. But he was arrogant for so long, and I don’t know if we have that same passion yet. Her internal debate continued until her roommates began waking up to get ready for the day.
Lily didn’t see Severus again until divination class. She and Alice were sitting at their usual table, staring into crystal balls in front of them, when there was a sudden crash across the room.
The professor walked over to table where Severus and Mulciber sat. “Mulciber, you broke a crystal ball? Do you know how sacred and expensive these are?” she scoffed.
As Mulciber tried to stutter back a defensive response, Lily saw a rolled piece of parchment float onto her desk. She recognized the handwriting instantly, and snatched it up, but not before Alice had time to see it.
Alice gave her a pointed look as Lily began to unroll the parchment on the table in front of them. Alice rolled her eyes, and then leaned forward with her chin in her hand, so her arm blocked the note from James’ line of sight at the next table over.
“Look at me, I’ve become an accomplice,” she muttered.
“Thanks,” Lily whispered back as she began to read the parchment.
Is everything all right? What happened after I left last night? I’m worried about you. And us.
Lily took out her own quill and thought for a moment before she responded. She didn’t think it would do any good to tell Severus about the arrangement she and Alice had made about her secret.
Everything’s OK. Alice has agreed to keep our secret. I feel badly about cutting our time together short last night, though.
Lily rolled the parchment back up and sent it flying across the floor with her wand, until it hit Severus’ shoe. He saw it immediately, read it, and sent a response back immediately.
Don’t worry about it. I wish we could have had more time together, but I’m glad you sorted things out with Alice. She must be a really good friend to agree to keep quiet.
P.S. Please stop twirling your hair like that. It’s enchanting.
Lily immediately dropped her left hand that had a strand of hair twisted around it, and glanced up at Sev, who was smiling at her with an eyebrow raised in suggestion.
At this moment, the professor started making rounds of the classroom, so she put Severus’ note away and got back to work.
When class ended, Lily and Alice walked out together as Alice pestered Lily about the contents of Severus’ note. Alice was surprised to see Professor McGonagall standing outside the door, pacing the hallway. When Lily exited the classroom, McGonagall stopped pacing and put a hand on Lily’s shoulder.
“Miss Evans,” she said, “the headmaster would like to see you in his office immediately.”
Hello readers! Thank you SO much for taking the time to read my work. I would LOVE to hear your thoughts in a comment!
I think there will be 2 more chapters, which are going to be quite emotional, in different ways. Hopefully you will come back and finish reading the story! xx
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