"What the bloody hell?" I blurt out before my brain can catch up to my mouth.
Stupid brain. Why are you so slow? You know that unless you censor it, my mouth will form the worst things to say at the worst possible moments.
Sophie’s eyes flicker up at my words. She gasps and pulls away from James. “Aiden. Aria.”
James whips around, his mouth gaping at the sight of Aiden and I. He looks like he wants to say something, but doesn’t.
My eyes flit quickly between Sophie, whose hand is still clutching at James’s shirt, James himself, and Aiden.
Boy, this is awkward.
Aiden looks absolutely crushed. Wizard God, I know you hate me, but what did Aiden ever do to you? The poor guy just admitted that he’s got a thing for Sophie, only to walk around a corner and see her making out with James.
And I thought that I had bad luck.
“Er - I - uh - well - yeah.” James has begun to ramble with incoherent phrases. Great. Let’s see who can make this the most awkward, shall we?
Sophie’s face flushes to a deep red as she stares at me. “I, um, I don’t know what to say.”
“You don’t need to say anything. You, on the other hand,” I stare pointedly at James, “are about to have a chat with me.” I march up towards him, grab his arm, and drag him into a classroom a few feet down the corridor.
I cross my arms with a huff and glare at him. James looks at the ground, glances up at me, then goes back to the ground again. Ground. Me. Ground. Me. Ground. Me.
“Well?” I demand.
I shoot another withering glare at him and his eyes drop back to the ground.
“I cannot believe you. You are so - so - ARGH!”
I wave my arms around in frustration. James reaches a hand up and slowly scratches at his head, ruffling his hair slightly.
“Why do you care so much?” he inquires coolly.
“Because she’s my friend!” I explode. “She’s not one of ‘those girls’ that you can just hook up with any time you please! You toldme earlier today that these things ‘don’t go anywhere.’ Well, with Sophie, they do.”
“Who says it isn’t going anywhere?”
“Oh, please. Don’t give me that. You and I both know what kind of guy you are.”
“And what kind is that?” he asks angrily.
“A manipulative bastard who doesn’t give a damn about anyone except for himself!”
“Really?” He cocks his head to the side and smirks that insufferable smirk. “Is that what you think of me?”
I shut my eyes and pinch the bridge of my nose. “You know what? Fine. If you want to be a bastard, go ahead, but do me a favor and pick a different girl.” And with that, I spin on my heel and march out of the room.
Aiden and Sophie are still standing awkwardly in the hallway, both of their faces flushed with embarrassment. I seize Sophie’s arm and pull her off to the common room. She doesn’t say a word as we walk, merely trails slightly behind me.
When we reach the girls’ dorm, I slam the door shut and let all my inhibitions go. “What the hell were you thinking? I thought you were smarter than that, Sophie! I thought you were above that kind of thing! I thought -”
She freaking giggles.
“James is a really good kisser,” she sighs dreamily.
My jaw literally drops open with disbelief. “You are kidding me, right?”
You know how she responds?
With more giggles.
I slam my head against the wall. Repeatedly.
“Like, really good.”
Slam. Slam. Slam. Sl-
“Aria?” I stop mid-slam and turn around to face her. “Don’t be angry.”
I exhale with frustration at her words. “Don’t be angry? I’m not angry. I’m just - I’m worried.” I sigh and flop down onto my bed. “I don’t want to see you get hurt.”
Sophie takes a seat next to me softly. “I won’t.”
“Yes you will. I know guys like James - hell, I’ve dated guys like James. And in the end, someone always ends up with a broken heart.”
“This is different, though,” she says earnestly. “James likes me. He actually likes me.”
I breathe in heavily, feeling the weight of responsibility crashing down on me. “No, he doesn’t.”
“Of course he does. He told me how pretty he thinks I am -”
“Sophie. I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but you need to know. He doesn’t think of you in that way.”
“How do you know?” she asks, voice quavering slightly.
“Because, he told me - he told me that the girl he fancies has a boyfriend.” I gulp at my words, watching Sophie’s face drop into utter devastation.
“Oh.” She falls back next to me on the bed.
“It’s not your fault.”
“I wish I could say otherwise.”
“I know. It’s just - I’ve fancied him for so long. I guess I knew the entire time, but I just couldn’t help myself. He finally wanted me, you know?”
“Sophie, believe it or not, other guys do like you. Nice guys. Guys who will treat you right. Granted, guys that aren’t James, but that kind of makes them better.”
Sophie sighs and slowly turns to face me. “Don’t be ridiculous, Aria. Guys don’t like me. I’m just the school-obsessed Prefect girl who has to keep everything in line.”
“I’m not being ridiculous.” I breathe in slowly, letting the fresh air fill my lungs. Merlin, she smells good... Mmmm... She smells like James... Dammit, why do I know how he smells? Eugh.
“Wait - some bloke actually fancies me?” She flips over onto her side, gazing intently at me.
“I can’t tell you.”
“I will never tell.”
“A clue then.”
“He’s in our house.”
“Wow, that narrows it down so much.” She frumps with frustration and slides off of the bed.
I prop myself up and lean back against my pillow. “I just eliminated seventy-five percent of the male population of Hogwarts for you.”
“Whatever,” she grumbles, pulling out a book to read.
“He’s a really attractive guy,” I add.
“Uh-huh. Sure he is,” she replies, eyes skimming over the page in front of her.
“And muscular, too.”
“If you say so.”
“And he’s on the Quidditch team.”
“What?” Her eyes dart up to look at me.
Snidget. What the hell is wrong with me? Brain, come on. I thought we had a chat about this already. I need you to censor my mouth.
“It’s not Louis, is it?” She asks, eyes narrowing.
“Good, because he’s an idiot. Is it Al?”
She glares at me from over her book. “You said he was on the Quidditch team.”
“But I’ve already named - oh.” The slow realization spreads across her face. “Aiden?” she whispers.
I nod slowly, watching the conflicting battle of her emotions. At first, she seems shocked but slightly happy, and then just embarrassed. “But... he thinks that I’m named Sarah.”
I grin with delight, shaking my head back and forth wildly. “No he doesn’t. You just make him nervous.”
“And don’t say anything to him. He’d kill me if he knew that I told you.”
“Yes, Aiden. I’m going down to the common room to schedule some Quidditch practices. I suggest that you think about this whole James situation,” I raise my eyebrow at her, “and make the right choice.”
When I enter the common room, I spy Aiden sitting dejectedly in an armchair. Merlin, he looks so... pathetic. I just feel awful for him. It looks as if his heart has been ripped right out. This isn’t fair.
Watching the girl you’re into kiss another guy... that’s really got to suck.
“Aiden?” I ask, inching up towards him. “Are you okay?”
He flings his head backward and closes his eyes tightly. “Why, Aria? Why? Why?”
“I don’t know,” I murmur softly, taking a seat by his feet.
“Life hates me,” he spits out bitterly.
“Don’t say that. Things will get better. I know Sophie. She’s going to come to her senses and run away screaming from James. I’ll bet you anything.”
“You’re not too bad, Fields.”
“Ah, ah, ah. Not so fast.” I grin deviously and tug on Jett’s hand.
“You’re sitting with me tonight,” I inform him, pulling him over to the Ravenclaw table.
“Er - okay.”
“Aw, look at the little love birds,” Louis coos as we sit down at the table. Albus cuffs him on the head. Thanks, Al. I knew that I liked you for a reason.
“Hey!” Jett exclaims brightly, staring at something on the other side of the room. “Look at Rose and Scorpius! Looks like they’re finally together!”
I don’t know if together is the right word for it. Basically, anytime Jett and I are around, Rose marches up to Scorpius and sucks his face off. The poor guy’s probably very confused right now.
“Hey, Aria,” Aiden sighs and plops down next to me.
“Hey,” I respond, slightly confused. Aiden never sits with us. He always sits down at the other end of the table with some of the seventh years.
“Mind if I eat here?”
“No. But why aren’t you at your usual spot?”
“Take a look,” he says, nodding down the table.
I peer curiously around him. Oh Merlin. James and Sophie. Together. Down the table. Kissing.
“Oh,” I breathe softly.
“Yeah.” He grimaces and glares at a pile of carrots.
“What are you looking at?” Jett inquires at my ear, leaning over to stare down the table as well.
“Is that... James? With Sophie? Good for him.” He stands up and waves towards the pair of them. “OI! MATE!”
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no,” I whisper frantically under my breath. He apparently doesn’t hear me.
“James! Come sit with us!” Jett yells happily down the table.
What. An. Idiot.
James pulls away from Sophie’s face - ew - and says something to her. She nods and the pair of them stand up and work their way down the table to us.
“Hey, all,” James says with his hand wrapped protectively around Sophie’s waist.
I whip my head over to Jett and whisper, “I am going to kill you.”
“Why?” he whispers back.
I jerk my head towards Aiden, who looks absolutely murderous. His hand curls around his fork tightly, white knuckles showing.
“Oh,” Jett says.
“You know what?” Aiden announces loudly, “I’m really not that hungry.” He throws his fork down on the table, stands up, and walks out of the Great Hall. At least he didn’t stab James.
James shrugs. “In that case, I’ll take his seat.”
He sits down next to me, pulling Sophie down with him. She giggles, gives me a short wave, and the two of them go back to kissing.
Erm, yeah. This is kind of uncomfortable. James’s back is pressed up against my side as he does... that with Sophie. Jett clears his throat loudly. Louis coughs awkwardly. Albus looks like he’s going to be sick.
I have no clue what to do with myself.
Merlin, this is more disturbing than watching Rose and Scorpius. Ick.
I glance over at Jett, who has averted his eyes to the ceiling. I nudge him in the side, mouth ‘kitchen,’ and he nods slightly.
Jett clears his throat uncomfortably again as the pair of us stand up and announces, “Yeah, so we’re going to the kitchen,” and then mumbles something about a lack of food variety.
Albus and Louis stare at us in horror. “Don’t leave us here,” Al moans. “We’ll behave, we promise! Aria! Jett! Come back!”
As soon as we make it out of the Great Hall, Jett makes a retching noise. “Merlin, that was -”
“- disgusting.” I finish for him.
“That should never ever be seen! Especially at the dinner table!”
“My eyes will never be the same!”
He sighs and reaches out for my hand, holding gently onto my finger tips as we work our way towards the kitchen. “I didn’t even know he was into her,” he comments after a brief silence.
“He’s not,” I say flatly.
“What?” Jett has stopped walking and turns to face me.
“He’s not. He told me.”
“But - he’s - you know - dating her,” he splutters out. “He is dating her, right?”
I shrug and pull us back to walking. “I guess. At least, I hope he is. I told him flat out that he better be dating her after I caught them in the hallway.”
“You caught them in the hallway?”
“Yeah. And I knew that he didn’t think of her in that way, so I sort of...”
“Lost it?” Jett suggests, glancing down at me.
“That’s probably a bit of an understatement. I believe I called him a manipulative bastard who doesn’t give a damn about anyone except for himself.”
“He deserved it.”
Jett nods slightly. “James can be a real git sometimes.”
“I don’t know - it’s just that Sophie likes him a lot. Like, she’s practically in love with him. And I know for a fact that James doesn’t care about her at all. Then you’ve got Aiden... This is so screwed up.” I shove my fingers back through my hair in frustration, yanking my hand out of Jett’s.
“Yeah, well, that’s life. Sometimes people just need a little bit of time to sort things out on their own.” He glances down at me serenely and proceeds to tickle the pear on the portrait.
“When did you become so wise?” I ask in wonderment.
“Always have been, love.” He flashes a cheeky grin at me and pulls open the door to the kitchen.
“Oh, Merlin,” I breathe softly as we enter.
“Wha - oh.” Jett’s eyes fly open as he spots the same thing I have.
Connor and Dom, sitting cozily in a corner, enjoying a dinner together, and laughing hysterically. “Ar - ia,” Dom manages to choke out through fits of laughter.
Connor turns around and, upon spying Jett and I, gives us a grin and a wave. “Hullo,” he says calmly.
“Oh, God, I’m so sorry,” I blurt out, grabbing Jett’s arm to pull him out of the kitchen. “I didn’t know that you two were having a date together - I - God - let’s go.”
“It’s okay, guys,” Dom says.
“Yeah, seriously,” adds Connor. “Not a big deal. Come join us.”
“Um, no, that’s actually quite okay. We’ll just be going. Enjoy your date!” I call over my shoulder, dragging Jett out of the kitchen.
“What? No - no, no, no, Aria, no. Let’s go back in, I want food -”
“Jett. Stop. We are not barging in on Dom and Connor’s first date. I don’t care if you want food.”
“But,” he widens those gorgeous grey eyes of his, “I’m hungry.”
Damn him and his stupid eyes.
Must. Resist. GAH.
“No,” I say decisively, shaking my head. “No. And stop looking at me like that.” I cringe away slightly from him.
“Like what?” he asks innocently, widening his eyes even more.
“You know what! Please, just - ARGH!”
“But Ary, I’m so hungry,” he whimpers pathetically.
“You - ugh. You drive me crazy, you know that?”
He breaks into a grin suddenly. “I know.”
“Fine, we’ll go eat,” I consent.
“Great!” He makes a motion to tickle the pear again, but I reach out and grab his hand.
“Uh-uh. We’re going back to the Great Hall. We are not crashing their date.”
“But it’s so far away,” he whines. “And James and Sophie are doing stuff.”
“Oh, come on. Man up, Tiberius,” I tease, tugging on his hand as we begin our trek.
“Would you stop with the bloody Tiberius already?”
“You’re going to be the death of me, I swear. This cannot be good for my blood pressure.”
“Blah, blah, blah. Do you ever stop complaining?”
I smirk. This is too easy. It’s so much fun to make him pretend mad. He acts like he’s all angry, but he can’t hide his smile. It’s so adorable. Everything about him is adorable. He’s adorable.
You know, if I had to sum up Jett in one word, it would be ‘adorable.’ In fact, he’s so adorable that I think I’ll tell him just that.
“You’re so adorable,” I inform him as I slow my walk to a stop.
He stops as well and turns to face me. “Adorable?” he asks blankly.
“Yes. You are adorable.”
“No! I’m not bloody adorable!”
“Yes, you are.”
“You do realize that blokes do not want to be called adorable, don’t you?”
“But you are.”
“No! I’m sexy, not adorable.”
“Nope. I’m pretty sure that you’re adorable.”
“Yeah? Well you’re adorable,” he shoots back like it’s an insult.
“Aw, thank you, Jett. How sweet of you to say.” I smile angelically at him, watching as he struggles not to laugh.
“You - argh!”
I burst out into laughter at the convoluted look of annoyance and glee that crosses his face. He mutters something about blood pressure again and we resume our walk back up towards the Great Hall.
As we round a bend in the hallway, we immediately launch into another round of disgusted moans in perfect unison (we’re so in sync like that). Because, yup, there’s Sophie, pressed up against a wall, and James, you know, kind of playing tonsil hockey with her.
“Make it stop, Aria,” Jett wails, watching the two of them with a look of pure horror on his face.
James whips around and rolls his eyes. “What, like you two don’t snog?”
“Erm, not like that,” Jett says uncomfortably.
“And definitely not a day after we started dating,” I add as an afterthought.
“Well, aren’t you just so high and mighty,” James spits out bitterly.
“Hey - mate. Let’s just chill, all right? No more fights.” Jett steps forward cautiously, raising his hands in surrender. “I’m just saying that you two might want to take it down a notch. No need to get defensive.”
“Okay, well as fun as this is, we should probably get started on that Muggle Studies essay, right, Aria?” Sophie asks, staring intently at me.
“Er - yeah!” I exclaim, dashing forward to grab her hand and pull her off towards Ravenclaw Tower.
“What Muggle Studies essay? Do you know what they’re talking about?” I hear James’s voice float down the corridor after us as we make our escape.
As soon as we’re out of earshot, I whip my head around and glare at Sophie. “Didn’t we have a chat about this before? Didn’t I tell you to stay away from him? Didn’t I -”
I shut my mouth quickly, taking in the fierce expression on her face. Her eyes are bright, cheeks rosy, and hair a mess. “I was going to tell him no. I was,” she restates, glancing at my doubtful expression. “Trust me. I truly was going to end it. But we had a chat and he explained things to me. He told me how he was trying to move on from this other girl, how he genuinely enjoys my company, how spending time with me is so second nature.”
“And yeah, he told me that he does have feelings for this other girl still, and probably will for a while, but he’s willing to give it a shot with me because he thinks maybe this will work out. And you know what? I’m fine with that. Because I’ve been waiting for three years - three years, Aria - for this moment. And I know that he’s probably going to end up dumping me in a few weeks, but right now, I don’t care. This is what I want. It’s for the best anyway. I just need to get him out of my system.”
I stare at her in blank shock for a few moments. “He - he really said those things?”
“Yes. And I believe every word. Because despite what you may think of him, James is a good guy. He’s being honest with me straight-up, and I appreciate that. I get the fact that he’s using me to get over this girl - trust me, I get it - but I really don’t care. Like I said, this is what I want.”
“But what about Aiden?” I ask in a small voice.
“What about him?”
“He really, really likes you, Sophie.”
“And I really, really like James.”
I’m clearly not going to get anywhere with her on this one. She’s not budging, no matter what I say, no matter how much Aiden cares about her. “Fine. Do what you want. But give James a message for me, will you? Tell him that I’m still pissed off and our short-lived friendship is over, all right?”
She nods solemnly as we come to a halt outside of Ravenclaw Tower. “If that’s the way you feel, I’ll tell him. But as far as anything else goes, I’m just going to keep out of this one. This is between you two, not me.”
“I understand. Just be careful, all right? Don’t get too invested in him,” I warn as I reach out for the eagle knocker.
“Don’t worry about me. I know how to take care of myself. I guess I should go, though. Have to find James...” She trails off into a sigh and watches as I swing the knocker back and forth.
“But what about our Muggle Studies essay?” I grin slyly at her.
“You know, I forgot that we already wrote it.” She smiles softly at me and proceeds to pad gently away.
The eagle spouts its mouth and rattles off the riddle. “What always runs but never walks, often murmurs, never talks, has a bed but never sleeps, has a mouth but never eats?”
“It’s a river,” Sophie calls back over her shoulder.
The door creaks open and I step into the common room, collapsing into an armchair almost immediately. Today has been very... draining.
I feel my eyes start to droop as the minutes pass, the warmth of the fire and chatter of conversations lulling me into a state of serenity. Ah, yes. Sleepy time.
A figure plops down in the armchair to my right and (of course) feels the need to start a conversation with the girl who looks like she’s about ready to pass out. “So, I see you’ve got the Quidditch practice schedule up.”
“Yeah? What’s it to you?” I mutter resentfully as sleep continues to elude me.
“Well, seeing as I'm on the team and all...” I peek my eyes open at this statement and find myself staring at Alex Harrison, his blonde hair and and green eyes glinting in the glow of the fire.
“Say, Alex. Maybe you can help me out a bit. Do you think you could tell me the general strengths and weaknesses of our players?”
Alex snorts at this. “Hell if I know.”
“Great. You are so helpful.”
“No need to get sarcastic on me. Listen, if you want to work out some strategies, here’s what you should do. Read the book Quidditch Through the Ages. Our captain last year practically worshiped the thing.”
“Quidditch Through the Ages?” I frown, trying to remember if I’ve ever heard of it before.
“Yup. See, everyone nowadays uses all the fancy new techniques that the pros developed. No one ever thinks to use the older stuff - except for us.”
“Ah, I see. That’s actually a pretty good idea. Would you happen to have a copy of this book?”
Alex shakes his head quickly, hair flopping all over the place. “No, but there’s a copy down in the library.”
“The library?” I moan, resting my head against the back of the chair. “That’s so far away. I don’t want to go all the way back down there.”
“Fine. Whatever. But I thought you wanted to be prepared for our first practice tomorrow.”
“Oh, Snidget. We’ve got our first practice tomorrow. Ugh. I guess I’ve got to go get that book then.”
“Yeah, you probably should.”
I groan and pull myself out of the armchair before exiting the common room regretfully. All I want is a little bit of time to myself. No drama, no Quidditch, no nothing - just me and my sleep. Is that really so much to ask for, Wizard God?
“Oi! Aria!” James’s voice echoes down the corridor towards me.
Wizard God, I hate you. I truly do. Just thought you should know.
“ARGH! What now?” I demand, spinning around to face his approaching figure.
“You’re mad at me? Our friendship is over?” he yells.
“Yes, now buzz off.” I make a swatting motion with my hand as he approaches, then turn away and resume my walk towards the library.
Apparently, James does not agree with this, as he grabs my arm forcefully and spins me around to face him again.
“Why?” He stares at me intensely, all traces of anger gone from his face.
“You know exactly why,” I spit out, shaking my arm out of his grasp. “James, there’s a whole lot of things that I will forgive, but I just can’t take a liar.”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“Sophie,” I state simply.
“I didn’t lie to her, Aria! I told her everything - I was completely honest with her!” His voice rises with anger again and I find myself flinching at his tone.
“But you are lying to her! Do you honestly believe that it’s going to go anywhere? Look me in the eyes and tell me you believe that.”
“I - I,” he breathes in slowly, closes his eyes, and leans his back heavily against the wall. “I can’t.”
“Exactly,” I murmur softly, watching him sink slowly to the ground.
His eyes flicker open again. “I tried to be honest, Aria. I truly did. But I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t tell her that this is going nowhere, it would have crushed her. And I actually do like her - I like her a lot.”
“But as a friend.” I finish his thought and take a seat next to him on the floor.
“But as a friend,” he repeats lamely. “I just - it’s hard, you know? I really need someone right now.”
“You have lots of friends, James. And lots of family, for that matter,” I say, laughing at the thought of all of the Wotters.
“Yeah, I know.” He grins, apparently conjuring up the same mental image. “But this isn’t something I can talk to Jett or Al about. It’s something - I dunno. Sophie just - she listens to me. She actually listens to me. We talk a lot, her and me, and she gets me. She understands what I’m trying to say, even when I can’t say it.”
“Really? Because you two don’t seem to do a whole lot of talking.” I grimace slightly at the thought.
“Heh. Yeah.” He blushes slightly and glances down at his hands. “We do talk, though. A lot. I’m just not big on PDE.”
“Public displays of emotion.”
“I have never heard of that in my life.”
“I - oh, hell - I have trouble letting people see what I’m feeling. I cover it up and I never talk about it when I’m out in the open because -” He takes in a deep breath and looks up at me again. “Because it makes me feel vulnerable.”
“You’re being pretty open right now,” I murmur.
“With you it’s different. I dunno why. It’s just... It’s not exactly easy, but...”
“You don’t have to put up walls around me. You don’t... you don’t always need to cause a commotion just to hide. I’m not going to judge you.”
“I don’t cause commotions, love. I am one,” James says jokingly. “But... thanks.” The corners of his mouth turn up slightly into a half-smile, eyes tracing across my face.
“Hey,” I comment absent-mindedly, “you have flecks of green in your eyes. I never noticed before.”
“Well, yeah. I mean hazel eyes are a mixture of brown and green.”
“No, I mean green. Green like Al’s.”
He chuckles at this. “Yeah, Al got the good eyes, didn’t he? He has my dad’s eyes - and my grandmum’s, for that matter.”
“Aw, how cute! It’s like a little family bonding thing!”
James snorts and runs his fingers through his hair. “I, on the other hand, take after my namesake in more ways than one.”
“My dad’s dad - James the first. Apparently I inherited both his knack for mischief and his hazel eyes.”
“But with your grandma’s green.”
“Yeah. I never thought about that before,” he says slowly. “I guess I got a little bit of both James and Lily... which makes me totally cooler than Al.”
I laugh softly and watch as his green flecks dance in the light. “Well I inherited my eyes from my dad. From my mom too, I guess. She’s got blue eyes as well.”
“No, they’re definitely from your dad. They’re his distinctive hue - aquamarine,” he decides.
“How do you know my dad’s eye hue?” I ask, raising an eyebrow.
“He’s my favorite Chaser,” James states with a shrug. “Merlin, I would die if I could meet him...”
“I think that can be arranged. I have connections,” I smile as his face brightens into a look of pure ecstasy. “But anyway, my genetics pretty much gave me no options. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed parents equal blonde-haired, blue-eyed kid. Recessive, recessive,” I say, pointing to my eyes and hair, respectively.
“Dominant.” James grins and points to his black hair. “Courtesy of James the first.”
I burst out into laughter at the sight of him, pointing goofily at the mess of hair on top of his head.
“You and Al both got that one.” I let my eyes drop back down to his face, searching it softly.
“Yup. Thanks, James,” he says, glancing upwards quickly.
“I like Al’s eyes,” I comment dreamily.
His gaze lowers again so that his eyes match mine. There’s a brief pause as our eyes lock, studying each other intently.
“I like your eyes,” I whisper.
I feel my pulse quicken as he continues to stare at me silently. My breaths come faster, filling my pounding chest.
Everything is silent. For a moment, time is suspended. The whole world fills with electricity - I can feel it pounding in my veins, spreading through my body, matching the beating of my heart.
This isn’t right. He’s too close to me; everything’s too close, everything’s spinning.
Pounding, that incessant beat, rapid breathing, electricity, James -
And then suddenly he’s even closer, face right next to mine, an inch apart, electricity, pounding -
“I have to go.” I spring up as fast as I can, tripping slightly as the world around me flattens out again.
“Aria!” James scrambles to his feet as well, running after me as I breathlessly sprint away from him. “Aria!”
His hand catches mine, pulling me to a stop and whirling my body around. All I can look at is his hand wrapped around mine - oh, Merlin -
“I’m sorry,” he murmurs. “I’m sorry that I tried to kiss you.”
“I - I -” My eyes are still glued to our hands; I can’t even bring myself to look at him. “I can’t, James. I - I just - I can’t.”
I whip around as fast as I can, but not fast enough to miss the look of pure heartbreak written all over his face.
A/N: Oh, boy. Was that intense or what? Ah! I don’t even know what just happened and I wrote it! Give me some feedback, people. Like? Not like? Who really wants to scream at Aria right now? Who really wants to scream at Sophie and James? Who really wants to scream at all three of them? Argh. There’s lots of screaming going on, folks.
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