Chapter 4 : Conversations
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For the next hour they practiced the basic steps, progressing to performing them on the right counts and then finally to music. When the music started playing that when things really went to pot. People were bumping into each other all over the place because they were on the wrong foot and Lily had accidently stepped on James’ feet more times than she care too. She was so embarrassed. Surprisingly, he didn’t tease her about him. Instead he reassured he that he’d be fine and laughed it off.
“I swear, I’ll be better next time,” Lily apologized for the last time. She ran her hand through her messy ponytail. He grinned.
“Don’t sweat about it. No one said it’d be easy Lily.”
“I know. But I’m just used to…” she stopped herself not wanting to sound conceited.
“Being the best at everything?” he finished for her. His hazel eyes were alight with merriment.
“S’ok. We all have our strength and weaknesses. I’m not such good at this kind thing either. I thought I would be, cos of Quidditch and everything but apparently not.” He said easily.
“And you accept that? So easily?” she was amazing. She had a tough time accepting herself for not being good at things. That was her thing, to be good at stuff. And to see Lea picking up so quickly had made her feel anxious.
“Well yeah. I mean, we all have things we rule at, and things we don’t. If we were good at everything, what fun would it be to learn stuff? What’s more important is to learn to accept ourselves for what we are, flaws and all. I mean, people are made to be imperfect. It’s in God’s law.”
Lily just stared at him. “What?” he asked embarrassed.
“Ok don’t be offended but I didn’t think you had this much…depth to you.”
James pushed his glasses up his nose and shook his head good-naturedly. “Nah, it’s ok. I know a lot of people think I’m just this typical Quidditch obsessed jock who surfs through schoolwork and blahblahblah. It’s fine really.”
Impressed with his candidness, Lily found a part of her softening for him. Little did she know that part of her would never be able to harden towards him again.
“Wow. Sometimes you really surprise me James.”
“I hope that’s a compliment!”
“It is,” Lily smiled at him and his mouth curved up. For a moment they looked at each other and then it was broken by Lea swinging an arm around her mate.
“Eww get off me you dirty girl.”
“You love it when I’m all dirty,” Lea replied off handedly. Sirius who had joined them raised his eyebrows at the mental image and then James nudged him.
“You’re all sweaty and gross.”
“A sign of a good night’s work.”
“You looked like you got the hang of things fast,”
“Kind of. You just move to the left, to the right and then rock back forth. That’s the easy part.”
“I’m sure. I mean, dancing is also about improvisation and such. I’m pretty sure they’re going to make us learn some tricks and such to add to the basic gist of it. Otherwise why would they make us go through eight weeks of dancing?”
“It’ll get easier. Just keep practicing. Dancing is like magic. The more you practice, the better you’ll get.”
“Sure. Says you.”
“Relax Lily. Even we need to get our head out of the books more often than not.”
“Speaking of which, there’s a Hogsmeade trip next weekend. We can look at dresses for the Winter formal.”
Lea groaned. She hated dress shopping. “Wow transitioning is definitely not one of your strong points. And I hate dress shopping.”
“Exactly. The sooner you get it the faster it’ll be over and you’ll have more choices.”
“Screw it Lils. They’ll be other hogsmeade trips for dress shopping. Besides, what if I have a date next weekend?”
Lily snorted. “You won’t. You haven’t gone out with anyone since the Halloween Ball.”
“Which was two weeks ago!”
“You didn’t even really attend the ball with said date. You were so busy dancing with other guys!”
“Well this is why I prefer going stag to dances. I don’t like feeling obligated to someone.”
“Yes, and I’m sure Caradoc was very pleased with you at the end of the ball.”
“I made it up to him afterwards,”
“Yeah I’m sure you did,” Lily muttered. The group had reached the Fat Lady and she said loudly “Devil’s Snare” which allowed them to get in.
“Well Lily, since when was the last time you had a date or a boyfriend for that matter?” Lea challenged.
“…I don’t know. I think my last fling was during the summer. Some boy in my neighborhood.” Lily admitted sheepishly.
“Exactly. So don’t get on my case. And I choose not to have boyfriends for that matter.” Lea replied confidently.
“Oh yeah, why’s that?” James asked interestedly.
“I’m selfish.” She replied in a matter of fact voice. “ The very idea of having to reconstruct your day to fold in another person into your life or be obligated to do stuff…is just not my thing. I want to do things with my life.”
James looked at her confused. Lily explained, “She wants to be a Healer. It’s her ticket into the Wizarding Armed Forces since they don’t allow females to serve as soldiers yet.”
“Why would you want to go into the Army?” Sirius asked wrinkling his nose.
“To travel the world, to do something for my country, to save lives. I don’t know. I just want to be apart of something.”
“That being said, you don’t do boyfriends right?” James said giving Sirius a sideways glance. He scowled at him.
“Yeah. I’m a serial dater. Nothing exclusive.”
“Man Fabian really messed you up,” Lily said absently. Lea shot her a look. “He didn’t mess me up. He just proved to me that boyfriends aren’t really my thing at the moment.”
“No, you do other things instead.” Lily muttered as she started for the staircase leading up to their dorm. Lea tossed her head at that comment and followed her.
Sirius and James were left slightly stunned at that parting piece of information. Silence fell over the pair.
James cleared his throat. “Huh. I wonder what other things she does.”
“You and me both mate. You and me both.” Sirius replied still staring after the staircase.
The week passed by alarming fast for both respected parties. Sirius found himself downright exhausted on Friday morning. In addition to the mandatory dance lessons he now had to attend, he still had Qudditch practice three times a week as well. Wednesday had kicked his butt to the moon and back because he had practice right after his last lesson which had ended at 7 and then dance lessons at 8. Needless to say he went straight to bed after the lessons, saying homework could suck it.
Friday morning he ambled down the stairs towards the Great Hall wincing slightly at the soreness of his body. James had been pushing them wicked hard at practice for the upcoming match against Hufflepuff. Usually the Hufflepuffs were jokes on the field, but for the last two years, they had surprisingly scrounged up a very good team. And James wanted to win the Cup this year since it was their last year.
Do or die, he had said. This year, we do it, or we die trying to do it. Losing is not an option.
Truth be told, Sirius would rather be dead right about now. It seemed like every part of his body was screaming at him for doing too much exercise.
“Ow ow ow ow ow ow!” He gritted his teeth as his eased onto the bench.
Remus raised his eyebrows and bit into his toast. “What’s got your knickers in a twist Padfoot?”
“Practice and dance lessons. I swear to God, I feel like James ought to have German subtitles under him. The way he’s pushing us….”
“You want to win don’t you?!” an indignant voice asked.
“Well if isn’t il duce himself…” Sirius dryly commented. He glared at James.
“This year the Cup is ours. And I’ll break every bone in your body if I have to in order to get it!”
“You and your Quidditch. You’re such a fanatic for Merlin’s sake.” Remus muttered irritated.
“It’s the greatest sport in the world!”
“Oh God, please don’t tell me we’re hearing this argument for the one hundredth time?” a voice groaned.
Lily appeared with Lea closely behind. Both girls flashed Remus a smile and took a seat next to him. Feeling his mood uplifted, he returned their pleasantries. James huffed in annoyance and took a seat.
“So what got this argument nearly started again?” she asked helping herself to some tea. Lea in turn had started peeling an orange and James passed her a plateful of scrambled eggs.
“Sirius here was complaining about a little soreness cos of practice.” He snorted.
“A little soreness?! Mate, I’m so sore that I can’t move without feeling like I’m on fire!” Sirius protested indignantly.
“So why don’t you get a massage? I’m sure one of your very loyal fanclub girls would be more than happy to give you one,” Lily pointed out in a dry voice.
James and Remus chortled at this and Sirius glared at her. “What? I’m serious. Massages do wonders!”
“Oh yeah how would you know?”
“One time Lea convinced me to go on a run with her and I barely made 3 kilometers before falling to the ground. I was so sore the next day that I could hardly move. She gave me a massage my god it was amazing.”
Remus raised his eyebrows and James had a hard time shaking the mental image of Lea massaging Lily out of his head. Lily appeared to have read his mind. “Oh get your mind out of the gutter. I was fully clothed.”
Slightly crestfallen James returned to his breakfast. She shook her head in disbelief. Sirius turned his gaze on Lea who had so far remained silent in the entire exchange. He grinned wolfishly at her. “So you wanna be nice and massage me?”
One carefully plucked eyebrow rose. “I wouldn’t massage you even if my life depended on it,” she replied coolly.
His mates stifled laughs. The Great Sirius Black being shot down. Again.
“A nice hot bath works well too,” Lily pointed out unnecessarily.
An entertaining image of Lea and him in a bath caused Sirius to brush off her recent statement. “Ok so join me in a hot bath. I’ll be nice. I promise. I’ll even wash your hair for you.”
This proposition was met with a glassful of orange juice being thrown in Sirius’s face.
Sputtering, he swiped at his hair plastered to his face. “Goddamnit Lea!”
Laughing, Lily passed him a handful of napkins. Lea tossed him a withering stare that said more than any insult would. She got up and stomped off.
“Dude. Just give it up. Your “usual” charm isn’t going to work on the chick.” James shook his head.
“There’s something wrong with her!”
“No, there’s something very wrong with you. Girls aren’t make out playthings Sirius,” Remus reprimanded him. “Not all girls are into that kind of sexual innuendo being thrown at the all the time.”
“What is she, a NUN? She’s seventeen years old for Chrissake!”
“Yeah well not all seventeen years olds are as horny as you!”
“Correction, no one is horny as him,” James chimed in.
“Then she’s not normal!”
Peter rolled his eyes. “C’mon Padfoot. It just galls your male ego that for once, a girl doesn’t like you, or see’s you as a snogging partner. And that bothers you a lot because you can’t take advice or rejection well.”
The group looked at him. Sometimes they forgot he was there. He seemed to have notice this because he huffed in annoyance. “Yes, I am still here. I may not be as intelligent, or as popular or as even good looking as you guys, but hey guess what? I do actually say something worthy of consideration!”
Lily appraised him with keen eyes. She made a mental note not to ignore him as much as she did again.
Something Peter said struck a nerve in Sirius’s head. He was right. He didn’t handle rejection, or advice very well. He was used to getting what he wanted, with minimal effort, usually depending on his charm, wit or in some cases, his looks. Very rarely did he actually try for something.
“Then she’s cracked. She’s not normal,” he said petulantly.
“Oh believe me, she’s normal, she definitely gets around,” Lily snorted without thinking.
The boys looked at her with surprised faces. “Crap. Um…is there any chance that you did not hear that?”
“Whaddya mean “she gets around”?” Sirius asked hotly.
“Nothing. But let me tell you something, Lea is just as hormonal as anyone of us and she’s…very comfortable with guys.” Lily said delicately.
“Care to translate that?” James cocked a brow at her.
“She’s…just more discreet with her affairs than most of us here. She’s subtle in her approach to blokes. And that attracts them.”
Unaware that she was blabbing on her best friend about her various seduction techniques, Lily continued. “She’s very focused on what she wants mates. Always has been and cuts off distractions easily. But man, when she’s on…” she shook her head.
The boys sat in their seats contemplating this new information. They knew she was a very determined girl. It was evident in the amount of studying she did. Sirius was a bit put out at this new revelation. So she really just must not like him then, he thought grimly.
“How do you know all of this?” James asked curious. She shrugged. “I spent a couple of summers with her. She’s really into music and we’d go to a lot of punk shows and raves. We’d go out to some clubs and she just flips a switch within her and BAM! Blokes didn’t know what to say to her.”
“Wait a minute, you like punk?” James asked disbelief. Lily shook her head. “It’s fairly new. Just started a couple years back in 1972, 73. I think it’s ok. Lea loves it though. She goes all out crowd surfing, moshing in combat boots.”
The bell rang, signaling the beginning of lessons and they got up. Remus and Lily chatted about their latest Transfiguration assignment while Peter and James charmed the various busts that littered the staircases to have different facial expressions. All in a day’s work you know.
Sirius trailed behind in them lost in his own thoughts. So she dated and liked punk. This new information just fueled his desire to get her to crack and admit to like him. Sooner or later that chick was going down.
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