It was my seventh year, the first Thursday of February. In two days there was going to be a Hogsmeade trip, and I was only moments away from asking Lily Evans to go with me. Currently I was sitting in one of the chintzy, scarlet armchairs, reflecting on what I was about to do.
I had a horrible success rate with asking Lily out, and at this point I was out of practice. The last time I asked her out was during the third month of our sixth year.
“Please, James,” she had said, her voice full of exhaustion more than frustration, “don’t ask me again.”
I knew Evans meant business when she called me James. But she isn’t Evans anymore, she’s Lily. She’s my co-Head and one of my best friends. Now that I had grown close to her, I had even more to lose from asking her out.
How could I wake up in the morning knowing that I ruined the relationship we had built? But I had to take the chance. It was torturous to be so close to her and not have the relationship I so desperately wanted, the relationship I recently started to think she might want as well.
She was laughing at my jokes, and not just my jokes, but at almost everything I said. She didn’t even laugh though, she giggled. Lily Evans giggled at almost everything I said to her. She didn’t walk on the other side of the hallway when we did our rounds anymore either. In fact, during our last patrol half of our time was spent apologizing for brushing up against one another as we walked.
And we spent more time together than just our Head duties. We studied together; she would help me with Potions while I helped her with Transfiguration. When we took breaks from our schoolwork she opened up to me about her life. I started to understand her old friendship with Snape, her strained relationship with her sister Petunia, and her worries about her aging parents--a worry I could relate to.
She found out about my elderly parents, my unique friendship with Sirius, and my boring but happy, protected childhood. I even started to explain Quidditch to her. She promised me that I could take her flying in the spring once the weather was nice.
But would she?
Would she still want to hang out with me once I asked her out again? Once I asked her out for the last time? Because, being honest with myself, I knew that this was all or nothing. If she said no this time, I would never ask again, and everything would be different.
I’d still see her, and our Head duties would force us to spend time together, but everything that we had gained over the course of this year would be gone. She wouldn’t trust me with anything personal, and we couldn’t be friends anymore--things would be too awkward.
I was horrified of ending up like Snape: rejected and alone. If I had to spend my life without looking into Lily’s emerald eyes I’m not sure what I would do. I can’t even imagine it. That’s why I made the Marauders leave Snape alone now--his loss was my biggest fear.
It was time to face that fear.
The portrait hole opened and Lily climbed into the Common room after her friend Marlene. Lily’s red hair caught my attention, and I approached the pair of girls, mentally cursing the fact that girls never seemed to be alone.
“Errr...” I started awkwardly, sweat beginning to bead on my forehead.
“Hi James,” Lily said, smiling softly, almost as if she was teasing me.
“Hey Lily, do you think I could talk to you alone for a second?” I managed to get out, my voice noticeably shaking.
“Sure,” she said, Marlene now scampering away, smiling like a loon. “Did you want something.”
I gulped; loudly enough for Lily to chuckle at my discomfort. Why was this so difficult? “Lily, I was hoping that you would like to go to Hogsmeade with me.” My heart began racing as I waited for her response.
“As a date?” she asked, uncertainty evident in her voice.
“Yes,” I said, not backing down now that I had gotten this far.
“I’d love to.”
“What?” I say in shocked surprise, my eyes about to fall from my head.
“Yes?” I ask before I can stop myself, a smile spreading across my lips onto my entire face.
“Yes,” she confirmed, returning my grin with a shy smile of her own.