"Padfoot, will you please quit that pacing? You're distracting me from my Ancient Ruins essay," Remus asked with a hint of exasperation in his voice.
"I nearly told her today in Potions, Moony. I can't do this to someone! I can't go meet her and tell her that my mate Prongs is a stupid, bigheaded twit who made a prior engagement! I'll have to tell her the truth, you know. WHY did he drag me into this!" I rambled on. It was clear to me at least, that Norah had feelings for James, even if he was too blind to see that for himself.
"Lay off it, mate. She will take it fine. Now you better prepare yourself, its already 7:30," James noted, tapping his watch carelessly. "Besides, we both know you're in the middle of coming up with a brilliant Slytherin prank now, don't we?"
I broke into a grin. "Prongs, you've no idea what I have in store for them. It's going to be incredibly entertaining," I began excitedly.
"Well, get a move on! The only way I'm buying all the Zonko's products required to execute your genius prank is if you do this one little thing for me," James coaxed, reminding me of tonight's task at hand. I sighed, relenting at last. I mean, it wasn't every day that James would just blindly follow my lead on the next prank. AND supply all the materials I asked for, no questions asked. This was not something I could easily pass up.
After spending three hours curling my hair into beachy waves, I was finally ready to meet James. It was five minutes to 8:00, the perfect time to go wait in the common room. Being late was something I was not fond of; in fact it was a borderline irrational fear. I sat on the end of a couch and watched the seconds tick by on the large clock above the fireplace.
Suddenly, I heard a step and I instinctively turned my head to the source, expecting to see James. Unfortunately, it was only Sirius and I returned to my previous position, essentially ignoring him.
"Er-hi. Blanchard," he began; a nervous quality in his voice. Really now, I honestly didn't have time for this. Didn't he realize that in a few moments, James would descend the stairs and I had to be mentally prepared? Evidently not.
'Black, I'm a bit short for time at the moment. Talk to me next potions lesson.' I replied quickly, wanting to get rid of him as fast as possible.
A sheepish grin planted itself on his face. "Right. Well. Here's the thing. Pron- I mean, James isn't. Coming. Tonight."
An unsettling feeling came over me. If I spoke, surely I would have stuttered. 'Why not?' I inquired, refusing to acknowledge the wet pools forming in my eyes.
"Er. Well. He had a..prior engagement!" Sirius initially claimed with a satisfied grin. A moment later, he collapsed on the couch beside me as he exhaled "Oh bugger. I can't lie about something like this. Look, the truth is that James is a twat and he meant to send that letter to Lily." Sirius admitted, screwing up his handsome face to brace himself for my reaction.
I was speechlessly frozen in time. Alice was right all along! I was a fool. A fool who believed for one second, that James Potter actually liked me. I actually believed that he chose me over Lily! Embarrassed at myself, I stood up and ran for the girls dormitories as the tears began to fall. I had nothing more to say to Sirius. His call after me had no effect; the sight of him reminding me of my clearly idiotic desire.
I ran to my bed, no caring whether mascara stained the sheets. Right now the only thing that mattered was the torturous pain that ripped through my heart.
"What happened?" It was Lily, the last person in the world I felt like talking to. Brilliant.
'Go. Away.' I ordered menacingly.
"Not before I say a few things." She persisted. I turned to face her, my face blotchy from the salty tears. "If I had to guess, I'd say that James didn't show tonight, and I think that he was a complete arse if that is in fact what happened. You can do so much better than that toerag. And secondly..look I know it's been years since we've spoken cordially, but I've got to say that I miss you Norah. I miss being your friend and I miss the days in first year where we'd stay up late and talk; well I suppose I was doing the talking-"
It was exactly what I needed to hear. I stopped her mid sentence and gave her a hug. Even though we hadn't really gotten along the last six years, I had to admit that I missed her just as much as she missed me. Not to mention that at the moment, I would take any friend I could get. I blew my nose obnoxiously and sat beside Lily on her bed. After I had calmed down a little, I finally worked up the nerve to ask her the dreaded question.
'Do you have feelings for James. I need the truth.' I phrased it as a statement as opposed to a question. As if I already knew the truth.
Lily looked away, ashamed. "Yes. But it's not something I can just accept now after six years of turning him down! Besides, there's no way I'm going out with him anytime soon after this little stunt he's pulled," she said, putting a comforting arm around me. As time passed, I explained the details of what actually happened and how the note was originally meant for her, not me. Long into the early hours of the morning we discussed James and his ego. I felt a renewed sense of closeness with Lily, and I was glad to have her on my side again.
By morning, I was feeling much better. It was as if I had rubbed my eyes and suddenly seen the world in a new light entirely. James, while still attractive had an obvious fault for arrogance. That much was now clear to me. The way he taunted Snape in fifth year especially, was just despicable. I constantly found myself wondering how I could possibly have ignored all this for the past six years. By the end of the week, I was almost grateful for the non-event with James. After all, I had gained Lily as a friend again and that meant Alice as well. The two of them were more or less a package deal.
"So Norah, any plans for today's Hogsmead visit?" Alice asked, slicing up her eggs.
'Not really. I haven't gone to Hogsmead since my first trip in third year,' I casually replied.
Lily's fork fell from her hand and hit her plate with a loud echoing clang. "WHAT! You don't mean to tell me that you haven't been to Hogsmead in over three years?!" she shrieked at me.
I cowered in response; in one short instant Lily had brought the entire current population of the Great Hall to my predicament. 'Um...yes?' I phrased, hoping yes was in fact the correct answer.
Further down the table, Sirius Black snapped to attention. "Well, we can't have that now can we!" he merrily added, loping towards us. "We can show you all the shops! I bet you don't even remember what they look like!" Sirius announced, placing a warm hand on my shoulder. It was clear to me that he still felt significantly responsible for the whole James debacle, and wanted to make it up to me.
"Great idea," Lily jumped in excitedly. "Shall we meet you all outside here in an hour or so then?" It was acknowledged by all of us that by 'you all', Lily was clearly referring to all of the Marauders. If you wanted one, you got them all.
"See you then," Sirius grinned at us before taking his leave. A moment later however, he steered around. "Hang on, why is it that you haven't been to Hogsmead for so many years now?" he gazed at me, a questioning look in his dark eyes.
I averted my eyes uncomfortably. 'To be honest,..I had no one to go with,' I explained, my cheeks going red with embarrassment.
Fortunately, Alice saved us all from premature death by awkward pause. You would think that I'd be used to this kind of thing happening to me by now, sadly no. "Bye, Sirius!" She encouraged him on to leave, a fake toothy smile on her face. "Wow, guys! Don't you just love awkward moments like that?" Leave it to Alice to break the tension. Lily and I broke out tentative smiles. Excited that I was finally going to Hogsmead with a group of acquaintances if not friends, I told Lily and Alice I was going to head back to the dorm to get ready.