Another phenomenal chapter image by Apocalypse @tda
Courtney left the dorm quickly before I could reply. I hurried after her, but she was nowhere to be found. She wasn’t in my NEWT Transfiguration class, so I wouldn’t be able to talk to her. Luckily, she was in my Herbology class, which was straight after lunch.
While we were queuing up outside Professor McGonagall’s classroom, I quietly told Lisa what had happened. She seemed quite shocked at first, but then she rolled her eyes at Potter, who was trying to listen in, and whispered,
‘It’s been coming on for ages. Didn’t you see, it’s been happening since the end of fifth year. She’s been talking to him as much as possible.’
‘Who’s been doing what now?’ Black asked, sticking his nose between Lisa and I.
‘Padfoot, I don’t think it’s any of our business,’ Remus Lupin said.
‘See, the only sane person in your group,’ I snapped.
‘All right, fine.’ Black scowled at Remus and me, but slunk backwards and knocked into Gina McDowell, one of the Ravenclaws queuing up behind him.
I was distracted all through Transfiguration. I didn’t even flinch when Professor McGonagall yelled at me and took fifteen points off Gryffindor because I wasn’t concentrating.
‘Wow,’ Lisa said after class, ‘isn’t that the first time Lily Evans has lost points for Gryffindor?’
‘Shut your mouth,’ I growled, ‘before I shut it for you.’
Lisa looked at me suspiciously and so, I noticed, was Sirius Black. When I looked over at him, he bypassed red and went maroon. Lisa was eyeing us up with a knowing look in her eye.
In Care of Magical Creatures after break, I was paired up with Black to try and find as many Bowtruckles hidden among the trees as we could in an hour. Potter was paired up with Courtney, and she looked delighted. He, however, looked as though all the Christmases in the history of the world had been cancelled and someone had just died. Boy, he really didn’t like her.
I was patting a tree to see if there were any Bowtruckles hiding with the bark when Black jumped up behind me, clutching a bundle of twigs. Until they moved.
‘Yipe!’ I squeaked as one tried jumping at my face. ‘Oh, right, so you found a bunch of them?’
‘Yes, I did, my little muffin,’ Black said loudly. Potter, who was kneeling on the ground nearby, scowled at his best friend. ‘Where’s our bag?’ I handed him the fabric bag and he dropped the Bowtruckles in, one by one. After that, he put the bag on the floor by the tree and started patting the tree with me. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Courtney approach Potter, holding a couple of Bowtruckles and try to talk to him, but he looked over at me and moved away. She looked like she was going to cry.
I was so distracted with that, I didn’t notice Black edging up to me, his dark eyes glinting. He put his hand on mine, but I quickly jumped away.
‘Get lost, you dirty troll,’ I snapped. I patted the tree too hard and felt a sharp nip in my index finger. It really hurt. I drew my hand away and saw several pairs of black eyes glowering up at me. Ignoring my bleeding finger, I swiped up the Bowtruckles and put them in the bag. I took out my wand and healed my finger with a wave, then put it away and tried not to look at Courtney, who was sitting next to a tree, crying silently.
I had no chance to talk to Courtney during Herbology as we had so much to do. There was much swearing in Greenhouse Three because we had to handle the Venomous Tentacula, but apart from that, no one really said much.
After dinner, I hurried back up to the Head’s common room. Potter was there, sitting at a desk, his head bent over some parchment.
‘What’s that?’ I asked.
‘Oh, nothing. I’m just trying to work out when we should have the first Hogsmeade visit.’ Potter replied, looking up at once. He sighed, then stood up. I eyed him nervously.
‘Potter. I need to talk to you,’ I said hurriedly, beating myself up inside for what I was about to say.
‘Yes, my dear?’ he said, coming close. Too close, for my liking, so I stepped back several paces.
‘It’s about Courtney,’ I said, looking him straight in the eyes. ‘She really likes you, you know, and she was really upset when you refused to talk to her during Care of Magical Creatures.’
‘And?’ Potter said, looking annoyed.
‘I want you to take her to Hogsmeade on our first visit. OK? She’ll be really pleased.’ I said, shuffling my feet about.
‘What if I don’t want to?’ Potter said testily, raising an eyebrow. He ruffled his hair and wriggled his nose in an extremely cute way. No … I wouldn’t think about that. Right now, it was Courtney that mattered. I think.
‘For me? Please?’ I said, batting my eyelashes at him. He sighed.
‘All right. Because it’s you. But you must give me something in return.’ He had a rather knowing look in his hazel eyes. My stomach lurched.
‘Like what?’ I said, but I knew exactly what was coming.
‘A kiss. Right here, right now.’ Potter grinned at me.
‘OK then. A kiss. That’s probably the least worst thing you could have said.’ I breathed a sigh of relief. Then. I leaned forward. So did he, puckering his lips. But then I pecked his cheek and swept up the stairs to my dorm.
‘Eeeek! I’m so excited!’ Courtney squealed. She bounced down the stairs to meet Potter, who was scowling at her. He scowled at me, but I frowned at him and he smiled.
‘Shall we go then?’ I said to Lisa, Mary and Ella.
‘Oh, I can’t,’ Mary said, chewing her nails. ‘I said I’d go with Remus,’
‘Good job,’ Ella said, grinning. Mary gave a weak smile and hurried down the stairs. Remus kissed her forehead and they glided out the Entrance Hall looking like a pair of loved-up doves.
‘Just us then?’ Lisa said. ‘Great.’
‘Lily, here’s your Butterbeer,’ Ella said, passing me the bottle.
‘Ooh, thanks,’ I said. My hands warmed up from the cold outside as I cupped them around the bottle. We moved off from Madam Rosmerta to sit at a table near where Potter and Courtney were sitting. He looked like he was enjoying himself. A bit, mind you. I was sat there, sipping my Butterbeer and watching them, when someone tapped my shoulder and whispered my name into my ear. I turned. To my surprise, it was Black.
‘Can I talk to you for a second?’ he asked.
‘Sure,’ I said. I got up and followed him. For some reason, he edged closer to Courtney’s table.
When he spoke, it was in a loud, clear voice.
‘Lily, I really, really like you, so I’m going to ask you something. You’ll probably say no, but if you do, that’s OK, because I know you can’t have everything in life. So here I go: Lily Evans, will you be my girlfriend?’
It was really well spoken, and it was obvious he’d been rehearsing it, but it was really sweet, so I gave him the biggest smile I’d given anyone in my life, and practically shouted,
‘Yes, I will!’
He scooped me up and kissed me right on the lips. Potter looked furious. He got up and stormed out of the Three Broomsticks. But I didn’t really care.