I think it’s safe to say that I have too damn much going on in my life. Seriously. I was beginning to wonder when my life had become a soap opera. Because now that I thought about it, I think I always had this much going on. But I was only now noticing it once it had all exploded in my face.
The past couple of days had been filled with me reliving the conversation Bailey and I had had, half wondering if it had really happened, and the other half hoping that Bailey had meant everything she’d said. I don’t know why, but for some reason I had this feeling that things could really be different between us, and we could at least try and be sisters again. But… well it was complicated. Wasn’t it?
With these thoughts of Bailey always at the forefront of my mind, I’d also been thinking about the letter she had given to me from our mum. I’d read it almost immediately after Bailey had left, and once I’d read the letter it had just made things more complicated. My mum had said that she missed me and would like to set up a day to see me, which you know, might have been possible if I’d gotten in four months earlier, but I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate now to respond. I mean, it’d been too long. I’d missed my chance. She probably didn’t even want to here from me now. Right?
And somehow, with all of this stuff going on, I still had time to think on and off about James (who I was still avoiding as per usual). But you didn’t hear it from me.
“I think,” Dom began, her hands on her hips as she broke me out of my thoughts, “That you’ve been thinking way too much lately.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked, looking up from the clothing rack I had been picking through to Dom with a fair amount of confusion. Since when was thinking a bad thing?
“It means,” Dom started again, “that you’re either thinking about Bailey, your mum, or James, and since you’re so busy overanalyzing things with them, you’re forgetting how to live.”
Reason number one why I shouldn’t tell Dom anything: she always makes accurate assumptions about me when I don’t need it.
“I don’t think about James,” I said immediately.
“The fact that you’ve acknowledged that out of everything I’ve said, proves otherwise,” Dom stated.
“Well I’m not forgetting how to live either,” I replied. “I mean, I am going to Scorpius’ New Years Eve party tonight. That’s living.”
“Yeah but other than that you’ve been about as spacey as Luna Lovegood,” Dom responded. “I swear I haven’t had a normal conversation with you in days.”
“Sorry,” I said. “I’ve just… had a lot on my mind.”
“No need to apologize,” Dom said. “I’m just trying to say that tonight, you need to let go. You know, stop thinking and just… be.”
“How philosophical of you Dom,” I said, pulling a beaded silver dress off the rack. I then tried for a subject change. “Should I try this on?”
“Yeah, it’s cute,” Dom said nodding her head and taking my bait. I guess she had already said what she needed to. “I’m going to keep looking, so you go join Roxy in the dressing room.”
I rolled my eyes at her statement. Dom had about ten dresses waiting for her to try on in the dressing room. I was guessing we’d be here for a while.
I turned and headed to the dressing rooms, and as I reached the dressing room area at the back of the boutique we were in, I was met with Roxy, standing in front of a three-way mirror and inspecting herself.
“Hey, Corinne!” Roxy said, giving me a cheerful smile. She then struck a silly pose. “How do I look?”
I laughed. “Great, as always,” I said, inspecting the minty aqua dress. It complimented her honeyed skin tone beautifully. “Wyatt will go crazy if you wear that.”
“I do not pick clothes to impress boys,” Roxy said indignantly. “I pick them to impress me. Whether or not Wyatt likes them is an added plus.”
“Of course,” I said, nodding my head. “Here’s to feminism and all that rot.”
“Stop pretending you even know what feminism is,” Roxy said, hiding a laugh. “Just go try that dress your holding on, it’s gorgeous.”
“Someone’s gotten bossy,” I commented jokingly, before listening to Roxy and going into the dressing room. I quickly undressed and put on the beaded dress. It had a high neckline, with no sleeves, was formfitting and hit a couple of inches above my knee.
“I think this is doable,” I said, opening the door to the dressing room and facing Roxy, who was now wearing a black sequined dress. Roxy turned around from the mirror to look at me.
“I like it,” Roxy said, nodding her head in approval. “You should get that one.”
“I probably will,” I said with a shrug. “I’m not really in the mood to try anymore clothes on.”
“Why not?” Roxy asked, a concerned expression coming over her face. “Everything okay?”
Did that say something about me if the fact that I wasn’t really in the mood to shop made people concerned?
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I said. “Just a lot going on around the winter season, you know.”
“Tell me about it,” Roxy said, rolling her eyes. “Freddy has been a right prick these past couple of days.”
“Really,” I said, trying not to show much interest. I had written Freddy out of my life for good since our last encounter.
“Yeah,” Roxy said with a confirmation nod. “I mean it’s mostly because he misses James and stuff and he’s annoyed that I see James more than he does. And of course I feel bad for him since he’s my brother, but he really brought it upon himself, you know?”
“Right,” I said, still not showing any emotion. I felt awkward talking about Freddy, especially since he seemed to blame me for everything going wrong in his life. And while I knew Roxy was right and he did bring it upon himself, it still seemed wrong to discuss. He was clearly still having trouble dealing without James as a best friend. I knew how hard those things could be.
“I just hope he’s not all annoying at Scorpius’ tonight,” Roxy continued, seeming not to sense my awkwardness. “But if I know him he’ll probably be off snogging some poor fifth year so he shouldn’t be a problem... Anyway, which dress do you like better?”
I shook my head, clearing my thoughts away from Freddy and looking at Roxy’s questioning gaze. She gestured to the black sequined dress she was wearing and then to the aqua one that was hanging back in her dressing room, waiting for my opinion.
“Go with the blue one,” I said after thinking it over for a short moment. “Anyone can wear black.”
I had to hand it to him, Scorpius could throw a party. Actually, scratch that, not just a party. He could throw a rager. Because that’s really the only way I could describe what I had entered. With the earsplitting music, flashing lights, and abundance of red cups being carried throughout the house, I knew Scorpius wasn’t joking around. He was serious about throwing his New Years Eve party. And so far, it seemed like he was doing everything just right.
Bodies filled up every open crevice in the house, all of them shouting and laughing at one another while swaying in their slightly inebriated state. I recognized some people from school, but there were also a fair amount of people I didn’t recognize, which made me wonder just how many people Scorpius had invited.
“Oh look!” Dom exclaimed, pointing somewhere between the mass of bodies at something I was supposed to have noticed too. “There’s Chaise.”
I considered making a joke about the fact that she must’ve had a radar in order to find him out of what I was sure was the entire population of the world stuffed in here, but I decided against it and instead followed along as Dom pushed through the throng.
“Chaise! Chaise!” Dom exclaimed, waving as she pushed passed people to get his attention. Chaise, who had currently been chatting with a girl I vaguely recognized from somewhere, turned around at the mention of his name and then waved us over cheerfully.
“You both made it!” Chaise said, once we had arrived in front of him, the girl he had been speaking to falling to the wayside.
“Of course we did,” I said with a roll of my eyes. “What else were we going to do?”
“Well, I was getting my doubts seeing as you’re an hour late,” Chaise said back.
“We’re always late,” Dom stated. She then seemed to spot the girl that Chaise had been chatting with, who was now watching our exchange awkwardly. “Hello! Who are you?”
“Oh right,” Chaise said, seeming to remember he had been talking with the girl. “This is Mia. She’s a… Hufflpuff is it?”
“Oh! I remember you!” I said, my memory of where I recognized her coming back to me. And if my memory served correctly, her name was Mia and she was one of Bailey’s good friends. The one she ‘loved like a sister’. “I saw you that day we were shopping for school supplies. Dom we met her before, remember?”
“Oh yeah!” Dom said, recognition dawning on her own features. “You were at that shoe store, which let me just say, is my idea of heaven.”
Mia laughed at Dom’s words. “My mum will be ecstatic to hear that. That shoe store is her life.”
Just as Dom looked like she was about to start badgering Bailey for discounts, I spoke.
“You’re friends with Bailey, right?” I asked, even though I already knew the answer.
Mia nodded offering me a small smile. “Yeah. And you’re her sister. She’s mentioned you…”
I figured that by the way Mia said it, Bailey hadn’t mentioned any good things about me. Which I wasn’t really surprised about. “I’m sure she has.”
“Did everything work out between you two?” Mia asked. “I know Bailey was really unsure about approaching you or whatever until James came and convinced her.”
Despite the fact that we were in a room, filled with hundreds of bodies of people I probably had never met before, everything seemed to pause at Mia’s words. Dom and Chaise also looked very puzzled at Mia’s statement.
“What?” I asked.
At my confusion, Mia bit her lip. “Oh—uh—just forget it. It’s not important.”
“Yeah, it is,” I pressed, looking at her seriously. “What are you talking about? What did James do?”
“I dunno,” Mia said with a shrug, her eyes wide. “Bailey just mentioned to a couple of days ago that they bumped into each other or something.”
“Is she here?” I asked, a tone of urgency entering my voice. I suddenly knew I needed to speak with her. I needed to know what James had said, and seeing as I still wasn’t particularly on speaking terms with him, she was my safest bet.
“Yeah, she’s in one of millions of sitting rooms with Rose. But I’m going to warn you, you probably don’t want to go find her, because Rose is a drunk, sobbing mess and it’s not at all pretty.”
“I’ll take my chances,” I said, Mia’s statement not effecting me in the slightest. I then clapped Dom and Chaise on the shoulders. “I’ll be back in a bit, yeah?”
“Yeah, sure,” Dom said, nodding her head in understanding. “I’ll just be here trying to get some discounts out of Mia while you’re gone.”
“And I’ll be standing here wanting to shoot myself at the girly talk,” Chaise responded. “I’m going to kill the guys for ditching me.”
“They ditched you?” I asked.
“Not intentionally,” Chaise explained. “But Wyatt ran off with Roxy and Tyson is slobbering over some random girl, so I’ve been alone for the past half hour with only Mia to keep me company.”
“Gee thanks,” Mia commented.
“I didn’t mean it in a bad way,” Chaise began, turning to face Mia. Just as he started explaining himself, I walked away, not really caring for his explanation.
Besides, there was only one explanation I wanted to listen to right now.
Mia hadn’t been exaggerating when she said Scorpius had about a million sitting rooms. So far, I’d been in three and still had spotted no sign of Bailey or a drunk Rose. I had, however, bumped into Tyson with one of his conquests (which I was still trying to forget, as it had pretty much traumatized me) and I bumped into the host of the party himself, who was coincidentally, looking for Rose. So, being that this was Scorpius’ house and he knew it better than me, I had offered to join him on his quest for Rose, which would, in turn, help me find Bailey.
Isn’t it great how things work out sometimes?
“This house is way too big,” I said to Scorpius as we pushed our way into yet another sitting room. After taking a quick glance around, we confirmed that there was neither a Rose nor a Bailey to be seen, and left it quickly.
“You’re telling me,” Scorpius said in agreement. “Imagine having to grow up here and being an only child. This place scared the crap out of me. Still does. That’s why I throw the parties.”
“Makes sense,” I said, nodding my head. Just as I said this some random party-goer stumbled out of a room and threw up into a random vase. “Must be a bitch to clean up though.”
“That’s what the house elves are for,” Scorpius said with a shrug.
We walked in silence after that, searching through the rest of the downstairs for any sign of Rose or Bailey. We spotted none.
“Do you think maybe they went upstairs?” I asked, gesturing to one of the winding staircases that I’d noticed throughout the house.
Scorpius shrugged. “Anything’s possible at this point.” And then we began to climb the stairs.
We didn’t say anything for a while, instead or feet keeping an even rhythm as we continued up the stairs. The only sounds that could be heard were from the party still going on downstairs. I figured I should speak.
“So, why are you looking for Rose?” I asked slowly.
“Because I want to talk to her,” Scorpius answered.
I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, but what about?”
“Were you not there when I walked in on you and Rose hashing out your previous relationship? You don’t need to be coy with me,” I said, putting a hand on my hip.
Scorpius scrutinized me for a second, and then seemed to deflate. “Well the truth is… I don’t really know what I’m going to talk to her about,” Scorpius said, pinching the bridge of his nose. “I’ll figure it out once I get there.”
“Right,” I said, deciding not to pry anymore than I already had. “Sounds good.”
“It’s actually a pretty terrible idea,” Scorpius commented. “But it’s the only idea I have.”
“Ain’t that the way it is,” I mused, as we reached the top of the staircase. I realized that we faced another long hallway with about a million doors. I sighed.
“So, why are you looking for your sister?” Scorpius asked.
“I don’t know,” I answered honestly. Because I didn’t know. I guess I shouldn’t really care what James had said, but I just needed to know if Mia was telling the truth. Had James really convinced Bailey to talk to me?
And if he had… then what?
Scorpius looked like he was about to say something but before he could, a loud shout cut off his words. It wasn’t loud enough that we could understand what the shouting was about, but we were able to distinguish the door it was coming out of.
“It’s your house, you open it,” I said to Scorpius, gesturing to the door. Scorpius sighed but listened, pushing the door open to reveal the two people we had been looking for.
“Rose! Let me take you home. You’re way too smashed to be here!” Bailey shouted at Rose, trying to pick her up from the wall she was sitting against with little luck.
“No,” Rose responded, crossing her arms. Her blonde hair was in a large state of disarray, and her face was red, a sure sign she had been having a drunken cryfest.
“Rose,” Bailey said, putting a hand on her hip. “We’re going.”
“It’s not even midnight!” Rose exclaimed, her words incredibly slurred and messy. The vowels rounded into consonants, and the consonants became unintelligible babble.
“I don’t care,” Bailey said in a no-nonsense tone. “We can spend midnight together in your bathroom, while I hold your hair back as you puke. It’ll be fun.”
With that, Bailey began to pull Rose up again, and this time, had success.
“Are you mad at me, Leigh Leigh?” Rose asked, looking as though she was about to cry. “You sound like you’re mad at me.”
Bailey sighed. “I’m not mad at you Rosie.”
That was when she seemed to look up and notice Scorpius and I standing at the door, watching the whole predicament.
“Oh,” Bailey asked, looking back and forth from me to Scorpius confused. “I didn’t know anyone would come up here… Sorry.”
“He was looking for Rose,” I said, immediately pointing to Scorpius in explanation. “I offered to help.”
Scorpius gave me a semi-dirty look, probably mad that I’d made his intent so clear. Rose, having heard her name mentioned, focused her gaze on Scorpius.
“Scorpius!” She said excitedly. “How’s it going?”
“We’re actually leaving,” Bailey said, talking over Rose’s drunk rambling and giving Scorpius a stony stare. “So you’ll have to talk to her some other time.”
“I can take her home,” Scorpius offered. Bailey laughed. Rose started to lean her head on Bailey’s shoulder, her eyes closed. “I’m serious. It’ll be easier since I can apparate. You’d have to take the night bus otherwise.”
“You can’t leave your own party,” Bailey stated, adjusting Rose’s head. She looked like a mum with an overly large child.
“Sure I can,” Scorpius said.
“Well you shouldn’t,” Bailey said, giving Scorpius a look. “You should just keep your distance.”
“And you should mind your own business,” Scorpius said. “Besides, Corinne was looking for you, so you need to talk to her anyway.”
Bailey looked at me, and I instantly wanted to disappear. Our... whatever it was… was fragile. If only Scorpius understood that.
“What about?” Bailey asked, still keeping her grip on Rose, who was now muttering a slew of nonsense. She seemed really protective of Rose.
“Um,” I really didn’t want to talk about what I wanted to talk about in front of Scorpius and Rose, but I also didn’t want Bailey to start thinking I was difficult and that the newly formed acceptance of each other we had wasn’t worth it. I gave in. “I was wondering if anyone convinced you to talk to me the other day.”
Bailey’s face washed in understanding as I asked this. She then turned to Scorpius. “Alright, you can take Rose home while I talk to Corinne. But I’m going to be there as soon as we’re done talking. So you better not get any ideas about taking advantage of her just because she’s drunk.”
Scorpius gave Bailey an annoyed look. “I’d never.”
“Good,” Bailey said, she looked down at Rose. “Rosie, Scorpius is going to apparate you home alright? I’ll be there soon, I just need to talk to Corinne first.”
Rose turned her face to look at me, her eyes narrowing to focus on me.
“My cousin loves you,” she slurred, and then she broke out into a fit of giggles.
“Yeah, me and Dom do love each other. We’re best friends,” I said, not seeing the humor.
“No, my other cousin,” Rose said, laughing again. I frowned. She had so many cousins, and I was friends with quite a few of them, so I couldn’t tell which one she was talking about.
“Scorpius, just take her home,” Bailey said with a sigh. “She’s delirious.”
“Right,” Scorpius said with a nod. He then took Rose out of Bailey’s hands, and apparated on the spot.
Bailey turned back to me. “How do you know James talked to me?”
“So it’s true?” I asked, even though the answer was already obvious.
Bailey sighed, the stray pieces of sandy hair framing her face fanning out in front of her. “Yeah.” She didn’t seem like she wanted to explain herself any further, but I gave her a look that caused her to continue. “I was hanging out at Rose’s when he was dropping off one of his old brooms for Hugo and somehow we got to chatting and he told me that I should consider talking things out with you. He said you missed me more than you let on…”
Bailey studied me as she trailed off, her eyebrow arched as she noticed my very shocked and confused expression. And all at once, I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to say, and I sure as hell didn’t know what to feel. James had convinced her to come see me. He had been the one to try and mend what had been broken between the two of us. And he had succeeded far more than I ever had on my own.
And as usual, my mind was filled with one giant question mark when it came to him.
“So is that the only reason you came to see me? Because he told you to?” I asked, finally coming up with words to say.
Bailey looked at me, shocked. “No! I’d been thinking about it for a while because of the letter from mum but… I was scared.”
“Why would you be scared?” I asked Bailey again. “What have I ever done to make you—”
“Look, I don’t know! Okay?” Bailey said, seeming flustered at my questions. “It’s just… I tried so hard to push you away, that letting you back in seemed too easy. But…” Bailey trailed off after that.
“But what?” I asked.
“After talking to James… I realized I had to let it go. All of it. Holding onto things is just too damn hard. I’d rather spend the effort holding onto the good.”
It was after Bailey said this that something clicked inside of my brain. It was like every thought in my mind was building one on top of the other, swaying with the uncertainty, and all of it was about to become crashing down around me.
I knew what I had to do.
“I have to go.”
I needed to find James.
Everything was a blur. The party music was still thumping throughout the air, the beat crackling in my ears, and I stumbled over the slew of drunken people as I searched the entire house for the one person I needed to speak to. And while I knew I needed to speak to him, I didn’t know quite what to say.
But that was okay.
I turned around to see Dom, who seemed a bit on the tipsy side (question: how was it that I was at a New Years Eve Party and still sober?) as she ambled over to me.
“Dom, have you seen—”
“Chaise is totally flirting with Mia,” Dom whined, her eyes getting all glassy as she spoke. I noticed her silver hair was matted against her face, and her eyeliner was smudged around the corners. Yup, she was drunk. “And I think she’s flirting back with him. Which means that they’re totally going to date and fall in love and that can’t happen because she doesn’t even like the Weird Sisters and that’s, like, Chaise’s favorite band and he deserves to be with a girl that likes the Weird Sisters, don’t you think Corinne?”
“And yeah she’s pretty or whatever but that doesn’t make it okay to date someone who goes against the entire integrity of everything you believe in about a band.”
“Dom, I think you might be taking this a bit too seriously.”
“Do you think she’s prettier than me?” Dom asked, ignoring my comment.
I sighed. Why of all moments, did this have to be the time Dom finally wanted to talk about Chaise?
“Dom, why don’t you go talk to Chaise, and tell him that you don’t feel comfortable with him flirting with Mia,” I said slowly.
“Because then he’ll think I want to get back together with him or something and it’ll be really awkward since I’m really just trying to protect his faithfulness to his band,” Dom explained.
“Well then tell him that, too,” I said, even though I think it’d be obvious to everyone Dom wasn’t doing this to protect Chaise and his music taste. I put my hands on Dom’s shoulders. “But Dom, I need to find James. Do you know where he is?”
Dom shook her head. “No. But I did see Freddy a couple of minutes ago and let me tell you he is so drunk he’s going to need a liver transplant by the end of the night, and that’s saying something because I don’t know if you can tell but I’m pretty drunk to and it’s kind of sad when a drunk person calls another drunk person drunk.”
“Alright well I need to find James so I’m going to look for him, okay?” I said slowly, as Dom bounced up and down to the song that was playing. “Will you be okay if I leave?”
“Yeah, I should go find Chaise and tell him my theories about how him and Mia would only lead to destruction. It’s midnight in like, an hour and I need to make sure he doesn’t kiss her. For the good of his Weird Sister’s obsession and everything.” Dom looked like she really believed what she was saying. Merlin bless her soul.
“Okay, well I’ll see you then,” I said, giving Dom a peck on the forehead. “Love you, make good choices.”
“Love you too,” Dom said before we parted ways and I started to frantically search yet again for James.
I searched for a while after that, and after going through every room on the bottom floor I saw no sign of James. It seemed ironic to me, that the one time I wanted to find him, he was nowhere in sight.
So, having given up on finding him, I walked up to the second floor back to the room Bailey and Rose had been in before, hoping maybe one of them would be there but I found no one. The guest room they had previously inhabited was empty and I was beginning to feel all the urgency I had once had slowly fade.
That’s when I noticed the sliding glass door in the bedroom. And when it comes to my experiences with sliding glass doors they always lead to balconies, and I felt the need to get out of the house and get some fresh air because the musty smell and feel of too many bodies packed in a house was beginning to get to me.
It was only when I opened the glass door leading out onto the balcony that I finally found the person I was looking for. And seeing as his back was to me as he was looking out over the sprawling lands of the Malfoy manor, he didn’t notice me walk onto the balcony. At least, he didn’t show that he noticed me until I stood next to him and spoke.
“I don’t get you,” I stated, and I think that’s the most honest I’d been with him and myself in a long time.
James’ head snapped to his left, clearly surprised someone was there and that someone was me. After he let my words sink in he turned to look back over the balcony and shrugged.
“I don’t get you either.”
I didn’t know what to say after that. And seeing as I’d been the one to approach James, he didn’t say anything either which just left me scrambling to figure out something to say before finally blurting out—
“Why did you tell Bailey to talk to me? Why did you help me? I’ve kind of been a bitch to you.”
James let out a long breath, almost as though he’s expecting this question at one point or another, which only confused me more. “I wanted you two to sort things out. And it was obvious both of you wanted to sort things out too.”
“Yeah, but why did you care?” I pressed, wanting to get an answer.
“Because I do,” James said, and he looked me directly in the eyes as he said this.
I didn’t know what he meant by that. Did he mean he cared about Bailey and I patching things up, or did he mean he cared about… me? Or was it both? Because caring about one usually meant caring about the other. Didn’t it?
“Well… thank you for what you did,” I said after a moment. “I never thought me and Bailey would ever be able to just... talk to one another.”
“No problem,” James said, nodding his head. He turned back away from me to look out over the balcony, marking the end of the conversation. And there was something in me that felt like I was holding a handful of sand and watching it all slip away. So, I had to say something more. It was now my turn to try and make things work, seeing as James had tried long enough.
“When Bailey and I talked, she gave me a letter from my mum.”
James seemed interested by this, if the fact that he was looking at me again was any indication, and I felt a small amount of relief wash through me. “What did it say?”
“She wants me to visit her and like try and catch up,” I said, biting my lip.
“What did you say?” James asked.
“I haven’t responded yet,” I admitted. James gave me a confused look, so I explained. “Sometimes… well sometimes I wonder if just too much time has passed, you know? If it’ll just be a disappointment if we see each other because we aren’t really the same people anymore.”
James ran his hand through his hair in agitation. “You shouldn’t worry about that stuff, Corinne. You don’t know if it’ll actually be a disappointment unless you do it, and if you don’t do it then that uncertainty will just build and build until you actually don’t have time left. Don’t waste time.”
As James spoke he had a far away look in his eye, and I wondered if he was talking about something else. Something that didn’t concern me. Something that was much, much bigger than the two of us.
“Do you wish your parents were different?” I asked, my voice taking on a cautious tone as I looked back out over the balcony.
James looked at me like that was the last thing he’d expected me to say. Which, granted, I understood. Then he sighed. “No.”
“No?” I asked.
“No,” he confirmed. “I mean, yeah, I did have those dark days where I really thought they didn’t like me. I thought I was like this big disappointment to them and their lives and everything they had planned. And since I thought that, I figured what the hell and I did become a disappointment. But things… got better.”
“How?” I prodded, because I honestly wanted to know.
“Because things always get better,” James said. However, he seemed to notice the unsatisfied expression on my face and continued. “Because I realized my parents love me. And yeah they’re not perfect, I mean who gives a check to their kid for Christmas? But I’m not perfect either. So it’s not fair for me to expect it of them. They really do try. And I think sometimes the fact that people try is enough.”
As James spoke, there was something inside of me that felt like everything was changing. The world kept spinning and spinning as I tried to figure out how I had spent this whole year forcing James into a mold of a person he had been years ago. Except he wasn’t. He wasn’t that person and it was like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole to try to make him be. Because how could I expect him to be the same? I wasn’t the same person I was back then either and it was unfair of me to think otherwise.
And while I still had all these grudges and scars and things that made me want to hate him. So many things just layering themselves on top of each other in my mind. I knew I just had to let it go.
I was so consumed in the past, so hell bent on remembering everything that had happened, that I was now letting it blot out my future. And I needed to let it go, in order to move on. In order to be fully happy. Because I knew now what I needed to do.
“James!” The sound of the sliding door ricocheting open interrupted my thoughts, as what seemed to be a very drunk Freddy stumbled out onto the balcony. His hair was a mess, his eyes were blurry looking, and his face was a light shade of red. All in all, he looked completely smashed. “James! What’s up man?”
James mouth remained in a flat line as he looked at Freddy’s drunken state. “What do you want?”
Freddy didn’t seem deterred by James’ tone, and continued walking (read: stumbling) towards James. “Oh look, a balcony! Man, this place is huge! Dontcha think?”
“Freddy, I don’t think you should be here right now,” James continued, looking at Freddy cautiously.
“Why not?” Freddy asked, seeming confused. “We’re best mates. Best mates hang out with each other.”
I guess the whole being smashed past the point of no return thing had made Freddy forget about him and James no longer being friends.
“You should go, Fred,” James said, pinching the bridge of his nose as he said this. I couldn’t help but notice the pained expression on Freddy’s face as he said this, and the way his whole demeanor just fell. And then it became clear to me that the reason his eyes were all blurry looking were because he’d more than likely been crying in his smashed state. Which suddenly made me feel uncomfortable. Seeing your enemy cry was unnerving. It was like watching your entire universe fall apart.
“But I came here to talk to you!” Freddy exclaimed, his voice louder than necessary because his drunkenness made him lack volume control.
“Yeah, well I don’t think this is a good time,” James said. “I’m kind of busy.”
Freddy seemed to notice me for the first time and his eyes widened. I fidgeted uncomfortably. “But I miss you James,” Freddy said, his voice still very loud as he looked upset. “You’re my best friend!”
“Can you not do this right now?” James asked, clearly uncomfortable that this conversation was happening right in front of me.
“No!” Freddy exclaimed, suddenly seeming very angry. “We haven’t talked in months, months James. And you’re my best friend and I want us to talk again because I miss you and I have no one else. Alright?”
“I’m not done,” Freddy continued, his speech still slurring as he waved a drunken hand up to stop James. “I know you hate me because I messed everything up with Corinne and you really like her or something stupid like that but we’re cousins! Practically brothers! You can’t ditch me like that. It’s not fair.”
For some reason, I was shocked after hearing Freddy’s statement about me. But once I heard it, it seemed like the most obvious thing in the world.
“And I’m sorry, alright? I’m sorry for being an ass but you’re my best friend and she was going around and making you all different and what was I supposed to do?”
“I dunno, maybe be a decent human being?” James suggested sarcastically. “Humiliating her in front of the entire school doesn’t seem like the best way to—”
“Fred! There you are!” The three of us turned to the voice to see Albus standing by the sliding glass door. He looked to James and me. “Sorry, I was supposed to watch him. He’d been talking about finding you all night which of course is a bad idea in his drunken state but he slipped away when I—”
“I’m not drunk!” Freddy shouted. “I only had a couple drinks and they weren’t even strong! I swear.”
“Fred, you had a whole bottle of firewhiskey and then downed a bunch of shots. You’re drunker than all of us put together,” Albus stated, grabbing Freddy’s arm. “Now come on, let’s get you out of here.”
“No!” Freddy said, pulling his arm out of Albus’ grip. “Not until James is my friend again.”
“Freddy,” Albus warned, but Freddy didn’t seem deterred. He remained standing, arms crossed, staring defiantly albeit a bit drunkenly at James.
“You have to say you’re my friend,” Freddy said, looking straight at James.
James sighed. “How about we talk about this when you’re sober?”
“Yeah, Fred, you need some sleep,” Albus said, putting an arm around Freddy’s shoulder after he stumbled yet again. “You two can talk about this later, alright?”
“Take him home, Al,” James said, so that Freddy couldn’t here him. “I don’t want him getting into any trouble while he’s this drunk.”
Albus nodded. There was something about the exchange that tugged a little at me. James still cared about Freddy enough to make sure he got home safely, even though they weren’t really friends anymore. And Albus was being a good brother and helping James out, even though he and Freddy had never really been close.
“Come on, Freddy, let’s go,” Albus said, and luckily Freddy was so drunk that he didn’t quite seem to remember he’d been waiting on James forgiving him. Instead he followed Albus off of the balcony, and back to wherever they’d been before.
“Merlin, sorry about that,” James said, ruffling his hair.
I shrugged, not bothered. “It’s not your fault. He just really misses you.”
“Yeah,” James said, and I noticed he seemed a bit upset at the mention. And then it occurred to me that even though James had stopped talking to Freddy, he probably still missed him a lot.
And it just made me fall back into the realization that James had given up so much for me without me realizing it, he had tried so hard just to get me to give him another chance, and I owed him something in return.
“HAPPY NEW YEAR!” the shouts of everyone at the party drifted their way up to the balcony, interrupting my realization and bringing me back to reality.
“Looks like we missed midnight,” James said softly, the corner of his mouth curving downwards at this realization. I didn’t say anything back. Instead I inhaled a breath, preparing myself for what came next. Because now, it was all up to me.
We had missed midnight but maybe it didn’t matter. We could make our own midnight instead.
So with that thought in mind, I leaned towards him, brushing my lips against his. And the kiss so different from the last one we had shared, yet so much better in every way. It felt like we were on the brink of something life-changing. Leaves were turning over, the world was filling itself up with the sparkle of possibility, and I realized maybe James was right all along.
A/N: Alright, so I'm actually really, really nervous about posting this chapter, because even thought I really liked writing it, it's kind of the pinnacle of the story. So, if you don't like it then this entire story was all for nothing and... well yeah, basically if you don't like it then I've gone and ruined the story for you.
So, I really hope you liked it, is the gist of what I'm trying to say. I would ask my normal ramble of questions, but honestly there are so many things that happened in this chapter I would just really like for you all to review and let me know what you thought of all of it.
So... yeah. Please review, because I've only got a couple of chapters left and I normally tend to wait it out on updating if people don't review because I start second guessing everything and get really worried. Like this chapter I was going to post a while ago but then I wasn't sure if people had liked the last one and I started getting all freaked out about the story and yeah this is a long ramble but basically it's just me begging you for reviews which isn't very becoming of me now is it? But yeah I have no shame at this point. This story's almost over and I just really want to know what all of my amazing readers think.
Okay, so that's it, I love you guys, let me know your thoughts. Two chapters left and then it's over. and of course REVIEW :)