Chapter 11 : The Plan - Phase Two (The Ball)
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I left the hospital wing without another word.
Courtney wanted me dead. This had gone that far. It was her own fault. She’d pushed this too much and now she wanted me gone. Out of the way so she could have James to herself.
I went straight up to my dorm. Instead of crying, I sat down on my bed and sighed. I looked at my calendar. The Halloween Ball was in six days. If she got out of the hospital wing before then, I doubt whether I’d even be going to the ball.
‘Knock, knock,’ James said as he came in. ‘I just wanted to – hey, what’s wrong, Lily?’
‘Nothing,’ I said. ‘What’s up?’
‘It doesn’t matter. What’s up with you?’ James asked. He sat down beside me.
‘I went to see Courtney,’ I told him. ‘She said she wanted me dead,’
‘She said that?’ James said, his eyes narrowing in anger.
‘Well, not exactly. She wrote it. She can’t talk, her jaw’s all swollen,’ I said.
‘I hope she can’t come to the ball,’ James growled, balling his fists.
‘Hey, don’t think like that,’ I said.
‘She wants you dead, Lily,’ James said. ‘That’s a horrible thing to say,’
‘It’s OK, James,’ I said, kissing his cheek. ‘I can make sure she can’t hurt me,’
‘You’re very vulnerable,’ James said. ‘Especially at the ball. I swear I won’t leave your side for a minute.’
‘Well, I’m glad to know I’ve got a bodyguard now,’ I giggled.
‘I’m serious, Lily,’ James said.
‘Stop being so serious!’ I said. ‘I can look after myself, you know,’
James sighed. ‘I know. I’m just worried.’
‘You don’t have to worry, either,’ I told him. He sighed again, his brow creased. I’d never seen him concentrating like this, and it worried me, so I put my hands on his shoulders and kissed him. His hands wound around my waist and he pulled me close.
We leant back onto the bed and I ran my fingers through his hair. He deepened the kiss, his fingers at the buttons of my shirt and –
‘Helloo? Lily? James? Where are – Holy Merlin’s bra!’ Ella screamed, barging into the dorm. ‘Sorry! Sorry! Carry on what you were doing!’
I laughed as we stood up.
‘We should really change the password,’ James muttered, fixing his hair.
‘Ella,’ I said. ‘What’s wrong?’
‘Nothing!’ Ella said. ‘Please, return to your … girlfriend-boyfriend … thing.’ She started to leave but I grabbed her arm.
‘Ella, seriously,’ I said. ‘Tell me,’
‘Yeah, tell me!’ James said eagerly.
Ella looked at James curiously. ‘You better leave, Potter, unless you want your face to be huge, pink and covered in tentacles.’
‘Bye, Lily.’ James dashed past Ella and down the stairs.
‘So … what happened?’ I asked. Ella shut the door and started bouncing around.
‘He asked me! He asked me to the ball!’ she squealed.
‘Gerry Fowey!’ Ella screeched.
‘Really?’ I gasped. Ella had fancied Gerry since second year, but he was in Ravenclaw and they weren’t that close. ‘When? Why? How?’ I asked.
‘Just now! I was coming out of the Hall and he said, “Ella, can I talk to you?” So obviously I said yes and he asked me out!’ Ella said, her eyes crazy.
‘I’m happy for you,’ I said, giving Ella a big hug.
‘What’s wrong with you?’ Ella said. ‘You look sad,’
I sighed and quickly told her about Courtney. Ella had about the same reaction as James. ‘I’m going to hit her so hard she lands in next week! And then I’m going to turn her into a slug and dump her in salt!’
‘Ella, stop,’ I said. ‘James was as worried as you, but she can’t do anything to me. If, by a miracle, she does manage to … you know … she’ll get framed. You and James both know. I need to tell Mary and Lisa. Where are they, anyway? I didn’t see them at lunch.’
‘Oh,’ Ella said. ‘Lisa’s in the library. I swear she’s obsessed with studying for NEWTs and it’s not even Christmas yet, and Mary was with Remus. Last I saw, they were in the common room,’ Ella said.
‘Mary knows about him, doesn’t she? About his … werewolfy-ness?’
‘Yeah,’ Ella said. ‘I think Remus told her when they started going out. So what were you and James getting up to in here?’ Ella raised her eyebrows and wiggled them. I hit her with my wand.
‘Nothing,’ I said. She grinned.
‘Yeah, because that’s what it looked like to me. Lily, you do realise your top buttons are undone.’ Ella said, laughing.
I looked down and blushed profusely. As I did them up, I said, ‘Nothing happened.’
‘Yeah, because I interrupted. Hey, do you want me to leave now?’
‘No! Let’s go and find Lisa and then we can go spy on Mary and Remus.’
Lisa was in the library. James refused to go near the place, so Ella and I went. Lisa was buried in books and had her head bent over a piece of parchment.
‘What is all this?’ I asked, picking up a huge book.
‘Revision,’ Lisa replied simply. ‘I need to start now.’
‘Come on, Lis’, NEWTs aren’t until June and it’s only October.’ Ella said. ‘Guess what? Gerry Fowey asked me to the ball. Let’s go and find Mary.’
Lisa looked up. ‘I can’t, I have to study.’
‘But … but Lisa, it’s Sunday. Nobody studies on a Sunday!’ Ella moaned.
‘I do,’ Lisa snapped. ‘Now go away.’
‘Courtney wants me dead,’ I said.
Lisa looked up sharply. ‘What?’
‘If you come with us, I’ll tell you,’ I said.
Lisa rolled her eyes, looking irritable. She shut the book with a snap and stood up. On the way out, she looked over at Madam Pince. ‘Don’t move those. I’m coming back later, OK?’
Madam Pince glared at Lisa.
We went up to James’s dorm. It stunk. Bad.
‘What are we doing here?’ Lisa asked, pinching her nose.
I put my arm across my face to block out the smell. ‘To get his Invisibility Cloak, of course.’ I opened his trunk and pulled out the length of supple silvery material. ‘Come on, get under.’
I stood close to Lisa and Ella and threw it over us. Before Lisa disappeared, she waved her wand and a burst of flowers and a perfumey scent issued from the tip.
We left James’s dorm. He was sitting in front of the fire, munching happily on a bowl of popcorn. I poked my head out and he screamed, throwing popcorn everywhere. Next to me, Lisa and Ella sniggered.
‘Merlin, Lily! Why have you got my Cloak?’ he asked, frowning.
‘We’re going to spy on Mary.’
‘Oh, Lisa and Ella are here.’ I said. They both said hello. ‘Well, see you later then.’
‘Be careful, Lily,’ James warned. I rolled my eyes.
‘She can hardly do anything, can she? She’s stuck in the hospital wing. Stop worrying. If we’re not back in, say, three, four hours, then I’m either dead or lying wounded in a deserted corridor in the dungeons.’ I joked. James looked scared. ‘I’m only joking. Jeez, I thought you were James Potter, not a yellow-bellied nargle.’
‘Nargles don’t exist!’ James called after us as we left the common room.
Mary wasn’t in the common room. Remus was, though. We came out from under the Cloak and cornered him. He didn’t look surprised at all.
‘Where is she?’ Lisa asked.
He shrugged. ‘She left about ten minutes ago. I don’t know where she went.’
Ella eyed him suspiciously. ‘We’ll take your word for it this time, bucko. But we’re watching you.’ With that, she disappeared. Lisa went under too.
‘What’s wrong with Ella?’ Remus asked, looking amused.
‘Trust me, if I knew, I’d tell you,’ I replied, smiling. ‘Thanks, Remus.’
I let myself under the Cloak and we left the common room. We stopped a while later, having checked the bathrooms, Hagrid’s hut, the library and a full sweep of the grounds.
‘Where could she be?’ I panted, clutching a stitch from all the endless walking and running.
‘Well … there is one place we haven’t looked,’ Ella said. Mary and I looked at her questioningly. ‘The hospital wing. I mean, she was pretty upset when she heard about Courtney.’
Lisa was looking thoughtful. She shifted the Cloak over her head before speaking slowly. ‘I guess we could go and check. I mean, Courtney wouldn’t see us and if Mary’s there we can just wait for her to leave.’
I nodded. ‘It makes sense.’
I was not prepared for what we met at the hospital wing.
The door was open, thank Merlin, and Madam Pomfrey didn’t even notice when Ella knocked over a curtain and swore loudly.
She just hurried out of her office and picked it up with a sweep of her wand.
We crept round to Courtney’s bed. Sure enough, there was Mary. Apparently, in the few hours I’d been here, Courtney had been exercising her jaw or Madam Pomfrey had used a magical healing ointment or something, because the swelling on her jaw had gone down loads and she appeared to be speaking.
‘Let’s get closer,’ I whispered. Together we shuffled forwards until we were near enough to hear Courtney’s words. We had to stand right behind Mary because Courtney was talking pretty quietly.
‘Do you know who did this to me?’ she was saying.
‘Someone told me you fell or something,’ Mary said. She was clasping Courtney’s hand in hers.
Courtney shook her head and raised a hand to the part of her face that was still swollen. ‘Ouch. No. I didn’t fall, Mary,’
‘What happened, then?’
‘Lily did this to me,’
‘WHAT?!’ Mary cried, jumping up. Courtney nodded solemnly.
‘You know she’s going out with James and we used to be together? Well, James told me he still loved me. I think Lily overheard because she jumped out, hexed me and knocked me unconscious. Next thing I knew, I was in here and she came to visit. She was acting all friendly-like and she said, “James and I are still together, you evil bitch”. But … Mary, please don’t tell anyone.’ Courtney said, her face looking sad but an evil glint lurking in her blue eyes.
Mary nodded, looking outraged. ‘’Course I won’t tell. I have to go, Court. I’ll come back and visit tomorrow, OK? See you.’
She rushed past us and left. Courtney laughed quietly.
‘What a gullible little Flobberworm,’ she muttered to herself.
Madam Pomfrey bustled over. ‘It’s time for your ointment, Miss Allison!’ Courtney put on a sad, hurt face.
I couldn’t believe it. She’d been my best friend for six years and now she was turning evil for a boy.
‘I CANNOT BELIEVE HER!’ Ella roared, tearing off the Cloak and throwing it at James, who caught it, looking perplexed. We were back in the Heads’ common room ten minutes later
‘What’s going on?’ he asked.
‘Courtney told Mary a horrid little sob story,’ Lisa said. She quickly explained what our ‘friend’ had told Mary.
‘She said WHAT?’ James roared. ‘Oh no she didn’t!’
‘Please, don’t turn this into a pantomime,’ I sighed, rolling my eyes.
‘What’s a pantomime?’ James asked.
‘Don’t worry. Anyway, I’ll just talk to Mary and tell her what happened. She’ll soon see sense.’ I said. ‘And it does look like Courtney will be coming to the ball after all,’
James scowled. ‘I was hoping she wouldn’t be able to make it. She’d only cause trouble.’
We didn’t know it then, but she’d cause more trouble than we thought.
Courtney was released from the hospital wing the day before the ball. She didn’t talk to me or look at me during lessons, albeit a little snide remark or dirty look.
On the day of the ball, Lisa and Ella came over so we could get ready. Mary stayed with Courtney. We told James to stay out of my dorm and I locked the door just in case.
We got Lisa ready first. She seemed to have lost weight since she last tried it on, because where it used to be tight before fitted perfectly. Her leg looked slim and tanned and her feet slipped into the black heels she’d bought. I used my wand to straighten her curly hair and hold it back with a sparkly red bow. Ella did her makeup – using blood-red lipstick, light blush and dark red eyeshadow.
When she saw herself in the mirror, her eyes widened and her face went pale.
‘What?’ Ella said. ‘Don’t you like it?’
‘I … I love it!’ Lisa gasped. Shaking her head, she turned away. ‘Right, it’s Ella’s turn.’
Ella looked extremely nervous. We helped her into her pumpkin dress. The skirt was very wide and the front had sequins on which we hadn’t noticed before. She sat on my bed and allowed Lisa and I to do her up. Before I did her makeup, I slipped her heels onto her feet. Lisa sprayed some sort of hairspray from her wand onto Ella’s hair to make it shiny, then brushed it and pinned it to one side.
I was really nervous when Ella and Lisa turned to me, smiling manically. My only thought was: HELP! Before they dragged me over to where my dress was. I hadn’t shown myself off wearing the dress to them. I just chose it, tried it on and bought it without showing them what I looked like. To be honest, I’d only looked at myself briefly before taking it off.
I slipped into it and Lisa did the little zip up on the side. I sank onto the bed and closed my eyes, preparing for my makeover. As Ella dabbed lipgloss onto my lips, I could feel Lisa tugging on my hair. About half an hour later when I could feel the shoes coming onto my feet and the last couple of hair slides went onto my scalp, I braced myself to stand up.
‘Lily …’ Lisa said, her voice hushed. ‘You look … like …’
‘Like some sort of angel princess who’s just been to a glamorous beauty salon,’ Ella suggested.
‘Yeah. Like that,’ Lisa said. ‘Come and look at yourself!’
Feeling a little wobbly on my heels, I walked slowly towards the mirror.
It wasn’t me I saw in the mirror. I wasn’t looking at Lily Evans.
I was looking at a radiant angel. Something that was far too beautiful to ever walk on the earth. I put a hand to my chest. So did the angel.
‘I love it. Thank you.’
I studied myself. My red hair was cascading down my back in a wave of curls. The purple dress complemented my hair. It had two thin straps tied at the back of my neck. It tightened under my bust and held with a small, glittery diamond oval. The silky material flowed down to my ankles where it flared a little until it reached the floor. I lifted the hem and admired my glittery silver heels.
My lips were coated in a cherry-pink gloss. My eyelids were decorated with a purple that was almost the same shade as the dress. A light blush covered my cheeks and purple crystals dangled from my ears.
The three of us picked up our matching purses. I stowed my wand inside it, just in case.
‘Let’s do this thing,’ Ella said.
James was going to wait in the Entrance Hall like the other males and wait patiently for the girls to come to them.
Lisa, Ella and I strutted down the steps towards James, Gerry and Lucas McDowell, Lisa’s date.
Lucas was talking to his sister Gina when he turned and stared. ‘Lisa!’
‘Hello,’ she said, smiling. ‘Oi, James. Lily’s coming.’
Gerry turned first. He gaped at Ella as his gaze roved over her.
‘Stop staring, Fowey,’ Ella joked. He smiled at her, still taking her in. He held out his arm and she took it, grinning madly.
James hadn’t said anything. He looked Lisa and Ella up and down, smiling, but then he looked at me and his jaw dropped.
‘Whoa. Is that really Lily Evans?’
‘No, I’m the other girl who looks exactly like her,’ I joked, rolling my eyes as he wrapped his arm around me.
‘You look beautiful, Lily,’ James said, kissing the top of my head. He glanced at his watch. ‘It’s nearly twenty past. I think Minnie said she wanted to talk to us.’
‘OK,’ I said. ‘Where is she?’
‘I think she’s inside the Hall. Come on,’ James pulled me towards the doors.
‘See you later, guys!’ I yelled at Lisa and Ella. They waved as I was dragged into the Hall.
‘Ah, Lily, James,’ Professor McGonagall said, hurrying over to us. ‘The first dance will start in about five minutes and I want you two to lead it. You can dance, I hope?’ She raised an eyebrow.
‘Yeah, of course –’
‘Well, duh, Minnie –’
(Neither of us can dance)
Her mouth went thin and she walked towards the Entrance Hall. Her voice magically amplified, she said,
‘Can everyone please start making their way into the Hall? Leave an aisle and a circle in the middle for the first dance!’
James and I moved aside as everyone started to come in. Once everyone was in their place, we went back into the Entrance Hall and Professor McGonagall put down ropes on either side of the aisle.
An invisible orchestra started to play and the doors to the Hall opened. With my arm linked with James’s, we walked gracefully into the Hall. Everyone started clapping as we moved down the aisle. Everyone, it seemed, except Courtney, Sirius and Mary, who were looking sour.
Once we reached the middle, I put one hand on James’s shoulder and held his other one. His hand went to my waist and we moved in a circle. We stepped on each other’s toes and giggled quietly.
I noticed McGonagall glare at our feet for a second, before motioning to Ella and Gerry to join us.
Gerry was holding Ella close and she looked like she was in heaven. I think I bumped into her once because something hard collided with my back and I heard giggling.
‘Sorry!’ she whispered, before she and Gerry slowly circled away.
Couples started drifting onto the dance floor. Dumbledore took up a waltz with McGonagall and Hagrid was stumbling around with Professor Sprout.
Soon the ropes were gone and everyone was twirling and circling and being lifted and the first dance was over. With a wave of her wand, posh tables and chairs appeared. Everyone grabbed their partners and friends and went to sit together. The tables sat six, so James and I sought out Ella and Gerry and Lisa and Lucas.
Small menus were lying on the plates. Professor Dumbledore, at the head table, picked his up and said in a loud, clear voice,
‘Roast turkey!’ Sliced turkey appeared on his plate. He smiled and sat down. Getting the idea, everyone picked up their menus and said what they wanted to eat.
‘Lily!’ Ella squealed, leaning over her spaghetti to talk to me. ‘This ball is awesome!’
‘I know,’ I said, grinning. ‘I just wish I could dance, though, like Lisa.’
Lisa’s cheeks went red. ‘My parents liked dancing. They used to love the balls they held here, and they used to give me dancing lessons.’
‘Used to?’ Lucas asked. Lisa nodded and bowed her head. ‘Oh.’ Lisa’s parents divorced in our third year. She’d been caught in between all their arguments. She’d watched in horror as her father beat her mother. She’d seen her father walk out on them. She’d had a really tough past.
Once everyone had finished, the teachers gave everyone five minutes to digest. I remember at the Yule Ball when a Hufflepuff in the year above us, who had left by now, ate too much and danced too soon afterwards and he vomited all over his partner.
The Hairy Elf got up on the stage and started to get their equipment together. The lead singer spoke into his wand.
‘Alright, everyone! Grab your partners for this slow song!’
James and I made our way onto the dance floor, hand in hand, accompanied by Ella, Lisa, Gerry and Lucas.
The piece was not what The Hairy Elf usually did. They were more into rock and verbal numbers, but this one was slow, sombre and instrumental. We went into the position we had during the first dance and moved slowly with the music. I saw Courtney and Sirius not too far away. I couldn’t see Courtney’s face, but I recognised her golden hair and she was wearing a black dress. Mary was dancing near them with Remus, who smiled at me.
As the song progressed, James pulled me closer. I put my head on his shoulder and he pressed his lips to my hair. My lips touched his neck and he shivered slightly. When the song ended, The Hairy Elf took up a rock song.
‘I love this one!’ James screamed. He started jumping up and down like a maniac, my hand still clutched in his. ‘Come on, Lily, unclench a little bit!’
Laughing, I started moving my hips a bit. Ella and Gerry were having the time of their lives and Lisa was looking as awkward as me. Lucas was trying to get her to dance, but she was having none of it. Just as I was getting ‘in the groove’, I looked past James. I saw Mary, sitting outside by herself. Courtney and Sirius were having a make-out session by the drink bar.
‘I’m going to talk to Mary!’ I yelled over the music to James.
He nodded, kissed my lips and said something like, ‘Be careful’ before letting me go. I weaved my way around the dancers and headed for the door. I still had my purse. I reached inside and checked that my wand was still there. Check. I sat down next to Mary.
‘Hi,’ I said. She narrowed her eyes at me. ‘Enjoying yourself?’
‘Yes,’ Mary said stiffly. ‘Remus and I are here together. He told me he loved me during the first dance.’
‘Aw, really? That’s really sweet,’ I said. ‘I’m happy for you.’
‘You’re with James, I’m guessing?’ I nodded. ‘I cannot believe you, Lily.’
I knew exactly what was coming, but I said, ‘What?’
‘You hexed Courtney because James doesn’t love you.’
‘What do you mean? James loves me,’ I said. I’d practiced this in my head.
‘No, he doesn’t. Courtney ended up in the hospital wing because of you! I never thought you had it in you! You’re so spiteful! Your love with James is fake! He doesn’t love you!’ Mary stood up.
‘Is that what she told you?’ I said quietly.
‘So what if she did?’ Mary demanded, looking furious.
‘Because it’s not true. Yes, Courtney went to the hospital wing because of me, but it was accidental. Me and James were about to – I mean, me and James were doing fine in the Heads’ common room when she barged in and started snogging James! I was only meant to Expelliarmus her but I accidentally Stupefied her! It was more powerful than I meant it to be!’ I said, my voice getting louder.
‘No,’ Mary said. ‘That’s not true. I think all this power has gone to your head, Lily. You think, just because James used to love you, that he still does? People move on, Lily. You of all people should know that.’
Before I could say anything more, Mary turned on her heel and walked away, her blue dress swirling around her ankles and her dark hair swinging over her shoulder.
I was left alone in the dark, in the cold, curled up on the bench in front of the fountain. Little flecks of water hit my shoulders now and then. I stood up and was about to go back into the Hall when someone melted out of the shadows.
‘Hello, Lily,’ he said. ‘I haven’t seen you in a while.’
‘That’s how I plan to keep it,’ I said, starting to move past him, but he held me against the wall. ‘What are you doing?’ I screamed.
‘I’ve missed you, Lily,’ Sirius growled, sounding like his Animagus form. ‘Courtney just isn’t the same as you, you know?’
‘This is part of her plan, isn’t it?’ I said, trying to keep my lips away from his. ‘To break up me and James and get them together.’
Sirius shrugged. ‘Maybe it is.’
‘Well you know what?’ I said. ‘You get nothing out of it, Black, nothing. Because if he does run to her, I’m never, never coming back to you!’ I struggled and spat in his face.
Unperturbed, Sirius smiled. ‘I don’t really care. I just want to see him cry. Handsome, popular Seeker James Potter.’ His voice sounded bitter. ‘I don’t care about him, Lily. Only you.’
With that, he lowered his head and pushed his mouth to mine. I squirmed and kicked but his arms encircled me and drew me into his embrace. His lips felt tender and loving and I could feel my eyes starting to close. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I kissed him back. My arms itched to wrap themselves around his neck, and they started to, but an image of James flashed into my mind.
Horrified, I pulled away and backed into the wall, my chest rising and falling rapidly. ‘What’s wrong with you, Black? Can’t you see that nothing can tear me and James apart? You’re just going to have to settle for second best.’
Sirius laughed softly as I hurried back into the Hall. I heard him say something.
‘Oh, Lily. If only you knew. This is only the beginning.’
I couldn’t find James. I was worried I’d see him kissing Courtney again, but then I felt someone’s lips press against my shoulder. I whipped round, ready to hex, or at least poke an eye out.
To my relief, it was James. ‘Oh, phew,’ I said.
‘You look different, Lily,’ James said, smiling. ‘Are you OK? I saw Sirius eyeing you up earlier. He hasn’t done anything, has he?’
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see him smiling at me mischievously, as if we were sharing a joke.
‘No,’ I said. ‘He’s not come near me.’
Unfortunately, Sirius Black chose that moment to stroll up to me and wrap his arms around my waist from behind. I squealed in disgust and hurried to hide behind James.
‘What do you want?’ James demanded.
Sirius ignored him. ‘Damn, Lily, I forgot what a good kisser you are.’
‘What are you on about?’
‘Oh, has she not told you?’ Sirius said. ‘She was just reminding me how it feels to have her body right up against mine. And what a good kisser she is. Did I mention that?’
James looked at me. ‘What is he saying?’
Sirius rolled his eyes. ‘Trust Lily Evans to be stuck with the thickest wizard in the world. Me and Lily were outside kissing. Got that?’
James’s eyes widened.
‘Nice to know we’ve cleared that up. Bye, Lily.’ He winked at me and walked away.
‘What was he talking about?’ James asked me.
‘Um … well, we did kind of kiss … a little bit …’
‘But he came onto me! I talked to Mary and Courtney’s twisted her mind like you wouldn’t believe and I was about to come inside when he jumped at me and started kissing me!’
‘And you did nothing to stop him?’
‘I couldn’t! He pinned me up against the wall.’
‘What did you do when he kissed you?’
‘What are you, the FBI? What do you think I did?’ I said angrily, not believing my ears. I kissed him back.
‘Just answer the damn question, Lily.’
‘I pulled away, James!’ I shrieked. ‘I DO NOT LOVE SIRIUS!’
Still he folded his arms and raised an eyebrow.
‘And if you’re too dumb to see that, then maybe we should take some time apart.’
‘Why, so you can go and snog him again?’
‘That’s what I mean! James, you’re so paranoid! I LOVE YOU! I would never kiss Sirius unless I was forced! And I was forced back then, James! I didn’t want him to kiss me!’ I said.
‘Maybe you’re right,’ James sighed. ‘Maybe we should take some time apart.’
I sighed. ‘How long?’
He shrugged. ‘For however long we feel is necessary. Until we get our heads sorted.’
I nodded. ‘Bye, James.’
He rubbed my arm and kissed my forehead. Then he walked away, leaving me with nothing but an empty feeling and the tingle of his skin still burning on my forehead.
I sank onto the nearest seat. This was not how the night was supposed to go.
Courtney had hurt me more than any curse ever could.
Her plan had worked. James and I were not together anymore. She’d be able to move in on him when he was upset and most vulnerable. It was exactly what she wanted. And Sirius would hope I’d need someone to fall back on and he would be there to catch me when I fell. I was sat by myself watching everyone dance for about half an hour. Ella and Lisa were nowhere in sight. Courtney and Sirius kept smirking at me. Nobody else paid me any attention.
Someone tapped my shoulder. I looked up and relief spread across my face.
‘Hi, Remus. Enjoying the ball?’
He smiled and nodded, holding out a hand. Feeling glad, I happily took it and he led me onto the dance floor. The Hairy Elf had decided to play another instrumental, which was good as I didn’t really feel like jumping up and down like a crazy thing.
Remus and I held each other like dancing partners to. We danced in silence for a few moments, before Remus said,
‘How are you, Lily?’
‘I’m fine,’ I said. It was clear in his eyes that he didn’t believe me at all. There was no use lying to him. ‘Where’s Mary?’
‘She’s dancing with Peter. Don’t change the subject, Lily. I saw what happened outside.’
‘You did?’ I said in surprise. He nodded. I sighed, blinking back the tears. ‘James didn’t believe me that I didn’t kiss Sirius intentionally. So we’ve decided to take some time apart.’
‘Oh. I’m sorry. How long are you … postponing the relationship?’ he asked.
I laughed a little at his choice of words. ‘I don’t know. As long as we need, I suppose.’
‘Long enough for Courtney to worm her way into James’s arms?’
I gaped at him. ‘You really think so?’
He shrugged. ‘The mind of a girl works in very complex ways that no man could ever understand.’
I laughed. ‘You are so right. Sometimes I don’t understand it myself and I’m a girl. Courtney is not like any girl I’ve ever met. She’s so spiteful.’
‘She’s jealous, that’s all. She thinks James is hers because she went out with him before you did. You know she’s had a very unsteady relationship with boys before?’ I shook my head. ‘Yeah. Apparently, before she came to Hogwarts, her old boyfriend, who was a Muggle, he used to slap her about.’
‘Really?’ I gasped. ‘Maybe that’s why she’s so insecure. How do you know?’
‘Mary told me. And speaking of Mary … do you want me to talk to her?’
‘It won’t be any use, Remus. I tried talking to her but it didn’t work. Wait – let me guess – you saw that too?’ I guessed.
‘I did, as a matter of fact.’
‘Maybe you just didn’t see me.’
I reached up to touch the lines on his face. He looked and acted so much older than sixteen. ‘Are you alright, Remus?’
‘Let’s just say I’m recovering from my time of the month.’ At this, despite my situation, I burst into peals of laughter. Remus looked a little confused. ‘What?’
‘Your time of the month.’ I giggled as we moved in a circle. Still he didn’t get it. ‘Ah, don’t worry. It’s a girl thing.’
When the song ended, I gave Remus a small hug. ‘Thank you,’
‘For being here for me. I’ll never forget this.’ With that, I departed from the Hall. I saw Ella and Gerry hidden behind the big statue in the Entrance Hall. Lisa was sat on the stairs massaging her feet.
‘Hi, Lis’,’ I said.
‘Lily. I saw James running up here about half an hour ago.’
‘Oh. Yeah. We sort of had a bit of an argument and we thought we’d split for a while.’ I said, sitting beside her.
‘Oh, Lily. Why? I thought you were doing so well together!’
‘We were, but I went outside to talk to Mary and Sirius jumped me.’
‘Jumped you as in –’
‘He kissed me and I may have kissed him back just a tiny little bit, but I never wanted him to kiss me and James won’t believe me and he’s just –’
‘Hold your Hippogriffs, Lily!’ Lisa said in shock, raising her hands. ‘James won’t believe you? It sounds to me that someone’s put words in his ears that means it’s making it harder for him to think you’re telling the truth.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘I mean, maybe Courtney, or someone has been feeding James lies so he thinks, perhaps, that there’s something going on between you and Sirius.’
‘WHAT?’ I screamed, jumping up. ‘Courtney,’ I growled. ‘I am so going to kill her!’
‘Wait up, Lily!’ Lisa grabbed my arm before I could charge into the Hall and K.O Courtney. ‘Think about it. We need to be sure. I mean, it could just be his own thinking. James is pretty paranoid anyway.’
‘It’s her fault this happened in the first place! If she got over him, she would never have come up with that plan to ruin us! We’ve been rocky for a while and now she just goes snogging him and getting Sirius to kiss me!’ I cried, getting all worked up now.
‘Lily, I think we should sort this out in the morning. You’re obviously very tired and maybe you and James can get a chance to talk.’ Lisa said.
I took a deep breath. ‘You’re right. I’m going to bed now. See you tomorrow?’
Lisa nodded and smiled. I made my way up to the dorms. Halfway up, though, my feet started really hurting. I don’t usually wear heels, so I wasn’t used to it. I stopped, sat down and tore my shoes off and continued on my way.
‘Lupine,’ I told Priscilla, giving her the new password James and I had decided upon. I crawled through and straightened my dress when I stood up. James was stretched across the sofa, eating crisps and staring at the fire.
I cleared my throat and he jumped and looked up.
‘Lily. Hi. You’re back early.’
‘So are you. Are you OK?’
‘I’m fine. In fact –’ He got up and stretched. ‘I think I’ll go to bed right about now.’
Avoiding my gaze, he walked right past me and up to his dorm.
Well, that wasn’t awkward at all.
AN: First of all, thanks for reading this. I hope we're all thinking the same thing: It had to happen! So, did Phase 2 put a dramatic spin on things or are you all thinking: JUST CUT THE DAMN COURTNEY ACTION AND GET JILY MARRIED! Either way, I hope you liked the chapter and you desperately want to share your thoughts and you see that little box down here? It's very hungry, so please feed it :) Next chapter up soonish xxx
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