Chapter 1 : You Can Find Me Under the Mistletoe
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Lily jerked, startled from her thoughts and flushed at her friend, who stood before her with her arms cross and a smirk.
“No,” she whispered irritably, gazing back outside. After a few moments, she closed her eyes and sighed She pressed her hand against the window, feeling the icy window pane that was slowly numbing her hand. “It’s such a beautiful winter day and I’m going to be stuck with him all day.”
“Evans!” she heard him called clearly from the common room.
Lily groaned and thumped her head against the window, mumbling, “Why me?”
“You better get going. He’s waiting for you. And don’t forget your coat, scarf, gloves and earmuffs.” She held it out Lily’s coat.
Lily pouted. “What do I need all that for?”
Lily gave once last huff and collected her things, bidding her a goodbye and a Happy Christmas. James was in the armchair, grinning at the crackling fire in a daydream and ruffling his hair several times. Lily could see his long legs stretched out in front of him. His broad shoulders leaning back as his muscles showed, barely visible, through his black sweater. He finally noticed her standing distantly away from him. He went toward her and embraced her.
“Potter,” Lily growled, not returning the hug with her arms awkwardly at her side.
He released her, looking down at her and beamed. “Happy Christmas!”
“Happy Christmas,” she grumbled, refusing to even look at him.
“Got you all to myself today, don’t I?”
“By a lucky chance.” She glared daggers at him.
He chuckled, “Evans, fair is fair. I guess that’s a quality of Hufflepuff though, but either way you have to. Don’t you remember our binding contract?” Lily moaned and he chuckled again at her displeaure, “You’ll break out in sereve fungi if you break it. It’s really entirely up to you.”
She frowned, “I’m starting to rethink this. I might want to take the fungi.”
“Ah, come on, Evans! We made a bet. If I received a better grade than you on the essay on werewolves, you agreed to go out with me for a full day. And guess what? You’re here.” James finished with a grin. “Come on, put on your things.”
Lily rolled her eyes. “That wasn’t fair. You’re best friends with one,” she whispered, crossly.
James stuck out his tongue playfully.
Lily slipped on her coat and wrapped her scarf around her neck snuggly as James did the same. James gently took her earmuffs and slid them on her ginger-spiced red hair. He gently ran his fingers through her hair, entranced, mumbling, “Beautiful.” Lily reddened at his closeness. She examined the contours of his face where his jaw line was set and the hazel eyes gazed deeply into her, twinkling hungrily. Her anxiety calmed once he stepped back, snapping his earmuffs on his head. He ruffled his hair in the back to make sure it wouldn’t get too tidy. “Come on,” he grinned. He laced his fingers through hers and pulled her out of the common room, down the tower and into the corridors.
Lily finally asked, “Where are you taking me, Potter?”
“I heard you love the snow!” he smiled widely, making her feel this strange flutter in her heart. He turned the corner and pulled her outside where she saw the Forbidden Forest in the distance with Hargid’s hut littered with snow at the edge of the forest. She stood rooted to the spot, inhaling hungrily as the icy air filled her nose. “Beautiful, isn’t it?” asked James with a smile. She nodded lightly, feeling the warmth of his hand, burning pleasantly into hers.
“So this is our first activity for today.”
She cocked her eyebrow. “What is, Potter?”
The cold tickled her hand as he released her. He dragged his feet through the snow and squatted down, his back toward her. She heard him sniggering and furrowed her eyebrows while bobbing her body to the left and right to take a peek. Then, quickly she ducked as he turned around and threw a snowball, missing her by centimeters. She scooped up snow and patted it into a ball, chucking right at his chest. It impacted, skidding down his coat and leaving frost residue. He grinned like mad.
A snowball fight which Lily hadn’t had in ages. Petunia was boring and uptight and sometimes seemed to almost hate Lily. And she no longer spoke to Severus anymore since last year; they had gone their separate paths. Lily was just thrilled to be experiencing this again and with the one person she could not stand the most. She couldn’t believe it.
She was running away from James as a snowball hit her butt and she cried playfully, “Hey!” She shot a snowball at James face, leaving him dumbstruck with his mouth slightly agape. Lily was thrown into a fits of laughter, with tears welling up in her eyes. “You’re such a git, Potter!” she roared with glee.
James sprinted toward her, tackling her softly to the ground as they both gasped for air with a smile etched on their faces. He flopped onto his back next to her. His hand crept, looking longingly for hers. His fingers finally brushed her hand lightly as he inhaled, holding his breath. Her skin is so soft, he thought yearningly. Just as he was turning his head to face hers, she did too, leaving them in an intense stare. His eyes grazed her plump lips, looking ever so soft.
“Snow angels?” asked Lily with a mutter, her voice choked with a feeling unfamiliar to her.
“What in the name of Merlin is a ‘Snow Angel’?” he asked huskily.
Lily turned her head to face the sky and said dryly with her heart pounding loud, “You need to move over first, Potter.”
“No, you move over, Evans.”
“Potter!” she growled as she took a fistful of snow and tossed into his face. He sat up abruptly and shook his head violently, flakes of snow and drops of melted snow splashing all over her. “Hey!” Lily scolded as James laughed heartily. Seeing him smile, she couldn’t help to, too.
He is really handsome, she thought. And his carefree smile could make anybody’s heart squeeze. In the name of Merlin! What am I thinking? She shook the thoughts out of her mind.
“Okay, show me how to make a snow angel,” suggested James with a lopsided smile.
“Hm, it’s too late. You’re loss!”
He pinched her nose and she slapped his hand away, to discover his face inches away from hers. “Your nose is red and cold, Evans,” he whispered softly. “Maybe we should head inside and go for part two of today’s… itinerary.”
He shuffled to his feet, holding out his hand. She grabbed ahold and he lifted her onto her feet, pulling her close, where their faces were inches apart. Lily felt her face get hot as a grin was threatening on his lips. Her heart was thundering against her chest, shocked by how close she was away from his handsomely perfect face. He licked his lips provocatively as he pressed his body against hers. His hand roamed upward, touching the tips of her hair lightly. He began to twirl her hair on his finger gently, his face once again inches away from hers. She would have sworn she felt his lips brushed hers as his warm breath was tickling her skin.
She pulled back, freed herself from his grasps and cleared her throat, uncomfortable by the situation. “You shouldn’t use such difficult words, Potter. You might hurt yourself,” she muttered weakly.
“You better take that back!” he challenged teasingly with a hint of the disappointment he was trying to hide, seeping through. He bent down to scoop up snow, facing away from Lily to hide his crimson cheeks that were burnt with the overwhelming sensation of desire. Lily squeaked, seizing this opportunity to get away from this man who was making her feel strange feelings of want. She scurried away, with James yelling behind her, “Come back here!” As she ran, the same thought, word, kept playing in her head: want. Did I want Potter? Lily took cover inside and right after, he stepped back inside, where the warmth enveloped them.
James smirked, “Want to go to Hogsmade?”
“No,” she hissed. “We can get expelled, Potter.”
James rolled his eyes lightheartedly. “Call me James.” He held out his hand and she eyed it suspiciously. “Come on.” He motioned. She grasped his hand, cautiously and felt the little warmth from his hand, washing over her. Her heart silently and unconsciously praying that he would sweep her into an embrace. He shook her hand. “Name’s James. And yours?”
Lily smiled. “Lily.”
“Pleasure meeting you, my fair lady, Lily.” He kissed her hand, sending a vague blush on her cheeks.
Merlin, how I actually liked the way he said my name.
“Pleasure’s all mind, my good sir.”
“James,” she whispered, barely audible.
“What? I can’t hear you!” he bellowed, long to hear his name roll from her tongue again.
Lily squeezed his hand and gritted through her teeth, “James.”
“James,” she purred with false sweetness in her voice, making his heart dropped.
He grinned bashfully and she smiled slightly too. “Come on.” He intertwined his fingers with hers and took the lead, reassuringly telling her, “Going to the seventh floor.” She fastened her pace to keep up with his long strides.
“There’s nothing on the seventh floor that is remotely interesting, Potter.” James shot a quick glare at her.
“James.” Her heart thumped when she said his name. She watched their hands and thought how perfectly hers fit into his. Just by the slight touch of their hands, it sent tenderness all over her body. “James.” He looked back at her, still at his pace and cocked an eyebrow. Her eyes averted to his face, feeling a blush creep onto her cheeks. She only meant to say his name in her head, not out loud. She shook her head and he looked forward as they continued to hike up staircase after staircase
“We’re here,” he mumbled. He walked along a lifeless corridor, furrowing his eyebrows thinking hard.
“What are we doing here?” she hissed.
“Sh! Please Evans!” He thought hard, wishing and praying and a door appeared.
“Where did that—”
“Come.” He turned towards her and held her other hand. “Trust me you won’t regret it.” She nodded and he led her in.
Inside it was decorated for a romantic Christmas, with a towering tree, poofing out with its fresh evergreen color, refreshing the air of pine. Balls of shimmering glitter gold and glistening metallic red draped on the tree, sparkling at certain angles when the fire’s light hit it perfectly. Banners wrapped gracefully around the tree, falling perfectly among the balls as the lights weaved through the banners, twinkling a yellow-dim light. Bits of snow settled onto the branches of the tree. It was topped off an elegant gold star, gleaming with all its might.
Lily's eyes trailed on a marble fireplace with a giant wreath above it, identical to the color of the tree. A scarlet perfect stain bow was in the middle of the wreath, up top. Pine cones and bits of holly berries peeked out from the grass of the wreath. On the ledge of the fireplace, snow draped magically glittering. Beneath the ledge, enchanted icicles were hanging with a glossy icy clear color and ragged. A drop would rarely slip from the frozen spears, but when it did, it left a frozen puddle on the hardwood floor and evaporating in the air as sliver glitter. The crackling of the fire, caught Lily’s attention, as the flames danced, licking the firewood and sending the smell of cedar in the air. Perfectly sat the scarlet loveseat in front of the fireplace, illuminated by the intense fire. A low coffee table had two butterbeers, gingerbread cookies and peppermints in a bowl set upon it. She looked further down in the room which had dark wood bookshelves aligned, hosting shabby books.
“They’re all Christmas books with stories from the wizarding world and muggle too,” he whispered.
Lily placed her hand over her slightly agape mouth. “Merlin, James… Thank you.” She felt his hands on her shoulders, tugging her coat. She unzipped it, gazing at the beauty of the room and he pulled it off of her, hanging it on the polished wooden coat rack’s curved branch. He unwrapped her scarf and slid her earmuffs gently off, touching her soft, wavy hair lightly. He shrugged off his coat, scarf and other winter clothing off and placed it next to hers, his eyes refusing to look away.
“Lily,” he muttered. She snapped her head towards him, butterflies fluttering in her stomach. “There’s a dress laid out for you in the dressing room. Just past the bookshelves.” She nodded and they paced themselves to the dressing room, with awkwardness hung in the air. She turned left and he turned right, both gazing at each other through the cracks of the door before closing it completely.
The entire petite room was ivory, with an enormous mirror meeting with an ivory marble counter top. A chaise was neatly pushed against the wall with her dress and shoes sleeping on it. She peeled off her damp clothes and tossed them aside and carefully pulled on the dress. The top was v-neck dipping low enough to show her chest that was pushed up. Spaghetti straps draped her shoulder with the red sequin top, glittering in the light and matched with red satin dress belt at her waist. The bottom of the dress was satin chiffon flowing floor-length, a bit too long. She slipped on her ankle-strap, peep-toe stilettos of ivory with gold accents, lifting the dress perfectly. She found diamond earrings with gold inflections and a thin gold necklace, placing them cautiously on her neck and ears. She quickly swept her hair to a side, wavy, bun with wavy strands falling playfully.
Then she saw it. A perfect white lily, arranged beautifully. She picked it up with her two fingers delicately, grazing her other fingers against the soft petals. She tucked it in her hair. Then, it just happened. Lily watched herself in the mirror, her heart thundering against her chest, anxious if James would find her as beautiful as she thought she was. She glanced about the room, no escape. She went for the door knob, shaking, never feeling ever so tense as the intensity of her heart stormed louder and louder. She turned the knob and opened to find a handsome James, reading a book in front of the shelf.
He was dressed with black slacks and black dress shoes. A white collar was tucking out onto his scarlet sweater. His slightly tanned skin emphasized his raven untidy hair as it suck out in tufts in the back. She watched him use his hand to flatten his hair and he moaned quietly to himself, frustrated with his uncooperative hair. He flexed his beautiful muscles he stretched out arms. There were no words to justify how handsome the young man before her looked.
With a soft click of her door, he jumped a bit startled, but stepped towards her and he swallowed hard, she had knocked the breath out of him. There was a hunger flaring in his eyes. Soon enough, he grinned ear-to-ear and his eyes lit up. “Merlin, Lily. You…you look…” He exhaled deeply. “You…Lily…” He reached for her hand, cradling it. “Merlin, you look…” He laughed lightheartedly. “Not even the word beautiful could describe you. You are so much more than that. Stunningly beautiful,” he finished simply. She blushed deeply and he cleared his throat as if clearing his throat would clear the overwhelming feelings raining on him. He held up a book, “A muggle story.”
Lily smiled politely and gently took the book from him, fitting it in between two books. “How about we…talk?” She had never seen someone’s face lit with such bliss as if he had gotten a wish he always hoped for. Lily led him to the couch, and they both sat close to each other, sharing each other’s warmth.
“Stunning,” he repeated stupidly.
Lily smiled, “You already said that, James.”
“Right.” He looking down at his lap and fiddled with his fingers and took a deep breath. “Lily.” He lifted his gaze to meet hers. “I have been in love with you for so long. And I know, most of the time you can’t stand me…,but…” He sighed, “I’m hopelessly in love with you.” His gaze pierced her, searching deep within the love he longed for her to return back.
I want to kiss him, she thought shyly.
James laced his fingers through hers, his eyes boring into her soul. After a few moments, his eyes peeled away and he glanced up, a slight smile playing on his lips. She eyed him suspiciously, but followed his gaze to a mistletoe, hanging above them with it little white berries poking out of the leaves.
“Well, Lily?” His intense gaze met hers, demanding and patient for a kiss.
Lily reached for him, running her feeling through his untidy hair, ruffling it gently. She pulled him close to her face, feeling his warm breath growing heavy on her lips. She was lost for words, but decided to show her overwhelming feelings she was feeling for him. She closed her eyes and pulled him closer, closing the gap between their lips gently, engulfing his sweet softness.
James lost it.
He shut his eyes, enjoying the softness of her lips, sucking in the beauty of it all. His hand slithered behind her neck, entangling his fingers with her hair and cupped her face, caressing her supple cheek with his thumb. He pressed hard against her lips, the hunger burning from within, felt as if he lost all self-control. She parted her lips, inviting him in and wrapped her arms around his neck as he held her lightly around the waist. His tongue grazed in her mouth as Lily breathed her soul into the kiss. “James.” The sweetness of his name slipped through the kiss in a whimper. He held her tighter, never want to let go of the exploding amount of love he felt for her. His kiss intensified, consuming her hungrily. He pulled out of the trance and lightly brushed his fingers through her hair.
James pecked her neck tenderly, with his lips brushing lightly against her hot skin. He smiled into her neck, “I never thought we could be here like this.” She pressed her lips delicately against his neck, sending a blush on his cheeks. He now was gazing deeply into her eyes, love blazing in them and her eyes were an exact reflection. Cupping her face with both hands, he whispered huskily, “I want you to be mine.”
She was pulled into a slow and longing kiss as she lifted her weak hands up to his hair, sighing heavily into him. Lily wanted nothing more for him to consume her, and drape her with all the love his heart could hold. She would take all of it greedily without hesitation and return the every last bit with her love for him. She was falling in love with James. She has been too stupid to realize it. With that realization, she infiltrated his lips and mouth, her body pressing hard against his, warming her with the heated passion he elicited. He slowly removed himself from her lips, but still brushing softly against them as she sighed pleasantly.
Smiling against her lips, muttering, “It was all worth it. Everything, the mistletoe especially and the bet too. Without those things…” He sighed dreamily. “I wouldn’t be here with you.”
Her forehead touched his with their noses brushing against each other. “Yes,” she breathed. “I couldn’t agree more.”
He chuckled lightheartedly. “Can I ask you something?”
Lily’s heart plummeted with a tsunami of anxiety hitting her hard. She couldn’t muster a reason to herself why he made her so incredibly nervous. She swallowed the angst down and chocked out, “Hm?”
“Would you be mine, Lily Evans?”
She grinned delightfully. “This time, I’m going to have to say yes.”
He kissed her hard and pulled away from her too quickly for her taste. The sensation of his lips lingered on hers and she craved more. He touched his forehead with hers. “Happy Christmas,” he smiled.
She cupped his face and ran her thumb down his lips, muttering happily, “Happy Christmas, James Potter.”
A/N: For the Writer’s Winter Duel
HAPPY HOLIDAYS <3
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