I sat by Leah at a table in the corner, where she was reading. I sighed, looking at her incredulously.
“Are you done already?” I asked, referring to her homework.
“Yep.” Leah said promptly, not looking at me. “Finished hours ago.”
It was already past midnight, and the common room was empty except for a few seventh years and Leah. Grace had already finished an hour ago, going up to bed to get some rest, while Gaby too went upstairs. James and Sirius had finished all of our assignments but were playing a game of Exploding Snap by the fire, while Peter bit his fingernails over the book we were supposed to have read yesterday, and Patricia was sitting by herself in another corner, doing her homework with drooping eyes, every so often glaring at Cecilia who was watching the boys play Exploding Snap and giggling whenever Sirius touched her leg. Remus had finished all our essays and such a long time ago, and had also went to bed when Grace left, and Henn and Kat were going for another trip to the kitchen, claiming that they weren’t going to be able to think without some brain food.
“I would’ve given anything to be in your place right now.” I said miserably, trying to imagine the quill in front of me to be a mouse so I could transfigure it into chalk. “Why aren’t you upstairs sleeping or something?”
“I felt like reading.” Leah said, shrugging. Then she looked up from above her book, changing the subject completely. “I heard you lost fifty points today with Potter.”
I grunted in reply, opening the book in front of me that James had torn the pages of. “Ugh James tore out the page I needed for our homework...”
“So what exactly did you two do?” Leah persisted, although I was trying to wander away from the subject. “I mean I heard you threw a tantrum but I didn’t hear any details...”
I groaned, leaning back and looking exasperatedly at the ceiling. I guess the whole school had already heard and spread what happened.
“Tantrum?” I repeated bitterly, returning to my homework and trying to do my essay even though I knew it was useless without those pages James had ripped out. “Great...”
“Seriously!” Leah said, laughing. “What happened? C’mon, you can tell me.”
“He just got on my nerves.” I muttered, staring blankly at the book in front of me.
“Typical.” Leah said, chuckling.
“Yeah.” I said. But it seemed that when I finally started liking James, he just got from bad, to worse. He spent the whole rest of the day depressing and tormenting me. Honestly....
As this thought came to me, I turned around, looking at James and his Exploding Snap game. For a fleeting second I thought James had been glancing at me a moment before...but when I turned he was laughing at something Sirius had said while giving Cecilia another kiss.
From the corner of the room, Patricia had stood up, throwing her quill to her Charms book frustratingly. She shoved everything into her school bag, flinging it over her shoulder as she distractedly ran her fingers through her messy and damp blonde hair, stomping out of the common room. In front of the fire, Cecilia and Sirius were continuing to kiss as if nothing happened. Leah, James, and I however, were watching Patricia progress through the portrait hole, where the Fat Lady said audibly, ‘You don’t look well dear...’
Leah sighed, her chin perched upon her chin as she looked warily at me. “I know it’s sort of stupid, but I feel really bad for her.”
“I know.” I said, understanding completely. These past days, I often felt bad for not only Gaby but Patricia....although I felt somewhat disgusted with myself when this happened.
“And Gaby, too.” Leah added, furrowing her eyebrows. She threw Sirius a contemptuous glance, then said, “Honestly...” I knew that she was reliving her fourth year, when she had went out with Sirius who also publicly humiliated her when they broke up in the middle of the common room.
Sometimes, Sirius was just evil.
The portrait door swung open with a loud creak, Henn and Kat crawling inside with a plate full of sweets like cookies, muffins, and little pies.
“Hey.” Henn said, stuffing a blueberry muffin in her mouth as Kat scrunched up her nose in disgust at the sight of Cecilia and Sirius. She swallowed the rest of her food in her mouth then said, “Want some?”
“No thanks.” I said. “Can I borrow your Transfiguration book, Henn?”
“Yeah.” Henn said, nodding and walking over to our table, where she set the plate full of food on the top. “Hold on a sec.” She was opening the girls’ door, climbing steadily up the stairs to get her book that was in our dormitory.
“We just passed Patricia.” Kat said, sitting down and not sounding as sorry for her as Leah and I were a few minutes ago. “Looked dreadful, poor thing.”
“I wonder if she’s coming back.” I said, dipping my quill in my ink as I scribbled the title of Mcgongall’s essay on the top of my parchment. I glanced at Sirius, who was still very involved with Cecilia and added in a lower voice, just in case, “She didn’t sleep in our dorm last night, you know.”
James, who seemed to find the fire interesting no longer, stood up, stretching his arms. I couldn’t help but notice that his shirt went slightly up, showing a strip of his skin. He yawned and ruffled his hair, unbuttoning the cuffs of his white shirt, where it was also unbuttoned at the top.
I watched as he moved past us, determinedly not looking at me and pausing in front of the boys’ dormitories door. His hand was on the knob, and he glanced at me for a brief second, but it was one of those glances that showed pure loathing. Pfft. Fine.
But he couldn’t possibly hate me...could he?
He then wrenched the door open, a moody expression on his face, and slammed it behind him. Leah was looking at me intently, a suspicious look on her face.
“Uh...” Leah said slowly, still not taking her eyes off of me. “Why were you staring at Potter?” she blurted out.
“She was staring at James?” Kat asked, raising an eyebrow at me.
“No.” I said, blushing. “No, I wasn’t.”
“You were too!” Leah said accusingly. “I’m not blind you know.”
“He wasn’t looking at her though.” Kat said humourously, not noticing that this might be a painful subject for me. She couldn’t help it though...it’s not like I told anybody about the new and founded crush I had on James. “Probably because of the fifty points you lost today.” For some reason she sounded bitter, something very unlike Kat.
“It wasn’t just me!” I said hotly.
“Lily, do you like him?” Leah asked slowly, almost hesitantly. She obviously though this was very far fetched.
Honestly! Couldn’t I be a little better at lying at a time like this?
“What?” Kat asked, sounding quiet. “Lily...you like James?”
She was staring at me intently, and I felt myself blush more profusely.
I heard as Henn came rushing down the girls’ staircase, wrenching the door open and sliding in the seat next to me. She handed me her battered Transfiguration book, which somehow had grass stains, with a grin.
“There you go.” Henn said brightly, opening it to the right page. She paused, glancing at me. “Lily, why are you blushing?”
“She likes James!” Leah said absurdly, but in a thankfully, whispered voice. Sirius and Cecilia weren’t there anymore, probably still at it in the Gryffindor Snogging Corner.
“What?” Henn said, gaping with her mouth full of cookie crumbs. She looked at me, to Leah. “What? No, of course not...”
“If you saw the way she was staring at him right now you would be sure of it too.” Kat said dully. She was suddenly drained of energy, flipping the pages of her Charms book without her typical gusto.
“Lily,” Henn said in an astonished voice, which made me even more embarrassed, although it was only us in the common room.
“Ugh, stop it, all of you!” I said, as both her and Leah stared at me.
“It’s just...” Leah said in a hushed voice, but she never got to finish. Henn just started to laugh tremendously, and wasn’t being quiet about it at all. Indeed, we heard something hit the wall behind her that we were pretty sure that Cecilia or Sirius had just bonked their head on the bookshelf that was concealing them.
“Henn!” I hissed, feeling completely embarrassed. “Stop it!”
“I’m—sorry!” she gasped, clutching her stomach as she shook with more laughter. “It’s that...Ha!”
“What she means to say,” Leah said, being the only logical one at the moment, although a smile was creeping on her lips. “Is that it’s rather ironic that after six years of James chasing you around, when he finally gives up, you start liking him, after all the times you said you’d never fall for the ‘James Potter charm’, and you were crazy if you did.”
I stared at her for a moment, my jaw dropped. Then I picked up my school bag, flung it over my shoulder, and grabbed the essay that I hadn’t even started yet. “That’s it. I’m leaving.”
“Wait!” Henn said, grabbing my arm as I was passing her. “C’mon...hold on.” She steered me back to my seat, then shook her head, as if trying to stop herself from laughing. “So, what are you going to do about it?” As she approached the calmest and straightest expression she could possess at the moment.
“What?” I asked incredulously, as Kat sighed as if I were stupid or something.
“What are you going to do about you liking him?” Kat said darkly. I raised my eyebrow at her, still not sure why she was acting this way.
“Yes. Just as Kat says.” Henn said, glancing at Kat for a brief moment.
“I can’t do anything!” I said, throwing my hands in the air. “He’s going out with Eve, remember?”
“So?” Henn said immediately, looking incredulous. I glared at her, and she added hastily, “Oh yeah. Right.”
“But it’s obvious that James doesn’t really like Eve.” Leah said simply. Both of us looked at her, raising an eyebrow. Leah looked up from her book, shrugging. “Well, he’s been avoiding Eve all day. Today after Herbology she ran up to him but he just kind of shunted her away.”
“But he sort of...” I said, then finished lamely, “...hates me.”
“Right.” Henn said rolling her eyes. “He can’t be that heartless to forget you from one day to the next.”
There was a pause. Then Leah said slowly, “Yes, he can.”
“But he’s liked Lily for six years.” she said exasperatedly. “He can’t be that heartless.”
“This is James Potter we’re talking about, Henn.”
“He’s not that bad!” Henn said defensively. “I mean just because he’s a Marauder...C’mon. Remus is nice, isn’t he? And Peter...well he’s...unique, isn’t he?”
“Very.” Kat said sarcastically. Everyone looked at her, giving her curious expressions. She sighed, picking up all of her homework. “I’m going to bed.” she said, and opened the door to the girls’ dormitories...moving up the stairs.
“Weird.” Leah said, frowning slightly.
“Did something happen to her today?” I asked.
“No, I don’t think so...”
“She’s probably tired or something.” Henn said reassuringly. “Now, Lily. What do you tink we should do?”
“Nothing.” I said firmly. “I’m not even sure I like him...”
Leah and Henn gave me exasperated looks. “Well you have detention with him tomorrow.” Henn said, ignoring my comment. “Try talking to him, okay?”
But it was very clear that James did not want to talk to me at all, as I walked in the library for our first detention of the week. He was sitting moodily at one of the tables, and Madam Pince was eyeing him warily, probably to make sure he wasn’t doing anything fishy in her precious library. But James was being very uncharacteristic, not speaking at all as the librarian told us that we were to sort all the books that everyone left lying around. She also informed us that she wasn’t going to trust us being alone with her books, scrunching up her nose disgustedly as she said so.
Even if he wanted to talk to me, I would get to. She sent us in separate sides of the library, saying that we’d probably be talking instead of taking care of the detention in which we very rightfully, deserved. She probably said that because I spilled ink all over James’s books.
So here I am, a bunch of books on the floor stacked up high, so that all I had to do was reach for the book at my shoulder, and put it in the Invisibility section. If this was only one section, I didn’t want to think about how long we were going to be here.
“Good job Mr. Potter.” I heard Madam Pince say, although it seemed that she was forcing herself to say that. “I’m glad that you’re done already. Now go over to that shelf over there, but first look for the books that belong there.”
“Yes, ma’am.” James said, and I knew the way he was saying “ma’am”, that he was thinking that maybe if he sucked up enough, he’d get out earlier.
Stupid James. He’s just so perfect. Even in book sorting he has to beat me.
I shoved another book in the shelf, just as James came around one of the shelves, checking if the books in the chair across the row I was in now was part of his section. He knew I was there...but didn’t say anything or even look at me. I felt my stomach lurch and I forced myself to look at the shelf in front of me, breathing quickly. My heart was beating awfully fast...
“Move, Evans.” James coolly. I jumped, causing the whole stack of books I so neatly mounted to tumble down as my elbow collided with it. I cursed, for both knocking the books down and for not noticing he was next to me. James raised his eyebrow at me for a moment, as I bent down and picked up the nearest book.
I straightened, staring at him defiantly. “What?” I asked, my cheeks flushing.
“Move.” he repeated, pointing at the book that was in the row beside me, but I was apparently, blocking the way.
His hands were in his pockets, and he was looking at me coldly. I was about to side step, so that he could move around me and pick up the book, but suddenly I felt that familiar feeling just like when I told James that he still liked me.
“No.” I said.
James blinked, then scowled. “Why not?”
“You know why.” I said, starting to pick up the books in the aisle and taking up as much space as possible. “Go around, Potter.”
I didn’t see the expression on his face, since I was near his feet. “Fine.” he said, then moved down the aisle, disappearing around the shelves. Soon he was on my other side, glaring at me as he snatching the book from the ground, moving grudgingly around again.
I felt slightly triumphant, as I saw him move across the row in front of me, disappearing again. I picked up the rest of the books, sighing and started to stack them again.
We managed to finish by one o’ clock in the morning. I never fully appreciated how well ordered all the books in the library were, or how many sections there were. Of course James finished about three more sections than me, as Madam Pince was very clear in pointing out, as we were about to leave.
We had no choice but to walk side by side down the hallway, where the only light was coming from the torches. I suddenly remembered the last time we were stuck in detention together, where I was scared to go out in the hallways, where it was very dark.
Before I knew it, I let out a chuckle, even though I was trying very hard not to. James looked at me with an offended expression, he had obviously thought that I was making fun of him for something.
“I was just remembering something.” I replied coolly.
“Oh.” James said, as we turned a corner. I knew he was trying to fight back his curiosity, but soon he said, “Remembered what?”
For a moment I thought of saying ‘Nothing’, just to make him mad. But I suddenly thought against it. “The last time we were in detention together.”
James pretended to be trying to remember, although I knew he wouldn’t forget easily. “Oh yeah.”
“Yeah.” I said.
There was a pause. “Which part were you remembering?”
I looked at him from the side, although there was quite some space between us as we continued to walk. “When I was scared of coming out into the hallway.”
James made a noise that was similar to a chuckle, but quickly tried to disguise it with a cough, as if he remembered that he was supposed to be ignoring me.
“Yeah, I remember that.” he said. “But you wouldn’t admit you were scared of the dark.”
“Yes, you’re right.” I said, although it was strange saying it out loud. I don’t think there were many times I told him that he was right. Even James had a short intake of breath, looking at me strangely.
“Right.” he said after another awkward pause, where we both stared at our feet.
And just like that, I suddenly felt like I wanted to cry. My vision was already fogging, and I felt strangely vulnerable, as sadness seeped into my chest.
James was my best friend when we were little, then I hated him, and now he hated me. And to make things worse, I started to think about my dad, Carrie, and Petunia.
Petunia! She didn’t even care anymore...I could die tomorrow and she would careless...She didn’t love me at all now. She was cold, and heartless, both effects of my mother leaving us and me becoming a witch.
Maybe I shouldn’t have become a witch...
“Lily?” James croaked, startled to look at me as tears streamed down my face. I made a little choking noise, and sobbed harder. We both had stopped in the deserted corridor, as he backed into the wall behind him, looking at me in alarm. It was obvious that he didn’t know what to do.
My heart was heaving with emotion, as it was thumping painfully in my chest. My shoulders were shaking, as I covered my face with my hands, just sobbing and crying...
“Lily?” James said again, looking around as if there were signs on the wall of what to do when a girl was crying hysterically in front of you. “Lily, c’mon don’t cry.”
He wasn’t being sensitive at all! I glared at him. “Y-yeah!” I said, sounding hysterical. “I’ll just d-do that!”
Something flickered behind his eyes again, but I didn’t know what it was anymore nor did I care...
No one cared about me, so why should I care about them?
Then suddenly James was stepping forward and in one movement, was scooping me into his arms and pressing me tightly against him. I started crying into his chest instead, as I clutched onto him for my dear life.
“It’s okay,” James said softly, stroking my hair. “I’m here, Lily.”
My breath was coming in short gasps, as I just cried harder and harder. I heard him sigh into my hair, and then say, “Why do you do this to me, Lily?”
This just made me cry more, as I felt the wet fabric of his shirt press against my face.