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Chapter 32 : Chapter Thirty Two
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I suppose we really were all talk when we discussed the ‘James-Eve breakup plan’, because March came in and February left, taking the snow with us. We still hadn’t done anything. But how could I? Every time I would see Eve in the hallway between classes, she’d wave and smile at me like we were friends or something. She even asked me if I’d like to spend the next Hogsmeade trip with her and James. (She’s a nut, I swear) Even though I felt slightly harassed and would get very embarrassed when James was with her at these lapses, I would always have that guilty feeling in my stomach that I knew what I was planning to do to this poor girl was wrong.
But then I saw them kissing...and oh, man. Then my conscious would leave me with a snap, and I’d get back to schedule with Henn. She told me that all they had to do was make Eve think James was cheating on her, although we couldn’t think of a suitable girl. All the trashy girls weren’t friends with us, and they were the only people who would do the job for free.
And then there was James. Sigh. Honestly, every time I saw him anywhere with anyone, it was like my heart was breaking all over again. I’d stare at him for a while in all our classes since we were taking the same N.E.W.T.s classes. Once I had been looking at him in Herbology, when I suddenly jumped out of my gaze when Professor Sprout asked me a question. Unfortunately, I just gave her a glazed expression and shook my head when she asked me if I was listening.
But in some ways he was so perfect, and in others I’d just get frustrated that I still had not forgotton him. I hate men. I hate them ALL. Especially when they completely ignore you, and you still pine for him when they obviously don’t like you.
There was always that little doubt in my head though (or maybe hope), that maybe James did like me. But, I mean, why would he date Eve?
“Because he wants to forget you, you stupid dimwit.” Henn put oh so nicely one day when I mistakably gave her information on my deepest thoughts. “I mean, you only turned him down and threw him insults like everyday of his life.”
Wow, thanks Henn.
It was stupid, really. Of course he didn’t like me. Even if he did look at me at times. But he probably was looking at the wall behind me or something. And then one time, he actually smiled at me.
Even though he kind of shook his head violently as if he sincerely regretted it. He did it in a very sexy way though. Hm...yeah, very sexy.
Snap out of it, Lily. You have to stop saying that.
Why was he doing this to me?! Why?!
“Because you treated him like crap like everyday of his life,” Henn explained, while eating a cookie outside while we did our homework.
And why am I friends with her again?
“Henn,” I said through gritted teeth, “Must you always be so bluntly honest?”
Henn shrugged, brushing the crumbs off of her cloak. I groaned and dug my fingernails into the roots of my hair, just when James himself came out of the castle, looking smug. He did that often, didn’t he?
“Oh there he is,” Henn said in a breathless voice, unmistakably trying to mimic me, “the love of Lily’s life. Her reason for living.”
“Shut up.” I hissed at her while James passed right by us, without giving us a glance. He was making a beeline towards Sirius, Remus, and Peter, who were sprawled on the grass under a tree, the books laid forgotton except for Remus. They were now laughing about something...and James was brushing the hair out of his eyes, which were hazel, by the way...
“You there?” Henn said suddenly, waving her hand wildly in my face. I turned to her quickly, since James’s eyes had finally landed on my stare.
“Yes, I’m here.” I said in a uncharacteristically high voice. Henn gave me a tired look.
“Lily, don’t an idiot.” she said irritably. “You two are obviously meant for each other.”
“No we aren’t.” I argued, shaking my head and concentrating on his shaggy black hair from behind again.
“Lily!” she said, shaking my shoulders violently. “Yes, you are. C’mon, think about it. You marry the person who was pursing you for seven straight years...until he finally gets you at the end of seventh year. Wouldn’t that be perfect?”
“If I actually had a chance,” I mumbled in my pessimistic view.
“You’re pathetic.” Henn groaned, shaking her head.
And maybe I was. But my heart was broken, I had the right to be. I was so out of it that I wasn’t even paying attention to where I was going as I made my way back to the common room from dinner. Of course, I had to bump into him.
“Oh,” he said, ruffling his hair uncomfortably as he saw it was me. “Sorry.”
“It’s okay.” I said, in this really strange, squeaky voice. Then we did that really weird thing that when I go one way, he goes that way too, and then I try to move out of the way, and then James is there again. I hate these weird situations. It went on for like a minute, which was really embarrassing until he reached out and held onto my arm, to stop me from going the other way again. I blushed deeply as I felt his contact against my skin.
“Whoa, calm down.” he said, laughing slightly. He grinned, although once again it didn’t reach his eyes. But it didn’t matter. Because of course, I didn’t care.
“Sorry,” I said awkwardly, looking down at the ground but liking very much the way he was still holding my arm. I could smell him from here, and suddenly I had a flashback of when I was kissing him under that same, heavenly smell...
Snap out of it, Lily! You did not just think that.
“Well,” James said softly, his voice breaking through my thoughts of him, himself. “I’ll see you later, then.”
“Yes.” I said, nodding vigorously. I hope so, at least. He gave me a half-smile and was already turning around to continue on his way, when I suddenly was leaping forward and calling out, “James!”
He stopped suddenly, turning around to find that I was throwing myself on him, my arms encircling his neck as I hugged him tightly. I breathed in his cologne, (which was probably the reason for my madness) and smiled slightly, standing on my tiptoes and whispering in his ear, “I’m sorry.”
I think he was too stunned for a reaction, because he stayed motionless for a while, only holding a strand of my hair that he immediately released once I said that. He took a hold of my arms and put them to my sides, a stony expression on his face. He was backing away, putting his hands in his pockets and looking grim.
“Lily--” he said in a somewhat moody voice, shaking his head. His meaning was clear and simple, although in someways hard to understand: No, I can’t. I was expecting that nevertheless, once my consciousness returned to normal and I had an inkling of what I was doing. But somehow, I was still hurt.
I felt my eyes brim with tears but held them back, wanting to look away but knowing I couldn’t. Right then I was trying as hard as I could not to cry, because if I did, I’d reveal to everyone that I wasn’t as emotionless as I seemed.
“James, you need to understand that,” I began in a shaky voice. I sighed, trying to start over. “I messed up, and I just want you to know--”
“No.” he said firmly, stepping forward and grabbing my arms. “I don’t want to know, Lily. Please, don’t do this now.”
I stared at him, looking into his hazel eyes that I loved so much. “But I have to,” I finally whispered, and then without warning to even myself, I stood up on my tiptoes and kissed him.
His body stiffened, but he didn’t let me go. After that he just kissed me back, pushing me slightly against the wall.
And oh my god. It felt so good.
That is...until someone particularly loud and cheery was heard around the corner.
“Hey, Kat.” Eve said, making both of us jump apart. I bit my lip as I knocked headfirst into the wall behind me, while James blushed deeply as he looked at me.
“Hi, Eve.” Kat replied absentmindedly, sounding distant like she always did these days.
“Have you seen--” Eve began, but stopped shortly as she rounded the corner with Kat and stopped, grinning once she saw us. “Oh, James! There you are!”
“Oh, hi--” James said, glancing at me uncomfortably as Eve threw his arms around him, like I had done a few minutes ago. She turned around and held him around the waist, looking at me and smiling.
“Lily, how are you?” she asked politely. I blushed, as Kat crossed her arms moodily and leaned against the wall, her eyes moving from me, to Eve, and then to James. She wasn’t helping in the slightest.
“I’m...er--” I stuttered, looking at James who was avoiding my gaze and putting an arm around Eve’s shoulders.
“Great?” Kat suggested, giving me a suspicious look.
“Yes.” I said quickly, forcing a smile. “I’m great. How are you, Eve?”
“I’m good.” she said, beaming. Ugh, this would be so much easier if she wasn’t so innocent. “Me and James are just off to...” she stopped suddenly, her eyes lighting up as she was struck with an idea. “Hey, why don’t you two come with us?”
“No, thanks.” I said immediately. But Kat was looking at me, smirking in an evil way I had never seen her use before.
“Yeah, we’ll go.” she said, grinning at Eve.
“That’s great!” Eve exclaimed, glancing at James who had a very grim expression on his face. “We were going off to Hogsmeade right now--”
“No, I really can’t--”
“Hogsmeade? How are you guys getting to Hogsmeade?” Kat interrupted, looking overly interested. I groaned, but no one took notice.
“Well, there’s this passageway on the third floor that leads you there.” Eve explained.
“What?” I suddenly said, forgetting for a moment that I was angry. “Who told you that?”
I looked at James, who was very interested in his fingernails. I rolled my eyes. “Figures.” I muttered. I turned to Eve, my Head Girl demeanor on. “Well, I’m not sure any of you know this...but it’s forbidden to leave the castle after dark. And you are most definitely not allowed to go to Hogsmeade whenever you please. That’s why we have scheduled visits.”
Eve raised an eyebrow at me, with a politely incredulous look. Her calmness was starting to annoy me.
“Listen,” I suddenly snapped. “Have you two been sneaking out all this time?” I was mostly mad because they were together while sneaking out, but no one needed to know that.
“Whoa. Chill, Evans.” James said, furrowing his eyebrows at me.
“Stuff it, Potter.” I retorted. “It’s against the rules. But I should know better, since you never followed them even when you’re Head Boy.”
“Hey, I’ve been doing my rounds and everything so don’t even start--”
“Yeah? How do I know that you’re really patrolling the halls? You’ve probably been sneaking off to Hogsmeade this whole time!” I spat, putting my hands on my hips and trembling with fury. Eve and Kat were looking from me, to James, then back to me, looking mildly confused. James stopped in mid sentence, gritting his teeth.
“You’re just jealous!” he suddenly blurted out. I stumbled backwards, looking as if I was slapped.
“Why would I be jealous?!” I cried.
“Because now that I don’t want you anymore, you just are running back! It’s reverse psychology, Evans!”
“Excuse me?!” I shrieked at him, walking up to him and poking him in the chest. “Not everyone’s lives are revolved around you!”
“I’m not saying that!” he roared.
“What is the meaning of this?”
All four of us turned around, just as Mcgonagall came pacing down the hall, her lip in a tight line. “Mr. Potter and Ms. Evans, the hallway is not a place for you two to be causing such a commotion!” she snapped, straightening her glasses.
“Oh, it’s nothing Professor. Just a little argument.” James said nastily, narrowing his eyes as he spun around and glared at me.
“Don’t look at me like that, it’s your fault too---”
“Evans, SHUT UP!”
“Professor, are you listening to what he’s saying?”
“No, wait! Professor, I didn’t do anything---”
“He’s not even doing his Head Boy duties—!”
“Both of you, be quiet!” Mcgonagall yelled, and both of us shut up immediately. She spun onto Eve, who was the nearest and looked like she wasn’t sure what exactly was happening. “Ms. Harriot, what is going on here?”
Eve jumped at being addressed, then calmly said, “They’re just arguing, is all.”
Mcgonagall narrowed her eyes, making Eve smile weakly in reply. She turned to James and I instead, the same furious expression on her face. “Well, then. Ms. Evans, and Mr. Potter, kindly retrieve yourselves from here and go up to your common room. You’ll be having no more fun tonight.”
“Um, Professor?” James said incredulously, having no respect at all. “It’s not even close to curfew---”
“I am aware of that Potter.” Mcgonagall snapped. “Now go, both of you. Go before I lose my patience and put you two in detention together, again.”
James grunted, glancing at Eve who didn’t look as distressed, and actually looked like she was on the verge of laughing. Kat was being awfully quiet, smirking. James turned to Mcgonagall, looking at her awkwardly, then glanced at Eve again. “Well,” he began, fidgeting around. “I guess I’ll see you---”
“Potter! Go now!”
“Alright!” James said, then took off behind me.
“Ah!!” I shrieked, walking into the dorm and grabbing the nearest bedpost and shaking it. “He—is—such—a—git!”
“Lily! That’s my bed!” Grace exclaimed, a toothbrush hanging from her mouth as she gaped at me from the bathroom.
“Grace!” I said suddenly, turning to glare at her. “I hate him! I hate him!”
“What the hell?!” Henn grumbled rom behind the curtains of her four poster, pushing them aside and narrowing her eyes at me. “Lily! Stop screaming like a banshee!”
“Do you know what Potter did to me?”
“Do I want to...?”
“He said I was jealous! Jealous! Can you believe that?”
“Well, Wily, you sowt of awe.” Grace said through a mouthful of toothpaste.
“Grace, SHUT UP!”
“Please stop screaming,” Henn moaned, covering her ears.
“He said it was reverse psychology! That he did this on purpose! Oh, man but no way am I running back to him! No way!”
“But it is reverse psychology—”
“Lily, listen to me!” Henn exclaimed, making me stop to blink at her. “Don’t you get it? He’s doing this on purpose to you. He wants you to get jealous. That is the whole purpose of Eve.”
“But—I...” I trailed off, gaping stupidly at her. Grace let out a relieved sigh and spat out her toothpaste, washing her mouth. “It’s not fair.” I mumbled.
“Why were you two talking to each other anyway? Usually you avoid the other.”
“I know, but we got into this fight into the hallway.” I sighed. “And...” I paused, contorting my face into fury. “Just because I told him off!”
“For what, exactly?” Grace asked slowly, raising an eyebrow and leaning against the door with her arms crossed.
“For sneaking off into Hogsmeade---”
“Whoa, you can sneak into Hogsmeade?” Henn asked suddenly, grinning at the inevitable thought of taking all the sweets she wanted from Honeydukes.
“I’m not surprised.” Grace said tiredly. “I mean, they sneak into the kitchens, and no one knows where that is...”
Henn smirked at me, but I ignored her.
“Anyway, I think what you did is right.” Grace continued. “I mean, you’re Head Girl. James should know better, since he is Head Boy, though. Why would he want to go to Hogsmeade, anyway?”
I frowned. “He was going on a date with Eve.”
“Eve? When did get into the picture?”
“Well, she was about to walk in on us when we were---” I stopped suddenly, slapping a hand over my mouth and widening my eyes as I realized what I just said.
“What?” Henn blurted out, jumping and crawling to the edge of the bed like a hawk staring down at her prey. Grace let her arms drop and gaped at me.
“You kissed him?”
I blushed, reaching my hand towards my hair and grimacing. “Uh...”
“Lily, he has a girlfriend!” Grace sputtered, as Henn started laughing her head off. “How could you...?”
“This is great!” Henn exclaimed.
“Henn, don’t encourage her---”
“Grace, you need to break some rules sometimes.” Henn frowned. “It’d do you some good.”
“No, Henn.” I said, shaking my head. “I shouldn’t have kissed him.” I said that, but a big part of my brain was telling me that I didn’t regret it.
“Are you mad?” Henn asked, her eyes bulging out as she gave me an incredulous look. “Lily, you’re crazy about him!”
“But Grace is right---”
“—it was wrong for me to kiss him.”
Henn snorted. “Right. I’m sure you’re thinking that.”
“Calm down, Henn.” Grace said, rolling her eyes. “Okay, Lily. So...I know that it’s a big deal that you kissed him, but why are you mad at James?”
“Because he was being completely unreasonable!” I exclaimed, throwing my hands into the air.
“Well, what did you say to him?”
My hands dropped to the side, as I leaned against the bed post and gave her a guilty look. “I told him he wasn’t doing his Head Boy duties.” I muttered. Grace snorted.
“I’m surprised you didn’t kill him after all these years.” Grace sighed.
“Or kiss him to death.” Henn smirked. I took Grace’s pillow and smacked her with it. “Ow!”
“I probably would’ve—" I began, making Henn giggle. “Not kiss him but kill him, Henn...but Mcgonagall came around the corner and threatened to put is in detentions.”
“At least he’s not going to Hogsmeade with that hag, though.” Henn reminded me. I nodded grimly.
“She’s not a hag, Henn.” Grace said, shaking her head. “Eve is nice, and both of you know it.”
“Grace, do you always have to be so neutral?” I moaned. “It’d be great if you can just once say something bad about someone for me.”
“She’s not neutral with Remus.” Henn said, rolling her eyes. “She gets mad at him for the stupidest things...”
“Shut up, Henn.” Grace growled.
“I can’t believe this.” I groaned, dropping onto Grace’s bed and pressing my palms against my forehead. “Why is this happening?”
“Lily, did he kiss you back?” I felt someone sit on the edge of the bed and heard Grace talk nearby.
“Yes.” I said stonily.
“He obviously likes you, Lily. He’s probably just afraid of getting hurt again.”
“But I’m not going to hurt him.”
“He doesn’t know that.” Grace replied calmly. I sat up, frowning.
“Yes, he does.” I said grumpily. “I even apologized to him.”
“Boys are stubborn.” Henn sighed.
“Lily,” Grace said, her voice suddenly stern and firm. “I think you should forget about him.”
There was a pause, Henn and I exchanged looks while I felt my stomach drop.
“And why should she do that?” Henn asked incredulously.
“Yes, why?” I asked, frowning slightly.
“Because you’ve done your part.” Grace explained. “If he wants to come to you, he will.”
“No, he won’t because he’s stubborn.” Henn argued. “He’s a boy.”
“You can’t do anything else though!” Grace said, throwing her hands up into the air. “Wouldn’t it be better if you just forgot about it all?”
“It’s not that simple,” I said nastily.
“I know it’s not. I know.” Grace said, raising an eyebrow at me. “But...it’d be easier on your heart.”
“She can’t just give up—!” Henn began.
“She’s going to have to.” Grace said, frowning and then looking at me again. “Look, it’s up to you...but think about it, okay?”
And maybe she was right. What else could I do?
I jerked out of my trance, looking away from my quill and concentrating on Gaby instead. She looked impatient, frowning at me with furrowed eyebrows.
“I’ve been calling you for the past ten seconds. Where were you?” she snapped. I rolled my eyes at her, glancing for a moment at James before quickly returning to my essay. I kept my lips firmly shut, forcing myself to bite back a retort. “Anyway, I was going to tell you…Lily, are you listening?”
“Yes.” I said tiredly. Gaby made a noise in the back of her throat that sounded like a growl. I sincerely regretted the fact that I was doing Grace a favor by sitting with Gaby in Transfiguration today…turns out that Grace was on the edge of her patience also, which was saying something since she was always calm. I bit my lip and tried to make my face look expressionless as I gave her my full attention.
“Here.” She said roughly, thrusting an envelope at me. I gave her a perplexed look, holding the thin paper in my hands.
“What is this?” I asked, but Gaby was already turning in her seat and facing Mcgonagall, who had just walked into the classroom with the shut of the door.
“Alright, all of your essays should be done. Pass them forward, please.” Mcgonagall said promptly, walking over to her desk and giving the class a piercing look. Almost at once there was a shuffling of papers, signaling that the students were passing in their essays, which were mostly done all last night. It was the hardest homework she had ever given us, since it had to be three rolls of parchment on the complexity of the bones, which transform when a person is an Animagus. I made an irritable noise in the back of my throat and gave Patricia, both our papers, annoyed at the fact that I couldn’t squeeze in another sentence. As Patricia passed the mountain of parchment in front of her to Henn, I discreetly opened the envelope and peeked at the writing inside. There was a pretty design on what looked like a card.
“When did I get this?” I muttered from the corner of my mouth to Gaby, so Mcgonagall wouldn’t see me.
“This morning, but you weren’t at breakfast.” Gaby murmured, although she still looked quite peeved. “Were you sleeping in or something? That’s very unlike you.”
“Yes.” I lied. The truth was that I didn’t want to go down to the Great Hall to eat, and decided that I’d feel better about myself if I had another half-hour in the dormitory alone. “I was very tired.”
Trying to avoid Gaby’s piercing look, I carefully took out the card out of the envelope, which said: “To Miss Evans”. The card was white and had two golden bells in front with blue ribbons, and I knew instantly that it wasn’t a card from a wizard or else it would be moving. My eyes narrowed as I saw the heading on the inside, in fancy cursive letters.
“‘You are invited to the Dursley-Evans wedding…’” I trailed off, my heart pounding in my ears.
Gaby peeked over my shoulder while Mcgonagall took all the rolls of parchment, setting them on her desk. Gaby widened her eyes at me, then gave me an incredulous look.
“Are you going to that?” she asked. Gaby knew that the animosity between my sister and I had grew over the years but she wasn’t aware of what I really found was strange. Gaby didn’t know that my sister had broken all ties with my father and I. Gaby, nor anyone else, knew that Virginia wasn’t dead at all, and that she had decided to take Petunia with her to Merlin-knows-where. But what both of us didn’t know, was why Petunia had sent me an invitation.
“I dunno.” I whispered back, the invitation card suddenly feeling heavier along with my chest. If I went…I’d have to see Virginia again…
“Ms. Evans and Ms. Sanchez, quit chit-chatting.” Mcgonagall suddenly snapped behind me. I quickly hid my mail from view.
“Yes, Professor.” Gaby said obediently, as I stuffed the invitation in the back of my bag discreetly.
“Ms. Evans,” Mcgonagall said crisply, pursing her lips. “You have some thinking to do about what it means to be quiet in class.”
I nodded. “Yes, Professor.” I said.
Yes, I definitely had some of thinking to do.
The whole week my mind was preoccupied, and I was distant from everyone and anything. Everyone noticed it; they would worry that I wouldn’t ever show up at breakfast anymore, and that I’d call it a night right after dinner, which I seldom ate, but really just laid in my bed for hours thinking about what the outcome would be.
That’s what I was doing right now, actually. I had already changed out of my school robes, not bothering to take a shower as I stared up at the canopy of my bed. My mind was wandering elsewhere now…as millions of thoughts ran through my head.
I felt my way with my hand under my pillow, clutching the invitation and looking at it hard again. It was actually a very simple card…with the date and the time of the wedding, and where it would be. It also said that there would be a party afterwards and a sort of small brunch the next day. There was no little note in Petunia’s writing, and there was no indication if Petunia really wanted me there or not.
I pressed my palm against my forehead. I wondered if maybe, just maybe, I was a bridesmaid, or the Maid of Honor…
I snorted, stuffing the card beneath my pillow again. For a moment I had forgotten that Petunia hated me. But then again, it seemed that she too had forgotten for a moment, and sent me the invitation. Maybe she was starting to have a heart? Or at least a conscious, maybe. I suppose that Virginia really was doing her some good.
And then my heart sank. Virginia. Every time I thought of that woman, all possibilities that I might go to the wedding sank back into my head and I started to doubt again. I would unmistakably have to confront her again…and I knew it wouldn’t be a good outcome since the last ones weren’t either. I groaned, but quickly pursed my lips as suddenly I heard footsteps coming up the stairs and the door slamming open. I quickly turned onto my side and feigned asleep, just as someone wrenched open my four posters forcefully.
“Lily, you better not be asleep.” Henn said viciously. I braced myself after she started to shake me, although I let out no response.
“Henn, leave her alone.” I heard Grace say tiredly, from somewhere by the door. “She obviously doesn’t want to talk to anybody.”
“She’s been doing this all week, though!” Henn said angrily, her hands still on my shoulders but she wasn’t shaking me anymore.
“Just let her be.” Grace replied, and Henn grudgingly got up and closed the curtains again.
“I doubt that she’s asleep.” Henn muttered.
“Maybe she’s tired.” Grace reasoned.
“And maybe you’re bloody stupid.” Henn retorted. “Of course she’s not asleep.”
“Henn,” Grace suddenly said, sounding impatient. “We’re all worried about her, okay? You don’t need to go all snappy on me.” Henn huffed, like she always did when she was about to apologize for something she didn’t want to.
“I’m sorry.” She muttered. “I’m just nervous, that’s all.”
“I know.” Grace said calmly. “C’mon, though. I still have to finish that homework Flitwick gave us.”
“Fine.” Henn sighed, as the door creaked, ready to be closed. “I wonder if Lily’s even been doing her homework? She doesn’t even go to breakfast anymore…”
The door closed and I sat up, perking my ears to see if there was anyone else coming in. I sighed and pressed my face into my knees that were folded up in front of me, as tears started to roll down my cheeks. I squinted and wiped them away, sniffing. I had to hold myself together, and the time to break down definitely was not now.
I lay back down and closed my eyes, snuggling into my blanket and putting my hand underneath my head. I turned to my side and felt the rubber band on my wrist that I had taken out of my hair earlier and by accident, caught one finger underneath it and let it go. I winced as I felt the snap contact with my skin, biting my lip. Then suddenly, I opened my eyes and stared at it, my skin reddening slightly where my veins were. For a moment I had forgotten what I was feeling about the wedding as the rubber snapped onto my skin.
Before I knew what I was doing, I was taking the rubber band again and holding it as far as I could, then let go without warning. I bit my lip again, as my skin became irritated slightly. I closed my eyes and took a hold of it again, falling asleep with my skin raw beneath it.
The next day I woke up with the shuffling of papers and books, as everyone in our dorm was getting ready to head down to breakfast. I stretched my arms and blinked at the red curtain in front of me, my heart beating loudly in my chest as I thought of how I had to get up for another day of school.
But then again…I didn’t have to go…
“Do you think we should wake her up?” I heard Gaby ask.
“She’s probably already up.” Henn said nastily.
“Henn, give it a rest.” Grace said. “Look, she hasn’t gone down to breakfast for the past week, what makes you think she’s going to today?”
“I suppose you’re right.” Gaby sighed, as footsteps made their way over to the door.
“She’ll show up later, don’t worry.” Grace said consolingly. “You coming, Henn?”
“Yeah, yeah…” Henn muttered moodily, then the door slammed shut.
After a while I heard Patricia and Cecilia getting out of bed also, then heading down towards breakfast after Cecilia was finished beautifying herself in the bathroom. Once I was sure that I was alone, I sat upright, leaning against the headboard and thinking to myself.
I was really not feeling good to go to school today. All I had to do was tell someone that I was sick…that I was throwing up in the bathroom or something and I thought it was best not to go to the Hospital Wing because I was afraid I’d start getting sick in the hallway too. It seemed perfect, but…
Would it be considered skipping?
No, of course not. I really was sick. In fact, I was starting to get a stomachache right now…
I sank back into my bed, bringing the blanket up to my chin and weighing the two sides of my conscious. I really was not well. I couldn’t go to school today, I wasn’t mentally all right because of all this stuff going on at home…
I grunted and turned onto my side, already decided. It would be fine if I didn’t go to classes today, I’d be able to make up all the work. But the fact that I had never missed school before because I was sick was still bothering me. I looked at my wrist, and gave it an uncertain look. Well, it sort of worked yesterday…
I held it with my index finger and let it contact with my skin. I did this continuously until the whole section of my wrist was pinkish.
I sighed, feeling better about myself. I closed my eyes and slept all through the day, until sometime around lunch. Henn, Gaby, and Grace had come to visit me then, and I decided that it would be strange if I was still sleeping. I sat up once Henn wrenched open the curtain like last night, looking furious.
“Where have you been?”
“Obviously, right here.” I replied tiredly. “I was feeling sick.”
Henn’s expression changed slightly and her frown slid off her face. “Oh.” She said in a tiny voice, and I felt the immense satisfaction of being able to trick her and make her feel guilty.
“Are you alright?” Gaby asked worriedly. I nodded, just as a plate of food was stuck under my nose.
“Eat up.” Grace ordered, furrowing her eyebrows at me. “You haven’t eaten something all day.”
“Ugh, no thanks.” I said, pushing the plate away from me. “I’m feeling so nauseous right now, that I’ll probably throw up if I eat that.” Of course, this was a lie. But I didn’t feel bad about it because I really wasn’t hungry at all.
Grace furrowed her eyebrows at me, sighing and putting the plate onto my cabinet, after pushing away the stuff on it. “Okay, I’m leaving it here though, just in case.”
“Thanks.” I said, smiling weakly. “So, did I miss anything in class?”
“Well, you’re going to have a lot of homework to do.” Henn said. I winced.
“Yeah, I thought so.” I replied, shrugging.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” Gaby asked.
“Yes, I’ll be fine by tomorrow. I probably just got a virus or something.”
“Why don’t you got to Madam Pomfrey?” Grace suggested. I gulped.
“Well…I’m too weak to get out of bed. And I was afraid I would start throwing up in the middle of the hallway.” I said slowly.
“Hm.” Henn said thoughtfully. Suddenly, she grinned, her eyes widening at an idea. “Hey, we can get some medication for you from the Hospital Wing! How about that?”
“Yeah, that’s a good idea.” Gaby said. “Good thing we came up to visit you.”
“No, it’s okay.” I said in a rush. “I’m alright. I hate taking medication and I’ll be fine by tomorrow, honest.”
“We can’t take that chance, though.” Grace said, already taking her school bag and hitching it up on her shoulder. “I’ll go now. Who wants to come with me?”
“I’ll go.” Henn said brightly, and before I could refuse they were both out of the door, shutting it behind them. Ugh…no….
“I think I’m going to take this chicken wing.” Gaby suddenly said, and took the chicken that they had put on my plate. She grinned at me guiltily. “You don’t mind, do you? I’m terribly hungry.”
“No, go ahead.” I said absentmindedly, still thinking in horror what I had just done.
“Thanks.” Gaby said gratefully, taking a bite out of the chicken immediately. I stared at, thinking to myself. I hadn’t eaten all day, and I still had no inkling that I was hungry at all. In fact, the chicken was making me nauseous, making me look away.
“So,” I said, trying to make my mind wander elsewhere so I wouldn’t have to think about the medicine I’d have to take. “What happened today? Anything new?”
“Well,” Gaby said, swallowing all the food in her mouth and clearing her throat. “Sirius was bugging me today.”
“Really?” I said vaguely, picking up the book on my cabinet absentmindedly, sine I wasn’t really interested in anything Sirius and Gaby related.
“Yeah.” Gaby said, furrowing her eyebrows, oblivious to the fact that I was uninterested. “He asked me about Jack...”
Suddenly I was very aware of what she was saying, my neck turning so fast that it cracked as I looked at her. “Asked what exactly?” I said nonchantly.
“Something about how if we were dating or not.” Gaby shrugged. She then frowned, scowling at the chicken wing in her hand. “Like it’s any of his business.”
“Yeah.” I nodded.
“I mean, why wouldn’t I be?” Gaby scoffed. “He better not try anything stupid.”
“Right.” I said, trying to change the subject. “So, was there really that much homework in our classes? I hope you guys were exaggerating. I didn’t even do Flitwick’s essay yet.”
“Yeah.” Gaby said thoughtfully. “He mentioned you too, you know.”
“Flitwick?” I said incredulously.
“No.” Gaby snapped. “Sirius. He talked about Henn too. He asked if we were talking lately.”
“That’s strange of him.” I said, my voice cracking slightly. Gaby didn’t notice.
“Yeah, I know.” she said. “It was so weird! I mean, we don’t even talk. We’re definitely not friends, and we’re barely acquaintances anymore.”
I was saved the option of replying when Henn came in with Grace, gasping. “Here.” Henn said, throwing a bottle of pills at me. “Take one.”
“We have to go.” Grace said, clutching the stitch in her chest. “The bell’s about to ring, Gaby.”
“Okay.” Gaby said, putting the bones she was holding onto the corner of my plate. She was about to walk out of the door, and I was actually thinking, YES! Maybe I didn’t have to take it after all...but then Gaby stopped, turning to look at me. “Oh, wait. You need water for that, don’t you Lil?”
I stared blankly at her. “Uh...”
“Hold on, then. I’ll get it for you.”
“Gaby,” Grace groaned. “We’re going to be late.”
“It’s okay, go ahead. I’ll do it myself.” I said reassuringly, trying not to look too eager.
“No, you’re probably too weak to get out of bed.” Gaby said, and ignoring further complaint, she stepped into the bathroom and took the cup that was next to it, filling it halfway. “Here.” she said, shoving it in my face. “Now, take it.”
I gulped, as she took out a pill for me from the bottle and handed it to me. I stared at it, thinking of what I got myself into. I’ll never lie again, I thought pleadingly, although I didn’t know who exactly I was talking to. Never. Then I took the pill she gave me and gulped it down with water, wiping my mouth on my sleeve.
“Well, see you later, Lil.” she said, and was out of the door, closing it behind her. I laid back down and twisted my fingers together, a horrible feeling sinking into my stomach. I hoped nothing would happen to me because I took medicine that I wasn’t supposed to. I knew I didn’t have a virus, and I’m sure if Madam Pomfrey came here she’d see it too.
Everything was suddenly wrong. Well...it was always wrong but now it was worse. Now, I was actually breaking down, and falling to pieces. I was hopeless. I was weak.
Before I knew it, I was crying again, my heart beating loudly into my chest. I sobbed into my pillow, my fingers reaching towards the rubber band that was on my wrist. I made a little chocking noise once I let it snap, and stopped crying, to look at my skin. I brushed my tears away and sat upright, hurting my wrist again.
“Good, you ate lunch.” Grace said, taking the empty plate that I had conjured so that the food had vanished and replacing it with another. This one was full of food too, from dinner. “I’m sure you’re hungry though, so eat up.”
I smiled weakly at her. “No, thanks.”
“Lily, c’mon.” Gaby snapped. “You’re going to get worse if you don’t eat.”
“I’m not hungry.”
“You look awful, though.” Henn said conversationally, sitting on the edge of my bed and taking a bite out of the apple she brought. “I hope you’ll feel better tomorrow, cause look how much homework we have tonight.” She pointed at the stack of books that they had all brought, their book bags overloaded with papers and other things. I grimaced and then looked at the food, my stomach feeling nauseous.
They were all staring at me, so I slowly brought the fork to my mouth and chewed on the food they gave me. I forced myself to swallow, even though I didn’t feel hungry at all. Grace gave me a relieved smile, then hopped onto the edge of my bed.
“Do you mind?” I asked, as I turned around to look at everyone still staring at me. The door opened and Patricia came in, looking teary eyed, as usual. Her eyes landed onto the strange sight of me eating with the covers over me, and my three friends around me staring at the my face and the plate of food. I swallowed the food and went, “Hey, Patricia.”
“Hello.” she said slowly, walking over to us and wiping her eyes. “Are you alright? I noticed that you weren’t in class today.”
“Just feeling slightly sick.” I replied, avoiding eye contact from everyone and concentrating on my food instead.
“Oh, that’s too bad. We had quite a lot of homework--”
“So I’ve heard.” I muttered.
“Anyway, hope you feel better.” Patricia said, smiling slightly although still looking incredibly sad. She started to rummage through Cecilia’s things, looking as if she was searching for something.
“What are you looking for?” Henn asked.
“Oh, Cecilia asked me to get her book because she’s with--” she stopped suddenly, looking like she was going to start bawling any minute.
“Sirius?” Henn finished for her in an apologetic tone. Patricia nodded, swallowing the lump in her throat.
“Well,” she began, blinking. “I think I’ll just make a quick trip to the loo before--” She didn’t finish and slammed the bathroom door behind her. Almost immediately we heard loud sniffling. Henn rolled her eyes.
“Honestly, it’s been...what? Three months?” she suggested, Grace nodding in reply. I thought about how I was still not over James after three months and sank lower into my sheets, stuffing my mouth with chicken.
“Let her be.” Gaby sighed, shaking her head with a knowing look in her eyes. “Sirius can be very destructive sometimes.”
There was a silence after this statement, everyone carefully avoiding each other’s eyes. Grace cleared her throat and changed the subject. “Anyway, I think I’m going to start doing my homework.” she said, trying to sound quite casual. She picked up her bag and reached towards the door, giving Gaby and Henn an expectant look. “Coming?”
“Yeah.” Henn said heavily, following suit.
“We’ll see you later then.” Gaby said, giving me a tight hug before departing. The door closed softly behind them while I conjured the food to disappear. I then put the plate onto the floor, sinking still lower. Patricia was coming out now, her eyes red and watery. I tried to ignore her as she walked slowly to her bed, taking Cecilia’s book and staring at the cover for a few seconds. But then my conscious got the better of me and I felt obliged to ask.
“You alright?” I asked tentatively. Now, when someone asks you this question, what you’re supposed to do is give a convincing or not-so-convincing smile and say, ‘Yes, I’m fine.’ and not start bawling and wailing right in front of you, which is exactly what she did.
“It’s not...fair!” she wailed, looking like a little baby, something I always associated with her hair. Her knees gave way and she dug her sobbing face into her pillow, muffling her voice slightly but still effective enough for me to cover my ears.
“Ugh...” I groaned, watching as she endlessly cried right in front of me. Once again, my conscious was slowly growing louder in my head, with a voice that sounded suspiciously like Grace’s. I got up grudgingly and dragged my feet to her, patting her awkwardly on the shoulder. This was a big mistake though, since the moment I did so she threw her arms around me and started to cry into my shoulder, soaking my shirt.
“It’s just– ” she hiccuped, finally pulling away from me with her face completely red. “How could she – hic – do this to me?”
“Cecilia, you mean?” I asked, keeping my voice soft and gentle, just in case she started to cry again.
“Yes!” she moaned loudly. “She’s supposed to – hic – be – hic – my sister!”
“I know,” I said consolingly, using the voice that Grace would always use on me when I was out of my mind.
“It’s not even him anymore!” she rambled on, making wild hand gestures in the air and looking slightly insane. “I’m over – hic – him! But she makes it so much – hic – worse, and I’m just...”
She stopped, sniffling. I walked to my bed and took the whole tissue box that was next to it instead of just one. She took it gratefully, wiping her eyes and sobbing into her pillow again. I took this as a cue to leave, quietly and quickly returning to my bed. Her wails grew louder and I closed the curtains of my four poster, digging my own head into a pillow.
“Lily, how are you?” my grandmother asked me, smiling at me from across a table in a backyard I had never seen before. She was sipping tea with one of her hands carefully folded against her lap, her eyes shaded slightly because of the pink hat she wore. She didn’t look as tired as I saw her in the playground, she looked more refreshed and shone even more. The younger Virginia was sitting on a quilt nearby, holding her baby brother and giggling. They seemed oblivious that I was there, as Virginia tickled him in the stomach. I blinked, forcing myself to look at my grandmother instead.
“Not so good.” I replied, smiling weakly. My voice sounded distant, and it echoed slightly.
“Yes, I can understand why.” she said, her smile fading as she set her cup down, giving me a serious look. “You’re probably wondering why I’m here.”
“I thought you died years ago.”
“Yes.” she said, nodding and confirming that I was right.
“I never met you.”
“No, you didn’t.”
“Why are you here?”
“Lily,” she said, laughing. “Do you know what happens when someone dies?”
I widened my eyes, feeling my heart beat quicken. “Am I going to die?” I blurted out.
“No.” she said, her laughter dying out. She looked serious again, and her hand reached towards mine. They were surprisingly cold, for a woman who seemed to have spread so much warmth in her life.
“What is it?” I panicked.
“You’re going to need me soon.” she said softly, hooves echoing in the distance. I felt my conscious self struggling to wake up, but I didn’t want to. I couldn’t. No, not now.
“Soon?” I croaked.
I gasped, my forehead sweating as I started to recognize my surroundings. I still heard hooves pound in my head, a door creaking rather loudly in my ears.
“Ugh, what--” I groaned, turning to my side. I opened my eyes and screamed, coming face to face with two round eyes of a tall stag, staring right back at me.
A/N: Yep, another cliffy. *holds up shield* I'm almost done with 33 though! So don't...throw tomatos just yet. *grins sheepishly* Tootles, hope you enjoyed this one.
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