Chapter 34 : The Broomstick Ride
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Nothing is more revealing than movement.
- Martha Graham
It was quiet and still around me as I woke up, and I was lying in a particularly comfortable position on the mattress next to James.
‘Next to James…’
I stretched and moaned slightly, not bothering to think about the fact that it was Christmas Day, and there were intriguing little things under the Christmas tree. I just didn’t want to wake up from that sweet dream just yet. Contrary to my wish, I was abruptly woken by Sirius’ enthusiastic wake-up.
“Pressies!” exclaimed Sirius, jumping out of bed and sprinting over to the Christmas tree. I heard him rumple through the presents, returning with five or six in his arms. A hungry expression was on his face as he ripped the papers off.
“Awww… Thank you, Lily!” he crawled over James to get to me, lifting me up to hug me.
“Sirius, I’m still asleep. Gerroff.”
“Merry Christmas,” he grinned, not listening to what I was saying. “I really liked the socks with snitches across… It was the best.”
“Lovely… Happy Christmas to you too…” I mumbled, extracting myself from his grasp and finding my pillow again.
Then James suddenly lifted his head, growling.
“Sirius? Presents? Christmas?”
“Yeah, Prongsie! Pressies!” Sirius bellowed.
Soon everyone was awake, opening presents and wishing each other happy Christmas.
“What’s this?” I said curiously, picking up James’ present.
“You’ll see,” he grinned, opening one of his presents. “Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans again, Remus? I get them every friggin’ year!”
“Sorry, I’m not that creative,” he blushed.
“It doesn’t matter. They taste just as good every year.”
I ripped the paper off, soon sitting with a green book in my hands. A picture of myself was on the front, sitting back stage at the show. I was putting on my pointe shoes, looking both expectant and anxious.
“It’s… beautiful, James,” I smiled at him. “But how did you get this picture?”
James turned around, looking mischievous. “Sirius took it, as always. He sneaked in back stage that night.”
I rolled my eyes, opening the book. My eyes widened as I saw James neat hand writing on the bottom of every page. He had written down quotes and poems, all about dancing.
“A dance is a poem of which each movement is a word…” I read out loud.
The whole book was decorated magnificently, and I could only imagine how many hours he must have put into this.
Without knowing what I did, I suddenly wrapped my arms around James, giving him a quick kiss on the cheek.
“Thank you… It’s extraordinary,” I whispered.
I saw him blush fiercely as I let go of him, putting the diary together with the scarf and sketching pencils I got from Sirius and Remus. Jennifer had given me a very naughty set of underwear I had hid under my cover.
It took a while to finish the present-opening, but we somehow managed to remember we ought to eat as well. The six of us were moving down the corridor to the Great Hall as Sirius suddenly held me back.
“Lily?” he said excitedly. “Can I have a word?”
“Sure! What are you up to?” I smiled.
“What I am up to? I’m not up to nothing?” he sniggered.
“I just wanted to tell you that I am in no doubt anymore…” he said matter-of-factly. “About yourself and James.”
“How many times have we had this discussion?”
“About a million. Do you think I care?” Sirius scowled.
“Apparently not…” I muttered.
“Can’t you just admit it? Like, once and for all?” he smiled. “I know it’s the truth, you know it, I think even James knows it’s the truth by now. It’s just that he’s had a hard time accepting it.”
“Accepting what?” I said fiercely.
“That the girl he’s in love with returns his feelings?” Sirius smiled warmly. “Tell me… How many hours a day do you spend day dreaming about the two of you?”
I gave up. I was tired of Sirius’s constant, pushing bullying about that matter.
“Too many hours. Happy?” I said sternly, but I felt a giggle starting to threaten me.
“Ah. There it was. The confession. The long-wanted confession. Come again?” he teased.
“I think about him a lot. I dream about him too… I even have nightmares. As you know. And my heart jumps when he’s around. Happy now ??” I said happily.
“Indeed,” Sirius smiled. “I won’t tell,” he added as I gave him a look.
We entered the Great Hall, but it felt as though we didn’t spend a minute in there. All I remembered was walking out of there with a satisfied smile as my stomach was full of food.
I was walking in my own thoughts on my way back, as usual. Could I ever feel more happy? Sirius had told me James was in love with me. And for once, I actually believed him. It was the most wonderful feeling, knowing there was a chance (a rather big chance) that James felt warm towards me too. It made butterflies flutter in my tummy just thinking about our skin connecting.
I turned my head suddenly as I felt a hand slip between my fingers as that very thought lingered in my head. James’s eyes were reflecting my own as he kept holding onto it as we walked.
“Want to join me for a broomstick ride in the grounds?” he said casually, as though he was asking if he could copy my notes from Charms.
I wasn’t sure if my voice would work, so I just smiled and nodded. He didn’t let go of my hand, and we kept walking back to Gryffindor Tower together. I was almost afraid to look him into the eyes, afraid I’d drown in them. My head was spinning around, concentrating on our connected hands.
The snow was glittering beautifully as I mounted James’s broom, wrapping my arms around his waist.
‘I must surely be dreaming,’ I thought as we lifted from the ground, soaring through the air. Even though there was snow everywhere, the air wasn’t really that cold today. The sun was in a very happy mood, affecting everyone as she shone so brightly.
“Are you Ok back there?” James asked, flying over the trees around the lake.
“I’m perfect,” I laughed, absorbing his smell as well as all the visions I wanted to capture. I had the time of my life.
I couldn’t help but feeling my heart beat approvingly as I sat there.
If this had been three or four months ago, I would have jumped off the broom, regretting ever sitting so close to my sworn enemy. I would have yelled something insulting, I would have narrowed my eyes as I looked at James… Had it been two months ago I wouldn’t have thought it possible. Me? On the broomstick of the famous and charming Quidditch player? No way. I wasn’t supposed to have that kind of pleasure.
And yet I had.
“Ready for a loop?” James smiled evilly in front of me.
“N-no? Won’t we fall off?” I said nervously.
“Just try to relax, and hold on. We have to speed up, or we will indeed fall off.”
I held my breath as he leaned forwards, me doing the same. I felt the wind swish my face as we went faster and faster. Then he steered the broom up and over, and I almost screamed as the world around me turned three hundred and sixty degrees. I felt the adrenaline rush through my blood.
“Cool, eh?” James said, slowing down a little.
“Yeah, but I feel slightly dizzy,” I choked.
“Not used to turning from ballet, ballerina?” James teased.
“Of course I am! It’s just you can’t spot when you’re on a broom.”
“What did you say?” James suppressed.
“Never mind,” I smiled. “I’ll teach you about that some other time.”
“Ok,” James agreed. “Want to have a peak in the Forbidden Forest?”
“What? No! I don’t have the guts for that. Besides, it’s illegal,” I protested.
“Come on, Lily! Don’t be such a wimp,” he said, not caring about what I said. He zoomed down, entering the forest from Hagrid’s cabin.
“James! No… please!” I said warily, holding on tighter to him.
“Don’t worry, Lily… I’ll protect you,” he said approvingly.
Somehow, I believed him, and I felt more secure. As a matter of fact, I felt secure almost anywhere as long as he was with me. Scary.
The light emitted into the forbidden forest too, but not as much as in the grounds. It was matt and low, and it made the wood stand out beautifully. We soared through the trees for a while, sometimes up through the trees to see where we were.
Then I glimpsed something white in between the trees..
“Wow! We have to have a look,” James smiled, ducking down again so suddenly I almost lost my grip.
‘A unicorn,’ I thought, a wide smile spreading across my face as it stood in the little clearing.
James landed in a big tree not far away from it, letting me slip off to one of the thick branches before he dismounted it himself.
“I’ve never seen any so close before,” James whispered, sitting down next to me.
The silver-white unicorn made the snow look grey as it jumped around, playing with it’s golden foals. It was the most extraordinary sight.
“You know, Lily?” James smiled at me. “I had a dream once about the two of us going on a broomstick ride like this.”
I blushed as he said that, feeling slightly nervous about what to reply.
“I’ve dreamed about you too, but it was a nightmare, really.”
‘You’re telling him about your nightmare? Really clever and romantic!’ I hissed in my head as I’d realised what I had said.
“Really? What was it about?” James said, amused.
“Oh… Sorry I mentioned it. It was really terrible. Don’t want to talk about it really,” I stuttered.
“That’s Ok,” James said, placing a hand around my shoulders. “Feel free to come into my dorm if you have another…”
A grin spread across my face, I couldn’t prevent it. James offered to comfort me if I ever had another one. How heroic and noble..
The unicorns left the clearing, and I suddenly realised how dark it was. The animals had been lighting everything up so nicely.
We climbed onto the broom again, and I placed my hands around James once more. As we took off, flying up over the trees, I gasped in amazement. The sky had become all dark, and glittering sparks as bright as I’d ever seen them shone from it.
“It’s pretty, isn’t it?” James said, hearing my little surprised gasp.
“Beautiful,” I whispered in awe, almost afraid I’d shatter it if I spoke too loudly.
We hovered over the castle just looking at the stars for a little while longer before getting down to the entrance again.
As we walked back to the Tower again, both of us quiet and full of images and new memories, James said,
“Thanks for the present, by the way. I really loved those Quidditch-gloves.”
I flashed him a winning smile. “You’re welcome.”
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