Chapter 5 : Chapter Five: It's For the Best
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Chapter Five: It’s for the Best
It had been a long month. After what was the largest attack on record so far, life at school was forlorn. Alice found out her Father was one of the Aurors who was lost in the battle. She ended up going home to help her Mum with arrangements and to help get her settled. She planned on returning to Hogwarts after everything was done.
Two students from Slytherin were pulled home as well. Maeve Montaque from my year lost her Father, and it was released that her family were Death Eaters. It was being rumored that they pulled her from school and went into hiding. No one thought that she would come back to Hogwarts. The other Slytherin that left was a fourth year with the last name Graves. His family was also ousted as being Death Eaters, and his father was also one of the ones who perished.
Tensions were running high between just about every other house and the Slytherin house. Countless times I had to jump in between people who were fighting in the corridors. Prefects and the Heads were almost always on duty now. The teachers seemed to be at their wits end with everything. Just yesterday I saw Professor Slughorn have to magically break apart some seventh years who were going at it in the hallway. Madam Pomfrey was over whelmed in the Hospital Wing with injured students showing up at an alarming rate. It didn’t help that Professor Dumbledore was not at the school in the days following.
Finally, Professor Dumbledore returned. I think that was when things finally started to calm down a little bit. I felt like I could walk in the hallways without being cursed again. People seemed to get their heads deflated a bit. Not that they had much of a choice seeing as how Dumbledore started issuing harsher punishments for students who were involved with fighting.
“You look tired,” Nate told me as we ate an early dinner together. He had quidditch practice at 7:00 and Potter told him it would be a long practice, so we were eating now.
“I feel tired,” I replied. “All the extra hours with rounds is about to do me in.”
“Hopefully you won’t have to do as much now that Dumbledore is back,” he said. “It would be nice to see you for more than just a meal or two.”
I laughed at him. “Yeah, that would be nice. It would also be nice to get a decent amount of sleep for once.”
“Do you know if they are still going to let us go to Hogsmeade next week?” he asked me.
“I don’t know,” I replied. Dumbledore had threatened to take away all Hogsmeade trips for the rest of the year if the students did not calm down. That was the last that I had heard of about it.
“Well,” he replied, sounding hopeful. “If we are still allowed to go, we should do a date again.”
“Okay,” I replied, smiling. “But if Alice is back by then, I’ll want to spend some time with her too. I’m sure she could use the trip, try to take her mind off of everything she’s been going through.”
“Of course,” Nate said, sounding a bit irritated.
“What?” I asked.
“I just wanted one day for us to have to ourselves,” he stated. “And I get it, really, but you always put your friends and everything before us.”
“No I don’t,” I argued. “Alice has been gone from school for almost three weeks.”
“You have other friends besides Alice,” Nate remarked. He dropped his fork on his plate. “You even spend more time with Lupin than you do me.”
“That’s because we are Prefects together,” I said, getting irritated myself. “He is my rounds partner, so of course that time is spent with him.”
“You’re just making excuses,” Nate dismissed me.
“Are you joking?” I asked him, completely floored.
“Am I joking?” he repeated the question in a deep tone. He was starting to scare me a little bit. “Yes, my girlfriend would rather spend time with anyone but me, and I’m the one joking.”
“You need to just calm down a little, Nate,” I told him. A few people were starting to look at us. I hated making a scene.
“Calm down?” he said. “Yeah, easy for you to say. I’ll see you after practice.” And then he stood up and walked out of the Great Hall.
I stayed where I was, eating and thinking. This was the second red flag for me with Nate. He over all was a nice guy, or at least seemed like he was. But he definitely got jealous, mostly of James Potter. This put me in a tight spot. Anytime Nate saw me around Potter or his friends, he would get stiff. Nate never said anything to me about it, but I could tell he was uncomfortable with it. Considering that my fellow Prefect was best friends with Potter, it was somewhat unlikely that I wouldn’t speak to him. Plus, Potter and I had been partnered up in Transfiguration on a project. It had been two days, and I still had not told him. I knew he wouldn’t be thrilled with the idea.
On top of that, now this. I’m not going to apologize for wanting to make sure my best friend-who just lost her father-is okay. I’m not going to apologize for wanting to see her and make sure she is okay, she would do the same for me even if it meant she lost a few hours with Frank for the day. I would support Nate if it were one of his friends. So why can’t he do that for me?
“If you think any harder your brain will explode,” Marlene commented. I shook my head, when the hell did she show up?
“Hey Mar,” I greeted her. I looked around. Dorcas, Mary, and Danny were all around me too. They all looked concerned. Seriously? Was I that damn out of it?
“Are you okay?” Mary asked me.
“I don’t know,” I answered her. I took a serving of treacle tart.
“Did something happen with Nate?” Danny asked me.
“Why do you ask?” I questioned her.
“Well Mary and I were on our way here and we saw him going to practice,” answered Danny. “He sort of looked pissed.”
“And then we found you here, staring off into space,” Dorcas chimed in. “Looking as though you’re trying to figure out the answer for world peace.”
“I guess I’m just thinking it all over,” I replied. “This whole thing with Nate and all.”
“What happened?” Mary asked. “Did you two have a fight?”
“Something like that,” I told her. “Honestly I don’t really know what to call it. He just got mad at something I said and it sort of just escalated from there.”
“What did you say that set him off?” Marlene asked.
“Nothing that deserved it,” I went on the defensive a bit.
“I’m not meaning you deserved it, I just really want to know,” Marlene clarified.
“Well he asked me if I wanted to do another date if we are allowed to go to the next Hogsmeade trip,” I told them. “And I said yes, but that I would also want to spend time with Alice if she was back by then. You know try to take her mind off of things.”
“That’s it?” Dorcas asked, rolling her eyes.
“He’s mad because you want to spend time with Alice on that day too?” Mary asked.
“I suppose,” I answered. “But I feel like it’s more than that. He accused me of putting my friends before him and even threw it in my face that I spend more time with Remus than I do him. And don’t get me wrong, I like Remus, but he and I don’t exactly choose all the time we have to spend together right now.”
“He knows you’re a Prefect, right?” Marlene asked, sarcasm seeping through her voice.
“No one needs your attitude right now, Mar,” Dorcas reprimanded her. That earned her an eye roll from Marlene.
“It sounds like he is jealous again,” Mary said. “Which isn’t good. He should be glad that he has a girlfriend who is as caring and sweet as you are. I think it’s nice that you want to spend time with Alice and try to brighten her spirits up.”
“Right?” Dorcas agreed. “Alice just lost her Father, you would think he would be a bit more understanding.”
“I don’t know what to do,” I told them. “This seems to be a bit of a theme with him; the jealousy I mean.”
“It really does,” Marlene agreed. “I think you should consider your options. He’s just a boyfriend. You don’t owe him anything. I mean, the way he acted because of James was enough.”
“Yeah,” I said. “I guess you’re right. That’s sort of what I was thinking before you got here.”
“I’m telling you,” Dorcas winked at me. “You need an older man. You know my older brother, Charlie is single.”
I gave her a raised eye brow. “I haven’t even broken up with the boyfriend I have.”
“So you are going to end it?” Mary asked.
“I don’t know,” I replied. “I feel like I need to think about it a little bit, but that’s what I’m leaning towards.”
“Maybe it’s for the best,” Danny added.
“I’m sorry, Lil,” Marlene told me. “I know it’s a rough thing.”
“Don’t worry about it,” I told her. “There is much bigger things going on than this in the world.”
“That doesn’t mean that what you’re going through is any less than what it is,” she told me. “So don’t do that to yourself.”
I sat with them all as they ate their dinner. Mary told us about the trip to New York her parents were going to take her on during Christmas Break. It sounded like they were going to have a lovely time, and Mary was thrilled about the idea of seeing a Muggle play. Dorcas and Marlene joked back and forth the whole time as usual. Danny shared a funny story from her Muggle Studies class. Then she made me promise her I would help her with her homework from that class later.
It all made me miss Alice even more. Seeing all the girls and joking around, it felt good, but it also made me sad. Alice would have been there, making me feel better. She would have told me that I should never allow anyone to talk to me the way Nate did. She would have given me a second helping of treacle tart and then told me to relax and just get past it.
In the Common Room, I sat in a chair by the fire. It was starting to get cooler, so I brought a blanket down from my dorm to wrap up in while I did some homework. My plan was to wait it out until Nate got back from practice and just sort of see how it went with him. I had been working on a paper for Care of Magical Creatures when the quidditch team walked in.
They were all laughing and joking with one another. The first person I noticed was Potter. He was joking with Black about something and he was laughing. He caught my eye and winked at me. I rolled my eyes at him. Then I looked at Nate. He was the last one to walk into the Common Room, and he was the only one who wasn’t laughing and joking. He approached me slowly.
“Hey,” he said as he sat down in the chair in front of me. He looked tired and I suddenly felt bad for what was about to happen.
“Hey,” I replied back.
“You doing homework?” he asked me, looking over to see what book I had.
“Yeah,” I replied. “But we need to talk.”
“I supposed I’ve messed it up, haven’t I?” he questioned me.
The question threw me off for a moment; I wasn’t sure how to take it exactly. I wondered if he meant for it to make me feel sorry for him.
“I don’t know what you want from me,” I told him honestly. “I feel really lost with this whole thing.”
“I want a girl who wants to be with me,” he answered.
“But I did want to be with you,” I said. “But being with someone in a relationship doesn’t mean that everyone else in your life goes away.”
“No,” Nate countered. He leaned forward and put his elbows on his knees. “But I think that when you are trying to build something in a romantic relationship, that starts to come first. I can’t build a life with someone who doesn’t want to do the same with me.”
“I’m not going to apologize for wanting to see Alice or make sure she has a good day,” I told him. “She’s lost her Dad. Do you get that? And what do you mean ‘build a life’? We’ve barely been dating.”
“I guess we are just different in that way,” he said.
“You’re making hardly any sense to me right now,” I told him. “I almost feel as if we are having two totally different conversations.”
“I think it’s clear we just aren’t going to make it,” he replied.
How the hell did he just turn that around on me?
“Obviously,” I said in a stiff voice. “I can’t handle your jealousy and twisted way of thinking. It’s over.”
“I know,” he replied. “I’m breaking up with you.”
“No,” I fired back. “I’m breaking up with you.”
He looked up at me, and the look he gave me scared me. He was smiling but his eyes were hard and dark, very dark. His muscles seemed to stand out in the fire light and I was suddenly aware of just how much smaller than him I was. He flexed his shoulder muscles and twisted his head to crack his neck.
“Doesn’t matter who ended it,” he said in a deep voice. He stood up and leaned over me, his face so close to mine that our noses almost touched. I thought for a second that maybe he might hit me. “All that matters is that I’m done with you.” Then he straightened up and walked off, but not before kicking my book bag that sat at the foot of my chair. All of my things went flying all over the place.
I felt like I had been slapped. There was no way I could have expected that. I slowly got up and started picking up my books and papers. I couldn’t think straight.
“Evans, Evans,” Potter’s voice said. He had lightly grabbed my arm and was trying to stand me up from where I was crouched on the ground, hurriedly stashing anything I could grab into my school bag.
“I-I-I’m sorry,” was the first thing I could think to say.
“Lily!” he exclaimed. The use of my first name snapped me out of it a bit and I looked up at him. He pulled me up and guided me to the chair and had me sit down again.
“I-I’m so embarrassed,” I stuttered. “Wh-what a mess.”
“Don’t be embarrassed,” Potter replied. He pulled his wand out and waved it. All of my books and quills went flying neatly back into my bag. He sat it down next to me and then took a seat across from me in the chair that Nate previously had been sitting in.
“Lily, are you okay?” he asked me. I looked up at him and I could tell he seemed to be conflicted. He looked mad but concerned at the same time. “You’re shaking like a leaf.”
I looked down at my hands, he was right.
“I just….I didn’t think it would end like that,” I whispered. I put my head in my hands, how awful. I was so thankful the Common Room was fairly empty. It didn’t matter how empty it was though, it would still be all around school by tomorrow morning.
“Be glad you’re rid of him,” he told me. “You deserve so, so much more than that.”
“I don’t even know what happened,” I told him. “How it escalated so quickly. And thank you.”
“It’s the truth,” Potter said. “I’m sorry he did that to you. Has it been like that before?”
“No,” I answered, shaking my head. “Never to that extent anyways. He just, he was constantly getting jealous of anything and everyone-including you.”
“Me?” Potter asked. “Why would he be jealous? You hate me.”
“Why would you think I hate you?” I asked him. “I don’t hate you, I’ve never hated you.”
“You have reason to,” he said. “I’ve been an arse to you in the past, as you’ve so lovingly put it before.” He gave me a grin and I couldn’t help but smile back.
“Well as I see it, I’ve also been a bit of a bitch to you before,” I replied. “As you have so lovingly put it.”
“I’m sorry I called you that,” he told me. “It was unfair of me, that day. You were just doing your job. I deserved what I got.”
“You did,” I agreed. “But I accept your apology. Oh, and thanks for cleaning up my stuff.” I blushed and looked down.
“Don’t thank me,” Potter said, his face becoming more serious. “I meant what I said before, you deserve more than that.”
I didn’t know what else to say, so we both just sat there in the quiet for a little bit. I didn’t mind his company; as a matter of fact it was nice. Nice to just have someone there who was there, but was quiet. If it were the girls, all they would do is ask a ton of questions. The last thing I wanted to do was dissect this. I didn’t want to think about it at all.
“You should go and get some rest,” he said finally. “It’s getting late.”
I looked down at me watch, he was right. It was after 11:30 p.m. I stood up and started gathering my stuff.
“Hey,” he said as he stood up too. “I know we aren’t super close or anything.” He stopped and ran a hand through his hair. “But if you want, why don’t you sit with us tomorrow at breakfast? Remus will be there, and well I know Alice isn’t here……” he sort of just trailed off.
“That’s nice of you,” I replied. “Maybe I will.”
“Alright,” Potter replied. “No pressure, I just-well if I were you I would want Sirius. But your Sirius isn’t here. But Remus is pretty good at this sort of thing. And the rest of us are good at making idiots of ourselves, it’ll be a real laugh.”
“Thanks Potter,” I told him, getting ready to head up the stairs to go to bed.
“James,” he said suddenly. I turned around and looked at him.
“Huh?” I asked him.
“If we are going to be friends, you should call me James,” he said while shrugging his shoulders.
“Okay,” I replied, slightly unsure of what being friends with James Potter looked like. “Goodnight James.”
“Goodnight Lily,” he told me. And then we both went up our separate staircases to our dorms.
The next morning I slept in late. It was a Saturday and it had taken me a while to be able to fall asleep. I just couldn’t shut my brain off. Breaking up with someone was never easy, but this had been particularly nasty. It shook me up. I finally got out of bed around 9:00 because an owl was tapping on the window.
I let it in and was happy to see it. It was Alice’s owl, Tilly. I patted her little head lightly and took the letter from her leg. Alice’s letter read:
Thank you for writing to me so much during this time. You’re letters help. I hope you are doing well and that your Prefect duties have started to slow down a little bit. Tell the girls I say hello.
I’m sad to tell you, but I won’t be returning to school until after the holidays are over. Mum isn’t handling Dad’s passing well. And honestly, I’m not either. I want to be here with her during this time. It’s been so hard. I just keep telling myself that Daddy wouldn’t want me to be sad, but it’s just all so overwhelming still.
All this homework is kicking my butt. I might have to send you that paper for Potions, have you read it over before I send it in to Slughorn. Would that be alright?
I’m going to make dinner now. Don’t forget to write me back soon! I miss you!
I quickly wrote Alice back. I left out the part about Nate and I breaking up. I figured it would be something I needed to tell her in person. Also, she didn’t need to deal with my drama right now. She had too much going on. I made a mental not to tell Frank not to tell her as well.
After I was done, I sent the letter off with Tilly. I watched her fly off into the sky until I could no longer see her anymore. And then, I felt alone. That deep sort of loneliness that hits you deep in your gut. I took a deep breath and sank back down into my bunk, and then I cried.
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