Chapter 17 : They Call It Love
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They Call It Love
The cold glass of the window was pressed against my cheek, and it felt oddly comforting. I could no longer look outside; the windows had long been covered from my breath. But really, I did not care. I cared about nothing right now. Nothing. Well, except the fact that James had been an idiot the entire day, avoiding me. That definitely sparked my anger, just a little bit.
“You're pathetic, Lily.” Megan was looking at me from the bed, juggling with three pairs of folded socks.
I didn't bother answering. I barely even looked at her.
“Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic, pathetic...”
I closed my eyes, just trying to focus on something else entirely, but nothing but James and Megan’s annoying voice was on my mind.
“Pathetic, pathetic, pathe-”
“Okay, stop it there!” I snapped. “Not in the mood! And I'm head girl so I will give you a detention, jus-”
“I was not aware it was a crime to be honest,” she answered, her voice perfectly cool, and with a hint of superiority.
Finally, I turned my head. ”I'm giving the detention to you because I find you annoying.”
“Honest and annoying is not the same.”
She threw one pair of socks at me, which hit me at the side of my head. “Stop being an idiot. Go kiss him or something. It’s so obvious!”
I grabbed the sock and threw it back at her. She caught it before it hit her, making me scowl.
“What’s obvious?” I bit.
“That you...” She laughed. “Oh, what’s that word? I can’t remember it... Oh, yeah! You love him!”
”I do not.”
“And he loves you too.”
“He's obviously avoiding me, he obviously does not love me!”
“Just go find him! And give him a kiss!”
“He doesn’t want to see me. He’s been avoiding me the entire day. Besides, I'm a coward, I don't have the guts.”
“Admitting it is the first step.” She got up and grabbed my arm, pulling me away from the window. ”Come on!” she continued when I resisted. ”Lily, I can feel it in you. You want to find James and talk it over. No anger, no yelling, just talking. I think he’d appreciate that.”
I frowned. “But I'm angry.”
She sat down next to me. “I know. But sometimes we have to act like adults. And finding James and talking all this over with him is the right way, it's what you should have done so long time ago.”
Slowly, I got up. “I'm going for a walk.”
“To find James?”
“Probably not,” I answered honestly. ”I can't do it. Sorry.”
As I closed the door behind me, I cast a last glimpse at Megan. I felt like crying. Not only had I been dumped this week, but I had been dumped by the boy who had liked me for longer than I thought possible for anyone to like me. That hurt.
And I was most definitely not ready to talk to James. I'd probably end up crying, and that was not a thing I fancied doing in front of him.
Maybe we really did need some time apart. Maybe he was right... and I really did need to think. And I could completely understand what he had been going on about on New Year’s. It was stupid, everything was. So the question was really, did I want James or not?
The common room was almost empty, except for a few groups of students talking. I sighed and continued towards the portrait hole, getting the feeling that everyone in the room was looking at me, but as I looked over my shoulder, I seemed like the least interesting person in the room. It was all in my head.
“In a hurry?”
I nearly fell over my own feet, in the attempt to turn around, facing the one person in the room I had actually failed to notice, and he was watching me.
“Not more than usual,” I answered. “How are you?”
Remus smiled. “Fine. Can I join you, wherever you're going?”
“I'm not fun to be around,” I warned.
“Perfect, then I won't have to laugh.”
A smile crept to my lips. “Come on then, Stupid. But I wasn't joking. Don't be surprised if I try to hit you soon enough.”
“I'll watch out.”
With my hands stuffed into my pockets I started walking down the corridor, Remus right at my side. I had absolutely nothing to say, and it seemed he felt the same way. At least he let me have my silence, and didn't try to cheer me up.
So I was far away, in my train of thoughts. Yeah, I had to admit, I kind of liked James, but I wasn’t sure exactly how much I liked him. And did I even want to be with him? I tried imagining him and me, walking down the corridor, holding hands. Surprisingly, my stomach gave a little jump. I rubbed my head – okay, maybe James could make me kind of happy, but could we ever make it work?
My mum had once told me that, you’ve do anything for the people you loved. That’s why every year, she and my dad take off to some car thing. My mum hates cars, but she takes an interest, just because she loves my dad. Could I see myself do something like that for James? Okay, hold your horse there! I wasn’t married to James, ha, we weren’t even dating. But even so, I actually could imagine myself doing something like that for James.
I sighed, realising that maybe it was time to rethink it all. My miserable state, if James would ever want me back, and if so, how could I possibly make him come back to me? Avoiding me a whole day, was not a good sign, and just as the thought entered my mind, I was depressed once again.
“When are we going to talk about the hippogriff in the room?”
I looked surprised at Remus, realising I had completely forgotten he was even with me. “Sorry?”
“Let's keep on walking,” he said with a smile and put a hand under my elbow. “So anyways... The cat's out of the bag, Lily. Everyone knows about you and James, so...”
“I don't wanna talk about it,” I muttered in a dark voice. “And apparently everyone else is doing such a good job for me.”
“Don't you think maybe you're overre-”
“When I said 'I don't wanna talk about it',” I interrupted him sharply, “I meant: I don't want to talk about it.”
We had both stopped again. He looked at me, frowning, probably regretting ever befriending me. He slowly licked his lips.
“I'm sorry, Lily. I shouldn't have-”
“No, you shouldn't.” I bit my lower lip, looking at my feet for a few seconds. “Maybe you should just go back, Remus. I'll see you tomorrow.”
He stood for a few seconds, as if wanting to argue, but then probably decided against it, and turned, walking away with quick steps. A new feeling settled in my stomach, and I immediate recognised it as guilt, and I had half a mind to call out for him, but as the seconds passed, so did his footsteps until I knew for sure he wouldn't be able to hear me no matter how loud I'd yell. That was one more thing to feel bad about.
“What a shitty day,” I muttered loudly, slamming my hand against the wall. “And it couldn't be any worse.”
Just that second Peeves flew out from the nearest class, room, dropping a bucket of water, right above me. With his laughter still ringing in my ears and soaking, I sat down on the floor, feeling the tears in my eyes. And I didn't even have a dry piece of clothing to dry the first tear away with.
Pull yourself together, Evans. But really, I couldn't. There was no coming back from this. And with that thought, I closed my eyes, and stopped caring about anything. Ten buckets of water, bring it on, and put a bucket of dung along with it. Nothing could make this feeling any worse.
Just to make sure I was right, I banged my head a few times against the wall behind me. Nope, it didn't get any worse. I breathed in deeply, and just for the sake of it, banged my head yet another time, extra hard. I didn’t even care about the slight pain I got from it.
“I take it you haven't had the best day of your life.”
I stopped sniffing immediately, and opened my eyes in pure wonder. James Potter himself sat on the opposite side of the hall, leaning against the wall, looking at me. I could even see the hint of a smile on his lips, but I stopped myself. That couldn't be right, he couldn't be smiling. I blinked a few times.
“When did you get here?” I asked. It didn't help my mood that my voice was just about to break.
“A minute or so ago. I think you were too busy banging your head against the wall to hear me.”
I shrugged. “Yeah, well...” I had nothing to say.
He studied me a few seconds before he sighed deeply, and without looking at me spoke softly, “Me neither.”
I looked at him, just for a second before I turned my head the other way, not knowing what to say. Here we were, barely speaking, and those words exchanged were about our crappy days... It was all about the hippogriff in the room, or whatever Remus had meant.
I looked at him, but he wasn't looking at me anymore, but his hands instead. He kept drumming his fingers against each other, almost nervously. Huh...
He shrugged, and continued the drumming, faster. “For it all. For being an idiot, and a bunch of much worse words. For asking too much of you. And for running away today. That I’m... no I’m equally sorry for it all.”
He shook his head. “I didn't think, and if I had, I probably could have thought of a better way of dealing with all of this.”
“Why did you run away?” The memory somehow made me feel bad again.
He smiled faintly. “Long story short, I should make my own decisions in the future.”
I tilted my head a little. “Who did you listen to?”
“That could explain a lot.”
He laughed. “Sorry. That's not even funny.”
“No,” I muttered, looking down. “It isn't.”
The conversation died again, and I didn't know how to start it up again. But the silence wasn't exactly tense, more like, awkward and testing. As if we were both trying to read each other, see what the other one felt. Maybe wait it a little out, until the other one spoke, or did something.
Without looking up, I could see him move across the floor without really getting up, and sitting down right next to me, in my puddle of water. He folded his hands in front of him, also seeming to be looking down. And the seconds ticked by. I wasn't expecting him to speak, but didn't know what to say myself either. But I knew I'd have to speak. He had moved across the floor. That was one step, now I'd have to take the next.
I glanced at him shortly, wishing for it all to be just over. This conversation, this awkward, stupid silence. Gone. So I took a deep breath.
“I don't wanna fight anymore,” I whispered, noticing him looking at me, but I kept my eyes on my hands. They were shaking, but only slightly, and he probably didn't notice. “I'm tired of it, and I'm tired of always trying to figure you out... and I'm tired of pretending it doesn't matter to me...” The words ran out, and I could come up with nothing else to say, because anything I said from here would just make it sound so cheesy, and probably make him running away, screaming. So I just shut up.
He was silent for a couple of seconds, before sighing deeply. “Yeah, me too.”
And now it was my turn to apologise, I knew that, but somehow the words had died before I could even think them. I knew what I wanted to say, but there would just be no way of expressing them in the way I really wanted.
“I...” The words didn't come out, so I licked my lips and tried again. “I'm sorry too.”
I nodded. Megan would be so proud of me. I'm actually acting like an adult. Damn.
“I should have known better. All of this... why we're here and everything, it's my fault. I shouldn't have... I knew it was... and... I did this to you. I know it's not who you are, hell, it's not even who I am, and...” I sighed deeply.
I looked at him, meeting his eyes. And there it was, the twist in my stomach, and butterflies. The most wonderful feeling in the whole world. And it made me forget what I had been about to say. He smiled just a little bit, which made it so much harder to find the words again. So instead of keep on looking for them, I just slowly leaned forward, pressing my lips softly against his, just for a second.
Looking at me, he nodded. “I take that as the most sincere apology you could give another person.”
“I really am sorry,” I said, really meaning, and I think he could sense it too.
“I know. And so am I.” He put an arm around me, dragging me closer to him, and I put my head on his shoulder. “I think we should go back... you absolutely have to be freezing.”
“Not until you brought it up.” He moved, about to get up, but I stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. “Just hold on.”
I found my wand and with a quick spell dried my clothes. He laughed. “I guess we can sit here for a while.”
The silence settled again, but this time it was more of a comfortable silence. As if the worst of the storm was over, and now, we were just enjoying the drizzle in the end.
“So a few weeks back I started thinking,” he started, “... about it all, and...”
He wasn't even looking at me, but at the wall instead, his eyes far away.
“About you and me... and...” He frowned, searching for the right words. “I think I love you...”
I couldn't stop the grin spreading on my lips. “Yeah. I think I love you too.”
“Wow, that wasn't so hard.”
“Too bad you ruined it with the 'I think'.”
“Sorry,” he said with a laugh and looked at me. “But we can't all be perfect.”
“It's okay. I'll take it. Besides, it's better than 'piss off' or... you know.”
He kissed my cheek. “It is.”
Smiling, I put my arms around him, burying my face in his shoulder, feeling that maybe, this was what it was all about. It didn't matter how we got here, all that mattered was that feeling.