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8. Despite what he may think, James Potter already has my heart.
You may have already gathered this much so far.
And I’m only going to say it once, so listen up.
Hmm…yeah. This is harder than I thought it would be. Okay. Here goes nothing. I guess. Well, I probably shouldn’t call it ‘nothing’, because in reality it is ‘something’ and a pretty big ‘something’ at that, so it’s probably a little naïve to call it ‘nothing’.
Can I just put it out there that of all the things I’ve so willingly (ha!) confessed so far, this is the hardest yet? Because you should definitely be aware of that.
Yeah, okay. I like him.
There! I said it. Okay…not quite. I didn’t say it all.
But I’ll get there…eventually.
It’s difficult for me to pinpoint the exact moment I choose to tolerate James Potter. However, I remember exactly when I began to like him.
It was this year, my Seventh year, my glory year. I’d just begun to feel at home wearing my Head Girl badge, and I already had my work cut out for me: it was only the second week of school and I’d already had to deal with three flooded bathrooms, one traumatic incident with the giant squid and several dozen backfired spells.
To say the least, I was reeling and furious.
It was a Tuesday, and I was walking- okay, no. I was stalking
down the hallway, angry and tired and annoyed. Three beautiful emotions that I wore very attractively, I assure you.
But for some reason, stalking down the hallway whilst angry, tired and annoyed isn’t the best experience. I kept biting back to the urge to yell at people for smiling. Why were they so happy? Life was terrible.
And then, of course, the perfect addition to the most perfect day occurred. Somebody ran straight into me.
I didn’t see the face of the perpetrator, because they rammed me smack into a wall. And bless their soul, they even had the good grace to step on my foot. Hard.
I was too angry to even voice my pain. I simply wheeled on my heel, my hair flying, and screamed “Do you mind
Of course it had to be the most completely innocent girl. She looked terrified, big blue eyes almost watering, and my heart immediately went out to her.
Smooth, aren’t I? “I’m sorry,” I said quickly, rubbing my face with my hands. “That was un-called for.”
“No, no,” she said. “It’s alright.” Her voice was a little rough, as if she’d been crying.
Oh, great job, Lily. Why don’t you go around unleashing the worst side of yourself on blameless students who were upset in the first place every
day of the week? You’re sure to accumulate a stunning reputation as Head Girl that
The girl rubbed her nose against the sleeve of her robe. “It’s my fault- I ran into you. But it’s good luck, too, because I’ve got something for you.” She reached into the pocket of her robe and pulled out a folded piece of parchment, handing it to me. She offered a weak smile along with it. Which made me
want to cry.
“Thank you.” I took the parchment gratefully. “What was your name, again?”
“Hazel,” she said. “Hazel Simmons, fifth year.”
I smiled the brightest smile I could. Merlin knew she deserved it at that point. “Nice to meet you, Hazel. And thanks for the note. Which is from…?”
Hazel looked at me a little sheepishly. “The one and only!”
I looked back at her blankly.
She giggled shyly and walked away.
The one and only? Who on earth was the one and only
Yeah, yeah. I should’ve known, I know. But sometimes, I can be downright stupid.
Ha. But you already knew that, didn’t you?
Collecting myself, I resumed my pathway down the hall, unfolding the message as I walked (note that I wasn’t stalking
Am I allowed to call you that now? That just occurred to me. You’ve been ‘Evans’ a long, long time. Is that over now? Hm. What a strange thought.
Anyways. I just wanted to let you know that I’ll cover afternoon patrol, since I know you’ve been swamped lately. Think of it as…an early Christmas present?
No, no. I’ve already got you a Christmas present. Who knew emeralds were so expensive?
Have a cheerful day- James
Ah. So ‘the one and only’ was, indeed, James Potter. Cute.
That particular note unnerved me beyond belief. It wasn’t even as if James had said anything significant, like he’d said before-“I love you”, “will you marry me?”, “your hair reminds me of my burning passion for you”. Nothing like that. That was the past.
What bothered me about the note was just…just everything. The way he wrote my name- a little curl on the end of the y, the barely-there dot on the i. It looked like he’d spent a long time writing it. In fact, the entire note looked peculiarly sincere. As if every stroke of the quill had been infused with feeling.
Why this note jumped out at me in such bizarre way was beyond me. Maybe it was the cute little banter on why he was calling me Lily; or maybe it was the fact that he’d joked about buying me emeralds for Christmas- which, in the past, wouldn’t have been an entirely implausible thing for James Potter to do.
I tried being angry at him for arousing such confusing emotions with a silly little note, but ultimately, I could only be mad at myself. Why would I let such a stupid, inconsequential sprout of feeling worry me? After all, I was seventeen and bound to experience confusing hormones once in a while.
However, a stupid little lump in my chest kept telling me no, no! This isn’t hormones, Lily. This is feeling.
Psh. Feeling. Stupid word, don’t you think?
And though I denied it ferociously, I couldn’t help but realize that 79 words from ‘the one and only’ had changed something in my heart.
Yeah, my heart. Go figure.
9. James Power has mastered the art of manipulation.
I had spent a lot of my time at Hogwarts plotting ways to get rid of James Potter’s affection.
Suddenly, I was found myself wanting
It was the epitome of pathetic. I’d bought myself a shiny new membership to the James Potter fan club- giggling, heartsickness and daydreams included.
It was kind of miserable.
It was the beginning of Seventh year, and there I was, minding my own business, completing a riveting essay on the Invigoration Draught for Potions on the Head’s common room couch, when none other than ‘the one and only’ himself strode into the vicinity and saw it fit to plop right down beside me.
At any other time in my life, I would’ve hexed him to straight Madagascar or just told him to bugger off-but for some reason, that time, my mind experienced a peculiar lack of rational thought.
You know, it might have been because I happened to be a little
bit enamored with the person sitting next to me.
…nah. I’m sure that had nothing to do with it.
So anyways. I just stayed where I was, maybe a little on edge, waiting for him to announce the reason he’d joined me. But instead, he sort of just sat there, looking down at the piece of parchment I was writing my essay on. After a while, he took out his wand and began to mess around with it, shooting out little fireworks of silver and gold sparks.
It’s not that I wanted to fill the silence. Because honestly, sitting there in that quiet was calming and comfortable and right.
For a moment it wasn’t hard to imagine that we were dating each other, happy as could be, reveling in the feeling of sitting so close but not touching; at least, not physically. It seemed almost too real to be wrong. You know?
But it wasn’t real, and it was just okay instead. Just okay to be by each other, not talking, just being. I found myself insanely distracted from Potions, instead pondering all the possibilities, the absurdities and the inexplicabilities of the situation. As long as he was there, I knew I wouldn’t get much done. So I decided to break the silence by saying the first thing that came to my mind.
James glanced over at me, amusement unraveling across his face. His hair was looking decidedly askew, his shirt collar a little rumpled from what was probably a few days without cleaning.
“Hi.” He replied.
Oh great. So now the entire stupid conversation would rest on my shoulders. Thanks, Potter. You’re a real pal.
“Um,” I cleared my throat a little self-consciously, rubbing my left forearm distractedly. Handling awkward had never been my forte. “So.”
I could have probably sounder stupider, if I’d really tried. But I’d been uncommitted.
James burst out laughing, and I certainly didn’t blame him. “You’re not very good at being nice to me, are you?”
His words summarized my feelings exactly. For as long as I could remember, I’d spent all my effort thinking of ways to insult him or argue with him. Now that we were on better terms, I had no idea where to go with it.
But I guess that’s James Potter for you. Always messing with my intelligence.
“I am awful
at being nice to you.” I admitted, thoroughly relieved he’d invited me to be straightforward. “I’d be much better off if you gave me some pointers.”
Okay. What the hell.
I mean it wasn’t as if I was outright flirting
with him, but I’d undeniably just invited him to help me compliment
him. Which was definitely an indirect way of flirting. And since when did I flirt with him? Or flirt at all, for that matter?
At this point I simply established that the peculiar way he affected made me do rather peculiar things. And I just I ran out of words in my mind to explain the oddness of it all; absurd, weird, strange, unusual. My mind eventually landed on the only word fit, after all.
Stupid though it may have been, James didn’t seem to notice. He considered my question thoughtfully, as if it wasn’t uncharacteristic at all.
I set my essay aside. I was suddenly intrigued to see how he’d solve my predicament.
After a few seconds of consideration, James turned to me. His knee touched mine; I tried not to hyperventilate. “Alright. Let’s just start with something simple.” He folded his hands together. “Why don’t you go ahead and try to compliment me.”
My mind immediately exploded with compliments.
Hmm…let’s see. Well, for one, you’re bloody gorgeous, and I’ve thought so for a while now. Your chest shows up in my dreams once in a while, which happens makes me quiver in a very unnatural way. And…sometimes, you make me smile just when I’m thinking about you. And sometimes I also have a weird urge to kiss your collarbone- yeah, weird, right? And I think you have super nice forearms. Oh and also you’re a good kisser. And really funny. And ridiculously charming. And would probably be a great significant other. Overall, I’d say you’re one magnificent person. And it took me a long time to notice, I know. But it’s true.
But I couldn’t say any of that out loud
. That would’ve been embarrassing.
So I just went with the obvious. “You’re good at Quidditch.” I was pleased with that.
I guess he wasn’t. “Really?” his eyebrows elevated skeptically. “That’s the best you can come up with?”
I shrugged and nodded indifferently. If I let it show that my head was truthfully bursting with a million and a half compliments, he’d never let me get away with it.
He sighed. “Well, then let’s do some call-and-response, shall we?” he grinned. “Now, repeat after me: ‘James Potter, you are masculinity personified.’”
I couldn’t help it- I laughed out loud. “Wait- you seriously want me to say that?”
James rolled his eyes. “Well, I just told you to, didn’t I? And, I mean, it’s completely true, is it not?”
Aha! So he was tricking me into admitting my secret passion for him. I saw it in his eyes. And I knew he was just scraping for a bit of hope that I actually did
care about him in that way.
What he wouldn’t have given to know that I felt exactly
the way he wanted, and then some.
“Okay, fine.” I cleared my throat theatrically, looking him straight in the eye. “James Potter, you are masculinity personified.”
Admittedly, I was trying my best to rattle his bones. I’m not really sure if I succeeded. All I knew for sure was that my own heart was hammering at the speed of light and my skin had decidedly heated several degrees.
In a split second, I saw seen a flicker of surprise roll across his face, but it was gone the instant it arrived. “Good. We’re getting somewhere.” He told me, happily. “So now your task is simple. Niceness is a habit, as I’m sure you know. All you have to do now is be nice to me every day, and you’re set.”
If you gave me a chance I’d be a lot more than nice to you, James Potter.
He was looking at me, still considering something inside his head. He voiced it. “But before this lesson is over, you have one final test.”
I narrowed my eyes suspiciously. “Which is?”
His eyes were sparkling now. Damn glimmering chestnuts. “Anyone who’s nice to anyone knows kindness isn’t fulfilled without a nice big hug.”
Okay, this kid was the master of manipulation. Whether or not he was aware that I was already keen on him, he sure had a great way of enticing me.
I tried not to gulp. Oh, Merlin was I in trouble. “A hug,” I replied, carefully. “Like an ‘okay I can be nice, just watch me hug you’ kind of hug?”
“That’s all I’m asking.” James opened his arms.
If he hadn’t been so adorable, I may not have consented.
But I wasn’t that
So I slid into his arms from my position on the couch, tentatively wrapping my own hands around his back. I immediately noticed how warm he was; every inch of him. Even through his shirt I could feel the muscles I’d once (accidently) observed, splayed out beneath hands. I rested my chin on the hard bone of his shoulder and squeezed my eyes shut, momentarily. Ah.
I could get used to this.
I got one last lungful of his scent, a smell full of seventeen-year-old-wizard (sweat and pine trees and lingering aftershave and parchment), before he pulled back. He held me at an arm’s length, my fingers still on his shoulders, grinning hugely. “Evans, you are so nice.
I laughed and let go, trying not to feel sad as he fell out of my reach. “I try.”
10. James Potter changed me.
I hadn’t told a single soul of my newfound weakness for James Potter, not even my best friend Charlotte.
But this proved an unwise decision, because I soon discovered a dangerous downside to my James Potter fan club membership. I acquired a silly sort of clumsiness that had me literally tripping in the hallways, running out of breath when I spoke to him and suffering minor heart attacks every time he rolled up his sleeves.
that kid has forearms.
But that’s beside the point.
The point is that this clumsiness was entirely un-Lily Evans-like, and I despised it. It hindered my everyday life to the point where Charlotte started to notice.
Which was a death sentence in its own.
It was a free period in the middle of the week, and Charlotte and I were hunched over our books in the library- well, she was. I was staring off into the distance, half thinking about a Herbology exam the next day and half thinking about some stupid thing I’d said to James earlier that week. My quill had a mind of its own, doodling nonsense all over my Charms homework.
Charlotte glanced over at me and smiled. “Dreaming about Potter?”
I nearly choked on air. My eyes widened in defense as I whipped my head on her. “Excuse me?”
She laughed her ringing, golden laugh, blonde hair scattering over her shoulders. She had a knowing look in her blue eyes. “You can’t fool me, Lily.”
I gulped a little. If Charlotte had noticed, I was in big trouble. Not only because she’d harass me about it endlessly- but if I was really being obvious about it, well. That could only turn out horrifically.
“Fool you about what, may I ask?”
Just because I was already 100% sure she could see right through me- which I totally was- I wasn’t about to let up without a fight.
Charlotte looked at me calculatingly. “Aside from the fact that I’ve noticed you laughing, smiling and giggling a lot more around him, practically tripping over your breath when you talk to him and staring at him when you think no one’s watching, you’re drawing a heart around his initials at this point.” She pointed down to my charms homework.
I gasped. She was shamefully correct. Around the bubbled letters ‘JP’, I’d been re-tracing and re-tracing heart. Wow. My quill did
have a mind of its own.
I looked back at my friend and cringed. “This is embarrassing. Have I really been doing all of that?”
Charlotte wrapped an arm around my shoulders and rubbed my arm comfortingly. “Aw, don’t you worry about it, minx.” ‘Minx’ was the disturbing nickname Charlotte had bestowed on me sometime during fifth year.
“It’s just that I’m your best friend, and I happen to be incredibly perceptive,” she continued, releasing my shoulders with a final squeeze. “And as far as the crush is concerned.” She looked at me and smiled widely. “I’m happy
I gaped at her- I’d expected torment, cajoling and sexual innuendo.
Never had I expected happiness.
Charlotte laughed again. An attractive sixth year from a nearby table looked up at the sound of it and smiled. I didn’t even have time to gag. “Of course I am!” she exclaimed, her eyes brightening. “Lily, I have been waiting
for you to fall for him for pretty much my entire Hogwarts career. Discovering this is even better than when I got an O on my Astronomy O.W.L.! And you remember how excited I was then.”
“I do remember,” I said, nearly laughing at the weirdness of it. The end of class bell clanged somewhere in the distance, and I reached to put my quill and ink away in my bag. “Charlotte, I can’t believe this. How come you didn’t just tell me you were waiting for this to happen?”
“Because then it obviously wouldn’t have happened
, silly!” she said teasingly, beginning to gather up her books. “I had to leave it up to nature! And besides. If I forced it on you, then it wouldn’t have been genuine. And now that it is
genuine, I just cannot wait until you two finally unleash the passion
that’s been brewing between you for seven years!”
Charlotte was as excited as a first year in Honeyduke’s. At this point, I couldn’t decide which was more pathetic- my stupid crush on Potter or her enthusiasm over something that had apparently been ‘a long time coming’.
My stomach clenched a little. “I think I’m going to throw up.”
“Need an escort to the infirmary?” A new voice said from behind me. “Because I’d be happy to oblige.”
James Potter. Fantastic.
I turned around. His face was fixated with a disturbingly endearing smile, and those Merlin forsaken eyes of his seemed to be set on permanent twinkle mode.
Charlotte was way too amused by this. “James Potter what a beautiful
coincidence!” She looked over at me, animation oozing from every pore of her bronzed face. “Lily and I were just talking about you!”
“Were you now?” James’ smiled widened, if that was even possible. It took every ounce of will power in my meager frame not to slap them both. For being stupid. “How charming!”
It was Charlotte’s damn ringing laughter that accompanied her intentional “Goodbye, Lily, James!” as she strolled out of the library. I scowled after her.
As soon as she was out of sight, I glared at back at Potter, snarling “What on earth do you want?”. I then assumed a fast gait towards the library door, not particularly wanting an answer.
“Hmm,” he said, hurrying to follow me as I exited. Delight equal if not greater than that of my idiot best friend resonated through his voice. “Someone’s in a testy mood.”
“Yeah, well,” I snapped back.
Excellent argument, Evans! Ever considered politics?
He laughed and I despised the tingle in my chest at the sound of it. Stupid feelings.
“Really- do you need something?” I asked, halting in the middle of a hallway.
James looked at me a little unbelievingly. “C’mon, Lily. We have patrol during dinner. Remember?”
I closed my eyes and silently cursed. “Right.” I winced, eyes still closed. “Sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it. It happens to the best of us.” I opened my eyes in time to see him smile, this time sweetly rather than mockingly.
My heartbeat instantly skyrocketed.
You see, standing in the hall, being smiled at by the magnificent boy who you are supposed to hate but actually have a crush on is not
actually the greatest remedy for shaky nerves.
I learned the hard way.
“Well,” I said, breaking eye contact. “Let’s get to it, shall we?”