Chapter 56 : Chapter 56
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“Yeah...you did, didn’t you...”
We chatted for a little while longer, then tiredness got the better of us. After I pulled the curtain and Sirius charmed our bed, I turned to him. He looked suddenly exhausted; there were dark circles under his eyes and he was shaking even worse than before.
“Si, what’s the matter?” I asked, a little frightened.
He glanced around surreptitiously, then took my hand. “It’s just...I don’t really know, Rem. I guess it’s just hitting me that we really are near the end of this era of our lives. In a few months we’ll have finished our exams and then we’ll have to leave Hogwarts and survive on our own. I just feel like I’m not ready for that. I feel so old.”
I pulled him towards me and he leaned against me. I stroked his hair, trying to calm myself as much as him.
“It feels like just yesterday we met on the train, doesn’t it?” he murmured absently, and I knew that the same moment was running through his mind as mine:
Slouching in one of the seats was a tallish boy, with gleaming dark brown hair and a big grin on his face. I also noticed he had the most extraordinary eyes, icy blue, yet somehow warm at the same time. His bag was on the floor by his feet, and he was laughing with another boy, who had scruffy black hair and glasses, and was lounging lazily across a row of the chairs. Swallowing all my nervousness, and before I could find a reason not to, I knocked on the door and entered...
I nodded, swallowing. “Would you change anything if you could do it all again?” he asked quietly, twisting in my arms to face me.
I shook my head. “No. Would you?”
He considered for a moment. “And risk not being here with you right now? Never.”
James refused to let on when he planned to ask her, insisting that as we’d all shared everything in our lives for the last seven years, it was time to keep something to himself for a little while longer. You could see tell that he was working up the courage though; his hands shook a little more each day and I knew that it would have to be soon or he’d bottle out altogether.
Eventually, though, it had to happen. On Saturday there was a Hogsmeade trip and I had my suspicions that he would do it there. I was half right...
For some reason I awoke early on Saturday morning. I got up to go to the bathroom, trying as I moved not to wake Sirius. I pulled the curtains open to see James sat nervously on the edge of his bed, already dressed and ready to leave.
“James? What are you doing?” I muttered.
He turned with a start and looked at me, blushing. “Oh! Um...just...awake early.”
I raised my eyebrows disbelievingly and he sighed, reluctantly smiling at me.
“Want to talk over breakfast?” he ask quietly. “I don’t really want to talk to everyone.”
I glanced back at Sirius, who was snoring loudly, and sniggered slightly. Then I turned back to James and smiled encouragingly.
“Sure. Shall we go by the kitchens and then go for a walk?”
He smiled and nodded.
A short while later we were sat under our favourite tree by the Great Lake, sharing breakfast.
“So...want to tell me the real reason you’re up so early?” I teased James. “Or is it strictly private.”
He grinned reluctantly. “Ok, ok. I’m going to propose to Lily today.”
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet box. “Want to see the ring?”
I smiled widely. “I’d love to.”
He handed the box to me with shaking hands. I opened it gently and looked inside. Held in place by stiff but soft velvet was a silver ring with a single diamond studded into it. I let out a low whistle through my teeth.
“What do you think?” James asked me anxiously. “Is it enough?”
As I looked up at his nervous expression as he sat on tenterhooks, waiting for my response, I felt a grin split across my face.
“It’s beautiful. It that your grandmother’s one?”
He let slip a smile and released the breath he’d been holding then, relief washing through his features.
“Yes,” he replied. “I did look for others but I figured that it was such a lovely gesture of my mum and her that there wasn’t any other that would match up.”
I nodded, smiling. “It’s so her. I think she’ll love it.”
Later that day, Peter, Sirius and I wished a horribly nervous James the best of luck (“Not that we think you’ll need it, of course she’ll say yes!”) and made our way down to the Entrance Hall. We were all silent for the entire journey and made our way to the Hog’s Head for a quiet drink without even so much as a glance at any of the shops.
We ordered drinks and sat in silence for a few more minutes, before Sirius cleared his throat.
“Are you guys as nervous as I am?”
Peter started at the sudden break of our collective silence and I let out a surprised laugh. We all glanced at each other and I nodded.
“Yes. I am, actually.”
“So am I,” Peter admitted.
We all fell silent again for a moment.
“I wonder whether they’ve left yet,” Peter said slowly.
“I wonder how he’s going to ask her,” Sirius mumbled.
“You know, I wonder whether they’re even coming to Hogsmeade,” I admitted. “I think he might take her somewhere else.”
The others looked at me in surprise. “Well, they can both Apparate,” I continued.
Sirius nodded and Peter coughed quietly. Then we all fell silent yet again, staring down into our respective drinks as though they held all the answers.
Our unusual silence continued for most of the day and in the end we even went home early - we were that nervous and apprehensive, even though we were so convinced that Lily would say yes to our brother. We reached the castle in record timing and practically ran up to our dormitory, anxious to see if James and Lily had returned. We burst through the portrait and into the common room, to see...
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