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The next couple of weeks passed fairly normally by Hogwart’s standards, but as the day of the dance approached, the girls became more giggly, the guys became more embarrassed trying to find dates, and everyone was anticipating the night of the dance with excitement. Well, except for Lily. The day after the whole Peeves/Paint/Potter ordeal, the four Marauders had confronted Lily, Tracy, Erica, and Crystal. As expected, Sirius asked Tracy to the dance and Remus asked Crystal to the dance at once. Peter came over with them, but he was so nervous about asking Erica to the dance that she finally had to put him out of his misery and ask him to go with her (Sirius teased Peter a lot about this one.) James had approached Lily as well, but before he had finished getting the words out Lily had rejected him. A week before the dance and it seemed that everyone had a date to the dance but Lily and James. Every day since the first time he had asked, sometimes after the last class of the day, sometimes in the common room before bed, James asked Lily to go to the dance with him again. And every day Lily flat out refused. The Saturday the week before the dance, Lily and all the girls in the 7th year dormitory woke up to a dazzling white in their room, and a very sweet scent met their noses. “Look at the lilies” exclaimed Emma as she examined the hundreds of white flowers throughout their room. Everything was strewn with lilies. The beds were covered on the top, so were the dressers, the mirrors, the trunks, the floor, the curtains were decorated with them even! “Lilies for the Fairest and Loveliest Lily of them all! These Lilies remind me of your beauty and sweetness, and your fair skin. But they are nothing compared to MY Lily!” Crystal read off of the card that was sitting next to the bouquet of lilies on Lily’s bedside table. “Three guesses who sent these!” remarked Erica, in an awed sort of voice. “Hey, there is still more on this card!” said Crystal, impatient at being interrupted. “Lily, my sweet! I long to smell your fragrance! Please come with me to the dance, for you are the only Lily I will ever have!” “Bit dramatic, isn’t he?” was all Lily could say. She didn’t mind being called lovely and fair, but she felt highly on the spot with such a display. “That’s all you can say to this?” cried Emma, waving at the lily covered room. “I don’t know what is wrong with you, Lily Evans, but James deserves better than YOU!” and with this she stormed off to the showers. The girls watched her exit. “Can we please go to the common room? All this essence of Lily is making me a bit tipsy!” joked Tracy, and the girls all agreed that the scent was a bit strong. The Lily décor was also in the common room, to Lily’s great surprise. Students who were up were picking up the lilies curiously, and were talking to one another about the enormous picture of Lily smiling down from above the mantle (which was covered in lilies, of course!). Lily spotted James standing by the fireplace, and she just watched in shock as he came up to her. “Erm, Lily, will you go to the ball with me?” James asked, a pleading look in his eyes as he once again rumpled his hair. Lily didn’t know what to do. Everyone in the common room was watching with interest. WHY was everything James did so extravagant, so public? She wondered. The seconds wore on. “I’m sorry James, but I think I’m just going to go alone…” Lily said slowly, feeling awful as James’s face dropped. Why did he have to be so kind at one time, then arrogant the next, and then so hurt! She thought angrily. This wasn’t the first time she had said no, so why did it feel so different? “Oh, no problem, I understand.” James stammered in a falsely cheery voice, not understanding at all. He could feel his face flushing, all those eyes on him, though they usually never bothered him. Lily turned away, quickly hurrying up the staircase, trodding on the flowers as she went. James turned and sank into an armchair. “Ouch, Prongs.” said Sirius dully. Ouch was an understatement in James’s opinion. He had really tried this time, with the lilies and the card, everything had been perfect! Then why was he going to the dance alone? Was this Lily punishing him? “I tried to warn you, James. Lily Evans is just stuck up.” he heard Emma say from behind the chair. “Give up on Lily, and find someone who appreciates you!” James whipped around so fast he banged his head against Emma’s, who scowled. “Sorry Emma.” he muttered quickly, but Emma was smiling now. “Hey, listen, would you go to the dance with me?” The words came out before he could stop himself, and hung in the air for a moment. He watched Sirius’s astonished face. “Sure, James!” said Emma, now positively beaming at him. She threw a dirty look at Tracy, who was watching them very closely. “I’d love to go with you!” with that she giggled and exited through the portrait hole. If he had felt miserable before, it was nothing as to the way he was feeling now. Why had he asked her? To make Lily jealous? Or just to heal his wounded pride? “At least you have a date now.” commented Sirius, still looking very unnerved. “Yea…” *** The news of Lily and James spread around the school like wildfire over the next week. Guys from Gryffindor and other houses were approaching Lily to be their dates, since she was no longer reserved by James. But to everyone’s surprise, Lily turned them all down. “Lils, you aren’t seriously going alone?” asked a panicking Tracy, as if this was the worst possible thing her friend could do. “Sure looks that way…” Lily replied in a melancholy tone. She wasn’t sure why she had turned them all down, she should have been happy that James wasn’t on her back anymore. But she just wasn’t, and she didn’t know why. The day of everyone’s anticipation finally arrived, but Lily had been dreading it. Saturday, September 21st, left everyone in the castle feeling anxious and exciting about the dance, which would be starting at 8:oo. Lily, Erica, Tracy, and Crystal spent most of the day out of doors, as the day was quite warm and sunny. Many other students were also enjoying what was probably going to be the last of the warm weather for the year, deciding that homework could wait till tomorrow to be done, even though the 7th years had noticed a definite increase in their workload. The girls sprawled out by the lake, watching as Hagrid began to build a large dock that the students would be able to enjoy in the springtime. The girls were mostly talking about their dress robes, about what their dates would wear, and a lot of other stuff related to the dance, but Lily didn’t join in. She dangled her feet into the lake and almost found herself wishing she was back home. Then again, even home was not the same anymore. Lily had tried to send several more letters to Petunia, but she no longer got any response from her sister. There seemed to be a large commotion going on up by the beech trees, and spells being called out made it sound like a duel was going on. The girls got up to see the cause of the commotion. “Serpensortia!” yelled an oily voice, which Lily knew belonged to Severus Snape. The gathered crowed gasped as a large snake flew out of the end of his wand, hissing provokedly. “Transfiguro Serpiento!” came the second voice, and the snake had been transfigured into a garden hose. Laughter rang throughout the crowd. As the girls drew closer, the saw James dueling with Snape. “Flora Nectura!” James cried, and this time the funny part was he had transfigured Snape’s overly large nose into a cactus blossom. Snape felt the flower with fury, and not bothering to change it back (or maybe he didn’t know how!) he shot another spell at James. James was of course too quick, but the spell had slightly singed some of the hair that was sticking up. With a flick of his wand, James caused Snape to fly backwards against on of the tree trunks, pinning him there. “Snivellus! How dare you ruin my hair! Don’t you know I happen to have a date tonight? What would she say if I turned up bald?” he said to Snape, in mock outrage. The news that James was going with someone else shocked Lily, who had not heard that James had asked Emma. She wondered who he had asked, and realized that this was probably why he had left her alone the past week. “Well, I forgive you, Snivellus!” continued James, lowering his wand and allowing Snape to slide down the trunk onto the ground. “You might have forgotten there was a dance, as you don’t have a date!” The crowed laughed spitefully at James’s words and at the cowering Snape. Lily really loathed Snape, but James was humiliating him in front of everyone for no apparent reason. Lily started to rush into the open space enclosed by the crowd, but Tracy caught her by the back of her robes. “Lily, what are you doing?” she asked, looking at Lily confusedly. “Never mind.” Lily replied, deciding it wasn’t worth making a fool of herself. “Anyways, we should head up to the castle and start getting ready for the Dance!” Crystal squealed excitedly. And with that, the girls left the scene of James jerking Snape around like a puppet to get ready for the dance.

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