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“I didn’t know James had a date to the dance!” remarked Lily, but she was the only one of the girls who sounded surprised. “Who do you think it could be?” Tracy looked uncomfortable at the question. She hadn’t told Lily about James asking Emma to the dance only moments after Lily had rejected him. “I don’t know…” said Tracy, signaling for Erica and Crystal to keep quiet about Emma. She knew Lily would find out at the dance, but for some reason Tracy feared what Lily’s reaction would be. Although Lily had turned James down, Tracy suspected that Lily was hiding something, or at least how she was feeling, about her and James. Back in the dormitory (the lilies had been cleared by the house elves recently) the girls got ready for the dance. This took a full three hours, as everyone showered, got dressed, accessorized, applied makeup, did their hair, and fussed over each other’s hair, makeup, and robes. Emma eventually joined them in the dormitory and got ready, occasionally throwing Lily a superior look. Finally the girls were ready, and stood in front of the full length mirror admiring themselves. Crystal’s robes were a bright turquoise blue that made her blue eyes shimmer. Erica’s robes were a soft yellow, and she looked like a goddess dressed in gold. Tracy was wearing her hot pink robes, and gave the impression she was glowing again with the gold accents. Emma looked very sophisticated in her deep red robes, and her red lipstick went along quite well. All of them were somewhat overshadowed by Lily. Lily’s robes, though elegant and stunning, took the backseat to her face, for her eyes were so intensely green that it was all you noticed, at first. Gradually you could take in the rest of her, her slender form, the sparkling robes, and her styled hair. She was breathtaking. Yet she was the only one of the girls not beaming at their reflection and at one another. When the 7th year girls emerged from the staircase into the common room, all the boys turned their heads. There were many catcalls and whistles, causing the girls to smile and blush. Sirius came up to Tracy immediately. “Wow!” was all he could say. He was looking very handsome, with dark blue robes and his hair styled so it hung nicely, framing his face. Sirius took great pride in his thick dark hair, and spent a lot of time styling it. The next thing Lily knew, Sirius had taken Tracy by the arm, and the two exited the common room. Remus was also awed by Crystal, and they followed Sirius and Tracy out. Peter was still stammering how nice Erica looked, but Erica was more concerned for Lily, who had just been hit with the realization that if her friends had dates, she would be sitting alone. “Lily, want to walk down with us?” Erica asked kindly. Lily smiled but shook her head. “You two go on. I would just be a third wheel. I’ll come down in a second!” she tried to sound cheery as she said it, but knew she had failed miserably. Erica and Peter also left, and she found she was standing in an empty common room. Emma must have gone off with her date, she thought to herself. She hadn’t even seen James, perhaps his date was in a different house. She finally decided to go down to the great hall, at least the food would be good. The Great Hall had been decorated with autumn colors, and huge leaves decorated the walls. There were punch bowls filled with apple cider, and apples on all of the dozens of small tables in the hall. A large space had been cleared in the middle of the enormous room serving as the dance floor. She saw that her three friends and their dates had already filled one table of six, and Lily desperately looked around for someone to sit with. There was an open seat by on of the sixth year Gryffindors, so she slid down into the seat. The sixth year smiled at her warmly, and Lily recognized her as Melody Moore. Her date was also looking at her, and Lily blushed. “Welcome, to the Hogwarts Fall Festival Dance!” Dumbledore said, standing up at the staff table. “Please, place your orders with your plate, and let the feast begin!” Lily perused her menu, not really hungry. She finally decided, and spoke to her plate. “Fettuccini Alfredo!”, and fettuccini alfredo appeared. The meal went smoothly enough, but when the plates cleared and a large platform rose at one wall of the Great Hall, Lily knew what she had been dreading all night was about to happen. Dancing, or in Lily’s case, not dancing. A group of women in their early twenties who were wearing very sparkly sequined robes in bright colors trooped onto the stage. Applause rang out from the hall. Melody said excitedly to Lily, “I didn’t know Dumbledore had booked the Strange Cousins! They’re my favorite group!” Lily nodded politely, not really sure who the Strange cousins were supposed to be. “Hey, if you’re Head Girl, aren’t you supposed to have the first dance?” Melody’s date asked, and Lily gasped. She had completely forgotten about that! “And now, to begin the dancing, let’s welcome our Head Boy and Girl up here for the traditional first dance!” All the students and staff watched as James stood up and walked to the middle of the floor. Startled, Lily got up quickly and went to join him. He gave her a strange smile, and placed his hands on her hips. Lily frowned slightly, it felt so weird. The Strange Cousins struck up a slow tune, describing the way Lily was feeling, and she and James began to revolve slowly on the spot. After awhile other couples got up and joined in. Lily smiled as she watched Tracy and Sirius dancing, they were very good together. Crystal was Remus’s hands on her hips, and Remus was looking very unsure of how close he was getting to Crystal, but both looked like they were enjoying themselves. Lily had to stifle a laugh as she watched Erica wince every time Peter trod on her foot, but Erica was still smiling at Peter all the same. The song finally ended, and Lily tore away from James very quickly, hurrying back to the table. She watched the dancing pick up again with a new tune, and soon had lost sight of James. When Lily spotted him again, and saw who he was dancing with she felt as though she had been slapped. James was twirling Emma, and spun her into a low dip. James asked Emma? Lily was so confused, but after rethinking the behavior of the two over the past week, she was surprised she hadn’t noticed it before. Emma had laid off Lily, and James had become very nervous whenever Emma and Lily were in the same area of the common room as him. But why did she care, she didn’t care about James! Then why did she feel such envy watching them dance so close together? The song ended and a faster one began. A boy from Hufflepuff came up to Lily, who Lily recognized from Herbology as Freddie Macmillan. “Lily, want to dance?” he asked politely. “Sure!” agreed Lily, eager not to be the only one sitting around, and at least looking like she was having a good time. She followed Freddie out to the dance floor and they began to dance to the funky, upbeat tune. It was actually a lot of fun. Freddie’s Hufflepuff friends were all very nice, and she continued to dance for the next couple of songs. It is interesting how far one moves from the starting spot when dancing to a fast song. Lily looked up and saw that her and the Hufflepuffs were dancing right near Lily’s friends. Tracy danced over to Lily to talk. “Hey Lils! Having fun?” she asked, her face flushed with dancing, Sirius came up behind her to listen. “Yea, I am!” replied Lily, surprising even herself. She could feel James watching her, as Emma tried to get him to dance with her some more. “It looks like you and Sirius are doing okay yourselves.” she pointed out, and Tracy blushed. “She’s a dancing queen, alright!” joked Sirius. James broke away from Emma, who shot a look of pure venom at Lily, and came up to the group. “This is Freddie Macmillan, everyone!” Lily said, introducing Freddie. She saw James stare coldly at Freddie. “James! Dance with me!” Emma called out. James looked one last time at Lily before returning to his date. Another slow song started to play, and she felt Freddie placing his hands on her waist. Why not? She thought. She obviously wasn’t ruining James’s night, why should she let him ruin hers? And Lily and Freddie danced slowly. It amazed Lily how fast the night went after that. Sure, Freddie wasn’t as good looking as James, but he could be okay. And he hadn’t had some hair-brained scheme that ended with her covered in paint! Before long, it seemed, the Strange Cousins finished their last song of the night, and Dumbledore stood up again. “Well, I hope everyone has enjoyed tonight, but it appears to be midnight! Let us all give a final round of applause to our musical guests, the Strange Cousins!” everyone, including Lily this time, cheered very loudly. “But now it is time for bed. Our next dance will be our traditional Yule Ball, taking place on Christmas. Good night!” Everyone began to file out of the Great Hall into the entry way. Several people were complaining loudly, wishing the dance could have gone on longer. Lily was feeling very tired, and was okay that the dance was ending when it did. “Thanks, Freddie! I had a great time tonight!” Lily said to Freddie, smiling at him. “Thank you for dancing with me. You looked really lovely tonight, Lily.” with this Freddie politely kissed her hand, and followed some of his friends off to the Hufflepuff common room. Lily began to head back up to the dormitory alone. People were saying goodbye, and she felt it would be best if she just waited for her friends there, so as not to interrupt anything (Sirius and Tracy looked kind of busy.) When she reached the portrait to the common room, she spoke the password and entered. What she saw came as a huge shock. Lily was not the first back to the common room after all. James and Emma had already returned, but they had not noticed Lily yet, so she kept quiet as they continued to say goodnight. James leaned over and aimed to kiss Emma on the cheek, but Emma had repositioned herself so that he missed and got lips. When he broke apart (rather quickly from shock), he looked over and saw Lily staring at them transfixed. James looked at her with a frightened expression on his face for a moment, before hurrying up the boy’s dormitory stairs. Emma smiled smugly at Lily, then she too went up to her dormitory. “Lily, what’s wrong?” asked Tracy, who had entered with Sirius (who looked like he was wearing a bit of Tracy’s lipstick) and was watching as Lily sank down into a chair. “Nothing. I’m fine! Just a little tired I think.” Lily told her friend, wondering why she kept telling Tracy this whenever she was not fine. “Okay…” said Tracy, still not sure. “Coming to bed?” “In a little while…” replied Lily. She didn’t want to look at Emma’s self-satisfied smirk for awhile.

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