Throughout the night, I caught glimpses of Lily and James through the crowd. I was sitting in boredom with Remus at a table in the corner. In desperation for something to do, he had asked me to dance, which I promptly refused. Remus and I both knew that neither one of us could dance. So he shrugged and took a swig of his punch, which I suspected was spiked with firewhiskey.
“Look at him, Andy.” Remus thrust his hand in Sirius’s direction. My cousin was flirting obnoxiously with some fifth year Ravenclaws. “How does he get away with it? I mean, all these girls want to be with him yet they know that someone new is just around the corner. No one has lasted more than three months with him.”
“Lacey Bottoms did,” I said pointedly.
“Yeah, well that’s just cause he liked her name.”
“Oh…it looks like James and Lily are going on about something.” I sat up higher in my seat and looked out across the Great Hall. James was following Lily, who was stalking angrily, out into the main foyer. They seemed to be shouting at one another.
“I…I think I’m going to go get some punch,” I said and I jumped out of my seat. I quickly made my way toward the doors but hear Remus yell after me, “get me some too!” it was obvious he knew I was not going to be bringing any punch back to him.
Out in the main foyer, I stood against the wall and pretended to be fixing my hair in one of the mirrors. I knew James wouldn’t take a second glance at me. I usually never look in mirrors.
I could hear them talking in hushed but fast tones and in the mirror I could see Lily shaking her head in exasperation. Then, there was something I was surprised to see…a tear. A silver sparkle rolled down her face but she wiped it away before it could get too far. And then she turned away from him and ran up the stairs toward her dormitory. James stared after her, his face pale with grief. Then he turned the opposite way and opened the main doors and stalked out onto the grounds. I stood there for a moment, not sure what my next move should be. Then, I gathered my dress around me and high tailed it after him….well, as fast I as could in those God forsaken heels.
When I reached him, he was plopped down on the bank of the lake, hurling pebbles into it. I came up behind him quietly and sat down, not caring how muddy my gown got. He knew I was there, yet chose to stay silent. Then, after a moment and a few more pebbles, he said solemnly and without looking, “You look really beautiful tonight Andy.”
I smiled softly and put a hand on his shoulder. “You don’t look half bad yourself.” He finally turned his head toward mine, and I saw a deep sorrow in his eyes.
“James, talk to me.”
“She said that it wasn’t working out. That this just wasn’t what she was looking for in a relationship.” He ran a hand through his unruly hair. “I thought I was going great…”
“Pfff, women,” I replied, in my best Sirius impression. “Why have one when you can have all?” A smile finally broke across his face.
“Don’t ever say that again,” he chuckled, giving me a slight push. “We already have one Sirius, we don’t need another.”
“Okay, would you rather I be Remus? Now James, you know she was messing with your studies. How are you going to get the grades you need when you have her to worry about?”
“No, not him either.”
I smiled. “Well, then who should I be?” He smile faded and he looked at me with a strange expression.
“I want you to be you. You’re the one I want right now.” I stared at him for a moment, not sure how to comprehend. Then, he lay back on the grass and out of my gaze. I followed suit.
Lying next to James underneath the stars had long been a fantasy of mine. Sure, I wasn’t in an uncomfortable dress and he wasn’t moping about a lost lover, but we were kind of close to the situation I envisioned. James placed his hands behind his head and sighed. I shifted awkwardly. The dress was poofing up annoyingly.
“What do you think, Andy?” he asked suddenly. “Do you think the centaurs really see things in the stars?”
“Of course I do,” I replied, thinking immediately of Firenze.
“Do you think our lives are mapped out for us already?” I stayed silent for a moment.
“I don’t know. I mean, I guess some things are. Things you can’t control, like who your parents are, what your look like, or who you fall in love with.”
James turned and looked at me.
“You think love is destined?”
“Then why do people get divorced, or break up, even when they claim to love each other?”
“Some people think they’ve found the one, because they want love so badly. But the love they are truly destined for is somewhere else...sometimes right in front of them.”
We stayed silent for a moment, just looking at each other, letting the freezing wind blow over us. The weird thing was, I wasn’t cold. Not one bit.
“You look really beautiful tonight, Andy,” he said again, but this time there was something different in his voice, and he was looking directly at me. My cheeks flushed with red, and my heart swelled in my chest. I was afraid to say thank you, fearing only a squeak would come out, so I merely smiled. He returned it, and there wasn’t a trace of sadness in it. There was a moment of silence, and I began to feel slightly embarrassed, so I turned my attention back to the heavens.
“They are breathtaking aren’t they?” I asked. I received no answer. Without warning, the clear night sky vanished and James’s handsome face appeared above me. I opened my mouth in surprise as he propped himself over me, but before I could make a sound his lips conquered mine. His kiss was tender and loving, not forceful at all. It was just a sweet peck, but instead of pulling away he lingered, his face a mere centimeters from mine. I could feel his warm breath on my face and his heart pounding against my chest. I couldn’t believe what had just happened.
Then he pulled away like I was on fire., which it actually felt like I was.
“I’m sorry,” he mumbled. “I shouldn’t have…oh my God. Look at me. You must think I’m such a sleaze. Andy, I’m really sorry.”
“James, it’s okay.” I actually felt like crying. That beautiful moment, the one I had been waiting for what felt like forever, was gone.
“That shouldn’t have happened. I’m sorry, really I am – “ I interrupted him with my lips. I had been denied for far to long.
I didn’t intensify the kiss, but pulled away slowly after a moment to see his reaction. He was smiling.
“Come on,” he said after a second. “Let’s get back inside.” The disappointment in my face must have been evident. “Don’t worry,” he chuckled, lifting me to my feet. “I just want to dance with the most beautiful girl at the ball.”
Slick James, very slick.
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