Like slow spinning redemption,
Winding in and winding out,
The shine of it has caught my eye,
And roped me in, so mesmerizing,
And so hypnotizing,
I am captivated.’
~ Vindicated, Dashboard Confessional
Chapter 20: A Series of Fortunate Events
I love you, too.
His words ricocheted inside my head, reverberating inside my brain, driving out all thoughts of Ella, as I tried to comprehend what he had just said.
‘You don’t mean that,’ I said softly, pushing him off me, feeling forlorn. He only said it so I’d keeping snogging him... or to get me to go out with him. Either way, he didn’t mean it in the soul-crushing, heart-wrenching way I did.
To my great displeasure, I’ll admit.
I began to walk away, to the hospital wing, as Slughorn had instructed. Then, I felt his hand catch my wrist.
‘Lily, I meant –’ he started, trying to pull me into him. Tears blurred my vision as I pulled away.
‘Let me go, James,’ I growled, anger fuelling my motions, my voice on the verge of tears. ‘Let me go, or I swear to God, I’ll hex you into next week. Or, better yet, I’ll hit you into next week – now, let me go!’
‘No,’ James said, tugging my hand, ‘Lily, please, I might not have meant it totally, but I’m pretty sure you did - ’
‘Let me go!’ I hissed, tears threatening to spill.
‘ – and, I probably will love you sooner or later, but I can't when you’ve never even given me the time of day!’
‘LET ME GO!’ I roared, tears cascading down my face, wrenching my hand out of his firm grasp.
I can't believe it. Here I am, with the man I positively adore, and I’m rejecting him for no apparent reason, other than out of force of habit.
And the fact that he will probably dump me in about a weeks time, leaving me soaking in my self-inflicted despair while he prances off with some busty blonde idiot, leaving his whole speech, he’d just recited for about the millionth time probably, to waste. Just maybe.
‘James,’ I said carefully, staring at the floor, controlling my voice so it was steady, ‘I might love you, but that does not mean I like you and I want to go out with you.’ Realizing, and not really caring, how stupid and confusing that sounded out loud, I plowed on. ‘Those feelings are completely against my will; I do not want them because I really don’t like you all too much. Please, just leave me alone, James... Please.’ I met his gaze and saw hurt and sadness flash though his eyes and I lowered my stare back to the floor, feeling ashamed.
‘No,’ he said defiantly, surprising me, and taking my hand once more, this time, in a much lighter hold. I raised my head, a mixture of emotions, flooding me, none of which being anger. ‘One date,’ he whispered pleadingly. ‘One date, and if it doesn’t click for you, then I wont ask you out again. I promise.’
I closed my eyes, knowing I was going to regret my next words later. ‘Fine. Fine.’
James’s eyes widened and he looked at her, his excitement clear. ‘Really?’
I rolled my eyes, though I was secretly elated. ‘Really.’
‘Real –’ He broke off with a stern look. Ah, the power I wield. So instead he said, ‘You won’t regret it, Evans!’
And, somehow, I found it hard to believe that. But I simply smiled and we made our way to the hospital wing, his hand lacing into mine.
Word about this interlude got out pretty fast. No doubt somehow through James’s doing, the whole school knew of it by days end.
And, for some reason, this ‘date’ or so it would seem, made everyone’s rather brutal opinion of me change.
Suddenly, I was popular again.
It was really, really strange.
And, bizarrely, in the back dredges of my mind, I knew that that was not what I wanted. They only wanted to be my friend now to gain favor with James. Though, I didn’t see how this would ever work, I knew it to be true. So instead of embracing it, as I would have done a week ago, I just ignored the people who were planning to leech off me.
There was even a group of tittering girls following me around, again.
And this all happened within a few hours of my ‘agreeing’ to that wretched ‘date’.
‘Just don’t go,’ Marissa said when I broke the news to her after Potions. I had gone, pretty much, straight back after Madam Pomfrey screamed at me for wasting her time when nothing was wrong with me (not after she gave me a Pepper-Up Potion).
I grumbled something about him not bugging me if I went, but it was obvious she knew the real reason – I wanted to go.
It was disgusting.
Then I told her what he’d spilled to me before the date, and she almost fainted.
No, not the I'm-in-love-with-you-oh-wait-no-I'm-not. The other thing. Werewolf?
Her eyes were wide as she looked at me, horror-stricken. ‘Are-are you serious?’ she asked in almost awe.
I nodded sadly, misery tugging my heart-strings. ‘But what are we going to say to her?’ I asked desperately, pulling my hair as we made our way to the dormitory. ‘We can't just go up to her and be like “Oh, yeah, we know you’re a werewolf, why didn’t you tell us?” Because it’s bloody obvious why she didn’t now!’
When Marissa didn’t answer I looked at her, confused. She was looking straight ahead, an unreadable expression fixed on her face. I followed her gaze down the hall as she finally spoke.
‘Here’s the opportunity,’ she said softly, grim humor lacing her voice, her gaze fixed solidly on Ella Parks, who was standing at the end of the hall.
Her blue eyes sparkled with tears. ‘He said he wouldn’t tell you,’ she said, shuddering as she drew a ragged breath. She hastily wiped the tears from her eyes with the back of her hand, letting out a small hiccup. Stunned into silence, I was shocked to even see her there, let alone talk. ‘He said he’d wait till I was ready.
‘Well, you know now,’ she said her voice rising in hysteria. ‘What are you going to do now? Talk me through it?’ She let out a bitter laugh. ‘Oh, but you don’t know what to do, do you? You should just bloody run, like everyone else! You don’t know what to do when your find out your ‘best-friend’ is a fucking werewolf!’ Her voice had risen to a screech, her face had turned red and blotchy and the tears were a constant stream down her face.
She looked like a harpy, to be honest.
And I didn’t know what to do.
But Marissa did. At least, I think she did. Because the thing she did next, seemed to work wonders.
Tears sparkling in her eyes, she slowly moved forward and wrapped her arms around Ella’s sobbing form. Ella clung to her shirt, sobbing hysterically.
Touched by the unusual display of affection on Marissa’s part, I moved into the hug, squeezing tightly, feeling her slim frame shake in my arms.
Marissa gradually adjusted her head so her mouth was just above Ella’s ear. ‘So. What happened?’
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