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Author's Note: I just came back from my holiday last night so I decided to update as soon as I could. I hope you all had a happy New Year! Don't forget to leave a review and sign the guestbook and look at the book cover (made by .1smalltree @ Tda) at my website: www.dalsibaby.piczo.com!

Chapter Twenty One

Seaside Artwork

 

“Lily, do you want to go to Hogsmeade this Saturday, just the two of us?” asked James one December morning.

“Sure,” replied Lily, giving her boyfriend a hug. “”It will be nice to go out, just the two of us for once”.

The two Heads walked down together to the Great Hall for breakfast.

“So,” said Lily to Sirius, who was sitting opposite her at the table, “where are you taking Kate in Hogsmeade this weekend?”

“I thought I’d taker her to this new place that just opened. I think it’s called The Hedgehogs House or something like that”.

Lily stifled a giggle.

“It’s called the Hog’s Head,” said Remus, joining in the conversation. “Don’t go there. My mother wrote to me last week saying that when she went there on the way to my uncle’s house. Apparently the barman was just…..let’s put it this way, it seems like they don’t have high food hygiene standards”.

“Eww….” answered Lily. “Don’t take Kate there then. That would be a total turn off”.

“So what should I do then?” asked Sirius.

“Maybe you could take Kate to this new café,” suggested Remus.

“Yeah, I heard about that!” interrupted Lily. “Some sort of coffee shop called Madame Paddifoots”.

“Well, it looks like my Saturday plans are finalized,” said Sirius. “Where’s Prongs taking you, Lily?”

“Erm….actually, I don’t know. I think he is keeping it a secret. It’s a bit annoying really,” answered Lily.

“Oi, Prongs!” yelled Sirius at an incredibly pensive James. “What are you thinking about? You look like you’re mulling over the idea of World Domination”.

“Actually, I was thinking that Li-“ started James.

He stoped after a menacing glare from Remus.

“I mean,” restarted James, “I was thinking that we better get going to Transfiguration”.

“Prongs, mate, we have Defence Against the Dark Arts,” snickered Sirius. “I knew one day you’d be the one to crack!”

“Um…yeah, whatever, let’s just…..My mother likes strawberries?” concluded James randomly.

Remus grinned at James “My mum likes pineapple,” he said playing along.

Sirius looked at the two of his mates as if they were crazy and growing two arms out of each of their arms.

“My mum likes roasted ‘elfe de maison’,” added Sirius, accepting the sudden turn of conversation.

“My mum likes – what on earth is ‘elle de mayzon’?” asked Lily.

“It’s actually,” Sirius lowered his voice, “house elf”.

Lily gasped. “Oh my, those poor, darling creatures!”

Sirius grimaced, “The smell is quite repulsive. Apparently back in the Middle Ages it was a delicacy”.

Lily clutched her stomach and turned an odd shade of green. “That’s absolutely horrible," she chocked before running off to the bathroom. Soon enough, the bell rang, signalling the conclusion of breakfast and the group of seventh years to their first class of the day.

 

*                                                    *                                                            *

James woke unusually early on Saturday morning. He ran down the stone stairs out of the castle in his sweatshirt and tracksuit pants. James stared at the lake and realized what he would have to do. He tore off his sweatshirt and pants until he was standing outside, in the cold, European winter just wearing his boxers. James ran and dived gracefully into the lake. His back arched forward, his legs straightened out and his arms were glued behind his ears in a perfect torpedo position. James’ body immediately reacted to the ice cold water. He started shivering uncontrollably but James still continued to search the lake for the important box. It was no use. The lake water was too cloudy and foggy to see anything and it was much too cold for James to continue swimming in the glacial water.  James swam as fast as he could to the edge of the lake and climbed out on the to icy, dew, covered grass. He dried and heated his clothes by magic and cleared his throat.

“Accio engagement ring,” declared James.

The velvet covered box flew from the depths of the middle of the Black Lake, directly into James’ outstretched hand. James sighed gratefully, stuffed the box into the pocket of his tracksuit pants and quickly walked back to his dorm.

He climbed under his bed and reached for the box of medicinal potions that his mother supplied him every year. James sipped a little bit of the Pepper Up potion and almost immediately began to feel back to normal. Excitedly, he walked around his room, thinking about his plans with Lily. He met Lily on the way to the Great Hall for breakfast.

“Are you ready to leave as soon as we finish eating?” James asked.

“Sure,” Lily answered, “where are we going?”

James chose that moment to choke on his pumpkin juice. Lily was too concerned about James, she temporarily forgot her question. The couple ate in silence, both pondering their plans for the day deeply. It wasn’t an awkward silence; it was a thinking silence.

“Are you ready to go?” asked James, once he finished his third serving of eggs.

“Yeah, I’m ready,” answered Lily, also satisfied with the scrumptious breakfast. “So, can you tell me where we are going now?”

“Nope, it’s still a secret,” teased James. “You don’t want me ruining the surprise”.

Lily frowned. “Come on, then! Let’s go!”

Once upon the outskirts of Hogsmeade James turned to Lily and asked, “You don’t mind Side Along Apparition, do you?”

“No, its fine,” replied Lily, extending her hand towards James.

James held Lily’s right hand tightly and Apparated her out of the peaceful countryside.

“Where are we?” gasped Lily when they arrived at their destination. Lily and James were standing on warm, white, smooth sand at a beach. The weather was unnaturally warm for December and Lily could see hundreds of sunbathers tanning on the sandy beach. James smiled triumphantly as he greeted, “G’day mate, welcome to the Gold Coast!” in a phoney Australian accent.

Lily’s jaw gaped open, “You Apparated me to Australia?”

James nodded, pleased with the positive outcome of his near impossible endeavour.

“B-but that’s supposed to be really, really difficult!” Lily exclaimed. “Even many grown, powerful wizards can’t Apparate to a different country, let alone continent that’s halfway across the world!”

“Thanks,” muttered James humbly.

People were always telling his parents what a powerful wizard he was. James didn’t like the fascination with his raw, magical talent and tried to avoid the attention.

“Lily, come!” called James, happily running in the water fully clothed. Lily followed James into the water uneasily, but instantly calmed as the warm ocean water welled into a puddle around her feet. She eagerly followed James deeper into the ocean, giggling and splashing him with the sea water like an overexcited four year old. Once at waist depth James pulled Lily closer to him. He draped his arm over her shoulder and hugged her tightly.

“I’ve got exciting plans for us today,” James whispered into Lily’s hair.

“What?” asked Lily enthusiastically, tilting her head back to see James’ face.

“Either dolphin watching or snorkelling, we’re going to come back to the beach later though”.

“Can we go snorkelling? I can’t wait to see all the sea life here!” answered Lily eagerly.

Lily and James spent the afternoon splashing each other playfully in the water, snorkelling and admiring the colourful fish and beautifully textured coral. A cold breeze swept through the beach as the temperature slipped, signalling a cease to the heatwave currently striking Queensland. James handed Lily a light jacket as they strolled along the beach in the fast growing darkness. Although the couple were saying nothing, just enjoying the silence, the atmosphere between Lily and James grew intimate. Holding hands and both marvelling at the others’ beauty, true love radiated off the couple, blessing the beach with a romantic environment. James stopped walking and dropped to his knees, bringing Lily down with him. His hands reached out to gather seashells from the edge of the water. Lily watched James patiently, not speaking in fear she would break the magical intensity of the moment. With the seashells, James began to form a pattern. He embossed the seashells into the wet sand, stood up and then walked backwards to observe his intricate design. Lily followed James backwards, eager to view the end result of his artwork. The embedded seashells in the sand spelled out four words. Lily looked at the words and then at James, kneeling down on one knee holding an open box. 

James looked up at Lily and said quietly, “Lily Marie Evans, I promise to love you forever, for all of eternity. You mean to me more than my entire life and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?”

Lily nodded and whispered, “Yes!”

James took his grandmother’s ring out of its velvet case and slid it onto Lily’s third finger on her left hand.

“I love you,” James whispered as he kissed his fiancée’s hand.

“As I love you,” answered Lily, her voice full on strong, raw, sincere emotion.

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