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Chapter 23: Ella Parks, Gryffindor Keeper...Or Not?

Loud, obnoxious laughter was the first thing I heard when I woke up.

As I struggled to open my eyes, the room swam into focus then, suddenly, a big, blurry, blonde head popped out of nowhere. James, shifted slightly in his sleep and his arm, which had loosened during our nap, tightening once more.

Oh, bullocks.

“Uh, Lily?”

Then a massive fuzzy object was hurling itself towards me, screaming like a banshee, arms flying and legs kicking. I squealed in horror and dived back into James’ chest, as Sirius Black impacted, clawing at the minimal space between me and James.

James, using his free arm, tried to push him, but to no avail. “Geroff, Padfoot, you great git!”

“I can’t help it if I’m jealous! Lily, you cow, you’re stealing my boyfriend!”

My face crushed into James’ armpit, I felt around for my wand, anger rising. “Black, you’re as good as dead when I - ah huh! Expelliarmus!

Sirius was blasted off and hit the wall with a dull thud. James let out a loud laugh and, untangling myself from his grip, I glanced at Marissa. She was looking at Black with a horror that was quite unlike her and seemed to be using all her self control to stay still. I grinned.

Ah, love, what it can do to you.

...I should know.

“Hey, Marissa,” I said calmly, moving over to her. I turned to James and glared. “Remember what I said, I want the announcement up by tomorrow!” Then, to avoid more awkward questions about why James and I were asleep together on the lounge, I grabbed Marissa’s wrist and pulled her up the stairs.

“Where’s Ella?” I asked trying to distract Marissa, as I shoved her into the dormitory, closing the door firmly behind me as she sat on her bed. “Wasn’t she with you?”

“With Remus,” Marissa murmured to the floor, still looking shellshocked. Her eyes met mine and she looked scared out of her wits. “Lily, you’ll never guess what happened.”

If she said she’d been bitten by a vampire, I will cry.

She paused, still looking like she’s seen a ghost. “Sirius kind of...asked me out...to Hogsmeade.”

My eyes widened. Wow, I wasn’t expecting that. Black moved fast. “A date?” I asked, clarifying. “An honest to God date with Sirius Black? And you said yes?

She frowned, looking confused. “You know what? I don’t know. He asked me if I wanted to ‘hang out’,” she made little air quotations, “while you were off with James and Ella was with Remus - they are going to check out the Shrieking Shack together, you know, where they’re going to transform - and I said...well, yes.” She blushed.

I laughed, plonking myself beside her and throwing my arm over her shoulder. “Aw, Marissa, just admit you want it to be a date. Go on, love, it feels good.”

She pushed me lightly, struggling to keep the embarrassed grin off her face. “Oh sod off, Lily, I didn’t make you admit you wanted to out with James!”

I grinned, feeling brave. “Ah, but I’ll freely admit if you want me to.”

Then I realised what I’d said.

Marissa stopped moving, an astonished look on her face. “I KNEW IT!” she shrieked, looking excited. “I knew it! I knew you liked him! Since when?”

I blushed self-consciously. “Um, the ball?”

“OH MY GOD!”

Why did I have such a big mouth?

~*~

“But you have to try out Ella!”

Ella glared at me hatefully and put her head back down onto the table, disappearing under her mass of jet black hair.

I guess she had good reason. It was breakfast the next morning and I had been harassing her for the last twelve hours about tryouts - since James had put up the Quidditch tryouts announcement, beating my deadline by, well, twelve hours.

But, what are friends for?

Even Marissa was helping out. “Ella, it would be so much fun if you were on the team! Since Georgina left last year, it’s just been me and a bunch of smelly teenage boys. Please tryout, for me?”

Ella gave a grumpy, muffled “No,” from the table.

I glared at her, not caring that she couldn’t see me. “Ella, seriously lighten up, there’s nothing to be angry about -”

The she was up, growling menacingly, her oddly pointed teeth sparkling and her normally blue eyes, shifting to a golden colour. “You didn’t let me sleep for half the night because, for some strange reason you think getting me to join a Quidditch team would solve all my problem and she didn’t let me sleep because she wants a werewolf to replace some stupid bint who got knocked up! And you wonder why I’m angry?

I regarded her, unfazed by her little tirade. “Touchy. That time of the month?”

Luckily, however, James, Black and Lupin decided to grace us with their presences at that moment, otherwise I think Ella would have hexed me. James grinned at me in greeting and I gave him a small smile, my heart skipping a couple of beats as he sat next to me.

“Remus, make them stop,” Ella pleaded, pouting shamelessly as Remus slid into the seat next to her. “They’re being annoying and if they don’t stop I’m going to have to maul them, full moon or no.”

He grinned, ruffling her thick hair. “What’s going on girls? Full moon’s soon, can’t get Ella in a knot - even I won’t be able to stop her then.”

I simpered, trying to get him on my side. “Ella’s going to be trying out for Gryffindor keeper.”

“Say it again, Lily, that’s about as close as you’re going to come to getting it to happen,” Ella said, smiling sweetly at me.

Remus looked surprised. “No, Ella, I think you should try out. I’ve heard you’re really good.”

Marissa beamed, eyes bright with excitement. “See? Even the pack leader says you have you.”

Ella glared but her heart wasn’t really into it. “Fine, fine, I’ll try out for your stupid team." Aw, she really did like him.

“Yay!” Marissa exclaimed, ruffling her hair from across the table.

“Hey, hey, hey,” James interrupted, frown on his face, “she hasn’t got in yet.”

I rolled my eyes and nudged him with my elbow. “Nice one, James, good way to make her want to do it.” James smiled at me and took some toast off my plate.

It was cute, it a couple-y sort of way, but the toast was on the table in front of him.

Black grinned. “We’ll see you at four then.”

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