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I Always Loved Him... I Just Didn’t Know It Yet
Chapter Twenty Four

Lily awoke the next morning in James's arms on the tiny bed. Her feeling were so greatly changed and she was so comfortable, that rather than pulling away, Lily pulled closer into James's chest. She lay there for a few moments, feeling more comforted and relaxed than she had in days. Suddenly, she recalled the events of the previous day and her eyes flew open. She took in the bare, dank room for a second, before shivering lightly and shutting her eyes once more. The pair lay there for a while longer; James fast asleep, clutching Lily in his arms, and Lily trying to think of nothing and relax.  Eventually, James woke up with a shake. Lily chose to pretend she hadn't noticed and kept her eyes tightly shut. James looked down at Lily and smiled. He lightly pushed the hair out of her eyes, and kissed her on the forehead. Lily's eyes flew open in surprise. James grinned at her, and she smiled slightly. Before she really knew what was happening, James had leaned down and touched his lips gently to hers. Lily's audible gasp was muffled. She pulled away, up and out of his arms, and quickly crossed the room, her back to him. James sat up on the bed.

"Lily, I'm sorry. I didn't mean- If you don't feel-"

"No, I'm sorry," Lily answered him with her back still turned. "I'm not sure what I feel right now. I... I don't think this is the best time for this."

James nodded, then, realizing she couldn't see it, mumbled "okay."

The pair sat or stood in silence for a long, long minute. Eventually, Lily turned. She sighed loudly and James looked up at her. "I don't want this to be awkward, okay?" James nodded. Lily looked at him for a minute. How did she feel about him? She felt something there, certainly. But was it strong enough to act on it? She was right about one thing; this definitely wasn't the time. She broke eye contact and crossed over to the mystery door. She opened it and walked into a library, just as she expected. It was significantly smaller than the other, with no fireplace or armchairs. Lily went to the first bookshelf and took out the first book she saw, still without a single clue as to what she was supposed to do.

Hours passed. James joined Lily in the library and they both looked through books in silence. Lily couldn't help thinking about what Toby had said yesterday. James was there to keep her motivated? That meant two things: Toby thought James meant a great deal to her (obviously a misguided thought), and he believed Lily could figure out his mysterious illness. Toby was 0 for 2. Lily had no idea how to figure out was wrong with him, or how to treat it even if she did figure it out. She couldn't understand why he hadn't just gotten a healer. But Lily was more worried for her own survival. Right now it seemed her best chance was Alice, but she had no way of knowing if Alice was on her way. She couldn't risk waiting. It was time for action.

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