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My Lips Are Sealed

She was absolutely giddy. Words couldn’t describe how happy she felt after her conversation, if you could even call it that, with James. In fact, butterflies flew around her stomach during the following day in dizzying delight and she was rather unable to keep the smile off of her face. It was an odd situation, really. One day she hated him and couldn’t stand seeing him, and the next day she couldn’t stop thinking about him. The moment he was forced to stop talking to her was the moment she realized that she not only expected that he would talk to her, but she flat out enjoyed his company! Despite his friends’ teasing, though, she wasn’t quite ready to go marry him or something like that. No, her rational side was still fairly intact despite her overexcitement, and she was well aware that she could go on a date with him and have all of her preconceived notions proved once again true and that would be the end.

But then there was the matter of pride. Lily had pushed it aside somewhat, but the thought of having the whole student body know that she “gave in” to James Potter was still rather sickening. A small part of her still saw this as a giant game, and she still didn’t want to lose. Yes, her stubborn side was still standing strong, vaguely telling her in the back of her mind that this was a bad idea. Therefore, at seemingly random times during the day, Lily would find herself suddenly doubting herself and wondering if she actually liked James. She would think back to all of the things he did and suddenly hate him for a few minutes, before her obstinate side gave way once again to her giddy heart and she shoved her insecurities aside.

It was the sixth day of the bet, and Lily could see that James was finally getting used to not being able to talk around her. They were at lunch that day and by some stroke of coincidence (or scheming between her friends…probably the latter) she, Madeleine, and Evelyn were sitting with the Marauders. Six days ago, she wouldn’t have been caught dead sitting anywhere near them if she could help it, but things had evidently changed.

It was odd. As her friends spoke to the Marauders, James interjecting a word here and there when he wasn’t responding to Lily, she couldn’t seem to take her eyes off of him. It was almost magnetic. He would catch her looking at him every so often and she would look down at her food quickly, a ghost of a smile on her lips, until he looked away again. She couldn’t say just why she kept looking, but she had noticed that she was suddenly fascinated by things she had never noticed about him—the wrinkles near his eyes when he smiled widely, the way he fiddled with his glasses when he was listening to other people, the way he mussed up his hair far too often. Yes, even that habit which she so loathed was now something that intrigued her unexpectedly.

After he had caught her eye for the third time, Madeleine noted it and spoke up, clearly delighting in the situation.

“So, I know I’ve spoken to Lily plenty about the bet, but how is it going for you, James?” she asked, raising her eyebrows in interest.

James glanced at Lily for just a moment before looking at Madeleine. “Difficult. It’s rather challenging having to keep your mouth shut with the one person you want to talk to the most,” he said, and the group laughed while Lily blushed somewhat, though she found herself laughing along with them.

“Well, you’ve gotten rather good at it, I must say. You haven’t said anything too stupid for a few days which is rather impressive for you,” Evelyn said jokingly.

“And only one more day. Finish out today and tomorrow and you’re home free,” Sirius said, patting his friend on the back.

“You guys are talking as if I’m not here,” Lily said, though without malice. In fact, she still had that small smile etched on her face. “You do remember that this would mean I would lose, the bet, right?”

“Well, I’m hearing no objections,” Madeleine teased, watching her friend in amusement.

Lily could feel James’ eyes on her again, but she didn’t look up to him this time. “I just don’t even understand why he’s going through so much trouble,” she told her friends, looking back at him momentarily through the corner of her eye. “I know dozens of girls who would date him in a heartbeat without having to go through all of this.”

His eyes brightened while his expression stayed largely the same.

“Thank Merlin he can’t talk. He would go on for hours if he could,” Sirius said exasperatedly and while their friends let out another round of chuckles, Lily and James simply looked at each for a moment before, once again, looking down at their food endearingly.

“You know, you guys are starting to make me sick.” The smiling words came from Madeleine while she and Lily sat in their dorm that night.

Lily, for her part, looked up from her book and eyed Madeleine in confusion. “What do you mean?”

“You’re so cute together it’s nauseating,” she explained, giving Lily a sly look with bright, mirthful eyes.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Lily told her, though she couldn’t quite hide her slight smile.

“I saw you watching him at lunch with that look of affection. It was as if you two were already dating!”

“Now, come on,” Lily said, rolling her eyes. “You’re acting as if we’re already engaged or something. We haven’t even gone on a date—I could find him a bore!”

“Which you know he’s isn’t,” Madeleine pointed out, giving her friend a knowing look. Lily merely scoffed before conceding and continuing.

“Fine, then. I could find out that he hasn’t really changed,” Lily tried, but Madeleine shook her head in objection.

“You know that already too. You know that he’s a different person. I think you just need to admit that you’ve changed too,” Madeleine said simply with a shrug, though still watching her friend carefully.

“Well, I’m not.” Lily’s tone was suddenly a little harsher, to which Madeleine furrowed her brow.

“Lily, I’m not criticizing you, but honestly, you have to be ready for this kind of thing whether or not anything comes of this date.” Lily only stared at Madeleine for several moments before she continued. “Whether or not you like it, people are going to talk about it and you’ll just have to accept that. And some of it… Might not be very favorable towards you.” The words were cautious and tentative, but Lily nonetheless lashed out.

“Why would anyone pass judgment on me?!” she demanded, clenching her jaw tightly indignantly.

“I didn’t say that,” Madeleine interjected, shaking her head. “They just might…Tease you a bit.” When Lily began to demur, Madeleine held up a hand to quiet her. “No, wait. I mean, everyone has been waiting for you to give in or for James to give up, whichever came first. Now that you’re giving in, so to speak, people are going to joke about it. It’s just how people our age act!”

“But—…” Lily began, but before she could continue, Evelyn walked in with a letter in hand.

“Mail call!” she said jovially, but when she saw her friends’ faces, her smile fell and she looked between then in utter confusion. “What happened?”

Lily did not respond. Instead, she merely grabbed the letter and tore it open, devouring the words as soon as she saw them.

“Because you’re passionate about what you care for. Because you’re thoughtful and considerate towards those people who need someone. Because you’re utterly beautiful. Because you’re funny, even if you don’t always know it. Because you are genuine. Because you don’t sugar coat things. Because you’re smile is brighter than the sun. Because you don’t care what other people think of you. Because you want to help people. Because you know what you believe and you stand by your beliefs. Because you’re smart. Because you showed me that I had been an uncaring boy and showed me how to change, even if you don’t quite know how. Because you’re the strongest person I know. Because you’re don’t try to be anyone else. You are you. You didn’t understand why I tried so hard and why I went through so much trouble to win your respect. This is why. There is no other girl who is as extraordinary as you. I can’t help that I admire you so ardently. And perhaps I shouldn’t have written all of this, but you needed to know that what I feel for you is not childish or silly anymore, if it ever was. –James”

She stood there, unable to breathe and refusing to look at her friends while they stared at her with urgency. Her expression was completely blank and she couldn’t bear to speak or utter a single word.

“Well?” Evelyn finally said when she saw that Lily was no longer reading.

“I have to go,” Lily breathlessly choked out, rushing out of her dorm to the Common Room. Just her luck, he was there with his friends who were seemingly in something of a somber conversation. James looked up suddenly, though, and stood up when he saw a troubled Lily standing at the stairs to the Girls’ Dorm. He looked to his friends quickly, who in turn stood up and quickly filed out of the Common Room, motioning to the rest of the onlookers there to leave.

When they were finally alone, Lily marched up to James with letter in hand and wide-eyed.

“What is this?” she questioned suddenly, a look of concern gracing her features. He simply stared at her, his mouth slightly ajar, unable to speak. “What the hell is this?!” She looked down at the paper urgently, searching for specific phrases. “This isn’t me! I do care what other people think of me! I think about it constantly, and it has suddenly made me dread this date! I am more stubborn than you and I’m stuck-up and mean. Look at how I treated you all of these years!” she shouted. “I fear people making fun of me—how can you admire that?! I’m not strong at all! And I’m downright unkind to some people! And yet you paint me to be some saint and claim that you have so much reverence for me… How can you say that?!” Her green eyes flashed with anger momentarily until he spoke.

“Because I love you.”

“What in Merlin’s name does that even mean?” Lily asked, barely able to get the words out of her mouth. It hadn’t even crossed her mind that he had spoken, and apparently it hadn’t crossed his either.

“It means that even though those things might be true to some extent, I can overlook them all. There is too much that is good about you.”

“But I’m not that perfect person!” She felt herself clutching at the paper tightly and she heard it crumple slightly under her grip.

“I know you’re not. We’re all flawed, but you’re the closest thing to perfection I have ever seen or met.” She didn’t respond and his expression remained somber. “Lily, I love you and even though you don’t love me, I would just like to show you what kind of person I am now.”

“I can’t date you, James.” Lily said quickly, shaking her head as she looked away from him.

“What?” he asked after a moment, trying to catch her eye. “What happened to what happened at lunch and what happened yesterday?” His words were abruptly imploring as he tried to understand what was going through her mind.

“I can’t do it! Madeleine told me…” She paused and realized that she was holding her breath. “She told me that people would talk and I just can’t bear that. You may think that I am beyond pride, but I’m not. I can’t bear the thought of people talking about me and teasing me because I gave in.”

“No one will make fun of you! And if they do, who cares?” he said fervently, taking a step towards her.

“I do! You don’t understand! My pride is all I’ve got. It may seem stupid to you, but that’s the reason I never drink and I never break the rules and I never do anything stupid if I can help it. People would talk! They would say, ‘Oh, that Lily finally gave in. ‘Bout time! I knew she’d crack! Good for James for finally breaking her down.’ I can’t crack! I can’t have people thinking I let you—…” He stopped her suddenly, meeting her eyes as she finally looked up to him.

“Why do you care what other people think of you? Who cares what other people think?”

“I don’t know…” she murmured, feeling tears welling up her eyes. “You used to care what other people thought. What made you change your mind?”

He responded immediately, needing no time for thought or contemplation. “You. Knowing that there was something out there more important to me than people’s judgments.” He stood there in silence for several moments, unsure of whether to say what had come to mind. Carefully, he continued on. “Lily…I think you’re saying this because you’re afraid of what might come of it. I think you’re afraid that what you’re feeling right now might turn into something more, like what I feel for you. And yes, I know you feel something now. I know the look in your eyes, because I’ve had it in mine for years.”

“And I’ve gotten along just fine for years without love. I think I can survive a bit longer.” She clenched her jaw in an attempt to restrain her tears.

“You’re giving up on something that could be amazing without giving it a chance! You’re just pushing the emotions that I know you’re feeling behind you, and those will never go away.”

“Pushing emotions into the back of my mind has always worked perfectly well. This is no different.”

“This is completely different! This is not a bad grade on a paper or a petty insult. This is the potential for love. This is passion. Lily, how can you bear to pretend you don’t want it!” he countered, his eyebrows furrowing in apprehension.

“James, I just can’t do this…” Her voice was shaky, trembling with emotion. “I’m sorry.”

When he saw the first tear fall from her eyes, he reached up and wiped it away with a frown. “Please don’t cry,” he told her gently.

At this, though, Lily backed away from him quickly and rubbed at her eyes roughly to mop away any tears. Clearing her throat, she stood up just a bit straighter, looking him right in the eye with a grave look on her face.

“You spoke.” His lips parted slightly, but he said nothing. “I suppose I won.” Lily opened her mouth, about to speak once more, but she thought better of it and turned around and walked back up her stairs slowly without another word, leaving James to watch her hopelessly.

Mmkay, so I know that this was bipolar Lily, but I think the uncertainty of love can do crazy things to a girl. Anywho, there’s one chapter left I believe, but don’t worry! I already have a new story idea in the works. I hope you enjoyed this chapter and please do let me know what you think.

Until next time!


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