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A/N: Okay so I couldn't wait another day to post this chapter! I was orignally going to do it once a week now that everything's written up but I just couldn't wait any longer! This is officially the second to last chapter and again, don't hate me, you'll just have to wait for the last chapter that'll be out next Tuesday/Wednesday if everything goes to schedule over the next week or so. Although... if I'm feeling generous, I might upload the last chapter sooner than that... you'll just have to wait and see! But anyway, I talk too much in these so ENJOY MY LOVELIES!

Disclaimer: I only own my OCs and the plot but everything you recognise from the Harry Potter world does not belong to me but the talented J.K. Rowling.

 




 

We relocated to a bench a little further down the main pathway in the cemetery and both sat down awkwardly. Me especially because I was nervous at being in such close proximity.


“I guess we have a lot to talk about…” James sighed at me not saying anything on our short walk to the bench. My heart was pounding in my chest. So much so that I was worried he could hear it.


“We do,” like I said earlier, I knew I’d have to face him eventually but I didn’t mean straight away! By now I assumed he’d heard about the reason why I had left that morning and so I decided to come out with it, “Why did you do it?” Our eyes met for a fraction of a second before he looked out over the multiple gravestones in front of us whilst sighing heavily again. I could tell he was having some trouble looking at me so I uncrossed my arms and relaxed into the bench in order to make him feel more uncomfortable. Not that I was comfortable by any means, I was a shaking mess, but I wanted to be mature about this.


“When we used to kiss, I always felt something in my stomach. You know, like you’d expect to get butterflies in your tummy when you meet the one you think you love and blah, blah, blah,” he rolled his eyes at himself and then continued, “I guess, with my stupid logic, I just wanted to see whether that still happened and whether I was over her or not before I… you know.” He gestured his hand between the two of us and I could feel my face redden. He didn’t need to finish that sentence for me to know he was talking about the wedding.


“And?” I urged him, not sure whether I wanted to know the answer if he still had feelings for her or not.


“I felt nothing.” He replied quietly but with a hint of surprise at himself.


“Nothing?” My stomach automatically started doing flips in delight and I tried not to let my joy seep into my voice.


“Absolutely nothing… it felt like I was kissing a stranger,” his voice seemed to get more and more happy as he spoke, “A-and you have no idea how relieved I was. As soon as I realised that, I told her how I truly felt about her and it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulder. She wasn’t very happy about it but I didn’t care… to me it felt like I was finally free of her.” He exclaimed, turning to face me and I had to hold my breath. He had that twinkle in his eye that showed how genuinely happy he was, it made my heart skip a beat and simultaneously speed up. And I couldn’t help smiling back at him.


“Well I’m glad that you’re finally over her,” I stated quietly looking away from him as my heart couldn’t take the way he was looking at me, “Y-you deserve to be happy.” A large part of me was skipping for joy at the fact that he actually hadn’t been using me to get back with Courtney but the other half of me was still quite sceptical of why James was telling me all this.


“I-Is that why you really left? Because of that?” He tentatively asked and I immediately looked down at the ground. My mind was debating whether or not to tell him the truth. Eventually, because I was leaving tomorrow and it was highly unlikely that I would him again for a while, I decided to just go for it. And be brave for once in my life.


“Yes and no,” I replied, standing up so I could put a little distance between the two of us, “And I would really appreciate it if you just let me speak, without interruption, otherwise I’ll never get this out,” I turned to him and he made a zipping motion on his lips, “I did leave because I saw you kissing Courtney but probably not for the reason you’re thinking of,” I took a deep breath and blurted it out in the hopes he wouldn’t catch it, “I left because I realised that I couldn’t get married to someone who didn’t l-love me the same way I loved them. To begin with I was more focussed on the fact that I could get on my Healer course and that you’d be paying for it and it’d be over soon enough and we could carry on with our lives as normal. It was a win-win situation. I thought I wouldn’t get attached… but boy did I majorly underestimate myself,” I started rambling and pacing round in circles so that I wouldn’t see his face, “I don’t even know when it happened to be honest, I just kind of woke up one day and thought you know what, I wouldn’t mind being your actual girlfriend. And then the wedding came up and although I was worried about it at first, I really wanted it to happen you know… I quite liked the idea of being married to you. Actually I loved the idea of being married to you,” I pulled my jacket tight round myself as I continued to pace in front of him with my arms crossed. In hindsight, a cemetery was probably not the best place to be professing my love to somebody, “Everything I said that night at Valerie’s party was completely true. I used that time as an opportunity to tell you how I really felt without you actually knowing,” it was so hard trying not to look at James because I desperately wanted to see his reaction but I knew if it was bad it would kill me, “I guess the reason I’m saying all this is because… I’m in love with you… a-and I kind of want to get it out in the open. Just so you know how I feel and that if you don’t reciprocate then it’s fine, at least you’re aware of my feelings. I’m sure I’ll get over it eventually,” I finished, scrapping my foot across the ground as the silence filled the air around us for a good few minutes. And the silence made my heart race faster than it already was and I regretted saying everything, “Oh my God, I didn’t realise how creepy some of that sounded! Just forget I said anything! Pretend like the last couple of minutes didn’t happen!” I covered my eyes with my hands as my face flushed and I felt more embarrassed than I had ever felt in my whole life. As soon as I had stopped pacing I heard a light chuckle before I felt James’ hands pull mine away from my face. Instinctively I scrunched my eyes shut and he laughed again.


“Elle, open your eyes.” He said gently and I shook my head from side to side.


“I’m scared.” I whispered and got worried when he didn’t say anything. That was until I felt a pair of lips softly linger on top of mine and my eyes widened in shock. He was kissing me! James was kissing me! My mind was racing a hundred miles an hour as he leaned back with a wide grin, still holding my wrists as he looked at me.


“You’ve said your piece, can I say mine now?” he asked with that grin still etched on his face and I nodded, “You have to promise not interrupt, okay?” He let go of my wrists but instead of letting go of me completely, he grabbed hold of my hands and laced his fingers through mine. And I realised how much I had missed him, and holding hands with him. And just being near him in general. But a part of me was telling me to stop thinking about him because I was making a fool of myself yet again. I was just going to end up hurt again.


“Okay.” I nodded again, still a little bit shocked over the kiss that happened less than a minute ago.


“Believe it not, Elle,” his grin widened as he said it, “But I’m madly in love with you too.” My jaw dropped at this again, my heart sinking into my stomach, and I was pretty sure I felt a bit sick. But I wasn’t sure whether that was a giddy feeling or not.


“Really? Seriously? You aren’t messing with me?” I blurted it all out at once. One of his brows rose and I quickly shut my mouth, “Sorry.” All my jumbled emotions started to slowly unravel until I was confident I was on cloud nine. He loved me. He just said he was in love with me. James Sirius Potter was in love with me. I was in euphoria right now, I knew it.


“I thought that this engagement thing was gonna go smoothly. I was gonna have a pretend fiancée for one month to prove to my family that I was over Courtney and that they didn’t need to worry about me. It was only for one month so I didn’t have to get attached and I would be free to date whoever I wanted after,” his eyes were trained on mine, “But then you came along and I thought ‘hey, I could use this girl to help me because no-one in my immediate family has met her and if I told them I was getting married, she’d be the type of girl they would expect’. I’m not really sure when everything changed for me. I think it was when I got back to the villa after my training day,” he ran a hand through his hair, still not breaking eye contact, “Just seeing you there, making me dinner… I started imagining being properly married to you and coming home to my own house to find you waiting for me every day. But I thought, how could I like you if I was still in love with Courtney?” The euphoria just kept building inside my chest that it was threatening to explode out of me. The smile on my face just kept getting bigger and bigger that my cheeks were starting to hurt.


“When you explained everything to me on the roof, I felt so much lighter. Like you’d really solved one of the biggest mysteries for me. You see, I realised you were right. I wasn’t in love with Courtney, it was lust but I was completely blinded by that. The only reason why I think I was so hurt when I found her and my best friend in bed together was because I knew that I wasn’t going to have her anymore. Like…” he paused, trying to find words to express it, “I knew I wasn’t going to be having sex with her anymore and that was the only thing that was keeping us together. And I just needed to test my theory out, to make sure that I definitely had no feelings for Courtney anymore… that’s why,”


“But that pain… was nothing compared to the hurt I felt when I found out that all your stuff was gone and my Mum and Dad telling me that you’d left and I explained everything to them. And whilst my Mum and Dad told me off and told me that they were disappointed that I didn’t tell them the truth in the first place, I realised that I had let the love of my life walk out and I’ll be darned if I was going to let you get away again. I need you Elle, I need you in my life. I need you beside me when I wake up every morning, I need you to be with me at every waking moment so we can share memories together. I want to be one of those old couples that sit on their front porch, reminiscing about the ‘good, old days’. So I guess what I’m trying to say is…” the happiness I felt from before slowly started to dwindle as he knelt down in front of me and the smile dropped from my face.


“Will you marry me?” he pulled out a ring box from his jacket pocket and opened it to reveal the engagement ring that I had been wearing for the past two weeks, “For real this time?” He looked up at me hopefully as I could feel my cheeks rising up with heat. A few seconds dragged, feeling more like hours, until I opened my mouth.


“I’m really sorry…” I started, the overwhelming wash of guilt falling over me when the gleam in his eyes fizzled out.


“I-Is it because we’re in a cemetery?” He stuttered out and I chuckled.


“Yeah it’s not really romantic, is it? But it’s not that…” I paused with a sheepish smile on my face as he stood up slowly, his arm that was holding the ring still extended outwards, “I can’t, James. I think I need to sort out my life first before I even think about relationships or a job,” I honestly couldn’t meet his eyes, “I don’t know whether your Mum’s told you but I’m going away for a bit, on my own. It’s a place up in the Lakes that’ll really help me with my addiction… I’ve been fooling myself into thinking that having one drink with a couple of friends won’t hurt anyone but it was. And I’ve realised that now,” he listened quietly, “I need to sort out my head and frame of mind before I let anyone else get involved in it.” He stayed quiet for a few minutes, his eyes looking down at the ring in his hand with no emotion of his face.


“What if I said I wanted to get involved?” He whispered eventually and my head snapped up to him in shock before it changed to pity.


“I’m sorry, James… it wouldn’t be fair to you. I can’t right now.” I answered honestly even thought I wanted with all my heart to say yes. But I knew that I needed to do this for myself first. I leaned forward and grabbed his hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze.


“So that’s not a ‘no’?” He questioned, his voice betraying his slight hope and I had to giggle.


“That’s a ‘not right now’.” I replied, nearly choking on my own spit when he pulled me into a massive hug, resting his head on top of mine.


“I’ll take it,” he whispered happily into my ear, embracing me tightly and we stayed like that for a while, “…What happened to no second chances?” He smirked down at me when we pulled apart. I smiled whilst rolling my eyes at what I’d told him on the second day at the villa.


“Sometimes you have to make exceptions.” I responded as he leaned in to place a chaste kiss on my lips.

 





My eyes peeled open slowly when the alarm I had set on my phone went off. Today was the day. I quickly switched it off then turned to face the familiar messy head of black hair with a smile.


“James…” I nudged him gently from where he was currently laid awkwardly on his side so that we both fit in my single bed. I spent about ten minutes last night laughing at his feet dangling off the end of it, “James, my alarm’s gone off.” I whispered loudly as I heard my Dad moving around in the living room.


“No…” He murmured in his sleep before pulling the duvet over his head so that I was now exposed to the cold morning air.


“Fine I’ll just leave without you then.” I shrugged, standing up and getting my clothes out that I was wearing today. That got him up however and he pulled the duvet off him as fast as lightning. I had to giggle at his hair that was shooting up in all different directions and he still had an adorable half-asleep expression on his face.


“What time is it?” He grumbled, rubbing his hands over his eyes and then through his hair to tame it a little.


“Eight o’clock,” I replied, brushing through my hair, “My train leaves at ten so you need to get up and get dressed.” I pointed at the upper half of his body that wasn’t clothed, as usual, and he sulked. I noticed his facial expression and so I went to sit on the edge of my bed but almost screamed when he grabbed my waist and pulled me down onto the bed with him. He had a childlike grin on his face when I turned to smack him on the arm.


“I love you.” He suddenly blurted out. And I felt my cheeks burn bright red and my heart do somersaults behind my ribcage.


“I love you too.” I replied with an equally as large smile on my face.


“I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of saying that.” He whispered, kissing me gently.


“I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of hearing it,” I responded once he’d pulled back. We lay in my bed for just a few minutes more until I sighed, looking at the clock again, “Come on, we have to actually get up now. You need to get dressed and I need to get showered.” I unwound myself from his arms and heaved myself out of the bed, grabbing my clothes for today and my towel.


“Can I join you?” He looked at me with a massive smirk on his face so I responded with throwing a teddy at him whilst he laughed.


“No! Now get dressed!” I laughed too, walking down the corridor towards the bathroom. I quickly got in, washing my hair and body before using my wand to dry myself off. When I exited the bathroom, fully dressed, and walked back to my bedroom, I saw James dressed in his clothes from yesterday sat on my bed, “You want to come to the kitchen for some breakfast?” I asked, hovering in the doorway.


“I don’t want you to go.” He muttered quietly, his eyes wandering to the two big suitcases in the corner of my room.


“I know,” I sighed as he stood up and came to wrap his arms around my shoulders, “But I have to go,” I immediately wrapped my arms around his waist and buried my head in the crook of his neck, “Maybe it’ll be good for us to get a bit of separation for a while. Then we can see whether we still feel the same when I come back.”


“I’ll still feel the same regardless.” He responded almost straight away and I smiled.


“I know, and I will too,” he kissed the top of my head as we both stood there, “But let’s go and get some breakfast, I’m starving.” I pulled myself away from him and started walking towards the kitchen. Dad was already sat in the living room of the bungalow watching TV when we wandered down the corridor.


“Good morning.” He greeted the two of us with a small smile. I guessed he still wasn’t all that pleased that James had stayed over last night but he’d conceded when I told him that I was an adult now.


“Morning," we both said simultaneously as he turned back to the TV screen without saying anything else. I set about making a couple of slices of toast with James hovering behind me until I was done. We then both sat down on the small dining room table and ate in silence, both afraid of saying anything in front of my Dad.


“What time is Char coming round, Dad?” I asked once we were finished with our breakfast.


“In about half an hour, I think.” He replied without taking his eyes off of the screen and I nodded.


“Okay, I’m gonna go and pack the rest of my stuff then.” I said to nobody in particular as James stood up too, obviously wanting to come with me and not spend time alone with my Dad. I wouldn’t blame him though. I placed our plates in the sink and walked with him back into my bedroom.


“What do you still need to pack?” James sat crossed legged on my bed as I pulled my suitcases towards me and laid them on the floor.


“Erm… my toothbrush, hairbrush, other toiletry stuff, a couple more pieces of clothes,” I read off the list on my phone, “I think that’s everything… I think.”


“Have you got money?” He asked conversationally, reading through the email I got from the Rehab Centre.


“Yeah, I asked Char if she could exchange my wizard money into muggle money for me yesterday,” I answered, picking up my purse that contained said money from inside the first suitcase before chucking it back in, “I just feel like I’m forgetting something though.” I sighed, looking back over my list and then glancing over everything in my suitcases.


“I’m sure you won’t have forgotten anything, it’ll be fine.” James came to sit next to me on the floor as I fretted over everything. He wrapped an arm around my waist, taking the list off of me and going through the checklist with me. It was making me feel a little better having someone else pack with me. Soon enough we both heard a ‘pop’ sound followed by talking.


“Guess Char’s here,” I said, standing up and heading towards the living room, “Hey, Char.” I smiled when I saw her talking to Dad.


“Hey, you okay?” she stepped forward to give me a hug before cupping my face, “You ready for today?” she scanned my face for any sign of worry and I just gave her a smile. The worry about going hadn’t happened yet but I was sure that it would when I got to the train station, “Oh? When did this happen?” She looked over my shoulder and I spun around to see James stood a bit behind us, rubbing his neck with a sheepish expression on his face.


“Yeah I’m good,” I replied to her earlier statement and turned to her with a pink face, “Erm… and yeah, kind of yesterday, when you told him where I was… and yeah…” I looked back at James who had come to stand beside me.


“Is it sorted?” She looked between the two of us with a raised eyebrow.


“Yeah, kind of…” I said at the same time James said,


“Kind of, yeah…” And we both chuckled awkwardly.


“Well, I’m glad,” she smiled happily at the both of us before pulling me into another hug, “Should we carry on with your packing then?” I nodded my head as we walked back into my bedroom where the two suitcases were laid open on the floor, “How many times have you packed them?” Char looked at me with an amused smile.


“Maybe once or twice,” I shrugged, “Maybe three times.” She laughed again and sat down beside the suitcases whilst James sat on my bed. I went into the bathroom to quickly brush my teeth so I could put that in my suitcase. Once I was done, I put it in my container and grabbed all my shower necessities and put them in there too.


“You sure you’ll have enough clothes?” Char asked, looking at all the clothes squished into the two cases with surprise.


“Why? Do you think I’ve packed too many?” I asked, pausing in my strides to look at her.


“No, I think you have enough,” she reassured me, “But what if you buy some more there?”


“I probably won’t,” I shrugged, closing the first suitcase, “And even if I do, I might just have to see if I can buy another suitcase coming back.”


“And you’re definitely sure you have enough money?”


“Yes, I’m sure,” I rolled my eyes at her and she smacked me on the arm, “You got me the money.”


“I know but it’s the first time you’re going away properly,” she gestured towards James, “Without anybody with you. I’m just worried about you.”


“I’m worried about myself,” I laughed, trying to lighten the tension in the room but nobody else laughed with me, “I know you’re worried but I’ll be fine. It’s what I need to do,” I reassured her and she gave me an awkward one-armed hug, “And you were the one who suggested it so don’t start getting cold feet now!” I joked and she laughed.


“I’m not but I can’t believe you’re actually doing it,” she replied happily, “I thought I’d be met with more resistance from you if I was honest.”


“I did think about it a lot though. But Norah helped me come to the decision to do it.”


“Well I’m glad you went to visit her then,” she agreed and then stood up once I’d closed my last suitcase, “I’m just going to see how Dad’s doing, if you don’t mind?” She slyly gestured towards James, who was now laid on my bed staring up at the ceiling with a blank expression on his face. To be honest, I hadn’t even noticed he hadn’t said anything up until now which was strange because he was really talkative. I knew it certainly wasn’t anything to do with Char being in the room because those two were comfortable around each other.


“Okay,” I nodded, “We’ll be out in a minute.” She left, lugging the two suitcases into the living room for when it was time to go in roughly forty minutes. As the time got closer, the more I realised I was actually doing this and I probably wouldn’t see my family for who knows how long. Or James and the Potter’s. That’s when my eyes drifted to James still lay on my bed and so I stood up carefully and made my way over to him. He looked towards me when I was close enough and he opened his arms for me to lie on the small space beside him.


“We could have been married by now.” He suddenly spoke and I looked up at him from where my head was rested on his shoulder.


“No offence…” I started carefully, “But I’m glad we aren’t.”


“Why not? I thought you liked the idea of being married?” He questioned and I could hear doubt in his voice so I kissed him on the lips.


“I do but not right now,” I smiled when I pulled my lips away, “Otherwise I wouldn’t be doing this and deciding to turn my life around and my Dad still wouldn’t be speaking to me. So yes I’m glad we’re not married right now but I still definitely do sometime in the future. And with you as well, if you’ll still have me when I get back?” I added on and watched his face break out into a massive Smile. I hadn’t seen one of those in a while.


“Of course I’ll still have you!” He wrapped his arms round me in a suffocating hug and we stayed like that for a while, just being wrapped in each other’s arms and savouring the last couple of times we could do this.


“Elle, your train is going to leave in twenty minutes… we need to leave now if we’re going to catch it.” Dad’s voice came out from the living room. We slowly peeled away from each other, not really wanting to let the other go but knowing we had to.


“Okay.” I nodded, taking a huge gulp of air in and trying to calm my now erratically beating heart. We all walked to the car together, James holding my hand whilst giving it a reassuring squeeze every few seconds with Charity and Dad ahead, loading the suitcases into the boot of the car.


“I suppose I’ll see you soon…?” James stated hopefully still holding onto my hand.


“I might be back before summers over,” I shrugged, “Depending on my progress.” He pulled me in for another bear-hug but laid a gentle kiss on my forehead this time.


“I’ll see you soon then.”


“See you soon.” I smiled back, pulling myself away and climbing into the back of my Dad’s car, putting my seatbelt on and waving to him as we drove away, his figure getting smaller and smaller in the distance even though my hand was still waving. It took all of ten minutes, and Charity constantly distracting me so that I forgot I was in car, before we got to the train station and they hurriedly lifted my suitcases out of the boot and practically sprinted with me to the right platform. We made it just in time as the train was pulling into the station in the distance.


“I can’t believe you’re actually doing this.” Charity smiled nostalgically.


“I can’t believe I’m actually doing this.” I huffed out a breath of air again, getting the handles of my suitcases ready to lift them onto the train.


“Do you have something to read on the train? Or do have music?” she started asking a bunch of questions, her eyes glistening with tears but she was trying to stay nonchalant, “And ring me when you get there. No getting lifts off of strangers.”


“Yes, Mum.” I rolled my eyes at her and she chuckled, wiping away a stray tear causing my eyes to start welling up. As soon as she saw the tears in my eyes it was like a damn had burst and she was sobbing, pulling me into a rough embrace.


“I’m going to miss you so much, Elle!” She sniffled into my shoulder.


“I’m not going away for long,” I rolled my eyes again but added, “I’ll miss you too.” She let go of me just as the train came to a stop in front of us and I turned to my Dad. He didn’t pull me in for a hug, and I didn’t expect him too, but he did pat my shoulder lightly with a shadow of a smile.


“I’m proud of you.” He whispered before helping me lift the two suitcases onto the train followed by me. I turned around to face the two of them and gave them both one last smile.


“Promise me that you’ll write to me loads and keep me updated!” Charity yelled through her tears and I laughed.


“I promise that I’ll write to you every day,” she laughed too, “I’ll write so much you’ll want me to stay there… you’ll be so sick of me!” She chuckled loudly again and I waved, walking down the aisle to find my seat. I locked my larger suitcases in the storage cupboard closer to the doors of the train. When I sat down in my seat, thankfully a window seat, I saw that both Charity and Dad had come to stand by the window so that they could wave me off. As the whistle blew, I couldn’t stop the tears rolling down my face as Charity burst into tears again, waving frantically and following the train still waving until we had gone round the corner and I could no longer see them. The seat next to me was empty so I rested my feet on them, thinking about how different my life was now compared to a couple of weeks ago.


Maybe it was for the better but then again, maybe this whole idea would turn out to be total shit. I’d never know if I never tried. And here I was, actually physically trying to make my life better myself and not wait for fate or destiny, or whatever you believe in, to intervene and do it for me. With that thought in mind I plugged my earphones in, closed my eyes and listened to my music, hoping to pass some time on this long journey.

 

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