James disappeared with Jocelyn and Matt and Lily took ‘first watch’. Peter had also scuttled off somewhere to get another bottle of firewhiskey, seeing as we had little to do but stand idly and drink. I swore to Merlin, if Moony didn’t make out with Alice that night after all the effort we were putting in, I’d kill him. With most of my friends otherwise occupied I had a look around. It had been ages since I’d had any real action, and it was a good night to get some. I scanned the crowd lazily trying to pick a girl.
‘Not that one, her hair looks too short’
‘Hair too black’
‘Not feeling the brown eyes’
‘That one is way too tall’
‘I’m not in the mood for blondes’
‘Nah, there’s something off with her attitude’
Ugh. What was going on? Hogwarts had a solid selection of good-looking girls to pick from. Yes, some were more attractive than others but then again, different guys liked different things. I had never had this much trouble finding someone that took my fancy. I jumped off the desk I had been sat on and went over to the nearest bar to refill my drink. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flicker of perfect chocolate coloured hair that caught my attention. Already smiling to myself, I turned to eye the lucky girl only to realize in utter horror that it was none other than Jocelyn.
She was sat on a desk, her legs dangling off not reaching the floor. James was casually standing close enough that he could touch her, but not so close that he was actually between her legs. Yet. Classic move. I’d taught him that one. I was woefully unprepared for the wave of irritation that overtook me. I couldn’t take my eyes off them. Everything was pissing me off: the way he made her laugh, how he brushed a lock of her hair aside, or the way she tilted her head to the side slightly and smiled at him. I noticed Prongs’ eyes darting between her face and her neck and felt a horrible urge to tackle him to the ground.
What was the matter with me? I had not lied to him. I knew and felt I was over my silly crush on her when James had asked me. I had been over it for a while now. Yes, I hadn’t stop thinking she was gorgeous but, come on, anyone with a pair of eyeballs could see that. I was convinced that we were friends, and that was it. So, why was this bothering me so much?
“Hey Sirius,” I looked to my right and saw a girl smiling at me. It annoyed me even more. It was so easy. It was always so easy. I had never had to do absolutely anything to get a girl. A little lightbulb went on in my head immediately after that thought. Could it be?
“Hey,” I said, smiling back. She came closer to me.
“What are you drinking? Do you need a refill?” I emptied the rest of the firewhiskey and handed her the glass.
“Firewhiskey,” she hurried over to the bar.
I went back to sorting through my confusion. I wasn’t unfamiliar with the idea of ‘playing hard to get’. There was a reason it worked. We always wanted the things we couldn’t have. Was that it? It was very likely, I decided. I had had a proper crush on Jocelyn for years, and she had never, not once, looked at me. I had even caught both Lily and Alice checking me out at least a couple of times, but not Jocelyn. Never Jocelyn. It was entirely possible that I just wanted closure on that. It made sense. After all, the only girl that had ever resisted me was the only girl I had actually ever wanted. But, what was I going to do about that? It was too late now. I couldn’t just hook up with her because James would be hurt. My only option was to distract myself and try to ignore the nagging feeling at the pit of my stomach.
“Here you go.”
“Thanks, what’s your name gorgeous?”
“Well, Iris, it’s your lucky night,” I said, putting my hands on her waist and leaning in to kiss her, hoping it would help me push thoughts of Jocelyn away.
“I cannot believe you guys did that!” I said, holding my belly. James had me in stitches. I couldn’t remember the last time I had laughed so much.
“I have proof,” he grinned mischievously at me.
“Ooh, I can see you’re up to something.”
“What gave me away?” he moved a bit closer. I hadn’t failed to notice that he was slowly making his way towards me. I was a bit scared of what would happen if he kissed me here, with all these people around, but I was also kind of wishing he’d hurry up.
“That is a cheeky smile if I ever saw one,” I said. He chuckled. “What’s the proof?”
“I got a scar.”
“Aah, well, some people find scars sexy and manly.”
“Are you one of those people?” he wiggled his eyebrows. I laughed again.
“Maybe, maybe not.”
“I would show it to you, but I’d probably cause an avalanche of crazed groupies if I took my shirt off here,” he said. Oh. Oh. Wow. Now I was interested in this scar of his.
“Damn groupies,” I said. He grinned widely at that.
“We can always get out of here,” he suggested.
“Yeah, I think I’d like that,” he took my hand and I jumped off the desk, making a face as I landed on my feet.
“Just in a world of pain, thanks to you,” I protested.
“What? From practice?”
“Yes, Cap,” I shot him what I hoped was a murderous look, but I found it hard. I was feeling a lot of things towards James that evening, and none of them were even remotely murderous.
“Should we check on the others, or sneak away?”
“Mmm… it’s probably worth checking Cal showed up. I’d hate for Lily to be stuck there alone all night,” I bit my lip. Going back was risky. We could get held up easily and never make it away from the party. But I was a girl’s girl first and foremost, and I had to check on Lily.
“Let’s go. It won’t take long,” he said, nodding.
I followed him through the crowd, enjoying the feeling of my small hand in his when I saw Sirius out of the corner of my eye. He was very busy sticking his tongue down Iris’ throat. I didn’t know Iris very well at all, she was a sixth year Hufflepuff and that was about as much as I knew. I felt a strange emptiness in the pit of my stomach, but I looked away and re-focused on James.
Lily was, indeed, with Cal. We said hello, checked in on Peter who was successfully flirting with a fifth year whilst ‘keeping watch’ and even stole a glance in Remus and Alice’s direction. I wasn’t sure if they had kissed yet, but they were standing a lot closer than they were before, and they were oblivious to the rest of the world. All was well, James and I could sneak off in peace.
“There you are!” or maybe not. Crap, I had forgotten all about Matt.
“Do you want another drink?” he offered. I didn’t even know where my glass was.
“We were just leaving,” said James.
“Yes, why is there a problem?” oh no. No, no, no.
“Just surprised, since when I asked Jocelyn earlier today, she said you two were just friends,” I didn’t know Matt was capable of such spite. The pure venom in his voice made me angry. I wanted to retort, but James beat me to it.
“We are friends, she wasn’t lying,” Matt looked pointedly at our hands, which were still linked.
“Right. Look, if you want to shag him and not me be my guest, but you should have told me before I made a fool of myself,” he sneered in my direction.
“If that’s what you were hoping for, James or no James you were sorely mistaken,” I said. “Let’s go, James.”
“I didn’t mean…” Matt realized he’d been way out line, but it was too late. I was annoyed, and he had been drinking. We would solve this another time.
“You need to sober up and re-think how you talk to and about girls. Just because we had a chat and spent some time together doesn’t mean you own me, or that you can automatically assume I was going to have sex with you. I don’t owe you anything.”
“Amen, sister,” said James. I rolled my eyes and tugged at his hand. He led me away from Matt and the party.
“So, you went on a date with Wood?” he asked me as we walked down a corridor.
“I went to Hogsmeade with him to get some of the stuff for the party, and we grabbed a hot drink. You could call it a date, yes.”
“I would ask if you like him, but I have a feeling even if you did, he managed to screw it up all on his own.”
“Your feeling is correct,” I nodded. Then I stopped walking and looked around, confused. “James, where are we?”
“It’s a surprise.”
“You know what I said earlier about the cheeky smile? It’s back.”
“Good,” he took my hand away and led me through a few more passages and stairs, then into a big corridor. “Wait here.”
I watched him walk back and forth a few times in front of a seemingly random wall and, just when I was starting to worry about his sanity, a door materialized out of nowhere.
“That is cool.”
“After you,” he offered, opening the door for me. I walked into what looked pretty much like our common room in the Gryffindor Tower but with comfier furniture. James walked in and closed the door after him, taking a seat on a big sofa. I hesitated for a second, unsure of what to do.
“Come here,” he said, gesturing for me to join him on the sofa. I sat down next to him, turned so that I could face him, with a leg bent under me.
“So… about that scar,” I teased.
“Right, be warned, women have been known to swoon at the sight of me,” he joked. I didn’t think he’d actually do it, but he seemed to think it was totally okay for him to lift his shirt exposing his absurdly toned abs and chest. I forgot to breathe for a moment.
“Here, look,” he pointed at the right side of his torso and I saw it. It was longer than I thought it would be, and it must have been a nasty wound for it to leave such as scar. Magical medicine was usually pretty good at avoiding such permanent marks.
I traced it with a finger and felt James’ sharp intake of breath when I grazed his skin. He shifted his position slightly and I marveled at how I could see his muscles move underneath his taut skin. Without another word, he leaned forward and captured my lips with his.
I didn’t know how much I had missed kissing James until we were doing it again. Just like he did at the Crystal Ball, he started slow and gentle, always giving me a chance to change my mind and pull away. As I returned the kiss, adjusting my position to get closer to him, he deepened the kiss. He was such a good kisser. I ran my hands through his hair, grabbing on to it lightly and he tensed. Thanks to Jax, I knew what his reaction meant, and I found myself wanting to make James feel that way more and more. I lifted myself up using the leg I had bent under me and swiftly straddled him, putting my legs on either side.
James went wild. I could feel him fighting for his self-control. He was losing. We broke apart, gasping for air, and he started trailing kisses and gentle bites from my jaw and down my neck. I got goose bumps all over. It felt like my brain was shut down, and everything was overridden by the sensations James was causing. He bit and sucked lightly on a sensitive spot at the base of my neck and I felt like I might lose it completely. Did I want to? Was I ready? How far did I want to go tonight? How far did I want to go with James in general? I tried to hold on to my thoughts long enough to consider them, but I couldn’t.
We kissed again. As things got more and more heated, I felt his hands tentatively explore the small space at the small of my back where my skin was exposed between my trousers and my shirt. I felt my heart expand a little. Even in this crazed estate, he still had enough willpower to wait for my permission, to make sure it was what I wanted. And it was. I hadn’t decided yet how far I wanted to go, but I’d been to second base with Jax before and I really, really wanted a go at it with James.
I broke the kiss and looked into his eyes. I marveled for a second and how beautiful they were: slightly green around the edges, merging into golden brown. I nodded.
“Are… are you sure?” he breathed. “I… you need to tell me when you want to stop.”
“I will,” I kissed him again and he did not waste a second.
I tugged at his shirt, and he sat up, letting me pull it off him. Merlin’s pants. He was fit. He grabbed the hem of my jumper but hesitated. I smiled at him and took it off myself, together with the top I wore underneath. James’ face was all the reassurance I ever needed to feel confident. He was looking at me like I might vanish any second. His hands were trembling a little as he tentatively explored the skin on my back and chest, and the edges of my bra.
It occurred to me then that I had no idea how much experience James had. He was an outstanding kisser, better than Jax by a million miles, but there was something different in the way marveled at my body. Jax had been almost in a hurry, knowing exactly what to do and when. James took his time, and I liked it. It gave me time to explore him, too. His arms and torso were a dream. All those years of Quidditch playing had definitely paid off. I could feel him get goose bumps everywhere I touched him, and I loved it. It was exhilarating knowing I could make someone like James Potter feel this way.
We kissed again, and again, and again. And I don’t really know how long we spent there, on that sofa, exploring each other until our lips hurt and exhaustion was too great to ignore any longer.
“JOCELYN SILVERWAY,” I opened my eyes groggily and made a strangled noise.
“No, none of that. If you wanted to sleep, you should have come back at a normal hour like the rest of us. Get up now!”
“Lily, please,” I begged, hiding under the covers.
“Up, now,” she sat on my bed and a second later I felt Alice do the same. I poked my head out from under the covers and gave them my most threatening look.
“You didn’t come back until four and we want to know what you were doing,” Alice said, trying to suppress a giggle.
“What time is it?” I said.
“It’s eleven am. You slept over six hours, that’s enough. Now, spill!” I sighed and a small smile escaped my lips as I remembered the previous night. Lily and Alice exchanged a glance and looked at me eagerly.
“Fine. I was with James,” I said.
“We know. What were you doing with James?”
“Well, what do you think!?”
“DETAILS!” I could tell Lily was losing her patience, it was hilarious.
“I am sorry to inform you that you missed out, Lils,” I said. Her eyes went wide. I continued, “I already told you he’s a great kisser, but oh my Godric. He’s amazing, and he’s such a gentleman. Like, you know sometimes you’re with a guy and they will like, try to do something to see if they can get away with it? He’s not like that. He waits for me to set the boundaries, and he sticks to them.”
They sighed and nodded, knowingly. “Did you… you know… did you do it?” Alice whispered.
“No. I… I thought about it, but we’re not even an official couple or anything, so I thought maybe I would regret it?”
“Do you think you would?”
“What, sleep with him or regret it?”
“I would most definitely sleep with him. I mean, like I said, I considered it last night. Regret it? I don’t know. I don’t know if this is enough, you know? Maybe I want my first time to be with someone I’m in an actual relationship with…”
“I want that,” said Lily. “But Alice didn’t really mind, right?”
Alice was the only one of us who had had sex. She nodded, “for me, just having a good connection with the guy and feeling like he respected me was enough. I have never regretted it, even though he wasn’t my boyfriend. He made me feel great about it, and we did it at my pace, and I enjoyed it, and that was it.”
“Well, that’s what I need to figure out. I think of all the guys in the world, James Potter is a pretty good choice for a first time, especially seeing how respectful he is, but I don’t want to rush it,” I said.
“That’s wise,” Alice nodded.
“So, you didn’t sleep with him, but you were still gone until four am…” Lily said suggestively.
“Both our pants stayed on at all times…” I said. Alice giggled.
“So, second base?”
“Mmmm… second and a half base? Does that exist?” I joked. We all giggled some more. “His body is so yummy, you wouldn’t believe it.”
“It’s all the Quidditch they play, Cal is also super-hot,” Lily said.
“How is that going?” I asked, glad to shift attention away from me.
“Great. I really like him. We’re taking it slow; I mean… I haven’t even gone as far as Jo with him, but he’s super patient. He’s happy to wait for me and that’s super attractive for me,” she explained. She always had a goofy smile when she talked about Cal, I loved it that she was so happy.
“I’m super happy for you, Lils,” Alice echoed my thoughts.
“Have you thought about, you know, doing it with Cal?” I asked her. She blushed.
“It doesn’t feel right yet. I think I’m not ready,” we nodded, this was a big deal, after all.
“Make sure you tell us when you change your mind!” Alice giggled.
“Don’t you think for a second I’m not going to grill you, too,” I said, sitting up on the bed and looking at Alice. She blushed.
“Tell her,” Lily smiled knowingly.
“WHAT! I can’t believe you already told Lily without me. The disrespect!” I shouted indignant.
“You were passed out cold, Jo,” she pouted.
“Fine, go on then, what happened?!”
“We kissed,” she beamed.
“YES!” I jumped up and fist pumped the air. “Yes, yes, yes! Success! How do you feel?” both Lily and Alice were giggling.
“I don’t think I ever want to kiss anyone that is not Remus Lupin ever again,” she whispered. Oh wow. I could feel my eyes going very wide at this confession, and Alice’s blush went from pink to crimson.
“That’s a big statement,” Lily said.
“I know…” Alice bit her lip. “I think I’m in love with him.”
There was a moment of silence while we all processed this. We had been close friends since the first day of our first year at Hogwarts. We wrote to each other all the time during holiday periods and shared a room every single day we’d been at this school. In all that time, no one had said those words yet. Yes, we had discussed ‘liking’ and ‘fancying’ and ‘having a crush’ but none of us had ever been in love. This was a momentous occasion.
“That is so… wow, Alice. That’s…”
“It’s a bit scary, that’s what it is,” she whispered. “What if he doesn’t feel the same way?”
“Have you spoken to him?”
“Not really. I mean, we chat all the time, but not about our feelings. Until last night, I wasn’t even sure he fancied me. And then we were kissing, and it was so unlike any kiss I have ever had before, and he was so sweet and I just didn’t want to ruin it so I didn’t say anything.”
“Well, I think you need to have a chat with him,” Lily said. I nodded.
“I am so scared.”
“Alice, if this was someone else, anyone else, I’d probably caution you to choose your words carefully, blah blah. But this is Remus Lupin. He’s the purest soul in the school. Even if he doesn’t feel the same way, which hopefully he does, but even if he didn’t, he would find a way to let you down slowly and gently. He’d never embarrass you or hurt you,” I said.
“I think Jo’s right,” Lily agreed. She got along with Remus really well too, of all four, it was the one she was probably closest to.
“I know I need to talk to him. I want to talk to him; nothing would make me happier than being in a relationship with him. But it’s scary.”
“We know,” I said.
“What about you? Are you going to talk to James?”
“I have no clue,” I yawned. “Right now, all I can think about is food. I need to eat something.”
“Lunch is in an hour, let’s get dressed.”
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