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March


 

Scorpius was on his way to the library, books in hand and ready to knock out his History of Magic paper.  He had agreed to study with Tanzy and he was glad to finally get some alone time with his girlfriend. It was going to be tricky with Madam Pince trolling around but Scorpius was desperate to kiss her after a grueling Quidditch practice. 

 

Hope, Tanzy’s friend and a sixth year Slytherin keeper, had teased him relentlessly at practice.  Albus didn’t hesitate to make both of the run laps despite the fact that Scorpius hadn’t done anything. 

 

Needless to say he was aching and sore and cursing Al for making them practice on Saturday.  He quickly scaled the stairs and reminded himself to give Al a good kick in the shins when he got back to the common room. 

 

Scorpius was lost in thought when he heard a crashing come from behind him.  It was distant and for a moment Scorpius thought he was hearing things or perhaps a student had knocked something over.  

 

But shortly following the crash, a whipping noise came from the same direction and intuition made Scorpius turn around and take off down the abandoned corridor.  He realized that the dueling noises were coming from the Transfiguration room. 

 

Pulling his wand out, Scorpius held it close to his side as he burst through the door. 

 

The sight made him recoil slightly.  He took in Rose Weasley and three boys whom he couldn’t quite place.  Rose had a gash on her head and her wand drawn. None of the boys had a wand, but one of them had picked up an hourglass and looked read to hurl it across the room. 

 

Scorpius aimed at him and cleared his throat. 

 

All four students’ heads jerked to look at him. 

 

The idiot with the hourglass had the audacity to throw it at Scorpius, who easily flicked it away with his wand.  It shattered against a wall and he heard Rose gasp. Scorpius’s eyes narrowed and the boy looked slightly afraid. 

 

He noted that all three imbeciles had Ravenclaw crests on their robes. “I think thirty points from Ravenclaw will do.” Scorpius said unprompted. He glanced at Rose and was reminded of the cut on her head and the blood that had trickled down her cheek. “And another twenty for injuring a prefect.” 

 

The boys immediately started protesting, but Rose snapped, “And I will be reporting this to McGonagall.  I expect you’ll receive more detentions.” She kept her wand trained on the boys and then motioned to the door. “Now, go straight to your dormitory.  Professor Flitwick will want to know that you’ve returned safely.” The boys moved slowly at first and then scurried past Scorpius. 

 

Scorpius tucked his wand into the back pocket of his trousers and walked towards Rose. 

 

“You shouldn’t keep your wand there,” Rose said without heat, “you might curse off a buttock.” Scorpius paused at those words that were spoken without humor, but he felt like he should laugh.

 

He smirked, “I’ll risk it.” 

 

Rose raised an eyebrow, “You’re willing to risk losing a buttock?” 

 

Scorpius looked at her face and moved to touch the cut. Rose jerked back and looked at him like he was trying to poke her eyeball.

Scorpius rolled his eyes and gripped her chin, tilting her head back to that he could see the cut better. 

 

“What happened?” He asked softly. 

 

Rose reached up and touched her forehead absently, “They got rowdy and they started trying to toss a goblet around to each other.  It hit me.” She winced as his fingers brushed the cut. 

 

“What were you doing with them?” 

 

Rose jerked back at his accusatory tone, “I was supervising detention!” 

 

Scorpius’s brows lowered, “Alone? I can’t believe McGonagall would ask you to do a detention alone.  Especially with three blokes.”

Rose looked at the ground and seemed to be thinking of what to say. Scorpius narrowed his eyes, “Who was supposed to be with you? Hmm?” 

 

Rose sighed and pushed his hand away from where he was gripping her chin. “Max Whitley was meant to help, but he’s a Ravenclaw…” 

 

Scorpius rolled his eyes, “So?” 

 

“Well, he said something about having a ton of homework, but I don’t think he wanted to look like a wand in the mud in front of the

seventh years.” 

 

Scorpius looked at Rose for a moment.  He wanted to go find Whitley and punch him in his stupid face for being such a coward. Scorpius was positive that he could get Whitely’s prefect badge revoked for bailing on his responsibilities and being complicit in hurting Rose.  He would definitely speak to McGonagall as soon as he sorted Rose out. 

 

“Let’s get to the Hospital Wing.” He replied finally. 

 

Rose’s head jerked, “Can’t you heal it?” 

 

Scorpius’s mouth turned up at how confident she seemed in him. “I could, but then there wouldn’t be any proof of what happened.  If we go to Pomfrey, there’ll be documentation of the incident.” 

 

Rose looked around the room and snorted, “You don’t think this mess would be proof?” 

 

Scorpius pushed his hair back. “Not proof that they injured a prefect.  How stupid are they? Did they think you wouldn’t report this?” 

 

Rose shrugged, “They’re idiots.” 

 

Scorpius put his hand on Rose’s elbow and began guiding her towards the door. “C’mon, we’ve got to report this.  Let’s go have Madam Pomfrey heal it and then we can go to McGonagall. Or Flitwick.” 

 

Rose didn’t argue with him and he had the feeling that she was feeling vindictive.  It caught him momentarily off guard that she was allowing him to take control of the situation.  Even more surprisingly, she wasn’t being stubborn about needing help or going to the hospital wing.  He had seen her with far worse injuries (caused by him) and she brushed them off like it was just a stubbed toe. 

 

“Whitley is going to get nailed for this,” Scorpius muttered, as they walked along the empty corridor.  

 

After waiting for the staircase to settle on the right landing, Scorpius continued to guide Rose towards the Hospital Wing.  She was being uncharacteristically quiet and he was beginning to think her injuries were deeper than he had assumed. 

 

“How hard did you get hit with that goblet?” He asked slowly, monitoring her carefully. 

 

Rose gave him a questioning look, “Enough to cut skin.” 

 

“Are you concussed?” 

 

Rose started, “What? No, why do you ask?” 

 

“You’re being very pliant.” 

 

Rose rolled her eyes, “I’m just cursing myself and wondering why the hell I let things get so out of control. I mean, I’m not exactly a docile person.” Scorpius nudged her because he could tell she was getting sucked into her head. 

 

“You’re definitely not docile.” Scorpius agreed. “And you shouldn’t have had to deal with those arseholes alone in the first place.” 

 

“I’ve handled worse than them.” She gave him a pointed sideways look. 

 

Scorpius laughed, “I know. But we have an understanding, we expect it of each other. Frankly, I’m offended that someone else thinks they can come in and push you around.” 

 

Rose raised a brow, “Because that’s your job?” She sounded like she was holding back a laugh. 

 

“Exactly. How dare they make you miserable.” 

 

Rose let out a short laugh and shook her head. 

 

There was no one else in the Hospital Wing when they arrived, which wasn’t surprising since there hadn’t been Quidditch or any classes.  Scorpius had to call out for Madam Pomfrey, who came bustling out from one of the back rooms. She took one look at Rose and then looked at Scorpius. 

 

“What did you do?” She shrieked. 

 

Scorpius huffed, “It wasn’t me.” He understood why she would think he had hurt Rose, but honestly, did she think he was so unskilled that all she had was a cut on her head.  Give him some credit, if he was trying to hurt her it would’ve been a lot worse than a measly cut. 

 

Rose spoke up, “It’s true. I was hosting a detention and it got out of hand.” 

 

“Do you think we could talk to Professor McGonagall?” Scorpius asked. “We have to report this and get Whitley fired or something.” 

 

Rose made a face as Madam Pomfrey inspected the wound. “I don’t know if prefects can be fired.” 

 

“Dismissed, whatever.” He waved off her concerns. 

 

“I can send for the Headmistress, but I insist you tell me what happened.” Pomfrey demanded.  Scorpius glanced at Rose and motioned for her to start speaking. For a moment, he worried that she would rather keep her pride than admit those idiots had gotten to her. 

 

“I was supervising a detention for three seventh years: Baskin, Jones, and Waites. Things got a bit out of hand.” Rose said shortly. “And Max Whitley was meant to be helping me, but he told me that he had a ton of homework to do.  I shouldn’t have let him skive off, but I didn’t think those Ravenclaws would be so rowdy.” 

 

Madam Pomfrey dropped liquid from a vial onto a piece of gauze and began dabbing Rose’s head. “How did this happen?” 

 

Rose winced a little, but Scorpius could see the cut beginning to heal and the skin knit back together.  “It’s stupid really.” She recounted the story of the goblet and Scorpius felt himself heat with anger all over again.  He could see why Rose was caught so off guard by a group of seventh years acting like five year olds. 

 

Under normal circumstances, hosting detentions simply meant watching students clean or write lines.  Scorpius couldn’t think of a case where students had decided to pick a fight with a prefect. 

 

“Maybe they were drunk,” Scorpius muttered as an afterthought.  

 

“Hmm?” 

 

“I just can’t imagine anyone being stupid enough to antagonize a prefect during a detention, knowing they’re going to get points docked and probably more detentions.” Scorpius mused. “They must’ve been drunk on firewhiskey.” 

 

“Or vodka.” Rose smirked. 

 

Madam Pomfrey made a disappointing noise and went to dispose of the bloody gauze square.   He glanced at Rose who was looking at her shoes and pointedly away from him. Her cut was already nearly healed.

 

Scorpius watched Pomfrey send a note out of her office window and was unsurprised to see Headmistress McGonagall arrive five minutes later.  Scorpius wasn’t sure how she made it from her office to the Hospital Wing so quickly given that you couldn’t apparate inside of Hogwarts and McGonagall was about 100 years old. 

 

McGonagall fixed her eyes on Rose, “So you’re in the hospital wing,” and then she looked at Scorpius, “and it’s not because of Mr. Malfoy.” 

 

Scorpius made an indignant noise, “One could argue that I saved her…” 

 

Rose’s head snapped up, “Oh please, I had it completely under control.” 

 

McGonagall cleared her throat and gave them strict looks, “Don’t let’s start.” 

 

Rose told McGonagall what happened before Scorpius arrived and he picked up at the part where he showed up and kicked their asses to the curb.  He made sure to nail Whitley in his testimony and dropped several hints that he thought Whitely should be relieved of duty. 

 

McGonagall not-so-subtly pointed out that if Rose and Scorpius hadn’t been relieved of their prefect duties after nearly killing each other, then she couldn’t dismiss Whitley for missing a detention. 

 

“I’m impressed that you’re here defending her.” McGonagall announced. 

 

Scorpius folded his arms, “We’ve been good all year.” 

 

“Congratulations,” McGonagall responded dryly. 

 

McGonagall spoke with Madam Pomfrey in her office. 

 

“You don’t have to stay here,” Rose told him.  “I’m sure you have better things to do.” 

 

Scorpius shook his head, “Nope, just a History—”  

 

Rose glanced up when Scorpius stayed frozen in horror. “You have a History of Magic assignment…” she prompted him to continue speaking. 

 

“I was meant to meet Tanzy,” Scorpius muttered and thrust his hands into his hair. “Shit.” 

 

Rose’s eyes widened, “You bailed on a date?” 

 

Scorpius looked at Rose, “Shit.” He couldn’t believe that he had completely forgotten that he was supposed to meet Tanzy in the library. “I am so screwed!” He rushed to the door and then looked back at Rose, feeling bad about leaving her in the Hospital Wing alone.  He would have to find Tanzy and then go tell Al what had happened. 

 

Rose must’ve seen the hesitation on his face, because she told him, “It’s alright. Can’t have your girlfriend thinking you abandoned her.” 

 

“Thanks,” Scorpius breathed, “I’ll send Al for you….” 

 

“Honestly, it’s no big deal.  Not even a fifteen minute visit.” Rose waved him off, but he thought she looked a little disappointed.  A moment later she gave him an antagonizing smile and shooed him away.

 

Scorpius smiled back at her and then took off for the library. 

 

He glanced at the clock that hung above the front desk and wanted to punch himself in the face.  He was nearly forty minutes late for his date with Tanzy. Scorpius hoped that she was still there and hadn’t gone back to her dormitory. 

 

They always went to the furthest alcoves in the back of all the shelves so that they could steal kisses in between studying.  He found Tanzy where they usually sat. No one else came back here because there were no tables or chairs to do school work, but Scorpius didn’t mind.  He preferred to stretch out on the floor anyways. Tanzy had pulled a chair up while waiting for him and she had her legs propped up on a shelf with books in her lap. 

 

Sitting in chairs made Scorpius feel too restless. 

 

Tanzy glanced up when she heard him approach. “Hey,” she sounded mildly surprised that he had showed up. 

 

“I’m so sorry,” he bent over and dropped a kiss to her forehead. “I got caught up with a detention-gone-wrong.” 

 

Tanzy frowned, “I didn’t know you had a detention.” 

 

Scorpius shook his head and sat down next to her chair. “I didn’t.  I was on my way here and Weasley got into some trouble with a detention she was holding.  See, Whitley was supposed to be helping her, but he flaked.” 

 

Tanzy’s eyebrows lowered quizzically, “And Rose got into trouble?” 

 

“The three Ravenclaws she was supervising were out of control.  I showed up and Rose had a cut of her head—”

 

“Is she okay?” 

 

Scorpius leaned back against a shelf, “She's fine, but I took her to the Hospital Wing.”

 

“It was that bad of a cut?” 

 

“Not really, but then Madam Pomfrey has a record of the evidence.” 

 

“The cut?” 

 

Scorpius gave a curt nod, “Exactly.” 

 

“Well, I’m glad Rose isn’t hurt too badly.” Tanzy reached over and brushed her fingers through his hair.  She was so soft and delicate and Scorpius wanted to lean over and press a soft kiss to her mouth. “It was nice of you to take her to the Hospital Wing, I guess she was right.” 

 

Scorpius’s head snapped up, “What?” 

 

Tanzy jerked back, “What?” 

 

“What was she right about?” 

 

“Who?” 

 

Scorpius glared at his girlfriend, “Rose. You said she was right.” He said slowly and maintained eye contact. 

 

Tanzy sighed and ruffled her curls. “Well, I was talking to Rose at the Valentine’s Day party and I sort of… asked her what she thought of you.  Actually, I asked her if you were a good person.” 

 

Scorpius blanched, he could only imagine what Rose would say to Tanzy.  Rose knew how hard he had worked up the courage to finally ask Tanzy on a date.  Why would Tanzy ask Rose of all people what she thought of Scorpius? It was no secret that they hated and tormented each other. 

 

“Whatever she said—” 

 

“She said that you’re arrogant and an ass, but not an all around bad guy.” Tanzy said quickly.  

 

Scorpius’s words choked in his throat as he processed what she had just told him.  There was no way that Rose had admitted that he was “not a bad guy.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement but still more than he would’ve given Rose credit for. 

 

“Which is apparently true since you helped her tonight.” Tanzy said with satisfaction. 

 

Scorpius folded his arms, “Did you not think I was a good person?” 

 

She leaned down and squeezed his leg reassuringly.  “I thought you were, but I wasn’t sure I could trust my feelings.  But if the one person who hates you more than anything else says that you’re not a total asshat, then you must be pretty great. And you can’t tell her that I told you this! She promised to hex me if I said anything and I’ve seen what you look like after one of her hexes.” 

 

Scorpius felt very conflicted about the information he was receiving. On the one hand, Rose finally admitted that he wasn’t the reincarnation of Grindelwald.  On the other hand, his girlfriend had just admitted to not trusting in her feelings for him. And Rose had been the one to talk her into their relationship.  He did want to point out that Rose probably didn't hate... they just didn't get on.  

 

“I’m glad you caught me, but I am really tired.” Tanzy stood up and shoved her clothes back into her bag.  Scorpius opened his mouth to apologize and try to convince her to stay, but she had already put her sweater on. “I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?” She leaned over and kissed his mouth softly. 

 

“You could stay…” he suggested.  He wanted to have an illicit snog session in the back of the library.  He wanted to make her lose all control and tell him that she wasn’t tired anymore because she was so desperate for him.  But she didn’t do any of those things. 

 

“Thanks, but it’s been a pretty long day.  I’ll see you tomorrow.” 

 

When she was gone Scorpius slumped back against the shelf.  Was Tanzy mad because he was late for their hang out date? She hadn’t seemed too bothered and it was the first time he had ever been late for a date.  It wasn’t like he ever gave her reason to mistrust him. 

 

Yet he couldn’t help but think about how Tanzy hadn’t trusted him or how she always seemed to give him soft kisses that lacked all

passion.  They never got so lost in each other that they were late for class or got caught snogging in broom closets.  Maybe she was more peeved than she let on about him being late.  But it was the first time he had ever been irresponsible in their relationship and on the whole, Scorpius thought he was a good boyfriend. 

 

Scorpius dragged his hands through his hair and let out a long sigh. 

 

Why did he feel like everything with Tanzy was simultaneously going perfectly and going nowhere all at the same time? 

 


 

Sunday was a stay-inside type of day, so rather than run drills with the team on the Quidditch pitch, James decided to do some strategizing.  Their last game of the year was coming up against Ravenclaw. It was James’s last game at Hogwarts. 

 

He vigorously wrote down all the crazy plays that had been kicking around his brain on scratch pieces of parchment.  It was his last game at Hogwarts and Gryffindor was currently in the lead for house points. If they won this game, they would win the House Cup and if they lost the game by less than 30 points, they still won. If they lost by anything more than 30 points then Slytherin would win the House Cup. 

 

But James would not accept anything less than perfection from his team. His biggest concern was Lily, who was a seeker in her first year on the team.  She was a brilliant flyer, but had a tendency to get inside of her own head under extreme pressure. He had been working the chasers hard to ensure that they scored enough that Lily wouldn’t feel like the whole game was riding on her. 

 

“Hey James.” 

 

James jumped so suddenly that he fell off of the window sill. 

 

“Shit!” 

 

When he looked up, Eliza was standing over him looking mildly amused. 

 

“What are you doing here?” James asked accusingly as he pulled himself up off of the floor. 

 

Eliza folded her arms indignantly, “You’re in a random corridor. I was just going for a walk, you don’t own the castle.” James carefully arranged his hair until he saw Eliza roll her eyes. 

 

“I’m working on Quidditch stuff.” 

 

“Not a very fun way to spend your day off.” Eliza told him. 

 

James let out a short chuckle and couldn’t help but wonder how she thought that Quidditch wasn’t fun. “It is to me.  Much more fun than walking the castle alone.” 

 

Eliza sighed and sat on the sill that James had been on, “I needed to think.” 

 

James was sure this was the longest he and Eliza had ever spent together.  He always chased after her and she always ran away, so they never conversed much.  And since she wasn’t running away, James took the opportunity to look at her. She looked erily liked Penny, which James didn’t want to psychoanalyze too much. 

 

They had the same lips, but Penny’s were always smirking and Eliza’s were turned down.  

 

“Think about what?” James asked after a moment.

 

Eliza looked at her hands, “Stefan and I broke up.” 

 

James wasn’t sure what to make of that, “I’m sorry.” 

 

“Are you?” Eliza let out a shaky laugh. 

 

James pressed his lips together, “I am.  What happened? Everything seemed to be going well.” In truth, he didn't know how things had been going because he hadn't been paying attention.  

 

Eliza shook her head, “I thought so, but I guess he didn’t like me as much as I liked him.” 

 

James was not sure how to respond.  He liked Eliza and thought she was probably a nice girl (considering he actually didn’t know her all that well).  “Sometimes people aren’t meant to be together. I’m sure it had nothing to do with you.” He replied firmly. 

 

Eliza wiped under her eyes, “You stopped following me around a few months ago.” 

 

James’s brows furrowed, “I thought that’s what you wanted?” 

 

“Did you ever actually like me?  For my personality, I mean.” Eliza ducked her head like she was trying to hide behind her honey hair. 

 

He knew that he had to tread carefully, she was obviously feeling insecure. The truth was that he didn’t know her well enough to say he liked her personality, but he didn’t think she wanted to hear that he had obsessed over her because he was immature. 

 

“I could feed you some bullshit about how it’s his mistake for breaking up with you or how you’re way too good for him…” He sat down next to her and felt like he should put his arm around her or something. 

 

Eliza looked sideways at him sharply, “You’re not going to tell me he made a mistake?”

 

“No.” James said. “It doesn’t make him a bad person for breaking up with you.  And it’s not that you’re not good enough or he’s going to find someone better than you… but he’ll find someone better for him.  Just like you’ll find someone who really loves you.” 

 

Eliza looked shocked by this sentiment.  It took her a few moments to think of a response, “When did you get so mature?” 

 

“About three months ago.” James said wryly. 

 

About the time that he realized that Penny was an awesome person.  

 

He turned to say something to Eliza.  He felt guilty for constantly trying to get with her and then suddenly realizing that he didn’t like her romantically at all and ditching her.

 

But Eliza kissed him before he could say anything. 

 

It was a brief kiss and all she did was press their lips together in a way that didn’t fit at all.  They lips didn’t go together, their noses were awkwardly touching, and it was all wrong. Neither of them moved and despite the fact that Eliza had planted a kiss on him, she didn’t make any move to deepen the kiss.  They sort of sat there for about three second with their lips awkwardly pressed together. 

 

James jerked away. 

 

Eliza was blushing furiously and her eyes began to water, “I’m so sorry. I don’t know why I did that.” 

 

James cleared his throat, “Um… that’s okay.” 

 

Eliza dropped her head, “I don’t mean to use you as a distraction.” 

 

James felt guilty for a moment because he thought that kissing her would feel like fireworks.  “I’m sorry, I just don’t feel that way about you.” 

 

“Me either.” Eliza admitted. “I have to admit, your mature act is a bit sexy.  I think it went to my head. And I am kinda pissed that after all those years of you trying to go out with me, the minute I show a bit of interest you’re gone.” 

 

James didn’t have a good response or excuse so he didn’t say anything.  After a few minutes of silence, Eliza stood up and wiped her eyes. 

 

“Well, I suppose that’s enough self-pity for one day.” 

 

“You will feel better.” 

 

Eliza shrugged, “I know, but I figure I get a free pass for about five chocolate frogs.” 

 

James barked out a short laugh, “Only five?” 

 

Eliza rolled her eyes, “Not all of us play Quidditch, some of us actually have to watch what we eat.  And binge eating is not a healthy coping mechanism.” She turned on her heal and walked down the abandoned corridor. 

 

James let out a long breath and leaned his head against the window.  

 

So much for strategizing Quidditch plays, because he doubted he could focus on anything after that conversation.  And if he sighed one more time, he was going to have to hit himself over the head with a beater’s bat. 

 

James also realized that he would have to tell Penny about Eliza kissing him.  He wasn’t sure how close Penny and Eliza were, but it didn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that Eliza would tell her sister what had just happened.  Eliza would have no reason not to share the kiss with her sister, but James and Penny had only gotten back to normal a few weeks ago. 

 

He would rather Penny hear it from him than Eliza. 

 

James couldn’t risk any drama with the Quidditch finals coming up. 

 


 

James found Penny sitting with Freddie out in the courtyard.  He had been surprised to see them out there on the Marauder’s Map.  It was cold and cloudy so the only other students out and about were ones passing through.  Only complete nutters would be out in the cold just hanging out. 

 

“What are you two doing out here?” James called as he approached. 

 

Penny jerked a little at the sound of his voice and Freddie jumped up. 

 

“Jamie, we were discussing Quidditch!” Freddie announced. 

 

James planted himself in front of where Penny was sitting, “Wasting your day off on Quidditch?” James said with a tone of sarcasm as he echoed what Eliza had said to him. 

 

Penny made a face, “There are no days off in Quidditch.” 

 

Freddie smacked James’s shoulder, “Yeah! What’re you smoking?” 

 

James laughed and rubbed the back of his neck, “Actually, I was also doing some strategizing—” 

 

“That sounds more like you,” Penny remarked. 

 

“Freddie, do you think I could talk to Penny for a minute?” James asked casually. 

 

Freddie didn’t hesitate in making himself scarce, “Sure, I’m going to see if dinner has been laid out.” Penny’s mouth popped open like she wanted to argue, but Freddie was already turning away. 

 

Penny made a noise of protest. 

 

James sat down next to her and he hated that she still looked uncomfortable around him when they were alone.  She acted perfectly normal when they were in a group but she was still skittish when it was just the two of them. 

 

“I have to tell you something,” he began slowly and realized immediately that those were the wrong words.  Her eyes got all big and panicked and her chest began to rise and fall. “Nothing bad! Just something I wanted you to hear from me.” 

 

Penny looked away, “Okay…” 

 

“I ran into Eliza while I was doing Quidditch things and she told me about how her boyfriend broke up with her.” 

 

Penny looked relieved and confused. “I know… she told me yesterday.  If you’re worried about her—” 

 

“That’s not it.” James said quickly. “Although she was definitely not herself.” 

 

Penny snorted, “Obviously, if she was sharing her problems with you.” 

 

James scratched his forehead, “She actually kissed me.” Penny’s face stay blank other than her wide eyes. “But it was weird and awkward and she only did it because she was feeling crappy about her breakup.  And it turns out, I don’t think Eliza and I would be very good together at all.” He spoke so quickly because he didn’t want to give her a chance to get in her own head. 

 

Penny tilted her head, staring off onto the grounds. 

 

James held his breath until she finally spoke, “And you came to find me because…” 

 

James gritted his teeth, getting really sick of her pretending there was nothing between them. “Because I kissed you over break and things have been tense sense then. And I wanted you to hear it from me and not because Eliza randomly drops it into conversation.” 

 

“You don’t owe me an explanation.” Penny said stiffly. 

 

“No, but I wanted to give you one.” 

 

Penny shrugged, “It’s completely unnecessary but I appreciate the thought.” 

 

James could feel his temper heating up, “I didn’t want you to get the wrong impression. I’m over my stupid obsession with Eliza.” 

 

Penny shrugged again, “It’s not my business.” 

 

“Can you drop the cool act for a minute?” James snapped. Penny jerked away from him. “I don’t feel like walking on eggshells around you anymore.  We kissed. And you know what? I don’t regret it one bit because it was the most amazing kiss of my life.” Penny looked shocked and panicked, but he wasn’t going to give her a chance to argue. “I’m dying to kiss you again, but I’m not going to do this dance with you where you try to pretend I don’t exist.” 

 

James stood up and walked away, furious with her and furious with himself for revealing so much. 

 

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