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Chapter Nineteen, The Look On My Face

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Good choreography fuses eye, ear, & mind.
- Arlene Croce

Dorothy and her two other friends walked in front of me in the corridor, heading for the studio. I had just been in my dormitory, slipping my schoolbag on the floor and picking up my dancing-clothes for my lesson.

Today was supposed to be a lesson with all the fifth, sixth and seventh years participating in the Halloween dance, so Dorothy was for once followed by her friends from the year below. They giggled and joked, they had a lot of fifth and sixth-year factors showing. I was walking several feet behind them, half overhearing their conversation.

“I am so excited about this dance!” One of the girls said, giggling horribly.

“Me too.. It’s so… hot!” The other exclaimed.

Dorothy just laughed with them.

I was close to laughing myself when I heard that. I knew there were many girls taking ballet-lessons just for the exercise, and these two were definitely in that crowd. The dance was hot? They clearly wanted to show off and scream ‘Come and get me! Look at my body!’ … I really had trouble keeping my own giggling down now.

I knew those two girls weren’t the best of dancers, but I was positive they would improve greatly if they just changed that attitude of theirs.

“Hi, Lily!” Jennifer caught up with me, slightly out of breath.

I stopped up to giver her some rest, and the three girls disappeared out of my vision when they rounded the corner.

“Only a day left! I can’t wait… Friday is going to be a kick off!” She was all smiley and happy, and it affected me greatly, which I was thankful for.

“I know…” I smiled back, suddenly remembering something.

“You wouldn’t happen to have an extra white top for that evening, would you?” I asked her.

“I think I so, we’re about the same size as well, so I don’t think that will be a problem. I can bring it to class tomorrow if you’d like,” she explained.

“Great!” I said gratefully, linking my arm with hers.

‘This step is so demanding.. Or more precisely, this whole section.’

I grabbed my water-bottle when the music had died out, feeling sweat creep down my forehead. I sat down on the floor, marking the steps with my hands while Lindsay walked over to different people to help.

The people my year had just gone through our part of the dance, and the younger ones were about to stand up to do their parts.

“All of you are doing great, but some of you need to relax more, like I told you so many times before. Try smiling, your faces are all tense with concentration,” she told us.

“We’re learning the last section now when the fifth and sixth years are finished, the one we’re doing all together."

I watched as they did each their minute of the dance, and the funk-factor was high. Not as high as ours, but it wasn’t much less. The more I learned, practised and watched this dance, the more I liked it.

After the ten minute break, we all stood up to learn the last part.

It was of course a little bit more easy, considering that it was supposed to be with all of us, including the ones younger. After learning the last eight counts (Were we put the cloaks back on and joined in a ring being in different levels) all we had to do was practise, practise, practise…

“Good, everyone! We’ll have a double lesson tomorrow, all of us, to bring it to perfection. Then the evening comes… are you as excited as I am?” Lindsay smiled. “I brought you tops for the performance, I have them here in a bag. If they’re too big, just shrink them a bit with the shrinking-charm, should do the trick. I haven’t put the brightening-charm on them yet, because I want that to be a surprise. Nobody has told anyone about that, have they?”

There was a murmuring ‘no’ through the room before she started throwing the tops out.

“I don’t have to borrow that top of you anyway,” I said to Jennifer who stood right next to me the moment I caught one.

She smiled at me and held up her own, where black thick letters spelled ‘Jennifer’.

My name was on the top I held in my hand as well. The sleeves reached to about elbow-level, it was tight and long. I guessed it would have a length making it rest at my hips when I put it on. I grinned and looked at Lindsay.

“You did this?”

“Oh yeah, my dance teacher did that to us when I was younger, and I really loved that, so I figured you’d like it.”

“We love it!” A sixth-year yelled.

Everyone went quiet for a moment before Lindsay started laughing.

“Well.. what are you waiting for? Try them on!”

Three minutes later, everyone was back, wearing their white tops. It looked great, I was even keener than I had been.

“Let’s run through it a couple of times more, then? Find your places!” Lindsay spoke up and went over to the music box to put on the music.

“Hey, Lily! You doing all right?” James said cheerfully as he came down the stairs from his dorm, just finished packing out. “You’ve no idea how nice it is to come back with a trunk full of fresh, washed clothes… Mum really enjoyed that one.”

I smiled and watched him sit down next to me by the table.

“Heard you got an A on the essay? I’m impressed!” He laughed.

“Yeah, I don’t get that either. It was the most crappy thing I’ve ever written..”

I dragged a hand through my flames of wet hair, bending over my textbook again. I had just got out of the shower, it had been very refreshing after to hard hours of dancing.

“Have you ever considered dyeing your hair, Lily?” James suddenly asked.

“Get the girl to a hairdresser, Lillian! That colour doesn’t exactly make her attractive.. I want her to get married before she turns forty!”

My father’s yells soared through my head, and everything else was deleted. I grabbed some strands of hair and wanted to pull them out… Get rid of the hideous red…

“Lily? What are you doing? Stop that!” James said in surprise, reaching out to remove my hand from the hair. He closed his hand around my fingers, gently taking it away.

“No, James. I’ve thought about dyeing it, but I never did.” I said quietly.

‘I refused to change my hair colour just to spite him… I never wanted to obey that piece of dirt of a dad … Although sometimes I had to. I would rather go around with my hideous hair-colour than seeing him get his will.’

“Good, Lily. Never colour your hair, because that colour looks really good on you.. I’m sure there are lots of girls envying you that.”

He was relaxed, but determined at the same time.

I just felt myself closing in even more. I didn’t know how to handle compliments about my looks. They never felt right, they just reminded me of the things making me feel like a little grey mouse. I didn’t move a muscle. My hands were lying limply on the table in front of me, and my eyes were floating in thin air. My red hair was hanging down, hiding my face.

“Lily?” James said, sounding insecure.

“Lily…?” He whispered, reaching out his hand once more.

He almost took my hair aside as if it was a veil hiding something mysterious behind. He somehow made me look into his eyes, and then his face turned from being suspicious and anxious into a warm smile. A smile only James Potter could show.

I felt the corners of my lips rise a little, it was barely noticeable. But James saw it, and put my hair behind my ear.

‘Stop touching it.. It’s not pretty,’ my mind hissed.

“I think you’re the most mysterious girl I’ve met, Lily,” James said, still looking at me. “You’re so hard to predict.”

I separated my lips, and managed to speak again.

“Really? Girls are supposed to be unpredictable and hard to understand, that’s the way God created us, James,” I said, slightly amused, but not really knowing what to think about his comment.

“Then God put some extra thought into you, because you’re over the average mysterious. Quite challenging to be around, to be honest. You never know when you slap of when you smile.”

‘That’s why you even bother to be around me, James.. Because I’m a challenge. You like taking that challenge and playing the game. Can’t you see that you confuse me more than anything?’

“You’re confusing,” I said shortly.

“Confusing? How?” James asked, his eyebrows pressed together.

“I don’t know, you just are. I kind of never know when you’re being serious and when you’re just …” I sighed. “Playing around.”

James edged closer to me, resting his head in his hand.

“I know I’ve been playing around a lot, but I don’t mess up when I know it’s not the most smart thing to do.”

“What is the smart thing to do, then?” I looked down on the table, playing with my nails again.

“When you meet special people, which isn’t very often, you have to change your strategy. You don’t play when you want them to know you for real. You don’t want to leave them confused and not daring to trust you…”

He was dead serious now, I could tell. I wished I was one of those people he talked about. But I was not even sure if he managed to go through with his change of strategy when he wanted to.

I ran a hand through my hair again, and I saw James following my movement with his eyes.

“You can trust me, you know that, right?” James suddenly said, almost wearily.

“Yeah,” I answered, not meeting his eyes.

‘No, I can’t trust you James, because I know what you’re like. You’ve been false too many times, and I don’t want you to use me the way you use everyone except the ones in your inner circle. Which doesn’t include any other than Remus, Sirius, Peter and your mum.’

He smiled at me again, finding an apple in his pocket. He took a bite, and the scent and sound of apple floated around the table.

“I hear you’re setting up some sort of dance tomorrow? Sirius filled me in,” he said between swallows.

“Yep, it’s a … kind of … different thing. Not anything ballet, that wouldn’t look too good in the great hall on Halloween, would it?” I explained.

“Ah, I was wondering about that. Any solos in that one?”

“Nope, just a thing we’re doing all together… why?” I said, wondering what he was up to now.

“Too bad, I was hoping you would get cold feet again so I could come and kiss you onto the stage like last time,” He smirked.

“Potter!” I laughed, my hands jumping to his hair and pulling it playfully. “You were supposed to change, right? You’re not doing very well!”

“Ouch! Lily, stop it! You know my hair is really sensitive! Don’t do this to me …” He yelped.

“Stop saying those cocky things then! It’s a real turn-off…” I continued.

“Really? Why do you girls never say that? I’m supposed to learn from my mistakes, right?”

“You never learn from your mistakes, James… You should’ve realised that a long time ago!”

“Perhaps you’re correct, but some mistakes have to be done a few times before you understand it’s not very clever,” he said, trying to rip my hands away from his head.

“Whatever,” I said, giving him a last painful twig before letting go.

“God, Lily… That was kind of brutal?” He moaned, rubbing his temple.

“Nah, I don’t think so. You deserved it.”

I closed my book and was prepared to leave for bed. I was tired, and I didn’t want to end up fainting again because of too little sleep, too little food and too much work.

“Are you leaving?” James said, setting up a sad face.

“Yeah, got to get some beauty sleep,” I yawned.

“You just need sleep, Lily. Beauty sleep isn’t necessary for a girl being beautiful already!” he grinned.

“Get your ugly face down here, Lily! Now! You’re not staying home from school just because you threw up supper from last night!”

“You’ve got that look again,” James pointed out as I rose from my chair.

I looked oddly at him.

“What look?”

“The look that makes me think something’s on your mind, and you don’t want to tell. I’ve seen that a lot lately.”

I just chose to overhear that. I was preparing to leave, but James grabbed my arm and held me back.

“Please tell me?” He said, his eyes full of concern again.

“There is nothing to tell,” I forced out.

“Yeah right, I know when you’re holding something back. It’s very obvious. That look always appears when you receive some kind of compliment. I’ve been watching. Why is it so hard?”

“Let me go?” I asked politely. I was scared of him now.

He dropped his hand and searched my face a little.

“No, dad! Let me go. Let me go! Please…”

“Good night, James,” I said, managing to come back to the real world and not the tormenting world I used to live in. “See you tomorrow.”

James, Remus and Sirius made me feel like a baby these days. They all looked confused and concerned when I closed in. Why were they so desperate to find those things out? Why were they always so keen to comfort me?

‘Because they love you?’

James’s face was very puzzled when I left. I knew I’d gone too deep, that he knew there was something else going on that he didn’t have access to. That he had managed to find my secret closed door, and he intended to open it fully to reveal what was hiding behind it. He knew it existed, and now he was probably working out which key to use to open it up …

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