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Chapter Twenty-five, Hurt and Angry

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Dance is a song of the body.
Either of joy or pain.
- Martha Graham

James’s game… How did it really work? When was he playing it and when was he real? That had been the question I asked myself the last few months. And now it was freshly occupying my head again.

I certainly felt I had been played with.. Because things were exactly as they had been.. even after the kiss. He didn’t mention it. He didn’t show any sign of it ever happening.

James had come back to the common room late that night over a week ago. He had been grumpy and complained about Professor McGonagall’s expectations and long to-do-list.

“Help Dumbledore, deciding how the Christmas Trees are going to be positioned in the Great Hall, set up lists on who’s staying for Christmas, in ALL the houses, and lots of other things… she’s driving me MAD…”

I sat there in my chair, looking strangely up at him.

“Weren’t the two of you discussing Christmas preparations in a pleasant tone?” I asked carefully.

“I wish! Stop joking around, Lily… Can’t you see I’m in a bad mood?”

He apparently didn’t have any nice chat with her after all.. Had he said the opposite just to make me in a good mood earlier? Just so he could kiss me? As that last comment emerged his lips, the flying butterflies in my tummy had stopped fluttering and died. How could he be in a bad mood after kissing me like that just a little while ago?

He hadn’t mentioned anything about what happened in the corridor for over a week. Nothing about kissing me… He just acted completely normal.

Too normal.

As soon as I had realised he’d tricked me and had just forgotten all about it, I wanted to pull away from him.
I smiled and laughed and pretended not to notice James’s not at all changed behaviour around me for some time. We had been flirting a little bit more than usual after the chocolate-night incident, and I was starting to believe he was real to me. But that hope was smashed as he “forgot” about the kissing in the corridor. I couldn’t take it anymore, I knew he had played me. And I couldn’t stand up with my hurtful play any more… So I extracted myself from him, and partly the rest of the Marauders, slowly but securely.

“Lily? Want to come and sit here with us?” James smiled at me a morning by the breakfast table, gesturing at the seat next to him.

“No, thanks… I’ll just sit here with Jennifer and Anna,” I said casually.

He gave me a sad expression and turned back to his conversation with Peter. I probably hadn’t been sitting with them like I used to for days.

It was almost the end of November, and I was stretched out on my bed, sobbing like I had done so often lately. I just didn’t understand it, how could he do this to me?

‘I knew I shouldn’t have let myself fall for James like that,’ I screamed in my head. ‘He just threw me away as soon as he’d kissed me… I’m glad he didn’t go any further..’

“Lily? Stop scaring me like that! Please stop crying…” Hillary came over to my bed. “He’s not worth it.”

I just looked sadly at her, sighing deeply and squeezing my pillow even harder.

“Forget him, Lily. He’s just an arrogant, playing virgin-killer,” Hillary said hotly.

“H-How can you… s-say tha-that?” I sobbed. “You don’t… don’t… know if he’s a virgin-killer!”

She raised her eyebrows and wrapped her arms around me.

“I know… But it feels better to put him in a dirty light, don’t you think? Makes it easier to get over him.”

“Maybe… But I know he’s not like that! But… He played me!” I cried.

“I know he did… And I despise him for it. For hurting you like that…” Hillary whispered. “But you need to get out of your dorm. Come to the match? Please?”

“I don’t feel like it…” I muttered.

“Lily Evans! I am not letting you rot in here over a boy! Stop this nonsense!” She said hotly.

That made me react. And she was of course right… So I decided to come to the match anyway. It took a good thirty minutes to get down there, but I still managed with Hillary’s help.

Shacklebolt’s voice was back on the speaker as we stood by the pitch, watching red and green players zoom around. I wasn’t as cheery as I used to be at matches, naturally. It stung to just see him fly handsomely up in the air on his Zoom Star, dressed in Gold and Red.

As the Slytherins scored their fifth goal, the Gryffindors started to be more aggressive. I knew what happened when they became aggressive, and so did everybody else. Bludgers were flying dangerously around, and the Chasers worked harder.

“Goyle gets a nasty bludger in the head! Time out! Somebody check it out!” Shacklebolt cried.

I watched as some teachers checked out Goyle, who laid bleeding on the ground near the goal post.

“Hey, Lily? Careful not to faint this time…” Sirius came flying next to our places as the break was still going.

“Promise,” I smiled weakly, seeing him fly off again.

“Yeah, don’t you dare freak me out like that again!” Anna added from my side, looking sternly at me.

Then I saw James’s figure zoom in our direction as the game started again, and I felt my heart jump as he dived and caught the Quaffle, handing it over to Gryffindor’s third chaser.

I couldn’t help it, I felt my lower lip tremble in sadness as he enjoyed himself on the pitch. I sat down, leaning my back towards the fence. I dragged a nervous hand through my hair, afraid tears would erupt my vision again.

“Lily! Are you ok?” Hillary leaned down. “You’re getting extremely dirty when you’re sitting there, you know…”

“I don’t care..” I whispered. “I have this horrible headache.. I have to relax.”

“I’ll follow you up again if you’d like me to? You shouldn’t be sitting here,” Hillary continued. “You’ll get a cold.”

I curled up in the common room as I did so often, feeling my headache increase. I just couldn’t get James out of my head. I couldn’t get that kiss out of my head.

I pulled something out of my pocket, and opened the paper surrounding the last chocolate from the basket I had nicked. But as I tasted it, I felt it rip inside me. I laid it down, resting my head on my knees, which was pulled up close. The night James and I had spent in the common room that night was vivid in my head as I felt the taste spread in my mouth.

I don’t know for how long I sat there, but I knew people around me got concerned and stopped up a couple of seconds to see what was going on. Nobody dared to disturb me. I think Hillary told them to leave me alone.

When the sky outside was totally black, I didn’t have any more energy left to cry. My eyes were stinging horribly. I curled closer up in the chair, dragging the blanket over me. My sobs were almost suffocated, I was exhausted. I closed my eyes, feeling my body crying for sleep.

Then I felt a hand slowly dry my wet cheeks.

‘You must be very concerned now, Hillary… I can’t count the hours I’ve spent in this chair crying..’ I thought.

She continued to stroke my face, I heard her sitting down next to the chair.

“I’m sorry, Hillary…” I whispered, lying my hand on top of hers. “I know you must be disappointed in me, crying so much over such a silly thing… But it really hurts.”

“What hurts?”

My eyes were opened violently as I heard a voice who didn’t belong to Hillary at all.

Of course it had to be James.

If I had had any energy left, I would have let out fresh streams of tears and new sobs. But I couldn’t. His face was there in front of me, reminding me of the insecurity and pain struggling inside me.

I closed my eyes again, removing his hand from my cheek. It was warm and gentle, and I wanted to hold on to it, but I didn’t dare to.

“Please tell me?” he whispered, resting his chin on the edge of the chair. “You’ve been crying for hours. Nobody’s had permission to come over to you. So I decided to wait until Hillary and Anna had gone to bed.”

My heart smiled at his words. He was really concerned about me… So why did he pretend he never kissed me? I didn’t dare to tell him that. I didn’t dare to mention it or confront him… I didn’t understand anything about the beautiful boy in front of me.

“You… y-you should go to bed too…” I sobbed tiredly, opening my eyes slightly. “It’s probably late.”

“It is… But I’m not leaving you. You didn’t leave me in the forest, remember? So I’m not leaving you now.”

‘Why do you have to do everything right, James? Why do you make it so damn hard to get over you?’

“You’ll have to stay here the whole night then, because I’m so exhausted I can’t move a muscle,” I said quietly.

“Fine,” James smiled. “Tell me why you’re crying?”

“No. You can’t know,” I said sternly.

“I told you about Laura.”

I could almost see his eyes turning red… Was it because of the memory of Laura or because I wouldn’t trust him enough to tell him what was wrong?

‘Make my conscience bad, way to go! Really make me struggle…’

“I can’t!” I said, closing my eyes again. “I just can’t..”

“Ok. So you can’t tell me what made you feel like this,” he said, thinking. “At least tell me what you feel? Maybe I can make it easier for you.”

‘How? You were the cause of this…’

“I feel hurt. I feel… insecure. And I’m angry. I’m tired of everything,” I squeezed out.

“Right… It doesn’t have anything to do with that Hill-girl, does it?” James creased his eyebrows.

“No,” I smiled slightly. “It’s not her this time.”

“Good,” he sighed, resting his elbows on the seat. “Well… I s’pose some chocolate would help, but Sirius got the cloak. I don’t want to wake him.”

I tried to laugh, but I didn’t manage to.

“Anyway… Just forget it, Lily. Whoever made you feel this way isn’t worth wasting thoughts and energy over.”

‘What the hell? It was you, you pretty, delicious butt-head! YOU!’

I was thoroughly confused. If he didn’t understand this was about him, than he obviously didn’t expect it to hurt when nothing more happened between us after the kiss. Did he expect me to just think of it as ‘fun’? As some sort of crazy fling that wasn’t serious? Hm… But I could swear I felt something more from his side in that kiss. Did he really mean nothing by it?

“Maybe…” I said. “But it’s going to be hard…”

‘I can’t believe we’re having this conversation.’

“This is probably going to sound pathetic, Lily…” James started. “But the last few months I’ve felt we’ve got this new connection. Some weird sort of friendship.”

I saw a faint blush creep up his cheeks, it made my heart jump again. Silly me, I was so in love.

I nodded slightly at his comment. This was much more like the James I had got to know. A little bit shy when it came to the point. Not aggressive and spontaneous…

“Yeah, who would guess… Evans and Potter,” I smiled.

“Well… since we’ve become friends, it’s really making me feel bad seeing you in this state, and even worse when you say you’re going to spend the night here.”

I removed some hair from my face, finally daring to look him into the eyes.

“Can I please, please, please… just carry you to your bed? I’ll even undress you if you’d like, but I know you’ll go mad if I even make that suggestion,” he smiled charmingly.

I couldn’t help it, but I smiled as he said those words. It was so like James to say something like that, and I liked the way he had learnt how to say it in a way that wouldn’t make me go crazy at him like I’d used to do.

It was the change I liked most about him. He had changed in a way that suited me perfectly, but he was still in character. He was still James Potter…

‘God, you’re making this hard. Do I dare to open up to you again?’

I thought, what the hell. I didn’t care if I walked into another of his traps, I had to give in. I had to… Just this once.

“Ok, I’ll let you,” I smiled shyly.

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