Breaking the Habit
Just one last time, and then I'm quitting cold turkey. I swear.
Now I know quitting an old habit cold turkey can be tough, but I'm one tough girl, and I'm willing to put up the fight. I just need to do it one last time, to — you know — get it out of my system.
Yeah, to get it out of my system. Then it's over. Never again. No more temptation everyday. Once more for good measure, then it's the end. For good. I'm sure of it.
But, I mean… breaking old habits can be hard… really hard… I mean, I know I can, I've always wanted to… really wanted to… so I should be able to. Right?
Right. Should be no problem. It'll be easy.
I mean, how hard can it be? How hard can it be to just stop saying no?
I know it's out of pure habit now (I can see the word stamped across my mind, for Merlin's sake), but shouldn't it be easy to just open my mouth and say yes?
Maybe if he wasn't so bleeding cute I wouldn't be so distracted… but can I help that? No! It's his own bloody fault! It's his own bloody fault I haven't said yes! Why am I to blame!
But… I do kind of… feel powerful when I say it.
No. No. No.
I have control over him. Is it my fault I like that power? Is it my fault I like the rush of adrenalin pumping through me as I say that one simple word, knowing I can control my own destiny? His destiny?
Is it my fault that I hate the way his eyes shine with hurt when I say it? Or the way I know that I make him miserable and so depressed? Or the way he probably cries his pretty little eyes out on Pettigrew's shoulder (as I find him the most sensitive of the four)?
I can't help it. 'No' is just a very bittersweet word, so empowering and yet so… dreadful, so cruel. I know I'm hurting him; I'm hurting me too! But the thrill that word brings to me, the bite on my tongue, the burn on my lips… it's addictive!
The words always roll off his tongue, heavy with anticipation and desire, and the lust and want in his eyes gives me the upper hand. I open my mouth and say the word, feeling dominant and daunting, like I could control everything about me for just that moment.
But the feeling is gone in a heartbeat as I see the pain shimmering in his eyes, crying for redemption, pleading for just one chance. It hurts me too, in a way he could never have guessed. So I'll act my part, pretending the dominance of my attitude is still strong and alive, marching away with as much flustered dignity as I can muster.
And I'll run up to my dorm room and sit on my four-poster, the hangings drawn around me, to brew in my self-anger and self-pity. And one part of me — my heart — tells me what I've done is wrong, like my angel counterpart. My loving angel tells me I'm not listening to what I want and that I'm only lying to myself. The other half of me — my logical devil — reminds me of my desire for power, no matter who I have to hurt to quench my lust.
And I know my devilish side is true; I'll do anything to feed that feeling of control. I need that feeling of control over myself. Saying yes would be weak and vulnerable, and I can't afford to be weak and vulnerable with him. It simply doesn't work that way; not with him it doesn't.
I can always feel the need for power grow stronger the longer I'm near him; the longer I'm with him, the more I feel the need to prove himself strong in his eyes. He can't control me, only I can.
And this feeling — the feeling of assertion in my own life — has been stored up within me, and I'm ready to blow. Now all I need is him.
I folded my legs underneath me and cracked my book open. The sun shown around me brightly on the crisp spring day, the leaves in the tree above me blowing gently in the warm breeze.
My eyes scanned the page lazily, not reading anything in particular; just waiting. I knew he'd come… he always does. No matter where I find myself, there I'll find him too.
My eyes scanning over a sentence about the French maiden and her lover sharing a passionate kiss of love, I caught something out of the corner of my eye.
Pretending to be totally engrossed with the snog-fest of a book I was attempting to read, I didn't even jump as two warm hands dropped in front of my eyes.
"Guess who," a warm voice behind me said.
I grinned widely. "Potter."
I turned my body to face him as a slightly apprehensive grin awakened his features.
"You're happy," he said, as if slightly unbalanced with my uncharacteristically gleeful face upon his appearance.
"I know," I said, flipping a page in my book with obvious enthusiasm and a bit of well-earned cockiness.
"How come?" he asked slowly, eyes flickering with uncertainty.
"Oh, you know: life, love, a good book… those kinds of things," I said nonchalantly, flipping another page of my book.
He raised an eyebrow before nodding to my book. "You didn't even read that page."
"I know," I said playfully, snapping the book shut.
He nodded, and I watched his Adam's apple rise and fall.
I opened my eyes wide in a feign of innocence before saying boldly, "Is there something you need to tell me, ask me perhaps…?"
"I — ah… er, yeah…" He scratched his neck as I nodded him to go on. "Are you — erm… doing anything this weekend?"
I smiled blankly. "Well that all depends."
"On what?" he asked, cheeks reddening.
"On why you need to know." I blinked in blissful "ignorance".
"Oh, well… I was just wondering — if you'd like to go on a date… Hogsmeade, perhaps?"
I searched his eyes as longing filled their bright hazel depths… felt the urge growing stronger inside of me…
I felt my smart little loving angel scolding me profusely inside, the devilish logic awarding my sharp tongue. I pushed them both away.
He opened his mouth, closed it, and opened it again only to say, "Oh."
Pushing himself up off of the cool grass, he brushed off his pants, leaving damp palm-prints on the faded navy color. He rumpled his hair and turned to walk away.
He's not supposed to walk away.
My grin faltered. "Potter—James, wait…"
He stopped. I grinned as he turned to me.
"Ask me again."
Something flickered behind his eyes that I had never seen before when he looked at me— disgust.
"Yes, I—wait." I frowned. "What'd you say?"
His left eyebrow twitched slightly as he whispered, eyes downcast, "I said no."
And at that exact moment, I knew what it felt like to be James Potter.
At that exact moment, I knew what it felt like— I knew what no felt like. I knew what rejection felt like. I knew what pain felt like. I knew what heartache felt like. I knew what it all felt like… and it didn't feel good.
"No," I repeated.
I dropped my book in the grass as he turned from me. I rose to my knees as he took that first step away from me. I scrambled to my feet as his own carried him farther and farther away. I found my voice welling up.
His feet moved faster. So did mine.
"James, come back! I—"
He broke into a jog. I broke into a run.
"Come back, you prat! I need to say something to you!"
His feet stopped. Shaking his head, he turned and surveyed me irritably as I jogged up to him.
"You need to say something to me, do you?" he asked, eyes flashing.
I nodded brashly.
"Well I have something I need to say to you." He breathed in. "I don't care what you have to say, Lily Evans. I don't care anymore. I'm sick of listening to you yell at me, telling me how terrible I am, and I'm sick of actually believing everything you say about me. I'm tired of you mocking me and telling me I'm crap and making my life a living hell. It makes me wanna die every time you tell me I'm nothing, but I'm not gonna stand for it anymore. I'm sick of all of it, Lily Evans, and I'm sick of you."
My mouth fell open in… shock, anger, confusion, loss. I furrowed my brow.
"Well it's a bleeding shame I'm not sick of you," I said, lifting my chin up high. I flipped my hair and stomped back toward the tree, intending on retrieving my book so I could go have a good, long cry in my room.
I felt a hand grasp my lower arm.
"Lily, I — I didn't mean that… I mean, I did, but — I'm not sick of you."
Wrenching my arm out of his grasp, I trudged over to the tree, picked up my book, and walked straight at him. He didn't move.
We stood in silence.
I opened my mouth, hoping my voice sounded stronger than I felt. "This book," I said, waving it in front of his face, "is crap."
He didn't move… except for his eyebrow. It twitched. Slowly, he opened his mouth. "Really?"
I waited for him to speak. When he said nothing, I pried him rather exasperatedly with, "Don't you have something to ask me?"
Pain flashed in his eyes. "Do I?"
My patience was quickly waning.
"Ask me or I'll hex you."
"Just say no and get it over with."
"Ask me properly and you'll get your proper answer," I said, my hand inching toward my wand in my back pocket.
He sighed and recited slowly and jadedly, "Lily Evans, would you do me the honor of attending the next Hogsmeade outing with me?"
His eyebrows rose. So did mine.
"Oh… er… okay."
I grinned, my inner angel applauding me.
Author's Notes: Yeah, so I know this isn't all that good. Oh well.I don't write Lily and James one-shots (at least, not many), so that's probably why.
So... yeah. Review and stuff.