by sunny tuesday
a/n: Well., this is the last chapter of The Invitation. Thank you for all of the reviews. I really enjoyed writing this, so I hope you enjoyed reading it. Also, unlike the past two chapters, this is in James' POV. Thank you!
EIGHTEEN MORE DAYS UNTIL HARRY POTTER BOOK SEVEN!!!
"So…is she here yet?" James asked Sirius softly from the back of their enlarged dorm. "I mean, has Evans arrived?"
"No," Sirius said seriously. "Her roommate has though- that Becky chick who digs me. You were so right to invite her. I mean, did you see the dress she's wearing?"
"Lily hasn't gotten here yet? But the party started fifteen minutes ago! She's the most punctual girl I've ever met and she isn't here yet?" James asked incredulously. "Maybe I was wrong…Maybe she doesn't like me…"
"Prongs, she kissed you back right?" Sirius asked, watching Rebecca jealously as she flirted with some sixth year he had stupidly invited.
"Yeah," James answered, smoothing his shirt. "Hey- yeah, she did, didn't she?" he grinned.
"Well, as far as I've noticed, most girls kiss guys who they like. And she wouldn't have kissed you back if she was repulsed by you," Sirius pointed out. Rebecca had moved on from the sixth year and was eyeing… Moony?
"I guess that's true," James answered, glancing at the clock on the wall. "But she's still late."
"Not too late to be fashionably late," Sirius answered gruffly. "Now- one second-" and he rushed off. James watched, in silent hysteria, as Sirius pushed an unsuspecting Moony away from Rebecca, even though Rebecca was the one who had put her arms around Remus. A moment later Sirius and Rebecca had retired to a broom closet, and James was left, unhappily, to himself and his thoughts.
She doesn't like me, he thought, crestfallen. After six and a half years of trying to convince her we're soul mates, she still doesn't like me.
Somewhere he heard a door open and shut, but he didn't bother to look up.
If she doesn't like me now, he thought bleakly, she'll never like me. I guess we weren't meant to be together. Lily must have been right.
"Potter!" a familiar, slightly pompous, voice shouted. "Potter!"
James looked up, and a vision met his eyes; a red-haired angel in a rather snug green dress that brought out her gorgeous, bottomless, eyes…
"Potter, I have a bone to pick with you!" the vision cried angrily. Suddenly, his feet had stood him up, and he was staring down to a very angry Lily Evans.
"Uh, Lily?" he informed her sadly. "We have an audience." He motioned to the rest of the party, who were staring at them.
If she's going to dump me…forever… I'd rather everyone not see it, he told himself, his heart breaking.
"Oh, right," Lily realized, smoothing her hair. She grabbed James' arm. "Uh, well, nothing to see here!" she announced as she pulled James through the party and out of the dormitory, to the deserted common room.
"Listen, Lily," James told her softly as they seated themselves across from each other in the empty common room. He tried to ignore the fact that Lily looked even more gorgeous than ever in her low-cut green dress, with her hair all curly and…different. "Listen… I understand. I won't bother you anymore. I won't even go near you anymore. I'm sorry…you were right."
Lily looked up, eyes wide. "What? I was right?" she asked, taken back.
"Yeah," James answered moodily. "I guess we weren't meant to be, like you've always said. And I am a git. And a loser. And a jerk…"
Lily leaned back in her seat, her face in her hands. "I'm right?" she murmured to the air. "He won't bother me anymore…? What…?"
"I- I should get back to the party…" James sighed. "See you, Lily, er, Evans," he told her, standing up. But as he passed by her armchair, she grabbed his arm, and stopped him. He glanced at her with puppy-dog eyes.
"Please don't make this any worse for me, Lily," he told her as he shrugged off her arm. "I've already been embarrassed in front of the entire party. Isn't that enough? Aren't you done torturing me?"
"Am I done?" Lily asked, a small smile on her perfectly glossed lips. James tried not to focus on that too much. "Am I done?" Lily continued, giggling. "Oh, am I!"
James stomped off to the boys' staircase. Lily watched him go.
Back in his dorm, James walked over to Moony, who was sitting at a table, drinking a butterbeer and shooting sparks in the air every few minutes, with Peter watching admirably. James sat down besides Moony and eavesdropped on Wormtail's and Remus' conversation.
"You- you think she likes me?" Peter asked him, staring off at a squat girl in a frizzy pink gown that looked like a giant lufa. "You really do?"
"Sure, why not, you know?" Moony answered, sending green stars over his shoulder. "I saw her eyeing you earlier. And she always tries to sit as close to you as possible during meals."
"Wow," Peter laughed. "What should I do? Talk to her?"
Moony smiled, "Yeah, you should. Ask her to dance. Ask her if she'd like some butterbeer. Ask her her favorite color." He laughed. "Ask her- ask her if she likes rodents."
Peter grinned. "All right! I'll ask her to dance!" He stood up, and slammed his butterbeer a little too hard onto the table; the glass broke and the butterbeer spilled on a bowl of peanuts. Moony mended it silently. "Go get her, Wormtail." And Peter hurried off into the dance crowd. James took his seat.
"That was really cool of you, Moony," he said, sitting down, taking a swig of Peter's butterbeer, and then spitting it out when he realized whose it was. Wiping his face, he turned to his friend. "I wish my love life was that simple."
Moony smiled at him. "Naw, Peter's been in love with Olivia for the past three years. I found out when I accidentally slept with his pillow. He's just never had the guts to tell her the truth. And, anyway, he's jealous of you."
"Of me?" James asked, frowning, as he conjured a new bottle of butterbeer.
"Yeah," Moony told him, sending a few more sparks towards the dancers. "Yeah, because you're popular and a Quidditch star. Wormtail always feels so insecure around you and Padfoot."
"I- I never thought about that," James realized, staring at his hands. And he and Padfoot were always so mean to Wormtail.
"Maybe you should," Moony told him. "And anyway, what happened to Lily? I saw her come here and drag you out."
"Oh," James said, slumping. He took a long drought of butterbeer. Moony waited patiently. "About that. I think we're over."
"Over? But you said she kissed you."
"She- she did, but I guess she doesn't feel that way anymore. I told her I'd leave her alone and not bother her again and she didn't argue, so…" he smiled grimly. "Guess that's it."
"-More ingredients in the potion, right, I know," James cut him off.
Moony smiled at him. "There are."
"Yeah yeah," James rolled his eyes. "But six and a half years! I wish-"
"You wish what?" Moony asked.
"That I hadn't bugged her. Maybe she would have noticed me then." James smoothed his shirt. "I think I'll go down to the kitchens and get a glass of hot cocoa, k, Moony? Let me know if Peter had any luck."
Remus smiled. "You got it Prongs."
"Thanks," James told him before leaving, weaving his way through the crowd. He hurried to the door, with his hand on the knob, when he realized someone was standing in the hallway, talking to herself.
"What was I thinking?" The voice cried. "Why didn't I just tell him? He was right there, all sweet and sad… Why didn't I just kiss him? Why did I think he was joking?"
James opened the door a crack, and slipped through, closing it silently. He then caught sight of a very upset (very beautiful) Lily Evans banging her head on the wall.
"Why am I so stupid?" she whined.
"Erm…Lily?" James asked, smiling inside. "Are you okay?"
"Am I okay? Of course I'm not okay!" she cried. She turned around and, upon realizing who it was, fell backwards. James, with his Quidditch reflexes, leaned forward and caught her easily.
"Oh, bloody hell," Lily swore. James noticed, by the state of her makeup, that she'd been crying. For some reason, his heart soared.
"Are you okay?" James repeated.
"Oh, I'm so stupid!" Lily yelled, burying her face in his chest. James leaned against the wall, Lily deflated in his arms. He knew that if he let go, she would fall to the ground, and somehow the fact that she trusted him completely to hold her up made him smile.
"You're not stupid," he told her. "You're one of the smartest girls in our year. You won a stupid guitar from Sluggy, for Merlin's sake!"
"No! I'm stupid for not telling you," she whispered, looking up at him. "I'm really lousy." Somehow, she had stopped crying. And their faces were awfully close together.
James pulled away, putting her onto her feet. "I- I'm sorry, Evans, for bothering you." He stepped back. "I'll- I'll see you later."
"No! Wait!" Lily cried. "James, I-!"
She said my name, James realized. And then everything changed.
One moment, he was standing there, and the next, Lily Evans had ran into his arms and began to kiss him.
"Is that what you, um, wanted to tell me?" he asked, pushing her away.
"Yeah," Lily answered, blushing.
James grinned. "Good."
So he was going to enjoy the party after all.