When he ran into people from school he hadn't seen in awhile, they all asked him the same thing. What happened? At school everything had been so simple: he had a girlfriend he loved more than life itself, and he had the best friends he could ask for. His life was great. But now, his life hadn't turned out the way anyone, including him, had thought it would.
James' dad died shortly after he had graduated and everything had changed since that day. James had never really gotten along with his mother. She liked the family money, and he even sometimes thought that that was the only reason she had married his dad and had him. She was a social climber and all-round, cold-hearted bitch. Over the years he had grown to hate her. She manipulated every situation to suit her and to control others. After David Potter died, there was nobody to stop her controlling their son's life. Claudia Potter had arranged for the girlfriend her son loved so much to be forced out of healer school in this country and sent her to South America. She drove away his best friends: the werewolf and the bad influence.
Then she pulled the masterstroke that made James despise her even more. She trained Margo Bones to be his girlfriend. She had people watch James to see what he liked and what he was looking for in a girl. She instructed Margo on what to wear and how to be. Then she started planning the wedding. James had had no say in whether he wanted to get married. His mother was too interested in merging two of richest wizarding families together to care about her son's happiness.
And so that is how to came to be unhappily married to a younger but just as nasty version of his mother. He only had friends that they chose, he only did the things they approved of. He had no say in anything and eventually he had stopped fighting it.
But then he had been somewhat saved. Three years into his sham of a marriage, Lily Evans walked back into his life. It had been a total coincidence, he had been at the hospital visiting a family friend (on his wife's instructions) and Lily had been the healer. Everything he had ever felt for her was still there. And by some miracle she had felt the same. It had taken a long, long time for her to give in to her feelings for her. But she did. They had been having an affair for 6 months now.
It was four in the morning when James' watch alarm went off like it always did. He rolled over and kissed the top of Lily's head before getting up. He spent as many nights as he could at Lily's flat.
Margo knew he was having an affair, she had to know. She had to notice that he never came home from work unless they had a family function or social event. She had to notice that he came in every morning a few hours before she woke up. And she had to notice that he had no interest in starting a family with her. But she never said a word, she just smiled, ironed his shirts and pretended nothing was wrong. She, like his mother, loved the family money too much to leave.
James sat up and reached out for his clothes.
"James…" Lily mumbled, he must have woken her.
"Go back to sleep and I'll see you later," he whispered to her.
"You're leaving," she said sadly.
"Yeah I have to get back," he said, stroking the top of her head where she lay.
"Do you really have to? Can't you stay, just for once?"
"I can't," sighed James. "You know I can't."
"Fine," said Lily as she threw the covers off her, and pulled on her bathrobe.
"You know I wish I could. I want to stay here but… I can't."
"I know. I've heard it all before," she muttered angrily, leaving the room.
"What are you doing? You should go back to sleep," said James, pulling on the last of his clothes as he followed her into the hall.
"I need a shower," Lily hissed angrily.
"What now? Lily, it's the middle of the night," said James as if she had gone mad.
"Yes, now! I need a shower, now!" she shouted at him. "Because I feel dirty. I always feel dirty because you just show up here every night, get what you want and then you leave me. So excuse me if I want to try and wash the dirtiness off me."
"I know this is my fault, I'm the whore sleeping with a married man. You're just the married bastard that is lucky enough to find a slut stupid enough to put up with you. So you better go, your wife will be waiting." Then she slammed the bathroom door in his face.
"Lily, you're not…" he tried to shout to her, but she had turned the water on.
He couldn't blame her, and he knew that this wasn't fair on her. But he couldn't bring himself to let her go, she was the only reason he got out of bed every morning. She was the reason he felt alive. She wouldn't wait forever, he knew that. But he couldn't leave Margo, he had no choice but to stay. Even if it did mean he was hurting himself and the woman he loved.