"You're awfully quiet," observed Mrs. Evans. "Is everything all right, love?"

Lily slumped in her seat, burying her face in her hands. "No," she moaned. "Everything is all wrong. I cannot believe this. This is not happening to me." She lifted her face from her hands, beseechingly holding them out to her mother. "Please tell me this is not happening!"

Alarmed at her daughter's atypical histrionics, Mrs. Evans took her eyes from the road for a second. "What on earth is the matter, Lily?"

"Everything!" cried Lily, her voice rising an octave. "There has to be something wrong. Because this cannot be happening!"

Realizing that her first question had, apparently, been too broad, Mrs. Evans angled for more specifics. "Was everything all right at school this year?"

"Yes. No! I am so stupid! I mean, ughhhh!" Lily thumped her head back against the headrest.

Clearly, the question was still too broad. "Well, why don't we try talking out the problem," Lily's mother suggested. "If we can lay everything out on the table, we may come to a solution."

"But I have, Mum!" wailed Lily. "I've thought and talked it out until I think I'll go crazy! My friends already think I'm off my rocker because I've been muttering to myself."

Mrs. Evans flexed her grip on the steering wheel. Lily was too distracted to notice her mother's impatience. "What is it, then?"

A traffic light permitted Mrs. Evans to give her daughter her full attention. Lily looked to be on the verge of tears. Her green eyes were shinning behind a gloss of tears, and her lips trembled as she drew in quick, shallow breaths. Her knuckles were white from gripping the seatbelt. What in heaven's name was the matter with the girl?

Lily sniffed and blinked up at the roof of the car. "I—Mum, I like James Potter. Like, like like him!" She ran her finger under each of her eyes, trying to hold off her tears.

The light turned green before Mrs. Evans could find a reply. "Well, is that such a bad thing, darling?" she asked carefully as she pulled off. She really wasn't surprised by the revelation. Certainly, the two had their differences, but no one, not even Lily's close friends, featured so prominently throughout Lily's letters. Indeed, most of the James Potter commentary was complaints about his abysmal (though amusing) behavior, his latest antics, his numerous attempts and successes at antagonizing Lily and the latest display of the strength of his ego, but Lily seemed to write about him compulsively; there was not a single letter that did not mention at least something about the Potter boy.

It was quiet for so long that Mrs. Evans snuck another glance at her daughter. Lily's face was puckered with betrayal. Her expression was so sincere that Mrs. Evans quickly turned her eyes back to the road. Clearly, she was supposed to be as affronted by the revelation as her daughter. Well, if Lily was looking for someone to share her horror, it would be better if she shared the news with her father. He would have a few choice things to say about his daughter liking the boy who had supposedly nearly drowned her in the lake.

Lily managed to regain her voice. "It's not supposed to happen like this, Mum! I'm not supposed to like such a rude, insufferable, cruel prat who torments my best friend! What kind of friend does that make me?"

"Dear, you cannot help who you like. It doesn't matter how your friends feel about that person. Why don't you just wait it out, love? Crushes pass. It won't be pleasant while it lasts but I'm sure you'll be back to hating him by the second of September. He'll invariably do something to spark that temper of yours."

"I don't have a temper," protested Lily, her face relaxing a little bit. "That's just a stereotype associated with people who have red hair."

Mrs. Evans decided that it was best, considering her daughter's mood, to agree—to some degree. "Well, I suppose you keep a fairly tight rein on it."

Unfortunately, Lily didn't seem ready to move on so quickly. "Mum, why does this have to happen to me? You would think that Potter would be the last person I would ever like." She sighed heavily.


Lily wrinkled her nose and held up a hand. "Wait a second, don't tell me. Life's not fair, right?"

Mrs. Evans smiled. "Yes, something along those lines."

Lily huffed. Sitting back, she crossed her arms. "Well, if it doesn't have the decency to be fair, it could at least make sense."

"Usually it all makes sense in the end, dear." Mrs. Evans reached out to squeeze Lily's hand.

"Yeah, but we have to get to the end first," Lily pointed out.


They fell quiet for a few moments. "Still," grumbled Lily, staring through her glum reflection in the window. "James Potter. I mean, come on Lily."

Mrs. Evans cleared her throat. "Right, that's very close to what I said when I first met your father."

Lily's head banged against the window in response.