Disclaimer: The quote belongs to Erica Jong
A/N: This chapter was the spark for this whole fic. I saw that there was a gap in the market vis-a-vie James/Another character fics 'cause everyone is James/Lily obsessives (which rawks, by the way. I'm a total James/Lily shipper too!) so I thought what if James pride was hurt by Lily's perfection and Snape's interferences? Who would he turn to? The other Marauders were out of the question (for reasons explained in this fic) so what about Alice Prewett (later Longbottom)? So I played around a little and this is what I came up with.
A/N Take Two: When I initially sent this to my friend Dan for his approval, he came up with the idea that James is a "dirty git", but I can assure you that wasn't my intention at all. There are deeper reasons behind his infidelity than that. I hope it comes through in the chapter...oh, you know what? Just go ahead and read it and I'll let you decide for yourselves...just remember to push that oh-so-pretty little button at the bottom of the page when you've finished deciding and let me know what you thought.
James Potter: Superbia
Pride n. a desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to acknowledge the good work of others, and excessive love of self.
Marriage isn't perfect. It's anything but.
You think that it will be different for you; that nothing will stand in the way of a perfect life. For Lily, I hope that sentiment still holds true, but for me? Oh, it's perfect alright-a perfect façade.
I don't mean to sound ungrateful, it's not Lily's fault; I'm just not cut out for the whole marriage-and-kids game. Padfoot would probably clap me on the back for admitting to that-he's not exactly a picket fence sort of guy either. Maybe that's why I'm not? But I can't blame it on anyone but myself really, can I?
Lily's beautiful. Flaming auburn hair and electric emerald eyes. I fell in love with her the second I saw her. It was one of those moments that you scoff at but there, in a compartment of the Hogwarts Express, aged eleven, I fell in love with a muggleborn witch. It was crazy; I was crazy. But it happened. We were both sorted into Gryffindor, of course; just proving to me that we were two halves of a whole; that we were meant to be together. I struggled for six long years to make her see it too but there were always obstacles.
My finesse on the Quidditch pitch, which was so appealing to other girls, left a bad taste in her mouth. It may have inflated my ego-I'll be the first to admit it-but it did nothing to secure a place in Lily Evans' heart. I was a troublemaker too, all in the hopes of gaining her attention. I was naïve; it never worked.
Then, of course, there was the issue of Snivellus.
Severus Snape is a Slytherin through and through and yet, somehow, he had slimed his way into Lily's confidences and I hated him for it. He was there that fateful day when I met my beautiful Lily; he walked into that compartment with her as if he had some all-powerful claim to her. As if I wasn't good enough to be in her presence. Truth is, he was right. I wasn't and I'm not.
You want to talk insecurities? Try spending every day for six whole years listening to the woman you love telling you how much of a non-entity you are. You might ask how we ended up married if that was the case and, to be honest, I couldn't tell you even if I wanted to. I don't know if she just had a sudden change of heart and took pity on me, or whether she had always secretly harboured love for me. Personally, I'd rather go with the latter option but that's just because I live in a dream world when it comes to Lily Evans.
But here we are. Married. Till death do us part and all that jazz.
I'm not unfaithful. It's not who I am. You don't look at me and think; 'James Potter, consummate womaniser'-that's Padfoot's job. It's just that something about this idyllic life has never sat right with me. Lily's too perfect for me that I feel totally inadequate in her company. I guess that was how everything started.
It's the ultimate sin, isn't it? A cardinal sin. The husband and the best friend. But it happens. Happened.
Alice has been in my life ever since I can remember. She lived in Godric's Hollow, not too far from me. You could say that there was a 'neighbourly' affection between us for a long time. I never told Lily, but Alice was my first girlfriend. I suppose it doesn't really count if the last time I called her 'my girlfriend' was when I was ten but whether it mattered or not, I hid it.
When we started Hogwarts, we remained friends…until she became friends with Lily, of course. When that happened, Alice became off-limits to me, as if I'd never known her. When you're faced with true love, you have to give up those childish crushes. It's a reflex action, as if they never mattered. Only one person had the power to break down that carefully built shield. Lily.
She's the epitome of morality-Alice, that is, not Lily. Lily loves to bend-break-the rules. The perfect destructive princess. So I must've had some all-powerful hold over her to initiate this, right? I wish that were the case; I wish I could blame myself entirely, but it's true what they say; it takes two to tango.
We saw each other socially, of course. As Lily's best friend, she had the obligation of attending each little society get-togethers that we held. I loved seeing her; it always felt like I was reliving my carefree childhood in amongst a world that was being ripped apart as we sipped cocktails and discussed the latest single release by the Weird Sisters.
I can't really pinpoint the moment when I fell for her. I don't even know if that's the right way to describe it, if I'm being honest. The truth is that I love Lily, I honestly do. More than life itself. It's just that this feeling of inadequacy doesn't go away that easily. I needed to talk to someone, anyone, but no one wanted to listen. No one wanted to believe anything less than flawlessness from Hogwarts' Golden Couple. Padfoot would, of course, be useless in this sort of situation; Moony would tell me that I was being ridiculous, or reckless, or both, and Worm worships the ground that I walk on so he would've just told me to do whatever I thought I should do. So who was left for me to turn to?
Alice was more than happy to listen. She immediately knew that something was wrong and wanted to help me. She's always been like that; the perpetual agony aunt. Whatever this thing was with us, it didn't start straight away. It was a gradual descent into temptation, into sin. Bliss.
So why am I confessing all of this? Damning evidence. Because now I am trapped in the façade that I tried to escape from and I need to tell the world that at one time in my life I, James Potter, refused to live a lie. Refused to be less or struggle to be more than I am. I love Lily, but sometimes love isn't enough.
As a wise muggle once said, "The truth is simple, you do not die from love. You only wish you did."