Previously on Boyfriend:

The sob that I had been holding inside for so long finally sounded. It tore my insides apart.

I had made him leave. I had ruined everything.

He wasn't coming back.

James was gone.

A/N: For Sarah.

Chapter Seventeen

Sisterly Advice

"You can kid the world but not your sister." - Charlotte Gray

I knew the exact second when the digital lines quickly moved from 5:59 A.M. to 6:00 A.M, just like I had watched it change each previous hour throughout the night. Surprise, surprise, I could not sleep. I was not deluded enough to think that insomnia was cool. That was just propaganda promoted by coffee enthusiasts. Insomnia was dreadful.

My tiredness had surpassed simple bodily fatigue. It was no longer just my limbs or my brain that felt tired. It was every nerve ending in my body, as though my synapses were not firing at the rate they should; a simple task was an ordeal. The worst pain was in my chest. Every heart beat took a Herculean effort. My lungs ached with each breath as I forced myself to continue existing. I felt like Atlas as I attempted to hold the world above my shoulders. I just wanted to drop it and end the agony.

I forced the blankets up to my chin and pulled my knees into fetal position. I closed my eyes as tight as I could make them and tried to escape the persistent, glowing light of the clock. Yet, sleep would not come. Defeated, I pried my eyes open. The neon green numbers were still glowing in the darkness, mocking me. I groaned as I glimpsed them once more. Why was time moving so slowly? I did not want this wretchedness to be prolonged. I hated how happy things flew by and misery took forever. I did not need any more time to think about what I had done to J-to him.

The guilt and pain began to swell inside of me once more, and I clenched my fingers harder against my blanket. The jersey I had grown so fond of was lying beside me, a darker scarlet color than normal from the crying jag I had been unable to avoid. I resented and cherished the shirt simultaneously. It felt like my lifeline, but it did not even have the decency to smell the way it should. I gripped it against my nose and felt revulsion when I could only smell my own scent on the fabric.

My entire body felt numb. I felt as though I was trapped in some stranger's body. Those were not my feeble legs that shook and spasmed, and my arms had never felt so much like rubber before. I was empty. No, it was worse. I was missing. When people felt empty, they did not know what they were lacking. Perhaps they did not have what they are looking for or had yet to discover what they needed from life. They never had the opportunity to find out what was lacking from their life.

I, however, knew exactly what I needed. I knew what I was looking for. I knew, and I had forced it away. I was missing. I was lacking. A hole had been ripped from the center of my chest, and I had nothing left with which to fill the cavernous hole that remained.

The digital lines adjusted once more. It was now 6:01 A.M.

I rolled over to face the window. Two weeks ago, Petunia and I had gazed out of that window to find a messy-haired boy waiting for me. Stifling a sob, I pulled my knees even closer into my chest as I attempted to hold myself together.

The sun did not rise for another twenty minutes. The light hurt my dry, red eyes, but I could not bear the sight of the clock any longer. Instead, I just stared out the window, as I waited for him to come back, though I knew he would not. I had seen to that. The knowledge of that fact made my bones feel like they were breaking as every breath I took rattled my tired lungs.

I lay in bed and waited but nothing could ease the dull, aching pain.

Later, I could hear rustling outside my bedroom door that preceded doors opening and closing, sluggish footsteps, and muffled grumbling. Three sets of feet went down the stairs and never returned. They easily began their morning like it was just another day, any old Tuesday. Not a one came in to check on me. They probably presumed I was still sleeping. Figures that the one time they respected my privacy I would be wallowing in bed like a pathetic invertebrate.

At around ten o'clock in the morning, I finally resigned myself to the fact that I would not be getting any sleep. Still, just because I was not going to sleep did not mean that I was going to leave the safe comfort of my bed.

I pushed my pillows back and sat against them as I brought my knees to my chest. I stared at the tiny nuances of my unicorn collection for what felt like ages. I took notice of the different shades of white and the varying lengths of horns. I looked into their bright blue eyes and tried to block out the memory of seeing the real version. Sadness started to fill me again, so I brought my knees even closer to myself while I kept my eyes trained in front of me.

I was pretty sure that I spaced out completely because when I heard a sharp knock on my window pane I was so startled that I nearly fell off my bed. Was it….?

Eagerly, I scrambled to the other side of my bed and looked at the window. Callie was flying excitedly outside as she pushed her beak against the glass to get my attention. I tried to smile at her, but my features probably looked all wrong as I attempted to hide my disappointment.

Forlornly, I flopped back onto the center of my bed. I had no intention of getting up. I doubted whether or not my dystrophied muscles could handle the exertion. Listlessly, I fumbled in my jeans pocket for my wand and pulled it out. Not trusting myself to speak, I thought the incantation, waved my wand, and the window opened.

Bitterly, I congratulated myself for another academic success.

Callie flew inside the room immediately. She hooted at me softly as she examined me with curious eyes. She nudged my shoulder with her beak and held out her foot proudly to show me her delivery. I tried to thank her verbally, but I could not force my dry throat to mutter any discernible sound. Instead, I settled for running my pointer finger across her spine and dutifully untying the letter.

Still confused and probably peeved about my behavior, Calypso flew out the window. I did not blame her. She had the strength to do what I could not.

With shaking fingers, I examined the small envelope in my hands. Unable to control the surprising feeling of dread that swept over me, I carefully broke the seal and began to read.

Dearest Lily,

Hi! How are you? Are you fantastic? I hope you're fantastic. You're probably getting ready for school and making sure you have all of your skirts at the perfect length (one inch above the knee, nothing more—too prude—nothing less—too desperate). I bet the weather's nice in Surrey. It's been a sunny morning here.

Okay. Enough with this. I can't do the obnoxious small talk thing anymore, Lils, because the guilt is killing me inside. Plus, it's not good for the skin. I'm all oily, even with that new face wash I bought. That's how much this is killing me. Seriously, I think I'm deader than Nearly Headless Nick. And stop wondering about the grammatical correctness of the word "deader." I am freaking out, Lily, and I don't have time to care about grammar or the English language or anything else, for that matter.

First of all, you have to understand that I am a horrible, horrible person. Stop your heated protests, Lils, because it's true. I suck at life. I don't deserve to exist. I'm scum. I'm worse than scum. I'm look what scum makes fun of (the kids who sing in Flitwick's choir). Right now, I'm admitting it. There it is on this parchment written by my awesome rainbow-colored, raspberry-scented quill (you know the one I bought at Hogsmeade in Fourth Year?). Okay, I'm going on a tirade because I'm avoiding the issue. Just give me one more sentence to still have your affection and respect before I drop the horrible guilt/pain/surprise/death bomb.

I lied to you.

There, I said it. I lied to you, Lily, and it wasn't a little lie either like when I pretended I liked that girl's sweater (her sweater was awful-and what was with all those cats?). It was a big one. It was like a Vernon Dursley-sized lie. My failure at being a good best friend could rival the disgustingness of his pervy mustache. I lied to you. Rico Suave wasn't just a random, off-the-street Latino lover. He was…..oh, Merlin's hairy back….Sirius Black!

I know. Okay? I KNOW, Lily. We've gone on for ages about how "horrible, pig-headed, conceited, lazy, and pompous" the bloke is. Not to mention that he is the best friend of your arch nemesis! But, we met up in Spain (I did go there, see, I'm not a liar about everything!). I was trying to get away from my parents being extra prodding, and he was buying a flying motorbike (I know it sounds ridiculous, but you should ride on the back of it with your hair flowing behind you and having his warm body to curl up behind). Oh, Merlin, did I just gross you out? I probably did. I'm explaining everything all wrong!

Anyways, this is what happened (so you can later document it in your future "Hestia Must Be Punished" book): We met up in Barcelona. He was actually really nice and polite to me. I wasn't the usual wise-cracking wench to him. It was summer, we were alone, and there was no pressure to perform (well…..we did perform, ACK! sorry!). I felt like I didn't have to be yelling at him or hexing him because I didn't have to prove anything to anyone. Instead, I could actually just spend time with Sirius. He's a pretty great bloke, Lils. We got a coffee, and we just kept meeting up randomly for the next few weeks. He was a real gentleman, too, crazy as it sounds. He never made the moves on me. I'm the one who had to kiss him!

There. I said it. I've been having clandestine meetings with Sirius Black (a.k.a. Rico Suave), and during the latter ones we have snogged quite happily. I didn't mean it to happen. It just did, and Lily, I'm kind of glad it did. Sirius is really fantastic. I think I might be falling for him. We've still kept in contact after my parents freaked out when they caught us. He's been sending me letters (I was surprised that he knew how to write, as well).

Oh, Lily! I'm so sorry! Lying to you these past few weeks has been one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I just didn't want you to be disappointed in me. Great job avoiding that, I guess. I basically just doubled it with the lying and the deceiving and the betrayal. I know that we've always been so determined to dislike the Marauders, and I just did not want to tell you that I had feelings for one. Only, I care about Sirius and about you too much to keep up this charade. Sirius is the one who gave me the courage to tell you! Apparently, something James said made him realize that all of this lying and sneaking around business was just death in the long run.

So that's it, Lily. You have every right to be mad at me, but please know that I value your friendship more than anything. I just hope you can accept the new guy in my life, even if he is a conceited prat (though, did you know that the fan club's rumors about the abs were true?). No matter what you decide to do, I'm just glad that the guilt is over with. You have no idea what it's like to have all that pain eating away at you. I am in like with Sirius Black, Lily, and I'm finally willing to admit it! Because, Lily, for the first time (assuming everything can be fixed with you), I feel blind numbingly happy.

Please find me on the train tomorrow, Lily. Even if you just want to scream at me, I need to see you. Please don't scream at me. It's just these damn boys that mess with my decision making abilities. I'm telling you, Lily, this love business is a tricky thing. Hopefully I can get you to understand. Sometimes even the best of people do really stupid things. It's these damn hormones, Lily, I swear! I see a bloke, and I'm like a centaur on the moon.

Don't hate me! I'll grovel if I have to!

Waiting on pins and needles for your reaction tomorrow,


P.S. Just in case you still need persuading, remember that time in Third Year when you ate too much treacle tart and ended up puking like a geyser? Who was there to hold your hair back and never complained about it? See! I still have best friend potential! I just need a second chance. Love you! –H

The parchment fell from my hand as I, dazed, fell back onto my pillows. On their own accord, my arms reached for my shirts' sleeves as they crossed in front of my torso, and I tucked my chin into my arms. Silently, tears began to leave my eyes as I fought to maintain blurry eyesight.

My entire world had turned upside down. Hestia had lied to me. My best friend in the whole world had blatantly lied to me for weeks! She was having a relationship with Sirius Black, of all people! Did she not remember that time in First Year when we started the "I Hate the Marauders Club," of which she was the Treasurer? Merlin, Hestia was involved with Sirius Black. He was Rico Suave.

Guilt flooded through me as I realized that this was probably the reaction she had been trying to avoid. I was such a horrid friend. No wonder she did not want to tell me. Merlin knew that I could not muster up the courage to do so. I was such a bloody hypocrite.


I picked up the letter once more.

Apparently, something James said made him realize that all of this lying and sneaking around business was just death in the long run.

My heart stopped beating. I began to breathe in shallow pants as tears came down faster and with heaving sobs. I crumpled the parchment with my fist and just cried.

The hysteria continued for nearly an hour. I just could not seem to stop crying. Finally, my eyes stopped producing tears, even though I could feel the sobs continue to shake my whole body. Gazing up at the cracks on my ceiling, I forced myself to calm down. I needed to figure out what this meant.

Okay, so my best friend was dating, well, snogging, J-his best friend. They had been together all summer and had finally decided to go public with the news. Suddenly, I felt nauseous. This was all sounding far too familiar.

What had he told Sirius? Did he use that mirror of his to inform his best mate of what had transpired between us? Did he let Sirius know how I had ruined everything? Where was he now? What was he doing? Was he lying in bed somewhere too? Did he feel as awful as I did?

I did not let myself entertain the notion. He was resilient. He was strong. Wherever he was, he was better off. It had been painful, but I knew it was for the right reasons. We did not work the way we had been going. I would have just been bad for him. He deserved so much better than me.

I could not even figure out that my best friend was in a relationship. I knew she complained about Sirius far too much. It was not natural to hate a person that much without there being another emotion hidden underneath.

A strangled sob escaped my throat, and, impossibly, the tears began to fall once more.

"Lily!" I heard a voice call a few minutes later.

Quickly, I brushed the tears off my face with the back of my hand and quieted my sobs.

"Lily! Are you still in bed at this hour? What am I going to do with you?" Mum exasperated as the sound of her voice drew closer.

I glanced quickly at my clock. It was 3:47 P.M. I stared at the green letters in shock. How long had I been crying for?

"Lily! Answer me, young lady!"

"I'm in my room, Mum!" I managed to choke out. My voice sounded scratchy and weak. I was surprised that I was able to get out any sound at all.

"Is James in there with you? I haven't seen him all day!"

The pain hit me as though someone had thrust a wooden stake into my heart. "He-he's not here," I croaked.

"Well, where is he? Did he run out to get something? I promised him that I'd make steak again for dinner before you guys leave tomorrow," answered Mum, sounding like she was right outside the door.

"I don't know where he is," I whispered to my empty room.

"Lily!" Mum called again. "Where is James?" she asked again as she swung the door to my room open.

"I don't know!" I yelled.

"Lily!" Mum gasped as she took in my appearance. "What happened to you? Where's James?"

I closed my eyes as I stubbornly tried in vain to keep the incessant tears from leaving my eyes. "I don't know where he is," I replied in a grating voice.

"What's wrong, Lily? Are you okay?"

I began to laugh. The mere notion of being okay seemed incredibly ridiculous. Nothing was okay. My laughter shook my body as much as my tears did.

"Lily!" Mum screeched as she strode over to the bed and grabbed my arms. "What happened? Where did James go?"

I could not answer her. I just kept rocking back and forth.

"C'mon, Lily, this isn't funny. Did you two have a fight? Where did he go?"

"He left," I murmured in response as another tear hit my cheek.

"Is he coming back?"

I stopped rocking and looked up at her horrified face for the first time. "No," I told her in a clear tone that was saturated with sadness. "No. He's not coming back."

"Well, Lily, could you explain to me what is going on?"

I turned away from her. "Nothing, just leave me alone."

"Lily!" she called as she reached out to touch me.

I jerked away from her grasp. "Please, Mum, I just want to be alone."

"Well, Lily, we can't always get what we want. Now, explain to me what happened so we can fix this."

"It can't be fixed," I said with realization as my gaze caught his jersey once more.

"Lily, what happened?"

"Please, Mum, please just leave me alone."

"Lily, you're scaring me," Mum replied as she wrapped her arms around me.

I briefly allowed myself to enjoy the comfort of her warmth around me. Still, the fact remained that there was no way my mum could make anything better. It was my problem, and not even the best mum in the whole world could solve it.

"Lily, tell me what happened," she coaxed in my ear as she rubbed soothing circles on my back.

"I need to be alone," I told her icily as I struggled out of her arms.

I did not want to look up at her hurt expression, but I caught it out of the corner of my eye.

After a few moments, I felt her weight leave the bed as she exited my room. I was alone again.

I sat on my bed, and I hated myself. I had lied to my entire family, I had betrayed Hestia's trust, I had exploited a person for my petty squabbles, I had said abominable things to James, and now I was just sitting on my bed and feeling sorry for myself. I was repulsive, the whiny girl that I had always hated in books and movies for sitting on her bum and letting her life crumble around her.

I wanted to be the hero. I wanted to get out of bed and do something proactive. I wanted to kick my own ass for being such a prat. Most of all, I wanted to swoop in at the final hour and fix everything with a flick of my magic wand. Wasn't that what magic was for, anyway? Wasn't it supposed to make life easier? Or was heartbreak universal? Were we all the same in our emotions?

My stomach gurgled around 6:00 P.M. from the lack of food. The thought of going downstairs, plastering a smile on my face, and eating steak with the rest of the family made my stomach churn even more. I stayed put. About twenty minutes later, I heard swift footsteps climbing up the stairs.

"April!" I heard Dad call out.

"Henry, I don't care. She needs to come out and explain herself."

"April, give the girl some time to sort things through. She asked to be alone."

"I don't care what she asked for!" screeched Mum, sounding hysterical outside my door. "She is my daughter, and she will tell me what is going on."

"She doesn't want to talk about it," replied my father's soothing voice.

"I don't give a rat's ass what she wants. Why has she been crying in her room all day? Where's James?"

I flinched when I heard his name, but I could not stop myself from listening in on my parents' conversation.

"Maybe he had to go somewhere," rationalized Dad.

"Oh, stuff it, Henry. This is not teenage girl Juliet sobfest. This is Lily. She never cries. I think I've seen her cry once since she was eight and that was only after she broke her arm."

"All the more reason to give her some space until she's ready to talk to us."

"I'm her mother! I gave birth to her! Hence, the no space!" Mum shouted.

"She's not a little girl anymore, April. As much as I don't want to, we have to respect her privacy. "

"I'll respect her privacy when she stops wallowing up in her room. I bet you she hasn't eaten all day. It's not healthy! What if she doesn't come out? She's got school tomorrow. What are we supposed to do?"

"I don't know," he answered, sounding genuinely uncertain.

"Where did James go? Do you think they broke up? God, Henry, if they broke up…..He's so perfect for her! What could have possibly happened?"

"I'm not sure, April," said Dad. "Maybe he had to go back home for a little while. Maybe he had to pack, or something."

"Then why is Lily so upset? You didn't see her before, Henry. She's almost catatonic in there. I've never seen her like that before. I'm afraid she's going to do something to herself. She's not our Lily in there. I'm going to go check on her. She needs me."

I watched as the doorknob started to twist.

"No," said Dad forcefully. "Give her the rest of the day. That's all she gets."

I heard Mum begin to murmur incomprehensible complaints.

"I'm not saying forever, dear, just the rest of the night. Tomorrow, I'm perfectly okay with you busting the door down. God, I'll help you push. Just let her cope with this on her own a bit more. Lily's always been strong. She'll tell us when she's ready. If we force something now, she might never figure it out for herself."

"I don't like this," Mum hissed.

"Me neither," agreed Dad glumly. "That's our baby girl in there. Whatever the hell James did to her, trust me, I want to know."

With a gasp, I fell back onto the pillows as I listened to their footsteps fade away.

Overwhelmed, I finally fell asleep.

"Lily, wake up."

"Mphh," I groaned in protest as I rolled to avoid the bony fingers poking in my side.

"Lily, get up," the voice persisted.

I pulled my pillow over my face. "Go away," I whined.

"C'mon, Lily."

"Leave me alone, Mum," I protested as I forced the pillow further into my face to block out the sound.

"It's not Mum, Lily. It's Petunia," the voice told me.

My groans stopped. "Tuney?" I asked in confusion.

"Yes," she answered.

I removed the pillow from my face. Petunia, in her hairless arm glory, was sitting on my bed. Her blonde hair was failing limp on her shoulders, and her forehead was wrinkled with worry.

"What are you doing here?" I asked dumbly, blinking up at her.

"Trying to wake you up, obviously," she replied snarkily. "Mum told me that I had to try to talk some sense into you since you wouldn't listen to her."

"Oh," I replied as I sat up in bed and pulled my knees to my chest. I removed the hair that was covering my face, and Petunia grimaced at what she saw.

"God, Lily, you look like someone ran you over with a bus."

"Imagine what I'd look like without the beauty sleep," I replied back glumly.

Petunia smacked my arm with a pointed look before she scooted in front of me. "Lily, tell me what happened."

Looking down at my lap, I took a deep breath as I tried to formulate some kind of answer. How did you explain that you were a monster?

As I looked up into her bright blue eyes, I could not find the words. I sighed in aggravation.

Petunia patted my knee awkwardly with two taps. "Tell me, Lily."

"Are you in love with Vernon?" I asked suddenly as I focused on her hand rather than her face.

"Yes," she answered after a moment's hesitation.

"How do you know?" I asked her.

"I dunno," she said with a shrug. "There was never a fairytale moment when I looked at him and suddenly I knew. There was no bell ringing or birds singing or fireworks or any of that rubbish. I couldn't tell you when it happened exactly. As you like to point out, Vernon's not exactly what I had imagined as my perfect guy," Petunia said with a pointed glare at me.

"Sorry," I squeaked.

Petunia sighed. "Yeah, well," she brushed off. "That doesn't matter to me as much as it used to. Vernon's a good bloke. He treats me right. He's loyal, and I can depend on him to be there for me completely. His family absolutely abhors me, but they'll get over it sooner or later."

"But how do you know?" I pressed.

"It's not a multiple choice test, Lily," Petunia replied. "Love's not black and white like that. I love Vernon. He makes me laugh, and he makes me feel safe." She paused to think for a few moments before speaking again. "I'd rather spend time with him than not. He tries to put my feelings first and doesn't let me get too crazy. Sure, he's not perfect, but he makes the effort to do right by me. He makes me feel loved."

"Really, Vernon?" I asked without being able to stop myself.

She rolled her eyes. "Stop making that face at me, freak," she laughed as she pushed my shoulder. "We can't choose who we fall in love with. A girl could do a lot worse than Vernon Dursley."

"But the mustache, Tuney," I insisted.

"Hey, I like the mustache," she told me.

I rolled my eyes. "Sure, you do."

"It's dignified," Petunia claimed.

"Sure," I replied with a snarky laugh.

"You get used to it," she admitted finally. "It made snogging uncomfortable at first, though."

I groaned. "Mental images," I complained.

She whacked my arm again. "Shut it, Lily. Everybody's got their stuff that annoys the hell out of you," Petunia told me as she ran her hand up her arm and took a deep breath. "I think that love is putting up with all the crap and still not wanting to off the person the next day."

"Cheers," I replied.

She shrugged. "I'm a romantic," she quipped.

My eyes went back to examining my lap as any momentary normalcy faded away.

"Okay, stop stalling, Lily, and tell me why you spent all day crying in your room yesterday like a complete prat. Seriously, it's getting pathetic. You're annoying the hell out of me."

"I don't really want to talk about it," I muttered.

"Well, I do, and I'm older than you, so start talking," Petunia insisted.

"Fine, I was upset," I said finally as I crossed my arms across my chest.

"Well, obviously," she grumbled. "About what?" Petunia pressed.

"Nothing important."

"Lily, you start squawking, or I swear to God that I will let Mum up here with a lie detector."

"You wouldn't," I challenged.

"Oh, I so would," she replied. "Now, what the hell happened? Where is your freak boyfriend?"

"He's not my boyfriend," I answered with a pang.

"You two broke up?"

"We were never going out," I stated glumly.


"We were never really a couple," I reiterated, no longer caring that I had just ruined my secret. It was not important to me anymore.

"I don't understand what you're talking about."

"Petunia, I lied to you. I lied to you and Mum and Dad and anyone who has allegiance to the Queen. When you saw him in my window that morning, I was so angry with you because you were saying how I couldn't get a boyfriend. So, imagine my surprise when it wasn't some random bloke but someone I've known and despised for six years. He's just some prat from school who came over to harass me, and I told you he was my boyfriend because I was mad that you said I couldn't get one. This whole time I've been lying to you."

"Why?" she asked with a befuddled expression.

"I don't know!" I wailed. "Don't ask me to understand the crap logic behind my neural misfires. I'm an idiot, and I ruined everything."

"I'm not denying that, but what happened to cause the mental breakdown?" Petunia pressed.

"We had a huge fight."

"Are we talking back when we both wanted the last ice cream cone and it resulted in the Fiasco of '69?"

"Worse," I groaned as I flopped backwards onto my bed.

"Oh, dear," sighed Petunia as she lay down next to me. "That is bad."

"I know," I croaked.

With a sigh, I launched into detailed explanation of all the events that had occurred during the past two weeks. At first it was painful to recount the events, but once it had all left my mouth, I ended up feeling almost cathartic. It felt good to tell someone finally.

When I had finished, Petunia sucked in her cheeks as I could nearly see her brain whizzing at about eighty kilometers an hour. "So if you and James were only pretending to date this whole time, why did I always catch you two snogging?"

"He's a good snogger," I sighed. "He's a good everything," I added. "And I wanted you to think we were the perfect couple. He didn't have many objections to it. Though, by the end, neither did I," I realized.

"So why are you wallowing in your room with me when you could by having freak snog sessions with him?"

"Because I'm an idiot, and I broke up with him."

"Why the bloody hell would you do that?" Petunia demanded while she hit me in the shoulder.

"See? I told you. I'm an idiot," I remarked in defeat.

"You are an idiot," Petunia agreed with a nod.

"Oh, now I feel better," I groaned. "You're really good with the comforting, Tuney. I feel very consoled right now."

"In my books, you should feel lousy. God, Lily, have you ever even looked at James?"

I raised my eyebrow at her questioningly.

"Not like that, you perv," she continued. "I'm not Mum."

I almost chuckled, but the instinct died quickly.

"That boy loves you. I've never seen anything like it. The bloke would do anything for you, even when you're being a complete bitch to him in the mornings. How could you let him go? Better question, why the hell would you make him go?"

I paused for a second. "I was scared," I answered finally. "I've never dealt with this whole love thing before, and it made me so confused. Everything was jumbled. I couldn't tell what I was faking and what I was believing. Everything was happening too fast, and he was so sure of it all. I felt like I was the only one who was jumping without a parachute without ever actually getting on the plane in the first place. I was scared."

"You were scared?" she asked with a pointed glare.

"It's hard to believe, I know," I quipped bitterly.

"Hell, Lily, here I thought some freak tragedy thing had occurred, and this whole time you've just had intimacy issues. God, could you be any more predictable? It's the most obvious thing in the whole world. You love him."

"I do?" I asked timidly.

"Of course you do!" Petunia exclaimed. "Why else would you be sulking in your room for a whole day if you didn't love him? God, you're dense. I don't know why Mum and Dad are always going on and on about how smart you are. You're dumber than dry toast. Blimey, Lily, if anything was more obvious than his love for you, it's your love for him. You get all pathetic whenever he looks at you! Why do you think I've been so annoyed with your googly eyes and gagworthy giggling? You're in love!"

"I'm in love," I said to myself as I tried out the words. "I'm in love with James." Saying it aloud made me whole body tingle with warmth. "God, I'm in love with James Potter. Oh my God!"

"You said 'God,'" Petunia realized. "I haven't heard you say that in years." Suddenly, she flung her arms around me.

I nearly toppled over from her enthusiasm. I patted her back awkwardly. "Ahh, Petunia, oxygen becoming an issue here."

"Oh, sorry," she apologized. As she loosened her hold on me and pulled away, I noticed with a shock that tears were forming in her eyes.

"Petunia, what's the matter?" I asked worriedly. "Why are you crying?"

"I'm not crying," she rebuked as she hastily rubbed her eyes with her sleeve. "I'm trying out a new mascara, and I think I'm allergic to it."

"Don't try to pull that crap on me, Loony Tunes," I told her. "I'm the liar here," I continued with a meek chuckle at my joke. "Tell me."

She ran her hand up her arm. "It's just been a long time since I've felt like I was talking to my sister and not a witch. You only say Merlin anymore. It's nice to hear you say 'God' like you used to. It's like you're still you."

"Yeah, well, it's hard to remember that you belong to another culture when you're freaking out," I replied lamely.

"Love will do that to you," Petunia replied with a smile.

"But, oh, God, Tuney, I just messed everything up. I said the most awful things to James!"

"I don't find that too hard to believe," she grumbled.

"Yes, I know, my foot lives in my mouth. What am I supposed to do now?"

"You love him?"


"And you want to be with him?"


"And have a real boyfriend this time?"

"For God's sake, yes, Petunia!"

"Then get the hell out of bed, Lily!" said Petunia forcefully as she pushed me off of my mattress fortress of solitude.

I landed on the ground with a thump. "Ow!" I complained as I rubbed what was soon to be an ostrich sized bruise on my fragile bum.

"It's about time you got off your bed."

"The internal bleeding in my left cheek does not agree with you," I muttered darkly.

"Stop whining, Lily," she hissed. "Or I'm not going to help you fix this."

"It can't be fixed!" I moaned. "It's all shattered into a million tiny pieces. I messed it all up. James probably won't ever talk to me anymore, not that I can blame him. I was such a cow to him. He must hate me now."

"Well, then you have to make him like you again."

"I can't!" I griped. "There's no use! It's hopeless!"

Petunia grabbed my arms and started shaking me. "Lily, snap out of it. You're being ridiculous, and frankly I want to slap you right now, even though I won't because your face is red enough as it is."

"Thanks," I replied quickly.

"No problem," she retorted. "You should start wearing foundation," she added before beginning her speech again. "You love a boy, Lily. It's not the end of the world. You just have to grow up and start accepting it."

"Doesn't change the fact that he wants nothing to do with me," I grumbled.

"So you have to make something happen, Lily. Sitting on your ass and wallowing in bed all day is not going to make anything better. If you want James back, you have to do it. Find him. Apologize. Tell him the truth."

"And what if he still rejects me?"

"Then you keep trying, Lily. If you love this boy, you don't give up. You do everything you can. You keep on trying until it happens. You are my little sister, so you better start acting like it."

I stared at Petunia with wide eyes. Finally, I found my voice. "That was kind of beautiful," I murmured in awe.

"Yeah, well, get off your ass because there's no way James is going to take you back when you're wearing that outfit," she said with a wrinkled nose as she frown in distaste at the crumpled jeans and gray t-shirt that I was still wearing from the other day. "I don't even need to ask if you've taken a shower lately because I can smell you from here, and the hair is just so….don't even get me started."

"Ahh, there's my sister. I was wondering if I was going to have to ask you your favorite type of jam in case someone had your under the Imperius curse."

"What?" she asked in confusion.

"Freak speak. Don't worry about it," I replied with a wave of my hand.

"Oh, right. Okay then, freak."

"What time is it?" I asked suddenly.

"9:32," Petunia answered as she turned to look at my clock.

"What?" I shrieked. "What do you mean it's 9:32? How can it be 9:32?"

"Well, 9:31 just happened and 9:33 is almost-" Petunia began.

"Oh, God, I have to catch the train at 11:00," I realized. "Why didn't someone wake me up earlier?"

Petunia raised an eyebrow at me. "Are you forgetting the catatonic bed girl from twenty minutes ago, sis?"

"I haven't even packed yet! How am I going to be able to fix things with James before that?" I fretted as I paced around my room.

Petunia pushed me to the door. "Go shower. I'll pack for you."

"Thanks, Tuney," I said as I tried to hug her.

She pushed my arms out of the way. "Heartwarming crap later, Lily," she told me briskly. "I've got zip time to get you ready and hell of a lot of work to do if we're going to make James fall in love with you again. Go."

"Right, shower," I replied as I headed out the door. After a few steps, I turned around and flung my arms around her neck. "I love you, Tuney."

"You smell," she complained. "Go shower, freak."

I raced out the door.

Smiling to myself as I closed the bathroom door, I ripped off my t-shirt and threw it onto the floor. I had been wearing it for too long.

I quickly stepped into the shower and turned the water on. "Cold, cold, cold," I yelped as the water hit my back. Frantically as I hopped around the tiny tub to try to avoid the water, I turned the dial to as hot as I could make it. I shrieked as the water began to burn my back. "Hot!"

I moved the dial again, and the water turned to a more normal temperature. Slowing down my pace slightly to avoid any further personal injury, I took out my strawberry shampoo and started to wash the past two days away.

As soon as I turned the water off five minutes later, I began rushing again. With my wand, I quickly dried myself off as I brushed my teeth with my other hand, letting my magical and muggle sides freak out in harmony.

Throwing a towel around myself, I exited the bathroom and walked to my room as I dried my hair with my wand.

"Took you long enough," Petunia scolded me as she threw a pair of pants out of my closet and onto the floor. "God, don't you have anything good to wear?"

"Petunia, how many times do I have to tell you that most of this stuff is yours?" I asked with exasperation. "Besides, I just need a few essentials and my uniforms. We don't have enough time to color coordinate."

Petunia nodded as she reached into my closet and extracted a huge pile of clothes from it. "This should do," she said as she started removing hangers. I joined her at my bed.

"Oh, God, what happened to your hair?" she asked with horror.

"What?" I asked, petrified.

"Why is it so frizzy?"

I ran to a mirror. My hair had formed about a ten centimeter pouf around my entire head. "Oh, sweet Merlin's Jesus!" I yelped. "My spell must have backfired from all the humidity."

"You look like a poodle," Petunia said as she tried to control her laughter.

"Holy hell, what are we going to do?"

"You stay here and finish packing your stuff. I'll get the hair straightener ready. I put an outfit out for you to wear. Go!" she ordered as I scrambled to fill out her requests.

Quickly, I threw on the black skirt and blue tank top she had laid out for me. Without even noticing what clothes I was bringing, I stuffed different things into my trunk. I collected my books and threw those in, as well. In a haphazard fashion, I ran back and forth around my room as I found miscellaneous objects and stuffed them into my trunk.

As I was walking around my bed, I found James's jersey lying on the ground. Gingerly, I bent down and picked it up. I put it on over my tank top. I needed to wear it today.

Petunia came back about five minutes later.

"Help me close the trunk," I requested quickly as I got off my knees from my fruitless attempts at shoving my belongings down.

She walked over and frowned. "Why are you wearing that shirt? It's completely unflattering. You look like a curveless blob." She sat down next to me on top of the trunk.

"It's meaningful and thoughtful," I told her as we both shifted our weight around on the trunk. "He'll like it."

"He'd probably like a push-up bra more," she grumbled.

I sighed. "Just trust me on this, Tuney," I said.

The trunk closed, and I finally heard the top click down. Petunia locked the clasp as I grabbed my makeup bag.

"What about my stupid eyelashes?" I asked.

"Not enough time," she said quickly. "You'll have to do it as I do your hair," she said before grabbing my arm and dragging me into the bathroom. "Sit on the toilet," Petunia commanded briskly.

I complied as I began to open my makeup bag. I fumbled with the cap to my eyeliner as Petunia began to brush through my hair furiously.

"Oww," I hissed as she nearly took my scalp off. "You're killing me."

"Really not the time to moan and groan, Lily," she muttered through gritted teeth.

"Well, I can't exactly win the boy back if I'm dead."

"Unless he's into that sort of thing."


She brushed my hair even harder.

I winced again as I opened my compact and started applying eyeliner. A few seconds later, I felt the heat of the hair straightener on the side of my head.

Due to her haste, Petunia burned my ear as she pulled the straightener back.

"Bloody, freaking, oww!" I yelped as I flinched, causing me to poke myself in the eye with the eyeliner.

"This wouldn't hurt so much if you would stop fidgeting," she told me.

"Because we have so much time," I groaned as I took out my mascara brush.

Four new fresh burns later, my hair was finished. We hurried back to my room, and Petunia handed me my black high-heeled sandals to wear.

"How do you expect me to hurry in heels?" I asked in frustration.

"You're already wearing the manlady shirt. How do you expect to look appealing in torn up flip-flops?" she countered. "Besides, it'll reduce the height difference if you are forced to snog him into submission."

"Good point," I assented as I finished buckling the death contraptions to my feet and shakily rose.

With my wand, I shrunk my trunk and placed it in my school bag, which I swung over my shoulder. Then I grabbed Calypso's cage. "Time to go, Cal," I told her before turning to Petunia. "I must be forgetting something."

"We'll mail-um, owl, it to you," Petunia reassured me. "Go."

"What about my room? It's a mess!" I said as I looked around my room. It was like a disaster zone from a 6 point earthquake.

"Don't worry. I'll take care of it. You have to go! It's already a quarter past ten!"

My eyes bulged as I looked at the clock. The green digits gleamed rudely back at me. I ran over to Petunia and threw myself at her once more. "Thanks for everything, Petunia."

She hugged me briefly before pushing me away. "Go before you're too late! I'll tell Mum and Dad what happened."

"All of it?" I asked.

"The abridged version. I'm thinking it involves PMS and a dead family pet."

I nodded and rushed out the door. "You're the best sister ever!" I yelled over my shoulder.

"Tell me something I don't already know!" I heard her call out to me as I scampered down the stairs.

I headed straight to the kitchen cabinet, yanked it open, and grabbed a granola bar.

"Lily!" Mum exclaimed as I shoved my third bar into my face. Merlin, was I hungry.

I nearly choked as she slammed into me.

"Mum!" I said in a raspy voice as I tried to push her away.

She only wrapped her arms around me tighter. "Oh, Lily, you scared me so much! Don't you ever do that to me again!"

"I'll try not to," I promised.

"Never," she reiterated. "God, Lily, when I think-"

"Mum," I interrupted her. "As much as I would love to have a touching mother-daughter moment right now, I have a train to catch. Can we just agree that you know everything and that I should always listen to you?"

She deliberated for a brief moment. "Sounds good," she agreed finally. "But, first, where's James?"

I sighed. "It's a long story, Mum. Just know that I'm going to go talk to him and that everything will be okay, I hope."

She debated me testily with pursed lips. "I'm only agreeing to this because your father called me pushy and interfering last night," she grumbled. "I'm not pushing or interfering. Oh, and Lily, you should really change your shirt. It doesn't go with your outfit."

"Thanks," I replied with a smile as I finished the rest of the granola bar. "And thanks for sending Petunia to my room."

"I didn't," she said. "She's the one who said she wanted to see you."

I smiled hugely at her before giving her a big hug. "I love you, Mum," I told her as I glanced at the clock. "Gotta go!" I shrieked. "Petunia will fill you in on everything. See you next summer!"

"Don't you want me to drive you?"

"No time!" I told her. "I have to apparate."

I grabbed Calypso's cage and started sprinting out of the house.

"It better be a good explanation, young lady!" she called sternly after me.

"The best!" I assured her over my shoulder. "A whole meter of parchment! Bye, Mum!" I yelled as I opened the front door to the house and ran out.

My feet killing me, I continued darting down our sidewalk. I passed Dad, who was wearing his bathrobe as he bent down to fetch the paper. I quickly wrapped my arms around him and kissed his cheek. "Bye, Dad! Off to school!"

"Have fun, Lils," he murmured sleepily. "Don't get into trouble," he added in the same hazy tone.

"Who, me?" I asked with a laugh as I continued my marathon.

Suddenly, he looked up at me as realization dawned on him. "Oi, Lily!" he exclaimed.

"No time, Dad!" I called back to him. "Love you!" I told him as I finally reached the part of the road that was safe for apparating. With a turn, I disappeared, leaving him to stare in his bathrobe at where I had been standing.

When I opened my eyes, I was outside the gate of King's Cross. Not even allowing myself a spare second to smile at my success, I quickly entered the station and began weaving through the hordes of people crowding around. I raced passed platforms as I kept my eyes peeled for a messy head of hair.

"Lily!" I heard someone call. "Lily!"

I stopped mid-step, and I nearly toppled into the couple standing in front of me. Calypso hooted unhappily as I jostled her cage.

Hestia pushed her way towards me. "Lily! Oh, Merlin! Lily!" she exclaimed loudly.

I did not wait for her to reach me. "Can't talk now, Hestia!"

Her smile disappeared, and her blue eyes blinked at me. "Oh, I understand," she voiced over the dim as she pushed her hair behind her ear.

"No!" I yelled out to her as I brushed past a large group of people in front of me. "It's not like that! I have to go find James Potter!"

"Why?" I heard her yell after me.

"I have to tell him I love him!" I called over my shoulder as I continued trudging through the platform.

"What!" she shrieked so loudly that I noticed several of the people in the station turned to stare at her. "Lily!"

"Lily!" I heard several more times in varying stages of extreme loudness.

Nearly chuckling to myself, I kept going until I finally arrived in front of the barrier at Platform 9 ¾. Frantically, I looked around as I tried to find James. Mentally, I hoped that he had not gone onto the train already. My eyes brushed over various muggles and wizards traveling through the station. I saw parents trying to control crying children, teenagers blushing in embarrassment about their overbearing parents, and busy Londoners going about their business.


There he was. He was standing to my left by himself as he loaded his trunk onto a cart. I could make out the disarray of his hair, the leanness of his tall build, and the glint of his glasses in the sunlight. Practically on their own accord, my feet ran to him.

"James!" I breathed as I got closer to him.

He did not hear me. His eyes were still fixated on his luggage.

I strained to get closer to him. "James!" I exclaimed as I wobbled as my right heel hit a divot in the pavement.

James instinctually put his arms out to level me but retracted them before he touched me. His hazel eyes flashed on mine before he looked away.

"Heels," I explained to him meekly. "Petunia told me to wear them."

Without a word, he turned and started pushing his cart away.

All of the air left my lungs, and I felt like a deflated balloon. I bit my lip and followed him. "No, wait, James, please!" I called.

He stiffened momentarily, and I took advantage of his hesitation. I crossed in front of him to avoid any escape. "Don't run away."

James fidgeted in place.

"Please, I need to talk to you," I beseeched.

He sighed in frustration and ran a hand through his hair.

I watched in fascination as I tried to memorize the motion. I waited for him to say something, but he just stood there with his eyes trained on the platform behind me. His face looked sallower than usual, and he had large bags underneath his eyes that rivaled my own. His white button-down shirt looked wrinkled. He seemed so sad. I felt warm at the thought that I could fix this.

"Thank you," I said sincerely, biting my lip as I thought of the best way to phrase my thoughts. Mentally, I cursed myself for not preparing laminated note cards. This kind of situation called for more preparation than I had given it. "I think, that is, I know, well, I'm pretty sure that..." I stuttered.

"If you came to give me my shirt back, I don't want it anymore," he murmured quietly.

I played with the hem of his jersey. "No, it's not that," I said.

"Then what is it?" he asked in a dead, flat voice that did not sound like his usual amiable tone.

"Well, you see," I began.

He twisted his hair in his hands. "I don't have time for this," he said dismissively before pushing his trolley past me.

I stuck my heel in front of the wheel and put Calypso's cage and my bag on top of his trolley. "Please, James, give me five minutes."

He eyed me icily. "I can't imagine that you would have anything left to say to me."

I stared up at his annoyed face. As much as I wanted this to have been at a different time in another way, I just needed him to know. "I love you," I said truthfully.

Whatever he had been expecting me to say, that had certainly not been it. His eyes grew wide behind his glasses, and his entire body shifted towards me as if it was subconsciously coaxing me to say it again. "What?" he asked, disbelief replacing the former hostility in his tone.

"I love you," I repeated. I took a shaky breath, and the same goofy smile that always appeared when I thought about loving James returned to my lips. "I'm in love with you, James."

He gazed at me with a dumbfounded expression for a few moments before he straightened up his back and took a calming breath. "Like you told your family before," he accused curtly.

"Yes!" I agreed. I was met with fire in his eyes. "I mean, no!" I corrected myself. "It's not like that. This is different than before."

"You made your feelings for me perfectly clear the other night."

"James, forget about that," I pleaded. "That wasn't me! Well, it wasn't the real me! Listen to what I'm telling you now."

"It doesn't work like that, Lily," he told me.

I could easily detect the anger bubbling up behind his words.

"You told me to leave. You told me you didn't want me. After everything I did for you, the lying, the mind games, everything, you said it wasn't real. It was your decision. Don't make up excuses now to let yourself feel better."

"I was being a prat," I exclaimed.

He snorted derisively.

I took a step closer to him, and he shifted back slightly. "Honestly, James, you spent two weeks with me at my house, and you haven't figured out that I am a complete and utter loon when it comes to you? Who else makes me so frazzled that I start inventing imaginary boyfriends for myself?"

He crossed his arms across his chest with an uncompromising look on his face as he jutted out his jaw. "That didn't stop you from exploiting me. Face it, Lily. You completely used me and then discarded me when you were through."

I swallowed. "I know," I admitted remorsefully. "But, James, you have to believe me when I say I am so sorry. I promise-"

"Nothing's changed," he cut me off abruptly. "No one knows. I'll tell Sirius that I was just playing a prank on him. You can go back to your perfect life, and no one will ever know what happened."

"We can't go back," I told him. "I can never go back."

"You seemed pretty convinced that you could."

"I told Petunia about us," I babbled quickly. "I told her everything. She knows that I lied and that you only pretended to be my boyfriend."

"Why would you do that?" he asked, looking at me for the first time all day.

Involuntarily, I smiled when I saw his eyes. The familiar touch of gold surrounded by green made me feel at home. "Because you're more important than some stupid sisterly competition. You're better than that. You deserve more than that. You mean more to me than that."

"How do I know that I can trust you?" he asked me simply.

"James, I've spent a whole day wallowing in my bed, crying my bloody eyes out over you. I nearly killed myself in these shoes as I ran to get to you. Half the people here must think I'm ruddy insane. Maybe I am. I was so stupid to think that I could just let you go. It was the biggest mistake of my life."

"Then why did you?"

I chuckled bleakly to myself. "Because I was scared and confused," I answered as I hated myself for such feeble reasoning. "I know it's no excuse, but it's the truth. You were just some annoying, pigheaded, arrogant git that pestered me at school. How was I supposed to know that you could make me feel this way? I've never been in love before. It's so new to me. It was so hard to hate you when you were being so wonderful and putting up with all my crap. I freaked out, and I pushed you away, okay? I'm sorry, James. I hate myself for hurting you."

I took a step closer to him, and looked up at his inscrutable eyes. "It was a mistake," I continued. "That doesn't mean that I don't love you, and it doesn't mean that I don't want you. It just means that it's physically killing me to be this close to you while you're in so much pain when I know that you don't have to be."

I hesitantly placed my fingertips on his face to bring his eyes closer to mine. My fingernail grazed the slight stubble that was forming along his jaw. I took a deep breath to fill my nostrils with his smell. "James, I love you, and I am willing to spend as much time as it takes to get you to see that and to win back your trust. I'll ask you out every day for six and a half years if that's what you want," I joked lamely. "I'll do whatever it takes to get you to be my boyfriend again, and not just at Hogwarts, but for as long as you'll have me."

He pulled my hands away from his face and took a step back. His eyes gazed so deeply into mine that I felt like he was X-raying me. "Is that all?" he asked in an eerily calm voice.

I tried to subdue the panic that was trembling across my spine. "Yes," I replied.

I closed my eyes I prepared myself for the worst. Forbearance flowed through me as I pictured the eminent rejection, laughter, dismissal, or even slap in the face. I deserved them all and more.

I opened my eyes again as I prepared myself for his judgment.

He swallowed, and I watched his Adam's apple bob with the movement. He stared at me with the most unfathomable expression. I could see his eyes whizzing with thoughts behind his glasses, but I had no idea what those thoughts were.

Finally, I grew tired of waiting. I grew tired of waiting for him to constantly be the one to make the first move. James always had to be the instigator. For once, I wanted to do it. It was time. I wanted James, and I was going to make it happen.

I strode over to him swiftly, stood up on my tiptoes, pulled his face down to meet mine, and kissed him.

For a fleeting second, I panicked as he did not respond. Then, he hesitantly opened his lips by the smallest of millimeters. Elated by this tiny victory, I began to move my lips purposefully against his. I launched my arms around his neck and started kissing him fervently. If this was my one way of getting him back, by Merlin I was going to snog him well.

My hands instinctually reached for his untidy hair, and I used it to pull his face even closer to mine. His hands grabbed my hips, and he pulled us together. Even with every crevice of his body pressed up against mine, I wanted him closer. He opened his mouth, and I stuck my tongue out to taste the mouth that I had missed so much. My heart beat with excitement as I realized that I was snogging James Potter. I could feel his lips start to turn up into a smile against my own grin.

Slowly, our lips became less frenzied and more lingering. Finally, I pulled my lips away from his and panted to regain my breath.

I slid my hands down from his hair to around his neck. "James, take me back," I pleaded with him.

He inhaled, and I felt the warm air on my cheek. "I shouldn't really," he told me softly. "You broke my heart. I shouldn't just let you back so easily. I don't know if I can trust you after everything that's happened." His fingers traced along my cheek thoughtfully.

My smile faltered. "James, please," I begged.

"You broke me," he whispered vulnerably. "I can't handle any more games, Lily," he said. "I won't do it to myself."

"James, I don't want to mess with you. I just want to be with you. I know what it's like now not to be with you, and I've realized that it's just not a feasible option for me. I love you too much."

He sighed for a long time. "Lily, you're it for me," he said finally. "Offer me even the slightest chance that this will work, and I'm yours. You know that. What other choice do I have?"

Unable to say anything because I was too filled with the sheer love I had for the boy in front of me to possibly integrate anything else into my head, I grabbed his face and kissed him once more.

"Lily?" he whispered back with a bit of mischief in his eyes, as though he had just stolen a million galleons from Gringotts undetected.


"Thanks for kissing me and making everything better," James said.

I smiled warmly at him. "I thought you could use a break."

"Well, it was your fault. You're kind of an insufferable, idiotic, pigheaded git, love."

I smiled at him. "Nice use of adjectives," I complemented him.

He rolled back on his heels a bit as he ran a hand through his very messy hair. "Well, I had a great mentor."

"I love you," I told him.

"I knew you'd come around," he replied before he swooped down to kiss me.

My eyes fluttered closed as I reveled in the moment.

"James!" a voice called loudly. "James, dear!"

I could feel the protesting rumble in his chest as he started to pull away.

I groaned and tightened my hold on his hair. "No," I murmured against his lips.

"It's my mum," he told me as he kissed my lips for the last time.

I pulled back suddenly. "Your mum's here?" I asked in astonishment.

"Yeah," he told me with a shy smile as his hand reached back for his hair. "She and Dad came home from their mission last night. They're here to see me off to school. It is my last year and all. I'm surprised the Evans family isn't here somewhere giggling in the corner," he added with a look over his shoulder.

Rolling my eyes, I took his hand and clasped mine around it. "James, that's fantastic," I told him truthfully, realizing how important this was to him.

"I know," he admitted with a grin. He pulled away from me so that we were standing in a slightly more socially acceptable pose as his parents approached.

They were both about 50 years old with slight wrinkles around the eyes and gray streaks in their hair, though they had a certain vivaciousness to them. James's Dad's hair was the same jet black shade, while his Mum's was slightly lighter. Mrs. Potter had a beauty that seemed to make her glow. It was as if she radiated life. Mr. Potter had his arm secured around her shoulder and leaned down to kiss her temple in such a tender way as he leaned down to whisper something in her ear that it made me wonder if being charming was hereditary.

James's parents smiled hugely when they saw him. "James, son, the platform is going to leave soon. Can't have the Head Boy miss the train!" she joked teasingly, the pride evident in her tone.

"Our James? Causing trouble? Never!" laughed Mr. Potter.

I giggled along with the Potters, and I felt all of their eyes turn towards me. "Who is this, James?" Mrs. Potter asked softly as she eyed my hair with interest.

James opened his mouth, but I squeezed his hand with my left one to stop him.

Still holding onto James, I stuck out my right hand and offered it to Mrs. Potter.

"It's very nice to meet you," I told her as a huge smile took over my face. "My name is Lily Evans. I'm James's girlfriend."

A/N: hello, everyone! that was the end of boyfriend. i sincerely hope that you enjoyed it and were not left wanting. i tried really hard to kind of tie together a lot of the relationship issues that have existed throughout the story. i really wanted lily to emerge from this experience as a stronger person (not just as a girl with a boyfriend). on a personal level, i am actually quite proud of this story. i think it's probably my best (though i still really like hostage). i wrote chapters one through fourteen all in one summer. haha. it was very intense, but i think the challenge of a time limit was a lesson in itself.

again, thank you very much for reading. the response from this story has been overwhelming (on both sites that it has been on), and i cannot put into words how deeply i appreciate those who have been affected by this story in some way or another.

ultimately, i wanted to write a story about sisters. i have an older sister whom i love dearly, and there are days when i am just horrible to her. sure, there was a lot of james thrown in, but this story was always about petunia and lily for me.

that being said, i know that i have promised a sequel, and i am going to make good on that promise. the sequel, which will be called fiancée, is going to be my summer project. it won't be as long as boyfriend, but i hope it will be entertaining. i'm going to take some time off to recuperate before writing it, though. i have a few one-shot type things that i want to try before embarking on another full-fledged story. the best way to check out how i'm progressing is my twitter page, which i update frequently about my writing. i also enjoy responding to messages in my inbox. regardless, i'd check back in a few weeks to see what pops up!

finally, before i waste any more of your time, i'd just like to say a final thank you to everyone for reading. it's been a real pleasure.

always yours,