Chapter 17

It was a warm, balmy afternoon.

Lily Evan was curled in her favorite armchair, slender figure garbed in a pretty forest-green dress, long copper hair hanging loose down her back.

She had been reading but the book lay neglected on her lap. Instead she was daydreaming, staring out through the open window as the green hills, the multi-hued profusion of flowers and the seeming-endless blue sky.

A sharp knock at the door jolted her out of her reverie.

The book slid off her lap to the floor as she jumped up.

A warm smile spread over her face as she opened her front door to find Sirius Black standing there. Her face lit up and her green eyes sparkled.

Something squirmed unpleasantly in his stomach at the sight of her looking so happy to see him but he pushed it aside.

She slid her arms around his neck and kissed him softly, gently, telling him without words that she had missed him in the few days they had been apart.

And she could tell from his reluctance to let go he had missed her too.

She broke the kiss and brushed the hair away from his face, smiling happily at him. Her smile faltered slightly as she got a good look at the serious expression on his face.

"Siri… what's wrong?" she asked softly, concern clear in her voice.

"Lily this isn't going to work…" he said in a flat, emotionless voice.

"Yeah… it's not working too well for me either…" she said jokingly. She grinned and leaned in to kiss him again.

He pulled away. Hurt and disbelief flickered over her face.

"I don't want to see you anymore" he said in a brittle voice.

"What?" she said in a voice that suggested she didn't want to believe what he was saying.

"I don't love you" he said, feeling as if he might choke on the words.

"You don't mean that…" she said in a pain-filled voice.

"I don't think I can make it any clearer. You mean nothing to me!" he spat, a trace of anguish in his voice despite his cold tone.

"No…" she said in choked-up voice.

"I just wanted to get you into bed" he said in a shaking voice.

"That's not true!" she said in almost a yell, voice hurt and angry.

"I am in love… with someone else. You don't even compare to her. You were… nothing but a conquest" he said in harsh, but slightly choked-up voice.

"You coward! Look at yourself… your shaking!" she snapped.

"Lily… I…" he started to say.

"Get out!" she yelled.

He went to touch her and she jerked back.

"Get… out!" she yelled again, agony clear in her voice.

He looked at her one more time, the pain in his expression belying the cruel words he had hurled at her.

And she knew that as deeply as he had wounded her he had wounded himself just as much.

When the door had shut behind him she sank on to the couch and buried her head in her arms... her slender frame heaving with sobs.