Author's Note: I completely forgot to post this sooner... Better late than never!
The Date: Part Three
"Let me at that boy…"
Sirius looked up from his sad attempt at an essay and saw to his horror that Adette was charging straight towards him.
"Wait – stop!" Sirius leapt from his chair, holding his hands straight out in front of him to protect himself. His heart rate increased as he noticed the look on Adette's face. Immediately, he searched for an answer as to why she would act this way towards him. "Foster – what the hell are you doing?"
Without slowing, she growled, "I'm going to give him a piece of my mind!"
Sirius' eyebrows shot into his hairline as she buzzed past him. If she wasn't upset with him – then who was she upset with?
He looked over his shoulder in time to see Adette headed straight towards the stairs of the boys' dormitory.
Straight towards James.
"Whoa – I don't think so…" Sirius snatched Adette's wrist hanging by her side and pulled her away from her target. "With the way you look right now, I wouldn't let you in a ten foot radius of a rabid animal for fear of letting you injure the creature…"
Adette spun, glaring hard at Sirius. "This is no time for jokes, Black."
"Oh, really?" Sirius did not loosen his hold on Adette's wrist. "Then maybe you could inform me what time it is?"
"It's time to have a talk with your lousy, good-for-nothing best friend," Adette grumbled, keeping her eyes pinned on James as he moved across the common room and sat in front of the large fireplace.
"Well, then," Sirius replied just as forcefully, "I guess it's time for me to have a talk with your lousy, good-for-nothing best friend, too."
"What?" Adette tore her eyes away from James to focus on Sirius. She looked thrown off by this statement. "What did she do to you?"
Sirius made a face, not sure how to reply. "I dunno," he stammered, shrugging his shoulders. And then, seeming to retain his confidence, he asked "What did James do to you?"
Adette breathed heavily, narrowing her eyes at Sirius. "Alright, look," she hissed, lowering her voice. "If you won't let me talk to James – then you will."
Sirius slowly released her wrist, waiting to hear what she had to say.
She crossed her arms over her chest and jutted out a hip. "You tell James that if he ever – ever speaks to Lily again – he will be hexed beyond recognition."
Sirius frowned. "If he talks to Lily?"
"Oh, don't act like you don't know," Adette snapped back, stomping her foot angrily. "Just tell him not to come anywhere near Lily if he knows what's good for him."
And before Sirius could reply, Adette spun on her heel and ran back up the stairs to the girls' dormitory to continue getting ready for the day.
In a befuddled silence, Sirius stumbled towards the fireplace and to the couch where James was sitting, scratching his head.
"Morning, Padfoot." James stood, stretching. He rubbed his eyes and pointed towards the exit. "Breakfast?"
Sirius nodded mutely.
"So…" James put on a smirk. "I saw you talking with Adette…"
James expected an angry outburst from his friend, trying to defend his actions, but none came.
"Yeah," Sirius mumbled. And instead of an explanation, he raised a question. "How was Hogsmeade yesterday?"
"Oh," James said with a sigh, grinning. "It was great – I had loads of fun."
"Good…" Sirius smiled, biting his bottom lip. "Yeah – that's good…"
James ignored Sirius' confused look and continued beaming, walking merrily towards the Great Hall.
What the hell did you do, Prongs…
"Adette!" Lily confronted her friend the second she walked back through their dormitory door. "Where were you?"
Adette smiled kindly, approaching Lily's bed. "It was nothing – don't worry about it."
"No." Lily pointed a finger and jumped out of her bed, still in her nightwear. "I saw you try to sneak out without waking me up this morning – you were clearly up to something that you shouldn't have been up to."
Adette smiled guiltily. "I wasn't trying to sneak out," she weakly defended herself, looking down at the floor. "I just had to speak with someone."
Lily crossed her arms. "Who?"
The blonde girl rolled her eyes and plopped onto the corner of her bed. "Alright – I went to find James."
Lily's eyes doubled. She could have sworn she was about to faint. "You didn't."
"Relax, would you?" Adette sprawled out across her freshly made bed, lying her head down on her pillow. "I didn't get to James – I only talked to Sirius," she spat the name.
This did not make Lily feel any better. "What did you say to him?" she nearly shrieked, frantic to find out what her friend had done.
"I just told him not to let James come near you," she said simply.
Lily collapsed onto her bed. "You told him what?"
"Lily – I did you a favor!" Adette tried explaining, sitting up on her elbow.
"But – James didn't do anything wrong!" Lily shouted, on the verge of tears. "I don't want him to stay away from me because he didn't do what I wanted him to do! I just…" Lily sniffed, sitting in a slouched position. "I wasn't happy with the way everything turned out last night – that doesn't mean it was his fault!"
Adette bit her lip, feeling guilty for causing her friend to lose control of her emotions like this. "I'm sorry, Lily," she apologized. "I thought that it would be better if he didn't – you know…" she muttered, moving from her comfortable spot on her bed to the open corner on Lily's bed.
"It's not your fault, either," Lily brushed off Adette's apology, wiping her eyes. "James never meant for it to be a date, and I got my hopes up when I should have realized that I was exaggerating everything in my mind…"
Adette felt tears well up in the corner of her eyes. It killed her to see Lily upset when she rarely ever broke down. Adette had only seen Lily this upset twice before, and it was never over a boy.
"If it helps at all," Adette said, resting her head reassuringly on Lily's shoulder and hugging her, "Sirius is rather unreliable." She could feel Lily chuckle softly. "He might have already forgotten to pass on the message to James."
Lily did not reply. But they both knew, without Lily admitting it, that staying away from James for the time being might end up being all for the best.
Lily froze at the sight of James entering through the portrait hole. Immediately, her arms and legs seemed to seize up and she felt as if she couldn't breathe.
It had been nearly a week since she had last seen or spoken to James. It wasn't his fault, however, that they had not been associating with each other. Not only had Lily taken to hiding or sneaking out of the room when James was near, but Adette had caught on and helped create excuses for Lily to leave as quickly as possible.
Her grip on her Charms textbook loosened and she dropped it onto the floor with a loud thud, knocking her out of her trance.
Adette looked up at the sound of the book hitting the hard surface beside her foot. She quickly glanced at Lily and followed her locked gaze, seeing where she was staring.
"Come on," Adette said, nodding understandingly. She stuffed her quill into her Potions book, marking her spot, and threw the book into her bag. "Let's go finish our homework in the library, shall we?"
Lily slowly reached down to pick up her book off of the floor, keeping her eyes on James as he walked across the room: far from Lily and far from the exit.
"Alright," Lily responded absentmindedly, standing on shaky legs.
"Don't forget your parchment," Adette spoke slowly, as if speaking to a little girl. "And your quill."
"Right." Lily shook her head at her stupidity. "What was I thinking…?"
Adette put an arm around Lily's shoulders, choosing not to answer this question. "And here we go!" she said with great exuberance in order to cheer Lily up. She kept her arm around Lily's shoulders and gently escorted her to the exit, as was custom every time they spotted James in the same vicinity. "To the library!"
Lily allowed herself to be dragged by her friend, but her eyes were glued to James. He had risen from his chair next to Sirius Black, and was now walking towards the boys' dormitories.
This is ridiculous, Lily scolded herself, strengthening her hold on her book. I can't run from him every time I see him! Sooner or later, we are going to have to talk to each other about Head duties, anyway!
Lily's fear slowly began to disintegrate. James probably didn't even realize that he had done anything to upset Lily. So why act as if anything had changed between them in the first place? Right?
Because it didn't, Lily told herself. He never did anything to ruin our friendship – I'm the one that has been blowing this whole thing out of proportion!
In an instant, Lily had made up her mind to speak to James. She needed no second thought. Without warning, Lily expertly slipped out of Adette's grip and stepped into James' path, facing him straight on.
Her breath caught in her throat, but it was not for the same reason as before. Before, Lily had been afraid to speak to James at all. Now that she had worked up the guts to say something – she had no idea what to say.
"Um…" Lily was now horribly aware of how close she had gotten when she had jumped into James' path. She tried to take a step back without letting him realize what she was doing. "Hi."
"Hey, Lily," James said with a kind smile. He seemed slightly startled by her abrupt appearance, but didn't let this faze him. "I feel like I haven't seen you around lately."
"Uh – yeah…" Lily nodded, swallowing. "Well – I've been busy, you know," she replied as confidently as she could. "With – things coming up and all…"
"Of course," James agreed with a shrug. "I understand: N.E.W.T.s to prepare for and such," he said with a teasing smirk as he recalled their conversation from the week prior. "And," he added conversationally, "all those assignments to finish before we leave for winter – "
"Why didn't you kiss me?"
Lily would have willingly been the victim of fifty Marauder pranks rather than be forced to stand in her very spot right now.
She couldn't believe what she had just blurted out. Her mouth had taken absolute control without allowing herself to filter her thoughts. And in the middle of the common room – of all places!
James' face was expressionless.
I embarrassed him, Lily suddenly realized, feeling worse than she had before she managed to work up the courage to speak to James. I didn't just embarrass myself – I embarrassed him.
"Sorry," James muttered slowly, unsure of what he had just heard. "What did you say? I don't think I caught it…"
Lily was unable to ignore how loud her outburst had been. Nearly everyone in the common room was silent, staring avidly at the Head Boy and Head Girl. She spotted Adette, covering her mouth with wide eyes. Across the room, Sirius, with his jaw dropped, was sitting so close to the edge of his chair that Lily could have sworn he was seconds from toppling onto the floor.
"It was nothing," she assured James, quickly shaking her head. She suddenly seemed very interested in studying the cover of her textbook. She cleared her throat and tried to act as if nothing happened as she started to back out of the conversation, turning away from James. "See you in class tomorrow…"
"Wait – "
Lily felt a strong hand seize her wrist, spinning her back around. She had nowhere to look but up into James' curious, hazel eyes. Please don't, she silently begged with him. Don't turn me down – not like this.
"You asked," he spoke softly, "why I didn't – " his eyebrows furrowed together in confusion " – kiss you."
"Uh – " Lily bit her lip, trying to think her way out of this predicament. She pulled on her arm to tug it out of James' grip, but it did not budge. "No," she lamely replied with a false laugh, her gaze darting around the room. "I didn't."
"Yes," James firmly corrected her, not paying any attention to the onlookers behind them. "You did."
Lily's breathing quickened. She had no excuses! And even if she did have an excuse, they never would have worked.
As if to make it as quick and painless as she could, Lily lowered her voice to a whisper and spoke as fast as was humanly possible.
"Look, James," she said with a very shaky voice, tugging one last time to pull free from James' grip. This time, it worked. "This is not the time, nor the place."
James looked as if he were about to start cracking up at the hilarity of the situation. "It's not the – but you were the one that brought it up!"
Immediately, Lily's eyes widened and she tried to shush him. When he threw his arms up with a hint of frustration, Lily pursed her lips in irritation. "It's not like I meant to bring it up!"
James' jaw dropped. "How could you not mean to?" he shouted. "You approached me! You clearly had something to say, or else you wouldn't have started talking to me!" The look on his face was one of great amusement. "Lily – this isn't exactly something you can say without realizing it."
Lily crossed her arms over her chest, safely protecting her textbook. She looked slightly bothered by James' last statement. "I beg to differ…"
"The point is – " James continued, unable to hear what Lily had muttered under her breath " – you were thinking about last Saturday for one reason or another." He bent his knees and slightly bowed his head in order to maintain a direct eye contact with Lily. "Right?"
She took one step closer to James, trying as hard as she could to minimize how much the entire Gryffindor house would overhear. "Well," she hissed, trying to defend herself as well as she could, "we were on a date – weren't we?"
James shrugged, lowering his voice to a conversational level. "I suppose," he replied.
"And the most logical thing to do at the end of a date," Lily retorted, "is to kiss your date! At least," she continued, "that's what I thought you were going to do – I thought you were going to try to kiss me!"
James almost looked offended. "Not necessarily!" His voice started to increase in volume again. "Maybe I was going to – but I didn't because I wasn't sure you felt the same! I mean," he explained as if it were obvious, "the last time I asked you out – you threw pumpkin juice in my face!"
Lily narrowed her eyes. "Have you ever considered the fact that maybe things change?" she protested, turning red. "Maybe I would have been a bit more open to the idea after a few years!"
"So," James continued without missing a beat, "you're saying you wanted me to kiss you?"
"Well – maybe," Lily spat, highly flustered by the full blown argument they were now having. "I mean – I was expecting it, wasn't I?"
"Alright, you made your point!" James rolled his eyes. "You were expecting it," he repeated. "But would you have objected to it?"
"I – well, no," Lily answered truthfully.
"Well – fine then," James shouted exasperatedly. He grabbed Lily's shoulders and abruptly pulled her towards him, planting a kiss on her lips in the middle of the entire common room. Just as Lily finally got her bearings, she found herself pressing back into James, moving her lips evenly with his. At one point just before he lifted a hand from her shoulder and to her cheek, she thought she felt him smiling into the kiss.
Many gasps went around the room as the students witnessed the unbelievable sight before them. As if in a hazy dream, the entirety of Gryffindor house watched, unmoving, as Lily and James slowly separated, staring wordlessly at each other.
"Well," Adette broke the silence, unable to hide her growing smile. "That was certainly unexpected…"
"Unexpected?" a second voice cried. It was Sirius Black, standing and walking, rather quickly, towards Adette. "That was a bloody miracle!"
"It was not." Adette rolled her eyes. "You saw them at the Three Broomsticks!" she told him quickly. "Did it look like they weren't getting along?"
"No – I mean," Sirius loudly replied, "they've been enemies for years!" He scoffed at the idea. "Only a seer could have seen this coming…"
"Black – that's not the point," Adette continued, her eyes beginning to flame. "You saw that – "
"Here – hold this." Lily cut off their bickering and thrust her Charms textbook into her friend's stomach. She turned back to James in the same second and wrapped her arms around his neck with a smile. And then, standing on the tips of her toes, she went in for another kiss.
Adette sighed, forgetting her argument entirely. "Isn't that just the most precious thing you've ever seen?"
Sirius put two hands up to his throat and made a gagging noise. "Please," he choked out. "Prongs – get a room!"
"Oh – would you knock it off!" Adette cried, outraged. She used Lily's book to hit Sirius repeatedly in the arm. "You are so immature…"
Lily and James had reluctantly pulled apart by now. They were both watching the entertaining argument. As soon as their friends had created a greater audience than they had, James gently wound his fingers between Lily's and tugged on her hand, nodding in the direction of the exit.
And, with a relieved smile to get away from the crowd, Lily gratefully followed James out of the Gryffindor common room, leaving their friends to wonder where they had disappeared to.
Author's Note: Well, I hope you enjoyed it! Perhaps the epilogue for Curtain Call will be up soon...?