Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe belongs to JK Rowling. The title of this one-shot is attributed to Relient K.
A/N: Just a sarcastically funny short one-shot I wrote to take you on a journey through the complex infrastructure known as the female mind.
The Complex Infrastructure Known as the Female Mind (or What Happened When James First Asked Lily Out)
It's the coldest winter since 1952, and I am outside, shivering in a coat the colour of dust, that has a thick gray line of fur on its hood. It isn't mine. It belongs to James. The boy who is walking beside me. He decided he was either too manly to need that extra layer of insulation, or too chivalrous not to offer his jacket to me.
Whatever. I'm wearing it now, and if only for that, I'm thankful.
"Nice day," he grunts.
I don't know how to respond to that, especially since I am freezing and creating soft white clouds with my every breath. I look down at my flimsy sneakers and I toe the hole at the tip of my right shoe that's been there since I bought them. Water from the extraordinarily green grass seeps into it and numbs my toes. I try to wiggle them but I can't feel them anymore. I wonder why I don't just throw away the sneakers and get a new pair.
"Bit cold though … D'you like the cold?"
Again, I don't dignify his ridiculous remark with a response. I merely rub my blue hands together in the vain attempt to create friction. He was commenting on the weather. How uninspiring. Our non-existent conversation had now become the most common of clichés.
He speaks again.
"I like you."
My head becomes unnaturally cold in winter, did you know that? I've known that since I was five. It sometimes swells as well. My mother has yet to figure out why. My hands reach up to tug on my pink beanie. This also isn't mine. It's Alice's, who isn't my 'best' friend—I never use that phrase—but she comes close enough. At least, she's the only person in our grade that knows that my head swells in cold weather. That's why she lent me her beanie.
"D-did you hear me?"
Who invented beanies? Whoever they are, I thank them with my whole heart. I mean, if you think about, they're just rounded knitted wool, but capable of such great things. Like hiding an abnormally sized head.
What's that saying? About sliced bread? Yeah, that's it. Beanies are the best thing since sliced bread.
James is becoming impatient. So I decide to answer him.
"Yeah … I heard you."
He seems surprised that I can talk. Well, I suppose that's allowed. Those were my first words since he decided to take me on this walk. They're not particularly bright words. They don't reveal anything. At least, it's not what he wants to hear.
What's so good about sliced bread, anyway? Why is it the benchmark? I mean if you think about it, there are a thousand other things that are better than sliced bread.
"And …" I start to reply. What am I supposed to say? "Um … thanks."
The only things more pitiable than my answer are probably the thoughts in my head. James stops walking now to look at me and I am forced to stop as well. It's a shame too. Walking gave me an excuse to do something else instead of talking. James' stare makes me lower my head.
"Er … you're welcome," he says after a minute, equally as puzzled as I at his answer.
And then he starts walking again, and so do I. I thank the gods that be for small miracles.
Cauliflowers, money, colourful contact lenses, my owl and elevator music. These are all things that are better than a slice of Wonder White Bread. It's funny; when I was little I hated cauliflowers only because I hated all vegetables. My mother would always say, 'eat your greens' in that overly cheesy tone, while I stubbornly argued that cauliflowers aren't green. Neither are carrots, for that matter. 'Greens' is a stupid word. But I suppose it's easier than saying, 'eat your greens, whites, reds, and oranges.'
James pipes up again.
"Sirius and I are holding a party this weekend …" his voice trails off as if I know what he's going to suggest next. And I do. I just don't want him to know that.
I can't remember the moment I decided I liked cauliflowers. But I remember thinking they look like clouds. Perhaps this thought eased me into the world of white vegetables.
"… and I was wondering if you wanted to go with me."
I look up at his face for the first time and I notice how hazel his eyes are. They're the colour of autumn leaves. The ones that crunch when you step on them. I reason that he's probably wearing colourful contact lenses. He seems to be staring at me very intensely, as if saying, 'Ha! I have your attention now!' I toy with the idea of starting a blinking competition with him. It doesn't last long, because he blinks almost immediately. Well, at least I won.
"Aren't you gonna speak?"
We've stopped walking again and I silently huff in annoyance. Moving is easier. I was enjoying the scenery too. The solid gray sky above blanketed the world and I in its wintriness, and the mountains in the distance were partially hidden behind wafts of hazy mist. It is like something out of a dream and I absentmindedly wish it was mine.
I almost expect him to say something awful like, 'cat got your tongue?'
"I don't really have anything to say," I answer honestly, automatically regretting my words. Because now he's going to say …
"You can say yes."
Exactly as I predicted. And it's not even original. It's what you see in cheesy Richard-Gere-and-Julia-Roberts-type movies, where the man asks, 'Will you marry me?' and she replies, 'I don't know what to say', and he says, 'Say yes'.
Is James trying to be Richard Gere? I sincerely hope not.
What would James do if he could hear what I was thinking? This is probably the most important moment in his 16 years of life—he'll probably boast about it to his male cohorts, while simultaneously expanding the truth, in which I fell at his feet and cried 'Yes!'—and here I am thinking of elevator music, cauliflowers and famous Muggle actors.
Against my better judgment, I give him my answer. "Yeah, alright."
"Cool," he breathes with a relieved look on his face.
Cool? Surely a better adjective would have been more appropriate. One that was no so eerily descriptive of the awful chilly temperature of the day.
An awkward moment passes us without injury, after which he looks at me apologetically.
"I'm gonna go."
"See you?" he asks, wanting to reassure himself.
And he turns and walks away. I remain standing in the wet grass, trying to wiggle my numb toes. After a minute I remember I am still wearing his jacket.