(New year's party, sixth year)
The party was getting wilder by the minute, and I was having fun. Most people assumed that it was because I was drunk, but I had only had one shot of firewhisky. My alcohol tolerance was higher than that.
"HEY" hollered Sirius over the noise. "If anyone wants to play Truth or Dare, get over here!"
Many people turned away, going back to dancing or chatting. I strode over, a little unsteadily in the heels Marlene forced me to wear. I was pleasantly surprised to see most of my girlfriends there. Dorcas, Marlene, Alice and Emmaline. Hestia hadn't been able to make it because her parents were going to Italy and she wanted to see them off. I grinned and sat between Dorcas and Marlene.
"So," Sirius said, loudly, obviously very tipsy. "This is how the game is going to work." He held up an empty beer bottle. "It's like Spin the Bottle, but you Truth or Dare the person the bottle lands on."
Em giggled for no random reason. I looked round and saw Remus glaring at a seventh year, head of the Ravenclaw quidditch team, I thought. Remus had a thing for Emmaline and she felt the same way, but they were both too shy. I vowed to myself that I would set them up sometime after the party.
"I'll spin first" announced James.
He grabbed the bottle and spun it on the floor. It stopped at Peter. James grinned.
"Truth or dare, Wormy?"
"Um..." Pettigrew's face contorted in concentration. "Truth."
"Who is the person you keep writing to? A secret girlfriend?" James nudged the small boy, who had gone very white.
"I-I changed my mind. Dare!" he squeaked.
"Forfeit!" yelled Dorcas.
Sirius nodded with a serious expression on his face (pun intended).
"Go up to the oldest looking person in this room and tell them they have wrinkles" he grinned.
Peter scurried up to the Ravenclaw Captain, Benjy Fenwick, and mumbled something to him. Fenwick went red in the face and pulled his wand. The entire group stood up as Pettigrew shrank back from the furious quidditch player.
"Oi! Fenwitch, isn't it?" shouted James.
"Fenwick, actually" replied the boy, a little snootily. "What do you want?"
"Lay off Wormtail. It was only a dare."
"A stupid one. He should have forfeited." Benjy said coolly, still pointing his wand at Peter.
I glanced at the terrified look on the chubby boy's face and stepped between him and the wand. Pretty much everyone was watching by then.
"Move away, Evans" growled Fenwick. "I don't want to hurt you."
I narrowed my eyes and flicked my waist-length hair over my shoulder.
"I will not move. It was the forfeit and if you want Peter, you'll have to go through me." I said quietly.
My voice carried through the room and echoed, so it sounded like a deadly threat. The tall Ravenclaw huffed and lowered his wand.
"This isn't over" he snarled.
"Yes, it is." I said firmly and dragged Pettigrew back over to our group.
"Thanks, Evans" he mumbled.
"No problem, don't mention it." I smiled gently at him and retook my place in the circle.
The party resumed and I was next to spin the bottle. It landed on Marlene.
"Truth or dare, Marls?" I grinned evilly.
"Psh. Dare, obviously."
"Okay then," I thought for a minute. "Kiss the hottest boy in this circle."
Marlene blushed and thumped my arm. Then, she turned to Sirius and smashed her mouth onto his. Sirius's eyes widened for a second and then closed. He pulled my best friend closer, much to her delight. I smiled. Marlene had a crush on Sirius since third year, now I had brought them together, if only for one night.
Remus was the one to stop the snogging session.
"Guys, this is nice and all, from your perspective, but from where we are, you look like you're eating each other" he complained loudly.
When that didn't work, he jabbed them both in the ribs. They broke apart, Sirius beaming and Marlene blushing harder than ever. The latter went to pull away back to her seat, but Sirius tugged her onto his lap and kissed her cheek.
Remus spun the bottle and it landed on Sirius.
"What is your deepest desire right now?" Remus winked at me.
"That Marlene McKinnon would be my girlfriend" Sirius unabashedly stated.
"Wish granted" murmured Marlene.
Another lip-locking session ensued.
"Blegh" I accidentally said, and Marlene glared at me.
"My turn." She took the bottle.
As luck would have it, I was the victim.
"Dare" I said quickly.
Bet to get it over with, or so I thought.
"I dare you," Marlene smirked. "To spend an entire hour in a locked closet with James Potter."
"No!" I yelled. "Forfeit."
Marlene's grin only got wider. "The forfeit is to spend an entire school day in a closet."
I scowled. I would never miss a school day because of a dare.
"Fine, I'll take the dare" I grumbled.
James followed me to the biggest closet in the house (Marlene's house) which was barely big enough for two people. I huddled down in a corner and waited for the black-haired boy behind me to squeeze in. He sat down as far away as possible, which was right next to me. Emmaline grimaced at me before holding out her hand for our wands. I gave mine up reluctantly. She cast a spell to create a slightly pink glowing orb so we could see and shut the door. I heard Remus lock the door magically.
About two minutes passed before either of us spoke.
"Just so you know," James began.
"I don't want to." I cut him off.
"No, listen. I've given up on asking you out."
This caught me by surprise and I stared at him. He was too close to look at his entire face, so I looked at his eyes instead. They were like pools of melted chocolate that I was drowning in, quite happily.
"I don't want to pressure you any more, what with N.E. this next year. I know you'll practically kill yourself studying and I don't want to push you over the edge" he said quietly, gazing back into my own eyes. "I just wanted you to know that I've changed. I'm not who I used to be."
I already knew that from earlier. The James I used to know would have hexed Benjy right there and then for pointing a wand at his friend. But this time, James had talked it out instead. I nodded slowly and patted his shoulder gently.
We both fell quiet again and my brain, my stupid random brain, started thinking things I didn't want to think.
He smells so good... like cinnamon and crushed pine needles.
Was that his hair that just brushed my cheek? It's so soft...
"NO" I said, out loud.
"No, what?" asked my fellow prisoner.
"Um, nothing" I covered quickly. "I just occasionally have to tell my brain to shut up."
Hid breath washed over me and I caught myself inhaling it.
It smells like spearmint.
I shook my head, hard, trying to dislodge the unwanted thoughts. James Potter was NOT attractive to me. I managed to keep quiet for nearly the entire hour, until ten minutes before we were to be let out.
"What?" he looked round wildly. "Did you just call me James rather than Potter?"
I blushed, glad that the light hid it a bit.
"Um, yes I did. Why didn't you attack Benjy Fenwick when he pointed his wand at Peter?" I asked, still puzzling over the reason behind his actions.
I noticed his cheeks go slightly darker in the rosy light.
"Well, you taught me over the years that fighting isn't always the answer. I didn't want to make a commotion and end the party early. Sirius wouldn't have had the chance to get with Marlene otherwise. He's wanted to go out with her for ages, but he was scared of rejection. He's not as used to it as I am." He was babbling, but he whispered the last sentence.
I froze, unbelieving.
"So you held back for Sirius and Marlene?" I murmured.
"Yes, however much I wanted to jinx that pompous-"
James broke off when I kissed him. His lips were soft and warm against mine. Once he got over the shock, he kissed me back. I was in absolute bliss. I had never wanted to kiss James Potter, despised the very idea of it, yet there I was, snogging him just like Marlene had snogged Sirius earlier.
I was a little disappointed when he pulled away and looked into my eyes. His were bright and twinkling.
"You're drunk, Lily. I won't take advantage of you while you're like this" he mumbled, breathing heavily.
I nodded breathlessly and sat back.
Not more than two minutes later, the closet door banged open and our friends found us exactly as they had left us. They looked disappointed as I climbed out of the small space. I tottered quickly away on those ridiculous shoes. Marlene, Emmaline, Dorcas and Alice followed me out of the house and into the front garden.
"So?" prompted Dorcas. "What exactly went on in there?"
"Nothing." I replied, a bit too quickly. "We talked a bit and then waited for you guys. I'm not feeling well, I'll see you on the Hogwarts Express tomorrow."
I left with my mind full of thoughts about James Potter.
(Same time, seventh year)
I shook myself. This was all too familiar. The wild party, the truth or dare in the corner. The heels. The only thing different was that Hestia was there.
Marlene and Sirius had been together just about a year and were still going strong. Everyone knew that Alice was going to marry Frank Longbottom. I had managed to get Emmaline and Remus together, in spite of his cautiousness about his 'furry little problem'. Over the past year, my friends and I had become very good friends with the Marauders. They weren't so bad once you got to know them. There we were, sat around the bottle again, with the neck pointing at me.
"Dare." I sighed. "At least I'm not drunk like you lot."
Marlene giggled. "I dare you to repeat last years dare."
I got up, making a quick calculation. If we started now, we wouldn't miss the midnight fireworks to celebrate new year.
"Come on, then. We don't want to miss the fireworks, do we?" I said to James, pulling him up.
We went to the same closet and chatted for half an hour about random things. We fell quiet when we ran out of conversation and I took the heels off, massaging my feet. I thought back to this time last year and shrugged to myself. I had liked James since that party and had no idea how or when to tell him. But now seemed the perfect time.
"Do you remember this time last year?" I asked, hesitantly.
He paused before answering.
"Yes I do."
"Um, you said I was drunk." I said, then gushed. "You said you didn't want to take advantage of me because I wasn't fully aware of everything, but I was, I just wasn't sure what to say. I like you, but I haven't been able to tell you since last year because I was so nervous and I didn't want to hurt our friendship. We can still be friends if you want, I would be okay with that. If you still want to know me at all, that is. If it were me, I'd be-"
James interrupted me with a kiss. I froze, then melted into him, relishing the way we moved in sync.
"It's not you though, it's me. Isn't it? I choose to know you. I love you Lily Evans, I'm just glad you have any interest in me at all." He grinned. "C'mere."
I snuggled into his chest and breathed in his scent as he stroked my hair.
Cinnamon and crushed pine needles.
Yes, brain, you're allowed to think that now, I thought to myself. I smiled and fell asleep. A bright light woke me up and I opened my eyes to find Hestia, Marlene, Alice, Emmaline and Dorcas grinning down at me.
"Merlins saggy left-!" I shrieked.
"Language, Lily-flower" scolded Sirius from behind them. "You might wake darling, innocent Prongsie up."
I picked up one of my shoes and flung it at the chuckling man, who ducked behind Remus. He raised one eyebrow.
"Oh, don't give me the eyebrow, Remus. Come on, James, wake up." I shook the sleeping boy next to me.
"Huh? Wuzzup?" he said groggily.
He sat up, hair more messy than usual and glasses hanging off one ear. I took one look at him and started giggling uncontrollably. Most of the others followed suit and soon we were all laughing hysterically. I stood up and smoothed my own red curls down. Offering James a hand, I told the others to go away because we needed to talk. James and I went outside so as not to miss the fireworks.
"So where are we?" I murmured, glancing up at the starlit sky.
"Wherever you want us to be, flower." James turned to face me. "This is the last time I ever say these words to you, no matter what your answer."
I gazed into his warm, chocolaty eyes.
"Lily Evans, I love you and I don't want to live without you. Will you be my girlfriend?"
A clock somewhere struck midnight, but we were in our own little world, separate from anyone else.
"Yes" I whispered.
Under the fireworks, surrounded by people congratulating each other new year, we kissed.
Seven months later, we were engaged, but that's another story.