No Headlights in Paradise
Chapter Three – Memories are Magic
Song Choice: Haunted (Michael Diamond Remix) – Beyoncé
"I'm doing this for you... This is the hardest thing I've ever done... I love you, Lily... Believe me, believe me, believe me."
The words were wafted like a repetitive drum beat against her head, and Lily heavily opened her eyes as she took in light of the day emerging from the window. The words, the final touches, his breath, it followed her with every movement as they seeped into her veins, haunting her. Because she still remembered the feel of his hands moving down her body, his whispered yearnings, the feel of his hand on her cheek that had her lower body withering. She couldn't escape it, she didn't want too.
"I love you, Lily," He had breathed into her hair before vanishing. He had told her he loved her, repeated it. But he was gone. She blinked slowly and took a deep breath. Was this what love was?
She ached. She was sore. And it made moving into her new apartment difficult because everything lately was a struggle. Listening to new voices, acknowledging new homes. The sun felt like it was beating ferociously against her smooth skin as she tried to soothe into her new surroundings. But it was foreign and she felt lost, mystified in overcast that had lingered ever since leaving behind the train station in London.
With a new roommate, a new apartment, a new school it should been shiny and original, a perfect opportunity for Lily to begin anew. But James wouldn't vacate her thoughts. And she let him stay there as she redrew his eyes, touched his hair, traced his smile… If she closed her eyes tightly enough she could almost imagine he was holding her in his arms, his breath against her neck.
She snapped her eyes open at the sensation. She was lying alone in bed. Alone. James wasn't coming for her.
Her own words echoed, thundering in her ears as she climbed up and sat crossed legged in her alien surroundings.
"Hey! The sandwiches are ready."
Lily looked up and saw her new roommate standing in her open doorway. Sienna Montgomery, a blazing witch from America, had been listed as a potential living mate and when Lily had received her positive NEWT scores she had sent an owl to the girl. America, having a roommate from there, to Lily, felt entirely fresh. It was far away from the potential recast of Hogwart's roommates that had been waiting for her. And Sienna was vibrant, her energy blossoming into anything she touched even effecting Lily's glazed over arrival. Tall and gorgeous, Sienna didn't pry into why Lily was quiet or ask her questions. Lily wasn't sure the kind of impression she had left on her new roommate but she was grateful she didn't seem to be judging her to critically on it.
Both being Muggle born, they seemed to have an easy appreciation of each other; though it appeared Sienna hadn't nearly suffered as much for her Muggle birth as Lily. The two had yet to formally bond considering it had only been two days since the girls had moved into the apartment but Lily already knew she had finally made a successful decision. For Sienna, from first introductions, was carefree and untroubled that allowed Lily to feel at ease. And Lily remained determined not to isolate herself this time.
At this point, it seemed the only thing Lily did have was this apartment and her potential friendship with Sienna. Lily had spent two long and draining weeks with Petunia and Vernon. Their new house in Surry was immaculate, clean and new that Petunia harshly reminded her that if she spilled anything she would be kicked out instantly. Lily had grudgingly accepted the second-class behavior from her sister because she had nowhere to go before her classes started. And though Petunia had accepted her younger sister into her home, she had no problem reminding Lily that she was intruding on their honeymoon period of newlyweds. Barf, was Lily's silent response.
The second she could escape she did. To others, maybe moving in three months early would be daunting and saddening but even with James haunting her Lily knew this could be her chance. So she invested. Her room was a white purple and pink with lavender sheets and an almost white pink shade on the walls. Her off-white bed was reminiscent of Parisian stylistic features with carved wooden panels with the addition of silky Jersey covers entailed a welcoming comfort. The sunlight shone deeply into her room that provided her the feminine outlook she had always desired. No more clashing Gryffindor red.
Lily yawned at her before smiling shyly and getting up. "Thanks."
"Not a problem."
Sienna moved back to the kitchen and stood over the stove with a spatula in hand, her boyfriend jeans hanging limply from her figure with her overwhelming bordeaux sweatshirt hanging on her shoulders. Her long blonde hair was dangling in all directions as it fell limp from bun at the top of her head. There was no denying that Sienna was the definition of cool and Lily tried to ignore the feeling of being drab in her old brown sweater and faded blue jeans.
Lily sat across from Sienna on the bar stools they had acquired and watched as she flipped a sandwich easily.
"Okay, now I know we are magical and whatever but sometimes it's just easier to use Muggle weaponry!" Sienna declared as the cheese from the sandwich burned against the pan.
"Don't try saying that out loud," Lily said. "Some people already think Muggles killed wizards to get their magic."
Sienna grimaced and rolled her eyes at the idea as she placed the sandwiches in separate flowery plates.
"People these days," Sienna joked as she took her plate. "Want to eat on the porch?"
Lily nodded and they took their sandwiches past the lightly billowing curtains and sat in the two beach chairs they had found on the sidewalk that Sienna insisted they bring upstairs with them.
Lily took in her setting before taking a small bite, and then instantly groaned as the melted cheese consumed her senses. "This is amazing! What is this?"
"Grilled cheese, don't tell me you've never had it before!"
"I don't think so…" Lily said as she took another bite. "Did you put tomatoes in it?"
"Yup and a pound of butter so we should probably take a jog after this," Sienna teased as she chomped down on it.
"My dad used to make these when we were kids. Whenever I came home from school he just stacked these up for me. I never got enough."
"It was just your dad then?" Lily asked.
"Yeah," she said wistfully. "He's the best. My mom died when I was five and he just he took care of all of us. I'm sure it was much tougher on him then he let on but he never let on, you know? What about you?"
"It's just me and my sister now. Not that she's much. Ever since I got my letter from Hogwarts she happily reminded me that I am a freak."
"What?" she asked shocked.
"Yeah…we've only grown more apart since our parents died too. It makes me sad," Lily admitted.
"I can't even imagine… I'm so sorry."
Lily shrugged but gave Sienna a small smile of assurance. "I got used too it. I had Hogwarts and that was my home. Now I get to create a new one."
Sienna gave her a genuine smile and squeezed her hand. "It will be incredible. Cornwall has no idea what is coming towards it."
They finished their sandwiches, and Lily went inside to make them tea. She returned with two steaming mugs that Sienna greedily took from her hands sighed into the heat.
"It's so cold! It's supposed to be June too," she complained. "We should be going to the beach but I'm wearing a sweatshirt."
"Welcome to England," Lily said wryly.
"How have you done it for so long?" Sienna asked so seriously that Lily cracked a smile.
"Think of it this way… Cornwall is cold but we can look out at the water. Hogwarts was in the middle of nowhere and in Scotland. Colder."
"Ugh. Horrible," she shivered.
"Wasn't your school in Boston?"
"Nope. Washington State... but you're right in that Boston is like the London of Wizarding life in America. That's where the Congress is located anyway."
Lily brought her legs up to the chair and looked out to the lights dancing against the water. "Where are you from in the States?"
Sienna grinned. "Texas." Lily laughed and Sienna shrugged happily. "Houston. It's great," Sienna said with a nostalgic smile.
"Explains the weather epidemic you have."
"Yeah… I mean it can get cold like maybe four days of the year but mainly its warm."
"You miss it?" Lily asked softly and Sienna turned to her and gave her timid smile.
"All the time," she answered honestly as she mirrored Lily and hugged her legs, and set the cup down on the floor. "I just miss my family mainly. Every summer my dad has these elaborate barbeques and all the neighbors come over and it's just fun. My brothers are total goofballs."
"How many brothers do you have?"
Sienna gave her a broad grin. "Three. It's hell but I love them. I'm kinda in the middle. I mean I have two older brothers, Jack and Hunter. And than a younger one, Stuart," she said. "I'm probably closest with Stu though I don't know… I love them all. I just feel far away from them, now more so than usual."
"Then why come to England?" Lily asked quietly as she took another sip hoping Sienna wasn't offended by the question considering Lily was sure if she had a family she would have wanted to stay with them.
"I don't know… the school in the America didn't feel any closer. The Healing school actually is in Boston and I figured if I was going to go that far well, why not England? Though I think my dad was disappointed. I think he thought I was finally going to be around."
"Did he have a hard time with the whole magic thing?"
"Nah… I mean, it was a shock in the sense the 'wow magic' but then I think the second thing out of his mouth was 'oh, well that makes sense, explains why you're weird.' And then he hugged me told me not to forget where I came from. My brothers love it especially now that I can actually perform magic at home," she smiled wickedly at Lily. "I helped Jack blow up the neighbors flower pots before I left. He kept heckling him because Jack is on the football team at University of Texas and they had a rough season…"
Lily couldn't help giggling at the adventures Sienna told her with her brothers that had the two girls talking well into the day as Sienna in hushed laughs told her about how Stuart never did his homework when he was younger and sent Sienna Muggle mail to her school asking for magical help and the caretaker was so confounded by the letter he read it aloud at dinner by accident. It was innocent and relaxed, and Lily didn't even notice that not once she thought about James.
"What about you?" Sienna asked as she finished up her latest story that left Lily in stiches. "What's your story?"
And just as the easily Lily had noticed she wasn't thinking about James it resurged. "Not that interesting, grew up in Cokeworth its uh east… came to Hogwarts at eleven like everyone else. Nothing to terrible…" expect Snape, and Petunia, and James.
"What no boys?" Sienna acquired.
Lily shrugged non-responsively and Sienna looked her over and Lily knew instantly that Sienna was way more observant than she let on.
"You don't need to share it with me but you shouldn't hold it in," she murmured and Lily realized she hadn't spoken to anyone about what had happened and it begun to feel like boiling water surfacing against her throat.
"There was," Lily almost yelled before she could stop herself and looked up at Sienna almost desperately, Sienna sat back down slowly her face smooth, calming. "I, I had something… I don't really know how to explain it."
"How about the beginning?" she hinted.
"I don't think I can… I mean, we just never dated. We actually never even went on one date," she murmured hopelessly and looked up at Sienna and swallowed tightly. But Sienna sat by patiently and let Lily take her time. Let the tears trickle down her face and stayed silent as Lily explained it all to this random stranger who had shown her more compassion in the past two days then Lily was convinced anyone at Hogwarts ever had.
So she told her about Severus and his Dark Arts. How the failed relationship haunted her throughout her school career and the loneliness was overpowering. And how James had come on in what felt like a white horse and rescued her from that loneliness and suddenly all his friends were her friends and she felt safe and happy. Expect that she never thought that his friends had a price tag but it suddenly felt as if he was hers and she was his and he became everything to her…
"One day I woke up and I was just so in love with him it was as if I couldn't breath. But I was too scared to do anything about it because the day before I was convinced I hadn't been… And he would look at me and I would want to blurt it and then days I didn't want to blurt it because I was too scared of losing him. Then I would make all these justifications in my head like 'we don't have enough time' but all I ever wanted was for him to be touching me or talking to me or just being alone with me."
She explained to her the public embarrassment of the fight, the make out on the hospital bed and how he ignored her afterwards. How all of that hurt more then losing Snape, losing Petunia. When she finished and looked up at Sienna, she saw no judgment, pity or concern. Her eyes were kind, they were soft and loyal.
"I think I feel better," Lily actually said with a laugh as she sipped her untouched tea.
"I'm sure holding onto all that for so long didn't feel good."
Lily laughed a bit before shrugging. "I didn't really have anyone to share it with to be honest."
She looked at Sienna and it seemed Sienna knew, she didn't need to explain this part at all. "Well know you do."
They were quiet for a moment and Lily took deep breaths as her tears dried, and whatever was lodged in her throat relaxed. The air seemed to change around her, truly and Lily felt lighter, less trigger-happy.
"I've gotta ask… you haven't spoken to James since then?"
With a grim smile she shook her head. "No…"
"What about your other friends?"
"They were all his friends, really so no. Doubt they will too."
"Well," Sienna said seriously. "Their loss."
She got up so suddenly that Lily jumped and stared hard down at her. "We are going to go out and have fun tonight. You're going to forget about these silly Marauders. Find us some cute boys and remind you that there are many fish in the sea."
Lily couldn't help acquiescent. "Okay..." Maybe that really was what she needed, to just get out, meet new and move on. James wasn't coming after her.
"You know, I heard the boys down the hall talking. I swear I heard them using our language like they were talking about Hogwarts. We should investigate that later," Sienna said as she went with Lily to her room and looked through her closet. "What is this?" she asked horrified as she picked up a crumpling skirt.
Lily gave a helpless laugh. "A skirt?"
"We need to work on this," Sienna said intently. "This is not acceptable."
Together the girls ruffled through Lily's closet, with Sienna taking liberty and throwing things away, aghast that she had let her wardrobe get to this point.
"I mean, I know we are witches but Lily, c'mon!" she said holding up a pair of shirts that had holes.
They finally found a Sienna appropriate outfit that consisted of Sienna's cloths for Lily that was a light pink dress that swirled around Lily in all the right parts and left most of her back bare exposed expect for two thin strings that kept the dress a float.
"I think you're going to need stockings," Sienna said as she put on her own dress, a tight, royal purple long sleeved dress.
"Yeah?" she said as she already started rolling them on her. "I think I'm starting to agree with you. This is much to cold for June."
They walked together to the local pub, wobbling happily on the cobblestones and ignoring the stares they received from the strangers as they giggled at random walkers. Sienna's enthusiasm was infectious and Lily enjoyed walking through the old city with her as they pointed out beautiful sites or stores they wanted to come back too. They window-shopped the entire way, discussing how they wanted their apartment to be, enjoying the company of each other. They entered the crowded pub, which was dark and the floor sticky but it provided the necessary local atmosphere that showed everyone knew each other and was having a jolly time.
"Lily," Sienna said in a conspiratorial tone. "Those are the boys I was talking to you about." She pointed to a far corner where a group of rowdy boys were playing darts and arrows. "We need to go there."
"Wh-no!" But Sienna was already making her way through the crowd, grabbing Lily's hand without listening to hesitancy as she sat at the closet nearby table to them.
"Should we get a drink?" Sienna asked as she put her bag down and looked at Lily expectantly.
Lily sighed, giving in. "A pint of whatever you're having."
Sienna winked at her as she turned away and Lily was left staring at the establishment. The only bar she had ever been in was the Three Broomsticks. This was a far cry from that as it was most definitely a Muggle bar and filled with a variety of old and young.
Sienna returned with their drinks and a tall blonde guy. Of course.
"See Lily, I knew they were wizards," Sienna said slyly as she slipped onto her seat and beamed at the boy who was now towering over both of them.
The boy laughed at her comment and pulled out his hand to Lily. "Caleb Bellamy."
"Lily Evans," she said shaking his hand and her head.
Turning to Sienna she asked. "Did you just go up to him and ask him if he was a wizard?"
They both laughed. "Of course not!" she said. "He told me my wand was sticking out. It kind of rolled from there." Lily joined into the laugher at that.
"You girls new?" he asked conversationally as he slipped into the empty seat but before either of them could answer he whistled at his friends who turned at the sound and seemed instantly to brighten up that his friend had found girls and looked them up and down. Lily flushed as one of them made eye contact with her. "Fellas, we got ourselves some newbies."
Immediately they all seemed to congregate around the now crowded table and Sienna looked at Lily and winked in triumph.
"This is Sienna and Lily," Caleb introduced.
"You girls go to Hogwarts?" The tall dark redhead asked but Sienna shook her head.
"Nope, America all the way," that had all the boys either laughing to impress her or smiling. "Lily did."
Lily gave a tight smile as all eyes focused on her. "Just graduated."
"Quick," one of the boys said. "Usually people take a year off, can't handle all that studying. I know I couldn't!"
"That's cause you're useless," one said flicking him against the ear. "Lily flower here has much more brains than you."
Lily grimaced at the name and they all laughed at her reaction but she mumbled a "true" that had everyone at the table laughing.
"This is Samson," Caleb pointed to the boy who lacked 'brains'. "Ezra and Smetty."
With introductions out the way, Sienna was totally in her element. She chatted away with the boys, each of them seemingly enthralled with every word. Lily, true to form, remained quite and only answered when acknowledged even though Sienna did make effort to continuously keep her included. But her laconic replies left her largely out of the main conversation. But she compromised with herself that this was a different atmosphere and she just needed time getting used too everything.
"Hey," a voice said near her ear and Lily whipped her hair around that caught the boy. "Ouch."
"Oh, I'm so sorry!" Lily begun, as she started moving, unsure what she planned on doing but the boy seemed amused and brought his hands to her shoulders.
"It's okay," he offered and let her go as Lily stopped wiggling about. "I didn't catch your name."
"Lily Evans," she answered as if she was apologizing. "You're Smetty."
"Yeah," and he seemed surprised she even remembered.
"Short for something?" she asked interested.
"Hippocrates Smethwyck," he said deadpanned and Lily let out a snort of laughter until she realized he was serious. "Sorry, it's just could your parent's couldn't have been anymore obvious, could they?"
Smetty offered her an assuring smile and laughed. "I come from a long decedents of Healers. Don't think I had much of a choice."
"Must have been made fun of a lot with a name like that," she murmured.
He gave her a sober look but Lily could see the teasing behind it. "Hippo, Smutty, you name it."
"Yeah?" But after that Lily didn't have much to offer and remained idol as she played her pint.
"This your first year?" he asked.
"No, I'm actually a Field Healer right now. Filling in all my final requirements before I begin my residency at St. Mungo's as a Healer in Training."
"A Field Healer?" Lily asked, unfamiliar with the term.
"You know after you've completed the two year academic period, there's the three year application period?" Lily nodded. "There are a few options but I chose to a be a Field Healer. I'm finishing up though so I am mainly in reserves and working more as a Teaching Assistant but when the Auror's need Healers on the ground they call me or anyone else who has active reserve training."
Lily's stomach abruptly dropped at the word Auror that made it hard for her to hear anything else that came out of his mouth. She tried to gain her focus back but her heartbeat was out of control, which made it impossible for her to look Smetty or anyone else's in the eyes; especially as they all seemed to join the conversation at once. Her wild eyes made contact with Sienna who, though outwardly did not acknowledge the obvious distress signals, took the reins of the conversation.
"Wow, with the Aurors! Is it hard to get accepted?" Sienna asked.
"Depends on your qualifications, there's a special program for it here that makes it easier but it all depends if you are interested in the Dark Arts and want to work with it," Smetty said turning to her. "I came here for that program so it fits."
"Do they call you a lot?" Sienna asked.
"Lately less because I told them I need some time to refocus on studying for my Healer exams. But whenever they'll need me I have to go. Being in the reserves is part of the qualifications of joining the program."
Before Lily lost her confidence she asked: "Do you work with the Auror Academy too?"
The group looked over at her curiously and Lily explained. "It's just a lot of my friends just joined, from Hogwarts that is."
The faces turned sympathetic. "Not really because they aren't on the field yet. I think they join the field only a year afterwards… I'm not sure honestly, it probably depends what order they join, how elite they become within the Auror division."
"I bet they took whoever they could with everything going on," Caleb said.
"Is it hard to get in to this program at Cornwall?" Lily asked quietly.
Smetty gave her a curious glance. "Interested?"
"It's hard but doable. They used to accept only five to seven every year but this year I think they broadened it as they need more Field Healers now."
"This sounds crazy. I bet you've seen some insane things," Sienna asked eagerly as Lily clamped up again after her questions were answered.
The boys laughed at Smetty who begun to answer but was interrupted. "Mate, don't steal our thunder already," Ezra said.
But Smetty shrugged and became somber. "Lately it's just been horrible. On both sides."
"With the war?" Sienna asked at the same time Samson asked, "Both sides?"
Smetty became thoughtful as he turned towards Samson. "It's humanity on both sides. It's best we don't forget that as we try to bring peace."
"I never understand why you joined to help the Auror's fight the Dark Arts but you remain such a pacifist," Samson uttered shaking his head that had agreed murmur from Ezra.
"I think you misunderstand my point, Samson," and the table around them became hushed even as the dwelling only grew louder. Lily's shattering heartbeat seemed to be replaced with the marvel of the political argument and wondered if this was what real life was. People with fully formed opinions. "Am I saying the Aurors are superfluous? Of course not. At any given moment they are working tirelessly to stand between the destruction of the Wizarding race and its annihilation from the Death Eaters. But we must remember that Auror power can only prevent. It can only prevent tragedy, prevent annihilation, prevent mass injury to the Wizard world but it will never win because our goals cannot be achieved through Auror power."
His words imploded into Lily's mind and she stared at Hippocrates Smethwyck in an entirely new light. Because she was staring not at a single-minded childhood boy but a man who had fully formed opinions based on real experiences. He wasn't speaking based on his own theory but based on his application… The subject was enchanting her, the idea of Aurors, fighting the war, what it meant and what it would achieve in the end bewitched her.
"This is way to serious," Caleb finally intervened even though Lily didn't want to stop talking about this; she needed more as questions rapidly flipped over in her head.
Smetty nodded his head and the group became quite even with Caleb's interruption.
"You went to Hogwarts?" Caleb finally asked her as Lily could see the quiet bothered him.
"Us too. What House where you in? I don't remember you," Caleb asked.
"Well you would have been at least five years older than her," Sienna offered dryly and Lily smiled gratefully.
The boys laughed heartily. "Explains why you know so many people joining the Auror Academy. Gryffindor, you crazy kids."
Lily was mildly offended before Smetty gave her a kind smile. "Don't take offense to these idiots they just doesn't understand the concept of bravery and loyalty."
The boy who had said the comment sputtered and Lily offered Smetty a grateful smile.
"Where you in Gryffindor?" she asked hopefully.
"Ravenclaw though Caleb was," and Lily looked over at him and tried to think if she remembered him but he would have been a Fifth Year when she started…
The conversation flowed out of the initial awkwardness and well into the night, and though the boys originally had appeared a bit arrogant to Lily, she found herself enjoying their jokes and manner that even though it reminded her of the Marauders it provided her a semblance of comfort. She especially enjoyed Smetty as she found his remarks truthful, insightful and impactful. She had just never met anyone like him before but then again most of the people she had been surrounded with had been school children.
So the summer waved in this similar grace and the group of four boys plus her and Sienna began spending more and more time together that included going to the pub every night or during the day on Sundays, tanning at the beach or hiking trails. It was laid back, it was fun and Lily, for the first time in her life, had friends. These friends seemed to wake her up because waking up was fun. Because waking up meant playing chicken in the water with Ezra and Caleb, day drinking with Sienna and Samson, shopping for antiques or going camping with the entire group. It meant spending more time with Smetty and learning from him.
And these traditions didn't evaporate when school began, if anything they became stronger. More traditions arising with them like getting breakfast every Saturday and then shopping afterwards, with the boys coming over in the afternoon and Sienna and her cooking for them a Saturday lunch before they would rest and go out. Lunch during the school week was a formal affair that had them roaring in various spots on the school grounds, and studying in the library had never been less productive and more fun for Lily. She had once even got kicked out because Samson had kept blowing his voice up with his wand. They formed a squad on campus and Lily was more than included, she was essential.
Once the school year had begun, Lily had applied for the Auror Field Healer program and was accepted. The secretary who shared the news of her acceptance with her whispered that Albus Dumbledore himself had personally sent in a letter of recommendation, something she hadn't seen in the fifteen years she worked there. Lily was delighted but Smetty was correct as the program accepted ten new students instead of the competitive five. The training, spells and lessons were exceptionally hard and disgusting to learn. Learning in the program meant learning tactics and strategies of the Aurors in the field in order for the Healers to be prepared when they had to join missions or operations. These lessons made her somehow feel closer to James as she imagined she was learning what he was actually doing. But the amount of studying and homework was dreadful and impossible. It was just another reason she was becoming indebted to Smetty who would stay up and study with her, assist her whenever she was unsure and talk with her when she felt like her brain was melting.
Lily walked back to her apartment alone and she pondered happily how this was a rare occurrence. When she halted: she hadn't thought about James all day. Not only had she not thought about James today, she hadn't thought about him yesterday or the day before she was pretty sure. She was triumphant as she made her way back to the apartment and thought to herself time does heal all wounds.
When she unlocked the door, she found Caleb and Sienna studying on the floor in the living room and grinned cheerfully at them. Though Caleb had been putting the steady moves on Sienna all summer, Sienna played ignorant of them. When Lily mentioned her thoughts on Caleb's feelings, Sienna explained bluntly: "I can't just go for the first British guy who makes the moves. Anyways, blondes were never my style."
Lily felt bad for Caleb but Sienna had her own rights and she could never be against her. For Sienna had become Lily's "person." Her one person she could admit anything to without shame and could depend on her with full trust. It was solace she had never really known before but having someone on her side no matter how fiercely she was wrong was, well, nice.
"Hey, Evans," Caleb said as she closed the door.
Lily ignored the impact of how it felt for someone else to call her "Evans" but nodded "hi" before heading towards the kitchen to make herself a sandwich. It was Friday afternoon, a month since school started and Lily was exhausted, wanting nothing more then to cuddle in bed and read a book or daydream.
"What are your plans for the night, girls?" Caleb asked closing his book and moving to stand up and stretch.
"Nothing definite," Sienna answered copying his actions.
"Perfect, we are going to the pub."
"I don't know," Lily said as she looked up from the cutting board where she was chopping a tomato, and the two pair of eyes looked at her.
"What, Lily, no! It's Friday night, we are going out. It doesn't need to be with these dweebs though," Sienna pointed her thumb at Caleb who made a mock sigh of hurt by putting his hands over his heart.
"Lily, come one," Caleb said as he came over and sat on the barstool. "Smetty will be there…"
"I don't know why that is supposed to be an incentive," she said pointing her knife at him.
"You know magic can do that, right?"
"Ugh, you're like a train that won't stop talking," Lily said, sitting her knife down and glowering at him.
"So that means you're coming, right?" Caleb said smiling easily as he got up.
Sienna laughed at the display and let Caleb out, telling him they would be around the pub at eight.
"Drinks will be had," he said down the hall.
"He is so annoying sometimes," Lily said before taking a bite of her sandwich.
Sienna rolled her eyes and started preparing her own sandwich and looked over at Lily who was now sitting on the barstool. "Smetty will be there though…"
"Why does everyone think that means something to me?" Lily asked defensively.
"Hey," Sienna relented. "All I know is that Caleb told me he was thinking of asking you out, wasn't sure though if you fancied him though."
Lily's mouth dropped open and gapped. "Wh-What?"
Sienna started laughing hysterically at Lily's expression and held her stomach as she tried to sit up straight. "Lily, have you really never thought about it?"
Lily shook her head because the idea of other boys really had been a far away thought. Even though she didn't think about James as much anymore it didn't mean she wasn't still in love with him… Smetty had made some sort of impact on Lily but on the base of someone Lily admired, a mentor.
Sienna stopped making her sandwich and looked at her plainly. "Lily, I know you had this ordeal with James and you told me you weren't ready to move on but Smetty is a good guy. He's an older guy. He won't play you around like James did and his ambition isn't to go off fighting Voldermort. You hear how he talks. Maybe you should just think about it a little longer."
Lily and Sienna arrived at the pub decked out. Lily had decided maybe she would consider the idea of Smetty. He after all considered the idea of her. With Sienna's help she chose a pair of high waist black, tight jeans ripped at her knee with a white, silky long sleeved shirt and a mustard scarf. She decided to put on red lipstick and for whatever materialistic reason it made her feel edgy. With the click of her boots on the ground the girls made their way over to the guys who were already sitting around a table with a pitcher of beer.
Today, the pub felt more crowded than usual, even for a Friday night and Lily and Sienna seriously considering Appariting to their table. When the boys did see Sienna and Lily they whistled that left Lily blushing as she happily took a drink from Caleb and sat herself next to Smetty.
"Looking good, Evans," Caleb said as his eyes roamed her down. Lily heated at the gaze but flushed when Smetty's eyes met hers.
Sienna hit Caleb over his head at his obvious lusty gaze and they all laughed.
The conversation flowed between the friends as always, and Lily found herself noticing for the first time the special attention Smetty was giving her as he bought her drinks, kept her in the conversation or played a game of darts with her and let her win. It was funny how attention from males wasn't something Lily was entirely used to considering James chased them off the second he decided Lily was his own property. Once she only had eyes for James she wouldn't have noticed the attention from males unless it was from James even if it slapped her in the face. But having Smetty so obviously pay attention to her was flattering and flustering at the same time. She remained unsure of her feelings however. She privately admitted to herself that he was handsome, extraordinarily effective as a Healer and gentle. Maybe gentle was exactly what she needed.
The group sat around the pub even as it started thinning out and continued to refill their pitcher. A few lingering groups remained surrounding them and when the pitcher was empty and not instantly refilled, Lily offered to get it.
As she approached the bar she did a double take at a table close by and narrowed her eyes at a broad frame with thick hair leaning over a group of men and one woman. She couldn't see his face but he felt oddly familiar. He must have been someone from Hogwarts, Lily concluded, as there were tons roaming around. Leaning against the bar as she waited for a new pitcher, her eyes landed again on the mystery figure. She ignored the sensation to study him but there was something about the way he was leaning, standing confidently as he moved his hands around… Her heartbeat quickened and was shaken out of reverie by the bartender.
"Love, your pitcher," he said and Lily looked at him startled.
"Pitcher, right thanks," she said briskly, grabbing her order and tried moving to her table swiftly. Back to her friends. Her safe haven.
Forty more meters. Thirty more meters. Twenty more- a body blocked her and she looked up into the eyes of none other than Sirius Black. The pitcher collapsed onto the floor, shattering on the ground as the golden liquid spilled everywhere and a silence engulfed the entire pub as a few bus boys came rushing over and immediately started cleaning. But Lily paid them not heed because her eyes were locked with Sirius' and even though from the back of her eye she saw her friends get up and start moving towards them it didn't matter. Because the next second she was sheltered fiercely into his arms and hugged tightly by him.
He smelled like old spice and the woods, the Marauders always smelled like the woods. She sniffed into his black sweater and the comfort of touching something from home was all consuming, and when Sirius tried to release her she stayed in his arms because it was Sirius. An artifact that proved Hogwarts was once her home. A memory that reminded her that James did in fact exist. That he did love her…
"Merlin, Sirius," she uttered as he hugged her again and Lily laughed as she pulled away and examined him closely and saw that he had gained muscle in his shoulders and arms but his face looked worn, tired, drained.
"I forgot you went here," he muttered as he left her in his arms. "It's so good to see you."
"Are you here alone-?" Lily asked as she looked over his shoulder but didn't recognize any of the faces that seemed to be staring dumbly at them. She imagined her friends weren't any better.
"James isn't here," he said kindly but straight to the point and Lily wanted to feel guilty but even so, seeing Sirius felt so good. There was something about Sirius Black that always brought a smile to her face.
"What are you doing here? Are you okay? How are you?" Lily started but even before she could begin, her friends and his own group came over and all Lily wanted to do was escape and question him for hours. She had some much bottled inside of her. So many questions to ask.
Funny, how only today she had thought she had moved on. But had she moved on or merely forgotten? What did it mean that the second she saw Sirius she wanted all the answer, about James and himself, Marlene and Mary? The reminder of Sirius made her ravenous for it.
"Lily," Smetty stated firmly and made his way towards her.
She was forced to turn around and look at her staggered friends.
"Oh, sorry!" Lily said quickly. "Sirius these are my friends from school," pointing to the group. "Sirius was a friend from Hogwarts. I haven't seen him since we graduated," she turned back to him and grinned but Sirius was staring intently at Smetty and Lily felt the tension thicken.
She looked over at Sienna, who always knew what to do, and though she seemed to be gazing at Sirius dazedly she seemed to snap out of it and take control at Lily's shove. "It's great to meet you!" she said taking his hand without him realizing what was happening and his eyes met hers and stilled. Sienna, after all, was gorgeous and had that effect on most men, even the notorious Sirius Black. "I've heard so much about you."
It was clear to Sirius that Sienna meant James but it seemed to do the trick and Sirius grinned at her before looking over at Lily. "Yeah?"
Lily blushed but smiled anyways. She couldn't help but going back into his arms, she felt secure.
"Who are your friends?" Sienna volunteered, and Lily had never been more grateful.
"This is Caradoc, Edgar and Dorcas. This is Lily Evans."
They all nodded their heads at each other and Dorcas gazed at Lily intrigued before turning to Sirius. "I think we'll head out."
He nodded but kept his grip firm on Lily. "I'll stay, meet up later."
She nodded slowly as Sirius's group clasped him on his back. "You need to be back before noon."
"I know, Dorcas," Sirius said clearly. Lily felt Dorcas give her a gaze over once more before leaving with the group.
Lily had a million and a half questions for Sirius but knew they would have to wait once they were alone. She would have rushed him out then but Sirius followed her group of friends back to the table and Sirius helped himself to a pint of beer that had obviously been brought to the table to replace the broken one.
"Evans," Sirius smiled broadly shaking his head.
"This is crazy! What are the chances?"
"You lot in the same class?" Ezra asked.
"Same class, same House, same friends," Sirius answered, taking another sip. "Lily was always trying to beat me at Charms but never could."
"Hey!" Lily said, hitting him on his shoulder. "I was first in our year."
Sirius grinned good-naturedly. "You all went to Hogwarts too?"
They nodded their heads and an unfamiliar tension seemed to pass the room when they didn't elaborate. Lily answered for them. "Yeah, but there all Ravenclaws, expect Caleb! He was in Gryffindor. But they were big Fifth Years when we got there."
"Must have been a fight to see who got Prefect in Ravenclaw that year," Sirius attempted to silence.
"But Sienna went to school in the States," Lily urged on and looked at her desperately, which wasn't even needed as she took the reins.
"Yup, can't help but bring some Americaness to this English stuffiness," Sienna started and flashed her eyes towards Sirius.
Sirius seemed to consider Sienna and as their two gazes met, Lily felt like she was interrupting something. "Are you now? Where from?"
For the first time, Lily saw Sienna flustered and stumble a bit over her words. "Texas."
"I hear they like it all big there," Sirius offered.
Caleb broke the tension between them, as he seemed to seize up his apparent competition. "So what are you doing now, Sirius?"
Sirius broke his gaze with Sienna and looked at his fellow Gryffindor. "First Year Auror Trainee."
The boy nodded and it didn't seem to lessen the tension because of obvious respect. "What you are doing in Cornwall?"
Sirius paused, looked at Lily, and then back at Caleb. "Business."
"What business?" Caleb ventured.
Sirius looked at Lily again before answering. "Classified, sorry."
Lily looked over at him and begun laughing. "Classified, Sirius, you just started!"
But the look he gave her told her exactly what she had dreaded. Yes they had started. But they were in the thick of things. And not just him, James too.
"How long are you in town for?" Ezra asked as the conversation kept breaking up.
"A day or too, not sure really. Depends…"
"Sirius, you said," Smetty asked suddenly. "As in Sirius Black?"
"That's right," Sirius said with a sardonic smile.
"I thought all you Black's were in Slytherin," Smetty questioned.
"Guess I broke the mold."
"Narcissa Black was in our year," Samson regarded. "Your sister?"
"Cousin," Sirius flashed. "But I've been disowned since then."
"Disowned?" Samson asked interested, and of all the boys Samson and Ezra seemed to be the more welcoming and Lily was immensely grateful for it.
"Ran away when I was 16. Couldn't deal with all the blood purity idiocy. Joining the Aurors probably didn't help my family inheritance though."
Ezra and Samson laughed, and Sienna bit her lip. Smetty stared at him stony.
"Brave of you to join the Aurors," Ezra said.
"Someone has too," Sirius said plainly. "Couldn't think of anything else I would want to do."
"Than beat Death Eaters?" Smetty asked.
At Smetty's question, Sirius turned his head and considered him. "Like I said someone has too."
"And what do you think about that power?" he challenged and Lily had never heard him speak so overweening.
Sirius didn't speak at first but collected his thoughts. "I'm making the difference that I can make, that I want to make, in stopping this war. I'm defending what's right, trying to do the right thing."
"But what is 'right', what does 'right' even mean?" Smetty continued. "Isn't a 'right' not when you claim it but when others think it of you? That is to say if you really want to make a difference isn't that in politics… Aurors, for all the bravery, are just shields of the commands."
Lily could feel the steam coming through Sirius ears and Lily stared wildly at Sienna who stared back at her just as baffled. This was happening and it seemed Smetty didn't even realize he choosing the wrong person from Lily's past!
Sirius narrowed his eyes at him. "Aurors aren't the face of this fight but we are what keeps the leaders truthful."
Smetty seemed to take in Sirius' words. "But do you think, hypothetically, that if tomorrow comes and you Auror's on the direction of your leaders do defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, do you really think he is the variable?"
"What I do know," Sirius growled. "Is that if we can defeat Voldermort than lives will be saved. And that is a constant I can help create."
Lily wasn't going to survive this conversation and she was freaking out. She grabbed Sirius hand and pulled at his sleeve that forced him to stand from his bar stool and looked down at her. His eyes were still blazing at the conversation and Lily had to get him out of there, quickly. Smetty was smart but Lily knew all to well that Sirius had no problem starting or winning duels in the middle of the Muggle pub.
"Right, well, this has been fascinating, truly. We're going to jet," Lily said thankfully. "Catch up, do what friends do and not bore you lot with the specifics."
The group seemed relieved when Lily and Sirius walked away. Their happiness at seeing each other seemed to have vanished and Lily was desperate to regain it, especially a tense Sirius was not something she was accustomed too. And she wanted her questions answered.
Lily led him away from the old city and towards the beach, where she decided the best location was always near the water even though she was not dressed for it with only a light jacket. She squinted her eyes as the lamps of the city grew further away and what was left was the glittering moonlight against the black ocean. They walked quietly for a few more seconds as the sound of the sand crunched beneath them before Sirius turned to her and flick over her, his demeanor finally relaxed.
"You look good, Lily. Really," he said seriously.
Lily blushed. "I like it here."
"I'm glad," he said quietly.
"Are you going to go back and report that? That I'm happy," Lily asked shyly.
He didn't answer at first and Lily gave him a side glance. "Depends… are you with that Smetty bloke?" Sirius asked point blank.
The shyness evaporated. "Of course not."
"You plan on going out with him?"
"Sirius!" Lily said sharply. "I don't plan on anything but it's none of your business or James!"
"You were the one talking about reporting back," Sirius snorted.
"Well you can tell James that I'm still in love with him," she was so angry at the accusation, she didn't care how silly it was that she was still in love with James four months after he left her. "And you can tell him also that I have no plans on going out with anyone in the near future because I'm still heartbroken. Good enough?" But she didn't wait for answer and stormed off.
Sirius easily caught up with her and grabbed her shoulder. "Lily," he said gently. "I'm sorry. Don't be mad."
She pulled her arm away and glared at him. "You should be sorry, and I am mad! James left me. Not the other way around. So he shouldn't care at all if I fancy anyone."
Sirius looked at her dubiously. "Lily…"
"Don't 'Lily' me. I saw how that Dorcas girl looked at me. Is James going out with her?!"
Sirius let out a bark of laughter and Lily's stupor ceased at seeing him giggle. "James with Dorcas? Lily, are you soft in the head?" he didn't wait for her confused face to comprehend what was happening. "She was looking at you 'funny' because she wanted a peek at the girl James is obsessed with because everyone knows... he can't even hide it."
Lily was stupefied as she stared at Sirius because she never allowed herself, not once, to consider that James…
"Lily, he's a mess," Sirius said tenderly.
Lily's tried to shut down her heart but it wasn't cooperating. "You, you said that to me before and it didn't get me very far."
Sirius brought her sideways and glanced down at her kindly. "Lily, everyday, as long as we aren't in emergency situations, we have a time out from 11:30pm to 12:00am were we write letters or floo someone if it's safe. Lily he's written you every single one of those time outs-"
"I've never received a letter-" Lily begun but Sirius caught her off.
"Because he won't send them. In his own way he thinks he's protecting you but Lily, you have to know you're all he cares about. You're all he thinks about. Abandoning you at the train station was his biggest mistake because it didn't do him any good."
Lily was paralyzed, and even more disgusting she wanted to know more. Greedy for more details about how James thought about her and wanted her and obsessed with her. "Sirius… I'm mad," she decided. "Confused too."
"Lily, he's my best friend. And he's miserable. It's like he goes on missions, completes them and then just thinks about you and it's a never ending cycle."
"Missions," Lily said roughly.
Sirius paused, and the way he didn't meet her eyes told her that he wasn't going to share with her what the two of them already knew that she knew. "We are in the Auror Academy. We obviously have missions."
Maybe not knowing was better.
"Just promise," Lily started and came forward and took his hand in hers. She looked at him hard. "That you'll take care of yourself."
"I solemnly swear," he whispered.
Lily stretched out her legs that felt extraordinarily sore as she and Sirius walked the beach till the early pink hours of dawn. She offered Sirius the couch and he collapsed exhausted onto it with all his clothes on. Lily crawled into bed and forced her eyes shut and duct taped the memories of James out. She couldn't think about James being miserable because of her, wouldn't let herself be a moment gleeful about either.
Lily walked into the brightly lit room and felt the breeze of the ocean. The porch door was open and Lily glimpsed at Sirius still sleeping form before heading out to the porch where Sienna was sipping her coffee. She looked up at her when she sat down. She didn't say anything at first and wondered what there was to say and if she was supposed to say anything.
"So yesterday," Sienna began and Lily gave her a dry smile before collapsing on the wooden bench the two girls splurged on. The pillow underneath felt squishy and warm and Lily brought her legs up as she stared into the ocean, wondering if James was near the ocean too.
"So assuming Sirius isn't James, is he one of his friends?" Sienna asked casually.
"More like brother," Lily answered.
"To bad Smetty didn't know that," Sienna laughed.
"Oh god, that was horrible," Lily said putting her head between her hands.
Sienna sniggered "After you left, I've never seen calm Smetty like this before. Like so unsure and he wanted to hound me so bad on what I knew but was too polite to ask anything."
Lily let out a humorless laugh and shook her head.
Sienna was quiet then and took another sip of her coffee. "Lily," and the obvious affection in her voice made Lily give her a genuine smile. "I know seeing Sirius probably brought up a lot of memories… but James isn't going to be popping into Cornwall."
Lily wrapped her hands tighter around her legs and put her head on them as she looked over at Sienna and gave her a sad smile. "I keep hoping that he will. It's so silly but… What happened with Sirius, I imagined it a million times with James. And just when I thought I was moving on, Sirius is passed out on my couch telling me stories about how James is miserable and it's like – no one needs to be miserable but we're both miserable and alone."
"Eventually, Lily, time heals the wound… It's cliché but true," Sienna said.
"I keep hearing my mom tell me that in my head, you know?" she said facing Sienna and forcing the tears back. "But at least with my parents it's like… I have no reminders. I don't live in my old town, I have no family friends and my sister doesn't keep in touch. So it's like it faded away but if I bring up a memory it hurts so bad. So did time heal it or did I just forget? It's the same thing with James."
They were quiet for a moment before Lily allowed her wildest dreams to be confessed. "It's like the Wizarding community is so small, especially in England. And I just want desperately to run into him so I look for him everywhere. And if I can't run into him I just want to run into someone who knows him. Or have a mutual acquaintance or something so I ask everyone I meet about something that may be connected to James so I can just talk about that thing that is connected to James that may eventually lead to talking about James... I'm haunted because the Wizarding community is small and they all do know him… But no one knows me so does he even remember me?"
"Oh, Lily," Sienna said and hugged her. "Of course, didn't you just say Sirius told you he was miserable?"
Lily nodded and regained her composure but Sienna still sat close. "This whole love thing… It's just not what I thought it was or imagined. Like I love James. I know he loves me. But it's not enough… When people get together what they don't seem to tell you is that loving each other is not the key because if it was the key then- but it's like me and James are this destructive pair around each other because we can't get it together, and love isn't the problem. It's like together we are more toxic then not and I don't know how to get out of that."
Sienna didn't have time to respond because Sirius walked onto the porch and leered good-naturedly at the two girls sitting. "Morning, ladies. You two look quite dashing."
The two girls giggled at his flirtation and Sienna got up and glanced over at Sirius, flashing him a smile before flipping her hair over she shoulder. "Coffee?"
Lily wanted to laugh at the way he looked at her, as if he wanted to devour her, but she maintained a neutral face. "Sure." Sienna walked out, flipping her hips as she entered the kitchen. Sirius stared at her backside before settling back onto a leftover beach chair. Lily gave him a knowing look as Sirius grinned. "What? She's cute."
"I'm sure that's exactly how she wants you to describe her," Lily snickered.
Sirius rolled his eyes and the two remained silent as they watched the waves roll onto the sand before Sienna returned with Sirius's coffee. He took hold of it, looking into Sienna's striking blue eyes for a moment before taking a large gulp, the heat of the drink apparently not affecting him. "Wish I could stay but I gotta make some moves."
"Already?" Sienna asked, attempting to cover up the dismay in her voice.
"Business calls. But who knows maybe another trip to Cornwall will take place. I like it here."
Sirius slurped the rest of his coffee and made his way back into the apartment. He hugged Sienna quickly goodbye, almost as if he was reluctant to touch her but Sienna wrapped her thin body around his and kissed his cheek. He stared down at her for a moment before releasing her. She stepped back as he shook himself out of a daze then turned to Lily. He gripped her firmly in his arms and looked down at her with a sincerity that moved her.
"Be good," he murmured into her hair. She nodded and looked into his soft brown eyes once more and kissed his cheek.
"Be safe," she said. He nodded.
Sirius released her and opened the door to find Smetty with his hand ready to knock. "Uh hey."
"Hey," Sienna chirped. "Sirius was just leaving. Come in," she offered as Smetty came inside the now crowded doorway.
Sirius glared at Smetty who seemed to match his gaze. "Yup, just leaving. But never far, yeah?"
Lily's eyes widened horrified and pushed Sirius out the door. "Sirius!"
He grinned wickedly at her and waved before turning down the hallway.
"Want coffee?" Sienna asked Smetty as she moved towards the kitchen.
"I already had some this morning, thanks," he responded politely before glancing at Lily who was still staring at the spot Sirius has vacated. "Lily, can I talk to you for a moment?"
Lily looked over at him quickly before nodding. She closed the door as Sienna looked at her with gleaming eyes. "Right, I'll make myself indisposed."
The two made their ways to the living room and sat on the flush couch. Smetty sat facing her and Lily looked out at the waving curtains. "Did you have something with him?" Smetty asked point blank and Lily finally twisted around and looked at him shocked. Smetty was never blunt like this and it almost made Lily grin.
"No," she said kindly.
"Oh," he said off guard. "It just, you two seemed very close."
"He's my friend. He's known me since I was eleven. Of course we are close," Lily said purely.
"I didn't mean to imply…" Smetty shook his head in self-depravation. "I'm doing this all wrong, aren't I?" and gave her disgruntled smile.
"What are you trying to do exactly?" Lily asked earnestly.
He looked over at her and seemed to gain strength for Lily's obvious kindness. "Lily, you know I like you. It's not a secret." He paused. "I'm trying to ask you out."
"Oh," Lily formed and swallowed. "Right."
The silence was pregnant and Lily twisted her hair behind her ear. This was horrible timing.
"You can say 'no', I won't be offended," he offered with warm eyes.
"No, I'm sorry. You just took me off guard, is all."
"Are you surprised?" he said with such patience that Lily's heart thumped painfully against her chest.
Lily gave him a small smile. "I just haven't thought about anyone in that way in a long time."
He took her words in slowly and nodded his head. "Was there someone else?"
Lily shook her head dejectedly. "No, there is no one else…" But I wish he was, she didn't add. He didn't respond but it seemed he received the full picture. "I'm sorry. I really didn't know you liked me and I never meant for any of this to get out of hand."
"Lily," he chuckled. "You just acted like yourself, any guy would want you to go out with him."
She blushed at his kind words and he got up. Lily followed and when they reached the door Lily hugged him unexpectedly. "I'm sorry, I'm just still heartbroken. Sienna said time heals these things or whatever."
He looked down at her steadily and took a piece of her hair and pushed it behind her ear. "I'm not into triangles, Lily. But I like you and I'm here. Whoever left you, he's not. I don't know what happened but if you're interested and open to it, I am," he stated simply.
Lily watched him leave and then closed the door behind him and fell to the ground as Sienna opened her door and laughed at Lily's distressed state. "What a morning, huh? What a night!" Lily groaned as Sienna stepped over her. "Want coffee?"
"Yes," Lily mumbled but didn't get up from her place on the floor. Sienna came to her crumpled body and handed her the steaming mug and laid down next to her on the floor.
"Soooooo what's Black's story?" Sienna asked nonchalantly that wasn't nonchalant at all.
"Someone have a little crush?" Lily teased.
"No," Sienna grumbled.
"Right," Lily drawled.
At the continued silence, Sienna finally twisted around and frowned, "Well?"
Lily rolled her eyes and got up from the floor, Sienna followed. "You don't want to go there."
"Go where?" Sienna demanded.
Lily turned around and faced her friend. "Sirius. He's all play."
"That's not what I asked," Sienna noted.
"Well, what exactly do you want to know?" Lily said as she moved to her room this time and lay on her bed exhausted from the changing emotions of this morning. Sienna came into her room and sat on the side and looked down at Lily. Briefly, Lily remembered sitting similarly to when James laid in the hospital wing and her heart fluttered as it tried to fight him out.
"I'm not sure exactly… There's something about him," she mumbled.
"You and all girls, I'm sure," Lily intoned and Sienna narrowed her eyes at her.
"Be kind, Lily." Lily smirked at her and pulled at the dangly hair. "Ow!"
"Don't be a baby. Sirius doesn't like that," Lily kid and Sienna's eyes widened before she tackled Lily and started tickling her who collapsed into giggles.
Later, after she fended off questions about Sirius from Sienna who ended up going on a date with Caleb that night, Lily strolled the beach alone this time. It wasn't like anything was going to change anytime soon with James. James was still not talking to her, she still didn't know where he was, and now she had started a new life. Maybe this was the way it was supposed to be?
AN: Just FYI, this story was supposed to be 10 chapters but this chapter got way out of control so for now it's 11... I figured 'yay' more for everyone! But good thing is that I already started the next one because I realized then it would just be a million and a half pages. Figured, let's spread the love.