Chapter 36

Lily arrived at the Potters an hour before the New Years' party was set to begin, stepping out of the fireplace she was greeted with an excited James and Ines. Ines pulled her into a hug before she gave James a polite hello and was whisked up the stairs towards Ines' bedroom. Ines, having already put together what she was to wear tonight had everything they needed laid out was already telling Lily what her plan was. Walking down the hall, Sirius' head popped out from his room just past James'. "Lily! You've arrived, How are you?", he had quite clearly just gotten out of the shower and was gripping a white towel hung around his waist. "Alright," she answered "Yourself?". "Fantastic," He nodded, smiling, his smile growing only the slightest bit bigger as he turned his eyes to Ines. She was wearing a Gryffindor beaters shirt, one that could very well be hers, but due to the laundry's tendency to make it into the wrong rooms, which then apparently took twenty minutes of conversation between the two of them to retrieve, it was most likely his. Ines pulled Lily into her room, keeping an impassive stare on Sirius, avoiding anything below his chin.

Lily looked around at the state of her room, with clothes strewn everywhere, as well as the clothes spilling out of her already full closet. "Gone shopping recently?" Lily asked through a smile, already knowing the answer. "Actually, yeah, I did buy a few new things," she confirmed, then she teased a little more by adding, "I think Sirius is going to really enjoy my outfit tonight.". Lily sat down on her bed, "Sirius seems to like you no matter what you're wearing," she grumbled. "So, what did you buy for him". "Just a mini skirt." She wouldn't tell her about the hair and the shoes, or what she bought to wear under the skirt. "I also grabbed something for you," She threw Lily a tight-fitting maroon dress with thin straps and a low neckline. Surprisingly enough Lily caught it, and held it, feeling it over in her hands. "I… thank you, Ines, but I don't know if I can wear it.". Ines sat down on the bed next to her, "Well, James seems to like you no matter what you're wearing.". Lily took a moment to consider it, before processing Ines words and throwing the dress at her, "Ines!". She threw it right back, "Just put it on, I think I've decided on mine.".

Forty-five minutes later, Ines emerged from her room in order to grab a cup of water for Lily to find Sirius leaving James' room. He looked her up and down, drinking her in. Her dark purple top had a v-neck cut, and her black mini skirt hugged her every curve. "Black" she muttered, before heading towards the stairs, knowing full well that he was following her. In the kitchen, she grabbed a glass from up on the shelf and felt him behind her. She whipped around, so their fronts were now facing each other. "I love the skirt," he said, his fingers trailing up and down her thigh. He was able to touch a majority of it considering the skirt didn't cover very much of her. "Wait until you see what I put Lily in, James will hardly be able to contain himself.". One hand made its way up to behind her head, pulling her closer to him. "Well if it's any better than what you're wearing now then they'll be snogging on the floor in an instant.". As much as it hurt, she untangled herself from him "Which is something we will not be doing, not here nor at the crowded party.". She filled the glass with water, as Sirius made his way around the kitchen to sit at the island across from the sink. "Sure, I wouldn't even think of it." He said, not meaning it at all. Ines rolled her eyes playfully, shut off the tap and made her way back up the stairs, feeling his gaze on her the whole way.

After another half hour, the girls were finally ready to head out. They all tried their best to be silent, making their way out of the now dark house due to Euphemia and Fleamont; Despite the fact that they most definitely knew where they were going. They made their way out the door and with help from the outdoor lights, James finally got a good look at Lily. It had taken Ines 15 minutes of convincing, with a Lily who very much wanted to say yes, to put on the dress with a pair of heels. The boys each wore long pants and loose-fitting button-ups, with the top few undone. James could hardly keep his eyes off of Lily on their way to Benji's causing numerous trips and falls. Coming to the end of Brereton Park the music from the house became more clear, and the colossal garden had people already spilling out of it. Passing through the front door, Ines was immediately pulled away from the boys by Lily. The rest of her friends had caught sight of them from where they were huddled by the fireplace and greeted them through slurs.

Hours passed, filled with dancing, drinking, and chatting. Ines had bested Emmeline in a game of beer pong and Dorcas had snogged Walter Parkin on the couch. A tap on Lily's shoulder sent the whole group of girls into shock. "Marlene!" Lily exclaimed, in shock over her outfit. Ines, usually having the most scandalous outfit of the night, was even taken aback. Marlene wore a black lace top that was hardly even there, with a pair of shorts that must be leaving her freezing as they covered hardly anything. "You like it? Ines?" She asked, gleefully. Ines grabbed whatever drink it was Mary was holding and grimaced into the cup and she nodded. "I've decided," she said, standing up taller, "Tonight, I'm going to do it.". Lily looked confused, "Do what?". Without a seconds notice, she answered: "I'm going to shag Sirius.". Ines tried her best not to spit out the drink, causing her to choke on it instead. "Are you!" Ines exclaimed, gripping the cup very tightly now. Marlene didn't notice her shock and discomfort. "Yeah, I'm thinking so. I mean, I've hardly heard of him getting with anyone at all in the past year, and I want to be the one to break that chain. Ines, you know him so well, is it true he hasn't shagged anyone in over a year?".

Ines didn't know what to say, she was pretty sure it was true, but who was she to know? The two of them weren't in any way official, hell, Ines wasn't even sure what it is she really felt towards him. He had nothing holding him back from shagging other girls, who was she to stop him? "I wouldn't know, Marlene.". Marlene didn't notice her hesitation, or sudden sadness fall across her face. "Well, still, how should I go about getting him to shag me? Kirley McCormack was desper-". Dorcas spun on her, "You shagged Catriona's brother?!". Ines took the moment in which her friends were distracted to slip away, leaving the cup on a random table on her walk towards the kitchen. There she found a table, stacked to the brim with every possible alcoholic drink, both wizard and muggle, and grabbed one for herself, before walking upstairs and locking herself in the bathroom. She sat herself down on the floor, leaning against the tub, and drank. Ines tried her best to get lost in it, to have the liquor warm her heart. But the entire partying lifestyle was becoming superficial in her experience, thinking about how most of her past hookups were as deep as a shot glass and as short-lived as a pack of cigarettes. All it gave her was a mindset that made her wallowing in sadness a whole lot deeper. She wasn't sure how she felt about Sirius, but at the mention of another girl, let alone Marlene, doing anything with him set her on edge. She wore something so tantalizing, so alluring, Sirius would be stupid not to shag her. It was new years, everyone was drunk, and he had no formal commitment to Ines so why wouldn't he?

Before long, she finished her drink and had cried all her years and was left sitting in the bathroom. At the sound of footsteps making their way towards the bathroom sent her shooting upwards and out the door. Two steps out of the door, she saw that it was Sirius. His button-up was now almost entirely unbuttoned and his hair severely messed up. "I've been looking for you," he said, running his hands through his long hair, "I asked the girls, they said they hadn't seen you for a while.". Before she could respond, the sound of two pairs of footsteps making their way up the stairs quite quickly cut her off. Ines pulled him into the closest room, which happened to be a bedroom, and locked the door. She couldn't face him, she stood still in front of the door. She heard him move around, and make his way to sit on the bed. Still not facing him, she took in a breath to muster her strength. "Marlene was looking for you … wanted to shag you.". He didn't respond, every second of his silence hurting her further. "Did she?" he asked, saying something, finally. Ines didn't respond and only listened to the sound of him moving.

She heard him get up from the bed, and felt him behind her, just as she had in the kitchen a few hours ago. "Do you think I want to shag her?" he whispered. She turned and opened her mouth to answer, but he was already kissing her. She had kissed him so many times—soft gentle kisses, hard and desperate ones, brief brushes of the lips that said good-bye, and kisses that seemed to go on for hours—and this was no different. The way the memory of someone who had once lived in a house might linger even after they were gone, like a sort of psychic imprint, her body remembered him. Remembered the way he tasted, the slant of his mouth over hers, his hair when she ran her hands through it, the shape of his body under her touch. Her nails dug into his back, and he trailed his lips down the edge of her chin, down the center of her neck. He kept going until he reached the bottom of her tops V-neck. Ines let out a small gasp, and he kissed all around the neckline, just enough to tease.

She knew it, she felt it in every touch he placed on her. She'd been in love with him for a while now. Longer than she wanted to admit. She tried not to think about it, whether he felt the same. Those things—those wishes—were at the bottom of a very, very long and bloody priority list. But she loved him. She couldn't exactly pinpoint what made her so certain, but she knew it then, as surely as she knew her name or the stars in the sky or any fact written in a book.

He broke apart first, and put his finger to her lips, and whispered to listen. Downstairs the countdown to midnight had started. "Five! Four! Three!" they called. Ines looked up into his eyes, the eyes filled with stars and the sky and everything good in the world. They brought in the new year lost in each other's eyes, before diving back into each other. When Sirius' hands started making its way up her skirt, further than they had earlier she stopped him. Pulling his hands off of her, she broke apart from their kiss. "I'm not going to shag you here,". He looked down at her, confused. "Not only do I want that to be more special than a drunken hour, but I also shagged Montague Knightley in here two years ago,". They both burst out laughing and retired to the bed to continue what they had been doing previously.

It was late now; so late that it could once again be called early—that surreal, enchanted, twilight hour between the end of a party and the unfurling of a new day. The hour when reality grows dim and hazy at the edges when nearly anything seems possible. But they hardly noticed as they walked down the stairs, out the door, and back to James'. They separated, going into their respective rooms. Inside, Ines found Lily lying her bed. "Hi," she whispered, a tentative smile creeping onto her face. Ines quickly changed back into Sirius' beaters shirt and climbed into bad, whispering a greeting in return. "Where did you go?". Ines didn't know how to respond, "Just …. Around.". Lily frowned slightly, then yawned. "She didn't shag him, you know that right.". Ines tried to conceal her slight smile, "Yeah, I know.". Lily propped herself up on her arms and looked at her inquisitively. "Did you?!". Ines giggled, "No, we … we didn't.". Lily looked at her for a second longer, deciding if she wanted to believe her before turning back and lying on her pillow. "I told you he would like you no matter what you wore. Goodnight, Ines."