Chapter 4: The First Conversation
Authors Note: After some research, I am going to drift the character's first person thoughts to italics. I will also edit this in pervious chapters to make it all more cohesive- at some point.
Lily knew how the conversation was going to start off. She had prepped herself in the five minutes before redialing the Hope to Cope hotline number. She observed the pink clock on her bedroom wall. She mentally noted the time and now she had an hour to endure- not one second more.
"First off I want to say, I don't need your help or have any desire to talk about it. I am obligated to make this call by my mother. If you are true to the motto of desiring to help, please oblige me by talking with me about ordinary stuff. Whatever ordinary stuff means. Just not…you know what." Lily informed the other person on the line calmly. She held her breath while waiting for Tyler's response. She had try to phrase her words as to not come off as rude. She wasn't sure if she had accomplished that though.
"Fine by me." Lily enjoyed Tyler's response. It had seemed indifferent. She could work with that.
"So…what do you want to talk about then?" Tyler asked her in a low tenor voice. When he asked this, Lily thought carefully for how she would respond. One of her objectives in calling to Hope to Cope was to keep her identity a secret. To achieve this goal, Lily could not let anything slip that could reveal her identity incase by some small chance this boy attended Hogwarts as well. There was a part of her that assured herself she had nothing to worry about. His name didn't sound familiar to anyone she knew and she did not recognize his voice. That is not to say Lily knew every student that attended Hogwarts. She was popular enough, but only on a superficial level. Her real friends were few, and none of them were aware her dad had died.
"Let's start with some basics. How about each other's likes and dislikes? That is about as basic as it can get." Her eagerness peeked at the end her suggestion. She was a little intrigued about this boy Tyler who was on the other end of the line. He sounded mature enough to be of a similar age to her.
"I guess so." His flat voice response quickly extinguished any eagerness she once had for sharing their likes and dislikes. What a prat! She thought to herself. She had wrongfully presumed he would be a little more engaged with his response. A lump rose in her throat. She could not fathom why it was now that his indifferent response was rousing an upset reaction in her. It was not as though she wanted to be having this conversation in the first place. Is it not his job to be facilitating this conversation? She bemused internally. But then, a sudden realization came over her. She was asking him to just talk with her and not do what he had expected when someone dialed the hotline. She resolved the she couldn't blame him after all. Lily's only goal was to run down the clock and she was going to stick to just that. She looked up again to the pink clock. Lily felt deflated when she discovered she only knocked down two minutes of the 60 minute required call time. She had to make this conversation go by a little faster for her own sanity.
"Okay, I will go first. I like cats, running, and reading." Lily was pleased with her list. It was generic but also true. Silence, aside from the breathing heard, ensued for the next several seconds. This guy is really great at his job. Lily sarcastically thought to herself. "Are you not going to share your likes now?" Lily asked Tyler in a huff. She had tried to keep her cool because she knew she was asking him to be off the Hope to Cope script, but she was rapidly growing more irritated that he was failing to meet her halfway.
"I always thought you were supposed to share your likes and dislikes, before the other person goes," Tyler spoke matter-of-factly.
"Well, I guess we can do it that way," Lily spat out of irritation. Lily was now positive that she could conclude this boy, Tyler, was not very good at his job. "My dislikes are… I am not very fond of school work or flying on a broom. Oh, I cannot forgot to add that I detest quidditch."
"What?!" Tyler exclaimed in an uproar. Lily snickered to herself. She was a little happy she said something that could evoke emotion from him. Now she just needed to draw out longer responses from Tyler. "Now school work I can understand, but how in merlin's name can you not like flying and quidditch? Just what kind of witch are you?"
"A rare one," Lily wittily responded. "You know, your reaction reminded me of someone who I know." Lily froze. She had not intended to say that last sentence out loud.
"Oh, and who is this charming and intelligent bloke?" Tyler chided. Lily snorted instantaneously when she heard James Potter being referred to as "charming". It was weird for Lily to realize that this was the first time that James Potter had crossed her mind in quite some time. She refused to spend another second focusing on that clod though.
"No one special." Lily looked to the clock; only three minutes had passed since she last looked. She groaned thinking how she would fill up another 55 minutes of time on the phone with Tyler. "Okay buster, now it is your turn."
"Well obviously you know I am going to say I like quidditch and flying. I will add that I am a fan of pulling pranks."
"How mature…" Lily muttered under her breath.
"Sorry, didn't catch that." Lily was relieved he had not. She didn't want to match Tyler's level of rudeness at the beginning of the call.
"I said, how surprising." Which wasn't untrue. She hadn't expected Tyler to say that. They were strangers after all. Everything she would learn about him would be a surprise.
"Anyways, my dislikes are school work, school, and detention." Lily noted how everything he mentioned was related to school. This did make her slightly curious as to where he went to school. Lily had not idea how far the Hope to Cope network spread for availability across geographic locations. If anywhere, Lily bemused Tyler could be from the other side of the world for all she knew. Regardless, she could not ask him where he went. That conversation direction could lead him to ask her the same thing.
"Okay, what next?" Tyler asked Lily.
"I don't know. That's the only thing I could think of to talk about really. Maybe we could chat about the weather? Or, you could pull your weight and offer up the next topic?" Lily's ending question was meant to come off as light hearted. She wondered if he interpreted it in that way.
"Hmmm…. How about family? That is an easy one." Lily's heart had stopped. The whole time she was conversing with Tyler, her mind for once was not preoccupied with her dad's death. To Lily, time had stopped still and she had a moment of reprieve from her heartache. That moment came to a screeching halt and everything came flooding back. It was as if she was in the ocean treading in calm water and suddenly a huge 60 foot wave appeared and bowled her over. That wave was the first of an onslaught of many to come. The memories and the sadness crashed into her heart and she came back to the reality she was facing. The rush of sadness surging back into her brain and heart too much to handle; Lily felt as if she was being swallowed by it. She quickly hung up the phone on the receiver and curled her body in a ball. She let the darkness wash over. She didn't fight it. She deserved it all to come back she told herself. She knew there was no escape from it all, even for a few minutes.
"First off I want to say, I don't need your help or have any desire to talk about it. I am obligated to make this call by my mother. If you are true to the motto of desiring to help, please oblige me by talking with me about ordinary stuff. Whatever ordinary stuff means. Just not…you know what." Amy's voice rang calmly from the speaker of the phone. James felt a wave of relief engulf his body, this would be easier than he once thought. He did not have to console some weepy girl moping over her loss. Instead, he could carry on a casual conversation to pass by the time. He was on board with that.
"Fine by me," James responded coolly. He did not want to alert the girl that he was actually very satisfied with the intended plans of their conversation. He was positive it would come off as rude that he was very relieved. "So…what do you want to talk about then?" James tried to be as nonchalant as possible. James was very aware that if the conversation was not focused on helping Amy cope with her grief, he would have to adlib his responses versus sticking to the suggested script or dialogue points for helping those sharing their grief. If any of his responses were about himself, he needed to keep his true identity under wraps. What if this girl goes to Hogwarts and is a member of the fanclub? James asked himself. If the answer was she does and is, James shuddered at the prospect of her piecing his true identity together. His cover would be blown and his father's wrath would wipe out any semblance of the summer break James had left to enjoy with his friends.
James checked back into reality and chuckled at himself. It was very presumptuous of himself to think this girl went to Hogwarts. Hogwarts was not the only school for witches and wizards after all. Although she sounded around his age, James was aware that Amy could have optioned to use the voice scrambler. He didn't recognize her voice though, if she was using her real one. He was so sure that he would have recognized it, if she went to Hogwarts and if she was in a similar age group as him. James was very familiar with most of the age appropriate girls for him to date at Hogwarts. Also, he never heard of any "Amy's" before in Hogwarts. It seemed like a very American name.
"Let's start with some basics. How about each other's likes and dislikes? That is about as basic as it can get." James scoffed at the childish suggestion, but he understood any conversation topic would pass time. He was fairly certain he rather endure this mundane conversation rather than the boredom and silence that would occupy his time off of the phone. What do I have to lose by participating? James asked himself.
"I guess so." James hadn't meant for his response to sound so flat. But what was done was done.
"Okay, I will go first. I like cats, running, and reading." How boring. James immediately thought. Amy's list was short and dull to James. He knew he did not really need to care that much about it though. He was not getting to know her for personal reasons. They both were in agreement their conversation was to pass time. James patiently waited for Amy to continue, but he was only greeted with silence. He assumed she was struggling to come with list of dislikes. He hoped it would be more interesting than her likes.
"Are you not going to share your likes now?" James was taken aback when he heard Amy ask him to share.
"I always thought you were supposed to share your likes and dislikes, before the other person goes." James informed Amy with a feigned innocence.
"Well, I guess we can do it that way," Amy snapped. James inferred she was not pleased with his comment. "My dislikes are… I am not very fond of school work or flying on a broom. Oh, I cannot forgot to add that I detest quidditch."
"What?!" James impulsively exclaimed in an uproar. "Now school work I can understand, but how in merlin's name can you not like flying and quidditch? Just what kind of witch are you?" James shook his head to himself. He allowed himself to get caught up in the moment and reacted without thinking. The idea of there being another Lily Evans type persona in the world just happened to illicit that kind of response.
"A rare one," she wittily responded over the phone. James appreciated it. "You know, your reaction reminded me of someone who I know," Amy informed him. James smiled. At least he wasn't the only one that was trying to knock some sense into this silly girl's head.
"Oh, and who is this charming and intelligent bloke?" James chided. He heard Amy snort in the middle of his question. It was weirdly cute to him.
"No one special," was her answer. He felt a faint hint of disappointment rise in him. He was intrigued to know who the bloke was that caused her to snort over the phone. That sense of disappointment faded quickly though as he recalled this girl was a stranger he would never talk to again after this. "Okay buster, now it is your turn."
"Well obviously you know I am going to say I like quidditch and flying. I will add that I am a fan of pulling pranks," James said with pride. Quidditch to him was his life. It even superseded girls. However, he was not a fool enough to admit to Amy over the phone he enjoyed the company of girls at his school. He would hate to give her the impression he was hitting on her in any way. Flying of course corresponded to quidditch, so it made sense for him to say that. He couldn't admit to himself he may have even enjoyed more the solo rides he would take at night under the moon and stars when we could sneak away from it all at school. He was aware that lumping pranks in with his likes list was immature, but it was a past time with his friends that he would always cherish.
James realized he let himself get lost in thought and he didn't catch what Amy just said to him. He swallowed his pride and followed up with, "sorry, didn't catch that."
"I said, how surprising." James stifled a life. He was somehow under the impression that was a lie. There was a few reactions he figured she had that prompted her response. She was surprised in a sarcastic way that she already knew two out of three of his like, she was surprised he admitted to pulling pranks as a like, she was lying about being surprised was her original comment, or another iteration of these reactions. Did it matter in the end? No. But for some reason James was curious about what it was that Amy was thinking.
"Anyways, my dislikes are school work, school, and detention," James continued. Obviously, he did not like school. He felt a little bland sticking to the theme of school in all his dislikes. It suddenly dawned on him that it could potentially lead Amy to ask him where he went to school. What a stupid git I am! James chastised to himself.
"Okay, what next?" James asked Amy quickly. It was his attempt to lead the conversation from school to another topic entirely.
"I don't know. That's the only thing I could think of to talk about really. Maybe we could chat about the weather? Or, you could pull your weight and offer up the next topic?" James sensed that she was being playful with her last question. He was beginning to warm up to her and think she wasn't a bad first caller to have.
"Hmmm…. How about family? That is an easy one," James said thoughtlessly. After the beginning of their conversation, it completely slipped from James's mind the point of the hot line service. Right before he could open his mouth to apologize, he heard a click followed up by a dial tone. He mentally berated himself for his stupidity. He felt like an insensitive jackass.