Chapter 6: A 48-minute Apology
Lily was shocked she had said that to him. She had no idea what had come over her when she asked Tyler if he missed her. She cringed thinking of how foolish she must have sounded. She needed to keep up the pretense that all was fine though. She didn't want Tyler to think she called back to discuss her feelings or whatnot. She had a clock to run down and that was it. She would not wait for his response back; she decided to drive the narrative.
"Sorry about before. A power surge just occurred, and all of our electricity went out. Everything just came back on and I knew I needed to call back – thanks to my mother's gentle reminder." Lily faked a laugh into the handset. She doubted he would buy that explanation, but she hoped he would be kind enough to not call her out on the lie.
"How would a power surge affect our connection?" Tyler asked her earnestly. Lily gathered Tyler was not calling out her lie but instead he was rather being inquisitive. It was obvious to her that he was not familiar with the muggle world and she just revealed to him that she was. She groaned to herself lightly in realization of her stupidity.
"I cannot use magic yet outside of school, so I am using a muggle contraption called a 'telephone' to make the connection. It is powered by electricity." Lily just stated the facts. The card Dumbledore gave her after all only listed a phone number to call so she was unsure how wizards and witches without muggle connections were able to put together you dialed into the hotline. She did not dwell on it though because it didn't need her concern.
"Well that makes sense. These telephones are interesting things, aren't they? I do prefer communication through my Owl though." Lily was surprised he was using a telephone as well. She was trying to picture Tyler on a phone but all she could imagine was a fuzzy figure. She did not know anything about him after all.
"Using owls are fun but telephones are better for instant communication unless you have use of magic." Lily knew the conversation was becoming rather dull with discussing the topic of telephones. She appreciated that the dialogue was fluid though and she was back in a place of distraction.
"I see. This is my first-time using a telephone, actually." Tyler had a smooth voice. He didn't seem embarrassed or disgusted to admit his first time use of a telephone. Some wizards and witches detested any mention of the muggle world. Lily was happy Tyler did not seem to be one of them.
"Oh, so they let me talk to a newbie?" Lily snickered over the phone. She hoped her light teasing didn't bother him.
"Something like that. Look, about before I just wanted to say-"
"Stop. Please. Let's just chalk it up to the power surge disconnection, okay?" Lily pleaded with Tyler softly. She was able to fully forgive him now for his prior blunder. She could see he was new to his job and misspoke. She realized too that it probably didn't help that she had requested him to go off script. She imagined they had some sort of cookie cutter comfort slogans for the hot line workers to dish out.
"As you wish." She heard Tyler sigh and took comfort that he appeared to be disappointed to be cut off from apologizing to her. That was enough for Lily.
"Thank you. Now, by my clock, we still have 48 minutes to grind out. Let's get to it." She smiled into her handset when she finished her sentence.
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Before James could respond to her cheeky question, Amy's voice continued to come from the speaker in the handset. "Sorry about before. A power surge just occurred, and all of our electricity went out. Everything just came back on and I knew I needed to call back – thanks to my mother's gentle reminder."
James let her excuse sink in with her forced echoing laugh. There is no way she expects me to believe that, right? James asked himself incredulously. He wondered if she was too embarrassed to bring up his blunder about wanting to talk about family. Could it be possible she forgave and let it go? He shook his head at that dumb thought. He wasn't going to be a prick once again by calling her out for presumably lying. He did want to ask for her forgiveness though. How could he though if there was no acknowledgement to the real reason their last conversation ended?
He was taking too long to figure out a proper response, so he blurted out a small question lingering in the back of his head. "How would a power surge affect our connection?"
James was earnest with his question. He feared it was a rude thing to ask when he heard a light groan coming from the handset speaker.
"I cannot use magic yet outside of school, so I am using a muggle contraption called a 'telephone' to make the connection. It is powered by electricity." James bought the response. He was curious if all the other witches and wizards who called the hot line used a telephone as well. He didn't dabble much with muggle related objects, but was aware certain wizards and witches were fascinated by them.
"Well that makes sense. These telephones are interesting things, aren't they? I do prefer communication through my Owl though." James cringed at how boring he must have sounded. He could do better at conversing, he assured himself. After all, he was very popular at Hogwarts and that didn't stem from being a boring conversationalist.
"Using owls are fun but telephones are better for instant communication unless you have use of magic." James was slightly relieved Amy was being just about as boring as himself.
"I see. This is my first-time using a telephone, actually." James let that slip without thinking. He did not have any desire to let Amy know it was his first official day on the job. Although he didn't out right admit it, he may as well have.
"Oh, so they let me talk to a newbie?" A sly smile reached the corner of James's lips. He enjoyed the light hint of humor he detected in her voice. Humor aside, his guilty conscious was still weighing on him. Although there was never the right set up to stage an apology so far in the conversation, he just needed to seize the opportunity. Her mood seemed light, so he decided to go with this moment to apologize officially.
"Something like that. Look about before, I just wanted to say-"
"Stop. Please. Let's just chalk it up to the power surge disconnection, okay?" He heard the pleading in Amy's voice and he decided to give up. He hoped that she forgave him, even though she never voiced it.
"As you wish," James responded solemnly with a small sigh of disappointment.
"Thank you. Now, by my clock, we still have 48 minutes to grind out. Let's get to it." James was astounded by her switch to such a cheery disposition after pleading with him a moment before. Although he could not formally apologize, he would perform his apology for the next 48 minutes by listening and giving Amy the ordinary conversation she had requested when she first called.
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The time spent on the phone eventually came to the one-hour mark. Lily and James exchanged their respective goodbyes and hung up. Both were impacted by their conversation, but in different ways though. Most importantly, both desperately wondered if and when they would talk to each other again.