Chapter 8: Let's Make a Schedule
Monday was here and Lily was relieved. Her mother had been constantly reminding her that she was to make three calls a week. Lily knew she was going to have to squeeze in two calls within the next three days. She would discuss a schedule with Tyler. She was under the impression he would not mind since how well things went with their first call. The call was something she found herself looking forward to making. She tried to deny it as first, but ultimately, she acknowledged it was true. Her resentment towards her mother about being forced to call Hope to Cope was slowly dissipating. There was still room for it to grow again, she assured herself though. Especially if Tyler failed her and their call last Thursday was a fluke.
Lily had already eaten breakfast and showered for the day. She was now in her room gazing at the pink clock upon the wall over her dresser. The clock read 9:08 AM. It was eight minutes past when Tyler's shift started, and she was unsure when to phone for him. Is it too desperate if I call so early? Will he think I was waiting all weekend to talk to him again? Lily's thoughts were running wild with speculation of what Tyler would think of her reaching out to him. She feared Frank told him she had called on Friday and requested his work schedule. She assured herself it was dumb to think that. Tyler would only think what Lily was thinking. Their understanding of what Lily needed from the hotline was clear cut and he was okay with it. That was it. There was no other way to interpret it.
Lily was caught off guard by the knocking on her door. No one in the Evans house ever knocked. Mrs. Evans barged in, Petunia always walked past Lily's door, and Lily's father had always asked permission outside of the door before crossing the threshold. There was a time when Lily was younger that her father always walked into her room without asking, but in her teenage years he had become wise to respect her personal space.
Lily asked who it was. "Severus." Lily felt her breath catch in her chest. Why is he here? Lily asked herself. His presence was not welcome, especially at this time for her. Lily and Severus had a falling out before their 6th year at Hogwarts due to how Severus treated non purebloods wizards and witches besides her. She was sick of making excuses to herself of how much his mindset had changed with that of the pack like mentality of most Slytherins. There was a small part of her that always believed in his redemption, but she had not listened to it since she cut him off completely from her life. Despite the world of sorrow it brought upon her, Lily's dad's death made her realize that time is precious. She knew that much. She would give Severus this one chance to speak and then send him away.
"Come in." Lily was nervous. Despite their long friendship, the past year of absence in each other's lives made it difficult to not feel the awkward air of silence between them. Severus was standing five feet from her. At first, he looked no different from when she saw him last. His hair was still shoulder length, jet black, and looked the usual three days unwashed. Severus was sporting normal clothes. She hadn't seen him outside of school robes in so long that she hadn't noticed that his tall and lanky figure was finally filling out. He almost looked like a man. The stern expression constantly worn on his face usually aged his appearance by five years give or take. If he could just do something about this hair, he could pass. But Severus was never one to care about his looks.
"I came over as soon as…" Severus trailed off. He was at a loss of words. He and Lily had not spoken in so long. She had been so angry the last time she spoke to him that he was positive their friendship could never be rekindled. He was still sorting his place in the world and what the right way of thinking was…but he never wanted to lose his friendship with Lily in the process. He understood her reasoning but still hoped to reconcile. He didn't know if he ran straight to her house because her father had died or because he selfishly wanted to use the opportunity to make amends with her.
He was sorry Mr. Evans had died. Severus did not get to know Mr. Evans very well before he passed away, but Severus was aware of how much Lily loved him. She would light up when talking about her father. She cherished all the time she spent with him. She was what he believed you would call a "Daddy's girl". He knew the loss of her dad must have been devastating for her, so he was not surprised when he found himself running from the graveyard to the Evans' household. His eye was caught by the reflection of a newly minted headstone that had not been there when he last visited his Aunt Lydia. As soon as he read the headstone, his legs jetted off. They brought him to where he was standing now. In an awkward silence in front of Lily Evans.
"I am so sorry. I do not know what more to say. Tell me what I can do. I will do anything for you." Severus was caught off guard by the word vomit that just expelled from his mouth. He suspected something along those lines, but not that. It was done. He looked at Lily, patiently waiting for her response.
This morning when she woke up, Lily never would have guessed in a million years that Severus Snape would be in her room or offering condolences for the death of her muggle father. Her lightly freckled face grimaced. She didn't know what to do. So many thoughts were whirling in her mind. How do I respond to him? Are we acting like the last year never happened? What about calling Tyler? I don't want to talk about my Dad being gone to anyone. How do I get Severus to leave me alone? Should we become friends again? Does he deserve my forgiveness? Lily was at a loss. She didn't know what question to address first in her head or if she even wanted to take the time to answer them right now.
She decided to just open her mouth and see what spilled out. "Thank you. I don't know what else to say other than that during this time. Nothing will make me feel better, and I am unsure if I want to even be in your presence." Lily was honest. She gave herself credit for that.
Severus took in what she said. He understood her Dad's death didn't mean Lily was going to hand out second chances left and right to those who have crossed her. He hoped it meant it increased his chances though. "I understand. I won't take up any more of your time. Please just know I am truly sorry about your father and the falling out of our friendship. I understand why, but I hope you can forgive me some day. I would like to be someone you can lean on in times like this. If you need me before school starts back up, you know where I live. Or you can send an owl. Otherwise, I will see you at Hogwarts. Goodbye, Lily."
Severus felt confident his words would be impactful enough to render Lily to forgive him sooner rather than later. "Severus." Severus was two steps out of the doorway when he heard Lily call his name. His hope was rewarded. He bit his lip to stop the oncoming smile and to keep his stoic look as he turned to face Lily once again. "Please do not tell anyone at school about my Dad dying. I know we don't run in the same social circles anymore, but I prefer no one knows."
Severus's heart sank. She did not call to him for the reasons he had hoped. "Of course, anything for you Lily." He nodded his head at her and exited her presence once again.
Lily was relieved Severus agreed to keep it a secret. She didn't suspect any other outcome based on their previous dialogue, but it still worried her. The start of her final year at Hogwarts was near and she did not want anyone to know. She didn't need anyone to cast worried eyes on her as she walked to her classes or ask how she was doing with hidden meaning.
Lily looked to her pink clock once again – 9:20 AM. Lily was done waiting or debating over it. She was going to call Tyler while she still had the strength to not be so sad that she couldn't hold a conversation for 60-minutes.
The phone rang. It was him. She was happy that she didn't have to once again request to be transferred to him. The Hope to Cope beginning spiel was over and Lily could finally talk with Tyler.
"Hey, it's Amy." Lily wondered if her greeting sounded casual. She hoped that she masked her nervous but happy disposition that she was talking with him again.
"Hi! You're back. I wasn't sure if you would cross my line again." Lily was pleased with his greeting. "I'll have you know that it is day three for me on the job, and I do believe I have gotten better." His voice was smooth, and it calmed Lily's nervousness. They were falling back into a casual pattern of chatter that was developed last Thursday. She was unsure though what he meant about getting better at his job. She would be cross if he was trying to prod her into sharing. She distinctly told him she did not want to talk about it.
"Two days of learning by trial and error is probably the best way for you to learn. I can't imagine there is a full proof 'how to' directions on navigating the waters you tread in for your role. Lucky for you though sir, I am here to offer you reprieve. I just need an hour of your service." Lily spun it the right way. She acknowledged what Tyler had told her and kindly nudged him in the direction of where the conversation was going without being forthright about it.
"But of course, my lady. May I ask though why you have to call in? You don't have to answer. I am just selfishly asking out of my own curiosity." Lily didn't mind his question. It was reasonable to ask. The least she could do was answer it since following her response she was going to request a call schedule with him.
"My mother is making mountains out of mole hills. She thinks by not sharing my grief I am going to collapse in like a star. I, however, understand that I handle things differently than she wants me to. She doesn't agree and is forcing me to call Hope to Cope for an hour's length conversation three times a week or drastic measures will be taken. It makes her feel better that I am processing things as she wants me to." Lily felt slightly relieved after sharing that information. She had not divulged too much, but enough to satisfy Tyler she hoped.
"Okay, I understand, and I respect that. If you want to kill time, we can kill time. If you ever want to switch gears at all, I am here for that too. You call the shots though. I am at your disposal for 60 minutes or longer if you choose." Tyler's kind words made Lily's heart flutter a little. She somehow felt safe from her feelings. He was letting her control things and didn't push her for anything more.
"Thank you, Tyler." Lily wished herself luck for her next request.
"I thought about it, and I think we should have a set schedule for when we chat." Lily went on the explain to James what she had in mind.
….. ... ... .. ... . ... ...
James woke up with a massive headache that Monday morning. He had to rub his throbbing temples on his head before forcing open his groggy eyes. He felt like shite, and it was all Sirius's fault. With James's hazel eyes fully open, he cast a menacing glare at the sleeping mongrel on the floor next to his bed. Sirius was dead asleep, uncomfortably it seemed, on the shag carpet below James's bed. Why oh why did I let him come over? Had I known he was bringing butter beer, I would have told him to bugger off. I am even up 30 minutes before my alarm is set to go off. Stupid git. He knew I had somewhere to be this morning. I am glad I didn't make him privy to the fact I am still volunteering at Hope to Cope, no thanks to his sorry ass. James was furiously cursing his best friend in his head.
James would have used Sirius as a stepping stool to reach the carpet off his bed, but he didn't want Sirius making a fuss to him when he was leaving for work soon. Sirius was under the impression James was working for his father for the rest of his punishment. It was a hard secret to keep, but James understood the importance of it as he was starting to take his time at Hope to Cope seriously.
James figured since he was up, miserable but up, he should get an early start to Hope to Cope. He wanted to start off the week on a good note. As James performed his morning routine in the bathroom, he mused on his best friend's astonishment the night before regarding its cleanly state. Serious first speculated James's mother finally caved in and cleaned it all for James. James's mother first when on strike cleaning the bathroom before their 6th year at Hogwarts begun. She swore that no woman would ever want James who could be complacent in such a filthy bathroom. From that day forward, she only swapped James's towels for fresh clean ones when she did laundry. When Serious was informed James performed the miraculous cleaning job, Sirius was speechless for once. James was proud of that moment. He felt even better when his mother praised him for finally cleaning the bathroom. Per her usual motherly fashion, she followed up with that she hoped it would stay that way.
James arrived at the Hope to Cope building 25-minutes before his shift started. He ran into Pudge and "That guy" conversing outside. They stopped when they observed James walking towards them. James figured it was now or never.
"Hi. I am James Potter. I wanted to do a formal introduction because I have learned neither of your names yet. Guess it goes to show the shield of silence does its job despite being visible to the eye." James felt like that joke hadn't landed. He was trying to make nice with them both.
"Ha. Yeah, 'spose so. Names Frank Alcott." Frank, formally known as Pudge to James, extended his hand. James shook it and felt a sense of relief wash over him. He then motioned his head to stare "That guy" directly in the eyes. "Shamus Beckett." Shamus as well put his hand forward for James to shake.
"Sorry about all that rubbish before. I intend to take this stuff seriously and hope that we all can become friends." Shamus and Frank turned toward one another. They exchanged a head nod and faced James once again.
"We have noticed the change after your first call on Thursday. Let's have a fresh start to us all working together." Shamus's words were music to James's ears. He was thrilled that he could make chums with Shamus and Frank. They seemed like nice blokes.
James sat at his appointed desk right at 9 o'clock. Shamus and Frank were at their desks promptly at the same time as well. They had spent the minutes before 9 am getting to know one another and James was still processing it all. Unlike him, Shamus and Frank came to volunteer their time at Hope to Cope of their own accord. Frank's Uncle died two years ago, and he wanted to help others since he knew what they were going through. Shamus's younger brother committed suicide shortly after their mother was killed in a magic accident. His brother struggled to properly process his emotions, and Shamus wants to help others who are struggling as well. To perhaps save them from the same fate as his brother. Neither of their losses were a result from Voldemort's brewing war, but still they knew what it was like to lose a loved one.
James now felt like a fraud offering to counsel bereaved teens when he had no experience himself. When he told Frank and Shamus, they had not seemed to mind. James let the first two callers be received by Frank and Shamus. Call traffic seemed to be picking up this morning since it was only 9:20 am at this point. James heard ringing again; he knew he was up.
When the Hope to Cope standard intro concluded, James heard, "Hey, it's Amy." James was surprised but pleased to hear Amy on the line again.
"Hi! You're back. I wasn't sure if you would cross my line again. I'll have you know that it is day three for me on the job, and I do believe I have gotten better," James blurted out. James was unsure of his intention by mentioning that to Amy. He wondered if it was a manifestation of the guilt he felt over the weekend when thinking of his conversation with Amy.
"Two days of learning by trial and error is probably the best way for you to learn. I can't imagine there is a full proof 'how to' directions on navigating the waters you tread in for your role. Lucky for you though sir, I am here to offer you reprieve. I just need an hour of your service." James took the obvious hint to accept that Amy was not going to drive down 'sharing your feelings' lane. He felt brave enough to at least ask why she was required to call in if she didn't want to use the Hope to Cope service for what it was meant for. After he asked Amy, he wondered if he had made the right choice to voice his question. It was none of his business after all.
"My mother is making mountains out of mole hills. She thinks by not sharing my grief I am going to collapse in like a star. I, however, understand that I handle things differently than she wants me to. She doesn't agree and is forcing me to call Hope to Cope for an hour's length conversation three times a week or drastic measures will be taken. It makes her feel better that I am processing things as she wants me to." James heard Amy and had some thoughts on the matter. He wanted to give her advice or feedback about her mother's actions. However, he knew it was not his place to. He bit his tongue and said what he would have followed up if he first could have told her it sounded like her mother was just trying to help her the best way she knew how.
"Okay, I understand and I respect that. If you want to kill time, we can kill time. If you ever want to switch gears at all, I am here for that too. You call the shots though. I am at your disposal for 60 minutes or longer if you choose." James gave the control to Amy. It was the only thing he had to offer her, and he felt like she desperately needed control over one thing at least in her life right now.
"Thank you, Tyler." When he heard Amy call him Tyler, James wished she would have called his name instead.
Amy proceeded to follow up with James that she desired to make a set schedule for their calls. James understood her reasoning. He was already on the same page with what she wanted from calling Hope to Cope and it was a bonus they seemed to get along well over the phone. He had not minded scheduling things out at all. He felt oddly cheerful at the prospect he knew the days and times him and Amy would converse. He knew there could be complications with other future callers but promised Amy to chat with Frank and Shamus about helping him be available for Amy when discussed. He believed they would be happy to help him out.