Harry & Cho
Chapter Fifty-Five: Down so Long
The tentative date for the seventh year’s apparating test became official. On Sunday, all of the seventh years were to meet on the Quidditch pitch.
The day before the apparating test, Lily and Rebecca noticed a large sheet of parchment had been posted by the Great Hall.
Rebecca’s eyes scanned over the sheet as she read aloud.
“The Apparating test to determine whether you receive your apparating license will take place on Sunday after breakfast. Please find attached your partner for the test. The designated spot for Apparating is on the outskirts of Hogsmeade village. If you fail, you must come and see me immediately, so other arrangements may be made.”
Lily ran her eyes down the attached document trying to find her name.
Apparting Test Partners:
G - Gryffindor, S - Slytherin, R - Ravenclaw, H - Hufflepuff
Rebecca Philips(R) and Ethan Finnigan(G)
Brian Avery(S) and Lily Potter(G)
Robert Phillips(R) and Georgina Rae(S)
Angela Rye(G) and Bryce Reagan(H)
Tracey Finch-Fletchley(H) and Yasmine Wording(R)
Paul Thornrhys(S) and Katie Latah(G)
Hera Walkers(G) and Frank Traveston(S)
Daniel Zabini(S) and Cheryl Beauvais(R)
Susan Granters(H) and Beau Arisen(S)
Orlando Richardson(G) and Julian Fitzgerald(S)
Claude Davis(G) and Andrew Rhiannon(S)
Beth Darcy(R) and Heather MacMillan(H)
Wesley Juniper(H) and Alyssa Wood (G)
Joshua Azuela(H) and Quinton Realyz(R)
Marc Errington(R) and Lisa Longbottom(G)
Please meet me and Deputy Headmaster, Garrett Spindle at the Quidditch Pitch after breakfast on Sunday. I wish you the best of luck! Professor M. Bella”
Lily hid her eyes, and asked Rebecca, “Please tell me I did not read what I thought I read. Becca, please tell me I’m not partnered with Brian Avery!”
“No joke, Lily Potter. You and Brian are partners.”
“That is all I need,” Lily groaned. “Want to trade partners?”
Rebecca blushed, “I - I um ...”
“I was kidding,” Lily jested, as she hurried towards the Great Hall. “Come on, Rebecca, dinner is going to start soon!”
Without so much as a backwards glance, Rebecca hurried after her friend.
x x x x
Sunday came all too quickly for the seventh years. Professor Bella was waiting, along with Professor Spindle. Both were carrying quills and parchment.
Even for late February, the sun had decided to poke its head out from behind the clouds, and the dew on the ground was beginning to evaporate.
“Everyone please find your partners,” Professor Bella said. “You have been partnered with someone from another house because that way you will be less likely to cheat.”
Brian had stepped beside Lily, and tipped his head to acknowledge her presence.
Lily, on the other hand, looked away.
“All right,” Professor Bella said, “let’s begin. Concentration is the key thing to remember. However, if you do not appear in Hogsmeade, perform a simple ‘sparks’ charm and someone will come and find you. Are there any questions before we begin?”
“I thought we couldn’t apparate or disapparate on the Hogwarts grounds,” most of the seventh years said.
“Normally, yes,” Professor Bella answered, “However, since you will be apparating within a twenty mile radius, Headmistress Walsingham was able to allow apparating. At four o’clock, when everyone has returned, apparating and disapparating on Hogwarts grounds will be halted.”
“Are we going to talk at all?” Brian whispered as Professor Bella called the first pair forward.
Lily offered Brian a tentative smile. “Perhaps,” she said.
Brian snorted. “Come on, Lillian, I thought we called a truce?” He held out his hand, and gave Lily a smile. “So, truce?”
Lily narrowed her eyes at him, but nevertheless, she found herself shaking his hand and muttering, “Truce.”
Brian motioned her forward, seeing as how their turn had finally come up.
Lily found her stomach doing flip flops as she approached the pitch and then she squeezed her eyes shut. Okay, Lily. You know how to do this! Just relax.
Brian found himself shutting his eyes, but his left eye kept on opening to gaze at Lily’s sunny peaches and cream complexion. Stop it, Avery! Or you’ll fail for sure! Concentrate!
“Whenever you’re ready,” Professor Bella said.
Lily and Brian both took deep breaths, muttered, “One - two -three.”
No sooner had they said ‘three’ did they disappear.
Lily opened her eyes, and saw the familiar tree and park bench. They had done it!
“I passed!” Lily cried, “No more Floo-powder!”
Brian smiled. “We both passed!”
“Oh, right,” Lily said, as she straightened her robes.
“How do we find out our marks?” Brian asked.
As if their Professor’s could read their minds, two sheets of parchment appeared.
“Congratulations to: Brian Avery and Lily Potter,
You have successfully completed the final part to your Apparating Exam! Please find your grades attached to each of your parchments.
Lily Potter - 95
Brian Avery- 89”
“Fancy a butterbeer? I’ll buy.” Brian asked, as Lily tucked her sheet into her robes.
Lily pondered for a bit, before she slowly nodded her head.
x x x x
“You’re such a keener!” Rebecca teased, as she located her brother after their apparating exam.
“Why? Because I got one percent higher than you. Becky?” Robert baited, as they walked along the streets of Hogsmeade.
“I see where mum’s genes went,” Rebecca retorted.
Robert shrugged, “Did they send a reply to your owl?”
“Yeah. They’re having the time of their lives in Prague. It’s good to see that they’re both trying to make the marriage work,” Rebecca said.
“At least their love life is somewhat back on track,” Robert mumbled, as he glanced aimlessly at the shop windows.
“You mean to tell me that your shared kiss did nothing?”
“No, and I don’t know if I can tell her yet.”
Robert waved a hand dismissively, “Something she said.”
“What did she say?”
“Just that she had too much to deal with at the moment.”
“But - you - you specifically promised me you would tell her by the end of the month!”
“The month isn’t over yet,” Robert pointed out.
“Yes ... but -”
Robert shook his head vehemently, which signified that their conversation about Lily was over.
Sighing, Rebecca just nodded, and they continued along their way.
x x x x
“Ah, Mr. Finnigan, how nice to see you again,” a tall, middle-aged wizard said, as he straightened his robes.
Ethan gave a slight instinctive movement with his head. “Indeed, Dylan, it is. I trust the ring is ready.”
“Of course. I’ll go and get it for you right away.”
“Here we are,” Dylan said, as he handed Ethan the ring, which was laid in a brilliant coloured emerald green case. “Feel free to inspect the ring,” he prompted.
Even though Ethan had seen pictures of the ring, the magnificence of seeing it up close for the first time took his breath away. The ring band was white gold, and the stone in the centre was purple and sparkled in the light.”
“Quite breathtaking, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it is. The stone is breathtaking.”
“I thought you might like the stone. It gets it’s colour from the eye of the Herbridean Black dragon, and is mixed with the golden spikes from the Chinese Fireball,” the shopkeeper paused and regarded Ethan with a look. “This girl you fancy must be quite special to receive an engagement ring such as this one.”
“She is,” Ethan murmured. “How much more money do I owe you for this ring?”
“Let me just grab my receipt books,” the shopkeeper said as he bustled away.
When he returned, he had his book with him and was busily flipping through pages. “Right then, Mr. Finnigan, you made a down payment of fifty-eight Galleons, so your outstanding balance is seventy five Galleons.”
Ethan pulled out his money, counted out seventy-five Galleons, and handed them to the shopkeeper.
“Thank you very much, Mr. Finnigan. Here’s your receipt and your ring.” With that, the shopkeeper handed Ethan the ring, and his receipt. “It was a pleasure doing business with you. Remember to say hello to your parents,” Dylan continued.
“Will do,” Ethan mumbled, as he stepped out of the jewelers’ shop.
He opened the ring box to take one more look at it before he tucked it safely into his robes. “One week,” he murmured, as he let his feet carry him back towards Hogwarts.
x x x x
“Oh come on, Professor Bella could have accepted 1567 as an appropriate date for question ten!” Brian argued, as him and Lily headed up Hogwarts Entrance Hall steps.
“No way, Brian Avery. 1567 was the wrong date - it was 1390, I’m positive!” Lily contested.
Brian was about to argue, but when he saw the way Lily was regarding his features, he shut up.
They continued walking in a benevolent silence. It was quiet, and all Lily could hear was the slight rustling as their robes swished against the grounds.
Usually, silence between her and Brian was a relatively good thing, but in this case, a word or two would be pleasant.
Hell, she would have settled for blasphemy!
Finally, Brian spoke, and he sounded rather subdued. “How’s your boyfriend doing?” he queried. His last statement caused Lily’s head to jerk up.
“Good, I guess. He’s been busy, what with studying and the ever fast approaching Quidditch game.
“Haven’t seen him much lately, then,” Brian presumed. His tone was so unlike the Brian she had known - less cold, more empathetic. Lily arched an eyebrow at him, almost daring him to continue with his statement. Brian noted this, and then gave her a cynical look in return. “It’s good that you have some time away from him. It gives both of you some time to collect your thoughts. Besides, he’s always been too reliant on you.”
Almost immediately, he gave a little gasp, almost like he realized he had said far too much.
Lily pondered his previous statement. It was so unlike Brian to deliver such a statement ... disregard the fact that it may be true.
If Rebecca had said that, Lily would have had no problem confiding in her, but this was Brian!
Then again, was it really that ridiculous? After all, when they had been dating she had confided in him. Besides, she knew he would rather have someone chain him up and perform Avada Kedavra on him before he divulged anything that she told him. Perhaps, his cold Slytherin nature was outweighed by his basic human decency.
After all, no-one, not even her mum would understand what she had been contemplating.
Lily pondered a bit more, before she finally breathed in.
Now or never.
“You know, people may think I’m naïve, but I do know one thing.”
“Oh, and that is?”
“I know Ethan loves me,” Lily blurted out, and then she clapped a hand to her mouth. Just like in a bad play. Or that muggle fairy tale about the two princesses, one spewed diamonds when she talked, and the other toads. “And I -” Lily dropped her eyes to her contorting fingers.
Maybe, this was a bad idea.
“I’m sorry, Brian. I didn’t mean it to sound like that.” Lily shook her head acrimoniously.
Brian shrugged. “Don’t be. I know you weren’t born yesterday. Besides, I know Ethan loves you.”
“I beg your pardon?”
He cocked his head to one side, and eyed her with an indecipherable look. “You heard me. It’s only natural Ethan loves you. After all, you’ve known each other since you two were walking around in nappies.”
“I um ...” Lily began.
Brian waved a hand, silencing her.
“The damage has been done though,” he said.
“What do you mean?” Lily demanded.
“He thinks you are in love with him as well,” Brian replied nonchalantly. “Now, if you don’t mind, let’s switch topics. I’m sure your parents would be most willing to answer any more of your pressing questions.”
Lily snorted. “My parents. They’re hardly the best example to follow after,” she said in a clipped tone.
Brian shrugged. “I suppose, you’re just itching to tell me why you just said what you said.”
She shrugged imperturbably. “Both my parents settled for what was already there.” Lily tucked her hair behind her ear, “My mother is always telling me to not settle for anything less than true love, and my father, he says not to settle for anything less than is deserved.”
Lily was about ready to regret what she had said, but Brian seemed un-phased. He raised his shoulders and gave a slight shrug.
“Both right,” he said. “And, now, while we’re on the topic of needless advice, here’s my two knuts worth: Don’t toy with love.”
Brian scowled at her.
By now, they had stopped and were squared off.
“Contemplate every decision you make from now until graduation, and then ...” Brian’s voice broke off, but then he continued, “And then, if you decide that you love Ethan, don’t ever let go of him. Until then, ask yourself if he’s what you really want.”
They had been standing at the foot of the Entrance Hall stairs for what seemed like infinity. Before Lily could digest everything that Brian had just said, he had reached a hand to caress her cheek.
She closed her eyes, and for a brief second, she swore she felt his lips brush over her cheek.
Soft, delicate - like a butterfly caressing someone.
And, when Lily opened her eyes, she was alone.
x x x x
Faster than a bullet train.
The day finally came.
Gryffindor versus Slytherin for the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup.
The events leading up to the game were rather subdued. No hexing in the hallways between classes, and no more injuries!
Trevor Potter would be playing as Seeker, and Lily would be up in the Gryffindor stands cheering her brother on...
Game time came, and Lily was just saying goodbye to Ethan before heading up to the stands.
“Good luck,” Lily said.
Ethan nodded. “There’s something I want to ask you,” he blurted out.
“Let’s talk after the game. I’ll get the house elves to pack a dinner and we’ll go out by the lake,” Ethan replied.
“Sure. See you then.”
Ethan gave her a quick kiss and then Lily was gone.
“Get your head out of the clouds, Finnigan. We have a game to play!” Orlando Richardson hollered as he ran to the Gryffindor change room.
Ethan forced himself to stop thinking about Lily, and hurried off.
x x x x
“Good afternoon, and welcome to the last Quidditch game of the season,” Deputy Headmaster Garrett Spindle proclaimed
As usual, adrenaline was high as the two teams made their way out to the pitch.
Up in the stands, Robert’s mind was not on the game, but rather on Lily. “I’ve been thinking -” he started to say to Rebecca.
“Hmm - about what?”
“About telling Lily,” he finished.
“When?” Rebecca asked, as her eyes flashed around the Quidditch pitch. Obviously, she didn’t seem to be that interested by her brother’s declaration.
Robert took a deep breath.
“By the end of the week.”
That is nice, I hope you ...” Rebecca trailed off; apparently she had finally realized the severity behind what Robert had just said. “Robert Matthew Philips! You - you - why didn’t you tell me?” she hissed.
“I just did. Now, if you had been listening you would have ...” Robert was cut off, because Rebecca had sent her brother her signature, ‘Don’t push it, little brother’ look.
“So, tell me, who’s going to win today?” Marc queried, taking a seat beside Rebecca.
“I think Gryffindor wins,” Rebecca said curtly.
“Really? Some of the others think Slytherin,” Marc answered.
The crowd fell silent as Quidditch referee and Flying Instructor Oliver Wood walked out onto the pitch.
And the Quaffle was released; the crowd began buzzing with cheers.
The game had begun.
The game continued, with Gryffindor leading by a negligible twenty points.
It had started raining causing Ethan to call a time out.
“We have to catch the damned snitch!” Ethan said fiercely.
“Don’t worry, I’ll get it,” Trevor promised.
The Gryffindor team nodded. “Don’t worry, Finnigan. This game is as good as ours.”
Ethan signaled that they were ready to resume play, and then they were off.
The rain hadn’t let up, and if anything, it was growing worse...
Brian sat atop his broom waiting for the game to end. He was growing impatient, considering as how Paul had not succeeded in getting the Snitch. The score was now 140 to 120, Gryffindor leading. He had been thinking about his conversation with Lily a week prior, and so far he had been getting nowhere.
Friends. Friends look out for each other, and I am looking out for her, because I know as well as she does that she is not in love with Finnigan! He scolded, as he watched Frank speed after a Bludger.
He looked up at Paul, nine feet above him, flying around, no doubt looking for the Snitch.
“Where the hell is the Snitch?” Andrew yelled, as he dodged a Bludger.
Brian tossed his now sodden hair out of his eyes, and continued to look around. Then he saw it.
Right near the Slytherin goal posts.
The wings flitting, as it tossed in the wind.
Then he saw two colours whizzing past him. Red verged against green. Clearly, Paul and Trevor had both seen it. Trevor was ahead of Paul, and deep in the recesses of Brian’s stomach, he felt a slight jolt of joy. Being a Slytherin did not put an end to the well known fact that Trevor was a better flier than Paul.
Trevor then pushed his broom into a dive. Brian was absolutely certain that he would get the Snitch, and for the first time in his life ... he didn’t care!
He did not care if Slytherin lost.
He did not care that Paul would be livid.
All he wanted was for the game to be over.
The game is over, he thought, as he sped towards the ground. What was the use of remaining idle on his broom, when he knew that Trevor would get the Snitch?
Just then, something crushed against his ribcage. He felt something crack, and he let out a cry of pain, as he felt the zephyr leave his body. Losing his grip on his broom ... he continued towards the ground. Brian let out a scream, as he fell.
Cries of concern...
Blurs of colours as they slowed.
Some green blurs speeding towards him, hoping to catch him.
He tried to breathe in some air, only to realize that every time he inhaled it hurt.
What the hell had the bludger done to him?
Down ... down.
Brian opened his eyes, trying to see who had stopped him from falling.
Brian looked up, only to see that Trevor had grabbed his robes, and he was dangling above the ground.
“Don’t move,” Trevor ordered, as he fought to keep his balance on his broom.
Out of the corner of Brian’s eye, he could see Wood blow the whistle.
There was no doubt that Trevor had caught the Snitch
Brian shook his head, attempting to clear the cobwebs that were fogging his brain. “Do you think I’m going to?” He replied in a corrosive tone.
Trevor rolled his eyes. Typical Slytherin comment, he thought, as his broom jerked violently.
It seemed like infinity was going to never end, but eventually infinity ended…
Trevor heard the faint cleaving of material far too late.
Brian and Trevor shared a look, before Brian’s green and silver Quidditch robes ripped, and he fell.
x x x x
A thud as a body hits the Quidditch pitch.
A crack, as skull meets the drenched ground.
Cries of alarm coming from everywhere.
“Out of the way!” Selina Walsingham blazed.
Brian looked up briefly, “Pro - prof- professor Walsingham,” he managed to get out, as he felt his body grow limp.
The world dimmed black.
At the moment, it seemed to be the only colour he saw, as he felt himself fade into oblivion.
x x x x
“How is he?” Madame Opal demanded, as Selina Walsingham settled the levitated body of Brian Avery onto a white hospital cot.
“I don’t know. All I remember is seeing him get hit with a Bludger. Trevor Potter tried to stop him from falling, but Brian’s Quidditch robes ripped,” Selina Walsingham recounted.
Madame Opal busied herself shutting the white curtains, as she did a thorough check-up of the unconscious Brian.
“It isn’t looking good,” she said, poking her head out from behind the curtain.
“That Bludger has caused damage to his lungs, and internal organs,” Madame Opal said.
“Is there any way to -”
But, Selina Walsingham was cut off by a loud, shrill voice that echoed throughout the corridors.
The doors banged open, as a Lily and an anxious looking Trevor and Robert followed.
“What happened?” Lily shrieked, as she raced into the hospital wing; red hair flying wildly behind her.
Tears began to form behind her eyes, dissolving the hospital cots to a watery white shimmer. The only thing that stood out against the whiteness was Brian’s green Quidditch robes.
Lily was stopped by her Headmistresses arm.
“Let me go. What’s wrong with him? Why can’t I see him?” Lily hollered, struggling against Selina’s arms.
“It’s best if you don’t come any closer, Miss. Potter.”
“No. I’m not leaving! I want to know what’s wrong!” Lily stated, as the stubbornness filled her voice.
“Maybe it’s best if I tell her,” Madame Opal suggested, as she emerged from behind the white curtains.
Selina took a deep breath, and summoned two chairs from the other side of the room.
“Perhaps you should sit down.”
Lily sat. Whereas, Trevor and Robert hung by an empty cot.
“The Bludger that struck Mr. Avery punctured his lungs in two places, causing internal bleeding and damage to his lungs and internal organs. I’m going to have to operate, remove his spleen, and then give him skelo-grow through an IV line.” Madame Opal reported.
Lily looked stunned, and then she did the unthinkable - she began to sob.
Tears of anger.
Tears of longing.
But, the tears that stung her insides the hardest were the tears of regret.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this! she thought, as the tears began their descent down her face.
“Is - is - he awake?”
“No. When he hit the ground, he hit the back of his head, I’m afraid he may be in a coma,” Madame Opal answered.
“What are you saying?” Lily choked out.
“I’m saying that if he survives surgery and the night, we may have a chance of reviving him.”
Lily shook her head fiercely, disbelieving everything she had just heard, and then got to her feet.
“Miss. Potter, sit down.” Selina Walsingham ordered, as she crossed the floor towards Lily.
“No, I’ll be fine.”
Lily had barely gone two steps when she felt something inside her tip over. The blood drained from her head, almost like it had flowed from an upended bucket. Feeling dizzy, Lily felt her knees begin to give out.
Her name was the last word she heard, before her legs went out from under her, and she collapsed.
x x x x
When Lily managed to open her eyes, it was dark. Judging from the angle at which the bed was placed, it told her that it was around seven o’clock. She jerked herself into a sitting position, and noticed that she was in the hospital wing.
“Ah, you’re awake!” Madame Opal said, as she busied herself taking Lily’s blood pressure and temperature.
“How long have I been asleep?”
“Since three o’clock this afternoon.”
“No change. I have him hooked up to a ‘life’ teller device,” Madame Opal gestured to the huge white thermometer like device attached to Brian’s bed. Lily noted that it was just barely above the forty percent line.
“The good news is that the operation went successful, so all we can do now is pray,” Madame Opal continued, as she flicked her wand and tidied up the area around Brian’s cot.
Lily heard her stomach rumble telling her it was time for dinner.
“Dinner ... Oh, no! Ethan!”she mumbled.
“I beg your pardon?” Madame Opal asked.
“May I leave for dinner?”
“Are you feeling up to it?” Madame Opal double checked Lily’s temperature, before nodding her head.
Lily climbed down from the cot, and exited the hospital wing.
x x x x
Ethan was waiting by the Entrance Hall steps, picnic basket in hand.
“Hey, Lil,” he said. “Trevor told me what was wrong with Avery. It’s terrible,” he said with constrained sentiment.
Lily merely nodded. “Ready to go?”
Ethan and Lily walked out of Hogwarts, and headed towards the lake.
As they approached a grove of trees, Ethan lit the lantern in his hand, emitting an almost eerie orange light on their faces.
The moon was full, casting shards of light down onto the lake and the surrounding land.
When they reached the lake, Ethan laid out a blanket, and set out the food that the house elves had given him (roasted chicken in a lemon grass and red bell pepper marinade, potato salad, fresh vegetables and for dessert; lemon cheesecake).
Lily looked around at the food, and heard her stomach rumble.
They had finished dessert, when Lily set down her half eaten piece of cheesecake.
“What did you want to ask me?” she inquired, looking at Ethan’s face.
“Oh. Right. Close your eyes,” Ethan said, setting down his plate.
Lily did as instructed, and heard a faint rustling of robes, and then she heard Ethan’s voice say, “Okay, open them.”
She gasped when she saw what was staring back at her.
A white gold ring, with a sparkling purple stone glittering in the centre.
“Ethan, what -”
“Lily, I want to marry you.” Ethan said, cutting her off, speaking as calmly as if they were walking down the cobblestone streets of Diagon Alley discussing the upcoming year. “I know all the arguments - things are too crazy right now. You’re not ready, we aren’t old enough. But, I want you to know that I’m not asking, I’m just telling you that this is where I stand, and where I hope we’re headed. Fair?”
Lily was too stunned to say anything in return. All that she could see was the ring, and Ethan’s blue eyes.
“Brian’s lying on his death bed, and you want me to tell you whether I’ll marry you or not!”she itched to say, but all that managed to escape from her lips was; “Ethan ... I -”
Ethan placed a finger to her lips. “Don’t say anything, Lily. I have something to tell you. About this girl that I fell in love with before I met you.” He pulled her close, as if he was afraid that she was going to somehow slip through his fingers, like sand and dissolve. “She was you. I know that it sounds preposterous - I occasionally don’t believe it myself - but then again, it isn’t. All I’m trying to say is that I saw you in my mind’s eye, long before we became best friends ... the only difference is that you are even more beautiful than I pictured.” Ethan kissed her forehead. “The only thing I haven’t quite figured out is the ending.”
“Ethan, you - you couldn’t have possibly -” Lily stopped herself, forcing herself to think and choose her words carefully. She was flattered he was asking, but she could not stop the thought of Robert from floating into her mind. Lily knew marriage was a long way off, and Ethan’s proposal was finally putting everything into focus. Knowing her silence was probably hurting him a lot more than necessary, she placed her hands on his shoulders, looked him straight in the eyes and said, “Ethan, listen to me. Maybe you did have someone in mind, or maybe I just happened to be in the right place at the right time ... when you got tired of waiting.”
Something in his blue eyes flickered. And, in a brusque voice he replied, “If you believe that then you’re selling us both short.”
“Ethan ...” Strangely enough, she felt numb. “I can’t marry you. Not now, and I don’t know if I ever will be able to.”
“So, that’s it? Case closed and dismissed?”
“What about children? You’re a handsome, virile, young man. Besides, you always said you wanted a family.”
“Lily, we can have all that. I want you to be happy. I can make you happy,” Ethan expressed.
Lily stiffened. “Please, Ethan. Don’t make this any harder on me,” she whispered.
Ethan drew back, and regarded her face with a look. He hesitated, and then looked her straight in the eyes.
The eyes that he had fallen in love with all those years ago.
In the recesses of his mind, he could hear Pearl’s scolding voice, and he wished that he had listened to her. Their relationship was one-sided. He was not sure for how long … all he knew was now with Lily avoiding his gaze, their relationship came into focus.
“You don’t love me,” he stated simply.
“I -” Lily began to say, but was cut off.
“You don’t have to say anything, Lily. Not if you’re trying to spare me the hurt. I’d rather know the truth, and now I know what that is. It’s my own fault that I didn’t realize it sooner.”
He rose, flicked his wand and everything was tidied up. Feeling light headed, he started to head back towards the castle.
Ethan had walked a couple feet, when he heard her speak in a voice that was choked full of sobs.
“Ethan ...” A deep intake of breath. “I do care about you … I would be lying if I said I didn’t.”
He stiffened, and stopped dead.
“I know you do. It’s just not enough, and it’s not the right way.”
“The ring?” she asked questioningly.
“Just think about it, okay?” he asked, his tone almost pleading.
He didn’t wait for an answer; he did not know if he could stand to hear it.
Lily was left alone, with her knees curled in to her chest.
She did not know how long she sat there, but it was long enough to realize who she had to go see.
Slowly, she got to her feet, and let them carry her up the steps, and towards her dorm.
She had to see Robert.
x x x x
Author`s Note: And, I shall leave it there. Real life commitments are keeping me busy and pre-occupied. Until next time, please review!