Lily frowned down at the parchment. The words that had perplexed her for the last hour seemed to swim around the page as she stifled a large yawn. A short burst of laughter from behind her made her turn sharply and, to her disappointment, she saw Mary MacDonald entering the Common Room.
Mary made Lily's skin crawl. She embodied all the traits Lily shunned and was the single person Lily despised most. Mary was pretty and popular. She had flawless skin and hair that seemed permanently perfect. She could pass any test effortlessly.
And she was also dating the boy Lily liked.
James Potter was of average height and average build. He had dark hair that was never tidy and wore glasses. He had an exceptional talent for Quidditch and a knack for getting into trouble.
And to Lily, he was perfect.
She watched him follow Mary through the portrait hole and kiss Mary's cheek. Lily's own cheeks flushed with jealousy and she quickly turned back to her work. Biting her lip, she reattempted to read the chapter and, finding that she couldn't concentrate, slammed the book shut and scooped it into her bag. Without even a glance backwards, she hurried up the stairs to her dormitory, her breath coming quickly and her cheeks still red.
James smiled as Mary laughed at his joke. He stepped through the entrance to his Common Room and linked his arm through hers, feeling a strand of Mary's golden hair tickling his ear. A flash of red at the far side of the room caught his attention, and as he looked round he saw the characteristic red hair of Lily Evans swiftly exiting the room.
James toyed with this in his mind. Had she left because he had arrived?
No, he thought. She probably didn't even see me. She had just finished with her work, that's all. Reassured by this, James turned back to Mary and, one hand moving to cup her chin, planted a kiss on her full, red lips.
Lily opened her trunk and carefully slotted her Charms book into place. Closing the lid, she scrambled over the top of it and onto her bed. Lily lay back, relishing the quiet and tranquillity of the small room and taking a few deep breaths to clear her mind. She raised a hand to one cheek and was glad to feel the heat on her cheeks receding. Lily had learnt at a young age that her red hair and fair skin made her more prone to blushing.
Rolling over onto her tummy, Lily pulled her diary out from under her pillow and tapped it with her wand, removing the magical enchantment that protected it. She had long since learnt to keep her diary locked and hidden, after a nasty incident in her first year where Anabelle Croft had found it and read it aloud to the whole common room. Lily could still remember standing still and mortified in the portrait hole while Anabelle screeched at the top of her lungs about how hot Lily thought Severus Snape was.
The diary was a faded red, made from leather and a bit worn around the edges. Once or twice Lily had had to SpelloTape the pages back in when they'd fallen out, but she had never considered replacing it. The diary contained every thought, wish or secret Lily'd had since her first night at Hogwarts. It was more than a diary. To Lily, it was a part of herself.
She grabbed a quill from her bedside table and twisted it between her fingers, thinking carefully. What to write? A scathing paragraph on Mary MacDonald? A sweet poem about James Potter and the way his hair flicked up at the ends just behind his ear-
Lily stopped herself suddenly and snapped the diary shut, forcing it quickly back under her pillows. James Potter was just a boy. Sighing, Lily grabbed a book from her school bag and settled down to read.