"Love is temporary; only fairytales are forever." - Author Unknown
April 6, 1977
The last day of school before spring break at Hogwarts. Everybody wanted to spend it with their friends before returning home – the ambiance was much more amical, jovial, and freer then even just a day before when some students were still writing their finals. The burden that had weighed down upon the shoulders of the young students finally lifted and they felt liberated.
Lily was sitting by the edge of the lake, sketching the beautiful view in front of her, smiling to herself because school was finally out – if only temporarily –, because she was fortunate enough to spend most of her days surrounded in such a beautiful castle with such an amazing garden, and because her beloved boyfriend was only a few minutes from arriving to meet her at the Lake. Her heart filled with joy and love at the thought of them talking, laughing at their favorite spot on the castle grounds and planning their break and the rest of their life together. James often liked to talk about such serious topics: his parents were old, nearing the age of 100, and they wanted to see their child get married before their dying days.
James said that he too was ready for a marriage – he had partied and flirted and slept enough with girls to last a lifetime during fourth to sixth year and he's had enough of that kind of life. He often spoke of how he wanted to take their relationship to the next level, and though Lily wasn't quite ready yet to make that step – it was her first relationship with anyone, ever, unlike James –, she knew that she would eventually be and often fantasized about their wedding day.
Lily stopped sketching for awhile and enjoyed as the sun shone on her face. She couldn't imagine feeling luckier or happier. Just a few days ago, she was in a state of utter depression because of all the arguments with her beloved boyfriend – but just two days ago, she and James had made up and everything seemed like it was back to normal. Admittedly, James had been a bit distant with her recently, but Lily was certain he would come around eventually. After all, he wanted to get married and he often talked about how he was the perfect girl for him – he had always wanted his girlfriend to be 'pure' before marrying him, how he had an inexplicable thing for redheads, and how beautiful she was, inside out, in general. For Lily too he was perfect, because he loved her like no other has ever loved her, and for her, that – love – was perfectly sufficient. She didn't care about his slight beer belly (he fancied alcohol as much as he fancied redheads), his glasses, his slightly big nose or his hairy chest. He, with his love for her, was enough for her despite all his shortcomings.
She was more than glad that their relationship was back on track despite all their recent arguments – they had survived a rough patch and were becoming stronger than ever... she could pardon all his mistakes, even though they were quite grave, simply because he loved her and she loved him back. She would accept things no other would forgive him only because she felt like he accepted her fully too, and not only accepted her but loved every part of her, even the ugly parts. This must be true love, she thought.
Her face lit up when she saw James approaching, not truly handsome but gorgeous to her as the sun shone on his face, his creole skin. The way the wind blew through his already way too messy, jetblack hair sent goosebumps down her spine. After their arguments, instead of falling out of love with him, she fell in love with him again and loved him more than ever. She considered herself a truly lucky girl.
James looked somber and unsmiling when he approached her.
"Hey," the redhead said flirtatiously when he stopped in front of him. I'll put him in a good mood again, she thought to herself. "Wanna sit down?" she asked.
"No," James said. "I'm in a hurry,"
"Oh," Lily said, standing up. I thought we were going to spend time together, she thought, but didn't want to make a fuss out of this and quarrel again. They would spend time together later, she decided. He would make up for this somehow, she was sure. "How come?" she asked, stepping closer to him and starting to caress his face. He snapped his head away, looking disgusted. "What?" she asked, feeling hurt, though certain that he would have a perfectly acceptable explanation for his questionable behavior. She just needed to wait for it.
"I have... something to tell you," James finally said.
"What?" Lily asked, smiling. Surely it was good news. Couldn't be anything else.
"You're not gonna like it," James said, finally looking her in the eyes. His hazel eyes were scared, guilty – he looked away quickly too.
"What?" Lily asked. Her heart started thudding furiously against her ribcage – she felt something bad was coming, but quelled the feeling. They were in love – what could possibly go wrong? "What is it?" she asked pleadingly, her voice desperate.
James looked her in the eyes, looking sorry. "No," Lily said, tears streaming down her face. She sniffed, tried to blink back the tears – she felt pathetic. "No," she repeated, waiting for confirmation. All she got was James's sorry look in return. "No, no, no," she started crying, sobbing loudly, uncontrollably, her features contorting with pain and suffering. She felt like her heart had been ripped out of her chest. She grabbed his shirt and started shaking him, needy and scared, "No, no, no! Please – don't!" Her emotions were in complete control of her. She could not hold back her desperation.
"Stop it," he said, his eyes becoming steely. He pushed her away from him. Where James touched her on her arm, her skin felt like it was burning up. The way his steely eyes bore into hers hurt her too. She felt like she was getting asphyxiated by the one she loved most. It was worse than any kind of corporal punishment she's ever had to endure at school.
"But you said – you loved me," Lily said, sobbing, snot coming out of her nose too. She wiped her nose unceremoniously with her naked arm. "You said you loved me," she went on, her green eyes wide with disbelief. She started weeping terribly. People were starting to turn their heads to see what was going on. Lily couldn't stop crying.
But then she got angry – she was experiencing all the stages of grief one after another. She pushed him violently, surprising James. "You said you loved me!" Lily cried, pushing him again. "You said you wanted to – you wanted to marry me," she said, her voice breaking, looking him straight in the eyes.
"I know what I said," James said, holding his hands up in case she decided to 'attack' him again. "But feelings – they just go away sometimes. They die. We fell out of love with each other. It happens. Love dies, sometimes. I know you didn't have any relationships before me, but soon you'll learn-" He talked as one talks to an insufferable, slow child. This only infuriated the girl furthermore.
"You were my first!" Lily cried angrily, pushing him again then punching him right between the eyes. He took a step back, holding his bleeding nose.
"The hell is wrong with you!?" James said, shaking his head. "You idiot!"
"Hell is wrong with me?" Lily hissed. "You were my first, don't you understand, you cockroach? You were my first! You fed me all these lies – you said you wanted to marry me! I gave you EVERYTHING! And this is how you repay me?" She started pushing him again, and James had to hold her down to stop her from pushing him over and embarrassing himself in front of all the spectators. She had already embarrassed him enough by punching her.
"Stop yelling, Lily, you're only embarrassing yourself," James said, looking around, feeling stupid.
Lily suddenly stopped. Her name sounded alien on his lips. He no longer said it with love or affection – it was just a name to him. He called her like he would call one of the girls he had one night stands with. No passion, no emotion, just a name. A simple name that didn't matter anymore. She felt like all the other girls must have, she supposed – used selfishly, and then discarded thoughtlessly. Her anger withered away and a wave of depression washed over her again. She was back to square one. The pain disabled her from moving on.
"I believed in you," Lily said, referring to his dreams that he had whispered to her on cold winter nights, at their home, in the Common Room by the fireplace after everyone had already gone up to their dormitories, "And I believed you." Her voice was quite but accusatory.
James just shrugged helplessly, though it was obvious he didn't truly care. He was just pretending to be the good guy to ease his own conscience. He was lying to himself as he was lying to Lily. He didn't just fall out of love with Lily – he welcomed the end of the relationship as it promised something new to him, though it only promised devastation and sadness to the girl whose purity had mattered more to her than to him. Actually, then and there, just wanted to get away – away from prying eyes, judgmental stares, curious whispers and malevolent chuckling coming from mostly from Slytherins though even some of his own housemates. What was there to say, he wasn't that popular amongst his fellow Gryffindors. Most importantly though, he just wanted to get away from her, his dream girl who had become this emotional wreck throughout their relationship, somehow. He guessed she wasn't what she had seemed like in the beginning when he was in love with her. Appearances can be decieving and people can't pretend to be an improved version of themselves for too long – both were true and he told himself both probably applied to his situation.
"I gave you everything," Lily said, then broke down crying by the lake when he only reacted with a nonchalant shrug again. Her knees weakened and before she collapsed onto the cold, hard ground she sat down be the river, burying her face in her palms and pulling her legs up to her heaving chest. Her shoulders shook uncontrollably as she wept on pathetically for all to see – humiliated and broken by James. All on the grounds watched. No one did anything, all were too stunned and some even gloating and gleeful –
but no one would be unaware of Lily and James's drama by the end of the afternoon. It would be all the talk on the train going home.
Trouble in Paradise, as they came to call it.