³⁶, THE ART OF GOING STEADY

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𝐂𝐇𝐎𝐂𝐎𝐋𝐀𝐓𝐄
chapter thirty-six; The Art Of Going Steady
" I think love is too big a word for me right now. "

  MADELINE WAS CONVINCED July didn't happen

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  MADELINE WAS CONVINCED July didn't happen. It was as if June bled into August, days hanging out with Lily and Marlene went by quicker than days spent with Kai or Bluebelle—who were beginning to look like a real-life actual couple.

  The idea of that was a strange one to toy with. Her two best friends suddenly being enraptured with each other. And how totally left behind it made her feel.

  Which was perhaps why Madeline found herself patiently waiting on Lily's front steps for James.

  She'd spent the night at the Evans' for what felt like the hundredth time, and once she was aware James would be arriving the day following, she made a choice.

  "Oh, Maddie."

  "Hi," Madeline said, furrowing her brows as she stood. Two steps up and she was just about James' height. She'd always hated that he towered over her, didn't particularly like it when people in general did. Maybe that was why the Black brothers seemed so comfortable. "I know you're here to see Lily—"

  "That is why I came to her house."

  "Are you two dating?" The curiosity got the better of her. She lost track of what she was supposed to be doing. Saying.

  "James!"

  "Hi, Lily."

  "Oh, shite, sorry," Lily winced, realizing Madeline had gotten nowhere, "Uh, I'll just be—"

  "Lily, are we dating?"

  The redhead's expression twisted into panic at James' question. Madeline almost spoke up, but ultimately decided it wasn't her place to say something.

  "Wh—what?"

  "Are we dating?"

  "I, yeah," Lily said with a shake of her head, "Mmh."

  "There's your answer, now if you'll excuse me—"

  "Can you not be a dick for three seconds?" Madeline snapped at James, "Merlin, James, I'm trying to be nice for once, just have fun with your girlfriend."

  Madeline's voice broke off at the end, shoving past James as she took the steps harshly. Her bag looked pitiful, hanging off of her thin shoulder, and James, for once, didn't hesitate to rush after her.

  "Maddie, crap, I'm sorry—"

  "I just want my brother back," She admitted as James rushed in front of her, "I know you think I hid Sirius from you for something but I just didn't want to lose either of you, okay? I just, I love you, and I know I never say it and we fight all the time but I do, you're my brother, that means a lot to me, and I just, I think it sucks that it doesn't mean as much to you okay? Because I know what it's like to feel pushed out now, Blue and Kai, you and Lily, and I'm. . . I don't have Sirius anymore because I didn't want to lose my brother but now I have no one and it sucks!"

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