You can thank the enablers on Tumblr for this AU. I know that the logic of this might not work, but this is literally a Jeremy Kyle AU. Are you seriously going to come at me about logic?

'Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.'

Lily threw herself into her desk chair — nearly fell out of the damn thing (again) because it was too low to the goddamn ground and no one knew how to fix it and there "wasn't money im the budget for chairs right now" (i.e.; there wasn't money in the budget for a chair for you, Lily, because you're a fucking production assistant) — and banged hard on her space bar to wake up her aging desktop.

Her computer lit up slowly. Lily tried not to hammer the spacebar in her impatience because there wasn't any money in the budget for a new computer either.

She typed her password into the little box when it finally popped up a minute later and started swivelling the mouse impatiently while her screen loaded.

'It's never going to load properly if you keep doing that.'

Someone settled into the chair beside hers, and Lily whipped around in her chair and glared at them.

'Fuck off, Fabian.'

Fabian grinned at her before he flicked his bright red hair out of his eyes and turned to his own computer — a recently updated MacBook that made Lily desperate with jealousy. He'd recently moved into a producer slot and gotten upgraded from all the awful equipment they had him using every day. He still had to share an office cube, but he was sharing with her, so she didn't think he was suffering too badly.

'You can be cross with me all you want,' Fabian said. 'But you knew your turn was coming, so this isn't my fault.'

Her screen finally loaded and Lily clicked the icon on her desktop to open her email client. 'I know. But you didn't have to laugh at me in the middle of the fucking meeting. Now Karl thinks I'm a fucking trainwreck.'

Fabian snorted and Lily turned in her chair to kick his ankle.

'First of all,' Fabian said, nudging her with his foot, 'you have never once cared what Karl thought of you. And second, you would've laughed at you, too. You should've seen your face.'

Lily turned back to her computer and started scrolling through her emails in a way that, she hoped, didn't look as desperate as she felt. 'I hate you.'

Fabian scoffed from beside her. 'Lies and slander.'

'I'll give you lies and slander.'

'Will you? Maybe we can be your guest this week.'

'Ugh,' Lily groaned and dropped her head down onto the desk, her forehead making a loud smack against the wood because she hadn't bothered to move her hands up to catch her face. 'How in the fuck am I supposed to find someone by tomorrow? Who do we even know who is that much of a goddamn disaster?'

'You sent out all those enquiries, didn't you?'

Lily turned her head on the table so she could see Fabian and nodded. He noticeably bit back a smile.

'And you went through the submission box?'

Lily nodded again.

'And you seriously didn't find anyone? I know for a fact that there was a guy in there who submitted his uncle for having a love affair with a badger in his back garden.'

Lily snorted. 'I don't think it said that he was having a love affair with it.'

Fabian waved her off. 'Whatever. Point is, there has to be someone in that giant stack of papers.'

'I contacted a few people about coming on the show this week,' Lily said, 'and none of them were able to make a mid-day Thursday taping. A couple of people were willing but then the other people involved weren't able to make it. It's just been a fucking nightmare.'

Fabian was quiet for a moment and Lily tried her best to look her most pathetic. She knew that Fabian had a list of guests he'd already secured for next week and maybe he'd been willing to give her one if she looked sad enough.

'You really don't know anyone? No one even willing to come on and lie about something?'

Lily's eyes widened. 'We can have people come on here and lie about things?!'

Fabian shushed her and slid his chair closer to hers. 'My last minute booking was a lie. I just got some random girl I went to uni with to come on and say that she thought she was having an alien baby and her family staged an intervention. It wasn't our best episode, but I managed to get out of the week and get my person on stage, so ultimately, no one really gave a shit.'

'Why the fuck didn't you tell me that I could bring someone on here to just fucking lie?'

'Because the idea of the last minute booking is that you —'

'I don't give a shit about the idea of it, Prewett,' Lily slid her chair into Fabian's so he moved out of the way of their shared desk phone. 'I care about getting this fucking challenge over with.'

She grabbed the handset off the cradle and sandwiched it against her shoulder as she dialled. The line was quiet for a moment while the call connected and, once it started ringing, Lily took the phone in her hand and leaned back in her chair.

She saw Fabian watching her out of the corner of her eye, but Lily ignored him and went back to her computer.

It was mostly for show — she clicked on her internet browser and the entire thing froze up again — but she didn't care.

The ringing suddenly stopped in her ear and Lily sat up straighter in her chair, the beginnings of a smile already on her face.

'Sirius Black.'

'Sirius! Hi, it's Lily.'

'Ah, Red!' Lily grinned at Sirius' old nickname for her and she leaned even more comfortably in her chair.

Fabian turned back to his own computer and started typing.

'How's life at Jeremy Kyle?'

'Just riveting,' Lily hoped Sirius could hear the eyeroll in her voice. 'I actually had to ask you about that, though, speaking of.'

'About what?'

'Jeremy Kyle. Would you happen to be available this Thursday? Midday?'

'Sure,' Lily could hear some banging around over the line and a bit of ruffling as Sirius shifted the phone. 'I'm sure Remus'll tell me I have to check the calendar, but there's nothing I can't move for you, love. Whaddya need?'

'Well,' Lily started twirling the phone cord between her fingers, 'so, the producers have this thing where the new senior PAs get told at the last minute that they're responsible for finding a guest for the show that week and we have to have someone and get them booked in by the next staff meeting. It's like a hazing thing, I don't know.'

Lily paused, but Sirius was quiet, so Lily rambled on.

'So anyway, it's my week and I've been expecting this for a while, you know, because I'm the only new senior PA that hasn't gone yet and so I've been trying to get people lined up over the last few weeks and trying to find these people that noted on their submission that they had fairly open schedules, but I've been calling and emailing people and no one has any availability and I was wondering…. Well, I was wondering if you might be willing to come on and pretend that you have some kind of problem so that I don't get in trouble.'

She said it all in a rush, as though getting the words out faster meant that Sirius wouldn't have to hear them.

Lily heard some more rustling around on the line and she held her breath.

Sirius cleared his throat. 'What kind of lie do you need me to tell?'

Thank god for Sirius Black.

On Thursday morning, Lily got to work as early as she possibly could without looking like she was getting to work early because she was paranoid about the rest of her day and was desperate to overplan.

It was a delicate balance and she wasn't sure that she maintained it, but ultimately, as long as Sirius showed up and brought his brother, did it really matter if she looked paranoid or not?

Sirius had insisted — over and over again because Lily kept asking him — that his brother, James, would be okay with the lie they were getting ready to tell on national television. He'd insisted that, yeah, it was weird, but not actually illegal, so far as he knew, and their Mum would probably get a laugh out of the whole thing anyway.

'I could probably get her to write a statement if you want,' Sirius had said. 'She's always complaining she hasn't got anything to do now that she's retired.'

Lily had mentioned the possibility at the next production meeting, and Karl had practically cum in his fucking pants over it.

She shot Sirius a text and told him that, if he could get Mrs Potter to write a little something, that would be great.

Sirius had immediately texted back — Sure thing red ill let you jnow what she says

The next few days had flown by in a whirlwind of last minute preparations. Lily, PA as she was, was used to doing a lot of different things across the set, but now that she was working more in a production capacity, she realised just how much planning and coordination went into each and every one of these damn episodes. She'd known it on some level, had seen people like Fabian running around like mad people pretty much every day, but there was something about living it that really hammered home just how much needed to come together in order to make the ship run smoothly every goddamn day.

Still, she managed to get everything organised — at least, she managed to get everything physical capable of being organised organised — and now, all she really had to do was wait.

Trouble was, waiting was a lot harder for Lily than running around like a mad person.

They were due to start filming right around midday, and Lily was increasingly nervous as the clock crept closer and closer to noon without word from Sirius. She'd told him to be there at least an hour and a half early — earlier than she actually needed him because if Sirius was still like she remembered, he was always fucking late — but now they were forty-five minutes out and he was actually late and Lily was starting to get anxious.

She had no back up. No one else to fill the slot.

She was just about to start digging frantically through the box when the phone on her desk started ringing.

She snatched the handset and fumbled it a bit in her haste to press it to her ear.

'Jeremy Kyle Show, this is Lily.'


She blinked. 'What?'

Whoever she was talking to sighed over the line. 'Lily Evans. Is this Lily Evans?'

They sounded exhausted and a bit annoyed, but honestly. Was Lily really so common a name that this arsehole needed to clarify?

'Yes.' She tried her best to keep her irritation out of her voice. 'How can I help you?'

'I have two gentlemen down here who are insisting they be delivered to your office. Do you —'

Lily sat up straighter in her chair. 'Sirius Black?'

The person on the line leaned away from the mouthpiece and spoke to someone on the other end. Lily heard them sigh heavily as they spoke into the receiver again. 'That's one of them, yes.'

Lily exhaled hard. 'Okay, lovely. You can send them up — I'm expecting them. Tell them I'll meet them outside the lift.'

The person on the line said, 'Great,' then Lily heard a click as the line went dead.

Lily looked at the handset for a moment before she rolled her eyes, dropped it back onto the base, and got to her feet.

She snatched her mobile off the desk, barely remembered to pull out the charger before she yanked the damn thing again (Fabian was always banging on about how she was going to break it and then he didn't want to hear about how you can't charge your bloody mobile anymore, Lil), and stuffed it into her pocket as she made her way through the narrow pathway between the office cubicles towards the guest lifts.

She noticed Fabian on the other side of the office and he caught her eye over the top of the wall as she walked past — he was talking to Dan again….

She quirked a knowing eyebrow at Fabian and he narrowed his eyes and held his fingers up at her.

She pulled her mobile out of her pocket and texted him (just ask him to dinner already you fucking git) as she walked out into the main reception area. Kenneth, the receptionist, grinned a little nervously at her as she walked in.

'Did you need something Ms Evans? My phone didn't ring.'

Lily leant up against the side of his desk. 'Nope, we're good, Ken. I'm just meeting someone.'

'I could've walked them back to your office.'

Lily shook her head. 'That's alright. I fancied a bit of a walk anyway.'

'Are you —' But Kenneth didn't have a chance to get the rest of his sentence out because, just then, the lift doors opened and Sirius Black strode out into the waiting area.

'Lily bloody Evans!' He spread his arms wide and pulled her into a fierce hug when he reached her.

Lily laughed and wrapped her arms around his middle. 'Sirius bloody Black.' She pulled back and looked up at him. 'And how're you?'

Sirius beamed as he released her. 'Brilliant as always. It's exhausting, really, being this perfect.'

Lily snorted and Sirius shot her a wink. 'Anyway, I don't think you've met my brother, James? He's not nearly as attractive as I am, but —'

There was a snort from behind them, and Lily's eyes flicked over to the man standing just beside the lifts.

He was —

Jesus fucking christ.

James was tall, maybe a head taller than Sirius, and he was definitely broader. There was something sturdy about him, like he could stand in the middle of a hurricane and not blow over.

Or, you know, like she could climb him like a fucking tree and he'd totally be fine with it.

At first, he was staring at the back of Sirius' head, a wide, silly smile on his face as he said, 'Fuck off, Sirius,' but then he turned his gaze towards her and he froze.

They both did.

His jaw…. The way his mouth hitched up just a bit higher on the left when he smiled…. The way his eyes shone with amusement behind his glasses as he'd been sassing Sirius….

She really liked his glasses.

And she really, really liked his smile.

Lily cleared her throat and held James' gaze as she spoke. 'No, I don't believe we've ever met.'

James reached up and ran a hand quickly through his hair — his jet black, absolutely disastrous hair — before he stepped forward — it only took him one step to close the space between Sirius and the lifts, something that was attractive to Lily for a reason she really couldn't understand because he was literally just moving his limbs — and stuck out his hand.

'I — Hi, I'm James. Potter. James Potter.'

Lily stepped around Sirius, took James' hand — he had absolutely enormous hands — and shook. 'Lily Evans.' She smiled her nicest, sanest smile. 'Nice to meet you.'

'You, too.' James squeezed her hand a bit before he dropped it and ran it immediately through his hair again.

She really, really wanted to touch his hair.

It was a fucking wreck — it looked, literally, like he'd been standing in goddamn wind tunnel all morning — but it also looked so soft

Sirius scoffed from beside them and was mid-eye roll when Lily pulled her eyes from James to look at him. 'You two can do your breeder thing later. Don't we have a show to do?'

If Lily had been drinking something, she would have promptly spat it out all over herself. 'I — shut up, Sirius.'

Sirius raised an eyebrow at her and Lily huffed. 'So let me take you to the green room.'

She spun hard on her heel and started back through reception and just hoped they would follow her.

'We get to go into the green room?' Sirius lengthened his stride so that he could walk beside her. 'How very bougie.' He looked over Lily's shoulder and smirked at James behind them.

'Yup,' she brushed a piece of hair out of her eyes as they turned the corner and headed back towards the studio space. 'Don't get your hopes up, though. It's basically a glorified cupboard.'

'Well, you know I don't mind a cupboard.' Sirius smirked, and Lily snorted and nudged him in the side.

'I still haven't forgiven you for that.'

'Look,' Sirius' grin widened and Lily smiled in spite of herself. 'It's not my fault that you came back early. Where else were we supposed to hide?'

'You didn't have to hide anywhere!' Lily said as they started down the short flight of stairs and turned down the corridor. 'You needed to go snog each other's brains out in your own fucking flat in the first place!'

Sirius wrinkled his nose at her. 'My gross housemate was home!'

'He was always home!'

Sirius sighed like what he was about the say was the most obvious thing in the world. 'Which is why I used your flat, Red! We've been over this.'

Lily shook her head at him. 'I hate you.'

Sirius just grinned. 'Patently false.' Lily nudged him again.

'What are we arguing about?'

James stepped forward so that he was walking on Lily's other side. She'd almost — almost — forgotten he was there.

'Sirius,' she shot him a look before she turned back to look up at James, 'once decided to hide in my front fucking cupboard with this bloke he was seeing because they'd been snogging in my flat and they didn't want me to catch them, but then I opened the cupboard to hang up my jacket and I nearly died of a heart attack.'

Sirius rolled his eyes dramatically. 'You did not nearly die. You were just a bit startled.'

'Sirius, I screamed so loud that my neighbours came over to make sure I wasn't being murdered!'

'Hey, at least you knew they were concerned about you.'

Lily shook her head. 'You really are the most obnoxious person I've ever met.'

Sirius slung an arm over her shoulder. 'And yet, you love me.'

Lily huffed, but she leaned into him a bit all the same. 'Annoyingly, yes.'

They turned right down the last corridor and Lily paused in front of the first of three doors along the wall.

'This,' she pushed open the door, 'is your green room. There's a mirror on the far wall if you need to touch up or anything, but otherwise, just wait here until we're ready for you. I'll grab some mics and be in to hook you up in a minute or so.'

Sirius strolled past her, settled into the large, black leather sofa along the wall in front of the cameras, and immediately made himself at home. James took a few steps into the room before he turned and smiled down at Lily.

'Thanks,' he smiled at her, a small, slightly nervous looking smile.

Lily breathed a laugh and tried to smile back. 'It's no problem. I really should be thanking you, anyway. This — I mean, this is —' She took a deep breath and squared her shoulders in a way that she hoped looked subtle. 'Thanks. I was totally screwed this week, so this means a lot. And we've never even met, so it's not like you owed me this or anything.'

James laughed softly and the sound made Lily's stomach clench. 'Well, Sirius would do anything for you. And who am I to say no to someone that Sirius loves that much? He's a hard sell, so I knew you must be pretty great.'

Lily flushed a bit and looked down at her shoes. She was just about to reply when Sirius shouted from the sofa. 'That, and he totally owes me after Middlesbrough, 2012.'

James whipped around. 'Sirius!'

Sirius just smiled innocently and James turned back to Lily with a sigh. 'Ignore him.'

Lily raised an eyebrow. 'I know Sirius well enough to know that I need to ignore him. Though I won't pretend that I'm not curious.'

James scrubbed a hand over his jaw and looked down at his shoes before he met Lily's eye again. 'Well, maybe I can tell you sometime.'

Lily grinned. 'I'd like that.'

'Then you should know,' Sirius said, 'that Lily has her own thing, too, James. Croydon, 2015.'

'Oi!' Lily held her hand up at him and Sirius barked a laugh.

'Just evening the playing field, love.'

Lily narrowed her eyes at him. 'I'll even your playing field.'

Sirius grinned at her. 'Oh, yes, please.'

Lily groaned. 'Fuck you.'

She turned to look back at James who was now smiling down at her with amusement. It was like the smile he'd worn when he was telling off Sirius after they'd first arrived, but there was also a softness to his features that hadn't been there before.

Though it was possible that she was making that up.

'Alright,' Lily pulled her mobile out of her back pocket to check if she'd had any messages — two. Fuck.

'I'm going to go grab your mics and be back in a minute. Those cameras,' she pointed at the ones Sirius was currently sitting in front of, 'will be on and recording once the show goes live. So if you're doing anything that you don't want recorded, come stand over in this corner.' She pointed in the far corner by the mirror.

James and Sirius both nodded and, before she could find an excuse to linger in the doorway any longer, Lily turned and walked back out of the green room.

She clicked into her mobile as she started down the corridor towards the tech stand at the end of the hall. Both messages in her phone were from Fabian. The first — fuck you, I'll ask him to dinner when I'm bloody well ready — was alright, but the second — why haven't you got your radio on? Karl's looking for you — made Lily's heart jump into her throat.

She picked up speed as she rounded the corner and jogged over to the tech cart. She grabbed herself one of the last remaining radios off the charger in the back, switched it on, and immediately pressed the call button on the side.

'Lily for Karl.'

She held the radio up by her face, certain that Karl was going to get back to her immediately, and grabbed a pair of mic packs out of the box at the bottom with her free hand. The wires were all fucked up — why the fuck they were always so tangled —

'Go for Karl.'

Lily jumped and dropped one of the packs onto the floor. She swore and grabbed it off the ground as she pressed the call button.

'I was getting the guests from reception. Did you need me for something?'

She stuffed the packs into her back trouser pocket and started fumbling with the wires as best she could with one hand.

'Just wanted to make sure they'd arrived,' Karl said. 'They in the green?'

'Green one,' Lily replied.


Lily slid the radio onto her hip as soon as Karl clicked off and started tugging the wires apart with both hands as she headed back towards the green room. She'd just managed to get one completely untangled when she reached the door, and she slung it around her neck before she knocked and pushed open the door.

James and Sirius were sitting on the sofa and they both looked up at her as she walked in.

'Hey,' she smiled and continued untangling the wire in her hands as best she could without looking at them. 'So I've got your packs and one untangled wire. This one'll be done in a sec, but Sirius, if you want to come grab the packs out of my back pocket —'

She spun a bit so Sirius could see them and Sirius pushed himself up off the sofa with a sigh. 'Would you ask any of your other guests to get up and do this?'

Lily rolled her eyes at him. 'Stop your whinging. I've done more than enough for you. Hook that in the back of your trousers.' She tilted her head towards the mics. 'You, too, James. Right in the centre will be perfect. And then we just have to thread these,' she finally untangled the last wire and she handed it to Sirius after he finished hooking on his pack, 'up through your shirts. We'll hook the mic on your lapel.'

Sirius spent a minute trying to hook his wire into the pack and Lily snorted. 'Turn around. Let me help you.'

'You just want to get your hands on me, Red,' Sirius said.

Lily rolled her eyes. 'I've had my hands on you plenty. Turn round.'

Sirius grinned at her and spun. She hooked his wire into the pack and then threaded the wire through her hands. 'I'm going to reach up under your shirt,' she said. 'Is that alright?'

Sirius nodded and looked at her over his shoulder. 'Of course.'

Lily half shrugged as she lifted her shirt and stuck her hand underneath. 'Well, you know I have to ask.'

Lily reached over Sirius' shoulder with her free hand and caught the microphone as she threaded it up through the neck of his t-shirt and stepped around to slip it into place on his collar. She stepped back to check the placement before she smiled at Sirius.

'How does that feel?'

Sirius shifted a bit before he nodded. 'Alright. Anything else?'

Lily shook her head and Sirius grinned before he walked over and settled himself onto the sofa again.

Lily's radio crackled to life on her hip again — 'Zola for Dan.' — and she turned to find James spinning slowly on the spot with his wire dangling loosely in his hands as he struggled to thread it up his shirt.

He caught Lily's eye as he spun and he immediately halted and gave her an embarrassed smile.

She raised an eyebrow at him and felt a small smirk creep onto her lips. 'Do you need help?'

'I —' James shifted again and bent his arm even more. He struggled for a second before he sighed and let the wire fall completely out of the back of his shirt. 'Yes. Can you help me?'

Lily grinned and shook her head at him as she walked over towards him. 'You and Sirius really are alike, aren't you? Are you sure he's adopted?'

'Well, you know,' James said, smiling at her before he turned around so she could see his back. 'Nature, nurture and all that.'

Lily laughed as she threaded the wire up between her hands. When she had the microphone between her fingers she checked the pack to make sure it was completely plugged in and cleared her throat.

'I'm going to reach up under your shirt,' she said, and she hoped to god that she didn't sound the way that she sounded in her own ears. 'That alright?'

James nodded. 'I — yeah. Yeah, that's — go ahead.'

She touched his lower back lightly before she lifted the hem of his t-shirt and started threading the wire carefully underneath his clothes. She was — he was —

She was trying to not to touch him, as much as she could avoid it, but then she started to second guess herself because she hadn't been nearly as careful with Sirius, and James was — he was just —

Honestly, she was just threading a wire she didn't need to be so extra about it, but she didn't want him to think that she was trying to grope him either.

And then she'd been thinking about it so much that she fumbled the microphone in her fingers a few times and then she was sure that he thought she was trying to cop a feel because it hadn't taken her this long to get Sirius' on.

Then again, Sirius wasn't nearly as tall.

She had her right arm wrapped entirely around his front, but she couldn't quite — she stepped forward and pressed up a bit onto her toes so that she could reach up over his shoulder with her free hand and finally catch the microphone from where it was now peaking up out of the top of his shirt. She could just reach, so she pressed up a bit higher and lifted her arm as best she could before she stepped sideways and slid in front of him.

James looked down at her as she reached up and took the collar of his shirt in her hands.

'Thanks.' His voice was quiet and Lily looked up and met his eyes as she finished securing his microphone.

His eyes were hazel. They looked brown from across the room, but close to, she could see the ring of gold in the centre and the flecks of green dotted throughout.

She ran her tongue over her bottom lip and watched as his pupils inked his eyes black.

She took a breath. 'You're welcome.'

She held his gaze for a moment longer before she cleared her throat and stepped back.

'Okay,' she stepped to the side so that she could see Sirius, 'show starts in half an hour. You're the third guest, so it'll be about an hour. You can leave your mics off — we'll switch them on when I come pick you up — but know that if you do turn them on, we can hear everything. So, you know,' she shot Sirius a look, 'be cognisant of that.'

Sirius barked a laugh. 'You know I've learned my lesson there, love.'

Laughter bubbled up out of her chest and she shook her head at him. 'I forgot about that.'

'God,' Sirius shook his head at her and struck a mock-serious expression. 'To have that luxury.'

She couldn't — jesus christ.

She turned and looked up at James and caught him smirking at her again.

'I'll be here about thirty seconds before you're due to go on,' she said, biting back a smile. 'So we're going to have to move quickly when I get back.

'Sirius,' she shot him a look, 'James'll be on set with Jeremy first, so you'll stay here. Just sit on the sofa and Cath, another producer, will be in here with you to help direct you so you know when the camera is on you. You'll come out in the second bit of the segment.

'James,' she tilted her head up and caught his eye again, 'do you know what you're going to say?'

James half shrugged. 'More or less.'

Lily exhaled hard. 'Well, firm that up over the next hour. Don't.' She pointed at Sirius who had already sat up straighter on the sofa.

Sirius crossed his arms and leaned back into the cushion. 'You're no fun.'

'Lies and slander,' she said, parroting Fabian's old standby.

'Oh,' Sirius grinned. 'I like that. Where'd you hear that?'

Lily crossed her arms back at him and raised her eyebrows. 'Oh, I couldn't've come up with that on my own?'

Sirius snorted. 'Red, please.'

Lily sighed. 'My friend, Fabian.'

Sirius grinned and opened his mouth to say something else, but Lily just held her hand up.

'I have to get going. Don't kill each other in here and do not touch anything.'

Sirius groaned theatrically and gave James a long suffering look. 'Doesn't she sound like Mum?'

James caught her eye again and Lily raised her eyebrow at him.

'No,' he ran his tongue slowly over his bottom lip and shook his head. 'Not at all.'

Sirius groaned louder and laid back on the couch. 'You two are disgusting.'

'I —' she pulled her eyes from James' and glanced at Sirius before she turned around and started towards the door. 'Okay, I'll be back.'

She was nearly out the door before she remembered one more thing. 'Oh,' she turned, 'if you want to watch the show, it's that tv,' she pointed at the one in the far corner. 'Just click it on.'

'Does it get any other channels?' Sirius asked.

Lily shook her head. 'No. Stuck with us, I'm afraid.'

Lily just heard Sirius sigh, 'Brilliant,' before she pulled the door closed and started back down the corridor towards the set.

Lily stood nervously around the side of the studio for the entirety of the show. She tried not to pace — Fabian caught her a few times by the elbow to stop her walking round and she eventually managed to catch herself just as she picked up one foot or the other to start wandering again — but the further they got into the show, the more and more nervous she got as James and Sirius' segment approached.

She was sure it was going to be fine — it was probably going to be fine — but still.

James was the one that was due up first and James was the one that was going to have to really sell it for a few minutes and she didn't really even know anything about him (other than the fact that she lowkey wanted to smear things on him because the bits of skin she'd felt under his shirt earlier were way too good to be true). She wasn't sure that he would be able to sell it — let alone sell it as convincingly as she needed him to — and, really, what was his motivation to do this anyway?

Sure, Sirius had "Middlesbrough, 2012" on him, but would "Croydon, 2015" be enough to get Lily to go on telly and do something as ridiculous as James was doing right now? I mean, Lily was always down for a bit of fun, but honestly.

This was telly.

And Jeremy had been doing this long enough that he would be able to spot a poorly told story from the off and Lily honestly had no idea what he would do if he started to think that James wasn't telling the truth. He'd probably just sit down on that little step and start talking to James like he thought James was just fucking delusional and then maybe the show would go off anyway, but really, she couldn't be sure.

And then what if Karl realised it was fake and then he dragged her into his office?

And, oh god, what if she lost this fucking job?

Not that she was particularly keen on it anyway — I mean, honestly, she hadn't studied television because she wanted to work at Jeremy bloody Kyle until the end of time — but still. This job was a stepping stone to the rest of her career — she hoped — and it wouldn't do to lose the first proper job that she'd had in the industry because she was caught lying on set.

She would really never get hired on again after that.

None of the other good work that she did would matter if James couldn't sell this little story of his — this absolutely insane, completely fucked up story that Sirius had to have cooked up in the middle of some drunken fever because honestly who comes up with this sort of thing off the cuff?

Lily thought herself round and round about it for the next hour before, finally, the second guests trooped off stage — some people who needed a lie detector to prove that this woman's cheating boyfriend had stolen her passport so she couldn't go on holiday with her parents (spoiler alert: he had) — and the PAs swept forward to reset the chairs.

Lily caught Fabian's eye before she skipped up onto the stage — he mouthed good luck — and Lily grinned before she started back down the wing to go fetch James. She walked swiftly down the corridor and knocked hard on the door as she opened it.

'Thirty seconds,' she pushed the door open wider and caught James' eye as she pointed out the door. 'Let's go.'

James hopped immediately to his feet and Sirius shouted, 'Good luck,' after them as they ran out.

'You know what you're going to say,' Lily asked over her shoulder as she and James started quickly down the corridor towards the set.

'Mhmm,' James was walking easily beside her and Lily ran her eyes over his long legs before she flicked her eyes up to his.

'Great. Mic on?'

'Uh —'

'Here.' They stopped in the wing, just out of sight of the camera, and Lily twirled her finger in the air. 'If you turn around, I can check.'

James didn't even hesitate. He whirled round and Lily lifted the back of his shirt.

And thank god because the damn thing wasn't on.

She turned the knob so it clicked on and then tugged his shirt down over the pack. 'There,' she patted his lower back and James turned around. 'Good thing we checked. It was off.'

Lily heard, 'Ten seconds,' in her ear and she sucked in a sharp breath.

'Okay,' she smiled up at James, 'you ready? On in five.'

James nodded and opened his mouth like he was going to say something but then his hand twitched up instinctively to touch the microphone and he closed his mouth again. Lily smiled encouragingly at him as the lights went up again and Jeremy started talking into the camera at the head of the stage.

'Next this morning, we're going to meet James who says that his adopted brother recently confessed to being in love with him.'

The audience ooh-ed dramatically and Jeremy paused to indulge them.

'He says that his parents adopted his brother Sirius when they were ten years old. They were incredibly close and got even closer as they grew up. But recently, James said, Sirius' behaviour had started to get a little odd. James says that he's been bringing up his boyfriend more and more in an attempt to make James jealous, Sirius got him a very questionable gift for his last birthday, and then, two weeks ago, James says that Sirius came over to his flat one evening and told James he was in love with him. James isn't sure what to do, so let's unravel this — James is next today, guys.'

The audience broke out into applause and James took a deep breath before he tilted his head up and started walking out on stage.

Lily exhaled hard and leaned up against the wall.

That was one hurdle cleared.

She grabbed her radio off her hip. 'Lily for Cath.'

She held the radio in front of her face and let her eyes go unfocused as the audience settled down. Lily just heard Jeremy ask James about his brother when the radio clicked on.

'Go for Cath.'

'You've eyes on Sirius?'

'Yup. He's set in front of the camera as we speak.'

Lily breathed a sigh, said, 'Copy,' and stuck the radio back onto her hip as she leaned back into the wall.

'So' Jeremy said, 'Sirius has been living with your family since you were ten?'

'That's right. We were in school together and — well, there were — anyway, he moved in with us when we were about eight and then the adoption paperwork came through when we were about ten.'

'And you were close growing up?'

Lily slid over a bit on the wall so she could just see James sitting in the chair beside Jeremy on stage.

'Incredibly close,' James said. 'We've been best friends since nursery and so — I mean, becoming brothers….' James fell quiet for a moment and Lily saw him dip his head a bit.

'He's the best brother I could've asked for.'

God damn. Lily should've known that Sirius wouldn't let her down.

The audience aww-ed and Jeremy cast James a brief sympathetic look before his expression became shrewd.

'So what do you think changed? When do you think he started having romantic feelings for you?'

James half shrugged and shifted in his seat. 'It was just a few things at first. Coming round more than usual, staying over mine — at first I thought he was just falling out with his boyfriend, you know, but then he started talking about his boyfriend all the time, like bragging about him and stuff like he was going to make me jealous or something.'

'And you're sure that he was trying to make you jealous? He wasn't just talking about him because he was excited about the relationship?'

James shook his head. 'There was definitely something different about this.'

'And what was it that was different, exactly?'

'I don't know that I could put my finger on it, really. It was just the tone of it, you know.'

Jeremy nodded and hummed, but there was a slightly sceptical look on his face now. Lily bit her lip nervously.

'So, he's bragging about his boyfriend. Was there anything else that made you think, "Maybe there's more to this relationship for him"?'

'Well, he also started getting really jealous when he found out that I was going out to dinner with this girl I'd been seeing. Like I'd come home from dinner and he'd be sitting on the couch and he'd start asking, like, "where've you been" and "why didn't you tell me you were going out," that sort of thing. And then he got me that chocolate body paint for my birthday in March.'

The audience members started muttering between themselves and Jeremy's brow furrowed. 'Chocolate body paint?'

James nodded. 'He said it was for a laugh, you know, when I asked him about it, but… I mean, he'd written "could be fun to play with together" on the card, so. I mean, that's not something you say for a laugh, you know?'

Jeremy hummed. 'And that wasn't all, was it? Things started happening at work after that?'

James nodded. 'I had a big bouquet of flowers delivered to me at the hospital where I work just the other day, actually. He'd put a card in that said "All my love, Sirius" with love highlighted and bolded. And he'd drawn little hearts round it.'

'We checked with the hospital,' Jeremy said, turning towards the audience, 'and this is true. And I believe you've bought the card?'

James lifted his hips up in the chair and pulled something out of his front pocket. He handed the small white card to Jeremy who looked at it before he held it up for one of the cameras to zoom in on.

Lily couldn't make it out on the monitor, far away as she was, and she made a mental note to ask James to look at it later.

'But so when did he actually tell you he loved you?' Jeremy asked, handing the card back to James. 'Did he use those exact words?'

James nodded as he lifted up and slid the card back into his pocket. 'We'd just gone out to dinner with our parents and we'd come back to mine because Sirius said he thought he'd left one of his trainers at my flat —'

Jeremy frowned. 'And you believed that?'

'Well, I — yeah.' James shrugged. 'He's done it before, so I didn't think anything of it.'

'So what happened when you got back to your flat?'

'He found his trainer in my lounge, actually, so he had actually left it there. I mean, maybe he planted it or something the last time he was over or — I mean he has keys to my flat, so maybe while I was out, I don't know. But then he sat down on the couch and said that he had something really important he wanted to tell me. And I thought that he was just going to tell me something about his boyfriend or work or something, you know, but then I sat down and he took my hand, like this —'

James reached between the chairs and took Jeremy's hand for a moment before he let it go and folded his hands neatly in his lap again. 'And then he said that he was in love with me.'

'And what did you do?'

'I laughed a little, asked if he meant like a brother — you know, try to give him the out or something I guess — but when he said no, that he loved me, I didn't really know what to do. I just sort of sat there in shock and then he eventually left.'

'He just left?'

'Well, it wasn't without a lot of theatrics about how my silence was breaking his heart, but I mean — I didn't want to shout at him, you know — we're brothers. I didn't want to hurt him, but I also don't want him getting the wrong idea.'

'So you've come here today — what have you come here today looking to do? What do you think you're going to achieve?'

Lily grabbed her radio off her hip and called for Cath to send Sirius to the wings while James carried on speaking.

'I really just want to talk to him, you know. Get him to see that he can't really be in love with me. Because I know that it's not, you know, biologically weird or anything, but I just — I mean, we're brothers. And I wanted to come on here today and see if we could find a way to sort all this out.'

'Well, that sounds like a good goal to me, so everyone,' Jeremy jumped up out of his seat and stepped down off the stage, 'let's bring Sirius out here.'

Sirius had just rounded the corner when Jeremy finished speaking. He beamed at Lily as he started up the corridor and mouthed, 'Showtime,' before he turned and stepped out onto the stage.

The applause was polite as Sirius crossed the stage and walked towards the chair Jeremy had recently vacated. He grabbed the empty chair and moved it until the arm was just touching the arm of James' before he sat down. He turned immediately in his seat to look at James and though the look of admiration on Sirius' face was intense, it didn't look completely fabricated.

'So, Sirius.' Jeremy was now sitting on the stair at the edge of the stage and Sirius turned away from James to look at him. 'Is everything that James has told us true? Are you in love with him?'

Sirius nodded fervently. 'Of course it's true. I mean, look at him.' Sirius reached over and patted James' cheek lightly with his hand. 'He's gorgeous.'

The audience mumbled something and Jeremy was quiet for a moment.

'Do you admit that there's something about it, though?' Jeremy was still trying for that non-judgmental tone he adopted through the first half of these kinds of interviews, but it was clear what his opinion was. 'Something that people in your life might find concerning?'

'Well, there's nothing biologically wrong with it,' Sirius said, and Lily hoped to god that the insanity of the story would keep people from realising how similar that was to what James had said a few minutes earlier. 'People only think it's weird because we grew up together. But lots of people that grow up together end up falling in love and no one says that's weird.'

'Well, you're legally brothers, aren't you?' Jeremy said. 'This is a little different than childhood friends.'

'Maybe it is,' Sirius said, 'but that doesn't change the way I feel about him.' Sirius cast James a lovelorn look and just caught Lily's eye where she was standing in the wing. His eyes were positively shining with amusement and Lily had to bite her lip to keep from laughing out loud.

'What exactly do you expect to happen? James has already said that he doesn't feel comfortable pursuing anything with you because of your familial relationship. Are you just hoping he changes his mind?'

'You can't help but hope, can you, when you're in love?'

James started shaking his head and Jeremy caught the movement. 'James, you're shaking your head. Why is that?'

'I —' he sighed heavily and leant forward in his chair, 'it's just never going to happen. I love him, you know, but he's my brother. I want him to understand that it's never going to happen and I need him to be okay with it.'

'How?!' Sirius practically shouted it out as he leant over the arm of his chair towards James. 'How can I be alright with it if it means I don't get to be with you?!'

James started shaking his head dejectedly and Jeremy let it sit for a moment before he shifted on the step. 'So, James, what are you going to do if Sirius can't get over this? Are you going to be able to have a relationship with him?'

'I — I really don't know. I mean, we're brothers and I — I don't want to have to cut him out, but maybe it's best if we aren't —'

James broke off and Jeremy let the silence hang there for a moment before he turned to look at Sirius. 'Do you see what this is doing to your relationship? Is that what you want?'

'So I'm supposed to be punished for having feelings, am I?!' Sirius snapped. 'I didn't try to fall in love, you know, it just happened.'

'Yes, but do you see what's happening?' Jeremy said. 'Look at him.' He pointed at James and Sirius turned to look.

'Does he look happy to you?'

Sirius studied him before he shrugged and looked away. 'I guess not.'

'You guess not? How about absolutely not!'

The audience applauded, and Sirius ducked his head a bit and wiped at his eyes. Jeremy pushed himself to his feet and stepped one foot up onto the stage.

'I'm sure that this is confusing —'

'There's nothing confusing about the way I feel, mate! I don't know what you expect me to do about it.'

'I — and I think James, too — expect you to get over it. You've already got a boyfriend, haven't you? What about him?'

'He's understanding —'

'Oh, is he? I doubt that if we had him here today he would say that he was alright with it. What wants their partner to be in love with someone else?'

'You haven't got him here have you?' Sirius asked, suddenly nervous. 'He — oh god, is he here?'

Jeremy shook his head. 'He's not, but I have to say, you seem a lot less confident that he'd approve of all this now, don't you?'

Sirius didn't say anything. He just looked over at James who ducked his head and slid his shoes back and forth across the hardwood.

'And what do you think your family would say?' Jeremy continued. 'Do you think your mother and father would be keen on this relationship you're trying to start up?'

'Mum loves me —'

'She does,' Jeremy leaned over as Conor, one of the PAs, handed him an envelope. 'Your mother loves you very much, but she knew that you were coming here today and she had a letter she wanted us to read out.'

Sirius blanched and his eyes went wide.

'W-what? She did?'

Jeremy nodded as he slit open the envelope. 'She did.'

He pulled out a sheet of paper and shook it a few times to flatten it out (though, really, it was mostly for emphasis). He looked up at Sirius for a moment before he began reading.

'Sirius, my darling boy — I didn't think anyone began letters like that anymore — I've been speaking with James over these last few weeks and I understand that you'll be going onto the Kyle show to try and sort out some of this confusion that's sprung up between you two (and in case Jeremy is reading this, hi Jeremy),' Jeremy laughed and turned to look down camera two. 'Hello.'

He looked back at the letter in his hands and cleared his throat. 'James told us what you told him and I have to say, Sirius, I'm very concerned. James is your brother! And you've just got that lovely boyfriend. And, honestly, is chocolate body paint really the best way to entice a person anyway? We all know that that stuff just gets everywhere.'

Jeremy wrinkled his brow at looked up at James and Sirius. 'Is she serious?'

James nodded. 'Deadly. She's been saying that since we were kids.'

Jeremy stared at them both for a moment before he decided to carry on without comment. 'Your dad and I love you very much. And whatever's going on, I know that James loves you, too. I hope you two can get this sorted out, because, honestly, Sirius, you two just cannot go on like this. Love always, Mum.'

'Oh god,' Sirius lifted his head, looked up at the ceiling, and began blinking back tears. 'I knew she — but — oh god.' Sirius dropped his head down so low his forehead was practically resting on his knees and he started shaking with what had to be pretend sobs.

James looked up and scanned the audience for a moment, apparently at a loss for what to do, before he slowly picked up his hand and rested it uncertainly between Sirius' shoulder blades.

Sirius gasped a new sob into the microphone on his lapel and James slid out of his chair and wrapped his arms around Sirius' shoulders in an awkward kind of hug.

'Sirius, do you see how many people you have in your life that love you? How many people are willing to stick by you through this?'

Sirius gasped another sob and bubbled out a few incoherent words before he gave up and dropped his head into his lap again.

'Sirius,' James patted him on the back and Sirius turned so that his cheek was resting on his knee. 'I really want to sort this through. I — I mean, if you promise not to send me chocolate bloody body paint and all that other stuff, I'm ready to talk about this. I'm not going to abandon you or anything, I just — we need to talk about this.'

Sirius' face, miraculously, was wet with actual tears when he sat up and wiped his cheeks on his sleeve. 'I —' he heaved a deep, shuddering breath. 'I'm sorry, James. I think I — I just — so much has been changing lately and maybe I just — crossed a few wires or — I don't know.'

James shook his head as he slid back up into his seat. 'It's alright. We'll get it sorted. We'll sort it out and then we'll move on and everything'll be alright.'

Sirius nodded jerkily and Jeremy, watching this unfold, stepped forward and dropped a bracing hand on both their shoulders. 'You think you guys can work this through together off the show? Sit down and have a proper conversation about everything that's gone on?'

They both nodded, Sirius through a hearty sniffle as he wiped at his eyes again with his forearm.

'Good. We will work with you both to make sure that you get the support you need. James and Sirius, ladies and gentlemen, go that way,' Jeremy pointed toward the wing where Lily was waiting and they stood up and started making their way across the stage.

'Well, it seems like we've managed to get this sorted out — nice way to end, I'm out of time for this morning, and don't forget, if you want to be on the show or you need our help, visit the website, the details are on your screen right now. Thank you to all of our guests, thank you to this wonderful audience in the studio, but most of all, a big, big thank you to you for watching at home. I'm out of time, I'll see you very soon, take care, bye-bye for now.'

Lily met James and Sirius offstage and signalled for them to follow her. They walked swiftly back down the corridor and Lily opened the door to their green room and pointed them instead.

'You can go ahead and take your microphones off,' she said. 'Just reach back and turn the knob on the left so the sound is off first.'

James and Sirius struggled with the wires for a few minutes before they handed their mics to her. Lily grinned at them and started wrapping the wires around the packs.

'I cannot thank you both enough for coming down here and doing this.' She stuck the microphones carefully on the side table so they wouldn't unravel.

Sirius waved his hand. 'You know I'd do anything for you, Red. And now, I'm pretty sure the same goes for ol' Jamie, here.'

James breathed a laugh and dipped his head, embarrassed, but when he looked up and met Lily's eyes, there was no denying the truth in Sirius' words.

'You've got to come round soon,' Sirius said, stepping forward and pulling Lily into a quick hug. 'I miss you something awful.'

Lily smiled. 'I miss you, too. I've just been working so much since we've graduated. I've barely had time to breathe let alone do anything else.'

Sirius grinned. 'I know. But now we've just given the Kyle show the best guests ever, so you owe me a night out. I'm tired of our friendship living on Snapchat.'

'We text, too.'

Sirius rolled his eyes. 'You know bloody well what I mean.'

She grinned and pulled him back in for another hug. 'Yeah,' she said. 'Yeah, I know what you mean.'

'I'll come round soon,' she said, holding him at arm's length. 'I promise. I need to meet this boyfriend of yours, anyway. He seems lovely.'

Sirius hummed and the smallest little smile worked its way onto his face. 'He's alright.'

Lily beamed and nudged him with the back of her hand. 'You smitten fool.'

Sirius shook his head and looked down at his shoes, and the look — she had never, not once in all her years of knowing him, seen him like that — just made Lily start laughing.

'You are smitten!'

'Shut up, I'm not,' Sirius said, but the effect was hampered by the slight flush on his cheeks. Lily just grinned back at him, and Sirius shook his head and started walking towards the door.

'Alright, I'm — bye, I'll see you later. Text me. James, I'll meet you in the corridor.'

Lily looked over at James the moment that Sirius pulled the door shut behind him.

'I have never seen him like that,' she said, still smiling. 'Have you ever seen him like that?'

James grinned and shook his head. 'Never. He's been trying to act all cool about it for the past few weeks but, honestly, he could not be failing more spectacularly.'

Lily laughed quietly. 'Excellent.'

James breathed a laugh. 'Right? It's about time he was the lovesick one.'

'Oh,' Lily quirked an eyebrow, 'is that usually you?'

James dipped his head again and she just caught the hint of a smile on his lips. 'I — I mean, Sirius would probably say so, yeah. Though I guess it's been a while.'

'Hmm. Interesting.'

James looked up. 'Is it?'

She nodded and caught her bottom lip between her teeth. 'Pretty interesting.'

James held her gaze for a moment before his eyes left hers and starting moving in slow, smooth lines over her face. They didn't stray far, just along her jaw, down her neck, but still, when his eyes found hers again, there was an unmistakable heat there.

She was suddenly hyperaware of every single place that her t-shirt was touching her skin.

'Anyway,' Lily cleared her throat, 'I do have to get back to work, so I should —' She tilted her head towards the door.

James seemed to recover himself and started nodding quickly. 'Oh, right, right. Of course. Sorry, I — I don't know why I thought you were done for the day.'

Lily laughed. 'God, I wish. I'll be here for a few more hours. I have more people to book in for lie detectors next week.'

'That's actually my favourite bit of this show, if I'm honest. So you must be doing a good job.'

She raised an eyebrow at him. 'When do you ever get to watch Jeremy Kyle?'

James shrugged. 'It's usually on in patient rooms when I'm doing rounds. Last week, I got to watch the results for that guy who dragged his girlfriend in because he thought she was cheating and then it turned out he was cheating! God, that was classic.'

Lily laughed. 'Well, I'm glad that you appreciated that. We really hated that guy, so it was kind of satisfying seeing him get dragged on telly.'

James nodded. 'Oh, I definitely agree. He seemed like an arsehole.'

They stood there quietly for a moment before James cleared his throat. 'Anyway, I'll let you get to it. I'm sure Sirius has totally wandered off by now, anyway, so I should probably go find him.'

'Probably. Especially because you'll never get out of here if he figures out where they film Coronation Street.'

James groaned. 'Oh god, you're right.'

Lily laughed. 'I know I am. The hours I spent watching that with him in uni. It's a wonder I finished my dissertation, honestly.'

James breathed a laugh. 'Funny, I had the exact same experience when we were studying for our A levels. It's almost like he was procrastinating.'

'Sirius?!' Lily touched her hand to her chest in mock surprised and James nodded earnestly.

'I know. I don't want to believe it of him either. He's such an angel.'

Lily snorted and James beamed.

'Anyway,' she said, 'I really am grateful you came down here today and did all this. It's — I mean, it's weird, isn't it, and you really didn't have to.'

'Nonsense,' James shook his head, 'I'm happy to do it. And anyway, it's been awhile since I've gotten to muck about and do something silly.'

'Junior doctors busy, are they?'

James nodded. 'Like you wouldn't believe.'

'Then even more thanks are in order for coming down and doing this on your day off. You didn't even know me and I know that "Middlesbrough, 2012" can't be that damning.'

James laughed. 'Oh, you know that for sure?'

'Call it a sneaking suspicion.'

James smiled. 'Well, I was happy to do it. Sirius has been talking about you for years, and honestly, I got tired of hearing him complain about our schedules and all that. It was about time we met.'

Lily chuckled. 'I hope I lived up to your expectations after all of Sirius' blustering.'

James nodded. 'You're even more amazing than he said.'

Lily flushed and dropped her gaze for a moment. 'You're not so bad yourself, I guess.'

James grinned before he ran a hand through his hair. 'Alright, well — I'll let you get to it. I'm sure I'll see you around?'

Lily nodded. 'Yeah, absolutely.'

James looked at her a moment longer before he cleared his throat, looked down at his shoes, and started across the room.

And she knew she would see him again, probably, knew that Sirius would see to it, but there was something about watching him walk away that sent a spike of anxiety through Lily's gut. She didn't want him walking out of here and then have to leave it to Sirius to put them back in touch — not that she thought he wouldn't — and she didn't want to have to only see James when Sirius was also there — not that she didn't love Sirius and want to spend more time with him, it was just —

She wanted to be able to text him. James. She wanted to talk to him. On her own. She wanted to learn more about him and maybe go get dinner — okay, definitely go get dinner — and she wanted to spend time with him and get to know him and —

He had just reached the door when Lily finally mustered the courage to communicate any of this.

Unfortunately, that meant shouting at him.


James came to a halt and turned hard on his heel.


'Uh,' Lily scuffed the toe of her shoe against the carpet before she took a deep breath and pulled her mobile out of her back pocket. 'Maybe I could get your number? Since we're friends now,' she added hastily.

A slow smile spread across James' face and he nodded slowly before he pulled his own phone out of his pocket and stepped towards her. They unlocked and swapped, and while James immediately began typing in his number, Lily couldn't even find his contact list.

Everything on his goddamn phone was in folders.

'Where's your contacts?' She started clicking into folders and scrolling through the pages, but it was literally nowhere to be seen.

'Second screen,' he said, glancing up at her with a small smile, 'on the second page of the utilities folder.'

Lily swiped to the second page and finally spotted it in the third row. She added her details and locked his phone before they swapped back.

'Why in the hell do you have so many folders?'

James shrugged. 'I like to be organised. I can't stand it when my apps are all over the place.'

'So my phone was your worst nightmare, then.'

James chuckled. 'It was organised. I found your contacts easily enough, didn't I?'

'You didn't scroll onto my other pages, though,' she said. 'That's where the real nightmare begins. It's just an explosion of things on pages two through five.'

James' jaw literally dropped. 'Five?! You have five pages of apps?!'

Lily bit her lip to stop herself grinning. 'They're all very important apps. I need them all.'

James shook his head slowly at her. 'I'm going to leave now and pretend we aren't having this conversation.'

Lily laughed and James turned, took a few steps back towards the door. He glanced at her once more as he opened the door and smiled at her.

'If I never hear from you, I'll assume that you just couldn't find WhatsApp.'

Lily held her fingers up at him, and James laughed as he stepped out into the corridor and pulled the door shut behind him.

She pulled her mobile out of her back pocket the moment James shut the door, clicked into her contacts app, and stared at his name sitting in there amongst the long list of people that she mostly didn't talk to. She clicked into his contact and immediately burst out laughing when she saw that he'd filled out every bit of contact information possible — she had his number, his home address, his email — and she shook her head at him before she locked her mobile, stuck it back into her pocket, and — after she remembered to go back and grab the microphones — walked out of the green room.

The post-production meeting went smoothly that afternoon — Karl was impressed with Lily's guests (so much so that he nearly smiled at her) and the review for the rest of the shoots that week went smoother than they usually did. Lily felt her mobile buzz in her pocket a few times in quick succession in the middle of the meeting, and the phone sat like a weight in her pocket as Karl talked them through the lie detectors they needed to book in for next week and the hotels they needed to reserve for the guests coming from Southport next month.

Southport was only fifty miles away and Lily didn't understand why they needed a hotel, but she figured it was best not to argue.

Karl finally released them at half three and Lily practically took off out of her chair and down the corridor. She heard a set of rapid steps beside her and looked up to see Fabian smiling down at her.

'What're you in a rush for, Lil?'

Lily half shrugged. 'No reason.'

Fabian snorted. 'You bloody liar.'

She ignored him and Fabian pressed on. 'This wouldn't have anything to do with the very fit guest you had earlier today, would it?'

Lily pulled her mobile out of her pocket as they turned into their cube and set it on the desk as she plopped down into her chair.

'I don't know what you're talking about.'

'Mhmm,' Fabian sat down in his chair and opened up his laptop. 'When you're ready to talk about it, you let me know.'

'You'll be first on my list, Fab.' She tapped hard on her space bar and grabbed her mobile while she waited for her computer to start up. The screen lit up as she lifted it and she saw three messages from James in her notifications.

She moved to unlock her screen so quickly she nearly fumbled the damn thing.

James Potter: you might remember this next guest, he was on our show on Thursday because his adopted brother had confessed to being in love with him

James Potter: well, today, he's back because, while he was here, he managed to meet an absolutely amazing producer and he'd really like to know if she'll get dinner with him tomorrow

James Potter: let's unravel this

Lily chuckled quietly to herself and bit her lip in an effort to contain her smile. She saw Fabian look up at her out of the corner of her eye and she was positive that she'd gone a bit red in the face, but she couldn't bother to be embarrassed as she typed out her reply.

Lily Evans: we asked Lily, since you met, have you thought about going to dinner with James, and you said yes, why've you said yes

Lily Evans: because I think he's really lovely and I'd love to get to know him

Lily Evans: well this test says you're telling the truth, so where are you two going to dinner?