Summary: James and Lily have decided to make it official. But between the Order, Gideon Prewett, and the fact that they can't agree on anything; that aisle looks pretty far away...with Jealous!James, Frazzled!Lily, Flirty!Sirius, Traitor!Peter, and that inevitable Marauder-orchestrated bachelor party. There's no need to bring champagne--they've got plenty.
Tripping Down the Aisle
Chapter One: A Proposal
James Potter stared at the door of the coffee shop over his cup, willing it to open, willing her to come in. Of course, this didn't work, as it never did. She was late, that was all there was to it. He'd just have to wait. For another thirty minutes, until she got there, and then they would argue about her lack of punctuality, and they would both go home angry, and the ring would stay in his pocket for another week.
He'd bought the ring two months ago. He'd opened up another account at Gringott's, one she didn't know about, and had saved money for this ring for a little under a year. It is quite hard, James found, to hide an engagement ring from your girlfriend when she lives with you, shares a room with you, works in the same building with you. Thus, he had transfigured it into a Quidditch banner and hung it over their bed.
She hated the banner.
He hoped that this was not a bad omen.
James lifted the cup to his lips but didn't drink. It was August; far too hot for coffee. A coffee shop--in August, no doubt--was a horrible place to ask her to marry him. Stupid. But he had been planning to ask her this morning, as soon as she was dressed for work and was trying to leave the house (she never wanted to leave; he liked making it hard for her). But that hadn't worked out; she had spent thirty minutes longer than usual in the shower, and he had lost his nerve. He had blurted out to her that he wanted to ask her something, but then choked on the words when she pressed him. He'd just said that it could wait, and he'd see her after work. She'd asked him to name a time and a place, and the first place that came to mind was this one.
James was exceptionally good at doing stupid things.
The bell attached to the door clanged suddenly, making him jump as it heralded someone's arrival. He met the green eyes of a flustered, red haired woman in a blue robe. She flashed him an apologetic smile and made her way over to him.
"I'm sorry," she said, leaning down to kiss him in greeting before taking the seat across from him. "Work kept me--but you know that--how was your day?"
She reached for his coffee cup and took a sip, grimaced, and added, "This is cold. How long have you been waiting?"
Lie or tell the truth? If he told the truth, she would feel even more guilty than she already was, and he hated that. If he lied, she'd know he was lying and an argument would ensue as to why he felt he couldn't tell her anything. "It's no big deal," James told her. That was a good answer, good answer: informative, yet evasive.
She sighed and, as she heated the coffee with her wand, said, "I'm sorry. How was your day, at least?"
He shrugged. He'd taken the day off today without telling her, to prepare himself for this, to fine-tune how he was going to segue into it, what he'd say, when to pull out the ring. But now, as she sat in front of him, he could hardly remember his own name, much less the speech he'd planned. "It was okay. Reports, you know."
"Nothing I have to worry about?" She added sugar, looking sternly up at him. She hated his job, hated how he sometimes didn't come home until all hours of the morning, hated how she had to worry for his life. He hated that about it too.
"No," James told her. "Nothing." And this was the truth; as he hadn't even been there today, there was no reason for her to worry for him.
She leaned back in her chair and took a sip of his coffee, surveying him, trying to tell if he was lying or not. She usually could tell just by looking at him; she knew him far too well. He seemed to have passed her inspection, because she set down the coffee and rubbed her temples. "I hate wondering whether or not you're going to come home," she muttered.
Not this conversation again. No, no, no. "Don't wonder, then. Be optimistic."
"Lil, can we talk about this later?"
Lily glanced up at him. He hadn't called her 'Lil' since they were eighteen, when she told him how much she hated it.
"Okay," she said reluctantly. "What do you want to talk about, then?"
James took his coffee back from her and took slow, measured sips. He set it down, and said, "Lily, I love you."
Her brows furrowed in confusion. It wasn't that he never said this, he did, every morning before he left for work. But he rarely--if ever--said it in public. "James, what's wrong?"
"Surely, something's wrong, because you just said you loved me in front of about thirty people, you brought me to a coffee shop in August, and you were acting very odd this morning. What's the matter?"
He was wondering when she'd bring up the coffee shop. "Nothing's the matter."
She leaned back in her chair again, arms folded over her chest, eyes boring into his skeptically. "Okay," she said slowly. "Okay, you're going somewhere with this."
"I would, if you would stop trying to guess what I'm doing and just listen."
"You're not saying anything worth listening to."
"Lily, I'm trying to ask you to marry me, is that worth listening to?"
There was a ringing silence, in which she stared at him, her mouth slightly open. "You're what?" she repeated.
"Asking you to marry me," he said, quite lamely.
The color was draining out of her face. "You--you are?"
"Well, look," James said hurriedly, leaning across the table to try to make the conversation a little more private, as people had started turning around to try to get a glimpse of them when they heard the words 'ask you to marry me',
"We've been together what, three years now?"
"There isn't a time limit on a relationship, James, you don't have to get married after a certain amount of—"
"I know that, but, Lily, I can't imagine myself with anyone but you. I can't go a day without seeing you, I can't go two hours without seeing you, and--and I want to finalize that."
She was looking down at him, her eyes wide with surprise. "We're twenty," she told him flatly.
"That's really young to be getting married."
"Does it matter?"
"My father will kill you."
"He likes me."
"Not enough to let you marry me, I promise."
A smile was twitching at the corners of her mouth. He was breaking her. Show her the ring.
James reached into his pocket and slid the ring box across the table to her. "Look at this."
Her eyes darted from him to the box and back again, and slowly, she took the box and opened it. "This must have cost you a fortune," she said quietly, staring him in the eyes again.
"You don't need to worry about how much it cost; I paid for it, and you deserve it."
She looked back down at the ring and shook her head. "James Potter, you are out of your mind."
"Is that a yes?"
Lily smiled at him. "Of course it is."
A/N: Ok, I know there questions would come up, so I'm just gonna nip that in the bud:
How far will I write to? Just the wedding. For this story.
How many chappies will there be? Expect at least 10. And by 10 I mean 20.
Will there be stalker journals in this? Not exactly…
Oh, and thank Cassie, cause she's the one that posted this, seeing as how I am internet-less. Actually, she is the one that is typing this, so I (As in Ashley) have no control over what is being said as an a/n. All I (as in Ashley) know is that she is reading and typing this while I am talking to her on the phone.