Dedicated to everyone who was so nice about TSoJP. I Love my reviewers! [kiss]
A Saturday Job
James woke up with a sense of foreboding. Any moment now, the grandfather clock in the corner would begin to make a shrill ringing noise and James would have to get up and shut it off. As a consequence, he would not be able to lie in, he would have leave the warmth of the bed and, most terribly, he would have to disturb his fiancée, Lily, whose torso was settled quite peacefully on his chest, with one hand around his neck and the other tangled in his hair.
Tragic, he thought, truly tragic, as his fingers wove themselves in and out of the red ringlets that coiled down her back. The curtains were shut against the intruding sunlight and James counted the seconds that ticked by on the face of the tall clock in the corner.
Minutes went by and still nothing happened. It was a while before James realised that nothing would happen. It was a Saturday! The weekend! No work, no alarm, and definitely no getting out of bed.
Sleepily, he sighed and closed his eyes, fully intending to return to the land of nod. He dozed for a while, until he felt Lily take a deep breath and begin to wake up. From underneath his eyelids, he watched her shift until her elbows supported her head, which she raised and opened her eyes.
"I love you," he whispered hoarsely. It was always the first thing he said to her every single day. Sod 'Good morning', 'Rise and shine' and 'Did you sleep well?'. When he was sleepy and she presented him with those exquisite green eyes, 'I love you' was just about the limit to what his drowsy mind could process.
"I love you too," she said. "What time is it?"
"Saturday," he replied simply, trying to gather her all up again as she shifted her arm to lean on his chest and peer at the clock.
"Saturday?" she repeated, "Saturday the eighth? Eight o'clock?"
"What about it?" asked James croakily, trying to guide her back down onto the space on his chest, where it was getting cold.
"Oh bugger," she said pitifully, levering herself up, much to the regret of her fiancée, "gotta go to work now."
"Saturday," James whined at her, as he rolled over to see her pyjama bottoms drag along the floor as she pattered into the bathroom.
"I know, I know!" she agreed from the sink sympathetically, "but Sampson wants me in today. Something about piles of parchment work."
"Ah, Sampson the sadist," groaned James, reaching for his glasses. "She shall hereby be known as Sampson the Saturday-sabotaging sadist."
They were speaking of Lily's superior, a woman with a square, pale face and a perpetually red nose.
"Agreed," called Lily, with her mouth full of toothpaste. She got dressed in under a minute and ran downstairs to thump about in the kitchen for a while, returning with a Danish pastry in her mouth and hopping in a bid to do up the laces of her high boots. James held out an arm to her, and she crawled onto the mattress, munching, her wide skirt crumpling under her. She sniffed before she asked,
"What are you planning on doing this Saturday?"
"I was planning on asking you what you wanted to do this Saturday," James replied, "but all my Saturday plans have been thwarted."
"Sorry," she said, flakes of pastry on her lips, dropping onto the sheets. "I must resign today," she told herself, "I must resign, I must resign, I must re-" but she didn't get any further because James had made it his goal to rid her lips of crumbs by kissing her.
"You taste like icing and raisins," he told her, "yum."
She snorted and stuffed the rest of her pastry into his mouth, getting up and walking over to the fireplace. James chewed thoughtfully as she gathered a pinch of floo powder and disappeared into the fire, shouting clearly, "Department of Experimental Charms!"
It was at half past eleven, when the fireplace in the bedroom of Godric's Hollow rose with flames once again, and Lily entered through the grate, dusting herself down and coughing.
She stopped abruptly, when she saw that James was still in bed. He'd put a shirt on at least, and was sitting in the middle of the weekend issue of the Daily Prophet, it's many pages spread over the sheets. He looked up when she stepped over the grate.
"Finished for the day?" he asked hopefully.
"No, I just came to get some things," she said apologetically.
"Have you resigned yet?" he called, as she went into the room next door, rifling about on the desk for various parchments.
"I haven't had a spare moment!" Lily called, "The fireplaces are absolute mayhem! Everyone wants this or that to do with the Quidditch Cup in Paris, and only about one in twenty of us speak French!"
"You're being exploited," James told her frankly as she rushed back in, arms full of files. "Resign the moment you step through that door!"
"I'll try!" Lily called, as she disappeared in a wall of flames.
Three hours later, around lunchtime, Lily once again flooed home, but she was not stopping for lunch, she was only picking up some things . . . or at least that had been the plan.
"James!" she exclaimed, spotted him, "Have you moved at all since three hours ago?"
"Only to turn the pages," he said, abandoning the sports supplement of the Daily Prophet, "but other than that, nope . . . not a sausage."
She breathed a single laugh in amazement as he grinned.
"You're back now for good, right?" he asked.
"No, I just came back to . . ." Lily began.
"Have you resigned?" he interrupted her.
"Well I haven't had a . . ." she started, but James had jumped off the bed (a sight in itself) and strode across the room towards her in his t-shirt and pyjama trousers.
"James!" she feigned surprise, "you're out of bed!"
"Damn right," James said, in a tone that meant business. "You are coming with me." He bent over and put his shoulder to her stomach.
"What?" asked Lily, as he roped his arms around her knees, "wait a minute, what are you-? Aah!" Next second, her head was where her stomach should have been and her feet were where her head should have been. James had picked her up and carried her over his shoulder away from the fireplace.
"James! Put me down this instant! I need to go back to work!"
"Fat chance," countered James, his voice determined, "you are staying here to get changed into your favourite dress, and we are going out to Diagon Alley for lunch."
She pounded helplessly on his back.
"James!" she whined as he struggled to turn the door knob to the closet. "I said I'd be back in two minutes!"
When the fireplace gave a 'whoosh' of flames again, James turned around a Lily twisted around on his shoulder to see who it was. Horror of horrors, there in the grate was a head with a square face and a red nose, that of Lily's boss.
"Evans!" the woman shouted, making both James and Lily jump. "Evans! Where are you? We need that file! Get your skinny arse back here, NOW!"
James frowned, narrowing an eye. Lily cringed, as her fiancée hitched her further up his shoulder and walked back over to the fireplace. As Lily watch in horror, James planted his feet in from of the grate, looked Sampson straight in the eye and said, matter-of-factly,
"Miss Evans has decided not to come in this afternoon."
"Who the devil are you, Sir?" Lily's superior demanded furiously.
"Her manager," James informed the woman haughtily, "and from this credible position I feel her talents are being wasted in your department. As of now, she does not work for you. She resigns."
With that, he took one hand off Lily's knees, removed the flowers from the vase on the mantelpiece, and dumped the remaining water onto the fireplace, soaking the woman's face in water and extinguishing the flames that transported her from the Department of Experimental Charms. The wet fireplace wouldn't allow anyone through for a few hours.
"James! Let me down! Come on!" Lily demanded.
"No!" James flatly refused, carrying her back towards the closet. On the way, Lily managed to get a hold of one of the bedposts, and took James by surprise as he tried to walk forward and was pulled back with a jerk and a faint, strangled noise. They tipped over straight onto the mattress, in a mess of glasses, arms, red hair and skirt.
After struggling to find themselves, the two of them sat up on the bed. Lily sighed.
"Did I go too far?" asked James after a moment. "Did I upset you?"
"No," Lily shook her head, "I wanted to quit, but after an exit like that, it'll be a miracle if I'm ever going to be able to get another job." James blew a raspberry, discarding the notion.
"Yes you will," he said dismissively, "because you are brilliant." Lily smiled.
"Thank you," she said, tipping back and lying on the mattress.
"She really is awful, isn't she?" James wrinkled his nose.
"Urg, don't talk about her," Lily told him, pulling the blankets over her head melodramatically, "with any luck I'll never have to see her again, ever."
"Hear hear," agreed James. "Are you hungry?"
Hand in hand they walked down Diagon Alley, trying to choose a place to sit down and eat.
"What about that place?" asked Lily, pointing to a small café in the direction of Dervish and Bangs.
"Too crowded," James shook his head.
"What about that one?" Lily suggested.
"Too close to that awful smell from the Menagerie," James said.
"You are so picky, James," Lily laughed at him.
"Well, ever since I got myself the best fiancée in world, I've had high expectations," he said, as if it were all her fault.
Finally, they sat down at a glass table outside a restaurant called 'The Rainbow', where the parasols above their heads changed colour subtly to paint the sunlight whatever shade they felt like.
"You're paying, I'm unemployed," Lily told him, as a waitress with blue teeth and hair handed them a menu each.
"Fair enough," grinned James, "or I could give you a job." Lily snorted.
"Doing what?" she asked.
"Spending Saturday with me," James said, looking over the top of both the menu and his glasses at her.
"Hmmm," Lily said, looking as though she was thinking about the offer, when really, she was wondering if she would be able to taste the crab at all with the six tablespoons of squid-ink vinegar that was in the recipe.
"I pay in kisses," James told her, and her eyes caught his under the red-tinged parasol. She smiled.
Had Chemistry and Religious Studies exams today. I hate moles and balanced equations because they have cost me about half the marks on the paper, and in RS, it seemed I only had 45 minutes to write down everything about Judaism . . . ever.
My hand is having random spasms of crampage. It's quite worrying.