Authors Note: Hey, all… Back with a new one-shot! This is my first attempt at any Lily/James story outside of Hogwarts! Also, there is a sequel to this one-shot coming out soon, which is something I don't normally do, so keep an eye out for it!
The Other Woman
Tuesday, November 3rd, 1979
"Honey, are you sure you're fine?"
Lily patted her husband on the back, leading him to their fireplace. "Just a bit of the flu bug," she said, smiling at him and ruffling his dark hair. She threw in another log into the fireplace, basking in the warmth. "I'll call in sick, today."
"You look like you're trying to get away from me, honey," James said, as Lily nearly shoved a package of Floo Powder into his open hand. He narrowed his eyes playfully at her. "Is there another man showing up soon?"
Lily nodded, attempting to act seductive in her long, purple bathrobe and fuzzy, pink bunny slippers. "You caught me," she giggled, stretching. "The pool boy will be here in five minutes; I've got to change to look my best for him, and you're cutting into that valuable time."
James laughed, losing his solemn attitude. "We don't have a pool," he said, smirking at her. He leaned in close, breathing deeply. Hell, he thought, if I'm lucky, I could catch the flu with her and we'd both spend a "sick" day at home… "The game is up."
Lily smiled seductively, raising an eyebrow calmly. "And how do you know it's not Adette's pool boy?"
"Because," James answered, kissing her forehead and pulling away, "Adette's pool boy is Sirius. And he's taken. In fact," he added, leaning comfortably against the mantle, dropping the charade, "I'm not supposed to tell you until seven forty-five tonight, but Sirius is asking her to move in with him."
Lily dropped her jaw. "You're joking." She jumped up and down, shrieking for joy. "I don't believe it! I never thought Sirius would ever consider settling down at all!" She dropped her arms to her hips, acting disappointed. "There goes my pool boy…"
James laughed and kissed her once again. "Must be off…" he muttered quickly, reaching into the small bag of Floo Powder and pulling out a pinch of, what looked to be, sand.
"Wait," Lily interrupted, pressing a finger into James' chest accusingly as a minor detail dawned on her. "You couldn't tell me about Sirius' plan until seven forty-five because why?"
"He asks at eight," James explained, as if it were obvious. "He didn't want you to tell Adette until he was already about to ask."
Lily had a look of hurt on her face. "I would not have spilled the secret!" she cried, waving her hands dramatically around her head, outraged. The color in her face began flowing back up, washing away her pale skin. "I can keep secrets better than Sirius can!"
"I know that," James answered, taking her hands. He held them calmly down to her side, and motioned for her to take a deep breath. "And that is why I told you, Lily, because I trust you."
The red-head nodded slowly. She frowned. Lily dropped one of James' hands and touched her stomach, squeezing James' hand with her other hand.
"Lily?" he whispered softly, "what is it?"
Lily's eyes widened and she held a finger up to James, running to the nearest bathroom. James chased after her but immediately stopped at the sight of her bent over the toilet, hurling.
Attempting to ignore the horrid stench, James stepped inside the cozy bathroom and held back Lily's hair. "It's alright," he said calmly, relaxing himself more than his wife. I can handle Death Eaters, hideous spells, and dead bodies; what is it with vomit and me?
"Thank you, honey," Lily said softly, flushing the toilet. She grabbed a towel and wiped off her face. "I know how much you hate this…"
"Do you need help?" James looked concerned.
"No, no," Lily answered. She sat on the floor with her back to the wall and closed her eyes. "Everything is just a bit dizzy at the moment. I just need to sit."
"You're too weak," James protested. Without a moment's hesitation, he pulled off his cloak and dropped the bag of Floo Powder. "That's it; I'm staying home with you."
"No," Lily shouted, scaring herself with how loud her voice was at the moment. "You have important work – four Death Eaters were brought in last night."
"The paper work can be finished some other time!" James responded. He tugged Lily to her feet and then picked her up with ease. "You look horrible, Lily."
Lily did not object to any of the statements. She merely dropped her head onto his chest as he brought her upstairs and lulled her gently to sleep.
"Lily, wake up, honey."
Lily rolled over very slowly, shading her eyes from the bright light.
"Lily," the soothing voice spoke again, now closer to Lily than before. Lily heard a shuffling of feet and then a small hand reached out towards her hair.
"What?" Lily groaned with her eyes firmly shut. The hand stroked Lily's hair gently behind her ears in a mother-like manner.
"Wake up, Lily. You need to get some food in your stomach."
Immediately, Lily's eyes shot wide open at the sound of food. But instead of finding a plate filled with food, instead she found herself staring up at her best friend from her years at Hogwarts.
The blonde woman smiled gently down at Lily. "Good morning, sleepyhead." Adette crossed her legs and pointed casually to a large grandfather clock across the room. "It's nearly three in the afternoon."
Lily's eyes widened, surprised. "Why didn't you wake me up for lunch?"
"Sleep is the best remedy for any sickness," Adette said automatically, as if repeating a book. "However," she said, attempting to maintain her business-like manner, "I was bored."
Lily giggled, covering her mouth. "Is this how you treat your other patients, Adette?"
"For your information," Adette explained, standing up, "St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries practically drugs their patients so they sleep constantly…"
"You mean you have no choice but to let them sleep."
Adette nodded, resting her hands on her waist. "Exactly."
"You're a horrible person," Lily muttered, pulling a pillow over her head, shielding herself from the bright rays of the sun pouring through the windows.
"That's what they all say."
Lily felt her pillow being jerked roughly away from her face and groaned again. "So where's my food?" she asked, acting as childlike as possible.
Adette waved her wand and a bowl gently dropped into Lily's lap, filling automatically with chicken soup. Lily immediately dug in. Perfect temperature, she smiled, as the soothing taste of the soup swept down the back of her throat.
"Where's James?" Lily asked between mouthfuls of soup.
"I practically had to shove him out of the door," Adette answered, climbing onto the king-size bed. She sat beside Lily with her legs crossed. "He kept saying 'I need to stay with Lily – I can bring my work home with me!' Ridiculous, boy…"
Lily grinned, feeling her face slightly heat up. "Did he call you over?"
Adette nodded. "James left around ten this morning after I showed up."
"He was supposed to leave for work at eight!" Lily dropped her head back onto the thick mass of pillows behind her and groaned. "I hope his boss doesn't get upset…"
"Are you kidding? Everyone loves James – with the exception of Dark Wizards, of course."
Lily nodded, understanding. "But James was late last week as well," she explained to Adette with a troubled face. "His boss didn't find out that time and, thankfully, he didn't have any meetings that morning. Otherwise, James might have - "
"I wonder," Adette interrupted, "what it was that made him late, Lily." Lily's friend raised an eyebrow and smiled mischievously.
"Adette!" Lily cried, astounded at her friend's thoughts. But Lily smiled slyly. "That's none of your business…"
Adette laughed loudly, grinning.
"Speaking of work," Lily said hastily, leaving their conversation behind, "why aren't you at St. Mungo's?"
"Ah," Adette nodded, waving a hand carelessly. "James called after I had showed up, so I just called one of my co-workers to fill in for me today." Adette lowered her voice, as if she were afraid someone might overhear her. "They think I'm taking care of a patient on their deathbed."
Lily nodded, smirking. "Of course, Adette."
The blonde sighed and smiled. "I've missed talking to you, Lily."
"Me too," Lily agreed. She set down her empty bowl and leaned back against her pillows. "We need to take more time off from work than just weekends."
Adette sat up, excited. "I have Thursday off – and tomorrow I can say I have to take care of you, again. Well – that deathly ill patient I told them about, which happens to really be you…"
Lily grinned, understanding. "So I'll see you the rest of this week?"
Adette nodded. "It's a date."
"Upstairs," Lily shouted to James, pulling her covers up to her chin. She waved a hand at Adette, motioning for her to leave. "You have to be ready for your date with Sirius in twenty minutes," Lily reminded her.
"Right!" Adette swore and jumped off the bed, apparating with a sudden pop back to her home.
"There you are," James said softly, walking swiftly into the room. He set his briefcase down on the bed and walked to Lily's side, kissing her on the cheek quickly. "I've been worried about you all day, you know."
Lily smiled. "I heard you got to work late, again."
James nodded as he approached their closet, attempting to find another outfit. He stripped to his boxers and hastily changed into a pair of pants and t-shirt. "I wasn't missed," he said, grinning towards Lily. "I'm thinking I should begin to arrive late to work every day, now."
"Don't start that awful habit," Lily reprimanded, shaking her finger sternly at him. "You don't know what people see and don't mention!"
James laughed and jumped onto their bed, lying next to her. He dropped his head into her lap, still beaming. "I'll be fine. Plus," he added, "I have an assistant, now." James laughed as if it were a joke.
Lily raised an eyebrow, interested. "Six months at this level and you've already got an assistant? Impressive…"
"Her name is Sadelle – she's amazing. You've got to meet her. Honestly, I wouldn't have been able to finish those reports on the four Death Eaters we caught yesterday without her. She just kept me moving, you know?"
Lily blinked. "She does?"
James nodded. "Motivation," he explained, raising a finger, "that's what it is."
"She motivates you?" Lily cleared her throat and bit her lip.
The room was silent for several minutes before James sat up, elated. "Do you want me to make you something?" he asked, as if it were a once in a lifetime opportunity.
"Yes, thank you," Lily said softly.
James bounced towards the door and peered back inside. "Two sandwiches, coming right up!" He flashed his wife a bright smile, lined with his perfect teeth.
Lily looked away as he left the room.
Wednesday, November 4th, 1979
"You knew and you didn't tell me?" Adette glared down at Lily, and then strode into Lily's kitchen.
"I'm sorry, Adette," Lily said, wrapping herself even tighter in her bathrobe. "I was told not to tell – it was supposed to be a surprise!"
Adette opened a cabinet and pulled out two coffee mugs and two, small packets. "I hate surprises," she grumbled sourly, slamming the door closed.
"Oh, admit it already," Lily smirked, resting her arm on the counter and leaning on it. "You liked it."
There was no response.
"So?" Lily implored. "What happened?"
"I thought you knew, Lily," Adette fired back good-naturedly. She shot hot water out of her wand and into each cup.
Lily opened the two packets of chocolate mix and poured them into the cups. "I don't know the details, I just knew about what Sirius was going to ask you – big difference, Adette."
Adette sighed and picked up her coffee mug, stirring the contents around. She took in a deep breath, inhaling the familiar smell of hot chocolate.
"What happened?" Lily pressed for a second time.
Adette led her into their warm family room and sat on their large sofa. After piling mounds of blankets on her lap and around her shoulders, Adette said, "It was amazing."
"Amazing?" Lily asked. "But what happened – tell me the details!"
"Alright, alright…" Adette took a long drink of her hot chocolate and set the mug down onto the coffee table. She swung her feet onto the couch, staring directly at Lily on the opposite end of the couch. "First," Adette said, her eyes shining, "he took me to La Maison de Chanler."
Lily's jaw dropped. "You're joking."
Adette smirked. "Not in the slightest."
"Sirius Black," Lily repeated slowly, "took you to the finest restaurant in town? Even James and I haven't gone there yet!"
Adette giggled, hiding her face behind a pillow. "Sirius said he had connections."
"Ah…" Lily took a sip of her hot chocolate and savored the warm taste in her mouth.
"So," Adette continued, "we showed up at La Maison de Chanler and we walked right to our seats without a problem. And – you'll love this, Lily – he pulled out my chair."
Lily squealed, feeling like she was back in Hogwarts.
"It was so romantic, Lily; nothing but candles and chandeliers!" Adette's eyes blurred as she remembered the night's events. "Everything is glass or crystal, with the exception of the tables and chairs. I swear," Adette whispered, "I fell in love with him all over again."
"Whoa," Lily muttered. "That beautiful?"
"It really is wonderful," Adette sighed, clasping her hands together in her lap. "At least it was, right up until the point that Sirius knocked over one of their none-melting ice sculptures."
Lily gasped involuntarily. "How on earth did he manage to do that?"
"You should have seen the poor thing," Adette whispered sympathetically. "He was so nervous; he didn't watch where he was going after he pulled out my chair. Next thing we knew, there was ice all over the floor."
Lily couldn't help but laugh. "I'm so sorry," she said. "It must've been horrible for both of you to sit there with everyone staring at you all dinner!"
"Actually," Adette smiled, "with one look at the menu, I told Sirius how much I really appreciated what he went through to get those seats, but I couldn't stand to eat something I couldn't pronounce."
"What happened?" Lily asked, downing the last of the hot chocolate in her mouth.
"You have no idea how relieved he was." Adette imitated Sirius, sighing and letting her shoulders sag. "'Thank god. I don't fit in here at all. Wanna get a burger?'" Adette giggled and leaned back into her spot on the couch once again. "So we left La Maison de Chanler and walked to the nearest fast food spot."
"Ah, the joys of a burger," Lily grinned. "So, you got a burger and went back home?"
"We walked." Adette's eyes grew large with excitement. "The sun was inches from setting, and Sirius said he wanted us to take a walk in the park before it was too dark to see. But then," she said, "this absolutely adorable little girl was sitting on one of those park benches, sobbing! I pulled Sirius over to ask what was wrong with the girl, and she said that she had lost her mother. Can you imagine what must have been going through her mind?"
Lily inhaled and held her breath, eager to find out what happened.
"We sat with the girl for a few minutes. After her mother never showed up, I told Sirius I was going to take the girl to the entrance because her mother might have been waiting there." Adette crossed her legs, smirking. "You could tell Sirius did not like where his planned romantic walk in the park was going. But, luckily enough, I found the girl's mother right where I thought she would be, so I was able to get back to Sirius faster."
"Oh, thank god…" Lily sighed, looking very relieved. "I can't stand the thought of some child wandering the streets at night…"
Adette nodded. "They had been searching for each other for nearly twenty minutes by the time they found each other. I swear, I've never seen a grown woman cry so hard."
Lily stood up, pointing towards the kitchen. "Do you want something to eat?" She waved her arm for Adette to follow her.
Adette picked up the two empty mugs on the coffee table and brought them into the kitchen. "By this time," Adette continued, "the sun is completely gone, and there's no chance of us having a romantic walk in the park, like Sirius had wanted. So, naturally, I'm trying to run back as quickly as I can. But do you remember those brand new high heels I bought with you last weekend?"
Lily remembered the shoes clearly. They had bought them specifically to match the dazzling, red dress that Adette chose to wear last night. "Those red ones – of course I remember them."
"And do you remember the thin heels that you told me I shouldn't get, but I kept ignoring what you said because I thought the shoes looked sexy?"
Lily hid her smile as she pulled out a stashed, paper bag from underneath the kitchen sink. She opened the paper bag and pulled out a handful of chocolate frogs. "What happened?"
"In the dark," Adette sighed, "it's pretty hard to tell whether the ground is level or not. And I happened to step in some crack and the heel of my shoe completely broke off."
"I told you not to get those fancy - "
"Oh, hush," Adette reprimanded, stealing a chocolate frog for herself. "You don't take enough risks."
Lily nearly choked. "I don't take enough risks – I don't take enough risks? Adette!" Lily gestured around the entire house. "I married James Potter!"
Adette rolled her eyes. "Oh, please. I'm dating Sirius Black."
Lily could not argue this statement.
"Continuing with my story…" Adette smirked, knowing that she had won.
"Yes, what happened to this daring girl that broke her stilettos?"
"Let me tell you," Adette said, throwing out the card inside of the chocolate frog, "that daring girl just about started to cry herself."
Lily laughed openly at her friend, muttering, "I told you so…"
"Anyway," Adette cut in, "I finally made it back to Sirius with my shoes in my hand. I said that we should just go back to one of our flats, and he said, 'I have a better idea than that.'"
Lily's eyebrows shot up. "Oh, really…"
"No bad thoughts," Adette laughed. "That's when he said that he wanted us to move in together!"
"Adette," Lily said with a mock hurt face, "what on earth did you think I was thinking about?"
"Oh, forget it…"
Lily laughed. "Either way – you two are moving in now, right?"
Adette nodded very quickly, grinning from ear to ear. "I was actually sort-of hoping Sirius might propose sometime after your wedding, especially with you and James being our best friends and all. I thought the spirit of weddings might somehow affect Sirius."
Lily patted her friend's arms reassuringly. "It's coming, honey," she said. "There is no way he would even consider splitting up with you."
"And how are you supposed to know this?" Adette stole the paper bag from Lily and found a box of Bertie Botts' Beans.
"You should hear Sirius when they have "guys" night over here. All he does is talk about you. I swear, Remus looks like he's about to shove a handful of those Peppermint Humbugs I bought for them at Diagon Alley down his throat."
Adette blushed. She popped a Bertie Botts' Bean into her mouth and cringed. "Horrible," she muttered, spitting it into the garbage. "Why on earth do I keep eating these things?" Adette held the box out to Lily who shook her head.
"None for me," Lily said. "My stomach can't handle those today."
"Are you still not feeling very good?" Adette closed up the box and threw it back inside of the paper bag. "Do you need to lie down?"
Lily smiled. "I love your professional Healing skills, Adette, I really do."
"I can't help that I don't want you to sleep!" Adette defended, shrugging her shoulders. "I usually spend all day waiting for patients to wake up anyway. If you go to sleep, I might as well go back to work and say that my 'friend on their deathbed' is better, now."
"Lucky for you," Lily said, packing away her secret stash of food, "I'm not tired. In fact, I could probably go back to work, if I wanted to."
"Oh, Lily, don't do that!" Adette begged, clasping her hands together. "Just take the rest of the week off, please! Say that you're still sick!"
Lily crossed her arms. "Adette, my job is to create antidote potions for diseases such as these!"
Adette slumped against the refrigerator. "So? Just tell them that you and James planned a spur-of-the-moment vacation this week!" Adette eyed her friend suspiciously. "One of those vacations that newlyweds take when they don't have to leave the bedroom…"
Lily raised an eyebrow, unconvinced.
"Come on, Lily," Adette pleaded, "don't go back to work this week! Please?"
Lily rolled her eyes and swiftly walked toward the fireplace, smirking. She squeezed her small hand into a jar on top of the fireplace and threw it in the fireplace.
"Ministry of Magic: Department of Mysteries," Lily stated clearly.
The fire roared, expanding nearly three times of its original size. Lily stuck her head inside of the flames and looked around the familiar floor. The bright lights from above made Lily cringe, wishing for the dim lighting in her house.
"Excuse me, Danica?" Lily said softly to the woman at a desk.
The woman jumped in her chair and spun to look at the fireplace. She immediately relaxed. "Lily, darling, how are you feeling?"
"Ah – much better, thank you," Lily smiled kindly. "I was just checking in to make sure there wasn't any big break through I seemed to be missing out on while I was stuck at home."
"Honey," Danica said sweetly, sliding her chair closer to the fire, "you work yourself much too hard."
Lily sighed. "You never know what you could miss out on…"
"Are you kidding?" Danica rolled her eyes and drummed her long fingernails on her desk loudly. "You're the only one around here who is able to create any real discovery. The best the rest of these "Potions Experts" can come up with is an antidote to the Pepper Breath spell!"
Lily permitted herself a soft giggle as she remembered the enthusiasm of her coworkers last week when they had discovered this minor potion.
"Do you think they'll be able to do without me for two more days?" Lily asked tentatively. "I'm thinking about using vacation days and taking the rest of the week off. Unless," she abruptly added, "you need me to come back as soon as I can. 'Cause I can do that, too."
"Nonsense, Lily," Danica grinned. "I'm just glad you're finally deciding to use up all of those vacation days you've racked up over the past few years!" She lowered her voice, entering gossip mode. "Is there any special occasion?"
"Well," Lily muttered, "Friday is James' and my one-year anniversary."
"Ooh, say no more, honey!" Danica laughed, leaning back in her chair. "Are you both planning on using up your vacation days for a stay at home together?"
Lily blushed. "No," she protested. "I just – I need a break," Lily explained, smiling. "Would you be able to clear everything off of my calendar and reschedule that meeting with the Minister for next Monday, perhaps?"
"Of course, darling," Danica said, scribbling on the corner of a paper hanging out of a large folder. "You don't have to worry about a thing this week."
"But," Lily said loudly, "if there are any major breakthroughs, you have to contact me immediately."
"Right," Danica muttered inattentively. She finished her note on the paper, and turned back to Lily. "Is that all that you needed, honey?"
"Well," Lily said, "would I be able to, maybe, pick up a few of those papers I haven't finished yet? You know, while they're still fresh on my mind…"
"Absolutely not!" Danica nearly shrieked. "You are officially on vacation, Lily. No more work until Monday."
Lily groaned, and rolled her eyes. "See you on Monday, Danica."
Blinking furiously from the smoke of the fire, Lily pulled her head out of the fire to find Adette standing eagerly behind her.
"Well?" Adette squealed. "Ditching work?"
Adette threw her arms around Lily and began to jump up and down. "Oh, Lily, we're going to have so much fun later this week! Of course," Adette muttered, "tomorrow, I told Sirius that we would move my stuff into his flat…"
"Spectacular," Lily groaned, giving her friend a lazy glare. "You convince me to skip work, and you won't even be here!"
"Lily, we'll be done be noon at the latest," Adette explained. "I promise, I'll meet you here and then we'll go out to have lunch. Just us two," Adette said, grinning with a spark of excitement in her eyes.
With a heavy sigh, Lily dropped back into her spot on the couch, smiling. "Alright," Lily said. "You've convinced me."
"Lily!" James shouted. "Where are you?"
Lily emerged from the kitchen. "You're a little late," she commented casually.
"I'm sorry," James apologized. "I lost track of the time."
"Did anything exciting happen today?" Lily asked, setting two plates and two glasses down at their small, four-sided kitchen table.
"There was a bit of a problem, actually," James said. "Frank Longbottom and I did a bit of work out in the field today." James heaved a long sigh and took off his cloak. He draped it over the kitchen chair and leaned casually against the counter. "We managed to track down where Yaxley seemed to be hiding all this time."
Lily eyed her husband curiously. "Am I to take it that this confrontation with Yaxley didn't go as you had planned?"
"Far from, actually," James muttered, dropping his face into his hands. "We had Yaxley in our grasp, but someone from behind us hit both Frank and I with a nasty Expelliarmus spell, and they got away." James yawned. "Frank hit his head on some dark object, so we thought it best to keep him at St. Mungo's overnight, mainly for observations."
"What a shame," Lily frowned. She lifted her wand and waved it at a large pot on the stove, sending a pile of noodles soaring into a bowl on the kitchen table. "Can you imagine how worried Alice must be?" Lily asked, referring to Frank's wife.
James nodded, agreeing. "After I got back to the office, I started in on the work Frank and I needed to finish. I completely lost track of the time," he said.
Lily carefully poured two glasses of milk, hoping her shaking hands weren't as noticeable to James as they were to her. "What about Sadelle?" Lily forced out, concealing her facial expressions from James.
"Ah, right," James smiled fondly, "my new assistant."
"Yes, her," Lily said hurriedly. "Did she motivate you, again?"
"Of course; she's wonderful at that!" James paused and eyed his wife, smirking. "You're jealous," he accused.
Lily shook her head, avoiding James' eyes. "I am not," she protested.
"You both motivate me," James laughed, walking in Lily's direction. "Are you happy, now?"
"Sure," Lily muttered, tucking her hair behind her ears nervously and setting two forks down on the table.
"Are you going back to work tomorrow?" James asked.
"Yeah," Lily lied, turning red. Why am I lying? she thought to herself. There's nothing wrong with saying I need a few days off work, is there? "Yeah, I am."
James nodded and snuck up behind Lily, wrapping his arms around her waist. "I'm going to have to pass on this meal, Lily," James said in her ear. "I'm exhausted."
"Oh – of course," Lily stuttered, frowning. She waved her wand and sent the food flying into multiple containers. "We'll have it tomorrow night, instead."
"Thanks," James grinned. He ran at the stairs, taking them two at a time.
Instead of packing away the warm food to store for later, Lily picked up the cloak that James had left behind. She held it to her nose and took in the scent.
Earlier, when James had hugged her, Lily had noticed a strong scent of a woman's perfume wafting from the cloak. Now, the smell was stronger and much more noticeable than she had realized. Lily did not need a genius to tell her who the woman was.
It was Sadelle.
With a hurt look, Lily dropped the cloak where she had found it and walked solemnly up to her room.
Thursday, November 5th, 1979
"He dropped the entire dresser on his foot," Adette smirked. "I told him to be careful how he used that levitation charm. I guess it just goes to show," Adette explained, picking up a breadstick from the basket in the middle of their table and waving it around in the air, "you should never mess with another woman's belongings."
Lily agreed, smiling. "It'll land you in an overnight stay in St. Mungo's."
Adette held up her glass of water to Lily and knocked the two glasses together. "Exactly how it should be."
Adette swirled around the contents in her glass and eyed Lily's uneasy expression. "Are you feeling alright?"
Lily quickly shook her head and leaned forward, finally making up her mind. "There's something that I have to tell you," she said hurriedly. Lily knew that if she did not force it out now, she would never have a second chance.
"Excuse me, ladies," a tall man interrupted, stepping up to their table in the sun, "do you wish to order your food quite yet?"
Surprised by the interruption, Lily sat back and nodded, reaching for her menu.
"No," Adette cut in, glaring at the waiter. "We need more time – make it ten minutes more."
"It's fine, really," Lily said softly, shrinking in her seat.
"Absolutely not," Adette protested, shooing the waiter away. "You have bad timing!" she shouted to the man's back.
"Why'd you do that?" Lily asked, grumbling.
Adette looked as if Lily was stupid. "Um – hello? You were obviously about to tell me some big news, and those sorts of things don't always come very easily from you. We can't have a distraction!"
"That's absurd, Adette," Lily reprimanded, crossing her arms stubbornly. "I would have told you afterwards, too!"
Adette ignored Lily and immediately dove into her comfort mode. "What's wrong, Lily?" she asked, setting her glass down and leaning in. "Are you feeling ill, again?"
Lily shook her head.
"What is it?" she asked quietly.
Heaving a heavy sigh, Lily admitted to the burden she had kept quiet for the past few days.
"Adette," Lily confessed in a whisper, "I think James is cheating on me."
Adette dropped her glass. It shattered into thousands of pieces as it hit the floor. She ignored the fact that her leg had, most definitely, been pierced by multiple glass shards.
Lily nodded wordlessly as she felt her heart rip out of her chest all over again. Speaking her fears aloud to Adette had put her situation into an entirely new light. It was now official.
"Miss!" their waiter squealed in a very high pitched voice. He immediately began picking up several large pieces of the shattered glass and sticking them one by one onto his tray. "Are you alright?" he asked the two women.
Adette shook her head. "No, we are not alright, she – we – oh, just give us another few minutes!"
The man looked very puzzled. "But Miss, there is glass!" He pointed to the glass. "I need to clean it."
"No you don't," Adette shouted, gripping the arms on her chair. Her knuckles turned white.
"Two minutes, Miss," the man said quickly, continuing to scoop up the glass.
Irritated with the man's persistence, Adette finally latched onto the waiter's tie and pulled him close. "Look," she hissed, "my friend and I are having a crisis."
The man's eyes widened, but he did not speak.
"We'll leave an exceptionally large tip if you would just leave – us – alone!" Adette shoved the man away from her, ignoring the looks they seemed to be receiving.
The waiter quickly ran from the table.
"Adette, stop," Lily muttered, shielding her face from the stares.
"Lily – this is big," Adette said softly, ignoring her surroundings. "You're accusing you're husband of cheating on you," she said calmly. "And as if that isn't ridiculous enough – you're accusing James Potter of cheating on you!"
Lily blinked furiously as her faced burned. "I know it's stupid," she sniffed, holding the tears back, "but I can't help it!"
Adette took several deep breaths. "Alright – alright. Let's think about this like adults." She spoke slowly. "What are your reasons for thinking that James is cheating on you?"
"He's got this new assistant," Lily said hurriedly, attempting to get all of her words out before she was unable to speak any longer. "Her name's Sadelle."
Adette nodded appropriately.
"He keeps talking about how Sadelle is this wonderful, 'motivational' person or something." Lily sniffed. "James came home from work late last night without eating any dinner whatsoever – which is very unlike him." Lily picked up a napkin and dabbed gently at the corners of her eyes, trying to hide her tears. "And," she sputtered, "his cloak smelled like perfume. Perfume, Adette!"
"Lily," Adette said, trying to calm her best friend down, "it's entirely possible James just worked alongside this Sadelle woman for a long period of time and her smell merely transferred over to his cloak; a very reasonable explanation!"
"I know that," Lily whispered. "But there's just been something about him these past few days…"
Lily sighed and dropped her head into her hands, looking away from Adette's doubtful look.
"Alright, here's what we'll do," Adette announced firmly. "If there is any other suspicious - "
Adette was cut off by a very high-pitched squeak.
"It's him!" Lily gasped, covering her mouth with her hands. Frantically, Lily kept her eyes down, staring deliberately at her silverware. She paled noticeably.
"'Him' who, Lily?" Adette spun around wildly in her chair, searching the outdoor restaurant. With a jolt of surprise, Adette's eyes found a waitress leading a man and a woman back to a small table in the corner.
It was James.
The tall, blonde-haired woman was dressed in a stunning, black dress, much too fancy for the restaurant they were in. James wrapped his arm around her shoulders, looking very sharp in a Muggle business suit.
He was grinning.
"I'm leaving," Lily choked out, keeping herself low in her chair.
"Wait – what about our food?" Adette asked, staring incredulously at James, unable to pull her eyes away. "We still have to pay for our drinks, Lily."
Lily shook her head furiously. Covering her face, she ran toward the exit, unseen by James and the woman.
Adette quickly followed her friend in distress.
"Miss!" their waiter cried behind her. "Miss, your bill!"
"You have horrible timing!" Adette shouted at the waiter. She shoved two Galleons from the bottom of her purse into the waiter's open hand. "Keep the change."
The waiter raised an eyebrow at the two gold coins. "Miss…?" he stammered, watching as her heels disappeared out of their restaurant. "This isn't money…"
Adette ignored the man. Her only job right now was to find Lily.
Breathing heavier than she had been before, Adette stopped in the middle of a large parking lot. The restaurant was far in the distance. She squinted in the bright sun, hoping to find her friend's red hair. "Lily…?" she called out nervously. Where did she go…?
"Adette," Lily sobbed. Adette looked to her right and found Lily kneeling on a patch of grass. "I'm right here."
"Oh, Lily." Adette dropped to Lily's height, wrapping her arms in a soothing manner around her friend. "Lily – I'm so sorry…"
"That was her!" she shrieked, burying her face into Adette's shoulder. Her words grew muffled from her tears, but Adette already knew what they were. "That was Sadelle!"
"Let it all out," Adette whispered, rocking her back and forth gently. "Just get everything out, Lily."
Lily pushed herself away from Adette, making a face. She dropped onto all fours. "I'm going to puke," she said to Adette warningly. Holding her stomach, Lily bent over and threw up what was left of her morning breakfast.
Adette snatched Lily's locks of red hair, holding them behind her head. "We're going to St. Mungo's tomorrow, Lily. I don't care if you're sick because of some flu, or heart sick – you need to leave at the earliest time." Adette glanced at her friend cautiously. "We'll need to arrange an appointment for you tomorrow, alright?
Lily coughed and nodded.
Adette sent a final glare back at the restaurant several blocks away. To think, she and Lily had just been sitting there, enjoying a not-so-bad conversation. But within a matter of seconds, Lily's life had shattered before their eyes.
Hugging her friend close, Adette disapparated.
I've got to do it, Lily swallowed, staring at the clock. I have to talk to him. It's now or never.
Adette had left Lily's house several minutes before James was due back home. That had been over two hours ago.
Lily sat in their large, king-sized bed. She had already changed into her nightgown and had pulled the sheets up to her chin. She stared at the grandfather clock, squinting through the darkness.
She heard a door creak open and realized it was her own bedroom door. Immediately, Lily sat up in her bed.
"James?" Lily whispered. "Is that you?"
"Sorry, Lily," he muttered, lack of sleep evident in his voice. Lily heard him whisper, "Incendio," and the candle on her dresser lit up. The light revealed a dark shadow of stubble on James' chin. "I didn't mean to wake you."
"I was already awake," Lily said quickly, following him as he walked around the room. He began to undress.
"Another late night," he said conversationally.
The room was eerily silent.
"How's Frank?" Lily asked softly, unable to find any courage to ask James what she really needed to ask.
"Oh, he's alright." James shrugged and pulled on a t-shirt. "They're keeping him for one more night, just in case – but he's conscious, at least."
Lily nodded, pulling her legs to her chest. "Did – did you hear about Sirius?" Lily tried again, failing for the second time.
James looked quickly over to his wife. "What happened?" he asked.
"Dropped Adette's dresser on his foot," Lily said. "He's spending the night at St. Mungo's."
"Ah," James nodded. He walked to his side of the bed and climbed inside the covers.
"James," Lily tried, digging her fingernails into her pillow.
"Is there something wrong, Lily?" James asked, frowning. "I'm sort-of tired – I had a long day and all," he explained. "If it could wait until tomorrow, that would really be great."
Lily did not answer.
"Thanks, Lily," James smiled, kissing his wife on the cheek. Yawning, he laid down, facing the opposite direction. "Goodnight."
"Night," Lily muttered, pulling the sheets back up to her chin.
She began to cry.
Friday, November 6th, 1979
Lily changed into a gown that just barely reached her knees. "Tell me why I have to wear these, again," Lily demanded of her friend.
"Rules and regulations," Adette muttered, walking swiftly across the room in her lime green robes and picking up her clipboard. She glanced at Lily above her reading glasses. "You could read the book if you really wanted to, but it's not something I would recommend."
"So?" Adette asked tentatively, pulling her glasses off slowly. "What happened?"
Lily knew exactly what she was talking about.
"I didn't," she breathed. "I couldn't."
Adette nodded like a good friend would. "I'm not going to say to wait any longer, Lily. But," she said, taking Lily's hand reassuringly, "I'll be here for you, no matter what happens."
Lily bit her lip, feeling the next batch of tears threatening to fall.
Interrupting their conversation, someone knocked on the door and two Healers dressed in lime green entered.
"Everything will be alright, Lily," Adette said in a quiet voice.
"She's exactly right," one of the Healers spoke, smiling kindly. "All we'll do is just a few tests – absolutely nothing to worry about."
Lily smiled back, casting a hesitant glance back at her friend. "Alright," she sighed, allowing the Healers to pull her away.
"It's ridiculous!" Lily shouted. She grinned lazily at Adette.
"What's ridiculous?" Adette muttered, frowning at her clipboard. Lily had been given an excessive amount of relaxants. It seemed that Lily did not even care any longer.
"James," she said. "Did you know he left early this morning?"
"No, I didn't," Adette played along.
"James Potter," Lily spat, "has never been early for anything in his life."
Adette raised an eyebrow at her friend. "You could be exaggerating, Lily."
"I'm serious!" Lily shouted. "Our first date," she used as an example, "he showed up twenty minutes late."
"Really?" Adette sighed, acting as if she had never known this.
"I know! And," she added, "today is our one-year anniversary!"
"I didn't know that, Lily." This, in fact, had been a complete lie. Her one-year anniversary was all that Lily had been talking about for the past several weeks; there was no way Adette could have missed it.
"One-year anniversary," Lily sighed, "and he's already cheating on me. You'd think he could wait until our two-year anniversary at the very least!"
"Of course, dear." Adette smiled uneasily at her friend. "You're finished if you want to go back home, Lily," she said.
"I am?" Lily sat up, interested. The cheering charm that the Healers had performed on her was beginning to wear off. "Am I alright?"
"Uh – yeah, Lily, you're fine."
Adette did not look at her.
"Adette," Lily said slowly, "what is it?" She felt her stomach contract uneasily.
"You're fine, Lily." Adette began picking up her belongings, walking towards the door.
"Adette," Lily said again with a stronger voice. "What is it?"
Taking a deep breath, Adette turned back to her friend. She dropped her belongings on the floor and held her hand up to her hair. She sighed.
"Lily, you have a bit of a problem."
"Lily, are you ready to go?" James appeared in front of the fireplace. He pointed his wand at his nice clothes and instantly cleaned the soot off. "We've got a big night planned!" he yelled, looking around the empty room.
"James," Lily sniffed. She walked delicately down the stairs from her bedroom and into the living room, pulling her bathrobe close to her. She stared at her husband with a look of pain in her eyes. "We have to talk."
James dropped his things on the couch and walked to his wife. "What's wrong, Lily?"
"I know," she started, choking on her tears. "I know what you've been doing, James."
James paled. "You know?" He swallowed and stuck his hands in his pocket resignedly. "How did you find out?"
Lily was so taken aback by this response, she felt her knees shake and nearly give out beneath her. To tell the truth, Lily had never really believed James was cheating on her! She had always thought she was being misled and everything was just one giant mistake! But now she saw James for who he really was.
Her eyes narrowed. "How did I find out? It wasn't that hard," she shouted. "First, you tell me about this new assistant of yours. Then you have perfume all over your clothes. And – not to mention – you're longer schedule at work!" She swallowed, finding her anger had escaped much too quickly and was being replaced by the sad mood that had taken over once again. "Yesterday, you were with her at lunch."
James had been nodding at each of the statements, but paused at the last one. "I what?"
"That's right," Lily started up again, her adrenaline pumping. She walked across the room, directly in front of James. "I saw you and Sadelle at lunch yesterday – Adette and I ate out together!"
James' eyes went wide. "Oh my – Lily – you're completely wrong!"
"Oh, I am, am I?" Lily shrieked. She felt cold tears on her heated face. "James – you're cheating on me, and I know it! You already admitted it!"
Lily collapsed on the couch, sobbing.
"Wait – Lily – I didn't," he gasped, amazed at her thoughts. "Just – I'll be right back. Don't move," he commanded, and with a small pop, he had disapparated.
Lily did not listen to James. In fact, she did the complete opposite. Her heart rushing, she stumbled up the stairs to her room.
"Incendio!" Lily shouted through her sobs, lighting every candle in their room. She ran to a large cabinet and flung the doors open. She pulled out a large suitcase from the bottom of the pile and opened it, shoving any articles of clothing she could find into it.
Lily was hysterical. She could not think clearly any longer. The only words Lily could hear resonating in her mind was the phrase, Get out.
"Close!" Lily shouted, pounding desperately on her suitcase. The fact that her wand was sitting in her pocket, untouched, did not register in her mind at all. "Close, damn it!"
Her blood began to slow, and her temperature dropped. Losing control of her emotions, Lily collapsed on her bed, crying her heart out.
It's not fair! she thought to herself. I don't deserve this! The betrayal of the situation began to set in. He was with another woman – he doesn't love me! I was a prize to him after all!
Lily could not take it anymore. Snatching up her suitcase, she ran to the door and threw it open. She had barely taken a single step out the door when she heard James' panicked voice one level below her.
"Lily?" he cried out.
James ran to the bottom of the stairs and looked up.
The moment Lily's eyes locked with his, she dropped her suitcase and ran further down the hallway and into the bathroom, locking herself inside.
"Lily!" James shouted, pounding on the door. "Lily, come on, let me in!"
"No!" Lily backed away from the door, crossing her arms stubbornly.
The house grew silent for several minutes. Then with a hushed, "Alohomora," the door swung open easily.
"Go – away," Lily said, very softly and very dangerously. "I don't want you near me again, James Potter."
James watched her shaking hands and legs as she backed away from him. Her frail figure stood much stronger than James had imagined she could.
"Lily, calm down," James advised, holding one hand out in front of him. "I – I want you to meet Sadelle."
Lily could not believe her ears. He chose now for Lily to meet Sadelle? He picked this moment to introduce the other woman?
"James," Lily stuttered, eyes wide open. "I can't believe you - "
With a final step backwards, Lily hit the rim of the bathtub. Giving a sudden squeak, Lily reached out for the shower curtain and fell in the empty tub, curtain and all.
Quickly, James ran into the room with a large, brown box in his hands. He climbed into the tub with his wife, not finding it awkward whatsoever.
"Lily," he said, opening the lid and putting his hands inside of the box. "This," he swallowed, "is Sadelle."
Lily stared in amazement as James pulled out a small, brown puppy.
"That," she spoke slowly, "is not Sadelle." She felt her breath catch as James threw the empty box out of the tub and watch him cradle the dog in his arms. "Sadelle is your assistant, James!"
James shook his head. "I lied," he said quickly. "I only told you that Sadelle was my assistant because I wanted to know if you liked the name or not! I figured," he explained frantically, "if I told you about Sadelle being one of my co-workers, I would be able to gauge your reaction to the name and whether you liked it or not."
Lily felt her breathing slow dramatically. "So – you don't even have an assistant?"
"No," he answered, staring directly into her eyes.
"But who was that blonde?" Lily asked, finding a shred of hope in James' reasoning. "And the perfume I could smell – who was it if it wasn't an assistant?"
James nodded, understanding Lily's confusion. "Old neighbor," he said. "She started working at the floor above ours and I met her by chance in the elevator a few weeks ago."
"Her name is Reneta," James filled in at the look on Lily's face. "She told me about her dog having puppies and that she was having a hard time finding a buyer, so I jumped on it the first chance I had! That's where I've been these past few nights is her place – with Reneta and her husband," James stressed. "I've been checking in on Sadelle all week; I couldn't wait to bring her home to meet you, Lily!"
James smiled cautiously. "Are you alright?" he asked. "We're fine and everything, now, right?"
Lily felt tears coming to her eyes all over again.
"No, no, Lily!" James said, setting the puppy down on the bottom of the tub between James and Lily. "What's wrong?" James asked. "You believe me, don't you?"
Lily's shoulders shook with her sobs. "I'm a horrible wife, James!" she shouted, batting his hands away. "I can't believe I ever doubted you!"
James could not hide his laugh. He rotated around in the tub so that he was sitting side by side with Lily instead of facing her. He moved Sadelle to the other side of the bathtub with one hand and scooted close to his wife, wrapping a protective arm around her. "Its fine, Lily," he grinned. "We all make mistakes. Mine just happened to be much worse," he muttered, attempting to soothe Lily. "I mean – if I hadn't have made up the whole assistant bit, we wouldn't have even had this problem, would we?"
Lily wiped her eyes off on James' brand new robes. Smiling, she said, "I guess you're right. It's your fault."
The room echoed with laughs.
"Come on," Lily said, excitedly. She slapped her legs for the small puppy to be passed to her. "Let me see little Sadelle!"
James passed the dog to Lily. "Happy Anniversary," he grinned as the puppy yapped in a high-pitched squeak. "I think she likes you, Lily."
Lily giggled as the dog profusely licked her face. "James, I've got to confess," Lily sighed. "I don't think I got you anything nearly as nice." She moved around in the cramped bathtub, leaning up against James comfortably. "All you got was a new pair of shoes and a set of Quidditch supplies for you and Sirius to mess around with."
"Anything's just fine from you, Lily," he grinned. "Well – as long as it's not a book, course."
Lily elbowed James in the stomach playfully and turned back to their new dog. The room decreased to a volume loud enough to hear the puppy panting.
Clearing her throat, Lily looked up at her husband. "James?" she said. "I've got a question."
James looked down at Lily. "What's that?"
"Well, it's Sadelle – does she get that big? I mean, much bigger than she is now?"
James shook his head, shrugging his shoulders slightly. "I don't think so – why?"
Lily took a deep breath and let it all out like a deflating balloon. "No reason," she muttered.
James chuckled and sat up. "You have a reason, Lily Potter. I know you better than you give me credit for. Come on," he laughed. "Spill."
Lily, too, sat up. "Well, I do have just one more question," she smiled, touching her stomach with both hands.
James raised an eyebrow.
"Do you think Sadelle would be good with children?"
Authors Note: Could I make it any fluffier? And for those of you who completely ignored the authors note up top, there IS going to be a sequel to this story! I'll try and post it soon, along with the final chapter of Light…
Thanks a ton!