A/N: YESS. I know, I am horrible-- over five months without an update! hangs head in shame so here is the first part of the long awaited wedding chapter. J
Dedicated to Evan for being there to pull my heel out of the ground, and to
Dan Radcliffe, for making me go unexpectedly weak in the knees this past July at the LA premiere…
Chapter 16: You Are Cordially Invited…
Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Harold Evans
Cordially invite you to celebrate
the wedding of their daughter
Petunia Anne Evans
Vernon Eugene Dursley III
On Saturday afternoon
August 3, 1977
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church
Three Oakdale Avenue
If Lily had thought things couldn't get even the least bit more hectic, she was sorely mistaken, for nothing prepared her for the actual wedding day. In general, Lily was not exactly a morning person, though she prided herself in being able to wake up when need be at a decently early hour. Even so, being rudely awoken at five thirty in the morning by her cow of a sister was not Lily's cup of tea and she was in a word, irritable. Awoken at five thirty in the morning, been made to take a cold shower because dear, sweet Petunia had used up all the hot water, and worst of all? Deprived of her usual breakfast-- that was a big mistake as anyone who knew her, knew Lily was liable to eat a person alive if they deprived her of food when she was hungry.
Somewhere between the freezing shower, and the early alarm clock, Barbara Dursley had snappishly commanded her to go and find a box of bobby pins, having been tipped off by Petunia that Lily had been the one to have them last-- utterly ridiculous, Lily thought, as she never cared much about her hair to do anything with it that would require bobby pins in the first place.
At least, Lily thought as she shuffled through the contents of the drawers on her vanity, searching for misplaced hair accessories means five minutes without HER yelling in my ear…
James hadn't been lying when he told Sirius he never took the fact that his bedroom window faced directly into Lily's as an excuse to spy on her. In fact, looking through his window would have never crossed his mind if it weren't for the fact that Lily had been slamming drawer after drawer loudly enough so the sound echoed into James' room. James smiled lightly, leaning on the window frame as he watched Lily rummage through her things. She was awfully adorable when she was frustrated, and it really wasn't spying if he wasn't viewing something he shouldn't be…or, if he made himself known, right?
"Lost something, have you?"
His voice carried over easily, and Lily looked up, her eyes meeting his, as she clutched her chest and let out a short breath.
"James!" Lily breathed.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you." He grinned.
"You didn't," Lily said, walking over to the window and pulling out her desk chair so she could sit at its sill. "Just startled me a bit, is all."
"So what's going on in the Evans' household this morning?" James asked, getting into a more comfortable position.
"It's an absolute madhouse over here," Lily said, laughing slightly. "And I'm about to go have about ten pounds of hair products layered onto my head."
"Sounds like fun." James said dryly.
"Yeah, by the time you see me this afternoon, two galleons says my hair will be able to deflect most major jinxes and curses just as well as any Shielding Charm ever could."
James laughed, "Well, I'm sure you'll look lovely all the same-- heck, you already look amazing-- Your dress looks great by the way."
Lily looked down briefly, having forgotten what she was wearing and resisted the urge to both blush at the fact that she'd not remembered to put on a robe, as well as the urge to laugh at James' clueless-ness regarding women's apparel.
"This is a slip, James."
"A Slip? Oh! Is that the name of the designer or something?" James asked, trying to sound knowledgeable.
"No, James" Lily said, her voice laved with a smile. "A slip is…well, what one usually wears under a dress-- actually, in the olden days, one would usually refer to it as underwear."
"WHAT?!" James exclaimed, slipping from where he had been leaning on the windowsill.
Lily laughed-- oh how she loved making James feel uncomfortable. Underwear had obviously been the key word, and she heard a distinctively loud THUNK! as he fell to the floor.
James picked himself up quickly, wearing a blush that would have given one of Lily's a run for her money.
"Thanks for sharing Lily." James said blandly.
Lily laughed, noticing James' attempt at looking anywhere other than back at her.
"I feel like such a peeping Tom, now-- Sirius was right, nothing good can come from you and I having adjacent windows…."
Lily laughed again. Leave it to Sirius to think of the worst possible scenario regarding adjacent windows-- as if Lily would ever strip down in front of an open window in the first place. At least, now she knew James respected her enough not to sneak a peek at her…
"Oh come on, James, don't be silly!"
"I'm still trying to figure out why you're so calm about this-- shouldn't you be embarrassed right about now?" James said. He had now covered his eyes with his right hand.
"Well, it's not like you saw anything-- this thing is hardly see through and it looks more like a dress than anything else-- you said so yourself." Lily said reasonably. "Now stop being silly and take your hand off of your eyes."
"No-- I'm being a gentleman!"
"You're being stupid."
"You do realize you're basically giving me permission to look at you in your underwear." James said, his eyes still covered.
"Am not!" Lily countered. "If I wanted to do that then I'd take this stupid slip off! --"
"Oh, please don't do that!" James said, waving one hand in the air. "Who knows who else can see you from their windows."
"I'll pretend you didn't just say that as I'd not like to think of my neighbors as perverts…but back to the issue at hand-- open your eyes, James."
And so he did. James cautiously opened one eye and then the other until he could clearly see Lily filling the frame that was her window, arms crossed over her chest and grinning playfully.
"You'd make a fair red head, you know," Lily said slowly. "I mean you've already got the blush down."
James pouted and his cheeks burned brighter, Lily swearing she heard him mutter something that almost sounded like 'Only when you're around, Evans…' before clearing his throat.
"Be nice, Lily or I won't give you what I've got, here." James said waggling his finger at her.
"And what exactly do you have?" Lily asked curiously.
James held out a little box, jangling it slightly.
"James Potter, I hope you didn't go out and buy me a present for no apparent reason."
"Not exactly," James said. "But what would it matter if I did?"
"Well, it's not exactly an occasion for presents is it? Besides, at weddings, isn't it customary to bring a present to the bride and groom and not the Maid of Honour?"
"Cute, Lily, very cute. But don't worry, my parents already got Petunia and Vernon something." James said.
Lily's face softened and her expression became serious, "James, you really shouldn't have---whatever's in this box, I just can't accept it…"
"Ah, see, I thought I'd hit this little snag." James smiled knowingly. "It was quite funny really, I could almost hear your voice in my head telling me I shouldn't be giving you presents unless it was a special occasion-- a birthday, or Christmas, or something along those lines…So, if it's alright with you, I'm not exactly giving this to you-- it's more of a loan really, something for you to borrow."
Lily laughed at his reasoning-- how he had managed to find a loophole in gift giving was beyond her.
James pulled out his wand and expertly levitated the box out of his window and over to hers.
Lily watched as the box landed lightly on her windowsill before looking back at James.
"Go on," James urged with a smile. "Open it."
Lily sighed before removing the golden ribbon. She opened the deep, wine coloured box; a single, small, cream coloured pearl, hanging by a vintage, sparkling clasp that Lily was almost certain was encrusted with what seemed like a hundred minuscule diamonds sat amidst the velvet folds. Lily Lifted the pendant from the box by it's dainty silver chain-- it was by far the most beautiful and elegant piece of jewelry Lily had ever seen in her life and she'd bet anything it was probably as expensive as it was exquisite.
"Oh, James…it's beautiful." Lily whispered, unable to help herself.
"It was my great-grandmum's-- I found it in the attic just before we moved here. I thought, well, It's just sitting in my sock drawer and it'd look much prettier on you than in there and besides, you're supposed to wear 'something borrowed' and 'something old' to weddings-- this way, I figured I could help you kill two birds with one stone."
"Something borrowed…? Now where would you come up with a silly idea like--" Lily's eyes lit in realization, "OH! You mean that wedding rhyme? 'something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue'?"
"Of course," James said. "What did you think I was referring to?"
"Oh, James…" Lily chuckled. "We, um…that saying, well it only applies to the bride not the entire wedding party."
"Damn." James said, managing a grin though, most likely slightly disappointed that he had gotten the saying wrong. "I'm going to kill Sirius-- I knew I should have checked with Remus beforehand…"
"Don't worry about it," Lily smiled. "I'm, ah, sure anyone could have made the same mistake…"
"Oh, stop trying to make me feel better." James said, waving a hand in dismissal.
James watched as Lily packed the necklace with care back into its box.
"Can I ask you something, Lily?"
"Of course." She found herself biting her lip at James' rather serious sounding tone. It was one of his traits that she had always found admirable; his ability to go from joking about to being gravely serious at the drop of a hat in a manner that demanded everyone's full attention.
"Could you….I mean, I know there's not really a reason for you to anymore, but," James paused, his eyes gently holding hers. "would you wear it anyway?-- the necklace, that is…?"
"I--" Lily paused, her original answer of rejecting the idea catching in her throat.
"It's just on loan, right?" Lily asked, wearily. "And you promise to let me give it back to you at the end of the night?"
"At the end of the night-- of course!" James responded quickly, nodding for emphasis.
Why this was so important to him, Lily did not know, but she found that a tiny bit of her deep down inside felt warm and fuzzy knowing that she had managed to make him happy by arguably doing nothing at all.
"Well in that case, I guess I should say thank you." Lily said, fidgeting with the box in her hands.
"I guess you should…" James trailed off with a smile.
The moment of silence was interrupted by a rather loud voice calling Lily from somewhere in her house.
"I guess you'd better go, huh?"
"Yeah-- duty calls, but I'll see you in a couple hours at the service."
"Alright, see you later then." James said, watching Lily back out toward the door of her room.
"Thanks for loaning this to me, James." Lily said, softly, holding up the small box in her hand. "I love it, really-- it's beautiful."
"You're welcome, Lily." James smiled. "See you later."
Lily shut her bedroom door, walking slowly down the hall, prying the velvet box open as she did. The pearl necklace lay in the black velvet fabric looking just as breathtaking as the first time she saw it. She smiled slightly, lifting the necklace carefully out of the box, stopping in front of the hall mirror at the foot of the staircase to unhook the clasp and carefully place the necklace around her neck.
She touched the pendant lightly, and smiled wondering if this particular smile had more to do with the fact that it had been James who had loaned her the necklace in the first place.
"LILY!!! HURRY UP! WE HAVEN'T GOT ALL DAY!" came the screaming voice of her sister from down the stairs.
"COMING!!" Lily called down.
She took the stairs two at a time, bounding around the corner and stopping just shy of smacking straight into Aunt Rose.
"Oh! Sorry, Aunt Rose!" Lily winced. "Wasn't watching where I was going."
"That's alright, Button, I was actually coming to find you, because I believe you were looking for these?" Aunt rose pulled a small box from her front pocket.
"The bobby pins," Lily said, looking relieved. "Where'd you find them? I've been looking everywhere!"
"Your mom had them in her room--"
"LILY MARIE EVANNNSSS!!!"
Lily winced at the sound of her name.
"Better go before Petunia spontaneously combusts," Lily smiled weakly, plucking the box of pins from her Aunt's outstretched hand. "then again…that may not be such a bad thing…"
"Lily Evans!" Aunt Rose exclaimed in a mock outraged voice, wiping the wistful look right off Lily's face.
"Only joking, Aunt Rose!" Lily grinned, sprinting the rest of the way to her father's study.
She yanked open the door only to come face to face with her sister's livid face.
"Here." Lily said, tossing the box of bobby pins at her.
"See? I told you, you had them last-- liar." Petunia accused.
Lily simply rolled her eyes in response, she had, after all promised her dad she wouldn't rile up her sister too much, and instead looked around the room for a familiar face.
She spotted Maggie instantly with her vibrant bright red hair in the corner and Lily picked her way through the throng of gaggling women, ignoring some of the frigid looks thrown her way.
"Hey, nice necklace." Maggie shivered.
"Thanks." Lily said quickly. " I take it the dresses haven't arrived yet?"
Due to Maggie's almost identical to hers attire, Lily could almost guess the answer to her own question.
"B-better not s-say that too loud," Maggie warned, her teeth chattering ever so often. "P-petunia goes into
f-fits of hysterics every time she thinks a-about it-- B-Barbara's j-just gotten her to c-calm down."
Lily huffed, blowing a loose strand of hair out of her eyes. Petunia would be one to believe the fact that none of the dresses had arrived yet was all a huge plot to ruin her big day.
"Maggie, you're shivering." Lily pointed out, obviously.
"That's because we're practically standing in a igloo-- it's freezing in here, Lily!" Maggie shivered.
"Dad's study has always been the coldest room in the house," Lily mused. "funny, though. I thought you'd be used to the cold. It doesn't exactly get too warm in your neck of the woods."
"Yes, but you forget, my darling cousin that I'm on vacation. -- I fully intended on leaving the fog behind in the city where it belongs, not take it with me."
Lily laughed. "Fair enough."
Maggie's teeth continued chattering through the brief pause.
"Okay, seriously!" Maggie exclaimed abruptly. "If the dress lady doesn't come soon, I'M going to strangle her!"
"I thought you didn't like the idea of having to flounce around in a dress all day."
"I don't," Maggie said. "but any bit of clothing I can drape myself in right about now would make me a very happy camper."
Lily frowned, taking pity on her cousin. "Here, we'll turn the fireplace on."
Maggie's eyes lit up with joy at the thought of warmth,
"Have I told you lately, that I love you?" Maggie sang, graciously as she followed Lily.
"Yes," Lily confirmed, grinning. "This morning, in fact, I believe, and yesterday as well, but it's always nice to be reminded."
"So," Maggie said conversationally, "Are you going to use you know what?"
"Actually, I was just going to do it the old fashioned way."
Maggie looked slightly confused as if trying to figure out what she meant.
"Observe and learn, my darling pupil." Lily said patting her on the head.
She produced a packet of matches from behind an ornate clock on the mantle and made a show lighting the match slowly, before finally lighting a fire.
Maggie laughed good naturedly as Lily ordered her to sit near the fireplace so she could warm up.
"Really, Maggie, you've been around people who can do 'you know what' for a couple of days and already you've forgotten how to turn on a fireplace?"
Maggie's response was to laugh once more, noting that Lily wasn't really scolding her.
"Oh, right, I was going to ask you…" Lily started.
"Yes…?" Maggie prompted, in a much better mood now that she was warm and toasty.
"Why's Petunia got us all packed in here if the dresses haven't even come yet?"
"We're waiting for our turn with the hair dresser, or should I say, hair dresser-S."
"There's more than one?"
Maggie nodded. "They're calling us in three at a time to the torture chamber."
"And where exactly is this torture chamber they've set up?"
"In the guest room across the hall-- don't worry though," Maggie, said, reading Lily's facial features. "They didn't kick my mom out-- both our mothers, intelligently made themselves scarce right after the primping started…lucky ducks-- your mom made appointments with her hairdresser in town instead." Maggie added this last bit in resentfully because she obviously hadn't been given the option of ducking out.
"Traitors." Lily mumbled. "But that explains why Aunt Rose looked as though she was on her way out the door just now."
The door to her father's study gave a shudder and them forcefully opened, revealing Wedding Planner Number Six framed by the doorway, wearing a smart black power suit and holding a clipboard in her hand.
"Ahem," She cleared her throat and the room went silent. "L-Lily? Lily Evans? Is Lily Evans here?"
Lily stilled, not moving from her spot on the rug. "I thought you said they were calling us in three at a time!" Lily whispered when no more names were called.
"They were…" Maggie said. "Dunno what that's about but you better go."
"Lily Evans?" The wedding planner called her name once more.
Lily grimaced down at Maggie, "Wish me luck-- no, I take that back! Pray for me instead!"
She stood, and once again picked her way to the front of the room, taking care not to tread on too many toes.
"Oh good, you're here!" Number Six said, looking relieved. "Come along, then!"
Lily followed her down the hall and into the rather spacious room, noticing immediately that the bed had been removed, either on Petunia's or Barbara's orders, and four 'stations' had been set up in the small space-- it was as if Petunia had managed to bring the beauty parlor to her.
"Is this the hopeless case, then?" Asked a crisp voice, which Lily realized belonged to a rather modern- groomed woman standing next to her sister.
"Yes, that's her-- Maid of Honour." Barbara Dursley said in her rather monotone voice.
"Well, do with her what you can-- I know you can't work miracles," Petunia sheered as she walked to the door. "But at least try and make her look presentable, I won't have her mucking up my wedding any more than she already has.
"I'm off, now," Petunia said, reaching for the doorknob, "I've got Helen waiting upstairs in my room-- ACK!!"
"What?! What is it?" Barbara asked, in response to Petunia's shrill of a cry.
"The doorknob! I just touched it, -- and-- and…" Petunia exclaimed.
"Nonsense, Petunia, dear-- nothing but static electricity is all it must have been!" Barbara said flippantly, opening the door herself to show that there was nothing out of the ordinary about the doorknob."
Even so, as Petunia begrudgingly left, she shot an accusing look at Lily from over her shoulder, to which Lily simply shrugged innocently having not at least CONCIOUSLY done anything to the doorknob as to give her sister a shock.
The door slammed shut and Lily stared at it for a while until the same crisp voice from before interrupted her thoughts.
"So, you're the supposed hopeless cause, are you?"
Lily turned slowly to face the woman once more, fully prepared to be just as frigid as she would undeniably be, especially since Petunia hired her. She was met, however, not by the pointed, snooty look she was expecting, but by a rather knowing smile that, if anything, could only be described as friendly.
Lily was quite taken aback and could not think of how to respond,
"Quite obviously, your sister was exaggerating…excessively. Does she do that often?"
Lily could still not bring herself to respond, but if she thought that was strange, the hairdresser never let on.
"Alright, ladies. This is quite obviously not going to take the four of us," the woman said to the other three women in the room, ready with combs and brushes in hand. "Tina, go over and tell Meredith to send in three more girls and for Pete's sake be discrete! I don't fancy being told off again by Barbara for not following orders!"
The girl named Tina did as she was told and it was then, that Lily found her voice.
"You mean Petunia actually intended all four of you to work on my hair at once?!" Lily asked, outraged.
"So you DO speak, then?"
"That, is utterly ridiculous on so many levels," Lily went on. "I mean, I know I'm in no respects the next Miss Universe, but I never thought I was-- I was…well…"
"You're not, love. You're quite pretty, actually-- lovely hair." the woman said, stroking her head as if to get a feel of her hair texture while she directed her over to a stool. "So why don't you just take a seat, and relax. You're in excellent hands if I do say so myself-- I'm Ellie, by the way."
Ellie smiled at her through the mirror and Lily smiled back.
"Well, it's lovely to meet you, Miss Lily. Now," Ellie took a brush to her hair, damping it slightly with a little spray bottle hanging on her belt. "I'm thinking…something elegant-- classy, but not over extravagant. Quite honestly, I'd love to just curl your hair slightly and leave it down, but they've insisted all the bridesmaids are to have their hair up in some form or another…what color is your dress, dear?"
"Oh!" Lily pulled out a small swatch of material from her pocket. "This is the colour-- spare bit of material from the dress."
"Lovely!" Ellie said, fingering the material and bringing it closer to examine it. "You know, I brought some rhinestones that are a bit darker than this, but if we can get them to stick, I'll be they'll go beautifully with your hair…what do you think?"
"Honestly, I don't know much about hair design, but I'm sure you know what you're doing, so if you think it'll look good…" Lily said, looking at Ellie through the mirror. "-- but, nothing too extravagant, yeah?"
"No worries, Lily." Ellie laughed good-naturedly, perhaps at Lily's obvious hesitancy. "Actually, I think I've got just the thing…"
All of a sudden, Lily felt the salon chair she was sitting in spin around once, twice, and on the third spin, she sat with her back facing the mirror.
Within seconds Ellie was attacking her hair and Lily soon discovered that she worked with practiced precision and speed, and after Lily subconsciously relaxed, perhaps after noticing that not once did Ellie accidentally pull or prod, she realized that the whole process of having someone groom your hair and apply make-up to your face was almost relaxing. She was pondering this when all of a sudden, Ellie's voice cut through her thoughts.
"All done!" Ellie proclaimed smugly. "would you like to see?"
Not waiting for a response, Ellie turned Lily's chair so she was once again facing the mirror and Lily, not believing what she saw in the mirror before her, stood from her chair to take a closer look. She touched her face softly, her eyes trailing from the elegant French Pleat atop her head to her now slightly rouged lips. She looked like the old sepia portrait of her great grandmother at eighteen years old in the silver frame above the fireplace-- older, elegant, and personifying a classic beauty that Lily had always wanted but never thought she could achieve herself.
"What'd I tell you?" Ellie said, once again interrupting her internal thoughts. "Absolutely lovely."
"It's perfect." Lily whispered, admiring her hair that was, as she requested, not too extravagant. "Thank you!"
"No problem, love." Ellie grinned.
Lily turned to see Wedding Planner Number Six addressing her from the doorway.
"The dresses are here and I've taken the liberty of putting yours in your room, but I'll need you to go straight up there and slip it on-- we're running on schedule but it's going to be a tight squeeze nonetheless if we want to get wedding party photos in before we leave the house."
Lily nodded and gave Ellie a final smile before following out the door. She caught Maggie's eye, at the station nearest the door and Maggie gave her an appraising smile and a wink from her own salon chair.
Lily was attempting to fasten the straps to her silver heels when Maggie entered her room, not bothering to knock.
"My dear, you are a vision!" Maggie proclaimed.
"As are you." She said, taking in Maggie's appearance in her own bridesmaid dress as she made a show of twirling around. "Hey, no fair! How come no one made you put your hair up?"
"Oh, they were going to, but then they realized they couldn't do much what with the length of my hair, so they settled for grooming it as best they could." Maggie said, patting the spot where the strands of hair had been pulled back away from her face by two matching barrettes, before fluffing her now slightly curled hair. "Perks of having the length of your hair fall just above your shoulders."
"Honestly though, with the way you went on about the dresses in the letter you sent just before I got here, I was expecting worse-- much worse," Maggie said, taking a seat next to Lily on the bed. "But you know, these aren't half bad."
"Yeah," Lily said through a sardonic laugh. "You should have seen what Petunia wanted us to wear before I got her to change the style AND the colour."
"You got Petunia to change the bridesmaid dresses? No way-- how the heck did you manage to do that?" Maggie asked, eyebrows raised up high.
"Didn't I tell you about this?" Lily asked, her tone incredulous. "In a nut shell, it involved my darling sister, her lump of a fiancée, and magic—compliments of Mr. Sirius Black—three things that should NEVER be mixed together. Anyway, I gave Petunia an ultimatum: change the colour of the dresses to something a little more flattering for us redheads, or Vernon has to have his memory wiped clean as technically speaking, muggles aren't allowed to know about magic."
"Well, don't you drive a hard bargain?" Maggie said. "Speaking of us mere ordinary folk not being allowed to know about the wizarding world, some magic official isn't going to, like, show up on the doorstep right as I'm leaving for home and try to wipe my memory are they?"
"Oh, no." Lily said quickly. "Actually, the rule isn't as absolute as it sounds and I didn't bother to clarify it for Petunia. See, knowledge of magic within families or even within friends of first generation witches or wizards is alright—it all depends on whether you feel like sharing that bit about yourself, but since Vernon isn't technically related to me in any way, shape, or form, the Obliviators showed up because they thought he was just some random muggle. When Petunia gets married though, as my brother-in-law, he'll be void of any of that hassle."
"So that's wizarding law in a nut shell, is it?" Maggie asked.
"In terms of wizarding word concealment, yes." Lily laughed. "Ready to go downstairs, then? It's almost time to leave."
"Exactly why I came over to get you—I think the photographer's downstairs—he wants to get some family shots in before we get to the church."
"Fun." Lily said, purposefully forcing a smile before linking arms with Maggie and going downstairs.
While Maggie flounced down the stairs, Lily paused at the foot of the staircase to look at her parents. Her father looking quite strapping for a forty-something father of two in a smart black tuxedo, and her mother, looking elegant as ever as she expertly tied her father's bowtie. Lily could recall on various occasions looking on as her mother did simple things like this for her father—there was just something so utterly loving about a wife helping her husband with his bow tie. She sighed audibly at the thought, hoping that one day, she'd be lucky enough to find someone to love as much as her parents loved each other.
"Don't tell me you're tired already, darling," Her father said, turning toward her and mistaking her sigh for one of boredom, "the wedding hasn't even really begun, yet."
"I'm wide awake ready to go, dad, don't worry." Lily grinned.
"That's my girl—did you eat something yet?" he asked as Laurie Evans finished with his bowtie. "Because you know how Father O'Neil can be—when he gets going there's no stopping him."
"Ne'er a truer statement spoken," Aunt Rose piped in. "Do you remember when Judy Hutchins got married, Laurie?"
"How could I forget?" Laurie laughed. "And Father O'Neil started on about how Judy was a good girl who always went to Sunday school…"
"And he ended up talking for over two hours?" added Aunt Rose. "And then, Marie Wilson,"
"Passed out, yes!" Laurie finished. "How could I ever forget? That was horrible."
"Actually, I find it quite funny." Aunt Rose giggled.
"Well, funny now, yes," Laurie admitted. "But at the time, it wasn't that funny at all."
"True, very true." Aunt Rose said. "Especially considering it could have been any one of us bridesmaids.
"Wait, some girl passed out?" Maggie echoed. "How? From malnourishment?"
"I dunno, I can't remember if she'd had something to eat before the church ceremony started…" Aunt Rose said.
"Really though, I think it had to do more with the fact that it must have been about ninety degrees in that church, and the fact that Father O'Neil had his little alter boy burning frankincense wasn't that much of a help either." Said Laurie.
"Made the church extra stuffy." Said Aunt Rose matter-of-factly.
"Are you lot ready yet or not?" Petunia said briskly, poking her head through the front door. "The photographer's ready and I don't want to be late to my own wedding!"
"Coming, dear!" Laurie called as Jeff ushered them outside before closing the front door behind him.
"Now then," the photographer said quickly "We'll be taking three shots with the family—one with you and your parents, dear, one with your parents and sister, and we'll toss in your Aunt and cousin in for the final family shot, here. Then, we'll do a shot with you and your bridesmaids, as your ushers are already at the church, are they not? —Splendid! —And, we'll wrap it up with a final group shot of everyone present. Please do NOT position yourselves, I will do the positioning for you and for god's sake, when I've placed you in a specific position try not to move!"
Lily caught Maggie's eye after the photographer's speech and laughed silently behind her hand before she felt a hand on her shoulder.
"You're the sister, yes? And maid of honour?"
He didn't wait for a reply before he positioned Lily in the shot and again, reminded her not to move an inch.
When the last shot had been taken, Lily blinked her eyes repeatedly, trying to adjust to the natural light.
"Well, this is it!" Jeff Evans said as he helped his wife into one of the three cars that was waiting for them.
"And can you believe we actually put it all together in a month?" Laurie said in awe. "Now we've just got to hope nothing goes wrong…"
"Come now, what are you on about, dear? The worst part is over—you and Barbara have planned the wedding, everything's set to the tee…" Jeff listed. "I don't see how anything could go wrong. Just you wait, it'll all be smooth sailing from here."
Lily hadn't wanted to say anything in the car for fear of jinxing the entire ordeal, but as she walked briskly through the church, on her way to the side chamber at the front entrance, Lily had no particular qualms of saying her dad had spoken too soon when he had told her mum that it would 'all be smooth sailing from here.'
She saw her mum's head peek through the ajar door before she reached it.
"Oh, goodness, Lily, there you are!" her mother said, ushering her into the side chamber. "Have you found Stuart, yet?" she asked in regards to the missing sixth, and final groomsman.
"Yes," Lily said tentatively.
"She's found Stuart, then?" Maggie asked, reaching them. She took one look at Lily's face and then said, "Don't tell me—this is going to be one of those 'Do you want the good news, or the bad news, first' scenarios, isn't it?"
"Well?" Barbara asked pointedly, urging Lily to proceed. "Where is he? Tell him he's got about fifteen seconds to get himself out here or I'll have his head!"
"And I believe you'll find that a hard feat for him to accomplish, Mrs. Dursley, considering that at the moment, Stuart's got his head down a toilet." Lily said simply.
"He was able to stop vomiting just long enough to say he 'shouldn't have eaten the potato salad' at last night's dinner rehearsal."
"We can't very well start the wedding with only five groomsmen— the entire court would be imbalanced!" Mrs. Dursley cried. "What are we going to do?"
"She has a point," her mother said, watching as Barbara paced the floor, muttering to herself. "we can't have five groomsmen and six bridesmaids."
"But Stuart obviously can't do it." Aunt Rose said. "What'll you have the poor boy do? Walk down the aisle with a bucket in his arms just in case he needs to relieve himself?"
"Wouldn't put it past her…" Maggie muttered.
"Look, you all—don't worry," Lily said, finally, "Mum…mum! Trust me, I'm going to fix this, you just do what you need to do to relax—whatever it is you're supposed to be doing aside from worrying about groomsmen, I want you to do."
"Lily…" Laurie started, looking at her daughter's determined face.
"Really, mum--- you said you wanted me to be the Maid of Honour, well, isn't this what she usually does? Take care of any small insignificant details that need tweaking?"
Lily never waited for her mother to answer. Instead, she backed away from the group slowly, mouthing the word relax one last time before turning around and wondering how in the world she was going to manage to find a replacement groomsman—they didn't, Lily mused, just fall out of the sky, after all.
She was at the front of the church now; pacing back and fort atop the trademark cobblestone front when she felt the rather thin heel of her left shoe catch on one of the gaps between the stones.
"Oh, bugger." Lily groaned, feeling her heel stick and stubbornly refuse to pull out from between the stones. She lifted the skirt of her long dress to find her heel wedged tightly and attempted to pull her shoe out once more, but only succeeded in throwing off her own balance. After stabling herself, Lily attempted to wriggle the heel loose; letting out a groan of frustration when she realized it wasn't about to budge anytime soon.
"It seems as though I'm developing a habit of coming across you when you're in rather tight spots…" said an all too familiar voice coming up the front steps.
"I'm not sure whether I should be embarrassed, or relieved that you seem to show up when I'm in possible need of assistance." Lily admitted.
"May I?" James asked, motioning to her stuck heel.
"I thought you'd never ask." Lily said, relieved, as James swooped down so he was kneeling before her.
She pulled the skirt up her leg so he could see what he was doing, and said. "Damn dress—not particularly useful for getting anything done, and definitely not easy for the wearer to say, stoop down and un-stick her own heel…"
James laughed lightly and Lily couldn't help but suppress a shiver at the feeling of his breath fanning her calf… The fact that his hair, messy as ever, was now brushing up against her kneecap was not helping matters much either.
"I can see how that could be a burden, on the upside, that shade of lilac is much lovelier than the original dress colour, and," he said, looking up at her as he guided her foot out of the shoe so he could pull it out, "you look absolutely beautiful."
Lily steadied herself by grabbing onto James' shoulder so her shoeless foot wouldn't touch the ground and blushed, unable to help herself. James Potter had told her countless times that she was beautiful, but this was the first time she had ever allowed herself to believe it. It was something about the way he was looking at her from behind those trademark black rimmed glasses that reverberated sincerity, truth, and Lily wondered how many times James had given her that same look whilst complimenting her in the past.
James looked down, busying himself with pulling her shoe out of the ground, before she could see the earsplitting grin, somewhere between triumphant and goofy that now sat upon his lips. He had made Lily blush. James had lost track of the number of times he had told Lily flat out how gorgeous she was, and he couldn't help but wonder why this particular instant had had such an effect on her…
"Well, you clean up pretty nicely yourself…"Lily said, casually.
"Coming from you, that means a lot." James said, laughing again as he fastened the buckle on her shoe before innocently grazing her heel with his fingers.
"All done." He smiled up at her. "Unless there's anything else you'd like me to do for you while I'm here…"
Lily would have heard the suggestiveness of his tone, had it not been for the fact that she was distracted by James' coat. He had, Lily noticed now, gone through the trouble of dressing accordingly in a pair of black trousers and a smart, form-fitting jacket. A jacket Lily thought that was almost identical, save for the buttons but I bet no one will notice…
"Actually, there is something you can do for me." Lily said, suddenly.
James' eyebrows raised questioningly, but he kicked himself mentally and told himself to get his mind out of the gutter when Lily tugged him by the arm and said "Come on!" before dragging him off through the church.
"Where are we going? —Lily, what's going on?" James asked, allowing her to drag him.
"Shh! Not here, James." Lily said quietly. "Are your parents here, yet?"
"Yes." James answered. "They're sitting down with Sirius."
"So, if I were to…borrow…you for a while, do you think they'd miss you?"
"Lily, what ever it is that you need, just tell me." James said.
"Alright." Lily breathed, letting him go when they reached a smaller altar to the side, and turning to face him. "In short, we had a rehearsal dinner last night for the wedding and why Stuart would even think to have the 'famous' Dursley Potato Salad is beyond me, but he did, and he's paying for his mistake by upchucking the contents of his stomach in the loo and now we're short a groomsman and apparently if we don't find a replacement the whole wedding will be ruined, and I could really five a flipping shite whether or not Barbara Dursley says that the entire wedding party will be imbalanced with only five, but my mum's really stressing out about this and you know I wouldn't ask you if I really didn't need to but it's just that I don't really know who else to ask, and—"
"Lily, stop. Breathe." James said, cutting her off and putting both hands on her shoulders. "Don't worry about it, whatever it entails, I'll do it—just tell me what to do."
"You will?" Lily asked, surprised.
"Yes." James said definitively.
"Thank Merlin!" Lily said, flinging her arms around him in a quick hug.
just one problem, Lily," James said, pushing her away so he could
look her in the eye. "I'm assuming that these groomsmen all dress
"Already one step ahead of you, James." Lily said, crossing the hall and knocking on the bathroom door. "Stuart…?"
"Ughnnn…." Groaned a disembodied voice.
James' eyebrows furrowed at the obvious discomfort of the boy behind the door.
"It's Lily—remember? I came to check on you a few minutes ago…are you feeling any better?" She asked, tentatively.
"I—I don't think I can—" Stuart began, before Lily and James distinctly heard him empty the contents of his stomach into the toilet.
Lily cringed slightly, becoming queasy simply from the noise.
worry about the wedding, Stuart—just get it all out, you'll feel
Lily said, encouragingly. "Listen, Stuart—I'll need to borrow your bow-tie and cummerbund—is that alright? —Just, open the door and I'll help you out of them."
The door to the one room lavatory opened to reveal a sandy haired boy, crouched on his knees, his arms wrapped around the toilet.
Lily helped him out of the items she had asked to borrow, before rubbing his back soothingly.
"Is there anyone you'd like me to send for you?" she asked.
"Yeah," Stuart groaned, eyes shut tight. "m-my mum, please—Josie knows who she is."
He said, in reference to one of Petunia's other bridesmaids.
"Alright." Lily said, soothingly.
"And, Lily?" Stuart asked.
"Tell Barbara I'm sorry…"
Lily nodded before stepping out of the bathroom and allowing Stuart to close the door.
"Poor Stuart." James said, as Lily rounded on him.
"Take off your jacket," Lily said quickly.
"Yes, ma'am." James said, slipping it off quickly. Had this been any other time, he would have found some comment with a double meaning to throw at her in a good-natured way.
Lily took it upon herself to clip the cummerbund around James' waist, positioning it correctly, before coming around to stand in front of him and slipping the bowtie around his collar, leaving the two ends hanging loosely, before helping him back into his jacket.
"Let's go." She said, grabbing him by the wrist and once more, walking briskly as thought nothing was wrong, back to the side chamber where she knew her mother to be waiting for her.
"Oh, good, you're back—is Stuart coming along, then?" Barbara Dursley asked, having been the first one to spot Lily.
"I thought I made it perfectly clear before that Stuart is in no fit condition to participate in the wedding at the moment, no matter how much you threaten him." Lily said, trying to keep her tone even.
Barbara Dursley gave her a seething look at the comment, before noticing James who was standing beside her, running a hand through his hair nervously.
"What's this? Who is this young man you've got with you and why is he dressed as the rest of the men in the wedding party?"
"You did say you needed six groomsmen for the ceremony so I've brought you a sixth man." Lily said, pushing James so he was partially in front of her.
"But this is absurd! What I meant is that Stuart needed to get over his problem and go stand at the altar with the other boys, not for you to go out and find a replacement!"
"Forgive me, Mrs. Dursley, but what I find absurd is that you cannot comprehend, however many different ways I find to tell you that Stuart is in no way, shape or form going to be well enough to fulfill his duties— you need a sixth groomsmen and I've got one right here for you." Lily said. "The way I see it, James here, is your only option and you should be thankful that he has so graciously conceded to do us such an enormous favour as standing in for Stuart in the first place."
"My daughter has a point, Barbara." Laurie Evans cut in.
"You are vouching for this young man, Laurie?" Barbara asked, tightly.
"I am indeed." Laurie said. "James, here is wonderful boy, quite charming, you'll find if you take a moment to talk to him. —He's top of the year right along with Lily at their boarding school and just so happens to live next door."
James didn't know what to say. The way Lily's mum had described him, in a tone that clearly stated she thought rather highly of him was enough to have made him blush.
"He's missing a boutonnière." Barbara said finally, as though this was the thing to be worrying about most at this time.
Lily fought the urge to roll her eyes. Thinking quick, she grabbed her bouquet of fresh roses she had left on a chair and pulled one of the smaller, less bloomed ones from the bunch along with a green leaf and a swig of baby's breath. She then rummaged through a small sewing kit her mum had brought along just in case and wound all three pieces together with a bit of thread before pinning the makeshift boutonniere to James's front.
"There." Lily said, holding her arms out as though James was an object to showcase. "A boutonniere."
"Well, well, haven't you just thought of everything? It seems as if I've no choice in this matter…" Barbara said primly. "But if you so much as make one mistake---"
"Oh, what mistakes could he possibly make? All he's got to do is stand there behind Vernon at the altar and then walk down the aisle with me at the end of the ceremony?" Maggie interjected; ignoring the sharp look her mother was giving her for her comment.
"Yes, well." Barbara said, her lips tight. "Just make sure his bowtie is done up right—I'll not have him looking…disheveled."
Mrs. Dursley said this while obviously looking at James' hair, before walking out of the room. When she left, shutting the door behind her, Mrs. Evans took James by the shoulder, kindly, turning him so they were face to face.
"Don't mind Mrs. Dursley—she's just rather stressed with this whole wedding ordeal." Laurie said as she tied James' bowtie expertly.
"That's to be understandable." James said, trying to be nice, although having heard from Lily that this was simply the way Mrs. Dursley always behaved, wedding or not.
"There we are." Laurie Evans said, smoothing out the bow with her fingertips. "You look nice and handsome. Thank you so much for doing this for us, James, --- you're really saving the day."
"Are you slowpokes ready, yet?" said Jeff Evans, poking his head through the doorway. "We've got a wedding to get through!"
"James, Mrs. Dursley mentioned you'd be filling in for Stuart," Jeff said, turning to him. "Richard, there'll walk with you up to the altar and tell you where to stand and brief you on how the exit will go."
"Sounds great, Mr. Evans." James said, grinning.
"Don't worry," Lily whispered in his ear, giving his arm a squeeze. "You'll be fine. —See you at the altar."
James winked at her, impishly before following Richard through the church.
"Alright, alright! —Is everyone here?" Wedding Planner number six said, as she popped out of nowhere. "Places everyone! Places!"
Lily stood at the back of the line. As Maid of Honour, she had the privilege of walking in second to last, only in front of the bride herself. Maggie, who was in front of her, turned around and grinned as the ushers opened the church's double doors and the string quartet hired especially for the occasion began playing the first chords of Pachebel's Canon In D starting up, and the last words that Lily thought before she started up the altar, following the other bridesmaids, flower girls, and ring bearers was, This, is it…
A/N: I dunno what else to say except it took SO MUCH LONGER to finish this chapter than I thought it was going to originally—forgive me? Please? -- With ice cream and whipped cream and a James Potter of your very own on top??
how long it'll be till the second part of this chapter is out, I do not know but I'm hoping that now that I'm back in school, and that I've got a newer, faster laptop to work on, I'll possibly be able to get some more writing in, but we'll see.
Remember to take care, that I love you all, and of course, to leave me a review because they honestly make my day!
HUGGLES! for all of you!