Disclaimer- I don't own any of it, except for Jez, Rachel, the plot, and maybe some other stuff/characters I make up along the way.

A/N: Hey everyone! This is my first Lily/James fic- ideas that have been floating around in my head for a long time, and I decided to start something with them while I'm planning the rest of my other story. I'm really excited about this, so I hope you enjoy it!

Chapter 1- Bets and Promises

Lily Evans was sitting on her bed, reading over the school checklist she had made for the millionth time. She had to make sure she had everything, because tomorrow she was heading off to Hogwarts to begin her seventh and final year of school.

"School robes," she said aloud as she looked at the end of the bed, seeing 7 sets of perfectly folded black robes.

"Check. Dress robes," she said, looking to see her brand-new shimmery dark green dress robes hanging on the edge of her wardrobe.

"Check. Head Girl badge," Lily said with a huge grin. This was what she was proudest of- becoming Head Girl. She had worked so hard at her prefect duties over the past two years, and it had all paid off. She couldn't wait to show it off tomorrow. Her thoughts over the past few days had wandered to the possibility of who the Head Boy could be, and she was almost certain it would be Remus Lupin. Dumbledore probably went with Remus in hope that he would straighten out his idiotic friends, Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, and James Potter. Lily sighed- how had she let her thoughts stray to James Potter again? She regretted her last encounter with Potter at the end of last school year.

"Come on, Evans! I said I was sorry," Potter said through the laughter. He and his friends had just set off a box of Filibuster's Fireworks in Lily and her friends' compartment, leaving the sleeve of Lily's favorite t-shirt scorched and soot marks over all of their things. Behind Potter, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew were rolling on the floor, roaring with laughter, while Remus Lupin leaned up against the wall, trying to suppress a laugh.

"Potter, I'm so tired of hearing you say that!" Lily said, throwing a sooty book at him. This was the last straw with him.

"I'm telling you, Evans- just go out with me and all of this will stop. Promise," Potter said with that ridiculously irresistible smile on his face.

"Potter, the only way I would EVER go out with you is if you changed," Lily said, feeling her temper rising. "Stop being so childish and immature, playing pranks every two seconds and snogging every girl from your fan club that comes along. Grow up!"

"All right, if I do that, you'll go out with me?" Potter asked, his hazel eyes sparkling.

"No, because you'll never grow up, Potter! You're a stupid, idiotic, bullying, womanizing toerag who will never change. You make me sick, and I don't care if I ever see you again," Lily said, slamming the compartment door shut in his face.

Lily had spent her entire summer overanalyzing this. She was always too over analytical, herfriends told her. "Stop worrying about it, Lils," her friend Jez had told her last week in Diagon Alley. Jezreel Rogers was Lily's more level-headed friend whom she could always go to for advice. Jez was a quiet, studious girl who wished to be a Healer after school. But Lily could see in Jez's brown eyes that Jez wished she would get her act together with James.

Rachel Morgan, on the other hand, let Lily know that she should be with James. "Lily, just admit it- you like him," Rachel would tell her. Rachel always voiced her opinion- it was just the way she was. Daring, outgoing, athletic, and obstinate were the only words to describe her. "You know you think he's gorgeous and that you melt every time he smiles at you." Lily would only glare at Rachel and change the subject.

Despite the regrets of her last encounter with James Potter, Lily was excited about her last year of school. Sure, she would miss it. But everyone said your last year at Hogwarts was the best, and Lily could hardly wait. And there was no way James Potter was going to mess it up for her. She wasn't going to let him get to her this year- she promised herself she wouldn't.

Many miles away, James Potter and Sirius Black were talking about the coming year in James' enormous room. Sirius had moved in with the Potters that summer after one last fight with his parents. Mrs. Potter had welcomed Sirius with open arms and a motherly hug, saying he looked a bit underfed and offering him triple helpings every evening. Mr. Potter was enjoying Sirius' company as well- they sat at the dinner table many nights laughing and telling jokes between Mr. Potter's updates from work (both of James' parents were Aurors, but Mrs. Potter worked a much lighter schedule than her husband.)

"I can't wait to get back and start pulling pranks on the Slytherins again," Sirius said, propping his feet up on James' trunk and popping some Every Flavor Beans into his mouth.

James laughed, but the smile soon faded from his face. "I don't know, Padfoot. Maybe we should tone down on the pranks this year," he told his friend.

Sirius gave him a puzzled look. "Did you just hit your head or something? Because I could've sworn that I just heard you, James Potter, co-founder of the Marauders, say that we shouldn't pull as many pranks during this year, our last year at Hogwarts and our last chance to finally get those dim-witted Slytherins back."

James nodded. "I mean, doesn't it all seem a bit childish to you?"

Sirius sighed. "It's about her isn't it?" James looked away. "Prongs, I told you- just give up on her. You know you can't change like she wants you to. You're better off not settling down with just one girl."

"But Sirius, I can't just give up on her," James told him. "She's the one. I know she is. I've known since I first set eyes on her on the train during our first year."

"James, you two are from totally different worlds. She's smart and well-behaved and obeys the rules. That's just not you, mate."

There was a knock at the door, and Mrs. Potter came in. "More cookies?" the short, plump woman asked with a smile.

The two teenage boys leapt up. "Yes! Thanks, Mrs. Potter," Sirius said, taking one of the plates that was piled with warm, chocolate chip cookies from James' mother.

"Thanks, Mum," James said, taking the other plate and leaning down to kiss his mother on the cheek.

"Anytime, love," Mrs. Potter said as she walked to the door. "And you lot better get some sleep. Tomorrow's a big day."

"We will, Mrs. Potter. You know we will," Sirius said, smiling at Mrs. Potter. James' mom smiled back as she walked out.

"Good night, boys."

"Good night," Sirius and James said together. "Man, I'm going to miss your mum's cooking while we're at school," Sirius said as he immediately began eating the cookies, but James just looked at his plate with a vacant expression.

"If you don't eat those, you better watch out," Sirius said with a mouth full of chewy cookie. James snatched one up before Sirius had a chance.

"This is the year, Padfoot," James said between cookies. "I know it is."

"The year for what?" Sirius asked with his mouth full.

"The year when I'll finally get Lily Evans to fall for me."

Sirius snorted and rolled his eyes. "Prongs, you've said that every year since second year. How is this year any different?"

"Because this year, I really mean it," James told him. "I promise you. When we graduate in June, Lily Evans will be my girlfriend."

"I bet you she won't," Sirius said.

"You bet?" James asked. "How's fifty Galleons sound?"

"Aw, now you know I haven't got two Knuts to rub together as it is, James."

"Well then the loser has to..." James couldn't think of anything big enough.

"Sing the school song in his underwear at the top of his lungs on the train on the way back to King's Cross station?" Sirius offered.

"Oh, you're so on," James said, as he and Sirius shook hands.

"Oh, next June will be so much fun," Sirius said with a smile.

Big shoutout to Jess for reading this before anyone else and telling me to run with it, and for her expert editing and planning conversations at lunch! So, what'd you think? The characters that aren't JKR's are based off friends of mine (Jez and Rachel, all with traits which are very similar toall of my friends, not just their namesakes. If you want some further descriptions about not only them but details I wrote out about the other characters, let me know in your review and I might put them up with the next chapter). Lemme know your thoughts by pressing that lovely little review button down there! I hope to update soon, and reviews always make updates come faster! Until next time- Emma