Disclaimer: The idea that sparked this one-shot's plot bunny into life did not come from me, but from Sex and the City. I'll explain that later. And Harry Potter isn't mine.
Summary: Lily's surprise meeting with a man she thought she had left behind teaches her a lesson: Cake always makes things better. Or at least, it helps just a bit.
He Takes the Cake
By Natali K. A.
Lily Evans was a wreck. In just under a few minutes, she would have to see one of her ex-boyfriends. Their last meeting hadn't ended all that nicely—she had kneed him in his family jewels, if she remembered correctly.
But the fact of the matter was that their mutual friend, a Miss Lisa Engles, was marrying a major muggle business mogul. They had literally been forced into going—Lily because Lisa was one of her closest friends and James because his parents did business dealings with her husband-to-be.
"I can't do this," Lily said, not for the first time that night. "Lisa, I adore you—I really, truly do—but I can't do this. I can't walk in there and face him after the way we left it."
"Lily, put it in the past! You're supposed to be consoling me and forcing me to walk down that aisle," Lisa laughed, holding Lily's hair back as she gagged above the white porcelain of the church loo. "You probably won't even speak to him."
"You know what he does to me," Lily groaned. "And I just know he's gotten more fucking hot than he already was. Life is that unfair. And look at me: I've gained a pound in just the past week."
"You're imagining it. And even if you did, you'd deserve it because you look better than the bloody bride on her bloody wedding day!" Lisa straightened Lily and put her hands on her shoulders. "Seriously. Chill. It'll be bomb."
"Bombs are a bad thing. And where'd you come up with that expression anyway?" Lily asked as she was shoved out into the hall. "Oh my gosh, do I hear the organ starting up!" She held her hand over her mouth as she began to hyperventilate.
Lisa squealed as Lily hugged her. "Alright. Go on and get in your place," she said. "Lily, can you believe this is finally happening?" she whispered excitedly.
Lily forgot her own personal qualms for a moment and smiled affectionately. "Yeah. Yeah, I can. Now go on and stop fretting about your hair. Oh, you didn't think I saw you peeking in the mirror? Trust me. You look gorgeous."
Lily took her place as a bridesmaid in the procession and began her way down the aisle on the arm of Lisa's second cousin. She didn't look around.
She didn't want to catch a glimpse of that infamous James Potter just yet.
"Oh," James Potter groaned from his pew, hiding his face behind Sirius' shoulder. "I just got a hard-on looking at her."
He heard the old lady behind him gasp.
"She does look good," Sirius agreed.
"That dress doesn't exactly look terrible on her, does it?" Remus added.
"You're not helping!" James hissed.
"Shh," the couple in front of them said at the same time.
James rolled his eyes. There wasn't anything to hear just yet.
"I'd hoped she'd gotten a random case of acne since I've seen her. Too much to hope for, I guess."
"Yes," Remus and Sirius said simultaneously.
"If you weren't my best mate…" James heard Sirius mutter under his breath.
James shook his head and covered his face with his hand. "Let me know when she's out of view.
He also allowed himself to slump in his seat, which is why Lily didn't catch sight of him while she surveyed the crowd for that handsome devil she had once thought she'd marry. Maybe, if she was really lucky, he wouldn't show up?
Yeah, right. If only life was that fair.
After the ceremony and thirty minutes into the reception, Lily and James still hadn't come across each other. James, of course, had done this intentionally and wasn't quite ready to face that gorgeous redhead just yet. Lily half-wanted to see him again, just to see how he'd got on.
James' own personal course of action was the reason he was seated outside the banquet hall on one of its balconies, looking out across the night life of London.
He heard the door open behind him. He turned around either to A) give the newcomer a glare if it was a guy or an ugly woman or B) offer an inviting smile to the hot woman.
Option C never entered his mind.
"Oh." Lily blinked. "Hello, James. I thought Lisa had told me something about your being here. Did you just get here?"
"No. I was at the ceremony at the church, too." He cleared his throat nervously and took a swig of his drink. "You look good, Lily."
"You, too." She looked around awkwardly. "I should leave. You probably came out here to be alone—"
"No, please, I insist. Join me. It's rather lonely being on the outside of the party."
She seemed to consider saying no, but did eventually step out further onto the balcony. "I came outside to smoke without Lisa throwing a fit about second-hand smoke and all that. Besides, it does give clothing an awful stink."
She juggled with the many items in her hands.
"What, you couldn't hold anything else?" James asked, laughing at the amount of things she was carrying. She had her fag perched precariously in one hand, which also held her purse. In the other she held a slice of cake and her drink.
Lily smiled at him. "I could, but I thought people might look at me weird if I stuck something between my breasts."
Her comment caused his eyes to stray to her breasts, open to anyone who wanted a peek as her dress had been made to show more cleavage than was healthy.
"Yes. But it wouldn't be because of the object between them." He shook his head a bit and looked back into her eyes and chuckled nervously. "Sorry. Old habits die hard."
"I don't mind," she told him rather reluctantly. "I never minded the way you looked at me. You always made me feel like I was the most beautiful woman on earth, not just something to bang."
James smiled. "It's because you really are the most beautiful woman on earth. You just give me too much credit."
Lily glanced down at her cake uncomfortably. "Look, I'm really sorry about—"
"No. Don't. I deserved it. I just disagreed at the time. Looking back, I was a real arse."
"I still shouldn't have. You never hit me, and I took the ultimate course of action."
"I forgive you. It brought me to reality." He settled his empty glass on the edge of a table. "How are you doing? Lisa had told me a while back that you were busy settling into your new flat."
"Yeah. I just couldn't stand my parents' house anymore," Lily shuddered. "Too painful."
"But you always got along swell with your parents, and Petunia's married and has her own house now. I thought you were going to save your money and—"
"James… They died," Lily said softly. "I guess Lisa didn't mention that?"
James had to take a moment to let that information sink in. He had met the Evanses and they were some of the nicest people he'd ever met. He'd met them on several occasions while he had been dating Lily and had really come to love them.
"Lily, I'm so sorry. I-I-I didn't know. That was so heartless of me."
She smiled ruefully. "Don't feel bad. It's alright. They died about a month after we broke up. Got caught up in a bad neighborhood of town when there was a gang shooting going on."
"Lily…" He didn't know what to say. He wanted to give her a hug but somehow it didn't feel right at that time.
"Anyway, what about you? I heard your parents took you around Europe for six months to visit friends and relatives along the way," she said, changing the topic.
"Yeah. Otherwise… Helping my dad out at the Ministry with all the uprisings. Mum's upset because I've been in danger more than once, but… I love it."
Lily nodded, trying to hold her cigarette and her cake at the same time. Her attempt was not going as successfully as she would've liked.
"Come here," James laughed. "You can't even eat your cake. And you didn't bring a fork, either."
"Whoops," Lily giggled. "I'll just eat it with my fingers after I finish smoking. It's just… Well, there's nothing yummier than cake and a fag, right? Besides a fag and a coffee, naturally."
"I couldn't stand it if you had to come away from tonight without having your cake and your smoke at the same time." He reached his hand forward and picked up the sliver of cake and held it out to her.
"Now you've gone and put your dirty fingers all over my cake!" Lily giggled.
"Fine, I'll have it then," James grinned and took a bite of it. After swallowing, he said, "Ooh, it's really good. You're missing out, Lils."
Her heart sped up at his old nickname for her. Something in his eyes told her he noticed it too and that it'd been unconsciously done.
"That's my cake, sir."
"Now you want it, hmm?" He held it to her lips and she took a bite. The sensuality of it all wasn't lost on them.
"Isn't it good?" James asked, his voice a little deeper than usual.
"There you are!" Lisa said. "Oh, James. Am I interrupting something?"
"Just two old friends catching up," Lily said smoothly. "Is it time for the wedding party pictures?"
"Yeah, s'what I came out for." Lisa smiled at James. "Nice to see you. I like the color blue on you. You truly look dashing in a muggle suit."
"Er, thanks. Beautiful wedding, Lisa. Best wishes."
"Thanks." She took Lily by the hand and dragged her inside, hissing as they made their way to the picture, "What the bloody fuck was that all about? He was feeding you cake, Lily! Goodness, I can't take my eyes off you for a moment, can I?"
"If he'd asked, I would have gone home with him," Lily admitted, glancing over her shoulder. She was delighted to see that James was staring after her without a single thought to be embarrassed. "If he asks any time tonight, I'll say yes."
"You're like a child," Lisa mused. "You're unable to make decisions using good judgment when it comes to him." She winked. "Go for it, mate. I've heard good things about him."
"Don't. I don't need to be encouraged."
"Leaving so soon?" a voice behind Lily asked when she stepped out into the humid London air.
"Yeah. I only have to wake up for work in about an hour and a half," she smirked. She turned to look at the owner of the deep, masculine voice. "Would you care to walk me to my flat?"
"Sure you want me to?" James asked, falling into step beside her.
"Great. I'll have to ask to Disapparate from your flat though. Too bad the party was overrunning with muggles, hmm?"
"Yeah. But every now and then, I enjoy walking home. Wonderful London smells and all that."
They walked mostly in silence to her flat, James only speaking to inform her of his parents and the rest of the Marauders—whom she'd avoided the entire night.
Except for the five minutes Sirius had popped up beside her to slow dance with her.
"So," he'd told her slowly. "Eyeing my Potter? Because you have my permission to eye my Potter."
"Sirius," she warned. "If you're going to ruin this dance for me, I'll leave you here on this dance floor without a second thought. And you know that I'm deadly serious about it."
He nodded. "I know. But I'm just giving you my blessing."
"Never mind. Wonderful dress, I can see you're still in great shape. You know, if you weren't Prongs's ex, I'd totally hit on you."
"Sirius, you hit on me anyway," she laughed, shaking her head. "I don't suppose you've stopped playing Quidditch? That'd take all your groupies away."
"Still playing Quidditch," he grinned. His face sobered quickly. "I've missed you, Lily. We all have."
"Yes… me, too."
Finally reaching her place, she took out her keys and turned to him. "Do you want to come in?"
James hesitated. "Are you sure that's such a brilliant idea?"
"I won't jump you, promise. I was thinking to give you some of the wedding cake I brought home with me. She gave me way too much to eat it myself."
He nodded, following her into the foyer. "Nice place."
"Thanks. I'm in love with it," she admitted, setting down the large plate heaped with cake on the kitchen counter.
"What's this?" James asked, pointing to an odd contraption of red triangles and purple circles. He supposed it was some sort of artistic sculpture, but didn't want to be mistaken.
Lily grimaced. "Ah… That… That was a piece by an ex-boyfriend. I actually hate it, but I can't imagine what to do with it."
James raised an eyebrow. "That's bizarre. Just dump it."
Lily shook her head, seating herself across from him. "I don't know, but I don't want to. To be honest, I'm not sure there isn't some sort of curse on it if I try to remove it from here. He was… a bit odd, if you get my meaning. Freaky that way."
"Into the Dark Arts?"
"A tad, yeah. Discovered it early on, though."
"Do you want me to get someone from the Ministry to have your flat combed over?" he asked worriedly. "He might have left something without your knowledge—"
"I did that myself. You might remember I excelled at Defense Against the Dark Arts?"
"Yes. I especially remember that time in our Third Year that your Boils Curse 'accidentally' missed your target and hit me instead."
Lily couldn't suppress a giggle. "Ah, you'd pissed me off but good that day. I don't regret it."
"No, I didn't for a moment think that you did."
A somewhat uncomfortable silence fell for a minute as they stared at each other. Lily jumped up with the intent of preparing a separate package of cake for him.
"There, you're all set. I hate to push you out, but I do have to work in just about an hour, so I need to catch a quick nap."
"You can run for 36 hours straight on just 8 hours of sleep. It's out of this world amazing," he praised her, standing up. "Thank you for allowing me to walk you home."
"Please, you did me a favor. I've never been fond of walking the streets so late alone. Those stories of women raped and stuff… Jack the Ripper is still fresh in my mind. I saw a documentary on him—Never mind. Babbling," she blushed.
"Do you mind if I use your loo before I leave?" he asked. "I have to pick up something before I head home."
"Sure. Down the hall to your right."
Once he was done, he came back out, said his adieus, and Disapparated. Lily didn't notice that he'd left his cake—on purpose, of course.
Later that day, at about five in the afternoon, an exhausted Lily opened the door to her flat. Who could be coming to visit now?
"Oh! James, how are you?" she asked warmly. She'd been hoping he'd drop by. She hadn't been able to get him off her mind at all throughout the day. She'd even almost fallen down a flight of stairs because she'd been daydreaming about him. "I'm so glad you stopped by. A bit surprised it's so soon, though."
He cleared his throat, blushing—no mean feat for James Potter. "Erm, actually, I'd left the cake here earlier this morning. I've come to retrieve it."
Well, if I don't want to kick myself royally… Lily thought. "Of course. Silly me. Just, um, it's right there where you left it. Didn't even notice. Excuse me while I go stick my head in the toilet."
He laughed, accepting the cake from her outstretched hand, catching her wrist as she made an attempt to run. "No, please don't. You still amuse me, Lils." He scratched the back of his neck, a sign that he was nervous. "I had an ulterior motive for coming, actually. I don't give a flying bat about the cake. I was wondering if you had any plans for Saturday?"
"Oh. Hmm," she squeaked, unsure of how to respond. If they hadn't worked out the first time, why would it the second? She could admit the attraction was there, but it took more than that. "I don't know, James…"
"Think about it, and let me know? I'll be waiting." He set down the cake on the floor and reached into his pockets to pull out his office address. "You can reach me there, via owl or letter." With an artsy little bow, he headed for the lift that would take him to the ground floor.
"Hang on! I've thought about it! Yes!" Any other guy would have been disgusted by her desperation. Trying to appear cooler, she added, "I mean, just two old friends getting together?"
"Two old friends get friendly, perhaps," he chuckled. "I was dreading that wedding."
"So was I."
"I'm dreading Saturday."
"So am I."
"Wonderful. We're still, as always, on the same page." He turned to leave.
She noticed the cake still on the floor. "Oh, for heaven's sake, Potter! Take the cake already!" She held it out for him.
"No, you keep it. As insurance that I'll be back. I love me some cake, after all."
He finally stepped into the lift, and she stared at him as the doors shut.
"Yes, I bet you do like you some cake, you horny little bastard," she muttered under her breath, shaking her head and shutting the front door. "What on earth am I supposed to do with all this cake?"
…Not to sound as if I have my mind in the gutter, but I have a few good ideas…
A/N: Oh, for goodness' sake, I'm so glad this is finally finished! It's an attempt to put off the 5 worksheets I have to do for history, plus the three summaries, but it's been bugging me SO much! I must've had this story started for about a month or so now.
This was inspired, as some of you Sex and the City fans may know, but a particular episode where Carrie runs into her ex Aidan outside of his new bar with a cigarette, drink, and cake. So yeah. You can see how it evolved.
So, review, because I don't really know how I feel about this one-shot. Opinions? Thanks.