Note: This is for Amphetamine47 at LiveJournal, who was amused by my fascination with Lily as a legwarmer-wearing 80's teen.

We Can't Rewind

It's summer.

On the very first day of hols, Lily sits slouched on the sofa in her parent's living room, staring at her feet. She is thinking about what color she should paint her toenails, vacillating between dayglo pink and neon blue.

Probably the pink, she thinks.

Though it is still morning, the day is already muggy. This early oppressive heat is a shock after Scotland's chill spring. Pulling the scrunchie from her wrist, she yanks her hair into a high ponytail. Little wisps escape from the stretchy fabric and stick to her neck. She sighs.

Lily wiggles her bare feet, which are propped up on the coffee table. She is wearing purple leggings with pink stars on them and a long white tank top layered over a pink tank. She's feeling quite pleased to be out of the long skirts and dull jumpers and heavy robes she has to wear at school. Lily likes magic but she likes Dairy Milks and Pet Shop Boys and EastEnders, too. Sometimes she wishes she could just go to school with her mates and learn about Europe in the sixteenth century without all the bollocks of broomsticks and dragons involved.

Lily is waiting for Cynthia and Nigel, her very best mates. She spends every summer holiday at home with them, kicking around. They'll walk to the corner for colas and crisps and take day trips to the shore. They'll sit around and listen to music and watch old Avengers reruns on the telly. Cynnie and Lily both quite desperately want to be Emma Peel when they grow up.

Cynthia is a tiny, loudmouthed blonde. She has a rotating cast of boyfriends whom Nigel loathes. He's rather in love with Cyn, though he insists to Lily that he's not, whenever she brings the subject up. Nigel is tall and skinny and rather ugly and is fanatically devoted to Bauhaus and The Cure.

When they arrive, Nigel and Cynthia let themselves in, as they always do. The girls squeal and hug each other, spinning and jumping around in circles. Poor, long-suffering Nigel sighs and rolls his eyes. Lily hugs him, too, grasping his bony frame until he grudgingly gives her a little squeeze in return.

Cynthia has made a mix-tape, which she waggles at Lily. Lily points at the new stereo that her father bought whilst she was away. It has a turntable, two tape decks and the largest speakers Lily has ever seen. Cyn plays with the system, putting the tape in and adjusting the volume, before flopping next to Lily on the yellow floral sofa. Nigel has already folded his spidery limbs into and over-stuffed chair.

"How was school?" Cyn asks.

"Stuffy," Lily answers. "You?"


"Duller than dull." That's Nigel, chiming in.

"The dullest," Cynthia re-ups the ante. "Did you snog any cute blokes this year?"

Before Lily can answer Nigel adds, "Snog any cute birds?"

Cynthia and Lily groan his name in unison.

"What? All the girls are right lezzers at those schools."

Nigel is desperate to believe that Lily does terribly naughty things while she's away. He would be disappointed to learn that she spends her time studying and practicing and wishing her Walkman would work on Hogwarts grounds and trying not to slap that awful James Potter and his doofus friends for being such pricks. She goes to bed quite early and has never once snogged another girl, though she would be willing to give it a go just for the sake of new experiences.

"Have you heard the new Go-Gos?" Cynthia asks, changing the subject.

Lily shakes her head. "Any good?"

"Nah. They're bollocks without Jane."

"What happened to Jane?"

"She quit after the last tour, Lil'!" Cynthia shrieks, bouncing excitedly. "Where have you been?"

Lily shrugs. She always comes back from school feeling like she's been living on the moon.

"I swear, they keep you in a box at that school," Nigel says.

"There's something sticking me," Cynnie announces, peering into the cushions behind her. She pulls another tape out of the couch and, reading the label, grimaces.

"Bloody Air Supply," she says and makes a retching noise. "Who the hell does this belong to?"

Lily shrugs. "Petunia, probably."

Nigel perks at Lily's sister's name.

"Is Tuna here?" he asks, looking around.

Lily scowls fiercely at him.

"No, Petunia," she said, accentuating her sister's given name, "isn't here. She's got a job, you know."

Petunia works as a secretary for an insurance agency. She spends days there and evenings with her pudgy, leering boyfriend. Lily doesn't see her very much and, frankly, she isn't terribly sad about it.

"Pity," Nigel sighs. "I'm feeling wilty today. I could use the cannon fodder."

"Nigel!" Lily snaps his name in warning.

"Hey," Nigel says with exaggerated wide-eyed innocence. "I've never been anything but a gent to Petunia Pig."

Lily is sitting straight up, now, glaring fiercely at Nigel, her temper threatening to flare out of control.

"Do shut your gob, Nigel," Cynthia says. "Let's all try to get along for at least a day, yeah?"

"Oh, fine," Nigel says sulkily. "But I don't know why you bother, Lil'. It's not like she's ever had anything nice to say about you."

"I don't care!" Lily's voice has become shrill. "No one deserves to be made fun of like that."

There is a moment of absolute silence.

"You really have changed, Lil." Nigel watches like he's almost afraid of her.

Lily looks at her friends--Nigel with his spiky hair dyed black like Robert Smith's and Cynthia with her too-short mini and cropped Flashdance sweatshirt--and thinks that they don't know a damn thing beyond what's right in front of their faces. Lily thinks she understands everything, now. She thinks that she knows more than they ever will. That there are forces in the universe that they will never realize and never, ever understand. Lily thinks she knows everything.

But Lily doesn't know that, in a few years, Nigel will have died in an auto accident and Cynthia might as well be dead as she'll have an awful drug problem and a boyfriend who beats her and Lily, herself, will have fallen in love with a boy she can't stand and she'll have married him and had a beautiful baby boy.

And she'll be quite dead, too.