Disclaimer: I don't think it was ever in question that I am not JK.
Summary: Lily's life is in shambles, or more correctly, her love life is. After yet another disastrous relationship, Lily has sworn off men completely. At least until she meets a handsome stranger who she can't seem to stop thinking about. But is he really who she thinks he is or is he hiding something that could change everything? LJ
Just Too Simple
Ch 1: Down with Men
"I swear Pen, there is not a single decent guy left on this planet!" An angered girl huffed as she lifted her steaming cup of coffee to her lips.
Two girls sat in a quiet coffee bar in the early hours of the morning. Early, being around 8:30am. Not the time of choice for either to have been cruelly dragged from their beds for a coffee fix, but being the only spare time either had before their unwilling brains switched on 'responsibility' and they were required to put in an appearance at their unglamorous and unenticing workplaces.
"It's just not fair." The same girl continued, not noticing, or caring, her friends lack of attention.
The curious looks of other surrounding customers was finally brought to the girl's attention. Still glaring angrily at her innocent cup of coffee over her disastrous love-life, Lily Evans had grown accustomed to strange looks. But these weren't the scornful, eye rolling looks she was used to. The looks of bratty youngsters and stuck-up teenagers with barely-stifled giggles and snorts of 'freak' unsubtly covered by a cough.
No, these were the cranky, intolerant looks of grumpy business people whose beady eyes sought out anything out of the ordinary due to the lack of caffeine at this hideously early hour. Looks that were drawn to the girl sitting opposite before mentioned Lily Evans. A girl with her head resting uncomfortably on the table and a string of drool hanging from her opened mouth. But that wasn't what seemed to be receiving all the unwelcome glances.
"Penny, what on earth are you wearing?" Lily asked curiously, noticing her friend's attire for the first time.
With a start, the girl's eyes snapped open. Unconvincingly trying to act as if she hadn't just been sleeping, she looked wearily down at what she was wearing.
"It's not like you gave me much time to change." Penelope Gregg replied defensively as she eyed her faded lilac top and matching flannelette pants that looked suspiciously like pyjamas with funny looking winged pictures that Lily supposed were meant to resemble muggle fairies but none which she had ever seen before. This fetching outfit was completed with a denim jacket thrown precariously over the top matched with knee-high lurid pink ugg boots.
"Just when was the last time you bought pyjamas?" Lily asked with a barely concealed smirk. Penelope blushed red.
"Well…um..." Penelope mumbled as she stared down at the table. The pyjamas were clearly recognisable as the same pair Penelope had worn back at Hogwarts and it seemed rather unlikely that she had bought another pair exactly the same. They weren't exactly a fashion statement.
Lily snorted with laughter but quickly turned it into a sneeze at the glare from Penelope. If it wasn't so funny, Lily would have felt guilty for dragging Penelope out of bed at this horridly early hour for a 'talk.'
"Anyway, could you actually picture a future together with him?" Penelope said, returning to the reason they were sitting in a tiny coffee shop at an hour when any normal person would still be asleep: Lily's disastrous mess, otherwise known as her rather unsuccessful love life.
"That's not the point. He still cheated on me!" Lily cried. "That image is permanently tattooed onto my retina." She shuddered at the thought and Penelope pulled a sympathetic face.
"It's not like he even had the decency to cheat on me with someone pretty." Lily continued bitterly. "I mean, with wrinkles like those she had to be at least 35! If she was a skinny five-foot-eleven model, maybe I could deal with it better, but a podgy woman ten years my senior with a moustache? Am I really that hideous that he would cheat on me with HER?"
"Snap out of it." Penelope said looking more awake than she had all morning. "And stop wallowing. You know you're gorgeous. You could have any guy you wanted."
Lily looked unconvinced but suddenly brightened. "Can I have him?" She said hopefully with a mischievous grin and a nod towards the window. Looking up interestedly, Penelope spotted the handsome man Lily was eying.
"My gosh, he is handsome." Penelope sighed as she took in the dark shaggy hair falling into the man's stormy grey eyes, sparkling with good humour.
"Oi, I spotted him first. And you already have a boyfriend." Lily replied, not taking her eyes off the dashingly handsome stranger.
"Damn." Lily groaned as a stunningly beautiful girl gracefully walked her way over towards him and starting flirting shamelessly.
"I have an idea, how about we go out tonight?" Penelope suggested at Lily's downcast expression. "Get you out of the house, try and pick up some hot guys. What do you reckon?"
Lily had had a bad run with relationships. She was still reeling with the shock of finding her most recent boyfriend (ex-boyfriend now) in bed with another woman only yesterday. Another woman with cankles and facial hair.
"Sound great Pen." Lily said with a grateful smile at her best friend. She truly didn't know what she would do without Penelope. I mean, she was willing to meet her at a café at 8:30 in the morning and listen to her rants about the useless male species that should all be shot. If that wasn't a sign of true friendship, Lily didn't know what was.
"Shit, I'm gonna be late." Lily yelped as she glanced at her watch and leapt from the table. "Thanks so much Penny, you're the best." With a quick hug, Lily raced from the shop, her mug of coffee still clutched firmly in her hand.
With a loud groan, Penelope rose too. Ignoring the snorts of laughter, curious looks and pointing at her attire, she made her way onto the street in the direction of her apartment.
"Are you sure this is the way?" Lily asked for the umpteenth time as her and Penelope walked down a road she was sure they'd walked down at least a dozen times already.
"I think so." Penelope replied uncertainly. She peered around at their surroundings with her brow furrowed in concentration.
"How about we go left?" Lily suggested. They were on their way to meet up with some of their friends at a new club that had recently opened up nearby. Apparition was useless as they had never been there before and Penelope had eagerly suggested walking.
"It'll be great exercise for us." She had exclaimed happily earlier that evening. "You said just the other day that you wanted to start walking."
"I didn't quite mean with stilettos on." Lily had replied dryly as she turned her ankle walking down the stone steps of Penelope's apartment.
Now, Penelope also seemed to be regretting the idea of walking. They were lost, their feet already hurt and their skimpy dresses hardly protected them from the chilly spring air.
"Ooo, I know where we are now!" Penelope pointed excitedly in front of them.
"Penelope, we're outside the coffee shop opposite you're apartment and we've been walking for over half an hour." Lily said in exasperation.
"Stop complaining, at least I know where we are now. I'm going to go inside and ask for directions." Penelope said as she walked towards the glass door.
"You can't do that. In case you haven't noticed, this is a muggle coffee shop. We can't ask there for directions to a wizard's club."
"I'm not a moron. I'll just ask for the street, not the actual place." Lily shrugged and followed Penelope inside the coffee shop. They were regulars to this place, despite it being muggle.
That was Lily's main complaint about the wizarding world. Their severe lack of coffee choices. If you walked into The Leaky Cauldron and asked for a frappachino you got the same blank look as you did if you tried to order a butterbeer at Starbucks.
"I'll wait here." Lily indicated towards the gas heater at the back of the small coffee shop. Penelope nodded and headed towards the counter.
The coffee shop was quiet, as it usually was at around 10 in the evening. Lily peered around the dimly lit space as she waited for Penelope to return, rubbing her arms in a sad attempt to diminish her goosebumps.
"Oops, I'm so sorry." A young man stumbled into Lily knocking her small clutch to the ground. She watched it skid across the wooden floor before come to rest by one of the tables.
The man immediately picked up the small handbag and returned it to an approving Lily. Admittedly Lily didn't particularly enjoy being knocked into and having her band new (and exceedingly expensive since it had cost her lunch for three days) bag thrown across the room but when the offender looked like that you wouldn't hear Lily complaining.
"It's okay." Lily smiled kindly as she accepted her bag and watched as the man continued to apologise profusely. He looked oddly familiar yet Lily couldn't place him.
"Have a seen you before?" She asked curiously. The man smiled. A very handsome smile that made his dark eyes twinkle even brighter.
"I don't know, but I saw you here this morning." Recognition spread across Lily's face. She remembered him now. He had been standing next to the incredibly handsome man she had spied out the window that morning. She hadn't really noticed him then but looking back, could recall seeing his face. He had been slightly overshadowed by his even more ridiculously handsome friend that she had barely given him a second glance. Well, a fourth glance anyway.
"Lily?" Penelope had obviously finished asking directions and was looking curiously at her.
"Oh right. Well, I'd better go now." Lily said apologetically to the man. She didn't quite know why she was sorry, but she felt that familiar pang of disappointment to be leaving. Despite having sworn off men since her most recent break-up, Lily was intrigued by the man. Something about his friendly face, that humorous twinkle and his strong hands that had steadied her when he had bumped into Lily made it hard to pull her gaze away from his.
"I hope to bump into you again." He said with a boyish grin that lit up his handsome face. Lily smiled at the pun as she turned to leave.
"I know where to go now." Penelope said as they left the shop and set off in hopefully what was the right direction.
"The lady said we just follow this street, turn left at the –" Penelope trailed off a list of instructions while the usually attentive Lily let her thoughts stray.
Her head turned involuntarily and she caught sight of the man. He was watching her, a small smile playing at his lips. Lily's own mouth curved up into a smile.
"What are you smiling at?" Penelope demanded as Lily quickly whipped her head around looking guilty.
"Nothing." She mumbled quietly.
And so she walked away with an odd feeling she couldn't put a name to. Not knowing quite what it was she was feeling. Not knowing what it was about the man that had stuck her, intrigued her, confused her. Not knowing if or when she would ever see him again. Not knowing if she even really wanted to. Just not knowing. A feeling Lily Evans wasn't particularly used to, and one she certainly didn't like.
This chapter is pretty short, almost like a prologue I suppose. The rest of the chapters will be much longer and don't forget, I love reviews just as much as the next person so please leave one. :-)