A/N: Wow. This took a really long time to update. I really shouldn't have written at all (I should be reading summer books and all) but I had an urge to update, so sue me. Because everyone's waited, it's nice and long.
Disclaimer: The usual. Don't own it. Small spoilers for Deathly Hallows, not much.
"You can't wear that!" Sirius pointed loudly to James' well-fitted shirt and whined like a teenaged girl.
"Why bloody well I can." James grinned, pleased with himself, pouring heaps of marmalade onto his toast, a cigarette hanging loosely in his left hand.
Sirius put an arm around James consolingly. "Jimmie-Poo, Prongs, Prongsie," Sirius liked to experiment, "I don't think you understand, mate." James ignored him but Sirius continued anyways. "That shirt is for poor flyers. Then it's like an excuse for their abysmal flying."
"I get how you could see that," James reasoned. "…But because I'm a good flyer, it suggests that I'm even better at snogging."
He was, of course, very proud of this shirt and only wore it on special occasions – namely trying to woo women. They were headed to Hogsmede today, on Remus' orders to get the fuck out of the house NOW, and also on Sirius' orders for James to get himself a nice looking bird who didn't go to Hogwarts.
When he explained the wooing-with-the-shirt idea to Sirius, it did not go over well. "Ha!"
"Oh, come on!" James moaned. He would not accept defeat. "Moony?"
Remus was not thrilled. "What do you want?"
James swiveled in his chair, to make his chest more attractive to the viewer. "What do you think of this shirt?"
Remus studied it blankly for a full minute before walking away. "Oy!" James called after him, "you have to settle something, alright?"
Remus sighed, "I don't think it's very fitting; and it definitely won't be fitting on Sirius."
"No," James stuck out his front a bit, "what do you think of the writing?"
Remus, nonplused, replied, "It's very… yellow."
Sirius jumped out of his chair, "Merlin and pixie caskets!" (The two others laughed silently at Sirius' outburst.) "Damnit, mate, it doesn't take that much to get what we're asking of you!"
"What I think Sirius means is," James translated, "do you think my shirt means that I can't fly and my excuse is that I can kiss," Sirius looked as though he wanted to interrupt, so James kept on, "or do you think this shirt means that I am an exceptional flyer and therefore am outstanding kisser."
"Well," Remus said before Sirius could speak, "you're a good flyer, so I'd have to say the latter."
"Yes, but what if you didn't know James?"
The question was ludicrous. "Everybody knows James."
It was a bit of a hike, but Lily had discovered her new admiration for hikes, so when the landlord asked if it was too high up she said it was fine. Amos was already scoping out the place when she got there, opening and closing cabinets, double checking sizes and closets; Lily had to admit, he looked quite the little homeowner. …Except they were renting a flat. He was renting a flat. He was.
"So, let me know what you think; I'll leave you be." The landlord walked into another room, glancing at the view (probably to draw to attention the great windows or such).
"Well," Amos clapped his hands together, "what do you think?"
Lily smiled. "It's great. It really is."
Amos laughed heartily, out of pure excitement. "Can you believe this? We'll have a place to come to on our own…" He wrapped his arms around her and nibbled her neck. A place to play house in, Lily fantasized Amos coming home from interning, herself at the small kitchen inset. Something was wrong. She swallowed. "You mean you'll have a place for us to come to."
"So you really think I should get it?" Amos asked, glancing nervously up at her from her chest. "You like it?"
"Yes, I like it."
"Great!" Amos jerked away from her enthusiastically, only to find that the landlord had wandered over to them at the mentioning of a sale. "We'll take it!"
The landlord smiled and handed them the papers.
"I'll take a decaf."
"You'll take a what?" Sirius asked the impish girl sitting before him.
"I want decaf."
"What's the point of having a coffee then?"
She shrugged, "I like the way it tastes."
"Nobody likes the way it tastes." Sirius ignored the waitress, who was checking out James' shirt, murmuring, "I like the way it tastes."
James raised his eyebrows, but heard a soft ding which drew his attention to the front of the café where a redhead stood, glancing around for something or, his stomach lurched, somebody. "Shit."
"Not you," He added to the waitress as he bolted unconsciously towards Lily, without even preparing a pickup line or speech. All that came out was a clipped shout. "Oy, Evans!"
Lily turned and he was already at eyelevel – it seemed that in the short amount of time it took to walk a few feet, James had jogged to reach her. "Hi, Lily."
"Hello, James." Calling him James was a bit strange; she felt the weird sense on her tongue as she spoke it. She glanced at his chest, which he was very clearly positioning for her to notice. "Nice shirt."
"Why, thank you."
"I was being sarcastic."
James took a long drag. Why the hell did he stand for this kind of abuse? Why was he so attracted to the woman who loathed him? "Love you too, dear."
Lily watched him for a moment, waiting for him to make some drastic move like he usually did. "Did you want something?"
James mind, which had been temporarily frozen by the surprise entrance of his wannabe lover, jumped to life. "Would you, err, like a coffee?"
She smiled; yes, an actual smile. After all it was a weirdly polite gesture for Potter. "No thanks, I am not here for coffee." She paused as he tried to comprehend this. "I have an interview in a few minutes."
"Oh." He seemed to sink a few inches into the floor.
Lily almost felt bad for telling him no, which was a very peculiar feeling. "Thank you though," She offered, which was the best she could do under the circumstances. She overheard Sirius in the background loudly whispering "the flower has been spotted" and when she saw Remus she added. "And could you tell Remus that Barney's got some records in that he should check out?"
James nodded awkwardly.
"I should probably go," She paused ever so briefly. "Have a good summer, James."
"Right," He spoke, but she had already walked off to her interview.
"You are so sexy."
"Isn't this wonderful?"
"Please, this is weird."
"Well," Lily sat up, surveying the room. "There is no furniture."
Amos did not stop kissing her, even through his answers, "Don't worry – I'll take care of that tomorrow."
"Stop. I feel awful, I should be at home, Mum needs help."
"I thought Petty was home?"
Hearing Amos call her sister by the family nickname made her skin crawl. "Well, she's a little distracted."
"Oh," He seemed to get the point, finally ceasing to shower her with playful bites and altogether too-wet kisses. "Okay."
Had she been too harsh? "Where are you going to sleep?"
"I'll probably crash with my parents, mother's been nervous about the transition anyways." They sat for a moment in silence before Lily stood up, feeling the emptiness of the new flat. "I'll see you tomorrow then," she spoke before kissing him lightly. She apparated home, resisting the urge to drop by Remus' or Severus'. She went to bed without saying goodnight to her family, who would simply pester her about when she was bringing Amos home.
Lily had, of course, been mistaken. Over the next couple days, only her mother noticed her bizarre behavior and, after passing it off as food poisoning, actually asked her what was troubling her. She didn't answer. Her mother, who was putting up with Petunia's constant wedding bubbles, didn't even ask how Amos was doing. Lily wasn't sure if this was a good or bad thing.
Twice in three days she had seen Potter; once at the coffee shop, and once just down the street at the muggle jungle gym. She had hidden of course, in such a fury already Potter would certainly make things worse, but she couldn't shake the image of him from her mind. Not only was he in her neighborhood, but he was mere blocks away.
Slowly, as a week passed and Lily saw less and less of Amos, she wished more and more for her parents to bring him up, to notice his absence in her life – surely parents were supposed to notice such things! She hadn't spoken much since the night Amos bought the flat and each minute, each second, she was collecting thoughts and ugly remarks she couldn't wait to throw at the first person to mention him. Finally it occurred, two days before the family was expected to meet Vernon.
"Lily, how's Amos? You haven't spoken of him in a while."
Lily's hands grew hot. "He's fine."
He's fine?! After a week of brewing hatred towards, well, everyone, all she thought to say was he's fine?
"That's good. You should bring him over. We've never met him! It only seems fitting; we're meeting Vernon this week as well." Petunia threw her mother a look of disgust, as though Vernon should never be compared to anyone Lily was dating.
Lily didn't speak, a mute to which everyone had become accustomed, and Mrs. Evans continued on talking with Petunia about wedding matters.
That night, Lily ignored three owls and a floo message from Amos and, burdened from guilt, Lily decided to make her way to the muggle play set. She wouldn't be surprised if someone else was there, a teenager vandalizing, or an ambitious mother with their sleepless child. It was abandoned, or so she thought at first. Then she saw James.
"Hi." She was too tired to yell at him, or rather, to make up an excuse to yell at him.
He was standing by the swings, his cigarette lit and glowing bright as the colors around them faded into dusk. "You okay?"
She started crying; right there, in front of James, in front of her childhood memories, naked almost. And she was afraid that he'd make her feel more vulnerable, ask questions, pat her or something childish. But he didn't. He just let her cry. He reached over to hold her hand. She didn't object.
Eventually she gained some control, wiping her face. "Sorry."
He didn't say anything back, but she realized that he had stopped smoking and he was only watching her – not intently or anything that made her feel uncomfortable, just watching. "The other day, you told me to have a good summer."
"Yeah?" She sniffed.
"Did you really want me to have a good summer or was it one of those 'well, I need to get off, so I'll pick from a number of goodbye lines in my brain'?"
Lily laughed lightly. "Honestly? Probably the latter. Not that – well – not that I wish you ill or anything."
James laughed. He conjured a tissue. She looked slightly appalled, as they were in a muggle residence, but she took his tissue. "You want to talk about it?"
James smiled, like he had caught Lily at something. "Don't give me that."
She sat on a swing and looked up at him, or, at his shirt. It was the same as from a week ago.
"Like it?" He asked.
"Oh, it's very flattering."
"Remus told me it wasn't my color."
"He wants me to move in with him."
Lily answered him with an eye roll, and James apologized.
"I just – I don't think I'm ready to move in with anyone. I'm barely seventeen!"
"And he has these weird sleeping schedules, not that I've noticed, but I just don't think it will be a good fit, especially now and I'm about to go off to Hogwarts and all, just in a few months, I mean does he really think I'm that thick?"
"Maybe he really likes you?"
Lily moaned. "He told me he loved me."
"…Does this line usually generate so much pain in a woman?"
"My parents want to meet him!" She said dramatically, finally turning to face James, "don't they realize how much pressure that is?"
James didn't say anything.
"And he said we!" She threw her arms about, nearly falling off the swing. "When he told the landlord about the getting the flat, he said we'd have it!"
James paused, adopting a Remus-like expression, "Have you talked to him about, well, everything?"
"No! Naturally I've been ignoring him for days!"
James' heart sped up. He didn't like to see Lily so miserable, but news that all was not well with the Lily/Amos relationship did bring him a small spark of hope. "Maybe you should speak with him."
"Oh, I don't know. I really don't want to bring him home. My parents will get ideas."
"What do you mean?"
"About marriage! Petty's engaged and now I've had a semi-serious relationship for five months and the man's actually decent which means I'm bound to end up marrying him of course!" She paused. "I just can't bring myself to break up with him. I just can't."
James' spirits soared. "But, you, er, want to?"
"Yes. Well, no. I think I do. I don't know, maybe we've just hit a rough patch. But I know that I don't want to move in with him, and I was planning on breaking up with him before school anyways."
"Yes, it would be so much easier to start school fresh, I mean, he won't be around next year, will he? It's not like he can seriously expect that I would come home every break to him and his stupid flat, and why should I bring him home now, get my parents hopes up-"
"Lily, I have an idea…"
THE "MY BAD" SECTION
As I've reread past couple chapters, I've noticed where I've had a few slip ups. I don't have specifics, although once I wrote of instead of off, and I've been writing Ms. Evans instead of Mrs. Evans, so I will try to apologize for those mistakes as the story goes on in the "My Bad" Section. It's hard to keep up with everything without a beta, and I understand how even small grammatical/spelling errors can bring you out of the moment when reading a story, so I apologize. Some errors are intentional, but if you find spelling mishaps, etc, that bothered you, please let me know. They will come up on the "My Bad" Section… whenever I get a chance to update again… lol.