Disclaimer: I own nothing in the Harry Potter universe.
"What are you doing here?"
Lily Evans stood, frazzled and edgy, in her bedroom, waiting for what had better be a very good explanation as to why James Potter had just apparated and was now standing in her bedroom, looking rather pleased with himself (as usual). This wasn't the time to deal with James Potter... Lily should have known something like this would happen. This boy in front of her somehow always showed up at the worst possible time.
Her first kiss, for example... or well, her almost first kiss. They never really got around to the kissing because of Potter's bad timing. Anyway, just as Jeremy Howard (a nice, yet slightly dim Hufflepuff who had an unhealthy obsession with quidditch) was leaning in, Potter happened to call her name. She'd jumped in surprise and accidentally raised her hand up and hit him in the nose. She spent a half hour sitting next to Jeremy on a hospital wing bed, apologizing while Madam Pomfrey gave him a potion that smelled just as bad as it looked. Jeremy still unconsciously touched his nose whenever they happened to run into each other.
"Nice dress, Evans." He said plopping down on her bed and running a hand over the quilt. "I like the sunshine and daisies bed cover too. Although, I prefer broomsticks and quaffles myself." Lily could here the cheekiness in his voice. She walked over and pushed him off the bed.
"Potter, I'm only going to ask once again, what are you doing here?" She asked.
"Ah, right. I'm afraid your ex-escort won't be able to escort you today." James began sauntering around her bedroom, being his usual nosy self.
"Remus isn't coming?" Lily exclaimed. This was not happening. This was NOT happening! This was NOT happening THREE hours before her sister's wedding! She didn't even WANT to go to the stupid wedding and now it turns out she didn't have an escort? Why? Why her?
James examined a music box Lily had gotten from her parents for Christmas when she was a little girl. "Really, Evans, I'm hurt you kept your sister's wedding a secret from me. You should know nothing gets past me. What, did you think I'd drop in and strike chaos at it?"
"Exactly." She muttered, walking over, taking the music box from James, and setting it back down. When she had found out about Petunia's wedding six months ago, in February, Lily made sure James Potter didn't find out about it. After knowing James for almost six years, she had no doubt he would show up and ruin Petunia's wedding. Of course, afterwards, it wouldn't be James Petunia would blame, it would be her. It always seemed to be Lily's fault.
Oh look! It's raining! And I wanted to go on a picnic with Vernon too!
Oh look! Some blasted cat's got in the garbage!
Oh look! My pencil broke!
Oh look! That weatherman's wig is lopsided.
Oh look! I lost my purse!
Oh look! I have fifteen big, red pimples on my face!
Lily's fault... well, Lily meant to do that. Petunia was just asking for it. No need to get into detail on how she'd done it though.
"What's happened to Remus?"
Her eyes watched James' every movement intently, making sure he wasn't snooping. He had a bad habit of snooping. A very bad habit. If she happened to leave her school bag unattended at anytime, there he was, just casually looking through, like it was his or something. The nerve of him. Git.
"Well, your wonderful Remus -- who, by the way, didn't bother to tell me about the wedding either, or the fact that he was escorting you -- came down with a bad case of the dragon pox last night. He looks quite terrible. Doubt he'd look decent for the wedding, even if he could manage getting out of bed. Scare the willies out of all the wedding guests." He peeked inside one of her jewelry boxes and took out a bracelet.
"Put that back," was her instant response. Of course, there was another reason Lily did not want James to know about Petunia's wedding. It was simple really.
Petunia's wedding was a, well... a wedding. Another excuse for him, James Potter, to be her date.
And Lily was not going to have James Potter as her date/escort, whatever it was called. She had made Remus promise not to breath a word about the wedding or his escorting her to anyone. They were just going as friends, nothing more. Remus had always been a good friend of hers, despite his friendship with Mister Snoop-A-Lot/Be-A-Git-A-Lot. He was the only boy she had really considered asking to take her. Even if you just looked at the sixth year boys from Gryffindor, there wasn't much appeal.
James Potter: No need to explain. GIT.
Sirius Black: James Potter's partner in crime. Need she say more?
Peter Pettigrew: Er... No. Just no. NO.
Edmund Jorkins: She rarely talk to the boy. That would only be, oh, a TAD awkward. All she knew about him was that he hated cheddar cheese (she'd heard him say that once to Sylvia Coltan (Gryffindor, 7th year, complete dudderhead).
Lily hurriedly moved to her bed and laid down. She breathed out slowly and closed her eyes. Just breath, Lily.
It wasn't as if she hadn't been helping her mother and Petunia get ready for this bloody wedding for the past MONTH or anything. It wasn't as if she hadn't been going NUTTERS or anything cramped up in her house with Petunia and her boring, snobby fiancé, Vernon and his even more boring and snobby parents. Don't even get her started on Vernon's stuffy sister Marge. Ugh. It wasn't as if she had gotten up at FIVE this morning to help go and set everything at the church, or swing by and get Petunia's ugly wedding cake (she was sorry to say the two little figurines on top of the cake that supposedly represented the bride and groom, did not represent them well at all. The groom was too slim to be Vernon. The bride was to plump to be Petunia.).
No, it wasn't as if her summer was turning out to be ROTTEN or anything. No. Not at all. And she was seventeen, wasn't she suppose to be having the time of her life or finding the love of her life or SOMETHING? Isn't that what seventeen year old's did in the books?
"Gone to sleep, have you? Don't we have a wedding to get to?"
Lily's eyes opened slowly and she jumped slightly at seeing James hovering over her. "What's the point?" She moaned. "I don't want to go, Petunia doesn't want me to go, this dress is so tight I can hardly breath, and oh, is it rather obvious I don't have an ESCORT?"
"Well, I don't know how to help you with not wanting to go, or about your sister not wanting you to go, or your dress being too tight-- unless you'd like me to take it off, of course-" He suggested with a wink. Lily promptly kicked him in the knee. "- but as to not having an escort, I don't know what your talking about. Of course you have an escort."
A glimmer of hope passed through Lily's mind. She looked around for this supposed escort she had. Because she was sure James had just said she had an escort. Which could only mean that A) Remus was going to pop up soon and say "Ha, ha! Got you!" or B) James knew of a DECENT replacement escort hanging around somewhere.
"Who?" She asked with confusion.
"Who?" James imitated, watching her with amusement. "Me, of course!"
Lily jaw dropped and she sat up, James backing away slightly. She studied the boy standing in front of her, carefully, wondering what exactly he was getting at here. He looked serious enough, except for that dumb grin plastered all over his face.
"What do you mean, you? You're not my escort!"
"Yes I am! Remus asked me to take his place." He held up his hands at Lily's raised eyebrow, "Really, he did!"
Lily bit her lip and stared out the window at a bird flying around. Oh how she would love to be a bird, free to fly anywhere she liked, do what she wanted, not have annoying sisters or nosy boys who happen to think they were her replacement escort. She glared as it twittered happily and swooped out of sight. Ruddy bird, thinks its so high and mighty.
It wasn't like she had any choice in the matter now, she thought, drumming her fingers against the mattress. James Potter was the only escort now. Well, there WERE other escorts, but they weren't as... eligible.
Not so eligible escorts:
Vernon's grandfather: An exact clone of Vernon (personality and everything), except fifty years older, with gray hair and false teeth.
Petunia's friend's son: Perfectly nice and ONLY EIGHT YEARS OLD.
Petunia's other friend's brother: Think James and Sirius combined, only WAY worse.
That friendly baker guy who made Petunia's wedding cake: He's booked. Has to make ten more wedding cakes, two birthday cakes, and a retirement cake (he showed her his agenda-- see, totally nice chap) today. No time to escort her.
That one cute looking bloke from the Tutshill Tornadoes quidditch team she'd seen flying on a poster in the girls dormitory once: Unavailable. But, still has REALLY good hair.
Yeah. So... all that was left was James. Why? Why her?
Lily stood up and sighed depressingly. "Fine. But, you have to agree not to make a complete disaster out of this, do you hear me? No funny business. No blowing up cakes, or dresses, or enchanting bushes to sing, or-" She felt like a mother tell her child not to get in the cookie jar.
James rolled his eyes. "Okay, okay. Contrary to what you think, I do know how act in public... blowing up stuff is more fun though."
"Whatever. I need to finish getting ready so we can head over to the church and- Wait! You can't go to a wedding wearing those- those- THOSE!" She finally spat out, gesturing towards James' casual jeans and T-shirt.
"What, clothes? Do muggle's go naked to wedding's? Merlin, and I thought they couldn't get any weirder."
"They do not go naked." Lily said with exasperation. "What I meant was you can't go in casual clothes. It's formal. Suit and tie."
"You mean robes?"
"No, suit and tie."
"No problem. I'll just transfigure these." He pulled out his wand and pointed them at his clothes.
Lily sighed and moved towards her full-length mirror, trying to figure out what to do with her hair, all the while watching James in mirror to make sure he didn't start nosing around again.
Hmmm. A simple twist? Or a bun? Maybe she should just leave it down- no, it was warm out, she didn't want a mound of hair smothering her all day- the church definitely didn't have that muggle air conditioning. Of course, the reception would be outside, at night. It would probably cool off by then-
She noticed something in the mirror. "James, no. Absolutely not." Her arms crossed over her chest, trying not give in and laugh.
James grinned and flicked his newly transfigured tie at her. "What? Suit and tie, right?"
"Yes, but no miniature lions running around on the tie, roaring 'Go Gryffindor!'. The muggles would be scared to death." She grabbed her wand off her bed and walked to James, taking the tie in her hand. It soon was a simple deep red. No lions whatsoever.
"Now, don't turn it back." She commanded.
She felt James step closer to her and take the tie from her hands slowly. "Thanks. Didn't know you're of age yet." His voice had deepened slightly (Lily found that rather annoying when he purposely deepened his voice. Then again, lots of things James Potter did annoyed her).
Lily turned her head up to look at him better. There was a Let's-Get-Cozy-in-a-Broomcloset look on his face. She had first started seeing that look somewhere near the end of their fifth year. It was just one of the countless looks James had. It was fascinating really, how many different looks he had. There were the I'm-Happy/Sad/Angry/Pouting/Etc. looks, then there was the more complex looks.
I-Swear-I-Didn't-Do-It! (Of course you didn't, James. Of course not.)
You-Greasy-Git (A look reserved for Severus Snape)
You-Look-Really-Really-Hot (A look reserved especially for her. Isn't she just so special? NOT)
"Lily, are you almost ready? Petunia just called saying she forgot her bouquet. She's crying and blubbering about not having it. I think we need to leave soon or else your sister's going to have a heart attack. Your mother left with the forgotten shoes just before Petunia called-- Well, hello." Lily's father greeted slowly as he realized Lily wasn't the only one in her bedroom.
The two instantly jumped apart and James' face now had a I-Wasn't-Hitting-On-Your-Daughter...-Sir look. Lily felt so embarrassed. Her DAD had just walk in on James trying to get her to snog in her clothes closet. Why? Why her?
"Oh dad! Hi dad! Didn't see you there, dad!" Her voice was rather high. That must of been why James and her father looked at her funnily.
"Er, hello Lily. I haven't seen you in... twenty minutes." He paused before turning to James. "You must be Remus."
"Actually, sir, my name is J-"
"This is James, dad. Remus couldn't make it, dad. He had a, er, cold, dad." Why did she keep saying dad?
"Oh, uh, okay. Well, it's nice to meet you, James." He frowned for a moment. "I didn't see you come in."
James opened his mouth to explain but was stopped by Lily. "Oh, he, er, was walking and... climbed in through my window."
They both looked at her like she was crazy. "What?"
Well, it was rather ridiculous, but she didn't want to have to explain how James apparated here. As much as she loved telling her parents all about the magical world, they really didn't understand it. If she brought up James apparating into her bedroom, her father would ask how exactly apparation worked and then there would be a long, long discussion about it. And they just didn't have time for that.
"You walked? How far you do live from here, son?"
James, for once, looked bewildered. "Er-- well, not too far, I suppose. No, not far at all." He gave Lily a famous What-the-Hell-Is-Going-On-Here look. Lily had noticed through the years that James didn't like not knowing what was going on. And right now he had absolutely no idea what was going on.
"And you... climbed in through Lily's second story window."
"James, here, he's a... a..." Lily trailed off, trying to find a word for James. "A great climber. Yes. Ha, ha. He loves climbing, dad."
"What can I say?" James gave a forced laugh. "I love that climbing. Ha, ha... ha. Er."
"Go down the hall, to the left, and the bathroom's the third door on the right." Lily gave James a distracted pat on the back and he soon was off to the bathroom.
"We couldn't just apparate here, could we?" He muttered miserablely, holding his stomach as he headed down the hall, face a rather gross shade of green. "No, we just had to take that muggle contraption you call an automodel..."
"Automobile!" Lily corrected as she headed in the opposite direction, towards Petunia's dressing room. They had made it to the church a bit late because James was reluctant to get in the car. He had never heard of a car, much less even seen a car before. So, when she explained to him that her father would be driving them to the church, James asked why they couldn't just apparate. Of course, her father asked how apparation worked and Lily cursed James inwardly. After having a long explanation of how apparation worked, they all finally got in the car (Lily had to push James in and lock all the doors).
"Whatever." She heard him mumble. Apparently, he was car sick.
Lily held her hand up to knock on Petunia's dressing room door, but stopped at the sound of screeching. It was very familiar screeching.
"-WHAT IS THIS? THOSE AREN'T THE SHOES I PICKED OUT FOR YOU! I'M THE BRIDE! NOT YOU! THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING! DO YOU WANT THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF MY LIFE TO BE RUINED? BECAUSE IF YOU DO--" ... and here comes the tears.
The door suddenly burst open and Marian, one of Petunia's snooty bridesmaids, ran past her, sobbing. Lily watched her with exasperation. People got way too emotional at wedding's. Or, at least, they did at Petunia's wedding. She shook her head and walked into the dressing room cautiously.
"Petunia, here's your-"
"LILY! WHERE IS MY BOUQUET? I CAN'T WALK DOWN THE AISLE WITHOUT A BOUQUET! YOU ALWAYS RUIN EVERYTHING! I DON'T KNOW HOW I LET MOTHER TALK ME INTO MAKING YOU MY MAID OF HONOR!"
"Your bouquet is right here! Merlin..."
"DON'T YOU BRING UP THAT FREAKISH NAME-... I mean, er," Petunia smiled painfully as she glanced over at her other bridesmaid (also snooty), "Just be quiet. I need peace right now. And WHERE did Marian go?" Petunia sniffled and promptly burst into tears. "MY DAY IS RUIN! I'M A BRIDESMAID SHORT AND I CAN'T FIND MY EARRINGS AND--"
"Here's you earrings, Pet." Everyone gave a sigh of relief as Lily and Petunia's mother walked in and handed the earrings to Petunia. "They were in the car. They must have slipped in between the seat- Oh, Lily, there you are. We were beginning to get worried you and your father wouldn't get here." She gave Petunia a look. "Weren't we, Petunia?"
Petunia didn't say anything, only took the earrings and began putting them on.
"Yes, well, Remus came down with a cold and there was an escort situation and-"
"I thought I told you not to bring anyone from your-- school, Lily." Petunia stated icily. There was panic in her eyes. Oh no, now there were two freaks here. Her wedding was turning out to be a disaster.
"Well, everyone else was busy." Actually, Lily didn't know any muggles because, after all, she was at Hogwarts just about all the time. She didn't really have many friends outside of the magical world.
Petunia's eyes narrowed. They flickered to Lily's hair. "Your hair isn't up."
"I thought I'd just leave it down." She had hurriedly curled it with a charm at the house.
"Speaking of hair, why don't I help you do yours, Pet? I haven't done your hair since you were a little girl." Their mother cut in, already sensing a fight.
Lily saw this as a chance to get out. "Mother, I think I'll go find Marian. She looked a little, er, upset when she left." That was an understatement. Other then finding Marian, Lily supposed she had ought to find James as well. Can't leave him unsupervised for too long...
"Good idea, Lily. Now, how would you like your hair?"
"Petunia's looking for you." She said as she passed Marian in the hallway. Marian gave her a short nod and continued on without a word.
"You're welcome." Lily muttered sarcastically. She heard Marian knock on Petunia's door. Soon after there was a outburst of chatter and laughter. Things were settling down in Petunia's dressing room... for now. The monster was tamed; her mother was doing her hair, no freakish sister in proximity, and all bridesmaid's were accounted for.
After following her own directions, Lily made it to the men's bathroom and knocked. "James? James, are you alright? You had better not be blowing up the toilet-"
Vernon's boss from Grunning's (Good lord, don't bring Grunning's up around Vernon- not unless you want your brain turned to mush from boredom) stepped out. He was a plain man, who always seem to look constipated. Maybe he was always constipated-- or maybe that was just the way he looked. The man always wore very clean looking suits and ties, always. The worst of all was that the ties he wore were always so ugly.
"Oh! Hello, Mr. Madison..."
"Would you happen to know if there was a boy in there? About seventeen years old, tall and lanky? Messy dark hair? Glasses? Possibly throwing up?"
He grunted again. Lily supposed that was a yes.
"Oh, good! Is he still in there?"
A grunt. That was most definitely a no. She was sure of it.
"Oh, okay. Thank you, Mr. Madison."
As soon as she turned her back to him, Lily's previous polite smile vanished and she anxiously began looking in all of the rooms down the hallway. "Where are you, Potter? I don't have time to go on a wild goose chase! The wedding's going to be starting soon!"
Meanwhile, James was sitting in a seat on the groom's side. Of course, he didn't know Petunia's family and friends from Vernon's family and friends. Not that it mattered of he did; James had never been to a muggle wedding before. He didn't know he was suppose to sit on the bride's side.
He gave a friendly smile to the old lady sitting on his right (one of Vernon's grandmothers). "Nice place." He said nodded around him.
The woman only looked him up and down.
"I'm Lily Evans escort." James boasted, "Do you know her? Her sister's the bride." He was slightly disappointed when Vernon's grandmother didn't look at him enviously as if to say, How did you get so lucky to be LILY EVANS escort?, but instead, only looked at him strangely. She slowly scooted away from James.
James watched her do this with confusion before shrugging and turning to an equally old lady (Vernon's other grandmother) sitting to his left. "Hey." He gave another friendly smile.
"Good day." She said stiffly.
"I've never been to a wedding like this before."
"Yeah... Don't mind me though, I'm just here to escort Lily Evans. Do you know her?"
"Petunia's sister? The one who's always at that boarding school?" He didn't notice the woman also scoot away from him. James also didn't know that Petunia had told Vernon's family that Lily went to a boarding school for teenagers who were troubled in the head. Petunia had gotten in a lot of trouble after her mother found out.
James nodded, "I go to school with her."
"Well, of course."
"Boys and girls never went to school together when I was growing up. Then again, maybe they make an exception for your school's, er, kind of students."
James raised an eyebrow. "My school's kind of students?"
"Shouldn't you be on the bride's side?" The woman hastily asked, eager to get rid of this strange boy.
She pointed to the seats on the other side of the aisle. "Oh. Well, thanks for telling me. I definitely feel like an idiot." Although, James couldn't help but wonder why the bride and groom's guests had to sit on separate sides- they were all here to see the same thing, weren't they? Muggles were so strange.
"Lily! We've been looking all over for you-"
"WHERE IS SHE? THIS IS MY WEDDING, NOT HIDE AND SEEK!-"
"-the ceremony's going to start soon and-"
"SHE'S DOING THIS ON PURPOSE, MOTHER! I'M TELLING YOU, SHE'S DOING THIS ON PURPOSE! SHE'S TRYING TO RUIN VERNON'S AND MY HAPPY DAY! BECAUSE THIS IS SUPPOSE TO BE A HAPPY DAY, MOTHER, AND IT- IS- NOT- A- HAPPY- DAY!"
"-and Petunia's a little nervous."
Lily tried to stay away from a seething Petunia who could probably tame a dragon right now if she didn't detest the magical world and everything in it. "I'm sorry, mother, I was looking for James, my escort, remember?"
"Oh, well, I'm sure he's with the other guests."
"I suppose." I hope...
"-did you know I'm her escort?"
"Oh, really? That's nice. I'm a friend of her mother's."
"The name's James Potter."
"Eva Stansburg. Lily's mother and I went to school together."
"That's funny because Lily and I go to school together!"
"Yeah, we've known each other since we were eleven."
"Oh, how wonderful. You two will be life long friends, like her mother and I-- unless, are you dating? After all, you are her escort."
James was liking the bride's side much better. He shrugged nonchalantly, "Well, I guess you could say we're sort of a couple-"
"Dad, have you seen my escort?" Lily whispered as he walked past her to join Petunia. The ceremony was about to start.
"No, Lily, I haven't, but-"
Everyone within ten feet of Petunia jumped at her voice. Lily's father hastily made his way to Petunia before she began breathing fire at her bridesmaid's. Lily sent Petunia an exasperated look she didn't see- her wedding veil had fallen off her head and she was crouching over in her overly puffy white wedding dress to retrieve it.
Honestly. Could Petunia be anymore of a pain on her own wedding day?
And where WAS James?
James was sitting exactly in the last row of the bride's side. He could faintly hear a woman screeching about her wedding veil falling to the floor and would someone pick it up, instead just standing there like a bunch of fools? James had a feeling that was the bride.
He had been sitting with Eva Stansburg, but her husband came back from the bathroom, and asked if he would mind moving to a different seat- there weren't anymore seats left for him in that row. So, James got up and moved, only being able to squeeze into a seat on the very back row because all of the guests had arrived by now- the wedding would be starting soon.
And so it did. A man started playing a song on an organ at the very front of the church and all of the guests stood up. James watched them do this, confused, but followed their movements anyway. Why the heck were they all standing up? Were the muggles going to dance? James had never liked dancing. He could fly upside down and sideways on his broomstick five hundred feet in the air, but when it came to dancing-- well, let's just say he wouldn't try impressing Lily Evans by dancing for all the galleons in Gringotts.
The doors at the back of the church opened and three girls (wearing matching dresses) started walking down the aisle slowly, a bloke at their arm. One of them was Lily, he noticed, as she passed him. He watched her for moment before leaning out into the aisle slightly. "Lily! Hey Lily!"
Lily abruptly stopped, the bloke stumbling slightly, and looked over her shoulder at him. Her eyes widen before narrowing. Well. At least she'd found James...
AT THE WORST TIME POSSIBLE!
See what she meant? He had the worst timing.
James grinned as an embarrassed Lily tried to act as though she had not just stopped in the middle of the aisle, holding up a little girl with a basket of flowers, a boy with rings on a pillow, and the bride herself. James turned to a short, bald-headed man standing next to him.
"I'm escorting the red-head, Lily Evans; the one who just stopped. Do you know her?-"
"That was a rather boring wedding, Lily. The person beside me was snoring, I swear."
"I'm just happy everything went smoothly and you didn't stand up in the middle of ceremony and pull down your pants or something."
"What made you think I would pull down my pants?" James asked, picking up two cups of punch from the refreshment table. He handed one to Lily and kept the other for himself.
The wedding ceremony went rather well, Lily thought... not including James calling her name while she walking down the aisle. She had been so embarrassed. The rest of the ceremony went fairly well though; James sat like a good boy and the bride and groom said their "I Do" without a problem. Of course, because the ceremony went so well, that could only mean the reception would be a disaster. Lily just had this feeling something was going to happen, and she wasn't going to like it.
Everyone piled into their cars and drove back to the Evans home for the reception (after they got there, James spent at least twenty minutes in the bathroom, throwing up; obviously, cars did not do him good). The backyard was decorated fancy with white ribbons and bows and flowers. Everything was white, except for the grass and guests. Vernon and Petunia had their first dance and now everyone was either sitting at tables stuffing their faces with dinner, or dancing. Overhead lights were turned on as dusk came around.
Lily shrugged. "Well, you're definitely crazy enough to do it."
"You want to know what I think?" James asked, raising his eyebrows.
"I think your obsessed with my boxers. And because your obsessed with them, you wanted me to pull down my pants at the ceremony thing."
Lily laughed. "That is the most ridiculous idea I have ever heard. I have more important things to think about than your boxers."
James grinned at her and was about to reply when Lily's mother's voice was heard behind them. "Lily, come over here for a moment!"
The two shuffled over and James waved in greeting to Eva Stansburg, who was standing by Lily's mother. There were a few other middle aged women standing around. Lily smiled politely and gestured to James. "Mother, this is my escort, James. James, this is my mother and Charlotte Burns and Eva Stansburg-"
"I met James at the ceremony! What a wonderful boy he is!" Eva complimented. James grinned with a un-modest grin. He had a I-Know-I'm-Wonderful-You-Don't-Have-Tell-Me-That look on his face. "You're lucky to have such a wonderful fiancé, Lily!- Oops, I wasn't suppose to say anything about your engagement, was I? We don't want to steal the spotlight from Vernon and Petunia, this is their happy day and-"
Lily was listening now. Did Eva just say what she thought she just heard? No, that couldn't be possible. Because Lily was SURE Eva had just said her and James were, oh, ENGAGED! This wasn't happening! ... Of course, Lily was expecting something like this. Something always goes wrong when James Potter's involved.
She turned and took his arm with an iron grip (James winced slightly). "James, would you mind having a word with me? Now?"
"Why, of course, Lily!" James replied, looking a bit guilty now.
They started to move away but were stopped by Lily's mother. "Lily! You come back here right now! You're ENGAGED? When were you planning on telling me? You're only sixteen and-"
Oh Merlin. Oh MERLIN. Her mother hadn't even known James for two minutes, hadn't even said a word to him, and now she thought they were ENGAGED!
"Mother, I am not engaged." Lily said, trying to keep her voice down, so she didn't attract attention.
"But, Eva just said-"
"It was just a misunderstanding."
"Mother, really, it's just a misunderstanding- isn't it, James?" She gripped his arm tighter.
"Oh- Oh, yeah. It's just a misunderstanding. We're-"
"Just friends from school, nothing more."
Her mother looked skeptical for a moment. "... Alright."
"WHAT was that about? Hmmm? Why does EVA STATEBURG think we're ENGAGED?"
"I don't CARE if her names Pile O'Poo, Potter, I want to know what that was all about!" Lily exclaimed, raising her voice slightly, now that they were in a more secluded part of the backyard, near her mother's rosebushes.
James looked down guiltily. "I sat with Eva before the ceremony and we were just talking and one thing led to another and before long we were- well, you know, engaged." He shrugged. "What does it matter anyways? Your mother knows it's not true."
Lily couldn't believe him. He was acting as if them being engaged was normal or something. "How does just talking lead to us being engaged? What did you say?"
"Nothing really. Just that I was escorting you and- oh... Well, I might have said something about us dating..."
"WHAT? Why would you say that? We're not dating!"
"Then why- Argh. You know what?" Lily stopped and put her hand to her forehead. "I'm going to walk around for a while. Alone. Will you please try and restrain yourself from saying we're engaged or dating or, heaven forbid, HAVING CHILDREN TOGETHER? I'd rather not have my parents go nuts or Petunia get mad at me for stealing her day." She moved away.
James caught her arm, "Come on, Lily, don't be mad. I'm sorry, okay? I didn't mean for that to happen. Let's go dance, alright?"
"I don't want to dance." She tugged out of his grip and walked off.
Lily couldn't believe him. Out of all the things he could have done at the reception, this was one of the worst. Now her mother was going to think there was something going on between her and James-- which, by the way, there WASN'T.
"Hey Lily." A charming voice said. Oh joy. Another prick.
She turned from the refreshments table (Because she was feeling sorry for herself, Lily had been eating these little chocolate squares. They were quite good) and put on a fake smile. "Edward, hi. It's been a while." Edward as in, Petunia's other friend's brother/not so eligible escort. He was a rather good looking bloke, about her and James' age.
"I know. I've been busy though, you know."
"Oh, yes, yes." No, actually, she didn't. Whatever though.
"I've got football practice everyday and then there's my job at the newspaper office." He said importantly. Like she cared about football or his job.
"Really. What do you do at the newspaper office?" She asked distractedly, her eyes starting to glance around the backyard.
Edward hesitated. "Oh, well... you know. Newspaper stuff." Clearly, he hadn't thought she'd ask about what he ACTUALLY did at his job.
"I see. Well, I've been away, at boarding school."
"Cool. Did you know their remodeling my school?" Everything was about him. Everything.
"No... I was away. At boarding school." Like I just said.
"Right. It's quite interesting. Because since I'm on the student council, I'm in on the building designs and-" Blah, blah, blah. Me, me, me. Just smile and nod and he won't know the difference. Lily took another chocolate square and nodded. She wondered what James was doing. Hopefully not off telling someone they were shagging or something.
Her eyes wandered over to Petunia and Vernon, who were sitting at the largest table, chatting away. Or more like, Petunia was chatting, Vernon was eating at least his fourth piece of wedding cake.
"-Say, James Potter's escorting you, isn't he?" Lily turned her attention back to Edward.
"I asked if James Potter's escorting you."
"Oh. Yes. I guess." Lily wondered how many people James told about him being her escort. She hadn't told anyone so far, excluding her parents, and Vernon's boss, Mr. Madison. Lily had a feeling Mr. Madison wasn't going around telling everyone James was escorting her; he didn't seem like the talkative type.
"Do you think he'd mind if I asked you to dance. I got these new shoes yesterday and what's a better way to try them out, then dance? They were fairly expensive, I have to say, but with my job, well, I can pay for them." He boasted.
Lily made up her mind then that she wasn't going to dance with Edward. No way. She would rather not hear about his wonderful, new expensive shoes. "Well, actually Edward, that's very kind, but-"
"But she promised to dance with me."
Argh. She was NOT dancing with James Potter either. She told him to leave her alone! Lily's eyes darted around for an escape. They found one a few feet away, eating cake.
Lily grabbed Petunia's friend's son (the eight year old, not so eligible one) hand. "I'm sorry, but I promised Johnny here a dance."
"My name's Stevie." Whatever! She didn't care. As long as she would haven't to dance with either one of those pricks.
"Right. I'm sorry, gentlemen, but I'm promised to this little guy right here." With that, she was off to dance with her eight year old savior.
"So, your mother told me about what happened." Her father said as he danced with her. James tried to cut in while she was dancing with Stevie after a while. She ignored James, thanked Stevie, and went off, only to run into her father.
"She said something about you and your escort being engaged, but then it was just a misunderstanding."
"Oh. Right. It was just a misunderstanding. Believe me, dad, if I was engaged, I'd tell you and mum first."
He laughed. "Well, that's good to know."
"Yeah. James just got a little... carried away while he was talking to one of mum's friends earlier, at the ceremony."
"I see... and that's why you're avoiding the boy."
"I'm not- well, yes. I am. He gets on my nerves sometimes, dad."
"I thought you two were good friends, he's your escort."
Lily looked away. "Well, we're sort of friends, sometimes." She didn't want to go more into detail. There was no way she was going to tell her father about her very complex relationship with James Potter. "He just took Remus' place at the last minute, I didn't really have a choice."
"Oh. Does he, does he climb a lot?"
"What?" Lily asked before realizing what he meant. "Oh, well, I suppose so. There's a forest near Hogwarts, I'm sure he climbs around a lot there." She didn't mention they weren't exactly allowed to go into the Forbidden Forest... but she had known James long enough to suspect he probably went in the forest anyways, so, she was sort of telling the truth... Kind of.
"Well, he seems like a nice boy."
"He's... exactly that. A boy." She shrugged.
Sensing Lily didn't want to talk about James anymore, her father wisely changed the subject. "Have you heard anything about that, er, head girl position?"
"No. I probably didn't get the position, dad. I'm sure I would have gotten a letter by now." Lily admitted.
"Maybe it got lost in the mail. I'll asked the postman about it tomorrow." He joked.
She smiled, both of them knowing any letter for Lily would not come by the postman, but by owl. "Maybe."
"Your sister seems happy." He nodded in Petunia's direction. Lily looked over her shoulder.
"Yes, she does. She was a bit nervous earlier, wasn't she?"
"Only a bit."
"Of course. You know what, dad? I'll be sure not to be nervous on my wedding day, for everyone's sake."
Her father smiled gratefully. "Thank you."
They stopped dancing and Lily started towards the refreshments table, "I think I'll go get a piece of wedding cake. Haven't any yet."
The refreshment's table was the best place to be at any reception, party, reunion, etc. Just think about it. It has plenty of food, in case your hungry. Also, if you're bored or unsure of what to do or no one's asked you to dance, you can just hover around it and eat, therefore making yourself look busy. The only problem was that everyone seemed to stop by the refreshment's table at some point.
Or, at least, it was a problem for Lily. She didn't want to talk to anyone- not that there was anyone worth talking to here, other then her parents and a few selected people who weren't like Vernon and Petunia and didn't think she was a freak. That wasn't the point though. The point was that Lily just wanted to go to bed, pull the covers over her head, and pretend today never happened. It had been nothing but rotten.
The worst part was that it seemed everyone knew James was escorting her. And she had a fairly good idea who had passed that little bit of information around. She didn't even think it was that big a deal- James escorting her. So what? James was acting like it was raining goblins and gnomes or something. Besides, it wasn't as if he was doing much escorting in the first place.
At least the cake was good. She was on her second piece.
"You can't avoid me forever."
"You're being ridiculous now. It really wasn't that big a deal."
Lily paused to swallow a bit of cake. It tasted like heaven. And the icing was to die for. No wonder Vernon was stuffing his face with it. She inwardly remind herself to thank the baker guy the next chance she got. "Oh, I'm being ridiculous? You're the one going around, telling everyone your my escort, like it's a big deal."
James chose to ignore her and grab a piece of cake as well. "This any good?"
What happened in the next few minutes was something close to a blur. There they were eating cake, the next second, a bunch of loud cracks were heard and Petunia was jumping around, shaking out her dress, screaming.
Of course it was James. Of course he had somehow stuck no heat fireworks under Petunia's dress and they had been set off. Of course Petunia ran around the backyard, half her dress on fire, screaming her head off. Of course. Of COURSE. OF COURSE.
And now, she and James were sitting on (go on, guess) the roof of her father's shed (he stored garden tools and stuff in it). Yes. To hide from Petunia. Anyway, James found a latter inside the shed and leaned it against the shed's side (the latter was out of sight so no one would suspect where they were) and they climbed up, Lily lecturing James the entire time. The shed was a fairly good hiding place, being far away from the reception area. Besides, no one would think to look on the roof, of all places.
Lily was almost positive she wouldn't be sitting on the roof of her father's shed if Remus had been able to go.
"You just couldn't resist, could you?"
James loosened his tie and undid the first button or so of his shirt. "I hate wearing ties." He then took off his jacket and rolled up his shirt sleeves to his elbows.
"Don't ignore me, James Potter."
"You seem to find ignoring me perfectly fine."
"I had good reason to ignore you."
"I hate when you lecture me. You know I just block you out, right?"
Lily pushed him in the shoulder and glared down at the reception area. Things had begun to calm down. Someone threw the bowl of punch on Petunia's dress. The entire skirt of it was burnt off. It looked like she wasn't even wearing a dress now, just a shirt. Lily knew Petunia was already planning out a long lecture for her. The rest of the guests were just looking bewildered at what had happened.
"When will you grow up?"
"Probably never. You love me for it though."
"I don't love you for anything."
"Of course you do."
"I hate the dragon pox. I wouldn't be sitting on my dad's shed roof, with you making stupid remarks, if it wasn't for the dragon pox."
"No, you wouldn't, would you? You'd be bored to death, standing next to the refreshment's table, talking to Remus about the homework we were assigned over the summer." Because the roof was entirely flat, James laid down on his back and stared at the stars that were now out.
"And that would be bad how?" Lily asked acidly.
"I make your life more interesting, Lily. You know I do. You make mine more interesting too, though." He said that last part quickly as if he thought Lily was worried she didn't make his life more interesting or something. Yeah right. "I'd be sitting in my room right now, eating pumpkin pastries with Sirius and reading quidditch magazines. This is so much better."
Lily would give just about anything right now to be in her room. Granted, she didn't want to be with Sirius Black, eating pumpkin pastries (she was allergic to pumpkins), or reading quidditch magazines.
"You know my sister is going to kill me now, don't you?" She stated, conjuring a candle and lighting it with her wand, setting it in between them. It was getting really dark.
"I doubt she'll kill you."
"You don't know Petunia."
"I guess I don't. What, do you two not get along or something? I wasn't really feeling the love much at the reception."
"No, we don't get along."
"Why not? Just the usual sisterly disagreements? 'Oh, you stole my favorite shoes!' or 'You ruined my sweater, Lily!' "
"No... There's more to it."
"What is it?"
She didn't feel like talking about Petunia anymore. "It's nothing, alright?" Pause. "Why is Sirius at your house? Is he staying over or something?"
"I guess you could say that." James said carefully.
"There's more to it." He mimicked.
They sat quietly, listening the guests below as everything started coming back to normal. Petunia had changed into another dress, one that wasn't half burnt off and was now clinging to Vernon, looking teary eyed. Lily felt a bit guilty. While she didn't get along with her sister, and vice versa, Petunia didn't deserve this. It was her wedding day, after all.
Lily wished she had brought another piece of cake with her. Maybe she could sneak down in a few minutes and grab another plate- No, she shouldn't eat anymore cake. She was going to be as plump as a dragon if she did keep eating. She wondered how long they would be up here. Petunia and Vernon were going to catch a train that left at around nine-thirty to some unknown destination for their honeymoon.
Another song started playing. It was slow and sweet.
"Can I finally get a dance from you? Or wait, is there someone else you'd like to dance with first?" James asked sarcastically, standing up and turning his head right from left, as if looking for some other person Lily could dance with.
She watched him in the dark for a moment, thinking how much she didn't want to dance with James right now, after everything he'd done tonight. But, she finally remembered how annoyingly persistent he was, and stood up, taking his hand.
They danced for a while, for a few songs. Lily was surprised at how quiet it had gotten. They hadn't said anything to each other as they danced, and the music remained slow and low. The guests were beginning to trickle off, headed for home. She heard the crickets playing alongside the musicians who were hired to play for the reception. They (the crickets, not the musicians) were actually pretty annoying; Lily tried to block them out. It was kind of peaceful up here, on the roof. Even if she was in the arms of an arrogant prick named James Potter.
She could see him smiling lazily and staring at something to the side of her head, or maybe he was staring at her hair, she didn't know. Lily wondered what James found so attractive in her. Why he was always trying to do... whatever it was he was always trying to do around her.
"Lily, did I already mention you looked good in that dress?"
"Did I say your hair looked good?"
"Brilliant. Your hair looks good."
Lily rolled her eyes. "Thanks."
"Aren't you going to say my hair looks good?" He was grinning at her.
"Keep dreaming, Potter."
"You have icing on your cheek."
"Oh, it's probably from the wedding cake. I ate a gazillion pieces; I'll look like a cow soon..." She trailed off as James' hand reached to rub off the icing before hers did. His fingers slowly ran up, then down her cheek, over and over. Lily was fairly certain the icing was gone by then..
"I bet you'd look like a hot cow."
Lily didn't even realize he had that Let's-Get-Cozy-In-a-Broomcloset look on his face again until after he, oh how should she put it-- KISSED HER!
Maybe it was music, or the stars, or the brilliant cake. Or maybe she was just going nutters after everything that had happened the past few hours. Lily didn't know why, but she kissed him back. She'd never kissed James before.
He was a nice kisser.
And... as the moments went on, Lily realized he was a nice snogger as well.
His lips were soft. And nice. They were sweet too, probably from the cake he'd had just before they ran off from the reception. His arms had pulled her closer to him and his hands were tracing words or circles or maybe even squares or- oh, who CARED what they were tracing? It was nice. Everything was nice. For the first time in a long time, something James Potter was doing was nice. Usually whatever he did was annoying. Or weird.
Her hands were in his messy hair, making it even more messy (and she hadn't thought that was possible), then they were on his shoulders, then his back, then back to his hair. She couldn't make up her mind.
All Lily knew was this was nice (As nice as that delicious cake she'd had) and that his glasses were kind of poking into her nose, but she didn't really care at the moment.
Her eyes opened slightly at the smell of something burning and hazily she wondered if more fireworks had gone off. Then she noticed it was brighter on the roof. Of course, there was the candle she had conjured a little while ago, but now it was really starting to get bright. She managed to move her lips from James' and glance around his tall figure.
His left pant leg had caught on fire. From the candle that was sitting just inches away.
His left pant leg had caught on FIRE.
Now, the first thing Lily would have done if she was not snogging James right now, would be to pull out her wand and put it out. And scream. But... she was snogging with James right now, so she couldn't exactly do that. Especially with his lips moving down her neck so soft and nice and-- no. She had to get James off her. He was on FIRE for Merlin's sake!
She didn't know why James hadn't noticed this small fact yet. Maybe he was too distracted with kissing her neck and tracing unknown shapes into her lower back to notice his LEG was on FIRE.
"James..." She started, but stopped as he kissed her on the lips again. Oh no. Lily was starting to think James was going to have his left leg burned off without him even realizing it.
"I've been wanting to do... this all night." James mumbled lowly against her lips.
"I knew... knew you..."
"... fancied me."
That was a wake up call.
"POTTER!" Lily gave a sharp push to his chest. "If you didn't already notice, you're-- you're on FIRE!"
James only looked at her with glazed eyes before blinking in confusion, wondering why in the world she had just ended their perfectly nice snogging session. He finally looked down at his left leg and the fire. He frowned slightly, knowing something was different, but not realizing what yet. Lily's lips were still on his mind.
Lily had gotten a hold of herself now (mostly) and pulled out her wand. "Why are you just standing there, you idiot?" A jet of water streamed out from her wand to James' leg. That seemed to get his attention. It was weird; a jet of water got his attention, yet blazing fire eating up his pant leg didn't?
The fire went out instantly. Lily had to light her wand to see James' leg properly: the candle had gone out too. Thankfully, the fire hadn't gotten to James' skin yet. It had just burnt away half of the pant leg. She supposed he deserved it, after what he'd done to Petunia.
They stood, breathing heavily for a moment (and not from the excitement of the fire), just staring at James' pant leg. Finally, Lily looked up the same time James did and they caught eyes.
And then everything seemed to come into place.
She had SNOGGED with JAMES POTTER.
James' leg had just been on FIRE.
And more importantly, THEY HAD JUST SNOGGED!
All because of that stupid piece of icing from that delicious wedding cake. Or, if you wanted to trace the blame back even further, it was all because of that rotten dragon pox.
Author's Note: This was a full-length story at first, but sadly, I've abandoned the poor thing, so Dragon Pox Effects is now a one-shot. This story had four other chapters that were coming along quite well, but after I abandoned my stories, I took those four chapters off and left them on my computer so anyone who PMed me could get those chapters to read… but I'm sorry to say that I have lost the other four chapters of DPE in some mysterious computer blackhole. So I'm really sorry to anyone who wanted to read them! :[
Hope you enjoyed the story!
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