One story. Two versions. Originally I got half-way through writing this in second person before deciding that I didn't like it, rewriting it in conventional old third person and half-way through that deciding that neither were quite what I had in mind. Anyhow, rather that trying to give the verdict myself, I thought 'hey, why don't I finish both, post them and ask everybody else?' So, I did just that and here we are. More than usual, I would love reviews with your thoughts on which one you prefer, if either. Also, as a disclaimer, I got this idea from an email (you may have gotten it too at some point or other I your lifetime) and incidentally, some of the words and definitions are not my own although I did adjust some and add new ones to fit Lily.

Summary: Falling in love is all about learning to compromise. In the Lily Evans' dictionary, compromise means never having to admit she's wrong. [Lily & James oneshot


Basics for Beginners

Version 1

You never have and never will understand the female species. Personally, you think they're too bloody hard to understand! You think there should be a dictionary, or a manual, to the way a girl's mind works. A translation of what they say and what they really mean. An explanation of all the mad things they do so poor useless slobs like yourself can damn well understand what and where you've gone wrong.

The first time you saw her she took your breath away. Come on, you didn't mean to walk straight into her trolley but it sure did knock the wind out of you for a second or two. But the stunning, eleven-year-old redhead, her startling green eyes wide with horror certainly made up for the few bruises you attained.

From that moment on you should have known she'd one day be the death of you. After all, it wasn't just any girl you'd pursue relentlessly, be cursed into oblivion for and left the bruised and battered soul you are today. Yet that's just what you did for her. And somehow, you will never quite fathom how - although you still attribute it all to your dashing good looks and irresistible smile - you charmed her. It wasn't easy by any means but you did it. You always do.

Unfortunately for your poor ears however, that didn't necessarily mean it would avert her fierce redhead temper from your tactless and hair-wrenchingly infuriating actions. And no matter how many unlucky times you'll be required to grovel at her feet, you'll never get used to it. But for her, it's always worth it.

There are a few, shall we call them ground rules, you've learnt in your time. Nothing a woman, especially your woman, ever says is what she actually means. And what's more you're actually required to understand her. Or else. You don't want to go there.

When she says 'maybe' what she really means is yes. Unfortunately for you that also means there is so way you're going to get out of next week's housewarming party she told you about this morning. That also means you'll be required to goo and gaa over how beautiful 'Ickle Archie' is as he spews all down the back of your favourite quidditch jumper.

'I'll think about it' is the same thing as 'of course'.

'I'll see' translates to 'never in a million years'. Don't get your hopes up about hosting Frank's Buck's night either, considering Sirius is planning the entertainment.

'I suppose' means that she desperately wants to say no but your puppy dog eyes are making the guilt build up and she can't bare your disappointed face so she is reluctantly agreeing to whatever insane idea you have just sprouted.

'No' indicates that she really wants to say yes but she doesn't want to seem overeager and wants to make you squirm first before really saying yes. And I know what you're thinking and no, that does not mean that she really did want to go out with you for all those years. If memory serves correctly you'll see that her exact phrases were more along the lines of:

"No way in hell!"

"Get lost Potter!"

"I'd rather date the giant squid. Or Snape!"

"Get out of my way before I hex you."

"F off Potter!"

"I'd rather stab myself in the eye with a fork."

"Go jump off the astronomy tower."


"Potter, if I've said it once then I've said it a thousand times. Do I really look that desperate?"

You'll never fathom why girls' can't just say what they damn well mean. You think the whole lot if it is bullocks and worse than any code. In fact, it is a code. And unfortunately it's one you're going to need to know inside out and upside down. In other words, it's the Bible.

'Fine' is the word she uses to end an argument when she feels, or should I say knows, that she is right and you need to shut up before she belts you.

"I can't believe you James Potter!" She screams. "It's completely ruined!"

Look at the offending object that you have ruined. It is her favourite skirt that is now covered in green slimy goo. Wince. Not even you want to touch it. It was aimed at Snape.

"It's not ruined. Look, it'll just come off with a bit of water." Being the incredibly bright wizard that you are, aim your wand at the skirt and shoot water out the end. Don't be surprised when her face turns red with fury.

"Now look what you've done!" She is completely drenched. Maybe don't try and use a drying charm on her. Your life is already at stake.

Look sheepishly at her. She won't fall for it. "Sorry Lily. I didn't mean for that to happen. I'll make it up to you. I'll buy you a new one."

Her face is still set in anger. Keep apologising profusely until she cuts you off.

"Fine." She says shortly. This is your cue to shut up.

This basically sums up every argument you have.

"How do I look?" She is standing in front of the mirror gazing critically at her reflection. She has been for the past half an hour. And for the two hours before that she has been getting herself ready despite you having told her that it is a 'casual' get together. To her, this clearly means 'semi-formal' as opposed to 'formal'. She still believes that you are joking about going in jeans and a t-shirt.

Look up carefully from where you have been falling asleep for the past two and a half hours from boredom. "Fine."

Wrong thing to say. Watch her face grow pink. Brace yourself for yet another argument.

Never use 'fine' to describe how she looks. Ever. This will only cause you to have yet another one of those arguments. As you just proved.

'Five minutes'. This is the same thing as half an hour. It is equivalent to the five minutes that you will be playing quidditch for before you help with anything, so it's an even trade.

"Lily, can you please get out of the shower?" Ask patiently but rap on the door anyway.

"Stop being so impatient. I'll be five minutes."


"Lily, we've been shopping for Christmas presents for ages. Are we nearly done yet?" Try and keep the whine out of your voice, it will only infuriate her further.

"We're nearly done. Give me five minutes and then we can leave." Stare at your watch impatiently and count down the seconds.

"No not yet James. I said five minutes. Don't rush me."

And remember… DON'T RUSH HER!

Sometimes she just won't be in the mood to talk. Pick your moments wisely. When she looks like she's about to throttle you with her bare hands, choose another moment to discuss the pros and cons of the crucial situation in painting the kitchen Dazzling White Diamond, Opulent Ivory or Bashful Beige. For, God Forbid, they're so different that you wouldn't want to pick the wrong one.

"How was your day Lily?"


"What do you want for dinner?"

"Don't care."

Carry on asking questions and receiving one or two word answers for the next ten minutes.

"Are you okay Lily? What's wrong?"


'Nothing' really means 'something' and you should be on your toes. 'Nothing' is usually used to describe the feeling she has of wanting to turn you inside out, upside down, and backwards. 'Nothing' usually signifies an argument that will last 'five minutes' and end with 'fine' if you persist in annoying her. Take your cue and leave her alone. Maybe for the first time in your life, don't start another argument.

You know better than anybody how to tick her off. You leave your wadded up dirty socks tucked behind the cushions on the couch for guests to find when they visit and you pile the dishes up in Mt Everest sized piles by the kitchen for her to clean up.

'Go ahead' with raised eyebrows. This is a dare. One that will result in a woman getting upset over 'Nothing' and will end with the word 'Fine'.

Smile sweetly and winningly. Know that she can see right through you.


Quail slightly as she stares directly at you, hands on hips.


She glares.

"My delicate flower of perfection and beauty?"

Never try flattery again. Bite your lips to stop yourself blurting that she currently looks like professor McGonagall with her lips pursed so tightly they're hardly visible.

"Can I please borrow that lovely apricot moisturiser of yours?"

Smile brightly as she stares at you like you've just been bashed over the head.

"You mean my hideously expensive Line Reducing Eye Cream?"

Nod in agreement. "That's the one. It's really cleared up that rash I had all over my legs."

Watch her grimace in disgust while a look of fierce appal covers her face. Force a laugh. "Not that I've used it."

"What do you think James?" She sounds pissed.

"Err, yes?"

Her eyes are piercing and you know she's wondering if you're a few anchovies short of a supreme pizza.

"Go ahead."

Now think about it. And most of all… DO NOT USE IT! Remember your good friend sarcasm?

A 'Loud Sigh' is not actually a word but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men; especially you. It means she thinks you are an idiot at that moment and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you over 'Nothing.'

"James, you can't take a ten week old baby on a broomstick." She taps her foot impatiently. You've been arguing over the same thing for close to an hour.

"Why not?" Look baffled.

"Because. It's dangerous. You cannot take him up there!"

"He'll have fun. It's part of learning. Don't you want your son to learn new skills?" Try to sound intelligent but know that you sound like an idiot anyway.

"Learning to ride a stupid, mouldy plank of wood is not an important skill that he needs to know. Especially when he can't even walk or talk yet."

Look appalled. "A stupid, mouldy plank of wood?" Gape ridiculously like she's just insulted your best friend. Not that you'd care much if she called Sirius a 'stupid, mouldy plank of wood.' You'd probably laugh hysterically.

She sighs loudly while shaking her head. No matter how many times she repeats this to you, you will never learn. You don't want to learn. You are stubborn and you want to take your ten week old son for a broomstick ride no matter how idiotic and dangerous it could be.

'That's okay' is one of the most dangerous statements that a woman can make to a man. 'That's Okay' means that she wants to think long and hard before paying you back for whatever it is that you have done. 'That's Okay' is often used with the word 'Fine' and in conjunction with a 'Raised Eyebrow.'

On the other hand, 'Please Do' indicates that she in anything but impressed with your recent antics.

Gaze helplessly at her as those startling emerald orbs fill with tears. Feeling the guilt churning unpleasantly in your stomach.

"How could you do that James? You knew how much it meant to me." Tears fall from her eyes but she is still angry.

"I'm sorry Lily. I really am. I can explain. I promise." Beg for forgiveness and attempt to feed her your pitiful excuses that she will never in a million years believe. And really, who would?

"Please do."

This is not a statement, it is an offer. She is giving you the chance to come up with whatever excuse or reason you have for doing whatever it is that you have done. You have a fair chance with the truth, so be careful and you shouldn't get a 'That's Okay'.

In this particular instance, maybe it's better not to explain that your legitimate reason for missing and wasting your tickets to Celestina Warbeck's 'Cauldron Full of Hot, Hip Hits' concert was from being forced to accompany Sirius for his first job interview. She probably won't understand your requirement as his make-up artist before his interview for 'Could you be Witch Weekly's newest male model?'. Let's just say that you're in enough shit for mistaking Sirius' lipstick for eye shadow.

Once in a while, do something nice for her for a change. Cook dinner (without burning it or setting the house on fire). Bring her flowers. Tell her she's beautiful. Despite your allergic reaction to it, do the housework.

Notice how she smiles and her eyes sparkle. "Thanks James."

She is thanking you. Do not faint. It does happen occasionally. Just say you're welcome.

"What do you think James?" She sits down opposite you and waits expectantly for your reaction. Look down at the plate in front of you that she has lovingly prepared. It looks like bark chips swimming in mud or what Harry left in his nappy yesterday.

"What is it?" Eye it warily. She looks at you, offended.

"Beef stew of course. What does it look like?" Don't answer. She doesn't really want to know the answer you want to give her.

"Well, are you going to eat it or just stare at it?" She snaps. Eye it warily again. She glares at you. Carefully pick up your spoon and pick up the tiniest bit possible. Hesitate as you raise it to your mouth knowing she is watching you carefully and is not at all impressed with your attitude.

Eat it. Gag as you swallow. It tastes even worse than you had thought it would. Immediately down your whole glass of water but the awful taste lingers. Push your bowl away. Notice her scowl.

"I'm not hungry." Her scowl will deepen.

"You said you were starving ten minutes ago." She says dangerously. Refrain from telling her that you would rather kiss Sirius than eat the poison in front of you. That is saying something.

"I lost my appetite." Give her a weak smile that she sees straight through.

"I spend all day cooking for you only to have you turn it away. Thanks a lot James."

This is much different from 'Thanks.' She will say 'Thanks A Lot' when she is really ticked off at you. It signifies that you have offended her in some callous way and will be followed by a 'Loud Sigh.' Be careful not to ask what is wrong after the 'Loud Sigh,' as she will only tell you 'Nothing'.

One look has haunted you from your first day at Hogwarts.

Gaze at the beautiful creation that is your new born son.

"Lils, what's wrong with him?"

Notice how her eyes – which were previously gazing misty eyed at her son – are now narrowed into slits at you. "What do you mean, what's wrong with him? He's beautiful."

Beautiful. That would be a matter of opinion. Maybe compared to troll. You think he looks like a goo covered flobber worm. "Why's he all red and wrinkly? He looks like an angry miniature sumo-wrestler."

She's not happy. Delicately, she caresses his tiny little face with a soft finger. "He looks just like his daddy."

Grimace in disgust. "I'm not ugly!" Your voice comes out louder than you intend and the nurse shoots a nasty look in your direction.

Your wife glares at you.

The Glare. You know the one. Where her eyes are narrowed to slits and her jaw is set in anger. This one she's kept all the way from your school days. This look has been perfected as nothing else has. She's furious.

This however, isn't the only intimidation tactic retained from Hogwarts. A few personal favourites will always bring a grimace of reminiscence.

"What did you do?"

This isn't a question. It's a command. She is daring you to explain whatever crime you have committed and are currently burning with guilt from. But more so, she's begging you to give up your ridiculous attempts to flutter your eyelashes hopefully while giving her your best puppy dog eyes which only results in you appearing to have a nasty eye twitch.

But not every word – or look – in your relationship means you're in trouble, although sometimes it may seem like it.

"James?" She's looking at you right now, her eyes half closed as she reclines on the couch by the fire. Your year old son is for once sleeping peacefully in his cot. You'd also just like to point out that his looks improved dramatically. He's now well on his way to being as handsome as his daddy.

"Yes Lils?" Don't take too long to answer her. Walk over to the couch and smile as you see her looking so peaceful. She's looking at you now, a smile curving her full, pink lips.

Her smile is as sweet as sugar, brilliant emerald eyes sparkling innocently. Blonde eyelashes sweep her face as she flutters them beautifully at you. Feel your heart melt.

She's asking for something. She knows that you can't resist. That's why she does it. She always gets her way.

"Will you give me a foot massage?" She gives a big yawn and suddenly you find yourself bending down to draw soothing circles on the soles of her feet. You can't resist giving her toes a faint tickle. Watch her writhe out of your grasp as she giggles.

Snuggle up next to her and feel her head move to rest against your chest. Close your eyes in contentment and listen to her soft breathing.

Hold her tightly to your chest as she dozes. Wrap your arms around her to keep her warm. Give her a gentle massage.

She gives a small sigh. Again, this in not a word but a non-verbal statement. She is content. Your best bet is to not move or breathe and she will stay content.

Smile against her hair as you give her a soft kiss.

"Love you James."

That's the most important phrase ever uttered. Know as your heart is full, that you will never love someone like you love her; your wife, your best friend, your angel.

And maybe, at the end of the day, you don't need a manual after all because despite how often you fight, how close she gets to ripping your hair out and you hers, you wouldn't change a thing. This is your life, your happiness and somehow that's enough. You don't need perfectly smooth sailing because where's the fun in that?

All you need is her, temper and all.

"I love you too Lily."


Okay that's version one. You don't have to read the other version at all but I would love to know which one you think is better. I don't know if the end of this was a bit too fluffy and changed the mood of the story too much. Please review:D xx