Lily had been home less than a week, and already she was bored and restless. She'd slept until noon every day, eaten strawberry crepes in bed, and taken long bubble baths. As she painted her nails with rainbow-hued Fire Crab varnish, she admitted that the idea of a summer spent lazing around didn't appeal the way it had when she was at Hogwarts revising for end of year exams. She wanted to do something—something bold like Rose, who ran off with Scorpius Malfoy on a romantic holiday. Lily didn't envy Rose her boyfriend. She wasn't ready for a true love, together- forever kind of relationship. It was her cousin's determination she envied, the self-confidence to do what made her happy despite what anyone else might say.
In a drawer beneath the ebony-framed mirror of Lily's dressing table was a business card representing the man who had asked the question she couldn't get out of her mind: Have you ever considered modelling?
She hadn't, until Easter holiday, when she had wandered into Siren's Secret to try a new perfume and browse through the spring items in the Hot Pink collection. While she tried to decide between a solid pink bra and a white bra with pink zebra stripes, a sales associate approached to tell her a company executive would like to speak with her in the manager's office. The executive was Blaise Zabini.
Tall, dark, and elegant in business robes, he introduced himself and said he'd seen her through the shop window. "Customers with red hair don't usually gravitate to pink."
"I can wear anything."
Blaise smiled, and Lily could see why he stayed on the Witch Weekly Most Eligible Bachelor list even though he was as old as her dad. "I believe you," he said. "Have you ever considered modelling?"
"No." She wasn't ultra-thin and tall.
He handed her his card. "I think you'd be perfect to represent our Hot Pink line."
Pictures of her in knickers splashed across magazines and shop walls? Her parents would have kittens, and she didn't even want to imagine what the rest of the family would say. "Why?" she asked. "Because I'm Lily Potter?" Photographers sold her picture to the newspapers on a regular basis, and the captions always read "Harry Potter's daughter." She couldn't blame them. Her dad's name sold copies.
"No," Blaise said, "and I'd drop 'Potter', actually. It lacks style. We'd promote you as Lily Luna."
He knew her middle name. She shouldn't be surprised, but she was. He didn't seem the type to read the social column. "I don't know."
"Think it over. We'd schedule shoots around your holidays for the next year." His gaze had fallen on the item she carried. "Excellent choice."
Lily had blushed then, and her cheeks warmed again as she took off her robe and gazed at her reflection in the mirror. The pink zebra striped bra supported her curves and looked amazing next to her skin. If other women agreed and went out and bought zebra striped bras of their own, would that be so awful? And if she made loads of Galleons, enough to be independent, would that make her a terrible person and an ungrateful daughter?
She pulled the dresser drawer open and took out Blaise Zabini's business card. Three months had passed. He'd probably found someone else.
But she hadn't seen any new ads.
And Mum always said it never hurt to ask.
Lily flung open her wardrobe doors. There was a sheath dress that would do once she used a spell to change the colour, and the nude court pumps she'd worn to Aunt Muriel's funeral should help her appear mature and business-like. She checked the time: one-thirty. Mum was probably still working on a Quidditch article. Lily dressed and went downstairs.
"Hello, sweetheart. You're pretty in pink today," Mum said when Lily walked into the first-floor office. Her tone was distracted and her eyes strayed to the Self-Writing Quill hovering over the parchment on the desk. "Are you going out to lunch?"
"I'm going to apply for a job."
Her mum stared.
Lily said quickly, "Every time I ask for Galleons you and Dad tell me I wouldn't spend so much if I appreciated the value of money."
"What kind of job?" her mum asked.
"With Siren's Secret," Lily said. "Part-time, during holidays. The job . . . opening . . . was months ago. I'm not even sure I'll get an interview. I just wanted to tell you that I'm going to ask about the position, and if it's available, I'm going to take it."
"Without discussing it with your father?"
"I'm of age." When her mum arched an eyebrow, Lily said, "I'll tell him later if I get the job."
"When you get the job," Mum said. "You're a Gryffindor. Be bold."
"Right." Lily didn't think her Mum would give the same advice if she knew her daughter wanted to be a model, not a sales assistant. "Bye."
Siren Corporation headquarters were located down the street from St. Mungo's, a disturbing proximity that had Lily wondering about cosmetics testing accidents. Panels of sea glass-green fabric hung in windows etched with an S logo. Lily's fingers tingled as she pushed open the door and a Security ward or a Muggle Aversion Charm activated. Inside the marble tiled lobby, the receptionist at the centre desk was intimidatingly elegant with perfect makeup and sleek, cropped hair. "Do you have an appointment?" the woman asked.
Lily handed her the card. "I can wait."
The receptionist picked up a quill and wrote in the enormous book that lay open on the desk. Lily sidled close enough to read: Miss Potter to see you, Mr. Zabini.
Soon afterward, an opening in the back wall appeared. Blaise Zabini strolled into the lobby. "Thank you, Iridescka. I'll be out of the office until tomorrow." He held the door open for Lily and followed her outside.
What's happening? Where are we going? Of all the questions Lily wanted to ask, the one that tumbled off her lips was, "You're not wearing wizard robes."
Blaise touched one of the narrow lapels on his trim-fitting charcoal suit. "They wouldn't blend in. This will."
"Blend in where?"
"Pimlico Road. I've owled one of our photographers to set up a natural beauty test in his studio." When she didn't take the arm he extended in order to Side-Along Apparate, he said, "Natural isn't a euphemism for nudity. It means no makeup. No special wardrobe. You aren't expected to know how to pose. All you have to do is take direction."
"I've heard of beauty tests. That isn't—" Everything was happening so fast, even her thoughts were racing. She took a breath. "You're hiring me without an interview or anything?"
Blaise appeared caught off guard: almost boyishly flustered. He quickly regained poise. "We will discuss your contract after the shoot."
"So it's like try-outs." That made sense. She slipped her arm through his.
A/N: Lily in my Scorpius/Rose stories so much fun to write, I couldn't help wanting to give her the chance to take centre stage. This fic started as a response to a drabble challenge to write a story without any romance. I "replaced with new content" on October 1st after I turned the drabble into a first chapter, even though I've just started what will be a longer, more complex one shot short story, Lily Go Lightly , which further develops elements of this fic.
Such is writing. :D
Anyone noticing the resemblance between Siren's Secret Hot Pink line and Victoria's Secret Pink Line can pat themselves on the back and say, "Oh, the cleverness of me." I hope it made you smile. Lily's dressing table looks exactly like the one in the Moulin Noir collection of French style furniture. Those Muggle designers have some nerve, using wizards for inspiration. ;)