Chapter 1: Lie.
Ginny Potter was frustrated. She was used to her daughter's stubbornness, but it was starting to reach an unbearable point. It was a sunny July morning and the woman was treating her daughter and niece to a nice breakfast. Her motivations were not pure kindness, but rather, she wanted something from Lily.
The elder Potter rubbed at her temples with her fingertips and took a long drink from her coffee cup, draining the last of it. "I don't want to hear another word about this. You have to try on the bride's maid dress or...or you just can't be in the wedding party."
Lily just smirked, looked away from her mother, and tossed her soft curls back off her shoulders. "Is that supposed to convince me?"
"Lily." Ginny took a deep breath and looked towards the other girl sitting at their table for a little support. "Roxanne, will you please talk some sense into this girl?"
Roxanne poked at the remnants of her poached eggs with her fork and sighed. "Lily, just try on the stupid dress so that your mum knows if it fits."
"It's hideous." Lily's brown eyes met her cousin's and narrowed.
"Of course it's hideous! It's a bride's maid dress. It's supposed to be hideous so that the bride looks better by comparison." Roxanne dropped her flatware onto her plate as the waiter came by to collect their finished breakfast dishes. "It's one day. You wear the dress, then we burn it in protest after James and Mai leave."
"Burning it seems a little extreme, Roxanne." Ginny frowned at the very idea and picked up the ticket from the center of the table.
"That's what Dominique did to her dress after Victoire's wedding."
"That's not very nice," Ginny scolded.
Lily folded her arms over her chest and let out a small groan. "Alright. Bring the dress over tomorrow and I'll try it on. Like you said -" the next words were clearly forced out between gritted teeth "- it's only for one day."
"There's a good girl." Ginny smiled proudly over her victory.
"You could always just imagine how fun it'll be when your man rips it off you after the wedding," Roxanne added as she took a drink of her orange juice to hide the cheeky grin on her lips.
"Roxanne!" Lily and Ginny echoed each other and tried to restrain their giggles.
"Thanks. I'm sure my mum loves the idea of me having...sex."
"You're twenty years old, Lily. I assumed that it would happen eventually." Ginny gave a shrug, but her tight lips and scrunched eyes showed that she clearly was not pleased with the topic of discussion.
"I'm not." Lily leaned on the table and dropped her voice. "I mean we're not. We aren't having sex yet. We want to wait, you know? Until things are more steady."
Roxanne sniggered behind her hand and relaxed into her chair. "You've been dating this bloke for what...six months now? I'd say that's steady enough."
"You think six days is steady enough," Lily retorted and Roxanne merely grinned in answer. "I just don't think we're ready for that step is all."
"There's nothing wrong with waiting, Lily. You don't have to justify your choice to anyone." Ginny's face relaxed and the delight in her eyes rekindled. "Speaking of..."
"Oh mum, please don't start again," Lily whined. "I've already told you, he's not coming to the wedding. He's going to Glasgow with his boss."
"I just think it's a little ridiculous that you've been together this long and you still haven't introduced him to the family. You could at least bring him over to have dinner with your father and me."
Lily snorted. "Yeah, and let dad give him the stare down. I don't think so."
"Why don't you bring him to dinner tomorrow? You already said that he doesn't leave until Wednesday, so he should be perfectly free to come and have a simple meal with the family. It'll only be your father, me, James, and Mai. And I will make sure that your father is on his nicest behavior."
"I don't know, mum. He might be really busy."
"Listen, Lily, I'm starting to get a bad impression of this guy without even having met him. He sounds like some kind of workaholic. Every time we invite you over, he's got some work thing." Ginny tossed her napkin on the table and pushed her chair back. "Either that or you're just so ashamed of your family that you're keeping him from us."
"I'm not ashamed of you!" Lily stared at her mother's rising figure with shock.
Ginny held up her hand and shook her head; she didn't want to hear any more of it. "He's your boyfriend, if you don't want him around your family, then so be it." She spread out her hands, washing them of the matter. "Now, I have to meet with the caterer."
"Mum, don't be mad at me," Lily begged, chasing after her mother and leaving Roxanne behind at the table. "Mum please." She caught the woman's arm and pulled her to a stop. "I'll bring him to dinner tomorrow. I will. I'm not ashamed of anyone, I love you all."
Ginny tried to hide the satisfaction on her face, but the little twitch at the corner of her mouth gave it away. "I'll see you tomorrow sweetie." She gave her daughter a kiss on the top of the head and continued on her way with a growing smile.
Lily chewed on her bottom lip and pulled at the ends of her coppery hair. "This is bad..."
"Thanks for leaving me behind." Roxanne shoved Lily's shoulder as she stepped up beside her and threw the girl a frown. "Hey, what's wrong? You look like you just sold your soul to the Dementors."
"Worse." Lily groaned and put her forehead on her cousin's shoulder. "I just promised to bring my boyfriend to dinner with the family tomorrow."
"Lily, listen to me." Roxanne forced the other girl to stand up straight and look her in the eyes. "From what you've told everyone, this guy is amazing and perfect for you. I'm sure if he cares about you enough, he'll make a great impression on your parents." She pushed her cousin's hair back and offered up a comforting smile. "I really don't see what the problem is."
Lily tried to smile back, but it was difficult. Of course Roxanne didn't understand; she didn't know the truth. Lily's problem was that her amazing, perfect boyfriend of six long months...wasn't real.
It all began about seven months before the hasty breakfast promise, on Christmas day.
When James Potter got down on one knee, in front of the entire family, and proposed to his long-time girlfriend, he set in motion a series of events that would forever change the lives of both his siblings. The proposal didn't shock anyone; James and Mai had been together since their fifth year of Hogwarts, and eight years was long enough to wait for the two to get engaged.
The impending wedding sent waves of excitement through the family. Busy didn't even begin to describe their lives. Flowers were ordered, caterers sampled, dresses modeled, invitations printed, photography arranged, a venue reserved, and all in a matter of just under seven months. But most important of all, at least in the mind of some of the Weasley clan, dates were chosen.
Lily adored most of her cousins, but two in particular would always stand out from the rest. Roxanne and Dominique were not just family, they were her best friends and closest confidants.
Being the same age, she and Roxanne were practically attached at the hip growing up. Roxanne always had a way of turning Lily's dull and homework-filled afternoons into wild and exciting adventures. The girl seemed incapable of sitting still from the moment she learned to walk. Her magic developed sooner than anyone else in the family's, showing at the mere age of thirteen months. After that, Roxanne always seemed ahead of the curve. Lily often thought her cousin could have been top of their year if she had half a mind to, but books and homework always took a back burner in Roxanne's mind.
And then there was Dominique. She was three years older than Lily and Roxanne and saw herself as a mother hen type. She was constantly showering the two with advice and life lessons. Dominique had made it her life mission to teach them everything she knew, from proper application of makeup to the subtle art of moving from friend-zone to girlfriend. She gave them study tips, guy advice, tricks on dealing with other girls, and even let them borrow from her. But most importantly, she gave them someone to confide in. Lily knew that she could go to Dominique if she had a moral dilemma or just needed a shoulder to cry on; secret keeping was the older girl's strongest trait and she never judged.
Despite how much she loved Roxanne and Dominique, Lily often felt out of the loop. Unlike the other two, she wasn't as in to the whole dating scene. She didn't put a priority on finding a boyfriend or having that perfect date for Valentines day. Yes, she'd dated a few boys in her school days, but they were always a side thought for her and it never lasted long. So, when the conversation turned to dating, as it often did, Lily would fall silent and offer mere nods and smiles.
Unfortunately, Lily's lack of enthusiasm in the dating world made Roxanne and Dominique feel as though they should be coming to her rescue. They just couldn't imagine how Lily could be completely content without a boyfriend. Sometimes, Lily wondered that herself. She was secure in her life, loved her job, and enjoyed having alone time, but if she was being honest with herself, it did get a bit lonely. Over the years, her two best friends had picked up the habit of coaxing Lily's love life along.
She knew their intentions were noble. Lily truly believed that the other two merely wanted to see her happy and loved, but it could be really frustrating. There were days when Lily just wanted to have lunch with her cousins without having to hear how she should talk to the waiter more or accept a blind date with Roxanne's coworker's nephew. It was getting to the point where they couldn't go a single shopping trip without her being accidentally pushed into a cute guy or hearing Dominique insist that she would be more appealing if she walked with a little more confidence.
And it was that frustration that led Lily to do something horrible. She had always considered herself to be honorable. She was a good and honest girl. A Gryffindor through and through. But even upstanding young girls can have a moment of weakness. Especially when they're being pushed too hard.
It was just a week into the New Year after James' big proposal and love was forefront on everyone's mind. Lily, Roxanne, and Dominique were all at their favorite Muggle shopping centre, sitting down for a cup of hot chocolate in the midst of their search for the perfect pair of boots. Mind you, while searching for said boots, they'd managed to collect a few bags each, full of necessary winter wear.
Lily groaned as she took her seat and let the bags she'd collected fall from her arm. "I say we try one more store, then you just have to wear one of the pairs of boots you already have." She met Roxanne's eyes and gave her a sympathetic smile. "You've tried on like...fifty pair already."
"It was not fifty, Lily." Roxanne huffed and shifted in her seat, pulling her cup of hot chocolate closer. "I just want to find the right ones. It may just be a first date, but I really think this guy is the one."
Both Lily and Dominique rolled their eyes at Roxanne's comment. Perhaps it would have been more effective if the she didn't insist that every guy, or girl, that she dated was the one. But that was just Roxanne and they'd long given up on trying to rationalize with her, so neither argued.
"I don't think he's going to care what boots you're wearing." Dominique spooned the whipped cream off the top of her hot chocolate and passed it over to Roxanne. "Guys don't care about that stuff."
"But I do care. I just want everything to be perfect tomorrow."
"It'll be perfect because you'll be there." Dominique offered up a big smile, but her cousin's focus was elsewhere.
"That guy has been staring at you since we sat down." Roxanne kicked at Lily's chair to get her attention and gave a subtle nod towards the guy in question.
Lily didn't bother trying to be discreet; she turned around in her chair and eyed the guy sitting at the table behind theirs. He was good looking enough, but he had a smug smile on his face when Lily met his eyes. "He's probably staring at Domi." She turned back around and scooted her chair closer to the table, making sure that she couldn't be seen from where the guy sat.
"Me?" Dominique almost snorted into her mug. "I can see him from here and he's staring at you. You're acting like it's awful to be attractive."
"I am not." Lily pushed her half-finished hot chocolate away and sighed. "Besides, I don't care. I'm not looking for anyone."
"I'm so surprised." Roxanne didn't spare the sarcasm. "You're hell bent on spending your weekends alone, aren't you?"
"I won't be alone." Lily regretted the words the moment they escaped her lips. While she was referring to the fact that she planned on meeting James for lunch Saturday afternoon, the other two girls clearly took another implication from it.
"You have a date?" Roxanne looked near giddy.
"I didn't say that."
"You do, don't you? Lily!"
"I didn't say that. And don't be so loud."
Dominique grabbed her cousin's arm and stared into her eyes with so much hope it was sad. "Tell us everything. Who is he? Where did you meet him?"
And it was then, faced with her cousins' excitement over an assumed date and the threat of being shoved towards the mystery guy at the next table, that Lily did something unthinkable. She lied.
"His name is...Sss-pencer." She cringed, both from the lie and her unconvincing tone. "We met at The Jardín."
"The Jardín? That veggie-freak place?" Roxanne crinkled her nose and leaned back in her chair. "Then he's a veggie-head like you?"
"We are not freaks or veggie-heads, Roxanne!"
"Sorry!" The girl put her hands up and forced the next words out. "He's a vegetarian then?"
"Yes, he is." Lily nodded and grabbed her bags. "Come on, aren't we supposed to be finding some boots?" She put on a smile but the other two weren't falling for her diversion. "Don't look at me like that, you two."
Dominique also gathered her bags and got to her feet. "We wanna hear more about him. Spill everything!"
"There's nothing to spill. I don't know anything else about him. We haven't gone out yet."
Lily thought that would be the end of it. Dominique and Roxanne dropped the Spencer subject and the conversation once again turned to Roxanne's frantic shoe search. It wasn't until Monday morning, when her two best friends showed up at her door, that Lily realized the impact of her tiny lie. The two wanted to know each and every detail of the date with Spencer.
So Lily gave them details.
Spencer became a tall, very attractive, successful wizard who had left Hogwarts a few years before herself. Dominique tried to recall any Spencer she'd been in school with, but none came to mind. Lily passed it off by claiming Spencer was a bit of a wallflower. The more questions her friends launched at her, the more easily the lies came. Her perfect date was an animal shelter volunteer and fund-raising manager. He also went to school part-time in order to become an Animal Welfare Officer.
And Spencer was a perfect gentleman. He'd taken her to dinner at a reservation-only restaurant, where he turned down the wine because, like Lily, he did not drink. After dinner, he took her to a moonlit park where they had vegan cupcakes and talked about their dreams. When Spencer brought Lily home, he gave her a single kiss on the cheek and a promise to call the next day; he kept that promise.
Dominique and Roxanne spent half the morning squealing over each detail Lily gave them. They almost couldn't believe how she'd found a guy so very perfect for her.
Lily never intended things to stretch over six months. She assumed that after a few weeks of pretending to date Spencer, she could create some devastating breakup scene that would leave her a good three months or so of time to grieve the failed relationship. She just wanted a few months without her love life -or lack of one- taking center stage.
But her lies got out of hand. Dominique and Roxanne brought up Spencer at the worst possible time: in front of Lily's parents. With Ginny and Harry under the impression that their daughter had found her soul mate, the charade had to continue. The last thing she needed was her father storming around town, searching for the boy who had broken his little girl's heart. The few times Lily had attempted to initiate the breakup herself, her mother sat her down for a cup of tea and a speech about not letting the good ones get away. Anytime they would insist on meeting Spencer, Lily would claim he had work out of town, was too sick to come over, or was spending time with his own parents.
And with the upcoming wedding taking up so much of her mother's time and energy, Lily didn't want to drag her family's spirits down by admitting she'd lied. That's what she told herself, at least. She knew, deep down, that she was just so ashamed at having lied in the first place, she didn't want her entire family to look at her with disappointed eyes.
Lily was stuck.
A Note From the Author: Thank you for joining me in my new story! –Jenna