A/N: Another AU. I have a problem.
Just one thing, please read until the end, yeah? Things will be okay.
Disclaimer: Queen Rowling owns.
Lily glanced up at the sign declaring the crowded place to be The Phoenix pub, the glittering gold of the letters the only contrast against the black facade of the building. Drawing in a sharp breath that made her lungs hurt with the night's cold air, she stepped inside, ignoring the line of people at the front waiting to be seated. She received many dirty, impatient looks but no one stopped her. Perhaps she would have loved it if someone tried. An argument would have been a welcomed avenue to release some of the fury slowly brewing inside her.
Her ears rang with the sound of laughter and music, but even the loud clatter of the place was not enough to drown out the angry buzzing at her ears. A few waiters rushed past her, narrowly missing her as they balanced trays toppled with food and drinks. But Lily, too angry to be mindful to move, squinted her eyes and scanned the room for her boyfriend. He shouldn't be hard to miss with that peculiar hair of his. Her phone, meanwhile, was still clutched in her hand since she heard Marlene's message less than an hour ago.
"Lily," she had started, her voice lacking its usual high pitch of excitement. "Listen, I'm at the Phoenix Pub with Jack. It's this place in Cavendish Square. I'm sure you've heard of it? It's actually quite nice, even if it's a bit posh for a pub. Anyway, I'm stalling." Another pause, which had made Lily's smile fade completely. If Marlene McKinnon struggled with words then whatever she needed to say was serious. "He's here, Lily." Lily could hear the pity in her voice and she did not know if that stung more than the news. "He's with someone."
Now, there she stood, feeling momentarily at a loss as she scanned the room for him. What if they had left already? And if they were there, what was she supposed to do? Barge up to them and flip their table like some sort of maniac? The dim lighting of the place was not helping in her search for him, and suddenly, she felt on the verge of being asphyxiated.
That's when she saw them, sitting at one of the booths at the very end of the pub. Even in the poor lighting of the place, his smirk as he looked at the blonde was unmistakable. Lily would have recognized it anywhere since he so often wore it when looking at her.
She felt the anger bubbling higher and suddenly storming in on their moment and turning their table didn't seem so psychotic after all.
"Waiting for a table?" It was a tall waiter who watched her from the bar with something akin to amusement.
Lily ignored his question. Instead, she nodded at their table. "How long have they been here?"
The waiter frowned in confusion but followed Lily's line of sight. "Dunno," he admitted slowly. "Haven't been paying much attention to them to be honest."
She huffed impatiently, ready to point out his incompetence.
"Hang on," he said, eyes drifting to something over the bar. With a quick glance at the bartender, he leaned over the counter and grabbed a small clipboard from the register. Shuffling through the stack of receipts, he drew out a particularly long one. "Yep, table ten. This looks like their bill." Lily eyed him with interest as he read from the receipt. "Let's see, if they had about four rounds of drinks and a meal, I'd say they've been here about two hours."
Lily grit her teeth, her attention back on them. They were laughing about something and she couldn't help but wonder if it was at her. She felt sick. "Do you think there's a possibility they're not together?" It was stupid to ask, to hope.
"Well," he answered as he crossed his arms, eyes back on the couple. "Judging by the way he is snogging her face off right now, I'd say they're just good friends."
He was right. His lips, having been on hers only that morning, were now captured by hers. Though she felt as if the bottom of her stomach had disappeared, above anything else, she felt rage. It was not surprising. Hadn't it always been like that with him?
"Is that your boyfriend?" her companion asked after moments of watching her.
"Something like that," Lily muttered, turning back to face him.
He let out the beginning of a low whistle before he stepped back hastily as Lily launched herself at him. "Oi!" he yelped in surprise as her hands reached for something below his waist. "You don't get that type of service here, you know."
"Shut up," she snapped, looking for the notepad all the other waiters carried in their aprons until she realized he wasn't wearing one. Flustered, she found a spare bit of paper by the bar anyway. And snatching a pen from nearby, she hastily scribbled three words on it. "Here," she said when she was done, setting it atop his clipboard with a loud smack. "Take that to him with his bill, will you?"
The waiter glanced down at the note.
It's over. — Lily.
His eyebrows climbed up his forehead and already, Lily could feel the shame burning in her stomach. "So this is how you're going to do it, then?"
"Does he deserve any better?" she returned defensively, gesturing toward the table where the blonde kissed him again, fingers tangling themselves in his dark hair. She averted her eyes away as if the sight burned like white light. "Just do it, yeah?"
"As you wish," he said with a small bow that even in her anger she found a bit amusing. Another heavy breath escaped her as she watched him go. Her heart hammered so fiercely against her ribs that it dizzied her. He was only a few tables away from them before Lily decided she couldn't watch. With a painful knot in her throat, she turned on her heel and exited the pub, the bitter coldness of the outside a welcomed relief.
She found her car almost blindly; unable to stop herself from thinking that at that very moment he was reading her note. Maybe the waiter had been right and doing it that way was not the most admirable. She inhaled sharply, taking a few moments to steady herself, and not ready to let go of the relief the outside air gave her.
"Hey!" someone called out. She turned to see the waiter jogging up to her. "You didn't even stay to see his face when he read your note."
Lily shrugged but said nothing.
"Would have been worth your while. He went pale as a sheet. Thought it was a joke until I described you in detail to him." He grinned. "Reckon he's in the loo being sick right now." His amusement faltered a bit as he eyed her. "Anyway, you all right?"
Lily smiled weakly. "I will be," she replied.
"Good on you. He's a prat, anyway," he said, flashing her a set of bright white teeth again. "In any case, here's a reply," he said, extending a small piece of paper at her. Lily, unsure if she wanted to see it, merely glanced at it. The waiter, on the other hand, broadened his grin and shook it encouragingly.
Scrawled inside was a series of numbers. Feeling her brows knit together, Lily opened her mouth, but no reply came out. "This is a phone number," she pointed out at last, utterly bewildered. "And it's not his writing at all."
"Never said it was from him, did I?"
Lily looked at him long and hard, noting mischievous hint that lingered in his smirk. She stared back down at the note and it was seconds before she heard herself laughing. "Thank you...er..." she trailed off uncertainly, squinting at his chest. "You haven't got a name tag."
"Ah, that would be because I don't actually work here," he said cheerfully.
Lily felt the heat creep up her neck. "You don't?" she asked, horrified. "I thought you— I wouldn't have asked you to—" She threw him a glare that only made his smirk slant in a way that made her stomach swoop despite her annoyance. "You should have told me!"
"You never asked," he told her simply. Lily narrowed her eyes at him and it only increased his amusement. "It was much more fun that way," he added. Frowning a bit, he looked down at his clothes. "Though that tells me I should dress better." He looked up in time to catch her silent laughter and he joined in with a chuckle of his own, running a hand through his black, untidy hair. "Name's James, by the way," he said offering her his other hand. "James Potter."
"Lily Evans," she returned, shaking it in hers.
"You sure you'll be all right, Evans?"
Already, she felt like she was. "I'm going to be just fine."
A/N: I don't know what that was.
I'm trying to get myself into a writing mood all so I can bring you updates sooner :)
Thank you for bearing with me. And thanks in advance if you review.