Chapter 43 : Return
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Lily had been pulling on a jacket when she was interrupted by a knock on the bakery door. Upon hurrying downstairs she saw Sarah’s grinning face through the window.
“Hey!” she exclaimed after opening the door. “Is it time to go already?”
Sarah walked in and set her purse down on the table. “Nearly. Just thought I’d stop by so we could meet the boys together.”
“Do we have time for a quick cup of coffee before we leave?”
Sarah checked her watch. “Yeah. We’re due at the shop at 10:00. We have about ten minutes.”
Lily walked over to the coffee pot and poured two mugs of the hot, bitter beverage.
The two young women sat down at the table and sipped their drinks.
“So, what’s your plan for the bakery?” asked Sarah. “I mean…once you and James are…married, will the two of you stay here?”
Lily frowned. “I’m not really sure yet. I don’t think that I could sell it. Maybe we could live somewhere else but still run it.”
“Do you guys have enough money for that?”
Lily looked down and stirred her coffee. This had been a sensitive topic for her lately. She didn’t want to admit it, but she and James were nearly broke. The wedding had really dried up the well. The both of them had far too much pride to ask their parents for a penny. Lily hoped that it would soon blow over. They’d just have to cut back and save after the wedding. Everything would be alright.
“We’ll manage,” she said shortly.
Lily, wanting to divert the conversation from her current financial state, changed the subject. “So…what’s going on between you and Nathan?”
Sarah shifted uncomfortably. “Nothing really. We haven’t spoken.”
“Do you want to get back together with him?”
“I don’t know…I-I might have to.”
Lily looked up at her, confused. “What do you mean?”
Sarah bit her lip. “Can you keep a secret, Lily?”
“You can’t tell anyone. Not James or Alice or Sirius or anyone.”
“Alright…what’s going on?”
Sarah took a deep breath. “I-I think that I might be…expecting.”
Lily blinked, not comprehending at first, but then she understood. “A baby ?”
Sarah nodded. “But I’m not one hundred percent sure yet.”
“And Nathan is the…”
She nodded again.
“Oh…wow…what are you going to do?”
Sarah took a shaky breath. “I-I’m not sure. I’ll have to talk to him. Maybe at your wedding.”
“He’ll understand. He’s a nice guy.”
“I hope so.” Sarah paused, but then smiled. “But it is exciting.”
“It is! You should start thinking about a name.”
“It’s a little early for that,” said Sarah. She stood up. “Come on. Let’s go.”
The two women headed out the door and disapparated.
James and Sirius were standing in front of Pufkin Wedding Apparel, looking bored. Two mannequins stood in the display window, one in a midnight black suit with a silver waistcoat, and the other in a white silk dress with a long train.
James checked his watch. “They’re late.”
“Are you sure that we’re not just early?” asked Sirius, catching the eye of two women walking by.
“Well…we were a little, I guess.”
“What do you expect? Girls naturally take a long time to get ready.”
Sarah and Lily chose that moment to appear out of thin air.
“Not late are we boys?” asked Sarah.
“Right on time,” replied Sirius smoothly.
The four of them headed into the shop together.
An elderly witch hurried out of the back room and called in a raspy voice, “I assume you are my 10:00 appointment.” She looked down at the notebook sitting on her desktop. “Reserved by a Miss Evans?”
“That’s right,” said Lily, plopping down in an armchair.
The woman pulled out a measuring tape. “Who are the bride and groom?”
Sirius pointed to James and Lily. “Those are the lovebirds.” He raised an eyebrow and asked mockingly. “Can’t you tell?”
She brushed past him, pulled out James’ arm, and began taking down measurements. “I have got a good idea for you, Hun. I’m seeing traditional clashed with something exciting and fresh.”
“Err…” James cleared his throat. “Alright, but nothing too much though.”
Sarah laughed. “Is that fearless James Potter afraid of something different?”
“No,” he said quickly. “I just don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb.”
“Oh you won’t,” called the elderly woman over her shoulder as she walked over to a wardrobe standing at the opposite wall. She pulled open the oak doors and rummaged around inside for a moment. She came back carrying a regular, black, wedding style suit: the full jacket, vest, and pants.
“This is what you’ll wear.” She shoved it into his chest and pointed to the dressing rooms. “Go put it on. I’ll make the final arrangements when you come out.”
James could tell that this lady would not take ‘no’ for an answer. He took the hangers out of her hand and closed the curtain behind him.
Outside, the woman known as Ms. Pufkin turned her full attention towards Lily.
“You are a very pretty girl,” she muttered.
Sirius took a seat next to Sarah, crossed his legs, and pressed his fingers together.
She ignored him again.
“Let me look around in the back room for a dress for you,” she told Lily.
“So where’s the honeymoon?” Sirius asked after she left.
“Italy…for a week.”
“Ah, Moony said that it was nice there…Coliseum’s memorable and everything. But I doubt that you two will get in much sight seeing.” Sirius winked.
Lily tried to refrain from blushing. “For your information Mr. Black , we’ll get in plenty of tours. We’ll take loads of pictures for you guys.”
“Leave out the X rated material.”
James came out of the dressing room just in time to see Lily whack Sirius upside the head.
Sirius looked up and saw James standing there. “Did you see that?” He pointed at Lily. “She’s a danger to society—attacking poor civilians. Who knows what she’ll do next?”
James rolled his eyes. “What do you guys think of this suit?”
Sirius circled him and then sat back down. “Boring.”
“It’s supposed to be.” The owner had come back holding a dress bag in her arms.
“That’s why we have to add something to it.”
She held the dress out to Lily. “Go into my back rooms and try this on. I’ll be back in a few minutes to see if it fits. Don’t come out.” She looked at James. “It’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her dress before the wedding.” She then addressed Sarah.
“You can go with her though.”
The two girls scampered out of the room together.
The woman turned back to James and began examining his suit to see if it fit correctly.
He lifted his arms. “It feels alright…”
Ms. Pufkin smoothed the front down. “It should. The goblins made the material. You can’t doubt them.”
She pulled at the front of his waistband.
James jumped. “Excuse me.”
The elderly lady gave him a level look. “Look Hun, you’ve got a gorgeous tush, but you’re not my type.”
Sirius fell off his chair, and got up biting his lip. “Sorry. I need some air.”
Before the door fully closed they heard insane laughter coming from the person who had just left the room.
The woman rolled her eyes. “Your friend needs to grow up.”
James managed a weak smile. “That’s Sirius.”
“Alright. Here’s what I’m going to do.” She pulled out her wand and flicked it. The inside lining of his coat was suddenly a light maroon colour. His waistcoat changed to silver and the tie blood red. “How does that look?”
James looked in the full length mirror across the room. “Spiffy.”
“Then you’re set. Bring your friend back in here while I go check on your fiancé.” She left the room.
James quickly changed back into his regular clothes and hung the suit up on a rack by the cash register. He pushed open the door and found Sirius sitting on the ground, still laughing. The people who where walking by were giving him weird glances—as if he were a madman escaped from Azkaban.
“C’mon Sirius. She’s going to fit you next,” called James.
His friend got to his feet and draped an arm over James’ shoulder. “I’m never going to stop laughing.”
“Yeah you will.”
By the time they got back inside the old woman was back with Lily and Sarah, the hidden dress also hanging on the rack.
She made Sirius and Sarah stand next to each other. “The best man and maid of honor have to have coordinating outfits,” she said. “And I think a dark blue would suit both of you. She walked over to the cabinets and pulled out another regular black suit and a dark blue tie. She threw them at Sirius. “Get in a dressing room.”
He opened his mouth to retort, but she cut him off. “Don’t be a smartass.”
He went behind the curtain meekly.
Ms. Pufkin turned her attention to Sarah. “What size are you? Three? Four?”
“Five,” replied Sarah, coloring slightly.
The woman bustled away and returned with a midnight blue strapless dress. The material was silky like and flowed out from the cinched waist.
Sarah’s eyes grew round. “That is so pretty!”
“It should fit—,”
“Excuse me,” called Sirius, sticking his head out. “There’s a bit of a problem with this suit. The top half fits alright…but the bottom…well.” He pushed back the curtain to reveal himself.
The pants part of his outfit was grossly overlarge. They probably would have fit Vernon Dursley.
James started laughing. “Those look great Padfoot.”
Sirius stumbled coming out of the dressing room. “Ha-ha, very funny.”
They were interrupted by the door to the shop flinging open as two men strode in. James instantly recognized them as Kingsley Shacklebolt and Gideon Prewett, two Order members. Even thought they were normally fun to joke around with, today they were all business.
They walked up to the group gathered in the middle of the room and said quietly. “There’s a situation. You guys need to see something.”
“Does it have to be now?” asked Lily sharply. “Can we finish up here?”
“I think you guys will want to see this,” said Gideon. “You can leave your stuff here and I’ll make your purchases.”
“Look,” said Sirius, hopping forward, tugging at the hem of his pants. “We’re almost done. Maybe ten or fifteen minutes. Can’t you guys wait?”
“This is urgent,” said Kingsley pointedly. He looked nervously at Ms. Pufkin, who was standing a few feet away. “We need you at Headquarters.”
James sighed. “Alright…but…” He looked at Sarah. “What about Sarah? She’s not exactly…”
“It has been requested that she come as well,” said Gideon. He turned to speak directly to her. “For your own protection we’re going to have to blindfold you.”
Sarah nodded, looking nervous.
Kingsley pushed open the door. “We have to go. The faster the better.”
“Can I at least change?” cried Sirius.
“No. Let’s go. Gideon will make your purchases.”
The four of them followed Kingsley out of the shop.
Once they were outside James whirled around. “What’s this about Kingsley?”
The Order member shook his head. “I can’t tell you. You will have to see it for yourself.”
“And it is back at headquarters?” asked Lily.
“Precisely,” he replied. He pulled a long strip of cloth out of his pocket and faced Sarah. I’m sorry Miss, but I have to.”
Sarah gulped, but then squared her shoulders. “Okay.”
Her covered her eyes and led her in the disapparation.
The five of them were standing in front of the Order of the Phoenix headquarters. Lily and James helped lead Sarah up the stairs and into the building after Kingsley. Sirius had some trouble climbing the steps. By the time he got up the others were far ahead.
He closed the door behind him and promptly tripped over his oversized suit pants. After he was able to pick himself up and shake the dust from his body the others were heading up the stairs.
He had started to follow when a shriek sounded from the second level, followed by James’ voice drifting down the stairs. “Oh my God…”
Sirius quickened his pace up the steps and turned into the doorway of the study were everyone was standing. James, Lily, and Sarah all turned abruptly to stare at him, pale face.
Sarah’s hand was clapped over her mouth and her eyes were wide. Lily had a tear rolling down her cheek and several more threatening to follow. Even James seemed lost for words as he started at his best friend.
“What’s going on?” he asked slowly, starting to get scared by the way everyone was looking at him. It was so blank, yet full of emotion at the same time. But what was that emotion? He could not tell. They were just looking at him, waiting.
A voice came from the back corner of the room, calling him. “Sirius.”
He turned to the newcomer and froze. His heart pace quickened and a lump formed in his throat. Suddenly he understood why everyone was acting the way they were. At first he thought he was dreaming…but the harder he looked the more he realized that this wasn’t a hallucination. It was real.
It was Emma.
a/n: Sorry i haven't gotten my reviews answered, I'll get them answered soon.
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