Misty! *squee* I realized that I hadn't dedicated a fic to you so, I figured this was the perfect opporunity. You beyond deserve it, and are such a wonderful, wonderful writer. Misty_Rey is seriously fantastic folks! So this story is surprisingly cheesy, but I really do love it. I had to do some serious research about cooking for it, but it was totally worth it! Edited by both my wonderful friends Steff (a_shooting_star) and Misty (Misty_Rey)! Second note: So I added about three hundred more words of descripation that I meant to put there in the first place. I hope you enjoy this *New* Ginger fic.
Lily hummed under her breath as she promptly placed new books into the window display. Weathers, Twine, Grey, Renaldo, and Brugs were classic wizarding authors that always adorned the shelves of the rare novelty bookstore. She removed the old books and began to prepare for the fall season. The cold weather had come unusually early for September, even though it was September 28. Normally, Lily would not have to don a heavier fall jacket until at least halfway through October, but personally, she loved this time of year. The burnt orange and fiery red leaves decorated the cobblestone streets of Diagon Alley. Wind swept through Lily’s copper hair, and her cheeks were flushed with the biting cold on her face. Apple cider became a regular drink of choice and ginger pumpkins glowed in the twilight.
Lily returned the old books from the window display to their rightful spot on the aged oak shelves. She began to softly sing as she ran her finger across the old leather spines of the books. Her boss, Mr. Voss, had personally restored each and every one of the books. He treated them like his children, just as he did with Lily and Claire. The two girls ran the shop most of the time because Mr. Voss was out so often searching for new books to add to his collection. Mr. Voss was the best boss Lily could ask for. Attentive and kind, Mr. Voss had opened the shop after he had lost his wife. The books and shop and the girls were the most company Mr. Voss had ever had.
"Lily?" a voice tinged with slight annoyance murmured. Lily turned her head to see Claire stooping over the counter with the cash box. Claire’s blue-green eyes stayed trained down onto the money she counted, but Lily could tell by Claire’s stiff body language she wasn’t concentrating.
"Yes, Claire?" Lily answered innocently. She carefully replaced the last book in her hands on the shelf before walking toward the counter.
"I have asked you time and time again to not hum or sing. It is one of my pet peeves," Claire retorted sharply, her eyes snapping up to meet Lily’s before she swiftly turned, her blonde curls bouncing against her red sweater.
"Right. Sorry, Claire," Lily muttered sheepishly. "I tend to forget things a little too easily." Claire gave a heavy sigh and turned back around to Lily.
"I suppose I can forgive you this time. Just try to remember. Please," Claire added pleadingly.
"You’re fantastic, Claire. Just fantastic."
"So what are you up to tonight?" Lily asked with interest. Claire paused from gathering her stuff to leave and her black cat eyeglasses now framed her eyes. She huffed, briefly contemplating ignoring Lily but thought better of it, the task not worth the effort.
"I am off home. To read. I must get going. Goodnight, Lily," she said in a forced manner as she stomped past the redhead and out the door. Lily sighed and wondered why she tried. Claire was never a friendly one and preferred to stay to herself. Lily, however, was as a stubborn as a mule with the combined strength of her parents and twice the determination. Of course, she was more levelheaded with it than either of her parents. Lily gathered her bag and removed her keys from the pocket. She shut off the lights and closed up the rickety old shop. She cast the security charms and began to wander the short walk to the bakery.
Lily loved working in Diagon Alley. It provided her with the perfect sort of balance in her life. While she chose to room with a friend from Hogwarts, they lived in the muggle part of London. So, by night and weekend, Lily Potter was disguised as a muggle. By day during the work week, however, she was an extraordinary witch that was magically lucky. Her job demanded much of her attention and often thought, but Lily loved the dusty book corners of the ancient shop she worked in. There was something romantic about all the old books; the twisted characters, the original plots, warm parchment pages and leather-bound binding. The thought that such wonders would be preserved, ready for the next generation, sent a wide smile to Lily’s face.
Outside, the wind nipped at Lily’s revealed face and while she was cold, she smiled because the coming of autumn warmed her heart. She stopped in front of the bakery to inspect it for a moment. Her boyfriend, Charles, and his friend Marcy had opened the business on a whim. Both were unhappy with any other career choices coming out of Hogwarts. Marcy with her sharp business savvy paired with Charles’ divine gift in the kitchen proved to yield a fantastic partnership with an out of this world number of profit. They both had become extremely successful in the short time they had been opened. Lily with the combined appetite of her brothers and one to rival her Uncle Ron had been the bakery’s number one fan. The cursive swirls of red lettering of Delectable’s stood out against the lit shop. Lily was meeting Charles for another free meal that was bound to send her tastebuds to a virtual nirvana. She breathed in as she eyed the familiar shop. The building itself rung into her heart like home did. It had been the standing place of one of many of her Uncle George’s shops, but the old man had invested in her boyfriend and Marcy’s business on the basis of faith and intuition. It proved to be a successful gamble in the end, and she adored the bakery.
"Charles? I’m here," Lily called as the bakery door clanked shut behind her. A sweet scent lingered pleasantly in the air as she happily removed her coat and bag before wandering toward the kitchen. A very reminiscent scene beheld her as she entered the large kitchen. There stood Charles over the stove as he stirred a wonderful smelling liquid as it cooked in the pot. A row of odd-shaped cookies sat atop a counter and tea was boiling next to the pot. Charles looked up and caught Lily’s eye. A small smile spread across his lips.
"You’re late," he said accusingly as he fetched two bowls from a nearby shelf. Lily followed him to a familiar spot before pulling two mugs for tea down from a shelf adjacent to where the bowls had been.
"Aye, you be right about that. But you are just now finishing dinner so it seems I am right on time," Lily answered expertly. "And no hello?" she mockingly pouted. She swiftly kissed Charles’ cheek before pouring the boiling water into the mugs. She took a sip from one cup before yelping. "Ow! Hot!"
Charles snorted. "That is the general nature of tea. And actually, I figured you would be late and started a little later. Soup is no good served cold. So let’s eat." Charles led the way out through the kitchen holding onto two large bowls of wonderful soup. Sticking out her tongue at Charles as well as to relieve the scalding, Lily carried the two mugs and followed him. Charles placed a bowl in front of each seat before he quickly headed back toward the kitchen. Lily put the untouched mug in front of the seat opposite her as she took another sip of the tea. Her throat basked in the warmth of the tea and her tastebuds rejoiced in the unusual taste. Charles returned with a plate of the unusual looking cookies. They immediately began to eat and Lily greedily consumed the soup. She nibbled on two cookies as well. Her appetite had not slowed down even after her teenage years. She still ate enough to rival her two older brothers.
"So, what was in that fantastic tea and soup?" Lily asked as they both ate.
"Ginger. Marcy and I are trying different recipes for a Spice week. Or rather, I’m trying new recipes. What do you think?" Charles answered before sliding another spoonful of soup into his mouth. Lily searched her mind for the perfect words to say. Her eyes watched the blonde man in front of her nervously eat. He really searched for her approval when it came to his recipes. And she was always more than happy to give them.
"The tea was warm and intoxicating. Perfect for a chilly autumn day. The soup was the epitome of fall; slightly spicy and pungent. Filling and extremely fiery … like the color of leaves of autumn." She had a flair with words that Charles appreciated, especially when it came to praising his dishes. He smiled, satisfied, and Lily returned happily to her meal. "How’s Marcy?" she finally asked, breaking the comfortable silence.
"Fantastic, at least I hope. The bakery is doing much better than we expected and when I talked to Gary a few days ago, I found out he’s proposing tonight," he answered before sipping more of his soup.
"You think she’ll say yes?" she said cheekily, to which Charles laughed and rolled his eyes. "Everyone seems to be getting engaged and married," she continued, "Marcy, Rose with Scorpius, Roxanne and her boyfriend, Gerald, and James with Lila. It’s quite a phenomenon, don’t you agree?"
"Are you implying something, Lily?" Charles asked honestly, no trace of fear or emotion in his voice or face. Lily’s hazel eyes flicked down to her bare left ring finger. She tried to imagine a ring on it.
"Yes. I suppose I, too, would like to get married." She paused for another moment, thinking. "Eventually. I’m 21 and in no rush. I suppose when you truly know you’re in love, it makes sense, but it’s quite a big step. Two people molding their lives into one." Charles nodded.
"You don’t scare me, you know. I know you better than most, Lily Luna Potter," he teased. Lily smiled in response.
"Really? Because my brothers know me very well and they are terrified of me." Lily laughed as Charles shook his head. They sat in a happy silence and were pretty satisfied with the meal. "Now those cookies are delicious, but what are they in the shape of?"
"Ginger roots of course. They have ginger in them, very similar to ginger snaps but better. At least, I like to think so. Ginger tea and ginger soup. The spice of the evening was ginger." Lily laughed. Charles eyed with serious confusion. "What’s so funny?"
"Charles, seriously? Shaped like ginger roots? Please, I understand your creativity, but you need to make them appear more… appetizing. I loved them and would eat anything you made, but they do not look good to a stranger. At all." Charles contemplated her point and nodded in response. He removed the bowl and mugs of tea and walked into the kitchen. Lily heard clatter as he moved around. He returned back out with two mugs of fresh, hot tea and disappeared back into the kitchen. He again returned with two plates of what looked like cake.
"Dessert of the evening is ginger cake," Charles announced as they both ate. Lily sighed in complete bliss after the first bite. A smirk twitched onto Charles’ face as he watched her eat. "Listen, Lily… I’ve never been good with words." He cleared his throat and turned a little red. "Nothing like you. But tonight was more than about Spice week." He began to speak faster and became more animated as he spoke, "Ginger has a fiery flavor and as a bouquet, it is sweet and warm." He paused and took a deep breath. He finally looked Lily in the eye and spoke slowly, stumbling over his words. "Just like you L – L – Lily. You are fiery and… and you provide a spark in my life. You are sweet … when you want to be – and you just have this warmth to you." He gave a small cough and smiled at her gently, slightly flushed in the face. "I suppose I am saying that – that I love you Lily Luna Potter." Charles finished in a quick breath. His grey eyes rose to meet the hazel irises of Lily. Her eyes had widened and she had dropped her fork onto her plate. "Lily?"
"Charles… oh wow," Lily murmured, nervously shifting in her seat.
"Lily? Please say something else," Charles nervously replied, his hand shaking. Lily without saying a word reached across the table and grasped his hand in hers.
"I love you, too," she finally said, a wide smile lighting up her face. Charles immediately smiled back at her. "Say it again," she gently requested.
"I love you, Ginger," he said again, his eyes dancing with happiness and the smile on his face was contagious.
"Your nickname. You are the ginger in my life. The spice of my life," Charles answered softly. The couple sat across from each other and simply held hands as the chilly temperature continued to drop around them. The warmth from the couple in love radiated in the bakery. A cook and his Ginger.