Chapter 4 : Back rooms and Bumblebee's
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As Remus pulled a very confused Lily behind him, Lily looked back at Penelope who looked like she couldn’t decide whether to rip off someone else’s head or her own.
“Where are we going,” Lily asked, watching a very nervous Remus who looked like he was in the middle of an escape plan.
Lily looked up to see that they had arrived in the back room of the shop where piles and piles of uneaten cupcakes were waiting. One aspect of the shop that Penelope had labored over for hours on end was the one thing that helped relieve a lot of the stress and chaos on such a day when everyone they ever met showed up to taste the cupcakes. The serving plates and tables that held the cupcakes in the front were magically enhanced so that when they began to empty, the cupcakes in the backroom would transfer directly to those plates.
Lily looked around before settling her questioning gaze on Remus, “Aaaand?”
“Well, you see, I’ve been looking for ages around the shop for my favourite cupcake and I just can’t find it! I was wondering if you would help me look in here. It has to be here somewhere,” he managed to say before diverting his eyes to look nervously around the room.
Although she knew something else was up, Lily figured staying out of it would be the best option. She decided that she would help Remus in this pointless search because if there was anywhere she would be safe from James Potter, it would be here.
“… ok. What does it look like?” she played along.
“Uhh. It has a pink frosting base with yellow flowers on it,” he blurted, trying to think of the most random cupcake, “It also has those magically enhanced bumble bees flying around it on top.”
“I don’t think I’ve seen those before,” Lily commented, trying to hide a snigger. Remus was doing a horrible job at making this up.
“Yes. Well… While you start looking, I’m going to go look at the front again. Stay here, will you? I think if you go looking for me, we’ll both be lost for hours. I’ll be back in a few,” he rushed out, making a run for it when he reached the door.
“Odd… Oh well,” thought Lily as she began looking through the masses of cupcakes.
Sure enough, a few minutes later, Lily heard Remus’ voice telling a similar story to someone else, “Yes. It’s my favourite cupcake. I’ve been looking since I arrived. Help me, will you?”
She heard a voice reply but it was too muddled to make out any distinct person.
All of a sudden, it hit her. Remus’ nervousness, Penelope’s confusion, EVERYTHING.
“NOOOO!” she screamed in her head.
As she tried to run out of the room, James was shoved in and the door closed behind them. Lily collided with James as he fell in, causing them to fall on the floor, almost destroying a particularly pretty batch of cupcakes.
Ignoring the delightful feeling of James pinning her down with his weight, Lily shoved him aside and tried to open the door.
“REMUS LUPIN, I will have your head when I get out of here!” she yelled when she found the door locked, “BUMBLE BEE’s MY ARSE!”
She turned around to find James still on the floor, desperately trying to conceal his laughter.
“What’s so bloody funny?!” she yelled, her blood still churning from her earlier outburst.
“Bumble bee’s?” gasped James through his now obvious and body-shaking laughter.
Lily felt her mind melt at the sound of his laughter, a welcome sound after six months without its constant comfort. She found herself chuckling at the situation and Remus’ lame attempt at a diversion. Eventually the two were close to tears, already forgetting what they had found so funny at the start.
When their laughter had died down to small smiles, Lily looked around at the backroom more closely. There was something about the cupcakes that made her feel nostalgic. At close inspection, she found out why; most of the cupcakes were identical to the concoctions Penelope made up in Hogwarts. Some magically enhanced with changing colours and others done in the traditional muggle way, the cupcakes brought back loads of memories.
Apparently James had also realized that as he got up and wandered around picking up a cupcake, smiling and putting it down. Lily saw a collection of cupcakes, all different colours with a card explaining the flavor. A particular cupcake, covered in robin egg blue icing and topped with an intricate, Victorian design in thin white icing, brought Lily back to a Friday night at the beginning of the girls’ seventh year.
“Girls! This is a dictatorship and, so help me merlin, you will taste these concoctions and review. You know the drill but I will repeat the directions for your torture,” began Penelope, handing out pieces of parchment with several sections, one for each type of cupcake. Under each heading, there were categories rating taste, appearance and other cupcakey things.
“You will take a bite of the cupcake, ponder while you chew and then rate each category from 1 to 10, 10 being the best. You will then place the unfinished cupcake in the baskets placed next to your work stations so we can give them to the Sirius and the boys later on,” she continued.
Libba snorted quietly, whispering to Lily, “It’s all about Sirius this, Sirius that. Bloody hell. They’ve been dating for how many months?” Penelope shot a fierce look at Libba, silencing her for the rest of the night.
“Do NOT finish the cupcake because by the time you get to the last one, you will rate it poorly because you are stuffed and it might have been the best of all,” she finished, observing the four girls, Lily, Libba, Dorcas and Alice, as they sat rigidly in the room of requirement.
Penelope had imagined an office situation with four work desks but instead of being covered in files and boring objects, the most colorful plate of cupcakes was placed on each table. Each girl was placed at one table and knew that any sort of objection would not be taken well. When Penelope was testing, she was all business.
“You may begin,” Penelope ordered. The girls quickly picked up a cupcake and began the process that would most likely last late into the night.
When Lily was about to place her fifth cupcake in her mouth, a pounding was heard on the door to the Room of Requirement.
“We know what you’re doing in there and we’re not afraid to ambush!” cried a distinctly, desperate male voice. Penelope’s eyes flared, upset that her routine had been interrupted. She walked calmly to the door but stayed silent and instructed the girls to stay still.
The pounding resumed when a response was not given and this time Frank Longbottom, Alice’s boyfriend, called out, “Look, I just need Alice. It’s Friday night for merlin’s sake! Alice! Can you hear me? You promised you would keep tonight open!”
Penelope shot a glare at Alice, who was cowering in her chair, struggling with the desire to leave with Frank but not making a move in case Penelope cut off one of her limbs. They did sleep in the same dorm and Alice did not want to take any risks.
When the girls still refused to reply, muttering was heard behind the door, a few spells were half-heartedly shot at the door and steps were finally heard disappearing down the corridor.
A couple hours passed without any further disturbances and Penelope resumed walking among the girls who continued to take bites from several cupcakes. The baskets next to each desk were almost full and it was already quite large; almost as big as a trunk.
Lily looked at her watch and saw that it was nearing midnight. Covering up a yawn, Lily stuffed another cupcake into her mouth. “Mmmmm. This is actually pretty good,” she thought, taking a closer look at the cupcake. It was laced in a layer of robin egg blue icing and finished with a beautiful design in white icing.
“Penelope, come over please?” called out Lily, still inspecting the cupcake, “This cupcake is phenomenal. What are the flavors?”
Before Penelope could so much as open her mouth, an enormous bang was heard outside of the room in the corridor, catching every girl’s attention.
Lily went into Head-Girl mode and stormed to the door, oblivious to the warnings from the other girls. As she opened the door, a humorous sight awaited her; James Potter’s unconscious, long form was sprawled across the floor outside of the door, steam rising from his body. Lily, already testy at the late hour, stalked to his side, seeing his eyes begin to flutter open.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing, Potter?” hissed Lily, not helping James from his miserable stance on the floor.
“It’s all part of the plan, flower. All part of the plan,” tormented James as well as he could from his position. Before Lily could question him, or jump up and down on his smirking face, Sirius, Remus, Peter and Frank appeared out of nowhere, picking Lily up like a sack of dirty school robes on the way to the open door of the Room of Requirement.
Before Penelope, Libba, Dorcas or Alice could do anything, the boys stampeded into the room, Lily struggling between Sirius and Remus and James in tow. Frank looked around the room for Alice, found her and proceeded to pull her out, sending death glares at Penelope for keeping his girlfriend away from him. Alice sent an apologetic look at Penelope but it was evident that she was relieved more than anything else.
As the door closed behind the couple, all hell broke loose. Lily stepped it up a level and began to bite Remus and Sirius; whoever was closest to her. Penelope turned from red to purple, her body convulsing as she stayed where she was. Libba, shocked into silence, sat in her chair with a cupcake in hand. Peter was running around the room shouting something about finding the golden treasure. Dorcas was cowering under the desk, stuffing a cupcake in her mouth and gathering more to hide under her shirt. Things were not good.
James calmly walked to where Remus and Sirius were struggling with Lily and stated, “Lily, love, we’re simply here for the cupcakes. Nothing else. No need to get huffy about it. We’ll be out of your way in a jippy.”
All of a sudden, James felt something soft and squishy hit the back of his head. Reaching back to feel it, he realized at once that it was a cupcake. Turning around slowly, James caught sight of a furious Penelope, crouched in an attack position with a partially eaten cupcake in her hand.
“AND TO THINK I WAS GOING TO GIVE YOU THESE LEFTOVERS!” she roared before launching the next cupcake to hit James square in the face.
A clear view of James’ face was not necessary to realize that it was probably the same color as an angry cherry. Sirius, stunned at the actions before him, let go of Lily’s legs, letting Lily fall to the floor in an upright position. She successfully scrambled from Remus’ hold and ran to stand beside Penelope. Libba was still in her chair but was now laughing hysterically. Dorcas had stopped shoving the cupcakes in her shirt and resorted to throwing them at the boys, following Penelope’s example.
James grabbed the nearest basket full of partially eaten cupcakes and began chucking them in the general direction of the girls. Sirius and Remus soon followed suit, overturning a desk as a sort of fort. Peter, finally taking in the war that was forming around him, scampered to the boy’s half of the room.
Pieces of cake and icing covered every inch of the room not five minutes into the struggle. James looked to Sirius as they cowered behind the table, attempting to think up a plan that would help them win this particular battle. “Take the leader and the rest fall,” cried out Sirius, a mischievous look on his face.
“What are you on?” responded James, ducking a clever cupcake that had been charmed to go around the table.
“If we take out Penelope, the rest of the girls are hopeless. I’m sure none of them really want to be here, except Penelope, sooooo….” continued Sirius, nudging James on.
Before James was entirely convinced, Sirius sprang from their “fort” and charged past the oncoming pellets of cupcakes. The scene was reminiscent of a war film as the soldier runs through no-man’s land, getting hit with bullets all over his body but prospering nonetheless.
On the other side, Lily couldn’t help but see the comparison between a cupcake covered Sirius and the abominable snow-man. “What’s he doing?” she murmured, charming cupcake after cupcake to fly in the general direction of the boys. She was frankly getting tired of all the nonsense and was waiting for a deciding action, such as Sirius charging to their side, so everyone could be done with it.
Penelope was still completely bent on destruction and was so focused, she hardly noticed as Sirius jumped into the air and was about to throw her back on the floor. A split second before contact, Penelope realized what was happening and gave a blood-curdling scream.
Sirius catapulted into Penelope and pinned her down on the ground, smothering any remaining screams with his hands. Everyone else had stopped moving as they watched the couple struggle on the floor. Eventually Penelope calmed down and stopped trying to knee Sirius in an extremely sensitive place.
After Penelope visibly relaxed, the rest of the students in the room let down their guard. Lily leaned against the leg of a desk, taking in the disaster they had made. Dorcas looked lost, staring at her dirty hands. Libba was still snickering in her chair although now she was covered in the same mess as everyone else. Peter grabbed a handful of cupcake remains and shoveled them into his mouth. Remus and James each grabbed a chair and sat down, lost in their own thoughts.
Sirius and Penelope had blocked everyone out. “Hi,” said Sirius as he gazed down at a disgruntled Penelope.
“uskdfjdksjdf,” mumbled Penelope, struggling to remain angry despite the ridiculousness of the situation.
Sirius gave her a reproachful look and moved a piece of hair from Penelope’s face. His fingers continued down her jaw before giving her sides a squeeze in a futile attempt to tickle her.
“Ok. Ok. Merlin, Hi,” she gasped as Sirius’ hands became more persistent. Their faces lit in an unspoken agreement and Penelope grabbed his face, tugging it down to connect with hers.
Lily watched the two with a grin on her face. Only those two could go from merciless war to shameless snogging in two minutes. She tore her eyes away from them and unexpectedly met the hazel eyes of James. The unreadable expression in his eyes scared Lily but she couldn’t help but yearn for any sort of connection with a person.
“He’s become more mature over the summer,” she began to think before she reprimanded herself for falling for such a lame trick. “He’s changed,” she mentally mimicked in a shrill voice.
As the two continued to stare at each other, daring the other to blink, Lily thought that maybe he had. Maybe James had changed.
“Lily?” A voice brought Lily back to the present situation, not as ridiculous as the one in her thoughts but possibly close.
Lily turned from the cupcakes to see James, tensely sitting on the edge of a chair, his chin in his hands. As he gazed up at Lily, Lily couldn’t help but feel the pull to help him; to make him feel better.
“Yes?” she replied, as if they weren’t stuck in the backroom of a cupcake shop but rather in a casual conversation over tea.
James held her gaze for a minute before staring at the ground letting out a frustrated sigh, “Lily. Evans. Lily Evans.”
“That would be me,” she suggested, eyeing him wearily. “Is he insane? Oh Merlin, am I stuck in here with a new mental patient?” thought Lily frantically.
As Lily argued with herself, James abruptly got up and began pacing the room. Lily, unsure of what she should do, had the sudden urge to stuff cupcakes in her blouse like Dorcas had that night in the Room of Requirement. “I guess it’s a protective instinct?” she tried to persuade herself internally.
Instead, Lily picked up one cupcake that looked particularly scrumptious and peeled the wrapping off. As she opened her mouth and stuffed half of the cupcake in her mouth, James stopped in front of Lily and grabbed her by the shoulders, making her arms drop and the cupcake stay hanging from her mouth.
Bug eyed and desperately seeking an escape, Lily stared into James eyes that were now too close for her liking. “Coherent. Thoughts. Leaving. Quickly,” she managed to think before her mind went blank at the increasingly intimate look James was giving her.
James caught site of the rest of the cupcake that was not directly inside her mouth and seemed to ponder it for a while. He dragged his gaze up to Lily’s eyes, back down to the cupcake and up and down before Lily started getting dizzy.
Eventually an odd look passed through James’ face and before Lily could even start to analyze the look, James head bowed down until his lips were an inch from the cupcake, making that two inches from her mouth. Lily was beyond paralyzed as the close proximity and the recent memory bogged her down and made thoughts vanish.
James brought his eyes to Lily’s and as he held her gaze, he came closer, opened his mouth, bit the rest of the cupcake into his mouth and promptly turned around to sit in his chair.
Hello! I know it's been a while, but I'm hoping this chapter makes up for the wait. I kept getting stuck and things were just not flowing. Luckily, I'm back into the flow and updates will be more regular. I had planned for a different ending to this chapter but the above idea just hit me when I was writing. I hope you found it entertaining and things will become clearer next chapter. All the minor characters will be back and it'll be like a giant party... except not. You'll see.
Please review and continue to check back for updates. Reviews really help me boost my confidence and improve any aspect of the story. I would love you all forever if you reviewed. I'm groveling now. haha. Until next time!