When Sirius asked Lily what a ‘girls number’ was, she didn’t quite know what to say.
“You’ve seen a phone before, right?” She asked him, James hovering around, listening in.
“Yes,” Sirius said uncertainly, making it sound like a question.
“Well, you punch those numbers, hold the phone up to your ear, and talk through it.”
He looked at her sceptically.
“It’s like using a patronus to talk to someone, except they can talk back right away and you can have a conversation.”
Sirius nodded, a knowing expression on his face, although it was clear he still didn’t really understand.
“You won’t really understand how it works until you actually call her up, I think,” Lily said, smiling kindly. “We’ll go into town tomorrow and find a phone box, okay?”
“I thought you were doing Potions, not Muggle Studies,” James spoke up, looking mischievous. “Although Sirius has definitely studied a muggle or two in his time.”
The two marauders laughed and high fived, Lily rolled her eyes. James immediately realised he had made a mistake and tried to change the subject.
“So, phones are like patronuses, huh? We were kind of, um, in detention when we learned Expecto Patronum in Defence Against the Dark Arts last year,” James smiled, remembering the week in which Filch had blue skin. “Mine is a stag, Sirius’ is a dog, what’s yours?”
Lily’s was a doe, but on hearing James’ was a stag, she didn’t want to say. She knew James would make a big deal about it.
“Oh, a stag and a dog, that must be where you get your nicknames Prongs and Padfoot from, right?” She asked. James smiled a little – he’s never heard her say ‘Prongs’ before, and he liked the way it sounded in her voice.
“Uh...yeah, that’s where we get them from,” Sirius said, not looking at James to keep a sincere expression on.
It was late by that stage and time for bed. They agreed to leave for the town after breakfast the following morning in search of a phone box.
It was a cool, crisp morning after Lily’s first night at the Potters. She had slept well, surprisingly; as she was half paranoid James was watching her through a crack in the wall or something. She took her time going down to breakfast, admiring the Manor.
It was truly a beautiful house. The walls of the halls were wood panelled, small, understated chandeliers kept it well lit. Portraits spotted the walls, an array of friendly green and hazel eyes. Large windows gave views of the pretty grounds, rolling lawns and elaborate gardens. Lily wondered what it was the Potters did and how she could get a piece of that pie. Of course she had already made her mind up of what career she wanted and was pretty sure she would only ever dream of really living in a house like this, but she still wanted to know.
The three students walked out towards the town mid morning after a full English breakfast.
“So, when you like a girl, you want her number,” Lily was trying to further explain the muggle tradition, finding it much harder to explain then she thought. “So you call her, and organise when to meet. Or you just talk to her on the phone.”
“Is it just for dating?” Sirius asked incredulously.
“Oh! No, no. Every house has a phone and you can call anybody for any reason. To talk, to invite them over, prank calling, telemarketers...”
“Prank calling?” James smiled at the thought. “Elaborate.”
“Yeah, you know, you call and say ‘is your refrigerator running?’ and they say ‘yes’ and you say ‘well you better go catch it!’” Lily giggled and shook her head at the old, stupid joke.
She looked up at the boys to be greeted with two blank stares.
“How is that a prank?” Sirius wondered aloud at the same time James asked, “What’s a refrigerator?”
“I guess it loses something in translation,” Lily mumbled. “Never mind.”
“So can I have your number?” James laughed, jumping in front of Lily and walking backwards.
“No!” She said automatically, moving around him to continue their walk into town.
“Aw, come on, I don’t even know how to use it,” James said. “Why not?”
“You don’t just get a girls number, she has to want you to have it.”
James shook his head as though she was being entirely illogical and fell into place beside Sirius as they continued their march into town.
“Besides, my sister doesn’t want me to give out the home number,” she said, her voice wavering just a little and her lips quivered with sadness.
“Fighting with your sister?” Sirius asked, glancing along to Lily.
“She hates me because I’m a witch. She thinks I’m a freak and wants nothing to do with me.”
“See, that’s the total opposite of my family. I think they’re freaks and I want nothing to do with them.”
“Petunia will come around. She’ll grow up and accept me one day, I know it,” Lily said optimistically. “Although she is twenty, I hope she still has more growing up to do.”
Sirius looked at her sadly.
“I used to think that about my parents, I used to tell myself they really did love me, deep down,” he chuckled. “Way deep down.”
“What happened?” Lily asked, curious.
“Mum said she hated me, called me disloyal, and I ran away. James took me in,” he glanced at James with a smile. “Because he’s the nicest guy in the world.”
James smiled back affectionately.
“The Potters are my family now, my real family,” Sirius said, before deliberately trying to lighten the dark mood of the conversation. “I bet you’ll be in the Potters family one day too, Evans!”
“Oh yeah, sure,” Lily rolled her eyes sarcastically. “Oh, look, here we are!”
She led them to the red phone box, and of course had to dial for Sirius. He held the phone to his ear upside down. Lily hurridly corrected him.
“Hello – hello?” He asked, looking plainly embarrassed. “Mia! It’s really you! Yeah...I don’t give out fake numbers, either. I agree, that is totally cruel.”
He played along with the conversation, sounding confident, thought looking at James with a constant confused look. Mostly he just said ‘I agree’ and ‘you’re right’.
“So...I was hoping we could meet up sometime? For a date,” Sirius finally got around to asking, and his face brightened soon after. Lily guessed her answer had been the desired one.
“Yep, the cinema, sounds good,” Sirius nodded whilst rolling his eyes in clear ‘whatever that is’ expression. “But, is it okay if we double? My best mate and his girlfriend want to come along.”
James and Lily both looked shocked. Lily furiously shook her head, whilst James knocked his head against the wall of the phonebox.
“Dude, that is so lame! That is so, so lame!” He kept saying. Sirius shushed at him, said goodbye to Mia, and handed the phone back to Lily for her to hang up.
“Why did you say that?” James asked, slapping Sirius on the arm.
“I panicked, okay? I don’t want to go alone, I know I’ll make an idiot of myself. I need Lily there to help me with the muggle stuff.”
“Hold on, why would I come?” Lily asked. Sirius pointed at James.
“My best friend...” he moved his pointed finger to Lily. “And his girlfriend.”
“No, no way!”
“Aw, please Lils, just for one night, put up with James.”
“Hey!” James cried. Sirius ignored him.
“Help me out here, I really like her, please?”
“Fine,” Lily grumbled, and walked off in the direction of the Potters home.
“You’ve totally lost your groove,” James commented as he and Sirius followed Lily. “I’ve never seen you be flustered by a girl before.”
“I know,” Sirius answered. “It’s weird.”
Later that day, Lily went to her room to read whilst James and Sirius went out on the lawn to tan, as it was one of those rare sunny days. They invited Lily to tan with them, and she was very happy to provide the excuse that red hair and alabaster skin did not make much of a tanner.
The boys lay in silence, topless, their shirts over their eyes to protect them from the glaring sun. Eventually, as it always did with James, a conversation about Lily started.
“But I can’t help thinking that if I don’t convince her this summer that we’re soul mates, it’ll be too late. She’ll be gone forever!!”
“What about seventh year?” Sirius asked logically. “She’ll still be there.”
“Well, yes, of course seventh year, but quite frankly I’d rather start seventh year holding her hand,” he smiled into the sun. “Oh, God, I’d love to just hold her hand, even for just a few seconds!”
Sirius purposely did not reply.
“I’m acting like a total girl, aren’t I?” James asked, turning over to tan his back.