Lily understood a great many things about the Potter household in the next two weeks. She understood a lot about the Potters, but James…he was another story.
She hardly saw him. Oh, he was polite, all right, saying ‘good morning’ and ‘good afternoon’ at all the right times. But…
Mrs. Potter would long be gone when she woke up at seven, and she would see James at breakfast. He hardly said anything to her…except perhaps to pass the rolls or enquiring if she had had a good night’s sleep. He played with Dee-Dee in the garden after that, while Lily read the newspaper. That was when Black would arrive, and both of them would go out, only to return by lunch, and then to disappear again till dinner, by which Mrs. Potter would have returned. Lily had a nagging feeling that Potter was trying very hard not to actually stay in her vicinity longer than necessary.
He did not make any advances towards her, and he kept a cautious, no-contact space between the two of them. And he called her Lily.
And she missed the old James a little…okay, a lot. She was too used to being told that her new haircut looked good, or that she was beautiful.
Though Lily would paint herself hot pink and dance naked in King’s Cross before she said that out loud.
James had a very nice relationship with his cousin and mother too. James and Sirius were both odd teenagers when it came to James’ mother—both of them loved cuddling and nuzzling the tiny woman, freely pecking her or pestering her for cookies like three-year-olds. Dee-Dee adored ‘Jim’, and both of them spent their mornings baking mud pies in the garden. She usually cleaned up after the children.
Because Lily was slowly realizing that James was only an over-grown child, cranky when he did not get the attention he wanted. That led her to believe that Potter ran after her because she didn’t run after him.
And if she felt a pang of sadness as she thought this, she dismissed it as irrational.
Lily shrugged off her depressing mood as she climbed out of bed. The sun was bright, the grass was green, the flowers were gay, the...you get the drift.
Pinky was instantly at Lily’s side to help her start her day. It did not matter that Lily was up really early today. Early as in five in the morning.
Pinky was a little elfkin, the daughter of Gobbo and Penny, the Potter and Jenkins house-elves respectively. Her elder brother Lenny was now with the Jenkins household. When their parents had died, they had refused to accept clothes, instead choosing to stay and take their parents’ place. Lenny was old enough to work, but the same was not true for his sister.
But the Potter family—it consisted of James, Mrs. Potter, and Black, by the way—had outwitted the stubborn elf.
They did not let her do any actual work. She laid the table for dinner, opened the door for Black, and did a little dusting in the living room. Of course, they allowed her to fetch and carry a lot, just so as to smother her ego.
Lily allowed Pinky to put out her bath water, though she didn’t see why she couldn’t do that herself. She took a long, leisurely cold bath, and then dressed in her sun-dress. She couldn’t, for the life of her, think why she was up so early.
She made her way to the gardens, bidding Pinky to go back to sleep. The gardens were so enormous, sprawling lawns and blooming flowers, that Lily often felt she could get lost if she wasn’t careful.
She sat on a stone-bench and simply breathed. The air was fresh, even a little chilly. She knew this wouldn’t last as the day wore on.
Her mind wandered as she sat. Dee-Dee had made a picture of James today, and he had made her sign it. Her first ‘portrait’, according to her cousin. She was horribly excited. Dee-Dee had already decided that she was going to stick it to the wall in James’ room when he wasn’t there.
Dee-Dee was the only person allowed in James’ room. No one else could come in at all, because of the wards James had put over the place. Even Pinky did not clean the place. Heaven only knew how the place would look. He took ‘do not disturb’ to a whole new level.
Lily had once asked Dee-Dee why she was the only one allowed inside.
“Cause I’m his back-up.”
“I am sorry?”
“I’m Cousin Jim’s back-up. Didn’t I get the word wight? He loves this girl in skool, but he acts real silly with her, so if that doesn’t work out… Cousin Jim’s gonna drink for a few years and and then ask me to find a giwl for him to mawwy in some pwace called Lash Vegas.”
“And…oh yeah. Then I’m gonna throw away all his bottles and twake care of ’im.”
Lily was still thinking that one out. What man tells his four-year-old cousin that he is going to marry a stranger in Las Vegas?
She started when she heard a rustle to her right. There was something in the clump of trees. She was dead sure of it.
“Pinky? Is that you? I told you to go back to sleep!”
Lily tried to see through the thick foliage and almost flat on her face when she saw it.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: - Just one more chapter to go now! Please be kind enough to review.
NEXT: -Well… (drum roll, if you please) …Lily meets the stag! And she realizes that James really loves her. How? Wait and watch!
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