The Sugar Quill
Author: Wendy  Story: It Had To Be Perfect  Chapter: Default
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It Had To Be Perfect

It Had To Be Perfect.

This was it. James knew that this was his only chance. James and Lily were alone together and, for the first time in a long time, they had nothing to do. Lily had been in a mood for joking all morning, for once the war was far from their minds, and he had to take advantage of this momentary spell: it would perhaps be the last for a while.

He'd been mulling over exactly what to say for a month, and then last week he'd decided to commit it to paper so he could perfect it. Even though he'd learnt it word for word, he'd kept that piece of parchment in his pocket for the past week. It was to remind him that it had to be done soon. Every time he put his hand in his pocket and felt it, he would get a tremendous thrill - there was a chance that soon he would be engaged to Lily Evans!

It had to be perfect he knew that. He felt like he was embarking on a whole new life and this moment would be something they would remember forever. Maybe tell his kids and grandkids about when he was an old man. Wow, he certainly was getting used to idea of marriage quickly, he realised; he'd just thought about kids without a second thought. He felt quite odd, but it wasn't bad, perhaps he'd finally grown up.

He pulled the piece of parchment out of his pocket and read over it again, not really looking at the words just reciting it in his head. Lily was in the kitchen, he braced himself to do it.

"Hey, what's that?" Oh no, there she was! She was looking at the paper in his hands, he sat frozen to the chair. What could he say?

"Mmm... nothing." he said hastily. Why did he suddenly feel so embarrassed just sitting there, holding it? This is silly, it's just Lily.

"Ah, come on, Accio Parchment." No! He tried to hold on but he wasn't quick enough, and the force of the spell was too strong. He couldn't let her read it.  He'd forgotten all about magic, he just jumped up ready to wrestle it from her.

“Give it to me!” he demanded.

“Ooh, it must be good.” she laughed cheekily. "I'll give it back, don't worry," she called out as she sprinted up the stairs. James flew after her, but she'd been at the other end of the living room and had a headstart.

He was furious. Couldn't she tell he was being serious? This wasn't a joke! She ran into one of the unused bedrooms, James just behind her, and giggled.

"Colloportus," she said slightly out of breath. "Ha, you can't get in. So let's see what have you and Sirius been up to this time.”

"It's got nothing to do with Sirius. Please just don't read it." He was desperate now. This wasn't right, he wanted it to be perfect. He knew he was being sentimental, but there were so few happy, carefree moments these days he felt it was important. "Lily!" he bellowed, but it was too late. She had already begun to read it aloud in a cheeky, joking sort of voice. James leaned his head against the door and mouthed the words along with her cringing.

"I've told you I love you, Lily, and you know it's true," her voice caught in her throat; it seemed she realised this wasn't a joke after all. After a pause she kept reading, slowly and seriously this time. "but this tremendous burning inside me feels like it's so much more than just love. It's more powerful than a word, more powerful than magic, more powerful than anything and I want you to understand, I want to explain it to you.

"For so long you've been the most important person in my life. You've made me strive to be a better man, you've made me feel complete and worthwhile, your mere presence in my life has given me more pleasure than anything else in the world could. For as long as I've known you, you've shaped me as a person; without you in my life I can't imagine what I would be. I would do anything to make you happy and keep you in my life and right now that means begging you to be my wife." Lily took a sharp intake of breath and when she continued it was with a peculiar catch in her voice. "I'm begging you to take me for the rest of our lives and continue to shape me and give my life meaning and the purpose to forever be by your side. Please Lily, will you be my wife?"

Silence. James stood there still leaning his head against the door, waiting for something, anything!

"Mmm Lily? Can you open the door please?"

"Yes, James." she answered very softly. James waited for her to utter the spell, but it didn't come.

"Have you forgotten the charm, Lily?"

"What? Oh, the door. Yes." she said absently and muttered the spell. Very slowly he opened the door and found Lily standing at the other end of the room, tears streaming down her face. He had seen her crying many times before, and it always made him feel more helpless than anything in the world. He knew now why she hadn't answered him: she was going to say no and she was so kind it made her cry!

"Well, it doesn't matter, I know I was just being corny. Forget about it." he muttered looking determinedly at the window.

"What? Isn't it real? Don't you wan to get married?"

"Yes... but you don't." but then to James's surprise she let out a snort of laughter through her tears.

"I just said yes, you fool!"

"What?"

"Yes! YES! Of course I'll marry you!"

James could scarcely remember feeling so happy and relieved. He stood there gaping at her as she beamed back at him, her brilliant green eyes sparkling despite the tears. It certainly hadn't been how he'd imagined, being locked outside listening to Lily ask herself to marry her. But it had been perfect nevertheless. They were getting married!

Eventually she walked forward and gave him a quick hug.

"Thank you. Thank you for asking me to marry you." He didn't know quite what to say. She was thanking him?

"I didn't. You did."

"Oh yeah, sorry about that. But you know, it's your fault I'm suspicious."

James couldn't argue with that logic. He lead her over to the unused bed and they sat down together, a wonderful feeling of ecstasy floating in the air around them.

"So when do you think we should have it?" Lily asked.

"Soon. As soon as possible."

"Well, I guess we'll have to ask Dumbledore when. It'll have to be small of course. Or it would be too dangerous, and we won't be able to have all of the Order there, which is a pity."

"Yeah, sure." Did she have to bring that up now? "We can still make a big deal of it though."

"Yeah," she said smiling contentedly. "We can have it here in the garden, just a few friends and family. It shouldn't take too long to organise, I reckon three weeks."

"Er, full moon in three weeks, let's make it a month."

"Okay," Lily was positively glowing with excitement. Looking at her made James's stomach do that familiar sort of backflip. "Peter's Mum's a brilliant cook, do you think she could make the cake for us?"

"I'll ask him."

"Of course Sirius will be your Best Man and - "

"What?"James cocked an eyebrow at her. "Lily, you do realise the Best Man is in charge of the Buck's night? Would you really trust Sirius with that responsibility?"

"Mmm" She tried to look disapproving but she couldn't hide her amusement at what Sirius would get up to with him on his Buck's night. "Well, I'm not sure your other friends would be any better. Peter would just end up doing whatever you and Sirius decided anyway, and Remus seems innocent, but sometimes I think he's the most mischievous of the lot. You and Sirius just act as diversions whilst he goes off and does the real damage."

James laughed. She was probably right. "You know we're not boys any more. In fact you could probably say we're responsible adults, doing responsible things like getting married," he said meaningfully. Lily didn't appear to mind the sarcasm though, in fact she seemed to quiver at the mention of it. James was worried for a moment that she might burst into tears again.

"Yes," she finally said with that soppy look on her face, which made him melt and want to laugh at the same time, "like getting married."

"JAMES? LILY? You there?" a familiar voice floated up from downstairs.

"Speak of the devil." James muttered, slightly annoyed at Remus for interrupting such a pleasant moment. Lily seemed eager to see him though and hurried downstairs to talk to him in the fireplace.

"Hi, Remus, we were just talking about you."

"Only nice things I hope."

"Of course not." James could see Lily was practically jumping out of her skin ready to tell him. He felt numb. After all these years trying to get her to notice him as something other than someone to scowl at, she was now going to spend the rest of her life with him and was excited about it! It would never cease to amaze him how lucky he was.

"Oh, I'm sorry to interrupt you then." Remus nodded as James leaned down next to Lily. “You'll have to continue assessing my faults later, sorry.  I've got a message from Dumbledore."

"Is it urgent?" James asked.

'Not until 9 o'clock tonight."

"Good, because I've got some urgent information for you first." Lily giggled and Remus looked from one grinning face to another, amused suspicion forming on his own.

"Oh?'

"You've got a month to dump whichever girl you're with now because we're having a night on the town."

Both Lily and Remus laughed. "Oh? Why's that?"

"That's when I'm having my Buck's night, and we're going to commemorate my life as a bachelor in -"

"You're getting married!"

"That's right." Lily grinned.

"Wow! Hardly unexpected I suppose, though I would have thought even the giant squid would be better than this bozo, Lily," he said with a smile then turned to James. "So you finally asked her?" James cringed as he felt Lily giggle beside him. The catastrophe that his proposal had been was now starting to sink in. Would they ever forget that it hadn't actually been James who had asked her. Eventually he nodded, grateful that Lily hadn't shared the nature of his proposal with Remus. Mostly, he was embarrassed at what his mates would think if they knew he'd written all that soppy stuff out.

"Well congratulations, that's really great."

"Thanks. So what was that message you had?" Lily asked.

"Oh, well I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but tonight at nine you need to meet Sirius, Gideon Prewett and me at..." and with his new fiancee at his side, James once again prepared himself for the war that he was a part of, ready to fight for these precious moments and the people he loved.

//
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