-JPLE, drabble: retail employee/customer AU-
(…and when I say “drabble,” what I mean is “pointless Jily fluff that is a waste of everybody’s time but I had caffeine tonight for the first time in AGES – don’t tell my ophthalmologist – so that manifested into a cutesy, over-italicized drabble” drabble.)
Lily isn’t quite sure when it started, but one thing’s for sure, and that’s that this bloke must have an entire shop’s worth of clothes by now.
“Again?” Mary sighs as that untidy head of hair makes yet another appearance. “I swear, Lily, he’s either mad or he’s in love with you. Perhaps a touch of both.”
“Don’t complain,” Lily says. She watches him – inconspicuously, she thinks – as he meanders down the aisles with seemingly no purpose whatsoever. “D’you know how much money he’s probably sunk into this place, Mr. James Potter’s practically cutting our checks.”
Mary raises her eyebrows as he approaches the counter. “Oh, I’m not complaining,” she says in an undertone. “I just wish he’d get on with it and ask you out already.”
Lily snorts; much as she’d like to, she can’t very well afford to fantasize, since all it would amount to is her own disappointment. Much more advisable to snort. “Oh, come off it, Macdonald –”
“All right there?” James has reached the counter and is grinning at Lily (Mary shoots her a little know-it-all side-eye). “Couldn’t trouble you for some help, could I?”
“Not at all,” Mary pipes up. She claps Lily a little too enthusiastically on the back. “Lily’s free. Free as a bird. In more ways than one.”
“Ah –” He looks a little confused, but continues to smile at Lily nonetheless. “Good to know.”
“Isn’t it, though?” Lily kicks Mary in the shin before heading out to help him. She’s sure to avoid Mary’s gaze, but she’d bet all those paychecks that the arsehole is smirking at her.
“So…” Lily draws out the word as she and James walk around the shop. She flicks through a few hangers. “Looking for anything in particular?”
James pushes his hands into his pockets and shrugs. “I dunno, really. Just looking for something new.”
Lily lifts an eyebrow at him. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’ve been in here every other day for about a month – you’ve bought something every other day for about a month, more to the point.”
“Ah,” James says again. One of his hands resurfaces to run through his hair; the way it sticks out around his ears is one of Lily’s favorite things about him. “Noticed that, did you?”
“Well…” Lily lifts her hands and her shoulders up in a you-got-me gesture. “Sort of hard to miss, that’s all, since I’ve orchestrated what I assume is your entire wardrobe.”
“Eh, you’ve got better taste than I do. Incidentally, my mum loves what you’ve done with me.” God, Lily wishes he’d stop smiling at her like he is. “Thought you should know.”
She laughs a little, and she’s sure it comes out just as shaky as it feels. “That’s what I like to hear. Although I still can’t imagine you actually need anything new.”
“Oh, yeah, well…” James tugs at his hair some more. “S’pose I’m just nervous or something. This – well, today, I’m sort of – sort of getting ready for a date, I guess?”
“Ah,” Lily says this time. Damn Mary’s teasing; Lily knew she shouldn’t let it get to her and she did, anyway, and now look where it’s gotten her. Stupid. “So you ‘guess’ you have a date, then?”
James’s smile turns sheepish and Lily wants to kick him, too. “Haven’t asked her yet.”
Lily sighs. “James.”
He laughs at her exasperated tone. “I’m nervous, I told you.”
Lily shakes her head. He’s so damn endearing, she thinks as she starts tossing potential outfits at him. Endearing, and funny, and stupidly adorable, with his lanky limbs and sticky-outy hair and his goddamn grin…
She wants to smack him. Or snog him. Or both. Both is good.
Or bad, really, she rectifies as she leans against the wall outside the dressing rooms. Both is bad, considering Mary’s an idiot and obviously James is at least somewhat involved with someone already. It’s not that he’s fantastically good-looking or anything, Lily considers as she waits for him to reveal an outfit he might like. That’s not it. He’s cute and all, sure, but he’s not the type who’s typically inundated with romantic prospects.
No, Lily thinks with another heavy sigh, it just figures, that’s all, that she would fancy a bloke just as he’s fancying someone else.
“This one’s good,” James proclaims from behind the door of dressing room number six. “I mean I think it’s good, it’s… y’know, the longer I look in the mirror the less sure I am…”
“Come on out, then.” Lily raps her knuckles rhythmically against the door. “Let’s see it.”
James cracks the door just enough to poke his head out. “You’ve got to tell me if it’s good, you hear? Don’t just say it’s good so I’ll buy it, I know you get commissions on these, Evans –”
“‘Course I’ll tell you,” Lily assures him, trying and failing to suppress that giddy feeling in her stomach. She doesn’t even know what she’s giddy for; it’s just James, he just does this to her, ever since he started coming into the shop a month ago, she hates it…
Well, she thinks, okay, no she doesn’t. Not really. But still.
James fixes her with his stare and she can’t tell if he’s being playful or serious or perhaps a combination of the two. (She’d wonder if he’s flirting, but that’s just how James talks to her, and she can’t imagine he’s in a constant state of mooning over her or anything like that.) “Your opinion on this matter is of the utmost importance.”
“I don’t see why.”
“I told you, you’ve got good taste,” James reminds her. His face reddens a little, but Lily doesn’t have time to wonder at that before he’s talking again – quite quickly now, and he’s running a hand through his hair again. “Besides, as you’re the one who’s going to be looking at me, I figure I should, you know, look good.”
Lily’s brow furrows with her frown. “What do you mean, I’m the one who’s going to be looking at you? I’ll look at you for five seconds, then you’ll buy the stupid outfit because we both know it looks good. What’s the fuss about?”
“The fuss, Evans, is that I am trying to ask you out and you’re being deliberately obtuse about it.”
Her heart jumps up into her throat and – she’s not sure if it’s because of shock or offense, but her jaw drops, too. “I am not.”
“I am not being deliberately obtuse.” Is that what she meant to say? No, she decides, surely not. But, damn, she’s already said it. For god’s sake, woman, get it together…
“Oh, all right.” James nods and emerges fully from the dressing room. “So you’re naturally dense, is that what you’re telling me?”
Lily wants to roll her eyes but they’re a little stuck on James. “You look brilliant, buy the stupid outfit.”
“It’s not stupid,” James counters as he adjusts the roll of his shirtsleeves. “Now are you going to go out with me or not?”
She busies herself with straightening his collar to avoid looking him in the eye. Not that his collar needs straightening, mind… “Was that a serious proposition?”
“Obviously.” James snorts and Lily is reminded strongly of herself. “Why else d’you think I come in here so often? Do you think I need four pairs of loafers? Because I don’t. No one needs four pairs of loafers, that’s ridiculous, but I’ll buy a round dozen if that means I can get a date with you.”
“Trying to buy me, are you?”
“Buy you dinner, yeah.” James lightly slaps her hand away from his neck. “Stop fiddling with my collar, what are you doing that for?”
“S’pose I’m just nervous or something,” Lily echoes his earlier words in the most absurd baritone she can muster.
James gapes at her. “Was that supposed to be me?”
“I’ll go out with you,” Lily says. Finally got to the point, did you? she can’t help but think sardonically. Hear, hear, Evans. “I mean, if that impression didn’t turn you off too much.”
“Lily, please.” James rolls his eyes in an attempt to calm the eagerness that’s overcome him. Play it cool, he tells himself, but he guesses that Lily can see through him, anyway. “Nothing I like more than a good copycat.”
“Well, seeing as you’ve just agreed to go out with me –”
Both Lily and James turn to see Mary standing at the end of the dressing rooms’ corridor. She’s smirking so knowingly at the pair of them, you’d think she just caught them doing something much more illicit than simple flirtation. She points at Lily, then at James and back again, and she looks far too pleased with herself to be allowed.
“Oh, blimey,” Lily groans, “shut up –”
“Ha!” Mary laughs again, and then she spins on her heel and stalks triumphantly away to restock the jumpers. “I KNEW IT!”
“Well, to be fair…” Lily shrugs at James, who’s got another one of those shit-eating grins on his face. “She really did.”