"So what time does Lover Boy get here?" Lily drawled, sprawling across Petunia's bed and propping herself up on her elbows.
"Eight. Get off my bed," Petunia snapped, studying her hair in the mirror. She tucked a stray curl behind her ear. Lily ignored her and pulled a Chocolate Frog from her robe. She unwrapped it, and Petunia turned around at the sound. "Don't you dare let that thing hop all over," she said. "There'd better not be chocolate flipper prints on the rug."
Lily stuck her tongue out and then popped the frog into her mouth. Petunia shuddered, and Lily made it a point to chew with her mouth open so her sister could watch the frog die a gruesome and painful death. Petunia treated her to a fantastic glare that should have shattered her right there, and then turned back to the mirror. "Careful," Lily said around a mouth of squirming chocolate, "it might break."
"Very witty," Petunia snapped back. "Don't you have a date tonight?"
Petunia appraised Lily and then snorted. "Well, you're not going to keep him around very long with your hair looking like that."
"Really?" Lily stood up and came up behind Petunia to study her reflection. She pulled her wand from her back pocket and tapped her hair, and it went from tousled and sloppy to neat and shining in an instant.
"You aren't supposed to do that outside of school," Petunia said.
"Yes I can. I'm seventeen. That's an adult in my world."
Petunia scowled, adjusted her skirt, and flounced out the door. "And get out of my room!" she shouted.
Lily quickly surveyed Petunia's closet, but there was nothing in there that looked good anyway. Nothing at all low-cut or tight or… or fun. Not that Lily dressed like a slut, but she didn't dress like her mother, either. Petunia did.
The doorbell rang. Lily knew it was Vernon- he could make even a ringing doorbell sound boring- but she bounded down the stairs anyway. "I'll get it!"
But when she threw the door open, she was greeted with a bouquet of red roses.
"Is Petunia ready?" Vernon asked in his usual polite and doing-my-best-to-pretend-you're-not-here manner.
Normally, Lily would have shouted for Petunia as loudly as she could, but her eyes were fixed on those roses. "Er, yeah. Let me get her." She drifted off, leaving Vernon standing in the doorway.
"Petunia…" she said, when she found her sister, "Vernon's here."
Petunia looked at her suspiciously. "You didn't turn him into a rabbit or something, did you?"
Lily shook her head. "No. That would wreck…" suddenly, she snapped out of it and shoved Petunia towards the door. "Oh, bugger it. You have to go and see!"
And naturally, when she got to the door and Vernon held out the roses, Petunia melted. Lily couldn't help it- she sighed. It was just so… so… romantic. And when Vernon cleared his throat and said, "You look beautiful, Petunia," she couldn't help but sigh again.
Then the doorbell rang.
Petunia stepped around Vernon to open it, and there was James Potter. He was wearing a t-shirt and his hair was wild, and his hands were in his pockets. He smiled at Lily when he saw her.
"Hey, Lily. You ready? The guys are waiting for us at the Leaky Cauldron."
Beer, Wizarding darts, and probably sex later on. Lily had been looking forward to it, but it suddenly paled in comparison to the evening that Petunia had in front of her.
"Lily, are you ready?" James asked again.
Lily pulled up her smile. "Sure," she said. "Just let me get my cloak."
It wasn't a bad evening, when you got right down to it. Lily had had fun. But when James returned her home with a passionate kiss and a casual, "see you tomorrow night!", Lily had to admit that something was lacking. Especially as she heard the car come up the street, and then the doors close as Vernon helped Petunia out of the car and walked her to the door. Lily peeked out the window to watch.
"I had a lovely time this evening," Petunia said. "I've never been to Twin Bays before." Lily's eyebrows shot up- the restaurant Petunia had named was one of the nicest in town, and expensive to boot. Vernon leaned in and kissed her sister, and Lily gagged, simply because it was required. But when Petunia opened the door, she pounced.
"Did you have a good time?"
Petunia looked at her as if she'd sprouted another head. "What do you care?"
Lily shrugged. "He took you to the nicest restaurant in town. He brought you roses, Petunia. So, did you have a good time?"
For a moment, Lily thought that Petunia was going to storm out of the room, and to her surprise, she hoped she wouldn't. She really wanted to- needed to, she supposed- hear this. And Petunia sat down, smoothing her skirt.
"It was all right," she admitted. "The food was really good."
"Was there candlelight?" Lily wanted to know. "Did he pull out your chair for you?"
"Yes." Lily sighed, but Petunia didn't seem as enamoured. "He's very… considerate of me." She narrowed her eyes. "Doesn't James ever pull out your chair for you?"
"Not really," Lily said. "So, tell me. Tell me every minute."
Petunia sighed. "It was nice," she said lamely. "But… well, it was boring."
"Boring?" Lily asked incredulously. "How could it be boring?"
Petunia rested her chin on her hand and stared out the window. "Well, he's very nice and he treats me like a lady. But we don't laugh and we don't… well, we don't have fun. You're always laughing when you come in."
"Yes, but James doesn't bring me roses," Lily pointed out. "He treats me like any of his friends."
"Well, do you sleep with him?" Petunia asked. Lily didn't answer, but she looked down at the couch and plucked at a stray thread. Petunia sighed. "If you want roses, you can't sleep with him, Lily. He won't have anything left to work for. All romance is is a way for men to get us to want to sleep with them."
Stung, Lily straightened up. "Then maybe you should sleep with Vernon, or at least give him something so he loosens up a little."
Petunia considered it. "Maybe I should."
"What?" James said, looking remarkably like a frog from behind his glasses.
"Not tonight," Lily said primly, smoothing her skirt.
"Was it something I did?" James asked. "Something I said?"
"No. I just don't feel like it."
"Oh. Oh. You're on the rag."
"James!" Lily pushed him playfully. "No. It's just… nothing."
James sighed. "Well, if you don't feel like it you don't feel like it." He sighed again, pulling his robe back on. "But I wish I knew what I'd done."
"Nothing," Lily said, with the barest hint of a smile. "That's the long and the short of it; you've done nothing."
The reason Petunia had never let anything start between her and Vernon was she knew just how hard it would be to stop. She came up for breath, her shoulder blades pressed against the armrest on the car door.
"Wait," she gasped. "We need to slow down, just a little."
Vernon immediately backed off. "Are you sure?"
Petunia looked up at him and almost giggled. He was so flustered, so eager and uninhibited that she gave up right there. "No. I take it back." And she pulled him down again.
Lily got home two minutes before curfew; Petunia came home a half-hour after. Their father stared at them, shaking his head. "Usually it's the other way around," he muttered, but he didn't say much more.
"He likes Vernon," Lily groused. "I always get grounded when I come in late."
Petunia preened. "Maybe he just trusts me more."
"Judging by the way your lipstick is off, he shouldn't."
"And judging by the length of your skirt, he should have trusted you tonight."
In a rare moment of solidarity, the sisters grinned at each other.
"So, where are you and Vernon going tonight?" Lily asked.
"Dinner and dancing," Petunia said. "We never go dancing. Can I borrow one of your shirts? I need something a little more slutty."
"My clothes are not slutty!" Lily shot back. "Your clothes are-"
"Lily!" their mother interrupted. "Something came for you!"
The girls looked at each other, and then pounded down the stairs.
"I didn't hear the doorbell," Petunia said.
"You know Lily's friends don't use the mail," their mother said fondly. "It looked like James's owl, dear."
Lily opened the small package, and a beautiful bouquet of flutterbies sprang out, with colorful butterflies dancing around. The note said: I figured lilies would be too cliché. Just wanted you to know I'm thinking of you. Can we have sex now? Love, James. (P.S. Just kidding about the sex part. Sort of.)
Lily grinned, and hugged the note to her. She winked at Petunia, who giggled back. The clock chimed eight, they'd be here any minute.
The doorbell rang.