My friends found my FF account :/ If you recognize this story, it's because I'm republishing it, and will be republishing all my stuff on this new account over the next few weeks cuz FF is something I love but also something I keep on the deep, deep DL. Thanks for reading, lovelies!
Dorcas Meadowes and Marlene McKinnon, extracted themselves from the tangle in which they'd slept, bleating objections to the ungodly hour (10 AM, but 'it's a Saturday in July, Evans, I'm going to murder you and let Severus Snape give the eulogy').
"No point complaining, lassies," chirped Mary Macdonald, the only morning person in the crew, as Lily Evans handed out scones and iced coffees. "Ran into Petunia and Vermin at the café, best resign yourselves now to a shite day."
"Oh, no." Sympathy flickered over both girls' sleepy faces, but vanished almost immediately: Lily didn't want pity, even from her best friends. Still, the protests stopped.
"So…" Marlene began tentatively, "How did Durs-Lunkhead and Rhymes-With-Witch see fit to ruin this perfectly nice day?"
This simple inquiry appeared to launch Lily Evans into a conniption fit. "How did they – ooh, how did they - and it's not as if I'm conceited about it – get her head out of her tight little arse for once – oh, how did they…"
"Deep breaths, Lil," Mary muttered, trying not to laugh. "Start at the beginning."
"Right-o. The beginning. Fucking excellent, the beginning. The best goddamn bloody beginning that's ever begun–"
"Yeah. Right. So it was my turn to go for coffee and Mary came with me because she's a doll, unlike some people –"
"People who understand the important things in life, like sleep."
"And spooning?" Lily winked and ducked the scone Marlene chucked at her head. "So as I was saying, we're queuing at the café when who should come marching in self-importantly but Tuney and Vernon."
"And they spot me near the front and make a beeline for us, then cut right in front of Mary and me without even asking, as if we're on holiday together-"
"Are you fucking kidding?" Marlene snarled, "Here we hiked miles to this fucking French hostel, living on five quid a day, and they're spending what your parents wanted to be your fucking uni money on a fucking holiday villa, and after all that they've got the stones to cut you in line like we're here together?"
"I hope you told them where else they'll be cutting the queue," Dorcas said darkly, and Lily grinned.
"Thanks, loves. I couldn't get a word in, though, because immediately Petunia starts railing against nude French exhibitionists on this beach and then somehow she's talking about Speedos, and then surfers, and just as it's about to turn into a diatribe against athletes writ large-"
"Of course," Dorcas and Marlene nodded, "Because she's a diseased maggot in human form, and she's shit at sport so she hates everyone who isn't…" (Lily wasn't. In fact, Lily's athletic skills were the reason Petunia had first begun to hate her)
"Right, but then Dursley – Vernon Dursley! – breaks in and starts spewing sexist rubbish about surfers - how women can't surf, and no woman could ever compete with him on a surfboard – did I mention we're talking about Vernon Dursley? Human rhinoceros, would-sink-any-surfboard-that-tried to lift-him Vernon Dursley?!"
"Bullshit!" the other girls chorused, "What a wanker!"
"So I said would you like to prove it, because I'm an expert on a surfboard, fuck you very much, and I'd love to have it out with you on the waves at your earliest convenience."
"And his earliest convenience is tomorrow morning."
Three seconds of tense silence followed as Lily's three friends waged a battle of wills. Dorcas lost.
"Okay, Lil," Dorcas said delicately, "way to be a feminist. Just, honestly, love that you're standing up for women, big, big snaps for that. You rock. Nice work. It's just…the thing is…and I mean this in the nicest way possible…you've literally never touched a surfboard."
"Ah," said Lily, "Yes, I thought we might hit that little snag."
"So, er, what I mean is…"
"Luckily," Lily continued as if she hadn't heard the other girl, a crazed light entering her eyes, "I have the next 24 hours to learn. Off to the beach, kiddies!"
Twenty minutes later, Lily was inside a surf shop, marching up to the counter and addressing the bloke behind it, who was facing away from her.
"Bonjour, parlez vous anglais?" she began. The boy spun to face her, and – hot damn. His jet black hair was a disaster, his limbs were too long for his body, his eyes were comically wide with confusion, but he looked like God had cooked him up as a gift for Lily's sex drive. Just – hot damn.
"What?" he said. American accent.
"You speak English?" she tried again, and he grinned, clearly relieved.
"Exclusively." As he spoke, the man fumbled for something on the counter, moved it toward his face, and – bloody hell. Trust God to know about Lily's lady boner for men in specs. He rudely interrupted her objectification, though, with a blindingly cute crooked grin. "Oh, wow, hi."
Lily smiled. "We covered that."
"Uh, no, you covered that. In French, no less. I, meanwhile, stood here like a moron spewing nonsense like 'what' and 'exclusively'." Lily giggled. "I'm James. James Potter. And you are…"
"Lily. Lily Evans." She had intended to shop around a bit, compare prices, maybe watch lessons at the different surf shacks, but instead she heard herself ask, "Are you free now?"
His throat made a strange squealing noise, and his hand jumped to his hair. "Am I ever! For you, freer than I've ever been before in my life."
"Perfect," she said, "How much do you charge?"
He blinked. "Uh… I don't… I'm not…what?!"
"For an all-day lesson, I mean."
"Oh! You meant…because I'm behind this counter, of course, you assumed…you're looking for a surfing lesson?"
"Right. Right, right, right. And I'm a surfing instructor. Obviously. Because why else would I be standing behind this counter? It's not like I'm some weirdo who just has a compulsive need to break every single rule I see," he muttered, eyes darting to a sign on the counter that read, "EMPLOYEES ONLY".
"Uh…" she frowned suspiciously.
"What do I charge!" he said quickly, turning those bright hazel eyes back onto her and derailing her train of thought. "Good question."
"So you are definitely a surfing instructor then?"
"I mean, yeah. Of course. And I charge a very official amount, which is, um –"
"Er, before you price it…you should know it's in service of a greater cause."
"I'm not just cavorting about on the waves for my own amusement. I'm fighting misogyny."
He grinned, leaning toward her. "Really? Brilliant, tell me everything."
She matched him lean for lean. "Well, my brother-in-law claimed that no woman in the world could surf better than he could, and he's built like an landlubbing walrus, so that's frankly a stupid lie, and of course I challenged him to a face-off to defend my sex."
"You're a regular Billie Jean King," he said, sounding so genuinely impressed that she blushed. "Except, of course, that ole Billie actually played tennis, and I'm guessing…"
"That I've never ridden a surfboard in my life? Yeah, that's where you come in. Except I've got about as much cash as Oliver Twist, so if there's a Feminist Fighting the Good Fight discount this would be a really good time to factor it in."
"Well, let's see." He grinned at her, then grabbed a piece of paper off the desk and pretended to read it. "Our regular price for an all-day private lesson is $300, and our discount for spectacular women who read Dickens and wage war on misogyny…" she blushed tomato red, "oh, look at that! $300!"
Lily gasped. "Oh, James, you don't have to –"
"Believe me, I want to." He must've seen her eyes narrow and her jaw set, because he shook his head. "Don't worry, it's not really free, I expect a front row ticket to your match tomorrow."
She opened her mouth once more, and then closed it again, instead reaching across the counter to squeeze his hand. "Thanks."
He squeezed back, even as his other hand returned to ruffling his hair. "Yeah, yeah, of – of course. So, let's get you a board, then. And in the meantime," he slid out from behind the counter and led her to the wall of surfboards. "Tell me more about this mad brother-in-law of yours."
Lily sighed. "How do I explain Petunia and Vernon? It's like…he's the sort of bloke who'd ask to share your trail mix and then just eat all the M&M's. And…she's the sort of bird who buys trail mix without any M&Ms at all."
He laughed delightedly at her explanation, and a warm, lovely something exploded inside her. "So, the worst two people in the world."
"Well," That crooked grin was back, and it was going to kill her. "I figure a day spent pissing off the worst two people in the world is a day well spent."
"I think I'm going to like you, Surfer Boy."
She did like him. A sort of terrifying amount, to be frank. She liked his terrible puns and his laugh that always sounded so gleefully surprised. She liked his awful attempt to copy her accent, and his stories of pranks that he and his mates had pulled in secondary school.
She liked his grin and his jaw and his specs and his abs and the way his biceps flexed when he reached up to rustle his hair. She liked that he shuddered when a guy walked by in a "Make America Great Again" tee and that he shared her taste in books and quoted Monty Python. She liked that when she mentioned she wanted to adopt a dog, he spent ten minutes arguing for the name Elvendork ("it's unisex!").
She barely minded the ridiculous drills he made her do before he even let her in the water; standing on her board on the sand and shifting back-and-forth and side-to-side; lying on her back on the ground, holding the board above her, and then clinging to it like a deranged koala; somersaulting down the length of the board because apparently that was the safest sort of dismount.
Too busy laughing and chattering and, yeah, okay, flirting, she didn't notice as an hour, then two, then six passed and she had not set foot in the Mediterranean.
But when they stopped for lunch, she caught a glimpse of a clock and felt an unpleasant jolt of surprise.
"James, it's nearly four!"
"Oh, shit!" he exclaimed, sounding as shocked as she felt. "Yeah, I guess it is."
"Hadn't we better, er, get in the water?"
"The water?!" he demanded anxiously, as if this was a novel idea. "You want to get in the water?"
She giggled. "I mean, I reckon that's sort of the point of surfing, yeah?"
"No, actually!" he said quickly, hand flying to his hair, "Uh, this is actually something a lot of people don't know, but real surfers, professionals, you know, like me, don't actually like to get on the water more than, like, once a week.
"You learn the techniques on land, you hone the craft," he continued, "then you get out on the open seas, and it's like, instinct takes over, you know? Don't want to spend too much time out there and dull the instinct. So, uh, you'll be racing this Dursley bloke tomorrow, yeah? Probably best to just stay on land today."
"Stay on land?" Lily repeated incredulously, "James, I've literally never surfed on the water."
"Better that way!" he said, nodding his head vigorously, hair flying every which way. "Sharpest surfer instincts you'll ever have, the first time you step out there. Just you and the waves and, uh, the whooshing."
"Yeah. WHOOSH! Surf, surf, surf. WHOOSH!" he waved his arms and shook his hips, doing a better imitation of a belly dancer than a surfer.
Lily took a deep breath. "James, I don't want to be rude, so I'll only ask this once, and whatever you say, I'll believe you, but…are you really licensed to teach surfing?"
He blushed violently. "Um…well. So since you're asking, I mean, yeah, no… no, I'm not technically a 'real surfing teacher'-"
"POTTER!" But he was on a roll now.
"And, yeah, I guess you could say I don't 'know how to surf' and sure, if you want to get super specific about it, I've never actually 'ridden a surfboard in my life' but, I mean – I just – "
"You're really pretty! And – and you came over with all your…pretty and your ridiculous, adorable nonsense about your brother-in-law and M&Ms – he sounds like a real prick, by the way, I meant that bit – and I wanted to keep talking to you and pretty soon I wanted to help you get revenge on this Dursley wanker –"
"But my entire revenge plan was to learn to surf!" Lily's arms flapped at her sides, expressing all the baffled exasperation she couldn't fit into her tone, "and you couldn't teach me that! You sabotaged my revenge."
"Look, Evans," James said, trying fruitlessly to turn down the corners of his lips and sound severe, "my cards are on the table. I did not claim to be thinking rationally, you look entirely too good in that bikini for that. I did, and do, however, very much want to help you figure out how to surf, ideally by keeping on talking to you and standing very close to you and hopefully touching you. Er, holding you. You know, for… surfing purposes."
Both would-be surfers were breathing hard – faces flushed, hearts racing, his hands yanking at his hair and hers fluttering in the air between them. Logically, this was the moment when Lily would storm away, furious.
Except, somehow, she wasn't feeling particularly furious. In fact, her lips were forming a smile, and the indignant huff she tried to make came out as a breathy giggle.
"James?" Lily finally asked.
"How would you feel about kissing me? You know, for surfing purposes."
Even though I'm republishing, I still 3 reviews ... xoxoxo