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James walked into the The Corner Market with confidence the next day, ready for his first closing shift. 'But not with too much confidence,' a voice said in his head.

His sister, Jasmine, had come over within minutes of getting his owl crying for help; happy that he had finally chosen her over Sirius. She gladly gave out pieces of advice that Sirius tried to counter with his own suggestions.

Jasmine had waist long, honey colored hair with settle highlights of blonde. Her set of eyes matched, and could melt anyones heart. Unlike James though, she used her beauty for good by getting jobs and such instead of getting boys.

When James began walking towards Lily he had a million different lines in his head to dazzle her with, so it took great difficulty to only say, "Hey," when she looked up at him.

"Hello, Potter. Ready to really get started?"

"Of course!" He looked around at all of the new tools around him realizing he didn't have a clue as to what would be expected of him. His mum always did the shopping for him...he never thought of where the food came from!

"Alright then! Lets see the amazing James Potter be a normal human being!" she exclaimed. She dug around in her apron and found a sheet of paper. "This is a list of all of the produce that you have to memorize." James looked at it and didn't think it looked too complex...except he didn't know some of the things on there.

"What the hell is an atemoya?" he asked making Lily giggle. "And why are there seven different ones for apples?" '...okay maybe i don't know any of them.'

"That's where today comes in! You're going to walk around in the produce department and come to recognize all of the things on the list." James's face still looked perplexed. "Come on, I'll introduce you to one of the guys that works in there."

They walked across the store and James tried his hardest not to stare at how gracefully Lily's hips swung. 'Come up with an easy conversation' his sister's voice said.

"'s Paula today?" he asked. 'And when you do converse, look in her eyes...not at her mouth, breasts, or anything else!' James's eyes snapped up from her hips.

"Why? You going to corrupt yet another young, innocent girl?" Lily scoffed.

"No! It would just be nice to have someone that I know to talk to."

"You know me," Lily shrugged.

"Oh, sorry, let me rephrase that. Someone that likes to talk to me."

Lily laughed, and James's eyes lit up. Never in their history had he been able to make her laugh! "Then I guess you're out of luck. She's off today." Lily spotted a man putting up some oranges and walked over to him. "Hey, Mario!"

"Lily! I didn't know you were back!" he smiled.

"Of course! Just like every other summer," She laughed.

"Well, it's great to have you back, kiddo." Mario looked like he was in his early forties, with a hat over his balding black hair. "Who's this young man?"

"James Potter," James said sticking out his hand. Mario shook it with a tight grip making James tighten his own.

Mario had to laugh at that. "Nice hand you've got. Not everyday you meet a boy with one like that."

"Thank you, sir."

"Oh no, just call me Mario, James."

"I'm training him to be a cashier, so I was wondering if you could just help him if he couldn't find anything on the list," Lily said.

"Course, love! Not everyone can have the luck of growing up with fruits and vegetables like you."

"Thank, Mar!" Lily walked off leaving James begging his eyes to look away.

"Beautiful thing, isn't she?" Mario said.

"Yeah..." James mumbled.

"I was pretty disappointed when she started seeing Marcus. Good looking kid, but...she's too sweet for him."

"Yeah I've heard his name around...Is he here today?"

"Yeah, he's here almost everyday now." Mario looked around and then pointed to a boy carrying two cases of water. "A couple months back he got in some trouble so he's trying to make it all up by doing community service here," Mario scoffed. He turned away from the guy saying, "He should be picking up trash on the side of the motor ways if you ask me."

"What'd he do?"

"It's all very... confusing," he hesitated, "From what I heard he went out drinking with the boys and tried to do too much with a girl. When she resisted he smacked her and got reported to the police the next day."

"And Lily was his girlfriend?"

"Yeah...but her dad stepped in between them this summer. Hopefully her eyes will land on a gentleman...a responsible gentleman."

"I hope so too," James said already knowing that he could out shine Marcus. "You think I could be a responsible gentleman?" he smiled up at Mario.

Mario's eyebrows went up in amusement. "We'll see all in good time. Now get working before she comes back. Lily's sweet, but she can be hell on wheels when it comes to being lazy."

After an hour, Lily watched James from her register to see how he was doing. She was slightly impressed when she saw him holding an atemoya up to his face like he was studying it.

His settle humor earlier had also surprised her. She couldn't remember a time when he had made her laugh, but shaking her head she knew he was still long way from gaining her complete trust. After all of those years at Hogwarts full of humiliation? Yeah...he had a lot to pay for, but they were in her territory now. It wouldn't be too hard to mess around with him.

She started walking towards him thinking of her own pranks to pull on him when another body stopped in front of her. She looked up to see Marcus, his electric blue eyes looking apologetic.

"Can we talk?" he asked.

"No," Lily laughed, "You really think after the way you handled yesterday I would want to talk to you?"

"Please, Lily!" he exclaimed. "Michael got me thinking last night, and I'm sorry. I should've respected your decision, and should've tried to talk to you about it."

Lily looked around and bit her lip wanting to say some things, but couldn't with so many customers around. She grabbed Marcus by the shirt and dragged him to a corner snapping, "Well, that's your problem, Marcus. You're such a hot head! I'm starting to think this is a good idea. Getting to know you from a different perspective and- are you even listening to me?!"

Marcus's eyes were glaring at something above Lily's head. "Yeah..." he said slowly, "That guy keeps looking at us."

Lily spun around to see James's eyes dart back down to his list. A small laugh escaped her lips knowing that it was probably killing him that he couldn't send over a small hex like he did to any other guy who dared to talk to her. "I'm training him. He's probably waiting for me to give him something new to do."

"Oh, it's Jasper, right?"

"No. It's James." Lily shook her head, not believing that they were really having this conversation. "I don't have time right now. I'll talk to you later."

She stepped off into James's direction and could hear Marcus behind her. "Wait! Lily!"

James could see, or really hear them coming towards him and tried hard not to look up. Marcus had already caught him looking in on their conversation a few times... But when he heard the stress in Lily's voice, his instincts kicked in to protect her! He couldn't help it!

'Let her handle herself...unless she's dealing with a real prick. Then give her a few minutes and very calmly step in.' Jasmine's voice said.

'OR JUST KICK THE GUY'S ASS!' Sirius's voice yelled in. He almost laughed out loud about how serious he had been on that subject, but James had to stick with his sister. Especially since he had tried that point of Sirius's advice before and it got him no where except being called a "wanna-be knight in shining armor".

"Marcus, now is neither the time, or the place to be talking about this," Lily hissed stopping in front of James. She sent him a warning glance not to do anything stupid.

"What, like you really want to be training right now anyways? I bet he won't mind, would you, Jimmy?" Marcus looked up at James.

Seeing him up close the for the first time, James took a second to study him before he answered. He was close to his own height, and could tell by looking at his arms that he probably pretty well built. There was something in his eyes though that didn't sit well. They had a sting of coldness to them reminding him of Lucius Malfoy.

"Actually, it's James. And yes I would mind." Marcus raised an eyebrow while James laughed and crossed his arms. "It's sounds pretty obvious that Lily doesn't want to talk to you. Believe me, I know that tone in her voice. She uses it every time on me."

Lily nodded her head in agreement realizing that she was using the same voice she yelled at James with.

"And who do you think you are to say you know Lily so well?" Marcus glared.

"James Potter. And I don't just think, I do know Lily that well." James then turned his attention to Lily, "Are you ready to see the amazing James Potter be a normal human being, or what?" And without another word headed towards the front end of the store. Lily stared after him not believing that she was actually amused by him.

"No, really, who is he?" Marcus asked still watching James walk away.

"You heard him, Marc, James Potter." She held in her laugh and then ran to catch up with James. "I must say I am very impressed! I've never heard anyone talk back to Marcus and leave him speechless!"

"Glad to be the first. He deserves it after all."

"Why?" Lily rolled her eyes, "Because he dared to talk to me?"

"'Course not," James shook his head, "No one calls me Jimmy."

Lily couldn't believe how natural the moment felt. It was like she was meeting him for the first time, and she was actually enjoying it! "You know, I think we might be able to have a little bit of fun together here," she dared to say.

James's eyes lit up in a smile. "Lets hope so. The last time you said we should try to be friends, you hexed me to stick to a wall."

Lily stopped in her tracks, her mouth hanging open. "That doesn't count! You snuck into the girl's dormitory with Sirius in nothing but your knickers screaming 'Sleepover! Sleepover!'" James laughed at the memory. "That hex was a natural reflex."

"What about the beating you gave us after you realized who it was?"

"Well...the point is, it's going to work long as you keep those pants over your knickers," she laughed.

"I can't promise anything." James casually winked at Lily.

Lily sighed in half way annoyance and pushed his shoulder. "Try to keep that ego in check while you're at it."

Lily continued to have James work his way with the codes, forgetting to mention that there was a charm that would have the register remember the numbers for him. 'Silly forgetful me!' she laughed to herself.

James was actually acting like a normal person though for the first time in their history! Instead of constantly focusing his conversation on her he had taken to other subjects like the other people who worked at the market and friends from Hogwarts.

However, even with that in mind, she couldn't resist asking him to mop the freezer.

"Are you sure this is how muggles do it?" he asked shivering.

The mop was stuck to the floor and little by little he had to pull the cloth off and then remove the threads it left behind.

"Of course! All of us here do it!"

Lily watched him working hard when the doors to the back room swung open. She tried to find a hiding spot right there, but Michael walked in not giving her enough time.

He looked around the room and when he saw James in the freezer laughed, "Oh, you are a mean one." Lily held a finger up to her lips trying to keep him quiet, but that only made Michael want to cheat her out even faster. "Hey, James! Come on out of there, mate!"

Lily's eyes widened and then sprinted as fast as she could to the produce back room where she knew Mario would help her hide. She had just reached the doors when she heard, "LILY!" ring from the freezer.

She dashed inside the doors arming herself with grapes as her defense. Mario laughed at her as she tried to stack banana boxes around herself for her fort, but she wasn't quick enough. James bursted through the doors and despite being pelted with grapes, he managed to grab a water hose from a sink in the corner and spray it over to Lily.

"Okay, okay!" Mario yelled. He was just an innocent bystander, but was still getting hit by grapes and misted on with water. "We've only got ten minutes left guys! Get the place cleaned up!"

Lily cautiously stepped out from behind her boxes and dropped her remaining grapes in a trash can as a sign of surrender. James nodded and set down the hose.

"Thank you," Mario said with an exhausted sigh. He took a second to sit on a stool before tossing a broom to James and a dust pan to Lily. "Get to it then!"

When they had finished cleaning up, James walked out of the market feeling like he was already so much further ahead of the game from this one night than he had been able to get in the past six years!

He was still completely shocked though that Lily Evans had actually pulled a prank! It was definitely a story he would have to tell the Marauders.

edt 10/10/10
Author's Note: Hey everyone! My gosh I can't even begin to thank everyone for reviewing! Keep the tradition going and don't forget to tell me what you think about this one!

Disclaimer: i wish i had created this story....then i wouldn't have Lily in my way for James ;) hahaha
thank you JK

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