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French Charm by elegantphoenix
Format: Short story
Chapter 7: Of White Weddings and Spanish Surprises Part II
Disclaimer You know the drill.
The sun was too bright, the atmosphere too peaceful, her dress too tight. She couldn't breathe, and could hardly think coherently anymore. "Dom?" She heard a very familiar voice say, before a gentle hand brushed her hair out of her face. Dom found Teddy gazing at her, his now blue eyes full of concern. "You look paler than usual - almost peaky. You should lie down -"
She raised her hand, stopping him. "No, there's something-" Dom swallowed as Teddy supported her weight with his arm around her waist. He was already in his wedding attire, minus his jacket and shoes, and his tie was undone. "I - I have to ask you something... something I need you to answer with complete certainty."
"I - okay," Teddy replied, looking confused now, his eyes shifting to a warm brown. Dom pushed away from him, straightening up and slowly raising her eyes to his.
"It's either me," Dom said with a heavy exhale, "Or her."
Teddy took a careful step away from her, shaking his head and looking away. "You can't make me choose, Dom. Not now," He told her, his eyes wide and pleading. They were restless, shifting from brown, to teal, to green, and grey. It was unsettling.
"Teddy, you have to. Now is the best time, and maybe the only time for you - for us to set things right," she explained desperately, her hand resting on her stomach as she struggled to breathe in that damn corset.
"But I love -"
She shut her eyes tight and shook her head. "No! You love Victoire, you always have, and this, along with that bracelet you gave Victoire back when you were kids, is solid proof of that,"
Teddy looked mournful as he took a step toward her. She stumbled away, tripping over her heels in flight. "Everything changed," Teddy assured her but it wasn't enough. Her lip quivered and she looked away quickly, but not without it going unnoticed by Teddy. His eyebrows pulled together as he took her arm. "Dom, look at me -"
"I - I can't," Dom breathed, her eyes darting around helplessly, as if she was inwardly battling a war raging inside of her.
"I know you're keeping something from me, Dom. I can see it in your expressions. It's hurting you so much I can't stand it," he claimed, his own expressions confirming his words. He took both her shoulders in his hands and looked her right in the eye as he told her, "You have to tell me what's going on."
Dom swallowed hard, meeting his gaze with her own. His eyes had returned to blue, but it wasn't the same harsh, overly violent blue that her family had. It was a calm, almost greenish-blue that reminded her of the ocean. It was a color that soothed her, almost hypnotizing. Dom averted her eyes sheepishly.
"I- I..." She trailed off, exhaling. She looked up at him again, shaking her head. "You can't marry Victoire."
"What?" Teddy asked incredulously, blinking as he straightened up in shock. But before he could inquire any further, the door to the study burst open, and Victoire rushed in, wedding dress and all.
"I just can't take it anymore," Victoire claimed, her cheeks flushed and her eyes wide. "Ted, I'm pregnant." His mouth hanging open, Teddy looked over at Dom, and then back at Victoire.
Things just got a whole lot more complicated.
Before anyone could say anything, Fleur and Apolline came rushing in, looking completely baffled, impatient, worried, and outraged. "What ees this?" Apolline demanded, noticing Victoire standing on the threshold, looking incredibly smug. "Ze groom ees not supposed to see ze bride before ze wedding! Eet ees malchance!" Her accent always became more pronounced when she got angry.
"Je suis dèsolè, Gran. I just had to see Ted for a moment," Victoire apologized in an overly sweet and innocent tone.
Apolline sighed tiredly, "A moment zat could not wait until after ze ceremony?"
Victoire looked so genuinely contrite it was almost convincing. Almost. "'Fraid not," She shrugged, like she just couldn't help doing what she'd done.
"Fine, all right, just come now chèrie," Apolline said impatiently, ushering Victoire out of the study with waves of her hand. "We must prepare to start. Our guests are becoming très agitè," Victoire glanced at her mother.
"Better do as she says," Fleur urged with a nod and a slight smile, her eyes brimmed with joyful tears despite the fact that her daughter wasn't married yet. As Victoire turned to leave just as Dom rushed over to her sister and caught her arm, holding her back. Apolline shot Dom a look.
Dom held up her forefinger. "I need a minute, Gran," she told her, looking back at Victoire before hissing, "What did you do that for?"
Victoire wrenched her arm from Dom's grasp and smirked, her eyes glinting with vengeance. "I told you he belonged with me, and now that he knows my secret, he won't be as likely to back out of this and run away with you like you planned," She smiled, as if she'd won.
"But it's not his child -"
"Does it matter? He thinks it is, and as far as Marco's concerned," Her eyes narrowed. "He'll never find out about him and what happened in Madrid as long as I can help it,"
"I believe you are forgetting one colossal flaw in your selfish little plan," Dom pointed out matter-of-factly, folding her arms across her chest.
Victoire raised an eyebrow and laughed, "Is that so?"
"Yeah," she told her, "Me." Dom gestured to herself with her thumb, her eyebrows pulling together seriously. "How do you know that I won't just go and tell him everything once you've gone?"
"Because," Victoire said firmly, rolling her eyes and exhaling in exasperation, as if she were dealing with a seven year old who asked too many questions about the simplest (and the most pointless,) of things. "Now that he knows that I am with child -"
"It's not his child!" Dom hissed angrily, but Victoire ignored her.
"Now that he knows that I am with child," Victoire continued, "He will believe that we are bound together for life. There is no running away from this, Dominique. He will be too preoccupied with the prospect of a son or daughter to call his own, to raise and care for and love, that he will no longer have time for you in his life." The corners of Victoire's lips curved up in cruel satisfaction.
Dom's eyes widened for a moment, before narrowing. "You've wanted this all along. This was your plan, the reason why you got pregnant in the first place - to win Teddy for yourself, and to keep him away from me."
"Spot on, my dear sister!" Victoire grinned, clapping her hands together with delight. "You know, most people don't give you enough credit for your cleverness," She claimed, before wiggling her fingers in an annoying little wave and turning to follow their grandma down the corridor, around the corner, and finally out of sight.
As she watched her sister walk away, Dom thought for a moment. Victoire was right. She couldn't do anything to stop the plan that she had put into motion the minute she'd appeared in the study and said the three words that had changed everything. Teddy may have been a bit baffled at the moment, but there was still a way out of this completely loveless marriage that had been built on lies that he was heading into. There had to be.
And then it hit her.
Maybe she couldn't do anything to stop Victoire's plan now, but she knew someone that might. Someone put their hand on her shoulder suddenly, and she gave a little start, looking round. It was Fleur, looking a bit concerned as well. "Dominique?" She asked, but the cogs in Dom's mind were already working double time.
"I have to find somebody," Dom said quickly, before hurrying off down the corridor and heading down the stairs to the backdoor that lead out into her grandmother's garden.
Ten minutes later Dom was hurrying down the aisle in the middle of the courtyard, ignoring the staring and disapproving whispers coming from (Apolline's) guests about the long wait, and her dress.
"Eet is so vulgaire," one middle-aged woman in a pastel pink dress clucked her tongue, shaking her head, "Her mere must be un imbècile, letting her prance around in such attire."
"Oui," said someone next to her, a short, plump woman with her auburn hair in a bouffant that belonged in the sixties, and bright red lipstick. The woman was nodding in agreement, fanning herself with a foldable fan.
She tried to block things like that out as she approached the place where Teddy stood next to the altar, nervously fidgeting with his tie. The fountain gurgled faintly beyond the hedges, and some soft melody was being played on a piano. He didn't notice her, even as she walked up to where he stood, less than a foot away.
"Quit messing with your tie," chided Dom, "I'm pretty sure that it looks as fine as it had when you put it on."
He looked up abruptly, giving a start. His face was paler now, with nervous sweat glistening on his forehead. "Dom!" Teddy exclaimed, his eyebrows pulling together. "What're you doing here?"
"Maid of Honor," She reminded him, rolling her eyes.
Teddy rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. "Oh... er... right," he replied.
"Um, Teddy?" Dom asked, getting his attention. He looked at her, and waited for her to continue. She raised an eyebrow. "Is there something wrong? You seem a bit... jumpy. Nervous, even."
"Me? Nervous?" He repeated, "Ha!" Judging by the way his eyes seemed to look everywhere but at her face, Dom could easily tell that he was lying.
With a quick glance over her shoulder to make sure they weren't being watched, Dom took a step closer to him. "Teddy," She said firmly and quietly, her eyes finding his. He looked so torn it broke her heart. She'd caused all this and now she had to do the mature thing and let him go. "This has to end."
She would no longer stoop to her sister's level.
He shoved his hands into the pockets of his trousers, looking down as he kicked at the concrete beneath their feet, and exhaled deeply. "That's the thing though," he whispered, "I don't want it to end." Teddy looked up as he said his last sentence, his words earnest and his eyes filled with longing.
"You can't choose me," Dom shook her head, backing away. He caught her by the wrists.
"But I already have," he explained. "You're the one that I want, Dom."
What horrible timing, She couldn't help but thinking. Dom looked up at him, her heart swelling with flattery and... love. But something still nagged incessantly at the back of her mind until somehow, it managed to escape her lips. "What about the baby?" She inquired, chewing her lip.
Before he could reply, the music suddenly changed and the sound of chairs creaking as everyone stood filled their ears. The pianist was now playing the Wedding March.
Teddy let go of her, as if he'd touched something hot.
Dom turned around, her brain unable to figure out what she was supposed to do now as her sister appeared at the opposite end of the aisle, her arm linked through their father's. Someone touched her shoulder and Dom turned around, finding Louis leaning toward her. When had he shown up?
"You're supposed to be over there," he reminded her, pointing to the left side of the altar, where the other bridesmaids stood, cooing over how beautiful Victoire looked under their breath. "Gran's glaring at you. Get your arse moving!" He gave her a shove and Dom stumbled over to where she was supposed to stand. None of the other girls seemed to notice a thing, but Victoire shot her a brief look that said What the hell are you doing?
Once Victoire had finally managed to reach the altar (two or three minutes later), Bill kissed her forehead, his eyes shining in the same way Fleur's had earlier, before handing her off to Teddy, and taking his seat in the front row next to his wife. Fleur squeezed his hand. Their guests took their seats.
As they turned to face the Minister, Teddy glanced over Victoire's head at Dom helplessly. Her face paled. "Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here today in the sight of Merlin, and in the face of this company, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony," began the Minister. "Into this holy estate these two persons present" - the Minister nodded to Teddy and Vicky - "come now to be joined. If any man can show just cause, why they should not be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace."
The Minister looked around, waiting for someone to speak up. After a few moments, he cleared his throat, licked his fingers, turned a page in his book, and continued. "Victoire Marie Weasley, will you take this Man as your wedded husband -"
"Wait!" Someone called out from the far end of the courtyard, making everyone look around. It was Marco, jogging up the aisle. Dom suddenly felt sick. "Victoire, wait! I must speak with you,"
No, no, no, no. Dom kept repeating the word in her mind, and even closed her eyes a few times, but every time she opened them again he stood there, gazing up at her sister like some sort of holy goddess or something. Shit. She thought as Victoire faced Marco. This is really happening.
At least no one was looking at her.
"Well, spit it out, then," demanded Victoire, pressing her lips together impatiently, "I'm kind of in the middle of a wedding, if you hadn't noticed."
Teddy's eyebrows furrowed. He looked at his bride to be skeptically. "You know this guy?"
Victoire waved his words off dismissively. Marco ignored him entirely, glancing around at the other guests watching them intently just a few feet away. "Señorita, are you sure you want me to -"
"Get on with it or get out!" She snapped, remarkably managing to keep her face relatively neutral.
"I know about the baby!" Marco blurted abruptly from the pressure. Dom felt her mouth fall open, saw her sister's do the same, and heard a few people gasp. "Mi amor, why have you kept this a secret from me for so long?"
"I... what... who told you that - that nonsense?" Victoire stammered, tripping over herself. She was too busy narrowing her eyes at Marco and gripping her bouquet so hard her arms shook to notice Dom as she backed up a few steps.
"I -" began Marco, but Teddy stepped forward.
"What is it to you? The baby's mine," he told him defensively, glancing at Victoire. She glanced back, but not as confidently. Teddy took a step away from her. "Isn't it?"
"I..." She trailed off, her eyes lingering on Marco for a minute. Then Victoire shook her head, her expression hardening. "Well, of course it's yours, Ted. You are my fiancè! What further proof do you need?"
"What ees ze meaning of this?" Apolline was on her feet now, her bright blue eyes narrowed and menacing. "Who ees zis étranger, ma petite-fille?"
"Just someone from my past," Victoire ground out. Her cheeks were tinged pink with some strong emotion. Embarrassment? Rage? Guilt? "Sorry for wasting time, Gran." She faced the altar again.
Apolline considered this for a moment, before snapping her fingers. Two men in suits appeared at the end of the aisle. "Sacrè bleu, get zis man out of my sight." She ordered.
Teddy gradually followed Victoire's example as Marco was escorted out of the courtyard, his eyes meeting Dom's for a moment until, reluctantly, she averted her gaze. The Minister seemed a little confused for a moment, until Apolline met his gaze and nodded, returning to her seat.
He cleared his throat. "Alright, where was I? Ah, here we go," The Minister looked up at Victoire again. "Victoire Marie Weasley, will you take this Man as your wedded husband, to live together after Merlin's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Will you love him, comfort him, honour, and keep him in sickness and in health," the Minister continued, "and, forsaking all others, keep thee only unto him, so long as you both shall live?"
"I do," promised Victoire, though it was a tad hesitant, as Dom observed.
The Minister flipped the page in his book, turning to Teddy.
"Ted Remus Lupin," he said, "will you take this Woman as your wedded wife, to live together after Merlin's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony?" He pushed his glasses up on the bridge of his nose before he continued. "Will you love her, comfort her, honour and keep her in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others -"
"Wait," Teddy interjected, shaking his head in thought. He turned to Victoire. "How do you know that guy that was just here?"
Victoire glanced at the Minister, leaning toward Teddy. "This isn't the best time for -"
"Actually, I think it is." Teddy began, "I want to know how you know him and I want to know the truth, Victoire," he said to her, "I- we don't have time for your stupid games." Dom looked at the guests. Apolline had her head in her hands, shaking her head and swearing under her breath.
Everyone else's eyes were on Victoire.
Victoire looked out over the crowd desperately, contemplating what she should do. Of course she couldn't tell them the truth. There was absolutely no way that she was going to lose the respect of her family, because of a mistake that had come from a single moment of weakness one night in Madrid. It was horrible enough that everyone knew her dirty little secret now, thanks to someone spilling the beans to Marco.
A moment later, she did something no one expected. She slapped Teddy so hard it left an angry red mark on his left cheek. Andromeda shot up in her chair in incredulous protest.
"I cannot believe I trusted you!" She shouted, tossing her bouquet onto the ground. "I've kept it a secret for too long. I know you've been cheating on me, Ted!" More gasps. Murmuring ensues, and Teddy glances around helplessly, his eyes finding Dom's again. She shrugs, and that's all she can do.
"I'm not... I don't... What in the name of Merlin's gym shorts are you on about?" He demanded, exhaling deeply to keep his emotions controlled. The last thing they needed right now was him getting too upset and transforming right there. If he was feeling anything anywhere near what Dom was feeling at that moment, she knew he was freaking out on the inside.
Did she really know?
Victoire laughed in disbelief, fake tears suddenly rolling down her cheeks as she turned to face her audience... er, guests. "Playing innocent? I knew he was wrong for me." She swiped under both of her eyes dramatically, picking up the train on her dress. "This wedding is off!" Victoire cried, and took off down the aisle and out of sight. Fleur stood and hurried after her.
"Whoever raised this ècume should be ashamed!"
As time wore on the comments grew harsher. Andromeda left the courtyard quickly, refusing to look at her grandson. The other bridesmaids had rushed off to comfort Victoire. Bill was patting Apolline on the shoulder, trying to calm her down. The Minister had gone for a drink. And Teddy stood a few feet away from Dom on the opposite side of the altar, looking utterly bewildered.
Dom approached him. "What just happened?" She asked, running a hand through her hair.
"I just got dumped. Left at the altar, all alone, infront of everyone," he explained, his voice far away and his eyes gunmetal grey, cold and hard as he stared at nothing.
"You're not alone," Dom said, reaching out to put her hand on his arm, but he pulled away. He couldn't even look at her now.
Teddy told her evenly, "I have to go." Before she had a chance to respond, he took off down the aisle, undoing his tie and tossing it onto an empty chair as he went. Dom stood at the altar, her heart sinking as she watched him go.
This is what her sister had wanted; she'd known who had told Marco about the baby. It had been Dom, of course, blindly seeking revenge. Victoire had decided that, if she couldn't have Teddy, no one could, leaving Dominique empty handed, heartbroken, and alone.
She had always known that he would run away in the end.
AN We've finally made it to the last chapter. Hip hip hooray! I finally managed to write this one, as it has been quite some time that I've left the story at the edge of a cliff, hanging on for dear life and what not... Ah, well. I haven't got much to say except thanks for taking the time to read! You guys and gals are awesome :D
And now for some translations:
malchance - bad luck
Je suis dèsolè - I'm sorry
très agitè - very agitated, impatient
vulgaire - vulgar
un imbècile - an idiot
Oui - yes
étranger - stranger, intruder
ma petit-fille - my granddaughter
Mon Dieu - my God
fille - girl
ècume - scum
Señorita - Miss
Mi amor - My love