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Chapter 2 : 2. Victoire
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Ten years later
For the first time in my life, I wished I was neat. Where on Earth was my red lipstick? I usually called upon it for desperate measures, as a sort of confidence booster. I definitely couldn’t face today without it. I turned cold as the unwelcome memory of last night entered my mind. How could I have been so stupid? I’m not the sort of girl who misbehaves – I’m just terribly stubborn.
Anyway, back to my lipstick search. I’d checked all the likely places like the bathroom, the kitchen, and the bedroom… Oh, my God. The bedroom. Just try not to look. Deliberately looking at the bed, I searched the pockets of my discarded jeans. Try not to think how that happened, I told myself ashamedly.
Aha! Finally, there it was. I uncapped the lid and swept the bloody thing across my lips. I did feel a bit more confident with it on. Much better, in fact. Almost ready to face the person who was standing behind –
“Victoire?” I stood up slowly. I felt slightly sick, and a headache was forming on my brow. Alright, I definitely wasn’t ready to face him. I couldn’t face anybody, actually. Maybe it would be best if I just left…
“I think I better go,” I said without turning around. I focused my gaze on the cream wall in front of me. What an interesting colour cream is, I decided. Why had I never thought of that before now? My head throbbed in agreement.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea.” His deep voice sent shivers up my spine. I still couldn’t face him, not now.
“I promised to visit my mother,” I said feebly, knowing he would never buy my excuse. Why could I never tell decent lies?
“You and I both know that isn’t true. Now, why don’t you turn and face me? We need to talk.”
I reluctantly turned to face the other way. I looked at his dark brown eyes. “Teddy, I don’t want to talk. Please, let me leave. I promise I won’t mention this again.”
Actually, it surprised me that Teddy didn’t stop me leaving. Usually he’d offer me breakfast.
I couldn’t believe I'd slept with Teddy. I was an idiot of the first order. Not even my red lipstick could help me now. I was at the mercy of my (rather attractive) best friend. And now everything was going to change.
Once I’d left Teddy’s flat I Apparated back home to Shell Cottage. I truly hope Mum didn’t notice I’d been gone all night… Not that it hasn’t happened before. Often I’d stay over at Teddy’s flat on a Friday night to spend time with him. We were best friends, so it was only natural to spend so much time together. My parents trusted him, as well, which was an added bonus. But I knew if I talked to Mum she’d see straight through my lies to my guilt ridden face. I was just no good at hiding secrets. I was most likely to turn a spectacular shade of red and never speak again. How could I be so stupid?
I definitely wasn’t going to be able to face him again. Not until my embarrassment died down. Oh, the shame. He’d seen me naked. I know most eighteen year olds wouldn’t bat an eyelid about having sex, but I was different. I could count the number of guys I’d kissed on one hand. I felt uneasy when discussing relationships with Teddy because he made it look so easy. He had enough confidence to get a girl with some effort, but not too much to make him look arrogant and it gave him a challenge. I supposed I was his best friend because I always resisted him. I made it quite clear that we should just be friends… There was one time when we kissed, but I made Teddy promise not to mention it again. It was too weird, too close to home. That was a year ago now. A year since I’d thought of him in that way.
And now… What a mess. I couldn’t talk to him yet. I didn’t want to hear the story I’d heard him tell so many times to other girls. I didn’t just want to be just another conquest. I knew Teddy liked the idea of relationships, but he had never loved anyone. That sort of complicated things for him and for those he dated. He’d told me about those times when he had to break up with somebody and I’d laughed at his inability to commit, to love.
Did he love me? I doubted it. I wasn’t sure if I wanted Teddy to love me. I was happy with our friendship; I had never expected or wanted more. But after last night…
“Come on, Victoire. It’s Guy Fawkes' Night,” Teddy said imploringly, handing me another firewhisky.
I sighed moodily. “That was yesterday.”
“I wasn’t there yesterday. So, I’m making up for it today. Drinks are on me, anyway.” Teddy sat down beside me in the pub, the green smoke filtering onto our hair and clothes. I swayed slightly on the stool, feeling extremely unsteady. How much had I had to drink that night? Squinting I checked my watch. It was half past two in the morning, and we had just arrived here from another pub. I hadn’t taken notice of the names. I just knew we were in Diagon Alley somewhere.
“I don’t know,” I said with a noticeable slur. “I feel dizzy.”
“Time for bed?” Teddy grinned and took my hand to pull me up. He snuck his hand around my waist and we headed out the door.
The cold November wind tickled my face and sobered me up somewhat. I became aware that Teddy’s grip on my waist was making me tingle. I stumbled slightly, and Teddy pulled me closer to him so I could smell his scent. His body was strangely warm against mine. I snuggled my head into his chest, searching for warmth.
Teddy’s flat was above the bookshop. After a couple of minutes of fumbling with the keys, the door flew open and we set about climbing the stairs. No easy feat when you weren’t all there.
His flat was small, and I headed straight for the bedroom. Usually I slept in a sleeping bag on the floor when I stayed over with Teddy, and I saw the sleeping bag was already laid out for me. One disadvantage to staying at his place was that he had no heating. None at all. I shivered.
“Are you cold?” Teddy said, handing me his infamous black coat. I had worn that coat on many occasions when he had been noble enough to lend it to me.
I didn’t accept his coat. Instead I hugged him, hoping to steal some of his body warmth. “Maybe,” I said demurely.
Teddy sighed and wrapped his arms around me. Very gently, he stroked my back with his thumb. I should have realised then what was coming. I closed my eyes and we stood like that for another few minutes, though it felt like hours. I listened to Teddy’s heart beating and found the rhythmic drumming soothing.
I started to pull away and give Teddy a kiss on his cheek for his kindness, but I’m sure he misinterpreted my intentions. He turned his cheek towards me and our lips met. I didn’t pull away. Maybe I’d forgotten who it was that was kissing me so intently, so softly, but I felt myself giving in to desire that had not been there previously.
We scrabbled at each others’ clothes, eventually ending up skin to skin on the single bed. There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide but in Teddy’s embrace, and that’s where I stayed until I woke up this morning.
Would Teddy think I was easy? The last time we’d kissed I had been the one to stop it. I had insisted we were not to talk about it anymore, it was a forbidden subject. And then out of nowhere came last night… Although I wasn’t really experienced in that area, I could tell Teddy was good. Let’s say that fireworks would be an understatement. But that still doesn’t make up for the fact that Teddy is my best friend. Things aren’t supposed to happen this way.
I crawled into the shower and turned the taps full on. I let the water pummel my skin hoping that I could wash away the memories of last night. I wanted to forget how good it felt, how special I felt. I wanted to forget how Teddy called out my name, how his touch burned my skin. I shouldn’t be having those feelings. Not with him.
I stepped out of the shower and roughly towel dried my hair. After throwing on an old jumper and jeans, I brushed my teeth for a good five minutes. I wasn’t really in the mood for breakfast, I just wanted to hide under my duvet.
I distantly heard the doorbell ring. Then footsteps climbing the stairs. A knock on my door.
“Victoire?” I heard my father’s voice outside my door. “Teddy’s here.”
Oh, God. I should have known he wouldn’t leave me alone. He knew just as well as I did how I liked to run away from things. I grabbed my red lipstick and shoved some on my lips. I stiffly opened the door. Dad had already gone, thankfully, so I didn’t have to face his questioning look. I hugged my arms around my middle for protection and headed towards the open door. Sure enough, there stood Teddy, as bold as brass. His hair was nearly dry, so he must have had a shower before coming over. He was wearing his wool coat. That stupid coat. I shivered.
Teddy handed over the coat just like I knew he would. “We need to talk.”
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