Chapter 3 : 3. Teddy
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When I woke up this morning I knew she’d be like this. Victoire rarely wanted to talk about mistakes. But I didn’t view last night as a mistake, and that’s what I wanted to talk to her about. It wasn’t the first time something had happened between us. Although we told other people that we were just friends, I’d always wanted more. And my feelings had intensified since ‘the kiss’. That was a year ago now.
It was my second year out of school. I had been in France with Victoire and her family that summer and I couldn’t face a whole year without her. We were all the more close after the holiday. On the spur of the moment, I Apparated to King’s Cross in order to say goodbye.
The sky was grey on the morning of September the first, so I took my black wool coat with me in order to keep out of the cold. Although I looked out of place wearing a heavy coat that time of year, I felt justified because I was shaking so much. I’d never felt this way about any other girl, even though I’d had my fair share of girlfriends.
After Apparating to King’s Cross at half past ten I searched the train for Victoire. I knew she’d be there that early because Fleur always liked to be on time. Bill was the one who was always late, but he was working. I could guarantee Victoire’s early arrival. A draft blew through the carriages of the Hogwarts Express causing me to shiver and draw my coat closer around my body. I eventually spotted Victoire in an empty compartment towards the end of the train. Her shiny blonde hair rested softly on her shoulders. She looked up when I entered.
“Teddy!” She exclaimed in surprise and stood up to greet me with a kiss on my cheek. My face tingled where her lips had grazed it. I hugged her in return and felt her shiver.
“Are you cold?” I shrugged off my coat and gave it to her.
“A bit,” Victoire admitted sheepishly, accepting my coat and putting her arms through the sleeves. “But what are you doing here?”
I smiled and said, “I’ve come to say goodbye.”
“You said goodbye to me yesterday, remember?” Victoire raised a slightly bushy blonde eyebrow at me impishly. It was true; we had met in Hogsmeade the day before for lunch. How could I explain to her what being around her meant to me? I needed to see her once more before she left for another school year.
“I know. I thought it’d be nice to give you a proper send off. I can go if I’m not welcome?”
“Don’t be silly,” Victoire scolded amusedly. “It’s a lovely gesture.”
I smiled again and looked out of the window at the people who were gradually filling up the platform. I glimpsed a bit of jet black hair and guessed that my godfather, Harry, had arrived. That meant I didn’t have long until I had to leave.
“I don’t want you to leave,” I said sadly.
“I know you don’t,” Victoire said consolingly, placing a hand on my arm. “But you can survive another year without me.”
“I’m not so sure.” Although I said it jokingly, I meant every word. I had survived her Sixth year without her because I’d spent the year with Charlie Weasley in Romania generally having a good time. The girls there had taken my mind off my beautiful best friend for a while.
“I bet you say that to all the girls,” she said with laughter in her voice. I pretended to look hurt.
“I can’t think what you mean, woman.”
“I think you can. But never mind, I don’t expect much different from Casanova here,” Victoire said wickedly.
I looked at her quizzically. “Who’s Casanova?”
Victoire waved my question aside. “Some Muggle guy who liked his women.”
That hurt. “So that’s what you think? That I’m some sort of womaniser?”
“Well… To your credit you’ve never tried anything with me. So you aren’t a hopeless case.”
“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” I said with a smile on my face.
“What are you trying to say, Teddy?”
I paused. Did I tell her how I felt? She was going off to school, after all. I wouldn’t see her until Christmas at the earliest. I decided to bite the bullet. “Why don’t we give us a go?”
Victoire frowned. “A go at what?”
I sighed, frustrated. “You know. You and me?”
“Me and you what?” She really was clueless, I decided. But Victoire had always been shy when discussing romantic issues. What would she do if I showed her what I meant?
“Victoire, come on. You must know what I mean. I want us to be together.”
I silent ‘o’ formed on her small lips, and she shook her head. “I don’t think that’s such a good idea, Teddy.”
“Why not?” I said crossly. Now I’d blown it. “You know you can trust me.”
“I know. But… it would be weird.” Victoire looked away uncomfortably, the colour rising in her cheeks.
“How do you know if you haven’t tried?” I was one second away from kissing her.
“Because-” Then I kissed her. And she didn’t pull away. Then. She even kissed me back for a while. Her cheeks grew warmer and her heart beat faster and I thought she must feel the same way, deep down. We would’ve kissed for longer had we not been interrupted.
I saw James Potter’s back disappear down the corridor when Victoire broke the kiss off. Her embarrassment peaked, and she shut off from me. I really wished I’d cursed her stupid cousin then.
“Victoire-” I began.
“Just forget it, Teddy.” Victoire looked mortified and her eyes glistened.
“Pretend it never happened.”
And that was that. I hadn’t mentioned it again, except to deny to Harry and Ginny that it happened. Of course their stupid son had reported what he saw. They agreed not to talk to Victoire about it, and the case was closed.
True to her word, Victoire pretended it never happened. We wrote as frequently to each other as we had before, and when I saw her at Christmas we were back to normal. I’d regretted it ever since.
Which was why I was determined not to let her shut off from me again this time. I knew what she thought of me – I was some sort of ‘Casanova’. But I could change. I really liked Victoire, and I would never hurt her. I needed to explain that to her.
I had a quick shower and shoveled some breakfast down. I was crap at doing anything on an empty stomach. I brushed my teeth and swigged some mouthwash, then made my way to Victoire’s house. Her parents wouldn’t think anything of me visiting early on a Saturday morning. I often called in on Victoire and it wasn’t so early anyway.
When I arrived, the wind had died down and the sun was poking out from behind the clouds. I rang the doorbell. Bill answered the door in his pyjamas and smiled when he saw it was me. He shook my hand and went to fetch Victoire. Five minutes later, she came to the door.
Her hair was wet and her face was free of make up except for the usual coat of red lipstick. Her navy jumper had a hole on the arm and her grey jeans were faded. All those signs told me she wasn’t so pleased to see me. That and the look of terror on her face. When I saw her shiver I handed her my coat, which she took grudgingly.
“We need to talk,” I told her. Grabbing her arm, I dragged her outside. Keeping my firm grip, I steered her towards the bushes. Over her shoulder I could see the grave of Dobby the House-Elf, who my godfather had buried.
“I’ll forget it ever happened,” Victoire said, implying that she thought I wanted that.
“No,” I said forcefully. Her eyebrows shot up. “I don’t want to forget it. You can’t run away from me this time, Victoire. I know you felt something last night. I know you did.”
She said nothing. She lowered her gaze and stared at her bare feet. My coat was far too big for her, and it swamped her petite frame. I now knew what lay beneath it, and only wished I could see more of her. She looked so fragile I wanted to scoop her up and keep her safe.
“Say something, please,” I implored.
“I… I don’t know.”
I sighed in frustration. “What is there not to know? We can’t just be best friends anymore.”
Victoire rubbed her temples with her hands. “Can you give me some time?”
I really didn’t want to give her time. I wanted to take her home with me right now. “I suppose so,” I said eventually. “You can keep my coat for now.”
I kissed her cheek, lingering longer than I should have, and walked away. When I looked back she was still standing where I had left her, biting her thumbnail. That was a definite sign she was uncomfortable. I had no idea I could make her feel like that. I hoped she’d come to the right decision. Turning away, I Apparated home.
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