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Chapter 4 : 4. Victoire
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I stood wrapped up in Teddy’s coat for a good ten minutes until I could work up the courage to go back inside. My feet were damp with dew and they were beginning to go numb. I saw that the kitchen was blissfully empty and pounced on it.
Breakfast... What to eat? I honestly wanted to throw up, so breakfast seemed to be off the menu. The thing was, I usually ate like a horse - if I didn’t eat, then my parents would be instantly suspicious. I rubbed my convex stomach grumpily. If it wasn't hungry then it was unsettled. Why today, when I wanted to fade into the background? I supposed a cup of tea wouldn't hurt.
I flicked my wand and the kettle boiled. My hand shook when I picked it up, spilling hot water all over my foot.
"Shit!" I moaned, hopping on the other foot. I plonked the kettle on the side of the counter and stumbled over to the nearest chair. I tried to banish the tears that were forming in my eyes to no effect; I was a complete mess.
Unfortunately, my mother chose that moment to walk into the kitchen, immaculately dressed and done up. She took one look at my tear-stained face and Teddy's coat and sat down at the kitchen table beside me. She came to the rescue with a wave of her wand and a tight hug.
"Chèrie," she said softly, "Wha’ 'as 'appened?"
I noticed the pain in my foot had subsided and took a couple of gulps of air. I could never tell her what really happened, obviously.
"I... kettle...hot...foot...ow." I tried to steady my breathing, but I kept shuddering. I took the glass of water which my mother offered and took a few sips. That did the trick. "I've done… stupid things."
Maman, to her credit, pretended that she didn't suspect a thing and wiped my tears with her manicured hand. She even made me some porridge, which isn’t exactly my favourite meal, but the thought was nice. I then went back to bed.
I think every woman deserves a duvet day at least once a year. A day to unwind or wallow in self pity, to eat her fill of Honeydukes' chocolate and to just forget about everything.
When two o'clock came I had to leave home for work. I worked in The Leaky Cauldron, temporarily of course, every Saturday afternoon and weeknights. I changed into a black skirt and white shirt, grabbed Teddy's coat, shoved on some lipstick and Apparated there.
The afternoon passed slowly. I waited tables in a blur and snuck a couple of redcurrant rums behind the bar on my break. I don't even like alcohol. It certainly made me feel better today; obviously it was to blame for last night.
Before I went home I walked by Teddy's flat above the bookshop. The lights were on, so he was home. I felt obliged to return his coat; it was his favourite, and I couldn't leave him without one in November when I had my own. I inserted my key into the lock and let myself in. I took the coat off as I climbed the stairs. When I entered the empty kitchen I wondered if I should have rung the doorbell. The reason being was that I could see right into the living room, and I was unsettled by what I saw.
Teddy and another woman were enthusiastically getting to know each other on the rug. Maybe it was the shock of seeing Teddy naked so soon after the event, or maybe it was the fact that he was having sex with the woman beneath him, but I felt compelled to leave. I dumped the coat on the floor and left with my cheeks burning as I heard the woman cry out his name.
I should've known this would happen. Teddy wasn't exclusively mine, and I hadn't given him a yes or a no. But this just proved I couldn't trust him to reject other and better looking women. The cold November air mercifully cooled my hot cheeks. I felt incredibly naive. I really had no experience with relationships, and Teddy had two years over me.
What had I expected? I knew Teddy, he was my best friend, but somehow I thought he wouldn't do that to me. How was I any different from all those other one night stands? Should I have expected to be treated any different just because I would see him again? He probably just had an empty bed for the night and felt horny.
How many times had I gone home after our Friday nights out instead of back to Teddy's flat due to him having pulled? Things hadn't changed, showing what a naive fool I was.
I applied another coat of lipstick. I was going to run out of it if I kept on like this. Teddy could buy me a new one for Christmas; it was his fault I was using up so much of it. I arrived home just after ten o'clock. I changed into my favourite fleecy pyjamas and threw myself into bed.
Teddy always laughed at my choice of pyjamas. I suppose he rarely sees other women in anything other than little slinky numbers. My pyjamas were two sizes too big for me for extra comfort. They hid all the lumps and bumps that I felt self-conscious about and kept me warm. An award winning duo, if you asked me. I certainly wouldn't change my pyjamas for anybody, not even Teddy; if we were to go out, that is.
Would I go out with him? It was looking less likely now. I wanted to be with someone I could trust not to sleep around, not Don Juan. I didn't need to be with him - I was perfectly happy with our previous set up. Except... Things were going to be very different from now on.
I was no longer just the best friend. Admittedly I had always been seen as the potential 'threat' by Teddy's girlfriends, even though I had no intentions of muscling in on their territory. I had, on a few occasions, pretended to be Teddy's girlfriend in order to shake off exes or unwelcome admirers. But it was only pretend. I had never wanted it to be real. If only I could hold my drink. Then I wouldn't be in this situation now. I had a choice - ignore Teddy for the rest of my life or politely decline his offer of sex. Tempting... There was no way I could accept his offer because once I went down the path of an affair with Teddy I could never go back to how it was before.
I muttered "Nox" and darkness enveloped my room. My head throbbed and I closed my eyes. I was terribly tired but I had a feeling I wasn't going to sleep very...
THWACK! I sat bolt upright in bed. Checking my watch I saw I had actually slept. It was now half past four in the morning. The very unwelcome noise seemed to have come from outside my window. I wearily threw back the covers and padded stiffly to the window. I hoped whoever or whatever had woken me knew what they were in for; I was very grumpy and irrational on a bad nights sleep. My hands shook as I wrenched open the window. A gust of very cold air whooshed into my room (living by the sea definitely had it's disadvantages). I gingerly peered out of the window. Something solid grazed my ear and I recoiled, cursing. I grabbed my wand ("Lumos") and shone the beam of light down at the ground. There I saw the intruder.
"Teddy?" I hissed angrily. He should know me well enough to never ever wake me. He had his black coat on and I presumed he had his pyjamas on underneath due to the flash of stripes I glimpsed at the bottom of his coat. Wand arm stretched out, he held a boulder in his hand ready to levitate. "What the hell are you doing here?"
Teddy muttered something incomprehensible and I sighed. Dissapparating as quietly as I could (which isn't very quiet at all), my bare feet landed on the cold grass.
"What do you want?" I asked tetchily.
"Well, I wanted to thank you for bringing my coat back." Teddy looked away and I lowered my wand. The last thing he needed was that in his face.
"At four thirty in the morning? Couldn't you have told me tomorrow?" My patience was wearing thin. I shivered involuntarily.
"Are you cold?" Teddy asked automatically, offering me his coat.
I pushed his coat aside angrily. "No I'm not bloody cold! I want to know why you are here at some ungodly hour of the morning, when not even the lowest of the low are up."
Disgruntled by my outburst, Teddy held my gaze, making me feel even more uncomfortable. Really the whole situation was ludicrous; two friends meeting in their pyjamas at four in the morning, twenty-four hours after becoming lovers. I wasn't even wearing lipstick.
"I've been up all night thinking about you," Teddy muttered. I seriously doubted that after what I saw earlier.
"You dropped my coat off without comment. I took it that you'd made your mind up. I needed an answer."
I broke his intense gaze and stared into the darkness. The wandlight gave the garden an eerie glow and cast shadows across Teddy's face.
"I hadn't made up my mind when I arrived at your flat. When I left, I had," I said simply. The truth was, I couldn't trust him around other women.
"What have you decided?"
"It wouldn't work," I said flatly. "I can't trust you enough."
Teddy looked so disappointed; I couldn't feel guilty though. It was his fault. "What made you change your mind?"
I held my wand tightly in my hand and spun on the spot, ready to Dissapparate. "Your girlfriend did."
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