Chapter 1 : Love Songs
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Standard Disclaimer: Only the words are mine. JK Rowling owns Harry Potter...though I often wish it was otherwise. But then again, don't we all?
also known as Love Songs
And so I walked her to her apartment.
We’d decided to walk, against my better judgment. She was wearing very high heels and I didn’t want her to blister on my account. She took them off, and went barefoot just to get me out of the taxi. I asked her to put them back on. She didn’t. We walked down the plaza with her shoes off, slung on her shoulders. She was still babbling on about this and that. Things I didn’t know about. Things I could care less about. Things I couldn’t even pronounce.
I looked at her, smiled and nodded every now and then, just so she wouldn’t notice my head drifting from one thought to another. If she knew, she might stop talking. I didn’t want that. She was so passionate about those things. Her voice was calming too. It was in perfect tune with the night breeze.
“Do you ever dream of honeybees and wonder where they all go at night?” She turned around and started walking backwards. She was on her tiptoes, trying to be as tall as she could. Like a little girl trying to reach the top shelf. She was very short without her heels. I didn’t mind. She looked more like herself without them.
I just nodded, not wanting to say anything. I was too busy thinking. Thinking. And watching the road for the both of us.
She messed up my hair, smiled and went on talking again.
I was glad.
I wondered what she was thinking about. Really thinking about, inside that bubbling head of hers. Could she really be thinking about this and that, the random things coming out of her mouth? Or could she be thinking about me, how she’d miss me once we’d said our polite goodbyes and shared a friendly kiss on the cheek. Would she ask for my number, or would she ask if she could give me hers? Would she call me the next day, or would she wish I’d call her? Would we meet again in the small café down the street and talk, the way we did tonight? It would be wonderful if she did. I would love it if she did.
I loved Paris in the evening, when the moonlight hit the lights and made them twinkle all the brighter. You were never alone in Paris, yet it was the only place you could find yourself.
“Lights, monuments, lovers,” she laughed.
It was Paris singing in her voice.
Perhaps it didn’t have to end quite yet? There was a bistro just around the corner. I hadn’t been to it yet, but the smell of the fresh bread and the cozy candlelight looked well enough to try. She could order cake. She loved cake, and I could watch her eat. She could offer me some, and I could refuse. She could force me to eat it anyway, and I’d end up enjoying it. We could get an extra fork and fight over it, one mouthful larger than the last. We could fence forks over the last bite. I’d let her have it, and she would smile. It would be wonderful if she did. I would love it if she did.
But the bistro came and passed, and I hadn’t suggested it. Still she kept on talking. About Chaucer, rain, juniper oil, and fireflies. Botticelli, juice boxes, and soufflé. Home and theme parks. Graveyards and tomorrow.
She held my hand, as we got nearer. Hers were icy from the night chill. Her feet were probably no better. I asked her to put her shoes back on. She laughed and said she wouldn’t.
I carried her on my back. She was lighter than I would have thought. But maybe it was my body wanting to hold her longer. Closer.
She laughed and kissed my cheek. She hummed “Spanish Eyes” in my ear. She didn’t know the words, just the music.
We could see her apartment now. The light was on because she’d forgotten to turn it off again. She muttered something about Muggle electricity bills. I walked slower. I was getting tired. Or maybe, it was my body trying to make the night last a little longer. Twenty-four hours in a day. Only five hours with her. It seemed like an unfair fraction. But I was never good at math.
We got to her doorstep and I put her down. She was still barefoot. Refused to put on her shoes.
“Goodbye, Teddy Lupin,” she said, her eyes lighting up like the lights around us.
She liked saying my full name. I liked hearing it. She kissed me on the cheek again. It felt warm, like pumpkin pie. She smelled of it too.
“Goodnight, Dominique,” I said, trying to mirror her. I wished I’d leaned over to kiss her. Truly kiss her. Maybe then, she’d kiss me back. Maybe we won’t even have to end the night. It could go on as long as the lights were closed and the windows were shut. I’d go on as long as my lips were on hers and her smile sang for me. As long as Paris sang for me.
But the moment came and went and I did not kiss her.
She started going up the stairs, trying to find her keys in her bag. I didn’t kiss her because I couldn’t find the strength to. Neither could I find the strength to walk away. I didn’t want to leave yet. Not until she was inside. Not until she turned off the light.
I waved goodbye to her as I walked across the street; there was a bench there. I could see her apartment. The light was still on and I could see her shadows darting from one side of the room to another.
And then, without warning, the light went out. Without being turned off. I couldn’t tell the shadows from the darkness.
I took my shoes off and stood on the floor barefoot.
I walked away, shoes slung on my back.
Maybe we would bump into each other again. Collide. In a small world like this, it was hard not too.
Author's Note, revisited: A huge thank you is in order to Kali (Elesphyl) for beta'ing this work, as well as picking the title from the text! Thank you!