Chapter 14 : 14. Victoire
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I closed the front door, groaning as I watched Teddy walk away from me.
The last week or so had been awful, resulting in my eating a lot of ice-cream and spending my time curled up, reading magazines. Not very constructive, I might add, when I was supposed to be helping my mother out and looking for a new job. I didn’t intend to work in the Leaky Cauldron for the rest of my life, but I didn’t really have a clue as to what I wanted to do with my life. It was alright for Teddy; he had his life all planned out and he was ready to do whatever it took to achieve his goal. I, on the other hand, lacked motivation and didn’t have much that inspired me. I’d only stuck at my N.E.W.T.s in order to put off making a decision about my career.
I was lonely. Dominique and Louis had both gone back to Hogwarts about a week ago, and my father was working harder than ever. My mother often said she thought he’d prefer it if he was married to his job rather than her. I just couldn’t understand why he wanted to spend all that time working.
But Teddy was going away to work solidly for at least a month… Surprisingly, the thought left me feeling anxious and breathless. I knew that I didn’t want him messing my life up any more, but I just didn’t want him to go. He’d never been that inaccessible to me before, and the prospect of not being able to see him for a month was hard to stomach.
The thing was, I had had nearly two lonely weeks to assess my life, and I had come to the conclusion that I didn’t like what I saw. I had no career, no love in my life and I’d completely ruined my friendship with Teddy. I’d stopped wearing lipstick; I didn’t need it around Teddy any more, and I didn’t care much how anyone else saw me. Every time the doorbell rang, or an owl dropped off a letter I’d hope it was him who was calling for me. But it hadn’t been, not until just now. And I’d lost face, trying to hide my hurt and disappointment that he was going away, leaving me even more alone. It was clear he had decided to move on with his life, start afresh. And it was even more clear that I wasn’t part of it.
I absentmindedly picked up the Daily Prophet off the table in beside me and flicked to the job advertisements. They were all useless, I knew, having read through them dozens of times already today, yet I still scoured them for something suitable. Do you want to work with Muggles? Not really, no. Do you have what it takes to teach Goblins? Ew, definitely not. Can you tell the difference between Spattergroit and –
I shoved the paper aside, irritated. How on Earth was I supposed to find a job with those kind of offers? Maybe it was the best for both of us if Teddy went and excelled in his career, at least I’d feel the need to get a job too.
As the day wore on, the niggle in the back of my mind increased; I didn’t want him to go. I wanted to see him again, and not let him out of my sight. He was my best friend, but now I realised that he was my soulmate. As I thought about it more, I knew how close we were and how close we could be. There wasn’t a part of him I didn’t need, that I didn’t want. He was perfect to me. The way his eyes lit up when he smiled, how his hair gave away his feelings, how much he loved me. He loved me. Oh, I had been so blind; so completely and utterly blind.
What did I want from my life? I wanted to wake up every morning knowing that the person I loved and trusted most in the world was there beside me. I wanted that security, that companionship. I wanted Teddy.
It was then that the pin dropped; what was I doing, sitting around feeling sorry for myself? I grabbed a jumper and my wand and rushed out of the house. I had to tell Teddy how I felt before he left me for a month. He just couldn’t go, not now I had had a change of heart. I loved him.
I took a moment to gather my thoughts, then I Disapparated.
The street where Teddy lived was busy, it being closing time and a lot of people were just finishing off their day’s shopping. The air was damp and cool, having just rained, and I shivered under my wool jumper. Adrenalin rushed around my body, sending my heart beat into and erratic rhythm, my cheeks flushing. I wanted to see Teddy so much, but at the same time, I was terrified. I was sure he had changed his mind, that was why he was going away.
I walked up the street, ignoring the people who knocked into me as I passed them. My eyes focussed on the street ahead of me, though without really seeing. All I could think of was what I was going to say when I got to Teddy’s flat. I supposed I would just have to improvise. Nothing else in my life so far seemed to have been planned. I breathed deeply, trying to calm my nerves.
I stood in front of his door for about ten minutes, deliberating whether to knock or not. Frozen, I stared at the brass number, trying to summon up the courage to make the first move. I was so used to Teddy chasing me that I just didn’t know how I was going to tell him how I felt. There didn’t seem any words for it, I just knew that deep down he was mine. I couldn’t function without him, I knew that now. Faint voices surrounded me, as though they were underwater and not loud shoppers. The back of my neck felt hot, as if the people around me were watching me, waiting for me to ruin it all again. I couldn’t bear to stand out there alone anymore, so I knocked on the door and rang the doorbell.
Seconds ticked by, and I idly stood in front of Teddy’s front door, my eyes pricking. He wasn’t home. He had gone. The realisation hit me like a rogue bludger, my pulse increasing. The sound of my heartbeat thudded in my ears, blocking out any other sound. I couldn’t believe it; he couldn’t have left yet. I hadn’t even thought that he was leaving today; I had naively assumed that he wasn’t going just yet, or that he was waiting for me. No, he was well and truly gone.
Still, I wasn’t going to give up that easily. I took the spare key which was hidden in the plant pot by his door and let myself in. I had used that key countless times to see Teddy or pick up something he had forgotten. It was my other home, I supposed.
It was much quieter inside without the drone of people chattering, and I welcomed the silence. I cast my eyes over the clean, empty flat and my disappointment settled in my chest like unwelcome dust. There was no chance that Teddy hadn’t left yet, none at all. I knew by the fact that he had taken almost everything essential, everything he could possibly need for a month away. Nothing too personal had been left behind, nothing except me. I stood alone in the middle of his sitting room, waiting. Waiting for what I wasn’t sure, yet I felt compelled to remain where I stood. The constant clanking of pipes somewhere above me matched the rhythm of my heartbeat. I sighed, realising I couldn’t stay in Teddy’s house for the rest of the month. I wasn’t a stalker.
I made to brush my hair off of my face, but my fingers touched the drops of salty liquid on my cheeks and I realised I was crying. Get a grip, woman! I thought, angrily wiping them away. No guy was worth crying over, even if he was Ted Lupin.
I saw out of the corner of my eye that Teddy had left his coat over the arm of the sofa, and since he was already gone I saw no harm in borrowing it for a while. I doubted he would object to me using it; he was always insisting I wore it anyway. I shrugged over my cold shoulders and buttoned it up, I hung loosely around my shivering body. I breathed in, catching the smell on the coat that was so Teddy; a mixture of soap and his aftershave. I had bought him that aftershave when he started his job last September… I felt tears fall from my nose onto his coat. Sighing, I made my way out.
I carefully placed the spare key back into the plant pot and straightened up quickly, bumping into someone behind me. Thinking it was another obstinate shopper, I cursed at them. When I looked at them, I realised that I hadn’t been so lucky.
“Is this your new job then?” Teddy said, a half smile dancing on his lips as he saw my guilty expression.
“No,” I said defiantly, determined that he wasn’t going to think I was a burglar. “What are you doing here?”
“I forgot something,” he said, looking pointedly at me. My heart melted.
“Me?” I mumbled, my voice cracking.
Teddy smirked. “Not you, you daft cow. My coat.”
“Oh.” The colour in my cheeks rose and my embarrassment peaked. I started to take his coat off, but he shook his head forcefully.
“I’m not having you catch cold.”
“I’ll be fine,” I muttered. “It’s yours, anyway.”
“You wear it more than I do nowadays.”
I rolled my eyes. He was deliberately arguing with me, and he knew that I knew. “Just take it, will you?” I looked down at my feet. “I’m going now. I don’t need it.”
I looked back up at Teddy, studying his dark eyes. They revealed nothing, but I found that I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. He was beautiful to me in more ways than one.
We stood there in the street for a moment, awkwardly looking into each other’s eyes, trying to figure the other out. If only we couldn’t read each other like a book we might have stood a chance; I had no doubt now that we were destined for each other. I just couldn’t be without him.
I sniffed and wiped the tears from my eyes again. I saw Teddy smile.
“What are you crying for? I’m not going to report you for stealing, don’t worry.”
I smiled through my tears, though I didn’t want to. He just had that effect on me. “Oh, shut up. It’s not funny.” He bit his lip, stifling his laugh. I saw the laughter alight in his eyes, and I couldn’t help it. A grin spread across my face. “Teddy, I’m serious!”
“Yes, I know,” he said, putting on a straight face. “This isn’t a laughing matter. Stealing is a terrible crime.”
“I wasn’t stealing!” I cried, swatting his arm. People passing us by turned and stared at us, but I didn’t care. I only had eyes for the man standing before me.
“I know -”
I silenced him by taking his cold hand in my own, my warmth surprising him. I looked down at our knotted fingers and shrugged. “I came to tell you… I just needed… what I mean-”
“Victoire,” he said firmly, causing me to look up. “I know why you’re here. I can read you like a book.”
I blushed, but didn’t have time to reply. He placed and arm around my waist and crushed me to him. Standing on tiptoes, I pressed my lips to his and I felt utterly complete. For once I didn’t care what others thought, what I looked like or whether I was wearing lipstick or not. Teddy and I… we were meant to be, and as I closed my eyes I knew that I had given myself completely to him. Lust alone wasn’t enough; it was love that made me trust him, it was love that made my heart flutter and my pulse race. It was love that made me want to lead Teddy inside and never let him go again. Without him, my life was colourless, but with him my spirits soared. My heart had found its home.
Who needed red lipstick when I had Teddy? I sighed contentedly into his soft lips; have him I certainly did.
A/N: This isn't the end, don't worry! You'll know when it's the end ;)
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