Chapter 16 : 16. Victoire
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I sat in his flat, silent, for a long time after Teddy left. Honestly, I had thought that he would change his mind and stay, that he would turn down the job to be with me. Now I know that was horribly unrealistic. I didn’t even want to think about how much I was going to miss him.
I still couldn’t believe how I had not seen it before; all the most obvious signs had been there, yet I had still been blind to them. It was almost embarrassing, how my love for Teddy had been so clear to everyone except me. I felt relieved, as though this epiphany had been waiting to crash down, suddenly lifting the weight off my shoulders. Maybe I shouldn’t have left it until the last moment before I told Teddy how I feel about him.
Sighing, I Apparated back to my parents’ house, unwilling to spend time in my empty flat; it seemed to be remarkably unused lately. I enjoyed the company of my family, anyway, so I didn’t see the problem of spending more time with them. I hoped I wasn’t too much of a burden; they always commented how quiet the house was when we, the kids, weren’t around.
I could smell the food cooking in the kitchen, and I heard my mother humming to herself. She was always far too happy. It could be sickening, sometimes. I once asked my grandma why she was always so cheerful; she told me that she hadn’t been before she met my father. I could understand that. Teddy brought sunshine into my life like no one else could, making everything seem a lot brighter.
“Hello,” I said with a smile, watching my mother work her magic on the roast potatoes. She looked up from the potatoes she was peeling, and returned my smile warmly. It was the kind of smile I only received from my mother, and seeing it never failed to cheer me up.
“’Ow was your day?” Maman returned her attention to the potatoes, her wand arm tracing patterns in the air. I watched in awe, wishing I had inherited some of her cooking skills. I knew that eventually, one day, I would have to learn how to cook for myself. I couldn’t survive without such a basic skill.
My smile wavered as I remembered saying goodbye to my best friend. “Teddy’s gone. I thought I could change his mind…”
She looked up at me, her blue eyes full of sympathy. She turned away from the cooking to pull me into a hug. It was exactly what I needed right at that moment. I solitary tear slid down my cheek. I hastily brushed it away.
“Zere is no need for tears,” Maman said softly, wiping my cheek with her soft hands. “’E will be back before you know it. Eet is only for a month.”
I nodded, knowing I was being silly. I just felt so let down; I don’t know why I thought I could make him stay, but I had done and now he was gone.
“What if something bad happens to him? I don’t know where he is…”
Maman kissed my forehead gently, soothing me. “’E is in safe ‘ands. Don’t worry, ‘e knows what ‘e is doing. Try not to think of it.”
I wiped away the last of my tears, and stepped out of my mother’s embrace; she was right, my fears were irrational. I picked up the Daily Prophet that was lying on the kitchen table, and flicked through the job advertisements idly. I didn’t expect to find anything in there; I wasn’t even sure what I was looking for to start with. I heard my mother snort derisively from where she stood by the stove.
“What?” I said indignantly, surprised at the change of tone.
“All you ever do is read ze newspaper. You will never find a job if you don’t go for an interview.”
I glared at her back, feeling slightly hurt. I would go for an interview if I found something I liked doing. I wasn’t going to waste my time applying for a job I had no intention of keeping.
“I’m waiting for the right job,” I said evenly, placing the broadsheet back on the table.
“You cannot work in ze Leaky Cauldron for all of your life,” Maman said softly.
“I’m not going to! It’s just a temporary thing, you know that.” I grabbed some cutlery out of a drawer and began to set the table. I hastily changed the subject. “When is Dad coming home?”
“Soon,” she said absently, lifting the pan into the oven. For such a fragile-looking woman, she was really strong.
I nodded to myself for no reason in particular, and sat down to read the headlines. There was a picture of a team of Quidditch players, though I didn’t follow the game all that closely, I couldn’t help get excited about England’s chance in the World cup this year. It was taking place in Nigeria or Algeria or somewhere (my geography had always been shocking). As Teddy was an avid Quidditch fan, he had often in the past dragged me to various matches. I was always happy to do anything for him, as long as we got to spend time together. I had even vaguely learnt the rules of the game in an attempt to try to impress him. I had once thought these just signs of our friendship; now I knew they were something more.
When my father came home, we sat down to eat. Having not eaten all day, and been otherwise occupied, I was ravenous.
“It’s Dom’s eighteenth soon,” Dad said conversationally, and I smiled ruefully.
“I can’t believe she’s nearly eighteen! That makes me feel so old.”
Maman laughed. “Imagine ‘ow I feel.”
I was silent for a few more moments, marvelling at how it was at that age when I first kissed Teddy. I could pinpoint that moment when my life started to change, to go down a different route. I couldn’t believe that my baby sister was growing up so quickly.
Dad and Maman exchanged glances, and I raised my eyebrows, suspicious. Dad cleared his throat. “We were wondering if you wouldn’t mind helping us out with her party?”
“Party?” I said, trying not to sound too panicked. I didn’t know the first thing about parties; I wasn’t much of a party-goer myself. I hadn’t had a big party since I was about ten years old, and I doubted that that was the kind of party Dominique was expecting. “But her birthday isn’t until the end of next month.”
“Well, we thought you might be busy, what with one thing or another.” I blushed, imagining how much I was waiting for Teddy to come home already. “And I’m sure she’d appreciate it.”
I sighed. “What do you need me to do?”
“We thought you might like to take her out somewhere, just the two of you.” I almost gasped in relief. Visions of awful, noisy house parties vanished, and visions of nice restaurants came to mind. I smiled.
“Sure, I’d be happy to.”
We lapsed into silence, each of us happy that we had achieved what we wanted. I was happy to take Dominique out on her birthday, of course I was. We were pretty much best friends.
Later that week, I finally found a job. It was funny that the job I eventually found was in the most obvious of places. I had been scouring the Daily Prophet for months in search of one, yet I had never considered working for it. But that’s what my new job was; I was going to be a journalist. It was perfect for me; I had a chance to get the latest news before anyone else, and write about things that mattered to me. Current affairs had always fascinated me.
Actually, there was the vain hope that whilst reporting, I would find out what Teddy was up to. It was a long shot, and realistically I didn’t think I would come across him. My desire to see him was so desperate that I had irrationally taken up the job offer, my thirst for knowledge overcoming me. I could give up my job at the Leaky Cauldron, where it had all started again that chilly November night.
At one point, I would have condemned myself for so pathetically chasing after a man. I would have told myself that I didn’t need anyone else to make me happy, that I was an individual. Maybe at that time in my life I was. But now I knew that I just couldn’t function without Teddy, my other half. We really were soul mates, and it seemed too good to be true. Now it seemed that I couldn’t bear a month apart from him, and that my life was leading up to the day that he returned. It was a wonderful feeling, knowing that someone was special enough to make my world go round.
A/N: sorry for the random chapter, I’m not feeling 100% and I had limited ideas. The next chapter shall be exciting though, I promise ;)
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