Chapter 1 : Strange/Beautiful.
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Credit goes to the fantastic group called Aqualung and their wonderful track called "Strange & Beautiful".
Shout out to my girl Childish_Fairy, for introducing me to the Dom/Lysander pairing. They aren't the main couple in this story, but they are important nonetheless! ^_^
I lick my lips slowly, thinking to myself. Grabbing the champagne glass off the table, I search for the man that has made me think of everything. I do this without even standing. Because as soon as I tilt my head a mere centimeter up, my eyes take in Teddy Lupin, sitting at a table all the way across the room. It’s like this boy finds ways to make himself enter my sight all the time. He’s talking to Albus, my cousin, about Merlin knows what. The space between us feels like the size of a Quidditch Pitch. It could not be more fitting. I chug down half of my champagne, and keep the glass lingering in my hands as I stare at Teddy.
We are gathered here to today, in my mother and father’s downstairs basement in our house in France, to celebrate the marriage of my younger sister, Dominique, to one of the Scamander twins. I chuckle softly to myself as I take another sip of champagne, letting it drown out the thoughts my throat so wishes to yell out. How shameful, my younger sister getting married before me. A small smile finds its way onto my lips, forming a shape on my face that I’m not too familiar with anymore. I stop smiling at the thought of my sister; I bring up my hand occupied with the champagne to my lips and stick out a couple fingers. I let the tips brush over my lips in wonder. It’s still crazy to me, this feeling at the pit of my stomach. These lips, that haven’t smiled in over three months, so effortlessly made a formation of that shape of happiness – so easily – simply by thinking of my sister’s marriage. Was it my love of weddings? The white dress with the never-ending floor length train, the people staring at you adoringly through the ceremony, the man waiting to be with you forever at the end of the aisle?
I think that maybe my happiness for the success of this wedding rests on the fact that I am so proud to see Dominique growing up. Her happiness means the world to me. I could feed off of her glow for the next twenty years like sunlight. She was always so fickle with her emotions. Always unstable. Her teen years were atrocious. I felt like she was falling swiftly through my finger tips, only to realize that she had to find herself. And through all the bad crap of her teenage heartbreaks, she found herself, Dominique Weasley, as she wanted to see herself. Not how people wanted to see her. I was always the quiet one, and Dominique was the wild one. She felt rebellious, and with our family name I could have understood that immediately. When she realized who she was after all those years, she set her standards high for men. Not because she was high-maintenance, but because she deserved those standards. When she fell in love with Lysander, I think she finally realized how unimportant it was to be so different from everyone else, because once you are born you are automatically an original. You are not a copy. And you shouldn’t worry about impressing everyone. Dominique’s problem was the voice in her head that old her she had to stick out like sore thumb and break the rules because she thought she had to ‘be’ like how they wanted to see her, how people wanted her to be. And the only thing people wanted was a show.
The day she stopped entertaining her audience was the day I knew she had become a woman.
I’d like to say I’m jealous. In fact, it would be much simpler if I said I was jealous – jealousy is easy. I could probably pull off the envy card well, but I’d be unsatisfied with such a dull emotion. Because what I do feel is very complex. I feel pride for her, hope for her, happiness for her. I’m a mix of envy and love and everything in between. Because I wish I could have happiness like my younger sister. She’s only nine-teen (turning twenty in a couple weeks), and she’s already found her life partner. The man she wants to die with. He’s the accessory that is always in season at the fashion stores. The bracelet that you know you will never return to the jewelry store, because it’s made especially for you.
Love is a very splendid thing, my Aunt Hermione once told me.
Maybe love isn’t splendid. Maybe love is supposed to be ruthless, devious, and stunning. Maybe it’s supposed to be every contradicting word in the English language just to prove this point: love will always be around, because it makes the world go round. There is no spell in the world that can change the power of love. It’s so powerful, just in itself, that it cannot be tampered with. Why? Because it is simply an emotion. A human emotion that will never disappear. Every soul on this earth will experience some form of love. Because its power can break glass, destroy trees, create thunderstorms. Love is there when everything and nothing is falling apart.
I never thought this way.
I thought only the luckiest people in the world fell in love.
I couldn’t decide if I was one of the lucky people or one of the most unfortunate.
Teddy’s lips are moving slowly as he talks to Albus, emphasizing every point he’s making. He’s talking so elegantly, that you can tell he’s choosing every one of his words wisely. He’s a man that appreciates vocabulary and thinks before he speaks. He has a strong neck, strong hands, broad shoulders. His skin is tan from the recent trip he took to Argentina, making his complexion more and more immaculate. It’s as if every object that could reflect light in this dining hall is finding its way to him, showing out to the world through his glorious eyes. His face is handsome and chivalrous and just by the sight of him I want to cry. Teddy Lupin is beautiful.
I tilt my head back. The glass is cold against my lips. I finish the rest of my champagne and then the unthinkable happens. I tilt my head back up to find Teddy looking at me. His eyes are penetrating through me and I feel as if I’m a deer. Not because I feel like I’m stuck in headlights, but because I feel so delicate and small. I wish he didn’t have this affect on me.
Albus is gone and there is no one sitting near him now. He is the only one at his table, and so am I. The basement my parents had furnished into a dining hall for the wedding is full of people eating and talking. There are rows and rows of tables. Hundreds and hundreds of people, and yet – I feel like I’m the only one in the room with Teddy. This is not normal, I decide. This feeling is sickening, and I hate it. No, forgive me. I don’t hate it… I just…I am indifferent. Yes, that is the best word to describe the sickening feeling in my stomach. I don’t look away from him, and he doesn’t look away from me.
I wish he would.
I blink. And just like that, he’s gone. Or maybe, it was a multiple set of blinks and a thousand seconds passed and he got up to talk to someone. Who knows?
I’m not unsettled by his disappearance, for I am already used to it.
I touch my lips again but this time I don’t smile. I cannot believe these lips smiled today. I cannot believe these lips are still even attached to my face. I haven’t spoken and had a full on conversation in months. Three, to be exact. Three months. For three months, Teddy Lupin was in Argentina for his work in the Ministry. For three months I haven’t even spoken to him. These lips, these lips…
These lips kissed him.
I close my eyes and inwardly shudder; I bite my lip in haste to get rid of the memory of what I had done. And what did I do? I ruined everything. That’s what I did. I couldn’t explain the urge I had to go to Teddy’s flat the night before he left. I couldn’t explain how he opened the door to see his friend in tears. I couldn’t explain how I had wanted him since we were children. How I wanted him like a child wanted a shiny toy. I couldn’t explain how I told him that. I couldn’t explain how he was in nothing but a plain white tee and pajama bottoms and I still found his beauty absolutely intimidating. I couldn’t explain how I grabbed his shirt and kissed him in the doorway. I kissed him long and hard.
I wish someone would tell me why I did that.
Can someone please explain it to me?
Because I can’t.
I had let go of him so quickly, that I felt my navel being pulled. Is that possible?
All these years I’ve been trying to look into Teddy’s world. Know his secrets, his deep, dark secrets. We were great friends. But I didn’t want to be friends. I didn’t know what I wanted to be. But the night I kissed him I threw our friendship out the window. I entered too far into his world. I was pushing myself into his world because I wanted more and more and more of him. Merlin, he must’ve thought I was an absolute bint, the way I acted. I let his face go as soon as I kissed him, and his face was shocked as hell. Teddy stared at my face like he was in some sort of a gaze. When he said nothing, I got the picture. I understood. And I ran out of that building so fast my toes almost fell off. I had to do it, I told myself that night. I had to. He was leaving for Argentina, for crying out loud. He might as well have lived on another planet for three months. I was so torn, you have no idea. I had never been without him for more than a week. I felt like if I wasn’t going to kiss him now, I might as well join a convent.
But I wish I could take it all back.
I never dated in Hogwarts. I mean, once and a while I had a boyfriend but they soon got bored – they knew I wasn’t going to do what they wanted me to do. I was pure, so be it. There is nothing wrong with not being so tainted. It made me happy, knowing my innocence was mine and only mine. When the time came that I wanted to share it with someone else, I would share it with all my soul. The boys didn’t have heart. They left as soon as they came and I had decided, after a certain point, that boys were useless. Dominique was highly defiant to prove me wrong on that subject. The truth was, all I wanted to do was hang around with Teddy. We would walk up to the Astronomy tower and eat cookies he stole from the kitchens, and we’d laugh at everything, and cry because we’d laugh so hard. He was my life support during those times when I thought I was this ugly being stuck in the body of a blonde girl.
Why do the boys always leave?
Because they aren’t men, he told me.
I was in my Fifth Year when he said that to me.
I never forgot that. Ever.
I wanted to be where he was. Maybe that was why I’ve been secretly falling apart for three months. I wanted to be in Argentina. I wanted to be in his flat. I wanted to live in his flat. I wanted to live with Teddy. I wanted to come back from Argentina with bronzed skin just like him. I’d probably burn like toast and look ridiculous, but at least I’d be were he was.
I’m gripping the empty champagne glass with such force it almost breaks.
“Hey,” my cousin Rose greets, taking the glass out of my hand and setting in on the table.
“Rose, have a seat.”
Rose Weasley is one of the most adorable redheads I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. I say this with endearment. Because as soon as a person meets Rose, they want to take care of her and protect her and cradle her like a newborn. She’s just that lovable from a distance, you can’t get enough. She takes a seat and smiles at me hesitantly. I wish I could smile back.
“How’ve you been?” I ask.
“Good,” she sweetly mumbles.
“How’s Scorpius?” She blushes like mad and looks down.
“Er…okay, I guess.”
I laugh softly at her. The love she had for Scorpius was impenetrable. I’m not sure if I’m the only one to know about their love, considering the fact that Rose brought Scorpius to the wedding, and James Potter (my other cousin) has been staring him down like a hawk. Everyone knew Scorpius and Rose were friends, but I think that James and I know they love each other.
“You should spend more time with him, Rose. In fact, you should go find him right now. Tell him how great he is.”
Her eyes grow wide. “What?”
I take the champagne glass in my hands again and look at the remnants at the bottom of the glass with interest. The glass is never really empty, is it? There’s always some part of it that never disappears.
“I know he is an important figure in your life. And I think you should let him know…that’s all I’m saying.”
She blushes again and I just want to hug her right now, but I don’t because my arms feel like lead.
“How can you tell he’s so important to me?” Rose croaks, a bit cautious.
“I think it’s a bit obvious, sweetie. And I think James has noticed as well…”
“James has put it upon himself to pester me since day one of our friendship. I still haven’t answered any of his questions.” She flicks her hair behind her shoulders.
“He asks questions?”
“Yeah! Can you believe him? Has the nerve to come up to me and ask me if Scorpius has ever touched my bum…”
I smirk. “Of course,” I conclude.
“I still think you should tell him how much you adore him.” She’s taken aback by my statement, but she accepts it.
“How long have you known?”
“I’ve known for a while, sweetheart.”
“I don’t think he likes me back,” is all Rose Weasley says.
I turn my chair so I can look at Rose fully. I cross my legs and grab another champagne glass off the tray of a passing waiter.
“Rose, you are absolutely gorgeous. You have a great personality and your laugh is infectious. There is no doubt – Scorpius adores you.”
She gives me a sincere look with a big smile. “But I like being his friend. What if I ruin everything?” She starts to fidget with her necklace.
“Trust me, from experience, I can tell you right now that you will not ruin anything by telling Scorpius you like him.”
My eyes are burning as I say these words and I ignore them.
“I want you to walk on over there, to his table, and talk with him,” I tell her, handing her the glass of champagne.
“What’s the champagne for?”
“Pick-me-up,” I wink. “Drink it before you go over there. It’s like an invisible spell that’s put on you as soon as you take the first sip…”
“What kind of spell?”
“Spell of confidence, in your case.”
Spell of helplessness, in mine.
“Oh.” She downs the entire glass. Rose, is in fact, a Weasley like the rest of us. I was worried for a moment, because I thought she wouldn’t drink it. She barely even knows the smell of firewhiskey. But she’s strong enough for the champagne, and when she smacks her lips in accomplishment, she’s beaming.
“Wish me luck.” Rose raises the glass above her head in mock toast, playfully, before setting it down on the table.
“Alright, now go and flirt with him.”
“I never flirt with Scorpius!”
“Oh, please.” All the reason to start now. He won’t see it coming. The boy will be turning scarlet before Rose even gets her words out. It’s all in how sensual you make yourself.
“I’m serious. I don’t even know how to. At least…not with him. I’m not used to throwing him moves!”
“Just pretend you are madly in love with him,” I say, biting my lip and examining her face. She’s gone completely pale.
“Right,” she squeaks. “Okay.” I’d smirk, because we all know how in love with him she already is, but that would be mean. I pat her on the shoulder and she’s off. At least I helped someone with their boy problems.
I sit and sigh and sigh some more. I start playing with the bracelet on my wrist. Then I realize Teddy gave it to me. I want to chuck it outside. Soon, when dinner is finished, we are all going to head out in the backyard for dancing and more dessert. I’ll throw it in the creek nearby. I want to throw this bracelet away because as much as I want it to be the jewelry that completes my collection, the bracelet that’s made precisely for me, it never will be.
How do I know this? One word: Fredericka.
Teddy’s girlfriend. They got back together last night.
They were broken up for almost a year. The night Teddy came back (which just so happened to be last night), I decided to stop by just to see if he was home. I probably looked like a lovesick puppy to any of the bystanders that passed me by, for I was looking up at his apartment window. His light was on. I wanted to know what he would do next, where he’d go off to, the night he came back. And then I saw Fredericka in the light with him and I bit my lip. Blood seeped down into my mouth, as I tried to suck on it to stop it from bleeding in the first place, and it was then that I saw them get back together. Because she grabbed his face randomly and kissed him in front of the open window. I saw nothing put the blur of buildings as I ran back to my car.
The worst part?
He saw me. Teddy Lupin was positioned so his face was completely visible and Fredericka’s back was to the window. She kissed him hungrily and for a split second, his eyes wandered off and saw me. But I never saw his reaction. I didn’t want to.
Why am I even here? Couldn’t I just leave so I wouldn’t have to see him anymore? Why did I put on this gold Diane von Furstenberg dress I paid hundreds of American dollars for? Why do I have gold liner on my eyelids to match, and red lipstick to show contrast? Why is my hair down in waves? Why does the bracelet that he gave me somehow complete my ensemble?
Teddy stares at me again.
He’s with a group of people surrounding him, Aunt Ginny, and Uncle Harry (his godfather). Probably talking about Ministry rubbish…
My eyes are pleading for answers but he does nothing – he forms a hard line with his mouth and just stares. His neck is unfaltering, and his jaw is set. It’s like he wants to speak, but can’t.
When I decide I can’t stand his gaze anymore, I leave. I head out through the hallways of my house and through doors until the darkness of the night engulfs me. The back of my house is just as I remember it; huge and picturesque. The humongous tent, in the middle with the desserts and tables inside, take up a large part of the backyard. The music speakers are currently being set up, next to a false dance floor, by the caterers my father paid for.
I am irrevocably in love with Victoire Weasley.
Call it fate, call it destiny, call it what ever the fuck you want.
But it doesn’t change a damn thing.
Because Victoire and I are still at our breaking point.
I wish that telling her I loved her was enough to explain all my actions, everything that’s happened…but I don’t know how to start picking up the pieces again. She surprised me when she came to my flat exactly three months ago. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was packing my clothes in my already stuffed bag, when I heard a knock at the door. It was so late into the night; I was still in my pajamas when I opened the door. I was so ready to bark at whoever decided to speak to me at that very moment. But opening the door to my flat was like seeing everything in slow motion. At first I saw the wisp of blonde hair, followed by her eyes, and before I could stop myself – I stared. I completely went out of my head and stared at how pretty she looked in my door way, half crying/half sobbing. She began to tell me things…mumbling things…that she never should have. A part of me wishes she didn’t tell me her feelings; but the other part, the most dominant part of me, was so glad that she did. It complicates things, yes. But the thought of the beautiful Victoire Weasley liking me in anyway overshadowed that. Overshadowed what I knew would be difficult times ahead. Does that make me selfish? Not caring about the consequences, as long as I knew how she felt?
“Teddy, I’m going to be outside setting up the desserts with Fleur. Could you watch James for me? Make sure he doesn’t give Scorpius a hard time with Lily,” My godfather’s wife, Ginny Potter tells me with a smile, before discarding her drink and leaving me with a group of Ministry officials.
“Okay,” I tell her, before Harry kisses his wife goodbye.
I turn back to the group of successful men in front of me. I laugh and smile and nod. But I am not here.
How you can be in a room with a bunch of people but think you are completely alone.
I am not alone, though.
I am surrounded by officials of aristocratic wizarding society.
But, I repeat: I am not here.
I am at the moment when I found my best friend crying on my doorstep. I am at the moment when my best friend told me she cherished me since day one. I am at the moment when she kissed me. That was the best moment.
I was shocked. Bugging out of my mind…
I couldn’t believe she did it.
We didn’t even flirt with each other all these years.
We were so sincere with each other, we were so delicate with each other, we were so happy with simply talking. We appreciated the other person in the friendship so much that it seemed unjust to play around with the whole flirting ordeal. It wasn’t necessary. But I would have never thought Victoire liked me back. Or at least, liked me. She still does not know how I feel about her. The words she whispered to me outside my flat, before kissing me, still rings in my head. It hits my brain like stones being thrown against a wall. I blink and blink and blink again, but the effect doesn’t go away. My heart leaped out of my chest the moment I even saw her crying; imagine how I felt when she planted her lips on mine. For Merlin’s sake, I thought I was dead.
And apparently, Victoire thought I didn’t respond because I did not return those feelings.
How foolish I was. How struck I was by the sight of her, that I could not move.
When did I get so pathetic?
When did I reach the point where I was so struck by her beauty that I could not look her back in the face?
She probably thinks so less of me now.
Wow, some man that Teddy Lupin is, I can hear her saying.
It wasn’t my fault that my ex girlfriend rammed into my apartment as soon as I came back from Argentina. It wasn’t my fault she threw herself on me as soon as I walked into my kitchen. I had no idea she was there. She must have apparated.
I sigh and drink the rest of my champagne down in one shot. It tastes like nothing; it has no effect on me. I wish it did. I wish I felt anything else at the moment. Anything else, than this sick feeling eating me away inside.
You have no idea how painful it was to see Victoire from my window. If only she saw me push Fredericka off of me. If only she stopped and came back. If I only she could have known my intentions for the night I came back were to go and find her. If only my ex didn’t come back into the picture, things might be less heartbreaking. If only I didn’t blame myself for the pain I caused Victoire at the sight of Fredericka kissing me. These lips were hers, not Fredericka's. If only I didn’t feel so ashamed that I had hurt Victoire.
If only…If only Victoire Weasley knew. All these years, I kept it from her…For a reason. For an important reason. The love I had for her would have either saved us, or broken us. And I didn’t want to travel on uncharted waters. I didn’t want to threaten the connection we had. There was no one else in the world like her, what else was I to do? Just cross the line and ruin everything? I did not know about her feelings, and I could not make judgments based on false facts. So I did nothing. Our friendship was enough. I could have lived on that. But she had to tell me…she had to make my heart grow bigger. And Sweet Circe, I could hardly contain myself. I can hardly contain myself now.
Why did I come here tonight?
Oh, for Dominique… My goodness, I’m so inconsiderate.
Must I revolve my whole world around Victoire even at her sister’s wedding party?
She probably hates me.
Yes, I bet that she’s already gone from telling me how much she cares about me to hating me.
I wouldn’t be surprised.
First, she ran off in assumption that she had gotten rejected.
Let me explain that. Do you know the feeling when someone you know, someone very close to you, is so close to you physically that being around them feels like you’re stuck in a fog, and you cannot imagine literally touching them? That’s how that kiss felt. Once that person actually touches you… You are thrown out of your body entirely. Every time I bite my lip or drink something, I feel her lips on mine. For the past three months, it’s been like that. The feeling of me being so close to Victoire was so surreal for me, and so real at the same time, that it seemed impossible. I felt like I was a lost person, stuck in a fog. That’s how she made me feel. She made me feel out of myself. The feeling that washed over me, when I realized that Victoire had run off, could have torn down every building in London. It took me too long to get back to reality to give a response to Victoire. Or rather, to show her a response.
Second, I let her go.
I wanted so much to run and get her. Find her again. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t because I didn’t know what had just happened and I was so outside of myself. I didn’t go after her because it would have made it much harder for me to leave. Imagine…having that happen to you with the person you love, only to realize you have to leave the next day for nine weeks? Wouldn’t it have been better to leave before anything complicated began? I didn’t want to create havoc the night before I left. I thought... no – I knew – that if I had gone after her I would have thrown that trip to Argentina to hell. And I couldn’t do that.
My eyes linger back to where Victoire is sitting.
We haven’t spoken at all. Not once.
Nothing but meaningful looks all night long.
And where had it taken us?
Nowhere. Because I’m a coward.
“…But the thing is, if the Rights of the Ministry put a barrier on us…” I hear someone debate. I hear everyone debate. But I am not listening. Because my eyes are on the only woman in the room. I don’t know how…I don’t know why…but she’s put a spell on me. And it has nothing to do with magic. The first thing I notice about Victoire Weasley is that she is wearing the bracelet I got her.
I hope it fits her always.
“It can’t put a strain on our plans, Shacklebot. Those rules were put there to protect…”
She looks gorgeous.
“…Our Aurors are not going to bend the rules just for this one mission, though. Lads, we’ve got to realize that tradition is…”
I want to go and speak to her.
“But the question we have to deal with is: should we conform for the next generation of Aurors?”
But I can’t.
“The Aurors after us must uphold tradition…”
Victoire is getting up.
“…Next generation of Aurors are going to go by another set of rules, probably less strict…”
It’s like someone is repeatedly stabbing me with a knife as I see her leave.
“These Rights are going to have to change if we want to keep up our stride…”
She is gone.
The next twenty minutes were spent talking with extended relatives, people that knew my mother and my father, important Ministry people, and Dominique’s French mates (who were eyeing me up quite dangerously). I excused myself after a little while and decided that I should go look for Victoire; she was nowhere to be found. I had to find her – this was all too much. I have to at least explain everything to her before she beats me with the heels of her shoes. I can’t prepare myself for the pain that’s going to come from this, but I know that I’m just going to have to deal with it – and the pain Victoire will most likely inflict on me. How do I know this?
I witnessed her relationship struggles with bastards who didn’t appreciate how elegant of a person she was, how genuine and pure she was, you know? There were moments where I had to intervene between Victoire and her ex boyfriends in the Great Hall, because she would get so heated that she’d immediately pick up the closest piece of silverware and fling it at the boy. I wouldn’t have minded, really; I was only trying to stop her from getting detention. Because detention was served on school nights and those were the nights where we would talk the most. See how greedy I am? After school and all that teenage crap, we’d always have time left over for each other.
In our Hogwarts years, we were always in different situations. I was the older one, the wiser one. She’d come to me for advice all the time; she trusted me the most out of everyone else. She was the delicate one, the compassionate one. I could talk to her about anything at any moment, and she’d be willing to listen. Do you know how many times she snuck into my dormitory just to have a late night chat with me? There were those nights, I remember, when we’d run around the halls of Hogwarts in our pajamas like total fools…and then collapse on the floor of the Astronomy Tower, blood pumping through our veins, with muffled laughs straining to get out. We’d laugh so much…
I haven’t laughed in three months.
My job told me to go to Argentina, but my heart told me to go everywhere else.
I’m searching around Victoire’s parents’ house looking for her, so I can end this problem and leave my coward arse behind. Stand up for once. This is all too much. It’s like my mind has gone through a roller coaster in the past half hour and everything’s a blur.
Until I pass the kitchen. Where I’m stopped by Victoire’s mother, Fleur.
“Teddy! ‘Zere you are…” her voice trails off. Fleur Weasley is an older, but yet spitting image, of her eldest daughter. Freddie Weasley, James Potter, and Scorpius Malfoy are holding trays of éclairs while Mrs. Weasley speaks. She passes me a plate full of fresh fruit before I can say anything. The kitchen is quiet as I desperately look out the window above the sink for Victoire – maybe she’s outside.
“What are you shakin’ for Malfoy?” James Potter menacingly asks him. “Hold that tray still, will you?”
Scorpius does nothing but try to stop himself from shaking the tray in his hands. I resist the urge to momentarily roll my eyes at James’s attempts at scaring Scorpius.
“Now…where did I put ze cream puffz…?” Mrs. Weasley continues looking around her kitchen and frantically attempts at giving her other nieces and nephews orders at the same time.
“Freddie, buddy, could you hold this for me?” I desperately plant my tray up on Fred Weasley’s other arm.
“Mate, are you kidding me? You think these French croissant orgami-like things aren’t heavy?” he huffs. I give him a strong but pleading look.
“Stand a little straighter, Malfoy,” James glares.
Malfoy quickly fixes his posture.
“Holy paprika, where are ze damn cream puffz!?” While rummaging around her refrigerator, Mrs. Weasley starts barking for the rest of her family members to come up from the basement and help her. Lily Potter and Roxanne Weasley, who have been nonchalantly talking with each other quietly near the pantry, are immediately yelled at.
“Cream puffz…find ‘zem…NOW!” Mrs. Weasley shouts in haste. “Wait…Didn’t I tell you both to set up ze napkins?”
“Oh, erm…” Lily innocently mumbles. “I…have to go to the bathroom.” She exits from kitchen at lightening speed. Ah, Lily Potter. Always up to help, isn’t she?
I leave the room as fast as I can. I need to get out of the kitchen before it turns into a disaster.
“Half ze guests are out-zide already,” Victoire’s mother sighs. I head towards my escape, quickly through the backdoor.
“Oi, blondie! Hold that tray straight, I said!” I hear James call out from behind me.
“…Uh, I am…James-”
“What did you call me?!”
“Thanks a lot, Teddy,” Fred calls.
I ignore him. He’ll live.
“We are not on a first name basis, Malfoy.”
“Cream puffs, you said?” I hear Roxanne ask in realization. “I think Uncle Bill ate them for dinner last night.”
The last thing I hear is the crashing of plates in the kitchen followed by Mrs. Weasley’s shrieking cries to her husband downstairs. Hell hath no fury like a Weasley woman’s scorn.
The backyard is absolutely stunning. Something out of a movie. There is a white tent with tables and a wooden platform for dancing, and the caterers are carrying out humongous-ly tall cakes from their vans in the driveway. Every type of French dessert is laid out to the hundreds of guests and there is a bar set up with an assortment of different drinks; martinis, margaritas, and the like. The music is starting and the chatting of people is so loud and absolutely ridiculous. It’s the evening now and all the patio lights are turned on, illuminating everything, including the huge chandelier lit by candles on the dance floor. Past the loud speakers, where music is softly playing, there is the infamous creek that runs across the line of the Weasley’s backyard. And I see her.
My breath hitches in my throat as I take in her silhouette. She’s facing out towards the creek, a couple feet away from the dance floor, where couples are dancing to a jazzy number. Dominique, whom had changed clothes and was now wearing a lilac dress, is being spun around by Lysander, her husband. Before I can reach Victoire, her cousin Hugo comes out and asks his older cousin to dance. I can tell because he has his arm out, heading towards the floor. I can’t see her face, but Hugo gives her a sincere look and a small smile. She must have a very pained look on her face; Hugo is always the one trying to make her feel better. I want to punch myself. That should be me. That should be me wanting to make her feel better.
It was my mission in life to make sure Victoire was okay. It was always like that. I took care of her and she took care of me. I always had girlfriends, sure, but there was a moment in every one of my relationships where I questioned who I really liked. I couldn’t understand it. The girls, always wanting to sleep around, bedding the guys they thought were attractive. I was having none of that. It was all pointless and completely demeaning of the word ‘love’. I did not enjoy dating anymore. Fredericka was my last girlfriend, and I thought she was different. I thought she could show me everything that I was missing, but I could not have been more wrong. While we were a couple, I felt a bit lost with myself. But I could do nothing. At that point I had already fallen for my best friend, but the more I dated Fredericka, the more in love I actually fell in with Victoire. Does that make sense?
My best friend, through the years, had always seen me with a girl on my arm, but she never really looked passed that and understood that I was just trying to find someone that was already in front of me. Not only did the most unfortunate thing happen last night, but I was still blazing angry at Fredericka…But I shouldn’t be. It’s not her fault, really; but the pain she caused Victoire because of kissing me is making me detest the fact that I’ve dated so many girls and have gone no where with them. I never loved them. I want to bang my head against the loud speakers at the thought of every girlfriend I had introduced to Victoire Weasley.
A slow ballad starts playing. With courage I didn’t know I had, I walk a steady pace towards the dance floor. She isn’t facing me, but Hugo can spot me coming. Too bad the only thing I’m focusing on is the back of Victoire’s head.
“May I cut in?” It’s the first time I’ve spoken in front of her all night. She looks off, and for a second I swear I see her knees buckling. Hugo stiffens his back.
“Teddy,” he greets. He’s afraid to leave her with me.
Hugo knows. He knows and he probably thinks I’m the biggest bastard on the planet. But he was raised well, so he’s being polite. You never have to tell him a thing; he’s the type of person in the family that always stays hidden. He knows everything and notices things within seconds. The boy is an intellectual genius, if you ask me.
“I’d like to steal a dance, Hugh, if that’s alright with you,” I tell him meaningfully. I try to smile but I can’t. Hugo says nothing, but gives me a simple nod. He understands.
I slide my hand around her waist, and it fits so perfectly, I want to cry out ‘I’m sorry’ a million times. She doesn’t look me in the face at first, but we start moving our feet. And the only way she can keep in sync is if she looks ahead and lets me lead. The flash of her head turns so quickly, I’m almost thrown off my feet. I’m almost thrown off my damn feet. Her eyes make mine bulge in surprise. So close, they’re so close… They make me never want to blink again. I’d be too afraid of what I’d miss. It’s been nine weeks. Nine fucking weeks since I’ve been this close to her. Her hand is a bit cold and mine is a bit warm, and I can’t get enough of her body so close to mine.
I could have sworn we stayed like that for hours before we snapped out of ourselves.
“I’ve missed you,” is all I can get out.
She doesn’t respond. And visible person could see she was trying so hard to keep up her façade.
“Say it again.”
Her head snaps up, completely taken aback. “What?” She spits out rather breathlessly.
“Say it again. Say what you said to me before I left,” I demand her, my voice getting coarse. “Say what you told me before you ran off the night before my flight to Argentina.”
“I-I, I don’t…Teddy-”
I abruptly twirl her and pull her back to me hastily, letting her crash back into me.
You'd be, so perfect with me.
But you just can't see,
You turn every head, but you don't see me…
I pull her close to me and inhale the scent of her hair. I let my eyes shut.
Victoire’s head turns back towards the creek; I wish I knew what her face looked like. We slowly drift off the center of the dance floor and float near the dark end towards the grass. I can hear her heels click-clacking softly.
“Don’t say things you don’t mean, Teddy,” she responds.
I sigh. “There is nothing that I’ve ever said to you that I did not mean.”
“But the conflict still remains…”
“And that might be?”
She turns her head back around and I am pulled away from her hair. She looks agonizingly beautiful and defiant.
She says, “Fredericka.”
I bite my tongue to stop myself from cursing out loud.
I lean in close to her ear and whisper. “What you saw last night was nothing.”
She bites her lip and I twill her again. “Don’t say this to me, Teddy. I don’t need to hear this…” Victoire tries to drop my hand and walk off the wooden floor but I drag her back to me as quickly as I can.
“You are not leaving me. Not again,” I announce strongly.
“You do not want me, I can see that. I saw that look the day before you left-”
“I hate to tell you this, Vic, but you have no idea what you saw.”
“Oh? Is that why it’s been so awkward between us all night?”
“Victoire, please,” I say exasperatedly. “Let me explain…”
“I don’t need to hear excuses. Please don’t apologize because you feel bad for me, for the innocent blonde Weasley girl.”
I move my face closer to hers. “Do you want to know what happened last night?”
“Yes,” she squeaks quietly, intimidated by my closeness.
The ballad continues to softly play behind us, while the chatter of the part guests continues to fill up the backyard. Is it bizarre that I don’t think anybody can see us? That everyone else is having a good ol’ time, and none of them are worried about us? How comforting.
Imagine how terrible it would be if half of the Weasley clan and their party guests watched every couple on the dance floor. Thank Merlin that the Weasley’s and the Potter’s don’t give a chocolate frog about other people’s business. They always were an unobservant bunch…
“I arrived at my flat in the evening. When I had opened the door, I found Fredericka in my kitchen. Victoire, she had kissed me. I did not kiss her. She had found a way back into my flat and surprised me there, I guess. But it was nothing. I assure you.”
“It didn’t look like that to me…”
My face is as close to brooding as one could imagine. “I know it didn’t. Because you ran away. And you did not see me yelling at her to get out of my apartment the second I pushed her off of me.”
It’s quiet for a while as the words sink into her brain. “You are not with her?” she asks me, puzzled.
“I am not,” I reply groggily.
“It does not change anything.”
Three months, and she’s still stubborn as hell.
“Yes, it does.” Another twirl, and her dress flairs out. She looks like a goddess in this gold dress.
I give her a small smile before I lean in, my eyes still on hers, and whisper, “If only you knew what I would have done if you had stayed on my doorstep a little longer…”
She blushes a deep scarlet and I try not to let out a chuckle.
You'll fall asleep,
When I put a spell on you.
And when I wake you, I'll be the first thing you see.
And you'll realize, that you love me…
“Say it again,” I plead. Say the words that made me want to be yours forever.
She shakes involuntarily and rests her head on my shoulder. I feel her lips on my neck as she speaks.
“I love you.”
My heart can barely contain itself. I close my eyes and relish the relief of her saying those three words to me again. I want Victoire Weasley to be with me. Now. I want to take her away, bring her back to my flat, and never leave. It can be our world. Our own little world.
“Those three words made my heart stop. That was why I could not respond,” I explain after a quiet moment. “You made my heart stop,” I state.
“That was not my intention,” she mumbles, sadly and amusingly at the same time.
“Of course it wasn’t.” I snake my hand up her back and dip her slowly. She closes her eyes and enjoys the freedom and the cool night wind hitting her face.
“I fell completely in love with you over a year ago,” I confess. I’ve never felt so happy and so whole, as I do now – now that I’ve let that out. Now that I’ve told her.
“And you waited all this time to tell me that?” Her lips are tickling my neck again and I can’t remember my name.
“I didn’t know your feelings-”
“I love you, Teddy,” she says again.
“Well, of course, I know them now.”
She lets one of her chuckles out quietly. “I wanted to throw the bracelet you gave me in the creek.”
I hold my breath for a moment. The thought itself scares me to pieces. Not only because it was so expensive…but because it was the first thing that I really bought for Victoire that actually meant something. She could wear me around her wrist, always.
“…But I couldn’t. It’s the only bracelet I couldn’t take off my wrist.”
Embarrassingly, I picture her in nothing but the heels she has on and the bracelet I gave her; this causes my hair to turn red.
Victoire bites her lip to stop from laughing. “What are you embarrassed about, Teddy?” she taunts.
“Don’t worry about it.”
“Of course I won’t. I’m not a worrier, just tell me why you couldn’t control your emotions this one time,” she smiles. Wow – she just smiled at me. I haven’t seen her smile in forever.
“…Slightly inappropriate fantasies find themselves at the most inopportune moments,” I mumble in conclusion, looking off in the darkness of the night.
“You are so adorable.”
She makes me blush, which makes my red hair turn even more red. We dance and dance and dance, and our feet are moving gracefully. Both my hands snake up her back this time, as I dip her again. The tempo of the song becomes a part of us now. I put my hands in her hair and lean in so close to her that our lips could be glued together, but I do nothing but confess. Confess more. It’s what I needed to do all along. I needed to confess. And I won’t stop until I let everything out.
“I don’t think I can stop loving you. To be honest, I thought you’d hate me after what happened last night. But the only thing I could think of for the past nine weeks was the taste of your lips on mine. And you have no idea how dominant that part of you is over me. The power you have over me could wake me in my sleep.”
I look at her, amazed that what is happening right now is really happening. I graze her jaw line and neck with my hands while I talk to her, making sure this is reality. And that this isn’t a dream.
“You haunted my dreams, and shook me to my core. You scared me, telling me what you did and running off like that. I felt ambushed with my emotions, like I was immediately put up to this wall that I had to knock down at that precise moment, or else I could never come to it again. It scared me and made me so happy…I didn’t want to leave. But in some sort of sick, twisted way, I’m glad you did leave. Because, heaven help us – Argentina would have been the last place I’d be thinking of if you had stayed in front of me. And I really needed this job,” I let out amusingly.
She brings my head closer to hers again and she grazes my mouth with her own and kisses me so passionately, my hair turns back to normal. Kissing her is so natural that it immediately changes my hair color back to normal. Well, I'll be damned.
“Every girl I dated… I wished they were you. Each time, I was trying to get closer and closer to you; you were the woman I always wanted.” I hesitantly declare. A memory quickly flashes through my mind: we are sitting on a balcony outside, knees touching, and Victoire has just been heartbroken by another prat.
‘I can’t believe he broke up with me. Just because I’m not like all those other girls…’
‘Vic, there is nothing wrong with not being like everyone else. Don’t think that for a second.’
It was so dark out that one night, but I could still see the outline of her face.
I remember it now…
‘Teddy, can I ask you something?’
‘Of course,’ I said, putting my arms around her.
‘Why do the boys always leave?’
‘Because they aren’t men,’ I clarified.
I am brought back to reality the instant Victoire speaks out the following words.
“You were the man I always needed.”
The song is coming to an end, and the buzzing noise of the martini glasses and flutes with more champagne clinking start to get louder, as the soft rhythm of the song is reduced to nothing but a few beats. I take her hands in mine and touch the bracelet I got her.
“This bracelet is just for the woman I love. I got it custom-made, precisely for you. Don’t ever lose this,” I tell her.
For reasons in which I know not, Victoire Weasley suddenly grabs me by the collar and snogs me until I can’t breath. The song comes to a close and the gorgeous woman in front of me throws me a meaningful look, when she pulls away from her enticing kiss, bit by bit.
“I love you,” I tell her.
Sometimes the first thing you want never comes.
But I know that waiting is all you can do…
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